Viewing posts categorised under: Habits

SUNDAY MEAL PLAN: WEEK OF 12/4-12/9

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Habits Recipes Uncategorized

11709665_10152999976828589_2402333278699294805_n{SUNDAY MEAL PLAN}

It's been a minute since I shared our meal & prep plan for the week ahead. Never fear it's still been a Sunday staple but we've been keeping in on the boring side out of ease. This week we are making a few new recipes PLUS I'm indulging my hubby in a mid-week Mexican food penciled in.

Tonight we will be prepping the first few night's protein & sides so we can simply saute a few veggies to have food on the table quickly:

SUNDAY: Chicken Mofongo w/ Simply Kalep1090088

MONDAY: Ina Garden's Roasted Chicken w/ Fall Roasted Veggies

TUESDAY: Leftovers - Monfongo or Chicken, to each is own!

WEDNESDAY: Jalapeno's - hubby' request! I typically get fajitas w/ blacks beans & guacamole

THURSDAY: Salmon w/ Baked Sweet Potatoes & Broccoli - Straight from the freezer to oven!

FRIDAY: Out to Dinner w/ Friends - Heading to a new spot, the Atlantic Eatery! 

SUNDAY PREP PLANS:page-130-web-horizon

  • Cook the mofongo for tonight & to have as leftover for lunch or a dinner. We are using chicken thighs instead of breast because they were on sale! Easy swaps to save a buck.

  • Roasted the chicken! Again i'll use the leftovers on top of salad for lunch at least once. PS If you haven't made Ina's perfect roasted chicken, you must! It's awesome to have in your culinary arsenal.

  • Chop the veggies for tomorrow night & make vinaigrette for it plus to use on salads. Monday's I get off work in time to roast those bad boys in the oven. If it was a laer work night i'd go ahead & roast them tonight to reheat tomorrow.

  • Since the oven will be on I am going to roast some beets, chopped sweet potato & broccoli to have throughout the week. Having these pre-cooked veggies make it MUCH easier to increase my veggie intake every day!bananabread2

  • I'm craving banana bread so I'm going to try out this recipe but make them into muffin. I may toss in some leftover canned pumpkin just for a little fall flavor. Will let ya know if good!

That's about it around these parts. Keeping it simple & making it easy for us to get in home made meals on the busiest of weeks.

What's on your weekly meal plan? Any new recipes your are testing out?

My “Moderation Moto”: Why the “Unsexy” Approach is Sustainable

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Habits Mindset Nutrition Uncategorized

Let's chat moderation shall we? One of the most frequent conversations I have with clients who are struggling with consistency in their dietary choices deals w/ the dreaded ALL OR NOTHING eating mentality. We absolutely live in a go big or go home kind of world.

Insanity Workouts OR Netflix Binge Watching

Chicken & Broccoli OR Pizza & Beer

ON the Diet Bandwagon OR I'll Worry About It Come January

We swing from one extreme to the other on the emotional rollercoaster known as the health & fitness world. Sucks right?

Yet when I talk about practicing moderation, I often get the eye roll of "that's not sexy" or "it won't get 20lbs off the scale in 20 days". And people aren't wrong! Eating moderately probably won't lead to a picture perfect before & after 60 day transformation challenge. It also means you have to experiment a little, stop following all the guru's magic meal plans & actually make a little effort to figure out what moderation means for you.The benefits? It's a lifestyle. It means you can be imperfect & still make progress. It also means you take it one step at a time & can improve a little every single week. You can make your own rules of what works for you, makes you feel best & stop "cheating" the system. Why? It's your damn system to make, break or bulldoze through.Ok lots of vague rambles later, what do I mean by moderation? All I can tell you is what moderation means to ME & what it's given me.everything-in-moderation

Emma's "Moderation" Moto:

~ Eat the majority of my meals based around whole foods: vegetables, fruit, proteins, single ingredient labeled foods & food labels I can actually read all the ingredients. Truthfully I could leave it at this philosophy without a single over answer. WHY? Because WHEN I make the majority of my diet based around whole foods, the few things that sneak in like a piece of momma's poundcake or slice of pizza on a Saturday just don't matter that much. My body functions well, my cravings are in check & the imperfect foods I still enjoy are such a small proportion it's no big deal.~ Stick with food's & portions that make me FEEL good: I don't tolerate gluten well & dairy is only so so. I am NOT demonizing these foods as good or bad. BUT I'm not going to eat them because I feel like shit doing so. The same as eating too much raw broccoli hurts my belly but a handful or pumpkin candy corn is a-ok. It's not good vs bad, it's listening to what my body is telling me. It's loving a big ass salad but still stopping when I am full. Leaving a few bites on the plate at night because I am satisfied instead of stuffed. Having an extra snack when I am truly hungry, not just bored. Or skipping my mid-morning snack because I'm just not hungry today. Slow down & listen!~ Having wine on the weekends: I freakin love wine, this is NO secret. MODERATION for me is keeping it in my diet for my happiness & pleasure. The unfortunate part? I absolutely gain weight when I drink daily vino. I also feel hungover & unhappy when I drink more than a few glasses, man i've gotten old.. BUT that's the reality. Not to mention I don't think it's healthy to drink a glass or two every day to use as a coping device to deal with life. So I have found the balance that works for me is to be 100% ok with skipping the weekend wine & enjoying it on the weekend. I pick GOOD quality wines & enjoy the flavor, how they pair with food & the memories shared over bottles. I don't binge just because "i'm not allowed" to drink during the week & when I'm not in the mood, I don't. Although let's be real with how often that happens.. ;)~ Saying NO to foods I don't actually want to eat out of social pressure: This is a big one for me. I use to really struggle going out with friends, hitting a dinner party or holiday gathering & being able to say NO to foods. I didn't want to "stand out" or be the weird one that says no to the morning donuts everyone is fawning over. I also never wanted to sound rude when I told my mother in law "no thanks" to another piece of her amazing layer cake. BUT ultimately at the end of the day it's my body & I have to live in it. No one that actually cares about me is going to fight with me over what I consume. And if they do? Honestly that's not someone I want to spend my time around. Harsh? Maybe BUT if someone cares about you they should respect & WANT you to feel your best. Frankly I stopped caring about what others thought of me because I was a better person for them when I felt my best self.~ Cooking the majority of my meals at HOME: This one has really become so much more important to me over the years & it has nothing to do with saving money, calories in restaurant foods, making poor choices out or whatever else you typically hear. This is about building a better relationship with where my food comes from, prioritizing spending the time to prepare it, taking pride in eating something I prepared & valuing quality food over the instant gratification huge quantity of food we can get in a drive through. Really think about it? You prepare a home cooked meal of even the simplest breakfast like scrambled eggs, w/ some greens & fresh berries from a farm near you. It's a totally difference experience than hitting McDonald's & shoving it down on the go. For me, this is a self care technique I truly think is not prioritized in this modern age of on the go eating. *Insert "back in my day" answer*~ Enjoying special meals & memories guilt free: Food absolutely has so much family history, bonding & connects us all to each other in meaningful ways. I cherish times of baking cookies in the kitchen w/ my mom or seeing my husband light up like a kid when his mom mentions eating cupcakes straight out of the oven. I've gotten "healthy" & "not so healthy" recipes from family that has emotional meaning I can't describe. So does that mean every holiday I stay away & bring my tupperware of healthier meals? NO! I eat a pancake my mom makes on Christmas morning or have the peanut butter brownies that are my absolute fav! I don't have guilt or anxiety about these activities. Why? Go back to #1 on my list. My pancake is often accompanied by scrambled eggs & fruit. Or I eat a big stack but eat something more nutrient dense for lunch because it makes me FEEL better. I eat a brownie & enjoy every bite, knowing they are in abundance so I don't have to down them all right now. It's memories that I want to BE AROUND FOR, which means taking care of my health. Moderation..As you can see these aren't hard & fast rules or a diet to follow. It's guidelines I hang out in the middle of that fit MY lifestyle. They ebb & flow as everything does in life. What has moderation giving me? The POWER to FEEL good physically, FEEL good about my choices & LIVE the life I want to in a healthy active way. To change my mindset from that of deprivation & self loathing to abundance & self love.Ever thought about your "Moderation MOTO" that could change the game of how you think? Maybe take a few minutes to jot it down, journal it out & even share out loud. I'd love to hear & help!

More on HOW this actually looks for me & what it could look like for YOU in Part 2...

To Snack or Not To Snack… Or Does it Even Matter?

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

goals Habits Nutrition Uncategorized

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3 Meals a Day + 2 Snacks

6 Small Meals a Day

3 Meals + 1 Snack

3 Square Meals a Day

Eating every 2 hours..

No food after dark..

Yes I have experimented with them all! Back in the day I would hear the newest guru promoting the magic number of meals you should eat each day for forever fast fat loss & jump on board. "You should eat every 2 hours to stoke your metabolism"! Of course that makes sense! "Breakfast is a must", well duh! "Don't eat 4 hours before bed?" or "Have snacks between every meal". They all can make sense in a well presented article if the author does a great job selling the idea. And that's not to say they are all wrong.But IS there a optimal amount of snacking you should do to lose weight? YES THERE IS! The magic meal plan is out there & perfect for you. What is it? Easy, whatever works for YOU & you can stick to! I have seen ALL of these formulas work for fat loss success. Ultimately the best plan is what fits within your lifestyle, keeps your hunger, energy & cravings in check & makes you feel good.So how do you know what will work best for you? Let's look at a few common snacking slip ups to see if you fall into any of these categories:

Common Snacking Snafus:

  • Eating Pre-Packaged Junk Food: if you are someone on the go, hates to plan ahead or pack nutrient dense options then snacking may not be for you. People's who's only options (whether options by what they WILL eat or has readily available) are bars, crackers, chips & other lower quality foods then it might be time to rethink their snack game.
  • Overeating on "snack foods": a few crackers with hummus or a handful of nuts? Eh that didn't really satisfy so let me grab another handful or two. These foods can be super easy to overdo the portions & end up calorically adding up to an extra meal or two per day. If you find that a small snack never actually happens, might be time to try a new method.
  • Forcing Smaller Meals to Includes Snacks: I find from a psychological perspective, the 5-6 small meals or snacks approach can be a real negative for certain people. These tiny meals never really fill you up or provide satiety. So instead you fixate on waiting another 2-3 hours for the allowed snack, leading to a constant state of hunger & food fixation. That's not a physically or mentally healthy amount of energy to expend on food.
  • Using For Non-Hunger Needs: We often start to use snacking as a way to soothe stress, boredom, sleepiness, frustration or lack of energy in the office. A bandaid to cover up the underlying issues never fixes the problem.

Tips to Avoid Unhealthy Snacking:

  • Eat Bigger Meals: if you are snacking on bad options out of hunger, why not try adding some extra staying power to breakfast or lunch. Experiment with meal size to cut out the physical need to fit in that mid-day munching.
  • Determine the Cause: keep a journal & start paying attention to when you snack, what you choice & the why behind it. If it's a none hunger related decision, brainstorm alternative options to begin implementing in place of food.
  • Exercise Induced: overdoing cardio or other excessive exercise can wreck havoc on hunger signals. I find the incessisent hunger a big warning signs that fitness may be interfering with your hormones. If this sounds like you, I would take time to re-evaluate your regimen to consider if it's the culprit of your unhealthy eating practices.
The truth is you don't need a snack mid-morning & mid-afternoon to achieve fat loss, maintain a healthy bodyweight, keep your metabolism moving or any of that. Those goals will be determined by the totality of the food you eat throughout the day, week, month & lifetime. I have absolutely struggled with finding my perfect formula over the years & what I have come to realize is it CHANGES. Depending on the day, my exercise intensity, my current goals & so on I adjust as I go. On days I am busy & know I won't have time for a healthy snack, I eat a bigger breakfast. On days I am short on time & grab a lighter lunch, I have go to snacks that satisfy. I know my trigger foods & don't set myself up to have them around during my mid-day slump when energy & willpower are at their lowest. It's taken trial, LOTS of error & permission to trust myself. It's a PRACTICE!

KEY TAKEAWAY: Stop looking for other gurus to tell YOU what works for your body  or lifestyle . That means you have to put in a little work & self experimentation to find the answers. Tough I know BUT it's also way more satisfying & sustainable.

Tell me your BIGGEST struggle with trying to optimize your meal timing? 

Being RIPPED vs. being HEALTHY: Are they one in the same?

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

goals Habits Mindset Uncategorized

Being Ripped vs. Being Healthy:I love the opportunity to start with a new training client. Learning more about their history, outlook on training & experience always gives me a new perspective I can use to better connect with others. Yesterday I began with a newbie to me who had come from over 3 years of training in a traditional bodybuilding style gym. While I actually consider myself a little on the "bro" bodybuilding side myself, true bodybuilding is an athletic endeavor focusing on maximizing aesthetics goals over all else.This client is a doctor so very well educated on the health side of life. This spurred an excellent conversation regarding how people from the outside perspective idealize the hot, toned or ripped physique. It is automatically correlated with health, vitality & strength. Where as you see the normal girl who claims to need to lose that last 5-10lbs, has a bit of cellulite & a touch of softness around her tummy as much less "healthy" than the muscle bound fitness model.Honestly look at these pictures & tell me without thinking who you see as the model of health?BodyfatYes I would probably have answered the same a few years ago. However as the good ole Dr. & Iwere chatting, we both acknowledged several observation from his years of bro style training. (PS yes I say bro style training for laughs, I have no issue with it what so ever..:)Anywho he discussed the women in there who lifted for 2 hours but had to sleep or use stimulants the rest of the day due to extreme fatigue from overtraining & under-eating. The number of beautiful buff bodies who were full of chemicals, stimulants, depressants & other enhancements to get any extra inch of muscle. To hell with the internal damage it caused! Speaking of the internal damage, I would say the majority of those super thin societally deemed gorgeous women lacked a menstrual cycle. As it's HEALHY for women to carry body fat in order have a functioning period, regulate body temperature, have shiny hair & nails, brains function & SOOOO many more important health markers.Now I am not just picking on body builders. As I know this is not the person most of us relate to. Instead how about I use myself as an example eh? Why not throw my own former habits under the bus...image1-2SO for YEARS I was consumed by "being healthy"...Now let's be real. By being healthy I REALLY meant being skinny. Nope not even "in shape" or "fit", I wanted to be skinny because that's what people praised. I lost a few pounds, people would notice & say "girl you look so skinny lately". In of course a super positive way! Obviously skinny gave me added value, acceptance & I assumed would mean being healthy. So I did so. I ran a ton, I ate a lot of lettuce, low fat granola bars, fat free yogurt, ate egg whites & hell even went vegetarian for a really long time. Did it work? On the outside yes. I did lose weight. In fact I got down to well under 100lbs! YAY I am now LESS weight in the world.On the inside however I was a hot mess. I had major digestive problems, became anemic, liver enzyme tests showed issues, hair fell out, low libido (sorry mom!), major mood issues, bad/discolored skin & lost my menstrual cycle that I have battled to regain going on 5 years!picstitchYes everyone (myself included) praised my new found healthy lifestyle because I was now skinny. SCORE! I had such good "willpower", "discipline" & "self control" which obviously made me superior to all those chubby people n the world who lacked my ability to eat less, move more & feel like garbage most of the day. Granted this was NEVER my thought process. I never once looked in the mirror & thought "damn girl you look hot". It was always "why do I still have cellulite here", "why don't my arms look toned" all while pinching every much needed ounce of body fat left on my frame. Yes, weight obviously correlates to happiness..Said no one ever..Yes that's a bit of personal info from me, which is super hard for me to admit to. Yet I know many of you can relate to these feelings. To looking at the folks running triathlons, doing crossfit 6x a week or now throwing around "strong is the new skinny". Because that's exactly what we need in life! Another BS way to evaluate our worth by our physical endeavors.Ok I have digressed on this post I will admit. However the purpose is to say health is something built from the inside. You can be visually small & be healthy OR very unhealthy. You can be overweight & be healthy OR not healthy. The hard part is understanding that we have to fix the inside before the outside. Or at least that's the longterm SUSTAINABLE way to do so.This is also a hard reality when it comes to fat loss. I often have to break it to people that if you have spent years mistreating your body, feeding it crap, depriving it of nutrients & never moving of the sofa. The chances of you convincing it to suddenly cooperate & lose weight within a short period of time because now you've decided to give it some love. Well that's unlikely to be a quick fix. It's the biggest frustration I encounter when working with the yo-yo dieting club. You can't starve, abuse & manipulate your body into health. It takes care, consistency, patience & even moderation in our approach.89de54dbb2c5e74d77e360cefcaf9f7fLong story short. Don't idolize others bodies as being healthy because the scale shows them a lower number then yours. The same goes that you shouldn't assume because someone doesn't hold a 6 pack or have the perfect runner's body that they are unhealthy! We all have different bodies, shapes, sizes & desires to reach for. Focus on health 1st! As I promise being a skinny person who is tired, grumpy, angry & totally self deprecating is NOT healthy living. Strive to feel vibrant, eat nutritiously, feel like you are honoring your hunger, not letting food rule your world, working out to make your body stronger & letting all of these endeavors enhance your life! Soapbox weekly blog complete...:)What signs do you look for in YOURSELF to show you are healthy, happy & living the life you are reaching for?

5 Changes You WON’T Make That Are Limiting Your Results

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

goals Habits Meal Prep Mindset Nutrition Uncategorized

Most people I know (myself included) have goals regarding weight, health or the physique we see staring back at us in the mirror. While I absolutely preach building goals around longterm health, strength, nutrient quality, feeling good or performance, I have NO problem with wanting to lose a little (or lot) of fat for physique purposes. Aesthetic goals are fine to have, no judgement! However my issue with this is understanding that in order to SEE changes, you have to MAKE changes....design-2---------------------------Weekly conversation with clients:Client: I really want to lose these love handles, I'll do ANYTHING you say. Just tell me what will work?ME: Looking at your food journal you are eating out a lot throughout the week, eating a low protein diet & a high quantity of processed carbs. IF your goal is to see body composition changes, these are the areas we need to work on.Client: Great, so tell me exactly what to do & I'll do it.ME: Ok let's start with one change first & build on it. How about you we up the protein in your breakfast? Could we start adding in eggs or greek yogurt?Client: I don't like breakfast & don't want to get up earlier to put together anything.ME: Ok, maybe we start somewhere else first. How about instead of eating out 4x during the week, we aim for only 2x this week?Client: I don't like to cook.ME: Ok let's look at the choices you are making out to eat. Can we focus on increasing the protein & vegetables while decreasing the carbohydrates, added fats such as cheese & creamy sauces?Client: I don't like to eat much protein & enjoy my ranch dressing.--------------------Ok you get the idea. I SO commonly am asked for help to SEE the changes clients want in their bodies. Yet I am immediately given every reason why they aren't willing to make the changes needed to get the results desired. Looking for that magic pill? Yea let me know when you find it. design-35 Common Changes You WON'T make that are limiting your results:

  • Cooking at Home: I get it, we all live busy lives, work long hours & pass a million restaurants we can eat at on the way home to our own kitchens. Frankly many people I know (myself included in the past) lack confidence to get in the kitchen because we didn't learn basic skills. Yet we also can google anything. So sorry that answer doesn't fly.
    • Reality: restaurants add more fat & additional calories to make us say YUM & to get us coming back for more. Not to mention how big the portions are. I'm not saying you can never dine out BUT the majority of your meals should be made in the kitchen. Yes that means not every dinner will be gourmet style. BUT if you want to lose fat, you can't eat out all day every day.
  • I Don't Have Time: Another common barrier I hear is "I didn't have time to eating good-guy-netflix-meme-2-vgc5pqbreakfast or lunch, then I ate EVERYTHING when I get home". I totally understand we all work busy jobs & are often on the go. Work places don't make it easy to take a leisurely lunch break or rushing kids out the door doesn't make breakfast enjoyable. BUT if this is your goal, make more effort.
    • Reality: Find foods that fit into your timeline available to get in some sustenance. Yes this may mean making a smoothie before bed & having it in the fridge ready to go in the morning. OR telling your boss I need 5 dang minutes to eat my salad in the fridge. We prioritize ours kids eating breakfast yes? Heck you feed the dog too I would guess. Yet we fall to the wayside but wonder why we can't see changes. You have to prioritize you!
  • I'm Not Hungry: This somewhat falls into the same category as not making time to eat but i'll post it separately. I have this conversation with clients every single day. What did you eat today? "I had a yogurt for breakfast, a pack of crackers for lunch & some fruit with crackers & cheese for dinner. I'm just not hungry". Yes you can totally train your body to eat less food & ignore hunger signals after many years. Yet you are working out several days a week, eating 800 calories a day & not seeing any fat loss. Weird!
    • Reality: you must make changes to see changes. Your body has reached a point it is barely getting enough fuel to function off of. So no, you aren't going to lose that excess weight while your body is in a starvation state. Like I discussed in a previous blog post here, you are causing major hormonal disregulation & your body is responding accordingly. I know you say "i'm just not hungry". Well eat more anyway. I find with these clients after an initial challenge period, suddenly they start feeling more energy, hunger signals pick back up & they start seeing changes.
  • I Don't Like Protein: This may be a surprise to newer readers BUT I was a vegetarian for almost 10 years. I became a vegetarian somewhat out of teenage rebellion but also a few food poisoning instances paired with being mentally grossed out by meat. So vegetarian I went. I did it poorly & became a carb-etarian for many years. I mean pizza & french fries are meat free?? I also gained 25lbs during this time period & lost any muscle mass on my body. Then I became educated on the important of protein & began tracking it to make sure I was getting an adequate amount at each meal. Suddenly I lost fat, gained muscle, blood markers improved & I could eat more because my metabolism sped up due to said lean muscle mass.
    • Reality: I understand not everyone wants to eat a hunk of meat 3x a day. However research has shown over & over that a moderate to high protein diet is ideal for body composition changes. You want that "toned" look? Eat protein. That can be meat, fish, eggs or even supplementing with powders. But you can't ride the carbs & fats train only while expecting to see impactful body changes. Educate yourself on WHAT an adequate amount of protein is based on your age, weight & activity level. Then work to implement that. PS 1 egg is not enough protein per meal.
  • BUT I Can't Say No To..: You eat lunch with co-workers, get invited to happy hours, it 12747615_1695775697327451_1209536706_nwas Betty's birthday at work, they brought in donuts for the lunch meeting, Friday night is date night & Sunday dinner is with the family. All of which you have to eat whatever other people are pushing on you. Because saying no is rude or makes you stand out.
    • Reality: It is YOUR body & YOUR health that YOU are responsible for & have to live with. Tired of feeling unhappy in your skin? Well I will always say first let's work on mindset. BUT stop letting others control your health & happiness. Yes it may mean having to stand your ground, say no occasionally & even explain to people WHY you are doing something different. This isn't easy I know! However the more you do it, the easier it gets. Because guess what? Most people are more self consumed with what they are doing then what you are doing. Plus what food you put in your body doesn't impact them a bit. Explain to grandma in all seriousness that you are concerned about your health & that is why you brought salad with salmon instead of lasagna with breadsticks. You don't have to make others feel guilty or get on a high horse. However if they can't respect that then maybe you need to work on who you surround yourself with or frankly develop thicker skin. Harsh I know, but you have to live in this body for life, not them. Be confident in your beliefs & know it's not your job to change others opinions.
The tone of this might come off as not sounding very compassionate or understanding. Which I can ASSURE is not the case. I absolutely understand that implementation & change is easier spouted out on the internet then put into practice in the real life. However in a world of convenience, sometimes you gotta make a little effort to step outside your comfort zone. No you can't "have your cake & eat it to" when it comes to fat loss.These are YOUR goals, not mine. In fact I am frequently tell people that there are changes I am NOT willing to make to have that perfect beach body or see that year round 6 pack staring back at me. Sacrificing my weekend wine & dinners out with friends isn't worth the results. But guess what? I'm not going to complain about not seeing changes that I am not working for. Yet I DO put in the effort to meal prep on Sunday, even when I am tired or don't feel like it. Why? Because I want to be in shape, have great workouts, practice what I preach & feel good in my skin. So I put on my big girl pants, turn off the damn TV for 2 hours & get shit done.Every individual needs to be honest with & ASK am I really interested in learning how to make changes to see results? Or am I looking for the easy way out or that magic pill to skip putting in the work. OR even more importantly, is my WHY behind this silly goal I am spending energy on not strong enough. Therefore time to drop that & move on with life? There is no right or wrong answer here. Just a little tough love to avoid wasting time & effort spinning your wheels. <3Healthy Balance LLC

Why you SHOULD include satisfying foods to stay on track?

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Habits Mindset Nutrition Uncategorized

Daily scenario: Open up lunch bag to find your plain salad greens with the usual combo of cucumbers, carrots, tomato, grilled chicken & the healthy vinaigrette everyone tells you to eat. Day in day out same standard meal. You are determined to eat healthy & this is what healthy means right? img-6289The problem with the squeaky "clean" approach is that it often leaves us feeling dissatisfied after a meal. There was nothing exciting in each bite or that one special ingredient that makes you say "ok I can eat this everyday", without building up those feelings of deprivation. Until you deem healthy eating bland & boring before going back to the foods that made you gain weight to begin with.I have gone through that cycle time & time again of chicken + broccoli on repeat. Come Friday I am ready to throw in the weekday eating towel & dive head first into anything that screams flavor. Until I feel like crap by Sunday in which of course I repeat on Monday. That's why I am a fan of finding adding ingredients in daily meals that REALLY satisfies. Yes sometimes it may not even be the healthiest ingredient BUT if it keeps you consistent, I find it's a BIG win for a sustainable lifestyle.What do I mean by foods that satisfy? Ok well for me, I LOVE wonkabingesome cheese in my salad. The perfect eating Emma would say skip the cheese for the lowest calorie option. BUT i'd get bored with that super quickly. I can eat the same salad every day that isn't the most exciting BUT if I feel allowed to add in my sprinkle of feta or goat cheese, I'm good with it. For you that may be ranch or croutons, aka the dreaded salad killers!! No I am not saying smother your salad in cheese, croutons & ranch. BUT if ranch is your thing, make an overall healthy salad with veg & protein, then add a little ranch dressing to make it satisfying. Still a lot better than a crappy sandwich plus bag of chips you might have otherwise chosen. And if it keeps you from eating a bottle of ranch on Saturday bc you "aren't allowed to have it", totally worth it!Other examples? If you love eggs, stop ordering egg white omelets you HATE! Does that mean ok screw it, i'll eat the bacon cheese omelet..NO! I'm not saying go all or nothing, as that's what gets us in a bad thought cycle. Instead get the whole egg & vegetable omelet but ditch the cheese. Pick which leaves you feeling satisfied, not deprived but still working towards your goals.My rules for using this "satisfying foods" on a daily basis?

  1. Portion control: no I don't add a pound of cheese or 1/4c of peanut butter to meals. Stick with a reasonable serving & enjoy every bite.
  2. Avoid trigger foods: I do still have foods that I just can't practice portion control with. Example ice cream doesn't come in my house & I accept that no amount is "satisfying" to me at this point.
  3. Skip the cheat or treat mentality: I SO frequently hear people referring to these items as a cheat or a treat bc they deserved it. That's giving a lot of emotion & power to food that doesn't deserve it.
  4. Slow down & enjoy it: no matter how many satisfying foods we include, if we don't pause to put our fork down in between bites it's useless. Step away from the busy down to actually chew & enjoy your food.
A few of my favorite foods which I sprinkle into meals throughout the week:
  • peanut butter
    baconeggs

    some days you just need REAL bacon to stay satisfied.

  • cheese (goat, feta & gorgonzola)
  • whole eggs
  • wine (a mid-week small glass can keep me from overdoing during the week)
  • steak or a burger
  • potatoes (yes some people seem to categorize these as "bad")
  • chocolate
  • avocado
  • bacon
What are your feel good foods you have been cutting out to be "clean" but miss?Healthy_Balance02 

5 Ways to Keep Your Cravings & Hunger in Check!

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals Habits Mindset Nutrition Uncategorized

The times in my life I have found food to be the most stressful have been when I felt my hunger, cravings & energy RULED my life. I woke up & CRAVED coffee. I felt sorry for any fool who crossed my path (husband included) before I had my creamy caffeine fix to start my day. I could think of nothing else until that cup of joe was in my hands.  While some of that was behavioral in that it was a habit I associated with waking up. It was also a physical dependency. I absolutely had a headache by 10am when I attempted to ward off the beverage for a day or two.Mid-day chocolate yearning? Yes, been there done that. Every day like clock work my mouth literally watered for a sweet treat. AKA I kept my drawer stocked full of hershey kisses to sooth my afternoon energy slump.Even worse for me was battled constant hunger? I would get up & eat a "healthy" breakfast with 400-600 calories, more than adequate to satisfy me for a few hours. Yet within 2 hours I felt my belly grumble & couldn't stop staring at the clock until I reached an acceptable snack time or lunch break.I couldn't find a way to stay full, feel satisfied, not have a drop in my blood sugar & get away from eating by the clock! It was stressful & I felt like a slave to my bodies every whim. Sucks!!!This is a typical cycle I work through with clients who are going through the same frustrations I have had. It's a very personalized process to be honest & there is no "5 full proof steps" to conquer cravings, lose 5lbs & achieve your perfect bikini body. Sorry to burst the bubble but ANY information that states that....IS BS!! Run quickly in the other direction.

why-am-i-always-hungry-2

However there are practical steps to start working through if & when you find yourself becoming a slave to constant cravings, hunger & the inability to feel satisfied from your food:
  1. Are you hitting your protein needs? A quick review of most clients food journal automatically shows a lack of protein. The biggest building block to build/maintain muscle, balance blood sugar & create satiety between meals. This is the first hole to fill if it's missing in your diet.
  2. Are you a fat or carb eater? This is individualized & based on your activity level. Some people thrive off a higher fat diet while others feel fueled on more whole food carbohydrates. I even have clients that feel better off carbs in the form of starch rather than sugar. Such as sweet potatoes over fruit. It takes time & listening to your body to see where you fall on this spectrum. Yes patience.
  3. Are you eating ENOUGH of the RIGHT foods? 200 calories of lean protein & fiber filled vegetables is not the same as 200 calories of chips. Sorry! Yes calories in vs calories out matter. But QUALITY of calories matter as well. You can easily be over eating while being undernourished. Leading to hunger, cravings & troubles regulating your nutrition. Plus if you are super activity & under eating, the same results are likely.
  4. Sleep & Stress: These are JUST as important to the energy equation as food & fitness. If you are under slept your body will be searching for outside stimulus to get you through. Especially that extra sugar & caffeine boost that give us a bump in serotonin. AKA happiness. This is not just feeling tired, it's causing serious hormonal issues that will make any amount of willpower obsolete.\
  5. Are you out exercising your diet? I actually have a whole post about this coming next week BUT overexercising can cause hormonal dis-regulation. Especially if at the same time you are trying to "diet". Talk about an additional stressor the body can't handle. You don't need to go balls to the walls 6x a week to try & lose body or stay in shape. In fact you MAY be directly keeping you from achieving those goals.
20150505124338picmonkey-collageThis IS a process with trial & error, slips, struggles & self experimentation. There will be times of 1 step forward & 2 steps back. Moments you have it all figured out & moments you fall back into old habits. THAT IS OK! Patience, consistency & self compassion my friends.If you can take a step back & have an objective view, what you can discover can be life changing. You can start to identify trends, triggers & learn how to adjust based on your ever changing lifestyle. As we don't live stationary lives & our activity, desires & goals change throughout the years. Being able to roll with the punches is freedom!This is what I do in my 1-1 & group coaching programs with clients. We walk through each individual activity level, sleep, stress, food, fitness, health history & so on. TOGETHER we systematically experiment with what makes them feel, perform & sustains them from a whole person perspective. We are not OUR diet or exercise regiment! If you are ready to take the journey to learn how to balance your food, fitness & find what fulfills I guarantee YOU are worth the commitment.Looking for more ways to take charge of your hunger & cravings? Click here to sign up for my bi-weekly newsletter. Filled with recipes, workouts & all the in between to optimize your life!Healthy_Balance02

Ditching the “have to do” by saying NO!

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals Habits Mindset

As i was feeling a little overwhelmed with all the things " I have to do" today, I contemplated skipping my workout out of guilt. I started listing off all of the things, people & outside obligations I "should" put before myself & for a brief moment felt like I came at the bottom of that totem pole. I'd get around to my workout (my physical & mental "me" time) after I took care of everyone else. Only IF I had anything left for myself.saying-yes
Just typing that out sounds pretty crazy right? Laundry comes before my health, physical well being & mental focus?...
 
Hmmm. Yet we all do this every single day! A lot of the problem starts with how often we say YES to everything that comes our way:
~ Yes, I'll go to this social gathering I really would rather skip.
~ Yes, I'll take on this extra project or client at work.
~ Yes, I'll sign up & train for a race I really don't want to run.
 
Now don't get me wrong, doing things for others is important. We SHOULD give back & do things outside of ourselves. I think it gives more meaning to all that we do when life isn't consumed with our own needs. BUT in order to do so we have to take care of us FIRST. I know I'm a better wife, friend & coach when I say no to another hour of TV & get some sleep. Or when I say I can't make that post-work happy hour because I want to spend my time reading a business book & unwinding after a busy day.
time-management
I took the time a while back writing down exactly how I spend my week. I constantly find myself saying I don't have time & can't get anything done I need to in order to do what I WANT to. And I mean a scary detailed breakdown:
___ hrs watching tv
___ hrs on facebook
___ hrs working (broken down into different aspects
___ working out
___ sleeping
___ reading
___ relaxation
___ relationship
___ dog time
___ household chores
___ errands
___ social activities
 
& so on. What I found was a LOT of my hours were being wasted on things I didn't enjoy, didn't empower me, weren't my strengths & obligations I should have said NO to. I then wrote down aspects of my life I wanted to focus more on because I was awesome at them or they furthered my goals or fired up my passion.
 
A business example? I LOVE coaching, working with clients & even continuing my own education. Areas I DON'T love or excel at? Finance, web design & spreadsheets. So guess what? I'm not doing that mess. I spend my time & energy on the areas I contribute to & have delegated the rest. Yes, I am fortunate I can do so in this situation but it also means saying NO to other areas. I am skipping my 2x a day coffee habit so I can afford to pay someone to take over those areas. I can't have it all but saying no to one thing opened up a big yes to another.
 
This can absolutely be applied to people, which I think is the hardest NO. We all have or have had those people in our lives that suck out a lot of time & energy without giving us much in return. Harsh? Maybe but life is short. We only have so many hours in the day, energy & mental focus to give. Taking time to evaluate if you are giving it to people that are worthy of that valuable time & resource. Sometimes that means cutting negative people out of your life or minimizing the allotted energy given towards them. But what about all the other people, projects & gifts that energy could be given to. Including yourself! self-care-cup
The most valuable lesson I have learned in the past few years is that I want to be 100% in everything I do! When I am training a client I want to be present, energized & my best self. When I am with my husband, I want my phone off. Which may mean not responding immediately to a clients texts. Or saying NO to a weekend work event because our time together is equally as important.
In smaller situations it means stop saying I "don't have time" to read, workout or cook a meal when I watch 2 hours of house hunters a night. BE HONEST! It's not to be harsh & say we can't have downtime to truly relax. But are you spending that time truly relaxing or 1/2 on the computer, phone & tv blaring. Therefore not accomplishing anything.
Long Rant Take Aways:
~ Think before you say YES or MAYBE, decide if that is truly where you should spend your valuable time.
~ HAVE BOUNDARIES! It is not selfish to say NO I can't come in early 3 days a week because that's my workout time. Define those non-negotiable self care needs & let nothing stand in the way.
~ Evaluate how you honestly spend your time. You will get much more done if you focus on one task, do it & move on.
~ Over time delegate or find more efficient ways to do tasks you don't excel at or drive you. Re-organize your day where most of it is spent in ways that empower you.
~ BE PRESENT! :)
What's one way you can re-organize "not having time" to better spending your time?

Why I LOVE MY Imperfect Eating & How You Can Too!

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

goals Habits Mindset Nutrition Recap Uncategorized

Last night as I was wrapping up a training session, my client randomly asked "how do you eat so perfect all the time?". I started to laugh but stopped myself realizing she was serious. She followed up with "I mean don't you ever just want to eat chocolate?". My response, "why yes I do, in fact I eat chocolate everyday!". *gasp!!* Yes I have a confession...I often practice imperfect eating. Often intentionally! Image-1-2I personally eat anything but perfectly clean. What is perfect eating anyway?? I absolutely believe that nutrition, diet & food preferences are so individual. It's why I'm not a fan of cookie cutter meal plans. One size does not fit all! While there are lots of commonalities I believe every person should use as a nutritious base, the question is who are you & what are your goals!   So I thought I'd get personal & show a few of my "less than perfect foods" I include in MY diet. And more importantly how they fit in the bigger picture of my total intake, mindset & goals. My top 5 foods I include almost weekly: IMG_29801. Wine: I LOVE wine. A juicy glass of cab is better to me than a slice of cake or any other food. No I don't mean I down bottles at a time but I do include a few glasses every weekend. But I skip Sunday-Thursday. Balance! 2. Quest Bars: yep these are prepackaged processed protein bars. They do have one of the shortest ingredients list for a high protein bar that i've seen but I don't lie to myself about them. They are a sweet treat that's not as nutrient dense as many other options. But they make me happy, satisfy my sweet tooth & keep me from overdoing other desserts. For where I am now, they can fit within my diet while not negatively affecting my progress. So they're an often daily staple. IMG_16263. Skippy's PB: this "natural" peanut butter is not the best choice available. I typically recommend ingredients that are simply peanuts + salt. This has evaporated cane syrup & a few other added sweeteners. Perfect? Nope! But it reminds me of my childhood & tastes SO much better then the organic version. I eat 1tbsp, 1-2x a week without guilt. 4. Dark Chocolate PB Cups: Obviously i'm a peanut butter lover. While candy has never been a big temptation, I do love Reese's. Then I found these trader joes dark chocolate version & fell in love. They live in my fridge & when I really have a hankering, I eat 1! They're not off limits & always available so I don't fear never having them again. Once a week or less I grab 1 & enjoy every bite! IMG_16875. Pumpkin O's: I've never had a great relationship with cereal in all honesty. It's a food I have struggled with totally overdoing & finding myself staring into the bottom of a box I just opened. It can be a cycle of overeating & guilt that I know is a trigger. So I don't eat cereal frequently. Plus I have a gluten sensitivity so I avoid for the sake of my for my digestion. But I found these gluten free pumpkin o's & fell in love. I don't want to fear cereal so it's there lurking in the back of my cabinet. Bc it's not off limits but also not the first thing I see. In fact I usually forget it's there until it's gone stale. Which I'm not eating. Yet when I want it on top of a cold yogurt banana bowl I pull that box out, sprinkle a handful on top & stash it in the back of the pantry. Once a week or so I might remember to eat it if the craving hits! Now a few things to point out. These foods make up maybe 10% of my TOTAL intake on a weekly basis. The rest of my meals are filled with tons of eggs, vegetables, fruit & meat! I make sure my daily must haves of water, a big ass salad & every meal based around a solid protein source are met first. Then I sprinkle these extras around where desired. Like the icing on the cake ;) IMG_0687Another important individual factor I consider when including more or less of my "imperfect foods" is my goals. I am NOT trying to lose fat or make major physique changes at the moment. I know SHOCKING right? A woman who's goal isn't to get skinnier! But that's not where i'm at currently, I'm in maintenance mode. IF I was trying to make body composition changes, I would reevaluate my intake of some of these foods. You can't have it all, all the time.That's a BIG reason why you shouldn't compare your plate to others. When people ask what I eat every day I preface it with this is how I eat for:~ my activity = workouts & active job ~ my goals = maintenance mode ~ what i can stick to = completely individual I also pay attention to my body. Often when I include too many foods lacking in nutrient density I find I'm not feeling my best. If my hunger &/or cravings for these foods start to drastically increase, it may be time to scale back or take a break. If my energy drops or digestion gets wonky, that's a sign I need to focus on foods that nourish me more. I'm losing strength in the gym or mental focus on work? Time to reassess. It's not punishment or deprivation & those foods will still be there. IMG_2913 This is a big aspect of how I work through balanced eating with my nutrition coaching clients. It takes time, experimentation, education & uncovering what your REAL goals are beyond the scale. As often, I have personally realized I wasn't willing to or at a place where the sacrifice to change was worth the outcome. Which was actually a relief to recognize & stop beating myself up over failing to reach a goal I didn't really want! Nutrition & fitness SHOULD enhance your life. If that's something your still struggling with message me about my personalized nutrition coaching. You are not your diet, your weight or pants size & you CAN find a way to make it all contribute to being the best YOU! emma@healthybalancewithemma.com Healthy_Balance02

My Trick To Eating MORE, While Losing Weight!

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

goals Habits Nutrition Uncategorized

As much as I preach ditching the diet & balanced eating, the reality is if you are trying to lose weight it is necessary to create a caloric deficit. It is MUCH more complicated than eat less & move more! Quality of food matters, type of exercise is important & so many other factors that I will rant about another day. Regardless there may come an appropriate time to reduce your food intake in order to lose body fat. Plain & simple. You may even have to deal with a bit of hunger here & there while you try to find a balance between your energy out versus energy in.  However you should be able to find a middle ground where you can maintain a deficit while not binging on the closet pint of ice cream if left alone for 5 minutes. This is where eating more while losing weight comes in to play..201406_2335_edbgd_smContrary to most people's experiences, "dieting" can be done in a healthy, safe & not completely torturous way. Yes I know because YES I have at times reduced my calories intake in order to shed excess body fat. In fact at one point I shed over 30lbs. Trainers & health coaches struggle too! In recent years I play with leaning out for special occasions, vacations or simply to self experiment with different nutrition protocols as research. The great part of my good & bad experiments is I learned a lot about how to lose body fat, keep cravings in check, maintain strong workouts, skip the starvation/binge cycle & actually achieve the results I desired.One of the top tips I still use daily to maintain my weight is VOLUME eating. Volume eating? So eat tons of foods & still lose weight?!? Well yes, kind of! I am a person who needs to chew my food & enjoy the experience of eating. I don't get satisfied off a smoothie, I am displeased with a tiny portion I can eat in 2 bites & even enjoy fairly frequent eating. Yay snacks! The issue with that is when I consume foods that are a higher caloric bang for the buck compared to their portion size.the-oils-that-make-up-junk-foods-like-fried-chicken-make-you-feel-less-full-than-the-same-number-of-calories-eaten-in-the-form-of-fruits-and-vegetables-because-they-take-up-less-volume-iFor example I am feeling a midday snack coming on. I generally aim for a snack to be in the 200 calorie range.Option A: I could eat a 2 tbsp of peanut butter that contains around 200 calories. Delicious yes? But also disappears in one quick bite which = not super satisfying for ME.blog peanut butter spoonOption B: A cup of nonfat plain greek yogurt w/ sliced strawberries, 1/2 a tbsp of peanut butter & a cup of coffee or tea with almond milk for just under 200 calories. Delicious, takes time to eat, has texture, protein & a bit of that peanut butter I was craving.2015-03-02 16.23.15For me this is a no brainer! The fact that I have to sit down & eat the yogurt in multiple bites as opposed to eating one big spoonful of peanut butter that let's be real, I'm likely to refill, is an easy decision. Same calories but more volume for the win!It's a part of the reason I include a big ass salad every day. I know it drives my husband crazy when he has to wait 45 minutes for me to finish a salad the size of my head, after he's done in a few bites of a sandwich. Which probably had twice the calories of my salad btw.. But the time it takes to slow down & eat plus the high fiber & volume of vegetables does the trick every time.greentrucksaladI would much rather eat 100 calories of crunchy carrots & salsa than 5 potato chips. I get more enjoyment & satiety eating 1/2 a plate of roasted broccoli then 1 small scoop of mac & cheese. Having a big bowl of berries satisfies my sweet tooth more than struggling to eat just one bite of cheesecake for the same caloric amount. I also frankly don't have to overtax my willpower by trying to just eat half of the plate or just one bite of ice cream. Again that is what works for ME!527124_10150927577387486_895183356_nWhat are great foods to help fill you up, provide you lots of texture, taste & time to actually eat? Here are a few of my favorites when I feel the urge to eat but want to stick within my intake goals:Vegetables: I choose those that are non-starchy, fiber filled & that I actually enjoy!~ Big ass salads for meals (watch the cheese, heavy dressings & crunchy tortilla type toppings).~ Snack on cucumber, carrots, peppers, cooked or uncooked broccoli & dip in salsa for more flavor.~ Fill 1/2 your dinner plate with vegetables over other sides. You still get a full plate & fill up quick!thFruit: I don't believe anyone ever became obese by eating too much fruit BUT I have seen clients over do the amount they eat in a day. Hello "5 apple a day client", you know who you are.... ;)~ Try sticking with mostly berries as a great sweet tooth satisfier. I promise your waistline will thank you for overeating berries as opposed to cookies. I love dipping strawberries in yogurt mixed w/ cocoa powder!116608ee26c7cb2ca97abd909b566835Protein: If I am struggling with feeling full I lean towards filling up on protein over carbs & fats. That protein is more likely to fuel my muscle growth, recovery from workouts & less likely to be stored as body fat.~ Increase the portion of leaner meats such as chicken, turkey & fish.~ Plain greek yogurt is a great option, as I eat a full cup with 24g of protein for less than 200 calories.~ Cottage cheese is another protein filled option, if you like that lovable curd...:)~ Make a big ole smoothie if that floats your boat. Throw in some protein powder, spinach, unsweetened almond milk & berries for a lot of nutrition in~ Egg Whites are another option if trying to keep calories on the lower side. Yes I prefer to eat the whole egg BUT when I am trying to lose a few pounds I am ok with a big egg white omelet filled with tons of veggies. Especially if I know I will be going out to eat that day & consuming a higher fat meal. It's about balance!egg-white-omelet2Did notice that all of these options are REAL FOOD. Not 100 calorie packs of cookies or weight watchers muffins. No I am not bashing weight watchers per se but YES I do think when you are in a calorie deficit it's even MORE important that you include foods that have nutritional value. Empty calories = empty energy, satiety & so on that WILL lead you to being hungry & undernourished. Of course you can't sustain that! Why should you?In the end take time to learn & listen to what works for you. Not your friend, the magazine cover or newest trendy diet guru. If a diet isn't sustainable I can promise you it won't KEEP you at your goal. Try out some of these swaps & enjoy what it feels like to eat more, while getting the nutrition your body needs to do all that you ask it to do.Struggle with this concept? Email today & let's troubleshoot volume eating for you! Emma@healthybalancewithemma.com :)