Viewing posts categorised under: Mindset

Are ALL Calories Created Equal?

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

goals Mindset Nutrition

image1One of my favorite aspects of training & coaching is starting with a brand new client. They are always eager to get going & full of questions I love answering. As I do with most clients interested in improving their nutrition, I requested she come in with a few days worth of a detailed food journal. Super helpful for both of us to look through!I saw what is fairly standard for many who have gone through the Weight Watchers, Atkins or similar dietary protocols:

  • Breakfast: Blueberry WW Muffin
  • Snack: Atkins Protein Bar
  • Lunch: Frozen Microwave Diet Meal
  • Snack: Protein Cookie
  • Dinner: Plain Salad w/ Bland Chicken & Low Fat Dressing
  • Dessert: Diet Ice Cream Bar Total Calories = 1200
She was super proud to have stayed under the "ideal" 1200 calorie diet yet was frustrated she wasn't loosing weight. Not to mention was having sugar cravings (hello all the sweet "diet" foods), had low energy, frequent migraines & a general sense of feeling YUCK!It's super frustrating to see this approach given so much mainstream media attention. Yet it makes total sense! It's easy to sell X brand "diet" food or protein muffin or whatever is marketable. It's hard to brand & sell, say broccoli? LOLIn frustration she bluntly asked me if all calories are created equal? Fair enough. Calories DO count & i'll never say as long as you just eat "real food" you will always lose weight. I've absolutely seen people overdo all the avocado or go NUTS on their portions to create a caloric surplus. BUT I 100% believe that not all calories are created equal. Why?YOU CAN EASILY BE IN A CALORIC SURPLUS YET BE NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENT. In fact i'd say that's MOST people these days. All those diet foods are calorically dense but nutritionally devoid. AKA they lack the needed macronutrients, vitamins, minerals & key components to allow our body to work optimally. Ex: Eating 300 calories of nutritionally dense wild caught salmon IS NOT the same as eating a 300 calorie giant cookie. One has healthy protein, fats, omega 3's & the other has processed flour & sugar. Salmon will keep you full longer & not trigger blood sugar spikes, sugar cravings & energy lows like said delicious but not so nutritious cookie. Make sense?While my client totally got what I was saying, she was concerned that meant she could never have her sweet treats! Instead we struck a bargain. Over the course of a month, we'd work on swapping out each processed meal for a more whole foods based option. All while including a treat each night if she was really craving it. Deal she said! So in came egg based breakfasts, veggie based lunches, & protein, veggie & whole food carbs at dinner. The funniest thing happened! She lost weight, had more energy, stopped being starving all the time & by week 3 she no longer craved that daily sugar hit. All while eating more food & still having a dessert here & there!Long ramble short, filling the majority of meals with mostly whole foods will give your body the nutrients it needs to work optimally. We shouldn't have a constant 3pm energy drops, all day cravings, 24/7 bloating & other "common" but NOT normal side effects from food. Fill the majority of your diet with real food & it means those little imperfect foods won't make or break your health.Have any questions you want addressed? Message or comment below for my weekly Q&A posts!

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...

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

Finding Your D.E.A.L. Breakers

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

goals Habits Mindset

deal breakersLately I have had the topic of goal setting on the brain. Every day I chat with my training or nutrition clients about what their goals are for the week. I want to hear where their mind is at, ask what they feel they could improved on & help them determine realistic action items to get there. I'm constantly trying different methods to help them make the behavior changes needed to achieve their desired outcome.

Each person is a little different & responds to varying types of goal setting. One client may need a daily check in, specific tracking tools & a detailed program to follow. However another person may find that inflexible & become irritated by the restriction to where they rebel in the other direction. Challenging!!However I have found one awesome method that really seems to click with the majority of people. It's all about following the daily D.E.A.L. breaker principle. What do I mean? It's about determining the top 3 non-negotiable health behaviors you can at minimum accomplish every single day. These habits typically set you up for success in other choices you make throughout the day & as long as you hit them, you feel positive about staying on track. So what's the D.E.A.L.?DOABLE - behaviors within your control that can't be interfered with by schedule, job etc.ENERGY - choose actions that ADD to your life, not something else you "can't" have or do.ACCOUNTABILITY - what is track-able & specific you can hold yourself responsible for.LIFESTYLE - fit it within your lifestyle for the long term! This isn't an "until I reach X lbs".Water-DrinkingI absolutely practice what I preach & have my own D.E.A.L. breakers which I am fairly inflexible in achieving daily. Yes I said inflexible! My approach towards health is fairly laid back & I try to be patient with myself. I am not perfect in eating healthy, working out daily or keeping a positive mindset. Life is busy & being inflexible to sway with the day doesn't get me anywhere in the long run. Hence last night after meal planning, shopping & posting about it, I ended up at Jalapenos for dinner because I was too tired to cook. It happens!!! BUT what I did do was hit my DEAL:
  1. Drink a minimum of 8 ounces of water. For all the reasons you've heard time & time again, it makes a difference in my day & there is no reason I can't nail this one.
  2. Eat a large serving of vegetables for at least 1 meal. I am usually on the go & guilty of occasionally eating a few too many yogurts, fruit, jerky, nuts & other travel friendly foods. But I do not feel good when my veggie consumption dips so low. A meal with a large vegetable ratio reinforces my nutritious food decisions, regulates my digestion & makes me feel like I'm taking care of my body. Which matters!
  3. Move in some way. Rain, snow, heat (more common here), busy day, tired or any other excuse that comes my way may mean I can't move in the way I planned. Some days my long walk with the dog is pre-empted by rain or time that got away from me. Does that mean I can take 10 minutes to do a body weight workout, a core crusher or ever just stretch! Regardless of the activity I feel positive I did something! It makes me feel like I didn't "fall off the wagon" & that tomorrow I can hopefully move more intensely but I DID do something today. #winning
And that's it. It's only 3 items that I have control over, can achieve & that leave me feeling positive that I am practicing daily behaviors that lead towards the healthy lifestyle I strive for. I may have several other goals I want to knock out each week, many of which I achieve & some that never get checked off the to do. These D.E.A.L. breakers are a no excuses part of my life.Need some ideas? Think about the actions you go through daily that can make or break your positive habits. What triggers your success or perceived failures. Those should be your non-negiotiables. How about being in bed by a certain time, journaling for 10 minutes, having a staple breakfast, keeping a snack on hand so you make a good decision, a 30 minute walk or a big ass salad for lunch! KNOW YOURSELF! Or at least start to learn what matters to you. :)How about you? Give me 3 actions you can & will achieve every single day to boost your healthy mind, body & soul!!Ready for more healthy tips, tricks, recipes & practical solutions to find your healthy balance? Don't miss out on my weekly newsletter, filled with helpful content geared towards your needs. Sign up here to stay up to date!

New Year, New Mantra.

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals Habits Mindset Uncategorized

Happy-New-Year-Greetings-Best

NEW YEAR, NEW MANTRA:

2015 has come & gone, New Year's celebrations flew by & here I am 10 days into 2016. I can't say I have ever been a hardcore New Year's resolutioner. I have no problem setting goals, even lofty ones! It's fun to put pen to paper & kick off a new year feeling like I have a clean slate to make anything happen. The truth is, this year I had every intention of sitting down to reflect on the past year & make a lengthy list of all the kick ass action items I would accomplish this year.

Yet January 1st passed by & instead of overthinking the moment, I simply lived in it. Instead of worrying about whether I slipped up on my resolution week one, I focused on what I wanted to prioritize that day. What mattered most that day or week that would push me just a little closer to being the PERSON I want to be. While I want to work hard to check goals off my list, I also want to feel a certain way about the process. grow-upSAY WHAT?:Let's take my entire reason I took up running many years ago as an example. I didn't just want to run a marathon to cross the finish line, I wanted be the kind of person who dedicated themselves to consistently showing up to do the work. That was & still is my motivation & WHY behind the goal. Professionally I do want to grow my business to make money but it's what making a living off of training shows me that is my WHY behind the daily drive. I want to be the kind of person who is reaching people & making a difference in their quality of life. If I focus on doing the best job I can with every client who comes my way I am achieving the goal of growing my business while focusing on being the person I want to be in the process. Make sense?I connected much more with the idea of deciding what kind of person I want to be in 2016. If focus on that mantra in every action I take each day, on every to do list I make & with how I put myself out there then 2016 would be everything I wanted it to be. So I thought hard about choosing one word to be my mantra this year that was congruent with my personal, professional & lifestyle goals...23748-Be-FearlessEvery goal I had was about putting myself out there, reaching for what I wanted & not being scared to do so. It wasn't the goals in 2015 that held me back, it was the fear or failing at something I cared about. But guess what? We are all going to fail...so what! Even when I have failed at a task I've learned something valuable along the way. It wasn't a waste. So that's my mantra for 2016...FEARLESS is the way I will make my actions congruent with my goals. Instead of asking myself did I keep that resolution, I will ask if I acted fearlessly in the pursuit.Did I not write that blog, reach out to a client, take a new course, share new information, try out a new workout, avoid a new food or even skip a workout out of fear?

Fear of:

  • failure
  • missing out
  • being judged
  • being wrong
  • not following the crowd
  • having a freaking voice
  • or sharing a different outlook that people may disagree with!
Those are all honest fears I have in all areas of my life. It's not the outcome that even holds me back, it's that lingering fear of taking the leap. If I choose to act fearlessly, regardless of the outcome I can feel awesome about that.So what does that mean for Healthy Balance this year? MORE real life talk, tips, workouts, advice, struggles & putting myself out there to share all that I can to help everyone live up to their mantra. Building a community to help us all dream, act & enjoy living FEARLESSLY.

QUESTION:

I challenge you to share you one word theme! Ask the tough question & dig deep. Beyond the checklist, WHO do you want to be in 2016??