Showing posts tagged with: diet

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...

Wine Wednesday Words

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Uncategorized

If I were asked what 3 things would I bring with me to a deserted island, my answer would quickly be:

  1. My husband
  2. My dogs
  3. Wine
Don't worry, I could use the wine bottle for bicep curls too..wineOver the years my enjoyment of a glass of wine has blossomed into a full blown love affair. I not only enjoy drinking a big glass of my favorite cabernet, I love learning about it. My husband & I have taken multiple wine classes to know more about the origins, grape varieties & regional differences between each & every bottle. Am I an expert? Haha no in the slightest. I'll be real, my husband would diligently take notes as I would be 100% on top of the taste testing portion. After a few pours I stopped caring so much about where the damn grape originated & mostly wondered when the teacher would stop talking & continue pouring. But that's not the point...From a solo glass to end a long work day, to a wine tasting with friends & of course a shared bottled in the kitchen while cooking with my husband, it is one "liquid calorie" I just refuse to give it up. Now it's lovely to hear the experts throwing around headlines touting the "health benefits of wine" & having you believe that nightly glass has no consequence on our body composition. However let's be real.
  1. Who only pours 4-5oz into their glass? Hello 8-10oz "glass"...
  2. How often do you have more than one?
  3. Does that glass of wine loosen you up to a few after dinner treats?
  4. What are your goals?
Quite frankly all of that sucks! I would personally kill to be able to have 2 nightly glasses of vino & not see an extra layer appear around my waistline. BUT my reality is my body absolutely holds onto extra body fat when I drink alcohol too frequently.Bummer..IMG_2045Life isn't fair...& many other expletives I could spout.But that's reality & I had to at some point accept that it was interfering with my goals.Another reason the nightly vino had to go? It interferes with sleep quality. Science backed, we just don't sleep as well post drinking. My sleep is crucial to my job, energy, workout performance & overall attitude. That right there is honestly more important then the extra albs I hold onto. So does that mean I had to break up with my true love Cabernet?Heck no! BUT I did have to learn the best way for ME to moderate my consumption in a way where I didn't feel deprived OR feel disappointed in my path to healthy living. How'd I do so?
  1. Know Thy Limits: in general i try not to drink more than 2 glasses at a time on any occasion. it's my line where I can get a little tipsy without feeling crappy the next day.
  2. Set Parameters: I say no Sunday-Thursday & that made the BIGGEST difference for me! Most week nights I had created the habit of throwing my stuff on the table, sighing out the long day as I pour a glass because I deserved it. I found other ways to de-stress such as taking the dog for a walk or making a hot cup of tea. It took practice & habit change but now it's no big deal.
  3. BE FLEXIBLE: if we have a weekday event I don't punish myself by saying "you can't drink on the weekdays". I stick to my no more than 2 glasses & usually go with only one. As I remind myself that work will come early tomorrow & I have a responsibility to my clients to be at my best.
  4. Don't Drink Crap: if I open a crappy bottle that doesn't please my palate, I don't drink it! Why waste the enjoyment on bad wine. Simple!
  5. Make it an Enjoyable Experience: I make sure I am in a situation where I sip the wine, not guzzle it. I also don't succumb to peer pressure to drink just because everyone else is doing it. Learned that in kindergarten right? Funny how we forget. I am a big girl & if I am not in the mood, I am not going to drink. Frankly anyone who cares I'm not drinking can buzz off.
Life is all about choices we make & prioritizing what matters. BUT be honest with yourself as to what behaviors might be getting in the way of all your hard work. I far to often find clients lying to themselves about some of these sneaky behaviors like the night "glass" (aka 2-3) of wine or just a few drinks with friends. Yes I know that trick from personal experience..This is another example of how food doesn't have to be the all or nothing diet mentality. Anytime I say "no wine", I fall into the weekend bender & repeat the cycle week after week. Feeling like a constant failure for not being able to exhibit more willpower. Who needs that? Instead I took a good look in the mirror to recognize my habits, behaviors & goals. Then found a middle ground that works for me!Any other wine lovers out there struggle with this like me? Shoot me a message to tell me how I can help!Healthy 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 

Are you OUT EXERCISING your fat loss? Plus 5 ways to stop!

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals Nutrition Uncategorized Workouts

3Fat loss is simple right? Move more + eat less = scale down. Follow this simple template & all will be right with the world...You look at this equation & say ok move more. How can I burn ALL the calories, sweat it out hard & make the fat drip away the quickest? I got it! The more days I workout, hours I can fit in cardio sessions & calories I can cut will definately get me in my skinny jeans asap. Because after all, 1 pound is equally to 3500 calories. Therefore if I can only eat 1000 calories a day & spend an hour on the elliptical (which says I burned a 500...lies btw), mathematically that means I will lose 3lbs a week. Perfect, I can handle that for a month or two no problem!Maybe that works for the first week. You drag yourself into the gym every single day & sweat it out on the treadmill. You eat your egg whites for breakfast, tiny salad for lunch & a bit of chicken with broccoli for dinner. You step onto that scale & SCORE! Down 4lbs!!Yet come week 2 you find yourself struggling to get in quality workouts because you are fatigued. Duh! You aren't feeding your body enough so why should it give you energy to burn away? Next you are not just a little hungry in between meals, you are STARVING. From the second you get up to when your head hits the pillow. H-A-N-G-R-Y! Heck you may even wake up in the middle of the night in need of sustenance. Sure you fight it off for a day or two but let's be real? Eventually you succumb. And you not only eat a normal amount of food, you eat twice that. All that exercise you are doing is making your body scream for nutrient replacements. Insert the binge on crappy fast food, sweet treats or at minimum oversized portions. But wait? I'm exercising a TON. Cardio all day long. That burns a lot of calories so eating a bit more is fine. Wrong! Because you have now down regulated your metabolism by trying to starve it into submission PLUS burned all your muscle via that lovely treadmill. Muscle = faster metabolism, which you worked ridiculously hard to kill.Ok I say all this in a harsh sounding tone. I know! But after YEARS of doing this myself I am super passionate about helping people understand HOW to get the results they are working so hard for. Which rarely involves listening to the stupid magazine covers telling you the perfect 1200 calorie diet paired with how to get your bikini body in 2 weeks. *insert eye rolling*

Intro into running, because I desperately wanted to "tone up".

Intro into running, because I desperately wanted to "tone up".

Let me tell you my personal experience now that a rant is out of the way. Back when I was in the constant "must lose last 10lbs" cycle, I assumed that the more I exercised, the more weight I would lose. The best way to burn calories? Running of course! Or cardio of any kind would do. As I usually ran as much as I could until my knees hurt, then jumped on the elliptical on my "rest days".Heck I even decided the best way to lose that weight would be to run a marathon. All that running HAD to result in weight loss. So I did it. I ran 40 miles a week & watched my watch tell me how many calories I burned with every mile. On paper I should be losing at least 2lbs a week!To fast forward a bit let's just say instead of losing 10lbs marathon training, I GAINED 10lbs. And I can promise you it wasn't 10lbs of lean sexy muscle. In fact I had the most cellulite i've ever had, no muscle definition & felt quite "soft" all the way around. Skinny fat is what I would call it. So how did I gain 10lbs while marathon training?
Marathon Finished! Super proud BUT a good 10lbs heavier & no muscle.

Marathon Finished! Super proud BUT a good 10lbs heavier & no muscle.

A few simple facts:
  1. I was only doing cardio & lost a significant amount of muscle mass. Muscle mass is GOLD when it comes to a speedy metabolism & being able to eat enough to fuel my recovery.
  2. I was hungry ALL the time! Yes I burned 400-1000 calories on many a run. Guess what? One burger balanced out that equation quickly. You can easily out eat any amount of exercise. But I couldn't help it. I was hungry ALL THE TIME. So I ate. Not unhealthy foods but too much, too frequently. I earned it right?
  3. I was training for performance, yet attempting to eat for aethestics. My goal was to run a marathon. That was the focus, the training & I really needed to do was eat to support that. Yet instead I tried to starve it! You need to create a deficit when trying to lose body fat but NOT when you are trying to perform at a sport. Those are two SEPARATE goals!! Can they be balanced? Yes, sometimes you can work to find that small caloric deficit that meets both needs, but it's tough. And often not sustainable.
  4. I was causing havoc on my hormones! That much physical stress in the form of exercise plus dietary stress majorly impacted my hormones. I actually had blood work done & my cortisol was threw the roof! I was waking up in the middle of the night, exhausted midday, cold all the time, lost my period & my body was in no place to function efficiently. AKA fat loss stalled. PLEASE NOTE: these are all BIG warnings signs of overtraining!!!
Now I am not JUST bashing cardio. Overtraining happens in so many different ways including high intensity cross training, heavy duty weight lifting, crossfit, HIIT workouts & even intense yoga. Stress is stress & MORE is not always better. This is why I encourage clients to decide what their TOP goal is.~ Is it performance such as I want to train for a race & need to provide my body sufficient fuel to do so. ~ Is it fat loss? ~ Muscle gain? ~ Maintaining your current weight while enjoying your lifestyle?There are different optimal training programs to achieve different goals. Burning the candle at both ends all the time won't get you there.
Strength training a few days, very little cardio, balanced diet & feeling great.

Strength training a few days, very little cardio, balanced diet & feeling great.

So how did I recover from my marathon weight gain? This is the awesome part. I worked out MUCH LESS! I went from spending 10+ hours a week on the roads running to maybe 2-3 hrs at most in the gym. Most of my workouts did not include any huffing, puffing or sweating bullets. Instead I lifted weights a few days a week to build muscle & did a few shorter but intense cardio sessions that didn't overstimulate my appetite. Plus took a lot more walks & enjoyed time recovering.Due to that balance of building muscle & not creating havoc on my hormones, I was able to keep my hunger & cravings in check. Therefore able to live relatively comfortably in a small caloric deficit, aka I saw a steady
Muscle is that you?

Muscle is that you?

decrease on the scale while not feeling miserable. Which was much easier to maintain over the time needed to drop fat, actually see muscle definition & feel much more energized in & out of the gym.Magic? Nope not at all. Just counter to what seems to make sense, the tabloids have told us & fighting that all in mentality. Let's recap the take aways for how to AVOID overexercising yourself out of fat loss goals:
  1. PICK ONE GOAL: performance, fat loss, muscle building or maintenance. There is no right answer & it will change over time. BUT there are more efficient ways to achieve each. If you just need to de-stress & that's what working out is for then GREAT! Do what makes you happy & never feel bad about that. But understand your top priority so you have realistic expectations.
  2. KEEP HORMONES IN CHECK: if you are performing at a high level of intensity & not putting it back into your body. It will at some point rebel. You can't use & abuse it into submission.
  3. MUSCLE RULES: this is the best tool you have in the body composition game. The more you have or can at least maintain, the more calories your body burns at rest. Cardio builds endurance & heart health but NOT muscle. Aka lift something!
  4. THINK LONG GAME: if you are trying to lose fat, it didn't come on overnight & won't disappear that way. Bummer I know. But find the exercise balance & dietary intake you can maintain comfortably for the duration needed to hit your goal. Not to mention you can see yourself sticking somewhat close to after. AKA if you can't see yourself eating that way in a year, it's too restrictive. Find a better balance.
  5. MAINTANENCE IS OK: you don't always need to be in diet mode. Even if you still want to or need to lose body fat, it's ok to hang out in maintenance for a bit. In fact it's a must! If I sign up for a face & train for it, it's with the understanding I may lose a little muscle & not be as defined as I'd like. BUT my goal is to fuel performance. That is awesome!!! Fat loss is something I can come back to IF & when I want to. We shouldn't stay in a deficit all the time & it's important to exercise for fun! Not just to change our physical appearance.
Ultimately my #1 goal of fitness is HEALTH.
Balanced & simply maintaining :)

Balanced & simply maintaining :)

To keep me moving into my old age, my heart ticking, my brain stimulated & my inner competitor challenge. Whatever your method of moving, it shouldn't be solely focused on fat loss. What's the fun in that?There is nothing wrong with having aethestic goals but thinking that you can abuse your body into looking the way you want, well it won't ever happen. Nutrition rules the physique world, fitness keeps you strong & empowered. Take care of your body, it's the only one you have. If you have a specific goal & aren't sure the optimal path to get there, invest in yourself by finding a coach. We are all too harsh on ourselves so having an unbiased guide is well worth the investment.What's your WHY behind your fitness program?Healthy_Balance02

Walk Before You Run – Top 5 Beginner Nutrition Fat Loss Tips

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Habits Nutrition Uncategorized

nutrition 101One of the reasons I became so interested in health, nutrition & fitness is because it is very individualized. There truly isn't a one size fits all approach & many different methods work for varying people. For me, that means getting to know a client's lifestyle, preferences & truly personal goals for which I can put them on the right road to achieve success. Yet for most people, it means a frustrating puzzle when all you want is simple "how to" reach the finish line.

That desire for the no thinking necessary - quick fix results is what leads us to jump from point A to Z, with none of the in between. In fitness you don't go from a couch dweller to marathon runner overnight. Nor do you throw a barbell on your back before you can squat with just your body weight. It's the same with nutrition! Unfortunately one of the most common issues I find when a client comes to me in search of fat loss or even just cleaning up their diet is wanting to skip the basics.

What about:d5c4459a0a3c5a3ac587cd42d52b7da8

paleo?

gluten free?

carb cycling?

ketogenic?

or whatever they've read online. I am no different & absolutely guilty of trying the good ole 30 challenge or trendy cut out X macronutrient method. Which is why I can say from personal experience, it never led to long term results or sustainable habits. Instead I usually felt confused & ultimately like a failure when I yet again couldn't comply.

This is why I now often sound like a broken record by asking are you doing X, Y & Z first...No? Then how are you going to stick to a more complicated & often restrictive dietary plan when you aren't applying the simple habits needed to set yourself up to succeed. I have been AMAZED to see results that have come from people sticking to the basics, creating habits they can follow & making small adjustments over time where needed.defa2c4864a79c208a46229ea6def51f

If you are ready to lose that extra fat that has been bothering you, feel better daily & make it a sustainable lifestyle then this is for you. Before you jump on the next 30 day challenge, as yourself if you have these basics down:

Top 5 Basic Nutrition Must Haves:

1. DRINK WATER! I always feel silly saying this & clients give me the same "yes I know" response. But are you actually doing it daily? The amount needed can vary depending on activity levels but at the bare minimum, 64-72oz per day to start.

healthy-colour-food2. Eat LOTS of Vegetables: I also don't mean just corn, beans, potatoes & other starchy foods. Your meals should be comprised of lots of colorful vegetables, especially the leafy green variety. The vitamins & nutrients in vegetables fuel your body, not to mention fiber which helps keep you full. Make 1/2 your plate veggie filled & you will start to feel & SEE the difference.

3. Solid Protein with EVERY meal: This is one I see most frequently with women. Yes ladies I am looking at you! Cereal & fruit for breakfast, plain salads for lunch, more fruit, nuts, veggies, hummus, pasta & such throughout the day. That is not going to help you get the "lean" look I hear about. Include a substantial source of protein (ideally 20-30g) at all 3 meals plus some in a snack. That will keep you full, maintain muscle mass, bone density & much more.foods_with_labels

4. Limit Processed Foods: I know this phrase is thrown around a ton so what do I mean? Frankly anything with ingredients on it. Your diet should be composed of proteins (meats, fish & eggs), vegetables (including starchy potatoes & winter squash), healthy fats (think avocado, nuts, seeds, olives, coconut & real butter) & fruit. No ingredient labels needed on these whole foods. Then include foods like dairy, legumes, beans & less processed grains as long as you tolerate them well. Simply limiting bagged cereals, breads, pastas, granola bars, candy, ice cream, fried foods, fast food & such will go a long way with your physique goals.

drinking-calories5. Skip the Liquid Calories: While alcohol is definitely on this list, other beverages such as coffee drinks, fruit juices & even smoothies can really do some caloric damage when working towards a deficit. I know orange juice is a fruit, but most are sugar filled. Eat the orange instead & actually enjoy the nutrients. Skip the mocha drink in favor of a coffee w/ steamed milk & a shake of cinnamon. Save the glass of wine until the weekends instead of it being a nightly habit. Again I am not saying cut out everything forever, but liquid calories should be a very small part of your daily intake if working towards fat loss.

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Of course there are endless amount of do this not that tips I could throw your way. I have found this leads to feeling overwhelmed & discouraged to even know where to begin. Instead don't stress! Work on these, set small goals specific weekly goals & enjoy the process. Being healthy doesn't need to be an overly complicated numbers formula for most of us to achieve the base level of health we are all entitled to. Start here & see where it can take you!

Are you following most of these basic nutrition tips?