Lately 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".I 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:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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
by Emma Hammond 0 comments
During a recent training session with a client, the topic came up of confessing to behaviors many would assume we wouldn't have. From slightly embarrassing funny quirks to things that go along with the old "do as I say, not as I do" motto. We all have them, it's just human! For fun I thought I'd start with 5 confessions from a personal trainer & health coach:1. I hate ab work & skip it frequently: While I don't believe doing 500 crunches a day is worth the effort, I do think it's very important to develop strong core muscles. It reduces injury, allows for proper postural alignment, makes your stronger for heavier lifting & can give you a more aesthetically pleasing physique. Yet 9/10 I skip out on the burning ab work because I simply don't enjoy it. I would rather spend my hour on my legs or back & avoid holding a plank for minutes on end. Warning, now I am paying for it with some issues related to that weak core. Guess it's time to suck it up buttercup! Boo core work!!!2. I have dessert every night: Studies have proven that the rumored don't eat before bed, no carbs after 6pm & other similar forbidden dietary rules are simply crap. Yep none of that really matters just an FYI. However that doesn't necessarily mean that every single night of the week I need to have dessert right before I head to bed. Yet I do! It started as a test to try & regulate my blood sugar to sleep through the night (story for another post). Now it's just a pleasurable habit that I could probably do without but haven't been able to ditch. I eat a delicious Quest protein bar while laying on the sofa with my husband while we watch a comedy before bed. I look forward to it all day & take it into account calorically by eating small portions at dinner. Totally worth it!3. I skip cardio in favor of walks: I use to be a cardio addicts, true story! For years I put in hours on the elliptical, log lots of miles & even ran a marathon. Now I have to bribe myself to put in a sweaty 20 minute session on any type of workout equipment. I try to because I would like to keep some aerobic capacity & it can help me keep my maintenance weight in check. Especially during the holiday seasons. However I LOVE walking & lately have just preferred the more gentle cardio to a pounding run or interval session. Sometimes it's good to listen to your body & ease off the peddle for a bit. But sometimes you gotta put your big girl panties on & put in the work. It's an ebb & flow.4. I LOVE wine: People often ask me if I ever "cheat" on my diet or eat junk food. First of all I'm not really a fan of the "cheat meal" concept but honestly I enjoy what most consider to be healthy foods. Yes a pizza or greasy burger may sound good at times but I also love a really good salad or bun-less burger. I don't feel deprived, know it makes me feel better & choose foods that I'm excited to eat. So no loss on the grease. The one thing I'm not very good at turning down? Wine! There is something so relaxing about a glass of wine paired with a tasty meal. Or sitting on the patio with friends & sharing a bottle. My favorite? An evening spent cooking in the kitchen with my husband while we share a bottle (or two) & talk for hours on end. I've gone through "no drinking" phases but have found it's not worth it to ME to skip out on those moments just to have more defined abs. At least not at this point in my life. Do I drink anytime I feel like it? No! I limit it to weekends & try keep it to a few glasses with water in between.5. I'm scared to try Crossfit: While I have my professional opinion about crossfit as a sole form of fitness that's not particularly positive, I do appreciate the strength focus & community vibe it provides. I have inquired multiple times to different boxes about dropping in to try a class. How many times have I gone? Zero! I will say part of the reason recently has been injury related & I didn't want to have to overly modify or risk making it worse. But the biggest reason is it intimidates me! I'm very interested in olympic lifting & love the short metcons. Yet I am also use to being relatively quick to pick things up & being good at athletic endeavors. No I'm not great at everything by any stretch but I typically catch on pretty quick. The idea of having to modify workouts, be the weakest in the class, finish last etc has kept me from giving it a try. All the things I tell people to not let hold them back. Again do as I say not as I do...I'll save some more fun confessions for part two to keep this on the shorter side. No worries though, I have plenty more to share! Maybe a short 6th one? I totally should wash my sports bras more often. I only have 3 I like, which if I washed daily between workouts & trainings would mean a lot of laundry. So if I didn't get TOO sweaty I will let dry & re-wear...Anyone else do the same or have fun confessions to share??
by Emma Hammond 0 comments
Fireworks, sunshine & finger food galore! Time flies & somehow the 4th of July weekend is only a few days away. I personally love this holiday, as it's a wonderful time in history to celebrate & a great reason to throw a backyard bash! This means firing up the grill or bringing over a dish to mingle with friends over a large buffet of food & drinks.These types of weekends use to bring me major anxiety! Anytime I was working hard to stick to a healthy eating goal I would stress about what to eat & how I could avoid going overboard. As much self control as I thought I had acquired, there is always the table with 10 different desserts. How do you pick just one? Plus after a fruity cocktail or two my "oh well" attitude would slide in & my choices usually went downhill from there.Now that's not to say there is anything wrong with indulging a bit on a holiday weekend. To me it's all about who are you & what are your goals! How does that type of gathering effect your psychologically?- If you enjoy 2 slices of cake are you guilt ridden the next day or do you shrug it off & get back to your green smoothie for breakfast?- Are you at a healthy weight, active & just trying to maintain? Then maybe it's not something to even worry about. As you shouldn't go around feeling stressed about food choices if you already have healthy habits 85% of the time.- However if you are working towards a goal to lose weight for health reasons or really struggle with binge eating to the point of discomfort, then it's far more important to have some strategies going in.Again it's about what unique goals you have, not one size fits all. For me personally I don't mind an extra treat or two as long as I really enjoy them. I strive to eat mindfully & I not overdue it to the point of feeling sick. As we have all had that long lasting belly ache from ignoring our hunger cues & stuffing down an extra scoop of ice cream or two...oops!
1. Have a Plan: I don't mean you need to plan ahead every bite you are going to eat. Just having some goals going into the event will give you some parameters to work within. For myself, I may have the goal of sticking with 2 drinks while having a glass of water in between. I often share that goal with my husband to help hold me accountable. This at least helps to keep me mindful of my choices, slow down & enjoy what I am actually consuming. Other great goals may be to skip the one dish you know triggers less than healthy choices, only eat one carby side dish or choose one dessert. Even if your goal is to simply be mindful of when you are full, that may be a victory you will feel proud of!
2. Bring a Dish: I don't enjoy being stuck at a BBQ with all fried foods, mac & cheese or mayo filled potato salads. While some of those may be enjoyed, I do prefer having a fresh salad, veggies or fruit to snack on along the day. My solution? Bring what you enjoy eating! No one is going to complain about an extra dish on the table & often times the lighter fair becomes the hit of the party on a hot day. Choose a recipe you are excited to eat & not just another bland veggie tray. This will make you more likely to fill up on the good stuff & steer clear of foods that don't fit your goals.
3. Indulge in the Homemade: This is always a factor in my decision making process when I hit an event. There is a major flavor difference between the store bought 3 dozen chocolate chip cookies & that made from scratch delicious dessert. Why waste it on the foods you can grab from the store any day of the week? I am much more likely to sample a dish I know is phenomenal which I don't get the opportunity to eat often, versus the slightly stale cookie cake that's always available. In short...be picky!!!
4. Start the Day with a Workout: The reason I recommend starting the day with a workout is not about trying to burn off the extra calories you are planning to consume. As I'm not a big fan of working out to negate overdoing the eating. Guess what..that doesn't work! However the reason I love working out on a day I have a social gathering is I typically make better decisions. After a good workout in the morning I am more likely to focus on refueling my body for recovery & getting myself ready for the next. Therefore I naturally lean towards a few less drinks & a bit more healthy protein throughout the day. Plus I typically feel a bit better in the outfit I plan to wear after a good sweat session;)
5. Relax: We often get so wrapped up being afraid we might fail, that we set ourselves up for disaster. All that pressure is giving WAY too much control to the food around us. Look at your motivation, goals, have a plan & enjoy the experience. These events are about the people, fun & memories made along the way. Let the food stress take a backseat where it belongs!The good news? Fourth of July grilling can be both incredibly tasty & super nutritious! Why settle for one with you can have both. Check out a few of my favorite simple meal ideas plus recipes from around the web:Celebrate the 4th - Healthy Recipes:
Lettuce Wrap Burger: Enjoy all the goodness of a burger, just lighten it up by skipping the bun. Either grab a fork & go at it or stuff it in a crunchy lettuce wrap. Choose toppings like tomato, pickles, caramelized onions, mustard & a touch of ketchup to add tons of flavors without too much extra unhealthy fat.
Grilled Romaine Salad: Cut a whole romaine lettuce heart in half & toss on the grill flat side down. Get a quick char & top with fresh parmesan cheese plus a light drizzle of healthy caesar, balsamic or favorite salad dressing for a fun twist on a summer salad.
Chunky Greek Salad: I love this cool salad during the hot summer month. It has tons of flavor & textures that always makes it a huge party hit. I chop up chunky cucumber, grape tomatoes, sliced red onion, chunky feta, kalamata olives & an olives oil dressing with red wine vinegar. Salt & pepper to taste & you are ready to serve.
Fresh Cut Fruit + Yogurt Dip: Everyone wants a sweet treat so if you are trying to skip the heavy desserts, this is for you. Choose whatever fruit is in season (berries are my favorite) & serve with a side of vanilla greek yogurt. I love making my own dip by using plain greek yogurt & adding fun mix ins such as peanut flour, vanilla/almond extract & cocoa powder.
Lightened Up Mojito: I have a weakness for a fruity summer cocktail, especially the delicious mint mojito. The way I enjoy a lighter version is muddling mint, raspberries & stevia. Then adding club soda & vodka for a flavorful mixed drink that is a MUCH better choice than the high calorie super sugary margarita. PS mixed drinks can be anywhere from 300-800 calories PER DRINK. Don't waste all your hard work on one beverage.From the Web:
Healthy Salads, Sides & Such: