How to Eat Clean for Life

There's a HUGE misconception with eating healthy today. Individuals who are trying to become healthy from the inside out are commonly viewed as "dieters". It should be viewed less about dieting, and more about going back to the basics, in an effort to prevent disease and promote a healthy weight.

Follow these 3 tips to sustain a lifelong focus on health & nutrition.

READ LABELS: Let’s face it, when I would have just a few minuets in between patients, the vending machine was sometimes the only option to keep my stomach from making embarrassing whale noises into my next patients ears. But when it comes to quick, cheap, & convenient foods, ALWAYS look at the nutrition labels so you know exactly what you're putting into your body. Even foods that are marketed as "health" food (like granola, trail mix, or fat free yogurt) will actually keep you from advancing towards your fitness goals. In fact, many flavored yogurts have upwards of 15 grams of sugar in that tiny 6-ounce serving! My advice? Buy plain, fat-free Greek yogurt and flavor it yourself with some fresh fruit or even a small drizzle of honey. That way you know you're not consuming as many teaspoons of sugar as a package of Gushers!  Try to mentally (or actually log) the amount of sugar you are in taking- it might surprise you the foods that have added sugar to make it more tasty to the consumer. Scary!

 

CHOSE WHOLE FOODS: No, not the Whole Foods grocery store (even though I love that place). I'm talking about eating foods in their most natural state- some think this is actually the most important principle of clean eating. That means opting for oranges over orange juice, or sprouted wheat over processed white bread. How do you know if you're eating whole foods? Well, it's pretty simple. Does the food come from a natural source or is it made in the lab? My helpful hint is to do the bulk of your grocery shopping on the perimeter of the grocery store and avoid the aisles.  If you're consistently eating foods from wrappers most likely you're not consuming whole nutrition. Eating habits centered around whole foods contain foods that are naturally high in fiber (like fruit, veggies, & whole grains). Research shows these foods can reduce inflammation which effects a multitude of systemic diseases such as diabetes, and heart disease, while also helping to regulate your weight!


CONQUER THE KITCHEN: I've heard it all before: Eating clean is too costly & labor-intensive! I agree after a long day at work, taking a trip through the drive through might seem like the easiest option BUT you’re more likely to be eating over-processed, higher-calorie foods. If you plan ahead & have your kitchen properly stocked with ingredients, you can whip up a healthy meal in the time. Here's a cost comparison from the Netflix documentary "Fed Up"  for a family of four. We all know the obvious nutritious choice (even though our minds might be craving the burgers & fries).

Fed Up Cost Comparison

Preparing your own clean meals might take some getting used to, all you need is a little knowledge up front about nutrition and finding the right foods. If you're not a fan of an ingredient (like kale, or sweet potatoes) don't force it!  There are so many other healthy foods out there; I promise you’ll find plenty that you like.

Happy eating!

x

 

 

5 Ways to Get through the Holiday Binge

Hello Fit Fam! It's that time of year where holiday indulgences can really put a damper on fitness progress...

The weather's getting chilly, the birds are outside chirping, and the smell of pumpkin pie fills the room. And for some of you the wine hangover is setting in so those birds really need to chill the eff out.

Okay, so you might of planned to resist the temptations of indulging in the holiday feasts. But let's be honest, regardless of how strong minded you plan to be. sometimes we might make choices that were less-than-desirable.

If you stuck to your ground, you deserve a huge CONGRATS! Getting through the holidays with self control and moderation is a jaw opening accomplishment! SO I'm giving you a round of applause. KEEP GOING!!!!

However, if you did indulge are are waking up not so proud of your choices the key is to NOT spiral into the galaxy of the bad habits and self hatred. Throw away your guilt. Like right now. It will set your farther back instead of focusing on the future.

Indulging in the holiday food is LIFE! I actually recommend it IF and only if you can bounce back into your healthy routine!

So, fellow fit girls....here's how to get back on track:

1) Drink your agua. Every last drop of it. Yes that's 8-10 glasses. Try tossing in a squeeze of lemon juice to jazz it up.

2) Get a sweat sesh in. If you don't know what to do, click on "GET FIT WITH X" and there are HIIT & circuits for you to choose from! Or go on a really long walk with your favorite fur baby. Just get out there and move your behind.

3) Give yourself a reminder that just because you surrendered your Fit Girl routine for one day doesn't mean it's gone forever. Ask yourself why you started and don't allow too much time between the "Turkey time-out" and getting back into it!

4) Do not try to make up for your overfilled calorie'd day. Basically don't starve yourself. Yes, you can eat lighter but DON'T get in the mindset that you have to "make up for yesterday."

5) Last and so importantly, take a look at yourself in the mirror- No, not to stare at your midsection, but to look at yourself and say something NICE! Self love is REAL so practice! Never dwell on the negative only focus on building yourself up- and it starts with YOU! 

Remember... you're doing amazing...

HERE'S TO FORWARD & ONWARD!

Balancing Fitness With a Busy Life

Today's post is all about BALANCE.

It's one of the most important (& difficult) topics to master, but it's crucial to living a well balanced life. I am in my fourth year of dental school and finding a balance between professional school, studying, family, friends, eating healthy, & finding the time to work out was absolutely necessary. I've attempted to sit down and explain the bullet point "essentials" of adapting healthy habits and how to make them work with a busy life.

Trust me, no one is going to say the following topics are easy to conquer, but all you need to do is put your best foot forward and strive for progress! 

 

Be Efficient:

Contrary to what you might have heard in the past, my experiences -- & science -- have taught me there is NO NEED to spend hours in the gym everyday to get results.  By changing the way you work out and manage your time, you can actually achieve more efficient ways to improve your health. My workouts tend to range from 30min to an 1 hour and I typically workout about 4 times a week.  Helpful hint: Plan...plan... plan!

When are you going to work out? In the morning? On your lunch break? Right after class? In the evening? This is something I cannot tell you. You have to decide what works for your busy life. Personally, my days start pretty early anyway so waking up any earlier than I need just does not work. So I find the best time to workout out is RIGHT after I'm finished for the day and before I hit play on my DVR. I will pack my gym bag & leave it in my car so I can head to the gym straight from school. From personal experience, when I try to convince myself that mayyyyybe sitting on the couch for an hour after class will give me some rest & energy before sweating it out, I find my workout for the day is in the dust.

What are you going to do when you actually get to the gym? This part of planning will be based on what your personal fitness goals are! Do you want to build muscle, shed fat, increase your endurance, train for a marathon, look better in your clothes, have a total body transformation? Do some research about what it will take to achieve your goals...

But my advise for you is to ALWAYS walk into the gym with a plan....

Know how you're going to warm up, exercise, and cool down. The past year I followed Kayla Itsienes Bikini Body Guide. This workout plan helped create a structured habit to help improve my health and confidence. I love following this guide because I know exactly what my workout is going to be for that day.

Trust me, make it easy on yourself & you will be more likely to stick to whichever fitness program you decide to partake in. Now, I enjoy creating my own circuits + finding free workouts on bodybuilding.combecause I wanted to incorporate more machines & weights into my gym time. (Take a peek at "circuits" under GET FIT WITH X to preview these!)

 

Prioritize & Make Sacrifices:

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you read "make sacrifices?!?" For me, I think of food & nutrition. Our society has made it so difficult to eat healthy. In school, we have various lunch meetings and food is normally provided. For someone who currently does not have a paycheck, paying an enormous amount in tuition & always on a budge, I should be thinking YES! Free lunch! Well unfortunately, this is where I have to prioritize and say "no" to the free pizza. 

It fundamental to understand proper nutrition is the key to living a healthy life. Ever wonder why your progress might not be visible? Take a step back & take a look at nutrition. This is what's fueling your body. Are you fueling it with nutritious, clean, unprocessed foods? Or does it look more like McDonalds drive through, Oreo packs, and nightly takeout? In an analysis of 33 clinical trials, researchers determined that diet controls approximately 75% of weight loss (Men’s Health, April 2008).

Attempting to lose weight by adapting a "temporary diet fix" aka relying on low-calorie foods or restrictive eating plans to help slim down is often the biggest mistake people make nutritionally. This strategy generally backfires leading to a slower metabolism and increased cravings, which is a vicious cycle. DO IT THE RIGHT WAY. THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS TO FITNESS.

I eat clean about 80% of the time. How do I do this? Discipline.... and MEAL PLANNING! I use the Myfitnesspal app to estimate and hit my calorie & macro intake goals. I use this as a guide to make my weekly meal plans, grocery shop, and educate myself. When I first started logging it was an eye opener to visualize how certain "healthy" foods were well, not so healthy.

I do allow myself to have treat meals on the weekend but I make sure to not overindulge. This is a personal option and I know many people who don't allow themselves treat meals.  My husband and I enjoy date night on Friday's, and football tailgating on Saturdays during the fall. Maybe counting calories isn't for you & that's okay! I'm a very analytical person and pay close attention to detail so it works for me & definitely keeps me on track.

Find out how to prioritize & know what sacrifices you will need to create in your day to day life.  Ask yourself.... is your health worth it?

 

Find Motivation & Use It:

At first, I would browse through Instagram & find #abspiration pics from women who have perfectly toned midsections. I used this as my motivation, but quickly stopped because I was constantly feeling like I didn't measure up. Instead of motivation me it actually demotivated me.

Today, my motivation is myself. I know how good it feels to improve. The satisfaction I get from nourishing my body with nutrient dense food instead of filling with junk is way better than looking at another woman's washboard abs. Gaining strength + endurance in the gym is also motivation for me. I couldn't even do one push-up prior to my fitness journey! The scale is NOT the only way to measure progress. Learn how to become more in tune with your body! Progress will be evident.

There are no two identical fitness journeys. We all have a different starting point, different body types, different goals, & different ways to achieve these goals. 

You can look at thousands of fit girl's photos, buy into countless quick fix diets & exercise programs, invest in pricey gym memberships, but until you take actions, all the above is pointless. NOBODY can do it for you! Invest in yourself & become your own motivation!