Healthy eating

What’s your plan?

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It's crunch time! Also, Nestle's Crunch time. We have 2 months left in the year and they are crucial.

Think about how most of your years have gone from this point. Your workouts slowly start to fall off. Your eating habits start to backslide. Stress levels go up, weight goes up, and sleep goes down. A bad combination.

Then the New Year starts and you just don't feel like exercising to eating right. You feel sluggish, out of shape, and just blah. Pretty sure that is a word.

What is your plan to not let that happen this year?

You need a plan! Something to help you maintain your fitness level and maintain your healthy eating throughout the holidays. The plan will only work if it takes into account that you are still going to be enjoying yourself.

The good news is, I have a plan you can use and it won't cost you a thing. Just another gift for continuing to read these e-mails.

Make sure you open the e-mail I send you on Friday to get your copy of the Holiday Survival Guide. Tips, recipes, workouts, and more to help you figure out a game plan to get through the next two months.

2018 is the year you crush your goals and it all starts now!

3 Steps for dealing with all of this candy

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I know it, you know it, and your kids definitely know it. You are going to slowly eat all of your children’s best Halloween candy when they aren't looking.

This will go on until one day your kid will wake up to a bag of those orange and black candies, a Chick-O-Stick, and some UNICEF change. Happens every year.

So what’s a health conscious, candy-stealing parent to do? If you are me, first you justify that you are doing them a favor by eating their candy because they don’t need all that. Second, you need to develop a plan.

Step 1- Out of sight, out of mind

Put the candy in a place where you and your kids will not be tempted every time they walk into the kitchen. A top pantry shelf is usually a good place to use.

Step 2- Awareness

Despite looking so “fun” and innocent those little candy bars will add up. PopSugar, oddly enough, has a chart where you can look at the calorie, sugar, and fat content of the most popular fun-sized candies. Eat a few of those and next thing you know, you’ve taken in a quick 500 calories. Enjoy the spoils of being a Halloween candy tax-collecting parent, but be aware of what you are taking in.

Step 3- The Aftermath

Not only do you have your child’s candy to contend with, but often times you have leftover candy AND everyone brings their leftover candy to work. I would suggest you either donate your excess candy or donate it. Soup kitchens, homeless shelters, nursing homes, and organizations who support our fighting men and women overseas are a few options to donate to.

The candy at work problem is a little trickier. You can suggest that you donate the candy as an office to one of the above-mentioned organizations. If not, avoid the places where the offending candy is as much as possible. Avoiding temptation is easier than overcoming temptation.

Also, don’t let yourself get too hungry at work with no healthy options or you will find yourself curing your hanger by eating small families of Snickers.

All of it gets back to being aware and having a plan to overcome. We will get through this, stay strong.

PS-when in doubt, just steal all the work candy and donate it. Burn this message after you read it.

3 Tips to avoid overeating

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Will power is weak, while systems are strong. No matter how mentally tough you are, you will eventually break down if you don’t set yourself up for success.

I read an article in the October issue of IDEA Fitness Journal that discussed the topic of overeating. This is a topic near and dear to my food loving heart so I read it with great interest.

Part of the article was a section about setting up your environment to prevent overeating. Dr. Brian Wansink, the director of Cornell Food and Brand Lab, had 3 tips to make your kitchen or office space a healthier environment.

1. Fill up the fruit bowl

This one has a tow fold effect. First, every time you walk by the fruit bowl it is a reminder to eat healthy foods. Much like having a bowl of Hershey’s kisses out will have the opposite effect.

The second reason is when you have readily accessible food like that you are, more likely to eat it. Right now we have grapes in a fruit bowl and a chopped broccoli and hummus in the fridge at my house. Easy, healthy grab and go snacks can be life savers.

2. Make the kitchen less “loungeable”

Totally stealing his word on this one. The longer you hang out in the kitchen, the more likely you are to start eating. Even if you are not hungry. Take iPads, TVs, comfortable chairs, etc… out of the kitchen.

3. Be grateful

This was a really interesting one to me. Dr. Wansink recommends saying one thing you are grateful for before you eat. He says it will improve your eating choices. That one is a new one to me, but I am a big believer in gratitude so I am going to give it a shot.

These are some great tips to help you avoid the trap of mindless overeating. Do you have any other tips to share that work for you? If so, I would love to hear them!

10 Tips For Creating Meals In Under 10 Minutes

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1. Start the Sunday Night Ritual: Integrate an hour on Sundays to plan and prepare meals. Get your family involved in a fun way to help you prepare the meals for the week. Give everyone (kids and husbands) an appropriate job. For example: Husband BBQ’s chicken breast and kids can wash the vegetables and fruit, and separate into baggies. Put on music, funny aprons, etc.

2. Boil a dozen eggs at a time and refrigerate. Hard-boiled eggs will last at least five days in the fridge, and are a great, compact snack.

3. Cook eight chicken breasts at a time. Grill, BBQ, bake or broil with your favorite seasonings. Great for slicing over salad, or even having half of one as a snack. Keep 3–4 in the fridge, and individually freeze the rest. Take out a frozen breast the night before.

4. Chop up vegetables and store in individual containers. Chop up whatever vegetables you like to eat raw. A good tip for making them last is to wrap them in a coffee filter. The filter will absorb any excess water, so they will last longer.

5. Wash entire heads of lettuce and chop for salads. Store lettuce in an appropriate container. If it is already chopped up, it is very easy to make a salad in the morning.

6. Make a vegetable soup. Make your favorite soup recipes and make enough soup for a week. Store 2–3 servings in the fridge. Put the rest in individual containers and store in the freezer.

7.  Cook a huge amount of vegetable stir-fry. Throw a bunch of vegetables into a wok and stir-fry with unlimited condiments of your choice. Store in the fridge in individual containers, so they are ready to grab. Add a chicken breast to it. This way, dinner is almost ready without having to cook when you get home from work.

8. Pick 1–3 recipes and cook ahead of time. Using the recipes provided, cook and freeze. Take out the meal in the morning, so it will be defrosted by dinnertime. Add a side of stir-fry or salad.

9. Portion out nuts/seeds. Buy your favorite nuts/seeds in bulk and store in containers in the fridge. Portion out your weekly serving amounts into snack bags. This makes it really handy to grab and go.

10. Eat the same lunches and snacks on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and then switch on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Planning to eat the same things on alternate days cuts down on the need to plan, grocery shop and prepare ahead of time. This way, you always know what you are having and can use the leftovers for lunches.

Don’t Get Beat Twice

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Sticking with my football theme this week, I want to share with the concept of getting beat twice. Sometimes in football you will see a team lose a big game one week and then come back the next week and get beat by an inferior team. That is letting one team beat you twice.

The team gets so caught up in the disappointing loss, they don’t put in the necessary work all week at practice. They don’t play with the same fire and enthusiasm they normally do. They are letting one letdown lead to more letdowns.

That happened to me recently too. I had a disappointing experience in one area and it affected my performance in another area. My focus was still on the negative things that went wrong and it caused more negative things to happen. Not good.

I see the same thing happening with clients with their fitness and nutrition. They will miss the first few days of class for the week and then decide to skip the whole week. Or have one bad day of eating and just decide to totally give up on their eating plan.

Hey, I get it! I’m obviously in the same boat. Most of these posts I am talking to myself too, so let’s all take the advice that football coaches offer. That loss is over, learn from your mistakes, and move on because there is nothing we can do about that loss now.

You missed a few days or weeks of working out? The best thing you can do about that is to start working out today. Really went off the rails on your nutrition game this week? Start back with one healthy meal today.

Don’t get caught up in the past, figure out why the slip happened, take steps to avoid it happening again, and keep your eyes fixed on the future. Don’t look behind you, you aren’t headed that way.

Can you smell what the Crock Pot is cooking?

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Crockpots are one of the best inventions ever. I like to start things off with controversial statements like that.

It’s so easy! You can set-it-and-forget-it, and somehow whatever you end up with always tastes amazing. Just try not to follow my set-it-and-forget-to-plug-it-in method.

It is football season at our house. My son plays and I coach his team, so we don’t get home until 830 at night. Not really time to cook dinner, eat, and shower for the early risers under our roof. So football season is also Crock Pot season.

Last year my wife did one of the greatest things ever. She went to a Wild Tree party where they made a bunch of Crock Pot meals and then froze them. We lived off those things for the whole season, it was glorious.

We got started back on the Crock Pot train with a simple, but delicious one last night. Put lean ground beef in on low until the meat is browned. Then add a diced sweet potato and black beans. You stir garlic salt in, squeeze a lime on top, and then cook that on low for a few more hours. About 15 minutes total prep time.

What is your favorite Crock Pot meal? If you are looking for some new recipes, here is a great link to check out.

77 Crock Pot Meals

The web site Greatest gives you 77 different meals you can do in the Crock Pot. It covers breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, snacks, sauces, even vegetarian options. Pretty awesome.

Go forth and Crock Pot my friend.

Your Accountability Checklist

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I was at Camp Sumatanga last week supporting a friend on his Emmaus Walk. Very cool experience and I was very grateful for the opportunity to be there.

One of the musicians there was blind. It was amazing! He was playing guitar and singing all without the benefit of sight.

My mind tends to wander, so I started to think about some of the TV features I have seen with blind people. How they have everything in their home a certain way, so they freely navigate around without tripping.

They have a checklist of sorts in their head that helps put things on autopilot. This got me thinking that a similar thing would be helpful for people trying to eat healthy and exercise.

So I put together an example of a checklist you could use to improve your success rate with added accountability. My suggestion is to look at this example and make it fit your lifestyle.

Accountability checklist:

_______ workout clothes and shoes ready for the next day (always have workout clothes and shoes with you just in case)

_______ alarm set

_______ workout plan written down (if exercising on your own)

_______ change of clothes and toiletries packed (if showering/changing at work)

_______ quick breakfast planned for after workout

_______ healthy lunch packed or planned

_______ record all meals in food journal

_______ turn off electronics at 8pm

These are just a few things that can help you stay on track. Most days you might not be able to check every box and that’s ok. It’s striving to get better every day that is the main goal.

Take a look at that list, think about what you struggle with the most, and put together your own list. Having a plan will save you time, money, and frustration in the long run. It is well worth a few minutes of your time to put one together.

Stop skipping breakfast!

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  Effects of skipping breakfast

A recent study published by the Huffington Post found that 31 million people skip breakfast every day. Every day! My biggest problem is holding myself to only one breakfast a day.

Another recent study found that HALF of breakfast skippers are overweight. Breakfast skippers have been shown to: -eat 40% more sweets -drink 55% more soft drinks -eat 45% fewer vegetables -eat 30% less fruit In my informal studies, I have found 4 common reasons people skip breakfast and a few ways to help combat them. 1. "I work and have kids, how do I find time to cook breakfast?"   Here are some quick, healthy breakfast ideas that take 5-10 minutes to make: -An apple, 1-2 ounces of cheese, and a handful of walnuts

-Green smoothie- Here are some recipes --> 5 Green Smoothie Recipes

-Plain Greek yogurt, mix in almond butter and fruit such as blueberries or strawberries

-Scrambling eggs really doesn't take that long. Heat up a non-stick pan with a little coconut oil (yep coconut oil, that’s a story for another day) over medium-high heat, when hot crack 2 eggs straight in the pan, scramble, and it only takes a few minutes. You can sauté some onions, peppers, and/or spinach to get some veggies in there. Or if you want a few options to try before an early morning workout, you can try these for some quick, light fuel.

-1 small banana

-Toasted English muffin spread with 2 tsp. strawberry jam

-1 cup nonfat or low-fat yogurt

-Half cup of oatmeal with protein powder or peanut butter

2. "I'm just not hungry in the morning."

There are several reasons why you might not hungry in the morning and that’s ok! You might need to experiment a little to find out what works best for you. This article does a good job talking about some of the reasons you aren’t hungry first thing in the morning --->Elite Daily

You can try starting your day by simply drinking some water or doing some light exercise around the house. Many times this will be enough of a signal to your body that you are ready for some fuel.  Or if you are a morning exerciser you can wait until after your workout to eat. If you STILL don’t feel hungry, it’s fine! Don’t force yourself to eat when you’re not hungry, but make sure you have healthy food planned out for the rest of the day for when the hunger does hit.

3. "I don't like to eat breakfast in the morning because I eat too much in the evening and I am trying to save calories." It is not as simple as just burning off the calories you put in, about 75% of the calories your body uses come from your metabolism. Going too long in between meals for days, months, and even years messes up your internal system that tells you when to say when. One of the biggest steps you can make is when you begin to start eating out of necessity and not out of habit.

4. "I don't like breakfast foods" Who told you that you had to eat breakfast food at breakfast? They're not the boss of you! I am! Whoops, ignore that. Don't feel obligated to eat breakfast foods just because The Man told you to. Eat whatever your stomach can handle in the morning.

 

Lessons from a crepe myrtle (weird, but worth the read)

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All fun and games until they are viciously attacking your sidewalk

It's been a life long dream of mine to write a fitness post crepe myrtles. Today that dream comes true.

 

There is a crepe myrtle in my backyard that has been plaguing me. It looks awesome, but it drops its petals on my sidewalk, they stick to the bottom of my shoe, and then I track them into my gym.

 

So I started off solving this problem by continually sweeping out my gym. Take that myrtle! As you can guess, that didn’t really solve the problem. I was sweeping those petals out every day.

 

So I really got smart and swept the sidewalk where the petals were sticking to shoes. Listen I didn’t graduate high school with a 2.3 GPA by being a dummy. But guess what? The petals just kept acomin down and that became my new daily sweeping chore.

 

But if I really wanted to solve the problem, I should the sweet spot where all this is coming from right? By trimming up the branches that hang over the sidewalk I could prevent all this from happening.

 

There is one caveat for that though. It is not my crepe myrtle. I can trim the ones that I can get to, but there are some that I can’t. I will just have to make it work.

 

I am a little slow in learning this stuff, but I see the same thing with people with their nutrition and exercise habits. People that try to exercise like crazy to overcome a poor diet.

 

Then they switch to strict nutrition habits, but then the exercise habit starts to fall off. It becomes too much to handle.

 

So how do you get to the sweet spot of exercise and nutrition? By changing your mindset.

 

Don’t try to outexercise a bad diet. That is impossible.

 

Don’t put yourself on some crazy, restrictive diet that makes you miserable. The sort term results you get are not worth it because it is not sustainable and you will gain all the weight back.

 

The sweet spot is found where you find some form of movement that you enjoy and you can stick to. Then you find a way of eating that nourishes your body, makes you feel good, and actually tastes good! When you add consistent, effective exercise to consistent, effective nutrition you start seeing tremendous results. And these are long term changes that will stick around.

 

Then there is the things that are out of your control, like rogue crepe myrtles, thyroid issues, or genetics. If you can’t control it and nothing you can do will change it, then it is time to let that go. You just do the best you can with what you got.

  Don’t get down on yourself and don’t use it as an excuse to quit. Just do your best and keep your focus on what you have the power to change.

Skin in the game

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Are you familiar with the term “having skin in the game”? Most sources credit Warren Buffett for making it popular. He was talking about investing his own money into the first fund he started.

It basically means you are invested and committed to the process.  Because, let’s be honest, when something is free we do not place the same value on it as we do on the things that we pay for.

It is why I can’t go to buffets. Because I WILL get my money’s worth. No way would I eat that much if I went over to someone’s house for dinner.

That is why I put a price on the 28 Day Vegetable Challenge. Nothing crazy, just $15, but enough that the people participating in the challenge will take it seriously and really commit to it.

Committing to consistency is the main thing I am looking for. Consistently is the key whether you are eating vegetables, exercising, or any number of things you might want to improve.

28 days, 28 different vegetables and how to prepare them, why you should eat that particular one, how to prepare them, store them, and a daily recipe for each vegetable. The goal is to make it fun, add the accountability, and get you at least one new vegetable that you will eat on a consistent basis.

The challenge starts on Wednesday, June 28th. I would love for you to be a part of it. You can reserve your spot below:

 

28 Day Vegetable Challenge 

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