How-To: Break Through A Weight Loss Plateau

Happy (belated) Valentine’s Day (there, now this post is relevant no matter WHAT day I post it or YOU read it, unless I post it or you read it right ON Valentine’s Day).  How are we doing with February?  Was Valentine’s Day the final nail in the coffin of a slow and sugary decline since mid-January?  Or did it revitalize you and give you renewed energy for your health and fitness goals for the year?

No matter which camp you’re in, this is the point in many fitness and weight loss attempts (aka the six-week mark) where you can experience a dreaded “plateau.”  This can happen sooner for some and later for others.  It can last days or even weeks (!).

What exactly IS a weight loss plateau?  If you’re failing to see ANY sign of measurable progress after two weeks (this means NO change in measurements, NO change in how your clothing fits, NO change on the scales and NO changes in how you look in the mirror or in photographs and NO change in your performance in the gym), THEN it’s a plateau.  If you’re still getting stronger in the gym (evidenced by lifting heavier weights and/or for more sets), or your cardio is improving (resting heart rate is decreasing) and/or you can go for longer and/or at a higher intensity than you could before, your progress hasn’t really “stalled” – it’s simply taken you in a different direction than you expected.  Like just about everything else in life, fat loss isn’t linear, and there are a lot of routes to get you from point A (where you are now) to point B (where you want to go).

The good news if you really ARE experiencing a weight loss plateau?  1) It’s totally normal.  2) There ARE things you can do about it!  I shared just some of those strategies in my weekly Instagram video series (and Facebook posts), and you can read about them in more detail, next!

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How-To: Make Time for Exercise, and Make It A Priority

We’re all busy people, aren’t we?  We’ve got jobs to go to, kids to take care of, meals to make and eat, workouts to do, and somehow, we’re squeezing in sleep and quality time with our spouses and ourselves.  Wait – what’s that?  You’re NOT getting workouts in?

I get it. You’re a busy professional working mother (like me). It’s amazing that you keep your tiny human(s) alive and fed and clothed and you meet your deadlines each day. Who’s got time for exercise?

I’ve shared about ways to sneak more activity into your day.  I’ve come up with suggestions to juggle parenthood and fitness.  I’ve even told you what to do when you finally find yourself in the gym!

If you’re still struggling to actually MAKE the time to exercise, this post is for you.   I’ll share my top tips to not only squeeze it in, but also make it a non-negotiable priority in your schedule.

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Five Go-To Low-Carb Meals

Alright, my low-carb lovers and lifestylers!  Where are you?  This round up of recipes is for YOU.  Seems to be the “trendy” thing to do these days.  But just because it’s trendy, does it mean it’s right for you?  That’s a twist on the classic “if all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too?”  A dose of healthy skepticism is needed any time a trendy new eating fad rears its head.  Here’s an intriguing read: “Carb Controversy: Why Low-Carb Diets Have Got It All Wrong” from my very own nutrition coaching certifying body, Precision Nutrition.

It’s not as though low-carb diets are actually new.  Each macronutrient (carb, protein or fat) has gone in and out of vogue over the decades.  Restricting any one or combination of macro-nutrients to take energy intake below energy expenditure is going to create weight loss.  Those are the fundamental laws of thermodynamics.  But the question is, what approach is going to work the best for YOU and make you feel, look and perform YOUR best?

Now, if you’ve done your homework and perhaps even consulted with a qualified nutrition coach (like me!), and you want to increase your repertoire of low-carb meals and snacks, who am I to deny you?  One of the best ways to determine if a particular eating approach is going to work for you is to “play scientist” and try it out.  Even if you just want to include these selections from time to time to create a more moderate intake of carbohydrates in your overall eating approach, you’re going to find these useful.

I think it’s safe to say that in my total repertoire of recipes, I have ideas for  meals and snacks that suit just about any and every style of eating (except maybe macrobiotic raw veganism).  And of course, as a busy professional working mother myself, these recipes are generally all kid- and husband-tested and approved, like my round up of family-friendly healthy recipes from just a few short months ago.  I even went the extra step of going live every time I ate over the course of a “low-carb day” – you can check out my Facebook feed for that.

Now, if you want a single place to easily reference ALL of the recipes, be sure to bookmark this page.

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Five Ways to Love Yourself Lean

Do you feel as though “tough love” and being hard on yourself is the only way to get results? Do you feel like you just need to “get your act together” and “grind it out”?

Yeah, I used to feel that way. I thought that shame and self-disgust and loathing and guilt were all helpful tools to impel body change. I’d be all fired up about a new workout routine or approach to eating because I was tired of feeling “gross.”

And it’s true, the first few intense workouts or days of eating “clean” can feel really good. But once you get past that “gross” stage, what is left to propel you forward? Nothing – until you skip back into “grossness.” And how damaging for your sense of self and of worth – view yourself as “gross” for long enough, and that thinking will infiltrate and infest other parts of your life as well. No bueno!

Thank goodness I was wrong. The latest research points to the benefits of embracing positive, forward-looking outcomes as powerful, potent motivators vs. attempting to move away from past states. How do we do that? I spell out five ways on my Instagram video series, or on Facebook.

Let’s get on the LOVE TRAIN!

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How-to: Get Your Back Back After Baby

Hey new moms (and not-so-new moms)!  How is January treating YOU?  Are you considering joining the crowd of “resolutionists” and getting back to fitness after newborn bliss?  That’s awesome!  Strange as it might sound to a brain addled by sleep-deprivation, getting some regular physical activity into (or back into) your routine can actually improve your energy levels and enhance your sleep quality – two very important considerations when you have a tiny human to take care of!

This week I’m going to explore my top five tips for taking on fitness safely and effectively, so that you can look forward to your new #mombod and being #momstrong.  I’ll make it a quick read, too, because I know you’ve got a lot on the go these days.

To make it even faster to take in this material, you could also watch this week’s Instagram series or read the Facebook posts on my post-partum approach.

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Five Essential Elements of Efficient and Effective Program Design

Okay ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls…we’re at the mid-way point of January (what?  Already?!).  How are the workouts coming along?  Last week I talked about key exercises to include in your resistance training routine, to increase your muscular strength and endurance.  I’ve also spoken about all of the various other components of fitness, of which muscular capacity is just one component.  I’ve even told you how to make exercises easier or harder, with exercise regressions and progressions.  What could possibly be left for me to talk about?

It’s time to put it all together with efficient and effective program design!  I’ll talk about the five key components of workouts, so you’ll know exactly what to do inside the gym and out, when, why and how (and maybe we can have a silly week to poke some fun at what NOT to do at the gym – incriminating photos and memes abound.  Please tag me on social media – @thegoldengrahamgirl – in any you’ve got to share!).As per usual, I’ve summarized this post in this week’s Instagram series and Facebook posts and I look forward to your questions and comments.

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How-to Get Your Gym On: Key Tips for Fitness Programs

Here we are, first week of January.  Happy New Year!  How were your holidays?  Totally amazing, right?  You’re well-rested and well-fed and ready to CRUSH your goals for 2019!

How many of you have been to the gym this week?  How many times?  Or do you avoid it because it’s crazy town?  The wait for the squat rack is a lineup longer than a Black Friday sale at Best Buy?  I feel you.

Or maybe you’ve been steering clear of the gym because you’re not exactly sure what you’re supposed to do while you’re there.  Run endlessly on a loop without actually getting anywhere, like a hamster?  Grunt explosively in between taking selfies in the gym mirrors while you practice your posing and search for the best lighting to create muscle definition?

Never fear!  Everyone you see strolling nonchalantly around in spandex (in public!) had a first day in the gym.  The staff at the gym are there to provide guidance and direction (and if they don’t, it might be time to find a new gym!).  Seasoned gym-goers are usually more than happy to help and impart their vast (ahem) wisdom and knowledge.  Just don’t interrupt in the middle of a set to ask questions or for a spot.

To help you ensure that you make the most of your time in the gym, I’ve created this week’s Instagram series and Facebook posts on the foundational exercises that a well-rounded strength training program should include.  Now, ALL of these exercises do not need to be included on each and every day, but they should be distributed fairly evenly across your total workouts for the week.

Are you ready to get your sweat on?  Grab those headbands and legwarmers and let’s get ready to read!

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Back on Track with Back to Basics: Nutrition Priorities

So, in between bites of cookies and swigs of eggnog, you might already be thinking ahead to January (or perhaps even thinking about strategies to get you through the holidays with your belt holes intact).  If you skip breakfast, does that mean you can go all out at the buffet?  If you have apple cider vinegar every morning, does it neutralize the calories in the apple pie?  What about your great-great-aunt’s schnitzel?  It has PROTEIN, right?  Protein is good! (?)

With the amount and complexity of nutrition information (often confusing and conflicting, too) swirling around on the internet these days, it’s easy to get overloaded and overwhelmed – so much so that you figure you might as well stick to the sticky buns, since it’s hopeless anyway.  I’m here to equip you with some sanity for the season.  I’m leveraging the great work done by Eric Helms of 3-D Muscle Journey to help you get clear on the most important nutrition fundamentals, IN ORDER.  You can see videos 1-5 on Facebook or my weekly Instagram video series.  Read on to dispel fiction from fact when it comes to the fundamentals of eating for your fitness.

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How-To: Halt Holiday Food Pushers in Their Tracks

Shhh…what’s the sound?  It’s the unmistakable “pop” of a Tupperware lid being cracked open in the office break room.  Then there’s the rustling of waxed paper and the crinkling of foil wrappers.  Next, the smell hits you.  Something sweet and buttery is wafting through the air.  A few notes of rich cocoa are mixed in as well, and wait, is that ground cloves?  You brace yourself with a forced smile.  You know who it is.  You know EXACTLY who it is.  Every year, like clockwork, they descend, with hints of flour in their hair and cheeks gleaming.  You’re not sure if it’s a twinkle in their eyes, or if it’s better described as a steely glint.  They are THE HOLIDAY FOOD PUSHERS.

They come without ribbons; they come without tags.  They come bearing packages, boxes and bags…and Tupperware containers full of fat- and sugar-laden, highly processed holiday sweets.  They seem to be bent on a mission to sabotage your health and fitness goals for the entire month of December.  What’s a busy professional to do?  You barely had time for the gym the rest of the year, so let’s face it, this month isn’t looking so good.  Keeping tabs on your eating choices was your one hope of still wearing pants for the last week of the month.

Never fear!  I shared my top tactical tips for halting holiday food pushers in their floury tracks on Facebook and my weekly Instagram video series. I’ll summarize it here for the literary types!

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Homemade Better-for-you Holiday Sweets

I know this tme of year gets even busier for busy professional working moms (just like me).  I was so busy that in last week’s post about Smart Strategies for Holiday Eating, I completely forgot to point out that you can also MAKE your own foods to BRING to the events.  When you’ve got better-for-you recipes like the ones I’m about to share, you can be confident in your food choices because you know exactly what is in them and just how delicious they are!  It’s so disappointing to “waste” calories on a sub-par goodie, isn’t it?  I’ve been known to (discreetly) spit out crappy chocolates and dry cookies.  If I’m eating it, it had better be DELICIOUS!

So, I assure you that all of the recipes that follow fit the bill for both better-for-you than their traditional counterparts AND delicious – AS delicious-tasting as the originals, if not MORE SO!  Some of the recipes are vegan, some are keto- and/or paleo-friendly and ALL of the recipes lack refined/processed sugar. I actually filmed full-length LIVE demos for FIVE of the recipes on  Facebook and I shared those same five recipes as my weekly Instagram video series.

Forgot about a class party?  Need to bring a dish to a potluck (as I suggested above)?  Just want to hide in the basement with some snacks until it’s all over?  I’ve got you covered!  For all of my recipes and MORE of my top picks from my favourite food bloggers, read on!

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