How-To: Improve Your Sleep Quality & Quantity

YAWWWNNNNN – who’s with me?  Call it the summer doldrums (or winter blahs, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere), call it too many late nights, but I am TIRED with a capital T (all caps, in fact).  I can’t chalk it up to extra workouts (hell-O rest days) or crazy parties (I think my last crazy party was around the turn of the millennium – like, seriously, and how fun is it that we can say stuff like that and it’s TRUE?).  So I realized that I just have not been getting very good sleep quality lately.  And again, crazy as it seems (clearly I’m on the crazy train), I’ve realized that when something is true for me, it’s generally true for a lot of other people as well.  I know, I know, we’re all unique butterflies or snowflakes, but it turns out we actually share a lot in common, whether we want to or not. So let’s share these top five tips for improving sleep quality and quantity, shall we?  Besides, it’s one of the top five reasons you’re not losing weight!  (Too tired to read?  You can check out the videos on these topics on my Instagram or Facebook feed).

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How-To: Scale Exercises (Progressions and Regressions)

Well hello, hello!  We’re truly in the 101 level of fitness – this is important, because any time you want to build a strong structure, you need to start with a solid foundation.  So as tempting as it may be to skip over the “boring” basics, getting a handle on these elements is going to set you up so well for your future fitness success.  I know personally that it can be really tempting to grab the latest and greatest workouts endorsed by your favourite fitness influencers or celebrities, but what if those programs don’t meet your current fitness level?  There’s a chance that the workouts are too easy for you OR too hard.  I want to introduce ways to modify the level of an exercise, either making it easier (this is regressing the exercise) or harder (this is progressing the exercise).  And guess what?  My tips do NOT mention decreasing or increasing the amount of weight OR the number of reps (you’ve got those approaches in the bag, I bet!).  Let’s bring on the basics of exercise scaling!  As always, you can check out my Instagram video series on this topic, or see my videos on Facebook.  Looking for more information or tailored advice specific to you?  Contact me via e-mail any time to arrange a complimentary chat!

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How-To: Balance the Components of Fitness

So, I spend a lot of time writing about meals and recipes on this blog.  I decided to switch it up today and focus more on the physical fitness side of things.  I still believe in the saying “abs are made in the kitchen” (which means that up to eighty percent of your results – aesthetically speaking, anyway – are a direct result of what, when and how much you eat) but how, when, where and how often you move your body are also an important part of the health and wellness equation.  If you prefer auditory/visual learning, be sure to check out my Instagram video series on this topic, or see my videos on Facebook.

Let’s brush up on muscular capacity, cardiorespiratory capacity, flexibility, body composition and the other, secondary, components of fitness.

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How-To: Eat Out Healthfully

Building on last week’s post about How-To: Make Healthful Meals FAST, one of my top tips was to take advantage of fast food/restaurant options (!).  Oh yes, in my world there are definitely ways to fit fast food into your fitness lifestyle.  I decided to expand on the theme with my top tips for Eating Out Healthfully ANYWHERE – whether that’s a BBQ or a potluck or a fundraising dinner or a restaurant…whether it’s with friends or family or co-workers or complete strangers…excited to learn more?  Let’s get to it!

 

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How-To: Make Healthful Meals FAST!

One of the top challenges I am asked about is how to prepare healthful meals QUICKLY (or fast, but that’s not grammatically sound and I am nothing if not a grammar nerd!).  So, I thought I would write a post (and create an Instagram video series) on my top five tips for quick and easy meals that are also delicious AND good for you!  This is a great addition (if I do say so myself) to my How-to series, including How-To Plan and Prepare Healthy Meals and How-To Make & Eat Healthy Snacks at Home and On the Go!

With no further ado, let’s go with my top five tips, and I’ve even tried to order them from least expensive (in terms of both money AND effort) to most expensive:

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The Dark Side of IIFYM ( and diets in general)

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http://dietsinreview.s3.amazonaws.com/diet_column/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/stress-eating.jpgRemember when I raved about the dietary approach called If It Fits Your Macros, or flexible dieting?  I experienced some significant personal growth with respect to the way I approached and related to food.  I still believe that others can experience these breakthroughs via IIFYM as well. Not to mention, I and countless others have achieved significant changes in our physiques.  But, at what cost? And were those changes sustainable?  As I alluded in my How-To: Take a Break post, following IIFYM for a long-term, continuous basis is not feasible or sustainable.  Like all diet plans and program, “flexible dieting” or If It Fits Your Macros has both benefits and pitfalls for its followers.  I’ll be exploring the less desirable aspects of this program (and other “restriction diets”) in this post.

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How-To: Make (the best!) Mayonnaise at Home (Paleo, Whole30)

Homemade Mayonnaise Quick and Easy

Ready for a healthier version of something you likely already have in your fridge?  A creamy, cool condiment gets the makeover treatment.  I’ve culled the web and done a lot of experimenting on your behalf to bring you The Best Homemade Mayonnaise (Ever).  I didn’t just make this up on my own, but I will share the unique combination of ingredients and technique I used for the richest, creamiest, most-delicious mayonnaise you have ever tasted, without any of the less-than-desirable ingredients and additives you might find in store-bought stuff.   Keep reading

How-To: Make (Raw) Cashew Butter at Home

Homemade Cashew ButterIt’s time to fire up your food processor!  I’ll take you through the process of making your very own raw cashew butter at home.  I learned so much from The Healthy Foodie in her post All Natural Homemade Raw Cashew Nut Butter, and I can’t wait to share it with you! Keep reading

How-To: Make Macadamia Butter at Home

Homemade Macadamia Nut Butter SpoonfulIf my How-To: Make Hazelnut Butter at Home inspired you, then hopefully this How-To will elevate you.  I’ve taken what I’ve learned from making nut butters, including different flavour combinations, and come up with this gorgeous roasted macadamia nut butter with vanilla and sea salt.  (And if the last How-To didn’t inspire you to fire up your food processor – or high-speed blender – then maybe this one will.)

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How-To: Take a Break

Image source: http://eurythmia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Relax-slider.jpg

Image source: http://eurythmia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Relax-slider.jpgYou might think from my previous How-To posts on How-To: Track Your Macros and How-To: Track Your Progress that I’m an advocate for relentless, unyielding pursuits of fitness goals, striving to be ever leaner/fitter/faster/stronger.  I’M NOT.  You simply CANNOT continue to push the body without expecting it to push back.  Your body is smarter than your brain, and it is HIGHLY efficient.  Ever wonder about weight loss and/or strength gain plateaus?  You reduce your intake/increase your workouts and yet that one last pound gets harder and harder to lose or lift?  Your body, marvelous machine, has reduced its metabolism and has gotten smarter and more efficient about fueling its required processes with LESS fuel, because you are supplying it with LESS fuel.  Very smart (if only our cars operated on the same principle!).  Similarly, your body has adapted to the stress of the workouts and doesn’t experience the same muscular hypertrophy and strength gains as it previously did under the same or lesser loads.  VERY, very smart!

So, what do we do about this?  Well, in a word – nothing!  That’s right, there’s virtue in kicking back and relaxing!  It’s time to talk about the value of knowing when to strive and knowing when to stop.

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