Five Fun Ways To Move Outdoors

Happy Spring!  Today marks the first full day of Spring, following the Spring Equinox yesterday.  It’s hard to believe that while I have long known about the equinoxes (is that the correct plural form?), I didn’t actually know that they meant equal hours of day and night until this year.  It’s a good thing I’m open to lifelong learning (and willing to admit and PUBLISH the fact that there is something – many things, in fact – that I don’t know)!

At any rate, the weather is also decidedly Spring-like.  We went from the depths of winter’s deep freeze to absurdly warm weather over the course of a single weekend (the “Spring forward” time change weekend, at that.  I’m sorry, but can we please just stop with this nonsense of changing the clocks?  I’ll sign a petition!  Does anyone else have a hard time with the time changes?).  The snow is melting at an astonishing rate and people are emerging from their hibernation in full force.  The sidewalks are full of walkers, runners, joggers, bicycles, scooters, etc.  Kids are splashing in puddles and dogs are gleefully racing around the park.

The changing of the seasons often stirs a desire for change in our routines.  We do Spring cleaning, we might change the decor in our homes, or even the foods that we eat.  The fashion-forward among us (not me!) even make wardrobe changes and/or hair colour changes for the season.  So it’s the perfect time to make a change to our workout and/or exercise regime as well!

Lastweek’s Instagram video series and Facebook posts were all fun ways to get your body moving outside – it’s so much fun, it won’t feel like exercise.  You don’t need to slog it out in the gym to get lean – here’s your chance to get some fresh air, sunshine AND fat loss!

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Five Facts About Overtraining

For some of us, this feels like the winter that will never end (hello to my fellow Canadians and some of my American readers).  But is there a risk that your low energy levels actually have more to do with an overzealous workout routine?  Maybe you’ve been super diligent and consistent with your exercise in 2019…but maybe a little TOO much so?  Too much of a good thing is still too much.

Did you know that over-training can actually be derailing your fat loss efforts? You can actually be working *too* hard and diminishing your results because of it.  You want to be sure that you’re working smarter, and not necessarily harder!

This week’s Instagram video series and Facebook posts are all about over-training – signs and symptoms, why it matters and how to stop doing it so your body can get leaner, fitter and stronger.

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Five Fad Diets Demystified

It’s hard to believe we’re only (already ?!) two months into 2019 and there are already articles about the best/trendiest/most popular diets of the year.  Of course, these kinds of lists come out every year, and every year people jump on (and off) them.

Do any of these diets actually “work?”  Well, I guess that depends on how you define success.  Arguably, no, not in the long-term anyway, or else we wouldn’t be perpetuating a multi-billion dollar global diet industry.  But there’s always going to be someone, from an instagram “celebrity” to your brother-in-law’s uncle who SWEARS by XYZ diet, and is so fervent in their zeal that you start thinking that maybe, just maybe, it’s finally the diet FOR YOU, and maybe you should check it out.

Out of the “oodles” (that’s the scientific term) of diets out there, certain ones seem to surface and gain more vocal adherents more often than others.  This week, my Instagram video series and Facebook posts are looking at keto, paleo, plant-based eating, tracking macros and Intuitive Eating approaches.  I’ll give you the low-down on the WHAT of these diets, the pros, the cons and my verdict.

Let’s dive in for diet de-mystification (also a technical term, right?).

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How-To: Eat Healthfully for Two (or More!)

All right, I have to admit that this topic is going to be deeply interesting only for a special subset of my readers: mamas-to-be/pregnant mamas, this is all for you and your unborn babes.

Pregnancy can be a wild roller coaster of hormones, emotions and cravings.  It can be the most amazing, joyful and wonderful experience OR it can be the longest and most excruciating 9+ months of your life.  Or somewhere in the middle, depending on the day.

I really hope the former situation is true for you.  Did you know that what you eat can actually make a difference to your pregnancy experience?  You often hear, “you are what you eat,” and when you consider that all of your baby’s (or babies’) tissues are made up of building blocks from the foods that you consume, it’s literally true!

Of course, please discuss ANY nutritional recommendations or strategies with your primary health care providers.  These are just my personal top tips as a nutrition coach AND as a mom.

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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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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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