Five Sneaky Ways to Get More Activity in Your Day

Last week’s post on five family-friendly, delicious and nutritious recipes was a hit with my busy professional readers.  I decided to follow it up with the fitness portion of the health and wellness equation, since energy balance is all about both calories in (from food) and calories out (from our bodies’ processes and activities each day).

Are you ready for today’s science lesson?  The amount of energy we use each day is called our Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).  It’s not just about the numbers on the calorie counters at the gym or on your personal tracking device (both of which are notoriously inaccurate, by the way).  Nope, the bulk of calories we “burn” in a day aren’t in our Zumba class, but rather the normal daily biological functions that keep us alive and moving.  Things like breathing, digesting our food and thinking.  Even sleeping!  The amount of energy it takes to keep our bodies functioning each day is called our basal metabolic rate (BMR) or resting metabolic rate (RMR).  The fact that it takes energy to break down our food for use in our bodies is captured in the thermic effect of eating (TEE).  And of course we know that we use energy when we hit the gym or do another kind of workout or class – that’s physical activity (PA).  But then we have all of the movement we undertake each day that’s not part of our formal exercise routine.  We get out of bed, we brush our teeth, we walk from Point A to Point B, and back to Point A because we forgot why we went to Point B in the first place (or wait, is that just me?).  Yup, all this movement adds up!  It’s the non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT).  So TDEE = BMR + TEE + PA + NEAT.  Neat, right?  NEAT, indeed!

This post is all about ways to increase your NEAT and get more activity into your already busy day.  Read on!

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How-To: Break Free From Binge Eating

This week’s series is all about binge eating.  I’m not just talking about eating a few slices of pizza.  I’m talking about eating in a zombie-like state, well beyond physical hunger, to the point of physical discomfort accompanied by a complete sense of loss of control.  This is a serious mental and physical health concern and is something I personally struggled with for over a decade, starting in my early twenties.

It turns out that I am not alone and if you currently struggle or have also struggled with binge eating disorder or episodes of binge eating, then you are not alone, either.  This issue is likely way more common than fitness professionals like to admit.  Binge eating disorder is actually considered the most common form of eating disorder, affecting both women and men, more than anorexia and bulimia combined.

The good news is that there are resources out there for treating and successfully moving away from binge eating. I’m excited that I can take my experience and the resources that helped me and in turn share them with you, if you or someone you love is struggling.

I’m going to be covering the wonderful work of Dr. Melissa McCreery this week.  Her BEAST acronym is a great tool for breaking free from binge eating, compulsive overeating and emotional eating.  This tool helps to identify, plan for and hopefully deal with overlooked triggers for overeating so that we can reduce or eliminate binge eating episodes.  I’ve taken each letter of the acronym and filmed a one-minute video on Instagram  (the videos are also on my page on Facebook).

We got this.  Together, we’re going to break free from binge eating.

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How-To: Stay (or Get) In Shape On Vacation

‘Tis the season to be…on holiday (if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway).  But if you want to stay more on the svelte side vs. the Santa side, then it’s important to consider how you’re going to keep your “summer body” through the trials and tribulations of travel.  Temptations of all kinds abound when you’re in holiday mode – temptations in terms of foods to eat, in terms of opportunities to forgo your workout routine, temptations to let loose and party like everyone else.  And of course, you can (and likely should!) eat the foods and relish an opportunity to take a break from your regular exercise grind AND enjoy time with loved ones.  But you can do that without abandoning all of your progress!

I’m actually currently in the middle of a two-week tour of the Maritimes to visit MY family (staying with four different hosts in two different provinces over fourteen days), and I’ve focused in on the five things I’m doing to stay on track and still have fun with the fam jam.  For the quick, super vacation-friendly version of this content, you can check out the videos on these topics on my Instagram or Facebook feed.

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The Top Five Reasons I Love Tracking Macros

Macros and I go back.  Way back.  In fact, I wrote one of my first posts about tracking macros over three years ago (July 11, 2015, to be exact), and it’s still a good read and I recommend it to get acquainted with the basics of what tracking your macros is all about.  At that point, I’d already been tracking extensively for several months.  This approach to diet/nutrition was a game-changer for me, so much so that I’ve continued to use it in pursuit of my goals on and off for the three years that have ensued since then.  In fact, I’ve taken ALL of the knowledge and experience I’ve gained and put it into my signature program, GAME YOUR GRAMS.  If you want to learn more about it, just e-mail me with the subject line “GAME MY GRAMS!”

I decided that three years is plenty long enough to re-visit and expand (and expound) even further on why I love tracking macros.  “Oh, tracking macros, how I love thee!  Let me count the ways…”  Guess how many reasons I came up with?  Did you come up with five?  (Did the title of this post give it away)?

Let’s discuss the five reasons why I love tracking macros (and why I think you will love it, too):

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Five Reasons for Accountability Coaches

This week is all about accountability coaching/coaches.  Sure, we’ve heard of fitness coaches and/or nutrition coaches, and they each provide a measure of accountability, aka keeping you accountable for your goals.  So what exactly is accountability coaching as a standalone service?  What services do accountability coaches provide?

Let’s say you’ve ever wished you could pay someone to come along and slap donuts (or other less-than-optimal foods) out of your hand.  Your nutrition coach might give you a plan or advice along those lines, but sometimes you just don’t want to admit it to him or her when you’re struggling.  Or you don’t really need a full-blown custom meal plan, but you do need some helpful nudges and/or healthful tips or tricks to get or stay on track.  Or maybe you want to have a little voice in your ear pushing you to get more out of your workouts, especially if your athletic trainer or coach has assigned you a program but isn’t there to monitor you every day.  Or you’re looking for accountability help you stay on track with any success habit or life goal, from practicing the mandolin every day to competing in an Ironman. That’s accountability coaching.  It’s like having a really intrusive and pushy friend or family member, in the best kind of way, without the awkward emotional entanglement.

Let’s read on for some of the top benefits that accountability coaches bring.

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Five Times I “Failed” With My Fitness or Nutrition Goals…And How I Got Back On Track

“Failure.”  Nobody likes to admit to it.  So let’s re-frame: a failure is really just a learning opportunity, a chance to take stock of what doesn’t work and to move forward with what will.  It would be fun but fake for me to say that I’m just always perfectly on top of all of my fitness and nutrition goals and that every approach to exercise or eating I’ve ever tried has worked out effortlessly.  Let’s just cut through that crap.  Instead, I thought it would be worthwhile to share times I’ve gotten off-track with my fitness and/or nutrition goals and what I did to re-group and get back on track (or to change tracks entirely).  As per usual, I’ve also made an Instagram video series on this topic (and if you’re not on the ‘gram, the videos also show up on Facebook.)

Here we go with five times I failed had learning opportunities to enhance my ability to stay on track with my fitness and nutrition goals.

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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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The Top Five Non-Food Reasons You Are Not Losing Weight

I think it’s fair to say that as a planet, we seem to be either obsessed with finding enough food to eat, OR, once we have access to enough (or more than enough food to eat), how to make sure that we are not eating too much.  It’s pretty amazing to think that many of the generations that preceded ours simply did not have the luxury of “too much” and how we have a multi-billion dollar diet industry.

When it comes to managing your weight at a healthy level, it’s not just about food, either.  We’ve also talked about the components of fitness and there are other aspects of your life that can have an impact on whether you struggle to shed pounds.  If you’ve been focused on preparing healthful meals and snacks, and you’ve been making good choices when it comes to eating out, then I invite you to consider my TOP FIVE non-food reasons you could be struggling to lose weight!  And who doesn’t love a good TOP FIVE list?  Instead of settling in with this summer’s TOP FIVE blockbuster movies with a jumbo tub of popcorn (movie theatre popcorn is one of my LEAST recommended snacks, btw), get cozy with this blog post.  Consider it food for thought.

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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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