Five Sneaky Ways to Get More Vegetables in Your Day

All right, it’s time for a show of hands.  How many of you have heard that eating more vegetables is part of a healthful diet?  Hmmm…okay, yup, just hold them up a minute or so longer while I count…ok.  You can put your hands down now.  Next, how many of you have heard that you shouldn’t eat vegetables?  <Crickets>.

Yup, it seems that your grandmother was right.  Even conflicting fad diets seem to embrace vegetables as a commonality.

So now that your shoulders and arms are all warmed up from that first round of hand-raising, let’s get ready for round two: how many of you are eating the recommended 5-10 servings per day of fruits and vegetables.  Oh, okay.  I hear you.  You *would* be, if only your kids (or yourself) liked vegetables more.  If only vegetables tasted more delicious.  If only they were convenient and accessible.

Well, then.  In case you missed this week’s Instagram video series (or scrolled past the videos in your Facebook newsfeed – be sure to choose “Follow” and “See First” to ensure you’re getting all of my latest and greatest FREE health & fitness content), here are my top five tips for busy professional working women to get their kids (and themselves) to eat more vegetables.

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Five Ways to Get In Charge of Your Appetite

I don’t know about you, but I just get so HUNGRY sometimes, like out of whack with what my actual needs are to fuel my body. And I realized that there can be “appetite triggers” around us that actually trick us into feeling hungry when we really physically do not need food (nasty devils, they are.  As if this whole “health and fitness” thing wasn’t challenging enough already!).

So, this week’s series is just for busy, professional working women (just like me!), and is all about ways to make your appetite, especially when you are trying to control your energy balance (see last week’s post to geek out on our energy needs) to lose weight or fat.  I’ve also posted the five points as a video series on Instagram and Facebook.  You can read the fine print, next!

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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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Five Family-Friendly Healthy Recipes

Are you ready for the hands-on portion of the class?  I write about a lot of theory, and I decided it was time to get back to my roots (and I don’t mean my hair) – if you didn’t know, this blog actually started mainly with recipes for meals and snacks!  Since I am committed to helping busy professional working mothers to lose fat (and all other comers are welcome, too!), I thought it would be practical to share some of my latest and greatest delicious and nutritious recipes.  These are all kid- and husband-tested and approved.

I’ve taken some of the Golden Graham family favourites – a lot of these are updated, more healthful versions of perennial favourite foods like pizza or burgers.  They are delicious AND nutritious, and I especially love them because they can be on the table in 20-30 minutes (or faster, if you do some make-ahead prep – my top prep tips are here).  You’ll definitely want to pin or bookmark this page for easy reference for these recipes to keep you winning the weeknight dinner wars!

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How-To: Improve Your Nutrition (Without Changing Your Food Choices)

Hello and welcome to Monday!  As we kick off the week, I invite you to start where you are.  I mean, honestly where else CAN you start?  If you want to pursue a vegan, raw, macrobiotic, alkaline diet but you’ve currently got a three-a-day Twinkies & Diet Coke habit, then let’s honour THAT.  Quite frankly, you HAVE to start where you are, because well, it’s where you are.  I’m excited for the science of dual-locality, but until we get there, let’s ditch the thought of doing a complete dietary overhaul every Monday morning, only to find ourselves barely hanging on come Thursday (or Wednesday.  Or even Monday night).

I’m a big advocate for going after “low-hanging fruit” – and not just in literal orchard-picking.  In any endeavour, these are the “easy wins,” the “no brainers” – if there was something EASY you could do to move the dial just a little bit in your favour, wouldn’t you turn that dial?  If you’re trying to make a million dollars today, would you turn down someone who offered you $5?  Nonsense!  Maybe that’s exactly how you’re going to get to $1  million!  Two hundred thousand people are going to give you $5.  Who are you to turn them down?

So, in that same spirit, I’ve come up with five easy ways to improve your nutrition without even touching on your food or portion choices.  As per usual, I’ve made really EASY, digestible (pun totally intended) videos on my Instagram (and also put those same videos on Facebook to make it EXTRA easy for you).  Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy, as my seven-year-old would say (another saying that’s made its way into my household with no clue as to its origin.  Cute, but not mine.  The saying, I mean.  Not the kid.  He’s cute and TOTALLY mine).

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Hallmarks of a Good Nutrition Coaching Program

As you may or may not know, I’ve decided to further invest in my education.  On top of my certification as a CanFitPro Personal Training Specialist, I felt led to deepen my knowledge, understanding and teaching of nutrition.  How many times have you heard, “Abs are made in the kitchen,” or, “Results are 80% nutrition”?  To that end, I am pursuing my Level 1 Certification from Precision Nutrition.   So far, everything I’m learning really resonates with me in terms of what I have experienced to be true about my own journey with nutrition.  From a coaching perspective, I shared on my Instagram video series (and my videos on Facebook), five hallmarks of a good nutrition coaching program.

Regardless of the type of food (vegan, vegetarian, non-GMO, organic, processed, paleo, etc.) or approach (intermittent fasting, mini meals, etc.), the COACHING to support good nutrition should exhibit the five characteristics that follow.

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Five Reasons for Rest

Welcome to this week’s discussion on the importance of REST!
(As always, there is an Instagram video series on this topic, or see my videos on Facebook).

If you’re anything like me, you can feel a pressure to just do more.  Taking a day off seems like “laziness” or at the least, taking a step back away from and not towards our goals.  “Rest is for the wicked,” you may have heard.  It’s time to let that go.

Just as in other parts of nature, like the tides or the seasons, our bodies are meant to wax and wane in their efforts.  Even elite-level athletes have an off-season for a reason (and it’s not just to play golf).  I personally just took a “de-load” week (as in “take a load off!”) to rest, recover and rejuvenate from training. For a full week I took a break from lifting weights, running and any other intense workouts. I kept my body moving with gentle yoga, walking and swimming. Now I’m feeling rested and energized for the week ahead.

Guess what? I didn’t gain weight, my muscles didn’t fall off and my clothes still fit. And I’m happier for it.

Rest is not only the rest between sets of exercise, or rest days between intense workout days, this is also the rest you get each night as you sleep.  Let’s talk about WHY rest is so vital for our success – I’ll share five reasons.

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Why You *Should* Weigh Yourself Daily

I feel as though lately, scales have gotten a bad rap.  “Stay off the scales!”  “Don’t weigh yourself!”  “Muscles weighs more than fat!” (Not exactly true, or at least that is an incomplete sentence.  Because guess what?  A pound of fat weighs exactly the same as a pound of muscle.  However, a pound of muscle takes up less space.  Or, for an equivalent VOLUME of fat and muscle, the muscle will weigh more.  Two different ways to say that muscle tissue is denser than adipose – fat – tissue.  But I digress.) My Instagram video series (and my videos on Facebook) this week are on the topic of weighing DAILY (gasp!).

I’ve had several clients say to me lately, “I know I *shouldn’t*, but I weigh myself every day.”  It seems like they are almost expect me to chastise them and agree that they shouldn’t.  But you should know that I’m not a fan of “shoulds.”  Instead, I ask where that “should” comes from.  Is it coming from a place of self-knowledge and self-awareness that seeing the number on the scales is just BAD NEWS for how it will impact their day?  Or is it just another generic “SHOULD” perpetuated by the fitness industry that doesn’t take into account the fact that we are all unique individuals (like butterflies or snowflakes), and certain strategies that are ill-advised for some work beautifully for others? (Like the keto diet – don’t get me started.  It’s a not a magic bullet for fat loss for all and can be a downright dangerous dietary move for some, while it is one of the best paths to vibrant healthy and vitality for others).

So let me state my case for weighing daily. But first, let’s remember that your WORTH, your WORTHINESS, and your VALUE as a human being are completely independent of ANY number – your weight, your % body fat, your bank account balance, your number of followers on social media…you are a completely incredible, valuable, worthy human being just as you are.  But, if Amazing You is going to weigh in, weigh daily. Here’s why:

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How-To: Start (or re-start) Your Fitness Journey

It’s that time of year – a new season is upon us, which usually means that people are re-visiting, re-vamping or dusting off their health & fitness goals.  Sometimes it can feel overwhelming to get started (or re-started).  If you’re looking for some easy, actionable steps to get you going, read on!

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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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