“I tracked ALL of my food for EIGHT years!”

Just kidding. Kind of.  If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I was and am a big fan of tracking macros.  However, I did NOT personally track all of my food for eight years.  In fact, I’m kind of appalled by that statement (and I’ll tell you why, shortly).

But let’s rewind for a second: have you heard that you *have* to track your food in order to lose weight? Do you believe that if only you were better about consistently measuring, weighing, tracking and logging your food that you would have the body you desire?

Yeah, I used to believe that, too. Largely because of posts from influential fitness professionals, “bragging” that they had tracked their food for XX amount of time. Surely that was the secret to their ultra-shredded physiques?  I mean, I’ve even created my own sort of “highlight reel” on my own Instagram, and I share different nutritional strategies on my Facebook.

So, when is too much too much, and can tracking ever be a bad thing?  Read on!

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How To: RELAX!

Is your to-do list a mile long?  Do you feel like for every one thing you cross off it, you get at least two more?  Are you finding it harder and harder to keep up with the juggling act of keeping all the balls in the air when it comes to your responsibilities?

This week on my Instagram video series and Facebook posts, I asked if you were constantly STRESSED OUT.  I certainly was!  It turns out that working full-time, running my own business, working out and training, and being a wife and mother ALL AT THE SAME time without adequate down-time was NOT a good idea.  I found myself dealing with mental fogginess, fatigue, unexpected and unwanted weight gain and, quite frankly, shitty sleep (pardon my French).

It was the last one that broke the camel’s back, actually.  You mess with my sleep; you are asking for trouble.  I’m not willing to put up with poor-quality ANYTHING for any length of time, so I did what I always do: I called in the experts.  Oh sure, I’ll check out what “Dr. Google” has to say, but I’m not going to waste much time on figuring things out for myself when there are certified, trained and experienced professionals out there who are PAID to leverage their expertise on my behalf.

It might have been my type A, do-everything approach that caused me issues in the first place, but in true type A fashion, in the span of a week I saw: my GP; not one but TWO naturopathic doctors (gotta love a third opinion, right?); my psychologist; a registered massage therapist AND an acupuncturist.  Go big or go home.

They all, in their own way and own terminology, came to the same conclusion: I was doing too much and needed to slow down.  My favourite?  My acupuncturist’s verdict: “You do not have enough ‘yin'” (where ‘yin’ is the quiet, restful, darkness and calm “negative” or absence of doing that is the necessary counterpart to ‘yang,’ the action-oriented, aggressive – the two balancing life forces of the entire universe in traditional Chinese belief systems).

Whether you believe in it or not*, my naturopath trotted out the “tired” phrase “adrenal fatigue” (ba-doom-ching!  Lame pun totally intended!).  I don’t really care what the answer is to the question, “*Is adrenal fatigue real?”  The symptoms were (and are) real for me.  It’s not even that I think my adrenal glands are fatigued or worn out, rather that I am experiencing the effects of chronically elevated cortisol and possibly other stress-related hormones due to the untenable pace of my life, which probably better describes what people are calling “adrenal fatigue” anyway.

I know I *can* do everything, and so I did, without ever questioning whether I *should* or *needed to* (the answer to those last two is a resounding “NO,” in case you’re wondering the same thing about yourself).  Like me, I know you can (and often do) do everything, but guess what?  You don’t *have* to!

The good news for me and for you?  There ARE lots of ways to SLOW DOWN and embrace your yin!  And since you’ve stuck with me through a long-winded introduction (thank you!), here are the goods:

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Five Immune-Boosting Super Foods and Drinks

As a follow-up to last week’s post on natural ways to beat the Spring sniffles, this week I am getting groovy with some immune-boosting super foods and drinks!

Of course, just as no food or drink has magical fat-blasting properties, there ARE foods that can support your fat loss efforts and there ARE foods that can support your immune system function.  When your body is fighting of a cold or flu, it needs tip-top nutrients.  The best quality nutrition is needed to support your organs (especially our often unsung internal superhero, the liver!) so that they can kick some germy butts.  Now that you’re feeling one hundred percent better, if you’re too busy with Spring cleaning to read this entire post, you can listen to or watch my Instagram video series and Facebook posts instead.

*Remember of course that I am (still) NOT a doctor and you should always discuss dietary changes with your trusted health care professional.

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Five Ways to Beat the Sniffles!

Do the Spring (or any season) sniffles have you down?  This is the time of year when many people are gearing up to get their “summer bodies” – which makes me think of “summer cars.”  You know, super fancy, expensive imports or precious antiques that can only come out when the conditions are perfect?  Similar to the carefully cultivated, highly labor-intensive physiques that get paraded around on the beach for a few weeks – or months, if the “owners” are lucky.  Heaven forbid there be a sprinkling of carbs.  Those bodies aren’t made for that!  Aren’t we ready to have bodies that are fit and functional and ready for impromptu “drop-trou” occasions like mid-winter hot tub parties?  But I digress…

Just as you were getting really serious (really, really this time for SURE, totally sticking to it serious) about your New Year’s Resolutions (remember those?), you were struck down with the dreaded Spring sniffles.  Seems like cruel and ironic punishment for making it through the Winter Deep Freeze, only to get a dose of germs just as (or maybe partly because) the weather warmed up.  But before you buy out the local pharmacy stock of Dayquil or NeoCitran, here are some suggestions* to get you feeling better (and keep you feeling better), naturally.  Too sick to read?  You can of course check out my Instagram video series and Facebook posts.

*Remember of course that I am NOT a doctor and you should always discuss treatment plans and strategies with your trusted health care professional.

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Five Free Fitness Health Hacks

Everyone wants you to buy buy buy. There is always the latest and greatest “silver bullet” magic health product, whether it’s a pill, potion, patch or other product. Yet, the underlying fundamentals of health and fitness have not changed, and you can reap the benefits from these approaches without mortgaging your first child to do so.

Also, it’s trendy to restrict, eliminate, avoid or otherwise take things away in the name of health and fitness – think of every “cleanse” or “detox” you’ve ever heard of. And yet studies show this approach simply does not work in the long run. When we’re told “don’t push that red button” what do we want to do? Push the darn red button. So this week’s Instagram video series and Facebook posts are all about things to do MORE of!

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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 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.

Continue reading “How-to: Get Your Back Back After Baby”