Surviving the Holidays!

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So .. holidays is what got me a little last year when I was watching my weight. With Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner, you’re bound to be around a few sweets and some “not-so-healthy” choices.  So I’m going to give ya a couple tips on how to survive the holidays when your either on a specific diet or just trying to watch your weight. =)

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Its all about having a plan!

  • Know what’s being served- whether that means a few extra workouts through the winter, or just smaller portions of you favorites, have a plan before you go into it blindsided. My aunts are super nice and they understand what I’m trying to accomplish so they do their best to have a few options I can have. I have even just randomly asked what they are planning to make so then if it doesn’t fit into my diet, I can bring something or have a plan for that. If your family gets offended that your not necessarily eating something they prepared, don’t take it personally. Your making these choices for your health, not theirs. Usually people will look at you weird the first time, but as you continue on, they just don’t ask anymore. …. and if its a huuuge ordeal, no offence to them, but that usually means they are insecure with their diet and eating habits and don’t like for others to make it obvious. . . . (which in all reality, you aren’t…. unless you telling your family how all that gravy on their turkey isn’t good for them….. which by the way DONT! .. if they want help, advice, or an opinion, they will ask you for them… otherwise keep some thoughts to yourself lol.)
  • Use a smaller plate- when you start dishing up your food, yes you can still have some of your favs, but first load up a plate of veggies, salad and fruits… then add the other stuff. Don’t over-do it on the other stuff either. But if you do this right, you should be pretty full already from your veggies and fruit. =)… Or skip the appetizers unless they are fruits and veggies.

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  • Eat slower and savor each bite – haha I have trouble with this one because I tend to devour foods, but if you actually sit there and focus on the foods, the texture and the taste, you’ll notice you fill up longer because your actually focusing on it instead of mindless eating. . . .
  • Offer to bring something– This way you’ll know there will be at least an healthy option there and you wont be completely screwed if there isn’t anything healthy. …
  • Remember the bottom line- yes, its the holidays, enjoy it. But don’t make it an excuses to eat everything in sight because your diet doesn’t start till New Years .. that’s just ridiculous…. Start now and you wont have such a hard time. Holidays / weight gain/ and New Years Resolutions do not need to go together. Sure you can have a goal for New Years to “loose some extra pounds” or “be healthier” but that was probably on your resolution last year… am I correct??? Don’t give up on this year just yet! =)

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Strawberry-Almond Cracker Snack!

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You’ll Need:

2 flatbread flax crackers

2 tbsp. of Almond butter

About 5 Strawberries

Lay out the crackers on a dish. Put 1 tbsp. almond butter on each cracker and top with sliced strawberries! YUM.

Simple. Easy. Healthy.

Tip of the Week #14 Pace Yourself

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Whether you’re starting to workout more or eating healthy, you have to know how you function….. You cant expect to do a 180 switch over night, its just not going to happen. And you cant expect miracles to happen in a week either, sure you may drop some weight the first month, but its not going to be super fast. Besides, studies have shown that the slower you actually do loose weight, the easier it will be to keep it off.

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  • Fitness- So when beginning a new workout or just beginning to workout, you have to learn to read your body. You cant just go from not working out to hitting the gym six times a week, you wont last and you’ll be exhausted. Start off small and then work your way up. Also don’t train a muscle group more that 3 times a week, you’ll over work it and to build and form muscle, they need rest. Muscles form when your actually resting rather than your actually working them. When you work a certain muscle group, it tears the muscle and with the proper recovery time the muscle will rebuild itself making it stronger, leaving you leaner too… hence building muscle. Working out for 4 hours a day is also a big no-no! No more than 2 hours a day of intense exercise is really needed and is really even possible. Sure you may be able to workout for 4 hours but by the second hour your body is going to be  drained, overworked and it may even be counterproductive. When you workout that much at an intense level, your body may begin to actually burn off the muscle you just spent time creating because its searching for an energy source (which is usually fat).

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  • Diet – You cant just go from eating Lucky Charms, foot long subs on white bread with gobs of mayo and mac n cheese with hotdogs to eating healthy overnight as well. Its not that easy, your going to get bored and feel deprived of everything you used to eat. again, take baby steps. Switch out your Lucky Charms for some classic oatmeal, or a new kashi cereal. Then work on getting your sandwiches on whole wheat bread and adding more veggies. Plus, if you explore with foods you’ve never had, or even hated in the past, once you start to switch up your diet, you’ll notice your taste buds start to change. I used to hate… not LOATH grapefruit… I love it now. Same thing with onion, artichoke, and game meats. . . Get on google, pinterest, instagram or even blog to find fun new recipes. =)

Healthy Options at Old Chicago

So I love pizza, don’t get me wrong but it can either be an ok dish or a really horrible dish for you. We’re going to look through their menu and Ill let you know which options are ok, and which options your should just probably steer clear from. =)

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Starters:

Their Chips and salsa are about the only one that isn’t too much like a “meal” in itself. I mean the Sampler platter has almost 1000 calories in itself and that’s half of what your supposed to consume in a day ..

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Soups & Salads:

The Chicken Tortilla soup with Green Chili is the better option out of all of them but its still high in sodium.

All the salads should be fine, make sure you get the dressing on the side and even maybe substitute it for an oil based dressing if the salad you choose doesn’t automatically come with it.

Top choices:

  • Mediterranean Salad with Chicken
  • Harvest Salad w/ Balsamic Chicken
  • Classic Chicken Caesar

Sandwiches & Burgers Top Choices include:

  • Chicken Wrap
  • California Chicken
  • Burger,  sub with Chicken Breast
  • Burger, Old Chicago Plain

Calzone Top Picks: – these still aren’t the best but if you must…

  • Chicago Seven
  • Chicago Seven Stromboli

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Thin crust ,Add on those veggies and it will be better!!!

Pasta Top Choice:

  • Classic Spaghetti
  • Lasagna

There really isn’t much so if you know your going to go there for lunch or dinner, plan out your meals so you know how much your consuming. That way if your super good throughout the day, maybe you can have Old Chicago as a treat!

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Tip of the Week #13 Eat more!

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Yup! That’s right, eat MORE if you want to lose weight.

Now… lets set this straight from the start, I don’t not mean eat more gummy bears and pringles… I mean eat more high quality nutritious foods.

A lot of people think that losing weight is all about not eating what you love, and eating less and being miserable and feeling constantly hungry. WRONG! You can still eat things you love (every once in a while – not every week or every day). Along with that, people think that if you don’t eat or eat very little you will lose weight as well. This is also WRONG! Eating fuels the body and keeps it running, without it you cant function properly and as well either.

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So without further ado, and without getting off subject. EATING MORE……….

RULE#1 DRINK A LOT OF WATER………AND I MEAN A LOT!

Enough said!

RULE#2 IF IT GROWS ON A TREE OR IN THE GROUND, I’LL EAT IT

that means load up on those fruits and veggies, now virtually you can pretty much eat as much of these and be in the clear. Now if you only eat fruit… not as good, but try to add in some veggies too. Experiment with the veggies, grill something you normally wouldn’t, like mushrooms or make a veggie kabob! This also includes nuts and seeds that are high in good fats and omega-3’s. You should ideally be including fresh fruits and veggies into every meal you eat.

RULE#3 6 SMALLER MEALS A DAY, SHOOT FOR AROUND 250-300 CALORIES EACH MEAL

Eating this way can speed up your metabolism and also leaves you not hungry throughout the day. Learn to make your meals ahead of time or even the night before so your not tempted to go to that vending machine.

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RULE#4 EAT GOOD PROTIEN AT EVERY MEAL

Especially at breakfast! Breakfast is the first meal of the day, you need to fill it with foods that will keep you full for a long time… that means Lucky Charms are out of the question! But the more you incorporate a lean protein source, the fuller you’ll be throughout the day and you’ll be able to fight off those cravings that hit you mid-day. 30g of protein will last you about 3 hours of fullness.

RULE #5 EATING BEFORE YOU WORKOUT

Eating a snack or small meal before your workout that high in protein will actually not only help your metabolism but it will speed up your recovery time and muscle growth. Also make sure you get a post workout meal in too to refuel your body (make sure its high protein too).

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Clean Eating 101 – Its a Lifestyle not a Diet!

English: Healthy eating pyramid similar to tha...

English: Healthy eating pyramid similar to that of the Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health. Temporary image as original is non-commercial use only. If you have a better image please replace this. Thanks. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So some of you might not know what I mean when I speak of “clean eating”, so here I’m going to kind of go through what it entails and what it all means to “eat a clean diet”. (basically my diet- give or take some cheats here and their =))

What is Clean Eating??

  • Clean Eating is based off of eating whole and natural foods. It cuts out all processes man made products for the most part and focuses eating mainly things that come from the Earth to feed your body. (Nuts, Fruit, Veggies, Lean cuts of meat, and Legumes). It gives your optimal nutrition to function property and when done correctly can leave your feeling amazing!
  • Realistically there really isn’t fitness or weight loss goals that can be achieved without it. Its the basics of most nutrition and diets (with out cutting out natural sources) and it doesn’t leave you feeling deprived or hungry.
  • Feeling health, being healthy and loosing weight or maintaining a good weight is mainly based around nutrition. People seem to think that weight loss ideally comes from working out and spending hours at the gym, yes it does help but nutrition is about 80% of the battle, whereas, fitness and physical activity is 20%

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What are the basic Principles?

  • Avoid all processed food. Whole grain bread and natural cheeses are ok, its the stuff with 80 ingredients that you cant even pronounce.
  • Eat Whole Foods. Things that haven’t been messed with like veggies, fruits, grass-fed meats, natural nut butters and milk, and unsalted and processed nuts and seeds. Herbs and Spices will become your best friend, so will natural oils.
  • Get used to cooking your own food! This way you know what’s in it, how it was prepared and you don’t have to second guess whether or not its healthy or not. Makes it SO much easier! Pre-made meals does not count as “clean eating” even if its a lean cuisine meal haha.
  • Eliminate the sugar! sugar and fake sugar really isn’t good for us. You will use very little natural sugars in  this diet because you wont need them! (stevia, honey and agave nectar are some you can use)
  • Include Protein, Carbohydrate and fat within every meal- Your diet will mainly consist of lean meats, a healthy starch (such as a sweet potatoes or brown rice), a ton of veggies and fruit here and there. You’ll fell more satisfied with this way of eating because you will be eating for optimum nutrition. You’re giving your body what it needs and once you get past the food addictions (things like craving sugar and bad carbs) you wont really have any trouble eating this way for the rest of your life.
  • Eating 6 smaller meals a day! – eating 6 smaller meals revs up your metabolism because your constantly giving it healthy foods, therefore its receiving its proper nutrition, but then again your pretty much eating every 3 hours so there is either no time to even get hungry or have your body “feel” hungry because you wont be going hors without eating.
  • Drinking Calories is a Big Fat NO- sugary drinks are obviously a no-go. Make water your first choice by far (if it get boring you can add fruits to it) but you can also have unsweetened tea, and coffee with little skin milk and stevia, low-fat milk, and nut milks.
  • Physical Activity becomes apart of your day- yes just like any other diet you read or see, you have to ideally get moving. No it doesn’t have to be 3 hours at the gym everyday but even a walk around the block is better than nothing.

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What to Expect from Eating Clean:

  • More energy and alertness
  • Clearer skin, whiter eyes, and stronger hair and nails
  • Provides a natural detox
  • Weight loss (if there is weight to loose)
  • Leaner body
  • Motivation and a sped up metabolism
  • Feeling more healthy all around and more happy as well.

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Healthy Nut Butters!

I love nut butters! Especially almond butter (if you cant tell haha). Nut butters are a great way to get protein too!

When looking for nut butters, look for more natural ones that contain less sugar. Ones that have sugar listed as the 2nd or 3rd ingredient- put it back on the shelf and find a different one! Also try to avoid partially hydrogenated oils – they are high in trans fats!!

*the top two are my personal favorites! *

So which are some good picks?

  • Earth Balance – Most of their stuff is vegan, 100% natural, Gluten-free, Non- GMO.

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  • Justin’s- Most of their stuff is vegan, gluten-free, kosher, Non-GMO, and Organic. (its also made in Colorado ;))

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  • Teddie All- High Protein, low carb, no cholesterol, all natural.

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  • Barney Bare-  Doesn’t use sugar or salt. They have different flavors too. . .

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  • Smuckers Organic Natural- Natural, low sugar, high protein.

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