Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fad Diets

2014 is a week and a half away. You know what that means… hundreds of thousands of people will be jumping on the diet bandwagon.

I love New Years, something about feeling like you get a fresh start really resonates with me. I always tell myself that this year will be my year. I always have resolutions… I don't always follow them, but I always have them. I always have some sort of health or fitness goal in the mix, probably like most of you. So, in the spirit of shedding those holiday pounds I decided to talk about fad diets.

We've all heard the term Fad Diet, but what exactly is it? I'm sure some of you can guess the master cleanse and Atkins diets are on those lists… but what about the south beach diet and blood type diet? What makes a fad diet a fad diet? I'm glad you asked.

Fad diets make really bold promises. Things like, "you'll lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks" and "all you have to do is eat grapefruits all day every day and you'll find yourself at the epitome of health". Hopefully your bullshit meter is going off when you read these things… if not let me help…. your bullshit meter should be going off when you read these things. Any diet that promises rapid weight loss, requires that you eliminate or severely restrict entire food groups (cough, cough carbs), need to eat foods in specific combinations or tell you that you don't need to exercise should raise some kind of suspicion with you.

On a quick side note… I want to mention that one of the latest fad diets is the tube feed diet. Yep, that's right, perfectly healthy people are choosing to have tube feeds installed to lose weight. Isn't it just easier to make healthy choices?! I mean seriously, that is probably one of the craziest diet trends I have ever heard.

I want to bring up a couple of points. How many of us have said "ok, this is the year, I'm going on a diet, I'm losing 20 pounds and I'm never eating an unhealthy thing again ever in my life". Maybe not that extreme, but I'm pretty sure most of us have decided to go on some kind of diet or restrict some kind of something from our diet. How long did you last? Here's the thing with these fad diets. They're not fun and they're not as easy as they want you to think they are. Sure you might lose 10 pounds like that with the master cleanse, but is it worth not being able to go anywhere for 10 days because you are pretty much living on the toilet? And while I'm at it, if you were able to do some of these fad diets and lose some weight… how long were you able to keep the weight off before you gained it back? In my experience, most people who lose 20 pounds on a fad diet end up gaining 30 pounds as soon as they are off of it.

Rapid weight loss scares me. When you lose weight that quickly you're not really losing body fat, you're losing muscle, bone, and water. When you gain weight back, you gain fat. What that means is you could have someone who isn't that overweight but is at 40-50% body fat because they have been a victim of rapid weight loss for years. All weight loss is not created equal.

So, what does healthy weight loss look like? If you want to lose weight and KEEP that weight off then you should be shooting for 1/2-1 pound per week. You didn't gain that extra 15 pounds over night and you shouldn't plan on losing it overnight either. If you want results that are going to stick then you need to can the fad diets and start making choices that will be way more sustainable. Telling yourself that you will never ever have another bite of carbs again is ridiculous. Sorry to burst your bubble, but the chances of you actually sticking to that are slim to none. And, if you're anything like me, the second I tell myself I can't have something, it's all I can think about. So maybe, instead of completely cutting things out we need to make the decision to pick healthier things more often than the not healthier things.  Hello balance!

How can you set yourself up for success in 2014? First off, it's going to take some planning. Trust me, taking 20 minutes to plan your menu out every week will save you thousands of unwanted calories in the end. Before I go grocery shopping I sit down, decide what meals I'm going to make that week and get all the necessary supplies. That way, if I'm having a busy day I don't have to come home and try to figure something out, which ultimately means I'm probably going to just go out and get myself something unhealthy. Meal planning should be your best friend.

Secondly, you need accountability! It's easy to slip up when you're the only one keeping track of yourself. When you have to report to someone else, it's a whole different ballgame. This goes for working out too. And you might have guessed this, but you have to work out. It doesn't have to be anything crazy, you could even just go for daily walks… but some kind of physical activity is a must. It's the key for good health and weight management. You should shoot for 30-60 minutes most days of the week.

Finally, you need to love yourself. Cheesy, I know… but so true. If we don't start loving ourselves where we are at and celebrating our small victories, then it won't matter if you hit your goal, you'll still find something to be unhappy with. I used to struggle so much with this. I would look in the mirror and only see the things I didn't like. I'm not really sure what happened, but one day I changed my outlook and it changed my life. I still have areas that need some work, sure. But, I love myself where I'm at. I'm actually proud of my body. If we start focusing on the good, it's crazy how things really start to fall into place. So, even though this is totally nerdy… next time you look in the mirror tell yourself three things that you love about yourself physically. Hopefully, those three things will turn into five things and so on and so on.

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It's a boy.

Warning! This post has absolutely nothing to do with nutrition. I just really wanted to take some time to talk a little about my pregnancy, hope you don't mind. This is a heavier post than I normally share.

For those of you that don't know, I went through a miscarriage this past January. I wish I could explain the magnitude of the experience to you. It was so unreal to have something so precious and then have it taken away from you. The physical process hurt, the emotional process hurt worse. The amazing part was the amount of people that really reached out and shared their stories of loss with me too. It was so sobering and healing. I decided then that I wouldn't be someone who suffered quietly, I wanted people to know what we had been through so that I in turn could help others who were maybe going through the same thing.

One thing the lost pregnancy confirmed for us is that we wanted to be parents. Fast forward 9 months and we find out we get a second chance. I can't even tell you how scary those first few weeks of pregnancy were. I held my breath every time I had to go to the bathroom, scared of what I might find. Every weird movement, every not right feeling scared me… even if I didn't voice it. And it scared my husband too. I will never forget him having to be the strong one when we made our way to the hospital for my miscarriage. I'll never forget sobbing so hard that I couldn't even tell the front desk worker what was wrong, and I'll never forget him fighting back the tears as he tried to explain what was happening. I don't know what was worse for him, the loss of the baby, or seeing me like that. Either way, there was no way either of us wanted to go through that again.

Luckily, our doctor is one of the most caring people I have ever met. He had us in every two weeks in the beginning of this new pregnancy and gave us an ultrasound every time so we could see our little baby growing. I'll always remember the first time we heard the little heart beat, it was magical. Once we hit that second trimester it was the most amazing sigh of relief. We made it. We could relax a little.

Last week we found out that we are having a beautiful baby boy. I am so scared and excited and every other emotion you can think of to be this little guys momma. We decided to name him Tobin Lee. Tobin means God is good, and I couldn't think of a more fitting name after the year we have had. It was one of the toughest things we have gone through but I honestly wouldn't change a thing. I believe whole heartedly that everything happens for a reason and God knows what he's doing. My husband and I have always had a great relationship, but there's something about hitting rock bottom together that brings a closeness that you won't understand until you've been there too. I don't think either of us have ever been more ready for this baby boy. Grant it, I have no idea what I'm doing, but hopefully Tobin, my husband and I can fake it til we make it.

A lot of you that are reading this are our friends and family. I hope you know how much we appreciate you guys. You all helped us get through a really tough time whether you knew it or not. And the excitement and joy you share for our unborn child is honestly one of the most heartfelt things I have ever experienced. Thank you.

Tobin, we are so excited to meet you. You already make me want to be a better human. I think about you all the time. What you'll like and dislike, the things that will make you happy and sad. I am so excited to be your momma. I'm even more excited for you to meet your dad. I may be biased, but I'm pretty sure he's one of the greatest humans ever, and he's going to be the most amazing daddy.

This post wouldn't be complete without some ultrasound pics. I'm sorry for those of you that get weirded out by them, but to me they're the most beautiful things in the world.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Most Important Meal of the Day

The first thing that came to mind when I decided to talk about breakfast was Arrested Development where Michael asks George Michael "what do we always say is the most important thing?" and George Michael answers "breakfast". If you haven't seen an episode of Arrested Development then I'm not really sure what you're doing with your life. It's true though, I think we have all heard at some point in our life that breakfast is the most important meal (maybe not thing).

I have always been a breakfast eater. It's my favorite. I would be so cranky if I didn't shove my face with food and coffee in the morning, so if you know me, you should be glad that I take the time to eat it. I never realized that people really don't eat breakfast until I was in school. When we were learning counseling techniques we were taught to ask questions about eating patterns, things like "how many times a week do you eat breakfast?"…. uhhhh what? It was so weird to me that the answer wouldn't be seven times a week. So I would ask friends, and I found that I was the breakfast eating minority. The number one most common excuse? I DON'T HAVE TIME. Well friends, I'm here to tell you 1) yes, you do have time and 2) why you should make the time.

Lets address this issue of time. Okay, so I know that I'm a self employed person with oodles of time on her hands so I decided to survey some friends and see how far fetched the idea of having time for breakfast is. One friend is a nurse who works at the butt crack of dawn. You know what she said? She eats breakfast every single day. Even when she has to be at work at 7am, which includes a not so convenient commute. Another friend I asked is a mom of three kids, all different ages. You know what she said? She also eats breakfast every single day. So here's my thoughts, If someone who gets up at ungodly hour and someone who has three other mouths to feed besides her own can make and eat breakfast every day, why can't the rest of us?! Just a thought.

So, I decided to time myself making breakfast today. I made eggs, which consisted of one whole egg and 1/4 cup of egg whites, goat cheese, toast with earth balance and fruit spread, and of course… coffee. I usually add an avocado… but I need to make a trip to the grocery store (something I loathe and always manage to put off until I have absolutely no food in my house). Here's how long that meal took me:

Yep, that's right. 4 minutes and 35 seconds. That includes making my coffee and bringing everything to the table. If I had cut up an avocado I suppose you could add another 15 seconds or so… but still, a hot breakfast in under five minutes. I think we all have time for that. 

This brings me to my next point. Why is breakfast so important?! Well, for starters… you just went a good 8 hours or so without eating anything. Eating breakfast jump starts your metabolism for the day. You know what that means….. weight loss, or weight management! Say what?! Yep, eating breakfast is one of the easiest things you can do to aid in your battle/journey with your weight. Second of all, did you know eating breakfast affects your brain function? Studies show that kids that eat breakfast result in better academic performance, achievement test scores, and attendance (Rampersaud et al., 2005). So if it does that for kids, I'm pretty sure we can assume that the same benefits apply for us adults. Better performance at work, more focus, better attendance…. all from eating breakfast, I'm thinking I even see a raise in your future. 

So, now you know that you DO have time and why you should be eating breakfast. Lets work out the logistics. Planning is the key. If your mornings are a whirlwind the best thing you can do is plan the night before. Decide what you are going to make and set your alarm 10 minutes earlier than normal. Here are some ideas for quick breakfasts:


Overnight Oats


Homemade Yogurt Parfait

Lets talk about these. Smoothies, overnight oats, and yogurt parfaits are a super easy breakfast you can take to go. For smoothies, measure out your fruit the night before and put it in a baggy… all you have to do is dump that baby with the other ingredients in your blender (see my previous post about smoothies here, for tips and tricks). Overnight oats have become really popular. They are SO easy! If you want to take them to go use a mason jar, just put your oats and milk in and whatever you want to use to flavor them and let them sit in your fridge overnight. In the morning grab them and go. There are tons of recipes online you can search. Yogurt parfaits, another thing you can make the night before in a mason jar. Some greek yogurt, dried fruit, nuts, granola, oats, whatever you want… and you have a yummy, complete breakfast. Fritatas are something you can make while you're getting ready. Wake up start your breakfast, throw it in the oven and finish getting presentable while it cooks. Easy Peasy. 

Of course, there's lots of other things you can make for breakfast, I'm just tossing out some ideas. I like mixing carbs and protein and trying to add something green, hence the avocados with my eggs. If you're vegetarian and don't do eggs, go for a tofu scramble, add some salsa, spices and veggies and you have yourself a tasty meal! Bottom line: eat something. Even if you eat a granola bar and piece of fruit… it's better than nothing. You will be surprised how much better you feel throughout the day. Your energy level will be higher, you'll probably even see some pep in your step. 

I'm going to end this post on a serious note. Please don't be offended by what I'm about to say… if it does make you angry, or you find yourself offended think about WHY you're mad before you start yelling at me. I think mostly what it comes down to is us not making time for ourselves. Being healthy isn't that hard, making breakfast isn't that hard. I think we are just a society of people that are really good at putting ourselves last and making tons of excuses. Being healthy is a choice. It's not always convenient or easy… but it's important. Sometimes we just have to decide to stop making excuses and just do what's best for ourselves. I can't really think of anyone that is really, truly too busy to eat or too busy to take care of themselves. If you think that's you, maaaaaaybe it's time to reprioritize a few things. 

Til next time y'all!


Thursday, December 5, 2013

All My Pregnant Ladies...

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I've been feeling extra lazy and haven't been able to make myself get back on the blog train… but here I am, finally! I've been asked by a few people to do a pregnancy post. I know pretty much every book you pick up on pregnancy has advice on food and what not, so I'm going to summarize that and talk a little about my own experience. Obviously every pregnancy is different for every woman, so when you read this keep that in mind.

For all you non-pregnant folk you still might want to read, I mean lets be honest, I'm pretty funny. Plus you might want to see what you have the possibility of getting yourself into. Here goes nothing.

First of all can we talk about how scary google is when you become pregnant. Do NOT try to google symptoms for any weird thing, it will ultimately just tell you that you and your baby are dying. When I had food poisoning I made that mistake, never again! The woman's body is so miraculous. Seriously. You spend 10 months (pregnancy is 40 weeks, I never understood why they say 9 months) growing a human and sharing your body and spit out a tiny little person. The fact that healthy babies are born every day is seriously a miracle because I promise once you're pregnant you will start reading about the million things that could go wrong during the whole process.

There's several conditions that you can develop during pregnancy that can make it more challenging. Hopefully if you're pregnant and reading this you don't have one of those conditions (gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, etc.). I'm going to be focusing more on pregnancies without these added conditions. The basics still apply to you, but there's extra stuff that goes along with a diagnoses of any of these. If you have one of these and have questions, please contact me.

You know what one of my biggest pet peeves is so far? People who say "you're eating for two now" Uhhhhh okay, but that second person weighs like an ounce… don't think that justifies a second double double. You definitely need extra calories while you're pregnant…. but…. in your first trimester your calorie intake really doesn't need to increase. Once you hit that second trimester you should increase by 340-360 calories a day and 452-472 calories a day in your third trimester. That's it. That's really not that much if you think about it. I think a lot of ladies have this figured out. Pregnancy hits and you start caring a little more what you're putting into your body because now you're not just feeding yourself, you're feeding your baby. Just remember, that second person you're feeding isn't a teenage boy.

So what about these crazy cravings? You know what, I let myself indulge sometimes. I mean, if I decided to eat every little thing that sounded good then I'm pretty sure I would have already gained 40 pounds. I try to stay balanced, but if all I can think about it is ice cream for an entire day, then I'm going to let myself have ice cream. This week I've been wanting mashed potatoes, so I made my own. I figure that way I can control the amount of salt and fat and stuff that goes into it way better than I could if I hit the KFC drive thru. This tactic works with all kinds of food. Make your own!

Lets talk about protein needs. In a previous post I told you that protein is a big part of building tissue. Well, if you're growing a human you need to build tissue. In the first half of pregnancy your needs stay the same (that's 0.8 g/kg of body weight). Once you hit that halfway point you should increse your needs to 71 grams a day. Not sure what foods are proteins, or want to know the best protein sources? Check out my previous blog on protein.

Prenatal vitamins. Every doctor's visit they ask me if I'm still taking my prenatals. In the beginning I had the hardest time with them because they made me sick. I had to try a couple different brands before I found one that worked for me. Make sure you get the kind that has DHA in them, or a separate fish oil supplement. That's important for the brain development, and hey… who doesn't want to raise the genius that's going to cure cancer? Bring on the DHA baby. Bottom line, take them. Every. Single. Day. Set an alarm, take them in the morning or night, whatever, just take them. There are too many scary things that can happen if you're vitamin deficient while you're pregnant. I won't list them, just take my word for it.

I've always been a water drinker. That was an easy thing for me to get on board with when I got pregnant. If you're not a water drinker, you better learn how to be. Try the sparkling or flavored kind. You can even find receipes to infuse your water and make your own flavors. Whatever you have to do, just drink your water. I keep a water bottle on me at all times. Drink when you're not thirsty. Get used to the fact that you will have to pee more than you've ever peed in your entire life. Since I've been pregnant I swear the thing we go through the most is toilet paper.

Now for everyone's favorite subject: working out. I had about one tiny week of morning sickness. You know what helped? Working out. When I don't sleep good you know what helps? Working out. When I'm fatigued beyond all belief you know what helps? Working out. Seeing a pattern yet? I'm very fortunate and have probably the most amazing trainer in the history of trainers. He kicks my pregnant booty three times a week. There are days when I don't want to peel myself off of my couch, but I know that my labor and my overall pregnancy will only benefit from one little hour of working out per day. It probably helps that I pay him to make me. If you need accountability you can pay me to make you workout… if that doesn't sound appealing to you then find an accountability partner. Find a friend that will promise to ask you every week if you've been working out, and be honest.

If you weren't an avid worker outer before getting pregnant that's ok! You can still workout. Talk to your doctor and find out what they recommend. And if you were an avid worker outer and aren't sure what's okay and not okay to do now that you have a baby on board, try prenatal workout dvds or googling prenatal workout routines. Just do something. Get off your tired booty and go for a walk even. I promise being active will be nothing but positive for you and the baby. I know it's hard, I'm living it. You just have to make yourself. You can do it. I have faith in you.

I thought about listing all the foods that are good for you when you're pregnant… but honestly they're all the same foods that are good for you when you're not pregnant. My best advice? Use your brain. You know what's healthy and what's not. Try to choose the healthy stuff more than the not healthy stuff. If you aren't sure about something or you have questions, email or message me, I'll point you in the right direction.

I know this blog is probably a lot of common sense… but hopefully it's a good reminder for you soon to be momma's! Til next time!