My Transformation

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Healthy Holiday Hints

Thanksgiving is this Thursday and the winter holidays are right around the corner. You're probably looking forward to relaxing with family and friends, right? ME TOO!! However, I want to share some eating tips so that you don't sabotage all of your hard work. There's no doubt that we indulge in tempting and tasty tidbits! So, how can you enjoy yourself without feeling like you're alienating yourself from the festivities? Maybe these ideas will help!

If you're cooking:
* Make sweet potatoes or yams without adding extra sugar.
* If making green bean casserole, use the 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup instead.
* While baking, replace oil with applesauce, sugar with Splenda or Truvia, white flour with wheat flour, and butter with something lower in fat (I use Smart Balance 50/50 Omega-3 sticks or spread).
* Don't sample what you're making!! Be wary of licking the batter, etc. Think of it this way, if you're willing to put it in your mouth, then you should be willing to log it in your food journal. Is it worth adding?!?

Before eating the main meal:
* Drink will help you feel full. It will also help flush your system!!
* Be conscious of the carbohydrates left out for snacks (a few chips here and there will add up QUICKLY).
* If there are veggies, eat them (not saturated in dressing)!
* Try to stick with eating every 2-3 hours too...if you keep yourself on a schedule, you won't be tempted to stuff yourself like that Thanksgiving turkey!
* Don't graze!! Nibbling on too many snacks will force your body to shut down its natural calorie burning process because your body can't keep up with your intake.

During dinner:
* Again, be conscious of your carbohydrates...too many will make you feel sluggish!
* Choosing either white or dark meat is fine, so enjoy whichever one you prefer, but leave the skin on the side.
* Instead of pouring gravy on top of everything, have it on the side. Use the salad dressing method of dipping your fork in the gravy first. It will give it the flavor you're craving without the extra calories.
* Watch your portions. If you want to try many different items, enjoy them, but cut back on the amount you'd normally serve yourself.
* Try to limit high fat items (fried items, things loaded with cheese, etc.).
* Calories from alcohol are stored in the abdomen. Try to stay away from too much of it.
* Take a walk outside after dinner if possible. The fresh air will feel great and your body will thank you for helping to work off the meal!

After dinner:
* Of course you want to enjoy dessert, so have a sliver! You don't need a huge slice...just a little will satisfy your craving
* Drink coffee or tea while chatting with others.

The healthiest options:
* skinless white turkey
* cranberries (don't add too much sugar - try orange juice instead)
* yams (try with some maple syrup on the side for guests who want to make it sweeter)
* sweet potatoes (leave the marshmallows off the top or scoop them off if added already)
* green veggies (load up on them)
* pumpkin pie (if making it, try skim milk to make it less fattening)

Enjoy yourself...guilt free!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I Just Don't Have The Time!!!

Okay, so I can relate...there are MANY days where I am spent. I feel like a ship sinking to the bottom of the ocean as I plunge my body onto the couch...just to rest a few minutes. Then, while there, I don't want to get up. Ahhhh...the remote is within reach...CLICK! But wait...I don't watch television!!! So, what am I DOING?!? I'm avoiding...I'm making excuses!!

Honestly, just yesterday, I was at work from 7:30 in the morning until 9:30 at night. Literally, I was on my feet the majority of the day, and by the time I got home, I had more work to do that I decided to take with me. Some days, I truly envy people with a 9 to 5 job! I'm a single mom who works a full-time teaching job and manages to juggle a part-time Beachbody business too! My life always seems to have included helping others in some way, so no matter what path I take, that will continue to be a part of me. Maybe one day things will change and I won't have so much on my plate, but for now, things are what they days are PACKED with a
"To Do" list then never seems to get done...I'm always needing MORE hours in the day!

However, even though I put in so many hours, I still managed to run home for about 30-45 minutes to make a healthy home cooked meal! I had to eat, right?!? So, something didn't get done...what was it?!? My workout. Here's the thing, if there was one thing I SHOULD have done, it's my workout!!! UGH

Sharing from Tony Horton's11 Laws of Health and Fitness, I'm going to discuss making a plan, stress, and sleep. For me, all three are pieces of a puzzle. Without the other two, it's incomplete. You want to stay healthy? Then, you're going to need to be committed to your fitness goals. By doing so, you'll help relieve stress. Without resting your body, you're not recharging!!

Let's start with THE PLAN. This is the most important aspect of health and fitness. It's done to help create accountability for yourself. When I was first starting out, I had to come up with a reason that would motivate me to stick with it. For me, it was my son! I wanted to not only be able to keep up with him, but I also wanted to be around to watch him graduate from college, get married, and hold his children. It worked. Additionally, I became a coach. No, I was NOT at my goal weight. So, at first, I did it for the discount on the products. However, I think the thing that motivated me MOST was that I now felt accountable to others. People would be watching me...closely! So, I decided to let them watch. I was going to REACH my goal and I did. How did I do it with so much going on and having so little time? I set a plan.

"Plan it and you'll do it! Wing it and you won't!"

Just follow the rules:

1) Schedule your workouts 30 days in advance. Decide what you're going to do and stick with it.

* As a side note, as a team Beachbody member, you can auto schedule your DVD workouts in Beachbody's virtual gym, WOWY! If you need assistance with this, let me know, I'm happy to help you get it set up. You'll also have a chance to win money or prizes by logging those workouts through Beachbody's virtual gym.

2) What & When - Write it down! What are you going to do? When are you going to do it? Write it down! Pretty straightforward, right?

3) Magic of two pens and a 10 cents calendar. Write the information in one color on your calendar. Mark an X through the completed workout with a different color. Tony said, "30 X's are great. If you've got only 15, then you're stuck in bipolar fitness hell." Put your calendar someplace you'll be forced to look at it daily (front door, refrigerator, bathroom mirror, etc.).

4) Stay accountable with workout partners. If you've got someone who will be your workout can keep each other on track! Find someone who will be consistent though.

Many people think that those of us who are fit just LOVE working out. We eat, breath, and sleep thinking about it. They think we look forward to our workouts. While this may be true sometimes, I can assure you that I am NOT someone who's ever enjoyed exercising to stay fit. Playing sports is one thing, but forcing myself to get a workout done is another. Nope, I don't like it, but when I'm doing it, I feel GREAT! Even Tony said that he always hears people say something like, "That Tony...he's so motivated!" His response? "No. I'm. Not! I need 47 people to hold my hand. I find excuses not to do it!" However, he too said that once he's doing his workout, he is completely into it!

This brings me to stress. Stressed-out, sleep deprived people don't eat right or exercise. The bottom line is that stress sucks up all of your energy, it decreases strength, can lead to injuries because of a lack of focus, it diminishes your desire to complete tasks, and causes poor sleep patterns. It's up to you to battle the stress. Eliminate the drama in your life...negative situations or people should not be given permission to bring you down. Choose the higher road...wisdom and forgiveness over anger and blame! Focus on the SOLUTION to a problem instead of dwelling on the problem at hand. Take time for yourself...even 10 minutes to just think...relax...unwind! Write your issues down (by putting them down on paper, you're releasing them). Then go to bed.

By resting, you're recharging and replenishing your body's needs. Sleep is needed to recover! It restores your body, mind, and spirit. 7 1/2-8 hours of sleep is essential for you to balance your own internal needs (emotional). It restores your cognitive and motor performance. A well rested body improves your athletic performance, it increases your energy level, it heals sore muscles and joints, and it replenishes your desire and devotion to eat healthy food and exercise regularly...for the rest of your life!STRESS DESTROYS...SLEEP HEALS!!!

If you're making time to watch your favorite television shows, then you most DEFINITELY have time to commit to your own personal health. The question badly do you want it?!?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nutrition For Dummies

So, you're exercising and you're trying to eat properly, but you can't wrap your brain around the whole nutrition concept. What foods should you buy? How do you plan out your meals? Is there an easy way to prepare healthy foods? If your mind is spinning out of control, and you're looking for some simple answers, look no further!

Back in September, I attended a Beachbody event where Mark Briggs, along with Tony Horton and Robert Hudgens, talked about simplifying nutrition. It all begins with the 80/20, so if you haven't read that post by me, start there first!

Nutrition is probably the one thing that most people consistently struggle with. This is for a variety of time, it cost too much, it's too hard to follow the plan, etc. If you WANT to see results, you NEED to make this part work. Either you want it or you don't! Are you ready to make changes or not? If so, continue reading.

First of all, don't complicate need to keep it's easier than you think! We all have busy lives. You CAN eat well even with a hectic schedule. Stick with fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. As mentioned in my 80/20 post, use Michi's Ladder to help you succeed. Stick with the foods on the top two tiers. Also, if you're a Beachbody Club member, you have access to the caloric needs calculator as well as a meal planner where you can edit items to make sure you're meeting your own individual needs (adjust it when needed). If interested in learning more about being a club member and joining my team, check out the advantages here:

Additionally, you can use a microwave. Nobody said you can't cook chicken or fish in your microwave! Just keep it what works for YOU! We're all different and quite frankly, chances are you're not going to like the same foods I do. I know I'm personally picky.

Now, there are some things you need to make sure to do. Number one, you MUST eat breakfast. Don't argue about how you hate it. I do too! In fact, I was skeptical about using Shakeology because I have stomach issues and as a single mom, I thought the price was expensive. Then I tried it. I LOVED IT!!! And the best part was it didn't affect my stomach at fact, it cleared up the problems I was having! As I thought more about the cost, I figured $3 as a coach ($4 as a customer) per meal wasn't too bad. Would I be able to eat at McDonalds for $3 and be getting the same healthy ingredients? We all know the answer to that! So, I made sure to drink my breakfast in the form of a shake! Getting my vitamins without having to purchase pills to swallow (which I also dislike) is just the icing on the cake. Don't forget, it comes with a "bottom of the bag" guarantee too! Learn more about Shakeology and all of its benefits, read the ingredients information, or order at:

Here are some other ideas for meals to help get you started:

Now, are you eating enough? Most people do not correctly guess the amount of calories they're consuming. And while I think that Weight Watchers and other programs like it are great for teaching about portion control, they do not discuss the importance of monitoring carbohydrates, protein, and fats. So, a person can stay within his/her suggested caloric needs AND can monitor points, but he/she may NOT be getting the full benefit of eating properly. More weight could be lost from eating the right kinds of foods...WITHOUT starving yourself!!

Which brings me to the other side of the scale. Sometimes people stop eating or eat too few calories. There is even a local doctor who has his patients on a severely low calorie diet (about 500 calories per day). Anyone who I know that is on this, I STRONGLY suggest that he/she discontinue and share my reasons why. However, I hope that being under his supervision helps more than harms them. Eating too few calories will cause your body to go into a starvation mode. Basically, your body needs turns to a source for that fuel when you're not feeding it. It begins to feed off muscle, but at the same time, it's storing fat. So, since muscle is denser than fat, you will appear to be losing weight. Sadly, when most of these individuals begin to eat normal meals (even healthy foods), their bodies do not know what to do with it. The individual gains weight back and it's MORE difficult to lose the next time because of metabolism changes.

So, how can you be sure you're eating the right foods? Personally, I began monitoring my food intake on a site called My Fitness Pal. It helped me to see patterns...both good and bad. I was able to tweak the meals to make sure I was properly getting the maximum benefits. Additionally, I learned with P90X about different phases. When I needed to burn fat, I was consuming 50% protein / 30% carbs / 20% fat. When I moved into a more balanced phase, it was 40% protein / 40% carbs / 20% fat and I enjoyed the extra carbs...more energy. If you feel like you're crashing during the day, you may need to increase your carb intake. Then you move into the last phase which is 20% protein / 60% carbs / 20% fat. Since I've finished that program, I primarily have stayed with the balanced phase. In My Fitness Pal, you can change your percentages to match your needs.

How often should you eat? Ideally, it should be every 2-3 hours and have 5-6 small meals per day. So, if you're at work, you will need to plan ahead. Set an alert on your phone if you need to. Get into a habit! Don't let yourself get into a tough spot...make sure you've got food packed or if you have a refrigerator at work, find a place to keep your healthy items. Again, your body needs fuel. Your metabolism suffers and slows down when you don't cause it to work all day long! The following analogy was shared and applies to this. Think about a campfire. Without wood (fuel), it will die out. It's just like your body. It too needs fuel (wood) and if you don't feed it, you'll bonk...this is especially true after sleeping all NEED your breakfast!! You shouldn't workout on an empty stomach something light (1/2 a banana and a spoonful of natural peanut butter).

When should you stop eating? Stop eating at least 3 hours prior to bed. If you need a snack at night, have a protein shake. Protein is digested well while sleeping.

In the beginning, you'll obviously need to be more strict. However, you'll be thanking yourself as you watch yourself lose weight and gain control of your life! Hold yourself accountable. Set short and long term goals for yourself (30, 60, 90 days, 6 months, 1 year). Phase out the things that make you feel bad. Get the junk out of your house. If it's not there, you're not going to get into your car to drive to the store just to feed that craving (by the time you're in the driveway, you'll be thinking twice about the decision). Also, keeping the unhealthy snacks in your house are giving unhealthy options to your kids. Keep track of what you're eating in a journal or website like My Fitness Pal (there are others out there too). Track your food for at least 2 weeks. If it goes in your mouth, you need to write it down! Recruit a partner to help you keep accountable.

If you have any questions, let me know!

=) Cheryl