Do You Belong? A letter to you…
You walk through the doors of the fitness center looking where to begin your new fitness journey, again. I know that look in your eye. Here I am starting over again, maybe it will work this time; maybe I will finally lose the weight. As a personal trainer, I know you are new here. I don’t recognize you, so I catch your eye and smile but you look away embarrassed and shy. You wonder if I’m judging you. I am not…I look at you compassionately because I understand. I know from personal experience the weight gain does not occur overnight but here you are 35 pounds heavier. Sometimes it takes a doctor to tell us that we need to begin an exercise program; or, maybe you just had a baby and wonder if you will ever get out of your maternity pants.
Not only am I not judging you, but I’m proud of you. Because I know you have the potential to be the best you and I want to help. Many of us…no, ALL of us were beginners at one time. We started out just like you with the same reluctance and excitement as we began our fitness journey.
We are proud to have you belong with us, here —I want to see your progress. Sometime down the road, you will be proud of yourself too for completing your goal whether it’s a 5k, a group exercise class, or learning to use the equipment effectively in your personal training sessions.
You are becoming the best version of yourself each day. You are your best health advocate! Now, you smile and say hello confidently as you enter the fitness center doors. I smile back too because I am proud of you!
Are you feeling bloated, constipated, and generally uncomfortable by the end of the day? Are you eating a variety of foods including whole grains, veggies, and protein? Has your doctor prescribed medication to ease these symptoms? The answers may just lie right in your pantry! In the Standard American Diet (SAD—ironic, right?), we eat many foods that can irritate our digestive system. Just Google some simple words that your doctor doesn’t mention like leaky gut and SIBO, just to name a couple. If your gut is irritated you will have bloating, indigestion, constipation, and acid reflux! Doctors are quick to write a prescription to elevate the symptom but what about eliminating the problem? Acid reflux is a symptom of an underlying problem as is bloating and other gut issues. It turns out that you may have an allergy to certain types of foods. For many people, wheat and/or gluten can cause many of the above issues. You may be thinking—gluten—that’s hocus pocus! That’s what I thought until I read many of the recent studies that suggest the wheat of today is not the wheat of our forefathers. This wheat has been changed thru genetic modification that it no longer resembles digestible food—hence the problems with bloating, constipation, and indigestion! Try an experiment with your nutrition to see if you gain any positive results. For myself and many of my clients, I suggest the elimination of bread and cereals. While you may be thinking, there is no way I can stop eating bread—that’s crazy! There are many varieties of breads that I suggest to my clients and some only take a minute to make in the microwave! All without using wheat flour! Making small steps towards feeling good is about progress, not perfection. With taking these steps, in turn, I would presume your will lose weight in the process. How’s that for feeling successful with your nutrition—feeling good and losing weight!
Lisa Walsh is a Sports Nutrition Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer. She can be found on Facebook and Smart Fitness By Lisa. For all your fitness and nutritional needs including individual and corporate consultations, contact Lisa at SmartFitnessBylisa@comcast.net
“You run out of the house with no time to spare skipping breakfast again, of course! After your arrival at work, you start feeling hungry when cravings begin to rear their ugly head. Donuts in the kitchen from yesterday are calling or even the vending machine food can’t be too bad. After grabbing a healthy granola bar, you start thinking about lunch. Again you are now thinking with your stomach, not your head so McDonald’s yogurt parfait seems like another healthy choice. After all, it’s yogurt, fruit, and granola, right?” Does all this sound too familiar? We live in a fast paced world and it’s not always easy to prepare food for the day. As luck would have it, there is a great overlooked health food store right in the Delaware Valley. If you are in Bucks or Montgomery Counties or even at the Jersey shore, you are within minutes of healthy fat loss eating! It’s not organic, but it’s whole clean foods with very little processing. Any guesses yet? Some of the stores even have a gas station! What? Healthy food at a gas station! Check out Wawa! You might be smirking now but here is just a small sampling of healthy foods: hardboiled eggs, veggies with hummus, fruit, plain yogurt, meatballs, turkey, and salads. I could go on…Ok, I will! Although I am not a big proponent of bread even whole wheat, the turkey whole wheat shorti with extra meat, spinach, cucumbers, and tomatoes provides a well-balanced lunch. For those of you (like me) who want to make the shorti into a salad, just discard the bread! Wawa also has prepared green salads to add to your lunch. Is it organic? No, but neither are most of the restaurants in the area. If you are eating for fat loss and want convenience, add the Wawa application to your smart phone. When you are in a pinch, it’s the most convenient fast food around—plus you can load up on gas, that’s gasoline;)
What is your relationship like with food? Love? Hate? Comforting? Guilty? Do you feel like you are a “good” person when eating right but a “bad” person if you eat too much? What DOES a healthy relationship with food even look like? Can you relate to these feelings? Can you identify with this list--
Stress less about what you eat. Additional chronic stress can release cortisol which will only create fat storing. When planning your meals, eat foods that have had a mother such as beef, chicken, and fish or foods that are from the ground like fruits and veggies. Did you notice I didn’t include grains? Although grains are from the ground they are processed to the point that they are no longer an acceptable food source. If you are looking for complex carbohydrates, consider having potatoes, brown rice, and all varieties of squash. Create balance in your life by eating healthy 80% of the time and 20% of the time you can have something you might be missing from your diet. With that said, have a cheat meal, not a cheat day. Make sure you are prepared with lots of protein and veggies for your subsequent meals because for some people this might lead to bingeing. A great example is to have a huge salad followed by a slice or two of pizza. This will keep you satisfied with a Friday night cheat without sending you completely off into an abyss of cookies, cakes, and cheesesteaks! Successful nutrition and fitness will always have ebbs and flows—Stay FOCUSED and keep your eye on the PRIZE!!
How is YOUR relationship with food? Do you control it or does it control you? I would love to hear from you!
Ok, we know the Eagles are home, like us, watching the Super Bowl this weekend. On the positive side, we can stick to our New Year’s resolutions to eat healthy EVEN during the Super Bowl. Remember, you can stay focused on your fitness goals without sacrificing fun! Here are some game day tips that will keep you on track with your weight loss:
1) Lots of people skip meals in order to “save” all the calories for the game. That strategy is a recipe for DISASTER! Have a sensible meal with lean protein and green, fiber-rich veggies, like broccoli, green beans, and spinach prior to the game. Add green veggies to your favorite chili recipe. This will help you make GOOD choices at the party with your mind, not your belly.
2) Dips are a great choice if and ONLY IF they are prepared with plain Greek yogurt (0% fat) instead of sour cream. The texture is not compromised and the flavor of the dip is EXACTLY the same. Instead of the large amounts of fat in sour cream, Greek yogurt provides high protein and no fat. A great appetizer is taco dip with Greek yogurt, of course. Just arrange a vegetable tray with celery, carrots, and cucumbers alongside the taco dip. Another option is to use the Greek yogurt to make spinach dip. Now you have two weight loss friendly snacks to share!
3) Homemade nacho chips paired with a fruit salsa can really satisfy that salt and sweet craving. Take a pack of low carb tortillas, cut to size of a nacho, spray with cooking spray, add salt and/or cinnamon, and bake until crisp.
4) Shrimp cocktail is a favorite high protein appetizer that is great to serve on game day. It’s a quick and easy treat to “kick off” the festivities on game day.
5) Sugary drinks are a dieter’s nightmare. Stay away from the mojitos and margaritas. Opt for sugar-free drinks like a flavored seltzer with a lime. If you find it a must to imbibe, select a red wine or light beer. Limit your drinks to two alternating with water. Your quality of food selections deteriorates once you toss a couple back. That’s when you are likely to go for the cheese laden nachos. And, well, there goes your whole week and more!
Armed with these 5 Super Bowl weight-loss tips, you’ll be the one scoring a touchdown with the scale on Monday morning! For information on fitness classes, online personal training, and nutrition, view SmartFitnessByLisa or like my Facebook page!
HAPPY NEW YEAR! A New Year to a New You—Although I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, I do believe in setting goals to create a positive habit. What do I mean by this? When it comes to the New Year, everyone wants to completely change the way they live. For example, many decide they want a complete OVERHAUL of their lifestyle: wake up extra early to workout, eliminate sugar from their diet, and add more veggies to each meal. Well, six weeks later all has been forgotten because it was too much change at once. We love the idea of a complete overhaul, a "makeover" or a fresh start, don't we? :) Unfortunately, most times they don't work for long term success. Why? Because long-term success is built on HABITS. And when we overhaul our entire lifestyle, we end up failing at all of them because we've not giving them time to become habits. So how can we make changes successfully? Create a list of four things you would like to accomplish in the long term. Now, choose one item to focus your attention for the next six weeks. For some people the focus might be on nutrition such as to start eating breakfast every day or to switch from sandwiches to salads at lunch. For others, fitness might be the goal. Add to your calendar the time you will start your workout just as if it an appointment that you must keep. Studies show that for real change to occur and become a habit, it requires six weeks of focusing on one task. Make your list and focus on ONE SINGLE GOAL for the next six weeks. Don’t be too hard on yourself because there will be times when you will fail to reach your goal each day. Just stay focused and continue to make the necessary changes to be successful. At this time next year, just think of all the new HABITS you have instilled! Email me with your fitness and nutrition goals for the New Year—I would love to hear your progress!
Happy Holidays! It’s time for office parties, family parties, and holiday celebrations for everyone. Although the holiday season is a time to share with family and friends, it’s mostly celebrated around food and drinks. How can a person possibly manage their nutrition and fitness routine????? I have a few practical tips to get you through the rest of the season—
1—When attending a party: PLAN, PLAN, PLAN! Before arriving to the party, have a substantial meal that is comprised of lean protein and veggies. This will reduce the amount you eat at the party by just considering the volume of the food. Never arrive to a party hungry if you are trying to manage your nutrition. Take note of all the food being served so you can indulge in a few unique appetizers, not just chips and pretzels. Enjoy the seasonal foods that you do not have often. Just limit the quantity.
2—Ok, I hear you—no time to plan? Have a protein shake that has at least 25 grams of protein with minimal carbohydrates and limited fat. After your shake, drink lots and lots of water! Drink it like it’s your job! Have a few slices a lemon or lime to wake up the flavor too.
3—Workout! If you know you are going to a party on Saturday night, lift weights on Saturday morning so the extra calories can be partitioned to your muscles. And ladies, this will not make you bulky. Unless you are taking drugs to facilitate muscle growth, you will not get bulky from lifting weights. Only men will become bulky from strength training. Continue to stay on your fitness schedule just as if it were an appointment. Don’t let it fall to the bottom of the list. Following a simple 20 minute strength workout will facilitate both fat burning and muscle toning.
4—Bring a dish to the party that fits your nutritional requirements for the day. Whether you decide on an appetizer, side dish, or dessert, you want to choose a dish that you will enjoy along with the other party foods. For instance, if desserts are your weakness, take along a low carb dish that you can enjoy—guilt free! Eating clean 80% of the time allows for a few indulgences. Just do not have the mindset that you “deserve it.” You DESERVE to be healthy!
5—Limit alcoholic drinks—This can promote bad choices when it comes to your food selection. Alcohol can cloud your judgment when making reasonable food choices at the party. Limit drinks to two and have two additional glasses of water. When choosing your drink, consider wine or a low carb beverage. Stay away, I mean RUN from the eggnog and the cosmos. To minimize additional eating or drinking, have a seltzer or water for the remainder of the party. Studies show that having something in your hands deters unwanted snacking.
6—Have FUN!! You are there to socialize and make memories. Enjoy the party and make it about the people. Remember, that food will be there another day. If you find something you enjoy, ask for the recipe.
Now is the time to be an advocate for your health—don’t wait until the New YearJ
For more information regarding nutrition, online personal training and coaching, check out SmartFitnessByLisa with all NEW PROGRAMS.
Losing weight is not as simple as calories in and calories out. It affects each person differently even when following the same protocol of diet and exercise. For the clinically obese, they may build up an insulin resistance (IR). As with many things, this is not a black and white issue. Insulin resistance is a precursor to diabetes in most cases. Usually severe IR in the liver ends up resulting in diabetes. If you have IR which usually is the case in the overweight and obese, you have many detrimental consequences that completely change the way your metabolism behaves. One of the best ways to manage IR is to change your eating habits. Set some goals to include more protein, fiber, and water in your diet on a daily basis. For instance, if you normally have toast, oatmeal, or cereal for breakfast, try adding egg whites, hard boiled eggs, or a protein shake. Not only will this make you feel more satiety, but it will lower the insulin produced at that meal. Instead of changing your whole diet, just pick one meal to change for 4 weeks. In time, you can add other meals to include more of the macronutrients required to help lower insulin.
To take control of your weight loss, be prepared with healthy food choices. It’s easy to have a few non-perishable snacks packed in a lunch box to have when you start to feel that rumble in your belly. Keep your snacks in the car for when you are feeling that your stomach is now doing the talking. My number one rule to my personal training clients is to be PREPARED! You don’t want to find yourself driving home from work with hunger pangs after complying with your diet all day. That will lead to bingeing and poor food choices after your walk through the door. Did you ever find yourself coming home from work then eating a snack, followed by another snack, followed by picking at the food while making dinner, and finally, eating dinner? It turns out you have just eaten for two straight hours! BE PREPARED! Stock your lunch box with snack foods such as almonds, turkey jerky, and apples. To see more healthy selections to keep your lunch box well stocked, take a look at this article.
It’s as easy as putting one foot in front of the other…
Deciding which workout for the day can be daunting. Go to the gym or workout at home? Low impact or high impact? Let’s face it, we all want to reduce our body and tone muscle. One workout to incorporate into your regular routine is walking intervals. In my class this week, we discussed various low impact workouts to integrate into your weekly schedule. Not only does this still create a fat burning environment but it is much easier on your joints and ligaments. Many people have trouble with the high impact of jogging and aerobics. Applying walking intervals to your schedule will help reduce the pounds and tone the muscle in your legs. A great choice is to utilize a walking interval approach as suggested by Sparks People:
For additional fitness and nutritional information, visit my website at Smart Fitness By Lisa. New classes are starting on March 7th at the Horsham Community Center.