Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Netflix of Workouts

A year ago I actually posted on this blog...and then disappeared again. I meant to get this going again, I really did but then I let it fall by the wayside.

BUT, I am really happy in my fitness journey right now and I think that's worth sharing. After rebounding, feeling lost, confused and unhappy with my workouts, I did a total 180! Instead of being a gym junkie, I started working out at home. I follow a simple, balanced way of eating. I don't stress about fitness anymore. It's the best change.

I found the Netfix of Workouts. Seriously, it's amazing. Thousands upon thousands of hours of fitness and healthy eating plans. Don't feel like lifting weights today? Cool, there's a cardio workout  instead. Or yoga. Or pilates. Or kickboxing. It's impossible to be bored when you have this many options. And every single workout is designed to done at home. And did I mention, you get the support of thousands behind you?

Want to know more about how found health, balance, and happiness in at-home workouts? Join me!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Cravings! What to do??

Let's talk CRAVINGS! Often we crave certain foods that we associate with certain times of day, or year or with certain occasions. When Christmas comes around, how many times do you find yourself grabbing something you don't bother with the rest of the year? Like Terry's Chocolate Orange? Who eats those in June? But come December, tons of people HAVE to have them!

For me, I have a late night sweet tooth. I find it damn near impossible to watch a movie or TV show at night without a sweet snack. Maybe for you it's drink with the girls on the weekend. Or pizza with your significant other on Friday night. Whatever it is, these associations between activities and food can trigger cravings. Stress and fatigue can also trigger major cravings, particularity for sugary foods, quick digesting carbs and fats.

Since we can't stop stress or fatigue entirely, and we don't want to skip every event, how the heck can we tackle cravings?? Here are some tricks I use:

1) Get plenty of rest, drink water and minimize stress. These three things are your first line of defense against cravings and they also increase your willpower.

2) Change up your routine. For me, that might look like not watching TV at night so I don't have that urge to snack. If your weekend brunch with the girls always turns into mimosas and bloody marys, try suggesting a walking date this weekend instead. Break the habit before you hit the craving.

3) Distract yourself. Grab a glass of water. Call a friend. Pick up a book. Go for a walk. Anything that gets you out of the craving space will help you resist your craving. Plan to fit the craving in (I don't believe in deprivation) but challenge yourself to hold off until you've fit it into your eating plan. This can help retrain your mind to think of food as fuel, not reward or comfort.

5) Find a healthier alternative. So have I mentioned I have a late night sweet tooth?? Enter protein ice cream! Both from the store (brands include Arctic Zero, Halo Top and Wink) and home made (Shakeology turns into a great homemade ice cream!). This satisfies my ice cream craving without ruining my hard work. Protein mug cupcakes are another option, or sweet protein bars like Quest bars. If you are more of a savory-craver, try air popped popcorn, Quest protein chips, or reduced fat cheese.

4) Plan a treat meal. You will never hear me say Cheat Meal because that implies that you are doing something wrong and food is neither wrong nor right! But we all have our favorite foods that are a little more indulgent than we would normally eat. Plan for it. If you know your have a date night on Friday, stick to your eating plan 100% all week, focus on protein and veggies throughout the day on Friday, along with tons of water and get a bit of extra exercise in that day. The next day just go back to normal eating and working out. One meal won't kill you! And knowing you can indulge once in a while makes it much easier to resist your cravings the rest of the time.

Who else has great tips for battling cravings?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

But will you be doing it in 5 years?

This question, "but will you be doing it in 5 years?" is my go-to question regarding everything health and fitness related.

We are bombarded every single day with headlines screaming "lose 10lbs in two weeks" and "10 minutes to perfect abs" and "get the body you want in 30 days" but really, if any one of those plans worked in the long term, we wouldn't need any of the other get-fit-quick plans. And yet every month, magazines publish the same things. Every day on the internet we are hit over and over again with similar get-fit-quick ideas. These plans are everywhere. Why? Because they work? No! Precisely because they don't work. Even if you lose 10lbs in 2 weeks, you aren't going to instantly have washboard abs or your fittest body. What you're likely lost is a bunch of water weight, some muscle mass and a tiny bit of fat.

So now you're done your get-fit-quick plan. You've starved yourself and exercised like crazy to drop those 10lbs in two weeks and now you're ready to eat normally again. What's the first thing that happens? Your body starts holding water again. Your muscles fill with glycogen again which means you have energy again but you know what else you have? More weight. Yep, you can gain back all that weight and more in a couple of days! Now you're feeling uncomfortable in your skin again, so you pick up a fitness magazine and you jump right into the next quick fix. Sound familiar?

So what's the real answer? What does long term health success look like? Before you begin anything fitness/health related ask yourself this: will I be doing this in 5 years? If you can truly say yes, you are on the right path to fitness for your life.

For me, the things I can see myself doing and have been doing for 5 years or more are the following:
1) Tracking food. For over 10 years I have recorded most or all of my food intake. This works for me but not for everyone.
2) 5-7 workouts per week. Again, this works for me. I like the gym. I like lifting weights. I like the sweat of a good cardio session. This plan works for me because I enjoy it so it doesn't feel like something I have to do, but something I get to do.
3) Keeping a high protein intake. Because I do track my food, I can see how much better I feel on days where I have a good amount of protein. It's manageable to me to include protein in 95% of my snacks and meals.
4) Beachbody. When I don't feel like going to or don't have access to a gym, a 30 minute at home workout is more than manageable. This allows me to enjoy group exercise type workouts which I love but without having to go crazy trying to fit them into my hectic schedule.

What hasn't been feasible for 5 years or more? This list could be much longer! Just a few things that I tried but couldn't truly see myself doing in 5 years: keto, paleo, south beach diet, meal prepping, competition dieting, vegetarian eating, gluten free, long-distance running, juicing, barre method, bikram yoga,..I could go on and on!

The point? Find what you love. Find what works for you. Find what is manageable and enjoyable for you and your life. Find what fits into your life. Find what you can reasonably see yourself doing for 5 years or more and then do it! Stop the quick fixes and short-term thinking. Health is lifelong journey, not a sprint or even a marathon. There is no end date on healthy living so whatever you do to improve your health, ask: will I be doing this in 5 years?

Thursday, October 27, 2016

It's been a hot minute!

Wow, so I have been subconsciously or maybe totally consciously avoiding even looking at my blog for a long time! Since April 2015 in fact! Why? Because after getting all excited to get fit and do another prep, I didn't follow through. Because 2015 was one of the hardest years of my life and suddenly my struggle to find balance after competing started to feel like just one more thing I couldn't handle. Because...I don't know. I just wasn't feeling it.

And you know what? It's ok. It's ok to step back from your goals, whatever they may be. Sometimes everything else in life just has to take priority for a little while.
But this morning I woke up feeling determined and motivated. I've identified a few areas of my life that I am not happy with and I WILL address them. After spending the past year just surviving, I am ready to thrive! Stay tuned for what happened in 2015, what held me back, what I am focused on now and what my next goals will be.

FatCityFit is back!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Rebounding and Finding Your Way Back

This is a hard post for me to write. For a long while after my show I had no issues with rebounding. I ate more, trained hard, stayed lean and then I don't got harder to stay lean and I stopped trying. I hate to say it like that because I wanted to think I was trying - I was still training, maybe harder than ever, but I was all over the place with my diet. I'd be right on my macros for a week, then I'd be eating everyone's macros and then some for a week!

I thought I had balance.

I thought I had it figured out.

I thought I had successfully competed and returned to normal life.

I thought a lot of stuff...until I woke up and nothing fit right and I felt gross. Now, I am not crazy. I am not saying I am fat or that I made no progress in the last year. I know for sure I put on muscle...but did I put on 15-20lbs of muscle (the amount I am up from the show weight)? Of course not. Not even close. As a woman, if I put on even 5lbs of  muscle in the past year, it's a bloody miracle.

I found myself avoiding things - like this blog, like seeing people who only knew me in show prep, not wanting to wear certain things. I felt uncomfortable. I felt ashamed. I felt like people would be judging me. I wasn't happy.

So I officially signed on with a new trainer this week. Why? Because I miss having a goal but even more because I believe in this trainer. He is an advocate of #iifym (If It Fits Your Macros) or flexible dieting like I am. Because he, like me, believes fitness and even competing can fit your life, without having to be your whole life. Do I know the technicalities of weight loss? Sure. But I am not a contest prep trainer and I like accountability. I want to prove to myself and others that you can compete, have fun, do well and not rebound.

Last year was just a warm up, this year is the big show!

Have you competed? Did your rebound?

What is the hardest part of weight loss for you?

(stay tuned for more on healthy competing, what to look for in a trainer and warnings signs that you're eating become disordered - all things I have dealt with in the last year!)

Friday, March 20, 2015

International Happiness Day!

(I thought this had published awhile March 20th, the actual international happiness day.  Oh well, trying again!)

Apparently that's today! I don't need another reason to focus on all the great things that make me happy but I'll take it! 

What makes me happy? 

Family of course!

Awesome friends! 

Traveling! I picked my job after discovering my love of traveling (which I think I inherited my grandma who we called Presh; her whole life, she was all about seeing the world. She even went to places like Iran, Israel during fighting, the arctic and Antarctic!). I love culture shock, being out of my element and seeing something brand new to me! That moment when you realize how big and yet how small the world is through travel? Happiness. 

Fitness and health! They say look good, feel good but I think it's the other way. When you eat for your goals, train hard and break a sweat often, you feel good and feeling good makes you look great! 

What makes you happy? 

Happy International Happiness Day!  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Probiotics, gut bacteria and weight

(My first post filled with knowledge! Haha enjoy! What topics should I cover in the future? Full disclosure: I am a student doing my Masters in Nutrition, and a certified trainer working on more education...not an expert yet!)

Recent studies have shown that certain gut bacteria are associated with being slim, while a lack of certain gut bacteria appears to be directly related to being overweight or obese. 

How can some tiny microbes be controlling so much and what can we do to help them work for us?

Certain bacteria can reduce the stomachs production of ghrelin - that's the hormone that says "hey, you're hungry!"  Typically when we eat, our ghrelin levels go down, and we know to stop eating but if gut bacteria is out of balance (in this particular case, if we don't have enough heliocobacter pyori - H. Pylori), the ghrelin production doesn't stop and we don't get that stop eating signal. Too much H. Pylori isn't good enough but an increase in antibiotic prescribing has made H. Pylori infections must less common...but those same antibiotics have furthered contributed to our weight problem. 

We're getting hit with antibiotics everywhere, from doctors to factory farmed meat and the effect on our gut bacteria is significant. 

So if we have so many hits against us, how can we beat this bacteria influenced weight gain? 

Simple diet changes help a lot! Eating high fiber foods such as fruits, veggies and grains helps provide prebiotics, which help nourish healthy microbes. Reducing sugar intake also helps as healthy gut bacteria thrive on complex carbs while the less healthy types, Luke the types that cause yeast infections, bloating and constipation, love sugar! Adding probiotic rich foods like yogurt, fermented foods and even supplementing with probiotic supplements will help plant the seeds for healthy gut microbe levels. Lastly, get moving! Exercisers with healthy BMIs have been shown to have more diverse gut microbes than sedentary folks and although it's not clear if that's a chicken or egg scenario (aka which came first, the healthy BMI or the diverse microbes), it's always good to sweat! 

Give yourself the best chance at keeping a fit, healthy body keeping your gut health in check!