Body empowerment is loving yourself as you are with the understanding that you are capable of creating a better version of yourself with the right resources to guide you. It amazes me when I meet clients for a consultation and when I ask them why they are here the first thing I usually hear is “I hate the way I look” then they continue with more insults to their body. You know, it breaks my heart to listen to their self loathing. But I understand because I have been guilty of it. It has taken me a long time to realize if I want to make positive changes to my body then I have to accept myself in my current condition. I realized the moment you give love to yourself is the moment you are ready to change. So when I talk about body empowerment we have to start with an arsenal of mindset tools to break old thinking patterns. Showing appreciation for the body we have no matter what state it is in and learn to appreciate it. It’s as simple as writing down things you are grateful for. Once you start noticing the things you have and really zoning in on them with gratitude you will shift your mindset towards a more positive one that starts appreciating every part of your body. For example, every day I show appreciation for the things I have. I make statements like I am grateful for my 2 feet, I am grateful for my two legs, I am grateful for my two hands, I am grateful for my belly, I am grateful for the skin that covers my body, I am grateful for my two eyes, etc… then you can get more detailed… I am grateful I have two feet to walk me where I need to go every day. I am grateful for my two legs that allow me to sit down and stand up, I am grateful for my eyes so I can see the things ahead of me. Basically, becoming aware of your magnificent body and truly showing appreciation. You might think it sounds corny at first but as you practice this mindset you will learn to love what you have. There have been days that I’m on my commute home and I see someone unable to move around on their own or with a condition that has disabled them and at that moment I tell myself I am grateful I am able to exercise and have the ability to get around comfortably. It’s not until we start paying more attention that we realize what we have.
Another mindset tool is visualization. Visualize the body you want and continue to appreciate the body you have. Stop the negative talk and stop pointing out your flaws. Now that you are making positive changes like eating healthier and exercising your body will be ready to change. When we create a negative mindset we hold ourselves back from getting real results. We set ourselves up for failure and continue in a downward spiral of self loathing. Even though you want a leaner fitter body it’s important you give love to yourself every day. Creating rituals for yourself like exercising on a regular basis.Going to the spa and caring for your skin, hair, and nails. Learning to cook healthier and put the right things in your body for nourishment. All of these practices embrace self love.
Practicing the art of self-love, mindfulness and self-reflection: move from love, instead of self-loathing. Move with mindfulness, instead of haste. Take time to reflect so you can drink in your experiences and become more aware. To have more love, to feel more love, you need to embody love, and move from that space. You have to connect to your heart, breathe, appreciate the task at hand, and open your mind to find new ways to appreciate what you are doing. I get it, we are always in a hurry and don’t take the time to stop and see every day movements and notice the things that matter to us. Slow down and do this with every task. When shopping, prepping your food, cooking, brushing your teeth, doing your hair, and exercising, pour love into everything you do, as every single moment of your life is a moment to expand into your true state: which is love. It is one of the most healing things you can do for yourself. Too many times something happens and we get angry and we continue to talk about it and allow it to fester inside of us and before we know it we are filled with negativity and complaining and create this toxic mind set. It turns into this ugly energy that sits with us until the next thing happens and we repeat the cycle. From now on do not allow things to get to you and remember the only way to keep yourself positive is to do all things with love. I know it’s not easy, especially when you have that needy friend or coworker that always complains but you will learn to step away and remove the toxic people from your life. You know who I am talking about. The person that always complains and plays the victim. You do not have to condone their behavior. It is easy to remove yourself from the negative talk and find positive people to surround yourself with.
Now… I know this sounds like a hard task but I know you are up for it. Baby steps. The first thing I want you to do is write down 10 things you appreciate about your body. Then I want you to read them out loud. Remember, love yourself the way you are meant to be loved. Enough with the negative talk. You are an amazing individual that deserves the best. To bring happiness we must look at life in a more positive light. The choice is yours. Do you want to feel bad or elated? This love will allow you to make yourself a priority and create healthy habits to help you create the body of your dreams. So, what’s it going to be? A positive mindset or play the negative victim with a heavy heart?
The ketogenic diet has been around longer than you think. In fact, our ancestors that roamed the world lived in a ketogenic state in efforts to sustain hunger and use fats for fuel. With the ketogenic diet the goal is to eat high amounts of healthy fats, moderate protein, and low carbohydrates. At the end of day for keto to work properly your fats should be 75% of total calories, while protein are a moderate 20% and carbs 5%. If you want this plan to work properly you must monitor your calories so you don’t knock yourself out of ketosis. With the keto plan MCT’s (medium chain triglycerides) are the preferred fat source and can be found in coconut oil. These have been found to produce more ketone bodies than long chain triglycerides. Burning this kind of fat is a cleaner source for the body than using glucose/sugar. You don’t require insulin to break down your energy and you don’t get the highs and lows of your blood sugar. The downfall of this plan is if you eat too many carbs you knock yourself out of ketosis and you have to work to deplete your body of carbs before you switch to fat burning mode and that requires low energy days. As more and more diet fads come and go the ketogenic diet has made a strong comeback and is used by many doctors when insulin use has become compromised. No, I am not making medical claims, but when I personally put myself through a process or use a supplement I like to tell people the benefits I encountered and share the love.
Studies have found that a low carb high fat Ketogenic diet works better than a low-calorie restricted low-fat diet. This diet sounds great considering it recommends fats like butter, eggs, and bacon but can be hard when trying to deplete your body of glucose. This requires a lengthy 1-3 weeks of carbohydrate depleting until the body creates ketones to burn fat. Thankfully there are now therapeutic ketones you can take in powder form to get your body in a ketogenic state in less than hour! Yes, you read that correctly, less than an hour. How do I know for sure?? I use a blood testing kit to read the mmols of ketones in my blood. That means I had proof of ketone bodies in my blood an hour after consuming keto-os. It’s like drinking a pre workout that actually flips on your fat burning switch and knowing it actually works! I have been using keto-os in my daily routine for the last year and a half and never looked back. Not only is it helping me burn fat, it has reduced inflammation in my body and nagging ailments like my sciatica in my lower back, tendonitis in my shoulder, and I definitely have better mental focus.
So, how does this help with nutrition? It’s simple, while the ketones are in your system you burn fat. I also notice it curbs my appetite and removes my cravings. I don’t get the roller coaster sugar highs and lows so it makes sticking to a healthy plan easier. One question I get asked the most is “Do I have to do the ketogenic diet for it to work?” The answer is no, but it definitely helps get you into ketosis a lot easier. Whenever I had a party to attend where I knew there would be a large spread of food I would drink my keto-os and knowing they were in my body burning fat relieved me but also reduced my cravings so I wasn’t eating everything in front of me. Ketones, are a powerful fuel source and it’s one supplement I can count on. Besides, who doesn’t want to burn a little fat and get better focus and mental clarity?? I know I do.
Growing up when my mom wanted something done I had to remove all distractions to complete the task or suffer the consequences. The daily tasks she required taught me to focus. Especially in a time crunch. Don’t get me wrong, I tend to procrastinate on the things I’m not so fond of but when it’s something I love to do or trying to accomplish something important I laser in on what needs to be done.
Every day my schedule requires me to set aside two separate times to train for competition. As I awake I do fasted cardio for 45 minutes. This means getting everything I need for the day and heading to the gym. Since my work day starts as early as 6am my alarm starts screaming at 4:15am. After cardio a shower is desperately needed and my first meal is eaten before training my first client. Later in the day I schedule an hour for strength and weight training. This happens five days out of the week and then I’m back to training clients until 7pm, sometimes as late as 8:30pm.
One can say the days get long but luckily I love what I do and it never feels like ‘work’. Once I’m home I tend to my furry babies then prepare dinner and attempt to enjoy some of the evening with my hubby. But before I get too comfortable I have to start preparing for the next day. Managing my time is important when I compete. Scheduling times to eat along with clients and my own training can get overwhelming and exhausting. Staying on track with taking all my supplements throughout the day and drinking at least a gallon of water is a full-time job. To get my body stage ready I can’t miss a beat. There’s no wiggle room and forget taking the day off from ‘my comp plan’ because if that box is cracked even a little we might as well bring in the doughnuts because a little taste is never enough. That is why getting ready for a show requires focus. If I get distracted then there is a possibility that my plan can start to unravel. Fortunately for me I am zoned in like a sniper waiting for its next kill.
4:15am Alarm…snooze button
4:24am Alarm… Rise and shine!
4:24-4:45am morning ritual then off to the gym
5:45am-6:15am shower, get ready for work, scarf down meal 1
6:30am-1:30pm train clients, eat meals 2 and 3, take required supplements, drink at least half-gallon water.
2:00pm-3:30pm workout, eat meal 4
4:00pm-8:30pm train clients, eat meal 5 (dinner)
8:45pm-10:30pm family time and prepare for next day
10:30pm wind down and prepare for bed. i usually am asleep between 11pm and midnight
As we put Christmas behind us with the relief of having some form of control over our lives we still have the last week of the year where most of us like to use “I’ll start after New Year’s” phrase. We all know after too many holiday parties followed by Christmas lunch, brunch, dessert, and leftovers the next day we need to tighten the reins and clean up our eating. The only problem is many of us aren’t ready to give up the foods that have been comforting us the past few weeks and if everyone else gets to start on New Year’s then I guess I’ll jump off a bridge too. Wait, what?? Look, you’ve already made additional holes in your belt buckle and started wearing elastic banded pants. Why wait till the first when you can get ahead of the rest by starting now?
I know it’s easier said than done, especially coming from someone who eats clean year round but I was in your shoes before and there is nothing worse than trying to restart something you fell off the wagon for and hitting the restart button. Making changes to becoming healthier and getting in better shape all take planning and preparing and I don’t expect to teach it all to you in one blog. For now let’s start with the basics and use these simple daily habits to get you going in the right direction.
Eat breakfast everyday.
Eat small meals throughout the day.
Eat a lean protein and complex carbohydrate with every meal.
Eat whole foods instead of processed food.
Drink half your body weight in ounces every day.
Prepare your meals ahead of time.
With the new year less than a week away you have to start planning for a better version of yourself and with the right nutrition and exercise plan you can look forward to a healthy New Year and fitter YOU!
I will be sharing my food diary for those that ask me what I eat most days. I prepare all my meals. When I leave the house in a hurry I go to Snap Kitchen where most of the meals are gluten free and portioned perfectly for me. For future posts I will include all foods not prepared by me and show you how easy it is to eat healthy and delicious foods when on the go or eating out with friends.
Juliana’s Food diary:
Breakfast: 1 whole egg, 2 egg whites, 2 ounces chicken breast all scrambled together with 2 TB salsa, 1 whole grapefruit
Morning snack: medium apple, 4 ounces lean fround turkey
Lunch: 5 oz grilled chicken brest (baked), 5 ounces baked sweet potatos, 1 cup steamed green beans
Afternoon snack: protein shake blended with 1 banana and 2TB almond butter, water, ice, 1 ounce trail mix
Dinner: 5 ounces fround turkey, 1/2 cup brown rice, 1/4 cup black beans, salsa, 1 cup broccoli
Poor Monday! No body ever cheered for Monday the way they do Fridays but at least you can have a fresh start. After a long over indulgent weekend it’s safe to say Mondays are a good day to start from scratch. Today I cleaned up my eating, been hydrating with my water, had a cup of detox tea, and am already feeling better. I still have to get through dinner but I have a plan and am not tempted to get off of it. We believe in fresh starts and when we decide to focus on a goal the sky is the limit, until a coworker or family member starts waving temptation in your face. This is where will power steps up and keeps you honest with your goals. You can’t let every chance to back down defeat you. Every time you say ‘no thank you’ and pass on the sweets or after work drinks your will power gets a little stronger. Think of it like a muscle. The more you flex it, the stronger it becomes. So stay strong and stick to your main goals because life likes to challenge you.
Before I say good bye to Monday here are a few tips to sticking to your clean eating habits:
1. When making your grocery list keep processed foods off. Instead of cereal add gluten free whole oats. Add fresh fruits and veggies to keep around for snacks. Start portioning your meals and making them more frequent.
2. Replace all sugary drinks with pure clean water. If you must have something different try brewing green tea and add a little honey and lemon. Or try juicing fruits and vegetables. I know it can get messy but it’s a great tasting way to try new things. Here is a juicing site to get you started.
3. Read your nutrition labels. If it has more than 3 ingredients and you can’t pronounce them, it’s a sure sign it should not go in your body.
Overall, stick to the source and stay consistent with your meals. When you plan ahead you are likely to stick to your program. Healthy eating should be a way of life and don’t worry, everything in moderation not deprivation.
Houston can be a tough city to find healthy meal choices when eating out. Here in Texas we like our southern fried foods and fatty meats and most of us have never met a potato we didn’t like! With our daily schedules, cooking at home is just not an option for a large number of busy professionals, executives, parents, and students. But if you are working toward a fitness goal, or if you have simply put healthy eating at the top of your list of priorities, then you need to know where you can go and what you can order when you can’t make your meals at home. Knowledge is power in this situation, and I hope to arm you with some of my experience and expertise on the matter.
Planning ahead…at least a LITTLE BIT
Most days you probably run out of the office and hit the road for home (or the gym!) at breakneck speed. Chances are your tummy starts rumbling while you are still sitting in traffic and you find yourself turning in to pick something up for dinner. Or perhaps it is lunchtime and you need something fast. If you have made the conscious decision to eat healthy, fast food is not on the menu. In fact, quite a few standard American choices are ruled out. So what’s a hungry guy or gal to do? The first step to a fool proof healthy eating plan is to do just as the name suggests…and PLAN. Pack your lunch and a few healthy snack options to curb your hunger. But if eating out is a major part of your routine, then you at least need to know where to go and what to order. The easiest way to do this is to know the healthy restaurants in your area (list below) or find it on HealthyDiningFinder.com or a similar site. Then, browse the menus online ahead of time. Many restaurants provide nutrition information online and in stores these days. When we have goals to accomplish it is important to stick to the plan and eat healthy even when we don’t prepare it ourselves.
This one can be tricky when eating out with co workers but if you know where you are going then you can take a sneak peak at the menu on line and plan ahead. Choose the item you will order while you are sitting at your desk. It is easier to think about and follow through with your healthy choices when you are not rushed by the people behind you or tempted by the table next to you. We live in a time when information is literally at our fingertips. Use your smartphone—most sites have mobile versions—and plan ahead. You can always call ahead as well and ask for special preparations. In fact, calling ahead and ordering your meal for pick up instead of eat in might just save you the temptation of ordering that dessert you saw. Don’t DRINK your calories. This should be a no brainer by now, remember a healthy diet does not include soda or alcohol for that matter. Many people automatically order a soda or alcoholic beverage with every restaurant meal and the calories can stack up by the hundreds. It just “goes together” in their mind and this is a thought cycle that will sabotage even the best of healthy eating plans. Choose water or unsweetened tea or coffee instead of regular soft drinks or alcoholic beverages. This will save a lot of calories. This is one more place where ordering your food to go can help you stick to your healthy choices when flying solo. You are far less likely to order a drink “to go”—it can be a pain to transport it home, and you know you have plenty of drink options in the fridge anyhow. Or better yet, water!
Whole Grains Are Your Friend
Most restaurants have a whole grain option for their pastas and sandwich breads, and brown rice in place of white. If you MUST order one of these types of starchy items, go for the whole grain varieties. The added fiber will offset some of the carby content at least to some extent. Let’s not forget our new gluten free friendly menus. More restaurants and healthy on the go places are catching on to the wheat free trend of eating.
Sauces: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
If you’re in the mood for pasta, look for tomato-based sauces rather than cream-based sauces. Tomato-based sauces are lower in fat and calories. In addition, the tomato sauce (or marinara sauce) can count as a vegetable! Another option is to ask for your pasta to be tossed in a small amount of olive oil with steamed veggies and a dash of garlic and salt. Always order sauces and salad dressings on the side. This way, you have control over how much or how little you add. When choosing a dressing, stay away from cream-based dressings like Ranch and Blue Cheese. These pack a huge punch when it comes to calories and instead choose a vinaigrette. One excellent trick is to ask for “oil and vinegar.” The waiter will bring you a little caddy of olive oil and some kind of vinegar, allowing you to control the amount of oil in the dressing you eat. Sour cream counts as a sauce too. Ask for salsa with a baked potato instead of sour cream, butter, cheese, or bacon. Salsa is very low in calories, tasty, and a healthy alternative with a lot of spice. Another tip is to ask for reduced-sodium soy sauce. Too much sodium will sabotage your healthy lifestyle in ways far too numerous to list here. Just go easy on the shaker and high sodium sauces like this one. Order sandwiches with mustard rather than mayonnaise or “special sauce.” Mustard adds flavor with virtually no calories. Other sandwich tips are to choose gluten free, whole grain bread, skip the cheese, and add vegetables as toppings. Also keep in mind that chicken salad, tuna salad, and egg salad are made with mayonnaise. These are calories that can add up and not considered the good kind.
Bread and Chips
A steaming basket of bread or fresh hot tortilla chips is sure to send your hunger bells into attack mode and innocent snacking on these while you wait for your order can result in hundreds of unhealthy calories offsetting all your hard work at the gym. Request that the waiter NOT bring these items to your table. No need to make it harder on yourself than necessary. Yet another good reason to order it all to go!
There have been studies done that show consuming a small cup of low calorie soup before every meal lowers overall caloric intake and will therefore aid in weight loss. Just be sure you choose a broth-based soup over a cream based option. Keep in mind that cream-based soups are higher in fat and calories than broth-based soups. Soup can serve as a great appetizer to a meal, or as an entree. Most soups are low in calories and will fill you up.
Salads at many restaurants have been teased and tossed and dressed within an inch of their healthy core. A small pile of iceberg lettuce loaded with grated cheese, bacon or ham, croutons, and smothered in creamy dressing can have as many calories as a cheeseburger! So be sure to ask for the dry Garden salad and dressing on the side. If you think you can’t leave them behind on the plate, request that the croutons and other toppings be left in the kitchen.
Where’s The Beef? Or Meat?
For meat dishes, look for leaner cuts such as skinless chicken breasts, turkey burgers, pork loin and beef sirloin. Select options that are flavored with spices and fresh herbs, as those items are more likely to have lower fat and sodium content. When ordering grilled fish (or vegetables,) ask that the food either be grilled without butter or oil, or prepared “light,” with little oil or butter. Do I have to tell you that anything battered or fried is out of the question?
Whenever possible order steamed or grilled vegetables rather than anything starchy. If your only choice is potatoes, choose baked or steamed rather than French fries, tots, chips or any kind of fried hash. Always ask for healthy choices, even if there are no healthy options listed. Restaurants often have veggies and fruit available for other dishes that they will be willing to prepare for you as a side dish.
Keep in mind that eating out, if at all possible, should be something you do only occasionally. Almost everything you make at home is going to be a leaner, healthier option. The hamburger you grill up at home is better than the one you can get at most restaurants when it comes to fat, additives, and other questionable ingredients. Plus no one looks at you funny if you choose to only eat half so that you can afford a french fry or three. Also, asking the waiter to box up half of your meal in the kitchen is increasingly more popular. Or you can ask for a box to be brought at the beginning of the meal and box it up before you dig in. Out of sight, out of mind! Restaurant portions are typically twice what you should have in one sitting in terms of calories and fat. If you get in the habit of only eating half of what is served, you will not only be spreading your calories out properly and avoiding over-indulgence, you will be saving money too, since you have leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch (or tonight’s dinner!)
HEALTHY EATS IN HOUSTON
The following restaurants are a few of my favorite places to eat healthy. Their menus are designed to have less fattening items and will tailor to your requests.
Snap Kitchen 3600 Kirby Dr. Houston, TX 77098 (713) 526-5700 www.snapkitchen.com
Zoe’s Kitchen 3701 S. Shepherd Drive Houston, TX 77098 (713) 522-7447 www.zoeskitchen.com
Ruggles Green 2311 W Alabama St Houston, TX 77098 (713) 533-0777 www.rugglesgreen.com
Field of Greens 2320 W Alabama St Houston, TX 77098 (713) 533-0029 www.fieldofgreenscuisine.com
Pepper Tree Veggie Cuisine Highland Village 3821 Richmond Ave Houston, TX 77027 (713) 621-9488 www.ilovepeppertree.com
My Fit Foods 5410 Kirby Drive Houston, TX 77005 713-592-9707 www.Myfitfoods.com