Online Fitness Coaching: Weekend Proof Your Nutrition Plan

This is my second post in a series of online fitness coaching tips to overcome some of the most common obstacles to regular exercise and healthy nutrition.

Obstacle #2:  “I do great all week. Then I blow my exercise and nutrition plan on the weekends.”

Does this sound familiar to anyone?  We work hard all week long preparing healthy meals, getting our daily workout and staying away from sugary treats.  Now here comes the weekend…family get-togethers, dinner out with friends, a holiday here, a special event there.  Monday morning comes.  We step on the scales while we peek through our hands.  Then we cringe because those two pounds we worked so hard to lose last week are back again…and sometimes they bring a friend or two!  Grrrrr! I’ve collected tips from the blogosphere at sites like Fitness Magazine, Mark’s Daily Apple, and Healthy Affordable Weight Loss.  I have also added a few of my own to help you through the minefield of the weekend.

  1. Stop the all or nothing thinking that surrounds the weekend.  Yes, you overate while you were out with your friends.  That’s no excuse to wave the white flag and binge all weekend.  Get back on track at the next meal.  Get up and move around.  You will feel better and burn off some of that overindulgence.
  2. Set a goal that 4 to 5 of the seven meals you eat from Friday evening to Sunday evening will be made at home with health in mind.  For the other two or three…..
  3. Eat a healthy snack at home before you head out for any “eating outing”.  That includes dinner out, holidays, weddings etc.  If you are not starving when you finally get your food, you will make healthier choices and eat less.  If you end up with big portions, take it home in a doggie bag for later.
  4. Plan ahead.  You can find online menus for almost any restaurant you go to.  Pick out a healthy menu option before you leave.  It can be fun to research the place you are going to eat before you get there.
  5. Be the first to order.  That way you won’t be negatively influenced by someone else’s meal choice.  Plus if you go first, you could positively influence someone else!
  6. Don’t linger at the table after the meal.  Suggest an after dinner walk or activity that doesn’t involve food.   If you don’t have any control over when you leave, order a low cal drink and sip away.
  7. Limit your alcohol consumption.  Alcohol lowers your blood sugar, which triggers eating.  Alcohol contains empty calories.  It also lowers your inhibitions. That will make it harder to say “no” to those tempting snacks and desserts present at your social activities.
  8. Build fun active-ities into your weekend.  Not everything you do should revolve around sitting and eating.  Hubby and I love to ballroom dance, so some weekends center around dance lessons, practices or dances. It’s fun, it’s social and it burns calories.  You may not be a dancer, but find something else you love to do that gets you moving on the weekends.

With these nutrition and exercise tips plus a little practice, those extra pounds and their friends will stop dropping by your house on Monday morning.  Do you have some tips that help you stick to your plan on the weekend?  Comment below!

 

Blog of the Week: Skinny Taste

It’s week number 2 and this week’s featured blog is Skinnytaste.com .  This blog has loads of low fat recipes that can help you keep on track when you are trying to eat healthy.  One feature I like is the Weightwatchers point system that is part of the recipes.  If you are using the points system, you could easily find a variety of dishes you could make.  There is a really easy to use index of recipes on the left side of the home page.  It’s called the recipe box (clever).  Of course there are loads of great pictures.  Gina, the author, is also and accomplished photographer.  You should definitely put Skinnytaste into your blog reader!

Help yourself to Gina’s Bio below:

“Gina Homolka is the author, recipe developer, and photographer of Skinnytaste, which features low fat, family-friendly, healthy recipes. She started Skinnytaste back in 2008 in an attempt to help her stay healthy, experiment with creating skinny recipes, and develop her photography skills to expand her own background as a digital photo retoucher.
On Skinnytaste, you’ll find healthy dishes that don’t sacrifice any of the flavor that can be found in their full-fat origins.  Gina knows all the food she prepares for Skinnytaste is tasty and satisfying, because after all, this is the same food she cooks on a daily basis for her friends and family, and they are some of her toughest critics!
Skinnytaste recipes have been featured on sites such as Glamour.com, Gourmet Live, The Kitchn, Finecooking.com, Fitness Magazine, More Magazine, Country Living, and was the winner of the SHAPE Magazine Best Healthy Eating Blogs 2011, The Homies: Best Home Cooking Blog for 2011 . Gina was born and raised in the suburbs of Long Island, NY.”

from Skinntaste.com “about me” 

Online Fitness Coaching: Finding Time to Work Out and Eat Well

I polled my Facebook friends and fans to see what obstacles they face when trying to exercise regularly and eat healthy food.  Over the next few weeks my online fitness coaching posts will offer advice on how to overcome each of these obstacles.

Obstacle #1             “I don’t have time to work out or cook healthy meals.”

This obstacle to healthy living is one we all struggle with at times.  Here are 10 tips to overcome it.

Exercise

1.  The surgeon general recommends adults get 60 minutes of exercise a day.  This 60 minutes doesn’t have to happen all at once.  You can get some exercise in when you are working (waiting) on something else.  I have a friend who sneaks some push-ups or sit-ups into her schedule every time she makes her hubby some popcorn.

2. Break your workout into smaller bites.  Today’s workout for me included a 20 minute brisk walk  early in the morning.  After work I did 30 minutes of Zumba and 10 minutes of Yoga.  There are workout programs like Ten Minute Trainer that break things into smaller chunks for you.

3. Schedule workouts when you have less distractions in your day.  For some people that is early in the morning.  I get home earlier than everyone else in the family so I get it done before they get home for the evening.

4.  Multi-task your workout.  Check e-mail on your Smart Phone while you are on the treadmill.  Have to watch the kids?  Run and play with them instead of just watching.  Make those phone calls on your list while you are taking a brisk walk.  When my youngest daughter was little she loved to play “Hunchback of Notre Dame”  This game amounted to me carrying her up the steps to our deck, holding her in the air and yelling, “Sanctuary!” We played until I couldn’t lift her up anymore.  If you think that wasn’t a workout you are wrong.  I was exhausted after that game.

5.  Remember that “functional workouts” can be part of your 60 minutes too.  Right now we are doing a lot of snow shovelling where I live.  It’s definitely a workout.  Other things that would qualify are yardwork, housecleaning, moving boxes, barn work, gardening and many, many others.

Nutrition

1.  Cook a healthy dish for dinner. Make enough so you can pack it up in some Tupperware and take it for lunch the next day.  Now you have two healthy meals instead of one.

2.  Make healthy recipes on the weekends when you are less pressed for time. Store them and freeze them.  Simply thaw and heat throughout the week.

3.  Buy presliced fruits and veggies that you can snack on instead of junk.

4.  Check the internet for healthy recipes that are quick and easy.  Google “easy healthy recipes” and see what you find.  One of my favorites that I just featured is The Picky Eater.

5.  Breakfast is the meal when I am most rushed and it truly is the most important meal of the day.  What about a protein shake for breakfast?  My favorite kind is Shakeology.  It’s easy and quick to make and I can drink it on the way to work (major time saver). It’s full of protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and “superfoods”.

Try one or more of these online fitness coaching timesaving tips and let me know how they worked for you.  Do you have any of your own timesaving tips for staying healthy?  Leave a comment below.

 

 

Blog of the Week: The Picky Eater

Part of online fitness coaching is helping you find the resources you need to live a healthier life.  With that in mind I am going to feature a blog each week that can help you reach your fitness and nutrition goals.

My first featured blog is The Picky Eater.  I recently discovered this blog when I went looking for easy to make healthy meals and snacks. Anjali features something new almost every day.  She offers a step-by-step guide on how to make each delicious recipe and (my favorite) lots of pictures to give you an idea of what the food will look like when you make it.  I don’t know about you, but if a recipe doesn’t come with a picture, I usually don’t try it.  These pictures are gorgeous.  You will definitely want to try to make what you see.  Happy, healthy cooking and eating everyone!

Anjali Shah is a food writer and owner of The Picky Eater, a healthy food and lifestyle blog. Her blog chronicles her adventures in making healthy recipes that her “fast food loving husband” will enjoy – so all of her recipes are “husband approved”! You’ll also find healthy lifestyle tips, snippets of Anjali’s everyday life, and other personal anecdotes alongside healthy and flavorful recipes on her blog. More about Anjali: She is a traveler, adventurer, cooking-show addict, lover of veggies, self-taught chef, and a Bay Area native. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, or Google+.

Online Fitness Coaching: A Sample Clean Eating Day

In my last post I outlined 10 online fitness coaching tips to get you back on track after the holidays. Here’s an example day of clean eating to give you some ideas on how to apply some of those tips.  I didn’t go hungry!

Breakfast: Shakeology made with 1 cup vanilla almond milk, 1 tsp. mint extract, 1 c ice

36 0z. of water

Morning snack 1/3 cup of raisins.

Lunch: Roasted potatoes with broccoli, carrots and beef broth

18 oz of water

Afternoon snack: One large orange. Oooh it was good!

4 0z. of baked haddock with dill and lemon juice, steamed broccoli and frozen carrots

10 oz. of water

Evening snack: Pure protein bar. 20 grams of protein.

Hope this jumpstarts your clean eating after the holidays!

Online Fitness Coaching: Nutrition Tips to Get Back On Track

It’s January and the holidays are over. You ate, you drank, you were merry.  Now comes the dreaded step on the scales.  Ugh! (My “ugh” was four extra pounds)   How to get back on track?  Here are 10 Nutrition tips from your online fitness coach to get you back to normal.

  1. Do Not beat yourself up!  We all have times when we leave the healthy path and get off track. Don’t let gaining a little weight make you throw in the towel completely.The holidays are over!

  2. Get rid of all the left over holiday treats in your house.  They are going stale anyway.

  3. Make a commitment to eat a nutritious breakfast every morning.  A piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter or granola with fruit are great choices.  I am  pressed for time in the morning so my choice is chocolate Shakeology with a teaspoon of peanut butter and a tablespoon of strawberries or blueberries.  I blend it with 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup water and 1 cup ice.  I can drink it on the way to work.

  4. Aim to eat 3 smaller meals and 3 snacks each day (300 to 400 calories each is a good rule of thumb).  This will keep you from getting really hungry and overeating.  It also keeps your blood sugar from spiking/dropping and keeps your metabolism humming all day.

  5. Eat five fresh or frozen fruits and veggies each day. They are packed with vitamins and minerals that your body craves.  Bonus, they are lower in calories.  This is high octane food.

  6. Make your drink of choice water.  Calories-Zero.  Did you know that 75% of your body is made of water

  7. Journal everything you eat for at least a week.  You don’t even have to look up calories and count them.  The simple act of writing down everything you eat will make you slow your calorie consumption.  If you are still struggling to get back to normal after a week, you can start counting calories for added accountability.

  8. Increase the protein and limit the white stuff (white sugar, white flour)

  9. Be present at all your meals and snacks.  Sit down, eat at a table, turn off the TV and don’t read and eat. If you actually focus on eating, you will eat less.

  10. If you dine out in the next week.  Make a choice from the healthy menu many restaurants include today. If there is no such thing, choose baked or broiled meats, skip the sauces and breading.  Choose a salad with a clear dressing. Pick veggies for your side (no, fries don’t count) and water to drink.

Try these tips this week and see how you do.  Let me know how it’s going.  Next post will be eight exercise tips to get you back on track.  In the meantime, here are some links to help you get started!

28 quick and healthy meals

Skinnytaste

 

Easy Healthy Appetizer

Here’s a healthy appetizer that your online fitness coach made recently for a get-together with friends.  It sure can relieve stress when you have something easy AND healthy to take  It only has about 80 calories per serving.  Thanks to Doug Garner for giving me the recipe.  It would go great with his Mr. G’s coffee!

1 package sliced fresh mozzarella cheese   

3 plum tomatoes

1 package fresh basil

balsamic vinegar

Drizzle some balsamic vinegar on a serving plate, arrange the cheese on the plate.  Slice plum tomatoes and arrange on the top of the cheese.  Chop fresh basil leaves and put on top of the tomatoes.  It’s that easy.

Online Fitness Coaching: Fitness Partners by Accident

My hubby is my fitness partner by accident.  How does that happen? I was thinking about how over the last 25 years , Bob and I have become fitness partners quite by accicent and it has been good for both of us.

For many many years, hubby lived the sedentary lifestyle.  This was much to my amazement. He had been an athlete in high school, but after graduation did not give exercising or healthy eating a thought.  No amount of encouragement from me could get him off the couch or his hands out of the chip bag.

Then, at age 40, he decided to start exercising.  He began to ride a stationary bike I got for Christmas.  It’s a good thing he made this decision.  It probably saved his life.  When he rode, he started to have a pain between his shoulder blades.  His family has a history of heart attacks at a young age.  He decided to go get it checked out and ended up getting a stent in the “widowmaker” artery that was blocked in his heart.  The widow would have been me….so I’m glad it all turned out the way it did!

Now he had to exercise and eat right.  Motivated mostly by fear, he began a running program and went on a low-fat diet.  I wanted to be supportive, so I also went on the diet and started t0 run.  The low-fat diet had a lot of tasty recipes and it wasn’t long until we both started to lose weight.  Hubby worked his way up to 5 miles per day and decided to enter some 5ks.  I am not much of a runner, but I would go along when he ran outside.  I couldn’t keep up with him, but we ran together on a cinder track near our house.  When he did a 5k in Southporte, NC I signed up for the 1 mile fun run. After while, I had to drop out of the diet because I was starting to be uncomfortable sitting on the floor or hard chairs. (I was losing weight in places where I sort of needed it!) So I added some snacks each day and tried not to indulge in front of him too much.

After quite a few years of this routine, the overuse injuries started to get hubby down.  He couldn’t run as much.  The fear factor was starting to wear off and he wasn’t sticking to his low-fat diet as well either.  Enter a friend who lost about 30lbs doing P90X.  Hubby decided he wanted to try it.  He ordered his P90X from the internet.  Of course I wanted to be supportive, so I decided to do it with him.  The first three days just about killed me (and I was already exercising regularly 5 days per week).  Then the results started to happen for both of us.  He gained upper body strength and I discovered I did have abs after all! I eventually could do some pull-ups and I had never been able to do that before.  This really increased the self-confidence.   We were both in the best shape of our lives.

About a year ago, hubby got a new, very sweet job that offered the services of a personal trainer.  He is able to work out to a plan tailor made for him and he can work out during his lunch hour.  I continued to be supportive by doing P90X plus and ChaLean Extreme at home.  Unfortunately, the weight krept back on for hubby, even though he was working out.  He scheduled an appointment to see the company nutritionist and asked me to go along.

Basically, she said he needed to make a conscious decision to change the way he was eating, especially on the weekends.  So now we are both eating more lean meats and fresh fruits and veggies and eating less bread, pasta and other starchy carbs.  We are also limiting desserts or changing the types of desserts we eat to more healthy choices.  We spend a lot of time planning meals, buying the groceries carefully and paying attention to when we are full.

Having a fitness partner can really make a difference when you are trying to change the lifestyle you are living and make it healthier.  It’s been working for Bob and I for quite a while.  If you would like a fitness partner or fitness coach contact me!

Online Fitness Coaching: Food/Mood Experiment Day 15

Day 15 Results

AM  Sleep:  7 hours  Mood:  7/10  Energy 6/10  Exercise:  Spin class at YMCA

Breakfast  protein bar 🙂

Lunch  Broccoli and chedder chees soup 🙁  salad 🙂  Greek dressing 🙂 tomatos 🙂 mozzarella cheese 🙁

Snack  1 scoop Shakeology 🙂  1 tsp almond butter 🙂  frozen strawberries 🙂  1/2 c water 🙂  1 c ice 🙂  watermellon 🙂  1 slice deli ham 🙂  1 c plain yogurt 🙂  frozed blueberries 🙂

PM  Mood:  8/10  Energy:  6/10

Supper  Talapia 🙂  Mango sauce 🙂  broccoli 🙂

Evening  Mood:  7/10  Energy:  7/10  Energy dip:  3 p.m.  Stress factor:  TOO BUSY today!

Good Food Mood %  17/18 or 94%  (yes!)

Food for Your Mood Experiment Day 14

Results for Day 14

AM  Sleep:  8 hours  Mood: 9/10  Energy:  7/10  Exercise: ChaLean Extreme Burn Circuit 1

Breakfast  1 scoop Shakeology 🙂 1 tsp peanut butter 🙂  3 Tbsp strawberries 🙂  1/2 c almond milk 🙂  1/2 c water 🙂  1 c ice 🙂

Lunch  whole wheat sandwich thin 🙂  6 slices ham 🙂 1 slice provolone cheese 🙂  watermellon 🙂  cerlery 🙂 almond butter 🙂

Snack  whole wheat sun chips 🙂  protein bar 🙂

PM Mood:  8/10  Energy:  9/10

Supper  4 1/2 oz  grilled chicken breast 🙂  tomato pesto 🙂 cucumber 🙂 tomatos 🙂  Italian dressing 🙂  water 🙂  watermellon 🙂

Evening  Mood:  9/10  Energy: 7/10  Energy Dip:  3 p.m.  Stress Factor:  None

Good Food Mood %  21/21 100% (great!)