What would happen if you only got ONE CAR in your life?

 
 
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Yes--I am a nutrition, fitness, and weight loss coach.  You're probably wondering WHY I am writing about cars.  

I promise this blog post is extremely important, so please read the entire thing!

I'm starting this with an analogy by Warren Buffet.  

Imagine that you turned 16 years old, and that you got to pick ANY brand new car that you wanted.  It could be a BMW, a Lexus, a Mercedes... ANYTHING you want!

Here's the catch though: You only get that ONE car to last your entire life.  If something happens to that one car, you can't get another one.  

  • How would you treat your car on a daily basis? 

  • What would you do to take care of your car?

I'm guessing that you would do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING in your power to take care of that car.  Because you KNOW it's the only car you'll ever have, chances are you'll take AMAZING care of it.

In reality, if something ever happens to your car, thankfully you are able to get a new one.

Remember that we all have only ONE body and mind.  

And how you treat it on a daily basis matters.  Treat your body and your mind like they are your most prized possessions--because they are.  And just to be clear, I'm not talking about buying yourself luxury items... I'm talking about making your health a priority.  

Work on creating healthy nutrition habits.  Find time throughout your day to exercise.  The actions you take on a daily basis matter.  

Sure, enjoying one alcoholic drink a week probably won't negatively affect your health... But enjoying one or more alcoholic drinks a day probably will affect your health.  

Remember that treating your body well involves more than just watching the foods you eat.  It also includes watching the foods you DON'T eat.  For example, if you're following a strict diet and you never eat carbs, you're probably missing out on important nutrients that can help prevent against Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems.  

If you're ready to take the next step in changing your life by learning how to take care of your "car," I encourage you to check out how I work with my clients.

Every single day, YOU are the one who is in the driver's seat of your car.  You have the power to decide how you want to live your life and how you want to treat your body.  

And how you treat your body on a daily basis matters.  

 

5 Ways to Show Your Body Love this February

 

February is the month to celebrate LOVE!  

The most important type of love you can find is love for YOURSELF.  Self love doesn't mean selfish love... It means loving yourself so that you have the humility and acceptance to love others.  

 
 
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Check out these 5 ways to help you show your body love:

1. MOVE!

It doesn't matter how you exercise, or where you exercise, or what time of day you exercise... All that matters is that you MOVE!  Movement helps to keep your bones, muscles, and heart strong and healthy.

2. Make a love list.

Our bodies are amazing.  Physically, our bodies are strong enough to carry us throughout our daily lives... from birth to death.  Mentally, our bodies get us through the most exciting AND the most tragic events we encounter on a daily basis.  Make a list of all the things your body has done for you that you are grateful for.

3.  Spoil your body.

Treat yourself!  I'm talking about a manicure, a massage, or even a relaxing bath.  You don't need to spend lots of money... Just find some time and quiet space for you to relax!

4.  Eat something amazing.  

It could be a juicy piece of fresh fruit, or it could be a decadent brownie... But ENJOY something that you've been craving.  Try not to go overboard on the portion size, but truly enjoy eating it.  Eat your treat slowly and mindfully, so that you can savor every bite.

5. LAUGH!

Find your favorite funny movie, or a funny book... Read your favorite jokes... It doesn't matter what triggers it, but I encourage you to LAUGH until you're crying.  Research suggests that belly-aching laughter relieves stress and physical tension.  Plus, it decreases stress hormones and boosts your immune system.

During this season of love, by all means, SHARE love with others!  But don't forget to take care and love yourself too!  

If you're interested in learning how to love your body on a deeper level, I encourage you to book a no-pressure consultation call with me.  On the call, we will talk about your current relationship with your body, and how we can work together to help you lose weight, improve your energy and your confidence, and your self-love.  

 

Tabata CORE Workout

 

Exercise is crucial to leading a healthy life, regardless of whether you're trying to lose weight or not!  

That doesn't mean that you need to spend hours a day sweating away in the gym!  Try this at-home core workout!  It's tabata, which means 20 seconds of work followed by 10 second recoveries!

Check it out here: 

 

5 Reasons to Hire a Weight Loss Coach

 
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Do you feel like you've tried every diet or exercise program under the sun to lose weight, without any real results?  Or, maybe you lost weight while on the diet, but gained it all back once the diet was over?  Worse yet, maybe you felt miserable and deprived on these restrictive diets and exercise programs?

Just because you've struggled in the past does NOT mean that you should give up on your health and fitness goals.  Ultimately, most diets and exercise programs don't work because of the following:

  • Traditional diets don't ever focus on your mindset... Or WHY you became overweight in the first place
  • They don't provide the motivation and support to help hold you accountable
  • They don't teach you the skills to keep the weight off long-term

Instead of trying to lose weight and create a healthier life on your own, check out 5 reasons why you should hire a weight loss coach to help you safely and efficiently lose weight, gain confidence, and lead the life of your dreams.

1. You can't seem to lose weight even though you have all of the nutrition and fitness information under the sun.

When you already know WHAT to do to lose weight, but you're not taking action and DOING it... It almost always comes down to a mindset issue! The wrong mindset can account for 90% of your struggles to lose weight.  This should tell you where the real problem lives.  It's not with the food or exercise, but with your mental relationship to the food and exercise.  If you work on fixing this, losing weight becomes easy.

2. You can't stop eating no matter how many diets you've tried.

No food diet has ever given you the coping skills to understand why you emotionally eat... Or why you eat when you're bored... Or why you eat when you're stressed.  Working with a weight loss coach can help you get to the bottom of these issues, so that you can move past these roadblocks once and for all!

3. You're constantly telling yourself you'll "start tomorrow" or "start next Monday"

The idea of waiting for the perfect time to lose weight is constantly paralyzing you from reaching your goals.  It might be out of fear, or it may be because you're not sure how to get started... But either way, try to realize that by constantly pushing back your "start" date, you'll never lose weight.

4.  You'd love to feel "normal" about food and be able to enjoy just "one"

Have you ever dreamed about food just being fuel for your body?  Imagine leaving a bag of chocolates on your counter for 2 weeks without eating one... Just because you didn't want one!  Imagine enjoying one cookie because you want it... Without the worry of eating the entire box, or the added stress and worry of gaining weight from one cookie.  

5. You believe that you deserve the help of a professional who has a proven track record in helping other women to lose weight.

You've hit a point in your life where you're ready to start taking care of YOU for once.  You've always put others first, but you've realized that you can't give to anyone what you don't have for yourself.  The more frustrated and fed up you feel with your weight loss journey, the less joy, love, and patience you have for your loved ones.  The struggles with your weight, your confidence, and your happiness are always in the back of your mind, and you can't seem to escape them.  

Since YOU believe that you deserve to hire a weight loss coach, so that you can permanently achieve a weight loss mindset that will allow you to have a healthy relationship with food AND your body, I encourage you to take the next step and book a complementary call with me.  On the call, we'll discuss your current health & fitness levels, your goals, and how I can help you gain the positive mindset to lose weight, keep it off long-term, and create a healthy life AND a healthy relationship with food!

 

5 Lessons to Help You Crush Your Health & Fitness Goals!

 

My husband and I just got back from an amazing ski vacation in Whistler, Canada this week!

While we had a fabulous time, I learned a few life lessons on my trip that can directly help you to lose weight, get fit, and reach any goal you set your mind on! Check out the lessons below:

 
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1. TRUST YOURSELF

At times while we were skiing, I found myself second guessing my own skill levels. Physically, I am a good skier who can conquer anything on the mountain. Mentally, I kept freaking myself out that I was going to fall and injure myself. I learned that when I trusted myself, I conquered all of the runs we skied AND I had a blast doing it! 

2. MAKE A PLAN AND EXECUTE IT LIKE A BOSS

While skiing, we hit quite a few runs that were covered in moguls, or huge bumps of snow. I quickly learned that the safest, most efficient way to ski moguls WHILE having fun is to create a pathway in your mind through the moguls and just GO. If you start to change your mind or question your path, you end up skidding over the bumps... Which isn’t fun and puts you at risk to hurt yourself. Don’t second guess your actions or your goals. Create a path and give it 100%.

3. DON’T LET SETBACKS RUIN YOUR PROGRESS

No matter what types of goals you’re trying to achieve, it's inevitable... You’re going to face setbacks. While skiing, there were times we encountered rocks or small cliffs. There were other times where I skidded on ice and fell down. I knew going into this trip that we were skiing for 6 days, so the chances I fall at least once were pretty high. I could’ve easily given up when I fell, but I strapped my skis back on and kept going. If you prepare for setbacks, you’ll be more more likely to keep going when they happen. 

4. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY (AND YOUR GUT!)

On the second day of our trip, I got the stomach flu. Needless to say, I felt pretty crappy. However, I tried to convince myself that I could ski in the afternoon after being sick all morning... When the afternoon rolled around, I had to stop and listen to my body. I was exhausted, and as much as I wanted to ski, I knew my body was too tired to stay safe on the mountain. Have you ever felt that deep feeling inside your gut? Let that feeling (your intuition) guide you while making decisions about your goals.

5. FOCUS ON ONE STEP (OR TURN) AT A TIME

From the top of the peaks to the village at Whistler was over 5,000 vertical feet. That means that many of the ski runs from top to bottom were a few miles long. Every time we were at the peak and I thought of how far we had to ski to the bottom, I became overwhelmed. I found that I enjoy skiing SO much more when I focus on each turn (or step of the journey) as opposed to getting to the “finish line.” Whether your trying to lose 5 pounds or 50 pounds, break up your big, final goal into smaller, manageable tasks. You’ll be surprised at how much progress you can make when you focus on one step (or turn) at a time!

Whether you’re trying to get a promotion at work, slim down and tone up, meet that special someone, or run a half-marathon... I hope these tips and tricks help you stay motivated to achieve your goals! 

 

Kicking off 2018 by Throwing it Back...

 

I'm kicking off 2018 thinking about all of the progress I've made throughout my life, and especially, over the past few years.

7 years ago, I lost about 15-20 pounds, and have kept the weight OFF since then.  

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Back in college, I ate way too much fast food and enjoyed way too many adult beverages. Mix those unhealthy habits in with a full course load of 19 credits and no time to exercise, it comes as no surprise that I gained more than a few pounds. 

After graduating, I moved to Chicago and knew I needed to make a change. I was unhappy with how I looked and felt, and lacked the confidence to lead a happy, fulfilled life. However, I wasn't about to be miserable and follow some strict diet OR give up my favorite foods to become healthy.

Check out the 3 biggest lessons I learned about losing weight (and keeping it off for 7 years!): 

1. You have to start with small, manageable changes.

When you decide to lose weight, you're going to want to try EVERYTHING at once... DON'T LET YOURSELF do this! You're setting yourself up to fail. Sure, you probably won't lose 20 pounds in 5 days, (which is never healthy anyways!) However, by focusing on ONE change at a time, you'll create a healthier life that leads to losing weight, and you'll gain the confidence to keep the weight off for good!

2. You have to be willing to put in the work AND be patient.

I wish I could wave a magic wand and *POOF* help others lose weight, but that's far from the truth.  Losing weight takes WORK and PLANNING. You have to make time to grocery shop (or get your groceries delivered), and you have to put some time in to planning your meals.  I'm not saying you need 7 hours to meal prep, but you DO need to look ahead at your calendar and find time to cook or prepare healthy meals and snacks for your week. Being prepared is the KEY to losing weight. If you struggle with finding time to cook healthy meals, invest in a crock pot. The crock pot has been my saving grace! You can throw chicken and veggies in it, leave it on low for a few hours with some sort of healthy seasonings and sauce, and BOOM, you have a few healthy meals cooked with only 5-10 minutes of actual prep time. 

In the same way, real results CAN'T and WON'T happen overnight!  You have to be consistent, and more importantly, patient.  I know it can be frustrating, but I promise you that results WILL happen if you stick to your health and fitness plan.  Give yourself at least 90-120 days to see some results before writing it off as "not working."  Remember too, 

3. If you completely give up entire food groups (think carbs) along with your favorite foods and drinks, you're setting yourself up to fail PLUS you'll just feel miserable.

NO--you can't eat pasta or ice cream for every meal throughout the week and expect to magically lose weight. However, enjoying pasta or ice cream ONCE every few weeks won't stop you from losing weight. I know this for a fact because I NEVER GAVE UP ANY OF MY FAVORITE FOODS when I lost weight. Life is simply too short to completely cut out your favorite foods and drinks!

Losing weight and keeping it off for 7+ years has taught me more lessons than I can count.  Heck, I'm still learning new lessons about health, wellness, and fitness every single day!  Whatever goals you have, whether you're trying to lose that stubborn 15 pounds, or trying to run a marathon, or trying to get a promotion at work, remember these 3 key points.  I promise that if you apply them to your daily life, you WILL crush your goals sooner than you think!

 

4 Ways to Help You SLEEP Better!

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With the Holidays quickly approaching, I probably speak for many of us when I say we feel BUSY and STRESSED!  Between end of the year time constraints at work, to holiday parties with friends, to family gatherings, there’s one thing that many of us sacrifice this time of year… SLEEP!

Check out these easy ways to sleep better throughout the holidays, many which don’t take much extra time at all!

1.    Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday.

Lots of us LOVE sleeping in on the weekends, but sticking to the same bed time and alarm time helps your body’s interval sleep clock, which can optimize the quality of your sleep. 

2.    Beware of lights!

Melatonin is a hormone that is found naturally in the body.  It is controlled by light exposure, and helps to regulate your sleep cycle.  When it’s dark, our bodies produce more melatonin, which makes us sleepy.  If you’re looking for a better quality sleep, try to limit screen time on your cell phone or computer for 1 hour prior to your bedtime.  To make mornings easier, you can turn a light on as soon as you wake up.

3.    Exercise Daily

Research suggests that people who exercise regularly sleep better at night, and feel more energized throughout the delay.  Even walking for 10 minutes a day has shown to improve sleep quality!  Be mindful of the time that you exercise though… Exercise releases cortisol and revs your metabolism, which means it may be harder to fall asleep immediately following a workout.

4.    Find ways to relax before bed

Stress, worry, and anger from your day can make it difficult to fall or stay asleep.  Try to find a relaxing nighttime ritual to help you fall asleep quicker.  For example, you can try taking a bubble bath or reading a book.  If it helps, consider keeping a notebook on your nightstand so you can write down any worries or ideas that come to you during the night.

Lack of sleep is one of the main ways we sabotage our health and fitness goals, especially weight loss.  Don't underestimate the power of a good night's SLEEP!

The “Stop and Start Mentality” is RUINING your health and fitness progress!

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Especially around this time of year, many women (including myself) wait to “start fresh” when it comes to reaching our health and fitness goals.  Do any of these excuses sound familiar to you?

·      “I want to enjoy the holidays with my loved ones without worrying about what to eat or when to exercise.”

·      “I’ll start after my baby is born.”

·      “I’ll start after my vacation next month.”

·      “I’m completely swamped at work, I’ll start after this big project ends.”

In reality, this “stop and start” mentality is probably sabotaging your health and fitness goals. 

Many clients have come to me asking to take a break during our work together.  Whether it be for a family vacation, work travel, or caring for a new baby, these clients truly believe that they are more likely to succeed if they take a break… And that they can start back up again once they have the time and energy to do it right. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s an AMAZING quality to want to do your best, especially when it comes to improving your health and fitness!  It’s completely NORMAL to want to take a break, and then continue (or start over) when life slows down a bit. 

At the same time, this completely normal and well-intentioned way of thinking is one of the EASIEST ways you can set yourself up for failure. 

Here’s why:

When you allow yourself to stop and then start over when it comes to reaching your goals, the only real SKILL you’re teaching yourself is to stop and start. 

When you choose to stop and start, you begin to feel relief deep in your gut.  But here’s the honest to goodness truth—

It’s ALWAYS hard to reach your goals, especially when you’re in the middle of your journey.  The perceived relief you feel from “starting over” is just that—a perception.  No matter how many times you stop and start the journey towards reaching your goals, the middle is ALWAYS GOING TO BE HARD because life is always throwing us curve balls.

It will probably feel WRONG to try to improve your eating and exercise habits when life gets crazy—whether that means you’re on vacation with your family or when you’re looking for a new job.  But working towards your health and fitness goals during crazy life events is when you learn the skills to stay healthy once you achieve your goal weight. 

Here’s more of the gut-wrenching truth:

Always allowing yourself to stop and start over DOESN’T teach you the skiils you need to create a healthy life long-term.  Our lives will ALWAYS have bumps in the road.  From caring for elderly parents, to moving across the country, to work travel, to stressful commutes… You have to learn the skills to be healthy in the middle of your normal, yet complicated, life. 

Let’s all accept the fact that life doesn’t come with a stop and start button.  Heck, we don’t even get a timeout or a pause button in life!

There’s NEVER going to be a moment when things are magically easier for us, especially when it comes to finding time to become healthy and fit.  In fact, Most fad diets fail to provide long-term results because they boil down to willpower, not skills.

So, what’s the solution?

How do you keep reaching for your goals when all you want to do is stop and take a break?

1.    Ditch perfectionism!

I can’t begin to explain how important this one is!  SCREW the idea in your head that you need to be perfect to see results.  This “all-or-nothing” mentality usually handicaps us, and gets us nowhere near our goals!  There is NO SUCH THING as being perfect.  I’ve helped hundreds of women lose weight while loving their life, and NONE OF THEM WERE PERFECT.

2.    Focus on Progress!

When you are struggling with the idea of pushing the stop button, just keep going!  The smallest decisions you make on a daily basis directly lead to results.  Sometimes it will feel awkward, and other times you’ll be half-assing it, but remember that you have the power to take action and to make progress.  Always try to do SOMETHING that pushes you towards your goals.

3.    Instead of pushing the stop button, adjust the gears on your wheel.

Don’t allow yourself to give up and take a break just because life gets hectic.  As I mentioned earlier, life doesn’t come with a stop and start button.  Try to think of your health and fitness goals as a wheel with different gears on it.  Wheels are never-ending… They continue in a full circle.  You can turn the gears up when life is calm, and you can turn the gears down when life gets crazy, but the wheel always continues to move. 

There is one major lesson here:  There is a HUGE difference between turning your gears from slow or very slow to off. 

When you learn that you reaching your goals is do-able and effective, even with your gears turned low or very low, you’ll never find a reason to push the stop button.

Use these two wheels as examples in your life.  Again, you can adjust up or down as you need, but never turn your fitness or nutrition wheel off!  

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If you'd like some support, guidance, and assistance while adjusting the gears on your wheels, I invite you to book a complementary consultation call.  On this no-pressure call, we'll casually talk about your goals, your roadblocks, and how you can start crushing your goals before the Holidays even arrive.  Grab your calendar and click here to book. If none of the times in my calendar work for you, click the "contact me" tab on my website and send me a message!

4 Ways to Stay Healthy on Thanksgiving!

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Yikes!  If you’re hoping to still enjoy thanksgiving dinner without diving off the deep end, check out these tips to help prevent you from overeating:

1.    Hydrate throughout your day!

Often times, our bodies disguise thirst as hunger.  Keep yourself hydrated throughout the day, which will help prevent over-eating when you sit down to the dinner table!  I recommend carrying around a water bottle with you as you prep your meal--it will remind you to stay hydrated!  In addition, if you plan on drinking alcohol, be sure to drink at least one glass of water in between alcoholic drinks.

2.   Eat Breakfast!

I can’t stress the importance of this one enough!!  If you skip breakfast on Thanksgiving morning, be prepared to feel starved by the time dinner rolls around!  Even if you’re eating early, I recommend starting your day with some protein and fruit, like a banana with peanut butter!  Eating breakfast will help prevent you from eating too fast AND eating too much food!

3.   Eat Slowly!

Remember that the true meaning of Thanksgiving is to be with family and friends!  Enjoy your dinner by focusing on the conversations happening at the table, as opposed to how quickly you can finish off your plate.  Try to set your fork down every few bites, and challenge yourself to drink a glass of water during the meal.

4.   Beware of the appetizers!

By all means, I want you to ENJOY your appetizers and your dinner on Thursday!  Just be aware of how many hors d’oerves you’re eating!  Be sure to save room for the main course—that’s where you’ll find the BEST thanksgiving foods!  If you’re extremely hungry when cocktail hour starts, try snacking on fruits & veggies!  Most importantly, do NOT stand near the appetizer table!  I promise you're much more likely to overindulge if the appetizers are easy to grab! 

I want you to ENJOY your favorite Thanksgiving meals, but use these tips to help prevent over-indulging!  If you’re looking for the support and motivation to KICKSTART your weight loss goals before the end of 2017, I encourage you to grab your calendar & book a complementary, no-pressure consultation call.

PS--Keep your eyes open for an AMAZING Black Friday deal on my gold coaching program.  You won’t want to miss this!  If you book a consultation call now, I'll be sure you get the deal! 

Healthy Meal Prep 101: Use Your MORNINGS to Kickstart Meal Prep!

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Meal Prep is often needed to help with weight loss, but it's seen as a scary task that takes HOURS to complete!  

Check out these ways you can make your mornings more productive when it comes to prepping healthy meals!

In the morning, try to incorporate small cooking tasks into your routine.  I know mornings can be rough for many of us, so I encourage you to focus on manageable tasks... like chopping, boiling, toasting, and washing. 

Pair food prep with a morning ritual, and you’ll be surprised how easy it becomes!  For example, while making your morning cup of coffee, wash your produce.  Or, while packing lunches, chop up some veggies. 

I recommend adding 15 minutes to your calendar each morning, so that you won’t forget to food prep.  When you commit to starting your mornings by scheduling meal prep & a morning ritual, you're MUCH more likely to stick with it!

Lastly, I encourage you to prep in bulk.  I promise that cutting up a few carrots is just as fast as slicing up one.  If you're going to scramble eggs for breakfast, add in a few more for tomorrow's omelet.  If you're baking chicken for dinner, throw an extra piece of chicken in the oven and use it for protein on tomorrow's salad.

Believe me, I know mornings can be rough for all of us... If you add meal prep to something you ALREADY do every morning, like make breakfast or a cup of coffee,  you'll be surprised how easy meal prep (& weight loss) can become!

10 Easy Ways to Burn an Extra 100 Calories!

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We all KNOW the best way to burn calories is to exercise.  However, just because you don’t have time to squeeze in a workout on a daily basis doesn’t mean you can’t burn some extra calories and rev your metabolism doing daily tasks. 

Check out the ways you can burn an extra 100 calories today without adding much stress or time to your day!

1.  Cook Dinner at Home. 

Washing vegetables, chopping onions, prepping meats, and mixing together ingredients all burn more calories than you think.  Spend about 40 minutes cooking and you’ll burn approximately 100 more calories. 

2.  Clean your Bathroom.

If you spend 25-30 minutes scrubbing your tub and toilet, you’ll burn an extra 100 calories.  Not only will you burn extra calories, but also you’ll feel great knowing that the bathroom is sparkling clean.

3.  Park far away from the door and always take the stairs.

Think about how many places you drive and how many elevator rides you take during the day.  Try to always park intentionally far away from the door, and always take the stairs instead of the elevator.  You’ll be surprised how many extra calories you burn!

4.  Paint a room inside of your home

Try spicing up your home by painting your bedroom a new color!  35-40 minutes of painting will burn an extra 100 calories.

5.  At work, use a headset for phone calls and walk around your office

If you spend your day sitting at your desk on the phone, try using a hands-free headset and walking around your office as you talk.  35-40 minutes on your feet can torch that extra 100 calories.

6.  Call your best friend and LAUGH!

Research suggests that spending at least 20 minutes of your day laughing can help you burn that extra 100 calories.  Call your best friend and enjoy catching up while laughing with each other!

7.  Keep a jumprope in your desk at work!

Instead of walking to get an afternoon coffee, spend 10 minutes jumping rope at work or outside.  A quick 10 minutes is all you need to burn about 100 calories!

8.  Clean out your closet

Spend a rainy or snowy afternoon cleaning out your dresser and your closet.  Try on old clothes, and part with the ones you haven’t worn in over a year.  You’ll be surprised how many calories you can burn, plus your closet will thank you!

9.  Spend time stretching!

Spend 20-30 minutes stretching or doing your favorite yoga poses to help you relax and to help you torch about 100 calories!

10.  Move during commercial breaks!

We all have that favorite TV show… Spend the commercial breaks moving, and you’ll easily torch more than 100 calories!  Squats, Lunges, Planks, Jumping Jacks… You can choose any exercise you wish, just keep moving!

Exercising isn’t the ONLY way to burn calories and stay in shape.  Try these tricks to help rev your metabolism AND help you reach your health and fitness goals without adding stress to your daily life!

Tricks to stay HEALTHY this HALLOWEEN!

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It’s hard to believe it’s already HALLOWEEN week!  Along with the jack-o-lanterns and costumes comes the temptation of sugar-loaded treats.  Just because Halloween is full of tricks and treats DOESN’T mean you have to give up your health and fitness goals.  Just because Halloween candy comes in small portions doesn’t mean it’s calorie or fat-free.  There is a good amount of sugar, calories, and fat found in fun-sized candy bars. 

Check out these tips to control your candy cravings! 

1.    If you plan to give away candy to trick-or-treat kids, buy your LEAST favorite kind of candy.

It’s MUCH easier to stay away from the candy bowl if you don’t find the contents to be enjoyable.  If your favorite candy is “Halloween” themed, you may be surprised to learn that most Halloween candies are available year-round.  Even candy corn tends to have a different shape and color for most seasons!

2.    Splurge on sugar the natural way.

If you’re constantly craving Halloween treats this time of year, satisfy your sweet tooth with naturally sweetened fruits!  Be sure to keep your fridge stocked with pears, apples, and grapes, so that you can enjoy natural sugar without the added calories and fat. 

3.    Wait until the last minute to purchase candy. 

If you purchase candy 2 weeks before Halloween, you’re MUCH more likely to open the bag and splurge on the treats before October 31.  Wait to buy your trick-or-treat candy until Halloween morning.  If you think about it, it’s probably better to buy less candy and run out than to buy too much and overindulge. 

4.    Eat candy with your non-dominant hand

This probably sounds crazy, but current research suggests that if you eat with your non-dominant hand, you can cut down how much food you eat by up to 30%.  This teaches you to slow down and actually enjoy the candy or food you’re eating.  Instead of focusing on the next piece of candy you’re going to eat, enjoy the one that’s currently in your mouth.

5.    Donate your leftover candy

If you find yourself tempted by leftover candy after Halloween, consider donating your candy!  There are many charities and organizations that send candy overseas to our US troops.  Click here to find an organization near you to donate your candy!

Halloween officially kicks off the holidays, as well as the final two months of 2017.  Use these tips and tricks to help you stay on track during the most festive (and indulgent) time of year!

Check out one of my client's transformation!

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One of my online weight loss coaching clients has been KILLING it lately!

Today I'm excited to share her transformation story.   

She works full-time, has a 2-year old daughter, & has an active social life... So she doesn't have time to spend hours a day meal prepping or exercising.

She approached me back in January, and was ready to make a change.  She had tried weight watchers, as well as numerous smoothie and shake diets in the past...  And sure, she lost some weight while on the program, but these diets didn't help her change her behaviors.  As soon as the diets were over, her old nutrition & exercise habits crept back, and so did the weight she had lost.  

Plus, as the mom of a 2-year old who works a full time job, she didn't have the time or the energy to spend hours a day meal prepping or working out. 

Slowly, we worked together to create healthy nutrition & exercise habits that fit into her busy lifestyle.  

  • We developed coping strategies for when life got busy & stressful, or for times when there weren't the healthiest options to eat while dining out.  
  • We figured out what types of workouts worked best for her body and her goals
  • We worked together to find time for her to complete her workouts and habits
  • I helped her stay motivated and accountable, so that she stayed on track to reach her goals
  • NO foods were off limits.  Instead of focusing on what NOT to eat, she focused on mostly eating foods that would help her reach her goals, like vegetables and lean protein.  Seriously--she still ate cookies and drank wine and lost weight.  She was just  aware of how often and how much she ate cookies and drank wine.
  • She did the work & followed the plan we created together.  

And guess what?  For the first few weeks, she lost 0 POUNDS.  You read that correctly--the scale stayed the exact same for the first few weeks we worked together.  

Even though she questioned the program, she continued to follow our plan, and noticed that she felt different.  She had more energy to exercise & to play with her daughter... She was more focused & productive at work... She slept better...  She just FELT better overall.

Within a few weeks, her clothes fit differently, and the number on the scale slowly began to drop.  

There were bumps in the road and there were times where she wasn't perfectly following our plan...  There were days she planned to exercise and didn't... And there were days she didn't follow her nutrition habits as closely as she could've...  But that didn't matter.  She made progress and learned more about herself each and every day.  And her results show it!  She continued to lose weight, and more importantly, feel more confident and energized than she ever imagined.  

I'm proud to say that in 6 months of working together, she has lost over 30 pounds and over 32 inches!  

You can see her transformation in the photos above.  It's easy to see that she has lost weight, but if you look closely at the photo on the right, her body language shows more confidence than the photo on the left. The subtle hand on her hip with her shoulders back simply shows how much better she feels.  

If you're ready to create your OWN customized nutrition & exercise plan, and to look and feel your best, then I invite you to book a free consultation call.  This is a no-pressure call where we'll talk about your goals, and how I can best support you to become the healthiest version of YOU.  Grab your calendar and click here to book a call.

How to Make Healthy Choices at the Grocery Store!

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Good nutrition and healthy habits often start in the grocery store. Let’s be real though—sometimes it’s overwhelming to try to shop healthy at the store. With an abundance of low-fat, low-carb, and “light” options in the store, how do you choose the healthiest options for you and your family? Nobody has time to spend hours in the grocery store studying food labels.

Check out these tips to help make grocery shopping for healthy foods an EASY task:

1.   Plan ahead!

Before you hit the grocery store, make a menu of all the meals you plan to cook from this trip. From there, create a shopping list. It takes a few minutes to plan, but it will help prevent missed ingredients from the store.

2.   Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store.

While shopping, try to stick to the edges of the store. This is where fresh foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, meats, and fish are usually found. Try to avoid the middle aisles, where most processed “junk food” is found.

3.   Stick to the 80/20 box rule.

Before checking out, take a peek at your cart. Only about 20% of the contents should be in a box. Think about foods that come in boxes boxes. For the most part boxed foods, like crackers, cookies, and frozen meals, are processed and include little nutrients and excess sugar. On the flip, about 80% of your cart should include real foods, such as meat, vegetables, whole grains, and fruits.

4.   The fewer ingredients, the better.

I encourage you to take a quick glance at the ingredients list on food labels while shopping.  As a general rule of thumb, remember that the fewer the ingredients, the better.  Most processed, unhealthy foods contain all sorts of added sugars, fats, and preservatives, so they tend to have longer ingredient lists.

5.   Buy whole grains and (some) healthy fats in bulk.

If you buy whole grains, such as quinoa and brown rice, and some healthy fats, including almonds, in bulk, you’ll be surprised how much money you save over time. Plus, you’ll always have a healthy go-to snack or dinner ingredients at home.

6.   As soon as you get home from the grocery store, cut up all fruits and vegetables.

How many times have you bought fruits and veggies at the store, only to have them spoil in the refrigerator before you even cut them up? It’s definitely happened to me before! I recommend washing and cutting up ALL fruits and vegetables before putting them away in the refrigerator. You’re MUCH more likely to eat them if they are ready-to-go!

Shopping at the grocery store doesn't have to be a daunting task.  Try to follow these tips, and you'll become a pro at grocery shopping for whole, nutritious foods in no time! 

SLEEP: Can it help you to lose weight?

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So often, we hear all about nutrition, exercise, and diets while talking about weight loss.  There’s one key ingredient missing that helps with weight loss, and almost NOBODY (myself included) is talking about it.

Proper SLEEP is a crucial ingredient in weight loss.  Current research suggests that proper sleep can help you avoid gaining weight and can gradually help you lose weight over time. However, if you’re hoping to lose 10 pounds in a month, sleep by itself isn’t the answer. Let’s check out why:

1.   Less sleep = less energy

The less sleep you get, the less energy you have to simply live. That means you have less energy to exercise & be active, less energy to work, and your body has less energy to efficiently burn calories.

2.   Lack of sleep causes hormonal imbalances

Without proper sleep, your body can’t produce the proper hormones needed to live a healthy life. Two hormones that are created while we sleep—leptin and gherkin—help to control appetite. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body can’t make these two important hormones, which means you eat more than you need while awake.

3.   Sleep helps to stop late night snacking.

Often times, late at night is when mindless snacking happens.  You’re watching TV and grab a bag of chips because you’re bored and want something to munch on, but if you check in with your hunger levels, you’re not really hungry.  If you start going to bed earlier, you’re MUCH less likely to indulge in late night mindless snacking.

4.   Lack of sleep weakens your immune system

Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep tend to get sick more often.  In addition, those who don’t get enough sleep take longer to recover once they ARE sick.  When we sleep, our bodies release proteins called cytokines.  When we get sick, our bodies need to produce even more cytokines to help fight off our infections. 

So what’s the solution?

Ideally, we should try to sleep for 7-9 hours every night.  I know that’s much easier said than done, so how do we make that happen??

Check out these ways to improve your sleep:

  • Put away electronics at least 30 minutes before bed
  • Read, meditate, stretch, or find some other way to relax before going to bed
  • Take a warm shower or bath
  • Be sure your bedroom is cool (67 degrees)
  • Make your bedroom as dark as possible
  • GO TO BED!  Most of your late-night worries can wait until tomorrow morning.  Resist the urge to worry about your biggest struggles and go to bed!

Eating healthy and exercising is important to losing weight and reaching your health and fitness goals, but proper sleep is crucial to helping you reach your goals.  Strive to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night, and you’ll be surprised how energized you feel and how it helps you reach your goals!

The ONE surprising thing that helped me crush my goal!

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Earlier this month, I ran my second 10K race of the summer.  I set a goal to beat my first time (55 minutes on the dot).  It wasn’t always easy, but I finished my second race with a time of 50 minutes and 15 seconds.  

While achieving my goal, I didn't train any different physically than I did for my first race.  

Yep... You read that correctly.  I followed the exact same training regimen I followed for my first race.

So what changed between my first and second race?  How was I able to shave almost 5 whole minutes off of my finish time?

ONE thing changed between my races:  my mindset.  

I’m sure you’re familiar with the quote, “It’s mind over matter.”  I’ve heard it 1000 times before, but to be honest, I never really believed it.  I thought that no matter how hard I worked, I could achieve anything I wanted.  Little did I know I was missing out on a HUGE part of the puzzle.

For my second race, I visualized myself running a faster, more efficient race.  I knew I could physically run 6.2 miles… After all, I had completed that distance during my first race.  But this time around, I actually spent time focusing and imagining myself running a faster race.

As I mentioned above, I didn’t physically train for my second race ANY differently than I did my first race.  For both races, I ran anywhere from 2-4 miles 2 mornings a week, and spent one morning on the weekends running 4-5 miles.  Mentally, I had imagined running faster during my second race SO many times I knew it would happen.  It was a done deal— I was 1,000 times more prepared for my second race mentally. 

I can’t begin to describe how important it is to have the right mindset when it comes to reaching ANY goal you may have.  Yes, it DOES take hard work physically, but without the right mindset, you're holding yourself back from reaching your true potential.  Truly envision yourself reaching that goal, and you’ll be surprised how often it happens. 

If you're looking for support to help get your mindset on the right track, so you can lose weight, tone up, and live a confident and energetic life, I invite you to book a complementary consultation call with me.  We will have a no-pressure conversation about how I help clients achieve their health and fitness goals.

Tasty Carrots and Brussel Sprouts Recipe!

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Although the weather has been unusually warm in Chicago for this time of year, I’m happy to share this delicious fall veggie recipe with you today!  It’s low in calories, carbs, and fat, and high in flavor!  Plus it’s ready in about 20-30 minutes. 

Ingredients:

·      2 pounds Brussel Sprounts, trimmed and halved

·      1 ½ cups (1/4 inch) diagonally cut carrots

·      ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

·      Cooking Spray

·      1 Tablespoon butter

·      ½ Cup Capers (well-drained)

·      1 tablespoon chopped Parsley

·      Dash of salt

·      Dash of pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450º.

2. Combine Brussels sprouts, carrots, and 3 tablespoons oil in a medium bowl, tossing to coat. Spread on large roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.

ENJOY!

 

How I transformed my life WITHOUT feeling deprived or giving up my favorite foods!

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A few weeks ago, one of my clients reached out to me and said, "You make it seem so easy to eat 5 servings of vegetables every day!! How do you do it?"

 

Here's the honest truth-- It took me YEARS to develop the practice of eating lots of veggies on a daily basis... and many other healthy habits too! 

Living a healthy lifestyle didn't always come easy to me, especially in college.

Growing up, I was always an active kid. I danced 4 to 5 nights a week, and played recreational softball and golf. Growing up, my parents did a great job of serving balanced meals to my siblings and I (thanks Mom and Dad!).

Things really changed for me in college. I was a stressed out college kid taking 21 credit hours each semester so I could graduate in 4 years with 2 degrees. Without having my parents there to cook healthy meals for me, I ate too much pizza and Wendy's on-the-go, and chugged way too many white chocolate mochas from Starbucks so that I could study all night. Plus, throw weekend parties into the mix, and you've got a recipe for some pretty unhealthy habits.

After college, I moved to Chicago to pursue a career as a professional contemporary/jazz dancer. As you can imagine, the eating habits I established in college didn't work well for someone who is trying to make it as a dancer. I felt tired all the time, I struggled with acne, and I knew I could lose a few pounds from the late night beer and pizza in college.

I knew I needed to make a change, but I WASN'T ready to feel deprived, or hungry all the time. I wasn't ready to give up going out to dinner with my friends, nor was I ready to spend 3 hours a day sweating in the gym.

I knew there HAD to be another way. While googling (yes I’m one of those people who googles everything…) one day, I stumbled upon the science and research behind habit-based behavior change. BINGO!!!! I knew I had found what I was looking for.

Habit-based behavior change focuses on changing one small habit at a time, so that the changes you're creating actually last long-term. Habit best behavior change can be applied to ANY area of life, so I immediately begin to apply it to my nutrition and exercise habits.  I started small.  The first habit I tackled was to drink at least 100 ounces of water each day.  Slowly, I added more healthy nutrition habits to my life.

And the results I achieved were life changing! Seriously. I lost weight, my acne cleared up, I felt energized all day long, and I gained confidence both inside and outside of the dance studio.  And the BEST part was that while improving my life, I still ate pizza, and went out for drinks with friends… I just learned how to enjoy life’s indulgences sparingly and in moderation. 

When a ski injury ended my dance career, I KNEW it was my mission to help other women.  I became a certified personal trainer and Level 1 Precision Nutrition coach (the leaders in habit-based nutrition coaching.) 

If you’re looking to lose weight or to simply live a happier, I know that creating healthy habits can transform your life.  I would love to jump on a complementary consultation call.  On this no-pressure call, we can discuss how habit-based coaching can help YOU look and feel more energized and confident than you have in years. 

Cheers to taking the first step in creating a happier, healthier, more energized YOU!