Fitness Friday: 3 Reasons You Can’t Out-Exercise a Bad Diet

image1Back in high school and college, I could eat whatever I wanted and stay a size 4. I was an athlete and my metabolism was on fire. After lacrosse practice, I would hit the dining hall- hard. After hours of running, drills, and strength training, my body needed to be refueled. I was in college and could get away with it; but since then lifestyle has changed and no longer am I working out at that intensity. As you age, your body changes just as your exercise routines will evolve. Reality check: even with working out daily, maybe twice a day, you can’t change your body composition if you’re indulging in ice cream and trying to counteract it with SoulCycle. I’m a strong believer that abs are made in the kitchen and unfortunately, all the cardio in the world won’t be able to help if you’re maintaining an unhealthy diet.

1. You are not a professional athlete
Now you’re a regular person who enjoys exercise and still a bad ass athlete – which is totally fine! Exercising isn’t a full-time job for most of us and our days aren’t spent training. Finding a balance between workout routines and eating can be hard. It’s difficult to justify regular take out meals simply because you are going to CrossFit in the morning. #WOD. But be realistic about the calories you’re expending in a workout v. how many calories you are consuming. Just because you worked out doesn’t necessarily mean it should be rewarded with food. Instead, choose to prepare home-cooked, lean meals and save that penne alla vodka as your post-race celebration meal. Don’t get me wrong, special indulgent meals are fine once in awhile; but don’t try to justify it with an intense sweat session you may have had earlier in the day.

2. Not eating enough means you won’t have energy to exercise
Not all diets are healthy- be careful with low-calorie and low-carb diets especially if you are hitting the gym hard. Your body needs to be fueled properly in order to sustain yourself throughout that lifting session or cycling class. Restricting your eating can leave your body searching for a source of energy to complete your workout. Unfortunately, restrictive eating plans often only leave your lean muscle mass as a source of energy. There are essential fats and certain nutrients your body may be missing, and as a result it could inhibit your body’s ability to build lean body mass. Make sure to eat prior to exercise to help your body perform at its best; this is also important to avoid feeling dizzy or having your blood sugar drop too low.

3. Calories in v. Calories out
Simple, right? We gain weight due to a lack of physical activity in combination with overeating. So fix it by eating less and exercise more. Yes… but no. All calories are not created equal- fried zucchini is not the same as spiralized zucchini noodles (yum!) The same way broccoli and cupcake calories are not the same. Foods contain different nutrients which cause various physiological effects within your body; what you eat can signal your body’s hormones to burn fat, boost metabolism, build muscle, OR it could create the opposite effects. If your nutrition is sub-par, you can keeping exercise all you want but still struggle to lose weight.

Bottom line: Make sure you are being honest with yourself when it comes to your nutrition. Honest about what you’re eating and being realistic about how that balances out with your exercise routine. Making good choices without restricting yourself will allow you to make lasting nutritional changes.

Happy snacking!
Louise

Lifestyle Changes v. Fad Diets

It happens way too often: you step on the scale, freak out, and exclaim “Oh my gosh! I am going on a diet!” Tomorrow. But what diet? Liquid, low carb, protein shakes, skipping meals? How long does that last? The problem is that it isn’t sustainable; at some point you’re going to eat pasta or become too hungry. We sometimes give in to fad diets when searching for a quick fix, but they cannot provide lasting results.

A “fad diet” is a weight loss plan that may over-promises results. These types of diets don’t result in long-term weight loss and are usually not very healthy. You may have heard of some of them or tried one; think of a liquid diet or controlled/limited carbohydrates.img_3230

Often times, we are willing to try anything that promises to help us lose weight- especially if it promises to be quick and easy. I mean who wouldn’t want to lose 5 pounds overnight?! The main reason anyone goes on a diet is because they want to look or feel better; or maybe they are worried about developing weight-related diseases. Diets like these are appealing because of their quick fix instead of making the effort to lose weight through long-term changes in their eating and exercise habits. But let’s be honest, it took time to put that weight on and it is going to take time to work it back off.

Your lifestyle is composed of what you eat, how you manage your stress, how often you exercise and more. Lifestyle changes require you to alter these behaviors; whether it is restricting fast food or trying to get 10,000 steps a day. The key is that these habits are maintained as opposed to being a short term fix. This is the key to creating healthy, long-term changes.

It is important to remember that healthy weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. Fad diets often promise rapid results which may lead to unhealthy weight loss. Limiting food choices without encouraging a balanced diet won’t create lasting changes.

Here are some easy ways I incorporate healthy choices into my everyday life:

  • Don’t skip meals: this includes breakfast. I also pack snacks in case I get hungry between meals or if I need a “second breakfast” aka my favorite meal!
  • Limit liquid calories: avoid soda and limit alcohol. Beware of what you order to drink at restaurants. Always keep a water bottle handy when you are on the go.
  • Exercise on a regular basis: the best kind of exercise is exercise that you’ll continue. Choose activities that you enjoy and spice it up! Try running, cycling, step aerobics, and weight lifting.
  • Increase daily physical activity: try to hit your 10,000 steps per day even if it means running around your apartment or doing jumping jacks at night

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How have you made healthy lifestyle changes? What habits have you had to break?

Keep on keeping on,
Louise

Fitness Friday: Must Have Kitchen Essentials!

Two weeks ago I wrote about my secret to meal prep success. Today I am taking you behind the scenes of some of my favorite tools that assist in my conquering of the kitchen. Have you ever walked into Bed Bath and Beyond for an item and suddenly came up with a need for 10 different kitchen accessories? Anyone? Okay well I’ll be honest, I am a sucker for a trip to BBB. And don’t get me started on Home Goods. OFCOURSE I need that random wine glass with a cute quote and that placemat which is perfect for taking photos on.

So over the years, I have tried and tested a million different kitchen tools. This is probably an exaggeration but maybe not by much. So here are a list of the essentials that I think everyone should have in their kitchen. I excluded some of the obvious like pots and pans (even though I just received my first stock pot as a present this Christmas #lifechanging) and got right down to the fun stuff.

1)8” Chef’s Knife. This is the #1 tool that everybody should have his or her kitchen. It is not only an investment in your health, but also a huge time saver. I recommend heading over to your local cooking store and holding a variety of knives. I would also inquire about a knife skills class while you are there. I picked up my Shun knife at my local Sur La Table after I took one of their classes. You will save so much time in the kitchen with the appropriate chef’s knife!

http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-268912/Shun+Classic+Chefs+Knives

2) Serrated Paring Knife. Just like a chef’s knife, having an appropriate paring knife will save you mega time in the kitchen. I love to use this on some of my fruits and vegetables and it is especially helpful for cherry tomatoes! Added bonus: they are adorable.

http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-1021658/Kuhn+Rikon+Serrated+Paring+Knives+

3) Cutting Boards. This may seem like an obvious answer but after visiting some friends, it needs to be said. You want to have a few different sizes to fit the occasion. I like to use a small one for smelly things like herbs and garlic and a big one for all of my vegetable prep. There is nothing worse than trying to prep something on a board that is too small. Why bother!?

http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-2081735/Sur+La+Table+Thin+Bamboo+Cutting+Boards+Set+of+3

4) Ninja Blender System (Blender/Food Processor). I was worried about the price of the Ninja when I first bought it but it was worth every penny. This isn’t my exact one but it is very close. Find a single base that can blend, chop, pulse, mix EVERYTHING. We use all of the accessories on a regular basis so it is nice to have that universal base. The single serve cups are great for smoothies and the two different food processor sizes is fantastic. I live in a smaller appointment so having one base is a huge space saver.

http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/nutri-ninja-reg-blender-system-with-auto-iq-trade/3287312?Keyword=Ninja

5) Garlic Peeler. It seems so simple yet it amazes me every time. I feel like every single recipe calls for garlic. Throw a clove in, roll it back and forth, and it comes out naked and ready to be chopped!

http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-886283/Kuhn+Rikon+Garlic+Peelers

6) Garlic Press. Okay so this may seem silly but it is not I promise. I have mentioned it before that I hate chopping garlic. This press saves my relationship with garlic and it is perfect! The plastic grate makes it easy to clean and it works like a charm. I have tested several different presses and this one wins by leaps and bounds. I bought 4 of them to give as Christmas presents because they are that good!

http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-1172410/Sur+La+Table+Slice+and+Dice+Garlic+Press

7) Apple Slicer. My favorite way to start my day is an apple and my coffee. I always follow it up with a real breakfast of some sort but it’s just the perfect wake me up. Ever since I had braces in high school (wahhhhh), I haven’t been able to bite into apples! It’s also not the safest while operating a motor vehicle. This gadget is used every day and it has held up over time with perfect apple slice after perfect apple slice.

http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-1613074/Progressive+Wedge+and+Pop

What are some of your favorite kitchen gadgets? Is there something I should add to my list?

 

Xo, Pam

P: My Food Prep Rituals!

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” is one of my favorite quotes. If you do not take the time to give yourself the tools to be successful- the odds are against you! This leads me to Meal Prep Sunday/Saturday/whatever day fits your schedule. When I first started prepping my food for the week, it was daunting! I hated doing it, I always bought too many ingredients, it took hours upon hours, and then when you finish there are 100 dishes waiting for you.

prep

Here are some of my favorite tips for successful meal prep!

  • Plan your menu. I first think about what foods I am in the mood for and then I begin to look for recipes. I try to pick one recipe to have for breakfast, two recipes to have for snack, and three or four recipes that I will cycle for lunch and dinner. I also usually pick a healthy treat to help keep my sweet tooth satisfied and out of the candy drawer at work.
  • Write out your grocery list and be specific. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the average American wastes 25% of their food and beverages purchased. My boyfriend and I make a very strong effort to waste as little food as possible. I used to write a grocery list by simply writing apples, lemons, onions, etc. Next thing you know I would have waxy apples, dried up lemons, and moldy onions. Now I write specific grocery lists based upon my recipes/meal plan.
  • Prep your ingredients as a group. If you have two different recipes that call for garlic, peel and chop the garlic for both recipes at the same time. This goes for other vegetables like carrots, celery, etc. It is more efficient to knock out all of the servings that you will need then to keep going back to chop ½ cup of something.
  • Stagger your recipes. I always prep my meals in an order that will allow me to multitask. If I know a dish is going to take 45 minutes in the oven, I get that recipe going first so I can then move on to others while it is cooking. This goes for boiling water, simmering soups, and marinated meats. I want to spend two quality hours in the kitchen from start to finish and then move on to whatever else my weekend has in store.
  • Store your meals in grab n go containers. I am all about the Mason jar. They are the perfect size, safe for the dishwasher and microwave, and you can easily replace the lids if you A) lose them or B) they get gross. It’s also very easy to pack your lunchbox when you just grab different containers and put them together!

Do you have any favorite tips?

Xo, Pam