Category Archives: Tips

Staple Items: My Go-To Grocery List for Meeting Macros

It was requested by a client of mine to share my go-to grocery list for reaching macros/eating a well-balanced diet. I decided to come up with something that was simple and covered all macro-nutrient needs, meaning I don’t purchase every single thing on this list every single week but I do make sure to have a few of these options from each category in my pantry and fridge.

As many of you know, I create a meal plan each week before grocery shopping. They are designed exactly like the meal plans found here. However, when it’s the day before I need to go grocery shopping or I just feel like going off plan and being spontaneous, it’s extremely helpful to have these staple items around. At the end of this list I’ll provide some simple meal options you can use with this list but trust me, the options are pretty endless. Happy flexible dieting!

Fat:

  • Egg yolks
  • Avocado
  • Nut butters
  • Nuts
  • Oils
  • Olives

Fat/Protein:

  • Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Steak
  • Whole fat milk
  • Whole fat yogurt
  • Full fat cheese
  • Chia seeds

Protein:

  • Egg whites
  • Chicken breast (or sliced from the deli)
  • Turkey (breast, patties, or bacon)
  • White fish
  • Lean ground beef
  • Non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • Non-fat cottage cheese
  • Non or low fat cheese
  • Whey protein

Carbs/Protein:

  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Quinoa
  • Nonfat sweetened Greek yogurt
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Fair Life skim milk
  • Peas
  • Protein bars (most have around 7g fat)

Carbohydrates:

  • Bread
  • English muffins
  • Tortillas
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Cereal
  • Bran
  • Oats
  • Potatoes
  • Popcorn
  • Pancakes/waffles
  • Bananas
  • Frozen berries
  • Seasonal veggies
  • Spinach
  • Jello or pudding

Simple Meal Ideas Using List:

Breakfast:

Lunch:

Dinner:

Snacks:

  • 1/2 cup Fair Life skim milk, 1 scoop whey protein, 1 banana, 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup water, 1 scoop whey protein, 1 cup frozen berries, 2 cups spinach, 1 banana
  • Greek yogurt & berries with chia seeds
  • Light popcorn
  • Jello or sugar free pudding
  • Protein bar
  • Frozen yogurt

12 Days of Vlogmas

I’m doing 12 Days of Vlogmas on my Youtube channel! Today’s video includes a recipe on spiked coffee and our Christmas traditions. I’ll be posting a new video every day through Christmas. If anyone wants to follow along be sure to subscribe so you get notified when each video is up.  They will include healthy holiday recipes, workouts, family fun, and more!

Carb Cycling & Clients

carb cycling macro coach iifym

IIFYM.com just released an article named “Carb Cycling: Advantages & Disadvantages. Now I won’t reiterate what was said, you can visit this link to read the article, but I would like to talk about a few points that can relate to my clients.

Many flexible dieters struggle with the same things (myself included!) like staying on track on weekends, feeling burnt out from dieting, or sometimes feeling overly restricted (after all, we’re still dieting). Carb cycling can actually help with all of these. The reason I love flexible dieting is because YOU choose how flexible you want to be! For those who are competing in bodybuilding, they choose to be more tedious with their diet to reach their strict goals. But for many of us (which includes most of my clients) we just want to reach our goals as fast as possible without losing our sanity or the weight rebounding. So how does carb cycling help with this?

Quick Summary

For the purpose of this article I will provide a quick summary of carb cycling. Carb cycling can be set up in many different ways. Just as the name states you’ll be cycling around your total carbs in different variations throughout the week. For most people this means they have 1-2 high carb days a week; this would also mean they have lower carbs the rest of the week to accommodate the high carb days. You can also cycle fat to have higher fat on low carb days, helping to keep you more satisfied. So, what’s the point of all this?

What it Comes Down to…

  • Contary to what some believe, there is not enough evidence to prove that carb cycling can promote more fat loss than having the same daily macro goal (this is assuming overall calorie intake is the same)
  • It CAN, however, help the client to stay more consistent with their diet by feeling like they’re given a diet break with their high carb days
  • Can provide an advantage to athletes by pairing their high carb days with an intense workout

How I Apply Carb Cycling to My Clients

As stated before, many of my clients are not athletes or competing, they simply want to get healthier and enjoy the process. I utilize high carb days for my clients in many ways. Since all my clients are different (and I do have some athletes!) I will list a few techniques I use:

  • Athletes/clients focused on increasing strength- provide high carbs for training, this is especially important if they are in a deficit. When focused on building mass and increasing strength, maintenance or a surplus of calories is preferred. In these cases you wouldn’t necessarily need to cycle carbs but can
  • Clients focused on body recomposition (mainten weight with goal of building muscle while losing fat)- high carb days for training, low carb rest days to promote more fat loss
  • Clients who struggle to stay consistent- lower carbs on week days, high carb days on weekends for more flexibility
  • Clients who are on an aggressive fat loss plan- since overall calories are lower I provide these clients with a high carb day but it would be a refeed day. A refeed day differs from carb cycling because we increase overall calories on this day (usually at our right under maintenance calories) to replenish glycogen storage and give the client a mental break

These are the four most common ways I use carb cycling for clients. Everyone is different so I use these techniques on a client to client basis and sometimes even tweak them to fit the individual’s need. Whatever makes the client stay on track is what we want to stick with. For me personally, I prefer having the same macro goal each day, it’s just easier! But I have utilized carb cycling in the past and do see the benefits of it. If you’re a current clients and are interested in implementing carb cycling, just let me know! If you have any questions drop a line below. Happy flexible dieting!

Trader Joe’s Macro Friendly Finds

We all love Trader Joe’s and for good reason! They have some of the freshest, low priced, high quality options around! Trader Joe’s has become home to some of my favorite macro-friendly finds. What I love most about them is their wide selection of pre-prepared items. Here’s a few staples I grab with great macros!

1.Trader Giotto’s Chicken Parmigiana has 11g fat, 16g carbs, 39g protein for 1/2 the dish. A perfect dinner for you and your loved one! Serve with a side salad or spaghetti squash.

trader joe's chicken parm macro

 

 

2. Trader Joe’s Chicken Asada has 8g fat, 10g carbs, 30g protein for half the dish. Another great meal to split with your SO. Serve with Uncle Ben’s 90 sec spanish rice and black beans.

trader joe's

3. Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip has 2.5g fat, 2g carbs, 1g protein for 2 tbsp (28g). You can dip your raw veggies in here or some pretzel chips. Yum!

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4. Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Chicken Salad has 3.5g fat, 4g carbs, 14g protein for 1/2 cup. Keep at the office for a few days of lunch!

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5. Trader Joe’s BBQ Chicken Teriyaki is 3.5g fat, 11g carbs, 18g protein for 1 cup (170g). Check out this quick and delicious meal to make with it!

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6. Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Rice

trader joe's cauliflower rice iifym

Cauliflower rice is a great item to keep around because it can add volume to your meals. Throw in a cup in your oats or replace in your rice bowl for lunch. This low calorie, high fiber veggie will help keep you satisfied for many hours to come!

What are some of your favorite Trader Joe’s finds?

Unique Protein Options for IIFYM

This list was compiled after my husband and I’s decision to not buy chicken breast for a few weeks. Who else is super tired of chicken breast!? Yikes! We’ve been mainly sticking to lean pork chops, chicken sausages, and lean ground beef but I wanted to share a few items that I picked up this week that are a little different. Hope this gets your creative juices flowing!

  1. Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Bowls These are tasty for a quick and different breakfast option. Macros are 8g fat, 19g carbs, and 22g protein. Add more protein by mixing in a few egg whites half way through cooking.

iifym easy meal prep 2. Weight Control Instant Oatmeal These packets are great because they have 29g carbs with 7g protein. I always add a scoop of protein powder into my oatmeal but it’s nice that this adds even more! Also the banana bread flavor is bomb.weight loss iifym

3. Publix Brand Philly Cheese Chicken Sausage If you don’t have access to a Publix I feel bad for you, son! Publix has so many macro friendly options. These are a staple in our house. They are absolutely DELICIOUS! Each link is 6g fat and 12g protein so save up some fat for these! They also have Apple & Gouda, Spinach & Feta, and Artichoke & Parmesan. They are all great!iifym meal ideas  4. Trader Joe’s Tri Tip Roast Y’all, you need to get on this right NOW! It is so good and SUPER macro friendly as well as affordable! For 4 oz it’s only 7g fat to 32g protein. AMAZING! The pre-marinated Santa Maria option is so yum. Follow the cooking instructions, you’ll be glad you did!

iifym protein lean unique options

5. Frozen Yogurt Ice cream is a staple in my diet. I have a bowl almost every single night before bed. I fit it into my macros and work the rest of my day around it. It keeps me on track because I have something to look forward to. But I hate having only one serving, I want at least two! The problem is I can never save enough fat for two servings, so I’ve been buying frozen yogurt. Not as tasty at my beloved ice cream but with all the tummy mix-ins it’s worth saving the fat. What I love about the frozen yogurt is one serving has 4-6g protein, so with two servings I’m sneaking in 8-12g protein! The macros for this yogurt is 5g fat, 23g carbs, and 4g protein. They have a ton of delicious flavors like Mint Chocolate Cookie and Peanut Butter Cup. Yum!

iifym sneaky protein

Meal Prep for a Weekend Away

This weekend we went out of town for my cousin’s wedding. I just love weddings! So much joy and FOOD. I wanted to be able to enjoy myself at the wedding and be a bit more flexible, meaning I wasn’t going to bring my scale and I definitely was going to have a drink or two. Doing so meant I needed to stay 100% on track the rest of the trip. So I decided to prep some meals for Thomas and I. Here’s what we brought:

road trip meal prep for iifym

We left Friday morning, before heading out I made some protein oatmeal.

We stopped for lunch at Sonny’s BBQ. I had the pulled chicken, a side of baked beans, and a piece of garlic bread. It all fit my macros. 🙂

For a snack on the road I had chocolate cherry Greek yogurt.

For dinner I had the sausage and pasta dish. It was two pieces of chicken sausage, 1/2 cup marinara sauce, 3 oz penne pasta, and a serving of parmesan cheese. Came out to be something like 11f/40c/35p. I needed more protein to fill so I ordered a chicken breast from room service.

For dessert I had a Clif Builder protein bar. Macros hit! I even went to the hotel gym and got my workout in!

The next day was wedding day. For breakfast I had my prepped meal of chicken sausage, diced potatoes, and eggs.

For a snack I had a banana.

For lunch I had a grilled chicken sandwich plain from Zaxby’s and ate two of Thom’s fries. 🙂

At the wedding I skipped the appetizers as to not graze and accidentally go over. I did enjoy two very strong jack and diet cokes. I logged the jack as 4 oz to be safe. Remember, alcohol does have carbs! To figure this out you need to divide the calories by 4 and that’s your carb amount.

The dinner was buffet style. I filled my plate with chicken and a little pulled pork, then I had a small side of penne alfredo and guestimated the macros.

I skipped the cake and had another protein bar when I got home. Boom! Feeling good.

Sunday we drove back home. I had breakfast at the hotel and order the “healthy start” sandwich which was egg whites, spinach, and turkey breast on an English muffin.

For lunch I had my Boar’s Head buffalo chicken (best deli meat eva!) sandwich with low fat mayo and low fat provolone cheese.

For a snack I grabbed a grilled chicken go wrap from Wendy’s.

Another protein bar because they’re too dang good.

We enjoyed dinner at home. I ordered a pizza and ate the rest of the grilled chicken I had prepped.

I kicked butt! It feels great to have a fun weekend away and still stay on track. Win win! The prep only took me an hour max. Sausage is great because it’s simple to cook. I threw the diced potatoes in the oven and cooked the pasta all at the same time. Easy peasy!

 

 

How to Overcome Emotional Overeating

overcome emotional eating and overeating

Recently on my Instagram I discussed the difference between binge eating and overeating. Binge eating is a disorder that should not be taken lightly but most people jump to the conclusion that they are a binge eater when really they aren’t. Almost always, extreme overeating or bingeing can trace back to emotional problems or over restriction in diet. The diet mentality and the ease of food being a comfort creates a breeding ground for an unhealthy relationship with food. Many people, especially women, deal with the inability to control their eating during certain time periods. Now there’s nothing wrong with overeating from time to time but if you think these episodes feel too frequent there may be an underlying problem. Let’s talk about how we can solve this!

*Please note: If you think you do have a binge eating disorder, please seek professional health. This is a serious problem that can be solved!

  1. Find the root of the problem There are a few common triggers for what I call “IDGAF eating mode” and the most popular culprit is emotional eating. Whether is be stress, sadness, anxiety, even boredom…we tend to eat our feelings. It’s easy to find comfort in food but when you overindulge and feel like crap, then what’s going to comfort you? More food? The first thing that must be done is figuring out exactly what sends you overboard. For me, it’s boredom and anxiety.
  2. Realize you can change This step is entirely necessary and possibly the most important part. You HAVE to believe you can change! Once you’ve found the problem start thinking of solutions. Make a plan of attack. For me it was banning eating in front of the TV, computer, or phone so when I was bored I couldn’t simply sit on Netflix and mindlessly eat. I’ll get into dealing with anxiety on step four.
  3. Don’t over restrict If you’re trying to diet you likely have set restrictions for yourself. No sugary drinks, no carbs after dark (which is totally unnecessary, btw), etc. but the problem with this is that it makes these “hands off” foods more desirable. Instead of banning certain foods from your diet, ban the extra calories. Focus on eating smaller portions of the food you enjoy. Really pay attention when you’re eating so you can have a pleasant experience and feel satisfied without overdoing it. This is why I love IIFYM.
  4. Deal with emotions through different outlets This was the hardest part to commit to but once you do you’ve made it to the home stretch. For me I had to find different ways to deal with my anxiety. My favorites are writing (start a blog or journal!), going to the park, sitting by the river, stretching or yoga, lifting weights, and dancing! Anyway you can keep busy while being productive.
  5. Seek professional help If you feel like your problem may be more deeply rooted please seek professional help. There is nothing wrong with needing help! Bingeing is a vicious cycle that you CAN break free from.

My Home Gym

home gymWorking out at home can be totally kick ass! Throw on some headphones, just wear your sports bra, and take as much time you as you need on the squat rack. This list includes literally everything you NEED to lift heavy and get strong. This set-up ran us around $600-$700 meaning that in 1 year we’ll have saved enough in gym memberships to break even. Here’s what I got:

*Note: the photo is missing some plates and our new bench. That bench sucked.

1. Power Rack I purchased this one from Amazon for around $300 including shipping. There are cheaper ones out there but not as good. You can try to shop around or find one used but if you plan on using it a lot and increasing weight it’s worth it to get a good one.

2. Bench The bench in this picture sucks. It only holds 300lbs which at the time was all we needed. I am glad i have it because it inclines and declines but we have a flat bench we got for $100 total off Amazon. Holds 1000lbs. Super sturdy. Absolutely love it.

3. Olympic Barbell We got lucky and find ours on Craigslist for $50. Check your local Play it Again sports, too, otherwise you can purchase a new one for $125 here.

4. Plates Obviously, you’re going to want some plates. We found most of ours used at Play it Again Sports and Craigslist for around .50 cents per lb. The few we had left to buy we got from Academy for around $1 per lb. Don’t go with Amazon, with shipping it’s around $2 per lb. Sports Authority or Dick’s should also have them.

5. Plate Rack Another one we lucked out on. Guy that sold us the barbell sold us his plate rack for $25 which typically goes for $50 on Amazon.

6. Mats I found the mats used by searching for local buy and sell fitness warehouses. I live in a big city so I found a few in my area and one was selling half off the usual price. Apparently you can also find them super cheap at farm and feed stores. Make sure they’re thick. Mine are 2 mats 4 x 6 Ft & 3/4″ Thick.

7. Free Weights & Rack You don’t need free weights, but they’re nice to have as I like to end my heavy compound lifts with a couple of accessory moves. We’ve had the free weights forever so I did not include them in the cost. I would definitely look around on Craigslist.

Extras:

  • Clips
  • Liquid chalk
  • Foam roller
  • Belt

Follow me on Instagram to see the home gym in action!

 

 

How to Choose an Online Trainer

Online coaches and trainers have become increasingly popular thanks to social media. An online coach CAN help you reach your goals but it’s important to pick the right one. Not all coaches are created equal and some aren’t even qualified to be giving out diet or exercise plans. Here’s what you should do when finding a coach, in person or not.

1. Know their credentials. Are they certified in training? Do they have a degree in exercise science? What experience do they have with your specific goals? These are all questions you should ask about the trainer you’re looking to hire.  Just because you see a fitness model with a six pack on Instagram does NOT mean that person is qualified to be coaching you. Personal experience helps but don’t go by that only, find out what legitimizes their so called expertise.

Using a personal example, I am a Certified Fitness Trainer with ISSA. I have a lot of experience with adaptive fitness so I would be a good option if you had a previous injury, medical condition, or disability. On the other hand, I have never trained anyone to compete. If you were looking to compete you’d want a coach who is experienced in this.

2. Know the program. Will the coach be setting you up with custom macros or a meal plan? Are they allowed to be providing a meal plan considering only those with a degree in nutrition are qualified to do so (at least in many states)? Is it a generic plan or something customized to your needs? Is it information that’s available for free already? Again, all questions I would ask. There are so many ways to lose weight or reach your goals. You’ll find what’s right for you.

From personal experience, not everyone excels with tracking macros. Some people get obsessive with their numbers and it ends up causing them too much anxiety. For these people I set them up differently, however not all coaches are willing to modify their programs for your specific needs. I get clients that after the first two weeks of their workouts they’re not satisfied and want something different. That’s fine! Not everyone likes heavy lifting or sometimes life gets in the way and you can’t make it to the gym as often. So I change their plan to complent their needs. Make sure your hiring a coach that’s willing to do the same, if you’re looking for that extra support!

Another example, I noticed an online coach recently start charging her clients for Skype or Face Time sessions. That’s fine and dandy considering she takes on a bulk of clients at once but just something to think about if you’re looking for a coach who is more available to you.

3. Know them. Do you like this person’s personality? If you’re going be in constant contact with this person it is important that you do like your coach otherwise you won’t be as committed to their program. Do you like their style or method of motivating/coaching? Often you can tell this by their social media pages. Study how they talk about their own journey. Do they have a positive or negative mindset? Are they hard on themselves? Are they too involved in fitness?  This isn’t necessary for people who are just buying a general program, but for those who are going to receive coaching.

All my clients seem to share very similar outlooks pertaining to their journey: they aren’t here for a quick fix, they’re here to create habits they can sustain for the rest of their lives. I believe this is because these are the type of people I attract to my page. I treat my clients the same way I treat myself, unless otherwise requested. When they slip up I don’t make them feel bad, I try to get to the root of the problem. I try to lift them up and get their head back in the game. After that I start giving them some tough love and an extra push. Other coaches take different approaches in motivating their clients and some coaches don’t even care to work out any mental struggles you have, but the mental journey is the most important part.

The best advice I could give you before you hire an online coach is to get feedback. Try getting in contact with their former clients, check out their client’s testimonials, etc. Know that they have the expertise and the skills to get you where you want to be and don’t be afraid to “shop around”. You’ll be a lot more successful with the right coach.

 

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How to Calculate Exact Macros of a Serving of a Recipe in MyFitnessPal


A very common question I get in the world of IIFYM is “how do I figure out the serving of a recipe?” This tutorial takes you step by step to figure out exactly how many macros you’re eating in a serving of a recipe!

myfitnesspal recipe iifym

First, go to the recipe tab in MyFitnessPal.

recipe2

Choose to manually enter ingredients.

recipe3

Add all the ingredients that will be included in making the recipe and be sure to set it to one serving.

Now, cook your recipe. Once the recipe is finished weigh the entire recipe. You can do this by pouring into another dish on the scale or for things like casserole you can weigh the dish you’re using to cook it in, note the weight, then weigh the entire dish after cooking and subtract the weight of the dish (see this video).

recipe4

Once you have weighed your dish go back into the recipe and edit the serving to how much the food weighs. For example, say this recipe weighed out to 1853. Now your recipe is showing you the macros for a single gram of your recipe.

recipe5

To measure out your serving simply place it on the scale. Say you weigh out 80g of the dish. When you add the recipe to your food diary put the serving in as 80g. Boom! Yes, some portions of the dish may have say more meat or more carbs but this is the most accurate way to get the macros without picking out each ingredient and weighing.

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10 Macro Friendly Lunch Ideas Packed with Protein

10 macro friendly lunches

 

These lunch options are not only packed with protein, they’re super simple to make and are great for on the go.  All ten lunches can be easily prepped ahead of time. For a healthy yet satsifying meal under 400 calories, give one of these recipes a try!

1. Turkey Chili

254 calories, 30g carbs, 6g fat, 25g protein, 9g fiber

254 calories, 30g carbs, 6g fat, 25g protein, 9g fiber (toppings not included)

There are so many things you can do with this low fat turkey chili! Have it alone with toppings like light sour cream or Greek yogurt, tortilla chips or fritos, fat free cheese, or put it on top a potato, turkey dog, lean beef burger, or spaghetti squash.

2. Cheeseburger Wraps

Cheeseburger Wraps

277 calories, 10g fat, 13g carbs, 21g protein, 2g fiber

These cheeseburger wraps are a great low carb option for bringing to work! Simply prepare the wrap ahead of time and microwave for 1 minute when you’re ready to it! Serve with sweet potato fries or chips.

3. Light Mac n Cheese

Light Mac n Cheese

310 calories, 8g fat, 28g carbs, 16g protein, 3g fiber

Hands down the best tasting mac n cheese for the macros! It’s already packed with protein, but to up the content add in some diced ham or turkey dogs, peas (fiber, too!), or even tuna. This is even kid friendly!

4. Starbucks Recreate Tomato Mozzarella Panini

Tomato Mozzarella Panini

425 calories, 40g carbs, 22g fat, 14g protein, 7g fiber

Ok, so I threw in one not so friendly macro meal. But I couldn’t resist, this is SO tasty! I used to buy a Starbucks tomato mozzarella panini every week for lunch at work but that $6.50 a week adds up! Instead I began to make my own and I swear it increased my productivity by 52%!

5. Skinny Fried Rice

macros skinny fried rice

245 calories, 5g fat, 16g carbs, 32g protein, 2g fiber

At 2g fat this obviously isn’t fried, but you’d never tell the difference! Delicious soy sauce and brown rice with chopped eggs and peas and carrots. Add in shrimp and/or chicken and you’ve got yourself a low carb meal with tons of protein!

6. Light Bacon Cheeseburger Soup

bacon cheeseburger

203 calories, 6g fat, 16g carbs, 20g protein

Holy cow this soup is delightful! Have your coworkers jealous with this unique lunch option. At 16g carbs and 20g protein the macros are impressive considering the fact that you’ll feel like you’re cheating while you enjoy this.

7. Taco Cupcakes

These bad boys are surprisingly work lunch friendly. Prep them ahead of time and bring a few to work in a Tupperware container. Throw em in the microwave when you’re ready to eat! You can bring your toppings in a smaller container.

8. Lean Beef Cheeseburger with veggies

Lean Beef Cheeseburger

350 calories, 13g fat, 21g carbs, 35g protein, 3g fiber

Cheeseburgers can be macro friendly using lean ground beef, reduced fat cheese, and a multi grain bun. Serve with fresh, low carb veggies. Yum!

9. Taco Salad using lean beef, reduced fat cheese, and 0% plain Greek yogurt

Taco Salad

365 calories, 11g fat, 29g carbs, 35g protein, 2g fiber

Usually restaurant taco salads are just as many calories if not more than more dishes on the menu. Make yours macro friendly using lean ground beef, reduced fat or fat free cheese, and light sour cream of 0% plain Greek yogurt. Crumble a few baked tortilla chips on top and you’re good to go!

10. Chicken Parmesan Sub

Chicken Parmesan Sub

399 calories, 9g fat, 45g carbs, 38g protein, 2g fiber

One of my favorite lunches is saved for last! A chicken parmesan sub made low fat with grilled chicken and 2% provolone cheese. You could make this low carb by using a wrap but I love me some sub rolls.  The cheese and 4 oz of chicken give it a high protein content.

Find me on Instagram or Pinterest for more meal ideas!

Weight Loss vs Fat Loss

In the beginning of my journey to lose 100lbs I was only concerned with one thing: decreasing the number on the scale. For the first 50-60lbs I simply focused on being at a calorie deficit. I did this through cardiovascular exercise and counting calories. I was successful in dropping the weight but I wasn’t happy with my body. Even though I was smaller my body shape looked the same and now I had loose skin. I wanted that “toned” look so I began to research how I could achieve it.

What I learned was that toning simply means losing fat and gaining muscle, or at least maintaining muscle. The toned look occurs when you lower your body fat percent which will allow your muscles to become defined. I realized that in order to achieve that look I needed to focus less on losing weight and more on losing fat. To do this I began strength training and tracking macronutrients.

Without proper proportions of macronutrients during weight loss you will lose muscle and reduce your BMR. When tracking proper macronutrients you will be able to maintain as much muscle as possible while still being at a deficit, thus targeting fat loss and not muscle loss. To learn more about tracking macros, or IIFYM, check out this post. Strength training is also important to maintaining muscle at a deficit. You can even increase strength at a deficit. The more muscle you have the more calories your body burns at rest because it takes more energy for your body to maintain muscle mass.

 

weight loss vs fat loss

In the left photo I weighed 125lbs and in the right photo I weighed 128lbs. I actually gained weight! But what looks better? In the right I have more muscle and less fat than the left photo giving me a leaner look at a higher weight. Imagine if I let the scale increasing affect my progress. This is why you need to throw out your scale!

There are many reasons why focusing on losing fat as opposed to just weight is beneficial:

  • Improved body composition
  • Increased strength
  • Improved metabolism
  • Peak performance
  • Focuses on calorie quality as opposed to quantity
  • Delays aging and disease



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How to Kick Ass at Restaraunts (IIFYM or Not)

 

By far one of the most common questions I get from clients tracking their macros is, “what do I do when I eat out?” Tracking macros is quite simple eating out. The MyFitnessPal database has most chain restaurant’s meals already computed, however it’s always best to double check with the website since they are user added. If it’s not in the database check the restaurants site and if the restaurant doesn’t have nutritional values online you’re going to have to guestimate. To me, that is the easy part about eating out! The hard part is actually ordering something that will fit into your macros or lifestyle. Here are some pointers to stay on track…

How to Kick Ass at Restaurants on IIFYM or NotRecently Thomas and I visited a burger joint for lunch. I ordered this burger (oooh was it good- smoked Gouda cheese, bacon, fried onion straws, and a jalapeno aoili. I checked their website and compared to the already user added submission in MFP) and ate half of it as well as splitting a basket of fries with Thomas. By splitting I mean having a few because that kid can suck up food like a vacuum. I fit half the burgers and half the basket of fries into my macros and that meant having grilled chicken and peas for dinner. Balance, yo!

  1. If you know you’re going out to eat, plan accordingly. Keep it light the rest of the day but don’t starve yourself or you will want to order everything off the menu.
  2. Have a piece of fruit or light snack before heading to the restaurant so you aren’t overly hungry and tempted to order something you wouldn’t normally.
  3. Take a look at the menu online ahead of time to see what some options are that fit your needs. This is especially helpful because you can look at the nutritional values. You’ll be surprised at meals that sound like they’d be light and are not.
  4. Say no to a bread basket or chips and salsa, or at least practice moderation. It’s one thing to have a slice of bread with a tiny bit of butter, it’s a whole other story to eat half the loaf.
  5. Plan to only eat half your portion. You can even ask for half the portion put in a doggy bag ahead of time. I personally feel silly asking this so I just tell myself I’m only going to eat half and I do it! I’m always plenty satisfied and I can save the other portion for when I’m hungry later.
  6. If you order veggies ask for them to not be cooked in oil or butter. You can do the same for your meats.
  7. Once you’ve picked something that fits your macros or something that is light don’t keep lurking the menu. You will be tempted!
  8. If you practice IIFYM you have two options: bring your scale and weigh your food or estimate portions. It’s always best to overestimate carbs & fat and underestimate protein.
  9. Skip dessert. Tell yourself if you really want dessert later you can grab some non-fat frozen yogurt.

Of course these tips are designed for if you want to stay on track while at a restaurant. Some nights it’s nice to have an un-tracked meal! If that’s the case, just don’t stuff yourself silly. You won’t feel well after and likely be regretting it.

Why Every Woman Should Lift Weights

Weightlifting has changed my life and transformed my body. Many women (I was one of them) are afraid to get started on the weight floor for several reasons. For me personally I had no idea where to begin and I wasn’t exactly concerned with building muscle. My original goal was to look lean or “toned”. After losing the first 50lbs I wasn’t impressed with what I saw in the mirror. Cardio had left me lighter, but with a lot of loose skin. I knew it was time to try something new. So I began to research weightlifting…

why every women should lift weights

 

Why women don’t lift weights:

  • They think it will make them bulky
  • They are too comfortable doing cardio
  • They just want to get “toned”
  • They’re not sure where to start
  • They’re afraid to get on the weight floor

Why women should lift weights:

  • They won’t get bulky- women don’t have the testosterone to get bulky
  • Cardio is boring and does not target fat, lifting weights can be a lot of fun
  • Weight lifting will give women that “toned” look aka build muscle & lose fat. Remember, one pound of muscle takes up less space than one pound of fat
  • Starting is actually really easy! The resources are definitely out there. Just start simple, you’ll learn as you go. For a beginner’s weightlifting routine check out my beginner’s 6 week eBook
  • If you’re still really afraid, hiring a trainer for a month or two will take away the fear of the weight floor and give you the confidence you need
  • It makes every day activities easier- I never realized before how beneficial it is to be stronger, and man does it feel good
  • For aging women, it is especially helpful to increase bone density thus controlling bone loss
  • Lifting will increase your metabolism. A higher level of muscle mass means your body burns more calories at rest

To learn more about my transformation from weightlifting, check out this post. Keep in mind, it’s not like I started weightlifting and was instantly lifting heavy with an intense routine. I worked my way up to the point I am at. This is a learning process but I can ensure you that it is well worth it. You will likely enjoy working out more, you will love the feeling of increased strength, and you will feel more confident in your body. If you need help email me at malzisfit@gmail.com.

Day of Meals for IIFYM

A lot of people ask me what a day of IIFYM looks like for me. Well, I suck at remembering to take pictures of my meals haha! I’m too excited to eat/care too little to get a nice picture. But I’m working on it! In the mean time I will share them with you.

Meal 1 (pre workout): 1/2 cup oats with a scoop protein powder, apple, ground cinnamon, peanut butter

Meal 2 (post workout): 1/2 cup OJ with a scoop protein powder, handful of mixed frozen berries, blended

Meal 3: 1-2 eggs, 2-3 egg whites, spinach, a meat (ham, bacon, turkey sausage, etc), fat free cottage cheese. Sometimes a piece of toast of half a bagel on the side if I have enough carbs.

Meal 4: “Bro food”: Chicken breast, fish, or lean beef mixed with potatoes or rice and veggies of choice. Important to buy a few good seasonings and garnish with a macro friendly option, for me that’s usually ketchup, hot sauce, or Greek yogurt

Meal 5: Greek yogurt with fruit and sometimes granola

Meal 6: Dinner is always different for me. Check out my main dish recipe tabs for some ideas.

Meal 7: Treat of choice, usually 1/2 cup of ice cream, 1 cup cereal, or 1/2 Poptart

As you can see I eat a lot of small meals throughout the day. This keeps my tummy satisfied so I don’t make any poor choices or feel the urge to binge eat. Everyone is different and this may not be the most viable option for you. That’s fine! In regards to weight or fat loss, it doesn’t matter when you eat it only matters that you’re eating at a deficit. So eat whenever it works for you! Just be cautious that you don’t go over at night because you didn’t eat enough during the day. And yes, I eat mainly the same thing every day. I do switch up variations but I typically don’t get tired of foods and I love that I know this is what will fit my macros. I like to get creative at dinner and keep the rest of the day simple. I also have many different “bro meal” options. Maybe I’ll do a post with a bunch of example bro foods.

Check out an example of IIFYM meal prep here.

Meal Prep for IIFYM

Check out my meal plans designed for IIFYM.

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You’ve probably seen fitness blogs or social media accounts posting pictures of 100 meals prepped for the week. You’re probably thinking “oh, that looks cool! I’ll try that”. Then you try it and realize it takes a lot of work, a lot of tupperware, and after 4 days your food isn’t fresh and you’re tired of the same thing. Well lou and behold the IIFYM meal prep! This is how I prep each week to stay on track…

The beauty of IIFYM is that you don’t need a set meal plan to be successful. I give meal plans on my blog as ideas for people as well as for those who are busy and don’t have time to think out meals for the week themselves. The point is to help you get creative with what you can make.

The most important thing you should do is make sure you have some lean protein on hand. Since IIFYM is all about flexibility in your diet you don’t need to be eating the same thing. I make sure I have a 1lb or 2lbs of chicken breast (or other lean meat) ready to go so I can throw it on top of a salad, have it with some pasta, dice it up and make a chicken salad sandwich with Greek yogurt instead of mayo, or use it in my dinners like casseroles or soups.

Another thing I like to have prepped is my “bro meal” of the day. Click here to see a sample day of IIFYM meals I eat. Usually meal 3 is my bro meal, which means it’s lean and filled with micros (nutrient dense). I like to have this meal ready so I don’t have any excuses not to eat it. Usually I will have two different options of this meal each week. I will make the first option Sunday and the second Wednesday so it stays fresh.

Here’s a breakdown of the meal prep pictured above:

  1. 1lb grilled chicken breast marinated in honey mustard dressing. I used this during dinner and made a few variations of salads, had it with some potatoes & corn, and one night I threw it in some pasta.
  2. 1lb buffalo chicken (I used half a bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s) cooked in slow cooker then shredded. I used this for my lunch option aka bro meal and put it on some whole grain bread with a cup of tomato soup and broccoli. I also did a few “pizzas” using a low carb wrap, then put some chicken on top with red onions and 2% mozzarella cheese. Toast in oven for 5 mins.
  3. Steamed broccoli. This went with my buffalo chicken sandwiches and pizzas. To the far right you’ll notice a sauce. This is simply Greek yogurt with some seasoning very similar to the dry ranch packets. I like to toss my broccoli in this. YUM.
  4. Corn on the cob. This was actually leftover from grilling we did over the weekend. I paired with some of my dinners.
  5. Boiled potatoes. Great carb to have around. I used it with the chicken for dinner a few nights and also diced them up to go with my eggs in the morning.
  6. White chocolate cranberry protein balls. Awesome snack or dessert.
  7. Greek yogurt and ranch sauce. As stated above, I’ll toss my broccoli in this sauce. Also a great dip for the carrots I had.

All in all this took maybe 45 minutes of prep with clean-up (not including cooking time). I let the grill and slow cooker do most of the work. Easy clean-up with those two appliances! The protein balls are SUPER easy to make and take no baking. This was all done on Sunday and on Wednesday I browned some ground turkey to use for the rest of the week’s “bro meals” and also a dinner option. I made ground turkey, spinach, and sweet potato fries for lunch and made a light cheeseburger pasta for dinner. Having my meats and veggies ready to go is so helpful for sticking to my diet and goals. I hope this helped!

Don’t forget to check out an example of a day of IIFYM here. If you’re new to IIFYM check out my post here.

 

 

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How I Transformed My Body Part 2 (My Weightlifting Experience)

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The first post I wrote about in regards to how I transformed my body was pertaining to my experience with IIFYM. Weightlifting and IIFYM went hand in hand with my transformation. You can read about my progress from IIFYM womenweightliftingprogress

I began weightlifting in January 2013. I was very intimidated stepping foot into the weight floor at the gym. Although I had done a lot of research, I still didn’t feel confident with my form or what kind of routine to set-up for myself. So I decided to hire a trainer for six months to learn the basics of weightlifting. This is probably the best decision I made in my weight loss journey. I was picky about who I would hire and met with three trainers before I finally committed to one. He intimated me enough to make me never miss a session, but he also made me feel very comfortable and secure in his care. He was extremely passionate about his profession and believed in me, which in return pushed me to believe in myself more. Thanks to him I was able to feel confident in the weight room and after the six months, I could come up with my own routines to follow.

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The left picture was before I started my weight loss journey at 200+lbs. The highest weight I ever knew I reached was 217lbs. The right picture was in the middle of my weightlifting journey (late 2013) and was me around my lowest weight at 120lbs. When I began weight training I had already lost about 75lbs but I wasn’t happy with how my body looked. I had a lot of loose skin and cellulite. I knew I need to switch gears from focusing on weight loss to fat loss.

fat loss before and after

The left picture was right when I began weightlifting and IIFYM (already lost 65-75lbs) and the right picture was taken about 7 months later. During my weightlifting journey I lost another 20-25lbs, but the reason my body transformed so much more during this time was because I was focused on fat loss. The way I did this was by tracking my macros (check IIFYM post) and gaining more muscle. Having more muscle means you burn more calories throughout the day. Also, the act of weightlifting (at a high intensity, so lift heavy ladies!) itself promotes fat loss because it releases hormones responsible for fat loss.

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This picture is only THREE months apart. This is around the time I began squatting by body weight (130lbs) and, along with a proper routine and diet, was able to drastically reduce the cellulite in my thighs.

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Thanks to squatting my body weight and a well formed glutes routine I saw some serious progress in my butt.

weight loss before and after

My trainer would always tell me I would be a great coach. I never thought I would, but after two years of weightlifting I decided to get certified! I offer online coaching for anyone looking to begin a weightlifting regime. If you’d like to learn more about what I offer or how to contact me, click here.

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How I Transformed My Body After Losing 100lbs (My IIFYM Experience)

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Definitely the most common email I get is from people asking about IIFYM. I did a blog post explaining IIFYM here, but I thought I would share with you all my personal experience and my progress with IIFYM. The left picture above is at the beginning of my weightlifting and IIFYM journey (January 2013). I had already lost around 60-75lbs (can’t remember exactly) but I wasn’t happy with how my body looked. Of course I had lots of loose skin, cellulite, etc. I had heard of IIFYM and practiced it loosely, but in January 2013 I made a commitment to practice IIFYM as I also began my weightlifting journey.

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Weightlifting has had a lot to do with how my body has transformed (as you can see I’ve built up quite a bit of muscle- resulting in more fat being burned), but that’s a whole other post for a different day (I wrote it! Read here.) Because I mixed IIFYM with weightlifting I saw DRASTIC results. If you’ve read my IIFYM post you know that if you’re at a slight calorie deficit, the point of IIFYM is to target fat loss instead of just weight loss (muscle and fat). This is how I was able to get my muscles to show through so quickly (many people call it getting “toned” but toned just means less fat more muscle).

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IIFYMlifting

These pictures are 9 months apart. The left picture is right before I began IIFYM and as you can see I had a lot of cellulite in my legs. With weightlifting and IIFYM I was able to reduce the size of my thighs as well as the amount of cellulite I had because I was reducing my body fat percentage (focusing on fat loss rather than weight loss) but because I was still ~20lbs overweight the weight slowly fell off as well. People freak out when they begin IIFYM or weightlifting and don’t see an immediate drop on the scale. Stay patient and persistent. If you’re not to weightlifting you’re likely gaining muscle, if not you’re at least maintaining it. If you’re at a deficit you WILL see a decrease on the scale, you just need to give it some time. It will be worth it in the end when you have kept your muscle and look “toned” instead of “skinny fat”.

I did notice that my progress with IIFYM was pretty linear. With low calorie diets, commonly people lose a bunch of weight in the beginning and stall out. For me I was losing 1-2lbs a week the entire process until I got close to my ideal body weight.

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This is the best picture I have that shows my overall IIFYM progress. The left picture was May 2013 and the right picture was September 2013! It certainly wasn’t easy sticking to my macros; I had to measure my portions, weigh my food, and constantly prepare for any situations where I would need to make sure I could meet my macros- like eating out, going to a friend’s, or leaving town. There were days where I did not meet my macros but I never gave up. I didn’t feel like I was overly restricting myself so it was much easier to stick with. I didn’t dwell on the bad days, I accepted them and I found it was easier to move on and continue on the right path.

All the sacrifices were WELL worth it. I’m so happy with my body composition whereas in early 2013, even after losing almost 75lbs, I was not. Plus, I was still able to enjoy the foods I loved in moderation. That is definitely a HUGE principle IIFYM taught me- moderation! After I was done with the fat loss track I focused on maintaining which meant I didn’t really need to track any longer, because of everything I learned from IIFYM I knew how to properly fuel my body and what proper portions looked like.

I always recommend IIFYM to anyone trying to lose weight or fat because a) it gives them flexibility to still enjoy the foods they love whereas eating “clean” does not (my motto is 80% healthy, 20% whatever the F you want- don’t neglect your micros!), b) you learn a lot from IIFYM including how to successfully eat out, why eating enough is so important (why low calorie diets SUCK), & proper portions and c) it’s SCIENCE, it is 100% fool-proof if you are using the right numbers.

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Poor quality but here is my entire journey of losing 100lbs! Left picture is 2010 and right picture is late 2013.

For more IIFYM resources click here or check out my Youtube channel.

If you need help with your macros I provide 6 weeks macro support. I am a CPT which includes education on proper calorie intake with a breakdown of macronutrients, as well as learning how to approach fat loss. But mainly I understand where you are because I’ve been there. I know that in the beginning IIFYM takes a lot of trial & error and practice. Having confidence with the numbers you’re tracking and having support every step of the way can make the WORLD of difference. You can find more info here. Good luck!

Don’t forget to check out my weightlifting journey here!

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How to Kick Ass with Weight Loss During the Holidays

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1. Stay on track other days than the holiday itself. Many people get into the mindset that the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas anything goes. I know it’s tempting when you have holiday parties and more treats in sight during this time of year, but if you’re serious about your goals you need to say no! One reason I practice IIFYM is so I can have the flexibility to enjoy some of these treats, but by no means should you go crazy.

2. Make lighter options. Try some of your holiday favorites with a lighter recipe. For me, I’ll use egg whites instead of eggs in cookies. There are many recipes out there that are lightened up versions of your holiday favorites. For me I love the Skinny Taste Cranberry Bliss bars!

3. Keep the house stocked with healthy options. To help with temptation around this time of year, keep very minimal “junk” foods in your home. Buy your stocking stuffer chocolates Christmas Eve so you aren’t tempted to dig in. If you’re making holiday treats for others, make it right before the event and give away any extras. Whatever you have in your house you’re tempted to eat!

4. Treat yourself every once in awhile. For me, Thanksgiving and Christmas are no macros accounted for days. I just don’t give a damn! This helped me stay motivated up until these days because I know I’ll have a day off from tracking. But if I don’t indulge at all I would go crazy on these holidays and gorge myself. So don’t be afraid to treat yourself to a cookie or a brownie here in there! It’s all about MODERATION.

5. Don’t beat yourself up. If you do have a slip up and go overboard, don’t give yourself a guilt trip and also don’t throw in the towel. Both of these will only push you further away from your goals! So pick yourself up and keep going! You’ll be glad you did.

Most importantly, enjoy the holidays! Although holidays are about good food that’s not what it’s all about. Enjoy time with your friends and family and practice moderation. 🙂

 

5 Struggles of Weight Loss & How to Overcome Them

5 Struggles to Weight Loss & How to Overcome Them

1. Taking the plunge: The hardest part about weight loss is jumping in! It’s easy to want to lose weight but avoid really starting because you may feel overwhelmed or confused. There is so much information out there and so many ways to lose weight you may not know where to start! It may be stressful and unmotivating to wonder, “am I doing this right”?

Overcome: Realize there are a plethora of ways to lose weight! There’s no one “right” way. The only thing you need to do is be at a slight calorie deficit from your TDEE (you’ll see below), so start with smaller portions and healthier options then you can try to move to calorie counting or IIFYM. Also, don’t compare your journey with others. You can get ideas and insight but remember this is YOUR journey and as long as you’re trying you’re well on your way!

2. Restricting: Weight loss really comes down to one thing: a calorie deficit aka more calories out than in. There are two ways to do this: eat less calories than what you burn per day or burn calories through exercise that puts you at a deficit. Or both! Restricting is never easy. I think the struggle most people face is that when they start out they want to go big, but here in lies a problem: too much of a deficit will cause you to have no energy and hit plateaus. You may see progress in the first few weeks but this will slow down or stop altogether,

Overcome: Go at a slight deficit. The first thing you need to do is calculate your BMR  & TDEE. As a coach I calculate all of my clients numbers but there are plenty of calculators online. I recommend the IIFYM calculator on their site. If you have been yo-yo dieting or already eating a low calorie diet you may want to consider reverse dieting. Contact me if that’s the case.

3. Mentality: Weight loss is all mental! Really, it is. When you begin your journey you have to be motivated and really want it but motivation comes and goes. After that it comes down to determination and discipline. I had NO self discipline when I started, it was something I acquired over the journey because I was determined and never gave up.

Overcome: First off, educate yourself. Do research on proper nutrition (fueling your body) and on the exercises you are doing. It can be really motivating! Secondly, stay dedicated! When you don’t want to workout you need to remind yourself why you started. It’s important to not give in to instant gratification and instead remember what will make you happy in the long run.

Something that is very helpful for me is to constantly have goals. I had an ultimate goal to lose 100lbs, then I had monthly goals to help me reach this, and I even had weekly and daily goals! This kept me in line and reminded me of what I wanted. It gave me a sense of pride to reach my small goals which kept me motivated to reach my ultimate goal.

4. Plateaus: Hitting a plateau is a HUGE struggle in weight loss. Typically when people reach this point they try to either do a bunch of cardio or decrease their calories too much. This may help you lose some weight but you will soon reach another plateau that you can’t seem to get out of and then you’ll want to give up! Plateaus happen because your body adapts to what you’ve been doing…

Overcome: A few things need to happen here. Yes, you need to increase calories burned. But if you’re already eating a low calorie diet you’re going to feel like you’re grinding your gears and you’re going to feel like shit. You may need to increase calorie consumption and start decreasing from that point. You should only be at a 300-500 calorie deficit from your TDEE depending on how overweight you are.  If you do this properly you will not gain extra fat.

5. Socializing: It can be really tough if the people in your inner circle eat like crap, don’t work out, or just aren’t concerned with losing weight or being healthy. Another common problem people have is going out to eat. People often get stressed if they’re not sure how many calories are in their meal.

Overcome: First off, find a support group! This is SO important. For me I created an Instagram account to keep me motivated and accountable. I also have a Pinterest board that I will pin on anytime I need an extra push. With your friends make it clear what your goals are. Who cares if they don’t understand!? If they are discouraging you then you probably need new friends.

In regards to eating out, don’t stress! Guestimate the calories or macros you’re consuming and most importantly STOP EATING WHEN YOU’RE SATISFIED. Not when you’re full, when you’re satisfied. When you’re full it’s too late. When you’re satisfied wait 10 minutes then decide if you want more. If you struggle with this ask for half your meal in a doggy bag prior. Also, you can ask for your food to not be cooked in oil and butter. But you should enjoy yourself when going out! Weight loss is only sustainable if you relax and enjoy the journey! Here’s an article worth checking out.

I hope this helped 🙂 Losing weight is definitely not easy! It’s also not linear progression. You will have slip-ups and you will have bad weeks, but what matters is that you don’t give up.

Also check out my article “10 Steps to Weight Loss“.

 

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10 Steps to Weight Loss

Losing weight can be a walk in the park (pun intended), but most of you are probably shaking your head in disagreement. The truth is weight loss really is easy! The hard part is believing it. The hard part is sticking to it even when you aren’t seeing immediate results. These are the most important steps I took to losing 100lbs. There is no one, right way to lose weight. However, these 10 steps will take you down the underlying process of what it takes to lose the weight. If you’re just now starting your journey tackle these steps one at a time. Once the first step becomes habit, cross it off and move to the second step. Halfway through you’ll realize (just like I did!) that you’ve created a sustainable lifestyle for yourself and you’ll never look back!

10 Steps to Weight Loss (From a Girl Who Lost 100lbs)

  1. Start with portion control. Only eat until you’re satisfied, then stop. You can always save it for later! Note I said satisfied and not full. Once you’re satisfied wait 10 minutes and see if you’re full enough.
  2. Start swapping. Swap not so healthy items for something healthier. Start with getting a salad with your burger and instead of cheese and bacon just one or both. Start making more and more of these choices and soon they’ll become the norm.
  3. Make exercise a part of your routine. I don’t care if it’s walking your dog. I started out walking every other day, then every, and that’s how fitness became an integral part of my life.
  4. Track your progress. If you haven’t already, take a before picture. Take it from a few different angles. Take one in a swimsuit or your undies. These can be for your eyes only. It is so important to take a before picture because it’s like initiating the beginning of your journey. Plus anytime you feel like giving up you can look at it and remember why you started. On the first of each month take your picture and measure yourself. I don’t recommend using the scale more often than once every month or two. It’s not always accurate and can be discouraging. I like to gauge my progress by measurements, my pictures, and how my clothes fit.
  5. Get educated. In nutrition and fitness. It’s motivating to understand the benefits of what you’re fueling your body with. Same goes for your fitness. If you are confident with your workouts, you’re more likely to stick with them! So learn what the benefits are to what you are doing. If you need to, hire a trainer for a few months. They’ll give you a solid foundation in the gym.
  6. Try IIFYM. Just try it. I did an entirely separate post on IIFYM here. You don’t need to keep tracking your macros, but if you try it for a week you will realize what your current eating habits are vs what they need to be to reach your goals! Remember that ultimately losing weight comes down to one thing: a calorie deficit.
  7. Find a support group. This is one of the most important steps. When I began my journey to lose 100lbs I had no one in my personal life that cared to work out or eat healthy. I found support through social media like Instagram.
  8. Don’t fight off days. Don’t miss your rest day each week! Don’t feel bad to have two rest days a week. In the beginning it’s easy to jump in full throttle but this is an easy way to burn out. Also, even after losing 100lbs I have days or weeks when I don’t feel very motivated. I find that if I don’t fight the feeling and go with it, it’ll pass a lot faster. All you can really do is give it the best you got on that day. Your best will vary each day. But whatever you’ve got to give that day, give it! And enjoy your rest.
  9. Don’t let off days add up. With #8 being said, I’d like to clarify that I’m not justifying laziness! If you just don’t feel like working out, get your butt up and do it! There is a big difference between being lazy and legitimately needing a rest. Know the difference. Don’t fool yourself.
  10. Have fun with your fitness! Trust me, you’re going to get really tired of doing the same thing every day. There’s also no rule that says you can’t have fun while you’re working out! Listen, there is no one right way to lose weight and get healthy. For me I love lifting weights, it’s my therapy! But if you’re a runner, run your little heart out! If you like yoga then get to bending! Even though I love lifting I still switch it up sometimes so I don’t get bored. I like to practice yoga once or twice a week or take a jog. There are tons of different options- swimming, biking, taking a fitness class, boot camp, etc. Find what you love!

Check out my post “Five Struggles of Weight Loss and How to Overcome Them

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7 Principles of Self Love (and Putting them to Practice)

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Losing 100lbs will teach you a lot about yourself. It will also give you a new appreciation for your body and taking care of it. Over the last two years I have transformed not only on the outside, but on the inside. I’ve gone from self-loathing to positive self talk. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. Some days I wake up feeling like a beluga whale. But the difference now is that I know it’s only a temporary feeling, it’s not who I am at my core. Deep down I am satisfied with the person I am and I believe that’s because I practice these 7 principles below. I hope you try them out. Having a healthy relationship with yourself is truly life changing!

  1. Impeccable Word.
    1. Be kind to yourself & others. This is the most important principle and the hardest to follow. But, if you can master this principle (with LOTS of practice) you will have a newfound appreciation for yourself and your surroundings.
    2. Practice: Each morning, look in the mirror, smile at yourself, and tell yourself “today is going to be a great day!” Then point out five things you like about your outward appearance and five things about your personality. Practice these kinds of things with other people.
  2. Practice Gratitude.
    1. Be grateful for who you are what you have. Extend this gratitude to your surroundings.
    2. Practice: Each night before bed write down 10 things to be grateful for that day. If you can think of more than ten, have at it! This practice is especially important for bad situations. Be sure to find the harder to find good in these circumstances. This will transform your perspective of difficult situations.
  3. Accept the Now.
    1. “Be content with what you have while working for what you want.” People struggle with this principle, especially in the weight loss/fitness community. It is hard for people to wrap their heads around wanting to lose weight but accepting the weight they are at. But when you accept the weight you are at, what you are doing is breaking out of the shackles of guilt and self-pity. You accept the circumstances that have got you to this point and you are content with what is, however you are optimistic of the future and have a goal or vision to grow and progress. There is nothing wrong with change and progress, but there is also nothing wrong with accepting the Now. Actually there is a lot of negative that can arise from not accepting Now.
    2. Practice: Stay present in the moment and practice principles 1 & 2.
  4. Detach from the ego.
    1. Don’t take things personally. Understand that how people act towards you are a reflection of how they feel about themselves. If you stop worrying about what others think of you, and egotistical aspects of yourself, you will rid yourself of unnecessary suffering.
    2. Practice: Get out of your comfort zone. Do things in public that others may find you silly for, but this will make you realize that what’s really silly is giving a crap what anyone else thinks of you!
  5. Enjoy your You time.
    1. Simple as that. Learn to appreciate when you are by yourself. Form a relationship with yourself, become your own best friend!
    2. Practice: Find things you enjoy doing alone. Maybe getting a pedicure, going to the park, or yoga. Try new things you haven’t done alone like going out to lunch or to the beach, you’ll find it’s quite relaxing to do these things alone from time to time and you can learn a lot about yourself!
  6. Stay positive! Let go of the negative.
    1. There are many things we do to sabotage ourselves. We limit ourselves by being insecure, overly worrisome, making assumptions, etc. Get rid of these negative habits! Stop creating unnecessary suffering.
    2. Practice: Break your negative habits. Practice positive thinking in all aspects of life. Every time you have a negative thought replace it with two positive thoughts!
  7. Be the best version of YOU.
    1. Your best will change. Accept that some days, weeks, or even months you won’t be as motivated or passionate as before. Observe these feelings and listen to your body. As long as you are doing your best in any moment, you should be satisfied with yourself. You will avoid regret, self-judgement, self-hate, etc.
    2. Practice: It’s that simple. Give it your best and you will be happy with yourself.
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What 2013 Taught Me (About Weight Loss)

2013

First photo was taken in March 2013 (138lbs) and second was taken in October 2013 (125lbs).

Wow. 2013 was one hell of a year. I lost another 20lbs (reaching a total of 95lbs lost), I worked with a personal trainer for over 6 months and gained not only a lot of muscle but even more knowledge in the gym, and I started a business creating fitness apparel with the love of my life! Not to mention, I found the most incredible non-profit I have ever worked with and am one semester away from graduating from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs. I think 2013 was good to me!

Or was I good to 2013? Something I’ve learned through losing almost 100lbs is that YOU choose your fate. YOU choose what will happen over the next year, so make it count! Every year I learn something new about myself thanks to my fitness journey. So I thought I would share these lessons with you all in hopes of saving some of you time!

1. Slow and steady wins the race. As most of you know, I practice IIFYM. I love the flexibility that IIFYM gives me. I’m a total believer in moderation, and losing weight doesn’t mean giving up your favorite foods. It just means learning portions, learning to balance what your body needs and what it wants. Trying to eat 1200 calories for a month or going to the gym every single day isn’t going to give you the results you want. To lose weight, you have to be in this for the long run. You have to create long term habits that you will enjoy sticking to. 2013 taught me that putting a deadline on weight loss can be a death wish. Make general deadlines for your goals but make it realistic. If your goal is to lose 5lbs in 6 weeks and you lost 3.5lb celebrate the shit out of that 3.5lbs! That’s still progress. Don’t make a goal to lose 5lbs in one month, that’s suicide!

2. Listen to your body. This really goes hand in hand with the above statement. Even with the flexibility of IIFYM, sometimes you just need a break. I’ve been working towards weight loss and a healthier lifestyle for two years now. About every six months I seem to lose motivation. The first two times it happened I got really down about it. I wanted to be back in beast mode but just couldn’t find the drive. But these last two times I allowed the feeling to take its course. I still worked out but took it easy and gave myself an extra rest day. I don’t count macros during this time but I still make an effort to find balance. After a week or two I’m ready to get back in it! But when I was fighting this feeling it just took longer to gain motivation. Do what feels right.

3. Find support. No one in my personal life shares these goals or interests. No one I know in real life practices IIFYM (or even knows what it is) or lift weights. That’s no excuse for me to not go after what I want! BUT, I will say that after I found support through first Tumblr and then Instagram, it has been so much easier for me! I follow like minded people to get ideas for meals, workouts, etc. and to find motivation. When I wake up in the morning and check IG to see other people hitting the gym I’m more motivated to go. My followers keep me accountable and they inspire me. They remind me that everyone has a valuable and unique story to tell. Don’t be afraid to tell your story! Make a new Instagram name if you’d rather not share it with your personal friends or family. This is what I did the first year and then I let all of my friends know of my account. They were all super supportive!

4. Love yourself now. NO matter what size. I know you probably hear this a lot. I used to hate hearing this when I was 200lbs. But now I wish I had listened. Even now, at 120lbs, there are still things about myself I don’t like. I go shopping and plenty of clothes don’t fit me right. I feel fluffy and bloated after a big meal. Sometimes I just want to shave my hair off or dread it. Point being, there are always going to be things we don’t like about ourselves! That doesn’t mean we can’t love ourselves. That might seem like an oxymoron but really think about it. All these little flaws that use to drive me crazy, don’t anymore. Because I’m content with myself as is. Not because of the physical benefits of losing 100lbs, but because of the mental. I BELIEVE in myself now. I know that I’m capable of doing anything I want. Once you start working towards a happier and healthier you, you will see this confidence shine through. Let it shine! It’s because you are proud. You feel accomplished. You should. At 120lbs or 200lbs your shit will still stink. So appreciate the fuck out of the roses. They won’t smell any differently once you’ve lost the weight.

Off Weeks/Months and Why We Should Welcome Them

October and thus far in November I haven’t been on top of my game like I have been for the last nine months. I’ve been consistent with workouts but lacking motivation to track my macros or give a damn about portion control. It started the last week in September when my dad visited and we went out to eat two nights in a row. I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t really eaten out lately but I totally pigged out both those nights. Since then I haven’t been able to find the initiative to start tracking macros full time.

Right now I’m going with the flow. I’m happy with where I’m currently at in my journey. I’ve lost 95lbs, dammit! 😉 I wish I could say I made the decision to take this break. Well, I guess I did. I wanted to take this break when I left for my cruise but it started a month early. and it seems my body made this decision for me, because I really needed a break. I’ve been working on losing weight/fat for two years now. I want to eventually take the next step in getting fit, but I truly needed this.

This whole situation got me thinking…in the beginning I was fighting this feeling and I think it only made it worse. I learned a few things I’d like to share:

1. Listen to your body! You shouldn’t work out every single day and you shouldn’t eat 100% clean. If you have to lose a lot of weight then know that it takes a long time and it’s okay to have slower weeks or months. When your body needs a break, take it!

2. Don’t fight it. If you beat yourself up or try to fight it then you’ll only end up digging yourself in a deeper hole. Allow yourself this break and it will pass.

3. Know the difference between being plain old lazy and truly needing a break. Let’s be honest, there are some days where I just don’t want to go to the gym. But I give myself a little push and go anyways, and end up feeling great!

4. Go with the flow. Do you. Motivation comes from within and sometimes we just don’t have it. We can’t always be at our peak. Focus on another aspect of your life and don’t go crazy. This is a lifelong journey, there’s plenty of time left. 🙂

Plus, it’s the holiday season!!