Posted in wellness

The Juggling Act: Your Man Vs. Your Goals

Failure to prepare is preparing to fail. -Benjamin Franklin

Maintaining balance and prioritizing relationships is a common struggle. Health and fitness goals are challenging! They can be hard on you as well as on your family in the event they aren’t joining in on the fun. But, it doesn’t HAVE to be hard. My marriage is my biggest priority. I am a wife first and foremost, and everything I do needs to reflect that. In all honesty, that is hard to swallow sometimes when my goals and motivation are at an all time high. It is not uncommon for motivated people to have the ability to create a tunnel vision that is out of this world. If you are feeling like you are playing a constant game of tug of war with your relationship and your goals, you are not alone. Regardless of how willing you might be to re adjust priorities to reach your goal, we can’t ignore our loved ones along the way.

Let’s begin by increasing awareness. Identifying how your choices and goals impact the people closest to you is one of the best things you can do to maintain perspective.  Be prepared for things to change and motivated to keep them the same. Goals require perseverance. They also require compromise. The bigger the goal, the bigger your awareness needs to be on keeping the peace and holding on to as much balance as you can. When the game of tug of war starts to be too much, refer to the below ideas to come up for air whether it’s alone or with your family.

  1. Not all dates revolve around food: Some of our favorite stress releases are a going to the movies (bring your own snacks!), bowling, playing cards, making a list of things we want to accomplish at home, going to the gym together instead of alone, etc. Additionally, there is no reason you can’t have a special date night that involves food! Refer to my recent blog on “Navigating Social Events & Meals out” for more information on how to honor your goals without sacrificing time and memories with your family. Sometimes just an hour of “normal life,” or giving yourself permission to take a mental break from your goals serves as a great distraction and reset to bring your mind back to the people you love the most.
  2. Practice random acts of kindness: Your support system is your lifeline! Make sure to express gratitude and love for the people pushing you along. You are only as good as your support system and they are working hard, too. Sometimes going to the extra mile to make my husband a special dinner, take him on a surprise date to the movies or write him a card makes me feel just as good as it does him. It’s the LITTLE THINGS!
  3. Laugh: Don’t get so caught up in your routine of gym, sleep, eat and repeat that you forget to live your life. Go to the social gatherings, eat at the table with everyone else, make time for your friends. So many people get anxiety from the THOUGHT of temptation when tackling a goal. There is no need for that. Life is for living and you can still enjoy it while chasing your fitness dreams.
  4. Set boundaries: We set boundaries for work, personal time, children and friends. Do it for your goals as well! You can be 100% dedicated to your journey to health and still prioritize your loved ones by giving them time and your undivided attention whenever you can. Be intentional, be present and make sure they feel connected to you. Don’t be the person that only talks about the gym, food prep and how exciting your progress is!  Be well rounded, have other hobbies and tend to all aspects of your life. You are more than your goals.
  5. Be aware: Your goals are a CHOICE. If we are so lucky to have loved ones that are willing to push us along, supporting us and honoring our goals is THEIR CHOICE. That is important perspective. Reaching your goals and thriving is a gift. It’s a powerful and overly satisfying experience that breeds MORE activity. However, reaching your goals will not be nearly as rewarding if you don’t have your special people beside you at the finish line. Your life is happening right now. You can work toward your goals without sacrificing the special moments that happen every day. Don’t miss them.

Tackling a fitness goal can be a big part of your life, but it does not define you. Your new body and lease on life will not suffice when the universe throws you a curveball and you really need your people. Be mindful and focused on what really matters regardless of how it challenges you. These people, your family and loved ones are what matter.

Posted in Uncategorized

Navigating Travel, Meals Out & Social Events Stress Free

It is not uncommon that weekends are the hardest to “survive” when you have health and fitness goals. It was the same for me, and its something I hear ALL the time with my clients. It is easy to stay on track during the week while we stick to our routine. Work, gym, sleep, repeat. Then, the weekend comes and it seems as though our will power and decision making skills evaporate completely. The evaporation of skills is a mentality. It derives from fear and intimidation of feeling capable of making choices that align with your goals when social gatherings occur, or dinner is at your favorite restaurant. There is, believe it or not, a happy medium between YOLO and “I’m on a meal plan, I can’t have that.” That black and white mentality is typically to blame for set backs. Learning to account for meals out and how to fit foods in without blowing my macros or progress was one of the most empowering tools I developed during my fitness journey. Don’t be a prisoner to your meal plan, and don’t allow intimidation of trying as an excuse to fall off the wagon. Below are some tricks that help me navigate my weekends and social time without compromising my progress. My goal in sharing them is to help others break this frustrating cycle.

  1. You can’t out train a bad diet: The first step to finding a better weekend balance is understanding that you cannot out train a night of binge drinking and eating whatever your heart desires. You can be as diligent as you want to throughout the week. But, consistency is what your body craves the most and is also what will bring you the best results. Knowing that repeating those nights weekly are making all of your work and efforts during the week go to waste should be some motivation to start to tone it down.
  2. Check the menu ahead of time: Knowing your options and eliminating the pressure to make a quick decision can make a huge difference. Most menu’s are available online if you know where you are headed in advance. Going to a friends house? Ask them what is being served, and offer to bring something! That is a great way to add in healthy foods or things that you know will work for you that day. Lots of menu’s are available on My Fitness Pal and have the macro information on there. If you don’t see it, you have the option to request it on your tracking app. If you have a favorite spot and the menu isn’t available yet, request away! TheMacroExperiment.com is another outstanding resource for this. You can also call the establishment and ask them how things are prepared. If you had a serious food allergy, you wouldn’t hesitate to do this. Your goals and progress are not any different!
  3. Menu Manipulation: Half the battle to successful ordering is knowing what to look for and request. When reviewing a menu, request options that are baked or grilled. Most menu’s will also have things that are on the “lighter side” to select as well. If you want something low fat, request chicken or fish instead of beef. Low on carbs? Request double the veggies instead of the starch it comes with. Here is a little list of quick tips I use every single time I am out to eat.
    1. Eat before you go! That way you aren’t starving when you sit down
    2. Double the water, drinking as much as I can helps me with portion control
    3. Skip the bread basket- don’t hesitate to ask them to hold the chips or bread, you don’t need that crap on your table!
    4. Request a baked/ grilled option, and ask them to hold the butter and oil. That way, you can ensure your protein was cooked simply with herbs and spices only, and not injected with additional crap for which you cant account.
    5. Sauce on the side- when in doubt, ask them to either hold the sauce or put it on the side for you. You can always dip your fork in it, or pour it yourself so that you can better estimate serving sizes, etc.
    6. Double the veggies- Most entrees come with a starch and a vegetable side. If you are low on carbs or want to add volume, request double veggies! The brighter and more colorful your food, the better.
    7. Request a “half” size! This is a GREAT way to aid with portion control, especially if you are someone that struggles to not pick at your plate. Get half the burger, or half the salad, or half the entrée. You can take the other half home, or give it to your Husband, if he is a bottomless pit like mine!
    8. You don’t HAVE to finish your plate. Eat slowly, and eat until you are satisfied. If you know the portion was massive, section off the amount you’d like to eat and then make a mental note that you are finished after that point (I will sometimes even cover my plate with my napkin once I know I am really full. That prevents me from continuing to pick and eat when I know I should be finished).
  4. Portion sizes: In order to track accurately, you need to have an idea of typical portion sizes. For meat, a 4-5 oz serving is typically the size of a closed fist. When in doubt, track for a bigger portion. 1 cup of veggies is about the size of your palm as well. It is always better to over shoot in this instance. A typical pour of wine is 5 oz., etc. When in doubt, ask your server! It is their job to relay any information you need about what you are putting in your body. Knowledge is power.
  5. Tracking on the fly: There will be plenty of times at social gatherings, when traveling or attending dinners out where you have to just guess and go. Yo can always insert each menu item individually! Tracking SOMETHING is so much better than throwing in the towel and ignoring your choices for the night. Any accountability is better than no accountability. It doesn’t need to be perfect! Family dinner at your favorite burger joint? You can enter your burger like this: 1 hamburger bun, 1 oz cheddar cheese, 1 tomato slice, 6 oz chicken breast, 1 oz ketchup, 1 lettuce leaf, etc. You can do that with ANY meal that you order. The menu items have to list all ingredients, so take note and enter that stuff in!
  6. Be Needy: Restaurants expect special requests. They are used to serving people with severe food allergies or intolerances and are happy to cater to their needs. You are no different, and there is no shame in making special customizations to your order! Don’t be afraid to request different variations of what you need. The will be HAPPY to accommodate you, and you will feel so much better for it!
  7. Ignore the haters: People will ask you questions or comment when you take your health into your own hands. They will ask you “does that fit your plan?” or why you made special requests. Don’t let this deter you from putting your goals first. When this happens to me, I remind myself that they are usually curious and wanting to learn. People envy that kind of self control, and want to emulate it. Own your choices, and shout them from the rooftops. The people that matter will always support your choices and help you stay the course!

As this weekend approaches, try implementing these tricks. You will be shocked at how much you can enjoy your social life and weekend without the guilt that you completely bulldozed your fitness goals.

For more information on nutrition, healthy recipes and meal planning please visit www.CarsonLaineFitness.com

Posted in How To's

Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain: 8 tips for tackling the holidays stress free!

Navigating the holidays without gaining that annual 5 lbs of “fluff” can be the most challenging obstacles for those practicing mindfulness around health and wellness.

Some approach the holiday season swearing to resist the endless amounts of cookies, cocktails and other sweet-treat temptations included in most social events between the November and the New Year. They are ambitious.

Others enter the holidays surrendering their health and fitness goals completely. Returning to family is stressful enough. Just the thought of returning to family with their goals as a top priority seems laughable. Their goals, progress or intention of approaching the holidays with balance and mindfulness is simply out of the question. Why miss a  a prime time opportunity to maximize every gathering, party and temptation when starting over on January first is the familiar routine?  The decision is made that their goals can wait and right then they head face first toward the dessert trays.

There is massive grey area between these two extremes. However, navigating the space between restriction and a free for all is too overwhelming! American’s have embraced approaching the holidays with a hyper focus on the food and temptations. In reality, these special days have absolutely nothing to do with food.

For those looking to approach this year’s company parties, family dinners and exciting get togethers with mindfulness, balance and a realistic approach KEEP READING! Be empowered to incorporate healthful habits into this year’s holiday season without the stress! Below are my go-to tips for enjoying the holidays without putting your health on hold.

TIPS FOR NAVIGATING THE HOLIDAYS THIS YEAR:

1. Setting expectations:  Set an expectation on what needs to happen in order for you to enjoy the holiday season without sacrificing your goals. How do you want to feel after the party? What obstacles might you face? Examples of expectations include deciding on a number of alcoholic drinks you will consume before you even arrive at the party, or to premeditate a plan of attack for the inevitable desert trays. Will you have one of each? Avoid it all together? Make a plan and set the tone for the evening.

2. Don’t be a hero: Never show up to a party hungry! No one can make good decisions on an empty stomach and will usually resort to over eating from being overly ravenous for too long. Having a small meal or snack right before you leave will keep you from eating by the handful and encourage you to fill your plate with food choices resembling mindfulness and moderation because you aren’t on your hunger death bed.

3. Keep multiple snack stashes: Having healthy snacks at your fingertips can be a lifesaver when you are in a pinch! Have a supply of tuna, almonds, healthy bars, fruit, snack veggies and water at the ready whenever hunger strikes. Keep an emergency kit of snacks in the car, purse, gym bag or office! Don’t be caught empty handed when hunger strikes! This will prevent you from feeling too hungry and encourage balanced choices despite any curve balls that get thrown your way.

4. Dress for success: When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you tend to make better choices that align with your goals! Dressing in an outfit that shows off your figure will serve as a great motivator for you to avoid doing anything that would make you feel like a beached whale when you leave the party. Choose something that fits you right now, not last year’s ensemble that is too tight or no longer comfortable. You deserve to feel beautiful, confident and comfortable all season long.

5. Offer to bring a dish: Bringing an entre or appetizer creates an opportunity for you to prepare something that fits your needs and can also be enjoyed by others. Get creative with the usual holiday recipes and prepare something on the lighter side. Incorporate something with fresh vegetables or a yogurt spread instead of the usual butter and cream. Provide a fresh dessert option with berries and sorbet to balance out the sugar cookies and chocolate. The other guests will appreciate the variety and you can have the best of both worlds.

6. Fill your plate guilt free: It can be difficult to know what to expect when attending an event with zero insight regarding what will be available for food. Once you are settled and familiar with your options a great strategy is to prioritize what will go on your plate. Identify which dishes you’d like to enjoy the most and take note if there are some things you can go without. By prioritizing what goes on your plate you can enjoy your annual favorites without feeling like you over did it, or accidentally having a plate that resembles a small mountain. Fill your body with the foods you love and enjoy them guilt free. An approach allowing you to enjoy your favorite things in moderation will set you up for ultimate success every time.

7. Add some spritz to your cocktail: Cocktails are part of the fun! They also present significant temptation and an easy opportunity to over do it in the worst way. Create a spritzer version of your favorite beverage by pouring your glass with 1/2 seltzer of choice and the other half with you alcoholic beverage. Enjoy a buzz without all the empty calories (and half the hangover). Requesting “bitters” (available at any establishment serving beverages) to seltzer water is calorie free option that looks identical to a spirit for those that are bashful about cutting back on drinks.

8. Important reminders: The food isn’t going anywhere. You have the choice to treat the temptations of the holiday season like you do every other day of the year, but with better decorations! Remember that just because the calendar reads “November” and “December” your goals and priorities don’t require a pause.You to remember that you have the power to choose. Make the choice that best suits your life, goals and dreams this holiday season!

 

For more tips, tricks and resources for living your best life in your best body please visit www.CarsonLaineFitness.com

Posted in wellness

Sleep & Fat Loss

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

Sleep (noun): a condition of body and mind such as that which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is relatively inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.

Sleep is one of the most underrated topics in the health and fitness industry today. Sleep is essential and a massive component to the overall wellbeing, life and ability to function as humans. Sleep is also infamous for being the first healthy habit American’s sacrifice when life starts to feel out of control. One would think that as soon as feelings of stress, fatigue or having an unmanageable work load would result in slowing down. Those feelings are signs and signals from our bodies to take a step back, remove, reduce, de clutter, slow down and surrender. 

Instead, we have somehow been trained to do the opposite! When stress and fatigue kick in, we start doing MORE. We get up earlier, stay up later, move faster, drink more coffee, add more stress and race around as if it were possible to outrun our daily lives. We think we can fool the world and our own bodies. There are endless studies on both adults and children linking lack of sleep and weight gain, and the studies are absolutely correct. For those still spending hours in the gym instead of in bed, it is time to reconsider the allocation of your time. Sleep is the only thing that keeps us alive, healthy, and functioning the way we only hope all of the coffee and stimulants might. 

Still not so sure? The facts speak for themselves! 

  1. Poor sleep can increase your appetite. Sleep impacts the hunger hormones, leptin and ghrelin.  These hormones signal our hunger cues and appetite. Too little sleep impacts the ability for these hormones to properly signal hunger and fullness. That imbalance causes insatiable feelings of hunger, encourages overeating, slowed fat loss and of course, weight gain. 
  1. Sleep helps fight cravings and encourages balanced choices in the kitchen. Lack of sleep literally alters how the brain works. To be specific, insufficient sleep directly impacts the frontal lobe’s ability to function at its best. This matters because the frontal lobe is the central hub in the brain for decision-making and self-control, two things that you really want working at all times! Lack of sleep makes it much more difficult to fight off temptation or make choices that support health and fitness goals. 
  1. Lack of sleep often results in poor nutritional choices leading to weight gain. The portions served get much bigger, late night or mindless snacking kicks in, and creates a lack of motivation to choose the healthy, balanced options. All of these things result in the additional calories and unhealthy habits that pack on the pounds in the middle of the night! 
  1. Poor sleep can compromise your metabolic rate! When sleep is lacking, the human body does, too. Sleepless nights can result in muscle loss, and muscles are what help you burn more calories and improve your metabolic rate even while you sleep. It can also negatively impact athletic performance and your body’s ability to respond positively to any attempts at weight or fat loss. 
  1. Proper rest encourages activity! Without proper sleep it is much harder to have the energy or motivation to move, be active and workout. Being more sedentary creates a much higher risk for weight gain. When properly rested one is more likely to go for a walk, have more energy throughout the day, improve mental clarity, focus, productivity levels and promotes other healthy habits simply by allowing your body the reset that it needs on a daily basis. 

In summary, sleep is a very crucial part of living a healthy and balanced life and is imperative when weight loss, fat loss and athletic performance are at stake. Mind you, this is not a complete list. Sleep deprivation also disrupts relationships, mental health, emotional health, and can worsen other conditions and cause further problems down the road. 

Eager for more information on sleep or ways to improve your own sleep habits? 

For more information, tips and tricks to improving your health and wellness please visit www.carsonlainefitness.com