Nurition

Why counting calories doesn’t work

If you've ever tried to lose weight, you've probably counted calories. And if you're a woman, you've probably fixated yourself on consuming 1,200 calories per day. (Weird fact: the majority of women I've spoken to about how many calories she thinks she should eat per day says 1,200 for no apparent reason). It seems like women have just "heard" over the years this is the goal number, but I digress....

So, here's my straight to the point list on why calorie counting doesn't work:

  1. You probably don't know your RMR (resting metabolic rate). This is what your body needs to function and stay alive. Without this baseline, everything is just guessing.

  2. Food labels are off by as much as 25% in either direction - that's a HUGE variance!

  3. Your gym equipment is also off by as much as 25% (or more in some cases) with how many calories it's telling you you've burned. (Between this and the food labels we could be off by 50%!)

  4. We all process and absorb food differently.

  5. 3,500 calories isn't 1 pound of fat. Not all calories are equal. This thought process sets you up for failure.

As you can imagine, it can feel like you're doing "everything right" and still not losing the weight. How discouraging! This frustration is what often makes us think our metabolisms are broken, or we decide to resort to some crash diet, a million supplements, or even HCG injections.

Here's what you need to know:

  1. The more you crash diet or lose and gain weight, the less calories you need to survive, so essentially your RMR goes down. Your body is adaptive like that. So no more crash dieting, ok? :)

  2. Focus on eating protein, fibrous carbs like fruits and veggies, good fats, and some high quality starchy carbs. Not only will you naturally decrease the number of calories you're consuming while staying more full, but you'll simultaneously increase the number of calories your body actually needs to digest the food!

  3. Unless you're training for a competition, you don't need carb or calorie cycling, special diets, or beat down workouts 5 days per week to lose weight. You need the right consistent efforts over time and a little patience.

  4. Don't compare yourself to others. The body is a crazy unique thing, so what your friend is doing likely won't have the exact same effect on you...expect it and focus on YOU.

  5. Weight loss truly occurs through a balance of good nutrition, strength and cardio training (I'll show you how to do them together in minimal time!), proper sleep, stress management, hormonal balance, and hydration. So unsexy but so true.

It's heartbreaking for me to watch so many people struggle because of the wrong approach.

Self-compassion also plays a HUGE role in fat loss, so be sure to speak kindly to yourself always.

6 Strategies for Healthy, Quick, & Convenient Dinners

The biggest obstacle I hear from the people I coach is that they “just don’t have time.”  People are SO busy today with work, families, managing a house, and the million other things that come up.

So it’s too often that they find themselves grabbing food for convenience – food that not only doesn’t serve their bodies but that also ends up negatively impacting the family and their waistlines.  This leads to further guilt and a vicious cycle begins.

It breaks my heart to see these smart, hard-working, and deserving people go down the rabbit hole of convenience because they just don’t know another way.  So, I’m here to help! 🙂

Check out my strategies for healthy, fast, and convenient dinners (or whichever meal you choose!):

You make it:

1. Pre-cook proteins, pre-wash and chop veggies.  You can do this 1-2 times a week depending on time.  I’m a fan of the Sunday Ritual, where you prep and portion for the entire week.  How to do this:  Simply grill or bake enough protein to sustain dinner each week.  You can prep the veggies to be prepared on the spot in the evening before dinner or in advance like the protein.  Heck, throw it all on the grill!

2. Purchase pre-chopped veggies.  If to the first point you were thinking…”Yeah, but the part I HATE is washing and chopping!”  Pretty much every grocery store sells vegetables that are ready to throw in a pan, in the oven, or on a grill.  It’ll typically cost you a little bit more, but it’s worth it if this is what it takes to make the right choice.

3. The 10 minute, minimal effort meal.  This is one of my favorite strategies!  It’s as simple as this:  Rotisserie chicken, steam in a bag veggies, and wrapped microwavable sweet potato.  Serve the chicken, grab 1-2 cups of veggies for your plate out of the bag (season if you like), and eat half the potato with a pat of grassfed butter.  And you’ve got leftovers!

4. Crock Pot meals.  It doesn’t get much easier than throwing a bunch of ingredients in a crock pot in the morning then coming home to a fully prepared meal (and a house that smells awesome).  Also requires minimal clean up!  This is definitely easy to make in large portions, so you’ve got leftovers!

Still not quite going to work?  Here are my GRAB AND GO strategies!

5.  Hit the hot bar.  Have a grocery store like Whole Foods nearby?  Chances are they have an awesome hot bar!  

6.  Healthy take-out.  This is easier to find than you think. With delivery apps like UberEats & GrubHub you can literally get your favorite restaurant foods delivered right to your door. I would recommend ordering extra so you can get a few servings out of it too, then you’ve got lunch for the next day!

Believe me, I am all about convenience when it comes to food, so I always suggest making more than you need so you’ve got left overs!

And when, I cook, I keep it SUPER SIMPLE!  Check out one of my go-to’s with this Beef Stir Fry:

1lb ground beef
1 medium onion
1 large bell pepper (any color)
1 tbsp coconut oil
salt & pepper to taste

Heat a sauté pan to medium high.  Add coconut oil and let it melt.  Add the onion and let it start to turn translucent.  Add the bell peppers.  Let cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add ground beef and cook to desired temperature.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

I usually throw this in a bowl and eat it as is.  This makes about 3-4 servings for me. You can also serve this with about a half cup of quinoa!  How is easy is that!? Under 15 minutes!

Give it a try and let me know how you like it!

Intermittent Fasting. What Is It? Will It Work For Me?

 

This is one of the most talked about approaches to eating nowadays. It has been widely practiced for millennia across all races and religious beliefs. In the Eastern Hemisphere, fasting has been used for decades to help treat numerous degenerative diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol.  In the last decade the Western World has slowly been catching up with more scientific research on this intriguing topic helping to create new patterns of fasting to help modernize this ancient practice for everyone. So what exactly is Intermittent Fasting, and more importantly will it work for you? 

Intermittent Fasting, or IF, is defined as a pattern of consumption that involves no eating for an extended period of time, then a period of normal eating. It's that simple!  Now the complexity of IF comes in how you approach it. For simplicity I'm going to discuss the two main types and the most commonly used techniques in each. 

There are two main types of IF,  Alternate Day Fasting (ADF),  and Time Restrictive Fasting (TRF).  The first type, ADF, is a pattern of eating involving a  24 hour fast,  followed by a normal day of eating. Some types of ADF involve easier fasting days, allowing for minimal calories on those days. The most popular types of ADF are the 5:2 Diet and the "Every Other Day Diet". The "Every Other Day Diet" was popularized by a book written by Krista Varady. This diet allows 25% of your normal calories on your fast day, then no restrictions of eating on your free day. The 5:2 diet consists of fasting two days a week followed by five days of non restricted eating. Now both of these diets are liberal approaches to IF and are much easier to stick with, but they also could encourage binge eating among certain populations. Therefore, if you're someone who can't easily control food cravings then these types might not work for you.  When following ADF, I always recommend normal eating on your non fasting days.  If you want to have a couple cheat days a month, then that should be fine. 

ADF, in my personal experience, is a temporary pattern of eating. It's an easier approach to fasting for beginners but can be harder to maintain longterm for most people due to its extreme caloric restriction on your fast days. TRF, on the other hand, can be a solution to those who struggle with maintaining a fasting lifestyle. 

The second major type, Time Restricted Fasting (TRF), is a pattern of eating within a a certain number of hours per day. The most common practice is fasting for 16 hours, then eating within an 8 hour time frame. This was popularized by the book,  "The 8-Hour Diet" by David Zinczenko. This diet has no restrictions on the foods you eat during the 8 hour window of consumption, but does emphasize controlling your food portions. My personal experience is that with this diet you can still over-consume on a daily basis. So I would recommend keeping a food journal to make sure you’re still limiting your calories (if your goal is weight loss) and also make sure to  consume healthy foods, not sugary refined ones. Now there are wide ranges of TRF out there today.  Some are more strict, such as eating within a 1 hour window per day, or some have a more relaxed pattern, like eating within a 12 hour window per day. If you’re a beginner, I always recommend starting with a 12 hour window fast first, then increase you fast by 1 hour per week until you get to the 16 hour a day fast goal. 
 
The benefits of IF are still being studied, but preliminary data suggest that it can help reduce the risk of cancer, improve immune function, increase energy, reduce inflammation, increase human growth hormone production, and increase your basal metabolic rate! It can also help with degenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s , dementia, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.  With new studies being conducted everyday, I'm sure we'll see more positive research being published in the near future.

Now, will Intermittent Fasting work for you? I personally believe everyone can benefit from some type of intermittent fasting in their life, but it's up to you to determine what type of IF works for your lifestyle.  So, experiment with all the different types of IF out there and see what works best for you.

Before you start fasting, always consult your physician before making any major changes to your diet. Intermittent Fasting is not recommended for children, the elderly, and underweight people.