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Nutrition

Unconditional Permission

Health, Lifestyle, Mindset, Nutrition, Uncategorized By November 4, 2018 No Comments

Recovering from dieting and disordered eating behaviours can be difficult. Diet culture is so pervasive in our day to day lives that sometimes we miss the signs that certain behaviours are restrictive and damaging. It can be very easy to become preoccupied with food and start depriving yourself in the name of “health” and end up in psychological and physiological turmoil.

“I really want ice cream but I won’t have it because it’s not healthy.”

“I love chicken wings but I will never eat them because they have too many calories.” 

Lines like these feed into to deprivation – both psychological and physical. Our body and brain send us signals to tell us when to eat and what to eat. Whenever we don’t eat what our body is telling us it needs we are depriving ourselves of nutrients and energy that we need for survival and also just general enjoyment.

It’s in these moments when our body is telling us what it needs that we must listen to it and trust it. This means giving yourself unconditional permission to eat. Giving yourself permissions to eat what you want, when you want it. This will allow you to discover and enjoy foods while also staving off cravings (which can prevent things like binge eating. ) Eating with unconditional permission will satisfy your hunger and cravings while making your food experiences more meaningful and enjoyable.

Unconditional permission give your body what it needs, let’s you build trust with your body and let go of damaging food rules that keep you from food freedom. No foods are off-limits (unless you have allergies or other medical reasons to not consume certain foods.) If you want eggs, bacon, and avocado for breakfast, have it. If your hunger is telling you to eat pizza for dinner, do it.  If you want midday pancakes, listen to your body and eat. You will also probably eventually find yourself craving things like apples, salad, watermelon, yogurt too once you allow yourself to have some food freedom.

In addition to allowing your body to have a variety of foods, you are also less likely to overeat when you are actually eating and savouring the foods that you really want to eat. There is a switch in your brain that goes on when you realize you can eat what you want, whenever you want it, in quantities that are congruent to your hunger. The following examples will illustrate the difference between dieting and eating with unconditional permission.

DIETING: ” I want a brownie, but I can’t have it because it’s not allowed on my diet. I am going to eat three cups of cooked broccoli so I’m too full to eat a brownie. I ate three cups of broccoli but I still want the brownie. I now ‘give in’ because I am deprived, and instead of eating one brownie I eat a whole batch. I then swear to never eat brownies again in my life because I am now uncomfortably full and ashamed.” Repeat cycle.

UNCONDITIONAL PERMISSION: ” I want a brownie. I eat a brownie to satisfaction. I move on with my life.”

The diet mentality is painful, restrictive, and stressful. Giving yourself unconditional permission to honour your body and hunger is simple, and it gets easier and better with practice.

Your relationship with food does not need to be complicated and painful. You are allowed to eat free of restriction, stress, and guilt. You are allowed to the foods that you want, when you want them. You can trust your body. You can nourish your body. You can give yourself unconditional permission to eat. 

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Why You Suck at Sticking to Your “Diet”

Health, Mindset, Nutrition By September 4, 2018 No Comments

I work in an industry that is primarily driven by society’s obsession with having ultra lean hard bodies. I hear the following all the time from clients, friends, family, and anyone I talk to that knows I work as a fitness coach: “I suck at sticking to my diet. I just can’t do it.”

They tell me they went vegan for a week, and then ate nothing but Big Macs for two weeks straight after that. They did the “caveman diet” and then wanted nothing but bread for months. It’s sadly a common story shared by many people. They deprive themselves of nourishment and calories and then the pendulum swings the other way to compensate for the extreme restriction. It’s a survival mechanism.

The problem isn’t that you suck at sticking to your diet. Your body is really good at surviving. The real problem is that your diet sucks.

A “diet” in the conventional and generally socially accepted definition is food restriction for the sake of weight or fat loss. In the most blunt terms (I’m not one for subtlety,) it’s voluntary starvation.

Dieting and starvation have well-known and researched negative health effects, not limited but including the most extreme: DEATH.

A list of other side effects include but are not limited to:

  • Malnourishment (energy, vitamin, mineral deficiencies)
  • Loss of bone density
  • Amennorhea (loss of menstruation)
  • Low libido
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Dehydration
  • Pre-occupation with food
  • Increased health risks over time with prolonged/recurring bouts of deprivation

Knowing all of this, it’s pretty obvious as to why you would have such a hard time sticking to a conventional diet. Our bodies have been evolving throughout history in order to survive hardship, and each time we endure more hardship via deprivation our bodies get even better at protecting themselves. The more you deprive your body of nourishment the more you will experience intense cravings, hunger, and preoccupation with food. Your body and brain will have the sole goal of making sure you eat and keeping you alive – and that’s okay.

Instead of trying to force ourselves into starvation and deprivation we should be focusing on what makes us feel well by listening to our bodies.

The more you can listen and obey your body’s signals the better off you will be. The best approach to nutrition that you can adhere to for long term health and wellness is by listening to what your body needs. This is called Intuitive Eating. This means listening to your body when you’re hungry, listening to it when it’s satisfied, listening to it to see what it wants and needs, listening to it to see what makes it feel best. Depending on where someone is at in their journey with eating intuitively their food intake may vary a lot, but most people in the long-term end up naturally eating in a way that is varied, moderate, and is congruent with maintaining good health while enjoying all foods without restriction.

It really is that straight-forward, and with patience and practice you can break up with dieting and get back to living a full and vivacious life without starving yourself.  For more information look here.

If you would like more information on re-shaping your relationship with food and/or with your body, I highly encourage you to read the following books:

 

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Intuitive Eating: What is it and how can you start doing it?

Health, Lifestyle, Mindset, Nutrition By February 20, 2018 Tags: , , , No Comments

“For both excessive and insufficient exercise destroy one’s strength, and both eating and drinking too much or too little destroy health, whereas the right quantity produces, increases or preserves it.” – Aristotle

If you are someone who has been trying to get off the diet-binge hamster wheel and make peace with your body and food, you’ve probably heard of Intuitive Eating.

Upon quick investigation, intuitive eating sounds to good to be true – it boasts that you can make peace with your body, make peace with food, maintain a healthy body weight, all while eating what you want when you want. However it is not too good to be true, and it does exactly what it says. What’s not to love about that?

Intuitive eating relies on using our natural bodily senses that we have had since birth. We listen to our bodies’ signals to eat when we are hungry and stop when we are not. It allows us to honour all our physiological, emotional, and social needs that food satisfies in our life without overly restricting and depriving ourselves of food.

Intuitive eating gives us the balance that allows us to respect that sometimes our bodies need a delicious brownie and sometimes our bodies also need salmon and spinach to nourish us. It rids us of harsh food dichotomies that are damaging to our overall well-being.

Intuitive eating respects that our bodies’ weight will fluctuate and adapt depending on a variety of lifestyle factors that affect our metabolisms. Our bodies deserve nourishment and respect regardless of their shape or size – sometimes we need more food and sometimes we need less. Similarly, sometimes our bodies need to store fat and sometimes they do not, and that is perfectly okay. Learning how to trust your body can be scary, but it’s a very important part of ending the cycle of being a yo-yo dieter.

Gaining weight after ending a strict diet and returning to normal intuitive eating is a perfectly normal and healthy response for a body that has been starving and deprived. Conversely for someone who has been ignoring their satiety cues it is not uncommon to lose weight once they start eating intuitively. In each scenario, our bodies are doing exactly what they need to be doing to preserve our health.

Our bodies tell us what we need and give us exactly what we need, we just need to make sure we listen to it. And no one will ever be perfect at intuitive eating, but just being “a little bit better” is the perfect place to start.

WHERE TO START

When you start eating intuitively, we first want to look at our bodily signals: hunger and satiety.

HUNGER: Hunger is our body’s signal that we need nourishment. We may feel empty, we may experience hunger pangs, we may get lightheaded, and even nauseous in cases of extreme hunger.

SATIETY: Satiety is our body’s signal that we have been nourished and can stop eating. You may experience a lack of interest in food, a loss of hunger, a feeling of fullness. In some cases we may be overly satiated and feel very full and uncomfortable.

Hunger and Satiety exists together on spectrum of varying degrees. How different levels of hunger and satiety feels will vary from person to person. It’s valuable exercises to use a number scale (most commonly zero to ten to grade your hunger.)

For example my hunger-satiety scale looks something like this:

– So hungry I feel nauseous and have a severe headache.

1 to 2 – So hungry I could eat the bark off of a tree, I am also moody and irritable.

– I need to eat very soon, I may reach for any food that is available even if it’s something I do not want.

– I am hungry and my appetite is telling me that I need to, but my hunger is not uncomfortable.

– I am neither hungry nor full, I feel neutral. I am not thing about food.

– I have eaten but I am not fully satiated, if I were going to sleep I would need a little more food or I will wake up at night with hunger pangs throughout the night.

7 to 8 – I feel well satiated, I am not uncomfortable after eating and stopping at this stage. I should not need to eat for a few hours. I could part-take in light exercise or activity after eating.

– I have eaten a little too much. I may be a little bit bloated and feel slightly uncomfortable.

10 – I have eaten way too much, I am largely bloated. My stomach hurts, I may need to lay down. I might feel sleepy from eating too much. I usually don’t want to see or smell food at this point.

Understanding and respecting your hunger and satiety cues is one of the principle foundations of intuitive eating. In order to properly be able to listen to our bodies’ cues, this means that we need to eat slowly enough for our brain to process the information our digestive system is sending to it.

It typically takes our brain 20 minutes to catch up with what is going on in our stomach. If you’re someone who eats very quickly (I know I am!) –  it may be a good exercise to try timing how long it takes you to eat. For some people even taking 10 minutes to eat a meal may be a feat, and that’s okay. There are plenty of ways to train yourself to slow down the pace of your meals. You could:

  • put your utensils down in between bites
  • chew your food thoroughly (this is good for your digestion and also the reason why our mouths have teeth 😉 )
  • share a meal with friends and family and engage in social behaviour
  • eat with your non-dominant hand or utensil you are not accustomed to (chop stick, etc.)
  • set time aside (20-30min +)  to eat your meals so you are not rushed

It may not be easy to develop the habit of slowing down and paying attention to your body’s cues, especially if you’ve been ignoring them and behaving according to external cues (i.e., I am on “x” diet, so I can only eat “y” type/amount of food – even I am hungry/overfull) for a significant amount of time. However, it is an integral part of healing your relationship with your body and with food. Starting with eating slowly and learning how to interpret your hunger and satiety signals is a great place to start.

If you want to further deeply explore the principles of Intuitive Eating and practice it daily in your day to day life you should read the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.

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3 Tips for Mindful Eating

Fat Loss, Health, Lifestyle, Mindset, Nutrition By November 25, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

“Everything moderation,” they say.

You know who I am talking about, your friends whole effortlessly lean and radiant, yet eat whatever they want. Small pieces of chocolate every day, pasta at dinner, the occasional decadent hot chocolate with whipped cream and full-fat milk. They’re never uncomfortable after eating. Their weight isn’t jumping around by 20lbs multiples times per year.

Meanwhile, you gain 10lbs just by looks at a piece of double chocolate cheesecake. You’ve been gluten-free, low-carb, calorie tracking, macrocounting dieting for God knows how long.  Eating 1400 calories religiously daily during the week, only to find yourself 10,000 calories deep into a large pizza on Friday night continuing on glutinnously raging through the weekend.

Trapping yourself in the cycle of restrict and deprive, and then bingeing as a “reward” or “treat.” Losing weight every week, gaining back the same weight every weekend, and losing that same weight again next week – punishing yourself with food restriction and excessive exercise to make up for the lack of “progress.”

The physical and psychological torments we put ourselves can be mind boggling. Clearly it’s not working. So why do we do it? Sometimes because we don’t know any better.

There is better. And we can do better. 

I want to talk to you about Mindful Eating.

Mindful eating isn’t some crazy “woo woo” trend you need to go to the Himalayas and train with the Dalai Lama to learn. In fact it’s quite simple and quite easy. You don’t need to count your calories, you don’t need to deprive yourself, and you don’t need to eliminate all the foods you love that been called “bad” by zealots who want you to believe that certain foods are holier than thou.

Mindful eating is done simply by paying attention to all the things that are happening while you are eating. Eating slowly and paying attention the sensantions, flavours, textures, and feelings that are experienced while eating your meals.

Because of the enhanced awareness we have while eating mindfully, most people who practice this are able to maintain healthy body composition while still being able to enjoy all of their favourite foods. When we slow down and focus on really experiencing our food we autoregulate our caloric-intake. This allows most people to avoid eating themselves to a point of discomfort, being overful, and taking in excess calories.

So how can you start eating mindfully? Start with these three steps.

  1. Put your phone down
    • In the words of the ever-mighty Erykah Badu: “I can make you put your phone down.” Maybe the phone isn’t your vice, but you want to avoid any distractions while you are eating your meals. Turn off the TV, put your phone down, and give your meal the undivided attention it deserves.  Being distracted while eating will take away from being able to pay attention to what is actually happening in your body. Are you hungry? Are you full? Does your food even taste good?
  2. Eat slowly
    • Next, you will want to make sure you are eating slowly. A lot of people are not even aware of how quickly they are eating. People who eat slowly tend lose and maintain weight more easily, and have better digestion, than people who do not eat slowly. You’re body physically needs time figure out when it satisfied (not full,) and eating slowly will ensure that you don’t jump the gun overeat unecessarily. The improved digestion will mainly start from taking time to properly chew your food better instead of taking larger bites and swallowing the food in large chunks, meaning your digestive system doesn’t have to work as hard to break down and process the nutrients that you are taking in. A good goal for a window of time to eat meals would be 20-30 minutes. If setting aside a half hour for a meal feels like an eternity, set a timer for 15 minutes and see if you can gradually eat a little bit slower each week.
  3. Taste your food
    • Start making mental notes about what your food actually tastes like and how you are experiencing it. Is the texture soft, chewy, crunchy, tough? How does your food taste? Sweet, savoury, salty, sour, bitter? How does your food smell? How do you physically feel while eating your food? Do you enjoy it? How could you improve it? How do you feel mentally while eating your food? Is it satisfying? These are all important things to pay attention while eating. And will allow you to truly experience your food and enjoy it significantly more.

 

So there you have it, eat what you want, but do it slowly, and savour the moment. 😉

Be like Erykah Badu, and put your phone down.

 

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Ditch Your Food Scales: The Hand Guide for a Balanced Diet

Lifestyle, Nutrition By February 23, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Can you recite the caloric value and macronutrient content of canned tuna, chicken, cucumber, tomatoes, apples, and peanut butter like it’s your job? Have you ever had a panic attack while trying to weigh your food to make sure you ate x amount kCals per day?

While tracking caloric and macronutrient intake can be useful over short periods of times – when done for extended periods of time it can warp your psyche. Especially if you lean towards the Type A perfectionist side of things (many of us do, myself included.) While results from adhering to an extremely strict dietary protocol can feel rewarding, it’s the same strict protocols that limit us in our ability to makes choices that serve us better overall and exercise our personal power.

There is a loss of power and choice when you follow a restrictive diet and don’t get to be proactive in choosing what and when you eat based off of your hunger, satiety, and needs. As a living organism with daily fluctuations in energy use and needs and no amount of macronutrient or calorie tracking is going to be able adapt to that.

Luckily we have a built in system in our body that takes care of these daily fluctuations of by regulating our appetite and satiety – and the more you pay attention to these signals the easier it gets. But to get good at listening to your body’s signal that also means you have:

  1. Stop neglecting hunger; no dieting or excessive restricion of food intakes
  2. Stop neglecting satiety; eating slowly untill you are satisfied but not ready to burst

You can be strong, healthy, thriving and sane without having the additional stress of counting calories or macronutrients. Your eating strategies need to work for you – not the other way around. You are not bound my chains to your food scale or your diet. Gone are the days of trying to figure out how many Oreos you can eat so you don’t blow your diet. If you’re ready to be free of obsessive food tracking, calorie counting, and restriction but don’t know where to start – read on.

If you’ve ever sat over your kitchen counter in front of scale with you a piece of paper, pen, calculator and tears in your eyes – this guide is for you. 


The Hand Guide for a Balanced Diet

The following guide will help outline what foods you should be adding in to your diet on a daily basis and what types of quantities. It is not a rigid restrictive guideline and is flexible system that is inclusive off mostly whole foods that will help you achieve a balanced diet so you can feel great, look great, and thrive. We’re going to to go over the food groups, meal structure, and portion sizes so you’ll be good to go using your most handy and convenient measuring tool – your hand. On ward to a simple, effective, and stress-free dietary system.

Food Groups 

Protein dense foods

Provides us with amino acids to help maintain and rebuild tissues in the body.

Chicken, beef, eggs, turkey, salmon, tuna, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, protein powders, etc.

Vegetables & Fruits (Fibrous foods)

Provides us with fibre for optimal digestive health as well as being a significant source or micronutrients needed for various chemical processes in the body.

Spinach, peppers, apples, bananas, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, berries, etc.

Carbohydrate dense foods

Provides us with a direct source of energy for brain function and physical activity.

Rice, quinoa, couscous, oats, noodles, breads, etc.

Fat dense foods

Important for maintaing cellular health and strucutre as well as synthetiszing hormones in the body.

Olive oil, butter,  coconut oil, avocado, cream, nuts, nut butters, seeds, dressings, etc.

Meal Structure

In terms of structuring your meals you want to aim to have a balanced plate each time you eat – this means including good sources of protein, fibre, carbohydrate, and fats at each meal. This means adding 1-2 servings of each food category to each meal, this structure is based off of eating 3 – 4 meals per day.

Depending on your size and activity level you may need more food than what is suggested, start with the guideline as a basis and as you get more comfortable feel free to add as you need to based off your levels of hunger and satiety.

  Female Male
Protein Dense Foods 1 serving per meal 2 servings per meal
Vegetables & Fruits (Fibrous foods) 1 serving per meal 2 servings per meal
Carbohydrate dense foods 1 serving per meal 2 servings per meal
Fat dense foods 1 serving per meal 2 servings per meal

Portions

Last but not least we’re finally at the part where you can throw out your food scale and measuring cup. Your new measuring tool is your lovely hand. The great thing about your hand is that you always have it and can bring it anywhere you go. Secondly, it’s already proportionate to you – meaning if you’re a big person, you have a bigger hand or if you’re a smaller person, you have a smaller hand. It’s hard to go wrong 😉

 

Serving Size

Protein Dense Foods

The size of your palm

Vegetables & Fruits (Fibrous foods)

The size of your fist

Carbohydrate dense foods

The size of a cupped hand

Fat dense foods

The size of your thumb

 

IMG_6754

Refer to this super high tech visual guide.


I know what you’re probably thinking: “That’s all?!” like 90% of the people I’ve ever taught this system.

To which I answer: Yes, that is all. I want you to eat your proteins, your vegetables, your carbs, and your fats. I want you to feel and look great. I want you to have as little stress as possible when it comes to having a healthy balanced diet filled with foods that you love. And most importantly I want you to enjoy the process of eating well and I want you to enjoy the food.

By keeping it simple with this guide, you’re well on your way to feeling great and living your healthiest life both physically and mentally. And if you really want an Oreo at the end of the day after you’ve nourished your body with all these awesome foods – go for it 😉

Are you ready to use the Hand Guide? Are you already using the Hand Guide?

Did this article blow your mind? I want to hear from you.

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STOP OVERRIDING THE SYSTEM – Dealing with Burn Out

Fat Loss, Mindset, Nutrition, Training By September 6, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

4am on a cold day of February in 2011, there I was restless, tossing, and turning in my bed unable to sleep – this particular moment seared into my memory because both of my quads cramped and I was in what felt like the worst pain I’ve experienced in my whole life.

I went to bed at 9pm and so I could wake up at 6am to make it to the gym to train before I had to go to my lectures for the day. I would go to bed and lay there unable to fall asleep.

But this wasn’t something that happened once in a while, this was something that was my life for about 3 months. EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.

I trained 2hrs a minimum of 5 days per week before my 8:30am classes, one hour of hypertrophy based resistance training and one hour of steady state cardio…all in a fasted state.

I was a full-time student in college, and I worked a part-time job after I was done school and on the weekends. In addition to my own workouts I had several hours of sport based activity courses in program that I would participate in.

On top of this overload of activity, I thought it was wise to adhere to a Paleo-esque low carb diet.

I was the leanest I’ve ever been in my adult life. I was tired, I was angry, I was hungry, I was always sore, and my legs would regularly collapse while walking up or down stairs. My recovery was poor but the idea of resting or taking a break seemed petty.

It was brutal.

And I was willingly pushing through this thinking that if I didn’t do what it takes to get lean that I was somehow weak or incapable or unworthy.

I was running on E.

Eventually my body decided for me, that I couldn’t keep up. I got the point where I couldn’t override the system anymore. I became riddled with injuries, my strength was depleted, and the only thing I was physically able to do was hatha yoga (which became a very important part of my life.)

I had beaten my body into a state of no longer being able to function properly. And it had finally had enough. It tooks me months to recover and get back to being in good health and having bountiful energy. I was eventually able to get back to training but not to the extent that I was before.

But all of this could have been prevented had I simply listened to my body.

if-you-listen-to-your-body-when-it-whispers-you


My story is not unique – I see a lot of people doing what I did. People will  relentlessly do every thing possible for the sake of achievement despite causing more harm than good.

Just because we can do everything possible, doesn’t mean that we should.

There needs to be congruence between our input and our output. If we’re going to be putting a lot out then we need to be putting enough in. And the good news is that our bodies have a way of communicating with us to let us know if that symmetry isn’t there.

bucket full

We just need to LISTEN.

Our body communicates with us through several avenues:

  • Our energy and mood: Energy and mood play a significant role in telling us if we are applying too much physical or mental stress to ourselves. Ideally we should feel energized and have a general sense of well-being and overall satisfaction. Constantly feeling lethargic, depressed, sad, dissatisfied are indicators of imbalance somewhere in our behaviours. Too much output and not enough input, or even the opposite.
  • Our appetite: Our appetite is another indicator if we are currently under too much stress physically or mentally. If you are under stress it’s not uncommon to experience little to no hunger or have a voracious appetite beyond anything you could fathom. This can also be accompanied with severe cravings for food that are very carbohydrate and/or fat dense.
  • Our recovery: Recovery gets impeded when there isn’t congruence between our input and our output. Poor recovery is often experienced as constantly being sore despite consistent training, experience repeated nagging injuries, and general achiness.

STRATEGIES FOR BALANCE

If you are listening to your body and you are finding that you need more balance in your life there are some strategies you can implement in regards to your training, nutrition, rest and recovery patterns so that you don’t burn out:

  • TRAINING: Adhere to training protocols that are based on progressive overload but are moderate. Your training program needs to be tailored towards your lifestyle and not the other way around. If you work 40+ hours per week it’s unwise to follow a program that has you doing 2 hours of exercise for 6 days of the week. It would be better to adhere to protocols that incorporate resistance training 3-4 days per week, with moderate to light activity such as yoga, brisk walking, or leisure sports for an additional 2-3 days per week.
  • NUTRITION: In terms of preventing dietary distress, you’ll want to be moderate. Extremes in nutrition can lead to issues that transcend for beyond simply being “hangry.” Dietary moderation means incorporating all macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, fats) and variety of food groups.  It also means avoiding significant caloric deficits and learning to listen to the body’s signals for hunger and satiety to determine when to start and stop eating. Eating in a moderate manner with minimal restraing is the key to preventing uncontrollable cravings and the development of disordered eating patterns or food obsession that can attribute to stress and anxiety.
  • REST & RECOVERY: Rest and recovery isn’t something that just happens, we have to be prpactive in making sure that we are well-rested on a day to day basis other wise we will burn out. Recovering from the stress of exercise is important, but it is also important to recover from the stress in our day to day lives we can accumulate from finances, jobs, education, relationships, etc. This is where it can be helpful to implement strategies such as meditation, journaling, practicing gratitude, expressing ourselves through creative outlets (dance, writing, music, etc.), doing yoga, progressive relaxation, spending time with friends and family, or anything that helps to get us destress. In addition to destressing, we also need to make sure that we are practicing good sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene consists of having a regular bedtime and waking time in addition to creating a regular routine before bedtime that is free of stimulation (especially from electronics) that will make it easier for us to fall asleep. It’s also important to make sure that our beds are in quiet, cool, dark spaces to prevent overheating so we can sleep soundly.

 

Our bodies communicate with us every single day to tell us what we should and shouldn’t do. It’s up to us to be attentive and react accordingly.  If you’re exhausted is it really wise to go and train as hard as possible that day? Or would it be more reasonable to do a quick yoga flow for half an hour? If you’re hungry enough to eat an entire cow, is it wise to restrict your caloric intake even farther? Probably not.

Sustainability comes from moderation and balance. Balance is achieved by maintaining a healthy midzone between doing too much and doing too little. Making sure that we are matching our input to our output is the key to being consistent to achieve the results and behaviour changes we want.

Have you ever suffered from burn out? Are you going to implement some of the strategies here?

Are you implementing strategies I didn’t discuss?

I want to hear from you. 🙂

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Welcome to The “Anti-Diet”

Fat Loss, Mindset, Nutrition By August 23, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Have you tried every diet known to mankind?

You’ve done keto, paleo, Whole30, Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers, IIFYM, etc. But still find yourself in a never ending cycle of food restriction and bingeing and weight cycling.

You have 10 pairs of jeans in 10 different sizes to accomodate your weight fluctuations/shape fluctuations. People will see you once and not be able to recognize you three months later because of how different you look. Not only do you change physically, but mentally you’re always between the highs and lows of “succeeding” and “failing” to change and maintain your body.

I’m here to tell you don’t have to do this. You don’t have to suffer anymore. You can have a body that love without punishing it, you can enjoy the foods you love without feeling guilty. You don’t have to be “on/off plan”, you can just be.

I understand it can be scary to let go of all the conventional wisdom you know about weight loss and changing your body. But how useful and healthy are conventional protocols if you cannot maintain or adhere to them consistently? 

The reality is that restrictive dieting is not healthy. Any diet where you overly restrict caloric intake, restrict macronutrient intake (ie. eliminating carbs, fats, protein), or obsessively dichotomize food into “good” or “bad” can be devastating to you physically or mentally.

Yo-Yo Dieting is more harmful than it is good and is highly correlated with the following:

  • Loss of lean body mass
  • Slowed metabolism
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Bradychardia (slowed heart rate)
  • Obesity
  • Developtment of Eating Disorders
  • Depression/Anxiety

In addition to this list, 95% of dieters usually regain their lost weight within 1-5 years or dieting. So why suffer for a fleeting “success?” Personally, I’m not satisfied with results that don’t last. I’m not satisfied with being restricted. I’m not satisfied with day to day suffering. And I don’t think you should be either.

If you’re tired of yo-yo dieting and gaining and losing the same 10, 20, 30, 50 lbs over and over again – it’s time to embrace The Anti-Diet.

The Anti-Diet is exaclty what you think it is. Not a diet. It’s a philosophy that helps foster healthy relationships with food, with our bodies, and allows up to optimize our physical and mental health.

The Anti-Diet is a way of eating day to day that is free of restriction. It is sustainable, effective and easy to adhere to. The Anti Diet is also known as Attuned Eating or Intuitive Eating. People who adhere to the philosophy of intuitive eating tend to have lower body weight and a greater overall sense of well-being than those who adhere to conventional dieting.

If you’re ready to be done with diets and become an Anti-Dieter or Attuned Eater…look no farther.

The Principles of The Anti-Diet

  1. Eat when you are hungry. Listen to your body’s cues. We were created to thrive and our body’s signals tell us when we need energy and when we do not. If your body is sending you hunger signals it is time to eat – if your body is not giving off hunger signals, it is not time to eat. If we delay eating despite being hungry we can lose our ability to moderate our food intake and will naturally want to overeat and make less conscientious food choices.
  2. Stop eating when you are satisfied. Closely tied into eating when you are hungry you also need to listen to your body for the signals that it is satisfied. Ideally you want to minize experiences or being painfully hungry or painfully full. Listen to your body’s signals to regulate your energy intake, you don’t need to count calories. You just need to be mindful of what you are feeling physically.hunger scale
  3. Enjoy the foods that you eat. Eating foods you enjoy brings you satisfaction. If you hate brocolli there’s not point eating 5lbs of it just because someone told you to. Explore different foods and flavours. Eat foods that satifsfy your taste buds and your cravings. When you eat intuitevly you generally won’t experience intense cravings and you won’t feel the need to binge on your favourite foods because you are always allowed to have them (which will generally make you want them less becausey they are not “off limits.”)
  4. Reject restriction and convenitonal dieting. Reject caloric restriction, reject macronutrient restriction, reject dichotimizing food into “good/bad” and “clean/dirty.” Restrictive eating promotes disordered patterns and food phobias. You are free to eat whatever you want as long as you enjoy it and it makes you feel good physically.
  5. Respect your body. Learn to appreciate your body for what it is. It’s hard to accept and embrace listening to our bodies when all we can focus on is changing them. When we can’t actively respect or enjoy our bodies it’s hard to treat them properly and healthfully. anti-diet - good body image
  6. Do physical activity and exercise you enjoy. Stop punishing yourself by doing exercise to “burn calories.” Engage in exercise because you feel good when you do it. Your workouts and physical activity should leave you feeling happy, energized and more confident. Do types of exercises you genuinely enjoy and I guarantee you will never miss a workout – you’ll build a routine that serves you and allows to exercise lifelong healthy habits.

If you’re ready to stop dieting – it is never to late to start the Anti-Diet. Habit change takes time but there’s no reason why you can’t feel great mentally and look great physically by implementing the princples of the Anti-Diet in your day to day to life. Sometimes even just being more mindful of your eating will make a big difference alone. You can let go of restriction and get ready for healthier relationships with your body and with your food.

diet


 Check out this TED Talk from 2014 on dieting and the consequences of it that most people experience.

Do you need help implementing habit change in your life? Are you ready to stop dieting and start feeling amazing every day? I offer in person and online coaching for exercise and nutrition and we can get you started on the right track today.

 

Did you find this helpful? Do you have any questions or feedback? 

Leave your thoughts in the comment section or feel free to contact me by e-mail. 

🙂

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Ladies, go with the flow! – Losing your period IS NOT NORMAL

Fat Loss, Nutrition, Training By July 12, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , No Comments

Cramps, cravings, bloating headaches, tiredness with insomnia…just a few of the delights women experience as part of our “monthly gift.”

3rllis

As annoying as it may be to have your period, it’s important to remember that it is good indicator of overall health. For women who experience their period regularly – this indicates that you are in good health and all is well inside your body. Having regular periods means your period is generally around the same time every month,the duration is usually the same, the heaviness of it is usually the same, and the symptoms of it are usually the same. There are even handy apps you can download on your smart phone to help you track the time, duration and symptoms you experience. This can help you determine if your periods are regular or irregular.

*If your period is non-existent and you’re not (post-)menopausal/pregnant, then it is irregular.*

An irregular period can be caused by many things but can be an indicator of underlying problems. These causes can range from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), stress, menopause, etc. However, I want to focus on menstrual irregularity that is caused by extreme exercising and dieting. I am hearing more and more of young women all the time who are losing their periods and thinking nothing of it.

Losing your period is a sign to stop and reflect on what’s going on in your body. When a young athletic woman loses her period she may fall under the category of having Female Athlete Triad. Female Athlete Triad is often observed in women who are in sports that require or emphasize leanness and low body weight (gymnastics, distance running, ballet, swimming, diving, figure skating, physique competitions, etc.) The Female Athlete Triad consists of:

  1. Eating Disorder / Under Eating
  2. Amenorrhoea (Loss of period)
  3. Osteoporosis / Bone Loss

It may be shocking for you to see osteoporosis as part of the triad, as you would generally think of Great Aunt Sue’s tumble down the stairs that broke her wrist in the year of 1998. But I am 100% serious when I say there are 16 year old girls showing up to their doctors with fractures because they have low bone density due to under eating and over training.

This would be a really bad time to break a bone, home girl.

This would be a really bad time to break a bone.

Osteoporosis at any age doesn’t sound great to me, but is seemingly worse for someone who should be thriving health wise at a young age. Although osteoporosis, ammenorrhea and eating disorder/undereating are used to diagnose the Female Athlete Triad there is an extensive list of other not so great symptoms that accompany it.

As a young active woman you may think the idea of being period-less is amazing, but losing the ability to menstruate comes with pretty severe repercussions. You lose your period because your body is changing it’s hormonal profile in order for you to survive harsh conditions. Just because your body is surviving, does not mean it is thriving and performing optimally. Human bodies are amazingly adaptable and can survive many things – but not without consequences. When you lose the ability to menstruate due to over training and under eating, you may also find yourself experiencing:

  • fatigue and low energy
  • poor sleep quality and sleep irregularity
  • hair loss 
  • cold hands and feet (Raynaud’s disease)
  • fluctuations in weight, loss of muscle, increase in fat
  • prolonged/reduced recovery from training or injuries
  • low mood, anxiety, depression
  • low sex drive and difficulty becoming aroused
  • infertility
  • low blood pressure (especially when changing position from sitting to standing)
  • low heart rate
  • muscle spasm and cramping 
  • feeling achy
  • experiencing constipation and bloating or other digestive issues

As you can see, some of these symptoms are down right terrifying and straight up suck. I don’t know about you, but having personally experienced the Female Athlete Triad – the most distressful moment I ever had would be when I was in the shower washing my hair and I had what seemed to be a never ending supply of long strands of hair falling out tangled around my fingers…that was more terrifying to me than the fact that I was 17 year old who hadn’t had a period in three months. However, I was able to get back to normal (no more hair loss or absent periods) by limiting my exercise volume and intensity and increasing my food intake.

If you or someone you know is experiencing the Female Athlete Triad, know that it is usually reversed/treated by eating more and reducing training volume and frequency.  In some cases, hormonal treatment may also be necessary. If Female Athlete Triad is accompanied with an eating disorder or disordered eating working with professional to treat the psychological aspect is also necessary as this would probably the “make or break” factor in terms of recovering and getting back to being fully healthy mentally and physically.

 

Have you experienced the Female Athlete Triad? Do you think your periods are irregular because of your diet and exercise?

Did this ruin or make your day?

Let me know.

 

 

 

 

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A Case for Selfishness

Mindset, Nutrition, Training By July 7, 2015 Tags: , , , , No Comments

I want you to be selfish. But that doesn’t matter. You should want to be selfish.

selfish

[sel-fish]
adjective
1.devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.

2.characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself: selfish motives.

While reading that definition you may have thought to yourself: well that’s not really fair or reasonable to disregard other people. But that’s not what I want you to emphasize.
You see, I was raised by an old Eastern European man who frequently reiterated the need for me to take care of myself. I was raised to be selfish. I was raised to be responsible. I was taught that nobody was going to care about my needs, goals, values, desires as much as I do – nor was it anybody else’s job to be concerned with what I want.
“Keep your brain in your head. You come into this world by yourself, and you leave this world by yourself. The only person who will always have your best interest at heart is you.”
You’ll have to pardon me, but I think when looking at the definition of “selfish” that being “concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, and welfare” is what standouts to me. That’s the way everybody should be. Especially since the only person in the whole world who can look out for all of your own wants and needs is you.
You know what you want. You know what you need.
You ask for what you want. You ask for what you need.
You do what you want. You do what you need.
Nobody is going to read your mind and make your dreams come to life. Nobody is going to hold your hand and tell you to go to the gym and build the body you want. Nobody is going to tuck you into bed at night to make sure you get enough sleep for the day ahead. Nobody is going to give you what you want. You have to do these things yourself. You have to ask for it, you have to want it, you have to work for it. The only permission or approval you need to do these things is your own.
I’m going to tell you something personal. I often get made fun because I don’t drink alcohol. Most people who know me well know that I don’t drink alcohol: 1) because it’s not conducive towards my overall health goals, 2) because I generally don’t feel great when I drink it. Now being a mere 24 years old, a lot of people think that I am weird and make fun of me for abstaining from alcohol. I also get made fun of frequently for being in bed by 10pm. However it doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t bother me because I accept that fact that I don’t do it for them.
I do it for myself.
I give myself permission to say “Yes,” to the things I really want and say “No,” to the things I don’t want. I am selfish with my time and I am selfish with my efforts because those are things I can never get back. I don’t have time to waste doing things that are against my values, that don’t invigorate me, that don’t improve me, or that don’t bring me joy.
And to be honest, you don’t have the type of time either. So before you say “Yes!” to something that devalues what’s important to you or makes your miserable – please think of yourself and be selfish, my friend.
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Delicious Slow Cooker Chili!

Fat Loss, Nutrition By July 5, 2015 Tags: , , , No Comments

If you simply don’t like putting in the effort or time to cook food, it may be a good idea to start getting friendly with your slow cooker.

I use my slow cooker 2-3 times per month for a variety of foods ranging roast beef, to stews, to soups, etc. It saves me a lot of time and allows me to prepare healthy food in advance.

You can make pretty much anything in a slow cooker if you try hard enough. But one of my favorite things to prepare with the slow cooker is chili. I like it because the dish is very versatile and easily modifiable. You can eat as a stand alone meal or accompany it with a side of rice, or vegetables, or both.

It’s super easy to prepare, and it can be prepared in under 10 minutes. After you’ve got all the prep work done, you simply leave it the slow cooker and can expect to have a delicious meal ready by dinner time – or you can leave it to cook overnight and have your food ready in the morning when you wake up.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

**You can swap certain ingredients out for fresher variations if you’d like but that will generally require more prep work.**

  • 1/2 of a Spanish Onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of Garlic finely (chopped)
  • 2 tsp of Olive Oil
  • 1kg of ground beef or ground chicken
  • 3 tbsp of Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp of Oregano
  • 1 small can of Tomato Paste
  • 1 cup of Corn (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 can of Black Beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can of Lima Beans (drained and rinsed)

image1 (2)

WHAT YOU NEED  TO DO:

  1. Heat olive oil in pan and sautee the onion and garlic.
  2. Brown the beef or chicken in the pan, add spices (chili powder and oregano)
  3.  Place the remaining ingredients inside the slow cooker.
  4. Add the meat into the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients and mix them together.
  5. At this point you add water, broth, or stewed tomatoes, to cover the contents of the slow cooker.
  6. Place the lid on on the slow cooker, set to low heat and leave it alone for 3-5 hours. Feel free to stir it periodically.

AND THEN DEVOUR!

image1 (3)

You can change and modify this recipe as much as you want – it’s really just a base. You can play with the spices, the types of meat, types of legumes, you can add vegetables, whatever you want. I typically like to add tumeric into my dishes as I really love the taste. I’ve even added Kimchi before just for the hell of it.

Now this recipe will leave you with a significant amount of food, so if you live alone be prepared for left overs. If you’re not into eating the same meal over and over you can always freeze the left overs and save them for a later date. 😉

Bon appétit!

 

 

 

 

 

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