Why Hitting the Snooze Button can Kill

…your peak productivity.

OK, now that I have your attention, I want to let you in on an important fact that I recently learned about snoozing. Take it from an ex-professional snoozer like myself, I thought you might find it interesting to know that bypassing the alarm once, twice, three, fifty times may actually be detrimental to your health. Let me give you the deets…

I’m sure you already knew that getting a good night’s sleep works wonders on your productivity level but did you also know that how you wake up is equally important? Based on neurology studies, scientists have discovered that hitting the snooze button actually has a negative impact on brain function and productivity… and furthermore did you know that the effects can last up to four hours!!! Now, that might explain my blanking out at the last work status meeting (just kidding!… then again…)

brain

Here’s how it works. We sleep in cycles, right? Usually each cycles runs 90 to 100 minutes to complete (kinda like charging our Smartphones). About two hours before you wake up, these sleep cycles end and your body starts to slowly prepare to wake up. When your alarm rings, your body is in wakeup mode, ready to go (even if your brain isn’t). If you hit the snooze button and drift back to sleep, you force your brain to start a new sleep 90 to 110 minute long sleep cycle. Then when the snooze alarm goes off 15 minutes later, the cortical region of your brain responsible for decision-making, alertness, attention, and self-control, is still in the sleep mode! It won’t be able to snap back awake so easily – it would – get this – take another 75 minutes to finish what that snooze button started.

Read more on the effects of snoozing

After that, it can take up to four hours for the grogginess, sleep fog feeling to subside and for your cognitive functions to return to their full capacity. Wowzer, right? So now, you’re probably thinking, sh*t how many years did I shave off my life by snoozing???!!! Don’t worry, there are ways to remedy this problem.

woman waking up happy

Here are some tips to avoid hitting the snooze button the first time the alarm goes off:

  1. DON’T TOUCH THE SNOOZE BUTTON. Get up. Not negotiable. It may take some practice but IT CAN BE DONE!
  2. GO TO BED EARLIER. If not getting enough sleep is the problem, set a bedtime for yourself. Or do what I would do when I did postpartum, go to bed when the kids go to bed. It might suck at first but you’ll feel so much better in the morning. The average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night, take that into account to set your bed time. Plus, your iPhone has a cool Bedtime feature in your Clock app that can help you stay on top of your bed time and set you up with a bed time alarm too!
  3. TURN OFF ALL SCREENS at least 1 hour before bed for a deep, restful sleep. That’s right, no more Netflix binge watching, or late-night social media trolling 😛 Read an actual paper book, magazine or get your meditation on always helps.
  4. PUT YOUR ALARM CLOCK ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROOM to avoid the temptation to hit the snooze button once the alarm goes off in the morning.
  5. HAVE KIDS*, trust me, either you won’t have a choice to get up to feed/hold/sing to them once they start crying (unfortunately they DON’T COME with a snooze button) or you will want to get up before them just to get some peace and quiet 😛

crying baby

How many times do you hit the snooze button before getting up?

(*Try option 5 only once all other options have been exhausted. Fabmindfitbody.com is not responsible for any births resulting from reading this post. ;P)

10 Healthy Snacks When Hunger Hits

Since we are always looking for great healthy snack ideas to keep our energy levels up and fend off the unhealthy munchies, I wanted to share with you a post from a very cool, fellow health blogger: Helene Choo (creator of HC Lifestyle Blog). Enjoy!

Hi! I’m Helene, creator of the HC Lifestyle Blog, where I write about travel, health/fitness, and food. All the glorious food. I’m a big snacker, always have been, but recently, I’ve been trying to eat healthier. It’s made a huge difference in my overall fitness levels! However, once in awhile, I still get this desire to snack, so I try to at least eat something healthy-ish instead of fatty, sugary things. Here’s my list of healthy(ish), guilt-free snacks.

Avocado Toast
avocadoThere’s nothing like the good ol’ avo. Admit it, it’s your favourite vegetable (is it even a vegetable??). Avocado toast is very versatile, you can pair it with just about anything: egg, smoked salmon, feta cheese,… The possibilities are endless. Just make sure you’re having wholegrain brown bread with it, and you’ll be a-ok.

Here are some ideas for avocado toast recipes!

Fruit

 fruitI tend to grab a banana if I’m feeling really hungry, because it’s so filling and it takes no effort to prepare (unless you count peeling a banana as effort, in which case, you are LAZY). Again, there are so many yummy fruits out there. Also ideal if you’re craving something sweet. If you feel like just the fruit is too plain, pair it with some yoghurt. Which brings me to the next one.

Greek Yoghurt

 greek yogourtGet imaginative! As mentioned before, you can pair it with fruit, a coulis (that’s mashed up fruit), oats, muesli…I like to have it with some honey and banana to make it sweet and flavourful. Say it with me: mmmmmmh! The frozen variation is also great in the summer.

 

Need ideas for toppings? Here you go🙂

Oats

oatsI’m kind of in the process of deconstructing a smoothie bowl here, aren´t I! Oats can be made lots of different ways. For example, if you don’t feel in the mood for warm oatmeal, you can make overnight oats, which are just as yummy and filling, and make an excellent snack.

Find some overnight oat recipes right here.

 

Smoothies
smoothiesTechnically more of a drink than a food, but they can be really really filling if you put the right things in them. Again, let your imagination run wild! Any combination of a base (juice or dairy), fruit (as many different types as you want), cereal (or oats), and extra things (protein powder, almond butter, etc.) will give you a much-needed boost. And I promise, you won’t feel hungry after that.

Here’s the BBC Goodfood page for smoothie recipes for inspiration!

 Nuts

nuts

Nuts are a great source of healthy fats. Just try to get unsalted ones, so you don’t overdose on sodium. Find out which types you like, or just get a bag of mixed nuts.

 

 

Veggies and Hummus

veggiesI love doing this. Celery and carrots make excellent dipping veggies. The hummus gives it flavour, and some texture. You can do the same with guacamole (don’t quote me on that, that’s just my invention), or avocado hummus. Or any flavour hummus, for that matter. All the hummus. Yum.

 

Want to make different types of hummus? Check here!

Eggs

 eggsWhy not make an omelette, hardboiled eggs, or poached eggs (goes really well with avocado toast)! Eggs are a good source of protein. I just have them with some herb salt, but you can season them any way you want, with tabasco, or by adding some cheese.

Here are some egg recipes for you to try, some simpler, some more complex.

Popcorn

 popcorn

 

Not the microwave kind. Get the kernels, and pop it yourself, so that you can control how much salt/sugar goes on there.

 

 

Dark chocolate

 dark chocolateI’m sure you know by now, but dark chocolate (> 60% cocoa)  is wayyyy healthier than its milk or white counterparts. It even has some health benefits. So, nothing wrong with breaking out the dark choc when you’re craving a little something sweet.

 

I hope you enjoyed this list of healthy snacks you can have when you get hungry throughout the day. Isn’t it great to know that there are alternatives to the usual crisps and chocolate bars that we’re conditioned to reach for?

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know! It would be great to see you all over at my blog or to connect with you on social media.

All the best,

 Helene xx

 hc logo

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SEPTEMBER: TIME TO RESET YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

Anyone else feel like September is a new beginning, a fresh start?

Summer is winding down, the air is getting cooler, the light outside shines a spot on the fact that it’s time to get back to business. And by business I mean more discipline with our health and mindset goals. While Summertime is slacker heaven, Autumn is time to get workin’.

When I was in school, every year around this time, I used to get excited for all the new possibilities of the school year. I vowed to myself that I would study regularly and work on my assignments when the teacher would give them instead of the day before it was due. I looked forward to cracking open that new agenda with all those blank spaces and dates to be filled with new experiences.

Setting “Back to school” resolutions is a fun and practical way to keep you accountable without leaving you feeling guilty if you haven’t stuck with your New Year’s resolutions… This is like a second chance!

one-fall-wont-kill-you

Here are my 5 REASONS FOR SETTING “BACK TO SCHOOL” RESOLUTIONS:

  • NOW IS YOUR CHANCE TO MAKE YOUR COMEBACK: September is a chance to start over and learn from the first half of the year. Think of the first half as a rehearsal or practice and now you are ready to tackle and crush your goals once and for all. Plan out the next 3 months. Since you have a smaller window of time, set goals that you feel you can achieve in that timeframe. It will only encourage you to keep going.

 

  • GET BACK IN THE GAME AND GO FOR THE WIN: If you had a health goal like losing weight, or eating healthy and have fallen off track, here is your chance to get back in the game. You know what they say: THE COMEBACK IS ALWAYS GREATER THAN THE SETBACK!

 

  • IT HELPS TO REEVALUATE YOUR PRIORITIES: Ok, so Summertime sent a curve ball in your healthy eating plans but now is the best time to get back to healthy eating habits. Plus, think of all the delicious veggies and flavors in season this time of year. Fall recipes are the ultimate comfort food, think warm butternut squash soups and apples and cinnamon… yummmm!

 

  • YOU WILL FEEL MORE IN CONTROL: Getting back in the game will make you feel like you have taken back control over your life. You are ready to crush those goals and not let the Summertime setback get in the way of your focus.

If you feel you need help getting back to your health goals, join my Challenge Group (Get your Badass Into Shape) starting August 27th, 2017. It’s a 30-day challenge group where you choose one of many Beachbody programs that you can stream from anywhere and get to chat and share your struggles, tips & advice, recipes, workout questions and wins with a group of like-minded individuals and ME as your coach, in a private Facebook group. If you are interested, all you have to do is enter your information below and I will contact you to give you more details. Looking forward to seeing you there!

HOW I WENT TO ITALY AND DIDN’T GAIN 10 POUNDS!

I did it! I thought it was impossible but I did it! And you know what? It wasn’t that hard at all! The day after we came back home from Italy, I stepped on the scale, afraid to look down and, lo and behold, it didn’t budge! No weight gain! Woohoo! All was not lost!

Just to put you in context: Two weeks ago, my husband along with our two (toddler; yikes!) kids, decided to join my parents who had rented a house in Campodipietra; my mother’s small native village in Italy. We figured it would be an amazing experience to be all together in such a beautiful, amazing country.

Of course, one aspect that makes Italy so amazing is THE food! Fresh: YES! Delicious: YES! Loaded with carbs: YES, YES, YES! I mean every single menu had 30 different kinds of pasta plates and pizza flavors and don’t even get me started on the gelato! Of course, pasta was just the primo piatto (first course), then you usually have a secondo piatto (second course), between the antipasto and dessert of course.That’s just the way it is!

Italy food

So how did I manage to defeat this whole food game?

My initial plan was to workout a few times per week and to limit desserts and pasta. I even downloaded several Beachbody workouts on my iPhone and made sure I didn’t need any equipment to do them. I made a mental list of foods I would eat and avoid and how I would only have pasta once a week. Well, all that went out the window the first day as soon as we arrived at my parents’. They graciously greeted us with freshly made pizza (still hot from the local bakery), prosciutto and mortadella, fresh melon and cherries, mozzarella buffalo,… the works! Everything tasted soooo good.

So how did I do it???… I’m getting there…

Here’s the simple truth: I slowed down my pace of life and I enjoyed every moment.

Bakery Italy

I savored each morsel. I experienced the food without stuffing it down my throat. It was all about how we are suppose to eat and live. Too often, we are rushed, grab anything at hand and go. We eat food to stop the hunger or craving or to have something to do while mindlessly watching a movie. But what we forget to do is to take the time to taste the food, to experience it and to listen to our bodies.

In Italy, we rarely watched TV. We walked, we played in the park with the kids. We rested when came time for siesta and all the village closed its shops. And we ate when we were hungry. We were following our bodies instead of being distracted by external hunger cues.

Here are a few tips and tricks that I took with me as a reminder of this experience:

  • Share a decadent dessert instead of having a whole one.
  • Order a bunch of different plates for the family and have a taste of each.
  • Walk, walk, walk and enjoy all the beautiful views and landscapes
  • Follow your appetite not whatever tempts you, listen to your body, don’t eat out of boredom.
  • Enjoy yourself! That’s what makes life so wonderful. Once in a while, it is important to let it go. To go with the flow.
  • Girls and me in Italy

The lesson that I learned is that a couple of weeks of vacation will not destroy all the work you did if you go at it with balance. Have a few drinks, indulge in that dessert and when you get back, learn from your experience and go back to your fitness routine and be mindful that life is about enjoying the little things and finding balance in everything.

How are you planning to enjoy your vacation?

HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT, THE EASY (CONSISTENT) WAY!

Are you working out tirelessly and still not seeing results? You eat healthy, you workout… and nothing! What gives? Then you turn to external excuses such as a slow metabolism or your age or the fact that you had kids for your failure to lose weight and proceed to sabotage your diet.

Mae West

STOP MAKING EXCUSES: weight loss is a numbers game (in its most basic sense): you must burn more calories than you consume in order for weight loss to occur. PERIOD. (ooooh I know there’s some hatin’ going on in your head right now! Please don’t shoot the messenger).

If you still don’t believe me, prove me wrong! Get a journal or download a calorie tracker app such as MyFitness Pal or Lose it. Start by calculating your daily caloric intake based on your current lifestyle some apps have these tools or just click here to calculate .

Overeating

Now jot down EVERYTHING you eat, including that bite you took out of your kid’s plate, that spoonful of tomato sauce you ate just to make sure it was just-right, that sip of wine you had from your husband’s glass. It all counts and it all adds up.

Like I said, it’s a numbers game, here’s how…

In order to gain 1 pound you must eat 3500 calories, sounds like a lot, right? Now look at it this way: If you eat just 115 calories extra a day (above your set caloric intake, without exercising) for one whole month, you will gain about 1 pound; no biggie, right? You do this for a whole year, by the end of the year you will have gained 12 pounds. How did that happen?????? Your clothes are fitting tighter. Your weight gain occurred even though you probably didn’t even realize you were eating that extra 115 calories per day.

What is 115 calories:

  • a medium sized apple,
  • a cup of grapes,
  • a quarter cup of trail mix,
  • 1 oz of cheese,
  • 13 almonds…

..and these are all healthy foods! In terms of junk food: it’s like having less than 2 oreos, half a chocolate bar, a quarter of a muffin, (less than) a serving of small fries at McDonald’s.

lead-image-how-unhealthy-is-binge-eating-700-350

Now, let’s use the same principle as above but looking at weight loss. To lose 1 pound you need to burn approximately 3500 calories. If you don’t want to feel deprived and are not pressed for time, try cutting 115 calories per day from your daily caloric intake. You will lose 1 pound in one month.

Doesn’t seem too exciting but let’s try this: Say you have a muffin or fancy drink every day, that is way more than 100 calories for sure, maybe 300 calories at best. Slash 300 calories from your diet and in a month you have lost 2.5 pounds in one month, which equals 15 pounds after 6 months of simply making a small change.

Now, if you slash 300 calories and add a workout everyday (which burns about 200 calories) for a total of 500 calorie burn, then you will lose 4.3 pounds per month. Keep this up for 6 months and you are looking at a weight loss of 26 pounds! Wowzer!!!!! Not to shabby, right!

Please keep in mind that while rockin’ a bikini after losing weight definitely feels amazing, there are real benefits to slashing unneeded calories from your diet. Did you know that by eating extra quantities of food, whether it is healthy or not, makes your system and organs work double time. The digestion, hormone secretion and elimination process our bodies have to go through to eliminate and process those calories puts tremendous pressure on our bodily functions.

Eating extra quantities of food on a regular basis not only can lead to weight gain but to so many other illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure, increased inflammation and even cancer. Let’s take care of our bodies and give ourselves a change to live a long, happy life.

Contact me if you would like to join me in my Fitness Motivation Group and let’s get healthy!

happy-woman-after-run

HOW TO STAY MOTIVATED AND CRUSH YOUR GOALS

Motivation is a finicky concept. When starting a new fitness program we are unstoppable! We feel like we can take over any goal. We are bursting with energy, we are trying things we never did before, we are excited to learn new things. This lasts about several weeks, then it starts getting old. We skip a workout one day, then two, then slack on our diet… before we know it, an entire week has gone by and we have reverted to our old habits. So how do we keep motivation alive?

First, know that it is completely normal NOT to be motivated ALL the time! Instead picture motivation like a wave. There are peaks and there are lows and you just have to ride the wave. Here are some tips on helping you get your motivation back on track.

Don’t lose perspective of your WHY

When you feel less motivated, remember why you started the program in the first place. Was it to have more energy to play with your kids or to live a healthy lifestyle so you can be around for a long time. I find visualizing your success extremely helpful. If you are a visual person, try putting a photo or image where you can easily see it on a daily basis as a reminder or create a vision board of your goals. If you are more auditory, write out a mantra or phrase that you can repeat to yourself to keep you going when the going gets tough.

Remember your WHY

Go through the motions: Fake it ‘til you make it

One thing I have learned recently is that when motivation lacks it is not a reason to quit. Although you don’t feel like working out or making another meal plan, just do it anyways! Don’t overthink it. When we overthink something we already lack motivation doing, we tend to find reasons to talk ourselves out of doing it. Fake motivation, this is where discipline steps in. When motivation lacks, let discipline take over. And before you know it, motivation will make its way back, guaranteed.

blablabla

Accept that you will not always be motivated…

Some days or weeks might seem harder than others but instead of quitting, show up and you will see that it will come back. When you accept and acknowledge this, you learn to see your level of motivation as a gage and see if there is anything you can do differently. Instead of taking it as a cue to give up, take it as an opportunity to try something new or change it up a bit. Maybe try a new fitness workout (there are so many out there, so many apps and if you have all-access Beachbody on Demand, then you have no excuses not to try something different) or spice things up with your meal prep. Try new foods, new moves, push a little harder, take up a new sport, etc.

Just rest assured that the feeling will eventually pass and before you know it your motivation will come back.

Motivation

Join a Challenge Group for Accountability

People who have an accountability partner or join a challenge group have greater success of sticking to a program and losing weight. In fact, according to a 2011 study published in Psychology of Sport, the dropout rate if you have a fitness buddy or support system is as low as 6.8%, hence 93.2% success rate in sticking to your program for a year! In fact, that’s what was the game changer for me when I joined Beachbody. My coach was amazing and her challenge groups just reinforced the positive energy and the healthy habits I was instilling in my own life. That’s also what pushed me become a coach myself! So much positive energy, you have no excuses not to workout and change those unhealthy habits.

So, if you are feeling a little unmotivated these days or don’t know where to start, join me in my upcoming Challenge Group: Shape up for Summer! And see your motivation soar!

Summer Shape

Tell me, how do you stay motivated?

Celebrating your Non-Scale Victories!

You know the feeling when you set your mind on getting healthy and over the course of several weeks, you’ve been giving your all by working out, skimping on treats and opting for clean eats and, as a results, you feel great, walk in a room with more confidence! Then, one day, you cheerfully step on the scale to quantify your success… and boom! WHAT THE F**K?!? The number is not what you expected to see, it may have even gone up! (I used to change the battery every time this happened! Couldn’t be me, naaaaah!)

Woman-with-Scale

Now you feel like sh*t! You are hopeless, feel like all the work you invested didn’t amount to anything and are ready to throw in the towel. This is what would happen to me over and over again. This is what happens to most people who follow a program and start to commit to a healthy lifestyle. We want results fast! Why haven’t I Iost 2/5/10 pounds, I’ve been eating healthy for 5 days now!?!? Why don’t my abs show, I have been doing my sit-ups for a whole week?!? We all have these thoughts when we are starting out. They are normal thoughts and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up for having them. You have worked hard. It takes superpowers sometimes to say NO to that delicious ooey-gooey chocolatey brownie your co-worker has just offered you.

So what gives? Where are the results?

In the first several weeks of starting a program, our bodies are adapting. We may have started weight training, which pumps the muscles with blood as they are getting stronger. We may be upping our water intake, so we may be having more water weight for a while, our hormones are also adapting to the chemical changes occurring when eating healthy clean foods. During this time, your muscles are getting stronger. Your heart is pumping more blood and getting active, your blood pressure is adjusting and circulation is improving.

After a couple of weeks…

  • You start feeling more energized.
  • You are in a better mood.
  • Clothes are fitting differently, better.
  • You are starting to see some definition in your legs/arms/stomach.
  • You sleep better.
  • You are more motivated to do more at work and in your workouts.
  • You can run, jump, squat with more endurance.
  • You workout out regularly and are enjoying it.
  • You have more control over your cravings.
  • You start having a more positive mindset.
  • You up your water intake.
  • You make better food choices at home and in restaurants.
  • You meal plan for the week.
  • You eat within your calorie range.
  • You have more energy to keep up with the kids.
  • Your immune system is stronger.
  • You are more in-tune with your body.
  • You are more focused at work.
  • You feel less stressed.

These are all examples of NON-SCALE VICTORIES (NSV)! We need to celebrate these NSVs and be proud of our accomplishments (regardless of the number on the scale).

I had one challenger that committed to a program and during the 4-week challenge lost only 2 pounds on the scale but lost 11 inches in total when she took her measurements again! In my case, I have remained the same weight since the holidays but my arms and stomach are more defined now. Keep in mind: Muscle does not weigh more than fat. One pound of fat is the same as one pound of muscle but it’s denser! It takes up less space, your body is leaner even if you weigh a couple of pounds more!

fat-v-muscle-640x300

scale (1)

Let’s make a pact and stop fretting about that number on the scale. Instead, let’s show the scale who’s boss and measure success by how we feel, our energy level, our happiness level, our confidence level that we can do anything we put our minds to.

happy-woman-after-run

Share you’re non-scale victory and let’s celebrate together!

What is a Beachbody Challenge Group Anyway? And why you need to join one…

As a motivation/fitness coach, my goal is to, first, get you in the right mindset to set goals and support you along the way so that you crush those goals. Your mind needs to be at the right place. Once it is, I will help your inner beauty and inner strength shine through and reflect outwards (a.k.a, finally lose those damn pounds! And get toned).

IMG_4427

I must confess. I used to be anti-challenge groups! Yes, you read correctly. Heck, I didn’t want to join a bunch of strangers and post details about my private life and how bad I was at sticking to my workouts and following the “clean eating” principles! In fact, the first challenge groups I was invited to by my coach, I barely posted anything in them. I would just quietly observe others and read posts. Mind you, I found the posts interesting but, I don’t know, I was too shy I guess and didn’t quite understand them.

That’s why I decided to write this post! Challenge groups were and still are a game-changer for me, they are what keeps me motivated every morning to workout and challenge myself and better myself.

So what are Beachbody Challenge Groups?

In its most basic form, a Beachbody Challenge Group is an online group led by a coach (and co-host coaches sometimes) either via a Facebook private group or the My Challenge Tracker app. Each member of the group follows one of the many Beachbody programs and shares their experience with the group. Simple enough, right?

In reality, it is so much more! Challenge groups are a place where:

– your personal coach (and co-host coaches) provides useful information by posting tips on nutrition, meal planning, fitness tips, motivation tips, support, simple tasks that will help you and challenge you along the way;

-you meet like-minded people who understand and support you along the way;

– challengers can share their experience with others in terms of their struggles but also their successes;

accountability is set into action by posting your daily rating of how you did with your food intake, workout, and overall mood. Coaches or other challengers are there to offer support and any tips that have helped them through some obstacles (100% NO NEGATIVITY ZONE);

-the dynamic of the group motivates you to push yourself further and show up and crush your health/fitness goals

positivity reigns and you get a dose of “happy” to start your day.

If you have never participated in a Challenge group, it might have been what you’ve been missing after all!

If you are interested in joining a Challenge Group, there is one starting on Monday April 17th, 2017. What better reason to burn off that Easter chocolate (sssssssss)?

Click on the link below or contact me for more details.

https://www.facebook.com/events/446422345699811/ 

Easy, Healthy Meal Planning in Less than 90 Minutes

Do you often grab less than healthy food choices because you are so hungry at certain times during the day?

EATING-CHOCOLATE

Wanna learn how to prepare all your meals and lunch for the week in under 90 minutes? Then this article is a must. Meal prep will not only save you time but it will also save you money in the long-run.

Step 1: Write out your plan

It doesn’t have to be fancy or anything elaborate, just write down your meal plan for the week. You can use a variety of methods such as a planner (my favourite is ME and My Big Ideas Fitness Planner) or an excel/Word document or good ol’ piece of paper and a pencil. At the top (in columns), write the days of the week and then in the rows leave a space for breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and one last space for supper.

ME planner
Me & My Big Ideas Fitness Planner – I love this planner!

Step 2: Start with the easiest meals

For me, it’s a no-brainer, breakfast and morning snacks are my easiest to plan given that I like eating the same thing during these times. So for breakfast, I will put my Shakeology drink and for morning snacks I enjoy a small bowl of oatmeal with fruits or raw vegetables or yogourt.

Breakfast
Breakfast for the week: Shakeology packets (chocolate is my favourite) and overnight oatmeal is the best.

Here are more easy, healthy snack ideas:

-apple with 1 tbps almond butter

-1 oz cheddar cheese and 1 c. grapes

-raw veggies and 2 tbps hummus

-plain greek yogourt, honey & berries

-about 10-12 almonds and an orange

-whole wheat toast, 1 tbsp ricotta and strawberry jam

-cucumber slices and guacamole

-one hard boiled egg and 1 c. diced cantaloupe

-whole grain toast and almond & coconut butter

-celery and almond butter

Some easy lunch ideas:

-pre-cut and cooked turkey strips with quinoa and spinach

-re-cut and cooked beef strips with mesclun salad and pine nuts

-smoked salmon, quinoa and raw veggies

-turkey & lettuce whole wheat wrap

-and the easiest of all…leftovers!

Lunch
Lunch for the week: Mason jar salads are easy to make and carry!

Step 3: Tackle the more complex meals

In my case, it’s supper meals. I often don’t like eating the same thing and I also have a family to feed and want to accommodate as many mouths as I can with healthy recipes. My solution is that I keep it as simple as possible:

-oven-baked salmon with asparagus and brown rice

-chicken stir-fry with ramen noodles

-fish tacos with loads of vegetables

-whole-wheat spaghetti with turkey meatballs

-veggie omelet

-shrimp stir-fry on brown rice

I also double up the supper recipes so that I either can have some for lunch the next day or freeze a portion for an instant lunch the week after.

Other useful tips if you are short on time:

No-cook meals: Did you ever see how easy kids’ lunches or meals can be. Why not prepare one for yourself. Just make a bunch of hard boil eggs for the week, have some turkey slices on hand, and cut raw veggies and fruits and voilà!

Buy pre-cut vegetables or meats if time is an issue. I also get individual hummus and guacamole cups. It may cost more but if you will eat it instead of forgetting to put the bigger package into smaller ones, then it is all worth it!

Re-use old meal plans so that you don’t have to worry about having a new one every week. Old meal plans are a savior when life gets really busy. I just dig up an old one, and update my grocery list and it takes all the guess work out of that step. Also, if you are a member of Beachbody, you can have access to the meal planner and they create a custom one for you each week.

Lunch ideas
Example of food for 1 day.

Click here to access your free printable Meal Planner Sheet

Weekly Meal Plan

How to Get and Stay Motivated: Fitness Accountability Tools

So you just started a workout program and you are totally motivated! Week 1 is going great. You feel excited, your body is adjusting, the moves are challenging but you are charged, your nutrition is on point. Easy peasy, right! Then week 2 strikes! Usually this was about when I started to lose my initial mojo. Why did I start this again? I really want a cookie. What no weight loss/abs/guns in a week?!? All of a sudden this workout program ain’t too exciting and I just feel like going back to my comfy couch.

Please avoid this trap! If you can get past these first few weeks, you are not only going to finish your workout program with great results inside and out but your workout will actually become part of your lifestyle.

Here are some tricks that can help you stay motivated…

Join a challenge group

Facebook is flooded with challenge or motivation fitness groups. Basically, the premise of these groups is to follow a predetermined program with a bunch of people following the same program (it’s more fun having a common goal than going at it alone). When I joined my first Beachbody challenge group, I was not one to post much on social media. In fact, when I first started out I was more of an observer in these groups than a participant. Either way, I found it motivating to see my timeline filled with people working out and reading about their struggles and successes. I felt part of a family and it made me feel like I wasn’t working out alone and it motivated me to challenge myself further. Another fun part is sharing the struggles and the successes but also tips and recipes and how to organize your time better and not to mention the bonds you build that last beyond the duration of the challenge group.

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StepBet/DietBet

Another motivating tool is StepBet or DietBet. Basically, you bet on yourself. Each person puts an amount (usually 30$ US) into a pot. The app determines your step or weight goals for a given week. The program usually runs 6 weeks. At the end of the 6 weeks, if you reach your goals, you win the pot and it is divided with all remaining participants. Don’t get too excited, you are not going to win millions doing this, on average you get about 15$ to 20$ on top of the amount you put in. Nevertheless I find these games quite motivating, especially that it would suck to actually lose that money! There is also a community within each game so you can converse and share with other players.

Set a reward goal

At first, I set a goal to have the confidence to wear a bikini. Once I hit that goal, I told myself when I reached my goal weight I would buy myself an Apple iWatch. I had to earn that watch.  After that, I set a goal to become a coach and therefore be an example for others. Goals are meant to be fun and motivate us to challenge ourselves. It was something that kept me going and made me work a little harder each time. In order to stay liable, set a date to achieve your goal and tell someone so that they keep you accountable. My next goal, who knows, maybe a 5K or bikini competition!

Keep a log

In my experience, the best way that I managed to stay on the straight and narrow was by logging my food intake and physical activity. Technology has made the process so much easier. My favorite app is  hands-down My Fitness Pal. If you subscribe to it you can even sync your fitness watch to the app and it will take into account not only your calorie intake for the day but also how many calories you burned via exercise. It also provides useful tips on healthy eating and working out.

If you are more the traditional type, there are amazing fun planners out there for fitness such as fitbook and Me & My Big Ideas fitness planner. That way you can track your workouts and food intake so that you can adjust your workouts and meals accordingly.

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A workout buddy

My last suggestion would be a workout buddy or someone that supports you in your health journey. It’s amazing how much more we can accomplish when we are being motivated and supported and cheered on to attain our goals. I’m always available if you need me to be your buddy, just contact me!

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What accountability tools do you use to stay motivated?