Over the last 2 weeks, I blogged articles Health and Fitness Hacks and Breaking Free from Fitness and Nutrition Obsession, and gave away my 5-5-5 fitness & nutrition hack guide. And my website has been going nuts. These articles and topics clearly hit home with a lot of people: I see you! I hear you! I get it!
There’s been such positive response to those articles that I want to break some of the fitness and nutrition hacks down for you: giving you tools to use to break free from fitness and nutrition obsession.
Keep It Simple.
I say it all the time and I’m going to say it again because it is TRUE. Keep your workouts SIMPLE. Ask yourself: what is my ultimate goal? From there, implement precise steps essential to getting you there.
Then do just that.
Don’t get to the gym and start throwing exercises into your intentionally designed workout. Generally speaking, each workout should have about 40 minutes of weight training and finish with 15 minutes of HIIT (20 on, 60 off).
If you get to the gym with your work out and see someone else doing something that you want to try, make note of it and incorporate it into your next program, but for now, stick to YOUR plan.
Now, READ THIS. I am NOT claiming you can get fit and achieve physique goals without putting in some work. No. I’m also not declaring that you can eat whatever the hell you want in whatever quantities and have a 20 minute stroll in the park 2 times a week and see results.
All The Foods
I’m going to provide you more details on mindful, moderate eating.
What exactly does it look like and how do I do it?
I’m a lover of all things mindfulness because when we are present with ourselves, our bodies, our meals, our lives, our relationships: we’re in the moment and in control of ourselves. In terms of food, practicing mindfulness comes in handy.
1 – If you find yourself mindlessly, emotionally, or eating from a place of stress, the next time you find yourself grabbing for something in the fridge, PAUSE. Take 3-5 deep breaths, counting to 5 on the inhale, holding gently for 1 second, then releasing the breath for 5 seconds. After, ask yourself: am I eating because I’m bored?… This leads to number 2.
2- Pay attention to your emotions and how you feel going INTO and AFTER a meal. Are you feeling stressed and rushed going into your meal and leave feeling the same way or worse, because you overate or ate poorly? Practice number 1 before your next meal (and if I hear people saying Sara, I don’t have all this time to stop and count my breathing each time I’m trying to reach for the ice cream/chocolate/french fries/3rd serving of chips) Well, I’m going to say you should be checking in with your breath more than when you’re trying to eat. . . But that’s another story for another day.
So, pay attention to your feelings – the way we FEEL (and want to feel) is one of the underlying motivators for what we DECIDE to eat, and how much.
3 – Take time to smell the food! Yup. Smelling our food helps us eat. Olfaction, or the action of smelling, in terms of eating actually tells our GI tract that FOOD IS ON ITs WAY! More so, it helps us decide whether to eat something at all. I was speaking with someone recently who was explaining her rapid weight loss situation to me: 10 pounds and FAST. Due to stress, she’d lost her appetite. When that happens, the body actually stops wanting food and producing the chemicals that signal the brain and body to eat. The body is in fight or flight mode and research and clinical psychologists have said, for instances like this, the best thing to jumpstart the body’s HUNGER feeling is to spend time smelling food. So, the same goes for those of us who aren’t necessarily in that ‘fight or flight’ mode (but let’s be honest, when are we NOT stressed, emotionally eating, or feeling starved. This is fight or flight mode) that by smelling our food and allowing our brains to tell our guts START PRODUCING YOUR JUICES, FOOD IS A COMING, we are more likely to eat only what we need. In addition, by turning the digestive juices on, it can ensure we actually ABSORB the nutrients in our food. Returning to the example I wrote about earlier, for her, with being in ‘fight or flight’ mode for an extended amount of time (days), and not eating (shutting down the digestive system) if she were to suddenly start jamming food in her mouth the chances are high that most of the nutrients will slip right on through. Instead, taking a few moments to initiate the digestive process by smelling and savoring our food, we enhance our chances of absorbing nutrients AND eating until we are truly satisfied.
4 – Work with a coach, and a good one. I’m not trying to sell myself here, but I’ve worked with dozens and dozens of men and women in various stages of their fitness journeys and regardless of where they are and where they want to go, I have been able to educate and impact their lives and perspectives on fitness and nutrition and helped them achieve lasting change: esthetically, athletically, holistically. I’ve been able to empower them through teaching them that they can take charge of their eating and movement habits. Find a coach that will teach you what you want to know about exercise, how to develop your own workouts, and what constitutes good nutrition.
When you invest in the right coach, you invest in yourself. Find a coach that resonates with you, one that will empower you with tools so you can achieve your OWN life long results, for life.
5 – Get your loved ones onboard. This is especially true for domestic partnerships where one person wants to implement change in their lifestyle. First, have a conversation with them letting them know what your plan is and how you would like them to support you. Be specific! If their eating a bag of potato chips everyday is a binge trigger for you, SPEAK UP. When we make lifestyle changes, it’s helpful to have a household living situation that supports your goals. Or maybe you want to take this opportunity to invite a friend or family member to join you in the gym once a week? Having an “accountability buddy,” especially when starting out, keeps us on the hook!
6 – Setting Realistic expectations and goals. This is a HUGE one for so many people. At least 80% of clients first come to me and express their tendency to set unrealistic expectations and when their goals haven’t been met after 2 weeks, they give up.
Here’s a way around that.
- Realistically, how many hours a week can you devote to exercise? That will dictate how long goals will take to achieve.
- Realistically, how many hours per week can you devote to cooking fresh, nutritious meals?
- In a society tainted with the thrills of instant gratification, we have to recognize that unlike an Amazon Prime package, muscle strength, fat loss and more, can’t be delivered over night. But, you can start making changes today, like opting out of the drive thru and into your kitchen, or opting to walk to an event versus driving.
- Don’t try to overhaul your entire life overnight. That is a recipe for disaster, meltdown, frustration, and eventually, resignation.
- Implement 1 new habit every 10 days. You must practice and put action into the habit for 10 days before adding in another one.
- Consistency. Is. Key. I can’t say this enough. If you consistently eat poorly, you’re going to curtail your goals and results. Instead, think about all the change you would see (and feel!) if you consistently ate and moved well, and then 10% of the time when you’re out and wanting a slice of pizza, it won’t derail your goals.
- 40 days. The magic number for a habit to stick. Do something every day for 40 days and it has the framework to be everlasting. Good work!
These habit-based lessons and more are the basis for ever lasting change. Because we’ve all cut this food out and eliminated that food, and restricted ourselves of wine or beer. We’ve upped our workouts and built muscle, only to lose it over the following 3 months. Through strategic habit based learning, you CAN and WILL eliminate the YOYO lifestyle in the kitchen, and with your body.
I’ve JUST opened up some slots for my results based – real change – no restrictive dieting – nutrition coaching program. You can learn more and sign up here