Tag Archives: fitness

What We Ate Last Week!

Good nutrition plays such a huge role in a healthy body and mind. And my job revolves largely around helping my clients promote good health in their lives through things likeΒ meal planning, learning to read nutritional labels, choosing healthy foods at the grocery store, making healthy choices at restaurants, knowing which ingredients to avoid, the list goes on and on.

During sessions with my clients, I’m frequently asked, “So, what do YOU eat? What kinds of meals do you cook at home?” I love giving my clients ideas for simple, healthy meals that can be prepped in 30 minutes or less. Even though I love to cook and relish the idea of having hours in the kitchen to make everything from scratch and present a 4-course meal to my husband every night, the reality is that I don’t have time for that. And neither do most of my clients and friends. We need meals that are easily prepped, quickly prepared, and ready to be served ASAP. Most of us have busy, hectic schedules and dinner needs to be simple and easy.

healthy-eating-ecardAlthough the ideal is that everything would be homemade, with no prepackaged foods, and only organic, locally grown produce, the reality is that most people don’t have the time – or the money – for that. Sometimes heating up a bag of frozen green beans is the only way we’ll get our veggies in at dinner. I’ve learned over several years of being a Holistic Health Coach that if I give my clients complicated recipes that call for weird ingredients and take an hour to pull together, they’ll just end up driving through McDonald’s instead.Β  πŸ˜›

For most people to invest in cooking healthy meals, they need to be as healthy as possible while still being as SIMPLE as possible, which is where I come in. πŸ™‚ My goal is to provide my clients with recipes that are as healthy as possible, while also ensuring that they (and their kids, which is often the real challenge) will be willing to eat the foods involved.

I thought it’d be fun to do a weekly post on here about the meals that my hubby and I are eating each week! Hopefully it’ll provide some inspiration for those who are looking for healthy meal ideas.

I haven’t done my meal plan for this week yet, so here’s a look at what we ate last week, instead:

WHAT WE ATE LAST WEEK:

Monday: leftovers from the weekend!
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Tuesday:
Crock Pot Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings
– this is one of Rob’s favorite recipes that I make, so we eat this pretty often! πŸ™‚ I always use drumsticks instead of wings, though (our personal preference).
– I made a pot of rice with this and some sauteed green beans for our veggie!

Wednesday: Trader Joe’s Shitake Mushroom Chicken
– about once a week we have a night where we need a super quick meal and I don’t have time to cook much of anything. Our go-to for those nights is Trader Joe’s frozen section! This was our first time trying this particular entree and it was delicious!Β We had leftover rice from the night before and ate that with the stir-fry.

Thursday: leftovers!lemon-chicken-veggies-1

Friday: Lemon Chicken with Veggies
– first time trying this recipe too, and it was delicious!
– I didn’t have room in my pan for everything, so I roasted the potatoes in a separate pan with just some olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder (our favorite way to eat potatoes!)

Saturday: out for dinner (at a friend’s adorable gender-reveal party with aΒ Pasta House buffet!)

I’ll be back soon with a post sharing my favorite resources for healthy, easy recipes!
Time to get a meal plan going for this new week! Enjoy your Sunday, friends! πŸ™‚

Favorites of Fall with Lydia

I’ve loved this Fall season with our little girl! Once she hit the 3-month mark, she became so alert, interactive, and responsive to the things around her, which makes everything more fun!!

We went to the pumpkin patch with my family one evening and she was fascinated at all the people and pumpkins.
After picking out some fantastic pumpkins, we went back to my parents’ house to eat IMO’s pizza, the best!!


For my birthday on Oct 18th, Rob planned a fun day of surprises for me!! He let me sleep in (what a treat that is nowadays! πŸ™‚ ) and I came downstairs to him cooking an amazing breakfast: omelets, bacon, fruit, OJ, the works!! Then we went and worked out (he knows me so well, haha!) and then he told me to pack up and we headed off to apple picking!! It was such a beautiful day for it, and even though we were near the end of the apple picking season, we managed to come away with a great haul. Lydia’s favorite part was riding behind the tractor through the orchards.

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That night, Rob had arranged for his parents to come babysit for us and we went on an awesome date night to a new-to-us place called The Rack House Winery in Cottleville! Our meals were amazing, and when Rob mentioned it was my birthday they brought out an incredible dessert: homemade brownie with caramel ice cream, bourbon whipped cream, and a sprinkling of bacon on top! We weren’t too sure about the bacon atΒ first but it actually went really well with the sweetness of the brownie. Overall we loved this restaurant and definitely want to come back sometime!!

We ended our date night just chatting at Starbucks… it’s crazy how special those times are now since we have a little one at home! Having some time to just sit and talk without distraction is something we never take for granted any more! πŸ™‚
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Speaking of time to chat, Rob’s mom came over on Wednesday so Rob and I could get out for a little date-time in the afternoon! We went to a park just a few minutes away with a blanket, some coffee, and a deck of cards. Loved getting to enjoy this beautiful fall weather with my guy.

For Halloween, my mom got Lydia an adorable little butterfly costume! We went to a party at a friend’s house and Rob and I threw together some last-minute costumes when we heard our friends were dressing up. (Cowgirl and Crocodile Hunter, in case you were wondering!! πŸ˜‰ )


We’ve been trying to spend as much time as possible outside with Lydia before the weather gets too chilly! Pretty much every morning, she and I go out on the patio for a bit; she loves to watch the falling leaves, and I get some work done while we sit there together. When Rob gets home from work, he’ll often take her for a run at the park; being outside is her favorite! Yesterday I took her for a run at Creve Coeur Lake, and she stared at me almost the entire time with one finger in her mouth. Never fails to make me laugh, this one. πŸ™‚
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She’s been waking up earlier and earlier these days, which makes me a tad bit terrified about what’s going to happen tonight with Daylight Savings!! I got spoiled because for the first couple months of her life she would sleep til 8:30 or 9am. We’re doing great now if she sleeps til 7! Thankfully her naps have gotten longer, though. They used to only last 30-40 minutes but recently we’ve had a pretty good streak of 1-2 hour naps going!!

Rob and I are loving this stage of life with Lydia. It’s amazing to watch her taking in everything around her. She’s so curious and fascinated by the simplest things. We love her to death and can’t believe how fast she is growing!!! I’ve never felt like time was flying by so quickly until I had a baby.

Can’t wait for the fun of the holiday season with our little cutie!! πŸ˜€

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Can Pasta be Part of a Healthy Diet?

Pasta is often fiercely frowned upon in the health and fitness world. Thanks to the low-carb diet craze, everyone is all concerned these days about eating enough protein and limiting their carbohydrates. In fact, almost every time one of my new clients admits to eating pasta for dinner, it’s accompanied by an embarrassed attempt to justify or excuse their choice.

pastaThe war against pasta stems primarily from the fact that pasta is a high-carbohydrate food. And carbs have developed a pretty awful reputation in the health industry these days. But, when it comes down to the science, your body actually NEEDS carbohydratesΒ – and a good amount of them, too – in order to function and thrive. Added bonus:Β pasta is delicious. Β πŸ™‚

We need to stop feeling like we’ve “messed up our diet” because we ate lasagna or fettuccine or some other delightful form of noodles for dinner last night. And maybe the night before that.

Because, honestly, pasta isn’t the problem.Β 

Now, before you run out to Pasta House for an all-you-can-eat pasta feast, let me clarify my views on noodles:

There are several components of pasta dishes that often make them not-so-great choices, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Β However, there are also some simple changes you can make to health-ify (for lack of a better word) your pasta and enjoy it without regret.

Here are a few ideas:

1) Try gluten-free noodles.
This one goes without saying. Because of the way our wheat is processed and the horrible digestion issues that many of us have, it’s more than likely that your body has some level of sensitivity to gluten. Even if you don’t have any specific symptoms that you can link to those pasta dinners you enjoy, chances are that gluten could still be undermining your health. It’s worth it to experiment by going off of gluten for 30 days to see if it changes the way you feel. Bonus: you can’t even taste a difference with gluten free noodles! My favorite is either Brown Rice or Brown Rice and Quinoa noodles, available at Trader Joes, Schnucks, Dierbergs, you name it. They’re inexpensive and much easier on your digestion.

dog and pasta

2) Watch the sauce.Β 
The sauce is what usually sends the calorie count through the roof on pasta dishes. If you’re eating out, try to order pasta dishes with an olive-oil based sauce, rather than a cream sauce. Or if you absolutely must get the Fettuccine Alfredo, try to eat half and take the rest home for another meal. When making pasta at home, use Extra Virgin Olive Oil or full-fat dairy products for your sauces (not low-fat, sugar-laden junk!) and look for recipes that use real-food ingredients and not processed packets and pre-made sauces.

3) Add veggies to your pasta dishes.
Almost every pasta dish I cook has some sort of vegetable in it. Broccoli, asparagus, and tomatoes are my favorites. The fiber from the veggies will help fill you up and keep you from going back for endless plates of noodles.

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4) Watch your portions.Β 
This is my mantra with pretty much any food out there. Everything in moderation. A healthy diet doesn’t mean extremes and restrictions and lists of “bad foods” to avoid. That’s why I ordered Fettuccine Alfredo a few weeks ago at Maggiano’s and enjoyed every bite. Life’s too short to miss out on pasta. Right?! Β Just make sure that you’re eating until you’re comfortably satisfied, and don’t stuff yourself to the brim.

Eating more slowly and savoring each bite will often help you eat less as well. Your hunger and fullness signals take 20-30 minutes to kick in as you are eating, so try not to scarf down multiple plates of pasta before your brain has a chance to say “that’s enough!”

Now, go find a delicious pasta recipe you can make this week! Here are a few ideas…

Teriyaki Noodle Bowls

Lemon Chicken Pasta with Broccoli

Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti

When all else fails, search “healthy pasta recipes” on Pinterest and feast your eyes on all the delicious goodness that appears on your screen. Β πŸ™‚

This Article Just Made Me Dislike “The Biggest Loser” Even More

I’ve had a personal dislike for the show “The Biggest Loser” for several years now, (mostly because I have bad memories of watching it during my anorexia and being “inspired” to workout harder and restrict my calories even more), but it’s this kind of inside information that confirms just how awful things are behind the scenes.

biggest loser

READ THE ARTICLE HERE:

http://nypost.com/2015/01/18/contestant-reveals-the-brutal-secrets-of-the-biggest-loser/

I know a lot of people find it exciting or inspiring to watch the contestants lose weight so quickly, but please read this article and recognize that they are NOT doing it in a healthy way.

Eating less than 1000 calories a day and exercising for 4-5 hours is NOT healthy, period. Forcing yourself to exercise while suffering from a serious muscle tear is horrible for your body. And if your hair is falling out and you’ve lost your menstrual cycle, ladies, that’s your body screaming at you to take better care of yourself.

And what irks me (probably more than anything else) about this show, is all the fat-shaming that takes place by the trainers — both on and off-screen. Fat-shaming is NOT a helpful way to motivate people to lose weight.

As a health coach and personal trainer, I often have to be very upfront with my obese clients about the long-term health dangers they may face because of their extra weight, but there is NEVER a reason to call someone names or shame them because of their size. This has got to stop.

If you need to lose weight, please find a professional who will help you do it in a HEALTHY, long-lasting way that encourages your self esteem and confidence!Β 

One Simple Change to Get More Out of Your Workout!

When it comes to fitness, more isn’t always better.

Simply put, the QUALITY of your workout is more important than the amount of time you spend on it.

For years, we’ve been told that the best way to burn fat is through long, aerobic workouts, such as long distance running or hours on a similar cardio machine. In recent studies, though, we’re learning that shorter interval workouts are actually just as effective for burning fat, increasing your metabolism, and lowering insulin resistance.

Here are some other benefits of interval workouts:

– simple to create using any kind of exercise, which keeps you from getting bored!
– easier to fit into your schedule because they can be done in less than 30 minutes and still give you a great workout
– they can be done anywhere – I’ve done them at parks, in my basement, and in hotel rooms
– increases your RESTING metabolism rate – meaning, your body will burn more calories throughout your day, even when you’re resting. Long aerobic workouts might burn a lot of calories DURING the workout, but interval workouts cause you to burn more calories overall because you continue burning throughout the next 48 hours

Without further ado, here are the simple steps to creating a great interval workout:

Creating an Interval Workout

You can make your intervals as long or as short as you want, but a good rule of thumb is somewhere between 30-60 seconds. So, following the 2:1 ratio, if your intervals are going to be 30 seconds, your rest periods will be 15 seconds. The short rest period keeps your heart rate elevated and is guaranteed to give you a great workout!

A couple years ago, I started incorporating intervals into my running workouts and saw a noticeable increase in my speed. Lately I’ve been using intervals for various exercises on the floor or with weights, primarily using movements that work multiple muscle groups.

Here are some of my favorite exercises for intervals workouts:

  • Burpees – Everyone hates them (myself included) but they are one of the best total body exercises you can do without any equipment
  • Push-ups – If you can’t do military-style push-ups, put your hands on a bench,Β or just do the push-ups on your knees
  • Squat jumps – squat with your feet shoulder-width apart; as you rise from the squat, jump off the ground with both feet
  • Lunges – many variations you can do on this one! Lunge forward, backward or sideways and add an overhead press with dumbbells if you can
  • Plank – if you’re able to plank easily, add in an alternating leg lift or other variation to make it more difficult!
  • Scissor Legs – you can use ANY ab exercise in your interval workout, but scissor legs are one of my favorites. I also love doing Russian twists and In-and-Outs
  • Tricep Dips – all you need is a bench or chair
  • Bench Step-ups – exactly what it sounds like: find a bench or flight of stairs and step up and down, alternating your leg each time
  • High Knee Sprints – great exercise to get your heart rate going!
  • Jumping jacks – simple and old-school!
  • Side shuffles over a step
  • Mountain climbers – this one targets your abs and also hits your shoulders, glutes and legs

Those are just a few of the exercises you can incorporate into your interval workout.

Here’s a sample routine that I created for myself a few days ago:
Full Body Interval Workout cropped

This circuit will give you a great full-body workout in less than 20 minutes!

I’ll leave you with a little workout humor that made me laugh today…

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