How to tame your food budget

Food is the most important thing you can buy with your money.

Well, that was dramatic, wasn’t it? But it’s true. Besides oxygen and water, food is the most basic survival need. Now, most of us are blessed in that we don’t wonder where our next meal is coming from or if we can afford it.

In fact, we may be a little too blessed if you know what I mean. Yes, as Americans we are the richest 1% of people in the HISTORY of the world. Yay!

SO WHY DO I ALWAYS FEEL BROKE?

Girl, I hear you. We’re feeling broke because money is flying out the window faster that we can make it. One of the best ways to get control of your money is the zero-based budget I teach in my coaching and online community Budget Bootcamp.

Once we get that going we can quickly start to make progress by taming the food budget. Your food budget is typically one of your largest expenses, and rightfully so. But! My my philosophy is that you should be:

Saving money & saving calories

You know fitness and nutrition are one of my top passions, so that is something I say nearly EVERY coaching session. Here are 5 ways that you can save money and save calories

1. STOP EATING OUT. (DUH)

Please don’t get me started. You know that fast food is no longer fast nor cheap. You know that it’s WAY overpriced and WAY over calories. Maybe you don’t know that family dinners are correlated with kiddos eating healthier–not only as a child but as when they leave home too. They’re less likely to be obese now and in the future. Maybe you don’t know that even a salad (dressing) is typically loaded with calories and preservatives that will stall any efforts you are making toward weight loss by PRESERVING water and fat in your body. So, if you can stop eating out you will save 1. time 2. money 3. calories 4. clothing costs. Here are some of my healthy eating staples.

2. MEAL PLAN

Okay, this one is pretty obvious too, right? Well, I’ve been preaching it so long that I feel like it is. But it may not be. What I mean here is plan EVERY MEAL that your family will eat. Then plan what items you’ll need to make those meals happen. Then make a list and ONLY buy that stuff. Likewise, figure out what household things you need each month and buy only those things. For example, we need 2 dishwasher soaps and 1 shaving cream a month. We need shampoo and laundry soap every 2 months. Once you’ve figured out what you need, take the time to see where the shopping is the cheapest. Pick your top 10 items and check each store for prices. Which store wins? Shop there!

3. NIX THE CRAP!

This one will be the most unpopular of all. Stop buying junk food. Completely and totally. Yep. You don’t need it and neither does your family. You don’t need it because it’s obviously bad for you but it’s also a HUGE grocery budget buster. If your family wants ice cream, budget to go out as a family once a month. If you want to have family pizza night, we can talk about that. But the overall chips, crackers, cookies, sodas and whatever else. GONE. The truth is no one is going to go without. There are parties and lunches and cookouts and football games. JUNK ABOUNDS. Therefore, you don’t need to bring it in your home. Again, this will save you time (less time in the store!), calories and money. WINNING. This is especially true because junk food doesn’t provide nutrition so you have to replace those calories anyway.

4. CLOSE THE KITCHEN!

This one isn’t going to be hard if you follow #3. Closing the kitchen means we don’t eat all day. We eat at meal times and maybe a snack here or there. Do you know what NOT having junk food does? It makes people suddenly less hungry, like this:

  • Kid: Mom, I’m hungry.
  • Mom: You can have carrots or almonds.
  • Kid: Nevermind.

You KNOW that’s not how the conversation goes if you or the kids have chips, ice cream or whatever else available. Closing the kitchen means you’re not always a human vending machine. It also means dishes can be done and the kitchen clean sometimes. It means digestive systems get a break and folks might actually eat their veggies at dinner because they were HUNGRY. Not wasting food / being a good steward of food is a great way to save money on your groceries.

5. USE CASH

Okay, I’m going to be totally honest with you. I buy my bulk of groceries on the 1st of the month and then pull out the remainder of my cash to put in a food envelope for the rest of the month. That usually amounts to $40 a week or so because we do eat quite a lot of fresh produce. When you go into a store with only a $20 bill you think differently, you think strategically. Not having the swipe back up forces you to be serious. Studies have show you also spend 12-18% more when you swipe instead of pull out cash.

6. SYSTEMIZE

How can you systemize? What can make your grocery life easier and stress-free? My entire food/household goods life comes and goes each month in 3 stages:

  1. My meat comes from a monthly co-op because I am fortunate to be able to afford that. Because of that I can 100% expect to have the meat I need each month without thinking. Before I’d get all of my meat on the first of the month shopping, looking for discounts and deals.
  2. At the first of the month I order everything we’re going to need at Walmart. I’ve tried finding folks that are cheaper but I can’t. And the convenience is 100% worth it for me. I have a set spreadsheet that shows me what I need to order each month as far as peanut butter and ketchup and laundry soap and hair gel. I order it, pick it up on the 1st and don’t look back. Check out this video for a walkthrough of exactly how I do it.
  3. Each week after church my husband drops me off at the front door of the grocery store and I take my $20 or $40 and grab fresh produce, dairy, eggs or whatever I need to supplement our food. It takes about 20 minutes.

That’s it! I don’t go to the store several times a week. I will say it takes a bit to get used to. But then it’s amazing because I always, ALWAYS have what I need because it was planned that way. So, what sort of system can you set up so that things are automated and the grocery store no longer rules your life?

7. BACK UP PLAN

Sometimes your best intentions and even your best plans may NOT happen. That’s where a back up plan comes in. A back up plan helps us when things get crazy. It helps us stick to our budget with food because we don’t have to rely on fast food. At any given time, I have items on hand to make our “back up meals.” You need to determine your back up meals and make sure you buy for them each month.

Here are 2 example back up plans in case dinner just escaped you:

  • No cook salad. Yes, it’s boring, but it’s doable! Part of your monthly shopping should ALWAYS include things like EVOO, dijon honey, olives, avocado/cheese, the best deli meat you can afford and fresh veggies like lettuce and tomatoes. So fast! (Here’s a from scratch salad dressing recipe) You can put it in a wrap to make it different. And, if you have some turkey bacon on hand, swap a slice or two of deli meat for it!
  • Breakfast for dinner. Again, you’ll have these ingredients on hand because you make it a priority to get ingredients for breakfast on your monthly shopping trip. And breakfast is usually pretty healthy. For example, if I’m really in a dinner bind, I throw a few eggs, spinach and tomatoes in the skillet. Tada! The kids might get the same with some pancakes added in! Fast & cheap & easy. Almost like fast food. 😉

So, what back up plans would work for you & your family?

8. GET BUY IN!

My kids decide what they want their lunches to be each week. They eat a healthy version of a lunchable so they get to write out their choice for fruit, veggie, protein, fat & carb. Because they PICK, they are really good at eating it all not complaining. Likewise, they have a few nights a week they pick dinner like Pizza movie night and pasta night. =D My husband also chooses some of the meals. Getting buy in means folks will actually eat the food you buy and make. THAT is what is going to save money. So, ask them for their input. Let them help you make a plan that way you’re all more likely to stick to it.

9. MEAL PREP

Each Sunday my kiddos make their lunches and my husband grills our dinner + the meat for his lunches (I have shake for lunch, even though I hate that it sounds like a Slimfast commercial–It’s just how I get my vitamins). I’m not going to belabor this point because as a certified personal trainer wit my nutrition specialization, I’ve been belaboring it for years. Here is a link for help. And another one. And another one. And one about the kids. See what I mean?

Okay, but honestly I don’t expect you to get all of this on your own. It’s hard. And like any new skill, you could use a coach to get better. I’m your huckleberry. Fill out the form together and let’s work together for a session, two or more.

Here’s to saving money and saving calories!

Saving cash & saving calories

I like to advise clients to save cash & save calories!
Pizza Movie Night is a long-standing tradition in many homes.
The best way to save money & save calories is to make your own pita pizza at home.

You can purchase ingredients that will last many Fridays for the price of one large pizza. And your pita pizza will be fewer calories than a slice of delivery. (Recipe at end of post)

If that’s just not good enough, might I suggest limiting the pizza to 2-3 slices per person in the home and picking it up yourself? If you’re like my son, you can eat an entire pizza to yourself. But, you know, that doesn’t mean you HAVE to. 😉 We pick our pizzas up to save delivery fees + tip, which is at least $6 most of the time.


That’s not a lot but it’s one habit that saves over $300 a year. And just 2 slices instead of 4 can save you 940 calories a week or almost 14 pounds of calories a year!!


Switch the soda out for water and savor each bite.
Happy National Pizza night! #savingcashandsavingcalories

Happy Donut Day (not)

When you have an urge to eat something that’s not “on plan” it’s really hard to resist that urge.

Yes, that urge for cupcakes, for chips, for pizza is STRONG. Resisting it seems impossible. The good news & the bad news is that there are reasons. So, when you see the donut dopamine floods your brain. Dopamine is the hormone released when you anticipate a reward. You anticipate the sweet, sugary, soft goodness of that donut.

The tricky thing with dopamine is that it’s stupid. Well, it’s not smart at least. It thinks the reward is sustenance since that’s what your brain is programmed for. So, from dopamine’s POV, that donut is full of life-sustaining calories that taste way too good to be true.

But you know better, don’t you? You know that as soon as you eat one (or two) donuts you probably don’t feel very rewarded at all. Maybe you’re immune to what that much sugar and flour does to your system, that’s possible. Hint: it’s not good. More than that, if you’re on a plan to improve your health, you probably feel regret. You don’t feel rewarded, you feel like somehow you punished yourself. You see, the dopamine and donuts lie!

But wait, there’re more. It’s also highly likely that you’ve got some sugar-craving microbes in your gut. They’re in there like a bed of Ursula’s garden, begging you for more, more, more sugar. (or flour or other unhealthy crap.)

That’s because that’s what they thrive on. Somewhere down there, swimming around like a pretty little mermaid are the good microbes that want you to eat some vegetables. But she might be outnumbered by the sugar-lovers.

Okay. So what we know is your brain and your body are working against you. I get it. It’s harsh. What’s really cool, though, is how quickly you can overcome!

Take another look at those poor, unfortunate souls. That is also how I see your urges for the crap you (and me, let’s be honest) think you want but don’t really want. This is how they look just as soon as you overcome them. Yes, as soon as you acknowledge and overcome an urge, it shrinks. It loses power. If you do it more than once, they get super shrinky.

Why?

The first time you don’t get the “reward” after dopamine, the process starts to breakdown. Likewise, when you stop feeding those sugar/flour-loving microbes, they start to die out. Well, truthfully, I think they start to cry out first. But, if you can overcome those urges, then they start to die out.

So, overcoming urges like….three times in a row is super powerful. All of the sudden you’ll find it’s a little bit easier. As long as you don’t continue to reward the bad urges, it will continue to get easier NOT harder. Crazy, right?

Back to the beginning—this is why it’s important to have a plan. You can’t get to a destination without directions and you can’t get to your goal without a plan. Unlike other coaches, I’m not a huge believer that one plan fits all or that your plan has to be super strict. The only two criterion I have for your plan is that:

  • You have one.
  • It’s working.

You’ll know if it’s working if you’re getting closer to your goal. If not, we’ll work together to tweak it a bit. We will also work together to figure out how you can get over those first few urges so you can have a fighting chance!

So, knowing is always half the battle. I want you to start to picture your annoying little urges like these worms. Understand that they cry out but you can overcome. Understand that their promises of reward are lies. Understand that just a little overcoming can go a long way!

Sunday planning for FITNESS!

Hello All!

I want to give you a free tool to help you plan to have a FABULOUSLY FIT week! It’s my Sunday Planning sheet that focuses on your fitness journey.

Get the printable Sunday Planner here!

First, celebrate your wins!! Noticing where you won is important for many reasons. You need to encourage yourself first of all! Give yourself a pat on the back. It might also give you clues on how to have EVEN more success. What worked? Why?

Next, I like to really think about what the focus is before you head into the week. Sure, weight loss might be the overall goal, but you might want to specifically focus on not snacking at night or on going from 3 workouts as week to 4. Get the idea? It’s best to set the intention Sunday so your brain knows what to remember and auto-correct for during the week.

I also like to have a mantra for the week. A little saying I’ll be saying to myself all week to help me accomplish what I want to accomplish. So it might be, “Be stronger than your excuses” or “You’re not a dog, don’t reward yourself with food.” You get the gist. Something I can play on repeat over and over in my brain.

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Planning self-care is important because anytime you’re stretching yourself, you need to create space for you to do things that re-energize you. If you don’t, you’ll burn out and give up much more quickly. I also know if we don’t plan it, it won’t happen. So, here I might put some time I plan to go do something I want to do or a day I’ll sleep in.

Then we move on to planning the workouts. Hopefully you’re following a plan (I can’t help you if you don’t have one, just fill out the form below) but if you’re not, write out a plan here. Whether it’s just when you’re going for walks or runs or what muscle group you’re working, it’s a good thing to do at the beginning of the week. Just like with your menu the next block over, it will save your brain from decisions during the hectic week.

Finally, we plan what we’re going to eat each day. While you’re creating your menu, write down anything you need to grab at the store.

Voila! You’ve done it. Doesn’t that feel great?

If you need help with any of this, I’m your coach! We can schedule a free mini session and go from there! ❤

 

It only takes one day to get back on track

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You know what’s really cool? It doesn’t matter how “far” off the wagon you’ve fallen, it only takes ONE day to get back on track.

Listen, whatever happened over the weekend stays on the weekend. Today is the day that you get to decide to get back on track.

Whatever that means to you, make it happen! It might be in the realm of fitness, of nutrition, of parenting, of marriage, of anything you want it to be!

It only takes one day to get back on track. If you focus your effort on TODAY then you’re already back in the game. You’re already back on track, on the trajectory that leads to you hitting your goals.

It doesn’t take a month to get back on track or even a month. It takes just one day.

One day tells yourself that you’re committed! It reminds your body, mind and spirit that you’re in it to win it. One day in a row of honoring your commitment to yourself and doing the things that you have pre-decided you want to do to make your life better.

Don’t wait until tomorrow, get started today! TODAY is the one day. The one day you’re back on track!

Sunday planning: How + Worksheet

Happy Sunday! I hope you’re having a great day! On Sunday’s, I like to do alllll the planning for the week while I’m calm, relaxed and happy.

Before I sit down with my hubby for our marriage meeting, I get my own things in line. Want to take a peek at my plan? Maybe it will inspire your plan?


Schedule for the week:

  • 5am Wake, Bible, Pray, Journal
  • 6 – 6:30 Breakfast with hubby
  • 6:30 – 7:30 Breakfast / Kid prep / Clean house
  • 7:30 – 8:30 Coffee & relaxing time
  • 8:30 – 9:30 Kid bus / preschool drop off
  • 9:30 – 11 Workout / Shower
  • 11 – 12 Work
  • 12 – 1 Preschool pick up / errands
  • 1 – 4 Work
  • 4 – 4:30 Bus / Folders
  • 4:30 – 5 Dinner prep / House reset
  • 5 – 6 Family dinner / dishes

My schedule varies week to week quite often. And my evenings are always different based on clients / classes but I like to have a good base. This is what I call “mom blocking.” When I have the basics blocked like when I will get quiet time, workouts, housework, kiddo time and my work done then I can breathe and relax and get excited for the week!

When I’m doing my schedule, I also set the priorities for the week.

  • This week I have to get my vision board workshops completely planned out and I need to file business stuff at the county court.
  • I also need to get December’s budget completed.
  • I need to get my girl’s birthday party planned.

Whew! So, I’ve got those things scheduled in on my planner so they’ll actually GET DONE.


Food for the week:

This week’s food is brought to you by leftover turkey and end of the month creativity.

  • Monday everyone will eat turkey sandwiches for lunch and I’ll have a shake. For dinner, I’ll have zoodles and they’ll have turkey & dumplings.
  • Tuesday they will have leftover dumplings for lunch and I’ll have a shake. For dinner, I’ll make chicken fried (cauliflower) rice.
  • Wednesday I’ll have a shake and they’ll have leftover dumplings for lunch. For dinner, I’ll make salmon & spinach.
  • Thursday they’ll turkey cranberry salad and I’ll have a shake. Then we’ll all have leftover chicken fried rice for dinner (it’s a busy night).
  • Finally, Friday will bring wraps for lunch and pizza for dinner!

Workouts for the week:

Another thing I plan is my workouts. You may be following a program but I’m just following my heart. Right now that heart says:

  • Monday / Legs: 5k + 4 rounds of 25 squats, 25 squat jumps, 25 walking lunges, 25 lunge jumps, 25 deadlifts, 25 skater jumps + 21 Day Fix abs.
  • Tuesday / Arms: 5k + 10 inchworms + 3 Supersets + 21 day fix Abs.  3 rounds each superset, 20 reps each move. SS1: Plank push-ups & Curls. SS2: Side planks & Skullcrushers. SS3: Pike pushups & Curl to press.
  • Wednesday / Full body: 5K + PIYO.
  • Thursday / Chest, Back & Booty: 5k + 10 inchworms + 4 tabatas.  T1: Chest Press w/ Leg Raise & Snow Angels. T2: Superman w/ band & Push-ups w/ chest bump. T3: Pullovers in bridge & Banded bridge w/ butterfly. T4: Fire hydrant R & FH L w/ hold.
  • Friday / Full body: 5K + Ladder workout. 100 squats, 90 lunges, 70 Everests, 50 Pushups, 30 Triceps dips, 10 burpees, 30 Triceps dips, 50 Pushups, 70 Everests, 90 Lunges, 100 squats.

I want to give you a free tool to help you plan to have a FABULOUSLY FIT week! It’s my Sunday Planning sheet that focuses on your fitness journey.

Get the printable Sunday Planner here!


Join me!

How about you? I hope this post just inspires you to plan your own week. If not, just copy mine as best you can! =D

Fill out the form below if you’re interested in:

  • Vision board workshop. I will have one vision board class in person and one online.
  • Online health & fitness groups.
  • 1 on 1 coaching to help you achieve your goals!
  • You can also check out my How To Have An Awesome Marriage Meeting course for $5!

 

 

5 strategies to win the holiday food wars

Are you sitting there reading this slightly stressed over upcoming holiday eating opportunities?

I want to offer you two things today. First, four strategies to use at your next party and one other post-holiday season strategy.

Before we begin, I want you to do a small little exercise. Imagine you at your ideal weight. You’re happy, you’re content, you laugh when you pass fast food restaurants. What would that version of you do be thinking when it comes to holiday eating opportunities? Think about that for a moment. She’s content, she’s happy. What do these parties do to her brain?

Maybe the answer is nothing. Maybe food doesn’t control her life anymore. Maybe her life isn’t centered around food anymore. Maybe she doesn’t try to control it and it doesn’t try to control her.

Why not practice being that person now? Why not try on those thoughts? “Food doesn’t control me.” “I have more important, exciting things going on in my life other than food.” Just an idea.

On to our strategies.

  1. Half veggies. I’m starting super simple and practical here. When you go up to the buffet or when you sit around the table filling your plate you have one guideline: fill it halfway with veggies first. Then put whatever fun things on there you’d like. Firstly veggies, mostly veggies. Then added fun.
  2. One and done. What if you just accept that you get to put whatever things make your heart skip a beat on your plate? But only once. Yes, you can fill your plate once. With whatever you fancy. Just make the commitment to yourself that you’re only going to do one plate. Just one. This will be a favor to yourself. You and I both know that if you go back for that second plate, you’re just going to regret it. You’re going to be way too full and your stomach is going to be talking to you all day. You’re going to get a carb coma. So, limit it to one plate. One plate is indulgence, but not too much! *Bonus points if you combine strategy 1 & 2!
  3. Before and after. Before your holiday party, fill up on as much water as you can. Seriously, chug it if you have to. I want you to go into your event with your daily intake (half your body weight in ounces) of water already down the gullet. Plus, I want you to eat clean (as in all whole, God-made foods–lots of veggies!). That’s your before. The next day, you’re going to do the same thing. Then I recommend you add in a tough workout the day after. The way I like to think about it is I was like Michael Phelps at the holiday party. Carb loading, ingesting those extra calories because I had a KILLER workout to get fueled up for. Totally sense making.
  4. Change it up. Here’s an idea! What if you had an apple cider party instead of a whole potluck? What if you and your family went to feed the homeless instead of only gathering around the dinner table? You could start a tradition of your
    family having its own turkey trot the morning of Thanksgiving or a walk after eating, maybe during halftime? Add in more games and activities at get togethers so there’s less focus around eating and drinking and more focus on fun and memories!

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Okay, here’s your 5th strategy! I will be hosting an online health & fitness group starting in 2019. Join me! If you know you’re going to hit it hard beginning in the new year, that will ease some of the anxiety for the season. I can help you get results and reset the nutrition and workouts so you can get back on track! Just fill the form out below!

Happy Thanksgiving! Merry Christmas! And the most awesome New Year ever!

How to eat like a human

For some of us, learning to feed ourselves well is like learning a foreign language. First, you have to get rid of what you think you know. Then you have to completely relearn about food, nutrition and habits.

Eat food God made. Don’t eat food humans made.

My philosophy on eating well comes from the idea that you should eat what God made, what nature provides. You should not eat what humans made. Humans can’t improve on nature when it comes to health and nutrition. Sure, we can improve on an oreo by deep frying it (or so I’m told). But when it comes to the basics of fueling our human bodies, nature’s got us beat.

For example, nature provides the whole grain. But by the time it gets to us in the form of oatmeal, we’ve lost the most nutritious parts in processing. They cut it up and heat it so we lose the bran and germ most of the time. That means we lose most of the nutrition too! That’s just the way we humans do things, in this case with flour, oatmeal, bread and other grains.

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Natural food comes with instruction manuals for your body (digestive enzymes, etc) on exactly how to break the food down, what to use, how to use and and how to get rid of the excess. Man made food is usually devoid of all of that, therefore making it really hard on your body.

That’s why I say stay away from foods made by humans as much as possible. We can’t improve nutritionally on nature. I’m not saying we can’t make it taste better by making it really unhealthy. But then we also get to be really unhealthy.

grapes are like skittles without diabetes.

Eat when you’re hungry.

So much of the time we eat because it’s time to eat. Or we eat because food is around. But our human bodies were made to give us clues about when we should eat. Those stomach growls tell you when to eat. So listen for them. The catch is, when we eat crap food the digestion system goes into panic mode trying to figure out what to do with all that junk. How to break it down, how to process it, how to eliminate it. That’s a bit of havoc for your tummy so hunger signals might not process like normal. Stick to natural foods (most of the time) and that takes care of the issue. Eat when you’re hungry because you want to and because you enjoy eating. But don’t let food become the sole focus of the say or conversation. We humans have even better things to do. 😉

Don’t eat food made for three humans.

Portion sizes are a big problem as we all know. When you go out to eat or even when you eat things proportioned for you, odds are they’re going to be way over your particular caloric needs. Overeating isn’t the way to eat like a human. If we can get really in touch with our bodies, we’ll notice how it makes us feel unwell. Eat the right portions and you’ll be eating like a human!

Eating like a human is simpler.

Here’s the main reason I think we know that eating real food is the way to go is it really is more simple. I remember when I was trying to learn how to cook I’d look at all of these recipes and think, “Wow this is complicated.” The steps were many and the ingredients were too. These days, I chop up fruits and veggies. I grill, roast or saute them with EVOO, garlic, salt & pepper. The recipes are three steps entirely, and that’s with one step being heating the oven up.

Eating like a human is just a matter of having lots of real, whole foods available and around. A salad doesn’t even require cooking! You can simplify your budget, your palate, your pantry and your life by eating like a human.

Don’t eat food you hate.

God made food to be colorful, interesting and to smell good. Don’t settle for boring food you hate. Instead, what I have my clients do is go through this food list and choose their favorite foods. What natural foods do you most enjoy, which would you look forward to eating every week or every day? We make that list, then we make sure to stock the pantry and fridge with those foods so they’re always available. By choosing our favorite healthy foods, we don’t have to feel like we’re depriving ourselves.

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No diet needed.

When we start eating the amount and the type of foods we’re naturally supposed to be eating (with a few fun treats here and there), you’ll find you don’t need to diet. The natural human condition is to be a healthy weight. If we focus on eating like a human, your body will naturally shed the excess because it can function properly and it recognizes it’s getting what it needs.

I coach my clients on nutrition using the 21 Day Fix. If you’d like help, message me and we can work together.

What are you carrying around with your extra weight?

I’ve been carrying around an extra 15 pounds all year.

Yes, after sitting comfortably at my “fighting” weight for years, this year has thrown me for a loop. There is a lot left unsettled at this time in my life and it’s manifesting in my bodyweight.

Did you ever hear about the trainer who gained 70 pounds and then lost it again all in an effort to see what his clients went through? I kind of feel like that trainer. Except at least he can say he did it on purpose. Whoops.

During this mini-struggle, I’ve noticed changes to my mental health. I always preach about how fitness and nutrition affect your mental health. I totally believe that. But there’s this gray area where even when you’re doing those things, you’re fighting through a lot more.

It’s like the extra pounds you’re carrying around are holding you back from hitting your goals. They’re like little toddlers hanging on to your ankles as you try to walk away. And you just can’t shake them off.

Or maybe it’s like you’re fighting through a windy rain storm. You’re trudging forward, but the wet grayness makes it much more difficult to get from Point A to Point B.

I think those extra pounds manifest in different ways in our lives. It’s as if every pound represents an emotion or physical trait that is really hard to get over until it’s just GONE. It’s like every pound is a pound of bad mood.

So, if there are 5 pounds maybe 1 is shame, 1 is irritability, 1 is lack of sex drive, 1 is defeat and 1 is sleepiness.  Another 5 pounds might represent muffin top, regret, anxiety, self-consciousness and disappointment.

I’ve noticed that even though I’m mostly doing the same things I’ve always done, some of those emotions (and the muffin top) just won’t budge. They stick around even though I’m aware of them, even though I’m aware they don’t serve me.

That of course makes it so much more tough for us to lose weight. We can WANT to let go of those things, but it’s like they’re literally mixed in with the triglycerides and fatty acids.

The good news is fitness and nutrition work. We can overcome a LOT of mental issues by sticking to the program, honoring our commitments to ourselves and making progress. We can also acknowledge that it’s a process. It’s not fast and it’s not easy. But, as we make progress, we can nail those issues to the “long gone” board. We can leave them in the past.

So, lets say you lose a pound this week. Can you let defeat go away with it? Can you send them both packing and ask them to stay lost forever?

Then next week, let’s say you lose two pounds! Great job. That might mean irritability and anxiety can take a hike. Maybe pound number 10 and 15 can mean your sex drive  makes a comeback and that muffin top is banished!

So, take the time to consider what you’re carrying around with your extra pounds. What negative emotions? What negative circumstances (clothes not fitting)? Name them. Acknowledge them. Notice how they’re keeping you from success. Think about how you can overcome them, how you can outsmart them. If nothing else, think about how you can outlast them. Outlast them on the path you’re already on.

Then, as you lose each pound, nail one of those negatives to each one you lose.

Let them both go at the same time.

Food/Energy budget

One of the things I’ll be teaching my FIT group this fall is the concept of an food/energy budget. You see, making health changes isn’t as complicated as we make them. It’s actually simple math. And math doesn’t lie. We’re always working from two angles, with two numbers if you will when we’re trying to make changes. Your food/energy budget is all about the input and the output. Let’s talk about those today:

Metabolic Rate needs to go up!

Your metabolic rate is just the amount of calories (energy) your body requires just to function all day. You can calculate it here. (The equation is also at the bottom of the page) This is the output. In budget terms, it’s what you’re earning, this is your income. The more of this you have, the more you get to spend.

Your energy output increases while you’re working out. Obviously, your body needs more energy to do push ups or run. So, that’s a short term way to increase the output. You can add to your income by working out.

In my house, my husband always used to have an easier time losing weight than I did. Eventually I realized it wasn’t because he was in an alternate reality, it was simply that his resting metabolic rate was so much higher than mine. That meant he simply had to make a few adjustments and he’d start shedding any excess. Why was it higher? The biggest reason is because of his big huge muscles. He’s almost always worked out and he has a lot of muscle. Muscle burns through energy faster! As a gender, men have more muscle and women have more fat. (I don’t make the rules.) So, they’re typically going to have a higher metabolic rate.

Once I got my own lean muscle mass up higher, I found it a little easier to lose weight as well. This is the way you can add to your output, to your income like savings on a bank account. It just happens. Of course, that combined with the other big number is the ticket.

Energy going in your mouth needs to go down!

That sounded weird. Moving on. Your input is the amount of energy you consume. The food you eat equals a certain amount of calories. Calories equate to energy. In budget terms, this is what you’re spending.

The simple math here is we are consuming more energy than we are expending. Most Americans are consuming more energy (calories) than they expend (metabolic rate). We need to fix that balance. I see this in action every time I’m at the gym. I see folks trudging away on the elliptical. If they’re really pushing, they’ll burn 300 calories off. That is the equivalent to one soda, one bag of chips, one bagel, a sandwich, etc. It really doesn’t take much to undo all that work you’ve just done.

Counting calories is tedious but it’s a good learning tool. Begin by figuring out what your output is. Then, if you want to lose weight, you’ll take that number, subtract about 500 calories and then you’ll have the number for your input, how much food you should consume.

Here’s a hint: real, natural, whole foods are lower in calories and denser in nutrients. Anything processed or made by man will add up quick and it won’t fill you up as long because it’s not real food. So, if you’re sad your input number goes really quick, trade some crappy foods for healthier ones and you’ll be chomping much longer!

Another hint? Measure. You cannot, at least not in the beginning, eyeball portions. Without being very specific on portions, your math will be wrong. That’s not how you do a budget! You know exactly what you make and exactly what to pay the electric company. Specifics matter in math.

There you have it. Your food budget = (metabolic rate + workout calories – weight loss deficit). It’s very simple math. If you’re not losing weight, it’s most likely because you’ve got the math wrong. Your output needs to be higher than your input!

Equations:

  • For men: BMR = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) + 5
  • For women: BMR = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) – 161

If you need help, I’m here. We can work together virtually! Just fill the form out below.