If you are working out on the daily, hitting your minimum required steps (10,000), getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, and the scale isn’t moving then it’s time to take a close look at your diet.

You make think you are eating healthy but the truth is, you don’t know the entire picture UNTIL you look at the entire picture. With something as important as your diet you can’t just walk around without a plan or at least a glance.

You would never take a road trip without at least looking at the map, now would you? So why are you messing around with your health? Please don’t just guess and eat whatever the media says is the “perfect diet” today because we all know tomorrow it will be a different story.

Take the time to write out your meal plan for the next couple of days. Take out a piece of paper and write down what you are planning to eat and then really look at it and see what that looks like.

Do you have enough sources of protein, how about carbohydrates (many people like to really skimp here), how about healthy fats? Count that oil you are using when cooking too, if you are putting it in your mouth- it counts.

This may seem daunting at first but I promise it gets easier. Set aside a couple hours on a day that you are uninterrupted and can focus. Look up the food profiles of the foods you eat on a daily basis so you can calculate them. Please don’t pass this off like it is too much to do. You cannot go around blindly with your health and your goals or you will always end up frustrated with the scale, I promise.

You don’t need to follow any crazy or trendy diets either, don’t get me started on these or we will be here all day. You need to eat a well balanced diet and that includes all macros (protein, carbs, and fats), and there is no reason to eliminate any of them. Yes, there are times when you may need less carbs (like with PCOS or diabetes) BUT that still does not eliminate the food group entirely. This is where a plan and a food journal come in handy.

I could tell you to track your macros and eat a specific amount of grams of protein, carbs, and fats but that would be irresponsible of me when I don’t know you on a personal level. Besides, that is not for the beginner. First, start by eating regularly and balanced and then monitor your progress from there. If you don’t currently eat breakfast then that is a good place to start.

Don’t worry about the macro numbers until you get your diet in order and then we can talk. Don’t jump ahead of yourself or you will get frustrated quick. So here is what I want you to do.

Take out a notebook and write down a plan for 2-3 days of meals. Depending on how early you get up in the morning your meal plan will consist of 5-6 meals (a small group may have only 4),* we are all a little unique in this. Write down everything you plan to eat for breakfast, mid morning snack, lunch, mid afternoon snack, dinner, and optional evening snack. Now look back at each meal and see does it include an adequate portion of protein (building block of lean muscle)? How about the complex carbs (energy), does it include one of the following brown rice, sweet potatoes, , quinoa, whole grains, etc?

Now let’s look at the fats? Are you including those in your meals (responsible for hormones)- raw nuts, nut butters, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, etc?

Do you see any one macro more abundant in your meals then another? Are you hungry after your meal or stuffed? When do you get hungry again- in an hour or two or not until lunch? These are all important factors to provide a clear picture of your diet.

Once you feel satisfied with your selections make a list of all the foods and amounts you need to prepare for the week. Chop vegetables ahead of time, put snacks in small portable containers, have recipes ready, be prepared and then start taking notes on how you are feeling after each meal (full, hungry, satisfied, content, tired, or energetic)?

Continue doing this until you stall on your weight loss again and then you can start talking about macro numbers. But at least you will have a better picture of what you are eating and how it effects you before you start removing an entire food group and suffering in your workouts or productivity.

Juliewilcoxson.com

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When it comes to food many of us (a majority of women) make decisions based on emotions. If you find yourself always gravitating towards the dessert table then you need to take a look at the bigger picture of what is going on.

There are plenty of foods you could have so why this particular food and why right now? What I always tell my clients who struggle with this very same thing is to avoid guilt feelings if you chose to partake. You are an adult and are fully capable of deciding whether you want to have it or not. Feeling guilty over it only leads to emotional eating.

How many times have you given into a dessert and said to yourself, “well I blew it now so I might as well eat some more and start again on Monday?” If you can relate then this message is for you. You are not a bad person but you are making these choices because of the what you are telling yourself. You are getting something out of it.

It isn’t about lack of willpower; you are receiving a result for your choices. You know it isn’t the best choice you could make, but you want to show control or get some kind of reaction out of your decision. Does sugar or candy give you a happy childhood memory? Do you feel like this gives you control over something in your life?

Instead take a step back when faced with whatever food it is that is taunting you and ask yourself, d o you really want this right now or would you rather wait and have something much better at the end of the week. Take the power away from the food and give it back to yourself. You are 100% in control; nobody is going to force it on you (no matter what they say). YOU DECIDE….

If you answer YES to the question, they eat it slowly and enjoy whatever feedback response you are receiving from it and then walk away. That’s it… You can’t get caught up in a spiral of choosing to eat it several times a day every day of the week, if so – then there is more of an issue going on here.

Whatever you do- don’t tell yourself you can’t have it. That is the worst thing you can do when it comes to emotional food responses. That just leads to that little inner child that we all have, that is defiant and wants what they are told they can’t have. Instead make it your decision.

Try it next time and let me know how it works for you. Remember, you are always in control and always have been. Take back the power!!!

Juliewilcoxson.com

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Breaking down the habits by juliewilcoxson.com

BHow are those New Years Goals going for you? Are you struggling to lose weight for that Spring Break event or planning early for that summer vacation at the beach? Now that the temperatures are starting to rise are you in full panic mode?

It doesn’t have to be complicated when it comes to losing weight. Sometimes, the media can make things…. Well let’s just say confusing.

You just need to focus on adapting a few healthier habits and balance out everything else. Remember we never want to diet… Life isn’t about deprivation or about being a certain size or number on the scale. A true healthy lifestyle is being able to enjoy your life and the foods you eat. Now, this means balance… Yes you can have that donut when you are in the mood for one BUT you shouldn’t be craving it every single day as this represents misbalance.

My goal is to get you to a healthy balance of craving the good stuff more often than the “not so good stuff”. You should want to move more than staying sedentary. You should want the green vegetables and healthy protein more often than you want the sugary desserts and high fat foods.

This is balance and this is what it truly means to live a healthy lifestyle. That should always be your end goal.  Balance is living, when you are not a slave to your workout or slave to your “diet”. Aint nobody got time for that.

Have you ever watched children at play or just being? They don’t sit around on their bums all day and then for one hour play hard, to just crash and sit the rest of the day. Do you know why that is?

Because our bodies are meant for movement.

We are not designed to sit for long periods of time and then schedule in an hour workout just to put a check mark next to it. We are meant to move throughout the day in all directions and yes get that workout in but don’t sit the other 11 hours of the day.

Add variety to your life, there is room for resistance training, interval training, long walks or hikes, and flexibility training. We need all elements in our life to have a balanced mind and body.

When it comes to nutrition, please don’t make this more difficult than it is. Yes, there are little tricks and rules here and there but if you are looking at losing a lot of weight then right now those little tips don’t need to be your focus. Your focus at this moment is simply adapting some different habits. Those little tips don’t count until you want to drop those last couple of pounds. We seem to get so caught up on every newest diet craze that we don’t actually start anything. 

When it comes to eating a balanced and healthy diet focus on these  rules.

  1. Eat your veggies. I know you have heard this many times before but veggies are your friends. By eating your vegetables you are not only eating enough fiber but you are avoiding the tempting foods due to hunger. Fiber fills us up and it provides lots of micronutrients that your body needs.
    • Focus on the rainbow. Try and add in a variety of colors from orange to green. Your plate should be a ray of colors and not everything all one color hue. Boring….
    • Aim for 7 servings a day. Yes 7 servings a day, if you really stop and think about it one serving is the size of a cupped hand. C’mon we can all get in 7 servings of goodness to ensure vibrant health. Right?
  2. Fruits- don’t avoid them. They provide different vitamins and micronutrients, but they do contain fructose (fruit sugar) so we want to try and eat them in the earlier part of the day and limit our servings to 2-3. The serving size is a little smaller than a cupped handful.
  3. Protein- our bodies need protein for survival. This vital macronutrient helps muscle repair from the breakdown that happens during your workouts. Protein can be found in chicken, pork, beef, eggs, fish, dairy, lentils, quinoa, and beans.  You can also use protein shakes for additional protein. Aim for half of  your body weight in grams.  So for instance a 150 lb person would eat 50-75 grams of protein a day divided among their 5-6 meals each day. *this is a good place to start
  4. Water, water, water-   I cannot preach water enough. It is vital to every organ in your body. You should always have water with you at all times. Chug down a glass of water first thing in the morning to flush out your system. Continue to drink up throughout the day. The minimum water intake is  64 oz of water a day and if you ask me that is still to low.
  5. Don’t stress over carbohydrates. Carbs get the most attention out of every macronutrient. While I agree the average person eats way too many carbohydrates each day, we still need them in our diet. Carbohydrates provide energy and if you truly think about your daily meals, when is the least time of day you need the extra energy and does that align with your carb filled meals? Hmmm. For most people, they are eating carbs with the dinner meals which is generally the last meal of the day and then they are sitting around until they go to bed. Since we are not utilizing those carbs for their purpose which is energy, they only have one other option….

Yep, they have to be stored as fat. Keep your carb intake earlier in the day and before and after your workouts and then still with healthy fats the remainder of the meals. Do you see how when it is broken down, things don’t seem too overwhelming?

Don’t freak yourself out about all the rules that you see on the internet or on television. Think about just incorporating healthier habits and you will be on your way to a healthier you and able to enjoy good health and have your cake too.

Juliewilcoxson.com

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I love slow cooker recipes this time of year when the weather is beginning to get a little cooler (well at least last week it was) and schedules are busier than ever. It is a set it and forget it kind of week and that means slow cooker meals.

I found this one on another blogger’s site  http://www.livingwithlandyn.com  and it looked easy and yummy so I decided to put it in my meal prep for the week. This is one for the favorites pile, I promise you. This was so good that I have made it twice already and my family is loving it. I made a few little tweaks to fit my nutritional guidelines and this is what I did.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs skirt steak
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 minced garlic cloves (I used 1 TBSP of minced garlic- easier)
  • ¾ cup coconut aminos
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ c brown sugar
  • 3-4 bunches of green onions
  • Cook skirt steak in a heated skillet with the olive oil searing each side for about 1-2 minutes.
  1. Cook skirt steak in a heated skillet with the olive oil searing each side for about 1-2 minutes.
  1. Mix garlic, coconut aminos, and brown sugar in a bowl.
  2. Placed seared steak in slow cooker and then pour liquid mixture on top.
  1. Place green onions on top and cover
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours
  3. Serve over brown rice with a vegetable of your choosing.

I would love to hear how you like this recipe. Please comment below and tell me your thoughts or anything that you changed about it.

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If you are looking for that high protein well balanced carb meal to get you through your workouts then look no further… I mean we all struggle with what to eat pre-workout especially for those early morning workout sessions… I discovered this recipe recently and modified it to fit my nutritional requirements to make it trainer approved… Go ahead give it a go and let me know what you think….
 
Ingredients: 

  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup all natural peanut butter (you could use almond butter)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 scoops of protein powder ( I used BSN Sythna 6 chocolate)
  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life mini diary free chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place all ingredients into a mixer (add chocolate chips and walnuts during last minute of mixing).
  3. Mix until well incorporating; mix will be pretty liquidy.
  4. Line muffin tin with muffin cups and spray with non stick spray.
  5. Using an ice cream scooper fill muffin cups 1/2 full.
  6. Bake 15-18 minutes depending on oven or until knife comes out clean.

Enjoy
 
 

Sometimes those holiday feasts are just amazing.
And it’s not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance.
It is way too easy (and common) to indulge on those days.
But it doesn’t always stop there.
Sometimes we overeat on regular days. Or at regular meals. Or All. The. Time.
Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals.
(Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)
Tip #1: Start with some water
When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food it’s too easy to fill a plate (or grab some samples with your bare hands) and dive into the food.
But did you know that it’s possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger? Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.
Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten. And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss (…just sayin’).
Not only will the water start to fill up your stomach before you get to the buffet, leaving less room for the feast but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.
Win-win!
Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”
You’ve heard of mindfulness but have you applied that to your eating habits?
This can totally help you avoid overeating as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion.
Just as being mindful when you meditate helps to focus your attention on your breathing and the present moment being mindful when you eat helps to focus your attention on your meal.
Do this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savouring every mouthful. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe.
This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less.
When you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full.
So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.
Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites.
Tip #3: Start with the salad
You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish.
But don’t start there.
(Don’t worry, you can have some…just after you’ve eaten your salad).
Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they’re full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fiber and water.
Fiber and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller. They’re “satiating”.
And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you’re about to indulge in a large meal.
Summary:
Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.
Recipe (Water): Tasty (and beautiful) Pre-Meal Water Ideas
If you’re not much of a plain water drinker or need your water to be more appealing to your senses here are five delicious (and beautiful looking) fruit combos to add to your large glass of water:
● Slices of lemon & ginger
● Slices of strawberries & orange
● Slices of apple & a cinnamon stick
● Chopped pineapple & mango
● Blueberries & raspberries
Tip: You can buy a bag (or several bags) of frozen chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or uber-cool mason jar in the morning. They’re already washed and cut and will help keep your water colder longer.
References:
https://authoritynutrition.com/7-health-benefits-of-water/

The Science Behind Mindful Eating: What Happens to Your Body During a Mindful Meal