Habits, And How To Handle Them

habitsMost of us don’t think of it this way, but having success with a weight management program really comes down to managing habits.  Specifically, removing bad ones and creating good ones.  Of course, having just read that it probably does make sense, even if you wouldn’t have put in those terms yourself.  It’s why I have a section on habits in my e-book, and it’s why it’s one of the fundamental keys to long term success.    To reinforce this, I recently got back from a vacation where I planned to relax my normal ‘rules’, which of course meant gaining a few pounds.  Now that I want to actually lose that weight, I have to change a few habits that I created while previously in ‘maintenance’ mode.  For example, while in maintenance mode, I don’t have to be as strict with starchy carbs, and I can afford to eat my favorite snack 2 times per week.  Since I now want to lose weight, I have to play with two different levers:  1) Create a calorie deficit, and 2) eat higher quality food.

To move both of those levers, I definitely have to change my twice a week snack habit.  They say that one way successfully change habits is to not omit the bad one completely, but rather, replace it with a good one.  So, this past weekend, rather than not snack at all (and deal with the frustration and deprivation that goes with it), I changed what I would normally eat, both in quality and volume.  Doing so dramatically eased the transition, and provided the added benefit of feeling really good, both mentally and physically.

The next lever was my workouts.  In maintenance mode, I can focus on strength training and do less cardio.  To help burn fat this week, I changed to a circuit weight training, where I could keep my heart rate up during strength training for added calorie burn.  I also increased my cardio time.  My total workouts were now burning over 400, rather than just north of 200 in maintenance mode.  Again, simply making changes to a habit, not making huge omissions or additions you can’t live with.

When you assess the habits that are acting as roadblocks for your ultimate weight management goals, consider this your new rule, it’s easier to replace a bad habit with a good when than to omit the bad habit altogether.

For more of an in-depth read on the topic, check out this article I came across earlier today.

For more info on personalized weight-loss plans, visit http://fitcoach99.net/personal-weight-loss-plan/

Hunger – The Biggest Weight-Loss Obstacle?

hungry
Today marks the second consecutive day in a row in which I’ve immediately come across a doom and gloom weight-loss article. Perhaps this just a formula for writers to drive a home their main argument, but I think these articles have a way of beating down our resolve, causing a double hand throw in the air and a long look in the ‘goodies’ closet to once again celebrate defeat.
You can read the article in question here, but I’ll save you 1,000 words of reading by simply saying that the initial position of the article is that it’s purely hunger that is the true obstacle of weight-loss. Now, if you’re on a severely restrictive diet (which either means you’re in a life or death situation and under a Doctor’s direct care, or you’ve chosen a really, really poor diet) of course hunger will be a problem. However, while there are always obstacles to losing weight and even maintaining your target weight, I wouldn’t have placed ‘hunger’ in even the top 5. In fact, when I work with clients, I can’t tell you how many times I repeat “do not let yourself get hungry”. This may sound obvious, but the trick is to have a solid plan and stick to it. By doing so, you can basically eliminate hunger, or, at very least, as the article soundly suggested at one point, be easily able to cope with it if your next meal is right around the corner.

Here’s a sample of the article:

Is it possible to lose weight without hunger? Logic tells us it’s not. If dropping pounds were easy, we’d all be wearing the same size jeans we wore in high school.
The reason it’s not easy is that your body is trying to protect you. “It sucks to diet, unfortunately,” says Spencer Nadolsky, D.O., author of The Fat Loss Prescription. “Our bodies fight to regain that weight.”
Not everyone regains it, to be sure. In a Penn State study, about one in six adults who lost at least 10 percent of their maximum body weight were able to keep it off for a year or longer.
Average sustained weight loss in that group was 42 pounds. But that still leaves five out of six who regained some or all of it.
“Hunger becomes an issue whenever you try to lose weight,” Dr. Nadolsky says. “It’s difficult to continue to eat less when we have a physiological drive to eat more.”
When everything under the hood is running smoothly, hunger should reflect how much food you need to keep your body at its current size, give or take a pound or two.

Again, I recognize that the article might be using these supporting statements to set up the “8 ways to combat hunger” as mentioned in the title of the article, but I just don’t believe it’s as big an issue as it wants you to believe. Clients demonstrate a more difficult time with letting go of poor eating habits (read: cravings) than anything else, but those can easily be dealt with. If hunger is your biggest problem with your weight-loss program, it’s likely the program that is at fault, not you. Overly restrictive diets, or weight-loss programs with high intensity workouts without properly nutrition could be two big drivers.

How We Complicate Weight-loss

weightloss

Sometimes we have a knack for making things more complicated than necessary. And, once in a while, we read things that make us think that just maybe things really are complicated.  I remember a time not too long ago when I struggled with weight-loss myself. I remember clearly thinking at one point in my mid-thirties “is keeping my weight down just simply out of my control”.  Without completely understanding how to do it properly I felt lost, confused, and very frustrated.

When I read through an article on Flipboard this morning, the bleak outlook that was painted triggered those old feelings, and made me empathize with anyone who is now caught in that all-to-familiar spiral.

You can read the full story here, but here’s a sample of the content

If you’re one of the millions of people struggling to lose weight, the latest news probably isn’t helping your motivation much. I’m talking about two recently published articles, both backed by rigorous research, that paint a grim picture around weight loss and exercise. But don’t throw in the towel just yet. They don’t tell the full story.

In case you’re not familiar with the articles I’m talking about, here’s a quick recap:

Article 1: The New York Times

The New York Times article looked at former contestants on “The Biggest Loser” and concluded that almost all of them regained the weight they’d lost on the show. The article reasons that after drastic weight loss, two things happen that make weight gain almost inevitable:

1.Resting metabolism decreases (so you burn fewer calories).

2.Hunger and cravings increase, thanks to plummeting levels of leptin, the hormone that controls hunger.

“As long as you are below your initial weight, your body is going to try to get you back,” says Dr. Michael Schwartz in the article.

Article 2: Vox

In the second article, writers at Vox claim that exercise does not work for weight loss. It concludes “exercise is excellent for health, but it’s not important for weight loss” by citing 60+ supporting studies. The article reads much like a compilation of what I’ve been writing about for years. It even includes some identical messages, such as why counting calories from exercise will sabotage your weight-loss goals and why you should focus on diet, not exercise.

Still, I found myself upset after reading both of these articles—not because of what they said, but because of what they didn’t say. They omit half of the story, leaving readers with only one conclusion to infer: We’re f*cked! Your exercise has been for naught. And if somehow you actually do lose weight, expect the pounds to creep back on, because you’re fighting a losing battle against biology.

Most people take away two really impactful “truths” from this. 1) Once you start losing weight, your body will work against you to get you back to where you started and 2) exercise is pointless with regard to weight-loss.

Like the author of the blog post that cited these articles, I, too, have lost 30 lbs. and kept it off. For 8 years now.  While I’ll agree that the longest route to weight-loss and the quickest one to frustration is to solely rely on steady state cardio as a means to stay thin, I can’t say that I identify AT ALL with the first statement.  In fact, I pay very close attention to cravings and food addictions, and I have no personal experience that simply losing weight had any impact on the frequency and intensity of cravings.  Now, I can’t dismiss that what was said was scientific fact, that’s certainly possible, I just didn’t notice is to any extent that I found it demoralizing in my own efforts.

In fact, I would argue that cravings are more a function of your eating habits and routines than your body screaming for nutrients.

So before you throw your hands in the air and order a large pizza in celebratory defeat, let’s check to see just how well you conform to the true principles of long term weight loss. Perhaps you’ll realize that your frustration comes from the wrong approach rather than your body working against you.

  1. Do you strength train? – if you have any history with my blog you know I’m a staunch supporter of strength training. To the extent that it’s worth repeating that if I could only do one form of exercise, it would win out over cardio every day of the week.
  2. Do you do HIIT training? – I’m not sure why this hasn’t taken root in our society since ‘time’ is seemingly our most precious commodity, but to get outstanding results, a tremendous sense of accomplishment, a feeling of total exhaustion, and get it in only a fraction of the time? I don’t know how this is the bestselling idea since indoor plumbing.
  3. Are you eating clean? – You want to ratchet up your cravings? Eat exclusively processed, sugar-laden pre-packed foods. See if your brain doesn’t go nuts trying to get you to repeat that behavior. Similarly, want to crush your cravings, give your body clean, whole foods. Your body doesn’t raise the cravings flag when it’s getting the nutrients it needs to run efficiently.
  4. Do you say “no”? – Let’s face, life can be a succession of mine fields when you’re trying to eat a clean diet, especially now that the warmer weather is here (well, almost). You can’t go a day without someone shoving delicious treats and high fat animal protein in your face. If you’re not saying no with regularity, you’re giving your brain a reason to light up like a Christmas tree with all the fat and sugar, not only leading to a whole sack of calories, but subsequent cravings.
  5. Are you monitoring? – We at FC99 are huge proponents of living mindfully and tracking what we do. What we eat, how much eat, how often we move, how our weight changes, etc. If you’re not mindful of these things, it’s almost impossible to progress. You need to know what you’re doing each week and getting feedback from it. That’s how you make the necessary course corrections.

I’ve said this in the past.  Permanent weight-loss, in theory, is very easy. In application, it’s difficult because it requires significant changes in habits that are deeply rooted in our lives and culture.  However, all of that is simply habitual and can be changed, we just have to know how to do and to give it enough time to take root in place of the poor habits we’ve built.

For more info on personalized weight-loss plans, visit http://fitcoach99.net/personal-weight-loss-plan/

Don’t want to make major changes? Check out our Mindful Living Program. The easiest weight-loss program you’ll ever need.

Top 3 Nagging Weight Loss Questions: Answered!

confused

I am the first to admit that the diet/exercise/weight-loss/fitness industry is rife with confusing and often conflicting information.  For most people, it’s difficult to navigate these murky waters since we’re forced to solely go by what we see, hear, and read.  One need only to look as far as what is considered the most extensive diet study of all-time to see just how deep the contradictions run.  The China Study suggests that animal products show direct links to many of our modern ‘diseases of affluence’, while the Paleo followers push the blame on grains, among other things, suggesting that animals be an important part of our daily plates.

We can, however, put to rest at least 3 questions that are all-too-often asked by those looking to shed a few pounds for beach season.

  • How come I can’t keep off the weight? This is an extremely common occurrence, and the constant weight-loss/weight-gain treadmill is known as yo-yo dieting.  The main reason why this happens is because too many of us turn to canned fad diets for weight loss.  Most of these diets are too restrictive, both in calories and food groups, to the extent that within a short period of time (or, at most, when we reach our goal), we resort back to our old habits.  What’s the answer, then?  First, we need to adjust our mindsets.  It’s important to realize that weight-management is a marathon, not a sprint. Secondly, let’s forget fad dieting altogether.  Long term weight-loss comes from life changes, not from short term super restrictions.  Education is a big part of this puzzle, and finding strategies that work for you as an individual.  This is why having a personalized plan infinitely increases your chances for long term weight management.  Be sure to check out our personalized weight-loss plans
  • Should I diet or exercise? I really hope you found the answer obvious, it’s both. The most effective way to manage your weight and your health is to eat a healthful diet and exercise. And don’t think this has to mean long hours in a gym and eating carrot sticks all day.  Based on your tolerance to change, there are ways to clean up your diet and implement efficient, effective exercise without being maniacal.  Unfortunately, based on conversations with people, its all-to-common for people to favor only ½ of the equation, and results are either stifled or completely non-existent.
  • Carbs, Meat, Fat, Vegan?!?! WHAT DO I EAT!? This is primarily where we see the conflicting information I mentioned earlier.  Rather than get bogged down in trying to determine what the ultimate human diet is, let’s keep it simple.  Eat more whole, unprocessed foods.  Between, salt, sugar, and saturated/trans fats, our supermarkets and restaurants have become a minefield.  If you want to improve your health, eat foods as close to their original forms as possible.  It isn’t only better for you, it will taste better.  Also, if you’re one to use dinging out as entertainment, try replacing that by cooking at home as a couple or family, or host more dinner parties. It’s much easier to control what’s going into your dish when you’re the one cooking it, especially when you start from fresh, whole ingredients.  And remember, fruit was nature’s original fast food.  If  you need convenience, become a master at stocking wholesome treats to grab-n-go.

If you want to read more about the China Study conflict, visit https://chriskresser.com/rest-in-peace-china-study/

For more info on personalized weight-loss plans, visit http://fitcoach99.net/personal-weight-loss-plan/

Excuses, and Being More Mindful

When I wrote the Mindful Living Program earlier this year (which is now on sale on Amazon, see below), I didn’t realize that simply being more mindful would help in so many different areas.  To wit, this morning I came across an article on how to achieve a great chest workout in 10 minutes. Before reading the prescribed routine, I quickly thought of how I would approach it.  Not only for chest, but thinking through an effective 10 minute workout for every day of the week.  I always play this little game that if my life suddenly became extraordinarily busy, how would I still sneak in effective workouts while juggling the demands of every day life.

That train of thought got me thinking about excuses.  Quite possibly the most oft-heard excuse by clients is that they just don’t have the time.  And while I will certainly concede that life with kids and careers and familial obligations is painstakingly time consuming, I think those that live a life of fitness make the time regardless.  When we’re in a time in our lives where there just aren’t enough hours in the day, we default to doing things by process of priority.  Very simply, some of us have fitness higher on that priority list than others.  As it stands now, I get up an hour earlier than I have to each day so that I can fit in my gym routine.  And if that time was somehow usurped by unforeseen responsibilities, I would find other ways to get in a workout, even if I had to resort to 10 minute tabatas.

And so what does this have to do with being mindful?  It got me thinking how often we toss out excuses for not accomplishing the things we know we probably should.  I started to think of the psychology of excuses, and that we likely use excuses for our own piece of mind.  Saying “I just don’t have the time” makes not exercising so much more palatable than saying “I’d really rather sit and watch TV with the free hour I do have”.  So, being mindful in this case means looking past the excuse and being honest with yourself.  Possibly, with seeing it for the way it really is, we can recognize that the excuse is paper thin and actually make a positive change.  There’s also no reason to think that you have to jump right into hour long workouts, or even leave the house.  Starting with short, higher intensity home workouts just 4 to 5 days a week will barely register an hour of your time in a 7 day cycle, but have a positive impact on your health.  Your excuse then, is gone, and I’m willing to be that when you start to see its positive effects, it will become a higher priority, and you’ll likely want to work harder.  Results drive motivation.

So, the next time you try to con yourself with an excuse, regardless of its nature, really think about (be mindful) what you’re actually saying and whether or not it’s just a line you’re feeding yourself to justify not doing whatever it is you’re avoiding.

Don’t want to make major changes? Check out our Mindful Living Program. The easiest weight-loss program you’ll ever need.

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The Misinterpretation Of “Diet”

diets
For a lot of people, simply hearing the word “diet” is enough to put them in a brain-locking tail-spin with visions of deprivation and carrot sticks.  The word seems to be synonymous with hunger pains, bland food, and tiny portions, conjuring feelings of not only boredom, but pure dread.  This goes hand in hand with black and white thinking, starting with complete over-indulgence (a period of time where we don’t consider food quality and portion control at all) to a 180 degree swing to absurd rigidness in an attempt to compensate for bad behavior.

An example of this rigidness is our own 30 day fat shred program.  It’s designed to help you quickly reset your body by feeding it high quality food and removing the processed junk that is breaking down your body. However, it’s a program with a fixed length.  It’s not a practical life-long eating plan.  It’s meant to reset and then reintroduce foods smartly and with true moderation.  It helps not only with weight loss but with food addictions, namely sugar.

What’s missing from this life-sucking loop is implementing a feasible and adoptable eating plan.  Sure, you love your pancakes and can’t imagine a life without them, but do you really need them 4 times a week?  When food is a significant part of fabric of your life, it’s likely being used to deal with emotions and, newsflash, it’s not helping you cope, but actually making matters worse.

Where To Start?

Let’s assume, though, that you’re ready to create an adoptable plan, one that’s meant to be a way of life rather than a fixed-length diet.  Where do you start? Well, there are different approaches.  If food isn’t an addiction for you and you want to jump right in, you can start by following the 80/20 rule. Take 80% of your calories from whole, unprocessed, real foods, and save 20% of calories for indulgences.  Doing so will allow you to avoid feelings of deprivation without overdoing it by forcing good portion control.  Remember, the last bite of our favorite food is never as good as the first, so no sense in binge eating and derailing your entire week when you’re getting so little reward.

If you’re someone who needs to step down slowly, you can start small and make incremental changes each week until you reach the end goal of 80/20.  You can start by using a different ratio, or, by adding more unprocessed foods and vegetables at the start (which will make you too full for more junk) and eliminate more processed and unnatural foods each week.

Healthy foods aren’t boring

If you’re in the mindset that eating healthy means boring, you’re not following the right recipes. Cooking with unprocessed, fresh, natural foods makes delicious meals that won’t invite post meal crashing, bloating, and poor digestion.  As a bonus, the more meals you replace, you’ll notice your cravings for heavily salted foods with a lot of sugar and fat will diminish.  Remember, however, that you still can have the foods you crave, just a little less frequently and in smaller doses.

So, let’s change how we react to the word diet.  Let’s stop associating it with negative feelings and displeasure and start associating it simply to the construct of how you eat.  After all, your personal diet (how you eat) means something completely different than a cabbage soup diet, right?

Don’t want to make major changes? Check out our Mindful Living Program. The easiest weight-loss program you’ll ever need.

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5 Ways To Increase Your Motivation

motivation

One of the most common weight-loss questions is “how to stay motivated?”.  It definitely makes the top 3 list and is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle.  Sure, most of us can white knuckle through a week of clean eating and working out, but long term success comes from translating that into a life-long commitment.

To help satisfy this oft-asked question, here are the top 5 sources of motivation for me.

  • Calorie Tracking – I don’t know why so many weight loss programs are so quick to advertise “no counting calories!” It’s as if this simple and impactful activity is time-consuming and tedious. While this may have been the case a decade or two ago, using a free app on your smartphone has reduced it to child’s play.  I literally spend 1 minute a day logging what I eat and the payback is phenomenal.  It holds you accountable to your target, it opens your eyes to what you’re eating, and it makes it snap to recognize easy swaps that can make a big impact on your intake
  • Activity Tracking – For the same basic awareness principle as calorie tracking, understanding how many calories you’re burning each week is the other side of the puzzle (the calories out vs. the calories in above). Quite simply, it will make you aware of your intensity and your total calorie expenditure both of which will make you more aware of how long it takes to burn off a simple 20oz bottle of soda.  Knowing that will make you want to skip it.  Again, it’s about awareness
  • A well-constructed plan – Sadly, it’s entirely too common for people to have no plan at all. Instead, trying to live by the concept of moderation, which is not only imprecise, but completely underestimated.  A well-constructed plan (which will count calories, track workouts, have goals, consider macronutrient ratios, food quality, and many other elements) will keep you motivated by not only keeping you accountable, but by providing you with a specific road-map rather than wandering blindly without results.  A plan of simple moderation will allow you to have birthday cake at an office party on a whim.  A well-constructed plan will have a time when that’s allowed, but will not give you carte blanche access to derailing treats.
  • Friendly Competition – nothing motivates like a little competition. Grab a friend and do a class or go through a strength training workout together. Without even giving much though, I bet you find that you automatically up your intensity when you know someone else is watching.  That’s just inherent to our nature.
  • Results – Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing (for me) motivates like results. I dare you to find success in a 3 week program and completely fall off in week 4 (this will ONLY happen if your plan is entirely too restrictive or entirely too grueling). The key is to have a well-constructed plan that you can live with long term.  If you can master that, than the results will keep you hanging on like nothing else.

Having trouble losing weight? We can help! Check out our online coaching page. For what you’d pay for a single session with a trainer we’ll create a tailored program and help you course correct as needed.

Don’t want to make major changes? Check out our Mindful Living Program. The easiest weight-loss program you’ll ever need.

5 Reasons You Need To Be Strength Training

dumbbells

For most of us (I may dare to say all of us), there is a vanity element to weight management.  Sure, we love the ancillary benefits like lower blood pressure, stress relief, and higher bone density, but honestly, a lot of it boils down to looking and feeling great.  That being the case, I’m always surprised to learn that most people identify ‘working out’ with steady state cardio.  People are quick to talk about going for a run or hitting the treadmill/elliptical, especially women.

Sadly, I think the biggest general objection to strength training is the fear of getting big muscles (again, especially woman). The truth is, though, it takes an extreme amount of dedication to diet and exercise to get in ‘body building ‘shape, far far far more than most of us would commit to without that being the end-goal.  Therefore, it’s impossible to do it ‘by accident’.

Even more sadly, we over look weight training which, as it turns out, is the best way to alter our current bodies.  Sure, steady state cardio can help lose fat, but strength training will help change overall body composition, giving us sexy lean muscle mass that not only looks healthy, but creates body symmetry.

I believe in strength training so much that if I had to choose between it and cardio as my sole means to work out, I would choose strength training without a second thought.

To prove this point, here are 5 great reasons you should be strength training, either as the basis for your routine or, at very least, as supplemental training.

  • Lean muscle is more expensive – The more muscle you add, the more calories your body burns, even at rest. (remember, adding muscle doesn’t mean adding size, it means replacing fat with high density muscles tissue that takes up less room but eats more calories.  So your body still shrinks in overall size, not swells)
  • Energy and Mood boosting – Strength training elevates endorphin levels, which make you feel happy. Strength training has shown to be a natural anti-depressant
  • Stronger Tendons, ligaments, and bones – it will help you stay fit and strong, especially as you age, when the body naturally loses muscularity and balance. It also improves posture and coordination.
  • Helps with disease prevention as we age – Studies have shown it can help type 2 diabetics with glucose control, can help with arthritis pain, and reduce the risk of bone fractures.
  • Okay, Fine, you’ll look amazing – Let’s not deny the number one motivation for working out. To look and feel great! Strength training can change your body, and for the better.  Stop thinking body building and start thinking fitness models.  And for those that will say oh they’re too skinny or too ripped, that’s a function of diet, it’s VERY hard to get that low in body fat.  Without a perfect diet you will simply look slim, fit, and healthy.  Far better than if you only did long sessions of steady state cardio, which will make you look thin and stringy (think: distance runners)

It’s time to stop associating weight/strength training with Arnold and his fellow body builders and start recognizing that the lean healthy bodies that you envy in magazines are built by fitness routines that regularly include strength training.

 
Having trouble losing weight? We can help! Check out our online coaching page. For what you’d pay for a single session with a trainer we’ll create a tailored program and help you course correct as needed.

Don’t want to make major changes? Check out our Mindful Living Program. The easiest weight-loss program you’ll ever need.

Visit Fitcoach99, LLC’s profile on Pinterest.

Why I love AMRAP Workouts, And You Should Too!

exercise

First, if this acronym is new to you (and you’re busted for not consistently following my blog!) AMRAP stands for As Many Rounds As Possible.  Generally composed of 2 to 5 exercises performed in succession for a predetermined amount of time, usually 20 minutes.  These are considered High Intensity workouts, which I absolutely love for their efficiency.  Here are 3 big reasons why you should not only try them, but adopt them as part of your workout regimen:

  1. Do more in less time! – Why do a slow and steady 40 minutes on the elliptical when you can get better rewards in just 20 minutes?  Studies have shown that high intensity workouts not only burn more calories per minute, but the after-burn effect burns calories long after your workout is complete.  Low intensity – steady state (LISS) cardio stops burning calories as soon as you’re done.
  2. They include Strength training as well as Cardio – If you choose the right combinations of exercise (like squats and pushups), you can build muscle as well as torch calories. Lean muscle mass is more ‘expensive’ to maintain, thereby burning more calories while at rest
  3. The insane feeling of accomplishment afterwards – High intensity training feels amazing when you’re done (and can be down-right brutal during, but we love that, too!). Endorphins go nuts and lift your mood, making you feel happy and totally accomplished. Nothing beats a great workout.

AMRAP workouts are great for days you can’t get the gym or if you just want a killer workout when pressed for time.  Don’t be fooled though, they can also be a complete and total regimen, I feature them in my Mindful Living Program and the 30 Day Fat shred program as they require little to no equipment, no membership fees, and very little time commitment.  Want to give them a try? Sort my blog by WOD and see the few that I posted or search Pinterest or Google and you’ll find unlimited workouts.  Also give YouTube a try, I find so much value in working along with a video. It really helps push your limits when you try to keep pace with the instructor.
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Having trouble losing weight?  We can help! Check out our online coaching page.  For what you’d pay for a single session with a trainer we’ll create a tailored program and help you course correct as needed.

Don’t want to make major changes? Check out our Mindful Living Program.  The easiest weight-loss program you’ll ever need.

Visit Fitcoach99, LLC’s profile on Pinterest.

Mindful Living – One Day Challenge

challenge

Since our mindful living plan is about simplicity, I wanted to introduce a simple one day challenge. This exercise should take you no more than 15 to 20 minutes over the course of a day, and you’ll be amazed at what you find out. Here are the rules:
1) Know your daily calorie needs. If you don’t already know them, you can calculate them here. Reminder, this should represent a 500 calorie deficit, so if you only know your maintenance level, subtract 500. If you follow the link it will default to a deficit (Lose will be highlighted on the second page)

2) Divide your total calories as follows:
a. 20% breakfast
b. 30% lunch
c. 30% dinner
d. 20% snacks (snacks can be divided into 2 or 3 snacks, but they must total 20%)

3) You don’t have to change what you eat, just make sure you portion control to fit the calorie allotment

4) By reading your nutrition labels or using a calorie tracker like MyFitnessPal or Loseit! Take note of your sugars, sodium, carbs, and saturated/Trans fats. You don’t have to do anything other than take notice. And be aware that for a healthy diet:
a. Added sugars should be under 37 grams (do not count natural sugars, like those found in fruit)
b. Saturated fat. Should be less than 10 grams
c. Trans fat. Should be avoided
d. Sodium should be less than 3,000 (if not 2,500)
e. Carbs should be under 150

5) Also be aware of how many of your carbs are from refined grains, like white flour based products (bread, cereal, pasta, rice). Since they should be avoided, it’s good to know how big of a role they play in your diet.

6) Be aware of how many empty calories (junk food)
What’s the point? Well, doing this work will make you more aware of what you’re eating. When you see how many calories are in poor quality foods, along with the detriments they have to your sugar, sodium, and fat allowances, you’ll likely swap them for better foods on principle. This will encourage you to eat better quality food and help you lose weight and feel better.

Want the advanced challenge, include this workout:

AMRAP (As many rounds as possible) Workout – Time Limit: 30 minutes (Pressed for time? Do it for 20 minutes)

Dumbbell Chest Press (use exercise ball as bench) – 12
Reverse crunches – 20
Burpees – 10
Chest – Dumbbell Flye- 12
Scissor Kicks – 20
Jumping Jacks – 40
Bronze – 4 rounds

Silver – 5 rounds

Gold – 6 rounds

For the dumbbell exercise, be slow and controlled, at least 2 seconds on the concentric movement, 2-4 seconds on the eccentric movement.

This is what it means to live mindfully. check out our book!

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