Common Weight Loss Myths

It’s been a hell of a week. I’ve minimized my travel with the end of year, but I don’t feel like I’ve been any less busy.

I’ve been struggling with topics lately, but here’s one that is very near and dear to my heart; some of the biggest myths in weight loss. When I started my journey, I found I had so much misinformation. Here are some of the biggest myths folks fall prey to:

  1. Lifting weights makes you look bulky. 

    FALSE.  I use to fall victim to this philosophy. When I was heavy, I would go to the same gym every night and do the same elliptical for an hour.  I’d burn 400 calories. I’d log my weight watcher points and count out my reduced fat cheez-its feeling pretty damn accomplished. I get it. Here’s what I didn’t know: Lifting heavy weights has many benefits, specifically in that you can burn up to 40% more fat.  While cardio does burn some fat, it also burns your muscle, which creates the “flabby batwings,” all ladies hate. Lifting weights burns mostly fat. Additionally, muscle is smaller than fat, creating a toned appearance and smaller package. Don’t believe me? Check out this little flick. Here’s the difference a balanced diet and weight training program makes: IMG_2260Incorporating weight training also burns more calories POST workout. For example, yesterday I worked out with my trainer Matt doing a variety of overhead squats, bench press, ab circuits, push-ups and some quick 30 second sprints on the bike. I went to brunch and by the end had burned 1500 calories (that’s by 12pm). Today I went to the gym and did one hour of steady state cardio on the Stair master and Tread climber. Two hours later, I’ve burned 450 calories.  

    Now of course, one thing to remember is that weight loss at it’s core comes down to being in a deficit (meaning I EAT less calories than I expend). One common mistake women make is that they come home starving from weight lifting and eat all the calories they just put out.  THAT will make you bulky. If you’re struggling with where to start with the weights, I recommend trying an online program like mine or taking a local class.

2.  Carbs are bad. 

If I hear another person talk about low carb dieting I am going to totally freak out. I have freaky flashbacks to Atkins diets watching people shovel jerky and cheese down their throats.   The jury is still out on this, but many studies showed that participants in low-carb diets often gained the weight back, some double.  While low-carb diets can prove beneficial in some medical situations (ie, severe obesity), they often don’t fare well for the average dieter.  There are a few reasons for this, but the most important one is that statistically, restrictive diets fail.  If a person goes into a starvation-type state, they are going to gain weight the second they slip up. No bueno. Additionally carbs boost your mood, provide energy to work out, and promote healthy weight loss by keeping you full. Eating carbs build and repair the amazing muscle that we spoke about in item #1. Remember that there are types of carbs; complex and simple. Complex carbs are items like vegetables and fruits, while simple carbs make up sugary pastries and breads.  I like to keep my diet rich with carbs like oatmeal, whole grain bread, sweet potatoes, and brown rice. Of course, fruits and veggies are always needed too!

3.  Losing weight is the only way to measure progress. 

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Losing weight is simply one way to measure progress. Remember item #1! 

Barf. Throw your scale away.  One of the worst thing you can do is only measure your progress by the scale. Remember what I said about muscle? It looks a lot different and there is a difference between body fat and body composition.  Other factors that can change the scale is time of day, your body holding water weight, or even just the actual scale! Keeping track of WEIGHT is just one way to measure progress. It’s important to take progress photos, measurements, and keep track of how your clothes are fitting!

 

4.  In order to lose fat, you should cut fat. 

Many people think that gaining “fat,” is caused by eating too much “fat.” It sounds logical right? Actually no.  Fats are proven to boost your immune system, prevent lower belly fat, and have even been linked to better fertility.  While saturated fats like butter and whole milk can increase your cholesterol, unsaturated fats like olive oils and nuts are very beneficial. Fats additionally help you have a “full” feeling! My favorite healthy fats are olive oil, avocado, almonds, and sunflower seeds.

5. Everything you eat has to be “healthy.” 

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“I’m just trying really hard to be healthy by only eating vegetables, fruits, and protein.” Oh lawd have mercy girls! I admire you, but I don’t envy you. While these diets are great for quick weight loss and resets, why would you need/want to live this way? Mama needs her wine.  Many people think that in order to be shredded that you can’t drink or eat anything bad.  That’s the beauty of macro dieting. While it is important to be good most of the time, it’s OK to have a cheat meal once a week or splurge on a glass of wine (or two) as long as you account for it.  As long as you are properly intaking proteins, carbs, and fats, (AND ACCOUNTING FOR THEM!) a little cheat meal won’t hurt you.

 

These are just a few myths I learned through my process. What about you?

-C

 

 

 

 

What’s On My Grocery List?

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Ok, so we’ve covered tons of IIFYM friendly recipes for you guys and gals to try at home, but a question I’m commonly asked is “What’s on your grocery list?!” IIFYM can be overwhelming at first, TRUST me..I know.

I imagine that macro dieting feels a lot like dating after you’ve been with someone for a long time. What you know is gone and you are faced with a world of infinite possibilities. That would totally freak me out, and so did macro dieting at first.

Well much like dating, here are some IIFYM (and life) guidelines you should live by:

  1. Just because it looks good, doesn’t mean you should have it around all the time. IIFYM is often mistaken for “Eat poptarts as long as they fit.” No. You can have those some-times, but they aren’t built for long term commitment.  A pop-tart or two are fun on the weekend, but most of the time are up to no good.  Remember, macro dieting means 80% clean (the food pyramid) and 20% can be discretionary.  Most of the time, stick to what you know is good.
  2.  Variety is AWESOME.  Get out of your comfort zone! It can be tempting to run back to what you know, a meal plan with chicken and spinach every single day, but I promise that embracing variety with less restrictions will pay off.  That meal plan just wants to box you in…and you are meant to run free!!!!

OK, so maybe this analogy isn’t working.  What I’m saying is that although overwhelming, macro dieting will be better for you in the long run.  That being said, it can be hard to know where to start.

When I first jumped in the shallow end of macro dieting,  I focused on finding a balanced meal, a carb, a protein, and a fat. One from each category right?! Right-O.

This is NOT a complete list, rather just a sampling of a typical week in my house.  I always like to start with these staples when I’m cooking. For example, I may choose to have a Low Carb Wrap with Sliced Turkey and a slice of cheese. It’s a good start to learning to create balance in meal prep. Once I trained my brain to identify these, it helped me to better diet while traveling. If I’m in a restaurant, I know I can get a lean filet (protein and fat), with green beans (carbs), or I can choose a salad which has veggies (carbs), with chicken (protein), and a balsamic dressing (fat).

Proteins

Carbs

Fats

Chicken Breast Sweet Potato Peanut Butter
Ground Turkey Brown Rice Avocado
Lean Sirloin Cheerios Laughing Cow Cheese
Lean Ground Beef Beans (Black) Cream Cheese
Whey Protein Powder Fresh Fruit: Cherries, Bananas, Blueberries Almonds
Fat Free Shredded Cheddar Cheese Fresh Veggies: Peppers, Spinach, etc Cashews
String Cheese Low Carb Wraps Chia Seeds
Fage 0% Greek Yogurt Tomatoes Olive Oil
Egg Whites Wheat Bread/ English Muffins Walnuts
Lean Fish (Salmon, Tilapia, Tuna) Almond Milk Whole Eggs
Quinoa/Beans (Vegetarian) Wheat Pasta Dressings (Ranch, Italian)
Sliced Turkey Zucchini Coconut Oil
Turkey Bacon (sparingly) Spaghetti Squash Balsamic Dressing
Chicken Sausage Butternut Squash
Pico De Gallo
Kodiak Cake Mix (high protein)

Once you’ve got these items down, start to mix and match them. Get crazy and branch out! Although I am not a proponent of meal plan dieting for lifestyle clients, I truly believe that this is a great start.

Of course you might be wondering what my favorite sweet treats are as well. Some of my favorite sweet macro-friendly treats are Halo Top Ice Cream, Fage mixed with sugar free jell-o mix, and Enlightened Ice Cream!!! YASSSS!

Again, the possibilities here are endless. There are a thousand fish in the sea…and I’m going to eat them all. 

-C

GOALZ AND GAINZ: 7 Mantras for 2017

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2017 will be a year for leaner legs!

Hey. Sorry I haven’t written much. I’ve been busy eating sandwiches and playing with puppies. Pretty typical I know. I started this really lame post about New Years’ Resolutions, and then I changed my mind because I thought it was stupid. I’ve been thinking a lot about my own resolutions, whether its to get leaner legs or abs or something else, and have decided to share them with you.  Whether you are just starting your journey or are far into it, I hope you find some of this useful.

1. I’m going to draw new lines: I had this great talk with my uncle last night about boundaries and drawing lines. We were actually talking about work, but he said this to me and it stopped me in my tracks, “Sometimes we draw a line in the sand and say ‘Ok, this is what I can tolerate,’ and then that thing happens, we don’t die, and we draw a new line. Each time the line gets further and further and we find we can actually handle a lot.” In fitness we all tend to draw those lines, right? I once said things like “I have to have a glass of wine every night,” then I went to three nights a week, then one, then before you know it, I was four months in with not a drop to drink. Decide where your line is and set yourself up for success.  I will constantly find that line and push myself.

2. I’m not going to be afraid to look like an idiot.  I specifically remember when I first started my prep. I had just lowered my macros and was LOW on energy. Not to mention, it was 6am. I had to do box jumps, and I had only a few left. My legs were so shaky, I did the whole “start to jump and fall on the box,” routine. My last one, my foot went straight out from under me and I landed straight on my back. Um, embarassing.  In the past, I wouldn’t have even attempted this, but I know that it’s what I need to do to be successful.

3. I’m going to get rid of toxic people: Maybe this isn’t just about fitness, but for so long I’ve kept people in my life that were negative forces.  I had people question my goals, motivations, criticize the way I dressed or ran my life, or even made light of my fitness goals. When you do this, you’re not being “helpful,” you’re an “asshole.” If someone in your life is making you feel less confident or less worthy, it’s not your job to stick around.

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4. I’M GOING TO LEARN SCIENCE: As much as I like to think I know, I don’t know a lot of things in regards to science and the human body. I’m going to invest in myself, learn more about nutrition and exercise. I’ll also pass it on to you! I don’t claim to know everything, and neither do you. So whether you learn macros or refine your lifts, learn something!

5. I’m not going to let challenges derail me: There are so many times where I have one of those days where it’s never going to end. Especially in prep, when everything seems magnified, its easy to want to skip a day and drink some wine. There are days when I’ve cried in the gym parking lot and been so emotionally exhausted that I feel like I can’t go in. These days are the hardest, but I’m going to take challenges, turn them into problems, and find solutions.

6. I’m going to do more things I love: During my first prep, I did a lot of uphill sprints. They were lonely and they sucked. I know I’m going to have to do them again, but I have a goal this year to find cardio I love. My friend Rhonda does Zumba in prep. I don’t do Zumba, mainly because I look like an angry drowning victim when I do it, but I did find I love Title Boxing and Orange Theory.  If you’re new to fitness, be sure you engage in something you love. Remember resolutions #1 and #2, you may look stupid, but ask for help and learn a skill!

7. I’m going to search for the why: So many of us (including me) start these fitness journeys and we skip the hard part: asking “Why am I here?” Part of being successful is knowing why you want to eat poorly or not exercise. For me, it was a lot of excuses about being too busy, having old injuries, or just plain not wanting to. In reality, I was scared of something new, worried about looking stupid, and being afraid to fail. It sucked, I faced it, but now I do not allow myself to tell those kinds of stories.

I hope you’ve found these useful as you approach your new years fitness goals.  If you have resolutions or things to add, shoot me a comment on FB or drop in the comments below!

 

 

Why Have I Stopped Losing Weight?

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A lot of you have written me about “breaking plateus” in fitness. We’ve all been there. One week you totally nailed your food and workouts. You step on that scale and BOOM. No movement. This happened to me when I was about 140 lbs, size 8. Know why I remember it? BECAUSE IT WAS TRAUMATIC. It took WEEKS, I mean WEEKS to figure out what the hell was going on. I cut alcohol, I increased cardio, I tried weights. NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING.   If you’re facing a fitness plateau, here are a few things that might be hindering the process:

*You might not be eating correctly: So you’re killing it with salads, fish, lean meats and protein. First off, why?  One issue you might be having is you are not eating enough food.  When your body starts to feel like it’s starving, it adjusts itself to regulate, meaning it is saying, “Hold on to this fat, because you’re going hungry!” (There’s more science to this, but you get the point) Make sure you are hitting all your macro nutrients. If you don’t know what yours are, there’s a free calculator here. Or maybe you are following your diet, but it is only about 50% clean food. Here’s the thing, IIFYM can only work to a certain point. At some point, maybe the last 4 weeks before a competition, you may have to get pretty “bro.” Oh and did I mention they took away booze? How the hell am I supposed to deal with life NOW?! I’m doing a photo shoot for charity right before Thanksgiving and am about to go on another cut. Goodbye booze, goodbye fun. The suffering is temporary.

Be sure you’re eating the correct foods in the correct amount, at the correct time, and for the love of god, EAT CARBS. They are delicious and without them, it is hard to build muscle. There are some times when it is appropriate to slash carbs, but 99% of the time, it’s not a good time.

*Your workouts aren’t changing: I’ve seen people drop a TON of weight just training on the elliptical or treadmill. They get on and go, and lose more weight than you can imagine. Here’s what eventually happens though; they hit a wall HARD. When your body starts adjusting to your workouts, it’s not working to burn calories. Sometimes it needs a shock to the system. This week, I slowed it down and did Hot Yoga and my poor body went into revolt. But most importantly, I saw changes.

Please don’t be a slave to the elliptical. Another important thing to know about cardio is that it won’t build the muscle up under the fat so it’s important to integrate some type of weight or resistance training into your workouts. Too much cardio=saggy butt.

*You’re not pushing yourself: THIS is the reason I have a trainer. My trainer Tracy makes me do the stuff I don’t want to do. For example, I do NOT like training triceps. Because mine are weak and take forever to change. Tracy makes me do em.  I don’t love in studio training because I get distracted, so I have an awesome app where she uploads my workouts. I can do them remotely and I get everything I need. I also try to switch up my cardio by going to classes at Title Boxing Club or Orange Theory. My point is you must make yourself uncomfortable. If you get through a workout and go, “Hey that wasn’t so bad,” it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Also, having an instructor will make you work the parts of your body you don’t like. I have a terrible time with triceps. If it was up to me, I’d train legs all day every day, but I’d look like a weirdo.

*You’re focused on the scale: I know I’ve pointed this out before, but the scale really is just a number. Make sure you have other benchmarks of progress like selfies or taking measurements. You’re going to need this when it gets down to the wire. I’m serious.  Battling the scale is a constant struggle for me. Again, I’ve included progress pics to hammer this into your head.

*You’re being unrealistic: Set benchmark goals. Get off instagram, and stop comparing. This is easier said then done for me. *Eats donut and cries over Paige Hathaway’s Instagram*  In that second progress picture, I was pretty f*cking happy. I had no goal to compete or to have professional photos taken; I just wanted to wear a damn tank top.  You have started this process, so your only competition is YOU.  Bodybuilding is an art,  it is about consistently and slowly making progress with what works for YOUR body.  Embrace your own struggle and own that shit.

Got any other advice for those trying to break the plateau? Drop it below!