Monday, April 25, 2016

Thoughts on Meal Plans...

Some of my clients are beginning the Fitness Challenge at the West Sac Rec tonight and others are not. I thought I'd share this because even if you're not doing the Fitness Challenge YOU CAN do this with me (you don't have to be client either). This morning I started eating a meal plan that I made just for me and my current lifestyle. I have some hesitation in doing this because I LOVE FOOD. I always have and always will, but I also know that for me personally meal plans work well in the short term. When I eat nearly the same thing, at nearly same time, everyday my body likes it and responds well. Getting myself on a eating schedule and meal plan is how I arrived at the leanest I have ever been (circa 2012). This time it isn't about being the leanest, it just about feeling better in my clothes and making some Yoga poses more comfortable. As one of my former clients so eloquently stated, "It's all about being a size "M."

That said, sometimes wearing a smaller size or getting leaner isn't a big priority because life delivers us bigger "fish-to-fry" (pun intended).  As I'm sure we've all experienced, I haven't had the desire to be really strict, partially because of my schedule, but also because sometimes worrying about how many calories, or grams of protein I've eaten in a day seems far less than important than everything else in my life for the last 4 years. BUT paying attention each day to how much I'm eating is doable right now. This strategy focuses on my daily actions rather than trying to see the big picture. Long term goals are far less tangible and though they may be important in some cases they do not get us through our day-to-day choices. Instead, focusing on one day at a time is how I have experienced and seen the best outcomes. My current objective is not aligned with any specific weight or body fat; it's just focusing each day on the parts of my lifestyle that I can improve upon.

Here's how you can join me:

1. Find a picture of yourself at the weight/body fat/etc. you desire to be. Let this be the picture you glance at when your motivation finds a slump.

2. Set a goal for how much water you will drink each day and perhaps design a meal plan to fit your needs (if you need help here let me know). Aim for high quality and nutrient dense whole foods.

3. Each day do not think, "Oh, when I was____I only weighed ____." Instead focus on the positive and present moment rather than the past. Try this... "I'm eating this food and I'm drinking this water to move the needle a tiny bit closer to where I want to be physically."

4. Eat your meals and plan your exercise with intention and awareness.

5. Grab your calendar and put a little heart of the days that pass to show yourself a little love :-) and to recognize your accomplishment.

My Personal Strategies:

  • When I eat on a meal plan I prep my food in advance and put my days worth of food my lunch bag (sometimes even my dinner), if it's not in the bag then it doesn't go in my tummy.
  • I do not log on myfitnesspal once I've settled into my meal plan because I already know exactly what I'm eating.
  • I start each day with a big glass of water and always drink water before I eat.
  • I drink lots of tea (hot and iced).
  • I carry gum and mints for munchy moments. (I'm always hungry ;-)
  • Lastly, I will not eat when I'm watching TV or on the computer because this is when mindless eating occurs for me.
Side Notes & Disclaimers:
  • Eating on a meal plan does not teach you how to eat healthfully and if your meal plan is not appropriate for YOUR needs when you stop eating the meal plan and go back to your previous dietary patterns it's likely that you will gain weight (probably more than you lost).
  • Meal plans can be tremendously helpful when they're used appropriately for short periods of time and customized to the individual's needs (they are not necessary, but very helpful for busy people). 
  • Weight lost while using a meal plan can be sustained, but education must be provided to the person on the meal plan because eating less calories than needed will slow their metabolism thus decreasing the amount of food an individual can tolerate without weight gain.
  • Final Tip...honor your body, be smart, use logic, do your homework & ask questions!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Healthier Snack Solution...

I don't know about you, but I love to snack and because of my odd schedule it's important to have some options on hand. It can be hard to find snacks that are healthy, void of added chemicals, and that are also convenient and affordable. As a kid, my mom made homemade popcorn for my sister's and I all the time, but it was normally covered in butter and salt which tasted great, but as I got older I stopped eating it because I knew it was unhealthy. My friend Staci inspired me to make a healthier version that packs some healthy fats, lots of fiber and B vitamins. I hope you enjoy it as much as my hubby and I do!

Spiced Popcorn

1/3 cup Popcorn Kernels (unpopped)
4 Tbsp Avocado Oil (Coconut or other high temp oils work well too)
1/3 cup Nutritional Yeast
1.5 Tsp Garlic Powder
1.5 Tsp Chili Powder
1.5 Tsp Turmeric
1.5 Tsp Sea Salt


1. Mix the spices and nutritional yeast together and set aside.

2. Pour 2 Tbsp of the oil in a large stock pot. Add the kernels and mix the kernels with the oil until coated with oil.

3. Place on high heat and cover. Shake the pot every 30 second or so and wait to hear the popping noise. When 3 seconds passes between popping sounds remove the pan from heat and uncover.

4. Drizzle the remaining oil on top and gently stir or shake in the spices. The turmeric gives it the yellow color so it looks buttery. The measurements above will make your popcorn mildly spiced, but if you like more of a punch add more of your favorite spices.

5. Enjoy and if you want to read about the "Is popcorn bad for you?" question check out this blog post.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Healthy-ish Carrot Cake Muffins....

Today is Easter and I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that March is nearly over. Normally our family has big holiday celebrations, but this year Easter just snuck up on  us so rather than doing a big family dinner some of the family came to our house for brunch. I made these healthy-ish carrot cake muffins and pineapple cream cheese frosting. I looked at a couple different recipes and ended up using this one with a couple modifications. I was worried they wouldn't have the right texture because there's no flour and a lot of wet ingredients, I was pleasantly surprised by both the taste and texture. Check it out!
2 cups Almond Meal
1 cup ground rolled oats
1 tsp sea salt1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
4 eggs
⅓ cup Sugar free maple syrup (pure maple or honey if desired)
¼ cup avocado oil
3 cups carrots, finely shredded (use food processor or cheese grater)
½ cup raisins
3/4 cup crushed pineapple with juice

1. Preheat oven to 325.
2. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl (Flours, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg) and set aside
3. Beat eggs, olive oil and maple syrup together with a whisk.
4. Add in carrots, raisins and pineapple
5. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until fully 6. incorporated.
7. Place into lined muffin cups- makes about 15 muffins when cups are filled
8. Bake for 25 minutes

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz softened cream cheese
2/3 stick of softened butter 
1/3 cup crushed pineapple + 3 Tbsp Juice
3 to 4 cups of powdered sugar

1. Beat softened butter and cream cheese until thoroughly mixed.
2. Add 3 Tbsp of pineapple juice and mix thoroughly.

3.  Slowly add powered sugar until you reached your desired consistency.
4. Fold in crushed pineapple.

Let muffins completely cool prior to frosting. I recommend refrigerating the frosting prior to use to make it easier to spread. Enjoy!!!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Every Movement Serves a Purpose...

Every element of a personal training session serves a purpose...

Most sessions begin with some form of myofascial release and a light cardiovascular warm up to get the body warm, to increase circulation and prepare the mind and body for more intensity. This portion of the workout may also include some Yoga and dynamic movement. During this time I'm watching my client's movement to see if I notice any physical changes since our previous session and I'm getting verbal information from them about what has been going on in their life in the last couple days. The session proceeds with strength and/or agility using major muscle groups and exercises that require the most coordination and focus. Smaller movements are reserved for later in the session as well as more mobility and balance work. Each client has different objectives and each session includes different exercises, but for the most part the structure of a session is similar. The exercise selection of each session is determined by the client's personal objectives, injuries, strengths and weaknesses. The reps, sets and load are also determined by the client's individual needs (this is something I'd like to write a lot about, but will save my rambling for later). Everything is planned and thought out in advance with an understanding that "game-time" decisions will be also be made based on the client's needs in that moment.

I'm a big believer in quality workouts that are designed in a way that's sustainable for my clients; each workout should challenge, but not crush my client (just because a workout is hard doesn't make it smart). There are many small elements in each session that make the session what it is (hopefully fun, challenging, educational and just what the body needed on that particular day). Without attention to detail and focus on my clients mind and body it becomes more like group exercise and as much as I love group exercise it does not provide one on one attention or the same specialized environment that personal training does. That said, if you're thinking about starting to exercise, have reoccurring injuries, or if you're looking for some guidance I'd highly recommend finding a PT in your area and seeing if it's right for you. Feel free to contact me questions about to vet a PT.

In Health,

Saturday, January 9, 2016

An Opinion Piece...Thoughts on Guilt, Self-Sabotage etc

This post was inspired by a couple things, but what brought the topic of guilt to the forefront of my mind was a Yoga class I attended this morning at Solefire in Sacramento.

Near the end of the class the instructor was speaking about the feeling of guilt, how it comes about, and strategies to change the way we handle ourselves when we feel guilty. If you're familiar with the Serenity Prayer or you've attended a meeting for addiction, eating disorders etc than you've probably heard of the concepts of serenity, courage, and wisdom. In my mind I connect the resolution of guilt with the Serenity Prayer.

The Serenity Prayer evokes a sense of peace and calmness with things "just as they are," but it also requires understanding the difference between serenity and surrender. Serenity is about accepting the condition or situation and learning to work with it. On the otherhand surrender is like waving the white flag or giving in to the condition or disease. For example, I've struggled with eating disorders since I was 11, but I've accepted that there's a part of my brain that will always think and feel certain way. Through education, time and awareness I've learned to live with my eating disorders and use my knowledge and energy in a positive way. Unfortunately, living out the Serenity Prayer is not as easy as it might seem because acceptance is hard and accepting that there are somethings we can not change is even harder.

Living out the Serenity Prayer as a way of life requires letting go of guilt, accepting what has happened and learning to live with the outcomes. I believe that holding on to guilt is a fatal flaw in recovery from any addiction, disease, or traumatic life event. When we hold on to guilt it's like carrying a heavy weight on our shoulders, it causes us to dwell on the past and set parameters for the life we think we deserve rather than living the life of our dreams.

Letting go of guilt and moving forward starts by saying sorry for wrong doings to friends, family members, coworkers, or even ourselves. After apologies have been made all we can do is wipe the slate clean and start our life fresh to best of our abilities. Holding on to guilt can lead to self destructive or self sabotaging behaviors when it comes to weight loss and wellness endeavors.

I've taking the long route in making my point here, but what I'm getting at is that everything we think, feel or do impacts our quality life and well we live. If you're holding onto guilt, shame or embarrassment take the time to learn to let to go and allow yourself to forgive and start fresh. No matter how serious or minor you feel your guilt is, it is worth every minute of your time to resolve it.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Meat Free Monday Spaghetti Casserole

Seth loves pasta. Any kind really, but his favorite is lasagna. I love making it for him, but in it's traditional form it's not so healthy as an everyday meal. I've been experimenting with different ways make both of us happy at dinner time and here's what I've been cooking.

In exploring creative ways to consume generous amounts of protein without being too hard on our bodies I've been cooking with vegetarian proteins every now and then. High protein diets are touted for weight loss, but they can be hard on our liver and kidneys over time. Click here to learn more. To add variety to our diet and keep our bodies functioning optimally I believe that using vegetarian sources of protein sporadically can be beneficial. Meaning that I don't think meat is bad, but sometimes I think it's appropriate to less meat and more veggies and legumes (don't get crazy my meat loving friends.)! But if you really want some "vegucation" check out this video. Without further ado...

8 oz Spaghetti or noodle shape of choice
1 Jar Spaghetti Sauce (no corn syrup or weird stuff and homemade is even better!)
1 carton sliced baby bella mushrooms (or about 15 sliced mushrooms)
20 cherry tomatoes
1 sliced white onion
1 head of  chopped broccoli
1 sliced zucchini
1 can garbanzo beans
2 Tbsp Oil ( I used MCT, you'll want one that can sustain high heat)

2+ oz of Mozzarella Cheese and or parmesan
Red Pepper flakes
Crushed Garlic


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Cook spaghetti, drain, place back in pot and pour sauce on top. Mix together and set aside. (while pasta is cooking it's a good time to chop veggies.)

3. Once your veggies are chopped place them on baking sheet and season with sea salt, pepper and toss with oil. Place in oven for 10 minutes at 450 degrees.

 4. While the veggies are cooking spread the spaghetti in bottom of a large glass baking dish as pictured below.

5. Place the drained and rinsed garbanzo beans on top in an even fashion.

6. If using cheese place a light layer of cheese top of the garbanzo beans and spaghetti.

7. When the veggies are done place them on top of the spaghetti, garbanzos and cheese.

8. Add more cheese if desired and place place oven at 450 degrees or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly.

9. Remove from oven and let rest before serving. Enjoy!

Before it goes in the oven for it's final melt.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Quinoa Pasta Salad

Hi All-

Since grad school started I've done very little blogging and posting of recipes, but I tried to take as many pictures as possible and keep creating new tasty things so that I'd have many recipes to share when grad school ends. And guess what?! I graduate in 5 weeks! Right now instead of doing homework (as I should be) I'm writing and sharing this yummy meal. It's a just a little taste of what I hope to spend my free time doing after graduation.

This has been a go-to meal for my hubby and I because I can prep it ahead of time and it keeps for several days (in fact I think it tastes better after a day in the fridge). This recipe has a lot of room to be creative and add vegetables of your choosing, these are just some of my favorites!

Quinoa Pasta Salad


1 box quinoa pasta (8oz) (I use ancient harvest brand) Cooked and drained
2 small cucumbers diced
2 bell peppers diced
3 cups chopped raw broccoli
1/3 cup crumbled Feta Cheese (seasoned, fat free or your choice)
1 cup shredded carrot
1 can garbanzo beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can smoked sockeye salmon in EVOO (remove skin and drain oil)

Dressing: 1 tsp ground sea salt, 1 Tbsp minced tried onion, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/8 cup EVOO

Mix all ingredients together with dressing & enjoy! It keeps in the fridge 4-5 days and is great served on a bed of lettuce and topped with cherry tomatoes like in the picture below!

Lunches packed and full of good nutrition!