Lunch with Kara Mejia – Macrobiotics Chef – SO GOOD!

I met with an amazing woman yesterday. Her name is Kara Mejia and she is a macrobiotics chef/natural health advocate. She recently moved to the area from NC where she used to offer cooking classes to groups of people as large as 50 – 100 per class and has helped so many people get over disease, illness, overweight, or just feeling crappy all the time.


For lunch yesterday we had an Open face brown rice and lentil grain burger, Garden slaw with a kiss of red lady slipper apples… And sinfully delicious, chocolate, date truffles dusted in cocoa, coconut, and pecans…Sorry, no picture. We ate them all:) Next time …

After having lunch with her today (she prepared a meal for me personally in her very own home, what a treat!), I totally 100% can say I agree with her approach to nutrition and health and would recommend her to anyone looking for answers to their health & wellness dilemma’s or questions in general regarding nutrition and how macrobiotics can help.

She follows a vegan diet that consists of whole foods/unprocessed/prepared to avoid disturbing the enzymes/nutrients they contain that our bodies need. Her website is www.cookingwithkara.com and email is cookingwithkara@gmail.com. If you’d like to contact her in regards to your health or macrobiotics or whatever, she is amazing!

This Thursday she is offering (to anyone willing to commit & lives in the general Baltimore area) a 30 Day Cleanse/Challenge to get themselves on track and on the path to wellness. It will entail 6 consecutive Thursdays from 7-9pm in which she will teach cooking/prep/rotation know how & questions/answers and is supplying with a grocery list/plan to get you through the 30 days. It is similar to the ‘raw’ approach to diet in that you prepare foods in a way that your body can digest and obtain the vital nutrients it needs to function properly, but there is ‘cooked food’, look up ‘macrobiotics’ to get a better understanding or check out her website. If there was anything I’d ever suggest someone try out and give a go-ahead for 30 days, it would be this. She is ‘rolling out’ her business here and offering this 6 week (30 Day Challenge) FOR FREE only once. If you want to join me in this challenge, contact me a.s.a.p. so I can send you the details so that you can decide on whether you’d like to commit to this. Or contact Kara Mejia at the email I listed above.

Info, share with friends & family: 30 Day Natural Body Makeover beginning Thursday, April 26th, from 7 -9pm. This will be a 2 hour Introductory cooking and weight loss program re-introducing folks to the deliciousness of whole foods. It will run for 6 consecutive Thursday evenings and the best part…. It is absolutely FREE!!! For further details they can get in touch w/Kara directly by calling (706) 970-9505.

Kara also shared a book with me, in which I’ve already read a good amount of it, and I’d recommend to ANYONE and EVERYONE. It really helps spell out all the improvements/changes/ways to go about eating/diet to assist someone in becoming very knowledgeable on what is good and bad for the body! It’s called, ‘Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition” Third edition, by Paul Pitchford.

Health & Happiness!

Natty Mac

Bring it ON Intestinal Flora, the Good the Bad & the FUGLY…

What is intestinal flora?

How is intestinal flora linked to weight gain?

What can I do to improve my health in this area and in turn possibly shed some weight?

“Good VS. Bad Bacteria”

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly side effects…

  1. Intestinal Flora: Think Activia & Jamie Lee Curtis….The bacteria in your “gut”. Microorganisms that assist in many key functions within your body; assist in the metabolism of food (breakdown of food), immune system functions, producing vitamins, preventing growth of harmful pathogens, and producing hormones that affect the way humans store fat. Some may be capable of causing disease or increasing risk of cancer. Etc., etc., etc…
  2. Good V. Bad Bacteria
    • “Beneficial bacteria in your intestines make up 80% of your immune system!”
    • “Good Bacteria’s key role is the breakdown/metabolizing of food. The more thoroughly your food is broken down that’s usable by your body, the less excess wastes, toxins, and fat you’ll accumulate.
    • Foods to Avoid: Typical junk foods, refined carbs, soda, foods that are nutrient deficient, “are a feast for the harmful bacteria in your gut.”
    • Without Good Bacteria: “Your body doesn’t metabolize foods correctly, retains more calories, and becomes more toxic.”
  3. You may ask…I have been watching what I eat, counting calories, so why am I not losing weight!!!???
    • It’s probably your GUT! If your body has high levels of bad bacteria, you probably are not going to be able to drop those pounds…sorry!
    • How can I fix this? Avoid the foods I mentioned above and take a high quality probiotic! (With your daily multivitamin and mineral)
    • Taking a probiotic supplement can also help alleviate gas, constipation, bloating, allergies, and even helps asthma sufferers.
  4. Products listed below can aid in destroying your good bacteria (Avoid These):

Foods with traces of fertilizers or pesticides found in/on them (Organic=no fertilizers/pesticides)

Food injected with Hormones or antibiotics (meats, eggs, dairy…again Organic=no hormones/antibiotics)

Medications/Antibiotics

Alcohol

Foods containing high fructose corn syrup (SODA, a lot of products that have this…and I mean A LOT!)

Foods containing additives (unnatural sources, if there is a lot of ingredients on the list that sound scientific it is probably good to stay away from it)

Foods containing unnatural preservatives

Foods containing nitrates (hot dogs, bacon, deli meats)

Please, start becoming conscious of what you eat. Foods that are natural, organic and healthy for you and the environment are what you should try to fill your refrigerator and kitchen pantry with, remember you are what you eat. So, I guess I’m a giant cup of organic spinach!

RECIPES:

“Sweet Peach Raw Smoothie with a Kick”: (serves 1)

  • Frozen Organic Peaches (1 cup)
  • Frozen Organic Mango, Strawberries OR Blueberries (1/2 cup)
  • ½ Giant Organic Banana
  • ¼ cup of almonds or cashews
  • 2 splashes of almondmilk
  • 3 pinches of Cinnamon
  • Fresh mint leaves

Put all ingredients into your blender, blend until pureed well. Enjoy!!

It can be really useful to get help with designing an exercise program to assist you in achieving your fitness goals. Hiring a fitness trainer is a great way to get on the right track. As an expert I understand how to help you modify your exercise routine and diet to suit your goals.

Visit my website, Raw Fitness, to see more about Personal Training. I do ‘Skype’ too! 😉

Health & Happiness,

Nat

There is an endless amount of information I have about this topic, I will try to fit in the most important facts. Email me if you have questions.

Let me just start by saying, I am not a nutritionist or a doctor. What I write in my weekly bulletins is simply information that I have gathered over the years from reading and researching several health related topics from credible resources as well as personal experiences. I urge you to consult with a physician before changing your diet. The purpose of my weekly bulletin is to share my experiences and fitness knowledge with everyone I possibly can to help others in their journey to improve their state of well-being.

Multi-Taskin’…Healthy Diet & Exercise No Matter How Busy Your Day Is!

A day in the life of Natalie!

Don’t fret, I don’t really think that you care what my day is like, I’m not that vain! I wanted to give you an example of how I fit in healthy eating habits and consistent exercise into a very busy schedule.

I usually wake up at 5am and don’t finish work until 7:30pm. So as you can see, I have LONG days…don’t be misinformed though, I LOVE what I do for a living and I DO get breaks here and there throughout the day. I use those breaks to eat healthy and exercise and it makes getting through my day all the better and easier! Exercise gives me stress relief and stamina, healthy eating gives me a clear mind and energy!

I wake up early enough so that I have at least 1 hour to get ready and eat breakfast before I need to hit the road to train my first client. Right out of bed I down 1 scoop of fiber dissolved in a 16oz. glass of water. Then, I usually eat oatmeal & Shakeology (for protein/vitamins/energy/health). I have a cup of coffee with a splash of unflavored almond milk. I head out to train my clients usually until noon or 1pm. Then I have my afternoon ‘break’. I eat lunch, which is either a salad with chicken or a ‘green smoothie’ (pics below) and get to work in my ‘office’. This is when the multi-tasking comes into play!

In my ‘office’ (which I’ve moved outdoors since the weather is beautiful right now in MD) I do admin, marketing, blog, emails, and anything else it takes to make my personal training business run! During this ‘office work’ I fit in intermittent workouts. I use my body weight, dip station, TRX, stability ball, kettlebells, resistance bands and sandbag. I will do a post tomorrow on exercises I do using these different pieces of equipment.

I also have a gym membership. I go there daily as time permits and do cardio on the arc trainer, step mill, treadmill, and spin classes. I also use the bench, barbells, smith machine, cable machine, kick boxing bags, dumbbells, and other equipment that I do not have at home. While I’m working in my ‘office’, I do exercises for the muscle group I’m focusing on that day that I can do using my home workout equipment so when I hit the gym, I can get in and out of there faster. For example, I do push ups/chin ups/dips/core work at home while working on my upper body days so that when I hit the gym I only have to do the remaining exercises on the equipment that I don’t have at my house, such as bench presses and cable rows and the step mill!

When I need a power packed lunch but will be working out within an hour or so and don’t want to feel ‘full’ or ‘heavy’ from undigested food, I eat a green smoothie! I throw 8 oz of water, a few dashes of cinnamon, a handful of spinach salad leaves, a scoop of my chocolate Whey protein supplement and 1/2 scoop of my Shakeology, a couple frozen organic strawberries, ice cubes in my Bullet Blender cup and blend. I LOVE the ‘Bullet’ because it has single portion cups that you throw all your ingredients into and blend and drink out of the same cup, then throw the cup in the dishwasher and go!

Finally, after my last personal training client, I come home to eat a light dinner. I won’t be doing anything quite physical after dinner so there is no need for a huge dinner, you just don’t need the fuel because you’ll be sleeping soon! Today, I trained a client outside at a park that overlooks downtown Baltimore City…it was BEAUTIFUL today! I came home and threw a salmon filet in my skillet and cooked it in 8 minutes on my stove top, I also threw together a quick side salad.

So that’s my day! Jam packed yet I get in my workout and healthy nutritious meals to fuel my body and help me achieve my goals!

If you find that your schedule is busy and it is hard to get a workout in or eat healthy food while on the go, YOU’VE GOT TO PLAN AHEAD. I prep meals the day in advance if I know the following day will not allow me time to cook or I won’t be home for lunch. I ‘schedule’ my workouts in my calendar so I know exactly when I am scheduled for my daily workout and don’t end up at the end of the day, out of time and no energy to exercise.

Hope this helps! Health & Happiness,

Nat

http://www.avantlink.com/affiliate_app_confirm.php?mode=js&authResponse=1087f3fca90978b83e311752fd6195065795e258

Tricks of the Trade…or shall I say TREATS!!!

Hi All,
If you are human, then there is no stopping those cravings for sweets! Don’t deprive yourself of what the good lord gave us, alter the ingredients a bit so that your treats have more nutritional benefits

As a lady, I of course love chocolate and crave some from time to time (every day, LOL!). So I make sure to include it in some of my meals. But, it must be high quality and “healthy” chocolate. RAW CACAO powder is absolutely fabulous to add to my protein shakes or fruit smoothies that I make daily. I get my chocolate fix without feeling guilty and my body reaps the benefits of this wonderful ingredient. Click Here to learn benefits of Raw Cacao Powder. I also drink Shakeology (Chocolate) for post workout or as a meal replacement when I’m in a rush, you can also blend it with frozen strawberries and ice and make a strawberry chocolate ice cream healthy treat! Check out Shakeology by clicking here! 

Coconut Oil or flour is an amazing ingredient to add to your daily consumption. It does have saturated fat but is a medium chain fatty acid and is metabolized by your liver differently, so it ends up being good for you (similar to how Olive Oil is good for you). You can use coconut for cooking, take a tablespoon for energy, great for your hair and skin, aids in weight loss, etc. Click here for the benefits of Coconut.

My favorite herbs, spices & natural flavors to jazz things up in the kitchen are:

  • Cinnamon – in smoothies, cook in steamed veggies and chicken, in oatmeal/couscous/quinoa, dash on salad
  • Basil & Scallions – chop fresh and sprinkle atop salads, veggies, omelettes
  • Cilantro – great blended in green smoothies and added to chicken
  • Rosemary & Thyme – cook with chicken and salmon
  • Cayenne pepper – use just a dash or two in veggies or scrambled eggs
  • Mint – blend in smoothies
  • Balsamic vinegar – dash on top of salad with spices for home-made dressing
  • Lime & Lemon – squeeze fresh juice on top salads, on cooked chicken and veggies, in water
  • Orange – Fresh squeezed juice and zest on top chicken while grilling/cooking it for a zing

Now for a great recipe I got from the World Wide Web…. Here is a great way to have your cake and eat it too! Pancakes that is!

Protein Pancakes

Ingredients (makes 5 pancakes)

9 medium egg whites
1 tub of natural fat free cottage cheese (8-9 oz.)
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 teaspoons honey (or unrefined sugar, only if you must)
1 cup of oats

Cooking spray


Instructions

1) Combine egg whites, cottage cheese, sugar/honey, cinnamon and oats in a bowl and blend until smooth.

2) Now use a small omelet pan and spray with a cooking spray. On a medium heat pour in mixture until the bottom of the pan is completely covered.

Wait until small bubbles appear on top and then flip the pancake over and cook for another 2 minutes. Place cooked pancakes on a plate and cover w/another plate to keep heat in and keep cooked cakes warm while you finish cooking all pancakes.

Once you have all the pancakes cooked, you can top with a tablespoon of peanut butter and a side serving of your favorite fruit, apple/banana goes really well.

Women eat 2 of these pancakes as a meal. Men eat 3 as a meal.

Enjoy!
Nat

Cheers to Big Thighs, Butts & Bellies…or the opposite!

Hi Gang!
St.Patty’s day is this weekend and I know that some of you will be engaging in ‘drink fests’, so in hopes of ruining your fun 🙂 I thought I’d post about calories in alcoholic beverages! And for those of us who drink alcoholic beverages, our intake of alcohol usually increases during the holidays! There are more holiday parties and family gatherings and opportunities for drinking when there usually wouldn’t be. Guess what, a few extra drinks here and there adds up! Top o’ da mornin’ to ya!

Just how much extra am I depositing into my caloric bank, Natalie? I hate to tell you but some drinks may pack on an extra 1000 (that’s right, one thousand) calories with as little as 3 drinks….

Now, for my RawFitnessTV readers who are working hard to lose weight, these extra calories can be detrimental to your weight loss efforts. So I wanted to educate you all about the caloric content in popular alcoholic drinks so that you can make the right choices! Below are a few misconceptions people have when it comes to drinking alcoholic beverages.

“Vodka, Rum, Gin (Liquor) drinks are low calorie”. WRONG! Did you know that one measly shot of vodka is on average 85-95 calories, and the flavored vodkas are 100-160 calories per shot! Well, even if you get a diet whatever and vodka…it is probably going to cost you about 170-320 calories…and if you do a cranberry and vodka, add on the caloric content of the cranberry juice, you get the point. Here is a link for caloric content of some popular alcohols: Calories in Alcohols/Liquors

“I’m okay because I’m drinking red wine…it’s healthy for you…only 60 calories or something…” WRONG!
Yes, red wine has good properties, but in MODERATION. Opt for Dry Red or White Wine to hit 75-85 calories per approximately 3.8 ounces (not your average pour, more calories when you have a full glass of wine). The average pour is about 130-150 calories per drink…
Here is a link for caloric content of wines: Calories in Wines

“Margaritas, Martinis, Oh My”
…need I say more. Lots of sugar = lots of calories…your average Margarita costs you about 450 calories….oh so tasty martinis are around 175-200+…not good!

“Beer is no good”…Wrong and Right. Look, I’m not going to tell you that drinking beer is all fine and dandy but when it comes down to it, you can get a light beer for low cal, like 80 calories. This adds up of course, but the good thing about beer is that it comes in a bottle or a can and you can measure exactly how much you have been consuming. When you get a mixed drink or wine, the size/ounces/amount of your drink vary and you never are quite sure the caloric content of your drink. At least with beer you can be, this is the only reason why I give beer some props…so grab a Heineken Light and throw on your beer goggles!

Overall, just watch the number of alcoholic drinks you have. Drink a glass of water in between drinks. Avoid high sugar drinks with lots of different ingredients. Realize that even if you have diet soda (which I never suggest anyone drink) the liquor in your drink adds a hefty number of calories.

Don’t take part in the ‘Irish Yoga’ and work on melting away those excess fat pounds by doing a little Irish Jig and watching what your caloric and sugar content is in your drinks at St.Patty’s day celebrations;).

To Your Health and Happiness!!
St. Patty’s Day Party Pooper Nat 😉

Keep Your Ass on Track w/Weight Loss…The Most Important Question

The Most Important Question….

What is keeping me from achieving my weight loss goal?

CONSISTENCY!

If you aren’t consistent with your diet and exercise routines, you will have a hard time reaching your fitness goals. What do I mean by consistent? Exercising 4-5 times every week using a structured exercise program designed for your goals and needs. Eating healthy on a consistent basis, following healthy eating habits 99% of the time, eating to live instead of living to eat.

Why is this so important? Because, you need to live a healthy and active lifestyle in order to look healthy, remember the saying “You are what you eat”. Eating unhealthy meals and snacks here and there add up over the weeks, months and year. It adds up to a couple extra or several extra added pounds of fat, and fat is not what we want to add to our body…we want muscle! You must follow a healthy diet ALWAYS! No twinkies, snickers bars, bacon-wrapped filet mignon here and there!

If you are trying to shed the pounds you have got to be CONSISTENT! Fight your cravings for the nutrient deficient snacks by creating healthier snacks and meals for yourself. For example, if ice cream is your choice learn how to make natural strawberry sorbet at home, which is fat free and much healthier for you. And most importantly come to the realization that food is just simply food! Don’t let it run your life or it will ruin your life. EAT TO LIVE, DON’T LIVE TO EAT!

Exercising regularly is key too. Keep that blood pumpin’, burn calories, and build muscle. Increasing your muscle mass will increase the number of calories your body burns daily as well as increase metabolism. You will have more energy, feel happier, be less likely to succumb to cravings, and exercise will aid in weight loss and fat loss. When you workout, you are more likely to eat healthy that day because you don’t want to reverse all the hard work you just put in lifting weights or doing cardio.

HOW CAN I STAY CONSISTENT? IT IS HARD TO, I KNOW!

Just like anyone else, I get cravings and maybe get a little lazy here and there…so what is the number one thing that keeps me on the right track? GOALS!!!!!

I don’t just workout everyday and eat healthy everyday for the hell of it, I have goals that keep me motivated and push me through every workout. YOU MUST HAVE GOALS, long term and short term goals, TO STAY CONSISTENT! Goals should always be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

Short Term: Daily, Weekly & 30 Day Goals. Everyday you should challenge yourself to eat healthy and workout. Take it one day at a time. Each week you should plan to complete a certain number of workouts and eat healthy 99% of the time. Your 30 Day goal can be a 5 pound weight loss goal, decreasing your body fat by 3%, adding 1 mile to your longest running distance, etc. Your short term goals should help you get a step closer to some of your long term goals.

Long Term: 1 Month, 3 Month, 6 Month, 1 Year, etc. 1 month is in between a short term and long term goal. In 1 month you could train to run a 5K. In 3 months you could lose as much as 12- 24 pounds if you work really hard. Have you ever wanted to bike in a cycling event and maybe raise money for a charity? Than sign up for a 20, 40, 63 or even 100 mile cycling event that is 6 months – 1 year out. Knowing that you have to be in shape for this event, getting people to sponsor you, and the desire to finish the race well will keep you motivated to stay consistent with your diet and exercise routines!!

So…SIT DOWN NOW AND WRITE DOWN YOUR SHORT & LONG TERM GOALS, STAY CONSISTENT, STAY HEALTHY!!

Yours Truly,
Nat

Key Diet Tip to Drop the Excess Fat & Maintain Weight Loss!

YOU MUST FOLLOW A HEALTHY AND CONSISTENT DIET IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE WEIGHT LOSS!
No matter how much you workout, if you eat junk food, processed food, fast food, etc. overall foods that are nutritionally deficient…you will have trouble meeting your fitness goals!!!!

I tell my clients over and over again in order to keep it embedded in their brain and always on their mind.
    “Watch what you eat, when you eat, and how much you eat!!”

What You Eat: Each food/drink of every meal should be packed with nutrition! Many clients say they have a hard time meeting their daily caloric goal (ex. 1500 calories). The main reason is that they aren’t eating nutritious foods! Ensure that your meals are nutritious by following these easy steps.
1. Make each meal yourself! Don’t go to a fast food joint, deli, restaurant, carryout! Make your meals, bring them with you to work, bring them in a cooler if need be. You have no idea the ingredients that fast food and carry out restaurants put in their meals, and sometimes the workers at these joints don’t even know what is in the food themselves because it is highly processed! Processed food = nutritionally deficient food in almost all cases so PLEASE avoid it ALWAYS!
2. Each ingredient of your meal should be natural and unprocessed! When you are putting a meal together make sure each ingredient is beneficial to and needed by your body. 98% – 100% of the ingredients should be found in nature (fruits and veggies) and able to eat right from nature without processing. Think simple ingredients. If you can pick it from a tree or a crop than it is good. When we eat nutrient dense meals we feel more satisfied, our bodies function properly, and get our essential vitamins and minerals!
3. Correct Ratio of Macronutrients! 1-2 Part Fat, 2 -3 Part Protein, 2-3 Parts Carb. Watch your fat intake. No trans fats and avoid unhealthy saturated fats at all costs. Mono- and Poly-unsaturated fats are good. Your total calorie intake should be about 15-25% Fat daily. Lean Proteins like chicken breast, turkey and fish are great. Try and have a little protein in every meal if you are participating in heavy training, for moderate exercisers eat protein sources for key meals like breakfast, lunch and dinner. Your total calorie intake should be about 30%-40% Protein depending on your training capacity. Now carbohydrate intake is important to make sure you have energy! BUT, you must eat the right carbs! Fruits and veggies should be your main source of carbs! Eat a few servings of grains per week (if lifting weights, you’ll need complex carbs to fuel your workouts, ex. oats or quinoa) to get carbs, such as brown rice or oatmeal (no processed carbs please!).
When You Eat: Eat 5 small meals daily. Eat about every 3 hours. Eat for what your activity level will be over the next 3 hours. Eat breakfast!!!! Eat no later than 7:30PM! Eat your heaviest and higher carb meal no less than 2-3 hours before a workout and make sure it is a LOW Glycemic Index meal. If you need energy before a workout eat something very small, low in protein and fat, and no less than 30 minutes pre-workout. Afte
r your workout try and eat a high protein, higher Glycemic index carb, low-no fat meal within 30-45 minutes. Eating every 3 hours will keep your insulin levels balanced and your body happy!
How Much You Eat: 5 SMALL meals. Make sure your meals are small! If you are trying to eat 1500 cals/day then divide that by 5 and you get 300. So each meal should be about 300 calories. You can increase or decrease your caloric intake at each meal depending on your activity level for the next 3 hours. Practice portion control, use smaller plates, make your meals before you are starving for food to avoid making too much and the “Eyes are bigger than your Stomach” syndrome.

Last, BUT NOT LEAST! YOU MUST BE CONSISTENT WITH YOUR DIET!

When on a diet, most people have their “Off Day” in which they allow themselves to cheat a little…this is counterproductive if you binge on junk food or processed food. Your body will crave it the next day believe it or not, somewhat of a withdrawl effect. And once you dibble dabble and endulge in something unhealthy you will think, “Oh just one more piece of chocolate won’t hurt…”. Well, guess what, it will because you are enabling these bad habits again that you worked so hard to eliminate from your life. Don’t go all David Hasselhoff on your ‘Off Day’. Instead, have an “Off Day” but make that “Off Day” a day which you allow yourself to endulge in something healthy. Splurge and buy a lean cut of steak to cook for dinner, make yourself some homemade strawberry sorbet for a dessert, be creative but just remember to make sure whatever you endulge in is beneficial to and needed by your body!

Health & Wellness!
Nat

Small Plates! And I’m NOT Talking About Tapas – Key to Weight Loss & Proper Diet

Hey there RawFitnesser’s!!
Let’s talk nutrition! Oh, if I had a dollar for everytime I was asked how much protein, carbohydrates, veggies, fats should I be eating with each meal…well, I wouldn’t have many dollars! Why? People don’t ask because they think that just because they’re eating healthy foods for each of their meals, their daily consumption is right on track for the goals they want to achieve…for the most part, this can result in frustration because these people aren’t seeing the results they thought they’d see.

Don’t go out and buy some scale to weigh your food, this will likely drive you crazy…and who has time for that!!! It’s all about the macronutrient ratios in each of your meals. Macronutrient ratio? The ratio of protein to carbohydrate to fat in each meal. And I break carbohydrate into ‘starchy carb’ (whole food, unprocessed, ex. oatmeal, sweet potato) & ‘veggie carb’ (greens, salad, broccoli). Fats should be ‘healthy’, unsaturated, no trans fat, think omega-3’s!

First, start journaling everything you eat and drink throughout the day. Use an online food journal like www.fitday.com to help calculate your daily totals of calories, protein, carbs & fats. I’d love for you to journal for the rest of your life because it really helps people stay consistent with their diet, but I know this may be unreasonable to ask. So, commit to journaling for 3-4 weeks. By the end of 3-4 weeks, it will come natural. You will know how much & what to eat daily for your meals to stay within your daily caloric goals and macronutrient ratios of protein (35%-40% total daily cals.), carbs (30%-45%), and healthy fats (20%-25%). Down the road, if you feel like you’re ‘relapsing’ and getting off track with diet, start journaling again to get your butt back on track!

Second, use smaller plates!! Here in the U.S. our ‘average’ plate sizes just keep getting larger and larger, and we keep filling them up with more and more food and our daily caloric intake keeps gettin’ higher as well as those waistbands! Use smaller plates. A general rule, your protein portion should be the size of your palm (minus your fingers!), your ‘veggie carbs’ should be the size of your 2 hands cupped together, and your (un-processed, whole food) ‘starchy carb’ portions should be no more than the size of your ONE clenched fist. Protein sources should be lean & low-fat, make sure that your daily diet includes at least 20% healthy fats.

Third, as I’ve already stated…macronutrient ratio for each meal is important. Start your day off with a healthy breakfast! And yes, it should include each one of the macronutrients (protein/carbs/healthy fats). Good example 1/2 cup oatmeal, 4 egg white w/spinach omelete, fish oil supplement. Try to include your ‘starchy carbs/grains’ (like oatmeal) to your earlier meals. Your body needs the fuel from the starchy carbs to get through the day, and also this way you will burn off those carbs by dinner. Eat for what you will be doing NEXT, this applies to the macronutrients. I eat a hearty breakfast (protein:starchy carbs, ex. oats & protein powder) to fuel my morning workout…and then eat a somewhat lighter lunch (protein:veggie carbs, ex. steamed veg & egg white omelete) because I will be working at a desk for a couple hours and somewhat sedentary…my dinner is light as well (protein:veggie carbs), because…guess what? I’ll be going to sleep soon after and don’t need as much ‘fuel’. Depending upon your workout program, daily activity level and goals, your macronutrient ratio will differ from the next person. But as a general rule, heavy weight lifting programs & goals to gain lots of lean muscle? You’ll NEED protein to recover those muscles & carbs to refuel the glucogen stores you lost during your workout so you can have the stamina for the next days workout, so don’t starve yourself of these macronutrients. Trying to shed the fat & slim down? You’ll still need to lift weights because you need that lean muscle to keep your metabolism up and burn fat, but you may be doing a less intense weight lifting program & more cardio, so your need for protein and starchy carbs will be a little lower & your diet should consist of lots of ‘veggie carbs’, moderate amounts of lean proteins, and low-to-moderate healthy fats. Keep fats lower but not below 20% & make sure they’re healthy fats!

I know this is a lot of information, and you may be like…what the hell are you talking about?!?!?!? To simplify, some general rules on portions for different types of food are below. Also, contact me at nmeconi@customizedpt.com if you’d like an individualized nutritional plan & exercise plan for your specific needs & goals. For those that have that drive and motivation to stick to a plan but just need a little ‘jump start’ because they aren’t sure what their diet & exercise should be, my ‘Jump Start’ program I offer is a perfect fit for you. Inquire at nmeconi@customizedpt.com for information regarding my ‘Jump Start’ program or other personal fitness training services offered by Raw Fitness!

General Rule for a Single Portion (taken from my fav site, bodybuilding.com)

  • Cereal (1 c.) = a baseball
  • Salad Dressing (2 Tbsp.) = a shot glass
  • Nuts (1 oz.) = a cupped palm
  • Cheese (1 oz.) = a ping-pong ball
  • Lean Sirloin Hamburger (3 oz.) = a mayo jar lid
  • Peanut Butter (1 tsp.) = one die
  • Beef (3 oz.) = a bar of soap
  • Rice (1/2 c.) = an ice cream scoop
  • Potato/Sweet Potato = a computer mouse
  • Butter (1 tsp.) = a Scrabble tile
  • Fruit (1 c.) = a tennis ball
  • Cooked Pasta (1/2 c.) = a golf ball
  • Fish (3 oz.) = a checkbook
  • Chicken (3 oz.) = a deck of playing cards

As always, good luck on your endeavors! – Nat –

3 Key Tips to Shed the LBS

Hi All!
Watch the video to find out 3 great tips to help you customize your exercise and diet plan to help you lose the weight and keep it off!

#1: CARDIO! Do cardio on non-weight training days (30-45 minutes) and weight training days (20-30 minutes).

#2: DO CARDIO AFTER WEIGHT TRAINING. Do 20-30 minutes cardio (intervals) after weight training.

#3: WATCH WHAT & HOW MUCH YOU EAT. 3 meals/day with 2 snacks if needed. At least 60-70 ounces water/day. No processed food. 1 Meal replacement protein/health shake every day.

Incorporate these 3 rules into your lifestyle and you’ll be sure to see improvements in your energy levels, body fat%, lean muscle mass, and advancement toward your fitness goals!

Health & Happiness,

Nat:)

Fears – Roadblocks to Achieving Your Weight Loss Goals

Read this if you…overeat, binge eat, for anorexia, hate exercise, can’t keep from eating sweets or salty snacks/treats, ‘live to eat vs. eat to live’…..
Fear’s, we all have them. Some people are afraid of spiders, some of public speaking, and some…of the dark! I’m not here to talk about arachnophobia today though. I’m here to talk about “limiting beliefs” that lead to “limiting behaviors”.

Fear’s and limiting beliefs are similar in that they’re created by imagining some negative outcome in the future. You may be afraid of public speaking because you imagine that you will forget your lines, sound/look silly or uneducated, or be laughed at. Well it’s time to face these fears, feel the fear and do it! Don’t let these limiting beliefs and fears stop you from taking the necessary steps to achieve your dreams.

Usually, when trying to overcome a fear, you will have to TAKE THE RISK OF THE UNCOMFORTABLE…remember, ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’.

All decisions we make are based on our associations to what actions will produce, PAIN or PLEASURE.
PAIN – linked to a negative outcome, situation, fear, or negative loss.
PLEASURE – linked to a positive outcome, experience, or positive gain.
We link some ideas, images, sounds, and situations to ‘PAIN’ and some to ‘PLEASURE’.
People have differences and similiarities in their linkages to PAIN and PLEASURE.
The MAIN POINT here is this. The FEAR of PAIN and OUR BELIEFS that an action will LEAD TO PLEASURE are driven by our PERCEPTIONS OF REALITY, NOT REALITY!

These ‘Perceptions of Reality’ are created based on past experiences/life events. Over time you’ve developed associations and beliefs based on past experiences. The problem here?…some of these past experiences created ‘limiting beliefs’ within you that now affect your behavior to future situations you deem are similar to this past experience and in turn, this leads to limiting behaviors.

Limiting Behaviors
are those that are holding you back or are ‘disempowering’ you.
Example: An association to public speaking – ‘you will fail, people will laugh’ – leads to limiting behavior…you don’t share your opinion/voice, don’t excel at job or don’t get promoted as a result.
Example: An association to eating sweets – developed as a child, ‘you feel satisfied/happy when indulging in sweets’ – leads to limiting behavior…now when you’re unhappy/stressed, you eat sweets to feel happy, but it keeps you from losing weight and achieving your fitness goals!

So What Do I Do????
1. FACE YOUR FEARS AND QUESTION THEM! Write down a list of all of your fears, disempowering beliefs, and things you associate with pain. Questions their validity. How rediculous is this belief?
2. ASSOCIATE EACH DISEMPOWERING BELIEF TO PAIN. For each disempowering belief say, ‘If I allow this belief to negatively impact me it will cost me or keep me from __________.’
3. For each disempowering belief write down, ‘I want to _______, but I scare myself by imagining ______.’
4. REPLACE THIS ‘IMAGINATION’ or ‘FEARFUL FEELING’ with feelings you associate with positive outcomes.

Example: Indulging in sweets or Overeating – ‘Living to Eat instead of Eating to Live’
=> You Say: “If I don’t eat/snack on this donut, I’ll miss out on the feeling of satisfaction/fullness.'(False!)
=> Rather Realize: “If I keep believing this and eating sweets too much, eating when unnecessary, and ‘living to eat’; I will gain weight, suffer from health problems, and undo all my hard work at the gym!
=> State the Truth: “I want to eat healthy/avoid sweets, BUT I scare myself by imagining that I’ll be missing out on something good, the feeling of satisfaction, and filling of some void.”
=> The Reality & New Associations: “If I stick to a healthy diet, avoid unnecessary sweets and unhealthy foods, and learn to ONLY ‘Eat to Live’; I WILL lose weight, improve my health, feel proud and confident, and see the results materialize from my workouts.”

YOU CAN overcome the roadblocks, YOU CAN face your fears, it may be uncomfortable and challenging, you may experience setbacks, but be determined to achieve your goals and push through day-by-day! You can apply these methods in all aspects of your life. Get out there, achieve the unexpected, be strong, and FACE YOUR FEARS!!