Category: Health

Are Carbs Still the Enemy?

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I know what you’re thinking…. “Can we STOP going bunless yet??”

Bread, cereal, rice and pasta have been getting a seriously bad rap ever since Atkins, and even more so since the whole world decided to jump on the Paleo bandwagon. So many of us went on a carb strike over the past few years, with those ever popular fad diets telling us carbs were evil.

But what’s the deal now? Are carbs still the enemy?

Here’s the verdict: Carbs STILL ain’t that great.

But things have changed a bit and thankfully you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) cut them out 100%. I’m all about eliminating sugary carbs and gluten filled grains, but we really do need SOME carbs in our diets.

Carbohydrates give us energy, help us build muscle and actually decrease cravings. But you have to choose your carb carefully. They are most definitely not all created equally.

Although I’m eating FEWER carbs in general, I am also super careful about which ones I chose to nourish my body with. I’m all about balance and definitely will indulge in a slice of bread or a dessert once in a while, but most days I’m chasing down these healthy carbs:

Veggies – broccoli, asparagus, brussels spouts, spinach, green beans, zucchini, leafy greens, sweet potatoes and white potatoes

Fruit – stick to fresh berries which are lower in sugar like blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries

Shakeology – my FAVORITE healthy carb! Contrary to popular belief, Shakeology is actually not a protein shake. It’s a premium superfood shake that does have protein but it’s actually FULL of healthy carbs because it is made from real wholesome, naturally carb loaded ingredients from around the world. Shakeology maximizes weight loss, increases energy and lowers sugar cravings. Plus it is so delicious!

So there you have it. Atkins and Paleo have it partially right. Carbs aren’t the enemy, but in my “Skinny Opinion”, yes, you should still go bunless. 😉

What are YOUR favorite healthy carbs?

xo
Jenn

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I share more of my healthy living tips and tricks on Facebook and Instagram. I’d love for you to follow along on my health and fitness journey!

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Skinny Tips for the Fourth of July

IMG_5111Summer is in full effect and nothing says it louder than the Fourth of July weekend! There will be plenty of BBQin’, boozin’ and hangin’ by the water with friends and family.

Whatever your weekend has in store, I have a few skinny tips for you to get through the weekend, guilt free.

DRINK: Choose clear alcohol – vodka or tequila with soda water, a squeeze of grapefruit and extra lime. You can also garnish with cucumber and mint for a more refreshing drink.

Did you know?? Tequila is one of the few liquors that is not made from a starch or grain (it’s made from the Agave plant). When combined with the lime and grapefruit, it does not cause your blood sugar to spike so it helps curb those typical late night junk food cravings.

EAT: Load the grill up with lean protein like chicken, fish, kabobs and roasted veggies. Make a mixed green salad or fresh fruit salad for a lighter side dish. Doing burgers? Go bun-less.

Worried about having healthy options at a party? Bring your own to share!

Remember at a party there are typically four categories we can indulge in: booze, bread, snacks and dessert. Limit yourself to one or two of the four, but never more!

EXERCISE: Plan on getting your workouts done first this in the morning on at least 2 days this weekend.

What are your July 4th weekend plans? I’d love to hear YOUR skinny tips for the 4th! Have fun, be safe, and keep it skinny! 

xo
Jenn

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I share more of my healthy living tips and tricks on Facebook and Instagram. I’d love for you to follow along on my health and fitness journey!

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Healthy Date Ideas

IMG_4687Happy Friday, friends!! With the weekend finally upon us, I thought I’d share some of my healthy date alternatives for you to explore this weekend.

It’s no secret that Mark and I have been trying to focus on our health a little more these days. It’s not just about getting in shape, it’s also about keeping our marriage alive and healthy, which means carving out more time for each other. After adding a little one to the mix, it’s easy to spend every single minute as a party of three. So we’ve been making an effort to schedule babysitters or line up the grandparents to watch Kaylee once a week.

But how do you make it work when you want to explore the local farmers market and drink green juice and he wants to drink beer and try that new burger joint?

Well, with all things in marriage: compromise is key. But if you’re looking for some healthier date alternatives, I’ve got you covered.

WALK there // If the hubby wins and we’re going out to eat, I like to choose a restaurant that is walking distance from home. Whether it’s a day date or a fancier evening affair, taking a long stroll to get there is a great way to extend our time together and sneak in a little exercise. Walking also helps with digestion on the way home 😉

DO something // Instead of sitting around at yet ANOTHER restaurant, talk your partner into an active day date. It could be a day of paddle boarding, ocean kayaking, a long hike, or a little bike ride. Even a long sunset walk is a great way to connect. It doesn’t get much more romantic than that.

GO somewhere // Our favorite thing to do if we have a full day is to go on a mini adventure. We pick a town that is 30 minutes to an hour or more away and just explore. It always feels good to just get away, even if it’s not overnight. We walk around, try the local coffee shop, check out their downtown and sometimes do a little shopping if I’m extra lucky.

What are some of your favorite “healthy” date ideas? Please share!

xo, Jenn

I share more of my healthy living tips and tricks on Facebook and Instagram. I’d love for you to follow along on my health and fitness journey on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM.

 

What to Order From a Coffee Shop

FullSizeRender 3As the weather warms up, the infamous blended coffees call our name. They are super refreshing and so damn tasty.

But did you know that a Grande Caramel Frap has a whopping 420 calories and 66 grams of sugar?

In my (skinny) opinion, it’s best to avoid them all together. I’m not saying to deprive yourself, but I challenge you to think about better options. Often times indulging in a sugary beverage doesn’t “count” in our minds because we didn’t technically EAT anything. It doesn’t fill us up, so we forget about it and move on with the day, but the extra sugar catches up to us and pretty soon we’re craving more and more junk and can’t figure out why.

Have you ever noticed that as soon as you step foot inside you’ll automatically order “what you always order” without even thinking about it?

Experiences like going to a coffee shop can trigger a habit. It’s the same reason some people simply cannot go to a movie theater and not buy the buttery popcorn. Or some people buy the candy in the grocery store check out line and others don’t even notice it there. It’s important to take a step back and think about what is happening. We often associate a particular food with an experience or location and the habits kick in.

We need to stop and think about what is happening, change our mind set, and make smart decisions until they eventually become our new habits.

So in a coffee shop, what can you order – guilt free?

My general rule of thumb is to keep it simple. Good coffee shops should be brewing really good coffee. I like to start with a base of black hot coffee or iced cold brew and I always ask for room. Then I top if off with almond milk and some cinnamon and mix it up. It’s simple, satisfying, and still feels like a treat.

What healthy choices do you make when you order from a coffee shop?

Get Out of the Mid Day Slump with My “10 Minute Power Jog”

IMG_3968My husband and I have this routine now where we wake up at 5am, drink some lots of coffee, and do a workout together. We love starting our mornings together, just the two of us. Because let’s be honest, we don’t get a lot of “us” time these days. Working out together first thing sets our tone and intention for the day, and we feel more connected now as husband and wife than ever before. Win-win!

The MAJOR downside is that the coffee maker goes off at 4:45am (!).

Wah. Never in my life, would I have thought I would WILLINGLY set my “alarm” that early. But we have come to realize that mornings are best for us, because trying to workout with a toddler running around just doesn’t happen these days. If we don’t do it first thing in the morning, we end up dreading it all day long. Our daughter is waking up earlier and earlier these days (WTF! moms: any advice here?), which means OUR wake up call also got pushed up.

As you can imagine by noon I am EXHAUSTED. I’m not gonna lie: some days it got to a point where I needed a power nap. This wasn’t working. I can’t start napping. And drinking more caffeine isn’t all that healthy.

So – I’ve been implementing a “10 minute power jog.”

Let me tell you: it is seriously a game changer. It’s like a triple shot of espresso. It’s LIKE a 45 minute nap. Only it’s not. It’s PROACTIVE. It only takes TEN minutes. Who doesn’t have 10 minutes? Trust me you will feel like a whole new person afterwards. Ready to tackle the rest of the day.

Now, there are a few rules I’ve given myself:

  1. It’s a jog. It’s not a walk. It’s not a run. It’s not meant to be a workout but you should break a tiny sweat. I take my time and run at whatever pace I’m feeling.
  2. It’s 10 minutes max. It’s not a workout and it does not replace my exercise for the day.
  3. It’s not mandatory. This isn’t another thing I’m adding to my “to-do” list. I can do it when I need it but it’s not an everyday thing.
  4. It’s not scenic. I’m not driving anywhere for this. It’s right out my front door – 5 minutes out and 5 minutes back.

I would love for you to try this with me! Next time you’re hitting that mid day slump, I challenge you to do something proactive and see how you feel. Let me know what you think!

Stop Making Excuses – When It Is OK to Be Selfish

FullSizeRenderWARNING! Today’s post is a little HARSH. But I feel like it needs to be said. #sorrynotsorry

Here’s the deal: I am ALL about going after goals. If there is something you want bad enough, and I mean really, truly want — JUST DO IT already.

Be confident. Make up your mind. Don’t be wishy washy. And please, for the love of God, stop making excuses.

You know those people in your life that complain all the time about being fat, or broke, or in a bad relationship, or…whatever it is that makes them unhappy. It’s like they just want to TALK about what they don’t like about their life and then once they’ve vented enough they don’t feel the need to change anything. The venting was enough for them. I call it “word vomit.”

Alright, we ALL do it. I’m not pointing fingers here. I do it, too. (You guys, one of the reasons I write is for self pep-talk.)

My excuse most recently has been motherhood:

“I can’t do that, because I am a mom.”

“I don’t have time, because I am a busy mom.”

“I can’t look like that, I had a baby.”

Blah blah blah.

Ok people. Listen up: It’s time to STOP TALKING ABOUT IT.  Let’s DO something. 

If something is REALLY that important to you where you feel the need to vent about it ALL the time, it’s obviously weighing on you pretty heavily. It’s time to STOP making excuses.

Some excuses are REAL and some are ABSOLUTELY 100% BS. Be your own judge here, but don’t be afraid to work on yourself.

This is SO important, you guys. We are entitled to feel amazing. We are entitled to confidence. We are entitled to look our absolute best. We are entitled to happiness. We are entitled to be financially secure. But all of these things take WORK. It’s about making the smart, right decision every chance you get, which all add up over time. Those decisions become habits, and our habits become our reality.

What do you want most in life right now? What has been your excuse lately? What are you going to do about it? 

Throw Away Your Scale : Why You Can STOP Weighing Yourself TODAY

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Once upon a time, I weighed myself every morning. It helped me stay accountable and kept me motivated. I thought it was for good reason, but it was horribly unhealthy. I let that little number dictate my day. My LIFE, really.

When I got pregnant, I saw the number increase at such a rapid rate, and because there was absolutely nothing I could do about it, I started to become less and less focused on it. I knew I HAD to gain weight to keep my baby healthy. For once, I gave myself grace to gain.

In the process, my habits changed. I knew I was going to be gaining weight no matter how healthy I ate, so I didn’t need to step on the scale. I felt such a sense of relief. When “the baby wanted me too”, I indulged. And really, I didn’t go overboard. My husband and I ate out at restaurants whenever we wanted, because we knew those lunch dates would be few and far between when our little bundle arrived. I exercised daily and listened to my body.

I gained 40 pounds and I don’t regret an ounce of it.

For once I chose what I wanted from the menu. Not what was the lowest calories, but what really, truly sounded tasty. I stopped eating when I was full (because when you’re THAT prego, you can only fit SO much). I learned what hunger and satisfaction actually felt like.

My relationship with the scale changed for the better during those 10 months. I fell out of the habit of weighing in regularly and measuring my success by that stupid little number. And now…I DON’T weigh myself everyday, or even every week, for that matter. I go by pictures. How I feel. How my clothes fit. My measurements.

Do you ever let the number on the scale dictate your progress? Or even worse, your day? Do you get anxious to step on the scale? 

Well today I want to encourage you to STOP. Stop letting that little number control your life. You are worth so much more than a number.

When we weigh ourselves on a daily basis, the number we see plays tricks on us. Our weight naturally fluctuates day to day due to water retention, hormones, sodium intake, etc.  Another big factor is our body composition – our muscle to fat ratio.

Now I know you’ve probably heard “muscle weighs more than fat.” Well friends, that is NOT true. A pound of muscle actually WEIGHS the same as a pound of muscle. !! They are both a pound. The real concept is that a pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat. So if you replace fat with muscle by incorporating strength training into your workout routine, you may not actually see the scale go down, but you’ll be smaller.

Today, I encourage you to let the numbers go. Throw the scale away for all I care! Focus on your journey. Focus on fueling your body with wholesome nutrients. Focus on moving your body. Focus on challenging yourself every day. When you let go of the stress of the scale, you’ll be amazed at what your body will accomplish.

How Safe is Exercise During Pregnancy?

Healthy pregnancy.I was shocked to hear my doctor’s advice on exercise during pregnancy: “You should exercise at least 30 minutes a day up until the day you give birth, but avoid anything that increases your heart rate above 140 BPM, and absolutely nothing over 150.

Now, you all know I’m more than happy to exercise every day, but I had always heard: whatever you did pre-pregnancy, you could continue throughout pregnancy as long as you listen to your body. So since I was used to seeing my heart rates upwards of 160-170 quite often during workouts, shouldn’t that still be ok?

Nope.

Apparently, when your heart rate gets above 140, your blood starts rapidly fueling your muscles — and not baby.

According to Baby Center, the best way to keep your prenatal exercise routine safe and effective is to use your body’s responses as your guide.

The goal is to keep your intensity in a range that is moderate to somewhat challenging. That corresponds to the level of exercise your body can do without feeling so out of breath that you can’t talk. If you’re feeling out of breath, that’s your signal to reduce your intensity or take a break. The great thing about using this method for monitoring exercise intensity is that it allows women of every level of fitness to continue to exercise in a zone that keeps them fit.

Remember these tips when exercising during pregnancy, whether you’re continuing or starting a fitness program:

  • Keep your intensity at a level where you can carry on a conversation without feeling out of breath.
  • Reduce your exercise intensity or take a break if you start to feel out of breath, exhausted, or dizzy.
  • Modify your exercise routine as your pregnancy progresses. Remember that your growing baby adds weight to your body. So as you move through pregnancy, it’s as if you’re carrying a backpack that gets heavier each week. Whatever you’re doing when you’re 10 weeks pregnant will feel much harder at 30 weeks because you have to support more weight.
  • Listen to your body and discuss your exercise routine with your healthcare provider if you experience any discomfort, pain, or extreme exhaustion.

After hearing the advice from my doctor and doing my own research, I decided that quitting Fitwall would be best for me and the baby. I’m happy to report I’ve been able to continue exercising 30 minutes a day by modifying my workouts and slowing the intensity.

 

What I Wish I Knew in College about my Health

college-lifeA dear friend tagged me in an old college photo last weekend and it instantly brought us all back to the time and place we met. Looking back, college was full of SO many good times — now a million and one memories. While some days I’d give anything to go back for just one day, I can’t help but look at how much I’ve changed since then.

When I graduated from high school, I was “healthy” and “in shape.” But then again isn’t every 17-year-old? (The truth is: I didn’t know a thing about health – but that’s a whole other story, for a different day.)

And then college happened. And over those 4 years, the weight crept on. By the time I graduated, I didn’t recognize myself. Five pounds a year will do that to you!

I’m happy to say, after graduation I learned how to lose weight in a healthy way. I found a healthy balance between having fun and nourishing my body. And eventually I re-discovered my love for exercise.

I wanted to share a little on what I know now and what I would have done differently if I were moving back into the dorms today.

Drink smart // Let’s face it: every college kid is going to drink. A lot. Don’t waste your time with sugary flavored vodka and fruity mixed drinks. Remember, clear drinks are better choices than darker varieties and just say no to the 3am burritos.

Find a routine // The one thing about college life is that every day can be totally different if you let it. With class schedules different every day and parties popping up whenever/wherever, a routine is easy to get away from. Get a healthy breakfast every morning, get plenty of sleep and find a gym time that fits in with your class schedule.

Eat real food // Frozen dinners get you nowhere in life. Learn to cook real food, even if it’s just grilled chicken and brown rice. It will save you in the long run. Start simple and slowly add in spices and try new recipes to mix it up. Easy and cheap is not the answer.

Walk // College campuses are giant. Save some money, don’t buy a parking pass this year. Walk from your apartment/dorm to class instead. Those extra steps will add up and you’ll thank me later. Oh how I wish I had at Fitbit circa 2005.

What do you wish you would have known in college that you know now? How would you have been healthier?

Running: My Love/Hate Relationship

16BEST_SPAN-tmagArticleI have a love/hate relationship with running.

All my life I hated it. Until I tried it. Like, really, really tried it. I changed my ways of thinking about running from “I can’t run” and “it’s too hard” to “I can run” and “it’s pretty easy, actually.”

So my love for running began. I ran every day. Anywhere from one to four miles per day. Not long distances by any means, but I was running nonetheless. I had conquered my fear of running, and proved to myself that I, in fact, can run.

I even joined a running club at work. After work, a group of us would run in Point Loma. Our daily course was down to Sunset Cliffs up and down a road called “Hill Street.” I kid you not, this is a San Francisco type hill. It is no joke. But it was great for training, and great for my figure.

After months of doing this 5 days a week, my body was telling me to stop. But I didn’t listen. I loved running and I loved my new body. I powered through and kept running.

Eventually, my knees got really weak. (I blame Hill Street). Weak to the point that I could no longer run. I tried a bunch of knee braces and even did some physical therapy. But ultimately it was time to give running a break.

At this point I despised running because I was forced to stop. I was introduced to Pilates, yoga, and The Bar Method, since they were low impact forms of exercise and great for strengthening your joints.

Fast forward several years, and I’ve finally found my running happy place. I’ve found a way to incorporate running into my life again. My knees still scream when I push too hard, but I LISTEN. A medium paced jog, once or twice a week is perfect for me. I can still benefit from the mental clarity running brings and I still get the “runner’s high.” But I have no interest in racing at this point. I learned to listen to my body and do what’s best for ME.

Speaking of running… It’s NATIONAL RUNNING DAY!

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Celebrate JUNE 4!

Be a part of National Running Day — a coast to coast celebration of running. On this day, long time runners reaffirm their love of running and beginners can kick off a lifetime and life-changing commitment.

Visit http://www.runningday.org for more info.

Tell me: Are you a runner? What is your love/hate exercise? What do you love or hate about running? Will you celebrate National Running Day?

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