How planning & preparing has helped me maintain my weight loss.

HOW PLANNING & PREPPING HAS HELPED ME MAINTAIN MY WEIGHT

You have heard it a million times, plan and prepare your meals. It has worked for me and every one of my clients that have implemented it. It doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming.

How it can  help?

  • It will prevent you from going through the drive thru or hitting the vending machine
  • It will remove some temptation from snacking when you get home from work,ordering out, or making wrong choices~ for any meal ( whether it’s stopping for pizza on the way home or grabbing a breakfast sandwich on the way!)

How it’s helped me lose & maintain my weight:

  1. CHOOSE ONE MEAL TO START- whatever gives you the most stress or feel you need to change. For me it was breakfast. I start seeing clients early in the morning and need to prepare ahead of time. I typically cook  up some chicken for the week and make chicken salads. I also will make an egg bake in an 8×8 dish with veggies and feta or little cheese. Smoothie bags are great to prep before as well.

2. SCHEDULE IT! – you must schedule a time to prepare. Sundays work best for me but whenever you have an hour or so to commit will work! Put it in your calendar.

3. USE RECIPES YOU KNOW- being a creature of habit, I tend to stick to simple recipes, chicken, beef, casseroles and veggies.

4. GET CONTAINERS- I feel much more prepared when I have specific containers for each item. It also helps when it comes to portion control- no seconds.

5. PORTION OUT, INCLUDING SNACKS-  I love my snack size baggies or mini containers. Portion out nuts and seeds, cut up veggies, hummus, guacamole, dark chocolate, oatmeal, fruit, peanut butter ( or peanut butter to go’s). Mason jar salads are great for lunches and hold up well for the week.

6. MAKE A GROCERY LIST- this may seem obvious but it’s important to sit and plan some meals before you go. If you don’t have it you can’t make it.

7. ASSEMBLE BUT DON’T COOK- you can assemble smoothie mixes, chicken, tacos, and crockpot meals and freeze them in ziploc bags. It saves time to take out a prepared meal out of freezer and cook. The crockpot is a great tool- I take a  couple of minutes in the morning to throw something in. ,

Some items I prep on Sunday’s:

  • Chicken, roasted veggies, cut up veggies and portion into snack bags
  • “Veggie casseroles” I use cauliflower rice and add some veggies ( mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, zucchini) i will add some parmesan, rotel, chicken broth, cream cheese. Be creative! Add beef or chicken
  • spiralize  zucchini with some marinara sauce
  • Cauliflower biscuits
  • Low carb pizzas-to freeze
  • Tuna salad for lunches
  • Soups for the week
  • No bake Peanut butter balls- for dessert!

How my clients have benefited from a grocery store trip

 HOW MY CLIENTS HAVE BENEFITED FROM A GROCERY STORE TRIP

Changing your eating habits means changing your shopping habits!

It could be overwhelming when trying to decide what kind of yogurt or meal bars to buy or what are good protein powders or drinks to have. You might wonder how can a guided nutritional grocery store tour could benefit your healthy habits and weight loss goals. Labels  are the most important thing you can look at when you are trying to lose weight. I have done small group tours and my clients have found it very helpful. I am now offering individual trips to make it more specific to each client.

WHY A GUIDED TOUR:

  1. Know what to look for on a label- how much sugar should you have, how many grams equal a teaspoon. How many carbs, protein, or fiber should you eat in a day. Do you pay attention to serving sizes??
  1. Education on ingredient lists, certain ingredients  such as artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols can sabotage your weight loss goals and affect your digestive tract.
  1. How to choose specific brands of:
  • yogurt
  • breads
  • nut milks
  • protein powders
  • granola bars
  • on the go snacks
  • ready made protein drinks
  • Oatmeal
  • Pasta sauces- sugar can vary from 3 grams to 14 grams per serving
  • Low fat, full fat vs fat free?
  • Spices for variety

4. How to include more fiber and probiotics into your diet. These will help support your immune system and keep you full longer.

5. New ideas for recipes and how to add different types of veggies. Incorporating nutritional yeast, chia seeds and flax seeds.

Why a Pilates challenge?!

 WHY A PILATES CHALLENGE?!

As a Certified Pilates instructor & personal trainer, I  have seen great transformations with Pilates, specifically the Pilates reformer. The reformer is a machine that’s been around since the 1900’s. It is a comprehensive workout that utilizes tension of the springs and moving carriage that can be adjusted to different levels of difficulty.

With over 100 potential exercises, it provides better back health, flexibility, core strength, body awareness, as well as additional unique benefits.

SO WHY A PILATES CHALLENGE?

I am challenging you to give the Pilates reformer a try for 1 month!

After commiting for 1 month ask yourself:

  1. Do I want to go back and do I feel happier after the session?
  2. Do I feel more flexible and “ taller” ?
  3. Can I see myself doing pilates in 5 years from now?

Pilates can be done at any age, any level, and adapt to various injuries.

WHY PILATES?

  1. WE SIT TOO MUCH & DON’T GET ENOUGH ROTATION- exercises performed on the reformer work on rolling, twisting, rotating, and  curling which all target your entire torso from your hips to your shoulders. These are often left out of traditional workouts.
  2. YOU HAVE BACK ISSUES, TIGHT HAMSTRINGS, AND HIP FLEXORS- these are all related. The springs and straps of the reformer assist you in moving your body through full range of motion- something you may not be able to do on your own. Studies have shown that participants were 19% more flexible after 20 pilates sessions!
  3. YOU HAVE POOR POSTURE- rounded shoulders, neck pain and tightness. As you become more flexible, it gives you the appearance of looking taller and leaner. You also learn to maintain it day in and day out.
  4. PROFESSIONALS ARE INCORPORATING IT!- whether you are a professional athlete, celebrity or just exercise occasionally it is important to cross train. More and more professional sports teams are incorporating Pilates sessions into their workout routines.
  5. NOT STRENUOUS ON YOUR JOINTS- this is a concern for a lot of clients. Many have knee, hip, shoulder, and/ or back issues. Many exercises on the reformer are performed lying down. As you progress you need to use more of your own strength and coordination to execute various moves. It also helps with endurance, weight loss, and body awareness- and of course in preventing injury.

Certified Pilates instructors are required to have a backround in human anatomy and kinesiology, CPR/AED training and over 30 hours of contact hours and volunteer hours in Pilates classes. Each certification is separate and require approximately 60 hours of combined classroom/ lab education. They must also pass a written exam and on one lab exam with a certified instructor. Most certifications are offered in Canada.

Spaghetti squash pizza crust

                                               SPAGHETTI SQUASH PIZZA CRUST

                  

INGREDIENTS:

-1 medium spaghetti squash
-2 eggs
-1 ½ cups of shredded mozzarella
-¼ parmesan
-1 tsp garlic powder
-2 tsp italian seasoning
-1 ½ cups of sauce
-Pepperoni or veggies for topping

DIRECTIONS:
1. Cut your squash lengthwise, remove seeds and bake in a sprayed 9×13 pan. Cook 35-40 minutes on 400 degrees until it is soft. I pierce mine and microwave it first for 2-3 minutes so it’s easier to cut.

2. Scoop out squash and squeeze out as much moisture as possible either with a nut bag or cheese cloth. This is important or it will be too watery and not hold together well.

3. Stir together the flesh of squash, 2 eggs, ½ cup of shredded cheese and parmesan.

4. Spread out the mixture on parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes on 400 degrees.

5. Top with sauce, cheese, and whatever other veggies or pepperoni you would like. Broil until cheese is melted. enjoy!

I spend a lot of time focusing on weight loss stategies..why I can’t promote fad diets

I SPEND A LOT OF TIME FOCUSING ON WEIGHT LOSS STRATEGIES AND HABITS..WHY I CAN’T PROMOTE FAD DIETS

It’s my job as a Health coach and personal trainer to promote a healthy lifestyle-long term. It’s not about how quickly you can lose weight ( fad diets), it’s about losing weight slowly & healthy and maintaining it.

Let’s face it we are all experts in “dieting” and weight loss programs. If they worked why are you STILL struggling to lose weight? Through experience and research I myself have maintained over a 120 pound weight loss & have found a good balance between eating and exercise. I have also helped many clients that struggle with weight issues. It always comes back to the same way of eating. So the magic question- “Are you able to eat this way for the rest of your life?” If you can’t answer yes to that, then you will most likely revert to old habits and gain the weight back. It is impossible to be regimented for weeks or months at a time then go back to eating pizza and cookies and not regain weight. Most of us can be disciplined for short periods of time, that’s why fad diets work and you can lose a lot of weight at first. Don’t get me wrong I certainly tried my share, weight watchers, adkins, back to weight watchers, until the next one came out.

What I started focusing on & why I can’t promote fad diets:

  1. I almost always knew WHAT to do, but it didn’t always mean I did it. All diets sound great at first, they promise quick ( not always healthy) weight loss. Someone you know is doing it and they have lost a ton of weight. It always seems like the easy answer!

2. I couldn’t maintain these diets long term. Like most, as soon as I was “allowed” to eat chips and cake I did. This usually lead back to old habits, along with discouragement and failure. Even as a teenager my parents tried helping me by putting me on different exercise and eating programs. They would work for a only a short time.

3. Think about the last time you really achieved a long term goal. It takes time and patience to be successful, and it feels great when you can do it! I can now say that I am content, finally, with my accomplishments and achievements.

4. I started focusing on the WHY and not necessarily how to lose weight. Fad diets don’t teach you how to change your behaviors. This is the most important lesson is maintaining weight loss, and should be your ultimate goal!

Low carb pizza-almond flour crust

LOW CARB PIZZA- ALMOND FLOUR CRUST

INGREDIENTS:
For dough

-2 cups of almond flour
-3 eggs
-½ tsp baking soda
-1 tsp apple cider vinegar
-4 tablespoons of butter
-3 tablespoons of cream cheese or ½ cup of ricotta
-½ cup of shredded mozzarella

For toppings
-2 cups of sauce
-Shredded cheese- about 11/2- 2 cups
-Pepperoni, Olives, peppers, mushrooms- whatever toppings you prefer!
-½ -1 cup of ricotta-optional

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
    2. Combine dry ingredients for the dough
    3. Mix in softened butter, cream cheese ( or ricotta), apple cider vinegar, and shredded cheese. Combine well.
    4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spread dough out to the length of the pan.
    5. Bake for 8-10 minutes
    6. Let cool, if using ricotta spread on dough then add toppings!
    7. Place back in oven on broil for approximately 5-7 minutes.

How I stopped sabotaging my weekend

HOW I STOPPED SABOTAGING MY WEEKEND

I would be “good” all weekend but then Friday night would come and ordering pizza became a ritual. I really didn’t feel like cooking, my kids were younger and it was just easier. Let’s face it, we all have that weekend mentality. So why do we feel like we have free range of eating and drinking just because it’s a certain day of the week? Possibly…

-Social aspect of going for dinner or breakfast=drinks and bigger portions
-Stressful week= drinks, food, dessert and convenience of take out
-habit= pizza every Friday or big Sunday dinners
-relaxation= no cooking= ordering or eating out

After a while, Monday’s started to suck, especially having to get on the scale!
Now you are paying the consequences. I believe 2 major reasons we have hard time with control on the weekends.

Give ourselves too much permission to eat and drink- feel we “deserve” it
Out of our normal weekday routine-during the week we tend to eat basically the same things for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When the weekend comes we don’t have a plan.

TIPS FOR HAVING CONTROL OVER YOUR WEEKEND:

  1. Stick to “normal habits” as much as possible. Try to eat and exercise routinely. Stay on schedule with breakfast, lunch and dinner.

2. Choose “better” not perfect. When you’re out to eat choose eggs and ham or bacon. Pick to have either toast or pancakes one day, not both.

3. Listen to your body. Chances are if you eat well during the week you will not want to overeat or make poor choices on the weekend. You will probably not feel good afterwards.

4. Pick one meal to “ splurge”. Instead of indulging in pizza on Friday, burgers and fries on Saturday and a big Sunday breakfast, pick one of those meals to “treat” yourself. Believe me it will be well worth it Monday morning!

5. Weigh in on Monday morning. This will help you stay on track and make better choices over the weekend. Even though you might be up on the scale after a couple of days of overeating, it will keep you accountable!

Strawberrry avocado pancakes

    STRAWBERRY AVOCADO PANCAKES

If you don’t mind a little green, these are delicious,moist, and low carb!

INGREDIENTS:

-1 mashed avocado
-3 eggs or 2 eggs and “ flax seed egg” ( tablespoon ground flaxseed and tbls water)
-¼ cup almond or peanut butter
-¼ cup almond flour
-1 tsp apple cider vinegar
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1 tsp vanilla
-¼ cup cut up strawberries or blueberries
-1 tablespoon of protein powder-optional
-Mini chocolate chips-optional

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine avocado and peanut butter, beat eggs and add to avocado mixture.
    2. Add apple cider vinegar, vanilla, and almond flour. Stir in strawberries and/or chocolate chips. Combine well.
    3. Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a skillet. Scoop ¼ cups of batter into the pan and cook on high until bubbly.

A letter to my younger overweight self

A LETTER TO MY YOUNGER OVERWEIGHT SELF

I am writing this blog ( letter) to my younger self as part of a self healing process as well as to encourage others to maybe do the same. As I was growing up my addiction was food. I would sneak it, hide it and eat when nobody was around. With any addiction whether it be alcohol, drugs, or smoking, we all have to learn how to deal with the situation we are put in. This can be extremely challenging to be at a party, at a bar, or around others with addictions. Eventually we learn how to deal with these situations. I believe “when you are in control of a situation~you are healed”

Dear Rachel,

You look so happy and always smiling, but I know now that deep down that’s not the case. I’m not sure why, you have a good life, amazing parents, 3 great siblings, a caring grandmother and an awesome fun loving aunt. There are many that care so much about you.
I love seeing you swim, you enjoy the friends and the competitiveness of your team. It’s an awful feeling every time you have get fitted for bathing suits especially since you are the biggest girl on the team. Being an overweight teenager is tough. I don’t like when the kids at school would make comments behind your back. High school was worse, it’s so upsetting when you couldn’t find a prom date or boyfriend because nobody wants to date a fat girl.
You will never forget the unkind words from friends and family. Even though they are hurtful they are only trying to help you. It’s hard to understand and embarrassing when they suggested diets, weight loss classes, and diet camps. It never seems better when everyone including doctors are constantly telling you that you must lose weight. You know you have to lose weight,you think about it everyday. You have tried a couple of things but mentally you weren’t ready I guess.

Even all that shopping at “plus” stores was hard back then but I do know that someday you will love to buy clothes ( at any store) and finally be proud of how you look in them.
You will be comfortable eating in front of people and order what you want. Nobody will judge you when you order french fries instead of a salad.

You are “in it for the long run”…
Amazing things happen in the future! I love that you are so committed to walk or do your Tae bo video for just 30 minutes a day.You do whatever it takes, rain or shine, getting up early, or squeeze it in during lunch.Those walks eventually turn into runs, those runs turn into 5 mile runs. These will change your life. You become super motivated as you slowly start to lose weight. You start preparing some meals and give up Burger King’s chicken sandwich’s, fries, and diet cokes. You start cutting down on your portions. You will try different diets, weight watchers, atkins, etc. in hopes that something will work for you.

It will take some time, motivation, and a lot of confidence. You will have to dig deep and work hard. You stick with it, there are definitely ups and downs but eventually it pays off!
The best part is you get to help other people in your same situation. You will be inspiring, happy and confident. Hang in there, you can do this and you will be so proud of what you’ve accomplished.

Love,
More confident Rachel

P.S. you won’t believe what kind of desserts you will be eating 😉

Cauliflower & cheese crisps

CAULIFLOWER CRISPS

INGREDIENTS:
-2 bags of frozen riced cauliflower- you can make half the recipe
-½ -1 cup of cheddar cheese
-1 egg-slightly beaten
-Garlic powder-optional
-½ tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
    2. Cook your cauliflower and squeeze out all the moisture with a cheese cloth or
    Nut bag. I bought one from amazon “bigger better nut bag”.
    3. Combine all the ingredients together and scoop using a ¼ measure cup onto a
    parchment paper lined baking sheet
    4. Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes or until crisp.