Tag: healthy eating

How Tracking Food Helps With Weight Loss Success

A very big piece of advice I would like to pass along to you is to track your food and exercise, in some shape or form. It has a lot of benefits, more than I could ever list. So here are the highlights.

These are just a few methods of tracking:

  • Online or through an app: Spark People and MyFitnessPal are just a couple that I’ve had personal experience with and have found work well. There are likely countless others.
  • Computer: some programs such as Microsoft Works and Microsoft Word have food and exercise logs. You could also create your own custom food/exercise logs with simple tables or other buttons within some of these programs.
  • Paper and pen: go old school and use a notebook to write down what you have eaten and done for exercise or print logs from programs and use them to write them down.

Now you may want to know what is so important about tracking food and exercise when you are trying to improve your health and lose weight. I’ll tell you why I believe it to be so important:

  1. To see where you stand throughout the day as well as at the end of it, such as eating within your calorie range, getting enough fruits and vegetables, getting enough protein or fiber, not getting too many carbs or too much fat.
  2. To measure physical capabilities and see how much more you can do compared to when you started or even a couple weeks ago. Some ways to see progress would be with time (minutes), distance, speed, repetitions of strength training exercise, increasing the weights for strength training, etc.
  3. To see what works for you as well as what does not. That way you can repeat what does work and cut out what doesn’t. You will be able to look back and see trends to help you decide your course of action going forward. If you weren’t keeping track, how would you know?

As you track your food and exercise in one form or another, you will also find that it gives you accountability to yourself. It provides you with the chance to see what you’re doing each day in relation to your goals and progress. Keeping track of what you eat and what exercises you do, as well as possibly even how you felt about it if you want, will help you to continuously move forward.

Then as you go along, you will know how to change things as needed and find what works for you. A lot of this weight loss thing is finding what works for you personally. Sure, you can get a million and one ideas from the internet, but some things will work for you and others won’t. Some of it won’t interest you and some simply doesn’t work for you or your body, and this is one way to keep track of that as well.

~Bonnie~

6 Things My Daily Shake Has Done for Me

As of Monday, I have officially been drinking Shakeology for a month… and what a month of benefits it has been! At first, I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical of how a shake could help me more than just providing protein and being something tasty to drink. I wasn’t sure these Shakeology shakes would actually make that big of an impact on my health and daily life. However, since they tasted so good and were a good snack replacement as I added them into my daily routine, I kept up with them. Within five days, I started to notice that I had slightly more energy and that has slowly increased with time. Then within three weeks, I started to notice that besides simply building muscle with my workouts, I was realizing that Shakeology was making a difference with muscle soreness the day after an intense workout.

By a week into drinking these shakes, I was a big believer! And here’s why:

  1. Shakeology has superfood ingredients- From protein to vitamins and minerals, and many other wonderful ingredients. Some of the others are antioxidants, pre- and probiotics, and digestive enzymes. All of these lovely ingredients are what makes it so beneficial to our health. These things pack a punch to give me the energy, full feeling, and reduce soreness in my muscles the day after an intense workout.
  2. It tastes great, especially with some awesome recipes- There are so many things you can do with Shakeology to create a delicious tasting shake, such as adding fruit, veggies, cinnamon, and many more delicious and healthy additions that combine to make it an even more delectable treat or meal!
  3. Shakeology helps reduce hunger and sweets cravings- I have noticed that these shakes help me feel less hungry, and help squash those sweet tooth cravings. Let me tell you, I have always had a huge sweet tooth. It’s not that I have wanted to sit and eat nothing but sugary foods, but I have always looked forward to having them and wanted them on a daily basis. The Shakeology shakes, especially the chocolate ones, have really helped me with my cravings. They are a treat, in and of themselves, yet healthy at the same time!
  4. They help with muscle soreness- Like I mentioned earlier, they really have been helping with my muscle soreness. I can do a more intense workout, such as TurboFire, and the next day, I don’t feel quite as sore… because I am getting stronger and have also been drinking these shakes! With the protein punch, and other valuable ingredients such as those listed above, help my muscles recover faster and I don’t have such a long period of extremely sore muscles!
  5. It has increased my energy levels- Shakeology gives me the energy boost I need to get through my days with less napping or resting. I used to need a daily nap. While I still need one some days, it’s more like half of the time rather than every day. If I drink my shake an hour before starting a workout, I have found that it also gives me an energy boost in my workout as well, and that is such an awesome feeling. I hadn’t done it on purpose the first time, but I was pleasantly surprised when I felt even stronger and more energized for the workout. So I have been working on timing my lunchtime shake for right before my workout!
  6. Shakeology is actually filling- I have to say that this one was the most surprising benefit of drinking the shakes that I have experienced so far! I wasn’t expecting it to be filling at all, as I had never experienced that with any other protein shake. However, Shakeology is not just any protein shake. It has so much more inside of it that makes it filling. Some of the things that help it be more filling are the flax, quinoa, super-fruits, and super-greens.

These are just a few of the most amazing things that I have experienced in just one month of drinking Shakeology. I can’t wait to see what continued results and benefits I see as I keep drinking it!

Have you tried Shakeology? If so, what is your favorite flavor? And if not, what keeps you from trying it?

 

~Bonnie~

How to Establish a Lifestyle Change

You’ve heard it before, likely too many times to count, that in order for your weight loss to stick you need to establish a lifestyle change. I’m here to tell you that this is absolutely true. Weight loss will not magically make it to where you can eat whatever you want or chuck exercising once you reach your goal weight. You will need to continue with these new habits you’ve created for yourself for the rest of your life. That’s not to say that you will have to exercise at the rate and intensity or restrict your calories as much as you have been to lose weight, but you will still need to keep your habits going.

“Lifestyle change” sounds so cliché to most of us by now. We see and hear it everywhere as we immerse ourselves in our weight loss efforts. I know it sounds cliché to me even though I wholeheartedly believe in it and even though my lifestyle change has become just a way of life for me. This phrase sums up all of our focus on building a healthy life for ourselves. That is our goal, to be healthy individuals and to live a fuller and higher-quality life.

 

Now you may want to know that if this is so vital to being successful, how to achieve it, so here are some tips:

  • Start small and remember each step in the right direction is progress. Make small changes and simply focus on making one good choice at a time. This way it is much more manageable.
  • Remember that slow and steady wins the race. It might sound enticing to go full force from the very beginning and keep going at that pace, but you will hit a burn out wall. So take things slow and focus on your progress. Sometimes you may feel like you’re not making any progress at all and that’s okay, as long as you keep moving forward and keep trying you will see progress soon enough.
  • Make sustainable changes- start eating and exercise habits that you can stick with long-term. Find exercise you enjoy doing and healthy foods you enjoy eating. You can change things up and try new things but don’t exercise too much or restrict your calories too much too fast.
  • Arm yourself with information. Research healthy habits, recipes that sound good, and find things that work for you. There are so many possibilities out there!
  • Keep yourself motivated- surround yourself with people who have similar goals, read blogs or articles about people who have lost weight or are losing weight currently, join weight loss websites/apps where there is no shortage of support (such as Spark People where I found just this), and keep searching for things that interest you in your new lifestyle.

That’s the simplified version. Obviously there is more to it, but some of it we all have to figure out for ourselves because we are all different. We need to find what works for us in particular. So please, don’t be discouraged if what works for someone else or what you feel should work for you doesn’t, because there is so much more out there than just that! Make your lifestyle change work for you and it will be so much easier to stick with because you will learn to enjoy it.

What have you been doing to establish your lifestyle change?

 

~Bonnie~

What I Love About Beachbody

A little over a month ago, I signed up to be a Beachbody coach, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It wasn’t one I took lightly and it had to come at just the right time. You see, I had been approached by a Beachbody coach over a year ago, who wanted me to be a part of her team. However, I did not feel connected to her or what she was offering at the time. It was tempting, I wanted to be able to make an income working from home and doing something as awesome as inspiring others to live a healthy life, but it didn’t feel like the right decision for me.

I still believe that, firmly. She was not the coach I needed to sign up with and it was not the right time for me! Plus I wanted to go it on my own and do things my way, and I was just beginning to learn about blogging and making it work for me. That had been a dream of mine for a long time because I’ve always loved to write. Towards the end of last year, I refocused my blog (and here you are!) and was still working on making health coaching work on my own.

Well, what do you know…? I started connecting with a few Beachbody coaches in various capacities. One of them in particular I felt like we were on similar pages and I knew I could trust her, because I already felt comfortable talking to her and resonated with some of her story. I still didn’t want to be a Beachbody coach when I first met her, but I was fascinated by how much she helped other people and the quality she provided. Like I said, I started making friends with other Beachbody coaches and saw how much they were benefiting from their Shakeology and the awesome workouts they were doing, and I just kept feeling pulled into this new world. Being an independent health coach, all on my own, was not going very well.

Honestly, I was struggling with my own healthy living journey because of a bunch of changes in my life since the summer and a lot of upheaval that left my world very unstable. Now that my world had gotten more stable, I was still struggling for various reasons. Healthy living has been an important part of my life for almost three years now, as I will be celebrating my three year anniversary in May, and I had not given up on it, but was having a lot of trouble getting back on track. Before all these changes in my life, I was so strong and motivated in my journey. Then all those changes occurred, and I let things go because it was just too overwhelming to juggle it all at once. These experiences and my struggle is what finally led me to make this wonderful choice to become a Beachbody coach.

Becoming a Beachbody coach was a decision that was made for a number of reasons.

  1. It provided me with the ability to help others with their healthy living goals. As I mentioned above, inspiring others to live a healthy life is something that I find truly amazing and it is one of my biggest passions.
  2. There is this huge supply of workout resources and nutritional supplements that provide a much needed boost! Take for example, the Shakeology shakes are really helping me. As I deal with autoimmune disease, joint problems, and other chronic issues that make me tired and fatigued throughout the day, drinking Shakeology is really making a difference. It is helping me get through my days with less napping and more overall energy!
  3. To help me with my own journey, and get me back on track. It has still been slow progress in the past month with getting my eating back on track especially and learning how to be consistent with my workouts again, but I am finally making the progress that I need… and I know that the container system that came with the 21-day fix package is something that I can use long-term, and is more practical for me than counting calories, which is what I used to do. Now it is about portions, getting in healthier foods instead of just focusing on how many calories the food has, and eating more whole foods.
  4. Being able to continue working from home, doing what I love while helping other people. I already was working from home as a freelance writer, but healthy living is such a huge part of my life and has been for a few years, that it really needed to be a part of my career as well.

Do you feel you have something to offer other people striving to live a healthy life?

 

~Bonnie~

Interview with Exercise and Nutrition Coach Esther Avant

Today I am sharing an interview I had the honor of holding with Esther Avant, an exercise and nutrition coach at estheravant.com. She has a lovely website, and I highly recommend you checking it out and seeing what she has to offer there and reading some of her blogs! I really enjoyed our conversation the other day and learning more about what brought her to do this line of work. We all have our own unique stories and yet we still have a lot in common!

I would love for you to check out her social media pages here: Facebook | Instagram

Inspire the Best You: What is your job as an exercise and nutrition coach?

Esther: I work with women to help them lose weight, revamp their lifestyle and overall live happier and healthier lives. I use a client-centered approach where we prioritize making one change at a time and expanding upon it once it starts to feel like a habit.

ITBY: What do you find most rewarding in your work?

Esther: The most rewarding thing in my work is when a client tells me I’ve made an impact in her life. When someone sends me a text or email, or call me, to let me know that they’ve had a mental breakthrough or that they had more confidence to do this because of me. Their progress is the most rewarding thing as a coach.

ITBY: Why did you decide to become a coach?

Esther: I majored in exercise science in college and part of my college curriculum was becoming certified as a personal trainer. I got my first full-time personal training position right out of college and while working there, I realized that exercise wasn’t the issue for most people but how little they knew about good nutrition, so I expanded into that arena, as well.

ITBY: How do you help your clients with their goals and healthy living? I realize you already touched on this question earlier, but I would love to hear more!

Esther: We take a habit-based approach, and I like to help them simplify their efforts. There is just so much information out there that we become paralyzed by it and end up doing nothing. There really is no best way to go about it. My primary focus is to simplify and take action, to assess where they’re starting and prioritize what steps to take. Do you know what foods contain protein, why it’s important, and are you getting enough protein? Are you eating enough vegetables? Then we expand on those steps as they get the hang of it.

ITBY: What do you feel is your biggest struggle in your own healthy living journey?

Esther: When I started college, I was in the best shape of my life. I was very active and thin and able to eat whatever and whenever I wanted. However, during freshman year in college, I was thrown way off course; I had this super challenging curriculum and I felt like I was studying nonstop. The result was that I wasn’t making time to workout and wasn’t eating well, and ended up gaining a lot of weight without realizing it. When I got home that summer, I kind of realized what had happened. I felt hypocritical since I was majoring in exercise science, so I spent that first summer eating in a way that made me feel good and finding the time for exercise. I had to figure out how to prioritize it and make it work when I went back to school. It was a transitionary period where I realize that it was important to prioritize my health and having gone through that allows me to empathize with my clients more now.

ITBY: What is the biggest piece of advice you can pass along to those reading this?

Esther: It’s never too late to make a change. You deserve to make time for yourselves. Start with one small thing at a time.

 

Don’t forget to check her out on her social media sites: Facebook | Instagram

God and Food: An Appetite for Everlasting Satisfaction

I am so excited, and honored, to have one of my new friends, Denise Marcello Manning write this guest post for me!

Does food have ungodly control over you?  

It was a question that I already knew the answer to in regards to my own life, as I had personally struggled with an eating disorder for over two decades. While God has delivered me from this addiction, I never fully understood why I gravitated to food in the first place.

And, why at times, I still do.

I still experience those times where I turn to food for comfort.  When the old, addictive behavior resurfaces, I find myself drawn to sugary, fattening foods to make myself feel better on the inside.  There have also been times in my life that I have restricted my food intake to satisfy my inner desire to be thin, or to look and feel better about myself.  

The book, Full – Food, Jesus and the Battle for Satisfaction, by Aseritah Ciuciu, put this struggle into perspective for me with these words:  

“We can’t solve a spiritual problem with a physical solution.” 

As a fitness coach, I can give a client a healthy meal plan, but God helped me to recognize that proper nutrition alone can’t solve the underlying problem – why are we eating the way that we do?

Whether we find ourselves in the throes of food addiction or food fixation, neither can ever bring the satisfaction we truly crave.    Have you ever found yourself completely consumed by food, only to realize that it never solves your problem, but leaves you feeling ashamed, empty and utterly alone?  

In Full – Food, Jesus and the Battle for Satisfaction, the author writes, “When we eat and eat and eat, unaware of what’s going into our mouths, unable to taste, enjoy, or relish the food but just stuffing down one mouthful after another until it makes us sick – that’s being enslaved to our appetites.”  When I read those words, my eyes filled with tears.  This explained my lifelong relationship with food!  2 Peter 2:19 says, “People are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”  Unbeknownst to me, I had become enslaved to food.  It may not be what society calls “addictive” (like drugs and alcohol), but I promise you that Satan can use food as a stronghold in our lives.

There is only one way to be truly sated.  Did you know that we are designed to crave God?  God invites us to join Him at the table of eternal satisfaction.  Isaiah 55:1-2 says, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost.  Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.”  The bible uses the example of food in this verse to describe the fullness that only God can provide.  How exciting that God offers us the “richest of food and drink” through intimacy with Him, and wants us to come and “eat” until we are fully satisfied!

Instead of picking up a fork or spoon the next time you seek comfort, I pray that you will ask God, through his Living Word (and possibly this book!) to show you the pathway to everlasting satisfaction.  He is our daily bread, and all that we will ever need!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links.

Author: Denise Marcello Manning
Follower of Christ, Certified in Nutrition and Fitness, Virtual Spiritual & Physical Fitness Coach and actively involved in women’s ministries.  Married with three dogs, loving the outdoors and enjoying log cabin living in upstate New York.  Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ Jesus who gives me strength.  Motto: Step out in faith!