Three ways to stop stressing about food

Hey lovelies! I hear from women all the time that their #1 struggle is eating well without getting obsessive. We know what we “should” eat but we can’t seem to implement it. We either restrict ourselves and feel super deprived or we get overwhelmed by all the “shoulds” and eat whatever we want, leaving us feeling lots of guilt. (If you’re overwhelmed by constant food guilt, grab a copy of my #ConsistentNutrition Cheatsheet right now).  Either way, it’s super effing stressful to constantly think about what we “should” eat.

We’ve all been there, right?

Back in my calorie counting days, I’d carry around this little black notebook to calculate my daily intake. Each choice I made was meticulously planned to fit into the specific overall calorie count. If eating a chocolate Clif Bar would make me go even 10 calories over my daily limit, I’d pick a different, less satisfying flavor to remain under my goal. I’d wait as long as possible before eating breakfast to “save” calories for later.

It was an exhausting way to live, making it inherently unsustainable. With lots of experimentation, I’ve found these three super straightforward ways to detach from stressing about every bite we eat.

How to stop stressing about food (in three steps!)

I hear from women all the time that their #1 struggle is eating well without getting obsessive. Here are my top three ways to stop stressing about food.

Stop counting

I know, I know. This is super counter intuitive (and many of us struggle with giving up the control counting calories gives) but it’s SO important to stop stressing about food. When we stop counting, analyzing, and measuring everything, we free up mental space to focus on other non-food relating things.

Instead of counting calories constantly, we’ve got to automate our eating so we no longer have to think so much about it. I want us to make it super simple. Instead of counting anything, I want you, my friend, to focus on just two things: protein and veggies. Every single time you eat, grab a portion of protein and some vegetables. If you’re still hungry, add some healthy fat or complex carbohydrates, depending on your goals.

Wine, Protein, Veggies

Want more help getting in veggies at every meal? Grab some of my best tips.

This super simple strategy makes all the difference, because we’ll be eating lots of nutrient dense and non-calorie dense foods. This will allow us to eat more AND make sure we aren’t missing out on any key nutrients. In layman’s terms, low calorie density = large portion size. And large portion sizes keep us (me) happy. Follow along on Instagram and Facebook with #mindthemiddle and #ConsistentNutrition to see how I implement these strategies day-to-day.

I talk with women all the time who are struggling to stay consistent with their nutrition. They know what they “should” eat but they can’t seem to implement it when outside of their normal routine. They either restrict themselves and feel super deprived or they get overwhelmed by all the “shoulds” and eat whatever they want, leaving them feeling lots of guilt.That’s why I created my #ConsistentNutrition Cheatsheet to help all of us implement the things we know we should do with our nutrition. There are no crazy meal plans or calorie counts, just the handful things you need to implement daily to eat moderately and find that middle between restriction and guilt. 

Also, if you’re struggling to give up that control, tracking meals by taking photos a couple times a month helps my clients SO much.  As humans, creatures of habit, most of our daily intake is the same day-to-day, so tracking a couple times a month is sufficient.

Add more protein

Once we’ve lessened or eliminated counting, it’s time to turn our attention to the foods we’re eating. Just by implementing certain food habits, we can lessen our thoughts about food! This is where protein comes in.

Protein is my favorite macro, and just about every woman I speak to is not getting close to enough! By focusing on protein, we fill ourselves with quality fuel, helping us feel super satisfied for hours after our meals. When we aren’t hungry all the time, we can stop obsessing over what to eat next.

Protein:

  • Keeps us feeling full for longer
  • Takes more energy to break down than carbohydrates or fat (burning more calories)
  • Is a building block for important molecules in your body, like hormones
  • Helps regulate blood sugar and hunger pangs

So what’s the next step?

I recommend eating protein every single time you eat. If you’re still hungry, cool, grab some more food. But starting with protein is going to improve your satiety, decrease cravings, and help you stop thinking about food all the time. If you need suggestions on what to eat, check out my top 5 protein foods.

Plan your indulgences

For those of us with disordered eating backgrounds, indulgence is tough. We either feel like we should restrict or count every bite that goes into our mouths or we’re indulging at full speed. This always made me afraid of indulging at all, because I felt like I couldn’t stop. And when I did indulge? I felt insanely guilty later. I thought I had to feel guilty or restrictive; those were the only two options. If you are sick of feeling guilty or restrictive when eating, my #ConsistentNutrition Cheatsheet will help you navigate the middle between guilt and restriction. Grab your copy now.

I created my conscious indulgence framework to specifically guide and plan our indulgences.

There are two parts:

Daily indulgences: these are indulgences that are part of our daily routine. We indulge daily because this makes indulging way less taboo. This helps us stop stressing about what we’ll eat, because it’s part of our routine. These daily indulgences are small, things like a few malt balls, some wine, or maybe a handful of chips.

The second part is the conscious indulgence. A conscious indulgence is an indulgence you specifically plan and are choosing. This may be something a little bit bigger or more substantial but it’s always consciously chosen. We would use these indulgences when we’re out to eat and we’re making tougher nutrition decisions. So, when we walk into a restaurant, we already consciously choose how to splurge and how we’ll stay more consistent with our goals. This gives us the willpower to pick healthier options to fill the rest of our plates. Win, win, and win(e).

This framework has changed my relationship with food and has drastically reduced my food stress. And that’s why I’ve put together an entire implementation guide in my #ConsistentNutrition cheatsheet. Click this link to learn more and grab your copy.

Show me what YOU choose to indulge, both daily and consciously, in with #myconsciousindulgence.

I hope these help! Try out these three ways to stop stressing about food and let me know what you think!

Do you stress about food?

How to stop falling off the healthy eating bandwagon: 80/20 rule

Since starting at Google three years ago, efficiency has been the focus. Because of this emphasis on productivity, every time I start a new project, I ask myself the same question: how can I optimize for the 80%?

Why does this matter?

Optimizing for the straightforward 80% frees us to focus on the more challenging (and impactful) 20%. 

[Source: The Pareto Principle]

In any given problem, about 80% of cases will be standard. If we can identify that simple 80% and automate a process around them, we no longer have to work on them. As an example, maybe you work in customer service and you get 100 requests per day. If 80 of them are on the same topic, you can very easily automate a response or create a help center article to answer the question. Once you resolve the 80 simple requests, you can spend time working on the more complicated ones in your inbox. Win win.

On the other hand, because the remaining requests are more complex, they’ll make up the majority of your efforts and outputs. You’ll need to focus more intensely and come up with customized solutions for each one.

By the end of the day, 20% of your requests generate 80% of your work. And if you can automate that 80%, your day becomes a heck of a lot easier…and more efficient.

This sounds appealing, doesn’t it? Because we all want to focus our energies on the things that really matter, the 80/20 rule (or Pareto’s Principle) can be applied to so many areas of our lives. And as a nutrition coach, I’ve realized the importance of using the 80/20 rule in my coaching to help women get even more consistent with their nutrition (grab my #ConsistentNutrition Cheatsheet to see how).

Why apply the 80/20 rule to nutrition?

The 80/20 rule makes us more consistent with food and nutrition.

About two years ago, I signed up for my first online bootcamp. After battling with anorexia for 8 years at that time, I really wanted to change my physique: more muscles and less belly fat (don’t we all?).

I was SO excited. I took my initial progress pictures, gathered all my equipment, and got ready for week 1. But as soon as I opened the nutrition guidelines, my stomach sank. The portion suggestions, calorie counts, and macro breakdowns were incredibly overwhelming.

As I cooked my chicken breast with vegetables on Wednesday of week 1, all I wanted was a glass of wine. In that moment, I was overcome with a feeling of failure and sunk to the floor in tears. All of the counting and measuring made me so obsessive that I again was battling with my ED.  As I leaned against the cabinets in my tiny kitchen, tears streaming down my face, I realized I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t make myself abide by crazy restrictive guidelines without slipping back into ED. So by the next week, I stopped following all of the bootcamp nutrition guidelines to keep myself from getting overly obsessive, restrictive, or super guilty.

If we struggle with ED tendencies or food obsession, the 80/20 rule is the answer. It allows us to focus on the things that really matter, while automating the rest.

Let’s break it down.

Struggling to be consistent with food? Apply the 80/20 rule to your nutrition and get consistent once and for all.

In order to use the 80/20 rule, we’ve got to consider two things: the 80% and the 20%.

Handling the 80: #automatethatshit

When it comes to the standard 80%, we’ve gotta automate. To automate our eating, we create behaviors that are SO automatic that we don’t even have to think about them.

My first suggestion to start automating your nutrition is to be BASIC and focus on the essentials of good nutrition. Instead of counting anything, we focus on just two things: protein and veggies. Every single time we eat, grab a portion of protein and some vegetables.

This super simple strategy makes all the difference, because we’ll be eating lots of nutrient dense and non-calorie dense foods. This will allow us to eat more AND make we you aren’t missing out on any key nutrients. In layman’s terms, low calorie density = large portion size. And large portion sizes keep our bellies happy.

After doing this for a few weeks, we stop thinking about it and the behavior becomes automatic.

We can all use a little help making our eating more automatic, especially in tough eating situations.

I talk with women all the time who are struggling to stay consistent with their nutrition. They know what they “should” eat but they can’t seem to implement it when outside of their normal routine. They either restrict themselves and feel super deprived or they get overwhelmed by all the “shoulds” and eat whatever they want, leaving them feeling lots of guilt.

When these things happen, we feel like there’s no middle ground between restriction and guilt.

But there is, and that’s why I created my #ConsistentNutrition Cheatsheet to help all of us implement the things we know we should do with our nutrition. There are no crazy meal plans or calorie counts, just the handful things you need to implement daily to eat moderately and find that middle between restriction and guilt.

Grab your copy here.

Handling the 20: #mindthemiddle

Now comes the fun part: the tough (and impactful) 20%.

When we’re outside of your automated nutrition, we do not restrict or aim for perfection. Instead, we focus on moderation and minding the middle.

To mind the middle, we take each eating situation and pick the moderate option.

As as example, maybe breakfast, lunch, and dinner are automated but that after dinner snack is still tough. In that case, we’d pick an option that’s not the best but also not the worst. Instead of having a bowl of ice cream or nonfat plain greek yogurt, maybe we grab some Halo Top or my chocolate mug cake. 

Is it the best option? Heck no. But it’ll also keep you satisfied and less obsessed with your next treat.

Part of why I love using the 80/20 rule in my nutrition coaching is that it inevitably shifts us away from obsession. When we’re no longer counting, measuring, or analyzing everything that goes into our mouths, what we eat occupies SO much less mental space.

Wanna try it?

Consistency with nutrition is hard. We often know what we need to do but implementing it is another story. There are days when we’re really good and days when everything is off. Sometimes nutrition is effortless, but other times, it gets so overwhelming or we get sick of making decisions, so we end up overindulging and feeling guilty later. When these things happen, we feel like there’s no middle ground between restriction and guilt.

But there is.

That’s why I created my #ConsistentNutrition Cheatsheet. No meal plans, just the handful of things you need to implement daily to eat moderately, completely stress-free.

Struggling to be consistent with food? Here are my two best tools to staying consistent while eating out.

If you’re looking for more examples of how to get to #ConsistentNutrition,  I’ll be posting on Facebook and Instagram about how I stay consistent during all situations my eating using the hashtag #ConsistentNutrition. Don’t miss out!

What’s one nutrition question you have?

Two reasons I won’t take a cheat day

When we open Instagram, and look at any fitness accounts, images of cheat days prevail. We all know taking a cheat day is all the rage right now. It seems like every fitness model, personal trainer, and workout enthusiast posts pictures of deep fried oreos or juicy cheeseburgers every other week. The cheat day has become so popular that it seems like everyone’s doing it. With so many people tracking macros, counting calories, and eating out of tupperware, a cheat day starts looking pretty good.

We may look down at our standard lunch of a salad or a sandwich and wonder if we need a cheat day too. Truth is, choosing a way of eating is a completely personal decision, and I’m a little biased, my friends, but I don’t believe that nutrition strategies should require you take days off, even if St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner.

There are two main reasons I won’t take a cheat day.

Cheat days have become SUPER popular. But this is why I won't take a cheat day. Ever.

Cheat days encourage restriction on all other days.

When we’re living the cheat day lifestyle, it becomes a big no-no to indulge on any other day. If it’s not a cheat day and we find ourselves craving a piece of chocolate, what are we supposed to do?

Sangria sorbet cheat day

We can eat the chocolate, feel guilty, and beat ourselves up. Or, we restrict ourselves and wait until the next cheat day on our calendars. Neither of these options sound good to me.

halfway cooked chocolate mug cake

With my history, the cheat day mindset perpetuates an unhealthy relationship with food. While I haven’t ever fully given into the cheat day lifestyle, I used to have a similar mindset when it came to drinking. Drinking was not okay on weeknights. I’d only let myself have something to drink on Fridays or Saturdays (well, and sometimes Thursdays cuz I was sooooo close). So on that random stressful Tuesday night, after we’d both had super long days, I’d watch Andrew grab himself a beer without a second thought, and I’d weigh my options and make deals in my head.

I worked 11 hours today, I deserve a Mike’s Harder Lemonade.

If I have a Mike’s Harder today, I’ll skip the pasta with dinner.

Maybe if I run for another 20 minutes tomorrow, I can have one. 

I couldn’t understand how he could make this decision so easily.  It was effortless, carefree, and easy. He didn’t go back and forth, debating the ramifications of enjoying a single beer on a Tuesday night. If he wanted one, he had one. I, on the other hand, beat myself up for even wanting a sugary can of Mike’s Hard Lemonade.

See, when we only allow ourselves to indulge or enjoy our food on specific days, it gets way too easy to restrict ourselves and making certain foods off limits.

That’s a big part of why I reject the concept of cheat days: they encourage restricting yourself.

But truthfully, there’s a whole other reason you won’t catch me posting about my cheat day escapades.

I don’t actually NEED a cheat day.

My nutrition strategy has indulgence and mini-cheats built in, every single day. This keeps me from wanting to eat the entire cheesecake. I’m content after a few bites.

IMG_5040

I no longer restrict myself from eating foods (and drinks) I enjoy. I’ve stopped trying to eat “perfectly.” In fact, if I can look back at a day of eating as perfect, I did something wrong! I ask myself just one question, and this guides how I eat every single day, regardless of where I am.

Is it possible to stay consistent with your food wherever you go?

Learn to stay consistent with your nutrition so you no longer need cheat days.

I talk with women all the time who are struggling to stay consistent with their nutrition. They know what they “should” eat but they can’t seem to implement it when outside of their normal routine. They either restrict themselves and feel super deprived or they get overwhelmed by all the “shoulds” and eat whatever they want, leaving them feeling lots of guilt. They feel trapped between restriction and guilt. It doesn’t have to be this way. With lots of experimentation, I found a way to cut to the middle between deprivation and guilt. That’s why I created my #ConsistentNutrition Cheatsheet to help all of us implement the things we know we should do with our nutrition. There are no crazy meal plans or calorie counts, just the handful things you need to implement daily to eat moderately and find that middle between restriction and guilt.

Grab a copy of the FREE #ConsistentNutrition Cheatsheet.

Look, my friend, I don’t want you to struggle with obsession and restriction anymore. It sucks and is crazy stressful. Our mental space is so much better utilized outside of the food and exercise realm. To take one step closer to that #cheatdaynotneeded lifestyle, let’s try something different this week: try giving ourselves one indulgence per day. See how it feels. By the time our cheat day comes along, we may not even need or want it.

Have you taken a cheat day before?

How often should we eat for weight loss?

Today, my friends. I am dispelling one of the most common nutrition myths out there. You know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever done any research about dieting or losing weight.

If I want to eat for weight loss, I should eat every few hours.

Beachbody coaches everywhere tell their clients to never let themselves get hungry. Thousands of free diet plans float around the internet provide options for your six small meals per day. This belief is so widespread that if you ask anyone how you should eat to lose weight, they’ll tell you to eat often so you never overeat. They’ll spout some fact that eating every couple hours stokes your metabolism and helps you burn more fat.

How often should we eat for weight loss? Should we really eat 6 meals a day? I'm answering these questions once and for all.

Sounds awesome, doesn’t it?

I hate to break it to you, my friends. There is absolutely no scientific evidence (I searched!) out there that eating every few hours is better for weight loss. When it comes down to it, your body burns the same number of calories breaking down your food you eat regardless if you eat three meals or seven.

With that in mind, it’s super important to figure out an eating schedule that works for YOU. Determining how many meals to eat is a process of trial and error, because it’s all about creating habits that are easy and natural for you! 

Over the last year, I’ve switched from eating every couple hours to eating four larger meals per day. This change has helped me make progress towards my fitness goals and automate my eating. My friends, I will NOT be going back, because it’s made me super consistent with my food, regardless of where I am. Today, I’m sharing WHY I’ve made that shift but If you wanna learn exactly how I’ve found consistency, I’m sharing handful of things you need to implement daily to eat moderately, completely stress-free here.

Why I eat four meals per day

It promotes satiety

Back when I subscribed to the idea I had to eat often to stoke my metabolism, my meals were super small. And let’s be real, small meals=hungry Katherine. When you eat mini-meals, you never feel like you ate enough. You know the feeling, you finish your chicken and broccoli but you feel like you can and should eat more.

Bleh. I hate that feeling.

So, when I started eating four meals a day, spaced out by 4-6 hours, I had to start eating bigger meals. And guess what? I loved it! As I added more protein and fat to my meals that nagging feeling of “I want to keep eating more even though my plate is empty” went away.

Now, I feel satisfied for hours after each meal, which is awesome after living in a constant state of hunger for years. 

It decreases my daily caloric intake

Wine, Protein, Veggies

When I first started trying to eat for weight loss, I tracked my macros to ensure I got everything I needed. At first, I was worried I’d start gaining weight because I was eating “more.” But what I found was pretty surprising.

I was eating less than before!

After doing a bit of research, I found this is actually pretty common! When you’re eating six times a day, you end up eating more than you think. Snacks turn into mini meals and your mini meals tend to be a little bigger than they should be.

Confining my eating to four times a day has helped me keep my calorie intake within healthy ranges, even when I’m traveling or eating out.

It gives me flexibility in my social life

Eating six meals a day can make social situations more difficult. Sure, you can grab happy hour and pick at a side salad but how satisfying is that? Oh, and you’ll need to eat again in two hours, so don’t hang out for too long. With an eating schedule that includes bigger meals, your life doesn’t have to revolve around your food.

It’s so nice to be able share meals with my friends and loved ones again without worrying I’m eating too much.

I hear from women all the time that they have a hard time eating on the go. Drive-thru’s, happy hours and travel can botch even the best intentions for healthy eating. SO, I put together this super simple cheatsheet for dining out and how to stay consistent with your nutrition wherever you go. No crazy meal plans, just the handful things you need to implement daily to eat moderately, completely stress-free. Grab a copy of the FREE #ConsistentNutrition Cheatsheet here.

Now, even though eating four meals a day works super well for me, please don’t take this as a one size fit all approach. Do some experimentation! You may do best on three bigger meals, and that’s totally okay! If you want to find a way of eating that works for YOU, I’d love to work with you on your nutrition goals. If you’re ready to make some changes and reach your nutrition and fitness goals, let’s chat!

How many meals do you eat daily?

3 steps to eat out AND stay consistent

Eating out. It’s religion for some and an enjoyable pastime for all. Let’s be real. We all love to do it. Tasty, convenient, fun, and a break from the standard, day-to-day routine. Even though it’s a lot of fun, eating out doesn’t always help us reach our nutrition goals. Restaurant foods can be much higher in fat, salt, and other additives that we wouldn’t normally add to our home cooked meals [source]. And don’t even get me started on restaurant portion sizes.

But guess what? As a personal trainer and nutrition coach, I plan on eating out around once a week, even when I am working on fat loss goals.

When reading most of the personal trainer/nutrition coach perspectives out there, eating out often becomes the devil. But I’ve actually found a way to eat out, enjoy life, AND still get results. Oh and I’m sharing it with you.

For all of 2016, I spent my time commuting between California and Texas. Always on the go and rarely feeling settled, I turned to restaurant options more often than I’d like to admit. Even though I was “eating well” most of the time, I was over-indulging (hello wine 7 nights a week) and paying the price. At first, I definitely noticed changes in my energy levels, body composition, and mindset.

But, after tons of trial and error, I’ve come up with three simple steps to guide my restaurant eating.

3 steps to eat out without breaking the calorie bank

When reading most of the personal trainer/nutrition coach perspectives out there, eating out often becomes the devil. But I've actually found a way to eat out, enjoy life, AND still get results. Oh and I'm sharing it with you.

1) Break down every menu into components.

When we look at menus, we can often feel overwhelmed. There are so many items and none of them look like our meal plans. Instead of shaking our heads, calling it a wash, and ordering a “cheat meal,” start dissecting that menu. Figure out what’s listed and narrow it down to the healthier options.

If I’m struggling, I start by looking in the salad and entree sections. Usually, I can find some sort of salad with grilled chicken, and I’ll use that as a starting point, doctoring it up to my tastes.

A couple suggestions to get start right now:

  • Pick proteins that are baked or roasted. This gives good flavor without tons of fat.
  • If you’re a vegetarian, make sure your item has a protein source.
  • Choose carbs based on your goals. If you’re aiming for fat loss, ask for a double serving of veggies and skip that potato.

2) Choose protein and veggies that’ll satisfy you

Once you’ve narrowed down the menu, stop counting macros, analyzing portions, or counting in any way. Instead, focus on getting lean protein and veggies on board. Ask for substitutions if they’re needed! Nbd.
My favorite way to do this is head to the entree section of the menu. Find a protein that sounds tasty, then ask for double veggies instead of the carb. Often, restaurant meals are made up of protein + lots of carbs & fat + a little veggies. Instead of stressing about finding an entree that is exactly what I’m looking for, I pick the protein I want and change up the rest of the plate. By the time I’m done ordering I’ve got protein + lots of veggies + a little bit of carbs/fat.
These options will maximize nutrient density without the extra calories you’ll find in the starchy sides and will actually leave you feeling satisfied for longer.

3) CHOOSE every indulgence

Instead of eating and drinking everything in sight, be mindful about your indulgences. Often, we feel we deserve something special when we’re eating out. However, truth is, you ALWAYS deserve something awesome. Still, if you want to indulge, be thoughtful about it & make it a conscious decision. Be aware of what you choose to indulge in.

For those of us with disordered eating backgrounds, indulgence is tough. We either feel like we should restrict or count every bite that goes into our mouths or we’re indulging at full speed. This always made me afraid of indulging at all, because I felt like I couldn’t stop. And when I did indulge? I felt insanely guilty later. I thought I had to feel guilty or restrictive; those were the only two options. If you are sick of feeling guilty or restrictive when eating, my #ConsistentNutrition Cheatsheet will help you navigate the middle between guilt and restriction. Grab your copy now.

I created my conscious indulgence framework to specifically guide our indulgences. It makes indulgence part of every single day–without going overboard. So, when I walk into a restaurant, I’ve already consciously chosen how I’ll splurge. This gives me the willpower to pick healthier options to fill the rest of my plate. Win, win, and win(e). Show me what YOU choose to indulge in with #myconsciousindulgence. I’ll be posting throughout the week on the topic so don’t miss out.

I talk with women all the time who are struggling to stay consistent with their nutrition, especially when eating out. They know what they “should” eat but they can’t seem to implement it when outside of their normal routine. They either restrict themselves and feel super deprived or they get overwhelmed by all the “shoulds” and eat whatever they want, leaving them feeling lots of guilt.

I’ve been there. For years, I went out to dinner or happy hours only to order the lowest calorie option. I’d crave something tasty but knew I *should* order something light, so I ordered grilled chicken with roasted vegetables. I’d feel pretty good about myself…until appetizers came. Sweet potato fries, meatballs, and bread with pesto dipping sauce would fill the table. I’d try resisting…for about five minutes. Eventually, I’d always give in, indulging in fries, meatballs, bread, and lots of wine. Even though I knew what I should do, I couldn’t. I was too bored by my choices to stick with them, so I went overboard and felt super guilty afterwards.

Consistency with nutrition is hard. We often know what we need to do but implementing it is another story. There are days when we’re really good and days when everything is off. Sometimes nutrition is effortless, but other times, it gets so overwhelming or we get sick of making decisions, so we end up overindulging and feeling guilty later. When these things happen, we feel like there’s no middle ground between restriction and guilt.

But there is.

With lots of experimentation, I found a way to cut to the middle between deprivation and guilt. That’s why I created my #ConsistentNutrition Cheatsheet to help all of us implement the things we know we should do with our nutrition. There are no crazy meal plans or calorie counts, just the handful things you need to implement daily to eat moderately and find that middle between restriction and guilt.

Grab your copy now. 

Do you enjoy eating out?

The #1 nutrition mistake women make

We’re moving through 2017,  chugging along towards our fitness goals.

Workout plan? Check.

Stress management? Check.

Fitness motivation? Check.

But what about our nutrition? There’s so much information out there on how to eat, when to eat, and what to eat. Talk about information overload.  So before we dive into a nutrition plan head first, we’ve gotta make sure we aren’t making this super common nutrition mistake.

As a personal trainer and nutrition coach, I work with women across the United States to help them change their bodies in a way that does not require obsession or dietary restriction. Through working with lots of women, I’ve found that most women who come to me are making one nutrition mistake that’s stalling their progress.

Are you making this super common nutrition mistake? This is the #1 mistake I see women making (and how to fix it).

For most of us, when we decide to change up our nutrition to meet our goals, we do one thing: count. Whether it’s calories, macros, or servings, we’re told counting and closely monitoring our nutrition intake is the answer.

I’ve been there, too. I started counting calories when I was thirteen years old, so in a sense, I grew up with calorie counting. And when I tried to stop counting calories and follow a serving based system? I counted servings nonstop. I carried a notepad with me everywhere, counting, and recounting everything I ate. I felt like if I stopped, I would eat with abandon and gain 20lbs overnight.

My friend, there IS an alternative. It IS possible to quit counting calories and feel in control of your eating. And I want to show you how. This is why I’ve created my weeklong nutrition e-course to for automated eating (grab the deets here).

This brings us to the #1 nutrition mistake women make: overcomplicating their nutrition.

Why complicated nutrition doesn’t work

We end up eating the wrong things

If all we’re thinking about are numbers, foods become nothing but numbers. Although a bowl of ice cream and a chicken breast with roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes may have the same number of calories, they’ll affect our bodies differently.Grocery Haul

This means we may end up eating foods that will make us MORE hungry, making it more difficult to reach our goals. Alternatively, we may find ourselves eating only the lowest of calorie foods so we can stay within or under our arbitrary calorie goal. 

We get overwhelmed and “fall off the wagon”

Counting anything consistently takes a lot of mental energy, and is inherently unsustainable. At some point, we’ll reach the “fuck it” point and stop counting for a time.

But unfortunately, without numbers to guide us, it becomes way too easy to fall off the wagon.

Consistency with nutrition is hard. We often know what we need to do but implementing it is another story. There are days when we’re really good and days when everything is off and we order an entire pizza for ourselves. Sometimes nutrition is effortless, but other times, it gets so overwhelming or we get sick of making decisions, so we end up overindulging and feeling guilty later. When these things happen, we feel like there’s no middle ground between restriction and guilt (see how I cut to the middle here).

Sangria sorbet

We stop listening to our bodies

The main reason I recommend against counting macros, calories, or servings for long periods of time is that we completely lose touch with our bodies and their signals. When numbers rule our food intake, we stop listening to hunger and satiety cues.

I talk to women all the time who are following a calorie plan and either feel super hungry and restricted or they don’t stop eating until they have reached their calorie count for the day – even if they are beyond full. They no longer trust what their bodies tell them, so they follow a meal plan instead.

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I lived in this space for a long time. I was constantly following a meal plan and eating when I was told. After a time, I wasn’t able to recognize when I was hungry and had no idea how much my body actually needed, leading me to severely under-eat every time I came off a meal plan. This is NOT a way to live (see how I do it instead), and that’s why I am so passionate about not making this nutrition mistake.

Combatting this common nutrition mistake

I want you to make it super simple. Instead of counting anything, I want you, my friend, to focus on just two things: protein and veggies. Every single time you eat, grab a portion of protein and some vegetables. If you’re still hungry, add some healthy fat or complex carbohydrates, depending on your goals.

Want more help getting in veggies at every meal? Grab some of my best tips.

This super simple strategy makes all the difference, because you’ll be eating lots of nutrient dense and non-calorie dense foods. This will allow you to eat more AND make sure you aren’t missing out on any key nutrients. In layman’s terms, low calorie density = large portion size. And large portion sizes keep you (me) happy. Follow along on Instagram and Facebook with #mindthemiddle to see how I implement these strategies day-to-day.

Ending the complicated nutrition obsession

Now, even if we know calorie counting isn’t the best way to lose weight, it can be hard to change. I talk to women all the time who are obsessed with counting, tracking, and measuring their food. They absolutely hate feeling tethered to their MyFitnessPal app and constantly calculating their daily intake but don’t know what to do when they aren’t counting. As soon as they try and stop, they’re overcome with anxiety and fear.

Fear that the weight will come back.

Fear that they’ll lose control.

Fear that they don’t know how much to eat without counting.

Fear that there’s no other way to achieve results.

 

But I have good news, it IS possible to quit counting calories and feel in control of your eating. And I want to show you how. This is why I’ve created my weeklong nutrition e-course to #CeaseConstantCalorieCounting.

I’ve taken all of my top solutions that have helped me and my clients break away from calorie counting obsession and will share them with you. Over six days, I’m going to share six super simple guidelines–not rules–that will help you still feel in control of your eating but not have to be so obsessed with the numbers anymore.By the end of the week, I’ll teach you another way to be in control of your eating, without obsession, counting, or tracking. 

We start on April 17, so sign up before registration closes!

What’s one thing that still confuses you about nutrition?

Healthy Dinner Recipes: Ready in Less Than 20 Minutes

It’s Thursday night. You’ve had a busy day at work (why do we have to go into the office between Christmas and New Year’s again?) and the last thing on your mind is cooking dinner. It’s almost 7pm, you’re tired, hungry, and surely don’t want to cook.

You’re faced with two options: order take out or whip something healthy up. And the truth is, if you don’t have a plan, you KNOW which option you’re going to choose!

If that situation sounds familiar and you’re anything like me, life is crazy, and that craziness can get in the way of eating, healthy or otherwise.

That’s why I ALWAYS have nutrition contingency plans available when life gets crazy. These contingency plans include crockpot meals, Freshly deliveries, protein shakes, and these four healthy dinner recipes.

To help you build your nutrition contingency plan, here are the four healthy dinner recipes I default to on busy nights. They are super easy and can be throw together in less than twenty minutes (although a couple are crockpot based, so you have to prep early in the day). Each meal includes protein and lots of veggies, with options to add additional carbs based on your individual needs.

Four healthy dinner recipes

If you're in a bind, these four healthy recipes will get dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes! Fast, easy, healthy dinner options.

 

 

Egg white scramble

Not sure if this technically counts as a recipe but I eat it at least once a week.

Toss pre-sliced mushrooms and fresh spinach into a frying pan with salt free seasoning. Cook until the mushrooms are browned and softened. Add egg whites and a whole egg (if you’d like to add some more fat to your meal) and scramble!

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If you need more protein, add a link of chicken sausage.

If you need more carbs, add some frozen hash browns.

Turkey and butternut chili

Take twenty minutes to prep this recipe before you go to work, and by the time you get home, you have a huge pot of healthy, protein and fiber filled chili.

I decided to make up a new chili recipe. I've made chili (successfully) before but wanted to add a little more nutritional value without also adding additional prep work. Using frozen and pre-chopped veggies, this recipe makes a complete dinner.

Chicken “stir fry”

At least once a week, I make a psuedo-stir fry. All I do is combine pre-chopped veggies and pre-cooked chicken or turkey (either from weekly meal prep or purchased-I like Trader Joe’s “Just Chicken” or their pre-cooked turkey breast) in a pan. Sauté until the veggies are softened.

Before serving, I add some of my favorite TJ’s fat free dressing to give it that soy-ginger flavor.

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Serve with rice, long grain brown or cauliflower.

Turkey burgers

Truthfully, I ALWAYS have turkey meat on hand for nights that require fast, healthy meals. This turkey burger recipe base is ideal to prep on Sunday OR when you have last minute guests coming over. It’s a crowd pleaser, for sure.

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Using these options, you can be sure to get healthy food on board without any extra stress.

If you’re looking for more nutrition guidance, meal plans, and easy recipes for fat loss to help you get back on track after the holidays, New Year, New YOU could be for you. This super effective group personal training and coaching program will teach you how to automate your eating for fat loss. I’d love to give you more information!

What’s your go-to healthy dinner?

My five go-to protein foods

You come home from work, ravenous, ready to eat absolutely anything in sight. You open the fridge and stare blankly at the brightly lit shelves, trying to make a decision of what to eat.

Sound familiar?

Yeah, I thought so. Just about every day, when I get home from work, I do the exact same thing! I used to struggle with choosing healthy foods when I was crazy hungry. But when I started stocking my fridge, freezer, and pantry with these five protein foods, everything changed.

Let’s back up a little.

Why protein?

Protein foods are essential to your health and wellbeing.

  • Protein keeps you feeling full for longer
  • Protein foods take more energy to break down than carbohydrates or fat (burning more calories)
  • Protein is needed to build important molecules in your body, like hormones
  • Protein helps regulate blood sugar and hunger pangs

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As you swipe through your Instagram feed, you can’t help but notice the dozens of before and after pictures, flat stomachs, lean arms, and shapely legs. Reading the comments, every post seems to say the same thing. Even with all this social proof, as a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I will NEVER preach the clean eating gospel.

Why I’m against clean eating

Spoiler! I won’t teach you how to “eat clean” but if you want to learn how to enjoy your life without falling off track,  New Year, New You could be for you! 

As you swipe through your Instagram feed, you can’t help but notice the dozens of before and after pictures, flat stomachs, lean arms, and shapely legs. Reading the comments, every post seems to say the same thing.

I was overweight and then I started eating clean. The weight fell off!

Before starting to eat clean, I could never attain a six pack.

With clean eating and exercise, I was able to drop to [insert super low number]% body fat!

Even with all this social proof, as a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I will NEVER preach the clean eating gospel.

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My diet and nutrition: five things that changed my perspective

South Beach. Atkins. Ketogenic. Low carb. Vegan. Paleo. Vegetarian. Low fat. Mediterranean. NutriSystem. High carb. Weight watchers points. As you read all of these diet ideas, you probably have lots of thoughts about which are better, best, worst, and total crap.

A person’s diet and nutrition are extremely personal, and so many things inform how we think about what we “should” eat. Magazines, Instagram celebrities, online fitness gurus, our parents, and even our culture tell us how to think about what goes into our mouths.

As a nutrition coach, I talk about food with lots of women. We spend lots of time breaking down her thoughts about food before deciding on an approach, because there’s no such thing as a perfect diet plan–only perfect for you. All these conversations got me thinking, what’s shaped my perspective around nutrition?

So I thought it might be an interesting blog post! Below are five events or milestones in my life that have impacted my nutrition and my overall approach to food. Some are more serious than others but they’ve all impacted me personally.

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