NOW is When You Give Up On Your New Year’s Resolution … Or is it?

Hey, maybe don’t give up this time, okay?

It’s STILL cold. It’s STILL dark out when you wake up to workout, or after work when you were going to go to the gym. You’re tired. The intense motivation and drive you felt one month ago has dwindled to a dull pang. Now is when you (and everyone else) give up on your New Year’s Resolutions. BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO. You can keep going… you can re-motivate yourself… you can accomplish your goals… here’s how:

Do it for One. More. Day.

The CEO of Instagram has a trick for beating procrastination: whatever it is you keep putting off,  commit to doing it for just 5 minutes. By the time you’ve hit 5 minutes, you’ll end up finishing whatever it was. Take this concept and apply it to your resolution. Tell yourself you just have to do it for one more day, and then tell yourself that every day. If you made a workout goal and you don’t want to get off your butt, commit to working out for 5 minutes, or 10. Once you get started, you’ll end up finishing. And then, you know, just do that for the rest of the year. Just kidding — I have more tips for you.

Adjust your WHY

Your “why” is the reason behind your resolution; it’s what motivated you to set a goal and start working toward it. If your why was superficial, half-assed, or just not good enough, you are probably about to give up right now. Can’t seem to find that fire you had at the end of December? Adjust your why. Make it personal. Make it real. Make it worth your while. When your why is strong, you can do anything.

Reward Yourself

Maybe you haven’t reached your goal yet, — maybe you don’t even see any progress at all yet — but if you’ve been consistently working toward your goal for a month already, you deserve a reward! TREAT YO’SELF. It doesn’t have to be big, or expensive, or derail your progress, it just has to make you feel good about what you’ve done so far, so you are inspired to keep going. Go get yourself somethin’ pretty — you earned it.

And if all else fails…

Re-Evaluate Your Resolution

Did you make a resolution because someone else pressured you to? Or because you think you should, but you don’t really want to? Then no matter what you try, you’re probably going to fail. Resolutions have to come from the heart. If you’re not 100% into it, that will show in everything you do. You’ll make excuses. You’ll cut yourself slack over and over and over. You’ll move backwards. Take any goal you made for someone besides yourself and KILL IT. Do something for yourself because YOU want to, then you’ll succeed.

Time to Decide

Are you going to be part of the 80% who give up on their resolutions by the second week of February? Or are you going to re-adjust and kick ass for the next 10 months? Personally I’m a big fan of kicking ass … just saying.

kick8

 

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How to Set Goals – 3 Creative Approaches

Someone asked me shortly after Christmas if I had any advice on setting goals, because even though they were working out consistently, they weren’t seeing many changes, and didn’t know what to do. Several Snapchat messages later, I realized I should probably write a blog on this, since there are multiple approaches for goal setting, and this is likely something many of you struggle with. Here are some of the strategies I recommended to my friend, and a bonus piece of advice for you at the end!

(If you’ve got a great strategy for setting and crushing a goal, please leave it in the comments — I would love to hear it!)

Go Small to Go Big

Generally people recommend you set smaller goals so they don’t seem daunting and so you are more likely to accomplish them. BUT, that doesn’t mean you can’t work toward a really big goal, it just means you should break up your big, scary goal into smaller, more manageable ones.

For instance, if you want six-pack abs, think about all the things you can do to help you get there. For starters, you’ll need to eat right, so set a nutrition goal — like following a 90/10 rule or vowing to only have 1 cheat day a month. You’ll also need to strengthen your core muscles, so set a planking goal — try holding a 1 minute plank every day, then move on to 2 minutes and so on as you keep getting better. Think of all the ways you can help yourself get to a six pack and then focus on those smaller, not-so-scary goals. When you’ve accomplished them, you’ll realize you’ve ALSO accomplished the seemingly impossible task of rocking killer abs.

Get Specific

Maybe you want to transform your entire body, and that’s totally doable! But, if you don’t mind taking the transformation more slowly, you can focus your efforts into the areas that matter most. In 2018, I personally vowed to focus on my booty and my triceps, meaning I’ll be doing extra work on top of my current workouts to improve those two “problem” areas for me.

If you do want to transform your whole body, try focusing on a different area every month for the whole year, and don’t STOP focusing on your past areas when you reach a new month … STACK your goals! Like this:

January: Biceps
February: Biceps and triceps
March: Biceps, triceps & core

Get it?! You’ll be totally transformed by December. You can also do this for any bad habits you have: the first 3 months of the year focus on … procrastinating less? Then once you’ve gotten better at that, start focusing on another bad habit … get more sleep? If you dedicate 3 months to each goal, you can crush 4 bad habits!

Be Efficient

Personally I always have about 7 new goals/resolutions for the new year, but if just setting a goal intimidates you, you’ll probably want to go with the less is more approach. If you strategize here, you can still accomplish a bunch of awesome shit before year’s end. Be efficient by setting a goal that addressed multiple areas of your life. Say you want to be healthier, spend more time with friend Jane, learn a new skill and lose weight, you can accomplish ALL of these things by doing one task: Taking tennis lessons with your friend Jane! You’ll be moving more (Healthier! Weight loss!), learning something new (Tennis! Backhands! Yay!), and getting to see a lot more of Jane (lessons 3 times a week for a few months? So much Jane time!), and all you had to do was sign up for ONE thing and commit to it. Not so scary, right?

Bonus Advice!

After brainstorming with my friend for a bit about goals, I ended with this nugget of wisdom: Usually if you’re working out consistently and not seeing results, it’s because of two reasons — either your nutrition isn’t on point, you aren’t pushing yourself hard enough in your workouts, or both. SO, if no matter what goals you set for yourself you still aren’t getting anywhere, take an honest look at your diet and effort level. You probably just need to eat better/the correct amount, increase the intensity of your workouts, or both!

2017 by the Numbers (I ate HOW many Oreos?!)

Back in September when I realized there was only 100 days left in 2017, my first thought was “oh shit.” I had no idea what my New Year’s Resolutions even were at that point, and I started feeling like I definitely was not accomplishing any of the things I wanted to accomplish. I vowed to get to work on my goals in the last 100 days, and that motivation lasted me approximately two weeks.

With Christmas days away, I was writing a blog post about top workout excuses to help me get my own act together, and I decided to see how many blog posts I had managed to publish in 2017 (Literally Always Hungry’s first year in the world!). I was surprised by how many posts I had actually written in the past year and that got me thinking — what else had I accomplished in 2017 that I was neglecting to recognize because I was so caught up in what I DIDN’T do? So, I did one of my all-time favorite things: I made a list.

 

Look at all the Things I Did!

I …
  • Wrote and published 44 blog posts (which garnered over 11,000 views)
  • Created a new instagram account and grew it to over 200 followers
  • Baked and decorated 17 cakes
  • Made 2 dozen plant-based, gluten-free donuts, 1 dozen cupcakes, and 60 cake pops
  • Made 30 new friends (according to Facebook)
  • Ran 70+ miles
  • Took 16 plane rides
  • Visited 1 new country
  • Completed over 16 hours of programming courses
  • Tried 12 new Oreo flavors
  • Lost 15 pounds (and kept it off for 5+ months)
  • Read 17 Books:
    1. The Power of Habit
    2. Mindset
    3. How Not to Die
    4. Food: A Love Story
    5. Born a Crime: Tales from a South African Childhood
    6. Get Your Shit Together
    7. What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures
    8. Outliers
    9. The Slight Edge
    10. Triggers
    11. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
    12. Jab Jab Jab Right Hook
    13. Animal Farm
    14. 1984
    15. You Are a Badass at Making Money
    16. Hardwiring Happiness
    17. The 10X Rule

We beat ourselves up pretty hard at the end of the year while spending almost no time at all reflecting on what positive things we were able to do in that time. Before you set your New Year’s Resolutions for 2018, take a minute to pat yourself on the back for what you accomplished this past year!

No, You May Not Be Excused (Shut Up & Workout Already)

I’m writing this during the holiday season, AKA the season of giving, but I gotta be honest: This is not for you; it’s for me. I can’t stop eating Christmas cookies, starches, candy, or mac n cheese. I also can’t bring myself to workout. I’ve made a few excuses so far, namely that I’m tired, I haven’t had time, a few cookies won’t hurt me, mac n cheese is worth it, etc. But none of those are really good enough excuses for eating a dozen cookies or a box of Velveeta and then not moving my body. So, since I need to give myself a good swift kick in the you-know-what, here are some very common excuses as to why one cannot (or did not) eat healthy and workout, along with some tough love.

 

I don’t have time

It’s cute that you think you don’t have time for a 30 minute workout. What you actually lack is time management skills, not time. Stop spending too much time on other tasks (like social media, Netflix, hair, makeup, shopping, etc.) and you’ll suddenly have much more than 30 minutes to workout or cook a healthy meal.

 

It’s too expensive

Lululemon pants are too expensive. Equinox is too expensive. Working out and eating healthy are not too expensive. First of all, investments in exercise and healthy food are investments in your health. You only get one life and one body to live it in, so how a workout or vegetable could be too expensive for you is kinda beyond me. Think about everything you’ve ever spent more than $50 on. Did it help you live longer? Was it a good long-term investment? My guess is no. I spend $50 a week on healthy groceries, and $99 a year for over 500 instructional workout videos. It’s not too expensive.

 

I don’t know what to do

Buy a Groupon and take a class. Download a guide, like Kayla Itsines. Ask a friend. Go for a run. Or see above about $99 a year for over 500 workout videos. Figure it out!

 

My family isn’t on board

My family does not exercise, and I’m the only vegetarian/soon to be the only vegan in the family, yet I still manage to workout every day (ok most days) and make my own decisions about what I eat. My parents eat meat and potatoes (or pasta) for almost every meal. They don’t totally get why I gave up meat, but they buy me veggie patties when I visit so that’s all that matters. I believe this follows “if all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?” logic. Just because your family doesn’t eat healthy or workout doesn’t mean you can’t. Set an example.

 

I’m too tired

I go to bed between 9:30pm and 10:00pm every day, even on the weekends. Spoiler alert: I’m not 70 years old — I’m 25. I just love to sleep. I wake up at 6am Monday-Friday to workout, and between 7:30am-8:30am on the weekends, which is why I go to bed early. If you’re still awake past 11pm and you’re doing dumb shit, like double tapping stranger’s photos or online shopping for things you don’t need, and then you complain you’re too tired to workout, you can understand why people don’t take you seriously right? Here, listen to Samuel L. Jackson and go the F to sleep.

GOOD NEWS! After skipping two days of workouts and eating 6-12 Christmas cookies each day, I managed to get my workout in today and have only had one cookie. Like I said, this wasn’t for you; it was for me. And remember: Summer bodies are made in the winter.

A Fall Food Review – Or, Hungry at Target – Or, Food-Shamed by a Cashier

It’s been hot hot hot in LA, and I will fully admit I took a trip to Target so that I could spend some quality time in the air conditioning. I was also on a mission to acquire and devour the new apple pie flavor Oreos, because I love me some apple pie. I was NOT planning on loading up on fall food (i.e. pumpkin spice everything) as it was only September 1st … but Target has a way with me. Those tricksters put ALL of the apple pie Oreos in the aisle with the fall food, instead of in the cookie aisle.

Since I logically went to the cookie aisle first, I wound up buying cinnamon donut Chips Ahoy. So purchase #1, I fully blame on Target. Next, I entered the fall food aisle looking for the Oreos, and I happened to enter at the opposite end from where they were located (Target seriously knows how I shop and is using it against me…). As I meandered my way down, I wanted to buy almost everything, but I mustered an ounce of self control and only carted some Hershey’s caramel apple candies (and the Oreos).

Now that I’ve got my Oreos I really should have gotten my butt out of the store, but in an effort to maximize my time in the AC, I decided to continue wandering through the food aisles. This is a decision I have made many times before and it has never served me well. As I made my way past the beer, the candy, the pizza and more without fault, I arrived at the baking aisle. Now, I’ve started a side business baking and decorating cakes, so my trip down this aisle was well-intentioned. Despite that, I carted some pumpkin spice chips and nothing that would actually help me with my business.

At this point I was weak. Partly because my basket was getting very heavy and hard to carry, and partly because I figured I’d come this far, may as well see what else I could discover. As I made my way down the bread aisle I lit up as I saw the english muffins toward the end. I’ve had the pumpkin spice and maple french toast english muffins before and they were amazing, so naturally I got very excited to scoop up some more. I was disappointed that there was zero of either flavor on the shelf, but a new, interesting one was tempting me as a replacement: s’mores. S’mores english muffins. Every other s’mores creation I had ever tried was good to me, so I threw these in my heaping basket without much hesitation. Now, I think it’s safe for me to blame at least 2 of my purchases on the store itself. The others, I suppose I can take responsibility for…

Here’s a break down of what I bought, or was tricked into buying:

IMG_7896-01-09-17-09-34

1. Cinnamon Donut Chips Ahoy

I saw these on Instagram the same day I wound up purchasing them. Coincidence? Probably not. Turns out I need to spend less time in Target AND on Instagram. Regardless, these are pretty good. I was food-shamed by the cashier, who questioned “How in the hell is a cookie going to taste like a donut?” and I still don’t have the answer to that, but I do know that Chips Ahoy has the answer. These really did have a donut flavor to them, and they were good overall. I probably won’t buy these again (because now I’m on to you Target!) but if they were offered to me by someone else I might have one. (To clarify, the cashier also said things like “I have to stay away from that stuff, or I’d have no teeth,” and “Man, I don’t know how you eat all that stuff.” INSERT RAGE EMOJI HERE. Please note: I was using the SELF checkout. So this was a SERIOUS intrusion.)

2. Hershey’s Caramel Apple Candies

I ate two of these on my (air-conditioned) ride home, just to be sure. I am now positive that these are bad. The caramel apple flavor is definitely there, but it’s more of a sour apple, which was never meant to be mixed with milk chocolate. The experience was confusing and a bit offensive. I would never buy these again, nor would I eat one if it were offered to me. Gross.

3. Apple Pie Oreos

THE MOMENT WE’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR! Calm down, these were just okay. I had my fingers crossed these would be so much like apple pie that I could eat one and be satisfied, allowing me to turn away from actual, full slices of pie. These are good, no doubt, but they will not keep me away from my mom’s apple pie. These also tasted a bit like the caramel apple Oreos, and that didn’t help their case. (I ate these before the Hershey’s so don’t worry, there was no contamination going on here.) I would not buy these again because I would rather spend money on an apple pie.

4. S’mores English Muffins

I was at the end of my fall taste test and had already been let down twice, so when I took a bite of these english muffins I was PISSED. These are waaaaaay bad. Like, my mouth almost revolted. If it could have emancipated itself from the rest of my body in order to avoid being subjected to another bite of that muffin, I’m positive it would have. Thankfully, that’s impossible and my mouth is still intact, ready to eat more cinnamon donut Chips Ahoy. In conclusion, DO NOT BUY THESE MUFFINS. Unless you hate your mouth.
Since technically it isn’t fall yet – especially not in SoCal – I’m not going to rule out a “Fall Food Review: Part 2.” If it happens, let’s all pray it’s less disappointing.

Starting a Plant-Based Diet: The Struggle is Real

I always do this to myself. I watch health documentaries on Netflix and want to give up meat or go vegan or adopt some other extreme diet that makes me feel like a better person. Generally, I feel very strongly about the issues for a few days and then I realize I love food too much to stop eating meat or dairy. This time though, I may have finally seen enough documentaries to make a (small, slow) change.

What the Health

“What the Health” is a new (overtly biased, but still good) documentary on Netflix that’s been gaining in popularity. It’s centered around why we should all adopt a plant-based diet, namely because animal products can cause cancer and other life-threatening conditions like diabetes and heart disease, and the very institutions that exist to educate on and decrease the prevalence of these conditions are taking money from companies like Tyson, and encouraging the population to eat processed meat, red meat and other animal products that have been categorized as carcinogens (or are known to increase the chances of getting certain diseases).

The undeniable health risks and corruption were more than enough to make me rethink my diet. That is, until I realized what it really means to go plant based. (First thought: What about pizza?!)

What is a Plant-Based Diet?

A whole foods, plant-based diet is defined by Forks Over Knives (another great Netflix health documentary) as a diet “centered on whole, unrefined, or minimally refined plants. It’s a diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes; and it excludes or minimizes meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil.”

THAT MEANS NO CHEESE, PEOPLE.

~ Moment of silence for those living without cheese. ~

Ok, back to the serious stuff.

There are actually a lot of amazing things you can still enjoy on a plant-based diet, but you’ll have to kiss some of your favorites goodbye, too. (There’s no plant based egg replacement that I know of…) This is where my love of food (and my laziness) usually prevents me from seriously committing to a diet like plant based. But, after watching “What the Health,” I felt duped. Knowing that the advice and guidelines top health organizations are feeding us are fueled by bias and corruption made me really want to reconsider how I approach my diet, lifestyle, and general idea of health. By buying processed foods and animal products, I support a lot of companies whose morals – or lack thereof – I disagree with. But I’ve always done it, because it’s easier and I was under the impression it was still fairly healthy. The more documentaries I watch, the more I realize how important it is to put my money into products and companies that are transparent and environmentally/animal friendly.

The Struggle is Real

I’m not totally on board the plant-based diet train yet, though. I know myself well enough to recognize that jumping into a plant-based diet “cold turkey” is not going to work for me. I’m very emotionally attached to food and it’s a huge part of who I am and how I interact with others. So rapidly giving up large food groups and changing my entire thought process for cooking and eating is not going to bring me long-term success. I’m slowly transitioning into a life with minimal or no animal products based on my personal fitness goals and lifestyle. Right now, that means I’m not eating meat, but am still enjoying dairy and processed foods. So yeah, I’m vegetarian now.

What’s the Difference Between Vegan, Vegetarian & Plant Based?

If you’re confused about the difference between popular diets like vegetarianism, veganism and plant based, I do not blame you one bit. Here’s a simple break down:

Vegetarian: People who don’t eat meat. This includes seafood unless you’re a pescatarian and then you don’t eat meat with the exception of fish. Vegetarians still eat animal products like eggs and dairy.

Vegan: Going vegan is a complete lifestyle change. Vegans do not consume animal products or products that were made at the expense of animals (i.e. makeup that has been tested on animals, clothing made from animals, animal food products, etc.). Veganism is commonly thought of as just a diet, but in reality it’s supposed to be much more than that.

Plant Based: A plant-based diet is essentially a vegan diet without the lifestyle change. Going plant based is limited to the food you consume; it does not extend to any other products you may use or buy like Veganism does.

A plant-based diet also requires that all foods come from plants, and therefore excludes things like refined sugar. While certain treats – like Oreos – may be void of animal products and safe for vegans, (Okay, technically Oreo doesn’t promise that their cookies haven’t come into contact with milk, but they don’t actually contain milk, so it’s up to you if you want to eat them.) they aren’t made from all plants, so they don’t belong in a whole foods plant-based diet.

Currently, I have adopted a vegetarian diet. I’m working my way towards plant based, but don’t see myself ever being a true vegan. While I may make a more conscious effort to support brands and companies that don’t abuse or kill animals, I will likely never go vegan.

Why I Can’t Commit to Plant Based Right Now

There’s a few reasons I’m not ready to commit to a plant-based diet right now, one I’ve already mentioned above. In addition to wanting to go slow and set myself up for success, I’m also currently following a diet that makes it extremely difficult to go plant based. I’ve been following a Ketogenic diet for a few months and have a hard enough time staying on track without meat, let alone without all animal products. On a ketogenic diet, you limit your daily carb intake to 50 grams net carbs or less. Since most vegetarian and plant-based protein sources are carb heavy, I haven’t been able to accommodate both diets. (It’s not impossible, just VERY difficult!) Eventually I plan on abandoning the Keto diet in favor of going more plant based and putting on more muscle. In the meantime, I’m getting the majority of my protein from eggs, so I’m just focused on not eating meat.

Why I Can’t Commit to a 100% Plant-Based Diet, Ever

I love food; that’s the honest reason. I don’t believe in depriving myself of things that make me happy, as long as I’m enjoying them in moderation. I know even once I make it to plant based I will still eat animal products occasionally, and I don’t think there’s any shame in that. I’m not perfect and I’m not going to try and be. When I deem it worthwhile to have a slice of pepperoni pizza or a spicy chicken sandwich from Chik fil A, I will eat it, enjoy it, not feel guilty about it, and then return to my diet. For those that actually commit 100% to diets like these, I commend you. I do not however, want to join you.

Is a Plant-Based Diet for You?

Depends.

  • Does it enrage you that there’s evidence dairy causes breast cancer yet the Susan G. Komen foundation is partnered with Yoplait?
  • Does it piss you off to think that your loved ones who have been affected by cancer, diabetes, heart disease, dementia and more could have prevented it if they knew more of the real facts about nutrition and weren’t just told to take a bunch of pills?
  • Does watching documentaries like Food Inc. and seeing footage of animals being abused so already rich corporations can make more money make you sick to your stomach?  (Fun fact: I once threw up in my mouth while watching Food Inc. during a college class.)
  • Could you realistically give up meat?
  • Is it important to you to support companies/organizations that are transparent and socially responsible?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to consider going plant based. I recommend starting with “What the Health” and “Forks and Knives” if you want to learn more about the benefits of a plant-based diet/the corruption in our leading health organizations and government.

 

 

Exactly How I Lost 15 Pounds in 2 Months

I love bread.

I wanted to start out by saying that so there is no confusion throughout this article. I love bread, and pasta, and cookies, and cake and all carbs – bad, good; it doesn’t matter. However, I may love them too much sometimes (like when I eat 14 Oreos in just a few minutes).

Because I’m interested in trying almost any diet at least once, I decided to go low carb right before my 25th birthday. I have been low carb before, but never quite like this. To prep for yet another birthday that reminded me how the previous birthday I said I would get in the best shape of my life by my next birthday (… THIS birthday), I decided I would try to get into and stay in Ketosis (a state where your body burns fat for fuel instead of carbs) for at least 6 weeks.

To get there and stay there, you need to eat 50 grams net carbs OR LESS. 50 grams net carbs is about equal to a banana and a slice of bread, just so you have that for reference. I decided to be an overachiever and eat as little carbs as humanly possible – most days I clocked in at under 30 net grams. I am a rockstar. Please hold your applause until the end.

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At this point you’ve probably written me off as crazy, and I do not disagree. But no one has as much motivation as girl trying to fit into an amazing (and tight) cocktail dress for her birthday. Except maybe brides, but at least they already have someone willing to marry them whereas I am both trying to look good on my birthday AND trying to find a husband. So on second thought, I am the most motivated of all.

How to Follow a Ketogenic Diet

I have to stress that without this motivation – without an intense WHY – you will likely fail at staying in ketosis for a long period of time. I was extremely motivated, but when friends tried to join me and lacked a strong goal, they barely lasted a week. I also worked out twice a day while following this diet, once around 7am for 30-45 minutes and once at 5:30pm for the same length. You can see results from this diet without working out at all, but as with all diets, working out will speed up weight loss. Here are some examples of how I managed to eat so few carbs and not kill anyone:

What I Ate to Get to Ketosis:

Breakfast: 2 eggs scrambled with 2 turkey sausage links and 2 slices full fat bacon*

Lunch: Zucchini noodles with chicken and bruschetta

Snack: Atkins Shake; Celery & PB

Dinner: Greek salad with avocado, pine nuts, cucumber, tomato, red onion and homemade dressing

*To compensate for the lack of carbs and to help your body enter Ketosis, you need to up the amount of fats that you eat. About 60-80% of your calories should be coming from fats while following this diet.

What I Ate Once in Ketosis:

Breakfast: 2 eggs scrambled with grilled green pepper and onion, diced ham and pepper jack cheese

Lunch: Tuna lettuce wraps with celery, onions, soy sauce and full fat mayo

Snack: Atkins shake + 2 TBSP PB

Dinner: Grilled chicken and one bag frozen low carb vegetables (like broccoli with cheese sauce)

Signs of Ketosis

I had never attempted a diet like this before, but I figured if Kim Kardashian could do it, so could I. I had no idea how I would know when I was in Ketosis, and technically I guess I’ll never know. I didn’t do any blood or urine tests, but I experienced a number of signs that indicated I made it:

  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Extreme thirst
  • Rapid weightloss
  • Increased energy
  • Increased mental clarity

The symptoms will be different for everyone, and others have reported more and different signs of Ketosis, but as long as you’re eating below 50g net carbs, it’s pretty impossible to not have entered Ketosis after 10 days.

After the first week, where you lose mainly water weight due to decreased carbs, multiple people started to comment on my weightloss. By the end of the 7 weeks I was following this diet, I had lost 15 pounds and felt amazing.

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How Long Should You Follow a Low Carb Diet?

A low-carb diet can be a way of life for some people, especially those with medical issues like diabetes, but Ketosis isn’t a very sustainable way of life, at least not in my opinion. By being so restrictive, you are more likely to snap and fall into binge eating. For quick weight and fat loss, Ketosis is the perfect solution. Increased fats help keep you full while decreasing bloat and promoting actual fat loss. If you’re interested in burning fat for a moderate amount of time, whether it be for a special event or as prep for a bigger goal, like building muscle, I would recommend giving Ketosis a try. And if you want to stay low carb afterwards, you can always follow the Atkins diet.

Making the Shift

I took a few breaks from this diet once my birthday and the 4th of July hit, but I’ll be jumping back into a low carb diet when I start Beachboy’s new program Shift Shop. Shift Shop is a 3 week program that increases in intensity as it decreases starchy carbs. It’s based on cardio, strength and agility moves – the kind of stuff all you athletes out there are used to doing – and it gave the test group users INCREDIBLE results.

DA1x5BdUMAIMbeVIMG_6395-300x300shift shop round 1 results

The program launches on July 12th on Beachbody OnDemand and I am really excited about this one. I tried a preview workout and was dying! I can’t wait to see what else I can do/how I can continue to improve following this low carb diet.

Want to do Shift Shop with me and get in the best shape of your life in just 3 weeks? Reach out on my contact page or sign up for Beachbody OnDemand today. What are you waiting for?!

Sweet Potatoes 5 Ways

White potatoes are so 1999. Sweet potatoes are where it’s at now and if you haven’t jumped on this bandwagon yet, what are you waiting for?! I almost never eat a potato that is not a sweet potato so I’ve got a few recipes up my sleeve. I haven’t made sweet potato waffles yet, but they are on my short list. What I have made are these 5 dishes that will definitely bring you over to the sweet potato side if you’re not already there.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

When I started trying to eat healthier I essentially gave up all forms of potatoes. Coming from a family that has a potato dish as a side to almost every dinner, that meant seriously craving mashed potatoes sometimes. Then I learned I could eat sweet potatoes and not derail my diet, so I threw this together as fast as I could and damn I’m glad I did. All you need is 3 ingredients: sweet potatoes, vanilla greek yogurt, and cinnamon.

  1. Peel and chop sweet potatoes (4-5 for about 5 servings)
  2. Boil sweet potatoes and then mash
  3. Add 1/2 C greek yogurt to taste
  4. Add cinnamon to taste

Sweet Potato Chili

For a chili cook-off at my work one year, I decided to try and win over the vegetarians with a 5 ingredient sweet potato black bean chili. It was a major hit, though sadly it couldn’t beat out the chili cheese fry contestant…

In terms of health though, it’s definitely a winner. Follow the recipe from Minimalist Baker!

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Credit: Minimalist Baker

Sweet Potato Fries

Even at restaurants where they aren’t really healthier, I still prefer sweet potato fries (or tots!) to regular potatoes. Naturally, I needed to make them at home so I could have a healthy version, too. Here’s what you do:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Clean and slice 4-5 sweet potatoes, leaving the skin on.
  3. Place foil on a cookie sheet and drizzle with EVOO
  4. Spread fries over the EVOO and drizzle some more on top
  5. Sprinkle with your favorite seasoning (I usually use Mrs. Dash saltless chipotle and chili lime seasonings, but cinnamon is another winner here, too)
  6. Bake for 30-45 minutes depending on how you like your fries
  7. Enjoy!

Baked Stuffed Sweet Potato

Talk about comfort food. This meal will leave you feeling stuffed like you just had a cheat meal but it’s totally good for you. Here’s what you need to make a “Burrito” stuffed sweet potato:

  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 C brown rice
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Optional: corn
  • Seasonings: cumin, cayenne, chipotle
  1. Bake your sweet potatoes in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until they begin to soften
  2. Remove from oven and add your cooked rice, beans, seasonings and any other optional ingredients
  3. Continue to bake another 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are done
  4. Remove from oven and top with salsa and guacamole

Sweet Potato Cheese Fries

All you have to do here is add in some parmesan and nutritional yeast to the fry recipe above and you’ve got CHEESE FRIES! Sprinkle the cheese on toward the end of your baking time so it doesn’t burn and you’re good to go.

If you’re really grossed out and confused by nutritional yeast, here’s an article explaining it’s awesome health benefits.

The ONE Thing I Do Everyday to Stay Healthy

There are days I don’t workout, days I don’t watch what I eat, and days I straight up eat crap. But the one thing I do every day to stay healthy is drink my FAVORITE shake. I’ve tried quite a few protein and meal replacement shakes over the years and this one is by far the best. A lot of people think it’s too expensive, but it breaks down to less than $5 per serving, which is cheap if you’re using it to replace a full meal. Even when I use it as a snack it still saves me money since I don’t have to buy as many groceries. Plus it tastes amazing and you can get really creative with it!

So what is it?

Shakelology.

Ever heard of it? It’s a Beachbody product that some of your friends on Facebook may have tried to sell you before. If you thought they were crazy, here’s why you thought wrong:

    1. Shakeology is expensive when you think it’s “just a protein shake.” Truth is, it is SO much more than that. It has nutritionist approved “super foods,” probiotics, digestive enzymes, fruits and veggies. Know another shake that has ALL that? Compare ingredients and I think you’ll find that Shakeology always wins. And it’s still less than $5 per serving.
    2. Shakeology tastes GOOD. I’m personally not a fan of the vanilla, but chocolate and cafe latte are amazing. I drink cafe latte EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Plus, sooooo many recipes.
    3. You CAN use Shakeology as a meal replacement but you don’t HAVE to. Some people are really skeptical of meal replacements and think they are scams, but Shakeology is good enough that you totally could use it as a meal replacement, especially in a pinch, but you don’t have to; you can drink it as a snack or have it as a TREAT! (I usually mix it with almond milk and drink it for breakfast.)
    4. Shakeology actually improves the way your body works. With probiotics + digestive enzymes + REAL food, your gut is happier and healthier when you drink Shakeology. If you want increased energy, decreased digestive issues and an overall BETTER feeling all day long, you should start drinking “ShakeO.”
    5. Shakeology can help you lose weight! With all these good, filling ingredients, Shakeology crushes cravings and keeps you from overindulging on things that might ruin your diet or healthy lifestyle. Plus having a healthier gut is linked to weightloss too, so YAY for probiotics and digestive enzymes!

I challenge you to drink Shakeology once a day for 30 days and then STOP drinking it. It won’t be easy! This shake has come through for me so many times I can’t even count, and I know I would have chosen something fast and gross if I hadn’t had it with me. Or I would have had a protein shake and been hungry 45 minutes later!

Want to know the specifics? Read all about Shakeology from Beachbody.

Interested in snagging some of this superfood shake for yourself? Use this handy link.


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The Truth About Detox Baths

This post was originally published on ColeTries.com

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Just the thought of taking a bath disgusts me and sometimes makes me gag, so deciding to take a “detox bath” was very out of character for me. And now that it’s over I can confidently say NOT worth it.

So how did a girl who nearly throws up just thinking about a bath wind up paying $30 for French clay and sitting in a too-small tub? Goop. Yes, Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog, Goop, comes through once again. If you’re ever looking for something weird and expensive to try, just peruse Goop for a minute and you’ll be fine. And also possibly bathing in clay…

Obviously I put this bath off for a bit after it came in the mail because… ew. But after drinking for 8 hours on a Saint Patrick’s Day pub crawl onSaturday, I knew Sunday night needed to be spent in the tub. Which, by the way, was not big enough for me. I felt like Buddy the Elf at the North Pole trying to pretzel myself into a position that allowed for the majority of my body to be submerged. I managed to cross my ankles and get everything under except my kneecaps. I’m thinking this didn’t have a prominent effect on the overall detox but I’m not an expert, and I might have some pretty toxic kneecaps now.

Anyway, I followed the directions as best I could, but I usually manage to mess things like this up. I ran the bath water for what felt like forever until it looked like it was full enough. This might be simple for someone who takes baths often, but I had no clue what I was doing here. Next, I took the salt packet out of the bag and dumped the whole thing in. It dissolved pretty quickly and then it was time to get in and add the clay. I weighed my options for a minute and decided it didn’t make any sense to get in and then add the clay so I dumped it in first. Again, I don’t think this had a prominent effect on the overall detox, but not an expert.

Once I climbed in, which was a big step for me, I quickly realized I was severely lacking in water. Not sure if you’ve ever gotten into a bath with too little water before, but it’s awkward AF, like sitting on the shallow end of a wave pool except you’re naked. So I turned the water back on and sat there feeling very uncomfortable. I also started to get really self-conscious because I was sure my roommates could hear the water running and were judging me for how much I was using. Water in Southern California is a rare commodity, so I apologize to the environment.

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Once I finally had enough water, I turned my Spotify Soft Pop Hits playlist on and set my timer for 20 minutes. Retrospectively, I’m not sure this was the best idea considering the detox I was doing was a “digital detox” meant to cleanse my body of the toxins it absorbs from using my phone all the time, whatever those may be… but I wasn’t about to sit in the tub for 20 minutes with no music, so I used technology. The review I read of this product on Goop said that when I was done I would feel very heavy getting out of the tub and then sleep for a really long time. This is not what happened.

In the bath’s defense, I drank a small iced coffee around 7 p.m., and that’s probably why I didn’t sleep well, but I was hoping the detox would be so intense the coffee wouldn’t matter, especially since I finished this bath around 10:30 p.m. Regardless, I didn’t feel any heavier getting out of the tub than any normal person climbing out of that much water would, so I started to get worried that this was all for nothing.

Afterwards you’re supposed to rinse off but not shower and then wrap yourself in a warm blanket for 30 minutes while you relax/sleep and sweat it all out. I’ll admit I was sweating a bit toward the end of the bath, but once I got in bed I was no longer hot, and I also only had a room temperature blanket handy, so that may have had a bigger effect than I intended. I struggled to fall asleep even though it was now 40 minutes past my bedtime. Yes, I go to bed at 10 p.m. Judge me.

As I lay in bed pissed about not being able to sleep and dreading my 6 a.m. workout alarm, I somehow managed to doze off. Waking up wasn’t as bad as I anticipated but then there was the workout part…

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Being as I was supposed to sweat out the toxins after the bath but that didn’t happen, I think it all started to kick in during my workout. I did not feel right at all and every exercise felt abnormally tough. My stomach wasn’t feeling right and I decided to blame the bath. It could have been a myriad of things, like having an iced coffee for dinner and then working out on an empty stomach, but I am choosing to ignore that and place all blame on the bath. Even after the workout experience though, I do not feel better. I definitely do not feel rid of toxins and I definitely do not have a newfound appreciation for baths.

So what did I get out of this? A clean tub, I suppose, but not from the clay – I wiped that whole thing down with acetone before I got in because again, baths are disgusting.

What I Learned:

  • I do not fit in my tub
  • Baths are stupid
  • I am likely still very toxic (cue Britney Spears sing along)