Healthy Snacking

Quite often people ask me what I snack on, especially when I’m on a Whole 30.  In fact, when I tell people about the Whole 30 I am usually met with “what do you eat?”.  I’m finding that people don’t realize how much nasty crap they’re eating until I really spell it out for them by explaining what I eliminate and why.

Because I’m on the go so much and, it seems, pretty much living at the gym, I’m always hungry and need to be prepared for when hunger strikes and for pre-workout fuel.

So, for those of you who are interested, here’s the short-list for my snacking staples:

  1. Dates – You can almost always find a bag of dates in my desk drawer at work, and somewhere in my house.  I love dates.  Dates are a great pre-workout fuel, since they’re rich in glucose (a simple carb).  Glucose travels directly to the liver for immediate energy transport – meaning the body doesn’t have to convert it to a different form of energy in order to utilize it.  Sometimes, if I’m feeling a little draggy during the day, I’ll pop a few dates for quick (and sweet) energy.

Dates

2. Larabars

Larabars

I LOVE me a good Larabar.  There are so many different flavors to choose from and they are made (mostly – some of them have chocolate or peanut butter) from 100% natural, clean ingredients.  And since the primary ingredient in a Larabar is dates, they’re an excellent source of energy.  You can be certain there are always a few Larabars stuffed in my gym bag.

I often make my own Larabars…especially when I’m rockin’ a Whole 30.  It’s inexpensive and I can ensure they’re compliant.

Homemade Larabars

3. Fruit – Fruit is usually my number one go-to for snacks.  I usually have apples and bananas in my fridge at home and at work.  If I have a big workout coming up, I will usually have one of the two a bit in advance.  I often will throw an apple in my gym bag as well.

Fruit

You really can’t go wrong with fruit

I also like to have tropical fruit – mango, papaya, pineapple, dragon fruit – for occasional snacking sweetness.

4. Plantain Chips – I am addicted to plantain chips.

Plantain

I get these dudes at Walmart for $2

Okay, I may not be addicted, but I do enjoy plantains – home-cooked or store bought.  They’re low in calories and fat, and are sugar-free.  I sometimes keep these in my desk drawer (where my coworkers steal indulge in them) and in my cupboard at home.  They are so good and since they are Whole 30 compliant, I usually have them on hand for “emergency” snacking.

As you can see, my snacks are all Whole 30 compliant.  But there are also options available for people who are looking for snacks that are organic, or gluten-free, or vegan.  The company GoMacro offers products that meet all of the above.

GoMacro

GoMacro is a family-owned company that “put their heart and soul into a natural, whole-food based lifestyle”.  Their pursuit of health thus became a path of living in balance with themselves and nature.  (Seriously, do yourself a favor and go read their story – it’s truly inspiring!!  <3)

Their products are, as I mentioned, gluten-free, organic, and vegan (they’re also kosher). They are cold-pressed and nut-butter based and made from simple, clean ingredients.  These little bars are perfect for throwing in your gym bag or your back pack or your purse.

MacroBite

I can almost taste the nom nom nom

Unfortunately, GoMacro Bars are not yet available in Canada (they’re working on it), but if you’re living in or visiting the US, you can order them here or pick them up in select stores.  (GoMacro peeps – feel free to send me a sampler. 🙂 ).

Well there you have it.  What I eat.  What I want to eat.  A few healthy snack ideas that you can consider keeping on hand and getting you through your workout, especially if you’re struggling to maintain compliance in a Whole or clean or vegan diet.

Cheers, ~FB

 

 

20 Minutes a Day Can Change Your Life!

20 Minutes

I’ve said this many times before.  I’ve said it over and over again and I will continue to say it over and over again.  Why?  Because I believe it.  In fact, before I began my fitness journey, someone in my life kept saying that to me.  I thought he was just being an asshole and telling me I was fat (let’s face it, y’all, I was fat!), but eventually I listened to those words and I went from there.

As I mentioned in my last post, when I first started exercising, I couldn’t make it 20 minutes.  I could barely make it 3 minutes without wanting to kill myself (or feel like I was already dying).  My goal was to make it to 20 minutes.

When I finally did make it to the 20 minute mark I was ecstatic.  And for a long time that’s where I remained.  Just at the 20 minute mark.  Eventually, I did move up and sometimes I would (and still do) work out for hours on end.  But, there are times when time is limited and 20 (or 30) minutes is all you have.  You can sit around watching TV or creeping Facebook, OR you can get up and take advantage of that little bit of time and do something that will improve your mood, your energy level, your health, and your life.

Change Your Life

This past Saturday I was pressed for time and wasn’t able to get to the gym or a class but I desperately wanted to work out.  Technically, it was supposed to be my day off, but it was rainy and gross out and I was feeling lethargic and lazy and like I needed to do something. Initially, I was supposed to do the warm up for the Relay for Life but because of the raining weather, the warm up got cancelled.  Yet, I was craving a workout.  I didn’t want to overdo it because rest days are extremely important and, I admit, I don’t always take advantage of them, but I really wanted to get in a little cardio and a little strength.  And I did.

I got my game plan ready and I had myself a sweat-inducing, heart-racing 21 minute workout right there in my boyfriend’s living room.  And it felt great.  I felt great.  I accomplished a lot in a little bit of time and carried on with the rest of my day.

So, if that’s all it takes (at the very least, to start), why not set aside 20 minutes of your day and get moving in the direction to change your life.

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

Eat the Doritos*

Chips

Last year a friend was telling me how she had fallen off the fitness wagon.  She was busy with work and her kids and her life was consumed with normal life things.  Then she told me that the week prior a friend of hers was diagnosed, at age 30, with ALS.  She was so sad about this news and she said to me “I know that I need to stay fit and healthy and on track, but sometimes, I just want to eat the Doritos.”

Last week this same friend buried her mother.

This week one of my closest friend’s father passed away from a sudden massive stroke.

Several weeks ago my brother was injured badly in a motorcycle accident.  He just returned home a few days ago after spending 16 days in the hospital.  He’s very fortunate and blessed to still be with us, but he’s got a long road of recovery ahead of him.

Needless to say, the last few weeks have been overwhelming with so many tragic and stressful events all heaped together.  And believe me, I wanted to eat the Doritos!  All of them.  Well, maybe not Doritos but I certainly wanted to bury my emotions in chocolate.  And maybe I did…a little.

I am a very emotional person and I am a bit of a crybaby and sometimes when I’m trying to hold it all together I feel more and more like I’m going to fall apart.  I felt that way a bit with my brother’s accident.  He is a very strong person, physically.  He always has been.  He lifts weights and he boxes and runs and bikes and he wrestled.  He’s done it all.  And seeing him in such a state of vulnerability and completely busted and broken was, not only terrifying, but also a bit unknown to me because I don’t recall ever seeing him like that. (Not that he didn’t still have his moments of being an ass!)  So I buried most of my fear and sadness inside, had a breakdown once or twice, and then spent the rest of the time eating chocolate – followed by regular workouts.  Because I’m a bit of a freak and it seems that exercise is really the best way for me to get my aggression out.

Life is about balance.  There are times when you need comfort and sometimes food is the only place you can (or want to) find it.  And that is okay.  It’s about moderation.  You can have the Doritos, you can have the cake, you can have the Tim Bits.  You just can’t have it all all the time.

So, go ahead and eat the Doritos.

~FB

PS I’m not affiliated with Doritos

Don’t Give Up

Tried Everything

Let’s be realistic for a minute.  Results take time.  You aren’t going to do one workout or one class or one day of a change in diet and expect to drop down a bunch of sizes.  Life doesn’t work that way.  And like I’ve always said, the weight didn’t come on in a day, it shouldn’t come off in a day.

You have to work for it.

And, something else I’ve said over the years:  If you’re not willing to work for it then you’re not ready to lose the weight.

Life is not easy and losing weight is not easy.  But get in there, dig deeper, work hard, sweat, LOVE YOURSELF, and your hard work will pay off.

Tomorrow is the first day of a new week.

It’s the first day of a new you.

Hang in there.  Don’t give up.  It will seem easier.  You will get stronger.

Don’t give up.

You Got This!

~FB

 

Vitamin E and Your Diet (Guest Post)

The Importance of Vitamin E and how to Incorporate it into Your Diet

Daily vitamins and minerals are one of the most important parts of a healthy diet. We all know how important Vitamin C and B12 are—we hear about them all the time. The market is inundated with B12 vitamins. Vitamin D supplements sell well in the winter because we worry we’re not getting enough sun. What about the other, less popular vitamins? Vitamin E is an equally important part of the diet. Today, we’ll talk about why and how you can work it into your daily meal plan.

Vitamins help the body grow and develop. Each one does this in a unique way. For example, Vitamin E is organically built to protect the body from neurological and mental diseases, diabetes, and ailments of the eyes. There are two main types of vitamins: fat-soluble and water-soluble. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin which means that it is more resilient and the effects can last longer in the body. Water-soluble vitamins like B12 are flushed out of our system whenever excess water is. Comparatively, a person would need more B12 than Vitamin E since Vitamin E stays reserved in fat tissue. Taking too many fat-soluble vitamins can be dangerous for the body. Toxicity is often times more dangerous than a deficiency.
A deficiency of Vitamin E can lead to the destruction of red blood cells, which, if severe enough, can cause anemia. The symptoms of anemia include malaise, fatigue, and abnormal heart-rate. Not enough Vitamin E can lead to more serious complications like Retinopathy, which can render patients partially or completely blind. Since Vitamin E is responsible for protecting the body from eye disorders like this, it is important to make sure that you get your daily amount each day. Skeletal Myopathy can also result from a deficiency. This condition is categorized by weakness in the muscles and skeleton.
Vitamin E can be found in oils. Krill oil is virtually tasteless and it is a bounty of vitamins and minerals. While it is most known for containing Omega 3, a daily serving of krill oil can also get you a portion of your other essentials including Vitamin E. Vitamin E is vegetarian and vegan friendly. It can also be found in a variety of plant-sources. Since the vitamin is fat-soluble, you can cook any of these ingredients without worrying about losing some of the nutrients to the heat. Avocados, leafy greens, fruits, nuts, and wheat all contain Vitamin E. You can also pick up a supplement at the pharmacy to give you a boost!
The benefits of Vitamin E are absolutely free so make sure you’re taking the most advantage of them each and every day. All vitamins are important to understand and consider. By building a vitamin-rich diet, you can be a healthier and stronger person.
Writer’s Bio
Meet Jane Grates.

jane-grates

Jane:  new best friend material.  🙂

Jane is an award-winning web lover and the co-manager of RunnerclickMonica’s Health Mag, and Janes Kitchen Miracles (<– Go check out that site!  So cool!).
Jane is a travel scholar, writer, health enthusiast, and food and health practitioner.

You’re Good Enough!

I had a conversation with another fitness professional recently and we were discussing how “haters gonna hate” (although we were more eloquent than that).

When you make the decision to change your life and to become a healthier person, there will always be someone – that one person – who will do whatever he or she can to keep you down.

I can attest to this.

After I’d made some changes and began eating better and exercising, I lost weight very quickly and my overall health changed.  Everyone was really supportive of me, my decisions, and my lifestyle.  Except one person.

This person, for whatever reason, wanted to make me feel bad for feeling good.  In fact, this individual even made a public comment that I looked sick and had “gone too far”.

Really?  I gave my life a makeover and worked my butt off to get healthy. Before that  was overweight, sedentary, and basically ate garbage.  But suddenly, now I’d gone too far?

good-enough

While you will always have tons of support while on your road to good health, you will also encounter a few people who jerks and will work to bring you down.  Either they’ll throw out a hurtful comment or a snide remark, or will just talk shit about you behind your back.  The truth is – and again, I’m calling a spade a spade – these few people are dissatisfied with their lives.  They’re jealous that you look and feel so damn good, and that you have accomplished (read: earned!) so much, and they, for whatever reason, don’t want to put in the effort to do the same for themselves.  So, in turn, they want to discourage you in hopes that they can bring you back down to their level.  DON’T LET THEM.

And if you need to, shake ’em off.

Remember, as always, You’re Worth It!

~FB

#youreworthit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18 Again

Recently I was encouraged to write a post about what advice I could give to my college-aged self from where I am today.  It took me a long time to finally get here but here I am and here’s what I would tell myself.

First of all, at 18, 19, 20 I had no idea who I really was or what exactly it was that I wanted out of life.  I was a student and I was out to have fun and, to be honest, to just get through each day.

I spent a lot time laying awake at night thinking “My God, what am I going to do when I graduate?”…and then I’d panic.  I had no direction for my life.  So, if I could time-travel back to my 18th year, one thing I would definitely myself is take care of yourself now!  Embrace fitness! Love your body and embrace it.  Treat it like the temple it is because when you’re older, it’s not as easy as it once was to fit in exercise, work those muscles, and lose (or gain!) weight.  Try not to struggle with the things you can’t change about yourself and work on the things you can.  Stay active.  And be sure to have fun!  What’s the point of living if there’s no fun?  Keep your heart healthy and young.

And know that it’s never too late – or too early – to start doing something you love (or you loathe) if it will make you feel better and keep you healthy.  I wish I had embraced fitness at a younger age.  I wish I could turn back the clocks and jump on the bandwagon as a kid.  Especially knowing now that it’s attainable and not necessary to fork over a ton of money in order to stay fit and active.  All you need is  a good attitude and some motivation.  And a good pair of sneakers!

And eating clean doesn’t have to be expensive – although, direction for eating clean is likely a lot simpler when you’re not a young, partying college kid.  Just stay away form the junk!!

Most importantly, have fun.  Take advantage of all the world has to offer.  Get out an literally smell the roses and get a breath of fresh air.  Don’t stress yourself out over the unknown of your future, like how you’re going to pay back your student loans. (P.S. there are people out there who want to help you, like the Happiness Team from Earnest.  They can help you pay back your loans quicker with their refinancing options.)  Get out and literally smell the roses and get a breath of fresh air

~FB

Instant Results

I saw this meme the other day on my Facebook feed and I thought how true it is and has been for many of us.

instant-results

We’re just entering our second week of 2017 and, as most people do, many of us have also made New Year’s Resolutions.  (Have you?  Tell me about them.)

I almost never make resolutions for the new year because I know I’m more than likely setting myself up for failure.  (Stop swearing.  Yeah right!)

Instead, this time I have have made the decision and commitment to work harder on my strength training this year.  For Christmas I had received a free-standing boxing bag, something I have wanted for a long time.  I was ecstatic Christmas morning.  And I have been utilizing it this past week like crazy.

In addition to the boxing, I am going to continue to my strength training in the gym (and at home) with lifting weights and, hopefully, continuously increasing the weight.  Of course, this part will depend on how my back fares.  I wretched it again just this morning while shoveling snow.  Sometimes I feel like it’s never going to heal.  But, that being said, I will work on my strength while doing my best not to injure myself any further.

work-for-it

My Whole 30 60 (I am aiming big this time) also starts tomorrow morning and I have been so excited to get going.  Don’t get me wrong, I am going to miss chocolate and those dreamy peppermint mochas, but I know how wonderful I feel when doing a Whole and committing myself to completely clean eating for 60 days has me on edge in all the good ways.

But see – this is the point of this post.  Instant results would be fabulous!  But it’s just not realistic.  Oprah said years ago on her show that if there were a pill out there to make her lose weight she would be on it!  But, unfortunately, there is no magic pill. You have to work for it.  You have to.  The only instant result you get is making the choice to change your life.

That’s right, in one instant you can change your life.  You can commit yourself to a better lifestyle – to eating cleaner, to sleeping more, to getting enough water to drink, and to exercising.

30-minutes

Even 20 minutes a day can change your life!

Many years ago, when I was overweight and at my heaviest, I made that commitment. And, as you know, I haven’t looked back.  I have changed my life.

At first, I had a hard time getting through my workouts.  I was panting and huffing and puffing.  I could barely get through three minutes.  But I kept at it and I worked my way up to 10, 20, 30, 60, 120 minutes.  I have often said that 20 minutes a day can change your life  and I stick by that.  You do not need to spend hours upon hours in the gym.  But you do have to do something.  Start off with a goal of even 5 minutes a day.  Work your way up to 10 or 20 minutes over the weeks.  See how different you feel, how easier it is to breathe, how harder you can go.  Feel the difference in your body and how your clothes fit.  Commit yourself to one month.  Give yourself 30 days of eating better and working out even 3 times a week.  I challenge you* to do that. Thirty days is not a long time.  But those thirty days can change your life.

You have to work for it.

~Fit Bitch

*Anyone accepting my challenge, please feel free to comment or email me and let me know you’ve accepted the challenge, or if you want fitness tips, instructions, workout ideas, or nutritional advice/healthy eating coaching.

Sleep

A few years ago I wrote a post on Sleep and how it affects your health and weight.  At the time I was still battling insomnia, although not as bad as it had been several months before.  And I had discovered that my lack of shut-eye affected, not only my sanity and ability to function like a normal human being, but also my weight.  As my sleep cycle decreased, I watched my weight increase.  I was frustrated on so many levels, but eventually, sleep came easier to me and I finally got back to a semi-normal amount each night.

As I noted in that post, our sleep norm is down to an average of 6 hours per night from the norm compared of 7 hours per night 10 years ago, and 9 hours per night compared to the norm at the turn of the century.  (I’m not an expert, but I can almost guarantee that with the increase of social media, the average rate of sleep in North Americans has decreased from 6 hours per night since I wrote that post three years ago.)

Sleep deprivation has shown to 1. affect the release of cortisol (a hormone that regulates appetite), which can leave one feeling continuously hungry, and 2. increase fat storage (your sleep loss can affect the way your body metabolizes carbohydrate, leading to excess blood sugar, promoting the overproduction of insulin, leading to fat storage).

Fortunately, as indicated in my original post, there are many great ways to ensure you get a good night’s sleep and well rested (stay away from caffeine, don’t exercise right before bed, etc.).  This time around, my very first suggestion is likely, in this day and age, the most important:

  1. UNPLUG!  Social media is terrific for catching up with friends and staying in touch, but honestly, I think it’s killing us slowly.  So many people are worried about what they might miss if they disconnect from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.  Even for just a few hours.  And therefore, are online all.night.long. If you want truly want to get a decent sleep, I suggest logging off your accounts and shutting down at least a good hour before hitting the sack.  Seriously, if you are that much of a social media junkie, then you likely need a detox anyway. Log off computer, turn off the TV, shut down your phone (or at least put it on media silent) so that your brain can unwind from all that garbage.

    plugged-in-sleep

    Turn it off!  Snapchatting your “fake” sleep look is not as important as getting the real Zzzzs.

  2. RELAX.  Have a warm bath, read a book (one of my favorite ways to wind down), meditate, have some conversation. AND FINALLY:
  3. CHECK YOUR MATTRESS Often we become so accustomed to our beds that we don’t realize how really terrible our mattresses are, and that they could verily be the reason our sleep pattern is so poor.  We wake up with aching backs, stiff necks, and zonked out, yet we continue to sleep on the same old mattress each night.

LEESA has some pretty terrific mattresses and other products out there that they call “a Universal Adaptive Feel™ that adapts to all body shapes and sizes and all sleeping styles. This is particularly useful for couples, as each side adapts differently to each partner.”  This is pretty perfect.  Think about how many times you wake up in the night because your partner is dipping the bed.

You can also check out The Sweet Home’s review on why Leesa is the best foam mattress around!

If you’ve noticed your rate or quality of sleep is suffering and your weight is changing (and not for the better), it is worth it to evaluate your sleep pattern.  If you feel you are getting enough sleep but you still wake feeling groggy and tired, perhaps it is the time to check out a new mattress or pillow.  Or, you can even look at how you are sleeping: are you facing the right direction, etc.?  I know not everyone believes in Feng shui (a Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment), but it may be worth checking out.  If you’re used to your head facing north, flip yourself around so that you’re facing south.  Seriously: don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!

In the meantime, you can also check out Leesa’s the tips below on how to become a morning person.  And may you have sweet dreams.

sleep-graphic

~Fit Bitch

Why I’m Waiting to do the Whole 30

whole30header

If you have been reading this blog for a while you will note that I love the Whole 30 program.  Seriously, I am absolutely in love with it.   (If you’re not familiar with the program, go check out the website: Whole30.)

I love the food I get to eat and the way I feel when I’m doing it.  And I love how proud I am when I’ve finished it.  In fact, I love it so much that I’ve been super excited to get started on a Whole 30 in early 2017.

I’ve noticed that there are currently tons and tons of challengers out there – all who started their programs on January 1st.  And I applaud them.

Me, however, I have opted to wait a week.  Because I’ve done the program so many times over the last year and a half, I know that if I had started on New Year’s Day I would have been setting myself up for failure.  With so much “junk” in my system throughout the month of December (wine, chocolate, cookies, wine, wine, wine), I knew that I would need to ease my way out of Christmas goodness for a good week before jumping into my 30 days.  Which, by the way, I am hoping to turn into a Whole 60. *fingers crossed*

I didn’t eat terribly the entire month, but I did have way more sugar than I normally would.  I mean, everywhere I looked there was chocolate.  And I had more wine date (with and without others!) then necessary.  In fact, I have had more wine in the last month than I have had in the last 3 months.  (And that’s still not saying a lot.)

This week I have been omitting most of the holiday garbage…limiting the chocolate, omitting the other sweets, cutting out down the wine.  And by the weekend, I will have all of it out of my system.

I am really stoked to get going on this though.  And, to top it off, my boyfriend bought me the Whole 30 Cookbook for Christmas and intends on trying the program with me this time.

Whole30Cookbook.png

Another fitness wish come true.  🙂

I really encourage anyone who is planning to do the Whole 30 to read the book.  Spend the money and read it.  It’s worth it.  It may change your life!  I have truly benefited from this program and I think everyone can go clean for 30 days – even just once.

The basis of the program is to eliminate food cravings, sugar dependency, and systemic inflammation.  “Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.”

This is not a cleanse – that’s what you have a liver for.  This is a program to help you rid yourself of all the garbage that is unnecessary in our current diets and destroy the sugar dragon.

If you’re interested in the program, definitely check out the website or the book.  And if you have any questions about my experiences with it, please send me a note.

~FB