Balanced for Fat loss. Is the life possible? 5 ways to start.

Living a balanced lifestyle is a great place to be, but what does that even mean?
(keep scrolling for my list)

We have all heard that stress is one of the worst things for our bodies in terms of fat gain, heart problems, gut health and overall wellness.  Health-conscious people talk about living life in balance to help get your body in order and I completely agree with that sentiment. So does it work? How do you do it?

My New Years goal this year, 2016, was to be more "balanced"...I'm checking in on that now that we're well over half way through the year. I think I've definitely done a BETTER job at it but I'm certainly not going to claim I'm fully well-balanced!  My kids, husband and business are not well balanced, is anyone's??  If yours is, please, pass on the secret....I beg of you. I do have to say, I'm so much closer now than I was last year at this very time.
        I've been able to balance fitness and life for better success in my goals. *score!*

I believe living a "balanced lifestyle" is VERY important but I actually believe it is more about mentally feeling balanced than physical balance (aka food and fitness).

Balanced means something different for everyone. A balanced lifestyle is different for every person so you truly need to find your own balance. But here's my list of how I'm trying to live a more balanced life for fat-loss and lifestyle.
* I'm not a psychologist so if you're looking for mental stability/balance, I think you'll have to check in with one
... but I can tell you how you can start the process physically....  :)

1) Wake up and drink will refresh you, start your day off with something good in your body and keep you on track to staying hydrated.

2)  Don't spend hours working out. You don't need to.

  • Workout should be on your calendar, just like an appointment, even a 15 minute one.

 3)  Get out of the gym!

  • Walk, if you have time to facebook, snapchat or watch a 30 minute tv show, you have time to walk. You can even Facebook or snapchat while walking...just walk in the morning and/or at night for 20 minutes or more. It will help you think about your day, think about your next day and lower your cortisol...which will help you lower your midsection fat stores.

  •  Spend time with the family, spend time with yourself, that is part of living balanced. 

  • 4) Eat well 90% of your meals for the day. Protein and Veggies should be at every meal...then stop thinking about your food.

    5) Ultimately:   Don't think about the other things you need to do while doing the current thing you are doing.

    •  It will cause stress for you to think about work when you can't be working. Don't think about kids' laundry while getting in a 20 minute workout.  Don't think about cooking dinner while eating lunch...  *This is a hard one but just try!
    Balance comes from what YOU feel works for YOU. But you can't be balanced if you're stressing about being balanced. So de-stress yourself.

    PS. keep an eye out in the next 2 months for the exact workout and nutrition plan I used from the start to get more balanced in my's working for others too! Their success is happening as we speak. #stresslessFatLoss

    How we don't gain on vacation....

    The crew
    IT COMES DOWN TO  what you do every other day of the on:

    So I'm back from our 14 day vacation in Bali, it was my sister, her husband and myself and my husband. It was SPECTACULAR. We grew up in Indonesia for a bit so Bali is not unfamiliar territory, but it has been quite a while! I'll include some fun pics...the culture and the company always make a vacation great.

    Monkey forest temple
    BUT as women we always seem to worry about weight...from losing it to gaining it, and ultimately food stresses us out so then vacation is not fun....

    How many times have you heard people say they're losing weight for their upcoming beach getaway...only to come home and say they gained 5-10lbs while on this amazing vacation?

    local foods...veggies, meat, rice
    Do you ever go on vacation and look forward to (or salivate just planning!) the food and all the different dishes you're going to indulge in because you were so strict before you left? Do you go hog wild on vacation and eat everything and anything because "it's vacation, why not?"?

    Why would you want to undo all of the very hard work you put in to get ready? It can take 4 months to get physically changed and take 1 or 2 weeks to put back on quite a bit....That just doesn't seem fair!

    SO HOW do we vacation and never put on pounds? I don't step on the It's true.

    But for REAL:  First, we love vacationing...I have even been called a vacationing PRO by a client (I'll take that title any day!). I grew up lucky enough to have parents that liked adventure and change, so we got to travel, and learn how to do it right (right according to us at least!).  Vacation is something that is important for your health, even a stay-cation. I'm not talking about only going exotic places...but wherever you do go, make it worthwhile and use it as vacations are intended, to destress and relax (Sound familiar? The first steps in health and fat-loss, right?!), experience and learn.

    Second, we eat local. Why? well, it's cheaper! But also....because when you're not in America, you don't get served American sized portions, therefore we eat smaller amounts at meal times. Plus, you may find new, healthier dishes that you never knew you liked. So try new things. Local also means in-season fruits and veggies, staples in anyone's healthy diet. Focus, as always, on veggies and protein and the rest will fall into place naturally while on a vacation.

    Local fruit, Salak
    Third, we MOVE A LOT! And come prepared. Vacation is not a different lifestyle, it's part of the lifestyle.

    EVERY morning we'd get up, make coffee and walk either to town from the resort or along the beach sipping coffee or literally, my husband and I walked around the resort hallways just exploring...we have no time to beat, no clock to live by, just walk. That's the beauty of vacation, you get to go at your own time.
    run followed by some SUP
    Most places have a gym, but you may not want to be in a gym a lot so....  Some days I'd go for a run then go back to the room and use the resistance bands I brought with me and do a fast circuit to pump up my muscles and get the blood flowing before heading out for the day to lay around and read. The BEST was sprints on the beach at night. Or push-ups while laying one is looking, no one cares. You might even inspire someone to move too.

    We'd leave the hotel and WALK to lunch, and later walk to dinner, saying "no" to every taxi driver along the way...
    Besides walking you can do lunges down the hallway, you can snorkel, you can swim for 20 minutes, you can do water aerobics in the ocean...the options are endless.    But we did make sure to do something EVERY DAY.

    By why do so many people plan vacation around the food, or get excited when the cruise has unlimited buffets 24 hours a day?  Probably because they're not living a balanced life during normal times. They're so restrictive that when you get to a special place, all you can think about is food. It doesn't have to be that way!  Food is fun, food is delicious and you can anticipate a great meal...but living to eat 4 burritos a day while in mexico, simply because you're there, is not the best way to approach a vacation. It's the best way to put on a lot of weight and get some serious heartburn!

    If you live a balanced and active lifestyle before vacation, once you get to vacation you will still live actively. You won't feel the need to OVER indulge, or OVER splurge.... you can just regular indulge and regular is vacation after all!

    Take this workout with you sometime:

    Is this real life? Your expectations and mine.

    This is me. In real life. On a 14 day vacation. #notfilter I'm happy and loving life...and I don't care what you might think of my body or my lack of visible abs as a Fitness trainer. I don't care if other trainers want to see biceps,
    or striations of muscle, or look down on me because I don't have those (and, sadly, many do). I want to live a healthy, balanced life eating pizza and salad or frozen yogurt with my girls....and that is what I do. That is what I tell my family, friends and clients to do.

    Trainers are always talking about living healthy and balanced...but as they say this they're standing there shirtless with their abs on display as they tell you to "go live life in balance, eat in moderation and work hard" and YOU TOO CAN LOOK LIKE ME with a six-pack. Don't believe everything you read or see (though filters and good lighting). That trainer is lacking. They don't have the empathy needed to see your situation as different from theirs or that your physical wants may not be the same as theirs. They don't have the knowledge and understanding of the biological differences that each woman has to deal with at different stages in life or that genetics does play a role in physical appearance...or that some people just don't want to work that hard, and that's ok too!

    Everyone is different...does this person have another career to balance? Friends that aren't as into fitness? Understand menopause or hormones?

    - Kids? Have they every been though pregnancy and any or many of the complications both major and minor of pregnancy, birth and postpartum bodies or hormones?

    - Do they have family members to take to lessons, practice or other mouths to feed?

    - Is this trainer truthful with themselves in how they feel? Are they going to parties but feeling guilty or are they able to enjoy themselves?
    - Do they get to go on last minute Thai food dates with their husbands just for fun without guilt?

    I'm not talking about diminishing the ability of a trainer simply because they DO have abs, it's just important to see if they're really happy and truly balanced WHILE having abs (the holy grail! ).

    ABs are not my life. Family, Fitness and Health are my life, feeling GREAT and feeling STRONG (both mentally and physically) are my goals.

    I teach my clients about Flexible Dieting or tracking macros because it is a learning tool, it creates an understanding of nutrition and choices and how to actually make choices based on your own body and goals. It leads to more mindful living. And we can get pretty lean if we want or we can use it to learn to live a BALANCED life with lasagna at dinner or french toast at brunch and still lose body fat to be healthy. This is real life.

    Healthy mindset, food rewarding...What's a parent to do?!

    So my kindergartner came home yesterday and said they got candy at school for listening to something and missing recess...
    Her: "don't they know I have candy from the other days I already don't eat because I have too much? They give too much candy."
              *thoughtful pause*
    "They should give homework instead of candy, that'd be better!"
    I definitely laughed because it's kind of ridiculous😅.....

    I doubt many would agree with her...but I bet a sticker would make her happy! My kiddo loves sugar like normal kids but apparently she knows her self-imposed limits...PLUS they get other treats and ice cream WEEKLY...yep, weekly #brainfood?? I in no way blame the teachers....My family is full of educators, I put no blame on other for what happens in my life, it's up to us to mold our children's choices and life skills.

    🍦 I'm not worried about obesity or childhood health issues because we eat well rounded meals and move, run, jump and play sports. I hope other families do too......but I worry about 2 worse consequences:
    1) the sugar crash and subsequent bad attitude at home! I'm thankful I don't worry about childhood obesity, I hope we all learn to make our kids move and feed them right so you don't worry either. And those sugar attitudes?! We all need help with those....

    But my other worry:

     ðŸ¦ What about teaching a healthy reward system, both internal and external?! Reward good behavior with sugary food and they'll grow up feeling like food is a reward. Food is delicious and fun but should we start thinking of it as a reward or punishment then it takes a different meaning as a young adult or grown woman, especially one who struggles with food/ weight issues.... it starts young. Reward a kid for having a good naptime with candy (yep, it happend) and when she grows up she may feel it's a great reward to have pie every night because she had a great day at work (her edible smile or tasty pat-on-the-back). But then if she has weight issues she may need to cut back a bit... but how can she feel the success if that was her "good day" edible pat-on-the-back?!
    (not an end of the month "I smashed my work goals" those can be rewarded because it should be ðŸ‘Š)

    We can FEEL greatness without having to feed it. Each day should be celebrated but, in my opinion, save the treats for the big times.

    📍 It starts young. Habits are too hard to break, set good ones first.

    This treat below was frozen fruit with a stick jammed in it. 

    They handed them out around our pool to the kids free during the day and the smiles and cheers were to DIE FOR. They get happy over the simplest things! Let's teach them what's good brain food from the beginning. It really does start at home. Be their leader, teacher and example.

    We need the whole weight- loss story, not the abridged version....

    Sometimes we see memes that call the scale a liar...I've called it a liar too 
    In reality, the scale just doesn't tell the whole story, but it tells you SOMETHING. It might be saying you ate a lot of salt, it might say you gained muscle, or fat, or had a busy day and didn't drink a lot, or you drank a ton, or your cycle is coming, or you're tells us a TON, we just need to figure out what it's saying.
    Take me for example. On Sunday we spent all day outside in the humidity (retaining water in the humidity) I felt bloated and my eyes were even a tad swollen when I woke up. On Monday the scale was up 3 lbs from what it was Saturday morning. 3 whole pounds.
    Monday during the day, I only drank a few extra glasses of water but I began peeing All. DAY. LONG. for no real reason other than I was holding water from being outside the day before and finally letting it go.
    Upon waking up Tuesday morning the scale is down the 3 lbs of water that I peed out all day Monday. And that was just from normal life hanging out outside and probably not hydrating enough.
    Water can make a huge difference on the scale, so don't take what the scale says and make it ruin your day. If I had, I would have been saying that all the fun we had outside the day before ruined my next didn't, it was fun and the scale can't say how much fun we had, only that I was out in the humidity!  Don't let the scale be your FUN-METER.
    I use the scale for my clients because it's part of the math...and it is a TOOL to tell us where you're at but we have to look at the whole picture (yesterday's activity, 2 days ago food, cycle, hormones, weather...) to figure out what the scale is telling us on that one day. From there I make decisions on what we change or if we change nutrition.

    Things that make your scale go up...and then go down:
    Being dehydrated
    Being Overhydrated
    Just eaten a meal
    Not enough SLEEP
    Heavy lifting workout the day before (muscles retain water)
    Extra carbs than normal (holding water...not a bad thing)
    Extra salt
    Humidity in the air
    hormones fluctuating
    time of the month bloating 
    weighing before voiding bladder
    wearing different clothes than normal (or wearing clothes at all!)
    Dr office scales....check to see if it's on carpet, that makes it inaccurate
    Different scale than normal

    If you weight, weigh 2 or three times a week and then look at the TREND OVER TIME. Day today will be different, week to week is a better way of seeing how you progress. If you weigh every day, that's ok too...but take a weekly average and then compare it to the weekly average of the next week, that is a more fair comparison of progress. 

    And if you don't weigh at all...and it's working for you, you're in a good place in life and happy where you're happy and don't change your ways!

    Fat GAIN, what foods to AVOID...the list.

    ....You seriously thought I'd fallen into THAT crowd? The "not-backed-by-science" one?

    We get bombarded with lists day in and day out, it is one reason why I try and scroll in interwebs only a couple of times a day, I don't like seeing the ridiculous health headlines that I know are false or will only lead you down the wrong path.

    The truth is, fat gain is about eating too much and not moving enough. Period. Done. 

    They've done, and recently published Mayo Clinic study (referenced in this article here), that it's actually your daily movements that are the most effective lifestyle change you can make for fat loss. That, paired with nutrition, PROPER nutrition, will effectively lead you to your goals. This study determined that nutrition was, in fact, more important than exercise for most active people. 

    If you're just starting out on your goals, start with nutrition, it will take a while to get the hang of it and create good habits, but once you start here, things will be easier and you'll feel better and more motivated. If you're trying to break through a plateau that you've been at for 4 weeks or 4 years, nutrition is definitely your next step... simply because there are times in life when you JUST CAN'T workout anymore minutes in the day so nutrition needs to be your next step.

    SO, here's your list:

    1. Avoid all foods that will trigger you to overeat that same food or others. I.e. sugary/fatty treats.
    2.  Avoid foods that you KNOW you are allergic to or creates a negative response in your body/gut.
    3. Avoid overeating ANY food...veggies, fruit included. You know, 3000 of broccoli is still 3000 calories.
    4. Avoid overly sugary foods or drinks. Drinking calories is never a good idea!
    5.  Avoid beating yourself up when you eat something tasty...just eat it, be happy and make a better choice next time.

    Don't avoid any one thing if it makes you miserable to not eat it, and don't eat just one thing (greens? quinoa? anyone?) because some list out there said that it would help you lose fat. Eat what works for you and eat in a way that is sustainable for life. Doing that will make you happy and results will follow.

    As a personal trainer, who loves food, I can tell you that the best results I have seen in ANY client has come from nutrition compliance...then the workouts changed their body.  Exercise is so important for health, as well as burning calories but you need to be eating to fuel your body first. Make it a lifestyle and the rest will fall into place once you start adding in your workouts