How I stopped gaining weight on vacation

Happy Boxing Day! I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas holiday and is enjoying this day off with family and friends. We’re soaking up as much time as possible with Andrew’s and my family, including all the doggies as we prepare to head out on our backpacking trip.

While I am preparing and packing for our trip to South America, I’m reminded of how stressful travel used to be for me. Even just a couple years ago, heading out on vacation was a huge stressor and always led to gaining weight. Because I couldn’t with my standard exercise and nutrition routine, I had no idea what to do. I’d either restrict my eating to an extreme degree when I couldn’t exercise OR overeat all the delicious things “because I was on vacation.”

It wasn’t until last year when I moved to Texas and began traveling more that I had to figure out this travel thing. I knew if I didn’t, my health, workout routine, and nutrition quality would decline.

With lots of experimentation, I’ve identified four key steps that make a huge difference in stopping weight gain while you’re traveling/vacationing. My super simple MOVE framework is your guide to maintaining your weight while on vacation.

Read More »

For my December 2016 stitch fix, I asked for DRESSES, lots of party dresses. I wanted to get some new dresses I could wear to the Google holiday party that could also be worn with leggings and boots to work.

December 2016 Stitch Fix Review #5

Happy Friday! It’s my first Friday back in the Bay Area. I’m SO excited. Before we all head into the holiday weekend, I wanted to wish all my blog friends a happy Stitch Fix day!

In case you aren’t familiar with Stitch Fix, it is a program where you get an online stylist who sends you 5 items whenever you prefer (I get items every eight weeks or so). The items your stylist sends are based off of your style profile, which includes everything from fit to style to budget. You’ve got three days to try everything on in the comfort of your home, with your current wardrobe all around you. Then, you choose what to keep and send back what you don’t like (totally free – shipping is included).

 For my December 2016 stitch fix, I asked for DRESSES, lots of party dresses. I wanted to get some new dresses I could wear to the Google holiday party that could also be worn with leggings and boots to work.

This time, I asked for DRESSES, lots of party dresses. I wanted to get some new dresses I could wear to the Google holiday party that could also be worn with leggings and boots to work. My regular stylist was not able to style my fix this time.

For my December 2016 stitch fix, I received:

img_6053

Wisp Coleen Ponte Dress

I love the ponte fabric. It’s structured enough to hide the bra bulge but super comfy. I also wanted a dress that would show off my arms 😉 This one had some fun detailing on the sides, too.

img_6075

I loved the detailing and colors but it was a little big in the waist. I ultimately returned it because I thought the neckline wasn’t the most flattering.

img_6076

RETURN

41Hawthorn Kalinah Dress

I loved this dress on the hanger but it just didn’t fit quite right. It was a bit too tight around my butt, which left too much extra fabric around my stomach. img_6071

The cut outs on the sleeves and the pockets were super cute details.

img_6072

RETURN

Laundry by Shelli Segal Zoie Jersey Dress

I had the opposite reaction to this dress than I did to the 41Hawthorn dress. In the box, I didn’t think much of it. I thought it was way too boxy but once it was on, I was intrigued.

img_6078

This dress is more trendy than I would normally wear but I think I like it! I think I could wear it with leggings and boots, too, so that’s an added benefit.

img_6077

KEEP

Adrianna Papell Alyce Dress

This dress is absolutely stunning! The back was so classy.

img_6081

But I think it was cut on a bias or something, because it has extra fabric around the waist.

img_6079

So, unfortunately, the verdict is to RETURN 🙁

Gilli Viola Jersey Dress

Nope. Just nope. I liked the fabric and pattern but when I put it on, I felt about 40 years older than I am.

img_6073

Unfortunately, the cinching on the waist seemed to have the opposite effect, calling too much attention (and fabric) to my waist.

img_6074

RETURN

If you have any questions on the service, let me know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you sign up for Stitch Fix, I get credit if you click through my link (and I appreciate it so much! :))

What styles are you loving for holiday parties?

Resilience: your #1 fitness skill

You have the best exercise equipment, a fabulous workout program, and nutrition guidelines at your fingertips. You feel ready to go, ready to attack your fitness goals with determination.  But the bad news is that’s not necessarily going to determine your success in implementing a nutrition or exercise habit. Whether you’re an olympic athlete, recreational exerciser, figure competitor, or busy student trying to fit in your workouts, you will not succeed if you do not have one thing: resilience.

Why resilience matters

You have the best exercise equipment, a fabulous workout program, and nutrition guidelines at your fingertips. You feel ready to go, ready to attack your fitness goals with determination. But the bad news is that's not necessarily going to determine your success in implementing a nutrition or exercise habit. Whether you're an olympic athlete, recreational exerciser, figure competitor, or busy student trying to fit in your workouts, you will not succeed if you do not have one thing: resilience.

I hate to break it to you, but things aren’t going to be perfect. It’s likely that you’ll stay up too late watching your favorite show, leading you to oversleep, miss your workout, and jack your hunger cues.

It (shit) happens, and your success hinges on your ability to come back to the good habits you’re building.

Before I started focusing on my resilience, I let little things derail me. I became frustrated when I didn’t have the ideal equipment for my workouts or when I only had twenty minutes to train. Resilience has helped me stay more positive and consistent. And remember, consistency leads to results.

Three ways to strengthen your resilience

Focus on the good

Resilience is focusing on the positive whenever possible, instead of getting bogged down in the details.

Did you train for 20 minutes instead of skipping a workout? Count that as a win!

Subbed out a couple exercises because you didn’t have the equipment? Awesome. 

My favorite example?

results

Your expectations for a single training session can actually increase the benefits you get from working out.  In other words, thinking positively about what you were able to do can help maximize your results.

Plan!

Help yourself to be more resilient to life’s challenges by creating a plan that supports your willpower. We don’t just skip work meetings because we’re tired. We don’t no-show dinner with friends because we’re stressed about school (well most of the time). But we do this with our workouts? All the time.

Sweaty selfie

My Three S Formula for Consistency and Motivation will bring awareness to your workout habits and make sure you stay on track, even without motivation.

Utilize both your short and long term memory

When it comes to resilience, you’ve got to maximize both your short and long term memories.

If you’ve slipped up, it’s time to use your short term memory and let that mistake roll off your back. When you wake up the next day, forget you were not acting in line with your goals. Just move on and focus on the next action you can take that supports your goal.

mimosa cups

On the other hand, if you’ve had a little win, HOLD ONTO IT. Focus on that feeling of empowerment and success for as long as you can. This will motivate you to continue!

If you’re looking for help becoming more resilient so you can make positive changes in your life, I’d LOVE to help you create your fit lifestyle.  accountable, check out my upcoming programs. I’d love to work with you!

What’s one fitness or nutrition habit you’re trying to implement?

Healthy Breakfast: My Three Favorites

You roll out of bed and walk to the kitchen to find some breakfast. You look around your kitchen and are stumped. You’ve barely got any time before you need to leave for work. You know that breakfast is important but you have no idea what to eat, so you grab a granola bar and head out the door.

This, my friends, was my entire college experience. Breakfast was overwhelming for me (even when it was already prepared for me in the dining hall) so I skipped it too many times to count. It wasn’t until I started working at Google that I got into a healthy breakfast habit.

Since I started eating breakfast regularly, I’ve noticed a huge decrease in cravings AND I find myself eating better throughout the day. This is why I’m sharing three of my favorite breakfasts and why you should eat them too! Share your favorite breakfast option below, too!

Read More »

My moderation journey

Moderation has become quite the buzzword recently. I’ve talked about it, defined the heck out of it, and worked on it as a skill. Truthfully, it’s only been in the last six months that I’ve realized that moderation is the ONLY way I want to live my life anymore.

But if I’m being honest, I definitely have NOT always thought this way. I was one of those people who constantly was praised for her self discipline, which is awesome when it comes to schoolwork, but self-discipline can have some ugly side effects outside of the classroom.

See, where most people hit the wall two weeks into a diet, I broke through it and went ahead at full force. Where most people want a bowl of ice cream two weeks into their diet, I cut more calories for just thinking about it.

 

Moderation has become quite the buzzword recently. I've talked about it, defined the heck out of it, and worked on it as a skill. Truthfully, it's only been in the last six months that I've realized that moderation is the ONLY way I want to live my life anymore. This is my journey to moderation.

For about eleven years, I struggled with a severe eating disorder that took away parts of my childhood, all of my teens, and some of my young adulthood. I restricted my caloric intake excessively and always.  My workout routine was relentless and was my way of burning off every calorie I ate. And when I slipped up? I hated myself. Often, I would look in the mirror or try on clothes and just collapse in tears.

Note my approach to the holidays from about 2004-2015.

Thanksgiving Day: run a 10k, eat extra because I’m hungry and tired, have dessert (and wine once I turned 21 😉 )

Day (or honestly, weeks) after Thanksgiving: count every calorie that goes into my mouth, exercise an hour+ per day, hanging on until the next happy hour excuse to relax

It was miserable. This cycle of indulging followed by severe restriction fueled nothing but disordered eating, over-exercise, and crappy body image, regardless of how thin I became.

Katherine without cellulite

I was constantly searching for a better way to live.

My journey to moderation

After years of restriction, I battled every day to eat more food that would nourish my body and fuel my goals. I’d be lying if I told you it was easy. There were days during my recovery when I cried while eating the extra food.

Swirls

Things started to shift in 2014. I found Jill Coleman‘s writings on moderation. Her ideas piqued my interest.  You mean, I don’t have to restrict to see results; I just eat the same way every single day? Cool. I can do that.

And that’s exactly what I tried to do.

My Thanksgiving plate looked like my dinner the night before.

Andrew and my anniversary dinner was nothing out of the ordinary. 

I drank beer (OK, Mike’s Hard Lemonade) or wine most nights. 

Combined with the strength training I recently discovered, I lost body fat, dropping into a pretty lean for me range. I was STOKED.

It wasn’t until mid-2016, I realized something that blew my mind: trying to eat mostly moderately every single day was actually just another way for me to continue restricting myself in the day to day.

IMG_3533

Because I focused so much on eating the same every day, I found myself slipping into old, restrictive patterns.

Social invitations were declined so I could eat the same foods (even if I enjoyed them)

I wanted to indulge on special occasions but made myself stop

Traveling stressed me out (because how could I find my foods)

Since that realization, I KNEW I had to make some changes. I don’t want to be in that restrictive space anymore, so I’ve started testing the waters with some new ideas.  I’ve shifted my approach to be one where moderation is two seemingly opposing concepts.

My #consciousindulgence approach to moderation

  1. Eat in a way that makes you feel like you don’t need to have a cheat day
  2. If you overindulge for whatever reason, remember that it does NOT need to be “cheat day” to indulge OR you don’t need a cheat day to (over) indulge

Again, if I told you it was easy, it would be an utter lie. Those ugly thoughts telling me to eat less, move more, and get smaller still are there; I just don’t listen to them as much.

If I want to indulge a bit more (like when Andrew came and visited), I do.

If I need some chocolate every evening to make me feel satisfied, I eat it.chocolate

I’ve been living this way more and more for the last six months, and it’s made me feel more at peace with food. I also feel more empowered to enjoy my life and the experiences that come with them.

So when I leave for Argentina in a few weeks, you can bet I’m taking my #consciousindulgence approach with me.

Strength and speed: butt and leg workout

Happy Friday, my friends! I cannot believe that Christmas is less than ten days away! With Christmas around the corner, I’ve been crazy busy with holiday preparation.

When life gets busy, with the holiday season in full swing, finding the time to fit in your workout can be challenging. That’s why I default to metabolic workouts in December. This style of workout workout is specifically designed to maximize your workout afterburn, keeping your metabolism revved all day long.

As a mini Christmas present, I’m sharing one of my go-to metabolic strength workouts. This workout is perfect for leg day.

Read More »

How much weight should I lift?

You walk into the gym, ready to work out. You head over to the weight section, look in the mirror and realize you have no idea what to do, even though you know you’d like to be weight lifting. Sound familiar?

When I first started lifting weights, I had no idea what to lift. I’d follow along in workout videos and just pick up exactly what the instructor used. When I stopped getting results, I had no idea why.

I’ve recently been getting lots of questions from women who are not super comfortable in the free weights section of the gym. Braving all the bros working their biceps leaves them feeling intimidated, not knowing how to approach the weight rack. That’s why I’ve decided to write a series on Mastering the Weight Room.

At the end of the series of blog posts, you’ll be confident in approaching that free weight section with ease.

I've recently been getting lots of questions from women who are not super comfortable in the free weights section of the gym. Braving all the bros working their biceps leaves them feeling intimidated, not knowing how to approach the weight rack. That's why I've decided to write a series on Mastering the Weight Room. At the end of the series of blog posts, you'll be confident in approaching that free weight section with ease. This week we are tackling step 1: deciding which weight you should pick up :)

This week we are tackling step 1: deciding which weight you should pick up 🙂

Selecting the correct weight

When you’re getting ready to workout, all you need to do is ask yourself three questions to choose the appropriate weights.

What are your goals?

Your goals determine how heavy you need to lift, so it’s important to identify what’s most important to you.

For most women, 10-12 reps will be ideal. This rep range is ideal if you are looking to tone up and lose some body fat. If you’re looking to gain endurance, increase your reps (12-15), and if you’re looking to put on lean muscle, decrease your reps (8-10).

weight

Rule of thumb: if you’re looking to put on lean muscle, you want to lift heavier and complete fewer reps.

What part of your body are you working?

Depending on whether or not you are working your upper or lower body determines how heavy you should lift. In general, women have more muscle mass on their lower body, so this requires heavier weights. With your upper body, you’ll likely lift less weight. When I’m lifting for my upper body, I grab a set of weights that is 2-5lbs more than I “think” I can lift. I’ll perform as many reps as I can with that weight and drop down as needed.

weight lifting

This is why I recommend having two sets of dumbbells, one heavier for your lower body and one lighter for your upper body.

What type of workout are you doing?

I can generally squat with 45lb dumbbells with good form but that doesn’t mean I automatically grab the 45lb DBs whenever I am going to squat.

If I am doing a more metabolic style (think, HIIT or strength training on an interval timer) workout, I’ll definitely use lighter weights. For the majority of my workouts, using weights ranging from 5-20lbs should be perfect.

woman push upWith these three questions, you’ll have your bases covered. Be sure to check in with yourself after each set. If the weight gets too heavy or light, be sure to mix it up so that you can still hit your allotted number of reps.

Stay tuned for the rest of the series. If you have questions or things that confuse you in the whole weight lifting realm, let me know in the comments below!

What’s one thing about weight lifting that still confuses you?

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

Read More »

Working out while sick – my three rules

You’ve got a 6am workout scheduled. You go to bed early, your clothes are set out, and the coffee will be ready with plenty of time to sip before you hit the gym. But when your alarm pings, your throat is sore, your body feels heavy, and you’ve got a cough. As you lay in bed, you go back and forth on whether or not you should get up. You mentally go through your list of all the reasons for or against working out while sick.

I’ll answer that question once and for all. These are my three guidelines to working out while sick.

Read More »

Single Serving Chocolate Cake: high carb + low fat

It’s Friday night and you’re itching for some chocolate. Still slightly full from a tasty Thanksgiving dinner, you need a sweet treat that won’t throw you completely off track for days to come.

You are not alone. So many times, I’m hit with a crazy craving for something chocolatey, chewy, and delicious but have zero options in my apartment. Cookies and crackers are not in my apartment, so on the occasion that I want something in the baking realm, I get creative.

This recipe is the result of chocolate craving I had a few weekends ago. I hadn’t gone grocery shopping and had to make due with the things in my pantry (so all those fancy Pinterest recipes were not gonna work).

Read More »