How often should we eat for weight loss?

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

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

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

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

Sounds awesome, doesn’t it?

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

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

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

Why I eat four meals per day

It promotes satiety

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

Bleh. I hate that feeling.

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

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

It decreases my daily caloric intake

Wine, Protein, Veggies

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

I was eating less than before!

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

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

It gives me flexibility in my social life

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

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

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

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

How many meals do you eat daily?

3 steps to eat out AND stay consistent

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

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

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

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

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

3 steps to eat out without breaking the calorie bank

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

1) Break down every menu into components.

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

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

A couple suggestions to get start right now:

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

2) Choose protein and veggies that’ll satisfy you

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

3) CHOOSE every indulgence

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

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

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

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

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

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

But there is.

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

Grab your copy now. 

Do you enjoy eating out?

Healthy Dinner Recipes: Ready in Less Than 20 Minutes

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

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

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

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

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

Four healthy dinner recipes

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

 

 

Egg white scramble

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

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

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

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

Turkey and butternut chili

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

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

Chicken “stir fry”

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

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

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Serve with rice, long grain brown or cauliflower.

Turkey burgers

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

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

If you’re looking for more nutrition guidance, meal plans, and easy recipes for fat loss to help you get back on track, I share my best stuff with my email tribe. I email them weekly my best tips, my most personal stories, and extra exclusive free tools. Join here or at the link in the sidebar.

What’s your go-to healthy dinner?

Healthy Lunch Ideas

Struggle to make healthy food choices during your work-day? Tips, tricks, and a super easy framework to get you through the day. 

Whether you are a student, evaluating the choices in the cafeteria, a momma trying to put together a quick midday meal, or someone working all day in an office, either grabbing and going or packing lunch, lunch can be a tough meal. We’ve got so many options that we freeze, choosing what we’ve always picked or what’s easy. But it doesn’t have to be this way!

Read More »

Healthy Shamrock Shake Recipe

Revamped, healthy shamrock (protein) shake for your St. Patrick’s Day enjoyment 🙂 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Are you doing anything special? To be honest with ya, mine is not going to compare to last year’s too well–I was in Ireland! Although I was totally ready to come home from the work trip, seeing a city so excited for the holiday was super fun.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to share a “healthy-ified” version of an iconic (in the United States) holiday treat: the shamrock shake. Haven’t heard of it?

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Source

YIKES! I love my milkshakes, but not with 54 ingredients…

I put together a recipe that will get you through those cravings in a much healthier way 🙂
shamrock

Let me know if you try it!

Have you ever had a Shamrock Shake?

 

What I Ate Wednesday #4

Good morning, friends! How’s your week been? We’ve been adjusting back to being in Texas. It’s hard being away from my family but it IS nice to have my own space again. This dumb dumb is a little anxious and would prefer I am always in her sight!

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After some guidance from my trainer, I’ve started playing around with meal timing and nutrient density again. Read: eating bigger meals that are full of protein, fat, and fruit/veggies. This has been helping me feel fuller for longer throughout the day.

There is much evidence that states three square meals with one or two small snacks are actually best for fat loss, so if want to try this strategy. I’d recommend bumping up fat/protein a little in your meals to start. If you’re still hungry before about 5 hours, add a few carbohydrates. Here’s what it looks like for me.

Upon waking and before my workout, I have branched chain aminos and coffee.

Breakfast, 9:00am

Added a bit of extra fat, having eggs rather than egg whites IMG_3069.jpg

Lunch, 1:30pm

Added extra chicken and cheese, nom

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“Snack,” 7:00pm

Have to have a tiny bit of chocolate each day, keeps me sane!

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Dinner, 7:30pm

Snack, 9:30pm

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Let me know your thoughts! What has been your most successful meal strategy?

Things I’m Loving #5…a Little Late

Hey everyone! I hope y’all are doing great, and enjoyed your weekend! Juno and I have been in California, enjoying time away with our little family. My ‘things I’m loving’ post was delayed.

My bad!!! I’m doing my best to write fun posts while still keeping up with my CPT exam course. It’s harder than I thought to balance everything. Regardless, give me feedback about what you’d like to see on the blog. I write for all of you!

Oatmega bars

Have you guys seen these? I needed a quick snack after my lifting sesh on Saturday and found these bars. They’ve got omega-3s, protein, and fiber! Pretty sure these are going to become my go-to snack bar.

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SFO “airport” food

I was pretty damn amazed at the options at the airport. It made me happy to see healthy foods and people eating them! It’s such a far cry from five years ago when traveling made it hard to eat good food.

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The truth about body fat %

I’m pretty pleased with the response from my recent post. Thanks to everyone who reached out with love and support <3

My cuddle bugs together again

One of the highlights of being in California was watching Juno and Dany together. They play so well, and love each other. They did NOT want to be separated Sunday morning.

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Chin ups!

Andrew and I got in a phenomenal workout on Saturday that included a superset of front squats and chin ups–brutal! I’ve been working so hard to progress my chin ups, and just this week was able to string two together. My goals are lofting, but I’m getting there! Video on my instagram 😀

There’s a little encouragement for your Monday!

Turkey Burger Recipe “For Dummies”

Hello from California! I’ve missed chatting with all of you! Things have been pretty crazy, especially with my eTeach NASM CPT class officially starting today. Guys, there will be grades and everything. While I am super excited, I also want to be mindful of not overcommitting. Please let me know below the types of posts you enjoy so I can best target upcoming posts to your interests!

I hope you had a fantastic long weekend! Ours started SO early on Saturday–4:30am!–to make our flight out of Austin. The flight was uneventful, even though Juno was confused why nobody was paying attention to her.

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Soon after landing, we hit the road, heading up to the mountains for our Valentine’s Day weekend.  We spent a lot of time relaxing, watching movies, and hanging with the dogs. I even got a great workout in outside and took long walks with all the dogs. I posted some fun pictures on Instagram too 🙂

Cooking on vacation kind of reminds me of cooking during the work week. We never want to spend a lot of time on it and would much rather hang out with our loved ones. That’s why I designed this “turkey burger for dummies” recipe. It’s fool proof, and super easy to modify based on what you’ve got on hand.

No bread crumbs? Shred some zucchini, crush some crackers/croutons!  

Can’t find extra lean turkey? Omit the sausage and add some roasted bell peppers and onion. 

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I also love this recipe because you can create meals across the scope of “healthy.” If folks want to add cheese, a bun, or some baked fries, sweet. Super modifiable! Here’s my dinner from Sunday night: turkey burger covered in tomato, onion, and lettuce, grilled zucchini, grilled asparagus, and a small handful of sweet potato tots. Wine not pictured 😀

turkey-burger-recipe

Think of this recipe as a framework! Play around with flavors and let me know what you come up with.

Slow Cooker Chicken Piccata Recipe

Hi everyone!

How’s your week going?! Congrats on making it to Wednesday! Quick post and a quick recipe today <3

If you are anything like me and the last thing you want to do on a hump day is spend a ton of time prepping and cooking a meal, keep reading.

When I was a kid, one of my favorite meals was my mom’s lemon chicken piccata. Breaded chicken, creamy lemon sauce, artichokes, and capers. Mmmmmm. Now that I am an “adult,” I’ve decided to try making it a little healthier.

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Let me know if you try it!

 

What I Ate Wednesday #1

Hello Friends! Jumping on the What I Ate Wednesday bandwagon because these are some of my favorite posts to read on other bloggers’ page.

This Wednesday is pretty typical of my eating in maintenance mode. I eat a lot of the same things, so I hope it’s not boring. I got in a great lifting session in the morning, so there will be a few more starchy carbs than on a non-lifting day. Vitamins and a greens supplement are always how I start my day!

I’ve recently been getting back to protein shakes in the morning, immediately after lifting. This staves off hunger until I get to work and makes sure I don’t get the shakes from low blood sugar while driving. Today, while I drove Juno pup to doggie playcare, I sipped on my mint chocolate recipe. If there’s interest, happy to share the recipe once it’s perfected 🙂 IMG_2748

Once I got to work, I had a yummy breakfast of roasted veggies (radishes, tomatoes, and cauliflower) and eggs. I would prefer egg whites but whole eggs are what’s here and they are a good source of healthy fat. My side of fruit was full of berries and mango (my starchy carb).  If I hadn’t worked out, I would have stuck to just berries.

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#Butfirstcoffee (well second). A giant cup of coffee with half and half is always on my plan.

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Sometimes I do have a morning snack but today, I was distracted and didn’t even feel hungry. Instead, I stuck with my #BAS! SO MANY VEGGIES. I love doing a salad for lunch because I can eat a lot of volume. With chicken and some Ceser dressing, I couldn’t ask for more 😉

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As it IS #winewednesday, I enjoyed a CAN of this delicious Underwood wine I found in Austin. It seriously is the BEST. When in California for break, I looked up how much it would cost to ship…

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For dinner, I had leftover turkey chili (want the recipe?) with a bunch of steamed kale (not pictured). I make a huge portion and freeze most of it. It’s a super healthy dinner that can last for ages when you pop it in the freezer. , I *may* have had a small glass of some bubbly in my fridge.IMG_2756.JPG

Before bed, I partook in my regular snack. Non-fat plain greek yogurt with protein powder and a little bit of granola (and a sea salt caramel cuz #winenot). I find this fuels me for my early morning workout. It’s also something I look forward to throughout the day! Totally worth it 🙂

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Did you participate in #winewednesday? Do you have a fave I should try?