My two step system to overcome your trigger food

Whether it’s ice cream, peanut butter, or french fries, we all have one – a trigger food that makes it almost impossible to stay on track. We generally try to avoid said food like the plague but when we are finally around it, we binge and feel super guilty afterwards (this is why I will never encourage *perfect* eating).

For so many years, this was me and almond butter, more specifically Barney Butter Smooth Almond Butter (if you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out). Whenever I had this $17 jar of almond butter around, I couldn’t stop eating it. 

In college, I would go through the entire jar in a week. When I was stressed out, I’d pull out the almond butter and a spoon, sit on my bed, and binge. Of course, I would never mean to eat 1/3 cup of almond butter – I would always intend to have just one tablespoon – but it never worked out that way.

This almond butter was my trigger food. 

The moment I tasted the salty goodness, I couldn’t stop. I’d eat more until I felt so guilty, I had to immediately wash and put away the spoon.

At some point, I just stopped buying the almond butter.

And that’s always our solution, isn’t it? We try to completely remove the trigger food from our environment. And that works…as long as you never have to be around the trigger food again.

Frankly, I think that’s a little unrealistic. What about when we’re visiting family and they have the food in their fridge? We’re grossly unprepared.

Instead, here’s my two step strategy to being triggered by your trigger food.

Use my 2 step system to stop binge eating your trigger food. stop binge eating - trigger food - binge eating help

Eat protein and veggies at every meal

If we focus on taking in lots of protein and vegetables, we will fill ourselves up, leaving minimal room for processed treats. Protein, especially, will leave us feeling super satisfied for hours after our meals, and vegetables offer the micronutrients we need to be truly healthy.

Some of my favorite options?
-Egg whites + mushrooms + spinach
-Steak + roasted broccoli
Mint chip protein shake
-Big ass salad with chicken (I share plenty of these over on Instagram)

Indulge in your trigger food daily

Instead of forcing ourselves to abstain from your trigger food, we’ve gotta make the food less triggering.

The goal here is to make the food available—rather than forbidden—at all times. This is central to #myconsciousindulgence framework: the idea that indulgence CAN be part of every single day, as long as we consciously choose it (learn exactly how to implement #myconsciousindulgence here). I believe that indulgence isn’t keeping us from reaching our goals but UNconscious indulgence can be the reason for our plateaus. When we indulge without being mindful/even thinking about it, we end up eating or drinking so much more.

So, instead of restricting myself, I consciously indulge every single day, regardless of if I’m in weight loss or maintenance mode. You’ll always see me indulging in something small (like a Lenny & Larry’s cookie, Clif Bar, or some chocolate covered almonds) each day, normally before bed.

With your conscious indulgence, I recommend saving it for the evening, because this helps maximize our willpower. Eating it after dark gives us something to look forward to whenever a craving hits. In fact, I save the majority of my carbohydrates for my last meal of the day. This helps me stay on track throughout the work day, because I’ve got some good things coming later!

How to implement

Starting today, I want all of us to pick to pick our conscious indulgences. Pick something that you’ll look forward to each day, and eat it daily for a week. Note your hunger, cravings, and food obsession level. Using this simple strategy will keeps us from over-indulging or binge eating when we’re around foods we enjoy. Real talk, I used to not be able to keep almond butter in the house. Then, I started having a small spoonful every day. Over time, this daily indulgence made almond butter way less stressful for me. I knew I could have just a little bit, whenever I wanted.

If you want to learn exactly how I’ve conquered my trigger foods and gotten 1000x more consistent, check out my #ConsistentNutrition Cheatsheet. I’m breaking down two of my best nutrition strategies to help us get more consistent without stressing about it. Grab all the details and get your copy here.

Why I’ve stopped being a perfectionist – 2 reasons

Interested in ditching that perfectionist mindset and beating yourself up when you fall short? My FREE #EndEatingPerfectionism course is for you. 

Perfectionism is my M.O. It’s always been. From the time I was a kid in grammar school to my first day at Google, trying to be perfect at whatever I was doing was my goal. I would always get the A, make the team, get the job, and be the best.

And if I wasn’t? I wouldn’t do it.

I remember one time in high school when I was working on a paper. Sitting in the library with a bag of trail mix on the corner of the desk, I feverishly wrote my “rough draft” of my paper. This paper had just been assigned the period before lunch, and the perfectionist student I was believed that I had to complete the first draft ASAP so I could spend the rest of the week getting it reviewed by my teacher, editing it multiple times, and making it absolutely perfect. Even though I had plenty of time to write the damn paper, I still skipped lunch to indulge my perfectionist beliefs.

I was trapped by the idea of perfection and didn’t know how to get out. (here are the exact strategies I used to separate from perfectionism)

Lovely, this was my reality for as long as I can remember. But recently? I’ve ditched perfectionism in favor of “good enough.” And there are two main reasons why.

2 reasons I’ve stopped being a perfectionist

 

I was trapped by the idea of perfection and didn't know how to get out. (here are the exact strategies I used to separate from perfectionism) Lovely, this was my reality for as long as I can remember. But recently? I've ditched perfectionism in favor of "good enough." And there are two main reasons why.

Perfectionism forces us to disregard the progress we’ve made

When all we think about is perfect, we belittle progress. We belittle the changes we’re making that are getting us where we want to be.

When I first started as a trainer and coach, I was super guilty of this. Even though I’ve ditched perfectionism in many areas of my life, I would look at pictures of myself (PS. I’m talking even more intimately about perfection and sharing my most recent progress pics with my email buddies this weekend. It’s probably the most vulnerable email I’ve ever sent. Get on the list here if you wanna read it), and nitpick them apart until I was in tears.

My arms look flabby.

I’m nowhere close to a six pack

My legs have cellulite.

dynamic stretching

I’d constantly compare myself to the other coaches and trainers out there, believing I looked nothing like the (perfect) trainers I saw on Instagram. This attempt to reach perfection made me completely ignore the progress I’d made and the reasons I should be coaching.

I disregarded that I’ve started squatting 1.15x my bodyweight.

I’d ignore the fact that I’ve coached dozens of women in the last year away from restrictive and obsessive eating and exercise patterns.

My recent chin up progress (5 reps stringed together on a good day!) meant nothing.

These things are super important. But if I were super focused on perfection, I wouldn’t even notice or care about these things.

These steps are the

Perfectionism makes us think in black-and-white

By looking at ourselves as perfect or imperfect, we perpetuate a mindset that makes us think in black-and-white. We only see perfect vs. us. If we continue as a perfectionist, we imprison ourselves into this false dichotomy where there’s only the perfect ideal and everything else that doesn’t measure up. We start thinking that we’re either Karena and Katrina from Tone-It-Up or we’re a piece of shit, because perfectionism doesn’t let us see that middle ground. And let’s be real, recognizing that middle ground is what helps us make progress. (See how stopped falling off the healthy eating bandwagon every single Saturday here)

Wine, Protein, Veggies

During my 10+ year battle with anorexia, I could only think in black-and-white. My brain literally could not see the shades of grey in between.

There was only that 90 minute BodyRockTV workout and sitting on my butt.

I either ate lunch and felt super guilty about it or I didn’t eat and felt in control.

These were my only options.

And by continuing life as a perfectionist, we don’t allow ourselves to see the moderate options in between perfect and imperfect (this is why I felt compelled to create my free training to #EndEatingPerfectionism. See more here).

How you can stop being a perfectionist, too

I hate to break it to you, lovely, but perfection doesn’t work, because a) no one can actually do it, and b) it perpetuates feelings of inadequacy that only lead us to eat more crap, and taking us even farther from our goals. Perfectionism is a myth, and is doing all of us a disservice.

Why?

Perfection is impossible.
Perfectionism sets us up for failure.
Aiming to be perfect is super stressful.
“Perfect” really is unnecessary.
And honestly? It ultimately leads to obsession, restriction, and guilt.

Thankfully. There’s another option.

end eating perfectionism. learn to stop being a perfectionist and actually get consistent with healthy eating.

And I’m going to show you how. Starting on June 26 (MONDAY!), I’ll take you through a free 5-day training via FB live video (don’t forget to follow me) along with my exclusive nutrition workbook. Every night, at 6pm PDT (replays always available), I’ll walk you through a specific strategy that I’ve implemented with myself and my clients to help them eat well without getting obsessive. By the end of the 5 days, you’ll have the tools you need to get consistent with healthy eating once and for all and ditch the perfectionism that’s holding you back.

Grab all the details and get started here

Conventional wisdom touts the importance of listening to our bodies. I swear, in every single workout video I watch and fitness blog post I read, we're told to "listen to your body." But what about when we have no effing clue what that means? That's why I'm sharing my three best tips to listen to your body, even if you don't know wtf that means.

3 ways to listen to your body when you don’t know how

Sign ups are now open for my signature coaching program, Consistently Lean Coaching! If you’re ready to lose weight, get stronger, AND stop obsessing about fitness and nutrition, this is for you.

Conventional wisdom touts the importance of listening to our bodies. I swear, in every single workout video I watch and fitness blog post I read, we’re told to “listen to your body.”

But what about when we have no effing clue what that means?

For years, as I worked through my eating disorder, doctors told me to listen to my body. After being put on bed rest for three days because my heart rate was grounds for hospitalization, I remember my doctor telling me I could do light yoga or go for a walk, if I “listened to my body.” I shifted my weight on that exam room table, hearing the crinkly paper under butt, trying to figure out a way to respond. I realized I had no idea what the fuck it actually meant to listen to my body.

I had gotten so good at tuning out my body’s signals–hunger signals, exhaustion signals–that I couldn’t even hear them anymore.

Sound familiar?

Whether we’re eating disorder survivors, hardcore fitness enthusiasts, or perpetual dieters, we get good at ignoring our bodies. And sometimes ignoring our body’s signals can even help us at times.

Pushing through the discomfort in a tough workout

Ignoring that 3pm sugar craving when we’re trying to lose weight

But what do we do when we’re told to listen to our bodies after years of ignoring them?

Simple.

We start incorporating little actions that (1) help our bodies recover from our intense exercise and attempts at perfect nutrition (get my exact nutrition strategies to lose weight without obsession in #ConsistentlyLean) and (2) help us get just a little more in tune with ourselves. Below are my top three strategies.

3 ways to listen to your body (when you have no idea how)

Conventional wisdom touts the importance of listening to our bodies. I swear, in every single workout video I watch and fitness blog post I read, we're told to "listen to your body." But what about when we have no effing clue what that means? That's why I'm sharing my three best tips to listen to your body, even if you don't know wtf that means.

Get more sleep

The average American gets 6.8 hours of sleep per night (source – Gallup poll) compared to the expert recommendation of 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

And here’s the thing: sleep is soooooo important (love this PN article on sleep) to how we feel every day, our ability to recover from our workouts, and even our body composition.

So, if we don’t know how to listen to our bodies, getting more sleep is a safe bet. Because, honestly, everybody could use more sleep. I prioritized sleep when I had no idea how the F to listen to my body. It was the first change I made. I’ve felt worlds better since getting at least 7 hours of sleep on weeknights and 9 hours on weekends (#grandmastatus).

Eat more protein

Most of the women who come to me for nutrition guidance aren’t eating enough protein to sustain their active lifestyles. So, if we’re having a hard time listening to our bodies, adding more protein is a good place to start.

Protein

Increasing protein intake is an awesome step towards listening to our bodies, because:

  • It keeps us feeling satisfied.
  • It helps stabilize our blood sugar over long periods of time.
  • It’s also much harder for our bodies to turn into body fat.
  • It’s the building block to rebuild muscle tissue broken down by exercise.

If we try to eat some protein every time we feel hungry, we can naturally decrease our cravings, help our bodies build, and stop getting hungry 10 minutes after we finish a meal.

Prioritize recovery

Recovery is super important and super un-sexy, I get it. For those of us who love working out, taking a rest or recovery day sounds awful.

dynamic stretching

The more intensely you are training, the more recovery your body needs! So, really, the less we want to take a day off, the more we need it.

So, if you’re struggling to listen to your body and you’re working out consistently, it’s time to prioritize recovery. Below are my favorite ways to facilitate recovery in my weekly routine.

  • Foam roll tight muscles.
  • Take an epsom salt bath.
  • Practice yoga or meditation.
  • Watch a funny movie (no really).
  • Take a long walk instead of hitting the gym.
  • Rest 1-2 days per week at a minimum.

(I wrote a whole post about recovery a while back. If you want more info on how many rest days to take per week, see here)

Using these three simple tips helped me start to get a little more in touch with what my body needed. Implement them all or try one at a time to listen to your body.

I get it. After a summer of overindulgence, many of us are ready to get back on track. We want to lose weight and tone up but don’t know how to do it would obsessively counting calories, tracking macros, or spending hours at the gym.

If you want to get in shape but are worried that rigid tracking or long workouts will send you into an obsessive spiral, #ConsistentlyLean is for you. Learn more and grab your spot before signups close for the rest of 2017!

Would you call this an eating disorder phase?

I almost deleted this post at least three times. But I’m sharing anyway. Sometimes, something fires us up so much that we have to share, even if it’s super scary, vulnerable, and raw.

A few months back,  I was listening to a recent episode of one of my favorite podcasts, The FitCast (be sure to check it out). I was especially excited to listen to two strong women talk about strength training (another fave). I was minutes away from my office, I had just exited the freeway. There were only a few minutes left when one of the guests made a passing comment that irked me.

I went through a disordered eating phase.

As I heard those words and drove into the parking structure, something turned in my stomach. It felt like she punched me in the stomach with just 7 words. And although I knew exactly what I was feeling, it took me a little longer to understand why.

I sat with those awful feelings and that pain all morning. I prayed about it. I talked with a close friend. And sometime in the middle of all that, I realized what hurt so much.

I didn’t have a disordered eating phase. I had an eating disorder.

I had a brutal battle with anorexia for over ten years. It made my high school and college years miserable at times. It made me, at 5’7″, beat myself up when I could no longer fit into size 2 jeans (thank GOD I found Stitch Fix). It made traveling a stressful nightmare, lost me a job I loved, and taxed relationships with my family and friends. It wasn’t a “phase” that I could snap out of, like my emo Evanescence phase.

If it were, I could have stopped self-destructing before my fifteenth birthday (not my twenty-fifth).

If it were a phase, March 31, 2005, the date of my clinical diagnosis, would not still stand out in my mind. I had been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa the day before. I kept saying to myself: no no no, there must be a mistake; I was just trying to lose a few pounds. I’m not super skinny like all the real anorexic girls. I didn’t even cry when she told me I needed more help than she could offer. I just kept thinking to myself, I’ll just start eating again; I’ll be fine by summer.

It was the next day that I realized that this quick fix would not be happening. In an attempt to “get better,” I forced myself to bring more for lunch but when I was faced with the prospect of eating the additional 35-calorie wedge of Laughing Cow Light Cheese, I burst into tears and threw the cheese away, disgusted with myself. It was in that moment that I understood that I had a problem. A normal, rational person who was trying to lose weight would be able to eat more if a doctor told them they needed to: I couldn’t.

Does that sound like a phase to you?

I look around the fitness industry, and all I see are trainers who make disordered eating this messy thing all women share. And honestly, there is some validity to that. Many women have an unhealthy relationship with food, whether that’s over-eating, under-eating, emotional eating, or assigning morality to the foods they eat.

I almost deleted this post at least three times. But I'm sharing anyway. Sometimes, something fires us up so much that we have to share, even if it's super scary, vulnerable, and raw. Finally sharing my story as an eating disorder survivor. But eating disorders are a different beast all together. When trainers comment about their “disordered eating phase” they minimize the struggle many of us faced and fought our way through. I’m not okay with that.

I’m an eating disorder survivor.

So instead of alluding gently to an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise, I’m speaking my truth and standing up for the women who have reclaimed their lives from eating disorder hell. Instead of continuing to hide my battle scars, I’ll continue to speak out about about my journey to moderation and accepting my body, because the scars make me the woman I am today.

A coach, dog mom, partner, and friend

A personal trainer, nutrition coach, and eating disorder survivor (warrior).

I’m passionate about helping women move through their eating disorders, battles or phases.

Just a couple years ago, I wanted to make a change but my doctor’s voice rang in my head: you’ll never be able to diet or lose weight like a “normal person.”

Needless to say, I thought losing weight, getting stronger, and feeling better were out of reach. I was so scared that my eating disorder tendencies and obsession would stop me from reaching my goals.

But now? In 2017, I’m living, breathing proof that it is possible to love our bodies and also change them, WITHOUT reverting back to our eating disorder tendencies.

My friends, are you ready? If you want to take that step towards lovingly changing your body, without obsession, restriction or stress, let’s talk. I’m passionate about working with YOU to reach your goals, because life is so much better outside of restriction.

What if you really hate working out?

Exercise. It’s either a passion, source of enjoyment, or the bane of our existence. There doesn’t seem to be much of a middle ground. But whether we hate working out or love it, we know it has tons of benefits.

So when I got an email from a woman earlier this week saying she knows she should be more active but she hates working out, I felt compelled to write about the topic.

As a personal trainer and nutrition coach, I work with women all around the world to help them get more consistent with their workouts and nutrition without becoming obsessive. And the truth is, not all of them come to me loving fitness [start with my free fitness challenge if you want some guidance]. So sometimes, we have to work through why they aren’t wanting to exercise.

Through working with lots of women, I’ve found that asking three simple questions can help us be more consistent with our workouts even if we’re not currently enjoying them.

Three questions to ask yourself if you’re hating your workouts

Do you hate working out? Through working with lots of women, I've found that asking three simple questions can help us be more consistent with our workouts even if we're not currently enjoying them.

Do you have a skills based goal?

Often, we exercise without specific goals. We try to drag ourselves to the gym because it’s “good for us” but we have no real reason for being there. That’s where skills based goals come into play.

A key way to achieve long term fitness motivation is to focus on building skill competency. In other words, emphasize skill development in your workouts. By picking a new sport or skill, you’ll set goals that revolve around improving yourself. This is HUGE with adult exercisers, because research shows that skill development is strongly correlated with greater exercise participation over the long term.

Spend some time thinking of a skill you want to develop and make a plan. This could include joining an adult sports league, mastering a tough movement pattern (like maybe a Turkish Get-Up), or increasing your squat weight.

Are you focusing only on outcomes?

Outcomes goals are the most common type of goal, right? We workout because we want to lose 10lbs, fit into our skinny jeans without sucking our stomachs in, or rock that LBD for our high school reunion. But what about when we reach (or fail to reach) those goals?

I’ll tell you…we start to hate our workouts.

I’m not saying to throw away outcome goals all together, in fact, they help you get started, but if you also work to value the actual act of exercising, you’ll achieve much more long term success.

Start thinking about all the positives that come with working out. These will be super individualized and personal but some examples of how to focus on the actual act of working out include mantras like:

  • Doing circuit workouts are fun/enjoyable.
  • I love improving my kettlebell skills.
  • By working out, I’ll be able to stay active for the rest of my life.
  • I build a community of friends through my workouts.

To get your personal mantras, ask yourself questions like:

  • How does exercise help me live the life I want?
  • What do I enjoy about working out?
  • How am I building social connections through working out?
  • How does exercise make me feel?

Are you not moving in a way that brings you joy?

Too often, I talk with women who are doing workouts that bore the crap out of them because they think they’re what they *should* be doing.  Their old personal trainer said HIIT was best for fat loss. They read on Tone It Up that we have to lift itty-bitty weights. BodyRockTV says intensity is key to getting results. So they drag themselves to the gym to do the next popular workout…even if they hate it.

Lovely, this just won’t work. If consistency with working out is our goal, we gotta move in ways that bring us joy so we actually want to keep moving.

It’s time we stop punishing ourselves with movement and find ways of working out that bring us joy. When we actually enjoy the process of what we’re doing, motivation stops becoming an issue (see the research/my take on it here) and consistency comes naturally (see the three most common workout consistency mistakes here).

If you wanna refresh your workout routine and try new workouts, join my #SkipTheGym beta test group. #SkipTheGym is the at-home workout solution for the busy woman who finds herself inconsistent with her workouts because she can’t always get to the gym or fit in a 60 minute sweat sesh. Grab all the details and get your free workouts here.

Whether workouts are second nature or we're still trying to build the habit, shortening our workouts can be a game changer. In fact, as a nutrition coach and personal trainer, I find myself consistently telling my clients to workout for LESS time. It's counterintuitive, I know, but this simple shift can be the best thing you can do for your fitness. Below are my top two reasons to shorten your workout!

2 reasons to shorten your workout

Sign ups are now open for #StressFreeStrength, my FREE 10 day fitness challenge to help you get back on track with your workouts, stress free! Crush 8 workouts over 10 days, and get a chance to win free coaching with me! Join in for free here!

Do you think a workout has to be 60 minutes? Or maybe you think it’s impossible to see changes in your body if you’re exercising for less than an hour a day.

Yeah. I used to think that too.

Somewhere along the line, we got it into our heads that an hour of exercise per day was *best.* To be totally honest, I’m not really sure where that came from; the USDA and other government agencies, popular fitness culture, and PE teachers around the world all seem to profess the importance of getting an hour of physical activity per day.

All throughout high school, college, and my early twenties, I went through my life thinking if I didn’t have that hour long workout it somehow didn’t count. Every time I laced up my shoes to go for a run, I’d set that stopwatch for 60 minutes. When I’d search through FitnessBlender’s video archives for my daily workout, I’d mentally tabulate if the videos added up to an hour. As I stepped on the elliptical machine, I’d calculate how much cardio I’d need before starting my arm workout to hit that 60 minute mark.

I felt constant anxiety any time I exercised for less than an hour and constantly thought about how to fit in my long ass workouts.

And let’s be real, this sucked.

Whether workouts are second nature or we’re still trying to build the habit, shortening our workouts can be a game changer. In fact, as a nutrition coach and personal trainer, I find myself consistently telling my clients to workout for LESS time.

Here’s the thing. So many women STILL believe that more is always better, so they stress about getting in 60 minute gym workouts. If they’re not able to fit in those long ass workouts, they’re beating themselves up, anxious, and forcing themselves eat less to make up for it.

This is an awful cycle that’s keeping us from reaching our goals. What most of us miss is that trying to complete long workouts is actually making us fatter. (Join my free challenge to learn what to do instead)

It’s counterintuitive, I know, but this simple shift can be the best thing you can do for your fitness. Below are my top two reasons to do a short workout!

2 reasons to shorten your workout TODAY

Whether workouts are second nature or we're still trying to build the habit, shortening our workouts can be a game changer. In fact, as a nutrition coach and personal trainer, I find myself consistently telling my clients to workout for LESS time. It's counterintuitive, I know, but this simple shift can be the best thing you can do for your fitness. Below are my top two reasons to shorten your workout!

You can dial up the intensity

When we have to do a full 60 minutes on the treadmill, it’s nearly impossible to push ourselves to the maximum intensity. From the mental standpoint, it’s hard to motivate ourselves to go hard when we know we have to keep on going for another 40 minutes. And from the physical standpoint, our bodies can’t go all out for long periods of time.

So when we work out for long durations, intensity drops significantly.

On the flip side, when we shorten our workouts, we can work much harder. And honestly? Intensity is what brings the results.

When performed correctly, high intensity training majorly increases excess post-exercise oxygen consumption [source]. This means extra calorie burn even AFTER you finish your workout while your body is making up for all the energy it used during your sweat session. Intense training is what gives you the afterburn effect all the online fitness websites reference.

You will be more consistent

If you’re like me, you don’t often have time for 60 minute workouts. However, a 20 minute workout is super reasonable AND effective. If you cram intensity into 20 minutes, you can still get results, because you’re forcing your body to work hard, instead of going through the motions on the elliptical for an hour.

Here’s the thing, lovely. 60 minutes of exercise is great…if it’s doable, stress-free, and fun. But for most of us, that’s just not realistic on our busy (standard) days. 60 minute workouts are for that best case scenario, when we have a day off work, the fur children (kids) are taken care of, and our schedule is wide open. They’re not for Monday mornings when we have a 9am meeting and the dogs need to go for a walk.

If 60 minute workouts are our default, we inevitably are less consistent.

If our workout routines are all 60 minutes long and we only have thirty minutes, what happens? I’ll tell ya what happens….we slip up. We fall into a fuck it moment and tell ourselves “oh well, I can’t do xyz, so I’ll just get back on track tomorrow.” These moments are what make us inconsistent. I am a huge proponent of shorter workouts–not because 60 minute sweat sessions aren’t valuable but because they can hinder consistency and progress.

Before implementing shorter workouts, I’d feel overwhelmed by the amount of time it’d take to complete a workout. On days where I didn’t have at least an hour to devote to working out, I’d just skip it and make myself eat less to “make up for” my missed workout. Now, I’ve cut my workout time in half without compromising results.

If you’re ready to dial it in but don’t know where to start or how to get back on track without getting super obsessive about it, #StressFreeStrength is for you.

#StressFreeStrength is unique, because I’m gonna show you exactly how to structure your workouts in a way that keeps you from getting stressed out. The goal is to crush 8 workouts (all 30 minutes or less and doable at home) over 10 days, and every lady who completes all 8 will be put in the running to win free coaching with me.

We get started on Saturday September 9 (yep Saturday!) so sign up ASAP here.

How long are your daily workouts?

Two reasons I won’t take a cheat day

When we open Instagram, and look at any fitness accounts, images of cheat days prevail. We all know taking a cheat day is all the rage right now. It seems like every fitness model, personal trainer, and workout enthusiast posts pictures of deep fried oreos or juicy cheeseburgers every other week. The cheat day has become so popular that it seems like everyone’s doing it. With so many people tracking macros, counting calories, and eating out of tupperware, a cheat day starts looking pretty good.

We may look down at our standard lunch of a salad or a sandwich and wonder if we need a cheat day too. Truth is, choosing a way of eating is a completely personal decision, and I’m a little biased, my friends, but I don’t believe that nutrition strategies should require you take days off, even if St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner.

There are two main reasons I won’t take a cheat day.

Cheat days have become SUPER popular. But this is why I won't take a cheat day. Ever.

Cheat days encourage restriction on all other days.

When we’re living the cheat day lifestyle, it becomes a big no-no to indulge on any other day. If it’s not a cheat day and we find ourselves craving a piece of chocolate, what are we supposed to do?

Sangria sorbet cheat day

We can eat the chocolate, feel guilty, and beat ourselves up. Or, we restrict ourselves and wait until the next cheat day on our calendars. Neither of these options sound good to me.

halfway cooked chocolate mug cake

With my history, the cheat day mindset perpetuates an unhealthy relationship with food. While I haven’t ever fully given into the cheat day lifestyle, I used to have a similar mindset when it came to drinking. Drinking was not okay on weeknights. I’d only let myself have something to drink on Fridays or Saturdays (well, and sometimes Thursdays cuz I was sooooo close). So on that random stressful Tuesday night, after we’d both had super long days, I’d watch Andrew grab himself a beer without a second thought, and I’d weigh my options and make deals in my head.

I worked 11 hours today, I deserve a Mike’s Harder Lemonade.

If I have a Mike’s Harder today, I’ll skip the pasta with dinner.

Maybe if I run for another 20 minutes tomorrow, I can have one. 

I couldn’t understand how he could make this decision so easily.  It was effortless, carefree, and easy. He didn’t go back and forth, debating the ramifications of enjoying a single beer on a Tuesday night. If he wanted one, he had one. I, on the other hand, beat myself up for even wanting a sugary can of Mike’s Hard Lemonade.

See, when we only allow ourselves to indulge or enjoy our food on specific days, it gets way too easy to restrict ourselves and making certain foods off limits.

That’s a big part of why I reject the concept of cheat days: they encourage restricting yourself.

But truthfully, there’s a whole other reason you won’t catch me posting about my cheat day escapades.

I don’t actually NEED a cheat day.

My nutrition strategy has indulgence and mini-cheats built in, every single day. This keeps me from wanting to eat the entire cheesecake. I’m content after a few bites.

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I no longer restrict myself from eating foods (and drinks) I enjoy. I’ve stopped trying to eat “perfectly.” In fact, if I can look back at a day of eating as perfect, I did something wrong! I ask myself just one question, and this guides how I eat every single day, regardless of where I am.

Is it possible to stay consistent with your food wherever you go?

Learn to stay consistent with your nutrition so you no longer need cheat days.

I talk with women all the time who are struggling to stay consistent with their nutrition. 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. They feel trapped between restriction and guilt. It doesn’t have to be this way. 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 a copy of the FREE #ConsistentNutrition Cheatsheet.

Look, my friend, I don’t want you to struggle with obsession and restriction anymore. It sucks and is crazy stressful. Our mental space is so much better utilized outside of the food and exercise realm. To take one step closer to that #cheatdaynotneeded lifestyle, let’s try something different this week: try giving ourselves one indulgence per day. See how it feels. By the time our cheat day comes along, we may not even need or want it.

Have you taken a cheat day before?

Why I’ll never cancel my Stitch Fix membership

I’ve never been one of those girls who loves shopping. Hanging out with my bestie in Anthropologie was always fun. I could wander around a book store for hours. I love getting new running shoes. But when it comes down to it, day long, we-need-to-buy-you-a-whole-new-wardrobe-or-at-least-a-winter-formal-dress trips aren’t for me.

As a teenager, I remember heading out for shopping trips with my mom. We’d pile into the car, full of expectations, and drive to the closest mall. Walking in through Nordstrom, we’d always start in the shoe section (easy enough). But somewhere between the second dressing room and a Starbucks visit, the trip stopped being fun. I’d be frustrated, angry, and sad. My mom would try so hard to cheer me up and pull me out of the fog of self-criticism, but I’d normally just snap at her. It got to the point where we couldn’t shop together anymore, which broke my heart. I love my momma.

If we’re being real, shopping for clothes has been a battle since 2005, when I was diagnosed with anorexia. Although I’m no longer that thirteen year old thinking she needed to lose 20lbs, shopping has never gotten much easier. Every time I enter a dressing room, my mind is filled with all the “shoulds” of the last twelve years, namely that I “should” fit into a size 4.

I've been a part of Stitch Fix for years and writing Stitch Fix reviews for months now. This is why I will never cancel my Stitch Fix membership.

I believed this “should” so deeply that all throughout high school, I wouldn’t keep clothing if it wasn’t in a size 4. I’d go shopping with my best friend and try on tons of dresses, even if I absolutely loved one that fit me in a 6, I wouldn’t buy it. In my irrational, eating disordered head, 6=fat. If I had to size up, I’d start crying, get angry/frustrated/sad, and ultimately walk out of the store.

Even as I recovered, got stronger, and reclaimed bits and pieces of my life, shopping didn’t get much easier. I’d still get upset about sizing up and body dysmorphia made trying on clothes feel like a freak show. Hitting the mall was a major trigger that could throw me off for an entire week. If I felt “fat” from a shopping trip, I’d eat less or over-exercise to compensate. Not a good plan.

It wasn’t until after college that I discovered the Stitch Fix: the service that made shopping so much easier and actually FUN.

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).

Why I love my Stitch Fix membership

It’s taken the trigger OUT of shopping for me. My stylist knows me, my style, and my body. I no longer have to guess what size is right for me, which brands run big/small, or even what styles will be flattering. Instead, she sends me curated items based on how I want to look and feel in my clothes.

Now, if I have to go into stores and shop, I’m amazed at how frustrating the experience can be. Picking sizes is a shit show, and I have no idea how anything is going to fit.

I’ve seen TONS of Stitch Fix reviews about the clothes and service but nothing about the impact on mindset. I’ll never cancel my Stitch Fix membership, because it’s helped me be more accepting of my body. It’s changed how I think about clothing and sizing. Stitch Fix has helped me have fun with fashion, because I don’t have to make decisions about size. This is life-changing for an eating disorder survivor.

So, yes, the service is amazing. The clothes are beautiful. It’s super convenient. But more than that, it’s been a tool in my journey to self acceptance. I hope you’ll join me.

If you want to know more about my journey, I’m getting real with my email buddies later this week. On Thursday, I’m sharing a super personal story about how I’ve started accepting my body, regardless of what the tag on my jeans says, AND sharing my exclusive strategy to detach from clothing label numbers. Enter your email below before to join the party. Don’t miss out.

Do you have a Stitch Fix membership?

Fitness motivation: Sorry, I can’t motivate you

Happy 2017, my friends! Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s 2017?!

To start the year, Andrew and I are living out our fitness, backpacking through Patagonia. Right about now, we are on our way to El Chalten for our first night camping, near the Laguna de Los Tres. I can’t wait to show off all of our hiking pictures when we get back! Just in case we get some wifi access, be sure to follow me on Instagram! I’ll be posting when I can!

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For most of us, with a new year comes new fitness goals.  I’m no different!

A few of my goals?

  • Run a half marathon (trail or road…still TBD)
  • Finish a sprint triathlon with Andrew
  • Complete 10 uninterrupted chin ups

Whether it’s losing ten pounds, getting stronger, or attempting an audacious new fitness challenge, we hit the ground running on January 1st, inspired to make a change. Fitness motivation and enthusiasm are high as we start the year. But what happens when February rolls around and your determination begins to fade?

Here’s how to make sure your motivation lasts all the way into 2018.

Do you struggle with fitness motivation to workout? Sorry, I can't motivate you. This is why (and what to do instead).

When I started researching motivation and how to inspire folks to exercise consistently, I planned to write a post that would serve to motivate everyone to stick to their New Year’s Resolutions. I hoped I’d find some tools and tricks to give you that would help you reach all your goals. Instead, I found the opposite.

As much as I would love to help provide pearls of fitness motivation wisdom, the truth is, that isn’t going to work.

Sorry, I can’t motivate you to make a lasting change.

As I delved into a review of the research [source], the data was resoundingly conclusive: internal fitness motivation is what keeps people consistent in their exercise habits over time. Nothing I say to you, as your trainer or best friend will keep you motivated over the long term.

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Instead, numerous studies show that external motivation–like the guidance and support of a trainer–can help you get started (and I would LOVE to in my upcoming New Year, New You Bootcamp) but your intrinsic motivation (read: motivation that comes from within, not from external sources) to exercise is what keeps you going 12, 24, and even 36 months later.

So what does that mean for you and your fitness motivation in 2017?

After doing tons of research [source 2], I’ve found it’s pretty simple to maximize your intrinsic motivation. If you want to make progress towards your New Year’s Resolutions and beyond, all you need to do is two things.

1. Stop focusing on outcomes

When we focus on the outcome instead of the process, we set ourselves up for long-term failure, whether or not we reach our outcome goal. Think about it. If you want to lose 10lbs and you do, your motivation will decline once you hit that number. If you don’t? Your motivation will STILL decline from not reaching your goal. Sounds like a lose-lose situation to me.

I’m not saying to throw away outcome goals all together, in fact, they help you get started, but if you also work to value the actual act of exercising, you’ll achieve much more long term success.

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Start thinking about all the positives that come with working out. These will be super individualized and personal but some examples of how to focus on the actual act of working out include mantras like:

  • Doing circuit workouts are fun/enjoyable.
  • I love improving my kettlebell skills.
  • By working out, I’ll be able to stay active for the rest of my life.
  • I build a community of friends through my workouts.

To get your personal mantras, ask yourself questions like:

  • How does exercise help me live the life I want?
  • What do I enjoy about working out?
  • How am I building social connections through working out?
  • How does exercise make me feel?

2. Set skills-based goals

Another way to achieve long term fitness motivation is to focus on building skill competency. In other words, emphasize skill development in your workouts. By picking a new sport or skill, you’ll set goals that revolve around improving yourself. This is HUGE with adult exercisers, because research shows that skill development is strongly correlated with greater exercise participation over the long term.

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Spend some time thinking of a skill you want to develop and make a plan. This could include joining an adult sports league, mastering a tough movement pattern (like maybe a Turkish Get-Up), or increasing your squat weight.

If you focus on the experience of exercising and set skills-based goals, you’re setting yourself up to succeed with your long term fitness goals. This is why I include a whole module on mindset in my New Year, New You Bootcamp. Instead of focusing solely on extrinsic motivation–like finally getting that six pack–we take time to get our minds right and ready to take on new challenges. This exciting new bootcamp starts up right after the MLK Holiday. I would love to work with you!

What is YOUR fitness motivation?

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.

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