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

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 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.

This week, I’m getting super real with my tribe about how I stopped exercising seven days a week and attempting perfect, restrictive eating. So if you want to get up close and personal with me and get my best stuff, join my tribe asap. Let’s talk 🙂

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?

The #1 nutrition mistake women make

We’re moving through 2017,  chugging along towards our fitness goals.

Workout plan? Check.

Stress management? Check.

Fitness motivation? Check.

But what about our nutrition? There’s so much information out there on how to eat, when to eat, and what to eat. Talk about information overload.  So before we dive into a nutrition plan head first, we’ve gotta make sure we aren’t making this super common nutrition mistake.

As a personal trainer and nutrition coach, I work with women across the United States to help them get consistent without obsession or dietary restriction. Through working with lots of women, I’ve found that most women who come to me are making one nutrition mistake that’s stalling their progress.

Are you making this super common nutrition mistake? This is the #1 mistake I see women making (and how to fix it).

For most of us, when we decide to change up our nutrition to meet our goals, we do one thing: count. Whether it’s calories, macros, or servings, we’re told counting and closely monitoring our nutrition intake is the answer.

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.

That’s why I created my #ConsistentNutrition Cheatsheet. No meal plans, just the handful of things you need to implement daily to eat moderately, completely stress-free.

This brings us to the #1 nutrition mistake women make: overcomplicating their nutrition.

Why complicated nutrition doesn’t work

We end up eating the wrong things

If all we’re thinking about are numbers, foods become nothing but numbers. Although a bowl of ice cream and a chicken breast with roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes may have the same number of calories, they’ll affect our bodies differently.Grocery Haul

This means we may end up eating foods that will make us MORE hungry, making it more difficult to reach our goals. Alternatively, we may find ourselves eating only the lowest of calorie foods so we can stay within or under our arbitrary calorie goal. 

We get overwhelmed and “fall off the wagon”

Counting anything consistently takes a lot of mental energy, and is inherently unsustainable. At some point, we’ll reach the “fuck it” point and stop counting for a time.

But unfortunately, without numbers to guide us, it becomes way too easy to fall off the wagon.

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 and we order an entire pizza for ourselves. 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 (see how I cut to the middle here).

Sangria sorbet

We stop listening to our bodies

The main reason I recommend against counting macros, calories, or servings for long periods of time is that we completely lose touch with our bodies and their signals. When numbers rule our food intake, we stop listening to hunger and satiety cues.

I talk to women all the time who are following a calorie plan and either feel super hungry and restricted or they don’t stop eating until they have reached their calorie count for the day – even if they are beyond full. They no longer trust what their bodies tell them, so they follow a meal plan instead.

DCIM112GOPRO

I lived in this space for a long time. I was constantly following a meal plan and eating when I was told. After a time, I wasn’t able to recognize when I was hungry and had no idea how much my body actually needed, leading me to severely under-eat every time I came off a meal plan. This is NOT a way to live, and that’s why I am so passionate about not making this nutrition mistake.

Combatting this common nutrition mistake

I want you to make it super simple. Instead of counting anything, I want you, my friend, to focus on just two things: protein and veggies. Every single time you eat, grab a portion of protein and some vegetables. If you’re still hungry, add some healthy fat or complex carbohydrates, depending on your goals.

Want more help getting in veggies at every meal? Grab some of my best tips.

This super simple strategy makes all the difference, because you’ll be eating lots of nutrient dense and non-calorie dense foods. This will allow you to eat more AND make sure you aren’t missing out on any key nutrients. In layman’s terms, low calorie density = large portion size. And large portion sizes keep you (me) happy. Follow along on Instagram and Facebook with #mindthemiddle to see how I implement these strategies day-to-day.

Ending the complicated nutrition obsession

I talk with women all the time who are struggling to stay consistent with their nutrition without tracking, counting, or measuring. 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! bit.ly/consistentnutritioncheatsheet

What’s one thing that still confuses you about nutrition?

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 survival nutrition strategies (and why create yours)

You’ve got a work deadline tomorrow, your electric bill is due, you barely slept last night, and the dog is sick. On top of it all, you’re beyond stressed about the results of the election. It feels like the walls are closing in. With all this emotional stress, you stop eating in a way that’s in line with your goals, because sometimes it feels like all you have to look forward to is your next treat.

Life gets really tough, and all we want is to make it a little bit easier. So, we slip into bad habits, whether that’s overeating crap, skimping on sleep, or killing ourselves at the gym to numb the pain.

Please tell me I’m not alone!

Read More »

As you swipe through your Instagram feed, you can’t help but notice the dozens of before and after pictures, flat stomachs, lean arms, and shapely legs. Reading the comments, every post seems to say the same thing. Even with all this social proof, as a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I will NEVER preach the clean eating gospel.

Why I’m against clean eating

Spoiler! I won’t teach you how to “eat clean” but if you want to learn how to enjoy your life without falling off track,  New Year, New You could be for you! 

As you swipe through your Instagram feed, you can’t help but notice the dozens of before and after pictures, flat stomachs, lean arms, and shapely legs. Reading the comments, every post seems to say the same thing.

I was overweight and then I started eating clean. The weight fell off!

Before starting to eat clean, I could never attain a six pack.

With clean eating and exercise, I was able to drop to [insert super low number]% body fat!

Even with all this social proof, as a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I will NEVER preach the clean eating gospel.

Read More »

How moderation supports fat loss

You stare at a strict meal plan, unsure if you can eat another meal of chicken and broccoli.

A group of friends invite you out for dinner and a round of drinks but you’re not sure you can go AND eat on plan.

You really want to achieve your goals but can’t help but wonder if there’s another way.

If you’ve ever felt this way, I’m with you.

The good news is that there IS another way to change your body.

Read More »

Post Workout Recovery: Why Take A Rest Day

Who’s ready for the weekend?!

Here in the United States, it’s an extra long one as we celebrate Labor Day. I for one am spending the weekend on the beach in California with my family. Are you doing anything exciting for Labor Day? Let me know in the comments below!

Labor Day

With a weekend full of relaxation and frivolity (oxymoron? I think not) ahead of us, I thought it would be a good time to chat about rest’s role in fitness and how much you ACTUALLY need.

Read More »

Moderation defined.

I talk about moderation a lot on Katherine Lynn Fitness. I’m pretty sure it was the topic of my first ever blog post. It’s a personal goal every morning to live my life a bit more moderately than the day before.

But is moderation eating only one bite of dessert a day?

Exercising every single day?

Drinking more water?

Moderation Defined

Even though it’s a common topic for ME, I realized, I’ve never really defined it. I go on and on about living moderately but never took the time to explain wtf I meant. Oops.

Wine, Protein, Veggies

So.

What the heck is moderation?

Read More »

diet plans my way

Diet Plans and Your Portion Sizes Guide

How much food is enough food?!

Such a simple question but so. so. so hard in practice because there are 1000 diet plans out there. We tell ourselves, it should be easy: eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full.

Well, it is super simple…and it isn’t. There is so much information out there that it’s hard to know what’s true, what’s BS, and what’s finally going to get you results. In reality, it all comes down to one idea, portion control, but there are a thousand ways to achieve it (this is why nutrition coaches have jobs 😉 )!

Read More »