3 Tips for Successful Meal Planning

Scan 5Over the last few weeks, I’ve been organizing and running a help group on Facebook about meal planning. It wasn’t until I was trying to walk people through this process that I realized how much there is to learn!

I’ll draw a more familiar comparison for some of you…imagine you are helping two friends find new workout routines. One friend has never even seen the inside of a gym, doesn’t own any proper workout shoes, and needs to lose 100 pounds. The other friend has been athletic her whole life and wants to go from 20% body fat to 18% body fat and lose the last 10 pounds she has after having had a baby. She also has a set of weights at home that she can use. You are going to have a hard time asking these people to do the same program because of the difference in knowledge, experience, and equipment. The same is true for meal planning.

So instead of recommending the same thing to everyone in terms of meal planning, you have to individualize the process a bit. Here are three ways to personalize your plan and be successful with your meal planning.

#1. Be honest with yourself about where you are starting

There is a huge range of skills needed to have a perfectly clean, well-balanced diet. You should be honest with yourself about where you are on that scale. Are you currently eating processed food whenever you want, drinking soda like it was water, and have no idea what clean eating and meal planning is all about ? Or maybe you are generally pretty healthy with your meals, you know how many calories you are targeting and you are within shot of that goal on a fairly regular basis, struggling with cleaning up 25% of your diet? You can see that these people would be at very different places.

The factors that come into a healthy meal plan include
1. What foods you are eating?
2. What liquids are your drinking?
3. How many calories are you getting?
4. How many times per day are you eating?
5. What is the balance of the protein, carbs, and fats?

If you are at the beginning, don’t tackle all 5 of these at once. It will get really overwhelming and most likely lead to failure. Start with #1. Get that processed food out of your diet and make your meals from fresh ingredients. The rest can come later. Calorie intake is not your biggest problem…it is the fact that you aren’t in control of any part of healthy eating so instead of bogging yourself down with calories and balance, just work on cleaning out what shouldn’t be there in the first place. Maybe you want to start with #2. Kick that soda habit and then concentrate on the food side. Whatever it is, you won’t have to be perfect to notice the difference. If you are further along in the clean eating, then kick yourself in the butt and start tightening up on the details!

#2 Be honest with yourself and your schedule

Many of us are balancing a million different things so our schedules are not consistent at all. That’s totally fine and normal. When you are sitting down to meal plan, start with your calendar.

What are the events and challenges that are coming up this week that you need to work around when creating your plan? For example…maybe you have a late meeting at work…that night you want to have something quick and easy to put together. Maybe you have an early school morning with the kids and will need to plan a grab and go breakfast. Maybe you have lunch plans with a colleague and will be eating out that day so you don’t need to worry about the groceries for one of the lunches. Write all of these notes/events in on your paper in the appropriate space.

The most frustrating thing will be if you spend all this time writing a plan and the next day you have a dinner date that you had forgotten about. You are off plan before you even started so this is why I encourage writing your meal plan using your calendar first.

#3 Find a meal plan online that works for you and your personality.

There is no sense in recreating the wheel so get yourself a starting point.

If you are like me, I don’t really like to cook that much so I typically will repeat my dinner for lunch the next day and I’m not afraid to have the same breakfast and lunch everyday. I also don’t have that many ingredients in my recipes. Maybe you love to cook and want to find new recipes.The point is, you and I will probably have different meal plans.

One issue that came from a friend was that she typically wants to grade papers while eating lunch. Maybe a sandwich rather than a salad for lunch would be best so she could eat it with one hand. (yes we could go into the bad idea of multitasking while eating but I’ll let that one go for now) These practical things will likely come up as you go so just be aware of them as they do.

I encourage beginners, to use the great resources online for basic things like: “How do I bake a sweet potato?“ or “How do I hard boil eggs?”. Don’t be afraid to ask Google the basics. It totally helps.

 

No matter where you are on your meal planning journey, write down a plan and follow it. Find a plan online that you love and follow it. The key is writing it down AND following it.

I hope these three tips help you get started no matter where you are on your journey. Remember that meal planning is something that takes practice. The hard part after the planning is over is the execution. Feel free to reach out for help on any of this. I’m here for you!

Fear of Failure

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Failing can seem like the worst, right?

Especially if you have tried something repeatedly and failed everytime! I’ll be real with you…I failed P90X three times before I finally succeeded. I got three or four weeks in and then skipped a workout and then felt bad about skipping one so decided I would get two in the next day. Then when I didn’t workout that next day, I convinced myself I was a failure, I was too far behind, and quit the program. I did this three times!!!

There were two things that I did differently the fourth time that has lead to my success to keep going throughout these 4 years.

1) Building Relationships for Accountability: I reached out to my coach and formed a relationship with him. I told him my struggless and he helped me work through them. I also hooked up with awesome women on a social media…Empower Nation. This great group of people continues pushing hard and taking it one month at a time! This accountability group pushed me to stick with it by requiring accountability and providing support and advice.

2) Creating a Realistic Goal: I decided that doing P90X in 90 days (that is 6 days a week for 3 months) was probably not going to happen with my schedule. Late nights at work with dorm duty for example made it really difficult to workout in the morning. Also, I wanted to be able to go to practices in the evenings for 3 hours and not feel like I had failed because I didn’t get my P90X workout in.  I decided that if I took 100 days to work through the program, I would be able to commit to that. I also decided to focus on the workouts for the first 4 weeks before I worried about the nutrition side of things, and even when I decided to start on the nutrition, I only made one change…drinking Shakeology. I took baby steps with the nutrition because I was too overwhelmed with starting everything at once…I was fearing failure for sure!

Are you so sick of failure that you aren’t even starting?

If you are ready to give it one more shot, I’m looking for a few dedicated people that are sick of failing and are ready to succeed this time. Leave a comment, email me, or fill out the contact form and get ready to finally finish the “fear of failure marathon” and to start the “marathon of success”

 

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Steps to Success: Find your Why

It dawned on me after publishing last week’s blog post entitled “Steps to Success: Start in the kitchen” that I jumped the gun and skipped the first and most important step in the entire journey of getting back into shape…the WHY!!!  That’s right…it is so important, it gets its own color! It is so important that when I sat down to write this article, I flipped through the 50 posts that are here because I thought for sure I had already written about this fundamental idea.  It turns out I haven’t…I can’t believe that! How could I miss something so important?

I think I missed it because my why has been with me for my whole journey. Until last week when I revisited and added to my why, I have had the same why for four years. You might be asking yourself “what is a why?” and the answer is quite simple…this is the reason you want to start on your journey and the reason that motivates you to keep going! It is what will push you to workout in the morning when your alarm goes off and what gets you to push play in the evening after a hard day at work.

The why must be more than just “I want to lose weight.” That doesn’t go deep enough. Your why should make you want to cry! Seriously…I wrote down my why last week and had tears in my eyes. Follow up your initial statement like your 4-year-old would…ask yourself why at least 4 more times. Why do you want to lose weight? How will it feel and how will your life be different when you lose the weight? I challenge you to sit down with a piece of paper or at the computer and write it down. Take this step and get to the heart of why you want to be on this journey.

Here is a bit of my why:

I have been motivated on my journey to get back in shape and stay in shape because I want to be a confident energetic woman who is able to stay active throughout my entire life. I have watched someone important to me suffer from arthritis and I see what she goes through every day. I want to live life to the fullest and delay any effects that arthritis might have on me someday. More immediately, I know that when I am carrying extra weight, I also carry the burden of self consciousness and embarrassment. I like being able to hold my head up high and be proud of who I am and how I look every day.

Just last week, I sat down again to write my why as part of a personal development activity. I realize that my why is so much deeper because my fitness has a direct effect on my success in this business. I need to continue on my fitness journey to realize my dream of earning more than I ever have in my entire life. I want to make enough to bring my husband home from his job. I can achieve financial independence in a way I never could while teaching and it is directly a result of me leading by example and staying on my journey.

Now that you know my deep down why, it’s your turn. Pull a blank document, get a pen and paper and start writing!

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Steps to Success: Start in the Kitchen

I am celebrating 4 days of clean eating like I’ve just climbed Mt. Everest. For the last 5 months, I’ve enjoyed the honeymoon period of my marriage with delicious and impressive meals (code for cheesy and fattening). We’ve gone out to dinners, eaten whatever we wanted from the street vendors and shops, and have rarely said “no” to the decadence at the bakery. I’ve had excuses and I’m not going to beat myself up for letting myself go for a little while. But now its time to get back on track!

The ratio in the picture, 30/70, is what is motivating me as I work through Piyo and the 21 day fix programs. I know it’s true. I’ve experienced it!  Only those times when I paid attention to what I was eating did I actually see progress.

4 days down and I’m feeling great! I’m already feeling skinnier and my energy is through the roof. I’ve been more productive this week than any week in the last few months. And my success boils down to one thing…I have removed all temptations from the kitchen!

Candy, potato chips, and ramen-I want to eat them. I have cravings, aLOT! This will happen to anyone that is suddenly going to eat healthy after eating whatever they wanted for a while. I knew it. I expected it. And there is one huge thing that keeps me from eating all of those things…they aren’t in the house!

I spent a few weeks slowly consuming all of the things that I knew had to go. You might choose to just go through and throw everything away that shouldn’t be there but the idea of the money and waste in doing that just kills me. Cookies, chips, soda, frozen pizzas, beer, and so many other things that might get in between where you are and where you want to be all need to get finished and not replenished. Bring those treats to your next social event and get them out of your house. Bake those chocolate chips into cookies and send them to school with your kids. Tell the girl scouts that your cookies can be given away to someone else. Do what you need to do to get your kitchen cleaned out of junk food and replenished with healthy nutritious grub.

When I suggest this to people, they usually say that their kids can’t live without something or their spouse NEEDS to have certain treats around. If that is the case where you must have some of these things around, put them in a cabinet that you won’t open. Ask your family to help you by keeping these things in a separate space so that you won’t see them when you open the cabinet to prepare dinner for example.

Doing this one thing will have a tremendous effect on your success. It is the first step in a series of steps to healthier living and if you take it, you will be that much closer to the health you’ve always wanted.

 

Need help with your health and fitness? Reach out to me and let’s get you on the road to a healthier you! bbcoachkimw@gmail.com

 

Perspectives of an Adult Athlete: Missing the “Eat Whatever you want” Diet Plan

I know all of us think back fondly on this aspect of our athletic career…you could eat whatever the heck you were craving, likely in massive quantities, and you were proud to sport that athletic figure day in and day out.

I look back on myself with envy and jealousy!

I’m not going to pretend to know what happens biologically from when we were in high school and college to becoming 30 something. I know that our metabolism IS different. According to articles such as  this one from self.com,

“Metabolic rate (the number of calories we burn in a day) plummets as we age, decreasing about 1 percent each year after we hit 30.”

What I do know is that I struggle with the temptation to eat like I did back then. My brain tells me my metabolism is slower and my activity level is lower but my cravings for extra pizza and beer just don’t go away. I have tried to increase my activity level to get away with the extra serving of beer and pizza but that stupid phrase “You can’t outexercise a bad diet” just keeps repeating itself in my head…it is so true!

I know that what I’m feeling is definitely something that alot of former athletes can relate to and I would love to hear from you in the comments below if you can relate. Just seeing the number of former players turned coaches on an NFL sideline that can’t see their toes anymore is a testament to the eating patterns not keeping up with the post sports lifestyle. I hope just acknowledging this issue will help some of you start to come to terms with the changes that have to be made to get back to being healthy. I’m always here to partner with you on our journey of increasing your activity level or finding a nutrition plan that works for you.

 

Tokyo Trivia: Kit kats

I started posting about Japan the day I moved here. The posts were on Facebook and they were what I called “Lesson of the Day”, an observation or experience that I thought was worth sharing. I am starting to put some of these on video and thought I would share them here as well. Maybe one of these days, I will go back into the archives and find my posts too…

 

What’s the Point?

Slide1You are considering starting that new workout program, a new diet or both. On the surface, you tell yourself you are ready to do this but that stupid voice inside your head (or the blerch  on your shoulder) keeps saying “What’s the point?”

What’s the point of even starting? I’m just going to quit after the first week like I have every other time. (this was mine for a long time)

What’s the point of eating healthy if I am working out? I will lose weight no matter what. (this is my current stuggle…and totally false)

What’s the point of even trying? I can only get 3 workouts in per week and that isn’t going to help me lose this weight. (I heard this from a friend just yesterday)

What’s the point? I have so much weight to lose it’s impossible.

What’s the point of trying to be the only one eating healthy in a house of 5 people?

What’s the point of spending all of the extra time and money to make a healthy meal when the kids end up not eating it and would be happier with pizza and mac and cheese?

What’s the point of pushing myself if I am just going to quit?

What’s the point of working out if I am going to eat junk and just ruin my results?

I can’t silence the voice. I wish I could. Life would be so much easier if our inner voice wasn’t sabotaging us.

So…what IS the point? What IS the point of working out for just 10 minutes? What IS the point of pushing yourself, or eating right, or starting again, or being the healthy one in a family, or losing that first pound just to gain it back?

The point is…doing SOMETHING, anything, that makes you a better person today than you were yesterday is a step forward in the journey of living a healthy life. The inspiration FOR the healthy life is rooted in your why  and if your why is so powerful that it makes you want to cry, then you know you are moving forward for the right reason…your kids, your spouse, your enjoyment in life, longevity etc.

This journey has no finish line so you are either getting better or getting worse. It’s impossible to stay in the same place. If you think you are staying in the same place, that is because you take one step in the right direction, then one or two in the wrong direction. That is why consistency is so important. We want to at least be taking two steps forward for every step back.

Therefore, do that one workout even if you don’t know when the next one will be. Eat that salad for lunch even if you have that birthday party tonight. Do something!

The next time you hear yourself say “what’s the point”,  stop validating it, tell yourself “one step forward” and go workout.

Perspectives of an Adult Athlete: Changing my “WHY”

I continue to redefine myself within the framework of the athlete I once was…20 years of competitive sports has definitely had a lasting effect! I hope those of you that come from competitive athletics can identify with my struggle to find happiness, fulfillment and accomplishment in fitness. I have rediscovered and redefined the athlete inside of me. This is part 3 of a series of posts about this transition.

Sit ready, ready all, row!  1/2, 1/2, 3/4, full, full, sprint 10, settle 10 and we’re in it! The 2500 meter race to the finish line. This is why we trained. This was the showcase of the hard work we put in for weeks, months, years. This was our WHY.

But what happens when the showcase is over? The races are over, the tournaments no longer taking up your weekends. What is the motivation to keep working out?

This question is so important to continued success outside of the competitive environment and is the key to finding personal fulfillment and motivation without the structure of competitive sports.

The realization of my “why” came as I was training for a half marathon about 2 years ago. I was running with a group of women and we were getting ready to start a hill workout. I was doing a whole bunch of whining and complaining about everything, how hot it was, how dusty it was, how I had hoped the thunderstorms would have come so we could push the workout off, you name it, I was complaining about it.

The coach turned to me and sincerely asked “Kim, do you even like running?”

I immediately answered “yeah, of course” but didn’t really believe what I was saying. I reflected on it while I was dragging myself up and down the hill, panting and feeling like my heart was going to beat out of my chest, and that is when I realized I loved that feeling…the feeling of pushing your body to achieve things that are hard! Maybe it isn’t running that I love, but through running, I get that feeling that I love. Looking back, that must have been part of rowing and ultimate as well.

There are two answers for why I keep working out without a competition ahead…

Immediately, I do it to feel good. It’s that simple! That post workout euphoria and the sore muscles that come from working hard are difficult to ignore.  I love the confidence that comes with a fit body and am driven by the desire to look in the mirror and love what I see, knowing full well that the journey to loving your body never really has an end. You can always get better.I thank my running coach for helping me realize that this is what gets me off the couch when I don’t want to workout.

But my why actually goes deeper than the immediate feedback of euphoria. I do it so that my body will continue to move into my old age despite the family history of arthritis. Watching my mother struggle with degenerative arthritis in her joints makes me want to do stay healthy and fit as long as I possibly can. I want to live a long, active life and never have to slow down because of back pain or high cholesterol. If kids are in my future, I want to be around for them and their kids. It is within my control now to have a better life 30 years from now.

No need for competitions anymore. My why is much more important now.

 

Perspectives of an Adult Athlete: Redefining a Workout

I continue to redefine myself within the framework of the athlete I once was…20 years of competitive sports has definitely had a lasting effect! I hope those of you that come from competitive athletics can identify with my struggle to find happiness, fulfillment and accomplishment in fitness. I have rediscovered and redefined the athlete inside of me. This is part 2 of a series of posts about this transition.

 

Typical rowing practice: .5 mile warm up run, stretching, 3 mile run, weights, then hit the water for pyramids, warm ups, start drills, 4 race pieces, cool down Total time: 3-4 hours

typical ultimate practice: 2 mile warm up, active stretch, throwing drills, movement/agility drills, positioning drills, sprints, scrimmage. Total time, 3-4 hours

I did those workouts day in and day out for years! My life revolved around my sport. The classes were in the morning so I could practice in the evening. Nothing too late on Friday so I could travel to the tournaments. Never stayed to talk to the teacher because I would miss the van to boathouse. If I wasn’t at practice, I was thinking about the next one.

 

I didn’t take long for fitness to take a lower priority in my life after I graduated and went into the real world. After work, I would go to the gym but feel like I was just wasting time because I “only” had an hour. I would “only” get a 30 minute run followed by a 30 minute weight circuit in before I had to go home. I started thinking “What’s the point?” when I noticed I was getting weaker and slower than I had been in college. The rational side of me knew why but my competitive side thought I should be able to maintain my fitness level. I couldn’t find the time or the motivation to go for 3-4 hours so I started giving up all together…no running, no weight training, nothing! Forget it!

My “rock bottom” wasn’t terrible. In my period of inactivity, I was still more active than most, playing a few pick up games here and there, running once a week, and walking the dog. I put on about 15 pounds and lost a lot of my muscle. The deterioration physically wasn’t really the problem though…the worst part was that I lacked the confidence I had when I was an athlete. I would stand in front of people and think they were judging me for not looking like I used to look. My self talk was full of insults and put downs.

It took 2 years but I reached my “I’ve had it!” moment. That moment when I put my foot down and decide to do something about my crappy self talk and lack of confidence. I knew there was something between doing nothing and going to 4 hour practices and I needed to be okay with that physically and mentally.

I needed to start being an athlete again. I needed a plan, a goal, and a feeling of success. I needed a new approach. Once I acknowledged that I was no longer going to be competing, I finally let myself change the definition of what an appropriate workout is. If I can dedicate 60 minutes/day to something physically active, I consider that a huge success. Some days it is 30 minutes but that is fine too. I pat myself on the back. The first thing I did was a half marathon training plan and race. The next plan was P90X and to get to the end of that. I have continued doing Beachbody programs and running races since.

I still fight the urge to think that a 30 minute run is what you do before you get to the hard part of your workout. My brain still tells me that if I am going to go workout, I need to make sure I have 2-3 hours to dedicate to the task. I acknowledge that I will likely be fighting that notion for the rest of my life. But now, if I put 30-60 minutes in to getting stronger or building my cardio, I’ve had a good workout. If I wake up sore in the morning, even better! At the end of the day, if I can carry myself with confidence and feel good from the inside out, I am an athlete.

 

5 Foods you can Freeze to Help with Meal Prepping

I was struggling as a single person to eat well because it always seemed like a hassle to cook well-balanced meal and then have to do all the dishes afterwards. I always hated spending more time prepping and cleaning than actually enjoying what I prepared…and to do this every night was getting frustrating and time-consuming! I wanted an easier way. So my friend shared with me some of the things you can cook ahead of time and I was surprised at some of the things I hadn’t even thought about freezing.

1. Pasta – you will want to make sure this is al dente so that when you throw it into a stir fry, reheat for 30 seconds in boiling water, or microwave for one minute, it has some time to cook. I checked out http://www.momables.com/how-to-freeze-pasta/ for the best tips  to freeze and the author suggests first coating your pasta in olive oil and flash freezing it for 30-60 minutes before portioning into separate bags. You can do this with spaghetti in muffin tins if needed!

2. Rice – I HATE cleaning the rice pan after it is done so this was huge for me. Cook as much rice as you will consume in the week/month and as soon as it is done, but it into a Tupperware container and close the lid to retain the moisture. When you are ready to reheat, put it in the microwave for 2:30 and you have rice! Find out more at http://www.justonecookbook.com/how-to/how-to-freeze-rice/

3. Taco meat/Ground beef – This preps me for spaghetti sauce, tacos, a quick salad topper, chili preparation etc. Brown the ground beef and add whatever spices you would like in it. Allow to cool and then portion into bags. It is so nice to come home and have a taco with none of the work (or course this requires chopping veggies ahead of time too)! http://food.unl.edu/fnh/ground-beef-recipes

4. Chicken – Most of us know we can freeze chicken but why not cook it first! Individual portions in baggies can be thrown on salads or grabbed as a snack…you wouldn’t believe the number of times I just grab a baggie as I am running out the door! If you want shredded chicken, throw chunks into your Kitchen Aid with the paddle hook on low for a few minutes and voila!

5. Pancake batter – Okay, this is for the weekend mornings for me but why not just make up a full batch, put the batter in freezer bags and thaw (by placing the bag in warm water) when you are ready to use it? My mother spoiled us when we were growing up by preparing a delicious breakfast most mornings before school…I’m sure she would have loved to know this! http://www.thekitchn.com/did-you-know-you-can-freeze-pancake-batter-185748

If you have other ideas, please share!