Hey there! I hope you had a very happy holiday season. With the New Year upon us, many will be making New Years Resolutions about their health - whether joining a gym, starting a new diet plan like Paleo, raw, or Whole30, or starting an at-home fitness regimen like P90x.
Some people poo-poo on New Years Resolutions, but some are the jumpstart you need to launch yourself into a healthier you. This post isn't about New Years Resolutions or goal setting - it's about my experience with Diet-to-Go.
If you're thinking up some goals come January 1st, I encourage you to read up on my previous post regarding setting SMART goals and the stages of change.
To Cook or Not To Cook?
Over the past year, there has been a HUGE increase in meal delivery. Past the days of Lean Cuisines and frozen meals, the trend seemed to crop up for busy adults who love to cook, but just don't have the time. Services like Blue Apron send you all the ingredients you need to cook a wonderful meal. Similar services include Plated, HelloFresh, and Purple Carrot.
There are also services aimed more at a healthier you. If you think about it, if you want to start eating healthier, your Pinterest search history may be filled with - quick healthy recipes, chicken and vegetables, healthy crockpot meals, tasty chicken meals, etc. You spend hours searching for recipes, gather up the grocery lists, head to the grocery store, and then embark upon meal planning. These "healthy you" services help you out by removing some of the steps. For example, PlateJoy sends you the recipes and the grocery list you need for a healthy diet. A big plus is that the recipes utilize similar ingredients to minimize on waste and having to prep something every single night (such as chicken parm and chicken tacos later that week).
Diet-to-Go goes one step further - choose your meal plan, see the delivery options in your area, and personalize your menu with number of meals and other details. For example, you can get a vegetarian option on the Balance or go all-veggie. (By the way, the menu options are Balance, Balance-Diabetes, CARB30, Vegetarian).
Their meal plans have been rated as tastier than Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, eDiets, and Biggest Loser and are not only dietitian-approved but chef-inspired. So you get a healthy meal that tastes wonderful.
Diet-to-Go: What Do You Get?
OK so you pick your plan, schedule your delivery, and wait. What will you do with the time you don't have to spend grocery shopping?
Your meals will arrive in a refrigerated box. Each meal is in a sealed container, labeled with its contents and nutrition information (and heating instructions). They stack nicely in your fridge, just like those "meal prep Sunday" pins you see on Pinterest. In case you missed it, the meals are in single-meal containers and meant to be refrigerated.
One of my favorite features was that for some of the lunch items, they include snack items like apple chips (I'm a sandwich and snack kinda girl - hot leftovers just don't cut it for me sometimes), all ready to go in your container. By the way, you can customize your individual meal choices within the overall meal plan selection.
If you want to kickstart a healthy lifestyle, and aren't a big fan of cooking, Diet-to-Go may be just what you need. Or even if you have a great meal plan strategy in place, Diet-to-Go can help cover your bases when you head into a busy week or two at work, and instead of falling off the wagon, you have Diet-to-Go.
If you have any questions about the process, Diet-to-Go provides you with a phone number to call, a Learn More webpage, and an online contact option. They're responsive and there to help you. Give it a try! You can walk through the ordering process all the way to check-out to see the options you can choose before you break out the credit card.
This review was written in exchange for a 7-day free trial of the Balance meal plan. However, all opinions expressed are mine alone. None of the information here substitutes for advice from your medical practitioner.
Learn more about Diet-to-Go process
What do you think? Give it a try?
This post isn't about a particular food tracker. I was using a mobile app and was actually a huge fan. This post is about my experience with food tracking overall.
Everyone is different in their eating habits, and not surprisingly, people respond differently to getting a grip on their eating habits.
Note that I said eating habits and not preferences. When I say eating habits I mean:
This long list is one of the many reasons there are so many "dieting" options out there, but also why so many one-size-fits-most don't always work. For example, I have more than a few friends who's stomach would really prefer they stay away from meat. But I exclaim, that's how I feel about carbohydrates! Others can't stomach the idea of eating first thing in the morning. For me, it's a must! And then I'm usually done with the whole eating thing around 4pm.
Alright, so I want to tell you guys about a kickstarter I've consulted with a bit in the past few months (gratis, no worries, not a shareholder).
Their idea is so simple it's genius, and as a dietitian I'm going to tell you, that estimating portion sizes just doesn't work (remember my blog post on simple changes to make in the kitchen?)
From a husband and wife dynamic duo, a marathon running nurse and a guy who dropped some serious pesos, I present to you: MugDiet.
Their rationale? Those lean cuisine type meals typically come in around 300 calories. That's barely enough for me, let alone a bigger dude trying to lose weight as well.
You plug in your stats and you get a different mug size then Joe Schmo next to you on the subway. What about when you lose weight? How do you keep on with MugDiet and your goals? No worries - you can trade in your MugDiet for your new size.
Check out their site for more info. I've worked with them to make the science easy to understand with easy flow. 2 pages on their site is all you need before you click over to their Kickstarter page. www.mugdiet.com
I'd love to answer any questions you have. Hit me up in the comments!
Did my title hook you in? Good! Now don't worry...this post is in fact about running for beginners, but more of a tell-all of my experience (second time around!) and my tips and tricks. I'll link you up to some great programs that I have used and highly recommend, as well as some products I've found to be super helpful.
I do not have affiliate status with any of these manufacturers or online sellers and receive no financial benefit from you clicking through or purchasing the items.
I'm not a big fan of the dreadmill, but no judgment if that's your gig. My go-to necessities are geared towards outdoor runners, and my program and app recommendations are geared towards beginners.
Keep your eyes out for my future post on Running with Your Dog!
The app that does all the work for you
I first did a walk-to-run beginner program in the summer of 2010. I had a print-off from Runners World tacked up in the garage, and would memorize that day's "splits" - 1 min walk, 1 min jog; 30 sec walk, 2 min jog; etc. and spent most of my run looking down at my sport watch. The plus side? It made the run go by faster. The downside? It was sort of stressful.
Don't Sweat It!...in your eyes
Pockets for your stuff
Stay hydrated, folks!
Some final remarks for you.
And last but not least:
Every method out there to help you eat healthy serves a certain purpose. However, your approach to eating and fitness dictates which purposes you need to employ in the first place.
Methods for an "eat to live" person will be very different than those for a "live to eat" person. Similarly, if you struggle with cravings, your best approach likely won't work well for someone who struggles with feeling hungry all of the time.
Today I'd like to share with you 3 simple changes I have made in the kitchen.
Did you open this post thinking it was going to be another bouncy six-pack twenty-something sharing her early morning 10-minute workout? So sorry if I disappointed you.
Perhaps I should have titled it "how to stay sane while trying to stay fit in grad school". The school gym isn't very far from me - but it's not very close either. I've heard there's showers in the basement of the school - maybe I could go for a run in between classes (in the southern heat) like the girl I see everyday at lunch. PS I'm pretty sure shes running to and from her Athleta (Lulu Lemon, Fabletics) photo shoot.
So what am I going to talk to you about then?
I'd like to share the conversations (arguments?) that go through my head at least weekly, if not daily as they pertain to academics, wellness, social life, and literally just maintaining function.
A few weeks ago I joined a new gym, had my metabolic rate tested, and had a cardio plan to follow. Over the years, I've followed various fitness regimens and can reflect back on how they meshed with my schedule, how I felt, and if they would fit in my life now.
Right now, back pain and the desire to lean out are having a tug-o-war with my body. I'm seeing my chiropractor twice a week, but also taking it easy. I would rather workout 1-2 times a week (instead of 5) until I rebuild some strength than overdo it and be stuck on the sidelines.
It's better to build up from where you are.
Since being recognized as a Top 100 Weight Loss Blog, I find my thoughts meandering back to this side of the site more and more often. The truth is, I'm going through the same weight loss and fitness battle that you are. And yeah, I'm a dietitian. I know what I should be eating. I even know the science behind it. And I'm a certified trainer. I know how much and what type of exercise I should be doing.
But I'm also human. I found myself in this slump because I didn't recognize the role my job as a personal trainer played in my wellness. I didn't realize how key it was to maintaining the fit persona that became so intertwined with my identity that I still feel like that fitbunny at the gym - until I look in the mirror.
I understand how my past clients saw me. A perky, 18 year old college student ready to help them down the road to success, but without a clue what it was like to have your thighs rub holes in your jeans, to not recognize yourself in the mirror, or to try to fit beautiful curvy hips in a dress. But I have a clue now.
Reflection & Identification
One of the key strategies I've been using over the past few months is reflection and identification. Forty pounds (forty pounds!) snuck on to my frame in the past 3 years. How ironic is it that, as a nutrition intern, I started eating worse and working out less? I was so busy with work and with school, and I took my fit healthy body for granted, that I didn't see myself slowly spiraling to where I find myself today. Looking back, I realized that:
I quit my personal training job (~6 hours low intensity cardio and weight lifting per day + workouts) my senior year of college. I also started gaining weight that year. I was doing A LOT of physical activity with that job. It let me overeat at buffet dinners (which then pushed me to skip meals), and maintain the physique I treasured, without realizing how big of a role that extra calorie burn played. The weight gain started slowly, as I lost muscle mass, reducing my resting calorie burn.
Then the next year, during residency, stress increased, exercise decreased, and eating was sporadically healthy. I recognized food rules that were so entrenched in my mind that it felt ridiculous to have to address them so consciously. I still gained another 10 pounds.
The next year, I started graduate school. At this point, I lamented the fact I no longer fit into my size 2-4 jeans, and struggled with working out and eating out. I bounced from weeks of inspiration to dark holes where I thought, "Why bother? I'm not seeing any results." Another 10 pounds.
This last year, I embodied the "Why bother" stance. It was too dangerous to go run outside in the city, I told myself. It's better for me to eat out than to worry about not having food at home. As long as I feel OK, I don't need to exercise. I'll start after graduation. Another 10 pounds.
By breaking down the history, and connecting the dots, you begin to see the reasons that weren't apparent at the time. And you can look at your habits now in a new lens, and make a game plan.
The Battle Against the Quick Fix
I feel like a statistic sometimes. In counseling classes, we talked about the overall trend in America for adults to gradually gain weight each year, as their metabolism slows and they fail to account for it. This weight gain is exacerbated by stressful life events, poor eating habits, and sedentary lifestyles. Suddenly, everyone has gained 40 pounds. Or 50. Or 60. Now, I'm part of that group.
But I'm not depressed about it. I read an article once about a personal trainer in Australia who stopped exercising and ate only fast food in order to gain weight and be unhealthy like his clients. Then he worked his way back to fit. He learned how tough it is to get BACK in shape, and to get BACK to how you used to feel. You realize how for granted you took your flat stomach. All you thought about then was how to get more definition in your abs, not how to lose 4 dress sizes.
It comes down to this - we want immediate gratification. This reason is why the diet industry is so successful. They market quick fixes to us, and we fall for it. Because we want that. No one wants to hear "diet and exercise". But what I want to share with you is the nuances of diet and exercise and the consequences of continuing an unhealthy lifestyle.
Over the next few weeks, I hope to write to you on topics such as:
I encourage you to share your thoughts and story in the comment section. If you would rather be more private, send me an email through my contact form.
Looking forward to sharing my Journey Back to Lean with you!
Cravings seem to take two forms with most of us.
For some, Cravings is that friend from high school that is a whole lot of fun to go out and party with. She comes into town, calls you up, and part of you is excited, but the responsible part of you is tugging at your shirt. You know it will be a great time if you go...but that you'll probably regret it in the morning. You give in and you go, and you indulge all night long. Waking up in the morning, your head is pounding and you think "That night was not worth what I'm feeling now."
For others, Cravings is a different type of friend from high school. You see her around town every once in awhile, and it seems like her life is just like yours. Every month or so you meet for lunch, and chat pleasantly about whats new and reminsce on old times. As you're driving away, you let out a breath and think "I had a really nice time. That was great." And that good feeling holds you until next time.