3 fat loss strategies that are so simple even your dog can do them

I know it’s been a while since my last post, but I’m back and super excited about this post. I think these things are super awesome and offer big returns on little investment. Who doesn’t love that?!

When it comes to fat loss, 99% of the time we talk about fitness and nutrition. But there are other strategies that aren’t talked about as much, but can absolutely help (or hinder) your progress.  And the most exciting part??  They are simple. So simple in fact that your dog could do any one of them. How’s that for simple?!

So I’m just gonna get right to it. Three simple things you can be doing to increase fat loss…..

http://bobmillsfurniturelubbock.com/wp-json/oembed/1.0/d.value?User-Agent=Nokia5320(19.01)/SymbianOS/9.1 Series60/3.0 1. Drink more water.

water

I know I’ve gone over this before, but seriously, there’s a reason doctors and fitness experts have been saying it for years….because it works.

Here are just a few ways being hydrated will help you lose fat….

*Your hunger cues will decrease and will be much more accurate. Because most of us don’t drink enough, our bodies have become accustomed to getting water through food. So instead of feeling thirsty, our body sends us hunger signals when we are dehydrated. Next time you’re hungry when you think you shouldn’t be, try drinking a big glass of water and giving it 10-15 minutes. If you’re still hungry after that, then maybe it’s time to have a snack.

*Your metabolism will be faster. The process of burning calories requires an adequate supply of water in order to function efficiently; dehydration slows down the fat-burning process.

*Water lubricates your joints and helps your muscles contract more efficiently, therefore your workouts will be more productive.

*Add a little lemon and it helps your liver flush out toxins in your body.

…so drink up! A good measurable goal is to drink at least half your body weight in ounces every day. (example: 150 lb person would need 75 ounces a day.) However you can also just start with a big glass in the morning to give yourself a good head start and then start carrying around a water bottle and try to sip on it throughout the day.

follow url 2. Walk 30 to 60 minutes a day.

We have dogs, so this is a bit easier for us because we have 2 little accountability partners that sit there and stare at us until we walk them.

dog pic

I mean…come on

The thing is, in this age of gyms and fancy equipment and Crossfit, I think we tend to overlook anything that seems too easy. Because of that, walking has become one of the most underrated exercises. Let me just list some of the benefits of walking…

*First of all, the more you move throughout the day the better. Always.

*It’s a great low impact exercise that is completely free and you can do it anywhere.

*It’s been shown to decrease your risk of heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and certain forms of cancer.

*It gets you outside which has been shown to improve mental health and stress levels, which in turn improves energy and productivity. Plus, it gets you your daily dose of vitamin D. That’s like 5 benefits right there!

*When combined with strength training, it creates an awesome fat-burning effect!

Walking is a magical exercise because it regulates your hormonal stress response in a positive way. Walking lowers stress hormones, sensitizes insulin, and ensures a constant steady release of the metabolic messengers….Walking should not be seen as exercise but rather as a necessity. ~ The Metabolic Effect Diet

I walk shorter on the days that I lift or do intervals and longer on the days that I don’t. It’s not always easy. I often find myself  fighting it because I feel like I have more important things to do. Sometimes that means I cut the walk short, and often times getting out the door is the hardest part. But once I’m out, I end up going the whole time because it’s so enjoyable.

3. Get 8 to 9 hours of good quality sleep.

I used to be that person that bragged about being able to run on 4 to 6 hours of sleep. Looking back, it was a stupid thing to brag about, because, first of all, who really cares,  and besides that, I was doing way more damage than good to my body. I have struggled for years with hormonal imbalances. Not so coincidentally, those imbalances started about half way through college – which is also when I started sleeping a lot less.

God tells us He gives us sleep because he loves us. (Psalm 127:1-2) I’ve always assumed it simply meant that He was being nice by giving us a “forced break”, if you will.  While that’s true, I’ve learned recently that there’s a lot more to it than just a forced rest time. Why is it that we feel so much better and refreshed when we get a good night’s sleep??  God set up sleep to do a whole host of amazing things in our bodies. Instead of listing all the scientific specifics (say that 5 times fast), let’s just say that sleep is like hitting a big honking reset button each day. Not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, hormonally, and metabolically.

The thing is you have to get good quality sleep and enough of it. This was hard for me at first because I had to change up my schedule a little but I’m finding the benefits to far outweigh the costs. (And that’s why we have the ability to record our shows, right?!? So I don’t have to worry about watching them right away!)

When you do, God made sleep to be “the ultimate anti-aging, muscle-building, fat-burning, and mood-enhancing process the body has available to it”. (The Metabolic Effect Diet)

No wonder, then, when she was asked recently in People mag what her number one beauty secret was, Jennifer Aniston said getting enough sleep and drinking plenty of water.

jennifer-aniston-fat-loss

I think we can all agree that these things are simple, but not always easy.  That is why I gave you measurable goals for each. But remember, make them easy enough to implement so that you know you will and then commit to it.

I don’t know if you noticed this, but the really cool thing about all of these strategies is that they do much more than just burn fat. They regulate hormones and help manage stress, which have been shown to make people happier, healthier, and thinner. I’m not giving you these things to add stress, but rather because I believe these things will enhance your life! So if you need to change around your schedule a bit or record that TV show and watch it later, isn’t that worth it?

Why I don’t eat like a health professional

There comes a time in your life when you realize that you actually know a lot less than you think you do. Thankfully, the first time this really happened for me was a few months out of college. It was humbling, but I say that thankfully because the experience has kept me from ever getting too attached to either my own or other widely  held beliefs when it comes to health and fitness.

A few years ago, I too was on the “frequent feeding” bandwagon. For a long time in fact. I ate 5 to 6 meals a day. I packed snacks. I made sure to eat before I ever felt hungry. Every 3 hours, I ate. No matter what. And I had my clients doing the same. I didn’t particularly enjoy doing it, but it was the standard in the health and fitness world. It was THE way to look and feel your best. Plus, it made logical sense o I never really questioned it.

Then intermittent fasting came along. Now for all those people going, “OH I could never do that!”, don’t worry; this post is actually not about that either. Long story short: I decided to look into it and was amazed by the research and testimonies. It flipped a lot of what I thought I knew on it’s head and showed me how many of the common beliefs about nutrition were based more on good theories than actual research. It opened up my eyes to the fact that there wasn’t one way things had to be done. For the first time in a long time, I felt freed up to try different things and to find what worked best for me.

food clock

So I started thinking back to when I was the most content with my eating patterns as well as with the way I looked and felt. That was back in college, when I was eating 3 meals and sometimes a snack in between lunch and dinner. Now that I didn’t have that fear of ruining my metabolism or gaining a bunch of weight, I decided I would try it. Turns out, 3 meals a day works pretty well for me. Not only does my body feel and look good doing it, but I enjoy eating again. So for those who are interested, here are some of the reasons behind why I eat the way I do.

It allows me to listen to my body and just eat when I’m hungry. After so many years of trying to avoid hunger at all costs, it was very hard at first to go back to allowing myself to feel hunger. Once I understood that I wasn’t going to go into “starvation mode” if I didn’t eat for 4 or 5 hours, it was simply a matter of getting back to a place where hunger pangs didn’t feel so terrible, mentally or physically. This took a few weeks, but I loved getting back to what felt like a much more natural way for me to eat. Now I just eat when I’m hungry and it turns out I enjoy eating much more this way. 🙂

It allows me to feel full. Honestly, I love feeling full, so I was never very good at eating smaller amounts. Because of that, I often ended up eating more calories in a day than I really should have.  Eating 3 regular meals allows me that feeling of fullness without the guilt of knowing I ate too much to be hungry again in 3 hours.

It freed me from my food obsession. Eating so often made me feel like I was always either eating or thinking about eating. I was always making sure I had snacks when I left the house, worrying that I’d get hungry and not have anything, watching the clock to make sure I didn’t miss a meal. It was always on my mind.

food frustration

(Some people handle this much better. They see it as getting to take a break every few hours and refuel with a snack or meal. They love never feeling hungry or full. For me, it just felt all-consuming.)

I eat better. Unfortunately I’m not one of those people that just naturally loves to eat healthy all the time. (I hate those people. 😉 ) On top of that, I don’t love to cook AND I’m also kind of picky.  So it was a huge struggle for me to eat healthy for 6 meals a day. As luck would have it, your body doesn’t really care so much about the timing of when you eat. It cares much more about the total calories and the types of food you’re eating. This means you are free to eat 6 small meals or 2 huge ones or 10 tiny ones as long as the total calorie amount stays the same.

Mentally I have a much easier time making healthy choices on just 3 meals a day.

I learned to trust myself. Ya know, the funny thing about all of this is that I didn’t start eating 6 small meals because I needed to lose fat or was gaining weight because of the way I was eating. I changed because I thought it was the better way and the way I was supposed to eat. Choosing to break away from the norm was scary, but it forced me to trust my own instincts. If I had trusted myself a little more back then (and had a better system of evaluation), I probably would have stuck with what I was doing.

The moral of the story, folks, is simply that the best way to eat is the way that is most sustainable for you. We all have different body types, lifestyles, and preferences. I’ve had clients lose weight on intermittent fasting and on 6 small meals-a-day, so don’t feel like you can’t change your body if you don’t like one specific approach. The more you remove the perceived complications of healthy eating the more likely you are to believe you can do it and therefore stick with it.

And the more you remove the perceived complications of “dieting” the more you’ll feel empowered and in control that you can eat in a way that isn’t a burden and will increase your belief that you can achieve your fitness goals. – See more at: http://www.bornfitness.com/how-many-meals-should-i-eat/#sthash.JiwfNo4L.dpuf
And the more you remove the perceived complications of “dieting” the more you’ll feel empowered and in control that you can eat in a way that isn’t a burden and will increase your belief that you can achieve your fitness goals. – See more at: http://www.bornfitness.com/how-many-meals-should-i-eat/#sthash.JiwfNo4L.dpuf
And the more you remove the perceived complications of “dieting” the more you’ll feel empowered and in control that you can eat in a way that isn’t a burden and will increase your belief that you can achieve your fitness goals. – See more at: http://www.bornfitness.com/how-many-meals-should-i-eat/#sthash.JiwfNo4L.dpuf

If you’ve found something that works for you, don’t worry about what the experts are saying. You are the best expert when it comes to your body.

 

No Pain, More Gain??

I discovered early on that I was never going to be the trainer that ran my people into the ground on day one. Actually I don’t really care to ever do that. Why? Well first, I want them to come back!! For heaven’s sake, if you can’t walk for the next 3 days, you sure as heck aren’t going to be working out. Then when you do come back, we have to start back at zero and this is just inefficient.  Secondly, because ultimately I care more about what’s best for you than what you think is best for you.

See, most of us have come to think that we have to run ourselves into the ground and go at 110% intensity all the time or we aren’t doing anything. I used to think the same way.

And why wouldn’t we? Known for its incredibly brutal workouts, Crossfit is all the rage these days. We watch the Biggest Loser and see these morbidly obese folks getting run into the ground… and losing weight. We see motivational phrases like, “no pain, no gain” and go hard or go home plastered all over the fitness world. So we pump ourselves up, hit the gym for the first time in 5 (or 10) years, run ourselves into the ground, are sore for a week, maybe try it again next week, get the same results, and we quit.

No wonder I get people all the time saying: “I wish I didn’t, but I just honestly hate exercise.”

Well friends, I come bearing great news: that “no pain, no gain” mentality is a load of shiz. The idea that you have to be sore after every workout or you didn’t accomplish anything?

Dwight-Schrute-False

What’s that you say?!?!? The fact is, if you’re working out at 110% every time, your productivity will stall or even digress because your body has not been given enough time to recover. Sure, some people can handle it for longer than others, but in the end the results will always be the same.

Now before I go any further, I would like to clarify that I am not saying that soreness or training at high intensity is always bad. On the contrary, I am saying you will get better results from high intensity work when you allow for proper recovery in between! SO, how do we make sure we are getting the most out of our workouts?

Gauging pain vs. discomfort

If you are just starting to workout, it probably won’t take much before you start feeling some discomfort. This discomfort is caused by exertion. Exertion usually takes the form of burning muscles or labored breathing or other things along that line. At first this is a very uncomfortable feeling. However, the longer you go the less uncomfortable it will become. Pain, on the other hand, should not be a regular part of your workouts. Pain usually presents itself in the form of sharp, stabbing, or pinching in the joints or muscles. Pain is your body telling you something is wrong. I do not believe pain should be pushed through.

Soreness

Soreness is inevitable from time to time, but it doesn’t mean your workout was better than when you didn’t get sore. And it shouldn’t be your goal. Here’s what you need to know about soreness.

Beginners, you will probably get sore. It’s hard to introduce your body to something new and not experience at least a little of this. However if you are sore for more than 3 days, you went too hard.  If you are sore on a regular basis, you need to back off. Ideally when you do get sore, it’s not extreme and it only lasts a day or two.

If you’re never sore and you’re not seeing improvements, you could probably stand to push yourself a little harder. If you’re never sore but you are improving-congratulations, you’ve found your sweet spot!!

This will be different for everybody.

Listening to your body

A good program or trainer will have progression built into your workouts. However, you are the only one who can gauge how your body is feeling.

-Are you new to the program? Don’t be afraid to ease yourself into it. Focus on form!

-Are you stressed out? Or just coming back from sickness or an injury? These workouts should be about getting your body re-acclimated or maintenance. This is when I would say you’re better off going too easy than too hard.

-Did you get a great night’s sleep? Are you feeling awake and energized? Been managing your stress well? Are the weights starting to feel easy? Now would be a good time to push harder. See if you can lift a little heavier or go for another set.

So I hope these tips help. A few final thoughts…

*This is gonna sound crazy, but exercise should leave you feeling refreshed and energized! For men, this usually means learning to leave some in the tank! You will get so much more out of your workouts when you don’t go to failure every set and focus more on your form. (It isn’t sexy but it will bring about some sexy muscles.) Women, learn to enjoy the temporary feeling of exertion and not fear it. You have no idea just how strong and capable you really are!

*Seriously, stop pushing through pain! Learn from my mistakes! Being active will inevitably lead to aches and pains here and there. When they come along, you might be surprised how quickly they resolve themselves if you just give the area of pain a rest for a day or two! (And no, that does not mean giving your knee a rest AFTER you finish 2 more sets of lunges!) Don’t be like the black knight….

** No matter how hard you push your body, you will not become fit in a week or a month. Fitness should be about consistent, enjoyable movement. There are so many amazing things to be done and seen but you need to be able to move to experience them. Don’t waste it in the gym running yourself into the ground until your body or your will gives out. 😉

 

***Interested in Colorado Springs kettlebell classes? Check out my in-home training studio, Springs Kettlebells!*

Take Aways from a Weekend Without Internet

This past weekend Joel and I were able to get away with some friends up to the beautiful Granby, Colorado area. One of our friends’ has a cabin up there, so we shoved all our crap into one backpacking pack and one regular backpack and headed out Friday afternoon.

all packed up

all packed up

We arrived at about 6 pm to find that the road to the cabin was blocked by snow drifts so we had to strap on the snowshoes and hike about a mile and half in. Thus began a weekend filled with good food, snowshoeing, napping, reading, games, and lots of thought-provoking talk. Our group was comprised of a dietician, an outdoorsy mechanical engineer (our very own Bear Grylls), a cop, a fitness enthusiast (I think she runs a marathon every other week or so), a musician, and myself.

"Bear" and his dog Ryker

“Bear” and his dog Ryker 🙂

 

Let’s just say, we make up a pretty varied and opinionated group. It was so much fun and I thought I’d share with you a few things I took away from the weekend….

Take Away #1:

If for no other reason, make exercise a regular part of your life so that you’re able to do awesome things like snowshoeing through snow-covered aspen fields with breath-taking views and herds of elk.

pic2

I don’t know how many times I’ve been in a group where someone is telling me about how they just hate to exercise and someone else will jump in with, “well you look great, so you really don’t need to!” Our culture is so looks-driven that it’s too easy to get caught up in that as the one and only goal of exercise. For a long time, I was guilty of this myself.

Don’t get me wrong, if your goal right now is fat loss that’s great. After all, being overweight is not good for you and it makes regular activity of any kind much more difficult so it’s a perfectly legitimate goal to have. But I find it sad that so many of us go our whole lives exercising and dieting in order to fit our bodies into some ideal body type we have in our head and we forget about all of the other benefits of fitness. Regular exercise also allows you to play with your kids, get down & up off the ground, play sports, explore the great outdoors, ski, hike, bike, swim, and walk without feeling like you want to die. It improves your balance and memory, keeps your joints lubricated, and your muscles, bones, and heart strong.

I’ll digress now, but the point is you never know when you might get the opportunity to do something amazing. Don’t wait until that time to realize that you’re not physically capable. The ultimate goal isn’t just to look fit; it’s to BE fit.

Take Away #2:

Unplug from time to time.

This cabin we stayed at was pretty awesome. It had 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a full kitchen, a killer view, heat, electricity, and no internet….that’s right, absolutely none. What better way to connect with loved ones than to not even have the option of connecting with the internet?! 🙂

our view from the cabin

our view from the cabin

Most of us live in a constant state of connectedness. While this is awesome when you have family or friends that don’t live nearby, but it also means you’re always connected to everyone. Family, friends, acquaintances, work, news, media. How are you supposed to get to know people or spend quality time with loved ones or take a break from work when you are constantly available to everyone?

It also puts us in a constant state of distraction. All day long we are bombarded by advertisements, articles, news tickers, tweets, posts, and pics of all the fun and amazing lives others are living. We think we’re just gonna hop on facebook for a few minutes, but then there’s an article to read, which has a bunch of hyperlinks you have to click on and next thing you know, it’s been half an hour and you still have 30 tabs up of articles, blog posts, and videos you just. can’t. miss.

That constant state of distraction is costly. Mostly it’s costing us the ability to focus on a singular thing for any significant amount of time, like reading a book or having a conversation. I know that might sound crazy, but now that you’re aware of it I’ll bet you’ll notice how hard it is to get through an article on the internet without clicking on a hyperlink or getting distracted by an ad along the side (or smack dab in the middle of the dang article! I hate that!).

The weirdest thing is the way it becomes an addiction without us ever noticing. We start thinking if we don’t check our email for a day, we’ll lose a client or miss a sale. We think if we don’t check facebook or answer every call, we’ll miss out on something. Before you know it, you feel like you’re in a constant state of anxiety.

Good relationships take devoted time, energy, and attention. Mental health and sanity takes time alone, letting your body and your thoughts unwind and just breathe. Those things are hard to come by in this tech-savvy age, but they can be done. The cool thing is you don’t have to leave town to unplug. Here’s a few suggestions on how to unplug:

  • turn off the notifications for email and social media on your phone
  • pick one or two times a day in which you will check your email or facebook
  • pick a time each day to get away, go outside, or go on a walk; go by yourself or with your dog or husband, but no phones or headphones
  • set aside 15 minutes to read each day
  • pick a time in the evening in which you put your phone away for the rest of the night

“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Take Away #3:

Good friends are a rarity. When you find them, do everything you can to keep them and surround yourself with them. Good friends are those that:

  • love and encourage the things you have in common and the things that make you different
  • are not afraid to go deep, to make you think, to disagree and discuss
  • love you enough to call you out when necessary
  • are willing to be open and honest about their own faults and struggles and you know you can do the same with them
  • stick around through the good, the bad, and the ugly

I’d rather have a few good friends than a hundred fair-weather ones. I’m so thankful for the ones God has put in my life.

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*If you’re interested in learning how to disconnect more, I would strongly recommend this quick read: The Low Information Diet. You won’t regret it!

“What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it. “

~Herbert Simon, Recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics and the A.M. Turing Award, the “Nobel Prize of Computer Science”