Who Are You Really Cheating?

cheat day

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I often hear the women I’m coaching talk about “cheat days,” those glorious-sounding times when they allow themselves to eat whatever they want, to overeat, to forget about the “diet” and just enjoy themselves.  If that sounds like you, the question is: Who are you cheating?

Some say that giving yourself a day off from worrying about what you eat provides a relief that can strengthen your willpower once the day is over.

To that I’d say: Why are you worrying so much about food to begin with?

Others argue that cheat days can increase the hunger-dampening hormone leptin, boost metabolism and actually help you lose weight.

My response? I don’t know for sure, but it sounds like you’re looking for a good excuse to eat a lot of unhealthy food for a day! I could be wrong, though.

One of the biggest issues I have with cheat days is the name itself. If you’ve been separating food into “good” and “bad” categories, if you’ve been strictly restricting what you eat, if you’ve denied yourself all pleasure of eating, if you’re looking for a rationale for “eating everything in moderation,” my suggestion is to go back to the basics of clean eating.

Clean Eating 101

(1) Diets don’t work for the long haul. Sure, if you restrict your calories you’ll lose weight, whether you completely give up carbs, protein or fat … or all three?! When you cut out an entire food group, of course your calorie intake will shrink and so will your waist. For a while. Until you go back to a healthier, more reasonable eating plan that you can live with.

(2) The 80-20 rule works best for most of us. That’s the philosophy that trying to eat healthy and clean (ie., unprocessed foods without added sugar and chemicals, etc.) at least 80% of the time is a reasonable goal. The other 20%? Well, that’s where life comes in. When you find yourself at lunch with friends in a restaurant with very few healthy options, or you forget to plan ahead and have a long commute without your veggies next to you.

(3) We need to stop restricting ourselves when it comes to food choices. Stop thinking in terms of all the things you “can’t” have and start enjoying the foods you “can.” Instead of, “I can’t eat that much red meat anymore,” think in terms of, “I’m treating myself to healthier high-protein options that I love, like salmon, eggs and turkey.” Learn which foods make you feel good, which ones make you feel gross.

(4) Weigh yourself no more than once a week and start looking for “non-scale victories.” Your clothes fit better, you have more energy, you’re sleeping better, you’re happier. I don’t care what the numbers on the scale say, I’d take any of those victories over a half-pound weight loss that those highly inaccurate bathroom scales are telling me about — wouldn’t you?

So when you’re looking forward to a cheat day when you can relax and eat whatever’s in front of you … make sure what’s in front of you is the highest-quality cheat food you can find. Savor every bite. Don’t go hog-wild. Listen to your body, it’ll tell you what it needs.



Why we gain belly fat as we age

Are you sometimes frustrated with the way your clothes fit or discouraged that your stomach sticks out more than it used to?

Here’s why our bellies get bigger:

1. Stress often results in overeating and late-night eating, when we use food to unwind. It also causes us to not breathe deeply, which can lead to bloating. Ever notice at the end of a stressful day your belly pooches out more than it did in the morning?

2. Food choices add to bloating and belly fat, especially if we aren’t getting enough probiotics and digestive enzymes in our diet. And if you struggle with food cravings, you may be eating too much sugar, salt and fat — all those add to belly problems.

3. Hormones control every aspect of weight loss, including our appetites and body fat distribution. Our bodies are hard-wired to store excess fat in our belly, more so as we age.

4. Metabolism slows down as we age, as we lose muscle and gain body fat. Since we’re burning fewer calories, the excess goes to our middles.

Want to make some changes?

Relax, Strengthen & Stretch
This month I’m going on a “3-Week Yoga Retreat” — in my own home. You can, too! It’s a brand new program, available only on Beachbody on Demand (BOD)… that’s like the Netflix of fitness, with hundreds of great workouts at your fingertips!*

The “3-Week Yoga Retreat” includes simple, easy to follow 30-minute yoga workouts led by excellent instructors. No fluff, no chanting. We’re burning calories here, not incense.

Change Your Nutrition
This “Retreat” also includes daily Shakeology, the health food shake that provides prebiotics, probiotics, fiber, and all the vitamins and minerals your digestive system needs to function correctly. This is what can reduce belly fat and eliminate bloating.

Shakeology does more than just provide good nutrition – it helps you stop craving junk, sugar and unhealthy snacks. It’s the basis of a clean-eating program.

Why not spend 3 weeks on getting healthier and reducing belly fat? Imagine how much better you’ll look and feel.

To join in, just reply to this message and let me know — I’ll make sure you get enrolled. And when you finish the 3-week retreat? Share your testimonial with me, and I’ll send you a $10 Amazon gift card to treat yourself to tea or coffee with a friend!

Please e-mail me before September 15 so I can help you get started.

How to Save Money on Shakeology

How to Save Money on Shakeology

If you love Shakeology as much as I do, you probably plan to use the product every day for the foreseeable future. And why not?  It’s helped a lot of us with our junk food cravings, the lack of nutrients in our diets (causing more cravings and fatigue), the inability to meet our protein requirements, and the need for something sweet but healthy.

Yes, I know. It’s not a cheap product. The ingredients are carefully chosen, prepared and packaged for optimal results.  A great deal of research and development have gone into it — and Beachbody continues to invest heavily into Shakeology to make sure we have the best product on the market.

Just like choosing a restaurant, we all know if we want cheap food we have that option – all over the place! You can get a genetically modified hamburger on a bun that’s been stripped of all nutrients and topped with a genetically modified tomato. (yum?)  But if we want a premium meal, that satisfies our appetite, nourishes our body and fuels our healthy lifestyle, it’s going to cost more.

But what if you’re on a budget?

First, remember that Shakeology isn’t an added grocery item, it actually becomes part of your normal food purchases. That’s because it replaces one meal a day – and it’s hard to find a more nutritious meal for under $5.

Some people find they save money on their entire grocery bill, because once they start eating healthier, they no longer buy chips, soda and candy.

While the retail cost of Shakeology is about $4.30 per meal (well-worth it in my opinion) but there is also a discount available.

Save Money on Shakeology

The company provides a wholesale option for those of us who enroll as a Coach in Team Beachbody. You get a 25% discount not only on Shakeology, but any Beachbody product, including all the fitness programs, sports nutrition products, exercise equipment, apparel, skincare and more.

How to Become a Coach

It’s simple. New Coaches pay a one-time $39.95 enrollment fee, and a monthly service fee of $17 (sort of like the membership fee you pay to be a Costco shopper). The service fee gives you access to a plethora of health and fitness information, including meal plans, personal development tools and a wide variety of other resources.

Have no fear! You can cancel your Coach account (and your Shakeology order) at any time without penalty or fees.

As a Coach, you also have access to free training and your own customized websites to help you start a coaching business, if you ever want to. The business is fun, rewarding and adaptable to your lifestyle. Unlike direct marketing companies of the past (think Amway and Fuller Brush), Beachbody handles all customer service, shipping and delivery (no, you don’t end up with a garage full of products!).

If you’re interested in becoming a Coach, whether it’s just for the discount or because you’re interested in having your own fitness business, please get in touch. I’d be glad to give you all the details, tell you about the benefits (including the compensation plan), and help you decide if it’s the right decision for you.

Bottom Line

Shakeology is a wise investment in your health. To save money, opening a Coach account is a wise financial move.

Healthy Snacks for Busy People

Eating healthy doesn’t mean going hungry. Even if you’re a vegan (no meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, or honey), you still have tons of delicious options for healthy snacks.

An ideal snack provides 100-250 calories, with a combo of protein and fiber to keep you full and energized. Protein bars are great, but why not think outside the bar? Whether you’re a full-time vegan, a flexitarian, or are simply looking for some new between-meal munchies, here are some healthy snacks to try. 

Sweet healthy snacks

Trail Mix: Mix 2 tablespoons each almonds and pumpkin seeds. Add 1 tablespoon each of dried cranberries and roasted coconut flakes for a touch of sweetness. (~200 calories)

Homemade Energy Bites: In a food processor, pulse 1 cup of your favorite nuts or seeds with 6-7 medjool dates, vanilla, and cinnamon until a paste forms. You can add a tablespoon each of dried cherries or chocolate chips if desired. Form into 4 balls. (~200 calories per ball)

Chia Pudding: Whisk together two tablespoons chia seeds in 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk. Season with vanilla, cinnamon, and stevia to taste. A tablespoon of cocoa powder adds a rich chocolate flavor. Allow to sit at least 4 hours or until chia seeds have absorbed the liquid. Garnish with berries and a pinch of coconut flakes. (~250 calories)

Simple Smoothie: Blend 1 cup unsweetened coconut water or non-dairy milk with half a frozen banana, 1 large handful spinach, ice, and the protein powder of your choice. (~200 calories)

PB&J Sweet Potato: Bake a small sweet potato or steam in the microwave. A teaspoon each of peanut butter and jelly offer a satisfying sweet fix. (~200 calories)

Savory healthy snacks

Roasted Chickpeas: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss half a cup chickpeas with 1 teaspoon olive oil and your favorite spices. Roast on a foil-lined baking sheet for 20 minutes, or until crispy, shaking a few times to prevent sticking. (~150 calories)

Avocado Toast: Top a slice of your favorite whole grain toast with a quarter to a half of an avocado. Garnish with a dash of sea salt and a teaspoon of chia, sesame, or hemp seeds. (~250 calories)

Hummus & Veggies: Slice up your favorite raw vegetables and dip into a quarter cup of hummus for a filling snack. (~200 calories)

Edamame: Heat up frozen edamame. Enjoy a half-cup, shelled, as a filling snack. (~120 calories)

“Cheesy” Popcorn: Place ¼ cup of corn kernels in a brown paper lunch bag. Fold the top of the bag over twice and microwave bag on high in one-minute increments. The popcorn is done when the kernels stop popping. Shake in a tablespoon of nutritional yeast. (~150 calories)

Happy healthy snacking!

Spring is in the air – time to take action

Spring Cleaning

It’s time to spring into action! With the warmer weather, I plan to start riding my bike, going for hikes, and being outside with my animals. And yeah, maybe I’ll even clean up my mailbox, car and closet while I’m at it. Maybe.

If I’m going to be more active, I could use more energy. And I wouldn’t mind dropping a few pounds of “winter weight.”  You know, the stuff we’ve been hiding under our sweatshirts and baggy sweaters the last few months?

I think it’s time for some “Spring Cleaning” of our eating habits! Are you ready to take action? If so, you’re invited to join me Monday, March 21 for five days of info, support and accountability.

This is an online group, so you can participate from anywhere; all you need is a Facebook account.

For five days, we’ll focus on:
• How to get off the sugar roller coaster
• Which fats are healthiest
• Best sources of lean protein
• How Shakeology curbs your sugar cravings
• 3 ways to lose weight by eating more

I’ll share with you some tips and tools to make eating healthy easier and more fun, including a new app called, Way of Life, that lets you track your daily habits, set goals and reminders, and lets you see your success trends over time.

If you’re interested in jumping in, please visit the Facebook event page, and get in touch with me to get started. I’ll show you how just five days of paying attention to your habits, adding nutrients to your diet through daily Shakeology, and group support can help you make changes in the way you currently eat.

Don’t Wait – Spring is Here!

There’s no better time to lighten up your life, and start eating in a way that gives you solid, happy energy. Not the ups and downs you get from caffeine and sugar, the kind that sustains you through your day and your physical activities.

I’m looking forward to springing forward with you! Please let me know what questions you have or what I can do to help you get started on your spring cleaning.

Refreshing My Body & Brain

I’m finishing the 3-Day Refresh and am very happy with the results. I usually schedule a Refresh every few months — the beginning of a new year seemed like a perfect time.

What I love about it:
* It prompts me to plan out my meals and snacks for the three days.
* I bought fresh organic produce and cut and portioned it out for the three days.
* I actually love the taste of the Vanilla Fresh, although not everyone does!
* Drinking vegan formula Shakeology make me feel satisfied but light.
* Unlike a juice cleanse, you get to chew real food several times a day!
* I never feel hungry on the Refresh. It’s well-designed and proven to work.
* It helps me rediscover the fact I feel better when I don’t overeat.
* My brain is so much clearer. I’m able to focus and concentrate.
* I’m more productive and energetic. No more sluggishness.
* My clothes feel more comfortable. What’s not to love about that?

If you’d like more details on the 3-Day Refresh, just get in touch. I’d be happy to walk you through the program, and offer ideas for blending the shakes and choosing your meals.

Abs Challenge Coming!

Stronger core muscles are possible for anyone, at any age. Here’s a chance to find out how.

For 5 days, September 8-12, we’ll be doing workouts designed to challenge you and your midsection. But there’s more to creating toned abs than just crunches and planks…a lot more! Super nutrition through SHAKEOLOGY is part of this challenge, because I know if you’re fueling your body right, you’ll see the fastest results.

Read more.

For more details:
Email: Valerie@EncoreFitnessCoaching.com
Call/text: (360) 466-8754

Be Awesome by Eating Well

What would happen if you spent 5 days eating the most awesome foods you could find? How much more energy would you have, how much better would you feel? Find out, starting July 21. Join me for an adventure in healthy eating.

Admission requirement? You must be prepared to share one healthy recipe, or a photo of one healthy meal each day with the group. Questions?

Send an email
Call/text: (360) 466-8754.

Let’s get awesome! 🙂

The Lemons of Life

Have you suffered a recent injury, are you living with a chronic health condition, or recovering from surgery or other setback? Maybe all you need is a little encouragement from your friends to move as much as you can. Brenda Suryan Sem and I have created a special community for anyone who wants to (1) set a goal, (2) stick to it, (3) share it, (4) be a cheerleader for others.

Questions or suggestions on ways to help even more?
Contact me: Valerie@EncoreFitnessCoaching.com

See the invitation at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1426953214253675/?source=1
(Facebook account required)

No More Yo Yo!

Have you ever gone on and off a diet? Dumb question, right? A recent study found that 80% of 10-year-old girls have been on a diet, and we all know people who just hope from the latest fad diet to the next.

What’s the difference between a diet and a lifestyle change? A diet is all about numbers, a lifestyle change is about you: your mindset, your mental health, your overall well being.

If you want to kick start some health lifestyle changes – and yes, lose weight and get fit in the process – consider joining one of our upcoming fitness challenges. They’re online, so it doesn’t matter where you live.

For more details, please contact me.