Comfort Meals I’ve Fallen in Love With…

With the colder weather coming and being pregnant with a baby in the oven, all I want to do with my free time is cook and try all kinds of new recipes.  I thought I would share a couple of my new favourites that are easy to make, healthy and taste delicious!

  1. Hearty Chicken and Rice Soup

Hearty Chicken and Rice Soup

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/231291/hearty-chicken-and-rice-soup/

Ingredients:
10 cups chicken broth (I used low sodium)
1 onion, chopped
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup sliced carrots
1/4 cup sliced parsley
12/ tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
3/4 lb of chicken, cut into cubes
2 cups cooked rice
2 tbsp lime juice

Prep 20 min, Cook 25 min, Ready in 45 min

Directions:
Combine chicken broth, onion, celery, carrots, parsley, pepper, thyme and bay leaf in a Dutch oven (or large pot), bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer until the onion and celery begin to soften, 10-15 minutes. Stir chicken into the simmering broth; cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle, 5-10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Stir rice and lime juice into broth; cook and stir just until rice is hot and grains seperate, about 1 minute.

2. Beef Stew

Jennifer's Burgundy Beef Stew

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/230331/jennifers-burgundy-beef-stew/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringContentType=search%20results&clickId=cardslot%202

Ingredients:
1 slice bacon
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/12 lbs or beef chunks
2 cups low sodium beef stock
1 cup dry red/burgundy wine
4 carrots, cut into chunks
1 lb potatoes, cut into chunks
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, cut into chunks
1 tsp dried marjoram
3/4 tsp ground thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1 pinch ground black pepper

Prep 20 min, Cook 1 hr 40 min, Ready in 2 hrs

Directions:

  1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon to a paper towel, retaining drippings in skillet. Pour olive oil into reserved bacon drippings.
  2. Pour flour into a large sealable plastic bag, add the beef, seal and shake to coat meat with flour. Cook and stir beef in the bacon drippings mixture until browned on all sides, 7-10 minutes.
  3. Crumble the bacon and add to the skillet. Pour beef stock and wine over the beef mixture; bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until beef is tender, about 1 hour.
  4. Stir carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, garlic, onion, marjoram, thyme and salt and pepper into the beef mixture; continue cooking at a simmer until the vegetable are tender, 20-30 minutes.

3 Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken - Let the crockpot do all of the work in the easiest dish of all time. Simply throw everything in with 5 min prep. That's it!

http://damndelicious.net/2015/08/14/slow-cooker-balsamic-chicken/

Ingredients:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 bone in, skin on chicken breasts
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, chicken broth, brown sugar and garlic; set aside.
2. Season chicken breasts with basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste.
3. Place chicken breasts into 6 qt crockpot.  Stir in balsamic vinegar mixture. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours, reaching an internal temperate of 165F.
4. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley if desired *

*I usually serve this with grilled veggies or a big salad. My husband likes to have rice with his…

I always love cooking in bulk so that I have a few meals ready my husband and I for the week.  Give these a try and let me know what you think.  I am always looking for new recipes so please share some of your (easy to make) favourites.

Happy cooking!

 

Les🙂

Genevieve-Client Success Story

Focused. Driven. Dedicated. Hard working. Energetic. Motivated. Passionate. Determined. Goal driven.

These are just a few of the words I would use to describe my client Genevieve.  I am thrilled to share her story with you today…

Thanks to Google search for connecting Gen and I. I remember receiving this email from her on May 25 2016…

Good morning Les, I came across your webpage through the Prime Personal Training website and I had to email you. I have been on a weight loss journey for a 1 year and 4 months now. It’s been up and down.  In January 2015 I weighed in at 166 and managed to get down to 150 by the end of February 2015. I was following a strict low-carb diet and was doing a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio 5x a week. Unfotunately, by the end of the summer my weight went up to 172 – I was not eating properly nor going to the gym. By October 2015 I decided to loose it again with the ultimate goal of reaching 150. I managed to get to 160 by December and I hit a plateau. From January to March 2016 my weight went back up to 166. From April 1st to May 4th I was able to get down to 157. I went to Jamaica from May 4th to May 14th. When I got back I was 166 again. As of this morning I am 160.6. My diet is quit strict throughout the week, however on weekend it is often less than perfect due to all the events we attend etc. My diet consist of the following: 2 boiled eggs in the morning with 11 almonds, green salad with veggies for lunch with 11 almonds, and chicken or beef for dinner with veggies and a carb (1 cup of rice, or quinoa). As per exercise, I do not have a gym so I usually power walk with my dog, use the elliptical in my apartment building, and do a workout video / program at home. I am 23 years old and I am currently a masters of social work student at Carleton. I really want to do this and reach my 140/135 pound goal by September because I am attending an important wedding and I want to look my absolute best. I’ve been trying so hard but it seems like I will not be able to do it on my own. However, being a student I do have a limited budget. I can probably only do $50-100/ week max. I know it is not a lot but I really hope that you will consider me as a client. I really really want to do this and reach my goal. Looking forward to your reply. Best, Genevieve Roberge

As you can tell she had a history of yo-yo dieting and was a bit obsessed with the scale/numbers.  When I read her email I knew she would make a great client as she seemed very determined to reach her goal but was ready and willing to seek help.  I also noticed that does a lot of cardio- and not a lot of weights-this meant her body would respond very well to strength training and a change in her exercise routine.

From the first day we met I loved her enthusiasm for life and how determined she was to reach her goals. We started out training 3 days a week, 30 minute sessions.  She NEVER missed a workout and did cardio 2 days a week on her own (high intensity intervals, no more than 20 minute sessions).  I also encouraged her to eat more carbs but cycling them depending on her activity level that day and also upping her protein and vegetable portions. In her first month she lost 7bs and 2% body fat and 10 inches. We were thrilled! Everything she was doing was working and she was feeling fantastic.  Then the month of July her progress slowed down a bit, and she began to get discouraged and I was confused at first as to why the stall in progress.  Then after she described her day to me in a bit more details I said WHOA GEN, YOU NEED TO SLOW DOWN! So I encouraged her to do less working out and more working in (more yoga, focus on getting more sleep, more restorative activities) to calm herself down and give her a chance to relax.  And guess what, it worked! Her weight and body far and inches continued to drop after that and she had a renewed sense of self and her motivation was back! I encouraged her to change her mindset and to focus on her habits (the things she can control) instead of obsessing over the scale and her weight (something that she can’t change) and it’s amazing what happens when you take the pressure off yourself and just enjoy the process.  She switched from working out just for the purpose of  losing weight and eating clean just to lose inches and instead she know works out because she knows she will feel better afterwards and eat healthy because it makes her feel good to eat healthy food and she loves the way she feels after a good night’s sleep.

In total since we started she has lost 20+lbs and 5% body fat and almost 25 inches.  She has a renewed sense of self and has a deeper understanding of what a proper workout routine consists of (less is more!) and the importance of following a consistent and healthy nutrition plan. She said no to quick fixes, special pills, extreme dieting and excessive exercise. She was patient and listened to her trainer and look what happened…..

gen-before-and-after-side-view

Incredible right?!

I can’t express how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to work with Gen and help her improve her quality of life. The best part is seeing how much more comfortable she is in her own skin and her smile is bigger than ever before!   While I am sad to see her leave in a couple months I have all the confidence in the world that the things she has learned while training with me are going to stick with her for the rest of her life. Over the past 5 months we have worked together I have seen her transform into a stronger, leaner, and more confident woman.  She has learned to enjoy working out and looks forward to trying different recipes and making healthy meals. While it is a lot of work she will be the first to tell you that it is worth it!

Another wonderful moment that I got to witness recently was when her boyfriend proposed to her at the most beautiful spot in Gatineau Park, Pink Lake.  I was so overcome with emotion when I saw her reaction as I know how happy Mic makes her and she was over the moon happy when he got down on one knee (she was also totally surprised!)  Her boyfriend (now fiance) has been so supportive through her ups and downs and they love each other unconditionally so it was so amazing to be there for that very special moment! She still can’t believe she is going to be getting married next year! I am so happy for Gen and Mic to spend the rest of their lives together, happily ever after.

Now here is Gen’s story from her perspective…

Weight is something that many people struggle with – myself included. Time and time again I would try to lose weight, but I would always be unsuccessful. I would look for quick fixes and try all the different diet plans I could find, but they never worked. Then I would decide that I would exercise really hard, and a week later I would give up. It was a vicious cycle of wanting to lose weight but never committing 100%, nor having the patience to let the process happen.

I finally reached my breaking point when the scale showed me that I weighed the most I had ever been. I am 23 years old and I knew this was not the life I wanted to continue to live. I finally decided that if I was going to lose weight I had to commit 100% – for real this time. The first (and best) decision I made was to hire a personal trainer – Les. I met with her on June 1st 2016 for an initial meeting. I told her how I had been struggling with my weight and how badly I wanted to change my lifestyle. I also told her how committed I was to losing weight, getting stronger and reaching my goals. I wanted to show her that I was going to be a client that gave it everything she had and produced amazing results. Physically and mentally I was determined to do everything that it took to get where I wanted to be. We drafted a workout schedule and I committed to do doing cardio on the days that we did not train together. I also began to walk at least 10,000 steps everyday. We also discussed my nutrition and came up with a nutrition plan that worked with my lifestyle. I also incorporated a multivitamin and fish oil in my morning routine and made it a priority to drink at least 2L of water a day. The combination of dedication, motivation, hard work, a good workout routine, a solid nutrition plan, and Les’s support are what led to my successes.

However, it wasn’t always easy. In fact, at times it was really hard especially when it came to nutrition. As a society we are constantly surrounded by temptations – at school, at work, with family and friends, and events and celebrations. But proving to yourself that you have the ability to say “no” and fighting against the temptations is extremely empowering. It is that dedication and the internal power that will lead to successful weight loss.
Additionally, there were also time where I struggled tremendously mentally. Those arbitrary numbers on the scale began consuming my every thought. At one point during this process, the numbers did not change for 5 weeks despite working out and eating clean. It was really devastating and difficult because I had reached a plateau at a number that I could never break through before. Yet, here I was doing everything that I could and the number was not changing. I truly believed that could never get past it and I would be stuck at this weight forever. When Les noticed how badly it was affecting me she told me to skip our workout session and to go do yoga at any studio in the city. She realized that at that point I needed to find an outlet to de-stress and find my focus on the goal that matters most – being healthy. Not only was she there to support me as a personal trainer, but she also acknowledged my mental health – which speaks volumes about the type of person she is. Surprisingly, when I let go of all the pressures that I was putting on myself, the numbers dropped – a lot! Ultimately, when you have Les on your side, motivating and supporting you – you can do anything.

Hiring Les as a trainer was the best decision that I could have made for myself. With her support, dedication, and coaching I have been able to change my lifestyle in the best possible way. I now love to be active, I love to run (which I hated before), and I love to try new recipes and cook healthier options that make my family and I feel good. I highly recommend everyone to hire Les as a personal trainer. She will be there with you every step of the way. Take the time to invest in yourself and accomplish the goals you’ve always wanted too. Give it your 100% both physically and mentally. Stick to your workouts and nutrition plan and changes will happen! You can do this.

gen-before-and-after

Congratulations again Gen on your transformation! Your success story is an inspiration to all and I look forward to hearing about many more successes in your future.

If you want to follow her fitness journey and get a closer look into her daily life you can follow her on instagram @genevievenr

 

Les🙂

What I learned from my injury and taking a break from running…

My biggest fear in life is not being able to exercise…so I guess you could say I am most of afraid of getting injured…  A few weeks ago I was experiencing pain in my hip/glute while running. I made appointments with my chiro and physio right away and they both told me that I needed to rest and take a break from running for 1-2 weeks.  I was very upset. Especially since I was 6 weeks out from my half marathon race.

In the past this would have sent me into a horrible state, I would’ve eaten my emotions, thought that my life was over and been in a really bad mood, every single day.  BUT this time I was sad for a day and then I accepted that my body needed a rest and time to heal.  No emotional eating, no feeling bad for myself and no irrational thoughts.  In fact I even thought that it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I can’t run the Half Marathon race I have been training for since November.  Then I started thinking “why am I reacting so differently than I used to?” And this is what I came up with…

  1. In the past I was so obsessed with losing weight/my physique and my obsession with food and exercise controlled my life.  I did not have a healthy work/life balance.  When the scale tipped way to one side (injury due to over training that meant I couldn’t train etc) I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.  But NOW I have an amazing husband, a rewarding career and business (I’ve always had that but I feel I am better at managing my time=less stressed/tired), I have incredible family and friends whom I look forward to seeing on a regular basis and most importantly I am happy and healthy-mentally, physically and emotionally.
  2. When I exercise less I am less hungry.  So this helps prevent me from going crazy with food and encourages me to focus on eating lean protein and veggies.  This really helps me to feel less crappy while I am not exercising.
  3. It helps me put things in perspective.  I had a goal of running a 1:45 half marathon.  This meant more running. increasing my speed etc and by doing that, my body was starting to tell me, “take it easy or you will be sorry later” and it led to me getting injured.   This injury has really calmed me down and instead of being so competitive with myself and trying to run this race with a crazy time goal it has encouraged me to shift my focus.  I need to remember this- I run because it makes me feel good, it is like a moving meditation for me.  The moment it doesn’t feel good  and I start hating it I need to take a step back, slow down and run for the enjoyment, not for the competition. I’m not an elite runner, I don’t get paid for it so why try and train like one?
  4. I have been missing my regular massage treatments and not doing enough yoga.  And what happens when you skip those? You get super tight and your risk for injury is high.  So this has forced me to chill and it’s amazing how good I feel not exercising lol.  Even though I have been focusing on getting more sleep doing proper warmups, mobility work, strength training AND stretching after my workouts and runs, it wasn’t enough.
  5. I love running but I have accepted that a half marathon is not the best distance/race for me.  As much as I love the challenge, the training and the day of the race I think I will stick to doing 5 and 10km races.  Who knows, maybe I’ll love doing the triathlon? Regardless I am 185 lbs, have a strong lower body, probably not ideal running form, and not the BEST body type for running long distance and that’s ok! I’ve done so many races over the last 8 years that I can say I’ve been there, done that and help others train for their first half or full marathon.

Long story short, taking the last week and a half off from exercise has been a great mental exercise.  I’ve had more time for myself (and my husband and friends and family), I’ve had a chance to rest my body, my mind and my soul.  Do I miss it? YES! Am I looking forward to running again? YES! Will I take it easy and slowly build my runs up again? YES!  Will I run the half marathon at the end of May? Not sure yet but I will listen to my body (and my health professionals) and decide closer to the date.  Will I do my best to prevent this injury or other injuries from happening again? YES! That’s what I appreciate about injuries, you learn so much about yourself and come back even stronger and smarter when you have recovered.

Have you ever been injured and freaked out that you wouldn’t be able to exercise for a few weeks and think you’ll gain a ton of weight? That’s totally normal.  But take a deep breath and tell yourself you’ll be ok. But, if I can take time off so can you, as long as you learn from your mistakes and realize that being able to move for the rest of your life is more important than having crazy goals that require crazy training that could potentially injury you for an extended period of time. Take care of yourself, and your body will thank you for it!  Remember the exercise will get you fit but too much of anything is a bad thing.  Also keep in mind that you exercise won’t help you to lose weight but eating right consistently will.  The more you exercise the hungrier you become.  So move often but smart and eat foods (and the amount) that make you feel good, not gross.

I am a huge fan of being able to exercise and train my clients until the day I die so if I want to be able to do that I must exercise, eat healthy, sleep, take more time for myself and stay injury free.  Here’s to another 100 years of healthy living….

 

 

Les🙂

 

My thoughts while running….

The best (and worst) part about training for a half  marathon is the importance of a weekly long run.  I tend to do my long runs on Sundays.  As much as I would LOVE to join the many run clubs around Ottawa for their 8:30 am Sunday runs it doesn’t work with my schedule😦

All that being said I normally look forward to doing my long run on every Sunday and lately I have been doing mt run at the end of the day.  This isn’t ideal and to be honest the afternoon is not when I have the most energy and usually it is when i least want to go for a run but it has been when I have the time to do it.  BUT somehow I manage to get my gear on, tie up my shoes, and head out the door.  This afternoon was ESPECIALLY difficult to get going as the weather sucked….it was cold and super windy..not my favourite weather for running and I wanted to do was chill on the couch with my husband.  But I went!

Today I ran without music (which I prefer most times) and I also decided to bring my fuel belt with me (filled with water) and ran straight to the Running Room on Slater St to pick up some gels/beans to fuel my run just before they closed.

Now, the moment I stepped outside and ran down my street I was hit hard by the cold and strong wind.  My face was freezing, my ears were stinging and my motivation was dropping fast.  I literally kept telling myself “ok so just run to the Running Room get your gels and run home…you can do this run tomorrow..today is not the best day to do it…I wish I would’ve worn a warmer hat….”  I felt slow and not in the mood At ALL to run…but after chatting with the woman who sold me my energy beans I got a little extra boost.  She said “you can do it!” and suggested I try running along the canal as it was less windy.

I headed down Bank Street and ran all the way to the Bank Street Bridge by Lansdowne and then hopped on the pathway next to the canal and passed infront of some big beautiful homes…I was looking at my watch and it said I had ran only 3 km…’oh great’ I said to myself ‘only 13 to go and I still feel like my legs are moving in slow motion’.

i ran all the way to the Bronson Street Bridge then headed up the stairs and walked across the bridge to hop on the east side of the canal and was heading towards Hog’s Back.  There was a section of the canal when I literally felt like I was going to be blown over sideways and this is when I was asking myself ‘why did I choose to run today?? This is the worst day ever and I am the only person out here. I must be crazy.’  But after a few minutes of crazy side winds blowing me over, the wind stopped all of a sudden and it was smooth sailing to the next bridge (I think it was Riverside Drive?) and I started thinking ‘wow I feel like I could run forever, I am so glad I kept running and didn’t let the wind get the best of me!’ I looked down at my watch and it said 45 minutes, ‘perfect I am halfway!’  I started running along Riverside Drive along the bike path and started reminiscing about my days of training at LC Fitness just up the hill on Bank Street, then saw a few groundhogs darting into their holes and thought ‘I wonder if there is an entire world of tunnels and groundhog homes underground?’  I also ran past quite a few geese (which I’m a tad scared of for some reason) and ducks.  The run along this river is beautiful and I totally soaked up every ounce of nature as I passed by. Once I passed Bank Street the path felt like it just kept going, I came up to the 60 minute mark and my legs felt lighter and I felt like I was running with ease.  My pace picked up and I felt like I could keep running forever.  I kept telling myself ‘man I really love to run, I love this route, i have to do this path again’.  I was running a route I had never run before and I was literally the only person on the path, I wasn’t worried but as the time kept passing I kept thinking ‘I hope this path ends up close to my home?’  I had a feeling it did but I wasn’t 100% sure and I also had no idea how much farther I had to go but I planned a 90 minute run and was 70  minutes in, only 20 minutes to go.  I caught myself smiling to myself and saying ‘I am so happy I decided to keep running, this has got to be the best run I have had in a long time’.  And eventually I came to a  path I recognized, the path that leads me home, so I finished my run through Strathacona Park and as I soon as I reached the huge hill up Range Road I stopped running and looked down at my watch….90 minutes and 16 km! I did it and it felt like the time flew by!  I was filled with a huge sense of accomplishment and pure joy.  It was hard to believe that 90 minutes ago I had such a hard time getting myself going and how I had to keep talking myself into continuing to run and not giving up.

So if you’ve made it to the end of this long winded post, thank you for reading. To all you runners out there I encourage you to go for your next run solo, without music, enjoy the sounds of nature, enjoy being with your thoughts and enjoy the journey.  And during the first 5-10 minutes when your body is resisting you and your mind is saying ‘what the heck are you running for’, IGNORE IT and tell yourself you’re just getting started.  Once you’re warmed up you’ll (hopefully) get the feeling I get when I feel as if I could run forever and get lost in just how amazing it feels to sweat while I run. I feel so blessed to be able to run so this motivates me to keep running while I can!

Les🙂

 

The secret to lowering stress, improving your mood and decreasing cravings…

…is to go for a leisurely walk!

Other than running, lifting weights and yoga, walking is my favourite activity.  Now that the weather is getting warmer, you have no excuse! So who is up for a walking challenge?  Why not? Oh you think it’s a waste of time and doesn’t count as exercise? Well you’re right, it doesn’t count as a workout, because it is supposed a leisurely walk through the park or around the block.  If you still think that you don’t have time for that, well you are someone who probably needs it the most!  Walking does not count as exercise but it should be viewed as a necessity and here is why…

Walking helps reduce your stress levels, sheds hunger and cravings and negative self talk.  Leisurely walking has also been shown to reduce the stress hormone cortisol.  Cortisol is released when the body is under stress (physical or mental), and is meant to help us escape any life threatening situation. For example, we are being chased by a bear, we see the bear, stress hormones are released into the bloodstream, so we can fight or flight-the-hell-out-of-there. Once we escape the bear, we calm down and stress hormones return to normal.

Luckily, we aren’t having to run from bears or other large scary animals everyday, but stress from work and school, a bad interview, and endless to-do lists keep our cortisol levels high moment after moment, day after day.  This is not good.

When cortisol levels stay too high, for too long, it causes us to lose muscle, store fat, and develop serious junk food cravings.

Taking a nice relaxing walk through Gatineau Park (or your neighbourhood) is just what we need to bring our stress hormones back to normal. This is the power of walking. It relaxes and lowers our stress hormone levels.

Walking daily, especially though nature, impacts your health on a hormonal level. It improves your mood, decreases your stress, lowers hunger, increases energy, improves sleep, and can help release fat from the fat cells.

This, in turn, has a huge impact on your life. When you’re less hungry and have fewer cravings for pizza, it can lead to a leaner physique. When your mood is improved, so is you personal life. And when you sleep better, stress less, and have more energy you’re more productive at work and have more energy to exercise!

So after reading this have you been convinced to make walking a priority?  Let’s do a 30 day challenge: can you make time for walking everyday for the next month? Try it, and see what happens. Even if you only end up walking every other day, you’ll be sure to see improvements in your life.

Who is joining me?

Les🙂

Is it possible to be too positive?

One of my clients asked me if I ever say anything negative to any of my clients, and he is constantly poking fun at me for always being so positive.  And the answer I gave him was “hmmm good question, I don’t think so”?  And besides why would I?

My job is to help motivate people to be more active and teach them how to live healthier and happier lives. Pretty awesome right?  Maybe that’s the reason I am always so positive?! Is it fake? NOPE! Am I generally a very optimistic person? YES! Do I complain at times? Of course I do, I am human after all.  Do I have low energy days when I don’t feel like leaving the house? Very rarely.  Do I see the positive in almost every situation? I try my best to.  Have I always been this way? Probably not but I try not to think about what I was like in the past or worry about what I might be like in the future, this is the power of living in the present.  I focus on my current physical, mental, emotional state and what is happening at this very moment.  If you live this way and change your negative mindset to a more positive one, you’ll notice that most of your worries and negative emotions will go away.  It takes practice but spend a little time with me and I can help show you how.

So to my client who is annoyed or not convinced that my constant positive attitude is genuine and laughs at my never ending “Wow! That was awesome” compliments, I guess you’ll have to suffer through your sessions because this positive and happy go lucky trainer isn’t going to change! I can’t help it, I love my life and my clients.  I feel truly blessed to be able to do what I love every single day and come home every night to a man who I know loves me unconditionally, and be surrounded by so many amazing amazing people (friends, family, clients).  It sounds totally cheesy but it is very true, LIFE IS GREAT!

I found this awesome ‘positivity pledge’ when I searched “the power of positivity” online…

LOVE THIS!  I think we should all follow this pledge, who is with me?  Sounds pretty awesome right?

I hope everyone had an AWESOME day…

 

Les🙂

 

Lose Weight Here Book Review Part 4 of 4: Your Willpower Battery

(from the Lose Weight Here book…)

It has been shown that willpower is like a battery, it can be drained and it can be recharged.  MOST people have such small willpower batteries and they are so drained that they are ill equipped to make even a single change without failing.  How do you switch from a drained resource called willpower to the fully charged one called skillpower?  Well you’ll have to read the book to find out more about that but today I will explain what makes up the willpower battery…

Your willpower battery is made up of 3 small batteries:

  • mental battery
  • physical battery
  • emotional battery

Each of these has their own reserves and together they determine the size and charge of your willpower battery. All three must be charged and in balance to make sure your willpower lasts.

For example, take your classic stressed out, over worked, sleep deprived businessperson. At some point he or she made a choice whether consciously or unconsciously to keep the mental battery charged at the expense of the physical and emotional batteries.  Because of that, this person ended up overweight and unhealthy-with broken friendships and family relationships as well.  Can you relate?

The Mental Battery

This battery is easily drained and as a result, when it’s depleted, it will drain your willpower battery as well. Each battery can steal energy from the other and this one will frequently tap the physical and emotional batteries to charge up.  When this happens it can result in choosing quick energy source devoid of high quality nutrients, such as sugar based foods and stimulants (COFFEE!)  It can also mean less desire to exercise since movement requires mental energy investment in the beginning before it gives back and charges you up. Stress sucks a lot of energy from the mental battery too. So does self editing or planning.  Those who engage in the most internal dialogue and constantly worry about their lives are draining their mental batteries and their willpower the quickest. The same goes for planning and constantly thinking about all the things you must do. The more you try to change about yourself and your life at one time, and the more to-dos you have on your list, the less likely you are to do anything at all.  All or nothing almost always becomes nothing.

A few steps to try to make sure your mental battery is strong

  • Focus on changing one aspect of your life at a time (I am a strong believer of this!)
  • Write down the tasks you need to do rather than holding them in your head. Try to limit this list to the three most important items. Don’t attempt to add anything to your to-do list unless you have removed at least two other things first.
  • Get adequate sleep, move regularly, and engage in plenty of rest and recovery activities. This will reset your mental focus and charge your mental battery. (I am also a huge supporter of the need for more sleep!)
  • Practice mindful meditation, one of the best skills to add to your arsenal. So the first item on the list of three important items? LEARN HOW TO MEDITATE (Or do more yoga)

The Physical Battery

This is the most important of the three. Illness in  the body will sap mental and emotional energy and drain willpower faster than anything else.  This is the major reason people desire vitality and health; on some level they know and understand than when their physical battery is functioning optimally, everything else is substantially easier to manage. This is why achieving optimal body composition and burning off the fat that weigh you down and eat away at your health and vitality is so important. But it’s more than just being thin but also fit and strong.  Having a big, strong and robust physical battery can power your emotional and mental batteries during times of stress and hardship. Just make sure that you don’t diet too hard as their can lead to long term penalties for your body and it will say your mental battery.  Be more intuitive in your approach, this is better for your willpower battery.

The Emotional Battery

This is the hardest to manage as it is strongly influenced by others.  Did you know that obesity is contagious? But so is leanness!  You tend to be about the same size as the five to ten people you hang around with most.  That is why having a strong emotional support system that not only supports but also engages in your efforts to get and stay healthy with you is critical. Research has shown that there are other actions that will bolster your emotional battery.

Give more-Without the expectation of getting something in return as this is a setup for draining your emotional battery.  Get in the habit of doing kind, compassionate things without expectation.  Tip big, pay for the next person in line’s coffee, volunteer once a week, whatever you chose, do it sporadically as this will keep your battery charge instead of doing it everyday and feeling drained.

Practice gratitude-At the end of each of day, list 3 things for which you are grateful.  Most importantly, when everything seems to be going wrong, think about what you have to be grateful for at that moment.  There is always something and this will help keep your emotional battery charged.

Pamper yourself-Stop making the mistake of attaching your needs to others.  Then we end up sad, resentful or angry when the person does not act on it in the way we seek.  Whenever you have negative feelings toward a person, or positive feelings of admiration, consider that person a mirror into your own higher self. What you will find is that what you love or hate about them-and the needs you are hoping they will fulfill-are the things that you love or hate about or need for yourself.  Spend time with yourself to understand what it is you need to be giving, saying and doing for yourself.  Take a long weekend away by yourself, hang out at a spa, eat some delicious food and treat yourself to a mini vacation.  There are many ways to fit this into your budget and schedule, so try to find a way!

I hope you have enjoyed reading this excerpt from the “Lose Weight Here” book.  If you want to read more, go ahead order the book and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!  I would be happy to help answer any of your questions about this book OR any other questions you may have related to nutrition, working out, how to make more time for yourself or simply want help getting started on your path towards a healthier lifestyle.

I looking forward to hearing from you and hopefully meeting you🙂

Les

Lose Weight Here Book Review Part 3 of 4: Become a detective NOT a dieter!

One concept/idea that is repeated over and over again in this book is this…learn to become a detective NOT a dieter!  We are all made differently so unfortunately there is no one way of eating that works for everyone.  The process of losing weight is individual, it has it’s ups and downs, peaks and valleys with mega happy moments of weight loss followed by very frustrating failures.  It takes practice, patience and experimentation.

If you’re reading this and are a chronic dieter, the book will ask you to say the following…. I WILL NO LONGER APPROACH MY BODY CHANGE/FAT LOSS GOALS WITH THE MIND-SET OF A DIETER.  The principles discussed in this book help you to learn to understand your body better and what it needs to live optimally.

So how do they recommend that you change your mind set? Stop looking for a specific recipe for success, meal plan or one size fits all approach. You must learn to master the skill of observation and letting clues guide you towards the solution. Good detectives see things more clearly and fully.  Dieters see things in only black and white, detectives see all shades of gray.

First of all, the authors provide examples of and explain the need to put aside all preconceived notions about rules of exercise and food…

  • carbs are the devil
  • you must always eat breakfast
  • you should only eat certain foods at certain times
  • eating less and exercising more is the route to weight loss

These type of diet biases will be your worst enemy if you want to stop dieting and see lasting change. There is only one diet rule–>DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!

As a detective you must search for the perfect mix of foods that will make you feel great, easily help you lose weight and improve your blood work and vital stats.  If eating Sour Patch kids  and drinking chocolate milk all day makes you feel healthy and full of energy then that is what your body needs.  You might be like, ‘ok sure but where do I start?  How the heck am I supposed to know what works for me?’  The author provides us with some essential tools and it’s up to you whether you use them or not.

  • Keep hunger-energy-cravings in check-your body provides feedback in the form of sensations and they fluctuate based on what you eat and how you live. At the end of each week, make a note of each on a scale of 1-10 (10 meaning very high and 1 being low level.  Hunger should be 5 or less, energy should be 6 or higher and craving should be less than 5.  Make a mental note of them and once you have this assessment you can investigate what may have had a positive or negative influence and take steps to adjust your approach.  This is the critical tool to creating a plan that works best for you.

  • Assess your progress my measuring yourself  (chest/waist/hips) instead of weighing yourself.  Your weight tells you very little about the type of weight you have gained or lost.  You might be losing fat but you could be losing muscle.  You also want to make sure you are changing your shape in the right proportions.  Women should aim to achieve an hour glass shape while men a V shape. If not seeing change, make adjustments with your food NOT exercise-doing more exercise to burn extra fat does not work in the long run and will almost always cause weight gain rebound because it always throws your hunger-energy-cravings out of check. Stubborn fat is burned in the kitchen and we get fit in the gym!

  • The fat blast formula-the process of analyzing hunger-energy-cravings and your shape change results.  Use AIM (assess, investigate, modify) as there are various outcomes from this process (see book pages 51-54)

There is a ton of information that I have left out BUT if you read this book it will provide you with a great starting point as it comes with in depth plans.  They are purposely flexible and designed specifically to avoid the dieting trap of rigid rules and defined guidelines.  What I like the most about this plan is that you are encouraged to take responsibility for altering the approach to suit your metabolism, psychology and personal preferences. Being mindful and present are necessary behaviours you’ll need to practice in order to be successful with this approach.

I have started using the approach with quite a few of my clients who have been eating well and exercising consistently but can’t seem to lose stubborn fat, weight and inches and have constant cravings, low energy etc and guess what?  EVERY SINGLE ONE of them has LOST INCHES, REDUCED THEIR BODY FAT and WEIGHT and most importantly after only 1-2 weeks of following the program they FEEL BETTER, SLEEP MORE, and HAVE LESS CRAVINGS!  They all tell me that they finally feel like they have discovered a way of eating that works for them and that will be able to continue following for the rest of their lives. I’ll will be sharing their success stories with you in upcoming blog posts…

I would love to help guide you through the process of improving your health and nutrition so if you’re someone who has trouble losing inches and stubborn fat and feel overwhelmed with all the conflicting information regarding weight loss that’s out there, contact me to set up your free consultation.  I look forward to helping you by simplifying the process.  Don’t wait any longer, now is the best time to begin your journey the right way and you’ll soon be on your way to becoming a healthier, happier individual who will be achieving sustainable and lasting results🙂 Oh yeah, and it will be fun since you’ll have me to hold you accountable and help you to stay on track (and cheering you on) the whole time!

Email les@getfitwithles.com or call me 613-601-7037 and we can get started right away!

Les🙂

Lose Weight Here Book Review: Part 2 of 4 Green Yellow and Red Foods

In the last post I summarized one of the last chapters about doing what works best for you or eating based on your activity level and what foods you know work well for you. In today’s post I will share with you the author’s fat loss foods chart.

Some of you may already know the differences between protein foods, fat based foods and foods that are mostly starch but if you don’t this should help you know the differences.  For example, beans have protein in them but are considered a starch. Nuts are not considered protein sources, they’re mostly fat. Proteins are foods that are more protein than anything else (the same goes for fat and starch rich foods).

According to the authors in this book, green foods are rich in protein, fiber and water and are the best at stabilizing hunger, energy and cravings for the majority of people. They contain the fewest calories yet fill us up quickly making us less likely to eat more of the wrong foods later. They can be eaten in unlimited quantities by most people because they are so satiating and so low in calories

GREEN (eat unlimited)
Protein: chicken, turkey, wild fowl, game meats, most fish, bison, lean ground beef, shellfish, lean cuts of pork, egg whites and protein powders
Non starchy high fiber veggies: kale, collards, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, lettuce, salad greens, tomato, jicama, asparagus, green beans, cucumber, celery, peppers, carrots, radish, zucchini, squashes, pumpkin
High-water, low-sugar fruits: berries, apples, pears, citrus fruits

Yellow foods list includes foods that have a varied impact from person to person.  For some these foods balance hunger-energy-cravings and aid fat loss.  For others the very same foods will not balance hunger energy cravings and may lead to fat gain.  It is with these foods that people will have to do most of their detective work.
YELLOW (eat to tolerance)
Fatty meats: lamb, fatty cuts of beef, fatty cuts of pork, fatty fish like salmon
Vegetable fats: avocado, olives, olive oil, coconut oil, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, peanuts
Lower-fiber, high sugar fruits: banana, melons, cherries, pineapples, mango, kiwi
Starchy low fiber veggies: potatoes, corn, peas, sweet potatoes
Wet starches: potatoes, corn, peas, sweet potatoes, rice, quinoa, oats, cream of rice, beans and legumes
Dairy foods: milk, yogurt, butter, cheese
Whole eggs

Foods listed as red foods have a negative impact on hunger-energy-cravings either decreasing fullness at the meal or making overeating at that meal or future meals more likely. These foods have the MOST potential to cause fat gain. These foods have high calorie density (small portion of it has a lot of calories in it).  For example it is easy to overeat a bowl of pasta or ice cream.  These foods can also disrupt blood sugar levels in susceptible people, leading to snacking and binging on less desirable foods later.
RED (eat rarely if ever)
Dry starches: pasta, bread, crackers, pretzels, chips, rice cakes, cereals
Junk foods: cookies, cakes, candy, sweets, soda etc

 

Most people are getting most of their calories from wheat and dairy.  So if you are one of these people, see what happens when you eliminate these foods or dramatically reduce them.  Make more of an effort to eat high protein and high fiber foods.  You might find that it will help to improve your metabolism and improve you ability to lose weight.  But remember, WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT, so you must figure out what works best for you.  The fat loss game is a process and it takes time. It is so important that you find out what works best for you.  I always tell people to keep it simple and I think that this book does a great job of showing people how eating this way can make your life a lot easier.

Want more help?  Contact me les@getfitwithles.com and I’ll work with you to figure out what works best for you🙂

 

Les

Lose Weight Here Book Review Part 1 of 4: Do what works for you!

I have been following Jade and his wife Jill for the last few years on Social Media and recently discovered that Jade has published two books. The first is called “The Metabolic Effect Diet” and the lastest one “Lose Weight Here” and from the first chapter I was very interested.  I have been interested in learning more about the effects of hormones on metabolism and fat loss and this book makes it so easy to understand and provides excellent information and advice for helping people who have trouble losing weight.

I am skipping towards the end of the book to share with you one the concepts I found the most interesting (and valuable).  In the last few chapters of the book “Lose Weight Here” the authors talk about the importance of structuring your food intake based on your metabolism, psychology and preferences.

So once you get to the stage (or you’re super close to it!) where you’ve reached your goal (you’re at a weight and size you love, you feel strong and fit, you’ve figured out how to keep your hunger, energy and cravings in check) here are a few approaches to consider to keep your metabolism working for you …

 

  1. The Weekend Warrior-Eat less, exercise less on Monday through Friday. On the weekend follow the same approach but instead of one regular meal at the end of the day, eat a large cheat meal one to three times during the weekend. Also make sure you get in a few weight training workouts and maybe a long run or bike ride. So then you’ll be following a eat more exercise more approach on Saturday and Sunday and the extra calories will go into fueling exercise and building muscle.
  2. The Weekend Couch Potato-Eat more, exercise more Monday through Friday since the week is loaded with exercise. Include healthier carbs post workout to help with exercise recovery and muscle development. On the weekend the person is eating light while engaging in light or no activity and usually enjoys sleeping in and doesn’t eat until lunch. This allows for a more relaxing weekend with less food and activity.
  3. The Exerciser-Set your exercise schedule for the week and eat more on the days you exercise. Eat less on recovery days. For those who love to exercise this approach works best and is the lifestyle many will naturally gravitate to. It works well because you will learn to instinctively match intake with output.In other words, on the day when exercise is done, the meal frequency, carbs and calorie counts are increased. On the days there is no exercise, the food intake is lower and there are fewer meals.
  4. The Lazy Girl or Boy-These people are not expending much energy and therefore do not require lots of calories. Weight training twice a week is enough for them and they understand that as they age holding on to their muscle mass is imperative for the health of their metabolism so they make that a priority.
  5. The Athlete-You are active every single day and need to fuel your body to keep it going he people who live this lifestyle have the bodies we admire the most. They train hard, fuel smart and they have lean functional, athletic physiques. A high calorie meal will likely go toward recovery and have little negative effect on fat gain. This reflects what a typical athlete’s eating and exercise regimens might look like

After reading these 5 options which one do you think you are? Have you ever thought about approaching your nutrition this way? What are you thoughts on their recommendations?

I think this is an excellent and convenient means of adjusting to various situations that you may come across in your daily life.  The key to this plan is learn to use these strategies while being fully aware that you are doing so without it taking much mental effort. Eventually it will happen intuitively as you will become a “diet detective” and adjust on the fly while staying lean and fit as  a result.

Want to learn more about this? Check out and order the book! http://www.amazon.ca/Lose-Weight-Here-Metabolic-Stubborn/dp/1623364760

Stay tuned for parts 2, 3, 4 from this book….

Les🙂