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March 27, 2017

9 easy ways to avoid a weight loss plateau

Here are 9 simple things that you can do to get your weight loss moving in the right direction if you’ve hit a plateau.
Exercise more.
This seems obvious enough, but many don’t do it. If you’re training 2x a week, then try adding in another 2 days of activity to your training program. You may also need to increase the intensity of your training as well. The benefits of strength training are many, but some of the most important are they negate a metabolic decline as you diet, and help you to retain lean muscle mass. Both are important for weight loss.
Be aware of what you are eating.
Track your food. It can prove to be invaluable if you’re struggling to lose weight. We can forget what we had at breakfast, grazed on before lunch, and what we had after dinner. If you track what you’re eating (calories/macros) then you will start to see a pattern of why you’re not losing weight. You are most likely still eating too much if the scale won’t budge. I use the Nutritionist app myself to track, but there are others out there. Most people tend to under-report what they are eating so this is a good thing for many of you to try.
Chill out, bro.
No, seriously. You need to learn to relax. Being stressed out all the time will wreak havoc within your body. Being stressed out will cause the body to release cortisol, which can help to manage stress, but also lead to a bigger belly. If you’re constantly stressed out, you’ll be producing more cortisol which will make fat loss hard. You’ll also notice you don’t sleep as well, crave sugar more and pretty much suck to be around. Try to find some ways in which you can reduce your overall level of stress. You can walk, meditate, volunteer at a local shelter, etc.
Ditch the alcohol.
Who doesn’t like a nice cocktail from time to time? If your goals are to decrease body-fat you may want to abstain if you can’t limit yourself to just 1 or 2. Not only is there no nutritional value in alcohol, but many who drink end up consuming more calories than if they were not to drink at all. Alcohol lowers inhibition and all the sudden you don’t care about your diet and that hunk of chocolate looks pretty dang good! Alcohol may also suppress fat burning. If you’re going to drink you need to know what a serving is. Those wine glasses of yours hold more than one…I’m just saying.
Eat more protein.
This seems to be a hard one for people, especially women, to do. Not only does protein help keep you feeling fuller for longer periods of time, it can also help you to retain lean muscle mass as you diet down. The thermic effect for protein is also higher, so this may give your metabolism a little boost. Eat a little bit of protein at each meal, aiming for 15-25 grams.
Go to bed.
Unless you want to look and feel like an extra in the Walking Dead you need to get your sleep. Studies have shown that those who don’t get enough sleep can experience metabolic decline, weight gain, crave high sugar/fat foods, and hormonal issues within the body. I do well with 7-9 hours of sleep as do many of my clients. Turn off your smart phone, TV, and iPod and go to sleep!
Eat more fiber.
Getting enough fiber (soluble/insoluble) in your diet can help you to lose weight because you feel fuller longer. It slows the rate at which the food moves through your digestive tract. It also helps to keep you regular so you don’t feel like a bloated whale. Most of us don’t get enough fiber in our diets and that is due to the over-consumption of too many processed foods. Try to get 20-30 grams in daily. I like to use hemp protein to help in this area.
Eat your veggies.
Vegetables are an amazing way to help facilitate weight loss. Not only are they packed with vitamins and minerals, they are typically low in calories, high in fiber, and fill you up. When I sit down to eat my major meals, half of my plate is loaded with veggies. Get in mah belly!
Keep moving.
Don’t expect to lose much weight if you only go to the gym for an hour, but spend the rest of the day sitting on your gluteus maximus. You need to stay active! You can do this by just doing regular household chores, stand at your job for 5-10 minutes for every hour you sit, walk on your lunch break, etc. Find creative ways in which you can add more activity into your day.
There you have it folks, 9 simple ways in which you can help to keep the weight loss train moving, choo! choo!
February 21, 2017

4 Fitness Myths That Must Die

There are a lot of fitness myths out there that really need to go away. There is no legitimate basis for these and they are continuing to be spread by folks who may have good intentions, but are misinformed.

  1. Eating eggs are bad for you: People believe that eating eggs, or the yolk for that matter, will drive up your cholesterol. This simply isn’t true as the body has its own natural “checks and balances.” The more cholesterol you eat, the less your body (liver) will produce. The vast majority vitamins and nutrients are in the yolk, so eat it!
  2. Eating smaller, frequent meals daily, stokes the metabolism: This is absolute rubbish and I wish it would go away. The amount of meals you eat per day is as unique as you are, but it will not have an impact on your metabolism or help you magically burn more body-fat. If you prefer to eat 4-5 meals per day as it helps you adhere to your diet, go for it, but it isn’t necessary. The thermic effect is the same if you were to eat 3 meals @500 calories for a total of 1500  calories or 5 meals @300 calories for again, a total of 1500 calories. Many studies have shown that there is little to no effect on metabolic rate or calories lost.
  3. High protein diets are bad for you: Most research shows that there is no real evidence to show that high protein diets are harmful. In fact, diets higher in protein help people to feel fuller longer. lose weight and give the muscles what they need to repair and rebuild.
  4. Eat less and move more to lose weight: While this sounds great, it isn’t very helpful for long term weight loss. There are many factors that will help one to lose weight and keep it off. The foods we eat will influence how and what we eat. If you’re eating a bunch of processed junk, don’t be shocked if that is what you are constantly reaching for. Drastically reducing your calories and exercising more can only be sustained for so long. Eventually, you will find yourself gorging on your favorite treat and giving up exercise altogether. Cutting calories can also have a negative impact on your metabolism (metabolic rate), making it very difficult to lose any weight. You need to eat for your specific fitness goals and this means fueling your body with the right amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

 

January 16, 2017

How to avoid a plateau

You start a new diet. You see some fantastic results pretty quickly. The struggle, of course, is then maintaining this weight loss. Changing eating patterns for a short period is different than sustaining them. This is the area people seem to have the most problems with. Once frustration and boredom sets in, once dieters have reached that plateau, it becomes so easy to just give up in disappointment.

Dig Down Deep

When you are in a rut, don’t give up! That’s the worst thing you can do. Boredom might be leading you back towards your old habits, but fight back! What’s vital to overcoming this sense of apathy is to set goals. Not just in the beginning of your diet, but throughout it. Goals should be specific, yet flexible. They should allow for some minor setbacks, and yet encourage you to keep moving forward.

As an example, say your goal is to lose 50 pounds. Great! But how are you going to get there? Is it by eating a specific amount of calories? Perhaps by eating enough servings of fruits and vegetables? Are you going to try to work out a few times a week? Be accommodating to yourself. Realize that you are not perfect and you might splurge on something tasty every now and again. Don’t view this as diet failure.

Be sure to set S.M.A.R.T goals. Make them Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Based. This will help you to have very clear, detailed goals.

Keep it Fresh

One of the biggest things that can be seen as contributing to diet boredom is a regimen that is so specific; it eliminates certain things from your diet, such as a low carbohydrate diet. These diets are not inherently bad, but it limits the variety of food options. So do your best to keep it fresh.

When struggles of tediousness come, counterattack! Change the types of food you eat. Don’t have the same dinners every week. Try new things out. It might take a little extra effort in the kitchen, but creativity in the kitchen can be fun. One way to do this is to splurge on a new healthy cookbook. Try out a new recipe once a week. Also, get your family involved in healthy cooking. Perhaps each family member can have a night of the week, not only to help cook, but to help pick out a recipe. You can also do a healthy recipe exchange with friends.

Choose variety
Above all else, a diet is nothing without combining other aspects of healthy living. Drink plenty of water, as always. This will keep you from munching throughout the day. Also, eat more fruit, veggies and protein. Be sure to find something outside of the gym that also brings you joy.
Finally, concentrate on fitness aspects as well. You won’t lose weight effectively if you do nothing to train your body. Hit the weights, start walking, and find activities that you like doing. You’ll be more inclined to stick with it if you do.
October 26, 2016

How to begin training again after a layoff

If you haven’t trained since George Bush was in office, you will want to be smart about how you approach training this go around. If you rush into things, and go too hard, too soon, you may end up injured, burned out, and back on the couch feeling defeated.

Here are some simple, no nonsense ways in which I help my clients who haven’t moved in a long time to ease back into training. This ensures that they can allow their body to adapt to the new stress, wrap their mind around the new changes, don’t injure themselves, and ensure that this becomes a lifestyle change.

It’s time to stop beating yourself up for being inactive, eating junk, abusing yourself and your body, and focus on getting started.

Born Again Fitness

Focus on making one change at a time

Research shows that you will be more successful if you focus on making one change at a time vs trying to change a million things at once. Instead of trying to eliminate all foods you like from your diet, try adding one healthy food per week to your diet. Focus on eating more veggies, fruit, and lean protein choices. Once you have mastered this you can move on to the next thing. That could be meal prep, a consistent exercise routine, etc. This way you don’t stress yourself out, and quit, if you don’t live up to those lofty expectations you used to set for yourself.

Plan to fail

Look, it is going to happen. At some point, you will binge, stress eat, or miss a work out or two. Changing behavior and creating new habits will take time. You must be kind, and patient with yourself during this time. I tell my clients all the time that, “failure is nothing more than feedback.” There is no need to shame or judge yourself when you hit a bump in the road. You just need to look at what occurred before you fell off the wagon, and see what you can do differently the next time you are in a similar situation.

Shift your focus from solely weight loss

Losing weight is an amazing thing, but it isn’t the only thing; keep that in mind. Far too many of us just focus on what the scale says to our own detriment. You may not have lost those 10 pounds you set out to lose in the first 4 weeks, but you can walk further, not get winded going up a flight of stairs, are stronger in the gym, feeling better, sleeping better, and the list goes on. The only problem is many of us focus on the weight we haven’t lost and miss sight of all the other things you have accomplished. Just be sure to not lose sight of the bigger picture. Health and wellness isn’t just about a number on the scale.

Break past your fear of the gym

I know many of you have a fear of the gym. You don’t want to stand out, look stupid because you don’t know what to do, and fear being judged. Look, I get all of that, I do, but you must most past that. You can’t allow the thoughts of what another person might think to get in the way of you achieving your goals. You need to take back that power and stop giving it to other people. If you’re unsure of what to do you can hire ME! or a trainer in your area to show you what to do. At some point, you are going to have to financially invest in yourself if you want to learn how to take care of your temple.

Take baby steps

If you haven’t trained in the last 6 months or longer, ease back into it. Don’t set these unrealistic expectations of working out 5 days a week, only to fall short. As you know, this will cause you to feel defeated, shamed, and cause you to quit. Instead, set a realistic goal of 1 training session per week. If you get in more than that, it is to be considered a bonus. Then the following week you can set a goal of 2x per week, and so on. Set yourself up for success and not failure.

Track your progress

To know if you’re making progress or not, you need to track it. I suggest you take measurements in bust, waist, thighs, arms, etc. Then in another 4 weeks you can measure again and you’ll see a reduction in inches, this will reflect fat loss. You can also take some selfies as well. As you know, a picture is worth a thousand words. It will be nice to do a side by side after 4 weeks and show how much your hard work is paying off.

Find an activity that you enjoy

Don’t follow the latest fitness fad in hopes of losing weight, especially if you hate it. You need to seek out those activities that you enjoy and can see yourself doing long term. If you hate running, don’t do it! You don’t have to kill yourself to get in shape. You just need to move your body daily, be consistent, and you’ll be successful.

Focus on creating new habits

We can’t eliminate old habits, but we can create new ones. I want you to put your energy into creating new habits vs. trying to eliminate the old ones. This could be you getting up 10 minutes earlier and doing a Bible devotion, stretching, meditation, etc. It could be taking the stairs at work over the elevator, drinking a protein shake for breakfast vs eating a doughnut. If you can begin to do this daily and remain consistent, eventually this new behavior will overrule the old, and you’ll have created a new habit.

Be patient with yourself

This journey is a marathon, not a sprint. You didn’t put the weight on in 4 weeks and you certainly won’t lose it in that short amount of time. You will be successful if you set realistic goals, seek out activities that you enjoy, get adequate rest, eat enough protein, try to eliminate unnecessary stress from your life, and are consistent. Keep in mind that the lessons you need to learn about yourself can only be found on this journey. Don’t be in a hurry to rush the process.

October 21, 2016

I want to work with you: how my coaching program works

I’ve gotten some questions on what I do exactly and how my coaching program works.
 Am I a fitness coach? life coach? psychologist (No, but working towards my LCSW)? wizard?
 
The answer is: Yes.
 
When I first started out in the fitness industry over 10 years ago I was a personal trainer, majoring in Kinesiology.
 
Throughout the years I noticed something with virtually all of my clients. They were coming to me saying that the wanted to lose weight, but were really seeking something else. For many it was to be free from the bondage of food, to get over a bitter divorce, work through abuse issues from childhood, address low self-esteem, etc.
 
What I quickly realized was I could write the BEST fitness program, but the results would be short lived. I found out by doing my own inner work, that we must address what is driving the behavior or one will only experience short term success. It’s like slapping a band aid on a gaping wound and expecting everything to be okay.
 
It won’t.
 
Fast forward to today, and my coaching program has radically changed. I’m now pursuing my Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) along with my CADC (drug and alcohol counselor).
 
My coaching program addresses the mind, body, and spirit. You see, it is easy to lose the weight, but it is very hard to keep it off.
 
Most people set out with the good, but often misguided intentions at the onset. You need to be thinking about how you’re going to keep the weight off once you lose it.
 
This is going to involve a change in mindset, behavior (habits), addressing some ‘stinking thinking’ (negative self-talk) identifying triggers, and changing your relationship with food.
 
I use the tools that helped me to come down from nearly 3 bills, change my thinking, create new habits, improve my self-esteem, set and achieve goals, and free me from the bondage of food with my clients.
 
If you’ve ever struggled with any type of food dependency, or any addiction really, you will understand what it is I’m saying.
 
You may use the food to avoid, numb yourself from feeling unpleasant emotions, eat because you’re bored, stressed, happy, etc.
 
You are in bondage to food, and it is my belief that all addictions are a spiritual issue.
 
This is why I believe that we must address all aspects of the person (mind/body/spirit), and not just via an exercise and meal plan. Although, I do recognize that for some people that is all they need, but for the clients I work with, it goes beyond that.
 
Maybe you feel hopeless.
 
You’ve tried to lose the weight and have been unsuccessful. You think that you’re a failure and will always be this way. Maybe this has now affected your home life, personal relationships, and work. You have difficulties with your mate, you no longer feel attractive.
 
It is possible that you can’t seem to find a significant other because you don’t feel worthy. You find yourself not being able to keep up with your kids or grand-kids. Perhaps your self-esteem is in the toilet, you’re depressed, and feel tremendous anxiety.
 
The good news is you always have HOPE through Jesus Christ.
 
No one is too far gone to be saved. If I was able to change, I know you can.
 
It isn’t going to be easy.
 
It will be very emotional.
 
It will be uncomfortable.
 
But all of the above beats remaining in your current state for another minute.
 
If you’re willing to look at those things that are continuing to hold you back you can be free.
 
If you’re willing to step out of denial and look at your situation honestly, you can be free.
 
If you’re willing to shed that victim mentality, you can be free.
 
If you’re willing to finally take action, you can be free.
 
If you’re ready for long lasting change, I want to be your coach. I will help guide you along this difficult journey. You won’t be alone and I’ll help provide you with the tools that you need to be successful.
 
Feel free to reach out to me today for a consultation. You can be local to me or anywhere in the world. I have clients all over the U.S. and the U.K.
 
July 28, 2016

10 Successful Habits For Long Term Weight Loss

Here are some things that many people have done to not only lose weight, but keep it off long term. I have found not only with myself, but with the clients I coach, that your weight loss plan is as unique as you are. I do feel that some of these habits should be in everyone’s plan as I have seen them work for almost all of my clients.

Keep in mind that for anything to work you must be consistent and take action every single day.

I have compiled data from all of my clients over the years and put it into a blog post for you: 10 Successful Habits For Long Term Weight Loss.

1.They Eat Breakfast

Not only does eating a healthy breakfast fuel your body for the day, it can help to ward off those evening binges when you get home. Most people who skip breakfast usually end up eating more later in the day because of it. They are ravenous by the time they get home and find themselves eating everything in sight.

2. Eat According To Your Goals

In order to decrease body fat you must be in a caloric deficit. Many people set out with good intentions on their fitness journey but neglect this point. You must eat according to your goals. You can eat as ‘clean’ as you want, but if you’re still consuming too much food, you will gain weight. You can use an online calorie calculator to determine how much you should be eating for your specific fitness goal. Keep in mind those numbers aren’t set in stone and you may need to make some adjustments to them.

3. They Set Realistic Goals

My goal is to lose 50 pounds in a month! Those who set out with this type of thinking usually end up quitting. Why? because their goals are not realistic. You didn’t gain that much weight in a month, so don’t expect to lose it in a month. Use the S.M.A.R.T. method when goal setting. Make sure it is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound. An example would be: I want to lose 10 pounds by working out 5 days per week, and eating fast food only once per month as a treat. I will also focus on eating more fruits/veggies and lean protein sources. I will weigh myself once a week and measure myself every two weeks. I will accomplish this goal within 60 days of starting. This is very realistic and something most people could accomplish.

4. They Celebrate Small Wins

Weight loss isn’t a linear process, you will have ups and downs on this journey. The most important thing to remember is to celebrate every ‘small win’ that you have. If you went for a walk after dinner when you would normally sit down to watch T.V., that is a small win. If you had an apple vs. a hunk of cake for dessert, again, a small win. It’s recognizing these little victories that will help to keep you going over time. It’s easy to get discouraged and feel as if you’re not making any progress, but celebrating these small wins will remind you that you are in fact changing.

5. They Don’t Moralize Food

When we moralize food, or label it as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ these will only keep us stuck on that guilt & shame cycle. When you eat food that you have labeled ‘good’ you feel great, right? but when you eat food that is ‘bad’ then you feel like crap about yourself afterwards. This only leads to further binge eating and feelings of self-loathing, shame, and guilt. Then before you know it you have given up on trying to get healthy altogether.

6. They Don’t Think in Black & White

You know what I’m talking about. It has to be this or that, there is never a middle. You either have to be perfect at your diet, exercise program, etc; or not at all. If you’re not perfect or you fail to live up to your unreasonable standards you will quit or not try at all.

Successful folks who have lost the weight realize that there is a middle ground. It is impossible to be perfect or to be on the top of your game at all times. In those moments where you slip up and make a mistake it’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up or go eat a tub of ice cream. Just look at the situation, learn what you can from it, and move on.

7. They Do Those Things They Enjoy

You need to gravitate to those physical activities that you enjoy and can see yourself doing long term. I personally think that everyone should strength train, as the benefits to the individual are incredible. Think about what it is you like to do, and then find ways to do those things. If you like to bike, hike, run, swim, etc; those are the things you should be doing. This will help you to keep the weight off long term.

8. They Incorporate Physical Activity Into Their Daily Lives

All it takes is 60 minutes of physical activity every day. That isn’t that hard if you think about it. Taking a short walk here, doing a quick weight training circuit, bike ride, walk after dinner, etc; it all adds up. Be creative and find ways in which you can incorporate more physical activity into your day.

9. They Eat More Protein

Protein is the building block of muscle, and helps to repair and rebuild. It has also been shown to improve satiety, which means you feel fuller much longer. Try to find ways to add more protein to your daily diet. I like to use whey protein shakes before and after I train, cottage cheese with fruit for a snack, hard boiled eggs, turkey, chicken, fish, etc.

10. They Have A Solid Support Group

Most successful weight loss folks have a solid support system behind them. They have at least once person they can count on to help encourage them when they feel low. It is important to remember that your success is totally up to you, but it helps to have that added encouragement from your support system.

What are some things you have done that have aided you in keeping the weight off long term? Add your ideas to the comments section below.

May 6, 2016

Being Overweight or Obese Sucks

Being overweight or clinically obese SUCKS.

I don’t care what anyone else says or tries to convince themselves of.

It is unhealthy, it is mentally and physically exhausting, it erodes your self-esteem, and can rob you of a decent life.

I know firsthand because for YEARS I was obese.

I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t “that bad.”

I get a message from a gentlemen the other day who told me, “Brandon, not everyone who is overweight has some sort of psychological issue. You know that right?”

To which I responded, “duh.”

I’m well aware that not everyone has some sort of underlying issue surrounding their weight issues.

But, everyone I’ve ever worked with has had some sort of underlying issue we’ve had to address before they could successfully lose the weight and keep it off.

Mind, Body, Spirit.

You can’t address only one aspect of yourself and expect any type of major, long lasting change.

Here are just some of the things that I personally deal with to this day. I have no problem being transparent and sharing my struggles in this area.

-I’ve got to exercise often and watch my diet or I will balloon back up to Nutty Professor status.
-Losing weight and keeping it off takes WORK.
-There are days I look in the mirror and feel like dog crap; I can see that fat guy staring back at me.
-Those old tapes can start playing and if I’m not careful I’ll believe the lies they try to tell me about myself….I’m no good, not worthy, etc.

Now, these things I mentioned above are not as bad as they once were but they still creep up from time to time. I’ve had to work my ass off to overcome a lot, as have the clients I work with.

The majority of people I work with are survivors of some sort of trauma. It could have been sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, parents were drug addicts, codependents, neglectful, etc.

Often times we used food as kids to numb ourselves and this carried over into adulthood.

Maybe you had no issues like this but you find yourself struggling today with food or some other ‘thing’ that you’re using to avoid your feelings.

No matter what it is there IS healing from it. I know because I did the work and my life is completely different because of it. That doesn’t mean I don’t struggle because there are days that life kicks my butt, but I am no longer a slave to those things.

If you are struggling with your weight or some other thing that is keeping you in bondage I want you to know that I GET IT.

I know the shame you feel.

The guilt.

The feeling of being invisible.

The feeling of hopelessness.

The feeling of being unworthy.

You name the emotion, I have felt it right along with you.

Your situation isn’t hopeless, you’re not a failure, and you are not unworthy.

God didn’t put you here to just survive.

If that was the case He would have made you a tree stump.

You have a purpose in this life.

I want to help you uncover that purpose.

If my words can help just one person then it is all worth it.

If you need help with this I am available to assist you.

Your life will change the day you begin to do the hard work.

Yes, it is scary.

Yes, it will require hard work on your part.

But it is worth it and so are YOU.

If you’re ready to change your life, and live in Idaho or beyond, I can help.

April 4, 2016

Nutrition made easy with these Mexican Chicken Wraps

Mexican Chicken Wraps

Serving Size: 1 chicken wrap

Ingredients

Chicken:

2 tablespoons vegetable Oil
2 skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons taco seasoning

Other ingredients:

6 cups spinach, shredded, or 1 head green leaf lettuce, shredded or torn into bite-size pieces
3 medium tomatoes, diced
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
flour tortilla wraps (or gluten-free tortillas or sandwich wraps)

Dressing (option 1): Ranch salad dressing

Healthier Dressing (option 2): Greek yogurt mixed with the taco seasoning and chopped cilantro

Credits: www.juliasalbum.com 

June 17, 2015

Another fitness myth that must die.

NO, you will not magically gain weight if you eat after 7pm. I don’t care if you’re eating fat, protein, carbohydrates,etc. This simply isn’t true.

Weight loss will always come down to being in an energy (calorie) deficit, period. Nothing crazy complicated about it folks.

Don’t be afraid to eat after 7pm. You won’t get fat provided you stay within your macros (carbs,protein,fat) but I can’t guarantee you won’t turn into a Gremlin.

May 2, 2015

How to lose weight with PCOS

The Facts:

Insulin resistance is the main reason why it’s more challenging for you to lose weight with PCOS and generally.

About 80% of the women with PCOS have insulin resistance but then again if you’re overweight…

Chances are you already have an insulin resistance but without me going into a long complicated explanation of what insulin resistance is…

Read More