Vacation & Your Diet

Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Summer is just weeks away and many people are gearing up for summer vacation! Whether you go all out and travel, go to the next town over or do a stay-cation, the purpose is the same: to relax and create memories with your loved ones. So where does your diet fit into this?

What I tell people is that it is truly an individual and personal decision whether or not you should try to stick to your diet on vacation. You really have to consider and weigh out the pros and cons and choose which one you want to do.

Will you be able to relax, have fun and enjoy this short amount of time that you have to the fullest if you have to say no to the ice cream shops on the beach and order a salad when everyone is going out for burgers? I can't answer that for you, and there is no right or wrong choice. Some people would feel deprived if they had to sit and watch their family enjoy big ice cream cones, and others would be perfectly ok with it.

Is it going to be hard to track your foods or have access to healthy options? Will you be at a place that is full of restaurants and fast food (think theme parks) where healthy options are scarce or will you be somewhere that you will have more freedom and be able to even cook some meals yourself (think renting a beach house or cabin).

Is it going to be stressful tracking your food while exploring a city or will the lack of control and not tracking create anxiety for you?

Do you have a competition or a bet coming up that you have to be a certain body weight or body fat percent by? Or is your goal self set and flexible?

These are all things to ask yourself if you are having a hard time choosing what to do on vacation. My personal thought is:
Vacation is a really special time and for most families, it is not often that you take them. If you don't have a bikini competition or challenge deadline coming up, then I always vote to take the time off of your diet and enjoy these days food-worry free. Memories and fun for me, are worth more than losing my 1-2 pounds that week.

Keep in mind when you go that you have freedom, but don't go crazy and have 5 cheeseburgers and 3 dole whips a day. Also that you will typically see a rise in the scale when you return but if you get back on your plan right away, drink your water and be strict, any extra you gained can typically come off in a week because unless you do go absolutely crazy- it will be water retention.

Enjoy your vacations! Enjoy your family and friends and food! We want weight loss and we want our bodies to change but lets remember what really matters in the big picture.

Starvation Mode & Dieting

Wednesday, May 3, 2017
I am sure we've all heard the theory of starvation mode, no? If not, basically it is when people think/assume that if they don't eat enough their body will go into "starvation mode" and you won't lose weight because your body thinks it's starving and needs to hold on to everything.

What does this actually even mean? Is it real?

Yes and No. It is named wrong, because what happens during "starvation" mode is not your body starving. If you truly do not eat enough your body will lose and you will starve to death, so that portion is incorrect.

What actually happens is that while dieting (eating in a significant caloric deficit) everything slows down, including your NEAT (non exercise activity thermogenesis: the amount of energy you use living and doing your day to day routine). Your body slows everything down in order to maintain homeostasis.  Typically, the stress of dieting and hunger will increase the cortisol levels in your body which will cause muscle loss and water retention...which will mask fat loss.

Sometimes there are people who are not losing weight despite their strict food intake on very low calories and exercise.  The reason for this is that the very low calorie intake is actually their current maintenance level (the amount you need to eat to maintain your weight) because of the decrease of their NEAT and the INCREASE of their cortisol levels. When you increase your calories you are less stressed (eating in a caloric deficit is a stressor on your body) and you have more energy. You will be able to do more and have more energy which will raise your NEAT and restore some of your cortisol levels and you will lose again. This is why some people can lose weight "eating more" than they previously were.

Here is an example of this situation I found from a nutrition coach group I am in:

Molly is eating 1400 cals a day. She is tired and not as active, her NEAT is decreased which means her total daily energy expenditure is low. She is no longer losing weight at this. 

Her coach bumped her up to eating 1800 cals a day. She has more energy and is less stressed and is moving more during the day. Her NEAT and TDEE has risen and she is losing again. 

I hope this helps not only explain "starving" (if you don't enough you will starve to death, period) and what happens when you diet and stall in general. I really love reading new information like this!

A Few of My Favorite Things

Sunday, April 16, 2017
I am asked often about my favorites. Of everything. Bars. Protein. Apps. Workouts. Shoes. Gear. Foods. Stores. Places to eat. Which is funny to me because I am always asking my athlete friends what THEIR favorite things are so I can try them out as well! (I actually JUST asked a runner friend over the weekend about her faves). Maybe I just like shopping and trying different things, my husband would say that is the reasons <----. However, I do have my tried and trues and things that I stay loyal to for quality and price or just because I really like them! These of course, are just my opinion and I'm not paid for any of it! :-D

Let's start with my favorite, foods!


-overnight oats with nut butter, almond milk and berries

-tuna salad with pretzels or a low fat wheat cracker

-baked chicken with sweet potatoes and zucchini (all in the same dish, drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle with seasonings and a little butter) 

-banana with peanut butter 

-i love snacking on the cherub salad tomatoes! 

-grilled chicken nuggets with a large super food side from chic fil a 

-halo top ice cream

-"my wifes salad" from grouchos deli

-banana, honey and PB toast! 

-pop-chips if you are in a chippy mood

-walnuts, blueberries and almond milk with WARM peanut butter drizzled on top

-I only drink water or sparkling water like pelligrino, perrier, la croix or an occasional unsweet tea. 


Progenex PB smash is great too but very pricey, Ascent wins in this for sure.


I recently tried PICKY Bars and I love them! 4:1 Carb/Protein ratio make them perfect to fuel before or after a hard workout 

If you want a high protein bar, I love PRObars especially coffee crunch flavor (but they are all good!). Target sells them but only HALF the size and protein! Whole foods has the full bar with 20g of protein.


C4 pre-workout 

Glukos gummies

GU stroop waffles 

GU gels

Nuun hydration tablets 

I prefer the gummies over gels- I like to eat! The waffles are yummy and perfect for an intra carb or long run! *please consult your doctor before using any kind of nutritional supplement!*


I spend more on leggings than tops, my bottom half NEEDS support of a great pair of leggings. I have tried so many pairs- even ones that range up to $98! No thanks! I found the "Zella" line at Nordstrom, their "live in" leggings are THE BEST and half the price of lulu. Also a fun fact: the designer use to design for lululemon. 

Tops I get from anywhere! I have no favorite because I don't need it to do much but look good :) 

Shoes...get fitted. I know, you don't want to spend the money on an expensive pair, but if you are running you will NOT regret it! If you are not running and just lifting- you just need a flat pair. Converse are widely popular among lifters. If you are crossfitting- Nike Metcons are loved by all. 

Socks do matter. Swiftwick, Stance and Feetures socks are all I've tried and I have no complaints! You do not want to run a long distance in cotton. 


All Nathan running gear for hydration. 

Box Stalker weight lifting belts.

RPM speed rope


Garmin Forerunner 235 


Strava (for running)

Runkeeper (for running)

HappyScale (for recording weight fluctuations)

Myfitnesspal (obvs!)

Spotify (music)

Wodify if your box uses it (wod tracker)


Friday, April 14, 2017
"Yesterday I weighed 160 pounds, but today I weighed 162! What am I doing wrong? Do I need to cut back on my carbs?! How did I gain two pounds?!"

This is a common, yet frustrating scenario. I'm sure most of us have been there, I know I have! It's really important for women to understand weight fluctuations when they begin a dieting program so that they do not get frustrated, discouraged and worried they are doing something wrong if the scale is up a little bit one day. 

There are so many things that come into play when you weigh yourself. You are not just weighing fat- you are weighing everything! Where you are in your menstrual cycle, salt intake, water retention, hormones, stress all have a play in weight fluctuating day to day. 

If you are eating in a caloric deficit (staying on plan- not binging, not sneaking in snacks etc) then there is no scientific way for you to gain FAT. You actually have to eat a decent amount of food to start gaining fat, and my guess is that if you are eating that amount you will not be surprised that the scale is up, you will expect it. 

So rest assured that even if the scale is up a little bit while you are on plan, it is OK and it is NOT fat! Typically what I do after this happens is have the person be really strict on their plan for the next few days and drink every ounce of their water then weigh again. Every single time their weight had returned to normal, and mine as well when this happens to me. 

Another "problem"/factor is weighing in the day after a really hard/intense workout. For instance last weekend I ran 12 miles and the next day I was UP 5pounds. You would think I would be down! But it was water- my muscles were sore and swollen from the intensity and strain which causes them to retain water. Even more so if you are lifting weights (causing tears in your muscle that fill with water). A day or so after my long run my weight was back to normal. 

We will also not be weighing in daily, but weekly. This way, you may not ever see your weight fluctuate! You may just see consistent loss the entire time! Our weigh days are Monday's because knowing that you have a weigh in Monday helps keep you accountable over the weekend! 


Sunday, April 9, 2017
Welcome to the world of WEIGHING food! Why do we weigh? Why can't we use measuring cups and spoons? This has a really short explanation: because measuring can be extremely inaccurate and you could be eating much more than you think you are actually eating.

The nutritional information on a label is almost always based on the weight of the product. The measurement is just an estimate. By weighing your food, you know exactly how much you are eating. I found this photo example below from : 

Using a measuring cup VS weighing your foods can be throwing you off by hundreds of calories a day. The serving size of oatmeal is 40g or 1/2 cup for 140 calories. If you weigh out 40g, you actually get a bit less than a 1/2 cup but you know you are getting 150 calories. 

On the right, they filled the half cup up and then measured it. It came out to be much more than 40g AND almost 50 calories more as well when you think that you are only having 150 calories. 

If you do not have a food scale, I cannot recommend you get one soon enough! You can get one for around $10 online or in any big box store. If you have been dieting and using measuring cups and spoons, try weighing and see what a difference it makes! 

What should I weigh? 

Everything you can! The only things I do not weigh are eggs, breads, and spices. 

 Breakfast is two eggs, a slice of toast and half of an avocado. Well, how much is a half? Avocado's can vary in size from fairly small to large. Half of a large avocado is not going to be the same as half of a small one. To accurately track this, you will take the skin off of the portion you want to eat. Weigh it (grams is the most accurate but use whichever unit is best for you) and then log that weight for your serving size. So your log will say "60 grams of avocado" or "2 oz" of avocado. Not just "half" because half can be a large difference of calories depending on the size! 

Also, weigh as much as you can RAW/Uncooked! If the package SAYS that the serving size is for a cooked product, then cook it and weigh it. Otherwise the package is stating the serving size for the product AS IS in the package. 


Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Mostly likely, no, you are not gaining muscle. If you have been eating in a deficit and are not losing, it is not muscle to blame, it's water OR you are eating too much.

Can you be toning up? Yes! That is not muscle growth, though. You can be getting stronger! But not adding any muscle.

Did you know it's actually fairly difficult to ADD muscle to your body? For woman, we can only add one pound a month of pure muscle- MAX, and what it takes to add just that pound is a lot of dedication, a LOT of lifting and a LOT of food.

Also known as "massing". When you are eating above maintenance (ie- GAINING weight) and doing heavy lifting hours a week and specifically trying to grow muscle. Its work. a 1500 calorie diet is NOT going to add any muscle to your body.

As a matter of fact if you are dieting (eating in a caloric deficit) and losing fat, you are going to lose some muscle with that fat. It's unavoidable to cut and not lose some muscle- but there are ways you can do it with losing as little muscle as possible. Vise versa, if you are massing and gaining muscle, you are going to gain a little fat with that as well. Which is why this is done in cycles, cutting and massing, cutting and massing.

Now there is a short period of time when you first begin to lift that you can add muscle while in a deficit, they are called "newbie gains" because you only get them as a new lifter and the window of time you have to take advantage of these new muscles is very short, about 12 weeks max.

But why do I see more muscle on me?
Because you are losing fat, which is revealing the muscle that was underneath that fat all along :-)

But why am I not losing while eating in a deficit?
There is no one right answer to this. If you have a coach, they will be able to evaluate your diet and workout routine and YOU more closely to figure out what is going on. Most commonly it is water weight fluctuation or increased cortisol from stress.

But I'm not stressed?
If you are dieting at all, even just cutting 100 calories, you are putting your body into stress. If you are training- you are putting stress on your body. If you are doing both- your body is stressed. Which can increase your cortisol levels and prevent that scale from moving for a little bit. This is another reason why it is important to DIET BREAK after a cut. Your body needs a break from all of the stress it underwent during your dieting period and allows it to restore all of your hormone and fluid levels back to your norm.

To sum it up, you will know if you are gaining muscle because you will be trying very hard and specifically training for that. The common idea thrown around that you are gaining muscle because you aren't seeing a scale loss is a myth if you are dieting!

New Routine and Adjustments

Saturday, February 4, 2017
Today marks two full weeks since my crew has been in school during the days, although we have loved it all, it has come with a lot of change and adjustments for myself and my three littles at home. My three favorite positives are that I get to spend a lot more one on one time with my little guys and have been able to really soak them up and enjoy them! Second, all of my kids IN school have loved every single day! They are learning a plethora of different things and are all so excited about it. Also, (naturally, ha!) I am able to work out a lot more. Each morning we drop the kids off at school then head to the gym. The little kids love the preschool/nursery care and I get to spend a full 2 hours in the gym. Now, I use about 30 minutes of that time showering and blow drying my hair (๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ) before I pick the kids up. But that is still much more time than  I was getting before. I would do Crossfit 3x a week for about 45 minutes total by the time that we actually got going and started working out.

Here is my current workout schedule:

Mondays: Lifting Plan
Tuesdays: Circuit Class
Wednesdays: 3 Mile Run OR Crossfit
Thursdays: Lifting Plan
Fridays: Lifting Plan
Saturdays: 5-6 mile run OR Crossfit
Sundays: Rest

This seems to really be working well for me, I am following a Katy Hearn plan right now for those who are interested.

With my change in training I've also changed my diet and my goals. In February of course, forget the big plans I had at New Years! I have decided to go back to eating a mostly ketogenic diet, this has been the one way of eating that I have had the absolute greatest success with and which I truly enjoy! I love being able to have peanut butter (a lot of it!) and bacon and whole eggs and avocado and basically all of  the fat. My body responds so well to high fat, low carb.

But what about Macros?! I still have macro numbers to meet! My carb limit is just very low. For me, when I let carbs into my diet, not only do I not lose but I've found that I crave more and more of them. Very quickly does 130g become not enough and I am binging. I am constantly thinking about what kind of carbs I can fit in. I will fit in lets say, 2 oreo thin cookies but find myself wanting to eat even more of them afterwards and often times I would! Completely destroying the deficit I had worked so hard that week to make which resulted in no loss. I spent an entire year following macros with decent carbs and never did the scale drop that year. If I want this year to be different, I can't do what didn't work and expect it to work this time. My self control is just really lacking when it comes to this area.

Don't you want carbs when you can't have them?! No, not really. I'd say the first week is the hardest as it is with any change in your diet. If there is a holiday, birthday, special occasion coming up that I may want to eat more carbs at I do. As long as I hop back on board the next day I have always been good to go and always still saw results that week.

Don't you feel weak?? Honestly when I started keto in November 2016 I was so nervous I would feel lethargic and not be able to make my lifts and PR's, lose my gainz. But honestly it never happened! I never felt weak. I continue to PR my lifts and go up! Your body will learn to begin using your FAT for fuel vs carbs. Ketogenic diets have a slew of health benefits to them!

What do you eat?! A lot of food! I am never hungry. I eat a lot of dairy. A lot of meat. A lot of nuts and oils and seeds. A lot of low carb/low sugar veggies and fruits. A typical day in food for me looks like this:

Breakfast: 6 scrambled egg whites with 4 slices of thick cut bacon, 1/2 avocado and cheese or a little salsa with my eggs. Heavy cream or 1/2 and 1/2 with coffee.

Lunch: Tuna with mayo and relish on top of lettuce, a side of olives and pickles and string cheese. Dressing of oil and vinegar.

Snack: Nuts or nut butter, cheese, jello with some reddi whip, lunch meat and cheese roll ups, protein shake, etc

Dinner: Meatloaf and veggies, Chicken-crust pizza with all the toppings, mexican chicken bowls, etc

I definitely do not starve. And I only eat keto when I am trying to cut weight, if I want to maintain I add back in carbs and do my regular flexible dieting macros (because I do like to enjoy things with my family when I am not focused on leaning out). No, I have never gained back any of the weight when I added carbs back in.

This is just what truly works for me and my body from 2.5 years of trial and error. This is not what will work for everyone, and I put all of my clients on regular flexible dieting macros with good amounts carbs and they always see fantastic results!

Losing weight comes down to ONE thing: eating in a caloric deficit. Nothing else matters. All of these different diets and plans and trends are all just different ways you can eat to create that deficit for loss. Finding which way works best for you is a journey of trial and error and excitement once you've found "the one"!
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