A Beginner’s Guide to Nutrition

Hey there, lovelies!
This week’s post is a crash course in the basics of nutrition and healthy eating. You guys hear me talk all the time about what you should and shouldn’t eat, but now I want to do an educational post about why you should avoid certain foods and consume others. With this groundwork in place you’ll be able to make even better decisions on your own and know more about what you’re putting in your body.
First, let’s talk food groups. You’ve all probably heard about the five food groups since you were a kid, so let’s use that as our starting point.
The Five Food Groups:
-Fruits
-Vegetables
-Dairy
-Grains
-Meats

The main point I want to make in sharing these five food groups is that you want to have balance and variety in your diet. Maybe you’ve heard people say that they try to “fill their plate with all the colors of the rainbow.” I recommend filling your plate with lots of fruits, veggies, and protein first. Then add small amounts of dairy and grains since the body has a harder time digesting them and they tend to be more fattening. Go for lean meats, low fat dairy, and whole grains. I’m intolerant to gluten so I don’t eat wheat and avoid most grains because things like brown rice don’t do well with me either. I have also found that dairy makes me break out, so I avoid dairy whenever I can. If you’re like me and don’t really eat dairy or grains, try to consume more healthy fats like avocados and almonds, and healthy carbs like sweet potatoes and bananas. Below I’ll tell you a little bit about each group along with some tips about proper consumption:
– Fruits: Fruits contain so many vitamins, minerals and fiber and absolutely should be a staple in your diet. The thing to be aware of with fruits is that they do contain lots of natural sugars, so make sure you’re consuming them in moderation. Obviously, natural and healthy sugars are good for you in moderation so no need to be paranoid when you hear the scary word “sugar”! I like to use fruits in smoothies or have an apple or orange for a snack in the morning (try to consume fruits in the morning so that the sugars in them don’t keep you from sleeping well at night… it might not make a difference for you but it sure does for me!).
– Vegetables: Again, you’ll get lots of your vitamins, minerals and fiber from your veggies. Go for variety: ex. you can use zucchini and mushrooms with eggs in the morning, lots of leafy greens and sprouts in a chicken salad with lunch, and broccoli and carrots with your dinner. As much as possible, try to eat veggies raw so they retain all of their nutrients. I recommend baking them or sauteeing them in olive oil or coconut oil when you can’t eat them raw.
– Dairy: This is an area to watch out for fat! Of course, not all fats are bad for you (a topic I’ll go into more detail about below). But in general, especially if you’re trying to lose weight or get lean and toned, it’s a good idea to go for the low-fat options when it comes to milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products. If you’re lactose intolerant or you avoid dairy for other reasons like me, you can use almond milk alternatives – they’re super lean and a great source of healthy fats.
– Grains: Grains are a rather controversial topic for a lot of people today, many believe that humans are not made to digest grains and therefore should avoid them. And honestly, they’ve got a point! I’m not saying everyone should go gluten-free or paleo, absolutely not… girl, you know I can’t live without a little bread. 😉 But I do recommend paying attention to the kinds of grains that work best in your body. I bet that the bloating or indigestion you may experience can be tied back at least partially to the grains you’re consuming. For me, I cannot handle gluten at all and rice tends to not sit well either. So instead I go for quinoa if I really need a grain, or breads made with almond flour. Honestly, consuming fewer grains means I fill that gap with way more veggies. Listen to your body and find what works best for you. If you do stick to wheat and other grains, make sure to use whole grains and avoid the processed crap that makes up most of the baked goods in the grocery store.
– Meat/Protein: When it comes to meats I’m a bit more laid back in the things I recommend my clients eat. The main thing here is to focus on lean meats, things like chicken, turkey and salmon. Proteins or “amino acids” are your building blocks for muscle growth, so it’s so important to be consuming plenty of healthy protein so that your muscles can be properly fed and strong (especially if you’re working out regularly, which you are, right? 😉 ).
Next, let’s go into a little bit more detail about the actual nutrients in your food. This is something I could go on and on about because it’s such interesting stuff, but for the purpose of this post I’ll keep it pretty simple.

Macronutrients: These are your “big nutrients”, the ones that make up the bulk of what you eat. When you hear body builders and athletes talk about “counting macros”, these are what they’re talking about. Below are the three macronutrients and things to know about each:
1. Carbohydrates: Carbs get a lot of negativity since people tend to think they’re mainly to blame for making people fat. The reality is that there are lots of yummy, unhealthy carbs out there that are being consumed in huge and unhealthy amounts – therefore contributing to (not causing on its own) what is already an unhealthy lifestyle and weight gain or unsuccessful weightloss. There are lots of healthy carbs in fruits, veggies and grains that are perfectly healthy in moderation. I want to clear up some of the negativity and let you know that you don’t need to be terrified of carbs, you just need to know which kinds to eat.

Here’s the basics: there are simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. The body burns up the energy from simple carbs fast, and burns complex carbs more slowly (simple= quick energy; complex= long-lasting energy). You want to consume more complex carbs because they’ll be better used by the body for lasting energy. That’s not to say that simple carbs are bad at all, they can be a great addition to your short-term energy when eaten in moderation. Energy is good, you guys! Properly consuming the right types of carbohydrates can help you maintain balanced blood sugar levels and keep you energized all day.

Here’s some examples of healthy simple carbs: lots of fruits, especially bananas, mangoes and grapes; natural fruit juice and lactose containing products like milk are also good sources of these short-term energy carbs. Things like processed baked goods, chips and snacks that include white flour and refined sugars are the simple carbs you do not want to consume. Keep it clean and plant-based as much as possible!

Finally, here are some healthy complex carbohydrate examples: leafy greens, whole grains, beans, sweet potatoes, oatmeal and peas. Again, avoid processed foods, white flour, and refined sugars.

2. Protein: I’ve already covered the main points about protein above, but I’ll add that protein is another way to give your body long-lasting energy and fuel. Make sure to use an organic, plant-based protein powder after your workouts to feed your muscles and help them repair and grow.

3. Fats: This is another macronutrient that gets a lot of negative talk, and like carbohydrates, it’s really a matter of knowing what type to consume. Here’s the basics: the “bad fats” are saturated and trans fats, these are usually solid at room temperature (ex. Butter). Once again, avoid processed and high-calorie products like butter and goods that contain refined sugars and white flour. Pastries, chips or crackers, processed meats, canola and hydrogenated oils are examples of foods that contain the unhealthy or bad fats. The “good fats” are unsaturated fats, both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Examples of these would be avocados, almonds, eggs, salmon, flaxseed, olive oil, coconut oil, and leafy greens.

Micronutrients: These are the smaller components in your diet that play a huge part in keeping you healthy. Basically, vitamins, minerals and a few other small compounds make up the majority of your micronutrients. The goal should be to get as many of these from your food as possible and take organic supplements for the rest. You can google which foods contain which vitamins and minerals, there are plenty of tables online you can print and hang on your fridge for reference to make sure you’re getting all of the necessary micronutrients.

Okay, now that we’ve gone through the basics of food groups, macro and micronutrients, let’s talk a little about the big things to avoid. You know now that there are good and bad types of carbs, fats and proteins. Now you can fill your plate with the good stuff and avoid the bad stuff, eating all things in moderation. I want to take a minute to talk about sugar and alcohol, the two big things you should also try to avoid and consume only in small amounts. I’m not saying you have to give them up completely, having a little sugar or a glass of wine now and then won’t kill you. 😉 However, added sugar in treats and processed foods you eat put a strain on your immune system, your liver and your body in general. Alcohol does the same thing, and really alcohol can be seen as a type of poison in your body. There are no nutritional benefits to be gained from eating lots of sugar and drinking alcohol. Both of these put stress on your body and count as “empty calories” which are never a good idea. When it comes to sugar and sweeteners, grab sweet, yummy fruits and berries for snacks and natural sweeteners like stevia. Avoid added sugar, corn syrup, and especially unnatural/chemical sweeteners like sucralose or aspartame.

Fill your body with things that will nourish and help it to properly function and perform at its best. Always read the nutrition label and practice recognizing the things that should and shouldn’t be in your diet. Food is an amazingly powerful thing and can be used as both a preventative and healing medicine for your body.

There’s so much more to the topic of nutrition, it can be very complicated and cool! But for now here’s the basics, I hope you’ve learned a lot and will start applying these lessons to your healthy lifestyle.

Xoxo, Mary.

Healthy Holiday Survival Guide

Hey there, lovelies!

The holidays are a crazy, fun, exhausting and fattening time of year. I’ve found that a lot of people tend to throw their healthy lifestyle out the window this time of year and say that they’ll hit it hard when they get off of break or vacation. Don’t! It isn’t necessary to just give up on taking care of yourself in order to have a good time and eat yummy food. The break is a fantastic opportunity to continue kicking butt! 💪 In this post I’m going to give you a survival guide for the holiday break, that way you’ll have lots of tricks up your sleeve to take good care of your body while still enjoying the festivities. If you’re travelling like me, a lot of these will be especially important for avoiding germs and sickness at dirty airports.

Fill Your Plate Wisely: So you’re surrounded by yummy food that you know is probably not that great for you and eating a lot of it might make you feel bloated, yucky and guilty later on. It’s so important to maintain a healthy relationship with food! Having treats and indulging in yummy things you don’t normally eat is totally fine and probably good for you mentally. It’s all about moderation, my friends! A great trick is to fill up your plate with whatever fruits, veggies, salads and lean protein that may be available, then add some of the yummy not-so-healthy stuff when you go back for seconds. That way you can fill up mostly on good stuff and treat the unhealthy options as just that, a treat.

Emergen-C and Vitamins: I drink Emergen-C every morning this time of year, especially if I’m travelling or on vacation. Don’t forget to pack your vitamins and drink some Emergen-C throughout your break! Set an alarm in your phone to help you remember to take them if you need to, your body will thank you! 

Resistance Bands and Sliders: One of the many awesome things about these pieces of workout equipment is that they’re small and portable. You can easily throw them in your carry-on and have them ready to go for workouts wherever you are. Don’t forget to pack some pre-workout fuel, BCAA’s and protein powder. It’s super easy to throw some in a Ziploc and bring it along. 

Healthy Essentials: Head to the store and grab a few healthy essentials to bring in your carry-on for healthy options while you travel. I always have RX or Kind bars in my bag, along with things like almonds and raisins. You can also grab an assortment of fruit and other healthy snacks to have on hand throughout the break. Keep unhealthy treats out of sight as much as you can, and keep the healthy options easily accessible. I like to lay out my Emergen-C, supplements, snacks and water bottles right where I can see them wherever we’re staying, that way it’s easy to grab them and make good choices. 

Stay Hydrated: Water is always, always, always an essential. Keep a water bottle on hand and don’t forget to drink throughout the day! Staying well hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your body, especially if you’re travelling or have a crazy week of festivities.  

Wash Your Hands: I sound like your mom right now, but seriously, wash your hands! That little bottle of hand sanitizer that gets lost in the bottom of your purse? Now is the time to break that out and use it whenever you think of it. Germ filled airports and ubers and hotels, not to mention germs your family members might have been exposed to during their travels… wash your hands. 

Sleep: It’s so easy to get lost in the parties and the vacation fun, but remember that your sleep is important too! It’s a super fun but super exhausting time, so if you have the chance to take an earlier night, do it. You’ll be glad you did in the morning, and you’ll be glad you did when you’re headed home and haven’t completely worn yourself out! 

Get Everyone Active: Find fun ways to stay active and go on adventures, get your family or friends in on a hike, ice skating, or even sledding is a surprisingly good workout (it didn’t feel like it as a kid, but man does going up and down those hills wear you out).

Workout When You Can: Again, take advantage of the time you have! Your body and post-vacation you will be so very glad you did! When you have the time, don’t hesitate, just do it. Grab those sliders and resistance bands and have fun with it! Or go for a HIIT session to burn off those holiday treats and get rid of bloating from the night before.

HIIT Sessions: HIIT stands for “High Intensity Interval Training”. These types of workouts are fabulous for so many reasons: you can do them anywhere, you need little or no equipment, they work lots of muscle groups and you get cardio at the same time, they’re extremely efficient and effective, and they burn tons of calories. I love doing HIIT a few times a week for fat burn, they’re a great option for squeezing a quick workout while on break or travelling. Below is a basic HIIT session that can be done in less than 30 minutes and will leave you dead (in the best of ways).

You’ll do each exercise below for 30 seconds, back to back, taking as little time in between as possible. At the end of each set of six exercises you’ll rest for 1 minute. REPEAT for a total of 3-5 sets/rounds.

Jump Squats, 30 sec.

Star Crunches, 30 sec.

Lunge Jumps, 30 sec.

Push-Ups, 30 sec.

High Knees, 30 sec.

Mountain Climbers, 30 sec.

There you have it, with these tips and tricks in mind you’ll be able to stay active, healthy and feeling good throughout your holiday break. 💪 Never stop working to be the strongest, healthiest and happiest you that you can be! It’s all about balance, too much partying and unhealthy eating will leave you feeling yucky, just like too much of a good thing can burn you out. So do what you can to take care of yourself and stay fit while enjoying the most wonderful time of the year! 😄 It doesn’t have to be complicated, your body and mind deserve the care. 

Happy Holidays! ☃

Xoxo, Mary.

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Digestive System

Hey there, lovelies! 

Today’s post is going to be focused on meals and digestion, a fitting topic given my upcoming meal plan release! My four-week detailed meal plan is coming soon, so keep an eye out. 😘

Many people don’t realize just how important having a healthy digestive system is for your entire body. It may seem like no big deal to be irregular in the bowel department or to eat meals at random times of the day. But having a good meal schedule and a healthy digestive system works wonders throughout your entire body. There are so many toxins that need to be able to be eliminated efficiently in order for the rest of our body systems to function smoothly. For us ladies, having an efficient system of elimination is a big part of maintaining healthy and balanced hormones (the build-up of excess estrogen in the body can lead to all kinds of hormonal issues). So don’t underestimate the power of your tummy! That being said, here are a few tips to help you establish a healthy digestive system and a healthier you overall as a result.

Hydration: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million more times, being well  hydrated is so important for your whole body, and digestion is no exception. Have a tall glass of water with lemon every morning when you get up, this will wake up your digestive system and get it running for the day. Then be sure to drink plenty of water throughout your day to keep things running smoothly throughout all of your body’s systems. I drink 8 ounces right when I wake up, 40 ounces before noon, and 40 ounces after noon. The difference it makes is incredible! 

Regular Meal Schedule: A sporadic and inconsistent diet leads to a multitude of problems, including messed up blood sugar levels and digestive irregularities. Stick to a schedule with your meals and keep your body well fueled throughout the day. For me that means eating breakfast at 7 a.m., a snack at 10 a.m., lunch at noon, a snack at 3 p.m., and dinner at 6 p.m. You’ll feel better and more energized throughout your day from more balanced blood sugar levels, and your body will be able to better handle the things it needs to digest and eliminate.

Fiber: This one probably comes to mind for most people when they think about having regularity in the bowel department. Start your day with a good amount of fiber in your breakfast to start the day on the right foot. Outside of the obvious fruits and veggies, chia seeds are a great source of fiber and omega 3’s, plus they’re easy to incorporate into just about anything. I like putting a spoonful of chia seeds in my oatmeal, on top of my eggs and veggies, or in a breakfast smoothie. 

Probiotics: Maintaining healthy gut bacteria is so important and often neglected. When people think of bacteria they tend to think of bad bacteria, but there’s an amazing group of healthy, good bacteria that reside within the digestive system to help neutralize toxins, assist in the absorption of nutrients, and discourage bad bacteria and yeasts. These good bacteria are not only huge helpers in the digestive process, but are crucial for keeping your immune system strong. Taking a probiotic every day and drinking kombucha are great additions to your routine that will help keep this aspect of digestion running smoothly.

Eat Simply: The more complex the meal the harder it’s likely to be to digest, especially if it contains lots of unhealthy fats. Stick to clean, simple meals filled to the brim with nutrient-rich veggies and lean proteins.

Be Nice to Your Liver: Your liver probably gets forgotten about when you think of stomach issues, but it plays a huge role in digestion and needs to be taken care of! Your liver plays the role of processing the nutrients absorbed by your small intestine, and it provides bile which is a key helper in digesting fat. So try to be good to your liver by eating foods like carrots and leafy greens, and by limiting the amount of alcohol you consume. Cutting down your alcohol intake is beneficial for so many reasons, but this is a good one to start with.
That concludes my tips for healthy and regular digestion, I hope you found them helpful and will begin incorporating them into your routine. Your body will thank you! 
Xoxo, Mary.

How I Bounce Back Fast from Sickness

Hey there, lovelies!

See those stormy clouds and angry looking waves in the photo above? That’s what my body has been like this past week. It’s that time of year when I feel like everyone has some type of a bug messing up their system. And if you’re anything like me, you hate getting sick not only because it just plain sucks, but because it messes up your routine and training. But, it is so important to listen to your body and work with it to keep it healthy and strong. Put aside the frustration of how inconvenient it is to be sick right now and focus on the ways you can help your body recover. Being stressed and upset about the fact that you’re sick will only make things worse! So, here are the things I do when I’m sick to help my body fight hard and recover fast.

  • Diffusing Essential Oils: This is something I do all the time anyway, but especially when I’m under the weather. I’m currently getting over a cold and having a cozy, yummy smelling environment at home is such a comfort. I got my diffuser and oils off of Amazon for less than 20 bucks, and I probably use them at least every other day. Diffusing eucalyptus, orange and lemon grass are my favorite for a cold since they help open up your sinuses and relieve congestion. Lavender oil is great for sleep, and you know how important it is to get good rest, especially when you’re unwell.
  • Orange and Lemon Water: This one might seem kind of funny, but I like to squeeze/juice a whole orange and half a lemon into some nice hot water and drink it throughout the day. The citrus is refreshing and a nice change from plain water, not to mention the vitamin C content.
  • Soups: This one is a bit of a no brainer, but having lots of nutrient rich soups is a must. Of course the problem can be that you feel yucky and don’t want to put in the effort or time to make something healthy. So what I do is invest some of my time and energy when I’m not sick into preparing healthy soups for when I am sick. Making a big batch of homemade chicken broth to stick in the freezer is a bi-weekly ritual at our house, and boy does it pay off when you’re not feeling well! This week I got home feeling very poorly and all I had to do was throw my frozen homemade chicken broth, shredded chicken, and veggies into a pot and ta-da! Homemade, nutrient-rich comfort in a bowl.
  • Hot Baths and Showers: Nothing beats relaxing in a nice hot bath or shower, especially when you’re sick. The steam breaks up a lot of the mucousy grossness and helps you relax. You can also use a eucalyptus body scrub (the one I use is from Bath and Body Works) and get your diffuser going in the background.
  • Light Exercise: This one obviously depends a lot on how sick you are and what illness you have. If you have the flu and are all pukey you probably won’t be eager to get moving very much. So listening to your body is key here. That being said, when I’m in the thick of it I like to take some time to do some really light stretching and foam rolling. The low-intensity movement and increase in blood flow is great for your body even when it’s not at it’s best, and the slight release of endorphins will give you a much needed boost. Once I feel that I’m on the mend I start reintroducing workouts, starting with workouts comprised mainly of static exercises and light cardio before working back up to my high-intensity routine. However, if I have something relatively mild like a cold, I’ll usually continue working out while sick, I’ll just decrease the intensity a little bit and listen to my body carefully throughout.
  • Water: Surprise, surprise, drinking lots and lots of water is a must, as always. Pay even more attention to being well-hydrated while sick, your body needs it! And be aware of the other types of fluids you’re consuming, like Gatorade or Ginger Ale. While they may be soothing they are also usually packed with sugar, and sugar is not going to help you get better.
  • Move: If you’re feeling restless from hours of Netflix, get up and move. While rest is super important for recovery that doesn’t mean you have to be confined to your bed all day. Get up and do some light stretching, wash a few dishes, maybe freshen up and put on something comfy. The movement and slight change of pace can be refreshing and energizing.
  • Get Clean: This one may be totally unnecessary for some people, but for me it’s a must. No matter how sick I am I cannot stand to feel like a mess all day. I always make sure to wash my hair when I feel able, pull my hair back so I feel tidy, brush my teeth and spritz a body spray to feel fresh. While you may feel like a walking disaster area, being as clean and tidy as you can manage can work wonders in your overall mood.

There you go, I hope you’ll all stay healthy and not need to use these tips, but if you do I hope they’ll be helpful.

xoxo, Mary.

My Home Workout Necessities 

Hey there, lovelies! 

For today’s post I’m going to take you through the necessities I use to create intense, highly effective workouts that you can do at home, in the gym, or anywhere you like! 

I also want to announce that I have recently obtained my CPT and will now be offering online coaching! Feel free to contact me for a customized workout plan designed specifically for your body, your time, and your goals. 

A huge passion of mine is sharing with others how they can workout intensely, effectively, and efficiently from home. There’s no need for an expensive gym membership in order to achieve your goals! I purchased all of these things on Amazon and they were all super affordable, most only cost 10-20 bucks! 🙂 Here are the things I use in my workouts:

  • Ankle Weights: Ankle Weights are a great way to help tone your muscles and can be used in countless exercises. I like to wear 5 lb. ones when doing jump squats, donkey kicks, lunge jumps, step-ups, and more! You’ll definitely feel the burn with that added weight, even though it may not seem like much.
  • Resistance Bands: I could talk about all of the awesome ways you can use resistance bands all day long. I use them for almost every exercise I do! You can wear them around your thighs during squats and squat jumps, place them around the ankles during donkey kicks and heel presses, place them around the wrists for arm toning… seriously, name any exercise and you can probably find a way to add resistance bands to it for that extra burn.
  • Jump Rope: Jumping rope can be a great way to get some cardio in when you don’t have access to a treadmill. I actually much prefer body weight exercises and things like jumping rope to running any day. The fat burn and muscle toning potential is fabulous, not to mention how efficient body weight exercises are.
  • Foam Roller: Foam rolling is just the best. It gets your blood flowing, loosens things up, and even can help with cellulite (what girl doesn’t want that?!). I like to foam roll for a few minutes after each workout. 
  • Sliders: Sliders can open up a whole new world of possibilities for your workout routine. Using them during planks, mountain climbers, and alligator crawls can be great ways to strengthen your core and arms. My personal favorite is using them for hamstring curls… your hamstrings and booty will be on fire!
  • Ab Roller: When you use an ab roller you will feel the burn in those abs, no doubt about it! However, I do caution you to make sure you have proper form when practicing these. It can be easy to compensate using your back muscles which can lead to injury.
  • Dumbells: I only recently started incorporating dumbbells into my workouts. I’m a huge fan of using pushups and plank variations to tone my arms and back. But I’m really enjoying using dumbbells now too! I mainly focus on using them for arm and back strengthening exercises, but these are another super versatile bit of equipment to mix into your routine. You can use them for lots of different exercises, including star crunches, squats, deadlifts, and tons more!

So there you have it! Again, these pieces of equipment are super affordable, easy to store, and last ages. I built up my little collection over time and so can you! I would recommend starting with getting a set of resistance bands (mine are from Fit Simplify) since they’re so incredibly useful. 

I hope you all have found this useful and are feeling motivated to add some of them to your workouts. Again, feel free to contact me if you’re interested in starting your own healthy and fit lifestyle with a personal coach by your side every step of the way! ❤ 

xoxo, Mary.

My Dietary and Nutrition Guidelines

Hello, lovelies! 

Below I have written out the dietary and nutrition guidelines I live and swear by. There are so many ways to implement healthy habits and core goals into your everyday life, and the difference they can make is incredible!

This information serves as a guideline to help you develop healthy habits and additions to your everyday life that will help you get results. These simple habits can help you in countless ways, from fat loss to the overall health of your body’s systems. I encourage you to start implementing these things into your healthy lifestyle! 🙂

1. WATER! I aim for 75 ounces of water a day. Proper hydration has more benefits then I could possibly write about on here. It helps everything from your skin to your bowels to your cells. 

2. PROTEIN. It is so important to fuel your muscles properly, especially when you’re working out regularly and intensely. Especially if you desire to GAIN muscle, you need to provide it with the proper building blocks for growth. Chicken breast, Turkey, Salmon, Tuna, and Greek Yogurt are just a few great options.

3. HEALTHY FATS. Try to consume healthy fats, things like almonds, avocados, cashews and almond butter.

4. VEGGIES. Every day you should be filling your body with nutrient-rich vegetables. There are so many ways to incorporate them into your diet in delicious ways, so try not to be freaked out if you aren’t a fan of your greens. 

5. VITAMINS AND MINERALS. While vitamin supplements can be great, your goal should be to consume as many of your vitamins and minerals from your food as possible. 

6. FRUITS. Again, great way to get your vitamins. I like to have fruit and berries for snacks every day, or include them in my post-workout smoothies.

7. HEALTHY MAJORITY. I am all about intuitive eating. Having strict rules about what you can and cannot eat often leads to an unhealthy relationship with food. So instead, I encourage women to be aware of what they eat and to be thoughtful about what they consume. The idea is to make the majority or bulk of what you eat healthy. This allows room for occasional treats without you feeling like you’ve ruined everything. That being said, what I’ve found is that the longer you eat healthy the more your body craves healthy, nutrient-rich foods. Over time you’ll find yourself reaching for unhealthy treats less and less.

8. HEALTHY TREATS. Dark chocolate and dried fruit are great for when you’re craving something sweet but don’t want to indulge in the unhealthy.

9. GREEN TEA. Have a cup of Green Tea every day. The antioxidant power is super good for you, not to mention it’s ability to help you fight belly fat. 

10. CHAMOMILE. Drinking Chamomile before bed can help with sleep, a very important and often neglected part of a healthy lifestyle.

11. MORNING LEMON WATER. Drink a glass of hot or cold water with lemon right when you get up. This will supercharge your digestion, a crucial part of maintaining proper absorption of nutrients and excretion of toxins.

12. STEVIA. Stevia is a great supplement for sugar. Avoid things like splenda as they are extremely bad for you. Stevia, however, is a natural sweetener with lots of health benefits.

13. READ THE LABEL. Get in the habit of reading the nutrition label on the back of your food. This simple habit can help you make tons of healthier choices. For example, you may see one product has a higher sugar content than another and you can then choose the less sugary option. Or you may find that one product contains tons of unnatural ingredients and you can then choose a more natural option.

14. ALMOND MILK. Great to have around to add to coffee, smoothies, or just to drink.  It’s much less fattening than regular cow’s milk.

15. MEDICINAL FOOD. Think of food as your medicine, the way you eat can have a drastic impact on you entire body. Partner with your food and try to fuel your body with what it really needs as much as possible. 

16. POST-WORKOUT. Don’t forget to fuel your muscles after your workouts! Below I have my recipe for my post-workout smoothie. You can also workout prior to a high protein meal if you prefer. 

17. MEAL PREPPING. Having healthy meals and snacks available will help you stay on track and provide you with easy, healthy options throughout your week. On the weekend I like to bake a huge batch of veggies and chicken breast and chop lots of fresh fruit to be eaten throughout the week. Below are some easy meal examples:

-Breakfast: Oatmeal with flax meal, chia seeds, raisins, and apple.

                    Egg on top of sauteed yellow squash, zucchini, and bell pepper.

                    Turkey bacon, egg, and sauteed spinach.
-Lunch: Baked Chicken breast with steamed carrots and broccoli.

              Tuna on top of romaine and spinach, drizzled with olive oil and Himalayan salt.

              Spaghetti Squash with ground turkey and Italian herbs.
-Dinner: Bell Peppers stuffed with ground turkey, kale, and a little bit of parmesan.

                Chicken breast with asparagus.

                Baked salmon topped with lemon.
-Snacks: Sliced apple.

                Grapes.

                Almonds, sunflower seeds and raisins.

                Kale chips.
-Post-Workout Smoothie: 

½ cup Greek Yogurt 

Handful Spinach

Handful blueberries and/or strawberries 

½ teaspoon maca root powder (great for balancing hormones)

1 scoop plant based protein powder

1 lemon juiced

1 cup water or ice cubes

1 Tablespoon chia seeds

  

I hope this information has been helpful! The difference each of these things have made in my body have blown me away, so of course I’m thrilled to share them with you all! 🙂 Here’s to a happier and healthier lifestyle! ❤
xoxo, Mary.

Creating Your Healthy Lifestyle

Hey there, lovelies!

Today I want to offer a post focused on some of the ways I have created my own healthy lifestyle that I believe can help you create one for yourself. I think it is so important for women to understand that there are so many ways to create a healthy lifestyle specifically for you. In order to make something that is going to be sustainable and realistic, we need to create something specifically designed for you and only you. The schedule that I use and the routine I personally stick to may not necessarily be the best thing for you, simply because we are different people with different preferences and priorities. So below I have laid out some great guidelines for anyone who is seeking to reinvent their lifestyle and take charge of their health and fitness. I hope that this post will leave you feeling motivated and ready to take the first steps in creating a healthy lifestyle that will work for you. And don’t forget, while the idea is to create something designed for you, there are so many of us here to help you figure it out! ❤

Make Your Health A Priority! 

Without a doubt, the very first step before you take on anything else is to make your health and fitness a priority. I mean really think about that for a minute and commit to taking good care of your body, mind, and soul. Without that commitment to yourself the rest of this will be a whole lot harder to maintain! Make a list of all of the reasons you can think of for why you should be making a change and why you are committed to making it happen. But don’t forget to keep it positive! Like I talked about in my last post, it is so important to do things for the right, positive reasons, and this is no exception. Take a look at my previous post, “Strong, Not Skinny” for more on that topic.

Set Realistic Goals

One of the most common reasons why women end up giving up on a routine is because it wasn’t well-suited for them to begin with. In other words, they set goals that are not attainable based on the rest of their life and responsibilities, and end up feeling like a failure for not being able to keep up. So I say let’s avoid that situation altogether by starting off on the right foot and setting challenging, but realistic goals. Here’s an example of what I mean from my own experience: I work a full-time job, I have a husband, I have an apartment to keep clean, meals to cook, my sanity to keep, etc. Taking all of that into account I can say that it’s probably not realistic for me to expect myself to workout every single day. So what did I do to achieve my goals, remain consistent and avoid being in a situation where I feel like I’ve failed? I decided to workout 3-4 times a week, consistently. Being of the “give it your all” mindset most of the time, that was a hard thing for me to do at first because I felt like I could be pushing myself harder than that. But what happened was something so exciting to me that it was one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place! I found that in sticking to that routine I was not only reaching my fitness goals (these are goals like doing 20 push-ups, for example) without getting burned out, but I was becoming more and more motivated as time went on. Before I knew it I had accomplished my first set of fitness goals and was on to working out 4-5 times a week simply because I was having so much fun with it! It became one of my greatest forms of stress relief and something that I genuinely looked forward to rather than seeing it as one more thing to get done. It allowed me enough structure and consistency to make progress while still allowing enough wiggle room for the things that are bound to come up. As I’ve had to learn the hard way, you don’t always have to suck it up, get it over with, push on through. I’m a big believer that there are ways to create a routine that you thrive on, no matter the rest of your life’s duties.

Listen to Your Body

Having a routine that fits you well allows you to do one of the most important things you can do when it comes to health and fitness: listen to your body! Similar to what I said above, so many women end up giving up because they ignore the things their body is telling them and end up running themselves into the ground. A huge point I want to stress in this blog is to not only listen to your body but to work with your body. Allowing yourself that little bit of wiggle room keeps you from missing your body’s messages and helps you stay balanced. If you’re feeling under the weather you can hear those messages and know that maybe you should take it easy that day and let your body rest. Or, on the other side, if you’ve had a particularly good and energetic week you can add on another workout if you feel like it. All of this is just to emphasize the power that you can have from listening to and working with your body to achieve your goals, rather than trying to force progress while drowning out the noise of your body’s messages.

Consistency, Consistency, Consistency!

So many girls have come to me and asked what my secret is, what I do to not only remain toned, but to continue to gain strength. My answer is always summed up in this one point right here: be consistent. That can sound intimidating because life happens, right? But in my points above I’ve explained some of the ways that I am able to be consistent while still being balanced. The truth of the matter is that you’re not going to lose weight, get defined abs, tone your thighs, get a booty or any of those goals you may have if you aren’t consistent. The beauty of it is that being consistent and maintaining a routine doesn’t have to be all-encompassing and daunting. When you find the right balance for you it will transform not only your body, but your mindset. The trick is developing a routine that is challenging without being overwhelming, that allows wiggle room without dismissing the need to stick with it.

Don’t Say Goodbye to Cheeseburgers Just Yet…

“People who are fit and ‘healthy’ are miserable and deprive themselves! Why would I do that to myself?” Behold, a comment I hear now and then (that honestly makes me really upset) from people who are skeptical about this whole healthy lifestyle thing. It always makes me really sad when I hear stuff like that, because unfortunately, society has given them reason to say those things. It doesn’t have to be that way! There are too many people out there who simply don’t know the foods they should and shouldn’t eat, the ways they can be active to fit their body, the ways they can assist their body to function properly. Living a healthy lifestyle should be all about educating yourself in the things your body does and doesn’t need and working with it to provide or avoid those things. Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself 24/7, it means you try to fuel your body with the things you know it needs most (from food to exercise to sleep, etc.). And guess what? Eating unhealthy food now and then isn’t going to suddenly negate all of your progress! Just like missing a workout every now and then isn’t going to somehow make you gain ten pounds over night. In fact, I think it’s great to have a treat here and there. All things in moderation, it’s all about balance. There are also so many ways to make healthy foods in a way that you’ll genuinely enjoy! No need to eat salads all the time or munch on carrot sticks even if you hate carrots, people. Don’t fall for this sad narrative that taking care of your body is a miserable way to live, it doesn’t have to be that way! There are so many people out here along with me to help you create a healthy lifestyle that will work well for you.

There you have it, those are the main points I think are a great starting point if you’re trying to take charge of your health and fitness. Even if you’ve been sticking to a routine for a while, these points can be great reminders of what’s really important! I want to encourage you, to motivate you and help you achieve your goals. Feel free to contact me if you need help getting started and we can work together to find a routine that is realistic and sustainable for you! ❤ Thank you for reading!

 

xoxo, Mary.