Viewing entries tagged
mealprep

Comment

The Crazy-Busy Person’s Guide to Weight Loss

One week in Nashville with all my meals prepped for the entire stay! 

One week in Nashville with all my meals prepped for the entire stay! 

Losing weight is challenging no matter what, but when you have a hectic schedule full of appointments, errands, and random time-sucking obligations, your New Year’s weight-loss resolution to slim down can feel straight-up impossible.

Here’s the good news, though: You don’t need to quit your job and go to boot camp to successfully lose weight. You can shed pounds — slowly but surely — while continuing to hustle and keep up with your commitments.

The key is learning to plan ahead and organize your day in a smart, efficient way. Before long, your weight-loss habits will become second-nature, not to mention totally worth the extra effort.

Read on for 11 easy tips for losing weight on a busy schedule!

1. Meal Prep Every Week

Meal prep doesn’t just save time and energy, it’s also key to ensuring you stay on track with your nutrition goals.

Every Sunday, block off a couple hours to make a weekly meal plan, go grocery shopping, and hunker down in the kitchen to chop, dice, grill, and plan your meals for the week.

If you don’t want to cook entire meals in advance, you can still cut down the steps by setting aside ingredients and chopping vegetables and fruit ahead of time. Pre-sliced veggies are ideal because you can snack on them raw and incorporate them in meals.

You can also make things like soup, ground turkey stir-frys, and casseroles ahead of time to store in your freezer. 

Proper portion sizes are a key part of meal prepping for weight loss: Using portion-control containers is an easy way to make sure your meals are balanced, especially if you’re trying to lose weight for the first time.

2. Store Healthy Snacks in Your Desk and Bag

The key to resisting that mid-morning muffin craving at work is to have satisfying, nutrient-rich snacks at the ready.

“Store snacks in your bag and at your desk,” says Gorin. “This way, you’re not relying on whatever’s available at the corner market or vending machine.” For protein-rich snacks, try hard-boiled eggs, beef jerky, or edamame. For snacks under 200 calories, bring in some pistachios, roasted chickpeas, or seaweed.

3. Drink More Water

Research suggests that drinking water before a meal can help you feel more full. An easy way to check that off your list is to carry a reusable water bottle with you at all times. Refill it regularly and aim to drink half your body weight (in pounds) in ounces each day.

If you’re notoriously bad at hydrating, here are 25 easy ways to drink more water.

4. Keep Fruit in Plain Sight

“When you’re at home, keep fruit on the countertop,” says Gorin. “Research shows you may be more likely to reach for it if it’s visible.” A Cornell University study found that women who had a fruit bowl out weighed 13 pounds less than women who had cereal or sodas sitting on their kitchen counter.

Same goes at work: Skip the candy bowl and get a basket and load it with your favorite fruits. Try apples for a hit of fiber, or bananas to sneak in some potassium, and pears for a sweet, low-calorie snack. And don’t forget about seasonal options like grapefruit, oranges, and kiwis.

5. Make Your Workouts Consistent

Although diet plays a major role in losing weight, pairing it with regular exercise is critical if you want to achieve weight-loss success.

But how do you squeeze in a sweat session when your day is jam-packed? “I recommend working out in the morning before people start making demands of you and life has a chance to get in the way,” says Trevor Thieme, C.S.C.S., Beachbody’s fitness and nutrition content manager.

If mornings are out of the question — maybe you have a long commute or an early drop-off time for your kids — identify another time of day that’s consistently free of commitments. For some people, that might be during lunch. For others, it might be after work. Whenever it is, reserve it for exercise.

Working out at home is a good way to make sure you get your workout in — and it’s harder to make excuses! With a streaming service like Beachbody On Demand, you’ll have hundreds of workouts with nutrition guides, calendars, and progress trackers at your fingertips.

6. Eat at a Table (*no phones allowed)

Instead of snacking as you scroll through emails or eating dinner while bingeing on Netflix, walk away from the screens and sit down at a table. (Novel concept, right?!)

You’re probably thinking, How exactly will sitting help me lose weight?! Well, pay attention to this fun fact: Research shows you’re more likely to consume greater amounts of food if you eat while you’re distracted.

While it might seem counterintuitive to carve out 30 minutes just to eat when you could multitask, a 2001 study suggests that multitasking may actually decrease your productivity by as much as 40 percent.

In addition, paying attention to your food — chewing slowly and savoring flavors — doesn’t just help you appreciate your meal, it also makes it easier to recognize the signals your body sends you about whether you’re full or not.

This practice of mindful eating can help you lose weight, but even better than that, it can also help you keep the pounds off once you’ve slimmed down.

7. Swap Cardio for Strength Training

Strength training trumps traditional cardio (think: long slow distance) when it comes to losing the right kind of weight: fat.

“But the most effective method is to combine cardio and strength training by doing high-intensity circuits — sets of several exercises performed back-to-back with little or no rest in between,” says Thieme. “Not only will you burn tons of calories during your workout, but you’ll also raise your metabolism for more than 48 hours afterward.”

Here’s another advantage of such such workouts: They double down on the benefits of both aerobic and strength training in half the time of a typical cardio or weightlifting session. “If you’ve ever tried a program like P90X3, 22 Minute Hard Corps, or INSANITY MAX:30, you know that a half hour is all it takes to get in a killer total-body workout,” Thieme says.

8. Share Your Food

Whether you’re at an office birthday party, on a date, or out to dinner with friends, you’ll inevitably encounter temptations in the form of chocolate and/or salty, carb-heavy sides.

If you want to (and can!) avoid these foods altogether, great. If, on the other hand, you want to enjoy a bite or two every once in a while, go for it. The key to sticking with your nutrition goals is not to deprive yourself, but to be sensible about how much you indulge.

Split your desserts or sides with someone else to cut down on the calories. “You know what [the dessert] tastes like, and the first bite or two is always the best, anyway,” Gorin says.

9. Have “Emergency Food” on Hand

On particularly chaotic weeks, sometimes meal prepping just doesn’t happen. And even if you have plenty of healthy ingredients on hand, sometimes you don’t have the patience or energy to cook.

That’s why Gorin recommends stocking your pantry and desk drawers with quick and easy “emergency food,” like cans of low-sodium soup, canned tuna packed in water, canned low-sodium beans, and whole-grain crackers. There arehealthy packaged food options out there; just make sure to check the ingredient list.

10. Move More

The most successful weight loss plans entail not just eating more healthfully and exercising more intensely, but also moving more throughout the day, says Thieme. Your goal: To keep your metabolism humming in a higher gear during more of the 23- and a half hours you aren’t working up a sweat.

For most people, that’s going to require thinking outside the box/gym. If you sit in an office all day, take a three to 10-minute break every hour to walk around the building or perform squats and arm rolls at your desk. Instead of sending emails to people down the hall (or even on different floors), pay them a visit. If you have a phone call with a client or an in-person meeting with co-workers, skip the conference room and talk as you walk.

And don’t limit this sort of creative thinking to your workplace. Do calf raises while brushing your teeth, stretch and foam roll while you watch TV, take your dog for a walk as you chat on the phone — do anything you can to spend more time on your feet and less time on your rump.

11. Rethink Your Beverages

A full day of commitments and responsibilities usually requires a boost (or two… or three) of caffeine to make it through. But the rich, sugary coffee beverages most people rely on (think pumpkin spice lattes) have no nutritional value.

Instead of sipping half your daily calories through a green plastic straw, Gorin suggests taking a walk to get a refill of water or hot tea. “That might reset your mood and your commitment to healthy eating.” If you do have a cup of coffee, says Gorin, swap the creamer for milk and sweeten it with a sprinkle of cinnamon instead of sugar.

Achieving your goal of losing weight doesn’t mean you have to make a bunch of huge, life-altering changes all at once. Sometimes all it takes is making smaller, smarter choices throughout your day to get you moving in the right direction.

 

 

Comment

Comment

Lox Breakfast Muffins

IMG_2180.JPG

Ingredients

Wild Nova Lox

cucumbers

green onions

2 eggs + 1 egg white

cracked black pepper

 

IMG_2181.JPG
IMG_2182.JPG

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Pour mixture in muffin pan. Bake it for 20 mins at 425 degrees. Delicious, tasty, and healthy! Served here with a blood orange!

 

Comment

Mexican Chicken Zucchini Boats

Comment

Mexican Chicken Zucchini Boats

I don’t always associate the word “healthy” with the kind of Mexican food that I tend to gravitate toward — chips, guacamole, and queso, anyone? But these Mexican Chicken Zucchini Boats are the real (healthy) deal: rich flavors, a spicy kick, and 9 grams of fat per serving.

These boats are a healthier spin on chicken burritos, swapping in nutritious zucchini for flour tortillas. A typical flour tortilla contains 25 grams of carbohydrates, 458 milligrams of sodium, and not much else. One zucchini contains 10 grams of carbs, 26 milligrams of sodium, as well as vitamins A, C, and K, and minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Using zucchini as the vessel is also a convenient way to watch your portions without having to think too hard: 1 boat = 1 serving.

You can cook the chicken however you choose, but for tender, succulent chicken, check out this no-fuss cooking guide for baked chicken breasts.

There’s a boatload of good stuff in this dish: protein, vitamins, and minerals from the spices (cumin, paprika, and chili powder), and lycopene from tomato sauce and tomato paste. And of course, everything just tastes better with melted cheese on top.

These zucchini boats are also incredibly versatile — serve them as a main course with a green salad, or cut them into smaller pieces for a unique, nutritious one-bite appetizer for your next party. Plus, these boats can travel: Pop your leftovers in a container and you’ve got a fast, easy lunch to bring to work.

Ingredients

  • 4 large zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
  • 4 tsp. olive oil, divided use
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup tomato sauce, no sugar added
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste, no sugar added
  • 1 Tbsp. ground chili powder (or 1½ tsp. chili powder and 1½ tsp. ancho chili powder)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. ground paprika
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 1⅓ cups corn kernels
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar (or Monterey jack) cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400º F.
  2. Using a spoon (or melon baller), scoop pulp out of zucchini to make boats. Place on a large baking sheet. Brush with 1 tsp. oil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender-crisp.
  3. While zucchini is baking, heat remaining 3 tsp. oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 6 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
  5. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
  6. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and paprika. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
  7. Add chicken and corn; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until heated through. Remove from heat.
  8. Evenly spoon chicken mixture into zucchini boats. Evenly top with cheese.
  9. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
  10. Sprinkle evenly with cilantro, tomato, and green onions; serve immediately.

Comment

Success Story: Heidi W. from Michigan

Comment

Success Story: Heidi W. from Michigan

23 lbs. and 23 inches down in 1 year of reversing Metabolic Damage

23 lbs. and 23 inches down in 1 year of reversing Metabolic Damage

I got connected with Roxy and Team Thunder through one of the other coaches in the group.  I tried a Beachbody program (T25) in early 2015, and lost a few pounds but didn't stick with it.  Fast forward to November 2015 and I had gained just about everything back.  I was not happy with how I felt and how my clothes fit.  I finally really had to own up to the fact that I was not just a little overweight and I needed to make some lifestyle changes.  I did a couple of rounds of 21 day fix and then Roxy started a Team Thunder challenge for the new program Hammer and Chisel. 

   I didn't think I was ready . . . I mean I was soooo out of shape, but Roxy was very encouraging, so I gave it a try.  I was hooked. I found that I love workouts that involve weights.

Roxy ran various challenges in the group that pushed my comfort zone (like sharing videos of myself on FaceBook) and really helped me to grow. She even took the time to develop customized meal plans for those of us in challenges to help us get the best results.  Her commitment to helping those in the group is absolutely apparent.

In the summer of 2016, I committed to her Body Beast challenge.  This one challenged my thinking because I had always been on low calorie meal plans (1200-1400 calories) trying to lose weight.  On this one, I had to eat (2200 calories) to build muscle.  I saw great results with the program and have been doing it since.

Most recently I had foot surgery and wasn't able to do some of the moves in the workouts.  Roxy was there to offer alternatives.

I can't say enough great things about Roxy, her fellow coaches, and Team Thunder.  Without a doubt, I would not have been as successful without Roxy and the team.  I remain excited to continue my healthy lifestyle with them.

- Heidi W., Michigan  

Comment

Success Story: Debra T. from California

Comment

Success Story: Debra T. from California

IMG_0229.JPG

"My journey with Roxy officially started in 2012 with me doing T-25 and Chalene Extreme. I followed the workout plan but loosely followed the meal plan. I was seeing some results but not what I really wanted. Then I ended up getting pregnant in 2014 with my fourth child.

When my son was 10 months old and after feeling depressed and unhappy for months I decided I needed to do something. So I was scrolling Facebook in December 2015 and came across a post from Roxy and it was about The Masters Hammer & Chisel challenge she was hosting. So I reached out to her and she invited me to join her challenge.

I decide that day I was to commit fully to the workouts and the meal plan. I rejoined Team Thunder and with the help of Roxy and Team Thunder, I completed the Masters Hammer and Chisel in two months and lost 20 lbs and 12 inches all over.

First picture is the start in January and middle picture is March. I was so thrilled and amazed by my results only because I didn't think I could do it but when you have amazing people behind you and supporting you it makes all the difference.

So I went on to do another round of H&C but I was intrigued by Body Beast and the weights only program so I decided to give it a try and let me tell you I was hooked.

So I have been doing Body Beast since September and the last picture was taken in November. I can't say enough good things about Roxy and Team Thunder because they changed my life."

 - Debra T., California

Comment

7 Foods You Had No Idea You Shouldn’t Be Eating

If you’ve been eating healthy and exercising yet the bulge is still refusing to budge, then something is wrong. That “something” is probably the fact that you’ve been duped by the food industry’s marketing tactics, and all that healthy stuff you thought you were consuming isn’t healthy at all.*

Turns out, added sugar is hiding in a large percentage of packaged foods (including the stuff labeled healthy)—from yogurts, sports drinks, bread, even ketchup. The World Health Organization recommends we get no more than five percent of our calories from added sugars, but Americans consume around 66 lbs. of added sugar every year.

So, while we’re not going to be able to change how the food industry markets their goods, what we can do is read labels, see through their fluff, and start putting alternate options in our mouths.

Below are 7 foods you’re eating, but shouldn’t:

1. ENERGY BARS

IMG_0146.JPG

While they seem like the perfect snack to grab and go, most energy or protein bars are nothing more than glorified candy bars! Even though they say they’re loaded with protein, vitamins, and minerals, what the manufacturer forgot to mention is that they’re also loaded with enriched white flour, high-fructose corn syrup, and other sweeteners.

Healthier alternatives:

  • Make sure your bar has LESS THAN 15 grams of sugar and 2 grams of saturated fat. And AT LEAST 3 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein.
  • Or you can make your own Shakeology®energy bars, which is a delicious option as well.

2. LOW-FAT YOGURT

IMG_0147.JPG

The main reason why low-fat foods taste so good is because after the fat is removed, sugar and salt are added. While you may be thinking your nonfat yogurt is a healthy snack, you might be mistaken. Take Chobani’s blueberry fruit-on-the-bottom nonfat yogurt, it’s packed with 15 grams of sugar for a 5.3-oz serving. And Stonyfield’s blueberry fruit-on-the-bottom has 22 grams of sugar per 6-oz serving.

Healthy alternatives:

  • Get your much-needed probiotic fill by taking supplements.
  • Buy plain yogurt and add your own berries to make it sweet. You can even add some nuts for that much-needed fiber.

3. FRUIT SMOOTHIE

IMG_0148.JPG

While a piece of fruit is good for you, most fruit smoothies you buy these days are comprised mainly of fruit juice (which doesn’t contain the fiber from a real piece of fruit), and sugar-laden yogurt or sherbet to satisfy your taste buds. But because these smoothies lack fiber to keep you full, chances are you’re going to be starving way before your next mealtime arrives. Which means, snack time is almost inevitable.

Healthy alternatives:

  • Make your own! Simply blend ½ cup of plain yogurt, ½ cup milk or water, 1 cup of berries or a banana, 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed, and some ice.
  • Have a Shakeology, blended with ice.

 

4. FLAVORED MILK (Almond, Soy, Coconut)

IMG_0149.JPG

We’ve all come to expect chocolate milk to be high in sugar (because it’s chocolate). But most of us don’t think that vanilla-flavored soy, almond, or coconut milk is bad for us. Again, the food industry wins! For example, Almond Breeze Vanilla has 13 grams of sugar per cup, yet if you go with the unsweetened variety, it contains ZERO grams of sugar! So you can still enjoy the vanilla flavor you’ve come to love, just make sure you choose the “unsweetened” version so you can avoid all that extra sugar.

Healthy alternatives:

 

5. SPORTS DRINKS

IMG_0150.JPG

If you want to rehydrate yourself after a hard workout, sure, a sports drink like Gatorade will supply your body with potassium and electrolytes to help you recover. But what the marketers aren’t telling you is that a 4.8-oz serving of the original formula will also flood your body with 21 grams of sugar. Good thing you worked out so hard in the first place, huh?

Healthy alternatives:

  • Drink coconut water instead.
  • Look for postworkout powders that you can mix into water that have natural ingredients.

 

6. PREPARED SALADS

IMG_0151.JPG

What could be unhealthy about a big bowl of leafy greens and veggies? Nothing, actually. It’s all the other stuff that gets piled on top that turns this healthy option into a calorie- and carb-packed feast. The unhealthy villains to watch out for are: bacon, ham, deep-fried anything, cheese, croutons, pasta, and creamy dressings.

Healthy alternatives:

  • Ask for dressings on the side, then instead of pouring it all over your salad, simply dip your fork into the dressing before digging in.
  • Substitute dressing entirely for a scoop of hummus or fresh salsa.
  • Just say no to croutons or bread.

7. REDUCED-FAT PEANUT BUTTER

IMG_0152.JPG

Nut butters are filled with healthy fats and proteins and are usually very effective healthy snacks. However, the packaged reduced-fat peanut butters usually contain added oils that contain the wrong types of fats, as well as added sugars to enhance taste. Instead of going for the low-fat version, just reduce your portion size of the real deal. Pair it with some carrots and celery and you’re in taste heaven without any health sacrifice.

Healthy alternatives:

  • Buy natural peanut butter with “peanuts” as the only ingredient listed.
  • Go to stores where you can grind your own peanut butter for the freshest option.

Read labels. Eat smarter. Lose weight.

By paying more attention to nutrition labels, chances are there are a handful of things you’ve been consuming that you might think twice about now. Because when you cut out a few extra grams of sugar here and there, bam, it makes a big difference.

* All brand names and trademarks used above are owned by their respective owners. All nutritional information used was obtained from the respective products as of April 17, 2015.