Recipe (Lean Protein): Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts
2 lemons, sliced
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon thyme
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
dash salt & pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive old
Preheat oven to 425F. Layer ½ of the lemon slices on the bottom of a baking dish. Sprinkle with ½ of the herbs and ½ of the sliced garlic.
Place the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle salt & pepper. Place remaining lemon, herbs and garlic on top of the chicken. Drizzle with olive oil. Cover with a lid or foil.
Bake for 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through. If you want the chicken to be a bit more “roasty” then remove the lid/foil and broil for another few minutes (watching carefully not to burn it).
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: You can add a leftover sliced chicken breast to your salad for lunch the next day!
- Coach Jen
Sometimes those holiday feasts are just amazing. And it's not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance. It is way too easy (and common) to indulge on those days.
But it doesn't always stop there. Sometimes we overeat on regular days. Or at regular meals. Or All. The. Time.
Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals.
(Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)
Tip #1: Start with some water
When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food it's too easy to fill a plate (or grab some samples with your bare hands) and dive into the food.
But did you know that it's possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger? Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.
Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten. And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss (...just sayin').
Not only will the water start to fill up your stomach before you get to the buffet, leaving less room for the feast but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.
Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”
You've heard of mindfulness but have you applied that to your eating habits?
This can totally help you avoid overeating as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion.
Just as being mindful when you meditate helps to focus your attention on your breathing and the present moment being mindful when you eat helps to focus your attention on your meal.
Do this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savouring every mouthful. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe.
This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less.
When you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full. So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.
Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites.
Tip #3: Start with the salad
You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish, but don't start there.
(Don't worry, you can have some...just after you've eaten your salad).
Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they're full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fiber and water.
Fiber and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller. They're “satiating”.
And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you're about to indulge in a large meal.
Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.
Recipe (Water): Tasty (and beautiful) Pre-Meal Water Ideas
If you're not much of a plain water drinker or need your water to be more appealing to your senses here are five delicious (and beautiful looking) fruit combos to add to your large glass of water:
Tip: You can buy a bag (or several bags) of frozen chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or uber-cool mason jar in the morning. They're already washed and cut and will help keep your water colder longer.
- Coach Jen
Just Breathe” Challenge:
It’s a good thing we DON’T have control over many of the things that go on in our bodies.
We get so busy, that we probably would have died a long time ago because we would absolutely have gotten distracted and have forgotten to BREATHE!
However- although breathing happens automatically for us, our minds are often focused on other things….so that even though we’re alive and “breathing”- we’re still not doing it right.
IN fact, up to 80% of us are “chest breathers” and are not getting enough oxygen into our bodies. This causes tension in the neck and shoulders.
Rebecca Dennis (breathing expert) says "if we’re not breathing fully, it can make us feel stressed, anxious, depressed, drained and our sleep patterns get affected."
The good news is, if we consciously bring awareness to our breathing, all of this can be fixed!
Here is an easy deep-breathing practice that I’m challenging you to do every day this week!
This week I challenge you to practice deep breathing for at least 3 minutes every single day.
Do you want to join me? Leave “Yes!” in the comment below.
Fusion Foodie Friday - Cilantro Lime Rice (serves 4)
Combine the rice, chicken broth, salt and ground cumin in a large saucepan or skillet. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover with lid then reduce heat to medium-low. Let simmer 20 minutes.
Remove from heat, but keep lid on. Let stand with lid on for 10 minutes. Remove lid and add in lime juice, zest and chopped cilantro. Fluff with a fork and serve warm!
What is Metabolism?
This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days.
You know that if yours is too slow you might gain weight. But what exactly does this all mean?
Well technically “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body. It's how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.
Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive. And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible.
Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:
So when you put all of these processes together into your metabolism you can imagine that these processes can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right.
Which brings us to the “metabolic rate”.
This is how fast your metabolism works and is measured in calories (yup, those calories!).
The calories you eat can go to one of three places:
As you can imagine the more calories you burn as work or creating heat the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store for later.
There are a couple of different ways to measure metabolic rate. One is the “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) which is how much energy your body uses when you're not being physically active.
The other is the “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE) which measures both the resting metabolic rate as well as the energy used for “work” (e.g. exercise) throughout a 24-hour period.
What affects your metabolic rate?
In a nutshell: a lot!
The first thing you may think of is your thyroid. This gland at the front of your throat releases hormones to tell your body to “speed up” your metabolism. Of course, the more thyroid hormone there is the faster things will work and the more calories you'll burn.
But that's not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate.
How big you are counts too!
Larger people have higher metabolic rates; but your body composition is crucial!
As you can imagine muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does. So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be. Even when you're not working out.
This is exactly why weight training is often recommended as a part of a weight loss program. Because you want muscles to be burning those calories for you.
The thing is, when people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down which you don't want to happen. So you definitely want to offset that with more muscle mass.
Aerobic exercise also temporarily increases your metabolic rate. Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they're doing “work”.
The type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate!
Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and metabolize your food. This is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF).
You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body metabolizes foods differently.
Fats, for example increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by 15-30%. By trading some of your fat or carbs for lean protein you can slightly increase your metabolic rate.
Another bonus of protein is that your muscles need it to grow. By working them out and feeding them what they need they will help you to lose weight and keep it off.
And don't forget the mind-body connection. There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism and how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate.
300 Swings a DAY for a Week!
I’ve been looking forward to this challenge for a while now. Kettlebell swings are an INCREDIBLE exercise.
They work pretty much every muscle in your body, and it requires a lot of energy to perform the movement…meaning you’ll burn a LOT of calories!
Adding kettlebell swings also promotes that coveted “after-burn” effect. That means that even after your workout is over, your metabolism will be higher and you’ll burn more fat for up to 24-36 hours….pretty awesome.
You’ll obviously need a kettlebell for this challenge. If you don’t have one, you can pick one up at pretty much any decent sporting goods store.
Here’s a great article with video explaining the kettlebell swing and how to progress up to it. If you’re brand new to swings, this is a great place to start!
Here’s the Challenge:
Level I: If you’re not familiar at all with kettlebell swings, that’s OK! This week, your challenge is to just get familiar with the exercises and progressions. Typically, women will start with an 18+ pound bell, and men with a 26+.
Level II: If you have experience with the kettlebell but are still working on your form, your challenge is to complete 100-200 swings per day with proper technique.
Level III: If you’re proficient in the swing, your challenge is to complete 300 swings EACH day this week.
Rules: Break your reps up into as many sets as you need. Don’t allow yourself to work fatigued. As soon as your form starts to break, place the bell down and rest until you’re able to perform them with perfect form.
Are you IN for the Challenge!? Leave a comment and let me know below!
Fusion Foodie Friday:
Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Bark
- 4 cups dark chocolate chips
- ⅓ cup pomegranate seeds
- ⅓ cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
- Place half of the dark chocolate chips in a microwave bowl and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently, until melted. (or melt carefully in a double boiler)
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Pour melted dark chocolate onto lined baking sheet and spread the chocolate into a rectangle (the chocolate can be as thick/thin as you want based on preference).
- Sprinkle pomegranate seeds and shredded coconut on the chocolate.
- Place the baking trays in the freezer until hard.
- Break the chocolate into pieces and enjoy!
Note: If using a microwave for the chocolate, place a bowl of water in the microwave with the dark chocolate chips to keep them from drying out and burning.
No Added Sugar Challenge
Do you know how much sugar you eat during the day? Have you ever checked?
There is an easy way to do that: write down everything you eat during the day (be honest!), and then use ingredient labels or simply Google how many grams of sugar each food has and count.
The World Health Organization recommends about 25g (or less!) added sugar per day.
This is because excess sugar intake can spike your blood sugar levels, cause you to feel more hungry, have mood swings, store excess fat, and worse… can cause diabetes and a whole host of other issues.
Think you may be consuming too much sugar? Here are a few ways you can reduce your daily sugar consumption:
So let’s kick this inflammation-causing fire-starter to the curb and not invite it into your body in the first place.
This week’s challenge is to keep added sugars to UNDER 25 grams per day, each day this week! Sugar that is naturally occurring in the whole foods that you’re eating is ok.
But this means that any recipe that has “sugar” in it should get shuffled to the back of the box! This also means you need to limit the sugar in your coffee and check EVERY label of everything you’re eating this week!
- Coach Jen
Now that the weather is getting nice, you may be tempted to forgo your resistance training and head outdoors for some aerobic exercise in the fresh air. But beware: if you give up your resistance training, you will be giving up more than you bargained for.
Why resistance train?Resistance training is critical for true fitness. Without it, your muscles will atrophy. If you aren’t building muscle, you are likely losing it.
And if you are 20 or older, you are definitely losing muscle, unless you are working hard to build it. Beginning at age 20, we begin naturally losing muscle mass every decade.
The old liché holds true for muscle mass: if you don’t use it, you lose it.
Have you ever broken your arm or leg and had to wear a cast for a few weeks? Remember what greeted you when the cast was removed? Your arm or leg was a lot smaller and felt weak. That is because just a few weeks of disuse caused the muscles to begin atrophying.
Here are some of the benefits of resistance training:
Still tempted to give up resistance training?
Why aerobic exercise is not enough“But,” the question goes, “Can’t I just go for a run and build muscle? I’m using muscles when I run!”
The answer is NO! Running or other aerobic exercise is not a replacement for resistance training. They are different exercises and provide different benefits. Aerobic exercise does not deliver the needed stress to your bones, muscles and tendons.
In order to build strength, you have to pull hard on tendons, do microscopic damage to your muscles and literally bend your bones. Going out for a run or putting in an hour on the treadmill will not do this sufficiently.
This is not to say that aerobic exercise is not important: it is! But it is not resistance training. You need both. And if you omit one, you do your body a great disservice.
Avoid the “skinny fat” syndromeAnother danger of focusing on cardio or aerobic exercise to the exclusion of resistance training is becoming what is known as “skinny fat.” Skinny fat is a condition in which a person appears thin on the outside, but inside they are unhealthy and at risk for illness.
If you are losing weight through diet and exercise but not simultaneously doing resistance training, you are not only losing fat: you are losing muscle as well. Your body will burn through your muscles tissue as surely as it will burn through your fat. As you lose muscle, you lose a major source of energy, and you lose tone and definition.
Further, as you lose muscle, your bones become weak, because they do not have to do as much work. Weak bones are a precursor to osteoporosis.
Hidden fat is also a risk for the “skinny fat” person. When 800 slim people underwent an MRI scan to check for visceral or hidden fat, 45% were found to have excessive amounts of internal fat, undetectable from the outside1. Visceral fat is the most dangerous fat to have, because it accumulates around organs such as the pancreas, heart and liver and then begins releasing hormones and other secretions that lead to disease.
Resistance training can reduce visceral fat and help prevent the additional formation around the organs.
Don’t give up your resistance training just because spring is here and you are eager to get outside. There is no substitute for lifting heavy weights 2 to 3 times each week. Your health is on the line. GET AFTER IT!
If I can help in anyway, let me know