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motivationforfitness Here, you will find a consistent Motivation for Fitness. Whether your choice in fitness involves weights, dance, gymnastics, pole, cycling, running, yoga, silks, swim, HIIT, contortion, cheer, crossfit or anything in between; you'll find it here.

You can't truly be fit without proper nutrition. There will always be healthy recipes and advice available for you here. Links below provide past recipes and my favorite healthy recipe sites.

I hope that you will find answers and guidance here as well as feeling comfortable to ask questions, make submissions and challenge my knowledge.

Popular Links

Comprehensive Workouts Designed by Me (WODs)
How to Lower Your Body Fat %
How to Run: A Beginners Guide
My Fitness Videos
Tumblr Recipes
My Favorite Recipe Sites
Asks I Have Answered Publicly
How to Deal with Doubters
The 30 Day Happy Challenge
A reminder to Myself.

After years of disordered eating habits, I got myself in order.

Then… things turned to a mess again.

This is a reminder to myself (or some info for anyone who cares) about what I ate when I was eating well. For me, it was all about having a plan. I ate a variation of the exact same thing for almost two years. And it wasn’t bad. I enjoyed the food and did not tire of it.

So, without further delay, here is my eating plan… that I need to get back into the habit of following:

  • Breakfast: 1 egg and 1 slice of toast OR 1 serving of oatmeal/cream of wheat/oat bran made with unsweetened almond milk (add nuts, berries, spice, fruit as desired).
  • Snack: (this is difficult due to my work environment, but it’s potentially do-able) 2 carrots and a soy latte (no sugar or flavors added).
  • Lunch: PB&J (All natural, no added sugars or salts to the PB and all natural jam or preserves with no HFCS or any other shenanigans) OR a tuna sammich made with hummus or guacamole
  • Snack: Apple or banana sliced and laid on top of an Ak Mak cracker with some dark chocolate sunflower butter (homemade. I don’t know if that is a butter that is on the market. It’s delicious… you should make some).
  • Dinner: 1 serving of fish OR substitute meat such as tofu, tempeh, beans, etc and a pile of grilled veggies.
  • Snack: After workout protein shake with avocado or pumpkin or coffee mixed in. (I make some gourmet frigging protein shakes!!)

Will this work for everyone? No. No it will not. Did it work for me? Yes. Yes it did. Will it work again. Yes, yes it will. I just need to get back into the habit of doing it. I have been good about breakfast and lunch for months… it’s supper and after that everything seems to fall apart. I either need to come up with evening plans forever, or get my ass in gear.

Can I vote both? I vote both.

At least I’m on track with my workouts. Small miracles, you know?

(Source: motivationforfitness)

“Hi, 47 year old male trying to get into better shape. I'm tired of my body aching all the time. I'm going to start eating clean but to be honest I don't know where to start, any suggestions ?”
-spooky-1

Honestly… no one ever knows where to start. Eating healthy (especially if you are from the USA) is like fumbling in the dark for a hairpin key to an invisible door that’s located on the ceiling.

There’s a million things I could tell you… but you’ll never remember it all. Just fumble around in the dark and learn as you go. It’s the best way to remember!

Cheers,
~Bonnie 

Because I was curious. Here you go: spinach vs romaine.

Ultimately, greens aren’t terribly dissimilar from each other, varying very little in their nutritional content. So… eat the one you like! The right answer is the one that involves you enjoying your healthy meal. ^_^

“The carrot skin is good for you!! When you peel them you lose like 70% of the nutrients”
-fallintothebathroomfloor-deacti

Actually, the only time you lose nutrition from peeling fruits and veggies is when the peel is a different color than the flesh.

A carrot is orange (or in my case, white and purple) throughout the entire root, thereby indicating that all the nutrition available in the skin is available in the entire root.

The color has a direct relationship to the nutrients contained within. 

Yay Botany! :D (An interesting class if you ever get the chance to take it.) 

Cheers,
~Bonnie

PS. I’d be interested to know where you heard that info about carrots. Feel free to submit your source! I’d like to read it. Here is an easy-read from the NY Times about peels.

Take advantage of it my lovelies! No cost means no excuse. 4-10 hours per week. Gobble up that knowledge!!!!!

More Thought Vomit

I was chatting on G+ with a friend (actually… a tumblr friend. Hooray for cross-overs!) a few days ago about how he made a churpumple cake for his wife for her birthday. (Look it up… it’s insane. His looked better than the Google pictures, for real.)

He made note that it was not paleo. To which I replied something like: I have no self-imposed dietary restrictions on my birthday (save for meat.)

And… delayed reaction… this morning I was thinking about what I said. About self-imposed dietary restrictions.

Is that really what I call them? Because that’s not at ALL how I feel about them. I LOVE being a vegetarian. I really, really do. I love it. Why would I call it a restriction? That has such a negative connotation to it. But my feelings towards it are not at all negative. Saying “restriction” implies I am helpless.

I don’t feel restricted. I am not helpless. I made the decision!

Actually… I feel quite liberated. Kiss my butt, “the expected norm!” I made my own choice and I am quite happy with it. My “restrictions” are in place because I chose a healthier lifestyle. Why should a healthy lifestyle be a restriction? It’s not! It’s just a change. A restriction indicates that the limitation is out of my control. How silly! (Things that I know but fail to apply. Duh, Bonnie… know your vocab!!)

I am not restricted by my lifestyle. Neither are you. (Unless you have a medical condition that truly DOES restrict you from eating a certain food product.) 

This is possibly why saying "I don’t eat that” feels so much different on my tongue than saying "I can’t eat that.”

I made a conscious decision and because of that, it is a choice not a limitation.

"Treat your body like the superior machine that it is. If you’re going to ask it to do great things, you must first provide it with great tools. Eat well. "

Myth: NO SWEETS BEFORE NOON
Most runners who want to lose weight assume they have to forgo dessert. But not only can you have it, you can have it for breakfast, according to a study published in March 2012 in the journal Steroids: Researchers found that participants who ate a 600-calorie, carb- and protein-rich breakfast that included dessert, such as chocolate or ice cream, lost more weight over four months (and kept more off the following four months) than a group that ate a low-carb morning meal. “Dessert for breakfast sounds so sinful,” says Bonci, “but if you allow yourself a tad more indulgent breakfast, you might eat less during the day instead of trying to be really ‘good’ and overcompensating later.”
Make it work: Eat a 600-calorie or so breakfast rich in vegetables, fruit, protein, and carbs, and add a sweet if you crave it. Avoid calorie bombs, like mega chocolate chip muffins, says Bonci; instead, have a shake made with vanilla yogurt, banana, peanut butter, and a little chocolate, or a banana muffin with almond butter.

Myth: ADDED FIBER KEEPS YOU FULL
High-fiber foods, like fruits and vegetables, take longer to digest and hold more water, which is why they fill you up and aid weight loss. Companies have capitalized on this by adding fiber to everything from yogurt to snack bars. But do these fibers work? University of Minnesota researchers had participants replace two meals a day with a low-fiber snack bar or one that contained 10 grams of added fiber. The results (published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) show the added fiber had no effect on fullness and caused more bloating than the low-fiber bars. “Everyone in the food industry is jumping on the fiber bandwagon,” says Bonci, “but as this study shows, not all fibers are created equal.”
Make it work: To quell hunger, Bonci recommends sticking with foods naturally high in fiber—whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables. They tend to be lower-calorie and take up more room in the stomach than processed foods with fiber.

Myth: CARBS LEAD TO WEIGHT GAIN
Runners know carbs are essential for training, but many still cut back if they’re trying to lose weight. After all, eating lots of carbs, as you would prerace, causes the scale to go up. “Carbs act like a sponge,” says Bonci, “helping you absorb water.” That weight is temporary and means you’re well fueled. But there’s more reason to keep carbs—whole-grain carbs—in your diet. According to a study published in April 2012, participants who ate a low-calorie diet high in whole wheat for 12 weeks lost more fat than a group that ate a low-cal diet high in refined wheat, most likely because the extra fiber in whole grains was more filling.
Make it work: Whenever you eat grains, make them whole, says Katherine Beals, Ph.D., R.D., an associate professor at the University of Utah. To make this a reality, cook a large batch of grains to eat all week. Add different nuts, dried fruits, vegetables, and meats to vary the flavors.

Myth: CUT ALL FAT
Fat is the most calorie-dense nutrient, so it would make sense that eating less of it would help you lose weight. But slashing your fat intake may have the opposite effect. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers compared participants on three diets—low-fat, low-glycemic, and low-carb. Eating a low-fat diet decreased resting energy expenditure (or the number of calories you burn at rest) the most. Cutting back on fat also affected hormones essential to keeping cholesterol and insulin in check. “We need fat for many reasons,” says Bonci. “It’s an important fuel source for exercise. If you don’t consume enough, your body will burn muscle.”
Make it work: ”When people eat a low-fat diet, they add flavor other ways, like by eating sugar,” says Bonci. She recommends 30 percent of your calories come from fat—and two-thirds of that should be the healthy unsaturated kinds from nuts, oils, fish, eggs, and avocados.

Myth: YOU SHOULD ONLY USE ZERO-CALORIE SWEETENERS
For runners looking to shed pounds, using zero-calorie sweeteners, such as sucralose, aspartame, and stevia, may be an appealing choice, since swapping out a sugar-packed soda for a diet version is an easy way to cut calories. But according to a joint study statement by the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association, the scientific evidence connecting zero-calorie sweeteners with long-term weight loss is inconclusive. Why? One of the main problems is overcompensation. If you save 150 calories by drinking a diet soda, but then reward yourself with an extra helping at dinner, you’ve negated any calorie-saving benefit.
Make it work: ”If you drink lots of soda or add tons of sugar to your coffee,” says Bonci, “you may want to try diet versions.” However, “if using a zero-calorie sweetener gives you license in your mind to eat whatever you want, then it’s not the right choice for you. You have to make sure cutting back in one arena doesn’t prompt you to overdo it in another.”

Myth: ADD MORE LONG RUNS
Many runners assume that going longer is always better—especially when it comes to weight loss. But a recent Danish study published in September 2012 found that this isn’t always the case. During the study, researchers had overweight participants do 30 or 60 minutes of moderate exercise a day. Surprisingly, those who exercised less lost more weight during the 13-week study. What’s the catch? The group that exercised longer ended up eating more throughout the day than the moderate-exercise group. In other words, the longer they exercised, the more they overcompensated for it.
Make it work: Running long is good, but not if you overeat because of it, says Beals. Make sure you pay attention to your diet on days you do run long. On the flip side, beginners should be encouraged to know you don’t need to run for hours to see real weight loss results.

(Link to original article from Runner’s World posted above.)

I like being a guinea pig…

Those who have been following me for a while (and been reading my progress blog) know I was in a serious rut this summer (for various reasons) and I gained about 8-10 pounds and just couldn’t get my head straight due to depression and other causes that I’m not going to get into.

I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to do some research (because, hey… science.)

I wanted to see what benefits proper nutrition offered to weight vs exercise vs proper nutrition and exercise. I maintained each “experiment” for a total of two months. The listed order is the order I did the “experiments” in.

  • When only eating properly: I dropped a small amount of weight to begin then maintained. Any negative alteration in eating habits result in a weight gain.
  • When only exercising: I dropped a small amount when I started my routine then maintained weight. Any negative alteration in eating habits did not affect my weight: I maintained.
  • When eating properly and exercising: immediate and continued weight loss. Any negative alteration in eating habits allowed me to continue losing weight.

Now. This is a PERSONAL experiment!!!! My results do not mean anything to YOU. Only to ME. This tells ME (Bonnie) that to continue seeing results I must continue to exercise AND eat right. Others will have different results. Some have good results with ONLY eating properly (my mother is one of those people) and others can eat whatever they want so long as they exercise.

It’s about discovering what works best for YOU. And while I don’t encourage you to turn yourself into a lab rat, I do encourage you to recognize that what works for others may not work for you.

Keep searching for the “right way” for YOU!!!

*Note: When I state “eating properly” I mean maintaining around 1600 kcals per day with a minimum of 100g of protein and a max of 100g of carbs. I also maintained being pescatarian as well as eating lots of veggies, as per usual.

"It’s all about discovering your weakness and then setting up a battle plan to destroy it. "

(Source: tannislea, via drwannabe)

“Regarding raw food (I wasn't certain and wanted to know about all its "miraculous" benefits and there you were with the answer! yay!) - does that apply to vegetables too? :( I actually like a lot of my veggies raw (Not broccoli though, broccoli will depress me raw everyday), but peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, salad leaves, carrots, peas etc. - om nom nom OK?”
-Anonymous

Raw vegetables are great for you… BUT because our digestive tracts are completely inadequate at breaking down cellulose (since we lack an effective cecum, which is the section of intestine that allows for the breakdown of cellulose) we don’t reap as many nutritional benefits from raw as we do from cooked. 

Here is an example of the difference in cecum size between a strict carnivore and a strict herbivore.

Keep in mind, over-cooking is bad! So is boiling. Both those things break down the proteins and flush out the nutrients. Grill, broil, steam or even microwave for full benefits.

Take a read here. It’s a nice simple explanation. :D

Cheers,
~Bonnie 

“I find it hard to keep down my size at size 2, though I really, really love myself that thin. I am not anorexic, I am fit and I'm not sure what diet I should focus on to do best as I'm getting older? I find it pretty impossible to get through the day without carbs, I need my carbs!”
-Anonymous

Is there a reason you feel you need to avoid carbs?

If you don’t have an emotional/psychological reason to avoid them, then have them! Balance them out with everything else you eat during the day. Just track your intake and see how your body responds.

I have difficulty staying in a 2 as well. Right now I am in a 4 and fighting to get back down. (I’m aiming for definition, not pant size… but it’s a semi-decent gauge so long as I always use the same brand as a reference) 

Focus on nutrition and, depending on what you mean by “getting older” your metabolism WILL slow, no matter how active and healthy you are. This metabolism slow-down usually begins around age 40-45. If you are coming up on those years you will have to plan on taking in less calories. Studies suggest that your metabolism is 1/3 slower at age 60 than it was at age 20, though I cannot tell you the fitness level of the people they did the study on.

Talk to a nutritionist or a dietitian. Have them help you set up a program tailored to you. It’s an amazing weapon to have in your arsenal. But try to eat nutrient rich foods with minimal processing. Your body will gain more benefit from less food that way. (A serving of carrots will do you far more good than a serving of rice cakes…) 

Personally, I try to maintain this for my intake:

45% calories from carbs
25% calories from fat
30% calories from protein

That will vary from day to day by a few percent but that’s my basic goal. If I’m sore I may up my protein. If I’m tired, I will up my carbs. If I’m having trouble focusing, I will up my fats. It’s all a matter of balance and listening to what your body is telling you.

But… definitely seek out a dietitian. I’m just telling you what works for me… and it works for me because it’s a diet tailored to my needs care of my amazingly awesome nutritionist.

Cheers,
~Bonnie 

“What is your weekly meal plan for weightloss? Your the best!!!”
-Anonymous

Thank you!!!!!!!!!!! <3

I had done a pretty general answer about it a while back that you can read here.

For me, personally, I need consistency. Some people do better with a very eclectic diet (as they will get bored of the same thing over and over) but I tend to lose all sense of control and willpower if I let myself vary too much. So, I will often have variations on the same thing.

Breakfast is usually oatmeal with some sort of nuts and berries or a fried egg with toast and a piece of fruit or a scrambled egg with added whites and salsa on a small wheat wrap with a piece of fruit.

Lunch is usually a nut butter and fruit or jam sandwich. Maybe almond butter and apple slices one day, maybe pistachio butter and cherry preserves or possibly dark chocolate peanut butter with sliced banana.

Dinner is often a serving of fish with a giant medley of veggies. The type of fish and veggies and seasonings will vary, but for 4 or 5 days of the week… that is the basic outline that serves me best.

My snacks are usually fruit, veggies, pop corn, yogurt, rye or bran crackers, etc. After my workout I will have a protein shake or maybe more oatmeal with soy milk.

Hope this gives you an idea or two! But remember, find what works for YOU!!! And consider a visit with a dietitian who can help you set up your own program. If it’s tailored to you it’s more likely to work.

Cheers,
~Bonnie 

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