Posted in wellness

The Juggling Act: Your Man Vs. Your Goals

Failure to prepare is preparing to fail. -Benjamin Franklin

Maintaining balance and prioritizing relationships is a common struggle. Health and fitness goals are challenging! They can be hard on you as well as on your family in the event they aren’t joining in on the fun. But, it doesn’t HAVE to be hard. My marriage is my biggest priority. I am a wife first and foremost, and everything I do needs to reflect that. In all honesty, that is hard to swallow sometimes when my goals and motivation are at an all time high. It is not uncommon for motivated people to have the ability to create a tunnel vision that is out of this world. If you are feeling like you are playing a constant game of tug of war with your relationship and your goals, you are not alone. Regardless of how willing you might be to re adjust priorities to reach your goal, we can’t ignore our loved ones along the way.

Let’s begin by increasing awareness. Identifying how your choices and goals impact the people closest to you is one of the best things you can do to maintain perspective.  Be prepared for things to change and motivated to keep them the same. Goals require perseverance. They also require compromise. The bigger the goal, the bigger your awareness needs to be on keeping the peace and holding on to as much balance as you can. When the game of tug of war starts to be too much, refer to the below ideas to come up for air whether it’s alone or with your family.

  1. Not all dates revolve around food: Some of our favorite stress releases are a going to the movies (bring your own snacks!), bowling, playing cards, making a list of things we want to accomplish at home, going to the gym together instead of alone, etc. Additionally, there is no reason you can’t have a special date night that involves food! Refer to my recent blog on “Navigating Social Events & Meals out” for more information on how to honor your goals without sacrificing time and memories with your family. Sometimes just an hour of “normal life,” or giving yourself permission to take a mental break from your goals serves as a great distraction and reset to bring your mind back to the people you love the most.
  2. Practice random acts of kindness: Your support system is your lifeline! Make sure to express gratitude and love for the people pushing you along. You are only as good as your support system and they are working hard, too. Sometimes going to the extra mile to make my husband a special dinner, take him on a surprise date to the movies or write him a card makes me feel just as good as it does him. It’s the LITTLE THINGS!
  3. Laugh: Don’t get so caught up in your routine of gym, sleep, eat and repeat that you forget to live your life. Go to the social gatherings, eat at the table with everyone else, make time for your friends. So many people get anxiety from the THOUGHT of temptation when tackling a goal. There is no need for that. Life is for living and you can still enjoy it while chasing your fitness dreams.
  4. Set boundaries: We set boundaries for work, personal time, children and friends. Do it for your goals as well! You can be 100% dedicated to your journey to health and still prioritize your loved ones by giving them time and your undivided attention whenever you can. Be intentional, be present and make sure they feel connected to you. Don’t be the person that only talks about the gym, food prep and how exciting your progress is!  Be well rounded, have other hobbies and tend to all aspects of your life. You are more than your goals.
  5. Be aware: Your goals are a CHOICE. If we are so lucky to have loved ones that are willing to push us along, supporting us and honoring our goals is THEIR CHOICE. That is important perspective. Reaching your goals and thriving is a gift. It’s a powerful and overly satisfying experience that breeds MORE activity. However, reaching your goals will not be nearly as rewarding if you don’t have your special people beside you at the finish line. Your life is happening right now. You can work toward your goals without sacrificing the special moments that happen every day. Don’t miss them.

Tackling a fitness goal can be a big part of your life, but it does not define you. Your new body and lease on life will not suffice when the universe throws you a curveball and you really need your people. Be mindful and focused on what really matters regardless of how it challenges you. These people, your family and loved ones are what matter.

Posted in Uncategorized

Navigating Travel, Meals Out & Social Events Stress Free

It is not uncommon that weekends are the hardest to “survive” when you have health and fitness goals. It was the same for me, and its something I hear ALL the time with my clients. It is easy to stay on track during the week while we stick to our routine. Work, gym, sleep, repeat. Then, the weekend comes and it seems as though our will power and decision making skills evaporate completely. The evaporation of skills is a mentality. It derives from fear and intimidation of feeling capable of making choices that align with your goals when social gatherings occur, or dinner is at your favorite restaurant. There is, believe it or not, a happy medium between YOLO and “I’m on a meal plan, I can’t have that.” That black and white mentality is typically to blame for set backs. Learning to account for meals out and how to fit foods in without blowing my macros or progress was one of the most empowering tools I developed during my fitness journey. Don’t be a prisoner to your meal plan, and don’t allow intimidation of trying as an excuse to fall off the wagon. Below are some tricks that help me navigate my weekends and social time without compromising my progress. My goal in sharing them is to help others break this frustrating cycle.

  1. You can’t out train a bad diet: The first step to finding a better weekend balance is understanding that you cannot out train a night of binge drinking and eating whatever your heart desires. You can be as diligent as you want to throughout the week. But, consistency is what your body craves the most and is also what will bring you the best results. Knowing that repeating those nights weekly are making all of your work and efforts during the week go to waste should be some motivation to start to tone it down.
  2. Check the menu ahead of time: Knowing your options and eliminating the pressure to make a quick decision can make a huge difference. Most menu’s are available online if you know where you are headed in advance. Going to a friends house? Ask them what is being served, and offer to bring something! That is a great way to add in healthy foods or things that you know will work for you that day. Lots of menu’s are available on My Fitness Pal and have the macro information on there. If you don’t see it, you have the option to request it on your tracking app. If you have a favorite spot and the menu isn’t available yet, request away! TheMacroExperiment.com is another outstanding resource for this. You can also call the establishment and ask them how things are prepared. If you had a serious food allergy, you wouldn’t hesitate to do this. Your goals and progress are not any different!
  3. Menu Manipulation: Half the battle to successful ordering is knowing what to look for and request. When reviewing a menu, request options that are baked or grilled. Most menu’s will also have things that are on the “lighter side” to select as well. If you want something low fat, request chicken or fish instead of beef. Low on carbs? Request double the veggies instead of the starch it comes with. Here is a little list of quick tips I use every single time I am out to eat.
    1. Eat before you go! That way you aren’t starving when you sit down
    2. Double the water, drinking as much as I can helps me with portion control
    3. Skip the bread basket- don’t hesitate to ask them to hold the chips or bread, you don’t need that crap on your table!
    4. Request a baked/ grilled option, and ask them to hold the butter and oil. That way, you can ensure your protein was cooked simply with herbs and spices only, and not injected with additional crap for which you cant account.
    5. Sauce on the side- when in doubt, ask them to either hold the sauce or put it on the side for you. You can always dip your fork in it, or pour it yourself so that you can better estimate serving sizes, etc.
    6. Double the veggies- Most entrees come with a starch and a vegetable side. If you are low on carbs or want to add volume, request double veggies! The brighter and more colorful your food, the better.
    7. Request a “half” size! This is a GREAT way to aid with portion control, especially if you are someone that struggles to not pick at your plate. Get half the burger, or half the salad, or half the entrée. You can take the other half home, or give it to your Husband, if he is a bottomless pit like mine!
    8. You don’t HAVE to finish your plate. Eat slowly, and eat until you are satisfied. If you know the portion was massive, section off the amount you’d like to eat and then make a mental note that you are finished after that point (I will sometimes even cover my plate with my napkin once I know I am really full. That prevents me from continuing to pick and eat when I know I should be finished).
  4. Portion sizes: In order to track accurately, you need to have an idea of typical portion sizes. For meat, a 4-5 oz serving is typically the size of a closed fist. When in doubt, track for a bigger portion. 1 cup of veggies is about the size of your palm as well. It is always better to over shoot in this instance. A typical pour of wine is 5 oz., etc. When in doubt, ask your server! It is their job to relay any information you need about what you are putting in your body. Knowledge is power.
  5. Tracking on the fly: There will be plenty of times at social gatherings, when traveling or attending dinners out where you have to just guess and go. Yo can always insert each menu item individually! Tracking SOMETHING is so much better than throwing in the towel and ignoring your choices for the night. Any accountability is better than no accountability. It doesn’t need to be perfect! Family dinner at your favorite burger joint? You can enter your burger like this: 1 hamburger bun, 1 oz cheddar cheese, 1 tomato slice, 6 oz chicken breast, 1 oz ketchup, 1 lettuce leaf, etc. You can do that with ANY meal that you order. The menu items have to list all ingredients, so take note and enter that stuff in!
  6. Be Needy: Restaurants expect special requests. They are used to serving people with severe food allergies or intolerances and are happy to cater to their needs. You are no different, and there is no shame in making special customizations to your order! Don’t be afraid to request different variations of what you need. The will be HAPPY to accommodate you, and you will feel so much better for it!
  7. Ignore the haters: People will ask you questions or comment when you take your health into your own hands. They will ask you “does that fit your plan?” or why you made special requests. Don’t let this deter you from putting your goals first. When this happens to me, I remind myself that they are usually curious and wanting to learn. People envy that kind of self control, and want to emulate it. Own your choices, and shout them from the rooftops. The people that matter will always support your choices and help you stay the course!

As this weekend approaches, try implementing these tricks. You will be shocked at how much you can enjoy your social life and weekend without the guilt that you completely bulldozed your fitness goals.

For more information on nutrition, healthy recipes and meal planning please visit www.CarsonLaineFitness.com

Posted in How To's

My Favorite Products For The Best Night’s Sleep

Getting a good night of rest is more difficult to come by than ever. Between the hectic schedules, managing kids, husbands, commitments, the increased screen time & chronic stress levels it truly doesn’t come as a surprise. Night time routines, among other things, are still in high demand and an imperative part of learning how to sleep like a superhero. Without proper rest, it is nearly impossible to tackle the day ahead to the best of your ability.

 

I have personally battled insomnia (in addition to high stress, demanding schedules & life in front of screens) for over 10 years. Sleepless nights and resulting fatigue are miserable! Over time, I have found several products that have helped me wind down, improved my sleep and have become some of my biggest tools to prioritize restfulness & turn my sleepless nights into the 7-9 hours of restoration that our minds and bodies so desperately need.

 

Below are my favorite products (and links to purchase) to help you wind down, unplug and get a better night of sleep. Let’s dive in!

 

  1. For those using melatonin, habit forming sleep aids or a prescription to encourage sleep you may notice that their effectiveness wears off rather quickly. The body quickly identifies these “false” substances and builds up a tolerance because of their limited ability to “hack” into cellular structures. Exchange your old sleep aids for Serenity capsules, a completely natural, plant based capsule filled with essential oils and coconut oil that will give you an incredible nights rest without the harmful chemicals or tolerance build up. An equal alternative is using the Serenity essential oil blend as a pillow spray, on the wrist or under the tongue.
  2. If you are spending a fortune on bedding and sheets with little to no return on investment, return them for a set of bamboo sheets. These sheets are silky soft, absorb more moisture than cotton and allow for the perfect temperature while you rest. The fabric allows them to keep cool when needed and also provide warmth easily as an alternative. They are a small investment compared to other high thread count sheets and are a must have staple in your linen closet.
  3. Allergy season, climate changes, germs and dusty air vents all contaminate the air we breathe. At night, this can result in sleepless nights of coughing, scratchy throat or other common allergy systems preventing you from sleeping like a superhero. Investing in an air purifier will eliminate those symptoms and ensure that every breath is free of anything keeping you from a good night of rest. They range in price, function and size. We have one in each bedroom of our home!
  4. In addition to bamboo sheets, sleeping under a weighted blanket has proven health benefits that you won’t want to miss. These blankets, usually ranging from 15-20 lbs ease insomnia, help with sensory processing disorder, fight back against stress, reduce anxiety, improve focus for ADHD, encourages calm, aids in PTSD, panic disorders and symptoms of OCD and depression all while improving your sleep. In my experience, the added weight doesn’t equate to either additional heat or an increase in temperature. These blankets have built in temperature control systems to provide you with all of the benefits without sacrificing any comfort.
  5. Sleeping soundly involves more than a solid night time routine and the products above. The way we wake up each day has an equally profound impact on our energy levels, focus and ability to fall asleep naturally again the following night. Our bodies are designed to rise with the sun and begin to wind down after sunset. We have trained ourselves to wake up to harsh alarms, loud noises and snooze buttons, all of which have absolutely no benefit to our natural sleep cycles or circadian rhythm. The more effective and beneficial alternative is using an light alarm clock with light simulators. These simulators create the natural lighting of a sunrise (and sunset to aid in winding down) each morning rather than alarming our bodies with loud noises and rude awakenings. Waking up to light rather than racket encourages your body to wake up naturally as it would if you had left the windows open and the sun was peeking through, nudging you awake to start another day.

For more information on sleep, natural remedies or to gain access to helpful resources designed to improve your health and wellness, please visit www.carsonlainefitness.com

Posted in wellness

Hitting The Nutrition Reset Button

The winter months, but specifically November and December are infamous for encouraging avid health seekers to fall off the wagon, put a pause on important goals and make excuses for choices (including  or the abundance of holiday treats being enjoyed). Simply put, the holidays make prioritizing nutrition more challenging! This also explains the phenomenon most of us anticipate each year. I refer to it as the annual health and fitness “reset” that happens every January. The parties are over, the gym gets busier, new fads are for sale, vacation in Hawaii is approaching and of course, a new year means a new YOU.

Nutrition and diet heavily influence our bodies in terms of how they look, feel, function, and behave. In order to optimize our health (and bodies), the approach taken with nutrition and food choices matters. The good news? Starting fresh with your health can be done in different ways. The approach yielding the most success is the approach that will work best for YOU. I have successfully used a more gradual approach allowing for incremental changes as well as “a clean slate” approach, designed to begin your fresh start immediately. Let’s compare!

A gradual approach allows more space and time for comfortable changes within reason. By phasing things out in increments it can be easier to find your flow along the way. If you are someone that is easily overwhelmed by change, the thought of cleaning out your panty, and are not suffering from physical symptoms related to nutrition, start here! Below are my best tips for navigating the gradual approach successfully:

    • Start with breakfast: Start to replace processed, sugary foods with whole, nutrient dense options. For example, swap the pop tarts for a hearty bowl of oats!
    • Think ahead and have the ingredients handy for the breakfast meals.
    • Commit to this act for one week.
    • Take note of any changes in feeling, energy, hunger, fullness, etc.

 

  • The following week include changes to lunch, and repeat the steps above.
  • Proceed to dinner on week three, as well as any other snacks being consumed throughout the day.
  • Be methodical and plan ahead! Preparation is key.

In comparison, a “clean slate” approach is my personal favorite and is often referred to as the “cold turkey” method. This approach works well for those that are highly motivated, accountable to a structured plan and are eager for results. This is also the best approach for those battling painful or uncomfortable symptoms caused by a food allergy or sensitivity. Starting fresh this way requires some thought ahead of time! Below are my favorite tips for wiping your slate clean and starting fresh:

  • Identify any trigger foods that create temptation or no longer work for you.
  • Clean out the pantry and prepare a new grocery list.
  • Plan ahead and account for any events or meals out that could cause an accident.
  • Substitute wisely and often (refer to “Painless Pantry swaps” blog article for suggestions).
  • Be ok with not feeling ok. Depending on the number of changes happening it is not uncommon to experience temporary fatigue, headaches, changes in appetite or energy while your body adjusts.
  • If you fall off the wagon, DON’T WORRY! Identify what went wrong, think of a solution for next time that situation comes up, and get right back on the horse. Perfection isn’t welcome or necessary here.
  • Revamp your recipes and meals! It’s important that time spent in the kitchen is enjoyable. Use this fresh start as a chance to make new foods, try new things, and master a recipe you never thought you’d try!

Breaking free of bad habits is a MUST in order to reclaim your health. The only thing preventing this healthy, fresh start is YOU. Give yourself the gift of health this holiday season and be the change you want to see in your life, mind and body. Everything you need to be successful is already inside of you. Take the leap!

 

For more information on living your best life in your best body please visit www.carsonlainefitness.com

Posted in wellness

Sleep & Fat Loss

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

Sleep (noun): a condition of body and mind such as that which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is relatively inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.

Sleep is one of the most underrated topics in the health and fitness industry today. Sleep is essential and a massive component to the overall wellbeing, life and ability to function as humans. Sleep is also infamous for being the first healthy habit American’s sacrifice when life starts to feel out of control. One would think that as soon as feelings of stress, fatigue or having an unmanageable work load would result in slowing down. Those feelings are signs and signals from our bodies to take a step back, remove, reduce, de clutter, slow down and surrender. 

Instead, we have somehow been trained to do the opposite! When stress and fatigue kick in, we start doing MORE. We get up earlier, stay up later, move faster, drink more coffee, add more stress and race around as if it were possible to outrun our daily lives. We think we can fool the world and our own bodies. There are endless studies on both adults and children linking lack of sleep and weight gain, and the studies are absolutely correct. For those still spending hours in the gym instead of in bed, it is time to reconsider the allocation of your time. Sleep is the only thing that keeps us alive, healthy, and functioning the way we only hope all of the coffee and stimulants might. 

Still not so sure? The facts speak for themselves! 

  1. Poor sleep can increase your appetite. Sleep impacts the hunger hormones, leptin and ghrelin.  These hormones signal our hunger cues and appetite. Too little sleep impacts the ability for these hormones to properly signal hunger and fullness. That imbalance causes insatiable feelings of hunger, encourages overeating, slowed fat loss and of course, weight gain. 
  1. Sleep helps fight cravings and encourages balanced choices in the kitchen. Lack of sleep literally alters how the brain works. To be specific, insufficient sleep directly impacts the frontal lobe’s ability to function at its best. This matters because the frontal lobe is the central hub in the brain for decision-making and self-control, two things that you really want working at all times! Lack of sleep makes it much more difficult to fight off temptation or make choices that support health and fitness goals. 
  1. Lack of sleep often results in poor nutritional choices leading to weight gain. The portions served get much bigger, late night or mindless snacking kicks in, and creates a lack of motivation to choose the healthy, balanced options. All of these things result in the additional calories and unhealthy habits that pack on the pounds in the middle of the night! 
  1. Poor sleep can compromise your metabolic rate! When sleep is lacking, the human body does, too. Sleepless nights can result in muscle loss, and muscles are what help you burn more calories and improve your metabolic rate even while you sleep. It can also negatively impact athletic performance and your body’s ability to respond positively to any attempts at weight or fat loss. 
  1. Proper rest encourages activity! Without proper sleep it is much harder to have the energy or motivation to move, be active and workout. Being more sedentary creates a much higher risk for weight gain. When properly rested one is more likely to go for a walk, have more energy throughout the day, improve mental clarity, focus, productivity levels and promotes other healthy habits simply by allowing your body the reset that it needs on a daily basis. 

In summary, sleep is a very crucial part of living a healthy and balanced life and is imperative when weight loss, fat loss and athletic performance are at stake. Mind you, this is not a complete list. Sleep deprivation also disrupts relationships, mental health, emotional health, and can worsen other conditions and cause further problems down the road. 

Eager for more information on sleep or ways to improve your own sleep habits? 

For more information, tips and tricks to improving your health and wellness please visit www.carsonlainefitness.com