How to eat for a more beneficial workout

With becoming more and more mindful about what to eat when we start exercising on a regular basis, it can also become quiet confusing on what the “perfect fit diet is”. Where there is no “one fits all” approach to eating and finding the diet that fulfills you, there are certainly some basic things to consider.

Being in good physical shape does not necessarily mean being a healthy person; and power bars and peanut butter just don’t always do the trick either. It is important to fuel your body with quality whole foods, instead of looking for labels or counting calories. (as you should know by now if you have been following me for a while)

 

Listening to your body and asking what kind of fuel it needs so that it can get back on the treadmill. yoga mat or striving for those “gains”, but at the same time continue to be as present and balanced as possible can be quiet a challange.

Very often, the constant moving, lifting and (hopefully) stretching takes a toll on our physical and mental limitations and can leave us feeling incredibly spent and exhausted. And that is certainly not what being active should feel like.

 

When I look at my clients and how I actually help them improve their mental and physical stability and, as well as having them to strive to feel as healthy and confident as possible, it  always comes back to the principle that food is the most powerful means of healing and balancing the body and mind. 

 

Nutrition is the primary and fundamental means that heals us. If you have this right, then all other modalities like exercise therapy will work much more effectively.

 

Here are my top tips on how to improve your practice with nutrition:

 

1) increase nutrition dense foods that are high in good fats such as coconuts, ghee (purified butter), and raw soaked seeds high in omega-3 essential fatty acids. These foods give us energy without requiring much effort to digest. They are foods that feed the brain, the nervous system and the skin

 

2) Decrease processed foods and add ingredients that help and support blood circulation to enable more balance, focus, and strength during training.

  • Beets and beet greens, to support the gall bladder
  • Sweet potato for sustained energy
  • Avocado for potassium
  • Chia seeds to combat inflammation
  • Hemp, or brown rice proteins for muscle recovery
  • Steamed greens for a spectrum of amazing vitamins and minerals

 

Just like in exercise, what’s right for one person, is not always right for the other. Just because your buddy LOVES the Paleo diet doesn’t mean it’s right for you and your entire tribe. So start experiencing and mixing it up a little bit to find what works for you and supports you on your journey to better health and well being.

Lastly, when reaching out for a protein shake, make sure it is a high quality one. It might be a bit more expensive, but at the end of the day we are talking about your health here. Read ingredients and avoid those ones that are high in artificial and inflammatory substances.

Nut Chocolate

Ever have those sweet cravings but nothing is in the cupboard and you can’t really be bothered to go to the shops?

Well I certainly do and for me there is nothing better than the combination of chocolate and nuts. And although I always say it is good to have balance, and it is ok to have sugary stuff and milk chocolate from time to time, for me there is nothing but a healthy, home made alternative.

This recipe I made up when I did my 30 days to healthy living program and was having a serious episode of munchies (yes, we all get them!) – and it turned out so good that I now make it on a regular basis!

Now before we get to the details, please know that for this one you need a bit of measuring skills and really just see how it goes when mixing everything together – as mentioned above I kind of made it up and have not quite been able to get the exact measurements! It really does depend on your taste.

So here goes..

What you need:

  • approx. 1 cup of coconut oil
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I use Arbonne)
  • roughly 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • a good men handful of your favourite nuts, chopped (I like hazel and walnuts best)

How to do it:

In a pot, roast the nuts. Once roasted, pour in the coconut oil to melt. Once melted, pour in all the other ingredients and mix thoroughly together on low heat.

With a spoon, pour mixture into little muffin cups or ice molds. Put in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes. Store in the fridge if you don’t eat them right away!

Superb pancakes with hot chocolate sauce

This one is one of my favourite pancake recipes and the go to whenever I’m in need of something more special. Especially on the colder days it’s a winner, you can even make it a bit christmassy by adding different spices to it.

The chocolate sauce is so good, you (or I) need to be careful to don’t eat it right out of the pot. (even if you would, it is ok as it has so much goodness in it that you don’t need to feel as guilty.)

 


Ingredients (makes 9):

For the pancakes:

  • 250ml almond milk
  • 2 ripe bananas (the riper the sweeter)
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • cinnamon as much as desired (use all spices for a more christmassy flavour)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon honey (substitute with agave if you wish)

In a food processor, blend everything thoroughly. Make sure it is not too runny, but instead has a smooth, liquidly texture. In a pan, heat up some coconut oil. Use a tablespoon to place the mixture in the pan. Turn over after 1-2 minutes, or until golden.

 

For the sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  •  1 tablespoon honey (or 1/2 maple syrup)
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons almond or coconut milk

On low heat, mix everything together until well combined and melted (shouldn’t take longer than 2 minutes)

Stock the pancakes on a plate, pour over some chocolate sauce and top with mixed berries and some shredded coconut. Enjoy while the sauce is still warm.

Are you starving yourself into weight gain?

We all have tried the approach “eat less, train more” at least once in our live, haven’t we ? And if we don’t, we certainly have heard about it as that’s what everyone is telling us to do in once way or the other.
Upping our exercise routine is great and sometimes necessary in order to get better results.
However the mistake most people make is either eating the same way, or even less.
The problem though that will come with this approach is this: When you exercise more (especially anything high intensity related), your body needs more energy, meaning you need to eat more (of the right) foods. And it is not quiet simple as just thinking calories in – calories out.

Our body is a wonderful machine. It has a powerful built-in biological mechanism that kicks in when we don’t get the energy (as in calories) from food. Under eating for your bodies needs can trigger a primal drive to increase calorie intake, followed with a slowing down of your metabolism. This is exactly the opposite of what we want. In fact, extreme dieting can make you fat, but more on that later.

When we reduce our energy intake we start to trigger feelings of fatigue (especially when you work out a lot), anxiety, depression, isolation and a preoccupation with eating. A so called “starvation mode” is the result of chronic dieting and over exercising and will affect your metabolism, hunger levels and body weight.
This biological system I mentioned earlier, ensures that we get enough energy through food when we are running low, but also helps so we rest more. Yet unfortunately many people choose to override and ignore these important messages in order to lose weight fast. While you might see temporary results, strict diets can sabotage your metabolism and actually become one of the reasons that especially us women struggle a lot to lose stubborn weight. In fact, it can help to put on more.
While starvation mode won’t occur when you cut calories for a short period of time, such as over a few days when you are sick for example, it will likely be the result when you have a low energy intake for longer periods, such as several weeks or months.
By eating enough foods and getting appropriate rest, we support our metabolism and the body will burn a combination of nutrients which are coming from your diet along with some stored body fat in form of free fatty acids. (and if you don’t know it by now, fat loss is often more beneficial than weight loss)
What happens during this process is that first, the body will use the calories you have recently consumed that are present withing the digestive tract or were recently stored and glycogen reserved in muscle tissue and liver cells, will then go on to use your fat stores as a back-up method. This process means that you are operating in a normal “fed state”, which leads to the secretion of insulin, which is one of the two most important regulators of fuel metabolism. Or to put it in a more easy way: It helps regulating your hunger hormones.
Once the body begins to detect that it’s experiencing starvation mode, due to low calorie intake, lean tissue and muscle fibres can be used as energy source instead of stores fat or glycogen. In order to make sure to have enough fuel to survive off, the body will also sacrifice amino acids (proteins) from hard earned muscle tissue, leaving you with a slowed down metabolic rate and a harder time keeping wight off long term. On top of that all, it will increase your cravings for processed and fatty foods. Not exactly what we want as we work so hard getting our 6 pack ready, right?

So, what can we do to avoid starvation mode?

 

  1. Don’t cut calories too low and make sure you eat enough – of the right things.
  2. Avoid binge,- and overeating by eating regularly
  3. Rest enough and avoid over training
  4. Aim for progress, not perfection
  5. Don’t be too strict on yourself – it is completely ok to enjoy some chocolate every now and then

What really happens on a (fad) diet

Ever been on a diet? I think we all have in one way or another.

But what actually happens on a diet and why don’t they work? Well, don’t work at least in the long run. A diet involves the wrong kind of motivation, hence why you are not reaching your desired goal and lose weight only to gain it back again – even more.

What happens on a diet is that we restrict a certain food group and cut out calories, or both. And that is often the problem, as hunger starts in the brain. When you all of a sudden start to restrict on certain foods (and increase your exercise at the same time) your brain goes into survival mode. As soon as this happens, your brain sends out stress signals to the body which then goes into survival mode by slowing down your metabolism. By doing that, it stores fat in your cells because “you need to survive right now” so you better don’t burn it.

You might lose a few pounds, going through a hard time as you, let’s be quiet frank here, can’t really enjoy life either at the moment, and all is fine after the few weeks you’ve been on it.
However as soon as you start eating your normal way again, or even a bit healthier than before, your brain literally throws a “survival party” (as you are not restricting now anymore) and starts to have a great feast. Meaning, you start craving and indulging even more than before.

Life is about fulfillment. It is about enjoying every moment and be utterly happy and satisfied in every way possible.

Dieting and the wrong way of eating (i.e. indulging too much, binging or restricting)  can and will never supply what is really missing.

We all know eating healthy and mindfully and creating a healthy and abundant lifestyle is key. However important the knowledge is though, awareness is the real solution.
That is why most of us are unable to properly sustain a healthy lifestyle.

So next time, instead of going on another fad diet, start to figure out what is really going on. Is there something missing? Where are you not fully happy and satisfied? And what can you do about it? Become mindful. Learn to appreciate your body the way it is right now. Come from a place of love, learn to understand it.

And remember: You can only ever change the outside by starting with the inside.

Awareness VS Knowledge

I recently looked up the definition of the word ‘awareness’

Here is what came up:

AWARENESS – NOUN

– Knowledge or perception of a situation or fact.

Interesting. Do we actually know the things we are aware of?

Like, we are aware that we are tired. We are aware that we feel exhausted. We are aware that we feel a bit bloated and we are aware that we really shouldn’t eat that huge piece of chocolate cake at 11 pm at night.

But why do we still do it?

Because we don’t know what we don’t know. We are so used to living and feeling this way that we don’t know any better.

Or actually, we do know. We have an idea. But 90% of the time we don’t know how to get from a to b, at least where to actually start!

Having all these information out there about what is good for us, what we should eat and do and what not. When we should go to bed and how our morning should look like.

Low fat, high carb, high fat, low carb. Vegan is the way forward…but the protein, what about our protein!! Cut down your calories and you will reach your dream weight. Add collagen to your diet! (What does that even mean?). Just up your exercise! Eat more raw foods. The human body is not made for so much raw food…

Oh my god. Give me a break!

When I started studying nutrition to become a Health Coach I was literally shocked how many diets are out there. Like, are you being serious? Can we please just enjoy our life and get healthy along the way. Geez!

See, what I have learned over my years working with all kinds of people who all struggle with similar but different symptoms, as well as on my own journey is:

DON’T MISS OUT ON 95% OF YOUR LIFE JUST TO WEIGH 5% LESS.

Life is precious, life is fun and we only have this one. So give up the diets and finally learn to understand your body and what it needs and desires.

You do great on high carb? Great! More raw foods for you? Fab! You really can’t stand meat? Awesome!

See, we are all different. Our bodies are all built differently so what works for me will never really work for you. Maybe a bit, but never 100%

Our bodies in fact speak their own language. Their actually talk and try to communicate with us. But we ignore them. All the freaking time. 

Until they scream at us.

And we end up burning out. Feeling over exhausted. Moody. Lose our passion and drive. Get angry without actually knowing why. Lose our patience. Have the most ridiculous sleep issues. Or worse, end up in hospital.

It is ridiculously important to take action before it gets too late. Before your body has to force you to take action. Go for long term success instead of another fad diet and quick fixes, which causes you mood changes anyway because you can not enjoy life to it’s fullest.

Think about it. How are you actually feeling day in day out? Could there be more?

The 3 major things that are holding you back from getting where you want to be

Do you sometimes feel that you are not at your full potential?

There is a brilliant quote by Marianne Williamson which I absolutely love:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves: “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be?”

I resonate so much with this. As I thought I was always afraid of failure and looking bad for not accomplishing my goals. When in fact I really was afraid of success. How does it feel? What would I do then? Could I handle the overwhelm?

I came to the conclusion that I rather be overwhelmed with success than failure. That I am rather not sure how to handle the feeling of being truly and utterly myself, doing what I love and living life on my own terms than the feeling of being stuck and lost.

Have you ever at some point in your life shrunk yourself in order to not make someone else insecure or unhappy? It is our birthright to shine and step out into our greatness! And actually, it makes life so much more effortlessly.

It is important to become aware of what is going on, especially on these 3 major things:

  1. Wanting to fit in
    In order to feel accepted we shrink ourselves and often do things we are not truly aligned with. I myself did that almost my entire life.
    But let me tell you this: The connection you have with yourself is the most important thing in life. And this is absolutely not possible when you are trying to please everyone.When you step into who you really are you will inspire others, so so much! Become conscious in your everyday life where you act in a certain way or do something that you don’t truly want to do, just so others are happy.
    Trust me, there is nothing more sexier and more inspirational than a person who is in their absolute truth and unapologetic her,-or himself.
  2. Comparisonitis
    This will rob you off big time! The constant self sabotage we are going through, the feeling and thought we are not good enough, not tall enough, not pretty enough or what else enough. Consciously but more often subconsciously. When you are in your true and full brilliance you are present and are able to make mindful, powerful decisions. The role of your subconscious mind is to “keep you save” and keep you in your past, which will lead into fear whenever you want to strive for more or something different.It constantly is looking for a problem or catch whenever something “seems to good to be true”. Listen to your gut instead, as whenever you have this tiny little spark, this feeling that this could be something amazing (even though you have not just figured it out yet), it is right and about time to persue it.
  3. Judgement 
    Being judgmental towards others and yourself keeps you closed and stops you from really stepping into your power. We don’t always have to wait for someone else’s permission to do something, neither do we always need to judge others on their actions.Being judgemental is really more like putting a mirror in front of yourself. Because oftentimes the things we criticise about another person are the things that we are not happy or unsatisfied with in our own life.
    “who is she to do that?” Well, who is she not? As well as, who are YOU not to do it?Communication is key. Always. Period. Full bold stop. But it has to be the right kind of communication. Learn to speak and communicate from your heart instead of your head. Because then you are able to reach the heart and see that every problem or judgement is really not as big.

Starting to live healthy is really like meeting that one special person.

Do you sometimes find yourself sitting on the tube or bus, or even in your car waiting for the traffic lights, gazing around and all of the sudden there is this very attractive man or woman?

You both start starring at each other and you start to notice some kind of chemistry. You might even smile at each other, shyly.

You think that you would really like to get to know that person. You continue starring but then what always happens, happens. One of you has to get off at the next station. However, you might even still stare when getting off, having that last look at each other through the window. Oh, how lovely it would have been if you just would have been brave enough that one time, stepping out of your comfort zone to give your name and number. But you couldn’t even say “hi”.

The same happens when we start thinking about making changes in our lives.

When we want to start exercising, eating healthier or just want to be more mindful and take more care of ourselves. The thought is great, isn’t it. And all the possibilities you see with your future self. The confidence you will then have. The energy, drive and passion. Life all of a sudden feels light an amazing.

However, just the thought won’t get you anywhere. Neither with your lifestyle and certainly not when seeing someone you’d like to ask out but instead, you just pass out on the thought of it.

Because that’s what we are used to. Just the thought of something greater.

But we see it. It happens everyday. For everyone but us. Because we are different. Because we are too busy, or just don’t have the financial options. Or simply because we tried everything before and nothing worked. Also, there is always google, right? (Or another fancy dating site, whatever they are all called these days)

But here is the truth my love: You are just not special enough

You are not as special so that it can not work out for you. You are not busier than everyone else and no, you have not tried everything else before, otherwise you would not be stuck in the situation you have been in for the last however many years.

See, if you really want something, go for it. You only have this one shot called life.

You don’t feel good in your body? You wish you had more energy, joy and passion in life? Then do something! There are so many ways. If you really want it – get it.

Go reach out to someone who has already been through it – and actually conquered it. Go to someone who is just one step ahead of you. But please, don’t ask aunt sally for help, who is high on red wine and pizza (no offence here – I love good wine and pizza!)

Take that leap of faith and change what you don’t like.  Learn to appreciate yourself the way you are right here in this moment. Because true change only comes from a good state of mind. And then my dear, really anything is possible.

You have no idea what then is actually possible. It is truly amazing.

And yes, you might then even be brave enough to stand up on that bus or tube to go to that person and say at least “hi, thanks for making my day with your beautiful smile”

You really have no excuses whatsoever in life. You might just fear changes, because you will be thrown out of your comfort zone for a short period of time.

But hey, as a professional in that field, it is actually really the best thing that can happen to you. Period.

How To Overcome An Emotional Breakdown

We all have them, right? Those days where we just feel like giving up.

You may just have started a new project and it isn’t working out the way you would like it to be. You just started exercising again but not seeing the results yet you so wished for. In the beginning you are beyond excited, filled with motivation and then suddenly you feel frustrated, exhausted, tired and just ask yourself why the heck you are doing this.

First of all let me tell you: this is totally normal, we all suffer from it every now and then, even the best of the best.
They just know how to handle it.

I want to share with you what I do when I feel like this, so that you soon will be back on track and continue being amazing.

 

1. STOP DOING WHATEVER IT IS YOU’RE DOING.

Close your eyes and take a deep breath.
Know that it is ok to take a short break – sometimes we need to take a step back and focus on something else in order to move forward.

The more you convince yourself to do a certain thing the worse it gets.
This also might be a very good time to go and take a walk and get some fresh air.

WITHOUT your phone!!

Fresh air is a good way to clear your mind and thoughts and to become more focused again.

 

2. REMEMBER WHY YOU STARTED.

What is your goal, what good will happen after you finish your project?

Focus on the positive side of things and the feeling you will get after accomplished.

Go get yourself a reward after you reached half term, or just set smaller goals for each week and reward yourself when achieving those – it is less overwhelming and will keep you motivated.

 

3. CALL A POSITIVE FRIEND OR SOMEONE WHO IS A GOOD LISTENER.

Sometimes it helps when we just talk about our struggles and maybe the two of you can brainstorm about what can bring you closer to your goal/why and where you’re stuck.

Two heads are better than one, right?

That is why I love Masterminds and group programs – when saying things out loud we become much clearer and often times find an answer straight away, as well as having people around us who can see our situation from a different perspective.

 

4. DO SOME MINDSET WORK.

Now this one is truly underestimated.

In situations like these it is important to gain back your creativity and motivation. Take some time to read a motivational book, watch a motivational video, something like that.
Also write down what you want. Be specific. Write it as detailed as possible.

I love to switch of with meditation – might that be actual mediation or a form of color meditation, yoga, journaling – it really depends on my mood.

 

5. HIRE A COACH OR AN ASSISTANT

If it comes to the worst and you just feel like you can’t handle it on your own: go and hire someone to help you out. This might be a coach, an assistant, whatever suits your situation. Maybe even someone to clean your house or does your laundry to give you some extra time?

We are triggered to be superwoman and superman – but really we do not need to proove anything to anyone and sometimes getting help can be such a relief and get your mojo back on track!

 

 

 

.. now it is your turn: What do you do when you feel stuck and feel like giving up? Tell us in the comments!

Don’t Eat Right To Lose Weight

We need to start treating ourselves with the same respect we have for others.

Food does play a crucial role in this, why?

When you are filling yourself with too much stimulants such as caffeine, sugar, processed foods and an unhealthy lifestyle it is very difficult to be patient and kind with yourself and others.

You are what you eat.

This is not just true for the number on the scale (and just by the way, you really should not solely focus on a number), but also as well as how we feel, react and treat ourselves and surroundings.

Instead of just always making it about how we look, how about changing our mindset to how it would feel when we nourish our bodies with nutrient dense food and movement.
 
We might eat the most perfect diet that we think is out there, however we still struggle with some extra pounds or not feeling our best yet. Thats why we need to start taking a holistic approach to shifting from diets and our focus on food to aiming to focus on an optimal level. Meaning putting all the pieces together and live a life we enjoy and that gives us the feeling that we are unstoppable, without feeling guilty about eating a scone with cream and jam.
 
Our bodies are what we use to achieve peak performance. In our carrier, as a mum and wife, when we travel – so we need to start taking consistent care of it, not just every other month with another try for the newest diet that is out there.

Eating right should not just be about losing weight. It should be about creating a healthy relationship with food and a lifestyle that provides the most basic and practical way to change your life, your mind and your cells.

It  is a way of healing, appreciating yourself and your body.

That said that food also means feeding yourself with so called ‘primary food’, in a way of relationships and emotions. How satisfied you are within your relationship with others and yourself, your career, environment and how good your sleep is all plays together when making mindful choices about what and how we eat.

So instead of just constantly worrying about how many calories your meal has, start shifting your thoughts and dig a bit deeper on how happy and satisfied you are within your current situation and how this might affect your eating,- and craving behaviour.

And I leave you with the question:

How does your current situation serve you and how does it not?