What’s the easiest way to reduce carbs?

Well, the short answer is super simple and comes off a bit snarky… you just stop eating them. But you know as well as I do that our food choices don’t always follow this clear and simple directive. So, let’s explore this a bit.

Let’s back it up a few years ago. I followed a meal and exercise plan called Body for Life. Honestly, I still use some of the foundational strategies I learned during this program. The basic idea is that for each meal you have a serving of protein, a serving of veggies, and a carb. It was the first time I had to choose one kind of carb. Did I want to eat the roll or the fruit? This very simple choice became profound in the way I choose what kind of carb to eat. When I started this journey, I didn’t know there was a good carb, bad carb battle going on in the world. I just knew that I enjoyed the taste and how I felt after eating the fruit instead of the bread. I naturally started choosing a more complex carb without knowing what I was doing.

So, what is the difference between carbs and what does it matter?
According to Brent Brannen of gotswag.com…

First, to understand what makes a good carb “good” and a bad carb “bad,” you have to understand what a carb is. Carbs are one of the three macronutrients (along with protein and fat), all of which break down into the body’s primary source of energy known as glucose. After eating carbs, your body either uses the energy immediately, or stores it in your muscles and liver as glycogen for later use.

So, what in the world is the difference between simple and complex carbs? At the risk of oversimplifying the science, simple carbs such as breads, pastas, and baked goods, cause a quick spike in blood sugar and insulin response, creating a quick energy burst, also known as a sugar rush but because the fuel burns hot and fast the energy leads to a crash. This is why we often experience a let down and need more sugar to keep our energy level up. 

Complex carbs like fruits and veggies have more fiber and therefore take longer to digest, allowing the energy to have a more sustained release and less chance of crash. They allow us to have more energy over a longer period of time.

At this point, if you’re still reading, you’re probably wondering how all of this matters in reducing your carb intake. Well, I have found that the easiest way of reducing carbs is to replace their spot in my meals with other carbs. Yep, that’s what I said I replace carbs with carbs!

It all starts with that little question, do I want the roll or the fruit? For me, I found that eating a serving of fruit or veggie greatly increased how good my body felt and functioned. Also, when we just cut something drastically out of our meal plans we tend to focus on our loss instead of how good we are feeling. 

So, the bottom line here is to choose the healthier version of carbohydrate. over time the habit of choosing a more complex carb over a simple one will reduce your overall intake of carbs.
Some simple examples…

Instead of spaghetti…
serve zoodles or roasted veggies covered in meat sauce.

Instead of a flour tortilla…
use a corn or spinach tortilla

Instead of the bread…
pick the fruit.

The Intentional Habit of Tracking

Welcome to the third week of our Habits of the IntentionallyFit series! So far we’ve talked about goals and using meal plans. This week we’re going to continue our discussion of the Habits of the IntentionallyFit with an organizational tactic that has changed my own personal health and fitness.

Keep a log or journal of your food and workouts.

Writing everything that you eat into a journal changes your perspective on what you put into your mouth. I’m not exactly sure how it does this, but seeing your food choices on paper really causes you to think of what your goals are and contemplate the consequences for your choices. I hate having to write down poor food choices on my log!

There is accountability in writing down your food choices and workouts. If you don’t see the progress that you desire, you can look back over what you have been doing and tweak changes where necessary.

Writing or logging your food and workouts can be motivating! You can make goals like being able to write down 3 workouts this week or getting enough water in every day. This will help you keep your goals in the front of your mind and help you make choices that move you towards them.

Your journal or log can be on paper or even your phone. There are even apps that help you keep track of everything like myfitnesspal or LoseIt! It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does need to work for you.

Whatever you choose to use as your log, here are a couple of things to keep in mind.

  1. Be specific. Write down everything you eat, including condiments, cooking oils, and drinks. Include the amount you use, not just what the food item is.
  2. Write down how you feel at the end of each day. Are you tired, hungry, and do you have enough energy to make it through your workout?
  3. Be consistent. It will take time and you will get better at it, but it does take work!

Budget Friendly (and healthy) Carb Choices

Hey everyone! If you have just joined us, you are just in time. We have been talking about budget friendly ways of filling our 21 Day/Portion Fix colored buckets. I’ve saved everyone’s favorite yellow bucket for last! Most people I talk to have no difficulties getting all their yellow buckets in, but I still want to help you find the most economic way possible. So onward to the yellow bucket!

Corn tortilla
Tortillas are a staple in my home, in fact they have replaced bread entirely. Whole wheat ones, while they are not extremely pricey, do tend to creep up in price when you only get 8-10 in a pack. Corn tortillas can come in stacks of thirty while being under $2 and even at two per serving that’s quite a bargain.

Beans
There are so many varieties of beans out there and they are full of fiber! It is so good to add these little carbs into your meal plan. You can find cans of beans for under seventy cents, but the real budget cutting ones come dry and in a bag. They require a little extra work but if you are serious about cutting costs this is a big help!

Brown Rice
Another cost saving gem is brown rice. You don’t have to pick the fancy stuff, the unbranded or store brand works just as well for a side of rice, unless of course you’re making sushi, but that just doesn’t fit with the cost cutting budget.

Lentils
Another great “dry good” that saves you money! Small batches really last and you could easily have a bag that lasts two to four weeks that costs you under $3!

Potatoes
Okay, I might be pushing it here, but based on the size of the yellow bucket, I feel like you can get a lot of servings depending on the type of potato and the season. My favorite is a sweet potato, but those little red new potatoes can be pretty cost effective during the right season.

Budget Friendly Fruit Choices

We are currently talking about filling our 21 Day Fix colored buckets with budget friendly foods. Last time, we discussed proteins or our red bucket fodder. Today we’re going to talk about my favorite bucket! The purple bucket is filled with fruit and there isn’t a bucket I like more.

Shop “In Season”
Our budget friendly purples start with the idea to choose “in season” varieties. Choosing produce with current harvest times will help your food budget stretch further. So ideally during this current fall season apples will be the most budget friendly and coming up next in winter you will typically find citrus fruits to be the most economical. Spring will be bountiful with strawberries and blueberries topping your list and summer provides an awesome combination, but melons are the cheapest for the amount of servings per individual fruit.

Outside of in season harvest options, here are a few staple budget friendly fruits.

Bananas
These are great! Full of potassium and around $.50 pound, you can stock up regularly. The bonus is that one banana is two purples, so you get 2 for 1 in this deal!

Grapes
So many varieties available, including cotton candy flavored! These can even be frozen and eaten as a sweet icy treat.

Oranges
Chock full of vitamin C and so juicy! A bag of navel oranges can run around $3.00 for around 10-12 oranges. That’s pretty budget friendly if you ask me!

Melons
These are definitely the most bang for your buck! A $5.00 watermelon can fill your buckets for two full weeks! The bonus here is that watermelon freezes pretty well and helps keep you hydrated!
 

Core de Force Results

My Total Results: 60 days of Core de Force and the 3 Day Refresh

 BeforeAfter
Hips36"34"
Waist34"30.5"
Right Arm11.25"12"
Left Arm11"11.5"

 

The picture above is 30 days. The left side picture was taken after the 3 Day Refresh and is at 125 pounds. The picture on the right side is me 35 days later, but also at 125 pounds! See, the scale doesn’t always tell the whole story.

I would love to help you have your own transformation! Our challenge group will provide recipes, tips, how to set yourself up for meal prep success, accountability, motivation, and daily support. We all do better when we have people cheering us on, let me be your personal cheerleader!

Let’s do this together!

Sign up for the 30 Day Accountability Group

Transformation Tuesday: The Purpose of IntentionallyFit

First, I want to say thank you. Thank you for trusting me with your health and fitness journey, allowing me to speak into your life, and pushing me to become a better coach. I am honored that you are here.

I want to share a little bit of the how and why behind IntentionallyFit. To do this, I will need to travel back a bit and share some of my story with you.

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This is me on my 30th birthday. It’s the best picture, really. I had a three year old son and a 1 month old daughter. I look back on this picture with mixed emotions. I LOVED becoming a mom. I loved having a family (still do, in fact!), but I was so unhappy with me. Fear, insecurity, and an overall sense of shame for WHO I had become, or let myself become plagued me. I was depressed and really unhappy. This all came to a head in the most inconvenient of places, a dressing room at Target.

The summer after I turned thirty my little brother got married. I was in his wedding. The dress was a size 16. If this wasn’t enough, I had absolutely no shorts to wear, in public anyhow. I took my babies with me to Target and proceeded to try things on. The only pair of shorts I could squeeeeeeeeze into were size 15, and that was with the lay down, hop around, stuff myself in dance. So, right then and there I fell apart, with my two kids just staring at me, trying to figure out what was wrong with Mommie.

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To make a long story short, I later found Beachbody in a hotel room on the way home from that wedding. I started Power90 at the beginning of January. I worked hard. Sometimes the logistics of exercising with a 4 year old and a nine month old required some creativity, but I did it. I didn’t know it then, but I was drastically changing my health and not just a diet, but a real lasting lifestyle change. During this time period I learned that health and fitness is not limited to just the physical aspect, but includes mental, emotional, and spiritual areas as well.

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I say all this to tell you. I know how hard it is to change your life. I know how hard it is when nobody is helping and people are criticizing instead of encouraging. I know how hard it is when the kids are begging for attention and all you want to do is sleep (well, after you stuff a big burger or enchilada down your throat). We didn’t have coaches then or challenge groups to help. I don’t tell you this to get pity, but so you know it can be done. You can do it. I know it, because if I could with nobody helping, then you DEFINITELY can because I will help you every step of the way. I will be here for you. I will encourage and not criticize. I will cheer you on, but you still have to do the work. I can’t do that part, but I know you can. Join one of our Challenge Groups and get started on your own journey!

 

Should I Eat Before I Workout?

This question has been asked over and over and many times the answer is different. It has even been different at different times in my own health and fitness journey. Why? The quick answer is that this depends on you. Just as our goals change throughout our journey, so does the way we approach our fitness regimen.

 

Fasted Cardio

This is the concept that you perform a high intensity cardio workout after fasting, so not eating for an extended period of time. Typically this is an early morning workout completed prior to any consumption of food. It aids in quick fat loss and is good for those people with an excess of weight to lose or those trying to significantly lean out for some sort of competition or transformation goal.

I actually have lived for a long time doing this type of workout. I found that it was really important to have had a good solid meal chuck full of protein the night before though. If I hadn’t fueled well the night before my workout would tend to be lack luster and I even bonked! The intensity of your workout matters with this too. As I started doing higher level cardio work, like Insanity and Asylum, I found that I need something small to eat to keep my body functioning well.

 

Nutrient Timing

This is a fancy way of saying that you should plan when and what you eat around a special schedule designed for your goals. It has a bit of controversy surrounding it due to lack of true “evidence” to support the theory. Basically it says that you have a specific time frame prior to and after your workout in which your body is greedy and absorbs nutrients efficiently to support your specific goal. It has been popular with elite athletes, endurance athletes, and fitness/bodybuilding competitors.

 

But what about those of us who are just trying to make healthier choices, move our bodies more, and generally improve our health and fitness? The good news is that we’re all different! J So, there is no simple one shot answer. I hope you are starting to see that our health and fitness journeys are personal and specific to our own bodies. While that makes it a tad difficult to give out a basic statement about eating before working out, it also gives you a lot of freedom. If your body feels like it needs more fuel when you workout first thing in the morning, then eat about an hour before you do. If your body works really well, and the thought of eating before a workout makes you slightly nauseous, then I would avoid it and make sure to eat well after! Experiment with what and when you eat and see how your body responds the best, then choose that way of eating.