How to NOT Gain Weight This Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us, and you know what that means: family, merriment, and a butter-soaked, booze-fueled shame spiral come January 1st.

Whether it’s that glass of wine (or six) at the Christmas Eve dinner table, one bite too many of your mom’s famous fudge brownies, or shots of eggnog with your cousins in the basement trying to forget your drunk uncle’s off color jokes, the holidays can be calorically challenging to say the least.

But they can also be joyous and merry and filled with love and gifts and hugs and no one judges you when you ugly cry watching "Love Actually" four consecutive nights in a row.

Yet, whether they’re euphoric or they’re stressful, either way, they will most likely be sugar-laden, calorie-charged, and totally un-sober. 

HOW TO FIND BALANCE IN YOUR DIET THIS SEASON:

1. Avoid the “F*ck It” Mindset

The biggest reason people gain weight over the holidays isn’t because they have a couple less-than-ideal meals, it’s because they let those less-than-ideal meals turn into an entire less-than-ideal month of uncharacteristic overeating, indulgence, and excess.

Strive for balance this holiday season and aim to indulge in moderation. “All or nothing” thinking will almost always land you on the “all” side of the spectrum, so pick and choose your “naughty” meals, and aim to be eat as “nice” as possible outside of those instances.

2. Practice Eating Slowly and Until You’re 80% Full

When you do indulge, it’s important to indulge intelligently. Just because you allow yourself dessert on New Years Eve, doesn’t mean you need to eat the whole damn cake. Have one slice, chew it slowly, and savor it thoroughly.

Another great way to ensure your indulgences don’t turn into pure gluttony, is to only eat until you’re 80% full. Just because you don’t leave the table feeling uncomfortably stuffed doesn’t mean you weren’t able to enjoy the meal to 100% satisfaction. Eat until you’re full, but not until you’re stuffed.

3. Find an Accountabilibuddy

As with all things in life, eating well will be harder if you try to do it alone. Rope in a family member to help you out and watch your back. Ask them to give you a little nudge or an eyebrow raise if they spy you overindulging. Even if they refuse to help you out, the very act of asking them will mean you’re less likely to make a total fool of yourself in front of them, at least in terms of eating.

And now…

HOW TO BOOZE BETTER THIS DECEMBER:

Golden Rule Number 1: Drink Water!

You absolutely, 100% need to be consuming water. Otherwise, you’ll wake up with a cruddy hangover, hungry as Fashion Week, and you'll most certainly skip the gym and be craving crap food all day. So here’s the rule: for every alcoholic beverage you have, you need to be chugging a full glass of water afterwards (preferably without ice). 

That goes for: Every. Single. Cocktail.

Minus maybe one if you’re feeling the need for some extra buzz— but just one.

Golden Rule Number 2: Eat, But Not Too Much

Eating before you drink might seem counterintuitive.

"I mean, if I don’t eat before, I’ll get drunker quicker and drink less overall, right?"

True.

But getting drunk and sitting down at a dinner table is like walking into a pick up bar with a nice buzz: you’ve got drunk goggles on. And reflecting back on your actions the next day, you might find them less attractive in the harsh light of morning.

In other words, you’re at high risk of overeating and making unhealthy choices. 

Go into your drinking situation with something healthy already in your stomach. If you’re going to a party, eat a light, healthy dinner before, not after. And if you’re enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail, have a healthy snack before that— hummus and veggies, cottage cheese and fruit, a hearty protein shake, etc. Just have something clean and wholesome in your stomach to buffer the booze. Buzzed overeating, more than anything, is what gets people during the holidays.

Drunk Goggles = Bad Choices

Which brings me to my final rule, which is:

Golden Rule Number 3: Make a Plan and Know Your Limits

If you know you’re going to be drinking on a given day, hydrate as much as you can ahead of time and plan your day calorically. Also, before you commence activities, be sure to make a specific plan about exactly how many drinks you are going to allow yourself and over what period of time. This concept goes for food as well. Be sure to state your intentions aloud to another human being, so you can actually be held accountable to them.

  • Helpful Hint #1: make these goals realistic.

  • Helpful hint #2: if you wanna double down on your goals, tell a friend or family member you’ll buy them a pricey bottle of champagne if you don’t stick to your plan. And trust me, everyone likes champagne, and that person will watch you like a hawk all night.

And, of course, know your limits.

  • Plan smartly.

  • Don’t be stupid.

  • And, more importantly, don’t be unrealistic.

Now go forth my friends and holiday your festive little butts off!

You got this.

I Almost Died in Peru. Here's What Happened.

They say lightening never strikes twice.

Well, as of last week, I happen to know for a fact that it does.

The sky is a dull haze of gray as we take off from the Cusco airport in Peru, a charming mountain town with an elevation nearly as wicked as its spicy cuisine. We’re in route to Lima, where a fancy dinner reservation awaits us, a final meal before we head back to the States.

That dinner never happens.

About ten minutes after our departure, there’s a bit of turbulence as Cusco fades from view and a thick, textureless fog overtakes the plane. 

An early morning of Amazonian jungle activities has me beat, and I start to doze off listening to a podcast interview with Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese zen mindfulness guru, speaking on the topic of suffering and how we should aim not to avoid it, but to embrace it as a tool for cultivating compassion and an awakened appreciation for all life has to offer, both the dark parts and the multitudes of tiny miracles we take for granted every day.

Amen, Thich Nhat Hanh. Amen.

I’m floating in and out of sleep, half dreaming and half pondering the casual miracles of life, when—

BAM!

My eyes are closed, but I can still see the flash through my eyelids. More importantly, I feel the flash, which shakes the entire plane in a quick, sharp jolt, like someone pushing you from behind suddenly. Reflexive gasps and screams reverberate through the cabin, as previously silent passengers start to sit up, look around, and whisper feverishly in different languages. 

I pull out my headphones and turn to my travel buddies. 

“What the hell was that?”

A heavy, expectant silence ensues, as we passengers wait impatiently for an announcement over the intercom, hopefully a friendly voice assuring us not to worry, this kind of thing happens all the time.

Instead, a sparse series of dings and the occasional flashing of a “fasten seatbelt” sign.

I take a long, shaky breath and tighten my seatbelt.

Some more time goes by. Still nothing.

I put away my headphones and pull out my paperback, trying unsuccessfully to concentrate on the words, as I compulsively glance out the window and read the same three sentences over and over again. 

The turbulence continues. I can’t help but think about that scene from the pilot episode of “Lost” as I take a long, unsure breath.

A couple more dings from the seatbelt sign, and then—

BAM!

Again? What the hell is going on?

Now people are starting to lose their shit. Serious conversations begin flying around in every direction in every language. Spanish, German, English, French. Turns out, losing your shit sounds just about the same in every language.

Once again, an excruciating silence ensues from the captain and crew, until finally, mercifully, the captain’s voice comes over the intercom, rambling something in Spanish I don’t quite catch in a tone that isn’t panicked per se, but certainly less than reassuring.

More chatter, more verbal chaos. All the while the plane is shaking and rumbling.

A flight attendant gets on the speaker and informs us, in english, that we’ve been struck by lightening, and we’re going to have to make an emergency landing and head back to Cusco.

Oh, crap.

People start whispering frantically again, eyes wide, hands clutching arm rests. A woman down the aisle from me bows her head and mumbles a prayer in Spanish.

The plane tilts and around we go, headed back from where we came, and back into the heart of the storm, the only way down.

The temperature in the cabin starts to descend, or so I sense, as I notice myself shivering. 

If I make it out of this storm, I will be soooo mindful! Like, the most mindful person ever! I won’t take anything for granted!

After what seems like an hour, but I think was actually around 25 minutes, the plane touches down successfully in Cusco, as passengers applaud and hug.

The collective sigh of relief feels palpable.

Eventually, people start to snap back into their individual lives, the thick bind of shared experience slowly unraveling, as people take out their phones, turn to their travel partners, and collect their belongings, the stiff formality of strangers in a room taking hold once again.

“Welp, I guess we’re gonna miss dinner,” my fiancé says, always cool as a goddamn cucumber.

“Things could be worse,” I say.

“I think I’m ready for a beer,” my friend Jeremy adds. Jeremy always has the best ideas.

Nods all around.

Beer’s not really my thing, stubbornly healthy as I am, but later, in the airport, after being chaotically rerouted amidst a scene of screaming travelers not unlike Lord of the Flies, I purchase a mini bottle of twist cap Malbec from a sandwich stand.

And, I gotta say, this stupid little bottle of mediocre airport Malbec is one of the best glasses of wine I’ve ever had in my life. It’s sour-sweet juices flow deliciously down my throat and warm my chest, making me feel instantly cozy, like petting a kitten or putting on a soft sweater straight out of the dryer.

Wine is so good. 

Life is so good! 

My fiancé is so good! 

My friends and my family and my whole friggin’ existence is so good!

And for one fleeting moment of extreme, exhilarating clarity, I have a pure and unadulterated understanding of zen mindfulness, an understanding I’ve never quite been able to grasp on my yoga mat or in meditation class. And like the “ding!” of a fasten seatbelt sign, a light goes off in my head.

Oooooh. So THAT’S what mindfulness is. 

It’s a twist cap bottle of airport wine. 

An appreciation of your feet being safely on the ground. 

The quiet bliss of a shared sigh with a fellow passenger who doesn’t speak your language.

Mindfulness is just the practice of being so stoked that you’re alive. That you’re not dead in a Peruvian ditch somewhere! That even if shit hits the fan, which it inevitably will, at least we’re all hitting it together, united in our shared experience of occasional suffering, fear, pain, and pleasure too.

Namas-fucking-te!

I knew I wanted to write a blog post about about my trip to Peru— maybe on the health benefits of quinoa or how enlightening it was to do my first digital detox in 3 years— but I never thought I’d end my trip atop a mindfulness soapbox, writing wide eyed and wistful about the unspeakably beautiful miracle of airpot twist top wine.

But here I am, knowing in my heart of hearts that the key to life is this**:

**presented in the traditional zen style

The key to life

is knowing the difference

between simply drinking wine

and tasting wine,

savoring it,

relishing it,

cherishing it,

in all its

acidic,

sweet,

and bitter

glory. 

Also, twist caps! So convenient, right?

In Defense of Wellness: An "Old Millennial's" Self Care Manifesto

It's been a rough week for wellness enthusiasts.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow's $250 million lifestyle-and-wellness business, Goop, has agreed to pay $145,000 in civil penalties for promoting false and unscientific claims regarding— wait for it— jade vagina eggs and depression-curing "flower essence" sprays.

But who's surprised? Wellness scandals feel as ubiquitous as oat milk lattes these days.

Whether it's Activia Yogurt's scientifically unfounded "clinically proven probiotic bacteria", the hasty deletion of Kim Kardashian's weight-loss-lollipop post, or the stepping down of Lululemon's CEO for certain #MeToo shortcomings, the self-care movement is feeling more and more on the verge of collapse, like a house of Intuitive Healing Tarot Cards.

When I tell people I'm a Wellness Coach, I can sometimes sense I'm being perceived as just another entitled millennial snowflake, parading a passion for afternoon naps and aromatherapy salt scrubs as a job worthy of income and respect.

First off, I'd like to shake the hand of anyone that assumes I'm a millennial. (I'm 30. But yoga keeps me young!)

Second of all, before anyone goes throwing avocado toast in my face, I'd like to respectfully state my case in defense of wellness. 

So pour yourself a tall glass of matcha and saddle up my friend, cause I'm about to blow up everything you thought you knew about wellness junkies. (Before I start though, I'd like to invite you to soften your belly and take three deep inhales and three deep exhales. Mmm. You feel better now, right?)

Here goes.

Let me ask you something: what do you want most in life?

Love? Success? Power? Happiness? 

These aren’t destinations, they’re states of being— fleeting ones, no less. And no job title, income bracket, or loved one can give it to you unless you’re willing to give it to yourself. If you've ever had the experience of succeeding at something big but still feeling exactly the same afterwards, you'll know exactly what I mean.

You already have within you everything you want and need, hiding between the hastily pinging synapsis inside your own skull, it’s just a matter of recognizing and feeling it. 

You’re already “whole,” as they say in the wellness community.

“Oh, ok, cool, I guess I’m ‘whole’ then; problem solved, I’ll see you later!”

…Said no one ever.

Listen, deep down we all know this concept of internal plentitude to be one of the Big Capitol T “Truth”s (and money can’t buy you happiness, power won’t give you purpose, yeah, yeah, yeah, we get it), but knowing it and feeling it are two deeply separate things. So the question then becomes: how do we feel happiness, love, success, and all the other things we hustle so hard for in life?

I'd argue that it’s a practice, which, like any other practice, takes time, repetition, and an annoying amount of unwavering persistence. You can't just decide you're "whole," you have to practice feeling it.

So: what if, throughout the course of each day, you embedded within your life little rituals and habits that gently reminded you that everything you want and need can be found within? That you have the extraordinary capacity to gift yourself respect, love, happiness, and success on a daily basis, like a delightful little door prize awarded simply for surviving the day. That you can stop worrying about pleasing and pretending and instead sit back and enjoy this fleeting roller coaster life. To me, that’s what wellness is. It’s not a kale smoothie or an $80 bottle of cucumber lotion or even the Kardashian-status beach body you know deep down is a genetic impossibility for you. It's the daily practice of wholeness and self respect.

With every stair climbed and vegetable chopped you’re sending a signal to your brain— whether conscious or not— that you’re worth the things you do for yourself. Taking care of yourself physically means taking care of yourself physiologically. But it’s tangible, it's achievable, and, in my opinion, it's the world's best catalyst towards self-actualization and self love.

And, with that, I rest my case.

But not before I shamelessly promote an event, because, while I may not be a millennial proper, I still know the power of social influence in getting discounts for my "tribe" (and conveniently, free tickets for myself). So who wants $75 off tickets to the WELL Summit 2018 y'all?! Just apply code "WSCASEY." It's gonna be LIT AF! (Did I use that phrase right?)

Anyway, I'll see you there, my fellow Wellness Defenders.

Namaste.

When Healthy Snacking Gets Dangerous: "The Snackwell Effect"

Let’s set the scene: it’s the early 1980s and the “war on fat” has just began. The government, citing now-debunked research, decides that in order to be healthy, people need to reduce their fat consumption and focus on eating lower fat foods. 

The snack industry, of course, sees an opportunity here. 

They take their higher fat products, reduce the fat content (in many cases just replacing it with more sugar), and market these products as “low fat foods”. 

Consumers stroll through the snack aisle and think,

“Man, I really want some cookies, but I know I shouldn’t be eating them. Maybe I’ll just forgo the Oreos and get these healthy, Low Fat Snackwell Cookies instead. Win-win! Damn, I’m good at grocery shopping!”

And that is how the "The Snackwell Effect" came to be.

Our shopper, sitting down that night for an episode of Married with Children, grabs the box of cookies. 

But, instead of eating her usual 5 Oreos, she chomps away at the “healthy” Low Fat Snackwells and ends up eating a full 15 cookies.

"The Snackwell Effect" is a psychological phenomenon wherein people defeat the purpose of eating a lower calorie food by eating way more of it than they would its higher calorie counterpart, consuming more calories overall. 

In short, by buying a food they deem “healthier,” they end up being worse off than if they had just gone for the unhealthy food they wanted in the first place.

So next time you accidentally polish off that big bag of Skinny Pop or finish your second bowl of Go Lean Crunch Cereal, remember that, despite your best efforts, from a caloric standpoint, you were probably better off with the Jiffy Pop and the Lucky Charms.

Th is one of the many reasons why intelligent dieting is so important.

🌟👉Take the 1 Min Quiz and Grab your FREE "Clean & Lean Meal Plan!"👈🌟 

 

Nutritionism

Nutrition is an incredibly complex and largely mystifying science to us, even in this day and age. We actually know astonishingly little about why certain foods do or do not work well for the human body. 

But that sucks, right? To think that a practice you engage in three times a day is barely understood?

It’s the 21st century, damnit!

This is why you’ll see so many people (and industries) treating nutrition like a religion, like a set of beliefs based primarily on theory and faith. (If you’ve ever met a particularly fiery vegan or awkwardly aggressive Paleo-enthusiast, you know exactly what I mean.)

Michael Pollan, one of the most esteemed nutrition-writers of our time, refers to this phenomenon as “Nutritionism."

What Nutritionism aims to do is reduce all nutrition to its requisite parts, meaning that instead of looking at a banana and concluding that it’s healthy because many cultures have subsisted and thrived on bananas for centuries, it decides that bananas are healthy because they’re comprised of vitamin B6, manganese, vitamin C, potassium, biotin, copper, and are a good source of dietary fiber.

Sounds fair, right? None of this is untrue.

However, it’s undeniably reductionist and speaks nothing to why, when these particular vitamins and minerals are extracted and administered to a person outside of the food, that person doesn’t receive the same health benefits as the person who simply eats the banana.

This is all to say that a banana, or for that matter any food on this planet, is not the sum of its nutrient parts, but rather a food that, for some scientifically inexplicable reason, is healthy for us, and makes us feel good and live longer.

So while, like with any religion, we must respect other eaters’ beliefs, I also invite you to keep an open mind and a clear head when it comes to nutrition.

When people ask me what particular nutritional “camp” I fall into, I have no answer, since I believe that all sorts of diets work well for all different types of people, and to say otherwise would not be particularly humble.

Who am I, God?

So what CAN we say conclusively about nutrition, if anything?

The only thing that nearly every Nutritionism cult in the world can agree on is that fruits and vegetables are good, and processed food is bad. No matter who you are, if you follow these principles, you will be healthier, thinner, and, most likely, happier.

It’s important to keep perspective and remember that the nitty-gritty is less important than these  basic, overarching principles.

🌟👉Take the 1 Min Quiz and Grab your FREE "Clean & Lean Meal Plan!"👈🌟 

Heal Your Gut to Heal Your Life

Have you ever heard a pregnant woman make the classic pregnant-woman-joke that she’s “eating for two”?

Oh, Carol, you’re a hoot! Twelve tacos isn’t too many tacos!

But what if I told you that Carol is actually eating for trillions? And you are too?

It’s true. Inside your gut microbiome there’s a whole alien world of trillions of bacteria swimming around your midsection that live in you and on you. The foods you eat directly affect the diversity and health of this microbiome and in many ways determine whether this microscopic society will blossom or bust.

And some people are even going as far as eating freeze dried poop pills to heal it. (No joke.)

But why?

Because so much of your general health, wellbeing, and ability to lose weight is directly dependent on the health of your gut. It affects your immune system, inflammation, and your propensity for obesity or slenderness.

What’s more, it even affects your emotions, mood, and, subsequently, your choices.

Yep, the brain isn’t the only organ do the heavy lifting in this department.

Your gut, and the trillions of bacteria that live inside it, are indeed some of the most key players in your general wellbeing and emotional health.

Gut feelings, it turns out, are a very real thing. This is why you might find yourself running to the bathroom in times of high anxiety, getting stopped up in times of depression, or experiencing that dramatic Shakespearean pang to in your stomach when you confront a powerfully heightened emotion.

Who would’ve thought that your intestines had so much to do with your personality! 

In my opinion, gut health is the most underestimated and unknown element of health out there.

So what should you eat to support the health of your gut?

While clean eating will take care of most your concerns in this department, you’re still going to want to consume PRObiotic foods, which contain the good bacteria, and PREbiotic foods, which provide nourishment for the probiotics.

Fermented and cultured foods all contain different types of gut-supporting PRObiotic bacteria. These foods include:

  • kefir

  • yogurt

  • sauerkraut

  • kimchi

  • pickled veggies

  • miso

  • kombucha

  • tempeh

  • (real) sourdough bread (my favorite brand is "Bread Alone")

PREbiotics are a type of indigestible plant fiber that ensure the PRObiotic foods do their job. These include:

  • beans

  • legumes

  • apples

  • cocoa

  • flax seeds

  • oats

  • jerusalem artichokes

  • garlic

  • leeks

  • bananas

PROBIOTIC PRO TIP: When shopping for your probiotic foods, make sure they’re housed in the refrigerated section of the market, do not contain vinegar, and are “cultured” and “unpasturized” if possible.

While it’s true that we as a scientific society still have a long way to go with gut research, for many people, the proof’s in the pudding, and eating to support your gut has such immediate and visceral effects that, like all food, you don’t need a scientist to explain exactly why it makes you feel better to know that it’s good for your body.

Now tell me: what're YOUR favorite gut-healthy foods?

🌟👉Take the 1 Min Quiz and Grab your FREE "Clean & Lean Meal Plan!"👈🌟 

Burn More Calories in Less Time With This Simple Life Hack

If you know me you'll know I'm not a fan of fitness “shortcuts" (not to be mistaken with "efficiency" of course). These supposed "shortcuts" can often be better translated as "Steaming Piles of B.S. Hidden Behind Genetically Blessed Hot People Who Think Being Hot is Easy."

Ugh. 🙄

🤦‍♀️ Hot people...

However there is one little caveat to the “burn more calories in less time” notion, and that's--

...drumroll...

Fasted Training!

(Which is not as scary as it sounds, I promise).

Every day your body alternates between “fasted” and “fed” states.

Every time you eat a meal, your body enters a “fed” state that lasts about 3-6+ hours as it processes and absorbs the nutrients from the food you just ate, spiking your insulin levels. Once all the nutrients are delivered, insulin levels drop and bring your body into your “fasted” state, which lasts until your next meal.

When you work out after a meal, there’s a surplus of burnable energy from the food you just ate, however, when you work out fasted, it goes straight for the fat cells for it’s fuel (this goes for both dietary fat and bodily fat).

Thus, if you use your fasted downtime effectively by exercising while your stomach is empty, you burn more fat more rapidly, since your body is now able to target its stored fat for fuel (i.e. the stuff clinging to your love handles for dear life), since it's not burning energy from a meal you just ate.

This works for both cardio and strength training. What's more, it even targets your most stubborn, hard-to-get-rid-of fat due to these little chemicals called catecholamines. Yay catecholamines!

And here's the kicker: you can still have your morning cup of coffee or tea before the workout, since anything under 50 calories won't effect your fasted state.

(As a side note, I’m actually a big advocate of moderate caffeine consumption. I’ve done much research on the topic, and I believe the benefits far outweigh any negative effects when consumed in moderation.)

Fasted training obviously works best in the morning (and with "intermittent fasting"), since your stomach's reliably empty, so, whenever possible, I'd suggest this morning routine:

  • Wake up
  • Have your coffee/tea
  • Do your workout
  • Stretch
  • Have a protein shake or protein-rich breakfast (to enhance "protein synthesis")

Perform this routine 2-5 times/week and you're lookin' at the closest thing to any "fitness shortcut" out there. 

🌟👉Take the 1 Min Quiz and Grab your FREE "Clean & Lean Meal Plan!"👈🌟 

Intermittent Fasting: Healthier, Shaper, Thinner

Intermittent Fasting is one of the biggest budding trends in the health and fitness world right now.

And for good reason.

More and more research is being done every year, and so far all signs point towards improved cognitive function, increased fat loss, and enhanced immunity.

In other words, it'll make you healthier, sharper, and thinner. 

And I can tell you firsthand, it’s changed my life for the better.

What exactly does it do, you ask?

  • reduces inflammation

  • increases your metabolic rate (making it a great accelerant for weight loss!)

  • drops your insulin levels

  • aids with cellular waste removal

  • enhances hormone function

  • improves cognitive function and productivity

  • helps avoid Alzheimers and Parkinsons

In short, fasting gives your body the time it needs to repair itself in many ways, without the added stresses of digestion.

So what is Intermittent Fasting?

Now, there're a couple ways to do it, but, if you ask me, the easiest way to intermittently fast is to basically just skip breakfast and wait 'til the afternoon to eat.

And that's it!

Easy.

"But wait, wait, wait! Isn't breakfast the most important meal of the day?!"

If you look to the government, WebMD, or most people's mothers, you'll probably get an emphatic "Yes!"

And that's fair.

There's a lot of science out there to back them up, maintaining that this beloved daily routine improves focus, helps manage weight, and increases overall energy, making you healthier, sharper, and thinner.

Sound familiar?

Yep, that's because there's a lot of science (and pseudoscience) on both sides arguing for very similar health benefits, and, of course, everyone's got their proverbial panties in a twist over it.

Who to believe?

Well, first of all, everyone's body is different and, as is the rule with all things wellness, no single approach works for everyone. 

However...

1.jpg

It's worth mentioning that a lot of the funding for these "pro-breakfast" studies have been conducted by the same people who sell you sugar-coated, hyper-processed cereal, promising healthy, happy mornings packed with "whole grain goodness," Vitamin D, and Calcium.

Thanks for that, Trix Fruitalicous Swirls cereal. 

(By the way, that whole grain ingredient they're bragging about is corn.)

So take all arguments on all sides with a grain of salt, and find what works best for YOUR unique body.

That said, I'd strongly encourage you to just try Intermittent Fasting.

You'll have to push through the first 2-3 weeks, but if you can make it past the hump, you'll know 100% if it it's for you cause you'll just feel so much better overall.

So you wanna try it?

It's really not hard, it just takes some extra planning.

Here're some tips for getting started: 

Make sure your dinner includes a good amount of healthy fat and protein (which will keep you satiated for longer) 

Keep drinking coffee (coffee, tea, and any other beverage under 50 calories won't break your fast, plus the caffeine will help suppress hunger)

Keep yourself busy (mental distraction is key when getting started)

Try to avoid smelling food in the morning (smells can subconsciously trigger digestion and make you hungry...so mouth breath as you walk past that Panara on your way to work)

Again, these first few weeks may not be easy. You’ve been eating one way for probably the majority of your life, and breaking from that may send your body into confusion, panic, or “hanger.”

You may experience temporary dips in energy or grouchiness— just know that that’s totally normal, and it only gets easier with each passing week, as your body adapts and resets its physiological habit responses.

Also know that a lot of the initial resistance you may feel is mental, so try your best to keep an open mind and a strong sense of willpower.

And even if you decide that this is not in fact the path for you, it's still wise to allow 12 hours between dinner and breakfast regardless, as your body still needs a daily break from digestion, which is a rather demanding process.

But try it out and let me know how it goes in the comments section below!

Here's a link to additional resources if you wanna dig a little deeper into this.

🌟👉Take the 1 Min Quiz and Grab your FREE "Clean & Lean Meal Plan!"👈🌟 

Are You Getting Your Protein The Right Way? Complete vs. Incomplete Proteins

Think of protein as an alcoholic beverage. 

You’re standing at a bar, and you’ve got a bottle of gin, some Campari, and and a bottle of vermouth. You can only have one drink, and you’re trying to feel a nice buzz. 

There're a few ways to achieve this. 

One option is to pour out some straight gin and go for it.

Another option is to grab all three bottles and throw them together to make....

A Negroni! 

Either way you’ll get buzzed, it’s just a matter of personal preference.

Got it?

Ok, so think of all these bottles as proteins. This gin is a complete protein. The others are incomplete proteins. 

Now in this scenario we can equate "trying to get a nice buzz on" with "trying to build muscle." In order to build muscle and feel satiated and get our ideal bodies, we gotta consume protein.

But not all proteins are created equal. 

Proteins are basically just chains of amino acids.

There are two types of amino acids:

  • essential

  • nonessential

Nonessential amino acids are created by the body (so you don't have to worry about those), but essential amino acids are not and must be obtained from food.

And in order to really build muscle, we wanna get all of 'em.

So, back to the bottles.

The gin is high proof and will get you drunk quick— this is the "complete protein." 

The others are lower alcohol and could be consumed alone, but they serve their purpose much better when consumed together in a mixed drink. These are the "incomplete proteins."

Complete proteins contain all the essential amino acids in sufficient quantities, while incomplete proteins need to be combined together to create a complete protein. 

Complete proteins are typically animal-based (meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, etc.), however there're a couple other plant-based complete proteins as well, such as quinoa, buckwheat, hemp, and chia. 

Incomplete proteins (the ones that should to be combined) account for pretty much every other protein in the world-- grains, legumes, nuts, vegetables, etc. 

In other words, the less animal-based proteins you consume, the more diverse you want your plant-based diet to be, to make sure you’re getting all your aminos. 

This is particularly important if you’re a vegetarian or vegan.

To take it even one step further, you want to aim to combine what are known as “complementary proteins” to create a complete amino acid profile. 

Good examples of this are:

  • brown rice and beans

  • yogurt and nuts

  • hummus and whole grain pita

  • tofu and tahini

  • peanut butter and whole wheat bread

So when it comes to protein, do as they say and "consume responsibly."

Cheers!

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How to Booze and Stay Fit

The holiday season is upon us, and you know what that means: family, merriment, and heavy boozing.

Whether it’s a glass of red wine, or six, at the Christmas Eve dinner table, some spiked eggnog, or shots of whiskey with your cousins in the basement trying to forget your drunk uncle’s off color jokes, the holidays can be stressful.

And they can be joyous and merry and filled with love and gifts and hugs and no one judges you when you ugly cry watching "Love Actually" four consecutive nights in a row.

But whether they’re euphoric or whether they’re stressful, either way, they will mostly likely be unsober. 

So here’s how to booze better in this beautiful holiday season, so that you don’t wake up January 1st wanting to crawl down a shame hole and die for worst three months of year.

Sound good, cookie?

So drinking and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can often be at odds, but it can be done— there is indeed a way to have your cake and eat it too, if you do it right.

Rule number one when you’re drinking:

Water!

You absolutely, 100% need to be consuming water.

Otherwise, you’ll wake up with a shitty hangover, hungry as Fashion Week, and you'll most certainly skip the gym and be craving crap food all day.

So here’s the rule: for every alcoholic beverage you have, you need to be chugging a full glass of water afterwards (preferably without ice). 

Every.

Single.

Cocktail.

Minus maybe one if you’re feeling the need for some extra buzz— but just one.

Rule number 2: eat, but not too much. 

So eating before you drink might seem counterintuitive.

"I mean, if I don’t eat before, I’ll get drunker quicker and drink less overall, right?"

True.

But getting drunk and sitting down at a dinner table is like walking into a pick up bar with a nice buzz: ya got drunk goggles on and reflecting back on your actions the next day, you might find them less attractive in the harsh light of morning.

In other words, you’re at high risk of overeating and making unhealthy choices. 

Go into your drinking situation with something healthy already in your stomach.

If you’re going to a party, eat a light, healthy dinner before, not after. 

And if you’re enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail, have a healthy snack before that— hummus and veggies, cottage cheese and fruit, a hearty protein shake, etc. Just have something clean and wholesome in your stomach to buffer the booze.

Buzzed overeating, more than anything, is what gets people during the holidays.

Drunk Goggles = Bad Choices

Which brings me to my final rule, which is:

Rule number 3: make a plan and know your limits. 

If you know you’re going to be drinking on a given day, hydrate as much as you can, and plan calorically for the shitshow that’s about to go down later on. 

And before you commence activities, make it a point to say out loud to another human being “I’m only gonna have three drinks tonight and I’m only going to allow myself one cocktail with sugar in it,” or whatever your goal may be.

     (Helpful Hint #1: try to make these goals realistic).

     (Helpful hint #2: if you wanna double down on your goals, tell a friend or family member you’ll buy them a pricey bottle of champagne if you don’t stick to your plan. And trust me, everyone likes champagne, and that person will watch you like a hawk all night.)

And, of course, know your limits.

Plan smartly.

Don’t be stupid.

And, more importantly, don’t be unrealistic.

I'm not ashamed to admit: I’ve carried around organic jerky sticks in a clutch before, double fisted water and booze for entire nights out at a bar, left parties for twenty minutes to go eat a carton of cottage cheese by myself half drunk in my heels at a deli. And I feel great about all those decisions. Cause ya know what? I always make it to the gym the next day.

So, yes, my dear Bar Flies, it can be done. It just takes a little extra thought, a little extra effort, and the occasional organic jerky stick in your clutch.

You got this.

 

This Simple Life Hack Will Make you Thinner, Smarter, and More Emotionally Stable

Now, no one’s a fan of high maintenance bitches.

It's like, okaaaay, we get it Ms. Super Hot with the great skin and the perfect nails and the amazing hair, like, where did you even get your hair cut?

Like, who did it though?

Do you have their number?

Do you think that place is on Groupon?

But there is indeed one aspect of life where I whole-heartedly recommend being the most Kardashian-status high maintenance bitch:

Sleep!

Be an indulgent sleeper, my dear Bar Fly.

Be a motherf#@$ing sleep princess.

Deprivation has been scientifically linked to a lot of bad stuff that you don’t want to mess with.

Cosmetically speaking, sleep deprivation ages your skin, makes it hard to build muscle, and even causes weight gain.

Recent research has shown that not getting enough sleep messes with the hormones that regulate hunger and satiety, ghrelin and leptin, and I’m sure we can all attest from personal experience to using food, and probably crap food at that, to getting us both physically and emotionally through those long, sleepy days.

What's more, deprivation can be straight up dangerous.

Cognitively speaking, it makes you forgetful, inhibits your reaction time and decision-making abilities, and puts you at higher risk for diabetes and heart disease. 

And did I mention that driving drowsy is, in many, cases just as bad as driving drunk? Yep, it's responsible for 100,000 car crashes and 1,500 crash-related deaths a year, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

And remember the Exxon oil spill?

Chernobyl?

Guess what sleep deprived dudes were operating heavy machinery those days... 

So now that you're sufficiently freaked out, let’s take a turn towards the positive and talk about all the amazing benefits you’ll be able to enjoy with a proper amount of sleep.

Aside from boosting your mood and making you more emotionally stable, sleep improves memory, brain function, and physical dexterity. 

It boosts immunity, spurs creativity, sharpens attention, lowers stress, and all around improves your quality of life.  

Though they’re still unclear as to exactly how it works, most scientists agree that sleep helps consolidate memories and information for both your declarative memory and your procedural memory. 

In other words, making you more likely to ace that test, master your backstroke, or make the best high stakes business decision. 

So if you’re torn as to whether you should keep practicing, researching, or studying late into the night OR just put it all aside and get a good night’s sleep, the latter is gonna be your best bet for performing well. 

Now, how 'bout some tips on how to get more sleep?

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If You're Not Prioritizing This Easy Life Hack, You a Damn Fool!

Did you ever see that Bradley Cooper movie "Limitless" with the pills that essentially make you the superhuman version of yourself?

Now what if I told you that you had a secret, unending supply of holistic limitless pills hiding right in your own home?

They’re free of side effects and all you have to do for payment is keep your head on a pillow for 7-9 hours a night.

Would you do it?

Proper sleep simply will make you the best version of yourself. It'll make you smarter, thinner, happier, and, without enough of it, you're primed to gain weight, become depressed, and...wait, what was that last one?...oh yeah: forget stuff.

So I know it’s hard to make the time and we’ve all got super busy lives. But there're some really simple, small changes you can make here and there that, over time, will help you start to create better habits and put you into the flow of getting enough sleep. 

1. Make a bedtime ritual for yourself

For me, I wash my face, brush my teeth, and read a book in low light. It doesn't have to be complicated, it just has to be consistent.

2. Exercise

It helps tremendously in both falling and staying asleep, as well helping you stick to a somewhat consistent sleep schedule. 

3. Avoid bright lights before bedtime

4. Turn your clocks away from you and stop stressing about the time

5. Power down!

Turn off the TV, shut down your computer, and stop checking your iPhone. I know this one's the toughest, but it's also the most effective.

If you love being engaged in some way as you fall asleep, listening to a podcast or reading a book in low light should do the trick.

6. Channel your inner-Eric-Northman/Bill-Comption/True-Blood-character-of-choice, and keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet

Buy some earplugs, invest in some blackout curtains, and try to keep your room temperature around 60-67 degrees.

Listen, you work hard and you owe it to yourself (and the people who have to be around you) to make sleep a priority.

So go forth my dear Bar Flies and cultivate that precious relationship between you and your pillow. 

Demand your sleep! 

Cherish it and honor it with the respect it deserves!

Now go forth and go to bed!

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How to Have the Willpower and Self Discipline to Eat Clean and Lose Weight

Willpower. 

The answer to all of life’s problems, right? 

But did you know that your willpower is actually a finite resource, and it fades over the course of the day?

Every time you make a decision, modify your behavior in pursuit of a goal, or suppress an emotion, you slowly chip away at your willpower stores.

This is why your unfortunate Ben and Jerry’s habit rears its ugly yet oh-so-delicious head at 11:30 at night and not 10am. 

Or why after a tough, stressful meeting, you blow up at your husband on the phone about the dry cleaning.

It’s just that you’ve depleted your willpower stores— you got nothin’ left to draw from!

But this sucks, right? 

Cause, most of the time, we don’t really have control over where our stress, emotional strain, and mental depletion comes from. 

However, there IS a solution to this willpower dilemma… 

But first, we need to start by recognizing that willpower is like a muscle, and the more you flex it and condition it, the stronger and more ironclad it becomes. 

In practical terms, this means putting in the time and staying super consistent with whatever changes you’re trying to implement. 

Maybe it means telling the people in your life to hold you accountable for clean eating. Or setting your alarm clock annoyingly far across the room so you HAVE to get out of bed earlier. Or actually paying for that creative writing class so you actually do your writing each week.

Whatever it is, whatever it takes, you gotta do it consistently.

Whew. 

But that can get kind of exhausting, right? 

And also, no matter how much time you spend conditioning and training that willpower muscle, it’s still a muscle and there’s only so much it can take, cause, as it turns out, you’re only human.

So how do we manufacture this consistency long term in a way that doesn’t, well...suck? 

The answer lies in your habits.

Ah, yes, habits. Those sneaky little practices that dictate about 40% of everything we do throughout the day.

All habits exist in a loop consisting of 3 parts:

  • The CUE

  • The ROUTINE

  • The REWARD

A CUE is a subconscious trigger for your brain to switch into “autopilot”.

For example, walking into your bathroom in the morning and turning on the shower. (The ROUTINE being the shower, and the REWARD being slowly coming into wakefulness by way of a steamy, comforting downpour of hot water).

These cues are often deeply wired into our system and are very hard to change. We do however have control over our routines.

So let’s say we wanted to brush our teeth instead of taking a shower. 

Simple!

Just identify the CUE, which would be “walking into the bathroom in the morning,” and then instead of reaching for the shower nob, get in the habit of pulling out your toothbrush instead.

Thus, the key to overcoming your bad habits is just getting really good at recognizing and acknowledging these cues. 

Waking up and immediately hitting the snooze button…

Starting the prepare dinner and cracking open a bottle of wine…

Getting home from work and turning on your TV before you can even think about getting out your gym clothes…

And once you start to recognize these slippery, self-sabotaging cues, you can hack into your routines, switch things up, and basically get anything you ever wanted from life.

Not bad, eh?

Now I wanna know: what’re some of YOUR habit cues? Comment below and I promise to give you the personal attention you need to help you work through them!

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Diets Don't Work.

Wherever you are, take a deep breath, cause I got a big dose of reality coming your way and it’s gonna sting like a shot of dive bar tequila. 

Diets.

Don’t.

Work.

Sounds nuts coming from a nutrition coach, right? But hear me out.

Diets don’t work because 80% of people will gain the weight back in less than a year (and, in all but 15% of those cases, will end up even heavier). 

Yep, it’s been statistically proven that only a lucky 20% will actually keep the weight off.

“Wait, wait, wait. 20%?! That’s it?”

It’s alarming and totally unfair, yes, but before you go throwing your hands in the air and crying into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, let’s take a moment to examine how and why this happens, and how we can overcome the odds with a little thing I like to call the: 

**SECRET SAUCE**

Let’s start with why 80% of people fail at trying to lose weight and improve their health in significant ways.

The first has to do with metabolism.

Your body is, essentially, too smart for its own good, and it adapts to whatever you throw at it, for better or worse.

Think about it in cave man terms. If you restrict your diet harshly and only give it a certain amount of calories or certain types of foods, it assumes that that’s what your primal human body needs to survive. It says, 

     “Oh no! Not much food to be had in these woods right now, I suppose I should ration out this body fat and learn to survive on less.”  

And then when you’ve slimmed down and gone off your diet, resuming your usual calorie intake or lifestyle, your body says,

    “Finally— we’re not gonna die— that’s awesome! Better continue to store this body fat in a safe place in case there’s another dry spell.”  

And guess where your genius-of-a-body stores that extra fat? Your thighs, your love handles, your chin…you get the idea.

In short, any diet that has a start and an end date won’t work the way you want it to because it just doesn’t work that way biologically.

However, there’s a bigger reason people “fail” at dieting. It’s not because they’re lazy or lacking in willpower (that’s just a sad stereotype perpetuated by a society with a proclivity towards “fat shaming”), it's because they’re using temporary or misguided fixes to solve a bigger, more long-term problem. 

Which brings me to the key point here:

The reason these 20% of people succeed in dieting is because they understand something fundamental about health, which is that only way to really lose weight, tone up, and get healthy for good is to change your lifestyle.

Now that means a lot of things— some big, some tiny— and it means something different for every person. 

It could mean less carbs and more sleep. 

Or more fat and less cardio.

These changes could be as small as drinking a tall glass of water in the morning, or as big as getting rid of toxic people in your life.

Everyone has their own special **SECRET SAUCE**, they're own combination of things that’ll keep them in optimal health.

And you know what the biggest and most important ingredient of that sauce is?

Loving your lifestyle. If you don’t love it, you’re not gonna stick to it, it’s as simple as that.

And that, my friend, is the difference between those who fail and those who succeed.

The weight loss champions love their new lifestyle— they’re addicted to it.

But those healthy addictions don’t happen overnight. They take time, consistent exercise, habits work, and lots of accountability. 

But where to start? 

It’s starts with the little things. 

It starts with moderation. It starts by changing one small thing at a time so that, over time, you come to crave better foods and a better lifestyle. I call these sustainable changes “microshifts” and they’re surprisingly powerful.

You don’t have to go on the Whole 30, you don’t have to join a crossfit gym, and you certainly don’t have to give up a well deserved cocktail every now and then.

You just have to find a balance that works for you and get accountable to it.

And if you need a little extra help with that, I happen to know a Wellness & Accountability Coach who’d love to help you out.

Consider applying to the program and joining the elite 20% of people who actually do lose weight and get healthy for good; the elite 20% who refuse to take the “easy” route of denial, supplements, and short term quick fixes; the 20% who are willing to put in the time and do what it takes to get what they want and create their absolute best life.

🌟👉Take the 1 Min Quiz and Grab your FREE "Clean & Lean Meal Plan!"👈🌟 Stop dieting, start living healthy NOW.

How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

This is a question (and an excuse) I get a lot:

"How am I supposed to eat healthy without spending ALL OF MY MONEY?" 

Listen, I get it. Fast food and hyper-processed sugar-packed goodies are everywhere and they’re cheap AF! 

It can feel like a ridiculous choice to make, standing in the grocery store choosing between a $2 box of 6 delicious glimmering glazed doughnuts or a single $2 organic lumpy grapefruit from Mexico. 

But just because it’s harder to find the cheaper, healthier options doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing. You don’t just settle for the first guy you meet on Match.com who’s over 5’6”. You got standards!

So here’re the exact steps to take to eat healthy on a budget.

1. Buy ALL of the fruits and vegetables!

Shop the perimeters of the supermarket. Stay away from the packaged foods in the middle aisles altogether, and go for the good stuff that’ll give you biggest nutritional bang for your buck. 

And, of course, go for the stuff that’s domestic and in season.

2. Replace "shit quality" meats with cheaper, more nutritious proteins.

Beans, eggs, hemp seeds, legumes, tuna, high protein whole grain, etc. Get out of the habit of buying crap deli meat and packaged nonsense, and go for the good stuff that’ll keep your pockets heavy and your stomach satisfied.

3. Get high quality meat and dairy for cheap by buying local.

Go to your local farmer’s market. Find a high quality butcher in your area. Are there any farms close to you? Get on Google, get creative, and do some research.

Fun tip: sometimes you can even find small, local farms that are secretly organic even if they don't have an organic certification, since the certification process is pricey and smaller places often can't afford to essentially "buy" the label.

4. Buy in bulk and seek out online deals.

Buy big, save money, and freeze as necessary. 

Don’t discount the power of shopping the interwebs. Sometimes my favorite health food store is Amazon. 

Just this week I got bulk packages of chia seeds, flax, hemp hearts, MTC oil, oatmeal, and a bunch of other great stuff for way cheaper than my local Manhattan Whole Foods.

5. Cook at home, Dummy!

Eating out is a surefire way to wreak havoc on your diet and ensure you spend more money than you’d like. 

Try getting into weekly meal prep, where you make all your meals for the whole week in bulk at one time and throw them into tupperwares in the fridge. It’ll save you time and energy and help you resist the urge to order in after a long exhausting day when you don’t feel like cooking.

And, of course, be smart and pack your lunch.

Hope that was helpful.

What're some of YOUR favorite affordable healthy foods?

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Is Eating Late at Night Bad for You?

Eating late at night like going swimming right after you eat. Everyone knows it bad, they just don’t know exactly why

“Something about not being able to burn calories at night?”

“Something about food rotting in your stomach overnight?”

“Something about late night self-loathing and feeling like your cat is judging you?”

Wrong, wrong, and, well, half wrong. 

Unless you have acid reflux or another digestive issue, it doesn’t matter when you eat, as much as what and how much you eat over the course of a day. 

So if eating late at night is your favorite thing, lock your judgy-ass cat in the bathroom, and go for it, baby.

All that said, it's worth mentioning that cognitive psychologists have determined that willpower fades the later in the day it gets, meaning that you're more vulnerable to overeating and emotional snacking in the evening.

So If you do choose to consume your calories late at night, just be mindful of eating from a place of actual hunger, as opposed to stress, boredom, or habit.

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What to Eat Before and After a Workout

Working out without considering your nutrition is sort of like going to a mixology bar and ordering a vodka cranberry. 

Like...why are even you here? 

Just stay home, you just don’t get it... 🤦‍♀️

Today, I’m gonna tell you exactly what and when to eat before and after a workout.

First thing to get out of the way here:

I am one of the few people in the industry who is NOT a fan of supplements. Probably cause I don’t sell any.

(And you should be suspicious of the advice given from anyone who does). 

Unless you have a naturally-occurring or diet-dependent vitamin deficiency, or your prepping for a bodybuilding competition, 90% of the crap out there is must marketing in a tub, so, please, save your money, and get what you need from eating real food.

So let’s start with what to eat BEFORE a workout.

As you may recall, I’m a personal advocate of morning workouts paired with fasted training and intermittent fasting, meaning I’d always prefer you, if possible, to workout in the morning (since willpower fades over the course of the day, and you’re more likely to get it done), and to do so in a fasted state (on an empty stomach). 

This is what I practice personally, as well as a good portion of my coaching clients, and I’ve seen this path to reveal the best results the quickest. 

So if you can do it, all I want you to consume before a workout is: 

  • A lot of water

  • Coffee, tea, or any other morning beverage less than 50 calories (which won’t break your fasted state)

That said, not everyone can handle that routine, either because of their schedule, or maybe they just don’t like it or can’t lift as heavy, and that’s 100% fine.

So what would you eat in that case and when?

In order to max fat loss and prep your muscles for maximum protein synthesis (which we care about cause that’s how we build muscle), you’re gonna want to eat a small meal of protein and carbs about a half hour before your workout.

This could look like:

  • eggs on whole wheat toast

  • some cottage cheese and fruit

  • oatmeal

  • some lightly sweetened granola and yogurt

  • hummus and veggie sticks

  • a sandwich with a protein and mustard (or other non-fatty spread) 

  • protein pancakes

  • smoothies

Now let's talk about what you eat AFTER a workout.

Post-workout nutrition is super important! 

Make sure to consume a meal that includes a decent amount of protein, to maximize protein synthesis rates, as well as some carbs, to raise insulin levels and keep them elevated, further facilitating that muscle growth. 

And you’re gonna want to consume that within a 1-2 hour window after you workout.

So this could be:

  • a sandwich

  • a salad with grains and some protein on top

  • tuna on crackers

  • a turkey/chicken/veggie burger

  • quinoa bowl

  • a protein packed fruit smoothie

  • chicken and brown rice

  • basically anything else with a balanced amount of protein and carbs

Also, for a super easy on-the-go solution, just pack yourself a powdered protein shake in a shaker and simply add water when you’re ready to consume it.

Now I wanna know:

What’re YOUR favorite pre and post workout foods? Comment below!

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