Eat Healthy On A Budget

Fast food is super cheap which can be attractive when you’re on a budget but the long-term price you pay is not at all worth it.  Here are some tips on how to eat healthy on a budget.

Buy produce when it’s in season and freeze it.

When produce is in season it’s not as expensive.  When you find a good deal consider stocking up.  Better yet, get out and pick berries for free when they’re in season and freeze those!

Look for cheaper cuts of meat.

Look for bone-in, skin-on, tougher cuts of red meat and organ meat.  All of these are cheaper and still super nutritious.  For tougher cuts of meat prepare them in a slow cooker to make them less tough.  Also, buying a whole chicken rather than parts works out to be cheaper per meal and you’ll get quite a few meals out of one chicken.

Buy beans and whole grains.

Beans are super cheap.  I recommend buying the dried ones, as opposed to canned ones, and soak them yourself.  You can really bulk up a chili using extra beans which allows you to use less meat.

Quinoa and brown rice are also inexpensive and great way to bulk up a meal.  You can even pre-cook them and freeze them so you have something to add to salads and soups.

Cook large portions and freeze the leftovers.

Cook up large batches and then portion them so you have meals for your week.  This not only saves money, it also saves time and insures that you’re eating healthy food that you made and not grabbing something quick on the go.

Buy in bulk.

Go to your grocery store’s bulk section and stock up on what you need.

Budget Friendly Healthy Foods

Beans

Eggs

Almonds

Peanuts

Oats

Brown rice

Cottage cheese

Yogurt

Canned tomatoes

In season fruits and vegetables

The Choice Is Yours

You may have to look around a bit but there are cheap healthy foods out there.  Don’t be drawn in by the cheap unhealthy foods that might be more convenient.  In the end your health is your choice.  Make it a priority.

Believe In Yourself

It can be so easy to doubt yourself and let the negative thoughts take over.  In a way, this type of thinking protects you because it keeps you in your comfort zone.  But is ‘safe’ really what you want out of life?  Why not believe in yourself and really get what you want out of life?

Here are some tips on how to believe in yourself enough to go after exactly what you want.

Reflect on past successes. 

When you’re feeling doubtful think back to a time when you were successful at something.  Remember how you overcame obstacles to get what you wanted.  Reflect on how great that felt – think about it so deeply that you actually start to feel the feeling of pride you had.

When you do this, it will remind you that you are capable of getting what you want.

Spend time around positive people.

You will be most like the people you spend most of your time with.  Positive people will support you and get you excited about what you want to do.  If the people you’re hanging out with the majority of the time are negative and always questioning you and doubting you, you’ll start to do the same.

Reflect on all the good stuff at the end of the day.

At the end of each day think back to all the good things that happened and all the great things you did.  Let the annoying and defeating things go.  Going to bed with this positive state of mind will help you to wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to take on anything.

Be persistent!  Keep moving forward!

You have to be persistent no matter what.  Even if people tell you that they don’t think you can do it and ask you why you’re wasting so much time working so hard.  Drown those people out and keep doing what you need to do every day to get you closer to your goal.  There will be days where you’ll question yourself and wonder if it’s really worth it.  It is!  Keep moving forward until you get to where you want to be.

Know your pain point.

Your pain point is what you’re no longer willing to settle for.  It’s the frustration you feel being where you are or were before you started working towards your goal.  It’s that thing that motivated you to want to do whatever it takes to leave it behind.  Know your pain point and tell yourself that it’s not good enough for you, that you deserve more and that you’ll keep working until you get what you want.

Learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Being uncomfortable is a good thing!  It might not feel great when you’re in it, but when you’re in it that’s when you’re making great strides.  The things you don’t want to do are typically the things you need to be doing more of.  Nothing interesting happens in the comfort zone, so get out of it!

Ask for help when you need it.

There are going to be times when you need a little help.  Let your friends know when you’re struggling.  You never know when someone will have an idea or a resource that can help you.  If you keep all your struggles to yourself and you’re not able to solve them you’re not doing anyone any good.  Sometimes just voicing your struggles actually helps you to come up with a solution on your own.

Your Life Your Choice

When it all comes down to it, you decide exactly where it is you want to go in life.  If you really want something to happen you go after it!  Take one small step each day that will get you closer to what you want.  It probably won’t happen fast, but if it’s important enough you’ll just do what you have to do until you get it.

Your Minimums

What are Minimums?

Every day you have certain things that you absolutely have to do and a bunch of things you should do.  The ones that you absolutely have to do are your minimums.  These are the 1-5 things that you have identified as having the biggest impact on your day to day life.  You need to recognize what those things are and put a plan in place so you consistently get these tasks done.

Take note the next time you’re feeling good, full of energy, and successful and ask yourself what actions contributed to those feelings.  Pay attention to what brings you joy and a feeling of accomplishment so you can make these actions your minimums.

How To Tell What Your Minimums Are

  • What are the daily habits that you perform consistently?
  • Are there some small changes that you’ve made that have resulted in a REALLY big difference that is positive?  What are they?
  • Ask yourself what makes you feel good physically, emotionally, and mentally?

Minimums aren’t carved in stone.  They can change slightly as you grow and learn more about what direction you want to go in.  As you go through life you’ll go through many changes such as your activity level, your stress level, your health and your career focus to name a few.  Your minimums will change to match your goals.

Examples of Minimums

Managing Minimums

Your minimums are the things that you do every day no matter what.  You do them no matter what because of the impact they have on your health and well-being.  There may be the odd time that you stray from your minimums due to unexpected circumstances but for the majority of the time you get your minimums done every day.  If you find that certain minimums are not getting done the majority of the time it’s time for you to reevaluate what your minimums really need to be.

The purpose of figuring out and then implementing your minimums is to give you a small number of behaviors/habits to focus on at one time.  These minimums will keep you heading in the direction you want to go in.  Pick the things that make the greatest difference for you and focus your time and energy there.  Minimums come first and the rest will fit in around them.

Tips To Become Fit, Stay Fit & Still Be Happy

Sometimes when you see a really fit person you assume that they have good genes and fitness comes easy for them.  In some cases this might be true but in most it’s not.  The thing that these fit people have that you might not have yet is a set of healthy habits.  Habits that have been worked on until they became second nature.  Here are some tips on how to become fit, stay fit and still be happy!

Don’t diet!  EVER!

Most often ‘dieting’ leads to failure.  You can put yourself on a diet that results in weight loss, but is that diet sustainable?  If you’re calling it a diet the answer is probably no.  Diets are understood to be something you do to lose weight and once you hit your target you can stop dieting…..think about that for a second.  What happens when you go back to not dieting?  You gain weight!  If you like losing weight only to gain it all plus more back then dieting is your key.  I think most of us want a lifestyle that is sustainable and supports a healthy body.

Instead of dieting talk to someone about portion control and learn how much you can have of the foods you like to eat.  Eating is one of the great joys of life!  A healthy nutrition plan will be both nutritious and delicious 😉  Need help?  Ask me.

Make your health & fitness a priority.

Without your health, you have nothing.  Anyone who is struggling with their health will tell you the number one thing they want is their health back.  Don’t let yourself get to the point of discovering this on your own.  It’s your obligation to take care of yourself so you can take care of your loved ones and not become a burden to them or to yourself financially.

Make a decision today that you will do whatever it takes to be healthy and fit for yourself and your loved ones and make it your priority.  With all the options for working out and eating healthy out there, there is something that will fit with your lifestyle.  Need help?  Ask me.

Find a way to enjoy exercise.

Exercise is NOT torture.  If you think it is you just haven’t found the right thing for you.  Just because your friend spends hours at the gym doesn’t mean that you have to.  There are endless ways to move your body and make it healthy and strong.

Think about the last physically active thing you did that you loved.  Something that just felt joyful for you.  If you can’t think of anything start looking for new things to try: dancing, running, walking, playing a sport, boxing, taking a fitness class you’ve never tried, working out at home with a variety of different workouts.  Find something that gets you fired up and do it!  Need help? Ask me.

Do NOT strive for perfection!

When you put that kind of pressure on yourself, you’re almost guaranteed to fail.  You’re basically sabotaging yourself if you decide you need to be perfect every single day.  Nobody is perfect!  Would you expect your friends and loved ones to be perfect?  Why would you expect that of yourself?

Be kind to yourself.  Accept the fact that every day might not play out how you want it to.  Set your intentions to do your best for that day and if things go awry just move on.  As long as you stay focused on what you want out of life you’ll get there.  The little blips along the way are just there to keep things interesting and to help you learn.  Need help?  Ask me.

Honor Yourself

The most important thing in life is that you honor yourself and treat yourself with the kindness and respect you’d treat others.  Set your goals, don’t lose sight of them and give yourself a little slack when you need it.  Need help?  Ask me!!  😊

Fat Burning Tips

There are lots of weight loss gimmicks out there!  The reason there are so many is because people are so desperate to lose excess body fat that they will literally do/buy anything to achieve that goal.  The truth is that we can’t buy fat loss.  What you need is the proper information, and a plan!  You need these fat burning tips!

Here are some tips:

Control blood sugar:

Controlling blood sugar level is where it all starts.  Eat lean protein, healthy carbs and fats every 2-4 hours.

 

Watch your calories:

You want to make sure that you burn more calories than you take in, but you also must not under-eat.  If you don’t eat enough your metabolism will slow down, and your progress will come to a screeching halt.  If you’re losing more than 2lbs per week on a consistant basis you are probably stripping muscle tissue.  Never eat less than 1200 calories.  An active female should be eating 1800-2000 calories per day, and an active man should be eating 2000-2500 calories per day.

 

Ratios count:

You should watch your total calorie intake, but keep in mind that a calorie is not a calorie.  If a person were to eat 1800 calories worth of just carbs everyday, they would have a very different kind of body then someone who is eating a healthy ratio of carbs, lean protein and fat.  Depending on the type of training that you’re doing, and how your body responds to certain nutrients, it is generally recommended that you should be getting 40-50% carbs, 30-40% protein, and about 20-30% healthy fats.  You’ll have to play around with different ratios to find out what works best for you.  Just remember:  you need carbs for energy, protein for muscle growth, and healthy fats to keep hormones balanced.

 

Weight training:

To affect muscle versus fat ratios you have to train with weights or perform some type of resistance training.  An intense weight workout lasting no more than 45 minutes is the most efficient route to go.

 

Cardio:

Cardio should be approached as a tool to lose fat.  It should not be used as a never ending event in hopes that all body fat will magically burn off.  Excessive cardio is counter-productive, and will burn not only fat, but precious muscle as well.  If fat loss is not taking place, increase the intensity of your session, not the time.  Try a spin class.  Or shorten your usual cardio routing and try adding high intensity bursts to it (burpees are fun!)

 

Water intake:

From the standpoint of water intake and fat loss, you want to be in a position where the liver is converting stored fat into energy.  The liver has other functions, but this is one of its main jobs.  Unfortunately, another of the liver’s duties is to pick up the slack for the kidneys, which need plenty of water to work properly (more than most people realize.)  If the kidneys are water deprived, the liver has to do the work of the kidneys along with its own.  The liver then can’t metabolize fat as quickly or efficiently.  Get 8-12 glasses per day, and make sure your urine is straw coloured – if it’s clear, you’ve drank more than you need.

 

DISCIPLINE:

Let’s face it – most people lack discipline.  This is why these ‘lose fat fast and easily’ gimmicks are so popular.  We really just need to buckle down and realize that it’s not going to be easy, it’s not going to be quick, but if done right it will be worth all your hard work.  So work hard, embrace the ‘discomfort zone’ and enjoy the results of all your hard work!

Why I Became A Coach

The other day someone asked me why I decided to start a second business as an online coach.  I was already building a business, why would I want to build a second business?  My answer?  Extra financial stability.

My Bad Decision

About 2 years into running my fitness studio I made a very bad business decision.  The decision was motivated by fear and self-doubt and it resulted in a huge financial blow.  I found myself in a situation where I had to use credit cards and cash in my RRSPs and GICs so I could cover rent and bills.  I had no other choice other than shut down my business and there was no way I was going to let one really bad blow keep me down.

Painful Reality

I knew what I was getting into by using my credit cards to pay rent and bills.  I was plunging myself into even deeper debt and interest rates are high on credit cards.  What I wasn’t aware of was how much it was going to cost me to cash in my RRSPs and GICs.  I know they were meant for retirement but I was in a situation where my only alternative was to give up on my dream and close my studio.  I was so angry that I was being financially penalized for needing access to my money that I had been putting away since my 20s just because I needed it earlier than expected.

Hello Opportunity

I was in a pretty low place and was really stressed out about my debt.  I hadn’t even paid off the bank loan I got to open my studio. Now I had huge credit card debt and nothing left in my retirement savings plan.

One day a Facebook friend of mine reached out and asked if I had ever considered online coaching.  All of a sudden I felt a glimmer of hope!  I hadn’t even thought of expanding my business by going online and helping people that way.

Online coaching would allow me to do what I was doing at my studio and offer it to a much larger audience.

Another Opportunity

The support is the other amazing part of this whole thing.

Helping people with their health and fitness is easy for me.  It’s my passion and I love to do it.  The other great thing that came with this opportunity was the ability to help other people who want to build their own business.  Helping people start a small business is another passion of mine.

When I started coaching, I got put on a team of people who were all working toward a common goal.  These people motivate, inspire and give me tough love when I need it.  Now I get to do the same thing.  Running a business can be lonely and scary.  But when you have a whole team of people behind you, you know you can do anything. We get to help people who want a better life, want to be able to work from home and who want to help change other people’s lives.

I’m All In

For me this was a no-brainer.  I needed more income and online coaching was a way for me to help an unlimited amount of people.  I also get to help people start there own business.  And, the extra money I’m making can go into my savings account so I know that when I need it I’ll have access to all of it!  No penalty fees for wanting to access my money when I need it!  If a financial emergency happens again I’ll be prepared and won’t need to go into debt.  I’m also building up a nice little nest egg for when I do retire.  That kind of retirement plan makes way more sense to me.  So, in a nutshell, that’s why I became an online coach 😊

 

Are You Ready To Change?

Sometimes even when you know you need to make changes you get stuck.  Why does this happen?  Maybe you’re just not ready to change.

To Change Or Not To Change

You can want something so badly you can taste it but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to make changes just yet and that’s okay!  The first step toward bettering yourself is recognizing where you can improve.  Just recognizing it does not mean you’re completely ready though.  So how do you know when you are ready to change?

Signs You’re Ready To Change

  1. You’re tired of living just to get through another day.

You know life is meant to be enjoyed and living just to pay the bills and get all the things on your to-do list done is slowly sucking the life out of you.  You find yourself dreaming about living the life you want with purpose and passion.  Deep down you know it’s your time to thrive.

  1. Your life is in upheaval.

When an area or your life is in upheaval this is a clear sign that changes need to be made.  This is a time for you to learn more about yourself, what you want and what you’re willing to do to get there.

  1. You feel like you’ve hit bottom.

You’ve been thinking about making this particular change for a while and you’re finally at that point where your frustration and unhappiness is too much to bear.  You’re not willing to settle for this in your life anymore.

  1. You start to notice a certain theme surrounding you.

You notice that there seems to be a common theme amongst your friends and the world around you.  People that have come into your life recently seem to somehow be connected to the outcome that you want for yourself.  Opportunities start to present themselves to you and you can’t help but think that this is a clear sign that it is time and you are ready.

It’s Time To Take Action

Don’t ignore the signs that you are in fact ready for change.  Be open to the people and opportunities that you are attracting.  Know that your intuition will guide you to where you need to go.  Stop fighting it and take action now!

Top Reasons For Not Exercising

What are your reasons for not exercising? About 60% of North Americans don’t get the recommended amount of physical activity.  Considering that we are experiencing an epidemic of obesity right now, more people need to get moving.

There are lots of excuses not to exercise and for each of those excuses there is a solution.  A solution that will result in a better quality of life for everyone.

Excuses & Solutions

  1. You hate exercising

For a lot of people, when they think of exercise they think of marathon sweat sessions at the gym doing something boring.  You don’t have to go to the gym to exercise.  Find a physical activity that you enjoy and do that!  It could be a new class at the gym, or hiking, or dancing, or playing a favourite sport with friends.  Physical activity can be fun, you just have to look for something you enjoy.

  1. You can’t afford to go to the gym

As mentioned above, you don’t actually have to go to a gym to workout.  There are videos you can do at home, free apps, free info on Google and YouTube.  You don’t have to get an expensive gym membership in order to workout.

  1. You lose motivation because you don’t see results fast enough

Results won’t happen overnight.  This is a process and it may take some time but the payoff is well worth it.  If you’ve been working out for a long time and you’re still not seeing results it may be because of your nutrition.  Nutrition is about 80% of the equation.  Talk to someone knowledgeable to learn about proper portion control and you’ll start to see the results you’re working for.

  1. You have small kids at home

It can be really tough to fit in a workout when you’re busy looking after kids but it can be done.  Get videos and sneak in a half hour workout before the kids get up.  If your kids are older do your workout video while they’re doing their homework.

  1. No time

Some people really are super busy but that doesn’t mean they can’t workout.  Split your workout up into 10 and 15 minute segments that you fit in throughout the day.  Exercise is cumulative so whether you do a full 30 minutes all at once or break it up into 10 minute segments you still get the benefits.

No Excuses!

Everyone needs to take care of their health.  Some people figure that because they’re not suffering any health issues right now they don’t need to workout but what about the future?  If you wait until you have a problem before you start working out and taking care of your health it may be too late.  Do you really want to get to a point where you’re dependent on medications to keep your disease under control and keep you pain free?  Start now so you don’t have to face the dire consequences later.  If you’re healthy and fit right now and have friends and family who aren’t, start encouraging them to look after their health like you do.  Teach them what you know and motivate them to change their life!

How To Change

You have the power to change your life!  Change is rarely easy but almost always worth the effort.  Many people give up when they’re trying to make changes because it gets uncomfortable.  It really helps to know the emotional process you go through when trying to make changes so you don’t get derailed.

The Emotional Rollercoaster of Change

When making changes in your life you’ll go through an emotional rollercoaster.  Psychologists Don Kelley and Daryl Connor actually came up with a name for this: The Emotional Cycle of Change.  Here are the 5 stages:

  1. Uninformed Optimism

This is the exciting stage!  This is where you imagine all the benefits and have not yet experienced any of the sacrifices and costs.  You see all the benefits of change and none of the downside.  You’re excited and brainstorming about how you’re going to make these changes.  This stage is fun!

  1. Informed Pessimism

Shortly after you experience the first stage, you move into this stage.  This is where you start to realize what it’s going to actually take to make the changes you want.  You start to feel negative emotions and all of a sudden the benefits don’t seem as real or as important and the sacrifices and costs seem too high.  You start to question whether or not the benefits are worth the cost and begin to look for reasons to abandon the effort.

  1. Valley of Despair

This is when most people give up.  You feel all of the pain of making a change and the benefits just seem too far away and not as important as they were in the beginning.  You want to end the discomfort by going back to your old comfortable ways.

This is the stage where your vision/goal needs to be REALLY compelling.  When you want something badly enough you will endure any kind of discomfort to get there.  A strong vision plus commitment and the tools you need to get to where you want to go will get you through this stage.

  1. Informed Optimism

When you get to this stage your likelihood of success is much higher.  You’re starting to see the benefits of your actions and this puts you back in a positive emotional state.  The sacrifices and costs feel less now because they’re becoming more routine.  The key at this stage is to NOT stop!

  1. Success and Fulfillment

This is the stage where the benefits of your actions are realized and the sacrifice and cost of making this change is virtually gone.  The actions and thoughts that got you here are now routine for you.  Every time you make it to this stage you build more confidence so you can move onto the next change without as much fear.

Be Ready For The Ups and Downs

When making changes in your life you’ll experience lots of ups and downs.  Now that you know this you have the ability to recognize the stage you’re in and you’ll be able to keep pushing during the low times.  Keep your vision clear, get through the 4 stages and you’ll find yourself at stage 5 and ready for the next change!

How To Read A Nutrition Label

Do you take the time to read the nutrition label on the food you buy?  Do you know which ingredients are good and which are bad?

Read The Label!

If you’re not reading the nutritional label on the foods you’re buying, how can you know what you’re putting in your body?  Most processed foods that are marketed as healthy have a lot of added sugars and trans fats. For example, did you know that a chocolate peanut butter PowerBar Performance Bar has 20 grams of sugar? Another shocker is Raisin Bran coming in with 15 grams of sugar. That’s twice the amount of sugar in a Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut!

You need to reading labels if you want to take control of what you’re putting in your and your family’s bodies.

What To Look For

  •  Notice how many ingredients are listed – the larger the list the worse it is. Can you pronounce the ingredients and do you know what they are.  If you don’t, don’t eat it!
  • Always look at the serving size. In many cases, it’s a lot smaller than you might assume.
  • Look for an adequate amount of fats, fiber and protein.
  • Look for added sugars – if sugar is added leave it in the grocery store.
  • Compare the amount of potassium to sodium. You want to have at least double the amount of potassium to sodium.
  • Look at the fat content. If it’s high in saturated fat you might not want to eat it, or at least not a lot of it.  If there are any trans fats leave it at the store!

Sneaky Stuff

Did you know that even if the front of the package says “no trans fats,” there might actually be trans fats in it?  They can get away with saying that a product is trans fat (or sugar) free if there is less than 1g per serving.  That means that if you were to eat 2 servings of this particular trans fat free product, you’ve actually just injested 1 gram of trans fats!  Check the ingredient list for hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.

Avoiding added sugars is also important. Natural sugars in milk and fruit are fine. But added processed sugars and sugar alcohols (added to low carb foods to give them flavour) are not good.

If you see any of the following DON’T buy it:

Corn sweetener

  • Corn Syrup or Corn Syrup Solids
  • Dehydrated Cane Juice
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Fruit Juice Concentrate
  • Glucose
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Invert Sugar
  • Maltodextrin
  • Malt Syrup
  • Maltose
  • Raw Sugar
  • Rice Syrup
  • Sucralose
  • Sorghum or Sorghum Syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Syrup
  • Turbinado Sugar
  • Xylose

Tips For Grocery Shopping

  1. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store avoiding the bakery area. Look for produce, meat, seafood and dairy.  Frozen section for frozen fruits and veggies.
  2. Choose real foods. Avoid processed boxed foods.
  3. Always read your food labels. Avoid foods with long ingredient lists. If you can’t pronounce the ingredient: DO NOT BUY IT. The ingredients are listed in descending order from the most to the least. The first 3-5 ingredients are the most important.
  4. Avoid foods with High Fructose Corn Syrup or other refined sugars.
  5. Plan your grocery list ahead of time, and stick to it.
  6. Try to find produce that is local and in season for best prices.
  7. Try not to go food shopping on an empty stomach.
  8. For portion sizes: 40 calories is low, 100 calories is moderate and 400 calories is too high.