Healthy Choices While Working From Home

Hey guys!

I’m back! Sorry for the long silence I have been absolutely swamped with school lately. As much as I wanted to get a new blog post out my guilty conscious kept telling me I should be studying instead! These past two weeks have been filled with final exams but, I am happy to say I aced my exams and can now get back to some writing! Yay!

I know it’s been awhile since I answered a fitness question so I’m going to get back to it with the topic of: Healthy choices while working at home.

While I do not 100% work from home (while I would like to), I have been a stay at home mom. When my son was born, I was a stay at home mom for a little over a year until I started my working on my Master’s degree and teaching yoga. I know how hard it can be to make healthy choices when you are cooped up at home, especially in the winter. Let’s discuss some helpful ways to stay fit while staying home.

  1. Clear out the Crap: This is pretty much my go to rule ALWAYS! And I will probably come back to again. Don’t keep junk in your home! Just don’t do it! Here is a perfect example: A few weeks ago my husband had the opportunity to order Girl Scout Cookies at work, being the thoughtful loving man he is, he decided to order one box of gluten free cookies for himself and one box of Thin Mints for me. Well I was very thankful that he thought of me when ordering, I did not realize how deadly a temptation those things are! Not only are they tempting but they are such a light and thin cookie that after having one you wonder if you even had it in the first place! Sadly to say the box of cookies only survived a little over a week. Damn you Girl Scout cookies!

 

So, the lesson here is that even some of the most resilient people can revert back to the self-control of a 4 year old when faced with the right temptations. Clear out the crap, or should I say CRACK from your cupboards it will help you so much in the long run.

 

  1. Meal Prep and Meal Plan: When you work at home or are a stay at home mom chances are you will be visited by boredom, overwork, or complacency at some point during your day. I remember being a stay at home mom, there were days I didn’t even want to get ready. Although, I still got things done there were moments of restlessness that I just wanted to do something different. I had days where I felt like I did the same things day in and day out and this left me feeling unmotivated and quite frankly unpretty. During these times of frustration it can be extremely hard to make the right choices for your health. Or maybe the issue isn’t frustration but boredom. Meal prepping your food and meal planning for your day can help to eliminate poor nutritional choices out of boredom, frustration, or just being too tired to cook.

 

Meal prep your food ahead of time so you always have healthy, home prepared foods ready for when you are hungry. Having 3-4 dinners prepared for the week allows you to just grab and enjoy the foods that may have been a hassle to prepare in the midst of your busy week. PLUS, since you already got rid of the crap in your home you now have only healthy choices! Yay!
Meal planning is also a big part of healthy choices. Planning out the food you will eat during your day, in the morning or the day before, will help you stay on track with your goals. Maybe your goal is to hit a certain calorie intake, a certain serving of fruits and veggies or just simply eating only home cooked unprocessed meals, planning will ensure success!

 

  1. Move Your Muscles: When you work from home chances are you spend a lot of time at a desk or computer. When we spend a good amount of our day sitting this causes poor circulation causing us to feel tired, achy, stiff, sluggish and quite honestly it doesn’t help us accomplish our fitness goals. Set aside time during your day to get your booty moving. However you do this is up to you here are a few ideas:
  • Taking a morning and afternoon walk
  • Every 3 hours of work take a 15 minute HIIT break
  • Schedule your morning gym time and add an afternoon walk
  • Do some lunchtime yoga
  • Every hour do 25-50 of one exercise (crunches, push-ups, squats, lunges, burpees, mountain climbers, etc.)

Incorporating movement into your day will not only move some blood and help you feel better but will help you work more efficiently as well. If you have a friend that also works from home maybe challenge each other to stay active daily by setting step/distance goals, squat goals etc.

Secure Your Success: Make goals and stick to them. Make these changes your new habits and keep them for long term success. Each week avoid the junk that hinders your healthy eating success, meal prep and meal plan looking forward to keeping your promises to better yourself, and move to stay motivated and healthy.

There are many perks to working from home but ensuring we do not become complacent is very important. I hope this was helpful. What habits have helped you stay fit working from home or taking care of your family from home? Please share, I would love to hear from you!

Hope you have a wonderful week! I promise I you will be hearing from me again soon!

Lots of love,

Andrea B Fit

 

How Our Words Affect Others

Hey guys! Sorry for the long silence lately! I have been so unbelievably busy the past few weeks and despite my strong desires to write I just couldn’t find the time! 😥 But! I’m here today so let’s get to it!

Today I really want to talk about how our words affect others.  A couple weeks ago I came across a post from an athlete I highly respect that really stopped me in my tracks and left me feeling down about myself and my journey. I’ll get to the details about that in a second but today’s post I really want to discuss the reality of how others opinions and words affect us. When it comes to the fitness world there are so many opinions out there. Some people are truly there to build others up, some people are there to build themselves up, and yes, there are even those that intend to tear others down. While I’m sure others intentions may not clearly be one or the other the reality is, our words affect others and sometimes in ways we never imagined.

Let’s start with a little background. A couple weeks ago, I shared a post called Getting Away From The Calorie Restriction Mindset For Weight Loss that detailed my experience with my first fitness competition and the obstacles I came across following the event. Before doing my first competition I would have never imagined I would enjoy doing them so much! My biggest goal following the show was to fine tune my training and diet, to not only gain muscle but, avoid drastic calorie restriction while leaning out. What I found following the show was that although I was still motivated I didn’t quite stick to my goals as strictly as I would while actually preparing for a fitness competition. I needed to light a fire under my own ass by actually getting back into a competition. So, late last year I decided my next show would be in March.

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Earlier today I posted a progress photo of myself on Instagram announcing that I will be competing March 11 as well as admitting that I waited until the last day to register for the show. To be honest, I was still scared to put myself out there and actually be accountable for something! I kept asking myself “Am I ready?” “Will I lean out in time?”. While I am still not 100% sure of the answers to these questions I knew to find the answers I had get out there and find out by experience! So here we go!

One of my biggest mindset obstacles came a month ago. One of my funniest habits I have before a workout is to jump on Instagram and find inspiration from all the strong female athletes! I know it’s silly but for some reason I really get excited about going and getting strong when I see all the successes of others! It almost provokes the mindset of “I can do this!” Anyway, I came across a post from an athlete I really respect that was ranting about how fitness competitions are an art and essentially if you cannot afford a coach then you’re wasting your time. While I understand the importance of a coach and I know that having one would take my prep and physique to the next level, at this point in my life I just cannot afford one. So, yes I prep myself. While this may give me a disadvantage it is where I am at right now and I have to appreciate that and be thankful for what I can do. This athlete’s post left me feeling so unbelievably defeated. I honestly thought about skipping my work out because, even if for a moment, I thought “What’s the point?” and I wondered if my attempts of training myself were only seen as comical by others who could afford a coach!

“The person who has the right to do something, is the one doing it.” -Jill Coleman

Needless to say I felt pretty bad about myself and my attempts. Luckily a few months before this happened and before my starting this blog I took an online seminar with a woman named Jill Coleman and the seminar was called Action Academy. One of the quotes that resonated with me strongly was the quote: “The person who has the right to something, is the one doing it.” Using this quote Jill discussed how, in our endeavors we often doubt our abilities by saying “Do I have enough credentials” or “Will others even care about what I have to say?” Jill also discussed the criticism of others and how we often worry about what other people will think of our efforts or if they will judge us thinking “Who do they think they are to being doing _____”. So we doubt are abilities and fail at taking any action out of fear. This quote led to my AH HA moment. If I could personally thank Jill for speaking these words prior to my obstacle I would hug her! Because, at that moment when I thought of this quote my determination was renewed and I knew that no matter how the competition went I could be SO PROUD of myself for taking the leap, training hard, and gaining experience I would otherwise have not gained because of FEAR!

I share this experience with you to show just how greatly our words affect others, even people we have never met. You can build others up or you can tear them down. My utmost hope of this blog and Andrea B Fit is that somehow I will be able to encourage you and build you up. I hope that I can help you see that anything is possible. Just as JillFit was a place for me to find encouragement when I was discouraged I hope I can cultivate that same atmosphere of acceptance, encouragement and positivity. When it comes to any of your goals there will always be critics but I hope you find it within yourself to persist. We will always have doubts but when we allow fear to stop us we miss out on so much opportunity! We won’t always do it perfect and we have to be OK with that reality. Give it your all anyway! Then be so proud of your efforts no matter the outcome. You can choose to do nothing out of fear or you can do something and see what happens!

As I go into the last two weeks of prep before my March 11 competition I will continue to work hard and be so happy with all of my progress. When comp day comes, whether or not I place, I have already won just for pushing past my fears, trying something new, and taking my journey to a whole new level.

If you have ever experienced something similar I’d love to hear from you. How did you deal with the defeating thoughts or fear? What is your go to encouragement to keep pressing on?

Have a beautiful, healthy day!

Love,

Andrea B Fit

 

*A special thanks to Jill Coleman whether or not she ever knows the effects of her positive words!

The Low Carb Lie

Low-carb,

Many of you women out there know exactly what I’m talking about. You may have even uttered the phrases “I’m staying away from carbs” “Carbs are my weakness” or “That has too many carbs for me” LADIES!! WAKE UP! While I am not saying you are crazy for thinking this (I am guilty of thinking these exact same things myself) I am bringing to light the fact that we are CONDITIONED to think that carbs are what make us fat! It cannot be more WRONG! Yet most girls grow up hearing their moms or other women talk about the evils of carbs.

I want to tear my hair out at the amount of trainers or health professionals that put their clients on obscenely low calorie and low-carb diets assuring them it’s the best way to lose weight. Not to mention they leave their clients thinking that achieving KETOSIS is the key to all their health problems! (I may have vomited a little in my mouth at the word.)

In this post I will discuss low-carb diets and ketosis; what they are, their benefits, and their side-effects. In my next post I will detail just how you can begin to love carbs again, feel healthier, AND yes, still lose weight!

Alright so what’s the deal with low-carb diets anyway?

Let’s have a quick talk about metabolic pathways. The body has a process of taking the foods we eat and turning them into nutrients we can then use for energy. Our bodies derive glucose from carbohydrates, fatty acids from fat, and amino acids from protein. In normal fed circumstances our bodies either use these compounds for energy or they are stored as glycogen (carbs and protein) or fat (all 3 have potential to be stored as fat). When our body is starved of food for more than 3 days our glycogen stores have been depleted and our body starts to use fat stores for energy. The liver breaks down fatty acids and produces ketones to fuel the body when glycogen is absent. These ketones are also produced when our bodies are starved of carbohydrates, which lead us to the term ketosis. The state of ketosis is when our bodies, in the limitation or absence of carbs, begins to utilize ketones as fuel for the muscles, heart, brain, and all other organs instead of glucose.

Just to review, low carb diets induce ketosis, ketosis mimics the same metabolic breakdown as STARVATION. Ketosis is starvation without actually starving yourself.

Now, let’s take a step back from the science of low-carb and talk simply about how it makes you feel. A simple google search of “symptoms of ketosis” will yield information such as:

  • Bad Breath
  • Fatigue
  • Digestive Issues (main issue being constipation! Fun)
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased Performance
  • Keto-flu (flu-like symptoms)
  • Nausea
  • Leg Cramps
  • Irritability
  • Excess Thirst
  • Heart Palpitations

The list goes on! But don’t worry if you find yourself on a webpage that advocates in favor of a low-carb diet they will assure you that in time these all will pass.

Ok, I’ll be real, I have done the low-carb thing before thinking it would be the key to achieving and maintaining weight loss. I felt like shit the whole time! I was tired, hungry ALL the time, dizzy, nauseous, and holy crap was I grumpy! This alone was enough to convince me that it wasn’t worth it, and then I started eating carbs again…. Anyone want to take a guess what happened? No, you don’t have to guess do you? Because you have either been there or seen a friend who has experienced it… chimpmunk-itis. Meaning the abnormal swelling of the entire body especially the face which makes one look like a chipmunk! (Taken straight from the Andrea Brogdon dictionary of health related words) We laugh now, but at the time it was not funny. At all. Lol. But Really.

Long-term effects of a low-carb diet

When it comes to looking at health information my inner biologist likes to go straight to the source (scholarly articles/studies) because quite honestly when you get info from a third, fourth, or fifth source the info often gets skewed. Not to mention the censorship of mainstream media and information which makes it difficult to sort through the crap, but that’s a whole other can of worms. So I’m going to give it to you straight and try to avoid the boring scientific mumbo-jumbo.

Benefits of low-carb:

Brain: After looking at tons of sources about how ketones affect the brain I found almost no significant effects on a healthy adult brain as compared to glucose. I have to be honest this was the first organ I wanted to know if function was impaired when running off ketones instead of glucose. I did however stumble upon studies examining the effects of a ketogenic diet on epileptic adults and children which found a low-carb diet to be effective in reducing the number of seizures patients experienced. (1)

Weight-loss: The reason most people submit to a low-carb diet is weight loss. Most people will experience weight loss but, there is always a threat of rebound (as mentioned above it is not pretty. Recall: chipmunk-itis). However, many people are happy with the weight loss they experience on a low-carb diet while getting to eat tons of savory, fatty foods.

There are also claims to energy benefits and appetite suppression with a low-carb diets.

Risks of low-carb:

Heart: Studies conducted on the effects of ketogenic diets on blood lipids found that levels of “bad cholesterol” (LDL) and total cholesterol were elevated while levels of “good cholesterol” (HDL) were lowered. LDL- cholesterol is considered a major contributor to lipid accumulation in arteries. This suggests that long-term adherence to a low-carb diet can mean an increased risk of heart disease.(2) This increase in LDL can also be due to the higher consumption of animal protein which leads to the next two risks.

Bowel Cancer: We cannot ignore the link between colorectal cancer and diets high in animal protein. Most low-carb diets are high in meat and low in fiber (hello constipation!). Not only does this cause stagnation in your bowels but, high meat consumption is linked to bowel cancer. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables are shown to have protective effects against many cancers including bowel, breast, pancreatic, lung, and stomach. Low-carb diets highly limit fruits and veggies! Not to mention all the great fiber you get from other grains that are limited or eliminated altogether. (3-8)

Bone Health: A diet high in meat can also lead to acidity in the body which can affect bone health. Meat, which contains Sulphur amino acids, can cause a change in blood acidity causing increased calcium, potassium, sodium and ammonia loss in the urine. (9,10,11) You’re literally peeing out necessary nutrients!

Kidney Stones: low-carb diets raise blood cholesterol and free fatty acids increasing the risk of kidney stones. (12) Kidney stones are not only painful but they are dangerous! Patients with Kidney stones run the risk of rupturing a Kidney if the stone is dislodged or becomes too large.

Phew, that is a lot! Honestly, I started this blog post with the intention of a small discussion about low-carb diets and ketosis but the nerd inside me just couldn’t help going down the rabbit hole of scholarly articles and health studies. I originally thought I would write all my thoughts about ketogenic diets down in one day but this post ended up taking me over a week. Why? I am passionate about the subject, most of all I am passionate about women’s health. I’m so tired of women thinking that carbs are making them fat. This kind of thinking only leads to a deprivation/binge cycle and it’s just destructive. Weight loss aside this kind of diet can be downright dangerous to your health in the long run. There is a better way I promise.

I hope I was able to present all this information in a helpful way. If you’re inner nerd is also intrigued by periodicals feel free to check out the works cited below!

As mentioned previously keep a look out for my next blog post detailing how you can start loving carbs again and achieve your fitness goals on a carb-full diet!

Hope your week is absolutely amazing!

With love,

Andrea B Fit

 

Works Cited:

  1. Kinsman, S. L., Vining, E. P. G., Quaskey, S. A., Mellits, D. and Freeman, J. M. (1992), Efficacy of the Ketogenic Diet for Intractable Seizure Disorders: Review of 58 Cases. Epilepsia, 33: 1132–1136. doi:10.1111/j.1528-1157.1992.tb01770.x
  2. Freedman MR,  King  J,  Kennedy    Popular diets:  a scientific review.  Obesity Research 2001;9  Suppl  1:1S- 40S.
  3. Bingham   Meat, starch and non-starch polysaccharides and large bowel cancer. Am J Clin Nutr 1988; 48: 762-7.
  4. Sandhu M,  White  ,  McPherson  K.  Systematic  review  of  the  prospective  cohort  studies  on  meat  consumption  and  colorectal cancer risk: a meta-analytical approach. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2001;10: 439-46.
  5. Norat T,  Riboli    Meat consumption and colorectal cancer:  a review of epidemiologic evidence.  Nutr  Rev  2001; 59: 37-47.
  6. Truswell   Meat consumption and cancer of the large bowel. Eur J Clin Nutr 2002; 56 Suppl 1: S19-S24.
  7. Hill M. Meat cancer and dietary advice to the public. Eur J Clin Nutr 2002; 56 Suppl 1: S36-S41.
  8. McIntosh   Cereal foods,  fibre  and  the  prevention  of  cancers. Aust J Nutr Diet 2001; 58: S34-S48
  9. Barzel US,   Massey      Excess   dietary   protein   can adversely affect bone. J Nutrition 1998; 128: 1051-3.
  10. Lemann Jr    Relationship  between  urinary  calcium  and  net  acid  excretion  as  determined  by  dietary  protein  and  potassium: a review. Nephronology 1999; 81 Suppl 1: 18-25.
  11. Wang X, Zhao X. The effect of dietary sulphur–containing amino acids on calcium excretion. Adv  Exp  Med  Biol 1998; 442: 495-9.
  12. Cotter DG, Schugar RC, Crawford PA. Ketone body metabolism and cardiovascular disease. American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology. 2013;304(8):H1060-H1076. doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00646.2012.

Self Love Every Day


We’re about four weeks out from the holiday season now and some people are still holding on to more than just their Christmas lights. Well you may be one of those families that keep their lights up well into February (Guilty! Lol) I’m going to be talking about a little more than Christmas decorations! I’m talking holiday weight! But, I say that with the utmost love and appreciation! Here is why and how you can start practicing self-love TODAY!

OK ladies, we all know it happens to everyone! When someone mutters the phrase ‘holiday weight’ we don’t naively look at them with confusion in our eyes and ask “What’s that?!” No, it’s more like an eye roll followed by a sigh as we meet their frustration with a “Here we go!” or “Tell me about it!” I mean let’s be serious! If someone gave you the choice of sitting on the beach sipping cocktails or sweating it out at the gym which would you choose? (I’m a bit of a workout freak but guuuurl I would still choose the beach cocktails!) It’s the exact same thing when it comes to the holidays. Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Year’s all full of delicious, rich, heavy, did I say delicious? Foods! Let’s not forget all the mulled wine, spiked nog, and seasonal brews! We have the choice of healthy veggies and lean protein or the previously mentioned food! I don’t even have to ask which you would choose!

The biggest thing though, is not the fact that we may have overindulged during the holidays but the loved ones we shared the food and great times with. During this Christmas I thought “I can totally make it through the holidays eating healthy, just watch” and I made it through Thanksgiving great! I made a healthy vegan Thanksgiving lentil loaf and nice cream for dessert and I silently gave myself a HUGE pat on the back. But, as Christmas approached it became harder and harder for me to resist temptation. We were surrounded by family, as we are every Christmas. Our time together was filled with beer and game nights, skiing trips, and day trips. Also, my mom is a baking machine so every time I walked into her house I almost had to shield my eyes from all the goodies that littered the tables and counter tops! Occasionally, believe it or not, I gave in and tried some of her creations and let me tell you, NO REGRETS!. On Christmas day we went snowboarding in a town that was MUCH smaller than I had remembered and since it was Christmas day there was nothing open but the ski resort. If you have ever been a vegan at a small ski resort you will know there is NOTHING they can fry up for you but potatoes! So, Christmas dinner consisted of canned re-fried beans and beer! But, it was all OK! The memories spent with family, even in the most unhealthy eating situations (canned beans and beer lol!), is far more valuable than a pat on the back for eating healthy all Christmas.

I’m sure your story was pretty similar too. Be proud that you spent the time with family. Be proud that you allowed yourself to enjoy small indulgences. I’m not saying it’s OK to OVER-indulge but it is OK to say yes to dessert or add something a little unhealthy to your plate on occasion. This could easily go overboard too and be turned into eating crap all day, every day, for the entire month of December. If that happened to you, oh well. Shit happens! But like I mentioned in my post “Resolutions Don’t Work” don’t beat yourself up over it. We cannot change what happened yesterday, or last month, or last year but we can change what we do right now, in this moment and how we will work on things tomorrow.

So how do you love yourself today despite how you may feel or how many pounds you gained?

  1. Stop obsessing over the extra weight!

I know your clothes may feel a little tight and you may feel like a bloated blimp. Believe me I have been there and I know I will be there again. It’s just normal. Most women will experience weight fluctuations throughout their life and it’s just how it goes. So, you can either obsess over the idea (or reality) of gaining weight, for the rest of your life or just start accepting the fact right here, right now. It’s OK!

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  1. You are still the beautiful and amazing you!

Just because you put on a few extra pounds doesn’t mean you are any less beautiful. I know when I gain a little weight I tend to fall into the obsession trap and worry so much about how frumpy and dumpy I feel instead of focusing on enjoying life despite how I perceive myself. When I gain a few pounds I often feel like I have to hide myself from the world until I am once again satisfied with my weight and how I look. THIS IS JUST BULLSHIT! Ladies, we need to stop letting our size determine how much we enjoy life from one day to the next. Housed within that beautiful shell is an even more beautiful soul and you need to let that shine as if the world depended on it! Cause guess what, it kind of does… but really, when we are so obsessed over how we look, which causes us to hide ourselves, we miss opportunities to experience the beauty of life or opportunities to brighten someone else’s day because we are stuck in a cloud we created ourselves. A cloud that not only did we create but we are the only ones who see it! No one else cares about the 5,10,15 extra pounds you put on they just see your personality, your kindness, your light, and how you make them feel. And quite honestly if someone is judging you for your weight or making rude comments about it, Forget them! You sure as hell don’t need that kind of person or negativity in your life.

  1. Where you are now does not determine where you will be tomorrow.

One of the biggest affirmations I say to myself when I feel yucky is “The more I love and accept myself, the more motivated I become to accomplish my goals” OK that’s a lie I’m not even that eloquent in my own head, it’s more like “Yeah I’m a little chunkier today, but I’m going to crush this workout and feel better tomorrow!” Your mindset absolutely affects your success today. So put your big girl panties on and get past the barriers you are creating for yourself and focus on crushing your diet, workout, or insecurities today! Then, wake up tomorrow and do it all over again! The best way to succeed from Monday to Friday is not to focus on Friday but to do your best today and take care of tomorrow when it comes.

  1. Finally, find small ways to show yourself love and appreciation today

Appreciate your beauty today. That might be something as simple as picking one thing to love about your body today and focusing on that throughout the day! Maybe you choose to do something that makes you feel beautiful like dressing up and going out or picking an activity that you excel at like singing, playing an instrument, dancing, or practicing yoga. Whatever it may be, do it, and appreciate your beauty and uniqueness.dba79b62-b9d6-4c88-a39a-66a0fc53daf8Now go out there and rock it girl! Own where you are then show yourself how much you are capable of accomplishing when you put all the insecurities and worries aside. Let your journey be an inspiration to others.

You ARE beautiful. Let it shine!

Have a wonderful #SelfLoveSaturday!

Sending lots of love your way,

Andrea B Fit