Worry into the Evening. Just Relax

Something I’ve particularly noticed recently in myself. As the day goes on, or I feel more fatigued in the day, and I naturally become tired, less focused, I can more easily become worried, anxious, depressed, and stressed. Now, realistically, deep inside I know I don’t have to worry, and what I worry about often doesn’t come to fruition. Many of these fears involve work, making money, losing clients or work, not getting new business, or whether others I am close with, meet or work with (clients or even coworkers, family, friends) are going to be frustrated with me and my priorities, choices, and ways I do things. When people get quiet or I don’t talk to them for a day or two when I was talking more just previously, I get preemptively worried. 
The funny thing, I am the person who actually gets quiet and wants alone time or personal time just as much as I don’t talk or see these people for periods of time. 
Back again to the fact that I’m more anxious in these ways in the second half of the day or later afternoon into the evening and night. What I’m finding out about myself is that when I have thoughts and feelings as these, what’s actually going on is in trying to do too much all at once, wanting answers prematurely, am thinking about too much, or am just naturally tired from the day (a good productive tired though). 
Looking back at my college days when I feel I was at one of my best and strongest points in my life mentally, physically, and emotionally, I would get this tired feeling, And I learned a lot about myself and these worry feelings then that I dealt with productively. What I learned that if I feel overwhelmed, anxious, tired in the evenings, it’s a key sign I need to wrap up for the night. Set aside the assignments, studying, to dos; and instead go into autopilot to get ready for bed, relax, then go to sleep. 

While other peers of mine would be cramming for exams or finishing up papers last minute with late or all nighters, I’d be drifting to sleep. 
The best part? I would wake up the next day much clearer headed, focused, and ready for the day. And my exams and work showed. My GPA and grades remained high at a 4.0 and I did just as well if not better than if I had not gotten sleep and run my mind to the ground staying up doing work. 
So how does this apply to today, or to others? A bit of science and studying shows that sleep, breaks between learning and work and application of that work, allows us to be more productive, make less mistakes, be happier even. 
This is important for me as it gives me relief that maybe my negative feelings and thoughts in the evening is just the sign I should wrap up for the night, set aside all the thoughts and to dos for the next morning and day, and let go to get rest and sleep. 
Think about how this may apply to you? Will what you’re doing late at night be detrimental if you actually got rest and did it in the morning or when you’re head was rested and recovered? Are you staying up and sacrificing relaxing time and sleep? Are you zoning out to the tv or screen time? 
Lastly, I want to reiterate that by no means do I think everyone works as I just wrote about. But some do, and for those who do fare well that’s great! I’m completely happy for you. Do what works for you. Just keep in mind yourselves, that the late nights don’t work for everyone as they do you. I’m a strong believer we can all be happy and content amongst others who may do things or thrive differently than you may. It’s having a bit of respect, no judgement or assumption, or one size fits all mindsets. 

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Short Lived Taste or Long Lasting Feelings?

I will admit, I love sweets, ice cream, creamy desserts, special holiday cookies or cakes. I’d rather pass on all my carbs in my meals and just have a dessert or sweet treat. 
But, in all honesty, I’ve learned a lot about my body and sweets or sugars. One, I’m highly sensitive to sweets. My blood sugar goes super high, then super low, leading me from anxious to zombie. Not cool, when you want to have the energy and focus to do productive and fun activities. 
This is something I’ve learned through conscious and mindful eating, attention to my body and its responses, and have the curiosity to try not having them to see how I fare, which is well. 
Beyond the blood sugar, sweet negatively affect me in other ways as well. They hold me back from losing those could of nagging pounds that I hold on my thighs and waist. They create brain fog and mental fatigue. They limit my full ability to workout because their energy spike is so short lived that by the time I am ready to get in a good workout I’m so tired I want to skip it. 
So, what has worked? I try to encourage those I work with not to deprive themselves and eliminate forever favorite foods as it may lead to binging or feelings of deprivation. But some cases warrant a bit tougher approach. Yet, ‘tough’ is in the eyes of the beholder. There are ways to bypass and make avoiding sweets less difficult and more pleasurable. And those ways are just what has helped me not feel deprived or craving. 
Here are some of the things to do and consider:
– Keep healthy complex carbs in small amounts in your diet. You may need 1 bite, you may need a full serving (not just a portion). Some complex carbs your body does better with than others. These foods include sweet potatoes, potatoes (not fried), oats, quinoa, whole grains, gluten free grains, brown rice, low sweet fruits (berries and citrus, kiwi too). The ones my body likes best cycle, right now rice is ok, my quinoa and corn pasta, and citrus are my go tos)

– Prioritize non starchy veggies and lean protein. If you’re getting ample of these your cravings and hunger are more easily tamed. Non starchy veggies (nsv) are green, or other colorful veggies, leafy greens, etc. lean proteins can be meat, poultry, fish, seafood, organic yogurt and dairy (if your stomach is ok), eggs, egg whites, etc. 

– hydrate. Water, unsweet tea, seltzer water. These tame hunger, cravings and energy as well. Also prevent brain fog

– Make foods with FLAVOR! I hate bland, plain, or boring food. If my tastebuds aren’t satisfied, I’ll go looking for more, usually dessert. Use condiments, spices, seasonings, 

– Plan when and what you want to have as a treat 1-2 times a week. Adjust the what, when, and how often based on your progress towards your goals and unique metabolism. 

– Avoid cutting way down on carbs and calories drastically. Especially when you’re active. This will backfire. Be strategic in incorporating them. Around workout/post workout, 

– When you do eat them, be extra conscious and mindful. Enjoy to the fullest without deprivation. 

– Try the 2-3 bite method. The first couple bites are the best, you also find out by then if you really like the food or if your tastebuds are bored or satisfied. 

  

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The Problem with New Years (Resolutions)

I don’t really care for resolutions and deadline goals. That’s because you either see people take them to extremes or create generic goals and resolutions that gives no plan of action to put into action. 
For example, you can’t just say: ‘I am going to lose weight’, ‘I am not going to eat ___ food”, or ‘I’m going to start working out’. These statements are not quantifiable or measurable. They can mean anything and vary greatly. 

These lead nearly directly to failure. 
A good goal is one that you are able to measure progress. It is also broken down into process and action plans and is specific. 
Create a goal or resolution that is specific, measurable, and has an action plan or process to implement. 
I am launching my 90-Day Transformation Program in just over a week. The program is created for not only setting and implementing this resolutions of goals you have, but in making them long lasting changes through lifestyle habits. 
Contact me to join the program!

630-300-8289

Rachelsfusion@gmail.com 

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Why I Choose to Choose the Middle-Ground

Going to extremes typically doesn’t work in the long run. And if you’re going to be around for a long time, which life permits of us humans, why do we have to think in some impatient, short term way to reaching a goal or changing our physiques or health?
Yes, reaching the goal sooner rather than later is exciting, but it’s not the end all. There’s the entire process and time it takes for us to get to these goals, and there are the actions we take to get there. 
Taking extreme measures for some goal, like cutting way back on your calories, forbidding all carbs or favorite foods, sets you up to hate the process, and to revert back to eating those foods, and most likely overindulging in them when you do. 
Do you really want to go through some phase or change to reach a goal and not enjoy it along the way, or reach it only to yo yo back to where you started? 
I completely get it. I completely understand training, or eating for an event or date you want to do well or look amazing at. And I support these types of goals. But we need to be realistic in the process and time it takes to get there. 
Over years, I’ve practice just this mentality, where I’d say I wouldn’t eat any of my favorite or trigger foods, I would skip meals, or eat way less than necessary. Nearly every time, I’d last about 1-3 days at most before binging. 
Then, I tried a different approach. I was somewhat personally pushed into it as my schedule between college and work didn’t permit for me to not eat (I needed fuel) or to over eat (I didn’t have huge blocks of time to just binge). The shift I made for myself went something like this:

– I started taking or eating something for breakfast, I was scared to eat much because I was so used to back loading my calories, so breakfast was portion controlled, often prepared in advance. 

– I also set aside maybe 20 min each evening to package some foods, leftovers or combinations of foods to eat the next day.

– I committed to eating one of those foods or meals every 3 hours from waking. 

– I would remind myself that I was still going to eat something else in a few hours, and if it was my last meal I would remember I had breakfast to wake up to 

– breakfast and breakfast type of foods became my favorite meal because I ate them more consciously and carefully than all the others, I enjoyed them more!

– I would take small cut up portions of my favorite food (whole foods scones in my hometown were the best) which I cut into 4-5 pieces as they were ginormous. I would eat these either before or after my morning gym time, when I would have a few minutes to truly savor them. I allowed myself this nearly daily weekdays. 

– In evening I would factor in either some fruit, ocassions ply a single scoop of light vanilla ice cream

– The rest of the day I’d eat lots of produce, protein, leftover salads, or such. I came to crave these foods

– By the weekend, I just wanted a tasty favorite meal out, so I’d go to one of my fav restaurants. But since I was use to eating less, and less rich foods, I was satisfied on fewer bites and flavor rich but pretty good food. 

Guess what happened? I lost those last stubborn pounds, created a new mindset and habits, and enjoyed the process. 
I was able to stick to this more or less for a while. 
Fast forward a year or two, and I began having friends or random people suggest I do this or that differently, compete, or eat more. I let this get the better of me and began taking what worked and trying to ‘perfect’ it. 
Trying to be perfect is HARD! And it’s only short lived. I tried doing it, relentlessly, and in time I damaged my hormones and health. From slow or damaged metabolism, to thyroid trouble, to estrogen progesterone imbalance. Then what I did stopped working. 

I began gaining weight, constantly tired or blah, not well rested, and because of the slump I’d eat foods I wasn’t eating regularly. And I didn’t realize to pay attention to my body, I’d eat more, not knowing when or if to stop. 
A middle ground went from one extreme to the other. All the while hearing others around me suggest this or that or push one thing or another. So frustrating. 
Now today, I am practicing how to pay attention to my body, pay less attention to others and others comments in regards to mine, and striving to do the best I can while keeping some sort of middle ground. The middle shifts here and there based on my goals, when I am, and what’s going on in life. But I don’t throw n the towel and I don’t completely restrict myself. 
This all takes conscious practice, and huge mindset shift. It takes TIME and PATIENCE! It also takes knowing the right people and things, and avoiding the others. Choices you and only you can make. 
There are very few things that you really shouldn’t take the middle ground in. Those that are detrimental to your health or wellbeing, like eating a food your allergic to or eating gluten if you have diagnosed celiac, or smoking; these require abstinence. But many other things are perfectly fine as a middle. You need to determine where on the spectrum to be.

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Go Halfsies

One of the greatest changes I made when first embarking on improving my health was to go halfsies. If I went out, I’d only eat half. When I was served a meal I would eat half only. When I was served a sandwich, burger, or even dessert I’d eat half. See, portions have grown exponentially today. Majority of what you purchase out will be twice as large if not more than our bodies need, and that was served in the 1970s and earlier. Why has this happened? Demand for it. More bang for your money. Feeling like you get your money’s worth and getting a deal 
But it’s no deal when our waistlines have grown too!
When we then eat at home our self served portions are blown out of proportion as well. 
An easy way to start addressing this is to automatically commit to plating only half. If you are served a full plate divide it up, replace half on a smaller plate, share, or ask for a to-go box immediately. Don’t look at your food and think twice. Our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and we eat with our eyes too much. Leaving us full. 
Some bonuses to this method besides just saving calories is you have an extra meal, you save money, and you get to appreciate what you did order and eat more. Studies show when we are served less, we eat less and slower. 
Try this week and see how it goes. 

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How was that food you just ate? 

Sit and Be
How often do you sit down and just take a moment to observe, smell, look at what food is in front of you Before you begin eating? Or just simply take a few deep breathes, disengage from your day, thoughts, schedule, and what’s around you before you eat?
How often, do you think after you eat, and correlate how you feel with what you ate?
Practicing these two habits often can benefit you and your success. They bring you from strict dieting to detective and conscious living. They allow you to honor and know YOU, your body. It’s all about mindfulness and it’s pretty simple to practice. 
Aim to take ONE meal or snack daily and sit in peace and quiet, allow yourself a good 20-30 minutes to disengage from any thoughts and multitasking. 
Do this either before preparing/ordering food, or after preparing but before you begin eating. 
Place the food in front of you (if prepared). Take 3-5 deep breathes, close your eyes if desired or just keep a neutral gaze. Each time you breathe let yourself relax and let go of any thoughts or tension you may have. Take mental note of your hunger, stress, energy, cravings, and if you’re in a hurry. 

Next, look at your food, clearly note what it looks like, what parts look particularly tasty, notice if your appetite, hunger, or cravings have shifted any. Are you calmer and thus less in need of food. 

When you go to take a bite of food, be sure you aren’t doing anything else (reading, texting, talking, thinking of your to do list, thinking of how good or bad this food is, etc). Take the bite, set your utensils down, and fully chew your food noticing taste, texture, aroma, appetite. Pause, then repeat, noting any changes in hunger, appetite, cravings, and any distractions external or mentally that may come up. 

You may not notice anything. But in time, what often happens is, you and your body begin to notice satisfaction, satiation, boredom, fullness, and you can determine what to stop eating. 
After eating, note your appetite, hunger, cravings, energy at intervals of 15,30,60,120 minutes, and 3 hours. 
This doesn’t need to be obsessive, it’s simply a slower than normal practice. 
I recommend doing this once daily for at least 30 days, if not ongoing. If you can become intune with your body and it’s signals, you can honor it, choosing to do things accordingly to adjust if needed. Doing this at one meal regularly for a period of time carries into the rest of your life, meals, and eating. 
Try it this next month and let me know how you do! 
Wanting more guidance on this or any nutrition, fitness, or health coaching? Contact me today!

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Muscular or Muscle Fat?

Muscle Fat
You’ve probably baby heard of skinny fat. And there are clearly those who are simply, skinny, muscular and lean, overweight…you get the idea. 
But I see more and more people who are muscle fat. You know, those you see at the gym in the weight area regularly; but they look ‘thick, not lean and defined. It’s not just muscle and leanness you see. You see a layer of fat that is over any muscle they do have. 
These people, generally, train hard, train regularly, eat plenty of clean and healthy foods, but there is clearly a problem with what they’re doing because they have this extra thick layer. 
I most often see people like this who either love the gym and lifting, do it so often that they don’t evaluate if their training is actually helping or hindering them, or fail to cycle through and periodize their training and exercise in a productive way, if at all. 
They also may tend to eat plenty of ‘clean’ foods, including protein, healthy carbs and starches, fats, veggies; but in reality there is no calorie deficit, and they aren’t eating for their body’s needs for their goal. 
Then, there are those who just don’t get ample recovery due to training so often, plus adding in work life, social time, late nights, early mornings… They slack on sleep, rest, downtime; and the body pays for it with decreases in positive body change, stress, weight gain or no loss, hunger, cravings, low energy, and potentially hormone and metabolism damage!
GOOD NEWS THOUGH! It’s not inevitable that you will always be like this if you fall into this pattern. 
First, you need to set aside any assumptions and biased towards your current way of living and what you hear or read. Instead, you must sit down and delve into YOUR body, habits, goals; be the detective. 
Identify how often you train, how you train, what your diet is like currently, how you feel (energy, mood, cravings, hunger), how your body is stressed (internally and externally, I recently created a post on various sources of stress you may not realize impact you), and your goals and progress. Note: Exercise itself is a Stressor, which means exercising requires recovery after. 
Chances are there will need to be a shift towards less intense activity, training SMARTER, getting more sleep and rest, repairing your body internally, and adjusting your mindset and actually choices around food. 
This whole process and mind body shift will require time and patience, and commitment to changing and creating new habits and actions. 
I’m more than happy to help you along the way, too! Contact me if you’d like to take up the offer. 

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Tired after Eating? Food not giving you the Fuel and Energy you need? 

A good sign that you’re eating something that is not optimal for your body is having fatigue, brain fog, or low energy after eating. Eating should fuel you, providing sustained steady energy for a good couple hours. If you’re sinking out or unfocused anywhere from 20 minutes to 2-3 hours post eating rethinking your food choices can positively shift this. 
Some reasons for feeling tired after eating may be:

– too much food

– Too many carbs from sugars or refined sources

– Consuming a food your body is sensitive to or that you have an intolerance to

– Eating too much

– Eating too little

– Eating in a rushed, stressed, or disconnected mindset

– Multitasking

– Not enough of important nutrients
Fortunately there are numerous ways to adjust this problem and feel better!
When coaching my clients, one of the first things I teach them is how to create a balanced plate. Then we customize it to their needs. A balanced plate is divined into quarters; two quarters are filled with non starchy veggies or low sweet fruits, at least one quarter is lean protein, and the rest is either starchy carbs or varied depending on the individual, fat is used as a garnish or is used in the cooking process. 
The average person can get by with this balanced plate because it provides nutrients from all three major macronutrient groups plus micronutrients in amounts that aren’t too high or low. More active people may need more protein and carbs, while those shooting for fat loss or are less active need less carbs and ample protein. 
Eating much more than this balanced plate in terms of calories and carbs especially will leave your body doing extra work to divest what you just ate. While your body digests food it takes away energy used for other tasks to do this, leaving you sluggish. In this case, simply decreasing the amount to that of a balanced plate above, and serving your meal up on a salad sized plate rather than a large dinner plate (plate sizes have grown tremendously in the last 30-40 years) will aid in this change. 
Eating just enough carbs to provide fuel and of the right quality will stave off fatigue as well. Refined or processed carbs and sugars raise blood sugar quickly, but last very briefly, leaving you tired soon after. Same with fat, carb, and Charlotte dense foods like fries and chips. Even though they may taste good, the body cannot use these efficiently and in a sustained way. Plus any extra calories are stored as fat, and when tons of quick digested calories are consumed at once, aren’t used for energy immediately, they will be stored, leaving you fatter, tired, and still hungry. Avoid refined, fatty, and sugar rich carbs. Choose whole grain or starchy carbs instead, plus vegetables which are rich in fiber and necessary nutrients. The best carbs besides non starchy veggies are less sweet fruits including berries, citrus, and kiwi; beans and legumes, oats, sweet potato, potato, quinoa, winter squash and root veggies, and brown rice. 
Having an undiagnosed food sensitivity can also may you groggy, moody, or in a brain fog. Food sensitivities range from severe to mild and can manifest in physical, emotional, or unseen symptoms. Determining what foods, if any, you may be intolerant or sensitive to can be tricky, we eat multiple foods and ingredients in one meal typically. If you regularly eat the same food(s) and feel unwell after, it may benefit to try eliminating or replacing 1-2 foods for a few weeks and see how you feel. If you notice changes in time you may do well avoiding the food for a while, then reintroducing the food after a period of time. This is a form of an elimination diet, which you can perform in its entirely to really get to the bottom of troubles. A true elimination diet takes time, patients, and discipline as it requires a good number of weeks and months or removing then one at a time adding back single foods at a time to challenge the body. In the end, you will have a very good idea how your body reacts though. You can also overcome some sensitivities if you eliminate for long enough and repair your gut. Which leads me to another cause of food related fatigue. 

But before I bring that up I will finish by mentioning the most common food sensitivity culprits include dairy, wheat, gluten, eggs, shellfish, histamines, food additives and colors/dyes, corn, sugar, and FODMAPS. 
Internal upset or digestive and GI troubles also affect your energy and mood. When the body cannot digest, absorb, and use what we eat properly we are left with unused particles traveling around our bodies internally. Some of these particles are large unbroken pieces of food (in a sense), others are particles such as parasites, cultures, germs, etc, or even foods the body is sensitive to, that impair or damage the body. In both cases the body sees these as invaders and cannot use them for energy, repair, and proper use. Having a healthy gut, will ensure you are able to digest and use what you consume. Eating a dose of probiotics, prebiotics, fiber, micronutrients, water will ensure the body’s systems work optimally. Avoiding excess sugars and refined foods prevents build up of invadors. Avoiding foods you’re sensitive to until you repair your gut will may allow you to once again eat some of these foods in the future. A diet rich in fiber from non starchy veggies, and lean protein, rounded out with health fat maintains and repairs the gut. 
How fast you eat and how mindful you do so will also affect how your body digests, absorbs, and uses foods. Digestion begins in the stomach. If you do not chew foods entirely then large particles are swallowed and some of these are unable to be broken down in the toms have without help first in the mouth by enzymes and the teeth. It may sound absurd but chewing each bite of food 20-30 times will break it down enough to be used properly. Eating in a peaceful, not rushed, unstressed environment helps this too. When we eat when stressed, or distracted (by phones, thoughts, doing work), our bodies produce hormones that may slow or inhibit proper use of food. Additionally, standing up while eating creates less satisfaction from food. Not only our minds, but our bodies, enjoy and thrive by us paying attention to our foods while we eat. Take at least 20 minutes to sit and eat, avoid work, screen time, and multiple thoughts and just enjoy your food. Your bodies will thank you. 

  Try some of these tips and see if you notice any changes in your energy and mood when you eat!

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Self-talk, Positive Mental Attitude, and Self-Efficacy

How do you talk to yourself?How do you express yourself to or around others when it comes to health, fitness, or eating?

  
Do you say anything such as:

‘I’m always going to be fat.’

‘I don’t care what I eat today.’

‘I’ll start (a diet, working out, taking care f myself) tomorrow.’

Do you make fun of your flaws?

Do you joke about being unhealthy, overweight, or not caring about your health?

Do you critique others (strangers even) to friends or family in a negative or disgust way, but you yourself make mistakes are unhappy with yourself?

Do you beat yourself up for indulging?

Or allow yourself whatever and however much you want, eating mindlessly or fast, because other things in life are going on?

Or go through phases or restriction then over abundance?

Are you either ‘all-in’ or ‘not in at all’ when it comes to training, eating, or health behaviors?

How we talk to ourselves, about ourselves, or even about others in regards to health, fitness, eating behaviors directly influences our beliefs and thereby our actions. Even if you’re joking, having a bad day, or around those who could care less about themselves; taking your health and wellness for granted through words and actions is only hurting you. 
I see so many people today, coming to me, or searching online or locally, for THE plan, THE ANSWER, to their troubles with eating, weight, fitness, or health concerns. They just want someone to tell them what to do, do it for them, and it to be done. But we don’t change by having a plan handed to us. 
These PEOPLE NEED TO DO WORK, themselves to succeed and change. Work in terms of thoughts, beliefs, and then followed by actions. 
‘You are the answer to your own issues!’ – Scott Abel

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Transform Your Mind, Body, and Emotions in 2016

You can’t MAKE someone do something to change for the better, the goal is for THEM to WANT to. You can motivate, push, set examples, but they have to WANT IT. 
I’ll give you the tools, it’s up to you to want them, to act, and to follow through. 

Stop counting calories; start watching nutrients and portion control. Nutrients including protein, carbs, fiber, fat, sugar, and water. 
Stop exercising to burn calories; and start exercising to stimulate your body for it’s goals, exercising smarter not just harder and longer. 

Join the 90-Day Transformation Program to begin your change. You will be addressing mind, body, and emotion on the path to reaching your goals and resolutions. Creating lasting change and longterm results. No quick fixes here, no extremes or one-size plans. Guidelines, guidance, and accountability!
Program begins January 14th. Sign up any time up until then, sooner the better as there are only a limited number of spots available. Contact me to sign up! 

   

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