The holidays are my healthy living kryptonite. I am absolutely powerless against turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and gingerbread cookies….in mass quantity. The only way I can combat the inevitable extra gobble gobble around my waist is to have a plan – and this year my plan is BLAST.
Ive talked about this HIIT workout many times before, but I’ve never FULLY committed to the program. So, for the next six months, I’m going to live the BLASTLife and come out on the other side of the holidays healthier than ever (or at least still able to fit into my pants.) You Can’t Out-Exercise a Bad Diet
One of the things I love most about BLAST is they don’t just help you build a customized workout plan – they help you change your lifestyle – and that often starts with how you are powering your body. The BLAST crew partners with Registered Dietitians, like Clara Norfleet RD, LDN, to help steer us away from fad diets, detoxes and cleanses that promise only short-term fixes. Instead, they arm us with the tools and education needed for sustainable and real results.
I spoke with Clara about her best healthy eating tips – and how to drop a dress size by New Years!
1. I’ve heard that to lose weight, eating less is far more important than exercising. Is that true?
Not exactly, though I do agree that food/nutrition plays the predominant role in weight loss efforts. However, eating less is NOT always the answer! While for some portion control is a valid concern, many of us more likely just need to focus on the quality of foods (and drinks) we are consuming. – focusing on consuming less refined carbs and added sugar and more vegetables, healthy fats and lean proteins! If you want to say “eat less”, I’d say “eat less” packaged and processed foods, and more real, whole, foods!
2. Healthy eating seems really expensive – any tips? You Can’t Out-Exercise a Bad Diet
I won’t beat around the bush, healthy eating WILL cost more money, but I like to look at the return on investment being high in the long run, as you’ll likely be spending less on health care and medical costs like hospital visits and excessive prescriptions. My tops tips for saving money while still making healthy options:
- Go in with a plan!! Whether it be a full menu, or a couple meals already planned out; this helps to reduce food waste and letting foods sit in your pantry or fridge with no idea how to use them.
- Shop in season fresh produce
- Shop sales fliers and weekly specials from your favorite stores, and plan meals around foods that are on sale!
- Don’t get sucked into “healthy” junk food like chips, crackers, ice cream, etc. Fine in moderation, but they can add up!
- Eat before you shop. When you’re hungry going into a grocery store, you’re more likely to throw things in your cart you wouldn’t otherwise get
- Make a list and go in with a plan to stick to it
- Buy less packaged/pre-sliced/pre-
prepared foods like shredded cheese, bagged lettuce, individual oatmeal, nuts, etc…Buy in bulk, or whole, and portion out yourself.
- Even if its “on sale”, only buy it if you’ll actually use it!
- Shop around — a product at one store might be cheaper at another.
- Frozen vegetables and fruit are great for smoothies, rather than buying fresh and freezing.
3. Is it as simple as eat less, lose weight? Or is there more that I need to know?
I wish it was that simple, but while this can work for many people, it’s not always the case. Stress, hormones, gut health and activity levels are other considerations that must be taken into consideration when attempting to lose weight. Put simply, if our stress, hormones and gut are all out of whack, it can be physically impossible for us to lose weight, even if we are eating less. I advise anyone to find ways to adequately manage stress, get adequate sleep, and find the root cause of hormonal imbalances and any gut imbalances before expecting lasting weight loss.
4. My one (or two) glasses of wine at the end of the night is my treat to myself. Am I killing my results?
In moderation, I think having a glass or two of wine is fine, but I’d also suggest finding other ways to relax and unwind that aren’t necessarily tied to food/drinks. Having alcohol right before bed can also cause disruptions in sleep patterns. I usually recommend capping it off at one drink, a couple nights a week and trying to replace with something else – kombucha in a wine glass is a fun alternative, or hot tea is a soothing option, especially in cooler months.
5. If nutrition is so important, what role does exercise really play?
Exercise and nutrition may play similar roles, but exercise has many benefits of its own! Regular exercise helps :
- Build and maintain muscle mass (more muscle = more calories burned)
- Prevent or manage chronic diseases (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, depression, metabolic syndrome, and stroke to name a few)
- Contribute to good heart health through lowering bad cholesterol and triglycerides, and improving blood flow
- Improve mood You Can’t Out-Exercise a Bad Diet
- Encourage better sleep You Can’t Out-Exercise a Bad Diet
- Build and maintain strong bones You Can’t Out-Exercise a Bad Diet
Additionally, we often tend to crave healthier foods when we work out!
6. Do you believe in cheat days? If so, what does yours look like?
I think it depends on the person, however I don’t personally do “cheat days” because I don’t love the connotation that it carries. For some, referring to a food as a “cheat food” casts it in a negative light and can create a negative relationship with that food later down the road. Additionally, when we make a food off-limits, it can actually create a neural pathway that drives us to obsess and think about that food even MORE, leading us to overeat when we finally get to have it. Instead, I encourage clients to allow themselves access to these “cheat” foods when they want, and not to feel bad about having it when they do.
7. What if the rest of the people in my house aren’t dieting? It seems impossible to resist the temptation!
It sure can be hard when others around you don’t have the same mindset and values that you do, but it can work! If there are certain foods that are “triggering” for you, talk with others in the house and see if there are places they can store these foods where they are out of sight – “out of sight, out of mind”! Having accountability partners and keeping in touch with them can also help – there are strength in numbers! However, the feeling of deprivation is never fun, so don’t feel like you can’t have a treat if others in the house are, but DO make sure you honor the moment. Rather than spooning ice cream straight out of the pint while standing in front of the freezer, make the intention to spoon a serving into a small dish, sit down at the table with others, and enjoy it bite by bite. You Can’t Out-Exercise a Bad Diet
8. When I workout my hunger is through the roof – how do I find the balance?
Make sure you are actually eating enough in the first place and understand that when you are working out, your body will in fact require more. When we fuel properly, we become more in tune with our hunger and satiety signals, naturally finding that balance. Make sure you are having meals that are comprised of wholesome, nutrient dense foods – plenty of lean protein, non-starchy vegetables for fiber and carbs, and a healthy source of fat. If you’re hungry, honor your hunger cues and eat something that will satisfy your hunger, rather than trying to wait it out.
9. If I want to drop a dress size by New Years…what should I do?
Tips I give everyone – drink plenty of water (we often confuse hunger and dehydration), get at least 7-8 hours of sleep as often as possible, and load up on non-starchy vegetables (like broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, asparagus, leafy greens), lean protein and healthy fats! Bonus tip: take stock of what you are drinking as well! Lattes, wine, beer, sweet tea, sodas, juice, and milk all have calories so be aware of portion sizes and sip accordingly.
10. If I want more energy….what should I do? You Can’t Out-Exercise a Bad Diet
Get some sleep, manage stress, and cut back on refined and added sugars!