Front Page, Motivation, Nutrition

Mindful Eating in a Mindless World

It’s so easy to be distracted. We’ve all got a lot on our plates (so to speak) at any given time. It’s often especially so with eating. We eat in the car, we eat while playing with our phones or tablets, we eat while reading a book or magazine.

To help with what mindful eating is, it may be helpful to give some examples of mindless eating (or, what mindful eating isn’t). Do any of these habits sound familiar?

  • Eating until you are too full and then feeling guilty.
  • Emotional eating – eating when you are bored, stressed or anxious rather than physically hungry.
  • Grazing on food without really tasting it.
  • Mindlessly munching on snacks while zoned out in front of the TV.
  • Eating a meal at the same time each day whether you are hungry or not.
  • Skipping meals; not paying attention to your hunger signals.

The beauty of mindful eating (besides getting us back in touch with our natural selves), is that it is NOT a diet. It isn’t a fad. It costs you no money. There are no pills, pre-packaged food or giving up of entire food groups. You won’t starve or restrict. It helps you manage your weight, if that is a concern for you.

Mindful eating will allow you to enjoy your food. Every bite takes on a different sensation. You will be aware of your meal. You will be satisfied.

Geneen Roth, in her book Women, Food, and God, offers the following guidelines for kickstarting eating mindfully:

  • Eat when you are hungry.
  • Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.
  • Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety-producing conversations or music.
  • Eat what your body wants.
  • Eat until you are satisfied.
  • Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.
  • Eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure.

Give it a try.. let’s see what happens!

-Contributed by Trainer Michelle


Motivation, Nutrition

Outwitting Your Metabolism

What is metabolism?

Metabolism is the body’s process of breaking down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats to yield the energy it needs to maintain itself.  The rate of your metabolism is based on the number of calories you consume and the number of calories you burn—both while eating and exercising and as a result of your individual genetic makeup.

Ways to increase your metabolism

The best way to jump start your metabolism is to increase your body’s need for energy.  While the body can burn calories from either fat, protein, or carbohydrates, the body normally prioritizes carbohydrates to burn over fat. Why?  Our bodies aren’t wasteful; they will only burn fat when they need to for energy.  We need to outsmart our primal instincts to conserve fat stores (we are animals after all, you never know where the next food source might be!) to jump start that metabolism and burn fat.  Here are some key actions you can take to increase your metabolism:

  • Interval training—when we integrate interval training in our fitness routine, we also maximize the calories burned after each of those workouts.  You burn extra calories, even at a resting state, after an interval training workout. It’s called the “after burn effect” and can last for several hours.
  • Add muscle mass—muscle burns more calories than fat.  Being more muscular boosts your body’s energy needs.  Adding muscle mass increases your resting metabolism. Each additional pound of muscle you carry can burn up to 50 additional calories just to maintain itself.
  • Eat foods that require extra energy to digest and metabolize—your body burns twice as many calories digesting high-protein foods as it does foods that are high in carbohydrates or fat.
  • Eat often but eat right—by eating frequently, you reassure your body that you aren’t going to starve. While recommendations vary, eating every 2 to 3 hours feeds muscle and starves fat.   Each time you eat, you stimulate your metabolism.  However, don’t use that as an excuse to snack.  Eat healthy foods. For example, increasing your intake of vegetables is one of the best ways to increase your metabolism!
  • Drink plenty of water—enough said.
  • Get good sleep—inadequate sleep can also impact your metabolism.  According to one study on, the rate of calories your body burns in a resting state represents about 60-75% of your total daily calorie burning. Slowing your metabolism through lack of sleep is a roadblock to weight loss.
  • Consume Omega-3 fatty acids—Studies show fish oil increases levels of fat burning enzymes and decreases levels of fat storage enzymes in your body.
  • Increase physical activity in all aspects of your daily life.  Regular movement throughout the day nudges a sluggish metabolism.  Have walking one-on-one meetings, take the stairs, go for a daily 5 minute walk, stretch while watching television or at your desk.  All of these things make a difference.

-Contributed by Trainer Gina


Snacking for Health

Snacking for Health

I don’t know about you, but I love to snack.  Booty camp workouts make me hungry!  However, my snacking habits are often based on the food I have laying around the house or something I can quickly purchase during the busy day.  You have to make the conscious decision to snack healthy. According to research by the USDA, snacking is a dietary behavior that has increased in recent decades in the U.S., and correlated in part, with the increase in the American population who are overweight and obese.   Snacking is typically associated with increased caloric intake and decreased nutrient intake.  But it doesn’t need to be that way.  When done right, snacking can be used to keep your energy levels up throughout the day and can provide an opportunity to get in all of your nutritional needs.  Here are a couple of snacks you can make in advance that offer a healthy and wholesome alternative AND will satisfy that craving.

Baked Kale Crisps

If you are craving something salty (like potato chips), try baked kale chips!

  • 1 bunch kale (rinsed and dried)
  • Coconut or olive oil
  • 1/4- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • Other spices to your taste (I like cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.  Remove kale from stalks and break into 2-inch pieces.  Massage oil, salt and spices into kale pieces until evenly distributed. Spread kale out over a baking sheet (you can use parchment paper or foil but not necessary). Make sure the pieces of kale don’t overlap.  Bake for 10-12 minutes (the amount of time will vary with each oven) until the edges of the kale are nicely browned and crisp but still green. If some kale chips are still a little flimsy or damp, remove the crisp chips and place the damp chips back in the oven for a few more minutes. Store in an air-tight container.

Kale Dusted Popcorn

Grind up or crumble your crisp kale chips on top of air popped popcorn for a variation on the snack.  You can add olive oil, salt, pepper, and the kale for flavorful toppings on your popcorn.

White Bean and Roasted Garlic Dip

Are veggies and hummus your go to snack?  It is a great healthy snack, but if you are like me, you are probably burnt out on hummus. There are a ton of great blended alternatives to hummus that offer the same amount of protein and nutritional value. Try making some white bean and roasted garlic dip as a sub to your typical hummus:

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2  whole garlic heads
  • 2  (16-ounce) cans canellini beans or other white beans
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°.  Prepare roasted ga