Guest Post: Dieting Failure to Success

Good morning! I have a really awesome guest post for you today. My friend Lauren (and who is also my “boss” at the YMCA…), just recently started a blog called The Fueled Physique and I’ve totally been loving it so I knew she HAD to guest post for me 🙂 What I love about her posts is that she’s honest and real and she doesn’t try to sell you any bullshit on diets or training or anything like that. She shares experiences she’s had or that she’s been exposed to and I think it’s everything that people can relate to! Dieting is a perfect example of that…. there are so many out there and the thing no one tells you is that not every diet works for everyone. Plus, most are not sustainable for the long haul, so you work your butt off dieting and then once you stop that particular diet you tend to gain the weight back, right? What’s the point in that? Not a whole lot, in my opinion.

Anyway, take it away, Lauren!

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Diets. Do they work?  Sure! They work if we follow the rules, but what happens when we stop? Diets have a way of making us feel like a failure if we don’t stick to them 100% or if we don’t have a plan for what to do when the diet is over.  Failing at diets keep us in a restrict/binge cycle.  Forget for a second what this does to your body and think about what does to your mind.  You probably start beating yourself up because you’ve failed at yet another diet. Wouldn’t you rather think of yourself as a success? Can’t you find something good out of a diet mishap? Yes (I hope) and yes!  All you have to do is think about what you learned.  What can you take from each dieting experience?  Here’s my personal thought process with some of the diets I’ve tried.

  • Low Carb Diet:  Nope, need much more food because I nearly passed out from a low carb diet plus they make me seriously moody.
  • Special K:  A bowl of cereal is NOT a meal…let alone two meals!
  • Figure Competition Diet:  Too restrictive
  • IIFYM: Math?!  No thanks.
  • Paleo:  I miss bread.

This is just a small snapshot of the things I’ve tried, but here’s what I found out: My body needs carbs, cereal isn’t enough of a meal for me, I need to have some way to incorporate treats into my diet, I don’t want to do math to figure out what I can eat and I need bread (pizza is part bread after all!).  So now if I were to go look for a new diet (which I wouldn’t because I’ve figured out what works for me) and any of these things aren’t included, that’s a red flag for me.

Here’s the thing, if you keep failing on diets over and over again…maybe you shouldn’t be on one.  If you’re someone who is a diet hopper, here’s some homework.

  • Take a piece of paper and split it into three columns.
  • Think of all the diets you’ve been on and write them down in the first column.
  • Now think about why that diet didn’t work and write that in the second column.
  • Lastly, think about what lesson you can take from each diet and write that in the third column.

At the end you’ll have a whole list of your own “diet must haves” so you can begin formulating your own way of eating.

Going back to my personal examples,  I never eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast.  Not because I think it’s “bad” but because I know it won’t hold me over as long as I need it to.  So instead I have a greek yogurt and some trail mix or a couple hard boiled eggs and a piece of fruit.  The mix of carbs, fat and protein keep me much fuller.  I also have some kind of treat almost every day.  I have either a glass of wine, some chocolate or some of my favorite candy.  This helps me stay away from feeling restricted and deprived.  I also don’t count or track anything I eat.  This is because I have enough experience with dieting to know what to eat for the body I want.

Give the homework a shot and let me know how it turns out.  What have you learned from your experiences with different diets?  Put a positive spin on it and see how you can use that to help you move forward into your own unique eating lifestyle.  If you need help with it reach out to me and I can help!  Email me at fueledphysiquelb@gmail.com or visit my blog at www.fueledphysiqueblog.com ☺.

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Thanks for the post, Lauren! I hope you all go check out her blog- it’s definitely worth a read!

Questions for you: Have you tried any fad diets? Do you find dieting works for you or do you prefer to just eat mostly vegetables and protein and fruits and stay away from processed food?

Guest Post: Tips & Tricks to Run Faster

Good morning, B2B readers! I have an awesome guest post for you today which has some tips & tricks to help you run faster. What I love about this post is that my friend, Meaghan, is super real about the fact she hasn’t always been a runner and that it didn’t always come easy to her. I really believe that some people are just better at running than others, so when I hear tips from people who are just natural runners, my first thought it “yeah, easy for you to say! Running isn’t hard for you!”. However, when Meaghan started telling me about her recent running updates, I actually listened and thought “wow, she’s probably right- that’s a good idea”.

I remember getting texts from her a few years ago when she got back into running/working out more consistently, but it seems like over the past 6 months- a year she has really exploded with her running. Her mile times are much faster than they used to be and she’s running races all over the country- literally. I love that she has made running her ‘thing’ and when we were catching up the other day and she was telling me about all her races and times and improvements, I knew I had to have her share those same tips with all of you. If you’re looking to get better and faster at running, I hope you enjoy these tips and are able to take away some of them to try on your own. Take it away, Meaghan!

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I haven’t always been a runner. In fact, I was the kid in school that dreaded running the mile in gym class or running 2 miles for high school soccer try outs. After allowing myself to really get out of shape freshman year of college I decided to try running. At first it was mostly walking with some running thrown in, then I gradually increased the running and decreased the amount I needed to walk, until eventually I was able to run 3-5 miles without stopping. I wasn’t interested in speed for a long time, just getting out there and finishing the run that I set out to do. Then I signed up for my first road race a few years ago and that all changed. It was a 5 mile race and again, all I was interested in doing was finishing without stopping. I achieved that goal and got “the bug.”

Meaghan-Finishing the half_Medium

I’d heard friends talk about the race bug, but did not think I’d ever be one of those people. Suddenly I found myself signing up for packages of races with goals to beat my last time. I even started planning trips for big races! I finished my first half marathon in Las Vegas last year and just got back from Lake Tahoe where I ran a 12.3 mile leg of a 72.2 mile relay race around the whole lake!

Meaghan- Tahoe Collage

Meaghan= water stop

It took me years to get to this fitness level , but in the past year I’ve changed some of what I’ve been doing and seen huge results! I’m by no means an expert, but here are some of the things I’ve learned along the way:

  1. Spice it up: Try a different route, new scenery and landmarks can really break up the monotony
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Guest Post: Back on the Running Wagon

Good morning! I’m back with another guest post. This one is kind of cool because Stephanie and I went to HIGH SCHOOL together… crazy, right?! We hadn’t connected in YEARS, but when she reached out to me to guest post on my blog I was thrilled! I’m always happy to see when people make the switch to start working out and adding in more activity and healthy lifestyle changes to their lives. Stephanie’s story is great because it shows you that if you put your mind to something, you can achieve it!

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Hi Everyone! I’m Stephanie and by day I am a Special Needs Teacher and by evening I blog at Fortnight by Day in which I feature local finds and races near my area of Durham, North Carolina. I am originally from Waterboro, Maine where Monique and I both attended high school together. I am so excited to be sharing my running journey today with you on Burpees to Bubbly.

My Journey

My journey with running started in 2010 when I was at my heaviest weight of 206 lbs. which is very heavy for my 5’4” height. I had just moved into a new roommate’s house and one night over dinner she began talking about her upcoming training plan for a half marathon. I am a big fan of plans and had never done a race before but thought that if I could follow a plan I would be able to accomplish this very lofty goal while also getting into better shape than I was, so  the next day I signed up for the Raleigh City of Oaks Half Marathon and began training.

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At first I couldn’t even run a quarter of a mile without walking, so attempting to do 13 miles seemed like a very impossible dream, but I ran almost every day for at least 30 minutes and after the first 2 weeks I was running 3 miles straight. I was able to stick to a very consistent training plan and ended up walking/running the half marathon as well as dropping 40lbs in 4 months. I don’t think I would ever suggest doing this lofty goal to anyone, and that is why I am glad someone was wise enough to start the Couch to 5k program.

Couch to 5K

Fast forward almost five years later and I haven’t run 3 miles straight in many years. Although I have been able to keep most of the weight off, I still can’t just go out and just run. When I run 3 times a week I love it and I know that I love running, but when it starts to taper off is when I lose motivation to get back on track.

I heard about the Couch to 5k program from my mom who was running because she was inspired by the weight that I had lost. (Nothing more awesome than inspiring a person who inspires you.) (<— B2B addition- OMG she is so right! Part of the reason why I love blogging and teaching so much is that I can connect to people that inspire me and hopefully I can in turn inspire others! Great point, Stephanie!) I have been doing the Couch to 5k for a few weeks now and I love the program because you start out running for only a few seconds. And, at first you think phew this is easy I’ve got this and then pretty soon you are running a mile straight and you can’t believe that you got, there but you did.
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Guest Post: RM’s Review of the “Whole30” Program

Hi everyone! I’ve got a very special post for you today… I hope you’re as excited about it as I am! RM has finally decided to share his thoughts on the Whole30 program he did back in January. Just a warning: it’s probably a little different than the normal reviews you’re used to seeing… I’ll just leave it at that! I know it’s long, but it’s worth a read as he’s got some really great information and some funny lines…  Take it away, RM!

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For some time now, Monique has been asking me to write a post about my experience with the Whole30 Progam, which, if you’re unfamiliar with, is essentially a 30 day uber-strict version of Paleo. In other words, it’s a diet that’s comprised of a theoretical ancestrial diet. I say “theoretical” because I don’t think anyone for certain can say what ancestors ate a million years ago. The Whole30 is a program that claims is “designed to change your life in 30 days”.

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In general, it restricts the consumption of sugar, grains, dairy and legumes (beans, peanuts, etc), and obviously alcohol. So think about that for a minute… think about what you are eating right now, what you ate yesterday, the day before. Imagine what your diet might look like without most of those things in it. Pretty restrictive, right? While I think that the general premise behind any sort of diet/lifestyle/program/etc. that emphasizes ditching processed crap and eating foods from natural food sources with a focus on quality protein, lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts and good quality fats is a great thing, I do take issue with any diet/lifestyle/program that “restricts” entire food groups like all legumes and whole grains, for example. The Mediterranean diet has long been heralded as one of the best eating plans one can follow, and it has heavy emphasis on whole grains and legumes and limited consumption of meat.

So, which one is right? I suppose you need to cut it all out and see what works for you and what doesn’t. Beyond the food restrictions, the Whole30 does come with some other program rules. You can check out their site for the full list. And, while I think any program should have guidelines, I do feel like the Whole30 is a little militaristic in delivering its message. (i.e. “no slips”, “no excuses”, “it’s only 30 days”, “you’re a grown up”, “this isn’t hard”, etc.- which you’ll see listed under the program rules). I will say that I do agree with some of the rules, but the one that really irked me right from the start, was their requirement to “not try to recreate baked goods, junk foods, or treats with approved ingredients” (cited from their site- linked above). I do understand the thought process behind it….part of the Whole30 isn’t just about restricting certain potentially inflammatory foods that may be having a negative impact on your health, but also to change the way you think about food. Personally, I like to think (and maybe this is just me), that if you wanted to try something like the Whole30, chances are you probably already lead a moderately healthy lifestyle and just want to test yourself by cleaning things up a bit more and taking it up a notch.

To get an idea of what I’m talking about, consider this: Bananas are allowed. Eggs are a staple. Almond butter is ok. Mix them in a bowl together, fry them in a pan and now it’s an “unapproved” pancake? I could eat each one individually at the same meal and be perfectly within the guidelines, but once they’re mixed together I’ve essentially failed the program…..seems unnecessarily restrictive to me. Yet more annoying still, is if you go to the Whole30 website, they endorse a couple of products that are exactly what I just described above: a series of approved ingredients (figs, dates, egg whites, etc.) that are mixed together to create a product (a protein bar) – much like my homemade Whole30 ingredient-legal pancakes.  Mine are made fresh at home with all quality organic ingredients and are not approved. Theirs is likely made in an industrial kitchen, comes in a wrapper, but is “Whole30 Approved”. Seems a little hypocritical to me.

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(minus the syrup- that’s a big no-no… Monique just wanted to add in a picture…)

Again, I get the idea that they are trying to change your relationship with food, but let’s be honest here, if you’re indulging in the rooty-tootie fresh and fruity unlimited pancake breakfast at iHop to get your pancake fix, chances are you’re likely not somebody that is going to embark on the Whole30 to begin with. The goal is really to remove toxic and other potentially inflammatory foods from your diet for 30 days and see how you do when you systematically reintroduce them later. The program could give you some leeway to still keep the cooking and eating interesting as long as you keep to the allowed ingredients. But, that said, I suppose people with much worse habits could benefit from a tighter leash.

Anyway, the purpose of this post is really to talk about my experience on the Whole30, not to judge it. Because in the end, any lifestyle or program that guides you towards eating better, natural, real food is a good thing, no matter what. I set out to do this thing as a way to start out the New Year. With the amount of eating and drinking that we are all doing (or at least I was doing) between November and December, I figured January was a perfect time to clean up my act and try out the Whole30. I bought the book (“It Starts with Food”), cleared out my kitchen and was ready to go for January 1.

Getting started wasn’t really that hard. With the exception of my superbly gluttonous holiday pig fest, I generally eat pretty well to begin with. Giving up grains for me meant pretty much gluten-free oatmeal and quinoa, not bagels and PB&J on Wonder Bread. And while I love cheese, peanuts, beans and CHOCOLATE, I’ve got reasonable willpower and I’m generally pretty capable of sticking to something when I set my intentions.

Having said that, I understand that my transition might have been easier than for others. I will admit, though, that the first several days are the hardest, and not just the fact that you can’t mindlessly go grab a drink with your friends, but rather the withdrawal and die-off symptoms that come along with what is essentially a detox. I had minor headaches, heightened irritability (which is saying something because I’m always irritated about something….), and an overall general feeling of malaise. That stuff only lasted a couple of days – it really wasn’t a big deal. Truthfully, the bigger battle came with the cravings, and not just for something sweet. At times the thought of even a plain old rice cake with a smear of almond butter seemed like heaven, just for the very mere sense of crunching down on something. But again, that stuff passed in time too. If I had a craving for a treat after dinner, I would eat a spoonful of coconut oil or almond butter – I’m sure you’re thinking what I was thinking at the time….what a f#%&king treat! But I made it work.

Heading into to the second half of the month I was waiting for signs of the miracle to start occurring. I generally have always slept well, don’t have issues with energy, I’m fit and I don’t have skin issues, so there was not much to be gained on those fronts. However, I did notice a distinct change in my taste buds. The flavor of foods seemed more pronounced, which wasn’t entirely surprising after having not had any form of sugar for a couple of weeks. Though I joked above about almond butter as a lame treat, it did actually have a sweetness to it that satisfied my cravings. In-fact after my Whole30 was over I remember eating a piece of chocolate and thinking that it was almost too unbearably sweet – hard to imagine ever saying that, but it was pretty interesting to see how sugar can have such an effect on our bodies.

What I was really hoping for were changes to my mood (I can be sort of a prick sometimes – just ask Monique), and my overall digestion, which were the primary motivators to trying the program. Well I got changes on both fronts – I got constipated and then moody because I couldn’t “go”! It wasn’t like I had a feeling of being bloated or backed up or anything, I just literally never felt the urge (I know, TMI). It was like a bodily function that my body seemed to shut off. Now does that mean that the Whole 30 is full of shit? No, but I sure was! That’s what frustrated me the most. Here I am eating a very clean and allegedly perfect natural diet that is supposed to improve your life so dramatically, especially your digestive health, and I’m popping magnesium supplements like they’re M&M’s just so I can use the bathroom…..not quite what I thought I was getting into. But I never wavered, never cheated, never slipped. I went the “whole” 30 days.

So did it change my life? Um, no. But I wasn’t necessarily expecting it to. I did discover some interesting recipes, found ways to make certain dinner favorites healthier (i.e. Fish Tacos with lettuce wraps instead of corn tortillas, Coconut Shrimp and Veggie Curry, etc.) and I enjoyed the overall challenge, but I’m sorry to say it wasn’t life altering. Would I do it again? Not sure. I think the next go around for me would involve a limited version for a shorter period that focuses more on restricting sugar and alcohol for a few weeks. I don’t think grains and legumes are issues for me. Dairy is questionable, but I think a lot of people feel that way. Personally, the worst offender is sugar – that’s one thing we can all do with a lot less of. So… should you do Whole 30? Sure, why not! You have nothing to lose by trying it, and depending on your situation, you might have plenty to gain. Just make sure to keep some magnesium citrate around…..

All joking aside, I’m sure the thousands of people that have posted their stories on the site have truly benefited and even changed their lives dramatically. So I don’t want to discount the benefit of the program. There’s no doubt that you can lose weight, change your relationship with food, if necessary, and reverse certain chronic illnesses through diet. I whole heartedly believe in that old adage of “all disease begins in the gut”, and science is discovering more every day the role that food plays in our overall health. But if I had to give your average, reasonably health conscious person advice on diet I would say this: Stop eating processed crap, and just eat real food more often than not. You shouldn’t have to worry about reading lists of ingredients if the food you eat is the ingredient (i.e. an apple). The easiest way to do that is to do 90% of your food shopping on the perimeter of the store. Other than some grains, spices and oils, the middle aisles are filled with garbage (yeah, even the ones that say gluten free, whole grains, or organic). But don’t take that as me preaching. While I do mostly eat a very healthy diet full of vegetables, I’m thoroughly looking forward to my one man hot dog eating contest scheduled for this July 4th….and following it up with a scoop of coconut oil for desert……

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Questions for you: What do you think of RM’s review of the Whole30? Have you every tried it? Have you every tried another type of restrictive diet? What’s your philosophy with food?

A HUGE thank you to my wonderful boyfriend for sharing his experience with the Whole30. I was so proud of him for finishing it strong, although I can’t say I didn’t try to get him to quit early when he was irritated about not being able to “go” 😉 All in all, I think we both learned a lot from the program and although I have no intentions of doing it, it does make me more mindful when I eat *most* of the time. I’m big on ‘everything in moderation’, but I’m so thankful that RM is similar to me in that we enjoy quinoa, veggies, lean proteins, etc…. it makes it so much easier to eat well when your partner isn’t tempting you to go out and get a burger or pizza all the time!

 

 

Guest Post: How to Trust an Unexpected Journey

Hey guys! I’m so excited to share this guest post/story with you. Caroline, who blogs over at The Trendy Trainer has graciously offered to share how and why she made the transition from a “9-5” office/desk job to a schedule and work/life balance allowing her to pursue things she enjoyed more. Things that made her happier. Caroline is the absolute sweetest girl and I hope you enjoy her story!

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Caroline guest post

I vividly remember moments in my childhood when I played about 17 different sports. From field hockey to tennis, lacrosse and horse back riding, I tried it all. I would attend summer camps and clinics play for single seasons and then switch to another sport — it’s safe to say I had a difficult time making up my mind.

In college I veered towards fine arts, graduating from college with my BFA in Art History. Yet, even though I was learning about the Italian Renaissance and figure drawing, I still had an itch to be healthy and stay active.

Bottom line: As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized my patterns as a kid haven’t changed at all over the years.

So when I began teaching indoor cycling classes and gradually immersed myself in the fitness industry, it wasn’t long before I knew this transition — this unexpected journey — was where I was supposed to be.

I began writing The Trendy Trainer as a way to review and recap fitness studios in the Boston-area. Paralleling my patterns as a child, I was able to partake in numerous group fitness classes — never feeling bored by my workout routine.

After numerous networking events and hours spent staring at a blank WordPress page, my blog turned into a job. I could finally write about Boston-area fitness studio openings, instructor profiles and up-and-coming trends in this industry — and get paid for it.
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