Monday, July 25, 2011

My new challenge - East Texas

Moving from Denver, the healthiest state in the US, has been a difficult transition.  No more trail running down mountains and hiking up old abandoned railways, no more amazing healthy little cafes and beautiful sunrises over the mountains....BUT - for everything, there is a reason.

Here I am in East Texas in the Piney Woods...and although it isn't the mountains, its gorgeous!  Beautiful sunsets, secada's so loud sometimes that's all you can hear, lightning bugs, the smell of horses in the morning - I love it.  But with East Texas comes new challenges.  Definitely for a nutritionista and especially for someone with celiac disease.

I was convinced moving here that I would never find others as devoted and passionate about fitness and nutrition than me - until I met my amazing team of trainers and fitness professionals.  They blow my mind with their knowledge, dedication and passion.  And even in the land of Whataburger and Ryans Steakhouse Buffet - they know and live their nutrition. 

Last week I saw on the news that every state in the US has an obesity rate above 20% except Colorado.  And while it was nice being in my little healthy bubble, I realize my knowledge and passion is needed elsewhere in this world.  And that's how I ended up here.

Together with my team, I am going to change the way East Texas thinks about nutrition.  Then we are going to tackle this entire state ....think I can't? OH YES I CAN!  And I will!  One day at a time, one meal at a time, one person at a time! 

This blog isn't about making people feel bad about their nutrition, about their bodies, about their lifestyle - it's about making a change to your nutrition, your body and your lifestyle - one day at a time. 

Why should you listen to me?  Well that's up to you ...But I grew up in the South, was overweight my entire life, ate grits and fried chicken and okra and yes....whataburger.  But I sought a healthier life.  I fell in love with fitness and nutrition and went on a personal mission and lost 72 lbs and am spreading that mission elsewhere - anywhere- everywhere!

I've heard it everyday since I've been here...'I just can't lose the weight', 'Ive been working so hard and am seeing no results' I ask the question, 'how is your nutrition?'....'well its awful'

So here it is - my first lesson:
  • You absolutely positively CANNOT get healthy and fit with poor nutrition - nutrition is 80% of the battle!
  • You absolutely positively CANNOT get healthy and fit eating fast food, processed food and eating out consistently
Here are 10 simple rules to start with on a path to a healthily, fit life:

1.)  Follow the 3 P's: Plan, Prepare, Pack.....Plan you meals, Prepare your meals, Pack your meals...every day
2.)  Limit restaurant eating to once a week - think you are eating healthy at a restaurant by ordering grilled chicken fajitas?  Well at Applebees, grilled chicken fajitas pack a whopping 80g of fat, 1,200 calories and 1,100 mg of sodium!  Ugh!  Restaurants use oil, butter, lard and salt in excess and 9 times out of 10, nothing is safe.  Better to save your meal out for your weekly cheat meal
3.)  No Soda - none - not even diet.  Its all chemicals and the real stuff packs 3 days worth your daily limit of sugar.  What does sugar turn into?  Yup - fat stores.
4.)  Consume small meals often - every 3 hours - yup!  You get to eat more often!  You stay full all day eating 3 meals with 2 snacks in between and you fire up your metabolism and keep your blood sugar level to prohibit overeating
5.)  Stop eating 2 hours before bed time - in the evening, our metabolism slows and we burn calories at a slower rate.  If you consume food too soon before bed, your body cannot digest at a normal rate and will turn it into what?  Yup!  Good ol' fat stores
6.)  Calories In vs. Calories Out - the easiest equation in the world.  Consume LESS calories than you BURN in order to lose weight.  One pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories.  Cut 3,500 calories from your diet a week and you drop a pound.  When I say cut 3,500 calories - this is a combination of exercise, which cuts calories, as well as cutting back your consumed calories.  Don't know how many calories you burn a day - ask me about investing in a Bodybugg or a Polar watch
7.)  Exercise - a combination of cardio and strength training.  No ladies, you will NOT get bulky lifting weights - you will lean and tone.  Muscle burns FAT! 
8.)  Consume fresh lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, veggies and healthy fats - you need lean proteins (lean turkey, fish, pork, chicken, egg whites) to build lean muscle.  You must have complex carbohydrates no matter what any ridiculous fad diet says in order to provide energy to power your workouts and breakdown proteins in your digestive system (oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potato's, whole wheat tortillas, whole wheat pasta).  You must have fruits (try to consume in the AM) and lots of veggies in order to breakdown proteins and carbohydrates and to give your body needed minerals, nutrients and antioxidants.  All fats consumed should be from lean proteins, low fat dairy products and healthy fat sources.  BUT (listen carefully) you should only consume 3 servings of healthy fats a day.  A serving of healthy fats is: 1 tsp olive oil, 1 ounce of almonds, 4 oz salmon, 1/4 of an avocado, 1 TBS all natural nut butter.  Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing so eat your healthy fats - but limit them
9.)  Stay away from processed foods - anything you buy in a box, that you have to heat in a microwave in cellophane wrap, anything pre cooked, pre marinated, etc.  Buy raw and prepare at home.  Processed foods are FULL of sodium, chemicals and un-needed calories and fats
10.)  Drink plenty of water - take your weight and divide by 2.  That's how many ounces you need a day.  Especially here is this heat!

That's simple right?

Eating healthy or 'clean' as I like to reference, doesn't mean giving up flavor.  The number one thing I have discovered in my nutrition education and quest is this:  People know what healthy foods are, they just don't have the creativity with food to put together tasty, healthy meal plans.

And that's what I am here for :-)

Browse my previous denvernutritionista blogs for recipes and awesome information and stay tuned each week for new recipes, info and motivation!

Happy and Healthy Eating!