Author: cair4health

What’s Your Barrier?

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If I told you I’ve struggled with my weight for a long time, would you believe me? The photo on the left is almost 15 years ago, right after college. I went to the gym everyday, and thought I ate healthy, but I hated the way I looked and I constantly compared myself to others. I tried every workout out there and every nutrition program out there. I even did some pretty unhealthy things to try to lose weight, and it never worked… Then, after I broke up with my boyfriend who was a personal trainer, I lost my love of the gym, but luckily, I quickly found it again. My uncle was doing a program called P90X and got great results, and offered to pay for my program and weights… and since they I was hooked with at – home workouts… But, I still struggled and self – sabotaged, and actually never finished that program and never got those great results… Until now

The picture on the right is a girl who works out for herself and not for anyone else. It’s the girl who exercises so she’s a healthy 80 and 90 year old lady and who works out to be the best version of her for yourself, her husband, her family, and her friends. It’s also the girl that constantly reads and listens to personal development in order to overcome negative feelings and thoughts. But, those comments and thoughts of comparison and self – judgement still swirl around in her head at times, and can prevent her from feeling confident. Sometimes the reasons we don’t workout or eat healthy is a deep rooted barrier, that is hard to unmask and something I’ve been uncovering for the past two years.

So what is your barrier?

What is it that prevents you from reaching your goals?

We all have the surface level barriers… Time, will power, space, money, etc… Sure I work out 6 – 7 days a week and am relatively healthy but tell myself that because I work so many hours, I have to work out so early, which prevents me from going full out in the morning, which means I can’t get in great workouts all the time.

But is that the real reason we don’t stick to a workout program or a nutrition plan? What if I said, there are deeper reasons and some that I can’t even name for myself. I am still plagued with ex – boyfriends telling me I was gaining weight or that they didn’t want to be with me because I loved eating Sour Patch Kids (and don’t worry – they are both long gone and I still love Sour Patch Kids)… Today, I have a husband who loves me and tells me I’m perfect, and as I write this, I’m actually the lightest I’ve been since early high school – and yet, I still find flaws and I still find reasons to beat myself up when it comes to food and nutrition…

But why and how can we overcome these internal barriers that prevent us from reaching our goals… We all have an internal struggle and when we don’t address that while working out and eating healthy, we might never be happy with our progress nor will we ever truly love our bodies – and let’s be real – we only have one and the more we love it, the better we’ll treat it.

I’m telling you all this because I am beyond excited for the newest workout program I am going to complete in January with legendary celebrity trainer… Shaun T… You all probably know him from Insanity, T – 25, Cize, or Max 30, but I know him as a motivational speaker. Sure I’ve worked out with him (though I’ve only ever completed Cize), but I’ve heard him speak and the way he speaks talks to me… He talks about trusting and believing… He talks about transforming your mind, to transform your life. He talks about letting go of the past, and this comes from a person who was sexually molested his whole childhood. So when he releases a workout program that also is a mindset program, you know I’m signing up.

For the first time ever, a trainer has created a program that aims to break down those internal barriers, so you reach those external goals… And, not only will this six week commitment help break down those internal barriers, but the design of the program, makes it easy to quickly turn down external barriers… Why?

  • It is 20 minutes a day so for busy people, parents, college students it makes it harder to not work out when its only 20 minutes, which is 1.3% of your 24 hour day.
  • There is no real equipment needed! The program does use a step (yes, like the 80s step aerobics), but its not a step program, and there is a modifier who doesn’t use the step at all in the whole program so you don’t need it if you don’t have space or money to get it. You also do not need it, if you do not want it. The program calendar does not have a single weight workout; however, if you love lifting weights like me, there are options to include weight lifting workouts.
  • Speaking of modifier… there is one who takes the impact out, so if the external barrier is your current fitness level or restrictions, you have someone who you can follow.
  • There is a calendar… I have gotten a lot of questions about how can I workout consistently first thing in the morning. One of my reasons is I follow a calendar so if I skip a workout, it just messes up the calendar and that drives me crazy ha

The program is currently only released to VIP members and I’d love for you to join me. Prep week starts January 7 and the workouts start January 14. If you’re interested in learning more or trying a demo workout, or signing up, reach out to me ASAP.  Even though I have worked hard to tear down barriers (internal and external), I look forward to tearing down more and helping others along the way.

 

Why Meal Prep?

If you’ve ever followed anyone who is into health and fitness, they probably talk about meal prep and show you how to meal prep. I recently heard from my husband that a friend of his, who is interested in joining our health and fitness community, had never even heard of meal prepping, so I thought to myself, maybe other’s need to know why meal prep is so easy and important, and how to do it… Here are my top 5 reasons to meal prep (and don’t worry, I have plans for next week to share my weekly meal prep plans)

  1. It saves time! I make a plan on usually Saturdays or Sundays and then go shopping for the week. It takes me a total of two hours I would say to make the plan, go to the store, and put the food away. I don’t have to do any more thinking and I don’t have to take extra trips to the grocery store. This may look different if you live in NYC for instance though. If you do go to the grocery store more than once a week, you go in with a plan and leave with what you need. The meal planning makes it less likely for you to buy random junk.
  2. It saves money! Now I’ll be honest – we have been known to waste some food since we meal prep for the week (and would love suggestions to avoid this), which drives me crazy (and something we’re working on), but we eat out less and we order less. When I wasn’t so into meal prepping, we would eat out regularly or order delivery more than once a week… While I still love a good take out night and a good date night, we plan those… It no longer becomes a random choice to enjoy someone cooking for us, and we honestly enjoy it more and we save money by not eating out so much. Plus we’re finding ways to enjoy take out tasting food with less calories and more importantly, less sodium.
  3. Mornings go faster! My husband and I eat the same thing each week for breakfast so we just grab and go. Almost regularly I have an egg bake made for him that he can just take and heat up at work. For me, I  like to switch it up weekly, but I like to eat the same thing each day in a week. This week is overnight oats and I just grab and go.
  4. You’ll be more likely to try something new. When I have a lot of time to meal prep, I always find really exciting new recipes and avoid the mundane same 5 recipes. While I definitely have my go to meals, we’ve come across some amazing recipes that both my husband and I cook.
  5. The obvious one – it’s healthier! We know what we are eating, when we’re eating, and have more control of what we’re eating. We’re able to plan for our dietary needs right now and not hope that there is healthy food in the house to eat.

The best part is it is easier than it looks. Meal prep can be as simple as cooking up some protein, chopping some veggies, and prepping some breakfast.

 

Thinking about posting my weekly meal prep recipes and plans? Let me know if that is something you’d be interested in reading!

How to Workout in the Morning

6:00, 6:10, 6:20… I would hear the alarm and just keep hitting snooze… Finally I’d roll out of bed around 6:30, drag myself to the shower and slowly get ready for the day… This was how the first 9 years of my professional life would go.

And then in the summer of 2016, I moved in with my now husband. And while moving in together was one of the best decisions ever, we quickly in July had to learn a lot about each how, how to communicate and how to be flexible while occupying 550 square feet in Brooklyn.

And if you know me, I’m not flexible… I like things a certain way, and usually think my way is the best way (and yes… I’m working on it and sorry for anyone I’ve offended!) So in those first few weeks of being roommates as I used to call it, I learned about something that he did that drove me insane… he hit snooze! I am a teacher and in the month of July, I don’t want to hear an alarm… but when I was hearing his multiple alarms go off every morning, and for some reason to Veruca Salt, I knew something had to change… and that was that neither of us would press snooze if the other person was in bed.

So as September began, and school started, and the schedule filled up quickly, I knew that if I wanted to workout, it had to be done before work and early. And since I’ve made that decision, I have never missed a single planned morning workout and here is how…

1. Do Not Press Snooze! The second you hear the alarm, get up… You won’t register how early it is or how tired you are before you’re well out of the bedroom!

2. Lay your clothes out. Sounds simple but taking the guess work out of what you’re going to wear is huge! I know some people sleep in their workout clothes (aka my hubby) and that’s helpful too!

3. Have some caffeine! I swear by my pre – performance workout drink! The best thing about it is if I drink it and then don’t work out, as the substance is running through my body, I get tingles… so you might as well workout to prevent the tingles!

4. Have a plan! The programs I follow at home have calendars so I know weeks in advance what the workout is and how much time I need! This also helps me mentally prepare for it!

5. Give yourself some time to reflect on the day. After my alarm goes off at 4:30, I don’t work out for 20 minutes… I usually drink my energiZe and check my day. This helps me wake up a bit!

And here is the most important:

6. It’s all about mindset and this is the most important! I go to bed with the intention of waking up and working out… If I have any self doubt about it, I can’t make myself get up to workout. Trick your mind into saying, I can’t wait to get up and workout… I promise you, if you only think about how great it will be and remove all the negative thoughts, you will do morning workouts…

I recently heard on a podcast, that you should do something everyday that makes you uncomfortable… Try the whole morning workout thing for 21 days, get uncomfortable and see how you mentally and physically change.

Healthy Chicken Cacciatore

(Gotta love the image… this is what happens when you post to Insta Stories and don’t save the photo first)

I always work to find and make healthy and quick delicious meals for the weekday! Most days I get home after 7 pm and want to be in bed before 10, so my goal is to make it quick and simple! I’ve also been working on eliminating carbs at dinner and finding alternatives!

Since my honeymoon, I’ve lost 8 pounds and am 0.4 away from wedding weight (hoping to be at wedding weight at my weigh-in Saturday). One of the biggest things that has helped me is no carbs at dinner and mostly veggies instead. Carbs give you energy so you don’t need them to sleep. Veggies on the other hand get you full and the little protein I add keeps me full until the next day!

So here is a healthy version of chicken cacciatore that can be made in 1 pot and in less than 30 minutes (and even less time if you buy precut things)

Ingredients

  • 1-2 pounds of chicken breast, cut into bite stir pieces
  • 1 tbsp oil (I used coconut oil, but olive oil works well too)
  • 1 onion, cut
  • 2 peppers, cut
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 small potato (I added this because it came in our CSA this week but totally does not need it)
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
  • Basil, salt, pepper
  • Directions
    1. Heat oil in large skillet or wok… add chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes
      Add onion, pepper, and garlic and cook for additional 3-4 minutes, or until veggies begin to soften
      Add tomatoes, optional potato, and eggplant. Season with salt and pepper and basil… I used a few pieces of fresh basil but dried would also work
      Simmer for 7-10 minutes or until eggplant is soft… Enjoy!

    Serving Options

    1. My husband and I love hot sauce so we naturally put some in
    2. The tomatoes make it a little liquidy, which I like and the broth is delicious! You can serve this over a veggie rice like cauliflower rice or brown rice if you are eating carbs at dinner
    3. Feel free to add any veggie to this dish! The original recipe I got this idea from (The Beachbody Blog) had mushrooms and zucchini.
  • As alway, let me know what you think! If you post it on social media, make sure to tag me at @lovelearninghealth
  • Stop Saying You Don’t Have Time!

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    This post may not be received well by everyone, but I think it is important to give some tough love… and that is… stop saying you don’t have time to workout and be healthy! If you really want it, you’ll find time… It might be hard to find the time and that’s what I’m here to do – help you find that time… but if you really want to live a better, healthier life, you’ll start prioritizing your health and stop blaming your busy schedule on your inability to workout a few days a week.

    So you might be thinking what does this girl know? She works out 6 days a week and is pretty healthy and fit so it’s easier for her… and you know what, you’re right, but I wasn’t always like this and I sacrifice things like sleep or watching TV to get a work out in. Don’t believe me? Let me explain a typical day…

    I need to leave my house at 6:10 to get to the train. If I work out, I’m up at 4:30 and if I have a rest day, I’m up at 5:15. During the day, I am a learning specialist and spend my time working with students from 8:00 – 3:00 (and yes my commute is over an hour and a half)… I am currently getting certified to be a Wilson Dyslexia Reading Specialist so I work with my practicum student from 3:00 – 4:00. Then I tutor (Monday – Thursday) from about 4:15 – 6:30. After that I take the hour and a half train ride home. On Tuesdays I actually get home at 8:30, Wednesdays I go to a dance rehearsal until 9:30, and Thursdays I have a team call until 9. I also have to find time to eat dinner, say hello to my husband, and get ready for the next day. On top of that I am a Beachbody Coach so have to find time to help my clients, am currently getting certified in 2B Mindset, am completing the coursework for the Wilson Certification, and work for two other nonprofit organizations…

    I don’t write what my day is like to complain or say I am busier than you, but I am writing to show you that if you want it, you can find the time. 4:30 sucks and I HATE that alarm clock but if I didn’t work out then, I would say I don’t have time to work out… But I know if I take care of myself for 30 minutes a day, I am going to add years to my life. I owe that to my family and to myself. I also know that my workouts give me energy… sure I’m tired at 4:30, but give me a 30 minute workout, and I am beyond ready for everything else in my day.

    So here are my steps to finding time to take care of you.

    1. Write down your goals. Don’t just say you want to lose weight but be really clear and these can constantly change. My goal right now is to get my body in the best shape possible because soon we’ll begin trying to start our family and I know my health is important for that.
    2. Map out your day… and like really map it out… There will always be things that come up that will change your schedule, but knowing it, allows you to see when you can work out.
    3. Decide on a workout plan that will work with your goals and your availability. Right now I’m completing an online program that is only 4 days a week and between 30 – 40 minutes a day, which works so well with a busy schedule like mine.
    4. Schedule your workout times for the week. Write it down! You won’t cancel on a doctor so why would you cancel on what would prevent you from visiting the doctor.

    Still not sure… spend a week writing down what you do throughout the entire week… and be specific… Then look at your week – how much time did you scroll through facebook or watch TV, or sleep maybe more than you needed to?

    Want help? Let me know! I can help you schedule out your day, recommend a workout program, or send you daily messages for accountability! Send me a message on cair4health@gmail.com if you want this help…

    If not and you still think you don’t have time, you probably aren’t ready for this change or you may have other priorities… and that’s TOTALLY OKAY… I know plenty of really busy people with other priorities, but be truthful with why you are not working out. If you want it, you’ll find the time.

    It is OK to have a Bad Workout

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    Day 47 today, and it was not my workout day. I woke up, feeling decent, but once I pressed play, that liquid gold, never kicked in. I was out of breath in the first five minutes, I couldn’t lift as much as I did last week, and quickly my enthusiasm for the workout diminished.

    I had some mental choices during this 60 minutes of misery today. I could have easily given up, but I knew that wasn’t a choice I would be making. I then could either choose to suck it up and give it my all, or be annoyed throughout the workout and give it as much as I could in the moment. I did not do every rep, and I even lowered my weights throughout the workout, but at the end of the 57 minutes, I knew I made the best choice I could. I gave it all I could today and was okay at the end of the workout with my effort, because I don’t think I could have given more.

    Having bad days when working out is normal… just like when I was running, having bad running days was the norm. You can decide what you do with the bad day… You can decide how you go about the rest of the day. Just because it was a bad workout, doesn’t mean I ate unhealthy or had a bad attitude all day. I was just glad I got it done, burned some calories, and worked on reaching my goals.

    Embrace the suck, embrace the bad days, becaues it will make the good days that much better.

    Does Your Stomach Shrink?

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    I have no idea… but I do know how I feel after being so conscious of my meals and portions…

    About 45 days ago, I started a new program that wasn’t just about exercise, but also about food. While I’ve done programs in the past that also had nutrition components, I never really committed and I knew that this time had to be different… partly because I wanted to look the best I could on my wedding day, but also because I knew if I wanted people to trust me, I had to go all in.

    I’ve been about 80 – 90% on this program (I love my wine too much… and when you’re planning a wedding, sometimes you need it) and for some reason, the past four days I haven’t been focusing on it as much. I’ve been making salads, but not measuring portions… I’ve been eating prior to working out, but not being mindful of portions or the type of food… I’ve not been taking my post – workout recover and fruit… and I’ve had a lot more wine that normal, which also means some (okay many) bad food choices… pizza twice, and Chinese food (I can’t believe I’m even admitting it).

    With these changes in my diet in just four days, I miss my old way of eating, and I actually can’t wait to get back to my routine tomorrow. The past few days I have had trouble sleeping, due to being so full, and starting my workout was beyond difficult today.

    Tonight, prior to dinner a Facebook friend and fellow bride and I were talking about does your stomach shrink? And while I don’t know the answer, I can’t even tell you how full I am tonight and luckily I’ve learned to stop. While nothing on my plate was unhealthy or even artificial, I ate my veggies and felt so so full. I had two choices… The old me would have made choice number 1, which is realizing how delicious the food is and continue eating and the new me, made choice number 2, which realized I was too full and could just finish the food tomorrow.

    No one ever said this journey was going to be easy… and depending when you are starting, you have to overcome years of bad habits. I have always been someone who has trouble recognizing I am full and stopping… I have often been the person who goes back for seconds, thirds, and sometimes sixths, because the taste is so good, without realizing my body was saying no more or even worse… wanting the food because it sounded good, even though I wasn’t hungry.

    Commit to yourself and your goals. You are worth it and you deserve to get to the point where you question, “Is my stomach shrinking?”