Protein

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Protein is a necessary macro nutrient in our diet to help us keep up with the balance of cell turnover in our bodies (the parts that make up our organs, muscles, cells, enzymes, and keep us functioning and thriving).

Proteins can be found in both plants and animal sources.

Proteins are made up of substances called amino acids (also called the “building blocks” of our cells). Most people likely don’t consume enough protein to keep their bodies functioning optimally unless they’re paying attention.

Per Precision Nutrition, for sedentary and overall “healthy” adults, one needs about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body mass to maintain their cells (without considering a goal of building muscle, being sick or injured, or doing exercise). Most people don’t need more than 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram at most, even when you’re lifting a lot of weights and very active and therefore have more muscle turnover.

Protein helps us repair our tissues, build muscle, gives us energy, and keeps us satisfied after eating. Eating protein at every meal is important for overall body functions as well as finding a balance of food intake to feel your best. Eating protein is also important in disease states where our bodies require more resources to fight inflammation and other pathology.

Protein also helps to keep us full longer when we eat. It’s a great idea to plan some protein with every meal you eat.

What are your favorite protein sources?

Let’s connect. When you join my mailing list, you get access to my FREE Weight Loss Guide as a thank you.

Creating Your Best Life

Life is what we make it. Cliche but true.

It’s easy to fall back on food, alcohol, social media and a million other things to feel fulfilled in our lives. These things give us something to look forward to… they bring us satisfaction. Even if it’s temporary and empty.

But because these examples are all temporary, the satisfaction is empty. We consume these fillers (aka buffers) and then our brains want that feeling again, so we have to keep seeking. Its creates an endless loop of seek, feel, rest, seek, feel, rest. I get dizzy just thinking about it sometimes. I’m all about the mindless relaxation, just like most other people. That release, that reward. But is it a reward? Or is it a filler that just makes us feel good in that moment?

Creating a life you look forward to each day is a skill. Most of us don’t learn it easily growing up. We make a ton of mistakes along the way (okay, maybe you didn’t, but I sure did).

With each failure, we learn.

This is one of the most valuable things I’ve learned in the last few years.

If we don’t try… we fail ahead of time.

If we only try once to accomplish a goal or a dream then give up… how badly did we truly want it?

Did we believe we could achieve it or were we halfheartedly convincing ourselves that we tried?

In the long run, we’re only letting ourselves down when we fail ahead of time or give up.

Our potential is limitless.

We are worthy (yes, all of us) because we exist.

When you think and believe that you ARE worthy of not only existing and taking up space in this world, but worthy of thriving – what can you imagine for your life?

Once you get to the thought and start to believe it – you become limitless. You can create the best life you can imagine for yourself.

Even though it might feel right now that someone else or something is holding you back…. No one and nothing can hold back your thoughts and beliefs. Only you. YOU are the only barrier to your best self and best life. You are the only thing standing in your way.

Are you ready to imagine your best life? And get started creating it?

Let’s do this! Email info@thrivearena.com for more information on coaching, free guides, and upcoming training sessions! And don’t forget to join the mailing list.

Let’s connect. When you join my mailing list, you get access to my FREE Weight Loss Guide as a thank you.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates (or “carbs” as these macro nutrients are affectionally called) are substances that are broken down in our bodies and absorbed as simple sugars. Sugar itself has gotten a bad rap – but it’s the most simple (and quickly absorbed) form of carbohydrate.

Our body uses sugars for energy and stores them in muscle and fat cells for future use.

If we overeat ANYTHING it can be stored in our body as fat. Our bodies are quite efficient at storing excess carbohydrates and fats that we ingest for future use.

Simple sugars/carbs are quickly digested in our gastrointestinal system (gut, GI system, intestines) which produces an insulin spike.

Insulin is a hormone that escorts our food particles into cells to be processed. When we eat, our insulin increases and we feel full, when it decreases as we finish digesting, we feel hungry again.

Complex carbs take time for the body to break them down and digest them. This is why whole food sources with other substances like fiber take longer to digest and the absorption of the “sugar” molecules is spread out more versus the quick absorption (aka sugar rush) we get from simple or processed carbs (sugar itself, candy, heavily processed foods, sugary drinks, etc).

The brain also sends chemical signals (I like to think of them as “happiness” signals) – such as dopamine, that elicit a pleasure response in our brains. This reinforces the brain to say “that was yummy, I want more of that”. This creates a desire for more of the same food to get that “hit” of dopamine again.

This helps to explain why we can easily consider ourselves “addicted” to sugary foods or carbs in general. This is not addiction but it is the brain’s desire to continue pleasure seeking. Our primitive brains are great at creating that feedback loop to give it more of what it wants (more pleasure, no pain).

Carbs are great for providing energy for our bodies, especially in times of exercise and our brains need glucose (sugar) to survive and function. There is no “right” amount of carbohydrates that are best for everyone. Carbs sources are found in fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and legumes. Higher fiber sources allow for slower digestion, as mentioned above. More simple or processed sources will create a faster response as they are absorbed.

What matters most in nutrition is the amount, type, sensitivity and timing of this nutrient.

Or, to put it another way, what can carbs do for you?

Let’s connect. When you join my mailing list, you get access to my FREE Weight Loss Guide as a thank you.

Beliefs

Beliefs are simply thoughts that we think repetitively that become automatic.

Almost all of our beliefs as adults come from our childhood and our experiences as we grew up and became who we are today. Good, bad, or ugly, our parents and the adult figures in our lives shaped our worlds and our thoughts, beliefs and view of others.

If you’re brought up in a loving, supportive environment, you tend to be more trusting and extend love because that’s what you know and have learned.

Conversely, if you’re brought up being told that you’re no good and constantly criticized, you’ll tend to adapt that attitude toward others and yourself. It usually isn’t a conscious way of growing up.

However, then, as adults, we discover that everyone else isn’t necessarily just like us. 

Other people may be more patient, more kind, more reactive, more temperamental.

It’s human to judge everything around us. It’s how we approach our lives, it helps protect us. These are the patterns we learned as we grew.

It’s human to have good days and bad days. It’s also human to go through life never questioning our beliefs, our core values and where they came from and if they’re even true.

Think about this for a minute.

What is something you believe to be true?

Then ask yourself – is it REALLY true?

DO you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it’s true? And evaluate – how do you feel if it is true? What would you think if that idea didn’t exist? This is the essence of Byron Katie’s The Work.

Just like thoughts – beliefs are often automatic. We don’t tend to question them. We don’t think about them. We just believe them, we trust them, we only question them if they’re blocking us from something different that we want to believe.

Only then, when we’re aware of them and want to approach changing them, can we consider letting go of them.

Do you have beliefs that you’ve questioned before?

What beliefs about yourself do you have? Do they limit you? Are you curious?

Try it, let me know what happens!

Let’s connect. When you join my mailing list, you get access to my FREE Weight Loss Guide as a thank you.

Wanting a Feeling

I used to want to be thin.

Because when I was thin, everything would be EASY.

Food would be easy and effortless. Life would be amazing.

People would respect me, I would FIT IN.

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Guess what?

I’m never going to be my own definition of “thin”.

I wanted my mother’s arms and legs – slim but muscular.

I’m built like my dad – sturdy and strong.

I’ve done a lot to change and improve my body over the last 40+ years, but I’ll never be thin.

And that’s okay.

My definition of thin is not anyone else’s.

And my thoughts about what “thin” would be like? Again, all just thoughts.

Whenever we’re chasing something – it’s because we want to FEEL a certain way and we think that look, that handbag, that makeup, that hairstyle, that car, that house, that job… will make us feel….

Happy? Fulfilled? Successful? Included? Nope.

It’s all just stuff, because inevitably, we’re all just chasing a feeling.

That’s not a bad thing – it’s actually a fantastic thing if you think about it.

It actually means you don’t NEED to “get” or “achieve” to feel what you want to feel.

YOU create your own feelings – based on your thoughts.

Your sense of accomplishment is just being tied to whatever goal you have. Based on (you probably already guessed it) your thoughts.

And… as a twist, that feeling is available to you NOW… and feeling it will enable you to get to that tangible goal even faster.

Mind. Blown.

You’re welcome!

Let’s connect. When you join my mailing list, you get access to my FREE Weight Loss Guide as a thank you.

Nutrition 101

Proteins, fats, carbohydrates are macro nutrients, also known as the building blocks that make up our food sources.

Processed foods are foods whose chemical structures have been altered to be created.

Whole foods are foods that are in their “natural” form, or how they were made. There is some debate about how our foods are “made” into forms that are easily cooked and digested. In general, however, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and dairy sources that don’t have additives are considered “whole” food sources.

Processed foods are different than whole foods in that respect. Think of an apple versus an apple pie as an example of whole food versus processed food respectively.

Our bodies and brains react differently to whole foods (think fruits, vegetables, a piece of chicken) versus processed foods (even by baking or cooking, we’re altering the properties of some foods) as we eat and digest them.

This is key in our experiences with food.

The amount of processing plays into our brain’s response to food (aka the signals our brain gets as we eat), which in turn affects how we digest and remember our food and how we experience hunger and satisfaction with food.

How much whole food vs processed food are you eating currently?

How does each one make you feel?

Do some foods make you feel more energetic? More satisfied? Do you find yourself “craving” certain foods? Or hungrier sooner after eating others?

Let’s connect. When you join my mailing list, you get access to my FREE Weight Loss Guide as a thank you.

Joy

Joy.

When is the last time you felt it?

This morning when you looked at your spouse or child sleeping? When you snuggled your beloved pet?

When you were a child on Christmas morning seeing all of the presents under the tree?

Life, in total, is not joyful.

Life can be painful, hard, challenging.

Life can break you.

But even in the process of breaking, there can be joy.

Life is in the moments. Good and bad, the yin and the yang. As humans, if we accept that half of our existence is not positive, we can embrace the other half that is, and learn to lean into the times that give us that contrast.

I never really “got” that until recently.

I find a lot of my joy being outdoors

40+ years later… I’m still learning. I feel like a novice.

But now that I’m grasping some basic concepts that are repeated by amazing leaders that are before their time… I’m learning.

I’m learning to find joy in the day-to-day moments.

It doesn’t happen every day. Sometimes it happens once a week. Like all feelings, it’s always fleeting.

But now that I can recognize it, I appreciate it when I see it.

And I’ve learned to appreciate it, to lean in when it’s there, to savor it. I’m learning how to seek it, find it, and create it as well.

Where do you find your joy?

Let’s connect. When you join my mailing list, you get access to my FREE Weight Loss Guide as a thank you.

Thoughts

Thoughts are ideas and words in sentences that run through our brains. They are meaningless unless we choose to believe them, give meaning to them and feel one way or another about them.

We have thousands of thoughts per DAY. Trying to see and identify every single one of them would be exhausting.

Some thoughts are automatic. Some are conscious. Some are unconscious and are repetitive.

The negatively repetitive thoughts are usually the ones that bother us, consciously or otherwise. We’re mostly unaware of our repetitive automatic thoughts.

This can be positive.

For example, we don’t need to be conscious and aware of each thought our brain has when we get up from a chair and walk across the room.

This can also be negative.

For example, when we come home in the afternoon and we walk to the pantry and start to put junk food in our mouth without being aware of it.

Repetitive thoughts are also known as beliefs. Repetitive actions are also known as habits.

In the Thrive Arena, we will explore how our beliefs and our habits shape our lives. Then we’ll examine how we can become aware of our thoughts and change them to transform and evolve our lives.

It’s simple, it’s exciting and I’m SUPER STOKED to be able to share what I’ve learned and applied to transform myself and teach you these same skills!

Let’s connect. When you join my mailing list, you get access to my FREE Weight Loss Guide as a thank you.

My Story

I fell into nutrition and weight loss coaching almost by accident. I had a period about 11-12 years ago where I realized I had gained weight that I had previously lost, I was not exercising regularly nor handling my stress well (aka eating to relieve it) and I decided to join a boot camp exercise program right after returning from a conference in Hawaii (nothing like being in a bathing suit to jump start some healthy endeavors, am I right?).

I researched a few boot camps then joined one despite being scared to death, feeling off kilter and not knowing exactly what I was getting myself into. I made a few friends (hi S!), re-discovered my love of exercise and half-halfheartedly attempted a few “weight loss challenges” at this boot camp. I’d lose the same 5 lb over and over again. But I was trying, so that had to count for something, right? I’d eat really really well (for me) for a few weeks, then slowly slide back into my old habits.

Well, a year or two later, this boot camp closed so I joined another local chain boot camp and jumped on board. At this program, there was a lot of positive energy and a lot of challenges and incentives to eat better, etc. And the trainer also would give nutrition advice and guidance (I know, I should have known better, but stay with me)… She would put everyone on the “plan” that worked for her, so it should have worked, right? It was a high-fat, low (essentially NO) carb diet with low to moderate calories. Positively, I started learning more about macros at this point. In retrospect, if I had just listened to my hubby at that point and done what he had recommended… I’d fast forward 5+ years, but then this story would be really short and I probably wouldn’t have learned all of my lessons the hard way.

Following this restrictive protocol, I did get down to a super low weight for me, then once I started eating regularly again… the weight came back. I had this belief that I couldn’t weigh less than I did in high school at the height of my fitness as an athlete (we’ll come back to this belief later)… even though in high school I ate like crap (as most of us do) and was a competitive gymnast working out 12+ hours per week.

A few years into this boot camp, I discovered that this trainer was not maintaining her weight just on nutrition and boot camp, she was actually working out somewhat obsessively when she wasn’t at boot camp and did not have a healthy mindset at all…she was going to CrossFit and so I decided to check it out as well. I also don’t agree with false advertising… hence another reason to continue my journey elsewhere…

It took me about 6-8 months of CrossFit classes to decide that I liked lifting weights. I knew always that I don’t work out well by myself, I need a group class to motivate me. I know that the key to consistent activity is to find something you love to do… and do it. This is one belief that I’ve held on to over the years and that I now encourage in others – movement for wellness, for stress relief and for learning about and being one with your body.

By that time, I had looked into online programs and found one that had a good following, touted macros and eating to maximize performance. I liked that idea.

I learned a lot about macro calculations, adding more protein to my diet, placing carbohydrates around my workouts and I appreciated that the company talked about no food being off limits (no “good” or “bad” foods) and loving your body at baseline before you lost weight or changed it.

The coaches were encouraging and it was a great community. It was here that I was “recruited” to become a “coach”. About six months into my journey with them, I was approached by management to ask if I was interested in becoming a coach because I was a “great cheerleader” as I was very encouraging to other members, especially new members. I agreed, because, after all, what did I have to lose?

I was “trained” on how to calculate macros and adjust them for clients and I continued with this group for several years (with no formal trainings or certifications). I learned a lot, and I also parted ways with them after the company had gone through a growth spurt and I found out that the owner was lying to staff about some stuff and making the coaches lie to clients. That was not cool. A fair amount of us felt the same way, so we kept in touch and then a few of the other coaches decided to form a smaller nutrition site. I coached there after completing my Precision Nutrition certification and continued 1:1 coaching there happily for the last 2 and half years.

On my personal weight loss and health journey, I had transitioned off macros and became more interested in intuitive healthy eating and was coaching my clients, when interested, in the same. It opened up a whole new world for me, and I began to research other, more intuitive and mindset based programs because I knew that I didn’t want to track macros or my food long-term.

I read Georgie Fear’s book, Lean Habits, which greatly assisted me on my journey and also found Corrine Crabtree of Phit-n-Phat and started listening to her blog. I was fascinated by her passion, her story, and her message of “losing weight the way you’ll live it”. From there I found her mentor, Brooke Castillo’s podcast and website and embraced her self-coaching course, and, after 8 months, an idea was born.

What you see now is the evolution of my idea. This business is born out of my passion to help other people evolve their lives and their nutrition to be their best selves and feel amazing.

My mission is to help transform your life and teach you to push past your limits to achieve your body and life goals. In a healthy, safe and permanent way. You are the only thing standing in the way of your goals – are you ready to transform your life?

Be you, fearlessly! How? One thought, habit, meal at a time.

Let’s DO THIS!!!

Let’s connect. When you join my mailing list, you get access to my FREE Weight Loss Guide as a thank you.

Learning Experiences

I remember being in graduate school. I lived in my own apartment. It was very important to my mom that I live alone at least once in my life (as a parent, I now understand that you want to prevent your children from having the same struggles you did… she saw this as one of her regrets).

I studied, I daydreamed. I ATE.

I cooked, some. I learned to cook. Eventually.

My dad’s favorite joke is that I used to burn water… but he and my bonus mom made sure we knew how to cook simple stuff before we left for college. For that I am grateful.

I ordered a LOT of take-out that year in grad school. I ate a lot of processed foods, a lot of sweets. I love sugar and baked goods (no surprise that the one recipe I mastered before I left home was cookies).

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 I don’t recall a lot of details from that year, other than that, essentially, I was lonely. I was isolated. I ate to comfort myself.

Even though I went outside, I was around people, I went for walks through the parks, I browsed at the bookstores, I went to class. I experienced my isolation. I felt it, my alone-ness. I didn’t like it, it didn’t feel good.

It wasn’t horrible. But now, I realize that I was eating to escape my discomfort, escape my feelings. The ones I created for myself that year. I was soothing myself with food. Not terribly surprising that that year was essentially my unhealthiest nutrition year ever.

I was in my early 20’s. I had a boyfriend who was loving, supportive and lived about 2 hours away. He was great. My family has always been loving. I was “going through life”. I was living how I knew. I hadn’t learned. I didn’t know any better.

Ya know, that time when you THINK you are grown and mature and know everything?

Yeah, that time.

I laugh now. That experience helped to shape who I am today. All of my experiences have. For that reason, I don’t live with regrets. I often don’t look back at all. I live, I learn, I move forward.

Are there times that I cringe thinking about the horrible choices I’ve made and the people that I’ve hurt along the way? Of course.

Is there value in reliving these things in my mind repeatedly? No.

I live, I learn, I keep moving forward. Again. And again. Have I learned the same lessons multiple times? Yup, I am that stubborn. Yet I keep moving forward.

I still crave amazing Greek food, especially moussaka from that little restaurant in Cleveland sometimes.

I smile though now, recalling the dreams I had back then, what I was doing to move myself forward and how much I have learned while living my life.

Live life. Make mistakes. Learn and keep moving forward. It is the human way. Embrace it all and life will become so much more.

Let’s connect. When you join my mailing list, you get access to my FREE Weight Loss Guide as a thank you.

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