Have you been actively trying to lose weight for months? Do you feel like you are "following all the weight loss rules" and still aren't getting the results you want? Do you seem to be at a standstill?
While I understand the frustration of not being where you want to be, you need to realize first that it is not all about weight. Your weight is a marker of your health, but it is not the only one. While excess weight can be associated with certain health conditions, simply trying to lose weight quickly can be ineffective or even harmful. A better approach might be to focus on behavior change (like exercising, eating more vegetables, getting better quality sleep, stress management, etc.) over just trying to change your physical appearance. When you solely focus on weight loss, you might resort to using dangerous methods of getting there; starvation, very low calorie diets, cutting out specific food groups, purging, extreme exercise, pills, supplements, drinks, powders, legal and illegal drugs, etc. None of those things enhance your health. They might cause you to lose some weight initially but they are definitely NOT helping your body become healthier, give you more energy or prevent/manage diseases.
Improving the quality of your diet and quantity/type of exercise will benefit you whether you lose weight or not. BUT, if done properly, improving diet, getting an appropriate amount of physical activity, getting better quality sleep and managing stress should naturally result in weight loss. Normally, if you aren't seeing any change in your weight/waist, it is because you aren't following the plan like you think you are.
I encourage you to find your "happy weight" which is the weight you are at when you are living the healthiest life that you enjoy - not just aiming to reach a low number you were at once before or have always dreamed of being. The weight loss that may accompany behavior change is just secondary to those behaviors. Your goal should be adding more healthy behaviors into your life vs reaching a specific weight. Your success, self-worth and health are not determined by the numbers on the scale.
If you feel like you have been making great strides with behavior change over the last several months and still haven't seen any changes in your weight, don't give up! Remember all of the other benefits you are getting from these changes other than just a goal to lose weight. A healthy lifestyle can combat or prevent cancer, diabetes, heart attacks, strokes or other diseases, improve your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, boost your mood, increase your energy, prevent injuries, enhance your mental health, strengthen bones and teeth, improve gut health, enhance memory, give you better quality sleep and even impact the health of your family and those around you who see what you are doing and start changing their behaviors too (plus so much more)!
It can take a while to fix what is on the inside before you see any changes on the outside. There is SO much going on in your body that will happen before you even feel anything and you will feel something long before you physically see any changes. It is a process. That is why extreme dieting doesn't work long-term. It doesn't fix anything.
There is so much that comes into play when we talk about behavior changes. While you might WANT to lose weight, you have to mentally be ready to make changes. You can want something SO bad but if you don't make a plan to actually do something about it and make changes, all it will ever be is a dream. That is how those "magic pills, potions and elixirs" market to people. They reach out to the people who want to lose weight but don't actually want to work for it. You can't fake a healthy lifestyle. You can't fool your body. You have to want it and you have to work for it. That doesn't mean it should feel like a struggle and be really hard. It just means you need to commit to making small changes over time and then don't give up. Once you are mentally ready to change your lifestyle, you can do anything! This is why I emphasize SMALL CHANGES. By implementing one tiny behavior change at a time, you will be able to celebrate those wins and feel victorious. This enhances your self-efficacy (an individual's belief in their innate ability to achieve goals) and motivates you to keep on going! Once those behaviors all start coming together, you will feel the benefits on the inside and eventually will see the changes on the outside.
If you are getting a little frustrated because you aren't seeing the weight change you desire - focus on being consistent, stay mindful while eating, get quality sleep, practice stress-management and make sure you aren't doing anything too extreme (too much exercise/not enough calories/cutting food groups).
One of the biggest problems I see with people who are just trying to lose weight is the cycle of eating as perfect as they can and restricting calories during the week and then overdoing it on the weekend (or when they can't keep up the "perfect" anymore). If you do this you might slow your metabolism, become constipated, have decreased energy which leads to lack of exercise, cortisol levels (stress hormone) increase, and you might binge on certain foods and gain weight when you go back to your normal way of eating. The same goes with exercising too much - overdoing it on exercise leads to inflammation, fatigue, illness, injuries and it raises your cortisol levels (stress hormone). By losing weight quickly through these or other unhealthy methods you will most likely be losing muscle (and water weight) which impacts future weight loss, making it even harder next time. You can't keep up this way of life for long, it is mentally and physically exhausting. If it caused you to lose weight in the beginning you might gain it back (and then some) once you resort back to your normal way of eating/exercising. Again, this is why consistency (doing something you can maintain for life) is key.
When you focus on behavior change instead of weight loss, you will receive all of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle - without the stress on your mind and body! By making small behavior changes that will increase your health slowly over time, you will not feel overwhelmed by any one drastic change (like an extreme diet) and can still enjoy your favorite things in life! You don't have to exercise 24/7, cut out all carbs, count calories or miss out on plans with your friends. The point of changing behaviors slowly is so that you can still live your life!
An example of behavior change would be - incorporating 30 minutes of walking at least 3 times a week, making at least half of your grains whole, adding a fruit or vegetable to each meal and snack, eating mindfully so you know when you are full, going to bed an hour earlier, eating an apple with peanut butter instead of your daily candy bar, meditating when you feel stressed, etc. Whatever it may be, practice, practice, practice and once you get it down to where you no longer think about it, add in another change. Also, keep in mind that this will not be one linear path. There will be ups and downs, setbacks and leaps forward along the way. The important thing is to always keep pushing forward. You can do it!
"Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might as well put that passing time to the best possible use." ~Earl Nightingale
It is my mission to empower individuals to lead healthier, happier, more balanced lives by transforming their goals into lifelong sustainable behaviors. If you need help reaching your goals, please contact me today, I would love to work with you!
Interested in this topic? You might enjoy these posts:
5 Reasons Why Diets Don't Work - Lose the diet mindset and focus on a healthy lifestyle
No Time For Your Health? - Make your health a priority
Living Life Balanced - Learn about the 9 dimensions of wellness and that living a balanced life doesn't mean you have to be perfect
Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life - How do you become the person you believe that you can be?
Stop Your War with Food - Stop letting food control you; eat good foods to fuel and nourish your body and enjoy life
With Easter just around the corner it is time to start planning your menu! Are you hosting, bringing food to your family or friend's house, or are you just having a day at home? No matter what you are doing, it is always fun to be festive! Try something new and make one (or all) of these healthy AND delicious recipes for your Easter brunch! These recipes are light, spring-like and bring that happy Easter vibe to the table! They are also gluten-free and dairy-free but can be enjoyed by everyone!!!
Are you the type that likes to have the same meals each year for your favorite holidays? I am the person that always likes to switch it up and do something different and unique, yet also sometimes I do like the tried and true favorites. You never know what you might like until you try it though! Maybe you could start a new tradition with one of these recipes. Let me know what you think!
Like these recipes? Check out more of my recipes and meal plans + thousands of others with the Prepear app!
Over the weekend a cold front came in and the temperature dipped below freezing so I decided to play it up since there probably won't be much of that left now that it is spring. Soup seemed like a good option and I had minestrone in mind. I ended up buying a bunch of random ingredients at the store to just wing it...but ended up forgetting the noodles so I decided on using rice instead! I also was going to make it vegetarian but Josh convinced me otherwise so we made mini turkey meatballs and added some in (we used the rest for our lunches for the week). I'm sticking with the vegan version for this recipe though since that was how I had originally planned to make it. Feel free to add your own meat if you want though! I love soup but hate how it is always full of so much salt! I like making it myself because I know what all goes in it and can control the salt content. The flavor from all of the different veggies made this soup delicious without all of the salt!
Prep/Total Time: 60 minutes
Out of all the parks, paths and trails in Williamson County, TN, this is the one I utilize the most! It is a beautiful park, the trails are wide (big enough to run alongside another person), well maintained, clearly defined and I just really enjoy it! There are 4 different paths that total 7.1 miles with something for everybody! You can choose to do a shorter, flatter trail or a longer, more intense one with a high elevation gain. Marcella Vivrette Smith Park is Brentwood's largest park at 400-acres. It is located at 1825 Wilson Pike, Brentwood, TN 37027. The property includes the beautiful Ravenswood Mansion - built in 1825, two multi-purpose athletic fields, restrooms, a picnic shelter, and a playground. It also connects to the Brentwood Parks Trail System so if you want to get in a really long training run that includes trails and paved paths, this is the place for you! If you wanted to stay within the park you could run on the road or the paved paths to add on a little extra mileage as well. As I said, plenty of options for everybody!
The park is open from dawn to dusk, so keep that in mind as they close the gates during the off-use time. When you come through the entrance you will drive down a long road and over a bridge (over train tracks) before you come to Ravenswood Mansion. You could park on the left side by the playground, fields, picnic shelter and bathrooms or drive further to the right and park by the entrance of the trails. There is a bathroom there, a water fountain, and a place to scrape off your muddy shoes. Speaking of shoes, if you plan on walking, hiking or running the trails you will want to wear the proper footwear - hiking or trail running shoes. There are some areas that can be a little slick, if it rains it definitely gets muddy and they will also help with the elevation gain and descent!
If you select to do the more intense 5-mile trail (the one I have listed below that I normally do that utilizes all of the trails without really repeating anything - 520 ft elevation gain) you will begin at the Blue trailhead on the left and start a quick, uphill climb. Just for kicks, add in the Red trail and proceed to the top (this makes a little longer than a 1/2 mile climb from the start) before heading back down with a descent for a little over a 1/2 mile as you travel down Red and to the left on Blue through the woods until you reach a field. The back portion of the park on the Blue trail is pretty flat as you run through the rolling fields (be on the lookout for turkeys). You will then enter back into the woods and again just for kicks, head up the blue trail on a pretty steep climb over rocks, before heading back down to get on the Green trail. Through the woods you go as you travel up and down hills before coming to a bigger clearing with an open path that ultimately leads you back to the parking lot. You will travel up that path and then back down before coming back around to the Blue trail on your left. You will go into the woods and over a small creek before eventually turning on the Black trail loop before getting back on the Blue loop and heading to the parking lot.
A majority of the trails are heavily wooded with a few portions of them through a field or on a wide open path. Be on the lookout for plenty of deer, turkeys, squirrels and birds (I even saw some sort of weasel once)! This is a great place to come on your own to enjoy the peacefulness or to bring your family and dogs! If you wanted the challenge you could even pack a picnic and work for it as you travel up the Blue and Red trail to the picnic shelters at the very top :) Also, I don't know why it is better here than other parks but during the summer there aren't as many spiderwebs clinging to your face as you run through the trails and you aren't rubbing against brush to have to really worry too much about ticks (huge bonus).
The Trail Run Project and All Trails app lists all of the trails and can be used in helping you navigate when you are out there. You can also download the map here. As I always say though, the best way to experience these trails is to take your time and explore. Find the path that you enjoy the most or switch it up and have fun!!!
I pulled this information from the City of Brentwood Marcella Vivrette Smith Park map on the individual trails so you can know more before you decide which one to do!
Red Trail - 1.5 Miles (Difficult) Mostly uphill with one section that is very step. At the top it opens up to a nice level scenic overlook area. Great views in the fall & winter.
Blue Trail– 2.25 Miles (Easy - Moderate - Difficult) This trail is the longest in the system. It consists of uphill sections and flat sections. Great views throughout. Wildlife can be seen frequently on this trail.
Black Trail - 2.0 Miles (Easy - Difficult) Heart of the trail system. Trail stays within mainly wooded areas. Can be a little rocky at points. Wildlife is abundant on the trail.
Green Trail - 1.36 Miles (Easy) This is the easiest trail in the park. Consists mostly of flat areas with awesome view of pastures. This section also has a great view of old slave walls.
Find more paths, trails and places to hike/run/walk in Williamson County, TN here!
Months ago, I decided that for my 30th birthday I wanted to spend the day hiking with my husband. I knew I wanted to do a loop hike with a decent elevation gain that would take several hours to complete. After a lot of research between the both of us, we decided on the Cumberland Trail - Pot Point Loop (listed on the AllTrails app at 11.2 miles with a 1,387 ft. elevation gain). That allowed us to stay in Dunlap, TN at the cutest Airbnb farm with the option to go to Chattanooga if it rained. The reviews of the trail on AllTrails showed that we might be hiking more than the 11.2 miles (with an average of 30 minute miles) so I decided to plan for 13 miles just in case. The full hike ended up being 12.7 miles with an average of 28:57 min/mile with a moving time of 6:07:40 and an elevation gain of 1,821 ft. We weren't in a hurry, stopped for lunch to enjoy the view and did end up getting off course a few times (never very far though). I recommend before you decide to go on a hike that you honestly evaluate yourself to make sure you have the proper physical, mental and outdoor skills as well as the right gear.
The list below is my recommendation of what to bring on a longer day hike. The food and water were specific to me, hiking 13 miles on a beautiful, sunny, 50-74 degree day in the mountains/hills. I based my water consumption off of 2 cups, or about 1/2 liter for every 1 hour of hiking. Hot or humid conditions, direct sunlight, high elevation gain, intense sweat rate and heavy pack weight are all factors that lead you to need more water, so you might do better with 4 cups or 1 liter an hour depending on the conditions. I tried to drink 1-2 big gulps every 15-20 minutes or so. As for my food, I had a large breakfast of 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1 cup almond milk, 1 Tbsp peanut butter, 1 banana and 2 Tbsp flax seeds. I then packed to have about 200 calories or so every hour with a 400 calorie lunch. It looked something like this - fruit pack, Rxbar, gluten-free bread with tuna and some jelly beans, fruit pack, Rxbar. I also had an Epic Bison Cranberry Bar just in case, but I didn't eat it. When we got home we kept drinking water and then refueled with some chips and salsa, clam chowder and gluten-free pepperoni mushroom pizza. We also had some wine and dairy-free ice cream. That might sound a little more indulgent than necessary after the hike BUT it was for my birthday and those were the treats I wanted throughout the rest of the night :) Okay, on to hiking gear!
What to Bring on a Hike
(What I Wore)
It is better to be safe than sorry, so over packing is better than under packing. That goes for gear, food and water. I used the AllTrails app for the trail map and to record our route and it saved us from going off course a few times. I highly recommend using that! We also had the regular GPS just in case but the phone was great for what we were doing. I was thankful for having the cell phone bank to charge my phone on the go towards the end though! We drank almost all of our water, ate all of the food (except the Epic Bars), used the hand sanitizer, chapstick and binoculars and the rest was all for good measure! I was thankful we had everything with us just in case, but even more thankful we didn't have to use it. Josh ended up carrying the large first aid kit, binoculars and GPS and I packed a smaller kit and used the GPS on my phone. Other than that, we both had the same supplies in case we got split up (which we made sure wouldn't happen).
We also told a few people were we were going, what time we started and what time we expected to be back and signed the trailhead book with our names and start/end time - again, just in case! It is always important for at least one other person to know where you are going.
Err on the side of caution, be prepared, start earlier than you think you should, pack more than enough food, water and gear and most importantly, enjoy your wonderful hike!!!!!
I am a food loving, activity seeking health coach who resides in Franklin, TN with my husband and two sweet dogs (Lola & Penny).
I believe everyone should eat balanced and not cut food groups if you don't medically need to. All foods can fit in a healthy diet. Unfortunately, I have to avoid gluten and also limit myself with dairy, so my goal is to provide healthy, gluten-free/dairy-free recipes so EVERYONE can enjoy all foods, even if you do have to cut out certain food groups. My recipes are encouraged for everyone to eat, not just for those with sensitivities/allergies! Most of my recipes can be easily converted by using real dairy and whole-wheat in place of my allergy-free substitutes.
Looking for something specific? Everything can be found by category under the "Life" and "Recipes" sections on my website or you can search below.