I missed some workouts, now what?
We all know stress is well, stressful. Stress comes at us from home, relationships, work, school, our family, friends, and even pressure we place on ourselves. All that pressure adds up to a lot of tension on our minds and bodies. And as our bodies don’t understand the cause of your stress, it reacts in ways to protect itself. Your body will prepare to battle your stress and remove the unwanted fear the only way it knows how.
Fight or flight.
When we feel stress, it triggers the age ol’ fight or fight reaction. Our bodies haven’t changed how it reacts to stress, regardless of the cause. Whether a lion is about to attack or you received a nasty email, it causes the same reaction.
When we feel stress, we release a hormone called Cortisol. This hormone kicks in and will help you stay alive if you really are about to battle that lion!
Cortisol does a few things simultaneously for us in stressful situations.
- In stressful situations cortisol rises
- This causes us to eat (and usually over-eat) because it wants to prepare your body to have enough calories for battling whatever you are about to face
- It slows your metabolism so that you don’t burn through your energy source too quickly
- Cortisol encourages your body to store fat
- Again, so you can be prepared for and sustain through whatever you are about to face!
This one hormone has just prepared your body for your fight or flight. In America though, our battle isn’t with a lion or neighboring village. Our battle is a computer screen, where we sit and no longer need the additional calories and fat stores to stay alive. Meaning we consume more calories than we burn, and chose unhealthy choices to help us cope.
Cortisol isn’t the only culprit here though, stress can sabotage you in other ways too.
- If you eat when you are worried or distracted, you aren’t focusing on eating. Meaning we tend not to realize ourselves becoming full and over-eat. We also are more likely to want a snack more quickly and eat more during that next snack.
- Salty, sweet and fatty foods release pleasure chemicals in your brain which reduce tension. Your body will crave these more than a healthy snack to combat unhappy feelings.
- Over time any and all of the above actions will become habit and we do them each day without realizing it, adding additional, unhealthy calories to our daily routine.
- Stress causes us to lose sleep which is also a powerful factor in weight gain.
Feeling stressed about feeling stressed?
Take a long deep breath. Here are ways to beat stress and it’s impending weight gain.
- I know this seems obvious but common sense ins’t common practice in a busy world. Exercise releases all sorts of chemicals in our brain to help us relax. We also are more likely to chose healthier foods after we exercise and moving our bodies will help us get a good nights sleep! With a full calendar, start with 20 mins a day or one of Emily Langlois’ FIT Guide programs to guide you through a full total body workout on YOUR time.
- Stop Strict Dieting
- You have enough stress to deal with at work, home, and your every-day life. Putting your body under extreme pressure only adds stress in this area as well. Yo-yo dieting is stressful for our bodies and our minds. Eat a clean, healthy, balanced diet as laid out in this Nutrition Package, to keep yourself on a stable, weight loss plan you can enjoy forever! And that allows splurges! 🙂
- Eat Mindfully
- I’ve covered this in a few articles now but the idea of eating mindfully could NOT be stressed enough. Our bodies won’t recognize that we’ve eaten too much until we’ve over-eaten 500-1000 calories! That’s half or MORE of your whole day. Gone.
- Before you sit down to eat, take a deep breath. Notice how you feel. Are you eating because you are hungry? If yes, turn everything off and sit down to eat.
- Eating should be enjoyable! Taste your food! Enjoy what you’re eating! Don’t play games, don’t watch tv, read, scroll social media. Just eat. By being present and eating, you will recognize when you’ve had enough and stop 2.5 times sooner than if you were distracted. So slow down the world around you and enjoy your meal! Everything else will still be there 10 minutes from now!
- Move Your Body Every Hour
- Our minds can only focus on one task for about an hour before our output decreases dramatically. We become drained, unfocused, thirsty, restless and our creativity worsens. After 50 minutes of deep focused work, stand up. Move around and grab some water. Stretch, walk, jump, whatever feels natural to you. Just move your body and drink water at least once per hour. Then sit back down and tackle your next task!
- Write in a Journal
- We boil our worries up in our head until they become so massive that we think our heads might explode! Write down all of your stresses and write your plan to work through it. By writing your thoughts on paper, you extract them from growing in your mind and see how manageable it really is!
- Find non-food activies you enjoy
- Choose a better stress relief than happy hour each night. Try yoga, painting, writing, photography… Something you can do to relieve your stress, that you enjoy and isn’t centered around food or unhealthy habits.
Choosing new habits and ways of dealing with stress will be your way to beat the weight gain stress can bring. Unfortunately I can’t remove all of the stressful people in your life, but I can help you to find healthy, positive ways to keep yourself sane and slim among them.
A great way to become healthier is with a supportive group who are fighting the same battle as you! We’ve created a community to support you through your goals and celebrate your wins as you push through each week. These women complete the FIT Guide program and exercise around THEIR busy schedules, any time of day, anywhere! Take the FIT Guide to the gym, your home, work or hotel. You will see results quickly and love how you feel.
Visit FITonYourTime.com to learn more and start your transformation today!
Emily Langlois is a Certified Personal Trainer, Weight Loss Specialist and Group Fitness Instructor. She trains hundreds of men and women to lose weight, see definition and LOVE their bodies.
During the last week, two of my clients told me they’ve been struggling with their nutrition. Each felt like they weren’t seeing progress as quickly anymore and felt bad about themselves for the return of bad habits. I asked, “what do you think you struggle with the most?”
The answer? “Portions”.
So why is portion control important?
Too much of anything will make us gain weight. Even too many ‘healthy” options are still more than our bodies need. If we take in more calories than our bodies burn in a day, we will gain weight. If we take in the same amount of calories as we use in a day, we will maintain and of course, if we take in less calories than we burned today, we will lose weight over time.
How can I portion control easily?
Below are 10 Tips To Eating Healthy Portions
- The easiest way to eat the correct amount of food is to measure our foods or simply buy the containers from amazon here.
If you select the measure option, you’ll need your basic set of measuring cups and to read the servings sizes of the foods you eat. For example, your morning cereal, you’ll measure out 1/2 cup of cereal before you pour into your bowl.
This works well with meal-planners. Have everything measured and ready to go for a successful day ahead!
The containers are nice because they are color-coded and all you have to do in our cereal example from earlier is pour the cereal into the yellow container. As long as it fits in your container, you are good!
The containers also work perfectly for bringing snacks with you on the go. It’s storage and portion control in one!
2. Use Identifiers to Visualize Correct Portions
I’m a visual person and have a hard time knowing what 3oz is without thinking of something to compare it to.
So for example, your steak or chicken should be the palm of your hand. I’ve also heard your fist, so I’ll be flexible with you between the two.
Your salad should be two fists cupped together.
Fish should be the length of a checkbook.
Below is a guide for more ideas. I recommend printing this and placing it on your fridge or cabinet door.
3. Use less variety of flavors
Imagine you have a plate full of broccoli. Or you have a plate full of mixed vegetables, grains, chicken all covered in a rich sauce. Which would you eat more of?
We tend to eat until we are tired of a certain flavor. If you only have 1 or 2 flavors on your plate, you will say you are finished much sooner than if you had new flavors with every bite. This is the same logic behind why we can be full from our dinner but always have room for desert. It is a new flavor.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t season your food, I’m only warning you of the pitfalls we can fall into with too many choices or varieties.
4. Use color-contrast plates
If food blends in with our plates, we tend to under-estimate how much is there. For example, if I put pasta with Alfredo sauce on a white plate, it’s hard to determine how much is there – it blends in! In contrast, if I had spaghetti sauce with noodles on a white plate, the color contrast would help me to see that I had plenty of pasta and I would eat less.
5. Plate your food from the counter and immediately store left-overs.
Never bring the pan or pot of food to the table. Being able to see remaining food will tempt us to easily pour more on our plates. If you are still hungry after you’ve had your portions, having to get up and retrieve food from the fridge will require us to take an extra moment and review if we are truly hungry.
6. Never eat from the bag or box
It’s nearly impossible to know how much you are eating if you can’t see it. Pour food from the bag/box in to a bowl and eat from the bowl.
7. Don’t do anything else while eating. Watching tv, playing games or reading distracts us from what we are doing and we don’t feel ourselves becoming full. Studies show those who were distracted while they ate, ate more during the meal and felt hungry more quickly after.
8. Relax your body and calm your mind before and during a meal. So often we eat when we are upset which causes us to over-eat and eat the wrong foods. Deep calming breaths helps us to recognize if our body is truly hungry, slow down our eating and chose healthier foods.
9. Don’t skip meals. If we go too long without eating, our bodies become ravenous and we tend to make unhealthy choices, eating everything except the kitchen table. Keep healthy snacks on hand to eat between meals, warding off unhealthy temptations. Some of my favorite go-to snacks are:
Greek Yogurt and Fruit
Turkey and Whole-Grain Crackers
Apple and peanut butter
Celery and Carrots with Hummus
The idea is a protein rich snack that will keep you satisfied until your next meal.
10. Use a food log for a week.
I provide my clients with free access to a daily food log on our training app and recommend for the first week they track their food. Seeing how much you are eating, if you are eating the right amount of proteins, carbs and healthy fats and understanding the difference between calories in vs. calories out, is extremely helpful. Just one week of tracking will help you to have a baseline knowledge of what is right for you.
If you are interested in more nutrition insight, exercise programs or 1:1 online personal training, please check out FITonYourTime.com to begin your health and fitness journey! I’d love to get to know you and understand how I can help!
Have a healthy, happy and successful day,
Emily Langlois, CPT
Imagine yourself walking on the beach. You are in your new swim suit, and someone wants to take a picture. How great would it feel to stand there confidently loving your flat, strong and defined stomach?
Our abs are hard to sculpt but they are what we all want, right? So let’s take a dive into how we can define our midsection and the best ways to do it quickly.
To build a strong core and see defined abs, we must eat a healthy diet and complete effective workouts consistently. Changing our thinking about food so that we eat according to our goals is most important. Food is fuel to nourish our bodies.
The types of exercises you complete are also important. Changing up your exercise routines often and selecting dynamic movements will sculpt your abs quickly to see a solid midsection.
Variety is important because our bodies adapt to workouts. We want to constantly keep our muscles working. Consistency of working out though is true too. Do the work and you will see your result.
The best workouts for defined abs include exercises that work every area of the core (upper,mid,lower and obliques). You also need a strong back to help with posture and support which is why many workouts will incorporate exercises such as a superman or push ups.
Weighted exercises work exceptionally well for defining your abs because it increases the work load.
Best Exercises for Defined Abs
To see best results in your core, I recommend a total body workout. Total body workouts use both your upper and lower body, causing your abs to contract and stabilize you. You also burn more calories and get the most value out of a short workout!
Additionally, for my clients I add an extra set of ab exercises “10 min Abs” to their workouts 3 times per week.
In this ab workout, it’s important you select exercises that challenge each area of the core as mentioned above.
Below are 5 of my favorite ab exercises to see definition quickly.
Please complete this workout 3 times per week with a healthy diet.
Open and Up
Weighted Russian Twists
Abs are like any muscle, it needs time under pressure (exercise) and time to rest and recover. I rarely recommend ab exercises more than 3 times a week because we become overworked and struggle to give our full effort if we do too much. I would rather you give full effort 3 times per week than half effort 5.
Best Foods for Defined Abs
You’ve heard the saying, “abs are made in the kitchen”, right?
A poor diet most often appears in our midsections first thereby claiming that if you eat healthy, you will lose weight in your belly. Simply eating healthy will create a flat stomach over time. True.
What does eating healthy look like?
1.Eating balanced meals and snacks every 2-3 hours
2. Eating a balance of protein, fats and carbs
3. Choosing the right carbs (whole grain or whole wheat, beans, starchy veggies)
4. Using seasonings instead of sauces
5. Avoid sugary drinks or added calories in your beverages
6. Make meals at home to avoid processed foods
For More Tips, Check Out My FREE Meal Planning Guide (FITonYourTime.com)
How do you know what to eat to define your abs?
Think of lean proteins:
Chicken, fish, greek yogurt, eggs, lean cuts of red meat
And Healthy Fats:
Avocados, Nuts, Seeds, Oils,
What are good carbs?
Starchy Vegetables (eggplant, squash, zucchini, sweet potato) Beans, Whole Grains
The most important factor is to eat enough protein and in correct portion sizes. Too much of anything will turn into fat on the body so maintaining healthy portions is key!
Can Everyone Get Defined Abs?
I hear this question often when clients have been struggling to get definition. They’ll say something like, “I cannot get defined abs” or “can anyone get defined abs?”
Answer: Yes, you can. Unless you have had major surgeries in your stomach or some rare medical condition preventing you, you can. It will take effort, but everyone can have a great stomach. Give it time and consistent effort!
Think of it like this. You must be willing to be uncomfortable to reach a goal you’ve never attained before. The workouts will be hard and you will have to give up eating in ways that you used to eat.
Here is the good news:
It doesn’t mean you have to be miserable! Healthy foods can taste good with proper seasoning, good recipes and changing options. Instead of thinking,”I’m giving up” Think of what you GET to do. You can lift more, run further, see your ABS! You GET to eat healthy, you GET to enjoy this food.
Being nice to our bodies is a celebration of it. Eating poorly is not being nice to our bodies.
And at the end? You will have the definition in your abs that you’ve always wanted. You will be ready for summer and to be proud of what you’ve worked for!
To Join My 6-Week Exercise Program, visit FITonYourTime.com
Congratulations on taking this step to achieve healthier eating, weight loss and ultimate success on your goals!
Meal planning is incredibly important and normally as it provides you with the knowledge of what to eat throughout the week. You will be able to grocery shop, prepare and easily cook meals throughout the week without the added stress of decision! When we are hungry we chose the easy, quick and “best sounding” meals instead of the healthiest. Having a plan, removes the indecision and need to contemplate!
For further nutrition information or to begin my 6-week program, please visit FITonYourTime.com.
Meal planning is an essential way to stay healthy throughout the week
1. We know what groceries to shop for
2. Remove temptation to stop for fast food if you know what you’re having for dinner
3. Have healthy snacks ready on hand and ready to eat!
I guarantee you will notice an enormous difference in your wallet as well as the scale if you begin meal planning.
This process will take you about 20 mins. I recommend doing it every Sunday, but you will find what works best for you.
To begin, please use the template on the following page. I’ve also provided you will 6 additional weeks if you chose to complete the 6-week Love Your Body FIT Guide!
Start: I like to do this one meal at a time. Meaning, write down every breakfast you will have for the next week and once we complete all of the breakfasts, we will move down the line.
What will your breakfasts be THIS week?
Will you make a shake? Bake muffins? Oatmeal? Overnight Oatmeal? Eggs? Yogurt?
Write them in the box below each day.
Once you’ve done this, move down to your mid-afternoon snack. What will your snacks be this week? Yogurt with fruit and granola? Nuts? Fruit? Homemade protein bars?
What do you like and what is realistic for YOUR schedule?
Have your mid-afternoon snacks down? Let’s move to lunch.
Write down all your lunches for the week under each day.
Trainer Tip: If you don’t eat a snack at this time of day, then list your snacks where you normally eat them. As I mention in my FIT Guides, I encourage you to be eating every 2 3 hours meaning for most, this is an eating patter that works. If it doesn’t work for you, that’s okay! Do whatever does.
Trainer Tip: As you are creating this list, try to think of your days in terms of the balancing your Protein, Fats and Carbs. Are you adding 3 or 4 servings of protein (this will most likely equal your correct percentage). Are you getting enough fruits and veggies? Do you have your healthy fats in there?
It’s okay if this seems challenging at first!! It will become easier and quicker after the first couple times!
Complete the same process for your mid-afternoon snack and dinner.
I like to plan my dinners so that I’m not eating the same things every night, but I eat leftovers every OTHER night. For example, Monday I make Chicken. I make enough for leftovers, and put the remaining in the refrigerator. Tuesday, I will eat something else, let’s say shrimp. I put my leftover shrimp in the refrigerator. Wednesday, I eat Monday’s chicken. Thursday, I eat Tuesday’s Shrimp.
By rotating my meals every day, I don’t feel bored or deprived, but I also save money by eating leftovers!
With your Meal Planning sheet in hand, you will head to the grocery store getting everything you need! It’s easier to do this step if you were detailed in the planning phase. Write down EVERYTHING in your meal when planning so you are prepared at the store!
When you get home from the grocery store, I recommend cleaning and cutting up your vegetables. Having these cleaned and cut, will make it easier to grab as your afternoon snack. This will save you time during the week!
Trainer Tip: If you know you will be having dinner out one night, schedule your Sanity Meal! Scheduling your Sanity Meals are great to keep you in healthy flow for the rest of the day. These aren’t called Sanity Days 😊
More on Sanity Meals in the Love Your Body FIT Guide and FIT U FIT Guide
Meal Plan Template
Breakfast Snack Lunch Snack Dinner
The idea for this article came to me while I was on the set of eightWest chatting with Rachel. I was there recording a 5 minute segment about my online training programs and in conversation, Rachel told me how she liked to work out at home. She added she doesn’t have weights at home so she uses one of her kids’ toys. It’s a ball and it works just as well!
That creativity and convenience is something I try to share with my clients. While I design workout programs incorporating resistance bands and dumbbells, you can always get a great workout in without it! Whether you’re traveling or just don’t have the space for equipment, at-home workouts can be completed with equipment you have already around!
I’ve compiled a list of common household items to be used instead of weights, bands or exercise balls when those items are not available.
- Cans of Soup
- Exercises that require a light weight such as tricep kickbacks, shoulder raises, shoulder circles, King Kong Bicep Curls, etc. would be perfect with cans of soup. The cans fit in your hand and are convenient. Be sure the cans you select are okay to shake and approximately the same weight in each hand.
- Chair or Coffee Table
- Instead of an exercise ball, most exercises can either be done on the floor or with a stable chair! Step Ups? Step on a chair instead. Toe Taps? Tap the seat of a chair. Tricep Dips? Place your hands on the chair for elevation from the ground.
- Please be sure to use a stable chair!
- Basketball (or Other Sport Ball)
- A ball can replace any weighted ball exercise, any lunge/ squat twists, russian twists, push up on ball, or weighted ab exercise. Naturally the size of the ball may change your range of motion but you are using your core, arms and legs – so that’s a win!
- Using your own body to do the exercise and omitting a weight is extremely effective. Please be sure to watch your form but body weight exercises can be: push ups, squats, lunges, jumps of any kind, planks (and all plank variations), crunches, superman’s, etc. You can easily achieve a total body workout without equipment. If you aren’t feeling the burn, do more reps or add in a complex movement. A burpee, for example is a complex movement. You work your upper, lower, core and heart rate at the same time.
- Water Jug
- Anything with weight will add a challenge. Much like the previous examples, using a heavy water jug is a great way to add weight to an exercise. When using this method, please be sure to watch how you hold the water. Keep your wrists straight so not to hurt them!
- Like to read as much as me? You should have plenty of heavy books lying around that will create the perfect weight addition to squats, twists, raise, etc.
Do you have other ideas or objects you’ve used? I’d love to hear!
Working out at home is a great option to fit our busy lives. This can sometimes leave us wondering: what can I use instead?! I hope this list helps you.
Have a healthy, happy and successful day,
Emily Langlois, CPT