Stress: How Stress is Sabotaging Your Weight Loss

Blog Video

Summary:

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.

  1. In stressful situations cortisol rises
  2. 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
  3. It slows your metabolism so that you don’t burn through your energy source too quickly
  4. Cortisol encourages your body to store fat
    1. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

  1. Exercise
    1. 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.
  2. Stop Strict Dieting
    1. 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! 🙂
  3. Eat Mindfully
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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!
  4. Move Your Body Every Hour
    1. 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!
  5. Write in a Journal
    1. 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!
  6. Find non-food activies you enjoy
    1. 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!

Good picEmily 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.

Portion Control: Easy Portion Control Tips to Lose Weight

 

CLICK HERE to watch Blog Video

Summary:

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

  1. 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.

Serving Representation

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

String Cheese

Apple and peanut butter

Celery and Carrots with Hummus

Protein Shake

Beef Jerky

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, CPT20180226_063854

FITonYourTime.com

 

Meal Planning Template: Easy How-To Meal Plan Guide

Welcome!

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.

Best,
Emily Langlois

Meal Planning
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!

Grocery Time!

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
Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Why Am I Not Seeing Results? How To Break Your Plateau and Get The Results You Want

Our bodies are a basic equation of what goes in versus what is expended. How many calories you take in versus how many you work off. If there is a surplus of calories coming in compared to those we burn, we will gain weight. If we burn more than we take in, we will lose weight.

It is a myth that once we reach a certain level our bodies “stall”. We reach plateaus simply because our bodies learn to regulate the amount of calories coming in versus the amount of calories we work off.

Our bodies main goal is to keep us alive. In doing so, it will continuously try to adapt to what we do to it. It will adapts to exercise and to our surroundings.

To break the plateau then, we must break the adaption our body has learned. We change one side of the equation. You may either change the calories coming in or the calories going out.

Let’s first discuss calories coming in as nutrition tends to be a key question. Now, I’d like to start by outlining that I am a personal trainer, not a dietitian. It is in my scope to understand macro-nutrients and the effects they have on our bodies.

Simply put, before you begin questioning why a workout program isn’t working, be sure that you are eating according to your goals. You should be eating a proper balance of ALL macro-nutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates) and selecting the foods that fuel your body. Under-eating as well as over-eating can limit the results you see. So take a sound look at your diet and be sure that you are fueling your body properly.

Calories are not all equal. Eating a 100 calorie bag of popcorn is not the same nutritionally as a chicken breast and broccoli. They might equal by calorie count but will have dramatically different effects on your health and goal achievement. So be sure you are eating the RIGHT foods, not simply calorie consumption.

The other side of the equation is calories burned. There is a basic level of calories you burn throughout the day in your daily life. Working, cooking, cleaning, running around with your kiddos all burn calories. When we talk about your activity level, your whole daily life should be accounted for. A busy mom of 4 kids who is also a kindergarten teacher will burn more calories than a single IT Director. Traditionally.

When it comes to your workout, you want to change your routines every 4 weeks so that you are continuously progressing. As I mentioned previously, our bodies are trying to adapt to keep us alive. It will soon learn your workouts and they will no longer push your muscles like it originally did. You must change your routine often to push yourself and create muscle confusion.

How can you change your workouts?

Changing your workouts can be changing exercises, selecting more difficult or more complex exercises that require more complex muscle engagement. Or you may change the pace of your workouts. Doing an exercise slower, for example, squatting down for a count of 4 and holding for 2 seconds, will engage the muscles in a different way than if you normally do a squat quickly. Conversely, if your normal routine involves slow squats, do squat jumps to increase its intensity.

This works for arms as well as squats. To increase the complexity of a bicep curl, for example, change the angle of the curl or increase the complexity of the curl to a 45 degree angle bicep curl followed with a hammer curl. This will intensify the base exercise of your program. You may slow this exercise down by bringing it up for 2 counts, hold for 2 counts then slowly and controlled lower for 4 counts.

As a summary, our bodies are an equation of what comes in versus what goes out. This can always be changed on either side to confuse the body and to see the results you want. You must be sure you are continuously monitoring both sides of the equation to align it to your goals.

 

 

Emily Langlois founded FITonYourTime.com to IMG_20170626_131130_045

train and inspire men and women to become healthier, happier and stronger every day. Visit FITonYourTime.com for a variety of Online Training options to Fit YOU and YOUR goals.

Emily Langlois

How Often Should I Eat?

There is a common misconception that the key to loosing weight is eating less. No! It is about fueling your body with the food that it needs and when it needs it! I will talk about what KINDS of foods you should be eating in another article but for the purpose of this dialog, I want to talk about how OFTEN you should eat.

We’ve all been at that place where we realize it’s been too long since we’ve eaten and we are STARVING. Visualize it. What happens? We tend to eat too much and not care what we eat. Anything in sight is up for grabs, the more carbs and sugar, the better. Our blood sugar has dropped too low for us to care; we have zero energy and just want food, right?

To prevent our blood sugar from dropping too low and to keep our metabolism going, we should be eating every 2-3 hours or approximately 5 times per day. This includes breakfast (never, ever skip breakfast), snack, lunch, snack and dinner.

Breakfast is what gets your body running in the morning. It provides the fuel that your body needs to start your day, improve your focus and start your metabolism.

By eating every few hours throughout the day, you avoid becoming overly hungry and are more likely to choose healthy, balanced foods.

You may choose to eat 5 small meals a day, or 3 meals and 2 snacks. How you divide your caloric intake throughout the day is about what works for you. You may also want to consider when you exercise to base your eating schedule appropriately around that time allowing for a pre and post-workout snack if needed.

The key is, don’t starve yourself! Eat every few hours to provide your body with the energy it needs to keep you functioning at your highest potential.

How to Stay Healthy on the Weekends

Weekends are our vacation days. Our time to relax and enjoy time with family and friends. It doesn’t have to mean Splurge days though or completely wasting away all of the hard work you’ve put in throughout the week to eat healthy and exercise! Here are easy ways to stay healthy and still enjoy yourself this weekend!

1. Plan. Plan. Plan.

If you know you’re going to be out all day, bring snacks! Don’t leave yourself to become overly hungry and therefore accepting any poor choice or fast food. Grab an apple, almonds, whole wheat crackers, a protein shake… A balanced snack will keep you going and better yet, stop the hangry 🙂

2. Eat a small meal or snack before going out to eat.

Sounds weird right, eat twice? Yes! We all know how long it takes to actually eat when you go out to a restuarant – you have to drive there, wait for a table, wait to order, wait for the food. You will be STARVING by the time you actually eat and subsequently you’ll be more likely to overeat. OR you will find yourself filling up on the chips/bread. Not good either. Save yourself and eat a balanced snack before you leave the house!

3. Let’s piggyback off of #2: say no to the chips and bread! Don’t even have them come to the table. You went out for good food, don’t full up on things you have at home!

4. Split a meal with someone. The portions at restaurants are HUGE. Add in the sides, salad and any appetizer, you are easily looking at a few meals worth if portions! So share a meal with a friend! Not only will this bring your portions back to size for you, you’ll also be saving money. Two goals achieved!

5. Dance more (or at least walk around!)

Burn some calories and you’ll be less likely to chug the drink at your table too!

6. Skip the mixers.

All of the soda, juice and extras are adding calories you didn’t even realize to each of your drinks. Need an easy way to add flavor? Bring a Mio or other flavor adder that as zero calories! Try it, you might like it.

7. Be the first to order.

You will be less likely to switch your healthy choice plan for the better sounding burger if you place your order first! Stick to your plan and you won’t regret it!

8. Drink your water!!!

Trust me, you will thank me tomorrow 🙂

9. Know the facts: with alcohol you will consume AT LEAST 11% more food than you would without alcohol. Alcohol actually triggers your mind to eat more than you need/normally would have. Understand this and be ready to tell yourself to stop well before you’re full. We’ve all had that late-night food run. Be ware!

10. Love yourself. You deserve to have fun and enjoy a splurge here and there. So give yourself a break and have the dessert. Eat a few french fries. Just get back on track tomorrow and don’t loose sight of your bigger goal.