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Chocolate, “clean eating”, and why people just need to chill out and embrace moderation

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Once again in an attempt to prove why we can’t have nice things, one of the other pieces of the article I quoted in my last post talked about how dark chocolate may not necessarily be all that great for you either. I am well known among my friends, family, co-workers, and fitness community for saying “I eat very healthy, but you’ll have to pry the chocolate out of my cold, dead, rotting fingers.”

And I am totally serious. 😀

Granted, on one hand, one must not overdose on anything–especially anything that’s sugary and calorically dense. But on the other, I can’t help but feel that there’s a great deal of scaremongering as click-bait to take advantage of people who are already neurotic about food. Every couple of days I get emails titled things like, “Why exercising makes you fat”, “Why drinking water makes you fat”, “Why cardio makes you fat”, and am expecting the next one to be titled, “Why merely breathing dooms you to be fat, you fatty fat fat person”.

Everyone!

Chill. The. Hell. Out.

There’s this unnecessary struggle in a culture that wants it both ways. We can’t be sedentary and consume twice as many calories as needed and expect to be healthy. At the same time, we can’t obsess over every crumb we put into our mouths until we develop an eating disorder. The phrase “clean eating” is constantly thrown around, but it’s become a nebulous term without a clear definition. People are told “Avoid processed food”, but technically nearly everything is processed to a certain extent, so that’s meaningless too. “Avoid chemicals”, some say, but once again, technically EVERYTHING is a chemical and is composed of chemicals so this is once again meaningless. “Appeal to nature” is a logical fallacy which is oft used by the health and fitness “experts” to scare you into buying their product, book, what-have-you. Don’t buy into it. Don’t try a fad diet or think that you have to eat in an unnatural, highly restricted, and limited way in order to be healthy. Use common sense and good judgment.

People fail at “diets” because they see them as the following:

  1. Torture
  2. Deprivation
  3. Restriction
  4. Temporary

“Clean eating” is about eating reasonably healthy 80-90% of the time and enjoying yourself the rest of the time. It’s about making changes in your habits you can feel comfortable and content maintaining for the rest of your life. People need to develop a healthy relationship with food and learn how to enjoy it in moderation without either feeling deprived or starved. Food is fuel, but it can be tasty fuel.

This is one of the many reasons why I tell people over and over again: any diet which vilifies any of the macronutrients: fats, carbs, or protein, avoid like the plague. All are required in your diet in varying amounts in order to have a balanced meal plan. So when you hear “Carbs are evil”, “fat makes you fat”, run, just run. Neither “advice” will help you to be healthy and will actually harm you in the long term.

And enjoy your chocolate (in moderation). 😛

Side note: one of the sanest reads I’ve found in a while on the subject is called The Lean Muscle Diet: A Customized Nutrition and Workout Plan–Eat the Foods You Love to Build the Body You Want and Keep It for Life! A lengthy title but a worthwhile read. Regardless of whether or not you are vegan or paleo (and the book discusses both), it’s invaluable. It discusses in depth how to eat for fitness in a sensible way that you can maintain indefinitely.

 

 

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Don’t let summer run away from you – join one of my fitness challenge groups!

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Here are the fitness challenge groups I have going on RIGHT NOW:

PiYo free shipping until August 11th!

PiYo is a fantastic program by the creator of TurboFire, Turbo Jam, and ChaLEAN Extreme which combines yoga, pilates, and strength training. As of this blog post, I’m halfway through the program and LOVE it! Learn more about PiYo here.

3 Day Refresh

The 3 Day Refresh program is a great way to jump start nutrition goals, recover from bad eating habits or a weekend binge, and more! And with NO starvation, juicing, or any of that crap. Learn more about 3 Day Refresh here!

Body Beast on sale 40-50% off!

Body Beast is a terrific strength training program for people looking to gain muscle, shed body fat, and more! Learn more about it and the huge sale on all Body Beast products here.

Brazil Butt Lifton sale 33% off!

I absolutely love this program and can’t say enough good things about it. It’s dance, it’s cardio, it’s strength training, and it gets RESULTS. It also prepared me for the Insanity program. 😀 Check out more about it and the sale here.

Focus T25fitness challenge pack on sale for month of August!

This is Insanity in 25 minutes. Insanity is no joke, but the workouts can be lengthy. Eliminate the excuses and get this workout! More info here.

10 Minute Trainer – fitness challenge pack on sale for month of August!

Can’t do 25 minutes? How about ten? This is an easier version of P90X in 10 minutes; in fact I’ll call it P90 or Power 90 in 10 minutes. Totally doable and gets the results you’re looking for. Learn more about it here.

 

As you can see, I have a little something for everyone. I even have a purely nutritional fitness challenge group which focuses on drinking Shakeology to get your daily dose of dense nutrition and clean eating, so if you don’t know where to start I recommend joining me there.

The steps to join one of these challenge groups is as follows:

  1. Buy one of the programs from me through the links in this blog post
  2. Add me to your Facebook if you don’t have me on there already: http://www.facebook.com/andreaberman

Once I see you’ve done both, I will add you to my private fitness challenge group on Facebook where you and others will help to motivate each other and keep each other on track!

Don’t let the weekend jeopardize your fitness goals!

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From Monday to Friday, we have a routine due to our busy work lives and often it’s easiest to stay on track with our nutrition and exercise during that time. On weekends, it’s entirely too easy to slip up, binge on unhealthy foods at parties and gatherings, and throw out the rule book entirely.

You don’t have to deprive yourself, but you don’t have to kill your fitness goals entirely every weekend, either. Stay on track by remembering to drink plenty of water, eat lots of veggies, fruit, and whole grains, and when presented with options that are less than healthy either passing them up for healthy food instead, swapping them out with a healthier version, or picking one thing to eat in moderation and leave the rest.

I’m a firm believer in the 80-20 rule: eat healthy 80% of the time and 20% of the time allow for reasonable indulgences. Same holds true for weekend. Don’t do 80% unhealthy or worse yet, 100%! Remember your “whys” and your motivation for living a healthier life.

And then, have an ice cream sundae on occasion. 🙂

Happy weekend!

More clean eating tips – prepping in advance

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We all lead busy lives, most of us running around in the morning trying to get ready for work feeding pets, kids, selves, getting dressed, maybe squeezing in a workout, a shower…it all adds up. I’ve found that the best way to eat healthy on a regular basis AND save time is to have containers of food prepped that I can grab, mix and match, and have an instant meal. It also saves me time and money. Examples:

  • Salads bagged or in plastic containers. I get Olivia’s Organic Spring Mix with Herbs and put a paper towel on the bottom and around the lettuce so it stays fresh longer. I grab it and add it to sandwiches, wraps, or make side salads.
  • Bags of shredded carrots. Makes for extra flavor in wraps, sandwiches, and salads.
  • Sliced cucumbers! Great snacks, additions to salads and wraps, just grab and go. Same with carrots and celery.
  • Lean proteins cooked in advance and in tupperware containers or plastic baggies. I do this for veggie burgers, baked tofu, etc.
  • Cook foods like brown rice and quinoa in bulk, then add to meals later.
  • If you have a slow cooker, take advantage and make all sorts of soups, stews, etc.
  • For quick snacks on the go, smoothies, meal replacement and protein drinks are great! Just be mindful that not all protein powders and meal supplements are created equal, and a lot of them have unhealthy junk and fillers. Of all of them, my favorites and by far the healthiest are Shakeology, Vega, and Plant Fusion. I use a shaker cup and some chocolate vegan Shakeology, and instantly I get my chocolate fix too. 🙂
  • Consider buying containers that are pre-measured so you know how many servings of any one item is in any container. This is especially good for calorically dense foods such as quinoa, brown rice, potatoes, beans, lentils, etc. I purchased some on OpenSky recently.
  • Buy special containers for soups and salads. This container is in my collection and I also recommend this one.
  • Embrace leftovers! They make for great lunches later, dinners too.

Need additional help with your fitness goals? I’m just a click away.

Healthy cookout and BBQ tips!

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Summer’s here, and it’s grilling time!

Here are some tips to eating healthy at cookouts:

  • Swap out mayo for a combo of red wine vinegar and olive oil with pepper and/or mustard.
  • Stick to lean sources of high protein! Veggie burgers are great for this.
  • I swear by grilled pineapple or avocado. Try it.
  • Avoid creamy dressings on salads, and fill up on raw or grilled veggies instead.
  • Ditch the butter for other seasonings on your corn on the cob. I have one source that swears by lime juice, I’ll have to try it sometime.
  • Fresh soups like gazpacho are perfect for summer outings!
  • Fruit is good, especially low sugar fruit. Nosh on berries!
  • Ditch the chips for chopped veggies and low fat dip instead. Also, kale chips or pickles!
  • Be careful on summer drinks and alcohol! It can turn into high volumes of calories for little nutritional benefit very fast.
  • If you indulge, do so in moderation.
  • Have fun! And don’t forget your sunblock. 🙂

Want more nutritional tips and help with your fitness goals? Let me be your fitness coach!

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