Posted on February 16th, 2014 No comments
I’ve heard from a lot of people that they end up falling “off the nutrition wagon” when they travel and then have a hard time getting back on when they return. I understand. That used to be me. Now, I travel with confidence. Here are some tips for staying on a healthy-eating (and even exercise) program while on a road trip. (Part 2 will address air travel).
- Planning and preparation are key. Schedule a productive trip to the grocery store a few days before you leave town. Buy fruits and vegetables that are easy to eat on the road (bananas, berries, apples, pears, grapes, carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Pomegranates, for example, would not be an easy travel fruit – too messy).
- Spend some time washing and cutting up your produce and putting it in individual serving Ziploc bags. Don’t wait until the day you leave – this takes some time. And don’t think you will do it on the road. You won’t. You’ll grab something unhealthy at a convenience station or the concession stand at the event you’re attending or from the vendor at the amusement park. Don’t fool yourself. But if you went to the expense to buy it ahead of time and the trouble to prepare it, you’re more likely to eat it.
- Splurge on a few “treats” that you wouldn’t normally buy for yourself. Go to Whole Foods and buy some raw almonds, dried organic fruit and dried kale and make your own trail mix. Then divide it up into single-serving bags because these treats are calorie dense, so you don’t want to eat a thousand calories in raw nuts and dried fruit because you just kept eating until the bag was empty. (See? I DO get it.)
- Buy a handful of small containers for dips. Purchase some hummus and almond butter (Get the kind that ONLY has almonds as an ingredient, NOT almonds and sugar or almonds and honey, etc. Be careful to watch for all the names disguise sugar). Divide the hummus and almond butter into single-servings in these small containers – usually 1-2 TBS.
- Buy lemons, cayenne pepper and bring a ceramic mug. See this post for an explanation on this tip.
- Bring some easy/convenient protein sources. Those single-serving tuna pouches are idea. You can literally open them up and eat them from the pouch. The small cans work too – just make sure they are packed in water and not oil. If you have time, bake some chicken breasts or tofu before you go and pack those into zip lock bags. (I loved to slice tofu, brush on some Thai Peanut Sauce and bake for about 25 minutes). Then if you are forced to eat at restaurant that doesn’t have any healthy options, ask for a side garden salad with oil and vinegar dressing, and add your own protein on top. Cans of beans work for this too, but buy the low-sodium variety and be sure to rinse.
- For your hotel room or for the car, be sure to pack a few forks, spoons, a paring knife, a few small containers (mentioned above), extra Ziploc bags, napkins, some portable paper or plastic plates. These items will come in handy.
- If you are drinking Shakeology daily (and you should – it is serious dense nutrition with more than 70 super foods), then you will want to invest in one of those portablee hand-mixers. That’s one of the best ways to stay on track while traveling – replace one (or even two) of your meals with a shake. Then you have a little more wiggle room for eating at restaurants. (I have taken my shake into MORE than one restaurant. I just order a small side salad or a side of broccoli or something to go with it and they don’t care. Plus, if you’re buying food for a child or another family member, they really don’t care.) Bring along almond milk, extra fruit for your shakes, some chopped walnuts – whatever you like to put in your shake – and you are good to go. Most portable hand mixers come with a cup to use with them. If yours does not, get a big shaker cup so that you have something to use the mixer in.
- Pack small bags of quick cooking rolled coats, cinnamon and raisins. You can heat up some water in a microwave and create a quick, healthy, satisfying meal any time of the day. Use some of the fruit and nuts you packed to make it an even more satisfying meal.
- Don’t let yourself get hungry. Snack all day long on veggies and fruit and that will keep you out of the stuff that will cause you to go off your plan. If you do slip up – consider it just that – a small slip up. It does not have to define your whole trip. ONE slipup does not cause you to gain 5 pounds — but three or four days of constant slip-ups — well, you’re going to see that on the scale. Don’t go “whole hog” and let that small misstep define the rest of your trip.
- Drink a ton of water. At least one-half your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water per day. So often, we are dehydrated rather than hungry and we eat when we should be drinking water.
- Remember when you are traveling, you don’t have to eat every meal out. You can make stuff in your hotel room – it saves you money and saves you guilt in regard to your eating plan.
- Don’t hesitate to ask a server to ask the chef to make something special for you. If there is a salad that looks good but only has fried chicken on it, but there is another dish that has grilled tuna, ask them to substitute the fried chicken for grilled tuna and put the dressing on the side. Or order from the “sides.” Ask for a side of broccoli and a side sautéed vegetables and then a grilled chicken breast.
- Pick restaurants where you can “make it healthy.” Here’s what I do at Qdoba, for example: I order a bowl, no rice, black beans, sometimes grilled chicken/sometimes no chicken, grilled peppers and squash (they upcharge me for this – whatever) and lettuce. I add hot sauce and I am completely on my plan. You can do similar things at many other restaurants.
- Use your smart phone. You can find the nearest healthy grocery store and healthy restaurant. Many grocery stores have salad bars. If you didn’t have time to do as much prep as you wanted before you left, go to that store and make a huge salad for yourself to serve as a couple of meals. Get the dressing on the side and try to go with something like vinegar and oil. I strongly suggest investing in a few bottles of vinegar from Di Olivas. They taste amazing and have virtually no calories. You won’t even need oil on your salad.
- EVERYTIME I travel, I buy a couple of fitness and health magazines and a book of some kind related to healthier eating or losing weight or cooking fat free or something. If I am reading something about this topic while I’m on a cruise or staying with someone who constantly offers me really fattening food, I’m more motivated to stick with my plan. It sounds dumb, but it works. A few I’d suggest: Skinny Bitch (that one is HILARIOUS. Seriously funny. The women who wrote it have an agenda, and I don’t agree with everything they wrote, but it did help me shift toward eating differently. It’s a great book to read while traveling b/c it will motivate you to eat better and it’s an entertaining/easy read). Eat to Live (this book is also a great read because it really digs into the science behind what we eat and how it affects our bodies. It’s not hard to read, and it has very motivational stories in there about people who have changed their lives. Go to a Barnes and Noble and browse the magazine that might also be motivating for you.
- Invest in a few exercise DVDs and take them with you. If you have a laptop, you can play them in your hotel room. I’m a huge fan of T25 and P90X3. If you want more information on those, send me a message (email@example.com). Many of these workouts can be done in your hotel room with no equipment or a set of bands. Many hotels have workout rooms. Use them. If the weather is good, go for a walk or run. Make it a goal to exercise at least every other day while traveling. Challenge yourself. You’ll be glad you did.
- You can also use an app called the 7-minute workout app by Uovo. Download it to your smartphone and it walks you through a 7-minute workout (all you need is a chair and a wall). Do it once, you’ll be sweaty. Twice is hard. Three times is a tough. And three times is just 21 minutes. Get your rear out of bed 21 minutes earlier and do it in your PJs (but put on a bra, please, because there are jumping jacks and high knee jogging involved). Download the app before you go and if you don’t know what any of the exercises are, there are videos/instructions RIGHT IN THE APP. MAKE SURE YOU GET THE RIGHT APP – IT’S THE 7 INSIDE AN ORANGE STOPWATCH, NOT THE ONE WITH A 7 INSIDE JUST AN ORANGE SQUARE.
Do you have any travel tips to offer?
Posted on February 16th, 2014 No comments
I’ve read a lot about the benefits of cleanses and detoxing, and I even did the Beachbody Ultimate Reset last year. (Hard, but good). Anyway, you liver is your main detoxing organ in the body, helping you to eliminate environmental and lifestyle toxins through the release of uric acid and bile. Without a healthy liver, these toxins would remain in your digestive system longer. Keeping your liver and digestive system clean and in optimal condition helps prevent diseases. And increasing your metabolism (especially as we age) is an excellent idea for weight loss and maintenance.
So, I’ve learned that you can combine cayenne pepper with lemon juice and hot water to create a liver detoxing effect while also raising the temperature of your body and increasing your metabolism. Drinking this daily will help cleanse your body safely and naturally (no nasty stuff from the nutrition stores that you have to choke down). This actually tastes pretty good. I’m drinking it in the morning before my coffee and I like it. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Is it something you could get in the habit of doing for yourself?
Here’s the recipe:
• Juice of ½ of a lemon
• A mug of water, heated to the temp you like hot tea
• Sprinkle of cayenne pepper
Posted on February 14th, 2014 3 comments
I am seeking 9 more people to participate in a TEST GROUP for a brand new program created by celebrity fitness trainer, Autumn Calabrese.
The ’21-Day FIX’ is a brand new, unique program that includes 30-minute workouts and an easy meal plan with color-coded portion control containers that show you exactly how much you can eat.
I am limiting this test group to 12 people (3 already committed) in order to ensure solid coaching and personal communication. I want to have the time to work with each participant closely to GUARANTEE stellar results.
HERE ARE THE REQUIREMENTS:
You have 10 lbs. or more to lose
- You are fully committed to sticking with the program for the entire 21 days
- You’ll do what it takes to get the best results & communicate daily with me via our private Facebook page.
- You’re willing to let ME share your success story (you’ll approve it first)
THIS WILL ALL BE DONE ONLINE (private Facebook group) and with you doing the workouts at home while working closely with me behind the scenes to ensure your success.
BONUS (OPTIONAL) OFFERING:
I will be conducting a weekly Zoom (virtual chat) within our test group to answer your questions, offer tips and keep you accountable. This extra option adds an amazing level of support and will take your success to a new level!
I want to work with only those who are:
• COMMITTED to this process
• FOCUSED on results and putting in the work it will take
• DISCIPLINED to communicate with me/our group daily and follow through
• POSITIVE about this journey and encouraging to fellow groupies
WATCH A SHORT VIDEO ABOUT THE PROGRAM HERE
If you or someone you know is interested, send me and email at:
Michellemcox3@gmail.com for an application. Subject line: ’21-Day FIX’
***I am enrolling only 12 participants, so contact me right away if you’re interested. Applications will be accepted through February 27th or until group is full***
Posted on February 4th, 2014 No comments
Do you want to lose weight, but you simply can’t get the nutrition part right? Having trouble getting your eating under control? Newsflash! Weight loss and maintenance are AT LEAST 70 percent nutrition. Join my 21-day Fix Challenge Group and you WILL get the nutrition part and you WILL lose weight! This program is ESPECIALLY popular with people who have a weight loss deadline (a vacation, wedding, special event) and want to have noticeable results quickly!
It’s ONLY 21 days, and you could lose up to 15 pounds. The people in the test group did. Watch the video at the end of this post for testimonials.
What IS the 21-Day Fix?
It’s a brand new (launched Feb. 3, 2014) 21-day nutrition and fitness program that makes losing weight so simple, ANYONE can do it. It’s easy-to-follow portion control and 30-minute workouts. It’s simple, fast weight loss — no weighing food or counting calories, carbs or points. The portion control containers provided take all the guesswork out of losing weight. You put your choice of food in the color-coded container and if it fits, you can eat it. That meal plan, combined with JUST 30-minute workouts led the test-group members to AMAZING RESULTS. Watch the video at the bottom of this post.
What’s included with membership in this group/participation in the challenge?
As a participant in this accountabiity group, you will receive the new 21-Day Fix program, that includes:
- 7 color-coded portion-control containers
- 30-day supply of Shakeology
- 6 easy-to-follow 30-minute workouts, plus two bonus workouts
- 21-fix eating plan that shows you exactly what to do
- 3-day Quick Fix plan for FAST weight loss
- Shakeology shaker cup
Did I mention that all the workouts are 30 minutes so there’s no excuse. You can and will find 30 minutes. And the program is designed for all fitness levels from the beginner to the advanced athlete. Why you’ll love this home-based fitness program? This will save you a TON of time since you won’t need to drive to the gym. Just mosey on down to your living room or basement and GIT ‘ER DONE!
Nutrition: I’m passionate about the nutrition part of the program and I will support you and guide you through the ins and outs of eating right. This part of the challenge group includes:
- Weekly nutrition homework designed to help you gradually build healthy habits.
- Nutrition tips – I will provide nutrition tips along the way and share my favorite recipes.
- Shakeology – Included in the program is a 24-30 day supply of my favorite nutrient dense health shake, Shakeology. This meal replacement shake is full of more than 70 nutrients and it helps boost energy, mood and digestion while reducing cravings and inflammation in the body. Shakeology is gluten and soy free and does not contain any stimulants or artificial sweeteners or ingredients. And for anyone who is vegan or needs a dairy free option, there are two vegan flavors to choose from.
- Healthy recipes – You’ll receive the P90X recipe book with your fitness program and we’ll share recipes and meal ideas in our group throughout the challenge.
- Accountability: As a participant in this accountability group, you’ll complete an initial assessment to share your goals, previous obstacles and a game plan for keeping you accountable to your “why”. You’ll be included in a private Facebook group with me and the other participants where you will check-in daily, get homework assignments, receive tips and inspiration and be able to connect with others who are working towards better health just like you.
Where do I need to live to participate?
Because your workouts will be done in your own home using the 21-day Fix fitness program, you can live anywhere in the U.S. or Canada and still participate.
When does the challenge begin and end?
The initial group is launching Feb. 17.
What if I am just starting out on my fitness journey?
This support group is designed for all fitness levels and accommodates participants at any point in their fitness journey.
Okay, I’m interested, what is the cost to join?
The total cost of your fitness program, Shakeology and online meal planner is just $140 and it includes coaching/motivation from me, entrance into the private Facebook group and support and accountability from fellow participants.
When is the deadline to RSVP for the challenge?
In order to ensure you receive your materials in time for the initial challenge start date, the deadline to RSVP for the challenge and order your materials is Monday, Feb. 10.
I’m ready! How do I get signed up?
Step 1: Purchase your 21-Day Fix Challenge Pack (includes Shakeology) here.
Step 2: Comment below and let me know you did so. I will need an email address from you, but if you don’t want to put it in the comments below, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will contact you to confirm your registration and to schedule your initial phone consultation where you will discuss your goals and accountability plan.
More Questions? Please feel free to contact Michelle via email (email@example.com) or on Facebook (Michelle Melton Cox) and www.facebook.com/MOMFUN2
Posted on January 22nd, 2014 No comments
Did you know that sleep is as important as exercise when it comes to meeting your health and weight-loss goals? Consider this great information from one of my favorite trainers, Rachel Bergman of Wholefit.
Rest, recovery, and sleep are EQUALLY as important as exercise. In fact, if you are not getting the proper recovery, some of your hard work will be wasted efforts.
We ALL know how important a good night’s sleep is, so why is it then, that we always put off going to bed until we do that “one last thing,” or “watch until the next commercial”?
We have so much to do each day, but the truth is, we would be SO much more productive if we all actually got enough sleep!
There are a TON of reasons why getting enough sleep is so important. Here are just a few….
1. Did you know that around 80% of your HGH (Human Growth Hormone) is released while you are sleeping? HGH is a VERY important hormone in maintaining a healthy body weight because it controls metabolism, cell growth and repair, and regulates your lean body mass to fat ratio.
2. Lack of sleep will also cause an increase in a hormone called CORTISOL, which will not only prevent you from LOSING weight, but it can also cause you to GAIN WEIGHT! Not something any of us want.
3. When you sleep, your body is repairing and restoring itself. Cutting this time short will not only delay this process, but cause you to be lethargic, irritable, and emotional.
4. Lack of sleep is also associated with impaired memory, slowed speech, lack of ambition, lack of focus and a host of other lovely things.
Because over 40 percent of us suffer from a chronic lack of sleep, challenge yourself to get your ZZZZ’s — seven or eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night!
Here are a few things that will help:
1. Set a bedtime for yourself and STICK to it- even if you are NOT tired.
2. Turn off all electronics (TV’s, phones, iPads, etc) at least 30-60 minutes before you go to bed.
3. Stay away from caffeine after around 3 pm.
4. Make sure you have complete darkness in your bedroom.
5. Write your To-Do List DOWN at night. Write down a list of EVERYTHING you need to get done the next day before you go to sleep at night. This way, you won’t have to think about it because it’s down on paper, and you can get to sleep knowing that it’s on your list and you won’t forget it.
6. Make it a Priority! (if you do- you will be AMAZED at how great you will feel at the end of the week!)”
Posted on January 16th, 2014 No comments
Sugar can be a real culprit when it comes to weight loss and weight maintenance, flat abs and long-term health. I’m one of those poeple who has to know WHY. Why is it bad? What does it do? Give me the facts. One of my favorite fitness professionals — Rachel Bergman, owner of Wholefit — sums up the problems with sugar in a clear, concise manner below:
Added sugars (that don’t occur naturally in the foods you are eating) can be detrimental to your health.
Here are just a few of the MANY reasons to cap the sugar intake in your diet….
• Sugar promotes INFLAMMATION in the body (Inflammation is the ROOT of ALL disease in our bodies.)
• Large amounts of added Sugars will SUPPRESS the immune system. (Imagine how your immune systems suffers if you are eating added and processed sugars at ever meal!)
• Sugars will suppress the release of HGH (Human Growth Hormone) in the body (and since HGH is imperative in anti-aging in our bodies, we want as much of this as our bodies are able to naturally produce.)
• Sugars will raise your insulin levels- which over time can lead to a whole host of diseases.
• Short term, added sugars will have a HUGE effect on your energy levels throughout the day.
Consider giving this challenge a try for a week:
1. No Added Sugars of ANY kind: Honey, Molasses, Cane Sugar, Coconut Sugar, Stevia, Agave, Truvia, etc.)
2. Absolutely nothing in the ingredient label that says HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup). Try to stay away from all processed foods in general to make it easier on yourself (though that is another challenge for another week!)
3. Do NOT eat anything that says Sugar-free. This will almost always have artificial sweeteners in them. General Rule of Thumb: If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, you probably shouldn’t be eating it!
Naturally occurring sugars in your food are OK (fruits, veggies, etc.) Try to eat your fruits earlier in the day (not past 3-4pm)
Here’s a good video about how sugar affects the brain:
If you’d like to join my Four-day Clean-eating Challenge that starts Jan. 27, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or like my Facebook page and then message me there. Participants lost up to 4 pounds during the last four-day challenge, and a few have joined a longer challenge that started Jan. 6 (two of them lost 5 pounds in the first week, and one lost 4). I’d love to help you get started on this clean-eating thing!
Posted on January 14th, 2014 No commentsWho doesn’t want flat, defined abs? I am working very hard toward this goal. That’s why I was excited to read this short/inspiring article by a woman I really admire — Trina Gray of Trina Gray Fitness. I’ve met Trina “virtually” because she hosts live video training for all the nutrition/fitness coaches on her team, of which I am honored to be a part. I can’t wait to meet her in person this June! In the meantime, I read whatever she shares, and I thought you might like to see it, too.
You asked! Tips on Burning Belly Fat! Hot off the press.
I asked my Facebook friends if you wanted more info on burning belly fat. More than 100+ responded YES! So, I’m delivering. I just returned from IDEA World, a HUGE fitness convention in San Diego, California. All-stars Todd Durkin, Chalene Johnson, Peter Twist and other top fit pros shared their best stuff. I wanted to pass some great tips to you. I attended a two-hour lecture from a holistic doctor, personal trainer and nutritionist on burning belly fat. The deep belly fat that surrounds your organs is burned off first. Exercise does a great job at attacking that. The surface belly fat (what you can pinch, or what hangs over your pants) is pesky and requires more attention. There is NOT a one-sized-fits-all approach, but if you’re in good health, you could experiment with these!
- Calories matter in weight loss (you must burn more than you consume), but burning stubborn belly fat takes greater effort than calorie counting.
- There are two, key (non-food) behaviors that affect belly fat — sleep and stress. To burn fat, you MUST get sleep (preferrably 7+ hours per night) and you MUST reduce stress (slow, leisurely walking and gentle yoga are the best options.)
- SMART foods: To burn belly fat, limit starchy carbs and sweet fruit to 5-10 bites per meal (breads, rice, quinoia, pasta, hummus, pineapple, banana, kiwi, etc)
- SMART foods: Fill the majority of your diet with lean protein, non-starchy veggies (not potatoes), and low sugar fruit (berries, pears and apples)
- SMART foods: Limit your dairy use as a condiment (milk on top of berries, light feta cheese on a salad)
- SMART foods: Limit or eliminate alcohol. Drink a lot of water (64 oz minimum per day).
- SMART exercise! To burn belly fat, you need high-intensity interval training. Think quick bouts of intense exercise instead of long power walks or runs. Yes, you can do intense intervals at low impact! You can’t burn belly fat without this important step.
- SMART exercise! To burn belly fat, you need to do heavy (heavy for you) strength training at lower reps. Think heavy for 8 reps. Put down the 3-5 lbs dummbells. Body weight training is good, but for belly fat, you must use heavy weights. This sets off a fat-buring after burn effect that lasts for days after your workout. WOW!
- And finally, do not limit your food intake so much that you have hunger, low energy and cravings, this will always work against you in the long run. Eat enough, just choose wisely.
p.s. You can do this on your own! But if you need some help, my recommendations for you: Vegan Chocolate or Tropical Shakeology for one meal per day for burning belly fat. It’s high in fiber, protein and low in carbs. It helps curb cravings. There are a TON of fitness programs to choose from of course!
If you’re interested in Shakeology, go here. I’m hosting a Four-day Clean-eating challenge starting Jan. 27 and there are still some spots in that challenge. (Participants lost up to four pounds during the last one I hosted!) You’ll get a meal plan with multiple recipes to choose from for each meal of the day, and you’ll replace one meal a day with Shakeology. Plus you’ll get lots of online accountability and support as a member of the group. Those who embrace the challenge and do well will be encouraged to join a longer, more comprehensive challenge in February. Email me if you’re interested — email@example.com or like and then comment on my Facebook page. I can’t wait to work with you.
Posted on January 8th, 2014 No comments
I’m currently leading a P90X3 Challenge Group in which all the participants are seeking to acheive goals like lose weight, tone arms, legs and core, improve overall fitness and health, etc. We’re all doing the P90X3 workouts, following a clean-eating plan, participating in a very active online accountability group and seriously digging in for amazing results by April 1. Hey, the time’s gonna pass anyway, so why not accomplish something in the meantime.
The workouts are only 30 minutes — that’s the good news. The workouts are challenging — that’s the bad/good news. So, I’m encouraging the participants to practice some of the exercises/moves/yoga positions throughout the day (i.e. before bed, while watching TV, while waiting for the shower to warm up). I wanted them to know I’m “walking the talk” — so here I am taking a short work break to not only get into a couple of the P90X3 yoga poses, but to also use FASTCAM to take pictures of myself doing it. I could run for 2 hours straight, but ask me to touch my toes? Sheesh! Balance and flexibility need some work.
If you’re interested in joining one of my upcoming Challenge groups (a 4-Day Fat Flush, 21-Slimdown, P90X3 Fitness & Nutrition, etc.), then comment below or send me a message via Facebook (michelle melton cox) or Mind Over Matter Fitness and Nutrition
Check back here often (or subscribe) because I’ll be sharing our results.
Posted on January 7th, 2014 No commentsYou know water is important for your overall health. But do you know how much to drink? Here’ s a good formula: take 1/2 your weight and then drink that number of ounces of water per day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking 75 ounces of water per day. Hopefully you’ve already starting pounding your water this week but if not, it’s time to find a big water bottle, fill it up and start guzzling.Water is so important for your health, performance and weight loss. Did you know a majority of the population is chronically dehydrated?!? As I mentioned, eehydration has a ton of symptoms like head aches, hunger, fatigue, muscle cramping, constipation and mental fogginess. If you focus on being properly hydrated and do NOTHING ELSE, you will feel like a different person, guaranteed!Water has a ton of benefits:1. It replenishes your muscles post workout so you aren’t as sore and can perform better at your next workout.2. It cleanses your body of toxins – which I know we all need after the holidays.3. It aides in digestion and keeps you regular.4. It curbs your hunger – did you know that many times your feel hunger or cravings, not because you need to eat but because you are thirsty?!?
Like these health, nutrition and fitness tips? Like my Facebook page (Mind Over Matter Fitness and Unmatched Nutrition (MOMFUN) for more.
Posted on January 2nd, 2014 No comments
I just made this amazing recipe last night. It was delicious. If you’d like the recipe, please go to my new Facebook page –Mind Over Matter Fitness and Unmatched Nutrition (MOMFUN) and give me some “like” love. The recipe is posted there, along with other fun things like announcements about upcoming fitness and nutrition challenges, healthy eating tips and other great finds and ideas related to health, weight loss, exercise and eating right!