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Q&A: What is Intermittent Fasting and How Can it Benefit Me?

Q: What is intermittent fasting and how can it benefit me?

A: Intermittent fasting is not a diet but rather an eating schedule. We all fast when we sleep at night. Intermittent fasting simply increases that fasting window (i.e. skipping breakfast) and allows your body to remain at digestive rest for a longer period. This encourages your body to pull from fat stores for energy.

It may seem counterintuitive to skip breakfast if you’ve been taught that it’s the most important meal of the day. It may be for some, especially someone just getting started eating healthily or someone prone to binge eat, but others can benefit from expanding their fasting window. We have to challenge “the rules” and see what works best for our own bodies! I’ve found that intermittent fasting works very well for me and many other women.

There are a few different ways to implement an intermittent fasting schedule. First, you can fast 24 hours and have one large meal each day. This is called the Warrior Diet. Secondly, and my preferred way, is to have a feeding window of 7-8 hours a day. My feeding window starts at 11 am to 12 noon and goes until around 7 pm at night.

About once per week and on a rest day, I do a 24-hour fast eating dinner one night and breaking my fast at dinner the next night. It’s not bad at all because it’s only skipping 2 meals.

A third way to fast is to complete 24-hour fasts a few times per week. This is called the Eat-Stop-Eat method and seems most popular among men. I would find this pretty difficult whereas the way I intermittent fast comes easy for me. I’m all about simplicity and making things easy!

Now, let’s get back to some of the benefits of intermittent fasting.

4 Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

1. Intermittent fasting makes daily life simpler and less stressful especially when traveling. With a smaller eating window, you are eating fewer meals. This takes the pressure off to prepare and have healthy meals and snacks around constantly! Hallelujah! How convenient and what a time saver on busy days!

Be sure to watch the video below to see how Coach Amanda Tress uses intermittent fasting while on vacation.

 

2. Intermittent fasting is highly effective for fat loss and muscle gain. It increases human growth hormone while lowering insulin levels which helps with both fat loss and muscle gain! For this reason, fitness professionals have been implementing this effective strategy for many, many years.

3. After just a few days of intermittent fasting, I experienced increased energy, focus, mental clarity, and productivity while in the fasted state. It is an amazing side benefit for me as a homeschooling mom and blogger. Many other ladies that participate in FASTer Way to Fat Loss report this benefit as well!

intermittent fasting

“This is the best fitness program by far! It is the total package! The workouts are awesome, and I love how the daily meal guidelines sync with the type of exercise for that day! I now have ab and bicep muscles which is incredible!” — Katie

4. Intermittent fasting allows for #IIFYM (if it fits your macros) style eating on heavy lifting days. In the FASTer Way to Fat Loss program, you have macros to meet each day. On heavy lifting days, there is room for discretionary calories (for treats) if it fit within your macros that day! Donuts post-workout, anyone?!?

To conclude this post, I want to point out one thing. With an intermittent fasting protocol, you aren’t dealing with what to eat but when!

In the FASTer Way to Fat Loss program, you are taught when, what, and why to eat! It incorporates intermittent fasting along with carb cycling where you cycle carbs (and calories) to match your workout each day. You can read a little more about carb cycling here.

Grab your spot in the next round of the FASTer Way program. You won’t regret it!

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Your program pricing does not go up, but if you register through my link I get a bit for referring you. Thanks for supporting my blog!

 

 

 

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Q & A: What are BCAA benefits for women?

I’m a huge proponent of eating a whole foods diet and limiting supplements. However, there are a few supplements I do take personally and recommend for clients. The big 3 are protein powder, Krill oil, and BCAAs. Today, I want to share a bit with you about BCAA benefits.

I was recently asked by Emily and Debbie from Momsanity to sample their brand new BCAA powder. I happily obliged because it has all natural ingredients and perfect ratios of leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

BCAA benefits

Overview

BCAAs are branched chain amino acids. Simply speaking, they are broken down protein molecules and the building blocks for muscles.

Usually, BCAAs are purchased in powder form and added to water. They can be used for multiple purposes. Many people (including myself) use BCAAs when working out in a fasted state. The purpose for this is to provide the body with amino acids so that muscle tissue is preserved. When you workout, muscle tissue can be burned ALONG with fat. BCAAs help to preserve muscle tissue without having to eat prior to your workout.

BCAAs can also provide the body with energy similar to ingesting carbs but without the insulin response. This is another benefit to drinking them prior to working out fasted. BCAAs are also great for muscle retention and muscle gain, particularly in the post workout window. This is why most all commercial protein powders include BCAAs in them. Note that if you are eating a protein packed meal after your workout, you do not need to supplement with BCAAs at that time.

BCAA Benefits For Women:

  • Hunger and Craving Control – Given that fat loss often requires a lower carb intake than you’re used to, BCAAs can become your best friend for achieving leanness. They can help in regulating hunger and cravings by supplying the brain with the energy it needs. BCAAs can also lower cortisol. These lower cortisol levels will work to suppress your stress induced cravings. Research shows time and time again that BCAAs are fabulous for controlling cravings and managing hunger, especially for active women following a relatively low carbohydrate diet. In addition to balancing blood sugar, the BCAA leucine activates hunger controlling molecules in the brain.
  • Energy Boost –  What busy mom doesn’t need this benefit! Valine is considered the energizer. It promotes muscle endurance, blunts fatigue, helps with mental sharpness
  • Muscle Preservation – We work WAY too hard to put on muscle as ladies to lose it! As explained in the overview, BCAAs will help preserve your hard-earned muscle when you workout in a fasted state. Working out fasted is good for fat loss, but can cause muscle loss as well. Having more muscle is great for fat loss. BCAAs can provide the best of both worlds and allow us to workout fasted without the loss of hard-earned muscle. Leucine helps promote muscle (think lean mass) growth while assisting with fat-loss.
  • Lower Cortisol Levels – Cortisol is an important stress hormone that is responsible for increasing blood sugar and aiding in protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism – we need it in proper doses. The problem is most of us produce way too much. When we release cortisol along with low levels of Human Growth Hormone (think when you don’t get enough sleep) or high levels of insulin, cortisol causes muscle burning and fat storing (not good!). BCAAs lower cortisol and therefore help suppress cravings and hunger instigated by stress.

How and when do I take BCAAs?

For best results, it’s recommended to take BCAAs before/after a workout and any time that cravings strike – for many this is mid-afternoon or later in the evening.

While there are may different forms of BCAAs (flavored powders, pills, unflavored powders etc.) Momsanity’s NATURALLY flavored and sweetened BCAAs are THE BEST!

The pills get pricey and require a LOT of pill swallowing for proper dosing. The unflavored powders are unpalatable and VERY bitter. Almost ALL powders on the market are full of artificial ingredients and stimulants. Be cautious of any products marketed for “pre-workout” or even workout recovery as they often contain stimulants like caffeine and beta-alanine. These two things aren’t inherently BAD, just unnecessary and some women will respond negatively.

BONUS – BCAA gummies recipe:

Emily and Debbie are including a recipe book with your purchase! I wanted to share one of the recipes with you. The gummies are easy to make and great for those afternoon cravings.

Ingredients:
  • 1 scoop Momsanity BCAA powder
  • 3 packets of unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup of warm water
  • Optional – drops of lemon or lime juice
  • Optional – pureed fruit
  • Optional – package of flavored jello
Directions:
  1. Mix ingredients in a bowl (if using pureed fruit, add this after mixing).
  2. Microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time until mixture is clear and goopy. OR, cook on a stove top on low heat, whisking frequently, for 5 minutes.
  3. Spoon mixture into silicone candy molds or ice trays,
  4. Place in freezer for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove molds from freezer. Pop gummies out of the molds. Store in airtight container or eat right away.
  6. Enjoy!

Video: Why Use BCAAs


Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Your pricing does not go up, but if you register through my link I get a bit for referring you. Thanks for supporting my blog!
moderation myth
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The Moderation Myth

Avoiding extremes is a good thing.

That’s what moderation is by definition. Avoiding extremes. Extremes in nutrition are, on one hand, eating low-calorie diets like the HCG diet that has the dieter eating just 500 calories per day. The opposite extreme is free-for-all eating.  I think we all agree that both are harmful to your health.

Moderation eating falls somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. However, I believe that fitness professionals often misrepresent what moderation really is. This misrepresentation is leaving the “everyday woman” confused and believing something false. I call this the moderation myth.

moderation myth

The Moderation Myth

Many women who are into health and fitness have a few fitness professionals they follow and admire. They read their blogs and follow their lives via social media.

It’s fun to see behind the scenes footage from the pros, right?! These pros post every dessert the eat, every glass of wine they drink, and every morsel of less-than-perfect food they ingest. It’s fun to see that, sure. But it leaves women thinking, “If they can do that and look so fit and lean, then I can do that too.” <– There’s the myth or false belief. Here’s why.

Firstly, we are only seeing a small slice of what they are really eating. It’s easy to let the imagination run wild and think that everything they eat is *that* indulgent! This creates an unrealistic view of the truth.

Secondly, the problem is that a moderation diet (where you’re tasting lots of treats) is a diet that leads to physique maintenance (and possibly weight gain). When you’re in “maintain mode” with your weight, you stay exactly the same. Many pros will tell you when they switched to maintain mode, they gained 10-15 pounds but can easily maintain that despite the additional treats. That’s great for them! BUT, it’s a fact to accept when you decide to maintain. You may gain weight because your body wants to be at an easy place to maintain.

Women watching these pros “eating moderately” are often women with goals. To reach goals with your weight loss, fat loss, and fitness, you have to move into “attain mode.” You need to eat in a way that helps you attain or reach your physique and fitness goals.

Women with goals to reach are the women I’m writing this blog post for.

If you are one of them, I want you to know that the journey you are on is your own. It’s different from those fit pros you watch from afar. It’s different from your sister’s journey, your best friend’s journey, my journey, or your neighbor’s journey. Not only are your goals and your journey unique, so is your metabolism, so are your preferences, and so is your body. You are unique and fearfully & wonderfully made!

Moderation Myth

The good news is that attain mode doesn’t have to be extreme, but it does have to be a bit tighter for the majority of us. It leaves room for fewer indulgences (note: I didn’t say no indulgences!).

It’s a time to take action and do things differently. It a time to enjoy and trust the process. It’s a time to keep your eyes on your own paper. Mind your own business. Stay in your lane and move forward.  You can’t compare what you’re doing to others. Comparison is a trap, a distraction, and steals our joy!

Comparison is the thief of joy. ~Theodore Roosevelt

Sadly, “all things in moderation” has become a cop-out for making unhealthy food choices and over-indulging. With fitness professionals perpetuating the moderation myth, it’s no surprise! We want to be like the ones we admire.

I fear that women see a fitness pro with a large plate of pancakes bigger than a basketball and think she ate every bite. We don’t really know. She may have had just 5 bites. Or one. Who really knows?

Moderation, to me, is being in touch with your body and what it needs to function at its best. A moderate person is careful to weigh the cost of an extreme choice.  How will it affect their goals? How will it make them feel both physically and mentally? Will it tilt them in the direction of over-indulgence and over doing? Will it tilt them in the direction of under eating or not doing enough? Will it trigger other extreme behaviors or cravings?

You don’t have to view foods as “good” or “bad” but you need to investigate your body and your reactions to food and adjust accordingly.

In order to reach your goals, you have to get to know your body. It’s a process and can be a fun process if you look at it that way! I’ve been working at it for at least 7 years and learn new things about myself all the time and love that!

If you are looking to move into “attain mode” and lose 5-15+ pounds, I have just the program to recommend to help you achieve that!

Coach Amanda

About a year ago, I had the opportunity to work with a top coach, AmandaTress, in her carb cycling and intermittent fasting boot camp. It was an amazing experience and gave me the boost I needed to lose a few inches in time for summer!

Since then, she has tweaked, adjusted, and improved the program until she could wholeheartedly say it was the very best program on the market. Her signature program is called FASTer Way to Fat Loss, and she is opening the program up to you!

Like Amanda, when I began experimenting with intermittent fasting and carb cycling, my results were incredible and the methods sustainable! Amanda took these concepts and created the FASTer Way to Fat Loss program based on strategies that help women burn fat, feel energized, and finally break past their weight loss plateaus. Amazing, right!?

If you are ready to bust through a plateau or move into an active fat loss mode, please consider joining this 6-week program! You will not be depriving yourself of calories but rather fueling your body with proper nutrition for your workouts. Hormonally, this protocol sets up your body’s metabolism to shed body fat! You’ll be working strategically with your body! Smarter not harder. :)Please note that the first week, beginning the

Please note that the first week, beginning the 27th, will be a “prep” week to familiarize yourself with the program through online trainings, reading through the program manual, and getting your questions answered by Amanda before the official start. This “prep” week is in place to set you up for success! The 6 week boot camp + prep weeks means you’ll be working with Amanda for 7 total weeks!

Join HERE to get started with the next group. This is a great opportunity for you to work with a top coach in the industry!


Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Your program pricing does not go up, but if you register through my link I get a bit for referring you. Thanks for supporting my blog!

 

 

Healthy Shopping List
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Healthy Shopping List: Condiments

Boy, can condiments be a hindrance to fat loss! Today I want to share with you the condiments that end up on my healthy shopping list. 🙂

We all know that eating for fat loss can get a little boring at times. For this reason, I thought I’d share with you a few of my favorite condiments that I use to make my food taste delicious, but have little (to no) effect on my fat loss efforts.

Having foods that I enjoy is very important to me because I really want “living the fat loss lifestyle” to be sustainable for a lifetime. Some of the ingredients in my favorites may not fall in line with everyone’s goals (such as high sodium in the hot sauces), but for me, this is somewhere that I personally “give in a little” in order to make eating for fat loss more enjoyable.

It’s important to find this balance between making meal choices that will help you to achieve your goals AND preparing them in such a way as to make those choices sustainable. Here are some of my favorites:

Healthy Shopping List – Condiments

  1. Cinnamon – Great for flavoring oatmeal, oat bran, fruit, and protein shakes.
  2. Cayenne Pepper – Great on any meat or in soups if you like spicy things like I do!

    Healthy Shopping List

    Just do NOT get these 2 confused! 😉

  3. Vinegar (especially Balsamic and Red Wine) – I mix balsamic vinegar with mustard and stevia to make a delicious low-calorie salad dressing.  I use red wine vinegar on my ground turkey burgers on Ezekiel bread or in salads. Healthy Shopping List
  4. Yellow Mustard – Delicious on any meat or mixed with different kinds of vinegar and hot sauces. I’ve even dipped steamed broccoli in it. Yes, I LOVE mustard!
  5. Any no/low-calorie hot sauce – If you like spicy foods, put hot sauce in soups and on meat. I’ve even mixed it with mustard and dipped veggies in it or put it on salads. Sounds weird, but you should try it if you like hot sauce! My favorites: Frank’s Red Hot and Louisiana Hot Sauce
  6. Salsa – Use on chicken or shrimp and avocado salad (with Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime and a squeeze of fresh lime) and for dipping veggies into. Watch for added sugar, though. Healthy Shopping List
  7. Asian Chili Garlic Sauce, Thai Red Curry Paste, and Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce – I put just a tad in soups or in ground meat to add a little kick! If you like a BIG kick like my husband, then spread it right on top of your meat or add extra to your own soup bowl. Healthy Shopping List
  8. All the Mrs. Dash spices – I use these in place of or in addition to sea salt and black pepper on just about everything!  Healthy Shopping List
  9. Liquid Smoke – Flavor meat, soups, or veggies with this delicious condiment. Your food will have a whole new twist when you use a little liquid smoke. My favorite veggie to use this on is roasted okra. Yummmmm! Healthy Shopping List
  10. 100% baking cocoaBaking cocoa is my favorite! It makes my protein shakes more chocolate-y! I add 2 Tbsp, along with stevia, to my coffee or with just plain hot water to make a mocha or hot chocolate. This is great for craving control! I add it to plain Greek yogurt with stevia to make “pudding,” and I’ve even mashed a banana with cocoa powder, stevia, water, and a scoop of chocolate protein powder to make a post workout pudding. Don’t judge. 😉 Healthy Shopping List
  11. Stevia – I used Sweet Leaf flavored liquid stevia drops and Stevia In The Raw to sweeten anything in place of sugar. 🙂 Healthy Shopping List Condiments

I would love to hear some of your favorite condiments that are fat-loss friendly! Please comment below and let me know what condiments are on your healthy shopping list. 🙂

xo -Jill


Affiliate Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. If you buy through the link, the price is still the exact same for you, but I make a small percentage for recommending the product. The opinions expressed in the post are my own and all products shown are those I have used and truly believe in. Thanks for supporting my blog!

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4 Tips to Break the “Too Busy Cycle” and Get Your Priorities Straight Once and For All!

A very common struggle among women today is a lack of time. I bet you can relate.

When subscribers sign up for my newsletter, I ask them in the very first email what their #1 struggle is. One of the top 2-3 answers I receive from subscribers is, not surprisingly, “lack of time” to workout.

That’s not shocking, right? We all suffer from the busy-ness bug!

I totally understand! I’m a mom, wife, teacher, coach, business owner, church member, friend, daughter, sister, and the list goes on……

Consider a this for a second:

And here’s a (very kindly spoken) tough love alert…

We all have the same 24 hours in a day.

I know, I know- we are certainly all in differing circumstances in our life. We don’t all have nannies, maids, and other hired help. But, even within our own circumstances- no matter what they are- we get to choose HOW we spend our time outside of work hours.

Being “busy” is an epidemic in our rushed society. How often do we hear from a friend that she can’t (fill in the blank) because she is “too busy.” You may even find yourself saying that. I do!

It has sadly become the norm for “I’m too busy” to fly out of our mouths in response to any request or invitation. What does “I’m too busy” really say? To me it says, “That is not a priority” or “I don’t find that important to do.” (Just being honest here, and I’m GUILTY as charged!) We can all agree that we each have the same 24 hours in our day. We choose to use those hours differently based on what we determine is important to us!priorities

It’s time to think about designing your life in a way that you are in the driver’s seat of your time. Don’t sit back and let life happen to you. When you sit back and let things happen TO you, you are giving up full control and just move from one frantic “thing to do” to the next. It becomes a vicious cycle of busyness that seems to be unbreakable. In the meantime, no one is really enjoying all the busyness!

4 Tips to Break the “Too Busy Cycle”

1) Schedule your top priorities FIRST. To find out what a person deems important, take a look at their calendar! Does your calendar match what you SAY are your priorities? I’ve come to realize that I’m not “too busy” for the things I find to be important. I make time for my top priorities each day. We all do! But sometimes we haven’t thought about it deeply enough, so we end up just living moment to moment, getting through each day.

Suggestion: Carve out 10-20 minutes each week to re-prioritize your life. Write down all the things that you need to make sure happen each day of the week – the things you will do no matter what. Place your most important priorities on your calendar or in your planner FIRST. Pick a night of the week to do this, and make “scheduling” a tradition. How much better do we all feel when organized?!? Or is it just me?? 🙂

Write down a typical day or 2 and look for time slots that you could use differently or more efficiently. This could be the first step to leveraging her time better. Once you find those time slots, use them wisely. If health and fitness are important to you, schedule in 20-30 minutes a day a few times a week for working out. Schedule in a couple of hours on the weekend for food planning and prep for the week. Writing it down is the first step to GETTING IT DONE!

Also, limit your time on email, facebook, twitter, or wherever you find a time sucking black hole in your schedule. Turn off notifications on your phone so you aren’t bombarded ALL.DAY.LONG with beeps and rings that let you know there is email to be read or facebook posts to be “liked”. Set aside 30 or so minutes a day to catch up on emails or social media. This ONE thing alone has increased my productivity by leaps and bounds!

2) Get rid of the “victim mindset” when it comes to your schedule or your circumstances. I used to be the QUEEN of this! As a new mom, 10 years ago, I would often have a pity party about how I didn’t have any time for myself because I now had a baby that required my 24/7 attention. Of course I loved my son dearly and wouldn’t have traded caring for him for anything else in the world, but I now realize that my attitude and thoughts around my new situation were causing me to feel miserable. Looking back, I see that I was getting something out of playing the role of a martyr. I enjoyed how others would feel sorry for me when I told them how my time was no longer mine and I was “too busy” to even take a shower. They would pat me on the back and tell me what a great job I was doing. I was getting affirmation out of playing a “victim” of my circumstances. Now I realize that when I’m in the victim mindset, I’m hindering myself from taking ACTION on what I really desire.

For me, I now choose TAKING ACTION over BEING A VICTIM. 🙂

How many times do you say or hear it be said, “I’m too overwhelmed to add anything to my day. I’m just too busy.” What that is saying is that whatever the activity is that is in question isn’t currently a priority. That’s ok! Just be truthful with yourself. There’s no judgment. It just is what it is – not important at the moment.

Consider this: How many of us will JUMP when called upon to send a snack for our kid’s preschool class or sports team. It doesn’t matter if you get the call at 10 pm, you are ON IT! React the same way to the things you say are important to you! If you say it’s important to exercise, for example, you will find a way just like you found a way to make those cookies for your child’s class or team (even though you were tired, it was late at night, or you were feeling overwhelmed).

3) Don’t take on new obligations that are unnecessary. (i.e. Learn to say “NO” sometimes!)

Self-imposed busyness is a way we sabotage our own goals. It’s how we justify not eating right (don’t have time to plan or cook meals) and not exercising (who has time for that?!). An authentic “no” is much more appreciated than a resentful “yes.” Agree? Would you want someone to do something for you that they didn’t want to do? I believe we’d all agree that the answer is no.

4) Prioritize LEISURE time in your own schedule as well as your KIDS’ schedules.

“Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing” –Lao Tzu

Our kids are scheduled down to the minute these days instead of outside running, playing, building forts, making mud pies, etc. Sports and other extra-curricular activities are important, but they don’t ALL have to be done at once. Set limits. Don’t be addicted to “BUSY.”

priorities

And for all you ladies, make sure that at least 5-10 minutes a day you can relax and enjoy a hot bath, a good book, a leisure walk with the family, or chat with a good friend. This is important to our own psyche and our stress level. It’s not selfish to prioritize meeting your own needs from time to time. I would argue that having your needs met makes you a better mom, wife, daughter, friend, and neighbor. 🙂

What does this have to do with health and fitness?

A lot.

When you don’t prioritize your health and fitness and the health of your family, no one benefits. Don’t be “too busy” to take care of your own physical needs! If you are healthy, active, and feeling alive, you are able to help your friends and family in an even better way – without resentment or being bitter about it.

If you need help, hire a coach to help you. Ain’t no shame in that! I’ve personally had several coaches in my life that have helped me better myself. 🙂

Health and fitness aren’t at the top everyone’s priority list. I get that! For me, it wasn’t for many years. I encourage you, however, to use these same principles in your life to make sure that “busyness” isn’t getting in the way of your TOP priorities whatever they may be.

I’ll leave you with a few quotes that I love about busyness…

“Those who are wise won’t be busy, and those who are too busy can’t be wise.” ~ Lin Yutang, The Importance Of Living

 

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

 

“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves” ~Jack Kornfield

 

“The really idle man gets nowhere. The perpetually busy man does not get much further.” ~Sir Heneage Ogilvie

xo -Jill


Here is information about a top-level coaching service that I recommend and have used! FASTer Way to Fat Loss is a 6 Week Boot Camp that Utilizes Carb Cycling and Intermittent Fasting – a HIGHLY effective program!

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Your program pricing does not go up, but if you register through my link I get a bit for referring you. Thanks for supporting my blog!