“You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.” How many times have we heard this? Countless, I’m sure. So it should come as no surprise that when I began my journey to a healthier me, my starting line was in the kitchen. It wasn’t until I changed my entire way of thinking about food and its purpose that I was able to achieve my goals. I was in a nutrition class a few months back when a light bulb went off. Your body is a machine. If you want it to function properly, you need to fuel it properly. If food is your fuel, you need to make sure that you are providing the necessary elements that will allow your “machine” to perform at the best of its abilities.  Similarly, avoid the useless junk that will just muck up your machine’s system.

It will likely take some tinkering to figure out how to execute, but it really is a simple concept at the core. Once you understand and truly believe in the concept, you can use it to get through the early cravings (which I promise you will go away) and decide what to eat and when. I’ll dive into specifics as this adventure continues, but in the meantime, here are 5 easy changes that I made in my own life and produced noticeable results.

Eat Often

Most people think that you need to deprive yourself to lose weight.  This is so far from the truth!  You should be fueling your body every 2-3 hours. I had heard this so many times before, but it wasn’t until I put it into practice that I believed it.  When you continue to feed your body every few hours, your metabolism is forced to keep running in order to process the food it is being given. When you go long periods of time without eating, your body goes into survival mode. Your metabolism slows down and your body holds on to everything it can.  At first it is going to feel like you’re eating all of the time. But the good news is that before you know it, your body will be hungry every few hours and that means that your metabolism is functioning optimally.  I don’t know about you, but this now 30 year old will take as much help as I can in the metabolism department.

Balance Your Macros

portion_GSE_450x450What does that even mean? Simply put, you need to be sure that your body is getting the right amount of each macronutrient. There used to be a time when I’d use apps on my phone and plug in each individual thing that I ate.  If that works for you, great! I have since then found a portion control container system which allowed me to quickly learn what my plate should look like.  Now I’m able to just eyeball it!

Drink Lemon Water

Start and finish every day with a glass of lemon water. Lemon water provides multiple benefits to your body, but for all intents and purposes, drinking a glass is like pressing the reset button on your digestive system. I noticed a difference within 24 hours of my first glass. When it’s as simple as squeezing a half of a lemon into a glass of water and drinking it, there’s no excuse not to.

Eat Slowly

On our very first date, my husband pointed out that in the time he had eaten a half of a slice of pizza, I had finished two. That paints a pretty clear picture of my natural eating speed. We’ve all been told a million times that if you eat slower, you’ll discover that you’re full before you’ve consumed more than you actually need. This is true and a big reason why you should eat slowly. However, another reason that I suggest it is for processing purposes. After meeting with a nutritionist, I learned that digestions actually begins before food has even touched your lips. When you simply think about food, your body reacts and starts to move. If you want your body to process food most easily and effectively, chew your food into as small of pieces as you can. Take your time and not only enjoy the food, but break it down so that your machine can too. Consider putting your utensil down between bites. When I started to really slow down, yes, I ate less, but I also found that I was far less bloated. My digestive system appreciated the assistance in processing its fuel. Yours will too.

Meal Prep

Meal prep is far more than taking impressive photos to post to Instagram. Preparation is key to having a healthy relationship with food. Don’t ever put yourself in a position to fail. When your meals and snacks are planned out, you’ll never find yourself hungry and reaching for something that you shouldn’t out of desperation. This is an easy thing to do when life is as busy as it has become for most of us. I do my meal prep on Sunday nights. I honestly look forward to it. I feel like I’m going into the week with all of the tools that I need to succeed. I’d be lying if I said that this doesn’t take work, but I’d also be lying if I told you it wasn’t worth it. It totally is.


How 21 Days Can Change Your Life

This is where my journey began, with one health and fitness challenge group.  Joining the group meant committing to 21 days of following a workout plan of my choice and drinking a nutrient dense shake. Each of us chose whatever workout would best help us achieve our goals and shake that would best please our taste buds. For me, that meant T25 and a combination of Cafe Latte, Chocolate and Vanilla shakes. As far as the workout goes, I chose T25 because like many of you I’m sure, a 25 minute workout is about all of the time I can squeeze in these days. The company describes it as “an hour workout in 25 minutes.” They aren’t joking! It’s been awesome–hard work, but awesome. As for the shake, I’m obsessed. God, is it delicious. It’s not a weight-loss shake or a protein shake, which is what a lot of people assume. It’s a shake that is filled with the nutrients and superfoods that your body needs to function at it’s best ability. My husband has even started getting his own vegan shakes and loves them too. It’s like we’d seen the light and the light is a shake.

Every day during the challenge our we would check in with each other, share what we’d accomplished and what we’d struggled with. We worked to become better versions of ourselves, both physically and mentally. Each week we took photos of our progress, measurements of our body and got on the scale. The emphasis of the group was more about how you felt than what those numbers read, but heck, when those numbers started coming down, I was ecstatic! At the end of our three weeks, I had lost 7 pounds and 6 1/2 inches. I feel the best that I’ve felt in a really long time. That was just the beginning though for me! I intended on reclaiming this new mama body and making it as strong and healthy as I can. That can’t happen in three short weeks, but I know now that it wasn’t far off!

Now I’ll tell you, about three years ago I did Insanity with my husband and my brother. But truth be told, we didn’t follow the program to a t. We didn’t drink the shakes or get through all of the weeks of exercises. What a difference that makes! So if you’re sitting here reading this thinking, “oh I’ve done those programs,” and you didn’t truly DO them or you didn’t go through the challenge group, then you don’t know. These things were created by people who have spent years and years mastering how to sculpt a body. They know what they’re doing. So if you want to give it a real shot then send me an email at nicole.m.bogen@gmail.com. We can do this thing together!