How To Move Beyond Your Past

March 01, 2015

The best person to advise on a certain topic is the one who has been there, stuck, feeling regret and has found a way through to the other side.  

When I was deep into the dis-empowered mindset I must admit that I couldn't really see more than two steps in front of me. Sure, I wanted to experience happiness and freedom and be able to express my ideas but I was too busy dealing with all the mental aerobics I put myself through on a daily basis. 

What types of mental aerobics? Things like over-thinking and analyzing how I acted in my past, feeling regret for not following up with friendships or letting others in to really get to know me and feeling guilty for not applying myself fully in school when I was burned out and ready to do anything but study.

The truth was I did feel regretful and was ridiculously hard on myself for not handling my past differently.

If there is one thing we can all agree on, let it be this:

We are way too hard on ourselves for what happened in our past.

Unfortunately I think it is completely normal for us to be our toughest critics, but that certainly does not make it useful or healthy. The first step to take to transition out of the habit of constantly beating ourselves up is to practice forgiveness. 

Definitely an easier-said-than-done task, forgiving yourself is not about acquiescing to the actions you have taken in the past, it is about actively accepting that you too can make mistakes. 

In late 2009 I attended a life changing event called the Landmark Forum. You may have heard negative feedback about the course or that Lululemon 'forces' its employees to attend from a widely read Time Magazine article, but the truth is that this course was one of the best things I ever did for myself. I had been introduced to the Landmark Forum while working at the mecca of yoga pants during University years earlier - one of the best jobs I ever had by the way! When I signed up for the course it was on my own dime and my own time as I was personal training full-time and trying to keep my head above water with my emotions and responsibilities and was failing miserably. 

One of the best visuals I learned at the Landmark Forum was demonstrated by the instructor as he paraded around the stage grabbing a chair, a kleenex box, a water bottle, a scarf and pretty much anything else he could get his hands on. He related this to our lives, how we move from relationship to relationship, job to job, month to month and we pile all the 'stuff' that happens in our lives on our own backs. We rarely pause to think about how hard we are on ourselves for all the mistakes we have made but we carry them around daily! 

While the Landmark Forum was one of the biggest steps I took to make peace with my past, it was of course up to me to take on what I learned. My boyfriend at the time (now husband) and I went to a bridge and threw rocks off the bridge for every past disagreement we were going to move beyond (if it sounds crazy, don't worry, he thought I was nuts at first but it was amazingly therapeutic for both of us).

 

A photo of us circa 2008, a couple years before the throwing rocks off the bridge idea!

I practiced forgiveness with myself for being so damn hard on myself all the time for everything, school, relationships, money, friends, family, my body composition..

The catalyst for me to start creating a future that was bright and open was to start with forgiveness. A funny thing happened too - as soon as I began to forgive myself, I could more easily forgive other people in my life. It was a feed-forward cycle. Forgive myself, see others as worthy of my forgiveness, forgive them, be kinder and more understanding with myself. 

We can get stuck on the idea of forgiveness though, can't we? It can seem like if we forgive ourselves, it means that we are being too soft, too easy on ourselves and we will probably make those same mistakes again, right? No, nope, not at all. In fact, forgiveness is the only way for us to move forward. 

Beyond grateful for having you with me on this journey, 

Lana

Easy Healthy Eats YYC Bocce

February 26, 2015

[Easy Healthy Eats YYC] 

Found! A super satisfying and tasty option that fits the profile for my lean eating habits. The Italian Chop Chop Salad from Bocce is one of my favourite choices for dining out or ordering in. 

The Checklist:

- Protein from grilled chicken and rosemary ham.

- Veggies like lettuce and tomatoes add volume without a ton of calories. 

- Shaved fennel and piave cheese make it super satisfying. 

Looking for a little more food to fill you up while still following your lean habits? Try the char-grilled rapini, garlic & white wine mussels or the beef & veal meatballs. 

Yes, they deliver! 

www.eatbocce.ca

 

 

How To Quit Weekend Binge Behaviour

February 23, 2015

There is an important reason to talk about how to quit weekend binge behaviour on a Monday.

Why? 

Because what you do on Friday is directly related to what you did on the previous Monday. 

Huh?

Let me explain. The feeling of getting to friday afternoon and letting loose, eating more quantity of food than you do during the week and partaking in all the items you make 'off limits' through out the week is a result of the restriction you place on yourself starting on Monday. 

The answer to successfully quit weekend binge behaviour is to stop the pattern of restriction in the first place. 

Well great! But HOW do you actually do that? What steps do we need to follow on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to get all the way to the weekend without the feelings of needing a break and getting a break from our healthy eating? The following three steps will give you a great kickstart on quitting the weekend binge behaviour:

1. Accept that eating perfectly for one day is not an accomplishment. 

I hear from women daily about how they feel at the end of the day when they have eaten perfectly (no sauces, no processed foods, limited carbohydrates, tons of veggies, lean protein and water). We often feel accomplished, responsible or even at the most basic level, we feel good about ourselves. We are good when we can follow the rules and stick with the plan we have laid out in our head, we are bad when we go off the rails. 

I am not going to tell you that eating lean is a bad idea - if your goals are to lose body fat and see muscle definition then eating this way will get you there. BUT, I want you to consider that your Monday-Thursday plan is a little on the restrictive side if you cannot maintain it over the weekend. 

Even though you may have the best of intentions with your weekly eating plan, the inability to eat lean on the weekend will not help you to see the goals of a more athletic physique. We need a plan that feels good mentally and physically, every single day. 

2. Build enjoyment into your eating plan every single day. 

The best way I know to build consistency into your eating habits is to have you enjoy what you are eating. If you like what you eat, you will be able to maintain it for a long, long time. 

I think deep down we believe that enjoying what we eat and seeing physical results cannot co-exist. This could not be further from the truth, in fact, enjoying what you eat is the only way to see physical results that last more than a few weeks. 

But first, let's get one roadblock out of the way.

Is it enjoyable to overeat? No.

Is it enjoyable to eat a ton of sugar, processed food and alcohol? No. 

Is it enjoyable to feel like your clothes fit tightly and feel uncomfortable? No. 

So where does enjoyment come from? Enjoyment comes from balance. For me enjoyment is a whole ton of veggies to fill me up, lean proteins to keep me full and a few satisfaction foods to keep me satiated (this is a fancy way of saying full & satisfied). 

 

Here is a photo of our girls weekend dinner this past saturday. We loaded our plates with veggies and cold cuts and didn't stress about the wine, cheese or a couple crackers to go with it. 

I practice building enjoyment into my eating plan every day by mindfully enjoying dark chocolate or a glass of wine or salami. I have a small amount so I can still support my body composition goals, but I rarely feel like I need to control myself around food because I am aiming to feel satisfied constantly. 

3. On the weekend, do not let one treat turn into 100000.

My coach Jill Coleman says 'get back on track at your next meal, not the next day' and I love this idea because it works! We have all made less than optimal food choices or eaten a cookie (when we said we wouldn't!) and used that as a reason to throw away the rest of the day. This is just a ridiculous, albeit very normal, strategy. 

So you stayed up late and drank too much wine? Get your protein and a ton of water in at breakfast. 

Or maybe you couldn't resist a few cookies in the afternoon... Make a huge salad with a torn up rotisserie chicken for dinner and keep moving on. 

Remember, giving up the weekend binge behaviour is HUGE. It is an amazing feeling to wake up on Monday morning and continue eating the same way as you did over the weekend and on the wednesday of the week before. You will save oodles of mental energy and find much better results physically. 

This habit is a big one to break, but man it is so so worthwhile. 

Cheering for ya!

Lana xox

Curried Chicken Salad

February 22, 2015

One of my favourite kitchen tasks is to make chicken and veggies taste great and different from the same old, same old salad. This is a great option for those of you following the Balanced Meal Blueprint program. A great source of complete protein, fibre and fat helps to set you up for success all day long. We experience balanced hunger levels, less cravings and help to maintain lean muscle mass. 

Ingredients: 

6 chicken thighs or 2 chicken breasts

1 tsp cumin

2 tsp garam masala (1 tsp for seasoning chicken, 1 tsp for dressing)

1 cup greek yogurt

3 tbsp curry powder 

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp honey

3 stalks celery

1 carrot

1/4 red onion

1/4 cup thompson raisins

1/4 cup walnuts

fresh ground black pepper

Season chicken with cumin and garam masala and bake in oven. I always do 25-30 minutes at 350 depending on the size & cut of chicken I am using. Finely chop celery and red onion, grate carrot and place together in a large bowl. Add cooled and diced chicken, raisins and chopped walnuts to bowl and mix. 

Combine greek yogurt, curry powder, 1 tsp garam masala, lemon juice and honey in a small bowl and stir until blended. 

Add dressing to large bowl and stir until all ingredients are coated. This tastes best after a few hours (or overnight) in the fridge to bring out the flavours of the curry. 

To make a great post-workout meal, fill an ancient grains wrap with this curried chicken salad. 

The EASE Model: A Guide For Healthy, Easy Eating

February 16, 2015

Do you think it is ironic that the people who are consistently lean embark on the fewest number of diets and hardcore challenges? 

The most reasonable explanation is due to the fact that adopting a lifestyle of habits and daily actions that support a lean, healthy body composition is a much more consistent model compared to a diet or way of eating you can only maintain for a number of weeks. 

We are the sum of all our decisions, not choices made for a couple days in a row.

In my own life I have not embarked on many fad diets at all. I have however, practiced a fair amount of restrictive habits with food over the years. Things like limiting calories, carbohydrates, fat, dairy, gluten, sugar, alcohol...and the list goes on. Of course there are certain situations that require a gluten or ___-free diet, but my situation was not one of those. I can safely look back now and see that I was trying to find a way of eating that would help me support the physical results I could attain for a couple weeks after a period of restriction. 

The problem for me was that every single time I created an unsustainable plan and attained a flat stomach and could fit easily into my favourite jeans it was fleeting. Like 1, 2 or perhaps 3 weeks of results. Then life would happen. My husband would come home from being away on the road for many weeks. We would go out to dinner and have friends over and I would go right back to eating all the foods (remember the list above?!) that I had cut out. 

Seriously, there has to be another way! This was a constant thought in my head only a few short years ago. 

As many of you have been reading the blog for a while now you know that the answer for me was balance. Navigating the middle ground of restriction and over-eating has been THE thing that has helped me maintain a lean, healthy physique over the past few years (remember lean is subjective - there are MUCH more lean trainers out there, I have found a mentally and physically healthy and happy place for ME). 

But how do you actually get to 'balance'? It can be such an airy-fairy term, can't it? The basic building blocks of a healthy and balanced eating plan are also the foundation for an easy plan. An easy plan is flexible, can be tweaked and changed no matter where you are and it certainly is not stressful to maintain. I put the building blocks of my plan into a model to help you learn exactly WHAT to do for you, because we are as different as the snowflakes in the sky, remember that. 

Introducing, the EASE Model, a guide for healthy, easy lean eating. 

E - eat protein, fibre and fat at every meal. 

A - aim for real food as much as possible.

S - seek satisfaction, not restriction.

E - eat a variety of foods for both health and enjoyment. 

Today I want to focus on the first pillar of the EASE model This all about the science behind lean eating. We want to fill up on foods that help us maintain our lean mass (muscle), help us burn fat effectively and prevent excessive cravings or hunger. 

I literally follow this pillar at 90% or more of the meals and snacks that I eat every day. One of the most important reasons behind combining protein, fibre and fat is because this is how we balance our fat-storing hormone insulin. Protein and fibre control insulin release helping us to become better fat burners. While consuming dietary fat does not have much effect on insulin levels, it does help to keep us satisfied and fuller for longer. 

Yes, if we eat too many calories from ANY source we will hold on to the excess energy as fat. This is where the importance of volume foods comes in - choosing foods that are high in volume with a low amount of calories. You can think of this as choosing foods that are nutrient dense, but not calorically dense. Guess what foods fit this description to a 'T'? Veggies!

When you are pairing your protein, fibre and fat at each meal and snack choose veggies for your fibre option frequently. 

Want to know more? This week I am celebrating the launch of my Balanced Meal Blueprint System. It is a book including 20 brand spankin-new recipes, a three week implementation journal to get you started and a mindset guide to help you cultivate the #consistencymindset. Grab it HERE until Friday February 20th! 

To you and your easy way of eating :)

Lana xox