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My Blog

April 2013

PaleO-K, I will give it a try... My experience eating like a Cavewoman.

As I was struggling to lose the last few pounds of baby weight, I kept hearing about the Paleo Diet. Being pregnant and living with a new baby had allowed bad eating habits to creep into my everyday life.  I use to be very disciplined about what I ate, but somehow bringing a baby into the equation left me a little lax when it came to food choices… Dessert use to be a bite of dark chocolate after dinner, but recently I found myself eating half a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Fo-Yo at the end of the day. Because I am still breastfeeding, I needed help refocusing in a way that would not restrict my calorie consumption drastically. I don’t believe in “fad diets” anyway, so the Paleo “lifestyle” sounded like a safe way to set some guidelines for myself.

Here are the rules-

You CAN eat:
Meat and Fish
Nuts and Seed
Fruits and Veggies
Healthy Oils

Processed Foods
Beans and Legumes

The idea is to get back to the basics, eating only the foods that our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate. When we take out all the junk we don’t need, it ends up being a menu full of protein, fiber, vitamins, and Omega-3 and 6 fats.
By eliminating foods high in carbs (which create spikes in insulin levels and promote weight gain) we are able to improve our overall health. Studies have shown that people who live the Paleo lifestyle are less likely to develop diabetes and heart disease, and they are able to maintain a healthy weight.

I loved the sound of this! It is not very far off from my regular pre-baby diet, so I didn’t think it would be too difficult to stick to the guidelines.  I try to avoid bread and pasta on a regular basis anyway, and my diet is loaded with fruits and veggies.  I eat meat in moderation, but I like it, so not a problem to add a little more to the menu. I decided to try it just for a week thinking it would be a piece of cake!  Mmmm….cake….

After a few days I realized caveman eating was not as easy as I thought it would be. I definitely missed the sweets, and after a long day of taking care of baby I SO wanted that Ben and Jerry’s… But surprisingly, I missed the legumes and dairy more than the sweets.  I am a big fan (and I mean FAN with capital letters) of Greek yogurt.  I was eating it all the time for breakfast.  Beans, soy, tofu, peanut butter and cashews were also staples in our house.  I didn’t think I would miss them as much as I did. 

I stuck with it though, reassuring myself that if by the end of the week I could forgo the Paleo eating if I wanted. It was just a week! Plus, some of the recipes we used were not only a welcomed change from our usual meals, but they were also super delish.  I was excited to plan dinner every day.  A few of our favorites were Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Marinara and Mustard Lime Chicken….YUM.

After that first week the results were in -- I felt great AND I lost the last of my baby weight! Granted, it was only a couple of pounds, but the diet change helped it come off when exercise alone was not doing the trick.
My energy was up, and so was my confidence.  I was able to stay disciplined and see results because of it.  That’s an awesome feeling! 

The hard part will be keeping the lbs off. As soon as I go back to my late night fo-yo binges I will put that weight back on, so I decided to adopt some of the Paleo rules into my lifestyle without being super crazy about it.
I want to be able have my Greek yogurt and put tofu on my salad every now and then. Do I need to do it every day? No. So here are the rules that I set up for myself:

Meghan’s Paleo influenced Guidelines:
1.  I will eat strictly Paleo Monday through Thursday
2.  Friday, Saturday, Sunday I will add in some healthy carbs (beans, whole grains, and yogurt to the mix)
3.  ONE weekend day I will not worry about what I eat.  If I want to have pizza or a burger I will.
(I will probably take an extra long run the next day, but we all need a little splurge sometimes.)

So far it’s working great! Give it a try! Here are some great sites I used to find my recipes:

Spring Forward! Revive Your Workout!

Are winter workouts getting you down? After the endless weeks of treadmill boredom, one’s motivation can plummet.  Goals are forgotten, waistlines get bigger, and before you know it you have to put on a bathing suit (and in public no less!). Here are 5 ways to revive your workout this spring. 

*Remember if you are losing weight in a healthy way you should average 1 to 2 pounds per week… How many weeks do we have until summer?

1.       Get outside: 
Studies have shown that exercising outdoors can increase your calorie burn AND decrease your stress levels compared to indoor workouts.  People also tend to work out for longer durations if they are outside.  Taking in the sights on a beautiful day is much more enjoyable than watching the clock on the treadmill; so take a jog, bike ride, or find an outdoor class to get your maximum calorie burn.  Read more about a few of these studies here in the NY Times.  

2.       Take a class: 
Classes can reawaken your mind and body, help you make new friends, and allow you to experience a healthy dose of competition.  If you are the ambitious type, try a boot camp (like the one Mind Body Fitness offers) or spin class.  If you prefer a mild workout, you can try water aerobics or an all levels yoga class. BUT if you really want to experiment, I would totally recommend a hip hop, aerial yoga, or trapeze class!  My arms and core were wicked sore after my first trapeze class… Plus, the thrill of flying through the air is one of the best natural highs I have ever experienced.    

3.       Make a new playlist: 
If I have to hear Gotye’s Somebody that I Use to Know one more time I may have to give up exercise all together. Music can really set the mood, so if you find yourself bored with your work out mix it may be holding you back from wanting to work out.  And interestingly, studies have proven that the cadence of a song is actually one of the only ways to improve a runner or walker's pace. Human beings love to follow the path of least resistance, but music seems to be the key to unlocking your inner speed demon. Fill up your iPod with uptempo beats, and read more about the studies here in the NY Times.

4.       Find an exercise buddy:
Do you know someone else who is trying to get into shape but is having a hard time?  Make an exercise date!  Peer pressure is super effective.  No one wants to be that guy or gal who gives up mid-set.  Plus, with someone to keep you company you will find that the time flies.  There will be no mind space to think about the cramp you may have in your side or the burn in your thighs!  

5.       Get naked:
All winter long we hide underneath our baggy sweaters and cozy flannel PJs.  Now it’s time to get real.  Strip off all the clothes and stand buck naked in front of your mirror.  Take inventory of the good, the bad, and possibly the ugly.  This is a hard exercise for most people, but it can help redefine your goals in a very real way.  You don’t like the extra flab on your belly?  More cardio.  You don’t like the way your butt droops?  More squats.  You have to know what it is you want before you go out and get it, right?  If you have questions about how to reach those goals feel free to come to me with questions.

I hope these tips inspire you get back into the exercise groove!  Try any and all of them to experience it for yourself.  If you are one of the few who did not experience the winter workout blues, let me know how you stayed strong.  I would love to hear it!

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