Viewing entries tagged
diet

5 Tips to Battle Pregnancy Cravings

5 Tips to Battle Pregnancy Cravings

When I got pregnant, I started getting intense cravings all the time— and it wasn't only for sweets. I had to find ways to keep this under control because I wanted to remain healthy for both my baby and for myself. There was no way I was letting myself gain 80 pounds! It’s a myth to think that you eat for two. Yes, your baby does need nutrients to be healthy.  But that isn't an excuse to eat 2 servings per meal.

How To Tell If A Diet Is Dangerous

How To Tell If A Diet Is Dangerous

I’m no skinny-minnie, but after years serial dieting, I found that I just couldn't join the diet train. I don’t have the self-control, and I don’t have the determination for it. Instead, I found ways of tricking myself into the habits I wanted to have. I also learned how to vet the diets that crossed my path. I believe that raw fruits and vegetables are healthy for you - if any diet involves cutting them out, it’s probably not a healthy one. 

8 healthy substitutions for not-so-healthy food

8 healthy substitutions for not-so-healthy food

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When I started my health journey, struggled with eating things like rice, bread, as well as chips and ice cream. Now, I only eat these very sparingly as treats— I didn't quit them cold turkey. Instead, I found healthy substitutions for some of my favorite foods. They had more nutritional value and in many cases, less calories, carbs, and fat. These are just some of the healthy substitutions I recommend when first starting to change your eating habits. These small improvements alone will immensely improve your health and fitness.

Eating healthy is tough, but not impossible. Here are food swaps and healthy substitutions that you can make for a more nutritious diet // The PumpUp Blog

Rice

At first I replaced rice with quinoa. Quinoa is known as a super-grain and it has become increasingly popular in recent years. Though quinoa is an excellent alternative to rice, there are other options such as cauliflower rice. I take a couple of heads of cauliflower and grind them in a food processor until they look like rice. Then I sauté them with oil and some seasoning. Which takes me to my next replacement...

Cooking Oil

Stop using canola, corn, and cottonseed oil! Olive oil is a better choice. Coconut oil is great as well and it has about a million other uses— hair rejuvenation is just the start. Another great replacement is avocado oil.

Potatoes

I am a potato lover. I like them baked, fried, grilled, mashed...you name it. But let's face it, white potatoes aren't the best choice. Sweet potatoes are a much better healthy substitution. They have more fiber than regular potatoes, fewer calories, more vitamin C, and provide more than enough of your daily requirement of vitamin A.  If  you're making mashed potatoes, you can also replace them with mashed cauliflower.

Pasta

This one is fun because all you need is a really good sauce. I always make tomato-based sauces because they are way healthier than creamy ones like Alfredo. The pasta itself can be replaced with zucchini spaghetti, spaghetti squash, and even edamame pasta. You can make tons of veggies into spaghetti by using Veggeti which is a spiral vegetable slicer.

Soda

Water is the best replacement. Even fruit juice has tons of sugar that you don't need. This is pretty important because sugary drinks are one of the top reasons why people have a hard time losing weight, specially in their mid-section. If you like flavored drinks, try unsweetened tea!

Use sliced tomatoes as a replacement for breakfast toast // Healthy substitutions for not-so-healthy food (The PumpUp Blog)

Bread

Who doesn't love toast in the morning or sandwiches for lunch? There are many ways to make paleo or gluten-free bread. Recipes are available all over the Internet. An even better replacement for morning toast would be a side of sliced avocados, apples, tomato, or cucumber. Instead of using bread slices for sandwiches you could also use lettuce to make a wrap instead.

Chips

This is a hard one for me. I love chips. The best part is that I still eat them regularly. Kale, spinach, and sweet potato chips are all splendid replacements for regular potato chips!

Sliced avocado is another great replacement for breakfast toast or sandwich bread // Healthy substitutions for not-so-healthy food (The PumpUp Blog)

Ice Cream

If you're not on the paleo diet, frozen yogurt could be a good option as long as the sugar is kept to a minimum. I am on the paleo diet so dairy is not an option (except cheat day). Instead, I make my own ice cream by blending frozen fruits and adding things like honey and almond butter.

Exercising is a very important part of staying fit. But your diet is even more important. It's hard going from eating everything (without limitations) to eating healthy and natural food like fruits and veggies. It's specially hard to do it all at once, but with some hard work, determination, and healthy substitutions, it can be done.


This is part of a series of posts by PumpUp member @gabygetsfit. Find her on Instagram and Snapchat @gaby.fitspo

5 tips to stop belly bloating

5 tips to stop belly bloating

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Whether you feel like you’ve gained five pounds in the past few days, made some poor food choices, or you just feel constant discomfort—there’s definitely a reason for your belly bloating AND there’s many solutions for it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJPkc_vva9o&feature=youtu.be

Here are my top 5 tips to STOP belly bloating

1. Eat slowly

As I talked about in one of my previous articles, eating slowly is essential to proper digestion of your food! In order for your brain to tell you when you’re full, it needs up to 20 minutes to send you the signal to stop eating!

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(Image c/o giphy)

2. Decrease your intake of processed food

Processed sugars, saturated fats, dairy, carbonated drinks, and artificial sweeteners are the most commonly found sources of an upset stomach and belly bloating. INCREASE your intake of whole fruits and veggies, especially those with a high water content!

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(Image c/o giphy)

3. Chill out

RELAX! Stress hormones disrupt the digestive system! Always try your best to take time out of your day to FOCUS ON YOU, even if it’s just a ten-minute walk around the block. Along with relaxation comes a good night’s sleep! A lack of sleep distorts your perception of hunger and appetite, often leading you to overeat highly processed foods which can make you bloated!

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(Image c/o giphy)

4. Up your fiber intake

Choose unprocessed, whole foods that are high in fiber to decrease bloating and improve your digestive system! Fruits and veggies such as watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, cucumbers, grapes, berries, avocado, pears, oranges, bananas, celery, and leafy greens are a great way to nourish your body AND fight off belly bloating while flushing out toxins.

(Image c/o tumblr)

5. Stop, drop, and chug water

A lack of water and an excess of sodium in your diet can lead to discomfort and unwanted bloating. From my experience, I have found that starting my day with about 32 ounces of water (that’s a liter!) helps to jump start my digestion and wake up my body early in the morning! DRINK MORE WATER!

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Starving, fasting, and using laxatives are NOT the answer to your belly bloating!! Whole fruits and veggies, water, exercise, and sleep will put you on on the road to success and will help you achieve your flat tummy!

These tips to stop belly bloating were written by Ashley Hampton (PumpUp:@rawincollege), a college student looking to spread the power of the raw vegan lifestyle through her positive posts and vibrant photos. Check out her blog.

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5 Reasons Why Eating the Same Foods Every Day is a Healthier Way to Eat

5 Reasons Why Eating the Same Foods Every Day is a Healthier Way to Eat

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There's a popular notion that eating a wide variety of foods is the healthiest way to eat. In fact, many government food guides have included “food variety” in their recommendations for a healthy diet. If it’s in the food guide then it must be true, right? Maybe not.

While there are certainly benefits to eating a variety of healthy meals from day to day, there are also strong reasons why sticking to a few favorites will actually help you eat healthier and get in shape more quickly.

Here are 5 reasons why food monotony is better than food variety.

1. You Learn What You Are Actually Eating

Why eating the same foods every day may be a healthier way to eat // The PumpUp Blog Photo via Pinterest

Imagine sitting down for dinner at a restaurant and the waiter presents you with a huge platter of food. He asks you to take just enough to fulfill an appropriate single portion. Could you do it?

Most people can’t. When presented with unfamiliar meals, people miscalculated a proper portion size by more than 20% ­- That’s a lot of extra food!

Eating consistent meals allows you to familiarize yourself with what you are actually eating. How many calories are in that meal? How much protein, carbohydrates, and fat does it contain? What are the ingredients? And of course, how much should you actually be eating? Knowledge is power.

2. You Can Easily Get All the Nutrients You Need

Why eating the same foods every day may actually be a healthier way to eat // The PumpUp Blog Photo via rebloggy

There are a lot of nutritional requirements that need to be reached through the meals you eat each day. You need the right mix of vitamins and minerals, good sources of protein, a supply of healthy fats, and enough carbohydrates to give you energy.

Fortunately, you can get all of this nutrition from a relatively small selection of super-healthy food choices. This makes sense when you look back through history: People have rarely, if ever, enjoyed access to such a variety of foods as we do today. Historically, people have long been able to survive and thrive by eating the right foods, not by eating a wide variety of foods.

3. You Save a Lot of Time

Why eating the same foods every day may be healthier // The PumpUp Blog Photo via iVillage

What’s the number one reason why people aren’t in as good of shape as they would like?

“There just isn’t enough time.”

Trying to come up with new healthy meal options takes a lot of time. There is time spent researching new recipes to try, time required to collect the necessary ingredients, and then time spent preparing the actual meal.

4. You Reduce Your Stress

Why eating the same foods every day can make you healthier // The PumpUp Blog Photo via giphy

Change is stressful. Starting a new job or moving to a new city are just two examples of how newness can cause stress. Stress builds over time and chronic stress can take a real toll on your body.

So, while it can definitely be fun to try new foods, feeling pressure to come up with new recipes on a daily or weekly basis can become a source of stress. Contrast this with the comfort of eating a more monotonous diet. It’s easy and can mostly be done from habit, which means fewer decisions have to be made and less stress is created.

Anything that can be done to reduce your stress will have a positive benefit for your ability to lose weight, get in shape, and stay healthy.

5. You Can Become a Healthy Eating Master

Why eating the same foods every day is a healthier way to eat // The PumpUp Blog Photo via giphy

Nobody likes to fail.

That’s one of the reasons why so many people fall off the wagon when it comes to exercise. They try to adopt a workout plan that’s a bit too ambitious and end up quitting once a little failure (i.e. missed workouts) start to creep in.

Setting unrealistic eating expectations can lead to the same trap. Yes, it would be great to cook a new healthy meal every single day, but is that realistic?

Anyone can become a master of healthy eating if they start small enough. Choosing to perfect a handful of healthy meals is a great way to experience successful healthy eating and build confidence that you can do it. It then becomes much easier to add to this success by introducing a new meal to your repertoire once a week, or even once per month.

Take Action

The benefits of eating a wide variety of healthy foods do exist, but they are often overstated. Keeping your meals simple is a great way to save time and reduce the amount of work associated with healthy eating.

A great way to get started is by finding just one recipe for each of your daily meals - breakfast, lunch, and dinner – that is easy to prepare, includes lots of fresh ingredients that you normally stock in your kitchen, and is enjoyable to eat.

Let these be your go-to meals and then slowly begin to expand your options by introducing new recipes over time.

Why eating the same foods every day is a healthier way to eat // The PumpUp Blog

Author Bio:

Dave Smith is a professional weight-loss coach who was chosen as “Canada’s Top Fitness Professional” in 2013.

He approaches weight-loss from a psychological perspective. Most people know how to lose weight, but creating the right mindset and then putting those ideas into practice is where the real work begins.

His ”10 in 4” weight-loss program helps people lose 10 pounds in 4 weeks through daily coaching, group accountability, and a focus on building new lifestyle habits.

Enjoy free home workouts and learn more about his weight-loss programs at makeyourbodywork.com.

 

3 important reasons why the Paleo diet was right for me

3 important reasons why the Paleo diet was right for me

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There are so many different diets to choose from.  It can be a pretty overwhelming task to adopt a diet that best fits one’s needs and makes the most sense. I did some research and I found a diet that made the most sense to me, so I went with it. It is called the Paleo diet, also known as the Paleolithic diet. Although there were many other great options like vegetarianism, veganism, and Pescatarianism, I decided this was the best fit for my lifestyle. There are three main reasons why the Paleo diet was right for me: First of all, the Paleo diet allows you to be your carnivorous self. As a meat lover, it was simply not realistic for me to eliminate meat from my life.

Many folks think that meat is bad for you. By  all means, it definitely can be. However, it can also be extremely good for you. I indulge in red meat from time to time, but mostly stick to lean protein like chicken and fish. I can certainly eat bacon on the Paleo diet, but moderation is key. A little meat accompanied by a lot of veggies is the ideal meal.

3 important reasons why the paleo diet was right for me // PumpUp Blog

Second of all, it is so easy. Contrary to popular belief, eliminating processed food from your life is not as hard as it seems. One thing I will admit to is that going to restaurants can be hard. However, the daunting task of grocery shopping becomes a breeze. Instead of making my way through seemingly endless aisles, I can now skip said aisles because they are filled with Paleo-unfriendly packaged food. Also, cooking is as simple as scrambling some eggs and ham, throwing veggies and chicken breasts on the grill, or baking some salmon. Plus, the Paleo community is so great on PumpUp that it's easy to find meal ideas.

Finally, the Paleo diet is pretty much how humans were meant to eat in the first place. For example, cats and dogs in the wild would definitely not be eating the processed dried foods that we usually feed them. Instead, they would most likely hunt for their meals.

There are those who argue that although animals eat the food they are meant to eat when they’re in the wild, their life expectancy drops because of it. However, animals who live in the wild are also very exposed to the elements as well as predators. That being said, blaming a lower life expectancy on natural foods is a very "wild" accusation. As someone who eats a predominantly Paleo diet, I have had people ask me things like, "Doesn't the Paleo diet lower your life expectancy?" Just think about it. The Paleo diet consists of eating NATURAL foods such as organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grass-fed or wild-caught meat and fish.  A person with the average palate craves and eats highly PROCESSED food that is often drowning in additives and preservatives. This includes pasta, donuts, soda, hot dogs, potato chips, and much more. It's easy to see which diet is the true culprit of a lower life expectancy.

3 reasons why the paleo diet was right for me // The PumpUp Blog Although Paleo is not for everyone, it is most definitely worth a try. It's an easy way to eat healthy and wholesome foods. It is important to eat foods that are as natural as possible. Even if you can't follow the Paleo diet 100%, it can at the very least serve as a superb guideline.

This is part of a series of posts by PumpUp member @gabygetsfit. Find her on Instagram and Snapchat @gaby.fitspo

4 easy ways to clean up your diet while still eating the food you love

4 easy ways to clean up your diet while still eating the food you love

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“Your body’s size is built in the kitchen, your shape is built in the gym.” Maybe you’ve heard this saying before? There’s a lot of truth in it.

Exercise is a fantastic way to sculpt your body and improve many aspects of your health, but when it comes to dropping a few extra pounds, cleaning up your diet is the place to start.

But who really wants to go on a diet? Nobody.

If giving up your favorite foods and nibbling on carrot sticks doesn’t sound that appealing, know that there is still hope. Here are 4 ways you can drastically clean up your diet to help you start working on that leaner body.

Exercise Daily

Full body workout gif // The PumpUp Blog

Photo via PumpUp

Exercise? Aren’t we talking about healthy eating? Daily exercise actually has a huge impact on the foods you will naturally choose to eat.

A new study found that “exercise influences central brain responses [and] positively affects food choices that reinforce health and weight management.”

When you get your body moving you create subconscious signals in your brain that will drive you to search out healthier foods to eat. Instead of battling food cravings and relying on willpower to make healthy choices, you will actually desire healthier foods!

Drink More Water

Drink more water

Photo via Tumblr

How much water do you drink each day? (Don’t just guess – measure it for one full day to find out!) Most adults are chronically dehydrated and you might be one of them.

Not drinking enough water can slow down your metabolism and can create “fake” food cravings. Dehydration can be easily misinterpreted as hunger, which leads to increased snacking, often on foods you’d likely prefer to avoid.

On the other hand, drinking extra water before meal times has been shown to decrease calorie consumption by 13% - That’s a big reduction and requires no effort to consciously eat less food.

The general rule of thumb for proper hydration goes like this: Women need to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day (plus more if you’re exercising), while men need to start with 10 glasses.

Drink up and you’ll be teaching your body to crave (and eat) less food.

Cut Out Drinks With Calories

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Photo via Tumblr

Drinking water is a major plus when it comes to improving your diet. But, drinking any sweetened drinks is an even bigger negative.

The average person drinks 400 calories each day – That’s 20% of their total daily calorie needs! What’s worse, these calories are easy to overlook because they don’t satiate hunger the way solid food does.

The net result of drinking high-calorie drinks is a diet full of sugar and one that doesn’t ever feel satisfying. Instead, clean up your diet by cutting out the sugary drinks and replace your fluids by drinking more water.

Practice Bulk Cooking

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Photo via Tumblr

Imagine coming home on a completely empty stomach. What are you going to eat? If you’re like most people, you'll grab whatever food is ready to be stuffed into your mouth.

Convenience is a huge factor that influences food decisions, so make it convenient to eat healthier options.

This requires a little planning. Instead of making one meal at a time (which can leave your fridge lacking any ready-to-eat options), try preparing one or two healthy meals in bulk each week.

Choose a couple of simple recipes that will store well as leftovers, prepare a large batch, and then enjoy the feeling of opening your fridge and seeing healthy, convenient food waiting for you!

You don't have to cut out all the foods you love when you clean up your diet. Practice these simple healthy-eating principles and your diet will clean up without much effort from you at all.

Clean up your diet without giving up the food that you love // The PumpUp Blog

Cover photo courtesy of PumpUp member @meeeko. Pinterest graphic photos via PumpUp members routine_sportive, herr_nutrition, itsmiraz, and barbaraptowers.

About the Author

Dave Smith is a professional fitness and weight-loss coach who was chosen as “Canada’s Top Fitness Professional” by CanFitPro. You can find more of his healthy-living resources at makeyourbodywork.com.

 

Cauliflower Steak : The Answer to Your Vegetarian BBQ Dreams

Cauliflower Steak : The Answer to Your Vegetarian BBQ Dreams

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Cauliflower used to be my worst nightmare. But, as I grew older and experimented with different preparation methods, I started to like it little by little.  Now that I'm a vegetarian, I find that cauliflower can be a godsend for its versatility. You can puree it into soup, turn it into rice, slice it into salad, use it as a pizza base, or even serve cauliflower steak. It's thick enough as a base and it roasts very well with simple garnishes: salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Cauliflower Steak

  • 1 small to medium cauliflower
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small chilli pepper - optional
  • mayonnaise - optional
 Preparation Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F.
  2. Carefully peel away the leaves from the cauliflower and cut it in half. Make long slices that should roughly be the width of your thumb. Leave the stalk on and remove any additional leaves that remain.
  3. In a skillet that's safe to put into the oven, heat a bit of olive oil on medium and sauté the cauliflower slices until the edges become a soft brown color (5-7 mins max on each side).
  4. Season each side of the cauliflower with salt and pepper, then put the pan in the oven for 15 mins. Keep an eye on it so that it doesn't burn.
  5. Mince the red onion, tomato, garlic cloves, and chilli pepper (if using) and toss them into a small bowl with olive oil and a bit of salt.
  6. When the cauliflower is ready, plate it with the onion mixture and light mayonnaise (optional) to offset the onion taste.
  7. If you have cauliflower steak left over, turn it into cauliflower rice or chop it into a salad for the next day.

Cauliflower steak recipe | It's the answer to your vegetarian BBQ dreams, seriously.

This cauliflower steak recipe was created by Anna M (eatforyourpeace). Follow her on PumpUp @annaaa_, on Instagram @annaaamsl, and check out her blog. Let us know what you think of Anna’s cauliflower steak recipe in the comments below!

5 things that you should expect as a raw vegan

5 things that you should expect as a raw vegan

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I know that changing your lifestyle is not an easy feat! So today, I want to address some challenges that you may face or expect as a raw vegan and provide solutions to those problems!1. Being scared of change! Everyone goes through different things when they start eating healthier– fear of gaining weight, breaking out, not being able to ‘stay on track’.  Some people like to change their diet overnight (like me) and some people like to take baby steps (most people). I think it is so important to find what method works best for you. Transitioning into a raw vegan diet can be easy if you slowly omit processed foods and add in more fruits and veggies on a daily basis!

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2. Feeling too hungry or too full! You have to LISTEN to your own body. Eat until you are SATISFIED! These foods are high in water content and nutrient dense. Your body has to adjust to eating a larger quantity because most fruits and veggies are low in calories! In order to thrive on this lifestyle, you need to EAT ENOUGH! When you eat enough, you will make those cravings for processed foods go away.

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3. Detox symptoms! You have to think about how long you have been eating food that upsets your body– I had 18 years of processed food in my body. My detox symptoms were relatively mild and lasted only about 2 weeks–I was also coming from a vegetarian, highly plant based diet so I was not completely overhauling my diet. Detox symptoms can range from slight headaches to breakouts in your skin, but this is your body’s way of getting rid of all of those built up toxins! It’s OKAY and the symptoms will subside! :)

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4. Feeling isolated! As long as you believe in what you are doing, you shouldn’t base your decisions off of what other people think or what other people are telling you to do. It’s easier than you think! Embrace other lifestyles just as you hope they embrace yours :)

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5. Feeling short on time! If you fail to plan, you plan to fail! When you are eating raw, you need to surround yourself with an abundance of food so you are always feeling satisfied. A lot of people ask me, especially as a college student, how do you have time to prepare your food? It’s truly so simple for me–think about it, blending up a smoothie and rinsing out the blender takes WAY less time then cooking up a pot of food! The raw lifestyle is convenient even if you are on the go! You just have to plan AHEAD.

5 things to expect as a raw vegan - there will be

Did this post help you to understand what to expect as a raw vegan? Learn more about the author, Ashley Hampton (PumpUp:@rawincollege). She is a college student looking to spread the power of the raw vegan lifestyle through her positive posts and vibrant photos. Check out her blog.

What to eat before and after a workout

What to eat before and after a workout

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Running out of steam halfway into a training session ruins your whole workout. If you want to have better results from working up a sweat at the gym, you need to eat the right foods. It’s not just what you eat, though, but also when you eat it that will have you pushing on for longer. Follow this guide to fuel up the correct way before and after a workout session.

Dig into a Carb-Protein Blend

What to eat before and after your workout : dig into a carb-protein blend before your workout

(Image c/o giphy)

Although you always hear of the importance of protein when you want to build and repair muscles, pairing protein with carbs is a must.  It will give your body the energy it needs to complete your workout session. You want a mix of carbs: simple carbs that will burn quickly for a boost of energy and complex carbs that take longer to be released so that your energy can be sustained. Examples of adequate snacks are a whole-wheat bagel with jam or a protein shake with a banana.

Reach for coffee

What to eat before and after your workout: reach for coffee (yes, coffee!)

(Image c/o Tumblr)

Although you don’t want to have too much of it, one cup of coffee can improve your workout. It’s great to drink before you hit the gym because it will boost your energy. It also decreases muscle soreness after your session. However, coffee should never be a substitute for energy-filled meals before you hit the ground running as it won’t fill and fuel you up properly on its own.

Wind up your fitness clock

What to eat before and after your workout : Wind up your fitness clock

(Image via Tumblr)

Getting the right fuel for your workout is one thing, but you need to time your eating well so that your fuel works for you. It’s a bit like filling up your car with gas. You want to use the fuel instead of letting it go to waste because the car is running on idle. Try to eat within four hours of your workout, and then have a snack in the hour before you start. Base how much you should eat on how long your exercise session is going to last. If it’s longer than an hour, add in a bit more food to keep you going. Beans and lentils are great to help you achieve the slow-burn energy you need to fuel a longer workout, and they are high in complex carbs as well as protein.

Have a mid-session snack

What to eat before and after a workout: what could be more important than a little something to eat?

(Image via Buzzfeed)

Although it might seem strange to eat while you exercise, this is beneficial if you have a long and/or strenuous workout. A quick bite, in the form of carbs such as raisins or a banana, will help to fill your body with energy while helping you burn more calories. Protein consumption during exercise is a good thing as its amino acids are used during your session and need to be rebuilt, while carbs help to keep the body’s cortisol hormones low - when these are too high they break down muscle mass instead of helping to build it.

Replenish your body

What to eat before and after a workout: make sure to replenish your body immediately

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When your time at the gym has come to an end, don’t forget to top up on food again. Although you might think you don’t need the energy, the goal of eating after a workout is to replenish your body’s nutrients and reserves. You need to eat within an hour after exercise so that your body will use the food to recover and also store away energy. If you don’t eat within this window, your body will risk losing energy during your next workout - even if it’s the next day. It’s time to eat protein along with some carbs again, such as a salad with chickpeas and olive oil, a peanut butter sandwich, or a cup of quinoa with berries. Berries are also filled with antioxidants such as Vitamin C that have many other health and skin benefits, too.

Eating after a workout also helps you continue with your day without experiencing energy slumps. And remember: if you feel good and energetic after your workout, instead of tired and drained, you’ll look forward to tomorrow’s workout much more.

Eating the right foods before, during and after a workout will help you maximize your gym sessions so you can get the toned and healthy body you’ve always wanted.

What to eat before and after your working: Healthy eating doesn't have to be too difficult. Refuel the right way by loading up on protein and a mix of carbs. Remember to time your eating well so that you can recover, without experiencing energy slumps. Learn more from the PumpUp blog!

About the author

Gwen Lewis is a writer and makeup artist based in Southern California. Because of her passion for beauty and health, she hopes to help others not just look great but feel great, whether through makeup or her writing. In her free time, she enjoy shopping and pick-up soccer games with her friends.

Beat your cravings : it's simpler than you think

Beat your cravings : it's simpler than you think

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Beat your cravings with proper food

A craving is a thought or a feeling that you think you want to eat or drink something specific. You can eat a piece of cake without craving it, and you can crave a piece of cake without eating it. It’s all in perspective- one does not necessitate the other.

When you make a change in your diet, whether it’s becoming raw vegan or simply adopting a healthier lifestyle, you have to envision the outcome you are hoping for. Something that helped me when I started eating raw was to think about how I felt after I ate certain processed or cooked foods. For myself and the general population, these foods give us instant gratification when we eat them but the feeling that comes soon after can often leave us with stomach aches and lethargy. When your body is satisfied with the proper carbohydrates that it needs (lots of fruit!) you will not crave anything else- I’m telling you! It is proven that a craving typically lasts three minutes on average and it takes only 21 days to develop a new habit.

When you eat enough fruits, filled with simple sugars, your body will be fuelled and happy—fighting off any cravings of unhealthy processed or cooked foods.

Beat your cravings by changing your habits

Exercise is another wonderful way to beat your cravings—it gives you something positive to do for your mind and your body that will help you achieve your health and fitness goals. Even if you are just opting to take the stairs instead of the elevator every day, your body will thank you for it. Small changes can make a big difference in the long run! One of the best tips I can give you is to surround yourself with healthy options at all times—fill your home or your dorm room with an abundance of fresh raw fruits and veggies. You are what you surround yourself with! If there is nothing bad to choose from, your chances of ‘slipping up’ will decrease greatly! Most cravings are short-lived and you can let them pass. The more healthy foods that you eat, the more you body will crave healthy foods!

Did this post help you to beat your cravings? Learn more about the author, Ashley Hampton (PumpUp:@rawincollege). She is a college student looking to spread the power of the raw vegan lifestyle through her positive posts and vibrant photos. Check out her blog.

6 lifestyle tips that improved my confidence and my health

6 lifestyle tips that improved my confidence and my health

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The weeks are flying by and summer is just around the corner. We all associate summer with the beach, summer clothes, no school, road trips, etc. For many years I used to feel a sense of dread, as I was overweight and felt so down about the prospect of baring so much skin in the summer sun. It affected my confidence and I felt so angry for letting myself get this way. I would browse through fashion websites and would look at all the beautiful clothes that I couldn’t buy. I would feel jealous of the models in the pictures. I was getting frustrated thinking about how I had let myself go. I had lost all interest in my appearance and didn’t even care whether I brushed my hair or not. On top of all of this, I wore extremely baggy clothes that would make me look even heavier than I was. I lost interest in life. DEBBIES CERT In 2014, I decided to do something about it by eating healthy and working out. It's been a year since I began my journey and I recently received my certificate for Gym and Fitness instruction. I'm also getting married next year to my best friend Darren and have never been happier. All of this happened because I changed the way I thought about food. Now, I eat to fuel my body instead of eating everything in sight. I work out 6 days a week and have one day off for rest. Life has become easier, and I am much more organized and calmer because of working out. I can concentrate better and can deal with every situation that comes my way.

When I was mistreating my body, the smallest of things would tip me over the edge. I was extremely irritable and was a nightmare to be around. Ultimately, I became so disorganized with how I handled my life and negligent of my friends and family. I just wanted to be left alone.

WATER I cannot even begin to describe the benefits of transitioning to a healthy lifestyle and working out. It changed my life so thoroughly: I am a completely different person on the inside as well as the outside. If you really want to change and get healthy, you can. I don’t believe in ‘diets’ as they are only a short term solution. Once you start to eat normal food again, you will pile the weight on. I have attempted so many diets and they do not work: they make you feel deprived and hungry. A lifestyle change is for life. I have never felt deprived or hungry at all since I resolved to maintain to a healthy lifestyle in 2014. I lost 3 stone (42 lbs) in 10 months and so can you!

Here are my best lifestyle tips that'll help you stay healthy for good

6 lifestyle tips to help you stay healthy for good - via the PumpUp Blog

  • Clear your home of all rubbish food: white bread, white rice, processed foods.
  • Go shopping and only buy food that you like and will nourish you
  • Have one treat day in the week, but make sure to go straight back to healthy eating and working out the following day.
  • If there is a special occasion coming up, enjoy it, but don’t go to mad that you will feel mad at yourself the following day.
  • If you feel unmotivated to work out when you come home from school/work /college turn on your favourite music and it will motivate you to workout (I swear by this one).
  • Drink hot water and lemon every morning before breakfast; it is amazing for your skin and helping promote weight loss.
  • When you are eating your dinner, turn off the TV because it can distract you and you won’t know if you are full or not.

Keep up the good work guys!

These lifestyle tips are by PumpUp’s @DebbieMC1232. Through her weight loss journey, she has been able to motivate and inspire others both on PumpUp and through her own personal fitness page Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram

Why willpower is overrated

Why willpower is overrated

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It's impractical to say that you'll never eat another cookie, much like it is highly improbable that you won't eat another French Fry in your life. In reality, it is unrealistic to think that you'll absolutely eliminate "cheat" foods from your diet, cold turkey. The thing is, it isn't a question of self-control. Others will probably remark upon how strong your willpower is when you maintain a healthy lifestyle. My response has always been that I don't have strong willpower. I'm making a lifestyle change. I can tell from experience that willpower is not a sustainable way to live a healthy life. Though it does come into play when you are living and eating healthy, you can't completely rely on it.

My Experience Relying on Willpower and Willpower Alone

I followed my first diet plan in high school. It started off great: no carbs, all veggies and protein and no sugar.  It worked wonderfully, until I started to feel dizzy and cranky. On the fifth day of my 'diet', I start to sneak in foods that weren’t allowed. I started this diet plan at least 5 times and never finished it once. Why? There was always an excuse. My willpower to say no to so many foods simply ran out.

I then began to keep a food diary. I would write down whatever I put into my body every day. This also worked until I inevitably slipped up. Feelings of disappointment and sadness overwhelmed me to the point that I would neglect to write down 'failures' in my food journal.  I would be so disgusted with myself and ashamed for eating that one cookie that I couldn’t bear to write it down.

Food preoccupied all of my thoughts when I was in high school. My internal monologue wrestled between questions such as, "How many calories were in my lunch? How many calories would I be eating for dinner? How far would I have to run to burn off those crackers?". This type of cyclical thinking overwhelmed me on a daily basis.

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The Demise of Willpower

Junk food and the prospect of unhealthy meals made me anxious. I'd justify eating as many cookies, brownies, and any sort of junk food as I could because I said to myself that I'd never eat them again. In doing so, I would overindulge and sabotage myself. This is how I realized that I was using willpower to get me through the day by saying no to everything that was remotely unhealthy. By nightfall, my willpower was exhausted and I'd binge.

Realizations

If you want the cookie - eat the cookie.

Choosing to eat something or not is totally YOUR choice and you have to be okay with that. It is your choice if you want to eat 10 cookies and feel guilty or eat a nice clean healthy meal and feel strong and satisfied afterwards.

I realized that I needed to stop obsessing and constantly exerting my willpower to make every food decision in my life. All that needed to change was my thought process. I began to listen more closely to what my body needed instead.  Eat something the next time you are hungry, but that something doesn't have to be a bag of chips. Fuel your body with the right food to give you energy and satisfy your hunger with fruits, vegetables, complex carbs, and protein.

I used to reward myself with junk food after a whole day of  healthy eating, but this became a form of self-sabotage.  Don't beat yourself up for your lack of willpower. Instead, make healthy eating a part of your life and turn it into something you do consistently rather than you do sporadically.

Fall in love with giving your body healthy, energizing food. Stop dieting and make a lifestyle change, because eventually your willpower is going to run out and you will have to start all over again.

This is a post by PumpUp member Danica B (@danica23), author of a blog called the Happiness Hut. Check out her tips about healthy and happy living here.  

I don't fit into an 'eating clique', and I'm okay with that

I don't fit into an 'eating clique', and I'm okay with that

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I don’t know anyone who likes labels. Except maybe 50% off labels? That’s about it. What’s worse than labels? I’d have to say cliques. I have recently noticed a huge trend of people labelling and judging different eating cliques.

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You’ve got your macro-counters, calorie-counters, clean eaters, vegans, gluten-free peeps, paleo dieters and so on.

My friend Tianna recently asked me what I do. What style am I? It took me a minute to even realize what she was asking. And it took me even longer to give her an answer.

I don’t fit into any of these categories. Sometimes I go without meat for a day or two because I want to but I’m no vegetarian. I look at the nutrition information on everything I eat but I don’t count calories or macros. Sometimes my food is gluten free, but I’m not anti-gluten!

I like to eat according to my body’s current state in combination with my current goals. Most recently I have been trying to add more greens into my nutrition. This means trying new green juices and the random vegetables the cafeteria puts out. I have also been trying to consume more protein to increase my muscle mass. I eat a ton of eggs, protein shakes, chicken, turkey and beans.

So I don’t fit into any of the categories above, but I do feel comfortable and confident with my current eating regimen.

I am so happy that people feel comfortable enough to say, “Hey, I’m going to become a vegetarian!” or “I think that gluten upsets my body, I should look into going gluten free.”

All that I am advocating for is that everyone do their own thing! Just because someone isn’t doing what you are doing that doesn’t mean either of you are “wrong” in some way. Food is good, nutrition is important and we are all working toward the goal of living a healthier happier lifestyle.

This is a post by PumpUp member Emily DiNuzzo. Follow her on PumpUp @emilyrosedinuzzo. Check out her content portfolio and blog for more of her musings!

How to optimize your health with food combining — the right way

How to optimize your health with food combining — the right way

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What is food combining?

Food combining is the practice of pairing food based on what mechanisms are needed to properly digest nutrients, optimizing digestive energy consumption and waste production. Certain combinations of food groups will minimize digestive-based stress so that you can feel better and have more energy. The way that food combining works for your body is analogous to refurnishing your house with energy-efficient appliances, which reduces how much you pay for utilities.

I learned about Food Combining from my friend and mentor Nadya Andreeva. She wrote an amazing book on how to develop a healthy relationship with your body called Happy Belly. Highly recommended read!

Poor food combinations

  • Leave the body feeling heavy and sluggish
  • Are stressful for the body and make it work harder than it needs to
  • Are a main source of toxins entering the body
  • OK once and a while but not something you want to put your body through 3-5 times a day.

meat cheese sandwich poor food combination

Common Hard to Digest Food Combinations

  • Pizza
  • Pasta with Meat Sauce and Cheese
  • Sushi
  • Yogurt Parfaits with Granola and Fruit
  • Meat and Cheese Sandwiches
  • Eggs and Toast
  • Meat and Rice
  • Fruit after a meal

Good food combinations

  • Prevent grazing all day.
  • Make you less likely to overeat.
  • Prevent feeling bloated and gassy after a meal.
  • Are easier on digestive track, the liver and body as a whole.
  • Leave you with more energy to heal, detox and get on with your day.
  • Will help your body to come back into balance and maintain a healthy body weight.

Easy to Digest Food Combinations:

  • Meat/ Fish/ Eggs and Veggies
  • Spiced Oatmeal with dried fruit
  • Beans and Rice/ Grains
  • Quinoa and veggies
  • Soups such as bone broth with a little well cooked meat and veggies or Blended Vegetables
  • Red Lentil and Vegetable Soup with Millet Bread
  • Veggie Stir-fry or salad with Hemp Seeds and Avocado
  • Green Salad with pomegranate seeds

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Food Combining Take Away Points:

  1. Animal proteins don’t mix with starches like bread, pasta and potatoes but they do mix with good fats and green veggies.
  2. Fruit should be eaten alone, on an empty stomach and NOT for dessert
  3. Dairy (especially cheese) does not digest well with anything.

When it comes to a meal, the less different food groups the better! Keep it simple!

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Remember these are just guidelines, there should be NO hard and fast rules when it comes to food. If you eat a poorly combined meal, thats okay, don’t beat yourself up about it! There are thousands of more opportunities to make loving choices in this lifetime!

This is a post by Gillian B. Follow her on PumpUp @gillianb and connect with her on Facebook for more tips about health, wellness, and holistic living.

How I learned (and am still learning) to know myself beyond my weight

How I learned (and am still learning) to know myself beyond my weight

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I think one of my biggest problems in the past was that I did not truly know myself. It's still a learning process. When you don't really know yourself, it is so much easier to fall into the trap of what works for others but may not work for you. Trust me, I have fallen into that trap time-after-time (cue Cyndi Lauper music). Now listen, I am certainly not saying that you should stop experimenting with things in life or trying new things. I think it is important to branch out from time to time and learn new things. But, don't get mad at yourself if what works so well for someone else doesn't really work for you. We are all different people and are at different stages in our journeys. Most of us are on different journeys all together. I have come to realize that I have to figure out what works for me. I've been on so many different diets. It would make your head spin: Weight Watchers, Sugar Busters, The Cabbage Soup Diet, The Grapefruit Diet (to this day, I can't even look a grapefruit in the eye), the Atkins Diet, the Dukan Diet, the Good Life Diet, whatever that Susan Powter one was, Nutrisystem, Slimfast, the Xyngular diet, the South Beach Diet, herbal supplements, Adipex, and praying that I had a thyroid problem so I could just get medication to fix this diet. And you know what? None of those diets really worked.

Sure, they may have worked for a short time, but I always ended up gaining some or most of the weight back. I now know that I need to work on the mental component and really embrace a lifestyle change that works for me. I also have finally come to terms with the fact that it should be less about the pounds lost and more about my health. Sure (for me) it is important to my health to shed some of this fat. However, losing weight is only one aspect of my overall health journey. It took me a long time to realize that, and I constantly have to remind myself.

I am not 'the fat girl'

Now here's some real talk; something that I don't really admit to people, least of all myself: I am very frightened that I am no longer going to know who I am if I'm not "the fat girl." All my life, pretty much since puberty if not before, I have been overweight. I have come to identify myself as the fat one. That's just who I am. So much of my personality has been about saying, "Eff you world, I'm fat AND fabulous."

I guess that I am scared of what I will become without that badge; like I should be admired because I maintained an awesome existence in spite of being the fat lady at the circus. It's been a little horrifying to start peeling back the layers and realizing that this is what I am scared of and this is how I feel. How do you counteract yourself when deep down, your soul feels like it is fighting for its very existence? Realizing this explains so much about why I would self-sabotage anytime I was on a healthy streak.

My psyche or subconscious or whatever the psychological words are (even my very soul) was fighting for its life because I felt like I was killing the very essence of me if I lost the weight. This is quite a powerful thing to work against. At least, I am finally aware of this fact now. I imagine that it is very hard to fight demons that you can't see. At least now, my biggest demon is out in the light where I can begin to slay it.

What I wish I could say to my younger self

The mind is a very powerful thing, and it is funny how memories work. I always remembered myself as this horrifically obese child. It seemed that way in my mind. I started looking back on old photos from my childhood and guess what? I look like a normal, healthy, and happy child. Why did I have it in my head that I was ALWAYS fat? Was I a 30-lb newborn? No. I'm pretty sure I was weight 7 lbs and 2 oz at birth. Here's a picture of me from my youth:

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I'm cramming cereal in my mouth (looks like Lucky Charms from the picture), but nowhere is the fat little chubby monster that I thought I was. So much of my life involves the mingling of shame and food and I'm still trying to figure out why that is. However, I have to realize that "fat girl" is not my identity. I am so much more than that. Here is a picture of 8th grade Kaycee:

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I remember being so cognizant of my weight and so self-conscious of my c-cup boobs. I hated my body. So many of my diary entries from middle school and high school were filled with self-loathing and shame. I wish so much to cradle that Kaycee and let her know that everything will be okay. I want to tell her that she is kind, smart, funny, and strong. I want to tell her that it doesn't matter what others think; she is beautiful! I want to tell her that she is so much more than the numbers. That she will grow up to be a class valedictorian, that she will graduate from college and law school with honors and will make a fine lawyer. Even more so, I want to tell her that she will forgive herself and her body one day.

All the days filled with anguish and disgust aren't worth it. She will fall in love. She will break hearts and get her heart broken. I want to tell her that she lives and will continue to live an amazing life and have abounding adventures. Most of all, I want to tell her that I love her unconditionally because I finally do. I'm so sorry to the past Kaycee who never got my unconditional love. Please know that I will never let you feel that way again. I was not the fat girl. I am not the fat girl. You are not the fat girl.

This is a post by PumpUp member @k_c, a vivacious blogger based in Central Arkansas. Learn more about her through her blog: voluptuousmisadventures.com

6 ways to transform your life

6 ways to transform your life

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Switch Your Mindset- Lasting change is not something that a “quick-fix” diet or bottle of pills can achieve. Instead, think about this as a permanent lifestyle change—a commitment to your health for life. While there are many diet plans and bootcamp classes out there to help kick start your transformation, ultimately you need to take responsibility for your health by changing your life! Eliminate processed foods completely- if you want to drastically change your health in the quickest way possible, I suggest avoiding as much processed and packaged food as possible. This means white breads, pastas, crackers, chips, cookies, snack bars, etc. There are always loaded unwanted ingredients in there that are adding to your waistline!

Opt for a whole foods diet- So once you cut out processed foods, you will probably be wondering what to eat! My advice is to eat as many colourful fruits and vegetables as possible, combined with the highest quality animal products, nuts, seeds and mindful eating practices you will be on your way to the best version of yourself in no time!

Set goals and review them regularly- Having a goal, like wanting to look good for bikini season, usually don’t work as well as wanting to feel more confident or wanting to lose weight because of health issues. Use positive visualization to dream up how you feel when you are at your ideal weight, shape or size. Write it down and use this visualization when you need a boost of motivation to cook a healthy dinner or go to the gym.

Find your cheerleaders- Human beings are social creatures, so it no wonder that we are so successful when we feel supported. There are many health programs out there that use support groups to supercharge results so don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Find your support circle whether it’s a personal trainer, nutritionist, online community, friends, coworkers or family. Recruit others to challenge themselves along side you, share your struggles and triumphs and most importantly encourage each other.

Reflect-Keep a journal of your progress and include how certain foods and activities make you feel. Emotional issues are often at the core of self-defeating habits that got us overweight and out of shape to begin with.  Looking back at your past pictures and see how far you’ve really come is also very powerful…however its important that this comes from a place of non-judgement!

This is a post by Gillian B

4 ways to have a healthy relationship with food

What crosses your mind when you hear the word diet? When I think of diets, I think of restriction followed by hunger and excessive exercise. For the most part, when people hear the word diet they get a little intimidated and far from excited.

Most of the diets advocated for in today’s society are usually focused on fear in one way or another – fear of fat, fear of calories, fear of carbs, etc. *Avoid high GI foods, sugar, anything processed, wrong macro ratios, no carbs after 7*…the list goes on and on! Does any of this sound familiar to you?

To add to the craziness of the diet world, exercise is added to the mix. You are either training, lifting, running, or doing too much or too little of what is recommended for the “perfect” solution to your dream body. So if the exercise isn’t working, you have to revert back to your diet and restrict that even more? No! I know that’s what you may think now, but I am here to tell you differently. Living in this world and abiding by its insane diet and exercise rules will leave you feeling more tired and unmotivated than ever because of malnourishment and extreme fitness recommendations.

I know everyone begins a new diet or fitness regimen with the best of intentions. Even if you are starting off with a well balanced approach of eating and exercising, people often begin to restrict in hopes of faster results which leads to trouble and disappointment in the long run.

Okay, now… let us take a step back and consider everything we’ve just discussed. Let’s ditch the diet fads, lose the fear of every food out there, and establish some healthy ways to nourish our bodies and achieve our fitness aspirations.

To start off, you have to accept that losing 10 pounds of fat or gaining 10 pounds of muscle should not happen in one week. Embrace the idea that you are about to begin a lifelong journey of optimal health for your mind and your body.

Next, find what works for you. Create personal guidelines, not rules that seem reasonable for yourself and your lifestyle. Establish a basic idea of what food and what exercise will make you feel and look your best most of the time, instead of beating yourself up for “cheating” on a strict, unrealistic diet.

Guideline #1: Eat a wide variety of natural and unprocessed foods as often as you can. It is the simplest way to ensure that you are getting lots of vital nutrients into your system. If it grew on a tree or in the ground, chances are high that it’s great for you! If it’s organic and non GMO, even better! It’s okay if you can’t find that or if it’s simply too expensive, remember—these areguidelines, not rules.

#2: Eat according to your energy expenditure and your body! One size does not fit all regarding food and exercise. You have to figure out what works for your body along the way with tweaking and experimenting to find the perfect balance.

#3: Really listen to what your body is telling you, not just what you want to hear! I promise all of your cravings have an underlying meaning. For example, one of the most common cravings people think they are having is for chocolate— this is your body telling you that you are deficient in magnesium. Magnesium can be found in fresh fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds and these health foods will absolutely satisfy those cravings! Check out more about cravings in this article.

#4: For the majority of the time, you should eat to nourish your body and to fuel your athletic performance. I understand that cutting out all processed and cooked foods is not for everyone, and that’s okay! You can eat for pleasure every now and then! :)

We are all individuals and our bodies are different— for most of us, these four guidelines will not only bring you closer to the body and performance you want, but they will also leave you with a much healthier and happier relationship with food!! Happy eating!

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Hummus is in the spotlight for this weeks #TastyTuesday. This dip, spread, or tasty snack is usually made up of chick peas, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Hummus is extremely rich in protein and is amazing at fighting those hunger cravings, while also balancing your blood sugar levels. Hummus comes in so many different flavours and the burst of energy you get from eating it may just have you working harder at the gym! 

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Have you ever gave up on a workout or health routine and lapsed into your old ways? Well it may be because you were lacking one of the top 3 factors to keep you on track. Want to know the 3 factors that you should have in order to succeed on your journey?

1. Having support to keep you motivated.

2. Engaging in workouts you actually like.

3. Knowing what you are doing!