Nutrition

Tony’s Nutrition Tips For The Holidays

Eating well is not about being 100% perfect every day, every meal, especially over the holidays. However, you shouldn’t treat the holidays as a free pass to eat whatever you want, or you’re setting yourself up for disaster and possible regret come January 1st. Try some of Tony’s favorite tips to help you stay on track during the holidays. 

1. Accountability is key

For years I’ve stressed the importance of accountability. Whether its finding a workout partner, posting your meals, joining a group like my new Dietbet Challenge, keeping a food journal, or writing out your goals, accountability is the key to your success. 

2. Offer to host the party

By hosting the party or dinner yourself, you are in control of the foods that are served, so you can substitute unhealthy ingredients and dishes for healthier options. Controlling food supply is easier when you’re the one in control.

3. Don’t skip meals

It’s tempting to save your appetite for all of the delicious food at a holiday gathering, but you’re also setting yourself up to overindulge and make bad choices. Before your holiday meal, eat a protein- and healthy-fat-packed snack such as veggies and humus or celery with nut butter. Protein and fat help you cut your cravings for sugar and carbohydrates.

4. Start smart

Start your meal with soup and salad or fresh veggies, and avoid snacking before your meal on appetizers made with refined flour or sugary treats. Volunteer to bring something so you’re guaranteed to have at least one healthy dish you enjoy and can load up.  

5. Rethink your drinks

Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and sends you down a slippery slope of bad choices. Most alcoholic beverages are also filled with sugar and empty calories. Limit alcohol intake, or better yet, avoid it altogether. If you do indulge on a drink or two, drink water in between and make the rest of your beverages sparkling water, tea or water with lemon or lime. 

6. Eat mindfully

I’ve been talking a lot about mindfulness lately, and that’s because I’ve realized how important it is! Before each meal, take five deep breaths, and tune into how hungry you really are. As you eat, focus on flavors, colors and smells, and try to put your fork down between bites. Halfway through your meal, pause, put down your fork and take a few more deep breaths. Assess your hunger on and ask yourself, “How much more food do I need to feel satisfied without feeling uncomfortable?”

7. Don’t cave to peer pressure

We’ve all been there when the well-meaning friend or relative asks you why you’re not having a piece of their homemade fudge or having another glass of wine. Just know that no one will feel insulted if you explain, “I’m here for the company, not just the food.”

8. Set your intention

Before indulging in holiday food and spirits and desserts, set an intention for the event such as “I will start with vegetables, limit myself to two glasses of wine and water, and only have two bites of dessert after dinner.” Of course only you know your weaknesses, so you’ll set an intention that feels right for you. Setting an intention makes you less likely to indulge in foods and activities that make you feel less than your best. 

Remember above all else not to beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon. Just do your best and forget the rest! 

Your Pal,

Tony

faith, Personal Development

Uncommon Behavior

Recently as I was searching for some inspiration to write/ pray about in my journal, I happened upon some old notes from an Andy Stanley study on marriage and relationships. The key verse is Matthew 7:12 “…do to others what you would have them do to you…” We’ve heard this our whole life, right? We know this is how we should behave. After all, these are the words of Jesus – a trustworthy resource if there ever was one. Yet we aren’t very good at it. Instead we judge harshly, we keep our distance, we speak criticism much more than praise, we find fault instead of giving grace, etc.
We seem to be naturally wired for this ‘transactional’ type of relationships where the verse would read, “I’ll do to you what you do to me… or if you do this first, then I will respond with that.” This faulty mindset applies for both good and bad behavior. We want justice and revenge for another’s bad behavior, and we hold out to reciprocate loving behavior only after we receive it. Our version of the verse sounds ridiculous and entirely self-centered, but upon sober self-assessment we will agree this is how we typically behave.
Behaving this way doesn’t work for us or the other person. We put all the power onto them for how we can behave – waiting for them to act first. Be honest, have you ever thought, “I’d really like to be nice/ loving/ giving to him/ her, but I just can’t because he/ she isn’t being nice to me.” We do this all the time and don’t even realize it. But that is not at all what this simple familiar verse says. If we want to take back control (and we all like to be in control) of our behavior, and if we want the best for ourselves and our relationships, we would actually do what this verse says.
The verse tells us to be proactive. Be positive. Be the one who loves first. Believe the best about the person instead of assuming the worst. Gee whiz, we are very bad at this. Look at what happens when news breaks about someone behaving badly or is accused of some crime or bad behavior. We immediately judge them as evil, they get fired from their job, they are ostracized from the community, and regarded as a terrible person. We don’t even know the whole story, and the investigation is incomplete, but we immediately assume the worst. Is that how we want others to treat us? I digress.
Like 1 Corinthians 13:7, look for ways to love, give, serve, and care for others. Show grace and patience. Are you perfect? Do you hope others show grace and patience with your weaknesses, imperfections, mistakes, and annoyances? Yeah, me too.
Look, no one wants to disappoint another person, especially someone close like a spouse. Let’s build some margin in our hearts for their “issues” like we hope they do for ours. Wouldn’t this mindset shift do us good? That’s the conviction I have about this verse in Matt 7:12. Stop waiting for the other person to do/ be who we expect them to be and just do our part. Trust the Lord with our heart and hands while we obey this command for how we are to behave and watch our relationships flourish. #preachingtomyself #underconstruction #conqueryourmind

Fortitude, Nutrition, Personal Development

ConQuer Your Mind – Part 1 “What You Feed Grows”

The following video expands on the chapter one idea “What you feed grows” from my e-book How To ConQuer Your Mind To Achieve Your Goals.

The truth is that until you get your mindset right, your success in any goal will be temporary and limited at best. Watch as I share some thoughts about how you can change your behavior with a focus on mindset first.

You can get the e-book for free from the Team Quadzilla Facebook page, or directly HERE. Stay tuned for more videos to supplement the e-book content.

Fitness

10 Reasons Why You Hate Working Out

Why You Don’t Like Working Out, And How to Improve Exercise Motivation

Why you hate it: It’s boring.

Solution: For some people, there’s nothing worse than running. Others hate swimming. And still others would rather get a root canal than lift weights at the gym. That’s why it’s important to try a variety of exercise styles to find what most appeals to you. There are tons of different types of workouts that appeal to all types of people. My guess is that if you think exercise is boring, you just haven’t found something you like. Try something new.

I can help you find interesting ways to get moving, or you can head to Beachbody On Demand for a selection of more than 40 different workout programs for all fitness levels and cover everything from weightlifting to yoga. Check out this guide to get an overview of the most popular options.

Why you hate it: It’s not fun to workout alone.

Solution: A good workout buddy can boost your enjoyment, and studies show that it can even encourage you to exercise more often. When it comes to working out, being accountable to another person can also go a long way towards keeping you on track with your schedule.

Working out in a group can multiply the benefits — especially when it comes to exercise enjoyment. Some have found great success with a group at the gym or in virtual/ online groups.  Conversely, working out alone CAN be fun and very rewarding if you have a personally compelling reason WHY you are working out. When your mission is greater than your fears & excuses, you will mysteriously find joy in the process – even when you are doing it alone.

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Why you hate it: It’s exhausting.

Solution: When you get home from a long day at work, all you want to do is plant your butt on the couch; trying to summon enough energy to exercise is the last thing on your mind. But research shows that physical activity can increase energy levels rather than sap them. Working out could be just what you need to have a productive end to your day.

But if you just can’t pick yourself up in the evening, pick a time of day to work out when you’re typically more energized, and when you can work out consistently. That last part is key. As the saying goes “the best time to work out is the time when you will work out.”

Why you hate it: You’re afraid you’re going to fail.

Solution: Sometimes it feels easier to avoid a task altogether than to risk falling short of your goal. If you never start trying to lose weight, then you can’t fail at it, right?

This is why Baby Steps are key: They help you work towards something you can actually achieve. “It’s important to set small, reasonable goals for yourself,” Dr. Leo Marvin says. Acknowledging your success can be a huge step forward in making the workout plan more enjoyable. When you hit a goal, celebrate it and set the next baby step.

Truthfully, the only way to fail on your healthy living journey is to never start, or to give up. This is a journey – filled with ups and downs, progress and setbacks. Embrace the journey and press on. Your future self will thank you for conquering your fear.

Why you hate it: You don’t like getting sweaty.

Solution: Unfortunately, in order to lose weight or gain strength, you’ll need to put in some hard work and get sweaty at some point. To avoid having to repeat your ‘get ready for work routine’, time your intense workouts to the beginning or end of your day.

Fortunately, you don’t have to subscribe to a gut-busting, sweat-soaked workout every single day. There are low-impact and low-intensity exercises that can give you a decent calorie burn without sweating buckets. Try activities like yoga or walking. Research suggests that you can gain major health benefits from a simple 30-minute walking routine. It’s enough to get your heart rate up, but won’t leave you soaked and smelly.

Why you hate it: It takes up too much time.

Solution: Whether you have a demanding job, no childcare, or both, it can be a challenge to find time to exercise. This is the most common excuse I hear for why people don’t exercise. To get over this hurdle, start small, and make exercise a non-negotiable must-do. Schedule it like you would a recurring business meeting. Start treating exercise like a key part of your day instead of a perpetual afterthought.

Break up your workout into short intervals throughout the day if you aren’t able to find a time to get everything done at once. I shared some excellent body weight workouts you can do anywhere anytime that really work. Try “habit stacking.” Simply add a few minutes of exercise on top of something else you already do every day, like doing some push-ups after you brush your teeth. You don’t have to work out for very long to notice a benefit (research shows that even a few minutes of intense exercise per week can improve cardiovascular fitness), but you do have to be consistent.

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Why you hate it: You can’t afford or don’t want to pay for a gym membership

Solution: Access to workout facilities and equipment can play a major role in sticking with a workout routine. So why add extra obstacles like a gym membership or tons of gear into the mix when they’re not necessary? Angie and I exercise in our living room with minimal equipment. Though we have different expressions after our workouts, it sure beats going to the gym! With Beachbody On Demand‘s extensive exercise library, which includes more than 600 fat-blasting workouts that can be done in a six foot-by-six foot area — we never get bored, and don’t have to leave home. Not only does working out at home save you the money of a gym membership, but it also lets you exercise on your own time.

Why you hate it: It’s embarrassing to work out in front of other people.

Solution: Exercise is supposed to relieve stress, not contribute to it. If you make yourself work out in an environment where you feel judged, it’s likely you won’t stick with it. This is a big reason why at-home workouts are so appealing. Being able to exercise in the privacy of your own living room removes the fear of being judged by others. It also allows you to slow down and learn new exercises at your own pace, instead of feeling pressured to do it right the first time.

Why you hate it: You’re really out of shape.

Solution: The first few days or weeks of a new exercise program are often the hardest. Even when you do muster the energy to work out, new moves often leave you feeling tired and sore in places you didn’t even know existed. To avoid this, take steps to prevent muscle soreness so you don’t get discouraged. Start slowly, and gradually increase your effort and intensity based on how you feel after each successive workout.

What you eat after working out can also optimize your recovery and help prevent soreness. Beachbody Performance Recover is made with 20 grams of protein to aid muscle repair and growth, and it contains pomegranate extract, which has been shown to reduce muscle soreness.

Additionally, listen to your body and schedule rest and recovery days when needed. Getting enough sleep, stretching, and eating well is extremely important. Try not to work the same muscle groups really hard on consecutive days.

Why you hate it: It’s all just too overwhelming.

Solution: The sheer volume of fitness advice in the world can be intimidating. That’s why it’s vital to not overcomplicate the process of getting started. Keep it simple: Think about what sounds like fun and really go for it. Just DO something. Yoda says, “Do or don’t do, there is no try.” Exercising is still work. Results take time and effort, so don’t give up when it gets difficult. Make the commitment to yourself to get on the healthy living train and stay there. One baby step at a time. Be stronger than your excuses. You can do this!

Special thanks to Mackenzie Lobby Havey and the Team Beachbody blog for doing the heavy lifting on this article!

Nutrition

Feed Your Machine

feed the machine1

Some time ago, I wrote about some timeless principles to manage your most important project (YOU) – by focusing on being a better person. You can read it here.

I want to take the idea of managing yourself a step further to look at your physical health. After all, you can’t be your best when you don’t feel good. I’m going to focus on nutrition. Hear me out, this is not a shake-my-finger-at-you sermon to go on a diet. Diets don’t work. My focus is a paradigm shift regarding the way we think about food.

Here are two scientifically proven mathematical equations for food to get us started.

Garbage In = Garbage Out

Eat Real Food = Feel better + Improve Performance + Look Better

Your body is a finely tuned machine. You may not think so when you look in the mirror, but it is absolutely true. It performs countless functions every moment that we don’t even realize. It also gives feedback on how we take care of it.

Much like any other machine, it performs well when it is cared for, and it performs poorly when it is not cared for. Ever put soda or donuts in your car’s gas tank? Would it operate well if you did? In the same way, we need to feed our bodies with the right fuel if we expect to perform our best.

body-trash

NEWS FLASH: our bodies were not meant to eat highly processed, chemically enhanced, boxed food with 25 ingredients on the nutrition label even if it says “low fat”, “healthy”, “low calorie”, “high protein”, etc. Without getting into all the science of chemical additives and processing, I promise that these unnatural, unpronounceable ingredients are not good for us.

If you feel low on energy during the day, depend on caffeine, carry more weight than you’d like, suffer from pain and fatigue from performing common activities, have indigestion, bloating, or are often “irregular” you should first look at how you fuel your machine.

I’ve been on a journey of natural, whole foods healthy eating for a while now and can attest that it is the secret formula to help all the ailments I mentioned and more.

95 disease by food

You might say, “I don’t have time to eat healthy” or “I don’t know how to eat healthy.” I’m with you. I said these things myself, and not too long ago.

Changing your nutrition requires a change in your MINDSET about food first. You must agree that your fuel impacts your body’s performance and that natural, whole food is the best way to eat.

Instead you say, “I can’t afford to eat poorly” or “Learning to eat right is important to me and I’m going to figure out how to do it because I want to perform, feel, and look my best.”

You make conscious decisions about what you put in your mouth because you know that it will absolutely impact you whether you feel it immediately or not. Just like you wouldn’t put soda in the gas tank because you know the car wouldn’t work, you mindset about fueling your body should be the same. I mean who doesn’t want to perform, feel, and look their best today AND for the long term?

Educating yourself about proper nutrition and whole, natural food eating is key. The internet is filled with nutrition advice, some of it is good (and much is not).

My favorite healthy eating resource is www.9010nutrition.com This is a thorough resource with articles, videos, links to healthy recipes, and a no obligation email registration that connects you to even more great advice and encouragement to help you along your healthy eating journey. Of course there is the Fitness & Nutrition tab on my website that has a recipe section as well.

If you are ready to make real and lasting changes to your health, the next step is up to you. I would be honored to help you get started on your healthy living journey. Let’s chat!