Life On Purpose

Day 11 : The Secret Skinny Weapon June 26, 2013

There is a secret weapon to losing weight. It is deceptive and often forgotten. It will actually raise your scale number, but it sheds inches.

So what is it? Strength training! Many people think if they use weights, it will make them bulky. It isn’t true! It will build lean muscle mass. Here are some important things to understand about lean muscle mass:

1. It weighs more than fat. You will likely gain weight when you begin incorporating strength training. Be happy about that because:

2. It burns more calories at rest. The more muscle you have, the higher your basal metabolic rate will be.

3. It replaces jiggle. Yes!

4. It prevents injury, especially if you are doing a lot of repetitive cardio.

5. You can do it at home with a pair of dumbbells or a sandbag.

6. It strengthens your bones.

Strength training is cheap and highly effective when done properly. It is also nice way to break up your workouts. Basic moves to work multiple, large muscles are very simple, but don’t let that deceive you. Here are pointers for weight training beginners:

1. Proper form is paramount to preventing injury and getting results. If a weight is too heavy to do 12-15 reps in a smooth, controlled motion, then decrease your weight. I suggest 5 pound weights for beginners. Some exercises need to be done with bodyweight at first until you master it and find it fairly easy, like squats.

2. Always engage your core, meaning tighten your abdominal and back muscles like you are preparing to take a punch in the stomach.

3. Keep your back flat: there shouldn’t be an arch in your lower back as you do strength training.

4. As a general rule, when squatting or lunging, never let your knee push over your toes. You want a 90 degree knee angle.

5. Joints that act as hinges in an exercise should be stationary. For example, in bicep curls, your elbow joint should be stationed comfortably by your side but not be moving up and down or side to side-the bicep muscle should be doing all the work, with bottom half of arm moving fluidly up and down only (not side to side).

Basic Exercise

More Basics

Make sure you are incorporating three days of strength training into your workouts. You can certainly combine cardio and strength training. This is highly effective for fat loss. My favorite workouts are here


Day 10 : What Makes You Fat

Fat isn’t making you fat. What? That’s right: fat isn’t making you fat. (More on fats later).

Sugar is making you fat. But it doesn’t appear how you think it does. It is a sneaky little thing that you will only catch by label reading. Glance over the labels in your fridge and pantry. Look at items from this list:

Drinks other than water
Granola bars
Prepackaged, flavored oatmeal
Rice cakes
Pudding mix
Jello mix
Peanut butter
Trail mix
Muffin mix
Pancake mix
Pasta sauce
Barbeque sauce

As you begin to look over all the added sugar and high fructose corn syrup in your pantry, you are seeing the silent killer that you never think about.

Think about it this way: God designed our bodies to process sugar with an organ called the pancreas. It releases insulin to process sugar according to the amount of sugar in your blood stream. The pancreas, just like the heart, liver, kidneys and brain, is aging. When a person drinks alcohol in excess on a regular basis, it ages and damages the liver, making it difficult for the organ to function properly. When you consume sugar too often, your pancreas works overtime in the same manner. It doesn’t come with a lifetime warranty. It will give out before you die if you overuse it: this is called Diabetes Type 2 in the medical world. Now don’t get me wrong-it isn’t that simple. Diabetes is a multi-factorial disease and there are other risk factors beside your diet. I’m just going to focus on what you CAN control.

Sugar and Chronic Disease

It’s not just you.

Start by reading labels for specific criteria:

1. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)-it causes blood sugar spikes and it is usually made from GMO/nonorganic corn. It is poison if you ask me. Just don’t buy stuff made with this.

2. Corn syrup- only one notch less dangerous than HFCS. Avoid it.

3. Sugar-this one is inevitable sometimes. Be conscious of how much you consume. Look for these names:

Agave nectar
Brown sugar
Cane crystals
Cane sugar
Corn sweetener
Corn syrup
Crystalline fructose
Evaporated cane juice
Fruit juice concentrates
High-fructose corn syrup
Invert sugar
Malt syrup
Raw sugar

4. Compare brands of like items for the least sugar grams. BUT always choose sugar or fruit juice concentrate sweetened over HFCS (This is now completely off limits. It is killing you. I know the truth hurts.)

5. Sweeteners for your cooking and baking should be whole foods:

Raw honey
100% maple syrup

As a side note, one thing that I do to reduce added sugar in my diet is to buy unsweetened items and sweeten them myself. For example, you can make a bowl of oatmeal, cook with unsweetened almond milk, add protein powder and a tad bit of pure maple syrup, cinnamon and chopped walnuts. Fast, easy and WAY less sugar! Another example is yogurt: I buy plain nonfat Greek yogurt, sweeten with a little honey or maple syrup, add chopped fruit or blueberries, nuts, vanilla and cinnamon. It may take time to gradually reduce how much sweetener you add. Experts say quitting sugar cold turkey is best, but I can honestly say I have had success with reduction in cravings and a palate change by gradually cutting back. Either way: make it happen!

Lets talk starch. The standard American diet (SAD) is full of it. Burgers need buns, the chicken needs a sandwich, meat always goes with potatoes, blah blah blah. How can you eliminate that?

1. My favorite go-to lunch is to make a protein salad. I use leftover meat from dinner or eggs and mix them up with greens and tomatoes and avocados. You can vary this easily according to what you have on hand and what your tastes are. You can even do bean salad or tuna salad (use plain Greek yogurt instead of mayo).

2. If you get high quality meat and season it with herbs and some sea salt, you will discover flavor you haven’t ever experienced. I’m talking about a burger that can sit on a big bed of greens and be absolutely mouth-watering! Don’t knock it till you try it!

3. You might want to give the 21 Day Sugar Detox a go:


4. Put more veggies on your plate: they nourish and satisfy. More on basics of real food prep coming soon.

5. Stop buying bread, bagels, crackers, etc. Just don’t bring it in your house and, guess what? You won’t eat it! The upside to this: when you go out to eat (hopefully not more than once a week, otherwise you’ll need to implement these principles when you eat out too) you can really enjoy the high carb treats without guilt knowing how hard you’ve worked at home.

Your meals should be based upon high quality protein, veggies and high quality (truly-label must say “whole grain” before each grain ingredient) whole grains (that’s still debatable). Sugar is killing you and making you fat. Time to go back to your picture, measurements and goals. This is where the rubber meets the road and you will maximize your potential: quit the sugar!


On GMOs… June 25, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — zoecline @ 9:36 pm

Amazing info on GMO’s!

Lauren Minchen Nutrition

I noticed today that November is National Peanut Butter Lovers month. Now, my first thought in response to this was not, “Hmm, a whole month to use as an excuse to eat jars of peanut butter”. No. My first reaction was this: Uh-oh, GMO. That’s right. The thought of peanuts makes me think of genetically modified organisms. Why? Because peanuts are one of the new foods that are currently being tested in India for genetic modification. Currently, India is testing a GM peanut with the allergen-causing protein being repressed and resistance to fungi, insects, and other things (see GMO Compass:

Why is this bad? GMOs are food-like organisms that have been engineered genetically to mimic foods in appearance and taste, but act differently in regards to crop yield and pesticide/herbicide resistance. You will hear from most people/organizations/governing bodies that GMOs are safe, but what some other healthcare professionals and…

View original post 426 more words


Day 9 : The Great Obstacle Course

In real life, people get the flu, hurt their backs, have a death in the family, get pregnant (surprise!), or lose a job. So how do you stay on the journey in REAL life? Let’s face it: life is hard enough. Adding healthy eating and exercise can feel overwhelming.

1. Order your priorities right. Mine are

God first, family second, health third.

This order helps guide every decision I make and keeps me focused. No I don’t do it perfectly, but this is what I strive for.

2. I know I sound like a broken record here, but read this: we are on a journey. The key to success is long term consistency. One week of dirty eating and lack of exercise is not the end of the journey! Get back up and start again. Perfection isn’t necessary to get healthy.

3. Prevent injury by incorporating strength training and stretching into your fitness routine. If you feel a bad twinge or pop or pain, STOP. Modify exercises to suit your ability. Almost every exercise can be modified to be easier. If it’s weighted, drop the weight and do the motion without it. If it’s in push-up or plank position, you can go down to your knees. More about strength training and stretching later.

4. During illness, listen to your body, not your stomach. Try your best to eat well and do “active rest,” such as an easy walk. Added bonus of eating well: can dramatically shorten periods of illness! Getting extra sleep will help you recover more quickly as well.

5. During injury don’t assume you can’t exercise at all. Heed your doctor’s advice, of course. But otherwise, do what you can while you are healing. Walking is better than sitting on the couch! Again, eat well to support your body’s natural ability to heal and to avoid regression.

6. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a week or two. Self talk can be either very detrimental or highly beneficial. Think positively about getting back to your fitness and nutrition routine. Think of how good you will feel and how much progress you will make by getting back on track.

7. Time changes and schedules change. Your exercise routine will need to change with seasons and activities. Don’t be afraid to try exercising at a different time of day or in a different setting. During winter you may have to exercise indoors, and during summer you may be able to exercise earlier in the day or later in the evening.

8. Don’t let yourself get bored. Switch it up when you start losing motivation to exercise. Try avoiding weighing and measuring for four weeks just to challenge yourself to focus on working hard to see big results at the end. You might need a new goal or a new challenge. Your accountability partner can help you in this area too!

9. Have a plan. When you travel or have an extra busy week coming, take ten minutes to formulate a plan and pencil your workouts into your schedule. Think about how you can make the most of your time. Where can you squeeze in a run or swing by the gym? Do you need to pack your exercise clothes and take them in the car? Thorough and thoughtful meal planning will also be crucial to stay on track.

10. Try and try again. Just. Don’t. Stop. Trying.


Day 8 : Meal Planning June 24, 2013

Meal planning is a great way to manage your food intake and your budget. Without a plan, I eat out a lot and tend to lose track of the budget. It is a slippery slope to my old ways of eating-convenient and crappy! Most families are on the go a lot and struggle with getting healthy food on the table. A busy AND healthy life necessitates a plan.

First, decide how often you think you will be grocery shopping. It may take you a while to get in a good groove. So be patient and work on it until you find a good routine. Once you decide on a length of time, then you can begin planning. I have settled into a variable 7-10 day routine for my grocery trips.

I will look at my calendar to see what we have planned for the next 7-10 days to develop a plan. I’ll also consider appointments, meetings, and which day I need to shop. For example, if I have an appointment that will interfere with dinner prep, I’ll try to plan a meal that is either made in the crock pot or grilled. If I can’t plan another grocery trip for another 8 days, then I look at my calendar and plan what we’re eating for each meal until the next trip. Some people prefer a monthly routine, only returning to the grocery store for produce and perishables. I discourage this because it’s easy for your meals to become box and can based when you shop this way. If it’s the only way you can work it in your schedule and operate on a plan-then that is better than no plan!

Some things to consider when meal planning:

1. Breakfast & lunch

2. Side dishes for dinner

3. Snacks

4. How you can use leftovers from a previous meal (for example I make roast chicken and then make white chicken chili for another meal with leftover chicken-2 totally different meals)

5. Making extra of dishes you can pack for lunch or work into another meal (for example, if you make rice as a side dish, make extra and then make bean and rice burritos another night; and another idea is baking extra sweet potatoes to have leftovers for lunch or grill extra meat to make a salad for lunch the next day)

6. Have a fall-back meal. Mine is egg omelets and bacon. We always keep bacon, eggs and veggies on hand. Your fall back should be something you can easily whip up without much time or any shopping.

Try not to let yourself get overwhelmed. A little planning goes a long way. At first you might need to put notes on your calendar to remind you what you need to prep ahead. Marinades, sauces and dressings can often be made the night before to save time when you get home from work. I usually work at least one egg based meal and one bean based meal into our week to decrease costs. Another thing that has helped me is moving past the “3 dish plate.” Maybe it’s a Southern thing-but I always felt like there must be three things on my plate! Let me tell you a secret: it isn’t true! Yippee! How freeing is that?! I finally broke out of the habit of the three dish plate and have made up my mind that if I only have time and money for two nutritious dishes-IT’S OKAY.

I hope these are some helpful hints to get you started meal planning. I also suggest traveling with your own food because fast food is expensive on your budget and on your body (more later).

Next time you grocery shop, take a list with your meal plan out to the side and read those labels!


Day 7 : Goals June 23, 2013

Purpose. That’s what a goal gives you on the journey to health and fitness. Not having a goal is like getting in your car and driving not knowing where you want to go, but hoping your time and gas will take you somewhere awesome. It isn’t efficient or effective, and exercising and eating well without goals is not nearly as fun or rewarding.

If you are new on this journey, you’ll probably be basing your goals on your weight and/or measurements. If you are more focused on increasing your fitness level, your goal will likely be making a goal based on how you’d like to perform.

Here are some suggestions to get you started.

1. Waist to Hip Ratio of 0.7 for women and 0.9 for men is considered healthy and at lower risk for chronic diseases and is also correlated with fertility. This was my first target goal for my own journey back before baby #3. Calculate the waist to hip ratio by dividing waist circumference by hip circumference. For example:

Waist 32inches/hips 37 inches= W to H ratio 0.86.

2. Weight or inch loss- this is essentially the same as number one except number one is more belly fat focused.
For example, you may want to lose 5 or 10% of your body weight. Or you may choose to lose by clothing size. For women, approximately one inch off of your bust, waist and hips (3 inches total) will take you down one dress size.

3. Cardio mileage-obese individuals will want to start with walking or swimming to ease stress on the joints. I recommend finding a 5k to work toward for your first mileage goal. If you aren’t obese, try working up to jogging the entire 5k. Couch 2 5k is a great tool for working toward this goal.

4. Strength goals-Fit and healthy-weighted individuals can work toward strength goals by doing challenges like the squat challenge or the plank challenge . You can also set weight or repetition goals for yourself based on the results you want. Another option is to follow challenges from free trainers online like the insanity killer challenge

4. Consistency-you may be more interested in establishing consistency before you set a particular goal. I suggest that, if you go this route, this period of time be four weeks or less. You should then create a true fitness goal. For example-aim to exercise four times per week for two weeks and then work into a 5k training routine or do the squat challenge.

So today, make your goal. I am working toward a 10k race in August. I’ve never EVER run that far EVER in my whole life EVER! It’s a big challenge for me, but I’m ready to take it on. Today is my first official training day.

By now you should have a picture and measurements to mark the start of your fitness journey. I encourage you to stay away from the scale and measuring tape for at least one week. Begin to develop a long term mindset. The results will take time. You will feel better before you look better. Make sure to review the Label Reading 101 post and make wise choices at the grocery store this week to capitalize on your workouts. Also be mindful that this is a journey we are on-there isn’t a final destination. After you meet your first goal, and even if you fail, you will make a new one or lengthen your timeframe. When the sweat drips, the struggle comes and you want to give up, look at your picture, measurements and goal. You already made up your mind at the beginning. Discuss your struggles with your accountability partner and talk/think through how you can overcome any obstacles. Then push onward. Remember-this journey is not about perfection, but rather progress.


Day 6 : Strength in Numbers June 20, 2013

Filed under: 30 Day Change Challenge — zoecline @ 9:22 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I am not a numbers girl. However, they are a powerful tool for success. Today I challenge you to use them in two ways.

The first part of my challenge to you today is to find an accountability partner. Who do you know that will exercise, eat, and laugh with you? Someone who will accept you and challenge you all at once… If you don’t have someone like this in your life, stop reading my blog, pick up your phone and invite someone to go have coffee-invest in relationships. I have never seen success like I have this year, and I think that hinges on one factor: accountability.

The second part of my challenge for you today is to mark where you are today by numbers. Weigh. Measure for women: hips, waist & bust. Measure for men: neck, chest & waist. Write down your numbers. If you didn’t follow through on day one, do it now. Take a picture of yourself. You will find the strength and endurance to continue on your journey if you can look back at where you’ve been. History is a powerful motivator and teacher.

I’m going to pull the veil off and get honest with you. You’ve seen my day 1. Now I’ll show you my numbers:

These were on November 29, 2012 almost 5 months post-partum. It was the first time I measured after I began my journey in August 2012:

Weight 132 lbs
Chest 34 inches
Waist 32.5 inches
Hips 37 inches

Weight 117lbs
Chest 32 inches
Waist 27 inches
Hips 33 inches

15 pounds. 11.5 inches. Wow.

I never dreamed I’d get here. Accountability works. Try it.

Help with Measuring