Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Food Focus February

It can't just be me...right?

Food is the hardest thing to get on track with when you want to adopt a healthier lifestyle. 
I hear it over and over again from my clients.

And I struggle with it too. Just today I posted my salad on Instagram and Facebook but what I really wanted was pizza. I cut out added sugars this week and that has me craving carbs. 

I was excited about my lunch when I packed it. But emotions tend to rule when we start thinking about food. And it's no wonder--there is so much going on under the surface besides rational choice. And I've said this before, but pure willpower won't get you there. 

Under the surface, hormones are controlling your appetite signalling. Emotions are controlling your cravings. Powerful evolutionary drives are controlling your hunger and need for nutrients (we need to eat to live after all). So how can we start to understand those forces and use them in a way to get us closer to our health goals? 

Sticking to the plan isn't always easy. I'm still a work in progress. But it's easier when you have a plan, support, and accountability. February is going to be "Food Focus February." I'm taking on things like emotional eating, making choices to boost your energy, convenience foods that will help you lose weight instead of gain it, meal planning, the best cooking tools...and so on.

If this sounds like something you want to focus on next month, send me an email at megan9j@gmail.com or comment below so we can get in touch! You can also fill out this quick form and I will contact you: https://goo.gl/forms/hf6zcqxOrntiFkqD2

Hurry--spots will fill up and you'll want to get your order in and be set up and ready to roll on February 6th! 

Friday, January 6, 2017

That magical day when everything is supposed to change...but doesn't

Happy New Year!
Did you stay up to see the ball drop? Did you kiss your significant other at midnight? Did you make a wish for the new year? How about those resolutions? Did you make any? How’s it going so far?

I remember back when 2015 turned into 2016. I was sitting on my couch, glass of wine in hand, feeling sorry for myself. Feeling gross, out of shape, exhausted. I knew something needed to change and I vowed that tomorrow would be the magical day it would all happen--New Year’s Day!
I resolved then and there to start exercising, eating better, and going to bed on time.

And then nothing changed. Nothing happened on 1/1/16. I didn’t work out. I didn’t change my diet. I certainly didn’t put that glass down. Grumphhhh. Damn it. This was supposed to be my year. My revolution.  

And then 1/2/16 went by. And 1/3/16. And so on and so on. And still nothing changed. Yes--I WANTED to change. I wanted to look different. I wanted my life to feel different. But it wasn’t happening. What the hell, Megan?!? What is wrong with you? Where is your willpower? Why can’t you change?

Ha! Those are loaded questions. Ones I’ve spent the last 12 months answering for myself. Along the way, I’ve done a lot of research and come up with some soul searching answers and developed strategies that might help YOU out! See, it wasn’t until February of 2016 that I finally realized I needed something more than just a vague resolution like “eat better” or “workout.” I needed an action plan. I needed support. I needed to change my thinking. I needed specific, measurable goals to strive for. And I’ve come to realize that everyone needs something a little bit different to get them on the right path. But when you find it--watch out. You will be unstoppable. That’s what we are going to get started on together. For free.

If you made some resolutions, but don’t know where to begin (or you've already stalled out), join me in my next workshop:
Building Block Basics—A FREE 5-day workshop you can do from the comfort of your own home. Join me in a Facebook group to get started in the right direction in 2017.  

1. 5 tweaks you can make RIGHT NOW to help you with your New Year’s resolutions.
2. Explore the best ways to set goals that you will jump out of bed for.
3. Take on a little challenge to get you drinking more water.
4. Get moving—a simple, day by day strategy to gain some movement momentum (don’t worry--nothing complicated, just the basics).
5. BONUS: 5 of my favorite time-saving healthy recipes.

Click here for access to the workshop group: https://goo.gl/forms/Bd1MajCSihz8IFzY2
I can't wait to get started! We got this. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

What's the Difference?

Went to bed too late. Woke up tired. After hitting snooze about 6 times.
And with that usual tightness across my chest and in my shoulders.
Hurry. Get myself ready, get my son ready. Leave in a rush, my patience already starting to ebb.
Bad daycare drop-off and even worse traffic on the way into work.


Hop back into that terrible traffic in the mad dash to get back to daycare before 6PM. That familiar feeling in my chest again starting to rise. It almost feels like panic, but at a low-grade, constant level. Just below the surface, never letting me relax.

Have you ever thought to yourself: "This is my life. I just have to accept it."
I do what I need to do to survive. You ever feel like you are just getting through the day? Even if that means lots of glasses of wine? (We like to joke about moms and their wine but...why does that ring so true?)

Those glasses of wine were definitely masking some pain for me. They were the thing that let my mind shut off for a little bit, but they also meant I was staying up too late, wasting my time watching bad TV, sapping my energy for more productive activities, and contributing to my weight gain. It was an endless cycle driven by a feeling of never enough--never enough time, never enough money, never enough done, never good enough. When was it going to get easier?

You see, I am stubborn. I am independent. Asking for help is a sign of weakness in my book.
Or at least it was.
Now I know that asking for and getting help is really the stronger thing to do. I just didn't realize it back then. It took someone reaching out a hand and just offering me something different than what I'd been doing to snap me out of my funk--that cycle of exhaustion, stress, numbing, succumbing to the harried pace that had become my normal and repeating it day after day.

But taking a risk with a health coach is the single greatest thing I could have done for myself. Looking back, I realize my worries about it costing too much or being just another wasted effort on my part were really dumb. My skepticism was misplaced--it is my nature to be distrustful, skeptical--but self-doubt was at the root. I mean, this fitness program and nutritional shake had a 100% money-back guarantee. Really nothing to lose. But I still hesitated. Could working out at home make any kind of difference? Would I actually DO it? The answers to those questions turned out to be yes and yes--but it took committing to some group accountability and acceptance of coaching to help me get there.

And because of all that, my body and life look totally different than they were almost a year ago. It's not quite a year, but I've been reflecting on the changes I've made lately as the year draws to a close.

I've lost 20 pounds. Countless inches. (Really, countless because I suck at math!) I lost 15 of those pounds in the 1st 60 days. Consistency with my nutrition has helped me shed 5 more and now I'm working on building muscle.

But more than physical changes, I decided to become a coach so that I could share what I've learned. I hear from so many women who feel what I was feeling--almost a surrender to middle age, a resignation that life is just supposed to be like this for a while.


Life doesn't have to feel so exhausting all the time. Sure, I lost weight. But I gained confidence. I gained a more positive outlook on life. I gained control of my emotions. I learned to embrace the things I love about my life and work to change the things I don't. I'm still a work in progress--I hope that's always the case and that I never give up.

I want you to come with me!
If you are ready to commit to yourself, if you've decided that you are worth it and you CAN do it--let's get started! I can't wait.

Fill out this short application to be included in my next Challenge Group that starts in January. Make 2017 different.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

What is all the fuss about Core De Force?

Core De Force is the newest workout from Beachbody Super Trainers Jericho McMatthews and Joel Freeman.

It's a Mixed Martial Arts inspired program that has you dripping in sweat in the first 10 minutes of each video.

It's fun--there are 3 minute "rounds" which help break up the videos and make them fly by. And it makes you feel like a bad ass! There's nothing like waking up on a Monday morning, excited to work out and then excited to tackle the day! That's what this program does for me.

Here's a little bit about some of the best workouts in the program:
Dynamic Strength:
Low on impact, but high on intensity, this no-equipment, body weight throw down helps carve impressive definition.

Power Sculpt:
A total-body burner that uses explosive power and interval training to help sculpt lean muscle and build next-level endurance.

Core Kinetics:
Strengthen your powerhouse with unique MMA-inspired moves that help carve flat abs and tight obliques.

And here is a sample weekly menu using Plan B (1500-1800 calories)  from the eating guide that comes with the program. They make it easy to get results. Follow the workout calendar. Follow the eating guide. Done and Done. Add some Shakeology to really ramp it up and get muscle definition like you've never had before!

Oh--and this one is vegetarian!

Get the printable version here! 

These recipes have been adapted from the Core De Force meal plan and the 3 Week Yoga Retreat. Contact me for information on the original recipes or how to get your hands on the complete meal plans and programs!

Notice that I have Sunday as a kind of flexible day--I tend to use what I have left from the prior week and taste a lot during meal prep so that I find I don't need to plan something specific. It saves me $$. Also notice that I repeat entire days during a week. This also saves me money, makes grocery shopping easier, and streamlines meal prep each weekend. I vary my menus from week to week to make sure I'm getting enough variety in my diet!

BBQ TOFU PITA PIZZA (Makes 1 serving) 2 Yellow, ½ Red, ½ Blue, ½ Purple
1 (6½-inch) whole wheat pita
2 Tbsp. Maple BBQ Sauce (below)
2 Tbsp. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3  cup crispy baked tofu (bake 1/2 inch tofu squares on parchment paper in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes--tossing every 10 minutes until golden brown)
2 Tbsp. chopped red onion
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Place pita on baking sheet. Top with Maple BBQ Sauce, cheese, tofu, and onion.
3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
4. Sprinkle with cilantro; serve immediately.

STEAK SALAD WITH MANGO-LIME DRESSING (Makes 1 serving) 2 Green, 1 Purple, 1 Red, 1 Blue, 1 Orange
4 oz. tempeh
¼ tsp. ground smoked paprika
1 pinch ground cumin
1 pinch sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
1 tsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped raw kale
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup chopped jicama
1 ⁄8 medium avocado, chopped
½ cup chopped fresh mango
1 Tbsp. chopped raw pecans
2 Tbsp. Mango-Lime Dressing (below)

1. Season both sides of tempeh with paprika, cumin, and salt.
2. Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Add tempeh strips; cook for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, or until done. Remove from heat. Set aside.
4. Combine kale, tomatoes, jicama, and avocado in a medium serving bowl; toss gently to blend.
5. Top salad with mango, tempeh, and pecans; drizzle with Mango-Lime Dressing.

JALAPEÑO AND CHEESE "TACOS" (Makes 4 servings) 1 Green, 1 Red, ½ Blue, 1 tsp.
1 package Morningstar Farm veggie crumbles
2 small jalapeños, seeds and veins removed, chopped
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (vegetarian)
½ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
½ tsp. ground black pepper
1 chopped tomato for topping
butter (or Bibb) lettuce leaves for taco shells

1. Preheat a non-stick saute pan on medium heat.
2. Add olive oil and saute red onion until tender (about 5-6 minutes). Add veggie crumbles and jalapeños. Season with Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking until veggie crumbles are cooked through.
3. Remove from heat and add in cheddar cheese.
4. Place a scoop of the veggie crumbles on a lettuce leaf. Top with tomato; serve immediately.

ROASTED RED PEPPER HUMMUS WITH VEGETABLES (Makes 5 servings, about ½ cup hummus each) 1 Green, 1 Yellow, 2½ tsp.
1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), liquid from can reserved
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup tahini (sesame butter)
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup roasted red bell peppers
½ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
5 cups assorted vegetables (like carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, celery sticks, bell pepper sticks, or jicama sticks)

1. Place chickpeas and half reserved liquid from can in blender.
2. Add lemon juice, tahini, oil, garlic, bell peppers, and salt; cover. Blend until smooth. (Add a little more liquid from can, if needed, to make hummus thinner.)
3. Serve with vegetables.

MANGO-LIME DRESSING (Makes 12 servings, about 2 Tbsp. each) 1 Orange
1 large mango, peeled, pitted, and chopped
¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
¼ cup fresh orange juice (about 1 small orange)
1½ tsp. finely chopped lime peel (lime zest)
1 Tbsp. raw honey
½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
½ tsp. ground black pepper
1 ⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Place mango, lime juice, orange juice, lime peel, honey, cumin, salt, and pepper in a blender (or food processor); cover. Blend until smooth.
2. Slowly add oil, blending continuously until well blended.

MAPLE BBQ SAUCE (Makes 12 servings, about 2 Tbsp. each) ½ Purple
½ cup tomato paste, no sugar added
½ cup water
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar ¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
1 tsp. ground black pepper

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl; mix well.
2. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

EASTERN SALAD WITH TOFU (Makes 1 serving, approx. 3½ cups)
3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. reduced-sodium tamari soy sauce
½ clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. all-natural smooth peanut butter
1 tsp. raw honey
¼ cup cooked soba noodles
1 cup shredded Napa cabbage
½ cup shredded carrots
½ cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
¼ cup shelled edamame
1 green onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¾ cup baked tofu
1. To make dressing, combine vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, peanut butter, and honey
in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Set aside.
2. Combine noodles, cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, and edamame in a medium
serving bowl; mix well.
3. Drizzle with dressing; toss gently to blend.
4. Top with green onion, cilantro, and tofu; serve immediately.
Nutritional Information (per serving):

Container Equivalents
1½ Green
1½ Yellow
1 Red
1 tsp.

(Makes 4 servings, approx. 1¾ cups each)

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin organic coconut oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup finely chopped carrots
8 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
1 cup frozen peas
3 Tbsp. reduced-sodium tamari soy sauce
2 green onions, thinly sliced (for garnish; optional)

1. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
2. Add onions and carrots; cook, stirring frequently, for 6 to 7 minutes, or until
vegetables begin to soften. Remove vegetables from pan. Set aside.
3. Add eggs to skillet; cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3
minutes, or until eggs start to set.
4. Add onion mixture, quinoa, peas, and soy sauce; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4
minutes, or until heated through.
5. Divide evenly into four serving bowls; garnish evenly with green onions (if

Container Equivalents
1 Green
2 Yellow
1 Red
1 tsp.