Category Archives for "Healthy Habits"

8 Tips to Meal Planning Success

Meal Preparation: Tips and Ideas

1. Create a morning, evening or weekend ritual.

  • Do your grocery shopping on the same day(s) each week
  • Prep food meals on Sunday, the night before and/or in the morning. 
  • Get into a routine to make food prep efficient and effective.

2. Pre-cook chicken.

  • Purchase boneless skinless chicken in bulk and season to taste.
  • Cook in large Pyrex dish, covered in tin foil at 350-400° for 20-40 minutes.
  • Store in a glass container and you have a ready-made protein source.

3. Pre-chop chicken and beef for stir-fries.

  • Purchase boneless chicken and beef in bulk. 
  • Chop meat into 1-inch cubes, portion into 4-8oz servings, and freeze them.
  • Quick tip if you're in a hurry: thaw the meat in bowl of tepid water for 10-15 minutes. 
  • Make a tasty and balanced stir-fry, seasoned to your liking.

4. Pre-chop fresh vegetables.

  • Chop each vegetable into desired sizes and store in individual containers.
  • Use them or omelets, salads, stir-fries and more.

5. Prepare ahead of time.

  • Make large batches of food like chili, stews, stir-fries, and smoothies.
  • Pack your own snacks and lunch (by utilizing Tip 1).
  • Eat breakfast; or pack a Super Smoothie for on the go nutrition. (there are a ton of free recipes here.)

6. Shop at farmer’s markets, if possible.

  • Farmer’s markets provide local, fresh and sustainably grown meat, produce and eggs at reasonable prices.
  • You know exactly where, when and how your food was grown.
  • You develop a relationship with the people who grow your food.

7. Order by the principles above when at restaurants or school.

  • The healthy principles of nutrition do not cease to exist when eating out.
  • You still need high-quality: protein, carbs, fruits, vegetables and fats.

8. Spice up your food

  • Spices and herbs add tremendous health benefits and flavor to your food.
  • Different spices can make tired meals and recipes seem new and exciting.

When I first started changing my family's diet, I worked slowly through this list. Start with one thing this week you can start doing. And do that one thing. It might take a week or two for that to hit a grove, when it does add in the next item on the list. Soon you'll be tackling meal prep like a professional.

To your best health,

Coach Nancy


Fast Food Shopping at the Grocery Store

I’m late for a meeting, I’ve been teaching classes all day, the kids were acting up, and I walked out of the house unprepared for the evening ahead. Have you ever been in a situation like this before? Of course you have, but how can you change it around and end the day on a good note? What can you do?

Go hungry?
Stop at the dreaded hamburger joint on the corner?
Grab something at the gas station convenience store?
Or go grocery shopping?

Did I say go grocery shopping? Yes, hit the nearest food store for you dinner meal. Here’s a few ideas to grab quickly and go.

  • Hit the salad bar. Most store now feature a salad bar stocked with all the trimmings. As always you want to avoid items in heavy sauces and oils. Fill your container with salad greens, add your favorite veggies, throw in a few pieces of fruit, top with a sprinkling of cheese, sunflower seeds, and add a hard boiled egg or a few slices of ham and you're good to go. Don’t forget a fork or you’ll be hard pressed to look good at your meeting with salad drippings all over you.
  • Go to the Deli. What a great way to build your own sandwich. Delicatessens are more than happy to slice 3-4 pieces of your favorite meats and cheeses. No need for bread. Just roll the cheese inside a piece of meat and eat it naked. No, you’re not naked  – the sandwich is!
  • Some delis also carry rotisserie chicken, They are already cooked and kept warm. Again don’t forget to pick up a utensil pack at the salad bar.
  • In a real rush, grab a single serving of almonds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds along with your favorite piece of fruit that has a peel. Fast Food Grocery Style!

When Dean and I were in away a while ago, we couldn’t find a decent restaurant to eat in that was close to the hotel so we went shopping. We stocked the small fridge in the hotel room with roast beef, swiss cheese, precut veggies, and nuts. It was fantastic to have the option just to run up to our room in between seminars for a light snack. It was way better than hitting the candy machine.

Don’t settle for less than the best choices for your best body!

Coach Nancy

Fit, Happy and Healthy in 2020

We are excited to announce some "upgrades" to the Cr8 Fitness Family page. Nancy and I were talking about how we can help you get even better this year - More Fit, More Happiness, and More Health. Who couldn't use a little more of those things?

Up to this point we have had a number of Facebook groups addressing the topics of fitness and nutrition, along with the family page. Starting today, we are consolidating all of those into one group, with the goal of growing it to 500 members this year. To do that, we need YOUR HELP! We are asking you to join, and to invite everyone you know (yes, even "him") to join the group. There is going to be some serious magic in there! For starters, every Monday through Friday we will be posting something new for you. 

  • Monday: Challenge for the Week
  • Tuesday: Quotables
  • Wednesday: Recipes of the Week
  • Thursday: Pro Health & Fitness Tips
  • and end the week with Photo Fridays!

And we promise a lot of "extras" along the way to make it worth your while to come and play!

So here's how you can help us - Join the "Fit, Happy and Healthy" Group, and then invite all your friends, family and co-workers to do the same.

It's super easy - just click this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/cr8fitness/ to ask for an invite, and once you are in, click the "invite members" on the right hand side of the page. 

Be there or be square (an oldie but goodie).

- DC

Why Don’t You Just Quit

If you want to achieve more, sometimes the best thing to do is ‘quit.’

Quit?

Yes, quit.

Sometimes the easiest way to make things happen in a positive fashion, for example…

  • Feel Like You Did at 20
  • Gain Muscle
  • Eat Healthier
  • Exercise Consistently
  • Look Better
  • Have More Energy
  • Lose Unwanted Ugly Fat

…is to quit doing some of the things that are standing in the way progress.

Here are some ideas to get you rolling:

What activities can you quit spending time on that produce little value or don’t help you reach your goal?

What people, that aren’t supportive of you, can you spend less time with?

What websites can you quit wasting time on?

What TV shows can you quit watching?

What stressors zap your energy that you can quit worrying about since you can’t change the outcome anyway?

And one that may ruffle your feathers…

What excuses can you quit making?

So instead of quitting the way most people do…they quit thinking big and they quit setting lofty goals…go a different route and quit doing some of the things that are standing in your way.

I'm over 50 and I often feel uncomfortable in my own skin because I've chosen a path of being strong and staying healthy. For those of you reading this that think I have done anything more than what you can do, please 'quit' telling yourself this. Anything I can do you can do. I am strong not because I worked at it one day or one week but over time. I am healthy not because of my choices this past month or in the past six months. Quit telling yourself you can't be like me because of this and that. I am human and I have stress, sleepless nights, teens, adult children, and family issues just like you. AT one point when I was 40 I quit telling myself this is just how it is and I started to do things differently. 

Quit telling yourself it’s impossible, and start making it happen!

Coach Nancy

It’s Never Over

It's time to stop short term thinking.

The modern American life is built around short term thinking. The latest tweet, or sound byte on the news. The new "it" actor or actress. The new cars coming off the assembly line. What's coming to Netflix this month? And the next day we forget about all that and are looking for the latest "new".

What good is that doing? 

I would submit none at all. This way of thinking, of living really, keeps us in this frenzied spin-cycle of trying to keep up and never quite being satisfied with all the blessing we already enjoy.

As I write this we are coming to the end of "Transform in 4", a focused period of building healthy nutrition habits centered around some really tasty food. And the inevitable question is...

"What's Next?"

How about this? Evaluate what you did over the last 4 weeks. What you did well with eating and exercise, and what you struggled with. On the things you did well, why? Was it because you planned and prepped? Was it because you liked the food? Was it because you maintained focus in a structured setting? And the things you didn't do well? Why not? It's not a judgement on your character, discipline or self-worth. It's just an "is". We evaluate, get help where we need it, and keep working at it. 

But DON'T think because the 4-week challenge is over that "It's" over.

Because it's never over. 

I love, love, love this quote from James Clear:

---

"How long does it take to build a habit?

21 days? 30 days? 66 days?

The honest answer is: forever. Because once you stop doing it, it is no longer a habit.

A habit is a lifestyle to be lived, not a finish line to be crossed. Make small, sustainable changes you can stick with."

---

Did you catch that? "A lifestyle to be lived, not a finish line to be crossed".

It's not that you HAVE to keep working on your health and fitness for the rest of your life.

It's that you GET to. 

Because I hate to break it to you. - You'll never get it perfect, all the time. But by sticking with it you'll find new ways to make it work better for the life you are living right now. 

So what's the small, sustainable change you can stick with right now?

Do THAT, and don't worry about the rest of it. Because once you do enough of those little "that's", real change starts to happen.

But it doesn't just happen by itself. It's up to you.

To Make It Happen!

- DC

P.S. - If you are not a Modernmeal Subscriber you are missing out on a whole lot of easy. It's a measly 50 cents a day, for crying out loud. Get It Here Now!

Grateful

Gratefulness does not come naturally to most of us.

It’s kind of like exercise.

We know it’s something we should practice, but we just don’t feel like it.

Seems like it’s easier to find something to gripe about than something to be thankful for.

But just like exercise, when you practice gratitude it becomes easier, and just like exercise an attitude of gratitude just makes life better.

I need more practice.

So here goes:

I am grateful for my hard working hubby who works long hours, can do anything he sets his mind to, and  loves me and his family. I love you Dean.

I am grateful for my 6 kids. The joy and enthusiasm they bring to me each day is priceless. To think I am a Gigi (grandmother) to 3 amazing little ones is more than I can fathom. 

I am grateful for my parents, and siblings. I will never understand why God gave me such a wonderful experience growing up.

I am grateful for Cr8 Fitness. I am grateful to every person who has walked through our doors. You allow me to do what I love to do. By allowing me to help you be better, you make me better. Thank-You!

I am grateful for the daily blessings the Creator bestows every day that is all too often overlooked. The sun that lights our way, the air we breathe, and the beauty of this world.

Practice makes perfect, so even when it’s hard I challenge you to practice a little gratitude each and every day. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Coach Nancy

Pacing yourself is one thing…

The picture below from our friends at Growing Bolder made me laugh. A geriatric Bruce Wayne and Peter Parker is just not a pretty picture, right?

I've never really been one to "pace myself" very much. The alternative approach I prefer is to "work hard...rest hard(er). And when I neglect the second part of that for too long, there are consequences. Recovery is important, and as you age you need more rest and recovery. 

BUT...

You have to consistently do something to rest and recover from. As we age FREQUENCY of exercise is actually shown to be more important than INTENSITY of exercise. In other words how often we exercise is more important than how much weight we lift. As we get into our fifties and beyond the whole "use it or lose it" concept is heightened. Missing workouts is very counterproductive; strength and mobility start to be lost after only a couple weeks. And we all know how hard it is (and how sore we are) when we miss time and then try to get started again.

So here's my encouragement to you. The holidays are coming. You are going to be busy - you already know this. DON'T miss your training. YOU are as important as anything else that is tugging at you. My goal is as that as we age together, we defy the "normal" and do what it takes to stay active, mind, spirit and body. 

Never stop climbing (and smashing through) walls.

Keep Making It Happen!

- DC

Lessons from My Uncle

My mom brought my Uncle David over for a visit yesterday, and it was a great time. David lives in California, and I haven't seen him for 5 years or so. He was in New England for his 60th high school reunion, to put some affairs in order, and to visit mom and some friends.

He and mom came in and checked out the house we are building, and it was really fun for me to watch a guy who has been around a while just "get" what we are trying to accomplish with the design and layout. We talked about everything from the nautical look of the railings (and why) to the viability of solar powerin the Northeast, to the type of floor we chose to use. One of the lessons I learned is that those who have gained wisdom don't necessarily have all the answers, but they know how to ask really good questions. 

After the tour of the house we sat down on the couch and I just got to listen to him. Sure, he talked about some of the ailments that come with age, but we decided that getting old could be a lot better than the alternative (NOT getting old, if you catch my drift). He shared stories from his youth, and I learned some things about my mom's side of the family I never knew. We talked about the land he owns in Canterbury. He told me what he's up to now back home; how he helps his neighbors with their electrical issues, and his friend with the big chicken farm that he works on. We talked about tractors (which I have been looking at), what he has, and what I should look for and why. Another lesson I learned; Experience matters, but using that experience in the service of others matters more. And another; having the humility to actually listen to those with experience is pretty big too.

And in spite of all the health issues, and the advancing age, I also witnessed the fruits of staying active in mind and body for his 78 years. As he was leaving with my mom, I watched him head around the north end of the gym, disappear for a brief second, and then almost instantly reappear at the south end of the gym. He was headed behind the new house to go take a look at the backhoe we had been talking about. But what struck me was how fast he was moving, over pretty rough terrain (that part of the yard is pretty torn up from the construction and tree roots I have dug up). This is a guy who is clearly reaping the benefits of not sitting on his behind during his retirement years. The lesson I was reminded of; use it or lose it. 

Such a great visit, such good lessons.

So what does all this have to do with you? While we could the lessons I learned many different ways, here's one way we could apply it to taking care of ourselves and aging proactively.

Ask Good Questions. A really good question to consider; what positive thing can I do today, even right now, that will make my tomorrows brighter? Get more sleep, go to training, train hard once I get there, learn to cook something new? 

Learn from Experience. Don't be a know-it-all. Be a lifelong learner. And when you learn something new that matters, apply it and keep applying it.

Use It or Lose It. Getting older? Celebrate, don't whine about the aches and pains. I went to a funeral of a 53 year old friend a couple weeks ago. I am guessing you don't want to trade places with him. And while you are here, make the most of it. Get off the couch. Get active. Live, love and laugh. You are an amazing human being with talents and gifts the world needs. Don't hide them, use them. Enjoy the journey, even though so often it is hard. There is a big difference between being alive and really living.

Thanks Uncle David. Let's not wait another 5 years to do it again.

- DC

When I Feel My Best I am a Sheep

Call me crazy but when I feel my best I am just like a sheep. I've been studying sheep (another reason to call me crazy) and here is what I have learned. In order to lie down a sheep must have 4 items met in their lives. So when we see a picture with sheep lazily eating grass and other sheep lying down in the shade here is what had to happen for that picture to be taken. 

  1. Sheep will not lie down unless they are not afraid. That means not agitated or easily riled. Then can't be on edge at all, they need to feel safe, secure, peaceful in order to lie down.
  2. Sheep will not lie down unless they have total peace within the flock. That means each little sheep has to be happy about the sheep next to him, being next to him. They have to be a happy little flock of sheep to lie down.
  3. Sheep will not lie down unless nothing is pestering them. Point number one covered the big fear factors of wild animals and beast eating them. Point number two covered the sheep next to him driving him crazy. This pestering is from the things that drive the sheep personally crazy- flies, ticks, and pests. Ever hear the phrase; "That really bugs me."? It very well could have come from someone trying to get a sheep to lie down. 
  4. Sheep will not lie down if they are hungry. This is easy to put into human terms and no one likes to go to bed hungry and we certainly will not be restful if we are not sure where are next meals is coming from 

So I am at my best when I am like a sheep.

My hubby, Dean, does the best job ever giving me a sense of security in my life. We live in a country where our security is relatively established. 

I am the one more in control of point number 2. I am a better person if I am not irritated by another member of the human race. Wow is that easy to say and yet so hard to do. Having internal peace along with external security helps me to be the best version of me. I don't want to drive others crazy either. 

Taking diligent care of myself physically helps me to keep that small ache or pain from 'bugging' me. The same is true when I let people under my skin and find they annoy the life out of me. Small irritations, little annoyances, petty frustrations, and ever recurring disagreeable circumstances leave me anything but my best. I have to be on my A- game in order to not let these little things pile up to full blown challenges. 

I live in a place where food is thrown out in bushels at grocery stores and restaurants. There is many programs to help those in need. In fact next week if you bring in a canned food item, Chichester Massage will award you a discount to your next massage.They will also pass along your food item to the local food banks. And yet how many of us find ourselves lacking in emotional food. We find ourselves drained and unable to put our best foot forward. Feeding yourself is all about our nutritional food but just as much about food that feeds the soul. 

What do you think? Want to feel your best? BE like a sheep and Make It Happen.

To your best health,

Coach Nancy



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