My Saturdays start with my 8 year old daughter and I heading down to the garage to our home gym. While I train, she constructs some sort of obstacle course out of whatever she can find. As far as she is concerned, the wackier, the more awesome it is and I mean anything goes – box, bucket, umbrella, shovel, etc. If she can lift it, it's fair game!
Once finished, the family is out of the house until early evening. As you can imagine finding healthy convenience food when you're on-the go can be a challenge. But, thanks to Subway, finding eats that fit your lifestyle just got easier! Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with other FitFluential ambassadors and Subway's corporate dietitian, Lanette Kovachi who oversees the nutritional information of menu items, to discuss exciting changes happening to Subway's menu.
One such change is Subway's new and improved grilled chicken. I actually had never eaten a grilled chicken sandwich at Subway, so I was quite excited to try it out. Since it was my first time, I thought I would go all in and have the Monterey Chicken Melt. Sounds pretty indulgent right? Well, I was pretty surprised to learn that my splurge had less than 400 calories AND packed in 29g of protein. Boo-yah!! Being the HANGRY girl that I am, I doubled the meat for even more yumminess. Yeah baby!
Monterey Chicken Melt – Double Meat!
Subway sandwiches are made to order, so I opted for the 9 grain wheat bun which is made with more than 50% of whole grains and has 4g of fiber for a 6-inch serving. Then I added cucumber, red onions, tomato and avocado. Delicious! The grilled chicken can be served on a bun, like mine, on flatbread or on top of a salad. Here are some reasons Subway's grilled chicken sandwiches and salads are a great option:
- No artificial preservatives or flavors
- All white meat, high protein
- Lightly seasoned and tastes great, not bland
- Sodium is down 30% over all for all sandwiches, and the Monterey Chicken Melt has less than 600 mg
- Indulgent tasting, but won't wreck your nutrition
- With over 40,000 locations, you can always find a Subway in a pinch!
For the most part, I prepare and carry my own food with me, but that does not always work out, especially when you are more often on your kids's schedule rather than your own! And finding protein is always a concern when on the run.
My girls have been subway fans for a couple of years and now mommy is one, too. Not only is it great tasting, it checks a lot of boxes on my nutrition list. If you haven't tried the grilled chicken yet, do it!
My always-on-the-go kiddos love Subway!
This post is sponsored by FitFluential.
All too often in our fitness endeavors we set our sights on building strength in our lower body, idolizing exercises like squats and deadlifts over all others. While men seem to give adequate (if not disproportionately more) attention to upper body strength, it just doesn't seem to be the case when it comes to women. Building lower body strength is a great goal for everyone and one that should be apart of every program, however, for the ladies, we need to bring some balance to our pursuit of fitness and see the value in developing strength in our upper body as well as our lower body.
Sufficient upper body strength improves every day movements like reaching, pulling, pushing and carrying. Lower body exercises like the deadlift will certainly assist with being able to pick things up from the floor like a child or suitcase. But, how empowering would it be if you could not only lift that suitcase off the floor, but then also be able to stow it in the overhead storage without assistance?
Developing upper body strength has a ripple effect which can enhance all your lifts, improving posture, stability, alignment and strength. From a physique point-of-view, women who are pear shaped can bring more balance to their appearance by building out their upper body, giving the illusion of a smaller waste. Hourglass figure…I'll take it!
Medicine ball push up
In this first challenge of 2015, we are showing our upper body some well-deserved attention! Each week we hope to introduce you to a new move that will challenge your normal way of doing things and move you just a bit beyond your comfort zone. Typically do military or front presses? Get ready to be introduced to the landmine press and more!
Each week will also feature a complete upper body workout that will stimulate muscle growth and have your muscle fibers twitching! Each workout will use only one type of equipment (i.e. medicine ball, kettlebell, etc.) or just your body for resistance. If you don't have the equipment prescribed, sub with another implement or repeat a challenge from a different week.
If you have your eye on being able to do your first unassisted pull up, we have dedicated a day to helping you get there. Practice these moves each week and beyond, working them into your normal workout regimen once the challenge is over. If push ups have your attention, we've got you covered there as well!
As with all EM2WL challenges, take time to relax and recover. Treat yourself like the queen that you are and relish the self care! Likewise, we have included important nutrition tidbits that are great reminders to keep your eating on track.
Check in with us! We would love to see you working hard and hear how this challenge is impacting you! Happy lifting!
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How long have you been on this journey?
I discovered EM2WL in May 2012. It’s been a long journey with both ups and downs, but there is no turning back for me. It took me a while to trust the process and I’m so happy that I stuck in there. Luckily for me, I have a lot of patience, which is key with this lifestyle. Yes, lifestyle. It is not a quick fix or a diet. It’s a way of life. If you like food, like most people do, then you will like EM2WL.
When did you first learn that you needed to eat more to reach your goals?
Well my story is a bit of a lengthy one, but I think it’s one that most people can relate to. I did Weight Watchers to lose weight after both of my pregnancies. After my first pregnancy it worked great. I had lost all the weight and then some. I was also doing a lot of cardio. I was running 5 days a week and doing some light weight lifting.
After my second pregnancy, however, the weight did not come off nearly as fast with Weight Watchers. I also was not able to do my usual 5 days of running because I was diagnosed with pelvic girdle pain. It is something that I deal with to this day. I came within 8 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight but my clothes just didn't fit the same. I was fatter! My body composition was completely different. All of that cardio and low calorie eating came back to bite me.
A few months later I stumbled across MyfitnessPal and the EM2WL group. I watched Kiki’s and Lucia’s videos about TDEE. I was intrigued to say the least and I decided to jump right in by doing a 3 month reset. I figured if the low calorie/cardio way wasn't working, then eating more certainly couldn't hurt.
What was your original response?
My initial response to EM2WL was disbelief. I was shocked. How could I not have known about this? How could someone eat so much food and lose fat? I just could not wrap my head around it.
How did others around you react about your decision to discard the usual low calorie methods for weight loss?
I think there was some hesitation from family members, except my brother. He is a personal trainer and knew exactly what I was doing. Most people didn’t understand, but I knew it was the right thing for me and that’s what matters.
How did your body react to the initial increase in cals?
Well, I gained! I ended up doing 2 resets and gained 25 pounds in a period of about one year. Yes, I know it sounds scary but I came to the realization that I had to gain before I could lose. Most people think they lose weight because they are eating LESS, but we need to realize that you’re losing weight because at one point you ate MORE. I now tell people that I actually gained weight on purpose.
I also noticed that my nails were stronger, my hair wouldn't fall out as much, and I wasn't cold all the time. I also saw that even though the number on the scale was either staying the same or going up, that my inches were going down.
Did your family notice or comment on any changes once you upped your calories for a period of time?
I think it sparked some curiosity in my family members. I am definitely more muscular now than I have ever been my entire life. My husband felt my arms earlier today and was impressed with my progress.
Can you describe your typical workout schedule prior to EM2WL and today?
Prior to EM2WL I was doing an insane amount of cardio. I would run 5 days a week and do light weight lifting. By that I mean lifting no more than 5-10 pound dumbbells. And to be honest, I don’t think I could lift more than that anyway because I wasn’t eating enough.
Today I do cardio maybe once a week. Again, I suffer from pelvic girdle pain and cardio tends to aggravate that, which is actually a good thing because that means that strength training is my primary form of exercise. It helps with my pelvis. So it’s a win-win!
I lift weights 3 days a week and lift heavy. I’m midway through The New Rules of Lifting for Women and have experienced great results thus far. I am also a huge Cathe fan. I’ve done 1.5 rounds of STS before spraining my wrist this summer.
I really look forward to my workouts because I love seeing my progress. I’m at the point now where I enjoy focusing more on what my body can do versus how much weight I have lost. That stupid number on the scale doesn’t mean anything to me anymore.
In conclusion, I’d like to thank Kiki, Lucia and the entire EM2WL family for the constant support. I’m so thankful that I have adopted this lifestyle. Not only for myself, but for my daughters too. They know when they see me exercising that I’m doing it so I can be strong, not so I can be skinny.
Holiday feasting always started early in our house. The cooking was complete by 9:00 in the morning and Thanksgiving dinner was served by noon. The menu was simple and has been the same for as long as I can remember. Once the feeding started, we continued until it was all gone – nothing was ever thrown out.
Post-Thanksgiving week went something like this:
Breakfast: Egg custard pie (It's a southern thing!)
Lunch: Turkey, dressing + pie
Dinner: Turkey, dressing, string beans + pie
This pattern of eating lasted until we polished off each item (not surprisingly, mom's 8 pies were always the first to go!). Then, we'd repeat the EXACT same scenario with the EXACT same meal at Christmas. The insanity of eating that way never really hit home until I was well into my thirties, as in a measly 5 years ago! I mean, it was the holidays and this meal was only prepared at this special time of year, so didn't I deserve to cut loose? Never mind the fact that it took almost half the year to undo the damage from that 4-week period.
Even after changing my diet for the other 48 weeks of the year, I still accepted that during this period all bets were off and it was ok to eat this way because I could ‘work it off'. At some point it clicked that this kind of excess just didn't jive with my lifestyle. Stuffing my face with all of those rich foods, meal after meal, day after day went against everything that I stood for – moderation, balance, nourishing my body and not being a slave to my taste buds. Nothing beats my mom's holiday spread, but I can appreciate a single meal without putting an entire year's worth of effort or my health in jeopardy.
One of the best things about this time of year is undoubtedly all the delicious holiday-themed treats and smells coming from the kitchen. Party invites are probably being thrown your way and you might already be wondering how you will enjoy the festivities without totally wrecking your progress. You will surely be tempted by tasty treats and delicious drinks while enjoying the company of family and friends and, by all means, should enjoy them. Use these holiday eating tips to indulge with moderation and avoid falling face first into the seasonal fat traps.
Set Your Day Up in Advance If you already know that you will be enjoying a favorite treat, like my mom's egg custard pie, make adjustments to the rest of your meals for that day. So, if some of your favorite foods are carb dense, eat less carbs throughout the day. The same practice can be applied to fats. Making adjustments to other meals will improve the overall macronutrient balance for the day.
Party Full- Another option to consider is having a healthy meal before you go. If you show up ravenous, you are more likely to make poorer food choices. Just like they say never go grocery shopping hungry, showing up to a smorgasbord with an empty stomach isn't the best idea either. As if all the decadent desserts aren't tempting enough, being around these things when you’re in need of food increases your likelihood of overindulging. Try eating some lean protein and a mix of fats and carbs before heading out.
Practice Moderation Living a healthy lifestyle doesn't mean you can't partake in the holiday's bounty. Rather, it means you understand the importance of moderation and you practice it. Decide up front that you will indulge mindfully, eating the way you do the rest of the year with a treat or two added in. One approach you can take is to follow an 80/20 rule (80% healthier choices, 20% less than healthy). This way you won't feel deprived of any foods, yet you won't have to carry around the guilt or the pounds from overindulging.
Eat Slow & Stop Before Full This recommendation stands all the time, but doesn't hurt mentioning again here. Although you may want to dive head first into the goodies, slow down your eating. If it is a once-a-year meal act like it and savor each and every bite. Not only will you appreciate the meal more, you will give your brain and gut time to communicate fullness and help you recognize when to stop eating. Once you start to feel full, you know it is time to stop.
Forgive & Forget-If things don't go according to plan and you somehow find yourself polishing off an entire pie (it has been known to happen!), let it go and move on. Listen, we’re all human, and as such we are fallible. There will be times we overdo it, but holding on to that guilt will do more harm than good. What matters is how you move forward. Acknowledge your overindulgence, try and figure out what triggered it, and carry on. Live in the present and let go of the past.
Remember What Food Is & Isn't- Sometimes we find ourselves uncomfortable in a room full of people or relatives we are glad we only see once a year. Being stressed or nervous can increase your chances of eating one cookie too many. During these times, remember what food is and isn't. Food is sustenance. It is not a problem solver. It’s not a friend to confide in. Mindlessly eating in response to an awkward or uncomfortable situation won't solve any of your problems, it just creates a new one – overindulgence! See food for what it is and don't let it be your crutch.
Whether fall and winter or spring and summer, these rules apply year-round. By sticking to the nutrition and exercise habits you've established and indulging mindfully, you can increase your chances of staying svelte through sweater season and ready to rock come summer. Always check in to the real meaning behind each holiday and recognize that it isn't just about the food. Most importantly enjoy this time with your family and friends!
For many years we were told to avoid eating fat if we didn't want to get fat. We turned to foods brandishing the “low fat” label and gobbled up more and more processed foods which actually contributed to weight gain. Recent studies have debunked the eat-fat-get-fat myth and have shown that all fat varieties (sans trans fat) can and should have a place in your diet!
Fats play a major role in our bodies, forming our brains, nervous systems and cell membranes. It helps to manufacture and balance hormones and transport fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. “Healthy” fats help to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, as well as lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and raise HDL (good cholesterol). Fats also provide energy to the body.
This month focuses on increasing unsaturated fats like omega-3 fatty acids, in our diet You will be challenged to plan where your fats will come from each week, and then, armed with your fats list, you'll hit the store to stock up. On action days we will try easy ways to boost our fat intake or swap one fat for another.
Flex your intuitive eating muscle by not logging one day each week. At the end of the day, look back and see how you did. As always, check in with us on social media – show us your macro charts, nutrient breakdown or what you're eating that day.
No challenge would be complete without some movement, so we've included finishers that you can do following a strength workout or for when you are short on time. They are short, but intense!
It's pretty easy to find ways to indulge when it comes to fats! On this day, indulge mindfully with a new snack choice like chia seed pudding or an apple and nut butter sandwich.
Lastly, keep celebrating your NSVs and sharing them with the community! Your story may be just what someone needs to hear to keep them committed!
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