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Function and Fitness Blog
Function and Fitness Blog
Coach Jess
5:00 AM

To Supplement or Not to Supplement?

It’s a question I get a lot: “what supplements should I be taking?”

Like any health related questions I get, there’s never an easy answer. So, naturally, I’m about to give you a not easy answer to this.

I like to remember “supplements” for exactly what they are – a way to supplement your diet. Ideally, you’re getting everything you need from the food you’re eating. Nature (when you’re eating whole and unprocessed foods) has this magic way of prepackaging nutrients in a way that they can and should be digested. For example, an almond has Vitamin E – and also the fat content needed to help your body actually digest that Vitamin E. (Vitamin E is a “fat-soluble” vitamin).

That being said, I would say limit your supplements and eat whole and unprocessed foods.

But what if you’re not eating whole and unprocessed foods? Supplement, right?

Well, maybe not. The first thing I would recommend is trying to figure out what supplement you might be deficient in. For this, I would have you reach out to your primary doctor to get tested.

Once we have answers we can go from there.

There are some other things I’d want you to consider as well if you’re going down the supplement route:
  1. Have you looked at your nutritional intake/ made changes to your diet that would allow for you to get the deficient element from a natural source?
  2. How’s the quality of the supplement you’re taking? Are there a ton of fillers that aren’t so good and potentially negate all the good of taking that supplement? (The FDA does not regulate the production of supplements)
  3. Are there any interactions?
  4. What do I need to eat with the supplement to make sure my body absorbs it?
  5. What am I trying to achieve by taking this supplement?
Some good places to research the specific supplement and brand you’re considering are as follows:

  • ConsumerLabs.com
  • Examine.com
  • www.precisionnutrition.com/supplements

As with anything, you’re going to need to tailor your supplements to your specific needs. In other words, be smart about supplementing. Do your research on you and your specific needs. As always, if you need advice, reach out to us! We’re here to help!

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

A Handier Meal

As some of you know, the (literally, it felt like) 400th time I decided to get serious about weight loss I did it all with tracking my calories in MyFitnessPal and also tracking my workouts with a heart-rate monitor. Despite my crazy aversion to math and numbers, I lived by what the numbers told me. And it worked. I lost 30 pounds and I felt awesome. Seriously, life changing, I-don’t-need-to-hide-my-arms-in-sweaters-anymore kind of awesome.

When it comes to MyFitnessPal, it comes down to portion size. You better believe that I weighed things out. Break out the measuring cups, spoons, meat scale, etc… If you’ve played the game you know how it feels measuring out every little thing. Meal prep goes from a two-minute thing to a ten-minute thing. Sure, eventually you learn what a cup of frozen yogurt or cherries roughly looks like, but it can be tiring.

When I return from baby I plan on ditching the measuring spoons and going a much easier – handier – way. Literally. I plan on using hand measurements. As in, a serving of protein = my palm, a serving of vegetables = my clenched fist, a serving of carbs = my cupped hand, and a serving of fat = my thumb.

The awesome thing about using your hand as a measuring device is that it’s scalable and portable! No more excuses for over-eating because you “didn’t know what the portion size was.”

While you’ll need to base how much of each thing you’ll get to eat on you/your activity level/your goals, a good place to start is:

For Men:

4 Meals a Day

Each meal:

2 palms of protein

2 fists of vegetables

2 cupped handfuls of carbs

2 thumbs of fat

 

For Women:

4 Meals a Day

Each meal:

1 palm of protein

1 fist of vegetables

1 cupped handful of carbs

1 thumb of fat


Again, this is just a starting point – you will definitely need to adjust for you. The size of your hand has already been adjusted specifically for you, but if you’re working out for an hour a day, you’ll probably need some more protein and carbs. Luckily, we can help you make those determinations!

So ditch the measuring cups and give hand measuring two thumbs up!

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

The Dreaded Plateau and How to Own It

It’s a spot we all hit at a certain point in our weight loss (or life) journey – the dreaded plateau.

Though they are 100% completely normal and expected, when we hit plateaus they feel unfair, annoying, sometimes everlasting, and always discouraging. Why is it that everything was going so well and then stopped?

Plateaus happen for a number of reasons – you may need to reduce calorie intake a little more or switch up your workouts (ahem, venture into strength training). But rather than focus on why they happen, I want to focus on what you need to do to get through it – like, mentally get through it.

We often make this equation in our minds: plateau = failure. But if you can consider changing up your mindset (and I’m hoping you will), consider weight loss like moving up a mountain. As you ascend, you’re going to hit check points far before you hit the peak. And just like climbing a mountain, at each check point you re-asses what else you’ll need to get to the top. Maybe it’s more water, maybe it’s adding more steps per day, maybe it’s cutting out that nightly glass of wine… no judgment…

Sure, assessment is key but let’s also, most importantly mention that at each check point on that mountain climb you CELEBRATE reaching that check-point. You look down at all you’ve accomplished and you stretch out those triceps by patting yourself on the back. And rightfully so! If you stop thinking of plateaus as failures and see them as giant accomplishments instead you’ll be far more encouraged to keep on keeping on. Boom! I hit this check-point! What might I need to do now to get to the next one? Rather than throw in the towel and binge eat everything in your hiking pack, let’s re-evaluate what’s in that hiking pack. We could just need a slight re-calibration of sorts to get you closer to the peak.

One Last Consideration

Now here’s the thing I want you to consider – what happens when you reach the peak? Will you know you’ve reached the peak? And even a further thought – if your goal is weight loss – won’t the peak be one giant plateau?

Eventually, you will hit that point where there’s no more fat to be lost. What does that mean to you? I hope that you’ll continue climbing – but maybe up a different mountain. Maybe one named the “I want to work on doing one (or 20) amazing pull-ups” mountain or the “I want to take a TRX training course” mountain. Whatever your mountain is named, whether it be “lose 20 pounds so I can fit into my wedding dress,” or “I just want to be able to keep up with my grandkids,” we’re here to be your Sherpas!

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

When All or None Means None

We’re having a “good day” – a healthy breakfast, great morning snack, really beautifully planned lunch, and then someone brings in cake to celebrate an office birthday. We have the tiniest, tiniest bite. But then, since we had the tiniest bite, we might as well have a little more. And then F*** it! Might as well have an actual sized slice. And since we did that, pizza for dinner, and might as well have dessert and a glass of wine because I already ruined the day with that cake!

This is often how dieting goes. It’s an all-or-nothing mindset where if you take a small little stumble off the wagon in even the slightest way, you might as well have just jumped off!

Let’s pull back the reigns a little bit. In fact, let’s step off the wagon. Let’s maybe not even consider getting “on the wagon” again. Whaaaa?! What could she be saying?

I’m saying it’s time to end this eternal starting and stopping thing because it’s not working.

"Slightly Better"

It’s time to consider what you’re actually doing and how to improve it. Real change comes when you change a habit. Okay, so you have a breakfast burrito every day for breakfast. How ‘bout having half of that burrito and a bowl of fruit? You still get the burrito, but you get something “slightly better” with cutting it in half and having some fruit on the side.

Let’s go back to the cake incident we started with. What would have been “slightly better” in this instance? And no, it’s not “never having the first bite.” We know you’re going to have that bite. But “slightly better” might have been having that bite with a large glass of water to fill you up. Or have a bowl of cherries with that bite of cake. Maybe a handful of almonds. Something that makes you feel satiated without having to eat a whole cake.

So okay, maybe the proposed decision still led you to the pizza for dinner. But “slightly better” might have been starting that dinner off with some vegetables or a salad. Maybe choosing dessert OR wine, instead of both.

While “slightly better” isn’t “BEST,” won’t it get you closer to that weight loss goal? I’m going to say it right now – you aren’t perfect. You may have perfect days. You may have perfect weeks. But if you’re living by an “all-or-nothing” rule, then you’re setting yourself up for a helping of “nothing.”


So next time you’re confronted with the cake/pizza/wine dilemma, ask yourself:

What would “slightly better” be?

What would “slightly worse” be?

Which choice is the one I can make right now?

I’m hoping that “slightly better” leads you to continue making “slightly better” choices that will empower you and get you closer to your goal. I’m also hoping it will help you from going down the path of free-for-all! As fun as that might be…

As always, if you need help determining you’re slightly better, never hesitate to ask any of us!