Are you always bloated part 2...Solutions!

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If you read last weeks blog, and you were raising your hand to any of it saying “that’s me that’s me,” then I know you are also looking for some solutions. We have all been in a place of waking up and feeing puffy and swollen, AKA bloated. As I said last week that could be due to factors that are easily fixable. Below are a few things you can do to get rid of the temporary bloat you may be experiencing.

  1. Hydration!! While it seems counterproductive…..I’m holding on to water so let me drink more…it really works! You may be holding on to extra water because your body doesn’t have enough to function at 100%...so when you give it more and it says “YESSS!! I’m no longer worrying about when and if I’ll get more water,” it will start to release what its holding. Plain water with lemon over diet drinks and even soda water will be best…bubbles can make you feel bloated too! Using an electrolyte supplement like NUUN or Skratch will also help the lethargy you may feel from being dehydrated by replacing electrolytes.

  2. Get moving! Sometimes we can be bloated from constipation. The more we move, the more we get those juices flowing…go get a workout in at the gym or head out for a walk/hike. It’ll also help you sweat

  3. Avoid high carb/processed foods for a few days. High carbohydrate foods tend to make us hold on to more water. Highly processed foods are full of sodium which will just make us feel more bloated.

  4. Take a tbsp of apple cider vinegar with the "mother" per day for a few days. Mix it into water so it tastes better or just inhale it like a true champ :) ACV balaces out the PH in our gut. Do this for temporary bloat and to help heal the gut (see below for more)

  5. Take Dandelion root tea or capsules. It is a natural diuretic that will help to release extra fluid in a very gentle way!

But what if you are experiencing what I did 15 years ago…feeling pregnant all the time, when you aren’t. This could be a more serious issue. In my experience, it typically is related to a gut issue or food sensitivities (please talk to your PCP as I do not know your individual challenges or contact me HERE to talk more in depth about your unique situation). The below recommendations are general to keeping your gut healthy. Should you suspect you have a food sensitivity, please contact me HERE and we can talk about doing an elimination diet to get to the root cause of your challenges.

  1. Avoid added sugar and processed food as much as possible

  2. Take a daily probiotic. I use Purium and its super easy on the stomach!

  3. Eat fermented foods daily: sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, grass fed plain yogurt

  4. Limit gluten when possible: gluten can open the “pores” on your gut lining which can allow for more toxins to get in.

  5. Make sure you have some tools in place for stress management (the mind and body are fully connected) try guided meditation, exercise, journaling etc.

  6. Implement tools to make sure you are getting quality sleep: get the body ready for bed by turning off the tv/phone, stretch, take a bath, use Purium Apothecherry.

Happy de-bloating!!

Are you always bloated?

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There are days that I look in the mirror, and I’m wondering what the heck is going on…I say to myself, “omg I look pregnant!” I literally look like I gained 15 pounds over night.

Beer belly anyone?

Take this feeling plus gas and you’ve got one heck of an uncomfortable lady! That was me 15 years ago: gassy and bloated all the time!! Luckily, that is on the rare occasion these days.

There’s a common theme among the questions I get from clients, and that is; “Why am I always bloated?”

There could be two things going on. Let’s identify which category you fall into below.

Puffy & swollen? You wake up and your eye lids, fingers, belly feel swollen? This is probably due to holding onto extra water your body doesn’t need and happens to all of us on occasion; it’s part of life.

Belly bloating all the time? If you’re like I used to be, and you feel like you always look pregnant, it could be a more serious issue.

Let’s look at common things that are more easily fixed that could be causing this problem.

  1. Artificial sweeteners: this was my issue! I chewed so much fake gum (which causes gas in our digestive system) I literally hurt my jaw! If you’re a splenda, sweet n low, equal, diet drink kind of person, this can absolutely be the culprit. When your body is fed a foreign substance (artificial sweeteners) it can react by causing bloat and gas.
  2. Eating out and processed foods: You probably know this, but when we eat out, we don’t know what is going into our food, and we get a ton of extra sodium. The chemicals in processed food are not real food, and therefore your body is seeing it as a foreign substance, once again.
  3. Alcohol: Alcohol can cause dehydration… by causing us to pee a lot. When we are dehydrated our bodies will hold on to every ounce of fluid to prevent it from getting worse.
  4. We’re backed up. If you suffer from constipation that will certainly make you bloated. Make sure to get your daily dose of fiber to help get things moving!
  5. Too many cruciferous veggies (too much fiber) Just down a whole bunch of raw kale? This could be the culprit.
  6. Your protein powder: there are so many protein powders on the market that’re full of chemicals & artificial sweeteners. Get yourself one with ingredients you can pronounce! I use Purium and it’s the best investment I have ever made!
  7. Carbohydrates: I love me some carbs…and I eat them daily, but for some of us…too much can cause your body to hold onto water, which will make you feel bloated. Find the right amount for your body and stick with that!
  8. Carbonated drinks. The bubbles in carbonated water can cause a build up of air that moves down the digestive tract into the colon, causing extra bloat

Let’s talk about the more serious stomach bloating, feeling pregnant all the time bloat.

The # 1 culprit here is your gut health! Your gut is your second brain, and it controls almost all bodily functions. If it becomes unhealthy, it manifests in many different ways, and the most common one is gas/bloat.

More times than not, clients come with this exact challenge and we work to clean out their gut, and this usually solves the problem over time. What causes an unhealthy gut?

  1. Food allergies/sensitivities: most common ones are dairy, gluten, soy, nuts.
  2. Lack of sleep: this is a very common one that most people skip over. I’m not talking about a night or two here and there of bad sleep. BUT, if you have struggled with getting a healthy dose of ZZZ’s, that causes a lot of stress on the body, and can contribute to an unhealthy gut.
  3. Chronic stress: Your gut and your brain are inter-connected
  4. Medications. Have you taken antibiotics on and off your entire life, or maybe you’ve had a recent stint of several rounds? Antibiotics kill the good bacteria that keep your gut healthy, and without it, it can cause bloating.
  5. Too much sugar/processed food

What are problems without solutions?

Next blog we will be talking about solutions to reduce the bloat you are experiencing! We will dive into both kinds and how you can help yourself, so you can start to feel like you again!! Check back next week!

If you want to talk with me for FREE to get more in depth about your unique situation and walk away with solutions, CLICK HERE

Vacation Mode & Staying Healthy During It (but don't worry, you can still enjoy your fav foods)

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Last week I was in Ocean City, MD on a family vacation. To make a long story short, my dad passed 10 years ago, and he grew up in Salisbury MD. He spent summers in OC as a kid. When I was a child, he would take us there every year, so we go there to honor him and keep the tradition alive!

What I have heard from you so many times is how hard it is to stay healthy when traveling or on vacation. I get it. You work hard at life all year round. There’s the kids, work, trying to eat well and exercise, chores, and much more. Vacation is a time to let loose, have no worries and be carefree! So, why wouldn’t you have the mentality of being care free when it comes to your food choices while away. After all, it is only one week or so right? While all of that is true, it sets up a very black and white mentality where you’re either “on” or “off.” What I want to talk to you about is that middle ground! How can you live a “normal” social life, and still make progress towards your weight loss goals? Or at least maintain the progress you have made while you are away on vacation. How can you create consistency, even when you are on the go? Here are some tips:

Practice balance. Let’s say you know that dinner is the time where you gather with the fam to go out. If you anticipate that being your heaviest meal, try to choose lighter options the rest of the day. For example, instead of waffles at breakfast, try eggs, fruit and avocado. Instead of a sandwich at lunch, opt for a salad with tons of protein. This way, when dinner comes, it won’t be an overload of unhealthy foods the entire day, just one meal.

Another thing to do is checks and balances. “I am going to skip the bun, so I can have fries.” Or, “I am going to eat a healthy meal with less carbs, so I can have a glass or two of wine and some dessert.” Quick tip: if you're going to drink a few drinks, or if the entire trip will consist of an abundance of alcohol, try to eat mainly proteins, veggies, and fats. Stick to lower carbs.

Stay active! I know lounging on vacation always sounds like a good idea. And..I want you to do that! It is important to take time out to relax and rejuvenate. However, I like to take some time on vacation in the morning before the day gets started to exercise. Whether it’s stretching, cardio, weights, whatever is available to you. This will help your mood and in turn help you to make better food choices in the day. And, if you decide to have some indulgences, at least you got an extra calorie burn right?

Back on that all or nothing mindset. Just because you decide to have an ice cream cone, does not mean you have to then go eat pizza, candy, cookies etc. I would encourage you to fully enjoy that cone, and move on. No guilt, no shame! Making a conscious decision to enjoy a treat is a great thing, because you planned for it, and can fully enjoy it. When you take that and decide you’ve “ruined the day, and you should go eat whatever the heck you want, and start again tomorrow,” rarely will you enjoy the other things you’re eating, you’re just doing it because you feel the need to “get it all in.” There is room for ALL foods in your diet!

I am not saying this way of balanced eating and thinking is easy. If you have dieted your entire life, then this way of thinking is going to take time, patience, and practice. But if I was able to master it, I know you can do it too! If this way of eating is difficult for you, take a look into my FREE personal 7 day food, exercise, and self care journal. It will show you how I create balance & consistency all year round, while still enjoying a social life. It will show you how I incorporate my favorite foods into my diet, while still staying lean, and it will give you the strategies to do this for yourself! CLICK HERE for the free download!

Foods that help fight fat, prevent disease, and make you feel awesome!

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I hate when I hear “experts” telling people to “eat these foods, they will make you lose weight,” because honestly, and I know you know this, there isn’t a secret food that will make you burn fat and lose weight on it’s own. BUT, there is a series of foods that work in their own way (along with a SLIGHT calorie deficit) to help you fight fat, get healthy, and prevent chronic disease. I wanted to compile my fav ones and tell you why they will aid in the fat loss process.

  1. Locally Grown or Organic Chicken/Grass-fed beef: These two foods help fight fat because they make you feel full for a longer period of time (helping to curb your urge to munch) compared to any other macro-nutrient. They both contains all essential amino acids which is what makes up our muscles and we need to help keep us energized and our muscles sculpted! Aim to get 4-6 oz of protein at your main meals!
  2. Brain octane oil: This oil is 100% caprylic acid, which is one of the fatty acids found in coconut oil. It gives your brain the essential fatty acids it needs to stay running at it’s optimal rate which is important when trying to lose weight. It helps energy, metabolism, cognitive processing and fatigue. Start with 1 tsp in coffee, tea, salad dressing or a smoothie, and work your way up to a tbsp per day. You can find it here. It is the second item on the list!
  3. Grapefruit: Enzymes found in it can help your body break down sugar, helping to boost your metabolism, which means we can burn more calories on the daily! Try adding a slice of grapefruit to boost your breakfast or squeezing a little fresh juice into a glass of water. Bonus: Even just sniffing grapefruit essential oil from Doterra (because it’s the purest brand) can help increase your metabolism. Dab it on your wrists or diffuse into the air to curb your food cravings too!
  4. Leafy greens like kale, spinach, collard greens and Swiss chard are chock-full of nutrients and iron. They help keep muscles functioning properly and burning calories long after a workout. They’re packed with vitamin K, which keeps bones strong and helps ward off osteoporosis,
  5. Apple Cider Vinegar: So…this isn’t something you do and magically lose fat, which I hear so many “claims about.” However, it does help to make you feel full prior to a meal, and it helps to balance out the PH in your gut. I like to add a scoop of L-Glutamine into it with a tbsp of water. The L-glutamine helps build the walls of your gut so toxins can’t get in as easily! Take a tbsp (get one that has the “mother” in it) of ACV and a scoop of L-glutamine in water prior to a meal! Cheers!
  6. Bone broth: this isn’t a myth! This stuff can really aid the fat burning process and heal your body. Because it contains amino acids, it helps prevent muscle breakdown, increases your metabolism and helps detoxify your body.
  7. Matcha Green Tea: drinking this regularly can aid in reducing body fat and lowering cholesterol. It is 10X more potent than plain green tea when it comes to aiding your fat loss efforts. The catechins present in it helps to boost your metabolism. It is loaded with antioxidants that help inflammation and stress, in turn helping to reduce cortisol levels. (I need this) Starbucks makes an unsweetened matcha latte with coconut milk, love it!
  8. Kefir: is a fermented drink similar to yogurt, so it is an easy switch a few times per week. It’s packed with probiotics, the good bacteria that keeps your gut functioning well, which is great because your gut controls almost everything! The Lactobacillus gasseri found in probiotics are good news if you’re trying to lose weight. If you don't do diary, opt for the unsweetened cashew kefir!
  9. My favorite of them all (I know it’ll be yours too) is Dark Chocolate!!! Alright so for some of us, eating small portions can be tricky, and if it is a trigger for you, then try to avoid it majority of the time. BUT the flavonoids in it WILL help reduce inflammation, improve cognitive function, keep you satisfied, prevent spikes in blood-sugar levels, helping you to prevent overeating. Look for 70% or higher and keep it to one ounce or less per day.
  10. Spicy Foods! Spices that warm your body, in particular, cayenne, turmeric, cinnamon, and dandelion do more than just make you feel the heat! These foods can suppress hunger levels, normalize blood sugar levels, (which we know if blood sugar is constantly spiked that can cause weight gain) and reduce your cravings for sweets. I add cinnamon to my morning coffee for a quick boost!

Of course there are many other foods that help to fight fat, prevent disease and make you feel awesome, but these are some of my favorites!!!

If you think anyone you know would want to hear about these foods, please share it with them!

What Is Functional Medicine Coaching & How Can It Help You?

ALAS! I have finished my Functional Med Coaching program, and I am super stoked to bring this knowledge to all of you because that’s what it’s all about, right?

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While I feel I have been using a lot of the same principles with my holistic nutrition background, I have learned so much and have brought that into my practice to help you even more to lose fat, keep it off forever, and heal disease! But, every time I tell people I do functional medicine coaching, they look at me with a blank stare…”uhhhh, what?!” So I thought this would be a good time to tell ya’ll what the heck FM is and how it can help you!

Functional medicine addresses the root cause of your challenges around health and wellness. Instead of giving you a pill or a short-term solution to mask the problem, Functional medicine uses nutrition and lifestyle changes that enable you to improve your health and wellness over the long term. It addresses the whole person, and not just a set of symptoms. It treats each client as an individual, and programs are tailored to you and your needs.

So, how can that benefit you? Well, as I always say, losing weight and keeping it off, plus healing disease is so much more than just telling you what to eat. Most of you know what to eat, but applying it to your daily life and staying consistent proves to be challenging…am I right? There are so many other areas of health that contribute to your ability to be successful, and that is where FM comes in. Can you think of a time where you got really frustrated about something, and headed straight to the kitchen cabinet to grab food? Or a time when you started a new “diet” program only to stop it 4 weeks later? Have you asked yourself why either of those scenarios has happened? If you really want to lose weight, keep it off & heal disease, you have to address all of the factors, not just the food! Just to name a few:

-Stress. Sleep. Loneliness. Physical activity. Relationships. Joy.

I know we all want quick fixes, but losing fat, keeping it off, and managing disease, is a journey, not a destination.

Pre-Diabetic or High Blood Sugar? Read This!

If you are struggling with high blood sugar, and quite possibly pre-diabetes, this ones for you. I want to tell you about a client I had about a year ago, Annie. She had just been to the doctor who told her she was newly pre-diabetic. She called me frantically needing to get those numbers down. “ Julia, I cannot develop diabetes, and I have 3 weeks to bring my blood sugar down.” Well, you know I was right there to help her, and fast!! Sure enough, 3 weeks later…no longer pre-diabetic and down 8 pounds!

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The key to avoiding weight gain, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes etc is to eat foods that do not spike your blood sugar and insulin. Think protein, veggies, and good healthy fats. When we eat carbohydrates, especially processed ones, they drastically will spike blood sugar and insulin, which is what we want to avoid regardless of our goals. Annie’s success plan included:

-Eating mostly proteins, veggies and fats at each and every meal. This is the best way to ensure you’re avoiding any big spikes in blood sugar and insulin.

-Stick to low starch veggies like leafy greens, peppers, tomatoes, celery, asparagus, cucumbers, etc, and avoid the higher starch ones including beets, squash, all potatoes, pea, corn, etc.

-Getting daily movement in. Whether it be the gym, a workout class, taking stairs, or just walking for 20 minutes, it was a priority every single day.

-Avoid fruits, sugar in all forms (only a small amount of stevia), beans & legumes, grains, bread, pasta, and alcohol all together for the full 3 weeks. You may be thinking “jeez Julia, that is super strict!” Well, it is. But when it comes to developing diabetes or not, it’s a must!

You may also ask why fruit? Although I am pro fruit, it still will spike blood sugar more than proteins, fats and veggies, so because this was a pretty desperate situation, we went cold turkey. However, for my clients who are just trying to lose and keep off fat, this is not necessarily the way to go. (That’s a whole different topic) If you follow the above steps, you too can successfully prevent diabetes and bring down high blood sugar.

Here’s the key: you MUST, and let me say that again, you MUST follow through with a re-intoduction phase. It is not realistic to eat that strictly forever because we know eventually it will set us up for failure and over-indulging. Guiding Annie on how to re-introduce the foods back into her diet allowed her to maintain the 8 pound weight loss and most importantly, she is now a human with no diabetes!

I also want to mention that doing something like this for 3 weeks is a great way to get off sugar, reduce cravings and jump start weight loss, but it should be TEMPORARY as too strict of eating sets us up for failure. That being said, I am so excited for my online virtual program to launch later this year!! It will outline the exact steps on how to get off sugar, reduce cravings, increase energy, lose weight and keep it off! Stay tuned my friends!

Tips To Reduce Cravings...The Exact Strategies I use!!

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Just a few days ago, I was sitting in front of my TV watching the Bachelor (my guilty pleasure, don't judge me!) and all of a sudden I had an urge for a nestle skippy pop. You probably don’t know what this is, but as a kid my friends and I would take pops cereal, one at a time, dip it in skippy peanut butter, and top it off with a chocolate chip. Ahh so nostalgic for me! Why was I all of a sudden craving something I hadn’t had in years?

Well, Im not sure, but what I do know is that I haven’t had a craving in a long time, wooohooo….. but during my weight loss journey these kinds of cravings happened all of the time! As my journey continued I noticed they were happening less and less. I did keep a journal when I was in the process of losing the weight, and when this recent craving came on, I went back to reflect! Since it has been some time since I have lost the weight (Im gonna toot my own horn and say Woohoooo for keeping it off, ASK ME HOW YOU CAN DO THIS TOO) I had to re-evaluate my old journal and combine the strategies I used then, and the ones I use now to reduce cravings. So, I wanna share with you those exact strategies so you can start to cut down on cravings too, and not feel like a slave to sugar and/or salt like I used to!

  1. Don’t drink your calories: liquid calories drive your appetite, so save your calories for food. Try unsweetened beverages. I love fruity iced teas!
  2. Keep your blood sugar stable. I talked all about ways to do this through food on social last week. Swings in blood sugar is a main driver of cravings. When you eat carbs, always pair it with some form of protein. This will help the spike in your blood sugar. Dont start your morning with pure carbs (incuding oatmeal and fruit) add a form of protein to it!
  3. Don't deprive yourself of the foods you enjoy: depriving yourself completely of the foods you love will only make you crave them more. Allow yourself the occasional treat, guilt free (you may have to go cold turkey at first (and then add them back in occasionally) which will take the cravings away faster. Balance people!
  4. Slowly start adding in more nutritious foods so the more unhealthy ones get crowded out: sugar is like a drug: the more we have it, the more cravings we get. Fill your day with tons of veggies!
  5. Eat a variety of foods and prioritize certain ones including: -Omega 3: important for controlling insulin function (think wild salmon and nuts) Vit D: your appetite control is impaired by low levels. (also fatty fish, mushrooms and egg yolks) -Some supplements to help cravings: L-Glutamine, ALA, and chromium.
  6. Have small frequent fiber rich meals throughout the day: normally I tell clients to be intuitive and eat when they feel hungry. However, if you struggle with cravings, eating smaller, more frequent meals can benefit you when it comes to reducing cravings. Think protein and fat. Protein will keep you full for a long period of time, and fat will keep you satisfied! (nuts, hard-boiled eggs, turkey slices with avocado)
  7. Avoid eating 2-3 hours before bed. Eating right before bed can drive up insulin levels, and we know that high insulin leads to gaining weight, specifically in the belly. Belly fat actually drives cravings.
  8. Nourish your gut. An unhealthy gut can cause intense cravings. Take a probiotic daily and eat fermented foods daily including kimchi, sauerkraut and yogurt.
  9. Good Stress management: anything stressful can trigger hormones that bring on cravings. I recommend taking 3 big deep breaths before you head to the refrigerator, and ask yourself, “What am I really feeling right now?” “What is it that I need.” A lot of the time you’ll find you are eating because of stress.
  10. Know if you are allergic to any foods. The body is weird and will actually crave the very foods we are sensitive to.
  11. Sleep: I know it has been said a ton, but if we don’t get sound sleep, it activates the hormone ghrelin, which is your appetite hormone.
  12. Stay away from artificial sweeteners. These work just the same as sugar. It tricks your brain into thinking it is getting sugar, and can actually make you crave more. If you do use them, stevia is the best choice.
  13. Gum: this is a tricky one. For some peeps, the constant chewing helps them, but for most of us it tricks your brain into thinking food is coming, and can actually make us hungrier.

I hope you try some of these strategies!! If you do, I would love love love to hear from you and see which ones are workin for ya! If you are having a hard time finding a good balance like I used to, please REACH OUT and let’s talk about it!

On The Go?

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Phew! What a week I had visiting family and friends in New York! It's crazy how when I'm out of my routine for 10 days, how much I missed it! I really like having structure in my life, what about you? Are you a go with the flow type person, or would you rather have structure?

As you may have noticed, this past week on social media we were talking all about on the go snacks to help you stay on track with your health and wellness goals, and help push you in the direction of your weight loss goals too! I literally get the same question from every single client; what snacks can I pack that are easy, quick and healthy? I wanted to recap in this blog in case you missed it! These are literally the exact snacks I pack when I'm on the go, and used them all week during my travels!

  1. Nuts Nuts Nuts, and Seeds!! I prefer macadamia's, pecans, cashews and pumpkin seeds! But any nuts do the trick! Walnuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, you name it! They are most nutritious when they are raw and soaked overnight or sprouted, but if you don't have time for that, you'll still reap the benefits! Nuts are truly like medicine, and all you need is a handful a day!

  2. Beef/Turkey Jerky! My favorite brand is The New Primal! They come in packages or sticks with a variety of flavors that are super easy to throw in your bag for a protein punch!

  3. Almond Butter! They come in small individual packets you can also throw in your bag. With the combo of healthy fats and protein, they are sure to keep you satisfied! I love the honey and maple flavors...because balance right? Toss in an apple for more of a mini meal! (Remember the trick: always pair carbs with some form of fat or protein to slow down a spike in your blood sugar as well as digestion)

  4. Hard-Boiled Eggs! This is one of my favs because they're filling! Actually, I brought them on my flight on Sunday. I made them the night before, and voila! Again, packs a great punch of good fat and protein to surely keep you full!

  5. Bulletproof Protein Bars! I would prefer you try your best to eat whole real foods, but I get that you have a busy life and need a bar to grab and go. I like the ingredients in this bar for the most part, and it has a great combo of fat and protein (If you haven't noticed, I'm a big fan of this)

This week on social we are sharing ideas, recipes and more for healthy and quick breakfast, lunch and dinners! Oh, and some "sweet" treats too! Be sure to follow and CHECK US OUT! We share a ton of stuff on IG and FB stories, (especially what I eat and my workouts) so be sure to watch those for some ideas too!

Go grab some of these easy snacks to have on hand to help you stay on track with your goals!

XO Julia

Overcoming Snacking In The Late Afternoon & Evening

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Snacking! One of my favorite things, and I think so many other people’s favorite thing to do! It’s pleasurable, it’s delicious and it’s accessible! I keep hearing from clients that it’s their nemesis, and I got to thinking I better help ya’ll with getting a hold on it!

First and foremost, before I can hammer out some strategies for ya, I want to mention that it really doesn’t matter what hot new program you’re doing, what 30 day challenge you’re doing or even the tools I am providing here. Unless your mindset has dealt with WHY you have continuously struggled with your weight, or have been a yo-yo dieter, none of this is going to stick for the long term. So address the mindset first (which we can explore together) and then start to utilize some of these strategies if you struggle with late afternoon and evening snacking.

The challenge when it comes to snacking is when it becomes something we do even when we are not hungry, but for so many other reasons! Over the past 10 years I have seen so many clients struggle with late afternoon and evening snacking, and it is the # 1 thing that gets in the way of their health and wellness goals. This week my client Meg said to me "Julia, this is the first time in years I haven't eaten after dinner, and if I do need something, I grab some fruit and a dollop of whipped cream. No longer do I grab one thing, then another, then another." WOW. I thought to myself, I really need to help others struggling with this, and that’s’ why I am writing this blog!

This past week @ Verve 360 Nutrition on social media we have been talking all about this challenge: late afternoon and night time eating. Whether it be from being bored, lonely, grief, or food by association (watching a movie so I need popcorn) we dove in to some strategies that could help put those cravings to rest, and in turn, move you in the direction of your goals. These are the exact 5 solutions I take my clients through to get to the root cause of why it is happening, and how to start solving this challenge.

  1. Identify the cause: Why is this happening? Habit? Boredom? Grief? Loneliness? You must get to the deep-rooted cause of WHY.

  2. Identify your triggers: Once you are aware of the cause, you must identify the triggers. Often you will find that eating at night or in the afternoons is you trying to fill a void that is not hunger. Identifying what sets it off is super important. Is it a fight with a loved one, is it watching a sad movie, or maybe it’s because those cookies are in eye sight on your counter which triggers your brain to crave them? I encourage clients to keep a "food and mood" diary. What they ate, when, what they were feeling at the time, and what set it off. This helps us to identify patterns and trends.

  3. Change your routine: If your nightly routine is sitting in front of the TV and having snacks? (I USED TO BE GUILTY OF THIS!) it may be time to change that up. Is there another activity you can do to relax in the evening? Your brain now associates food with whatever habit you’re currently doing at night, so we must change it up and make a new habit where food isn’t involved!

  4. Look at your daily eating patterns: Are you restricting your intake during the day? Are you eating mostly carbs and sugar? Do you prioritize protein? Do you go hours without eating?

  5. Finally, are you prioritizing YOU time and fun? Meg told me when we first started that food was the main thing that brought joy to her life. Look at your "Circle of Life" and see what is missing. Where else could you find joy?

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Best Drinks For Weight Loss

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Alcohol, sweet alcohol!!! Can you guys relate to this? Friday night and you’re super pumped for the weekend because it means fun time! Friends, mountains, drinks, laughs, you name it! Every Friday I get texts from clients asking about what cocktails they can have and how much alcohol is ok while they’re trying to lose weight.” Calm down people!! I promise I’m not going to take your precious alcohol away!

Let’s talk alcohol: how does it affect the body? Simply put, alcohol is absorbed into your body through the stomach and small intestines. Alcohol will then flow through the bloodstream throughout the body, reaching all muscles and tissues.

Your body cannot store alcohol, so it is broken down and metabolized in your liver. The rest through blood, sweat, and urine. Guess what peeps? Fat is also metabolized and broken down in your liver!

So I know after reading that sentence you may be like Julia, hurry up…what the heck does that mean for me and my happy hours! Right? When you drink alcohol, it postpones the process of fat burning. Why? Your liver cannot focus on metabolizing alcohol and fat at the same time. As soon as the alcohol goes in, our body burns that for fuel first before anything else. As soon as the alcohol is out of your system, you’re back to burnin that fat baby!

So, go ahead and enjoy a few drinks! We need to be able to live a social life and still lose weight at the same time, because if not, the “diet” is too strict and we get annoyed and eventually give up! The weight loss journey is just that, a journey. It’s not a 30 day fix. Once you understand that and make the mindset shift, you will feel so much better!

So the next question I know you’re bursting with is how much and what kinds of drinks are the best for weight loss. The answer to the “how much” is specific to each client. However, what I can tell you is this: look at it like a budget. If you decide you’re going to allow yourself 4 drinks a week….and you know you have plans on Friday and Saturday, and will want to drink at both events, then abstain from the alcohol Monday-Thursday. Make sense?

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What drinks are best for weight loss? Well obviously avoiding alcohol is the best option. However, we all know that’s not sustainable for most people. I mean, ya’ll know I like me some drinks! When I was losing weight, I was in college. I hate to admit I drank Thursday-Sunday, ahh!! Here is what worked best: red wine, liquor (vodka, tequila, whiskey, scotch etc), neat or on the rocks, or mixed with club soda and lemon/lime/orange slices. You can even throw in some herbs like the photo! No juice or sugary mixers. Some fun substitutes: I love tequila with soda water, a ton of lime, a wedge of grapefruit squeezed in, and salt! Oh and you’ll probably love blueberry vodka, soda water and orange slices, AMAZING! There ya have it! Now, I am going to go have me some red wine! Catch ya soon!

Recipe Post!!

Last night my brother and I had alone time as my sister in law and my nephew are out of town! We did mud masks for our face and neck, and then we followed it up with a meal that is light, nutritious, and bursting with flavor!! I promise this will not dissapoint! It will also keep you on track with your fat loss goals!

Ingredients (serves 4): 4 Large Organic Chicken Breasts, Organic Cherry Tomatoes, Halved, (1 container) Organic English Cucumber, Quartered, (2 cucumbers) Organic Red Bell Pepper, 1/2 Pepper (chopped) Organic Curly Parsley, (chopped) 2 Garlic Cloves, Chopped, Lemon Juice From a Fresh Lemon, (1 whole) Extra Virgin Unrefined Olive Oil, 3 tbsp Feta Cheese To Taste, Sea Salt and Pepper To Taste,

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Directions Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. We used a cast iron skillet to saute the chicken with 1 tbsp olive oil. Brown on each side until cooked through, about 160 degrees is the cooked temperature. While that is cooking, chop up all the veggies In a food processor, combine the parsley, garlic and half the juice from the lemon. Take out chicken and chop it up. Combine all the veggies, the food processor mixture, the chicken and 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Add the leftover juice from the lemon and toss again. Top with Feta cheese crumbles to your liking. ENJOY!

Keys for Permanent Fat Loss

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Over the last 10 years of working in the nutrition industry, I have narrowed it down to 4 key things that I want you to be looking at to make sure you not only lose fat, but keep it off permanently, and I wanted to share those with you! If all of these things are in check, and you are still not losing fat, then we will need to dig deeper, and that's what Verve is here for! Ok, here we go....

-Get your calories in check! This is only part of the equation, but it is an important one. Get tested to figure out how many calories you burn on the daily, and then make sure you are eating less then that to lose fat. You must be in a caloric deficit to lose fat. To maintain, you want to eat approx the amount you burn...once youve lost the fat!

-Quality of your nutrients. If you are eating low quality food, your gut is gonna get hit with a ton of toxins, which will hinder fat loss. Choose high quality organic produce when possible, (or at least check out the bottom of this page to find out what is most important to buy organic and start there) grass-fed beef, organic chicken and wild fish.

-Balance: We now know that saturated fat does not cause heart disease, but rather it is the processed carbohydrates and sugar that make up the standard american diet that does. So we need to keep those in check. For example...if you know you will have a sandwich for lunch, and rice at dinner, then make sure your breakfast does not contain starches. We need to keep our blood sugar and insulin low in order to lose fat, and we do that by eating lots of lean proteins, veggies, healthy fats, and moderate amounts of good carbs.

-Doing it long term!! I cannot stress this one enough!! Yes, we all have done 2 week jump start detox' to get us going, and that is totally fine. Unless you transition to a way of eating that you can sustain, it sets you up for failure. Have patience to do it this way, and your success will last.

2018 Dirty Dozen Strawberries Spinach Nectarines Apples Grapes Peaches Cherries Pears Tomatoes Celery Potatoes Sweet Bell Peppers

Crock Pot Veggie Beef Chili!

You guys!! There's nothing like a bowl of chili in the winter! Nothing makes me happier then putting on the crock pot on a Sunday, and letting the house warm up with the amazing smells! Not only do I have food for the entire week, but because it was made at home, I know exactly whats in it! Pure, fresh, nutritious and delicious ingredients, and LOVE of course! Super simple recipe! Give it a go!

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Serves 6-8

Ingredients: 2 lbs. grass fed ground beef, 1 medium onion, diced, 4 cloves garlic, minced, 1 red bell pepper, diced, 1 green bell pepper, diced, 3 stalks celery, diced, 1 tomato, diced, 1/4 cup canned diced green chilies, 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes, 15 oz. can tomato sauce, (I used tomato basil Organico Bello) 2 tbsp chili powder, 2 tbsp oregano, 2 tbsp basil, 1 tbsp cumin, 2 tbsp garlic powder 1/2 tbsp adobo sauce, 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp cayenne.

Instructions: I seasoned the beef first with all the same spices above, and just used how much I wanted. This creates double the flavor!

In a large skillet, sauté the onions and garlic over medium heat. Add in the ground beef and cook until browned. Drain the excess fat and then transfer the meat mixture to the crock pot. Add in the bell peppers, celery, and diced tomato. Top with remaining ingredients and spices and stir everything together. Cook on low for 6-7 hours. Serve warm. (I served mine over zucchini noodles, but it's good by itself in a bowl, over califlower rice, and spaghetti squash) ENJOY!!!

How to Ferment Food! Carrots Specifically!! Super Easy!!

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Last night I did a demo at Movement climbing and Fitness here in Denver on how to ferment food!! It was such a hit! Everyone was coming over to my table asking how to do it. Guess what?? They were shocked how easy it is!!! Here is a recipe I love for fermenting carrot sticks!!

Fermented Carrots With Garlic and Dill (1 16 ounce mason jar)

Ingredients and Equipment: 1/2 pound carrot sticks, (can buy precut, peeled and washed) filtered water, 2-4 garlic cloves, smashed, (use 2 for less garlic flavor and 4 for very garlicky) 3 springs of fresh organic dill, 1 tbsp pink himalayan sea salt, 1 16 ounce mason jar, BPA free.

Directions: Dissolve the salt in 12 ounces of water. Fill the mason jar with 2 or 4 of the smashed garlic cloves, and add in the whole sprigs of dill. Pack the mason jar with the carrot sicks very tightly so there's no gaps. Pour the salt water over the carrots and into jar. (Leave about an inch of room to the top of the jar) Screw the lid on very tight. Store on your counter (best is 60-70 degrees) for 3-10 days at most. If you see some bubbling, burp the jar every day. Open and then transfer to the refrigerator.

ENJOY!!

Grainless English Muffin!

Ok, so I will admit, I do not have a microwave! Therefore, I had to bake my enlgish muffin, and it came out more of a round! I made the most of it, (since it tasted so good) and used it as a platform for my egg sammy!

Prep: 2 min Cook:1.5 minutes Total: 3.5 min!

Ingredients 1.5 tsp coconut oil, 1.5 tbsp almond butter, 1 egg, 1.25 tsp baking powder, 1 tbsp coconut flour, .25 tsp of salt

Instructions Stir together coconut oil, almond butter, and egg until well combined. Stir in coconut flour, baking powder and salt. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute to 1 min 30 seconds. Remove the muffin from the cup and slice in half. (I think it tastes better toasted)

Top it with whatever sounds yummy! I like bacon and eggs!

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Recipe For Egg Muffins!

Egg Muffins

Prep: 5 min Cook: 20 min Serves: 12

Ingredients 10 large eggs 1/3 cup half and half 1 cup shredded cheese of choice (I like cheddar) 6 ounces cooked bacon, chopped 6 ounces chopped bell pepper, mushroom 1 tbsp fresh minced chives 1/4 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions Preheat oven to 375. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and half and half together. Stir in 3/4 cup of the cheese, cooked bacon, salt, pepper, cooked veggies Grease the muffin tins with butter or ghee. Divide the mixture evently among the 12 muffin cups (dont fill to the top) Sprinkle remaining cheese and the chives on top each muffin cup. Bake for 20 minutes or until centers are set and muffins are beginning to lightly brown

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