personal trainer river west

The Quick List: 9 Reasons Why You're Still Eating Unhealthy (And How to Change It)

No time to overanalyze your unhealthy eating habits? Let me help you. Here are 9 reasons why you can’t kick the habits and their respective quick fixes. Life is certainly more complicated than these suggestions but they will at least steer you in the right direction. Good luck!

Emotional association with particular foods


Personal Trainer Wisdom: Minimize exposure and availability to these foods by leaving them off the grocery list and preselecting a restaurant that won’t tempt you with indulgent menu items. Meanwhile, build a positive relationship with new healthy foods through weekly recipe experiments.

Cultural influence


Personal Trainer Wisdom: Determine boundaries in portions by restricting your consumption to one small plate while indulging in your cultural connection. Bring at least one healthy option to your cultural events.

Fatigue or boredom


Personal Trainer Wisdom: Athough food may seem like the best answer, you may need to satisfy other needs first including sleep. Set the same bed and wakeup times and aim for 7-8 hours of sleep. If this doesn’t solve your midday lags, you may need new engaging stimulation from your environment, social interactions, or projects instead.

Stress or anxiety


Personal Trainer Wisdom: Recognize your overwhelmed state of being and determine the contributing factors while finding a feeling of peace in the focus on your breath and simplifying your tasks and the demand on yourself.

Unhealthy reward system


Personal Trainer Wisdom: Cue+Routine=Reward.......so determine the real reward of eating a Snickers bar when you're not hungry and replace this routine with another option that will lead to the same reward. Examples of other routines: Take a break from your monotonous computer work by going for a walk or talking to a coworker.

Environmental cues


Personal Trainer Wisdom: Television commercials, junk food left in the kitchen at work, candy at the cash register....all environmental cues that probably steer you down the unhealthy path. You may need to determine new paths to avoid these triggers (it might just be this simple).

Peer pressure


Personal Trainer Wisdom: Minimize your interaction with peer pressuring individuals while you slowly work on your boundary lines and being assertive in social situations.

Access to healthy options


Personal Trainer Wisdom: Order from a specific list of healthy items from a grocery delivery service before you run out of food and always keep healthy foods you LOVE in your kitchen or packed at your desk (which requires you to experiment with different foods).

The taste and/or texture doesn't appeal to your sense


Personal Trainer Wisdom: Determine the taste-sweetness, saltiness, savory, etc. - or texture - soft, hard, crunchy, etc. - that appeals to you the most and add ingredients aligned with these preferences. These characteristics found in the right foods could satisfy your yearning for more and help you avoid overeating.

Photo Credit: sustainable jill .com: Are you pulling out your hair figuring out your diet?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
The Quick List: 9 Reasons Why You're Still Eating Unhealthy (And How to Change It)
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 

A Personal Trainer’s Answers to your 4 Biggest Health and Fitness Questions

Trying to unravel the complicated approach to achieving your best health? Chicago personal trainer, Michael Moody, answers your 4 biggest health and fitness questions.

What are some of the most common misconceptions about getting in shape?

Personal Trainer Wisdom: The most common misconception about getting in shape is the primary importance of fitness. While fitness plays a pivotal role in your strength, flexibility, muscular endurance, and cardio endurance, it still relies heavily on your nutrition. Without the proper nutrition for your body type, you will not have the energy or building blocks to sculpt the healthy body you want. Any nutritional deficit or inflammation will certainly affect your ability to get in shape, live to 100, or reduce injury.

What single piece of personal training advice do you have regarding form and technique?

Personal Trainer Wisdom: With the endless circus act of exercises found online and in magazines, it would take years to point out every little piece of the form you should keep in mind while exercising. While you should study your body's response to different positions and movements, there are basic rules you should keep in mind for whatever you approach:

-Keep your feet hip width and straight to maximize stability and glute/abdominal activation.
-Keep your shoulders above your hips to maintain a neutral position and reduce pelvic tilting.
-Maintain a neutral spine by periodically checking your lumbar curve (lower back) and cervical spine (neck).

There are certainly exceptions to these rules. Nevertheless, they will generally guide through a safe workout routine.

What is the best way to get a personal training client motivated when they feel like giving up?

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Considering that each person is different, there isn't a single strategy to motivate a personal training client when he or she wants to give up. While some personal training clients persevere when given a strict structure to follow, other clients are intimidated and will less likely push themselves. Add in societal pressures, personality traits, family and work demands, and natural limitations, it's surprising that anyone has the strength to sift through these factors and push through. The best advice is to help your personal training client become a human scientist - to study their physical selves and their habits, decision-making process, and problem-solving approach. By utilizing this strategy, you are reducing the ambiguity of the process in the most simple way and identifying the personal training client's strength and weaknesses for the most efficient approach. The personal training client will feel more control over his or her situation and will be able to target the undermining reasons for giving up with more confidence.

What is the best advice you’ve ever learned about staying in shape?

Personal Trainer Wisdom: After nearly 15 years of personal training and research in Chicago, I have learned that your mental approach is the steering factor of staying in shape. You will most likely reach your goal but whether or not you maintain this success is questionable. Who can blame you! There are too many distractions and pulls in life, including holidays, work, and family, that easily pull you from your new healthy routine. The best advice is to clearly define boundaries based on your needs-not your wants-and use this set of rules as you approach the unknowns of life. I don't think it's reasonable to assume that you'll make perfect choices each day. With reasonable boundaries based on your body and habits (not anyone else's), you'll keep yourself in check and stay in shape.

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
A Personal Trainer’s Answers to your 4 Biggest Health and Fitness Questions
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 

My 10 Favorite Life-Guiding Quotes from the Stoic, Marcus Aurelius

Where do you look for the answer to the question, “How do I live a good life?” Naturally, you refer to 165 AD for a perspective that transcends time. To shape my philosophical self, I’ve been reading Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations (one of the earliest self-improvement transcripts). The following 10 quotes are taken directly from this great work. While I typically offer commentary on their meaning, they are left to your interpretation (everybody could use a break from a pundit).

1. “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”


2. “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”


3. “The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.”


4. “It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”


5. “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”


6. “If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.”


7. “If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.”


8. “Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?”


9. “How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.”


10. “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”


Photo Credit: Matthias Giezendanner and Wealth sf .com-Whether considering weight loss or optimal health, a personal trainer’s client’s real transformation begins at a deeper level.

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
My 10 Favorite Life-Guiding Quotes from the Stoic, Marcus Aurelius
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 

34 Easy Weight Loss Meals with Modifications

Here are several meal ideas to launch your weight loss. Experiment! Experiment!

Breakfast


2 Eggs or Egg White Omelet with Peppers


-Smear the pan with grapeseed oil to remove excess calories and fat.
-Top with hemp seeds for additional good fat, fiber, and protein.

Granny's Berry Berry Oatmeal


-Description: Blueberries, red raspberries, and strawberries stirred in, topped with all-natural granola and honey.
-Modifications: Substitute the milk with almond milk. Add pecans instead of granola. Add a type of seeds (hemp, chia, etc.) too.

Mmm-Mushroom Spinach Skillet


-Description: A great combination of flavors… fresh spinach, lots of mushrooms and onions (and potatoes).
-Modifications: No cheese or milk. Add a side of vegetarian beans, seeds (hemp, chia, pumpkin, sunflower, etc.), and avocado or nuts.

Tiny Tim’s Farm Stand Frittata


-Description: Fresh spinach and mushrooms accented with diced bacon and topped with jack and cheddar cheeses.
-Modifications: No cheese. Replace the milk with broth if possible (otherwise move to the next menu item). Add a side of vegetarian beans, seeds (hemp, chia, pumpkin, sunflower, etc.), and avocado or nuts.

Buenos Diaz Breakfast Chilaquiles


-Description: Homemade corn tortilla chips cooked with green salsa, topped with mozzarella cheese and two eggs any-style. Garnished with refried beans, lettuce, tomato and sour cream.
-Modifications: No cheese or sour cream. Add a side of vegetarian beans, seeds (hemp, chia, pumpkin, sunflower, etc.), and avocado or nuts.

Banana Oat Pancakes


-Description: Fresh diced bananas in an oat batter, perfectly griddled and topped with more fresh bananas.
-Modifications: If you must have your pancakes, a banana, oat, and almond milk batter will be your best bet hands down. Top with pecans to add healthy fat and protein and limit the syrup (1 teaspoon as a generous treat to a meal that already has a lot sugar from the bananas).

Egg Scramblers


-Description: Scrambled with three grade AA farm fresh eggs, served with hash browns and choice of toast or pancakes. Pick your three favorites for a custom scrambler! Green Peppers, Mushrooms, Spinach, Tomato, Onions, Broccoli, or Scallions.
-Modifications: I’ve left off the other meat and cheese options that will get you in trouble. Add a side of vegetarian beans, seeds (hemp, chia, pumpkin, sunflower, etc.), and avocado or nuts.

Breakfast Tacos


-Description: Eggs Scrambled with Chorizo, jalapenos and onions stuffed in three corn tortilla accented with green salsa and cilantro. Garnished with refried beans, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream.
-Modifications: No cheese or sour cream. Substitute the chorizo with Green Peppers, Mushrooms, Spinach, Tomato, Onions, Broccoli, or Scallions. Add a side of seeds (hemp, chia, pumpkin, sunflower, etc.) and avocado or nuts.

Elena’s Egg White Scrambler


-Description: Spinach, mushrooms, roasted red peppers and low fat Mozzarella. Served with fresh fruit instead of hash browns.
-Modifications: No cheese or milk. Add a side of vegetarian beans, seeds (hemp, chia, pumpkin, sunflower, etc.), and avocado or nuts.

Eleni’s Egg White Delight


-Description: Talk about guilt-free indulgence! Feast on fresh spinach, mushrooms, roasted red peppers and low fat mozzarella. Served with fresh fruit instead of hash browns.
-Modifications: No cheese or milk. Add a side of vegetarian beans, seeds (hemp, chia, pumpkin, sunflower, etc.), and avocado or nuts.

The Mediterranean


-Description: A sunny omelet of fresh spinach, tomatoes, kalamata olives, oregano, and imported feta cheese.
-Modifications: No cheese or milk. Add a side of vegetarian beans, seeds (hemp, chia, pumpkin, sunflower, etc.), and avocado or nuts.

The Bannockburn Green


-Description: For the veggie lover! Fresh broccoli florets, tomatoes, green peppers and onions mixed with Swiss and cheddar.
-Modifications: No cheese or milk. Add a side of vegetarian beans, seeds (hemp, chia, pumpkin, sunflower, etc.), and avocado or nuts.

Griddle 24 Egg White Omelet


-Description: Baby spinach, avocado, tomato salsa, turkey bacon.
-Modifications: No cheese or milk. Add a side of vegetarian beans, seeds (hemp, chia, pumpkin, sunflower, etc.), and avocado or nuts.

Steel Cut Oats


-Description: Steel cut oatmeal with 2% milk served with a side of brown sugar.
-Modifications: Substitute the milk with almond milk and add blueberries, strawberries, or bananas as well as pecans and a type of seeds (hemp, chia, etc.).

Espanola (1 Egg Skillet)


-Description: Jalapeno peppers, avocado, onions, mushrooms, jack cheese, potatoes, and tortillas.
-Modifications: No cheese or milk.

Veggie Garden Delight (1 Egg Skillet)


-Description: Green peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach.
-Modifications: No cheese or milk. Choose a side of fruit.

Acapulco Scrambler (1 Egg Scrambler)


-Description: Diced chicken, jalapenos, tomatoes, avocado, jack cheese.
-Modifications: No cheese or milk. Choose a side of fruit.

Veggies (1 Egg Scrambler)


-Description: Green peppers, mushrooms, onions, broccoli, avocado, spinach, tomatoes, jalapenos, Kalamata olives.
-Modifications: No cheese or milk. Choose a side of fruit.

Mexican Veggie Skillet


-Description: onions, green peppers, and diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup of black beans, 1 tbsp hemp seeds, 3 tbsp of salsa, 1/4 avocado.

2 eggs or egg white omelet with peppers


-Smear the pan with grapeseed oil to remove excess calories and fat.
-Top with hemp seeds for additional good fat, fiber, and protein.

Fruit smoothie


-Instead of the protein powder, add 2 tbs of hemp or chia seeds and 1/2 cup of oats for good fat, fiber, and protein.
-Any amount of fruit sugar beyond 15-20 grams, may lead to weight gain (and a banana and mangoes have 18 grams of sugar in each serving alone.
-Possible combinations: Banana, mango, strawberry, blueberry, kiwi.

Lunch/Dinner


Stir Fry or Riced Cauliflower and veggies


-Be mindful of the oil (a fat dense option that we should minimize). Smear the pan with grapeseed oil to remove excess calories and fat.
-Check out local Asian restaurant menus for different combinations of veggie stir fry.
-Toast almonds on the pan for additional texture and taste.

Veggie stir fry


-1-2 cups of random veggies (frozen or fresh), 2 tbsp of chia or flax seeds, 1/4 cup of cashew or almond nuts, 3 tbsp of salsa or Trader Joe’s Soyaki.

Cajun stir fry


Sauteed mushrooms, green peppers, onions, chia seeds, black beans, creole seasoning, salsa.

Tacos with beans cauliflower peppers


-El Milagro corn tortillas (only made of lime, corn, and water).
-Frontera salsas don't have any artificial ingredients.
-Taco Seasoning: 2 tbs chili powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional), 1/2 tsp oregano, 1 tsp paprika, 3 tsp cumin, 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp pepper.

Veggie burger and edamame


-If you eat the bun, choose only options that state 100% whole grain or wheat. Less or none is better.

Salad with cucumbers chickpeas carrots


-Trying tossing with almonds and cashews for additional protein, fiber, and good fats.
-Trying tossing with hemp or chia seeds for additional protein, fiber, and good fats.
-A darker green salad green is most nutrient dense (e.g., spinach, kale, and collard greens).
-Squeeze lime to add flavor.
-Add black or pinto beans for additional protein and fiber.

Buffalo cauliflower


-I looooooove buffalo sauce on everything.....and it's half butter, half hot sauce: No bien! Choose Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Sauce-the best healthy alternative!!!

Lemon garlic sauce chicken, veggies, and pasta


-1/4 chicken (2-4 oz), 1/2 veggies, 1/4 Banza Chickpea Penne Pasta (or substitute with boiled and drained cauliflower rice).

Bean chili


-1 diced medium yellow onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 tbs tomato paste, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 cup dry green lentils, 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce, 1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles or hot Rotel, 2 tsp chili powder, 2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp oregano, 2 green peppers, 3 tbs of Worcestershire, 1 can of drained kidney beans, and 1 can of drained pinto beans.

Tuscan white bean soup


-2 cans white (or cannellini) beans, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 large onion, sliced, 1 (28 oz) can chopped tomatoes, undrained, 1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp white or black pepper, 1 cup white wine, 1 tsp minced garlic, 3 cups diced red potatoes, 1 cup diced zucchini without skin, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp Italian seasoning.

Spaghetti squash with a garden vegetable pasta sauce


Edamame hummus plate


-Edamame hummus, raw mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots, celery, grape tomatoes.

Grilled or Roasted Veggie Salad


-Romaine hearts, baby spinach, grilled peppers, eggplant, red onions, cherry tomatoes, snap peas, squeezed lemon and lime.

Photo Credit:
Epicurious .com-With a few modifications, this Epicurious favorite could be healthy.

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
34 Easy Weight Loss Meals with Modifications
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 

How to Turn Your 13 Favorite Midwestern Meals into a Weight Loss Diet

Recently, my personal training client wanted to ramp up her weight loss efforts. Our first step was examining her current slate of meals (the typical Midwestern diet) and identifying the healthy alternatives. Take a look…the same meals are probably in your diet too!!

Quick Swap/General Changes to Your Typical Meals


-Organic ingredients only (more flavor!).
-Reduced sodium for all canned products (less bloatedness!).
-No lard in any of the canned bean products (less of the unnecessary bad fat!).
-Meat (including all red meat, white meat, fish, seafood, etc.) should not be more than 25% of any dish (vegan is preferred for ALL 3-4 meals).
-Eliminate cheese or swap it for a SMALL amount of Diya's Chopping Block Cheddar Cheese Shreds. I still hesitate to recommend a cheese substitute since it's still highly processed and you will continue the craving (which will be dangerous when the substitute isn't available).
-No butter.
-The portion of vegetables must always double the size of meat at a minimum.

Common Meals (and their Healthy Alternatives)


Chili mac


-Healthy Alternative: Mexican mix (below) using the taco seasoning recipe (below) with Banza Chickpea Elbows Pasta (boil until el dente, and then quickly rinse with cold water). Meal Ratio: 1/4 ground chicken (2-4 oz), 1/2 veggies, 1/4 pasta.

Pizza


-Healthy Alternative: 365 Everyday Value Cauliflower Pizza Crust, 8 oz (frozen), tomato sauce, Diya's Chopping Block Cheddar Cheese Shreds, roasted red bell peppers, fresh garlic cloves, basil.

Lemon garlic sauce chicken, veggies, and pasta


-Healthy Alternative: 1/4 chicken (2-4 oz), 1/2 veggies, 1/4 Banza Chickpea Penne Pasta (or substitute with boiled and drained cauliflower rice).

Grilled chicken breast and veggies


-Healthy Alternative: 1/4 chicken (2-4 oz), 3/4 veggies (grilled asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes, etc.).

Grilled cheese


-Healthy Alternative: Whole grain bread with Diya's Chopping Block Cheddar Cheese Shreds but this still isn’t a nutrient-dense option alone. Make this a 1/4 of your meal and add veggies for the rest.

Lasagna


-Healthy Alternative: Mexican mix recipe (below) using the taco seasoning recipe (below). Meal Ratio: 1/4 ground chicken (2-4 oz), 1/2 veggies (beans, corn, sauteed onions, bell peppers), 1/4 El Milagro Corn Tortillas (only ingredients: corn, water, lime).

Beef chili


-Healthy Alternative: 1 diced medium yellow onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 tbs tomato paste, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 cup dry green lentils, 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce, 1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles or hot Rotel, 2 tsp chili powder, 2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp oregano, 2 green peppers, 3 tbs of Worcestershire, 1 can of drained kidney beans, and 1 can of drained pinto beans.

Crockpot BBQ chicken


-Healthy Alternative: Chicken breasts, green pepper strips, strips of sautéed onions and diced garlic, and Annie's Original BBQ Sauce. The chicken is only 1/4 of your meal and veggies for the rest.

Tuna salad


-Healthy Alternative: Wild Planet Wild Albacore Tuna Pouch (No Salt), 1 tbs of Real Mayo, 1tsp of Trader Joe’s Lemon Pepper seasoning, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp onion powder, lemon garnish, and 1-2 tsp of diced pickle or relish.

Chicken casserole (chicken, peas, cream of chicken soup, breadcrumbs)


-Healthy Alternative: Chicken breasts, peas, vegan cashew sauce (https://cookieandkate.com/vegan-mac-and-cheese-recipe/), and oats or quinoa (instead of breadcrumbs). The chicken is only 1/4 of your meal and veggies for the rest.

Tacos (chicken, lettuce, cheese, shells)


-Healthy Alternative: Mexican mix using the taco seasoning recipe. Meal Ratio: 1/4 ground chicken (2-4 oz), 1/2 veggies (beans, corn, lettuce as well as chopped spinach and green peppers marinated in squeezed lime juice), and 1/4 El Milagro Corn Tortillas (only ingredients: corn, water, lime)…no cheese.

Taco salad (same as above but in a salad)


-Healthy Alternative: Mexican mix using the taco seasoning recipe. 1/4 Ground chicken (2-4 oz), 3/4 Veggies (beans, corn, lettuce as well as chopped spinach and green peppers marinated in squeezed lime juice)…no cheese.

Beef meatloaf


-Healthy Alternative: Ground chicken, diced green peppers, diced sautéed onions and garlic, oats or quinoa (instead of breadcrumbs), Organic Large Omega-3 Brown Grade A Eggs, Heinz Simply Tomato Ketchup, and Annie's Original BBQ Sauce…..but this still isn’t a nutrient-dense option alone. Make the meatloaf a 1/4 of your meal and add veggies for the rest.

Base recipes


Mexican mix


-1 lb ground organic chicken breast sauteed with 1 chopped medium onion and 2 chopped garlic cloves
-2 cans of Bushes black beans
-1 can Hot Rotel (or any diced tomatoes)
-1 can Mexican corn

Taco seasoning


-2 tbs chili powder
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-1/2 tsp onion powder
-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
-1/2 tsp oregano
-1 tsp paprika
-3 tsp cumin
-2 tsp salt
-2 tsp pepper

Photo Credit: Bon Appetit. com: Can grilled cheese ever be healthy?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
How to Turn Your 13 Favorite Midwestern Meals into a Weight Loss Diet
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.