Broaden Your Horizons

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A ton of my Instagram stories happen while I’m walking. One of my big goals this year has been to get 10, 000 steps in each day. I have really come to appreciate my walks because they allow me time to rest my mind. It’s been amazing how many insights I wouldn’t otherwise have had if I didn’t regularly take pause.

But today I want to write about an insight I had during another more mentally-taxing activity. Bike riding. I did a video about this last week on my page and I talked about how hardcore Coloradans are about their cycling. They have spandex and clippy shoes and all the things. There is also the other end of the spectrum, I see adorable women gliding along on their cruiser bikes without a care in the world. 

Yah, I don’t fit into either of those camps.

I’m more of a stationary bike spin class type of gal. Frankly, I like riding bikes that don’t go anywhere. So when Pat and Brooks wanted to go for a bike ride to a restaurant close to our house, I reluctantly agreed and gripped my handlebars with all my might the first half mile. Because, frankly, I am not that confident on my bike. There, I admit it. I’m not confident on a bike. So, the way I coped was to stare right down at the few feet in front of me and hold on for dear life. That is when the insight came. I realized maybe I should look up and focus on where I am going instead of exactly where I was at. I realized I should broaden my perspective.

See we get really hyper focused on what is right in front of us and lose sight of the bigger picture. The end goal. We totally lose the forest for the trees when we get hung up on the little little things that aren’t going to make that much of a difference. For instance, constantly obsessing over every tiny aspect of your diet or making sure you are doing the latest hottest workout. If we are able to broaden our vision or look a little further, it is much easier to stay on-track in the long run. And, as I always say, think about your long game.

So, today, I want you to ask yourself, “Am I getting hung up on little things that don’t matter?” Maybe you have nutrition goals or weight loss goals or even life goals. Maybe you have training goals. Hell maybe you are training for a hundred mile road bike race. I’m certainly NOT. But, if you are, staring ahead is going to get you there. Can you imagine if you focused on each pedal you took? Instead of each mile? That would be really overwhelming. Looking at the big picture helps you remember that each pedal you take is going to help you reach your goal without thinking of every darn pedal you take.

Remember where it is that you actually want to go. Think about how you want to get there. If your goal is weight loss, please don’t focus on every little calorie you consume. If your goal is better nutrition, don’t white knuckle through kale salads if you hate kale salads. Make sure you keep the big picture in mind. I challenge you to stop nitpicking every detail. Loosen your grip. Let go of perfection. Don’t let fear paralyze you into thinking you need to do everything just so. And, most of all, believe you are going to achieve your goals. You might be surprised that what seems like it is far off on the horizon is actually much closer than you think.

Goals Shmoals

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What I’m about to say may surprise some of you. 

Ready for it?

If you have a body image-related goal, I want you to stop focusing on it. Yep, you read that right. Quit focusing on your goal. I don’t want you to think of dress sizes or how many calories you should be eating in a day or numbers on a scale or even inches around your chest, waist or thighs. All those numbers that you are *most likely* obsessing about…

Please stop.

Have you ever heard that phrase, “don’t lose the forest for the trees?”  It’s an expression used to describe someone who is too involved in the details of a problem to look at a situation as a whole. I see this type of tunnel-vision all the time with clients. They want to look a certain way in a certain amount of time and are willing to do whatever they need to do to achieve their goal. Even if it is at the expense of their own health. 

This type of hyperfocus on results is really detrimental and is often a ruse used to distract people from doing deeper work and getting to the root of their dissatisfaction. Sometimes that dissatisfaction is purely aesthetic and just about wanting a more toned body. But, more often than not, crash diets, overexercising, extreme cleanses, etc. are a sign that there may be more to the problem than just wanting a thinner waist. That dissatisfaction may be an indicator that you are not satisfied with who you are in other areas of your life. Like your relationships. Or your job. Maybe you don’t think you’re a good mom. Maybe you think you’ll never get promoted. Maybe you think no one will ever find you attractive if you don’t look a certain way. Usually these  high goals we are constantly chasing are just another way to confirm the belief that we are not enough when we aren’t able to stick to them. Or we reach them and immediately start thinking about the next goal we want to set.

Today I want to ask, “what if there is no goal?”

I know this makes some people really uncomfortable. Frankly, it makes me feel a bit uncomfortable myself. I work with a lot of Type A folks and self-proclaimed over-achievers. Removing goals feels like taking away our safety blanket!

But that is exactly what I am encouraging all of you to do because when we remove the goals, we can truly focus on our health. Your health IS the goal. Not visible abs or new personal records in the weight room. Don’t get me wrong, those things are great too. They just shouldn’t take the place of the main priority. Which is HEALTH.

So, you might be thinking right now that “health” feels like too vague of a goal. Maybe you are like moi, French for “me” (as in yours truly), and you are open to health being a goal but you really like more goal-type goals to help you focus on your goal of being healthy. Okay, okay. I’ll allow that. Here are some goal-type goals that allow health to be the number one goal.

1. Move your body everyday in a way that you actually enjoy.

Take the dog to the dog park and do several laps. Start your day with twenty minutes of yoga. Grab a friend and go do your favorite fitness class. Dance. Lift weights. Run. Do what lights you up. Not just what will give you toned arms or a lifted booty.

2. Drink water.

No, seriously, drink water. Your body will thank you in so many different ways. 

3. Enjoy, no REALLY enjoy, your food.

Learn to cook a new meal. Try a new healthy restaurant. Make it a goal to chop veggies at least once a day. Don’t look at a screen while you are eating. Don’t skip breakfast. Eat slowly. Meal prep. I could go on.

4. Focus on habits.

You knew I would have to throw the “H” word in here somewhere! But, for real, focusing on healthy habits throughout your day keeps you present and in the moment. It provides instant gratification when you make the focus small daily acts of health. Some examples are taking the stairs, walking away from gossipy conversations, meditating, making meals with your kiddos, steaming veggies instead of frying them, skipping your nightly wine, etc. 

5. STOP focusing on goals!

Seriously. Please stop letting rules, numbers and stress dictate your life. Focus, rather, on nurturing relationships with people, becoming in touch with your own intuition and creating meaningful daily experiences. Life is too short to think you have to look a certain way or to always feel like you are failing at reaching goals. 

It may take a lot of work to change your focus from goals to health...but the goal of health is one that is really worth achieving!

Who Should NOT Track Macros

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Last week’s blog about why macro tracking worked for me got A LOT of traction. I  want to follow it up with a post on who should NOT use this tool. Keep in mind, all of us are different and these are not hard and fast rules, I just want to give you the full picture so you can make an informed decision for yourself.

First and foremost, if you currently have an eating disorder and you plan to use macro tracking as a way to keep your calories as low as possible, you should not do it. In my eyes, the goal of tracking is to find freedom, hence the term “flexible dieting.” If you are using macros as a way to control and restrict, my advice is to stay away. Also, please reach out to a therapist for help. Nutrition coaches are great, but helping someone recover from an eating disorder belongs in the hands of a therapist. Please reach out if you need suggestions. 

Second, if you have HAD an eating disorder or disordered eating in the past, and you find that it brings up your old tendencies, don’t do it. The most important thing is a healthy relationship with food. If you’ve done the work to repair that relationship, but weighing and logging your food, takes you back to that dark place, just don’t do it. 

Third, if tracking macros stresses you out and makes you feel like a failure because you cannot hit your numbers, don’t do it. The goal is not to make our lives harder, the goal is to make our lives better. I DO think this is an issue that can be worked through with a coach, but if you don’t want to work with a coach to help you through the process, ditch it. Feeling like a failure will leave you frustrated and far away from your goals. 

Fourth, if tracking makes you neurotic and obsessive, don’t do it. Again, it’s not about controlling every morsel of what goes in your mouth, it’s about awareness, portion control and fitting your favorite foods into your macros for the day so you don’t feel deprived.

Fifth, if you can’t be consistent and find yourself tracking on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, but only half track on Wednesday and forget about the weekends, stop wasting your time. Just like anything, you need to be consistent to make it work so don’t do it if you’re only going to half-ass it. You will be much better off working on habit formation, rather than weighing your food some of the time. 

Finally, if you have a basic understanding of where to get protein, carbohydrates and fats and you just want to get healthier and not necessarily shredded, no need to track! You can lose weight and get healthy if you simply focus on eating slowly, having a serving of lean protein at each of your meals, fill up on veggies, and eat healthy fats with some of your meals. On the flip-side of that, if you have ZERO clue as to what protein, carbs and fats are, take some time to read up on that. Begin to understand what you are putting in your body. Learn how to read a nutrition label and focus on portion sizes. This new knowledge, if applied consistently, will move you forward by leaps and bounds toward your goal. 

Bottom line, there is no one size fits all approach to nutrition. We all have different goals, needs and relationships with food. Focus on finding a way of eating that makes you feel good, that gives you the energy you need for the day and includes foods that you actually enjoy eating. If you want to try tracking your macros, give it a go! Just know that it’s not the only way to get the job done. 

Why Macro Tracking Worked For Me

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I’ll be honest with you…I love tracking my macros. I do not believe it’s something that needs to be done forever, but tracking macros taught me so much and brought me great results. Today I want to share with you a few of the reasons whybthis strategy worked for me and just might be the thing you need.

First, let me start off with a little bit of background info. Prior to tracking my macros, I spent about two years competing in physique/bodybuilding competitions. For the majority of those two years I was following a meal plan...and looking back I wasn’t even doing that right. I was told to eat 5oz of chicken, 200g of broccoli, 4oz of steak and 100g of sweet potato, etc. The only problem is, at the time I didn’t understand the importance of weighing my food. Woops!! I’m sure I was WAY off! So let’s start there. 

It taught me how to eat independently. 

No more meals plan needed. Once I learned where to find carbs, proteins and fats, I was empowered to make my own decisions!

It created awareness. 

Turns out, I had ZERO clue what I was putting in my body. Even prior to competing, if you were to ask me how many calories or how many grams of protein I ate per day, I would have been clueless. Looking back, I was probably getting the majority of my calories from carbs (which are not bad), and now I understand the importance of protein. At the time, I was teaching a ton of group fitness classes so those carbs were put to use, but when I started teaching less, I didn’t need quite that much energy in the tank.

It allowed me more flexibility. 

Another term for macro tracking is “flexible dieting.” It’s FLEXIBLE because you can fit your favorite treats into your macros. There’s nothing wrong with pizza or cookies or ice cream or chips or margaritas. You learn how to make these things fit into your daily budget of macros. This way you feel WAY less deprived and you understand you can have a serving of Doritos, just not the whole bag. 

I stopped mindlessly eating (most of the time).

Most of us don’t mindlessly eat salmon, steak or eggs.  The food that we mindlessly eat typically come out of packages. How quickly have you gotten to the end of a sleeve of Thin Mints? No judgement, that’s real life! But when you learn that 4 cookies, F.O.U.R cookies, are a serving that provide 22g of carbs, 8g of fat and 1g of protein, you tend to put the breaks on the Thin Mints a little faster!

It taught me portions.

This goes right along with awareness, but when you learn what serving sizes actually are, you have the tools needed to move from tracking macros to intuitive eating...or EATING. as I like to call it. Most of us are underestimating how much peanut butter and ice cream we are eating and OVER estimating our protein portions. When you know better, you can do better. 

I thought it was fun. 

I like to think of hitting my numbers like a game. It’s simply a puzzle that you have to figure out. Anytime you can gamify something, your likelihood of success is higher. 

I had support and I was willing to learn something new.

Getting a coach isn’t a must, but it is helpful. There are plenty of online calculators out there that will tell you what your macros should be, but the majority of people will benefit not only from a little support, but also a little guidance on how to meet your numbers. 

It shifted my perspective from scarcity to abundance. 

In the past when I wanted to lean out, I thought I had to eat less. Turns out, you don’t necessarily need to eat less, but rather eat the right portions. When you’re tracking, you’re trying to add up your food to hit your daily targets, not just focus on everything that you can’t have.  As a nutrition coach I can tell you, most people underestimate how much food they should actually be eating, even in a fat loss phase. What a great realization to come to; that you can eat MORE and still reach your goals.

It taught me the importance of my nutrition matching my goals. 

When you see how you can manipulate your body with nutrition, it is life changing. There’s a season for everything. Sometimes you’ll be in a fat loss phase, sometimes you’ll be in a reverse diet, sometimes you’ll be in a build phase, sometimes you’ll be in maintenance mode. As your goals change, so should your nutrition. And news flash...your goals need to change. You CANNOT be in a fat loss phase forever. Again, that’s a whole different post. 

As you can see, macros worked for me, and it might work for you! You never know until you try and I’d love to help you figure it all out! 

Our Relationship with Food...Where Did We Go Wrong?

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Think of your favorite all-time television couples. Ross and Rachel. Carrie Bradshaw and Big. Angela and Jordan Catalano. Olivia Pope and Fitz. David and Maddie from Moonlighting. Felicity and Ben.

I could go on.  But, instead, I am going to ask what is the one thing they all had in common? What is the one thread that unites all of our most beloved tv romances?

Dysfunction.

Ross and Rachel broke up and made up virtually every season. Carrie was always chasing the elusive Big. Angela was obsessed with Jordan. Olivia and Fitz’s relationship was strictly forbidden. David and Maddie are most known for their epic arguments. And Felicity and Ben had that little thorn in their side named Noel. 

Now you may be thinking, “what do these couples have to do with our relationship to food, Kylie?” Another great question. All of these couples show what can go wrong in a relationship. A few blogs ago, I encouraged all of you to think of your relationship with food like you would think of any other relationship. We nurture our marriages by making sure to go on regular dates. We make sure to call our parents and check in. We take care of our children with vigilance and unconditional love. We know that, in order to have healthy relationships, we need to put in the work. And I think the television couples above provide great metaphors for how our relationships with food can go really wrong. Lemme break down six dysfunctional food relationships as represented by tv couples. Because, ya know, tv is the best representation of real life.

The Ross and Rachel - Also, known as the yo-yo diet relationship. This is one of the most common relationships I see. It is signified by endless cycles of making up and and breaking up with dieting. It’s either all restriction or all binging. And sometimes the cycles are daily. (“I was good all day, now I’m going to eat this tub of ice cream.”) Sometimes they are weekly. (“It’s Monday, I need to make up for what I did this weekend.”) No matter how long the cycles are, you know you are in this relationship if it is always either up or down.

The Big Dilemma - This is a shout-out to all of those who are constantly chasing a body ideal that is unrealistic and always outside their grasp. You might be in this relationship if you are constantly disappointed by the way you look or feel you have to go to extreme measures to look a certain way.  Having contentment and self-satisfaction right outside your reach is your motivator. I wish people in this relationship could know that true happiness is only in this moment, not “some day” when you fit into a certain dress size.

My So-Called Eating Life - This relationship is characterized by obsession.  In other words, your whole life revolves around what you are going to eat or not eat next. Whether it is an obsession with eating or restricting, this relationship is really unhealthy. And usually you are obsessing over food, so you can avoid some other issue. Having obsessive thoughts about food leaves little mental space to heal other parts of your life. You literally lose yourself in this relationship.

Scandal - This relationship with food is all about doing something you shouldn’t be doing. You overeat because it is naughty and you don’t play by the rules. You like being bad. You might be scandalous if you are always telling yourself that you can eat whatever you want. Who cares about health? Who cares about fueling your body? This relationship is all about the next rush of eating. Deep fried indulgences. And the sugary, the better.

Moonlighting - Are you constantly berating yourself and beating yourself into submission when it comes to eating? If you are always fighting what your body needs with what you think you should be eating, you might be moonlighting. You aren’t at peace with yourself and your relationship with food shows this.

Felicity - People in this relationship don’t know what they want. They aren’t clear on their goals. So they just eat whatever whenever. Being indecisive IS a decision. The information is out there but this food relationship is characterized by ambivalence. Chances are if this is your relationship with food, this is your relationship with yourself. 

As a viewer watching these iconic on-screen relationships, we could all see the errors of their ways and how much they hurt each other. What was so hard about watching these couples is that we all knew that they loved each other. It just took them a long time and a lot of bumps in the road to get together. But, here’s the thing that gives hope...they all ended up at peace with each other in the end. Whether they were together or not. 

As a nutrition coach, I firmly believe we all have the power to heal our relationship with food. I know there are so many outside factors that have caused so many dysfunctional relationships with food. The wellness industry, popular culture, unrealistic beauty standards as portrayed in media, a vast shift in how and what we eat in the last fifty years, fast food culture...I could go on. I know it feels like the deck is stacked against us and it’s no wonder we struggle with dysfunctional eating. But I am here today to say you have the power to find peace with your eating. Nurture that relationship. Forgive your past. Set goals for the future. But, most of all, live in the present and love who you are today.

Maybe You Just Don't Know

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The other day, my trusted admin Margey and I met to discuss the next round of Lift to Get Lean. Margey is my right-hand gal and she did my program over two years ago now. As we were talking about marketing the next round, she asked me who my ideal client is. To be honest, I don’t think of a single person I work with as anything less than ideal. But that said, I find that the most successful clients I have are those who are willing to level up. Get uncomfortable. Do the work. Face tough truths. Dig Deep.

You get the picture.

As I was talking with Margey, it dawned on me that she was a pretty darn ideal client. So I had to ask her...what made her sign up? She thought about it for a bit and laughed, “honestly, I only signed up because my friend signed up.” 

Peer pressure is a real thing, people.

She went on to say that she was in a really good place when she signed up. She yo-yo dieted for as long as she could remember and had finally found a healthy lifestyle and exercise routine that she had maintained for years before she came to me. She was the dress size she always wanted to be. She used to fall off going to the gym for weeks and months at a time and she hadn’t done that in years. She was consistent. She felt confident. She had a good thing going. She confessed that she was really concerned about messing with her good thing. She was doing good! Why mess with good?! And these are her words, not mine. She said “But your program brought me from doing good to being exceptional.” 

She was already doing the good things. Being mindful of what she was eating. Routinely staying active. But with guidance, support and camaraderie, she flourished. She has told me time and again that she never knew she was always hungry. She will also tell you that she works smarter not harder at the gym. Well, she still works hard, but you know what I mean. 

When I think of the Margey who took the leap to take a good routine and make it great, I think she didn’t know until she knew. And so I want to say to you that maybe you don’t know yet either. Maybe you don’t know what food will nourish your body in a way that gives you energy you never had. Maybe you don’t know that lifting heavier, not hours of ab work, can give you a strength in your core that you have never experienced.  Maybe you don’t know that a group cheering you on can push you farther in the gym that you ever thought. Maybe you don’t know what rewards will come when you risk setting aside what you knew for what you could know.

Maybe you just don’t know.

Yet.

I’ve said this before, but I want to say it again...you will never know your potential until you reach your potential. Instead of staying safe in your routine (even if it is a fine routine), can you imagine who you could be if you worked just a little bit harder? If you leveled up. Got uncomfortable. Did the work. Faced the tough truths. Dug Deep.

Maybe you just don’t know yet...that you my friend ARE my ideal client.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

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As most of you know...I love television. Like LOVE love. And I really do feel that all of the answers to life’s biggest questions can be found in eighties and nineties television show theme songs. If you’re a person of a certain age, you know instantly what shows asked the real questions. Like “What would you do, baby, without us?” Or “What would you do if I sang out of tune? Would you stand up and walk out on me?”

Theme songs were literally the soundtrack of my life when I was kid. And one of my fave shows growing up was Diff’rent Strokes. I even did a Facebook video this week called “Different Strokes for Different Folks” and I wasn’t kidding when I said that I instantly had the theme song in my head. Today, I would like to talk about how different folks have different goals.

“Now the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum, so what is right for you may not be right for some.” 

What is right for one of my participants in Lift to Get Lean may not be right for another. As I like to say in my groups, “comparison is the thief of joy.” I really want to stress how unproductive and defeating comparison is. What is progress for one person may not be progress for another and I really like to make sure each person is clear on what their individual goals are.

“Everybody’s got a special kind of story. Everybody finds a way to shine.”

Each person has their own story and their own set of unique circumstances. Some people really struggle with getting their veggies in. (Ahem, me.) So a great goal is to incorporate vegetables into each meal. Some people kick butt at eating their greens, but they are starting at ground zero when it comes to exercise, so thirty minute daily walks may be their target for activity. On the flip side, I have clients who struggle with over-exercising and taking rest days, so their goal is going to look totally different because they will need to focus on taking one rest day per week. People who tend to overeat or binge eat are going to have polar opposite goals than those who struggle with anorexia. A female athlete struggling with amenorrhea may have the goal of getting her cycle back, another client may want to get off their blood pressure meds.  How toxic would it be for folks with such different life experiences to compare themselves with each other?!

“You have yours and I’ll have mine and together we’ll be fine.”

You are on your journey! Your goals are going to be based on your past, based on what you like and based on where you want your life to be. Everything is SO individual and I tailor my programs to cater to this. I will flat-out say that not everyone should be tracking macros. I will never give meal plans and tell anyone what they should and should not be eating. Some people hate kale. (Me again!) Some people love it. There is no magic food that gets everyone to the goal of healthy eating. Also, not everyone should be doing HIIT workouts. Especially those for whom regulating their hormones is a goal. For clients with injuries, there are certain strength training moves that would do more harm than good. This is why you need to focus on you and YOUR needs. The worst thing you can do when you are trying to reach your goals is compare yourself to somebody else, because...

“It takes different strokes to move the world!”

It really really does. Get clear on what moves you you! What fires you up! What keeps you adhering to healthy eating and exercising that is sustainable for the long haul. Focus on what YOU want and what YOU need. Then really go after that thing with all you got. 

Yes, I wove the lyrics to the Diff’rent Strokes theme song into this blog. Yes, I did this to demonstrate that the theme songs of my youth are EVERYTHING. You are also EVERYTHING. And you deserve everything your heart desires!

Wellness. Let's Talk About It.

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Last week in my Instagram stories, I referenced the Girls Gone WOD Podcast, Diet Culture Harm. I listened to it through my Apple podcast app and I think it is well worth it for my lady friends to take an hour to listen to it too. Honestly, it has taken me well over a week to process my thoughts on all the issues they addressed and, on a personal level, my role within the paradigm of diet culture. This podcast hit me hard.

An even harder hit was the NY Times article by Jessica Knoll called Smash the Wellness Industry that Joy and Claire talked at length about.  With a tagline that reads “Why are so many smart women falling for [The Wellness Industry’s] harmful psuedoscientific claims?” I had all the feels having worked with so many smart women myself. There are so many aspects of the article that any woman can relate to, but I was really struck by the part where she “sets the scene” of four high-powered business women meeting for lunch.

“Someone was slogging through the Whole30 program, someone had eliminated dairy, and someone else was simply trying to be “good” after a “bad” weekend. The producer said it didn’t matter how “good” she was. She had lost the baby weight and though she may look tolerable in clothes, under the Spanx her stomach was a horror show. The writer said she had so much cellulite on her thighs she looked diseased. I gazed around the restaurant, longingly, wondering what the men eating cheeseburgers were talking about.”

Chances are they weren’t spending time berating their bodies and trying their darnedest to eat as little and/or as restrictively as possible. This all too familiar scenario for women is SO prevalent in our culture and just picturing it in my head makes me want to round up every smart woman I know (which is EVERY woman I know) and encourage them to call bullshit on this. And the Girls Gone Wod podcast also calls BS on this “time-honored” tradition of women trashing their bodies in the company of other women.

However, this being said, the podcast also really dissects what it is about the supposed “Wellness” Industry that sends the message that us women aren’t “enough” if we’re not obsessing about our bodies together or eating X but not Z. They talk candidly about the pressure of the notion of wellness, eating disorders, emotional eating, their own relationship with their bodies and the unrealistic expectation that women should love their bodies in order to have a fulfilling life. I could probably write ten blogs inspired by the issues they brought up.

I know I have talked about my personal struggles with being a woman...with a body...in our society. I mean, I don’t know a single woman...who has a body...who doesn’t have issues of some sort. But, I think listening to parts of this podcast really made me cringe because I wonder how much I am perpetuating the problem. 

But for all my stumbling and any unintended contribution to the toxicity of the wellness industry, I really want all of you to know that my intention is pure. I really truly deep down want every person I work with to live their best lives, however that looks for each individual. At the core of my work, this is what I want to shine through more than anything. More than any exercise video I upload or nutrition graphic I share, I hope all of your biggest take away from my work is that your relationship with yourself is priority numero uno. I love the part of The Girls Gone WOD podcast when they say, and I am totally paraphrasing here, that “every single meal is building a relationship with your body...with yourself...with food. Think of the way you eat as a relationship like any other. For instance, the relationship you have with your spouse or significant other or best friend. You would nurture that relationship. What are you doing everyday to nurture a relationship with the food you eat?” I would also ask what are you doing everyday to nurture your relationship with yourself? With your soul? With your spirit? With your personal goals? With your development? These are the questions I really want all of you to dig deep into. The food and exercise are important, but true wellness is knowing YOU are important. We all are. 

Status Update...Something Is Better Than Nothing!

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Okay, we all have that friend who makes big declarations on social media that they aren’t going to be on social media. You know what I’m talking about, right? The friend who posts something like “I’m taking a break from social media. Text or call me if you need me.” And they really aren’t on social media...for like three weeks. And then they start to creep back into your feed and suddenly they’re posting inspirational quotes, viral videos and the latest article on this, that and the other. They may even be taking pics of their lunch on instagram. That’s when their social media presence is really getting real. And you just know they are binging on Insta photos, Facebook drama and maybe they even opened a Twitter account...ya know to keep up on the news?

Riiiiight.

Now you may be thinking, “Kylie, you’re sounding very judgy.” Well, I don’t mean to be. Hello, I love my social media! Have you seen my Instagram stories?! I’m using this as an example of an all or nothing mentality. Instead of maybe cutting back social media use to a half hour in the morning and, say a half hour on their commute home, our sweet friend is going full throttle. And this disconnection, when you’re used to being constantly logged in, is just not sustainable. It’s not impossible but it’s kind of impossible.


One phrase I’ve been finding myself saying over and over lately is “something is better than nothing.” Being on social media for one less hour a day leaves a whole hour to start reading that book that has been on your nightstand for a month. A whole hour to play a boardgame with your kids. An hour to go for a walk, perhaps.

And this brings me right to the point of this blog post. Especially when it comes to exercising, something is better than nothing! Summer is a tough time to workout for a lot of us. Routines are thrown off with kids being home. A lot of us are traveling. There are more social outings. I’m hearing from a lot of clients and members of my Lift to Get Lean groups that they are having a hard time not being “perfect” with their fitness routine. Summer provides a lot of excuses to let fitness slip off the list of priorities.

Well here is my proposal...maybe summer is a great opportunity to embrace imperfect workouts instead of excuses. It’s a great time to practice self-compassion and find personal balance in times of challenge. Maybe you squeeze in a twenty minute HIIT before your kids wake up. Or maybe you do some yoga outside while they run around the yard. Is this ideal? No. Will you most likely not achieve zen and be interrupted several times? Yes. But this is when that imperfect workout teaches you that life happens. Life will ALWAYS happen. But staying consistent is KEY in times that test us. Don’t use a vacation as a reason to stop your routine. Do one of my bodyweight workouts. I sent a great one out this past Monday, in fact. You CAN keep your fitness up by doing abbreviated workouts because staying in the habit is of the utmost importance.

Nutrition is the other piece that’s really difficult in the summer. Barbecues. Travel. Kids snacking in front of you all day long. Work happy hours enjoying warm weather. All of these are temptations to give up on healthy eating. But maybe you focus on making just a few healthier decisions. Maybe you bring chicken to grill at a get together, so you’re not tempted by burgers and hot dogs. Maybe you eat a filling snack right before happy hour so you aren’t hungry and are more able to pass on the fried appetizers. Maybe you pack some veggies to snack on while camping instead of chips and dip. These little tweaks add up and help you maintain your focus on eating healthier. Imperfect nutrition is better than unsustainable perfect nutrition!

Something is better than nothing!

So, pack a protein bar for the pool and avoid your kiddos Cheetos (who wants orange fingers anyways?!) Workout for two sets of fifteen minutes when you can squeeze them in if getting to the gym that day isn’t a possibility. Opt for a lower cal adult beverage instead of the strawberry daiquiri. Something is better than nothing people! Just like your buddy swearing off social media forever, it may not be realistic that you are going to hit the hotel gym every single day on vacation. Embrace the imperfection summer provides! Embrace lazy days at the pool or on the beach or, my personal fave, sunning yourself on a lounge chair in the backyard.

Something is better than nothing.


Something is really better than nothing!

Can We Just NOT...

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For quite awhile now, I have been posting videos on my Facebook page called “Can We Just Not…” and fill in the blank. It’s all well and fine to try to urge people to do things, but sometimes it makes a bigger impact encouraging people NOT to do things. And, if you have been following me for awhile, you know I am a big fan of not doing things if you 1. Hate doing them. Or 2. They don’t serve you in any way. And, since last week was crazy busy wrapping up the school year and now I am in Mexico, I thought I would put together a quick blog compiling my ten Can We Just Not videos in one place for all of you.

I am nice like that.

So, without further adieu…

Can We Just Not...Do It All

Can We Just Not…Catastrophize Everything

Can We Just Not…Miss Out on the Next Session of Lift to Get Lean (Shameless plug)

Can We Just Not…Overcomplicate Things

Can We Just Not…Be So Reactive

Can We Just Not…Be Afraid to Ask for What We Need

Can We Just Not…Be In Such a Hurry

Can We Just Not…Go On a Diet

Can We Just Not…Comment on What Other People Are Eating

Can We Just Not…Give Teachers Food As Presents

Lemme know if there are any other Can We Just Nots you would like me to touch on. I am all ears!

Fear Not the Carb!

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Ahhhh, the nineties. The era of Jared and the Subway diet and fat-free everything. When ordering whole wheat made you feel like a saint. Because at least it wasn’t white! And Panera made fast casual a “thing.” Bread bowls. Bagels. And baguettes, oh my!

The nineties were a great time to be a carb lover.

But today, notsomuch.

I just started a new session of Lift to Get Lean last week and, as with every session in recent years, I have several members who have expressed their fear of carbs. They aren’t worried about eating too many carbs. They are afraid of eating ANY carbs. This, my friends, is an issue.

Carbs are NOT our enemy! But, with keto and paleo everything right now, I can’t say this surprises me. These types of restrictive diets prey on people’s fears. For a slight few of the population, eating low to no carbs is a medical necessity, but for those of us who are just looking to lead healthier lifestyles, avoiding carbs altogether is 1. Not realistic and therefore 2. Not effective. Just as fats were the outcasts of the nineties and we have since realized how absolutely vital fats are for proper functioning, so to do carbs have very important roles in maintaining our health.

One of the greatest things about carbs are they help you build muscle. Yes, that’s not just the job of protein. Athletes know that they need carbs, not just to build muscles, but also to have sufficient energy for their workouts. Carbs supply quick energy to the body! And restricting them, over time, can wreak havoc on your body including creating hormone imbalances, sluggishness, anxiety, etc. And, let’s be real, restriction of carbs usually ends up in downing a whole bag of twizzlers or drinking all the pepsi.

So, for those who get nervous just thinking about the bread bowls or footlong subs of yesteryear, I have a mantra for you. Better carbs NOT fewer carbs. I’ll say it again for the carb-phobes in the back...BETTER CARBS NOT FEWER CARBS! We need to be focusing on eating more nutrient-dense complex carbohydrates instead of those simple guys (think soda, white bread and sugary desserts) who give all carbs a bad wrap.

Now we all know veggies are good for us. Whether you’re a kale hater or not, chances are you know leafy greens are healthy carbs that should be a part of everyone’s diet. So veggies are a complex carb given, but other great carb sources include brown or wild rice, quinoa, beans, legumes, oats, potatoes or sprouted grain bread. I totally understand wanting a sweet treat so snack on fruit instead of candy, cookies or cake. Berries are always a great choice. Especially on some yogurt. Yum. I love to add some banana to my protein smoothies. A good rule of thumb for picking your carb sources is asking yourself how processed the carb is. If you’re reading a label and see a lot of words that end in “ose,” you might just want to grab a cutie instead. Because, again, it’s all about BETTER CARBS NOT FEWER CARBS!

Vive le carb!

Fear not the carb!

Steve Madden wedge sandals are best left in the nineties. But carbs...those bad boys are timeless.

Sign Up Already!

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Something is better than nothing.

Done is better than none.

Get a little better every day.

These are phrases I use on the daily with my clients. I like to serve as a constant reminder that you don’t need to be perfect to be better. For those of you who are considering signing up for the next session of Lift to Get Lean but have been holding yourself back because you don’t think you can do it perfectly, I want to tell you today that something is better than nothing. Especially when it comes to fitness and nutrition and personal growth.

I have talked about this a bit before, but perfection paralysis is a very real thing. Does any of this sound familiar?

“I can’t sign up because I have a wedding the second weekend of June.”  

“I can’t sign up because it’s the end of the school year and the last few weeks are crazy as a mom.”

“I can’t sign up because I work full time and could never fit in all the workouts.”

If you have found yourself holding back from making changes because of social events or busy mom life or your job...chances are you might be struggling with perfection paralysis. This is the notion that if it can’t be done perfectly, then it can’t be done at all. To this I say, done is better than none! A twenty minute workout may not be an hour workout but it is better than nothing. Eating on-point two meals a day is better than not eating well at all. Only eating out three times a week is better than the carry-out you do every weeknight. Done is better than none!

I really try to emphasize the importance of baby steps when it comes to my programs. Any change that is made that is going to be sustainable needs to be done slowly and methodically. I don’t advocate or support radical overhauls. There is just no way to maintain that level of perfection. Because, let’s be real…there will always be a social event. Life will always be busy. And most of us have to work. It is so much more seamless to introduce small new behaviors that add up over time. Improvement looks different for each person I work with. Some of my clients already train five days a week and eat healthy and are just looking to up the intensity of their exercising. Some clients need help working out consistently and have a bit to learn about how to fuel themselves properly. And some clients haven’t stepped into a gym in years and are wanting to make changes to eating habits that are no longer serving them. Wherever you are at in your journey, I say just get a little better each day.

This looks like using one spoonful of sugar in your coffee instead of two. Replacing the chips in your lunch with veggies. Adding a few more reps to your strength moves. Doing an evening walk after work a couple days a week. Only going out to eat twice on the weekend instead of eating out all meals. Journaling during your train commute so you can focus on what you want for your day. Focusing on shutting down electronics a half hour earlier so you can start to sleep better.

I could go on.

It’s these little changes that add up. Rachel Hollis had a great quote in a podcast I listen to. She said, "I didn't know it had to be good, I just knew it had to get done." Now that’s a philosophy I can get on board with.  You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t even need to be good. You just need to be a little better to get it done. And by “it.” I mean the life you dream of. Please let me help you attain the life you dream of.

What Lift to Get Lean ISN'T

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I was really trying to wrack my brain thinking about how I could describe what makes Lift to Get Lean, the program that I have been running now for over two years, different from other fitness programs. It occurred to me that maybe the best way to show how Lift to Get Lean is different is by describing everything it ISN’T.


It ISN’T just a six week program, it’s a forever shift in nutrition and exercise. Lift to Get Lean is all about mindwork and creating new habits, as far as the way we eat and the way we train. In six weeks, clients learn about nutrition and how to lift weights, but more than that they learn how to rethink old patterns and learn new ways of thinking and behaving to get them to reach their goals.


It ISN’T just support from two coaches, you have a whole group of cheerleaders. One of the best aspects of having a private online forum is that you have access to people from all over the country (and even the world) who are working hard alongside you cheering you on and sharing their struggles and victories too. The camaraderie in the groups keeps Leanne and I motivated just as much as it keeps the participants motivated! We got all the GIF’s, memes and emojis flowing and share in each other’s wins and stumbling blocks. Bottom line, the participants in my programs are the best part of my program. I’ve said it once and I will say it again, you are who you surround yourself with. And that goes for online communities just as much as those in your daily life.

It ISN’T about eating the least amount of calories so you can lose weight in the shortest amount of time. Hello no! I am not hawking just another diet program preying on insecurities and promoting restriction.  In most cases, I am teaching clients how to eat more in Lift to Get Lean. Yes, more! I can’t stress enough that we need to eat the proper amount of calories and macros in order to have optimal energy for working out and daily life in general. Often, participants tone up by eating more. Many lose weight too. Lift to Get Lean is not a diet. And eating more is awesome.

It ISN’T a quick fix. Changing life long habits and thought patterns can be a slow process. We are so conditioned to see results yesterday, but changes made overnight are usually the least sustainable. SO many of my clients remark about how they could never go back to the way they were eating or all the time they spent killing themselves on cardio machines. Once you know better, you do better. And I feel so much gratitude being able to give people the tools they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle for the long haul.

It ISN’T hours and hours of exercising. The workouts I put together for clients are challenging, but they are effective and efficient. Most workouts can be completed between twenty-five to forty-five minutes. They can also be done in the gym, but if that’s not your jam, I provide at-home versions alongside the gym versions. And lemme tell you, I have seen just as much success in clients who enjoy being in the safety of their own home working out as those who are hitting the gym. Speaking of the gym, I get my gym clients moving all around using free weights and various machines. The weight room can be an intimidating space for a lot of folks, I provide detailed demo videos to take away that stigma and get clients comfortable with equipment they might not otherwise use.


It ISN’T about detoxes, cleanses or any other short-term reset. Lift to Get Lean is a lifetime reset. I think most folks hear the program is six weeks and they think of these types of drastic restrictive modalities. Let me be very clear, this is not what I am all about.


It ISN’T about goal weights. I really encourage clients to ditch their scale as a measure of success. I encourage taking photos and body measurements in order to see progress and celebrating non-scale victories. These look a whole lot like behavioral changes like getting up early to workout before work or skipping dessert at a family party. You aren’t going to experience weekly weigh-ins under my watch. Uh uh!


It ISN’T about providing set meal plans. Sorry not sorry, I’m not going to tell you what to eat. Because, I have to ask, what happens when I am not in your life anymore giving you the answers on what to eat? Instead I work with you to find your own answers to what foods work with your individual goals, tastes and needs.


Sustainability, folks. That’s the name of the game. THAT is what Lift to Get Lean IS. It is a long-term, sustainable, shift in mindset and habits. What makes Lift to Get Lean different is that the six weeks of fitness and nutrition coaching is the groundwork...a strong foundation...the beginning of a lifetime of health.

Sometimes You Have to Reverse to Go Forward

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Can you imagine driving a car that didn’t go in reverse? Now, I don’t know that much about automobiles, but I do know that I have to back out of my driveway in the morning. I literally couldn’t start my day or get anywhere without driving in reverse. I need this function in order to move forward...even if it feels like I’m moving backwards.


Now keep this image in your head. It’ll make sense why I’m talking cars in just a moment.


Let me switch gears for a moment (see what I did there) and provide a few statistics that demonstrate why I am vehemently against diets. The average dieter in the UK follows 55 fad diets during their lifetime. FIFTY-FIVE.


Americans don’t fare much better. The consensus is that American women spend a total of seventeen years of their lives on diets. SEVENTEEN.


And things are very grim for women who try to diet.  Which is probably why women try 130 diets over their lifespan. ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY.


And for all these poor women stuck in the diet trap, the average female loses her body weight over nine times during her lifetime. NINE TIMES.


These numbers are staggering, but in my years in the fitness industry doing nutrition coaching, high performance coaching and having run over two years of my Lift to Get Lean program, I can believe them! Sadly, I am not surprised by these numbers because I see the debilitating nature of the diet cycle every day.  It really makes me wonder why we continue to do something over and over again when it elicits the same result. Failure. Isn’t that the definition of insanity?!


But I’ve got the solution!


Go on a diet.


No, for real, that’s my solution.


But this isn’t a diet that will have you spinning your wheels (god, I love a good metaphor), it’s a diet that is referred to as a REVERSE diet. At this point, reverse diets are just about the only diets I can really get behind. But, before I extol their virtue, let me first explain metabolic adaptation and why it is causing all other diets to end in the same result, failure.


It has been ingrained in us since the 1950’s that the way to lose weight is to go on a low calorie diet. We have been indoctrinated for decades to think that eating the least amount of food is what is going to get us to reach our goals. But what isn’t taken into account in this scenario is just how amazing our bodies are at adapting to conditions. In other words, the less fuel (aka food) you give your body, the less fuel it will begin to need. This is what is called metabolic adaptation. Your metabolism adapts to what you are giving it. And, as a result of chronic dieting and multiple weight loss and gain cycles, your body starts to burn less calories the less you eat. This is why low calorie diets don’t work in the long term. You simply cannot stay in a caloric deficit for years and expect to see the results you want, hence why 95% of people who go on diets, regain the weight. NINETY-FIVE PERCENT!


This is when reverse dieting comes into play. Reverse dieting is the way you transition from having been in a caloric deficit to getting back to eating in maintenance mode. Reverse dieting is a slow process. It involves gradually starting to increase your intake of carbohydrates and fats. The amount of protein you eat stays the same. This is a slow methodical process and you will not gain weight back because the process involves very small baby steps. In other words, you will gradually be increasing your carb/fat intake by about 40 calories daily for a few weeks at a time. And then in a few weeks, you increase by 40 calories daily again.  Your body will start to adapt to these gradual small changes and intuitively know that the more fuel you are giving it, the more energy it will be able to use to function. (In other words, the more you eat, the more you’ll burn.) And you will continue this process for several months. Having gone through this process myself, let me tell you that the end result is so worth it because you will be able to go from, say, 1600-2000 calories per day. That leap of four hundred calories will allow you to have more fun with the food you are eating and you will repair your metabolism. FOUR HUNDRED CALORIES!


I want you to think about repairing your metabolism like focusing on routine maintenance for your car so that it runs more efficiently. For instance, if you continually forget to put gas in your car to the point that it is running on fumes as you pull into the gas station, this will gradually wear on the way your car functions. If you don’t change your oil regularly, your car’s engine will eventually poop out. Just like our metabolism, a car needs the proper amount of fuel and maintenance to function. And, as I started this post, I want to reiterate that your car needs all it’s gears to get from point A to point B and this includes putting your vehicle in reverse just as much as in drive.  


I know the idea of reverse dieting can be scary, but it really will allow your body to function better and allow you to enjoy food, movement and your daily life far more than the weight loss/weight gain cycle of traditional dieting. Consider reverse dieting your exit strategy for a life of counting calories and feeling deprived. No more spinning those wheels!

What Happens to Dreams When Things Get Hard?

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Who else gets swept up in the excitement of setting goals that seem impossible?! Attaining that lean body you have always wanted. Or getting that promotion at work. Coming in first in a running race would be just amazing. A lot of us envision starting our own business. Or maybe some of us have books in our heads that haven’t made their way to paper yet. Thinking about all of these amazing accomplishments is invigorating, inspiring and empowering.

And maybe some of us are crazy enough to start working towards these huge goals. Getting up at 5 am to hit the gym. Staying late at work when everyone else has gone home. Running miles a day for weeks at a time. Creating a website for your new hustle. Starting an outline for your novel. How exciting it is to start things that are so momentous?!

But, what happens to these dreams when things get hard?

What happens when your sick kid woke you up all night long, so you missed your early morning workout? Do you still go the next morning?

What happens when you get passed over for a position because someone more senior got the promotion? Do you still stay late to work?

What happens when you injure your ankle running? Do you rest and recover so you can get back at it?

What happens when you get feedback that your website is confusing and friends are doubting your new venture? Do you still create a business plan?

What happens when you get writer’s block and haven’t written for three months? Do you set aside your book and focus on other things?

Let’s be real here, for a lot of us, when things get hard… when we reach these pivotal points of choosing whether to press on despite resistance or challenges or moments of insecurity… that’s exactly when we stop. That’s when we doubt ourselves and that’s when we quit.

But I propose that change is like a pendulum. As hard as you are pushing things one way, outside forces are going to push back just as much. I propose that difficulty is resistance and resistance is just part of making a change. In other words, know that meeting a goal is going to be hard. Know you are going have moments of failure. Know you can’t control outside forces or unforeseen challenges. You can’t predict sick kids or office politics or injuries or doubt from others or mental blocks. These things are going to come at inconvenient times and throw you for a loop, but they are also there to show you how much you really want to achieve your goal.  Embrace these obstacles as essential parts of the process of change.

Also know that you are strong enough to get through the hard part. EVERYTHING you want is past that hard part. EVERYTHING. Your goal. Your new life. Your best version of YOU. These things are waiting for you, just past the resistance.

Today, I‘ll leave you with some quotes from people who say things way better than I ever could.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” -Nelson Mandela

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” ―Confucius

“Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” ―Harriet Beecher Stowe

“Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.” ―James A. Michener

Please keep going. After all, you’ll never know how close you are to succeeding if you quit now.