Diet and Nutrition

Diet and Nutrition, Mental Health, The Fitness Academy

How To Set Yourself Up For Inevitable Success On Your Health/Fitness Journey

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Most of us have been on some sort of fitness, health, or weight loss journey. Unfortunately, the majority of us feel like we’ve been on this never ending road of dieting and working out without ever really reaching our destination. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you feel this way too. Have you ever asked yourself, “what is my destination?”

If you’re setting off on a health/fitness journey, whether it is to lose weight, tone up, gain more confidence, or just feel healthier in general, you need to have a specific, measurable, and achievable goal.

The following steps will help you DEFINE and ACHIEVE the specific outcomes you’re looking for out of a new health/fitness program or any change you’re making in your lifestyle.

Step 1: Think about what you want and why you want it.

First, what do you want? What is the outcome you’re looking for from this new program or lifestyle changes? In other words, if you could wave a magic wand and get anything you wanted, what would that look like? Be as detailed and specific as possible with your goal/s, while also making sure it’s realistic. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds in a month, you’re not being realistic, or healthy, for that matter.

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Secondly, ask yourself “what will having or achieving this goal do for me? How will it improve my life?” You may have to ask yourself this question a few times before you land on something really important to you. Often times, the initial goal (i.e., losing 50 pounds in 10 months) is not about the weight itself at all but about something much more meaningful, such as being confident enough to do something you’ve always feared doing (i.e., starting your own business or going on a trip to your dream destination.) If you’re a parent, you may want to set an example for your children by leading a healthier lifestyle. Knowing the WHY behind your goal is just as important as the goal itself. It is your motivation.

Step 2: Write it down.

Once you have your specific goal and the why behind it, write it down on paper. It has been proven that writing things down works. In a study done by Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, on the science of goal setting found that you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis.

Step 3: Anchor your motivating factors.

An anchor is something physical in your environment that will remind you WHY you’re doing all of this and putting in all of this effort. It should be something that uses one or more of your five senses. For example, a favorite song you like to hear, a piece of jewelry you can touch, a note or picture you can look at, or a specific candle or essential oil you love the scent of.

Your anchors will act as little daily reminders and they come in quite handy when you’re lacking in motivation. Anchors can act as pattern interrupters, something that stops you when you’re tempted to make a choice that may not be in alignment with your goals. Having an anchor will also give you an influx of positive energy from time to time by making you proud and excited to make good choices, no matter how small these choices may be. They all add up to help you eventually reach your desired outcome.

Step 4: Find someone to keep you accountable.

Having someone by your side to help guide and motivate you, as well as hold you accountable, throughout this journey will not only make it more enjoyable and fun, it will make you 10x more likely to achieve your goal. Sure, this can be a workout buddy, friend, or family member, but having a good coach by your side would be your best bet. Depending on your goals, find a health coach, personal trainer, nutrition coach, or someone who does it all. Why? Because a knowledgeable and caring coach will not let you quit on yourself. We will make sure you stay motivated, consistent, that you feel comfortable and confident with every changes you’re making or the exercises you’re doing, that you’re always progressing towards your desired outcomes, and that through all of this, you’re having FUN!

We know this field can be very confusing and saturated with conflicting information about what to eat, what not to eat, what workouts to do, when to do them, what diets work, etc. Skip the google search and the failed attempts at cookie cutter diet plans. All of this will only deter you from your goals and make you feel defeated until you finally throw in the towel. Having a coach will remove the guesswork so that you can focus on doing what you have to do to reach your goals.

Before you set off on your next health/fitness journey, follow these steps and you WILL be successful. It’s easy to be excited about starting something new and maintaining it at first, but then as the weeks pass by and you begin to lose motivation and patience, it is inevitable that you will fall off track. And as we all know, getting back on track is no piece of cake. This is just human nature. However, if you set yourself up for success by clearly identifying what it is you want, why you want it, writing these down, setting up little reminders (anchors), and having an accountability partner/coach to support, there is no room for failure!

Diet and Nutrition, The Fitness Academy

Getting In Tune With Your Body’s Hunger and Fullness Signals

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Before we change WHAT we eat, we have to look at HOW we are eating. How many times have you stuffed your breakfast down your throat on your way to work? Have you ever eaten so much so fast that your stomach felt like it was going to explode? We’ve all been there…

It’s important to honor our internal hunger and fullness scales because when we are able to be more in tune with our bodies, we save ourselves from endless moments of regret and frustration. The way in which you eat – fast, slow, distracted, etc – is just as significant a factor in your health as the foods you eat. 

So, what exactly is the hunger/fullness scale? Look at your body as if it were a brand new, beautiful car. Would you drive that precious vehicle on empty for miles and miles? Probably not. If our hunger scales are on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being just noticing your hunger, and 10 being starving/ravenous (below empty in the gas tank), we should start planning for food at a 2. This is when we’ll make the most sound, healthy decisions for our bodies. On the other hand, on our fullness scale, 10 is stuffed and 1 is starving. Typically, we want to aim for a 7 or 8 max on the fullness scale when we finish a meal. We want to feel nourished, energized, and satiated, not stuffed.

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Seems simple enough right? Start planning for food when you’re at a 2 on the hunger scale and stop eating when you’re at a 7 on the fullness scale. For many of us, putting this into practice may be a bit more challenging than it seems because our eating habits have kept us so out of touch with our internal hunger/fullness scales. Sometimes we eat when we’re bored, sometimes we don’t eat at all, sometimes we shove food down our throats in a rush, sometimes we overeat…We’ve confused our poor bodies so much, no wonder we’re so out of touch with our hunger and satiety cues. It’s time to re-train our minds to be more in tune with our bodies by changing the way we eat. How do we do this? See the list of steps below!

  1. Give yourself more time at each meal. If you normally eat breakfast in five minutes, give it 10. If you normally take 10 minutes, bump it up to 15. For lunch and dinner, give yourself at least 20 minutes. Why 20 minutes? That’s how long it takes the receptors and hormones in our stomachs to communicate with the brain and say “I’m full.” Don’t have the time? MAKE the time. Rearrange your home and work schedules to give yourself more time. Get your family and coworkers involved too!
  2. Eat slowly. During these meals, make sure you are thoroughly chewing and savoring each bite. Eat with all of your senses! Enjoy the smell, taste, texture, etc of your food.
  3. Eat stress-free. When we’re stressed out and we eat a meal, it doesn’t matter if it is the healthiest meal in the world, our bodies will not absorb those nutrients properly. In a stressed state, the body puts digestion on pause. And if your body isn’t digesting the food you’re eating, what happens? Acid reflux, bloating, stomach pain, the list goes on and on. Here are a few tips on eating stress-free:
    1. Take 10 deep breaths before you eat.
    2. Eat with no distractions or stressful external stimuli – no work, no TV, etc.
    3. Focus on the meal in front of you and be grateful for it (eat with all the senses.)
  4. Eat for energy and satiety, rather than comfort or fullness. Remember, you want to be at about a 7 on the fullness scale. When you’re done eating, make a physical gesture that your meal is complete by pushing your plate away, putting a napkin over it, or crossing your silverware. If you’re eating with other people, state out loud that you are full or done.

Implementing these action steps will make your eating experience much more pleasant, allow your body to more efficiently digest and assimilate nutrients, and prevent you from making some “hanger”-fueled choices, such as yelling at a spouse for no reason or eating an entire jar of olives. When you’re in tune with these signals and you honor your body by feeding it when it’s hungry and stopping before you feel overly full, you’re showing your body self-love. This will pay off when you do begin to start looking at WHAT you’re eating and making some changes to your diet. You’ll notice that the body will respond better and perhaps quicker than usual to certain dietary changes.

Diet and Nutrition

Dieting & Nutrition 101

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Hello Fit Fam, welcome back!

Today We will be going over not so much the science behind dieting and nutrition, but more covering over the basis to help keep your sanity. The reason I feel covering this topic from this perspective is because, right off the bat I will let you know that every single person in the world is different from the next. So there is not one diet or nutrition plan that will work for everyone. The dirty truth the fitness industry doesn’t want you to know is that the secret for success lies within trial and error, lots of patience and perseverance.

Mindset. This comes first. Accept that this is a life long journey and the goal is not just to drop 10 or 20 pounds but to find a way to live your life that is the healthiest for you while not being miserable. No one wants to eat chicken, broccoli and brown rice everyday and since you’re not competing in a body building competition, you don’t need to! If you are struggling with your weight due to unhealthy eating habits to think you can completely change your entire lifestyle in one shot is too unrealistic and will set you up for failure in the long run. Trial and error. Set your self up with small obtainable goals. How is your water intake? Do you drink a lot of sugary sodas and iced teas? Can you drink one less can of soda per day and replace it with an extra bottle of water? Seems silly right? Well, for some people this can be a struggle and this one little change can be the catalyst that sets you up for success in the long run. Last thing I will mention about mindset. Your biggest critic is probably yourself. So as you start to make these small changes to your lifestyle, if you have a day where you aren’t doing what you’re supposed to be doing, that’s okay! Change is not linear, you can and you probably will fall off the horse a few times. Change begins and ends with perseverance and patience.

Your body is just a vehicle. You’re very own, very personal, very customized vehicle. While you are awake, while you are alive, your body is burning calories and calories equal energy. That and only that is the true purpose for food. To fuel your vehicle for the day. The more you move, the more physical activities you take part in, the more calories you will be burning. Unfortunately, we live in a society where food has become entertainment. Just take a minute to reflect on that. When you are looking for something to do, how often does the solution of a night out eating and or drinking come up? Are you eating to fuel your vehicle or are you eating for fun? Are you actually hungry or are you bored? I challenge everyone to try just a few days of intermittent fasting. Try this and you will find out what true hunger feels like. Not to mention the actual scientific benefits of fasting that I will save for a future post.

As I said before, everybody is different and fasting may not be the answer for you and that’s okay. I encourage everyone to put in a little effort to invest some time into themselves. Track your calories, get an idea of how many you are actually eating on a daily basis. Track your macros, same concept. Learn about yourself and your body. Document things. What times are you eating? So much to think about! Something I have all of my clients do is in some form or fashion (texting pictures is usually the easiest) is to journal every single thing you put into your mouth for a 14 day period. You don’t have to worry about tracking calories or the macro-nutrients, I handle all of that. At the end of the 14 day we can come up with a game plan together on where we can start to make some changes.

I hope you able to take some of what you read here today and reflect. Ask yourself some of the questions you read above. If you would like to dive deeper into this topic with me, as always you can e-mail me at

The Fitness Academy is dedicated to helping you not only achieve your goals but also to set you up for success long after your time is up with me.

E-mail, call or text (201.983.3510) to schedule your complimentary 90 minute consultation.

Peace & Love,

~Matt G.

P.S. The Fitness Academy will be hosting an all day seminar (10 am – 6 pm) on May 20th led by Holistic doctor, Dr. Julian Cano. You can sign up on his website