Start the New Year Off Right!

Start the New Year off right!

Come and try a FREE CLASS on New Year’s Day at The F.I.T. Lab,

When: January 1, 11:00-11:45 a.m.

Where: 1583 Hamline Ave, Falcon Heights

What: Boot Camp 101

Heard about the great benefits of high-intensity boot camp classes, but not sure if you’d survive? Then Boot Camp 101 is for you!

This class is suitable for all fitness and ability levels, even if you’re nursing an injury or are at risk for/have been diagnosed with a chronic condition. It’s also perfect for fitter individuals looking for a great high-intensity workout.

Boot Camp 101 follows the format and basic movements of traditional boot camp classes, but modifications will be demonstrated for each exercise so that everyone can participate in the entire class. You’ll learn how safely and effectively perform a diverse range of bodyweight exercises while burning tons of calories in the process.

The format is high energy, the atmosphere is fun and welcoming –  Boot Camp 101 is the perfect way to kick off your New Year’s resolution to improve your health and fitness in 2017!

Offered by: Rashelle Brown, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach, Spartan SGX Coach and owner of Full Steam Fitness, LLC.

Attend the free class on New Year’s Day, then sign up for 10 more classes for just $8 per class! Ongoing classes run Tuesday mornings from 5:45 – 6:30 a.m. and Saturday mornings from 7:45 – 8:30 a.m.

Introducing The F.I.T. Lab

Big news, Full Steam Fitness fans! Starting this weekend, I’m partnering with the amazing staff and trainers at The F.I.T. Lab, conveniently located at 1583 N Hamline Ave, Falcon Heights.

Not only does this allow me to offer all of my individual and small group training services at lower rates, but it also gives me the opportunity to finally start teaching small and large group classes as well. Beginning Monday, December 5th, I’ll be doing just that!

The F.I.T. Lab is a co-operative of industry-leading personal trainers and group fitness instructors offering a wide range of fitness specializations. Whether you’re looking for yoga, Zumba, boot camp, strength training, functional training, or sport-specific training, The F.I.T. Lab has you covered.

If you’ve been looking for a gym but hate the typical fitness club atmosphere, then get yourself to 1583 N Hamline Avenue this Saturday, December 3rd, between Noon and 4:00 pm. That’s the Grand Opening celebration of The F.I.T. Lab’s new location. You’ll have a chance to tour the facility, meet all of the trainers and instructors, receive big discounts on classes, and enter to win free individual training sessions and other prizes. Here’s a schedule of the day’s events:

12:00 – 1:00 Informal meet and greet, tour the facility, take advantage of your opportunity to complete a survey letting us know what kinds of classes and services you’d like to see in the future.

1:00 – 3:00 Each trainer/instructor will give a 15-minute mini class, introducing you to a class that he or she is currently teaching, or one that’s coming soon. (I’ll be teaching a mini version of my Core FUNdamentals class at around 1:30 p.m.)

3:00 – 3:30 The trainers will break out into stations, where we’ll be giving informational talks on various elements of fitness. This is your opportunity to interact with us one-on-one and learn more about our particular areas of expertise. My station will be called “Get to Know Your Core.”

3:30-4:00 Prize Drawings!

I hope to see you at the Grand Opening on Saturday, but if you can’t make it, you can learn more about the services and classes I’ll be offering at The F.I.T. Lab by clicking here.

Get Ready for Back to School

It’s almost that time of year already – in a few short weeks, children will be boarding school buses with new backpacks and long faces. Although the school year doesn’t necessarily mean more down time for parents, it does offer the benefit of a more consistent schedule. That’s why September is the perfect time to reconnect with those healthy habits you may have let slide over the summer.

Cleaning up your diet and getting back into an exercise regimen can be tough, though. It’s often hard to overcome your own inertia once you’ve settled into a certain set of habits. That’s where working with a health coach can really make a difference.

As a health coach, I don’t specialize in helping clients of one particular type reach one particular kind of goal. Rather, I help each of my clients reach the very unique health and wellness goals they have set by helping them meet the challenges they face head on. I bring over eight years of experience and a deep knowledge base to every single session, and the result is a proven record of success. I offer the kind of insights that only an experienced trainer can give, and a level of accountability and personalized, one-on-one service that few trainers anywhere offer.

If you’ve thought about private or small group training but aren’t sure it’s right for you, why not ask some of my clients about their experiences working with me? Use the Contact Form below to let me know you’re interested, and I’ll put you in touch with one or two of my current clients. Or, schedule a time to meet me in person by going to the Booking page and set up your FREE fitness consultation today.

Life moves fast and that’s never going to change, but you can take control of your life and start forming healthier habits today. I can help. Let’s get started!

The 10-Minute Workout You Should Do Every Day

Here’s a question for you: If you exercise regularly, what type of workouts do you normally do? Do you run several days a week? Lift weights or do bodyweight resistance training? Maybe you attend a high-intensity Bootcamp or CrossFit class. But how often do you train for balance, mobility and range of motion? If you’re like me, not often enough.

Having worked with clients spanning all age groups, I’ve been lucky enough to get a snapshot of the typical progression (or regression, really) of physical functionality that happens as we age. While I have witnessed loss of aerobic function and strength, I’ve never seen it reach the point where it seriously impairs the ability to carry out the activities of daily living. That’s not the case with balance, mobility and range of motion, though. I’ve worked with clients who have complained of difficulty climbing or descending stairs due to poor balance, or feeling awkward getting in and out of their car because they’d lost so much range of motion in their hips. The scary part is that these clients weren’t what I would consider old. It’s become evident to me that the current nature of our collective work, which involves sitting down for many hours a day, shoulders rounded forward and heads bent to look at a computer screen, is causing a premature loss of functional fitness that’s seriously impairing our quality of life. Fortunately, there is something we can do about it.

I developed a series of five exercises that anyone can do in under 10 minutes. If practiced regularly, this sequence can help you maintain your sense of balance, your range of motion in the hips, knees, spine and shoulders, and improve your overall mobility. This is as helpful for people in their thirties as it is for those in their eighties. You can easily incorporate these exercises into a warm-up before your strength training workouts, or do them as a stand-alone sequence at any time of day. Get the detailed instructions and a little more background on the benefits of the workout in this article I wrote for NextAvenue.

 

Note: This post was originally published on WellCuratedLife.com.

Fix Your Aches and Pains With Exercise

We all know that we should exercise regularly because it’s good for us, but if you suffer from musculoskeletal joint pain, some exercises are better than others. This was a topic I covered recently for the PBS website, NextAvenue.org.

In the article I explained the benefits of using functional or corrective exercises to coax the body back into proper alignment, and re-learn how to move. Hours of sitting hunched over at a desk, sitting in the car, and sitting on the couch have wrecked our bodies. The result is often neck, back or hip pain that can radiate outward, affecting other areas of the body as well. While better sitting posture is key to preventing a relapse back into this cycle of pain, in order to get out of that cycle in the first place, you have to correct your posture and your movement patterns. And surprisingly, many of the traditional exercises you might be doing could actually be making matters worse.

Why Bicep Curls Are Bad For You
Exercises that isolate a single joint and only work one muscle group at a time are generally a bad idea. These exercises include bicep curls, dumbbell raises (front or lateral, with a straight arm), hamstring curls, the “pec deck” and leg extensions. For starters, exercises like these involve moving a weight at the end of a long lever (your body part), which generates a lot of force (read: strain) on the acting joint. In the case of bicep curls, it’s the elbow joint, for hamstring curls and leg extensions it’s the knee joint, and for dumbbell raises and the pec deck, it’s the shoulder joint.

The second reason these exercises are a bad idea is that they can easily create muscle imbalances in the body. I call these exercises “vanity moves,” because they are usually performed for the sole purpose of growing or shaping muscle. The problem with that is we favor these exercises to the exclusion of other exercises. Because we are a mirror-obsessed society, we tend to focus most on what we can easily see: arms, shoulders, chest, abs, thighs. We pay less attention to our upper back and glutes, and completely neglect the many muscles of the lower back and hip complex. So we develop muscular asymmetries, which exacerbate our already bad posture and movement patterns.

Finally, single-joint exercises simply don’t produce any real strength or functional advantage. You may be able to move 150 pounds on the hamstring curl machine, but that doesn’t do anything for you in real life. The same is true for bicep curls: hoisting a heavy bar looks cool, but when’s the last time you lifted anything other than a weight using only your elbow joint and the muscles attached to it?

Do This Instead
It’s much better to spend your time in the gym doing multi-joint, compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, pushups or bench presses, pull-ups or lat pull-downs, and overhead presses. These exercises not only mimic our actual movement patterns, but they require a lot more energy (read: calories) to perform, and they elicit a greater metabolic and hormonal response, leading to faster strength and muscle gains. Most importantly, though, when done correctly (under the guidance of a good trainer), they can also correct your postural deficiencies and help erase those aches and pains you thought were just part of life now.

For more information on functional and corrective exercise, check out my article at NextAvenue.org. For expert guidance in setting up your own functional exercise program, contact me for personal training services.

Building Better Warm-ups

Better Warmup

In my last post, I made the case for why you should never skip the warm-up before you exercise. I ended by saying that a good warm-up should start off slowly with simple, low-intensity movements and gradually build in complexity and intensity, ending with movements that closely mimic the exercises you’ll be doing in the workout itself. Today, I want to give you a few different warm-up templates you can use to create your own workout-specific warm-ups.

Cardio Workouts
If you’ll be doing a cardio workout, the most important aspects of your warm-up will be to wake up the nervous system and warm up the muscles and core body temperature. If the workout will be intense, as with sprint intervals or hill repeats, then you should also incorporate some exercise-specific movements at the end of the warm-up. If you’ll be going at a steady pace throughout the workout, then simply ramp up your intensity at the end of the warm-up and transition right into the workout. Here’s a warm-up template you can use for cardio workouts:

  • Core and Breath Work: Start off by practicing a few rounds of belly breathing, both lying on your back and on all fours, then work your way through some simple core exercises like the Cat/Camel stretch, Bird Dog pose, and Glute Bridge.
  • Light to Moderate General Warm-up: Next, spend 5 – 10  minutes warming up your entire body. Transition from light intensity (such as walking) to moderate intensity (such as light jogging, high-knee marches, etc.)
  • Workout-Specific Muscle Activation: For higher intensity workouts, end this warm-up with a few exercises or drills that will activate the primary muscles you’ll use during the workout. If you’ll be doing a hard, hilly bike ride, then lunges are appropriate; if you’ll be doing sprint intervals, spend a few minutes doing skips and strides. Increase intensity gradually from moderate to high during this phase of the warm-up. When you’re finished, you should feel ready to jump right into the workout.

Strength Training Workouts
Before lifting weights, it’s important to raise muscle and core body temperature and to put your body through a series of motions that closely or exactly match the exercises you’ll be doing.

  • Core and Breath Work: Start off by practicing a few rounds of belly breathing, both lying on your back and on all fours, then work your way through some simple core exercises like the Cat/Camel stretch, Bird Dog pose, and Glute Bridge.
  • Light to Moderate General Warm-up: Next, spend 5 – 10  minutes warming up your entire body. Transition from light intensity (such as walking) to moderate intensity (such as light jogging, high-knee marches, etc.)
  • Exercise-Specific Warm-up Sets: Before you perform any “working sets” at your target weight, do one to three sets using body weight only, or very light free weights. If you’ll be doing barbell squats, for example, start with a set of deep knee bends, and then do a set of barbell squats with the bar only before adding plates. For bench press, start with pushups and then press the bar only before adding weight. If you’re working with dumbbells, simply start with empty hands and go through the range of motion, then use a set of very light dumbbells for your second warm-up set.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)/Bootcamp-Style Workouts
If you plan to do a high-intensity, body weight calisthenic workout, your primary goals during the warm-up are to raise your muscle and core body temperature, and to move all of your joints through a full range of motion.

  • Core and Breath Work: Start off by practicing a few rounds of belly breathing, both lying on your back and on all fours, then work your way through some simple core exercises like the Cat/Camel stretch, Bird Dog pose, and Glute Bridge.
  • Light to Moderate General Warm-up: Next, spend 5 – 10  minutes warming up your entire body. Transition from light intensity (such as walking) to moderate intensity (such as light jogging, high-knee marches, etc.)
  • Exercise-Specific Movements: Finish your warm-up with exercises that move your joints through a full range of motion and mimic the exercises you’ll be doing during the workout. For example, warm up your shoulders with arm circles, forward and backward, and then do the arms-only movement of jumping jacks. Warm up your hips with some side-to-side and front-to-back pendulum swings, high-knee marches and butt kickers. Then, before your first round of high-intensity work, do a quick circuit at half speed, or do modified (easier) versions of the exercises. For example, do some knee push-ups, half lunges and shallow knee bends. If your workout will include plyometric (jumping/explosive) exercises, incorporate some skipping and hopping into your warm-up.

By including a comprehensive warm-up into your workouts you’ll not only help prevent injury, but you’ll get your body ready to exercise at peak intensity, helping you to maximize performance and fitness gains, as well as calorie burn.

Don’t Skip The Warm-up!

We’ve all been told that we should warm up before exercise, but many of us (myself included) often skip this part of the workout in the interest of saving time. That is, I used to skip it, before I learned how important warming up really is.

My first inkling came when I interviewed Meb Keflezighi, one of the top marathoners in the world (and arguably the top US men’s marathoner) for an Active.com article back in February. “If I’m short on time,” Meb told me, “I cut my workout short, but I never, ever skip my warm-up or cool-down.” He considers his devotion to warming up a top reason why, at  the age of 40, he is able to remain injury-free and highly competitive against much younger athletes.

Fast forward a couple of months to the start of my latest coaching certifications – the Spartan Group Exercise (SGX) and Spartan Obstacle Specialist (SOS) certifications. For those who don’t know about it, the Spartan race series is considered the toughest among obstacle course races, cramming 20-25 military-style obstacles over 3-mile, 8-mile, 12-mile or full marathon-length courses. Needless to say, the level of fitness required to compete at these events – and the potential for injury – are both high. That’s why, from day one, the program emphasizes incorporating good warm-ups into every workout.

What a Warm-up Should Be

The purpose of a warm-up is to prepare the body for exercise in several different ways.

  • First, it should quite literally warm the body up, raising muscle and core temperatures by several degrees.
  • Equally important, the warm-up should wake up the nervous system and tell the brain to get ready for activity.
  • For a warm-up to be safe and effective, it should begin with simple, slow, low-intensity movements and progress gradually, increasing the complexity and intensity of the movements until the brain and the body are ready for the workout ahead.
  • The best warm-ups will end with exercises that closely mimic the movements you’ll be doing in the actual workout.

This may sound like a lot to tack onto the front end of a workout, but a good warm-up will have you ready to exercise safely and at peak performance in only around 10 to 15 minutes.

For some tips on specific warm-up exercises for different types of workouts, stay tuned for my next blogpost: Building Better Warm-ups.

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The Truth About Weight Loss

scale-and-tape-measureThere are dozens or even hundreds of different diets and exercise programs all promising weight loss, and yet most people fail to lose weight time and again. Learning these three universal truths can help you cut through the hype, separate yourself from the pack, and finally achieve lasting weight loss success.

 

Truth #1: You Can Do It
No matter how many times you’ve tried (and failed) to lose weight before, it IS possible, and you CAN do it! The first and most important step is to believe that this is true. Latching onto fad diets or putting yourself through punishing workouts in the hopes that this time “something will stick” and you’ll lose the weight and keep it off is sure to lead to disappointment. However, if you are willing to believe in yourself and commit to the actions illuminated in the next two truths, success is not only possible, but highly likely.

Truth #2: It Will Take Longer Than You Think
Probably the biggest reason why most people fail to lose weight and keep it off  is that they are too impatient at the outset. By aiming to drop a large amount of weight over a short amount of time, you set the stage for a dangerous bargaining process: “I’ll give up foods A, B and C for X number of weeks so I can lose Y number of pounds.” This kind of miserable dieting is all too familiar and dangerous for two reasons. First, by setting unrealistic expectations at the outset and putting yourself on a short timeline, you increase your risk for failure. This is bad enough in itself, but studies have shown that the biggest factor in self efficacy (confidence in your ability to do a certain thing) is your past history of success or failure in similar endeavors. By repeatedly failing at weight loss, you decrease your chance of future success a little bit every single time. The second way this kind of dieting can be dangerous is that losing and gaining weight over and over again takes a toll on the body. It can mess up your metabolism, which is bad for future weight loss efforts, but it can also increase your risk for diabetes, hypertension and gall stones, and can even speed up the aging process!

You can avoid all of that unpleasant stuff by setting realistic goals and committing to a real lifestyle change over a long timeline. Don’t be impatient – it will only hurt your progress. Ask yourself, “Where would I be today if I had adopted this kind of attitude a year ago?” Why not adopt that attitude today and see what happens over the next year?

Truth #3: Why Is More Important Than How
Everyone who wants to lose weight spends a lot of time and energy searching for the best possible diet and exercise program, when actually, most of them are pretty similar. You already know which things you eat or drink aren’t doing your waistline any favors, and you know whether you move enough or too little. As long as you adopt a few simple, common sense habits, the exact program you follow is not critically important. Much more important is the reason or reasons why you are trying to lose weight in the first place. That’s because behavior change – even the slow, small-step kind – is hard. If you don’t go into this thing for the right reasons, then you won’t stick with it when times get tough. There are lots of reasons why people quit practicing good habits – stress, depression, a change in work or family situation, illness, injury, you get the idea –  but if your motivation is strong, you’ll be much more likely to push through these common life events, stick with your healthy habits, and transform your body.

It’s hard for me to tell you what your exact motivations should be, but generally speaking, your reasons for wanting to lose weight need to be about you, and not about anyone else. If looking and feeling better is important to you, then you’ll be more likely to stay on the wagon. If you’re trying to get more dates, or impress your friends, or be a better role model for your kids, but you would otherwise feel just fine about being overweight, then that might not be important enough to get you past the bumpy spots in the road.

If you’d like some specific advice on how to put together a winning weight loss program with help at every step of the way, you can read my book, or contact me about private weight loss coaching services. Find out more about the book and my services here.

To read a few testimonials from satisfied clients, click here.

The Only Diet App You Need

A couple of years ago, I got a great idea for a diet app: a simple interface that would allow users to track the number of servings of healthy foods they ate every day. I asked my brother (who has a computery job) if he was interested in developing it for me (for free). Because he’s a great brother, and he thought it was a good idea, he got started on it right away. As it turned out though, he was kind of busy working at his real job (which actually pays him), raising his family, and training for marathons. And, since my own technical expertise is what you might expect from someone who uses a term like “computery” the app never got built.

I had never envisioned making it rich with the app, I just wanted something simple that my clients could use to improve the quality of their diet. As I wrote in my weight loss book, Reboot Your Body, counting calories is very effective for weight loss, but it’s so time consuming that people don’t keep it up over the long term. I was looking for something quick and easy to use, but still effective.

It’s not surprising that the person responsible for creating such an app is my health hero, Dr. Michael Greger. I wrote about him a few weeks ago in my post, The Most Important Book I’ve Ever Read.  His nonprofit website, NutritionFacts.org is my go-to source whenever I have a question about nutrition, and the app his team developed is exactly the answer I was looking for: it’s a simple, powerful tool not only for losing weight, but for optimizing nutrition as well.

FoodCategories

Available for Apple and Android devices alike, Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen provides a simple check-box interface where users can track how many servings they consume across 12 healthy categories. The categories are: beans, berries, other fruit, cruciferous vegetables, greens, other vegetables, flaxseeds, nuts, spices, whole grains, beverages and exercise. The target number of servings is different for each category, depending on optimal daily levels. To check off a serving, the user simply taps that row and is then taken to a page describing the foods that fall into that category. If what you’re eating fits the description, you hit the plus button to add the number of servings you’re consuming. The description also helpfully defines what constitutes a serving size.

Number of Servings

The tool is naturally designed for weight loss. Depending on the specific fruits, vegetables and whole grains eaten, a person who hits 100% by eating the recommended number of servings in each category will consume somewhere between 1550 and 2000 calories. However, because one of those categories is Exercise, by getting the recommended 40 minutes of vigorous activity or 90 minutes of moderate activity, you’ll burn off between 200-500 of those calories (depending on the activity and duration of the exercise you do). That puts you right in the sweet spot for weight loss, averaging 1,300-1,800 net calories per day. The beauty of this app, though, is that you won’t need to track a single calorie.

For guaranteed weight loss, you simply need to get all of the recommended servings, including water and exercise, before you eat or drink anything else. It’s also important that you pay attention to how those servings are prepared. Breading and frying are out, of course, and you should consider experimenting with oil-free sautéing as well – using a little water or vegetable broth will work in almost every case.

Not everyone wants to lose weight. For active individuals looking to boost performance, it’s easy to bump up the calorie count by adding a serving of nuts or seeds, or dressing vegetables with some good-quality flax, avocado, walnut or olive oil. And of course, there’s always room in every diet for more whole, fresh fruits and vegetables.

I’ve been using Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen app for over a month now, and I’m feeling better than I have in years. If you give the app a try, I’d love to hear what you think about it. Let me know on the Full Steam Fitness Facebook page.

The End of Counting Calories

Fad diets all claim that by eliminating certain types or categories of foods you’ll somehow boost your body’s metabolism and start burning fat like a furnace. But the truth is that when you cut out those foods, whatever they may be, your calorie intake automatically drops, and in the case of high-protein diets, so does your body’s water content. The loss of the water content leads to the quick shedding of a few pounds, and if you stick with the diet long enough and don’t simply eat larger portions of the “allowed” foods, then that running calorie deficit will cause you to lose some fat as well.

What you might find surprising, is that science says it doesn’t matter what type of diet you follow – as long as you reduce your calorie intake below your calorie output, you will lose weight. Indeed, journalist Jeff Wilser demonstrated this when he ate nothing but processed junk food for one month and lost 11 pounds. How did he do it? By carefully tracking calories and eating small portions of those high-calorie foods. In fact, in this excerpt from his book, he says that in order to keep his calorie intake at a level where he could lose weight, the serving sizes had to be so small that he never really felt satiated after a meal.

This suggests that a junk food diet is not only unsustainable due to numerous long-term health consequences, but also because most people could never stick with it over the long term. Even if your body was getting enough calories you’d feel hungry all the time, and humans don’t like to feel hungry all the time. Eventually, you’d end up eating more calories than you burn.

But what if there was a diet that could guarantee weight loss without counting calories? There is, but it’s not a name-brand fad diet. Essentially, it’s the opposite of Wilser’s junk food diet – one that maximizes both the volume of food and nutrient intake while minimizing calories. It’s as simple as eating whole foods, but to ditch calorie counting altogether and still guarantee weight loss, it’s necessary to know exactly what “whole foods” are.

We often think of whole foods as anything that’s not packaged, but actually some packaged foods are whole foods, and it’s only processed foods that you need to avoid. For example, 100% whole grain bread is not a whole food, but canned beans or frozen cut vegetables are. Beans and frozen vegetables come in a package, but they have essentially retained their original form, someone else has merely done the prep work for you. The bread, on the other hand, contains a number of ingredients, one of which (the whole grains) has been processed (in this case, milled into flour). While 100% whole grain bread is less processed, and therefore a healthier choice than white bread, it’s still not a whole food. The milling of those whole grains into flour means that your body will digest them in a completely different way than it would if they remained whole or very minimally processed (like wheat berries, bulgar, steel cut oats, etc.). For instance, when you eat the bread your body’s insulin response will be different and the quick breakdown of starch into sugar can cause you to crave more food, even if your stomach is actually full. But most importantly for weight loss, you can take in a lot more calories from the bread than you could from the whole grains before you start to feel full. The grains will also take longer to digest, so you’ll feel full longer than you would if you ate the bread. That’s the real advantage of whole foods over processed foods, even ones we consider to be “healthy.”

Here’s a short list of some foods that people think of as healthy, but that are, in fact, processed:

  • Oils (including olive, canola and coconut oil)
  • Milk, Yogurt and Cheese (all varieties, even plant-based ones)
  • Bread, Tortillas, Wraps, etc. (even 100% whole grain varieties)
  • Sweetener of any kind other than sugars naturally occurring in whole fruits, grains and vegetables
  • Juice of any kind (even in the case of 100% vegetable juices and blends, it’s always preferable to get your nutrients from whole foods)
  • Chocolate, yes even very dark chocolate

Of course, there is a much longer list of unhealthy processed foods that have no place in a healthy diet and are disastrous to your weight loss effort. These include cookies, crackers, chips, processed meats (including plant-based varieties), baked goods, candy, soda, alcohol, and many other things.

If you want to lose weight, optimize nutrition and feel energized and alert without counting calories, you can easily do so by eating a whole food, plant-based diet.

Everything you put into your mouth should nourish your body by providing not only carbohydrate, protein and essential fats, but it should also offer an array of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. The best part about a diet like this is that you don’t need to follow a specific plan. If you need recipe ideas, there are lots of great resources available (I’ve listed a few below), but you shouldn’t feel bound to any particular “diet.” Instead, you should focus on this one simple rule: Eat a variety of whole plant foods, and avoid processed foods and nutrient-poor animal foods. The more closely you follow that rule, the faster the pounds will come off.

Here’s that list of whole food recipe resources:

Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live Cookbook
Forks Over Knives, The Cookbook
Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen App (FREE!) iTunes & Android
The Campbell Plan