I’m a huge fan of reading books that I think will help me or my business make more progress. One of the recent ones I have read was called Principles by Ray Dalio. Ray is the owner of an investment company called Bridgewater Associates.
Among many of the useful concepts, principles, and ideas, second- and third-order consequences really resonated with me and made me think of my clients and athletes. As Dailo states “I've come to see that people who overweigh the first-order consequences of their decisions and ignore the effects of second- and subsequent-order consequences rarely reach their goals. This is because first-order consequences often have the opposite desirabilities form second-order consequences, resulting in big mistakes in decision making.”
Considering the greater impact (i.e. second- and third-order consequences) that your decisions can have. It's often the first-order temptations, such as eating junk food or skipping a gym session, that cost us what we want. While this is easy to get in the habit of doing, it's going to be what is standing between you and what you want in the long run. No doubt, this way of thinking takes discipline. In the end, though, you'll find that it's much more rewarding. #results
- 4 tbsp. butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped or thinly sliced
- 1 small head cauliflower, chopped
- 1 c. chopped mushrooms
- kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage (or 1 tsp. ground sage)
- 1/2 c. vegetable or chicken broth
- In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion, carrot, and celery and sauté until soft, 7 to 8 minutes.
- Add cauliflower and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes more.
- Add parsley, rosemary, and sage and stir until combined, then pour over vegetable broth and cover with a lid. Cover until totally tender and liquid is absorbed, 15 minutes.. And enjoy!
"Not enough sleep makes you fat, hungry, impotent, hypertensive, and cancerous, with a bad heart." - T.S. Wiley, *Lights Out*
Okay, so this quote may be a bit extreme, but it certainly got your attention. Sleep is one of those things we tend to put off for any number of reasons. Working late, watching TV, or just screwing around before going to bed. Regardless of the reason, your lack of sleep may be hurting not only your progress in the gym, but also your overall health.
Sleeping, or lack thereof, can be responsible for a whole host of health issues including weight gain, sugar cravings, elevated cortisol, and depression. Sleep is the time when our body produces melatonin, one of the most potent antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that inhibit the oxidation of other molecules. Melatonin, along with other antioxidants, act to protect cells from damage. But more than that, we need melatonin to help put us to sleep.
Light is very problematic when talking about sleep. With light exposure, melatonin is suppressed. The light and dark cycles that we experience everyday should, ideally, coincide with when we go to sleep and when we wake up. Now, that can't always happen, but we need to make great strides to have clear cut times when we're awake (and around light), and when we're going to sleep (and around low/no light).
We are very sensitive to light; much more than you may be aware. It's not enough to wear a sleep mask to block out light that hits your eyes. It's light that hits your body, in general, that is an issue. A study was done to determine if light exposure to your body can affect sleep (1). The researchers took used a fiber-optic cable to illuminate a small quarter-sized patch on the back of each subject's knee. Outside of that illuminated patch, the subjects were in complete darkness. This affected the subjects' temperature and melatonin secretion. Imagine what a bright TV screen would do?
These light and dark cycles control insulin through carbohydrate cravings and stress mechanisms. When the lights are on, your cortisol stays up because it's a blood-sugar mobilizer - it helps you to be ready to run or fight. If you continue this, and levels of cortisol stay high, cortisol, which mobilizes blood sugar, keeps insulin high leading to insulin resistance.
As we now have been getting to winter, here are some general guidelines to mitigate some of these issues with the days getting shorter:
- turn the TV off 45-60 minutes before bed
- get up as close to dawn as possible
- after dark, keep the lights as dim as possible
- keep your bedroom as dark as possible (ZERO light)
1. Campbell, S. & Murphy, P. (1998). Extraocular circadian phototransduction in humans. Science, 279(5349), 396-399.
2. Wiley, T. & Formby, B. (2000). *Lights Out*. New York: Simon & Schuster
- 1 ½ pounds skinless chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose (gluten-free) flour
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 white onion, diced
- 2 15 ounce cans diced tomatoes, including juice
- 2 15 ounce cans garbanzo beans
- 2-3 cups kale
- 1-2 tablespoon Tabasco
- ½ cup water
- Season the chicken thighs with salt and black pepper.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium high heat in a large dutch oven or 8 quart stockpot.
- Cook the chicken for 5-7 minutes per side or until nicely browned.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion to the pot. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until onion becomes tender.
- Add tomatoes with juice, garbanzo beans with juice, kale, Tabasco and water and stir.
- Nestle the chicken thighs with their juices in the tomato mixture, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, and cook for 25-30 minutes or until flavors have melded.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups sweet Vidalia or yellow onion, peeled and diced small (about 2 medium/large onions)
- 1 cup celery, sliced thin (about 2 stalks)
- 2-3 cups kale, sliced into thin ribbons
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
- 64 ounces (8 cups) low-sodium chicken broth
- 3-4 cups shredded cooked chicken (or about 1 whole storebought rotisserie chicken to save time)
- Two 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoons salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
- leaves from 4 large stalks of kale, torn into bite-sized pieces (discard the center thick rib)
- 1 cup zucchini, diced small (from about 1 medium zucchini)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, optional (brightens up the flavor)
- Into a large stockpot or dutch oven, add the oil, onion, celery, and sauté over medium-high heat for about 7 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften. Stir intermittently.
- Add the kale and sauté for about 3 minutes, or until kale wilts and softens. Stir intermittently.
- Add the garlic and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth, shredded chicken, cannellini beans, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, and boil about 5 minutes, or until chicken is warmed through.
- Add the zucchini, & optional lemon juice, and boil 1 to 2 minutes, or until the zucchini has softened.
- Taste soup and add salt or herbs, to taste. Amount of salt will vary based on how salty the brand of chicken broth used is, how salty the rotisserie chicken is, and personal preference. At any time while making the soup, if the overall liquid level is lower than you like and you prefer more broth, adding a cup or two of water is okay because at the end you will adjust the salt level. Serve immediately. Soup will keep airtight in the fridge for 5 to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- 1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
- 1/2 cup diced peeled ripe avocado
- 2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 (4-ounce) chicken breast cutlets
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 lime wedges
1. Combine strawberries, avocado, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl; toss to combine.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done.
3. Divide chicken among 4 serving plates, and spoon salsa evenly over each serving. Garnish each serving with a lime wedge.
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 1/4 pounds)
- 2 cups cubed fresh pineapple (about 1/2 pineapple)
- 1/2 cup fresh (non-GMO) corn kernels (about 1 ear)
- 1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar (or not!)
1. Preheat grill on high for 5 minutes.
2. Combine garlic powder, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a small bowl; sprinkle over chicken.
3. Using long tongs, place chicken breasts on grill and cook, covered on high, 3 minutes. Flip chicken and continue cooking on high, 3 more minutes.
4. Reduce grill heat to low and flip chicken again. Cover and continue cooking, 3 minutes more. Flip chicken again and cook 3 more minutes on low, or until a meat thermometer reads 160° when inserted into the thickest part of the meat.
5. Meanwhile, combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, pineapple, and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Serve relish over chicken.
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 Onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 lb. ground beef
- kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp. Chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 3 bell peppers, halved (seeds removed)
- 1 c. Shredded lettuce
- Pico de gallo, for serving
- Hot sauce, for serving
- Lime wedges, for serving
1. Preheat oven to 375°
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil.
3. Add onion and cook until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain fat.
4. Add chili powder, ground cumin, and paprika to beef mixture, then season with salt and pepper.
5. Drizzle bell peppers with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the peppers, cut side up, in the baking dish and spoon meat mixture into each pepper. Bake until the peppers are crisp-tender, about 20 minutes.
6. Top each pepper with lettuce and serve with pico de gallo, hot sauce, and lime wedges.
The subject of eating more vegetables comes up all the time when taking on a new client. We ask clients to eat 1-2 fist-sized portions of vegetables with every meal, which typically results in an "are you serious?" type of look. We certainly get that, as vegetables aren't generally something for which we get cravings. That may be, but they provide us with phytonutrients and fiber, which are very healthy and beneficial for staying healthy and keeping weight at a healthy level. It's very rare that we come across someone looking to lose weight that loves vegetables and eats them with every meal.
So, here are some strategies for you to sneak more vegetables in your diet.
Eating vegetables for breakfast is the toughest thing to do for most people, but this is usually our first option, as it's the simplest and you literally cannot taste the vegetables. Spinach is easy to throw into a smoothie, as is an avocado, which will thicken it up and make it more like a milkshake. Start with one handful of spinach, and go up from there. Some other options of vegetables could be kale (de-veined to reduce the bitterness), or romaine lettuce. Add the right amount of healthy protein powder (1-2 scoops) and possibly some berries and/or 1-2 dates for some more flavor. Try this first for a solid breakfast.
2. Cauliflower Or Broccoli Rice
Avoiding more traditional sides like mashed potatoes or rice is a bit of a challenge sometimes, and stumbling across this at the grocery store was a great find. Cauliflower rice definitely tastes better, but either of these (with some seasoning) is a great side in lieu of something worse. Experiment and see what you like best. The feedback from clients has been great.
3. Experiment With Lesser Known Root Vegetables
Okay, so this might not be a way to sneak in vegetables, but there are definitely some that you probably haven't tried, which can be great to experiment. Root vegetables are a great source of carbohydrates, fiber, and vitamins A and C. Often times, it's vegetables that you're familiar with that you might not like, but trying something new can easily change the game. You may just come across a great new vegetable to add to your meals. Some of these lesser known root vegetables include celery root, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, yuca, jicama, and parsnips.
4. Substitute Vegetable Noodles For Traditional Pasta
The spiralizer has become a necessity for many of our clients for one simple reason: it's fantastic for making vegetable noodles. If you've never done this before, it may seem odd, but using a spiralizer to make noodles out of vegetables like zucchini, cucumber, winter squash, beets, carrots, or sweet potatoes provide a great alternative to refined carbohydrates like pasta.
Outside of the spiralizer, squash works perfectly for a traditional pasta substitute, and tastes great. There are two options you can use right away: spaghetti squash in place of traditional pasta and butternut squash instead of lasagna noodles. Trust us when we say many of our clients love both of these.
5. Mix in scrambled eggs or frittatas
The beauty of making scrambled eggs or frittatas is that you can throw just about anything in there and it'll still taste great. We usually recommend spinach to start with because it's relatively tasteless and ends up condensing down quite a bit. Other vegetables like bell peppers, onions, or chives make great additions. Topping it off with a sprinkle of cheese, hot sauce, or salsa can be a nice addition to keep it tasting great.
Look for the opportunity to get vegetables in any way you can. They are a necessity to healthy living, and will certainly help you lose weight and rid yourself of many health ailments. Experimenting can be a great way to continue making nutritional changes for the better and keep the weight coming off.
Need Some More Help?
Achieve offers nutritional coaching for those of you that need a little more help in making the right nutritional choices. Work one-on-one with one of our coaches and get easy, step-by-step guidance to reach your goals and create lasting change. For more information, please visit our nutritional coaching page or contact us.