There is a lot of nutrition noise out there, so understanding nutrition basics can be beneficial in making food choices that work best for your lifestyle and goals. This awareness supports your success long-term, which is why Education is one of our core pillars at Stronger U. Instead of telling you what to eat, your dedicated coach will teach you how to eat and equip you with the science-based knowledge you need to achieve and maintain results for the rest of your life.
Achieving your desired results is about more than the number of calories you consume but is also about getting the adequate amount of nutrients within those calories to fuel your specific body. More precisely, getting the nutrients that support your overall health, body composition, energy, performance, and more. These are referred to as macronutrients; being aware of the type and quantity you’re consuming is foundational to Stronger U’s nutritional approach.
Macronutrients, commonly called “macros,” support many essential functions in your body and are the primary source of energy that enters our bodies. Macros fall into these three categories:
Let’s take a closer look at the three macro types and the role each plays in your nutrition.
Protein’s primary function is to build new muscle and repair your existing muscle. It’s made up of long chains of amino acids, also known as the “building blocks” of your body. Protein is essential in fat loss.
Some protein sources include: chicken breast, lean ground meat, pork tenderloin, egg whites, Greek yogurt, legumes, and tofu.
Carbohydrates serve as one of the body’s primary sources of energy. The carbohydrates we eat in food are broken down to glucose (a type of sugar) that your body uses as fuel for workouts and daily energy needs. Carbs are found in food in the form of sugars and fibers.
Some carbohydrate sources include: fruits, vegetables, and grains.
The most concentrated form of energy, providing twice as much energy per gram compared to protein and carbs. When we eat more energy than we need from any type of macronutrient, our body stores much of that excess energy as fat. Fat serves as the primary fuel for our bodies when we are at rest and supports some of our energy needs during activities. Fat helps with satiety, absorption and transportation of nutrients, is a component in many physiological processes and is required to produce various hormones.
Some sources of foods high in fat include: oils, butter, full-fat dairy, and many cuts of meat.
At Stronger U, our method for helping you move toward your health, body composition, and performance goals begins by providing you with individualized daily macronutrient targets. Your Stronger U coach works with you one-on-one to create a custom nutrition strategy by getting to know you, your lifestyle, health condition(s), and preferences. This level of personalization helps them identify the right balance of macronutrients for you, which they input into your Stronger U app’s nutrition tracker. There, you can easily log your food and check your progress. Over time, as your goals evolve, your coach may adjust your macronutrient targets accordingly.
Tracking your food intake to encourage you to eat a specific amount of each macro can be a healthy and effective method for sustainable results. Unlike most diets or weight-loss programs that restrict certain foods or eliminate specific macros, our approach, Structured Flexibility, allows you to enjoy a variety of foods within specific guidelines. We don’t expect our members to track forever, but it’s an excellent tool for building awareness and learning how to eat to achieve your goals.
Want to learn more about macronutrients, boost your nutrition IQ and get support from an experienced Registered Dietitian or Certified Nutrition Coach? Join Stronger U now.
We’re so ready to give a warm, breezy welcome to the sweet season of fun. Hello, vacationing, sun soaking, pool lounging and…. goal crushing!
No, “goal crushing” is not a typo.
Forgotten New Year’s resolutions are out, becoming the best version of you is in. Because you deserve to feel confident and enjoy your life to the fullest, regardless of the season.
Why not you? Why not now?
You’re probably thinking that summer is full of travel, relaxation, enjoyment, and time with those who mean the most. Guess what? You’re right! Here’s the good news: Stronger U is tailored to your lifestyle, your needs and your goals. That means, even if you’re traveling a lot, chasing your kids or relishing time with friends and family, you can still be making progress towards your health, weight loss, performance and body composition goals, simultaneously.
It’s normal to feel some level of hesitancy in starting or sticking with a program during summer or any busy season, but don’t let it deter you from making progress. Remember, you don’t have to be giving 110% all day, every day to be successful and accomplish all that you want to. In fact, that’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself. Instead, focus on some level of effort CONSISTENTLY. Some days will be better than others, and that’s ok. It’s consistency that will drive long-term results.
Here’s how joining Stronger U can help you make amazing strides through the busy summer months:
Coach Accountability & Support
When you join, you’ll be paired with a coach who will literally be in your back pocket as your personal guide throughout your journey, from wherever you are this summer! This human-to-human interaction will give you accountability, guidance and knowledge that’s invaluable. The perk of unlimited messaging makes communication totally stress free because your coach WANTS to hear from you!
No Deprivation, More Flexibility
We’re not into fad dieting, unrealistic restrictions or deprivation…and you don’t have to be either! Life is meant to be enjoyed and so is the food you eat. Stronger U’s nutrition philosophy is built around structured flexibility, which means you choose what you eat based on your goals, lifestyle and preferences. Because you’re not required to omit or eat specific foods, you can stay consistent while on the go. In fact, your coach will equip you with the knowledge you need to make the best choices for yourself in any situation, including vacation!
Tech that Keeps You on Track
You can quickly and easily log the foods you eat, plan meals ahead, track if you’re drinking enough water, moving regularly and other lifestyle factors. This will give you insight as to where you may need to make some adjustments so you can more efficiently get where you’d like to be. Plus, you’ll have a library of resources such as various guides (including a perfect-for-summer Grilling Guide,) recipes, webinars and more – all at your fingertips.
Hitting your goals is more fun with friends! Our exclusive members-only community gives you access to Stronger U coaches and thousands of members through live chats, discussions and challenges. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to create deeper connections and even find accountability buddies that have a similar lifestyle, goals and interests.
We take your success seriously, and our member results prove we stand behind what we say.
- 90% of members reported an improvement in their confidence
- 90% of members improved their nutrition knowledge
- 89% of members improved their body composition
- 87% of members felt prepared for long-term success
Are you ready to make this your best SU-mmer? Let’s Do This!
Get the guidance and accountability you need with a Stronger U Coach. Join Now.
Light, smooth and versatile, yogurt is the perfect foundation for endless flavor profiles at any time of day! Create a satisfying breakfast, post-workout protein boost or an after-dinner treat in minutes without ever having to stand over the stove, toaster, oven or microwave.
Because yogurt lends itself to a wide variety of add-ins and toppings, you can go far beyond the traditional fruit, nuts and granola.
We recommend using plain, non-fat Greek yogurt as a base because it has about 12 grams of protein per serving, no fat and relatively low carbs and calories. If you prefer non-dairy, there’s plenty of alternatives such as soy, almond, coconut, cashew and more. However, nutrition may vary by style and brand, so look for Greek-style options that are higher in protein and compare calories, carbs, fat and sugar content.
Whether you go with Greek or dairy-free yogurt, by choosing plain versus flavored, you can get creative with what you add and how much. Sweet or savory? You choose!
Here are 8 ways to amp up your yogurt, your way:
Add Your Own Sweetener
Skip the added sugar from flavored yogurts and add in your own Stevia, monk-fruit, honey or maple syrup to get your ideal level of sweetness.
Make Your Own Flavor with Extracts
A few drops can bring powerful flavor without the additives alternative flavors include. Beyond vanilla, there are so many readily available extracts to choose from online and in-store, including marshmallow, coconut, almond, and caramel.
Use Cocoa Powder to Reimagine Chocolate Pudding
Satiate your love of chocolate with a healthy take on traditional chocolate pudding by simply mixing in cocoa powder. Get the amazing taste without the added calories of chocolate syrup or chocolate chips.
Whip up a PB+Y Dip
Mix-in peanut butter powder to get the PB flavor and creamy texture. Plus, the powder is easier to stir! This combo provides a solid source of protein with lower fat than traditional PB and serves as a great fruit dip.
Pack a Punch with Protein Powder
Trade your usual protein shake for protein pudding by adding your favorite protein powder to yogurt. Enjoy as is or top with coconut shavings, fruits, nuts or granola.
Create an Upgraded Cereal Bowl
Pair the smoothness of yogurt with the satisfying crunch of protein cereal for a winning combo of rich texture, high fiber and extra protein. Find protein cereals and granolas in most grocery stores and online.
Sprinkle in Superfoods
Chia seeds can take your yogurt game to the next level by providing a good source of fiber, omega 3-fatty acids (an essential fat that benefits heart health) and about 6 grams of protein per serving. Great to incorporate with any flavor profiles!
Give it a Savory Spin
Who says yogurt must be sweet? Blend your yogurt with juicy roasted veggies, zesty spices and flavorful condiments to create your own dips, sauces or dressings.
For even more ideas and personalized tips, join the Stronger U community and get paired with an experienced coach who can help you achieve your goals. Get started here.
Where do we begin?
Phew. If it all feels like a lot, you’re not alone.
In fact, stress seems to have taken a permanently prominent place in our vocabulary. While it’s completely normal to experience some stress, the overwhelmingly high levels at which we are experiencing it, isn’t. Hear us out.
Biologically, our bodies are designed to handle acute (short term) stress – the stress needed to protect you in dangerous situations that triggers the “fight or flight” response of your sympathetic nervous system. This response releases stress hormones (such as cortisol and adrenaline) to help give your body the energy it needs to get out of danger (ie: run away from a bear in the woods). This is good and important in keeping you safe.
The issue is that our modern lives have us living in this fight or flight response much of the time, not just in emergencies. Your body doesn’t know the difference between the bear chasing you and general life-related anxiety. Many of us find ourselves under a mountain of daily stressors that we can’t seem to crawl out from under, leaving our sympathetic nervous system activated. This chronic (long term) stress causes the hormones that are meant to be only released into your body when you are literally trying to run for your life, to now be released regularly from over stimulation and external pressures. As a result, your body remains on high alert, eventually leading to burn out.
Understanding what’s happening to your body when it’s under this consistent stress is key to counteracting the negative effects.
Stress and The Foods You Eat
Stress has a major impact on the types of foods you seek out. When you’re under stress, you’re much more likely to reach for high-calorie, high-fat, and high sugar foods because they provide a quick source of energy that your body needs as it prepares for “fight or flight”.
The more regularly you consume these foods due to chronic stress, the more intense your desire for those foods may become because your body likes the short-term reward. This repeated behavior can eventually lead to increased risk for weight gain/obesity and other health related concerns.
Additionally, we all know what happens after the energy burst spikes. We crash and reach for that cup of coffee or glass of wine.
While you may not be able to fully eliminate stress from your life, you can give your body the tools it needs for resiliency. Stress management may naturally support you with staying on track with your food choices and make it less likely that you’re driven to reach for those carb and sugar loaded snacks. Additionally, being able to remain centered when faced with everyday stressors can help reduce the release of those pesky stress hormones that are wreaking havoc on your health.
5 Ways to Cope with Stress:
1. Engage in a low intensity exercise you enjoy such as walking, yoga or even foam-rolling out the knots in your body. If you typically like to do higher intensity training, be sure to incorporate adequate recovery into your routine to counteract the elevation of cortisol levels when they may already be high from stress.
2. Find a short daily mindfulness practice that works for you. Perhaps, it’s meditation, breathing techniques or journaling for a few minutes in the morning or evening. Even just a few moments of a solid daily routine can help provide an outlet and calm your nervous system in times of tension.
3. Connect with your Stronger U coach and the Stronger U Community. Having a network to lean on, whether that be friends, family or a like-minded community such as ours, can make it easier to cope with life’s struggles. It also helps to build self-esteem and provides a sense of belonging.
4. Get quality zzz’s. Sleep is critical to handling stress and to your overall wellbeing. According to the American Psychological Association, “adults with high stress are more likely to say they are not getting enough sleep because their minds race (49 percent vs. 10 percent of adults with low stress).” If sleep is a challenge for you, make some changes to your wind-down routine. Turn off electronics and bright lights at least an hour before bed and try engaging in some sort of calming activity such as a hot shower/bath.
5. Keep your caffeine and alcohol intake in check. Caffeine and alcohol can have different effects on all of us, so it’s good to pay attention to how you feel after your cup of joe or night cap. Is it affecting your appetite? Your sleep? Your mood? How do you feel when you don’t have it? This awareness might lead you to make some shifts in your habits, which could be contributing to your stress.
For more actionable tips specifically on how to stop stress eating, check out this blog by Stronger U Director of Nutrition Education, Dr. Jessica Bachman.
Diet trends appeal to most people based on the idea their method of creating a calorie deficit is the easiest to follow, tastiest, or least amount of work to get the results you want. That’s what gets the most attention because change is hard. People, at their core, want to be as comfortable as possible as much as possible.
A diet can still be healthy and unsustainable. The length of a weight loss program should be progressively shorter the more drastic the calorie deficit. Aggressive calorie restriction can be done safely for up to 12 weeks, but should be followed by up to 6 weeks of a maintenance phase. These types of diets generally do not teach habits and strategies you can use for the rest of your life. Once these diets finish, there are no skills to fall back on. The ideal program will teach people sustainable healthy eating habits and skills that last a lifetime.
For weight loss to happen, there must be a strategy to eat fewer calories than we burn consistently. That’s it. There are infinite ways to create this calorie deficit. The most effective way to lose weight and keep it off is by changing your daily behaviors to support weight loss over time.
Good thing you’ve found Stronger U.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by choice with so many different diets and trends out there. In the past few years, I’ve witnessed increasingly rigid and extreme diets gain popularity with the proliferation of false and misleading nutrition information, largely due to how and where people get their dieting information. Facts take six times longer to spread than misinformation, while misinformation gets shared 70% more than facts on Twitter. When enough people like, share, or retweet something, the information reaches a point where it doesn’t seem to matter if what’s being shared is accurate.
The most infamous example of misinformation spreading and becoming ubiquitous is the nutrition trend that women need a 1,200-calorie diet to lose weight. This was first published in the 1918 book Diet and Health: With Key to the Calories, written by Dr. Lulu Hunt. Science now has proven there is no one-size-fits-all diet approach. Everybody is different and each body has different needs every day based on a person’s goals, movement, exercise, stress, sleep, activity, and other variables.
People spent $254.9 billion worldwide on the diet industry in 2021 and are projected to spend $377.3 billion by 2026. Given how large and profitable the diet industry is, we will continue to see new nutrition trends and the multiple red flags that accompany them.
Recent trending diets share a few common traits. They try to sound as appealing as possible in how they go about restricting calorie intake. Keto lets you put butter on bacon. Intermittent fasting lets you eat as much as you want in a small window of time each day. The carnivore diet says to only eat meat. Some diets appeal more to a person’s altruism and values than anything else. The point is that there is a diet out there for everyone.
SEARCHING FOR RED FLAGS
We know that eating undercooked or raw meat puts our body at risk for harm from bacteria and parasites. Cooking meat kills bacteria and parasites, making it safer to eat. A bodybuilding barbarian eating raw organ meats shirtless has over a million followers on Instagram. Can you trust his message to eat raw organ meat? The short answer? No. The long answer? Nooo.
There are specific things to look for that will help you better understand diet trends. Some are more obvious than others.
Please keep in mind that I’m not placing these in any particular order of importance.
🚩 #1: False Claims
Claiming outlandish results gets the most traction and the most attention, especially if they’re also claiming to provide weight loss fast and easily. The reality is fastest recommended weight loss rate is 0.5 – 1% of body weight per week. Sure, weight can be lost at a faster rate, but there are significant health concerns if done for prolonged time.
🚩#2: Buzz words
Hack, superfood, detox, all-natural, chemical-free, clean eating, “good” and “bad” foods, processed, proprietary, and boost are examples of utterly useless buzz words when describing food and food products. It’s all marketing. These words are being used in ways that are either unsupported by legitimate research or are flat out false. My favorite example is when something is said to be chemical-free. Everything you can see, breathe, touch, or ingest is made of chemicals. Literally all matter in the universe is made of chemicals. Unless you’re having a literal ‘nothing burger’, you’re having chemicals.
People are drawn to new things, especially if it is trending. Whether it’s a new diet strategy, new piece of technology, a gadget, or mindset, people are willing to try out something new even if there is no evidence that it will work for them. New technology in the fitness world is notoriously inaccurate. Your smart watch exercise trackers, heart rate reader, oxygen saturation measurements, and sleep trackers all started out as fairly inaccurate and have slowly gotten better with more data collection over the years. The technology is still very far behind medical-grade equipment. New doesn’t mean better.
🚩#4: Emotional appeal
Emotional appeals are a marketing strategy made to get people to feel a certain way in an effort to get the person to buy their product or services. Some nutrition trends will find your pain points and jab their finger right in. They might even throw a little salt in your old wounds. If an emotional appeal is making you feel bad about yourself or the choices you’ve made, that’s a red flag. You can’t hate yourself into making positive changes. It’s one thing to address issues that you’ve had in the past in an effort to help you learn and grow as a person. Punching down is another thing.
🚩#5: Incomplete science
Incomplete science is possibly the most dangerous red flag. Charlatans often use incomplete science to sell their products using buzz words. They’ll say a few big science-y sounding words and talk fast enough with conviction that people believe them to be genuine experts. What you’ll see these people do, without fail, is sell you the idea that you have a problem then quickly sell you the solution to that made up problem.
🚩#6: Rigid rules
Rigid rules are far too common with diet and nutrition trends. These rules are traditionally based on avoidance instead of abundance. Avoidance is generally considered a maladaptive behavior that results in more fear and anxiety. Trying to avoid something makes things worse. You may have heard some avoidance-based food rules before:
- No grains
- No fruit
- No dairy
- No carbs, ever
- No sugar
- No joy
Someone operating under the false assumption that carbs are bad for you will look for a weight loss diet that limits carbs as much as possible. The problem isn’t that carbs are bad, because no food is good or bad. The problem is energy balance: too many calories being eaten compared to how many get burned.
At Stronger U, no food is off limits. Learning how eating the right amounts of each macronutrient helps with optimal body function and ultimately build a healthier relationship with food.
What Can You Do?
All diets work by creating a consistent calorie deficit. Whether it’s shrinking the time frame you eat in a day, reducing a macronutrient like carbohydrate to almost nothing, restricting food choices, or slowing down the speed you eat, all of these strategies address energy balance. They all work from different angles but work in the same way.
Does the trend attempt to solve a problem I have been struggling with lately?
How does it make me feel?
Does this help address my health goals in a safe way at the root cause?
Is it creating and then solving a problem that doesn’t exist?
Is this sustainable for me?
Will this nutritional trend make me healthier a year from now?
Does this help me become the person I want to be?
A while back, I was conversing with a colleague, and he said something profound. He said, “When you’re on a nutrition plan, your family kind of is too.” He didn’t mean the exact plan, with the same macros, or food list, or anything like that. He meant that the effort and attention your plan needs will affect others around you. We have many members here at Stronger U who sign up for the program knowing that they are going to have to adjust their habits in a household full of people who are going to stay the same. How do you prepare to start a new diet with a spouse, partner, and kids at home? How can you make sure that you take all of the necessary steps to have success with a little conflict as possible?
After having coached many members who have to wrestle with this dilemma, I have found a few key things that members can do to increase the likelihood of their success.
Start the Conversation
The first thing you should do is get your crew on board. You do this by clearly communicating why you’re doing this and why you need help and support. Many people will sign up for a program, committing that it’s something for just them. And you’re right! When you sign up with a Stronger U coach, a connection is made between you and coach, who are both committed and working towards your goals. But, even though it’s just a program from you, the people in your life will feel the changes. It is critical that you have a conversation with your family to help them see the what and why of what you’re doing. Something along the lines of “hey hubby, I’m doing this thing so I can feel my best, and I know it may affect some of the meals we eat together and some of the dates we go on, but it would mean the world to me to have your help. Can you do that for me?” can go a long way for your family to feel included in your decision to start a new weight loss plan.
Set the tone for your family. Let them know that you need their help, hope they will contribute, and communicate with them that you see they are apart of this decision.
Most likely, these people will not even know how instrumental they are to your success so that a conversation can get out in front of potential frustrations. As a husband, I know I can be dense at times and should pick up on clues, but be that’s not always the case. Assuming when we could have just been told or talked to goes a long way.
Pay Attention to Your Habits
Think about your current eating habits at home. Do you like to eat fresh cookies every night after the kids go to bed? What about picking off of the kids’ plates before you put them in the dishwasher? How about when you go out for date night? Do you like to head to a bar and have a couple drinks? None of these things are bad, within reason. But, when committing to a diet, you may find that you are required to limit these types of habits in order to see success. This might be upsetting to your family (especially snacks, drinks, and cookies). While you might be looking at these adjustments as an exciting challenge, your partner might view them as a loss of some of their favorite things. It’s important not to go cold turkey with these things because that’s when you’ll be met with the most resistance.
You don’t ever want to hear the line “you’re no fun anymore,” so this will temper those thoughts in others. So take some time to plan these things out and work it in if possible. And if not, put effort into finding something you can do together that doesn’t revolve around food and alcohol. But, can you cook together? Compromise, right?
Some people might start hearing comments like “you’re just going to fail,” “This is your diet, not mine,” or “just because you can’t control yourself isn’t my problem…get the cookies” from their partners and family. I hate to say this, but this is almost always comes from the man. Why? Because society isn’t as judgmental to men about their weight. They don’t have the same hormones pushing and pulling them towards food. They don’t have the same fluctuations. They may “run on” more calories and not need to watch things as closely.
If you find that you have somebody in your home who is being negative and discouraging about your new weight loss plan, you might need to revisit the need for communication. There may also be a point where you realize your partner is not the person you thought. They may very well be the asshole holding you back from feeling your best. I’m not saying go throw papers at them and pack your bags, but I do want you to look at your crew closely. We all need that support, and we can only do so much to get it.
It’s Time to Get Started
Since having a team to support you is super helpful, it’s good to know what to anticipate at home. The way you will want to eat might not be how your husband or kids want to eat. And because many of you are people pleasers, you sacrifice your health and happiness simply to appease people who may not care as much as you. If I had to pick two major takeaways from this post as you move into this new adventure with your family in tow, it would be this:
- Communicate, communicate, and when you think you’ve communicated enough, communicate some more. A new diet is already challenging enough (new macros, weighing your food, paying attention to ingredients, etc.). Remember, communication does not have to mean fight, it can just mean clearly talking about your needs, goals, and changes that are happening to support your Stronger U journey.
- Ease in slowly. Since your family is used to particular habits around meals and snacks, it’s important not to change everything at once. Remember, quitting cold turkey will be met with the most resistance, so plan to adjust slowly to help your family adjust too.
Want to learn more about how Stronger U Nutrition is changing the way that the world eats? We’d love to help!
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