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    ICON Meals Blog — April Imholte

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    Five Steps To Stop Emotional Eating

    Five Steps To Stop Emotional Eating

    Let’s be real for a minute and talk about a problem that many face on a day to day basis: emotional eatingIt’s an issue I’ve personally dealt with on and off for almost as long as I can remember, and according to a national survey is a struggle for an estimated 2.8 million people. [1,2]

    The Mayo Clinic says emotional eating is a coping mechanism to deal with negative emotions. Major life events and daily hassles can trigger these emotions. We experience many such triggers every day — relationship conflicts, stress at work, money worries, and rejection to name a few.

    The foods we search out when emotionally eating tend to be high in carbs, sugar, and fat. They give us an immediate serotonin boost (the “happy hormone”), but the response is short-lived. Sugar is highly addictive and your body begins to crave that sugar high, creating a vicious spiral that is difficult to break.

    Why is this a problem for so many?  Most do so out of habit. Years of associating food with feelings — a mindset that isn’t going to get better overnight. To break the emotional eating cycle it will take practice, willpower, and determination plus a healthy dose of trial and error.  

    Let me share with you five steps that have helped me break this terrible cycle. Give them a try before throwing in the towel!

    1. Recognize Your Triggers

    What sets off your emotional eating frenzy?  Work? Relationships? Money? Make a list of everything causing you to eat and keep it in a visible place. When these triggers appear, you can make a conscious mental note that they’re setting you off towards the fridge.

    Triggers are not completely avoidable, but you do have some control over how often they show up in your life. One of my favorite quotes is, “Starve the distractions, feed the focus.”  Saying no to possible stressors can be freeing, opening up the door to positive changes.

     

    1. Consume Healthy Fuel

    Nutrient-dense foods provide your body with the fuel it needs to run properly and can help curb cravings. Sugary foods and drinks cripple your weight loss efforts and often create a binge eating snowball effect. Guess which types of food we gravitate towards when we’re stressed? 

    Keeping your water intake up also helps keep cravings at bay. Hunger, dehydration and stress are a recipe for disaster when it comes to emotional eating.  

     

    1. Find Healthier Ways to Cope

    When I’m stressed, hitting the weights is my number one coping mechanism. I always feel better after leaving the gym. Your healthy coping mechanism may be yoga, reading a good book, listening to music, or hanging out with people you love.  

    Whatever puts you in your happy place, do that instead of reaching for a carton of ice cream next time you feel the urge to emotionally eat.

     

    1. Make Your Kitchen A No-Junk Zone

    If junk food doesn’t exist in your fridge and pantry, you won’t eat it. Instead, keep your kitchen stocked with nutrient-dense foods, like:

    • Fruits
    • Vegetables
    • Lean proteins like chicken
    • Cottage cheese
    • Greek yogurt
    • Whole grains
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Nutes

    I also keep some of my favorite protein bars on hand for when I’m craving something sweet.  

     

    1. Phone A Friend

    Friends make any struggle easier to overcome, and they may even have similar problems. Confide in those close to you. Ask them to keep you accountable, share your goals, and reach out when you’re feeling tempted to emotionally eat.

    Support is a huge factor in successfully overcoming any personal demon. Lack of support itself can be a serious trigger for many people.

    Most importantly, recognizing that emotional eating is a real, difficult problem many face  can make it easier to deal with. Knowing you are not alone can be helpful in overcoming this obstacle. 

    You Can Do It

    It took time and patience, but I learned to minimize emotional eating through practice, goal setting and tenacity. You can overcome this challenge, and getting past self-doubt is often the first step to success. Wake up each day reminding yourself: Be strong and courageous, and keep Livin’ Fit. 

    For more helpful training tips, workout ideas, macro-friendly recipes and more, follow me on Instagram @aprilimholte

     

    April M. Imholte, RN

    NASM Certified Personal Trainer

    Certified Sports Nutritionist

    Nationally Qualified Figure Competitor

    LivinFitWithApril@Gmail.com

    Facebook.com/LivinFitCamp 

     

    [1] Hudson JI, Hiripi E, Pope HG Jr, Kessler RC. [Published correction appears inBiol Psychiatry. 2012;72(2):164.] Biol Psychiatry. 2007;61(3):348-358.

    [2] Howden LM, Meyer JA. US Census Bureau Age and Sex Composition: 2010. US Census Bureau. May 2011

    Macros Made Simple by April Imholte

    Macros Made Simple by April Imholte

    Do you ever hear the word “Macros” and nod your head like you know exactly what the other person is talking about when in reality, you have absolutely no clue? It wasn’t that long ago, I myself looked like a deer in headlights when Macros was the topic of conversation. A few years ago, I started digging deep into understanding macros and how they can affect your physique. 

     

    Let me be the first to tell you that understanding Macros is comparable to “winning the jackpot” when it comes to reaching your fitness goals. It’s a complete game changer. And the good news is, it isn’t nearly as complicated as it may seem.   

     

    If you want to impress your friends and family and contribute to the next conversation you are a part of surrounding this very topic, keep reading as I break down the ABCs of Macros for you in 5 simple steps.  

     

    1. What exactly are Macros? Macronutrients, aka “Macros”, are simply your Proteins, Fats and Carbs. They make up the foods we eat and are needed in large amounts in order to provide our body with energy (aka calories) on a daily basis. Macros allow our body to function properly and carry out activities of daily life. Certain food items are considered to be Proteins, others Fats and then there’s my personal favorite, Carbs. Some foods contain a little of each macro and are considered to be “combo foods.”   

    2. What is the function of each Macronutrient? Protein is responsible for several duties; primarily repairing and rebuilding tissues which includes, you guessed it, lean muscle tissue. Protein contains essential amino acids which are the “building blocks” for our muscles. This is not exclusive to muscle tissue but also includes skin, hair, nails, even the cells that line our intestinal tract. Protein also helps support immune function which can ward off illnesses. Our body must convert protein sources into essential amino acids. In order to ensure I am getting enough of the essential amino acids my body requires, I also supplement with REAAL EAAs which have been clinically proven to be 3x more effective than whey protein and 36x more effective than BCAAs at building and restoring lean muscle tissue! Carbohydrates are our bodies primary source of energy. This includes the cells of the brain. Last but not least, let’s talk about fats, which tend to get a bad rap. Healthy fats supply our body with fatty acids. These fatty acids must be consumed through the foods we eat as our bodies cannot make them, such as Omega-3 found in fish oil. Fats also aid in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins such as Vit A, D, E and K. They also help to protect vital internal organs.  

    3. What are some examples of Proteins, Fats and Carbs? One of the easiest ways to understand if a food source is considered a protein, fat or carb is to read the nutrition label. If the grams of one macronutrient are higher than the others, that is what it should be considered. For example, let’s say the protein grams in an item are quite a bit higher than carbs or fats, you would consider that food to be a protein source. Ideally, the majority of foods consumed per day will be whole foods. If there is no nutrition label to refer to, here is a list that you may find helpful.  

      1. Lean Protein Sources: chicken breast, turkey breast, extra lean ground beef, egg whites, fish, and dairy products such as cottage cheese and Greek yogurt.  

      2. Carbohydrates: fruit, potatoes, rice, oats, quinoa (also contains a good amount of protein), beans, whole wheat bread, starchy vegetables.  When choosing carbohydrates, stick to complex carbs versus simple carbs such as sugar, sweets, juice, etc. 

      3. Healthy Fats: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, natural peanut butter or almond butter, fatty meats such as salmon, and egg yolks.  

    4. How do Macros make up our Calorie Intake for the day? Most people would be able to give you a fairly close estimate of how many calories they consume from day to day. However, if asked how many grams of protein, fats and carbs one consumes per day, the majority have no clue. Simply put, Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats all contain calories. Protein and Carbs contain 4cal/gram. Whereas Fat, which is more calorie dense, contains 9cal/gram. For example, if a food item contains 20g of Protein, 80 calories would be derived from Protein. It’s simple math but helpful in understanding how food makes up your total calorie intake per day.  

    5. How do I know how many Macros to consume per day? This question is the most complicated to answer as not two individuals are alike when it comes to nutrition. Trying to copy a meal plan your buddy, neighbor, spouse, has will most likely not work for you. Hiring an online trainer or following a program like those offered on bodybuiling.com will be your best bet when it comes to figuring out what works for you. If you are looking for a general starting point, the 40/40/20 rule is a good place to begin. 40% of your calories should come from carbs, 40% from protein and the other 20% from fats. For example, if following a 2000 calorie diet, this would equal out to 200g protein, 200g carbs and 44g fat daily. I would also encourage you to document your daily intake using a macro tracker such as Myfitnesspal app.  

    In conclusion, the best thing you can do is familiarize yourself with macros. Stay consistent for at least a week and only adjust your macros if you aren’t making progress. And remember, progress is measured by more than just a number on the scale. Until next time, wake up each day reminding yourself to Be Strong & Courageous and Keep “Livin Fit”.  

     

    For more helpful training tips, workout ideas, macro-friendly recipes and more, follow me on Instagram@aprilimholte

     


     

    Stay connected with ICON Meals Influencer April Imholte:

    Want to be featured by ICON Meals? 

    Submit your stories to info@iconmeals.com or send us a DM on IG or Facebook!

    3 Tips To Get Back On Track by April Imholte

    3 Tips To Get Back On Track by April Imholte

    I get comments all the time from people as to why they "just can't" focus on their nutrition right now. Usually it's because they don't have the time, or they will start when they start working out🙃, after xy or z trip, when my kids are older, etc etc etc.

    I get it. Making changes can be hard. And life always seems to "get in the way." But it doesn't have to be an all or nothing approach. It doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, I would argue that it would be best to start with small steps versus diving all in which can be overwhelming for most.

    You don't have to start working out in order to start dialing in your nutrition. Why is it that you see people in the gym day in and day out but they never seem to make progress or change? It's likely because they aren't investing enough energy into the aspect that is the most important. NUTRITION! 🍎

    Here are some simple tips I've personally used to get back on track that would be a great place for you to start.

    1). Increase daily protein intake.

    If you eat animal products, some examples would be chicken, fish, lean ground beef, eggs, etc. Plant based? You can up protein through sources like lentils, chickpeas, nuts, seeds, nutritional yeast, etc. Because protein seems to be the toughest to get in (for me anyways) I rely on ICON Meals and my plant based shakes to ensure I always have a healthy protein source ready to go.

    2). Eat more soluble fiber containing foods.

    Think about the colors of the rainbow 🌈 and foods that come from the Earth. For example, more fruits and veggies. Increasing fiber may improve your sensitivity to insulin which can help improve the body's reaction to a rise in blood glucose.

    3). You probably guessed this next one? 🤓 Yes, Increase WATER 💧intake.

    I feel like a broken record every time I bring this up but it really is THAT important! Our bodies are made up of about 55-60% water so it's no wonder that if we don't consume enough of it on a daily basis things start to malfunction. Simply increasing your water intake can significantly increase your progress and overall feeling of well being.

    Stay connected with ICON Meals Influencer April Imholte:

    Want to be featured by ICON Meals? 

    Submit your stories to info@iconmeals.com or send us a DM on IG or Facebook!

    Tips to Boost Your Mood with Team ICON Member April Imholte

    Tips to Boost Your Mood with Team ICON Member April Imholte
    I would venture to guess that most of us feel pretty amazing when we are taking care of our bodies and allowing time for some R&R. Unfortunately the busyness of life can sometimes overtake prioritizing what we need most. Stress consumes our days, which in turn can lead to a decrease in mood and energy. If you find yourself struggling, here are just a few natural ways to boost your mood and overall well being.

    Read more