Can I have a Cheat Meal and Still Lose Weight?

Can I have a Cheat Meal and Still Lose Weight?

Can I have a Cheat Meal and STILL Lose Weight?

I get asked a lot about cheat meals.  Common questions are: Can I have a cheat meal? A cheat day? 

Will having a glass of wine sabotage my diet? Can I share a dessert with the girls every once in a while and not feel guilty? Will I undo all of my fitness gains?  If any of these questions sound familiar, read on for my take on the cheat meal.

 

The short answer is YES! You can have a cheat meal. But...

(Yes, there is a but...)

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The truth is, one cheat meal won’t make or break your goals and efforts, so every once in a while, indulge and enjoy!  But, if have a cheat day or days, you’ll most likely feel horrible afterwards, and more than likely the following day too.  Gastric distress, exhaustion, sluggishness, and an overwhelming craving to eat more of the same foods will undoubtedly ensue. 

The trick with the cheat meal is to limit it to a meal and to plan for it just like you plan out your weekly meals and workouts. Planning and conscious decision making leads to success and will keep you on track without impairing all of your success. 

 

Here are my hacks to enjoy the treats you love without completely falling off the wagon.

Savor it. If you're feeling guilty what's the point? Limit cheat meals to once a week and you have my word you will not hinder your progress and hard work.  

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Crowd it out. Want that slice of pizza? Eat a salad first and have your slice with some sauteed veggies. Ice Cream? Have some fresh fruit first and add some shredded coconut or raw cacao nibs to it. Chances are you’ll get fuller quicker and eat less. 

Put your fork down between each bite. Take the time to savor and enjoy the treat and make it memorable.

Drink plenty of water during your meal. You'll feel more satiated and aid the body with digestion. 

Choose better quality sources. Chocolate lover? Choose an organic version with 50% or more dark chocolate. Want pasta? Go to a restaurant that makes it from scratch with no preservatives or fillers.

Don't forget about portion control. A cheat meal is not a license to binge. 

 

Don't let the need for perfection block progress!

I hope this inspires you to make the best choice that aligns with your goals.  Remember- it's about being able to enjoy the foods you love AND still reach and maintain your goals.  

If you do slip, the most IMPORTANT thing to remember is to get right back on track. If you were driving and made a wrong turn you wouldn’t head home! You’d re-route and continue on your way. 

Let's do it together! We'll plan healthy meals and some fun indulgent meals that keep you on track and aligned with your wellness goals. 

 

Pre/Post Workout No-Bake Energy Bars

Pre/Post Workout No-Bake Energy Bars

Pre/Post Workout No Bake Energy Bars

Looking for a great no bake pre-workout or post-workout energy bar?

Under 10 Minutes - All Natural - Gluten Free - Dairy Free

You'll love the simplicity, and these have a healthy dose of fat and protein to satiate and replenish.  Plus, they're great for those who are looking to lose weight and quell any cravings for something sweet!  

Ingredients:

1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup hemp seeds
2 tbsp cacao nibs
1/3 cup vanilla or chocolate protein powder ( i use arbonne)
1/4 cup shredded coconut
pinch of sea salt

Optional additional mixins: dried fruit, dark chocolate chips, chopped nuts, spirulina powder

Quick prep Directions:

Mix all the ingredients together with your hands or a large wooden spoon.  Form into a large square and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Cut into 10 squares and enjoy! Keep in fridge or freezer for best results. 

 

Learn more about healthy fueling for fitter living!

Mocha Chocolate Brownies

Mocha Chocolate Brownies

Healthy Mocha Chocolate Brownie Recipe

"I'm on a diet, clean eating, but want a little chocolate" 

Yes! you can have one. No, you won't ruin your nutrition or fitness goals. Enjoy this chocolate treat filled with healthy fats  and antioxidants.


Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 12 brownies


Ingredients:


Coconut oil cooking spray
3/4 cup cooked organic black beans
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 cage free organic eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup coconut palm sugar (I like Trader Joes brand)
1 tsp. expresso or instant coffee
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (I like Enjoy Life brand)
1/3 cup gluten free flour (I like Namaste brand)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. sea salt
2 tbsp. raw organic cacao nibs (I like Nativas brand)


Directions:


Preheat the oven to 350° F. Coat a 9x9 inch square baking pan with coconut oil cooking spray. In a food processor, puree the beans with the oil.

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Add the eggs, cocoa, coconut sugar, expresso and vanilla. Melt half the chocolate chips and add to the food processor. Process until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and sea salt.

Add to the food processor and pulse until just incorporated. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared pan.

Sprinkle cacao nibs on top. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool before cutting. 

 

Stay Delicious, Stay Healthy!

The trick to feeling full in Phoenix

The trick to feeling full in Phoenix

Weight Loss, at it's heart is about feeling full

The trick to actually feeling full: Eating in Phoenix

Satiety is the feeling of fullness after eating that suppresses the urge to eat for a period of time after a meal. Feeling full plays an important role in controlling how much we eat.

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We are lucky to live in a corner of Arizona that is full of some best farm to table restaurants, hiking trails, boutique fitness, and farmers markets. We have so many tools at our disposal to live and eat in a mindful, nourishing ENJOYABLE way. That's why solving the issue of satiety is the key to looking, and feeling your best.

If we feel really full or ‘satiated’ after a meal then we are likely to go much longer before we feel hungry and may eat less at the next meal.

But, if we don't feel very full, we are likely to get hungry again more quickly and may be tempted to snack or eat more at the next meal. So, if we can understand how to enhance these feelings of fullness or ‘satiety’, this will help to control how much we eat.

Quick tips for feeling full & staying full longer:

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  • Healthy Omega-3 Fats found in Seafood, Nuts, Seeds, Avocado, Olives and Coconut increase satiety levels so make sure to include them into your meals on a daily basis. Try adding avocado to your favorite grass fed burger, heart-healthy nuts to your favorite salad, or coconut to your next smoothie.
  • Keep stress levels to a minimum. Increased stress increases cravings for empty calorie foods like sugar and processed carbohydrates due to a need for a quick energy. 
  • Eat more fiber. Delicious fiber rich foods such as lentils, beans, green vegetables, berries and avocados. have lots of nutrient dense benefits, and studies show that higher fiber intakes help to suppress hunger. 
  • Exercise. Engaging in moderate intensity exercise aids in the suppression of gherlin, a hormone that stimulates hunger and an increase in peptide YY, a hormone that suppresses appetite.

Ready to really focus on yourself? (You're going to feel so much better.)

Say YES to Live Online Fitness Training!

Say YES to Live Online Fitness Training!

Say YES to Live Online Fitness Training!

With Skype or Google Duo never miss a workout again.

 
We all agree that it can be difficult to find the motivation to workout. Add in frequent travel for work, finding a sitter and a pricey monthly membership and the struggle becomes VERY REAL. 

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Enter: Live Online Fitness Coaching...

Can't find a sitter? No problem, you don't have to leave the house and we can use the baby as resistance. Travel for work a ton? Pack your mat and lets get moving.

Live online coaching is the new hot way to train: On your terms.

Want to know more about how it works? Let me do one better and tell you how it all started. A have a client, Simone, who travels frequently for work. She had access to the gym in her hotel,  but as we can sympathize, Simone had difficulty finding the inspiration to work out on her own.  She felt that she worked harder and more intensely with me leading the sessions.

Simone asked me if I would train her virtually via Skype while she was away on business.  I was a bit skeptical at first, but as I would do pretty much anything to accommodate my wonderful clients I agreed. Our first session brought me to the hotel gym in Dallas, TX where we had access to several machines, hand weights, and a bench. With the laptop set in direct view of the fitness room, I could watch her form perfectly, cue exercises with ease and clarity, notice any postural changes and make corrections as I would in person. 

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Live online coaching allows me to train clients like Simone who travel frequently for work, and it also allows me to work with clients with young children, clients who do not belong to a gym and clients who live out of state.

Whether you live here in Phoenix, or anywhere that has internet access we can make it work! There is no excuse for not getting a personalized fitness program from me. Remember the first consultation is always FREE.

 

Hot and Healthy Momma-to-be! 5 top tips when you're pregnant

Hot and Healthy Momma-to-be! 5 top tips when you're pregnant

Pregnant & Fabulous in Arizona

First things first...CONGRATULATIONS! 

Many mom's to be are often nervous about how to navigate and maintain optimal health and wellness during their pregnancy but they need not be. The rules are not so different from what I would suggest to my non pregnant clients but I do have my top 5 tips to remember to look and feel great during this oh so special time. 

Tip #1: You are not "eating for two" 

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I am dispelling that myth right here. You are adding an additional snack into your meal plan but we're talking ~200-300 extra calories per day which could be a banana and a tbsp of almond butter or a few extra ounces of protein in each of your main meals. The average woman gains approximately 25 pounds during her pregnancy and that mostly occurs during the third trimester. Do eat when you are hungry, but.. don't over do it as it will be that much harder to take off the weight post-natally. 

Tip #2: Exercise! Camelback Mountain, here we come?

Cardio will give you extra energy, Yoga will enhance mobility and balance, and Strength training will improve posture, relieve backache and stiffness, and help prep for delivery. Exercise will also help you ease back into your pre-baby body more quickly than those who don't exercise during their pregnancy. 

Tip #3: Use your rate of perceived exertion (RPE) 

Due to an increase in your cardiac output, your heart has to work up to 40% harder which results in an increase in heart rate (as much as 10-20 BPM). Thus, your target heart rate may not be the best way to rate your workout. Aim for a RPE of 5-8 (Fairly light to hard).

Tip #4: Be aware of Estrogen and Relaxin

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During pregnancy increasing levels of the hormones estrogen and relaxin cause relaxation of the joints ligaments and connective tissue, which can increase the risk of injury during exercise. Take extra caution and remember to support the joints (elbows, wrists, shoulders, knees, ankles) during exercise. Stay focused during your workout and slow your reps to ensure proper movement patterns. 

Tip #5: Stay Hydrated (even more so than usual). Especially in Paradise Valley

Drinking enough water prevents dehydration and will decrease muscle cramping. Dehydration during pregnancy can lead to many complications such as headaches, nausea, cramps, swelling, water retention and dizziness. This is especially important in the third trimester when dehydration can actually cause contractions that can trigger preterm labor.

Hey! I'm Pre-Natal Certified!

Work with me and we'll create the optimal fitness and nutrition program to support you and baby! 

Staying Fit and Healthy Through Menopause

Staying Fit and Healthy Through Menopause

Get Outside & Enjoy the Sun : Loving Where We Live the Phoenix Edition

It's hot here: we know this, but do you feel like it's even hotter than usual for Arizona?

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Unwanted Weight Gain, Fatigue, Hot Flashes, Mood Swings and Hormonal Changes are NO JOKE.

Especially when we live in Arizona and the temperature is always HOT! So, what's a gal to do? I have answers, and surprisingly they're not any different than what I would recommend to any of my clients looking to gain and maintain a physically, nutritionally and mentally balanced lifestyle. 

 

My best hacks? Sleep, Exercise, Omega 3's, Fiber, and Self Care. 

Here's why:

During menopause changes in our hormones (specifically imbalance between estrogen and testosterone) cause undue stress on the body. This alters our mood, body temperature, sleep patterns, and metabolism. To combat these symptoms, we need to take an active approach to nutritionally dense eating, self care, a weekly exercise routine and rest. 

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It becomes more important than ever to eat foods rich in fiber, B vitamins, healthy omega 3 fats and avoid processed foods, refined sugar, alcohol and caffiene. High fiber foods such as vegetables, beans, sweet potatoes, winter squash, quinoa and wild rice keep our blood sugars stable which keeps mood swings in check and also helps to maintain our weight. Foods rich in B vitamins such as wild caught fish, free range poultry, grass fed meats and organic cage free eggs increase energy, boost metabolism, and regulates appetite. Omega 3 fats found in seafood, wild caught fish, avocado, olives, nuts and seeds supports cell membranes, increases mood, supports a healthy immune system and maintains satiety.

Caffiene, alcohol, refined carboyhdrates and sugar may seem like a quick fix for challenges in mood and energy but unfortunately they have the opposite effect. Intake of these substances cause stress and inflammation in the body which can disrupt deep sleep, trigger hot flashes, mood swings, headaches and unwanted fat storage in our least favorite places (think muffin top, bra fat, thigh rub and bat wings under the arms)  

So... I hate to be this girl, but...

Say NO to those tempting 2 for 1 happy hour drink specials and 1/2 off appetizers and instead opt for the fiber rich salad with a healthy dose of protein and a big glass of filtered water to look and feel great.

Now.. it isn't JUST good nutrition that will keep the effects of menopause at a minimum.

We can't forget about self care.

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This includes optimal amounts of sleep, exercise, and stress reduction. Menopause causes stress on the body which puts the body in a "fight or flight" survival mode. When this happens our body produces the stress hormone cortisol, which packs a punch by slowing our metabolism, increasing blood sugar levels, and interfering with insulin secretion. This promotes fat storage which causes weight gain and then the cycle perpetuates as we then stress out over the weight gain, further spiking cortisol levels.

This increase in stress not only triggers weight gain, but also hot flashes, low libido, headaches, and hair loss.  We can control stress and cortisol production by aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep, and engaging in self care practices like meditation, dry brushing, hot towel scrubs and massage.

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Including a weekly regimen of resistance based exercise such as swimming, yoga, pilates, and weight lifting can also decrease menopause symptoms.  Not only does resistance exercise improve metabolism, increase bone density, and help maintain a healthy weight, exercise increases serotonin - a neurotransmitter that impacts mood, social behavior, appetite, digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire.  

My personal recommendation?

Start with two days of total body resistance based strength training and see how you feel. If you have time for more, add in another day for the optimal three days recommended by the ACSM. Not sure where to start? Workout with me for FREE on Amazon Prime and on the MoveWith app.

Need some help navigating this time of change? Want support and accountability on how to improve your quality of life during menopause? Contact me for a complimentary half hour session where we'll strategize the best steps for an optimal you. 

Free *Air Conditioned* Health and Fitness in the Valley

Free *Air Conditioned* Health and Fitness in the Valley

Free Phoenix-Area Fitness!

Is it too HOT in Phoenix to workout outside? Look to these great local businesses in the valley that offer free indoor classes and build a sweat while staying cool.

 
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  • Studio Verve Pilates is offering a FREE pilates reformer class with me! Sign up HERE and use the code "JENN" at checkout
     
  • Athleta Scottsdale in the Kierland Commons sponsors FREE weekly yoga and sculpting classes that vary each month. Athleta FREE  
     
  • Lululemon Scottsdale Quarter offers FREE yoga every Sunday at 10:30am inside the store to beat the Summer heat. Lululemon FREE  
     
  • Orangetheory Fitness offers a FREE group training class for local residents.  Orangetheory Free
     
  • Current Meditation Phoenix offers a FREE opportunity to connect with your authentic self and start living a mindful life. Current Meditation FREE  
     
  • DeSoto Central Market in Downtown Phoenix offers FREE yoga Saturdays at 10am. DeSoto FREE 
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Don't want to leave the comfort of your air-conditioned home to get your fitness on?
 

  • MoveWith offers 30 days of FREE workouts with me and other talented instructors all summer long. MoveWith FREE
  • CardiYoFit videos featuring me as your instructor are always FREE on Amazon and Amazon Prime. CardiYoFit FREE

 

Looking for more support & resources?

Paleo Almond Flour Pancakes with Raspberry Compote

Paleo Almond Flour Pancakes with Raspberry Compote

Paleo Almond Flour Pancakes with Smashed Raspberry Compote

Stay fit and fabulous with these easy to make nutrition coach approved pancakes.

1 tbsp. almond flour

1 ripe banana, mashed

1 egg

1 tbsp. peanut butter, room temperature

½ cup fresh or frozen raspberries

2 tbsp. water

1 tsp. lemon zest (optional)

Pancakes

Fiercely whisk the egg, almond flour, mashed banana and peanut butter until it creates a batter. Let rest 5 minutes. While resting, heat a pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Use a tablespoon to ladle the batter into the pan. Cook until bubbles start to form and then flip.

Compote

Heat a small pot over high heat and add the raspberries and the water. Bring them to a simmer, then turn the heat to low. Mash the raspberries with a fork and cook until they are soft and falling apart.  Pour over pancakes and top with lemon zest.

Serves 1. 

Summer Wellness Hacks

Summer Wellness Hacks

Summer Wellness Hacks to Stay on Goal!

The Summer is the time to enjoy friends, family and food. And, contrary to popular belief, you can have all three without putting on the extra pounds! Here are my top 5 Healthy Hacks for having a great Summer without crushing your health and wellness goals. 


1. BE MINDFUL - Mindful eating can help us acknowledge our response to food without getting into judgment. Practice engaging all of your senses to fully enjoy your favorite food and drink without overindulging. 

2. DON'T SKIP BREAKFAST - You may think you're saving calories by skipping the first meal of the day, but remember: breakfast kick-starts your metabolism, helping you burn calories throughout the day, and will help you metabolize alcohol should you choose to partake in some libations.

3. DRINK WATER - Water helps to flush waste and toxins from the body and aids in digestion which will help you feel better and have more energy. 

4. EXERCISE - Keep your metabolism revving efficiently with healthy doses of exercise to burn calories and enjoy your favorite treats guilt free. 

5. CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK - One meal will not make or break your success. Continue your normal wellness regimen of nutrient dense eating and exercise and remember - moderation is the key to success!