Healthy Habits: How to Tell True Hunger From A Snack Attack

We’ve all been there—it’s just after lunch and suddenly you’re reaching for a midday snack. It can be difficult to decipher if you’re truly hungry or just wanting something to nibble on out of boredom. There are many factors that can contribute to that hunger pang you might be feeling (some of which might surprise you!). Today I’m helping you tell the difference between true hunger and those pesky snack attacks. The next time you get that itch to grab a snack, remember these five tips…

1. Start with a plan.

First things first, do you regularly eat breakfast, lunch and dinner? Eating regular meals and sticking to an eating schedule can help cut down on cravings throughout the rest of the day. To help you consistently eat well-balanced meals consider meal planning at the beginning of the week. Don’t let being busy be an excuse (because I know I have!). It’s important to get in a healthy meal even when you’re on the go. For breakfast make a fast and healthy smoothie. Stock up your refrigerator and pantry so that you can pack a fresh and filling salad for lunch and come home to an already planned and prepped dinner.

2. Don’t make excuses.

Sometimes our feelings and emotions can be masked as hunger. Eating because you’re bored or stressed is something that most of us can relate to and is also something that can get out of hand. The next time you’re thinking about grabbing a snack, take a minute to assess how you’re feeling. (If you’re really craving a quick bite, keep reading for some healthy snack alternatives.)

3. Keep healthy foods on hand.

It’s true, snacks get a bad rap. That’s because junk food and sugary snacks are easily accessible (thanks vending machines). But lets face reality—snack attacks happen to all of us. Snacking throughout the day doesn’t have to be something to be ashamed of, just be sure that you’re making the right choices about them. Opt for keeping healthy yet filling snacks on hand for when your cravings sneak up on you during the day. I always keep a couple of Kind bars in my car for whenever I’m stuck in inevitable LA traffic. If you’re at a desk all day, keep a few healthy snacks like homemade trail mix or apples and walnut butter next to your desk for easy access. If you’re only “hungry” for junk food, you’re probably not actually that hungry.

4. Maintain your hydration.

When was the last time you had a glass of water? If you aren’t drinking enough water throughout the day your thirst can actually be disguised as being hungry. So the next time you’re tempted to reach for a treat, drink a glass of water and see if your craving is fulfilled.

5. Write it down.

Keeping a food diary is more helpful than you think. Writing down your meals can help pinpoint your food cravings and can also help you keep track of what you’re eating on a daily basis. That way you’ll see on paper exactly what you ate, when you ate it. You can then adjust your schedule accordingly to satisfy your snack cravings.

Do you have snack attacks during the day? How do you control your snacking?

Let me know your tips in the comments!

XO Elizabeth

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Healthy Habits: Cooking Oils 101

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been as motivated as ever to improve my health and fitness game. One thing that’s important to remember as you adjust your routine is that eating right is just as important as those trips to the gym. That’s right, working out is only half of the equation, ladies! For some, that might look like eating out less and cooking healthy meals at home more often. Throwing yourself into the kitchen won’t necessarily make you a healthier chef, however. So, to help you out on your health journey, I thought it would be beneficial to start with the basics…consider this a class in Healthy Cooking Oils 101. After all, you’ll be using cooking oil more often than you think.

As much as I’d love to consider myself an expert home chef, I’m not exactly a professional when it comes to the facts. When it comes to the science behind eating well and staying healthy in the kitchen, Kelly is a wealth of information. Below, with help from Kelly, I have broken down six of the healthiest cooking oils to stock your kitchen with. Keep scrolling to find out each of their benefits…

Olive Oil

Olive oil is one of the more popular oils in the kitchen and on the dinner table. It can be used to sauté or roast veggies and proteins, but only at low temperatures due to its 375-degree smoke point. Olive oil has anti-inflammatory properties and is a heart healthy fat with antioxidants. The next time you pick up this oil be sure to choose extra virgin for dressings and low-heat cooking or virgin for pan-frying, roasting, or baking. Expert Tip: The smoke point of your various oils is the temperature at which the oil stops simmering and starts to burn.

Avocado Oil

We all know how delicious and nutritious avocados can be in the beauty and health world. We recommending trying avocado oil in your kitchen because it’s loaded with vitamin E, can strengthen your immune system, and is high in monounsaturated fat (better known as the good fat!). Avocado is amazing in dressings or marinades and it has a 520-degree smoke point, so it can be used to sear protein safely.

Ghee

If you’re like me, you’ve never heard of ghee before stumbling across this informative post. Ghee is made when milk solids have been removed (casein and lactose), making it easier for those with dairy intolerance to digest. Believe it or not, high-quality grass fed butters like ghee can be good for you in moderation. Ghee is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A, a natural skin clarifier. It’s also rich in vitamin D, which helps protect against harmful UV rays. Due to it’s high smoke point, use ghee to sauté eggs or other animal protein. 

Coconut Oil

Admit it ladies, we are no stranger to the wonders of coconut oil. Use it in your hair, on your skin, and in your food. When ingested, coconut oil is used for energy instead of being converted into fat. Coconut oil is highly sustainable and great for sautéing or roasting veggies, just know that you most likely taste that amazing coconut flavor when you cook with it. Try using refined coconut oil—it has less of a coconut flavor and a higher smoke point.

MCT Oil

MCT, or medium chain triglycerides, are easy to digest fatty acids most often found in coconut oil. They are metabolized in the liver, actually making it so that your brain calms hunger hormones and tells the body that it’s time to burn fat for energy. MCT oil is a clear oil with a light taste that can be added to just about anything—smoothies, coffee, and even baked goods. Expert Tip: Take a tablespoon of MCT oil before you go out drinking with you girlfriends. MCT helps protect your liver from the oxidation produced by alcohol!

Algae Oil

Surprisingly I had never heard of algae oil until Kelly brought it to my attention specifically for this post. Algae oil is anti-inflammatory and is the highest source of monounsaturated fat. One tablespoon alone has as much monounsaturated fat as an avocado! It has a very light flavor and is best used for high heat cooking like stir fry with a smoke point of 485-degrees. Expert Tip: Swap out your vegetable oil for algae oil because they are the most similar.

I don’t know about you, but I need to check a few more of these cooking oils off of my shopping list. Another huge thank you to Kelly for breaking down the important nutritional facts for these healthy oils!

Are you familiar with any of these healthy cooking oils?

Let me know which ones you use in your own kitchen in the comments below!

XO Elizabeth

Shape Up: Spice Up Your Summer Stairs Workout

Let’s be honest: It’s really easy to get in the habit of doing the same routine at the gym or same workout class. Now, doing the same workouts isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because it’s always great to see yourself improve and achieve your fitness goals. But sometimes, it’s important to change things up and add some variety to your everyday routine. So, with bikini season nearly upon us, today I will be sharing a pretty tough workout. We can guarantee this will be a challenge from your everyday workout routine. Get ready… We’re hitting the stairs!

Here’s the thing about a stair workout: It’s challenging. But that’s one of the best parts about it. In fact, you can burn upwards of twice as many calories per minute by hitting the stairs. The stairs focus mainly on lower body muscles. They are an amazing way to get a complete lower body workout, while helping your muscles stay fit and functional. The main muscles you will tone during this workout are the butt muscles (a.k.a. “glutes”), quadriceps or thigh muscles, hamstrings, and calves.

Are you up for the challenge? Give this stair workout a try and see how it feels!

Dr. Hunter’s Stairway to Heaven Workout:

Try our stairway to heaven stair workout
Step up your stairs workout
See this killer stairs workout on LaurenConrad.com

Triple Step Lunge with Knee Hug: Warm up
If you legs can reach, step up three steps and hug your knee at the top of that step. This is your warm up and will stretch out your muscles before you begin.

Sidestepping up that stair workout with Dr. Hunter Vincent
Sidestep up those stairs for a killer leg workout

Side Stepping X4
Go upstairs facing to your right first, then facing to your left. Do each side twice.

Killer stairs workout shared on LaurenConrad.com

Single Step jogs X4
Jog upstairs, one stair at a time, four times.

Join us in trying this stairs workout with our trainer, Dr. Hunter Vincent

Double Step jogs X4
Jog upstairs two-by-two, four times.

Get killer legs using this stair workout
Killer stairs workout on LaurenConrad.com

Double Step Diagonal Jumps X4
Starting in the middle of the stairs, step your right leg way out to the right.

Try this stairway to heaven stairs workout
Stair bunny hops for killer legs - see the full workout on LaurenConrad.com

Two-Foot bunny hops X4
Hop up each stair with both feet, four times.

Try this stair workout to tone your legs and work up a sweat

Single Leg hops X2 each leg
Hopping on your right leg, hop up each stair step until you get to the top. Repeat on your left leg.

Work up a sweat with Hunter Vincent's stairway to heaven stair workout

Sprints X4
Go as fast as you can up the stairs four times. When you go down the stairs, use this time as your cool down.

Pretty tough, right? Hunter recommended doing each of the exercises four times, but you may change this depending on the length of your set of stairs. This workout is a great way to get your HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout in for the week. HIIT is basically any type of exercise that consists of short periods of really hard work, followed by periods of recovery or light exercise. By working hard up the stairs, and using the walk down as your recovery, the stairs are essentially a self-timed HIIT program without using a stopwatch.

Will you give this stairs workout a try this summer?

 

XO Elizabeth

Shape Up: What Is The Best Time of The Day to Work Out?

When it comes to working out, we usually determine our gym time on how heavy our workload may be. Sometimes that looks like early in the morning before we head to the office or later in the evening when we’re finally on our way home. Consistency is key to any workout, so we’ve been trying to decide which is better: a morning or afternoon workout. If you’re like us and are still trying to figure out a routine, you’re going to want to keep reading…

The perfect workout time varies from person to person. What one person needs to achieve his or her fitness goals may be completely different from someone else. It’s important to understand that no matter the time of day, whether it’s morning, noon or night, the number one aspect of any routine is consistency. And let’s be honest, not everyone is accustomed to waking up early or staying up late! Overall, any exercise is good exercise especially if you’re willing to do it repeatedly. Keep scrolling to see Dr. Hunter Vincent’s pros and cons for each time of day and make the final decision on which works best for you…

Morning Workouts

The Pros:

1. Get it out of the way early.

Choosing to work out in the morning minimizes your risk of collapsing on the couch after work and getting sucked into a good old-fashioned Netflix binge. Being an early bird minimizes the risk of potential cancellation. As the day progresses, there are more opportunities for last minute catastrophes to get in the way of your workout. Getting it out of the way early eliminates the chance of something else knocking your exercise off of the to-do list.

2. Beat the crowds.

Waking up and hitting the gym a little earlier helps you beat the rush and avoid unwanted crowds. Most gyms and group classes will have open spots early as opposed to later in the morning and after work hours. Save yourself the hassle (and a spot on the treadmill!) by hitting the gym in the morning.

3. Get better sleep.

When it comes to sleep quality, a hard morning workout cam help improve your sleep quality. There’s nothing worse than laying in bed at night with a bad case of insomnia, so help yourself out by working out in the morning. Getting adequate beauty sleep is just as important as working on your fitness!

The Cons:

1. It feels more difficult.

Don’t worry it’s not just you! Morning workouts tend to feel like they require more effort than afternoon workouts. This could be due to the fact that your body needs a little bit more time to wake up. Muscles are stiff, your joints have been static, and your body is colder. That being said, a proper warm-up is crucial when you hit the gym in the morning. We recommend taking a morning yoga class to help your body loosen up and prepare your mind and body for the adventures and challenges of the day ahead.

Afternoon Workouts

The Pros:

1. Improved flexibility.

As your body progresses throughout the day, it naturally becomes more flexible due to your body temperature rising. This can help minimize injuries in the long run. A proper warm up is always crucial no matter the time of day, but if you work out in the afternoon your body already has a little head start!

2. Better for maximum effort.

When it comes to boosting your physical performance and giving maximum effort, afternoon workouts do just the trick. Afternoon training sessions increase your tolerance for intense exercise, helping you get more out of your workout. Sounds like a win-win to us!

The Cons:

1. Goodbye happy hour.

Now, this can also be seen as a positive thing, but a little bit of balance goes a long way! Whether it’s watching a sunset with your main squeeze or meeting up with friends after work, an afternoon workout can minimize your time to socialize. Although this might result in less calorie intake, it’s not usually as fun as happy hour. Remember that your body will love you for it!

Now it’s time for you to decide: morning of afternoon?

What time of day are you more willing to workout?

 

XO Elizabeth

Tone It Up: The 3-Minute Thighs Workout

Tone It Up's 3 Minute Thigh Workout!

When putting together new workouts, one thing we always strive for is flexibility!They also make amazing add-ons to your current routine if you’re looking to give it a boost. These eight exercises are meant to be done at rapid-fire speed, with no rest in between so that you get that heart rate up while you work out your thighs and tone your lower body. Of course, if you have more time, go through the sequence up to four times through.

Ready to go? Grab a pair of 3-5 pound dumbbells for the first four exercises and get ready to feel the burn!

It's time to tone those thighs with this 3 minute workout from Tone It Up!

Be sure to pin this image so you can have it on hand the next time you head to the gym. Or, if you have 3-5 pound weights at home, this routine is a great one to do on your own (with an awesome workout playlist playing, of course).

Will you give this 3-minute thighs workout a try this summer?

XO Elizabeth

Fit Tip: How to Keep Your Metabolism Burning All Day Long

It’s pretty much a fact of life that, for most of us, our metabolisms slow down as we get older. If you’re one of the lucky few who feels like you still have the metabolism of your 18-year-old self, the rest of us envy you! In my college days, I remember being able to eat pretty much whatever I wanted for breakfast, lunch and dinner without noticing much difference in my body. I’ve always been a very healthy eater, but now that I’m in my mid ‘20s, I notice that eating junk food or diverging off my healthy eating routine seems to take its toll much faster than it did in my undergrad days. On the bright side, we tend to be much more aware of what we are putting in our bodies as we get older (and how much of it, too). But for those of you who mourn your teenage metabolism daily—I feel ya! Together, I came up with seven tips that will rev up your inner calorie furnace, leaving you feeling leaner and more energized.

Without further ado, here are seven tricks for giving your metabolism an extra kick throughout the day…

1. Don’t Forget Breakfast.
Breakfast kick starts your day into action, so skipping this first meal of the day can pretty much wreak havoc on your metabolism. You want to make sure you’re breaking the fast by having a meal that combines protein, healthy fat, fiber and greens. I recommend making an egg omelet (using full eggs) with avocado and vegetables or a fructose-free smoothie with almond butter. Not a breakfast person? If forcing yourself to eat a meal first thing in the morning is a big challenge for you, try blending up some bulletproof coffee. Simply brew your coffee at home, let it cool, then pour it into a blender with ice cubes and a teaspoon of coconut oil. This “clean latte” will let your body detoxify first thing in the morning and it will rev up your metabolism until lunchtime.

2. Follow The 4-6 Hour Rule.
While people used to think that eating lots of small meals throughout the day was the best way to boost your metabolism, I say that there’s even greater benefit to giving your body time between meals. “Breaks are good,” she says. “Aim to have a 4-6 hour window between meals—this will increase the surge in human growth hormone and testosterone to help you loose weight and maintain lean muscle mass.” However, make sure to listen to what your body needs. You aren’t doing it right if you feel like you’re starving between meals. If you’re feeling hungrier during these breaks, you probably need to be adding more healthy fats to your meals to keep you satiated longer. Give your body the right fuel and your metabolism will do the rest.

3. Sweat It Out.
So we’ve covered a few eating tips for boosting your metabolism… But what about working out, you ask? As far as workouts go, I recommend alternating between high intensity interval training one day, lighting weights another day and staying active throughout the day, every day. High intensity interval training puts your body through bursts of difficult cardio, which has major muscle-building and fat-burning benefits. Lifting weights will increase your muscle mass, which will allow your body to burn calories more effectively throughout the day. And lastly, staying active throughout the day will allow you to regularly metabolize the food you eat. Because, if you think about it, you aren’t really living an active lifestyle if you work out really hard for one hour then to sit for the remaining 10 hours of the day.

4. Up Your H2O Intake.
If you feel even just a little bit thirsty, it might mean that you’ve run the risk of slowing down your metabolism that day. In fact, studies have shown that if you’re chronically dehydrated, it can mean up to an 8-pound weight gain or more per year. If that’s not a good enough reason to drink water, I don’t know what is! If you get bored of drinking plain water all day long, try one of these fruit infused waters. I personally love drinking green tea all day (along with water) because I love the taste and it has a special compound in it that bumps up the metabolic rate as well.

5. Eat Your Healthy Fats.
You may remember us mentioning that this is our favorite new health tip of the summer in our Busy Girl’s Guide to Healthy Eating last week, and it’s a really good one to keep in mind when it comes to your metabolism. Adding a source of healthy fat to each of your meals during the day will keep you full longer and give you sustained energy while your body digests. This helps you not to crave snacks in between meals, which lets your metabolism go to work burning the energy from the meal you just ate. My favorite healthy fats to add to my meals are avocado (probably my favorite food ever), almond butter, coconut oil and ghee.

6. Spice things up.
Did you know that some of your favorite spices can actually get your metabolism going? I’m talking to all of my cinnamon, ginger and cayenne lovers out there. Adding certain spices to your recipes can stimulate circulation in the body and even detoxify your cells, too. My favorite metabolism boosting spices are turmeric, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cayenne and cinnamon.

7. Log in Enough Zzzzs.
Logging enough sleep will not only keep your hormones in check and keep you mentally alert, it will also fire up your metabolism for the day. Your muscles and digestive system need rest and restoration, and that’s exactly what it does when you snooze. And, when you get enough beauty sleep, you’re more likely to have energy to be more active throughout the day and avoid late-night snacking the night before. Aim to get around 7-8 hours of sleep per night so that your metabolism can function properly the next day.

Stick to these seven guidelines and I promise you’ll be feeling like you’re using energy more efficiently and burning through your meals better throughout the day.

What health, nutrition or fitness topics would you like to see us cover next on the blog?

I’m taking requests, so let me know!

Tone It Up: The Total Body Mermaid Workout

Today’s Mermaid Routine uses one of our favorite toning tools, the kettlebell, to make you feel gorgeous, sculpted and strong. And if you want in on a little secret… Working your total body is one of the best ways to reveal that coveted, tight tummy—along with proper nutrition of course. All you need is a kettlebell, a yoga mat and some water. If you’re new to using kettlebells start with 10-15 lbs. and work your way up from there.

Get ready for a body sizzling, heart pumpin’ routine!

And be sure to pin the image below so that you can do this routine at the gym, too!

Tone It Up: Mermaid Workout

How amazing do you feel after this toning routine?

Let us know in the comments below!

XO Elizabeth