Eat More. Lose Weight. Really.

By Coach Kendra

I’ve always had a hearty appetite, being the youngest of 3 and always active growing up. When I sit down to eat, I want a big plate of food that takes some time to get through, not a tiny portion that’s gulped down in a bite or two. Unfortunately, big appetites can lead to big thighs. Rather than restrict myself to a life of deprivation, I learned how to eat a lot and still lose weight.

Here are a few simple recipes that I make often to indulge my inner glutton without adding heft to my hips. They’re tasty, filling, and very versatile.

Build a better salad

Sure, salads are the best way to fill up on fewer calories. The key is to make them hearty, and not so low in calories that you’re starving an hour later.

    • Fill a large bowl with the greens of your choice. I prefer a combination, like romaine, spinach, and finely chopped kale. The romaine gives a satisfying crunch, while the spinach and kale are excellent sources of nutrition.
    • Look in your refrigerator and grab all the vegetables you can reach. If you think you don’t like raw vegetables, chop them very finely or even grate them on a cheese grater (this works well for things like broccoli, zucchini, and cauliflower). Once the veggies are small enough, you won’t taste them. Throw them into your bowl.
    • Add protein, such as 5 ounces of grilled chicken or 1 cup of canned beans that you’ve rinsed and drained. My favorite beans are red kidney, black beans, and garbanzo (chickpeas).
    • Toss in a handful (or about 1/4 cup) of nuts or seeds. I like to roast shelled, raw pumpkin seeds in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes, until they’re browned but not burned. Nuts and seeds are good sources of fat and protein, and a little goes a long way.
    • Make a quick dressing. Whisk 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or red-wine vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour half over your salad, toss, and see if that’s enough dressing. If not, add the rest.

Chomp on a yummy quinoa salad

Never tried quinoa? It’s a rich source of protein that’s delicious in salads like this.

    • Prepare 1/4 cup of quinoa according to package directions. (This is about 1 cup of cooked quinoa).
    • Roast whatever vegetables you have on hand. Typical choices are broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, onions, carrots, and asparagus. Just chop into similar-size pieces, drizzle with olive oil and a little salt, spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and roast in a 400-degree oven for 20 – 30 minutes, stirring once or twice.
    • Chop a handful of flat-leaf parsley (about 1/4 cup).
    • Make a dressing. Whisk 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
    • Mix all ingredients together, and refrigerate for an hour to let the flavors blend. Add more lemon juice if desired for a brighter flavor.

Warm up with “everything but the kitchen sink” soup

Brothy soups take a long time to eat, are perfect when you’re craving something warm, and are low in calories when you make them yourself. On weekends, I take whatever vegetables are left in my fridge from the previous week and turn them into a soup that feeds me for days. There’s no real recipe here, but this is how it usually goes:

    • Chop an onion and a couple cloves of garlic, and dice a couple of carrots and celery stalks. (It’s ok if you don’t have all these things, it just helps to make a nice soup base.)
    • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a heavy pot. Throw in the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery and cook for about 5 minutes or so, until the vegetables soften and the onions become translucent.
    • Pour in 4 cups of broth (any kind) and any dried herbs or seasonings you have in your pantry. I like Italian seasoning, or a combination of chile powder, cayenne, and cumin for a Latin-inspired flavor, enough to equal about a tablespoon total. If you’re feeling fancy, toss in a bay leaf (optional). Bring to a simmer.
    • While the broth is simmering, chop any vegetables you have left in your refrigerator and add them to the pot. Let them cook for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are a texture you like. I like mine to have a little crunch.
    • For protein, add some cooked chicken or a can of beans to the pot.
    • Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning by adding more herbs or some salt. A squirt of lemon juice or a splash of vinegar can brighten and intensify the flavor of your soup, too.

Want a thicker soup? Puree it in batches in a blender until it’s smooth. Then add your protein or beans. You can divide this into individual servings (my batches usually yield 4–5 portions) and refrigerate or freeze until you’re ready to eat.


Goodbye New Year’s Resolution, Hello Healthy Lifestyle!

What does the month of December look like to you? To many this month consists of shopping, family gatherings, parties, the arrival of long anticipated Christmas cookies, and the inevitable stress that comes with it all.

Throughout the years, holiday obligations and events have become greater and greater, and with that comes the added stress of fulfilling one’s holiday expectations. As we know, everyone deals with stress a little differently, but during this time of year, weight gain is the most common in American’s. But don’t worry, the New Year is right around the corner and we will all be making those same New Year resolutions, “to lose weight, and be healthy!”

Are you one of these guilty people, allowing yourself to indulge in cookies and wine at every party? Do you feel you deserve to treat yourself for putting up with all the craziness the holiday has brought you? And let me guess, you’re too busy this time of the year, you just can’t seem to find the time to exercise. Maybe it does sound like a good idea to put off the focus of diet and exercise until the New Year and just enjoy the holiday with one less thing to think about!


This way of thinking is exactly what builds more stress through the holidays and leaves more people discouraged at the start of the New Year. The reality of their inability to stay in control of their eating habits, and keep off the reoccurring holiday weight-gain causes extreme disappointment. In addition to this, it increases a lack of motivation when one is faced with losing 20 pounds instead of their original 10 pounds.

Ask yourself at your next Christmas party when you are offered your 3rd or 4th cookie or glass of wine, “Is overindulging on this going to bring me pleasure or guilt?” Chances are, guilt! I have never heard anyone say, “Yes, I just overate on so many calories, I feel great about myself!”

Focus on making changes this month- changes that lead you to a HEALTHIER lifestyle. I like to emphasize the word LIFESTYLE to many, because a lifestyle is a way of living that reflects our attitudes and values. Is your body and health something you value? You’re reading this blog, so I assume it is. If you truly want this healthy lifestyle, you have got to start living it NOW, not at the start of 2013!


Have a Blessed Holiday Season!

Coach Katie White


Justification through Tradition

We’ve all done it. A holiday approaches, such as Thanksgiving, and we find ourselves justifying an over-indulgence in foods or sedentary activity. We are tempted to defend this binge on all things unhealthy by telling ourselves “One indulgence isn’t a big deal” or “Well, I don’t eat like this all the time”, and my favorite: “It’s tradition!”. On the surface, these inner-thoughts are fairly harmless. However, if we’re being honest, most of us spend much of our time indulging when we should be with-holding, or sitting when we should be moving.

The thought that giving in to each temptation because it’s just “one time” of the year, or because tradition mandates it is, unfortunately, unfounded. Why do so many of us add pounds over the course of a year instead of shedding them? Well, we convince ourselves time and time again that “this one time won’t hurt”. We continue to justify eating things or drinking things because of the “tradition” of the occasion. The holidays just compound the problem.

Having said all that, I propose a challenge: Break tradition. Alter a recipe; limit your portions; resist your temptations. I’m going beyond the holidays with this idea. Be progressive THROUGHOUT the year, and you’ll be in a better position to enjoy a bit more during the holidays. If you really want to make a difference in your life, though, take these ideas into the holidays as well. Invite your family along with you – drag them if you must. I DARE you.

I’ll leave you all with one of my favorite quotes: “Tradition – Just because you’ve always done it that way doesn’t mean it’s not incredibly stupid.”

I’m not attacking anyone’s intelligence, so please overlook the use of “stupid” above. Focus on the overall idea –  I want you to think about those traditions you use as a defense for unhealthy decisions. They might not hold as much weight as you want to believe.

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Coach Joel



Changing Old Habits

Habits, good or bad…. are formed by repetition. Eating habits are no exception. If you are in the habit of snacking when you watch TV, you reinforced that habit until it finally became a part of your routine. Other habits are formed in the same way- for example- eating the minute you come in the house, eating when the kids come in from school, eating when you come in from a date, or eating while cooking dinner.


We also find that certain moods and circumstances cause us to eat even if we are not hungry. For example: anger, boredom, fatigue, happiness, loneliness, the kids are finally in bed, our spouse is out for the evening or out of town, nervousness, anxiety -all these may trigger an eating response. The list is endless. What are your strongest triggers that are preventing you from losing weight?


Habits are hard to break. We must not only break old habits, but we must make our goal to form new ones in the same manner through repetition. Make several daily commitments during this program. Your daily commitments will help you form good habits. Remember: “It is easier to act your way into a new way of feeling than it is to feel your way into a new way of acting.”


Resisting temptation is difficult. However, if you succeed in resisting the first time, it becomes easier to resist the next time. Before long, you have formed the good habit of resisting temptation every time it confronts you. If you yield to that temptation, you will find it easier to yield the next time. This process is also known as behavior modification. It simply means changing your behavior. These techniques work only if you consistently repeat them, so that they become a part of you.


Here are some NEW HABITS to put into practice:


• Eat three meals a day. Have two or three planned snacks daily.

• Eat only at the kitchen table and savor your meals by eating slower.

• Substitute an alternative activity for “mindless snacking”, such as developing a new hobby- reading, doing a craft, organizing the house or calling a friend

• Drink a glass of water or eat a piece of fruit before each meal. Research shows how this can decrease your total food volume!

• Spend 15 minutes every morning doing some daily stretches and strength exercises to wake-up the mind and the body for the new day ahead!

• Write your own!


Going from Good to Great in 2012

It’s the first of the year, and PRIME time for setting New Year’s goals for better health, giving up bad habits or finally starting to save more money than we spend.  Don’t get me wrong, I am all about setting goals (ask any of my current clients or ask to see my daily, weekly and 90-day goal worksheet) but I think sometimes we focus more on setting a goal than actually acting on it.  So, this past week, I had the opportunity to give a presentation on how to take your life from “Good to GREAT” with 10 practical messages to put into place.  Implement just 1 idea and you’ll experience a better year ahead.  Implement all 10 and you are in for some serious IMPACT!

1.  Have more fun….in your workouts! Try a new workout. Then try another. Find activities that invigorate you. Get new music. Team up with a friend. Meet other fit people. Subscribe to fitness blogs or magazines.

2.  Cook more– even if it is just 15 minutes a day. You can eat a healthy, wholesome dinner for less than $5 per person. Healthy food can taste good. Slow food movement. People often think it is too difficult (only gourmet chefs on the Food Network) or don’t carve enough time in their day to be successful.

3.  Get emotional about your goals. The first step is thinking about your goals for the short term and where you see yourself by the end of this year.  Write them down and place them in a visible place.  But you know what is even MORE important?  Discovering the WHY you want to reach that goal.  It needs to stir you.

4.  Slow down. Turn off the television. Put down your smartphone. Sleep more.

5.  Show your child that fitness is important. They are depending on you. Be a role model. Child obesity is a scary thing and we need to set an example and reverse this trend.

6.  Decide to be the most fit you’ve been, no matter what your age. Why? Because physical activity can impact all facets of your life.  If you have 5 extra minutes this week, start to write down all the ways that exercise can impact your job/productivity, family/relationships, overall wellness and future/retirement.  Age is NOT an excuse.

7.  Reflect. Journal. Breathe deeper. Read more books that inspire you or help you to dream.

8.   Get over it. Resolve past conflicts or wounds on your heart. This is your life- today. You cannot change your past. Love yourself. Care about your health. Accept your body for what it is and what it does for you. You only get one body in this lifetime. How you live with your body has huge power over your life.

9.  Believe in your power to change.  Everyday, you are in control of your choices.  Make better choices and believe it can happen.

10.  Stop waiting for life to slow down (it won’t). Your time is right now. Make the most of every decision you have to nourish your body, mind and soul, in order to nourish those around you.


TR…What? How TRX Training can benefit YOU!

This past year, after seeing this bright yellow and black suspension trainer highlighted at multiple trade shows and raved by top trainers, I finally decided to give it a try and see what all the hype was about.

What is TRX? Born in the Navy SEALS, Suspension Training bodyweight exercise develops strength, balance, flexibility and core stability simultaneously. It requires the use of the TRX® Suspension Trainer™, a highly portable performance training tool that leverages gravity and the user’s body weight to enable hundreds of exercises for every fitness goal.

I got certified, with the intention of using it as something in my toolbox for in-home personal training, but soon realized that it would change the way I train FOREVER. Does it look weird? Yes. Is it hard to imagine this suspension trainer can hold my entire body weight? Yes, but get over it. If you want the best core workout and most versatile piece of equipment, stop what you are doing immediately and sign-up for TRX classes beginning in January. Benefits?


•Get a fast, effective total body workout

•Benefits people of ALL fitness levels (pro athletes to seniors)

•Can be set-up anywhere (gym, home, road, outside)


How is TRX training different at Allegro Coaching?

We strive for safety in every workout and realize how important it is to cater to every fitness level, especially the beginner. Learn proper set-up, hand position, foot position and progressions at the start of every class. We take it further and mix in intervals of cardio off the TRX, body weight drills and core to make it a fun, fat-blasting workout!


Still not convinced? Check out this video to see how it can transform your body! (Used by Drew Brees, the US Women’s Soccer Team & my mentor, Todd Durkin)


Beat the Bulge- Holiday Must Do Tips

Did you know the average weight gain is only 1-2 lbs. over the 7-week holiday? So what’s the problem with an extra pound? The problem is, a year later, the vast majority of us have not removed that pound. Continue this pattern over 30 or 40 holiday seasons and the problem becomes—quite literally—huge.

So how are we supposed to get through the holidays without gaining weight? Here are eight effective ways to get yourself ready to beat the holiday bulge.

Buy clothes that fit right now. A new addition to your wardrobe in a size that shows off your summer body can be all you need to prevent those extra pounds from creeping on. So before you begin the festivities, go buy yourself something perfect to wear to your parties and hang it someplace visible, so it serves as a constant reminder.

Write it down. The truth is, if we would write down the not-so-perfect meals and treats, we could find a way to compensate for them, at least a bit. For example, you have a peppermint brownie in the break room at work, which you know is carbohydrates and fat. Eat one less portion of carbohydrate and one less portion of fat for your dinner. It’s not ideal, but it’ll help. Or perhaps you couldn’t resist Mom’s homemade scones for breakfast. You could plan on an extra 20 or 30 minutes of your workout tonight. The point is, if we write it down, and do the math, we can lessen the damage.

Keep exercising. One of my slowest times of year is between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. I get lots of cancellations or conflicts with parties or holiday to-do lists. It’s hard to remain balanced when you have a million things to do and gifts to buy. Yet the greatest gift you can give yourself is to stay focused on your fitness goals and get your workout in.

Eat before parties. Most holiday parties don’t focus on low-fat, low-calorie refreshments, so unless you’re organizing the event, the best damage control is to show up with a full tummy. You’ll be a lot less likely to swim in mayonnaise dips and pigs in blankets if you’re full.

Get junk out of the house. The majority of people don’t get into their car at midnight, drive to the store, buy the ingredients for cookies, bake them, and then stay up to eat them. But if those homemade cookies are already on your kitchen counter, you better believe you’ll find a way to justify it. The secret is to get the garbage out of the house. Send it to work with your significant other, donate it to a bake sale, re-gift it to your 100-pound friend with the perfect metabolism, or just dump it in the trash.

Choose wisely and proportionally. Something occurs during a holiday meal. It’s like a Las Vegas buffet—we feel like we have to eat some of everything. We feel almost like those foods will never exist again, and this is our last meal on the planet. This year, why not try to eat only your favorites, as in two or three items, and keep the portions to the size of your palm? If you’re still hungry, try to fill up on veggies.

Don’t beat yourself up. We can only do our very best. Mentally beating yourself up will only make you feel worse, which never helped anyone get back to their fitness program. So if you happen to gain that 1 extra pound this holiday season, be part of the rare group who actually follows through with their New Year’s resolution and manages to shed it again.