GRIT by Brit

Fun, Fierce, Fitness


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Why Dieting Doesn’t Work (and Why Intuitive Eating Does)

Most Diets DON’T Work

Before reading on, please check out this *fantastic* short video by neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt:

This post is a supplement to Dr. Aamodt’s message about the futility of dieting, from a dietitian’s perspective. I am going to take it one step further by discussing the 10 basic principles of intuitive eating, so that you can start implementing them in your own life!

*These principles have been adapted from the book Intuitive Eating, by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, CEDRD.

1. Reject the Diet Mentality. Hopefully the TED talk already convinced you why you should.

2. Honor Your Hunger. So often we berate ourselves for failing to “control” our hunger, when the reality is: hunger is not something that needs to be controlled. Hunger is like a signal; it’s our body’s way of communicating our nutritional needs to our brain. To best honor your hunger, consistently keep your body nourished by eating every 3-5 hours (a normal amount of time to start feeling hunger again between eating episodes). Suppressing your hunger cues or ignoring them only predisposes you overeat later on.

3. Make Peace with Food. Contrary to popular belief, every food offers some type of nutritional values (yes, even cupcakes – carbohydrates are a much needed energy source!). It is essential to accept this fact before we can make peace with food. This is not an endorsement for eating an unbalanced diet, and of course, anything in excess will generally leave your body feeling not-so-great afterwards. But if you recognize that (what you may currently be labeling as) a “bad” or “forbidden” food can fit in to a healthy diet, then you won’t have to feel guilty or “out of control” when you have it.

4. Challenge the Food Police. The Food Police represent any rules you might have internalized about healthy eating or weight control. For example:

  • “I am only allowed to eat [insert random # of calories here], or
  • “I will get fat if I eat past [insert random time here],” or
  • “I should have a salad for lunch even though I’m really in the mood for [insert higher-calorie entrée here] right now.”

These are EXTERNAL and ARBITRARY rules that have nothing to do with what your body is asking for. Start noticing how your personal food police have been holding you hostage from a balanced approach to eating, and see if you can challenge them! Don’t worry, the only ticket you’ll get for doing this is a ticket to a healthier relationship with food :-).

5. Respect Your Fullness. This is probably one of the hardest skills to master, because fullness is not always a clear-cut sensation. The goal is to get to a place where you are comfortably full. That is, somewhere between “I definitely still need more” and “Woah, I’ve had enough.” Mindfulness is key here. You can do this by paying attention to the physical sensations in your stomach, how the food tastes and feels in your mouth, and your overall feeling of nourishment.

6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor. We might be physically very full but completely unsatisfied. Or, we might be just at the border of physically full, but highly satisfied. The point: deciding when to stop eating at a meal is not solely determined by physical fullness. Typically, when a meal is very satisfying, we need less food to honor our fullness. So, how do we make my meals more satisfying? By preparing or choosing food that is compatible with our tastes preferences, appealing visually, and set at an ideal temperature. Also, we can enhance satisfaction by making it a point to eat in (or create) a pleasurable ambience, and when possible, dining with a person (or people) whose company you enjoy.

7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food. So often, we use food to soothe, express, cope or repress feelings. While this is normal and somewhat inevitable from time to time, it’s no surprise that consistently using food to fill emotional needs can take a toll on health, and can also lead to feeling worse in the long run. Your best bet is to find more effective, non-food related ways of dealing with your feelings. If you find that you have trouble doing this on your own, there is no shame in reaching out for additional help from a trained professional.

8. Respect Your Body. Everyone is born with a naturally different body shape and size. As Dr. Aamodt points out, these traits are governed by genetics and your pre-determined set-range (aka your body weight thermostat). Very unfortunately, we live in a society that glorifies certain body types and imposes unrealistic expectations of beauty. Acknowledging this sad truth, while simultaneously accepting, respecting and appreciating your body, is a crucial element of intuitive eating. It’s nearly impossible to honor your body’s hunger and fullness cues if your mind is pre-occupied with fitting into some “ideal” size.

9. Exercise. But first, be honest with yourself about your motivation for exercising. Just like food, everyone’s tastes are different. Try to focus on the internal experience (i.e., how certain types of movement make you feel in your body, which types you genuinely enjoy, how they impact your energy levels, etc). Do something that appeals to you! Sign up for an Irish Jig class. Take a walk with your head phones and a playlist. Go for a long, sweaty run. Kick butt in a Turbo Kickboxing class (better yet, one of Brit’s!).  Zen out in yoga. Join an organized sports team. Or, come up with your own creative form of movement! The options are endless.

10. Honor Your Health. Consistently eating a balanced diet that contains a mixture of *mostly* whole grains, lean protein, whole fruits and veggies, and essential fats. Again, it’s your consistent intake that counts. Healthy eating and a healthy relationship with food are inherently fluid, flexible, and imperfect!

If you have questions about any of these principles, or how to apply them to you, feel free to comment below or email Lindsay directly through the contact page of her website, Lknutrition.com.

For more posts by Lindsay (aka FalafeLover), follow her new personal blog, Falafelover in Brooklyn.

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Year in Review: GRIT by Brit’s Top 10 Most Memorable Moments of 2013

Wow!  The New Year is upon us and I have so much so much grateful for. Most importantly, I’m so thankful for all of you who follow my blog and send me encouraging messages.  There’s nothing more rewarding than connecting with you.  Thank you so very much – be blessed exceedingly and abundantly!

This blog started out as a simple channel for me to share my hotel workouts and transformed into my passion-filled prized possession and platform to help us all live healthier, happier and more positive lives.  Only a year and half since my first post, GRIT by Brit doubled in size to over 3,000 followers.  The 2nd blogiversary is coming up in March.   I have even greater expectations for 2014!

So now without further or do I present to you, 2013’s Top 10 Most Memorable moments:

  1. Teaching my 1st Indoor Cycling Class – I got certified in Schwinn indoor cycling in 2012 but didn’t teach my first class until May of this year.  It’s so crazy how teaching a new fitness format challenges me, takes me out of my comfort zone and feels exhilarating at the same time.  Making playlists full of Jay-Z, Britney and Eminem is also really fun!

    Grinning from ear to ear with excitement before teaching my 1st indoor cycling class - May 2013

    Grinning from ear to ear with excitement before teaching my 1st indoor cycling class – May 2013

  2. Turbo NYC – While I was living in NYC for 7 months, I started a pop up Turbo Kick class in Flatiron.  It quickly gained traction and my friends (old and new) joined me every Sunday to sweat and bring some heat to the bone-chilling NYC cold.  This was a short stint, but boy was it sweet.  Here you can read my reflections from my first Turbo NYC class: http://gritbybrit.com/2013/01/27/the-world-is-yours/

    turbo NYC

    Rockin’ it out at my last Turbo NYC class in NYC – May 2013

  3. PiYo on the Deck – When I was asked to teach weekly PiYo classes on the W Dallas Hotel Wet Deck I was like, “ah yea…I’m officially on the map!”  This was huge personal accomplishment.  Better yet, it was fun, free way that I could share mind-body training with my friends and other members of the Dallas community.  Free. Fierce. Fitness = GRIT by Brit core values!

    Teaching my 1st PiYo on the deck class - Summer 2013

    Teaching my 1st PiYo on the deck class – Summer 2013

  4. Lose the Pooch Workout – I had no idea this workout would go viral on Pinterest, but it has!  Clearly many of us are eager to work our lower abs and prevent a protruding FUPA.  This will certainly be my cue to make more “Lose the Pooch” workouts in 2014.  You can get the full workout here: http://gritbybrit.com/2013/03/05/lose-the-pooch-complete-workout-for-your-lower-abs/

    Focusing on the FUPA!  Lower abs workout - March 2013

    Focusing on the FUPA! Lower abs workout – March 2013

  5. GRIT by Brit Tank Tops – We have tanks now finally – yay!  Not much to say on this one except that I’m glad I can now “reprezent my clique” in public.  And you can too!  Buy yours at my eStore: http://gritbybrit-shop.com/

    Tank tops officially for sale!  November 2013

    Tank tops officially for sale! November 2013

  6. New workout video with BOOYA Fitness So in 2012 I released GRIT by Brit Ultimate Body Burn, which I hope you already rocked out.   On New Year’s day 2014 I will release my new and improved 30 minute, high intensity, music blasting, cardio workout.  Booya Fitness, an online fitness video subscription start-up company, was the driving force behind this collaboration.  I’m so honored to be one of their featured instructors.  You all must go sign up for your subscription today!http://www.booyafitness.com/

    On shoot day with Booya Fitness - September 2013

    On shoot day with Booya Fitness – September 2013

  7. Dr. OZ Cleanses Holy Moly!  I don’t know if I should be excited or concerned, but when I started posting reviews of the Dr. Oz cleanses, I got over 2,000 hits per day!  Now I love a good cleanse, but I was amazed at our intense interest in cleanse regimens. Just remember, cleanses are a great one-off solution, but living a healthy lifestyle consistently (not only for a 3-day cleanse) is where the real work and the real rewards come.

    Sharing my bootleg version of the Dr. Oz Juice Cleanse - Summer 2013

    Sharing my bootleg version of the Dr. Oz Juice Cleanse – Summer 2013

  8. Blog makeover – So when I started GRIT by Brit I knew nothing about blogging (I think that’s still the case to be quite honest).  However, this year I met an amazingly talented photographer/graphic designer who has become my creative director and my friend.  Alivia Duran – thank you!  GRIT by Brit is looking better than ever.  You are a God-send!  You can guys can check Alivia’s website: http://www.aliviaduran.com/

    Old school GRIT by Brit Header from 2012.  But look at me now! haha

    Old school GRIT by Brit blog header from 2012. But look at me now! haha

  9. Sharing my Lean In Story – I heard Sheryl Sandberg speak at a women’s conference in April and I immediately felt a sense of duty to take more risks in my life and to also share my story with other women.  On my way home from that conference, I wrote my Lean In story and submitted it to be published.   If you haven’t read it, you can check it out here: http://leanin.org/stories/brittani-rettig/ (P.S. I wrote this with a great sense of urgency so there are a few typos – please read with a forgiving spirit).

    My story about pursuing my fitness dreams on the official Lean In community site.  Summer 2013

    My story about pursuing my fitness dreams on the official Lean In community site. Summer 2013

  10. Being on TV (Good Morning Texas) – Huge thanks to Sporty Afros for being my fit friends and partners in crime on this.  Alex and Whitney, co-founders of http://sportyafros.com/ have been my blog mentors and ongoing sources of inspiration.  Thanks to both of you for sharing the limelight with me as you tackled the critical topics of natural hair and health.  Together, we are going to win the war on obesity among women of color!  Health OVER Hair!
Modeling "healthy hair" in light of a rigorous workout regimen on Good Morning Texas - May 2013

Modeling “healthy hair” in light of a rigorous workout regimen on Good Morning Texas – May 2013

Well, that’s the end gang.  2013 has flown by, but it sure was good to me.  I’m humbled and grateful for all of the blessings I’ve experienced.  I wish you an amazing 2014 that exceeds your expectations – the best is ALWAYS yet to come!

Happy New Year!  xoxo, Brit


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7 Days of Sweat: 1 Week Cardio Formula for a Super Slim Down

push yourself

Hey GRIT gang!  In case you’re looking to change up your cardio routine, I’m gladly sharing my cardio workout plan for the week.  I’ve recently been a little lax with my sweat sessions due to a crazy travel schedule , so this week I’m going to get my butt back in gear!

When looking to drop a few pounds, I’m firm believer in doing 1 hour of cardio per day.  So I designed this workout to include a combination of various 1 hour workouts each day of the week.  Knock out these sweat sessions along with my other healthy habits and I promise you will see slimmer you by the end of the week.

I have to be honest, my “7 Days of Sweat” are easier said than done.  PUSH YOURSELF and don’t sacrifice what you want most for what you want at this moment.  You got this!

Lots of luv,

Brit

Brit’s Skinny Week Workout Plan


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Brit’s Delicious Morning Detox Drink

Detox Drink Ingredients: Water, Cucumber, Lemon & Mint Leaves

Detox Drink Ingredients: Water, Cucumber, Lemon & Mint Leaves

Hi GRIT Gang!  Here’s a detox drink recipe that my lovely mommy shared with me.  I can’t wait to try to it – sounds amazing!  Right off the bat, I think it’s a good look because it has very simple, healthy ingredients.  Also, it’s extremely affordable and easy to make.  Here are the details:

Ingredients:

  • 2 lemons
  • ½ Cucumber
  • 10-12 mint leaves
  • 3 quarts of water

Directions:

  1. Chop the lemons and cucumber into thin slices
  2. Pour 3 quarts of water into a large container and mix in the mint leaves, cucumber and lemon slices.
  3. Let the detox solution sit overnight and drink it first thing in the morning – enjoy!

Lemon-Mint-and-Cucumber-The-Delicious-Detox

Top 5 Benefits of Brit’s Delicious Morning Detox Drink

  • Get Lean – The morning detox drink is filling and hydrating.  Drinking it first think in the morning will prevent you from immediately going for an unhealthy breakfast option.  Also, substituting the detox drink for your daily glass of  juice can reduce your calorie intake by 100-150 calories!
  • Glowing Skin – For our skin to look healthy, it’s got to be hydrated.  When our bodies are dehydrated, our eyes look sunk-in and wrinkles and dark under-eye circles are more visible.  Hydrating your body first thing in the morning (before the cup of coffee) is critical for sustaining your glow.
  • No Sniffles – Lemon water provides vitamin C which boosts your immune system.  Also, lemon helps reduce fever because it stimulates sweat.
  • Stay Regular – The detox drink hydrates your digestive system and stimulates bowel movement.  “Lemon helps the bowel to dispose waste, including preventing constipation. The lemon reduces the amount of mucus production in the body, helps dissolve gallstones and acts as a liver cleansing and detoxifying.” Source: Healthy & Natural World
  • Eliminate Toxins – The detox drink benefits your liver by increasing the level detoxifying enzymes and improving your liver function as a result.  Also, as a natural diuretic, the detox drink will stimulate the secretion of bodily waste.

For best results, I recommend starting every day with the detox drink and making it a new healthy habit.  Try it out and let me know what you think.  Lots of luv, Brit


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Brit’s Best and Worst Nutrition Bars

best_worst_energy_bars_i

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been tracking my food intake on My Fitness Pal (because it syncs with my Jawbone) and I’ve noticed how many nutrition and protein bars I eat in a typical week.  Contrary to popular belief, all nutrition bars are not made equally.  Unfortunately, many of the super nutritious ones taste like poo (real talk).  And others that taste great aren’t nutritious at all – they are loaded with sugar and calories.  This gave me the idea to do some independent research on the most common nutrition bars that I consume.  I evaluated each bar by my personal 5 critical criteria (listed below) and then added in my own personal preference for the official GRIT by Brit Nutrition Ranking.

best nutrition bars

Brit’s Nutrition Bar Criteria:

  • High Protein
  • Low sugar
  • Great taste (according to me)
  • High Fiber
  • Low Calorie

I know some people may care about other things like organic ingredients, other vitamins and minerals etc., but I just chose to focus on these 5 nutrition elements because they are most critical for weight management.  Any who, I put the bars to the test and here are the results!  I hope you find this information helpful.

Nutrition Bar Show Down!

kashi

Ranking #1 on my List is the Kashi Go-Lean Crips Chocolate Pretzel Bar.  Not only am I obsessed with the taste, but these bars are full of fiber and protein and only have 160 calories (which equals 16 minutes on the elliptical) YIPPEE!

Ranking LAST on my list is the Amazing Grass: Super food Chocolate Whole Foods Energy Bar.  I mean…how is this even considered “healthy”?   It’s loaded with sugar and hardly provides and protein and fiber.  I find this to be true with a lot of “energy” bars.  Be careful my friends.  Organic and Super Food labels don’t always mean healthy…

amazing grass

What are your favorite nutrition bars?  Any favorites?  Any you hate?


5 Super Smoothie Recipes: Lo SUGAR Hi PROTIEN

Since I travel for work every week, I often need a nutritious filling meal on the go.  Lately, I’ve gotten really into smoothies (as you know from all of my Dr. OZ Drink Cleanses).  I like smoothies because they’re an easy way work in my daily serving of fruit & veggies as well as other vitamins and protein.   BUT, I have to be careful to choose the RIGHT smoothies.  By “right” I mean smoothies with low to moderate sugar and lots of protein.   While smoothies are tasty, they can be loaded with sugar which packs on the pounds and makes us hungry.  Keep in mind that smoothies are good forms of “meal replacements” not “appetizers.”   Often, I unintentionally consume too many calories in 1 day because I’ll have a smoothie PLUS my meals – not a good look.  If you are trying to drop a few pounds, be sure to drink a smoothie INSTEAD of eating a meal.  Keep this in mind as you enjoy these 5 Super Smoothie recipes!  Lots of luv, Brit 🙂

protein berry smoothie

Brit’s Berry Blast Smoothie

  • 3/4  Grapefruit Juice
  • 1/3 Cup of egg whites
  • 1 Cup frozen or fresh mixed berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries)

nut banana smoothie

Carob Nut Banana Smoothie

  • 1 banana (small) cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 tablespoon dried carob powder*
  • 2 tablespoons reduced fat peanut butter
  • 1/2 Cup of ice

apple cinnamon soy smoothie

Apple Cinnamon Soy Smoothie

  • 1/3 Cup egg whites
  • 1 Sweet, crisp apple (medium size) peeled, chopped red apple (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 Cup refrigerated vanilla soy milk
  • 1/4 Teaspoon ground cinnamon

mean green smoothie

Lean Mean Green Smoothie

  • 1 cup kefir
  • 2 T ground flax-seed
  • 1 1/2 cups spinach
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 quinoa (prepared with milk)
  • 1 tsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)

gladiator protein smoothie

Copycat Gladiator Smoothie (Smoothie King)

This recipe is great because you can alter it to fit your own preference and change it up as much as you’d like! (My favorite is vanilla protein powder with strawberries and banana!)

  • 1 serving of whey protein powder (any flavor you like)
  • 1 Cup of fruit
  • 1 Cup of water, or milk of choice
  • 1/2 Cup of ice


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Finding Balance: Dieting vs. Overindulging

Finding Your Food Consumption

Guest Post by Lindsay Krasna, GRIT by Brit Registered Dietitian

A client of mine that’s been struggling with her weight recently asked me how she can achieve a healthy body and optimize my health without “dieting” or “restricting.” She has been trying to understand the difference between these concepts for much of her life, and I believe she’s not alone in her confusion! In my work as a nutrition counselor, I come across this all this all the time. Our society’s diet-obsessed culture and conflicting media messages about nutrition make the answer to this question very unclear. Eggs are good for you one day, and bad the next. Low-fat is definitely the way to go one day, no wait, low-calorie, or low-carb the next. Don’t eat above your daily Weight Watchers points allotment, or else you’ll gain weight. Gosh, how discouraging this can be!

So really, how does one find a sustainable approach to eating well and maintaining a healthy body, without going crazy and depriving one’s self of their nutrient needs? How can one healthfully set boundaries around their intake of less nutrient dense foods while honoring their tastes and body’s nutritional requirements?

I believe the answer comes down to blending our natural, intuitive cues with our cerebral knowledge about nutrition.

Here are a few definitions to make these concepts more clear:

  • Dieting: consistently following a set of (oftentimes unscientifically based) rigid food rules or guidelines while ignoring your body’s intuitive cues and/or food preferences.
  • Overindulging: consistently eating beyond your body’s fullness cues for non-physical reasons, and/or consistently choosing foods that contribute limited nutrition value.
  • Healthy eating: consistently blending basic nutrition principles (cerebral knowledge) with your body’s intuitive hunger-fullness cues and taste preferences (internal knowledge).

Notice I use the term *consistently* in all 3 definitions. This is because it is totally normal and natural to under- or over-eat from time to time! Intake can vary in quality and quantity in the face of strong emotions, unplanned events, lack of time, special occasions, etc. As long as it’s not a regular reoccurrence. It’s also important not to overlook the fact that there are all kinds of environmental factors out there that can detract from the reliability of our internal cues, and interfere with our ability to eat mindfully and trust our bodies’ natural intuitive cues. Some examples include expanding portion sizes at restaurants, artificial sweeteners and food additives, eating on the go, technology distractions, and social pressures — to name a few). BUT, if you can learn to become more aware of these influences, you will have the power to offset them, and get back to listening to our body’s natural cues. A good nutritionist can help you work towards this.

Sounds simple, I know. And it really is. Not saying it’s easy though. It comes down to practice and trust. Trusting your body’s own internal regulation system is the key to good health. It IS possible to pay mind to good nutrition principles, while still honoring your body. I’ve seen it happen, and experienced it for myself. When you can start connecting your head with your stomach…. This is where the magic of real nutrition happens!

*Disclaimer: this message is targeted for a generally healthy individual. If you have a specific condition such as diabetes, kidney disease, a GI disease, etc., you will certainly need to follow more specified dietary rules to optimize your health.