34 Tasty, Simple, and Quick Breakfast Ideas

 
 
 
 
 
According to the latest Tracking Nutrition Trends report, almost 40% of Canadians skip breakfast. Eating a healthy breakfast has been associated with:
– Lower prevalence of overweight and obesity and reduced weight gain over time
– Improved appetite control which contributes to better choices made throughout the day
– Better intake of nutrients including calcium, vitamin D, potassium and fibre
– Improved energy
– Breaking the fasted state, which in turn reduces fat storage and muscle breakdown (having lean muscle is important for our metabolism and for weight loss)
It’s also important to have a balanced breakfast with healthy sources of protein (especially important for weight loss), carbs, and fats.
Having said all that, many people still do not eat breakfast for various reasons (lack of time, disinterest, lack of habit, lack of hunger, etc.). Time is a big barrier to breakfast eating; most breakfasts are made in 5 minutes or less. Therefore I have put together 34 tasty breakfast ideas, simple make-ahead options and quick grab n’ go breakfasts:

  1. Avocado Toast With Egg

Sometimes, simple is just better. In this recipe, 2 slices of whole-grain bread, lightly toasted, topped with smashed avocado and a sprinkling of salt and pepper makes for a flavourful and rich base. Top that with two sunny-side-up eggs for a healthy dose of protein, and you’ve got a well-rounded breakfast. Stack ’em in a tupperware container for easy transport or cook the yolks a bit more and make the whole thing into a sandwich.

  1. Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Smoothies are a perfect on-the-go snack any time of day. Blend 1 frozen banana, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1 cup almond milk, and a few ice cubes. If this is a morning snack, keep it in a tight-sealing container and throw it in a gym or work bag. For an afternoon boost, prep it the night before and freeze, remove in the morning, and it will be thawed and ready to enjoy after lunch. Tip: Add a scoop of your favorite chocolate or vanilla protein for an extra protein boost.

  1. Zapped Scrambled Eggs With Veggies

Yes, it’s possible to make really good scrambled eggs in the microwave. And it’s easy! Beat 2 eggs, throw in a microwave-safe container, add 1 handful of your favorite veggies (cherry tomatoes and spinach leaves work well), and a sprinkle of cheese. Zap the mixture for 30 seconds, stir, and cook another 30 seconds, or until eggs are solid. Throw a top on the container to eat later, or store the raw mixture in a fridge until ready to heat and eat.

  1. Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

One of the easiest, healthiest, and tastiest breakfasts out there is a classic fruit and yogurt parfait. The best part? It can be made with any toppings you like. Try choosing fruits that are in season for the most flavorful options. (Try stone fruit salad for summer, and opt for apples come fall).

  1. Breakfast Burrito

Who doesn’t love a burrito? Breakfast burritos are a great, easy snack to keep on hand. Scramble 2 egg whites, 1/4 cup black beans, 2 tablespoons salsa, and 2 tablespoons shredded cheese, and wrap in 1 small whole-wheat tortilla. Make a bunch, wrap in foil, and keep in the freezer for whenever the craving hits. Protein from the eggs and black beans keep you fuller longer, and the spicy salsa keeps things interesting.

  1. Healthy Morning Glory Muffins

An oat-based muffin packed with healthy carrots and zucchini, lightly sweetened with raisins and just a pinch of sugar makes a perfect breakfast or snack. Use a mini-muffin tin for smaller portions, and eliminate or cut back on the brown sugar or choose a healthier substitute to cut back on sugar.

  1. Breakfast Quinoa Bites

Here’s a new way to enjoy quinoa: make mini quinoa breakfast quiches! In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups cooked quinoa, 2 eggs, 1 cup your favorite veggies (spinach or zucchini work well), 1 cup shredded cheese, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Portion into a lightly-greased mini muffin tin, and bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes. These are easy to bring along and delicious to enjoy warm or cold.

  1. Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie

Here’s a simple and delicious smoothie recipe for the morning rush. Blend 1 cup plain Greek (or regular) yogurt with 1 cup frozen fruit (banana and berries work very well) with 1/2 cup liquid (milk, juice, coconut water—whatever you like). Freeze overnight and thaw throughout the day to enjoy in the afternoon, or blend up in the morning.

  1. Leftovers n’ Egg

Stuck with last night’s leftovers? Place a scoop of leftover roasted veggies, potatoes, or meat in a container, top with a cracked egg, and heat in the microwave until the egg white is cooked through, 30 to 45 seconds. (Or prep in the oven.) Feeling fancy? Sprinkle with some freshly grated parmesan cheese.

  1. Fruity Breakfast Quinoa

Cooking quinoa in milk (cow, soy, or almond) and adding some sweet spices and fruit makes for a great substitute for classic hot breakfast cereals. Plus, it’s high in protein and essential amino acids like lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. Simply cook quinoa according to package instructions, but substitute milk for water, and add some cinnamon or nutmeg instead of salt and pepper. Top with fresh berries and chopped roasted nuts.

  1. Zucchini Bread Oatmeal

Take a classic baked loaf and make it into oatmeal with this recipe! Adding shredded zucchini to oatmeal is a great way to fit in an extra serving of veggies. Throw on a handful of toasted walnuts or pecans for some added crunch.

  1. Quinoa Fruit Salad

Spice up a plain old fruit cup with a scoop of quinoa. Toss the whole shebang around until the quinoa is evenly distributed through the fruit. Add a scoop of plain yogurt and a drizzle of honey for a little extra body.

  1. Oatmeal Squares

Oatmeal is a great option for a hearty snack or breakfast, but what’s the best way to make it into a more convenient and portable snack? Bake it into squares!

  1. Pumpkin Oatmeal Bowl

A heaping dollop of pumpkin puree is a great way to squeeze in anextra dose of veggies. Plus, the super-orange superfood is packed with nutrients and a healthy dose of fiber. This recipe pairs the pumpkin with quick oats, pumpkin pie spice, and almond milk for a quick and easy breakfast on-the-go.

  1. Ricotta and Tomato Breakfast Sandwich

Here’s a healthier take on the classic breakfast sandwich: Take 2 slices of a hearty whole-grain bread, spread each slice with 1 tablespoon ricotta cheese and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Add 1-2 hearty slices of fresh beefsteak tomato (blotted with paper towel to remove excess liquid) and enjoy.

  1. Zucchini Muffins

Any way that fits a serving of veggies into a delicious baked good is a winner in my book. These zucchini and banana muffins with flaxseed fit three healthier options into one easy-to-tote package.

  1. Peanut Butter, Banana, and Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Cookies for breakfast? Yes please! While Oreos or Chips Ahoy may not make a balanced breakfast, a homemade cookie made of banana, peanut butter, protein powder, and oats is a wholesome choice. Plus, you can pick and choose what you like to mix—go for almond butter and raisins in one batch, or peanut butter chocolate chip in another.

  1. Waffle PBJ-Wich

Try this sweet take on a classic breakfast sandwich the next time eating on the go. Prepare 1 whole-grain toaster waffle and slice in half. Spread with 2 tablespoons nut butter and layer 2-3 sliced strawberries on top in place of the traditional jelly (to cut down on sugar).

  1. Savory Oatmeal With an Egg

Try taking oatmeal to a whole new level by making it savory. Prepare as usual with milk or water, but add a pinch of salt and pepper instead of any cinnamon or sugar, and top with an over-easy or poached egg. Sprinkle with a little cheese for an extra yummy kick.

  1. Overnight Oats

This is the ultimate lazy-person breakfast. The night before, combine 1/2 cup milk, 1/3 cup rolled oats, 1/2 a banana (mashed), 1/4 cup chopped nuts, and a sprinkle of cinnamon in sealed Tupperware container. By morning, you’ll have delicious overnight oats! These can be heated in the microwave for 1-2 minutes if in the mood for something warm.

  1. Egg and Cheese Cups

Fried eggs are great, but what about baking a whole egg with veggies and cheese and skipping the added oil? Try making a pan of these egg and cheese cups at the beginning of the week and bringing one along each day. (Tip: If you use the individual silicone muffin molds, it makes the egg cups even more portable for on-the-go snacking.)

  1. Homemade Instant Oatmeal

For anyone with a microwave or hot water at their disposal, these customized instant oatmeal packets are fantastic to have on hand. Instead of purchasing pre-made oatmeal packets, assemble your own in Ziploc baggies using whole rolled oats, cinnamon, and mix-ins like raisins and nuts.

  1. Frozen Nutty Banana

Say banan-YEAH to this healthy snack. Cut 1 firm (but ripe) banana in half and un-peal, arrange on a small baking sheet or freezer-safe plate, and spread each half with 1 tablespoon almond butter evenly (on the sides not touching the plate). Here’s the fun part: Stick whatever toppings you like on top of the almond butter—our favorites are granola, chia seeds, or flax seeds and cinnamon. Insert a popsicle stick or skewer into the cut end of each half, and freeze until solid (at least 2-3 hours).

  1. Egg Sandwich

Who doesn’t love a classic egg sandwich? Simply sautée a hefty handful of spinach and fry 2 eggs with a dash of salt and pepper. Place on top 2 whole-wheat English muffin halves (or toast) with 1 slice of cheddar cheese. Wrap in foil so the cheese melts evenly, and enjoy whenever the craving hits!

  1. Chocolate-Banana Breakfast Quinoa

Here’s one healthy way to have chocolate for breakfast: a bowlful of quinoa makes for a protein-rich filling breakfast, and the banana even adds a serving of fruit.

  1. Fruit Soup

There are just two ingredients in this tasty, cool snack: Cold fresh fruit, and cold milk. Chop 1 cup of fruit of your choosing (peaches, plums, berries, and mango are delicious!) and combine in a container with 1 cup milk of choice. Keep chilled until ready to enjoy.

  1. Apple Surprise

This is a perfect pick for apple season, Cut 1 apple in half and remove the core (plus a bit of the extra flesh around the core). Drop 1 tablespoon nut butter between the two holes, and sprinkle in 1 tablespoon granola. Wrap up the whole apple in plastic wrap or foil to save for later, or enjoy as is bite-by-bite.

  1. PBB&C

Say what? A PBB&C is a great twist on the classic PB&J—peanut butter, banana, and chia. Try adding this superfood twist to the classic PB sandwich with 1/2 a banana (sliced) and a sprinkle of chia, which is packed with vitamins and minerals (like six times more calcium than milk!).

  1. Berries and Oats Microwave Muffin

Muffins from the microwave? Yep, it’s possible! Add 1/4 cup quick oats, 1 egg, a handful of berries, and a sprinkling of brown sugar to a mug and mix until evenly combined. Microwave on high for 1 minute, remove to take a look, and keep cooking for 30 seconds at a time until the muffin looks firm.

  1. Strawberry-Banana Quinoa Muffins

By this point, I think the Greatist team believes quinoa makesanything better. So, muffins? It’s a no brainer. Try these strawberry quinoa muffins for an easily-packed snack or breakfast (or after lunch treat).

  1. Pumpkin and Granola Parfait

This one’s perfect to try out as fall sets in. In your favorite small Tupperware container (with a reliable lid!), top plain Greek yogurt with canned pumpkin puree and a handful of granola, then sprinkle with cinnamon. The best part? Pumpkin is a bonafide superfood rich in beta carotene, which is essential for eye health.

  1. Whole-Wheat Banana Blueberry Flax Muffins

At 200 calories each, these hearty, wholesome muffins make for the perfect portable breakfast. Flax lends a healthy dose of fiber andomega-3 fatty acids. Mashed bananas (one of our favorite healthy baking subsitutions) allow for a slight reduction in the added fat and sugar in this recipe, too.

  1. Egg Muffins

Finally, a muffin without all the carbs. Plus, these guys are simple to make. Beat 10 eggs, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 3 handfuls of spinach, 1 shredded zucchini, 1/2 a bell pepper (chopped), 4 slices cooked bacon or ham, chopped, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Divide egg mixture evenly in a lightly-greased muffin tin, and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 F. Zap it for a few seconds in the microwave before serving.

  1. Lemon Poppy Seed Protein Squares

Here’s a healthier take on the classic lemon-poppy seed muffin. Fiber-rich oat flour is paired with vanilla protein powder for a healthy, filling base. Yogurt lends moisture and some fat, and applesauce makes a great substitute for sugar. Vanilla extract, lemon zest, and (of course) make up the rest of the fresh flavor. The best part? One bar comes in at about 54 calories and six grams of protein—much better than any muffin we’ve seen on the shelves lately. Looking for more? Check out what health’s top experts eat for breakfast.
Resources:
1) Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research. Tracking Nutrition Trends 2013. Available from: http://www.cfdr.ca/Sharing/Tracking-Nutrition-Trends-%28TNT%29.aspx
2) Dietitians of Canada. Are adults who skip breakfast more likely to be overweight or obese than adults who eat breakfast?
In: Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition [PEN]. 2010 February 1 [cited 2014 Jul 25]. Available from: http://www.pennutrition.com/KnowledgePathway.aspx?kpid=15329&pqcatid=144&pqid=8655.
3) Pereira MA et al. Breakfast frequency and quality may affect glycemia and appetite in adults and children. J Nutr. 2011;141:163S-168S.
4) Barr SI, DiFrancesco L. Consumption of breakfast and the type of breakfast consumed are positively associated with nutrient intakes and adequacy of Canadian adults. J Nutr. 2013;143:86-92.
 
Felicia Newell, BScAHN, MScAHN(c), RD(c)
Official NEM Nutritionist
For the past several years, Felicia has been working at a university research centre with a focus on food security (Food Action Research Centre), and has taught university level nutrition courses. Her passion lies in working toward a future where everyone has access to enough affordable, healthy, safe and culturally appropriate food, that is produced, processed and distributed in socially, economically and ecologically sustainable ways. Felicia has recently published a paper in the Canadian Journal of Public Health titled, ‘Is the Minimum Enough: Affordability of a Nutritious Diet for Minimum Wage Earners in Nova Scotia’.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FeliciaNewellNutrition
Instagram: @felicianewellnutrition

NEM Group Spotlight: Bolingbrook, Illinois

Miravone Dorough is the NEM group leader for Bolingbrook, IL. She first started working out with the NEM-Joliet group and was encouraged our regional manager, Ashley Gentile, to start a group in Bolingbrook since she had strong ties to the community. All of our leaders have a personal story that led them to become leaders in their hometowns, this is Miravone’s….
What is your personal story?
Growing up in an Asian community has its ups & downs. Asians have no filter. I was told constantly by non-family members that I was too big for an Asian girl..my Chinese pediatrician told me I was “too chunky”. Interestingly enough, he also diagnosed me with major depressive disorder at an early age. I based my self worth on what I looked like but never saw anything “pretty” in the mirror. College was rough. I ate my emotions & gained the typical Freshman 20, had a plethora of medical conditions & overly medicated, couldn’t run down the block, walking across campus was a big no-no, and I even CHEATED in my “jogging” elective (haha true story).Fast forward- entered Naturopathic school & paid attention to everything I put in my body. Off all medications. Slowly started restoring my health inside. Got married to my love in 2009,pregnant in 2010, & miscarried in 2010. I sank to my lowest of lows. Just when I thought I was getting “there”. Gained 20# & took 8 months to grieve. Then Ryan & I took control of our health. Entered p90x & more focus on our diet while still both finishing up grad school. I lost 15# & graduated with my first doctorate.Got pregnant 2012. Super paranoid. I was determined to be extremely healthy inside & out. When I found out we were having a girl, I started REALLY working on inside. I didn’t want her to feel what I’ve dealt with my whole life. I wanted to be an example of self confidence and finding worth in God more than society & your appearance. It’s as if I lost majority of my insecurities and low self esteem when I gave birth. Gained 30# & lost 45#. I went from a size 12 (almost 14) to a size 4-6 but more importantly, I can look in the mirror and see more positives than not. The best part is that my gets to witness this new version of myself and that is the true reward.
A lot of women say that kids ruined their bodies but in my perspective, my body changed but for the better. She is my inspiration to exercise, eat very well, & NEVER call myself FAT.
God changed my heart & Estella saved me!

How has being a NEM changed your life?

I have met an AMAZING group of woman that not only inspire me by their hard work and dedication, but have found some inspiration in me. I was always the slowest on the soccer field, most self conscious in PE class, and hid behind my books and good grades. It is often scary knowing that so many women look at me as the leader of a group like NEM, but it has kept me really accountable for my own healthy eating and fitness!

What is the most fulfilling part of being part of the NEM community?

Witnessing hard work turn into amazing results emotionally and physically in our members. We have women of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels and they all work equally hard. It’s so inspiring. The other fulfilling part that is equally amazing is being an example to our children. My daughter asks when we can go exercise and loves to mimic exercises at home.

Tell us more about your recent charity effort?

We joined efforts with NEM-Joliet to raise money for a local women’s and children’s shelter (MorningStar Missions in Joliet). We called it “Moms helping moms” and we reached out to friends, family, and the community to raise at LEAST $500 but we exceeded that goal by raising $1,400+! We pledged to run the BIG Chicago Shamrock Shuffle 8K on March 29th and got a total of about 8 moms to participate. The awesome part is a couple of our moms participated in their FIRST ever organized race so that was really inspiring too.

What suggestions would you have for people struggling with their health?

The hardest part is starting. We always emphasize using each other as accountability to make working out the most fun and rewarding. So I would say, pick a goal, pick a friend, and do it together. It doesn’t have to be a huge goal like a marathon, but pick something tangible! My first goal was to finish a 5k and that blossomed into what I’m doing now- leading a NEM group, working out 5-6 days a week, and training for a half marathon! You gotta start somewhere!

Last acknowledgments?

Changing your eating habits and increasing your activity doesn’t just transform who you are physically and emotionally, but it truly resonates into the lives of your children, spouse, and community!
bolingbrook
Find your free No Excuse Mom group here!
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Giving back to their community.

mira_husband
Miravone posing with the Director of Development of the shelter (where the donations were sent).
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NEM Bolingbrook and Joliet Illinois Group and preparing to run!

What is Orthorexia Nervosa, aka Extreme Clean Eating Disorder?

I want to take a moment to introduce a serious, but important topic – Orthorexia Nervosa, or otherwise known as ‘Extreme Clean Eating Disorder’. We all do our best to eat healthy, or ‘clean’, whatever it is we want to call it, but there is a point where the obsession can cause one to overly restrict their diet to a point when there are serious health implications.
More and more every day I see people posting and commenting on just how confusing this whole healthy lifestyle thing can be. The determination of what foods are healthy and which foods are bad for the human body seems to fluctuate with the tides. One month coffee is deemed healthy, the next it is bad for our health. The same can be said for a multitude of other foods and drinks. Despite the ever-wavering evidence for and against the benefits of some foods, the common factor has always been that eating healthy is good for all humans and animals. However, Dr. Steven Bratman termed the phrase orthorexia nervosa in 1997, claiming that the obsession with eating healthy can actually lead to poor overall health. People in this situation can be so scared of certain foods that they are restricting their diet to where they are not getting the nutrients they need. They are either restricting to too little calories overall and/or over-restricting certain foods or types of foods (both of which can lead to malnutrition), and/or they restrict themselves from social situations, which can also have negative health effects. This of course would be the extreme side of this. If someone doesn’t go out for with their friends for one night but instead stays in, eats healthy, and exercises, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they may have orthorexia nervosa. It’s about the obsession, and how much it is consistently impacting their health in a negative way. A very interesting and eye-opening interview with a psychologist and two registered dietitians on this topic can be listened to here.
The Dr. that coined the term orthorexia, was affected by a tragic case where a vegan blogger had died as a result of this disorder. Her heartbreaking story can be read about here. She had been diagnosed with anorexia, but resisted the diagnoses and help because she didn’t feel that it fit her situation. She didn’t fear about being fat or obsessed with being skinny; she was obsessed with eating healthy. This unfortunately ultimately led to her untimely death due to malnutrition.
This is why I at least want to start a conversation about this and make people aware – because it is a real thing, and it does happen, and I care about the lives of women. Again, I also understand how confusing the health and fitness world can be and I see the confusion in some of the questions and posts.
There are also people who support the uptake of these fears by society, and this can be equally damaging. I won’t point any fingers or name names, however a popular blogger who tends to shame others’ food decisions is discussed in the interview mentioned above. What I will say is that people shouldn’t be constantly scared that what they are putting in their bodies, and their families bodies, is toxic. This can be psychologically harmful. They should be informed and educated on how to read labels, how to choose more healthy, less process items, but not that everyday food items are toxic. It’s all about balance and people need to know that that.
Not everyone is going to agree with me and that’s OK. I get that not everyone has to agree on everything all of the time (what a boring world that would be). But I thought I would post this in the hopes that it would be eye opening to some. Some of you who, like me, sometimes feel ashamed at some of the food choices that you make. Also, I believe that it is important for this topic to me more aware of and understood. If you, or someone you know, please seek help from an eating disorders specialist. Since the time of Kate’s death, the concept of orthorexia has become much better known, and there is help out there.
Thanks for reading!
 
Felicia Newell, BScAHN, MScAHN(c), RD(c)
Official NEM Nutritionist
For the past several years, Felicia has been working at a university research centre with a focus on food security (Food Action Research Centre), and has taught university level nutrition courses. Her passion lies in working toward a future where everyone has access to enough affordable, healthy, safe and culturally appropriate food, that is produced, processed and distributed in socially, economically and ecologically sustainable ways. Felicia has recently published a paper in the Canadian Journal of Public Health titled, ‘Is the Minimum Enough: Affordability of a Nutritious Diet for Minimum Wage Earners in Nova Scotia’.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FeliciaNewellNutrition
Instagram: @felicianewellnutrition

2016 Fit Mom Swimsuit Calendar Application

01_front_coverWe highly recommend you purchase the 2014 Calendar for inspiration, motivation and what to expect: Click here to order.

2016 No Excuse Mom Swimsuit Calendar
The Fit Mom Swimsuit calendar has been an annual international search for every day moms with inspirational stories and motivational tips to be healthy and fit. The calendar has been featured on various media outlets including Dr. Oz, Yahoo, Daily Mail, Fox and Friends and countless local stations! We are excited to announce our new search for our 2016 calendar and hope you will join us!
Who: Moms of every age and size. You must be a member of the online No Excuse Mom group.
What: 2015 Fit Mom Swimsuit Calendar! All proceeds benefit a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Fitness without Borders and building No Excuse Mom groups. All participants will receive their copy for free.
Everyone will be featured on our website, www.noexcusemom.com, however, there will only be 24 moms featured in the calendar. The administrators will determine the top 50 to be voted on. Voting will take place on June 5th and will last just ONE day, so please be prepared. The voting process will be announced later.
Criteria for being a ‘featured female’ will be based upon:
20% Creativity. Please provide a high-quality, professional photo that captures your personality and creativity.
40% Fitness Level and Public Appeal. We want to see tasteful pictures of healthy moms of all sizes and shapes. We encourage ‘mommy marks’ i.e. stretchmarks, excess skin, varicose veins, scars, etc. We want to show the world what being a ‘real mom’ who takes care of her health looks like!

10% Participation.
We believe in the importance of serving others in this process to bettering yourself. We take note of those who are highly involved in helping others as a No Excuse Mom member, ambassador, group workout leader or group workout participant.
30% Personal Story. Please share your personal story on how your journey to becoming a fit mom. Be deep and personal. Provide tips and inspiration. (500 word count max)
We would like you to submit TWO photos, one with your children and one without. Please do not ‘over-edit’ these photos. They must be natural-looking. You are welcome to pose however you want (including flexing).
A ‘before photo’ is not required but always recommended for you and for us! We will also have fitness/nutrition/time management tips and quotes (yours) throughout the calendar!
When: Start Date: Feb 1st
Last Day to Join: Feb 28th
Picture Submission Date: May 1st
Monthly Feature Voting Date: May 10th
Announcement of Monthly Features: May 12th
Why: We are challenging YOU to eat clean, exercise and transform yourself alongside hundreds of other moms to be part of our 2016 calendar! What better goal to focus on?
How: Follow the nutrition and fitness guidelines in Maria Kang’s “No Excuse Program” . The program will be published and sold at all local bookstores on March 10th. You can pre-order The No More Excuses Diet on any online retailer and receive a free 60-min Core Workout DVD and Recipe Booklet.
So, set your short term goals, plot your workouts, prepare your meals and make NO EXCUSES every day as you execute your plan. We suggest you create a visual poster board and put all 3 months on the calendar to keep you accountable. Perhaps put photos of your favorite featured moms from the 2014 and 2015 calendar and motivational quotes to keep you motivated.
FAQ’s:
1. What if I’m pregnant? Stay healthy and active and provide a picture by May 1st.
2. Do I need to be in a swimsuit? Yes. This is a fit mom swimsuit (any kind) calendar.

3. Do I pose with my children?
Highly Encouraged (good luck!) but not required.

4. Is there a submission form?
Yes. Please fill out before cut date on Feb 28th. Please send to: noexcusemoms@gmail.com

5. Who do I send my image to?
Please send to noexcusemoms@gmail.com

6. Does a professional photographer have to take my photo?
No, but it’s highly recommended. Investing in quality photos is a great motivator. You can find an inexpensive photographer in your area by using most online discount sites (groupon/living social)

7. Is there a criteria for the photos?
You can shoot either indoor or outdoor. Must submit a high quality image with a dpi of 300 resolution. You can choose to wear heels, one piece or two piece – but no workout clothes. We encourage you to purchase the 2015 Fit Mom Swimsuit Calendar to see the diverse photos used (and be inspired of course!) You can order on our website, www.noexcusemom.com
8. Can I submit photos earlier? Yes!
9. How much weight can I realistically lose in 3 months? Weight loss is dependent on your weight. Typically, the heavier you are, the more you will lose. It is safe to say 1-2lbs/week is realistic, however, we recommend you don’t focus on the scale, especially in the first month. Use other scales of progress including body fat, clothes and measurements.
10. Can stepmoms enter? Yes.
11. Can fit moms who don’t have a ‘before’ photo join? Yes. We want to promote healthy, everyday role models and if you have always made health a priority then you should be celebrated!

12. Do I have to be part of a No Excuse workout group in my area?
No. But it is recommended. If there is none, consider creating one. Many of our local groups are initially starting online (since the weather is cold) and have created local Facebook pages for their groups. Please email your regional leader to get started as a group leader. You do NOT have to be part of a group when you submit your application, but if you are part of a group by the end of the challenge, please note that.
13. I was in the 2014 calendar, can I join again? Yes.
14.Will there be a cover model contest? Yes! Our cover will be a contest amongst our local NEM groups. The picture must be taken by a professional photographer and submitted by May 1st. A minimum of 4 mothers is required. The picture can be taken in studio or in natural/outside settings. If you will be submitting pictures, please email your regional for more tips on how to create a cover-worthy image. The cover will be chosen by the executive team. Download the application for the cover here: 2016 No Excuse Mom Swimsuit Cover Calendar Application
15. When do I have to submit my application? Feb 28th. There are no late exceptions. When you submit your final pictures in May, you will need to resubmit your application with additional information with photography release forms.
16. What does the Final Application on May 1st consist of?
Please make sure you send us in ONE email:
– Before and after pictures
– Application
– Photography release forms
Download Model (you) Release HERE: Model Release waiver
Download Photograher’s Release HERE:Photography Release waiver
17. When does the transformation challenge begin? NOW.
ARE YOU READY??? Please download your application 2016 No Excuse Mom Swimsuit Calendar Application and send to noexcusemoms@gmail.com
Here are some examples of last year’s winners!
Miss Jan
Miss Mar Miss-May_April-Kinzler

Happy New Year! More in 2015!

Happy New Year NEMs!

I’m so excited to be ringing in 2015 with all of you!  I’ve been your Recipe Blogger in 2014 and this year I’m taking on a bigger role with No Excuse Mom.  2015 is going to have more healthy recipes, different comfort foods with a healthy twice, and “How Tos” (such as hosting a healthy kids party, play dates and various events).

NEM jan Flyer - USE

For the month of January, we are launching a nation wide NEM Regional contest!

Here’s how it works:

  • Find out which region you are located in

  • Take a pic of you working out and be sure to post on our No Excuse Mom Facebook page with the following hashtags:

    • #NoExcuseMom

    • #NEM

    • #NEMRegion xx (enter your region number in the xx)

    • If you are a NEM Regional Leader, also hastag:  #noexcusemomleader

  • Contact your local NEM Regional or Local Leader for more info or if you have any questions

Once January is over, we’ll be reviewing all the posts by filtering on your hashtags to determine the following individuals for:

  • Best workout

  • Member with the MOST workouts

  • Great Member Story

  • Region with the most posts

So DON’T FORGET TO Hashtag the list above in your posts!  And YES!  There will be PRIZES!!!  YAY!!!  🙂

If you have a RECIPE that you’d LOVE to SHARE with other NEMs, please send them my way! You can email me at:  Meeshie@NoExcuseMom.com

Be sure to include:

  • Pics

  • Step by Step instructions

  • You can also send a short video!

Let’s get started TODAY!

Fit & Fab,

~  Meeshie 😉

www.meeshie.com

Meeshie LOGO w Maddox

12-week Challenge begins February 8th!

On February 8th we will begin the next 12-week challenge cycle. I decided against a money-pot contest as it is a huge undertaking that I would like to commit to once a year in September (for now). I also noticed a few things from the last challenge that discouraged me.
1. Many people did not complete the challenge.
2. While a personal email was provided, there wasn’t enough engagement.
3. Applicants needed more tools to succeed.
So, in this next challenge I am going to be investing more time and effort in helping all those in succeeding. There will be an online private group page so we can interact, I will provide more guidance and support and you will have not lost $20 should you not complete the 12 week challenge. In joining the challenge, you would’ve gained a tremendous amount of value including  me as your 12-week coach, a Hard Copy or Kindle version of The No More Excuses Diet book, the Core DVD and the Recipe Booklet. Now that The No More Excuses Diet Book is launching March 10th, I can start sharing the program with those who already pre-ordered it. This program has similar NEM rules/guidelines, however, it goes into more detail on how to:
– Calculate your caloric needs and macronutrient profile
– Measure your starting points based on vital stats, fitness level and traditional measurements
– Design your fitness program based on your fitness level
– Determine your postural deficiencies (and fix them)
– Create a plan, an accountability team and prepare for excuses
– Plan for the 3 different stages of success: the S.P.E.E.D., S.T.R.I.V.E. and S.C.O.R.E. stages
– Sustain your motivation throughout the three-month period
– Maintain your success and create an operational plan once you’ve reached the 12-week mark
This book was a labor of love. It took months to write and additional months to edit (with my awesome team at Harmony). It is based off my personal experiences as a past binge and emotional eater – as someone who was once overweight, who understands pregnancy and who is not a paid fitness model. The No More Excuses Diet has been tested on thousands of people and is the catalyst behind the online No Excuse Mom group. When the book is received, you will be provided with home workouts (with pictures) and 224 pages of fitness, personal stories, nutrition and lifestyle tips. When you pre-order, you will also receive tools in helping you succeed such as my 60 minute CORE DVD, which includes 3 home workouts and my exclusive Recipe Booklet filled with my favorite family recipes.
Currently, this book is only offered to residents in the U.S. and Canada. If you are outside of the country, but would like to participate in this challenge, please purchase the DVD and email the receipt to me at mariakangfitness@gmail.com
recipe
You will receive a downloadable ebook of some of my favorite recipes (all of them will be familiar to anyone who follows My Instagram HERE.)
DVDss
The DVD is streaming. You are encouraged to perform a 20 minute Core workout, three times a week. These are my actual workouts that I used to develop my core strength and define my AB muscles.The DVD can be purchased HERE.
book
On pre-sale now, please visit your favorite online retailer. After your purchase please fill out the pre-order form on my website to receive entry to the 12-week challenge and free gifts.

What is Your Story?

Our Facebook Group Co-founder, Lori Hare, gave a beautiful speech about writing your own Life Story. She speaks about graduation, but this applies to any life experience. What are you telling yourself?
1. Find and Pursue your Passion
2. It’s not about Perfection
3. Dare to Dream
lori
Watch her speech HERE.

20 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

Access to healthy food is a basic human right (at least it should be). Without access to healthy food, people are at a higher risk for conditions such as heart disease, type II diabetes, and obesity.
However healthy foods, along with many other basic costs of living, can add up quickly. These costs of living have increased dramatically over the years, and yet wage rates and income supports have not increased at the same rate of inflation. This means people have to spend more and more money on fixed costs such as housing, electricity, etc., and the most flexible basic expense is the food budget (you can’t pay half of your rent, electricity, or power, but you can sure cut your food bill). Does this seem fair? Many people blame themselves for not being able to afford enough healthy food for their families, when in fact it is more of a societal issue (when you look at the issue as a whole and not on an individual basis). Does this sound like your situation? Then throw away that blame and don’t being so hard on yourself. You are doing the best you can with the social circumstances you are given. And if you’re one of those people who say well people should do this, or shouldn’t do that…just try to be a little more understanding about the fact that everyone is doing their best with their given circumstances.
Most people will say that a healthy diet should be affordable to everyone. The truth for many is, if you have an extremely tight budget for food for the week for yourself and your family (I’ve worked with mothers that have $20 to stretch for the week for food), a few boxes of Kraft dinner and some hot dogs, or a $3 on sale pizza, go much further than an array of lean meats, healthy carbs and veggies. A bottle of pop you can get for 50 cents on sale, yet the same size carton of milk would run about five dollars. The examples are endless. The fact is that many of us have to make some tough choices that we judge ourselves harshly enough about. Healthy eating can be done on a budget, but it takes some time, patience, understanding, effort, and trial and error to figure out the best system that works for you and your family.
Here are some tips for eating healthy on a budget:
1. Buy Generic Food and Store Brands

  • Generic versions of raw foods such as rice, pasta, eggs, milk, cottage cheese, and frozen fruits/veggies taste like brand name foods (or at least comparable), and they’ll save you money on packaging & advertising.

2. Buy in Bulk

  • Especially when there are sales. Foods like pasta, rice and oats are easy to stockpile. If they’re on sale, buy as much as you can afford and store to last you until the next sale.

3. Invest in a Deep Freezer

  • Even if you have to buy one second hand and clean it. It will save you tons of money in the long run because you can stock up on fruits, veggies, meats, etc., when they go on sale.

4. Buy Only What You Need

  • “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. The best way to avoid impulse buying is to prepare yourself before you do the grocery.
  • Plan your meals ahead, including portion size. List all foods you need for the next 7 to 14 days. Go the grocery store, get what’s on your list and get out.
  • Eat before you go shopping. This prevents buying foods not on your list because you’re hungry. Eat a solid meal before doing the grocery.
  • Shop alone as it prevents impulse buying from the significant other and/or kids.
  • Keep a list in the kitchen to write down items that you need to buy for your menu or to restock your pantry.

5. Prepare Your Own Food

  • Cook all your meals for the day on waking up or before going to bed (place ingredients in a slow cooker, or cook and then store in the fridge/freezer). It takes 30-40mins, saves you stress about what you’ll be eating the rest of the day and you eat healthy while saving money. Or choose one afternoon or evening a week to prep some meals for days when you know you will be busy. There are many websites where you can get ideas on family meal prep, such as this one.
  • Reduce processed foods: Buy oats instead of cereals, make home made protein bars, home made tomato sauce, home made pizza (recipes can be found online).
  • Keep it simple: make double portions, take leftovers with you, use cans of tuna & mackerel, rice, pasta, and frozen veggies.
  • Learn to cook from scratch: Learn to work with spices & herbs. Invest in a budget-friendly eating on a budget cookbook, or free sites such as this one for recipes. Note: it takes time, patience and practice to learn new cooking skills (as with learning any new skill). Don’t get frustrated if you burn something or don’t get it right the first time. You will slowly start to develop your skills over time.

6. Make One Meal for Everyone

  • Try to offer everybody the same foods at mealtimes. As tempting as it is to please everyone, avoid making something special for ‘picky’ eaters. Children will learn to like many different foods only if they are encouraged to try them. Making only one meal also saves money and prevents waste. (Disclaimer: this might not be true for some households with picky eaters, so I do understand that sometimes you just ‘gotta do what you gotta do’ with a very picky eater).

7. Offer Water Instead of Juice for Kids

  • Or try diluting juice with water. It’s better for their teeth and also helps reduce the risk for childhood obesity (through drinking too many calories).

8. Plan for Leftovers

  • Make larger amounts of food and plan to use leftovers for lunches or suppers the next day. Add leftover vegetables, meats, fish, or poultry to salads, pastas, soups or spaghetti sauces.

9. Use Community Gardens or CSAs

  • Community gardens offer people the opportunity to grow their own vegetables and fruit. A group of people come together to grow food, maintain the garden and share the harvest. Ask your local community centre or public health department if there is a community garden that you could join.
  • ‘Community Supported Agriculture’ (CSA) refers to a particular network of individuals who provide money to support one or more local farms. CSA subscribers pay at the beginning of the growing season for a share of the anticipated harvest; once harvesting begins, they receive weekly shares of vegetables and fruit. Often, CSAs also include herbs, honey, eggs, dairy products and meat, in addition to produce. Check if there is a CSA in your area.

10. Buy Frozen Fruits & Veggies.

  • Unfreeze berries in microwave and eat warm with cottage cheese. Buy large bags of spinach and freeze half of it so it does not go bad; use the fresh spinach in salads and the frozen in cooked recipes. Try frozen beans, broccoli, carrots, corn, etc.
  • Benefits of using frozen fruits and veggies: Saves Money – often half the price of fresh and almost infinite shelf life when kept in freezer; Saves Time – frozen fruits & veggies are pre-washed and pre-cut, which saves preparation time; Nutrient Dense – if frozen right when picked, frozen fruits & veggies can contain just as much or even more nutrients than fresh ones.

11. Plan Easy Meals Around Whole Grains

  • Add meat, chicken or dried beans, peas or lentils and vegetables to brown rice, quinoa, bulgur or barley. Follow the directions on the package to help you cook the grains.

12. Healthier Cereal Options

  • Buy unsweetened whole grain cereals when you can. Sweetened cereals are higher in sugar and are often lower in fibre.
  • Hot cereals like oatmeal and multigrain cereals are the best buys. Instant flavoured hot cereals in single serving packages are easy, but they may cost more and are higher in sugar and salt.
  • Add your own toppings to cereals to make them more flavourful: banana slices, berries, canned fruit, dried fruit (raisins, apricots, dates, dried cranberries), nuts, yogurt, applesauce, chopped apples or cinnamon.

13. Buy Discounted Meat

  • Grocery stores often discount meats by up to 70% as they approach expiration date. Buy several pounds and store in your freezer.

14. Buy Less Expensive Types of Meat, Poultry and Fish

  • Stewing meat
  • Outside, inside or eye of round
  • Blade or flank steak
  • Regular or medium ground meat
  • Pork shoulder
  • Chicken pieces (legs, thighs) or whole chicken (or buy breasts when they are on sale and freeze)
  • Plain frozen fish fillets such as salmon, tilapia, sole, haddock and Pollock
  • Canned fish like salmon, “light” tuna, sardines and herring

15. Keep Portions Small

  • A serving of meat, poultry or fish is just 75 grams (2.5 oz) or about the size of a deck of cards. Have 2 to 3 servings per day. Enjoy meals that use small amounts of meat and lots of vegetables, pasta or rice. Try stir-fries, casseroles, curries and pasta dishes.

16. Lower priced meats can be less tender because they are lower in fat. Try these ways to make meat more tender:

  • Marinate meat overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Pound the meat using a mallet before cooking.
  • Cook meat slowly for a few hours in a liquid such as water, broth or tomato juice.

17. Explore meat alternatives like eggs, dried beans, peas and lentils, soy products and nuts and seeds. Try eating a few meatless meals each week:

  • Curried chickpeas and rice
  • Vegetable cheese omelette
  • Vegetarian bean chilli
  • Lentil casserole or soup
  • Tofu stir-fry
  • Egg salad sandwich
  • Hummus and vegetable pita

18. Ways to Save Money with Dairy Products:

  • Buy milk in 4 L bags or jugs instead of cartons. Milk can be frozen for up to three months. Thaw bags of milk in your refrigerator and shake it before you open it.
  • Skim milk powder costs less than milk and is just as nutritious. Once skim milk powder has been mixed with water, try mixing it with an equal amount of milk from the bag or carton for a creamier taste. You can also use it for cooking or baking. Buy yogurt in a larger container instead of single serve portions.
  • Buy cheese in blocks when it is on sale and slice or grate it yourself.
  • Freeze grated or block cheese to help make it last longer. It will crumble when you thaw it, but it will be just as nutritious.
  • Buy yogurt in a larger container instead of single serve portions. Note: plain yogurt can be used as a much healthier substitute for mayonnaise.
  • Low fat cottage cheese can be a good substitute for regular cheese in some recipes
  • Compare brands and the price of cheese per kilogram.

19. Try These Budget-friendly Meal Ideas

  • Make a stir fry and serve it over brown rice.
  • Toss leftover pasta with diced canned tomatoes, canned or frozen vegetables and cooked meat. Put in a casserole dish and top with grated cheese. Heat in the oven or microwave.
  • Add chopped vegetables and dried fruit to quinoa, bulgur or barley and toss with oil and vinegar salad dressing.
  • Add cooked brown rice or barley to soups.
  • Cheese, bean and vegetable quesadillas on whole grain tortillas.

20. Last but not least – Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

  • Everybody has rough times for various reasons. People are usually too embarrassed to ask for help because there are judgements and stigma out there around this. Try to look past that and understand that no matter what people will always judge. Don’t refrain from seeking help just because there is a lack of understanding around who should and shouldn’t need it.
  • Community Kitchens: are small groups of people who prepare low-cost meals together to divide among their families. Ask your local community centre or public health department to connect you with a group.
  • Food Buying Clubs (e.g. The Good Food Box): The Good Food Box is a non-profit food buying club that makes fresh vegetables and fruit available at an affordable price. Community organizations and volunteers help pack and distribute the boxes. Go to www.foodshare.net to find a Good Food Box program near you.
  • Food Banks and Food Cupboards: provide basic food items to help when you do not have enough money for food. They try to offer healthy foods, but the types and amounts of food you will get depends on what is available. When you find a location, be sure to ask about the hours of operation and what information you should bring with you when you go.
  • Meal Programs: Sometimes you need a place to get a meal when money is tight. Nutritious meals that are free or at a very low cost may be available where you live. Ask about meal programs at local places of worship, community centres and other non-profit organizations in your community.
  • Student Nutrition Programs: Many schools offer breakfast, lunch and/or snack programs for their students. Ask the principal at your child’s school if they offer a nutrition program.

Felicia Newell, BScAHN, MScAHN(c), RD(c)

Official NEM Nutritionist

For the past several years, Felicia has been working at a university research centre with a focus on food security (Food Action Research Centre), and has taught university level nutrition courses. Her passion lies in working toward a future where everyone has access to enough affordable, healthy, safe and culturally appropriate food, that is produced, processed and distributed in socially, economically and ecologically sustainable ways. Felicia has recently published a paper in the Canadian Journal of Public Health titled, ‘Is the Minimum Enough: Affordability of a Nutritious Diet for Minimum Wage Earners in Nova Scotia’.

 

One Step at a Time

For many people, cravings (and sometimes addictions – both mental and physical) for sweet, salty, high-fat foods are what hinders them from their progress and goals.
As I will reiterate over and over, making lifestyle changes can be difficult. Some people try to take on too many changes at once, and that can become overwhelming so they give up (and unfortunately feel like a failure). Instead of letting a ‘failure’ stop you from achieving your goals, learn from it instead!
If making changes is hard for you – try it one step at a time. Find your most challenging negative habits or addictions and slowly cut them out/replace with healthy behaviours. For example: someone barely ever drinks water, craves and snacks on high-fat sweet snacks at night, eats fast food several times per week, and does not get get much exercise. They could still snack at night, but instead of always choosing chocolate and other high-fat sweets, they could replace some snacks with something that is nutritious, still tasty, and has significantly lower calories (see example below). They could also try slowly increasing their daily water intake (adding in 1-2 cups per week). Once they are comfortable with making these changes (and they become habits), other changes such as adding in more exercise that suits their schedule and cutting down on fast food can be made. This is just one example, and would be different for every person, but hopefully you get the point!
If you have trouble with craving sweets, try this yummy, healthy, nutrient-dense snack to satisfy your sweet tooth!
– Layer (low sugar) regular or Greek yogurt in a glass pan or comparable, add your favourite fruits, nuts, and/or a bit of dark chocolate, freeze for a few hours and enjoy!

Felicia Newell, BScAHN, MScAHN(c), RD(c)

Official NEM Nutritionist

For the past several years, Felicia has been working at a university research centre with a focus on food security (Food Action Research Centre), and has taught university level nutrition courses. Her passion lies in working toward a future where everyone has access to enough affordable, healthy, safe and culturally appropriate food, that is produced, processed and distributed in socially, economically and ecologically sustainable ways.

 

The No More Excuses Program

NEM decal
No Excuse Moms is a supportive group of women who prioritize health. It was created by Maria Kang and led by a team of volunteers including our online admins, regional managers, local leaders and NEM experts. We don’t believe in quick fad diets, the newest workout craze or abiding by any specific diet rule. We believe in: DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU, just don’t stop working.To order the No More Excuses Diet Book please click here.
All of us are at different fitness levels. Some of us are marathon runners, others have a goal to run a 5k. Some are fitness competitors, others have a goal to lose 100lbs. Some like to follow a Paleo diet, are gluten intolerant, can’t consume lactose, or are addicted to wine and chocolate. Regardless of your goal, ALL of us are women who understand how tough it is to prioritize health in the midst or work, school, family and events. Even deeper – it’s tough to follow through when you’re stressed, depressed, anxious or unmotivated.
That’s why we are all here.
Regardless of where we are in our personal fitness, in order to get there or stay there, it requires us to continue STRIVING. That means, you don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to follow a strict diet. You don’t have to have the best workouts. BUT, you have to keep striving to become the best person you can be! Your best is different in your 20s, 30s, 40s…with kids…without kids..with work…travel…health issues…injuries…hormonal fluctuations (you get the point!)
Some of you need a baseline to begin your journey – so the program below is written just for you! You’ll notice there’s not too many specifics because as I mentioned above, you need to find what work for you, however, here are some guidelines in our No Excuse Mom program that you can take with you.
Disclaimer: You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness program as well as making any nutritional changes in order to determine if it is right for your needs.
Opening thoughts:
In Scott Peck’s opening statement of his famous book, “The Road Less Traveled“ he writes: ‘Life is difficult.’ It is not meant to be easy – and if you think this No Excuse Program is going to be a cake-walk then be aware right now that it will not. According to Peck, a fulfilled human being is a disciplined human being. Components of disciplines include delaying your gratification for future gains, accepting responsibility for your choices, dedicating yourself to seeking truth and balancing life’s conflicts.
Discipline.
Remember that word, because it will come up often in this “3-month No Excuse Program”.
Why THREE months? I use it because the number 3 is a sacred number. It represents balance, growth, abundance and clarity. I also believe you need to set timeline’s for your goals, whether it’s to run a 5k in 3 months, lose 20lbs in 3 months or wear your favorite jeans in 3 months. Set short term goals and once you reach it, set another one!
There are 3 evolutions in this process:
1. Your mind
Your mind has the power to create and the power to destruct. It will find a way or it will find an excuse. This fitness journey will require you to control your mind and the negative, self-defeating thoughts that stream through it on a daily basis. If you can discipline your mind, you can control your actions, if you can create positive works you can dictate your own destiny.
2. Your body
Your body is your temple – it’s the only thing you own in this world. It houses your incredible spirit and will be your savior or your setback in your long life on this earth. When you begin to treat your body with love, nourishment and respect, your body will begin to serve you.
3. Your spirit
There are feelings – felt in the mind and influenced by the body – and then there is intuition, which is felt in the soul. Your spirit is the invisible energy that will train when you’re tired, work when you’re weak and drive when you’re drained. Your spirit will unmask itself when you challenge it to fight for something you truly want.
There are 3 components in fitness we must focus on:
1. Strength
Muscle building is absolutely key to sculpting a toned physique. Muscle speeds your metabolism, increases your flexibility and protects your bones. Muscle is what literally shapes your body.
2. Cardio
Cardio requires you to challenge your heart and the blood and oxygen that flow through your veins to vital parts of your body. Cardio increases circulation, boosts endurance and burns fat.
3. Flexibility
Flexibility is having an optimal range of motion. Focusing on your flexibility helps prevent physical pain, loss of balance and risk of injury. In other words, it keeps you young.
There are 3 Macronutrients in our foods that we NEED to survive:
1. Carbohydrates
Don’t hate carbs, love them! It gives you energy! Whether you consume them via bread, oatmeal, fruit or honey – they are all meant to give your body the energy it needs to perform activities.
2. Proteins
Proteins are amino acids, which are primarily helpful in building and repairing tissue in your body. It can be found in animal meats, fish, tofu, eggs and protein shakes.
3. Fats
Fats are key to brain health and overall energy. It can be found in avocado, olive oil and nuts.
There are 3 key people who will keep you accountable:
1. Your mentor
That’s me. I will guide you. I will answer your questions and I will be your inspiration because I have walked your path before.
2. Your supporter(s)
That’s someone of your choosing. You may have to do this alone – but I assure you, if you really wanted to find someone who wants the best for you, you can find someone, even a stranger online. You need someone (other than me) who will be your support in this process. Find your local NEM group online and at your local park here.
3. Your follower(s)
Life is about give and take – it’s about balance (remember Peck’s statement?) So in order to receive, you must also give. Find someone who you will inspire, motivate and guide. There is always someone who needs more help than you, so find that person and help them. Becoming a role model creates a level of personal and social responsibility that most first born children are “blessed” to be given. In helping others, you are in essence, helping yourself. So post on the page and share your story! Others will always resonate with you.
Lastly, there are 3 stages in this transformational process:
1. 3 days to overcome a craving/excuse
2. 3 weeks to develop a new habit
3. 3 months to see a significant transformation
This is my “No Excuse” Fitness Program. This isn’t (all) about how to eat right and exercise. This is about Goal Setting. It’s about getting to know YOU: your strengths, your weaknesses, your excuses and most of all….your motivation.
I get countless emails asking ‘how I lost weight’ after carrying three kids in my belly for three years and the answers can be summed up like this:
– I conditioned my body through exercise and healthy eating years prior
– I gained the recommended pregnancy weight (30-38lbs for me)
– I performed various core exercises and massaged my belly after every birth
– I constantly set short term goals.
– Most importantly: I was MOTIVATED to get back in shape.
Motivation is the KEY principle in this fitness journey. If you examine the lives of those who are incredible shapes you will see an invisible energy constantly pushing them to stay disciplined and train harder. It’s motivation. It’s motivation because their career depended on their physical body and beauty (celebrities). It’s motivation because their personal identity is closely tied to a fit body (athletes and models). For us ‘normal’ people, it’s because we set a life stage where we set higher expectations for ourselves.
I really want you to examine what motivates you.
There is a philosophical principle that states all human behavior is motivated by two things: seeking pleasure and avoiding pain.
For some of you, your desire to get incredible shape stems from wanting to look amazing in an outfit or walk confidently into a room without feeling physically insecure.
For others, focusing on your health means avoiding health-related diseases or escaping the torment you felt as a child for being overweight.
You need to find what motivates you – and WRITE IT DOWN.
After I gave birth I was motivated by both pain and pleasure. In my twenties I feared childbirth because of how it would destruct my body. At the gym older women would constantly react to my fit physique by saying, “What until you have children…”
I wanted to prove them wrong.
I also wanted to feel confident in my skin. After recovering from an eating disorder my weight ballooned into the 150’s and didn’t decline for several years because it became unresponsive to my yo-yo dieting. I wanted to feel sexy, firm and fit again. I was driven by the pain of failure and the pleasure of success.
You need to be too.
This plan is not about perfection. It’s about progress. It’s about not giving up. I will be honest with you by confessing that I ate a couple cookies earlier tonight. I was premenstrual, incredibly stressed from work and fatigued from days on end with the kids. Do I feel bad? No. Will I begin anew tomorrow? For sure.
My point is that I’m not going to ask you to be perfect. I’m going to ask you to try to be perfect, knowing that it is impossible. While unachievable, it’s the strive that I’m seeking you to master…
As I stated (a couple sentences ago), The goal is to get to the end without giving up. You will achieve your fitness goals this year if you make a personal promise to not give up until you get there. This mentality makes success a matter of ‘when’ you will reach your goals and not ‘if’ you will.
In the next 3 months I will continue giving workout routines, nutritional advice and fitness motivation. However, since this is a community effort and I’m a busy mom with 3 kids, a business and hopefully a life, this effort will require a set of rules you will need to follow.
Program Rules:
1. Eat Breakfast every morning.
2. Write down everything you eat
3. Workout 3-4 times a week (or more)
4. Drink ONLY water (or straight black coffee/tea)
5. Stop eating 3 hours before bedtime (preferably 7pm)
6. Eat small meals containing protein/carbs/fats throughout the day (calories are dependent on current weight)
7. Measure yourself every two weeks.
8. Plan your splurge meals, which you can have 1-2 times a week.
9. Reflect on your program weekly
Exercise Rules:
1. Warm up for five minutes before strength training
2. Stretch after you warm up
3. Focus a minimum of 20-40 minutes of strength training 3x/week (home workouts will be given later) Strength training can be broken up into upper/lower, push/pull, whole-body circuit splits.
4. Focus on intense cardio and focus on a minimum of 20 minutes at least 3 times a week (or more) making sure you’re at your target heart rate, which measures anywhere between 130-180 beats per minute. (put your finger on the side of your throat, count how many beats for 15 seconds then multiply that number by 4)
5. NOTE: I imagine you will be performing both strength and cardio training together, which is why you should be training 3-4 times a week for 40-60 minutes at a time. (see the math fits!)
6. Use proper form : shoulders back, stomach drawn in, hips squared, back slightly arched, knees straight ahead.
7. Stay hydrated at all times.
Diet Rules:
1. Don’t starve yourself. Get to know calories and how much is in the foods you consume. I strongly suggest not changing your diet drastically in the beginning, just cutting your consumption for unhealthy foods in half.
2. Don’t go low-carb. Enjoy bread, but just eat a slice. Enjoy rice, but try brown. Enjoy pasta, but measure out one portion size. Carbohydrates are your main sources for energy so don’t eliminate it.
3. Don’t drink high-calorie, sugary drinks at Starbucks or Jamba Juice. (your body and budget will thank me)
4. Don’t drink alcohol. You can indulge in one glass of wine a week (I would say totally omit it, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t indulge in one glass per week) Just know that it’s best to eliminate it totally if you seek faster results.
5. Drink water but add lemon to it if needed. The acidity in lemons helps balance and detoxifies the body.
6. The day after your treat meal, get right back on track.
7. Prepare your meals in advance (invest in Tupperware) to ensure consistent consumption
8. Speaking of which – make sure you eat every 2-3 hours.
Personal Rules:
1. Create a successful environment. This requires you to get rid of junk food in your house (nobody needs it there, not even your kids).
2. Tell everyone you know that you are changing your lifestyle. (sometimes people like to be hush about this – but it doesn’t create a level of social accountability required to push you to the next level)
3. Befriend other people who are on a similar journey (you will find many on my page, I encourage you to ‘friend’ each other)
4. Write down your long term, specific goals and secure it in a place you see every day. (I would choose my bathroom mirror)
5. Envision what you want every day. Envision your day, your meals, your workouts and your positive attitude every morning.
6. Write down motivational quotes and post it in places that will assist you in making better choices. For example, I post “you’re not hungry when you’re sleeping in my bedroom” – I have posted “take action” above my TV and “Nothing tastes good like being fit” on my refrigerator. Find the quotes (and people) that motivate you and post it!
7. Reflect on your past Excuses. Was it lack of time? Lack of support? Stress? What was it?? Most often, the end answer is ‘lack of motivation’
…..because if you truly wanted it, you would make it happen. Regardless of excuse. I suggest you find what has prohibited you from succeeding in the past and create action plans on how to battle them in the future. Sometimes you will fail in the battle, but you get up and try again, and again and again…until you master the ‘excuses’ that prevents you from progressing.
Other thoughts:
1. Enjoy the free service that ‘Google’ and ‘YouTube’ provides. I get so many questions, but the answers are also online. Find healthy recipes, home workouts, core training and nutritional information all on Google, Youtube, Bodybuilding.com and even my own websites: www.mariakang.com
2. Get organized. If you have a cluttered house, a messy room or a dirty car, clean it now. Your outward life is a reflection of your internal energy.
3. Invest in a jump rope, pair of dumb bells, workout bands and a fitness DVD. If you don’t have a gym membership this is a $30 investment towards your health.
Homework:
1. Write down your goals. Make at least 5 goals that are specific. I don’t want you to say ‘lose weight’ or ‘get a six pack’…I want it to be personal and realistic. I want to hear that you want to fit into old jeans, lose 20 pounds or run a 5k. Tape your goals to your bathroom mirror.
2. Invest in your End Date, which is set for March 31st. At this time I would like you to invest into something that will make you personally connected with that date. Is there a family event at this time? A birthday? Can you treat yourself to a photo shoot or a shopping spree? What will you do in exactly 3 months that will motivate you to stay on track???
3. Write “Thoughts becomes Things” and place it somewhere in your house, on your screensaver or in your car. You are telling yourself a story every, single day, so make sure it’s positive, uplifting and progressive. Don’t tell yourself excuses, tell yourself there are solutions. Don’t say, “I am stressed, fat, tired, busy….” Say: “I am beautiful, fit, strong, energetic, positive, and happy.”
4. Weigh yourself. Remember Progress is made where progress is measured. I need you to get on a scale and not be afraid of the number because that is your starting point. Put that number in your journal (which will be used for writing your daily food intake as noted in Program Rules #2)
5. Measure yourself. Take a measuring tape (soft one) and someone or yourself measure your neck, shoulders, arms, chest, waist, hips, legs and calves. (make sure you know exactly where you place the tape)
6. If you have access to a trainer at the gym, have them take your body fat via skin calipers. This is typically a free service (they might try to sell you training – which I am not against. I believe in the value of a trainer) If you can’t, that’s ok; this is just another measurement to track your progress.
7. Perform a series of fitness tests: how many pushups can you do (not on knees) without dropping? How long can you perform a plank? How fast can you run a mile? Put your results in your journal
8. Start writing down everything you’re eating right away. You don’t have to change your diet too much (I assume many are waiting for Jan 1st anyways) – it’s key to see what your habits are…when you do eat, or don’t eat. When you eat, how often and why you eat (or overeat).
9. Create a fitness calendar. You can color code it as you complete workouts but DO NOT write down workouts in advance. Only write when you’ve completed a workout. Find the instructions and download here.
10. Tell everyone in your life including those on Facebook you are starting a fitness plan and encourage them to join you. Accountability is important. Your friends will look for your updates, be inspired by your progress and support you in this process. Creating a successful environment requires you to be accountable to others.
With that said. Get to work. This is a ton of information and it’s only 10% of what’s going on in my mind right now! Print all the rules out and read it as a reminder to you. Remember, if it doesn’t challenge you, then it doesn’t change you. So get uncomfortable in your environment. Rid yourself from comfort foods, comfort people and comfort thoughts.
It’s time you start saying, No Excuses.
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book
The book that launched the “No Excuse Mom” movement offers a detailed diet plan, home workouts, and strategies to overcome excuses. All food preferences and favorite workout DVDs can be applied to this diet. It is available in hardback and ebook wherever books are sold via Target, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million and Amazon (order online on Amazon here).  If you are international, please order at the Book Depository HERE.
For more info on the book please click HERE.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review.
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