Choose Your Food, Choose Your Mood - Guest Trainer Blog Post
The thing about trainers is that you spend far more time without us than you do with us, so your chances of success are slim to none if we don’t give you the tools and knowledge you need in order to create a lifestyle that best supports and supplements your gym time. Since my success is determined by my clients’ success, I do what I can to channel my inner Jiminy Cricket and stay in their brain 24/7 to help them make the best choices as often as possible. Here’s some of the most valuable and affective advice I give my clients about how to look and feel their absolute best, [at least the majority of the time]: You gotta stay active, and as I always preach: “Choose your food. Choose your mood”.
The greatest misconception about feeling moody and/or feeling discomfort is that it’s always random and completely out of our control. Believe me, I understand the feeling of having a perfectly good mood ruined by some random person or circumstance, [*cough* parking ticket], but as they say, “sh!# happens”… Our ability to brush that stuff off - that is what’s in our control, and I’m a firm believer that a general sense of positivity stems directly from our daily lifestyle habits. The bitter, [slightly - ok, very - cliche], truth is: attitude is everything. If you’re feeling cranky, have a headache or indigestion, or are overtired on a regular basis, and the endorphin boost from your workouts isn’t enough to keep you feeling bright and energized, you probably need to reassess your dietary habits.
Food journals can be annoying - especially when it comes to calorie counting and tracking - but they can be advantageous as you’re exploring the effects of your food and beverage choices on your quality of life. A food AND mood journal can help you identify the subtle nuances of your optimal wellness routine. [I swear by it!] So make a pit stop at Target to buy a special little notebook and a pen that writes in your favorite color so you can start to track: 1. energy level, 2. aches & pains, and 3. mood; [all 3 in the morning, noon, afternoon & evening], 4. ALL of the food you eat & beverages you drink, and 5. sleep quality. This way, you can get familiar with the consequences, both positive and negative, of your lifestyle choices.
It’s easiest to focus on what went right, so when clients are feeling energized and have incredible stamina, I ask them to reflect on all 5 things from the day before. I want clients to figure out what choices worked in their favor so that they can repeat them and prolong their feeling of health and vitality. The cool part about tracking your food and mood is, because an action has already made you feel amazing at least once before, you can feel more confident that making it a habit will work for you long term. It’s incredibly empowering!
Here are a few examples of how small changes can make a huge difference:
My 34-year-old, female client discovered that rush hour traffic didn’t trigger anxiety after all… the daily cup of coffee she had to get her through her afternoon slump was the culprit of her fluttering heart and heightened stress levels when she hopped in her car to drive home. Once discovering that, we reassessed her choice of fuel for lunch and replaced her usual turkey wrap with a grain and veggie bowl, which prevented the afternoon slump that made her reach for coffee in the first place. In the short term, she was far more alert in the 2nd half of her work day, and way less anxious after work, making her evenings less stressful and sleep more restful; and in the long term, she lost another pant size.
A 47-year-old, male client discovered that one of his healthy habits was actually the cause of his daily discomfort. The half of a grapefruit he ate every morning with breakfast, paired with a morning cup of joe, was way too much acidity at once, which kicked off his day triggering reflux and indigestion. Simply saving his grapefruit for a snack later in the day eliminated the discomfort he’d written off as unavoidable. He then was able to push harder during our morning sessions, and it was just the adjustment he needed to help him plow through a fat loss plateau.
Personally, through this process, I discovered that my old habit of eating my biggest meal for dinner was zapping my energy, especially the next day during my early morning classes and sessions. By keeping a Food & Mood Journal, I discovered that I feel most energized and least bloated when my largest meal is earlier in the day and my dinner is kept fairly modest. Now, [even though I’m still not a morning person], I no longer feel like a zombie when I’m teaching or training people at 6am, making my career more fun and fulfilling. Also, even though my weight hasn’t changed, people constantly told me how much more lean I looked once I made the permanent adjustment because I was far less bloated [#winning].
I know telling you that you could make a trip to Target was probably all the convincing you needed, but are you sold yet?! I’m telling you - all my clients who have taken this advice see more dramatic results and are all around happier people. Yes, it’s hard to get in the habit of taking the time to document everything, but each small victory will motivate you to continue. Give it a try and tell me what you discover about your body! Yes, I really do care and actually want to know ;-) So email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on IG/TW/FB @cassiebstrong. Happy tracking!