Tag: plant based

Weight Loss Coaching 2.0

rashelle-brown-vegan-weight-loss-coachSome of you may have been following me long enough to remember the days when Well Curated Life was MN Fitness Blogger and I was a full-time personal trainer who only wrote very sporadically. In 2012, I wanted to take my training in a new direction and focus primarily on weight loss coaching, so I spent four months obtaining the ACE Health Coach certification, an advanced certification focussing on weight loss, weight management and forming lifelong wellness habits.

As I was studying the material for that certification, I began encountering new information and research for the first time, and I felt strongly that I needed to find a way to share that vital information with as many people as possible. At the same time, I began changing the way I worked with my weight loss clients, first addressing the root causes behind each individual’s weight issues, and then moving on to tackle the day-to-day actions necessary to effect lasting change. The results were astounding. Clients systematically lost weight every week and reported feeling happier, more confident, more energetic and generally healthier as they did so. Now I knew I needed to get the word out, so I began writing my book, Reboot Your Body: Unlocking the Genetic Secrets to Permanent Weight Loss.

In the busy time between when I landed an agent and a publisher and when I needed to turn in the completed draft of my manuscript, I let my client load drop to zero through attrition. I stopped taking on new clients. I started writing freelance articles for other wellness websites. I consciously traded in my career as a fitness professional for one as a wellness writer, and I was pretty happy. For awhile.

With my book scheduled to come out later this month and three regular columns to write every week, I am busier than ever, but for the past few months, I have known that my professional life was missing something. That something is the one-on-one interaction that coaching and training has to offer. Helping many people through books and articles and blogposts is a wonderful thing, but it is a very different thing than connecting directly with an individual and facing the challenges they encounter alongside them. So, I’ve decided to return to coaching and training, but not in exactly the same way as before.

In an effort to align my personal values with my professional knowledge and expertise, I’ve decided to offer entirely plant-based weight loss coaching and athletic performance training. What?! What does that even mean? Well, it means that I’ll provide coaching services and personal training to individuals who are willing to adopt a plant-based lifestyle, at least for the period of time they are working with me. I’ve already anticipated the questions that are likely to pop up around this decision (namely, “Why?”) so I have answered them in advance on my Coaching Services page.

If you’re interested in coaching or training, either in person or virtually, check it out. If you have more questions, send me a message on the Contact form. I’m excited to be back, and I look forward to working with you!


The Only Diet Tip You Need

If you have to read the label, you’re still doing it wrong!

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on a new weight loss coaching platform that I’m really excited about. For the first time ever, I’m offering specific dietary guidance to a test group of clients. While the final iteration of this program is still months away, what I’ve seen so far has been truly amazing. It’s exciting to be putting together a program that could potentially change hundreds or thousands of lives. What’s surprising about this “new” program is that there is nothing new about it at all. There are only two guidelines I’m using to develop the recipes and meal plans: Eat plant-based and eat whole foods. In short, if you have to read the label, you’re still doing it wrong.

The beautiful thing about this program is that it works for everyone. Of course it’s great for losing weight, but I’m also testing it out on a couple of athletes. The age range of the test subjects spans decades, and they come in all shapes, sizes and fitness levels. I can’t wait to see what’s happened with each of them at the end of the 4-week initial trial period. I’ll write a follow-up post here then and share the results with you. To be sure you don’t miss it, subscribe to my RSS feed, or get posts sent right to your inbox by filling in your email address and clicking “Subscribe” in the upper right-hand side bar, shown here:subscribe-hereYou can start changing your life today, simply by following the two guidelines: Eat plant-based and eat whole foods. Put down that box, bag or can and pick up some fresh produce, legumes and whole grains. Give your body more of the nutrients it needs and fewer empty calories. I promise you’ll start to feel amazing in just a few days.

Thanks for reading, and if you like this post, please share it!

My Week as a Nutritarian

healthy-lettuce-wraps These lettuce wraps are what I had for lunch the other day. Yep, all of them, just for me. Then, about two hours later, I ate again – this time, it was a barley black bean dish. The rest of the day was similar, consisting of many meals constructed entirely from unprocessed, whole plant foods. This was my week of eating Nutritarian.

I not entirely sure that Dr. Joel Fuhrman coined the term “nutritarian”, but that’s where I first encountered it, on his web site. The premise is not unique to Dr. Fuhrman, though. Many doctors, dietitians and other health professionals have been espousing a diet that is truly whole foods and plant based for quite some time. I just like the term a whole lot better than “vegan” and I like the strict whole foods philosophy behind it.

If you’re wondering what a Nutritarian diet is, let me just tell you what it is not. There are no processed foods in this diet, including flour (so no breads, pizza, pasta, baked goods, tortillas, etc.), oil (yep, not even the supposedly healthy olive, canola, flax and coconut oils) sugar in any form (yep, not even honey), and it also shuns alcohol, caffeine and any added salt. If, like me, you are wondering what’s left that you can eat, let me give you a one-day run-down of what I ate:

– Rolled oats with blueberries, dried apricots, chia seeds, walnuts and almond milk*
– Kale/chard/berry/banana/chia/pea protein* smoothie
– 1/2 serving Almonds, 1/2 serving dried apricots
– 1/4 cup black beans and 4 olives
– Large salad of greens/tomatoes/1/2 cup chickpeas/1/4 avocado/red onion/lemon juice
– 1 medjool date
– 1/2 serving sunflower seeds**
– 1 portion vegan meatloaf* with 1/2 T soy sauce* **
– .4 oz dark chocolate*
– Bib lettuce burritos: 1 cup black beans/1/4 cup brown rice/1 small bell pepper/1/6 red onion/1/2 T jalapeño minced/2 garlic cloves/1/8 tsp kosher salt*, wrapped in bib lettuce
– 1 cup chopped pineapple
– 1 medjool date

Items with * were “cheat” items, because they were processed. The meatloaf was leftover from dinner the night before and was made with a small amount of tofu and salt, otherwise it would have actually been allowed.

Items with ** had added salt. I decided to allow myself up to 1500 mg of sodium per day, and on most days, I didn’t reach that level.

So, how did I feel? Honestly, great. My energy levels were as high as I can remember them being for months, despite having one of the worst weeks of sleep in months (due to non-diet related factors beyond my control). I was full all the time, and had a hard time getting in enough calories each day because the food is so nutrient dense and so light in calories. I didn’t miss beer, which I thought would be awful trying to live without, and I weaned myself from a highly-caffeinated two cups of coffee each morning to a brew that was 2/3 decaf.

I did find that I needed the protein supplement in my morning smoothie every day in order to hit my desired range of 80 -100 grams of protein per day, which I wanted because I’m trying to keep or build a little muscle while training for a marathon, but it would have been easy to hit the normal 60-70 grams of protein my body actually needs for normal function without the protein powder.

Cravings? Oddly, I had NONE the entire week until Saturday. I suspect it was because I knew the diet was ending on Sunday, so I started allowing myself to think about my usual “favorites,” bread, Toasted Oatmeal Flakes, and beer. The whole rest of the week, I didn’t feel deprived at all. There was tons of chocolate around the house and enough flour and other ingredients on hand for me to bake 200 loaves of bread, but I didn’t think about it. Apart from eating about 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate over the whole week, the only sweet things I had were dried apricots, pineapple and dates.

Would I keep this diet up indefinitely? I think it would be difficult unless my spouse were on board (she was out of town this week). Certainly, eating out becomes a futile endeavor at all but the snob-snobbiest of health-food places. I will definitely keep some parts of the diet in, though. Like a whole-grain and fruit breakfast. I found that I only craved my usual junky cereal in the evening (Saturday and Sunday only) and I looked forward to a healthier breakfast each morning.

I will also try to cut out entirely the vegan meat substitutes I often eat, usually out of convenience. I may occasionally have tofu or tempeh, but processed veggie burgers and fake chicken nuggets have no place in my diet going forward.

While I didn’t miss bread or pasta much at all, I am sure that once it’s around again when my wife returns home from her trip, I’ll eat some. That being said, I won’t plan meals around those things any more, and will opt instead for healthier whole-grain dishes.

The toughest part for me was the salt – which is why I made the exception, and the plant milks – which I feel are necessary for jazzing up the oatmeal and other breakfast grains. I know I could make my own, and then it would be (by my standards at least) more of a whole food, but I’m not quite that ambitious. Yet.

I like doing things like this every once in awhile – try an extreme diet or workout program – just to see what sticks. It’s also interesting to watch my own reaction to the process. How will I battle a craving, how will I motivate myself to finish a tough workout, that sort of thing.

It’s this short-term, extreme leap-frogging approach that has helped me get as fit and healthy as I am today. My diet and exercise regimens are a far cry from where they were ten years ago, and I didn’t just wake up one morning and change it all. Testing my boundaries and looking at the process in a curious, scientific sort of way has led me to where I am today. I can’t wait to see where I am ten years from now!