FoodNutritionWeight Loss

A Week In a Healthier Life Series – Part 1

Over the next few weeks, I will be blogging around how you can achieve a healthier life in a 7 day span. The series will be as follows:

  1. Preparing Healthier Weekly Meals
  2. Working in an Office
  3. Eating on the Road
  4. Planning Multiple Workouts
  5. Maximizing the Commute

Preparing Healthier Weekly Meals

Many people view their lives as busy for various reasons including work, children, and travel. Regardless of your work and personal life, you can plan for the majority – if not all – of your nutrition for the week while at home.

For our household, the weekly meal preparation typically happens on Sunday. Depending on our work week and taste buds, we plan for 3-5 days worth of meals. Including full oven cooking time and clean up, meal preparation requires 2-3 hours. Here are sample weekly meals for 2 adults.


8lbs egg whites, 4 whole eggs, and a splash of 1% milk. For added carbs, wrap the eggs in a light tortilla wrap for ~80 more calories.
Male ~315 pounds: 2 cups for 309 calories; 58g protein, 5g carbs, 5g fat
Female ~145 pounds: 1 cup for 158 calories; 29g protein, 2g carbs, 2g fat

Lunches or Dinners

Option 1:

Chicken breasts with steamed broccoli, carrots, green beans, and spinach/kale mix.
Male: 8oz chicken breasts and 2 cups of veggies for 460 calories; 75g protein, 17g carbs; 8g fat
Female: 4oz chicken breasts and 1 cup of veggies for 246 calories; 40g protein, 11g carbs, 4g fat

Option 2:

Chicken breasts divided into four portions of 4 oz chicken breasts with .5 cup long grain rice and .5 cup peas or corn.

Option 3:

Four pounds lean ground turkey, blended with spinach, diced tomatoes, broccoli, and mushroom split across 2 cup containers.

Extra Protein and Dinners

Plan to cook extra meat because it is great for a quick last minute meal. For example, if you cook extra chicken, shred it up with added veggies and use it in fajitas for dinner.

If you can manage dinner at home, ground turkey or boneless chicken tenders can easily be pan fried and blended with veggies for tacos, fajitas, or stir fries. Frozen seafood can also be defrosted during the day and quickly pan fried at night.

Snacks or Meal Alternatives

For a quick snack, grab fresh fruit such as a banana or apple. Whey protein shakes and bars can be easily swapped in for meals; simply read the labels to mix the proper portions and make sure the nutritional breakdown is best suited for your diet.


Do not forget to drink lots of water. Women should consume 2.7 litres per day, while men should consume 3.7 litres. Purchase a bottle that will hold at least one litre – making sure to drink the complete amount in ~3 hours and repeat. You should be able to drink 3-4 bottles per day.

Keli Hay is a certified personal trainer using her weight loss success to help others.

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TrainingWeight Loss

It is Too Late to Lose Weight, Move, or Get Healthy

For many people there is a certain age that is considered to be too late or too old. Other people simply feel like “I’ve been this way for so long, I can’t…” The can’t is typically about losing weight, making changes, or feeling better.

I stand ~5’ 3”, was at 47% body fat, weighing in at more than 250 pounds, and 39 when I joined the gym. I had plantar fasciitis and nerve pain in both feet, my knees ached, and my cardiovascular fitness didn’t exist. I was also dealing with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and hypothyroidism. These were my excuses.

Find a Motivator

I hated many things – looking at my reflection, shopping, dressing up, or even getting out of bed. I was jealous of others – for looking nice and being able to buy clothes anywhere, including online without having to try them on first.

I felt like crap. Having two dogs that love to be exercised, but not have energy in addition to the foot issues, I was struggling. The dogs were also heavy, even though their diet was fairly healthy. I felt like I was failing my kids.

Get Started

Start working with a trainer 2 days a week. It does not matter what your goal is. Two days a week is the way to go. Spend the first 2-4 weeks undoing bad posture, fixing form, and getting stable. Spend the first two months learning about nutrition and what you are putting into your body. For the first month, I didn’t change much in my diet, I just started moving. Month two, I started logging my food and gradually changing my diet.

Keep Motivated Beyond the First Three Months

The first 3 months were mentally frustrating. It took over three months to really start seeing physical changes even though the scale and measurements were reflecting changes. At the four month mark, I had to buy smaller clothes and people started commenting. What helped me was that I was feeling better and I wanted that feeling to continue.

Toughen Up. Walk it Off.

Even with my body still aching, I pushed through. Realizing the foot and knee pain was linked to my weight and that, as I was losing the weight, the pain wasn’t flaring up as often, really helped.

Drop the Excuses

It is never too late. Get up. Get moving. Find something that works for you. Pain is mental. It really is. Find a way to deal with it and push through. I chose to ignore my aches during my exercise, but after my workouts I elevated and iced my arches and had a muscle relaxer. When I was down 50 pounds at 5 months in, the pain stopped. Everything mentioned at the start of the article is gone. Well I am still 5’3″, but I feel like I stand taller and my posture is better. My hypothyroidism will always exist because I have nodules, but my medication fixes that.

If you are morbidly obese, I recommend working with a personal trainer. Not because I am one, but because it is the best thing you can do for yourself. Good trainers make you feel safe, challenge you, keep you accountable, and push you to push yourself. Without my trainer, I would have given into pains or found excuses to stop. With his help and support, I have a healthy routine in my life that includes nutrition and exercise as well as an awesome lifelong friendship.

Keli Hay is a certified personal trainer using her weight loss success to help others.

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Weight Loss

I Don’t Need to Exercise to Lose Weight

A few weeks back, a friend shared the following article to a group message board.

I commented on the post as follows: “Weight loss really comes down to math. Eat fewer calories than you burn. I went to this website and plugged in my numbers from 2 years ago and I would argue with the numbers slightly. Yes, fewer calories in will help lose weight faster, but you need to move. When I was on my weight loss roll, I was eating 1300-1800 calories per day, but burning 3000-4200. I was dropping one pound every 3 days. So…what I am getting at? If I kept my “slightly active” lifestyle and only cut calories, it wouldn’t have resulted in a healthy “lose weight fast” and it probably would have taken 2-3 months longer to lose the 100.”

I have thought more about the article as well as my comments. The article is correct – you will gradually lose weight if you eat less. The article does also discuss ways to change your diet and it does reference scientific research, but it misses important information – mental readiness, food education, and physical activity.

Lifestyle Changes

As I finished up college and started working in tech, my weight started piling on. Over the years I tried different weight-loss programs which did eventually help me lose some weight by reducing the amount of calories I was eating. The problems? I was not taught about macronutrients, physical activity was not included, and the weight loss was slow. The results? I lost interest in the program, so I quit, and I eventually gained the weight back and more. My lifestyle did not change for the better through food changes alone.

Mental Readiness

I meet several people daily who say they are ready to change – they are ready to lose weight and get healthy. Every one of my weight loss clients is told to log their food for 3 days. Less than half of the people will do this on their own. When I ask why, I am typically told they didn’t have time. Additionally, clients are told to walk more by doing little things such as taking a lap of the building at work when they go to the bathroom or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Again, the majority fail to even add a few steps.

If you cannot take 10 minutes out of your day to educate yourself on food or add 30 minutes of walking scattered throughout to your day, are you mentally ready?

Food Education

In 2016, when I was at my heaviest, I started getting active. In conjunction with physical activity, I started logging my food. I logged everything as accurately as I could. Including sweets and alcohol. Logging my food made me see exactly how poorly I was eating. I started removing some food items, such as sour cream or cheese as toppings, or swapping out fattier meats, such as beef for turkey. Because food logging includes knowing – through measuring and weighing – food quantities, it made me aware of calories in broken down to protein, fat, and carbohydrates. This is the data that is most important when providing your body with proper nutrition. The article says to increase protein and reduce carbohydrate intake. While the article does link out to a protein focused article that then links to another one around the different meats, this main article does not contain sufficient information around food changes. Educate yourself before simply changing your protein and carb intake.

Physical Activity

When I started my weight loss journey, the first couple of months consisted of gradual food changes and a slight increase in activity. I wanted to see the scale drop faster – not going to lie. So I adjusted things. I continued to weigh, measure, and log my food, but I also stepped up my activity. The results? Not only did I lose weight, but over the 11 months of losing weight, the bulk of weight loss was actually fat being swapped for muscle gain. The muscle gain happened because I know my diet was a healthy mix of macros to support my body. The article mentions doing “Doing some cardio like walking, swimming or jogging can also be important. Not so much for weight loss, but for optimal health and general wellbeing.” Doing “some cardio” isn’t helpful. How much is some? I would argue you need numbers, such as miles per day or minutes of activity to help you succeed. For example, I started by achieving the recommended 10,000 steps daily. I now aim for 15,000 steps a day and incorporate weight lifting most days. While you might think it is easier for me to hit my daily step goal, I typically must add at least an hour on the treadmill daily to do it and do my best to walk everywhere including to local stores.

Long Term

I have been down over 100 pounds for over a year now. Am I perfect in my diet every day? No. The difference between me in 2018 and my life before 2016 is I know exactly what to do to keep my health in check through a combination of nutrition and physical activity.

Keli Hay is a certified personal trainer using her weight loss success to help others.

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Finding and Working with a Personal Trainer

Over the past couple of years, I have been asked about how to find a personal trainer because of how successful I have been with my health. While I have worked with various trainers over the years, I have been fortunate to be with the same trainer going on 2 years. There is obviously something very different about my relationship with my current trainer because I have never been this happy and healthy, and I never enjoyed working out at the gym before.

Where I Went Wrong Initially

When I joined the gym a couple of years ago, I simply knew that I wanted to lose weight and that I needed variety because I get bored in a routine. That was as much information as a membership advisor got from me.

The problem with this little information is that it doesn’t really help someone match you with a trainer. Why? It is too generic – anyone who is a certified trainer will get you moving to help you lose weight, but your success ultimately depends on you.

Know What Personality Works Well for You

Here are my notes about why my trainer and I work very well together…

  • He’s a guy. Probably sounds funny to most, but I work best with men. I am guessing it is part of my competitive nature, but when I see a guy doing something, it gives me a mental challenge to not only do what he does, but push myself to do better. 
  • We talk. When I hurt – I tell him. When something isn’t working – I tell him. When I am frustrated with an exercise – he just knows. I have health issues – he knows them all.
  • He’s bringing the variety. We have completed over 200 training sessions together and every single one has been different. Other than one circuit we drop in occasionally as a test – he has never given me the same routine. Never! 
  • Personality. We are similar and have enough common interests that we can talk about different things in life – mainly sports, but also family and other interests.

Tips on What to Ask Yourself

  • If you are working with someone at the gym office, such as a membership advisor, to be paired with a trainer – be open, specific, and honest.
  • Think of your personal trainer as a business partner. 
  • What type of person makes you happy? 
  • Do you want someone that is direct? 
  • What do you not want?
  • What are you comfortable sharing with a personal trainer – and – would the gender of the trainer make a difference in your sharing comfort level?
  • Once you find a trainer, listen and talk to them. Seriously – do not be shy. Be honest with yourself – your diet, goals, and commitment. Share concerns so that the trainer can help you be successful in whatever your gym goals are.

Own Your Responsibilities

Personal trainers can only do so much. If you want to lose weight, they can get you moving. If you want to gain muscle, they can help you push and pull heavier weights. If you want to sustain general wellness, they can help keep you mobile, flexible, and stable. Personal trainers cannot follow you around or feed you. Anything you do outside of the gym, away from your trainer is on you – including eating, drinking, and anything else you put into your body. Regardless of your goals, nutrition is vitally important to your success. You must own this part of your business relationship with your trainer. As a team, when the trainer and client deliver, any goal is possible.

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