Are trainers allowed to give homework? It doesn’t seem quite fair does it?

Amanda has given me homework since day 1 of our workouts.

Keep a food diary.

Fail. I have probably started 5 or 6 of them since we started working together. I lose them or I forget to write in them for weeks at a time, and ultimately, I just stop.

I’ve never been a good diarist. Even as a kid, I didn’t keep a diary or a journal. I think once I might have had one, and was bored quickly after two days:

Day one:  Today my brother was mean to me.

Day two:  My brother was mean to me again.

See, day in and day out, that gets boring.  So now I am trying again. The hardest part is trying to actually writing what I have eaten just after I have eaten it. And often my diary gets left at work on Friday, so once I forget one day, the pattern is set.  When I try to go back and fill it out for past days, I always forget something. A donut or two. Half a pizza.  This week I am challenging myself to actually write as I eat. Of course I started typing this before entering the english muffin I just ate, but at least it will get written in today. If I leave out a day, then I am not letting myself go back and try and recreate it. I will just leave out something anyway – see the aforementioned donut and pizza.

Trainer tips

A couple weeks ago Amanda gave me a printed sheet to read. She is working with a “Biggest Loser” type of group and had put together a list of tips for them and decided to share them with her clients. And so I shall share them with you!


No syrup (fructose), sugars (simple), flour (white), saturated fats (red meats) and trans fat

Probably the hardest part for me is the sugar.  I drink an Iced Americano every day and I just can’t find a sugar substitute that I like as well as good ol’ sugar. This week I have been working on weening myself off of sugar in the drink, and today put maybe only half of what I normally put in it. We’ll see if that last.

Red meat is also a hard one for me. I have started doing a lot of stir-fry and so when I do beef, I am buying these small steaks (sold 3 for $5) and use one.  So I am limiting my portion. I have been eating a lot more chicken though since I started my stir fry kick.

Do eat whole foods which include: Fresh Fruit, Veggies, lean meats (chicken, turkey, fish), whole grains.

I fail, of course, on the fruit and the veggies, but I am trying (or so I keep claiming). I do only eat whole wheat bread, pastas and rice, so I am getting my whole grains in there.

Eat 25 mg of fiber every day to help fill full and digestion.

A couple weeks ago I had some Thomas English Muffins Whole Grain with double fiber. And yes, it certainly helped with digestion!

Use smaller plates to help with portion control. Plates should be no larger than 9″.

I collect Harlequin plates which are a “poor man’s” fiesta ware.  It is a line that was started in the 30s and sold at Woolworths, so since they are older then tend to be  smaller in plate size.  I also have all my mom’s old china which is from the 50s, I imagine, and have been meaning to ask my brother (who really isn’t that mean anymore) to help me get the box down and maybe I will get out a few of those plates to use.  Also, I recently saw some plates in a magazine for portion control but instead of dividers or verbage that would let clue a guest in, they had a floral design. One large orange daisy for your main course and two small ones for your sides. This way you could serve them to guest who would just think they are pretty plates. I tried to google it but can’t find it. Oh well.

Journal all food and liquids you consume as well as your exercise and how you are feeling that day. This will help you learn more about yourself and make you more accountable.

True, I tend to only eat donuts when I know I have left my diary at work!

A typical day of eating should look like this: Breakfast, snack, Lunch, snack and dinner.

I have an easier time with this when I am having a structured day like a workday.  On a weekend or a day off, I struggle to get anything but an afternoon snack and dinner in.

Make sure you have protein at every meal to help support lean muscle growth and help you stay fuller.

This is why I recently added peanut butter back into my diet.. to give me a protein on my english muffin, though I only put it on one of the two slices.


Cardio (treadmill, elliptical, swim, walk, classes etc) 6-7 days a week, 30 minutes minimum every day.

Wow right? Yep. Wow! Well that is now my goal. Last week I made it to the gym 5 times, and if I hadn’t fallen and hurt my knee, I would have been there 6 times. I am trying to set myself in the mindset that even if I can’t do a full workout,  I should be able to get 30 minutes in.  I also think it is easier on me

now that is isn’t dark when I get off work, and I think that it will get even easier IF winter ever ends.  When it is dark and cold.. I just want to go home. This week will be another week of making it 5 times, as I had a candle party to go to last night (anyone want to order some candles??).

Resistance (weight bearing exercises) 3 times a week with a day in between.

I am there. I prefer strength over cardio so even if I only make it 4 days a week, I will do three strength.  We are starting to work with Kettleballs and I am looking forward to do more. Amanda said that a good kettleball workout can burn upto 20 calories a MINUTE! Count me in!

Stretch every day (yoga counts)

Does a stretch while yawning count? No? Then I need to work on it.  I have a series of 4 stretching exercises that I am supposed to be doing but truthfully, if Amanda doesn’t actually write it on my sheet, I don’t think about it. So I have to start working on that.


Drink at least 64 ounces of water every day. Water keeps you hydrated so your body functions properly. It helps flush out  toxins in the body and gives you a feeling of fullness.  Drink a glass of water before you eat. You will be sweating more so you need to be drinking more.  You are properly hydrated when your urine is clear or light yellow.

This is something I struggle with as well. I bought some water bottles that are 20-24 ozs. I bought Brita water pitchers for both work and home. I do best on days I work when I go to the gym. I probably get close to 60 oz on those days, however Amanda has told me she would like me to have about 70+ oz of water so I am not there. One days off, if I don’t go to the gym, I might be lucky if I get in 20 ozs. I had gotten back on a Diet Dr. Pepper kick and that was causing me to drink less water, but I haven’t had one of those for about 5 days so my water drinking is increasing due to not drinking 20 oz a pop at night.


The average adult should be getting 8 hours of sleep.  Our body needs time to recover physically, mentally and emotionally. We need a consistant sleep pattern to keep hormones in check. If we don’t get enough sleep or are stressed, our body actually produces a hormone that promotes fat.

I am a fat promoter. The sleep thing is really hard for me. For 20+ yrs I was a night person and stayed up all night. Now I go to work at 7:30am. I am lucky if I get to bed by 12:30am. By Thursday and Friday evening, I am so tired that I often fall asleep on the couch watching TV by 10pm. On weekends I can easily get 12+ hrs of sleep a night.  So my sleep pattern never becomes a pattern. This is something that people who aren’t night people do not understand.  Everyone tells me “Just go to bed earlier” but it is far from that easy. A 20+ pattern in your life is hard to break. I would love to break it so that I am not sleeping on the couch every friday night, and it is something I struggle with weekly, daily. And buying a laptop didn’t help!

New Assignment: Sugar Overload

Last week Amanda gave me a six page handout called Sugar Overload. I have thumbed through it, but I need to set down and read it, since it is my next “homework” assignment..and it’s probably due on Friday.  Maybe my next blog post will be all about it, but it seems like a little bit of  Homework Overload to me!


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