5 Reasons Counting Calories Helps You Lose Weight – And It’s Not What You Think.

Since the first of the year I have been committed to tracking my calories. While it can be tedious and at times slightly time consuming the benefits have far outweighed the inconveniences.

Counting calories reveals more than you think

Counting calories reveals more than you think

Here’s what I’ve learned.

One: I more accurately know what I am eating and when

While I know in my mind that a breakfast that includes protein is extremely important, I often struggle to eat in the morning. I’m about as far from a morning person as you can imagine, yet I teach and train four to five days a week starting between 530 and 6am.

Needless to say, I get every last minute of sleep I can before walking out the door. So breakfast prior to teaching and training simply does not happen. Some mornings, if there’s time I even grab some more sleep before dropping off at school.

Depending on my class/training schedule I have to be careful about what I eat so I don’t get sick when jumping around. This not only goes for mornings but evenings as well.

I discovered I was eating far too few calories early in the day and was left with a great number to consume at the end of the day – the worst time to consume a lot. Think about it, how many hours do you have to actually ‘burn off’ your dinner and evening snacking calories before going to bed. Sleeping on a full stomach just doesn’t make sense.

Two: I more accurately understand my caloric burn

I invested in a heartrate monitor that gives me an idea of the number of calories I am burning during my workouts. Is it foolproof? I’m sure it’s not, but it does give me a measure to know what my burn rate is.

Weight loss, weight gain and weight maintenance is all based on calories in and out. Want to lose? Consume less and burn more. Want to gain? Eat more and burn less. Want to maintain? Find a balance.

The point I want to emphasize here is that while weight loss is accomplished through consuming less and burning more, if you eat too few calories, you slow your metabolism down and impede your efforts to lose and tone.

This is a problem I was experiencing. I wasn’t necessarily ‘gaining’ weight, but I wasn’t seeing the results that I should from the amount of effort I was putting in each week. Since tracking my calories and maintaining a good balance, I am noticeably more toned. Don’t believe me…I got into a pair of skinny jeans I was ready to donate (A Pair of Jeans that Fit Just Right).

Don’t starve yourself to lose – because in the end it won’t be pounds that you lose, rather you’ll lose a functioning metabolic rate, strength, and ultimately willpower.

Three: I recognize the entire weekend isn’t a free for all

So whether I recognized it or not, by unintentionally ‘starving’ myself during the week, when the weekend hit I was up for anything. Pizza? Sure! Cocktails? Sure! You name it, I pretty much let go on the weekend and indulged.

Part of this is because I was consuming too little of food during the week that my body was crying out for nutrition. Without eating what I should have I was giving myself a pass to ‘enjoy’ everything.

My willpower was shot because I was hungry. Seriously, it takes some strong mind power to choose chicken breast with zucchini noodles in an avocado sauce, over piping hot pepperoni pizza. (Note: I used chicken instead of shrimp for this dish and served the sauce on the side.)

But by feeding my body better throughout the week, I find the weekends are much easier to stay on track. I’m not only making better choices, but even splitting meals with my husband when we eat out. And eating out has actually diminished quite a bit, I’d rather eat at home and have control over my choices.

Four: I’ve learned to plan better

Now please hear me, I wasn’t under-consuming intentionally. I’d get busy, and more often than not after looking at the clock I’d realize that if I ate something I’d no doubt get sick teaching my classes.

So I now plan my breakfast for mid-morning. I don’t get up early enough to eat before my classes – should I? Yes. But the reality is I want every last minute of sleep I can get. I make sure that my breakfast includes protein and a good amount of calories.

My lunch happens early afternoon, usually before school pick-ups. Again, I try and get protein in and the necessary calories that are going to give me a good balance after my evening classes.

Dinner time is sometimes late for me so I do my best to keep the caloric intake to a minimum and as clean as possible. Clean meaning fresh veggies and lean protein.

I could be better about consuming snacks during the day, and that’s something that I need to work on. But for now, getting my meals balanced is something worth celebrating.

Five: I more accurately understand the breakdown of my nutrients

Can you eat ‘clean’ and still consume too much fat? Yes! Avocados and raw nuts are both excellent healthy fats for you but consuming too much of them can get you off track. Do fruits provide quality natural nutrients? Of course! But consuming too many fruits can lead you down a road of entirely too much sugar in your diet. Are carbs good for you? Yes, because they are your body’s preferred energy source, but your carbs need to come from nature not from a factory. What about protein? It’s essential to build lean muscle tissue.

I’m not going to get into a science lesson here on the necessary breakdown of nutrients because it will vary depending on body size and type, but what I will say is that in general you need a healthy balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

I was guilty of days that were entirely too high in fat, even though they were healthy fats. I was guilty of eating far too few carbs at times and too little protein other times. Not every day will turn out to have the perfect balance, they key is to take it day by day and do your best to find the right balance for you.

So can counting calories be a pain, no doubt. But since committing to it, I am seeing and feeling the difference. I’m only doing it 4 days a week, but I am finding that now I am used to what I should be eating and when, even when I’m not tracking, I’m staying on track. If you’re not currently keeping a food log to better understand your nutritional health, I encourage you to start. Start slow, commit to two days a week, then add a day at a time until you are comfortable with the schedule. You’re going to see differences. I have.

Top Five Reasons Shakeology is Worth It…

I’ve been an ACE certified Personal Trainer for over 4 years. During that time I have been approached by many people who used Shakeology and wanted me to give it a try. I always said no. Sometimes it was because I felt like it wasn’t worth the money when I could buy other protein powders for much cheaper, other times I said no because I never wanted to associate myself with a product.

About two months ago that all changed. I finally said, ‘Yes, I’ll give Shakeology a try.’ In the back of my mind I thought, I’ll try it for a month and then just cancel, no biggie. But I didn’t cancel. Instead I signed up as a BeachBody Coach and Shakeology is a regular part of my day. Here’s why…

1. I need the nutritional benefits of Shakeology to start out my day.

I’m always running two steps behind in the morning trying to get the kiddos out the door for school and me on my way to work. Partially because I don’t like mornings but also because, as we all well know, things happen. As a result I found myself constantly skipping breakfast. What made it worse was most days I would get caught up with projects and find myself leaving the office late afternoon famished because I hadn’t eaten anything. I don’t deny it all revolved around poor planning on my part, however, things weren’t changing and I was really messing with my metabolism.

Introduce Shakeology. I now had a very quick and easy solution to breakfast that was packed with nutrients. On most days I choose to add a fruit to my Shakeology for a delicious breakfast treat that I can easily drink on the way to work.

2. Shakeology keeps me full during the workday.

As I mentioned above, most days I don’t take the time, or have the time to eat lunch. I work a shortened day so that I can be off in time to pick my children up from school so I have to make the most of the 5 hours I have in the office. By drinking a Shakeology on my way to work in the morning, I stay full until I get home in the late afternoon. Sure, there are times that I have a light snack during the day (if I remember to pack it), but my Shakeology holds me over until I get home. No more leaving the office famished and ready to eat anything that is within arms reach when I get home.

3. Shakeology helps me to avoid bad choices. 

Again, my failure to plan or take the time to eat was working against me in a big way. I would have just enough time to grab a quick bite before picking my children up from school and many days that meant the quickest, easiest thing – not necessarily the most healthy choice. Because I’m no longer ‘starving’ when I get home I logically look at my choices and select things like a turkey breast sandwich, or carrots and hummus, or a salad. I’ve also found that because I am eating more during the day I’m not as tempted in the evening to mindlessly enjoy unhealthy snacks.

4. Shakeology tastes yummy!

When I worked full time as a personal trainer/group fitness instructor I often drank protein shakes at the end of the day for my recovery. I used a variety of powders throughout the years but got to the point that I just couldn’t stand the taste of any of them anymore. They all seemed to have a weird aftertaste and I just couldn’t get passed it. So before long, I dropped them completely. I was hesitant to try Shakeology because I assumed it would have the same gritty taste. I was wrong. Whether mixed with water or milk, I find all of the flavors to be rich and flavorful and lacking in a bad aftertaste.

5. I’ve lost 10 pounds and been able to maintain the loss.

Just like many others I have ten pounds that over the years I have lost and found multiple times. By adding Shakeology, and all of the other benefits mentioned above, I have also been able to drop the ten pounds and keep it off. I’m not starving myself, I feel adequately full throughout the day, and I know I am ‘nutritionally full’ by starting my day with a Shakeology that is packed with quality vitamins and minerals. I balance that out by eating healthy portions at both lunch and dinner and minimizing my intake of ‘junk.’

So why not give Shakeology a try and see what your top five reasons are? I resisted for years and wish that I hadn’t. Questions? Want to give it a try? Contact me! I can even help you get signed up as a BeachBody Coach so you can start helping others too!

Shakeology, I’m a Believer

Over the past several years I’ve had a number of people approach me about trying Shakeology. I always find a way to gracefully turn the offer down.

About a year ago I started making smoothies for my husband and myself in the mornings. They were full of nutrients and all good things but took a great deal of time to prepare and like most of you that are reading this, mornings are hectic enough as is, without trying to wash, chop and blend a breakfast drink. Most mornings I simply ran out of time, which often left me totally skipping breakfast and Don grabbing a piece of fruit or breakfast bar.

Needless to say, days turned into weeks and before I knew it, I had completely fallen back into my bad habits of running out the door with no breakfast and often nothing planned for lunch. My metabolism was out of whack, I was bloated, and I was at a complete plateau with weight loss (even gaining a few pounds over the course of time).

Now if you know anything about me and my philosophy about eating and exercise, you know I truly believe there are no shortcuts. There is no magic to becoming healthy and fit.

The equation is simple: Eat as clean as possible, keep your portions in check, drink water, and stay active.

Believe me, I know the equation is easier said than done. And being a person who isn’t really tempted by many ‘bad’ food choices, I’m left with the truth that the reason I have problems maintaining/losing weight all revolves around me not getting enough quality nutrients in my body. While all along I’ve been eating quality foods, I’m simply not eating enough of them at the right times during the day.

Fed up with myself and my progress, I was ready to try something new. It was the perfect time to go ahead and give Shakeology a try. And just like with anything, no one wants to go at it alone so I pulled my husband in too. ‘We’re going to give this Shakology a try. Just for a month. What do we have to lose?’

He was a bit apprehensive at first but the convenience of something that nutrient-rich early in the morning was definitely appealing to him. He hits the gym very early in the morning and his body needs the refuel to start a productive day in the office.

So we took the plunge and ordered – he got the Chocolate Shakeology and I opted for the Vanilla flavor. Over the past several weeks we have experimented with a number of different recipes – adding various fruits, peanut butter and even cinnamon.

Neither of us can imagine starting our day without it now so let me tell you the top five reasons I’m a believer:

  1. This is the most efficient way for me to get the nutrients my body desperately needs. Check out this video on the nutritional value of Shakeology.
  2. Drinking Shakeology for breakfast keeps me full throughout the morning. Most other breakfast choices leave me looking for a snack or hungry for lunch early.
  3. I love the taste! The choices for adding fruits and other flavors to your shakes are endless – or they taste great on their own!
  4. It’s convenient – takes me no time at all to blend a shake in the morning so even if I am running late (which is most days) I don’t have to miss out on breakfast.
  5. I no longer feel bloated and icky. Despite my efforts to eat a quality diet, I constantly felt bloated. I believe the combination of nutrients and fiber is just what my body needed.

As I said, I was once a skeptic. I am no longer…I’m now a huge fan and would love for you to try it too.

If you are looking to buy Shakeology in Lombard, Glen Ellyn, or Elmhurst, you should buy local direct from me! You’re just one click away: http://www.beachbodycoach.com/jennschindler

If you have any questions, please reach out to me at personaltrainingbyjenn@gmail.com and I’d be happy to answer any questions you have.


Fill Your Tank

Last week I focused on giving you some tips for identifying a path to success by finding your motivation, creating goals to keep you accountable and rewarding yourself when you achieve milestones.

Now it’s time to focus in on what you are putting in your body as you work towards those goals.

There is not a complicated science behind which food are good for you and which ones you should avoid – despite what the ever changing headlines tell you about foods.

It’s as simple as this:

–      If it came from the ground or has a mother you should eat healthy quantities of it.

–      If it is made in a building and has ingredients you can’t pronounce, you should avoid it as much as possible.

All groceries are set up the same; produce, proteins and dairy around the perimeter with all of the manufactured goods in the center. Keep your grocery carts out of the center of the store as much as possible.


Every healthy type of essential nutrient can be found in fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products. Your body needs these nutrients to function properly and to fight off disease.

When we fail to give our bodies healthy nutrients and rather fuel ourselves with manufactured products, we are missing out on the essential nutrients that keep us healthy and active.

Undoubtedly there are some items that you cannot avoid purchasing in the center aisles of your grocery. Tomorrow I will write more specifically on what things to watch for on those labels and how to make healthy choices.