Learning how to love yourself “should” be easy right?
We grow up with conflicting feelings and beliefs about ourselves. We are taught that it is wrong to do certain things or act in certain ways that push us out of alignment with our truth.
It’s as if the need for validation and acceptance from the outside world is met with this conflicting rejection of who we are at our very core.
In learning that we aren’t allowed to be what we innately feel, we keep things hidden.
We lose trust in ourselves, we hire coaches to make friends on a superficial level. The people around us are only allowed to see the tip of the iceberg and your truth is 90 percent of what makes you, you.
It feels as if only my friends, family, and outside world knew the truth about my……. you fill in the blank.
It can be incredibly painful for those of us who allow us to be fully seen.
Fully being seen gives others the chance to fully reject us.
If we only allow others to see parts of us, they can’t reject all of us. So we disallow ourselves to be seen in our entirety.
It can be difficult to open up and be vulnerable when there is no guarantee of love, acceptance, or understanding on the other side of us fully exposing all that we are.
So many of us live in a constant state of rejecting ourselves. Denying our truth.
All of us are raised with a myriad of beliefs that are not true at all. We then take those beliefs and become certain as we take them into our adult lives. We experience discomfort, confusion, and agitation as we attract undesirable things into our lives.
I’ll give you an example of little Natalie.
When I was younger, I thought Santa Clause was real while all the kids in the neighborhood were dedicated to telling me the truth. That this mystical magic man was not the one bringing me my lavish gifts at Christmas time.
I was so rooted in my belief, no neighborhood kid was going to tell me otherwise. One year I got my pink light-up bike from Santa. Boy did he deliver. I pressed this button on the handlebars and the stars along the frame lit up in pink lights. It was magical. I loved my new bike, it became my prized possession. The neighborhood kids, however, were dedicated to telling me this bike wasn’t magical at all. This bike was from my parents because Santa isn’t real.
I was so rooted in truth, and this year I let them know it!
“Santa is real because there is NO WAY my parents couldn’t afford a bike like this.” I proclaimed.
My belief was rooted in certainty based on my belief that we were poor.
I believed more in an overweight stranger coming down my chimney and giving me a light-up bike more than I thought my parents could afford something this lavish.
Now, I want to follow up this story with the fact that I was very fortunate. I had it good. I was never worried about my next meal, health care, or anything else I needed. My parents took very good care of my brother and me always.
However, the conversations and the actions that flooded my childhood mind and home were that we were indeed poor.
I felt at any time that the things we had in our home could get taken away. It felt like doomsday was coming and the reality is that we were indeed in no danger at all.
But I believed it, I carried it and felt it in my body.
You see how our stories and beliefs run our thoughts and how we ultimately live our lives?
Beliefs are power.
Along with my belief of Santa was a rooted belief that my inherent worth was attached to money and what I was deserving of.
Since my story supported that money was incredibly unstable and meant for “others,” it made it nearly impossible for me to believe that I too was worthy of money, ease, or stability.
Unknowingly, I resisted thoughts, beliefs, and actions that would create a stable income because I had aligned myself with a truth that didn’t support peace, ease, and worthiness of income.
I believed It had to be hard for me. I believed it was somehow okay or understandable for other people to drive nice cars, go on nice vacations, or buy a glass of wine without a feeling of intense guilt. But for me, that was just out of the question!
Most often we are not aware of our habitual patterns that create these core beliefs. So we repeat them over and over again and bathe in frustration because change feels impossible.
Which is when we don’t meet ourselves with radical honesty to prove our old beliefs wrong.
When limiting beliefs fog your ability to receive what everyone on this earth is worthy of, it makes learning how to love yourself an extremely daunting task.
So how do you change your entire world for the better?
You start with being willing to change the belief, first.
This means that you have to lean into the unknown and accept that there is another way to live this beautiful life of yours. Which is scary alone. This is why I surround myself with mentors and coaches of my own. We get to lead and be led.
It can be fun.
The choice is within you, to choose to see this beautiful world through the eyes of potentiality and growth.
Two like-minded, soul-driven, authentic souls are always greater than one.
I want you to know deep in my heart that it gets to be different for you. You get to choose to be the observer of your life and grant yourself space and a new perspective. If you believe it can be different, then it will be.
Now just because my worthiness and limiting belief system was attached to money, that doesn’t mean that's where your limiting beliefs come from.
These belief attachment babies can be hidden in the trickiest of places! It’s like the missing Tupperware lids. You’ll find them in the most mysterious places!
This is where you give yourself permission and a willingness to be wrong about everything that hasn’t served you thus far!
You get to be wrong!
Like totally, completely just off the mark! Like you missed it by a long shot!
This also gets to be so freaking exciting because you can create an entirely new reality for your life!
I’ll walk you through how I process and practice new belief systems and how I learned to ultimately love myself.
I’ll start with another story. I look back in hindsight to driving my broken-down jeep liberty on a 90-degree humid day on my 45-minute commute to a gym with no AC.
I thought back then that I didn’t need a new car. So I drove to work with the chronic stress of when the next breakdown was going to hit. My girlfriend from the gym said she thought of me when she was purchasing a new motorcycle. Her bike was stolen and she was commuting on foot. She leaned back and told herself she was worthy of the investment and the alignment it would bring in her life. Life will keep bringing you lessons until you embody and learn them.
Okay, back to my old jeep beliefs.
-Old belief: I don’t need a new car and I can handle the constant life disruption, spending the money was a waste.
-New belief: Alignment with my willingness to accept that I deserve peace and ease in my life. This investment to increase my quality of life will get me to my destination, releasing worry and stress that is good for me and every human I interact with.
I want you to look at a belief you can disprove and see how investing in a new belief can change your life.
Look back in Hindsight now.
When I took a step back I could realize that this had nothing to do with the money in the first place. When it came down to it, I had enough money for a new car, but I wouldn’t allow myself to receive anything more than what I “needed.”
I viewed investing in things other than survival as selfish, unnecessary, and frivolous.
It all comes down to worthiness and what we allow ourselves to have. Recognizing this meant I had to willingly change my beliefs. This meant allowing myself to be wrong about my perceptions and limiting beliefs.
New supporting narrative.
I get to have a new car because I desire a new car. I am allowed to spend money on myself because money is not tied to my worth. I deserve peace of mind and stability and I don’t have to work a certain amount or earn a certain amount to claim that.
With my clientele, I often see self-imposed limitations and belief systems manifest in different ways.
Check in with yourself and see if any of these relate to you. I want to remind you that none of this makes you bad or broken. There is nothing wrong with you and you have always been worthy of receiving beautiful things.
This may be triggering, but is meant to open up a whole new world of possibility for you. It feels kinda horrible being wrong at first, you have this moment where you realize life could have been easier if you saw through this lens the whole time. I get it, I just want to remind you that these painful moments of recognition get to become your power. The faster you accept your current reality and perceptions, the faster you release the need to fight them. This will empower you beyond belief.
It’s all adding up for you, closer or further away from your goals.
It’s not waiting, it’s acting in alignment and celebrating every time you choose to think thoughts, create new beliefs, and act in ways that bring you more peace and ease into your life.
You have magic within you, and this is you learning how to love yourself.
You get to be wrong and you get to be every bit of that beautiful soul of yours.
Invest in your future and the present truth will become a gift.
I’m sending you so much love you, beautiful soul!
If you love conversations like this I would love to see you on my YouTube channel!
Watch and Subscribe below!
NATALIE DIANE KIMBALL
Hello, my beautiful soul!
After you read this blog in its entirety, I hope you learn how to be more confident in yourself, your relationships, and most importantly, who you are.
I see a lot of people, especially women, that think they will be confident when:
But, and there’s a bit ol’ BUT……
Undeniable, unshakable, traffic-stopping, radiating confidence comes from... the inside.
So, that's why we can’t rely on confidence from anyone else other than ourselves.
Our internal dialogue, the belief around worthiness, and how sexy we are is based on us.
And that’s a good thing.
Simply because every single thing in our external world is outside of our control.
But you know what is in our control? What we let inside.
What we give context, meaning, and a story.
We choose what provides value and what’s a projection of someone else’s insecurities.
This intense next level of confidence I’m talking about is divinely guided in owning who we are to our very core.
In this blog, we’re going to walk that divine walk to the exploration of how to create that from within.
How to be more confident in yourself: Traffic Stopping Edition.
Hear me when I say this.
You are allowed to want, desire, and yearn more for your life than what you have right now.
You, in this very moment, can decide that you are done settling and that you are beyond worthy of all that you desire.
You can decide right now that you are going to start attracting more of what you want into your life.
This will give you the clarity to gain the courage to step into the unknown, the courage necessary to move forward in your life, even when it feels messy, chaotic, and hard.
The kind of courage that says no matter what my desire to feel confident deserves more energy than me convincing myself I should receive anything less.
You can decide you deserve it all. Because you do.
We have limited amounts of energy and we have to stop spending it on things that drag us down.
I did anything and everything in my power to shift what my body looked like to attract what I thought I wanted in my life.
And guess what? Every time I hit a milestone, I still wanted to know how to be more confident.
I was a 16-year-old girl, 110 pounds with a 6-pack, and when I looked in the mirror I saw all that I was not. I would run miles around the YMCA track and look at the scale after to see if I lost any “weight.”
Can we all say WTF together?
It sounds looney tunes and ridiculous, but this phenomenon is not unique. We see ourselves through a lens of who we perceive ourselves to be, not who we are. We look at the physical bodies we have in this world and judge it until we decide enough is enough.
My confidence in myself fluctuated based on the number on the scale. This is what happens when we look externally for someone or something to tell us we’re worthy. Until I got curious about building my confidence and self-esteem and moving past my limiting beliefs, I felt stuck.
It started with Tony Robbins CDs that I played on my boombox and has transformed into radical coaching, programs, and empowerment experiences I lead today.
I see the most vivacious, beautiful, radiant women playing to their past instead of their potential…
The woman who thinks the man, the job, the body, and the Chanel bag will bring her the confidence to walk into any room is sadly mistaken.
It’s just not true.
Just like me stepping on the scale as a young teen, these things can fluctuate and change.
When us boss babes lean on these external things to bring us validation, we lose. We lose every time.
Want to hear the beautiful solution?
The power already exists wildly inside you.
You hold the potentiality to grasp on to the woman you are becoming.
Here are some tips from my Confidence Program.
1. You have to OWN IT. So how do you own it when you don’t have all the confidence in the world?
You create a flawless focus. Beyonce has one, why can’t you?
Beyonce’s version is Sasha Fierce.
Do you ever wonder how Beyonce shows up like a freaking BOSS every single performance? She has a Flawless Focus. A woman she embodies when she’s not feeling like the top of the world queen that we all are.
If you’re thinking like well… yeah, she’s Beyonce, she’s different. I’m here to ask you. HOW DO YOU THINK SHE GOT THAT WAY? She owns it, she embodies it. When she doesn’t feel like it, she envisions it.
2. You have to stop resisting how rare you are.
Be willing to let go of beliefs and thoughts that don’t serve you.
You have to gain a clear vision of how you have been resisting your evolution.
Everyone gets in their way when leaning into the unknown of who they are creating.
There will be plenty of people who tell you that you can’t along the way.
Releasing this resistance will allow you to create your dream version of yourself.
You do this by proving yourself wrong, interrupting the cycle, taking different actions to embody different beliefs and become a different woman.
I used to have large money blocks, I thought that I had to work hard and grind for hours on end. I used to be very bad at receiving or charging higher prices for work I created. This all stemmed from old limiting beliefs I aligned to as a child
Discipline leads to desires. Do you want to know how to be more attractive?
Honor your word from the inside out.
-Take time to learn what disciplines you need to implement to lead you to your ultimate desires. This is about becoming and embodying the woman you dream of so that your daily disciplines support the desires you are creating in your life.
-Practice releasing limiting beliefs, putting yourself first, and stop comparing yourself to others. This is for you and no one else.
3. Do it scared.
I waited ten years until I was ready to move to my dream city of sunny San Diego. Ten, freaking, painful years of staying small. Ten years of dulling my potentiality. Ten years to tell you it’s not worth waiting. The time will pass and you will wish you would have invested in yourself.
Almost all of my clients, myself included, are waiting until we better ourselves before we invest in something. Lean into the expansive fear of the unknown over the fear of the known.
You know what it’s like to want to learn how to be more attractive, but have you ever really stepped on the other side? Have you ever really dove straight into the fear of your potentiality?
All in. No questions asked.
Always do it scared.
I welcome you to learn more about how to embody the confident woman who exists wildly inside of you.
Natalie Diane Kimball
"There's greatness within all of us, we just have to believe it."
Learn how to let go of the past and how to be confident in yourself with my 4 top tips from my 12-week experience the Best-Kept-Secret.
I’m going to start with a story of what shaped me at the beginning of my journey.
When I started as an entrepreneur I had no clue what I was doing.
I moved 3,000 miles away from home and all that I knew was I wanted to start a business that empowered women. But, the truth was, I didn’t move for me or my business. I moved for a man.
Now don’t get this story twisted, he was and is a FANTASTIC human being. But him being an amazing human didn’t change the fact that I was sacrificing everything I desired for my life.
Day by day I was losing myself. I didn’t realize it at the time but in hindsight, I can see it so clearly.
I can see through the breakdowns, the anger of him being gone, and the resentment that started to build within my body.
Even though I was losing who I was, my mission to empower every single woman I came into contact with didn’t change.
I saw these parallels with a lot of the women I worked with. Leading their families and sacrificing what made them such beautiful women.
I spent endless nights crying in my self-made garage gym wondering what it was all for? Why was I putting myself through so much pain, what was the purpose?
My negative self-talk got louder as I lost my self-trust.
Setting boundaries wasn’t even in the cards for me back then. I had no self-trust. I literally would bend over backward for just about anyone to make sure they still liked me.
I was more concerned about everyone else’s mental and emotional health. And me? Well, I was just an afterthought, the last thing on my to-do list.
A lot of us lack self-trust and are consumed with negative self-talk simply because we were never taught otherwise.
If you’re anything like I was years back you may be wondering why you’re attracting the wrong clients, why people don’t respect you or love you exactly as you are.
One of my many Best Kept Secrets was when I started setting boundaries in my life.
I see so many women missing this.
Setting boundaries in your business and life will build better quality relationships in all parts of your life.
Let’s start with this, I’m just going to come out and say this because I hear this too often.
Setting boundaries does not make you a B****.
Okay? Did you get that?
It makes you a bad-ass boss (this is where I’m clapping), there’s a difference.
Do you think Beyonce has boundaries?
That’s what I thought……..
If you desire to be confident with yourself you have to have the self-trust to establish bold boundaries.
Now let’s get to the good stuff.
Four of the top tips straight from my Best-Kept-Secret experience.
1. Setting boundaries is the foundation for self-trust.
You have to learn your non-negotiables and implement them. Everyone’s non-negotiables are different and that’s the best part! One of the reasons that you have negative self-talk is because you set a boundary and then you break it. Over and over again. Example. My boundary with my business is that my clients keep their appointment times weekly. If they cannot make their appointment they know they need to re-schedule at least 24 hours in advance.
So what happens if a client cancels their appointment 20 minutes before? They lose their session. This does not make me a B**** this makes me a boss.
I get it. it’s hard because as women we care SO MUCH! The thing is when you bend these rules people will start to take advantage of them and you will start resenting the other people. This is the same in romantic relationships. You set the standard for the way you want things to operate.
You see, If I bend, I know that I will feel resentful towards my clients for “wasting” my time. I will feel taken advantage of for always bending the rules. My clients will also learn that they can do whatever they want when they want, which in turn, they will lose respect for me.
The beautiful part about this is you get to set what your life rules are! There are no right or wrong answers. You get to choose your foundational boundaries.
2. Learning how to let go will free you in more ways than you can imagine.
It’s not fun or easy but letting go of the flakey friend who never calls you back frees up a lot of mental and emotional energy.
The same thing goes for the guy that left you on read. Or the client that said they would sign up or book but never did. It’s no fun but it’s so necessary.
Learning how to let go is claiming a new standard for your life. Learning to be okay with what stays and what goes is a practice.
You can practice this by stating your needs or boundaries and playing out the potential outcomes ahead of time. Have a consultation with a client? Start to find peace with the fact they may or may not book. Tell your friend your boundary and they don’t show up the way you want? Coolio! That’s okay because now you know!
Practicing the outcome ahead of time is a beautiful practice so you are not shocked at the response when it happens in real-time!
3. Navigating negative self-talk comes with kindness.
In my coaching practice, I call the negative mind that comes up the she-hulk. When she comes in claiming that you’re not good enough, smart enough, or worthy enough you kindly comfort her. Many people try and fight the negative self-talk but it never works. If you think of comforting your she hulk with kindness and compassion things will start to shift. Hold her, speak to her gently and her temper tantrums will subside. Just like a small child, you wouldn’t say HEY! You're worthless. Right? Treat your inner she-hulk the same way.
Now we’re going to bring it all together…..
4. Establishing self-trust comes and bold boundaries comes from implementing all of the above 3 principles.
To learn how to be confident in yourself you must be able to reverse engineer what it means to establish self-trust.
When you start to implement these few principles alone you will start to find your life radically shifting.
I want you to know so deep in my heart that if you are looking to up-level or empower yourself in any of these areas, you are not alone. I’ve coached so many powerful business owners, entrepreneurs, and empowered women to know that these versions of us live within all of us.
If you desire to collapse time on your empowerment I would love for you to apply for my
Best-Kept-Secret. (linked below!)
This is about you becoming the strong, independent, self-loving confident woman you can be!
This one-one and group coaching experience have radically transformed my life in more ways than I can count. This is one of those programs that you will wish you would have taken sooner.
Don’t forget to like and share this blog on your socials!
With more love than you know what to do with,
Natalie Diane Kimball
My mission is to bring like minded women together who empower one another.
LEARN MORE ABOUT MY BEST KEPT SECRET BELOW!!
The power of choice sets the tone of our life.
The power of choice opens up our minds to new possibility to reframe really crappy life circumstances to learning experiences.
Reframing enables us to practice gratitude and find joy in the present moment and OWN our own life.
Knowing that this reframing and reprogramming our mind to be better all lies on us can be really scary and almost paralyzing.
Wether we sink or swim it’s all on us. Taking complete ownership means we accept our actions and reactions and CHOOSE to actively be better.
While I can sit here and tell you all the magical ways and non magical ways reframing tools have worked for me I can’t tell you what reframing technique will work best for you.
Because we are all so different and we all view the world differently because of our past and present experiences. Which is amazing because we are all rare gems 💎 but it also doesn’t make it the easiest because there’s no step- by- step guide on being the best you.
What I can tell you though is that our mindset is everything. When you have an emotion, let yourself feel it, be aware of why you’re feeling the emotion, don’t put yourself down for feeling human emotions (that’s weird-huh? How we feel bad for feeling bad 😔.) It’s a double edge sword 🗡
1) I personally can attest that the double feel bad method does not work! 🙅🏽♀️ So the answer is to show up without ridicule and the process. The answer may be that there's nothing you're supposed to do right now other than- not double judging yourself.
2) If you’ve mastered the not double judging- lean into observation without judgement. (If you’ve made it this step! You are killin it!! 🙌🏼)
3) Once you’ve mastered observation without judgement really lean into reframing your current thoughts.
4)Once you’ve reframed your current thoughts start acting with implementation. As much as saying things is cool (like I’m gonna workout 🏋🏻♀️ 5 days a week and build all the muscle 💪🏼 it only works if you put in the work.) So get to it and tag me because I love seeing you all thrive. (@nataliekfitness)
5) If you’re still feeling all the feels this may be a time for you to really dig deep. In the depth of your soul and the aloneness sine we rarely take this time for ourselves. (This is a step 🙋🏽♀️ I am currently taking say hi if you’re with me.)
The thing is- there is so much input, so much insight and such amazing information. There is also a lot of 💩 information out there that can lead us to believe we should be doing things that we really don’t enjoy or frankly give a flying f about.
This can lead us to constantly feel in-clear because we haven’t defined what WE want, what WE need and how we’re going to take action on it in our lives.
Uncovering all this is like diving head first in a dumpster full of everyone else’s trash and walking around town after expecting to be clean.
Take it from me, you should go take the shower and get clean and clear on yourself without everyone else’s stench clinging to you. 🗑 To wrap this bad boy up. I hope you take the time to relax, enjoy and discover what makes you, you.
You don’t have to know exactly what that looks like today because there’s 500 million and 35 steps but if you take one step today on getting to know you, you will be that much closer every day. And who knows maybe one day you’ll start jogging and be covering more ground.
Just be kind- know your worth- and take that time to reflect on how much you’ve grown and steer clear of bathing in the trash.
If this resonates with you in the slightest please share and comment.
I love hearing from YOU. For any women looking for online guidance that meets your exact lifestyle- no fad diets, no unattainable goals just REAL CHANGE to be exactly what YOU want to be. Please apply for our VIP coaching program. We are stronger together 💎 💪🏼
Mater Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist
These moves are amazing to start out your booty workout or as a whole workout itself!
Perform each exercise back-to-back with no rest period for maximum results!
2. Glute Bridge
3. Negative Body Weight Squat
4. Reverse Lunge
Don't forget to tag us on social!
Master Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist
***For December Challengers to be eligible for prizes you must show completion of the challenge and tag Natalie on your Instagram or facebook post!****
In order to achieve, grow and be “successful” we have to accept that life isn’t going to be easy.
At many points in our lives we will be bombarded with with trying times, obstacles and barriers that inhibit us from reaching goals the way we want to.
We often picture the route to success as rainbows and sunshine but its usually sleet, snow, hail storms, a week of beautiful sunshine, a tornado, then sunshine. The cycle of highs and lows will present itself over and over again, but with growth we start learning along the way and pack an umbrella and learn to use shelter when needed.
In those hard times, it's an opportunity to give ourselves grace and the opportunity to learn and once we come out of it. We can then use those tools to tackle a similar issues with a little more insight on how to solve it.
What helps most of us with trying times is the belief that if we work hard, consistently learn and apply ourselves things will get better. It is having faith that what we go through we grow through, but that all comes with putting in the work.
On the flip side if we believe we can’t do something, then we already have already decided our fate.
We have given ourselves an out.
If we actually believe we can overcome the obstacles to reach our goal, then we will be successful.
We have to make a daily effort to be the best we can in the present moment. We have to act out the systems and procedures we know to our heart to be true and listen and implement the advice our coaches, mentors give us.
Once you think you might “try out” personal training, clean eating or for any instance any lifestyle change you put yourself at a disadvantage, you have given yourself, the out.
For drastic change you have to have the believe that no matter what, you’re going to make it happen.
Plain and Simple.
You have to create your future because there is no other option. You know that success is not just a walk down the yellow brick road skipping with todo in your ruby red shoes. It's the walk down the yellow brick road with people telling you that you're not good enough, the witch trying to destroy you and all your family and your friends falling apart all along the way.
Simply put, it isn't easy.
No one can tell us how life will work out or when the good things will come. No one can tell us how hard it will be or all the roadblocks that will come up in our personal lives. It is all about our individual process and our willingness to put in the work day in and day out. We all have our own struggles. We all have our own heart aches.
But that road of belief becomes a little bit more clear when you have a community and guidance.
Find your belief, find your community and become all that you have ever imagined.
Start with the belief and you will be amazed at the opportunities that unfold.
Master Trainer & Fitness Nutrition Specialist
Amino acids are the building blocks that make up protein. Your body puts them together like Legos to create muscle. While your body can make some from scratch (called non-essential amino acids), you have to obtain others (essential amino acids), from food or supplements. These essential amino acids-especially a certain kind called branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)-are the limiting factor in your body's ability to build muscle. Here's more on what the BCAAs are, the benefits of BCAAs, and how to get them into your diet.
Whether you're trying to shed pounds or beat your PR, increasing your muscle mass is essential, since it's key to both weight loss and performance. Also, muscle is built very, very slowly. While fat loss can be easily accelerated, muscle building cannot. However, muscle burns calories all day long-meaning you'll burn more calories during Muscles and Mimosas and you'll burn more calories sitting on the couch. Even if you aren't trying to add more muscle, you break down muscle during exercise that needs to be rebuilt so that you can work out again the next day. Which is why we always put a priority on maintaining the muscle you have and potentially building up more-which requires getting enough protein and the right amino acids.
Benefits of BCAAs
There are three types of BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They are called branched-chain amino acids because their chemical makeup has a unique branched structure (like a tree branch). This gives them some interesting abilities that no other amino acids have.
One big perk of BCAAs is that they help prevent muscle breakdown. They help increase the rate in which your body can build proteins so you aren't breaking down muscle faster than you can rebuild. Leucine is the key BCAA in this process.
BCAAs also provide fuel for exercise. During an intense workout, the unique structure of BCAAs allows them to act as fuel for your muscles. And finally, they may help you slim down: Several studies show a relationship between BCAA intake and leanness, and high intakes of BCAAs are generally associated with a leaner body.
Sources of BCAAs
1. BCAA Supplements: Drinks with BCAAs have become very popular and come in lots of great citrus and fruit flavors that don't taste like you're just drinking protein. These products are fine to use right after exercise or during long training session (over 90 minutes). However, there isn't a lot of scientific evidence to support unique benefits of pure BCAA supplements over other protein drinks or foods that has similar amounts of these amino acids, so don't feel like you have to use a BCAA supplement.
2. Whey protein or milk: A simple shake with whey protein will deliver all the BCAAs that you need along with all the other essential amino acids to round out your muscle building and recovery efforts. Or you can simply have a glass of milk to serve as your nutritional recovery aid. Milk is naturally loaded with BCAAs and the little sugar from the lactose will further aid in recovery after a longer exercise session.
3. Whole foods: Fish, eggs, lean beef, chicken, and turkey all contain ample amounts of these key amino acids. (Plant-based sources are often considered incomplete proteins, but you can combine them to create complete proteins.)
4. Pea or rice protein: Plant protein is generally lower in BCAAs, but pea protein is an exception in this area. Just make sure to take in more total protein to get all the essential amino acids your body needs. One study published in Nutrition Journal found that 40g of rice protein worked just as well as 40g of whey protein when it came to improving body composition.
BCAAs are beneficial for muscle growth and improving your body composition. However, there’s no need to run out an empty your wallet at the supplement store. There are natural foods to eat after your workout. The important thing is to move with intention and love what you eat.
Jacqueline corbett, ms rd ld
Registered Dietitian, #NKFitSquad Contributor
For those of us old enough to remember the early 2000s with any clarity (sorry, Gen Z!) the keto diet is reminiscent of another low-carb eating plan: the Atkins diet. Once wildly popular, the diet somewhat faded in the background in favor of other eating plans like Paleo and Whole30. But now that low-carb eating is back on our radar, it seems as though diet trends are just repeating themselves. Given that they’re both low-carb, high-fat diets, they can’t be that different, right? Not quite. Read on for full comparison.
What is keto again?
In case you missed last week’s post, the ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat, moderate-protein way of eating. Keto macros are very strict with only 5% to 10% of daily calories from carbs, 15% to 20% protein, and a whopping 75% to 80% fat.
The diet was originally created in the 1920’s to help children with drug-resistant epilepsy control their symptoms; it has recently become way more popular among adults due to its ability to burn fat. A healthy keto diet will consist of well-raised animal proteins (grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken, and wild-caught seafood), healthy fats (Natalie’s avocados, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds, olives, and coconuts), and non-starchy vegetables, like leafy greens and cruciferous veggies, for fiber and micronutrients.
So what is the Atkins diet?
The Atkins diet has been around since the 1970’s; it was created by cardiologist Dr. Robert Atkins after researching ways people could safely lose excess weight without restricting calories, according to the Atkins website. The eating plan became super popular with celebrities and many of our parents in the early 2000s.
Like keto, Atkins is a low-carb, high-fat diet. It functions in three to four phases, where a person’s macronutrient intake changes throughout each phase. In the first two weeks, you eat less than 20g of carbs per day. Then you slowly add in more carbs from vegetables, nuts, and small amounts of fruit. This means that the macros shift on the diet. So, phase one of the classic Atkins diet (also called Atkins 20) calls for around 10% daily calories coming from carbs, 30% protein, and 60% fat. (This first phase technically puts you in ketosis, according to the Atkins website.) Those ratios shift by the end of the program to allow for more carbs and less fat.
There are other versions of Atkins, like the Atkins 40, which is just a low-carb eating plan that doesn’t have phases in the same way as Atkins 20. It allows for 40g carbs per day and flexible servings of fat and protein.
Keto vs Atkins: What’s the difference?
While both plans are low-carb and high in fat, the macros are a bit different. Keto allows for less protein and more fat than in the strictest phase of Atkins. Another big difference: Keto restricts carbs indefinitely in order to sustain ketosis. Meanwhile, Atkins increases your carb intake during its later phases, thereby taking you out of ketosis. The main focus of Atkins isn’t necessarily to be in ketosis, of course, while that is the main purpose of the keto diet.
It’s important to note that the long-term benefits of a low-carb plan, whether it is Atkins or keto, are up for debate in the health community. Some experts warn that restricting carbs for extended periods of time could cause pretty negative health effects, from constipation due to lack of fiber to disrupting delicate hormone balances in women. Research is also mixed: One 2018 study found that people who cut carbs increased their metabolism and burned more calories compared to people who cut fat, while another one published earlier in the year found no significant difference between low-carb and low-fat plans for weight management. Yet other research has found that low-carb, high-fat diets have the potential to treat diabetes and potentially even schizophrenia. More human clinical trials are needed before we can make definitive conclusions.
However, because Atkins ultimately allows for more carbs than keto, it could come with some health perks that are harder to get on the keto diet. Most people will be able to eat more fruits and veggies in Atkins and therefore getting more fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. However, since the keto diet has more guidelines around it, there may be more potential for benefit. Atkins is a little more ambiguous once you get out of the first two phases. With more restriction in keto, you may reap more benefits sooner. But don’t forget, keto is hard to do and carries more of a risk for vitamin deficiency due to the vegetable restriction.
If done properly with limited processed foods, plenty of green vegetables, and well-raised, organic proteins, both diets can be healthy options that lead to benefits. Eat real, whole foods, monitor your carb intake, and move as much as possible. Your body will thank you.
Jacqueline Corbett, ms rd ld
Registered Dietitian, #NKFitSquad Contributor
It seems impossible to open a blog, listen to a podcast, or see a magazone cover in the grocery checkout without seeing something about the trendy . But for people on the keto diet, the menu choices get even more limited. That’s because the low-carb, high-fat eating plan has very particular macros that can limit your food options (sorry, but pasta and rice are totally out the window).
The typical keto diet macros are: 75% to 80% of calories from fat, 15% to 20% from protein, and only 5% to 10% from carbs. People might play with those macros depending on their particular health goals and needs, or on their particular interpretation of keto; the “Ketotarian” diet, which advocates for a more plant-based approach, allows for up to 15% of calories from carbs.
Why the intense focus on macros? Basically, this is the ratio of fats to carbs that allows a person to achieve ketosis—when the body switches from burning carbohydrates to fats as its primary source of energy. Ketosis “unlocks” keto’s main potential health benefits, from effective weight management to balanced blood sugar, reduced inflammation, and increased mental clarity. So, how you build your plate at mealtime is key to ensuring you stay in ketosis and maintain adequate nutrition.
Done correctly, a healthy keto diet will consist of lots of well-raised animal proteins (grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken and wild-caught seafood), healthy fats (Natalie’s avocados, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds, olives, coconuts, etc.) and non-starchy vegetables for fiber and micronutrients.
1. Portion out your plate
If you’ve just started keto or you’re thinking about it, you need to portion out your favorite veggies, carbs (whatever you can eat), protein, and fats to satisfy your hunger and burn those ketones. The plate should look like it consists of ¼ fat, but keep in mind that your veggies will be topped with fat and your meat may also have fat. So really, fat is dispersed across your plate rather than just in one spot.
In terms of healthy fats, some great options include avocado oil, coconut oil, avocados, coconut, olives, extra virgin olive oil, grass-fed ghee or butter, and grass-fed, organic animal fats. Use these for dressings and cooking techniques, as well as high-fat choices for proteins or protein toppers (think avocado on a burger). You can also snack on fats for snacks, like nut butter or MCT oil in a smoothie.
2. Load up on vegetables
On keto, non-starchy veggies should take up half your plate. Think lots of leafy greens, bok choy, cucumber, zucchini, cauliflower, asparagus, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Vegetables contain vital micronutrients like fiber, folate, B vitamins, calcium, as well as antioxidants. However: keep in mind that even though veggies may take up half your plate, they are not calorically dense and therefore don’t actually amount to much of the macronutrient distribution. Therefore, you’ll need to add fats and proteins to adequately fuel up. Top your vegetables with (or cook them in) healthy fats like avocado oil, ghee, or extra virgin olive oil for extra fats to burn ketones and to keep you fuller longer.
3. Keep your carbs to a minimumThe only carbs you eat on the keto diet should come from vegetables (think sweet potatoes and other starchy options). You can also get carbs on occasion from low-sugar fruits like blackberries or apricots, provided they don’t push your allotted carb macros over their daily limit. For that reason, there isn’t a precise set ratio for carbs, but rather a carb count within your half-plate of veggies, however it may fit.
4. Don’t go overboard on protein
There’s a common perception that the keto diet involves massive amounts of steak, bacon, and other fatty meat. In reality, up to ¼ of your plate should be protein. The type of protein depends on preferences, but it’s always recommended to source the best quality you can afford. Since those following a keto diet may be eating higher fat meats, it’s particularly important to aim for high-quality meats, since things like hormones, antibiotics, and toxins end up in the animal’s fat. Load up on eggs, avocado, nuts, and tempeh if you’re on keto but limiting meat intake.
To recap, a very generalized example of a healthy keto plate would be half vegetables, a fourth protein, and a fourth healthy fats (with more fats incorporated throughout).
Some sample keto meal ideas: Fill your plate with sautéed mushrooms, bok choy, and asparagus cooked in grass-fed ghee, then add 3oz grass-fed sirloin steak cooked in a pat of pastured butter (or swap the beef for skin-on chicken thighs). Breakfast could consist of a veggie omelette with some cheese, cooked in olive oil or grass-fed, organic butter.
The plate can stay consistent for all meals, since the macros are the same whether you’re eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Some people may practice intermittent fasting and not eat breakfast, but that still doesn’t impact what their plate looks like when they do eat. Consistency is key for achieving and maintaining ketosis—which hopefully should make things easier for meal prep, too.
Jacqueline Corbett, MS RD LD
Registered Dietitian, #NKFitSquad Dietitian
From beauty products to beverages, you’ve heard the buzz around collagen supplements. But if you’re still scratching your head over what it actually does and how to get it in your diet, read on.
In a nutshell, collagen is the popular protein that’s touted for its benefits for everything from your hair and nails to your gut health. It mostly consists of two nonessential amino acids hydroxyproline and glycine. These amino acids are known to comprise the lining in your intestinal wall and the collagen in your skin. The theory is that consumption of collagen will increase the collagen in your body, leading to improved gut lining and fewer wrinkles.
What is lacking in this logic, however, is how protein is digested. In order to digest collagen, your body must use proteases (enzymes) to break down the protein into amino acids to be absorbed. Then, the amino acids will come together to form many different proteins throughout your body. Therefore, an excess of hydroxyproline and glycine does not necessarily mean your body will produce more collagen.
Another important note is that hydroxyproline and glycine are nonessential amino acids, meaning your body makes these on its own. Therefore, eating regular ol’ chicken (a complete protein) will supply your body the necessary nutrients to produce collagen.
So, that begs the question of the hour: Do you really need a collagen supplement, or can you just get it through your diet?
Food-derived collagen is another protein that is much too large to be absorbed effectively by the intestine. Although bone broth soups and bone-in, skin-on meats are excellent sources of collagen protein, they provide very little usable collagen, as it will be digested and then have the amino acids distributed throughout the body just like any other meat.
For days that you’re intermittent fasting or otherwise eating little protein, a collagen supplement in place of protein powder will work for you. Be sure to use a hydrolyzed collagen supplement, which have been engineered for better absorption. Hydrolyzed collagen is a unique type of collagen that has undergone hydrolysis (a gentle enzymatic process that breaks the protein into smaller, more uniform peptide fragments). There have been a few studies that suggested that almost 90% of hydrolyzed collagen is able to cross the intestinal barrier and reach the bloodstream to be utilized by the nearby cells (gut lining). This suggests that gut health may be improved with hydrolyzed collagen supplements.
You can boost your natural production of collagen without eating it. Certain nutrients can kick-start the body's production of natural collagen and maximize the effects of the collagen you get from foods or supplements. There are 3 factors: vitamin C and iron, which are both essential for collagen production, and omega-3 fatty acids, which protect the body's collagen stores from damage. You can easily get them from foods like bell peppers, broccoli, and citrus (for vitamin C); shellfish, red meat, and dark leafy greens (iron); and hemp seed, chia seed, salmon, and other oily fish (omega-3s).
While collagen is a good source of protein, it is not superior to any other protein source. Research is unclear about what initiates the body to use the amino acids to fight wrinkles or just build muscle. If you choose to supplement with this trendy protein you can take collagen supplements in either tablet form or powder form in hot tea, coffee, oatmeal, or smoothies. While it’s safe to consume upwards of 30g of collagen per day (though no harm will come from having more), 2.5g per day is the suggested starting point.