How to Stay Lean for Life

When it comes to staying lean, it really comes down to your consistency.  You need to be consistent with your workout, your diet, what you eat and the healthy habits you keep.  Here’s five tips to maintain a lean, healthy body for life.    

When it comes to staying lean, it really comes down to your consistency.  You need to be consistent with your workout, your diet, what you eat and the healthy habits you keep.  Here’s five tips to maintain a lean, healthy body for life.

Five Keys to Staying Lean for Life:

Eat Food the Way Nature Intended

Fresh, natural whole foods provide us with an abundance of nutrients we need to stay healthy and fit.  Fresh food is just fine the way it is, there is nothing  needed from food that has been overly processed, and shouldn’t even be considered food!  Fresh fruit and vegetables deliver an abundance of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants and phytonutrients that help us metabolize the food we eat, fight off disease, regulate our hormones and supply us with energy in the form of fibrous carbohydrates.

Plant foods help build a foundation, while high quality proteins deliver a source of aminos needed to build and maintain lean muscle and keep us strong.  Additionally healthy fats from natural sources such as olives, avocados, whole eggs, seeds and nuts help aid in hormonal balance, while also helping stimulate metabolism.

Bottom line, do your grocery shopping from around the perimeter of the grocery store, where the fresh natural foods are, and whenever possible buy organic to reduce exposure to other chemical toxins, pesticides and hormones that can disrupt hormonal balances, cause unnecessary inflammatory responses, lower immune response and disrupt your ability to build muscle and burn fat!

Don’t Overeat

Even if you’re eating plenty of good calories, staying lean and trim for life requires some form of control over your eating.  If you eat too many calories, and don’t workout enough you will end up gaining weight, or maintaining weight instead of burning off anything excess you’ve consumed.   However, remember that diets with too much calorie restriction can also work against you resulting in muscle losses, weight loss and muscle building plateaus and metabolic slow down.

Instead of extreme dieting, pick a diet that works with you and one that you can maintain for the long run.  If you have excess to lose, then of course you will need to eat less, but once you reach your goal, maintain your new body for life by sustaining a calorie and nutrition regime you can stick with – one that gives you enough energy to power through your workouts, get through your long days and maintains a body you love!

Most weight maintenance diets are equal to 12 to 15 times your body weight in pounds depending on the amount of activity you perform.  Experiment and determine what type of diet will give you enough energy to get through your day, and your workouts.

Eat Frequently, Avoid Fasting Diets

Eating frequently doesn’t increase metabolism, but what it does do is maintain a constant energy balance.  Eating too infrequently can lead to drops in blood sugar, and result in cravings and hunger, while also disrupting hormonal balance and raising cortisol levels.  It has been shown that fasting diets are particularly unhelpful when it comes to healthy diets for women.

Recent research showed that fasting could negatively impact female hormones, and cause excess cortisol secretion. When cortisol is high, fat burning hormones and metabolism are slowed down, while hunger cravings increase.  This is because cortisol raises demands for blood sugar in the flight or fight response, causing a drop in blood sugar, which ultimately results in an increase craving for sugar!  This results in the body maintaining an elevated cortisol level during fasting, leading to storage of fat instead of burning it off.

Even more interesting one study showed that even short periods of fasting over 1 or 2 days was enough to increase cortisol levels and disrupt hormone balance in women. For best results eating frequently, about 4 to 6 times per day depending on your need, and eat roughly the same volume of food at each serving.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Eating diets that are excessively low in carbs and excessively high in protein may result in fast weight loss, but once you’ve lost the weight that diet will get very hard to maintain for the long run.  Building and maintaining a lean and healthy body for life, doesn’t require extremes just consistency.

A diet that provides macronutrient ratios including 40% protein – about 1 g per pound of bodyweight, 30% carbs and 30% fat, will not only maintain lean muscle, but will also provide you enough energy to power workouts!  These ratios may change slightly depending on your goals, your activity level and your current weight.

Eat a variety of high quality protein sources including hormone-free, free-range meats, poultry, whole eggs, and organic low fat dairy.  Carbohydrates should consist of low glycemic fruits like berries and apples, squashes, root vegetables and whole grains, while fats should come from natural sources such as olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds and coconut oil.

Listen to Your Body

We often get caught up in diet advice because we think it will be the ‘magic bullet’ that will solve our fat burning problems quickly, instead of spending the time to listen to our bodies, and observing what works and what doesn’t work.  While basic principles of nutrition may apply to the masses, it doesn’t mean it will work for you too.

Take time to understand how your body reacts to the food you give it, do you need more or less calories for optimal performance, do you work better on higher amounts of carbs and less protein?  Everyone’s metabolism is different; the rate at which you burn off food, how your body reacts to food and how you utilize that food is completely individual.

Pay attention; use a food tracker app to monitor how much you’re eating, when you’re eating, how food makes you feel and what types of food give you better results.  By observing your own eating habits, you’ll be able to better understand what works and what doesn’t work for you.  A coach can also help – go here!

Until Next Time…

Be Fierce & Rule the World,

Lauren Jacobsen

5 Diet Rules Worth Following

Losing weight can be challenging, but with dedication and a few diet rules, it is possible. As women, we tend to hold more fat weight, which means we need to seriously put in the work, not just in they gym, but also by following a consistent diet plan.

Losing weight can be challenging, but with dedication and a few diet rules, it is possible. As women, we tend to hold more fat weight, which means we need to seriously put in the work, not just in they gym, but also by following a consistent diet plan. The beauty of consistency, is when you show that level of discipline, the people around you will start to notice too.  And over time, they will adjust and accept, that’s just part of you.  And maybe you will have a positive impact on them too. Don’t ever apologize, or complain, this is your life, your goals and your body.  You got to do what it takes. Bending rules, forgetting meals, or going out for happy hour with the girls all the time, is just not going to cut it.

Here are 5 Diet Rules Worth Following:

Diet Rule #1: Diet Dedication

If you want to get that body into top-notch condition, you can’t waiver from your dedication to your diet.  That means you can’t decide to be on your diet today, and not be on it tomorrow.  You need to commit, to every last bit of it. Even when you are tired, and don’t feel like cooking, or when yummy food is being waved in front of your face.  There are no ifs, buts or maybes when it comes to dieting. When you are dedicated, that commitment will show, maybe not today, but give it time the results will far exceed that piece of cake you gave up.

Diet Rule #2: Restaurant Food is Not an Option

If you want to be sure you know what you are eating stay dedicated to your diet.  You don’t know what is in restaurant or delivery food.  It might seem like just a salad and chicken, but watch out for added ingredients that will add unneeded calories. It’s always better to eat at home, and then you can be certain you know exactly what you are getting.

The cleaner and more consistent your food choices, the better your results will be. That’s not saying that you should never eat out again, but if you are dedicated to a goal and want your body to look a certain way, avoid going out until you have reached that goal.  Set small goals along the way to have the occasional meal out, do this as you drop weight and have speed your metabolism up.

Diet Rule #3: Never Forget Your Food

Bringing your food with you might seem like a pain, but if you really want to get that hot body, you better start doing it pronto.  If you know you have to eat every 3 hours, then obviously you need to bring food with you during the day, when you go to work – right?  Even on weekends, if you know you’re going to be out and about for more than 3 hours, why risk not bringing your food with you?  Get into the habit of meal prep, pack a cooler bag full of your meals, and snacks so you will never be left empty handed. Missing meals is not good for your results or your blood sugar.

Diet Rule #4: The Scale is A Kitchen Kit Essential

The scale is of utmost importance.  The scale makes sure you are getting the exact amount of food you need, nothing more and nothing less.  There is actually a lot of science to eating when it comes to weight loss.  The amount of calories you are eating is critical to keeping to your meal plan.  If you are eyeballing your portions, you are more than likely eating too much! Invest in a good scale, a set of measuring cups and some measuring spoons; these are part of your kitchen tool kit for successful eating!

Diet Rule #5: Follow The Right Plan for You!

One of the hardest parts about dieting can be finding the right plan, a plan that delivers the results you want and works with your body’s unique metabolism and hormones.  Most women do better on a meal plan, a plan that is laid out for them, easy to follow and provides specific instructions!

Need some help getting there?  I offer meal planning designed for women.  Women, just like you who want to take their body to that next level. I’m talking about dropping fat, getting lean, and putting on some lean muscle.  I know you are ready for some real results, are frustrated with basic level trainers, and are tired of searching for a diet plan or a workout that is going to get you that cover model body you have been after!

Now is the time to take action. The difference between you and me is that I spent many years of my life and a lot of money on trainers, diet plans, and lots of my own research and time figuring out exactly what worked for women. You on the other hand, have the chance to TAKE ADVANTAGE of all the hard work and time I put into figuring out the exact plan you need on how to get the body and results you want.  Go here to get a FREE consultation and start on your journey today.

Until Next Time,

Be Fierce & Rule the World,

Lauren Jacobsen

 

4 Metabolism Myths

If you think that your metabolism works simply by eating less and doing more, although that is partly true, it’s not that simple.  Your metabolism can be determined by a number of factors and can be influenced by a number of factors too.  For every action there is an equal reaction when it comes to your metabolism.  Do you know what’s truth and what’s myth when it comes to your metabolism?

Metabolism myths and truths? What do you know about your metabolism? If you think that stimulating your metabolism, works simply via eating less and doing more, although that is partly true, it’s not that simple.  Your metabolism can be determined by a number of factors and can be influenced by a number of factors too.  For every action there is an equal reaction when it comes to your metabolism.  Do you know what’s truth and what’s myth when it comes to your metabolism?

Here are 4 metabolism myths and what you can do about them.  

Metabolism Myths #1 – The Body Can’t Burn Fat and Build Muscle

While these two processes are opposite, and require opposite hormonal pathways, it doesn’t mean that they can only happen in isolation of one another.  Hormones involved in muscle growth include insulin, testosterone and even estrogen and progesterone to some extent, while hormones that help accelerate fat burning include norepinephrine glucagon, and adiponectin to name a few.  However, that being said, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone can also play significant roles in your metabolism, controlling fat-burning processes as well.  So what is the answer?  It’s not necessary to only focus on trying to lose weight, or only trying to build muscle.

A recent study showed that it is possible to achieve both and quickly!  Research showed that those on a low calorie, high protein diet plus an intense weight lifting program, not only retained but also gained muscle – about 2.5 pounds, while also losing body fat!  The lower protein group didn’t add muscle, but managed to maintain their muscle by simply lifting weights.  The high protein group lost 10.5 pounds, while the low protein group lost 8 pounds.  The extreme workout program got all participants stronger, fitter and improved body composition!

Metabolism Myths #2 – It Doesn’t Matter What You Eat, As Long As You Eat Fewer Calories

Wrong, although it is true that you must eat less if you want to lose weight, what you eat will determine exactly what you end up looking like.  A diet that is higher in protein, lower in carbs and provides a moderate amount of fat will ultimately slim down the body but will also help to maintain and build muscle, and can even impact your metabolic processes.  It has been suggested that a high protein diet is involved in appetite regulation of satiety hormones as well as increased thermic effect of food and protein induced alterations in blood glucose regulation, which can improve metabolic outcomes.

A recent meta-analysis showed that the thermic effect of food increases 7 calories for every 1000 calories of food consumed for each 10% increase in protein intake.  Therefore, if you consume a 2000-calorie diet with 30% of calories from protein, then the thermic effect of the food will be 13 calories per day higher than if protein contributes only 20% of the dietary energy!  Another study showed subjects that consumed 29% protein diet, had 213 higher resting metabolic rate than subjects consuming the same caloric diet with only 11% energy from protein.

Metabolism Myths #3 – Everyone’s Metabolism Works the Same

While the processes are the same, everyone’s metabolism is unique and dependent on a number of factors, including your age, your genetics, and even your body composition.  And what’s more being a woman!  Women have slower metabolisms than men, we also have less active fat burning receptors in the body, and as our estrogen levels change throughout the course of our life this can also have an impact on our metabolism specifically during and after pregnancy and during and after menopause.  The best defense, keep eating healthy and working out.  Following a fresh, wholesome diet and working out or being active regularly will help prevent metabolic slow down and fat weight gain as you age. Using a metabolism monitoring device can also help, such as the Lumen device.

Metabolism Myths #4 – Hormones Work Independently to Raise or Lower Your Metabolism

Nope, there are literally 100s of hormones in the body, that trigger cascades of pathways that influence metabolism including your appetite, your ability to put on muscle, your stress response, and even the amount of sleep you get, which all can have an impact on your metabolism in one way or another.

What can you do about it; don’t stop working out, or eating right. Living a healthy lifestyle will ultimately contribute to a healthy metabolic rate that will last a lifetime.   Eat a high protein diet, lower in carbohydrates and full of plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables that provide natural sources of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that can help us stay healthy and keep our metabolisms firing optimally!  In addition, following a workout that is focused on building and maintaining a healthy amount of lean muscle will also contribute to a healthy metabolic rate.   And don’t forget to sleep and de-stress!  Regular sleep of at least 8 hours per night, along with a de-stressing ritual like yoga or meditation can help lower cortisol levels, and keep your hormones balanced!

Until Next Time,

Be Fierce & Rule the World,

Lauren Jacobsen

 

References:

Longland TM, Oikawa SY, Mitchell CS, Devries MC, Phillips SM. Higher compared with lower dietary protein during an energy deficit combined with intense exercise promotes greater lean mass gain and fat mass loss: a randomized trial. Am J Clin Nutr.  103(3): 738-46.

Pesta DH, Samuel VT.  A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats. Nutr Metab.  2014. 11: 53.

Healthy Holiday Guide: Enjoy the Holidays Without Guilt!

It’s that time of year again!  The holidays are just around the corner; the time of year we get to spend quality time with family and friends, but it’s also the season we tend to be too busy to maintain our healthy lifestyles – including making room for the gym or for that matter making healthy food choices.

It’s that time of year again!  The holidays are just around the corner; the time of year we get to spend quality time with family and friends, but it’s also the season we tend to be too busy to maintain our healthy lifestyles – including making room for the gym or for that matter making healthy food choices.  Socializing, eating, shopping and traveling can take precedent over a healthy lifestyle when it comes down to the holidays.  If you want to avoid holiday weight gain this season, stick to your diet and evade making another dreaded weight loss resolution, try using this healthy holiday guide.

Healthy Holiday Guide – The Holiday Party:         

Don’t kid yourself, the chances of you going to a holiday party are most likely inevitable – you’ll no doubt have an office party, a friend’s get-together or a family gathering to attend.  Instead of avoiding them all together, here are a few tactics you can use to survive.

 Tactic #1:  Eat Before Going Out

Eating something healthy before the party can save you from munching down on empty calories later on.  Have a high fiber snack, and be sure to eat breakfast that day.  Research has shown that those who eat a high protein breakfast tend to eat less, later in the day!  At the party, be sure to fill up on low calorie, volume dense food – grab the veggie sticks and forget the bready items.  Choose lean proteins, leafy salads, vegetable dishes, and skip over the heavy carbs; you’ll feel lighter, more fulfilled and less guilty. While it’s ok to enjoy some nibbles, try to choose 1 or 2 tasty treats instead of gorging on everything in sight!

Tactic #2:  Sip Smartly

Party drinks can be calorie dense, whether you’re opting for a mocktail or a cocktail.  Mixers including juice, sodas, or dairy can provide empty calories from sugar and fat; and that’s without the alcohol.  Choose low calorie options – diet or light soda or tonic water with a slice of citrus.  Limit the number of fancy drinks you have and keep it simple, you can also cut your bevies with soda – opt for half a glass topped with soda water and citrus, instead of a full glass.   Drink water in-between your drink of choice to cut down on the amount you drink, it will also help fill you up and cut back on hunger too.

Tactic #3:  Stay Social

If you’re situated directly beside the table of food, you won’t be doing yourself any favours – the temptation will be just too much.  Get yourself as far away from the food as possible.  Avoid mindless eating, and instead of eating consider socializing – work the room.  Also, pick your treats – don’t go for every appetizer you lay your eyes on.  They maybe small but chances are they’re loaded in calories that will add up fast!

Healthy Holiday Guide – Surviving the Malls:

Although most of us have mastered online shopping now, there’s still a good chance of some last minute mall shopping.  Walking through the mall, navigating the crowds and using your brain to storm up gift ideas can be challenging at best.  If you get hungry and irritable you might find yourself reaching for something less than favorable to eat.  Something that is fast, easy and most likely not high on food quality.

Tactic #1:  Pack Snacks

Bring some easy, healthy snacks with you.  A small pack of nuts – 1 oz is enough calories and fiber to tie you over.  You could also bring trail mix made with dried apricots, raisins, raw almonds and pistachios.  Avoid the dried fruit with added sugar.  Another good option is a protein bar made with natural ingredients, or an energy bar.  Opt for items that are around 200 to 300 calories, provide protein, some carbs with fiber and natural fats.

Easy Healthy Snack Ideas Here:

Tactic #2:  Avoid Holiday Cheer

By holiday cheer I mean specialty coffees – you know those holiday themed drinks and sweet treats that give you that necessary caffeine and sugar buzz you require to get through the day.  They may taste great and bring back some holiday nostalgia, but more often than not they come with added calories and sugar.  Stick to the basics, ask for the skinny vanilla latte, with the sugar-free syrup and add a dash of cinnamon on top instead of the full calorie version.  You’ll still feel warm and fuzzy with less calories.

Tactic #3:  Eat a Proper Meal

If you don’t have time to eat a proper meal before you head to the mall then be sure to find a sit down restaurant that has healthy meal options.  Sitting down will let you decompress for a moment from the holiday rush, and make a healthier choice over something quick and easy.  If you don’t have time for a full meal, then try finding an option in the food court.  Avoid the temptation of fast food combos and opt for a salad, or a whole wheat wrap made with veggies and protein.

Healthy Holiday Guide – Hosting the Meal:

One of the best ways to navigate safely through the holidays is by hosting at least one holiday meal on your own.  This puts you in control of the menu, what you’ll eat and how much.  However, you might not be the favorite relative for hosting a healthy holiday meal.

Tactic #1: Healthy Swaps

Instead of serving a lot of starchy carbs, switch it up, offer up a table of roast squashes, vegetable dishes and salads. Cut mash potato with cauliflower and sweet potato mash with pumpkin. Avoid stuffing and create a quinoa or wholegrain rice pilaf dish instead.  Roast lean meats or poultry that are lower in fat.  Skip over heavier meats like lamb.  Limit the number of dishes – the more options there are the more likely you’ll want to have some of each.

Tactic #2:  Use Smaller Plates

Using smaller plates will force you to put less on your plate and you’ll be more likely to think twice about having seconds.  Research suggests that most people eat what’s put on their plates, even if it’s more than they need.  Practice portion control – you know that on any other day of the week, you’re more than likely not eating 3 portions of carbs in a single meal, so why start now?  You can also use smaller glasses to avoid over pouring on the bubbly!

Tactic #3:  Choose Your Indulgences

When it comes to dessert, you can opt for healthier options, made with healthier ingredients but you can also opt for smaller portions.  If you managed to serve a healthy meal and not over indulge on too many appetizers, or second portions – now’s the time to give-in.  Pick one sweet indulgence, over many.  It may also be a good idea to make this the day you have your ‘cheat’ meal for the week.

Healthy Holiday Guide – Keep Up With Your Workouts:

If you want to avoid holiday weight gain all together, the best thing you can do for yourself is keep up with the exercise.  Your regular exercise routine will ensure you keep a balance between the calories you’re eating and the ones you’re expending.

Tactic #1:  Schedule Your Workouts

Chances are you’ll have a clear sight to when you’re holiday parties will take place and to your travel schedule.  Plan your workouts around your socializing.  If you know you’ll be on a different schedule then what you’re used to then be sure to schedule your workouts accordingly.  If you plan to travel, find a gym close by for your workouts.

Tactic #2:  Try Something New

Are you traveling somewhere with cold weather this holiday?  Consider outdoor activities – a run through the snow, ice skating, snowboarding?  You’ll burn calories, enjoy the new challenge and the change in weather!   Not feeling so adventurous?  Going to a new gym is sometimes just enough excitement to give you some new motivation for your workouts.

Tactic #3:   Workout Partner

Stick with people that have the same goals as you.  Keep up with your workouts and motivate each other to keep up with your exercise program during the holidays.  You’ll be more likely to go to the gym if you’re accountable to someone.  A coach or personal trainer can also help keep you on track over the holidays.

Until Next Time,

Be Fierce & Rule the World,

LJ

Up-Grade Your Low Carb Meals – 8 Vegetable Options

Eating the same foods can become monotonous and lead to diet breakdowns if you are not feeling satisfied with your food.  So what’s the alternative?  In this post, I’m providing you with eight healthy low carb alternatives that will add minimal calories and a whole lot of excitement to your low carb-eating plan. 

If you are like most fitness women, being low carb is part of your daily diet.  Sure it’s easy to drop the carbs from your diet, simply stay away from foods that are high in simple sugars such as white rice, bread, pasta and potatoes, but eating the same chicken and broccoli every day can get old fast.

Eating the same foods can become monotonous and lead to diet breakdowns if you are not feeling satisfied with your food.  So what’s the alternative?  In this post, I’m providing you with eight healthy low carb alternatives that will add minimal calories and a whole lot of excitement to your low carb-eating plan.

Low Carb Vegetable Options:

  1. Zucchini Pasta

Zucchini can be sliced thinly to make a lasagna style noodle, or can be grated using a simple box grater or spooler to make spaghetti style noodle.   Use zucchini in replace of noodles in stir-fry, pasta dishes or even in salads instead of the usual mixed greens.  Zucchini delivers 3.5 g of carbs, and 1 g of fibre, along with 30% of your daily vitamin C needs per one cup serving.  Other options – carrot, beet and butternut squash!

  1. Lettuce Wraps

Romaine, leaf, iceberg lettuce or even kale leaves make the perfect replacement for flour or corn made wraps or taco shells. If you are tired of eating salad and chicken, why not try making a lettuce wrap, use avocado, grilled veggies and strips of grilled chicken breast.   In the mood for a taco bowl, line a bowl with iceberg lettuce, and add cooked extra lean ground beef, salsa, and avocado.

  1. Mashed Cauliflower

Instead of mashed potatoes, try mashed cauliflower. Cauliflower is a mild tasting cruciferous vegetable that packs a ton of fibre.  Cook a head of chopped cauliflower using a vegetable steamer.  Once cooked, place into a food processor along with 1 clove of pressed garlic, salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg.  Add a bit of the water used for steaming.  Blend until smooth!   One cup of cauliflower delivers 5 g of carbohydrates and 2 g of fibre, along with 85% of the daily value for vitamin C.

  1. Sweet Potato Hash Browns

Looking for a switch up from your daily oatmeal breakfast, try Sweet Potato Hash Browns instead.  Use left over cooked sweet potato to form a patti, and pan fry in a non-stick pan using a bit of coconut oil.  Another option, grate sweet potato, and pan fry in a non-stick pan using a bit of coconut oil, along with ¼ cup chopped sweet onion, salt, pepper to taste and ½ glove of pressed garlic.  You probably already know the benefits of sweet potato – 1 cup packs 27 g of carbs and 4 g of fibre, along with a whopping dose of Beta-Carotene!

  1. Shredded Cabbage Noodles

Cabbage noodles are a great way to get in your cruciferous vegetables, eat them instead of rice with stir frys, or add them to salad to up your veggie content!  Simply shredded cabbage, and pan fry in a non-stick pan until soft If eating with stir fry, or add raw to salads.  One cup of shredded cabbage provides 4.1 g of carbs and 1.8 g of fiber, along with 40% of your daily Vitamin C needs.

  1. Baked Taro Root Fries

Steam taro root, and peel off skin.  Cut peeled taro into quarters, place on a non-stick baking sheet, add rosemary, salt and pepper.  Place in a pre-heated oven and bake on a non-stick pan at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, flip and bake for another 10 minutes. Serve alongside your meat, instead of the usual brown rice or sweet potato!  A half-cup serving delivers 23 g of carbs and 3.5 g of fiber!

  1. Shirataki Noodles

If you are not into the work needed to prep Zucchini noodles, try Shirtaki instead.  Shiritaki noodles are made from Konjac root, which is comprised of Glucomannan, a water-soluble dietary fiber.  Glucomannan swells in the gut and slows down digestion, reducing hunger and cravings.  Per 3 oz serving of Shirtaki noodles delivers 0 g of carbs.

  1. Cauliflower Rice

This is a simple and easy replacement for regular rice.  Take a head of chopped cauliflower and place in a food processor.  Process until evenly chopped but not completely pulverized.  Remove from food processor.  Spread cauliflower on a baking sheet evenly.  Bake for 15 minutes in a oven pre-heated to 425F.  Flip at least once.  Serve as your side dish.   You can also cook in a pan similar to fried rice, adding extra veggies, egg, and soy sauce.

Until Next Time,

Be Fierce & Rule the World,

Lauren Jacobsen

8 Foods to Pump Up Your Oatmeal

We all love oatmeal, no matter if its quick oats, steel cut or rolled.  Oatmeal is a diverse food that delivers a great source of fibre, iron, magnesium and energizing b-vitamins.  Not too mention it’s also been shown to help with digestion, and have heart health benefits.   The best part of oatmeal, you can add many different ingredients to add even more benefits, not to mention create many different flavours!  Try these 8 healthy ingredients to help pump up your oatmeal! 

We all love oatmeal, no matter if its quick oats, steel cut or rolled.  Oatmeal is a diverse food that delivers a great source of fibre, iron, magnesium and energizing b-vitamins.  Not too mention it’s also been shown to help with digestion, and have heart health benefits.   The best part of oatmeal, you can add many different ingredients to add even more benefits, not to mention create many different flavours!    Try these 8 healthy ingredients to help pump up your oatmeal!

  1. Pumpkin

Pumpkin puree is a great source of fibre, low in carbs and sugar.  It’s also high in the antioxidant vitamin A, providing 170% of your daily value, as well as vitamin C, and energizing B-6.  Antioxidants are critical to muscle recovery and a healthy immune system.  In a just 100 g serving, pumpkin provides only 26 calories and 7 g of carbs.  Mix ½ cup of pumpkin puree with a ¼ cup of oatmeal, ½ cup of almond milk, a dash of cinnamon and honey for some sweetness.

  1. Chia Seed

Chia seeds can be made into a pudding on their own, due to their water absorbing properties but added to oatmeal can help provide a great source of good for you fats and fibre.  In one ounce serving, chia seeds provide 7 g of polyunsaturated fats, 10 g of fiber and 4.7 g of protein.  They also deliver a whole lot of calcium at 17% of your daily value, 12% of your iron needs and 23% of your daily value of magnesium. Add a tablespoon of chia seeds to your oatmeal, to help keep you full and energized.

  1. Flax Seed

Flax can be found as ground or whole, either way they can provide an added fibre benefit.  They’re low in carbs, gluten free and are rich in good for you fats and protein.  They also provide 6% of your daily value of magnesium and 10% of your daily value of selenium, an important mineral needed for healthy thyroid function.    They’re also rich in the antioxidant lignans and are great for digestive health.  Lignans can bind to excess estrogen and package it for removal out of the body, helping keep your hormones balanced.  Mix one tablespoon with your morning oats!

  1. Greek Yogurt

This yoghurt boosts the highest amount of protein per serving at 10 g of protein in 100 g serving.  It also provides 11% of your daily calcium needs, and has a rich and creamy texture.  Not a fan of dairy yoghurt?  Switch it to plant-based coconut or soy yoghurt instead.  Mix ½ cup of this yoghurt with ¼ cup of oats, your favourite nuts, seeds and berries.  Pop it in the fridge, overnight and enjoy in the morning.

  1. Almond Milk

Not a fan of dairy?  Almond milk is a low fat dairy alternative that has a creamy texture, and is of course lactose free.  It’s also rich in the antioxidant, vitamin E, B-Vitamins, Riboflavin and Iron.  Almond milk is also low in calories, providing about 40 calories per 1 cup serving and only 2 g of carbs.  Choose unsweetened almond milk, or unsweetened almond with coconut milk or even soy, oat or just plain coconut milk.  Add ½ cup almond milk, to ¼ cup oats, along with your other favourite ingredients, mix in a mason jar and sit it overnight in the fridge.

  1. Shredded Coconut

Shredded coconut adds fibre and texture, plus delicious taste of coconut and the benefits of coconut oil.  Coconut oil provides a source of mct – medium chain triglycerides which are digested and used as a quick energy source similar to carbs.  Shredded coconut provides about 71 calories per ¼ cup, along with 7 g of fat, and 2 g of fiber in a ¼ cup serving.  Make a tropical overnight oats by mixing 1 or 2 tbsp shredded coconut, ¼ cup oatmeal, ½ smashed banana, a slice of pineapple and ½ cup of almond milk.  Blend, put in the fridge and enjoy in the morning.

  1. Nut Butter

Adding nut butter can provide a source of fibre, and good fats including monounsaturated fats.  Nuts can help stimulate thermogenesis, the amount calories you burn, because they take more energy to digest versus other foods.  Choose from almond, peanut or even cashew butter.  Each provides about 100 calories per 1 tbsp serving and are high in vitamins and minerals. Mix with your oatmeal to help bind the oatmeal, or place on top!    

  1. Protein Powder

Bump up your protein by adding a scoop of your favourite whey protein powder or even a plant-based vegan protein powder.  Choose a whey protein that is blended, and not a straight isolate.  A blended protein will provide more texture and creaminess versus an isolate.  Per serving whey will deliver 25 to 30 g of protein, while a vegan protein will likely provide 15 to 20 g.  Mix ¼ cup of oats, with 1 scoop of whey protein, ½ cup almond milk, sit in the fridge overnight, add your fave berries and nuts.

Need some help with your nutrition plan?  All these yummy oatmeal breakfast ideas plus more when you sign-up for your meal plan here!  Get me as your nutrition coach.  Have a question about nutrition and want a FREE consult? Sign up now!

Until Next Time,

Be Fierce & Rule the World,

Lauren Jacobsen

7 Diet Fails & How to Fix Them!

If you find yourself failing, over and over, are feeling frustrated, perhaps its time to take a good look at what is causing you to fail.  Here are 7 reasons your diet could be failing you!

Its one thing to say you’re on a diet, but it’s another thing to be successful at dieting.  Being successful is usually the result of finding that balance between the calories you’re putting in and the calories you’re expending – seems easy enough! But if you’re lacking a sufficient plan, lack real motivation, are not getting enough sleep or don’t understand how your body reacts to the food you eat, it can be difficult to ever see results.  If you find yourself failing, over and over, are feeling frustrated, perhaps it’s time to take a good look at what is causing your diet fails.  Here are 7 diet fails and how you can fix them for good!

7 Diet Fails & How to Fix Them!

  1. Lack of Motivation

If you’re lacking real motivation for your diet, you need to identify a real, compelling and motivational reason why you’re on the diet in the first place.  Is it to get back into your skinny jeans, that little black dress you want to wear to a special up-coming event, or wear a bikini for your summer vacation getaway?  Whatever the motivation is, it has to be important to you and come from within.  It must be important enough to make you stick to the diet.

  1. No Short or Long Term Goals

Without goals, it is very hard to track success.  Set yourself up for success by identifying both short and long term goals for your diet.  Be sure to make them SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time sensitive.   Make sure both your short and long-term diet goals are specific and attainable.

Start small by making weekly goals like changing cream for low fat milk in your coffee, or eating more protein. Your first short-term goal might be a simple as adding in a regular exercise program, while your long-term goal might be dropping two dress sizes.  Each goal you set should keep you motivated enough to keep going and meet your next goal, avoiding future diet fails!

  1. No Diet Plan

Without a set diet plan, it is really easy to fall off!  If you don’t know how many calories you’re putting into your body, tracking how much protein, carbs or fats you are eating or are eating certain foods at the wrong times you are only setting yourself up to fail.  Be sure to come up with a solid diet plan that is low enough in calories to cause a deficit to ensure weight loss.  Aim to eat 5 to 6 small meals per day, and make sure each one includes a source of protein.

Eat two meals with a source of high-fibre carbohydrates like sweet potato, oatmeal, brown rice or whole grains, while the remaining should focus on green leaf veggies, root veggies like pumpkin or squash and a source of essential fats like flax oil, nuts, or olive oil.  Eating small meals more frequently will help stabilize blood sugar levels, which means you will be less likely to cheat or go off your diet.  If you are unsure how to construct a diet plan, find a nutrition coach that can help.

  1. Lack of Consistency

If you are not consistent with your diet, your results will dictate that.  You can’t expect to meet your goals if you’re not doing everything in your power to work toward them; there is no off time from a diet.  The best way to meet your goal is consistency, and the best way to attain consistency is to use a schedule!

Schedule your meals, schedule your meal prep, schedule your grocery shopping, and of course don’t forget to also schedule your workouts.  By being really consistent, it becomes a habit, and by becoming a habit it becomes a seamless part of your lifestyle.  It also makes it easier to identify where things are going wrong and how to fix them.

  1. No Portion Control

Its one thing to have a diet plan, but if you’re not measuring out your food, it is hard to know how much you are actually eating.  Invest in a digital food scale to weigh your meat portions, a set of measuring cups to measure out your carbs and a set of measuring spoons to weigh your fat sources.

If you are not eating at home, remember meat, chicken, or fish servings are usually 3 to 5 oz or the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand, while carbs like rice, potatoes or beans are roughly ½ cup serving or the size of a tennis ball, while oils or nut butters should be about 1 teaspoon or the size of a dice.

  1. Junk Food at Reach

If you want to set yourself up for success, it is best to remove the temptation all together.  Make sure you clear out the cupboards from the junk food you have a severe weakness for.  Start your diet off on the right foot; fill your fridge and your cabinets with only the food that is on your diet!  You will be less likely to indulge in something if its not there, and chances are you won’t make the effort to go outside of the home to get it either!

  1. No Back-Up Plan

Even the best-laid plans fail, but if you have a back up plan you’re less likely to stray off your diet.  If you know you have a social event you will be going to like a birthday or a wedding, ask for a special meal request, eat before you go or bring your food with you.  If you’re traveling for a vacation or work, call the hotel ahead of time to see if they have healthy options, book a suite with a kitchen so you can prepare healthy meals.

Be sure to bring healthy diet appropriate snacks like nuts, energy or protein bars made with natural ingredients, veggie sticks or fruit with you, to ensure you don’t get stuck in an airport, in traffic or at an event longer than you thought without a healthy food choice.

Until Next Time

Be Fierce & Rule the World,

Lauren Jacobsen

Four Ways to Stop Emotional Eating and Be More Intuitive

There are ways to stop emotional eating, and prevent it from sabotaging your results for good.  Here are 4 ways, plus a few helpful tips to stop emotional eating and learn how to be intuitive to your hunger!

As some point or another, we are all guilty of emotional eating.  Eating as a way to comfort an unpleasant feeling, whether it is brought on by a stressful day of work, a bad break-up, hormonal changes or simply because we are bored.  The problem with emotional eating is that it can become too comforting and too much of a habit, which can lead to weight gain or prevent weight loss if you’re not aware of it or intuitive to your eating habits.  There are ways to stop emotional eating, and prevent it from sabotaging your results for good.  Here are 4 ways, plus a few helpful tips to stop emotional eating and learn how to be intuitive to your hunger!

Recognize the Signs

Emotional eating can be triggered by stress, anger, sadness, anxiety or even boredom. It can also be brought on by changes in hormone levels, such as during PMS when estrogen levels raise. Stress can also bring on emotional eating.  Stress causes an increase in cortisol, which can impede your body from processing carbohydrates, but can also increase cravings for sugary foods.  Another sure-fire sign of emotional eating is when you reach for food even though you are physically not hungry.  If you are eating with less than 3 hours between meals, perhaps the reason is emotional not actual hunger.

Tip – Use a Food Journal  Start evaluating and assessing your hunger, use a food journal to write down where and when you eat and how you are feeling, notice if there are any patterns, are you physically hungry, are you low in energy, or mindlessly reaching for food? Do you feel guilty after you eat?  Are you craving anything specific sugary, salty, crunchy or creamy?  By tracking when, where and how much you are eating you will quickly be able to identify what is triggering your emotional eating and squash it with a healthy alternative.

Tip – Switch it Up  Craving something crunchy and salty?  Instead of reaching for a bag of chips, try a tablespoon of your favourite nut butter on a few celery sticks! Craving something sweet and creamy?  Instead of ice cream, try a serving of non-fat, zero calorie Greek yogurt combined with a few of your favorite berries, a packet of Stevia and a teaspoon of vanilla!   Craving chocolate or candy, try a piece of fruit!

Workout and Mediate

Once you recognize that you are emotional eating, the next step it to replace that habit with a new healthier one that can change your mindset and your focus.  By far the best way to combat emotional eating is to head to the gym!  Working out reduces stress by releasing feel good endorphins that actually decrease hunger and boost energy, not to mention burn calories.  Another way to shift your focus from food is to try mediation and simple breathing techniques.  Breathing exercises can slow down your heart rate; relax the mind and take your focus off of food.  Mediation and regular workouts can also help clear the mind.

Tip – Stick to a Schedule One of the best ways to keep your mind focused is to have a clear and defined schedule, and a set of goals.  Schedule workouts, yoga and even a little mediation and downtime for you.  This will help you stick with new habits and keep the balance in your life without letting emotions take over.

Stop Rewarding Yourself with Food

Many fitness minded individuals, might be considered chronic dieters by some, following strict clean diets during competition or bikini season, and rewarding themselves with cheat meals because of good behaviour.  This can lead to feelings of guilt if an unscheduled ‘cheat’ occurs, or come off-season, when ultra-restrictive diets usually get thrown to the side!  Dieting can deprive a person from their favourite foods, so when they hit an emotional wall or accomplish a big goal, they say forget this, and give into that food they have been craving the most.

Tip – Try a New Reward Instead of getting into the routine of rewarding yourself with food, start rewarding yourself with other treats, like a trip to the spa, a new workout top, or most women’s favorite thing a new pair of shoes.  Other ways to reward yourself, try a different workout from your regular routine or a different activity like indoor rock climbing.  It can be fun, take your mind off of food, and stimulate your muscles and your mind in a completely different manner.

Manage Emotional Eating

If you know there are certain foods that can trigger an emotional outburst, the best thing to do is not buy them! Don’t have cookies, ice cream, chocolates, chips or whatever your emotional clutch is hanging around the kitchen.  It’s a recipe for disaster and a diet meltdown come your next stressful situation.  Be sure your diet is in check; often we crave foods as a result of lacking certain foods in our diet.  If carbohydrates are too low, energy and blood sugar levels will dip, along with serotonin levels. Also make sure you get plenty of protein, at least 1 g per pound of bodyweight, this satiating food can reduce hunger between meals.  Be sure to balance out your meals, eating every 3 hours, which will sustain blood sugar and help keep your metabolism moving along!

Tip – Convenient Healthy Options Despite your best efforts you may still want to feed the need!  Instead of filling yourself up with sugary and fatty junk food options, have healthy snacks available that are ready to grab at anytime, such as non-fat Greek yogurt, fruit, nuts, whole-grain rice cakes with beetroot hummus, a protein smoothie or even pre-made protein pancakes or protein bites!

Until Next Time,

Be Fierce & Rule the World!

Lauren Jacobsen

 

Easy Ways to Boost Your Daily Fibre Intake

You have probably heard that daily fibre intake is an important part of a healthy diet.  What’s more foods high in fiber are not hard to find, in fact many can be found in the foods you are probably already familiar with!  But despite this fact many of us still do not get enough fibre in our diet.  In fact, most consume less than 50% of the recommended dietary fibre in-take needed for good health!  So, what exactly are the health benefits of fibre? Keep reading to find out everything you have ever needed to know about your daily fibre intake,  how much you need and how to get more of it!

You have probably heard that daily fibre intake is an important part of a healthy diet.  What’s more foods high in fiber are not hard to find, in fact many can be found in the foods you are probably already familiar with!  But despite this fact many of us still do not get enough fibre in our diet.  In fact, most consume less than 50% of the recommended dietary fibre in-take needed for good health!  So, what exactly are the health benefits of fibre? Keep reading to find out everything you have ever needed to know about your daily fibre intake,  how much you need and how to get more of it!

What is Fibre?

Fibre is the part of food from plants that remains indigestible. It can be considered part of the carbohydrates when it comes to your macronutrients, and can be found in a lot of the healthy foods you are already eating as part of a weight loss or muscle building diet plan.

Soluble and Insoluble Fibre

There are two types – soluble and insoluble.  Soluble is called soluble because it partially dissolves in water.  It gets fermented in the colon into gases and active byproducts that can act like prebiotics, stimulating the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Foods high in soluble fibre are digested slowly by the body, and can thus help regulate blood sugar levels and appetite.  Soluble fibre can be found in beans, lentils, apples, oatmeal and bran to name a few.

Insoluble fibre is resistant to digestion and therefore does not dissolve in water, but some can absorb water as they move through the intestinal tract.  Some insoluble fibres ferment in the intestines, while others simple act as a bulking agent.  Insoluble fiber can be found in whole grains, seeds, nuts, and dark leafy vegetables.  Insoluble fibre can help keep you regular and prevent constipation by accelerating the movement of food through the digestive system.

What Are the Benefits of Daily Fibre Intake?

It has been shown that fibre intake can reduce blood sugar absorption, reduce blood sugar response after eating and help stabilize energy levels.  Some forms of insoluble resistant starch fibre can help increase insulin sensitivity.  Its slows digestion rate and can also reduce appetite and hunger between meals, making you feel full for longer.  It can increase healthy gut bacteria during the fermentation process of both soluble and insoluble fibres.  Fibre has been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol levels (LDL).  It has also been shown to help lower risk of metabolic syndrome, diabetes and obesity, as well as lower the risk of colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers.

How Does Fibre Help With Dieting? 

Eating fibre can be a huge asset in your dieting arsenal; although fibre alone won’t shed off the fat it will help you stay in-control of your diet.  First off, it has been shown that people who ate 35 to 45 g of fibre per day are less hungry when trying to lose weight and lose more weight than people who eat less fibre.

In one study, the satiety level of people consuming apples, applesauce and apple juice with added fibre before eating lunch was compared.  Those who ate the apple ate 15% fewer calories than those who ate the applesauce or drank the juice.  The fibre from the whole food was found to be more filling and satisfying.  Adding fiber to your diet will help reduce hunger, keep appetite and cravings in-check and may even help you eat less!

How Much Daily Fibre Do You Need?

Women need about 20 to 35 g per day, but on average, most North Americans consume less than 50% of the daily recommended intake.  Getting fibre in your diet doesn’t have to be difficult.  Most fibrous foods are usually already part of a diet plan that   Start by adding foods that are high in fibre to your diet!  See below for a list of foods that offer up an abundance of fibre.

Sources Fibre per ½ cup serving
Broccoli 1.1 g
Kale 1.2 g
Sweet Potato 4.1 g
Oatmeal 2.0 g
Brown Rice 1.75 g
Quinoa 2.6 g
Bran 2.85 g
Kidney Beans 6.8 g
Chickpeas 6.25 g
Strawberries 1.5 g
Blackberries 3.8 g
Almonds 9 g

Fibre Supplements

Greens Powder 

These supplements pack a ton of fibre into one serving by providing phytonutrient rich super foods such as leafy greens, broccoli, wheat grass, barley grass, and much more.  Some greens supplements provide up to 2 g per serving!

Psyllium Husk

Psyllium is derived from the seed of the pantago ovato plant.  Probably the most common fibre supplement on the market today is used primarily to promote regularity.  Each teaspoon serving delivers approximately 3 g per serving.  Psyllium Husk has a laxative type of effect.  Typically Psyllium is taken orally by mixing with about 8 oz of water.

Konjac Root

Konjac root is an Asian indigenous plant, and can be used to make shirataki noodles, but it can be also found in many appetite suppressing weight loss supplements or sold on its own.  Konjac has almost zero calories, and is an extremely soluble fiber.  Konjac swells in the gut, decreasing appetite and food in-take!

Inulin

Inulin is derived from mostly chicory although it can also be found in wheat, onions, bananas and artichokes. Inulin is an insoluble fiber that is not digested or absorbed. Inulin has been found to increase nutrient absorption of certain vitamins and minerals, while also increasing good gut bacteria.  It can also decrease the body’s ability to make cholesterol and triglycerides.  Inulin is often added to other supplements such as nutrition bars and food products to help boost fibre content.

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Until Next Time,

Be Fierce & Rule the World,

Lauren Jacobsen

 References:

Anderson JW, Baird P, Davis RH et al. Health benefits of dietary fiber. 2009. Nutr Rev 67 (4): 188–205

Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients) (2005), Chapter 7: Dietary, Functional and Total fiber. US Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library and National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board.

Flood-Obbagy JE, Rolls BJ.  The effect of fruit in different forms on energy intake and satiety at a meal.

Howarth NC, Saltzman E, Roberts SB.  Dietary Fiber and Weight Regulation. 2001. Nutr Rev 59 (5): 129-39

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (fiber data for foods) http://ndb.nal.usda.gov

5 Quick Diet Tricks for a Flat Tummy

A flat tummy can be the centrepiece of your outfit.  No matter if it’s a tight dress, bikini, or super sexy midriff outfit, you no doubt want to make sure that tummy is tight and taunt.  Of course the right diet and exercise program are the first steps to trimming the fat and toning up. If you have already got these covered off and are looking for a few diet tricks to look your best and reduce bloating fast, consider using these five quick diet tricks for a flat tummy fast! 

A flat tummy can be the centrepiece of your outfit.  No matter if it’s a tight dress, bikini, or super sexy midriff outfit, you no doubt want to make sure that tummy is tight and taunt.  Of course the right diet and exercise program are the first steps to trimming the fat and toning up. If you have already got these covered off and are looking for a few diet tricks to look your best and reduce bloating fast, consider using these five quick diet tricks for a flat tummy fast!

5 Quick Tricks for a Flat Tummy Fast!

  1. Avoid Bloating Broccoli

Certain foods cause more bloating than others, even though they are extremely good for us.  If you have a tight dress to fit into for a holiday party, avoid eating cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale or cauliflower.  These gassy greens pack a whole lot of fibre, along with the indigestible sugar called raffinose.

In the gut, methane-producing bacteria feed on raffinose and release gas, causing stomach bloat.   Cooking these veggies longer won’t help reduce the bloat either, but taking a supplement that can breakdown the raffinose enzyme before it can exert its action can reduce gas and bloating.  Instead of swearing off green vegetables for good, switch them up to natural diuretic greens like asparagus!

  1. Drink Plenty of Lemon Water

Drinking plenty of water can help reduce water retention in the body.  When you are not hydrated, the body tends to hold onto more water due to specific hormones that prevent it from being released. Increasing water intake down regulates these hormones –  anti-diuretic hormone and aldosterone, when these hormones are low your body will flush out more water.  Suppressing these hormone means you need to up your water intake for a few days prior to your event to change the fluid balance in your body before these hormones will shut off.

If you are accustom to drinking 3 to 4 L per day, trying doubling that a few days before your big event, then cut off your water within 24 hours prior but continue to sip on about 500 mL to 1 L during the day, you will find that your water will expel quickly and your body will tighten up fast!  If you have a hard time drinking all that water, add a dash of lemon – another natural diuretic that can help flush you out!

  1. Eliminate Salty Foods

Salt changes the water balance in the body, increasing blood volume and disrupting fluid balance, not to mention it can also make you dehydrated further resulting in greater water retention.  Reduce your bloat by decreasing your intake of salty foods.  Avoid processed fast foods, canned foods, salted nuts and cured meats altogether, and skip out on the added salt on your meals.  Drink plenty of water to help flush out the salt and the extra water.

  1. Stop with the Sweeteners

Sweeteners are made from non-digestible sugar alcohols, and although they have extremely low caloric values, when eaten in large quantities they can result in bloating and gas.  Sugar alcohols are not completely absorbed or digested, which can cause fermentation to occur in the intestines leading to gastrointestinal distress!  Avoid excessive consumption by reducing your intake of sugar-free gum, beverages and other sugar-free products to about 2 to 3 servings per day.

Want a Flat Tummy Fast?  Try this Smoothie:

  1. Avoid Carbonated Drinks

Carbonated drinks are fizzing because of the bubbles of gas they contain.  Drinking too much can result in the trapping of gas in the belly.  Not to mention if you are drinking plenty of diet soda, you are also getting a hefty dose of sweetener to further exacerbate the bloat.  Replace soda with water, or even iced non-sweetened tea with lemon or even coffee.  Green tea and coffee both deliver caffeine – a natural diuretic, along with other active components to help boost metabolism.

Until Next Time,

Be Fierce & Rule the World,

Lauren Jacobsen

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