5 Easy Tips To Eat Less

5 Easy Tips To Eat Less

5 Easy Tips to Eat Less

In today’s world of consumption we could all learn to want a little less, and this is especially true with food.

The abundance of choices and readiness of prepared food products is unparalleled. No other generation before us has had so much food available to them, and for so cheap.

This availability has come at a price though, and it’s our waistlines that have paid for it.

The Stats

The average number of calories a person eats in a day is 3,900. Back in 1965 that number was 3,100 calories. That’s an increase of 25%.

This increase is not with fresh fruit or vegetables either. Instead, we are eating more packaged products (see graph below) which are full of sugar, salt and bad fat.

This deadly trio, in turn, makes us crave more sugar, more sodium and more fat. It’s a revolving door that will just keep on this treadmill of addiction if we don’t start making some changes.

Breakdown of money spent on groceries - Fitness with PJ

Too Much Of A Bad Thing

How did we gain all this weight? Because it is not fathomable that a 25% increase in calories in the last 50  years has lead to an almost 50% North American obesity rate.

Weight gain is not exactly what we used to think it was, a calories in versus calories expended model. Science has confirmed that we do not process all foods the same.

Take for example almonds and a chocolate bar. The body processes the calories and macronutrients of both very differently.

The candy bar, if eaten on a regular basis, will lead to weight gain, whereas the nuts will not (unless you are my loving husband. Damn him. He eats a candy bar everyday and has not gained a pound in the 24 years of being together.).

Instead, experts are warning us that excessive over eating of the wrong foods (ie. high in sugar, sodium and bad fat), will lead us to gain weight faster because of leptin resistance in the body.

Leptin is a natural occurring hormone that tells our brains when we are full.

When we eat healthy whole foods, in the right amounts leptin does its job wonderfully and secretes messages to our control centre (the brain) telling us when we are full and when to stop eating.

But, years of bad choices with foods, accompanied with mindless over eating, breaks this system and we are now resistant to the one hormone that is there to help us.

sugar-consumption-Fitness with PJ

Do This First

So, my first piece of advice on how to eat less is to start eating real food for as many different meals as you can and eliminate added sugar from your diet.

Plan and prep your meals ahead of time and implement these five tips to help you eat less.

 5 Easy Tips to Eat Less

1/ Hide the food.

Studies have shown that we eat more food if the food is left out on the table. So, once you have plated your meal put the dishes back in the kitchen, or even better the fridge.

On the flip side, when storing your food in the fridge or cupboards put the good stuff in clear view of your eye sight.

For instance, place your vegetables right smack in the center of your fridge and hide the processed, bad foods in the crisper. Out of sight, out of mind.

2/ Trick your brain.

Trick your brain by using smaller plates and taller glasses. Yes, we can really pull one over on ourselves.

You see food looks like way more than it is on smaller plates, creating an “illusion” to our grey matter that we are eating more. This trick even works with glasses. Choose glasses that are taller and not the wider and your brain will think there is more volume.

Here’s a good example, take a look at the picture below.

How to eat less - Fitness with PJ blog

Each dot is the exact same in diameter, but doesn’t the one on the left look bigger?

So, if this was a plate of food it would also seem bigger to your brain and your brain would physically “think” that it’s eating more food than it really is -therefore telling our stomach to shut up and be satisfied.

Yep. It’s that easy to trick ourselves!

3/ Eat protein for breakfast.

Experts suggest eating at least 30 grams of protein (that’s 2 eggs and some cottage cheese) to help come out of the fast that you have done through the night and to replenish your protein stores. This is important so that your body does not start drawing on your own muscle tissue to feed itself.

In addition, wholesome high protein foods will also help regulate your appetite for the day, filling you up for a longer period. This equals to less snacking and more focus and energy through your morning too.

4/ Serve yourself 20% less.

It’s been proven that our margin for mindless eating starts after 80%. That means that after we have eaten 80% of our plate, the remaining 20% is mostly mindless.

The body does not need it for survival; we are simply eating it because we have stopped being aware.

Push yourself away from the table before this happens. Leave satisfied, but not full.

Science says this is the best workout to lose belly fat.

How to eat less - Fitness with PJ blog

5/ Drink water.

Our body cannot distinguish whether it is thirsty or hungry. Rather it has one signal that it releases when it craves either, and in my experience people are usually dehydrated before they are actually hungry.

TRY THIS: When you get the “signal” from your stomach have a large glass of water and wait 10 minutes. Stomach still grumbling? Have another glass and wait another 10 minutes.

I also do not want you to drink your calories either. Recent studies have found that the calories we consume in liquid form don’t “register” as food in the brain’s satiety centres.

Water is the only liquid that will “fill us up” – anything else is simply extra calories to our waistline.







PJ ox

Arms, Abs and Shoulder Workout

Arms, Abs and Shoulder Workout

Arms, Abs & Shoulders Workout

This is the prefect workout to do if:

  • You want to hit all the smaller muscles of your upper body
  • You want to improve your push up
  • You love to train abs, no matter what
  • You desire some sexy muscle tone to your arms and shoulders
  • You want to give your legs a break

My 30-minute Arms, Abs and Shoulder Workout will do all that, and maybe even make you sweat a little too.

Tools you will need:

  • A pair of light dumbbells
  • A pair of moderate dumbbells
  • A pair of moderate/heavier dumbbells
  • I’m using 5lb, 8lb, 10lb & 12lb

Arms, Abs and Shoulder Workout

The Workout

Arms, Abs and Shoulders Workout - Fitness with PJ blog







PJ ox

How to Improve Your Sleep

How to Improve Your Sleep

Sleep provides amazing benefits to the body.

  • It lowers stress
  • Improves our mood
  • Helps maintain and promote a healthy body weight
  • Improves our athletic performance and coordination
  • Increases our ability to pay attention and remember new information

But, not a lot of us are getting enough sleep.

In 2011 researchers from the Université Laval released their data that revealed that 40% of Canadians suffer from a sleep disorder.

Our brothers and sisters south of us aren’t doing any better either. The National Sleep Foundation (along with two government agencies) estimated in 2012 that 40 billion Americans suffer from a chronic sleep disorder.


Dr. Heli McPhie, naturopath with The Village Clinic, chatted with me about the best ways to fall asleep and stay asleep.

She covered:

  • Why we aren’t sleeping?
  • The one thing you can do RIGHT now to help you sleep better.
  • What are DHEA levels and why they are important to help you sleep?
  • Sleep hygiene – how this plays a HUGE role in falling asleep.
  •  What tests should you be taking if you have problems sleeping.
  • What natural products are there on the market that will help us sleep, and do they really work?
  • How does she coach her clients to better sleep?
  • PLUS, she answered some great questions from the audience.


Dr. Heli McPhie - Fitness with PJ Blab/Blog

Dr. McPhie’s passion for medicine and healing began at a young age growing up in southern Africa. Building on her love of the natural world and science, Dr. McPhie completed an undergraduate degree in biology at McGill University in Montreal.

She then went on to complete a further four years of study in Naturopathic Medicine at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine.

After two years of clinical practice in Toronto, Dr. McPhie returned to Vancouver in 2000.

Since then she has operated a successful family practice, seeing patients of all ages on the west side of Vancouver. She opened her own practice, The Village Clinic, in 2011 in Tsawwassen.

The Village Clinic has since expanded into a collaborative interdisciplinary clinic.

Dr. McPhie treats a wide variety of conditions and ages including digestive disorders, allergies, anxiety, depression, sports injuries, immune disorders, skin conditions, autoimmune disorders, and many other chronic conditions.

The clinic caters to walk in clients and holds flu prevention clinics. Dr. Mcphie utilizes many modalities of practice including nutrition, homeopathy, botanical medicine, use of vitamins and minerals and acupuncture.









PJ ox

A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 10

A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 10


 Would you like a template to help you plan your meals for the week ahead? Let me send you my Weekly Meal Planner. Fill it out each week and then post it on your fridge and begin reaping the benefits of meal planning.

 Click Here to gain access to the menu template.


Well, my 2-week vegan experiment is complete. I have been 99.9% vegan for 14 days to see if my energy levels and skin improve – I couldn’t pull a 100%.

 I kept using half and half for my coffee. I tried though, for 48 hours I tried really, really hard.

 You see lately I have been feeling less than energetic (okay, let’s be honest, all I feel like doing in the evening is sitting on the couch and binge watching NetFlix), and just out of the blue my skin has been acting up and pulling a temper tantrum.

 This temper tantrum has come in the form of dryness and oiliness (is that even possible? Oh yes it is!), with zits and all. I truly thought I was done with this shit at puberty.

 Apparently not.

 Apparently in mid-life we also hit a rough patch.


Funny over 40 quote - Fitness with PJ


99.9% Vegan – Did It Work

 After 2-weeks I can honestly say I… don’t feel much different. I had a feeling I wouldn’t though.

 I do not eat a lot of meat to begin with and I enjoy fresh veggies and fruit everyday. I also (as you may know if you have been reading my blogs), prepare a lot of the meals that I eat and avoid sugar, bad fats, refined carbs, packaged foods and eating out for a majority of my week – yes, I said a majority of my week.

 I still eat the aforementioned. I am not one of those trainers who lives the perfect healthy lifestyle. I envy my counterparts who do and who can maintain it 24/7, but I stopped a long time ago trying to aspire to perfection. Age does have its benefits and not giving a damn is one of them.

 But, I wanted to try vegan because I am not a girl who sits on the sidelines and whines about the hardships that I am going through (like a few zits and sitting on the couch is a real hardship anyways – jeez PJ, get a grip).

 Instead, I make changes to see if I can correct what is happening to me and then I move on.


Will I Stay Vegan?

 Will I stay vegan? No, I will go back to adding eggs and Greek yogurt to my weekly menu, as well as cheese to spice up some of my meals, but I really don’t have a craving for meat.

 And this is freaking poor loving husband.

 He loves meat, but since I do all of the grocery shopping and all of the cooking if I don’t do meat his chances of doing meat are very slim too.

 Lucky for him he knows how to dial for *take-out.

 [* Loving husband just read this and said I usually do that too, so he’s screwed.}

 Catch Up On Previous Week’s Menus

PJ's Pathetic Christmas Tree - Fitness with PJ

Our Christmas Tree

Week 10 Menu Plan




  • Egg frittata with a side of mixed nuts which I will prep today (Sunday)
  • I find just a piece of frittata does not completely fill me up, but add a 1/4 c of mixed nuts and viola – stomach, brain and energy levels are all happy and humming along smoothly.
  • I will use my slow-cooker frittata recipe, but bake it in the oven for 40-minutes at 375 degrees and use whatever veggies I have in the ol’ crisper.




  • Today, Sunday, I will prep Maple Baked Lentils with Sweet Potatoes and a BAS (big ass salad) for my lunches for Monday through Thursday. Friday is a free for all cause it’s STAR WARS!
  • This amazing recipe is from the rockstar of the recipe/blog world, Angela Liddon AKA, Oh She Glows. Her blog and her cookbook are a few of my favourite things and I think I would freak out waaaaaaaay more meeting her than I would meeting Han Solo (Harrison Ford, for you non-Star Wars readers).
  • She is a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen and I have NEVER had a bad recipe from her. I. Adore. Her.
  • Now, back to STAR WARS. As of today, Sunday December 13, it is only 5 more sleeps until the movie that I have been waiting for since I was seven years old comes to theatres. I have had tickets for weeks, and I have already warned loving husband that I may shed some tears of happiness when the opening credits start. I’m not joking. I openly weeped when I first saw the trailer.


Maple Baked Lentils – Oh She Glows





  • I work late and will not feel like cooking when I get home so we will enjoy the White Bean Turkey Chili that is in the freezer.
  • It is now 4 more sleeps until STAR WARS.




  • Baked salmon with lemon juice and dill with a side of rice for loving husband, quinoa for me and some sautéed green beans with garlic.
  • It is now 3 more sleeps until STAR WARS.


FIT TIP: Have bad knees and wondering how to strengthen them? Try my No Squat, No Lunge Leg Workout – it’s the perfect program for you.






 Sesame Orange Beef with Bean Sprouts and Green Beans from The Everyday Maven

  • It is now only 24 hours away from STAR WARS. OMG.




  • It’s here! STAR WARS is here! Today! Finally!
  • I have my tickets printed and a back up pair also printed and in my coat AND another copy on my phone!
  • I also will bring a spare set of eye contacts just in case somehow the ones in my eyeballs mysteriously pop out and I have to put in a fresh pair.
  • I have our seats assigned! I have my Darth Vadar tee clean and ready!
  • We will be leaving a couple of hours before the movie starts so there is enough time JUST in case:
    • We run out of gas
    • There is traffic
    • We hit every red light
    • The BC government applies a new law that morning that cars can only drive at 30 km/h
    • There is an accident
    • We get in an accident
    • The car breaks down
    • A natural disaster happens (in which case I will ride my bike there)
    • Zombies invade the Lower Mainland (in which case I will ride my bike even faster there)
    • There is a line up of other Star Wars dazed geeks like me at the theatre
  • Only my own death will stop me from going to this movie today. I have all contingencies in place for anything else that could happen.
  • As for food, I will probably be way too bloody excited to eat.










PJ ox

10 Tips To Avoid The Flu

10 Tips To Avoid The Flu

If there is one thing we can all universally agree on, it’s that getting sick bites. (That, and Donald Trump needs to take a long walk off of a very short pier… and soon.)

No one likes getting sick, no one has time to get sick, and no one chooses to be sick.

But, getting sick is like the schoolyard bully. Pretty soon, one day or another, it will pick on you.

Right now we are in the thick of the flu season and if the schoolyard bully has not kicked your butt yet, you probably know someone who has had theirs kicked.

The Stats

In Canada the active influenza season starts in November and ends in March (Public Health Agency of Canada). Flu viruses constantly change, with a new and fresh seasonal flu appearing each and every flu season.

It’s like the latest fall fashion, minus the Instagram account.

The flu seems to be picking up steam too. During the past five years, incidents of people being admitted to the hospital due to influenza-associated problems have increased at a staggering rate.

During the 2011–2012 flu season there were a total of 1,151 adult hospitalizations in Canada (an adult hospitalization is classified as anyone over the age of 20 years).

Flash forward to the last year’s flu season and there were 6,720 adult hospitalizations. (Public Health Agency of Canada).

That’s a 484 percent increase in less than five years. Wow.

To help you avoid the flu, I recruited naturopath Dr. Heli McPhie of The Village Clinic in Tsawwassen to provide us with her best tips to fight back and stay healthy.

10 Tips to Avoid the Flu

1/ Keep yourself fit.

First and foremost flu prevention starts with a healthy body and mind. So exercise regularly (my personal favourite tip), take your supplements, eat well, laugh often (in other words, don’t let stress get the best of you), quit smoking (if you smoke), and rest.

Funny getting sick quote - Fitness with PJ

2/ Keep it clean.

Her next tip is one we hear from all health professionals all the time: wash your hands.

Because we touch our faces an incredible number of times in a day, it is vital to constantly keep our hands clean.

In addition, she also recommends that you teach your children to wash their hands before eating.


How to wash your hands - fighting the flu Fitness with PJ

3/ Sneeze here please.

If you do happen to catch a cold, or the flu, be sure sneeze into your “sneeze pocket” – that’s your elbow, not your hands. This will reduce the spread of the flu virus, which is an important part of flu prevention.

You can also help reduce the spread of the flu virus by not sharing food or drinks, straws, and utensils. Also, say no to double dippers and remember to toss those tissues.

4/ Oh thank you for coming to work sick today! We appreciate it – said nobody ever.

If you are sick, make sure you stay at home, too. Don’t be a hero and go to work. You are only spreading the virus to those around you, which is not as appreciated as you may think.

I'm sick. Looks like I will be laying in bed all day. Oh wait, I'm a mom. Click To Tweet

5/ All you need is love.

Take the time you need to care for yourself. Being a wee bit selfish is okay because if you aren’t well, you cannot be there for those you care for and who may need you.

6/ MD or ND.

If your symptoms are severe, or you are worried, check in with your doctor or a naturopath and then rest, drink plenty of fluids and eat healthy (such as clear veggie and/or chicken soups).

Also chat with your MD or ND about other ways to prevent the flu, such as the flu vaccine.

7/ Sleep.

Sleep well and rest.Sleep and rest is vital for maintaining good overall health and, in turn, a healthy immune system.

I learned this one the hard way myself. Last Christmas I was not resting properly and was burnt out and stressed out, and by Christmas morning I was sick as a dog.

And, big tip, if sleep is an issue for you, book an appointment with Dr. McPhie; she’s brilliant with sleep problems.

My 3 unconventional tips to sleep better.

8/ Chill out.

The next step to fighting the cold and flu is to simply relax. Reducing stress levels will keep your immune system strong and healthy.

Find time, every day, to relieve and reduce your stress. Your body will reward you and it will be strong enough to fight the cold and flu virus.

The BEST tips to beat stress.

9/ Get a protein fix.

Research shows that diets that are too low in protein can deplete the immune system. Make sure you get protein-rich foods throughout the day, such as fish, eggs, tofu and yogurt.

Click here to discover my top protein powders.

10/ Care is absolute. Prevention is ideal. 

And, Dr. McPhie’s final takeaway: prevent first because it is always easier to prevent than cure.







PJ ox

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