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  • 13 Jul 2015 6:12 AM | Anonymous


    This concept can be hard to accept and sometimes it's not clear why we can't stay accountable to ourselves. Have you made fitness goals for yourself, but seem to keep letting yourself down? I know I used to feel like I should be able to accomplish my goals on my own without any help. I viewed needing support from accountability tools as a weak point. However, I now realize that's pretty ridiculous. We all have so much going on in our lives and how many people do you know with fitness goals? If it were easy to reach these goals without any help everyone wold be able to do it. I let go of my stubborn attitude and now I find it so much easier to not only stay on track but get back on track when life interferes with my plans.

    Are you currently implementing the following 4 tips? If not, try them out and watch how it affects your results.

    4 Top Tips for Staying Accountable

    1 - Track Your Food

    I know, no surprise here. However, I can't say it enough. If you don't know what you've eaten you can't possibly know if you're on track or not for your goals.

    2- Weigh Yourself

    No, the scale is not a measurement of fitness. However, it is a good accountability tool. At the very least, if you're trying to lose fat the scale shouldn't be going up. Many times we don't notice those first few pounds when we go off track, so if you make a habit our of weighing yourself this won't be an issue.

    3- Let Your Goals Be Known

    This might be the scariest one. Sometimes we don't want to tell others our goals, because what if we fail? Telling others makes you more accountable because you can't rationalize your goal away in your head. Also, you have to be ok with failing. Sometimes you're not going to lose weight as fast as you want to, but what if you do?

    4 - Partner Up

    This doesn't necessarily mean find a workout buddy, but that may be helpful. Find someone who has similar fitness goals and partner up with them. Having an accountability partner help you through those tough times. We all know someone who wants to reach a new fitness goal. Make a pact with that person to support each other. Don't feel like working out or having a hard time staying on your diet? Talk to your partner about it and let them give you some motivation. Having a support system is very important when striving to reach new goals. Don't go at it alone because you think you shouldn't need someone else to help keep you on track. Trust me, not taking on new goals alone is a vital step to being successful. Having a partnership helps both of you reach your goals.

    Don't talk yourself out of using tools that will help you succeed. Be accountable to yourself and accept support where you need it, even if it makes you uncomfortable. If you want to win in life then you must be open to being uncomfortable. Without discomfort growth won't happen. Does sharing your goals or getting on the scale make you uncomfortable? That's probably because these are the tools you need the most. Embrace the discomfort and gain results! You've got this!

    Let me know how these tools help you @taralynnfitness

  • 13 Jun 2015 3:27 AM | Anonymous

    The short answer is no. But it's not that simple. 

    Here's a better answer:

    Your body stores fat where it stores fat. So maybe the back of your arms or thighs or stomach is where you notice you are pretty soft. Well, don't be distraught. Because while you can not technically spot reduce fat; you can focus more training on that area. If you want a muscle to grow then work it more.

    Why is this helpful? In order to get rid of all that softness you will need a two part strategy: 1- Lose body fat 2 - Gain muscle.


    Train your body and build muscle. Why?

    • Building muscle creates those nice lines on your body.

    • This is the sculpting phase of your plan.

    • Muscle is lean and when the more muscle you create the better your metabolic rate will be.

      • Aka: eat more while losing fat because your metabolism has increased.


    Train hard and lose body fat. Why?

    • When you are working hard not only are you building muscle but you are also burning calories and...FAT

    • Losing body fat is like taking the sheet off a statue. What you built is just below that sheet but no one can see your masterpiece if there’s a sheet covering it.

    • You can not spot reduce fat, but creating a well rounded program will have you building muscle and then losing body fat to show off your amazing physique.

    Now to address the whole “I don’t want to get too big”...I hate to say this but unless you are trying to build big muscles you are not going to get huge muscles. It takes a ton of work, strict nutrition, and proper supplementation to ever have the hope of getting huge…. that applies to men and women! I hate to say this but I must tell my clients the truth, typically when they think they are getting bigger and it’s because their muscles are getting too big….It’s not. It’s because their body fat level is still too high. They are building muscle, but they’re also not losing body fat quickly enough to see the results they like. How to avoid this? Well building muscle while losing body fat can be very challenging. Some people like to focus more on one of those goals at a time, but even if you are trying to do both the key is NOT TO RUSH THE PROCESS. Be consistent, track your food, and workout. You will get there and you’ll be so happy with your metabolism if you’ll just take it slow but consistent.

    In summary, focusing on training your whole body and challenging yourself so you lose body fat from all over your body is the way to go. More muscle helps get rid of body fat so while you can't make yourself lose body fat from a specific area more quickly than other areas you can keep to a consistent routine and work that area more than the others to help develop those muscles. You got this!

  • 06 May 2015 8:35 AM | Anonymous

    We all eat foods we realize probably are not the healthiest options. I once had a client say she used too much creamer in her coffee and that’s probably why she was gaining weight. I reassured her that she could continue to put creamer in her coffee. I know I’ve said this before but let me say it again, “No one food is making you fat.”

    If you are eating something every day then chances are you really enjoy that food. For some people that may be creamer in their coffee, dressing on their salad, or whatever food that many articles have deemed “fattening”. So how do you know which of these are fattening you up? I know I’m about to sound like a broken record, but the answer is by tracking your food.

    Most coffee creamers have about 35 calories per serving. Salad dressings can really vary but most aren’t more than 150 calories per serving. Consider the overall amount of calories you should be eating in a day. It's most likely at least 1600. When you think about that, it becomes clear 35 or 150 calories is not making you fat. It’s a combination of all your food choices. Don’t get so bogged down in trying to find one food you can cut completely out of your diet. Instead, take a look at your overall diet. The ones you enjoy eating every day be sure to measure your serving size so that you don't accidentally over indulge.

    This is an example of how my daily coffee creamer indulgence fits into my macros:

    Sometimes we try to pinpoint one culprit because we feel it's easier to cut out one food completely as opposed to making over our whole diet. However, that isn’t really going to get us anywhere. Short cuts are never going to result in permanent weight loss. Telling ourselves certain foods are completely off limits just creates a want for them in our minds. Tracking and eating a variety of food is the only way to ensure a long term change in eating patterns that will lead to successfully reaching goals.

  • 04 May 2015 9:12 AM | Anonymous
    I recently went to my friend's house where she asked me if I liked raw almonds. I replied by telling her I do and that I've eaten them pre-sprouted. She looked surprised and went to the kitchen to retrieve our snack.

    Then she brought this out:

    A bowl of green fruit. 

    I was very confused. I tried one and it was very sour. Not a horrible taste but not something I would voluntarily snack on either. However, it had me intrgiued so I looked up these "almonds". Turns out she was right. They are almonds.

    The almond plant is a lot like a peach. There's the outer fruit part and then the inside seed. What we in America commonly call almonds are actually the seed of the fruit. 

    So if they're not nuts, what are they? This type of fruit is a called a "drupe." Drupes have an outer fleshy part surrounding a shell containing a seed. You might be wondering why we don't find the fruit readily available like we do peaches and other fruits in this category. It probably has to do with our American taste preferences. As I said earlier, the fruit is very sour tasting. Also, the fleshy part is not very big. Americans are known for liking sweeter fruits with larger fleshy parts to eat. So instead, the fruit is harvested and seeds removed then processed to give us what in America is a very popular "nut." However, if you want to go try this unique food out its most likely available somewhere near you. Try mediteranean markets in your area during this late spring/early summer time of year. Maybe you'll find a new favorite food and at the very least you can discover something unique and healthy! 

    Check out Fig & Quince for more about this unique food.

  • 29 Apr 2015 10:39 AM | Anonymous

    “I don’t eat very much but I’m still gaining/can’t lose weight.”

    This is a common complaint I hear during client assessments. I know it can be very hard and frustrating to keep trying to reach your fitness goals when you feel you should already be seeing some sort of result. However, when I hear “I don’t eat very much” it’s an immediate red flag. If you aren’t eating a lot but can’t seem to lose weight or are gaining weight there are a few explanations and actions for each to reverse the effects.


    1- Eating too little for a long period of time has damaged your metabolism.

    When we don’t eat enough calories to support our metabolism and continue this habit for an extended period of time, the metabolism adapts by slowing down. The body does not want to be in a constant caloric deficit which is why chronic dieting is not beneficial.

    2- Some people think they don’t eat very much, but really don’t eat very often and when they do eat consume way too many calories.

    This is simply a matter of perception. We perceive ourselves as not eating very much food, but in fact we eat a lot of food just not very often. People who fall into this category typically only eat once or twice a day and those meals contain too many calories.

    3- A combination of the two.

    Combining these two habits almost always results in weight gain. When someone doesn’t eat enough food the metabolism slows down. Then there’s a day where they aren’t as busy as usual so they eat all day and the body goes straight into storage mode because the metabolism has slowed down and can’t handle this surge of calories and nutrients.

    How to reverse the effects:

    All three involve tracking your food. If you fall into one of the above categories read below to find your solution and get on track to reach your goals!

    1- Find out your current metabolic capacity. Once you figure out how many carbs, protein, and fat grams your body can handle without gaining any weight stick to it. Then slowly increase these amounts. Dedication to this will fire up that metabolism and allow it to repair so you can eat more food while still reaching your fitness goals. Adding in exercise will allow you to eat more food because you’ll be burning calories. Remember, we’re trying to get you out of a caloric deficit so your body can repair but also not gain fat during the process. This process can be tedious but is well worth it to repair your metabolism and enjoy food while reaching your goals.

    2- Okay, this is really a matter of tracking your food so that you have an accurate perception of the amount of food you are consuming. Don’t have a lot of time to eat throughout the day? That’s okay. Try incorporating convenient meal replacements like Quest protein bars or meal replacement shakes between meals. When you sit down to eat use your food tracking app to make sure your meal fits into your macro (carbs, protein, fat) goals for the day.

    Also, let me add in here you do not need to eat 6 meals a day to lose fat. The concept of eating often to strengthen your metabolism has long been disproven.The key here is that even if you only eat twice a day to eat within your macronutrient guidelines. Most people need to eat at least two meals a day to get the correct amount of protein at each meal. Think no more than 30-40g at each meal. So if your goal is 80g of protein/day then you would need to eat at least two meals and get 40g of protein at each meal.

    3- So now we’ve combined the two issues, diminished metabolic capacity with random excessively high calorie meals. When we take care of our bodies our metabolism can handle some high calorie splurges and use that extra stored energy to fuel a great workout. However, when we eat so little that our metabolism is damaged our body also becomes inefficient at using our macros for energy. We then have these high calorie splurges, our bodies store the excess in fat cells, and it takes a lot longer to burn that excess off because our body isn’t very good at using that stored energy.

    When someone is dieting properly, their body is in a temporary caloric deficit and then on some days they pull out of that deficit and eat more to support the metabolism. This is the ideal way to lose body fat. If you follow this pattern you reach your goals with minimal metabolic damage; which makes maintaining your weight much easier

    Do you fall into one of these three categories? If so, it’s time to change how you eat. I know getting started can be confusing and frustrating. I’m always here for you and to answer questions. Tweet me and I’ll answer back and subscribe to the TOS newsletter for nutrition advice as well as weekly Q&As!

  • 22 Apr 2015 9:26 AM | Anonymous

    Many times eggs are put on the bad foods list due to their high cholesterol content. However, after more research it was found that the cholesterol in food is not the culprit behind high blood pressure in humans1.

    So, the cholesterol worry has been put to rest and we can focus on the benefits of eggs. First of all lets look at the macros in an egg2.

    Cal: 75

    Carb: 0

    Fat: 5

    Pro: 7

    These are pretty awesome macros. Of course, if you don’t have a lot of fat left for the day you can always discard the yolk and just eat the whites which cuts out almost all the fat and still has about 3.6g of protein3.

    Need more?

    • Eggs provide about 25% of your daily iron requirement2.

    • They have carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin1.

      • One of the leading causes of blindness in older adults.

    • There is also choline in eggs4.

      • This may enhance brain development and memory.

    • In addition, there are many other vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to our health2.

    I have seen so many times where people have cut dairy out of their diets for no other reason than they heard it was unhealthy. I’m not sure where this claim has come from,but dairy provides plenty of health benefits and is a great source of protein.

    The protein in dairy is about 20% whey and 80% casein5. Whey is a faster digesting protein and casein digest slower. This combination makes milk a fantastic source of protein for immediate and sustained muscle protein synthesis.

    In addition to the protein, dairy is

    • Rich in Calcium and Vitamin D6,7

      • Aids in increased bone density6,7

    • Related to better weight management6

    • Associated with lower blood pressure6,7

    • Linked to a lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome6

    Go get your dairy fix, but make sure to stay within your fat grams budget for the day.

    This, I believe, is one of the most misunderstood food groups. So many people swear up and down that red meat will cause you to have higher blood pressure, heart disease, and possibly cancer. Many studies have shown a correlation between red meat consumption and a higher risk of these diseases so it may seem like a logical conclusion. However, that is where everything goes wrong. First of all, it is very important to understand that correlation does not equal causation. So just because two things seem to be related does not mean one causes the other to happen. We must then ask ourselves why does red meat seem to be linked to all these diseases.

    A couple things to consider:

    • Most of these studies look at a population whose diet is high in not only red meat, but many other high fat, unhealthy foods8

    • This population also eats more red meat than what would be considered appropriate for their macronutrient needs

    So is red meat the culprit? Most likely not. As with almost every other food group you must eat within your body’s needs to maintain health. When a diet is high in red meat, desserts, and fried food with little to no regulation then of course that is going to equal a higher risk of developing disease. Now that we’ve demystified the red meat debacle lets look at the health benefits associated with consuming red meat in appropriate amounts within a healthy diet.

    Red meat is high in9:

    • Bioavailable protein

    • Iron

    • Zinc

    • B12

    • Omega 3s

    • B Vitamins and Phosphorous

    That is a lot of health benefits in one cut of meat and it’s fantastic for reaching your daily protein intake goals. So what should we look for when buying red meat? I have created this free Guide for you to take to the store. Easily make the best choices and enjoy all the benefits from one of the most nutrient rich sources of protein available!

    Don't let myths scare you away from eating perfectly healthy food. Almost any food you desire can be enjoyed while staying on your meal plan. Make good food choices and enjoy your fitness journey! 


    1Zelman, K. (2005, March 1). Good Eggs: For Nutrition, They're Hard to Beat. Retrieved April 22, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/diet/good-eggs-for-nutrition-theyre-hard-to-beat?page=1

    2Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Egg, whole, raw, fresh. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2015, from http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/111/2

    3Calories in Egg White, cooked, without added fat | Nutrition, Carbohydrate and Calorie Counter. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2015, from http://www.calorieking.com/foods/calories-in-eggs-egg-white-cooked-without-added-fat_f-ZmlkPTk5MTU1.html

    4Nutrition Content of One Large Egg. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2015, from http://www.aeb.org/images/PDFs/Retail/nutrient-content-large-egg.pdf

    5Milk Products: Source of High-Quality Protein - Protein - Nutrients in Milk Products | Dairy Nutrition. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2015, from http://www.dairynutrition.ca/nutrients-in-milk-products/protein/milk-products-source-of-high-quality-protein

    6Magee, E. (2006, February 2). Dairy Product Health Benefits: Yogurt, Milk, Cheese, and More. Retrieved April 22, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/diet/6-reasons-to-get-your-diary?page=3

    7USDA MyPlate Dairy Group -- Nutrients and health benefits. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2015, from http://choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/dairy-why.html

    8Lee, E. (2011, August 29). Is Eating Red Meat Bad for Your Health? (J. Gelfand, Ed.). Retrieved April 22, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/the-truth-about-red-meat?page=1

    9Red meat nutrition. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2015, from http://www.mla.com.au/Cattle-sheep-and-goat-industries/Producer-advocacy/Cattle-and-sheep-industry-information/Red-meat-nutrition

  • 20 Apr 2015 9:32 AM | Anonymous

    This might the easiest and quickest dinner dish I make. Not only is it very yummy but incredibly easy to put in tupperware and reheat later. The macros are really well rounded, its so easy & quick, and tastes decilicous. What more could you ask for?


    • 1lb 96% Lean Ground Beef
    • ¾ Bottle Pasta Sauce (Market Pantry Tomato, Basil,& Garlic)
    • ¾ Package Rotini (Market Pantry)
    • Garlic Powder
    • Pepper
    • Salt


    • Boil water
    • While waiting for water to boil
      • Brown the beef
    • Pour pasta in boiling water and cook according to package directions.

    • Once beef is browned:
      • Pour pasta sauce on top and warm
      • Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

    • Drain pasta
    • Top pasta with meat sauce and ENJOY!

    (This picture shows turkey instead of beef)

    Macros / Serving (5 Servings):

    Cal: 360

    Carb: 46g

    Fiber: 4g

    Fat: 6g

    Protein: 27g

    Macro information from My Fitness Pal.

  • 07 Apr 2015 9:38 AM | Anonymous

    This is a delicious recipe that I love to have enjoy as a snack or sometimes a little dessert before bedtime. The wonderful thing about it is that you can tweak the recipe to find your favorite combo. This recipe calls for strawberries but you could try other berries or even different pudding flavors. Have fun with this protein packed, yummy recipe!


    • 1tbsp Sugar-Free Cheesecake Pudding Mix
    • 1tbsp Vanilla Protein (I used Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard French Vanilla)
    • 1/2tsp Vanilla Extract
    • 2-3 Strawberries
    • 5.3oz 2% Greek Yogurt (I used Fage)

    • Wash and Dry Strawberries.
    • Slice strawberries into thin slices.
    • Stir in Vanilla Extract with Yogurt till well mixed and yogurt has creamy texture.
    • Mix Pudding Mix and Protein in until blended.
    • Lastly, add the strawberries and ENJOY!
      • Optional: Sometimes, when I’m feeling fancy, I put a little fat free whip cream on top.

    Note: Sometimes I just put all this together in the cup the greek yogurt comes in. You can put the greek yogurt in a separate bowl and make it that way as well. It’s completely personal preference.

    I use the 2% greek yogurt instead of the 0% because I not only think it tastes better and like the creamier texture, but also the fat in dairy does not raise your LDL cholesterol levels (the bad cholesterol).

    Cal: 239
    Carb: 13g
    Fiber: 1g
    Pro: 31g
    Fat: 5g

    Macro information from My Fitness Pal.

  • 01 Apr 2015 9:59 AM | Anonymous

    It’s hard for me to stay on my diet because I travel so much. I hear this a lot and it’s understandable. When traveling you don’t often have the opportunity to cook your own food and snacks that travel well will only hold someone over for so long. I used to prepare all my food ahead of time when I was traveling and take it all with me. I had to call ahead to hotels and ensure they had refrigerators and carry one or two extra bags with me for all my food. If I had to fly somewhere it was even worse because I had no choice but to eat out while traveling. I found this the hardest time to stay on track for my weight goals.


    Is there a better way? Here’s the good news. There is a better way! TOS clients are not put on a “meal plan.” As in, I do not tell them exactly which foods to eat at each meal. I give them their macronutrient goals and we monitor their body’s progress then change their goals as needed to keep them on track for their goals. Why does this work better than meal plans for people who travel a lot? Well, it allows you to eat anywhere that is available and find food that will keep you on track. Earlier this year I was in Europe for almost three weeks. I traveled to five different countries during that time, ate out at almost every meal, and only got to go to a gym a couple times. So how is that I actually came back 3 pounds lighter than when I left? Easy, I set up my macronutrient goals in my food tracker app on my phone before I left and then I tracked my food while I was traveling.

    Here in Scotland I enjoyed this delicious burger:

    This lovely shrimp risotto dish in London:

    Then here was this yummy sandwich, soup, and side salad in Amsterdam:

    These are examples of my meals in three different countries where I ate out, but still met my macronutrient goals because I was tracking my food. Some meals were much lighter and healthier than others. That is the beauty of tracking your food, because I consistently tracked my food when I did splurge it didn’t negatively affect me. Instead I kept active by walking everywhere, riding bikes, doing home workouts, and didn't forget to log my meals. When traveling you can stay on your track to reach your goals!

    Do you travel a lot and want to be able to effortlessly stay on track while enjoying your surroundings? I’ve created a PDF with My Top 5 Tips for eating out and staying on track. My top tip makes it incredibly easy to find the macros for any food you eat when the nutrition information isn’t given! Grab it for FREE here.

    Lets toast to being able to travel, attend social events, and enjoy life while reaching our health and fitness goals!

  • 30 Mar 2015 7:19 AM | Anonymous

    As all fruits do, Grapes have a lot of nutrition and therefore many health benefits. Maybe that's why I like wine so much... but lets stay on topic.

    Benefits of Grapes:
    - High in Water Content:70ml per cup* (helps keep you hydrated)
    - Antioxidants: Lutein and Zeaxanthin (keeps those eyes healthy)
    - Red Grapes have Reservatrol (helps prevent many diseaes)
    - Flavanoids: Myricetin and Quercetin  (help combat free radicals)
    - High in Fiber 

    All these qualities help prevent dieases such as cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, constipation, and even allergies. 

    So next time you're getting a craving for something a little sweet try a cup of grapes out for 104 calories, 1.4g of fiber, 0g of fat & 1g of protein!

    Information From: 
    Ware, Megan. "What Are the Health Benefits of Grapes?" Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, 29 Aug. 2014. Web. 30 Mar. 2015.

    Recipe: Frozen Grape Pops covered with Greek Yogurt and Almonds

    This delicious recipe is full of nutrition benefits and healthy fats! Plus, it's fun to make!


    • Toothpicks (1 per grape)
    • 4 cups Grapes
    • 1 container (5.3oz) 2% Fat Greek Yogurt
    • 4tbsp Crushed Almonds


    1. Wash and Dry the Grapes (Ensure they are dry or this won't work well)
    2. Place parchment paper over a plate
    3. Stir Greek Yogurt till smooth with no clumps
    4. Place crushed almonds in a bowl
    5. Place a toothpick in each Grape
    6. Roll your grape in the yogurt 
    7. Then roll in almonds to coat the grape
    8. Place on parchement paper
    9. Repeat for all grapes*
    10. Place in freezer till everything is frozen, A couple hours or so
    11. Makes 4 Servings

    *Note: You want to be pretty quick about this so the yogurt doesn't start dripping

    Macros per Serving:**


    **All nutrition information from My Fitness Pal. 

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