"I don't think I'll ever sleep again!" I sobbed. 3 months of night sweats left me rung out and exhausted in every way possible: mentally, emotionally, and obviously physically. Menopause hormone therapy is first line treatment for night sweats and hot flashes, and for me it was a life saver.
0:00:03.6 Kim Schlag: Welcome to episode 93 of the Fitness Simplified Podcast. I’m your host, Kim Schlag. Before we jump into today’s episode, just a quick reminder, my free webinar on The Menopause Fat Loss Formula is currently open for registration. You can head over to my website, kimschlagfitness.com to sign up. Now, the webinar is going to cover four ways that weight loss is different in menopause and it’s going to also cover the six parts of the menopause fat loss formula. You’ll get a really good idea of what the menopause weight loss course will entail as well. Thinking of those two things, you’d be like, “Wait a minute, what’s the difference between this webinar and the course?” The free webinar is going to be like a shopping list. By the time you’re finished with the webinar, you will know exactly what is on the list and you’re gonna know what’s not on the list, so you can stop wasting your time. You will know, “These are the six things I have to have in order to lose weight.” That is incredibly valuable information and you will know that all by the end of that free webinar.
0:01:06.9 Kim Schlag: Now, the menopause weight loss course, which goes on sale the day of the webinar, it’s gonna be on sale for one week only, is not just giving somebody the shopping list like the webinar, but it’s like giving them the list, providing the exact recipe and then walking you step by step through the recipe. That’s the difference. So at the end of the course, you will have made significant progress. Not just to have an idea of like, “Here are the things I need to get in order,” but “How do I get them in order step by step?” That’s the difference between the two. Come to the webinar, you’ll learn those specific six things you need to have in order and you’ll get more information about the course as well. So I hope to see you at the webinar. Okay, let’s hop into today’s episode. We’re gonna be chatting all about how to lose weight while still eating with your family. Let’s go. On today’s solo episode, we’re gonna chat about a common struggle that I see so many women having, and candidly, it is one that I struggled with. You find yourself prepping two dinners every day so that you can feed your family and eat your “diet food” or whatever form that might be.
0:02:20.7 Kim Schlag: I can, for sure, share my own experience here. One of those experiences was when I did Nutrisystem back in my late 30s. I had my little box of food, my little red box, and that was my dinner. Then I cooked dinner for my family. At least this one was an easy one because my food literally just went in the microwave. That’s all I did, microwave them in. So that was a pretty easy one. Not necessarily enjoyable to cook them some nice meal and I had this little microwave meal but at least it wasn’t cumbersome. Believe me, Nutrisystem had plenty of other problems besides that though. Now, when I went through my phase where I thought I want to be a body builder, I went many, many months on an incredibly strict meal plan. It was super limited as far as the variety of food that I was allowed to have and of course, the total calories were very limited. On occasion, I would cook the same food for my family that was on my meal plan. They did not like a lot of what was on my meal plan. Mashed cauliflower, I actually thought it was really good. My daughter kinda liked it. My husband and my sons, big fat no to the mashed cauli. The flank steak with a dry rub was a big hit with everyone and I actually still cook that for my family to this day. We just have it like two weeks ago.
0:03:36.0 Kim Schlag: One of the recipes on the meal plan literally made my daughter cry. Actual tears, upset, sobbing at the dinner table and then even got more upset because people thought it was funny that she was crying because of the food, and it was a big mess. You know how that goes at dinner table. Things just go downhill fast. She must have been eight at that time and I made something called meatzza. It’s what it sounds like. It’s a kind of pizza but it’s made with meat. I thought it sounded like a good idea. I actually did like meatzza. Everyone else hated it. My daughter had this terrible reaction to it. Now, here’s what it was. Imagine it looks like the shape of a pizza but the crust, I’m putting that in big air quotes, was ground meat, and the kind of ground meat they suggested was bison. I had never cooked with bison before. We had never had ground bison. I don’t mind ground bison, it’s quite lean, but it smells funny, and the smell is what did my daughter when she looked at it and smelled it, and just burst into the tears. Had I done ground beef, I think it wouldn’t have been so traumatic. I don’t think the smell would… The smell definitely wouldn’t have been here and I think they might have maybe liked it but as it was, no one would do meatzza with me again.
0:04:46.0 Kim Schlag: So basically, the crust was meat and I think it may have had an egg in it. I haven’t made it in years. You’d shape that to be the bottom of the pizza, you’d put sauce on top of that and then any kind of toppings you wanted. I obviously had to be super sparing with the cheese because of the restrictions but a little bit of cheese, tons of veggies and then the tomato sauce, and I put more cheese on my kids. So yeah, [chuckle] that was probably one of my worst experiences with trying to cook from this meal plan for my family. Now, if you’re currently doing double duty with dinners, let’s talk this through. You don’t have to do that. There is a simpler way so you can still incorporate your family favorites and lose weight. So the first suggestion I’m going to give you with regards to everything I’m gonna say today is, don’t make a big deal about these changes and you decide, “Do you know what? I’m gonna give this a go. I’m gonna try what Kim is suggesting. I’m gonna try this template.” Don’t make a big deal and then be like, “We’re changing thing around here, family. We’re doing dinner differently.”
0:05:40.2 Kim Schlag: Just start serving meals this way like no fan fare, no sit-down meeting, no discussion about taking away family favorites because we’re not. We’re not taking away anyone’s favorite foods here. They might have those family favorites at a smaller frequency than they’re used to, but they’re gonna get all the foods they love and they’re gonna get used to this new pattern. So here is the dinner time template I followed for years now. This works very well for fat loss, as well as for weight maintenance, and it would absolutely work in a muscle building phase where you eat in surplus because it is so adaptable. You can adapt this to any amount of calories you need to be eating. And if you would like to see all of this in print form, I made a post and posted this yesterday in preparation for this podcast on my Instagram feed. So this is all in written infographic format, there on my Instagram if you want to see it that way. So this is what the template looks like. Each dinner we’ll have a protein, a fruit, a vegetable or two, and a non-fruit or vegetable carb. This is what you will serve most nights. So the protein, so many options here and everything… I’m gonna list a bunch here, but there’s so many more out there, you don’t have to just stick with these.
0:06:52.7 Kim Schlag: But just if you’re wondering, “What do you mean by a protein?” Chicken breast, chicken thighs, rotisserie chicken, salmon, shrimp, scallops, tilapia, turkey, ground turkey, pork loin, pork chops, flank steak, sirloin, pot roast, ground beef, eggs, tofu, tempeh, seitan. You can take any and all these proteins, you can bake them, you can crackpot them, you can instapot them, you can grow them, you can air fry them, so all different kinds of ways to serve the protein. But you’re gonna have a protein. Okay? So that’s number one, you wanna anchor your meal with a protein. To that, you’re gonna add a fruit, any fruit you can think of. Some of the common ones that we use in my house, we do apple slices, orange segments, melons of all different varieties. Those all figure very heavy in a rotation. In the summer, we do peaches and nectarines, of course, berries are always a good choice. We do kiwi, literally any fruit you can think of. So that’s the next piece. So you have your protein, you have a fruit. Next step, vegetable or two. I like doing two, because not everyone likes the same veggies. I’m very picky about my veggies. I typically do a salad and then something else; peas, green beans, broccoli, asparagus, lima beans. You can prep these however you like. You can microwave, you can boil, you can bake, you can grill ’em.
0:08:13.5 Kim Schlag: We are really simple. Most nights, we’ll find us doing some kind of bag salad and a frozen vegetable. So that’s your vegetable piece. Okay, so now we’re at, we’ve done protein, we’ve done fruit, a vegetable or two, and then you add a non-fruit or vegetable carb. So a potato, rice, bean, rolls, noodles. I will tell you, I don’t serve this every single night, though you could. Here’s why I don’t in my family. My family is not lacking in carbs, believe me. In fact, I’d say that the rest of their days are really carb heavy, so I purposely only do a starchy carb a couple of nights per week. So most nights of the week, I stick with just the protein, fruit, two vegetables, that’s our dinner. Multiple times a week, we will add… For us, it’s typically rice or potatoes, sometimes noodles. The reason this template works so well is that you don’t have to cook two meals, but you can adjust what you personally put on your plate to meet your calorie needs for that day. So maybe some days you’re serving the family rice. The rest of the family eats the rice, but you’ve already had a higher calorie early part of your day, so what you do instead, you should put the protein on your plate and the vegetables, maybe the fruit or maybe not, depending again, on your total calories.
0:09:27.7 Kim Schlag: Other days you’re like, “Yeah, I’m having the rice or the noodles, or the potatoes. Maybe some days you need extra protein, you could double up on that, you see it is just so flexible. You use these one ingredient foods and then you can pair them up as needed on your plate to make a full meal. And I didn’t specifically mention dietary fat, absolutely use it. You will likely find that a lot of your proteins have enough fat in it. Then, if you cook with some oil, or if you do things like add avocado to your salad or some nuts to your salad, you’re gonna get those dietary fat in there. I’m not saying to skip the fat, there are just easy ways to get them in there, and they don’t need a whole section of your plate, is my point. So there are loads of sample ideas I can give you and you will see some of my Instagram posts that I made. I’m gonna give you some more now. If you’re like, “I can’t picture in my mind, Kim. What does a whole meal look like using this template?” I’m gonna give you a handful of ideas now. So you could have air fried chicken thighs, plus peaches, all sliced up, plus lima beans plus baked potatoes. There’s one sample.
0:10:32.1 Kim Schlag: Here’s another sample meal. You’re gonna have salmon, mixed berries, asparagus and rice. And again, you see how each component is separate, so you can easily track it, you can easily take on or add, take off anything you want for your particular plate without cooking a separate meal. Here’s another suggestion. Grilled shrimp, pineapple, and a salad. There’s an example where you didn’t put a starchy carb. Or you could pop any starchy carb you wanted on there. So grilled shrimp, pineapple, salad. Another example. Lean ground beef or turkey meat balls, either is good, you could do a mix of them, plus apple slices, plus tomato sauce, plus a salad, plus pasta. Let’s put those meatballs and sauce on. An important mindset switch with this type of pasta dish, and this was a big “aha” for me. As an American Italian, I grew up with super heavy pasta dishes. We were really into pasta in my house. I think that’s definitely an American Italian thing, not an Italian thing, the way I’ve heard it. The change that I made was thinking of the pasta as the side dish, seriously a small side dish, not the main. The main is the meatballs and the vegetables. That’s the main. The Pasta’s just the side dish. That hits different, right? That turned my pasta dishes on their head.
0:11:56.7 Kim Schlag: Now, that what I’ve just described is the template for most of your meals most of the time. Then a few times per month, make your more traditional family comfort foods, whatever those are. I’m gonna give you some that I typically use. So chicken and dumplings, casseroles. If you’re a casserole fan, you know how delicious they can be, you also know how high calorie they can be, and if done wrong, what I think is wrong, they can be terribly unhealthy. Or you can make them with more… And when I say healthy versus unhealthy, I’m not talking about replacing your noodles and your tuna noodle casserole with zucchini noodles. I’m not talking about that. I’m just saying sometimes casseroles just have crazy ingredients that are like super highly processed canned soups, and I do that, sometimes with casseroles, but not all the time. There’s so many easy recipes that just have you using more nutritious forms of the foods to make delicious casseroles. I love a good casserole. So I love tuna noodle casserole, I have a wagon wheel casserole. I love a good casserole. So things like chicken dumplings, casseroles, lasagne, chicken fried rice, chicken pot pie, all of these kind of recipes that are more nutrition dense, mac and cheese, but they’re family favorites. So you serve them a couple of times a month.
0:13:10.5 Kim Schlag: Now, how do you fit this into your plan? If you are on a calorie deficit, you might not have enough calories to have such a high calorie meal fit into your day without doing a bit of back-end work. What you would do is, first, we limit the number of times you have to even do this work by serving them only a few times a month. Then, eat them with a half a plate of vegetables. So half a plate of vegetables, and then keep your portions in line with your total calories available that day. Use nutritional compromises to free up more calories for this dinner. So maybe what that might look like for you is maybe in the morning you typically have a big bowl of oatmeal with some shredded almonds on it, and then you have your eggs mixed into that. So maybe on this day, you’re gonna take some of those calories from that meal and you’re just gonna have an egg white scramble with veggies, and then you free up the calories from those shredded almonds and the oatmeal to have later in the day for your casserole. Does that make sense? So look to change things to free up more calories, I’m not saying skip meals. You just lighten up the total calories, be more protein and vegetable heavy earlier in the day to save up extra calories for your dinner that night.
0:14:25.6 Kim Schlag: Then top your salad with extra protein as needed because if you don’t have a lot of protein in your casserole or your lasagne, and you’re like, “Oh, how am I gonna get all this protein in?” You might be okay just switching for earlier in the day, but if you still need some more protein, add some protein onto your side salad that you’re having on the side of whatever your family favorite is you’re cooking that night. So I cook frozen. I don’t cook it. I keep frozen rotisserie chicken that’s already shredded in my freezer to pull out for occasions like this. You just pull it out, defrost it, and then you just throw it right on your salad. So again, you’re not making a second meal. And remember, you don’t have to lighten up every dang recipe. Do not feel the need to take your lasagne and turn it into healthified lasagne. Again, I’m putting that in air quotes here, ’cause it’s not necessarily healthier, by using some special wholewheat noodles or something. You can just use your regular recipe. Now, this might be an incredibly different way to eat for your family. If you’re hearing this and you’re just like, “My family’s not gonna buy this,” maybe what you need to do is ease things in a bit more, and that’s totally cool.
0:15:34.0 Kim Schlag: Maybe serve more of those traditional high calorie foods, maybe do that more than just a few times a month to start, and over time, start to flip the balance of the one ingredient, nutritionally dense food to comfort food ratio, until you are doing those one ingredient nutritionally dense foods more often. And so just over time. So maybe at first or you’re doing the old way for your family five nights a week, and you start adding two nights, separated by time, with this new pattern of eating, this new template, and over time you switch it to three days and then four days, and then over time, you get to this place where most of your meals follow this template. I promise you, you can get there. Kids will adapt, they will. Spouses might be a bigger hurdle. That can often be worked through with a conversation about your goals and why this is important to you. I hope that this has helped. It has been a system that’s worked really well for me. It works really well for my clients.
0:16:33.3 Kim Schlag: Thank you so much for joining me here today. Let me know. You can drop me a note on Instagram Stories. Let me know what your thoughts are about this episode. You can always email me firstname.lastname@example.org. And yes, that’s it. [chuckle] Having a brain fog moment there. I’m thinking “Is that what it is?” Yes, it is. Also remember that the link for the free webinar is at my website, kimschlagfitness.com. Alright, thanks so much for being here today. Catch you next time.
0:17:13.3 Kim Schlag: Thanks so much for being here and listening in to the Fitness Simplified podcast today. I hope you found it educational, motivational, inspirational, all the kinds of -ational.
If you enjoyed it, if you found value in it, it would mean so much to me if you would go ahead and leave a rating and review on whatever platform you are listening to this on. It really does help to get this podcast to other people. Thanks so much.