Navigating Nutrition During the Holidays

As we enter the season of celebration, families and friends plan to gather for joyous occasions of stories, laughter, and feasting. This time of year typically sparks excitement and whets the appetites of many for great food. Holiday eating doesn’t have to be a game of indulge now, regret later. There are ways to enjoy the seasonal feast without compromising your waistline.

Here are a few tips to help you navigate the festive spread.

  1. Don’t skip meals. Skipping meals earlier in the day does not give you license for overindulgence at dinner. In fact, skipping meals actually leads to consuming more calories.
  2. Start with vegetables. Undoubtedly, festive meals include a plethora of carbs, as well as protein. You can still enjoy some of those favorite foods that aren’t normally a part of your daily nutrition.First, fill half of your plate with veggies first. Next, opt for proteins before finally rounding out your meal with smaller portions of your indulgence.
  3. Plan healthier meals. If you are hosting the event, opt for healthier replacements to some of your traditional ingredients (e.g., sub egg whites for whole eggs – 2:1 ratio).
  4. Make time for light activity. Some movement is better than none at all. Take a walk after your meal or plan time earlier in the day to get some form of activity in.
  5. Avoid calorie-rich beverages. Don’t lose calories by drinking them. Instead of carbonated beverages like soda or other sugary drinks like iced tea, opt for sparkling water, or, water with a twist of lemon or lime.

Staying on track during the holidays can be tricky but with the right tools, you can successfully navigate your nutrition to satisfy your palate and maintain your fitness goals. Remember, accountability, like consistency, is the key to ensuring your success.


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Candid interview with Candice McField (Part 2)

Candice McField

Part 1 of our interview last week with Candice McField gave us an inside look into what drives her passion for fitness and helping others through fitness coaching. This week, Candice McField happily answers your fitness and nutrition questions.

We sat down with Candice one week after taking the stage and here are her responses to your inquiries:

What advice would you give people who want to improve their fitness but feel they don’t have the time?

Remember the saying ‘Una mas’. It’s Spanish for “one more. I say it all the time in life and especially when working out. There is power in “one more. Do one more rep, hit the gym one more day, get started one more time, don’t give up one more time, etc. For those that feel they don’t have the time, I would say the first step is to admit they are making an excuse. The truth is we are all busy and do not have time. The difference is we make time for the people we love and the things that are important to us. I would say to that person, give me 10 minutes a day, and let’s grow from there. The cost of ten minutes of working out greatly exceeds the cost of today’s medical bills, health complications, or the devastation your family will feel should something tragic happen to you. Start today, no excuses. Give me 10 minutes and remember, una mas.

How do I train my brain to ignore instant gratification and stay focused on long-term results?

Personally, I have always been highly driven. I won’t lie, it can be quite challenging, even for me, to ignore instant gratification and focus on long-term results. Those who know me well know I love desserts – ice cream, cookies, pies, cakes, you name it! Moreover, I can’t forget about pizza, Mexican food, and adult beverages! I definitely indulge and take part in the “good life, but my overall goal is to eat clean 90% of the time when I’m off-season. I know if I stick with this, I will maintain where I want to be until it is time for me to roll back to in-season mode. Your long-term goals have to outweigh your short-term desires. For instance, I love Mexican food and I love a great margarita. If I am going to have a margarita, then I will order a salad. If I am not going to have a margarita then I’ll order a traditional dish. Lastly, I do not beat myself up if I fall off-the bandwagon. I rarely have a ‘cheat day’ rather it will be a chat meal a few times a week. Remember, una mas. Get on the bandwagon and stay on the bandwagon.

I’m cursed with butt and thighs, what are your secret workout tricks to keep those butt and thighs tight and right?

I am sure some people would kill to be cursed with glutes and thighs! We tend to be the toughest critics of our own bodies and I totally understand the desire to want to keep things right and tight. Many minorities, especially African Americans tend to hold most of their weight in their glutes, hips, and quads. There is not a secret workout trick to combat this. You have to do everything…eat clean, workout consistently, sleep 7-8 hours consistently, etc. Training for my show this year, I incorporated a new exercise to assist with my glute and hip development. Not only do I walk at an incline, I also walk sideways, working the abductor and adductor muscles. It is an incredible way to keep the glutes, hips, and quads right and tight.

What’s the best trick to shred those last 5 pounds? Should I do more sprints or more ab workouts?

It is not a question of more sprints or ab workouts. Simply doing only one of the two options most likely won’t get you to your 5-pound weight loss goal. It’s about eating clean and in this case, 100% of the time, plus increasing your cardio and getting adequate rest. Those last five pounds most likely require you to dial in your nutrition and increase your cardio versus doing more ab workouts.

What’s the best cardio to tone or weight workout routine to tone? Do I do more reps at lighter weight or heavier weights?

There is no one-method-fits-all to tone. It is more about constantly keeping your body guessing and conquering plateaus. It is also about listening and understanding your body to know what exactly is best for you. For example, I know my body can handle carbs better than some others can. I also know that incline work and sprints are great for my body. This doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best way to unlock optimal performance for everyone else. Overtime, you will discover what is best for you. The main idea is to keep the body guessing by diversifying your reps, sets, and amount of weight used.Lastly, I truly think it is important to give your body one day off per week to recover.

How often do you think we should have a cheat meal? Should we have one cheat meal per week or one cheat meal every 2 weeks?

There is no hard, set rule. As always, it’s about understanding your body and knowing what works best for you. Whether you should or should not consume cheat meals depends on what your goals are and how close you are to meeting those goals. For example, an individual may need to achieve 100% accuracy in all areas(e.g., nutrition, strength training, sleep) in order to reach their goal. If that is the case, there can be no cheat meals. The number of cheat meals one can have varies from 0-4 (maybe 5), depending on where they are starting and where they’d like to end in terms of personal fitness goals. What’s more important to note is that we are speaking of cheat meals, not days. Cheat meals must be reasonable. You can’t eat an entire large pizza and call that a cheat meal. A cheat meal would be two slices of pizza.


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Power through Your Plateau (Part 2)

Candice McField fitness modelNow that you have conducted your mini assessment, what was the result? If you discovered that you were fully committed to all areas mentioned in the previous article and still are not seeing results, then you have certainly plateaued. Undoubtedly, this can be a highly frustrating and discouraging time, but do not fret. Implementing some, or all of the following changes will help you power through your plateau.

  1. Adjust your caloric intake. As your weight decreases, so does your caloric requirement. If you are taking in the same amount of calories as you were when you initially began your quest to drop the pounds, then chances are it is time to reduce your calories. Reevaluate your caloric requirements and adjust accordingly.
  2. Up your fitness game. The body is an adapting machine and it learns quickly. Incorporate some new exercises into your routine. Challenge your body by performing moves you have not done before. You may also want to consider increasing your resistance when strength training. Strive to increase your resistance by 2-5 pounds every other week. Also, consider switching up your cardio routine. Incorporate a healthy mix of steady-state cardio (continuous effort at the same level of energy output) and HIIT cardio (high/low intensity
    intervals such as sprinting 30 seconds, followed by walking 60 seconds for 5-6 intervals).
  3. Regularly track your progress. Maintain a nutrition and workout log. Having a visual aid for reference better helps you identify when it is time to switch up your program. Take front, back, and side photographs of yourself every two weeks.

Incorporate these changes and watch the magic happens. Do not get discouraged. You can do this! Stay focused, trust the process, and remain consistent. Recommit to your fitness goals and newly commit to the changes necessary to power through your plateau, and watch the magic happen!


Power through Your Plateau (Part I)

Candice McField fitness modelA few months have passed and you’ve settled into your exercise routine. You are encouraged by the progress you have made and feel great. Then, it happens – you hit a wall. You’re doing everything right and still, nothing seems to be happening.

It is called a plateau. Even the most experienced athletes have experienced it. For many people seeking to lose weight and reach their ideal goal, this event marks a pivotal moment. It marks the moment when you decide to both dig in your heels and keep moving forward or, you allow the temporary frustration of no progress to derail your efforts, completely. There is hope; you can break through that wall. In this two-part article, you will be able to identify your plateau type (there are two types). Next week, we will look at what you can do to power through your specific plateau.

When your body becomes unresponsive to your nutrition and fitness program, you’ve hit a weight loss (or body) plateau. Your body is a true work of art and has an incredible ability to adapt, relatively quickly, to change – for a time.

If you are pushing yourself to the brink of exhaustion and muscle fatigue each training session but failing to gain the strength or increased size (if that is your goal) you desire, this would indicate a training plateau.

Take the next week to track your meals, your exercise, and your sleeping patterns. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Have I been as consistent with my meals as I could have been?
  2. Am I exercising with maximum effort or have I become a little lax now that I have seen some progress?
  3. Am I allowing myself to get sufficient rest for my recovery?

If you are doing all of these things correctly, and consistently, odds are you have plateaued. Don’t quit! Remain focused and learn how to power through the plateau in next week’s post.

Why Most Diets Fail and How to Succeed

It seems every other ad on television offers some miracle diet for rapid weight loss. While these methods may yield results, they only work if one remains on the specific meal plan. ?Unfortunately, studies show that most people who subscribe to extreme dieting for weight loss regain the weight lost and more.

One of the reasons diets fail is due to our personal relationship with food. Emotional eating is a real problem for many and can lead to food addiction and obesity. Another reason diets are unsuccessful is because many who diet consider it an unpleasant experience. Here are a few tips to help you break free of dieting’s vicious cycle:

  1. Perception is everything. Nutrition is a lifestyle not a life fad. Self-assess your perception of nutrition and dieting. Permanent weight loss is not achieved and sustained through temporary measures. You must be committed to the changes you are making and that requires consistency throughout.
  2. Food is fuel. Drastically restricting your calories is like attempting to drive cross-country on fumes. Understand that your body requires sufficient energy to function properly. Even at rest, your body requires calories for basic tasks (nervous system, brain function, etc.). Restricting too many calories lowers your metabolism and can lead to other issues like fatigue. Make sure you are consuming sufficient calories to support your efforts.
  3. Commit to consistency. Rome was not built in a day and you did not pack on added pounds in a day either. Commit to your new way of eating, remain consistent, and most importantly, do not allow setbacks to derail your entire effort. If you consume something at breakfast that you should not have, do not let that be your excuse to order a pizza for lunch. Pick up where you left off and keep going.