Foundations of Fat Loss:

Kristin Ames - Thanksgiving Dinner

How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind – Nutrition Expert Kristin Ames

Diet and fitness are more top of mind for people than they ever have been.  With many of us trapped at home for the last 6 months with nothing but the refrigerator to keep us company, the COVID 15 is no joke.  And fitness?  It’s been a slippery slope to the couch.

So, you’ve decided it’s time to reign it all in, drop some body fat and get back in shape – fantastic! You’ve started researching the best way to reach your goals but have quickly become overwhelmed with all the options: Keto, Paleo, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Intermittent Fasting, and the Juice Cleanse.

You’ve heard accounts of how your coworker’s uncle’s cousin lost 40 pounds on Keto, and your best friend swears she can eat whatever she wants on using Intermittent Fasting and not gain weight!  Compelling for sure, but before you go all in on MCT oil or the ’16:8 plan’, I ask you to consider one question  “Can I do what this diet asks of me for the rest of my life?”. 

We tend to over complicate things when it comes to our diet.  There are definitely situations that call for precise weighing and measuring, attention to meal timing, and detailed macro-nutrient tracking, but unless you’re a bodybuilder or training for the Olympics, those protocols likely won’t apply to you.

The key to changing your body lies in adopting habits and practices you can sustain for life: a balanced program that makes room for dinners out with friends and celebrations with family, includes all the food groups, regular exercise, and whole unprocessed foods most of the time … unsexy yes, but effective.  

For most people, most of the time, simple wins the race. One of my favorite quotes is from a fellow online trainer Ren Jones at Fitness Jones Training:

“If we don’t have the basic habits established for our nutrition choices, why would we think a more complicated method is the solution? “I can’t get the hang of driving a car, so I think I’ll try flying a helicopter instead?”

And yet most of us are standing in line to fly the helicopter.

Kristin Ames' Healthy Choices
Kristin Ames’ healthy choices for Thanksgiving dinner

So what are the basics?  What is the 4-door Toyota Hybrid of the diet world?  The following guidelines are the foundation for all our programs focused on fat loss:  

Eat until you’re 80% full.   We’ve been taught from a young age to ‘finish your dinner’.  Eating until we’re full is comforting and makes us feel happy – if we’re eating a tasty meal we want to keep eating because the pleasure receptors in our brain tell us to keep going! But this also leads many people to eat in a calorie surplus.  The simple practice of stopping when you’re satisfied instead of when you’re full will yield surprising results.  Studies show it takes about 15-20 minutes for most people to feel full, so if you don’t stop eating until you’re full, you’ll likely be stuffed in 20 minutes.  Put the brakes on at satisfied, and there’s 20% fewer calories in your day, easily.

Eat protein with every meal. Protein is the most filling macro-nutrient and is the least likely to be converted to fat in the body.  When you’re not hungry, you’ll stop thinking about food all the time, and as a result eat/snack less. It’s also critical for muscle growth and repair – a priority if you’re exercising regularly. There is literally no downside to eating protein.

Exercise 3-5 days a week. Workouts will vary depending on your goals and where you’re starting from, but some form of activity on a regular basis is part of every program – from a daily walk for some to an intense lifting session for others.  In addition to the physical benefits, its shown people usually make better food choices when exercise is part of their day. 

Be clear on your ‘Why’. If you’re just trying to ‘get back to’ a number on the scale that you once were, you’re likely not going to have the motivation and discipline for stick with your program for long.  Dig deep and figure out why you really want to lose weight. Nothing wrong with wanting to look better if that’s the reason, but why do you want to?  Put it down on paper so when you need some extra motivation you can remind yourself, in your own words, exactly what your goal is.

That’s it – pretty simple, and yet not necessarily easy.  But simple is a great place to get started despite what we think we want. None of these principles require you to clear out your kitchen, buy a bunch of books or expensive equipment, or lock yourself at home for fear of eating something that isn’t ‘approved’ on your diet.  Everyone can do this – if you’re thinking of losing some weight, I encourage you to give these basic principles a try.  And, when you can do these things consistently, 90% of the time, we’ll talk about the helicopter.

Kristin Ames of Fit Life Coaching is a certified Nutrition Coach and Personal Trainer, PNL1 CPT, living in North Vancouver. If you would like to know more about her, you can visit her Instagram page.

Babes Promoting Babes Interview Series – Kristin Ames of Fit Life Coaching

Kristin Ames and I graduated from Carson Graham Secondary together. One of my first memories of her is from grade 8 when she invited me to her birthday/slumber party. There were 5 of us: Kristin, Tracy Meredith, Judi Hector, Hanna Barber and I (Some of the girls’ last names have since changed but I am using their maiden names).

I don’t remember all the details of her birthday party but I do remember we had fun and the next day we swam in her swimming pool and her Mom made us brunch afterwards to eat on her patio.

It is with great pleasure that I introduce you all to my dear high school friend, Kristin Ames, Founder of Fit LIfe Coaching.

MY MISSION:  To motivate and inspire Boss Babes in the making. To uplift, encourage, and promote male & female entrepreneurs and to share aspirations, goals and dreams with them, and you, my subscribers.

To provide and build a warm, loving, and supportive community of CREATORS. Creators of art, a business, or a NEW YOU … 

M: What’s your story?  Where were you born, where were you raised?  What was your childhood, growing up years like? 

K: I was born in Vancouver and grew up here in North Vancouver.  I had a pretty typical childhood, played sports, was involved in music, lots of social activities.  I’ve always liked to be busy and for as long as I can remember, I have had a pretty full plate. 

My parents were both university professors, so there was a lot of pressure to excel academically.  I can’t really say I regret it though, I learned how to set goals and work hard from a young age, a skill which has served me well over the years.  We were always encouraged to set the bar high.

M: What did you want to do when you grew up? 

K: My mom loves to tell the story that when I was 3, I said I wanted to be a ‘fruit cocktail’ waitress.  I’ve never heard the end of that one.

Kristin Ames of Fit Life Coaching
Kristin is baking with protein powder & gives us tips on her Instagram page.

I knew I wanted to be involved in business in some aspect, but I had envisioned working for a big company, not for myself. It was the 80s, the era of movies like “Working Girl” and “Baby Boom”, and corporate opportunities for women were on the rise.  That world seemed glamorous to me.

M: Did you go to college or university?  If so, what did you study?

K: I tried college and university, and I felt a business degree would set me up for the future. But quickly found the rigidity of the programs and having to take classes that I had no interest in just to satisfy degree requirements frustrating. When I was 21, I was offered an opportunity to article at an accounting firm by my old boss who I had worked for in high school.

At that time, you could work full-time and go to school at night to get your professional accounting designation. I didn’t even blink; I left university immediately and went to work for an accounting firm downtown. 

All I did was work and study for the next 7 years, but I finished my CGA (now rolled into the CPA designation) and by that time I had enough work experience to get a really good job.  I didn’t know then that I would end up on a very different career path!

M: When did you start your business?  What was your inspiration?

K: A couple of years ago I sold my former business, Posy Floral Design, wanting a change of pace. I started to think about how I could still run my own business, but have the flexibility of being able to travel, take care of my family, and enjoy life a bit more.

Fitness has been a big part of my personal life for the last 15 years, and several years ago I developed an interest in sports nutrition.  I had also been reading a lot about the online fitness industry and was intrigued with how seamlessly that business model seemed to fit with what I had been envisioning for my future.  

Kristin Ames of Fit Life Coaching
Kristin Ames is the ultimate Boss Babe! She started not only 1 but 2 businesses!

I went back to school and got certified as a Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach and Health Coach, which rounded out the practical experience I already had. 

I know so many women in their 40s and 50s who have put themselves last for years, working on careers and raising families, neglecting themselves along the way. They don’t know what to do so they do nothing, figuring it’s ‘too late’ to make a change. 

Having been there myself at one point in my life, I know that all you need is the belief that you can change and the right people to support you.  

This was my inspiration to create Fit Life Coaching; we create customized fitness and nutrition programs for women who want to get back in shape and feel confident again.

M: What do you love the most about being a Boss Babe?

K: I love the feeling of being completely in control of what happens, that the sky’s the limit.  There is always something new to learn, some way to grow and get better.  Sometimes I have trouble falling asleep at night because I just want it to be morning so I can get up and start going again … The feeling that each day is a blank slate, full of possibility. It’s a feeling you just can’t replicate working for someone else. 

M: What would your advice be for Boss Babes in the making?  If they are contemplating leaving a secure 9-5 job with benefits – what would you say to them? Should they take the leap?

K: Don’t feel that where you start is where you have to end up. It’s okay to want different things at different times in your life.  People get stuck because they think they have to keep doing what they are already doing – but that’s crazy! 

If you are so passionate about something that you can’t stop thinking about it and want to do it all day every day, then absolutely stop thinking about it and start doing it.  Passion for what you do and hard work will get you through almost any obstacle.

M: Any last words? What’s our favourite positive/motivational quote or book?

K: There is a perplexing fear of losing and making mistakes in today’s world.  We are taking competition away from our children as though it’s a bad thing.  I don’t get it.  Some of the biggest lessons I learned in life were through my failures and losses; if I hadn’t had those experiences I would never have learned about resilience.  Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from taking chances.

Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow.” – Mary Tyler Moore

If you would like to learn more about Fit Life Coaching, follow her on Instagram and her website.

4 Myths That are Keeping You Fat! – Monthly Fitness Contributor, Fawn Gill

Are you working your butt off but still fat? I hear so many people complain about doing all the right things but not losing weight. This all leads to feeling frustrated, being overwhelmed and eventually the ‘forget this’ attitude that then leads to eating the whole bag of chips.  Sound familiar?

If so, then maybe you’re buying into these four myths.

Myth #1:  If I eat fat, I’ll get fat.

Truth:  Incorporating healthy fats into your diet will actually help you lose fat. Eating fat from sources like avocados, olives and coconuts can actually help you increase your metabolism, keep you full longer and each your body how to burn fat when you remove sugar from your diet. Choose fats like nuts, seeds, fatty fish, eggs, full fat yogurt and grass-fed beef. Remember, that non-fat foods actually have crazy high level of sugars and it’s sugar that makes you fat.

Myth #2: I need to do tons of cardio to burn fat.

Truth: While cardio burns calories, if you want to burn fat, choose HIIT (high-intensity interval training).  Incorporating HIIT into your workouts will make your body and metabolism function at a higher rate of burned calories for hours and hours afterward. So yes, you could be reading AND burning fat at the same time! Lifting weights will also help you increase your resting metabolism. When you have more lean muscle on your body, your metabolism increases. This basically means you could be burning fat while sitting and watching Netflix.

Myth #3: I need to significantly reduce my calorie intake.

Truth: This is actually partially true. The reality is, we eat too much. Take a look at how much you actually consume in a day. We often underestimate how much we eat and overestimate how much we burn.  And ultimately to lose fat, you do need to be in a calorie deficit. The calories you take in need to be nutrient dense meaning that they are full of the good stuff the body needs. Not empty calories from things like non-fat foods, processed foods, sugar, and pop.

Ultimately, what you eat is truly the most important factor when losing fat. Be sure to eat a diet high in lean proteins (whatever your source), vegetables, healthy fats, and carbs from plant sources. Don’t forget to move your body daily, get plenty of uninterrupted sleep, reduce your stress levels and you will find the weight will drop off.

Myth #4: It’s too late to start.

Truth: SO NOT TRUE! It’s never too late to start an exercise program or healthy eating! We CAN reverse the damage done AND move forward feeling better than we ever have! The trick is to get help! You can’t do it alone. Grab a friend and just start walking every day. Hire a trainer. Workout with a YouTube workout. Or join a program that will help you get there.

No matter what you choose, you can start today! Right now!!! 

If you have not taken the time to invest in yourself yet, today is the day.


Fawn Gill is the Group Fitness Manager of Steve Nash Fitness Clubs for the North Shore. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness instructor, Pilates Instructor, Barre instructor & Accountability Coach. Fawn has over 25 years experience teaching others the benefits of living healthy and has helped thousands of people lose weight & get fit. Check her out at www.fawngillfitness.com