I wish I could lose weight.
I want to balance my finances.
I need to get more organized.
Do these statements sound familiar? Perhaps you have uttered one or more of these, or something similar, when setting your New Year Resolutions. Maybe you have created vision boards, wrote SMART goals, set intentions, but each year find yourself continuing to struggle with finding success.
The problem with goal setting is that it seems to end at thinking about what you want. Just wishing or dreaming about what you want is not going to get you anywhere. No one is going to do it for you. YOU have to create your success. You need to put the work into it. You need to identify the steps, walk the walk. Sounds tough, right? Well, that is where the difference between wishing and achieving lies. It is in the sacrifice. It is the blood, sweat and tears that make you stronger.
Keep reading for a new look on how to set your New Year Resolutions, intentions, goals or whatever you want to call them and set yourself up for success!
Manifesting: preparing your mind, body and spirit to help you take the action to get what you want.
I am a self proclaimed brain geek. I love reading about the brain, learning about the different parts and functions of each area, the process of relaying messages throughout the entire body and the power and control this three pound organ has. The reason I share this fact about myself is that, while researching manifesting, I was sucked into the various pathways and areas of the brain this practice touches upon...likely way more than you are willing to read about here. That said, as you read on please know, there is scientific evidence that proves manifesting works.
One important takeaway from my research, and something you should be aware of, is the brain is neuroplastic. There was once the belief that at a certain age, the brain stops developing and growing new brain cells. Science has disproven both of these theories. Neuroplasticity is the scientific verbiage used to describe the brains ability to change. Yes, the brain has the ability throughout life to change, build new pathways and learn. Pathways and connections change with experience, through learning from mistakes and even through visualization. Visualizing, or going through the motions of achieving your goal or intention actually creates new neural pathways in your brain that actually increases your chance of success. This is manifesting!
Dr. Carol Dweck is well known for her work with students on Growth Mindset. Her research and findings reinforce the science behind manifestation. A growth mindset is believing you can do something. When you believe you can do something, you are more likely to take action. It increases the likelihood of learning from mistakes and becoming more resilient. Believing you can do something leads to a willingness to do the work which leads to action which results in an increase in your chance of success. I'm not very good at math but this is an equation I can get behind!
One of the most powerful tools you have to manifest and create your future is mindful meditation. In a 2018 study published in Neural Plast, evidence showed that mindful meditation can induce plasticity in the brain. Mindful Meditation is taking time to focus on and visualize the actions necessary to achieve your goal. For example, if your goal is to train for your first 5K, your daily meditation may include visualizing yourself lacing up your sneakers, running your training route and crossing the finish line to the sound of a crowd cheering you on. Repeatedly doing this, even for just 5 minutes a day, and consistently showing up for this practice creates new pathways and connections in the brain that make you more likely to head out on a training run and take the actions necessary to run that 5K! That, my friend, is the power the three pound organ between your ears has over your body, health and wellbeing!
This new year, take a new approach to your resolutions and goal setting. Don't wish or dream of a healthy, prosperous 2023, manifest it. Here are the four steps to take as you embark on this leg of your journey:
What is your 2023 goal? What actions will you take to achieve it?
Please share in the comments and then join my Facebook group Manifesting 2023. While you are at it, share this info with family and friends you feel will benefit. Together we will manifest the best 2023!
HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR!
Is there any fruit more nostalgic of hot summer days than watermelon? I have such fond memories of watching my Pup, my grandfather, nosh on a slice of watermelon as if it were a gift from the gods. It started with a slice served on a plate with a fork and knife. He was quirky like that. Next came the sprinkling of salt. It was then that I learned how much salt can bring out the flavor in foods. Mindfully enjoying every bite, he would slice right down to the rind, leaving no waste. Then came the best part, the part that forever holds a place in my heart when I remember my Pup. Pup would take the rind and rub it all along his mouth, upper lip and chin, successfully getting rid of any stickiness.
8 year old me thought he was a kooky old man.
Adult me did some research and learned how this quirky little habit could be beneficial to my aging skin, weight loss and stress.
The Many Benefits of Watermelon
Watermelon is not only a sweet tooth satisfying summer essential, this fruit is packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Lycopene, nutrients that have been shown to fight cancer, decrease inflammation, support healthy vision and decrease muscle soreness. At 92% water, it help keep the body hydrated and its fiber supports healthy digestion, all for a mere 46 calories per cup.
In addition to the powerful attributes eating watermelon can provide, using the rind for an at home facial provides some serious anti-inflammatory properties.
According to Vogue magazine, watermelon is a key ingredient Korean beauty regimens. The rinds are chilled, thinly sliced with a mandolin and placed on the skin to calm redness and inflammation.
The seeds of the watermelon are high in amino acids and magnesium, a nutrient that lowers cortisol (the naughty belly fat stress hormone) levels in the body and helps with sleep. Roasting them makes them more palatable. Oh...and don't worry, you will not grow a watermelon in your tummy because you ate the seeds!
As previously mentioned, the pink sweet flesh is a great summer snack that helps keep the body hydrated and feeling full, a bonus for those trying to lose weight and hate drinking plain water.
I decided to up my watermelon game from snacking on chunks to incorporating them into side dishes and meals. Here are a few recipes I recommend:
Two Peas and Their Pod is one of my go to sites for recipes. I had my doubts about adding onion to watermelon but, trust me when I say, this just works. I personally went with the balsamic glaze option and subbed the feta cheese with goat cheese and it was absolutely mouth watering.
I am a sucker for a good caprese salad made with a fresh garden tomato. But what happens when you swap the tomato for watermelon? Total heaven!! This recipe from Delish.com will have to snacking poolside in just 15 minutes. Now listen, I highly recommend you splurge for the really good fresh mozzarella. Yes it is pricier, but totally worth it!
Another honorable mention from Delish.com is their Watermelon Salsa. Whether it's a Fourth of July BBQ or binge watching snack, this salsa will have you tossing your bottled versions out the window. Seriously, though, your guests will be be wowed at your culinary skills serving this straight from the watermelon rind.
GimmeSomeOven.com is another go to website for all my recipe needs...and this mocktail surely did NOT disappoint. Let's face it, alcohol and weight loss do not go together. So if you are trying to lose weight, have been nominated designated driver or just looking for a refreshing beverage that's a little fancier than sparkling water, this mocktail should be on your list. I personally skipped the seasoned rim, but let me know of you try it and what you think.
I cannot provide a list of recipes without including my all time favorite site, SkinnyTatse.com. I admit this recipe is one I do not make often due to a severe seafood allergy in the home. However, when my boys are away at camp, the shrimp make an appearance! Remember, always look for wild caught shrimp. I also recommend grabbing a bottle of the golden balsamic vinegar.
Of course I MUST add a dessert recipe. Nothing beats a cold treat on a warm summer night, but ice cream can be loaded with sugar and fat and completely sabotage all your weight loss work. ThisHealthyTable.com shared this recipe for a refreshing sorbet made from only four real food ingredients. Be sure to shop local for your honey for an allergy fighting immune boost.
Whether you are eating watermelon for its health benefits, weight loss properties or just smearing the rind all over your face like my Pup, I hope you will give some of these recipes a try this summer. Let me know which was your favorite or if you have a recipe you'd like to share.
It's a beautiful spring Saturday. It's the kind of weather that makes one want to ditch the food log and head to the ice cream stand for a large cone with sprinkles. I mean...will one ice cream cone really sabotage all the work I put into my health all week? Is it OK to "cheat"?
What is a "Cheat Day"?
The "Cheat Day" comes in many varieties. For some it is choosing a specific food to indulge upon once a week, others it is a whole meal they splurge on and for others it is a whole day of unabated gluttony. For every type of cheat, there is also a theory as to why it is OK to include in a healthy lifestyle.
In a 2017 article cited in the International Journal of Obesity, subjects experienced greater weight and fat loss with Intermittent Energy Restriction. In simple terms, by cutting calories or restricting the amount of energy you consume, the body adapts. While at rest, those on restrictive diets experienced a decrease in Resting Energy Expenditure, the number of calories burned while at rest. Following two groups of obese men, one group sustained a restrictive eating diet for 8 continuous weeks (no cheat days) while the other group followed a 30 week plan that included 8-2 week restrictive eating with 7-2 week balanced recovery days (calories in/calories out). This study concluded that by following the 30 week restrictive/recovery plan.metabolism was boosted and participants lost more weight overall. (https://rdcu.be/cNy4H)
What does this have to do with a cheat day?
OK...enough science talk. Is a cheat day good or bad?
Restrictive eating is a must if the goal is to lose weight. The old saying "Calories in/Calories out" still holds true and effective. It is fair to say cutting calories one only one of many actions necessary for healthy and sustainable weight loss, seeing the focus of this article is about adding calories, it is necessary to keep the focus on this balance. Restrictive eating is a more scientific term for cutting calories. Your body requires a certain number of calories to fuel every day activities from breathing and digesting to walking and running. Calories are converted to energy and this energy is burned as fuel. If the body runs out of energy from the food you eat, it turns to the energy you have stored. Where is energy stored? In your fat cells. Do the math! If you eat 1500 calories of food in a day, but you burn 2000 calories through activity, your body will get those 500 extra calories from the fat stores. Do this for 7 straight days and you will likely find a one pound weight loss by the end of the week. (1 pound body weight is made up of 3500 calories. 500 stored calories burned times 7 days a week = 3500 calories!)
The downside to this, and what the above cited study shows is continuous restrictive eating results in fewer calories burned while at rest, or in simpler terms, a slower metabolism.
Enter the Cheat Day
If we read into these results, it may be safe to say that having a recovery day each week could result in a more efficient metabolism. In other words, focusing on restrictive eating or calorie cutting 6 days a week and adding in a 7th day of recovery may help keep the metabolism fire burning more efficiently and effectively to aid in weight loss.
This does not give license to an all out gluttonous binge. The goal on a recovery day is to balance calories consumed with calories burned. This may mean adding in a special dessert, a celebratory treat or a special indulgent entree at your favorite restaurant (or in my case, a small cone with cookie dough ice cream and sprinkles).
You are NOT a cheater!
One final note....
Giving food and eating habits negative labels like "Good" or "Bad" or thinking of having a treat as "cheating" can have a psychological effect on how we feel after we enjoy a treat. Cheating implies you are doing something sinister or bad which may result in feelings of guilt. When in control of your eating habits, treats should make you feel happy and satisfied. Treating these foods as celebratory and taking the time to connect to your feelings, the environment, and all the senses will allow you to feel satisfied, help reduce cravings later, and keep you from feeling guilty.
So on this beautiful Saturday, temps in the 80s, I am planning a lovely walk to the ice cream stand with my family and enjoying a tasty treat.
A great source of protein. A simple snack. The center of a lovely Sunday brunch. There are so many options!! I personally like all styles of eggs but my favorite has to be the hard boiled. Two packed with my lunch every day ensures I am getting a little hunger satiating, muscle repairing protein in a convenient little package.
I don't mean to brag (yes I do) but my hard boiled eggs come out PERFECT every single time! No waiting for water to boil. No messy peeling where half the egg gets tossed with the shell. Just 15-20 minutes during my meal prep each week and my lunches are packed! What is my secret?
It's true! It takes only 10 minutes in the InstantPot and a few minutes of an ice bath and my hard boiled eggs practically peel themselves.
Get ready to have your mind blown...
Making PERFECT Hard Boiled Eggs
Peeling these are oddly satisfying!
Now comes the fun part...peeling!
I used to hate peeling hard boiled eggs. I never knew whether they would peel effortlessly or if it would be a battle to detach the egg from the shell, sacrificing much of it to the trash. So sad!
Once your eggs have bathed in ice and cooled, go ahead and start peeling. It is oddly satisfying as the whole peel just comes off in one big piece, leaving a perfectly hard boiled egg ready for meal prep!
I hope you enjoyed this mini-tutorial on hard boiled eggs. Let me know if you tried and had success or if you have a different hack for hard boiling.
Got a favorite egg recipe?
Please share in the comments. I'm "egg"-cited to hear about your favorite egg dishes!
Health and Happiness!
It's Cold and Flu Season!!
When my youngest son was a toddler, he suffered from hospitalizing asthma attacks. Sniffles and coughs turned into panic for my little boy who worried anxiously if he "would have to get a shot". I fully understood the importance of the medication he was prescribed by his pediatrician, but I wondered, was there a way to reinforce his own bodies ability to fight the cold viruses that often triggered these attacks?
As part of my own studies, I knew the importance of a good nights sleep. My little guy was always a great sleeper. However, when he was congested, we could hear the labored breathing and his grouchiness the next day was proof his sleep was not restful and recovering. I began my quest to find a holistic approach that would not interfere with his medication.
This research led me to the discovery of using essential oils on the feet during sleep and the creation of my own Immune Boosting Foot Balm for adults.
Why the feet?
There are many ways one can benefit from the use of essential oils such as room or personal diffusers, steam inhalation or topical products after dilution in carrier oils. You may be wondering why use this oil on your feet instead of, say, the chest like most other cough and cold relief gels or lotions?
Well, according to BarefootScientist.com, the feet have large pores. "These large openings are ideal for transdermal absorption, allowing the oils to quickly pass through layers of skin and release their potential benefits into the body." In other words, the beneficial properties of the oils can get into the body faster and do their job.
I admit I was skeptical at first too, but ever since we started using a simple blend of lavender and peppermint essential oils mixed into some lotion on my sons feet, we have yet to experience an asthma attack. Full disclosure, essential oils are not FDA approved and I cannot be 100% sure if it was the essential oils that have prevented asthma attacks, but it seems to help so I will keep doing it.
Immune Boosting Foot Balm
When I started using oils on my sons feet, I stuck to a simple lavender and peppermint blend that was safe for children. I have since created a balm for adults. After researching each individual ingredient, reading countless articles on essential oil safety (especially for children and around pets), here is what I have learned:
While the little bottles of oils seem harmless, it is important to note that even though these come from natural sources like plants, flowers and bark, the concentrated nature of essential oils can be dangerous to certain population.
You can make your own using my recipe below or contact me to purchase a 3.5 ounce container shipped right to you. Email email@example.com for more information.
Can walking help me lose weight?
I have heard it time and time again...
"You need to run if your goal is weight loss"
But not everyone is able to endure the constant pounding of the pavement and stress to the joints. Does this mean they are doomed to a life of overweight?
Walking can be one of the best, low cost (free unless you count the cost of a good pair of sneakers) and low impact methods to burn calories, melt fat and even decrease stress and improve sleep. Allow me to break it down for you and then give you a few tips on how you get get the most out of your steps.
Walking burns calories
The human body requires calories to work. This of it like gas in a car. You fuel up on the right kind of calories and throughout a day, your body will use those calories to function (heart beat, respiration, getting ready for work, going for a walk) The more intense or vigorous your activity, the more calories it will require.
Walking burns fat
Your heart rate has zones where the benefits differ. When you have a particular goal, such as weight loss, it is important to know which zone you are aiming for and then calculate and track during your activity. Using the chart below, you can see that light activity (like walking) is your fact burning zone.
You can calculate your Light Activity heart rate zone (the number of beats your heart takes in a minute) with a little quick math:
Now that you have this information, you can set a goal to remain in this target rate zone. In doing so, your body will be programmed to draw calories from stored fat to fuel your workout Cool...right?
But wait...there's more!
Now you cannot just go out and burn those calories and think you now have license to eat whatever you want. Too often I see clients say things like "I walked 5 miles today, I totally earned that extra glass of wine and cheese pizza".
Those calories you are burning help you lose weight because you have caused a Calorie Deficit".
Your body requires a certain amount of calories a day to keep it running like the fine tuned machine it was designed to be. If you are overfilling your tank, the body naturally stores those extra calories as fat., totally defeating the purpose of that walk! Consuming fewer calories than your body requires means it needs to find stored fuel...so it pulls from previously stored fat...FAT BURNING!!!
So in order for all of this to work the way you are hoping you will need to:
Lots of great information here for you to begin testing and trying. Your body is a machine that requires upkeep, maintenance and fuel. It is your body and your responsibility. It does not take hours at a gym or a tediously exhausting run. Setting aside 30 minutes to an hour each day for a walk will get you on track to a healthy body and lifestyle.
Now get out there and get moving!
What is the last thing you do before falling asleep?
The first thing you do when you wake up?
How many hours of sleep do you get?
Do you feel rested? Recharged? Awake?
Why is sleep so important?
Sleep should be the #1 priority, even more important than diet and exercise. Yet 35% of Americans are not getting the recommended amount of sleep to recharge and reset the body for optimal health. Sleep is often sacrificed when we feel like we "don't have time" and need to borrow from somewhere else in our given 24 hours.
In a world full of technology, undoubtedly you take time each night to plug in your devices so they are fully charged for the next day. But what happens when you don't charge that phone or tablet to 100%?
Your body needs recharging too...and it takes about 7-8 hours for adults to recharge to 100%. During these 7-8 hours your body is:
There are 4 stages of sleep. Stage 1 is that moment of drowsiness as you lie down and begin to fall asleep. Stage two follows a few minutes later, heart rate begins to slow and your body temperature drops. Stage 3 is a deeper sleep where muscles begin to relax, breathing slows and blood pressure drops. Entering into the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage is the deepest stage where dreaming happens.
Stages 3 and REM is where the magic happens. However, not everyone reaches these stages, resulting in feeling fatigued and lethargic upon waking the following morning.
Sleep and Hormones
Human Growth Hormone or HGH is a chemical secreted by the pituitary gland. It was highly active during those awkward stages of puberty and responsible for growth spurts and muscle development. Thankfully those times are behind us, but HGH is still working long after the past growth spurt and acne breakout!
According to Dr. Josh Axe, "Adequate HGH levels help women improve an appropriate body-fat ratio and elasticity in skin. Risk of osteoporosis is reduced when HGH levels in women are balanced." Levels of HGH begin dropping as early as the 20's and could result in
You sleep, but don't feel rested or recharged...why?
There are lots of things that affect the type of sleep we get. If you are spending most of your slumbering hours in Stages 1 and 2, you are not in recharge mode. Setting yourself and your environment up for good sleep will have a profound impact on all areas of your health and well-being.
Here are a few things you can start doing tonight to ensure a restful night of sweet dreams:
I wish you health, happiness and sweet dreams!
If you would like to learn more about healthy sleep hygiene or support in creating your own healthy sleep habits, please contact me. I would love to work with you to create restful sleep.
The great Stoic Philosopher, Epictetus, once said:
“People are disturbed not by a thing, but by their perception of a thing.”
Google the definition of stress and you will get hundreds of hits with just as many different definitions. In context to a wellness and weight loss journey, stress can be defined as a change or circumstance that exerts physical, mental, emotional or psychological discomfort or strain. What these changes or circumstances are depends on each person and how they perceive or handle it. Stress can be positive (changing your exercise and eating habits) and negative (being under pressure to get a project done or not having enough money for groceries this week).
What Causes Stress
Past studies have identified money and the future of the country as two main contributors of stress. This statistic came before 2020 and the pandemic it brought with it. Today, the changes and circumstances an invisible enemy has imposed has undoubtedly found its way to the number one cause of stress in America. One must also recognize that the non-pandemic stressors have not disappeared; on the contrary, one may argue they have gotten worse. I truly feel there has been no other time in our life that has been more challenging than now. So what do you do about it?
The Stress Response
Allow me to start with the "why" should we recognize and adopt strategies to reduce stress.
The human body has adapted in so many ways generation after generation. Fun Fact: did you know the appendix gets smaller with each new generation and researchers believe at some point humans may be born without one?
One function of the body that has not changed since our cave man ancestors is the Fight or Flight response. In simple terms, your body has the ability to use glucose (blood sugar) to give your body superpower strength and speed in order to fight a threat (think angry lion) or flight (get the hell out of there!!). Pretty cool, right?
While this was great for the hunters who sometimes became the hunted, rarely do we find ourselves face to face in such a life threatening situation, with the exception, perhaps, of going to the grocery store when there is a threat of a New England blizzard. Godspeed, my friend! However, as Epictetus eluded to over 2000 years ago, sometimes our perception of current circumstances and change feels like we are looking in the mouth of a hungry lion.
When there is a real or perceived threat, your body's defense mechanism is alerted and the Stress Response is triggered. The adrenal glands that sit just above the kidneys secrete two hormones, adrenaline and cortisol.
ADRENALINE: "causes air passages to dilate to provide the muscles with the oxygen they need to either fight danger or flee. Adrenaline also triggers the blood vessels to contract to re-direct blood toward major muscle groups, including the heart and lungs. The body's ability to feel pain also decreases as a result of adrenaline, which is why you can continue running from or fighting danger even when injured. Adrenaline causes a noticeable increase in strength and performance, as well as heightened awareness, in stressful times. After the stress has subsided, adrenaline’s effect can last for up to an hour." Cue the Superhero Music! https://www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones/glands-and-hormones-a-to-z/hormones/adrenaline)
CORTISOL: triggers the body to release glucose which provides the energy to fight or flight.
What does this have to do with weight gain?
While the stress response was great for our ancestors, the constant triggering due to traffic, deadlines, kids and a million other triggers do not really require an epic "fight to the death" battle. Unfortunately, your adrenal glands cannot tell the difference between "angry lion" and "angry boss". The response will be the same.
The difference? Once the angry lion had been defeated, the stress was over and the body could pump the brakes and go into "rest and digest" mode. The angry boss, the endless housework, bills, appointments...these never seem to be defeated.
The adrenal glands are constantly pumping out cortisol, never allowing your body the time to rest and recover. Because cortisol triggers the release of glucose (sugar) and insulin levels slow down (the body's way of controlling blood sugar) your body begins to store the extra glucose in...you guessed it...fat cells; mainly those in the lower abdomen as belly fat. You can read more on sugar and insulin's role in weight gain here.
Rest and Digest
So what is the antidote? What tools and weapons do you have to combat the invisible stressors? There are a few things you can begin doing RIGHT NOW to trigger your Rest and Digest response.
Health and Happiness!
Unless you live off the grid, you are well aware that sugar is one of the biggest culprits to blame for America's obesity crisis. But those little crystals we use to sweeten our coffee and baked goods is only part of the problem. What we really need to focus on is ALL carbohydrates and how they impact a little hormone called INSULIN.
What is Insulin
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. It is secreted whenever your blood sugar rises. Blood sugar rises when glucose (sugar) enters the blood stream after eating foods that include carbohydrates.
When blood sugar spikes, insulin comes to the rescue, either directing it to be used as energy (YAY!!) or stored as fat (BOO!!)
Not all carbohydrates are treated equally. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables all contain carbohydrates but also provide a dose of healthy vitamins, minerals and fiber. This helps keep the blood sugar spike low. These can be especially helpful when engaging in moderate to vigorous activities such as exercise to provide lasting energy throughout a workout.
Refined sugar, like the sugar added to your coffee or tea and added to baked goods and soda, is not so kind. Sugar may grow from the ground in the form of sugar can but it is highly refined and contains no nutrition value...only calories. AND... when it enters the blood stream, it causes a massive sugar spike resulting in the production of insulin and glucose being pushed into fat cells for storage. Bottom line is consuming refined sugar results in a blood sugar spike causing insulin to be secreted to collect and push this glucose into fat cells causing weight gain.
In addition to the sugary beverages and baked goods, some so called "healthy" foods can also cause a spike in insulin. Foods that have been refined or processed such as white bread and pasta, starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn and high glycemic fruits like bananas and pineapple can have the same effect. Does this mean you have to take the banana out of your green smoothie? No! You will just want to be aware of WHEN you consume it. Just before a vigorous workout or long walk or hike is best as you will end up using the glucose to fuel your workout and support a strong finish!
As your pancreas continues to pump out insulin, it gets tired. It goes into a kind of autopilot, secreting and pumping out insulin to the point the body becomes resistant to it. This is called Insulin Resistance and is partly responsible for the rise in obesity among Americans.
So what can you do to control your insulin?
It all comes down to the recommendations you have heard time and time again. Eat healthy (low carb, whole foods), exercise regularly and get plenty of restful sleep. You will also want to be aware of what healthy fruits, vegetables and grains are likely to spike your blood sugar (High Glycemic) and which keep it under control (Low Glycemic). There is a great app you can download that will help you quickly identify these foods called Glycemic Index Load Net Carbs. Stick to foods that rank low on the Glycemic Index.
Healthy Food is YOUR responsibility
According to The American Heart Association, Americans consume an average of 77 grams of added sugar, almost three times the recommended amount for women. Big Food Companies make it harder and harder to spot healthy foods. Labels like "All Natural", "Gluten Free", "Great Source of Whole Grains" and "Heart Healthy" make it difficult to pass up that box of cereal with the picture of the farm at sunrise on the front.
By law, these companies need to provide ALL the facts, not just the ones that help them sell. However, these facts are on the nutrition facts label that is usually hidden from view through strategic display placement in the supermarket.
The info is there, it is YOUR responsibility is to gather the facts and make an INFORMED decision...but you need to know where to find it and how to decipher all that info! No worries, I broke it down into a few simple steps.
If a food does not meet most or all of these requirements, it is time to break up with it and find a healthier alternative:
I challenge you to go through your pantry and fridge right now. Do a little detox and get rid of foods that break multiple rules. If you are having trouble deciphering, I recommend the app Fooducate. This app allows you to scan the barcode of a food, provide a letter grade with reasons and recommend healthier options for the foods that may not make the grade. Give it a try!
And do NOT feel guilty about throwing away food that doesn't meet the grade. I sympathize with the thought of neighbors not having enough food, but no one should be eating unhealthy Frankenfood. Throw it out, ease your guilt with a food pantry donation of HEALTHY non-perishables and move forward knowing you are doing your part for your health AND your community!
Look at you....ROCKSTAR!!
I'm feeling disappointed and vulnerable
It is time to put it all out there. I have hidden behind a facade too long and my "comfortable" is becoming very uncomfortable...and not in a good way.
The pandemic has taken away a part of me that I worked so hard for. Where I once woke early to get in an awakening, mood boosting workout now includes hitting the snooze alarm with false promises of a workout later. There is envy watching my son effortlessly run a 5K knowing I would be lucky to make it a half mile before slowing my pace to a walk or complaining of aches and pains. The endless trying on clothes in my closet to find nothing fits or the fit is extremely unflattering.
This is disappointment at is finest.
There once was a time when I got excited about signing up for charity 5Ks and the training for a purpose that came with it. I am blessed with a body that can do things others cannot and I can use it to pay back all I have to be grateful and thankful for when it comes to my health and well-being. Crossing the finish line was an accomplishment that I could be proud of, pushing myself and testing my limits. At my healthiest, I felt alive and happy and wanted to pay it forward.
A Pandemic is NOT an excuse
One day in March of 2020, I was preparing for two weeks of remote teaching as the world was preparing to "flatten the curve" of the Coronavirus infections. I would be sitting at a computer most of my days, not walking a classroom, hallways and playground accumulating 15,000 steps a day.
Two weeks turned into 18 months. My step count decreased to about 2,000 steps by the end of the school day. My gym closed and my intense, personal trainer led workouts were diverted to a virtual session where I could easily hide out of camera view and get away with less than par abdominal crunches (if I did them at all).
But this was not my fault...I had an excuse, right?
Maybe my mind thought this, but the scale, my clothes, my energy and my strength would disagree.
I am so disappointed in how far I let this go!
Snap back to reality!
I was thinking at this point I would share a :"today" picture to show how far down I have gone. There is no picture. I looked for one but then realized I am a master at avoiding the camera. If I don't see it, it is not a problem, right?
My snap back to reality came while listening to David Goggins talk about his book "Can't Hurt Me" as I listened on Audible. It was during a break in the narration when Goggins was talking with the narrator and made a comment about life coaches. Being a Health Coach, it hit a nerve when he spoke of how some coaches preach pushing the limits and practicing healthy habits and then go home and binge watch TV while eating Ding Dongs.
I have been caught. My impostor syndrome a reality.
While I did not quite sink to the level of ding dongs, Twinkies and Hostess cupcakes, there was some honesty and responsibility I had to face in his statement. I was preaching meal prep, food diaries and red zone exercising...but I was not practicing it myself. I do not want to be the "Do as I say, not as I do" coach, nor do I want to make it OK to say being overweight and not fitting into my jeans is "OK and I need to accept it" when inside I am feeling depressed and disappointed.
Roger That, David Goggins.
Today is my Day 1!
This vulnerable blog is my way of putting it out there, acknowledging my setback, taking ownership of how I feel and what I need to do to improve, because no one is going to do it for me. This is hard, but necessary.
I will begin my Sunday morning practice of planning meals, writing a grocery list, scheduling my workouts and planning my week to include work, family and social activities.
This is not going to be easy and I will need support. My family will be on this journey with me. The junk food will not come into the house. Lunches will be prepped and packed and meals will be at the table on most nights.
No one is going to give me my health.
No one will carry me through the next 5K.
This body, this health is MY responsibility.
If I want it, I have to go out and get it.
This is my journey...and it starts NOW!
You are Invited!
As I mentioned, being a health coach, I aspire to inspire others to create their own journey. Acknowledging their starting point, visualizing their destination of health and wellness, creating their path and overcoming the obstacles.
I am on a journey and would like to invite you to join me. Having the support of others will increase both our chances of success.
I am running an 8 week Challenge which includes all the steps I will take to begin getting my old self back. Along with a supportive group, we can take this journey together, creating an individual path with actions that will keep you on track to your goals. A path that will include obstacles you will overcome with the help of like minded peers on a similar journey.
If you would like to join me and begin taking steps to your own optimal health and wellness, learn more here. This journey is a challenge but not one you need to go alone.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story, to empathize with my disappointment and vulnerability. I hope you are feeling inspired and motivated by it. If so, please leave a comment below.
I'm Liz. Mom, wife, teacher, Health Coach. My passion lies in everything health and wellness. When new research and trends pop up, you can bet I am finding the best resources to information, weeding out the not so good and making the great easy to digest. From meal planning and recipes to exercise and mindfulness, wellness touches upon so many dimensions. Your path to optimal health is out there and I can help you find it.