Saturday, June 24, 2017

Finding Time For You - The Need for R&R

It's hard to believe that next week will be the start of July. This year is just flying by, Before I know it, it will be time to start back to school shopping again.......I really wish time would just slow down a bit. Having said all that, I think a good couple days of down time and relaxation are in need. A few good days of some real R&R....and maybe a little TLC are in order.

Normally, I would say there is nothing better than some good quality family time BUT when you are looking for true R&R a more solitary route is in order. To truly unwind and let go of all of life's stresses means to set yourself up for no interruptions. Which one else to take care of for the amount of time you have deemed R&R time. It could be just for an afternoon, it could be for a weekend.....heck, it could be for a week if you want it to. Just pick your time frame and plan out how you are going to make it happen.

Decide what your perfect, blissful R&R time will look like, Is it finding some quiet time to read a book? Is it taking a nap in a hammock? Spending the day on the beach? A spa day? Ask yourself what will truly make you happy and relaxed and actually take the time to do it. Don't be afraid to take care of yourself. I know for me in the past I would always feel guilty and never take any time to really care for myself and every aspect of my life suffered from doing that. I was always tired and grumpy and on edge. Once I realized that it was okay to not only take time for myself but actually take care of my needs, every aspect of my life improved. I discovered that in order to be the best version of myself that I could be required me to take care of my needs so I could then take care of others. As a parent this is especially hard to grip......but I have learned it is possible....and enjoyable and VERY necessary.  

Anyways, the reason why I even brought this subject up is because it is now going in to July and I have yet to take any R&R moments for myself this year. It has been a crazy busy year so far and some how time has just slipped on past with all the hustle and bustle of life. I think it is time for me to start planning out a little block of time all for myself. I think it will not only make me feel refreshed and rejuvenated but also help me refocus on some of my goals that I have been putting off this year. The year is already half over......I better get busy!

What does good ole fashioned R&R look like to you? What is the best way for you to de-stress and relax? Share in the comments section below.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Are You A Stress Eater? A Look Into Emotional Eating

Stress and emotional eating go hand in hand. They are two of the main culprits that can derail even the best laid out diet plan and can wreak havoc on our daily lives in such crazy ways. At some point in our lives all of us have faced some form of stress.  Whether it be work related, relationships, financial, school, health or family, we have all faced some form of stress. The stress can make us irritable, jumpy, tense and even hungry. As the heart rate rises during a stressful moment the body starts to look for ways to "fix" the problem and get everything to calm down and feel better. And one of the ways it tries to "fix" the problem is by sending off hunger signals. These signals can get so intense that it is nearly impossible to ignore and they don't stop after the first initial rush. The brain keeps telling the body it needs more and before you know it, an entire bag of potato chips is gone or the whole darn pie was eaten down to the last crumb. The dopamine high you get from a junk food "fix" can be as strong and likened to that of a hit of cocaine or puff of a cigarette. It becomes addicting.

As with any type of addiction learning what triggers the addiction is key to combating the problem. The second step is learning a new way to deal with the trigger that won't lead to feeding the addiction. This second step is quite challenging but not impossible. It requires relearning stress responses and keeping yourself in check and aware of how your body is responding to certain situations. It also requires an action plan. Here are a few action steps to take when faced with stress and emotional eating:

  1. Ask the BIG question: Is this healthy for me and will it help to fuel my body rather than fuel a junk food craving? Believe it or no, this one simple step can be very helpful in stepping away from stress eating. It may not be fool-proof but it is a giant step in the right direction into identifying triggers and realizing you are in an emotional eating state of mind. Just by taking the time to ask yourself, Is this healthy for me? gives your mind and body a moment to really think about what is happening in that moment. It may just be enough to be able to talk yourself out of a junk food eating binge. 
  2. Be proactive in fighting off stress: Taking the time to be proactive in fighting off stress can be one of the biggest tools you can give yourself to fight off emotional eating. Are you getting enough sleep at night? Exercising regularly? Eating nutritious foods? Are you giving yourself enough time at the end of the day to unwind? By taking some of these proactive steps to help reduce stress you are giving yourself an edge in the emotional eating battle. By taking care of yourself and giving your body what it truly needs you will not only start to feel better but the cravings and desire to emotionally eat will start to subside.
  3. Keep a detailed food journal: Keeping a food journal is a great way to help identify stress triggers and how they make you feel. In your food journal you should write down EVERYTHING that you ate during the day, and I do mean everything. Underneath each food item write down how you were feeling before you ate and how you felt after. This will be a very helpful tool in examining what triggers you to eat and help identify when you are eating out of hunger or from emotions. It will also help to form better habits and menu planning.
  4. Keep healthy "snack" foods close by at all times: When a food craving hits or an emotional stressor occurs having healthy foods to go to instead of all the junk will be a game changer. Some healthy alternatives are: berries, apple, celery, cottage cheese, almond butter, broccoli, nuts, seeds, carrots, greek yogurt, and peppers. It is important to note that in the case of nuts and seeds it is important to have them in portioned packets so as to not over indulge. While nuts and seeds are full of healthy nutrients and fats they are also extremely caloric. A little bit goes a long way. These types of foods will help to appease a craving or a stressor without fueling your body with the wrong types of fuel.
  5. Be Social: Getting out and being with friends and family can be a great de-stressor. Maybe you can go on a hike together or go shopping or even go on a bike ride together. The point is.....being social and actually being with people can be one of the best stress fighters. Ever notice how good you feel after having a great evening with friends? How relaxed you feel? Being social and laughing and having a good time sometimes is the best medicine. Even if you just went out for coffee and just talked that simple act alone can take away mountains of stress and make you feel better and like you are not alone.
As I stated above, no one method is ever going to be completely fool-proof but if you can implement a few of these strategies and become more aware of emotional eating habits it is a step in the right direction. Learning how to overcome emotional eating is a journey to better health and self care. It is a journey on learning how to break free from food addictions and letting go of things that bog you down. As always, if the journey becomes to over whelming you can always enlist the help of a professional counselor, dietitian, health coach or personal trainer to help better guide you in learning better coping methods. I am a certified health coach and would be happy to help in any way I can so please feel free to contact me. All initial consults are free.

What are some ways that you combat emotional eating? Have you ever had a binge session and felt horrible afterwards? How did you cope? Share in the comments section.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Blood Sugar Solution - A Book for the Masses

I love reading a good book. I love it even better when I can read something and pull so many different useful bits of information from it. The Blood Sugar Solution by Dr. Mark Hyman was a very powerful and insightful book to read. In my opinion, this book hits a home run in the information provided and the suggested solutions to fix many of today's obesity and chronic health concerns and issues. This book should be on any ones read list that would like to learn how to improve their overall health and wellness. Check it out!

The general principle and biggest message of this book is pretty straight forward: Eat real whole foods, not fake processed crap. In a nut shell that is it. Of course it dives in way deeper than just that principle but it does a particularly good job in hitting that point home repeatedly. One of the biggest health concerns and problems our society faces when it comes to the obesity and diabetes epidemic is the simple fact that most of our diets do not contain real whole foods but rather processed "food-like" substances. These food like substances are often filled to the brim with sugars and salts and are predominately chemically based. When ingested and consumed in large quantities these "foods" can raise our blood sugar levels to unmanageable proportions, cause weight gain, lead to diabetes, heart disease and inflammation just to name a few of the problems these types of foods can create. Then if you add in the fact that most of us are addicted to sugary soda drinks, coffee drinks and teas that are loaded with sugars as well, we have a health disaster in the making. This book does an awesome job of laying out the cause and effect of what this type of diet can do to the human body and the problems it can cause. But most importantly this book lays out a very clear and direct manageable plan to correct these problems. It is a very common sense approach to making lifestyle changes that will actually stick and last a lifetime. I like to view this book as a type of blue print that one can use to achieve optimal health through healthy diet and lifestyle choices.

Not only does this book come with a very clear and easy to follow plan but it also has a companion cookbook to use with it. The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook is full of over 175 tasty recipes to try out and help in leading the charge to eating real whole foods. There are menu plans and even useful shopping lists to make the process smooth and easy to follow. If you are looking for something more on the lines of a simple get back on track plan there is also The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet. This book still follows the same general principles as outlined in The Blood Sugar Solution but in the form a of a short but sweet 10 day time period. This book would be useful if you are interested in seeing what a 10 day detox from sugar and processed foods can do and it is very useful in demonstrating the power and effect that our diet alone can have on the mind and body.

I highly recommend these books to anyone that is trying to improve their health and wellness on any level. The information provided within the pages will be insightful and very useful in not only the areas of weight loss but also in helping to reverse some chronic illnesses and diseases. As always if you have any questions regarding the information please feel free to contact me or leave a comment below. I am always happy to help. Have you heard of The Blood Sugar Solution before? Please share in the comments section.


Friday, February 3, 2017

Super Bowl Snack Attack - Buffalo Cauliflower "Wings"

Happy Friday everyone! The Superbowl game is this Sunday. Are you ready? I know I am. This year I am trying out a new recipe for Buffalo Cauliflower "Wings". I recently viewed one of my favorite YouTubers (Clean and Delicious) make this recipe and I have to say not only did it look delicious but relatively healthy for snack food too. This one could get addictive. Super simple to make and packing a whole lot of flavor and crunch. It is sure to have your Superbowl party revved up and begging for more. You definitely should stop over and check out the Clean and Delicious YouTube channel. Dani always has the best healthy recipes to share and she is just fun to watch! Try this recipe out and while you are at it, give her channel and my blog some love too!

Buffalo Cauliflower "Wings" - Clean and Delicious Recipe

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets (about 8 cups)
1 cup of white whole wheat flour
1 cup water
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup hot sauce (I used Franks)
1 tbsp. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450°F.

In a large bowl, combine flour, water, salt, and garlic powder and stir until smooth. Add in cauliflower and stir gently until florets are evenly coated with batter.

Arrange cauliflower in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet that has been coated with some cooking spray. Be sure the pan is not over crowded (use two pans if needed). Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

In a separate bowl combine hot sauce and melted butter. Pour evenly over the cauliflower and gently toss until evenly coated.

Pop bake in the oven for another 10 minutes or until the cauliflower begins to crisp up. Serve with carrots, celery and blue cheese dressing.

Serves 8.

Nutrients per 1/8th of the recipe: Calories: 82g; Total Fat: 1.7g Saturated Fat: 0.7g; Cholesterol: 3mg; Carbohydrate: 15.5g; Dietary Fiber: 3.5g; Sugars: 2.3g; Protein: 4g

Trust me, this recipe is a winner. If you want to check out the video to see exactly how this delicious recipe is made click here. I want to thank Dani for sharing this wonderful recipe on her channel. You will not be disappointed. Come on Sunday, where are you at? I am ready for some football! Are you? Who are you rooting for? As for me.......Go Lions! oh I mean Falcons! LOL :) 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

November Movember Challenge Update

Well, we are now half way through November and the Movember Challenge is in full swing. For the most part I have been active every day this month for at least an hour with the exception of my birthday and the weekend in which it landed. Life got away from me a little bit on those particular days but other than that I have stayed on track.

I have definitely made things interesting with this challenge. I have walked my dog, hiked, biked, danced, full HIIT routines, strength training, swam, inline skating, running and much more. I did my best for this month to keep my workouts outside of the gym and focus more on being outside and literally MOVING. It has been a true blessing to do this. It has revitalized me and gotten me out of my workout "rut". I didn't realize how mundane my workout schedule and routine had become until I started this challenge. It has motivated me to definitely make some changes in the regard of how I will structure my workout routines in the future. With that being said, I am looking forward to this last half of the month and kicking some more butt. I may even be able to squeeze in some workout time on Thanksgiving....have to work off that big meal some

If this challenge so far has taught me anything it is that even as a health, fitness and wellness professional I can find myself in a rut and lose motivation once in a while. I am not immune to that lackluster attitude and that drastically changing things up is a good thing once in a while. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my normal workout routines and getting in my gym and really focusing on certain things. But this month for me has been a real breath of fresh air and was genuinely needed to regroup and re-prioritize.

So, how have you been doing with the November Movember Challenge? Have you been able to keep up? How is it going so far? Share in the comment section below. I would love to hear how it is going from you all so we can learn and support each other.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

November Movember 30 Day Challenge

November is the perfect month to get moving and start making some gains on the fitness goals. It is time for the November Movember 30 Challenge! Are you in? All month I will be posting all about exercise tips, healthy recipes, things to try out and much more to help get motivated to start and stay in the habit of moving every single day and rounding out a healthy active lifestyle. It is going to be a blast.

The rules to this challenge are quite simple. For every day during the month of November you need to have 1 hour of exercise and physical movement. This could equate to taking two 30 minute walks, one in the morning and one in the evening. It could be going to the gym for an hour. It could be six short ten minute segments of activity throughout the day....what ever it takes to have physical movement and activity for one hour. I have read that to form a habit it takes approximately 30 days to do so for it to actually become a habitual routine. So I say LET"S DO THIS! Lets make this November a spectacular Movemeber and get motivated and get moving.

Today is day one! What are you going to do to get this month and challenge started off right? My plan for today is to take my new puppy out for a nice long hike. It's time to get moving...Are you with me?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Snack Attack - Simple Ways To Dip Healthier

Autumn is officially here and with it comes the season for tailgating, school parties and the start of holiday craziness. It becomes very easy to over indulge and eat all of the unhealthy food platters piled high with crackers, chips, cheese and dips. It is enough to send any sane person running for the door to avoid having to buy new pants every time the big game comes around and a huge smorgasbord of food is set out on the table. Over indulgence in these situations never seems to fail. But, what if you could satisfy your snack craving and do it in a healthier way that won't make you feel like you just ate the football. Sounds pretty tempting, right? Keep reading, I think I may just have the solution for you...

Today I am here to bring to you a healthier alternative to the normal chips and dip fare by using Chobani Mezé Dippers and a fresh take on the normal chip plate. If you are anything like me, no get together, party or tailgate would be complete with out some sort of plate piled high with yummy goodness and something awesome to dip it in. It just wouldn't be a party without it. But how do you still enjoy the snacks without all the gut busting guilt? By carefully selecting what items make it on to your plate and selecting one of Chobani's new Mezé Dippers you can have a munchfest that can reach epic proportions and still stay relatively healthy and guilt-free. 

So, what should be on this platter? What is going to be a crowd pleasing powerhouse? Well, for me personally, instead of the normal chips, breads and crackers my plate would be piled high with lots of bell peppers, cucumbers, celery, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots  But why stop there? There are so many different healthy options to choose from. You could add sliced green beans, sugar snap peas, asparagus, zucchini, tomatoes, black olives, egg plant, radishes and much more. By swapping out the chips and crackers and piling high the veggies, you now have a snack full of nutrients and health filled goodness. I would serve it with either Chobani's Roasted Red Pepper Mezé Dip or the Chili Lime Mezé Dip because those two are my absolute favorite. There is even a Three Pepper Salsa Mezé Dip and a Smoked Onion and Parmesan Dip. You can't go wrong with that! And with the Mezé Dippers coming in at 25 calories per serving and 1 gram of fat you pretty much have an amazing snack that you don't have to feel guilty about. 

By making a few strategic swaps on the traditional snack platter, snacking just got a whole lot healthier and much easier on the waistline. The vegetables will still give you the crunch you are looking for in a snack without all the fat and calories and when it is paired up with a  Chobani Mezé Dipper you have a winning combination. Snacking doesn't have to be a waistline addition and by adding in all the vegetables you are getting in plenty of healthy nutrients and vitamins that your body needs to function properly. Do you have a winning dipping combination? What are some of your healthier ways to dip? Please share in the comments below. Also be sure to check out the Chobani Mezé Dipper page on their website to find out more about these awesome dips and how they can take your next snack attack to a whole new level.