Achieve Wellness

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Practice Mindful Eating Habits

No matter what your health and wellness goals: to lose weight, improve your health markers (cholesterol, blood sugar, etc.), improve your brain health, or simply to feel more energetic, good nutrition is the best way to achieve your goal.

While having a solid nutritional plan is the best way to achieve your goal, just being in tune with and aware of your nutrition can make a big difference. That’s why I find mindful eating a great way to get in touch with what and why you are eating.

With mindful eating, you take the time to focus on not just what you are eating, but why you are eating, and how the experience makes you feel. Mindful eating gets you in touch with your personal hunger cues, improves your ability to taste your food, and makes the eating experience more pleasurable.

So, how do you practice mindful eating?

The first step you should take when eating mindfully is to get quiet. This may mean eating alone at first to avoid distractions or getting away from your desk or office. I had a friend that regularly ate lunch in her car so she could have time to herself to eat. Think of meal time as a type of meditation, connect with the experience, eat slowly, and enjoy it.

Once you have gotten quiet and focused, ask yourself:

“Am I hungry?”

If your stomach is growling, you feel weak or shaky, you are irritable, or have a headache then you are probably hungry. If not, then perhaps it is better to wait until you are truly hungry. Now, this does not mean skipping meals or starving yourself. However, as you get in touch with what physiological hunger feels like, you will be better able to take in nutrition when you body needs it rather than mindlessly shoveling food into your mouth.

2. “Do I want to eat?”

Sometimes our habits and emotions get the best of us and we eat because we think we are supposed to, “Hey, it’s 4pm it must be snack time”, “I haven’t eaten for 3 hours I’m not hungry but I better eat something anyhow”, or “Damn, that meeting was really stressful, I need a candy bar.” In these cases asking ourselves if we really want to eat or are simply responding to habit and emotions can keep us from making poor nutritional choices.

3. “Does this food choice support my goals?”

If your goal is to lose weight, eating a big bowl of popcorn and a box of chocolate covered raisins at the movies is not the best way to achieve your goal. Likewise, having a burger and fries won’t help your reduce your cholesterol. Asking yourself if the food choice supports your goal reminds you of what you are working so hard to achieve and can stop you from making a poor choice. If, after you ask the question, your response is to still eat the food then you must be willing to accept responsibility for the choice. Looking great in those jeans or ice cream, which is more important?

Once you have started eating, focus on the experience.

Eat slowly and consider these questions as you go along:

  • What does the food taste like? Sweet? Sour? Spicy?
  • What is its texture? Smooth, grainy, mushy…
  • How does eating make you feel? Happy? Comforted? Guilty?
  • Are you enjoying it? Eat slowly and consider these questions as you go along.

Every few bites, stop and ask yourself, “Am I satisfied?” If you are, then stop eating. If your answer is, “no”, then take a few more bites and ask again. Remember, it takes 20 minutes for your body to register fullness so take your time.

Eating mindfully takes work, and it is likely you will not be able to do it with every meal especially in the beginning. Start slowly and shoot for practicing for 2 meals every day.

If the process seems overwhelming, that’s ok. Start slowly with 1 thing at a time. Perhaps you can find a quiet distraction free place to eat and just do that for a few days. Next you can ask yourself 1 or 2 of the questions. Once it is your habit to check in before eating, then you can move on to another question or step. Progress at your pace. The key objective here is simply to create awareness of your eating in relation to your goals. Do not obsess over it, make it fun, enjoy eating!

If you need help building your nutritional plan or if you would like help learning to eat mindfully, I am here to help. Email me at achievewellness@ymail.com for a complimentary 15 minute consultation.


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Plan to Get Moving

As you plan out your days this week (you do plan your days, don’t you), make an effort to schedule at least 15 minutes everyday to do some type of physical activity or exercise.

Whether it’s a 15 minute walk to start your morning, a 20 minute yoga session, 30 minutes working in the yard, or 5 minutes scattered here and there throughout your day, it is important to get and keep your body moving.

Daily physical activity stimulates your brain, improves the quality of your sleep, improves circulation, and can help support your immune system.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure it gets your heart pumping a least a little bit.

Most importantly, enjoy this little moment of “me time”. You deserve it and so does your mind and body!


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Commit to Physical Activity

As a wellness coach, one of the most common excuses I hear from people about why they can’t: lose weight, lower their cholesterol, be more flexible, or be more active is, “I don’t have time!”.

This excuse, and “yes” it is an excuse, generally comes immediately after this person has given me a detailed rundown of the 6 episodes of “Yellowstone” they watched over the weekend or spent 20 minutes griping about how everyone on Facebook is saying this, that, or the other thing.

Here is the bad news, if you have time to spend hours sitting in front of the TV or scrolling through social media, you have TIME to exercise! The fact of the matter is you don’t WANT to exercise, so you make up an excuse that you are soooooo……..busy with soooooo…..many important things that you simply cannot squeeze 30-40 minutes of fitness into your day.

Sure, we all have days where work, family, and social obligations take up the majority of our day, but for most of us that is the exception, not the rule.

Now, here is the great news, you don’t have to block off 45-60 minutes 4-5 days a week to go to the gym to get some of the benefits of exercise. By simply being active throughout your day you can help improve cognitive function, improve sleep quality, lower blood pressure, and reduce muscle tension and stress. Even doing 3-4 minutes of physical activity every hour can yield benefits.

Let’s say you are awake for 16 hours each day, if you were physically active for 3 minutes every hour, by the end of the day you would have done almost 50 minutes of physical activity! That’s over 5 hours every week! I guarantee you can find a least 3 minutes every hour to do a little something.

This week commit to doing at least 3 minutes of physical activity every hour you are awake!

So, what can you do?

  • Sit down and stand up from a chair, repeatedly for 3 minutes (or do body weight squats)
  • Take 5 minutes and walk up and down a flight of stairs
  • March in place for 1 minute, do jumping jacks for 1 minute, do butt kicks for 1 minute
  • Step side to side while pushing your arms overhead for 2 minutes and heel taps with arm circles for 2 minutes
  • Take 3 minutes to walk around your house picking up and decluttering
  • Or any activity that gets your heart pumping and your blood moving

More is better here so if you can do 5-10 minutes during some hours all the better!

If you have a goal to lose weight or improve your health, you may still need to hit the gym 3-4 days a week for some purposeful workouts in order to reach your goals. But, just think how much easier it will be to hit your goals if you add 30 minutes of activity the other 3 days. Even if you are a total gym rat, extra physical activity during the day can provide a much needed mental and physical break from a sedentary work environment.

So banish your, “I don’t have time”, excuse and get moving! It only takes a few minutes every hour and your mind and body will thank you!


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Recommit to Building Healthy Habits

Back in March when COVID cases started to rise and communities started shutting down restaurants, gyms, nonessential businesses, and more and more people started working from home a lot of people made a commitment to start taking better care of their health. Internet searches for at home exercise routines and healthy meal recipes soared. There wasn’t a dumbbell, physioball, jump rope, or exercise band to be had anywhere.

In my own neighborhood, I started seeing neighbors I hadn’t seen in months out for a run, walking their dog, or doing squats in their driveway.

But now it’s September and my neighborhood is again a quiet little hamlet. No more family bike rides, no more sidewalk yoga, and no more strolling puppies. Everyone it seems is settling back into their routines.

Restaurants are open, people are eating out again, fitness equipment is back in stock, and the number of online workout classes is starting to dwindle.

Folks commitment to better health is slowly going by the wayside. As we edge slowly closer to our lives returning to “normal”, we are falling back into old routines where physical activity and good nutrition are no longer on our, “to do” lists.

So, what about you:

  • Are you sticking to an exercise routine, either at home or in the gym?
  • Do you find yourself eating out more often, maybe grabbing a quick burger and fries rather than making a healthy dinner?
  • Have you stopped having your groceries delivered and started doing your own shopping only to find yourself making impulse purchases like the newest flavor of potato chip or those M&Ms that were on sale?

If you have found yourself sliding backward into old habits, NOW is the time to recommit to those healthy habits you pickup earlier in the year.

You may need to get creative if your schedule is less open and flexible than months past, but with a little thought and planning you can keep those good habits going.

This week pick 1 of your healthy habits and commit to focusing on building and reinforcing that habit to the best of your ability each day.

Don’t let your old normal ruin the progress you made during your “new normal”.

Good luck, have fun, and have a happy healthy week!


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Blueberry-Avocado Smoothie Recipe

Feed your brain with this delicious “brain food” smoothie loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, and healthy fat!!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, plain
  • 1 cup almond milk or other nut milk, unsweetened
  • 1/2 medium avocado
  • 2 teaspoons honey, optional

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. ENJOY!!!!


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Healthy Habits Lead to Success in 2020

Happy New Year and welcome to 2020!

If you resolved to lose weight or improve your heath this year, congratulations!

So, what is your plan? Do you have one?

In 10+ years of working with clients on health and nutrition, I have often found that when January 1st rolls around people decide to make dramatic changes to their eating habits: cutting out all sugar, eliminating all carbohydrates, avoiding alcohol, or eating only chicken and steamed vegetables.

While this may seem like the best way to lose weight and clean up your eating, there are a few flaws with this type of plan.

First of all, if you have spent the past 2 months indulging in cookies, mashed potatoes, wine, and pumpkin spice lattes it will be difficult for your body to give them up cold turkey. You have conditioned your mind, as well as your body, to expect these delicious, comforting treats.

When you say, “Sorry, no more fat, sugary goodness for you!”

Your body replies, “Oh yeah, I’ll just see about that!”

The next thing you know, you are in the midst of some serious carbohydrate and/or alcohol cravings. And we all know that eventually you will cave in and go off the rails vowing to start again tomorrow or next Monday. Even worse, you may quit trying altogether.

Secondly, our bodies need all of the food groups to heal, grow, stay healthy, and function on a daily basis. Eliminating an entire group of foods, such as carbohydrates or fats, restricts the amount of vital nutrients our bodies receive. We may not need processed carbohydrates and saturated fats to fuel our body but we do need to include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats from nuts, seeds, or avocados to insure our body functions at its best.

Rather than adopting a drastic “all or nothing” approach, I encourage my clients to make small, manageable changes over a period of time. A kind of “ back to basics” approach that introduces easy to apply lifestyle habits as opposed to diets and deprivation.

For example:

  • Eat slowly and mindfully – Rather than scarfing down dinner in front of the tv, sit at the kitchen table and make an effort to experience and enjoy the food you are eating. If you normally finish dinner in 15 minutes, set a timer for 20-25 minutes and allow the act of eating to fill the time.
  • Eat less by reducing your normal meal size by 20% – Rather than cutting out, start by cutting back. If you normally get a medium latte, try a small. If you grab a bag of potato chips from the vending machine each day, start cutting back by only eating 1/2 the bag (save the other half for the next day or throw it away if you simply can’t put it down). At lunch, eat your normal foods but order a smaller portion, put some in a to-go box, or share with a friend.
  • If you managed to maintain a fairly healthy diet through the holidays, perhaps you focus on adding 15-20 minutes of physical activity to your day 4-5 times per week.

Pick 1 new lifestyle habit and focus on doing it everyday for 2-3 weeks. Strive to do a little bit better each day. Once you have gotten a firm grasp on the habit you can choose to expand on it, such as increasing your physical activity to 30 minutes 4-5 days per week, OR you can add a new habit to your healthy habits repertoire.

Yes, it will take longer to lose weight or improve your eating pattern, however in the long run this slow steady approach will lead to greater success and better long-term results.

Give it a try, be patient, and keep an open mind. If you do, you will see yourself making the progress you want while still enjoying your life.

If you are unsure of where or how to start, my nutritional coaching program will help you get on track and stay on track. Learn more now!

Remember:


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Don’t Get Derailed Over the Holidays

With the New Year just a few weeks away, you may be tempted to say, “Hang the healthy eating! I’m gonna have some fun!!! I’ll get back to my diet/healthy eating plan after the first of the year. After all, that’s what New Year’s Resolutions are for!”

I am here to remind you, that taking that attitude is a mistake! Not only can it lead to end of the year weight gain, but it can also help reinforce or instill bad eating habits. Let’s face it, if you get in the habit of having a glass of eggnog and a few cookies before bed every night for the next 2 weeks what makes you think you will magically be able to stop when the calendar turns to 2020?

And why set yourself up for even more work next year by adding 3-5 pounds (or more) of holiday weight that you need to “resolve” to lose?

We have all heard the statistics: only 25% of people that set New Year’s resolutions stick with them past 30 days and only 8% actually achieve their resolution!

I am not saying don’t enjoy the remainder of the holiday season. I am simply encouraging you to make smart nutritional decisions.:

Limit the amount of sweets, processed foods, and alcohol you eat and drink. Notice I said LIMIT, not eliminate! An easy trick is to keep your intake of holiday treats and beverages at less than 15% of your normal daily intake (you can measure this by counting calories or by “eyeballing” it on your plate; 85%+ fruits, veggies, lean protein, complex carbs and <15% processed food/alcohol).

Using a little common sense and some self control can ensure you enjoy your holidays and still start the New Year off on the right nutritional footing!


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Holiday, Do It Anywhere Workout

The holiday season can frequently lead to a hectic schedule. Between social engagements, shopping, wrapping, baking, and traveling, finding time to go to the gym can be a challenge. Many of my clients say they simply don’t have the time to workout.

I can completely understand how life can get in the way of workouts. It happens to all of us. But, a busy schedule does not mean you have to ditch your fitness goals.

Just because you don’t have time go to the gym and do an hour workout doesn’t mean you can’t exercise. Whether you get up a few minutes early, give up a working lunch for a workout lunch, or exercise while watching TV, you can find 15-20 minutes in your day to get a little bit of exercise.

I have several short workouts I can do at home whenever life gets in the way of gym time. Below is one of my favorites:

This workout is designed to be fast and effective, it can be done just about anywhere and doesn’t require equipment. If you have light dumbbells or resistance bands, you can use them to amp up the workout.

Remember, just because you don’t have time for the gym doesn’t mean you have to miss your workouts.


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Declutter to Achieve Your Nutritional Goals – Clear Your Cabinets

So far this month we have cleaned out your refrigerator, pantry, and kitchen drawers. This week, we tackle the kitchen cabinets.

Now in case you have forgotten, we have devoted this month to improving our nutritional habits by decluttering our kitchen. The faster, easier, and more efficient it is to locate healthy food and cooking implements the more likely you are to prepare nutritious meals and snacks.

Depending on the size of your kitchen, clearing the cabinets can be a long and arduous task, so I recommend setting aside 20-30 minutes each day over the next week or 2 to clearing out 1 cabinet per day.

  • Sell or donate any small appliances you no longer use: toaster, coffee maker, ice cream maker, waffle iron, etc.
  • Sort and stack your plates, bowls, cups, and glassware. Give away anything that you have not used in the last year.
  • Get rid of plastic food storage containers that are warped, discolored, or missing a lid (or vice versa).
  • Look through your pots and pans and get rid of any that have a scratched nonstick surface, permanent scorch marks, or broken handles. Stack the pans neatly and organize the lids in an extra baking pan or large plastic storage container.
  • Inventory, sort, and stack serving platters/bowls, mixing bowls, cutting boards, strainers, etc. Throw away anything that is cracked, scratched, bent, or broken. Donate or sell anything you haven’t used in 2 years.
  • If it is broken or otherwise does not work, throw it away!
  • Purchase cabinet organizers for things like cookware lids, baking sheets, paper products, small appliance accessories, etc.

Here is an example of a few of my cabinets:

While it may seem like a boring pointless task, decluttering and organizing your cabinets is a great way to motivate yourself to eat healthier by making it quick and easy to prep and cook healthy meals and snacks. You will be amazed at how much more pleasant it is to use your kitchen when things are tidy and in their place.

We are almost done with our kitchen decluttering project, just a few more things to clean up. Next week we move on to the freezer. Until then, have a happy healthy week!

Decluttering your kitchen is just 1 habit that can help you reach your health and nutrition goals. Eating slowly, drinking plenty of water, adding more fruits and vegetables, and even getting plenty of rest are a few more ways you can achieve your nutrition goals. To find out how to build these and many other lifelong habits that will keep you on track, visit my website: https://procoach.app/wellnessphx