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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


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Declutter to Achieve Your Nutritional Goals – Clear Out Your Drawers

This month we have been cleaning the clutter from our kitchens in order to improve our nutritional habits.

Studies show that having an organized and clutter free kitchen makes us more likely to prepare healthy meals.

So far, we have cleaned out our refrigerator and our pantry. This week we are moving on to our kitchen drawers.

Having quick access to spatulas, measuring cups, measuring spoons, tongs, and potholders makes preparing a meal much easier than having to search through drawers full of broken utensils and bric-a-brac.

Over the next week, go through your kitchen drawers:

  • Throw away any broken utensils, melted spatulas, split wooden spoons, etc.
  • Stack measuring cups and measuring spoons. Try hooking them together with a pipe cleaner or carabiner clip.
  • Buy drawer organizers to sort silverware, serving ware, and utensils.
  • Toss out stained or worn towels and dishrags.
  • Next, be brave and tackle the “junk” drawer (it’s ok, we all have one). Get rid of pens that don’t work, separate paperclips, rubber bands, and batteries into plastic cups/baggies, throw away old business cards, coupons, and flyers. Sort and organize take away menus.
  • If you don’t use it or it doesn’t work get it out of your kitchen.

You will be amazed by how getting your kitchen drawers in order will make meal prepping time faster, easier, and more enjoyable.

That’s it for this week. Next week we will clean out your cupboards. Until then,

Happy Decluttering!

Review Previous Posts:

The Refrigerator

The Pantry


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Start Your Week with a Healthy Plan

Will you:

  • Take a walk after dinner every night this week?
  • Eat more vegetables?
  • Quit smoking?
  • Devote 10-15 minutes to your meditation practice each day?
  • Cut back on your alcohol intake?
  • Take a yoga class?
  • Eat slowly and mindfully?
  • Get 6-8 hours of rest each night?

Feel free to share your answers in the comment section below or on our Facebook page.


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Road Trippin’ Nutrition

Summer is here and that means, vacation time! If your summer vacation involves a road trip, you may be tempted to leave your good nutrition habits at home. But, with a little bit of preplanning you can have room in the car for your luggage and your nutritional goals.

Here are a few tips to help you stay on track on the road.

  1. Pack a cooler – Between luggage, golf clubs, beach umbrellas, and the floaty unicorn, space in the car can be limited, but leaving space in the front seat for a small cooler let’s you pack quick and healthy snacks that are easy to eat in the car. Pack snack size bags of bell pepper slices, carrot sticks, broccoli, blueberries, apple slices, raw nuts, or any other healthy finger foods. Protein bars or shakes, beef/chicken jerky, or freeze dried soy beans are great ways to add protein. Don’t forget to include a few bottles of water as well. Packing a cooler not only keeps your nutrition on point, but you will save time and money by not stopping to eat at less than healthy roadside establishments. For some inspiration, check out my Road Trippin’ Trail Mix recipe.
  2. Make smart convenience store choices – Eventually you are going to have to stop for gas. Fuel station convenience stores are full of snack options, unfortunately most of them are loaded with fat, sugar, and preservatives, but with a small amount of effort you can find healthy and tasty options. Most stores have refrigerated sections where you can find protein shakes, yogurt, fruit bowls, and my favorite, string cheese! If you simply MUST have some “junk food” opt for baked chips/cheese puffs, pretzels, or plain popcorn. Avoid the pitfalls of sugary drinks by choosing bottled water (I like sparkling water for variety) or unsweetened tea/coffee.
  3. Eat out smart – Healthy snacks are only going to get you so far down the road. You are going to have to stop somewhere to eat a real meal. Whether it’s a fast food joint or a roadside cafe, look for the best possible option when it comes to your nutritional goals. Most places have a few different salad options, even if a “salad” consists of lettuce, 2 tomato wedges, a slice of cucumber, and shredded cheese, add some protein and your good to go. If possible pass up the greasy burger and go for a grilled chicken sandwich instead. While you’re at it, only eat 1/2 of the bun or skip it altogether. It’s best to live without the fries, but it is vacation so if you must, order a small size and share it with your car-mate.
  4. Make a list of healthy options – Before you leave for your trip, make a list of potential snacks and meals. Having a list of healthy options handy when you go into the convenience store makes it easier to avoid the temptation of hot dogs and Twinkies. Also, do some research to find out what restaurants are on your route and what their menus offer. Make an effort to schedule your meal breaks at the restaurants with the healthiest options.

Your nutritional goals don’t have to stay at home when you go on vacation. With a little planning, you can make sure you have room for healthy habits and the unicorn floaty.

Wherever you roam, have fun, be safe, and have a happy, healthy trip!


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3 Tips for Preventing Vacation Weight Gain

Summer is here. For many of us that means weeks (or months) of dieting and extra trips to the gym to “get in shape” for our summer vacation. We cut the carbs, suffer through bowls of dressing free lettuce, trade our lattes for black coffee, and schlog through hours of treadmill interval workouts just so we can look good in our swimsuit, only to ruin our hard won efforts as soon as we reach our destination.

Summer vacation does not have to mean weight gain. Implementing 3 simple techniques can help you maintain your pre-vaca physique. All without giving up the food and fun of your trip.

Technique #1 – Eat slowly

Taking time to eat slowly and savor your meals can help prevent overeating. Research shows that people who eat slowly and mindfully, aka focusing on what you’re eating, consume fewer calories than individuals who scarf down a meal. Take time to enjoy every meal. You are on vacation after all, why not make the most of each moment including meal time.

Technique 1A – Take a bite of food then put your fork down. Savor the bite. How does it taste? What flavors do you notice? Do you even like it? If not, stop eating it. Chew slowly, swallow, take a breath, repeat.

Technique #2 – Eat until 80% full

Vacation often offers the opportunity to partake of foods we normally would not eat at home. Unfortunately, we often over do it by justifying it’s ok because we are “on vacation”. This is a sure way to regain pre-vacation weight losses. Eating until your a 80% full allows you to enjoy your favorite vacation foods while reducing the amount of calories you would ordinarily ingest. This applies to alcohol and sugary beverages as well. For example, if you would normally drink 3-4 alcohol drinks per day on vacation cut it back to 2-3 (or less).

Technique 2A – Ordering a variety of appetizers rather than an entree is a terrific way to sample all the culinary delights your destination has to offer while allowing you to eat smaller portions.

Technique #3 – Keep Moving

Vacation time can be a terrific excuse to skip your workouts, but it is those workouts that got you into summer shape to begin with, so don’t ditch them entirely. You don’t have to hit the gym. Walking can be a great way to burn calories while on vacation. Try walking to dinner rather than taking a cab, take a walking tour of the city, bike ride through the countryside, kayak around the lake, splash and play in the hotel pool, or create a 10-15 min HIIT routine you can do in your hotel room. Being active for 15-20 minutes or more each day while you are on vacation can go a long way in preventing vacation weight gain.

Staying healthy and keeping your weight in check while on vacation does not have to mean giving up trying and enjoying new foods or spending time locked inside the gym. Adding these 3 techniques to your vacation itinerary can insure you look as good (or better) after your trip as you did before.

Are you ready to learn more nutritional habits that can have you looking and feeling your best? Then our Nutritional Coaching program is for you! Visit our website to learn more and get signed up: I’m ready to feel great!

Have a happy, healthy vacation!!


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Meal Prep to Reach Your Goals

What ever your nutritional goals: weight loss, weight gain, eating more vegetables, or reducing your fat intake, taking time to preplan your meals or prep ingredients ahead of time is a great way to ensure you stay on track.

One of the biggest excuses I hear from clients about why the cannot follow their nutrition plan is, they don’t have the time or energy to cook. It is much easier to run through a drive through or pop a frozen pizza in the oven.

While a lack of time can be an issue for some of us, most of us waste at least 30-60 minutes each day on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or watching reality TV. I am here to tell you that if you devote just 1-2 hours of your social media/tv time each week to prepping your meals for the week you will have more time and energy to achieve your nutritional goals (or any other goals).

Fuel your body with nutritious foods and you will be able to conquer the world!

Ok, maybe not the world but definitely your own personal goals, dreams, and desires.

So, how do I go about “meal prepping”, you ask.

Meal prepping can be as easy as simply doubling batch of something you are already making and then portioning it out into individual containers. You can easily pull the containers out of the fridge for quick meals during the week or put some in the freezer to eat later. I like this method for things like soup, grains like quinoa, rice, and oatmeal, roasted vegetables, and meat.

Another method is to take 15-20 minutes after dinner to put together breakfast and lunch for the next day. For example, if you cook an extra chicken breast for dinner, you can slice it and put it on top of some leafy greens and quinoa for a lunchtime salad. Also, you can prep some overnight oats for a fast delicious breakfast.

My favorite way to meal prep, is to take a few hours one day (I like Sunday) to prep my ingredients for the week. I wash and slice raw vegetables so they are easy to grab for snacks or salads. I grill 4-5 chicken breasts and 2-3lbs of ground turkey or other meat and portion them into individual containers so that I plenty of quick easy sources for protein. You can do this with beans and grains as well if you prefer a more vegetable protein based diet. I will steam or roast vegetables to use for breakfast egg bites, soups, or as a side dish. For me, this technique significantly reduces the time I spend cooking during the week. I simply mix and match a few containers from of the refrigerator, reheat and I’m done.

Once you get into the habit of prepping your meals, you will discover what methods work best for you. Then you can start to experiment with ways to make your favorite nutritious dishes ahead of time so you can have them on hand when you want them.

Meal prepping does take time, but it is an investment in your health, happiness, and success and it will improve your lifestyle waaaaay more than those crazy cat videos you’ve been watching.

If you need help learning how to get into the habit of meal prepping or how to create any other nutritional habit, our nutritional coaching plan can help! Check out our website at: https://procoach.app/wellnessphx.

Until next time, have a happy healthy day!