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Tuesday Tip of the Week – Some Exercise is Better than No Exercise

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We all experience days when we are short on time, but that is no excuse to skip a workout.

Even if you do not have time for a full workout, aim to get at least 15 minutes of exercise in per day.  Try taking a brisk walk, doing bodyweight exercises (squats, lunges, and pushups anyone?) while watching TV, or do a quick yoga class on youtube.

 


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Tuesday Tip of the Week – Find a Buddy

Whether your goal is to lose weight, run a marathon, or just start eating healthier, having a health and wellness buddy can help you stay on track.  Sharing your wellness journey with a friend or family member gives you someone to be accountable to and keeps you motivated.  Studies show that having a support system increases your chances for success.

While it is best to find a buddy that shares your goal, anyone who can offer support and guidance can be your ally.


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Have a Terrific Holiday Season

Hello All,

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season so far!

I will be taking the next few weeks off  to revamp and recharge this blog!

Starting January 1st, we will relaunch with a new look, a new name (Your Wellness Coach), and all new content!

I am excited to help readers, old and new, achieve the healthy, happy life we all deserve!

So stay tuned, stay healthy, and have a safe and happy holiday season!


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Build a Foundation for a Healthy New Year

A few days ago I was speaking with a potential client.  She said she did not want to get started with a diet and exercise plan until after the holidays.

On the surface, this may seem like a sound plan.  Why start a diet that you know you won’t be motivated to stick to?  After all who wants to count calories, skip the egg nog and buttered rum drinks, and miss a holiday party to meet their personal trainer.  NO ONE!

Personally, I think the holidays are the best time to start taking steps toward your health and fitness goals.

Losing weight and getting in shape are about more than just exercising and cutting calories, they are about making lasting lifestyle changes.  Making changes to your lifestyle does not happen over night, it takes time and practice.  The holiday season provides a terrific opportunity to start making these changes.  Waiting until the new year to initiate sudden, drastic changes can make reaching your health and fitness goals a daunting task.  The holiday season lets you begin to make small changes that lay a foundation for bigger changes down the road.

I have put together a few tips to help you establish lasting lifestyle changes this holiday season:

  • Start keeping a food journal.
    • A food journal will help you monitor the amount of calories and macronutrients (carbohydrates,protein, and fats) your are eating per day.  Seeing what and how much you are actually eating can be a wake up call and may help you start making better nutritional choices.
    • Even if you do not try to make any changes to your eating over the holidays, a food journal will get you into the habit of tracking and monitoring your new dietary program once the new year arrives.

I recommend either myfitnesspal or myplate to my clients.  Both have extensive nutrient data and basic food tracking on the free versions of the app.

  • Get 15-20 minutes of physical activity every day.
    • If you are planning to lose weight or improve your fitness in the new year, getting into the habit of working out on a regular basis will make going to the gym easier once January hits.  Taking a walk on your lunch break, using the stairs, doing exercises or stretching while watching TV, or riding your bike after dinner can get you into the habit of scheduling time in your personal calendar to exercise.  Once you begin to see how easy it is to find time to exercise and the better your start to feel physically and mentally the more likely you are to continue into the new year and even increase your workout time.
  • Pay attention you how you feel after you eat or drink.
    • The simple act of noticing how you feel after you eat or drink certain items can lead you to make wiser food and beverage choices.  If you notice that you are frequently fatigued, bloated, and distracted the day after binging on hot cocoa and Christmas cookies, you can use this knowledge to remind yourself to limit the amount of sugars and other carbohydrates you eat in a sitting.  If you notice that you’re always hungover the day after snogging several eggnogs at the office party it can serve as a reminder to drink fewer drinks or choose another alcoholic beverage.

This leads into our next tip:

  • Eat consciously.
    • Many of us mindlessly shovel food into our mouths without taking the time to consider what we are doing, especially when we are socializing. Practice becoming mindful of what and how much you are eating.  Pay attention to the experience of eating.   Before you eat ask yourself a few questions:
      • Will this help me reach my goals?
      • Do I really want to eat/drink this?
      • Am I hungry?
      • How will this make me feel tomorrow (sick, guilty, ashamed, terrific)?
    • You may ask yourself if eating a second slice of pumpkin pie helps you achieve your weight loss goal.  Even if your answer is, “NO, but I’m eating it anyhow”, you have created awareness about your eating habits and you can store this insight for use when the new year arrives.
  • Watch out for emotional eating (or not eating)
    • The holiday season can be stressful and this can cause us to eat and drink not to support our health but rather to satiate our emotions .  If you are one of those folks who gets extra anxious or emotional during the holidays, take note of your eating and drinking habits.  Consider whether your desire to eat an entire fruitcake is because you love fruitcake or because your stressed out about seeing your family on Christmas.
    • On the flip side, if you tend to lose your appetite when you are anxious, set a reminder to yourself to eat a little something every few hours, like a small handful nuts, a greek yogurt, or a few slices of turkey.  Not eating can be just as detrimental to your long term health goals as overeating.

Taking a moment or two to think about what we are about to eat gives us the opportunity to take responsibility for our eating choices, a skill you must master in order to adopt a healthy lifestyle in the new year.

Finally,

  • Make an effort to eat clean and healthy 80% of the time.
    • While you do not need to follow a diet during the holidays, making a deliberate attempt to make smart nutritional choices the majority of the time will help you counteract the effects of holiday eating and drinking. For example, if you know you have a big holiday party coming up, focus on eating foods that are low in calories but high in nutritional value, like lean protein and vegetables, for a few days ahead of time.  That way not only will you have offset some of the less nutritious choices (and calories) you may eat at the party, but you will feel like you’re indulging on a delicious treat rather than just another cookie.
    • Also, consider your portion sizes.  Chances are you will need to cut back on portions once you start the new year so start practicing now.  Rather than a heaping pile of mashed potatoes, try cutting the portion size by 1/3 or 1/2.

The great thing about adopting a few of these changes during the holiday season is that you do not have to be perfect.  Think of it as practice for the big event.  Because you have not attached these habits to a specific health goal yet, you can make mistakes, learn from them, and get better without feeling guilty or as if you have failed.

While practicing these tips throughout the holiday season may not result in weight loss  or improved your health, they may prevent you from gaining additional weight or even getting sick.  After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  In addition, you will have laid a strong foundation to build on for amazing health and fitness success in the new year.

 


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Friday Fit

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If you are having trouble achieving your health and fitness goals, I can help.  Fill out the form below for a complimentary 15 minute health and fitness goal evaluation.

 


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Welcome to Friday Fit

For the past few weeks I have been encouraging you to create a list of things you want to achieve in the next 2 years  (Click here to review).  One of the categories is health/fitness. So, with that in mind I am dedicating Friday’s blog to health and fitness related topics.

Check back each Friday for articles, tips and advice about exercise, nutrition, staying healthy, and feeling great!

I hope you enjoy it and feel free to add your own tips, tricks and recipes!

Now, here is your first tip:

If you are new to exercise or looking for a way to add some excitement and variety to your workout consider hiring a personal trainer.  Working with a trainer helps you reach your health and fitness goals faster, decreases your risk of getting injured, adds variety to your workouts, and gives you someone to be accountable to for your results.

So, how do you know which personal trainer is right for you?

Here are a few tips to help you get started with your selection:

1)Ask Around – Friends and family members are a great resource for a personal trainer recommendation.  Not only can they answer questions and give you feedback about their experience but you can see firsthand what kind of results the trainer can produce.  If no one in your immediate circle has a trainer ask members at your gym who they recommend or, if you are bold enough, ask someone who’s physique you admire who they train with.  Another excellent resource for finding a personal trainer is www.ideafit.com/find-personal-trainer.  This site allows you to look for trainers in your area and filter results based on aspects like gender, price, and type of training desired.

2)Check experience and credentials – You are entrusting your health and fitness to your personal trainer so it is important to ask about their experience in the field and their training.  Remember just because someone looks like they are in shape does not mean that they know how to get you in shape.  Look for a trainer with qualifications such as a college degree in Exercise Science (or a related field) and/or a certification from a reputable fitness organization such as ACE, NASM, ACSM or ISSA to name a few.  Also, consider how long the trainer has been working in the field.  While years in the field does not automatically make someone a good trainer (especially in a field where techniques and ideas evolve quickly) experience can help you determine if a trainer is effective and truly dedicated to helping her clients.

3)Does the trainer have a specialty they focus on? – If your goal is general health and fitness this may not be much of an issue for you but if you have a specific goal you want to achieve finding a trainer that specializes in that area is critical to your success.  For example, I can be the best trainer in the world, but if you want to lower your golf score and I don’t know anything about golf fitness training I won’t be able make you as successful as you could be if you worked with a trainer who specializes in golf fitness.

4)Know what you are looking for – Before meeting with a trainer be sure you know what your goals are (weight loss, running a marathon, increased muscle mass, etc) so you can have an open discussion about whether the trainer has the proper experience, credentials and specialized training to meet your needs.

5)Compatibility and rapport – Do not underestimate the importance of having a good rapport with your trainer.  Smooth, respectful and honest communication between client and trainer is required for a training program to be effective.  I have been the beneficiary of many a client because their personality and communication style was not compatible with their previous trainer.  You need to be comfortable enough to give your trainer feedback about your program and you need to respect and trust your trainer enough to let them guide your progress.  The trainer also needs to be able to communicate openly with you.  You do not need to become BFFs with your trainer but you should hire a personal trainer that you like on a personal level.  Exercise is hard enough without having to contend with feelings of dread when it comes to spending an hour with your trainer.

6)Don’t settle – Finding the right trainer for you is the best way to ensure you get a good program that is targeted to your specific goals, keeps you motivated and focused, helps you maintain a fitness regimen and helps keep you healthy and injury free.  There are plenty of personal trainers in the industry so it is important that you do not settle for a trainer that does not meet all of your requirements.

A few other tips:

-Do not be afraid to ask for testimonials or references from past or current clients.

-If you are not sure if a trainer is the right fit, ask if they offer a complimentary initial evaluation or session.  This will give you an opportunity to assess if their personality and skills are a match with you.

-Choose a trainer that offers some flexibility to your needs.  Not everyone wants to work with their trainer 3 days a week, if this describes you then make sure the trainer is willing to train you 1 day each week and allow you to workout the other days on your own.  If you travel frequently, ask if the trainer will write you an “on the road” program that you can do in your hotel room (expect to pay an extra fee or the price of 1 session for the trainer’s time to write the program).

-Know the price for training up front and what is included in any packages before committing.

There are many factors that go into choosing a personal trainer, but if you follow these tips you will be well on your way to hiring a personal trainer that can help you achieve your health and fitness goals.


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15 Things You Never Thought to Use Vodka For

There are a myriad of ways you can drink vodka; in martinis, with tonic, with red bull or as a slushy.  But, there are just as many ways to use vodka to make a healthy, happy home and a more beautiful you.  Below are just a few of the more uncommon uses for vodka:

1)Freshen your clothes – Looking for a way to revive your favorite shirt without having to wash it?  Give it a quick spritz from a spray bottle filled with vodka.  The vodka kills odor-causing bacteria without leaving a scent.  Just make sure to do a spot check for to test for colorfastness.

 2) Brighten your skin – Use vodka in place of your more expensive facial toners.  Vodka will remove excess oil from the skin and tighten pores.  Wet a cotton ball with vodka and wipe on clean skin.

3) Get luscious locks – Adding a shot of vodka to a bottle of shampoo (12-16oz) will help remove product buildup from your hair and scalp making your hair grow faster and look shinier and healthier.

4) Sweeten your feet – If your feet are smelling slightly less than their best give yourself a vodka pedicure (aka wash your feet with vodka).  The vodka kills the bacteria that cause foot odor so spritz a little in your shoes to keep them smelling fresh and clean as well.

5)Quash a cold sore – Use a cotton swab soaked with vodka to dry out the cold sore and help keep it free of infection.  Just a dab will do you.

6) Relieve body aches without the hangover – Make liniment for easing muscle aches and pains by placing 3 ounces dried lavender flowers and 1.5 cups vodka in a clean 16 ounce glass jar.  Place a lid on the jar and let it sit out of the direct sunlight for 2-3 weeks. Strain the mixture through a coffee filter to remove the flowers.  Rub the liniment on sore achy muscles as needed.

7) Get rid of freezer burned peas – Love the flexibility of a cold bag of peas for icing injuries but hate eating the peas later?  Make your own flexible ice pack place 1/2 cup vodka and 2 cups water in a zip top resealable bag.  Add a few drops of food coloring if you want a fancy color.  Place in the freezer until ready to use.

8)Don’t feed a fever give it a drink instead.  Vodka can be used to help relieve a fever. Moisten a soft cloth with vodka and wipe it on your chest and back.      

*Remember a fever could be a symptom of a more serious condition and you should seek medical treatment for a fever if you feel there is a serious illness at hand.

9) Soothe a sore throat – Gargle with 1 tablespoon of vodka in a cup of warm water and the pain of the sore throat will magically disappear.  Hmmmmm…

10) Take the bite out of a toothache – Swish vodka around the aching tooth.  The gums will absorb the alcohol which will numb the pain.  Again I say, “Hmmmmm…”

11) Vanquish vomit stains – Ironically vodka is excellent for removing vomit stains from fabric including carpet.  To remove a stain, blot the fabric with a clean white cloth soaked in vodka.

12) Eliminate mold and mildew – Not only are mold and mildew ugly and embarrassing they can also pose a risk to your health.  If mold and mildew have taken over an area of your life fight back by spraying the invader with vodka.  Wait 5-10 minutes then scrub the area with a soft toothbrush (for tile, caulking or other hard surfaces) or wipe with a clean soft cloth (for fabrics).  Remember to test for colorfastness when using on fabrics.

13) Make your faucets sparkle – Water spots on your faucets can be unsightly, annoying, and almost impossible to remove but with a soft cloth dampened with vodka and some elbow grease you can banish those spots once and for all.

14) Keep the love alive or at least the flowers – Adding 3-4 drops of vodka and 1 teaspoon sugar to the water in the vase will help keep your flowers looking fresh longer.  Change the water, vodka and sugar daily for the best results. 

15) Being pestered by bugs at a picnic? – Vodka makes a great insect repellent.  When you’re out and about where bugs might be a nuisance carry a small spray bottle filled with vodka to spray the bugs or yourself.   Just don’t get caught spraying and driving.

These are just a few of the amazing things you can do with vodka other than drink it.  It also makes a great adhesive remover, poison ivy soother, razor cleaner and jewelry soak.  For best results use a vodka with a high proof (80-100 proof should do the trick) and stick to a bottom shelf vodka it works just as well as the higher priced brands.  Stay away from flavored vodkas that may be infused with sugar or other additives as they may not produce the results you want.  Don’t have any vodka around?  Gin, whiskey or tequila can be used as worthy substitutes for many of the tips.


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10 Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

The wonders of apple cider vinegar have been touted for millennia.   In 400BC, Hippoocrates purportedly prescribed it for various ailments.  To this day holistic healers and medical doctors alike recommend apple cider vinegar for a variety of conditions.

Benefits of ACV

 

To get the maximum benefit, raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar should be used.

The most popular brand is Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar.

Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar Organic Raw — 32 fl oz

 


Apple Cider Vinegar: Miracle Health System (Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar Miracle Health System: With the Bragg Healthy Lifestyle)

 

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7 Reasons to Eat Sweet Potatoes

For many years, the health and wellness community has been encouraging people to switch from eating the traditional white potato to the more nutritious sweet potato.  Everywhere you look sweet potatoes are taking over the menu.  From sweet potato french fries, to sweet potato au gratin and mashed sweet potatoes these yellow and orange tubers are taking over the potato world.

What is it about the sweet potato that has garnered it this new status as a nutritional powerhouse?

Sweet potatoes contain several vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin D, potassium, magnesium and iron.  These micronutrients are crucial to maintaining health and preventing disease.

How can sweet potatoes improve your health:

1. Reduce the risk of heart disease – Vitamin B6 in sweet potatoes helps to reduce the levels of homocysteine in the blood.  High levels of homocysteine have been linked to hardening of the arteries and increased risk of heart attack.  Potassium in sweet potatoes can help regulate fluid levels in the body and reduce blood pressure.

2. Help control blood sugar  – Despite the name, sweet potatoes are low in natural sugars.  As a result they have little impact on blood sugar allowing it to stay level rather than rising and falling.  In the long term a spike in blood sugar and the resulting insulin response can lead to diabetes in some individuals.  The fiber content of sweet potatoes helps slow intestinal absorption rate and further assist in keeping blood sugar levels stable and the mineral manganese aids in the metabolism of carbohydrates which also keeps blood sugar levels in line.

3. Fight cancer – Vitamin A, also known as beta carotene, gives the sweet potato its yellow-orange color.   One  serving of sweet potato can have as much as 400% of your daily requirement of vitamin A.   Vitamin A is known as a powerful antioxidant that has been shown in numerous studies to help prevent prostate, breast, ovarian and colon cancers.  It is also known that vitamin A protects the skin from the sun’s rays by both repairing old damage and protecting new skin cells.

4. Support the immune system – Sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin C which helps fight infections like colds and the flu and the iron content in sweet potatoes also helps support the immune system by helping produce red and white blood cells.

5. Promote vision – The high levels of Vitamin A in sweet potato are beneficial to eye health.  A deficiency in Vitamin A can lead to poor night vision and macular degeneration.  Vitamin A also helps the surface of the eye block bacteria and infection.  Vitamins C and E are also powerful antioxidants that support eye health.

6. Aid in weight loss – It may sound strange to say that eating potatoes can help you lose weight however sweet potatoes are an excellent addition to a weight loss plan for several reasons.  Because they have a minimal impact on blood sugar levels sweet potatoes will prevent blood sugar spikes that cause body to release high amounts of insulin and ultimately store fat.  The fiber in sweet potatoes slows digestion making you feel fuller and more satiated longer than processed foods.  The naturally sweet taste satisfies the desire for a sweet treat and can prevent binging on sugary snacks.

7. Reduce stress –  The vitamins and minerals in sweet potatoes are terrific for helping to reduce stress.  To learn more about how sweet potatoes can help you manage both psychological and physiological stresses sign up for my newsletter at www.getfitnews.net and get my FREE report “10 Foods to Help Reduce Stress”.

Sweet potatoes will only provide you with their many benefits if you prepare them in a healthy way.   Boiling, baking or stir frying sweet potatoes are the best ways to take advantage of their nutrients.

Try this delicious stir fried sweet potato recipe: 

Ingredients:

2lbs sweet potatoes, washed, and cubed into 1/4” pieces

3 teaspoons rice bran oil or other stir fry oil

3-4 tablespoons water

1 inch ginger, peeled and minced

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

-Heat a wok or skillet over medium-high heat with 3 teaspoons of oil.

-Once pan is hot add the sweet potatoes and stir to lightly coat the potatoes with the oil in the pan.

-Continue to stir fry the potatoes until tender and golden brown.  Add water 1 tablespoon at a time as the pan gets dry to prevent the potatoes from sticking or burning.

-Once the potatoes have begun to soften add the minced ginger and stir fry along with the potatoes.

-When the potatoes are done sprinkle with the cloves and nutmeg and toss.

Serves 4-5

Serve as a side dish with roasted chicken, lettuce-wrapped turkey burgers or a salmon salad.