Client Spotlight: Madelynn N. đźŹ†

Beginning

“My main issue was a lack of energy and a fear that I was not getting enough nutrients from my diet. I am definitely feeling more energized now, and I’m eating a wide variety of foods with plenty of nutrients. The nutrition coaching made me more aware of my daily habits, even those not related to food! It allowed me to recognize how different foods affect my energy level and health issues. I now crave healthier foods because I can feel that my body runs better with them.”

Progress

“I was surprised at how much I began to crave fresh fruits and vegetables! I love sweets but have never really loved anything green. I would come home from work and want a salad. Very strange! 

A huge breakthrough for me was realizing how each new habit impacted other areas of my life. I learned the order in which I should focus on aspects of my health to most effectively get back on track. I really enjoy having more energy to put into different activities that I’ve always wanted to try. I’m taking ice skating lessons now, which I didn’t have the energy to even consider before changing my diet.”

Results

“I now sleep and eat more consistently, eat more fresh food instead of processed food, and listen to my body. If I eat something and it upsets my stomach or I feel off (usually something processed), I try to avoid that food in the future. Likewise, if a food makes me feel great and I crave it, I eat it more. I also eat out a lot less, which has the added bonus of saving me money. The biggest strength is being tuned in to my own body. I choose what I eat consciously instead of letting my emotions or cravings pick for me. I also have a plan for what to do if I fall off healthy eating, which will make me more resilient in the future when issues arise. 

Beans and rice were staples for so long that it’s no wonder I started eating so much fast food to break it up. With my new healthy habits, making sure to spice things up will help me stay on track long-term. “

– Madelynn N.

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This client in her early 20s wasn’t feeling the energy and vitality we’d all hope, and assume, for someone her age. Like so many vegetarians and vegans, including this author, she fell into the trap of fast-food/ junk-food vegetarianism. But all that’s changed! Now that she has healthy habits in place, and knows how to pick herself back up when she falls, there’s a resiliency that will set her up for success way into her future.

While we wish we’d all started this young, there’s no better time to get a handle on your health than right now. Schedule your complimentary 20-minute Discovery Call to get started.

How to Handle Holiday Eating

howtohandleholidayeating

During a recent interview for an AARP article we were asked quite a few questions and here’s a full scoop of answers to help you handle your holiday eating.

How to handle buffets and cocktail parties:

When it comes to holiday parties where buffets are a feature, it’s best to eat a sensible snack beforehand so you’re not ravenous when you arrive.

At cocktail parties, where cheese cubes, salty snacks, and sweet treats are ubiquitous, it’s a good idea to grab a small plate and find the veggie tray first before choosing one or two favorite treats to add. Also, have a game plan with alcohol- perhaps you limit yourself to one drink and two treats. Without this guideline, or with extra alcohol involved, the intake of calories can go haywire.

Healthy ways to handle sit-down dinners:

Some ideas for smart side dish swaps include having roasted Brussels sprouts, mashed rutabaga, or mashed cauliflower. All of these have fiber and are great source of antioxidants.

Generally, fasting earlier in the day leads to over-eating later when the large meal is served. I always suggest eating a healthy breakfast and lunch, and to treat Thanksgiving dinner as you would most dinners. Enjoy one plate and focus on the conversation. There’s no requirement to eat all you can and overly stuff yourself.

Smart holiday drinking:

Q: Is it true that drinking alcohol can stimulate your appetite?
A: The main problem with drinking alcohol is its well-known effect of impairing our judgment. After a few drinks, we find it easier to ‘justify’ having more cheese cubes, salty or sweet treats. Think of the number or holiday parties you’ll be attending this year and how much this could impact your health goals or weight loss/maintenance.

General nutrition for the holiday season:

Q: Can you offer some healthy foods that are at their peak in November/December for people to take advantage of?
A: When it comes to seasonal produce, it depends on which region of the United States you are in. California has a lot of fantastic offerings during November and December, including avocados. In the midwest, Brussels sprouts, garlic, rapini, and horseradish are seasonal in late November.

Q: Is it true that stress can cause cravings?
A: Stress in general – and especially during the holidays – can trigger more emotional eating. More than foods that help reduce stress, lifestyle factors are very key in keeping  on track. Ensuring that you get enough sleep, keep up with exercise, take a bath or participating other self-care activities, is particularly effective in reducing stress-related cravings.

Shopping at the mall:

Q: Are there any tricks for surviving a day at the mall, where temptations—from food courts, to Godiva shops, to “gotta buy” seasonal goodies at Williams-Sonoma—abound?
A: For keeping on track when it comes to shopping malls and their abundance of food court options and other temptations, the same tip applies as for going grocery shopping. It’s best to go shopping after you’ve recently eaten a meal, such as lunch, and to carry snacks that are high in protein and fiber because they will fill you up. 

So often we focus on what to do during a particular holiday meal, when what we’re doing the other 99% of the year with our food choices and behaviors actually matters more. Going a bit overboard, once or twice, during the holiday season is not going to dramatically throw you off your goals. On the other hand, working with your nutritionist to improve the other 99% of the year can show dramatic benefit.

Emotional Ice Cream

sad-strawberry-ice-cream

It starts at a young age with associations we can’t remember making. But by this point in our short lives, we have engineered quite a few if-then connections.

If I throw my food on the floor, then mommy will be upset.

If I behave while at preschool today, the teacher will give me a sticker.

Perhaps there was a time where you fell, scraped your knee and began to cry because of the pain and shock. Maybe an adult offered you a lollipop to help cheer you up. Bam! Neural pathway made: “okay, so when I feel hurt, eating sweets is an acceptable solution”

Fast-forward decades years later and it’s still going on. A difficult conversation with your boss or spouse become an excuse, albeit mostly unconscious, to indulge in some ice cream. A night out drinking with friends is a ‘reward’ for a hellish, stressful week. And it’s OKAY to treat ourselves, but there’s a distinct mindlessness involved in emotional eating. Very few people think to themselves, “boy do these feelings hurt, perhaps I’ll eat enough chocolate chip cookies to squash them down.” And yet that unconscious belief can be at play, creating patterns that are deeply ingrained.

What to do?

The first step is awareness.

Perhaps the next time you find yourself reaching in the freezer for ice cream, ask yourself why you think you’re doing it. Perhaps you’ll reflect upon your day and remember that your boss assigned a short deadline for your next project, you’re completely overwhelmed by responsibilities, or that your mother-in-law criticized your parenting. Ice cream can seem like a balm for these ‘ouch’ moments, but there is more shame than comfort at the bottom of a pint of rocky road. Even if you find the answer to your question, you may not be able to change the behavior just yet. That’s okay. It’s something we can work on together; schedule your complimentary 20-minutes Discovery Call to get started.

Why Weight?

photosource: poundstolose.com

In our busy lives, it is sometimes hard to put our health and ourselves first. We eat foods that do not contain the best nourishment for our body because they are inexpensive or convenient. People then think that some sort of weight loss diet can get them back on track. However in reality, these diets are hard to stick to and usually end in failure. In addition, everyone’s bodies are different and everyone needs unique nutrients to nourish and energize their bodies.

Weight loss diets are not specifically geared towards people, but follow a general set of instructions. Instead of trying to stick to a diet, the real success comes by making healthy food your lifestyle. In order to have good health, all parts of your life must be healthy. That means incorporating physical activity, healthy foods, and regular sleep into your life. Instead of trying to restrict yourself to a diet, try to be conscious of what you are eating. If you mindfully experience the foods you eat and the taste, you will appreciate it more. Work with your body instead of restricting it and it will naturally balance out.

Chew on This

Chew On This_Green

Photo source: kids.nationalgeographic.com

Think about the last meal you ate today. What did this meal consist of? How long did it take you to eat it? Did you actually chew your food or mindlessly stuff your face?

When you take the time to Be with the food you are eating and truly enjoy it, you will get more out of your mealtime experience. Chewing your food is a first, major part of digestion that helps you to absorb the nutrients of the food better. The saliva released in the mouth helps to break down carbohydrate components of your meal; the mechanical action of chewing breaks the food down before it enters your stomach and the rest of the digestive tract. Improper chewing can lead to over-eating as well as bloating, gas, and other digestive issues.

Chewing also helps you to enjoy your food more. By noting the texture and colors on your plate, while mindfully tasting your meals, you will have a greater appreciation for your food.

Next time you sit down for a meal, count how many times you chew eat bite you take. Try to increase that number by 10 and once that feels normal, keep increasing. The slower you eat, the more benefits you will see!

5 Mindful Eating Tips for Everyone

For a majority of those living in the U.S., the action of eating is seen typically as a task– something usually done in the span of 10-15 minutes with the location often being in a car or in front of a screen. The three-plus meals a day are thrown down the hatch and often in such quantities as to cause discomfort about 20 minutes later along with the realization of having over-eaten. In times of stress or emotional unrest, eating is seen as a comforting activity. The good news: eating mindfully can start with the next meal. Here’s how:

  • Eat your meals together – not only will this help maintain a cohesive family and social life but it gets everyone away from the pervasive screens of everyday life, at least during mealtime. Bring attention to the sight, textures, and taste of food while you converse and share with others.
  • Check in with yourself to assess hunger level and then serve the amount of food needed to satiate. This improves connection between mind and body as an association is made with serving sizes and satiety levels.
  • Reduce temptation to over-eat by serving meals in the kitchen and eating at the dining room, rather than keeping bowls and platters of food on the table. Try not to keep many leftovers as that can be a temptation for distracted eating later on in the day.
  • Don’t be the food police. People have to learn for themselves how much food it takes to feel physically satisfied. It can be a challenge not to try to control, especially when trying to ‘help’ child stay thin or healthy. Often, when mealtimes and amounts are controlled, a child may resort to sneaking food and can develop unhealthy eating patterns later in life.
  • Ask yourself important questions. Do you only eat healthily when trying to lose weight? Are children and friends hearing disparaging comments you make about your body? Do you feel ashamed when you choose certain foods or eat too much? If so, tackling these problems by enlisting the support of a health coach can help you create positive changes and prevent passing on these issues to other family members, especially children.

Mindfulness techniques, over time, will help establish emotional hunger versus physical hunger. Discover food intolerances and allergies by becoming more aware of how food makes you feel during this process as well.

We all want to be comfortable in our own skin. Be honest & compassionate towards yourself with the quality and quantity of foods you eat, as well as the motivation behind eating.