Tag Archives: nutrition

Just Eat Already: How Eating Regularly and Picking the Right Food Combinations Aid In Weight Loss and Fitness

27 Feb
The Farmer’s Market! A great place to stock up on tasty fruits and vegtables.

I’ve been everywhere in relation to food over the course of my life. I’ve eaten too much, I’ve eaten too little. I’ve eaten without regard and been completely mindful. It’s come down to this. If you don’t eat food, it will eat you! Food and health is all about balance and feeding your body the right foods at the right time is paramount.  If you do this, you will naturally begin to crave these foods and you will be better able to maintain weight. So, here’s what that means to me.

1) You need to eat. I cannot even tell you how many people I know who skip meals. I know, you get busy, you travel, you’re in meetings, I hear it all. You just have to decide you are going to be prepared, pack food if you need to, and take 5 minutes to eat. Wake up, eat breakfast within 30 minutes, and eat every few hours. Let your hunger dictate some of that. Do not allow yourself to get too hungry! As soon as that happens you will find yourself in a bind because you will eat the closest thing you can get your hands on.

2) You need to think very carefully about what you are eating. Your ability to combine the right foods at the right time is important. I used to believe as long as I was eating something healthy I was doing well. Not true! Steel cuts oats are great, for example. Should you have just that for breakfast in the morning? No. Consider these combinations as better options.

A serving of steel-cut oats, 3 egg whites, a few slices of avocado

A serving of steel cut oats, one serving of nonfat Greek yogurt, a small handful of natural almonds

A serving of steel cuts oats, 1 scoop of protein powder, flax seed and one serving of berries

3) You need to hydrate yourself. Thirst often masks itself as hunger. Drink water throughout the day. The side effects of hydration are numerous and sometimes we don’t even realize that we are dehydrated. What helps? Invest in a water bottle or cup with a lid and straw.  Keep that with you and fill it up regularly. Every time you find yourself in a place that serves or offer you water take it.

4) Include vegetables. With your snacks include a vegetable. Carrots are easily able to be packed and add a crunch to your diet. Snap peas are tasty. Adding things like bell peppers and mushrooms to your breakfast isn’t that hard. You can also throw spinach in smoothies and sometimes not even notice it’s there. Veggies help you fill up and offer a wide variety of nutrients.

Focusing daily on eating regularly and combining the right foods will help curb your cravings and prevent you from eating foods you will later regret.  Please feel free to share combinations of foods that work for you.  I’m always looking for new ideas to incorporate in my diet!

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Sleep Your Way to a Better Body

16 Jan

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about motivation and about what it takes to get in shape. I’ve read articles, talked with experts, conducted research, tried out tricks of the trade, and have found some common themes. I find great value in all the tips I read and as such, I try to implement many of them myself. However, I keep feeling like something is missing. I just put down an article, one of those “do it now” articles on getting fit. I’ve read several lately, and to be honest, I’ve slacked a bit this week. I’m partially blaming this on the fact that I am running a half marathon this weekend. However, to be honest, I just haven’t had made the time, and haven’t felt motivated to do it. Why is this? The why for me is actually pretty simple. I’m too tired!

The reality is that if you are not rested, nothing goes as planned. Your body simply lacks the ability to push yourself. With this in mind, I’ve decided from now on when people talk to me about their fitness goals, one of the first things I am going to ask is whether they are rested? In many ways, this is more important than what you eat or how and when you exercise. Why? Because good sleep lays the foundation for those items.

Sleep dictates nearly everything in our lives. First, it affects the nutritional choices we make. Lack of sleep makes us more likely to reach for foods high in fat and carbohydrates. It also promotes hunger. I think we have all experienced that at some point. Second, it prevents us from exercising because we do not have the energy to do so. Third, insufficient sleep affects mood, and can prompt depression. Depression can be a barrier to exercise. Thus; when we experience this we are less apt to move our body enough to get physically fit.

I had my own personal experience with lack of sleep recently. I am pretty disciplined, and despite being tired, managed to make it to the gym. Unfortunately during yoga I must have dozed off and ended up in child’s pose for five minutes. I did catch up on a few zzz’s in yoga, but I certainly didn’t get a good work-out. The bottom line… get some rest. Make whatever accommodations you need in your life to insure that you get quality sleep. Here’s some suggestions to help.

  • Set a firm bed time and stick to it
  • Aim to get the same number of hours of sleep each night
  • Shut off electronics an hour before bed
  • Invest in a quality pillow and mattress
  • Keep your room dark at night
  • Consider meditating before bed
  • Eliminate caffeine from your diet, or at least limit it to morning consumption
  • Incorporate quick naps, no more than 15 minutes a day to refresh yourself

If you get your rest, then your fitness goals will fall into place more easily. You’ll find you are more energetic, have improved exercise patterns, and that your mood will likely be elevated.

Now… if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take a nap!

For additional information about getting quality sleep, visit one of my favorite websites at http://www.youbeauty.com/sleep

Mindful Eating: How to Eat Less and Enjoy More

2 Nov

Freshly prepared meal made from fruits and veggies purchased at the Farmer's Market

What happens when you’re hungry?  For me, it’s easy to find the quickest and most convenient thing I can get my hands on and eat it.  That’s definitely something I had to retrain myself on when I set my goals for improving my health and losing weight.  The goal became not to find myself in a position where I was really hungry, especially in the presence of a fast food restaurant!  As I got better at this, the concept of mindful eating became more present for me. 

What is mindful eating anyway and how can it help you achieve your goals? Mindful eating, according to Center for Mindful Eating (www.tcme.org)  is, “Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food preparation and consumption by respecting your own inner wisdom”.  What does that mean?  For me, it’s about fully enjoying the process and paying careful attention to what food does to my body.  In an effort to ensure I was being mindful of my eating habits, I developed a process of nourishing myself.  Here’s what it looked like: 

 Mindful Eating for Meal Time:

1) Prep for meals and snacks: Doing this rather than just grabbing food on the go allows us to develop a keener sense of our body, how to care for our health, and how to appreciate and respect food.  Look through cook books, find recipes or ideas, and subscribe to blogs or sites on food that give suggestions.  One of my favorites is www.mariamakesmuffins.com  .   Shop local farmers markets and talk to the growers.  Think carefully about what goes into growing and raising food.  Pay attention to nutritional content.

2) Allocate time to prepare meal: This makes you more fully appreciate what you are putting into your body.  Even the art of buying bags of almonds and portioning them out makes me more aware of how much a serving is, what it offers me nutritionally and how much it fills me. When creating meals for my family, I occasionally take some time to concentrate on preparation, making eating an experience rather than just an act.

3) Savor the moment: When you sit down at the table, close your eyes for a moment.  Think about what you are about to ingest and how it will nourish your body. Are you eating empty calories?  If so, that’s okay, just be aware.  Does your plate have a variety of colors on it?  Is the food on your plate a blend of the vital nutrients we need to sustain ourselves?  Take a moment to truly think about what you are eating. 

4) Make eating a ritual: Start by having a glass of water to cleanse the palate.  Ensure you are not going into meal time over-hungry.  Breathe deeply and smell the aroma of the food.  As you eat, pay attention to the flavors.  Eat slowly and intentionally.  Pause between bites to allow your body time to take it in.  This will ensure you don’t overeat.  Before having a second helping, give your body time to digest.  

5) Reflect: After eating, notice how your body reacts.  Did the foods you ingest make you feel good, give you energy, or did they take away from those things?  Many people have food allergies or sensitivities and go years before they ever realize this.  Everyone is different.  You are the best judge of knowing what food works for you!  Some people avoid dairy, others red meat, some are vegetarians, others vegan; some can’t have gluten, some have sugar intolerance….I have seen it all.  You are the owner of your body.  Only you know what makes you feel good.  Pay attention to your body and figure this out.

Eating right and caring for yourself is a skill. Feed the body good whole foods , appreciate the moments of eating, pay careful attention to the process, love yourself, share your successes and tips, learn from your failures, and support others.  This will go a long way toward achieving your goals for optimum health.  Good luck in your journey.