Author Archive for Monika

Are You an Expert at Gaining Weight?

I know, I know it’s absolutely something you do not want to be an expert in – right? But unfortunately you may feel like you are. Whatever you do – you try this you try that – lose some weight gain it back and on and on… Sound familiar?

Here are my 3 tips to help make you more of a health expert and not a weight gain one – sound good?  OK – here it goes.

Your 3 Tips to Help Make You Your Own Health & Vitality Expert:

1.  Go Inside & Ask.  Do I want to be light or full? Do I want my clothes to fit or do I want that bowl of ice cream after dinner? Do I want a relaxing evening at home or choose to prove to my spouse that I’m right about something and end up arguing? Do I really need to watch You Tube videos until midnight or would listening to a meditation audio while I drift off to sleep at 11:00 p.m. be better for me?

You see, you are making choices constantly and making one that helps you attain a state of overall wellbeing is, of course, the best. However, the best choice may not always be the favorite choice. So try to go inside and take the time to process your thoughts and feelings first before making a possible impulsive or unhealthy choice.

2.  How Much Is Enough: You may wonder why controlling your portion size is so important. Well it’s not just about the amount you’re consuming but also it’s about creating some discipline.  You see, when you begin to take good care of yourself, you start making eating the right food and the right amount a priority. Having discipline is a good thing and it can be synonymous with doing a loving thing for yourself. Discipline DOES NOT always mean limitation.

When you overeat you are usually compensating for an unusual or uncomfortable emotional state you are experiencing. Whether happy or sad on some level it can be difficult to accept how you are actually feeling in the present moment. Giving yourself a plan of action in the beginning of your day is helpful in keeping you inline and in-tune with how much food your body really needs. In my Skinny Jeans Weight Loss Program ™ I recommend weighing your food initially to help you discover the ideal amount of food for best weight loss results. Over the years I have heard many of clients admitting how surprised they were to find just how much in excess they were actually consuming. Their portion sizes were larger than their bodies actually needed to function optimally. Everyone has a portion size that’s best for them. These can vary depending on your exercise/activity level but generally women require approximately 1500-2000 calories/day and men approximately 1800-2400 calories/day.

3.  Dieting Shouldn’t Be Your Job: I’ve mentioned this several times in past blogs where I have warned you not only to avoid becoming obsessed with dieting but also to learn to reframe the entire concept of dieting. A  Diet actually means what you consume on a daily basis. If you are constantly dieting you are not learning how to eat for long term wellness. Taking your excess weight off in a healthy yet efficient way requires a system that supports fat burning and muscle maintenance and results in that sought after reduction on your bathroom scale.

Once you get to that “magic number” you must focus on doing everything you can to maintain that number or at least within a 3 lb. range.

For example, if you’ve lost 30 lbs. and your weight is now 150 –  try keeping your weight between 150-153. Once it starts going higher than the 3 lbs. you will need to go back to your original weight system/plan to get the extra weight off. The longer you wait to take this important step the more likely it is that you’ll gain even more weight and perhaps – wait for it -gain ALL the weight back – and I know you don’t want that to happen. You’ve worked hard to lose the weight so find the best way to maintain it. Pay attention to your weight fluctuations over time. Stop the uphill climb  before it gets out of hand. The more you follow this advice the less you will need to constantly be on a diet and the more freedom you’ll feel in this area of your life.

You are now becoming your own health expert - Congratulations

Want to be Successful When Dining Out?

So many have asked me to address the whole issue of healthy dining so this week I am. Whether you’re in the midst of an effort to lose or maintain a healthy weight, eating well at your favorite restaurant can be a daunting experience. But don’t worry it can be done.

Over the last few months I’ve had a lot of opportunities to dine out – more so than normal. Having firsthand experience of the challenges you face I am going to provide you some valuable tips to help maneuver through your next dining adventure.

Here are your Dining Tips:

1.  Just Say No: Don’t even let the waiter consider bringing the bread basket to your table. Trust me you won’t even miss it. In fact, yesterday my husband and I went to Sunset in Malibu, the restaurant where we had our wedding. It was lovely, although 93 degrees at the end of April even at the beach was somewhat disconcerting. So we had completed our wonderful meal when I noticed every other table either had a bread basket on it or was graciously having it served. Had the waiter done the same for us I could have been tempted to have some bread since I was quite hungry and not enjoy my meal as much. So just say no as much as you can – Save your palate for the main meal instead.

2.  Hold the Dressing: Most dressings are loaded with sugar, unhealthy fat and salt. Oftentimes when I review the  “Eat This Don’t Eat That” blog I am shocked by the caloric content of most commercial salad dressings. If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you know I’m not big on calorie counting, but if you know how many calories most dressings contain you’ll think twice. Choose Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar and you’ll be good to go.

3.  Some Protein: Whether you’re a meat eater, pescatarian or vegetarian it’s important to have some source of protein in your meal. Your choices could consist of a ½ handful of shrimp, buckwheat noodles with goat cheese or nut meatloaf.  Your plate should consist of ¼ of protein no more. Ok so most restaurants might not offer the buckwheat noodles but a lot are now offering quinoa and certainly rice as well. Beans are also an adequate source and an option for you.

4.  Make Mine Veggie: I am advising more and more on the importance of focusing on having a primarily plant based diet. It is vital for good health, good for animals and for the planet in general. Put a small amount of protein on your plate and make the rest veggies. I have been tuned into the Food Revolution Summit all week and I suggest you also take part, too. You can go to  http://foodrevolution.org/summit/ and listen to powerful leading experts  interviewed daily until tomorrow. The Summit is hosted by John and Ocean Robbins. Remember John Robbins, son of one of the founders of Baskin and Robbins, in his landmark film and book entitled “A Diet for a New America” circa 1987 he exposed the tragedy of the American industrialized food industry including the mistreatment of animals. Think of reducing your consumption and demand for more humane treatment of animals. We all want that – right?

5.  Dessert Not Necessary: You should not need to have dessert if you had a balanced meal. Eliminating this cultural tradition does require some conscious effort and it can be done. If you need to tell yourself you’ll have something sweet later – by the time later comes you’ve most likely either forgotten about or lost the desire.

Enjoy your meal out!

What’s in Your Fridge?

I just noticed Dr. Oz had a special article in this month’s O Magazine about this very topic. I wanted to create my own version of what a healthy fridge should consist of using my own fridge as an example. In this article I’ll help you determine what to keep, clean up or clear out of your fridge. What are the best and then the not-so-good ingredients lurking in your Frigidaire?

So here’s how to keep your fridge COOL and not scary. Let’s review what you should keep. Consider the following as your healthy refrigerator basics:

1) Nuts & Seeds: They are a must in every healthy fridge and diet. Store them in the cool fridge to maintain optimum freshness and preserve the delicate natural fats inherent in these nutritious morsels. This list includes almonds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and pine nuts.

2) Vegetables: Load you fridge with the freshest veggies available. Keep the crisper brimming with crunchy delights from the garden. In my fridge I have a pull out drawer filled with Romaine lettuce (the 3 bunch bag), lemons, limes, onions (1/2 portion), green onions and cucumbers. In my larger pullout I have all the rest – kale, chard, eggplant, carrots, cauliflower, red cabbage, turnips, etc.

3) Fruit: As I’ve shared before I have another fridge in my garage where the overflow goes – it’s filled with grapefruit, oranges and apples and extra cauliflower, or sometimes I purchase a huge bag of baby spinach and put it right in there as well.

4) Probiotics: Although not a food item most probiotics require refrigeration to preserve their potency. More companies are starting to manufacture non-refrigerated versions giving you more flexibility for traveling.

5) Dairy: Best to keep butter and cheese in special sections in your fridge especially your cheeses. Butter like eggs has a much longer shelf life than cheese. When you need a quick protein food choose low fat cheeses. Don’t be afraid to use butter – just use it sparingly.

6) Eggs: It’s a must to keep eggs cool in order to maintain quality. Eggs have an excellent shelf life and are always good to have handy for a quick protein meal or for a special recipe.

7) Coconut Milk and Coconut Butter: Here also you want to keep coconut products cool in order to maintain freshness. Coconut has gained a well-deserved reputation as being a healthy dairy alternative.

Here’s what to dump:

1) Leftovers: If they are more than 3 days old, best to discard. The longer you save prepared/cooked foods the more degradation and loss of nutrient value. So avoid cooking too much at one time. This does take practice but it’s best to eat your food as fresh as possible.

2) Salad Dressing: Most dressings in the marketplace are heavily sweetened or have less than pure ingredients in them. Best to stick to olive oil and either apple cider vinegar or balsamic as a suitable and healthier salad dressing option. There are also several vinegar and oil gourmet shops starting to crop up everywhere. They offer some great varieties like Blackberry or Persian Lime Vinegars. Or how about Hazelnut Oil anyone?

3) Mayo: Unless its non-hydrogenated best to avoid. Hydrogenation is a processing method that damages fragile oils deeming them toxic when consumed. Best to either make your own version of mayonnaise or try using plain yogurt instead. It may taste a little more sour but it’s better for you.

4) Sauces: Avoid most prepared sauces. They are usually loaded with artificial ingredients and add unnecessary calories to your meals. Think of using fresh herbs like dill, mint, basil or rosemary instead. Or use warming spices like curry, cumin or cayenne. Or cooling spices like oregano or Herbs du Provence, for example.

5) Ketchup: This condiment is nothing more than sugar and artificial ingredients. You can’t really even claim any redeeming vegetable/fruit contribution of the tomato because it’s just tomato flavoring nothing more. Try instead using chili powder or sriracha sauce instead but beware these two have more punch than ketchup.

Chill out and keep your Fridge Healthy.

 

What’s Holding You Back?

Is there something you’ve been wanting to do but you’re still sitting on the fence?  Are you feeling it’s either not the right time or impossible to accomplish? There are so many excuses..I mean reasons for procrastination. A big one I’ve been hearing lately is “I need to talk it over with my husband”. Ladies – if you really wanted to do something you believe is in your best interest like changing your diet, getting healthy and losing weight – you shouldn’t need to run it by your spouse. You should know that it’s important enough for you to do. And what is more important than your health and peace of mind? Don’t fall prey to this avoidance type thinking and take a stand for yourself.

When clients work with me they are often surprised how much I care for their overall success. I take a stand for them – even if they are unable to do so for themselves. That’s my job to help you believe even when you find it hard to. I’ve worked in my practice for over 20 years helping individuals say yes to their dreams and yes to themselves. I work on this very thing in my own life and often hire coaches of many types, usually business or professional coaches in particular, to help me be the best I can be in my work and then offer you the best I can on a daily basis. Always consider your goals and dreams worthwhile by making them and yourself a priority.

Here are Five Ways to Say YES to yourself NOW:

1.  Give up your “Someday Thinking”.  If you think too far into the future and think your magic day will arrive someday know that you are most likely fooling yourself. Most people, including you, often think they have more time than we actually do. You and most of us are so conditioned to put things off for another day. Life is too short. Have you ever heard this saying: “Procrastination causes sorrow – so I’ll stop tomorrow”. I just heard it today and it’s what in fact inspired to write on this topic. You see when it comes to creating a healthy body and life know that someday may never come.

The clothes in the back of your closet – the ones you want to fit into someday, or the stability ball that also sits in your closet collecting dust or the recumbent bike which becomes a clothes hanger – these are all representations of the “Someday Syndrome“ (as I call it) winning out. You can change your future by taking one small step today – by not only thinking about it but actually doing something about it.  For example: I put on my new gym clothes today – a gift my husband gave me last week for my Birthday. Just having them on inspired me to pull out my yoga mat and do a few poses for 20 minutes. It just takes a little to get started.

2. What’s Making YOU Afraid? If you aren’t taking action you must ask yourself what’s making you afraid to take action. Do you think you’ll fail, or you’ll be laughed at, or that you’ll overspend time, energy and money and not get the results you want? When you think of losing weight do you think mostly of all the lbs you want to lose or do you also think about the possibility of learning how to manage your emotions so you don’t give in to your emotional eating habit? Do you even consider getting to the root of your automatic habits? This takes time and gives you an opportunity to become more grounded and compassionate towards yourself. Changing unhealthy habits isn’t an overnight fix but a process. For some it’s 6 months for others it takes 6 years for even others it’s a lifetime. I encourage you to embrace this concept and give yourself the love and time you need.

3. Be Practical. I’m a big fan of making dreams come true but I’m also a big proponent of taking realistic and practical steps to get you where you want to go. I’m all about getting results and I pretty sure that’s what you want, too. Staying in a dream state unable to achieve your weight and wellness goals is not the best place to be. Sometimes I need to reinforce “the one day at a time” principle and sometimes it even converts to “one meal at a time”.  Don’t over plan, under achieve and end up falling off the wagon. Appreciate each victory. If you didn’t have desert and everyone else at your table did – acknowledge yourself for that. If you brought your lunch to work 3x/week last week – give yourself a pat on the back.  You ARE making significant inroads towards achieving a healthier life.

4. Go with Your Gut. You know eating right, de-stressing and taking your supplements is the right thing to do and yet you just don’t do it. You might want to ask yourself – do you have a history of not committing? If so consider when was the last time you actually committed to something. Did you commit to saving money for a trip you wanted to take? Did you commit to looking for a place to live that was just right for you? Did you commit to a relationship? Whatever it was – you did commit. Sometimes it’s not commitment at all but rather a matter of timing – are you in place in your life where you can focus on healthy eating and really taking good care of yourself? Sure I want you to be doing this all the time but yet it may not be realistic for you right now. Maybe you have kids at home still needing a lot of your time and energy, maybe it’s elderly parents or a project you’ve just started. Whatever it is be honest with yourself – is it or is it not the best time for you?  I believe that even when other things in your life are taking precedence it may very well be the best time to consider a weight loss or nutrition program.

So evaluate –do a Pro and Con list  if it helps you get clear.  But remember - if not now then when?

5. Make a Decision. Make it and then stick with it. Making a decision is the best and often the only way to move forward in your life. Stop putting the brakes on in your life and start taking action. Know that you will always learn a lot more by doing something than by doing nothing. Watch escape route tactics that distract you rather than propel you. Are you watching too much TV, comparing yourself to others, picking arguments, going to the mall too often – these are all ways to avoid taking the time to decide what’s important to you. Instead of watching your favorite sitcom this evening decide to give yourself some quiet time to get centered and think of what health goals you want to accomplish in the next 3 months. Do you want to get the sugar and starchy carbs out of your diet? Do you want to let go of the last 10 or 30 lbs from your life? Do you want to change your sleep habits and go to bed earlier?  Ask yourself these questions? By saying Yes to these questions you are saying a resounding YES to YOU!

Would you like to feel lighter, freer and happier?
Then say YES to yourself.