Archive for food – Page 2

Are You Sure You Want to Eat That?

When your dinner host asks you would you like more?  What do you say? Yes or no? Sounds like a simple thing doesn’t it – but of course we know it’s not. Do you feel that you’d offend your host if you say No? Ask yourself – would you rather leave your dinner feeling overstuffed and guilty instead? Even though the holidays aren’t quite here yet, learning to say no graciously now will help you during the more challenging times ahead.

But what about discipline? What about contentment? In order to have contentment you must have discipline. I just heard a really great distinction made between the two. Discipline is doing the right thing even when you desire the wrong thing. Contentment is when you no longer want the wrong thing. So when you’re making healthy changes in your life think of what you really want long-term rather than in this very minute. Choosing correctly now will give you want you want most – a healthy life.

Our culture dictates that you’re supposed to be on a diet. As I’ve said many times in past articles, diets don’t work but a well rounded system and expert support does. You may be saying half-heartedly to yourself, your friend or to me “yeah I need to lose weight” and then choose not to do that for some reason or another. My client Lisa wanted health first and did what she needed to – with discipline and commitment to her true goal. She just happened to lose weight, too – a bonus.

Here are few ways to help you decide if you really do want to eat that – ask yourself the following questions.

5 Tips to help prevent eating things you really don’t want to:

Tip # 1  Have you eaten regular meals throughout the day?  If not there’s a high likelihood you’ll say yes to that extra helping at dinner or to the mouth-watering dessert when offered it. If you have eaten well all day long you will not be as tempted or have a need to overdo it. You’ll find that you have more self-control and feel proud and comfortable in your clothes when it’s time to go home.

Tip # 2   Are you hanging around the snack table?  Step away from any area in your environment that’s loaded with chips, pretzels, brownies etc. Appetizers are really unnecessary. If you’re having dinner soon why bother adding more empty calories? And yes, they are usually empty. This pre-meal habit is pervasive in our culture. Again, unnecessary so stay away.

Tip #3  Are you holding out for dessert?  When we have visitors over to our  house they know not to expect any dessert (maybe that’s why we don’t have as many visitors as we’d like – just kidding). Well, there may be crunchy grapes or sliced watermelon served but that’s about it.  Even while celebrating a birthday – is cake necessary? I went looking for a birthday card the other day and noticed 95% of the cards had a picture of cake on them. Tradition is hard to change. But why not try something different like berries topped with frozen coconut yogurt and don’t forget the candles.

Tip # 4   Have you turned into an Evening Muncher?  If you feel tired and feel like you need something to keep you going, pay attention to what your body is telling you. It’s probably telling you it’s time to go to bed and get some rest rather than propping yourself up with evening snacks. If you’re bored find something more nurturing to do than raid the cupboards. Look at your evening meal – was it balanced with proteins and good non-starchy carbohydrates? If yes, this munching your about to embark on may be more emotional than actually hunger. Ask yourself – what am I really hungry for right now?

Tip # 5  Is your Resistance Down?  When invited to have more food while your resistance is down due to fatigue, hunger or cravings you’re setting yourself up for making poor choices.  Becoming aware of how vulnerable you are at certain times of the day or in certain situations is really essential to gaining control of your eating habits. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can do it on all on your own. If you haven’t been successful yet you may need some help getting a handle on your deeply ingrained, unhealthy patterns.

And remember just say NO when you need to.

A Calorie Is Not a Calorie?

I know you’ve heard “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie” or even “calories in calories out” when referring to one’s ability to gain or lose weight.  Culturally we either view calories as the enemy or an expected (maybe even welcome) guest.  Needless to say this topic can be quite confusing.  With some not caring at all while others care way too much.

You’ve heard the common sense advice of: “lower your calories if you want to lose weight” or “burn more calories so you can eat more later and not gain an inch”.  Or how about “I can’t have that there are too many calories in it”.  And then there are those who blindly indulge in the latest super-sized whole lot a latte filled with a whopping amount of with hidden empty calories.

The contrast of obsession with laxness makes it all so confusing. So where do you go for sound advice? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are 5 Tips on how to get the most from the calories you consume:

Tip # 1   What’s a calorie anyway? It’s a measure of heat. To be more precise, it’s the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius.  So it’s neither an enemy or a friend it’s just a calculation used to determine the energy produced by the food you consume. You need a minimum amount of food energy in order to maintain your metabolism and drive your muscles. There are foods or substances that are considered thermogenic or have fat burning effects; things like grapefruit, tomatoes, chile, and green tea for example.

Tip # 2  Why should I care?  It’s important to have an idea of the general caloric content of what you’re consuming.  I even get shocked when I randomly get to read the “Eat this, Don’t eat that” newsletter online. Usually restaurant foods are the worst culprits.  From cronuts (combination croissant and doughnut) to “the healthy salad” loaded with excess sugary and fatty dressing, bacon, cheese (lots of it) and everything but the kitchen sink. Bringing in a whopping count of nearly 1000 calories, oftentimes more than half of your daily caloric need. Yes, this is why you need to care.  Just because it says, “natural”, “healthy” or “leaner” doesn’t it mean it is.

Tip #3  It matters where your calories come from: So two foods may have the exact number of calories – however one nourishes you with the right kind of nutrients and the other robs you of nourishment – even though it may taste soooo good!  A piece of salmon may have the same amount of calories as a piece of chocolate cake but with the high sugar and unhealthy fats of the cake it robs you of your health instead of giving you health.  Yes, of course you may occasionally like to have a bite here and there. But just know for most people this saying is true: “one bite is too many and a thousand bites are not enough”.  Best to eat the good stuff and then you probably won’t want any nutrient-robbing calories in your diet. The quality of the calorie matters a great deal.

Tip # 4  Forget the Calorie Counting.  I believe that most of your food should come from items that are not labeled whatsoever.  Fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and quality protein come without labels. However there are certain food items that do come packaged and you are sure to include in your daily diet.  Food items like: almond butter (should only be almonds), quinoa, cheese for example. Make sure these foods are pure and don’t have a lot of additional ingredients in them – which can not only add calories, but is also unnecessary. Nutrition labeling is very important when you have a health condition like diabetes or high blood pressure, to make sure that the sugars aren’t too high or the sodium is in a healthy range.

Tip # 5    Dispelling the Calorie Myth:   Again a calorie is simply a form of measurement.  Don’t be obsessed with them, rather appreciate a healthy, wholesome diet devoid of junk and high calorie/low nutrient types of foods.  If you’re spending a lot of your time looking at labels there’s something wrong.  Remember garden fresh is the rule of the day. Enjoy the best calories mother earth can provide.

Eat well and forget about counting!

Are You on the Heavier Side of Light?

Every week I have clients come into my office who inspire me.  Often in our sessions amazing ideas come to me for article topics.  Last week one of my clients was claiming that her summer clothes were tighter this year.  Even though she had maintained most of her  initial weight loss from when we first started working together – she had gained 4 lbs in the last 4 months.  It may not seem like a lot, but because she’s tiny to begin with – it was enough to put her into another size – up.

So I ask – are you also on the Heavier Side of Light right now?  Almost sounds like a movie title – doesn’t it?  Like the Unbearable Lightness of Being, for example?  But what I’m asking here is have you lost weight and now some of it has crept back on?  You aren’t feeling that far behind the eight ball, but just enough to have your new smaller sized clothes feeling a little snug.

You must admit you are lighter than you were before – maybe by a lot or maybe just a little.  But you’d like to get back to the smaller size, but maybe you’ve lost the motivation to do just that.  Maybe you don’t want to feel like you have to deprive yourself of sandwiches or desert or that glass of wine at dinner.  Maybe you just don’t want to live that way and the extra 2-12 lbs (or whatever the number is for you) is not worth being upset about.

If you are at that cross roads in maintaining your healthy lifestyle – you may want to ask yourself the following questions to determine if you are willing to do what it takes or simply accept where you are right now. 

Here are your Questions:

Question #1  Do you Like your Body Today?  Perhaps you’ve reached a point where you actually approve and love your body just as it right now.  You realize you will never be perfect or look like a movie star and finally you’re actually OK about that.  You still like what you see in the mirror.  Most of your clothes fit you just fine.  It’s not like it was.  You did dispense with all your “big clothes” long ago or you had your favorites taken in – that’s always a good thing.  So stay proud of how far you have come and the progress you’ve made.  Think of all the things you continue to learn and admire about yourself today.

Question #2  Do you plan to yoyo?  If you feel like you just may end going up and down & up and down for the rest of your life, ask yourself if you’d like to live with these planned fluctuations?  I don’t really advise planning to yoyo – it’s hard on your body, mind and spirit.  Normal fluctuations are common due to water retention, menstrual cycles, or exercise levels.  Eating larger portions than you’re used to or having foods you don’t normally eat are all  part of the “fluctuation dance”.  Watch for  incrementally continuous rises in weight – stopping this pattern as soon as it starts is essential for helping stay in your healthy weight range.

Question #3  Does your new weight require less effort to maintain?  If your new “heavier side of light” weight requires less effort you may want to consider that this is your new normal and stick with it.  You may want to enjoy more of this or that and find that the cost benefit is worth it to you.  Just make sure you stick with your healthy food choices 80-85% of the time.  

Question #4  Are you trying to maintain some fantasy? If you’re trying to maintain an unrealistic weight – a weight you may have been when you were 16, but not at 40 or 50.  This unrealistic weight may become impossible to maintain and will only set you up for further frustration.  Your hormonal balance is so much different now than when you were a teenager.  You most likely got away with a lot when you were younger; but now these indiscretions count – both on the scale and in how you actually feel.  Whether you are getting into your Skinny Jeans or not, you must make sure your weight goal is attainable – long term.

Questions #5   Do you just want to have fun?  You want to forget about constant control – you just want to be free from the scale, calorie counting and “weighing in” – is that right? You just want to let loose and enjoy your life – don’t you – after all isn’t that what life is all about?

This can be a beneficial strategy for some, however for most people too much letting go and having fun may set you off in the wrong direction completely. You may end up several weeks or months later, after having caused more damage and feeling worse, having to start over from scratch.  Now who wants to do that?  You don’t want all weight that you’ve worked so hard to lose. Consider all the time, energy, and money you’ve spent to accomplish a healthier and leaner life and now it’s all gone. So go ahead and have a little fun and know that discipline is not such a bad thing when it comes to your overall sense of wellbeing, pride and respect for yourself.

Are You Afraid to Eat That?

You may have gotten to the point where you just don’t know what the best thing for you to eat really is.  There are so many food philosophies; yes I call them philosophies, out there that you’re just not sure where to turn for the best advice.

Well, if you aren’t working with a professional right at the moment, figuring it out on your own could be a challenge.  You wonder “how much protein is actually healthy for me?”  You ask: “Doesn’t high protein and especially saturated fat cause heart disease?”  “Wouldn’t a vegetarian or even a vegan diet a la “Forks over Knives” method work the best for me?” you inquire. “How about all the genetically modified stuff out there – how do I know if my family’s safe?” you ask. And if you’re gluten free you want to know “What can I have instead of gluten?” So many questions and so paths to entertain.

Everyone is unique.  My husband has Kidney Disease and can’t eat greens, nuts, cheese, most fruits, potatoes and several other seemingly healthy foods, but for him those foods aren’t healthy ones.  They elevate his potassium and phosphorous which can have extreme consequences for him.  But if you’re relatively healthy, these kinds of foods are excellent to help maintain good health.

But let’s face it – it’s all very confusing.  Being too rigid is not a solution. There is a condition called Orthorexia, like anorexia it is a serious eating disorder. Orthorexics are so rigid with their healthy eating regimen that they become overly obsessed to an extreme. Unlike anorexia, those with orthorexia do eat but are so fanatically focused on only eating healthy that no food considered unhealthy passes their lips. Even though this is a serious illness, recovery is possible.

So how can you be OK with what’s available and what you put on your plate?

Here are 5 Tips to Help You Be Unafraid of Your Food Choices: 

Tip #1  Relax:  No need to get upset if you happen to eat something that is less than healthy every once in awhile.  Everyone faces this dilemma and we’re often tempted more that we’d like to admit. If you can make healthy food choices 70-80% of the time you’ll be in good shape.  Remember this is never about being perfect but about being healthy.

Tip #2  There is no BAD Food:  Labeling food good or bad can pose a problem.  As I mentioned my husband can’t have greens yet greens are something I recommend all the time to my clients and readers. It’s not good for him but for nearly everyone else greens are good.  Using the word BAD to describe a food can make it emotionally charged and a huge negative punch to your psyche. This association leaves you feeling guilty, miserable and more susceptible to reaching for those types of commonly considered “bad” foods over and over again, especially when things go wrong in your life. A better categorization for food might be: those that nourish and give energy and those that make you not feel good, create symptoms and deplete you of vitality.

Tip #3  Check the Labels:  Even though I encourage you to primarily choose real, whole, fresh foods without labels, sometimes you can’t avoid it.  Make sure the packaged foods you are choosing are GMO free and don’t contain highly modified corn or soy ingredients.  Stay away from unhealthy syrups and sweeteners as well, they are first off  artificial or secondly toxic and you wouldn’t want either in your tummy.

Tip #4  Ask your waiter/waitress or grocer:  If you have any doubt about what’s in the dish you’re ordering tonight for dinner – ask. No need to feel embarrassed or feel like you’re  causing a scene. You don’t need to have a food allergy in order to gain permission for a query. Most restaurants nowadays have become quite used to the more educated consumer wanting to know more about what they are putting into their mouths.

Restaurants have become quite adept at answering most questions the diner has.  Even your grocer is there to help. If you’re uncertain about something, do ask. Also, if your local grocery store doesn’t carry some of your favorite healthy foods, ask them to either stock it or special order it for you.  They’ll be happy to do so and keep you as their loyal customer.

Tip #5 Drop the Jitters: No need to go overboard about the food you eat.  Every food you consume does not have to be gluten, dairy or whatever “free”. Remain calm and do your best to enjoy your meals, savor every morsel and if you don’t like it don’t eat it. Unless you, of course, are more accustomed to eating only junk food, greasy burgers and fries – your palate then needs to be trained for healthier fare. Food should taste good all on its own without the need for sauces, dressings or extra salt.  Whole, fresh food has so much inherent flavor and goodness in it.  Give yourself time to experience the true JOY OF EATING!

4 Simple Healthy Steps to Saving Time

In these times everyone wants, and perhaps needs to, save time and money – right?  Well, eating the way we recommend at Coaching For Health not only ensures better health, leaner bodies and loads of compliments but guarantees that you’ll save money and time as well.  As Olivia, a client of mine, once said “I have been able to save so much money these past 2 months by simply bringing my lunch to work and by not picking up unhealthy afternoon snacks from the vending machine – that I’ve actually saved enough money to go on a weekend trip to Catalina with friends.”  Or how about Vicky’s comments: “My husband and I stopped going out to restaurants – instead of 3x- /week it’s maybe once or twice and sometimes not at all!  I saved enough money to go on a shopping spree so I can buy some new clothes. Since I have gone down 2 dress sizes, I am rewarding myself in very different ways now.”

You see – eating within a caloric “budget” can prevent overeating or choosing the wrong things to eat.  Eating fresh, clean, whole and green just makes good sense and makes you feel so good about yourself.  I encourage you to try as much as possible to stay away from foods that come in bags, boxes and any other types of packaging as they will cost your waistline and your pocketbook much more in the long run.  There’s not a lot of nutritional value in packaged foods, unfortunately, certainly nothing like the value you would find in real whole foods.  Eating out less and eating at home more let’s you have more control over what and how much you eat.  I often here clients mention they eat less when they go out to dinner and more when they are at home.  And I also hear the exact opposite from others.  The bottom line is to identify your trigger foods and environments and then manage them appropriately and you may need expert help with this piece of puzzle.

Here are 4 Simple and Healthy ways to Save…

#1   Be good to yourself.  Don’t beat yourself up if you are not behaving perfectly – you were not put on this earth to be a robot and to do everything by the book.  You are here to experience, learn and to get comfortable with yourself and your own skin.  Being hard on yourself can waste valuable time and energy.  Eating balanced and healthy meals can actually help improve your self confidence and self esteem.

#2  Eat your greens. By this I mean – eating fresh fruits and vegetables – any and all are good for you!  Natural enzymes are still intact when you eat fresh and from local growers.  Visiting your local Farmers Markets or growing your own is also more cost effective and you will be benefiting from the rich inherent nutrients in the foods themselves.  It helps to maintain good health when you are getting the most out of what you are eating.

#3  Create a calm, peaceful and nurturing environment when eating. This may be a difficult feat in our fast paced world but it’s essential to at least attempt to eliminate as many distractions as possible when eating.  Turn off the TV, play beautiful music in the background, respect your food and give thanks.  I know, I know – not a simple feat – but allow me to plant some seeds for your next meal.  A relaxed environment will create better digestion and save on possible problems like acid reflux, overeating (and thus weight gain) and bloating.

#4  What about Vitamin L?  Yes, Vitamin Love absolutely but let’s not forget about the other Vitamin L – Laughter! An often overlooked health habit laughter is just plain good medicine for the body and soul and needs to be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle.  Debilitating diseases have often been eliminated due to this one simple ingredient.  Yes, laughing or lack of it can be a habit.  Finding things to make you laugh, be light and happy – it can be as economical as watching a funny movie on TV versus an intense crime filled drama!

It’s Ridiculous!

It’s ridiculous when you think about it!  All this time you may be thinking I don’t have any willpower, I’m a failure at eating properly, losing weight, staying away from the cookies, succumbing to my temptations – what’s wrong with me? You cry out!  Well, it may not be your entire fault.  Yes, that’s right.  Choosing the foods you do may seem like it’s always your choice.  But when you are experiencing some uncontrollable, addictive behavior, the foods that you are choosing may actually have a lot to do with your cravings.  You seem to start eating these forbidden foods and then you just can’t stop.

Unfortunately, the very nature of these types of foods is what prevents you from stopping.    The high sugar, high fat and high salt contained within most foods you purchase in packages or even in restaurants are inherently damaging to any concept of self control.  Remember the movie “Super Size Me”?  Again, the very nature of the food business is to you keep you hooked – so you eat more and eat more of the wrong, unhealthy, addictive items.  The portions add up and so does the frequency.

Eating cleanly and healthfully requires commitment and making the firm decision that you need help and are willing to do whatever it takes to stop this madness.  Here are some simple tips to get you started into Eating Sobriety, so to speak.

#1  Portion Size.  I know, it’s easier said than done.  It requires diligence and awareness.  It also requires you to slow down and taste the food you are eating.  Savor it and appreciate what this food is giving you.  Ask yourself – is this food giving me the Gift of Life?  If not, why would you eat this much of it or any of it all?  A profound question to ask yourself, which is not often asked before, during of after your meals.  But I would urge you to consider what and how much you are eating rather than being oblivious to what’s on your plate and subsequently in your stomach. Also, by not eating meals throughout the day, you are much more susceptible to overeating at any one meal.  So balance your blood sugar and eat your 3 main meals everyday.

 #2  Eat your Greens. I pride myself as being “Green”.  For years of course, I’ve been saying eat your greens.  But that’s not all – eat your reds, yellows, purples, blues, etc – you get the idea.  A whole and natural food, unless it has food dye in it, has an amazing, vibrant color.  Real food looks Real.  If its too bright, too intense – maybe an additive has been added – so avoid it altogether.  What creates the enticing and healthy color of foods are the rich natural pigments and various nutrients like flavenoids for example.

#3   For now, stay away from ALL Packaged Foods. As you get started in your journey of healthy eating stay away from all foods in bags, boxes and cans.  Reading labels can be confusing so to begin with, to make it easier, stay away from packaged foods.  And to let you know anything in bags and boxes is never really a true friend anyway.  They are usually filled with excessive calories and artificial ingredients that you just don’t need.  Choose fresh, real foods most, if not all of the time.

#4   Forgive yourself. Beating yourself up or letting others do it for you does not work – ever!  You are a good and well meaning person and deserve to be treated with the utmost respect.  Eating well and staying on track is a clear way of respecting yourself.  If you wander off track and find yourself wrapped up in some unhealthy habits – forgive yourself and start again.  It’s like learning to walk – see that you are making progress one step at a time and know that you will fall down on your way to integrating your new habits – it’s part of your growth – remember baby steps…

#5  Don’t be fooled – Stay Aware.  Denying something is happening will not be the best strategy for you.  Overlooking things you seriously say you want to change and postponing them will only keep you stuck and keep you in a perpetual state of disappointment and frustration. You will never take ownership of your wants and dreams and they will remain in the wishful thinking category of life.  It’s actually a great way to stay stuck and not take responsibility for an area of your life that is not working for you.  We can fool ourselves often – trying to protect ourselves, usually unconsciously, from taking a real hard look at ourselves and the lives we say we want but don’t believe we can have.

#6  Get help.  If you really want to accomplish something it’s worth getting the expert help you need.  Trying to build a house on your own, unless you are a contractor, is ridiculous.  Building a solid foundation filled with healthy, stable and long lasting habits requires a blueprint and someone to help you.  I have seen many over the last year or so try to accomplish their health and weight loss goals on their own.  I’m sorry to say, they have been unable to and remain the same a year later still frustrated and considering desperate measures to gain control of their eating.

#7  Step away from the Table. If your eating environment caused you to overeat change it.  Shake it up a bit and find a new place or ritual to help stop your associations with overeating or eating the wrong foods.  Whether it’s a place in your home or at work or your favorite restaurant – keep your eyes open for a reflex  behavior.   Remember you are attempting to change your behavior which means eliminating potential triggers that take you down the wrong path Remove the exterior stimulants that cause poor eating decision making.

Let Food Be Your Medicine

Hippocrates, the father of Modern Day Medicine, said “Let Food Be Your Medicine”. I go a little further and add “Let Your Kitchen Be Your Pharmacy”.  We can’t deny the powerful effects of a healthy diet from reversing aging and the potential for disease, helping you think better, move better and ultimately feel better.  Drugs are not nourishing to the body, however healthy nutrients found in REAL foods and bio-available supplements are.  I am not saying that medicine isn’t necessary – surely they are in emergency situations and for those who are already suffering from a debilitating health condition.  But choosing a healthy diet is the key to a long and healthy life.

Here are 4 Simple Steps to Reversing Aging in your Body & Mind using Food:

1)    Choose fresh, whole foods – Stay away from cans, bags and boxes.  Foods closer to their Natural Form – those closest to Mother Nature are the real deal!  They have all the vital nutrients your body needs on a day to day basis.  Skip all the processed food today – they will only give you the  minimal amounts your body needs and more likely will rob you of what benefits you may have received, if any.

2)    A Calorie is Not a Calorie: OK – there is some confusion about this.  For years popular media, diets and general information has been overly focused on calories.  Calories are only a fraction of what comprises healthy eating and being overly focused on them can get in the way of choosing the right foods.  For example: a piece chocolate cake may have the same calories as say a piece of chicken, but they are completely opposite in their effects on your body.  The chicken is a great protein source giving your body necessary “information” to help you stay healthy and strong.  The chocolate cake on the other hand has very little “information” your body can use. It provides empty and/or negative calories, robbing you of your health and vitality.

3)    Vegetables are your Friends:  Yes, your Mom was right!  Even though when most of us grew up they didn’t taste as good as they do today – why because today they don’t need to be overcooked or come out of a can.  We have farmer’s markets, organic food stores, and we can even grow our own.  A dear friend told me the other week she happened to have a volunteer cherry tomato plant growing outside her apartment – she’s on the 2nd floor!  It’s a new version of Jack in the Bean Stock!  Good food can grow almost anywhere – take advantage.

4)   Don’t be shy about using Spices and Herbs.   Herbs and spices not only enhance the flavor of whole foods but many have therapeutic benefits.  Like Turmeric, often used in Indian Cooking, reduces inflammation in the body.  Ginger (gingerroot or powdered) has a myriad of health benefits – not only does it reduce inflammation it also helps with any congestion you may have as well as digestion.  Sip on some ginger tea when you have a sore throat or your stomach is upset – it works wonders!  Also, Cinnamon is known for balancing blood sugar. These are only a few examples.

5)    *Bonus* Stop skipping on the sleep – So, so, so important!  Although, not food I have to mention it because it does affect how you digest, process and utilize what you eat.  Without your body regenerating and getting sufficient rest you will suffer.  Without at least 7 hours of sleep your brain does not receive sufficient blood flow.  Your decision making ability, mental focus and physical coordination are affected.  And long term effects can be dramatic.

So go to Mother Nature and let her do her stuff!  Eat well, Live Well and YOU will Reap the Harvest!

Scary Food on the Table

Recently I was perusing an on-line newsletter where they were talking about Weapons of Mass Destruction – but they weren’t arms, guns, etc – it was about food!  The food choices that we and our children are making unknowingly on a daily basis are very destructive.  It’s a crime that such food choices are even being offered in restaurants or grocery stores at all.  Eating these items on a regular basis translates into becoming a walking time bomb.  Yikes!

A few examples are:

Burger King Meat Beast Whopper (the name should tell it all):

910 calories
60 g fat (21 g saturated, 1.5 g trans)
1810 mg sodium

Denny’s Fried Cheese Melt with Wavy Fries and Marinara (just the thought set my heart on fire – and not in a good way…)

1,260 calories
63 g fat (21 g saturated, 1 g trans)
3,010 mg sodium

Cheesecake Factory Luau Salad (yes, dear readers even the “blessed” salad is not what it should be)

1390 calories
6 g saturated fat
1672 mg sodium 

Ok – here’s one more…

Claim Jumper Widow Maker Burger (again a very suitable name for what it delivers)

1492 calories
29 g saturated fat
2648 mg sodium

(courtesy of www.eatthis.menshealth.com)

Let’s stop this madness! 

Here are 6 Tips to help you make healthier choices:

1. Stop the Salt. The right amount of Sodium for a healthy adult should be no more than 2300 mg./day not per meal.  And for those with high blood pressure or diabetes the Sodium content per day should be no more than 1500 mg.  So obviously the 4 meals I cited earlier are much higher than they should be.

2. At home keep serving dishes off the table. Researchers have found that when people are served individual plates, as opposed to empty plates with a platter of food in the middle of the table, they tend eat up to 35 percent less!

3. Think before you drink. The average person drinks more than 400 calories a day–double what he or she used to–and alone gets about 10 teaspoons of added sugar every single day from soft drinks.  Many of these drinks contain more than a day’s worth of calories, sugar and fat! Swap out sweetened teas and sodas for water or tea.

4. Practice total recall. British scientists found that people who thought about their last meal before snacking ate 30 percent fewer calories that those who didn’t stop to think. The theory: Remembering what you had for lunch might remind you of how satiated you are and how gratifying the food was, which then makes you less likely to binge on your afternoon snack.  This is one of the reasons why keeping a food diary, especially when you want reduce your weight, is an excellent strategy.

5. Always eat protein at every meal.  When you are maintaining a healthy weight eating protein with every meal helps you feel more satisfied for a longer period of time. Protein is the best nutrient for jumpstarting your metabolism, squashing your appetite, and helping you eat less at subsequent meals.

6. Start the day right. If you eat eggs in the morning instead of a bagel, you will be consuming about 264 fewer calories the rest of the day, according to a Saint Louis University study. Again, protein is more filling and much more sustaining than a starchy carbohydrate would be.

Are You Afraid of Dieting?

You might be afraid of dieting – even the word scares most of us.  Why?  Because we feel we will fail.  You may not know this but 90% – 95% of Women’s Self Esteem is based on their body image.  Surprising?   Based on my nearly 20 years in practice I have seen, felt and heard the pain surrounding how we women feel about our bodies.  It can be heartbreaking and yet so real.  It affects everything in our lives.  We care too much or we don’t care enough.  I am not a big advocate for dieting, in general, because most diets are designed to fail and they do not take into account hormonal imbalance, improper sleep habits, stress and emotional eating patterns and physiological effects.  But most importantly they don’t take into account the crucial thing – one crucial thing - our thoughts.

Most of us want the Perfect Body.  So we decide to go on a diet and exercise. We essentially DO a Diet for a few weeks and then give up.  Do you want to know the Real Secret to Weight Loss?  You actually need to Become The Person who has a Perfect Body even before you have it otherwise your efforts will only be temporary…

You must change your thoughts in order to have what you want.  It’s really not the diet that counts, it’s who you have to be to follow the diet.  Millions look for the right diet and then focus on what they have to do rather than who they have to be.  Total new concept for most of us I know. A diet will not help you if you don’t change your thoughts.  That’s where the real work begins. It’s an inside job.

As I have been sharing with many of you lately “Your real work starts only after you lose your desired weight.”  Usually we can lose weight – the real miracle, however, is in keeping it off.  But even before the weight comes off you have to be ready to change on the inside.  When thinking of changing your eating, improving your health and deciding to “diet” you may want to ask some questions.

 6 Revealing Questions You can Ask Yourself before Embarking on a “Diet”:

1) Are you more committed to staying the same or to changing?  This is a tough one because you say you want to change – but do you really?  Are you willing to do what it takes – to stick to it no matter what?  Or will you be led astray the first time you are tempted with the chocolate cake or chips and salsa?  Sometimes it’s not the actual food but the addictive patterns that seem to develop after you take that first bite.

2) Does the pain of having more weight feel normal to you? I find sometimes we are very committed to our story – even though you say you don’t want to have the weight you presently have and feeling uncomfortable with the extra 10 + lbs.  After all what would you have to complain about or beat yourself up about?  I know this is perhaps harsh – these are the deeper questions you need to ask yourself. When you lose weight, as is often the case, you start seeing your life differently and the things that appeared “fine” may not be so fine and they require some changes to be made.  Yet when one thing changes, expect other parts of your life to change – and not too worry it could be for the better and hopefully it is for the better.

3) Are you ready to make a change in your life?  Change can be frightening.  We get so comfortable in our discomfort that we can’t imagine anything different and better.  We tolerate things when we needn’t tolerate them.  It’s a big decision to actually start eating healthy and not relying on whatever happens to be in the fridge, grocery store or drive-through. We go to dinner and feel we must have everything on our plate and oh we must have that divine bread in that heavenly basket which is calling our name.  Why would we want to give this up?  It’s entertainment, social and rewarding.  I can’t live without eating whatever I want you might say to yourself.  But what is the price?  When you stand in front of the mirror feeling hopeless when absolutely NOTHING fits you – are you ready to make a change then?

4) Are you letting distractions sabotage your efforts?  Everything else takes priority – after all who am I you might ask?  Tommy’s baseball game is more important than my silly diet – right?  This work project needs to get done – after all it’s my job and it’s more important than getting to the store and stocking my kitchen with healthy foods. Oh, I’m having guests over this week and they’ll want to go out to dinner every night – I’ll just eat what they eat and not make a fuss.  These are only a few examples of how sabotaging your efforts can de-rail you on an ongoing basis.  There will always be something that comes up – always.

5) Are you wanting to lose weight for you or for someone else?  Does someone in your life let you know they aren’t happy about your present body shape?  They may not come out and say it (although some blatantly do) but you may hear some subtle and even hurtful clues and comments.  The proverbial question (which never should be asked of a man – it’s just so unfair to ask them) “Do I look fat in this?”  Is this really your perception or the observer’s?  It is a no win set up question.  But if someone in your life is making you feel less than because you may have put on a few lbs, make sure that it’s something you want to do and not just people please.  That, again, is a no win situation. People pleasing will never get you what you want in life.

6) Are you unrealistic about your weight loss goals?  I sometimes have clients come in wanting to lose weight quickly or want to be at a healthy weight they were at when they were 19 and now they are 50.   If this is the case, you are just setting yourself up for disappointment.  Setting realistic and healthy goals is a must.  You should never be losing more than 1-3 lbs per week.  If you are it is mostly muscle mass which is very unhealthy.  Yes, certainly the first week you will lose more, and most of that is water weight, but after that stick to a slow and steady weight loss pace. And expect a plateau – that is a natural phenomenon and will easily be remedied by tweaking a few things either in your diet or in your exercise regimen.

7)  Are You 3 Feet From Gold?  This is really about quitting – quitting just before you arrive. Don’t quit – you may be just at the point when you are about to make progress, whether it’s a plateau or you’ve lost all the weight you wanted to.  Again, after the weight comes off the real work begins.  Make sure you have a good maintenance strategy in place.  This is the most vulnerable time after you’ve lost the weight.  You may think you are safe and invincible and start eating “the weight gaining foods” – lots of starches, sugars, etc.  Your portions sizes may start to increase.  Or you may start eating late at night.  These habits are so tricky – they seem to re-enter your life when you least expect them to. So prepare yourself and find a professional support system.

Most important – remember always Honor Your Body and Yourself and treat yourself like Gold.

Are You are 3 feet from your own Gold?  

Don’t Quit

The Weight & Digestion Connection

bowl

My mother always says “You appreciate health when you don’t have it!”

And not having a healthy digestion can impact everything.  In Ayurvedic Medicine – the 5000 year old medicine of India, they place great emphasis on the role of digestion.  Not only digesting what you eat but also digesting your thoughts and experiences in a healthy way.  Processing everything you experience beneficially– so you are not overcome with, at the very least, indigestion.

If you do not break down your foods you will be more vulnerable to weight gain, infection, mental fog and down the road – many various diseases if left unchecked.

With my weight loss programs we are ensuring that proper digestion is attained.  By taking out foods that may be indigestible to you such as some of the biggies – distressing foods like dairy, wheat and soy.  Of course, not everyone has a problem with these foods but many do.  Gluten sensitivity caused by not only wheat intolerance but also other gluten grains like oats, rye, and oatmeal is sometimes difficult to recognize unless you take them out of your diet for a short period and then re-introduce them.  Congestion is often a sign of a dairy sensitivity and possibly an allergy.  Great examples of this occurrence would be sinus issues, scratchy throat, headaches.  These are typical of sensitivities but how about some of the other more common digestive problems such as GERD, indigestion, bowel issues, gas & bloating – these stress your body leaving you depleted and unwell.

My 5 Simple Tips to Get Your Digestion in Shape!

#1  Eat Slowly.  You will eat less and digest better.  You will allow for time to warn your digestive system that you’re sending food down.  Contrary to popular belief your digestion actually starts in your brain – you start thinking about food and Voila – suddenly you start salivating preparing your body for chewing and digestion.  If you eat fast you will gain weight of course, but also set yourself up for indigestion, heartburn, belching and other unhealthy symptoms.

#2 Take Probiotics Daily. This is a must and Yakult will not do it – neither will yogurt.  They may taste good but they actually have very little active probiotic ingredients in them.  Pro-biotic means pro-life as opposed to anti-biotics which kill everything in its path.  You want to ensure good digestion by giving your body good bugs to fight off the enemy – like infection.  It also helps with staving off sugar cravings – when your stomach has sufficient good bacteria and enzymes, not only will you break down your food better, but you’ll feel more satisfied and eat less and make better choices.

#3  Watch Food Combining. There has been some discussion for the last 20 years or so about mixing foods and which can cause digestive upset.  To let you know -it takes protein about 3-4 hours to digest, complex carbohydrates (like grains and beans) about 2 hours and fruit about ½ hour.  When you mix complex carbohydrates with protein they break down at different times often causing problems with lower bowel gas and discomfort.  You want to primarily pair protein with vegetables and complex carbohydrates with other higher water content vegetables like broccoli, lettuce, eggplant for example. This is a good suggestion when losing weight as protein and high water content vegetables are the best combination for initial weight loss.

#4   Wait Before Exercising Even though exercise is a good thing to do, especially if you want to lose weight, when you exercise immediately after eating all the energy in your body goes directly to your muscle system and not to your digestive system.  So the meal you just ate will simply be just waiting around to be digested after you finish your exercise.  This could take up to an hour or more.  Do you want food just sitting there – fermenting in your tummy?  No – you want it to go through the digestive process as efficiently as possible. When you rest after eating you’ll be giving your body a chance to make use of all the nutrients you just consumed.

#5  Biggest Meal At Lunch.  In Ayurveda they say “eat your biggest meal when the sun or “Digestive Juices” are at their height” which is usually midday. Most of the world eats this way – but not here in North America and, as I recall, the UK doesn’t uphold this tradition either.  This is THE best time for the hardiest meal. This doesn’t mean a 16 oz steak and potatoes – but you can have a great salad with protein or piece of salmon with mixed steamed veggies. This gives your body time to break down food slowly throughout the afternoon.  It may cause some sleepiness – witness “Siesta” time in many of our southern climates, a lesson perhaps we should learn to adopt. Start your day off light and end your day light, too with adequate protein and carbohydrates –  critical for overall health, weight loss and maintenance.  Happy Munching and Crunching!