The First Trimester Roller Coaster & How Food Can Help!

One thing I’ve learned in just the first 4 1/2 months of pregnancy, is that it comes with lots of ups and downs! From the lows of exhaustion, nausea, depression/anxiety, and fluid retention to the highs of energy boosts, excitement, nesting, unconditional love & gratefulness, finding out the gender, and feeling him move for the first time, it is a 9 month roller coaster ride! One thing that has helped me through the hard times as been proper nutrition and activity. It’s not always easy to stay on track when I’m feeling low, but whenever I manage to eat well and stay active (within my new limitations), I’ve been able to at least manage some of my symptoms.

As I mentioned in my last post, the main thing that helps with exhaustion is eating smaller, more frequent meals that include both carbs and protein. The carbs provide boosts of energy, while the protein helps your body use that energy longer to fight exhaustion. This combination also helps fight nausea because it keeps your blood sugar steady- the carbs bring your blood sugar up, while the added protein helps keep it from spiking and crashing. Another added benefit of carbs (and one reason we tend to be drawn to them) is that they are mood-lifters. Many pregnant women go through at least a couple weeks of overall feelings of sadness, depression, and/or anxiety. This is the most difficult symptom to manage nutritionally (and I feel the most difficult symptom overall) because it is mostly tied to our hormones and the big changes that lie ahead, but getting the right amounts and types of carbs and proteins throughout the day can help take the edge off while you cope.

Of course, in the beginning, finding proteins that I actually wanted to eat seemed near impossible! I was able to rely on things like greek yogurt and kefir, nuts and peanut butter, beans, and hard-boiled eggs when meat and fish were off my radar. These foods combined with fruits and whole grain breads and pastas helped stave off the nausea and at least somewhat give me energy. As mentioned in my last post, my favorite breakfasts have included whole grain waffles or bread and eggs, or whole grain cereal with kefir and frozen fruit. I have also relied on snacks like an apple and peanut butter and raw veggies and cheese.

Another symptom that I have fought to manage is fluid retention.  The main thing that is recommended, and that truly helps, is staying hydrated. While growing a teeny human, we need extra water but that’s not always easy to do when water makes you feel nauseous! One thing that helps is infusing my water. I chose lemon and ginger, and can quickly and easily make a pitcher of it every day or other day. This really helped fight nausea when I needed it, and it helps keep me hydrated.

All there are foods that can also help with fluid retention! Potassium is the main electrolyte that helps fluid move more freely within your body’s cells. High-potassium foods combined with water and high-water veggies are extremely helpful in reducing swelling. After searching for ideas for smoothies, I was able to piece together my own fluid-retention pregnancy-superfood smoothie recipe! It has been so delicious, and has made me feel so great throughout the past several weeks! It includes high potassium foods like mango, high water veggies like cucumber, and other pregnancy superfoods like spinach and flax seed for the folic acid and fatty acids we know to be so beneficial for our growing babies! Note the flax seed also serves as the protein for this yummy snack, even with a small amount of protein, because it is also a fat, and it gives your energy and blood sugar more staying power!

Since not being able to sleep past 6:30am lately, I usually feel a lull or crash mid-morning, but this smoothie really helps perk me up and re-focus me in addition to the benefits it has on my hydration.

  • 8oz Coconut Water (100% pure, not from concentrate. Try Harmless Coconut Water!)
  • 1/3 of a large cucumber (skin on for fiber!)
  • 1/2c frozen mango
  • 1 tbsp whole flax seed
  • 1 slice fresh ginger (great for nausea and digestion)
  • 1 slice fresh turmeric (great for inflammation, which is helpful with all the soreness that comes with pregnancy since we can’t take ibuprofin)
  • 1c fresh baby spinach or kale (I like to keep mine in the freezer)

Combine all ingredients into a good blender (I love my Ninja system). I find that the single serve blenders like the bullets work best for this recipe. When I tried it in my large Ninja attachment, the flax seeds got stuck and were missed in the
blending process. If using a large blender, I suggest using already ground flax seed.

Have a great week! Leave comments for questions 🙂

 

Eat the Ice Cream

“Maddy, is this healthy?”

“Maddy, show me how to eat healthy?”

“Maddy, should I not be eating this because it’s not healthy?”

“How do I stop eating ice cream?”

Hi everyone, I’m Maddy! I’m currently a nutrition major at West Chester University, and I’ve been given a great opportunity by Amanda to appear as a guest blogger. Being a Nutrition major in college; I get asked those questions persistently. According to many, in August of 2014, I became an all-knowing food and health professional. Don’t get me wrong, it is thrilling to me when I can educate my friends on health or give advice to my family on how to eat a balanced diet. But first, I want to define what my definition of “healthy” is and isn’t.

Healthy should never be associated with perfection. It should never mean that your diet looks EXACTLY like the celebrity model that cut carbs from her diet or EXACTLY like a meal plan you find on Pinterest. It does not mean that your diet is completely free of sugar, fat, “bad carbs” and salt all the time. And it should NEVER mean you don’t eat ice cream. Don’t let healthy be an all or nothing way of life.

In Summer of 2015, my definition of healthy translated into words like restriction, rigidity, and depravity. I was cutting things out of my diet left and right and was only worried about the decreasing number on the scale. Obsessive thoughts, anxiety, and fear soon crept into my mind along with extreme fatigue and hormonal dysfunctions. My diet could not sway from “perfection”; which then led me to isolate myself from people I love. Activities that I usually love like eating out with friends, barbecues, cooking, or riding my bike to the ice cream stand became a dread to me. If I didn’t stick to my unbreathable plan, shame was always there to greet me. On the outside I pretended I was fine, and people applauded me for how good I looked. But on the inside, my mind and body were in utter turmoil.

I needed to re-evaluate what I was doing to my body because as much as I told myself otherwise, it definitely wasn’t healthy.

Let me clarify. It is SO important that your diet is well-balanced and nutrient-dense. Educate yourself and know what food sources will provide optimal nutrients for the amount of energy it gives. Great resources are websites like https://www.choosemyplate.gov/.

Living a healthy lifestyle will not only help you maintain a healthy weight, but benefit you emotionally, mentally and physically more than you might know.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans says,

“A Healthy eating pattern is not a rigid prescription, but rather, an adaptable framework in which individuals can enjoy foods that meet their personal, cultural and traditional preferences that fit within their budget”

Please do not ignore the words ENJOY found in this definition. Food is so important not only to our bodies but to our social well-being.  It is made for not only our nourishment, but also for our pleasure and to bring us together as people. Of course, try and eat healthy most of the time. Get your servings of fruits and vegetables. Try eating leaner protein and better fats. Swap some refined, white breads with whole grains and maybe reevaluate your portion sizes. Set specific goals to live a healthier lifestyle because your entire body will thank you. But your soul will also thank you for a night out with your friends, eating pizza and ice cream. Don’t eat the whole pie or the whole tub, but allow yourself to thoroughly enjoy the things you love. Be kind to yourself when you don’t hit your goals and be grateful for the ability to learn from experience and try again. Being truthful, I am giving you the advice I constantly give myself. Time and time again, I remind myself, “Maddy, you love ice cream; EAT THE ICE CREAM”!

Snacking Happy!

The word “snack” typically has a negative association attached to it. Most people hear that word and think of it as what NOT to do- but not in a Dietitian’s world! To us, snacking is essential to keeping our metabolism and energy high!

But what does that mean? Grab a bag of chips from the vending machine? Steal a piece of candy off a co-worker’s desk? Nope. Snacks should be planned exactly the way meals should be. They should be a purposeful part of the day, and not a last minute “pick me up” or “hold me over” thing.

I have 3 rules for snacking.

#1: Use fresh and whole foods as much as possible

#2: Always include both protein and carbs

#3: Make sure the snack is both nourishing AND enjoyable!

The second rule is the most important if you want increased energy and metabolism, more willpower, better stress management, and more staying power- meaning you’re not starving by your next meal. When we eat a carb- any kind of carb, good or bad- our blood sugar spikes really high, really fast. Then it crashes just as quickly, but much lower than it started out. This causes an energy crash, low blood sugar, and overeating at the next meal. When we eat a protein, our blood sugar doesn’t increase at all, again keeping us too hungry to control portions at our next meal, manage our stress, or increase our energy. But when the protein is eaten WITH the carb… now we’re on track! The protein molecules actually stick to the carbohydrate molecules, which makes the carb raise our blood sugar much more slowly AND prevents it from crashing back down.

So what kind of snacks include carbs and protein? Examples include fruit and nuts, apple/banana and peanut butter, fruit and cheese, and greek yogurt! Also try wheat thins or triscuits with cheese, peanut butter, hummus or even avocado. There are many other carb+protein snacks. You can also treat raw veggies as the carb and add hummus or cheese!

Some of my favorite variations are:

  • Pears + ricotta cheese + cinnamon (also try drizzling just a little honey!)
  • Apple + almond butter
  • Tomatoes + mozzarella cheese + balsamic vinegar
  • Carrots + hummus
  • Wheat thins + avocado/guacamole

Sorry I don’t have pics right now! I’ll try to take some pics in the future and put them up on social media.

Thanks everyone! Hope you have an amazing weekend 🙂

Which Meal Subscription is Best for You?

I’m back! It’s been a crazy year between the new puppy, the new house, the business, and of course our first year of marriage! During these crazy times, I really wanted to continue to cook fresh, healthy meals so I thought what a great time to try out those meal subscriptions I keep hearing about! Here’s my report, just in time for a last minute gift idea for the Holidays!… subscriptions make GREAT gifts!!

I tried 3 different services- Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and Chef’d. 

Blue Apron was the first one I tried. I enjoyed cooking the recipes, and my husband enjoyed helping. I personally liked the type of recipes, although they were a little too adventurous for my husband. I thought the meals were very tasty, but a little too rich, or salty (or something!) for me. The cost was reasonable- 3 meals that serve 2 for $59.94. Some of the recipes were good enough portions that I could get 2 meals out of just my portion, but some of them weren’t filling enough and left me still hungry. Considering I was still hungry, I felt that the calorie level was very high, at least for me. We also did end up giving away a couple of our recipes because while it says you can cook these quickly, trust me you cannot. It takes time, so we only would have enough time to cook them 2 days out of the week, not 3. Another good note that I actually didn’t realize at the time, is that you can choose your recipes out of a selection. Don’t quote me on this- it says on the website that you can choose based on dietary preferences, but since I didn’t know that, I don’t know exactly how that works. Their 2 plans include a 2-Person and a Family. Bonus: They also have a wine subscription service 🙂

Hello Fresh was the next one we tried. A little more expensive at $69 for their Classic Plan, and again the lowest option was still 3 meals per week, which is too much for our busy life. Maybe it’s just us, but I still always felt like it took us longer to cook than it says! I enjoyed these recipes a little more, and so did my husband. Calorie levels were about the same as Blue Apron, but I felt that they weren’t quite as salty. Plus they earned major bonus points with me for sending me a free Hello Fresh apron (see pic)! You can also choose your meals with Hello Fresh. I did know that this time, because they sent me an email asking me to choose. Nice and easy! And delicious! Also important to note, that they seem to
have a lot of deals and discounts, so that may make it less expensive. Their 3 plans include Classic, Vegetarian, and Family.

The last one I tried was Chef’d. This one was my favorite! There are 6 plans to choose from, meaning they definitely have something to meet your nutritional needs! The 6 plans are “Atkins, Weight Watchers, Tone It Up Fresh, American Diabetes Association, Spoon University, and New York Times Cooking. Chef’d teamed up with Atkins, Weight Watchers, and the ADA to ensure that their recipes fit the requirements for each of those diets. The Tone It Up Fresh is a new plan since we ordered it, and to be honest I’m not sure about the description because I had trouble viewing the video. I ordered the Weight Watchers plan for myself, simply because I was tired of cooking meals way higher than what my normal calorie range for weight maintenance is. I thought they were simple, delicious, and exactly what I would cook for myself without having to do the planning or shopping! Chef’d also had the most meals to choose from out of these 3 services, and you can swap their suggestions each week.   ALSO….. you can choose as little as 1 meal per week!! Win Win Win 🙂 If you’re looking for a Christmas gift for someone, this may be it!

Winner of the Healthiest Subscription service... Chef’d! At least out of these 3 services. Simply for the fact that they offer so many different options. Everyone is different and therefore we all have different nutritional needs, but you’ll be sure to find your needs met at Chef’d! Especially because they partner up with the respective organizations to ensure accuracy!

Least healthy: Sad to say I felt this was Blue Apron. They call for salt literally after every single step. I didn’t follow those steps, but my husband kept trying to 🙂

Take a look at my Instagram for more pictures of the meals I tried, as well as some other recipes and products I love. My instagram name is @happilynourishedrd, or follow the link on the webpage.

I may go on to explore more services, and if I do, I’ll certainly report back!

Hope everyone has a great holiday and a Happy and Healthy New Year! See you in 2017!

To Fix or Not to Fix?

IMG_0776

So a while ago, I announced that I was going to be trying out the 21 Day Fix Diet and Workout Plan. Well I did, and I have to admit… I failed.  I ended up sticking to the exact diet only a few days per week.  I was barely home during those 3 weeks, plus I have a new puppy 🙂 She came to us MDW, and I’ve noticed a serious decrease in my spare time! Between house training, watching her like a hawk to make sure she doesn’t eat everything in sight, going to the dog trainer, the vet for all her check ups, and then a broken paw (sad face!), my time for meal prep was very low, and my ability to grocery shop between weekends away had disappeared. I also felt grumpy and fatigued on some of the days I stuck to the diet, preventing me from wanting to stick to it for the whole 3 weeks, which I will get more into later.  As busy as I was, I was still able to find time to exercise 30 mins per day, woohoo! Since this was my main reason for wanting to do the 21 Day Fix, I consider the experiment a success. What this means now though is that I never ever have any excuse to not work out. If I can make it happen during those 3 weeks, I can make it happen (almost) always! While I failed at the diet, and was even slacking on my usual healthy eating patterns, this plan did help me to make exercise become a habit again. Throughout my life, my exercise habits have ranged from 5 or 6 days per week to only 1 or 2 days per week or none at all, depending on what’s going on in my life. I feel my best when I’m exercising at least 4, preferably 5 or 6 days per week on a regular basis, but after a lull, it is always hard to get back into it. This winter was a major lull! Post-wedding, my mind and body decided to go into hibernation- I spent all last year exercising and eating healthy above and beyond my norm, trying to get my business off the ground, and planning my wedding. So when the wedding was over, I needed to crash! And I did. Hard! It felt great, but it was definitely time (albeit, it was time several weeks prior to the Fix) to get my motivation back, and I was struggling. Enter Autumn Calabrese.

IMG_0784The Work Outs: These were amazing for me. Just the right mix of light, moderate, and intense exercise, and in only 30 minutes per day. I enjoyed just about every workout (once my body caught up to itself and I got some stamina back). Each week is as follows:

  1. Total Body Cardio Fix
  2. Upper Fix
  3. Lower Fix
  4. Pilates
  5. Cardio Fix
  6. Dirty 30
  7. Yoga Fix

Total Body Cardio and Dirty 30 were my 2 favorites. Total body cardio incorporates strength and cardio intervals which is great for becoming lean and toned! Dirty 30 was mostly strength, but trust me you definitely get a little sweaty! Cardio Fix is not as fun. Let’s just say, I hate burpees. Since I often do power yoga in a studio, I found Yoga Fix to be a little too simple for me, so that was probably my least favorite.  It was, however, a great active rest day. Pilates Fix is supposed to be another active rest day, and maybe some people find that it is, but I was definitely sore afterward!

IMG_1579The Diet: First, you have to figure out your caloric need.

  1. Weight in Pounds x 11 = Baseline calorie need
  2. Baseline + 400 for the workouts = Maintenance calorie need
  3. Calorie Need – 750 = Calorie need for weight loss

For those of you who don’t know me, I am barely 5 feet tall, which means my overall calorie need is always lower than the average person, regardless of my current weight. My calculation equaled 1150 calories for weight loss. This puts me in the lowest calorie range of 1200-1499cals (The plan smartly warns against eating less than 1200 cals), which means I get 3 green containers, 2 purples, 4 reds, 2 yellows, 1 blue, 1 orange, and 2 spoons. Nutritionally, this seems fairly well balanced between proteins, fruits and veggies, starches, and healthy fats. However, I personally felt grumpy and starving when following this on the intense workout days, which means my blood sugar was likely too low.  I sometimes have issues with low blood sugar (think ‘hangry’ plus lightheaded and extreme fatigue). Knowing that intense exercise lowers blood sugar significantly, I feel the combination of intense workouts, low carbs, and my tendency to get hangry played a part in my inability to stick to the plan.  This may not be true for everyone, though. I know many people who feel good on it, and if you fall into one of the other calorie ranges which allow more carbs and/or don’t have low blood sugar issues, you would probably do very well on this.  Bottom line- as long as you can sustain this long term and carry it over into maintenance-mode for the long haul, this diet would be healthy and effective for you.

The Drawbacks: I would have categorized the foods slightly different. When I am trying to lose a few pounds, and even on a regular basis while I am maintaining, I do only eat 2 small portions, or 1 normal portion, of whole grains or potatoes/sweet potatoes per day, which is what the 21 Day Fix wanted me to do. However, I don’t count my beans in there, especially if my workouts are intense. Even though they are starchy, I count them as my protein in some meals, and including my beans, I am getting 3 small servings of starch per day, which is why I felt that the carbs were too low for me.  I would have moved the beans to the red container category, and would have felt much better on this diet, or I would have allowed 3 yellows instead of 2. Another option could have been to allow a 3rd yellow container on the more intense exercise days, and keep it at 2 containers on the active recovery days.  The second thing is that I would not count unsweetened almond milk as a yellow replacement. There isn’t enough total carbohydrate in it to count.  My last drawback is the fact that you HAVE to stick with it EVERYDAY for 21 days straight. For me, that was just not realistic. There was way too much going on. I had weekend trips, parties, etc making the weekends busy and the weekdays harder. There are people who will say that this is just an excuse, but guess what- that’s LIFE! To me, giving up those things is not worth “being skinny and fit”. My social life, sanity, and relationships are more important to me, and that’s ok. If you were to treat this as a long term plan instead of a quick “21 Day fix”, you could allow for a couple days per week to stray a little, simply monitoring your portions while out, and continuing your workouts, or even skipping 1 day here and there. You would lose weight a little more slowly, but you’d be more likely to stick to it long term, and trust me, you’d be just as healthy AND you’d be happier. I have friends and clients who follow the plan this way and do very well.

The Wins: As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I feel that this diet and workout plan is well balanced enough to consider a very healthy way to effectively lose weight.  I also love that they provide very easy recipes for each container, and the food lists are helpful in general, especially for those who don’t have a nutrition background. It was great for me because I was able to add variety to my diet once I was reminded of the foods I don’t normally think about. The final win goes to the workouts. Even though I felt my carbs were too low to support the exercise, on the days I did eat enough, I loved these workouts and felt amazing doing them! They were quick and efficient, and the plan mixed up the intense workouts with moderate and low ones so that you can be active every day, while still allowing your body to rest. I have other workouts that I also enjoy, so I don’t plan on following the calendar on an on-going basis, but I will certainly be using these workouts to mix into my weekly routine.

IMG_0981Favorite Takeaways: My sauteed veggies!! I have never been much of a salad person, and I have always preferred hot lunches. I’ve tried to eat salads for lunch daily, and will last several weeks, even months occasionally, but then I always fall off because I get bored or sick of them- especially in the winter. I don’t know why I never thought to cook my vegetables for lunch! Since the 21 Day Fix, I have been buying already washed and chopped fresh veggies from the grocery store- did you know they chop the produce for you??- and combining them with olive oil in a large, deep skillet on medium high heat with some seasoning (I actually prefer just cracked black pepper, but the 21 Day Fix offers healthy mixed seasonings recipes which are delicious as well). I make enough for the whole week, throw in some beans and/or crisped tofu or shrimp and heat it up while at work. I even add a tablespoon of salsa (I’m loving the fresh pineapple mango salsa that both Wegmans and Whole Foods prepare). My favorite veggie combo is yellow and red peppers, sweet onion, zucchini, string beans, and mushrooms. I also used asparagus instead of the zucchini once, and this week I added cherry tomatoes. My other favorite takeaway from this experiment is realizing how much better I feel when I am exercising daily, and how easy it can be when I set my mind to to do just 30 minutes per day. I have resolved to get any kind of exercise, whether it’s a 21 day fix workout, a studio workout, a quick yoga session, a run, or even just a leisurely walk, for at least 20-30 mins every day. Totally doable, right? Well, I have missed some days depending on the week, but overall, definitely doable!

Hope this sheds some light on the 21 Day Fix, so that you can make a decision as to whether or not it’s right for you. The big picture should always be your goal- think long term and you’ll succeed 🙂  Comment below with questions. 

I know I haven’t been blogging much, but I’m working on changing that! Keep checking for more! Future posts include meal subscription reviews, meal planning service reviews, and product spotlights. 

First Product Spotlight!

From time to time I will be posting a Product Spotlight. These Spotlights will be on my favorite health-food products and will include a description and run down of the nutrients along with ideas for how to incorporate the product into your diet. You can get more of these spotlights by signing up for Basic Nutrition Training, which will provide a weekly Product or Recipe Spotlight, a weekly Food Journal Review, and up to 2 questions per week answered via email. Click on the Services page for more information!

The first product I am spotlighting is my favorite yogurt, Siggi’s. Siggi’s Yogurt is not your typical greek yogurt. Technically, it’s Icelandic Skyr, which is similar to Greek yogurt. It’s thick like Greek yogurt and has loads of protein and other healthy nutrients, but it’s not nearly as tangy/sour tasting as greek yogurt. It’s creamier, AND it’s flavored naturally with much less sugar than many Greek yogurt brands.

The ingredients list alone says it all. Milk, Agave (natural plant-based sweetener), Vanilla,  probiotics, and Vegetable Rennet (enzymes from certain vegetables that help with coagulation of milk). Completely natural, the way yogurt should be! The vanilla flavor is only 100cals for this container and it has 15g of protein and only 9g of sugar compared to another leading brand’s 13g of sugar. The strawberry Siggi’s has 11g of sugar, whereas the competitor’s version has 24g, plus a vague and longer ingredient list. Siggi’s strawberry has only milk, strawberries, pectin, and cane sugar.

Siggi’s Yogurt is a complete snack, containing just the right amount of carbohydrates and protein to keep you satisfied. It’s also great as a base for smoothies or yogurt parfaits for a complete breakfast! Plus, it is my favorite yogurt to use as a cooking ingredient. Just replace cream, milk, sour cream (or even cheese!) in any recipe with nonfat plain Siggi’s yogurt for a higher protein, lower fat meal. Take a look at their website  for recipe ideas or find any recipe that calls for greek yogurt. I once made a Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese using pureed butternut squash and Siggi’s yogurt, and my husband had NO idea that it wasn’t cheese :)  I’ll post that recipe when I make it again someday! In the meantime, for a quick high-protein vegetarian meal, try cooking 1 serving of whole wheat pasta (love Barilla!), drain the water and add low sodium canned black beans (approx 1/4-1/2c), and melt in 1 laughing cow light cheese wedge and 1/2c Siggi’s yogurt. I also add Sririachi sauce for some kick. Other optional ingredients are diced tomatoes, onions and garlic, black pepper, cumin. You can play around with the amounts of each ingredient according to your taste, and you can also make it without the black beans if you’re not a fan, but they’re a great addition for a little extra protein and fiber! One tip for using any greek yogurt for cooking is to add it last towards the end and on a low to low-medium heat or it may curdle.

Hope you enjoyed reading about my favorite yogurt! I am always suggesting it to clients so I thought I’d continue to spread the word. Please comment with any questions or your own recipe ideas!

The Only New Year’s Resolution I’ll Make in 2016

So I promised I would write about making New Year’s Resolutions. The truth is that I don’t believe in them. They never work. Either you’re like me and think that you have the whole year to take care of it, and then never even start because ‘how could it be December already?’. Or you start hardcore on January 1st, and then it’s over by March or when life throws you a curveball, making us feel that we once again have failed. Doing this creates a cycle in which we end up fueling the negative relationship we have with food and with ourselves. We need to realize that we are all human and stop beating ourselves up for being less than perfect.

So how do we set a New Year Resolution that will take us out of this vicious cycle? Well, first… no more vague and unhelpful resolutions such as “lose 20 pounds this year”  or “eat clean all year”.  We want our goals to help us feel better about ourselves, not worse. Your resolution should never be about changing your body or who you are. It should be about feeling better both physically and emotionally.

Honestly, I haven’t set a resolution in several years. I usually just try to start the year with a fresh attitude. This year I’m doing something different and setting just one- Be Happier With Myself In 2016″. I’m taking 3 steps to accomplish this resolution, and I encourage you to do the same! Here’s how to set your 3 goals/steps to a happier you in 2016: 

#1- Break one habit that makes you feel negative about yourself.  For me, it’ll be to stop letting house-hold chores pile up and to stay organized. I’m good at organizing. I’m just not great at staying organized. My plan is to spend the first few months of the year cleaning out and organizing my house. I also will have my husband remind me of things like not letting dishes pile up in the sink (and then try not to get mad at him for it!), and I will keep a daily and weekly list to remind myself (and my helpful hubby) what needs to get done.

Like me, you could choose a habit you have in your home or personal life, or it could be about your diet.  No matter what it is, make it realistic and cut yourself some slack. Don’t just tell yourself you’ll stop the behavior. Come up with a plan to slowly break it.  Remember that you are human and even after the habit is broken, you may still slip occasionally. It’s normal! When it happens, don’t dwell on it, or you’ll give that behavior more power to become a habit again. If you just move on from it and continue your plan, it’ll stay in the past.

#2 Begin one habit that would make you feel good about yourself.   Mine is to maintain exercise at least 30 mins 4-6 days per week. I’m usually a fairly active person. But I do tend to get a little lazy in cold weather or too busy in warm weather and sometimes the exercise slips away. My goal this year is to keep it going most weeks because it makes me feel good to exercise on a regular basis, and my plan is to schedule it into each week.

When choosing a habit you want to start, you could choose something related to food or activity, or your home/personal life. Like me, you could choose to improve on something you already do, or you can start at zero. The challenge level here should always be 1 step above what you’re already doing.  Make sure to have a plan. Don’t just say you’re going to eat more fruits and vegetables. Add them to your shopping list. Write post-it reminders on your fridge. Don’t just say you’re going to exercise. Find an activity you’d enjoy and schedule it on your calendar. Remember that the point of this step is to make sure the habit you’re setting will make you feel good. Create a habit that will make you feel good about yourself whether or not you lose weight as a result.  If life gets in the way for a day, a week, a month, just shake it off like Taylor Swift and get right back to it. No point in dwelling on the past!

#3- Choose a Mantra or Positive Self-Reflection.  This one’s a little corny. But corny never hurt anyone. None of the goals we set are going to work until we learn to accept and love ourselves. I ‘m hoping most of you have at least 1 thing you like about yourselves (could be a physical or personality trait, or something about your life). Write them down. Stick them on your mirror. Repeat it to yourself every day. I bet that you’ll find you have more things to add to the list as time goes on. Or instead of a list, choose an inspirational “mantra” to repeat to yourself daily, like “I am enough” or “I deserve the best life has to offer”. I told you this was corny goal. But it’s also the most important one. Our brains are telling us that in order to be happy with ourselves, we must change first. But this is backwards. The first step is always feeling positive about ourselves. If you aren’t happy now, then you won’t be happy at any weight. Nothing will be perfect enough to you, and that’s no way to go through life.

Even though this is kind of personal, I’m going to share my list with you anyway in hopes of motivating you to do the same for yourselves. Keep in mind that my list didn’t start out this long. I remind myself of these things and mentally add to it when I realize something new about myself— 1) I have pretty eyes. 2) I’m a great friend and would do anything for anyone. 3) I have a happy and loving relationship with my husband. 4) I get excited about little things. 5) I’m strong and balanced both physically and mentally. 6) I never let fear or obstacles stand in my way.

 

Remember that everyone has different goals. Make the goals specific to your needs as well as to what you enjoy, come up with a plan for each goal, and I know you’ll be successful.  I’d love to hear what steps you’ll be taking! Leave it in the comments section if you want to share!

To Bread or Not to Bread

Good Morning! Well at least it was morning when I began this post.  I’m having an annoyingamazing day at the courthouse waiting to see if I’m selected for jury duty (I know, SO much fun!) so I figured now would be a good time for my first blog post.

A couple times in the past few weeks I’ve had to discuss with clients the common “health” trend of cutting out bread (strangers also LOVE to ask me about this), so I thought this might be a good starting topic.

Cutting out bread is a sort of “sub-diet” stemming from the ever-so trendy Low Carb/No Carb diet. The main thing that you need to remember when beginning this sort of plan is that a carbohydrate is a nutrient. This nutrient is 1 of only 3 nutrients from which we can obtain energy. Yes, energy in the form of the dreaded calorie- don’t forget that without calories, we would quite literally be non-existant. The other 2 nutrients that supply energy are protein and fat. Our bodies require the proper balance of all 3 of these nutrients in order to function at its best and most efficient. The problem is that our society tends to over-eat on either carbs, fat, or both, and under-eat on protein, which is why the latest weight-loss diets recommend lowering your carbs and increasing your protein. For those who over-eat on carbohydrates, this is good advice, however your goal should be proper balance of all nutrients in the most whole food version possible (as opposed to processed/refined), not elimination of any one nutrient. Eliminating carbs completely can and will backfire, causing irratic blood sugars, extreme fatigue, eventual binge eating, and most likely giving up. It’s not sustainable, and you’ll gain all the weight back plus more.

A Little More on Carbohydrates: There are 3 main foods that are considered carbohydrates-Starch (breads, grains, pastas, potatoes, beans, etc), Fruits, and Vegetables.  When talking balance, you should aim for your daily intake to include carbohydrates from all 3 of these foods. This ensures that your intake of fiber, vitamins, and minerals is adequate. Other reasons for this include an efficient metabolism, steady blood sugar, and steady energy (remember about 30 seconds ago when I warned you against the elimination of carbs? It’s all related!). Your total carbohydrate intake from all 3 types of food should equal about half of your calories- which should be adjusted up or down depending on your physical activity level and weight management goals.  To accomplish this, aim for 3-6 servings of starch, 2-3 servings of fruit, and 2-3 servings of vegetables per day in addition to protein and fat. I know those daily serving suggestions may sound absurdly high for someone expecting to cut down on carbs or watch their calories, but keep in mind that a serving size is much smaller than the general population believes and that vegetables have more water than carbs anyway.  Exactly how much carbohydrate (and calories) you should consume daily is very individual, so if you’re unsure of whether or not you’re getting the proper amounts, you can use food logs like My Fitness Pal or Lose It to track your intake and help you figure out what your personal nutrition goals should be. Or even better, you can schedule a Nutrition Counseling appointment with me :)

Back to Cutting Out Bread: Since bread is only one source of starch, you can absolutely eliminate bread and still maintain a healthy diet. This being said, eliminating bread completely is not necessary for the maintenance of health or for weight loss.  If you are going to cut out bread, just be sure your day includes at least 3 servings of another starch, and try to incorporate whole grains. Examples of healthy non-bread starches and their serving sizes are:

  • 1/2c whole wheat pasta, cooked
  • 1/3c brown rice, cooked
  • 3 oz potato or sweet potato (approximately 1 small or 1/2 med sized)
  • 1/3c beans or legumes
  • 1/3c cooked whole grains (quinoa, wheatberry, farro, barley)
  • 1/2c corn or green peas
Based on American Dietetic Association Exchange Lists. http//www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/eat/fd_exch.htm#7
If you do plan to include bread in your diet, be sure to buy 100% whole wheat or 100% whole grain for the extra fiber and nutrition and to help avoid blood sugar spikes.  Serving sizes of bread products are:
  • 1 slice bread
  • 2 slices light bread (low calorie)
  • 1/2 english muffin
  • 1/4 bagel
  • 1 light waffle (not the large belgian style!)- I really like Vans Whole Grain Light Waffles
Based on American Dietetic Association Exchange Lists. http//www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/eat/fd_exch.htm#7
Hope this helps clear things up for you! Please comment with any questions, or schedule an appointment for more in depth information  :)