November 14, 2017
We live in a world of quick fixes. It seems like everywhere you look there is an advertisement for something that will help you to "look good and fast." This can be tempting and many of of us fall prey. After all who doesn't want to look good in a bikini by Friday or have perfectly clear skin in only one month? I know there was a time in my life when I fell for this stuff all the time! And guess what? Some of it worked! The problem was nothing worked for long and then I was right back where I started.
Today I want to talk to you specifically about treating acne and how those changes may look.
We tend to think of acne as being only an external issue. After all, it's clearly visible on our skin so a really good face wash should clear that up, right? It's not that simple. Acne is often a sign of a deeper internal issue. Where I see women face trouble is they only address the visible signs the acne. By failing to look deeper their acne continues to resurface causing them to move on to the next greatest skin care.
Our skin is an organ. In fact, it's our body's largest organ! When we view our skin this way, instead of simply an outer barrier, it's rather silly to think our skin doesn't paint a larger picture.
For years I was on an acne skin care line. My face remained clear as long as I continued using the product and it worked for 8 years! This led me to believe my acne had been eradicated. I thought it was gone and all I had to do was continue to buy this certain face wash. I could not have been more wrong!! The acne skin care line was simply a band aid, masking a much bigger problem. All at once the product failed to deliver it's usual results and I was left with an enormous mess my skin had never looked worse. I was devastated.
For the first time in my life I was forced to look at other options. I naturally tried a few other skin care lines all to no avail. After a bit of research I learned there was a holistic side to healing acne. What?! I had never before even considered that there was a root problem to my acne, never mind addressing it.
The most important shift I made was my mindset. You can read about that here. The second shift was changing the way I ate. I created a plan and stuck with it for a solid 6 months no cheating, no slipping. What I noticed were slow changes and sometimes the healing was cyclical there were a few times my skin 'purged' during this period.
Because of this, some people thought I was nuts. Some questions I received:
Shouldn't your skin be completely clear with all the dietary changes you've made?
Is your body getting proper nourishment?
Why are you doing this to yourself? Aren't you miserable? You know I have a friend who sells acne skin care. You should call her.
Maybe you've heard a few of these yourself?
I do believe all these things were said with good intentions. Spoken by those who cared about me, it really was an act of love not malice. However, I knew deep down inside that I was on the right track and I had to tune these voices out.
I have seen this same scenario with my clients who are working so diligently to get to the root problem of their acne. Family members and friends think they are nuts! I think the two main reasons why are:
- People still largely view acne as only an external problem and one that can only be treated through skin care.
- Healing acne holistically from the inside out takes time and results don't always come quickly.
What do you do when you face these roadblocks?
It's important to remember who you are doing this for. You! You deserve to look and feel your best.
It's important to remember that external remedies are only a band aid. It's not that you can't use them, it's that you have to also address the underlying issue or you will never truly be free of your acne.
It's important to quiet the external voices. Don't try to argue or reason with those who find your new dietary lifestyle to be crazy. You'll never win the argument! It's better to smile, thank them for their concern and move on. Which brings me to my final point don't overshare!
I know this may seem odd because when we're trying to lose weight or step up our fitness game, we're often encouraged to tell lots of people so we hold ourselves accountable. Treating acne is a whole different ball game; one that is often misunderstood. Because of that it is better to not overshare with too many people. Having one or two people close to you who you trust is the best option. They can help hold you accountable and offer encouragement and support. This support may not come from immediate family. It's nice if it does but it doesn't always happen that way.
Where are you on your journey to healing your skin? What approaches have you tried? Do you feel you have proper support? Leave a comment I'd love to chat!
October 22, 2017
What is it about Sundays and feeling blue? I don't think I'm alone in this as I've seen other bloggers write about this very topic. Not to mention a good friend of mine and I call it depressing Sunday. In fact we call or text often on Sundays and say the words, "Happy Depressing Sunday!!" I must say this little joke between us has actually brightened my day more than once.
What does this have to do with our health? Plenty, so keep reading.
I don't know about you, but I'm the type of person who thrives on routine. I like the mundane, ordinary tasks of the week and while I may get tired of it sometimes, there's also a great deal of comfort in it. I'm a Christian and grew up in a Christian home so Sunday was always a day of worship and rest in our house. My parents even had a rule that any weekend homework had to be completed by Saturday night because come Sunday there would be no working on it. I much appreciated this rule because I was never frantically trying to get school work done before Monday morning rolled around.
While Sundays have always had a calmer feel to them, there's something that feels almost sad to this day. Whether or not you are a believer, and whether or not you attend a church, I don't think many would argue that Sunday does represent a somewhat slower pace that any other day of the week. It's a time to sit back, be with family and rest for the week ahead.
It's the sitting back and resting part that is a bit scary to me. Weekly schedules and routine keep my body busy and my mind busy. There's not much time for reflection and this also means there's not many pockets of quiet. While this does get tiresome, it also offers a certain level of protection. I can't stop and think and reflect because I need to move on to the next task. Sundays provide a large window of time where I really don't know what to do with myself and I'm forced to deal with the quiet.
Our state of mind is essential to our overall well being. Everything is connected: mind, body, and spirit. It's important these things are in tune with one another. Now I'm not saying don't ever feel sad or blue. Quite the contrary, when these feelings do arise don't ignore them but rather decipher where they are coming from and what's behind them. My mother passed away three years ago and, since then, Sundays have become an even greater challenge -- missing her most in the quiet moments. The reality of her absence cannot be denied during those times.
Here are a few things I've found that help me deal with the Sunday blues:
I'd love to hear from you! What are your thoughts on Sunday? Funday or Depressing? Is there a day of the week where you feel more uplifted and excited than the rest of the week?
Disclaimer: This blog is in no way intended to be a substitute for medical advice and/or professional help. If you struggle with depression it is important to seek professional counseling.
Staying hydrated sounds ridiculous, I know and like it's just another excuse to talk about the importance of water. Seriously though, when our cells aren't properly hydrated our body doesn't function optimally. Any negative emotions you're feeling will only be amplified if you're running on empty.
Take a walk and grab some sunshine. It's easy to stay in the house and hibernate with Netflix. This is sometimes comforting but it's easy to not want to retreat from your personal space. Instead I like to grab my daughters and take them for a walk, especially when the weather is nice. A little Vitamin D from the sun can go a long way to lift your spirits.
List the things I'm grateful for. In our fast paced world, it's easy to forget all the little things we have to be grateful for. At night when my girls and I do their prayers, we always thank God for our warm beds and our full tummies. Two things we take for granted everyday but oh their significance in our lives! I thank God for my family, friends, for the roof over our heads and for food in the refrigerator. Stopping to say these blessings helps me remember how sweet life can be.
September 27, 2017
I've openly shared my life long struggle with acne. Battling cystic acne has been a part of my life since I was a teenager. What I haven't shared as openly is how utterly powerless I felt to stop it.
Here are a few of the things I have been told about my acne:
Nutrition has nothing to do with it. Changing what you eat won't clear your skin.
To keep acne under control you'll always be on some type of medication or acne specific skin care.
Your acne is hormonal so therefore it's out of your control.
So basically there is nothing you can do except spend a lot of money on lotions, potions and pills.
No wonder I felt so powerless!
Do any of these sound familiar? Have you been told these things?
I'll never forget the day I looked in the mirror and decided to take control of my acne. It's like a switch was flipped in my mind and I completely changed my attitude about the whole situation. Knowledge is power and I decided to arm myself with as much knowledge about the body, nutrition and the way foods affect the body as I could. I implemented what I learned and guess what? The appearance of my skin improved! I was getting fewer and fewer breakouts. The redness and inflammation in my skin was lessening. Most importantly I no longer felt like a victim of my circumstances.
As I've continued my research I'm honestly amazed at just how much nutrition does affect the way we look, including our skin. I've also discovered a few other key areas, besides the foods we eat, that greatly affect our appearance.
Let me ask you. How do you feel about your skin? Do you like what you see when you look in the mirror? Being open to learning more about nutrition and the way food affects the body (for better or worse!) is the first step. When you're ready to take that step let's talk!
September 11, 2017
Do you pick at your acne? I recently saw an article that might help you break the habit.
Picking at your acne is one of the worst things you could do. Yet it is a common problem among acne sufferers. It can even feel slightly satisfying to squeeze pimples and it can certainly turn into a bad habit quickly.
Each time you squeeze and dig at blemishes on your face, you increase the chances that you'll suffer scarring. I know I have some scars on my face that wouldn't be there had I simply left my breakouts alone! You also are potentially making your acne worse. As you squeeze blemishes bacteria underneath the skin gets pushed around and can lead to further breakouts. What may begin as a pimple or two can easily lead to three or four if you mess with it, so you're better off leaving it alone.
If this is an area you struggle in, try these few tips to stop skin picking for good.
Don't look at your blemishes so often. You know the drill. You have acne so you stop at every mirror in your house each time you pass it and check just to see if it's magically disappeared or somehow gotten worse from the last time you checked. All this does is take any stress or anxiety you have around your acne and make it 100x worse. It also makes it more likely that you are going to touch your face. If you have to take down some of the mirrors in your house or cover them with a cloth. Just temporarily, of course. It may help remind you to back off a bit.
Keep your skin care routine simple. Don't spend too much time in your bathroom taking care of your skin. Your skin care routine should be fairly simple anyway. Overdoing it can irritate your skin and make your acne worse. Whatever your current routine, it should only take you a few minutes to complete. Breathe, relax and enjoy the time of caring for your skin. Once you're finished with everything, leave your bathroom. Don't stop and stare.
Ditch the magnifying mirrors. You don't need them and they will only make you feel worse about the state of your skin. If you don't currently own one, please do not buy one. If you do have one store it away or consider donating it.
Visualize. If you are picking at your skin, visualize the bacteria that lie beneath the surface. Picture it in your mind being transferred around and potentially causing new breakouts. The temporary satisfaction you may feel from squeezing your blemishes isn't worth it.
Recognize that squeezing the pimple often makes it look worse, not better. Enough said, really! How many times have you messed with a pimple and had it look better? Probably never. I know for me this has never played in my favor. It always ends up looking much redder, more irritated, and more inflamed.
Skin picking can be a hard habit to break. But it is that, a habit. It's like any other habit such as biting your nails. You do have control over it and you have a decision to make.
Are you struggling to find solutions to clear your skin? Book in a consultation today. I look forward to talking with you.
August 16, 2017
I recently read an article that struck a nerve with me. It was written by a fighter pilot and the topic was motivation and discipline. His viewpoint was that discipline trumps motivation every time. The fighter pilot said that when it's time to run head first into the enemy you don't feel motivated to do it. After all you're full of fear and would rather turn and run the other way. He said rather it's discipline that's so important at this moment. It's the discipline you've developed, your knowledge on the subject, the training and practice. You know what you have to do so you simply do it.
As I read this piece I felt immediately drawn to what he was saying and I realized that although he was referring to war time battle, the same principle applies to just about every area of our lives. In fact, for many areas of our lives if we only relied on how motivated we felt to do something, nothing would get done.
I see this all the time in my coaching business. Women come to me feeling motivated to make a change. They are tired of the way they look and feel. They know they need a change and at first the prospect of it all is really exciting. They feel motivated to do something different. But then reality begins to set in and the truth is changing the way you eat isn't always a straight, easy road. At this point discipline has to step in and take over. Otherwise you find yourself right back where you started.
When my adult acne was so severe and nothing I tried was working. I began to look at my issue for what it was. A sign of a deeper rooted problem that needed to be solved. This is when I began to change the way I was eating to bring restoration and healing to my body and therefore, ultimately heal my skin. Motivation didn't play much of a role during this process. Initially, I felt motivated by the prospect of clearer skin but that quickly faded. One thing to really understand about using food as medicine, is the results are not always immediate. Obviously, this can feel frustrating. More than that is what others around you see. Let me explain.
To my friends and family, the dietary changes I made, seemed extreme (although they really weren't). People wondered if I was nourishing my body properly. I began to feel a bit of a stigma because I wasn't eating what everyone else was. The biggest issue was that my skin didn't clear overnight and as it was healing it went through a few purging stages. You know the old adage, "Things get worse before they get better"? In my case I experienced this. Therefore to those around me it appeared that all my efforts were in vain.
During these times I didn't feel motivated to keep pushing forward and pursue my goal. In fact, at times I felt downright defeated. Was I completely crazy?! This entire process required discipline on my part. I knew what I needed to do or I would never know the real results. If I quit half way through I would never realize the truth. Worse, if I gave in to temptation or peer pressure to be normal and do what everyone else was doing, I'd have to start back at square one. I had to be disciplined everyday to follow the plan I laid out for myself.
Motivation is overrated. If you want to accomplish real changes in your life, you have to develop discipline. For many of us, this is a struggle to handle on our own. We need guidance and someone coaching us along the way. If you're ready to make a change in the way you eat and see real, lasting results I will help you develop the discipline needed to get there. Contact me for a complimentary introductory session!
What are your thoughts? Is motivation overrated? Is discipline more important? Leave a comment and let me know.
Here's the link to the article I referenced http://www.businessinsider.com/top-gun-pilot-dave-berke-discipline-2017-7
January 11, 2018
Did you know stress is one of the top 5 factors contributing to your acne?
Think about it. How many times have you had a huge breakout appear right before a special event? How about break outs that show up before a job interview?
When healing acne you must look at the whole picture and stress is definitely apart of it.
Obviously, it's important to reduce our stress levels. I don't think anyone would argue that going through life while constantly worrying is a productive, healthy way to live. The problem is it would be impossible to completely eliminate all stress from our lives. I don't care who you are you deal with stress to some extent on a regular basis.
Stress doesn't only revolve around big, life issues. Although that can definitely be apart of it. It's also the smaller things that lead to stress and sometimes I think these may be worse. These little issues are easier to ignore and therefore they can build upon each other until you have a mound of stress.
What exactly happens when we are stressed that would cause a breakout? There are a few factors.
Bottom line: You need a healthy gut to have clear, healthy looking skin. An imbalance in the gut leads to too much inflammation in the body and acne is a form of inflammation.
There's not much refuting this these days. I've even been noticing skin care companies that make acne specific products, discussing the relationship between the health of our gut and the health of our skin.
The irony here is the more acne you get the more stressed you become. I remember thinking when my acne was at its height, that if my face would clear, I could finally get a handle on my stress levels. Waking up everyday to a red, inflamed and pimple-covered face automatically put me in high stress mode.
Since it's impossible to eliminate all stress from your life, what can be done?
- Stress affects your gut
- 70 % or more of your immune system lies in your gut
- 90% of your happy hormone, serotonin, is made in the gut
- Stress leads to impaired digestion and optimal digestion is necessary for clearer skin
I believe there are three actions.
The first is, increase your resilience
-- and it isn't complicated. Three resolutions will immediately help:
The second action to eliminate stress is let go of things you have no control over
- get adequate sleep each night -- 8-9 hours are recommended
- eat a whole foods based nutritious diet
- exercise regularly
. Stressing over issues we cannot control makes us feel trapped; a victim mentality.
- In situations you can influence for improvement, do so
- In situations you cannot influence, either disengage, or release it from your emotional domain of responsibility.
Research has shown that changes take place in your brain that reduce stress and increase feelings of pleasure when you WRITE down what you are grateful for. Each day take a few minutes to write down 3 things you are grateful for. Research suggests doing this for 21 days straight in order for the changes in the brain to take place.
Here's the way I look at it. This gratitude exercise is simple. It probably won't take more than 5 to 10 minutes of my day. If it really can help why not give it a try? The worst thing that could happen is you notice zero changes in your outlook on life and you go back to your old routine.
I challenge you to 21 days of gratitude! Do you keep a gratitude journal? Leave a comment and let me know.
The final component to increase your stress resilience is implement a Gratitude Journal.
Don't start throwing tomatoes at me just yet! Believe me, I was someone who always rolled my eyes at this type of thing. I feel grateful enough, what do I need to write it down for?
December 20, 2017
It's said that the average person gains 7 to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
That's a significant amount of weight!
How accurate these numbers are, and whether this actually starts around Thanksgiving (I personally believe it to start in October with Halloween), the fact is the holidays can present a struggle.
As soon as the weather begins to turn cold our bodies begin to crave more nourishment. Unfortunately, our first thought is not of dark, leafy greens tossed in a vinaigrette. Warm, cozy, comfort foods are a more tempting choice and, during the holidays, they abound. That is not necessarily, however, a bad thing. There are plenty of delicious foods that are great options to eat over the winter.
The problem I've seen in my private coaching sessions are the number of events that surround the holidays: office parties, family gatherings, cookie exchanges . . . you get the idea.
The trouble all begins with the onslaught of your kid's Halloween candy that bag can be SO tempting!
As the holiday season comes to a close with Christmas and New Year's I'd like to share a few thoughts with you on how to manage the holidays.
- When an event, party or social gathering is on your calendar, NEVER show up hungry. This one drives me nuts because I hear women say it all the time, "I have a party tonight so I'm not going to eat all day so I can eat at the party." No, no, no! I'm not sure where this idea originated, but its faulty logic. The biggest problem I have with this approach is it doesn't facilitate steady blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels control the hormone insulin. It's best to avoid large spikes and falls with our blood sugar levels. We want our blood sugar, and therefore our insulin levels, to have minimal rises and falls like small, steady waves. Not eating all day, only to go pig out at night, is setting you up for failure. You can't save your entire caloric intake for one meal. You just can't and be healthy with a steady weight.
- If food is being served buffet-style, first peruse the selections and select what you really want to eat. A small sample of the menu items is okay, too. Eat a little of everything, and eat a whole lot of no one thing. I learned this trick from Bethenny Frankel who advocates, "No more dieting! I've had it!" She writes, Taste everything, eat nothing. Why shove a bunch of food into your face when you can taste small perfect bites of delicious food and stop before it ever gets ugly? Naturally Thin, 2009. While I don't agree with every point she makes in her book, I do agree with this school of thought.
- If you have dietary restrictions don't veer off course just because you're at a party. If you're highly intolerant to gluten, then don't eat it just because you're in a social environment. Trust me, it's not worth it! Of foods you tolerate in moderation, make your decision before arriving how much you will eat. Use your head, and not your emotions. Do not get ambushed by temptation. That is another reason to not show up hungry.
- If you're hosting the event, anticipate the wishes of your guests. Have a gluten free/vegan option available. Serve healthy hors d'oeurves and a large green salad with a simple vinaigrette dressing, along with the classic favorites we all enjoy.
- Make time for exercise. Life is busy and it seems to get even busier around the holidays. Making time for exercise is so important there's no excuse not to. Schedule it on your calendar, and hold to it as an appointment with your healthy self.
- The key to making exercise stick is to find a program you love that gives you the results you're after. If you're new to exercise I highly recommend Leslie Sansone's walking program. Years ago I tried her out and dropped 18 pounds in about 2 months. I like her method because it's simple to use, there's no expensive equipment to buy and it's so easy on the joints. I currently do Tracy Anderson Method, and have for about the past 5 years. I love programs I can use at home. It makes it that much easier to get done. You don't have to join a gym, unless you want to of course! The point is:
- Stick to it.
- Make a commitment.
- Find something you like.
If you've already gained some weight, please, don't beat yourself up over it; and don't go on some crazy juice cleanse to eliminate it. Be gentle with your body, and nourish it with delicious, whole food nutrition.
Struggling to get the weight off? Let me help you. I have 5 spaces available beginning in 2018 for my private coaching program. Those tend to fill up fast, so don't wait! I offer a complimentary 60 minute session to discover if we're a good fit to work together, one-on-one. Click here and let's get started.
- Allow adequate downtime -- don't over schedule. Lack of sleep and high stress levels have a profound effect on our health, and our weight.
October 23, 2017
I just saw an article discussing the relationship between indoor air quality and acne. Contrary to what you may think, indoor air can be five times more polluted than outdoor air. Common culprits can be dust, candles, cleaning supplies and also the particles that travel inside with you on your clothing.
"These are commonly known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs."
Frequently, these tiny, invisible particles lurk in things like paint, cleaning products,
candles, and air fresheners--and they can have all sorts of repercussions for your skin.
It's easy to think of acne as only an external skin issue. Having a proper skin care routine is extremely important to clearing your skin and maintaing that clear skin. However, it stands to reason that other factors play a role in the look & appearance of our skin as well.
Acne can be a deep rooted issue and it's important to get to the real source. Digestion, quality of nutrition, stress levels and quality of sleep all affect the appearance of our skin.
What about air quality? It's probably safe to say that many of us aren't focused on this part as much. However, there does seem to be a natural progression between improving nutrition and improving the quality of household cleaners, soaps, shampoos and makeup. Once we start changing the foods we put in our body, it's natural to begin examining the things our skin comes in contact with as well as those things we breath in.
I have made the switch from toxic cleaning products to safer alternatives. Before that I remember shooing my children away while cleaning the bathroom. On the days when I had to go in and scrub the tub, I'd come up coughing and eyes watering. Pretty sure that's a good indication that what I was breathing in wasn't great. Not only that, but the chemicals we use come into contact with our skin and may end up in our bloodstream.
Where to start?
Start small. Ditch plug in air fresheners and perfumed room sprays. My favorite alternative to this is diffusing essential oils.
Consider having a few house plants. There's a lot of evidence to suggest that indoor plants help improve the air quality. Plus, they are attractive and can be a natural part of your home decor.
Check out a quality air purifier. One thing to look for is how much square footage the unit covers. If you live in a small space one air purifier may do it. If you have a large home take that into consideration. If you cannot manage to cover the entire house, focus on the rooms in which you spend most of your time, including the bedrooms.
Awareness is the first step. It's easy to go through the "day-to-day" and not think about what comes in contact with your skin. If you have persistent acne it's certainly worth looking into.
July 24, 2017
Are any of these excuses your excuses?
- Not enough money
- Not enough time
- Not the right timing.
Those are common excuses I hear from women for why they are not ready to begin implementing a healthier lifestyle.
- MONEY do you feel you can't afford to eat healthier? That is, for the most part a myth. Eating well or eating poorly costs about the same. Factor in being healthier, and it probably costs less.
- TIME do you think eating healthy is too time-consuming? That is, in fact, a matter of choice. Food preparation can be a pleasant and relaxing time; a time to form some new habits that you've probably wanted to develop anyway.
- TIMING -- are you waiting for the perfect, golden opportunity to start -- after school is out; after school gets back in; after vacation; after Thanksgiving. . . . HUGE mistake! There will always be something to tempt you, to sway you, to steer you off course. It's called LIFE.
I may sound a little unsympathetic here but I'm not. Those excuses used to be my top three. None of them can withstand the power of your decision to eat healthier and to be healthier. The single greatest challenge for me was to overcome the "all or nothing" mentality.
The world of nutrition can seem to be black and white, with little room for any gray areas. You either eat well or you don't. You either purchase only organic food or you don't. You either never eat processed food or you do.
Here's the thing: In a perfect world everyone would be eating only organic, locally sourced produce and grass-fed meats from local farmers and eggs from free-range chickens, etc. You get the picture. Sounds wonderful, but is it reality? Unless you own your own farm and you only eat what you personally grow and you never travel or go on vacation, this nutrition utopia is probably not a reality.
I see it all the time. It's sad, really, because here are some of the things I've heard:
"If you can't eat organic you may as well be eating ________ (insert fast food joint here)."
"Eating eggs is like smoking cigarettes. It'll kill you. You should only be 100% vegan."
"Eating meat destroys the planet."
"You have to eat ______ (insert your least favorite vegetable here) or you can't be healthy."
"Smoothies for breakfast are the pillar of healthy lifestyle."
Sounds really motivating, right? Geez! Hearing this stuff even makes me want to run in the opposite direction. Now when I come across those types of comments I simply smile and move on. I recognize that life is meant to be enjoyed, and a big part of that is enjoying good food. We are meant to nourish our bodies well. However, the stress we feel over food can be just as bad for our health as any less than ideal food choices.
Instead of viewing nutrition as all or nothing I encourage you to take a different approach. I teach my clients this saying, "Do the best you can, whenever you can, as often as you can." If you are able to eat organic that is definitely the better choice. However, eating conventional produce is not equivalent to eating a highly processed cheese burger and fries so don't make it out to be. There shouldn't be any shame in purchasing conventional produce if that is what is available to you.
And about that cheeseburger and fries -- I believe there is a place for that in life as well!! Again, it's not all or nothing.
Where I've witnessed the most long term success is with women who gradually make changes instead of trying to do a complete overhaul overnight. It is very difficult to try to upend everything about the way you eat in a few days. It's too easy to slip back into old habits when life gets stressful. When gradual changes are made the chances of making them a permanent lifestyle increase. The reality is there needs to be balance and room for flexibility.
I want to hear from you. Leave a comment!
Have you ever felt discouraged about eating better because of this all or nothing attitude? Have you felt held back because you aren't able to dive in 100%?
June 27, 2017
The Bed and Breakfast we stayed at last week was wonderful. Breakfast included pancakes, waffles, sausage, potatoes, and tons of fresh fruit. It was SO delicious and the best part? I lost three pounds!
From the time I was a teenager until most recent years, preparing for vacation meant a period of dieting. I would exercise harder and try to cut calories (I knew shockingly little about nutrition then) in order to get a flatter tummy for my trip. Once on vacation I would throw caution to the wind when it came to food and overindulge. Shortly into my trip I'd be bloated, tired and sluggish. Good times, right? Upon returning home I'd discover that I had gained a few pounds and had to work all over again to lose it. This was my pattern for years. Does it sound familiar?
When I changed my approach towards food several years ago it also changed the way I view dieting in general and how I eat when I am on vacation. This surprised me on my most recent trip because some of the foods I ate were less than stellar and I definitely indulged a little. While I didn't completely stuff myself, I certainly ate to my heart's content each morning. Lunch and dinner consisted of local fare from restaurants in the area. Some were incredible, others not so much and one in particular is definitely getting a negative mark on Trip Advisor. One thing I kept noticing was I didn't at all feel tired the entire time and my tummy was never bloated, which are two common areas of struggle, especially for women.
As I reflected on what I was doing differently and what I might be doing right I came up with a few tips to share with you. These go beyond the "pack healthy snack options" tips.
How To Eat on Vacation:
- It begins at HOME. It's what you do most of the time that matters. This is why I encourage you to make the absolute best choices when preparing food in your own kitchen where you have complete control. You control the oils used, the amount of sugar, the quality of the meats and produce, etc. It's important to take advantage of these times to keep your gut health strong and your immune system strong. This way when in situations, such as vacation, where you don't have 100% control over the food it won't completely derail you because you have a solid foundation.
- Stay hydrated! It's so easy to get dehydrated, especially when traveling. Add to that the hot summer months and it's no wonder we have trouble keeping our bodies adequately nourished with water. Carry water with you wherever you go. I keep a stainless water bottle with me at all times. To keep it full I carry a gallon jug of water so I can refill my bottle as needed. Where I was staying this particular trip I was able to fill my gallon jug of water with fresh, clean water. However, you could just as easily run to your local grocery store and purchase a gallon jug of water for under $1.00. Even if you're only slightly dehydrated your body can mistake that signal for hunger so keep your water bottle full and drink up!
- Don't overthink it. What happens when you sit down with your menu at a restaurant? Do you order the first thing that pops out at you or do you mull over what you "should" be eating and what you want to eat? It may sound counter productive but I recommend you order the first thing that jumps out at you on the menu. Note: If you eat in restaurants on a fairly regular basis this same rule would not necessarily apply. Oftentimes the stress we create for ourselves around food is worse for our bodies than the food itself. The more research I do and the more time I spend with my private coaching clients the more convinced I'm becoming that stress is our number one enemy when it comes to not looking and feeling our best. SO make a decision from the menu, eat slowly, enjoy every bite and then put it out of your mind. This means no regrets! Don't stress over what you just ate and that you should have gotten something else. This is negative self talk and it does nothing to serve your body. *Interesting that I am gluten intolerant. However, I ate gluten a few times on my trip with this no stress mentality and didn't suffer negative consequences. Just food for thought.
- Stress Free. Vacation can be such a wonderful time to get away from the norm and relax. I know for me I felt so carefree on this recent vacation. At home there is always something for me to be doing and being able to take a few days to slow down was wonderful for my soul. One of the biggest observations I made while on this trip was that I actually got to sit down and eat! I coach my clients on the importance of being in a stress free state when eating. Don't eat at your desk, don't eat standing up or while rushing out the door. Even for a snack take ten minutes to step away and enjoy it. Unfortunately, I can be my own worst enemy because I often find myself standing at my kitchen counter eating or getting up and down from the table during meal time. I know all you mothers know exactly what I'm talking about here! Caring for our families often means we throw ourselves on the back burner. Take advantage of the lower stress times of vacation and sit down to your meal. When in a restaurant, really enjoy that you have no kitchen work to do in the moment. Eating while stressed can negatively impact our digestion so allow vacation to work for you in this way.
Focus on Digestion! Eat slowly. Chew your food well. Put your fork down between each bite. Digestion begins in the brain as we start thinking about the food. Then moves to the mouth and most people don't chew long enough or slow enough placing a heavy burden on their digestive tract. What does this lead to? Bloating, gas, discomfort, etc. So it's important to eat slowly and chew your food well. This also allows you to recognize when you are full so you can stop eating. One reason people overeat is they eat too quickly and the brain doesn't have time to catch up to the stomach. Basically, you think you're still hungry but you're not. Try chewing slower and eating slower in general. You might be surprised how much less you eat at each meal and you're less likely to end up overstuffed. SLOW DOWN. It's vacation so
t a k e your T I M E and ENJOY!