November 29, 2017
When I first wanted to heal my acne through nutrition, Google became my best friend. I honestly didn't know much about nutrition, and I definitely didn't understand how food affects our body and our skin. One of the first concepts I encountered while researching adult female acne was a vegan diet.
Vegan noun, a person who does not eat or use animal products.
While my cystic acne was at it's height in severity, I went vegan for many months. In the beginning I did notice some improvement in the appearance of my acne. However, in the end being vegan didn't win out for me. While my diet is still largely plant based, I don't eliminate all animal products. I want to share with you my thoughts on the vegan diet, specifically as it relates to acne.
The benefits of a vegan diet can be the large number of plants consumed. When you're not consuming animal protein, you need more fruits and vegetables to fill you up. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants which help fight inflammation in the body. Acne is a sign of too much inflammation in the body so, logically, it makes sense to consume more fruits and vegetables. The problem that often arises here, and the reason I put can be in italics, it's easy to be vegan and lose sight of nutrition. It's easy to become so focused on whether a not a food is vegan that you forget to evaluate nutritional value. Technically, Oreo's® are vegan. Although I don't think anyone would argue that eating these cookies will help clear your skin. I've seen many times, including in myself, where consuming a vegan diet quickly turns to lots of vegan baked goods, pastas and baked potatoes. These things are fine in moderation but they aren't the super-foods needed to boost our immune system, and can give acne a kiss good-bye.
The downside to a vegan diet is its neglect of healthy fats. When researching a vegan diet I was quite alarmed at how many proponents of this diet still had the low fat mentality that plagued the 90's. The concept of following a low fat/no fat diet is outdated information that was never actually correct. In fact, during the 90's when the low fat craze really took off, heart disease increased as people's waist lines grew. Why did this happen? Most likely it was due to high insulin levels. Instead of eating healthy fats, which keep you fuller, longer, people were eating low- fat crackers, highly refined pastas and low- fat yogurts. All these things spike our insulin levels which leads to excess belly fat, AND many people felt constantly hungry because the very thing that helps keep us full fat was removed from food. What I'm discussing here pertains to weight gain and heart health but, please make no mistake, it's also connected to the appearance of your skin. Warning signs of internal excess inflammation in the body, such as acne, should help us connect the dots: a low-fat/no fat diet won't give us the skin, or the overall health we want.
Vegan diets also eliminate the intake of wild-caught, sockeye salmon. I really can't overstate its benefits to our skin health. First, wild-caught salmon provides a hefty dose of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids simply means our bodies don't make these fats, therefore, we must get them from food. Omega-6's are also essential fatty acids. However, because of deficiencies in our food supply these days (such as eating grain-fed instead of grass-fed beef, or consuming processed foods containing unhealthy, shelf-stable oils) we are ingesting too much omega-6's and not enough omega-3's. The ratio of these oils should be 1:2 omega 3 omega 6. Unfortunately, our modern diets tend to have a ratio of 1:10 of omega-3 (anti-inflammatory) to omega-6 (inflammatory). [William Sears, MD, The Inflammation Solution,©2015]
Vegan diets also lack astaxanthin. Here we go again with salmon the prize winning fish! Astaxanthin is another reason to love this fish. Astaxanthin gives salmon its beautiful pink color. It's a nutrient that has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. Astaxanthin paired with beneficial omega-3's in wild-caught salmon make this fish vital to our diets. Notice I keep writing wild-caught. It is important that you avoid purchasing farm-raised salmon. It doesn't contain the same amounts of the powerful antioxidants. In fact, farm-raised salmon may have pink color added, so it appears more like wild-caught. I also take a fish oil supplement and have noticed a difference in my skin, hair and nails.
Tip: On the days you enjoy salmon for dinner it's okay to skip your fish oil supplement. This will help you stretch your budget a bit farther as well!
Lastly, I encourage you not to place yourself in a "diet camp." What I mean specifically is avoid anything that promises weight loss as its single goal. It can lead to an all or nothing mentality, in which you feel guilty if you are ever in a situation that makes it impossible to eat and still stay within the diet's strict guidelines. What I do encourage, instead, is focus on real, whole-food nutrition. Shop the perimeter of your grocery store. Opt for organic produce and meats when possible. If unavoidable, be very selective in the purchase of processed foods. If you're curious what to look for when purchasing processed foods, you can read more here.
Have you ever tried, or are you currently following a vegan diet? Have you noticed an improvement in your skin, hair, and nails? How are you currently eating, and how does it make you feel? Please comment!
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November 20, 2017
For optimum health it is better to avoid processed foods. But it's difficult these days to do that.. Life seems to be busier than ever and it seems we have less time to dedicate in the kitchen than in years past. It's no wonder women resort to picking up boxed packaged items, and foods in the freezer section.
I'm all about balance nutrition shouldn't be viewed as all or nothing. When clients come to me for coaching I make it a point to meet them where they are. It's all about giving yourself grace. Do what you can with the knowledge, information, budget and time you have.
While I do cook mostly from scratch there are a few things I purchase prepackaged. However, there are KEY things I look for before buying a processed food; and there are certain factors I won't compromise on.
In order to manage acne it is best done from the inside out. Focus on nutrition to bring your skin to an improved state of health. Examine all facets of your diet.
If, for example, buying jarred marinara sauce works for you right now, great! That's what works in my house as well. Let me share with you some key things to look for in any packaged food you buy.
Become a label reader. Take the extra 15 seconds needed to read the ingredient list on every packaged food you buy. I even periodically re-check the labels of foods I buy. Sometimes manufacturers change ingredients, or start using GMO's where they had not previously.
Know what you're putting into your body! For healthy skin, avoid too many processed foods.
- INGREDIENTS: This is an instance where less is more. The fewer the non-food ingredients (such as stabilizers), typically the better the food is for your body.
- WORDS: This one is simple. If you read the ingredient label and you don't recognize half the words, or it sounds like something you'd be reading in chemistry class, look for an alternative.
- SUGAR: Here's where it can be a bit tricky. One of my favorite packaged foods Larabar ® - has a sugar content of around 16 grams per bar. However, the ingredient list is short and it's all REAL foods. The sugar content comes from whole foods not highly processed, refined sugar. Also, they contain some dietary fiber and protein which brings me to the next item.
- PROTEIN and FIBER: Look for items that are high in protein and high in fiber. These foods will help slow the release of sugars into your bloodstream and will help keep you fuller, longer.
- MSG (monosodium glutamate) and HFCS (high fructose corn syrup): Honestly, I could write an entire paper on why these two should be avoided but for now let me keep it simple. MSG is used as a flavor enhancer but it's linked to respiratory, gastrointestinal, cardio vascular, circulatory, muscular, visual and urological conditions. Should I say more? As for HFCS this is a sneaky little devil. HFCS is a highly processed sweetener that (studies indicate) interferes with your body's natural ability to recognize when you are full. It may, in fact, "tell" your brain, "You're not full. Keep eating." If true, there is little wonder why it would be added to processed foods.
- OIL: Cheap, highly refined oils to avoid include corn, cottonseed, palm kernel, partially hydrogenated, safflower, sunflower and soybean. It can be really tough to find products that don't contain those oils. Most processed foods use cheaper vegetable oils for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately they do nothing for the beauty of our skin (or our insides). These oils are found in obvious places like potato chips but they also hide in sneaky places like jarred sauces and salad dressings. Instead look for oils and product-containing oils made from coconut, flax, olive, avocado and nuts.
- NON-GMO: Genetically modified organisms (GMO) have altered DNA, changed by genetic engineering. 75% of all United States processed foods contain a genetically modified ingredient. The concern is genetic engineering hasn't been around long enough for us to know its long term effects. Dr. Sear's motto is "When in doubt, leave it out". I have adopted this attitude as well.
- ORGANIC: This last one I don't adhere to 100% of the time because organic isn't always an available option. If it is available, I typically choose organic over conventional. Organic foods eliminate your consumption of pesticides and herbicides, which is a plus.
- Note food labeled organic are also non-gmo. However, any food labeled non-gmo doesn't necessarily mean it's organic
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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 19, 2018
Here come the doughnuts! There goes my diet plan!
How many times have you begun a nutrition plan or diet only to have someone bring doughnuts to your office or home?
You have the best intentions and you're certain your willpower will hold out this time. After all your beach trip is only a few, short weeks away, and you want to look good in your swimsuit!
Usually this is where the bargaining begins. You have a debate with yourself. You reason that you've been so good on your diet so you choose to indulge a little. Everyone else is, why should you be the only one left out? So you take a delicious doughnut, or two, and decide that tomorrow is a new day and you'll eat perfectly tomorrow.
Does this situation sound familiar? Maybe it's not doughnuts for you but chips and salsa, or ice cream? Whatever "it" is doesn't really matter. What does matter how you feel afterward -- as a wimp with no willpower.
I'm going to share with you a secret: willpower has nothing to do with it.
In my days of constantly chasing weight loss and experimenting with different diets this scenario was common place for me. I see the scenario daily on social media. It's usually portrayed with clever memes or a gif but, nevertheless, the guilt-trip is the same - success comes from willpower, and if you only had more of it you'd be successful.
Why does this cycle happen and how can it be stopped?
Willpower is highly overrated. It's a word we frequently use and see yet, if asked, I'm guessing most of us would have trouble defining it. It almost feels like a mystical factor that needs to be harnessed in order to have power over food.
I'll say it again. A lack of willpower is not most people's problem.
Take the focus off of willpower and instead put it on decisions, habits and discipline.
Dieting doesn't work in the long run and I'm not a fan.
Instead, of dieting for weight loss, nourish your body through whole food nutrition.
- It doesn't last
- it isn't a sustainable way of eating and
- it often leaves your body lacking nutritionally
Add to that balance. Balance in life liberates us from cycles of defeat.
Take that box of doughnuts that just walked into your office. Everybody is partaking. When you do not you create at least two unproductive, self-defeating circumstances. First, you put the entire office on notice that you are "trying to lose weight." Every day after that someone (at least one) will ask how is the diet going? How much weight have you lost? Odds are the person you find most annoying will be the one who asks most often. You have put your waistline in the spotlight, center stage. That's pressure you neither want nor need.
The second self-defeating and unproductive circumstance you create when turning down a doughnut while everyone else is indulging is the "apple in the Garden of Eden" effect. The more you tell yourself "No," the stronger the attraction and urge to partake. Who wants that battle?
There's a better way, and you can embark on that way now; before the doughnuts-in-the-office challenges. Decide to change the way you eat. It is your decision. You are in control. You are the master of your destiny.
The first step is to write down why you're changing the way you eat. This can't be a simple blanket statement, such as, "I'd like to lose 10 lbs." Why do you want to lose 10 lbs? What will losing 10 lbs do for you? How will your life be different once those 10 lbs are gone? You need to answer these questions and you need to write it down.
The women I work with complete that exercise with precision and clarity. They know specifically what they want, and they know the reason behind it.
Furthermore, what you want to change has to be of greater importance than the food you want to indulge in.
When I decided to heal my acne through nutrition I learned that I needed to eliminate certain foods that were not serving my body. Unfortunately, these were foods I really didn't want to let go of. A part of me felt I needed these foods to be content. I teeter-tottered and struggled with committing to a decision for a long time, and my results showed it. My face would clear, and then I would revert to eating as I always had, and my acne would come back.
It wasn't until I became utterly dissatisfied with my appearance that I successfully eliminated certain destructive foods, and replaced those with foods that were helping my body. Now I no longer miss those old foods. But initially what kept me on track was realizing why I made the decision.
You may want to lose 5 lbs, but what that requires may not be something you want to do. The 5 lbs, you rationalize, isn't that uncomfortable to live with. Do you understand where I'm going with this? Your "why" has to be bigger than anything else. When that happen it is no longer a "should do" decision, but rather a "want to" choice. It is always easier to do what you want to do that what you should do. Granted, discipline will be necessary because motivation and drive don't always hang around long.
The final component to this is to recognize that they are physiological things, completely outside your control, that take place in the body when you change the way you eat. If you're craving something, or feel you lack self-control with certain foods (especially with highly refined carbohydrates), there is a reason. This is where one-on-one coaching will carry you to success.
Reach out to me right now. Let's have a complimentary conversation. Take the first step to becoming what you want to be.
January 11, 2018
What if you never again had to use the word "cheat" when it comes to food? FREEDOM!
It's sad that over the years we've forgotten how to eat. We seem to know nothing about listening to our own bodies. We use words like "cheating" when it comes to what we eat. It's nonsense and, when I hear it, I hurt for the person who believes it.
The most recent statistic I heard is that the diet industry is a $72 billion industry. We live in a culture where people are obsessed with weight loss and quick fixes. The problem is it's easy to sacrifice your health in the name of weight loss. The good news is you don't have to do it this way!
You don't need to:
There are so many methods of eating available: paleo, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian, keto and the list goes on.
Apart from food camps there are numerous diets available that promise quick, yet lasting results. Cabbage soup diet (been there, done that), apple cider vinegar and maple syrup fast, carb cycling (who can keep track?), counting calories, tracking macros, etc.
I've tried a few of these myself. In fact when I first began healing my body through nutrition I classified myself as a vegan. I'm the first to admit I've fallen into the trap of forcing myself into a food camp, and I've had my fair share of dieting.
- Punish yourself for the foods you've eaten
- View foods as "good" or "bad"
- Use the word "cheat" when it comes to the foods you've put in your body
- Ever again say, "I'll start Monday."
Learning to listen to your body is one of the most valuable things you can do for yourself. Tuning into your body will bring you peace with food. Weight loss, if it needs to happen, will occur in a much more sustainable, life giving way with lasting results.
It's hard for women to believe that I don't follow a specific plan. What rules do I follow? How do I know when to eat or what to eat? I understand their questions because I had these same questions a few years ago. It's what led me to where I am today. Chasing weight loss, looking for quick fixes and miracle cures led me to a place of gut imbalance and chronic inflammation in the form of cystic acne. I had to find different answers.
Before jumping into a new diet plan or finding yourself feeling trapped by a food camp I encourage you to consider these few things.
When you follow my principles (the basic are cited above), and you put them into practice so they become second nature, something beautiful happens: you never have to diet again. I know because I'm finally at that point myself, after years of battling with my own body.
I will teach you how to get to this point yourself.
It is possible to not fret or worry every time you're around food. It is possible to feel good in your own skin without being tied down to a diet.
Tired of the nonsense? Click here to apply to work with me.
- Learn to listen to what your body is telling you
- Identify your food intolerances and avoid them even if it's the healthiest food on the planet, if you don't digest it well, don't eat it!
- Keep your body hydrated with purified water
- Don't become legalistic when it comes to food
- Focus on real, whole foods that nourish your body well.
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!