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.
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!
Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts! If you're looking for more insight into looking and feeling your best contact me for a complimentary one on one session.
February 14, 2017
Do you agree that drinking water is important to your health? It's not exactly a newsflash that our bodies need water to function properly. Maintaining a proper weight and having a beautiful, glowing complexion are both helped with proper water consumption. If we know water is crucial to our bodies, the question then becomes how much water should we consume each day?
I've found that there are two main views on this very subject. One view is that getting enough water is simply a mathematical equation. The equation is based on your weight. Along this same view point is that you should drink 8, 8 oz glasses of water per day. That's easy enough to remember, but is it enough water?
The second view point is that you should listen to your body and drink when you are thirsty. In fact, some health experts who fall into this category believe that drinking too much water, especially around mealtimes, can dampen your digestion and lead to gut issues. I've read countless articles that argue you shouldn't drink water 30 minutes prior to your meal, during your meal and up to 30 minutes after you've finished eating.
Which method is correct? Is it a clear calculation or does it involve getting to your individual body's needs?
Unfortunately, many people are out of touch with their bodies. We stink at listening to our body when it tells us we are hungry or thirsty. This is key, and for most of my private-coaching clients I find this is where they need to start. Learn to listen to your body!
Here's the method I advocate:
Fill a gallon jug of water at the start of each day.
Each time you fill your glass or water bottle to drink, use water from this gallon jug.
At the end of the day take note of how much water you've consumed.
Record in a journal how you felt that day. Did you feel energized? Did you have a headache? Were you tired and sluggish? Was your digestion on point or did you feel bloated?
Do this for two weeks.
You may not finish the gallon of water each day. That's okay. The point of this isn't to force yourself to drink the entire gallon. The point is to get you in touch with your body. Begin to take note of the amount of water you drank on the days you felt the best. Aim to get that amount of water daily. This amount may vary from time to time depending on the weather and your activity level. That's okay. The point of this exercise is to bring awareness. It should help you tap into your body's thirst signals.
For example, many of my clients, when they initially seek my help, are so out of touch with their bodies that they often mistake thirst for hunger. I've found this exercise to be the most successful at bringing awareness of your own body.
After the birth of my second child, I took the advice of a well-intentioned friend. My daughter could not breastfeed so I chose to use a hospital grade breast pump and bottle feed her with my own milk. It can be difficult to keep your milk supply up when you rely on a breast pump instead of the baby. I didn't feel that my supply was where I wanted it to be so a friend suggested I increase my water intake. I don't remember the amount she told me to drink daily but it was an enormous amount. I have always been an avid water drinker so the idea that I was somehow dehydrated seemed absurd to me, but I took her advice anyway. Within two short days of following her stringent "water plan" my milk supply dropped by more than half. Where before I was getting around 6 ounces each time I pumped, I was now only getting about 2 ounces. I called my lactation consultant, completely dismayed and looking for answers. She told me, "Hannah, stop drinking all that water! You're peeing out the hormone your body needs to make the milk!" In a nutshell, she told me to drink when my body told me it was thirsty. I went back to my former ways and my milk supply returned to normal.
I realize you may be thinking, 'that's great, but I'm not a nursing mother so what does that story have to do with me?'. The point of the story is not that I was a nursing mother. The point is we should be listening to our bodies! Following formulas and forcing water into our bodies when we're not thirsty may backfire on you as it did on me. It's along these same lines that I don't believe in counting calories or dieting in the traditional sense. It simply won't work.
On another note, as you take actions to clear your skin by increasing your intake of nutritional foods, you will naturally be increasing your water intake. The truth is fruits and vegetables, especially when eaten raw, contain a certain amount of water. Regardless of what some may believe, this does in fact count towards your daily intake of water! Sometimes when we begin eating healthier, we may actually notice we're a little less thirsty than before. It's no surprise when you're consuming raw produce!
What are your thoughts? How much water do you currently consume and how do you feel most days? If you need help in this area, I challenge you to two weeks of my water exercise.
Fill a gallon jug each day
Observe your body and write it down
Learn how your body feels when it's thirsty.
Learn to obey those signals and see what happens with your health!