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!