Body Reboost Salad

I don’t know about you but I had a wonderful holiday week.  Actually, it is going to continue a bit this weekend with a little New Year’s celebration.

Admittedly, I overindulged.  I knew what I was doing and I was okay with it at the time.  Generally speaking, I eat very well.  I enjoy eating healthy but also enjoy a little sweetness in my daily routine.  However, I ate a lot and I ate a lot of some not so healthy foods last week.  It was fun.  But now I feel a bit puffy and sluggish.

Nothing feels better after a little overindulging, than to get back on the healthy bandwagon.  One thing that is great for your body and belly is beans.  Beans are a powerhouse of nutritional goodness.

When we walked in the door from a week away, we had very few things in the refrigerator or cupboard.  However, anytime I got to the grocery store and they have a sale on canned goods, I stock up.  Mary loves chili and I love that she is a fan of beans.

I quickly went to town making this “salad.”  I knew she would gobble it up. I also knew that it would fill the rest of us up and leave our bellies feeling a little better.  One thing that happens when I eat a bit differently than normal is that I get horrible heart burn.  Giving your belly a little “reboost” can help to reset your body.

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This recipe is super simple and likely already in your kitchen.  Here are a few benefits of this fun “salad.”

Black beans: are packed full of fiber, potassium, Vitamin B6 and folate.  They are low in cholesterol and heart healthy.

Garbanzo beans:  are high in fiber, protein, magnesium, potassium, and iron.  They are low in fat and calories and again are really great for your heart healthy lifestyle.

Kidney beans: are high in protein, fiber, iron, potassium, maganese, Vitamin B1, and folate.

Corn: is also high in fiber, and a wonderful antioxidant.  Antioxidants help repair damage from cancer causing agents in our bodies.  Chemicals in this vegetable also help improve vision.

Red onions: continue on our healthy eating plan by packing in calcium, folate, thiamine, potassium, magnesium, and Vitamins C, K  and B6.

Our bodies rely on a variety of these minerals and vitamins.  Getting an abundance helps to ensure that we keep our bodies functioning and healthy.

So how do we make this super simple salad?  

Ingredients:

1 can black beans, drained

1 can garbanzo beans, drained

1 can red kidney beans, drained

1 can sweet corn, drained

1 small red onion, chopped

1 tablespoon EVOO

Salt and pepper to taste

Balsamic vinegar (optional)

Directions:

Drain all of the canned vegetables and rinse in a colander.  Chop the red onion and add all ingredients to a bowl.  Toss with EVOO.  Add a little salt and pepper to taste.  You can also add a little balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar to give a little kick.

I love adding this on top of my green salads.  It also tastes delicious with a little salsa and a dash of cheese.  This is a great one to make a big batch and add to other dishes throughout the week.

Take the NEAT Challenge

I sometimes feel a little bummed when the holidays are over.  I love decorating the house, playing music, and finding gifts for family and friends.  I get into the baking and festivities.  Then it all comes to a screeching halt.

The holidays are over and with it comes the reality that we had a little too much fun over the past week.  The parties, the cocktails, the extra helpings at dinner, and don’t forget the treats.  It can be easy to get on the scale and feel overwhelmed, discouraged, and upset with ourselves.  While the culmination of the past few weeks can make us feel like we did some serious damage, there are some very simple ways to get back on track.

What we eat and how we choose to be active can have large impacts on our weight gain and loss.  Eating a healthy diet and getting in regular exercise are ways that you can control your health.

There is one other factor that we often forget about.  Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy you expend from everything that is not sleeping, eating, or exercise.  NEAT is all of the tiny little actions you do during the day that add up in caloric burn.

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As a health coach I often hear that people don’t have enough time to exercise.  It can be difficult to find the time to prepare healthy meals.  These are both understandable and they are great reasons to meet with a health coach to find solutions to help you carve out time for exercise  and meal planning.  Yet, if you are someone who is pressed for time, NEAT is where you can make giant leaps in your healthy living process.

Take the NEAT Challenge:  For the month of January, find extra little ways to burn small amounts of energy.  Instead of searching for a parking spot closest to the store, grab one a few aisles back.  You will save time by parking sooner, and you will get a few more steps in.

Stand up every time you talk on the phone.  Pace, walk around your house, and march in place.  We spend a lot of time at home and in the office on the phone.  Use this as an opportunity to get a little extra movement.

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Plan a family activity each evening.  Try a walk around the block after dinner.  Go for a quick bike ride.  Make a snowman and have a snowball fight.  Too cold to go out?  Build a fort in the basement.

Set an alarm on your phone and make sure you get up from the desk every house for a lap around the office and a refill of your water bottle.

The great thing about NEAT is that you don’t have to plan out the exercise.  It actually isn’t even exercise.  You just need to move.  Tap your feet at the desk.  Fiddle your fingers.  All of those little things add up.

What little ways could you add some extra movement into your day?

Avoid The Detox

The other day I was working at the fitness desk of the gym and admiring an awesome class that was going on.  The class is lead by a really fun instructor and despite the fact that I can’t hear what is happening, I can tell by how the trainer is working, that everyone is having a blast.  This particular class is a choreographed weight lifting session set to music.

A couple who I have noticed come in and lift frequently, stood and watched for a moment.  The woman stated that they couldn’t handle that class.  I smiled and said that I was almost certain they could do this class.  They lift all of the time!

“No.  Right now we are doing a serious detox diet and we both have zero energy.  We couldn’t even lift tonight.  It’s like we are in a fog.”  The husband pointed out that this is an amazing diet where they drink shakes every 2-3 hours for a week or two before Christmas.    But the downside is that they are foggy and exhausted right now.

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As a health coach, I am generally against detox diets.  This situation was an excellent example.  I’d like to share a few reasons why I feel detoxes should be avoided:

Any pursuit to improve your health should be a step towards permanent change:  When we do a detox, we are looking for a quick fix.  “Detoxes” and other diets are a way to rapidly lose weight.  However, once the detox or diet is over, and you go back to your normal every day ways, how do you continue to keep the weight off?  This is where yo-yo diets and weight fluctuations occur.  The best step to good health is a lifestyle plan.  When we aim to eat healthy and be active every day, we are making a step towards living well every day.

Losing weight shouldn’t make you feel like you are living in a fog or down right miserable.  The fact that these regular exercisers couldn’t get through their workout and acknowledged that they wouldn’t be able to get through a class is a major bummer.  Getting healthy and even losing weight should include a regular exercise plan.  Exercise increases our metabolism and is the best way to keep our hearts and bodies healthy.  Regular exercisers are less likely to have diabetes or cardiovascular disease.  Exercise is also essential for improving diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

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Food should be enjoyed in moderation.  Taking food off of the table is not a good way to learn how to live a healthy lifestyle.  It is important to focus on eating a well rounded diet.  Using the MyPlate Guidelines is a great way to ensure that you are getting enough essential nutrients in your diet.

Did you know that the USDA no longer uses the Food Pyramid?  To make things easier we now follow the MyPlate guidelines.  Check out their website to get customized information for you!

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A healthy “diet” should give you energy.  Have you ever gained a few pounds and worked to lose it?  Did you notice that as you started to lose weight and get healthier, you began to sleep better, wake better, and feel better in general?  When we lose weight and get healthy in a proper manner, you should notice positive changes throughout the course.  Getting healthy should feel good.

When we detox we lose more than just weight.  Food is delicious.  It serves a wonderful part of our lives on a social level.  It also has a very important role for our bodies.  Not only is it the fuel that drives us, but it also contains essential vitamins and minerals.  No one food contains every single thing we need.  This is why we need to eat a variety of veggies, fruits, meat, and even dairy.  When we eliminate certain foods from our diet we have to be very careful to ensure that we are still getting these essential nutrients.  This is why vegetarians need to carefully construct their diets.  If you eliminate meat products from your diet, you need to make sure you are still eating necessary proteins, etc.

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Therefore, it is very difficult to find a “detox” that is still ensuring you are getting all of these necessary nutrients.  All of these vitamins and minerals seem very small but they form a powerful combination that keep our brains, hearts, and muscles functioning.  When we miss out on these, we are doing our bodies a serious disservice.

Long story short, the healthiest way to lose weight is a lifestyle change.  It doesn’t need to be drastic.  Small changes add up to make large impacts.  If you are not sure where to start look for help from a nutritionist, dietician, or health coach.  

What is your best kept secret for staying healthy?

Holiday Party Survival

Tomorrow is a big day in the United States.  Whether you are from the U.S. or elsewhere, there are likely to be a lot of holiday events for you over the next few weeks.  From family dinners to office parties, there is really no way to escape it.

Holidays and parties are some of the biggest causes of stress and weight gain concern.  They can certainly pull us off of our plans.  But if you have a strategy going in, you can still enjoy some indulgence and fun.

  • Have a game plan:  Are you going to a cocktail party?  Is this an appetizer party?  Know what is going on before you walk in the door.  Map it out in your head.  “I will have one cocktail and one small plate.”  By deciding before you go in, you are much more likely to stick to your wellness plan.holidays1
  • Call ahead:  Are you going out to dinner?  Look up where you are going.  Call and ask about specials.  Look at the menu ahead of time.   Go in knowing what would work with your plan and already set to choose your meal.  If you go in with an idea, it is much easier to avoid wavering on decisions.  This can be especially difficult when you hear other people’s orders and start to think that if they can do it, you should too.  While you might feel like you are short changing yourself at the time, once you have eaten, you will feel satisfied and not leave feeling guilty about your decisions.
  • Don’t Assume.  Bring Something.  This is a great plan for Thanksgiving and other get togethers.  Don’t assume that you will get there and see things that work with your healthy living.  Consider making a veggie platter and a large salad for the dinner portion.  Fill your appetizer platter with veggies and load your dinner plate with salad and  you will fill your belly without the guilt.ThanksgivingSurvival3
  • You can have a little bit of everything but not all of everything.  Sometimes when we look at a buffet and consider all of the things we can’t have, we get overwhelmed and then eat everything in epic proportions.  Instead, take one dinner plate and fill it with small helpings off each side and entree that you like.  Don’t go overboard.  Several bites of each delicious treat will leave you satisfied more than you realize.
  • Stick to a one plate rule:  During holiday dinners and meals plan on sticking to one plate.  Pick what you would like but leave the buffet knowing that this is your meal.  Don’t go back for seconds.

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    Sometimes this is how I want to approach the holiday buffet!

  • Avoid loading up on bread:  Bread always looks so tasty.  Restaurants often offer bread in “all you can eat” occasions because they know it will fill you up.  If you can skip the additional carbs, you can allow yourself to enjoy the other options.  If you do decide to opt for bread, take a bite and savor it. 
  • Take a moment to consider how it tastes.  Is it an incredibly delicious dinner roll that you get to enjoy on a rare occasion?  Then go for it. Is it similar to bread that you eat for lunch?  Toss it to the side and opt for something you don’t get to eat very often.holidays4
  • Load up on veggies:  You would be surprised to see that there are really so many healthy options on holiday menus.  Sweat potatoes, corn, and beans are all loaded with vitamins and fiber.  Skip the gravies and extra sauces.  Avoid veggies that are laden with fat like green bean casseroles.  Load your plate with veggies and then add in the extras.
  • Before you get too excited decide if it is a rare treat.:  Sometimes we go to a party and see pizza and feel like we “have to have it.”  But the reality is, you can order pizza anytime you want.  If you see a special item on the menu that someone made just for the occasion, that is a much better option.  Analyze your options, decide what is truly special and worth it and then determine a healthy portion.  Once you do, don’t go back.
  • Do dessert but pick one and don’t go crazy.:  Odds are that if you just ate at a holiday party, you had a nice filling meal.  It’s still okay to have dessert.  But scour the dessert options.  Pick the one that is speaking to you the most and then try a half slice or portion.  Take your time, savor the flavors, and then walk away satisfied with your full meal.

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    My goal this year is to avoid this feeling.

  • Plan your day out:  If you know that you are going to a holiday party later in the night, plan out how you will approach it.  This could start with a light breakfast and then a walk to work.  If you see donuts in the conference room, remind yourself that they are there all the time, but holiday parties come once a year.  Skip the afternoon treats and enjoy the party later.  Don’t forget to load up on plenty of water during the day.
  • Make time for activities:  Do a turkey trot, go for a family walk, play catch in the back yard.  Remember that any activity is better than none.  Exercise doesn’t need to be intentional.  Move throughout the day. Organize a quick walk after your meal.  The more you move, the better!

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    Not going to lie.  I have used this mindset before!

  • Always remember that a lapse is not a relapse:  Messing up once doesn’t mean your whole day, week, or month is over.  No one eats perfectly and there is no perfect way to eat.  Food is a very important part of our lives.  It is a social, cultural, and wonderful thing.  Have fun and enjoy yourself.  If you overindulge, it does not mean you are a failure.  You are human and tomorrow is another day!

How do you best prepare for holiday parties and get togethers?  Do you have one thing that really messes up your healthy plan?

Healthy Through The Holidays

Can you believe it is already November?!  Halloween has left us in it’s dust and we are quickly approaching Thanksgiving.  I keep seeing posts on Facebook pointing out that there are only a few weekends left until Christmas.  Where is time going?!

As a health and running coach, I read a lot about holiday weight gain.  To be quite honest, most of it drives me crazy.  It is true that many of us will put on a few pounds during the holidays.  We will all likely over indulge at some point on holiday treats or drinks at a party.  Most of us will overload our plates at Thanksgiving and again at Christmas (and probably a few other parties along the way).

What drives me nuts is how the fitness industry preys on this fear.  It’s almost like they lurk in the background waiting for us to feel guilty about our overindulging.  They wait until that guilt has set in and we approach the New Year ready to make resolutions.

There is no reason to approach the holidays with fear!

Gyms are just waiting for you to come in on January 1st, all giddy to lose weight and ready to fork over money not only for a gym membership but also initiation fees.  They know that the majority of people who come in with New Year’s resolutions, will quickly abandon them by February.

If you have a gym membership you know exactly how this goes.  Come January, the gym is packed.  You can’t find a treadmill or an elliptical.  You look around and wonder what the heck happened to your normal routine.  Then a few weeks later, the gym is back to it’s quite self and you can hop on just about any piece of cardio equipment your heart desires.

We all have best intentions in the New Year.  We want to make changes. We feel the pressure to make  these changes.  You think now is the time to lose that weight.  Now is the time to get healthy after a wild holiday season.

But what if we turned the tables?  What if we approached the holidays with a different mindset?  Take the notion of diets out of the picture.  If we stopped thinking that to be healthy we need to eliminate certain “bad” foods from our diet, and instead work to find a healthy balance, could we approach the holiday season from a different angle?  

Being healthy is a year round approach with splurge days along the way.  Food and drinks shouldn’t be “off limits,” but instead enjoyed in moderation.  Goals should lead us toward a life of happiness instead of a period of deprivation followed by a temporary phase where we feel “skinny” and accepted.

This holiday season, I am taking a healthy approach to exercise, eating, and well being.  I am going to enjoy exercise in moderation because it is a part of my life and it keeps me healthy.  I am going to focus on healthy eating and plan for some fun holiday celebrations along the way.

I have a special offer for you to join me in staying healthy and fit through the holidays.  Avoid the guilt from over indulgence.  Learn how to make small changes that lead to healthy results.  My Healthy Through the Holidays Plan is a 13 week program that begins next week and lasts through the first week of February.HealthyHolidayAd.jpg

Together we will explore simple ways to make moderate lifestyle changes that allow for both healthy eating and holiday indulgences.  We will practice ways to prepare for obstacles during parties and celebrations.  Learn how to prep meals to survive the holiday season a little easier.

Here’s what you receive for 13 weeks of Healthy Through the Holidays training:

Weekly newsletters and worksheets focusing on topics that will help keep you on track.

•Weekly personalized check-in e-mails from a Certified Health Coach to discuss your  personal nutrition and exercise needs.

•Simple, short, customized workouts that can be done throughout the day to fit your personal schedule.

•24/7 access to e-mail, phone and text to address all of your needs.

•Guilt free living to get you through the holiday season for 13 full weeks.  No need to make any resolutions!  My goal is for you to independently follow your healthy lifestyle after 13 short weeks.

•Nutrition, fitness, and behavioral approaches to ensure that we focus on the whole you; mind and body.

•Virtual training with unlimited phone calls, e-mails, and texts.

•Local participants can join me for a night of cocktails and weekly meal prep tutorial.  Stick around and dine!

Special holiday pricing of $150 for 13 weeks of Health Coaching and Training.

Sound like fun?  Reach out to me through my e-mail address or phone number on the website sidebar.

What is your best approach to surviving the holidays?   Do you tend to make resolutions?

 

Combating Running Boredom

One of the biggest complaints I hear about running is that it is boring.  If I had a dollar for every time someone told me they tried to run but it was too boring….well I would have a lot of dollars!

I am not going to completely disagree, because the truth is running has the potential to be pretty dull.  But my mom used to ban this word from our house as kids because she said boredom is a state of mind.  If you are bored, find something to do.

Even the treadmill can have it’s redeeming factors.  So let’s take a look at a few ways you can make running a bit more interesting.

Trashy TV and magazines.  When I first got back into running, I was an exclusive treadmill runner.  To get through my runs I started using “US Weekly” as my method to nail my workouts.  In fact, at one point I used to say things to Rock like, “They say that Angelina and Brad are splitting up.”  Rock would respond with, “Who is they?!”  And I would have to confess that my sources were US Weekly and People Magazine.  But I thoroughly enjoyed my time with these pages and lots of reality TV.

Change it up buttercup.  If you ran loops around a track all day you would most definitely be bored.  Talk about a hamster wheel!  And the same thing holds true to running the same route day in and day out.  But if you were to start trying new routes or even hit up some trails, you would notice that an environmental change does wonders for your workouts.  This is what I love about running.  You can explore so many great places!

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Tune into something enjoyable.  I use music a lot when training.  It can be a really effective tool to help you.  Music can motivate and also help you maintain your pace.  It doesn’t have to stop with a play list either.  In fact, right now I can’t figure out how to get my voice commands to not pop up as I run, so I swapped my iTunes for Pandora.  This is fun because I just plug in different genres and listen away.  Everything is unpredictable and with the right channel, I find myself enjoying new songs to add to my playlist for marathon training.

You can also listen to podcasts or radio shows.  I’m a big fan of Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me! and listen to this if I happen to run on a Sunday.  Other runners love TED talks.  The possibilities are endless and with a little noise to block the boredom chatter in your head, you will get lost in the miles.

Solve a problem.  Make a list.  I cannot tell you how many times I have solved a problem during a run.  From dealing with a sad time to figuring out how the heck to get organized, running seems to make everything less frazzled.  In fact, on Saturday I ran 12 miles and figured out just what to pack for an upcoming trip.

Sometimes I go over grocery lists and think of which recipes to use for the week.  I build the grocery list in my head during my run and then repeat it to myself for a few miles so that I don’t forget.

Find a friend or a group.  Misery loves company.  Find some other bored runners or a running group and chat the miles away.

I know that running isn’t always the most enjoyable sport.  But the boredom excuse can easily be combatted.  Try a few of these tricks or share with me a few of your favorite ways to enjoy the run.

 

Break It Down: Resolving Incrementally.

I am sure you have heard that the majority of people who make big New Year’s resolutions, go back to their old habits within one month.  It’s true.  Most New Year’s resolutions don’t last.

Many of us feel pressure as the year begins to pick something to change.  We often over indulge during the holidays and that adds to the pressure and guilt which leads us to decide on these major changes.

However, major changes can only come in our lives when we are truly ready both mentally and physically.  While we often say that we need to start a diet or pick up an exercise habit, those are usually just comments made in passing.  Changes don’t come about by simply stating you are going to make a difference.  You have to be fully engaged in the process and be at a point where you truly are ready to commit.

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This is why many people who try to quit smoking have such a difficult time.  They know they should quit and often feel pressure to quit.  But until they are seriously ready to put down their cigarettes, they will continue to come back to their old habits.

Instead of putting yourself in a position that leads to failure and feelings of guilt or disappointment, set yourself up for resolutions that will create an environment of success.

Small changes add up in big ways and are easier to implement.  Try choosing a monthly habit to take on or give up.  They can be small and simple.   You can add a serving of daily veggies to your diet one month.  Then you can decide to walk for 30 minutes each day the following month.  Or you could opt for drinking more water the next 30 days.

The best part of this plan is that it takes about a month for a new habit to form and stick.  By making small monthly changes, you are creating long term habits that will make you healthier.

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Remember, small changes add up in big ways!

What kind of small changes would you like to make?