Categories Advice, Exercise, Fitness, Food, gym, Health, How To, Nutrition, Sleep, Weight Loss

How To Get Back On Track With Healthy Eating

I had a great Easter holiday. We spent a couple of days at the Jersey shore, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I indulged in some of my favorite treats. Pizza on the boardwalk, salt water taffy, fudge. Yes, that’s right, I’m guilty. But I loved every minute of the time I was able to spend with my family, away from the day to day stress of life in general. If felt really good to relax and just enjoy myself.

But now it’s back to reality.  Those few days of letting go and giving in to temptation were fun, but it’s time to get back to eating healthy again.

Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation after a vacation or a holiday? If so, recognize that for the most part this is normal. And while for some, it can affect morale and leave you feeling unmotivated to get back to your routine, it is possible with a few easy tips.

Hold yourself accountable – Accountability is one of the best ways to get motivated and stay on track with your goals. One of the easiest ways is to track your food intake. Whether it be through an app or a traditional food log, food tracking works. It can be a real eye opener in terms of calories, fat, and sugar consumed. If food tracking just isn’t your thing, you can still find other ways to be held accountable. Write down your goals, tell a friend, share your progress on social media, or work with a dietitian. Once the accountability is there, you will be much more inclined to stick to a plan.  

Exercise – Get back to your favorite activities. Whether it be the gym, yoga class, walking, golfing, tennis or gardening just make the time to move your body. Commit to 3x per week minimum. Exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy. Exercise will also help you to have more energy, lose weight, and feel great.

Drink more water – One of the simplest things you can do to get back to a healthy routine is to drink more water. Drinking water will help control your appetite and reduce calories if you are using it to replace sugary beverages. Aim to consume half of your body weight in ounces per day. Use a reusable water bottle, have a glass or two in the morning before your first cup of coffee, keep a water bottle  in your car, drink water before your main meals, or plan it into your schedule (Example: Drinking a set amount at the gym) and stick to it.

Double up on the vegetables– Veggies are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and they are low in calories. They are truly your best defense in terms of maintaining a healthy weight. Plus they are delicious! Start out by filling at least half of your plate with vegetables, which is equivalent to two servings. Include a serving or two as a snack and you will be well on your way to meeting the recommended goal of 5-7 servings per day.

Up your protein – I always recommend spreading your protein throughout the day by including protein at each meal – especially breakfast. Protein helps you to feel fuller longer and crave less. It also helps to build and maintain muscle. Strive for at least a quarter of your plate to include protein, which is about 3-4 oz or the size of the palm of your hand.

Get back to meal planning – Plan at least a weeks worth of meals. One simple tip is to prepare 3-4 meals but make double the portion so that the recipe yields leftovers. This will cut your meal planning for a week in half.

Go to bed earlier – Restful sleep promotes hormone balance, which will help you to crave less. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If this is something you struggle with, set a goal to go to bed 30 minutes earlier for one week. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel, and how much easier it is to stick to a healthy eating routine.

To sum things up, we all have those moments in life where we let go, relax, and indulge. I support this in moderation. We need to live life!! But if you find this derails your progress and your motivation know that you are not alone. Let go of the guilt and tell yourself it’s time to get back on track and continue forward with your goals.

For more tips and support, contact me here.

Photo by Peter Bravo de los Rios on Unsplash

Categories Advice, Exercise, Food, Health, Nutrition, Weight Loss

Healthy Eating for the Holidays (Part 2) 7 Strategies to Help You Stay On Track

How is it December already? It seems like just yesterday I was enjoying my summer vacation! In any case, it’s here. Are you ready? Do you have a plan? If you’re like most people, you’re feeling overwhelmed.

While this is a joyous time of year, it can also be really stressful. You’re not alone if you find that you’re putting self-prioritization on the back burner and falling off track with healthy eating and exercise.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. A while back I wrote a blog post about how to avoid extra weight gain during the holiday season. In today’s blog, I offer some additional strategies to maintain your health goals and still enjoy a festive holiday season.

Here are 7 additional strategies that I recommend:

  1. Use a food tracker for accountability. This can be really helpful throughout the month as you attend holiday parties that are bound to include those tempting high calorie and high carb apps, desserts, and beverages. I recommend that you track your intake during the days leading up to a party or event, and definitely track the day after. On the day of the party, relax and enjoy. But be sure to get back on track the next day with plenty of lean protein, non-starchy vegetables, complex carbs and healthy fats. Your food tracker will hold you accountable and ensure you’re meeting your needs. I love the app Nutritionix Track and my clients do too.
  2. Set an exercise goal and stick to it. Decide how many times you will exercise or work out in December. Have a friend, personal trainer, or fellow gym goer hold you accountable. Reward yourself with something small when you meet your goal (just don’t reward yourself with food or alcohol). I’m not saying you can exercise your way out of poor eating habits, but it will help you to burn some extra calories, lower stress, and feel great about yourself. Who wouldn’t want that?
  3. Hosting a party or event? Give your favorite recipes a makeover. Replace inflammatory vegetable oils with olive oil or avocado oil. Swap heavy carb and fat based casseroles with simpler options. For example, replace a green bean casserole with green beans sautéed in olive oil and topped with almond slivers; swap mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower or glazed sweet potatoes with a plain sweet potato topped with cinnamon. Check out my Pinterest page for more ideas.
  4. Adopt a “Maintain Don’t Gain” philosophy. Instead of focusing on losing weight during December, set a goal to maintain your weight. It will lower your stress level and allow you to indulge in moderation.
  5. Ditch the sugary high calorie alcoholic beverages. Many are laden with syrup based mixers that will spike your blood sugar and cause you to crave more sweets. Opt for choices that include sparkling seltzer. It will significantly decrease calories and additives, and it will help to keep you hydrated.
  6. Limit the leftovers, especially desserts. If you are offered leftovers, opt for protein and vegetables. Leave the desserts behind. There will be plenty of those at the party next weekend.
  7. Hitting the buffet? Before getting in line, scope out your options. Seek out the fruit, vegetables, and lean proteins and be sure to fill your plate with those first. Decide which carbs you will enjoy (starchy vegetables are best) and which ones you will forgo. Avoid heavy sauces and fried foods.

Let’s face it, even with the best of intentions life gets in the way. The holidays are no exception. Having a clear-cut plan as you approach this month of celebrations will help you stay on track. Remember that this time of year is about spending time with those you love, and reflection. Stay focused on what really matters, remain positive, and remind yourself that you CAN do this.

 

Interested in learning more about my nutrition counseling services? Contact me here.

Categories Exercise

Exercise: How Much Should I Be Getting to Lose Weight?

It’s no secret that exercise, along with a healthy diet will help us to lose weight. So why is it so hard for individuals to get motivated to exercise?

One thing I have seen in practice is that many people envision exercise as hours at the gym, running on the treadmill or sweating it out in spin class. This can seem intimidating to most folks, especially if they are pressed for time each week. My clients often tell me that their schedule is their greatest deterrent to meeting their exercise goals. I can totally relate to this. As a working mom, I have definitely found it challenging to meet my goal of exercising 4x per week. What has helped me is to understand that I don’t need to be spending hours at the gym to get the job done. Daily exercise is achievable in all sorts of ways. Read below to find out how you can incorporate more into your routine.

Let’s start with the basics and understanding how much time should we be striving to exercise each week.

The current guidelines for exercise are:

At least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise = 30 minutes per day, 5x per week. This includes activities such as walking, casual bike riding, or gardening

OR

At least 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise = 25 minutes per day 3x per week. This includes things such as running, biking, swimming, or aerobics.

OR

A combination of the two

AND

At least 2 days per week of strength training

These guidelines are recommended for overall heart health and for healthy weight maintenance.

So when it comes down to it, a simple 30 minutes per day will lower our risk of heart disease and help us to better maintain a healthy weight.

Don’t have a full 30 minutes per day to devote to exercise? One technique that has worked for my clients is to space apart or distribute exercise throughout the day, just like we do with meals. Try walking for 15 minutes at lunch, then 15 minutes in the evening. You’ve got yourself a full 30 minutes by day’s end. Strive to do this 5x per week to meet the minimum guidelines for moderate exercise. But you can also count activities such as walking the dog, playing ball with your kids, or parking further away. The point is to just be as active as you can whenever the opportunity arises in order to meet your goals.

Another recommendation is to try High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT. This is a type of exercise that involves quick and intense bursts of exercise with interval rest periods. HIIT would count as vigorous exercise. Studies show that HIIT is extremely effective at burning calories. The best part is, you can produce a large calorie burn in a small amount of time. So for all those folks out there who enjoy the gym but are pressed for time, HIIT training may a great form of exercise to add in.

My absolute favorite form of exercise, and the one that has worked best for me, is strength training. Strength training has SO many benefits. Strength training decreases body fat, increases muscle mass, burns calories, and raises metabolism. Who wouldn’t want that?? But did you know that strength training can also help to develop strong bones and lower the risk for osteoporosis? For women approaching the age of perimenopause or menopause, this is absolutely essential. As if that isn’t enough, strength training can also help to reduce chronic conditions such as arthritis, back pain, heart disease, and diabetes.

Strength training does not necessarily have to occur in the gym. There are many forms of strength training that utilize your own body weight such as planks, push ups, squats, and leg lunges to name a few. You can do these in your own home, office or when traveling. When my work schedule started to compromise my gym time, it helped to know I could still incorporate strength training into my routine a few times per week. I began with a small goal of training 2 days per week at the gym for 30-60 minutes and 1 day per week at home, and built up from there. I also sought the expertise of a certified personal trainer to make sure I was working out safely and using proper form. Once I had a routine that worked for me and my schedule, I was back on track with my fitness goals.

Adding in strength training to my routine has made a huge difference for me, and my clients who have incorporated at least 2 days of strength training have also seen great results.

If you can’t meet the minimum requirements for cardiovascular exercise or strength training, I still encourage you to set a small, achievable goal.

Two recent studies that compared the lifespan of individuals who exercised in accordance to the current guidelines and beyond showed that even the slightest amount of physical activity was better then none. Individuals who met the guidelines reduced their risk of premature death by 31%. Those who exceeded the guidelines reduced their risk by 39%. Even those who fell slightly short of the guidelines still had a longer life span then individuals who did not exercise at all.

If you want to learn more about how exercise along with a healthy diet can help you achieve your weight loss goals, contact me today to set up an appointment. I would love to work with you!