As a Yogi, Gina was already active, but she craved more. She actually started CrossFit as a way to connect with her family’s conversation at the dinner table. But, soon found she discovered she was competitive and even loved lifting weights, too!
Her progress was motivating. New deadlift PRs, first-time handstand push-ups…the list goes on!
Shifting Her Mindset with Nutrition Coaching
Soon after joining Salus, Gina began working with Coach Angela on her nutrition and continued to make an amazing transformation. Coming from WW, which uses a point-based system for weight loss, she shifted her mindset to a behavior-change approach for healthy living.
Her view on what and how she was eating changed and that gave her a new-found freedom over food. Her mind and body both responded positively.
Gina brings an amazing energy everywhere she goes, especially as a Reiki Master. Find out what Reiki is all about and how Gina uses this mindset in her everyday life.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. According to Mindful.org, “While mindfulness is innate, it can be cultivated through proven techniques, particularly seated, walking, standing, and moving meditation (it’s also possible lying down but often leads to sleep); short pauses we insert into everyday life; and merging meditation practice with other activities, such as yoga or sports.”
Try This Guided Meditation with Gina, Reiki Master
In this guided meditation, Gina offers an opportunity to bring awareness to our breath, settle the mind, and dedicate a few minutes to self-care.
We are honored to have her lead us through a 5-minute guided meditation. Please join us:
So, you’re motivated to make some changes and you’re willing to do anything you possibly can to achieve these goals. I would love nothing more! But, anytime you start a journey to make a lifestyle change, it can be tough. You can expect some bumps along the way which is why it’s important to set real expectations. For the long run.
Hey, I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect… and no one expects us to be. Because they’re not perfect either.
Set Real Expectations in the Face of Challenges
Sustainable change is all about learning how to set real expectations in the face of life’s challenges. If there’s one thing you can expect in life, it’s that things will always come up: parties, birthdays, anniversaries, life-altering events, stress, work, travel, sickness…COVID-19. Challenges will always be there whether we like it or not.
Don’t run from challenges. Anticipate them.
Challenges are part of life and unique opportunities for learning more about ourselves.
Research shows that while our behaviors may seem “spur-of-the-moment,” when it comes to over-eating, for example, the groundwork is laid several hours, days, months…years, in advance by our daily rituals, habits, mindset and automatic thinking. Your actions in the face of a challenge are simply the last link in a long chain of decisions.
The goal of today is all about recognizing your actions in the face of a challenge:
What is the root cause of those actions?
How can you learn from those events?
… and most importantly, How can you move forward?
According to James P. Leahy, author of Bridging the Expectation Gap: The Key to Happiness, unrealistic expectations create an expectation gap which leads to unhappiness and feelings of failure.
If you’re in this for instant gratification, don’t expect your changes to last. On the other hand, if you’re in this to embrace life-long, healthy habits that you can learn from, you can expect some amazing things to happen now, next month and even more the following year at your annual physical. That’s why if you make a mistake, it’s important to be nice to yourself.
Don’t let one mistake derail an entire day or a whole week.
Set Yourself Up For Success with Real Expectations
Expectations have an enormous effect on our outcome, energy, drive.
In fact, multiple studies show that the way we manage our expectations can heavily influence our ability to experience happiness in life, work and even health outcomes.
When life gets crazy and you end up making a mistake, the one thing that you can control is how you RESPOND in that moment. Remember, you are in charge of your own actions, choices and reactions, regardless of any circumstance.
Letting emotions control you is the easy way out. It’s easier to do (or say) things in the heat of the moment… that you may regret down the line.
But, it takes internal strength to pause, breathe, and make a sound decision by staying calm under pressure. And that starts with setting realistic expectations for yourself in the face of a challenge.
“When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” ~Viktor Frankl
Rather than focusing on perfection, anticipate challenges to occur and then pour all of your energy into simply committing to doing your very best every day with the hand you are dealt.
Common Mistakes and Their Fixes
Here are a few common mistakes many people struggle with and their common “fix.”
You deter from your normal way of eating and indulge in something outside of the norm, feel guilty and then proceed to eat everything in sight.
Remind yourself that slipping up a little is not the same as slipping up a lot. Own up to your choices and move forward.
Eating portion sizes like a 5 year old during the day and then binging at night.
Of course you feel ravenous.
Of course you feel hangry.
Of course you feel out of control.
Your body is trying to do everything it can to signal to you that it needs to fuel itself. Instead, by eating balanced meals full of animal protein, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds throughout the day– you will reap the benefits of feeling satiated, full of energy, sleeping sound & through the night, and saying ‘goodbye’ to feeling ravenous late at night.
Waiting until 9pm to realize you still have 1,000 mL of water to drink.
Plan. Ahead. Do the math based on how much water you need and spread it out throughout your day. Rubber bands on water bottles, water app, giant jug…whatever set up works best for you, embrace it and just be ok with the fact that you’re going to probably be going to the bathroom a lot more than you were before. Just don’t let it interrupt your sleep by waiting until night to chug a liter.
Set Real World Expectations
For the next few weeks, focus on making deliberate choices that reflect reality.
There is so much outside of our control.
Focus on what you can actually control and let go of the things you can’t. Set real expectations for yourself, expect challenges to be there and use them to grow stronger.
Ask yourself these two questions:
What’s one thing that I can expect to get in the way of achieving my goals?
And what can I do today to help me keep going when I face that specific obstacle?
To learn more about making important improvements to your nutrition and exercise program, give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to reset your mindset about food? Ask yourself this question and you’ll change the way (and the why) you eat.
“Why did you eat today?”
We know, that might sound like an odd question. And for some, the answer is obvious: “Uh, because I was hungry?”
But, how true is that really? Think back over the course of your day – or even the past week. Every time you reached for food, did you do it because you truly felt hungry?
If your answer is no, you’re not alone.
Much of our day-to-day activities are routine, almost automatic. We eat because it’s a lunch meeting or a dinner with coworkers. We eat because we’re craving sweet/salty snacks. We eat because we’re tired, sad, mad, happy, stressed, frustrated, bored… the list could go on. Sometimes when we eat, we don’t even taste the food on the plate…and then of a sudden, the plate is cleared. And we’re stuffed.
All this mindless way of eating is why we’re asking the simple question of why. When you take the time to look at why you’re eating, you’ll begin to unload the biggest culprit of a toxic diet:
Overcoming Emotional Eating- AKA Stress Eating
Stress eating, or emotional eating, refers to consuming food for the purpose of regulating your emotional state. These foods are commonly high in sugar and fat. Sure, they may improve our mood temporarily, but that very short-lived comfort comes at the cost of mental and physical health issues.
At Foundation Nutrition, we believe small shifts in habits can lead to lasting lifestyle changes.
Take Five Seconds
So, how do you stop stress eating. Realize that this is not an overnight fix. And it’s not a simple task. But the more you think about why you’re eating, you’ll begin to identify patterns that allow you to anticipate similar situations. This will help to put yourself in a position of control.
Next time you reach for the bag of chips impulsively or you’re in the middle of stress-eating a batch of cookies (or your choice of comfort food), take a moment (five seconds, actually) to hit pause, take a breath, be present with your body’s hunger cues and determine if there are any underlying factors, like stress, at play.
Recognize the Moment. Remember the Moment.
You may truly be hungry – or worse, hangry (but that’s another topic) or you may realize that you don’t even want to be eating what’s in front of you. Try not to overthink the moment (which can cause guilt, more stress and lead to more emotional eating). But, when you come across those conscious ah-ha situations, celebrate the awareness and remember that moment so you’re better prepared for the next time those cravings hit.
Master Your Mindset About Food with Foundation Nutrition Coaching
We realize everyone has unique situations that may play a role in why they eat. Some athletes may need to eat more for performance reasons or to support strength gains. But for most of us (athletes, too), mindless eating is just getting in the way of our goals.
Read more about mindful eating and how to reset your perspective on why you’re eating and contact Coach Angela or Coach Camilla at email@example.com with any questions.
Nutrition Challenge Food List: Here’s What You Need to Know
If you feel like your diet could use a reset, you’ve come to the right place. For most of us, our balance gets thrown out of whack, right around the holidays. If you’re craving some structure back in your life, check out our nutrition challenge food list and lifestyle guide to help you get back on track.
It’s time to fuel up on the right stuff and ditch added sugars and ingredients you can’t pronounce.
Why 6-Weeks of Real Food?
At Foundation Nutrition, we believe that all foods can fit into a healthy diet. But, every once and awhile, we all need a little healthy-eating reset. So, for 6 weeks, we encourage you to put your focus on whole foods and cut waaaay back on processed junk. Over the next 6 weeks, we bet you’ll start eating healthier (because you want to, not because you have to), feeling better, sleeping better and managing stress better.
I believe no other change will impact your life as profoundly as changing what you eat.
Unlike super-restrictive diets or detox promises, our challenge doesn’t cut out certain healthy foods like oatmeal, potatoes and even alcohol in moderation. Our challenge means embracing whole, natural foods like vegetables, fruits, sustainable meats, plus healthy fats. It also means cutting out refined grains, added sugars, additives, unhealthy fats, preservatives, etc.
Are you ready for a reset?
Find out which foods are allowed and which foods to avoid.
We can’t wait for you to RESET with us on this journey!
Some people tend to shy away from fruit because they’re higher in sugar than other foods. With the craze of Keto, it can be confusing. This is applicable in some instances, however, since the sugar from fruit is all natural and combined with fiber, vitamins and minerals, it’s a great idea to include about 2 cups of fruit in your diet daily.
When it comes to veggies, the more the merrier! Did you realize that close to 90% of Americans don’t get the recommended 2 ½-3 cups of veggies a day? Besides, they’re jam-packed with micronutrients, making them a solid carbohydrate choice!
Tip: Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store where you’ll find fresh fruits, veggies and meats and you’ll naturally skip over the processed junk anyway.
When it comes to whole grains. No need to shy away. Oats, brown rice, quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat are whole grains that have been minimally processed to get to your plate. Choose these options first. But sprouted grain bread and brown rice pasta (with simple ingredients and no sugar) are also allowed on the challenge. Hey, sometimes you just need a piece of avocado toast or a bowl of pasta mixed in with your zoodles and we think that’s OK!
DIY: By replacing the refined grains (white breads, couscous, pastas, etc) with whole grains, you’ll also boost your fiber and as a bonus get more inflammation-fighting phytonutrients, too!
Protein is essential for building muscle and helps to keep your skin and hair healthy. It also helps to keep you feeling full. Opt for grass-fed, pastured, organic and wild sources of skinless protein such as beef, pork, chicken, turkey and seafood. Vegetarian proteins like eggs, organic Greek yogurt, beans and nuts fit as well.
For the challenge, omit protein bars and powders that have added sugar (and other questionable ingredients). When possible, aim to consume whole foods for your protein needs.
In case you haven’t heard this before:
Fat doesn’t make you fat!
Fat not only helps you feel full and adds flavor to food, it helps your body to absorb fat-soluble nutrients (like A,D,E & K). Choose healthy fat options like avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, olives. Avoid partially hydrogenated oils (which are trans fats), and industrial vegetable and seed oils, including soy, corn, peanut, sunflower, safflower, or canola oils. But that shouldn’t be too hard since you’re removing packaged foods (which is where these yuck oils live).
Yes, we want to eat as many whole, fresh foods as possible. But not all packaged foods are bad. Sometimes, it’s just opening up a bag of oatmeal or need a grab-n-go option like an RX bar (that only has three ingredients). But, other times, you turn over a package and can’t pronounce anything on the ingredients list. This is exactly why it’s so important to read labels diligently on all packages.
Sorry…not sorry. No more added sugars. Yes, you can last 6 weeks without it. Plus, you’ll have the chance to reset your taste buds and realize that you don’t need it anyway. Besides, too much added sugar is bad for you anyway (duh).
Realize that this list is not exhaustive. We can’t possibly fit all the foods you can eat on paper. If you look at the food list, you’ll realize that much more is allowed than is not allowed. I’m sure more foods will come into question. Don’t hesitate to ask us in person or on the facebook page for clarification.
Also, we have a list of common questions on our food list, be sure to print it out and put it on your refrigerator!
We recognize that everyone starts from a different place, which is why we implement different levels so everyone can participate and feels accomplished. Every day, you will have the opportunity to make small steps in the right direction (by making just one positive change) or push yourself a little further by sticking to the food list for at least two meals and two snacks. Or go all out and stick to the food list for all meals and snacks.
Ready to make a change and reset your habits?
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that the Foundation Nutrition Challenge is not about “winning” by being at the top of the leaderboard. It’s about doing the hardest thing possible…taking small and achievable steps into a new healthy lifestyle. By doing this, you’ll be building on each new success, bringing yourself closer to the ultimate goal.
What is the 6-Week “RESET” Friends & Family Foundation Nutrition & Lifestyle Challenge 2020?
RESET your habits this New Year and get your goals back on track with the whole family (or a group of friends)!
Where do you want to be in 2020?
Huge changes can be made in a small amount of time. So, go ahead…partner up with your family, workout buddies, long-distance friends, neighbor… and let’s do this!
Our mission is to help you scale things back. Get back to the basics of what it takes to “be healthy” together as a family.
So what does “healthy” look like?
While the specifics will look different for everyone, we will all follow the same theme (kids included):
Eat & drink the right amounts
Eat good, clean foods
Move your body often
Make time to de-stress
Pretty simple, right?
But, too often, nutrition is the most overwhelming, confusing, and time-consuming thing on that list.
We understand. If you’re not sure what, how much or when to eat, not sure what’s considered healthy or how to cook a balanced meal, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and not even start.
ENTER: The 6-Week “RESET” Friends & Family Foundation Nutrition & Lifestyle Challenge 2020
During the entire challenge, you and your family will be committing to each other that you will finally achieve your goals this year and hold each other accountable along the way.
Using nutrition as our foundation, we will also focus on sleep, hydration, movement, mobility and stress management. Because, when you have all these elements working together, you’ll experience positive changes with your energy, mood, performance, recovery, body composition and more!
Huge changes can be made in a small amount of time.
“RESET” is so much more than a short-term fix.
The simplicity with these goals will set you on the right path for long-term success.
The team aspect will keep you motivated and accountable.
So, go ahead…team up with your family or a group of friends and RESET for the New Year!
The 6-week RESET Foundation Nutrition & Lifestyle Challenge is for anyone (beginner, intermediate or advanced individuals) looking to experience positive changes in their performance, recovery, energy levels, body fat percentages, and get motivated, too! This challenge is designed for kids and teens to participate with their parents.
You do not have to be a member at CrossFit Salus to join this challenge.
Join with your siblings.
Join with your children.
Join with your friends that you call family.
It’s up to you!
When? January 13-February 23
The 6-week nutrition and lifestyle challenge begins Monday, Jan. 13 and runs through Sunday, Feb. 23.
Weigh-ins begin Wednesday, Jan. 8 and end Sunday, Jan 12, 2020.
The cost of the 6-week challenge is $48 per person. (That’s only $8/week!)
Groups of 3, save 10% per person*. Use discount code: RESET10
Groups of 4, save 15% per person*. Use discount code: RESET15
Groups of 5 or more, save 20% per person*. Use discount code: RESET20
*Coaching prizes are not eligible to be redeemed for cash.
*CrossFit Salus coaches who choose to participate in the challenge are not eligible for prizes.
If there is a tie at the end of the challenge, we will refer to nutrition categories for our tiebreaker. Considering this is a nutrition challenge, we’ll first look at the team who had the most points from both nutrition categories to ensure that only one team is victorious!
Make the choice that you and your family’s health goals are worth some extra effort this year. Tell your family about it to help hold you accountable and motivate them to join you!
So if you’re ready to dedicate six short weeks to your health and your longevity, join us for the RESET Friends & Family Foundation Nutrition & Lifestyle Challenge 2020! We’re so excited to share this program again and to help you create your best self!!
You made it! After weeks of clean eating, being mindful of your portions, staying hydrated, exercising, mobilizing, sleeping like a baby, working toward your goals and motivating everyone around you! But, now what? What happens after the nutrition challenge?
Preparing for life after a nutrition challenge is not a huge topic many nutrition challenges address (resulting in a lot of those notorious ups and downs). But, since we’re all about making changes for LIFE (not just during the challenge), here are a few things to keep in mind.
Dealing with All the Occasions
Vacations, holidays, celebrations, unexpected dinners out, etc. These are important moments – they’re happening now, they’ll be facing you next month, next holiday…each and every year. And you should be able to enjoy them without stressing out. “How will I deal with those occasions,” you ask?
By practicing your new set of skills.
Hopefully you feel armed and ready to attack the real world with all the knowledge, new habits and shift in your mindset. As you’ve learned, being mindful with what, when and how you eat is a skill that must be practiced regularly.
Whether it’s a celebratory beer at the beach on the fourth of July, a taste of your nephew’s birthday cake or those famous nachos you’ve been dreaming about, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
“Learning is discovering that something is possible.” ~Fritz Perls
Once you are comfortable with your normal, day-to-day quality and quantity choices, it is okay to enjoy a splurge “treat” once and a while. But remember, this is not an excuse to go off the rails and eat everything in sight. Take this time to practice the skills you have learned throughout our journey – rely on your hand for portion sizes, stay in tune with your body’s fullness signals (think 80%), stay away from those things you know are going to make you feel like crap the next day (refined sugars, etc), plan ahead (be mindful) and hey, don’t stress about it. Turn your focus more on who you are with, your surroundings and how the food tastes.
But, I get it. It may not only be dinners out or fancy celebrations that pop up. Sometimes, we just feel physically or mentally exhausted… and all we want to do is veg with our meal in front of the TV. And that’s OK. It’s impossible to be perfect 100% of the time…I’m sure as heck am not. And no one expects us to be.
The biggest challenge we’ll ever face is that of our mind. When we don’t do what we believe or feel deep down in our gut to be “right,” we won’t feel good. And our bodies will show it. But, if we live according to our values (and often, healthy choices), life “flows” much more effortlessly. You must be willing to face your own doubts and fears. You know you’re going to face difficult situations in the future. You can’t control the future. But you can control the choices you make, your reactions and your mindset.
“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes
No matter where you are, practice what you learned over the challenge and keep your mindset…and portions, in check.
Identify Your Goals for After the Nutrition Challenge
After the nutrition challenge is over, it’s important to clearly identify your goals going forward. Figure out your long term and short term goals. This will help you stay motivated and find a clear (and safe) path to take.
If you love how you felt over the past few weeks and have decided this is now how you’d like to continue living life. Keep doing what you’re doing! Find an alternate way to stay on top of clean eating meal prep and check-in with your goals regularly – whether that’s with a buddy, a coach, an app. There’s not necessarily one right answer for that, different things motivate different people.
If you love how you felt over the past few weeks, but you’ve decided to add back in some of the foods you were avoiding (gluten, dairy, soy, processed foods, sugars, etc), it’s important to carefully re-introduce them slowly to avoid feeling ill. If you had an “off-day” any time over the challenge, you know exactly what I mean.
Here’s what you need to know about reintroducing foods back into your life after the nutrition challenge.
Implementing an Elimination Reintroduction Plan After Your Nutrition Challenge
Think of this lifestyle nutrition challenge as a bit of a science experiment in the sense that I want you to realize that food isn’t just fuel…it’s information. Every bite we eat sends messages to our body and our body responds. Sometimes louder than others.
Think about this: the GI tract doesn’t just have the job of digesting and absorbing food…. It also has its own working nervous system (the enteric nervous system). That means our gastrointestinal tract is abundant in neurotransmitters, chemical messengers, bacteria, enzymes and hormones. That’s pretty awesome, right?
But now consider this: given the amount of devoted resources our body needs for a properly functioning GI tract, when things go wrong in our gut, all hell breaks loose. From microbial imbalances and detoxification abnormalities to motility issues and inflammation, food intolerances or sensitivities can directly contribute to gut problems like gas pains and bloating, AND it can also harm other body systems at the same time.
GI disturbances have been linked to unwanted symptoms such as arthritis, skin conditions, autoimmune disorders, asthma, addiction, migraines, mood disorders, kidney problems and a whole slew of other conditions.
Proceed with Caution
So, all that being said, after you’ve eliminated potential food sensitivities throughout this challenge and you’re ready to reintroduce some of these foods back into your diet, you must proceed with caution.
1. Grab a pen and paper or use a handy app like myfitnesspal where you can record what you eat and jot down notes about how you felt after and monitor yourself for symptoms.
2. Slowly reintroduce only a SINGLE food group that you previously eliminated for one day only. Then monitor yourself for two days. (example: if you decide to reintroduce dairy on Monday, that day you might try milk in the morning, some cheese at lunch and maybe even a little cottage cheese at night). The key word being: slowly.
3. Monitor yourself for any abnormal reactions through Wednesday. Negative reactions to watch out for include: insomnia, fatigue, joint pain, skin breakouts, headaches, bowel changes, brain fog, bloating and even respiratory issues.
4. If you don’t notice any negative symptoms, it’s time to reintroduce a different food (example: sugar) on Thursday. Proceed with the same timeline as above.
5. Continue this process for a few weeks, reintroducing one new food only every few days, no sooner.
Depending on how much you eliminated, this process could take up to 6 weeks, but at the end of the experiment, you’ll know a whole heck of a lot about your body and how it responds to different foods…which as you saw above, can give you more than just gas and bloating.
The bottom line: Don’t waste all your effort over the last few weeks. Take the time to learn even more about your body and how it responds to your every day choices.
Reflections on Your Lifestyle and Nutrition Challenge
I wanted to take a moment to reflect on this lifestyle and nutrition challenge. As your Foundation Nutrition Coach, it is my goal to educate and inspire you to develop healthy eating habits that last a lifetime. I has been a pleasure guiding you through and I hope I’ve helped you:
Have the desire to eat more fresh, minimally-processed foods.
Discover how to balance lean protein, veggies, nutrient-dense carbohydrates and healthy fats.
Learn to adjust portions that directly meet health, performance and body composition goals.
Become aware that many other areas, in addition to nutrition, affect our physical and mental state. Sleep, environment, hydration, exercise…they all play a role, too.
I genuinely appreciate any and all feedback on your experience, so please take a moment to drop a review on Google or Facebook.
Create Healthy Nutrition Habits for Life
And, after the challenge, if you’re interested in learning more about a customized plan that really dials in to your individual health and nutrition needs, or you have any other nutrition-related questions, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a free 15-minute consultation.
Check out our series of posts from previous nutrition challenges:
Most of us spend our days putting out fires and trying to control stress. Whether it’s handling household tasks, responding to work demands or wiping little noses, our lives are full of stress.
Here’s the thing…
Many of us thrive on those demands. We’re wired to put other people first and tackle epic to-do lists.
That is, until our energy runs out and we realize we don’t have anything left to help ourselves. One day we find ourselves mentally and emotionally drained, craving sugar and junk, canceling our workouts and feeling run down.
It doesn’t have to be that way. It’s time to break the chain.
Control Stress for a Happy Gut
Before we dive into a few realistic tips to help you reduce stress. I just want to touch on how stress affects our gut. Most of us know that stress affects our nervous system, but many of us may not realize how much stress can affect our digestive system.
Did you know that you have more nerve cells in your bowel than in your spine. 80-90% of serotonin is made in our gut.
Healthy gut = happy you.
Under normal circumstances, our digestive system goes about its daily task of breaking down food and sending nutrients to our body while preventing the entry of toxins. But, when distressed, we experience permeability in our gut wall, and it can also lead to irritation and inflammation. Now our gut can’t act in our defense.
Our gut communicates with every cell in our body, which means that disruptions in the gut can show up as disruptions in the brain (and vice versa). Stress (both acute and chronic) directly influences gut health and can manifest itself as seemingly unrelated symptoms such as night sweats, joint pain, headaches, fatigue, fever, etc.
In addition to learning how to control stress with the strategies listed below, we can take control of gut distress by removing common food offenders such as:
Lectins- This is a type of protein most commonly found in grains, legumes and peanuts that are categorized as anti-nutrients since they block the absorption of some nutrients.
Gluten- Commonly found in found in wheat, rye, and other grains, gluten is pretty much a buzz-word now (and requires its own post), but can lead to leaky gut, inflammation and limit nutrient absorption. Many of us are gluten intolerant and may not even realize it.
Casein, lactose, and other immunoglobulins in dairy. It’s estimated that between 65-75% of us are genetically unable to properly digest dairy. Being lactose intolerant can lead to digestive problems, headaches, irritated skin and in increase in mucus.
Get the root cause of your gut troubles. Take the time to learn about your body and what it’s trying to tell you through symptoms.
True, for some people, especially athletes, small doses of stress can stoke the fire for performance-driven motivation, alertness and focus. But, too much stress can end up having the opposite effect and lead to digestion troubles, increased anxiety, poor sleep quality and a depressed immune function which can potentially lead to some pretty serious health consequences.
From clearing out the clutter and getting outside to laughing more and spending time with a loved one, here’s how you can find a greater sense of calm and clarity in your day.
Clear the Clutter
Being in any space where we have more things in front of us than we can manage, sends a visual message that our life is out of control. That can be your closet, your office, your computer desktop, etc. For most, clutter leads to procrastination which in turn becomes chaos and added stress. This cycle repeats endlessly.
Declutter in 3,2,1…go:
If it doesn’t bring you joy (it’s neither useful or sentimental) get rid of it.
If you feel like you just can’t part with it right now, put it in a box labelled with an expiration date. If you don’t open by the expiration date, give it away.
When was the last time you genuinely took some time to enjoy the sights, sounds and smell of nature? Research shows that ‘forest bathing,’ the practice of spending time in a wooded area is good for your mind, body and spirit.
Step outside for a moment to read, meditate, eat without distraction or even add in some exercise. Go for a bike ride, walk or jog…without your headphones, or even your phone. It’s all about the state of mind that you achieve while you’re there. This will allow you to focus more on how your body feels, control stress and tap into the vital energy of the great outdoors.
Connect With Loved Ones
If you ever needed a reason to schedule a date night, here it is!
Many of us have heard the advice before about how date nights can help keep relationships strong. But, we all know that’s easier said than done. Especially with kids.
So, be realistic about how it can work for you and your partner. Whether it’s simply sitting outside together after the kids have gone to bed to talk uninterrupted or scheduling a night out twice a month, make a date with your partner…and make every effort not to cancel on each other.
Studies show that time invested in being alone — together, without the kids or the chores — results in happier couples. Plus, if that time alone is spent getting freaky, you could reduce the stress response even more, see a boost immunity, relieve pain and sleep better, too.
A good laugh can place most stressful issues into a different light and help turn something negative around.
It really is the best medicine for controlling stress.
Laughing increases endorphins released by your brain, stimulates circulation and aids in muscle relaxation, improves immune system and even relieves pain. But, we don’t need studies to tell us that laughing can help reduce anxiety and ease mental stress, making us happier, healthier and just more fun to be around!
Go ahead, read a funny joke…then share it with someone; watch a funny movie with a friend; or just act a little silly and experience a mood lift asap.
Take Control of Stress Before It Controls You
Take perspective of stressful situations surrounding you right now. If the nightly news elevates your heart rate, turn off the TV. If traffic makes you tense up, use that time to listen to something calming, listen to an educational podcast or audiobook.
If there something in your life that’s making you anxious, how can you focus your time and energy elsewhere and take control of your environment?
For example: choose a small section of your house to declutter, do the dishes, download a playlist for your drive to work.
Go ahead…do it now!
More on our Foundation Nutrition Health Coaching Blog:
Why do you eat when you eat?
Are you hungry, bored, stressed?
Today, we’re going to review some simple ways to recognize these habits (you may not even realize you’re doing it), and talk about ways to navigate around them for more mindful eating.
Eat With Your Brain
Most of us are guilty of aimlessly walking into the fridge after just eating a meal, opening it up and searching for something else to eat.
Are we really still hungry or maybe it’s just that we’re bored… or simply in the habit of grabbing something sweet after dinner. There are so many different environmental factors that play a role in mindless eating. And many we don’t even recognize.
In order for the body to realize it is becoming full it needs to work with the mind. When you pay attention when eat, you not only allow yourself time to feel full, but studies show that you’ll also enjoy what you’re eating more.
Refresh your perspective.
Diets and challenges are pretty much synonymous with short-term restriction and feelings of deprivation. Because of this most diets fail after the first week.
We’re not going to let that happen.
Prepare healthy, not convenient, food and refresh your perspective on the healthy habit changes you’re starting to implement to embrace them as a lifelong change.
Sit down when you eat.
Take a breath and appreciate what is in front of you and be present in the moment.
Take a look at the ingredients list and read each word. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, put it down (and then don’t buy it again).
Giving thanks or saying a mantra to yourself might help you slow down. Try something like: “I eat to nourish and energize my body.”
Put down distractions.
Distractions take away from our intention to appreciate the food on our plate. Its texture, smell, taste and how it will benefit our bodies, energy, performance, etc. Try to identify when something other than hunger is making you want to eat and then steer your attention to your goal oriented activity instead.
Listen, I’m a mom of twins. I know a distraction when I see one. Use what you’re learning as a teaching tool for your children, but set real expectations. Help them instill mindful eating habits early on to set them up for success later in life. It won’t happen overnight… and they will most likely get distracted by the bunny in your yard time and time again. But, if you can you can make an effort to be present as a family, just a little bit at a time, you’ll be more likely to succeed.
Where were you at lunchtime or dinner time yesterday? Who was with you and what did you talk about? If you were alone, did you do anything else besides eat? What was your mood like when you were eating?
Some days we won’t be able to remember the answers to these questions. The truth is, some days we’ll be lucky enough to sneak in a meal in between meetings and kids practice.
Make an effort to enjoy a peaceful meal over the next couple days.
Changing habits, like changing a training program, comes with a natural ebb and flow. One day you’re making tremendous progress and the next day you feel like you’ve regressed. It’s an normal (and important) part of the process.
It’s normal, but it’s not easy.
I get it, finding a steady rhythm of consistency to change your habits and food choices can be challenging. But thankfully there are a couple proven ways that you can set yourself up for success: choosing your battles and staying focused on your goals in as many ways possible!
Changing Habits Against the Odds
Working on changing your habits?
Here are 2 quick tips to help you navigate the lows and come out on top.
1. Choose your battles.
You don’t always have to fight the lows.
Be smart and instead, change the timing of your highs.
For example, it’s 10:00 pm and you still have an hour of work to do (and mobility…and have to get up early for your kid’s soccer game). You sink into the couch, open your laptop and the eyelids start to flutter immediately. Your first instinct may be to fight through the fatigue with less than stellar focus, nodding your head a few times before giving in to the pillow… But this time, try a new approach. Close the laptop, hit your 10 minutes of mobility then go to bed so you get your 7 hours (or even 6) of quality sleep. Set your alarm 20-30 minutes earlier and knock out that work you had to do with a fresh mind.
2. Write down your goals, post them close by and remind yourself of them often.
Keep them eye level at your desk reminding you to drink water, on your mirror reminding you to attack your goals, on the refrigerator reminding you to eat more greens or even on the TV to remind you to stretch.
Because, that exact moment you’re on a downward trend, that little post-it written in your own handwriting will remind yourself of those important goals and help you keep plugging away. And during those awesome moments when you’re on the upward trend, having your goals front-of-mind will help to channel your energy in the right direction.
Changing Habits is Tough – We’re only human after all.
Some days you’ll be able to make it to the box on time, smash out a productive day of work, cook a clean meal, fit in the time for your family and get to bed on time.
Other days, your day feels like it drags on forever and the only thing you can imagine doing is watching Netflix.
Like everything else in life, goals come with its ups and downs. You can’t escape them. But you can learn how to navigate through.
What has been the most significant change you’ve made toward your goals recently and what can you to to increase your confidence that you’ll be able to carry them over with you through life?
Making those connections is key to your long-term success. Good luck working on your goals! Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions along the way email@example.com or call/text 732-800-1269.
In good health,
More on our Foundation Nutrition Health Coaching Blog:
Macronutrients, you probably know them as “macros,” include carbohydrates, protein and fat. Each one plays a significant role our health, affecting our energy levels and body composition, our ability to do work and recover from exercise as well as our fight against chronic disease.
Today, we’re going to touch on energy balance and how the kind of macronutrients you choose (for example, minimally processed versus highly processed) and amount of each, can affect our body’s natural ability to control appetite and fullness cues as well as hormones and mood.
Macronutrients and Calories
You’ve heard of a Calorie. Technically speaking, a Calorie is a unit of heat measurement; kcal is used to express food energy, representing a Calorie. Different macronutrients make up different amounts of heat:
Fat contains 9 kcal per gram
Carbohydrates contain 4 kcal per gram
Protein contains 4 kcal per gram
Alcohol contains 7 kcal per gram
While we lose some of this potential energy through digestion and excretion, our bodies still do a good job of saving much of this energy for the resynthesis of ATP (using about 90% of the energy in our food, actually). But some factors can affect the nutrient and energy content of the foods we eat: soil and growing conditions such as climate and sunlight as well as ripeness at time of harvest (in season produce vs out of season) can affect the nutrient makeup of our produce. Additionally, the length of storage and how we prepare and cook our food can also impact the amount of energy and nutrients we get from food (cooking, for example, usually makes more energy available, and can reduce the nutrient availability).
The amount of energy required for our individual physiological actions is referred to as metabolism. This includes:
Basal metabolic rate (BMR)- This is the level of energy we need to maintain vital functions of the body and stay alive.
Resting metabolic rate (RMR)- Similar to BMR, RMR is measured during rest and takes into account our oxygen consumption which is related to energy production.
Thermic effect of feeding (TEF)- The very act of eating and digesting will increase our metabolism. Our metabolic activity changes depending on what macros we eat: the thermic effect, or production of heat (proteins tend to have the highest thermic response, fats tend to have the lowest thermic response).
Exercise activity- Exercise activity obviously varies from person to person. The higher intensity exercise activity, the higher demand for energy transfer during and after the activity.
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT)- This refers to all our daily life movement that isn’t considered deliberate exercise such as cleaning, playing with our kids, etc.
Why am I going into all this detail?
Everybody’s Macronutrient Needs Will Differ
It’s important to understand that every body will differ in their energy needs and without a proper balance our energy systems can get out of whack. For example, restrictive dieting and chronic stress can both lower our RMR by up to 15% which can affect our body weight as well as our physiological function and cells’ function.
If our energy intake is too low, for example carbs or fat stores are in short supply, our body will turn to protein from our muscles and even other structures such as bone which means that our bodies won’t recover properly. Not good for athletes. On the flip side, if we have too much energy coming in and not enough going out, it can affect our body weight, hormone balance, mental health and more.
We definitely don’t want either of those things to happen.
Macronutrient Balance and Planning Are Key
That’s why a proper macronutrient balance, along with exercise is essential. As a general reference, refer to our post on portions, “Do I Need To Count Macros?” for more information on portion guidelines.
This week, take the time to plan out your meals for the days ahead and remember to pack enough snacks to ensure you have a good balance of macronutrients.
Sharing Best Practices
Tap into your inner chef today and help others get creative with their food choices to stay balanced.
What are some of your favorite recipes or go-to recipe websites to look for challenge-approved meal ideas?
Also, what are some of your favorite local restaurants in Monmouth County that have good alternatives?