BLOG | Healthy Lifestyle | Allons-y Coaching | French health coach, Seattle

Is pizza a balanced meal?

You keep telling yourself that you should eat balanced meals, and yet, it is so hard! No time, no energy for cooking, no motivation sometimes, or even a lack of skills you think…

Balanced meals are too much work!

Maybe you are like some of my dear clients, who eat pizza or fast food 3 times a week for dinner, and most often than not, grab a cookie or a donut at snack time. If that’s the case, eating balanced meals every day might seem out of reach for you. Just like it used to seem out of reach for my clients.

Well, not so fast! Let me show you how easy it can actually be. Eating healthy for the long term is not about dismissing everything you have been doing so far. It’s about tweaking and making small improvements to your current habits.

We will just take 2 examples and then you will know how to adjust to your own needs.

Make your pizza night nutritionally balanced

Unhealthy pizza turned into healthy dinner (lettuce, pizza, orange)

 

Make your snack more balanced

Unhealthy snack (cookie and soda) turned into healthier snack (pear, milk, and cookie)

 

You get the idea, right? Always keep those principles in mind:

  • add fiber (greens/fruit) to whatever you are having for dinner or for snack;
  • add protein if there is none in your food already;
  • only eat 1 or 2 servings of the “unhealthy” food.

It’s important that you don’t always focus on eliminating what you like or what is convenient. Because you will be miserable and you will end up quitting. Instead, think about proportions: make sure that unhealthy food is only a small part of what you are eating. See how you feel after making that change!

If you want more ideas or if you need help establishing a healthier lifestyle, let me know. I am here to support you! Contact me via email at stella@allonsycoaching.com or book a FREE 20-minute phone call so that we can chat and see where you could start. The first step is often a very hard one to take. Go for it!

 


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

Lower your cholesterol naturally

Not happy with your latest cholesterol count? There are lots of steps you can take to lower your cholesterol naturally. Sometimes, medicine is inevitable, but not always. Lifestyle changes can, for many of us, do the trick in the long run.

And even if you need medicine, changing your eating habits and increasing your activity level should remain TOP priorities too. If you think of it, taking meds without lifestyle changes is a bit like driving your car into poles and walls all day long and stopping by the auto-body mechanics on your way home each night. Doesn’t make much sense, does it?

So while you might want to check with your Doctor whether or not you need cholesterol-lowering medicine, it’s important that you start taking lifestyle measures right now to keep your pipes clean on a daily basis.

Clean pipe to illustrate arteries free of cholesterol

10 ways to improve your cholesterol numbers naturally.

The first and often easiest thing to do is to increase your fiber intake.

1/ Eat a lot of veggies

Make sure half of your plate is covered with veggies at each meal. When I say veggies, I don’t mean starchy veggies, so, potatoes don’t belong here. But all other veggies work: zucchini, eggplants, cucumber, carrots, string beans, celery, you name it. If you are still hungry, have second servings of veggies, rather than extra starch or meat. And if you really want more protein or more grain, have another half plate of veggies with them. You can’t go wrong with veggies; knock yourself out!

2/ Eat fruit

You know, most French people eat one piece of fruit at each meal. We consider fruit our dessert. Why don’t you try that? Eat fruit instead of a treat, you will get a nice sweet taste with tons of vitamins and good fiber. Bring an apple or banana with you for snack rather than energy bars or crackers. Fruit is super convenient, you just have to get into the habit of eating more fruit, all kinds of fruit.

3/ Eat beans and legumes

Lentils, split peas, chickpeas, white beans, etc. Whether you buy them dry and cook them or buy them canned and rinse them, they are a great way to add fiber to your diet and can easily replace meat in some of your meals. Think hummus or bean dip – with veggie sticks of course, not with chips! – Lentil soup, roasted chickpeas, edamame. There are so many ways to add them to your diet, start with once a week and increase the frequency little by little. Plus, they are cheap, so you really have nothing to lose (except maybe a few pounds!).

4/ Eat non-processed whole grain

We are not talking whole wheat bread and pasta here, but more like real whole grains such as brown rice, wheat berries, barley, quinoa. Buy whole grains in bulk, they are cheap and extremely filling. Just like beans, they are a great way to eat a super healthy diet without blowing your budget. If you don’t know how to prepare them, think salads: any pasta salad can be turned into a whole grain salad pretty easily. Use your imagination or web browser, inspiration will come!

Oatmeal to help lower cholesterol naturally5/ Eat oatmeal for breakfast

Plain old fashion oatmeal or instant oatmeal, whatever you prefer. Just not the flavored oatmeal with sugar and all kinds of added crap. Oatmeal, cooked a few minutes in water, cow milk, or vegetable milk. Here is a super simple overnight oatmeal recipe if you need help with this.

The second very important thing to do is to decrease your animal fat intake.

6/ Eat less meat

Start replacing meat with fish, beans, tofu, or eggs here and there. Little by little, you will end up eating meat maybe no more often than you end up eating one of the above. Go gradually and make sure you still eat the meat you love the most once in a while, without second thoughts. If you love meat, consider it a treat. If you don’t like meat that much, then don’t eat any?!

7/ Eat less cheese

Avoid the cheese that you don’t truly enjoy. Melted cheese is usually the one to skip first because it does not provide as much satisfaction for the same amount. Just like meat, if you love cheese, then consider cheese as a treat, not as a habit. Eat the best ones in the best company. Remember that fermented dairy is not as bad for cholesterol as other dairies. So cheese and yogurt are better than cream and butter!

8/ Avoid butter and cream

Instead of butter on your toast, have nut butter. Instead of butter for cooking, use olive oil, or avocado oil. At home, we use a butter that is a combination of butter and olive oil. We like the taste, plus it never gets hard which is great for sleepy kids in the morning. Instead of cream, you can sometimes use plain whole yogurt or cottage cheese. When preparing a recipe that has cream in it, look for substitution suggestions. You have to be intentional at first, but then it becomes a habit and gets much easier.

What else can you do?

 

9/ Keep alcohol in check

Alcohol itself, especially red wine, does not necessarily have a bad reputation when it comes to cholesterol. But you definitely want to avoid the extra calories – and thus extra pounds! Not to mention the dehydrating effect of alcohol, which might lead you to skip a workout, or not feeling up to increasing your physical activity as much as you would otherwise. So keep your alcohol consumption to only what you truly enjoy. Be mindful, as with any other treat.

Person hiking on the beach to lower cholesterol naturally10/ Increase physical activity

If your cholesterol is high with the level of activity you have right now, try to increase it (physical activity, not cholesterol!). As usual, one step at a time. Add a few minutes to your workout sessions and keep adding and adding. Squeeze in an extra session each week, and then 2 or 3. Increase the intensity a bit if you can. You know yourself, you know your body, your constraints, your schedule. Just remember that what you are doing now might not be enough to help you lower your cholesterol, so work on it. If you need motivation, think about joining a group, or finding a partner, or signing up for a program or buying a pass. Anything that will push you a bit further, while keeping you happy and balanced.

Pick one strategy and start today.

Don’t push it to the weekend, don’t wait until next Monday. Start right now with one of those strategies to lower your cholesterol, and once you start doing it without having to think too hard about it, add another one.
Make your way slowly but steadily through the entire list, experiment. Give yourself time but work on this and see what your next blood test will tell you. Talk to your Doctor of course. Your cholesterol levels might require more than just lifestyle changes. But remember, whatever your numbers, living a healthier life will always help you move in the right direction. You can do this, let’s go!

Not sure where to start?

If you want more ideas or if you need help establishing a healthier lifestyle, let me know. I am here to support you! Contact me via email at stella@allonsycoaching.com or book a FREE 20-minute phone call so that we can chat and see where you could start. The first step is often a very hard one to take. Go for it!

 


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

What to eat for breakfast?

Are you trying to start your day with a healthy breakfast but are struggling with lack of time, lack of inspiration, and lack of motivation? If you don’t know what to eat when you get up in the morning, here are 12 quick & healthy breakfast ideas that will take less than 5 minutes to prepare and will keep your energy level high and steady for the whole morning.

healthy breakfast ideas: toast with fruits and berries

Many of us skip breakfast altogether, for many different reasons. We would rather sleep 30 minutes longer, or we are SO NOT hungry in the morning, even slightly nauseous. For people who are trying to lose weight, there is another reason. We think that the longer we wait before we start eating, the fewer calories we will end up swallowing during the day. This is what we call “calorie hoarding”. I have done it for years and years! Unfortunately, this strategy does not work for weight loss, and is not good at all for our health and energy level. What we skip for breakfast, we usually end up eating later in the day, and because we are often responding to cravings or energy slump, we end up making poor food choices and go for snack foods, sugary foods, fatty foods. Not the best way to lose weight, would you agree?

Healthy breakfast for sustained energy

If you want to nourish your body, feel energized, and not crash at 11 am or right after lunch, eating breakfast is one of the best things you can start doing today. OK, for this one, you can start tomorrow actually!

Ideally, just like any other meal, your breakfast would include a nice variety of foods, covering all the macro-nutrients. That is: carbohydrates, proteins, and a little bit of fat. Yet, if you have just been skipping breakfast for as long as you can remember, start slow. Have at least proteins + carbs, and you will already feel a difference!

12 easy breakfast ideas:

  • Instant Oatmeal Bowl (click to download the recipe)
  • Quinoa/Brown Rice Porridge Parfait (click to download the recipe)
  • Cottage or ricotta cheese with fruit/berries/seeds/nuts
  • Banana or apple with almond or peanut butter
  • ½ avocado with healthy seasoning (1tsp balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, or just black pepper)
  • Toast with cream cheese & jam, or with butter & honey + glass of milk
  • Toast with ricotta cheese and fruits (such as cantaloupe, mango, or strawberries)
  • Plain yogurt with muesli (no sugar added) and fruit/berries
  • Plain yogurt with crunchy soy protein/raisins/berries/nuts & seeds
  • ½ English muffin with peanut butter and berries
  • Scrambled eggs, plain or with leftover veggies
  • Egg cracked in a bowl and cooked in the microwave (30 seconds increments until it’s cooked to your liking).

Those are just ideas to get you started with breakfast. You can enjoy them on their own and it will already be a good start, or you can mix and match them to make sure you cover all the macro-nutrients.

For breakfast, like for everything else when you are establishing a healthy lifestyle, take it one step at a time. If you are used to never eating breakfast, start with a healthy breakfast 2 or 3 times a week. See how you feel, then add 1 extra day, and so on. Pretty soon, you will love your breakfast. Oh, and of course, before you eat anything, don’t forget to drink that delicious glass of water that we have often talked about!

A bit overwhelmed?

If you want more recipes or if you need help with Balanced Meal Planning, let me know, I am here to support you. Contact me via email at stella@allonsycoaching.com or book a FREE 20-minute phone call so that we can chat.

 


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2018 Allons-y Coaching, LLC – Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.

Why can’t I sleep well anymore?

It’s 4 am, I can’t sleep! Do you want to know why?

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), well over a third of American adults sleep less than the recommended 7 hours per night. One reason is that most of us don’t prioritize rest. We don’t make room in our busy schedule for those necessary 7 to 9 hours of sleep required for a healthy brain and body. The second reason is that even when we do our best to sleep, things don’t always go as planned and we don’t sleep well.

Baby girl sound asleep while sucking her fingers

As we age, it becomes more and more difficult to get a good night sleep. Some say it’s because we need less sleep as we grow older. But studies don’t back up that theory. What science shows though, is that the healthier we are, the better we sleep. And vice et versa. Keep that in mind!

Science also shows that with age, it gets physically harder to fall and stay asleep, and what that means on a daily basis, is that the nuisances that didn’t affect us before, are now sufficient to completely ruin our nights. And this is what I would like to focus on in this article.

“Harmless” acts will now wreck your sleep

Do you know why I am awake right now? Yesterday, I had a late afternoon meeting in downtown Seattle. I rode my bike there and back. It’s hilly, I came home hungry, and right on time for dinner. I had prepared chicken curry and my superman husband cooked quinoa to go with it. Pretty neat, right? Usually, I do half chicken/half tofu when I make that dish. I will give you the recipe one day, it’s super easy and very yummy! Anyway, I forgot the tofu yesterday, so I had to satisfy my hunger with chicken only. I ate 2 or 3 oz of chicken. I know that meat for dinner does not suit me well, but I thought: I just worked out, it’s just chicken, it’s only one serving… And here we go! 3:30 am, my brain is all over the place, my body is sweating, and I am up and writing!!!

That’s what meat does to me now, cheese does the same, wine also. Back just 2 or 3 years ago, none of those things affected my sleep. But now, they do.

Meat cooking on grill outdoorWe all know about coffee. But it’s not just coffee! There is tea, of course, caffeinated beverages (yes, sodas too!), and alcohol. Not only because they are stimulant and will keep you from falling asleep, but also because they make you urinate more. So around 3 or 4 am, you will want to pee, AND you will be thirsty. Fatty foods, foods that are harder to digest, such as meat, cheese, or deep-fried foods, might start giving you trouble too. Try to avoid them at night and keep your dinner centered around plants (veggies, beans, non-processed grain, fruits) and super lean protein (fish, tofu, maybe a boiled egg).

 

How bad (or well!) do you want to sleep?

What I want to tell you here is that with the years, what we used to get away with might actually become an issue. So if you are having trouble falling asleep or sleeping through the night, or if you don’t feel rested when you wake up in the morning, it is worth listing what you eat, drink, and do during the day, in order to find out what might be the culprit of such poor sleep. Maybe it’s not the food you eat. Maybe it’s your workout, or the TV show you watch at night, or that habit that you have to quickly check emails before falling asleep.

Look at everything you are doing and be ready to question your most cherished routines if you really want to sleep well. I used to eat a square (or 2!) of chocolate every night before bedtime. My way of closing the day and take care of myself. This lovely habit had to go! Although I keep trying once in a while, just in case… 🙂

25 Tips to Sleep Well

I won’t abandon you just like that, dealing all alone with your worst nightmares. I have put together a list of 25 Tips for Better Sleep (and a bonus!) that I will give you as a thank you gift when you sign up for my mailing list. Those strategies will help you increase the duration and quality of your sleep. You will be able to download the list and experiment with it. I hope you will sleep better as you start working on this!

If you need help figuring out what keeps YOU up at night, let me know, I am here for you if you need me. Contact me via email at stella@allonsycoaching.com or book a FREE 20-minute phone call so that we can chat.

 


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2018 Allons-y Coaching, LLC – Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.

Elevators are killing us!

Did you know that elevators and escalators kill about 30 people each year in the US, according to data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission? OK, agreed, if you look closer, half of those deaths (but only half!) involve people who WORK near or in elevators. I am not saying they don’t count of course, but I guess you were thinking “passengers” when you started reading this, so I kind of mislead you. My apologies. Still, check out the numbers! It’s pretty scary. I am never riding an elevator again!

Anyway, it is true that even without considering incidents, elevators are killers. I love them for the freedom and autonomy they provide to people with reduced mobility. Yet on the other hand,  I also hate them. Because they keep the rest of us from doing one of the best exercise for our body: climbing stairs.

Best cardio equipment: stairs!

Let me ask you: have you been in a gym lately? Have you seen how many stair mills and elliptical machines are present in the cardio room? Why do you think that is? If you Google “best cardio machines”, you’ll see that the stair mill comes up in pretty much every search result.

Many of us sign up at the gym and try to make room in our super busy schedule to fit in 30 minutes of cardio 3 times per week… Because, hey, we gotta be active right? But what about those stairs at work? In our apartment building? At the doctor’s clinic? Or the stairs to the hotel room or in the park?

stairs in a park: perfect cardio workout

 

What will stairs do for you?

There are stairs everywhere and here is why you SHOULD use them, unless you have a condition that keeps you from doing so (talk to your doctor, please!).

  • Stairs can give you a cardio workout, which is good for your heart and lungs if you take it at your own pace and build gradually, just like you would do at the gym.
  • Stairs help you build muscles in your entire lower body and core. It strengthens your abs, lower back, butt, thighs, hamstrings, and calves. Who doesn’t want a more toned body?
  • Stairs are low impact and are a very good way to make your knees stronger, unless you have a pre-existing condition.
  • Stairs help you burn calories. If you are trying to manage your weight, why wouldn’t you take advantage of this simple and free way to succeed?
  • Every time you go up a step, you carry all your weight with you. Like any other weight-bearing exercise, this is excellent to make your bones stronger. And especially if, like me, you are a woman over 40 :-).
  • Stairs are free and yes, they are sometimes hard to find, but if you start looking for them, chances are, you will find them.
  • Stairs are faster than we think. By the time the elevator comes, you could already be on top of the stairs, and the more you use them, the faster you get at climbing them!

Where should you start climbing?

It’s pretty simple. Where ever you go, START WITH THE STAIRS FIRST! Always!!! I am not telling you to necessarily go all the way up. But when you are in a lobby or parking garage, find the stairs and start climbing. When you are too tired, or too sweaty, or too bored, or whatever, find the elevator and finish with it. But always take the stairs first, and see how far you can go. The following times, try to go one floor higher. If there are 20 floors, take the stairs, even if you know you will only go up 3 flights and then finish with the elevator.

escalator next to stairs: choose the stairs not the elevator or escalator

Same thing with escalators. They are often paired with stairs. So take those stairs every single time, until it becomes a no-brainer for you! Bonus points if you are carrying luggage or shopping bags! And if you feel weird or embarrassed because everybody else is taking the escalator, please think about this for a second. You have seen the small electric carts in the supermarkets, right? Do you use them? Unless you are disabled or temporarily injured, you probably don’t. Why not? You most likely feel that they are not for you, that you don’t need them BECAUSE YOU CAN WALK JUST FINE. Well then, why should elevators or escalators be any different? If you can walk up a few stairs just fine, then you don’t need electric assistance.

That’s the thing! Why would you take the elevator yet also go to the gym? This does not make much sense if you think about it. Take the stairs AND go to the gym, yes! Or take the stairs often and high enough, and you might be able to skip the gym once in a while :-).

Bonus: what does your coach do?

family on a hike with waterfall in the background

I haven’t been to a gym for a couple of years. I am not a fan. But if my meeting or hotel room is on the 14th floor, I am taking the stairs, no question. And there are many other things I do in my everyday life that keep me fit without necessarily “working out” much. It is sometimes hard to find real-life examples when it comes to transitioning to a healthier lifestyle. So, if you want to know a few things that I do to stay healthy and in shape, I will be happy to share some of my DAILY HABITS with you :-). Just email me at stella@allonsycoaching.com and let me know that you want me to share more.

That’s it!

If you feel that you need a help figuring out how to be healthier or manage your weight, contact me or make an appointment for a FREE 20-minute consultation. I’ll be honored to chat with you and see how you can stack all the odds in your favor. Allons-y! Let’s Go!

 


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2017 Allons-y Coaching, LLC – Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.

Is milk good for me?

Photo of milk poured in a glassIs milk good for me? Should I quit gluten? Should I go vegan? As a Health Coach, I am asked those questions a lot, and they make good sense. Especially today, as we get bombarded by contradicting stories about what might help us lose weight, reduce our cholesterol, live longer, or have more energy.

Now I don’t hear the following questions very often. Is sausage good for me? Should I quit drinking pop? Should I stop eating muffins? So, I am wondering, why don’t we think twice about breakfast meat, junk food, soda or pastries? We all know that they are not “good” for us, right? But do we end up eliminating them from our lives? A few people do, that’s right, but most of us don’t.

When you ask me whether milk is good for you or not, my first question will be: are you lactose intolerant? Does milk give you diarrhea? If not, then milk is probably not worse for you than a slice of ham or a chocolate chip cookie. Same thing with gluten. Do you have gluten intolerance? Do you start swelling and farting just by looking at a loaf? If that’s the case, then gluten is probably not your best ally. But otherwise, do you really think gluten is worse than a slice of bacon, a portion of chips, or a diet coke?

Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket

In my world, everything is a question of variety and moderation. Unless you have a specific allergy, intolerance, or a condition that makes it better for you to avoid certain foods (talk to your doctor!), nothing (except trans fat) is really bad for you unless you eat or drink too much of it. And by the same token, even the best foods can be damaging if you eat too much of them. Kale is great, right? But if that’s all you eat, your guts won’t like it, believe me! Tuna is great too, but if you go overboard, you might end up ingesting too much mercury.

Photos of eggs in several baskets

Your best bet is to eat a little bit of everything.

When you invest your money, you want a diversified portfolio. Think the same way with nutrition. Branch out, have as many colors on your plate as possible, mix and match, make sure it never gets boring. This will prevent you from thinking too hard about what you should or should not eat. And this will be the safest bet in the long run. Just like with investment, it won’t make you the biggest winner (or loser!) overnight. But over time, you will be safe and sound because you will get all the nutrients you need, and won’t get too much of anything.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean that you should eat as much sausage as you should eat fresh spinach. Not all foods are equal when it comes to nutrition and you probably know it as well as I do. I won’t go into details here; this is not the point of this article. If you need more help with what to put in your plate in the first place, feel free to contact me, I’ll be happy to help.

Food choice checklist

Next time you are thinking about eliminating something from your diet, please think twice. Before you make your decision, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the reasons why I want to eliminate that specific food item?
  • Is this food really bad for me? What are the facts?
  • Am I focusing on that food in order to forget about other eating habits?
  • Is this the food that needs the most attention in my diet?
  • Are there foods in my life that are potentially more problematic?
  • Do I really need to get rid of that food or could I eat it less often or in smaller quantities?
  • What would my life be like without that food?

You might end up keeping the food under scrutiny or eliminating it altogether. But whatever you decide, you will have made the decision after considering your motivations very carefully, and after reviewing the impact that this change might have on you and on your life. And that matters a lot.

That’s it!

If you have eliminated some foods from your diet or consider eliminating some, email me, I’d be happy to hear from you! And don’t forget to share your own tips or remarks in the comments section, because together, we are healthier!

Of course, if you feel that you need a little more help with nutrition knowledge and food choices, contact me or make an appointment for a FREE 20-minute consultation. I’ll be honored to chat with you and see how you can stack all the odds in your favor. Allons-y! Let’s Go!


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2017 Allons-y Coaching, LLC – Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.

5 easy tricks to stay healthy on vacation

When you are trying to set up a new healthy routine, vacation can be a real struggle. Especially if you are still at the beginning of your wellness journey. So let me give you some very easy tricks that will help you stay on track while having a blast.

Healthy vacations: photo of flip-flops on a sandy beach

Vacations: what are my options?

The first option, you forget about everything you have been trying to do so far, indulge non-stop: at the buffet, at the bar, at the ice-cream parlor. Of course, you pay the price for it.

The second option, you are super firm and dedicated, you stick to all your rules, you do not enjoy the buffet, you do not allow yourself the luxury of a few drinks or treats, and you sweat on the treadmill rather than relax at the beach. You come back like you haven’t had a vacation at all.

Then there is a 3rd option, and this is the one I’d like to talk to you about: this is the option where you find a compromise. That is, you don’t let go of your healthy principles, but you also focus on enjoying your vacation 100%, and in my opinion, food and drinks are part of that deal.

It’s all in your head!

So how do you compromise?  The idea is that you need to stay in that healthy mindset that you have been working on for a while. In your head (and that is VERY IMPORTANT!), you have to stick to the healthy person that you have started to become. Because if you get up every morning, thinking of yourself as someone healthy, you will make healthier choices during the day than if you were waking up thinking of yourself as someone who doesn’t care about wellness, about feeling good and energized, about keeping up with the kids, etc.

5 healthy tips to make a difference

So what can you do to be in that healthy mindset? Small things actually, tiny simple things:

#1 First thing in = water

healthy vacation: photo of water from tapEvery morning, as soon as you set foot on the ground, drink a large glass of water. At least 10 or 12 oz. This makes you feel clean inside, and will make you less inclined to put junk food in your stomach at breakfast. Even better, you can do that regularly during the day. Before every meal or snack, drink a cup of water. It will help you stay hydrated, which is very important when you travel, and it will help you feel better and eat better during the meal that comes right after that glass of water. Try it, you might get addicted to it!

#2 Move BEFORE breakfast

Check out if there is a yoga or a stretching class offered at your hotel (if you stay in a hotel). If there is one, sign up for the early morning class, and take it BEFORE breakfast. If there are no classes or you are camping or in a condo, go for a 20 or 30-minute brisk walk. Again, do that before breakfast. If you start your day with some gentle exercise and go to breakfast afterward, you won’t feel like eating heavy greasy stuff. You will be hungry, but you will feel like eating stuff that is good for your body, because you’ve just done a workout that IS good for your body and you won’t want to spoil that.

Be careful though. I am not advocating a 10-mile run or a boot camp session before breakfast! First, because you need fuel for that kind of exercise and usually shouldn’t do it without eating a bit beforehand. And also because the idea here is to keep the workout gentle, so that you feel like you have done something good for your body, but it doesn’t give you an excuse to eat as if you were recovering from a marathon. You see what I mean, right? Stretching, yoga or a 20-minute brisk walk don’t require you to eat more than usual. They are good activities for your body, but they won’t burn many calories. If you don’t feel comfortable moving around before you have swallowed something, no worries, have a piece of fruit right after your glass of water when you get up and then, head out!

#3 Make it half and half

healthy vacation: photo of plate with salmon and saladWhen you are at a buffet, whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, start by covering half of your plate with fruits, veggies (potatoes and French fries don’t count!) and/or leafy greens. Then only, you can focus on the rest and fill up the other half of your plate with whatever you want. And make sure you enjoy the entire plate! If you go for seconds or thirds, no problem. Just do it all over again. Cover half of your plate with fruits, leafy greens, or veggies and eat them :-). Use the same rule for dessert. You want a Sundae? Have one! But have the equivalent volume of fresh fruit with it. And start by eating the fruits. Chances are you won’t have a second sundae, or you might not even be able to finish the first one!

If you eat at a restaurant, keep in mind that the amount of food on your plate will most likely be two times what your body really needs. Unless you eat in a foreign gourmet restaurant, try to only eat half of what is brought to you Split with someone else or save half or your dish for later if you have a way to keep it cool and reheat. Ideally, you can ask your server to put half or your order in a box before it even reaches your table. You will see, it will still be a very reasonable amount of food. If you feel like it’s not big enough, order a side salad, or a cup of fruit that you can eat as a dessert, to finish on a sweet note.

#4 No elevator in the lobby

Wherever you go, take some stairs! Your room or condo is on the 10th floor? Start with 2 flights and then finish with the elevator. After a couple of days, you might be able to do 3 flights of stairs, or 4. Why not 10 by the end of the vacation? Give me one good reason why you would not take the stairs. You can’t find them? Ask at the front desk! You are too tired? Don’t worry, you will rest in a few minutes. It takes forever? Well, you are on vacation, right? The kids don’t want to take the stairs? Go on your own if you can, and enjoy a few minutes of silence :-). Otherwise, try to challenge the kids, make it a game, who can go the highest!?

It’s always the same idea: if you have been taking the stairs every day, 3 or 4 times a day, you might think twice when the bag of potato chips starts requiring your attention. If you want to get more motivation and ideas around elevators, stay tuned. I am quite passionate about elevators and will not resist the urge to write a full article about them soon!

 #5 Walk around

healthy vacation: people hiking in natureTry to walk as much as you can. It will allow you to see so many amazing things, to meet people, to get to places you could not see if you were driving. Walking is one of the best things you can do for your body, but also for your mind and soul. Once you start walking places, the world is yours to discover and you’ll see, you will feel much healthier. So every time you are about to take the car or a shuttle, think twice about it and see if maybe you could walk instead. And make sure you incorporate some easy hiking into your vacation schedule. Of course, if you can, try to also swim, jump, dance, rent a bike, paddle board, etc… And don’t forget to always bring water with you!

Now have fun and relax

It’s YOUR vacation and you deserve to enjoy it however you see fit! Have fun doing things, eating things, and drinking whatever it is you are drinking. Just use the 5 tips above to remind yourself nonstop that you are a healthy person and that you make the right choices for yourself. If you think like that healthy person you have started to become, it will make a difference in what you end up eating and drinking. And most importantly, it may make a difference in the quantities you will end up eating and drinking. So just relax and give yourself some slack. And I am going to do the same, while staying true to who I am and what I love.

That’s it!

If you are worried about an upcoming vacation or have specific questions about what to do to stay healthy, email me, I’d be happy to hear from you! And don’t forget to share your own tips or remarks in the comments section, because together, we are healthier!

If you want continuous support with your health goals, join me on Instagram or follow my Facebook Page. You will have access to weekly tips, challenges, strategies, and lots of FREE resources to support you in your health quest. And of course, if you are ready to change your lifestyle for the better but don’t know exactly where to begin, call me and we will get you started!


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2017 Allons-y Coaching, LLC – Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.

How to feed your children for sports?

Have you decided to be healthier and more active? Good for you! I hope I can support you on this wonderful journey. My previous article “What is the best workout for you” might help you.

But, what about your kids? They look healthy, right? They are full of energy- if only you could find the OFF button sometimes! – You juggle lunch boxes, healthy snacks, trying to fit dinner between soccer practice and ballet.

But what should you really focus on to make sure they fuel properly, feel good during practice, improve in the sports they love, and recover fast after a tough workout?

active children nutrition: girls need fuel for ballet practice

As a mom of 3 myself, I have been sitting on the bleachers quite a bit, chatting with parents, talking with coaches, and observing the kids. So first, let me tell you about usual errors I have seen.

Sports nutrition for kids: 4 common mistakes

– Eating food that’s hard to digest right before practice: fatty meat, anything fried, chips, burgers, nuggets, etc.
– Eating food that creates a sudden burst of energy and then a crash: foods with refined sugar, sweets, soda, candy, etc.
– Not eating regularly during the day before practice or skipping meals.
– Arriving at practice dehydrated. The best way to stay hydrated is to drink WATER!

Good, now we know what NOT to do.

So what do we feed our active kids?

In a nutshell, we have to remember that CARBS provide energy. PROTEINS help with muscle growth and repair. Good quality FATS make everything run smoothly and keep us warm. OK, it’s a bit of a shortcut, but sometimes, it’s good to stick to the basics.

active children nutrition: teen at skate park need a lot of energyBEFORE PRACTICE

A combo of the 4 things below:
– Easy to digest CARBS (applesauce, dried fruits, fresh fruits…)
– Complex CARBS (bread, bagel, crackers, granola, oatmeal, pretzels…)
– A bit of PROTEIN (nut butter, string cheese, plain yogurt, plain milk, fish, lean meat such as turkey or chicken… but nothing fried! )
– WATER!!!

Avoid FAT right before practice: it hard to digest! Stay away from chicken nuggets, chips, fries or burgers just before practice.

DURING PRACTICE:

WATER!!!
If practice lasts longer than 1 hour, you can add a bit of juice in that water, or you can give your child some dried fruits for a quick snack.
If practice lasts over 2 hours, maybe some extra sodium will be required. Either in a drink (such as coconut water for example) or in a salty snack like crackers or pretzels.

AFTER PRACTICE

WATER!!!

If your child is not allergic, a handful of nuts or a string cheese might be a good option right after practice, so that your kid doesn’t starve on the way home from the locker room. But don’t give them too much if dinner is around the corner!

active children nutrition: even young children in sports team need good food for energy

When you get home, you want to feed your children a well-balanced meal with enough water to help them recover faster. By well balanced, I mean, whole foods (REAL foods!) that provide them with carbs, protein, and good fat. What I call “good fat” is, for example, lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, avocado, whole milk and whole milk yogurt, cheese…).

They will be hungry after practice, so why not start the meal with plenty of green vegetables? We are less picky when we are starving 🙂

Of course, all children are different, and their needs will vary depending on their age, where they are on their growth curve, what their allergies and preferences are, etc.

If you remember only ONE thing!

The most important thing to keep in mind is that what is healthy for you is usually healthy for your child, and what is NOT healthy for you, is most of the time NOT HEALTHY FOR YOUR CHILD. So focus on real food (as opposed to highly processed food) and plain water, and you will be stacking all the odds in their favor!

Go feed those champions and if you have questions, ask away in the comment section or email me. I will be happy to try and help where I can.

If you want continuous support with your health goals, join me on Instagram or follow my Facebook Page. You will have access to weekly tips, challenges, strategies, and lots of FREE resources to support you in your health quest.

 


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2018 Allons-y Coaching, LLC – Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.

Should I count calories?

Is it important for you to have a good work/life balance? Or a nice harmony between “me-time” and the demands of others? My guess is, YES, it is vital to you! And yet, to achieve that, you probably don’t record every minute of your time and what it is dedicated to? Or do you?

Having a healthy work/life balance does not mean counting the time spent playing a board game with our kids, or sending an email to our boss. By the same token, having a nice balanced food intake should not require counting every calorie and nutrient.

A balanced diet is like a balanced life

If you had to time everything you did and make sure all the moments of your day are equally distributed among different areas of your life, it would get extremely complicated and exhausting. Actually, your existence would quickly turn into a living hell!

Cairn representing balance

Instead, you probably have a pretty good idea of what balance means to you. How many hours you approximately spend at work, what you usually do on weekends, how long you generally sleep, etc. You have a “frame” and you evolve within that frame year after year, incorporating new jobs, new people, new places…

Healthy without “knowing” it

If you want to establish healthy eating habits, you have to look at food the same way you look at life. Unless you have a specific condition that requires it, you don’t need to monitor calories and nutrients closely. Instead, it’s important to step back and look at the bigger picture.

Rather than studying the nutrients and calories in every element of your meals, focus on what makes you feel better, what brings you the most energy, and very important too, what brings you the most enjoyment and happiness. I am not talking instant gratification here, sugar rush, quick fix. I am talking profound pleasure and lasting satisfaction.

A strong frame for more freedom

Baby eating watermelonTo make sure you establish a healthy and balanced food intake that is not going to be jeopardized every time to go out with friends or are stressed out at work, you have to have a structure, just like you have one for your balanced life. A structure that guarantees a healthy lifestyle, but also gives you enough freedom to enjoy your food and life without questioning every choice you make.

Once you have a frame for your eating habits, you can forget about calories and nutrition and focus your energy on everything else in your life. Isn’t that what we all want?

When I work with clients, building this healthy frame is our first step toward a new lifestyle. If you want to know more about such a frame, follow this blog, I will definitely write more about this topic. But if you are eager to start and build a strong structure for yourself right now, reach out to me and I will give you a few tips on how to get started. You can email me or ask questions in the comment section below.

Start with this!

The very first thing I recommend you do though, is fill your plate with REAL FOOD, coming mostly from plants. If you do that, you won’t have to worry much about nutrition facts and food labels. Unless, again, you have a medical condition that requires it. It seems quite simple, and it actually is! Real food – as in unprocessed or very slightly processed – has what we need to fuel our body. So let’s start eating it :-)!

If you want continuous support with your health goals, join me on Instagram or follow my Facebook Page. You will have access to weekly tips, challenges, strategies, and lots of FREE resources to support you in your health quest.

 


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2018 Allons-y Coaching, LLC – Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.

Are nuts really that good?

Hi everybody! Today, I want to talk to you about nuts. No, not your neighbor or the crazy guy at the bus stop. Real nuts! You know, the yummy little things that everybody tells you to eat plenty of, because they are so good for you. Those nuts. Hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, you name them. We can even include peanuts here, even if they are actually not nuts, but legumes (like beans, peas or lentils).

Healthy squirrel eating nuts

Everywhere you read, nuts are treated like the solution to many health problems. They can help lower your bad cholesterol, fortify your bones, help protect you from heart attacks, blood clots, type 2 diabetes, etc. The list is pretty impressive and it’s true that nuts are really good for you, on top of being delicious. Full disclosure, I LOVE nuts!!!

Yet, I would like to encourage you to be very mindful when you add nuts into your everyday life. Because you see…

Nuts can be dangerous!

danger sign on the coast to illustrate dangers of nuts

Why? I see 3 main reasons.

  • First, nuts are fat. Mostly good fat (unsaturated fat), but still, a lot of fat. Rule of thumb: 1 oz of nuts covers about 20% of your daily needs for fat. And it’s great, good stuff, nothing to complain about. But you have to be careful: the fat you get from your nuts, you’d better cut it out somewhere else, as in chips, fried food, bacon, red meat, maybe even cheese (although, as a French native, I am a bit reluctant to that idea!).
  • Second, nuts add a lot of calories to your diet. Imagine you are on an island where all you can eat is nuts. Well, it would only take about 3 cups of nuts every day to cover your daily caloric needs (based on a 2,000 calorie diet). OK, I know, you are not planning on eating 3 cups of nuts tomorrow, but you know what? If you are not paying attention, you might end up swallowing 1 cup of nuts quite easily. If you don’t get rid of other sources of calories at the same time, your waistline might not like it.
  • Third, nuts are way too easy to snack on… and on, and on, and on! If you had to peel, cut, and cook nuts, the fat and the calories I mentioned above would not be much of a problem. But nuts are so easy to nibble on that we often swallow them without noticing. They end up like one of those “add-on” items on Amazon. You don’t really pay attention to them, but in the end, you are still paying for them! Yes, true, nuts are much healthier than chips or candies, no question about this, but the thing with nuts is that there is no guilt, and as a result, fewer limits. “They are so healthy, my doctor told me to eat them!” So we have a tendency to track them less and indulge more; that’s where the danger lies.

But wait a minute! I am not telling you that you should not eat nuts. Far from it! I eat plenty myself, all kinds of nuts and on many occasions. And I recommend you do that too, but what can you do to get all the benefits of nuts without the dangers?

Manage your nuts!

  • Eat nuts instead of other fats, not instead of a cup of fruits! Look at the food you eat every day and see where the fat comes from. When you see saturated fat, think about replacing that food item or part of it with nuts. Eat nuts instead of saturated fats… not on top of them! If you need help identifying saturated fats in your life, shoot me an email, I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.
  • Don’t leave the nuts visible on your countertop. Unless they are not very appealing to you, you don’t want to be tempted nonstop by a jar full of cashews or pine nuts. Store them away in your pantry. If you love them, you will remember to eat them. But make sure you cannot just grab a handful every time you enter your kitchen, it would be a weight loss killer. If you need more tips on how to arrange your kitchen so that it’s supporting you in your health goals, I strongly encourage you to read my blog post “Turn your kitchen into a weight loss lab“.
  • yogurt with fruit and nutsPre-measure and stick with your portions. Decide on a serving size (for instance, 20 almonds) and ALWAYS stick to that serving size. Measure and put your stash away before you start eating your nuts. If you want more, that’s fine, come back and get a second serving (and don’t feel bad about it!). But don’t just dig your hand in the jar full of nuts. Measure, one serving, EVERY SINGLE TIME. Better yet, before each serving, drink a cup of water. This way you will also get the full benefit of all the fibers in your nuts and your stomach will end up being full much faster.
  • Try to choose whole plain (not blanched) nuts, roasted or not. Unless that’s all you like, avoid nuts that are covered in chocolate or in a sweet mix. Ideally, pick them in their shell, so that you eat them more slowly. This way you will eat one nut at a time rather than a handful at once. Remember, the more work it is to eat them, the less you will eat at once. It’s a simple trick but it works every time and it can make a huge difference calorie wise.
  • If you don’t eat much fat or have no saturated fat you can eliminate from your diet (because don’t forget, you NEED fat!), then make sure that when you eat nuts, you are eating a bit less of all the other high-calorie foods in your life. For instance, eat a bit less dairy, a bit less meat, a bit less bread, or maybe drink a bit less alcohol (beer, wine, liquor). Don’t substitute; just eat or drink smaller portions so that the nuts don’t come on top of everything else. Remember: the add-on item is not a free item :-).
  • If you eat peanut butter or almond butter, don’t forget to include that as part of your nut intake. It usually takes less than 2 TBSP of nut butter to get the same nutrients as with 1 oz of nuts. So don’t just dismiss the butter, because that adds up as well.
  • Finally, pick the nuts you really enjoy. Don’t eat anything and everything. Only eat your favorite nuts. Try them all and eat the ones that give you the most pleasure. Nuts are high calorie and high fat, so they should also be high reward for you, otherwise, it’s not worth it!

So you see, I am with everybody else in saying that nuts are good for you. But they are so good for you that they can be tricky to manage. Yet, as is often the case, just being mindful of what you eat and when you eat it will help you keep things under control. Follow the tips above, I know you can do it!

That’s it!

If nuts are already a part of your diet or if you are struggling with them a little, email me, I’d be happy to hear from you! And don’t forget to share your own tips or remarks in the comments section, because together, we are healthier!

Of course, if you feel that you need a little more help with nutrition knowledge and food choices, contact me or make an appointment for a FREE 20-minute consultation. I’ll be honored to chat with you and see how you can stack all the odds in your favor. Allons-y! Let’s Go!


PLEASE REMEMBER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND I DON’T KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2017 Allons-y Coaching, LLC – Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.