BLOG | Healthy Lifestyle | Allons-y Coaching | Health Coach, West Seattle

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.

What is the best workout?

You have decided that this year will be THE year you get in shape. Yes! I hope you find inspiration and support in my New Year’s Resolutions Series. Now, if part of your plan is to become more active (it’s often a good idea!), you might wonder what workout will guarantee the best results.

There is so much to choose from! Some people tell you to do cardio, others only swear by strength training. New trendy workouts are popping up everywhere, such as HIIT, the High-Intensity Interval Training.

So, which workout is best for you?

Let me give you the 4 most important characteristics of your ideal workout.

Health Coach Stella Loichot working out with healthy and happy client along the beach

1. Best workout = a workout you enjoy

Ideally, the workout you choose makes you happy while you do it. It seems pretty obvious, but actually, if you look at what most people do for exercise, this is a criterion that doesn’t very often come into the equation. Yet, it is probably the most important!

Think about it: if exercising makes you happy, just like laying down on the beach, meeting your friends for happy hour, or going to the movies, there is a good chance you will stick with it for the rest of your life. But if you dread it, the more you’ll work out, the more miserable you’ll be, and eventually, you will quit.

2. A workout with measurable outcomes

Sometimes, the workout itself is not highly enjoyable but there is something about it that you truly appreciate. Maybe it’s the way you feel when you are done. Maybe it’s the image it gives of yourself. Maybe it’s the people you are doing it with, whom you otherwise never get to see. Maybe it’s your only chance to be outdoors, or alone, or to listen to music… Whatever it is for you, there MUST be something specific you look forward to or gain from your workout, otherwise, this workout is definitely not the best for you.

3. A low-maintenance workout

By low-maintenance, I mean a workout that does not require too much of the resources you don’t have.

Let’s say you are super busy and time is your most scarce resource. You have to make sure that your workout is not time-consuming. Otherwise, you will always find reasons not to fit it in your busy schedule, and even when you make room for exercise, you will always feel that maybe you should be using your time for something else, something “more important”.

If money is the thing you are lacking and you pick a workout that’s not free or super cheap, there will be times when you won’t be able to afford exercising. And when you can afford it, you will feel guilty that you are not spending your money elsewhere.

Time and money are often the things we struggle the most with, but maybe your case is different. Whatever it is that you don’t have much of, just make sure that you pick a workout that doesn’t make you resentful, and doesn’t make you second guess yourself every time you exercise.

4. A workout that you don’t call “workout”

Ideally, you will want to workout without knowing you are working out. Whether you call it “commute”, or “fun with friends”, or “playing with the kids”, or “walking the dog”, if you do the things that you have to do in life or that you WANT to do in life, and those things are actually a good workout, bingo! You will end up living an active life naturally. Physical activity will be a given, you won’t have to worry about carving time for the gym or for a run. You will become “unconsciously” active, which, research has shown, is the best way to live a healthy life.

Your next step to be more active

Now go for a walk and start thinking about the ideal workout plan for yourself. Try to find many different ways to be active. Make sure your plan looks like your investment portfolio. Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket. This way, when your gym closes, or your financial situation changes, or you lose a workout buddy, your whole plan will not fall apart. You will just have to patch one area.

And of course, make sure you ease into it and don’t injure yourself. The goal is to stick with it, remember 🙂

Now be creative and if you need ideas, let me know. I am here to help and answer questions, don’t hesitate, shoot me an email or schedule a 20-minute FREE call!

 


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.

I ate crap and skipped my workout: what do I do now?

The end of January is approaching and we have been working hard on keeping our good resolutions to live a healthier life. Now, for some of us it has happened already, and for others, it will happen soon: WE SLIP. We are not robots, our plans are not perfectly designed, and as a result, we trip, we lapse, we screw up.

One bad decision is nothing to be concerned about!

Yet, what we need to focus on, is how we react to our slip-ups. For many of us, even the slightest deviation from our line of conduct is actually a huge deal, because this is the open door to giving up altogether. And that is the beginning of the end of your healthy life.

Traffic light to illustrate diet slip-ups

Let me take you on a short trip

Imagine you are driving home from work. It’s getting dark, you had a tough day, you are distracted, and before you know it, you run a red light. Fortunately, nothing happens. Just a few angry drivers honking and yelling at you. Oops, that’s embarrassing. Now, what do you do? Do you sigh in frustration and give up on paying attention to red lights for the rest of the week? And while you are at it, do you also quit using your signals and start speeding in residential streets? Of course not! You slow down, and you make sure to pay extra attention until you get home safely and without hurting anyone.

Healthy does not mean perfect

So let me ask you. Why, when we forget to drink our water, eat our veggies, when we skip a workout, or when we devour a bag of chips, why on earth, do we take this as the opportunity to just quit doing the right thing for a day, or for a week, or until the next year? When we read the driving example, we see how little sense that makes, right? Not being perfect, or not doing things perfectly, is NOT a good enough reason to stop trying to improve.

I won’t go into the why and how of human behavior here, but please, next time you trip-up on one of your goals, next time you are far from perfect, think about yourself as a driver and remember that the mistakes we make don’t define the course of our actions. Instead of quitting, just be extra careful for the following hours, to make sure you don’t lose your footing again that day.

Use slip-ups to adjust your goals

The only time you should start paying more attention to your “faux pas” is when you make the same mistake, again and again. It might be because your wellness program is not right for you, your personality, your needs, or your schedule. If your plan is to workout 3 times a week and every single week, you skip 2 workouts, then maybe you should reconsider your goals. But if your slip-ups are occasional, if you know your target is right for you, don’t view your deviations as an open door to quitting.

Now go with this in mind… and please, drive safely! 😉

 


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.

Don’t rely on healthy decisions

Imagine that every morning, you had to decide whether or not to get out of bed, and whether or not to go to work. Wouldn’t you spend an hour under the covers bargaining with yourself, and more often than not, go back to sleep? Imagine that every day you had to weigh the pros and cons of dental hygiene. Would you brush your teeth as often as you currently do? Probably not! Most of what we do in our daily lives is actually defined by rules that were established for us or that we have established for ourselves. But what about healthy decisions?Hands tearing paper with pros and cons. Healthy decisions are hard

You CAN’T make healthy decisions all the time!

The problem for most of us when we commit to eating healthier or being more active, is that we have fantastic goals, and a pretty good idea of how to reach them. Yet when it comes to putting everything into practice, we make the huge mistake of relying on good decision making and self-control. We can make good decisions quite often, but not all the time, and even if we could, it would be draining. We have self-control most of the time, but not all the time, and again, it’s exhausting.

If you want to stick to your new year’s resolutions in 2018, you have to make your new behaviors what I would call “no-brainers”. You have to remove the decision making from your daily life, so that you can free up your brain and not get consumed by your new lifestyle. You have probably experienced this: when you go on a diet, all you think about all day long is food! This is tolerable for a week or two, but who can handle it for much longer?

Set your health into “auto-pilot”

How can you do things differently? It’s easy! You have to set up rules for yourself and for the new behaviors that you are trying to adopt. There is a “rule” that tells you to go to work 5 days a week, that’s how it is, you don’t have to think about it. You might complain sometimes and it does not mean that it’s easy every single day, but it’s a no-brainer, you HAVE to go to work.

Blackboard with "Time for Change" written in white chalk

Do the same with your new lifestyle. Take 30 minutes tonight and establish a few rules for weeks to come. Not too many rules, not too harsh, and not too complicated to remember. Make sure those rules make sense TO YOU. They don’t have to make sense to anyone else! Write them down and if you need sticky notes all over your house/car/desk, go ahead. The idea is to make a decision now, so that your brain does not get a chance to negotiate later on.

Rules that work for me

Over the years, I have implemented many rules for myself, because I find the internal debate exhausting, and I know for a fact that at least 50% of the time, I’ll end up making the decision that’s the easiest, rather than the best for me. Some of my rules are:
– No taking the elevator unless I go higher than 15 floors or can’t find the stairs.
– No driving if the distance is under 1.5 mile.
– No store-bought sweets unless they have been made by an independent baker (exception made for the Starbucks Lemon Pound cake, don’t ask me why!).
– No latte unless I am getting coffee with a friend.

As you can see, those rules have nothing to do with USDA recommendations. They are completely random but they help ME reach my wellness goals, year after year. They are easy to remember, easy for me to follow. They don’t require much self-control or will-power anymore. The key is: it’s my rule, I follow it.

Get to work NOW, relax later

Find your own rules. Start with 1 or 2 and make sure they are not too hard to follow. They will evolve with time and you can get tougher when you are ready. Remember, we talk about this in last week’s article: don’t deprive yourself!

Let me know if you need suggestions or if you want some help on how to define the best rules. To make it even easier for yourself, find rules that you can have in common with someone else. Share this article with your friends and see if you can set up something with a buddy. Being accountable makes the room for compromise even tinier.

You can do this. Trust yourself. 2018 will be the year you stick with your healthy resolutions

It will be easier if you do it with a buddy! Share this article and get a friend on board!

 


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.

You want to lose weight? Start eating more!

Of the good stuff, that is…

It’s January. You have decided to lose weight again. Remember, you had the same new year’s resolution last year! There is one thing you can do that will make all the difference this year. It won’t cost you a penny and it won’t make you sweat. Just read on…

Why we fail at losing weight

If we proceed as usual, here is what most of us will do this January. We’ll stop eating the foods we enjoy (because they are supposedly not healthy) and we’ll go on a strict diet to make sure we drop pounds quickly. There is a good chance we’ll get the feeling that we are doing the right thing, because it will be HARD! We’ll get a sense of pride and achievement. Very rewarding! Not to mention encouraging numbers on the scale. At first anyway… Until we get stressed at work, or too tired, or it’s our birthday, or it’s raining outside. Then we will take a break, try again, give up altogether. When will we try again? Next Monday? Next summer? Maybe next year? We will keep trying, we will keep failing, and we will keep looking for a solution.

Lady upset and discouraged because she cannot lose weight

Guts and brain can easily be trained

Let’s do things differently this year. Let’s stop focusing solely on eliminating what’s unhealthy for us. We need to start focusing more on adding what we know is healthy. If we add plenty of healthy low-calorie foods to our day, we will naturally end up reducing the amount of junk food we eat. We won’t really notice, but it will happen. First, because we will be less hungry. And second, because little by little, our body will get trained to appreciate better foods.

Our body and guts get used to what we give them. We just have to train them. It takes a couple of weeks to feel the difference. Many of my clients thought they would never like veggies, and yet, now, they crave them! I received a text one night from a client who had just “caught herself” grabbing a handful of raw spinach in the fridge. She could not believe it! But I wasn’t surprised. That’s how our body works. Give your body more of the right stuff and it will start asking for it. By the way, it works with children too :-).

How to eat more of the good stuff?

Here are some ideas to add some “healthy” into your day:
– add a bowl of homemade soup to your day (if not homemade, make sure there is no added sugar in it and it’s low sodium)
– at every meal, fill up half of your plate with lettuce or green veggies, and eat that green half first
– drink a large glass of water when you get up in the morning, and before each meal or snack
– eat a cup of plain yogurt each day (with fruits, or with low-sugar granola, or with a banana, nuts, and raisins)
– snack on an apple before bed every night
– eat one orange for breakfast every morning (on top of what you usually eat for breakfast)
– have hard-boiled eggs handy in your fridge for a snack

Those are just a few examples. I can give you many more if you want; just shoot me an email.

Find ways to remember

Now be careful! The fact that those healthy “add-on’s” don’t require much will-power, makes them easy to forget. When you decide to eliminate all sweets from your life, it’s pretty much all you can think of, because you are starving and frustrated. But when you decide to eat an apple every night, you might just forget about it because it’s not that big of a deal. So make sure you track your new healthy habits, in your planner, in a spreadsheet or with an app… Whatever you prefer. Visualizing your goals every day will keep your good resolutions from falling off your radar.

Health Coach Fitness Goal Tracking Spreadsheet with mug of coffee

Not only will the tracking allow you to stay focused, but it will also provide you a sense of achievement, despite the lack of “real” challenge.

Don’t add too much to your tracking chart at first. Otherwise, there won’t be room left for the food you really enjoy, and you will be back to square one, deprived and frustrated. It’s best to start with 2 or 3 items, and once they are part of your daily routine, add a couple more, and so on. Until one day, you will look back and realize that your day and your stomach have very little room left for junk 🙂

Don’t do it alone!

For tips and weekly challenges to help you in your wellness journey, like my Facebook page and follow this blog. And if you need more support to establish a healthier lifestyle, contact me. We will see what would be the best way for you to succeed.

 


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.