Weight Loss Archives | Allons-y Coaching
Category Archives for "Weight Loss"

You can’t eat healthy if you don’t do this

If you have just been diagnosed with PreDiabetes, chances are your Doctor told you to "eat healthy" and "be more active". We are just going to focus on the "eat healthy" part in this blog post and we will even assume that you know what "eating healthy" means. Which honestly is not necessarily that case, but we can come back to this topic in another article. Hint: eating healthy doesn't mean the same thing to you, your neighbor, your doctor, or me.

Couple cooking in a kitchen they enjoy

Now let's say you know what eating healthy looks like for you. If you want to stick to your healthy eating plan, the most important thing you have to to is to make sure that your environment is promoting the healthy habits you want to implement. Otherwise, I can promise you, you will fail. 

This is where most of us go wrong when trying to adopt healthy eating habit: we focus on ourselves and we try to change what we do and who we are, instead of focusing on what is around us and changing our environment.

Are you relying on Self-Control to be healthy?

One of the worst mistakes you can make, when trying to lose weight, is to think that you can rely on self-control. Don’t get me wrong. I know you are strong, and I know you are dedicated. That’s not the question. I know that once you set up your mind to do something, you follow through, until… well... until it’s just unbearable and you can’t do it anymore! I know… I am the same. Most of us are!

Self-control is like a muscle.

Self-control can be trained and strengthened, but it also gets tired.

You might have noticed how usually in the morning, we don’t eat crap, we drink our water, we are patient with the kids... And as the day goes by, we start snacking, we get more easily frustrated, and we find excuses for all the things we don't want to do. We become tired, and so does our willpower. As the day goes by, it gets harder and harder to resist temptation. And in case you are wondering, no, that’s not being weak! That’s not giving up! It’s just being human, that’s how it works. If we hike for 5 hours, do we expect to be full of energy at the end of the day? No, we don’t! At least, most of us don’t… So if we consciously make good choices all day long, why would our self-control remain strong and intact? It gets tired, just like our body does.

That’s why we have to rely as little as possible on self-control when trying to lose weight. We have to tweak our environment so that bad choices are not even an option.

Make sure your environment forces you to be healthy

What does that mean? Well, it means that if you are trying to eat healthier, you really have to look at all the opportunities lying around for poor eating. Are there places in your life that promote unhealthy snacking for instance? Thing about your car, your desk, the break-room at work, your game room, your pantry, even the night stand by your bed. What's in your workout bag? What's in your purse?  Look around and question everything. And of course, don't forget your kitchen!

Your kitchen is full of traps

Our kitchen is often the most “dangerous” place when we embark on a weight loss journey. This is where food is stored, this is where food is prepared (or at least reheated). And for many of us, this is where food is eaten.

So if you have decided to eat healthier, either to reverse PreDiabetes, to lose weight, or just because you realize that aging won't be as smooth if you keep eating the way you eat, start by reorganizing you kitchen to make sure it's not constantly tempting you into eating the stuff you know you shouldn't eat too much of. 

Not sure where to start?

If you feel that you need some help to get started, apply for a FREE Healthy Lifestyle Kick-Off Session.  If I feel that I can help you, I’ll be happy to chat with you for 30 minutes and see how you can stack all the odds in your favor. Allons-y! Let’s Go!


None of my content is intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any illness or disease. The information provided on this website is not intended to take the place of advice from your medical professional, licensed dietitian, or nutritionist. You are solely responsible for your health care and activity choices.

Should I eat when I am hungry?

No! Don’t trust your stomach! Yes, you read that right: don’t trust your appetite, it’s not reliable!

We all know that the feelings of “hunger” we have are not always due to our body needing food. Sometimes, we feel hungry because we are bored, stressed, emotional, happy, pissed, or lost… You name it! Sometimes we could devour the entire planet just because it is that time of the month (hey ladies, I am talking to you here!). Not to mention all the occasions when we feel hungry just because there is something to be “hungry for”. You know, you had lunch an hour ago, you are walking down the mall, and all of a sudden, this delicious cinnamon roll smells attacks you; you start feeling your stomach growling, but is that really hunger?

Confused woman: not knowing if she should eat or not

It is hard to know whether we are hungry or just feeling like eating something tasty.

And that’s the tricky part. It is very hard to differentiate between being really hungry and just “wanting to eat”. So my advice to you for the holidays is: don’t even try to tell those two apart. You will end up exhausted because, during the holidays, we get so many more opportunities to wonder “Am I really hungry?”.

Rely on your tested eating habits

The point here is to keep up the wellness efforts that we have all been making for a while already. We are not trying to set up new goals, bump up our ambitions, or even start working on implementing a new lifestyle. We are talking about maintaining our current efforts and not falling off the wagon during the holidays.

If you want to STAY healthy and happy during the holiday season and avoid some stress and extra pounds, don’t let your stomach rule the game. Instead, rely on the eating routines that you depend on the rest of the year. When you think about the busy days to come, look at where your meals usually fit into your schedule and make sure you organize your day with those meal times in mind. Plan to bring healthy snacks with you, or even full meals such as a thermos of soup, a good homemade sandwich, whatever makes you happy and satisfied.

Don’t try to skip meals thinking that it’s going to save you some calories for later. This strategy always ends up backfiring. Just stick to what you have been doing so far when it comes to your meals. If you are used to having 2 or 3 meals a day, keep doing just that. If you are used to having 2 snacks per day, keep your 2 snacks. Maybe they will be more festive and rich: a cupcake instead of an apple, or a Christmas feast instead of a Caesar salad. Yet by sticking to your routines, you will greatly limit the amount of unwanted food you ingest. Plus, you will reduce all the debating, the “should I/shouldn’t I” that not only is draining emotionally, but also keeps you from fully enjoying the food you are eating.

Are you an intuitive eater?

Oh, wait, someone tells me “I trust my stomach all year long, that’s my routine, that’s what keeps me healthy”. Maybe you are super good at it. Then you probably don’t even have an issue with indulgences and cravings over the holidays. Lucky you! But maybe you have been working hard on intuitive eating and are worried that you won’t keep it up over the holidays. If that’s the case, take a few days before the holidays to record your food intake and look at the pattern that comes from this. It will give you a good idea of when you are really hungry. Once the holiday season kicks in and temptations are coming at you like bullets, you will have something to refer to when differentiating between real hunger and temptation.

Prepare now for healthy holidays!

Sit back for a minute, and try to get a good picture of what your eating routines are right now. Write it down on a piece of paper and put it in your purse. Keep those routines in mind. And if you think you are hungry 15 times a day visiting booths at the Christmas Market, remember: most of us cannot trust our appetite, especially at a time of high stress and temptations like the holiday season.

If you want more tips like this before the holidays, you should like my Facebook Page. You can also follow me on Instagram. And if you think this article can be helpful to someone you know, share with them! Because together, we are healthier 🙂

As always, if you feel that you need a bit of extra help figuring out what to do and how to do it, 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!



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

How to handle Halloween candy

How we eat during the first holiday of the season will often determine how we handle Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. That’s why it is so important to start this season off right and set a good example for ourselves. If we don’t stop the Halloween candy madness this year, we know it will just slide downhill as the season goes on.

10 Tips to Stay in Control this Halloween

Read 10 simple tips below and make this Halloween a different one. A fun one, a sweet one, and yet, a memorable one: this year, YOU will be in control, not the candy.

Halloween trick or treater with her candy

1/ Procrastinate

Halloween is on October 31st, not as soon as the bulk bags of Kit Kats and Milky Ways start popping up in the aisles. Wait until the very last minute to buy those bags of candy. Stop by the store after school, or after work on Halloween night. Chances are, you will get a discount, save money, and will-power! And since you didn’t buy your candy two weeks ago, you and your family didn’t get a chance to get into the bag and eat it all before the special night. So you won’t have to spend extra money to go buy more.

Be careful not to fall for the “buy 4 get the 5th bag free” trap though, or to buy your candy for next year because “it is such a great deal”. We all know where that would take you: most likely not to where you want to go!

2/ Only Buy What You Need

You’re not a rookie. You had trick-or-treaters for a while now. No, there won’t be 280 kids visiting your house, so no, you don’t need 10 lbs of candy. If you used 3 bags of candy last year, buy 3 bags this year too. Now I know, you might be tempted to buy extra, “just in case”. No one wants to be the house that turns off the lights at 7:30 pm, I get it! So distribute the candy smartly throughout the night and that won’t happen. Kids want candy, yes, but they don’t need an armful of them from every household!
Deep inside, we are all hoping for leftover candy after Halloween. But save ‘future you’ some trouble, and don’t buy more than you will hand out. Candy isn’t helping your wellness goals, and there’s no way around that.

3/ One Bag at a Time

When trick-or-treaters start knocking at your door, empty one bag of candy into your bowl. Not two, not three. One is enough. When it’s gone, you can open the next one. If you want to offer a nice variety, then buy a variety bag in the first place! If you open all the bags at once and you have leftovers, we all know what will end up happening. But if leftovers are in an unopened bag, you can return it and get your money back and you won’t be tempted to eat it! You can also donate extra candy to organizations such as Soldiers Angels for our troops. On a side note, I think it might be better not to donate Halloween candy to food banks and shelters. I might be wrong though. People who are struggling to get around food are also trying to stay healthy. Yet, they are receiving sugar goods more often than not, so it might be better to donate canned vegetables, beans, and other healthy foods to them.

4/ Buy Candy you Don’t Like

It’s not mean, it’s not selfish, and it’s not because you don’t like a type of candy that others dislike it as well. There is no need for you to buy all of your favorite sweets and spend the entire night trying to resist eating them. Pick the treat that doesn’t tempt you and go with that! Kids generally love everything with sugar, and they won’t be too picky when it comes to Halloween candy. This is something to keep in mind when trying to manage your weight. The idea is not to “be good and strong,” it is to make sure your environment is not tempting you in the first place. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Make your life easier for yourself!

5/ Buys toys instead of Candy

Do you love all sweets, no matter what? You can’t resist anything with sugar? That’s okay too! In that case, buy toys for the kids instead. They will be thrilled! Plus, it’s a great opportunity to get creative with Halloween. You can buy stickers, key chains, glow sticks, silly putty, bouncy balls… Ask your children to help you come up with ideas! As long as you don’t give out carrot sticks and raisins, anything that your kids approve of will work, and make your night much easier.

6/ Strike a Deal

OK, so you have been handing out candy all night and are quite satisfied with yourself. Now your kids are coming home with their bags full of your favorite sweets. Tough!!! You want to indulge? Of course? There are ways to make it controlled so that you don’t ruin your healthy streak.

In my house, I have a deal with my little one: she gives me all of her Kit-Kats (she is very generous!). I eat as many as I want on the night of Halloween, and after that, that’s it! So I usually eat them all at once (yep, that’s me!), feel a little nauseous but very content, and then go right back to my normal habits. That’s what works for me. Try to find a deal that works for you! Don’t try to implement a “no candy policy”, but don’t let yourself binge every day for two weeks either. Make a plan and stick to it. Find something that is an improvement compared to usual, so that you feel proud and good about yourself for the rest of the season. But make sure it’s also satisfying, because you want to look forward to Halloween, not dread it.

7/ Chew Gum

Fish chewing gum and blowing a bubbleIf your kids spend hours and hours sorting their candy, trading, negotiating, organizing, and the whole process is excruciating for you, chew some gum. It’s hard to eat anything while chewing gum, and you can try lots of sweet candy-like flavors that are sugar-free!

8/ Throw Away as Much Candy as You Can

The easiest way to resist temptation is to eliminate temptation. So right after Halloween, get rid of as much candy as you can. I will let you negotiate with your own children and see what kind of deal you can strike.
With the candy that’s left, have the kids hide them, or if the kids are also struggling with self-control, have a spouse hide them. Be upfront with what you are dealing with. Trying to fight your demons on your own is the best way to lose the battle. Putting pressure on yourself by going public and getting help from your loved ones is an amazing way to stick to your goals.

9/ Let your kid be the boss

You rule the house most of the time, right? So for once, let the kids be the boss of you! Once your kids know what you are trying to do (stay away from the candy) they will be more than happy to keep you in check. For once, they will be the ones saying “NO!” and they might really enjoy that shift of power. Plus, sometimes, they will see how hard it is to be the bad cop. They will realize that when they say no to you, you get pissed off, you try to negotiate, you insist… and they really wish they could give you candy to please you. It might be a great learning opportunity for them, depending on their age.

What is YOUR plan for Halloween?

You have some tips, now what are you going to do with them? If you want this year to be a different one, you have to make a plan. Here is how you do it.

First, ask yourself what you are trying to achieve. Look back and think about what WILL happen if you let things go as usual. Then, think about what you would like to see happen ideally. You now have the worst case scenario and the best case scenario. Find a compromise somewhere in the middle and settle for that. Then, make a plan using the tips above as well as your own strategies, and talk to your family to make sure they help you stick to that middle-ground solution.

If you feel that you won’t be able to make it, send me an email or book a FREE 20-minute phone call and let’s brainstorm! Sometimes, it does not take much to get started on the right path.

The ultimate trick: #10

No matter what, there is one thing you should never forget. Whatever you love, don’t feel guilty for it! Whether you wish you could binge on chocolate or eat a bag of candy corn every day, whatever you wish is perfectly fine. It doesn’t mean you can indulge overtly, because it would keep you from reaching your wellness goals, but please, stop feeling bad for what you crave. There is no shame in loving unhealthy food, and for wanting a lot of it!!!


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

How dare you sleep?

Do you feel guilty when work or kids get in the way of your healthy eating? For instance, when you have a “heavy” lunch with clients, work overtime and skip dinner, or finish your kids’ leftovers? If you are like most people who are trying to “eat better”, chances are yes, you DO feel guilty when life events keep you from making healthy choices.

I am not saying that guilt is a good thing. I personally feel that we should feel responsible, but not guilty. But we won’t go there today, it will be a topic for another blog post.

Fingers pointing to express guilt feeling when not eating healthy or not working out

What about exercise? Do you feel guilty when you have to skip a workout because of work, kids, or whatever life is throwing at you that day? Again, I am pretty sure that you DO feel guilty in those instances, at least most of the time.

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Double standard

Now tell me: do you feel guilty when you wake up 3 times at night because your kids have nightmares? Do you feel guilty when you set your alarm at 4 am because you have an early conference call? Do you feel guilty when you are sleep deprived because you travel for business? My guess is that you DON’T feel guilty in those situations. I might be wrong of course, but from what I have seen and heard from my clients, most of us plainly and simply don’t take responsibility for our poor sleep.

We blame ourselves for our imperfect choices when it comes to food and physical activity, but when it comes to sleep deprivation, we think of ourselves as the victims.

As a society, when someone tells us that they “can’t resist” the donuts at work every morning, we tend to think that they have no will-power. When someone tells us that they “have to” answer emails at 10 pm each night because it’s corporate culture, we have compassion. Yet actually, where is the difference? Why such double standards?

When it comes to sleep, we feel powerless.

It even goes further than that. We live in a society where sleep deprivation is considered a good reason for bragging.

“Hell is other people”

That’s not me saying that of course. That’s Jean-Paul Sartre.

It is true that when we don’t sleep well or when we don’t sleep enough, it’s often because of external factors: kids, work, a snoring spouse, hot weather, stressful events, etc.

Yet, if you think about it, all those factors that affect how we sleep, they actually also affect our exercise routine and our eating behavior (maybe not the snoring spouse!). Yet, because we feel empowered with our nutrition and physical activity, we adjust to those obstacles, we control them, and we don’t give up our goals because of them.

If you want to eat vegetables and your kid throws a tantrum because they don’t like veggies, will you just give up and not eat vegetables for the next 16 years? No! You’ll find ways around it, right?

It’s the same thing with work. If you have to work overtime for 2 weeks and can’t take a lunch break, you will figure out a way to bring healthy lunch boxes so that you can eat at your desk. You will adjust and make sure that you keep eating healthy because it is your priority. And you will do the same with exercise.

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Sleep is like food and workout

If you want to sleep well, you have to start thinking the same way about sleep than you think about nutrition and workout. You have to realize that YOU are in charge of your sleep; YOU have the power to make your nights better.

If sleep is a priority of yours, you cannot let others decide how you sleep, when you sleep, and how long you sleep.

Poster with sleeping cat and note saying "dont bother me I am sleeping"

5 years ago, I had absolutely no control over my nights. I am a very light sleeper and need perfect conditions to fall asleep. In a nutshell, I am a pain when it comes to sleeping, my husband and kids can testify! Yet, despite all that, I have been able to change my surroundings, educate my family, eliminate tensions, and develop many strategies that now allow me to sleep as much as I need. And I can tell you, I need A LOT of sleep! I never thought that it would one day be possible!

No sleep = no weight loss

But wait a minute! Why does sleep even matter? I won’t get into the details in this article, but there is one thing you should know. If you are eating well and moving well, but not sleeping enough, you won’t lose weight. It’s that simple.

That’s why sleep goes hand in hand with weight loss. That’s why I spend a lot of time giving workshops about sleep in the Seattle area, to make sure people stop struggling with diets and crazy workouts, and instead, start focusing more on their sleep.

So please, if your goal is to improve your overall health and lose weight, think about it. Just like you have power over your nutrition and your exercise routine, YOU are in charge of your sleep. And just like with food and workout, if you start making small improvements in your sleep routine, you will be able to build on your successes and you will soon feel completely empowered. When it comes to sleep too, YOU are the boss, you are not a victim.

It’s an entire culture of sleep deprivation that we have to change. It starts with you feeling proud of taking care of your sleep, rather than feeling guilty for sleeping in. You can do it! Allons-y! Let’s go!

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25 Tips to Sleep Better

If you need help establishing healthy sleeping habits, reach out to me or check out my Stress Management & Sleep Program.

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You can also download 25 Tips for Better Sleep (and a bonus!) and get started right away!

Not sure what to do and where to start?  Contact me via email or book a FREE 20-minute phone call. We will get you unstuck!

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

Best and worst beverages for your health

When it comes to beverages, the most common mistakes we make are the following:

  • We don’t drink enough WATER: if you drink less than 6 cups per day, there is a good chance you are not getting enough.
  • We don’t know what’s in our drinks: ingredients, sugar, calories.
  • We drink mindlessly: while driving, walking, working, etc.
  • We don’t take drinks into consideration when evaluating our nutritional intake: we end up swallowing plenty of unnecessary energy, which, of course, will be stored as fat!

Starting from those observations, how can we improve?

What’s the best beverage for our body?

Well, it’s pretty straightforward. The best beverage for our health is water. No coconut water, no vitamin water, no electrolyte water, just plain tap water (unless your water system has been contaminated and in that case, you might consider bottled water).

Clear healthy tap water running from faucet

We all have different needs when it comes to water, depending on our age, gender, level of physical activity, the amount of water we get from our food, the climate we live in, etc. I won’t tell you how much water you need to drink, because it’s very specific to each person. Yet, if you have no clue what a reasonable amount of water is for you, you can start with the following plan:

  • a cup of water right when you wake up;
  • some water after every bathroom break;
  • some water before each meal;
  • a bit of water before you go to bed.

This should amount to about 6 to 8 cups per day. Of course, if you are thirsty in-between, drink! Thirst is a great indicator that you are not getting enough water :-). And if you workout, drink extra water too!

If you are still in doubt, here is another way to assess your hydration level. If you pee almost clear, you probably drink too much water. If you pee dark yellow, you are not drinking enough water. Yep, it’s that easy! No need to get all fancy, scientific, and complicated!

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Which beverage is the worst for our health?

Some will tell you it’s coffee, others will tell you it’s soda, and many will tell you it’s alcohol. In my opinion, the worst beverage is the one you are drinking mindlessly. Out of habit, without enjoying it, and without being aware of what you are actually gulping down.


I would like to give you just a little more information about soft drinks. If you take a look at the food label on your favorite pop cans, you might notice that many of them contain added fructose. Natural fructose, which you find in fruit, is good for you. But added fructose is very damaging to your liver. Regular consumption of fructose-containing beverages is a cause of fatty liver in patients without risk factors, according to a study published in the US National Library of Medicine. Considering that fatty liver is the second leading indication for liver transplantation in the US, it is quite scary, isn’t it?

Surgeons doing surgery on patient with fatty liver

I am not saying that soda is the worst beverage for your health (although, you would not have to tickle me much to have me confess!), but please, if you drink pops regularly, make sure you are really enjoying every single sip, because your body is paying quite a high price for this small pleasure.

Also, here is a word of caution regarding diet sodas. Their calorie content is very low or negligible. Yet, because they are very sweet, they don’t quench your thirst, they make you crave sugar, and they even make you eat more food. So don’t try to replace your regular pop with diet soda. It might help a bit, but not that much in the long term.

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I won’t demonize alcohol. Yet, I have seen clients struggling with weight loss because they are sleep deprived (yes, it’s linked!). They don’t always realize that their poor sleep is due to the couple of drinks they have at night. If you are having trouble sleeping through the night despite the fact that you are old enough to read those lines, alcohol might be a reason.

Alcohol makes you drowsy, so you might fall asleep better when you drink a glass or 2 at night. But, alcohol has a strong side effect: it is dehydrating. As a result, you will want to get up at night to pee. A good reason to wake up! Plus, you will be thirsty, so you will also want to get up to get a glass of water or you will be very uncomfortable with a dry mouth and maybe a headache. Chances are, you will wake up before your alarm gets off. Not to mention that once the “depressant” effect of alcohol is gone, you will have a sudden burst of energy and awareness, which will make you very likely to wake up during the night, no matter what.

Man suffering from headache because of alcohol consumption

Alcohol also aggravates breathing problems such as snoring, and it interferes with the most restorative stages of sleep. So when you drink alcohol before going to bed, you won’t feel as rested the next day and even feel groggy.

So, if you are having trouble sleeping, keep an eye on your alcohol consumption. By the way, if sleep is an issue for you, you might want to read my article “Why can’t I sleep well anymore?” and download 25 Tips to Sleep Better (and a Bonus!). You can also take a super quick SLEEP QUIZ to find out whether or not you are sleep deprived and what you can do about it.

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Whatever you drink, make it count!

If an average person needs about 2200 calories per day from food and beverages. That’s about 700 calories per meal if you have 3 meals per day, right? Did you know that a Starbucks Caffe Vanilla Frappuccino can contain up to 530 calories? 12 oz of apple juice contain about 180 calories, even more than 12 oz of beer.

I am usually not a fan of calorie counting, far from it! But if you know approximately how many calories are in the beverages you consume on a regular basis, it might be a wake-up call. And maybe you will decide to eliminate a couple here and there, you know, the ones that are not quite “worth it”!

Here is the thing with drinks. We have a tendency to wolf them down without really noticing and without getting much pleasure from them. Yet, drink 2 beers tonight and you will swallow the equivalent, calorie wise, of almost half a meal. Maybe that’s what you want? Maybe sharing a beer with someone might be a healthier option.

Evaluate your favorite beverages

Here is what I suggest you do ASAP. List all the beverages you consume regularly and find out their approximate calorie content. Here is a list to help you, with average values:

  • 16 oz hot chocolate: 320
  • 7 oz Gin & Tonic: 200
  • 16 oz latte: 190
  • 12 oz apple juice: 180
  • 12 oz lemonade: 170
  • 12 oz beer: 160
  • 8 oz whole milk: 150
  • 12 oz regular cola: 140
  • 5 oz glass of wine: 120
  • 4 oz Martini: 120
  • 12 oz sports drink: 100
  • 12 oz unsweetened iced tea: 2
  • water: 0
  • sparkling water: 0
  • unsweetened tea: 0
  • black coffee: 0

For more, you can go to USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference

You can also use the Alcohol calorie calculator from the US Department of Health and Human Services. It’s pretty convenient!

Having your own list will help you identify the most “dangerous” drinks. Next time you are about to drink one or the other from your list, ask yourself the following questions first:

  • Am I drinking this because I am thirsty? If the answer is yes, drink WATER!
  • Am I drinking this out of habit? If the answer is yes, could you put a healthier habit in place?
  • Do I really want this drink? Will I enjoy it all?
  • Could I pick a smaller size and still be satisfied?
  • Is this drink worth the calorie content? If yes, could I cut my snack, or maybe skip dessert?
  • Can I replace this drink with one that would be healthier?
  • Can I make this same drink healthier by using slightly different ingredients?
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What can I drink then?

I am not telling you “stop drinking”, “no alcohol!”, “no sodas!”. Although honestly, I am not far from suggesting the latter, sorry! But be aware of their effect on your health and on your weight. Because sometimes, they are not worth it.

Green tea in a cup as a healthy alternative to sweet beverages

Whenever possible, favor the following beverages:

  • water or sparkling water: plain or with a slice of lime or lemon, with slices of cucumber, strawberry, with fresh mint;
  • herbal tea, unsweetened iced or hot tea;
  • black coffee (decaf or not, depending on your sleep!).

If you are hesitating between a cocktail and a glass of wine or a beer, your best bet is often to go for the wine or beer. And stay away from sports drinks, unless your workout is quite intense and lasts an hour or more.

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Want more?

Follow me on Facebook or Instagram for healthy tips and tricks that will make your wellness journey easier and smoother. And if you think this article can be helpful to someone you know, please share! If you’ve read that far, it means that you’ve liked it. Don’t keep it to yourself, that would be quite selfish.

As always, if you feel that you need a bit of extra help figuring out what to do and how to do it, contact me or make an appointment for a FREE 20-minute consultation. I’ll be happy to chat with you and see how you can stack all the odds in your favor. Allons-y! Let’s Go!

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

Positive psychology helps with weight loss

In the media, we talk a lot about positive psychology, and how positive thinking improves our feelings, actions, and success in life. Positive psychology is trendy, and that is a very good thing!

If you don’t know what positive psychology is, let me explain real quick with an image. If you know what it is, skip to the next section “How to think positively?”, where I will show you how a positive psychology strategy that will help you with weight management, fitness, and stress relief.

What is positive psychology?

Our thoughts, when they travel in our brain, create their own trail. We call those trails, pathways. If we have a thought pretty rarely, the trail will stay narrow and rocky (or muddy if you live in Seattle!).

Man having difficulty walking forward on muddy trail

Just like in real life, who would invest in trying to make a trail better if no one is using it, right? If it’s a thought that is coming back to us over and over again though, the trail will become wider, smoother, until it becomes more like a highway. Now, whenever there is an event in our life that can lead to different types of thoughts, which thought do you think is most likely to come up first? A thought that has a muddy trail to travel on, or a thought that has created a highway already? The latter of course!

The idea of positive psychology is that if you intentionally think positive thoughts as often as possible, they will end up creating highways in your brain. As a result, when an event happens, a challenge presents itself, or difficulties arise in your life, positive thinking will be more likely and much faster to occur because positive thoughts will already have highways to travel on, rather than rocky trails to scramble on.

Beautiful road leading to rainbow and happy place

If, on the other hand, you have a tendency to always focus on the negative and be pessimistic, then negative thoughts will have highways to travel on and positive thoughts will only have tiny and difficult trails. Consequently, you will be much more likely to feel depressed, give up on challenges, have low self-confidence, etc.

How to think positively?

One thing you can do to start thinking more positively, is to write down all the positive things that happen to you day after day. What do I mean by positive things? Well, everything that makes you feel good, makes you feel happy, proud, hopeful, excited, etc. And if you are really depressed right now, you can start with everything that does not make you feel too sad. Yes, we all have different standards for happiness, depending on where we are in life and it’s totally OK.

So when you record your positive elements, think about laughing with friends, eating something good, sleeping in, completing a project, watching a sunset, not fighting with your mother, having a smooth commute, anything that brings you some kind of contentment!

Positive journaling

In positive psychology, we encourage patients and clients to use a journal and record, every single day, at least 3 things that went really well that day. And if you have a tendency to focus on the negative, or even to just not pay much attention to the positive, I highly recommend that you try doing this for a few months. Every night, sit down and list 3 things that went well that day or at least did not go wrong. And every morning, sit down and list 3 things that you look forward to. Make sure that you always find NEW items to list, so it doesn’t get repetitive. You need to rack your brains a little! It will require some time, but this type of intentional focus will make a big difference after a while in the way your mind is wired and in the different pathways available to your thoughts.

Positive thinking and weight loss

Now you are wondering what this might have to do with weight loss, stress relief, and exercise. Here we go! If you list all the things that make you happy, bring you joy, or make you feel good, you will be able to get a very long list after a short period of time. Do that for a couple of months, you will be surprised at all the sources of happiness available in your life.

List of source of happiness categorized in groups: stress relief, exercise, healthy, and unhealthyAs you keep adding to your list, categorize your items into 4 groups:

  1. Less stress (anything that you find calming)
  2. More exercise (anything that makes you move)
  3. Healthy (helps you reach your wellness goals but not related to exercise or stress)
  4. “Unhealthy” (doesn’t help you reach your wellness goals)

Having this list of agreeable things will help you organize your new lifestyle. Get used to scheduling as many activities as possible from groups 1, 2, and 3 in your calendar. Sometimes, we don’t really know what to do, we lack inspiration or motivation. Having a list handy is all we need to get moving again! And when you list only contains things that you love doing, what a great resource!!! Now, don’t scratch out category #4 of course! It’s not because you want to establish a healthier lifestyle that you have to quit enjoying all the pleasures that don’t help you reach your goals. Just be mindful. Spread those activities out, make sure they are not your main source of happiness.

Are your kids bored sometimes?

If you have children and they are sometimes bored, I would encourage you to teach them how to do this as well. Not the categorizing part, but the initial listing part. Have them list all the little things that they enjoy doing. When the weather is bad, their friends are out of town, or the WIFI is down, they can take their list out and find something to do. Something that has brought joy to them before. Make sure they don’t just list big events such as “Go to Disney Land”. Teach them positive thinking early on. You will make them resourceful and give them a head start for working on their stress and happiness when they grow up.

What to do now?

Start your list today, and add to it, every day! If you find it hard to focus on the positive, email me or schedule a FREE 20-minute phone call so that we can chat. I will help you!


Of course, don’t forget to share this article on Facebook so that your friends can benefit as well. Let’s not do this alone! Wellness is a journey and if we don’t create a community around it, it will be hard for all of us. Now think positive and be healthy. Allons-y! Let’s Go!



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.



©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!



©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!


©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!


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