Weight Loss Archives | Allons-y Coaching | Certified Health Coach Seattle
Category Archives for "Weight Loss"

For many of us, living a healthier life starts with losing weight. Find real-life tips and strategies to help you lose weight without being on a diet or giving up wine, chocolate, and sweet. Learn from a former “binge-eater” how you too can lose weight even if you love food and don’t like the treadmill.

3 Tricks To Be 13 lbs Lighter

Today I want to share 3 super easy action steps you can take RIGHT NOW to make a big difference in your health and weight loss for the long term. Those simple steps don't require discipline, self-control, nor motivation. You don’t even need time on your hands!

This list of 3 tricks comes from a study* that was done in 2015 by researchers at Cornell University. Researchers looked at 200 kitchen in Syracuse, NY, and established a clear link between what was present in a kitchen and the weight of the women who lived there..

kitchne counter with bowl of fruit and water from tap for healthy living

You know I am not a “quick-fix” type of Nutrition Coach. When you work with me, you are in for a profound change in your lifestyle. And yet, it doesn’t mean that it has to be hard or complicated. I want things to be simple and easily achievable, so that you can pile up successes, day after day, whether you want to lose weight, reverse prediabetes, or do both at once, like most of my clients.

Here is what I want you to do as soon a​s you get home today.

1/ Move soft drinks out of sight

If there is anything to drink on your counter that is not helping you reach your wellness goals, put it away. It might be soda, sweetened iced tea, but also wine, beer... Pretty much anything that contains calories and is drinkable. I am not saying you should throw it away and not drink it ever again. I am just saying: “Don’t leave it on your counter!”. 

In the Cornell study, researchers found out that women who kept soft drinks on their counter were on average 24 to 26 pounds heavier than their neighbors who didn’t.

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Why wouldn’t you want to stack all the odds in your favor, right? So, go ahead, and put that soda away!

2/ Store boxes of cereals in a cupboard

The 2015 study made it clear that women who had a box of cereals on their counter were heavier that women who didn’t. They were actually 20 pounds heavier on average! Cereals are sneaky. Because we often think of them as “healthy”, especially if the package claims that they are rich in fibers, made with whole grain, etc. By the way, anything that has less than 5 g of fiber in a portion, is really not that rich in fibers. Keep that in mind!

So, if there are cereals on your counter, put them away! And while you are at it, do the same with snack food in general. If it’s not helping you, you don’t need to see it every time you step into your kitchen. It's that simple.

3/ Set a bowl of fruit on your counter

Now that you have removed cereals, snacks, and beverages, you have more room on your counter top, right? So grab a bowl and fill it up with fruits. All colors, all sizes, all shapes… Whatever you can find and afford. Cornell’s researchers established that women who had a fruit bowl on their counter were on average 13 pounds lighter than their neighbors who didn’t.

Variety of fruits on a kitchen counter top to promote healthy eating

We have all heard about the “see-food diet” right? We eat what we see. So make sure you are not seeing foods that are not helping you reach your goals, and you will do yourself (and your family!) and big favor.

What else can you change in your kitchen?

If you want more ideas of things you can change in your kitchen so that you promote healthy eating behaviors and weight loss, you’re in luck! I have put together a list of 25 steps you can take to make your kitchen an ally in your health and wellness journey rather than a silent enemy.

Grab my checklist and discover 25 Tips to rearrange your kitchen so that it supports your health and weight loss efforts.

Maybe you are thinking “Oh, I am fine, my kitchen is already the way it should be”. That might be right, and if it's the case, congratulations! But if you are open to getting confirmation of your intuition, you can take a super quick quiz that will tell you how “healthy” your kitchen actually is.

Take the HEALTHY KITCHEN QUIZ now! I have seen many people be extremely surprised by their kitchen's results! And to be honest, even though I have been working on making my environment as healthy as possible for about 25 years, I still found a few things that I could improve in my kitchen and I have included them in the quiz and in the checklist

Now, DO what you have to do. No step is too small to push you forward... but if you don't take that tiny step, nothing will ever happen.

Not sure how to ​be healthier?

Do you feel overwhelmed by all there is to do to live a healthy life? Why don't we hop on a call to try and sort things out together? I am adding 5 extra slots for a complimentary HEALTHY LIFESTYLE KICK-OFF SESSION this month. They'll be gone fast, so make sure you grab your opportunity now! Sometimes, a phone call and some "outsider" insight is all it takes to get on the right track.

*If you want to learn how “What’s on your countertop might predict your weight”, read the article on the Cornell University website.

Disclaimer

None of my services are intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any illness or disease. The information provided in my services, programs, and classes 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.

Your first step to healthy eating

If you are struggling with weight loss or prediabetes, chances are your Doctor told you to "eat healthy" and "be more active". So you might wonder: "What is my first step to healthy eating?".

We are just going to focus on the "eat healthy" part in this article and we will assume that you are clear on what "eating healthy" means to you. Which honestly is not necessarily the case, but we will 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 and eating healthy 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 do 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 habits: 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 or adopt a healthier lifestyle, is to think that you can rely on your 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.

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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.

Find out in seconds what is your kitchen score on the "healthy scale"!

if you have decided to eat healthier, either because you want to prevent diabetes, to lose weight, or just because you realize that aging won't be as smooth if you keep eating the way you eat now, 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?

You can start by reading my Step-by-Step Guide To Optimizing Your Kitchen for Health and Weight Loss. It's all backed by research and experience!

Of course, don't forget to DOWNLOAD my FREE Kitchen Makeover Checklist. It will give you 25 steps you can take if you want to end up with a kitchen that will truly support your wellness efforts. 

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!

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Disclaimer

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.

Optimize your kitchen for weight loss and health

Did you know that you can easily (and for FREE!) rearrange your kitchen in order to support your weight loss and your prediabetes reversal process? I am going to walk you through 10 steps to reorganize your kitchen so that it will help you be healthier rather than play against you.

Those tips are easy to implement and don’t require a kitchen redesign! 

Stella's kitchen with lots of room for cooking and no snacks

They are just tricks that make all the difference for your weight loss and your health in the long run. Your kids/roommate/spouse won’t notice a thing. And you? Not only will you be in your kitchen without running the risk of binge eating on chips, ice cream, or even nuts, but you will also move toward a healthier and leaner you, without dieting of course!

If you need some extra help to implement those tips, you can download my KITCHEN MAKEOVER CHECKLIST. It will make the whole process even easier with 25 tips to make your kitchen an ally in your weight loss and health journey

Are you ready to learn all about those weight loss secrets?

Read all the tips to see exactly how you can make sure your kitchen is not a self-control sucker and then decide on where you want to start.

By the way, do you know how your kitchen scores on the "Healthy Eating Scale"? Find out in seconds by taking a FREE Healthy Kitchen Quiz!

Tip #1 - Declutter your counter

Take a look around and tell me what you see on your kitchen counter. Cookies? Bread and crackers? Breakfast cereal? Books? Coupons? Pictures? Unpaid bills? Dirty Dishes? Pots and pans that don’t fit in the cabinets? Whatever you find on your counter, the first step to a healthier kitchen is to remove as much as "stuff" you can. Keep the space free and clean for peeling, dicing, chopping… In a nutshell, for cooking! Most of your countertop surface should be used to prepare meals so, go ahead and clean up the mess, even if you don’t cook much (yet!). Not only will it make food preparation possible, it will also force you to remove all the tempting foods from your sight.

Messy kitchen with cluttered counter top

The only items that should have a dedicated spot on your countertop are:

  • Appliances that serve your weight loss and cooking goals, that you use regularly, or would like to use more;
  • Fruits and vegetables;
  • Non perishable foods that are healthy but can’t be snacked on: you know, foods that need preparation, such as rice, flour, dried beans, spices... Except for fruits and veggies, no snacks should ever stay on the countertop… not even healthy snacks like nuts;
  • Items that make you happy without making you gain weight: flowers, a radio, your coffee maker…

Tip #2 – Get the fruits out

Weight Loss Tips: Fruit BasketThe only “Grab & Go” foods that should be promoted on your kitchen counter are fruits and vegetables. You should ALWAYS have a big bowl of fresh fruits on your counter, with at least 3 different types of fruits in it, depending on the season.

The idea is simple: we want what we see. This is not rocket science; this is the very basis for advertising. We are bombarded by images that make us desire stuff we did not even know existed, and we become convinced that not only they are appealing, but we even need them. Do the same in your kitchen!

Expose yourself nonstop to a colorful bowl of fruits and when you want to snack on something, fruits will become more and more often your first choice. Because you see them, and because you don’t see anything else. Try it, you’ll see! At first, you will still want that muffin top, that you know is somewhere in a cupboard, but after a while, it won’t come to mind as often anymore, and that beautiful mango or kiwi will seem irresistible.

Tip #3 – Hide your stash

Weight Loss Tips: squirrel eating nutsJust like we want what we see, we also have a tendency to forget what we don’t see.  So, make it easy on yourself and have everything disappear from your sight that is not serving your weight loss goals. Some “health perfectionists” suggest that you get rid of anything processed, sugary, or with saturated fat. I don’t recommend such drastic moves. First, because you might not be the only one using your kitchen and you don’t want to become the “enemy” or the “party pooper”. Second, because saying a permanent good-bye to everything you love or are used to is the best way to feel deprived and miserable, and to eventually fall of the wagon. Don’t make that mistake! Snack food, ready-to-eat meals, deli meat, pops… keep them, but hide them.

Make sure processed food is stored in opaque containers or covered with aluminum foil, and stored in places that are hard to reach. This way, there will be no visual trigger for you to think of it. Your brain will have to do all the work, and when it does and you really want those chips, you will have to dig deep to reach them from behind piles of veggies, boxes of whole grains, and jars of preserved fruits.

If you can store some of your “tempting” food outside your kitchen, that’s also a good move. This way, it will require a little extra effort to go get snacks, cups of chicken noodle soup, baking supplies, etc. Your house does not allow for that? Think twice! I have made room in my kitchen cabinets for school supplies, and store chocolate chips, nuts, spreads and other “risky” food in the hallway closet where glue sticks and construction paper used to be. Who says food has to be in the kitchen?

Think about it and do it! It’s an easy step that makes a big difference! And if you are ready to throw away some really bad stuff, then ditch anything in your kitchen that contains trans fat (known as partially hydrogenated oil).

Tip #4 – Shrink the dish

Weight loss tips: photo of salad in small plateNo beating around the bush here. The bigger the plate, the bowl, the spoon; the more we eat. I usually don’t recommend throwing things away or going shopping. But in this case, if your plates are bigger than 10 inches, or if your individual bowls contain more than 12 oz., then, yes. Get rid of them! Replace them with eating plates that are no bigger than 9 inches and with bowls 12 oz or smaller. If you drink alcohol regularly (wine included) or juice, it’s worth shopping for glasses that are narrow rather than wide, as this will help you pour smaller quantities. Try also to find smaller serving and eating spoons.

Living in a smaller world helps us focus more on quality rather than quantity. And once we start shrinking our food portions without having to think about it, we start shrinking too. Yes, it works!

Tip #5 – Make food prep easy

Ok, so you are thinking… now that all my “Grab & Go” food is hidden, am I just going to survive on this bowl of fruits? Well, not quite! Remember tip #1, when we talked about getting rid of the clutter on your countertop? Did you think we would keep it all empty and useless? Not exactly! Of course, we will always try to keep as much free space on the counter as possible, but we will also make sure that all the tools necessary for cooking are right there, always available.

Weight loss tips: photo of person chopping herbs for cookingThere are very easy ways to make food. Using super quick recipes, precut ingredients, frozen vegetables, etc. But if every time you want to make a meal, you have to dig in your cabinets to find a cutting board or the salt, it turns sour pretty fast.

So make sure that the following items have a permanent spot on your counter:

  • Cutting board. If possible, by the sink so that you can wash it easily after every use and always have it ready.
  • Spices, garlic, salt, pepper… the basics to make anything tasty without adding calories.
  • A blender or a food processor is a great addition if you want to cook fast and easy. An electric kettle, a steamer, a rice cooker, and a stand mixer are quite handy as well. If you can afford them, it’s a good idea.

By the same token, make sure the basics are not only available but also easy to access in your cabinets: pots and pans, stirring spoons, oven mitts, but also cooking oil, vinegar… and good recipes!

Tip #6 – Portion, proportion

As I wrote earlier, you don’t have to throw away all your treats. But if you want to make progress toward a healthy life and a leaner self, most of the food in your kitchen and pantry should be healthy and whole. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, plain yogurt, real cheese, whole grains, beans… You know, the type of food that you cannot just grab and snack on (fruits are the exception). You can keep your favorite chips and the kids’ cookies, but aim for at least ¾ healthy foods, in your fridge, in your freezer, in your pantry… Make junk food the exception, not the norm.

Once you hide everything that’s not serving your weight loss, you will notice that you start forgetting about certain foods. When that’s the case, get rid of those! Replace them with cans of beans or vegetables, boxes of whole grains, nuts… And of course, fill up your freezer and fridge with vegetables, fruits, more vegetables, and more fruits! I know, you already have that bowl of fresh fruits on the counter, but you never want to run out of fruits. So make sure you always have a back up in the freezer. Same with vegetables. It’s hard to always have them fresh, but that’s no excuse. If you have a freezer, use it! Don’t stock up on ice cream and pizza. Stock up on veggie mixes, cut up carrots, broccoli florets, and all the good stuff. If it’s available to you, you will eat it, and you will end up liking it!

Tip #7 – Healthy foods take the stage

You have stocked up on the good stuff already? Good for you! Now, make sure you see it. You don’t want to rely on your brain to remind you that you have some celery sticks somewhere in a paper bag at the bottom for your veggie drawer. Every time you are in your kitchen you want to see the good stuff. So, just like you hid snacks and junk food in Tip #4, now work on making healthy foods visible everywhere. Store them in clear containers. Cover them with plastic wrap rather than aluminum foil. Put them in the front of your fridge/freezer and at eye level.  Don’t hide them in the back of your cupboards!

While unhealthy foods should be removed from tempting packaging, you should always try to make healthy foods more appealing with nice dishes, a nice display, etc. Again, think advertising and how well it works. Use this to your advantage. It’s an easy trick and it will not only work for you, but for all the other people who might be using your kitchen. Give it a try today!

Tip #8 – Measure!

When you want to indulge on your favorite snack, go for it. But make sure that you have established quantity rules ahead of time (NOT when you are starving!). And follow those rules :-). Again, don’t rely on self-control or on intuitive portions. If you have decided that ¼ cup of almonds is a good snack for you, next time you want almonds, measure ¼ cup. End of story! You’ll see, it’s actually easier than it seems if you have taken the time to decide on the amount of almonds you want to eat, and if you have taken the time to put a measuring cup right by the almonds.

OK, I hear you… I am talking about almonds, but your favorite snack is actually not quite as healthy. No surprise here! I love Peanut M&M’s! You might have noticed, I love nuts! I even wrote a blog post about nuts 🙂 Anyway, you get my point. You know your triggers. You know your “dangerous foods”. Just prepare for them. Think about what amount you are comfortable having in one go, make sure the measuring tool is right there, and don’t think twice. Take that amount, and go away. If you come back for a second serving, that’s fine, no big deal… But keep measuring. Make that amount of pleasure become the norm, rather than indulging without being aware of how much you eat. Measure, measure, measure… Slowly, you will eat less of what is not good for you and for your weight loss goals. Believe me!

Tip #9 – Make your kitchen enjoyable

Weight loss tips: photos of kid cooking with grandmaWhether you take your meals in your kitchen or elsewhere in your house, if you want to lose weight and keep it off, you need to eat more whole food and less processed food. Whole food, often, is food that needs to be prepared. When you move toward a healthier lifestyle, you might need to spend a bit more time in your kitchen so make this experience as pleasant and easy as possible.

Turn your kitchen into a room you like. Make it comfortable, bring chairs in, make sure you can listen to the radio… Also, try to draw people to your kitchen (unless you want a break from them all!). Make room so the kids can do their homework, have the family laptop in a corner, get a puzzle going… Having loved ones in the kitchen while you are cooking will make you feel less lonely and will slowly change the dynamic around food and meals. Others might start cooking with you (or cooking for you!). Give it a try. It might be a more subtle change, but it has a big impact.

Now, be careful! This step is the last one to implement. Because if you get yourself and your entire family to spend more time in the kitchen before you have made temptations disappear from your sight, you might all end up eating more junk food and putting on weight. So do everything else first, and once your kitchen has become your ally for weight loss, lure people in.

Tip #10 – What about TV?

TV can be your best ally if watching it helps you stay happily in the kitchen and prepare healthy gourmet meals for yourself and your family. But it can also be your worst enemy if it takes your attention away from food while you are eating, and leads you to gobble up large amounts without noticing what you’re putting in your mouth. In a nutshell, turning on TV while preparing food is a nice way to make cooking more fun. But please, turn if off when dinner-time comes. Focus on what you are eating, take your time, and enjoy every bite. If it’s not enjoyable, well, you might want to browse for some new recipes 🙂 Stay tuned, I’ll publish my favorite super fast recipes very soon. Your taste buds are going to dance!

That's it!

OK, now if you haven't done so yet, go to your kitchen, and start making a few small changes using the KITCHEN MAKEOVER CHECKLIST.  Among the 25 TIPS listed to help you turn your kitchen into an ally of your health, pick the health and weight loss tips that make the most sense to you or start with the ones that seem easiest.

Take your time, but DO IT! One step after another. Once you are done, you will see that many struggles will go away. And chances are that the weight will start coming off more naturally! Of course it does not happen overnight, but it happens, little by little, and with very little effort once you have done the work of "fixing" your kitchen. See how it goes and keep me posted by commenting below! Don't forget to share your own tips or remarks in the comments section, because, together, we are healthier!

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If you feel that you need a little more help to get started, I have a great gift for you! Because you have been reading this article all the way to the end, I am assuming that you are quite dedicated to your health. So I suggest that you apply for a FREE Healthy Lifestyle Kick-Off Consultation. If I think a free coaching session might be beneficial to you, I’ll be happy to give you one for free. Allons-y! Let’s Go!

Disclaimer

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.

I am prediabetic, should I eat nuts?

Your Doctor told you your are Prediabetic and now you have no clue what to eat and not to eat. You have heard that nuts are healthy, and your health care provider wants you to eat healthy. So, nuts might be a good thing, right? Well, except your Doctor also told you to eat less fat and nuts are full of fat! So what should you do? 

Chubby Squirrel eating nuts in a snowfield

No worries. It's not as complicated as it might seem. Eating healthy doesn't have to drive you nuts (ha, ha, ha!). It will all make sense if you keep reading.

Everywhere you read, nuts are treated like the solution to all your health problems. They definitely come up quite often in articles about controlling blood sugar and avoiding type 2 diabetes. It’s true. Nuts are really good for most people's health, plus, they are delicious. Full disclosure, I LOVE nuts!!!

Yet...

Nuts are viscous little treats

You wonder Why? There are many reasons, but here are the main ones.

  • Nuts are fat. Mostly good fat, but still, a lot of fat! When it comes to fat, you have to know that on average, 1 oz of nuts covers about 20% of the average person's daily needs. So if you are planning on grabbing nuts for snack from now on, keep in mind that with only about 5 handfuls, you would get your daily dose of fat. I am not saying "don't eat nuts for snacks". We all agree on that, right? But you have to be careful: if you introduce nuts into your daily routine, you have to cut back on fat in other places. Otherwise you will gain weight. It's that easy. You probably know by now that weight loss is one of the first steps to help you reverse prediabetes.
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  • Nuts add a lot of calories to your diet. Let's say you need about 2,000 calories per day, which is the average for women who are not trying to lose weight (men usually need a bit more, around 2,400). It only take about 3 cups of nuts every day to cover your caloric needs! OK, I know, you are not planning on eating 3 cups of nuts every day. Yet, if you are not paying attention, you might end up swallowing 1 cup of nuts without second thoughts. I can totally eat 2 cups of pecans or almonds while watching a movie! If you don’t get rid of other sources of calories at the same time, you will gain weight. Again!
  • Nuts are way too easy to snack on… and on, and on, and on! If you had to peel, cut, and cook nuts, the 2 previous points wouldn't be an issue. But nuts are so easy to nibble on that we often gobble up a huge lot of them without being aware of it. Yes, true, nuts are much healthier than chips or candies so they are a better option for snacking. No question, that's 100% true! The problem is that since nuts are so healthy, we don't have second thoughts or the slightest guilt about devouring them. So we have a tendency to track them less and indulge more. Danger!
Walnuts in their shell in  a bowl and on a table, to help reverse prediabetes

Now please, don't get me wrong! I am not telling you to stay away from nuts if you are trying to lower your blood sugar. Far from it! I eat lots of nuts myself, my favorite ones being almonds, pecans, and pistachios. I am with everybody else in saying that nuts are good for us, unless of course allergies are an issue. But nuts are so good for us that they can be tricky to manage. So be really mindful, to make sure you get all the benefits of nuts without the dangers.

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Not sure where to start?

If you find it really hard to eat nuts in moderation, check out my article "7 Tips to use nuts when trying to reverse prediabetes". And as always, if you need a little extra help to get started on your PreDiabetes Reversal journey, apply for a FREE Healthy Lifestyle Kick-Off Session.  If you are really determined and 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!

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PLEASE REMEMBER, THIS INFORMATION CANNOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE TO MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT.

©2019 Allons-y Coaching, LLC - Seattle, WA – All rights in all media reserved.

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!

 


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 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!!!


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.

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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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.

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!

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.

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Soda?

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 t won't in the long term, especially if they make you feel that you are doing something good for your body.

Alcohol?

I won't demonize alcohol and won't go through all the pros and cons here. Yet, I want to bring awareness around one of the many side-effects of alcohol.

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!).

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!

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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?

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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Follow me on Facebook 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 request a FREE Healthy Lifestyle Kick-Off Consultation. If I believe that I can help you, I’ll be happy to offer you a free consult. Allons-y! Let’s Go!

Disclaimer

None of my services are intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any illness or disease. The information provided in my services, programs, and classes 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.

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.As you keep adding to your list, categorize your items into 4 groups:

  • Less stress (anything that you find calming)
  • More exercise (anything that makes you move)
  • Healthy (helps you reach your wellness goals but not related to exercise or stress)
  • "Unhealthy" (doesn’t help you reach your wellness goals)
List of source of happiness categorized in groups: stress relief, exercise, healthy, and unhealthy

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.

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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, contact me so that we can chat. I might be able to 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!

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None of my services are intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any illness or disease. The information provided in my services, programs, and classes 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.

What to eat for breakfast?

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

healthy breakfast ideas: toast with fruits and berries

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

Healthy breakfast for sustained energy

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

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

12 easy breakfast ideas:

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

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

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

A bit overwhelmed?

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

 


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

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