Thursday, May 25, 2017

Healthy Eating During the Summer

Summer is just about here and let's face it, sometimes healthy eating gets pushed aside until Fall rolls around. It can be easy to get off track with vacations, graduation parties, BBQs, road trips and more. While I am a huge proponent of enjoying yourself and indulging here or there, your health STILL matters and shouldn't get the short end of the stick.

How do you find a balance between investing in your health (and keeping up your good habits with nutrition) and enjoying yourself this summer? The first step is figuring out what matters to you! Often I hear clients saying that they want to lose weight for a vacation or graduation party. What happens when that is all done? What is your new motivation? What is going to push you towards sticking to your plan? Figure out WHY healthy eating matters to you. Do you want to feel more comfortable in your own skin? Do you want to control a disease? Do you want to have more energy?

Once you figured out your WHY, devise a plan for yourself. What goals do you still need to work towards? Are you still trying to incorporate more fruits and veggies? Your day-to-day may change during the summer months, so have a plan for how you are going to reach your goals even while on vacation. Pack healthy snacks (carrot sticks, fruits, nuts, raisins, etc) for your beach trip. Buy high-fiber, low-sugar bars to keep on hand while hiking. Make a smoothie to take with you while on a long drive. Don't let the excuses and self-made barriers get in the way of you accomplishing your goals and bettering your overall health.

I like to think of the acronym, "PAL," for any scenario when trying to balance food choices. If you are wondering, I highly doubt this is an actual acronym that people use, just something I thought of :) "P" is for Plan or Prepare. Plan a healthy menu for your shore trip. Prepare a healthy dish for a BBQ. Plan to exercise when there is downtime. "A" is for Assess. Assess the situation you are in. What healthy options are available during a party? Assess after the fact too. What can you do better for next time? What went well for you? How do you feel about your food/drink choices? Lastly, "L" is for Live. Live your life and remember in the grand scheme of things, that extra cookie probably won't undo all of your hard work (maybe the extra 4 or 5 would though ha). Seriously though, enjoying the summer can definitely include some treats and don't let yourself wallow in negativity about your choices. If you are eating well 90-95% of the time, why not let loose and have that piece of cake or cookie? Healthy living is just that, actually LIVING. Not just counting calories, endless dieting, restriction, and guilt.

So this summer, I challenge you to figure out what is going to motivate you to keep up your healthy habits (or start new ones) and to use the acronym "PAL" for your next social outing.

Leave a comment below and tell me what your plan is for healthy eating this summer.

For more tips on Healthy Summer Sips, click the LINK

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Breaking Through Barriers to Your Health

How many times have you made an excuse about your health? "I had a rough day, so I deserve this cookie." "It's just too cold to go to the gym, so I will just stay home." "I ate good all day, so I can splurge at dinner." "I am just too old to lose weight." I am sure you can think of a thousand more excuses you have used or overheard. One of the things I often tell my clients is that, "It doesn't matter why you didn't do it, but that it simply didn't happen." There is always going to be a reason (barrier) why something didn't happen and an excuse that follows. Why you didn't eat more vegetables, why you ate the extra piece of cake, why you didn't exercise, etc. The ultimate key to YOUR success is finding out what your barriers are and how you can overcome them.

So how exactly do you overcome your barriers? First thing is to figure out WHY it happened. Let's say you didn't eat any vegetables today. Why is that? Do you need to plan more? Do you need to actually buy them? Do you need a new recipe so they are more enticing? Do you need to put them at eye level in the fridge so you remember them? What about if you tend to be a stress or emotional eater? Stress and emotions are something that are always going to be apart of your life, so figuring out how to handle them is key. Can you try writing in a journal instead of eating? Can you go for a walk to decrease stress? Can you call a friend to work through your issues? If time is a barrier (often the biggest one), I challenge you to think of how you can make time for yourself and your health. Can you get up earlier to eat breakfast? Can you cut some TV time to meal prep? Making the time now to support your health will decrease your chances of having to make that time later when it is even harder to change. By making time later, I mean for doctor's appointments, medication pick-up, tests, blood-work, etc.

To be honest, there is nothing wrong with a small reward when you have accomplished your goals. What you don't want is for that reward to be is food (constantly). I am not against a sweet treat here or there; however, daily or weekly is hardly a "treat" and more of a habit. If you still want to have some sort of "reward" try to brainstorm things that don't involve food like buying a new book or having a spa day.

One final comment I have about breaking through your barriers is to not stand in your own way by making excuses and comparing yourself to everyone else. "I will never look as good as (insert name here), so why even try." Comparison just puts more pressure on yourself and gives a sense of complacency. Changing your unhealthy habits is definitely hard; however, when you are faced with decisions about your health, ask yourself, "Will I do something about it to help support my goals or will I do nothing at all?" YOU can choose to change your health. YOU can choose to do what is hard. YOU can choose to live healthier.

How have you decided to break through your barriers to living a healthy lifestyle? What will you start doing today that will support your long-term goals? Leave a comment and let me know!