The Best Strength Exercise You Aren’t Doing

If you have experience weight training, you are very familiar with the squats, split squats, deadlifts, lunges and step-ups. These are staple moves whether you are following a workout DVD, taking a group fitness class or exercising on your own. While these are great exercises to master, incorporating different movement patterns is essential to a balanced strength program. Whether I’m working with a client or talking to a friend about exercise, most of them aren’t familiar with a lateral lunge or lateral movement.

Do you find yourself moving laterally? If not, the lateral lunge is a must for your weekly strength sessions.

Coaching Cues

  • Initiate the movement by driving your hips back. Your knee (of the side you’re lunging towards) should be in line or slightly behind your big toe.
  • Push your heel (of the side you’re lunging towards) through the floor. Often I see the heel lift when individuals try this exercise.
  • Always work your range of motion. The goal is to sink your hips low enough that it’s level with your knee.
  • Brace your core as you start to stand up and transition your weight back to the starting position.

Where should you feel this? Your glute (hip) on the side you’re lunging towards, inner thigh and core are all working in this movement.

Before adding weight to this exercise, focus on getting into a good range of motion first. Once you can get into an ideal range of motion, choose one of the following exercises.

Goblet Lateral Lunge

20161101_111257This is the first progression from body weight lateral lunges. Holding the weight in a goblet position helps you sink into a good range of motion, while also engaging your core.

Complete 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each side.

 

 

 

Single Arm Lateral Lunge

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The second progression is taking the weight onto one side. This forces your shoulders to stabilize while challenging your core even more.

Complete 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each side.

 

 

 

Lateral Lunge with a Pause

20161101_111304 Another great progression from the single arm example above. This exercise still forces your core to stabilize, but challenges your hips with the pause at the bottom. I always focus on letting the weight touch the floor for 1-2 seconds. Then, drive the force up through the power of your hips. It’s a tough move, but effective.

Complete 2-3 sets for 6-10 reps each side.

How to follow the 90% rule and eat moderately

How to Actually Follow the 90% Rule & Learn to Eat with Balance

How to follow the 90% rule and eat moderatelyMany people have heard of the 90% rule or maybe even the 80/20 rule. I love this approach because it allows you to focus on the right foods more often without feeling restrictive. I know for me, the moment I tell myself I can’t have something, I want it more! Don’t get me wrong, there are times throughout the year when I take a break from my favorite foods. But, my mindset is different. I wouldn’t be successful if I told myself “I can’t have this right now.” Instead, I’ll use the words “I’m choosing not to have this right now because (insert the why here). I’ll also focus on all the foods that I CAN have.

Back to the 90% rule.

The 90% rule focuses on eating the right foods 90% of the time, while keeping some of your favorite foods in your meal plan throughout the week. Everyone has their favorite foods. For me, it most likely is a dessert or going out to dinner for pizza or a burger. Consider this something that doesn’t provide a lot of nutritional value and is more calorie dense. Maybe even going out for breakfast. For others, it might be alcohol or high caloric coffees.

5 Steps for Following The 90% Rule

1.) Figure Out Your 10%

This is a simple breakdown of how many meals you eat a day. The average person eats 3 main meals. Others may do 3 meals and a snack. You’ll also hear some individuals doing 5-6 small meals a day. Any of these options work.

Once you’ve determined how many meals you eat on average, calculate how many meals you eat a week.

Example:

3 meals a day x 7 days a week = 21 meals (2 splurge meals determines your 10%)

4 meals a day x 7 days a week = 28 meals (2-3 splurges is your 10%)

5 smaller meals a day x 7 days a week = 35 meals (3-4 splurges a week)

Here’s what an example looked like for me last week.

90percentrule

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, should you feel obligated to follow this calculation? No. If you’re looking to maintain your weight, you may be able to have more wiggle room. If you are seeking weight loss, you may need to stick to the 90% rule or scale back more on your splurges more. Everyone has a unique metabolism.

2.) Plan Your Week In Advance

I keep a mental note at the beginning of every week. Do I have any birthday parties? Events? Family or friend gatherings? If so, I keep it in the 10% bank if I feel like I will want to enjoy something. Sometimes I don’t have anything going on for the week, but I still want to go out to dinner for fun or enjoy a cookie on a Saturday night. When you plan ahead on what you want to enjoy that may not be the most nutritious for you, most likely you are going to enjoy it. Years ago, when I didn’t want to cook, I would go to Five Guys, get takeout pizza or go out to Mexican food. I always felt guilty afterwards because I didn’t intend to make those choices at the beginning of the day, but I was too tired to care. I also found I didn’t enjoy my meal as much because I was tired from the long day (which brings me to #3!).

3.) Determine Your Emergency Meals When You Don’t Want to Cook 

I’ve written about this here. This is CRUCIAL to practice. The more you practice healthy emergency meals, the easier eating healthy gets. First, find meals that take minimal time to make. My favorites include a smoothie, tuna fish or an omelette. We all have days when we won’t want to cook (even the quick options). So, if you have go-to places to go that do not have free temptations, you will stay on track.

4.) Practice Saying No To Unexpected Temptations 

When I started practicing the 10% rule, I definitely had some slip ups. I would plan for enjoying my treat on a specific day(s), but then someone would bring in cookies to work. Ugh. At first, I would eat the cookies or whatever treats arrived in the break room. But, overtime, I practiced saying no. It stings the first time you decide to pass on a temptation, especially when you really want it. But, the more you do, the easier it gets.

When unexpected temptations come up, focus on your why. Maybe it’s because you want to enjoy your mom’s homemade cake on Saturday and it’s worth every bite. Remind yourself that this will be your treat this week, not the cookie today. Or maybe you really want to lose 10 lbs and you don’t want to slow down your progress. When you remember your why in these situations, you’ll have a good chance on passing on the temptation.

5.) Stay Mindful

When it’s time to enjoy your favorite meal, it’s crucial to stay mindful. Here are a few of my favorite tips.

1.) If I plan to indulge for a meal, I’ll scan the menu for what protein source and/or veggie can I pair with it.

  • Breakfast:  I love pancakes or french toast. If I can, I’ll ask if I can order one pancake or 1 piece of french toast on the side (instead of ordering a stack of pancakes because it’s too much food). If I can order a single, I’ll order a veggie omelette as my protein/veggie source or eggs & bacon with my pancake or french toast.
  • Lunch or dinner: I’ll order a side salad. This fills me up enough so I don’t overeat the main meal.
  • Split meals. Splitting meals allows you to get the taste of it without overeating. I’ve found over time I’m perfectly content with a 1/2 burger with a handful of fries & a side salad. When I’ve eaten the whole burger + some fries + a side salad, I’m too full.

2.) Be aware of your other meals. 

If I know I’m going to to dinner, I’ll be sure to get in as much protein and veggies as I can for my other meals for the day. My goal is to have at least 4 servings of veggies before or after my splurge.

3.) Ask yourself if it’s worth it. 

Does it taste amazing? Is it worth every bite? Sometimes it is, but other times it isn’t and you’re disappointed. When you find yourself disappointed, practice eating less of it. This takes time to conquer, but it’s do-able. I’ve been very proud of myself when I notice my splurge isn’t amazing and I stop after two or three bites.

4.) Be aware of portion sizes 

When I go out for pizza, I don’t eat the whole pie just because it’s my meal to indulge! In the past, I did eat up to 4 slices. However, I needed an immediate nap on the couch afterwards because I was so full. Now, by staying mindful and adding some veggies to the side, I’m perfectly content with up to 2 slices of pizza.

Enjoy your splurge by eating it slow, savoring every bite. Don’t scarf it down because most likely you’ll overeat, like I used to with 4 slices of pizza.

My biggest goal when dining out is to leave the restaurant feeling satisfied, not stuffed.

 

How To Take More Action Towards What You Want to Accomplish

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This statement is a game-changer. Why? It requires you to take ownership of what you are or aren’t doing. Telling yourself you don’t have time to do something allows you to let yourself off the hook. It’s so easy to do and I used to do it all the time! “I don’t have time to hit my yoga class every week,” or “I don’t have time to plan a wedding.” But, every time I change the wording to “I don’t have time” to “I’m not making it a priority,” I feel completely different. It all falls back on me not taking action.

Are there going to be things that aren’t going to be a priority? Absolutely. But, when you change your vocabulary to the things that you want to change the most, I’ll guarantee you’ll be more motivated to change.

So, how can you take more action?

Start small. I’ve talked about this here (step 3), but completing one or two things a day towards what you want to change will help you reach your goal. Don’t try to tackle ten things at once. It’s overwhelming and many times your mental energy batteries will die before you want them to.

Make a list. I feel most accomplished when I check things off a list. Sometimes I will even add things to my list that I’ve already done for the day just so I can check it off! Organize your list based off of what NEEDS to get done for the day. Ask yourself, what’s the priority? This has been a key piece to helping me take action.

Note: If you want to exercise consistently, write it on your list. Sometimes you have to schedule it like an appointment to actually get it done.

Create time. Create time for what’s important to you. Usually this means taking something out of your day and replacing it with something that’s going to make you feel better. Maybe it’s creating time to cook, exercise, play a board game with your children, call your mom, mediate, stretch/foam roll, etc. Reading is one of my favorite things to do for relaxation and every time I commit to reading, I feel so much better. When I catch myself not reading every day, it’s because I’m doing other things in the morning or evening, like playing on my computer or watching television. So, I focused on turning the TV off at night and replaced it with reading. If my favorite show is on, I set my goal lower and focus on reading 5-10 pages in my book. It’s a win/win!

Two Questions To Ask Yourself Before Every Meal

How To Simplify Meal Planning

Meal planning can be so simple if you know how to approach it. Going through the Precision Nutrition certification has helped me make nutrition easier to master for myself & clients. When I’m coaching clients, instead of sitting down telling them how many calories to eat, I coach them how to re-train their thoughts BEFORE they make the meal. This can really simplify the process.

So, what should be the two most important questions to ask yourself before every meal?

1.) What’s my vegetable?

2.) What’s my protein source? 

Cooking from home? Ask yourself what two choices sound the best. Dining out? No problem, you know what to look for on the menu. This takes practice, but the more you practice it, it will be hard for you NOT to think this way before every meal.

Vegetables are nutrient dense since they are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber. They also fill you up on less calories. Protein helps you stay full in between meals and will help you maintain/gain lean muscle. It also stabilizes your blood sugar. These key components tend to help you move the dial the fastest to helping you get healthy. They can also be two key pieces that will help with weight loss. The common American diet is filled with processed foods, added sugar and fat. Vegetables tend to lack. Most of my teenage & early adult life, most of my food came from a box and I only consumed a few servings of vegetables a week.  When it came to transforming my diet, I focused on asking myself these two key questions and after much practice, it’s automatic thinking for me for every single meal.

Now, what about carbohydrates and healthy fats? Those need to be included too. Plates may vary depending if you are looking to lose weight or just get healthy.

Here’s a visual of two plates:

The Healthy Plate (each meal)

 Goals for Women

  • Aim for 20-30 grams of protein each meal
  • 20-30 grams of carbohydrates (a cupped handful or ½ cup measured)
  • 1 thumb of fat (8-12 grams)
  • 1-2 fists of vegetables

Goals for Men

  • Aim for 35-50 grams of protein per meal
  • 2 fists of vegetables
  • 2 thumbs of fat (15-25 grams)
  • 35-50 grams of carbohydrates (1.5-2 cupped handfuls)

Serving sizes may vary depending on your size & activity level. This is a starting recommendation if you eat three to four meals a day. If you eat more frequently, adjust your serving sizes. Some individuals may see weight loss from this plate. Others may need to focus on the weight loss/fat loss plate.

Carbohydrate: Potato (sweet potato is ideal), rice, oatmeal, beans and fruit. Bread, pasta and rice cakes are also options if those are foods you enjoy.

Protein: chicken, beef, pork, eggs/egg whites, turkey, wild game, fish, lobster/shrimp, crab, cottage cheese & Greek yogurt are all great choices.

Fat: Olive oil, coconut oil, macadamias, fish oil, flax oil, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, avocado, pistachios, almonds, olives, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans and cashews are great choices. Animal meats like dairy, cheese, butter and meat also fall into this category.

Weight/Fat Loss Plate (most meals)

This plate works really well for individuals seeking weight loss. You may notice healthy fat servings are slightly more than the healthy plate and starchy carbohydrates are less. Find what gives you the best results.

Fat Loss Meal PlanningGoals for Women

  • Aim for 70+ grams of protein a day
  • 3-5 thumbs of fat (40-60 grams) a day
  • 5+ servings of vegetables a day
  • Use this plate for most meals

Goals for Men

  • Aim for 100+ grams of protein a day
  • 6-8 thumbs of fat a day
  • 7+ servings of vegetables a day
  • Use this plate for most meals

Servings vary depending of your size and activity level

Post Exercise Plate for Weight/Fat Loss

Easy Meal Planning Post ExerciseWhen seeking weight loss, carbohydrates tend to be best consumed after a workout. Breakfast is another time slot when carbohydrates can be tolerated. If you find yourself in a plateau, eliminate this plate for breakfast if you exercise in the afternoon or evening.

Everyone has a different carbohydrate tolerance

I work with clients that can have a serving of carbohydrates every meal, while others see results by sticking with starchy carbohydrates after exercise. Find what gives you the best results. The trial and error process takes some time, but with patience, you’ll find your sweet spot where you are getting results & keeping your energy stable.

Be patient

If seeking weight loss, you can’t always use the scale to show if you’re getting results. Monitor your mood, energy levels, stress levels, sleep patterns, check to see how your clothes are fitting and notice if you feel any better. These are all wins! If you find you’re stuck in a plateau after monitoring these items, ask yourself what needs to change. Do you need to eat more protein? Eat more vegetables? Less starchy carbohydrates? A little more starchy carbohydrates if you’re experiencing low energy? More water? Everyone has a unique metabolism and it’s up to you to find what works best.

Six Ways to Be Satisfied Eating a Salad

Six Ways To Be Satisfied Eating A Salad

Six Ways to Be Satisfied Eating a SaladI remember my thoughts on salads at the very beginning of my journey. I instantly thought I was depriving myself of a good meal. Wow, has my mindset changed over the years. It took some time for me to develop taste for my favorite ingredients, but I’m glad I was patient.

Eating a salad most days of the week has significantly elevated how many servings of vegetables I eat a day. As a matter of fact, if I eat a salad, I’m guaranteed to hit my goal of at least five servings of vegetables for the day. You should get at least three servings in one meal just from choosing a salad!

In order to stay consistent every week, it’s key to make sure what you’re making is satisfying, otherwise eating a salad for several meals a week will get boring quick. When you find yourself getting bored of your healthy meals, you will always want to go back to your comfort food choices. Trust me, I’ve been there many times on my journey.

Here are six key steps I took to consistently eat salads most days of the week.

 Step 1: Choose Your Base

Every week at the grocery store, I buy the convenient pre-washed box salad. Most of the time, I buy the spring mix. When I am no longer craving salad, it’s because I’m sick of eating the same base. When spring mix is getting old, I’ll buy red romaine, butter lettuce, baby kale, spinach, or even the broccoli slaw to use as a base. Romaine lettuce should be the bare minimum base choice. Iceburg lettuce unfortunately doesn’t provide any nutrients because it’s mostly water. Skip it!

Key tip for being consistent: pay attention to when you are getting bored with your base and be sure to mix it up so you can keep this habit going forever.

Step 2: Add Crunch

This is my second favorite step because I love a good crunch! It mixes up the texture of the salad and adds beautiful color to your meal. My favorites: red cabbage, broccoli slaw, sliced celery, or slivered almonds (see more in step 4).

Step 3: Pick Your Protein

Protein is essential to staying full with a salad. If you just eat vegetables for your meal, you will be starving sooner rather than later. Two ways to pick your protein: grill a few items up on Sunday before your work week or buy something that’s been conveniently already cooked in your grocery store deli. My top three choices: chicken, taco meat or canned tuna. Other options like salmon, steak, or shrimp are great options too!

Option 3: Use your dinner leftovers for lunch the next day and just make a side salad to pair with it. I do this for at least three lunches a week such as leftover meatloaf, chicken thighs or a bun-less burger.

 Step 4: Enjoy a Serving of Fat

Fat brings every meal more flavor. Plus, it can also help you stay satisfied longer. Pick 1-2 choices for your salad (pick two small servings if you are skipping carb dense items like quinoa, dried fruit, other fruit. If you want a carb dense option, pick one small serving of fat.)

My favorites: a small scoop of pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds or sunflower seeds paired with ½ a small avocado. Delicious!! Cheese would also fall into this category.

 Step 5: Add Something Juicy

This is optional, but I’ve found this elevates the satisfaction level of my salad. My favorite: a small handful of shredded beets, tomatoes, 2 marinated artichoke hearts or roasted bell pepper. Plus, any of these options add more color!

Step Six: Change The Texture Of Your Base

Have you ever enjoyed a chopped salad? I invested in a salad chopper and it’s been a game-changer when I’m sick of regular salads. Something about chopping it up keeps me engaged in eating salads every week.

One last fun tip: buy yourself a few nice, large “salad” bowls.

I remember early on in my vegetable journey loving the big salad bowls at nice restaurants. For me, it just makes eating a salad more fun. In the picture posted, I own two of these bowls from Crate & Barrel. They were around $5-10, but it they are big enough to fit 3+ servings of vegetables without overflowing the bowl.

What About Dressing?

I remember when I first started eating salads, I loved your typical salad dressings like ranch, French, or thousand island. There are two ways to go about this. First, start weaning yourself off these choices. I started by stabbing my fork in a small container of dressing, then stabbing my salad. This will cut down on your calories significantly. Eventually, you’ll want to replace these items with something you’ve created on your own.

Tip: if your store bought dressing has soybean oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil, look to change this out.

Next, start making your own dressings! I purchased a dressing container to create my own from home, but lately, I’ve just been using a drizzle of balsamic vinegar from Williams Sonoma. This is expensive, but it takes months to use and you can taste the high quality. If you’re used to your standard dressings, it takes some time for your taste buds to adjust. But, it’s great when they learn to love it. If you dine out start ordering their house vinaigrette.

One Last Tip: Be Aware of Restaurant or Pre-packaged Salads

They can be packed with calories. Have you ever read the nutrition facts to find your salad of choice is over 700 calories? It’s always best to make your salad at home, but if you find yourself dining out, scan the menu for calories. Does it have cheese, nuts or bacon and is it tossed in dressing? These four choices can be the highest in calories.

Action Steps:

1.) First, ask for the dressing on the side to save on calories first. Most of the time I will skip the cheese if it has nuts because I find nuts more satisfying.

2.) Dried fruit can also add up in calories. Sometimes I will ask for those on the side to manage calories or I’ll keep the dried fruit & skip the second serving of fat (usually the cheese for me)

Like any food, if you stick to the same ingredients every week, you’ll get bored. Continue to find new ingredients to keep yourself engaged in eating a salad consistently!

Heart Rate Training For Your Workouts

Three Ways to Mix Up Your Workout Routine

Even working in the fitness industry, I catch myself getting bored of my workouts. Here are three things that are keeping me engaged and loving every workout!

1.) Heart Rate Training 

Heart Rate Training For Your WorkoutsI have used a heart rate monitor before, but simply to have the awareness of how hard I was working during my workouts. It was motivating! I have to admit, I took a long break from my watch and band because I got bored. Now, I’ve learned a new way to track my heart rate during workouts by working into three zones.

I purchased a new Polar heart rate monitor (bluetooth) and downloaded the Polar Beat app. Three to four times a week, I’ll use my monitor and app to track the intensity of my cardio and strength workouts. My goal: to stay at least 20 minutes in the yellow and red zone throughout the entire workout. Working up to this intensity can help create a metabolic disturbance so you’re metabolism is elevated 20-40 hours afterwards.

Example workout:

Pick your choice of cardio: increase to a challenging resistance/speed until you reach the red zone. Once you’ve reached the red zone, lower the intensity until you reach the green zone. Continue to go back and forth for 15-20 minutes.

Elliptical:

Warm up 1-2 minutes at a light resistance.

Resistance Level 14 until you reach the red zone.

Resistance Level 6 until you reach the green zone.

Metabolic Training

Warm up of your choice

20 Goblet Squats

40 Mountain Climbers (20 each leg)

20 KB Swings

15 Push Ups

20 Lateral Lunges (10 each side)

10 Push ups

10 Renegade Rows

20 Lunge Jumps (10 each side)

  • Complete as many exercises back to back until you reach the red zone then pause and wait until you reach the green zone. Once you’ve reached the green zone, continue where you left off in the circuit.

2.) Fitbit 

Use a fitbit for consistent exercise Pedometers have been around forever and I was never really interested in owning one until last month. I received one for Christmas and it has been motivating me more than ever. First of all, I thought I moved more than I actually did. I enjoy exercising daily for the mental clarity, whether it’s a short, leisure walk, yoga, weight training, or even doing a quick run to break a sweat. After owning a fitbit for a few weeks, I realized I don’t really get that many steps in naturally. I averaged about 5,000. It’s definitely helped me move more! I go for a few leisure walks a day and find other ways increase my steps. So far, I’ve been able to hit 10,000 steps most days, but it takes some effort. Exercising intensely can cause overtraining and can even stall results because you’re stressing your body too much. Leisure walking is a great low intensity exercise that you can do everyday because it doesn’t elevate your stress hormones.

3.) Try Something Completely New

I’ve always wanted to try boxing and finally I signed up to take a class. I love it. It has challenged me mentally (learning new skills) and physically. Trying something new for exercise can also be great for working out of a plateau, plus help you work through a mental block of exercise.

 

A blueprint action guide to help you stick to your new year resolution goals in 2016.

How To Stick To Your New Year’s Resolution All Year Long

A blueprint action guide to help you stick to your new year resolution goals in 2016. Well it’s that time of year again; time to think and reflect about how you would like to grow and better yourself in 2016. This is an exciting time of the year because motivation to change is at it’s peak. I’m reading a lot online right now on why you shouldn’t set goals and some coaches are promoting anti-resolutions. Everyone has their own view on this topic, but I personally like resolutions. It gives you some time to think about what you really want to accomplish over the course of the next 12 months. Once you’ve reflected on what you want to change this year, be sure to set up your action steps. My advice: look at the big picture of what you want to accomplish, then put together baby steps to get there. This is key to not draining your mental energy or willpower throughout the journey over the next 12 months.  

I’ve written a detailed blue print to success to change guide here, but I decided I wanted a summarized version.

1.) Discover your why. Ask yourself why you want to make this change. Why is it important to you?

2.) Become aware of where you are currently. Learn more about yourself and see where you currently stand. How are you acting now compared to where you want to be?

3.) Take action. Start with one, simplified change. Find an easy step that will help you change and work towards your goal, but won’t drain your mental energy.

4.) Be accountable & practice consistency. Notice how I didn’t say practice perfection. Being perfect only leads to a negative outcome. Be sure to realize slip ups will occur along the way, but don’t let it discourage you from trying again. Tracking your progress allows you to learn from mistakes.

5.) Simplify your process and build a habit. How do you know it’s a habit? When you don’t have to think about your goal anymore because you do it naturally.

 

How to Make this Thanksgiving Your Healthiest

Simple Ways to Make This Thanksgiving Your Healthiest

Six Tips to Help You This Year
How to Make this Thanksgiving Your Healthiest Let’s face it. Thanksgiving only comes once a year. I don’t think it’s necessary to have to alter your tasty family recipes. Some people have found healthier recipes and truly enjoy them! For me, I only have them a few times a year, so my approach to Thanksgiving is a little different. I’ve found that if I can be strategic for other meals during the day, stay mindful during dinner, and move, I don’t have problems feeling like I’ve fallen off track with my nutrition goals. Plus, I don’t feel guilty for enjoying my dinner!

Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Many people will often skip this meal to save calories for the Thanksgiving feast. I’ve found it can increase my food cravings and cause me to overeat.

Action Steps: eat a breakfast filled with protein and vegetables the morning of Thanksgiving. Skip the carbs – you’ll enjoy them at dinner!

My two favorites: a protein shake with sauteed vegetables OR a veggie omelet.

Exercise the Morning of Thanksgiving

It’s simple: eat more, move more. This will help jumpstart your metabolism to help you burn more calories during the day. I love to mix in a combination of cardiovascular exercise and strength training.

Action Steps: find a way to move. It doesn’t need to be the perfect workout, just move.

Don’t Forget Lunch

Again, it’s best to eat throughout the day to keep our metabolism running. Don’t skip any meals on Turkey day. I know for me, when I skip meals, it usually leads to a disaster of overeating. Also be thinking of how you can keep yourself hydrated. My goal is to drink at least two liters of water before dinner.

Action steps: Drink plenty of water. Choose a lunch filled with protein and vegetables.

My favorites: a salad with tuna or chicken, pickled asparagus wraps with a side salad, or leftovers if available.

For your Thanksgiving meal, choose your favorite carbohydrates

Sweet potato casserole only comes twice a year for me. Therefore, I know I’m going to add that to my plate. However, the dinner roll? It’s more of a filler. Skip the carbs you don’t really love to save on calories. Again, visualize your dinner plate to measure the appropriate amount of carbs to eat. Focus on three to four bites of your favorites, especially if you’ll be enjoying dessert.

My favorites: Sweet potatoes, a few bites of regular potatoes, pretzel salad and stuffing. If I can keep portion sizes small, I get to enjoy the taste without feeling stuffed.

Pre-dinner

  • Create a veggie platter for munchies as you work on food preparation and pre-dinner socializing.
  • Choose to alter your dipping sauce – pick hummus over fattening dips
  • If you catch yourself socializing and eating mindlessly, socialize away from the food. It works!

During Dinner

  • Wait 10 minutes before going back for seconds. It takes 10-20 minutes for the brain to realize you’re full. If you’re a fast eater especially, wait at least 10 minutes before thinking about wanting seconds.
  • Eat slow and enjoy every bite. This will help recognize you’re full faster. Ask yourself if you can taste all the flavors. To help you eat less, engage in conversation and set down your fork with every bite.

My favorite trick: chew your food thoroughly! I used to chomp, chomp, then swallow. When I took the time to really chew, my eating speed slowed down tremendously.

  • Drink water with your meal.

If you need to take a nap shortly after your Thanksgiving meal, you know you’ve eaten too much.

Choose what tips will work best for you this holiday. I know for me, when I take a step back and pay attention to my eating speed and listening to when I’m satisfied, I eat less. Plus, it helps to start with a smaller serving so I don’t feel uncomfortably full from overeating. Each year I’ve worked on this, I’ve gotten better and better at not overdoing it.

 

How to Not Over-Indulge on Halloween Candy This Year

How to Keep Your Hand Out of The Halloween Candy

An Action Guide to Not Overindulge

How to Not Over-Indulge on Halloween Candy This YearHalloween is just around the corner! It’s easy to catch yourself eating the fun-size candy on a regular basis because it can be everywhere! So, in order to avoid your hand regularly reaching into the candy bowl, I’ve come up with some strategies that have helped me make eating Halloween candy a hassle versus a habit this holiday season.

The first step to being successful with this is to be aware where you’re finding the Halloween temptations. Is it in your home? Is it at work? We tend to eat more Halloween candy when it’s clearly visible. Once it becomes visible, sometimes we forget how much we are actually eating. Whether the candy is in a bowl on the kitchen counter or sitting on a desk at work, every time you see the candy bowl, you have to decide whether you want a piece of candy or not. Imagine seeing this bowl, 5x an hour. This would require saying no 5x for the first hour, 5x for the second hour, 5x for the 3rdhour and so on. After so many attempts of saying no, that little voice in the back of your head could start telling you something else, especially if your mood, stress, or peer pressure comes into play. That voice may be telling you, “okay, just one piece…or two, three, four.”

Here are a few ideas that helped me cut down on the constant question, “should I have a piece?”

  1. Move the candy to an area that’s not visible.

If the candy is at home, stuff the candy in hard to reach places or have a family member stash it away until Halloween night when the trick-or-treaters arrive. It’s always best to buy candy for your trick or treaters a day or two ahead of time versus weeks ahead. You’ll be less tempted to open up the bag! If candy is at work, see if you can move the candy into an area that’s not frequently visited.

  1. If the candy bowl can’t be moved, move around it.

This can be great if you find the Halloween candy is haunting you at work. If it sits on a particular desk, make a new route to do your job around the bowl so you simply don’t see the bowl walking by.

Take home message: the more hassle the candy is to eat, the less we eat.
Other strategies to eat less candy…

Don’t skip meals
Skipping meals not only makes us hungry, but it also increases our cravings! This can be the perfect recipe for a fun-size candy binge when our eyes make contact with the candy bowl – you’re hungry and you’re craving. I know when I’ve over eaten candy, it’s because I was hungry! Harnessing your willpower at this point can be very difficult. So, make it a priority to eat meals on a timely basis. When you’re not hungry, it’s easier to pass up on the candy. If you plan to hand out candy on Halloween night, be sure to eat a filling dinner. When you’re not hungry, you will be less likely to overeat the candy.

Keep Your Mouth Busy
Sometimes hunger can be misleading. When you think you are hungry, you can be actually be thirsty. If a candy craving strikes, try drinking a glass of water or sipping on unsweetened tea. My go-to lately is hot water + lemonade. This may be your trick to avoid giving in. Keeping your mouth busy in general can be a great tool to use to avoid eating the candy too. Chewing gum is another option!

Wait until the end of the work day or evening to enjoy a treat
The fun-size candy can add up quickly, especially if you start eating them in the at the start of the day. If you really want to enjoy your favorite piece, then choose a better time to eat it. Typically, if you wait until the end of the day, you have a less chance of over-eating because you’re not constantly asking yourself, “should I eat this?” during your day. Choose to enjoy your piece after dinner and sit and savor it. When you take your time and savor your candy, you may find it’s very satisfying! This works particularly well for me with one fun-size Hershey bar. I break it up in three pieces and let each piece melt in the back of my mouth. The eating process lasts much longer and I’m satisfied with one piece!

Don’t Buy Your Favorite Candy

Pretzel M&Ms are my favorite and I’ve learned it’s best not to buy an entire package of them. If you’re worried about overeating, it might be best to not buy your favorite. When you buy something you don’t like, you may find yourself not wanting any candy.

One last thing: if you plan to have a few pieces of candy on Halloween night

If you’re a candy lover, enjoy your favorite but with appropriate portions. To help overeating, focus on eating a dinner that’s filled with plenty of vegetables and lean protein. Skip the starchy carbohydrates like bread, pasta, rice, or potatoes. Your candy of choice will act as your carbohydrates and when you stick to a serving size, you won’t blow your diet.

How to Encourage Others to Get Healthy

Five Ways to Encourage Others to Get Healthy

How to Help Others Change Their Diet

How to Encourage Others to Get HealthyStarting a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge in the beginning, especially if members of your household are not on-board. While success is still possible, it’s important to encourage your family and other close friends to join you so the lifestyle can feel easy for the year’s ahead. Here are a few tips to consider:

Tell them what you have learned. It can be exciting to make new, healthy changes and to stay accountable to your plan, it helps to talk about it. Plus, learning new information and wanting to share it is fun. When it comes to encouraging others to get healthy with you, focus on what you’ve learned instead of criticizing what they should be doing. Focus on being positive. For example, you could say, “I have started eating vegetables at every meal the past few weeks and I’ve learned I no longer feel tired after a meal.” Something to avoid saying is, “you know you should be eating multiple servings of vegetables a day for stable energy.” By stating what you have learned and how it’s improved your life opens the door for your friends and family to see if they are interesting in joining with you.

Focus on talking about what you’re eating instead of what you’re not eating. If you start a conversation with “I’m not eating sugar, pasta, bread, processed foods or alcohol because those foods are not healthy for you,” you’ll probably instantly make them feel defensive or uncomfortable. They also might think you’re judging them if those foods are currently in their diet. Instead, keep it positive by saying what you are eating. “I’ve been eating lots of roasted vegetables, frittatas, fresh fruit, grilled fish and easy crockpot recipes.” These statements makes a person feel completely different and are non-judgmental.

Sneak in the good stuff. This can be a really good trick for picky eaters. Sometimes the thought of broccoli for kids or adults can automatically have a reaction of, yuck! But, what happens if you finely chop broccoli into a spaghetti meat sauce or other dinners? Is it more do-able? Start by finely chopping vegetables into your current recipes. Your family may not even notice it, yet they are reaping the nutritional benefits. Sneaking spinach or other leafy greens can also works well in smoothies. If you decide to tell them your tricks, they may be excited to know they like it!

Make it a fun activity. Healthy food can be fun. Get your family involved by having them help you plan a meal. Kids may really enjoy this activity. You could also plan a BBQ or dinner party for your friends and family. Be in charge of the menu and surprise them with your healthy favorites! They may be asking for the recipes afterwards.

Always remember that this is your journey. Encouraging others is important, but unfortunately we can’t make decisions for others. Lead by example, keep positive thoughts flowing, and before you know it, you may just have those people following in your footsteps.