Food for Thought

Nutrition, Fitness, and Wellness articles for busy women who want to lead a healthy, fulfilled life they love.

Using Our Food to Beat the March Doldrums

Using Our Food to Beat the March Doldrums

In like a lion, out like a lamb, right? During March, some days are all sunshine and smiles, and other days, the skies and our moods are dreary. When we can’t know what to expect of the weather, the March doldrums start to hit. Today, I want to talk about how we can handle the doldrums when we feel them settling in and enjoy what’s left of the month of March. 

Science shows us that when the weather is chilly, we tend to lean towards heavier foods, but warm weather draws us to lighter foods. So before we get to the season of fresh fruits and veggies, how do we stay healthy in this season when our bodies are still craving comfort food?

When you’re choosing your meals during the cold weather season,  be sure that you aren’t using food as your primary method of staying warm and cozy. Be sure you’re eating mindfully and not just for the comfort. Intentionally choose foods that will serve your body and fill you with the energy you need to stay focused. 

It might sound like a tall order, but eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated!

You should absolutely eat foods that make you smile. Life is too short to eat grilled chicken salads every single day! At the same time, you can’t exactly just base your entire diet on cookies and ice cream even if that’s what would make you smile. You can choose delicious food that will satisfy your cravings and fuel your body at the same time. 

Personally, I like to make and freeze a big stew at the beginning of winter so that I have easy access to a healthy and hearty option. Another of my cold weather favorites is a mix of rice or noodles, sauteed veggies, and steak. There are hearty food options that are still comforting while also being good for you! 

On those March days where the sun does make an appearance, stir fry with chicken and fresh fruits or veggies is a great option that’s light and bright. It’s delightfully comforting, and has a little bit of spring in the flavor to match your sunny day mood. 

How do you like to fit your favorite food into your March meals? Let me know in the comments! 

 

 

Posted - 3/23/21 (Tue) Read more...

 

Why It’s Important to Get Back to the Basics

Why It’s Important to Get Back to the Basics

This time of year, the prospect of spring hangs in the air, but here in Boston, the weather is still pretty chilly. We’ve had a day or two when the sun is out, but overall, winter isn’t quite done with yet up North. This year, the winter doldrums have been hitting me either harder than usual because COVID prevents me from traveling somewhere warmer for a winter weather break. 

Sometimes the best way to shake up our routine and take a break is simply to get back to the basics. 

One way that I do this is to follow my own winter routine. Every year, I make a big pot of stew that I freeze for meals later on. I pack it full of proteins and veggies, so I have a really easy way to choose healthy meal options. I love getting local meats from my monthly delivery and fresh veggies at my store/farmstand/CSA. 

When you need a break, the easiest way to take yourself back to the basics of your health is to plan ahead of time. 

Waiting until dinnertime to start looking for healthy options might lead you to choose whatever you’re stuck with in your fridge. If you go with your impulses instead of intentionally stocking healthy snacks, you might find that your dinner is chips and salsa just because they are there (and it’s easy). You can build a healthy foundation for yourself by stocking your fridge with easy and healthy choices ahead of time. 

Your workout doesn’t have to be overly-complex or expensive to do your body good. 

If the cold weather is keeping you from your normal outdoor workout routine, you can switch things up by trying a workout video. The internet is a great resource for finding new workouts, like yoga or pilates, that you wouldn’t usually try. Use the bad weather as an opportunity to expand your horizons! 

Don’t forget self-care!

Participating in self-care is also super important when those winter doldrums hit. Getting back to the basics of self-care can be as easy as making sure you're getting plenty of water throughout the day or getting to bed a little earlier so that you get plenty of sleep. Give yourself some time, even just five minutes of your day, that you can spend on a quick recharge. 

Eating, moving, and recharging are the foundations of healthy living, and following them will help you get back to the basics of your health when you really need a break from your routine!

 

Have any questions about getting back to the basics in your health? Let me know in the comments! 

 

Posted - 3/16/21 (Tue) Read more...

 

How to Handle “Hitting a Wall” With Your Goals

How to Handle “Hitting a Wall” With Your Goals

After a full year of being in a pandemic, I think a lot of us are hitting a wall in this final stretch. Between social distancing, quarantining, and endless amounts of waiting, I know most of us are ready for the world to return to some version of normal. Back in March of 2020, most of us were trying to make the most of the time spent at home, but after a year of isolation, a real gym or a coffee shop probably looks pretty good!

If you feel like you’re hitting a wall, you’re not alone and you’re not wrong for needing a break.

On November 1st, I committed to walking 8,000 steps everyday. I made a goal to get to 100 days because I love a challenge that really pushes me. However, on day 98, I woke up to 7 degree weather here in Boston–and yep, that’s in Fahrenheit! I had been going strong for SO long, but I just couldn’t imagine bundling myself up and getting outside. I wanted so badly to make my 100 day streak, but just two days short of my goal, I didn’t know if I had the will to do it. 

Whatever aspect of life you’re going through, at some point, you’re going to hit a wall. There will come a day when you just have to sit yourself down and agree that whatever goal you’re trying to reach just isn’t going to happen that day. It will seem frustrating to put a temporary halt on your progress, but trust me–it’s completely normal, and it’s okay! 

Allowing yourself to take a break when you’ve been going strong is really challenging. AND, giving yourself a day off is part of our Eat, Move, and Recharge Formula, and it’s important that we pay attention to recharging even when it doesn’t feel like progress. 

It's great to give yourself breaks whenever you need one, but there are days that will come where you have a task that must be completed even though you aren’t really feeling it. When this happens, you’ll have to give yourself some options for the best way to get the job done without feeling overloaded. When I realized it was going to be an extremely cold day for a walk, I considered the two options I had. I knew that I could always just walk on my treadmill instead of getting outside, but my FitBit doesn’t do a  great job of recording my steps on a treadmill. Secondly, I could break up my steps into a few short walks around the block so that I wasn’t outside in the cold for one solid chunk of time. I chose the second option of tweaking my routine so that I didn’t mess up my streak!

When you hit a wall but still have responsibilities to attend to, you have a decision to make. You can choose to give yourself a well deserved break and take the day off when you need it. That’s perfectly okay, and it’s important to rest and recharge! Your other option is to figure out a way to push through. Like any big goal we set for ourselves, breaking your task up into small chunks makes following through with achieving it so much easier. After all, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. ;)

Decide how much of your goal you can successfully manage within that day, and give yourself permission to only do that much! You can always pick back up and accomplish more tomorrow, so give yourself as much grace as needed. 

How do you handle your responsibilities when you hit a wall? Let me know in the comments! 

Posted - 3/08/21 (Mon) Read more...

 

Getting Back to the Basics

Getting Back to the Basics

February was back to basics month, and just because we’re in March doesn’t mean we should stop focusing on the keys for success! Last month, we talked about going back to the foundations of our eating, moving, and recharging habits. When you refocus on the basics, watch all of the confusing and complicated restraints on your food fall away! 

I often see people who want to make a real change in their lives get caught up in gimmicks. From complicated time frames to strict diets, there’s a lot of misinformation out there that will try to trick you. So what’s the truth of healthy living? The truth is that real change in your health will come with the basics of simple, fun, and healthy food that fuels your body. 

So what does it mean and what do we need to do to reduce the noise, and focus on the basics of healthy living? Here are two quick tips that will get you back to the basics today!

  1. Make Goals That Set You Up for Success.

We’ve been talking about goal setting since January, so it may seem like old news by now. However, if you haven’t yet gotten around to setting concrete, clear goals, this will be your very first step. Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T.: simple, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. By the way, you can ALWAYS reach out to me if you need help setting goals in a way that will really work for you. :)

  1. Compare Your Diet With Your Results. 

Once you know what goal it is you want to reach, the next step is to figure out how to get there! Take a look at your current diet (p.s. Diet just means ‘the food you eat’. It doesn’t mean restrictions or fads). Is it working for you? If not, what adjustments can you make that might give you better results? This process isn’t a one-time thing; you can continue to make adjustments throughout your health journey until you find what really works for you. An easy way to start this is to spend one week tracking your food and drinks, and then see what your diet is doing for your results. If you aren’t liking the progress you see, you can tweak from there!

Personally, I love the My Macros+ app because it lets me scan a barcode to track my foods. That makes it so much easier for me to see what I’m really taking in, compared to what I might think I’m taking in. 

Sometimes, I think I’ve had a great week with clean eating, but my body feels sluggish. When this happens, I have to wonder if I’m remembering my weekly food intake with rose-colored glasses. The truth is, those little bites from your kid’s plate or handful of a snack here and there can make a big difference. Over time, it’s the small things that can sabotage you! 

If you want to feel like you’re making progress with your health goals, try getting back to the basics and tracking what you’re eating each day! 

Whether you need help deciphering data, aren’t sure where to go next in your journey, or just want someone to celebrate your smooth sailings with, feel free to join the conversation in my Never Diet Again group! It’s completely free, and we would love to celebrate your wins with you. 

Have you tried getting back to the basics when healthy living starts to feel complicated? Let me know in the comments! 

Posted - 3/02/21 (Tue) Read more...

 

The Most Important First Step for Your Health

The Most Important First Step for Your Health

When we first begin our journeys to better our health, we often look for some magic potion or hidden secret for the key to a healthy lifestyle. I wish I could give you one, but the truth is, staying in good health comes from making decisions that benefit your body and mind each and every day. 

Still, every great journey has to start with a first step, and here’s how I recommend you start. The very first thing to do when you want to make changes to your health is be completely honest with yourself.

No, it’s not slashing your calories in half or immediately going out for a run. You might be surprised that the first thing you can do to benefit your health is simply be honest about where you are right now. 

I started thinking about being honest to ourselves when I was working with my 16 year old to get him to come clean about some school assignments that may (or may not) have been completed. During our conversation, I saw so many parallels between that talk with my son and my experience working with my clients. It can be really hard to be honest about the work we still have to do, but taking an honest assessment about where you are right now in your journey can help you know exactly where to start. 

The point of assessing yourself isn’t to pass judgement on yourself or feel frustrated that you didn’t start sooner. It is just data, plain and simple, that will help you set your path going forward and keep track of the progress you make as you go. 

Personally, I’ve had both hips and one knee totally replaced. Being honest with myself means understanding that I’m not exactly in a place to be setting a goal to run a marathon. Recognizing my limits means I’ve traded in my running days for other forms of movement, and that’s okay!

Assessing where I stand in my health right now makes it possible for me to set attainable goals, feel good about achieving them, and keep progressing in my journey. 

If you’re struggling with assessing yourself in an honest way, I’m always happy to help! If you’re ready to take the step by yourself, you can do it by looking at each leg of our Triangle of Health (Eat, Move, & Recharge). Give yourself a fair and honest rating from 1-5 for each category. Do you feel good about your eating habits? Are you exercising as much as you’d like, and what exercises can you realistically start with now? Have you been giving yourself plenty of time to recharge your batteries? Consider where you fall in each category, and you’ll have a better idea of where to start!

It can be really difficult to make changes in multiple areas at once, so the first step you might take after your assessment is to choose one area to really focus on. That way, you can make gradual and sustainable changes so that will stick and prevent burnout before you really get started. If you want this week’s focus to be the eating portion of our triangle, maybe you can focus on cooking healthy home meals instead of ordering out. If your focus is movement, you can commit to three or more workouts each week, plus a quick stretch each day. If you really just need to give yourself time to recharge, you can set aside as much time as is realistic this week to do what makes you feel your best. 

We can’t do everything at once, so choosing one area to work on can be really beneficial for managing your time and making progress that’s sustainable. Give yourself an honest assessment and figure out what your body needs from you!

 

Have any questions? Drop them into the comments and let me help you get started!

 

 

Posted - 2/23/21 (Tue) Read more...

 

Recharge to Stay Sane

Recharge to Stay Sane

Eating, moving, and recharging are all essential parts of our formula for healthy living (our Triangle of Health). Looking at this triangle, what piece do you think is the most important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle? You might say that they’re all equally important, and you’d be correct. However, the most important piece also depends on what’s going on in your life right now. 

Personally, I’ve had lots of early-morning business to attend to, so I’ve been getting up an hour earlier to complete my workout before the day gets busy. The one key to getting through these extra-early mornings is to give special attention to the recharge leg of my own Triangle of Health. 

Do you ever feel like as soon as your head hits the pillow at night, that’s when you remember all of your to-do lists? That’s not unusual for me at all, but when I’m getting up earlier than usual, sleep becomes a big priority to help keep me sane. To keep myself from staying awake each night with my to-dos on the brain, I’ve started choosing a ten minute meditation to listen to each night. This helps me get out of my own head, relax, and get ready for a great night of sleep. 

Amazingly enough, I’ve found that I’m usually not awake by the end of the ten minutes! 

I want to encourage you to pay extra attention to your recharge practices over the next couple of weeks. Whether 2021 has you feeling anxious about the days to come or just breathing a sigh of relief that 2020 is over, we can all benefit from time to unwind each day. When we let stress get the best of us, don’t get enough sleep, or are overly-anxious, our health is negatively impacted, both short-term and long-term. 

Whether it’s a walk, a stretch, a meditation, or even just journaling to get your thoughts out of your head, share with me what you’re doing to recharge each day!

 

Posted - 2/16/21 (Tue) Read more...

 

Set Yourself Up for Success With Your Exercise Habits

Set Yourself Up for Success With Your Exercise Habits

In 2021, we’re working on small, incremental changes to help us reach our goals, and that means we start by setting ourselves up for success! We can plan ahead for fitness success and give ourselves all the tools we’ll need along the way. 

I recently appeared on a podcast and discussed setting ourselves up for success with our exercise habits. The host shared with me that she made a plan to get moving for thirty minutes every day of January, but things went off the rails when she missed a day. There are a couple of key points to consider when looking how to ‘fix’ that. One key is to make sure we’re setting ourselves up in such a way that things don’t go off the rails! An equally important key is to give ourselves some grace when we do miss a day.  

Let’s start with setting ourselves up for success. One key is making “SMART” goals: simple, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based. Making a goal like exercising every day in a month can be a great way to kickstart your journey, but consider if that’s really realistic for your lifestyle. Personally, I think starting off with 3-4 days is a more realistic goal for most schedules. Check your own schedule, consider where you are starting, and make a “SMART” decision on how frequently you should aim to get moving. 

Consider these things: Is your goal simple and achievable? Do you have the time in your schedule? Is it on your calendar yet? Can you measure it? 

Your scheduled movement time should be a commitment you make to yourself that’s too important to cancel. 

Here are my four tips for setting yourself up for success in your workout routine:

  1. Be Aware of Your Goals

Before we can make goals, we have to know what we’re aiming for! We have to be aware of what our big goal is before we can begin. We also have to be aware of where we’re starting so that we can set goals that are realistic in our current state. Being aware  of what you want to do, where you are, and where you want to go will help your goals stay realistic. 

 

  1.   Put Measurements in Place 

Decide how you want to measure your success, and set up dates to take those measurements! Measuring your progress helps you to keep track of what you’ve accomplished. You can use those measurements to decide if your current plan is working, or if you need to make some tweaks to your routine. 
 

  1.  Make Sure You have Variety

Having variety in our movement plans helps us to be flexible. Some days, you might find yourself too busy for your scheduled yoga class, but maybe you can fit in a quick trip around the block. The weather might not be working with your run in the park, but a home workout video can keep you out of the cold. Some days, you might just not feel like doing whatever workout you planned, but you can go for a bike ride or pick up some dumbbells if that feels more your speed for the day. Being flexible and allowing space for variety will let you get in your movement time each day and try new things along the way. 

 

  1. Make Movement a Habit

In order to reach our goals, we need to make movement a part of our routine! Make goals that are realistic for your lifestyle and add in variety to keep things interesting. You’ll have a much better chance of sticking to your plans!

Success is not measured by never getting off plan. Success is measured by how quickly you get back on plan when things go awry. 

One thing you can count on is that life is going to happen, and there will be things that get in the way of your schedule. What you can control is giving yourself a little bit of grace when things don’t go your way and getting back on your plan just as soon as you can. 

 

What activities bring variety to your life? Let me know in the comments!

Posted - 2/09/21 (Tue) Read more...

 

How to Know When It’s Time for Your Sneakers to Go

How to Know When It’s Time for Your Sneakers to Go

In the New Year, I’m committed to putting the fun back into being healthy. One fun commitment I’ve made is getting 8,000 steps in per day, and it’s going great so far! I love getting the fresh air, stepping out of the house, and getting in some movement. 

Since I’m getting out more than usual, I’m putting a lot more miles on my sneakers. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that my feet were getting more tired and sore after my walks than usual. I replaced my sneakers, and I’ve seen such a huge difference in the way I feel after my walks. 

I typically find that I need to replace my sneakers about every six months. I just ordered some new ones, so let’s break down how you can know when it’s time for those old sneakers to go and why it’s so important for your workout!

The biggest tip to know when it’s time to replace your shoes is to take a look at the tread on the bottom. I purchased the exact same pair as my old shoes, so I compared the shoes from six months ago with my new ones.  I noticed that the new ones aren’t worn down on the bottoms and have a lot of tread. It’s a remarkable difference between the two pairs of shoes, and it makes a remarkable difference in my body, too!

It might seem like a little thing, but it’s really so important that we get new sneakers whenever they’re worn out because in order to enjoy our workout, we need to not be miserable after it. Some muscle soreness is fine (and expected) because it shows you’re making progress and putting in work, but you shouldn’t have an achy feeling in your feet that tells you they just don’t want to keep going. 

It’s so important that we have the right equipment to take care of our bodies, and it can be as simple as updating your sneakers! 

Now I know that I’ll enjoy tomorrow’s walk without any aches or pains! That will make it so much easier for me to continue to get out there day after day, so it’s worth the investment. 

I know that lots of us are still working on our exercise habits and bringing them into our daily lives, and one of the best tips I can give you is to make sure you’ve got the equipment you need in the condition you need it in. 

How are you prioritizing your workout in the New Year? Let me know in the comments!

Posted - 1/26/21 (Tue) Read more...

 

Building Strength and Balance for a Healthy Lifestyle

Building Strength and Balance for a Healthy Lifestyle

This new year is bringing many great things already, and I’m so excited that that includes new coaches in our 365 Days of Healthy Living VIP group! Today, I’m giving you the full scoop on my interview with Karen Hoffmann, our fitness coach.

Karen lives at the place where fitness meets fun! She says that now in her forties, she’s even stronger and healthier than she was in her twenties. She has done three half-marathons, and she believes she can be fit and still enjoy all the best things life has to offer!

There are so many stigmas about how we should look and what we should eat, but the secret to health isn’t eating only kale and running seven miles a day. She busts myths about what fitness looks like so that we can be our healthiest and happiest.

Karen is going to be focusing on helping us turn “I can’t” into “I can” by showing us what we’re capable of. She shares easy ways to fit exercise into our daily lives and make it fun every step of the way. I love her ideas to help us get stronger and more balanced each and every day! 

I can’t wait to hear what Karen has in store for us! If you want to get in touch with Karen, you can connect with her on Facebook or getstrongerwithkaren@gmail.com. You can also follow along and hear from Karen through our VIP community, 365 Days of Healthy Living, for monthly updates on how you can live a healthy, strong, and balanced life!

Doors are closing soon, join us now!

 

 

Posted - 1/19/21 (Tue) Read more...

 

Emotional Eating and Showing Kindness to Ourselves

Emotional Eating and Showing Kindness to Ourselves

Happy New Year! 2020 was so crazy, so I know that everyone is excited to be in 2021 and see where this year takes us. While you’re busy setting goals and making plans for the next 12 months, I have some exciting news! Lisa Lomax is going to be joining our team this year as our Emotional Eating Specialist! I was so excited to talk to Lisa about what she does and what her work means, and I can’t wait to share our interview with you all. 

Liza first told me that emotional eating has a tendency to come from one of two extremes: a household of abundance or a household of lack. When you were growing up, if you lived in a home where food was always readily available, you might have learned to go and grab a snack whenever because you’re used to having however much food you want. On the flip side, if you grew up not knowing where your next meal will come from, you might be programmed now to eat anything that you can. Both upbringings (and lots in the middle) can lead to emotional eating. 

We’ve all grown up hearing about how our diet impacts our bodies and how our bodies have to look a certain way. That’s why Lisa says the most important step is to change your mindset before you even start working on anything else!

I know this is SO true for me. Growing up Jewish, we used food to celebrate everything! We would celebrate with food, mourn with food, and never show up to someone’s house without food. Eventually, I realized that it’s totally fine to use food to be social and celebrate, but it doesn’t have to be unhealthy--delicious healthy snacks work, too!

As one of our co-coaches in our VIP Community, 365 Days of Healthy Living, Lisa is going to be popping in monthly with a video to help with our mindset and our progress. Her focus will be on emotional eating with nuggets of truth and tips that you can incorporate into your daily life right now! She’s going to be talking about what emotional eating really is, why we eat emotionally, and how to identify emotional eating in yourself or in others. 

Lisa recommends that you get started towards healthy progress today by practicing saying “I am” each day. The words we call ourselves have power, so calling ourselves negative words will lead to negative energy and bad days overall. Instead, Lisa wants us to use “I am” with all the positive things about ourselves! Whether it’s powerful, beautiful, strong, or worthy, reminding yourself of all your best traits will help you to feel your very best and have brighter days. 

What positive traits are you calling out today? Hit reply and let me know in the comments!

Posted - 1/05/21 (Tue) Read more...