Nutrition, Fitness, and Wellness articles for busy women who want to lead a healthy, fulfilled life they love.
Winter time can be hard on our health habits for a variety of reasons. Chilly temperatures make us want to hibernate—to stay inside, stay warm, and comfort ourselves with our favorite foods. Living in the Boston area, I’m no stranger to the impact cold weather can have on our routines and our cravings. Every year, I look for new inspiring recipes, tips, and tricks to help keep myself motivated and on-task through the long winter season.
Most recently, this search for new information brought me to a really fun, delightful, and insightful course on flavors. Even as a lifelong foodie and nutrition expert, I have to admit: What I learned from this course was really fascinating and exciting for me! I learned a lot about the functional uses of different flavors and how they can interact with each other, but I think the most interesting and applicable takeaway I had was around using flavors to combat cravings. (If you're interested in learning more about Sherry Hess' amazing Flavor Remedy course, connect with her here.)
Simply put, we can use bitter flavors to punctuate our meals and discourage cravings.
How does this work? Basically, bitter flavors coordinate the messages between our belly and our brain. We may have eaten enough, but our brain hasn’t gotten the message yet. They act as a cue that we can move on from our meal rather than mindlessly munching.
In practice, the easiest way for me to make this happen is to have a couple of ounces of a bitter liquor like an amaro. I’ve tried a couple of different ones recently and really enjoy the Averna. The bitterness of the herbal base in the liquor really does wrap up the meal nicely, and I’ve found that on nights when I have my Averna, I don’t continue snacking throughout the evening.
During the day time, of course, I’m far less likely to have a liquor at the end of my meal. If you’re looking for good lunchtime (or generally non-alcoholic options) to punctuate your meals, some great options include:
Apples (don’t slice off the peel!)
If you struggle with snacking and comfort food cravings, I encourage you to give this a try! And if you do, I’d love to hear how it goes for you. Comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know which bitter foods you tried and whether you felt like they made a difference for you.
Posted - 2/18/20 (Tue) Read more...
When you think of making healthy choices, there’s a pretty good chance you think of eating your veggies, watching the sweets, drinking water, or hitting the gym. Maybe you even think of things like self-care, seeing a therapist, or meditation.
But one thing most of us don’t think to associate with our health? Our money.
Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Yulin Lee, a financial coach for women. In her mission to help and empower women to become financially savvy to create independence and financial security on their own terms, Yulin frequently talks with women about all the ways our money influences pretty much every other aspect of our lives.
That said, I was super interested when Yulin happened to mention her theory on money and health: When we take care of our money, our health improves, too.
If you ask me, the theory holds up! When we aren’t financially secure, we’re constantly stressed about it—we worry about whether we have enough, whether we’re saving enough, whether our money is in the right places, etc. And as we all know, stress plays a HUGE role in influencing our physical and mental health.
So, I want to give you a chance to hear my full conversation with Yulin—including the variety of ways money and wellness are tied together, how you can tell if money is behind some of your health issues, and what you can do about your money stress if it is creating issues for you.
Click play on the video below to hear our full conversation! And if you’re interested, go ahead and take Yulin’s Money Quiz by texting MoneyQuiz to 42828.
Posted - 2/11/20 (Tue) Read more...
Anyone who knows me very well at all can tell you: I’m a big fan of routines. When it comes to making my health goals fit into my very busy schedule, sticking to a schedule is a crucial component of my success. However, I’m under no illusion that that’s true for everyone!
When it comes to creating a life you love, a really important component is figuring out what’s going to work for you . . . and what’s just going to add extra stress. So today, I wanted to explore the idea of routines around a fitness regimen to help you decide whether establishing a set routine is more likely to be encouraging or discouraging in your particular health journey.
Obviously, everyone’s routine is going to look a little different. Just to give you an idea of the kind of structure I’m talking about though, here’s a little peek at my average weekly workout plan:
Monday - Gym day
Tuesday - Spin class
Wednesday - Pilates
Thursday - Gym day
Friday - Pilates
Saturday - Boxing
As often as possible - Walks around a nearby lake :) (Note: This sometimes doubles as my “move” and “recharge” components.)
Now, one thing you’ll notice right off the bat is that my routine is heavy in CLASSES. Personally, I love classes because they keep me accountable and they help ensure that I’m not getting bored. That said, your routine might look more like hitting the gym every other day, starting every morning with a 60-minute dog walk, or heading out for a jog after work every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Whatever floats your boat—and keeps your heartrate up—is fine!
(If you’re worried at all about making sure you’re doing the right types of workouts to achieve your goals, creating your ideal workout calendar is something we talk about in depth as part of my Reclaim Your Life, One Bite at a Time program. CLICK HERE to learn more about it!)
I can’t answer this for you—while I generally do recommend that my clients (especially those just starting out) establish a routine, some people really are motivated enough to change things up on a week-to-week basis. If you’re unsure of whether you would benefit from an exercise routine, ask yourself:
Am I self-motivated enough to make myself workout, even when I’m not being held accountable by a schedule or a class?
Have I tried (and failed) in the past to squeeze a workout in whenever I had extra time for it?
Am I prone to falling into ruts, getting bored, and giving up when I don’t have variety in my schedule?
Do schedules and itineraries bring you joy, or do they make you feel boxed in and stressed out?
The truth is, while routines work best for most folks, there’s no one RIGHT way to prioritize your physical fitness. So get out there, move your body in whatever way makes sense for you, and crush your fitness goals! And remember: If you need some guidance, support, instruction, or accountability, you’re always welcome to reach out to me.
Posted - 2/04/20 (Tue) Read more...
As a health and nutrition coach, I see clients with ALL KINDS of different health and wellness related goals. One of the most common over the past year? Ditching sugar.
Generally speaking, our modern, western diet has come to rely way too heavily on sugars, simple carbs, and unhealthy starches. While these things are all perfectly okay in limited doses, many of us truly have developed a chemical and psychological addiction to sugar. The result? Huge numbers of empty calories each day. Unstable blood sugar levels that leave us feeling moody, lethargic, and icky. Incredible difficulty losing or regulating weight.
This year, more than ever it seems, modern women are fighting back—we’ve realized the danger of our sugar addiction, and we’re ready to face it head first. But it’s not quite as simple as that.
On the sliding spectrum of sugar consumption struggles, where are you? Do you have a moderate sweet tooth that keeps your clothes from fitting the way you wish they did? Are you someone with a full-blown sugar addiction who’s trying to manage a disease like type 2 diabetes? And where are you trying to get to—are we cutting sugar entirely, or just decreasing our normal, everyday sugar consumption?
Depending on how dramatically you wish to change your eating habits, you’ll want to approach the choice to eliminate sugar a little differently. For most of us, a great place to start is looking at the sugary foods we eat most often and figure out what our mindset is around those snacks.
In a lot of cases, we’ll find that there’s an emotional eating component to our sugar addiction. If that sounds like you, I recommend replacing your food reward with something else: for example, instead of having a bowl of ice cream after dinner, maybe you could spend 30 minutes on a favorite hobby, take a long, meditative walk, or even replace your sweet snack with a healthier option like fruit and yogurt.
(Note: If your goal involves using sugar-elimination to manage a health issue, consult your doctor before taking my, or anyone else’s, health and nutrition advice!)
How will you know when you’ve succeeded? Can you set benchmarks for yourself along your journey? Set weekly, monthly, and/or quarterly goals so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to check in with yourself throughout your journey. In the case of one of my recent clients, she made the decision to reduce from enjoying a sugary snack each evening, to snacking just one or two days per week. Small shifts can lead to big results over time.
It’s easy to say you’ll just go cold turkey and stop eating all your favorite sugary snacks . . . Reality though? Not so easy. Plan to give yourself enough nutritional variety that you won’t fall back into your old habits. Because my client knew it was okay to snack every now and then, she didn’t feel deprived, grumpy, or frustrated on the evenings when she was choosing not to indulge.
This takes time, of course—good habits don’t develop overnight. When you make intentional choices around sugar every day, though, you’ll find that you’ll move from having to actively choose non-sugary foods, to reaching for them out of habit. It might take a while to get here, but once you’ve turned this corner, you’re well on your way to breaking your sugar habit for good!
Let me know what you’re struggling with below, and as always, feel free to email me directly at email@example.com. Until next time, my hope for you is that you live a life you love - without being hungry, feeling deprived, or giving up your glass of wine with dinner.
Posted - 1/28/20 (Tue) Read more...
Recently, I found myself in a hotel room in Helsinki, desperately trying to unwind after a long week of work-related travel. It was a Thursday night, and while I was exhausted, my to-do list wasn’t technically done.
I host a weekly Facebook Live session on my nutrition coaching page. Every Thursday, I tune in to offer tips, advice, and insights to my audience around living a healthier lifestyle. It’s a casual time to connect with folks on my page—but casual or not, I am pretty religious about making sure it happens every single Thursday.
This particular Thursday though, I was struggling. It was late. My brain was fried. And when I looked at my notes for the topic I intended to discuss, I couldn’t help but scoff at myself:
Why it’s important to recharge your batteries and prioritize your self-care.
Maybe it’s dramatic, but I felt like a hypocrite. How could I go live and talk to my audience about how important it is to take care of yourself when I myself was feeling spread way too thin?
Long story short, I ultimately made the decision to postpone my live chat until Friday. I recognized that what I really needed was some quality sleep—so I gave myself permission to be a little imperfect that day.
I showed up on my page the next day, feeling well-rested and much more present. I shared my story of choosing self-care with my viers. Nobody batted an eyelash about the scheduling change.
Why am I telling you all this? It’s not because I think you’re fascinated by my travel schedule or my anxieties around scheduling. It’s because we all have moments like these in our daily lives: Experiences where we’re forced to decide between prioritizing our self-care versus living up to vague, perfectionistic expectations we set for ourselves.
It’s not always as cut and dry as that, but this week, I want to challenge you to take every possible opportunity to simply recharge your batteries.
Recharging your batteries is a crucial part of living a healthy lifestyle. While we tend to think of our mental health as secondary to our physical health, the truth is that your healthy nutrition and movement choices count for much less if your stress levels are through the roof.
Next time you’re faced with an opportunity to choose productivity or self-care, I hope you’ll CHOOSE YOU. Even if you’re only able to carve out five minutes for me-time here and there, I think you’ll be really surprised by what an impact the decision to consciously recharge can have on your overall wellbeing.
Posted - 1/21/20 (Tue) Read more...
If you’ve recently gotten remotivated about your health goals, you might be wondering: What’s the best way to get started with new, healthier nutrition habits?
A quick Google search will almost certainly direct you to a variety of choices: crash-diets, juice cleanses, detoxes, etc. You probably know by now that anything that sounds like a magic pill is too good to be true—but does that mean that ALL cleanses and detoxes are a no-go? How should you decide whether a cleanse or detox is right for you?
When it comes to completing a detox, it’s important to ask yourself what you’re hoping to achieve.
If you think that you can drink carrot juice for a week and lose 15 pounds . . . Well, sorry, but that’s probably not gonna happen. However, if you’re just looking to jumpstart your progress and start feeling healthier, more energetic, and all-around better, then participating in a detox might be a great choice for you!
“Detox” can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. For the purposes of our conversation, when I say “detox,” I don’t mean consuming only juices and shakes, starving yourself, or fasting. I mean cleaning out your system by cutting out the stuff that makes us feel icky. I’m talking about getting back to square one by making extremely intentional, healthy choices for seven days—and then preparing yourself to move forward with more long-term, sustainable healthy habits.
From that angle, a detox week doesn’t have to be extreme, complicated, or expensive—in fact, a truly healthy detox (one that involves real food as opposed to pre-packaged drink mixes or supplements) is pretty simple. And to make things even simpler, I’m offering my readers the opportunity to come along with me on a detox week to kick off the new year!
Starting January 23, I’ll be embarking on my first detox week of the new year, along with all the members of my Thrive VIP community. Together, we’ll spend seven days cleansing our bodies of the ick we built up over the holiday season by consuming only clean foods. I’ll lead members through a full week of eating frequent, intentional, strategically-planned meals so that by the end of day seven, we’ll all be feeling rejuvenated and totally ready to tackle our new year’s health goals. Not only that, but we’ll talk all about my basic nutritional strategies, how blood sugar stabilization can be a total game-changer for your health, and why making healthy choices should NOT equal depriving yourself of the foods that you love.
Wondering how you can join us?? It’s not too late! Sign up for Thrive before January 22 and get access to my 7-Day Real Food Detox—plus all the other amazing perks that come with being a Thrive VIP member! Click here to learn more.
Posted - 1/14/20 (Tue) Read more...
Before we get started, I have a question for you: Do you set new year’s resolutions?
Personally . . . I don’t. No judgment if you do though! I don’t feel that I’m as likely to stick to a “resolution,” so instead, I create a vision board for each new year, cast my intentions, and set some long-term goals that I know I’d like to hit over the next 12 months.
Whether you call them resolutions, goals, intentions, or something else though, one thing remains the same: The key to succeeding is starting off on the right foot.
First thing’s first—your success starts with choosing the RIGHT goals. My favorite way to do this is to “start with the end in mind,” and then break our big goal down into smaller chunks that can be achieved throughout the year.
To do this in a way that I know is realistic and actually accomplishable, I always like to remind my clients (and myself!) to set SMART goals.
If you’ve been part of my community for a while, you’ve likely heard me talk about my love for SMART goals before. If you haven’t, you can find the full scoop on SMART goals in my blog from around this time last year, SMART Goals: Start the New Year Off Strong.
Basically, the gist is this: SMART is an acronym that stands for:
As you think about your goals (or resolutions) for the new year, ask yourself: Does your goal meet that criteria? Do you need to hone it, make it a little more focused, or give yourself a deadline?
On the surface, this might seem like a clear goal to set for yourself . . . but let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?
When we compare the goal, “I want to run a marathon” against our SMART goals checklist, we realize that it:
...is anything but simple!
...IS somewhat measurable.
...IS achievable (for most people, as a long-term goal).
...may or may not be realistic (depending on your current status as a runner as compared to your deadline).
...has no defined timeline or deadline.
As you can see, “I want to run a marathon” only meets two of our SMART goal factors—and that’s being generous. While it sounds good on paper, this statement is ultimately more of an aspiration than a clearly defined goal.
So… how do we turn an aspiration into a SMART goal? Easy! We just do some work to define the goal more clearly and/or break it into smaller pieces. Sticking with the same example:
S(imple): Since running a marathon isn’t simple for the average person, we might decide to start with the goal of running a 5k, with the intention of building from there.
M(easurable): How will you measure your success? You could do this in terms of distance (For example, maybe you’ll know you’ve met your goal when you can run the whole 5k distance without having to walk at all). You could also measure your speed; maybe you can already technically run a 5k, but you want to knock a couple minutes off your time. Both are great!
A(chievable): As long as you’re in average-above average physical health and you’re willing to choose a realistic deadline, this goal should be totally achievable.
R(ealistic): Again, this could vary based on your deadline. For most people in great physical health, you should plan about 8-12 weeks to prepare for a 5k race.
T(ime-based): Set a deadline for yourself! Using the estimate above, decide WHEN you’ll run the race. This is one of the most important parts of setting a SMART goal.
This process, of course, is applicable to so much more than marathon running. In fact, you can use it to reverse-engineer your success with almost any goal! Stay tuned throughout the month for my best tips on using SMART goals to succeed with all your eat, move, and recharge resolutions this year.
If so, I want to personally invite you to join me in my Thrive VIP Community! Thrive is a membership group full of women who value our health and want to make better choices, no matter how busy and crazy life gets. We’re kicking off a 7-Day Real Food Detox on January 23 (no fasting and no weird juice cleanses, I swear!), and I’d LOVE to help you get involved! Click here to learn more about how I can help you THRIVE with your health this year.
Posted - 1/07/20 (Tue) Read more...
The New Year is often lauded as a perfect time for new beginnings . . . But if you’re lugging extra bloat and fatigue into the new year with you, you may not feel like you’re starting quite as fresh as you wish you were.
If you’re like most folks, there’s a pretty good chance you indulged in many of your favorite foods over the holidays. That’s not a problem! In fact, as your nutrition coach, I sincerely HOPE you took the opportunity to enjoy a few of your favorite foods. You only live once, right??
But now that we’re knocking on January’s front door, you might be asking yourself: How do I break my cycle of mindless eating and get more intentional with my health choices in the new year?
Before I say anything else, I’ll say this: Eating intentionally doesn’t have to be complicated!
Here are a few simple rules to help you eat a little more mindfully in 2020 (or whenever you happen to be reading this :) ):
Ditch the Dieting Culture.
If you’re new here, there’s one rule you’ve gotta embrace if you want to hang with us . . . WE DON’T DO DIETS. Diets don’t work. Diets leave you feeling burnt out, tired, hopeless, and blah. Nobody wants that. So we reject dieting culture, period.
Commit to eating PFC Every 3.
You knew I was going to say this, right? Replace mindless snacking with a commitment to eating small, balanced, frequent meals. Every 3-4 hours, munch on a lean protein, a healthy carb, and a healthy fat. You’ll still feel full and satisfied, and you’ll be supplying your body with nutrients it actually needs instead of the simple carbs and sugars that cause fatigue and weight gain.
Sure, this applies to your midnight champagne toast. ;) But it REALLY applies to your water intake! One of the easiest, most surefire ways to start feeling refreshed and cut the post-holiday bloat is hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. An average adult woman should be drinking about 2-3 liters of water per day; for men, that number is closer to 3-4 liters (more if you’re sweating more or in a drier climate). So bottoms up, friends!
Set SMART goals and keep them in mind.
If you’re not sure what SMART goals are, you can check out my post about them here. Basically, you want to make sure you’re setting realistic goals—and THEN make sure you’re reflecting on them periodically. I love having my clients choose a “reminder item” to help remind them of their big WHY when things get tough. A reminder item can be anything from a photo of your kids to that string bikini you loved wearing in college. Get creative and pick something that makes you want to make great choices!
Are you looking to really crush your health goals this year?? If you could use a little extra accountability, I’d love to invite you to check out my Thrive VIP group. Thrive is all about health education, support, accountability, and creating lives we love. We’re actually going to be starting a (simple, no-fuss) Real Food Detox week in January to help us all get back on track, and our bodies primed to achieve ALL of our health goals in the new year, so now is a fantastic time to join if you could use some support and accountability! Learn more or sign up HERE.
Posted - 12/31/19 (Tue) Read more...
Happy holidays! If you’re reading this on the day that this blog comes out, you’re likely on the verge of a celebration. My family kicked off our Hanukkah festivities a few days ago. Today is Christmas Eve. Kwanzaa is starting up soon. And the New Year is just around the corner!
While we may all celebrate a little differently, our holidays have one big thing in common: They’re likely to be equal parts fun and stressful.
Now, if you’re not feeling stressed out at all in the midst of all the wintertime festivities . . . Great! I’m super happy for you. :)
For many of us though (shout out to all the introverts and ambiverts out there!), holiday celebrations can wear us a little thin. If that’s you, you’re not alone in feeling less than holly-jolly . . . and there’s no shame in admitting that.
What exactly do I mean by that? Gauge Your Frazzle-Meter just means, Take a moment to check in with yourself. Ask yourself:
Am I feeling tired?
Do I need a moment of quiet time?
Do I have some bottled up feelings that I might need to share with a friend?
Am I hydrated?
Does my body feel stiff or uncomfortable?
If you answer YES to any of those questions, don’t feel bad about pulling yourself away from the festivities for a moment to address your needs. Go for a walk. Swap out your eggnog for some water. Heck—lock yourself in the bathroom for five minutes of peace and quiet if that’s what it takes. No judgment!
Let’s be honest—stress doesn’t go away when the holidays end. As we head into the new year, I challenge you to commit to being more conscientious about your practical self-care. Reflect on the past year and—again—ask yourself:
Did I spend more time feeling relaxed or frustrated this year?
Did I successfully budget enough me-time?
Did I spend enough time with my family?
Did I spend enough time with my friends?
Did I designate enough time for hobbies or passion-projects?
Is there anything BIG I wish I’d have done differently?
You can make changes to your lifestyle at any time of year, of course—but the dawn of a new year (and in this case, a new decade!) presents a great opportunity to really think about the choices we’ve made over the past 12 months, and make a conscious decision about whether we need to approach some parts of our lives a little differently.
If you’re looking for an extra boost in your accountability and motivation in the coming year, I want to personally invite you to check out my VIP Community: Thrive. Thrive is a membership community full of women who “get it” and experts who want to help you succeed with every component of your health. CLICK HERE to learn more about this opportunity!
Posted - 12/24/19 (Tue) Read more...
First off, happy holidays! This time of year, most of us like to spend a little time thinking about how we could make the world a little bit better. Maybe you volunteer at a local organization, donate to Toys for Tots, organize a coat drive with your church or school, or buy gifts for one of the kids on the Angel Tree at your local mall.
If you do, hats off to you! I think supporting a trusted nonprofit and volunteering in our communities are great ways to improve the world around us, and to boost our spirits a bit too.
But today, I wanted to talk a little bit about how you can make the world a better place just by being you and living your daily life intentionally, no matter the season. Because as it turns out, your health choices affect your mental health and the way you interact with the world profoundly. What you eat and how you choose to spend your time can have a huge impact on the world at large.
Maybe it sounds a little self-centered, but it’s 100% realistic: making the whole world a little better and brighter starts with making YOUR world a little better and brighter.
MY world, for example, is 10x better when I make time for working out a mandatory part of my schedule. Whether it’s a morning session on the elliptical, an afternoon spin session, or an evening pilates class, making time to MOVE my body keeps me feeling positive, calm, and engaged with the world around me. I am truly a better person, a better mom, a better wife, a better everything when I prioritize my health and wellness.
Now, maybe you don’t have the time to workout quite as often (or maybe you have the time, but it just doesn’t bring you the same amount of instant joy that it brings me. No judgment). If that’s the case, this can still apply to you! Something as simple as waking up and doing some stretching to wake your body up before hopping into a shower can make a huge difference in the way you interact with the world at large as you move through your daily life.
If there’s a particular meal or activity that leaves you feeling a little sunnier and a little more like yourself in the midst of these winter doldrums, I invite you to make time for that this week. Take time to notice which of your healthy habits have the biggest impact on your mood and energy levels, and observe how your social interactions start to shift when you’re in a better mood.
As you do this exercise, make some notes and be sure to let me know how it goes! I’m eager to hear what seemingly rote activities or choices help you make the world a better place in your own unique way.
Looking to connect with others who are committed to bettering themselves through health and wellness? Check out my free online community, Never Diet Again! Can’t wait to see you there. :)
Posted - 12/17/19 (Tue) Read more...