Treat Your Body Right, Build a Healthy Lifestyle

February 25th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

When you’re in good health it’s easy to take it for granted. That ability to take on the day like a bull fighter is great. When you’re totally on your game it’s a snap to add more “to-do’s” to your day because you have the time and zest to do them. You embrace your day effortlessly with vim and vigour.

Take a few weeks ago; I joined a special someone on a business trip to Geneva. My down time was spent taking long walks in the old town, along the serene Lake Geneva looking for Shania Twain, meandering near the United Nations building and more. Each evening was spent taking another stroll to and from dinner, not giving walking an extra few miles a second thought. We probably clocked 7 to 11 miles each day to’ing and fro’ing.

Coming home on the plane I sat near a fellow who coughed the entire flight. I was doomed. The next day I succumbed to this year’s flu bug, UG. I truly can’t remember the last time I was so sick. You know the score, high fever, achy muscles, a splitting head ache and left with little energy even to sip water. I turned from a free spirit who could walk 10 miles in a day to a shut in who was winded after shuffling 10 steps, what gives!

It got me thinking about what a blessing good health truly is. During one of my usual daily Twittersphere scans I read a brash tweet that read “I know what’s good for my health and choose NOT to do it.” Hmmmm, I thought how strange it is to deliberately do the opposite of what’s good for me. As I recuperated that week how good it felt to do things that made me feel better. As I tend to say, “don’t mess with the machine!

It was wonderful to regain my energy to bundle up and head out for a daily walk again. It felt great to unravel my mat to bend and stretch and reach for the stars. I also listened attentively to my body’s cues for the whole foods it craved to help whip my systems back into shape – one day I yearned for homemade apple sauce; another homemade soup; then to eggs and toast; to fresh berries and plain Greek-style yogurt. I knew I was really coming around when I pined for ribs!

Establishing a healthy lifestyle is the best gift you can give yourself. Having it helps you be the best you can absolutely be. Your body truly is your temple, so treat it right!

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Shades of Grey 5 MORE Ways

February 18th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Thought I’d follow that “shades of grey” theme from last week. There certainly are a multitude of grey zone issues in the realm of food and nutrition. I thought I’d feature a few more for you to digest!

Test, Test, Put Your Favourite Food to My Eating Satisfaction Test - Gotta love a test involving savouring your most favourite food, right? I used to be in love with anything deep fried, salted that went CRUNCH, until I put it to this test and it fell off my favourite food list. Go figure! My love of pie however, has endured…

Thoughts on Healthy – Everyone who eats is a self promoted nutrition expert, it would seem. From, “Eat your carrots!” to “Don’t let Timbits touch your lips!” and more. What’s my favourite line of singer Barry White “…too much of anything’s not good for you baby….” Right on Barry!

Weighing in on “Full” – Why is it that fullness and satiety are so elusive and ever changing? Here are some tips to help you get more satisfaction with less which’ll bring you double the joy AND more eating enjoyment!

Grey Matter Matters! – This is less about grey zone and  more about grey matter…I write on about eating well and getting fit, but alas I have spent too little time writing about ways to nurture your noodle – your bountiful brain. Grey matter should be top of mind!

What’s the best diet out there? – This is “greyist” question of them all! What can I say in short: own it, stick with science, don’t mess with the machine, follow the loser and enjoy the journey!

So there you have it folks, another smattering of grey zone food and nutrition issues to mull over as February rolls on. Anyone can manage in the absolutes of black and white, but the grey zone is where real complexities lie.
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Shades of Grey 5 Ways

February 11th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

We live in a world filled with shades of grey. I assume you can create your own steamy 50 Shades of Grey sequel for Valentine’s without advice from this square RD! It is good, however, to learn to manage life in the grey zone on many fronts. The world of food and nutrition is no different, there are numerous “grey zone” issues to make sense of. So here you go a compilation of food and nutrition grey zone issues. Some food for thought to help build your love affair with food and activity. Enjoy!

Thinking of trying a diet? Put it to my Thanksgiving Dinner Test - Want to know what I think of any diet plan you’re contemplating? Put it through my simple test to see if it passes, if it doesn’t don’t give it another thought. Save your effort and money.

What’s so super about “super food” you ask? – What’s the “food jag du jour”? Is quinoa still in or is it barley? Should I awash myself with droplets of hallowed vitamin water…drip, drop, drip? Does an apple a day still keep the doctor away? Let’s get to the bottom of what’s really super, shall we!

Enjoy Maxing Out Nutrient Richness – Get real with your food. Now is a perfect time to up the natural nutrient richness in your diet. Calorie counting is SOOOO yesterday. Put the abacus away already! Fill yourself up with natural goodness containing more nutrients. Your body will smile back at you when you do!

Keeping Your Activity Routine Flexible – So much has been written about staying limber. Even more needs to written on how to keep our activity routines fluid and flexible to help us keep active every season, on busy work days, on fun holidays, when the sun’s shining or when snow is pelting. I know one thing for sure, KEEP MOVING and while you’re at it, make it a double (2 times a day!)

Grey Zone on Bad Food, Good Food & Piglets - One of my readers outed her “ice cream lovin’” Dad a while back. So I tried to set the record straight. Now I have a regular reader, guess which one?

So there you have it folks, a smattering of grey zone food and nutrition issues to mull over during this month that’s been very grey of late. There is beauty in grey, so embrace it. Once you learn to manage in that zone, you’ll know how to spot garbage when you read it and will be sailing right along…upward and onward ho!
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How are your goals taking shape?

February 4th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

Well, well, well, the calendar page has turned to February already. So how are your goals taking shape now that we’re well into 2015? If you were planning to make some significant changes in your regime this year and have slipped up a bit, don’t lose heart; that’s part of the journey to a healthier you. Let’s review, reflect and reframe!

Journalling Journey – Have you considered starting journalling your eating and activity journey this New Year? As you get into the groove of jotting details in a journal you will begin to uncover your eating and activity finger print. If your one major goal for 2015 is to create a love affair with eating and activity then let it all hang out in your journal. After all it’s for your eyes only. Let’s get to the bottom of what’s been holding you back. It doesn’t need to be January 1st to start, every day is a perfect day to make a goal or two. Press the “start” button today!

3 x 3 Triad to Success – I wrote about working on changing 3 habits x 3 weeks starting with the easiest ones first. How’s that going? Beginning with the easiest behaviours to master first is a brilliant way to get your motivation soaring, even if you haven’t totally bought in to all of this yet. Don’t take any shortcuts and stick out each 3-week interval to ensure you fully adopt new positive habits. If you need more time, take it. If you want to only work on 1 new behaviour at a time, then go for it!

Focus on Behaviour, Not Food – I love encouraging people to focus on non-food goals, allowing all food to fit. I’m a food loving Italian after all, remember? This will get you focusing on your eating experience more completely and in time will help you lose the guilt of eating your favourite foods. You’ll even enjoy your food more. This approach is essential if you truly want to love your food more. We can all use more love in our lives, keep at it!

Getting to Love Your Moves – I also want you to build a loving relationship with your activity too. Some people have sour memories of being picked last for dodge ball in gym and hate the thought of being humiliated when doing sports and exercise. I get it! I want you to take the pressure off, no Lululemons needed for you. Work on healthy and stealthy “interval training” by finding 15 minute intervals to begin your personal “movement movement”. In time you will build up the number of intervals you do each day because you’re feeling good and your body is yearning for it. No need to get ahead of yourself at this point, but let’s press the re-start button and lose the old adage of “no pain, no gain”. Who needs more pain? No one, that’s who!

Stoke Motivation with Rewards & New Habits – Whether you’re aiming to lose weight or get more fit this year let’s use a positive approach. Working in ways to get and stay motivated is worth your time and effort and everyone around you will be happier too! Have you started that endorphin diet too? Help make yourself happier every day by flooding your senses and staying pumped.

There you have it folks, here’s a positive beginning to your year without restrictions and pressure. Find out more details in my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books and let’s keep the momentum soaring!

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Go “Bowling” on Superbowl Sunday!

January 30th, 2015 No Comments

Are you making plans for a Superbowl party? Gone are the days you drown your face in a bowl of nachos, nay nay I say! Try a flash-in-the-pan veggie pizza pie. Then go super bowling with a salad bowl full of flavour, crunch and punch! Check out these ideas to make your party EXTRA super:

Root for Arugula – Do you love a win that’s bitter, sweet? Turn over a new leaf and sub in some arugula in your super bowl. Add fruit to cut the edge and nuts for that SNAP crunch.

Superbowl Escarole & Pepper - Add some cut up pepper to your escarole and eensy bits of spicy hot salami for an extra kick for that 3-point play.

Long Bomb Cucumber, Fennel - Try this switch up of your greens with delightful ricotta. It will surely please your palate.

Hail Mary Staple Salad – Don’t want to fuss too much about putting something super in your bowl? You’ll be thankful for this flex idea. Use whatever you have on hand like the Tazmanian Devil on Bugs Bunny and serve it up with your pizza pie for a touchdown!

Franny’s Flash in the Pan Pizza Pie - My oh my, gotta love a fast and delish dish of pizza pie! This recipe is a hit when you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. Give it a try.

Gotta love lounging and watching the Superbowl. Who wants to spend half the day in the kitchen? Not me! The best part of the game is turning up the volume to the half time show, that’s when the game really begins right Katy? Get up off the couch and work in your activity routine as you lead some cheers before the 3rd quarter!

Who’s going to clinch it? It might be the year of the goat, but maybe it’s the year of the Seahawk, again!

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Endorphins: Mother Nature’s Blue Monday Boost

January 26th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

I have been doing quite a bit of blogging about ways to get and stay motivated this fine January. Many people take on the New Year and make a list of “what NOT to do from this day forward”. I say we should fill up our life and find ways to boost our motivation and spirits daily even on the coldest, cloudiest day. They say that the last Monday in January is the bleakest of the year. Say what? Time to tune your attitude in and work in ways to feel good, naturally.

We may live in a material world, but you can rely on the deep mysteries of your own body to lift your spirits. A special secret lies in the realities of endorphins, ahhh. It’s touted as the brain’s “feel good” chemical. Why not find ways to release more every day of the year? Flood your senses and listen UP!

Say Ommmmmm – Meditation and controlled breathing can help give you an endorphin lift. Visualize you at your goal weight and take the pressure off by taking it down a notch while relieving stress.

Unleash Your Giggler – Hearty belly laughs are an automatic joy lifter too. Look on the bright side and stop taking life so seriously. Turn that frown upside down while turning on the Comedy Channel!

Get Spicy – Hot chilli peppers added to your food can trigger a release. Sprinkle some on your eggs, pasta or stir fry and get all steamy with it as your endorphin elixir. Check out my Nan’s Arrabiatta recipe to spice it up a notch!

Turn On the Tunes – Crank up your favourite tunes and your spirits will lift as well. I love the motivation/pop music setting on Sonza as my mid-day picker upper. Check it out and work it into your routine, la la la la la la ba da ahhh.

Vamoose Your Caboose – Exercise and activity provide a whole lot of benefits on this front which can provide that “runner’s high”, decrease stress, ward off depression, boost self esteem while improving sleep to name a few of the many benefits. Make your interval training be comprised of moves you enjoy. Get outside and play!

Now here’s a spoiler alert that good lovin’, chocolate and light alcohol all boost your endorphins too. These can be enjoyed as a Valentine trifecta, which is right around the corner! Flood your senses!

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One Plan to Rule them All?

January 20th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , ,

We all wish that there was one simple plan to guide us to nutritional nirvana, don’t we? If there were, we wouldn’t have a perplexing global obesity epidemic on our hands. You’ve heard that saying “viva la difference”. It’s true, we are all so different, so how can one plan be “it” for all of us. Simply put, it cannot.

1,000 Ways to Do the Same Thing Right – I have learned from counselling numerous families that there are a thousand ways to do the same thing right. When someone tells me they lost weight following Weight Watchers and someone else touts positive results by embracing Bob Greene’s regimen, I say “good for you!”. I believe the essence of success lies in owning whatever plan you choose and superimposing it into your everyday life. It may sound cliche, but it’s true.

The Other Holy Grail - The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) tracks key details of people who have lost weight successfully and kept it off for two years or more; as I tend to call them “successful losers”. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t go to Bernie Madoff for financial advise, but would listen to a successful guru like Arlene Dickinson, wouldn’t you? The NWCR found that 45% of their study sample lost weight on their own plan while 55% lost weight with the help of some type of program. As I said, there are many ways of doing the same thing right.

Own It! – If you want my wisdom on what could be helpful for you, be an active participant in whatever you decide to do. If you want an easy-peasy plan, start right where you are and try to move a few small steps for the better, such as trying the 3 x 3. It’s kind of like dietary Snakes and Ladders where you do your best to land on the ladders as you progress! For me, many years ago, I wasn’t willing to “give up” any of my favourite food, but I was willing to work on small behavioural changes bit by bit. Examples included slowing down my eating pace, focusing on my degree of fullness and only having one serving of each type of food at meals (if I wanted seconds and was still hungry I’d have more veggies). I also made a pact that I would commit to a slow weight loss. After all, what’s the rush!

Biology & Physiology Prevail! – The other important element is that whatever regimen you choose, it needs to be in alignment with basic biology. Some people like the sound of a new fangled plan because it’s novel, in vogue and has cache. The last time I checked the fundamentals of biology and physiology, they haven’t changed….. for thousands of years. I’ll break it to you, our bodies need all nutrients consistently to function optimally. Period. Some people gloss over this important fact, yet it is essential to our health and well being. Ensure your plan is balanced nutritionally whatever you choose. Follow the manual and don’t mess with the machine… your bodacious body!

Save the date? NOT! – Also, dash the notion of losing weight by a certain date, occasion or season. Stay in the moment and do the best you can do “just for today”. When we focus on all of our “todays” all of the tomorrow will fall into place sooner or later. If you need a breather and want to work on maintaining for a while, take the time and do this the last time… ever!

Follow the Loser! – Check out the National Weight Control Registry for more information and learn from those who have succeeded already. It’s a perfect place to start! If you want some reinforcements, check out my ebook Skinny On Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books.

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Weighing In On Weighing In

January 16th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

I have been focusing on myriad ways to keep motivated for the start of 2015. I featured creating your own personalized reward system then highlighted more ways to stay pumped too. I now want to discuss weighing yourself and staying positive. I divulged in my ebook Skinny on Slim the Little Black Dress of Diet Books my salacious relationship with my bathroom scale decades ago. Weighing yourself is necessary, but find a schedule that isn’t going to make you nuts. Listen up!

Consistent monitoring – getting a reality check
Three quarters of successful weight losers weigh themselves regularly. Keeping tabs on your weight or dimensions is key.

Ignorance isn’t bliss; awareness is! Whether it’s on a Monday, before and after a vacation or during “eating marathon seasons” like Christmas, it’s important to have a reality weight check using the same scale or clothing to keep a handle on your handles.

Weighing in doesn’t necessarily mean tracking pounds or kilograms. I didn’t own a scale for years after breaking up with mine after our relationship went sour. During that time, I used my trusty skinny jeans instead as my reality check and got weighed at my annual physical.

Monitoring makes it near impossible to fool yourself; you can’t argue against facts.

However you choose to monitor yourself, do it regularly. It’s easier to get back in check after gaining a few pounds rather sliding with a ten-pound spike.

Motivation consternation – got that bloated feelin’ ladies?
I’m not a big believer in weighing yourself too frequently while you’re gunning to lose weight. Many gals retain water during those two “weeks of bloat” before the first day of your period (day 1 of your cycle). Why does every diet program ever created dictate you weigh yourself daily or weekly is beyond me? All you’re doing is demotivating yourself when you hop on the scale and witness the needle tilt upward due to bloat. As if we need another reason to get cranky. “Ok just hop on that scale 14 days in a row while you’re retaining fluid, sister.” Stop the madness!

Following this makes no sense whatsoever. This is why I suggest you only weigh yourself on days four and 10 of your cycle. Then do yourself a favour and stay away from anything that resembles a weigh scale in between. Not following my advice will give you consternation, just what you don’t need while you’re PMS-ing. When I think back to my heated obsessive relationship with my bathroom scale I’m surprised I didn’t go totally off the deep end when I weighed myself daily, especially during those two weeks of bloat.

I have been weighing myself every day this past week as an experiment of sorts while drafting this blog post. Case in point, my weight has fluctuated up and down, sometimes over 3 pounds in one day. I have been eating and exercising fairly regularly and I have not eaten out at a restaurant since last weekend. Despite that, my weight has gone up and down like a yo yo. Time for me to abort that mission now that this has been posted… Take a breather ladies, follow my advice and weigh yourself less often to help keep your motivation UP!

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Motivation 6 Ways

January 13th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Hey baby, it might be cold outside, but hey, each day is getting a little brighter. They say that mid-January is when most New Year’s resolutions fizzle. Who’s “they” anyhow? If you’re adopting new lifestyle habits, doing the 3 x 3 or if you want to just feel jazzed every day work in a wide array of measures to keep your motivation sizzling and not fizzling. Don’t ever give UP!

Dress to Inspire Success & Joy – Dawn an outfit everyday that fits properly and makes you feel fab right from your undies to your coat. I don’t know about you, but slump-wear brings me down. How about you? Get some trusty ironside jeans and create your outfit around them. If you find yourself mindlessly eating, that tug on your tummy is your reminder to rein it in a little. Whether you’re working to achieve a lower weight or to just feel more inspired awash your outfit with colour too. That rainbow will lift your spirits as you take on the world!

Thought Stopping – What’s the tone of your inner voice? Are you loving yourself or berating yourself with criticism? Pay attention to those voices in your head and stop yourself when you’re about to self deprecate. Replace those thoughts with prose of kindness. You ARE enough!

Visualize the Prize – Have you spent a lifetime trying to lose weight when deep down you really don’t believe you can reach your ultimate goal? Not believing in yourself is the biggest barrier to success. Find time in a quiet place to meditate and visualize the prize daily – you at your goal weight. After all seeing IS believing!

Reward Building – For people who set realistic goals, reaching your ultimate weight loss goal will take many months. Work in small rewards to treat yourself for good behaviour throughout your journey and stay stoked.

Lead, Don’t Follow – When you make your personal goals aim to stick to them even when those shallow saboteurs try to throw you under the bus. Hey soul sister, we’re surrounded, so find strategies to block them. If you’re a consummate pleaser, start pleasing yourself first!

Just For Today – If you’re really feeling in a slump, don’t fret! Sometimes we plan so far in advance – for next month, next season, next year which seems soooo overwhelming and far from this moment. Take a breather and reframe your thinking to focus on the here and now “just for today”. When you just focus on today, all of your tomorrows will fall into place.

Finding ways to supercharge your motivation and attitude will help you sail through the rough spots we all face. Check out my e-book Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books for more strategies to keep you sizzling to success at Slim Town!

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Reward to Stoke Motivation to Sizzle & Not Fizzle

January 9th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Who doesn’t love a reward? That positive burst of reinforcement. An adrenaline rush is a reward. Feeling good is too. Buying new stuff is a nice incentive. Wearing something you feel divine in has its benefits. Taking a quiet, hot bubble bath or having some Zen “alone time” can feel like a treat.

As you set goals to shift your behaviour doing the 3 x 3 consider starting your very own reward system. We all value different incentives. Tap into your personal preferences to identify what inspires you. We will, however, not use food-based rewards for obvious reasons.

As you build a system of rewards for yourself that provides positive reinforcement ensure it won’t break your bank. I wouldn’t want you to develop a lavish scheme that results in economic foreclosure. Focus on and identify some simple pleasures you personally feel are worthy. Your weight loss might hit a plateau, but your goals that get rewarded should help carry you through sizzling over the weeks, months and seasons. This will keep you pumped about your achievements and build momentum to propel your forward. So, go on, make a list of non-food rewards meaningful to you.

Reaching your ideal weight goal is your ultimate reward. Yes folks, that moment when you can zip up your skinny jeans without lying on the bed! That day will come months from now, perhaps longer. Why only use that one moment as your ultimate reward when you’re working at making changes each week? You deserve perks throughout your journey!

In hindsight, I didn’t realize just how impactful rewarding myself would be. At first, when you begin to lose weight, the number on the scale is a reward, but when the rate of loss slows down, you really need something more to keep your resolve stoked. These perks carry you through. As corny as it sounds, rewarding myself got me loving myself more fully. I am worthy.

I’ve counselled lots of people trying to lose weight. A common barrier I’ve observed is the “doormat syndrome”. You know, those good-deed doers – but for everybody else. They often put themselves last. Bestowing rewards isn’t selfish. It is paramount to your success. It’s a reminder you that you don’t have to martyr yourself to the cause. You ARE worthy. Details are described in my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books.

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