Posts Tagged ‘feeling’

Week 5: Make Small Changes Stick this #NutritionMonth!

March 25th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Lack of time, eating out, holidays, stress? We all have challenges that can sidetrack our healthy eating plans. Here are some strategies to help your small changes stick.

Planning how you’ll manage healthy-eating roadblocks before they happen is key to success.
Setbacks on a journey to healthier habits are a normal part of making changes. Knowing what some of your challenges are can help you be ready to deal with them. Get ready with a plan to manage detours:
• Think about what might get in your way of healthy eating.
• Brainstorm solutions to get around roadblocks.
• Put supportive strategies in place. Recruit family and friends to help on your path to a healthy you.
A slip in healthy eating habits is a learning opportunity. When it happens, review your plan, adjust as needed and get back on track.
For help staying motivated, get eaTracker at: www.eatracker.ca

Short on time? Be prepared with nourishing grab ‘n’ go foods, like yogurt, nuts and fruit.
Eating well doesn’t need to take a lot of time. A little planning helps you eat healthy, even on the run:
• Stock your kitchen with good-for-you snacks, like veggies, fruit, yogurt, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, seeds and whole grain crackers.
• Cook big batches of soup, stew or chili on weekends, then take a welcome cooking break on busy weekdays.
• Cook once. Eat twice. Make more food than you need for one meal and reinvent it for another.
• Shop for healthier convenience foods, such as frozen or pre-cut vegetables, plain frozen fish fillets, shredded cheese and canned lentils.

Stressed? Bored? Sad? Eating for reasons other than hunger can lead to mindless munching.
Do you ever find yourself eating, even when you’re not hungry? Do you eat when you are bored or distracted, like when watching TV? Do you eat to deal with stress or emotions? If so, you may be eating more than you think.
If you’re a mindless muncher, try putting these savvy strategies in place:
• Reduce boredom, sadness or stress by taking a brisk walk instead of nibbling.
• Eat mindfully. Don’t eat distracted. Make mealtimes screen-free, eat away from your desk and don’t snack while watching TV.

Menu minefield! Check restaurant nutrition info online to make better choices.
Eating out healthy can be challenging when faced with big portions, too few vegetables, indulgent desserts and too much fat, sugar and salt. Make better choices with these tips:
• Choose small or half-portions or save part of a big entrée for another meal.
• Ask for extra veggies on your wrap, pizza or burger. Replace white rice or pasta side dishes with steamed veggies.
• Ask for dressings and sauces on the side and add just enough for flavour.
• Love dessert? Go mini or get one dessert and several forks so you can share the great taste.

A dietitian can help you to get back on healthy-eating track! To find a dietitian in your area, visit www.dietitian.ca/find.

Adapted from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month Campaign Materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at: www.nutritionmonth2016.ca

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Holiday Noshing 2.0

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

Whether you’re dining with family, partying with coworkers or enjoying another restaurant meal with friends there are some habits you can program into your robotic repertoire to help you through with minimal drift to your mid section… Review these pointers, reflect on how you did and reframe for the next time. Most of all, enjoy!

Eat Smart – Scale back your daytime meals a smidgen to allow a bit extra for the special meal. Don’t cut back too much or you’ll end up feeling so ravenous that you’re hungry like a bull when you arrive. Being too hungry will propel you to eat like a buzz saw.

Wee Nibble – Have a wee snack before you go to take the edge off your appetite. It’s easier to make wiser choices when you’re feeling in control.

Be Like a Girl Guide – Plan ahead and be prepared, find out what’s being served and decide what tickles your fancy.

You Look Maaaarvelous! – Dress for eating success by wearing an outfit that is cinched around your waist and makes you feel divine. You are more likely to eat like a moo moo when you wear a mu- mu! Elastic waistbands are out. Sport a belt or something that fits like a glove.

Think About Your Drink! – Offer to be the designated driver and save a load of calories on bevvies. Otherwise, decide on your upper alcohol limit. You don’t want to be the talk of the party afterwards now, do you?

Say Bottoms UP – Make the first few drinks something bubbly… mineral water that is. Enjoy your wine when you begin eating.

Decisions, Decisions – Forgo wasting calories on everyday fare like bread and butter, olive oil or regular side dishes. Try trading off.

Zone In – Think about how full you’re starting to feel during your meal and slow down if you’re shovelling the food down your gullet. If that zipper on your dress had a voice, what would it be saying right now? “Let me out!” Join in the conversation and put your fork down now and then.

Mind Games – If your hostess is Foodzilla, a food-pushing saboteur, move the food around your plate. When she tries to dish you more, blurt out “Yes I took seconds and they’re divine, mmm…”

Bond Time – Focus on connecting with others, how great you feel, the enjoyment and laughter. Food ought not be your only focus. Branch out a little. There’s more to life than stuffing your face.

10 More – Up the ante on your exercise routine the following day to work off any excess and cut back a bit in the coming days if you overdid it. No big deal, you’ll nip that nosh-fest in the bud, yet will savour the fond memories.

A little planning and juggling make a world of difference. You can still party hearty and keep your weight in check – double the fun. Ho ho ho-ld the excuses once you prepared!

For more tips to handle life’s multitude of eating temptations check out Chapter 9 of my e-book Skinny on Slim, the Little Black Dress of Diet Books and enjoy!

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Mother Nature 3 Ways

November 19th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I’m back. Back from Middle Earth, a driving tour that led me around New Zealand’s south island, ahhhh. I love getting away and being able to ponder life’s wonders.

During that time my soul was doused with a triple dose of Mother Nature. Being able to witness the splendour of Mount Cook with a back splash of cirrus clouds, to crystal blue glacier lakes, fjords of Milford Sound on a mysteriously rainy day, an end-to-end rainbow with 2 pots of gold, the glory of spring flowers, to Fangorn’s Forest all connected by rolling hills and flatlands of farmland with flocks of sheep dotting the countryside from coast to coast to coast. Nothing could be finer, truly. Middle Earth? It felt like living a fairy tale. There and back again with Bilbo Baggins of sorts…

As I reflect about what was most captivating aside from “nature in your face” was the (almost) absence of big corporate anything, met with warm and genuine hospitality of unpretentious New Zealanders. Rarely a logo, a billboard, a golden arch, a fancy handbag was sported with a casual, comfort and acceptance of being as you were whether at a gas station filling up or a dining room of a remote lodge. How refreshing.

I relished listening to the silent whispers of nature whether a waterfall, sweet bird songs, the bark of a seal or wind rustled leaves. I collected souvenirs of rocks from the blue pools, some feathers of a red hawk and twigs of a grand Cypress tree found on the grounds of Larnarch’s Castle. How odd for me being a self proclaimed Material Girl, nothing seemed finer than those treasures I stashed in my suitcase….

There aren’t words to fully express the magnificence of it all as I mull over the jarring sumptuousness of my experience.

Speaking of jarring. The reentry to reality after an overnight flight being coddled to a final dose of New Zealand congeniality to San Francisco had life’s BS meter off the charts experiencing a double whammy of Friday the 13th day of November, literally. Paris splattered the headlines, to the Ho Ho Ho of Christmas harriedness, to my twitter feed spewing with breaking news. What gives?

It has been a few days since arriving home, still feeling a sense of calm from Mother Nature’s sweet caress despite our world going postal yet again in spades, sadly. As I took my daily walk I pondered my feelings more deeply, hmmmm. A lightbulb went off, AHA!

What we all need in our lives is more of Mother Nature – that’s the answer! I hiked to the grocery store yesterday to pick up some of her bounty that landed on my dinner plate. I walked with her feeling the brisker breeze blowing through my hair and sauntering by the bare trees reaching up to the sky. I felt her sense of calm to douse the stress of our world’s madness helping to make sense of it all somehow.

As I pondered what I’d write about in the months ahead aiming to synthesize life down to its skivvies, it came to me: let’s get more of Mother Nature in our life through our food, with fun activity and with her sage counsel to manage stress for our soul.

Hmmm, Mother Nature 3-Ways, more on this to come, Through Thick & Thin…

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Limerick for Ellie

October 15th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

There is a new baby named Ellie
Coming into the world she did dilly dally
Arrived Saturday by 10
Let the party begin!
To welcome our new baby Ellie

An armful of perfection she is
Took to breastfeeding just like a whiz
Awake and asleep
Oh so new
Love runs deep
That armful of perfection she is

Ellie’s parents are such a great team
A 2-some any new baby would dream
The love and the care
No one could
Quite compare
That Ellie’s parents are truly a dream team

Family love awashes Ellie all round
She doesn’t even need to make a sound
By her side we will stand
There to give
Her a hand
Family love awashes Ellie all round

Let’s rise up to make our world a better place
For all the Ellie’s of every single race
That’s what life’s all about
Go on
Don’t ever doubt
We can all work to improve this place

… welcome to the grand fam Ellie Francis, I will always have your back!

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Take Me to Your Leader, a Father’s Day Tribute

June 19th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

I did some reminiscing about my Dad lately with Father’s Day right around the corner. He’s been such a positive force and stellar role model for me. This applies to all aspects of my life, but of course I’ll focus on the health related part, mostly. It’s a good time to toot his horn and turn the spotlight on my family’s silent soldier. He’s a silent soldier in part due to living in a household with 5 women who barely allowed him to get a word in edgewise…. When I hear about the importance of various family factors resulting in positive health outcomes for kids, it warms my heart to know how lucky I’ve been.

Family MealtimesHe knew about prioritizing what was important in life despite being a busy accountant (and still does). We consistently ate meals together as a family – breakfast and dinner. Fathers can play a very important role in the health of their family by scheduling work accordingly. It was our time to eat a home cooked meal together, catch up on our day and connect.

Family Activities – We learned activities we can all do together – tennis, swimming, badminton and made time to do them.

Leading by Example – He is a master time compartmentalizer even when work was super crazy. He had a very busy job yet always made time for physical activity. He was in good shape and used to jog a few miles a day and play squash. My sister and I took up jogging too, following his lead. We figured if He can do it, we can too!

Showing Tough Love, Setting Limits as a United Front – My Mom and Dad always worked as a team and he supported my Mom with the limit setting. They weren’t our best friends, they were our parents and secure enough not to cross that line.

Encouragement with a Reality Check – My Dad encouraged us to be the best we could be in whatever we chose to do in life. He didn’t flower up reality and would give you the straight goods when you needed it. He expected we get part time jobs and work, save money and pay for what we could. We learned the value of a dollar and not to spend what we didn’t have. All important life skills.

What does all of this have to do with eating and lifestyle… well, everything??!! When your life is properly balanced, wisely prioritized with good examples to follow it’s easier to make sound decisions. Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People book reflects how my Dad conducted his life naturally.

Thank you Dad for being such an amazing father and role model to me. I kept the family name as a testament of my pride for what you built on our branch of the family tree. You’re the best and I love you bushels full!

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Family Table

April 22nd, 2015 4 Comments Tags: , , ,

I’ve been thinking about the importance of the family table lately, hmmmm. A lot is learned there believe it or not. It’s so simple really – it’s an assembly of furniture – table and chairs, usually an overhead light. But set that table, put on some background music and arrange the food, family and friends and you’ve created a dynamic place that’s wonderfully complex.

It’s a time to break bread, literally or figuratively. A time to focus on what’s important. Fill up on food and stories – old and new. Nothing like rehashing the old hash for the umteenth time…

I remember when I was young having dinner at my Grandma’s house on Sevenoaks. Everyone was always welcome. My Mom upheld that same tradition when on some Sunday’s we’d keep making more room, extending the table further for people who were welcome at our family table. My Ukrainian Connection enjoys the same pleasure with many memories at their family table. I love that table scene on The Grinch Who Stole Christmas because it reminds me of the many fond memories of family gatherings around our family table – now at my home, still at my Mom’s, Mother Dearest’s, sisters’ too and of course my Uncle Jay’s…

I was reflecting more deeply about what I have learned through the years:

  • Keep the peace at the family table
  • Share a piece at the family table
  • Make conversation at the family table
  • Try something new at the family table
  • Pitch in around the family table
  • Learn to listen at the family table
  • Show appreciation to the hostess and host at the family table
  • Welcome everyone around the family table

You know there’s a slew of literature touting the benefits of the “family meal” for kids, linking the following which is so compelling (adapted from Dietitians of Canada, Nutrition Month 2014 material):

  • Improved food choices
  • Better nutrient intakes
  • Healthier weights
  • Reduced risk for eating disorders
  • Better social adjustment; and,
  • Improved school performance

If your schedule has gotten the better of you where this family tradition has slipped away you might want to slip it right back into your routine. Make it a priority. I don’t know about you, but after a busy day I need to “find my center”. Well it’s easily found by breaking bread together around the family table.

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Manage the Minefields at Work this #NutritionMonth

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

Yes folks, March is national Nutrition Month and I will be featuring the theme of eating well at work ‘Eating 9 to 5!’ throughout. I’m focusing on meetings, events and the workplace this week. Pat Benetar sings that Love is a Battlefield well her sequel to that should be Work is a Minefield! Depending on the day, there could be food traps galore, stress on stress with a side order of stress, not to mention peer pressure to nosh along with the in crowd… oh boy are we celebrating another birthday? What gives!!

Dietitians of Canada has you covered with a wide array of solutions to your common workplace food challenges:

1. Did you know? In a company of 100 staff, celebrating each birthday adds eight slices of cake a month!

Work events focused on food may be causing you to overeat. That’s because eating with others can influence what and how much you eat. You might feel pressure to eat to fit in with your peers or find it tough to resist treats.

Try these tips to avoid workplace food traps:

  • Celebrate everyone’s birthday together once a month.
  • Skip sweets at events. Enjoy fresh fruit platters instead.
  • Don’t offer food at meetings. If you do, order better choices.
  • Opt out of Friday fast-food lunches. Brown bag it, then walk ’n’ talk after you eat.

2. Manage workplace munchies with Mother Nature’s candy dish – a big bowl of fresh fruit.

Is a workplace candy dish tempting you to eat too many sweet treats? Research shows that when treat-type foods are close by at work, you’re more likely to nibble.

Trying to resist those treats can be distracting, leading to less productive work time.

Here’s a sweet idea: keep workplace common areas free of treats. Instead, put out a fresh fruit bowl. Keep it free, charge a small fee or take turns filling the bowl with a variety of fruit.

3. Get the most out of your meetings. Order brain food, not drain food!

Next time you’re planning a meeting that’s scheduled over a mealtime, order food that will help keep attendees focused and productive:

  • Put pitchers of plain water on the table to quench thirst, boost hydration and keep workers alert.
  • Keep lunch light with salads and wraps filled with veggies and protein such as chicken, cheese, eggs or legumes (beans, peas or lentils).
  • Replace sweet desserts; offer fresh fruit or small portions of nutrient-rich snacks such as yogurt or whole grain mini muffins.
  • Be sure to schedule an activity break to keep everyone energized.

4. Is workplace stress eating away at you? Don’t feed your feelings with food!

If you reach for a sweet treat when you’re stressed at work, you’re not alone. Studies show that stress increases the desire to eat for some people. High-fat, sugary snacks are common comfort foods chosen to cope with stress.

The next time you’re stressed at work and craving a treat, ask yourself: am I hungry? If the craving comes from stress rather than hunger, food won’t satisfy it. If eating to deal with stress becomes a habit, it could be bad for your waistline. Don’t let food be your comfort.

5. Want a career path advantage? Add healthy eating to your to-do list!

Eating well at work can boost your concentration, productivity and vitality. It can also reduce missed days of work by helping to boost your overall health. Fuel your workday the healthy way with these five helpful tips:

  • Bring lunch from home so you don’t have to eat out.
  • Take a break away from your desk to enjoy your lunch.
  • Reduce boredom or stress by taking a brisk walk instead of nibbling.
  • Pack smart snacks so you can skip the vending machine’s sugary and salty treats.
  • Hydrate with water instead of caffeinated drinks.

Adapted from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month Campaign Materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at www.nutritionmonth2015.ca.

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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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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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