Field of flowers with one area in focus
Goals, Positivity

Focus Focus Focus

September is as a good a time as any to check in on goals. Even though it’s still summer weather here, the pumpkin spice latte season started earlier than ever, the 31 days of Halloween are back on TV, and soon, the weather will turn.

In summer, everyone is working hard for their summer bodies (which incidentally, are the same bodies we have the rest of the year). How do we make sure that we stay focused on our goals once fall gets here, vacations are over, the kids go back to school, you go back to school, or whatever this season brings you?

Laser focus your nutrition

Did Labor Day barbecues derail your nutrition goals? You may think so, but they didn’t. Labor Day is just one day in 365. No need to fall into that failure loop. Dust yourself off and get back to basics. Get some meal prep done this week, or just come up with a plan to fit in some more nutrient dense foods and all of the leafy greens and vegetables you can. And water too, but you already knew that!

Refocus your physical activity

Are you over your fitness routine? Find something fun to do with a friend. Get out in nature and take a walk. Take that yoga class you’ve always wanted to try. Try stand-up paddle-boarding! (That’s what I want to try next!)

Movement is critical to our bodies. We were designed to move. But not everyone is designed to move the same way. Running might be your thing, but it’s not everyone’s. Until you figure out your thing, crank the tunes and dance around your house a bit. Any movement is better than no movement.

Refresh your mindset

The greatest thing about mindset is that we have complete control over it. We have control over whether we let negativity set in or whether we keep our focus on positivity. If the hectic pace of the post-Labor Day grind has got you down, start your day on a positive note. Set your intention for the day. Affirm your gratitude for the good things and people in your life. Knock a thing or two off your to-do list and give yourself a pat on the back. We sometimes set ourselves up to fail by striving for perfection or overcommitting ourselves. Use this season as the opportunity to weed out obligations that aren’t serving you. Spend a little time this week taking inventory of your priorities and set yourself up for success.

And if all else fails, make your own pumpkin spice latte!

Hormone Health, nutrition

Combat cravings, balance blood sugar

Chocolate cravings. Can you relate? Did you know that chocolate cravings can be linked to low magnesium levels? Would you ever think that by increasing your consumption of foods rich in magnesium you could keep those cravings at bay?

Magnesium is an essential nutrient for your body, and many people can have low magnesium levels without knowing it. Magnesium plays an important role in balancing your blood sugar levels by helping convert glucose from your food into fuel. If you don’t have enough magnesium in your body, your cells can become less effective at processing glucose. Insulin, a hormone that the pancreas makes, allows cells to absorb and use glucose. In people with insulin resistance, the cells are unable to use insulin effectively, resulting in elevated levels of glucose in the blood, or high blood sugar.

Low magnesium levels are commonly found in people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes as well.

Nutritional strategies for raising magnesium levels

Your doctor can check your magnesium levels if you are concerned about your glucose levels, and they may recommend supplementation. However, you can make some adjustments in your diet by adding foods that are rich in magnesium (as well as other necessary nutrients). Some examples include:

  • Dark leafy greens, especially spinach and swiss chard
  • Pumpkin and sunflower seeds
  • Sea vegetables such as kelp and dulse
  • Black beans
  • Almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts and pecans
  • Cacao or high-cacao-content dark chocolate (70% or higher)
  • Avocados
  • Bananas

Adding these magnesium-rich foods to your meals can help with balancing blood sugar, but can also help to keep those chocolate or sugar cravings at bay as well. For some people, consuming a square of a high-quality dark chocolate is enough to squash that craving, but just be cautious if even a little is a trigger for you for more cravings.

Other strategies for balancing blood sugar levels

  • Eat within 1 hour of waking
  • Space your meals 5-6 hours apart
  • Avoid snacking before bedtime (intermittent fasting, or simply fasting between dinner to breakfast has also been shown to improve blood sugar levels as well)
  • Drink plenty of water (shoot for at least 64 ounces a day)
  • Avoid eating carbohydrates on their own, by pairing with a protein and a fat, even while snacking. The ideal combination is protein + fat + carbohydrate + fiber at all meals.
  • Get your Omega-3 fatty acids from fish, flax, walnuts or eggs

Every body is different, so everyone responds to different foods in different ways. You know things are out of balance if you are struggling with keeping your energy up, experiencing brain fog, are hungry, nauseous or dizzy, it may be a sign that something nutritionally is out of balance. Usually cleaning up a few things in your diet, like processed foods or excess sugar, can help. If you need help in putting together a plan for a balanced diet, let me know. I’m here to help!

Health Coach

Fresh look, fresh outlook

Over the past few months, I have been gathering ideas and writing them in a little notebook, waiting until the exact right time to implement them. At the end of July, I walked away from my day job — a career in state government. I decided to retire for a few reasons. Most were related to my personal health and happiness, but the biggest reason was to focus on how I can help more people through nutrition and lifestyle coaching.

I planned to take a few weeks off and then regroup, but that notebook of ideas kept calling to me. There’s a few more boxes to check off and so many more things I want to offer, but my first achievement is a redesign of my site. A remix of ideas and some clarity of focus. One of my favorite things I’ve added is the ability for visitors to book a free discovery call directly with me through my website. I’ll be adding more features like that for clients as well.

And with that, I welcome you to my new site with a fresh outlook on life. Stay tuned for more to come. Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter too for a special download just for subscribers.

Balance, Health Coach, Integrative Nutrition, Obesity, Wellness

I’m getting totally hormonal

Really, it’s not what you think. Well, maybe it is. But the point here is that I’ve been studying Hormone Health through Institute for Integrative Nutrition and it’s been fascinating. It’s pretty amazing how the endocrine system works to keep everything in balance, but if one things gets out of balance, it has a big impact on the rest of the body.

So why hormones? Why now?

My focus as a nutrition and lifestyle coach has been helping women take control of their health optimizing nutrient balance and lifestyle changes. Every client is different, so the approach is different and tailored to specific goals. The common theme is hormones. Stress and sleep impact cortisol and adrenaline levels which can then impact the metabolism and cause weight gain. Thyroid hormone imbalances are common amongst my clients, and that impacts weight management as well. In today’s busy life, stress has become the norm, as have late nights, early mornings meals on-the-go, and work taking over as the number one priority.

How do I get started?

First, you need to take a good hard look at your nutrition and lifestyle. Are you choosing a lot of processed foods, quick meals on the run, or eating out a lot? Do you exercise? How’s your sleep? The quality of food, your activity levels, and your sleep habits all factor in to your hormone balancing act.

Are you feeling tired and worn out? Are you constantly fatigued? Are you having mood swings? Are you suffering from depression and anxiety? Are you putting on weight even though you’re on a restrictive diet? These may be signs of a hormone imbalance.

Over the next several months I will be rolling out some programs to help guide you with nutrition and lifestyle tips to restore balance to your body. Reach out if there’s something specific you have questions about.

Level Up in 2019
Goals, Positivity, Self-Care

Level Up: 2019’s call to action

It’s March! Not sure how that happened, but 2019 has been a whirlwind so far. I’ve been focusing on self care for a few months and am emerging from my cocoon of solitude and reflection to kick things back in gear!

Theme for 2019: Level Up. 2019 is the year I level up. Conquering fears and limiting beliefs. Focusing on the goals that are the most important to me. It started last year with a kick ass workout where I realized I was stronger than I thought. I realized I had come further than I thought. This year is dedicated to constant growth and maturing my self-perceptions. And I am bringing everyone along for the ride!

It started off with my birthday in January. I reached Level 52. Stronger. Better. Calmer. Healthier. Happier. Edgier. Luckier. Louder. Sweatier. Younger. Smarter. Higher. Clearer. Simpler. Cooler. Sassier. Braver. Closer. Stranger. #levelup

In February, I decided to share some of my favorite tips as part of my Level Up commitment. I ran a little challenge on my Instagram account with some of my favorite reminders to myself. Head on over there for the details.

  1. Pencil Yourself In
  2. Find Gratitude
  3. Find Your Tribe
  4. Get Sleep
  5. Tune In & Rock Out
  6. Stay Hydrated
  7. Pantry Makeover
  8. Eat Your Greens
  9. Meal Prep
  10. Never Miss a Monday
  11. Let It Go (You Can’t Control Everything)
  12. Self – Love
  13. Self Talk

Truth be told, these are all things that I tend to struggle with. Making time for myself, staying positive, managing stress, controlling my environment, staying social and connecting with people, keeping my nutrition in check. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by life, and I like to share when I struggle too.

I am happy to report that I’ve got things in check and I am re-energized and focused to get things revved up!

I’ve enrolled in Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s Hormone Health class to continue my commitment to lifelong learning! Also as a way to help my clients who are struggling with hormone balance and endocrine issues. The human body is so complicated!

So here’s to leveling up: attitude, knowledge, relationships, mindset, goals, personal growth, commitment. Beast mode — Activated!

5 Tips for holiday survival
Goals, Toolkit

Holiday survival guide: 5 tips for staying on track

With Thanksgiving in the rear-view mirror, you’ve probably had a taste of holiday food and fun with friends and family. For me, anything that takes me out of my routine practices can be a little stressful, but like I said, that’s me.  The habits and consistency that you put in place all year round can apply to the holidays just the same as they do the rest of the year. And it all starts with a plan.

From Halloween until Valentine’s Day, there’s sugar everywhere. Halloween candy lingers around the office until the Pumpkin Pie spice season ushers in new sugar, followed by Christmas cookies and then New Year’s Resolution kick in while fending off all that Valentine’s Day candies. What if I told you that the inevitable weight gain over the holidays isn’t really inevitable?

Let’s get one thing straight – you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet. So getting on a hamster wheel to undo your food choices just doesn’t work.

This doesn’t have to mean that you can’t enjoy yourself through the season’s festivities. It just takes a lot more planning and good decision making.

Here’s a few tips for getting through it successfully.

  1. Be clear about your goals. If you know that the holiday season is going to be busy and full of social engagements, set your goals for maintenance. Know what that means for you in terms of your food choices and your activity levels.  Keeping a consistent workout schedule is key, so find time to maintain your normal routine. 
  2. Drink a lot of water. Water is the elixir of life and is a helpful aid for digestion. We lose water through exercise, respiration, and digestion, so staying hydrated, especially in these winter months, is important.  Also, drinking water or other non-caloric drinks helps to curb appetite. Instead of choosing caloric or alcoholic beverages, keep a glass of water in your hand this holiday season, adding infusions like citrus, cucumber, and/or mint to keep it feeling fancy.
  3. If you’re not sure of the menu, bring something you can eat to share with your party peeps. Protein and vegetables work great in a variety of appetizers. One of my tricks is to drink a protein shake in advance so I know I am hitting my macro goals and helping to keep myself satiated before I’m staring at a buffet table. If you show up hungry, you’re just asking for trouble!
  4. Make the holidays about connecting with friends and family instead of food. Our culture is so food-centric, but it doesn’t have to be.  Make socializing or physical activities the highlight of our holiday season. There’s so many fun runs this time of year. Sign up for one and get your family and friends to join you as a way to support your health goals.
  5. If you decided to indulge, do it mindfully. Plan it. Log it. Enjoy it. In the big picture, this is just a month of your life. If you are focused on your goals, making mindful choices with your food, and consistent with your routine otherwise, you’ll get through it just fine.  Just be prepared to accept your decision and not beat yourself up over it.

Do you have any tips to share for holiday survival?  Share a comment!

nutrition, Recipes

Welcome Fall! It’s time to eat seasonally.

It seems like the summer has flown by, and now it’s fall. When I think of fall, I think of dressing layers, tall boots, and all things pumpkin spice.  Even though it’s projected to be in the 90s here in Northern California for the next few weeks, my farm box has started that transition to fall. Winter squashes and apples are becoming the stars of my food prep side dishes.

Last week I prepped this amazing stuffed acorn squash recipe, packed with protein and in-season apples, mushrooms, onion and sage. I even tried chickpea panko for texture and to keep the carbs a little lower. Pinterest win!

This week, I will be searching for something awesome to go with spaghetti squash.

Winter squash is great nutritionally as it’s full of fiber and slow-digesting, keeping you full longer.

So why eat seasonally? And locally!

Selecting fresh fruits and vegetables that are harvested locally means they are picked at the height of their readiness, meaning more flavor and more nutrients. And local foods don’t have to travel as far, which is good for both the local economy and the environment. When you buy locally directly from the producer, you can learn more about how the food was grown, where it comes from, and who grew it. Eating in season means that there’s also more of an abundance of foods in the market, keeping the prices low.  We’ve been visiting a local farm stand lately and are getting the most delicious fruits and vegetables, both summer and fall since our seasons really blend together here in California, and the price really just can’t be beat.  We also have a lot of organic options locally as well. When you buy organic, you definitely know what you’re getting.

Plan around what’s available

Each week, I come up with a game plan for my meals. I start with planning my proteins, as that’s the most important part of my diet, post-bariatric surgery. Pinterest has led me to some awesome recipes. I get a farm box from Farm Fresh to You full of local, seasonal food. I can pick what goes in my box, so I will search for recipes that go with whatever is in season. This has forced me to get creative – but it’s also forced me to do more home cooking. Cooking from scratch with whole food ingredients is the best way to know what’s in your food. This is important for folks with food sensitivities, but it’s also a way to avoid pesticides and chemical ingredients.  I prefer my food from the earth, not from a lab.

Choose organic when you can

Organic is always better when it’s available, but it’s not a must. Your goal for nutrition is to go for the most nutrient dense selections without any additives.  Follow the EWG’s Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen List to read more about when to choose organic.

Use the change in seasons as an opportunity to branch out and try new things. Look for root vegetables, winter squashes, new apple varieties, and some greens and slice, dice, and roast your way to better health.

 

 

 

Drink your water.
Wellness

Drink up! (It’s HOT!)

Summer’s here and the 100+ degree days have kicked in here in Northern California so here’s your reminder to stay hydrated! In the sunshine of summer, there’s nothing like an icy glass of water to quench your thirst. When it’s hot, you sweat and need to replenish your hydration.  Makes sense, right?

The human body is 70% water. Since you are made of water, your hydration levels can have a big impact on how you feel.  If you are feeling sluggish and lackluster, you may need to drink water to help energize your brain and feel more focused and present.

Drinking water can help promote weight loss in a number of ways. Prior to eating, drink a glass of water. That may suppress your appetite and help with portion control. Sometimes our brains can mistake thirst for hunger. If you’re not sure you are hungry, try drinking a glass of water. That may hold you over until your next meal and cut down your snacking.

Water is also the first line of defense when you feel a headache coming on. You may be a bit dehydrated. 

There are other sources of hydration besides water. You can get water in vegetables and fruits, and herbal teas. Another tip for hydration — skip the caffeine and alcohol. They act as a diuretic and can actually contribute to dehydration.

Fruit and Herb Infused Waters

I have clients that struggle to get their daily water intake and one of the things I suggest for them is to infuse water with some tasty herbs and fruit. There’s certainly no shortage of ideas out on Pinterest, but I thought I would share a few of my favorites, especially since delicious fruits are in season right now! Pro-tip: Freeze your fruit for extra refreshment on demand.

  • Basil and strawberries
  • Meyer lemon, cucumber and mint
  • Blueberries and basil
  • Citrus (lemon, orange, lime and grapefruit)
  • Lemon and ginger
  • Peach and mint
  • Watermelon and mint
  • Lime, ginger and mint

Do you have a favorite? Let me know!

Health Coach

Online coaching packages for busy people – Available now!

I am pleased to announce that I have received my Precision Nutrition Level 1 certification to add a new dimension to my health coaching practice. The beauty of this program and coaching methodology is that it can be applied towards anyone whether they are just starting on their health journey or an experienced fitness enthusiast. Everything is customized based on where you are today – and where you want to be in the future.

I now have openings for my 12-month online coaching package.

This program is for you if:

  • You are tired of the diet merry-go-round
  • You’ve tried everything to lose weight and don’t know what you are doing wrong
  • You’ve had it with counting calories
  • You’re sick of food rules
  • You want to eat better without dieting and feeling deprived
  • You are ready to take control of your health
  • You want to get more active but need some motivation

This program is for you if you want to become a better version of yourself.

If you’re ready to start making gradual changes and building new healthy habits, this online coaching program may be for you! Every day, new lessons will be delivered to your email box providing guidance for achieving sustainable health improvements. Learn new habits for mindful eating, time-management, self-compassion and self-care, and persistence and consistency.

Your busy schedule doesn’t have to get in the way. Spending just a few minutes a day can help transform your approach to health and wellness, with long-lasting results. Interested in learning more? Let’s talk!

 

 

IIN INHC Certification
Health Coach

It’s graduation season!

Major Milestone: Certification!

For the past year, I have been studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in their Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Program. In December, I received my mid-certificate, that allowed me to start taking on paid clients in my health coaching business. On Tuesday, I graduated and am now a fully certified holistic health and wellness coach.

Reflecting back on the last year, it’s been quite a wild ride.

I got into this health coaching thing for a few reasons. I wanted to help people and I wanted to keep myself on track. And it’s worked in both respects. This past year has also led me to another chapter in my lifelong learning adventure. Now I am working on a Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification in sports and exercise nutrition.

PN1 Textbook
This textbook is so big, I can count studying as exercise.

This will give me a different edge on providing lifestyle and nutrition coaching for a wide variety of people and goals. Plus, the science of digestion and metabolism is absolutely fascinating — and I am a true nutrition nerd.

Thanks for following for this past year. I’m excited for what is yet to come!