Stay on track: surviving the busy holiday season with your healthy habits intact.
healthy habits, Hormone Health

Going into the holidays like….

Is anyone else scratching their head wondering how we got to November in the blink of an eye? This year has sailed by and while it isn’t quite over, I’m thinking about all the things I have done this year and all of the great things yet to come. Retiring from the day job being the biggest accomplishment, I’ve also had some big developments here at Off the Plate. Here’s just a few of them.

Hormone Health Class Complete!

I have been taking some advanced courses through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, including their Hormone Health and Gut Health classes. It was a lot to take on while wrapping up things in my government career, but that’s how I roll. Always learning. I completed the Hormone Health class a few weeks back and I’m not loaded with lots of information to help clients manage their hormone balance through nutrition and lifestyle modifications. Stress is a huge player on the hormone stage, so stress management and sleep hygiene go a long way for managing health over all.

I’ve also enrolled in a bariatric coaching program as well. I’m shifting my focus to work with more bariatric patients to provide guidance through all phases of weight loss surgery. I’ve found many patients do not have support of their programs other than post-surgical visits and monitoring for labs. Without making deliberate lifestyle changes, weight loss surgery only gets you so far. You have to change how you think, eat, move, and live your life. I’m developing a program that focused on mindset and other lifestyle factors that can impact both weight loss and weigh management after surgery. I’m excited to give back to this community, as I have learned so much through other patients sharing their stories. You can read about my new Reverse the Regain program to get more information. I am offering a special 3-month introductory program, so let me know if you’re interested in setting up a discovery call.

Healthy Habits Bootcamp Launch!

I know that finances can be a barrier to success for some weight loss surgery patients. Vitamins, protein, healthy food — all that stuff adds up. I wanted to be able to offer some free resources to help people stay on track, get back on track, or figure out where the actual track is! I launched a free Healthy Habits Bootcamp facebook group that is open to anyone, whether you’ve had weight loss surgery or not. The group is intended to provide accountability and tips for establishing healthy habits, community, and positivity through the next few months (and beyond). Come join the tribe and join in on the conversation.

If you haven’t downloaded my Healthy Habit Tracker yet, make sure you sign up for my mailing list and I’ll send you one free as well!

I look forward to interacting with you more as we navigate the holidays together and enter the next decade!

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!