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.