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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

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June 13, 2019

Ten of My Best Tips

Q. What to blog about when I have too many ideas flying around my brain and I simply am not able to choose? A. Tips that cover a variety of topics, wi

June 6, 2019

The Joys of June…and Strawberries

Along with June come some fun celebrations. Besides the new season of life celebrated by many graduates (and parents, now free of tuition payments), a

May 30, 2019

Avocado Toast

Shake up your morning and your taste buds with an order of avocado toast. I’ve seen this on some menus, and it’s a quick and easy dish to make at

May 23, 2019

Float Your Troubles Away

There are many ways to improve your state of mind and health that have nothing to do with food. Floating is one of them. Floating therapy is the relax

May 16, 2019

Fitness Made Simple

When you boil it all down, getting fit is really very simple. Here’s the secret: Create a habit that leads you in the direction of improving your he

May 9, 2019

I Ate Raw Cookie Dough

As I was making a batch of gluten free chocolate chip cookies, I caught myself swiping my finger along the inside of the bowl. I then proceeded to lic

May 2, 2019

Delay, Don’t Deny

Welcome to May, the month of lilacs, celebrating mom, and getting out the summer wardrobe. If the mention of summer wardrobe makes you break out in a

April 25, 2019

How Do You Celebrate Spring?

I find the recent arrival of spring weather to be motivating. For example, my “To Do” list includes, and is not limited to: Clear away fall leaves

April 19, 2019

Frittata in a Mug

Serves 1 ½ cup packed fresh baby spinach leaves 2 Tablespoons water 2 large eggs 2 Tablespoons cottage cheese ¼ cup grated cheese 4 grape or cherry

April 18, 2019

Celebrate New Life

About two decades or so ago, a construction worker appeared at my pharmacy consultation window looking for advice. He needed help falling asleep, and

Mr. Non-Compliant Goes to the Bakery

We were recently in a small Michigan town and I was walking my Sophie dog. I noticed a cute little bakery on Main Street and happened to mention it to my dear husband, Mr. Non-Compliant.

He soon disappeared and I didn’t have to wonder very long about where he had gone. You guessed it, The Bakery.

This was not your typical Dunkin’ Donuts or Krispy Kreme. This was your cute little Mom and Pop bakery that had probably been in the family for decades, providing the community with delicious made-from-scratch goodies on a daily basis.

Yes, that was where he had gone.   

About 10 minutes later he returned with a small, white, wax-coated bakery bag. I could smell the delectable treats making their way toward me. Since bakery visits are a rare occurrence for us, I was anxious to learn what was in the bag.

So much for writing this week’s blog on mindful eating.

The bakery bag contents: one blueberry muffin, one cinnamon roll and one cherry fritter. There are only the two of us and Sophie doesn’t eat people food. Why three items?

Mr. Non-Compliant loves blueberry muffins made with fresh blueberries. We both have a fondness for cinnamon rolls that have more cinnamon than the white sugary frosting—this one did. Since I love cherries, the fritter was for me. He almost passed on the deep-fried fritter, thinking I would have no part of it. However, when the girl in front of him ordered one and told him it was amazing, he caved. He’s learning.

We first had our protein smoothies so we had a smart start to our day. (Note: when you are going to eat something that is probably not beneficial to your health, it is best to first throw something down that is.) Then we broke out the fritter. I cut it into several small pieces and we tasted it. Neither one of us found it as amazing as the girl in the bakery did, so we didn’t finish it.

After lunch, following the same nutrition principal as breakfast, we tried the cinnamon roll. We enjoyed every flaky, cinnamony bite, and it was worth the sugar, carbs and calories. Oh. My. Yes, it was amazing. 

The blueberry muffin is all alone now, waiting for Mr. Non-Compliant to polish it off. I’m not sure when it will disappear. I do know that there will be lots of vegetables served for dinner.

I guess this blog is about mindful eating, in a way. My husband brought me baked goods, and I didn’t really mind. Cheers to finding the balance, and eating mindfully.

“Unattended children will be given espresso and a free puppy.” –Sign in The Bakery

The Skinny on Fat

When you need a quick snack, are you better off eating a handful of walnuts or a bowl of ice cream? (Read on for the answer!)

About 30% of our diet should consist of fat. This may seem contrary to what we have heard. However, a diet that does not include a variety of HEALTHY fats isn’t ideal either.

We need fat in our diets to provide energy; help manufacture and balance hormones; support our immune system; form our cell membranes, brains, nervous systems; transport fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K); and provide two essential fatty acids that the body can’t make.

There are three types of fats we will focus on:

  • Saturated
  • Monounsaturated
  • Polyunsaturated

Ideally, we should eat 1/3 of each type for best health.

The foods that provide these fats:

Saturated fats: animals (eggs, dairy, meats, butter, cheeses, etc.). Also, coconut oil, palm oil. If you choose to eat these oils, be sure to choose them in their most natural form—unrefined, whole, cold-pressed, extra-virgin. We typically eat an overabundance of foods containing saturated fats and not enough plant foods. These, combined with the many refined carbohydrates we consume (white sugar and flour), contribute to a long list of health problems.

Monounsaturated fats: macadamias, pecans, almonds, cashews, pistachios, tahini, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, olives, olive oil, avocados

Polyunsaturated fats: wild-caught fish, hemp seeds, algae oils, safflower oil, sunflower seeds, peanuts, canola oil, walnuts, flax seeds and oil, chia seeds, Brazil nuts

The easiest way to balance our heavy saturated fat intake is to focus on adding foods from the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated categories—so, eat a variety of nuts and seeds. And if you guessed that walnuts (polyunsaturated) are a better snack than ice cream (saturated), you are correct! We are trying to achieve better fat balance. You probably had animal (saturated) fat at a meal, and the sugar in the ice cream does nothing to promote good health. Sorry.

A word about trans fats: avoid them. These are processed fats that have hydrogen added to make liquid vegetable oils more solid. They are cheap, easy to make, and increase the shelf life of foods. ANY food that has partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oil on the label should be avoided. These fats may contribute to high cholesterol, type-2 diabetes, cardiac and other chronic health issues. They interfere with fat metabolism and cause inflammation and pain. Trans fats are found in margarine, shortening, many fried and baked goods, such as donuts, crackers, cookies, pies, cakes, etc.

A great idea: eat mostly natural, unprocessed, whole foods. Oh, and eat more vegetables. I’ve yet to meet anyone who has told me they need to lose a few pounds because they eat too many greens.

 “Increase your consumption of healthful fats like extra virgin olive oil, avocado, grass-fed beef, wild fish, coconut oil, nuts and seeds. At the same time, keep in mind that modified fats like hydrogenated or trans fats are the worst choices for brain health.” –Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain

Tips to Overcome the Dreaded Plateau

It happens. You are practicing good eating and exercise habits. You feel yourself becoming fit, healthier, and even weighing a bit less. It’s exciting! You are highly motivated and encouraged to stay the course.

And then, IT happens. You plateau, just as things were going so very well! This is just supposed to happen to other people, NOT YOU! It’s simply not fair.

Here is some awesome advice from Dr. John Berardi, along with the reason of WHY this happens.

In addition to calorie and carb cycling, here are some other tips that you may help you get to the “lighter” side:

*Make sure you are drinking plenty of water. A simple rule is to take your weight and divide the number in half. That is a good estimate of the number of ounces you need in the course of your day. Of course, when you are more active and the weather is extremely warm, you may need more. Remember:  fruits, vegetables, broth, and herbal, non-caffeinated teas contribute to this amount as well.

*Look at your fruit intake compared to your vegetable intake. If you are trying to lose fat, your vegetable to fruit ratio needs to be about 5:1. Vegetables typically contain less natural sugar.

*Are you eating enough? As Dr. John mentioned, when you don’t eat enough, your body slows down, similar to a hibernating bear. You actually hang on to fat for protection. Of course, since we usually have grocery stores in close proximity to our homes, this is not as much of an issue as it was when our ancestors had to hunt for their next meal.

*Change up your exercise routine and try something new. Our bodies get accustomed to the same workouts and need a little shake up now and then. (Of course, if you are new to exercise, get clearance from your doctor first.)

*Make sure that strength training is included in your program. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism. Yes, muscle does weigh more, and it is worth the extra pounds to have it!

*If you are eating foods that you know bother you, stop it. Foods that upset your body cause inflammation, get in the way of weight loss, and may eventually cause disease. So, if you eat sugar (or artificial sweeteners, white flour, dairy, processed or fried foods– you get the idea) and you are experiencing symptoms, STOP. In fact, many of these and more–are not a good idea for any of us. Eat mostly whole foods.

Hope some of these tips help you continue your journey to a healthier, lighter you.

If you could use some guidance to take charge of your health, and your life, shoot me an email and we’ll make it happen! carol@inkwellcoaching.com

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”—Fred DeVito

Stress and Weight Retention

I’ve heard this frustration more than once: I eat pretty well, I am faithful with my workouts and I still am not able to lose weight. What is the problem?

Are you stressed? What is your stress level on a scale of 1-10 in any area of your life? Chances are if you are at a “10,” or close to it, the stress could be part of the problem.

So, now what? Quit your job, leave your family, and disappear to a tropical island? Not realistic and you would then be concerned about money, your family, or if you could get blown away by a hurricane.

There are much better options.

First of all, if you are feeling stress from every direction and doing killer workouts besides, you may not be doing yourself any favors. Try implementing some form of movement that is a bit more calming, restorative, and meditative. Some examples: walking, yoga, tai chi, Pilates, dance, and any combination of them. By slowing down a bit, you are better able to focus on your breath. Practicing deep, belly breaths as opposed to taking rapid, shallow breaths, is extremely beneficial in restoring balance. These types of exercises also have the potential to keep you in the present moment, which is the best moment of your day, since it’s the only one you’ve got.

This is not to say that you still can’t “kill it” at the gym. What I’m suggesting is finding the balance. Assess how you feel on a particular day and choose accordingly. What is it you need today? Let’s face it, some days we are Energizer bunnies, then there are… others.

What are you incorporating into your life that brings you joy? This idea is about YOU—not your kids, your spouse, your friends or colleagues—but YOU. When was the last time you went out and did something for fun because you could? Or perhaps there is a hobby that you’ve neglected because you feel you don’t have time. Think about something you could do that would make you smile and feel happy. Put it in your calendar for the coming week and treat it as your most important commitment. This could be something as simple as sitting at the park on a sunny day and doing nothing for 10 minutes. Bask in the warmth of summer and breathe. 

Sometimes you simply need to BE. Park yourself somewhere and daydream. Setting time aside to do nothing is not wasted time. Give it a try. Kick it back a notch and see if you notice a shift—not only in your weight, but also in your life.

“To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring—it was peace.” –Milan Kundera