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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

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October 17, 2019

A Story with Heart

When considering our health, so many times we think about starting better habits on Monday, or after a big celebration, or at the beginning of a new y

October 10, 2019

Ever Get Mad at…You?

I recently saw a post from a wonderful lady we’ll call Ann. (This is not her real name, so you can insert any name you prefer to use here. Maybe you

October 2, 2019

Managing Inherited Behaviors

Ice cream is still my favorite food. It has been my favorite food my entire life, as far back as I can recall. I firmly believe that my fondness for i

September 29, 2019

Fresh fruits and veggies, fish, good fats make healthy eating delicious

(The following article first appeared in the February 14, 2018 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times. Online version) T

September 26, 2019

Applause for Your Consistency

Today, I acknowledge and applaud you for your commitment to consistency. Whether you consistently make a conscious effort to consume more vegetables f

September 19, 2019

No Time? Quick Meal Ideas

No time. Can you relate? I’ve been feeling the crunch of more scheduled evening events—and I no longer have kids going back to school! As I sat lo

September 12, 2019

The Biggest Nutritional Challenge

When it comes to losing weight and improving nutrition, what is the #1 challenge? Go ahead, take a guess. If your answer is, “I don’t know what I

September 5, 2019

Mr. Non-Compliant Ate Gross Greens

Miracles do happen and life is full of surprises. If your loved one is not keen on eating as healthy as you’d like, keep the faith. I offer you a st

August 28, 2019

The Other 84% of Health

In last week’s blog, I mentioned water intake, slower eating, and increased movement. Did you pick up on the fact that I never suggested WHAT to eat

August 21, 2019

Back to School, Back to Basics

When we break it down, practicing healthy habits is rather elementary. It can also seem rather complicated. Since school is back in session, I figured

Before You Eat That…

Today, August 3rd, is National Watermelon Day. I wish you a very happy Watermelon Day and suggest you have yourself a slice and celebrate! How to choose a ripe one? The watermelon should feel heavy for its size, which means it contains lots of water and is nice and ripe. Choose one of average size that is more round than long. (The round ones are “girl” melons and are sweeter, of course!) The color should be deep green, dull instead of shiny, and its tail should be dry. It should also have a creamy yellow patch where it sat on the ground.  The more creamy yellow the patch, the better. Enjoy this AMAZING fruit!

Now down to some other business. Food vs. You. It feels like a war within sometimes, right? I mean, you think about the cookie and how you love the texture, sweetness, and crunch. That cookie or ______  (fill in the blank here with whatever food you like) would really hit the spot right now. Go for it!

But Wait! Before you eat that…

Are you hungry? Did you finish a delicious meal and now have a taste for a sweet treat to finish it off? Is it that time of day when you need some energy and the cookie seems like a good idea? Or, are you lonely, sad, bored, stressed, upset, happy– or any one (or more) of a seemingly endless list of emotions? 

Good grief! It’s one cookie! Is it that big of a deal?

NO.

The big deal happens when we notice a habit that is not in the best interest of us being our healthy, happy selves. 

For example, I’ll pick on me and a few of my former “not-so-good” habits. For years I thought I had to have a big bowl of ice cream every night. I thought I always had to have chips and a sandwich for lunch. Breakfast was usually cold cereal, milk and sometimes toast.

I have since realized that the ice cream every night was a comfort food for me that goes back to when I was a little girl. My parents and I would enjoy lots of it in the evenings, often enough that it became a comfort habit—one that got me through the tumultuous high school years and beyond. Oh yes, LOTS of emotional stuff then. Going to the carton of ice cream was my “go to.” AGH! Well, Linus always had his security blanket. Now, I am happy to say, I have cut my ice cream consumption back to once or twice per week, and eating it is not emotionally driven. Perfection would mean totally eliminating it from my life. I am not there. However, I know that sugar loading before bed is not good for maintaining steady blood sugar levels through the night. I am making good progress.

The chips and sandwich routine stemmed from my grade school days when I took my lunch in my turquoise Mary Poppins lunchbox. My favorite fare at the time: hard salami on white Wonder bread, yellow mustard, a sweet banana pepper, and Fritos on the side. Not much nutritional redemption there. I now practice eating more veggies in the form of salad greens for lunch and have pretty much ditched the Fritos and chips. No, I don’t have the lunchbox anymore.

My carbohydrate heavy, low protein breakfast–simply another acquired habit from growing up with parents who switched from bacon and eggs to cereal and toast for better health. Interesting how things come full circle. Back to eggs with sautéed veggies–bacon on occasion.

It is important to eat protein with each meal, along with plenty of vegetables and fruits. It is also important to minimize sugars and refined carbohydrates. There are so many other “food rules” that it is certainly hard to keep track! Progression, not perfection.

I digress.

The point of all this is to look at WHY you are choosing to eat something that may not be in your best interest of health, and ask, “Am I hungry?” If not, consider having a glass of water or herbal tea or finding some other distraction so you stop focusing on the cookie (or chips, ice cream, M&M’s). Getting some type of exercise is a great alternative to going to the kitchen. Our bodies need to move!

I encourage you to think about why you eat some of the things you do. And you know I’m not talking about the occasional treat or crazy meal. It is the day-in and day-out stuff that gets us. Perhaps it is time to make a change in one of your lifelong habits and see what a big difference in can make!

Conscious awareness is an important first step in taking charge of your life. Go for it!

“Watch your habits, not your weight.”

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