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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

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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

August 15, 2019

The All or None Syndrome

Ever experience Pause Button Mentality? Perhaps during the holidays, your birthday, after vacation, when work gets crazy, or kids go back to school? H

August 8, 2019

Lessons from Nature, and Grounding

We must be moving into fall, as school supplies are in the sale ads. Didn’t summer vacation just get rolling? As I look around, I see many of my lil

August 1, 2019

Creative, Easy, Grilling Ideas

Summer is for taking it easy, and that includes mealtime. Lately, Mr. Non-Compliant and I have been playing with food. Our latest game: How much can w

July 18, 2019

Happy National Ice Cream Month

The year was 1984. President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of July as National Ice Cream Day. This ye

July 11, 2019

How to Bok Choy

Summer is adventure time. With the abundance of various fruits and vegetables available at grocery stores and farmers markets, there is no reason to b

July 4, 2019

Relax and Enjoy

Welcome to the dog days of summer and simple eating. Unlike winter, when those crock pot soups and stews hit the spot, we are now in the season of lig

June 27, 2019

Atomic Habits

My current summer (now that it’s official!) read is “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. I’m working on improving a few of mine—slowly—one at a

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

What’s Really in My Food? Label Reading 101

Eating healthy would be easier if what we saw was actually what we got, right? We see lettuce, we get lettuce; an apple is simply that, an apple.apples-214148_640 The food industry has come a long way since the days of bartering butter for eggs, but like everything in life, with the good comes the not so good. And so it is with food.

This topic is very lengthy. Here is a very brief overview and I will go into more detail over the course of future blogs.

Serving Size. This fact makes me laugh. If I had offered my adolescent sons “one serving” of pasta or cereal, I would have been accused of starving my children. Most of us adults consume a quantity of food that is more than we actually need. The problem occurs when we believe that we only had one serving and we probably ate twice that. Remember February’s Habit and stop at 80% full.

Ingredients. It is true that these are listed in order of the highest content first. Be wary of this list when it is as long as your arm. When you can’t pronounce the words and have no idea what they are, odds are you shouldn’t eat it.  sherlock-holmes-147255_640

Natural, Real Juice, Healthy. Food companies love to use these words in their names and on the labels. Whatever is inside the box or bottle is perceived to go along with these claims. Read the Nutrition Facts.

AHA (American Heart Association) Trademark. A food or beverage may be considered ok for your heart health, but may not good for the rest of you.

Trans fats. If the label reads “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil,” “shortening,” “hydrogenated vegetable oil,” “margarine,” then you are eating trans fats. Eating these contributes to a variety of health issues. You can typically find trans fats in various baked goods, fried foods, crackers, cookies, some soups, dressings, oh the list goes on. And don’t assume because it reads “Zero Trans Fat” that it’s ok. Read the ingredient list anyway. In the United States, if the food has less than 0.5 Grams of trans fat, it can state “Zero.” Any amount is too much.

And More. Other “not so good” ingredients to be wary of: artificial vegetarian-233834_640sugars (terms such as Lite, Light, Zero, on the label), artificial flavors and colors, preservatives, and items marketed as Fat Free. Our bodies get confused by all of this. Be kind to you.

My Advice: Eat REAL food as much as possible. Do the best you can. Choose ONE thing to look for that you would like to eliminate or begin to cut down on in order to avoid overwhelm. Practice reading the labels on foods you eat and understand that changing habits takes time and patience.

*This information is not intended to help cure, treat, diagnose or prevent any disease state. Any questions you have concerning food as it pertains to a specific medical condition should be addressed with your physician.

“Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”  Michael Pollan

P.S.  If you are looking for a system to help you stay healthier, lose weight and have more energycontact me today!  It’s never too late to form new habits.

February’s Healthy Lifestyle Habit

practice-615644_640Now that you have gotten in the habit of drinking your water, it’s time to practice another simple concept. This month’s habit: Eat slowly and stop at 80% full. This habit is straight from the pages of my coaching textbook, The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition, second edition. The authors, Dr. John Berardi and Ryan Andrews, are experts in the field of exercise and nutrition.

Eat Slowly. How many times do we rush through a meal? snails-214765_640We’re so busy sometimes that if questioned about what we had for lunch, we are clueless. Or perhaps we are distracted by the newspaper or TV. Beginning TODAY, focus on your meals and snacks and really taste the food. Spend at least 15-20 minutes enjoying your meal. It takes that long for your stomach to get the signal from your brain that it’s being fed. If you are with family or friends, it’s easy to savor the conversation and the food. The temptation to “hurry up and eat” typically happens when dining alone. If you customarily eat in 5 minutes, slow down and eat for 6 minutes. (Set a timer) Practice slowing down a little at a time until you master this. Turn off the TV. Remove the distractions. Savor the flavors.

Stop at 80% Full. When we stop eating because we are full, we have probably eaten more than we need. A good way to think about this habit is to stop eating when we are no longer hungry as opposed to eating until full. Although it may be a challenge to figure out the 80% part, do your best. Stopping at any level less than your current habit will be a positive step toward your goal.

evening-sun-694425_640By eating slowly and stopping at 80% full, odds are good that you will consume less food and over time, experience weight loss. You will truly enjoy your meals and your digestion will improve. This habit is awesome because we are not even taking into account WHAT you are eating! (The WHAT is a habit for another month!)

If you are one of those people that need to gain weight, eat faster and stop at 100% full.

For those of you who are still getting the water habit down, that is OK. Keep working on the water and practice this new habit when you feel ready. Remember, changing your lifestyle is a process. How many years have you been creating habits that may not serve you? Good things take time!

“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.”  Lucille Ball

P.S.  If you are looking for a system to help you stay healthier, lose weight and have more energycontact me today!  It’s never too late to form new habits.

The Most Important Person

Last week, I had the privilege of listening to two expert fitness trainers, Erin Hartigan and Estelle Blockoms. They offered great advice and motivation, which I will do my best to convey for those of you who were not able to attend the event.

The most important person you need to take care of is…YOU! Consider this: when you are at your very BEST, how does that affect your energy, sleep, work, relationships? Conversely, when you are NOT doing the things you need to do to take care of yourself, when you are NOT your best, what happens?

Trainers, motivators, coaches all push us to be better—to be our best. What can we really control in our lives? Not much. However, we CAN make good decisions about what we eat and how much we move.

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On exercise: Find activities you enjoy and do them. Start slowly and work your way into a program that is consistent and takes you to a level of fitness that improves your quality of life. Thirty minutes a day will do wonders for your health, stress and attitude. Erin and Estelle have different fitness routines that work for them. Of course, they both mentioned that they aspire to be better tomorrow than they are today. Always changing, always growing.

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On food: Estelle has a list of “FORBIDDENS.” These are the foods she will NEVER, EVER eat. Some of her “forbiddens” are fried foods, sugar, soda, and gluten. She suggested we each come up with ONE FORBIDDEN that will improve our health. Estelle eats a salad everyday, but advises to use caution with the dressing. Erin rarely eats out and makes meals for her family that include lots of vegetables, lean protein and a minimal amount of processed foods and sugars. As we eliminate certain foods from our diet, our taste buds change. For example, if we don’t eat fried foods for several months, it is very probable that we will not enjoy that fried chicken any longer—and it may even make us feel sick. (I know… some of you may not be ready to let that go…think of something else.)

These women lead others to be their best because of their positive attitudes and discipline. The energy in their classes is extremely high, which creates the perfect environment for consistency. Think about the momentum of a moving freight train. Try to stop it. On the other hand, think about getting a stopped train to move. UGH!

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There is connection with mind, body and spirit that works together to make us whole. Once we get that, we’re living a lifestyle that not only brings out our best, but the best of all those around us.

“First we form habits, then they form us.”  Jim Rohn

P.S.  If you are looking for a system to help you stay healthier, lose weight and have more energycontact me today!  It’s never too late to form new habits.

January’s Healthy Lifestyle Habit

Closeup of message stones on white background.

Welcome to a NEW YEAR, and the possibility of a NEW YOU. The thing that is fun about the beginning of something is the hope that it can be better—that WE can be better.   The other side of that thinking is that MOST people are resistant to change. We get comfortable doing things the way we have always done them and the thought of mixing it up, even if it gives us a better result, can be SCARY.

Here is my proposition for the “Healthier You” that you may be searching for. I am going to offer you an idea of ONE new habit each month from now until December 2016. (That sounds like a long time from now, but don’t blink…)

So, let’s say you start with January’s habit today. Are you going to see some amazingly crazy change in your health and weight in the next week? NO! Over the course of the next 12 months, if you develop even a few of the habits I introduce, will you see a change in your health and your weight. YES!

What I am offering is “the slight edge” principle.  (The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson is a MUST READ!)  It’s not the monumental things we do that radically change our lives, but the little things we choose to do—or NOT do—day in and day out. In every aspect of life, we are either going in a positive or negative direction based on our choices that day. We never stay stagnant.

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This month’s habit is to drink your water. Sounds easy, right? Maybe not so much. The easiest formula I have learned is to take your weight and divide it in half. You need that many ounces of water in a day to stay hydrated. This does not take into account what happens when you exercise for an hour, are in the sun, or if you drink lots of caffeine (each cup of a caffeinated beverage means you need two additional glasses of water to stay hydrated).

Room temperature water is easiest on the body, but do whatever works. Yes, herbal teas count, and any liquid that does not have caffeine or sugar or fake sugar. (Caffeine is a diuretic, is addictive and is not a healthy additive for some. Sugar has no redeeming benefits, except that it tastes good. It is as addictive as heroin. Fake sugars are chemicals that wreak havoc with us on lots of levels. All of these are topics for future Blogs!) Add a slice of lemon, lime, orange or float a strawberry. Put up post-it notes to remind you. Drink it in your favorite glass or mug or container that measures how much you have. Always take water in the car. This is the month you make water a priority in your life and figure out what you need to do to stay hydrated. You will feel better. Sometimes when you think you are hungry, you are really thirsty. Try water first. A great tip is to drink 8 to 16 ounces when you first wake up. It’s like extra credit before you even get your day going.

Oh, and be sure to LIKE my Inkwell Healthy Lifestyles Facebook page for reminders and other healthy tips to stay on the positive side of living well.

“With true friends . . . even water drunk together is sweet enough.” Chinese Proverb