Monday, May 15, 2017
There are so many diets, research articles, and ideas it can become overwhelming to try and choose the healthiest diet for you and your family. Kristen and I have talked about many different diets, and you know it’s our well-balanced mission to help people ditch the diet mentality and make it simple.
Knowing yourself is important.
I had a client come to me with an interest in feeding her family more healthy food choices. She told me “I’m really good with the guidelines and rules so if you can just give me a few rules to stick by, I will do it.” This rule mentality works really well for some folks and I was glad she knew herself well enough to tell me her preference.
How we kept it simple
In our session, we focused on simple, healthy habits that start at the grocery store, like understanding food labels. She took the guidelines we discussed to heart and ran with it. By the next appointment, she was proud to report putting any foods with unpronounceable words or too many ingredients back on the shelf. Instead, she is eating mostly whole foods. Now, this mama feels confident making healthy foods choices for herself and her family. Success!
Why this works
After watching this TED talk about The Mindset for Healthy Eating by Gillian Riley, I was reminded that diets typically include prohibiting certain foods or food groups. That prohibition mindset typically leads your brain to fixate on the food that you are supposed to be avoiding. By implementing healthy habits instead of restrictions, and by keeping things simple, we can set ourselves up for success and make it a more enjoyable experience.
Food for thought:
Sometimes we make healthy eating a little more complicated than it needs to be.
Consider this week one simple change you can make it to your eating habits to incorporate more whole foods or reduce the complication of eating well. Tell us about it the comments.
Your food environment can set you up for success or it can make healthy living a struggle. Last week, we gave you a checklist for your countertops and your pantry. In part TWO of the spring cleaning series, we have a checklist for your FRIDGE.
It’s all about visibility and convenience. The most visible foods are the ones we eat first. Research tells us that we are 3 times as likely to eat the first thing we see then the 5th. So, if there is any question at all, you’re going to choose that piece of chocolate that is front and center of your fridge instead of the veggies hidden in the back or in a drawer – the beer drawer as Lucy calls it. =)
Here are 6 fridge-hacks that will make your fridge your friend. You can choose to do them all or tackle one at a time, it’s up to you!
1. Take the veggies out of the crisper drawers and place them at eye level. Put the less healthy items in the drawers. When people did this for just one week, they reported eating almost 3 x as much produce as they did the week before.
2. Better yet, cut them up first. Making fruits and vegetables convenient to grab-and-go increases your chance of eating them. Keeping a bunch of oranges in your fridge is one thing, but cutting them up so they can be devoured quickly makes them even more attractive.
3. Keep foods you want to eat in clear packages and at eye level. If you want to eat your salad or your vegetable leftovers the worst thing you can do is put them in aluminum foil. Instead, use clear containers that make the food visible.
4. Keep foods that you don’t want tempting you, wrapped in foil and placed in the back. Same concept as above, we eat what we see. Maybe you still have some girl scout cookies or a whole pie in your fridge that you don’t want to eat. Wrap them up and send them to the back so they are out of sight, out of mind.
5. If you are a soda drinker, moderation is important. Keep 2 or fewer cans in the fridge. This slows down how much you drink because warm soft drinks aren’t as tempting. You could even keep sodas in the garage or some other inconvenient place.
6. Always stock at least 6 single-serving, easy-to-grab, nutritious snacks. Snacks containing lean protein will sustain and satisfy you like cottage cheese cups, Greek yogurt, cheese sticks, and boiled eggs. Other great snack options are single servings of hummus, guacamole, and nut butter for pairing with your precut veggies.
Any easy way to eat 3x as much produce: keep the veggies out of the drawers and put them at eye level instead.
*These suggestions are based off research from Brian Wansink, author of Slim By Design.
Food for thought:
- Which fridge-hacks will help you the most and why?
- Have you already implemented these tricks?
- What worked well for you? Tell us in the comments below.
Monday, March 13, 2017
How much sleep you get, how you wind down at the end of the day, the quality of your sleep, and how you wake up in the morning has A LOT to do with your weight and general well-being.
Don’t take it from me! Here is more information from Health Ambition on how our sleep patterns affect our weight and wellness.
-Our sleeping patterns affect our hormones, such as ghrelin and leptin, regulating hunger cues which control our appetite.
-Studies show sleep deprivation leads people to choose higher-calorie foods and an increased caloric intake for the day.
Improving sleep hygiene:
There are plenty of external factors affecting sleep patterns, and some that you can control.
- Get in a routine – Yes, I know it sounds boring, but I tried to get in bed and on my way to sleepy town by 10:30 PM every night. Preferably earlier! Each time you disrupt your routine – a.k.a. weekends – it can cause a jet lag like effect on your circadian rhythm.
- Remove the blinking, glowing, distracting, and other light disturbances. I’m looking at you Wi-Fi router, digital alarm clocks, TVs, and glowing A/C adaptors. These subtle yet bright lights in the bedroom can affect our sleepy hormone levels and circadian rhythm. If you absolutely cannot move them I highly recommend adopting an eye pillow (or childhood “blanky,” like me!) to block out the light disturbances.
- You don’t really need to know the time. If you must get up at a particular hour, set an alarm on the phone, and don’t bother looking at the time if you wake up unexpectedly in the middle of the night. Each time we look at the clock it starts a story in our minds about how “I didn’t get enough sleep, I must fall back asleep to get ‘enough’ sleep!”
- Consider meditation. Meditation is a powerful tool for living a well-balanced life. It’s less about emptying your mind of all thoughts because that is unrealistic. Meditation is the practice of focusing your mind on one calming thought. I find it useful to focus on my breath or start counting backward from 1000. Yep, that can be considered meditation. So go ahead and count the sheep and let yourself enjoy a restful night, waking up feeling refreshed. No matter how many hours of sleep you got.
Food for thought:
Did you notice I didn’t include a specific number of hours to sleep each night? That’s because it’s different for all of us! I need at least 7 hours to feel great, but my hyperactive business lawyer can function normally with 5 hours of sleep.
Try an experiment next weekend: Go to bed when you’re tired, and wake up when your body wants to wake up.
- How many hours did you sleep?
- How can you improve your sleep hygiene this week?
Let us know how you’re sleeping in the comments below 🙂
Monday, Mar 6, 2017
I love that moment when I tell people that Mondays are my favorite day of the week… If I could read minds, I’m guessing their thinking, “there’s something wrong with this girl,” or “she must be on something.”
As the story goes, in 2009, when I started Well-Balanced Nutrition (the first time) Monday’s quickly became my favorite day of the week because anything is possible. I see each Monday as a mini New Year and the opportunity to start fresh. Most people start the New Year feeling happy and optimistic. Why not start each week with the same enthusiasm?
When restarting Well-Balanced Nutrition, in May 2015, I knew it was time to rekindle that love of Monday to share an empowering, motivational, and health-focused message with our Well-Balanced nutrition tribe (that’s you!). I was blessed to have Kristen join the team early 2016 and together we strive to bring you uplifting and authentic wellness information.
But really, how do you make Monday’s “the best?”
1.Do something that makes you happy on Monday morning.
I designate every Monday as my admin time and make it very sacred time to get all the businessy stuff accomplished. Uninterrupted. Slightly odd that this is my happiness; however, I feel grateful to have the time to focus on what needs to get done and I feel so accomplished when I check those tasks off my to-do list!
2. Include positive brainwashing.
Also, I start each Monday morning with a mentor chat from my man, Darren Hardy, followed by an inspiring TED talk with breakfast. Have you discovered these yet? It’s amazing what you can learn in a 10-20 minutes inspiring video.
3. Eat something well-balanced and delicious.
Often, we get a little too liberal on the weekends and feel the need do penance to the diet gods on Monday for being “bad” over the weekend. This is bound to make Monday even less fun. Instead, I enjoy avocado toast w/ a fried egg and yummy fruit – nom nom nom!
4. Get moving.
My motto is a body in motion stays in motion, a body at rest stays at rest. Even if there’s not much time, include a 10-minute walk around the block before you head to work, a brisk walk during the first 15 minutes of your lunch break, or ending a long work day with a brief stretching session with doyogawithme.com.
Food for thought:
What makes Monday truly great? My state of mind. I choose to believe that Monday is the best and therefore I wake up with a positive attitude every Monday morning because anything is possible.
What are you gonna do to make your Monday the best? We’d love to see your comments below!
In honor of Heart Health month, every Wednesday in February we are talking about whole grains because of their connection to good heart health. If you missed the first post do check out: Not all carbs are bad: whole grains and heart health part 1
Last week I challenged the notion that all carbs were bad and should be avoided. It is just not true. Whole grains have powerful health benefits and it is not just because of the fiber. They contain various phytochemicals that protect and fight against heart disease and diabetes.
There are many whole grain options to choose from. So, don’t limit yourself to whole wheat bread, crackers, and cereal. I CHALLENGE YOU to try something new and less processed. Pick any of the following grains to try this weekend. Notice there are 7 gluten-free whole grains below for those who need to avoid gluten for health reasons.
What do I eat it with? The easiest way, in my opinion, to start eating new whole grains is to prepare them plain and add then use them as a base for a salad or a “power bowl.” Start with a 1/2 cup to 1 cup of whole grains in a bowl and then top with your favorite veggies and protein. Lastly, drizzle with a dressing and voila! Simple and delish!
Here are 17 different ideas to get you thinking of the perfect combination for your taste buds.
Next step: post in the comments or send me an email ([email protected]) to let me know what you tried and how you like it!