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Adopting Healthy Habits During a Stressful Holiday Season and Covid-19 Pandemic

The holiday season is supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year!”

If this is true, why do so many people suffer through this season? There are a lot of factors that can contribute to feeling the holiday blues, but one of the main reasons is stress. Not to mention, COVID-19 has thrown a whole other level of stress into all of our lives. 

There’s so much pressure to buy gifts, host family members, and cook delicious meals (while social distancing and remaining healthy) that it’s easy to see where the joy gets sucked out of celebrating such a wonderful season. Unfortunately, this stress can also lead to health issues that contribute to weight gain, anxiety, depression, and more! 

To help you better manage your stress levels, I wanted to share a few healthy habits to adopt to ensure that stress (and sickness!) doesn’t get the best of you. Let’s dive in…

Why Holiday Stress is So Dangerous

Before we dive into my healthy habit suggestions, let’s take a minute to digest why stress can be so harmful to the body. 

First and foremost, when you start to feel stressed, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones–adrenaline and cortisol. These chemicals put your body in “emergency mode” heightening your senses, increasing your blood flow, tightening your muscles. 

When these hormones continue to flow through your body, it takes a toll on your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. At the same time, these chemicals make it difficult for you to “shut off” so you can rest and get sleep. 

If you’re unable to ease the stress in your body, you might experience…

  • High blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Racing Heart 
  • Insomnia

Worst of all, do you know how many people end up managing stress? The answer: eating. 

When you eat, oxytocin (your body’s feel-good chemical) is released. The more you eat, the better you feel. And now, instead of simply dealing with stress, your body weight is affected. 

If this cycle keeps up, your body is going to suffer in more ways than one, which is why it’s so important to learn healthy strategies for managing stress. 

What might those strategies be? Here’s what I recommend…

Stress-Reducing Tip #1: Fuel Your Body with Healthy Food Choices

Consuming healthy, nutritious foods builds a foundation for a healthy body. When that foundation is in place, the outside effects of stress have less of an impact. 

Having healthy foods on hand is also important for when you feel the need to eat during stressful times. While it’s important to not overeat, eating a handful of bell peppers or a bowl of yogurt is much better than digging into a bag of chips or a carton of ice cream. 

Most importantly, a healthy diet helps keep you strong in the event you contact an illness, such as COVID-19. While I can’t claim that healthy food choices can cure you, they will provide you with a firm foundation to fight illness in the event you get sick this season.

Keep your fridge and pantry stocked with healthy items! 

Stress-Reducing Tip #2: Practice Self-Care

During the holidays, it’s easy to focus on everyone else and forget about yourself. 

Self-care is so important and can help you unwind and relax before too much stress builds. Practicing self-care looks different for everyone. If you’re not sure how to add self-care into your routine, try some of the following ideas…

  • Take a walk
  • Enjoy a hot bath
  • Read a good book 
  • Make time for a cup of coffee with a friend 
  • Prepare a healthy meal/snack for yourself 
  • Watch a movie
  • Tap a nap 

Stress-Reducing Tip #3: Learn to Say No 

Are you someone that burns yourself out doing things for others? Today is the day to learn how to say no. 

You have absolutely no obligation to attend every holiday party you’re invited to, to bake homemade cookies for your kids’ classroom, or to take part in every activity that’s going on in your community. 

Prioritize the things that are most important to you. Mark your calendar. And politely decline invitations to things that don’t interest you. 

Stress-Reducing Tip #4: Set Realistic Expectations

A false sense of expectations often leads people to panic when things don’t go as planned. This year, don’t let unrealistic expectations bog you down. 

Set realistic goals. It’s ok to hope for the best when it comes to cooking meals, giving gifts, and hosting parties, but understand you’re not perfect—nor is anyone else! 

Do you best and focus on what matters most…time spent with the people you love. 

Stress-Reducing Tip #5: Get at Least 30-Minutes of Exercise Each Day 

Finally, exercise is a wonderful way to naturally reduce your stress levels while also keeping your body healthy. In fact, exercising releases the same feel-good chemical that eating does! 

I know you probably have a lot going on this time of year, but I encourage you to make the time to exercise for at least 30-minutes a day. 

Take your dog for a walk, climb up and down your staircase, or stream and online yoga class. There are so many ways you can get moving! 

I hope this season is filled with joy, love, and good health for you!

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How to Avoid Overeating During the Holiday Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…especially for foodies! 

Between big family gatherings and holiday parties, there’s no shortage of delicious food to indulge in. While this might be great for your tastebuds, it’s not so wonderful for your waistline. 

You’ve worked so hard all year to trim your waistline…now is not the time to set yourself backward! The good news…you can still enjoy the meals that this holiday season has to offer without destroying your health and weight loss goals. 

Today I’m sharing a few ways you avoid overeating in order to stick to your health and weight loss goals. Check out what I recommend…

Tip to Avoid Overeating #1: Know Your Trigger Foods

Some of us love sweets. Some of us love savory foods. And some of us love it all! 

It’s important to recognize what food groups you struggle with that might trigger you to overeat. Understanding your weaknesses can help you mentally prepare to tell yourself no when food is presented to you. 

For example: 

If you have a sweet tooth, a dessert bar filled with ice cream, cookies, and pies might tempt you. However, if you know this is going to be a problem, you can mentally prepare yourself. 

Perhaps you’ll tell yourself, “I will allow myself to have one slice of pumpkin pie because it is my favorite Thanksgiving treat.” Knowing your limitations ahead of time will help keep you disciplined. 

Working hard to lose weight and fix your eating habits doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of an occasional treat. It’s all about reframing your mindset around healthy eating habits and only indulging in a properly proportioned dessert every once in a while! 

Tip to Avoid Overeating #2: Log What You Eat in a Food Diary  

Writing down what you eat in a food diary is a great way to keep yourself accountable for what you’re putting into your body. 

A quick note will help you keep track of the foods you’re consuming and will alert you to whether you’re making good choices or not. For some people, having this type of visual aid is very helpful.

Tip to Avoid Overeating #3: Fill Your Plate with Veggies 

Staying on top of your weight loss goals does NOT mean starving yourself. 

If you’re hungry, eat! But make sure you’re putting healthy options on your plate. Ideally, half of your plate should contain fresh fruits and veggies.

Be careful about the veggies you’re eating, though. Around the holidays people tend to season their dishes with sugars, salts, and fats. Always opt for the choices that aren’t drenched in cream sauces and other fattening additives. 

Tip to Avoid Overeating #4: Limit Your Alcohol Intake 

Liquid calories are just as bad, if not worse, than food calories–mostly because they are difficult to track and it’s easy to drink more than you would overeat. 

An average glass of wine contains 125 calories, and a beer contains 150. If you start diving into mixed drinks those numbers skyrocket even higher! 

Feel free to enjoy your glass of wine with dinner, but after your meal switch to water for the rest of the evening! 

Tip to Avoid Overeating #5: Increase Your Protein Intake 

Eating high-protein meals helps keep you fuller for a longer period of time. When you feel full, you’re less likely to overeat. 

Having a snack that’s high in protein (such as a cup of Greek yogurt) before you attend a party is a great way to stabilize your hunger so you don’t feel the need to constantly pick and snack. 

While you’re at a party, opt for the higher protein menu items (like turkey and hard-boiled eggs) and avoid the high sugar and high carb options such as dinner rolls and sweet potato casserole. 

Tip to Avoid Overeating #6: Enlist an Accountability Partner

If you’re really struggling with overeating, having an accountability partner is a great idea!

It’s likely that you’ll have either a friend or family member that you know at a party that can help you say no when the temptation becomes too much! So, find someone you trust, explain to them your goals and your food “rules” and enlist them to keep you accountable! 

Overeating can become a problem at any time, but is especially difficult during the seasons in which we gather to celebrate over delicious meals and desserts. 

I know you have the willpower to persevere and stay on track with your goals! Follow my tips above and you’ll be able to come out of the holiday season without any guilt or regret as you work to improve your health and wellness! 

If you’re currently struggling with your weight and are looking for additional information on how to manage your health and weight loss goals, I’d love to talk with you! 

Please schedule a FREE 15-minute Discovery Session to discuss your weight loss goals.

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours, 

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Childhood Obesity Awareness Month: How to Help Your Kids Live A Healthy, Active Lifestyle

Did you know that 13.7 million children and adolescents are overweight just in the United States alone?

Even worse, obesity at such a young age is crippling leaving many children susceptible to…

  • Mobility issues.
  • Type 2 diabetes. 
  • High blood pressure.
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Mental health issues. 
  • Sleep apnea.
  • Chronic joint pain.
  • And other health complications. 

If you have a child who is obese (or simply worry about your child’s health in general), this information might sound scary. 

The good news…

It’s NEVER too late to put healthy habits in place that will help your entire family better manage their weight and live healthy, active lifestyles. In honor of Childhood Obesity Awareness Month here are a few things I recommend to help your kids avoid weight issues that will follow them into adulthood…

Get Your Kids Involved In Sports and Activities

Getting exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy weight. But, let’s be honest…not many kids enjoy hitting the gym to run on the treadmill or lift weights. 

To get your kid off the couch, I recommended getting him/her involved in a sport or activity. 

Find out what your kid is interested in–whether it be soccer, a dance class, or martial arts. Then let your kid give it a try! 

Tip: If you’re worried about the expense of sports/activities check out your local YMCA. With a small membership fee, you’ll get access to a bunch of different activity options that won’t break the bank. 

If your child is not into sports, that’s ok! Any activity (art class, book club, etc.) that gets your kid out of the house and interacting with other people is great! The key is encouraging your kid to put down the gaming controller or remote control for a few hours a day! 

Monitor Your Child’s Mental Health

We live in a time where many kids experience a crazy amount of stress.

Between getting good grades in school, performing well in sports/activities, the pressures of social media, and general social and emotional growing pains, it’s easy for children to become overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed. Unfortunately, anxiety/stress/depression can lead to poor eating habits causing kids to pack on weight.

You can avoid this issue while routinely checking in on your children. Have discussions about how they are feeling or why they might be stressed out.

If need be, get your kid counseling. There is absolutely no shame in taking your children to see a therapist. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent. Sometimes kids simply need to develop coping skills or have someone to talk to outside of your family unit.

When you’re proactive about your kid’s mental health, you can avoid dangerous problems like binge eating down the road!

Stock Your Fridge and Pantry with Healthy Options 

If you don’t keep junk in your home, your kids won’t have access to unhealthy options. It’s as simple as that! 

Instead of stocking your shelves with cookies and chips, opt for fresh fruits, veggies, and other healthy choices. A few snack ideas most kids love include…

  • Apples and peanut butter.
  • Yogurt and granola.
  • Carrot sticks and hummus. 
  • Berries.
  • Popcorn.
  • Trail mix.
  • Cheese sticks. 
  • Hard-boiled eggs.
  • Green smoothies. 

Discuss the Importance of Moderation 

Let’s be honest…EVERYONE loves to indulge in a treat from time to time. And this is perfectly ok! 

In fact, depriving your kids of all treats can cause various eating issues such as binge eating. The last thing you want is for your children to be sneaking around you and hoarding food without you knowing. 

How do you manage the balance between healthy choices and an occasional treat? Have a conversation about the importance of moderation! 

It’s so important that kids understand that eating a chocolate bar every day after school isn’t a healthy option. However, going out for ice cream on a weekend after a football game is a perfectly acceptable choice (unless there are severe underlying health issues that would make this a bad idea). 

Kids who understand how to balance their diets often go on to lead normal healthy lives as they develop the skills to understand when it’s appropriate to indulge in a treat and when they should stick to a healthier option.  

Bring Your Children In for a Yearly Physical

Aside from promoting a healthy diet in your home and getting your kids up and active, ensuring your children attend their yearly medical appointments is vital to a healthy life. 

Your child’s physician can provide you with the medical information you need to keep your kid healthy based on your child’s own unique needs. 

Better yet, a doctor can help diagnose any health issues that might be contributing to your kids’ weight gain if your child is already struggling with weight issues. For example, you may lead a healthy active lifestyle but no matter what you do your kid continues to gain weight. 

Is it possible that your child is diabetic? Is your kid suffering from a hormonal imbalance? Is your son/daughter on a medication that makes maintaining a healthy weight difficult?

All of these questions can be addressed by a professional in order to set your kid up for optimal health in the future. 

Lead By Example

It’s no secret that children look up to their parents and tend to adopt the habits you exhibit. This is why it’s more important than ever to set a good example. 

After all, it wouldn’t be fair to eat a bucket of fried chicken while making your kid eat a salad. 

It’s up to you to set the standard. Eat healthily. Stay hydrated. Keep active. Then encourage your kids to follow in your footsteps.

If you’re struggling with your weight/maintaining healthy habits, or have concerns about your children, I encourage you to set up a FREE online consultation with me. I’d love to help provide you with the tools and resources you need to promote health in your home! 

Sign up for a FREE online consultation appointment here

Here’s to doing better and raising a healthier, happier generation of kids! 

Happy Childhood Obesity Awareness Month! 

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Celebrate National Breastfeeding Month: The Amazing Benefits of Breastfeeding Your Newborn

During the month of August, we recognize National Breastfeeding Month, a time in which we celebrate the amazing benefits of breastfeeding as well as educate people on how they can support the women in their lives who are breastfeeding their infants. 

While breastfeeding is one of the most natural things in the world, nursing difficulties, work schedules, societal pressures, and a lack of support often prevent women from doing what is best for their child. These struggles can weigh heavily on women, which is why now is a great time to learn how you can best support those you love. 

Why is this so important? There are many reasons…

According to thousanddays.org, “Breastfeeding saves lives by protecting babies from life-threatening infections and illnesses. If babies were breastfed early and exclusively for the first 6 months, over 820,000 lives could be saved each year!”

Not to mention, breastfeeding has many advantages for mom as well. Let’s take a deeper look at the benefits of breastfeeding for both mom and baby, and then I’ll share a few ways you can help encourage and support the women who are breastfeeding in your life. 

How Babies Benefit from Breastfeeding 

There are three key beneficial areas when it comes to nursing a newborn. Here’s how breastfed babies benefit…

Optimal Nutrition 

Formula recipes have come a long way in the last 100 years. However, nothing comes close to the natural milk a woman’s body produces. 

Breast milk is fortified with all the nutrients your baby needs to thrive. More importantly, it doesn’t contain extra fillers and additives that can cause your baby to experience excess gas, colic, and other digestional issues.

Of course any baby (whether they are breastfed or formula-fed) can struggle with tummy troubles. However, breast milk has proven time and time again to be easier to digest. 

Tip: To really ensure both you and your baby are getting the best nutrition, continue to take your prenatal vitamin while breastfeeding! 

Superior Immune Health 

Breast milk is loaded with your body’s natural antibodies that are essential in fighting off viruses and bacteria. 

This is exactly why breastfed babies often suffer less from ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and digestive problems. Knowing this is incredibly important as babies have very weak immune systems for the first 6+ months of their lives. 

While feeding breast milk can’t guarantee that your baby will never get sick, it will give your baby the best fighting chance against dangerous germs–especially during cold and flu season! 

Physical Bonding 

Finally, physical bonding is a major benefit of breastfeeding. 

Through eye contact and skin-to-skin closeness, a baby often feels more comfortable and secure while breastfeeding. Not to mention, chemicals released while breastfeeding–such as oxytocin–naturally stimulate sleepiness which can help a baby settle down and sleep longer stretches. 

Overall, the hormones released while breastfeeding can help establish a sense of trust and a bond that will last far beyond a child’s breastfeeding days.  

Note: This is also a major benefit for mom! 

How a Women Benefits from Breastfeeding

When it comes to breastfeeding we often focus on the benefits of the baby. What you might not know is that breastfeeding also carries many benefits for mom as well. Here are a few important benefits you should be aware of…

Reduced Risk of Developing Breast or Ovarian Cancer 

Shockingly, breastfeeding a baby for at least 6 months can help reduce a mother’s risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer. 

How? 

It mainly has to do with hormonal fluctuations. When a woman is lactating, hormonal changes often delay menstrual periods which reduce the amount of time the woman is exposed to the hormone estrogen. A reduction in estrogen reduces the chance that breast cancer and ovarian cancer cells will grow. 

Weight Loss

During pregnancy, women gain extra weight. While it’s recommended that most women shouldn’t gain over 30 pounds, many ladies find themselves packing on much more weight than that! 

The good news is that breastfeeding burns a lot of calories and can quickly help women shed that unwanted baby weight. 

It’s unlikely that most moms are going to find themselves at the gym just a few weeks after giving birth. This makes breastfeeding an ideal opportunity to provide your baby with the best nutrition while burning extra calories! 

Convenience 

Between excess laundry, constant diaper changes, and all-night feedings, the last thing a mom wants is more chores stacked up on her plate. 

Sure, breastfeeding is a lot of work. But heating up formula at 2 am, handwashing bottles, and having to get up to prepare your baby’s milk every 2-3 hours is a real pain–especially as mom recovers and might not be feeling her best. 

Breast milk is convenient as it’s always available, always at the right temperature, and doesn’t require the use of bottles which simply create more mess in the kitchen. Whether it be during the day or in the middle of the night, mom can quickly grab her hungry baby, nurse, and put her baby back down without any extra steps involved.

How You Can Support a Breastfeeding Mother 

Not everyone’s breastfeeding journey is easy. In fact, even moms with “easy” baby’s struggle, especially during the first few weeks of learning how to breastfeed.

This is where your support is needed. If you’re not sure how to help, here are a few ways you can support a breastfeeding mom in your life…

  1. Pick up extra chores around the house. Newborns need to eat around every 2-3 hours per day. This means mom is going to be spending a lot of time feeding her baby instead of working on household chores. Do an extra load of laundry, clean the kitchen, walk the dog, etc. This allows mom the time she needs to feed her baby without the pressure of needing to get everything done. 
  2. Encourage mom. Breastfeeding isn’t an easy task and it can quickly become draining. A few words of encouragement such as “You’re doing such a great job” can mean the world. Offer words of encouragement. 
  3. Do your research. The more you learn about breastfeeding the easier it is for you to understand what your partner/family member/friend is going through. 
  4. Split the baby duties. Mom shouldn’t be the one in charge of all of the baby’s care. If your partner is breastfeeding, sign yourself up for diaper duty…or whatever baby duties your partner needs help with. 
  5. Prepare snacks and drinks. Breastfeeding moms need to consume enough water and calories in order to produce enough breast milk. While your partner is breastfeeding, prepare her a healthy snack and a drink! 
  6. Be an advocate for nursing moms. It’s important that you stand up for your partner, especially when people on the outside are making it difficult for mom to breastfeed. Don’t just stand by the wayside. Speak up when someone says something rude about breastfeeding in public. Or, back your partner when a friend or family member tries to give unsolicited advice that contradicts your desire to breastfeed.

A Quick Word for Moms Who are Struggling to Breastfeed 

As a physician, I truly believe that breastfeeding is best for both mom and baby. That being said, nothing I shared today was intended to discourage or shame moms who are struggling to breastfeed that have turned to alternative options. 

At the end of the day, a fed baby is best, period! As long as you are putting in the work and research to ensure your baby is taken care of you’re doing an amazing job. 

If you’re struggling to breastfeed but don’t want to forgo the benefits of breastmilk, here are a few options that might help you…

  1. Team up with a lactation consultant. Lactation consultants are specially trained to help moms and babies learn how to breastfeed. Sometimes a simple adjustment is all that’s needed to make your breastfeeding experience so much better. 
  2. Opt for donor breast milk. Some women are over suppliers of breast milk and generously donate their extra milk to babies in need. If you want to give your baby all the benefits of breastmilk, ask your pediatrician about where you can locate donor breast milk. 
  3. Pump and bottle feed. Breast milk from a bottle is just as good as breast milk from a breast. If factors like breast pain or working full time are preventing you from using breast milk, pump and bottle feed your baby. Most insurances will cover a pump at zero expense to you! 

Best wishes to new moms and their support systems as you continue your breastfeeding journey! 

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Delicious and Healthy Orange Creamsicle Summer Smoothie Recipe

The summer heat might have you reaching for a cold treat. But, ice cream bars and sugar-filled popsicles can quickly throw off your health and weight loss goals. 

Every once in a while it’s ok to indulge in a dessert. However, it’s important to pay attention to what you’re putting in your body…especially because there are delicious alternatives to your favorite frosty treats that won’t have as big of an impact on your diet. 

When using the right recipe, you don’t have to feel guilty about treating yourself (or your kids) something sweet. It’s my hope that you can start swapping out those sugar-filled, processed desserts for healthier, more natural options. 

To lend you a hand, I’m going to share a delicious orange creamsicle recipe that your entire family is bound to love! Check it out…

Orange Creamsicle Smoothie Recipe

The best part about the orange creamsicle smoothie is that it’s made with many ingredients that you likely already have in your fridge or pantry! 

Here’s what you need…

Ingredients:

  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk OR coconut milk 
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 3 ounces of fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 tsp honey
  • A handful of ice, depending on your desired frostiness

Note: If you don’t have oranges to squeeze, you can use orange juice. Be sure to look for a sugar-free variety. 

Nutritional Information:

1 8 oz. glass of this orange creamsicle smoothie contains approximately…

  • 200 calories
  • 1.2 grams of total fat
  • 34 grams of carbohydrates
  • 30 grams of sugar 

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients into your blender.
  2. Blend the mixture. 
  3. Continue to add ice until the smoothie is at your desired consistency. 
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Creamsicle Smoothie Ingredient Benefits

While this recipe should certainly be treated as a dessert and NOT an every day drink, there are many nutrient-packed ingredients in this smoothie. Here are a few benefits that are contained within the smoothie ingredients…

Oranges

Oranges contain high levels of vitamin C, a vitamin that supports immune health and helps prevent you from getting sick! 

Coconut Milk/Almond Milk 

Coconut milk and almond milk are often fortified with calcium. Calcium is essential for keeping your bones healthy and strong!

Protein Powder

Protein powder contains exactly what the name says it does…protein. Consuming enough protein is vital as protein builds and repairs the tissues in your body. 

Bananas

Like oranges, bananas are high in vitamin C. But that’s not all they contain. They are well-known for their high levels of vitamin B6 (which helps produce red blood cells, turn fats into energy, and protect your nervous system) as well as Potassium which is important for heart health and blood pressure.  

Tips for Preserving and Serving Your Orange Creamsicle Smoothies

To some, the idea of whipping up a smoothie might seem like a lot of work. The good news is that this tasty treat can be made in advance and stored in your freezer to enjoy at a later date. 

Here are a few ways you can prep and serve your smoothies when you have some free time…

Tip #1: Make Smoothie Bags to Store in Your Freezer

When you have the time, whip up a batch of these smoothies. Then, instead of eating them, pour the mixture into an ice cube tray. 

Freeze overnight, then pop out the ice cubes and store them in a large freezer bag. When you’re ready to make a smoothie, pour a handful of the cubes into your blender, add a little bit of orange juice and blend! 

Tip #2: Blend Smoothie Pops for Your Kids 

Kids love popsicles. However, most popsicles you find in the grocery store are loaded with preservatives and sugar. 

This summer, trick your kids into enjoying a healthier alternative! Simply whip up a batch of the smoothie mixture, pour it into popsicle molds, and freezer for a minimum of 5 hours. 

When your kids want a treat, you’ll have a healthy option on hand.

Tip #3: Make Your Smoothie a Part of Your Meal Prep Routine 

Being prepared is the best way to ensure you have healthy options when your sweet tooth demands a dessert. 

All of the smoothie ingredients above can be bought ahead of time and stored in your pantry, fridge, or freezer. While you’re out shopping, grab everything you need even if you don’t plan on making a smoothie that day. 

Pre-freeze a bag of bananas. Stock your pantry with protein powder, coconut water, vanilla extract, and honey. And make sure you have oranges/orange juice and milk in your fridge. 

With a little prep, it’s easy to take control over your health, without feeling like you have to miss out on the little indulgences in your life! 

Give this recipe a try, and if you love it, please pass it along to your friends and family–they will thank you! 

I wish you a safe, happy, and healthy remainder of summer.

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How to Set Realistic Health and Wellness Goals for 2021

It happens every year…

The clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve and we all make pledges to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Then…3 weeks later we are eating junk, sitting on the couch, and neglecting our newly purchased gym memberships or equipment. 

Why does this happen? And what can you do to ensure you actually stick to your health and wellness goals for this year? 

The answer is simpler than you think! It’s all about setting realistic goals for yourself so you don’t burnout within the first month of adapting to better health and wellness habits. 

In an effort to encourage you to start 2021 off on the right foot, I want to share with you some of my tips for setting realistic health and wellness goals this year. 

Here’s what I recommend…

Tip #1: Start Slow with a New Exercise Routine 

Making a commitment to run 5 miles a day to improve your health is a great idea. However, it’s pretty unrealistic for most people—especially if you’re not a runner. 

After 1-2 long, excruciating runs, you may quickly find yourself losing motivation and giving up on yourself. The reason: Your body isn’t ready for this kind of commitment yet.

Think about it…

Many marathon runners train for nearly a year before they are ready to run a great distance. This means you need to start slow as well and build up the endurance and strength your body needs to successfully accomplish your goals. 

This is true for ANY exercise routine you want to adopt. 

Start small, start slow. Then, build yourself up BEFORE you burn yourself out. Any movement is good for your body, so don’t feel bad if you’re only about to run a half-mile or lift 10-pound weights to start. 

When you remain committed to your exercise routine, you’ll start seeing results. 

Tip #2: Find Creative Ways to Adjust Your Diet  

Losing weight is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions around. Yet, so many people fail because they jump to crash or FAD diets and obscure eating plans that ultimately lead to failure. 

If you’re not a healthy-eater to begin with, radically changing your diet can become a miserable experience. And if you have picky kids to feed this only complicates your ability to make changes. 

The good news is that healthy food choices are very versatile, and it’s easier than you may think to make minor changes that can drastically change your diet. All you have to do is get a little creative! 

For example:

  • If you don’t love greens but enjoy smoothies, blend kale and spinach into your morning drink. You’ll never know it’s there!
  • Are your kids always begging for pizza? Try a pizza with a cauliflower crust! 
  • Not a vegetable person? Finely grate carrots, eggplant, zucchini (or just about any veggie) and mix them into your meatballs or meatloaf. 

Simple cooking hacks can also improve the health of the food you’re eating. For instance…

  • Instead of frying chicken (or any other form of meat), grill it! 
  • Look for sodium-free spice blends in the grocery store to season your food. 
  • Use fresh herbs to add flavor to meats and veggies instead of fattening sauces. 

Yes, meal prep may take a little more thought than simply throwing a freezer meal into the microwave, but I promise your body will thank you in the long run! 

Tip #3: Listen to Your Body

Due to age, health history, injuries, etc. it’s important to be mindful of your body when adopting new health habits. 

If you have aching legs and a bad back, a gym full of stairmasters and treadmills might not be the right place for you. Instead, joining a YMCA with a swimming pool (which offers a low-impact exercise option) is probably a better choice! 

It’s important to listen to your body and talk to your doctor about what types of exercise will be most beneficial to you so you don’t get frustrated and give up. 

From walking and biking to yoga and Zumba classes, there are a million different options available! Test a few different options out and see what works best for you! 

Tip #4: Join a Virtual Class Vs. Individual Workouts 

Some people really enjoy the social aspect of exercise. If this describes you, your best bet is to enroll in a class where you’ll be able to exercise alongside other people who can help motivate and inspire you. 

Of course, in the midst of the COVID pandemic, opt for a virtual class to stay safe!

Who knows, you might even make a new friend…a definite bonus as you work hard to achieve your fitness goals. 

Most gyms and rec centers offer…

  • Spin classes
  • Swimming Classes
  • Group Yoga
  • Dance Classes 
  • Crossfit
  • Etc. 

Be sure to check out what your local gym/rec center offers and sign yourself up! 

Tip #5: Make Time for your Mental Health 

Stress, anxiety, and depression can all negatively affect your ability to reach your health goals. 

For example, when people are stressed, they might stress eat. Or, if you’re feeling down, finding the motivation to get off the couch and workout might seem simply impossible. 

We often forget that mental health is a huge part of whole-body health. And there’s nothing wrong with getting help, visiting your doctor, or talking to a mental health professional if you need care. 

Another part of managing your mental health is self-care. It’s so important to take the time you need to rest, relax, and refocus amongst the hustle and bustle of work, kids, and other responsibilities. 

Take a hot bath…read a good book…treat yourself to a mani/pedi or a massage. Never forget, it’s ok to put yourself first and spoil yourself sometimes!

Tip #6: Find an Accountability Partner

Sometimes we all need a little extra encouragement to make healthy choices. This is why an accountability partner is so important! 

Find a friend or family member who you trust that can help keep you accountable for your goals. Make sure they check in with you every week to ensure you’re staying on track. 

Better yet, find someone who is interested in working out with you or meal prepping with you. Going through the motions with someone else is a great way to establish healthy habits that last for a lifetime. 

Tip #7: Speak to a Healthcare Professional About Your Goals

Nobody knows your health better than your physician. 

In fact, he/she likely even has great recommendations on how you can improve your health that can be tailored to any health issue you might currently be experiencing. After all, someone with heart disease might need to follow a slightly different health and wellness plan than someone with diabetes. 

Your doctor can help you set up realistic goals and provide you with the info you need to achieve them. All you have to do is ask! 

If you don’t have a primary caregiver and are looking for guidance on how to best take care of your body, I encourage you to set up a virtual visit with me online. Together we can walk through your health history and set up a plan that WILL work for you! 

Schedule a FREE 15-min Discovery Session to discuss your health and weight loss goals.

Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year! 

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