#HappyHolidaysChallenge: Give Yourself Permission to Eat

Happy Holidays

Hello there! If you’re reading for the first time or just stopping by for the fun, I’m doing a “Happy Holidays” wellness challenge to help you cultivate more health and happiness the rest of 2014. Catch up on the details on how to join and win the prizes. Or if it already sounds like a good idea, sign up below.

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Give Yourself Permission to Eat

We want to be able to enjoy the holidays, and food is often a big part of what we look forward to. Food provides a lot of benefits, and only one of them is nourishment. It evokes positive and enjoyable memories, creates a feeling of togetherness, and can taste really good.

If you identify as a chronic dieter (or “food police”), the holidays may feel like a stressful time when you’re surrounded by a bunch of foods that you “cannot” eat, must avoid, or otherwise feel you have no self control around. White knuckling it through holiday parties to steer clear of delicious “bad food” is no way to embrace the spirit of the season – it leads to unnecessary stress, anxiety, and guilt (and likely overeating when you finally give in – ironic, isn’t it?)

Giving yourself permission to eat is a basic need and a foundation principle of intuitive eating, which is the natural way we are supposed to eat (click here for more info about intuitive eating).

Party On

There are going to be lots of fun parties with lots of food.  Don’t miss out on the good times because you’re too busy worrying and stressing  about what you can and “can’t” eat.  This season, instead of avoiding the foods you love, tell yourself that it’s okay to enjoy them. In the end, this is all about creating positive experiences with food and erasing guilt, shame, and diet-focused thinking.

Are You The “Food Police”?

Here’s a quick way to know if your food rules are out of hand: If you avoid foods for reasons other than food allergy or dislike for the taste or texture, there’s a food rule somewhere. I’m all for eating healthy and balanced, but healthy does not mean perfect and food should not be some kind of moral judgement.

Why not make some progress in this area, away from “all or nothing” thinking and toward balance.

You can do it challenge: Break Out of Food Jail

Take 5 minutes to think about 5 foods you genuinely enjoy eating that you may feel guilty about when you do. Instead of avoiding them, make a plan to eat at least one of them with family and friends this week. For example – bake cookies with your family and then share the delicious treats with your neighbors or coworkers.

What do you think happens when you give yourself permission to eat? In my experience (personal and with clients) you tend to enjoy the food sans guilt and you tend to eat it in moderation. You still get the healthy stuff you like too. Not because you have to, but because you want to.

I have never met a single person who said they got pleasure and enjoyment out of denying themselves foods they love.  By now you are more skilled at eating with awareness. If not, freshen up those skills from the previous challenge.

What are you going to do differently this year to let go of those food rules? If the thought is uncomfortable, it’s OK. Most new things require discomfort. Until they are comfortable. That’s called change.

Check In

How are you doing so far? Leave a comment on the blog or on Facebook. If you’re on Twitter, follow me and the #HappyHolidaysChallenge for even more motivation.

If you’re not “officially” in the challenge yet, what are you waiting for? You’ll get weekly emails, along with the chance to win free prizes each week. All you need to do is sign up below.

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Challenge Your Friends

People do better with support from friends. (It’s a scientific fact!) Ask your friends to join you by sharing on social media or just send them this e-mail with the link to subscribe to the challenge.

Facebook: Join me and Rebecca Scritchfield for a free 60-day wellness challenge.  Get healthier and happier this holiday season. http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c #HappyHolidaysChallenge

Twitter: I’m taking the #HappyHolidaysChallenge with @ScritchfieldRD. Join us http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c

#HappyHolidaysChallenge: Fitting in Fitness

Happy Holidays

Hello there! If you’re reading for the first time or just stopping by for the fun, I’m doing a “Happy Holidays” wellness challenge to help you cultivate more health and happiness the rest of 2014. Catch up on the details on how to join and win the prizes. Or if it already sounds like a good idea, sign up below.

blog_mailSignup

Deck…the… Halls with Planks and Burp-ees

Fa la-la-la-la

Is it too early for the seasonal music?

Like it or not, holiday season is approaching, and with all the cooking, shopping, cross-country road trips to visit the in-laws, and hosting the family celebrations, where exactly is exercise supposed to fit in?

Usually, it doesn’t. On average, Americans get 17 minutes of physical activity daily when we should be shooting for 30-60.

It All Counts

A common mistake we’ve all made, is to think that because we don’t have the time to put in our “usual hour” at the gym, anything less would be a waste of time. In reality, it’s the opposite. During the holidays when stress can be high, those 15 minutes of movement can make a big difference in maintaining physical and mental health.

One of the beautiful things about fitness, is that it’s flexible. Any time, any place, with just about any piece of equipment, you can find a way to fit in a workout.

Busy holiday schedules are the perfect time to test that flexibility. So how do you fit an effective workout into 30, 15, or even fewer minutes?

The moment you realize your plan to exercise has been derailed, revise that plan.

You Can Do It Challenge:  If you can’t do a full workout, use WHATEVER time you have, even if it’s 10 minutes. 

Constructing Your Workout is Easy

An easy way to maximize your workout time, is to use whatever you have available as your time limit. Just pick three (or however many you want) movements, decide on a set of reps, and try to complete as many rounds as you can in the time you have.

For example, you have 20 minutes to workout. Assuming you take 5 minutes to get in a few jumping jacks and stretching for a warm up, your workout will take 15 minutes.

Using burpees, squats, and mountain climbers, your reps are 6, 12, and 18 (keeping those sides even!), respectively. You have 15 minutes to cycle through the 6 burpees, 12 squats, and 18 mountain climbers as many times as you can. You can do this anywhere!

If you read “burpee” and thought “excuse me, did you just burp?” No, that’s a real exercise and it looks like this. It’s intense. You can modify it down by doing one leg at a time and don’t do the jump. Or ask a fit friend or trainer to show you!

And if that doesn’t float your boat, how about a walk? Why not? It’s movement and it counts. Bringing activity to your errands can be effective when the clock is not on your side.

Get My 5 Moves Full Body Workout

Want my complete anytime, anywhere workout? Join the Happy Holidays Challenge. If you’re already in, check your inbox! It was in this week’s email. Once you join the challenge, you can contact me directly from the welcome email and I’ll send you what you’ve missed.

Tools to Help You Out

If you’re looking for some variety, check out the 7 Minute Workout App and have a workout ready to go whenever and wherever you are. The app provides movement instructions, a timer, and announced and visual cues for easy use during workouts. After taking a look at this app, I’ll definitely be using it for those days I just can’t make it to the gym.

You can get even more out of these body weight movements using a tabata timer. Pick up any free tabata app like Tabata-Timer, and choose just one or two of the movements listed. You can get a workout in as little as 4 minutes, or do multiple tabatas for more volume. Never heard of tabata? It’s easy…a timed period of work followed by a period of rest, repeated as many times as you want. Set the timer and it will do the thinking for you!

Take care of YOU!

Remember, if you’re doing SOME kind of movement, you can’t get it wrong. Making the choice to find time for yourself in a seemingly impossibly busy schedule is an important self-care choice. Taking this time to recharge and refresh will put you in a better frame of mind to tackle your day, and make for an even more enjoyable holiday season.

Check In

How are you doing so far? Leave a comment on the blog or on Facebook. If you’re on Twitter, follow me and the #HappyHolidaysChallenge for even more motivation.

If you’re not “officially” in the challenge yet, what are you waiting for? Sign up below.

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Challenge Your Friends

People do better with support from friends. (It’s a scientific fact!) Ask your friends to join you by sharing on social media or just send them this e-mail with the link to subscribe to the challenge.

Facebook: Join me and Rebecca Scritchfield for a free 60-day wellness challenge.  Get healthier and happier this holiday season. http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c #HappyHolidaysChallenge

Twitter: I’m taking the #HappyHolidaysChallenge with @ScritchfieldRD. Join us http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c

Join My Happy Holidays 60 Day Wellness Challenge (It’s FREE!)

Happy Holidays

 

Would you like to have more energy, more fun, and more happiness this Holiday Season? Join me in a free 60-day challenge to make “Happy Holidays” more meaningful. It’s free. It’s online 24/7. There will be surprise prizes throughout. There will be one GRAND prize – three months of nutrition coaching with me over Skype*.

All you need to do is sign up.

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What Will We Do?

Once you sign up, you’ll start getting weekly e-mails with the self-care goals for the week. You will also get tips, recipes, and freebies. Some e-mails will have a contest, a quiz question to answer or other challenge to enter to win. (Winners will be chosen at random.)

This is not a holiday diet. Heck, it’s barely a plan. I won’t tell you “5 foods you must avoid” or any other negative rule like that. If you can’t do it for life, why bother at all?

Our focus will be finding happiness in the holidays by setting realistic goals for my three pillars or wellness: Food, Fitness, and Fun. Tips will be positive, empowering, and actionable. I’ll help you overcome the typical wellness barriers we all struggle with over the holidays. If you aren’t familiar with my non-diet approach to healthy living, read more about my philosophy. Check out what others say testimonials from real clients.

You can ask me anything during the challenge through my Facebook page or send me a private e-mail.

If you’re up for it, you can play an important role in motivating others in the challenge.  If you have advice to share, do it. We can all inspire each other and be there for each other.

If you will be using social media to chronicle your experience, use the hashtag #HappyHolidaysChallenge

Let’s make these holidays truly happy (and healthy) by taking care of ourselves and each other.

Why a “Happy Holidays” Challenge?

“The Holidays” are always an interesting time of year for me. I love the seasons, celebrations, enjoying good food, spending time with wonderful people, hot chocolate, a warm fire, crisp air, and even the seasonal music.

As much as the holidays are about pleasure and enjoyment, I’ll admit that other holiday traditions of mine have included stress, anxiety, fatigue, guilt over what I’m eating, guilt over what I’m spending, guilt over the exercise I’m not doing, and overall bah-humbug kind of feelings.

A few years ago, I secretly decided that this was no way to spend the holidays, especially as a food and nutrition expert. (I’m supposed to be the one to help people, right?!) So I decided to help myself first. I committed myself to squashing the urge to be so judgmental or perfect, trying to live up to some unrealistic ideal of what I should be doing (or not doing). I set some boundaries. I respected myself. I was nicer to myself. I was happier. And most interesting to me, my habits were healthier!

It was the best holiday ever.

I want to do this challenge to help more people enjoy the good that comes with the holidays and let go of the bad. My goal is to educate and inspire you, but really I just hope I offer you tools and solutions to help you achieve the way you want to feel.

Are You Ready to Get Happy?

Sign up below.

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Enlist a Crew

People do better with support from friends. (It’s a scientific fact!) Ask your friends to join you by sending them this blog post and sharing on social media. Social shareables below:

Facebook: Join me and Rebecca Scritchfield for a free 60-day wellness challenge.  Get healthier and happier this holiday season. #HappyHolidaysChallenge

Twitter: I’m taking the #HappyHolidaysChallenge with @ScritchfieldRD. Join us http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c

* Prizes will be announced on the e-mail list. Nutrition coaching winner chosen at random at the end of the challenge from e-mail list subscribers participating in the challenge.

My 2014 FNCE: Food, Fitness, and Friends

Another FNCE (Food Nutrition Conference and Expo) has come and gone. This is the one event each year where I am guaranteed to see many wonderful RDs I have had the pleasure to get to know through the years. It’s always a special time. From the education, to the expo and the social events, FNCE is fun!

This year, I was honored to host, not one but TWO special events for a couple of my favorite brand partners – siggi’s and Mazola Corn Oil. Check out my recap of these events and some of my other favorite memories below.

NE-Time, NE-Where Fitness, Powered by siggi’s

Now a mom of two kids  under two years old, I have embraced the idea of “making it work for me.” That includes workouts. If I don’t have the window of time to hit my favorite workout, I do effective exercises with the only equipment I need – my body. I loved partnering with Nutrition Entrepreneurs (“NE”) and siggi’s for the NE-Time, NE-Where Workout at FNCE. (I guess that includes 6:45 a.m. in front of the CNN offices and quite possibly viewers everywhere!)

Planking with Siggi and NE. Engage that core!

Planking with Siggi and NE members. Engage that core!

We started with my all time favorite – the plank – with multiple variations and push ups. Also included were lunges, burpees, chair and sumo squats, mountain climbers, and everyone’s 6th grade favorite… jumping jacks. We completed 30 minutes of a sweat-fest with intervals from beginner to advanced. We finished with yoga poses and enjoyed a delicious siggi’s yogurt breakfast.

Gettin' Siggi with It!

Gettin’ Siggi with It!

I love that siggi’s yogurt is real- no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. I also love that siggi’s has more protein than sugar per container. Just a slight sweetness from real ingredients, all which you can find in your kitchen. Be sure to pick up some siggi’s yogurt at the grocery store this week or if you can’t find it, let your grocer know  you want it.

Recipe to try: Easy peasy Post-Workout Smoothie

Cooking Right with Mazola Corn Oil: Chicken Tinga Tacos 

When I find a recipe that is easy, versatile, and good for you, I am a happy woman. The chicken tinga tacos is so simple, but the best part is that it practically cooks itself in the slow cooker. This frees up a good chunk of your time to do whatever you want – a hot bath, a workout or both!

Making chicken tinga tacos at FNCE 2014

Making chicken tinga tacos at FNCE 2014

If you aren’t cooking with corn oil, give it a try. Corn oil can help lower cholesterol more than extra virgin olive oil thanks to the plant sterols. Corn oil’s plant sterols block cholesterol absorption by the body. Corn oil has 4 times the plant sterols as olive oil and 40% more than canola oil. (See the study at Mazola’s website)

I gotta tell you, the live food demo was a lot of fun. I was happy I didn’t start a fire on the exhibit floor!

“Wonderful”  Reception at the Skyview Wheel

I love working with the Wonderful brands through the year on TV segments. You are probably most familiar with Wonderful Pistachios and the Get Crackin’ commercials. We had a blast at the Atlanta Skywheel reception complete with Wonderful pomegranate champagne cocktails, tasty bites like pistachio chicken salad, and a ride on the massive wheel.

Wonderful time with friends at FNCE

Wonderful time with friends at FNCE

Kudos, Carlene and Janet

I was thrilled to see a former intern of mine, Carlene Thomas, speaking at FNCE on social media! (Way to go, Carlene! Keep rising that star. Your blog pics are gorgeous!)

I was ecstatic for the one and only Janet Helm, who received career distinction with the Media Excellence Award. Janet has pioneered RDs as the nutrition experts on social media by founding Nutrition Blog Network.

My P’s – Wendy Jo and Leslie

And of course, I got time with Wendy Jo and Leslie – my P’s (as in peas in a pod – and I know it means something else too!) We met at Academy Leadership in 2009 having drinks by the pool :) We got the bright idea to form a mastermind group. A couple of years later we were selected to speak at FNCE on the power of peer support. We still get people coming up to us saying that we inspired them years ago and they are actively pursuing and living their career dreams. That feels pretty darn good.

I’m happy for Leslie’s latest biz – Your Supper Solution. Check it out, subscribe or at least start with her free e-mails.

John F Kennedy said “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” I think that sums up FNCE pretty well…  It’s full of leadership and learning… and fun! See y’all in Nashville 2015!

Disclosure: I worked with Mazola and siggi’s on the FNCE events, but I was not compensated to write this blog post. 

Give a piece of your heart this holiday season.

September 30-Day Challenge: Take Care of Your Heart

heart

I love the heart. For one, we all need our hearts to live and we need our hearts to love.

If you know me, you know I’m all about self-care and self-love. Most of my clients, family, and friends are so good at taking care of others, yet many of them struggle with taking care of themselves – yours truly included (hello, mom of two fabulous and energy-draining girls under two years old.)

We obviously need a healthy heart to live a long, happy life and enjoy the ride. Six years ago my mom suffered a near fatal heart attack. She’s had two more minor ones since then and quadruple bypass surgery. While she has heart disease, she has been able to quit smoking and she enjoys water walking.

As you can imagine, healthy hearts are personal to me. When it came time to come up with a new monthly challenge for September and I realized it was National Cholesterol Education Month, I decided to honor hearts everywhere – my mom’s, mine, and yours!

The focus of this month’s 30-Day Challenge is THREE SIMPLE WAYS you can take care of your heart (yes, only three!) and help keep your cholesterol in a healthy range. And maybe even more importantly keep your heart healthy for years, and years, and YEARS of love.

So What IS Cholesterol?

Our bodies actually need cholesterol in order to make vitamin D and hormones like estrogen and testosterone. We get some from out diet, but most of it is made in our liver. HDL (“good” cholesterol), is the kind that helps to protect our heart and carries cholesterol to our liver for our bodies to get rid of it. This is the one where a higher number is a good thing.  LDL (“bad cholesterol”) is the kind that carries cholesterol from the liver to other parts of the body. The problem is that when your LDL cholesterol gets too high it can end up accumulating in your arteries which can lead to serious issues like heart attacks and strokes. The goal is to have a low LDL and a high HDL to help keep your heart healthy.

What Are Some Ways I Can Take Care of My Heart?

The good news is that there are things each of us can do every day to help bring our cholesterol into a healthy range. 3 things you can do EVERY DAY are:

  1. Eat well — this means eating a balanced and varied diet full of color and wholesome, nourishing foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy and lean proteins. Emphasizing heart healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, canola oil and nuts and seeds is important too. Cooking at home lets you control the ingredients of your meals, so set a goal to get in the kitchen more — even have your kids help out! Check out this list of 10 foods to break your low cholesterol diet rut to help keep your meals exciting and prevent boredom. The American Heart Association has a great collection of heart healthy recipes if you need some ideas to get you started.
  2. Exercise regularly — exercise has been shown to help improve your cardiovascular function, and it can help lower your cholesterol. Choose whatever kind of movement feels fun and makes your body feel good (yoga, hula hooping, walking your dog, playing outside with your kids, a dance class, etc.) and aim for 30 minutes per day (about 2.5 hours per week).
  3. Not smoke — smoking is the number one cause of heart disease and heart attack. Your body gets healthier even within 24 hours of quitting, so why not choose today to quit? For resources and support for how to quit, you can visit http://smokefree.gov.

I want to hear how YOU take care of your heart!

  • Share your heart healthy recipes, favorite workouts, and other inspiration with me on Facebook , Twitter or Pinterest. I’ll also be posting motivations, tips, and responding to your questions EVERY SINGLE DAY.
  • If you have a blog, write about your experience and share those links.
  • I’m using the hashtag #heartsmart