Tag Archives: health

What Should I Eat? Three Keys for Long-Term Success

What Should I EatThe questions and comments I most commonly hear from people involve what foods they should or should not eat.

Surely you’ve noticed there’s constantly new advice, a new diet plan, or new research findings. Have you ever heard or tried to follow any of the advice below?

  • Eat less fat
  • Limit your carbs
  • Consume fewer calories
  • Control your portion sizes
  • Don’t eat after 7pm
  • Eat every 2 hours
  • Eat more protein, or don’t eat meat etc…

People have lost weight and maintained a healthy weight on a wide variety of eating plans and following completely different “rules”. So how do you find out what will work for you?

Although it may seem easier to have someone “just tell me what to eat”, this usually isn’t a long-term solution. Everyone’s body is different. There actually is some trial and error involved in determining what you can and can’t eat to successfully maintain your weight and energy level.

After looking at many diets, here are three keys I find in common for long-term success. And I mean your diet is what you eat, not a temporary plan to lose weight.

1. Eat whole, natural foods

I know there have been people who have lost weight on fast food and junk food diets, but the common denominator to the majority of healthy eating plans is that they cut out the processed, packaged foods and rely on whole, natural foods.

In my opinion, the key is not necessarily counting calories or cutting out sugar or fat. The key is to get rid of the chips, crackers, desserts, packaged stuff…everything you know isn’t good for you. I would also caution you not to eat too much of even seemingly healthy packaged foods, like the bars that supposedly have antioxidants, fiber, and every trendy supplement crammed into them.

It’s true what they say: we’re a nation that is overfed and undernourished. It’s not just about calories or fat grams, we need the nutrition that natural food provides in order to fuel our bodies.

You’ve heard it before: shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and meats and low-fat dairy  – and I personally very much believe in eating organic, grass-fed, free-range animal products.

2. Eat moderately and mindfully

When you eat too much, even of healthy foods, it will eventually disrupt your body’s natural signaling mechanisms and hormonal balance. We also create bad habits when we shovel our food down while multitasking or in response to stress or habit.

Stop eating in front of the TV or computer. Really pay attention to what you’re eating, how it looks, how it tastes, how your body feels, and stop before you get too full.

I’ll be honest with you, I eat some type of unhealthy sweet (usually candy or cookie) almost every day. But I don’t eat the whole bag, and everything else I eat is pretty healthy. This brings us the final point…

3. Balance, Attitude, and Consistency

Here’s what you should eat: oatmeal and scrambled eggs for breakfast, salad for lunch, fish and vegetables for dinner, fruits/veggies/nuts for snack. It’s a good plan, the hard part is doing it consistently. What about your upcoming dinner out? Or your birthday? Or you’re bored sick of salmon?

The key is balance and overall consistency. It won’t kill you to eat some “junk” as long as the majority of your diet is consistently healthy and you’re consistently active and exercising. Balance.

Your attitude towards food and your body and how you cope with stress are some of the most important components to your long-term success. You’re sabotaging yourself if you

  • Feel your diet has to be all or nothing (you have to wait to eat nutritious foods until you “start a diet” and the second you eat a cookie, you give up everything for fast food)
  • Feel guilt or shame about what you eat, or are overly proud of yourself for strictly controlling your diet
  • Constantly jump from one diet plan/book to another, and try to overhaul your diet based on every article you read in a magazine

Final Thoughts

We all have a comfort zone for eating. Rather than try and completely conform to someone else’s plan or advice, try to incorporate one new change each week. Some ideas:

  • Find one new healthy dinner recipe to cook each week
  • Buy a new fruit or vegetable, or one you haven’t eaten in a long time
  • Replace one healthier item or habit: ice water instead of soda in the afternoon, fruit instead of ice cream after dinner, eating without the TV

Focus on positive changes, what you can live with for a lifetime, and being consistently healthy overall. Be balanced and fill yourself up with the right things. As much as we should work to eat healthy, remember that, Life is more than food (Luke 12:23).

Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life. John 6:27-35

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Make Your Own Baby Food Purees – Bellina Magazine

Making Baby Food PureesI am honored that one of my articles has been featured in the premier issue of Bellina magazine, a local Austin publication. You can view the magazine online: Bellina. My article, “Making Your Own Baby Food Purees” is on pages 16-19.

You can find many healthy, organic commercial options for baby food, but they are NOT cheap. Making your own baby food purees can be better for:

  • Your budget – you’ll typically spend $1 or more on each serving of baby food
  • Quality control – knowing exactly what your baby is eating, and that it’s nutritious
  • The environment – creating less waste and trash from individual packaging

You don’t need to buy any special baby-specific equipment, simply use a blender or food processor. Although the process may initially take some trial and error, you will find your rhythm and foods your baby enjoys. Then, you can save time by making large batches of purees and freezing for up to three months.

Please check out the magazine article to read more about:

  • Cooking and preparing baby purees
  • Food storage and safety
  • Ideas for food pairings
  • Recipes
  • Advantages to making your own purees

12 Resources For Quality Sleep For Weight Loss and Wellbeing

Healthy Sleep“Get Quality Sleep” is the first tip on the Basics page. It may seem boring, basic, obvious…or maybe not that important, but I believe sleep is an often neglected but essential first step to health and wellness.

I love to sleep. I jokingly say I’m neither a night owl nor an early bird – I’m a bear, I like to hibernate! I would love to sleep about 10pm-7am plus take an afternoon nap every day.

Unfortunately, that’s hard to do with a toddler and everything else life brings. When I don’t get enough sleep, it has a terrible effect on my physical and mental energy and wellbeing. When I’m feeling off, the first thing I try to do is get my sleep schedule back on track.

I’m not a sleep expert, so I’ve included a list of resources below to help convince you (if your skeptical) about the benefits of sleep and also help you form good habits and deal with sleep disturbances. Here are a few quick reasons why quality sleep is important:

Sleep for Weight Loss

Sleep deprivation can sabotage your weight loss goals in a variety of ways including:

  • Increased cravings (especially sugar) and eating to compensate for lack of energy
  • Fatigue interferes with your ability to make good decisions and have the willpower to follow through
  • Lack of energy for effective workouts

Sleep for Health

  • Sleep is vital for our body to rest, repair, and grow
  • Inadequate sleep can increase your risk of obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease
  • Insufficient sleep can negatively impact memory, judgment, and mood

Sleep Basics

  • Most adults need 7-8 hours a night, but needs vary and can be affected by poor quality sleep or accumulated sleep debt
  • Be consistent with your daily routines, including sleep time, wake time, and bedtime routine
  • Decrease stimulation as you approach bedtime, including exercise, caffeine, alcohol, technology & artificial lighting

Sleep Resources

  1. Harvard Medical School: Get Sleep
  2. National Sleep Foundation
  3. Mayo Clinic: Sleep
  4. Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine: Tips for Good Sleep 
  5. Discovery Health: Sleep Basics
  6. National Institutes of Health: National Center on Sleep Disorders Research 
  7. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Sleep
  8. Yoga Journal: Yoga Poses for Insomnia
  9. How to Sleep Better Naturally 
  10. Michael Hyatt: 5 Reasons Why You Should Take a Nap Everyday and Podcast The Secret Power of Naps
  11. Zen Habits: 10 Benefits of Rising Early, and How to Do It
  12. Dr. Marc Weissbluth: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child (this was my #1 resource for getting my baby on a good sleep schedule, and also great for educating about sleep patterns in general)

What tips do you have for getting a good night’s sleep?

Pregnancy and Exercise: What’s Safe?

Safe Exercise During PregnancyWhen I became pregnant with my first son, I was working in a gym, running regularly, and teaching 4-5 group fitness classes a week. I couldn’t wait for my first doctor’s appointment to find out if this was ok, so I called the office to speak with a nurse.

I explained my current workout routine, “Is this safe?”

Her answer, “Keep doing what you’re doing, and if the next day you feel like you did too much, you probably did…so cut back next time.”

That’s it? No guidelines on minutes, heart rate, or activities?!? Although I felt hesitant, in the end I realized that my personal instinct, listening to my body, is the best guide

Here are some of the changes that can affect your workouts during pregnancy: Continue reading