The month of August has always felt a bit melancholy to me. Always a fan of school and the fall, I relish the cooler days and the rhythm of life that September brings. But this year, after a major health scare, every day feels a bit more poignant if it isn’t well spent.
Being present to life in the moment is a gift that we can all too often take for granted. Instead of focusing on what we have, we look to the “someday.” The truth is we may not get that someday, especially if we’re not taking full advantage of the moments that we have to make changes NOW.
When it comes to eating well and moving more, many clients create timelines around upcoming events and dates that they’re anticipating -certainly understandable as we are a very social and food-oriented culture. If you’ve got a big vacation coming up, you wait until you return. If you have a busy social month, you may wait until it’s over. But, if you’re always waiting for time to pass to fit health into your life, it may not happen. You have to make it work.
So, this August, while summer is still in full effect and you’re in the in-between – wait no more! Seize the day and do some stuff that’ll have you feeling better mentally and physically before September starts. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1) Check out a local farmers’ market and grab some fresh, organic produce. There is truly something special about locally grown vegetables – from the way that they taste to knowing that they were grown by people that really care about what they’re doing.
2) Try a new-to-you outdoor activity. Have you been wanting to try paddleboarding? How about blowing off some dust on that bicycle of yours? Find a trail you’ve never been on before for a hike or kayak down a local river. There are so many options!
3) NOW is the time get some vitamin D and boy does it feel good when you do. Head outside in short-sleeves and shorts to get some sun on that skin. 10 minutes will help to boost your vitamin D and give you that happy, summer feeling!
4) Eat outdoors. Have you ever noticed that when your body is a bit warmer, you feel a little less like eating a lot of food? If you’re feeling a bit warm, vegetables and lighter fare may feel like exactly what you need.
5) Don’t wait to get started. Sometimes, we may treat the entirety of summer as one big vacation. While I can appreciate the idea of wanting to go with the flow and relax, we may be a bit too disconnected from healthy eating as cookouts and camping reign supreme. Be sure to stay focused on lean and clean proteins along with fresh vegetables all summer long. And with all of the sweet fruits in season, swap out sugar-laden treats with “nature’s candy.”
As I say quite often, our health is the ultimate expression of all of the choices that we make. And the best time to make those choices is now.
Last month, the media covered the story of Biggest Loser contest winners and their weight gain over the years after the show ended. Before I read the story, I was hopeful.
For once, I wanted to see the media cover what I’ve felt in my heart to be true for years after working with clients on their own wellness journeys. I wanted the story to share that making long-term, sustainable change occurs not just with diet and exercise alone. But instead, the story talked about a lower metabolic rate that was contributed to by their weight-loss. What a letdown. Number one, a lower metabolic rate after weight loss is not new news. And number two, the “answer” was disappointing in that it lacked any true insight and illustrates the essence of why our health is failing here in the US and abroad. We’re not focusing on what really makes a difference.
The key for anyone taking on any sort of long-term health plan is the need to train your brain for healthier thinking about yourself and your life.
I tell all of my new clients that the work that we do is only based on roughly 10% food and nutrition education and the other 90% focuses on thoughts and habits. Information on healthy eating, albeit not all of it good, is free. Go online. Go to the library. Everywhere you turn, someone has a plan for you to live a healthier life.
Lack of information is not the problem. Even if you get overwhelmed by the barrage of information and have a case of “analysis paralysis,” the basics have not (and most likely will never) change. Eat more vegetables and fruits, stick with lean and clean proteins, know your good fats, and if you chose grains, make them whole. Oh yeah – and move more.
So if it’s not a lack of information, what is it? (more…)
January is a great month for metabolic detoxification. But you can do yours in April for a good ol’ Spring Cleaning!
Every year, my husband Craig and I participate in a personalized version of a month-long metabolic detoxification program. We typically do this in the month of January as it’s a good time to help break our food and drink cravings created from our Thanksgiving-through-Christmas holiday eating. We do this to gain the energy we need to get back to the gym and to implement our New Year’s resolutions (flossing daily makes the list every year). We do this to give our adrenals (coffee) and digestive system (cheese) a time out to build up our reserves for optimal health and function. And all of this allows for our bodies to get reset back to their normal weight versus the post-holiday gain.
Here’s what we do. (more…)
Last night, I had a terrible night’s sleep. I woke up around 2 in the morning, moved to the couch because hearing my husband sleep was making me angry (sorry honey – I know it’s not your fault) and proceeded to toss and turn until close to 4AM. My shirt was annoying me and I felt it was making me hot so I took that off. The legs on my sweatpants were riding up to my knees and felt too tight around my calves. And my shins were extremely itchy to the point where I sprayed them with Benadryl spray to make it stop. Everything was annoying! It was too bright outside with the snow, the light coming from the kitchen nightlight was in my eyes, the humidifier was making too much noise, and my eight-year-old woke up with a bad dream.
The most frustrating part of all of this is that I really wanted to sleep. So very badly. Our schedule at work for today is very full so I knew that I was going to need to bring my A-game. Instead, things were looking like I was going to be bringing my “Three cups of coffee game”. As is the case when I find myself restless and unable to sleep, I know to check in and see if I can ask myself why. The closer I can get to understanding what is literally keeping me awake at night, the sooner I can usually find myself nodding off and getting back to sleep. (more…)
Sure, I’ll host Thanksgiving.
Actually, saying it that way means that I was answering a question. As in, “Will you host Thanksgiving?”
And that’s not really how it went.
It actually came out as, “Hey, I can host Thanksgiving.”
I grew up in a small family where my aunt hosted Thanksgiving in her home every year. While the last minute cooking was underway with gravy simmering and grandpa carving the turkey, my ten year old self was enjoying shrimp cocktail, black and green olives, mixed nuts and a cheese ball with crackers. Eight of us would then sit around her dining room table quietly enjoying a thoughtfully prepared Thanksgiving feast. I would sip cranberry ginger ale from a pewter wine glass and anxiously await the arrival of the next dish to scoop onto my plate.
After dinner, we would find ourselves in the living room while Kenny G lulled us into a turkey-induced nap. Upon waking up from our food comas, round two would be taking place with at least three different pies, coffee and vanilla ice cream. And if I was lucky, after dessert was done, I would have birthday presents to open with my birthday falling toward the end of November. I did this every year for almost 25 years.
When I volunteered (sacrificed) myself to host Thanksgiving, it was for my father-in-law’s family. There would be around 35 people in attendance. A few years earlier, I had hosted a combined Thanksgiving and Christmas for my mother-in-law’s side with close to 70 people so I thought, “I got this.”
Gone were the relaxed, intimate holidays I had grown up with. This was a whole new ball-game- the kind with no referees, or rules, but still lots of yelling, cheering, booing and whistles. It is here that I should mention that I am also a type-A introvert so clearly, this was a great plan. (more…)