The Place of In-between

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.

Immune Boosters for the “Cold Season”

leaves-fall-colors-rainbowIt’s hard to ignore the signs of fall with a leaves changing here and there, Halloween decorations in the stores, and aisles of back-to-school supplies at Wal-Mart. Along with the cooler temps, high school football games, and the crunch of leaves under your feet, the fall brings one more thing with it…illness. It’s not necessarily that there are more germs in the fall, but our habits change and so do our immune systems. We typically spend more time indoors, kids are back in school amongst their friends, and holiday gatherings commence. With these changes to our lifestyles, our immune systems take a little bit of a hit. Let’s talk about how and what to do about it. (more…)

Changing Your Mind About Living Well: My Thoughts on Sustainable Lifestyle Changes

woman-jogger-jogging-sport

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…)

Need Something Fast to Bring to that Potluck?

 

In full disclosure, I need to give all credit where credit is due. This recipe is straight from the webpage AHealthyLifeforMe.com. But it just sounds so yummy and so simple that I couldn’t help to to share it with you. It’s made up of a few ingredients and requires almost no cooking! Isn’t that the best?

Veggie trays are found at quite a few gatherings and potlucks but are usually accompanied by some not so healthy sides. So if you’re headed off to somewhere and need something quick to make, try this out! I’ll be making this for Easter Sunday along with a simple green salad.

Broccoli-Pesto-Dip-2Broccoli Pesto Dip

Ingredients

  • 3 cups raw broccoli, cut into small florets and stems
  • 3 medium garlic cloves. peeled
  • 2/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese

    Instructions
  1. Cook the broccoli by pouring 3/4 cup water into a large pot and bringing it to a simmer. Add a big pinch of salt and stir in the broccoli. Cover and cook for a minute, just long enough to take the raw edge off. Transfer the broccoli to a strainer and run under cold water until it stops cooking.
  2. Add broccoli, garlic, the almonds, Parmesan cheese, salt, and lemon juice in a food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil while machine is running, once blended and ricotta cheese and pulse until smooth.

Imperfectly Authentic: When the Health Coach Needs Coaching

Authenticity QuoteLast 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…)