Category Archives for "Fat Loss"

Water You Waiting For?

Fun facts to know and tell about water. These are absolutely worth sharing.

We’ve talked about the importance of drinking enough water and how it affects muscle soreness and fat loss.

Here’s some more good reasons to keep that water bottle handy…

  1. 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated (this likely applies to half the world population).
  2. In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is mistaken for hunger.
  3. Even MILD dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as 3%.
  4. One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University of Washington study.
  5. Lack of water, the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.
  6. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
  7. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.
  8. Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and make you 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.

Are you drinking the amount of water you should drink every day?

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Your Restaurant Cheat Sheet Is Here!

Let's face it. Life is getting busier and busier, and sometimes something has just gotta give.

For many that "something" is time in the kitchen, cooking and eating. Whether it's late nights at the office or running the kids all over creation, more and more the choice is "eating out".

One of the problems this creates less control of portion sizes, and the vast array of choices makes it oh-so-easy to eat way more than is helpful for our health and fitness goals. The fact that so often we are stressed and rushed when we are doing makes it even more likely our choices will be, let's say, less than optimal.

But first let's get some perspective.

If you go out to eat once or twice a month, or less, indulging in something you enjoy is not going to set you back for very long, if at all. There is some amazing food out there to taste, and I enjoy it as much as the next person.

But I know people who eat out two, three or more times a week, either out of necessity or choice. And travel is a whole 'nother animal, right? 

When that's the case, we need a strategy to navigate through all those big portion sizes and calorie traps. It's a losing battle to eat out without one.

And that's what the Restaurant Cheat Sheet is all about. 

Actually I think "Cheat Sheet" is selling it short, as this 53 Page e-book offers nutritional guidance and menu ordering tips for:

  • 6 Coffee Shops
  • 10 Fast-Food Restaurants
  • 20 Sit -Down and Casual Dining Restaurants
  • and even 10 client recommended favorites in and around the Concord, NH area!

Get yours for absolutely free below, and let me know how it has helped you.

Enjoy!

Leveling Up Is a Choice

Some people talk about continuing education as if it’s an option. Especially when you are talking nutrition and your own health, you have to keep on learning.

Let’s face it, our lives are very different than when we were kids. The time my kids spend playing is astounding to me. I wish it wouldn’t change but I know it will. Think back to when you were just driving. The amount of freedom it afforded you also cascaded to other choices and options. For me, I had the freedom to drive myself to work and therefore stop at any convenience store I wanted to buy what my paycheck could afford to feed me. That meant a lot of Little Debbie’s snack cakes.

Life has changed again. I am now the mother of 6 and Gigi (grandmother) to 3. I work full time. I rarely just ‘play’ and I certainly don’t have a whole lot of use for Little Debbie’s. While they still might taste good, I have learned what a diet of those can do to a teenager, and I don’t want to experiment with a 50-year-old body.

! am constantly learning about new hormones my body is not producing as well or hormones that are raging that I didn’t know effected sleep so much. I am glad there is someone out there who is knows all this medical stuff to help me out.

Don’t stop learning. While your circumstances are different from person to person and your life is constantly shifting gears, you have to match your nutritional needs to you.

I can help you do that. There are far too many barriers in health, but once you’ve started to make changes to your system (it could be the system of how you think about food, how you look at each meal, how you put portion sizes on your plate, etc), the opportunity to level up is largely driven by you. Level up the field by what you choose, by how much your chose, how often you chose to go outside of the plan and by who you choose to learn from.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

If You’re Too Busy For These 5 Things: Your Life Is More Off-Course Than You Think

Despite turbulence and other conditions keeping airplanes off-course 90 percent of flight time, most flights arrive in the correct destination at the intended time. The reason for this phenomenon is quite simple — through air traffic control and the inertial guidance system, pilots are constantly course-correcting. When immediately addressed, these course corrections are not hard to manage. When these course corrections don’t regularly happen, catastrophe can result. Small things — if not corrected — become big things, always.

5 Things You Shouldn’t Go Without Doing On a Regular Basis

1. Plan your meals. Planning your meals each week frees up your brain power for other things. After you create your plan you won’t have to rely on your brain every meal to think about what you are going to have. Your stress levels will be reduced greatly because you will have one less thing to worry about during the week. If you take a few minutes to think about the week ahead, you will be able to develop a plan to overcome any barriers that might come up. Then when the stress hits, you already have a plan on how to handle it.

Most people like to plan on Sundays, but do what works for you. Some like to plan 3 days at a time, some like to plan the entire week. Some plan at night for the next day. The strategy isn't important, taking action is. Try a strategy and see how it works. Pay attention, analyze, and decide if you should continue with that same strategy or try a new one for better success. Everything is better with a clear plan.

2. Shop from your plan. Shopping can feel complicated, or like a pain in the butt — if you don’t have a clear system and structure. It doesn’t have to be like that. With a shopping list full of foods that you like and will eat, you can hit the grocery store, get in and out quickly, and leave knowing you’ve bought all the things you need to make your meal plan happen.

3. Take time for meal prep. As you go along, you’ll learn more about what works for you, and how to make healthy eating part of your regular routine. You’ll practice planning, preparation and having strategies for when you’re busy, traveling, and/or eating at restaurants — or for anything else that life throws at you. This will help you feel confident and in control of your choices, and help you stay on the path towards the goals you want to achieve. Over time, you’ll build a “meal prep ritual” of your own: something you like, find easy, and can do reliably.

4. Eat slowly. Eating slowly takes practice every day. Lucky for you, since you eat multiple times per day, you'll get lots of practice! If you find yourself rushing mid-meal, set your fork down, take a deep breath, and start fresh and slow.

5. Listen to your body. When the clock tells you it is time for a meal ask yourself: Are you physically hungry? Pause and check in. Look for signals like a rumbling stomach, lightheadedness, irritability, etc. If you had a scale from 1-10, you’d want to be a 7 out of 10 on the hunger scale. During your meal, keep on listening to those signals. Pause after you eat your normal amount of food. Before you eat more, give your brain time to catch up. You want to feel satisfied, not stuffed. You’ll know you ate just enough when an hour after eating you are still physically satisfied with no desire to eat another meal.

5 things that sound so easy to do, but just like an airplane you can easily get off course. These steps will keep giving you’re that course correction to get you back on track.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

It’s Time to Give Your Kitchen a Makeover

I use a simple system of red, yellow, and green lights to get our transformation started. Red light is food you’ll want to take out and not let back into your kitchen. Yellow lights are food that you might have questions on or that you know are not quite great but not quite labeled junk food – yet. Green light foods are those that you have been proven healthy for you. Green light foods don’t cause your system aggravation and unwanted side effects. They are foods that your body loves to have on your plate for health reason. Can you say zucchini and broccoli?

As each door of the cupboard, pantry, fridge, and freezer opens, take each food item out to examine under the Red, Yellow, or Green light.

Step 1: Red light = junk foods. Terminate.

Let’s start with your list of the obvious “red lights” from your fridge and pantry. This could include things like:

  • Chips
  • Cheese crackers
  • Chocolates or candy
  • Soda/sweetened drinks
  • Instant foods like cake mixes and mashed potatoes
  • Margarine and other processed fats
  • Most frozen dinners
  • Most take out or restaurant leftovers
  • Bowls of candy or other snacks sitting around
  • Flavored nuts (i.e. beer nuts)

But please make your own list.

Step 2: Yellow light = trick foods. Triage.

Trick foods are foods that seem healthy but aren't. They’ve gone from something good (whole, minimally processed food) to something that a machine has put out, full of sugar and chemicals, and/or something that’s had all its original nutrients stripped out. It could also be items that you have in your cupboard for other family members that seem to trip you up. Consider minimizing and/or eliminating these:

  • Sweetened yogurt and frozen yogurt
  • Breads and bagels
  • Other baked goods
  • Most breakfast cereals
  • Crackers, even the whole grain ones
  • Granola bars
  • Regular peanut butter
  • Fruit juice nad sweetened dried fruits
  • "Healthy" junk food (i.e. "organic" cookies, baked potato chips, etc.)
  • Alcohol is negotiable - many people keep it on hand for social events but don't often drink it; other folks will drink it if it's there

This is a list you are going to work through. Right now it is giving you something to think about.

Step 3: Check for stuff you might not have thought of yet.

This is even more challenging than the so-called “healthier” foods in the “trick food” list, because you don’t think about these things being a problem… or think about them at all. (How much time do you spend thinking about BBQ sauce, anyway?) Most of these just pass under our radar, until we read the labels and discover that they’re sugar and chemical bombs. Or just not “food” at all. This includes:

  • Condiments
  • Relishes, mustards and ketchup
  • Salad dressings
  • Bread crumbs, croutons, and other dried bread products
  • Processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, and deli meats
  • Spreads such as cheese whiz or sweetened cream cheeses

Again, you don’t have to throw out everything. It’s not an all-or-none process. Just make sure yellow-light foods know they’re on notice and have to earn their rent.

Your red/yellow/green light items could be as simple as putting foods in these categories. For instance:

  • Does this food come in a bag, box or plastic package?
    Red light
  • Does it have only a couple of ingredients on the label?
    Green light
  • Can you pronounce all of those ingredients?
    Yellow light
  • How far away is this food from what it used to be? And do you even know what it used to be?
    Yellow light
  • Is this food perishable?
    Green light (just about anything good for you goes bad quickly)

Step 4: Green lighting the kitchen.

Let's work on forming the "green light/wanted foods" list to help you restock the kitchen.

  • Fresh fruits
  • Fresh veggies
  • Eggs
  • Canned tuna/salmon/chicken
  • Nuts/seeds
  • All the wonderful cuts of meat you buy at the meat market

Step 5: Now its time to get to work.

Option 1: Throw out (or give away) any and all red light foods.

OR

Option 2: Take all the food that is not going to support your health and put it in ONE specific cupboard. Preferably out of the kitchen, maybe even in the basement. If you are looking in your refrigerator, move those red and yellow items into the produce drawer. Why not bring all those wonderful veggies to a fridge shelf where you can see them? Out of sight out of mind should be a slogan when you are dealing with family member’s food. Try to make it as difficult for you to see and eat.

Now you have it - a simple plan of addressing the food in your kitchen. Red lights you get rid of or make it difficult to see. Yellow lighted foods are put on stand by, maybe even taken out until you know which direction they really belong. Green light foods should be easy to see and easy to reach for. They are what stand out most when your kitchen is made over. By keeping food that will help your nutrition grow in plain sight, you are making it easier for yourself to eat in health supportive way.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Don’t Be on the Donut Diet

The "Donut Diet" requires you to have donuts on hand - makes sense, right?

(P.S. Don't be on the Donut Diet)

I want to get down to brass tacks. Because diets don't work, period.

The very word itself lends itself to a temporary fix rather than a permanent change.

It’s one of the reasons I don’t just hand you a menu plan and say “eat that”. What happens when you reach the end of the plan, or the one we gave you doesn’t work for you?

You go back to your default eating, which is what got you where you were in the first place. And that just doesn’t make sense.

Short term thinking rarely leads to long term success. When we focus on the “outcome” rather than the behaviors, we set ourselves up for failure.

Let’s say you want to lose 10 pounds in the next 2 months. Your whole focus is on that 10 pounds, and at the end of the 8 weeks you weigh yourself and you lost 8½ pounds. Your mind immediately focuses on the 1½ pounds you didn’t lose. I have seen it over and over again. You were wildly successful, and yet somehow you still are disappointed.

So how do we stop that?

We create and track measurable behaviors (or habits) that are supportive of our long term goals. The habit is something I can control and measure. If the habit I am developing is to eat breakfast every day, I either did it or I didn’t. When I do it consistently I know it will positively affect my desired outcome

Many of you struggle the most with planning. It was by far the biggest factor to derail you the quickest from your goals.

So let's hear what you found planning does for you:

Scott said "Planning helps you to shop more efficiently and you don't end up buying stuff you don't need (or is unhealthy for you!)"

Rebecca said, "This has helped me budget and eat better!"

According to Stephanie, "This helps me stay more true to my nutritional (fat loss) goals when I plan."

Deb said, "It will definitely help me to stay on track the whole week."

Stacey found, "Now I'm much better prepared, feel less anxiety over 'what's for dinner' and have started making a larger variety of healthy dinner choices."

The list goes on to include Mary, "It will help me to stay on track, and I won't be inclined to 'just pick something up'."

Melissa said, "it will keep me from running to the store and just grabbing something that probably wouldn't be good for me."

I could go on and on. My point is that planning meals for the week will:

  • Save time at the store and at mealtime
  • Save you money
  • Mean less stress
  • Equal a happier family - they know what the plan is and for some families they get to help with the planning
  • Provide you with healthier meals
  • Make life easier for you
  • Keep you off the donut diet 🙂

You will not have to think on the fly. Check out these tips to planning your first week of meals.

So saving time, saving money, saving your sanity, and making the whole family happy all with a little well spent time at the beginning of each week.

And you? Do you want any of these things to come to you?

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Craving Busters

If you’re like me, I often want to eat when I am tired, sad, stressed or bored. True hunger kind of grows on you. It creeps up and makes us a bit hollow feeling or empty. When we let hunger grow it can turn from just a quiet signal to a full-blown H-Anger attack. Hunger can be strong, then quieter. It feels kind of like waves on an ocean.

BUT cravings on the other hand come on strong. Cravings don’t want to be ignored and will take over our thoughts and actions. Cravings must be what it feels like if your body was taken over by an alien. It’s not pretty people.

This helpful chart came from our ProCoach program.

Craving Busters

Here are some tips to help you deal with cravings:

  • Understand that cravings are normal. They come and go.
  • If the craving is minor, ignore it.
  • If the craving is moderate, distract yourself. This is more intentional than ignoring.
  • If the craving is overwhelming, have a small portion of what you’re craving in a safe environment, such as a restaurant where you can only get one portion of the food (instead of the whole thing). Eat it slowly. Stay aware of all the signals your body is giving.
  • Keep a “craving diary”. Write down what you’re craving and when. Also write down what you’re thinking and feeling at that time. Over time, look for patterns. Once you know the pattern, you can disrupt it.
  • For women keep track of your menstrual cycle on a calendar. Remind yourself daily to be on a 'Craving Alert' especially before your cycle begins.
  • Substitute something that gives you the same feeling. For instance, munch on raw veggies when you’re craving crunchiness. Take a hot bath when you’re craving warmth and comfort. Go for a brisk walk when you’re craving distraction. Pop a sugarless mint in your mouth, nibble celery, or drink water when you just want something to do with your mouth.
  • When you have a craving, ask yourself:
    What do I expect this food to do for me? How will it change my feelings?
    What am I telling myself about this craving?
    What else is going on for me right now?

Hunger or craving? Allow yourself time to figure out which one you are feeling. This “pause” is one way to stop weight gain from feeling like its spiraling out of control. A short break to check yourself can give you back the control you’re looking for.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

3 Common Nutrition Challenges & Tips to Help

Challenge #1: "I can't eat 3 times a day."

There is a pretty simple answer to that one. Just don’t. The magic isn’t necessarily in the number of times you eat. The point is to make sure you are eating, and that you are controlling your cravings and blood sugar so that when you do eat you are in control and making good choices. If 3 meals plus a recovery drink after training works for you, then experiment for 2 weeks and measure the results.

Challenge #2: "It's too hard to eat vegetables with every meal, especially breakfast".

My advice here is to keep it simple. I eat cherry tomatoes almost every day at breakfast because they are easy. It’s kind of fun to pop them in my mouth, and they complement all sorts of protein sources. I start off the day with some good fiber and carbohydrate, and they don’t spike my blood sugar like cereal or a bagel. Just do it for a couple weeks and it becomes a habit.

Challenge #3: "I have to have cream in my coffee".

I’ve been working diligently to cut down my coffee and caffeine consumption. I did some calculating just on the calories I was consuming in my coffee, and discovered I was going through a quart of Half & Half by myself every two weeks. For some of you out in coffee land that is probably actually on the low side, but here’s the rub: That’s 1200 calories every 2 weeks just from cream in coffee, which adds up to 31,200 calories a year! Drinking an extra 31,200 calories over your body’s energy requirements would result in a 9-pound weight gain over the course of a year – OUCH!

Before you tell me “I don’t use that much”, keep track over a week or two and check it out. And think about this – how much weight do you want to gain this year from drinking your calories? Is 4 or 5 pounds okay? Multiply that over the next (or last) 10 years and tell me how that works for you.

Don’t let one of these “I Can’ts" frustrate you, but don’t dismiss them or give up either. Make no mistake, you have dietary habits already. It’s a habit to grab a bagel and coffee, or cereal and toast, for breakfast. It’s just something you do, and have probably done for years. It’s a habit to have a sandwich for lunch, and a potato or rice with dinner

Habits are created, which means they can also be replaced.

Pick just one small change this week and work on it. Not all of them, just one. Make it the one that you think will be easiest, and build on that success.

To you best health,
Coach Nancy

Discomfort of 80

"I just ate too much."

"Wow, that was fantastic, I just had to eat the whole plate."

"I really didn't need that."

It is so easy to eat more then we need. It’s not always about physical hunger. There's other stuff at work.

For example:

  • It's hard to "waste" food.
    We can hear our parents' voices in our head: There are starving children! You shouldn't leave food on the plate!
  • Food keeps us occupied.
    If we stay "busy" with food, then we don't have to deal with other things...such as "the big stressor in our lives". Or just plain old boredom.
  • Food numbs us.
    It’s a good painkiller for emotional and physical distress.
  • We confuse emotions with hunger.
    Often, we mix up emotions such as anxiety or anger with hunger. It feels like hunger… but it isn’t.
  • Habits.
    We do many things automatically, such as picking the last tidbit off the kids’ plates as we tidy up dinner, or popping a bite into our mouth as we cook.
  • We’re worried about social consequences.
    We don’t want to say no, make a fuss, or stand out as a “weirdo” at social events with friends and family.
  • Our environment.
    We’re there, and so is the food.

It's natural to avoid all of these discomforts. So we make choices that don't fit with our goals.

We eat because we’re bored, upset, stressed, or simply near tempting food. We eat more than we need because eating to satisfied is challenging.

Commit to the challenge:

  • You’ll be more able to reach your goals.
  • You’ll feel more in control of yourselves and your actions.
  • You'll feel stronger. More courageous.
  • You’ll be proactive rather than reactive

Its not easy to change why you do what you do, BUT commit to the challenge.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

We All Have Habits

There are things we do the same, every time we do them. We drive to work, put the toothpaste on the brush, and put the pillow under our head - the same way, every time.

When it comes to the way we eat, we have built habits as well. We like certain foods in certain ways. We like to eat at certain times. We plan and prepare our food or we don't. We have a set point at which we are full. We salt our food without tasting it first (guilty!). We may grab a glass of wine after dinner. We may eat dessert. These things are all habits.

Food has so much power over our lives. We have to eat to survive. But eating is also enjoyable. There are so many wonderful tastes, textures, colors and smells. The problem is when we let food overpower us and control us to the point our health suffers.

The good news is that habits can be built, and habits can be broken. The Grateful Plate is all about building habits that support good health. It is these habits that we turn into powerful skills.

There are replacements, however.

We replace poor habits with better ones. We control our food, we don't let it control us. We take one day at a time, doing specific things that will help us replace our poor nutrition habits with ones that will support our goals of losing fat, getting lean, and looking and feeling great.

Over the years we have been consistent with these habits. There is nothing magical here. We are making a conscious decision every meal to do what it takes to build good health habits.

Let's get started!

Here's a handy dandy chart to help you get pointed in the right direction in meal planning and preparation.

Quality Protein with Fantastic Carbohydrate Compliments

The possibilities are endless, so get out of the drive through, put on that chef's hat and Make It Happen!

To Your Best Health,
Coach Nancy

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