Category Archives for "Habits"

Right Now!

Planning, preparing and prioritizing our lives help us achieve the balance so many of us are seeking. While no one is in total control of their lives some people seem more in control than I feel. Why is that?

When I pose this question to those people who seem to have it all lined up and their lives in order, I find they have an agenda. They have a goal in mind and they do what they can to achieve that goal. They have their focus on.

Each of these people have come up with an action plan.

Their plan is to ACT — purposefully and meaningfully.

Step one is to have a plan.
Step two is to act on that plan.
Step three is to continue to act with intent to fulfill that plan.

No sure how to come up with a plan? Check out how to make SMART goals.

Now with your action plan in hand, prioritize. Focus on the most urgent or important task for right now.

Ask yourself:

  • What do I need, right now?
  • What will be most productive, right now?
  • What will truly promote change and growth, right now?
  • What will help me most, right now?
  • What can I actually handle or do, right now?

Choose ONE task, goal, and/or step. Focus.

Yes, I know it can be tough. There are often lots of awesome and exciting options! Narrowing down to what you can do right now drives focus.

Think back to those people who appear to have it all together. They have learned to dial it in by focusing on what needs to be done first. They know what needs to be done right now in order to make after that run smoother.

Once you’ve put your action plan into place and focused on one task at a time for two weeks, evaluate how well you did.

Simply repeat that process.

Plan, dial it in, and act.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

I Have Super Powers

You have super powers. We all have super powers.

I love watching professional sports. The players are amazing athletes. They are Super Stars of what they do.

But I am surrounded by Super Stars.

I see Super Stars all around me each day as over a hundred people come to train with me at Get Fit NH. We’ve all heard since we were little that we are unique and special. I believe that. Many of us see our differences as skin color, or hair color or eye color. I see those difference in super powers.

Super powers do not just come in the type you see in a Marvel or DC Comic Super Hero.

Your super power resides in you. Do you know what it is?

To find your super powers you will need a piece of paper. Set a timer for 5 minutes and write down all the things you did well in the past week.

It could be:

You placed your keys in the same place every day this week so they were quick to grab instead of being lost somewhere in the house.

It could be:

You were on time for work every day.

It could be:

You had your kid’s schedules organized with who was picking up each child for school, sports, piano and the play date before any of them actually happened.

It could be:

You always have food in the house to eat and it isn’t a problem to ‘find’ something when it is meal time.

Go ahead, write it all down. All of it.

I'll wait.

No worries if you’re still writing. Take your time. Don’t shortcut this step by only thinking for 2 minutes. Write for the entire 5 minutes. Remember we are developing your super power.

In my examples, there was a similar thread woven throughout. First, I set my keys in the SAME place. I was consistent. Second, I was on time EVERY day for work. Third, I had PLANNED ahead for schedules. Finally, I ALWAYS have food which means I must shop regularly.

My super power is probably planning. I seem to be able to do this better than other people I know. My super power of planning helps me in many areas but it boils down to I am a planner.

What do you do really well, even better than those around you? That is your superpower. What makes you shine? What are you known for? What seems to come easier for you than your friends? The answer to that is your super power.

Now what is your super power when it comes to nutrition?

It could be your super power when it comes to nutrition is:

  • Planning - meal planning, grocery shopping list, planning your vacation foods.
  • Prepping - you might dice, chop, slice and have things ready to go better than others.
  • Grocery shopping (this is mine) - I can get in and out and avoid excess better than others.
  • Restaurant eating - knowing where to eat to get the best food, knowing how to order and sweet talk your server so they love helping you with special requests.
  • Cooking – you might be that gourmet cook who can make anything superb.

What is your super power?

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Set Yourself Up For Success

Knowing what to eat, when to eat, how to eat is necessary. Help yourself out and plan for success. I recently had a nutrition coaching student who sent me her plan to succeed with her nutrition. She found by simply answering questions about her physical environment that she succeeded more often with her eating.

My physical environment helps me to slow down to eat when…
I sit and take a deep breath. The TV is off. My plate is smaller. I have to get up and go in the kitchen to get more food.

My physical environment helps me to choose healthy foods when…
My pantry is organized and well stocked. I write out a list (based on a plan) and take it to the store. The are healthy choices available. I have ready options when I need them, especially for breakfast and lunch.

My physical environment or daily routines can help me a bit more when... 
I prep lunch the night before.

Three ways to help the foods you know you should eat actually make it onto your plate.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Prepare For Binge Eating

Get yourself ready to overstuff your body.

  1. Plan how much you will eat and make sure you have those Tums and Pepto for afterward.
  2. Surround yourself with all the foods you love and lots of each.
  3. Invite others who want to overeat and don’t mind watching you do it.
  4. Wear just the right outfit.

Sound a bit ridiculous or does it sound like your last Christmas dinner?

Personal insight into my life. This is what I did. Gathering with family meant there would be a lot of food. In fact, all my favorites. I would prepare all the food my own family loved plus a few new ‘cool looking recipes’ to try. I would pack some Tums and Pepto (you know, just in case) and I’d wear a loose fitting long sweater because I deserved to be comfortable too.

I’m not sure why we don’t just lay our list out for all to see.

Here is my Overeating Plan:

  • I’m going to eat more than I should, a lot more.
  • I’ll eat so much I won’t feel so great.
  • My clothes won’t fit very well and that was only after one meal. 
  • And those around me will do the same so I won’t even feel guilty.

All of this sounds a bit over the top, but it also has that ol' familiar feel.

What if we ate satisfying meals, not mini meals, no snacking in between but meals that left us without a feeling of deprivation or starvation? Neither of those feelings empowers us to stick with a plan long term. Instead we would get up from the table and be content.

How cool would it be if you could eat a meal, walk away satisfied with what you ate, how much you ate, knowing you’ll be content until your next meal? Eating meals that you planned each day requires work, but it will get you to this level of satisfaction. I am so thankful I don’t have to be perfect. Think of being 90%. There will be days when all things go as planned and others when they do not. But missing the mark here and there doesn’t call out the world distress signal. In fact, one or two ‘Oops’ means you are perfectly human. Allow yourself the struggle of not making it the first time out, maybe not even the second or the third. You might be on a roll of six days in a row of meals that leave you content then miss the seventh day - you overeat or totally miss a meal. Breaking your perfect score is not the end of the line. Stop trying to be perfect. Build on the struggles you have. Make yourself stronger each time through.

What is easier to plan for? Overeating or satisfaction? More importantly where do you want to be?

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

The “I’m Satisfied” Challenge

"I just ate too much."

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

"I really didn't need that last bite."​

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 "I'm Satisfied" Challenge: 

Here is how it works: when you are having a meal or snack, you’ll eat only until you first feel satisfied. You’ll have to slow down to listen to your body. Once you are no longer hungry but not stuffed, you stop eating. No matter what. You’ll feel just like Goldilocks in “The Three Bears” - just right.

And this is what you will receive as you complete this challenge:

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

It’s not easy to change why you do what you do, BUT commit to the challenge.

To your best health, 
Coach Nancy

Plan to Get Back on Track

When you stumble- and we all do when it comes to eating- often, we find the next declaration out of our mouth is, I may as well eat the rest of the cake since I already had one piece”. In Jeremy Dean’s book Making Habits, Breaking Habits, he helps us to face the fact that we are not perfect in our quest to build a habit. We will miss a moment, miss a day, or more. It’s a given. What you need to know is what to do when that happens. Have a plan for when the plan breaks down.

When the plan fails, take these steps.

1. Identify the triggers. Find the moment or rewind your day until you can visualize the cross roads. The place in your life where you could have gone one way or the other. When we are in the moment it is hard to see this crossroad, but often playing our day back in your mind like you would rewind a video to see the good parts can help. It’s defining this moment that will help you most. The more specific you can make it the better. So think in terms of a) time, b) location, c) emotional state, d) other people around, e) the circumstance. So it might look like this: Right before I chose to go through the drive thru and order 4 donuts and coffee for myself, I was in a tense meeting at work that didn’t go well, I yelled at my co-worker for the silliest thing, I didn’t sleep well last night, and I forgot my gym clothes. The driver that cut me off right before I left the parking lot was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I just had to have a donut (or three).

2. Identify the old habit. Be specific about what you are trying to stop. Again, think of all the details about this old habit. For instance, I want to stop relying on donuts when I feel upset and stressed in the car while driving alone.

3. Identify the new habitKnow exactly what you want to do, but create a goal that will take less than 60 seconds to accomplish. That sounds too simple but it isn’t easy. For myself, that would be using my 60 seconds to drive past the donut store. Think about it, it sounds simple but it isn’t easy.

It’s hard to change your behavior. It takes courage to have to do things differently and resilience to keep at it.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

What’s in Your Cupboard?

I went shopping yesterday. 

You may be saying, “Big deal. Why should I care about your grocery shopping?”

Well, many of you have asked me, “What do you eat? How do you make PPW (Protein, Produce, and Water) a reality?”

I thought I might answer that question with a few pictures. While you won’t see exactly what lunch or dinner is, you will see what I use to fix our meals (lunch was Salmon Cakes, salad and Zucchini and Summer Squash, while dinner is Spaghetti Squash Pie).

Our cupboards for our dry goods are filled with spices, tuna, natural peanut butter, and things like ketchup and mustard. The salmon was here until lunch time. This is it besides a big box of oatmeal, dried beans, and almonds. Those are down below so the kids can reach it.

Here’s the fridge. All the typical stuff is here. Veggies located in the bins below but also scattered throughout the place. My rule of thumb is that my grocery cart should not be known for its fruit or highly processed food in a box. If you see me in the store, look for a wide selection of veggies. The white bowl on the top shelf is full of hard boiled eggs. There are over 48 eggs in the picture. They make a great snack – quick and easy.

And the freezer? Its been stocked with frozen veggies, some of which are from our garden. Frozen shrimp, chicken, and other meats. I guess I didn’t need to say ‘frozen’. Imagine that - frozen food in a freezer?

And then finally the picture of my counter (I avoided the piles of papers and stuff that piles high only to clutter). You’ll see the fresh fruit my family enjoys eating.

If you see me at the grocery store, say hi. What’s in the grocery cart won’t embarrass me. I am not always perfectly compliant. No one is. But in general what you see is Protein, Produce, and Water.

Hope you enjoyed taking a peek into the Carlson's cupboards!

Now ask yourself, "What in MY cupboard?"

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Eating Healthy Can Easily Be Summed Up in These 3 Rules

Eating good (or healthy) can easily be summed up in the three rules below. By following these three rules, you’ll make ‘good’ eating, healthy eating.

1) Eat a wide range of veggies every time you eat (with a special emphasis on green veggies). A great rule of thumb when it comes to produce is to consume at least one green item AND as many other colors as possible at each and every meal to get the most health benefits.

2) Eat a wide range of lean proteins at each meal. A great rule of thumb here is to consume at least a fist-sized portion of anything that had a face, that ran, flew, or swam at some point (sorry, doesn’t sound as appetizing this way, but it’s one way to remember!). Protein is the only macronutrient responsible for building and repairing lean muscle.

3) Eat a wide range of healthy fats at each meal (olive oil, coconut oil, beef, salmon, whole eggs, avocado, mixed nuts, flax, full-fat cheese, etc.). Sufficient dietary fat intake is critical to beneficial hormone production. Hormones are designed to help us, not hinder us. They actually make everything else run smoothly and correctly.

As a nutrition coach, one of the most common statements I hear is “I eat really good but….”. Then the blank is filled in with the challenge that person is facing.

We all have challenges and issues when it comes to eating healthy. Instead of focusing on what stops you from success, place your priority on these three things when you eat.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Are You Ready to be SMART?

Recently, I had an amazing conversation with Julie. She has been training with Get Fit NH for over 8 years. Julie works in the financial career path but some of our work actually overlaps. Who knew?

Julie had such incredible things to say about goal setting. I am sharing our dialog here!

Julie: I love reading your posts. I always get a lot out of all your informational pieces….The only other thing I would say is to emphasize the SMART goal format for people’s monthly goals. As a sales coach, I always used SMART goal setting with my clients and I love the idea that it’s all their ideas so they are already sold on the actions it will take to reach there goal.

Me: Great idea Julie.  Thank you for your input. Can you tell me a bit more about SMART goals? Do you have a specific format you use for the SMART goals?

Julie: I would have them on a piece of paper write down the left side of it S. M. A. R. T. S is for specifically what are you going to do. M= measure, how are you going to measure it? A= actions, what actions are you going to take to reach this goal? R = result, what is the result? Finally, T = time frame, what is the length of time you are going to do this in?

So here is an example of SMART goal setting:

S: I want to be a size 6 for my 10th wedding Anniversary in September
M: I will measure my waist using the FIT 3D scan each Monday. I will track my weight each Monday as well.
A: I am going to train a minimum of 4 days at Get Fit NH, I am going to use my food log everyday to track my food intake, I will drink 96 oz of water a day, I will consume nothing white (flour, sugar, breads, rice, or pasta).
R: I will be able to wear a dress I feel good in for dinner at our Anniversary dinner.
T: My timeframe is to weekly off check each one of my actions are being completed and 9/25/17 is the dinner date.

Now that is what I call goal setting!

It is important that we acknowledge our hard work for taking the actions necessary to reach our goal just as much if not more than reaching the goal itself. We can control the process more than we can control the outcome. Put a priority on the action steps you laid out for yourself and then be proud of the work you did when the end time comes.

Many thanks to Julie for helping me set goals.

Are you ready to be SMART?​

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

4 Tips to Get Started Eating Healthy the Right Way

Many people have started a diet or a new eating plan only to quit days later. Now that you have decided that eating healthy may be worth your time after all, ensure your success with the following tips:

1. Make a Commitment 

You know the meaning and value of a solid commitment. It’s in your blood. So don’t view eating healthy as something you will merely try. You will only reap the true benefits when you stick with it. By sticking with it I don’t mean you have to be perfect, but your eating will become more known for the healthy choices instead of those you might be making now. A great way to reinforce your commitment is to solicit the support of your friends and family. Tell them how you plan to improve your health and quality of life through nutrition – who knows, they may join you.

2. Set Reachable Goals

This is an immensely important ingredient to your success. Don’t start your healthy eating program with unreasonable expectations. If you expect to lose ALL of your unwanted pounds, DROP your blood pressure and CURE your joint pain all in one week then you will be sorely disappointed. In fact, I wouldn’t say I was on a diet but my goal is to change the style of my current eating. The key to unlocking all of the benefits of fantastic nutrition lies in one word: consistency. Only then will your body be transformed.

3. Rearrange Your Schedule

They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. This may be because his schedule simply didn’t allow for it. The truth is that as we age there is a tendency to become ‘stuck in our ways.’ The thought of rearranging your schedule may leave you a bit squeamish. Remind yourself that health starts in the kitchen. It is worth your time and energy and also rearranging your plans to make better eating happen. If you don’t currently plan your meals, you’ll need to carve out time on a regular basis to get the first step done. Of course if you are used to eating out every night because you don’t have food at home, you’ll need to take time to shop too. The actual making of your food will have to be worked into your day too. The fact is that you do have time to lend toward better eating and health – you simply need to find it. Your time in the kitchen is an appointment – keep your appointments.

4. Increase the Challenge

You should start your better eating program with the thought of easing into it. Since you haven’t mastered nutrition you will need to build up strength and endurance just like we do in the gym. Think of building your kitchen muscle, gaining strength in the planning phase, using your coordination to balance your schedule to get all the shopping done and finally putting it all together can be known as a sprint to the table.

Consider a car that has been sitting in your garage for years. You wouldn’t turn it on and instantly slam down on the gas, would you? You need to warm it up. However, this warm up period should not last forever. Maybe working on your breakfast meals Monday - Friday is just the right amount of a challenge for you now. Once you feel secure with that routine, you’ll want to bump it up a notch. Maybe your weekends are where you need to start that planning and eating better. No matter where you start - START. When your routine begins to feel easy take that as a hint to increase the challenge.

I want to help you achieve all of the benefits that consistent healthy nutrition can bring you.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy