Category Archives for "Habits"

The Four Year Test

are you physically better than you were four years ago?

It’s an interesting question.

Just the other day I had a conversation with a recent college graduate. She’s 25 years old and was complaining that she’s wearing a size 8 now when she used to be a 2.

So what has changed for you in the past 4 years?

Is the number on the scale the same if you’ve been trying to maintain? How about your pants or dress size? If you’re not "better" than 4 years ago, does that mean you’re worse? Again, we’re talking physically here.

What have you done to change, maintain or improve your fitness? How about your fatness?

The question — then, if you’re not better off than 4 years ago — why?

And, more importantly, what will you do to change that?

Because on October 22, 2020 when I ask this same question …

You surely don’t want to be the "average" man or woman, who has gained several pounds, and continuing on that upward trend.

Your health. Your body. Your strength, fitness and fatness are 100% in your control.

Where you are today is not anyone’s fault but yours — for better or worse. The government can’t fix it. Your spouse can’t fix it. Your friends, kids or parents can’t fix it.

You Fix You! If you’re not happy with where you are, do something to change that.

Maybe it’s with your diet. Maybe it’s with your exercise. Maybe both. But take 1 step NOW — as soon as you read this — to do it.

Here are 10 things you can do TODAY … that can ultimately make a BIG change when continued day after day.

1. Add a 10 minute walking break for every 50 minutes of sitting.

2. Only watch as much TV each day as the amount of time you are active. Favorite shows on tonight? Great, if it’s 2 shows for 30 minutes each … get in 60 minutes of structured physical activity.

3. Don’t drink any calories — no soda, alcohol, sports drinks — nothing.

4. Replace a meal with a salad. Add lean protein on top along with a sprinkling of nuts.

5. Replace 1 snack today with a vegetable.

6. Eat 80% of what’s on your plate. Yes, that means leaving some food behind. You don’t belong to the clean plate club. That membership is hereby revoked.

7. If you go out to eat, ask for them to hold the bread basket

8. Drink 2 cups of water before every meal and snack.

9. Leave the TV off at night — if you have kids, go out and play instead — if not, go for a walk after dinner.

10. Skip dessert.

Think about it again. It’s a big, big question.

Are You Better Off Than 4 Years Ago?

To your best health,

Coach Nancy​

Ten Nutrition Rules To Live By


1. You control the supply lines. You decide which foods to buy and when to serve them. Adults decide which foods are regularly stocked in the house. If its not available in the cupboard and fridge at home you are less likely to make a store run just for a craving.

2. Plan. Plan your meals including snacks if needed. A meal plan will save you time, energy, and aggravation. Knowing ahead of time what is the menu selection will afford you the opportunity to shop only for the items needed that week. You’ll  likely not forget to take items out of the freezer as needed. If you work off your meal plan when it comes time to make the meal, you’ll have everything needed to put the meal together. Don’t forget to also schedule times to eat your regular meals.

3. Quit the "clean-plate club. Please stop eating when you feel you've had enough. Lots of us grew up under the clean-plate rule, but that approach doesn't allow you to listen to your body tell you when feel full or satisfied. When you respond to feelings of fullness, you're less likely to overeat.

4. Try new foods/recipes. Food preferences are developed early in life, so offer variety. Likes and dislikes begin forming even when kids are babies. But that doesn’t mean you can’t develop different taste as you grow older. Try a new ‘old’ food. Prepare a food you didn’t care for in a different way. You never know it might just become a favorite.

5. Rewrite the menu. Who says you have to prepare Tacos every Tuesday and Spaghetti on Wednesday with Fish on Friday? It might surprise you how willing your family is to try a new recipe next week.

6. Drink calories count. Soda and other sweetened drinks add extra calories and get in the way of good nutrition. I don’t know of an adult who thinks of them as nutritious. But many of us will not part with our coffee/ latte topped off with sugar and cream or our Gatorade during a hot day. Alcohol? Again, calories you need to count in your day.

7. Put sweets in their place. Occasional sweets are fine, but don't turn dessert into the main reason for eating dinner. When dessert is the prize for eating dinner, we naturally place more value on the cupcake than the broccoli. Try to stay neutral about foods. Remember moderation is not once a day or even every other day.

8. Food is not love. Find better ways to say "I love you." When foods are used as a reward and to show affection, they start becoming a coping device for stress or other emotions. Enjoy time alone, listening to a favorite song, or buy a new pair of sunglasses. Try anything instead of using food as treats.

9. Kids do as you do. Be a role model and eat healthy. When trying to teach good eating habits, try to set the best example possible. Choose nutritious snacks, eat at the table, try different foods in a variety of ways, and don't skip meals.

10. Limit TV and computer time. When you do, you'll avoid mindless snacking and encourage activity. With limited TV and computer time, you'll find more active things to do. And limiting "screen time" means you'll have more time to be active With those you love together.

​There you have it, Ten Rules to Live By. Which one are you going to tackle first? 

To your Best Health,

Coach Nancy​

Three Things I learned at the Vet’s Office

Yearly I make my trek to the doctor for my physical. They take my height, my weight, they listen to my heart, they take my blood pressure. She makes sure I am healthy. She will ask me questions about my lifestyle, She ask questions about my family history, she will even ask me questions about work, my home life, my kids, my hubby. She always asks a lot of questions. Her goal is to get a good picture of me. She pronounces me healthy and I am off.

At times I visit my doctor when I am ill. Usually when I’ve waited well past a few days of being miserably sick and now I want relief or at my family’s insistence, they want relief from me. She again takes my height, my weight, looks, listens, and feels to determine what is wrong. She pronounces her findings and I am off.

Same scenario but just a bit different.

My dog, Buddy, also goes to his yearly doctor visit. They take his weight, listen to his heart, feel around to make sure all moves well. His doctor will also ask questions. But his first question always intrigues me, “What do you feed Buddy?” I didn’t think about this much until Buddy got sick.

While at this sick care visit, they did weigh him, they didn’t do much else. The vet came right in. His first question was “What was going on with our sick dog?” After describing how he was acting, his next question stunned me.

“What are you feeding Buddy?”.

I wasn’t at the vet for his nutritional counseling. I wanted him to help my dog feel better. I needed his help in that way. Of course Buddy wasn’t eating very much food but no one does when they are sick. The vet wasn’t as interested in what he had that day as much as what he is normally fed. In fact the dog doctor was directly linking my dog’s health with the food he was consuming.

Yes, Buddy, had an infection but the doctor explained how his regular diet had contributed to his poor health. I walked out of the doggie doctor’s office thinking "No duh, what applies to dogs applies to us humans too!"

Three Things I learned at the Veterinarian’s Office to help me from getting sick.

1. A healthy eating plan gives your body what it needs to work optimally, not just survive.

2.  Health–Ful means it contains a whole lot of foods that make me healthy.

3. A few bites of “under the table” foods are okay once in a while but I can’t make a habit of them.

So what does this miracle way of eating look like?

1. For us humans filling our plates with lots of vegetables, lean protein, a small portion of healthy fats and drinking lots of water.

2. Find foods that are high in the good stuff while limiting the foods that are highly processed is our key.

Eat as many “colorful foods” as you can throughout the day; real food - think fruits and vegetables. Eat green, purple, red, yellow, and blue. Nature has a very simple way of letting us know which foods are really healthy and full of nutrients - color.

3. While there isn’t any ‘bad’ food, there were some foods that don’t have the bang for the buck (or calorie) we are looking for. Those are foods we have in moderation. It’s a balancing act. Include whatever treats you want into an overall picture of a healthy diet. It’s not about totally taking them out but finding their place in your plan.

My Vet taught me that consistently feeding my animal great food, getting him some exercise, giving him access to water all the time, while limiting the treats was best for his health. It actually helped Buddy not get sick.

Why would I do less for me?

To your best health,

Coach Nancy

Keeping it Simple to Prep Meals Quickly

Keep it Simple

I love being in the kitchen. If I could I would make everything from scratch. My kids love to help me but I just don't have time to do as much as I would like. So I've cut down the prep time by buying some items that need little to no work.

Since veggies are a big part of PPW (Protein, Produce and Water) that is where I started because that is also where lots of pealing, slicing, dicing, cutting, cleaning etc…. Came in.

Here's my helpful food prep cheats list to buy at the grocery store.

Frozen chopped onion

Frozen chopped onion and pepper combination

Frozen stir fry veggies. (Don't buy the ones with the sauce already added to them)

Frozen veggies

Frozen blends of veggies (the California blend is very yummy with a little olive oil sprinkled on top, salt and pepper then roasted in the oven at 375 for 45 minutes)

Cherry tomatoes (no need to cut these up to throw on a salad, plus they make a great grab and go snack)

Baby carrots

Pre cut celery

Spinach (I've made Spinach Honey Moon Salad many times. (LET- US Alone) But it can be thrown in with eggs for a delicious omelet, added to stir fries, rolled around a slice of chicken or turkey, or sauté with shrimp and garlic)

Precut mushrooms

Coleslaw mixes can be bought. (Use these in stir fries not loaded with mayo.)

Canned or in a jar:

Tomatoe sauce

Petite tomatoes

Plum tomatoes

Tomatoe tomatoes

There are so many tomato products that are canned or in a jar for use in soups, sauces, stir fries, added to your favorite protein dish.

While there are days when I spend a long time fixing just the perfect dinner but more often than not, I’m making things happen, double time. I don’t have to miss out on good food I just have to make that good food as quickly as I can. Keeping things simple have helped cut down my time in the kitchen. If you have time, spend it on cooking even allowing your kids to help. Chicken Enchilada Soup is one of those meals you can make quickly and easily.

Go simple this week. Very simple.

Coach Nancy

4 NonFood Ways to Improve Your Health

Typically when we think about simple health improvements or how to make changes with our body we focus on nutrition. Of course that’s important, but let’s look at 4 other completely nutrition “independent” changes we can make starting right now. Each will help us look and feel better. Here’s the best part -- it won’t take long to notice results when implementing just some of these.

• Sunlight. Sunlight is great for our health. Summer has quickly gone by, Fall is here, people are more likely to be outside now compared to the cold of winter. Being out in the sun can absolutely help with mood in general. But our bodies use that time to make vitamin D from sunlight. Vitamin D is a vitamin that much of America is grossly deficient in. It takes about 10 minutes each day. A walk during a break time with coworkers around the building and parking lot, taking the kids to play on the swings, bringing our dog for his daily adventure will all add up the intake of Vitamin D. Enjoy the fresh air and light all while making you healthier!

Moving (your body, not your house). I, of course, encourage regular exercise. When we move outside of the regular gym setting, don't become like a robot. Add some variation -- try picking up that pace while at the mall or bike for short bursts of speed. Break out of your comfort zone and challenge your body. Remember that if you are at Get Fit NH for 1 hour each day, there are 23 other hours that day -- balance it out, move more, be as active as possible at other times too.The results will speak for themselves!

Sleeping. Those who sleep less, weigh more. We also have less energy, making workouts suffer and negatively affecting mental performance and focus as well. Go to bed earlier and you'll actually get more accomplished the following day, rather than burning the midnight oil hoping to "catch up" on your long to do list.

Goal setting. Setting and writing your goals daily will make you more successful--no two ways about it.

Keeping a journal. Write down the foods you eat and beverages you drink. Write down your exercise each and every single day. This increases awareness and will improve your success, guaranteed!

There you have it -- a few general health tips. Nothing crazy. No gimmicks. Just tried and true strategies that WORK. You will reach your goals more quickly when practicing these daily strategies.

​This just in, I saw this as perusing through helpful sites. I just know you'll love this. I learn best by seeing. If you've been trying to lose weight or get healthier and struggling. You might 'see' your missing link. "Common Reasons Why Your Not Losing Weight" In picture graphics. 

Make today better than yesterday!

A Short Amount of Time Spent Planning Can Equal Big Changes

Many of us struggle with planning our meals. It can be that one thing that if done, will make your goal of eating healthy easier. A few of you have rocked this area.

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

Scott
                 

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."

 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."

Stacey

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

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".

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

Save time at the store and at mealtime

Planning saves you money

Planning a menu means less stress

A menu plan equals a happier family. They know what the plan is and for some families they get to help with the planning.

A menu will provide you with healthier meals

Your plan will make life easier for you.

You will not have to think on the fly.

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? Ideas on taking the first steps to meal planning can be found right here

Let’s make it happen,

Coach Nancy

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

Melissa 
                 

Meal Planning Week Two

The second week of meal planning is easier than the first. In fact each time you make your week’s menu it gets easier and easier. There is something to doing it over and over. Like your coach in Junior High said -"Practice Practice Practice". 

With week one’s meal plan under your belt, use that as a guideline. If you loved each meal then just repeat the week’s meals. If you found a few meals that just didn’t work for your family than adjust that meal. Find another family favorite , add that one in its place and move on. Keep the rest that worked. If you are worried about variety switch the day you served them on and add in a different side dish of veggies. Don’t forget to make your grocery list now. Week two is done. Simple is Easiest, Simple is Best.

If you are starting at week one, here is the refresher course from last week. All this planning saves you time and loads of stress each day.

Planning a week of meals is easier than you think.

  • Write down your family’s favorite meals. To help you out, list the dinner meals you ate last week. You might need to ask your kids for help. Shoot to write down five to seven meals.
  • Tweak these meals if they need it to be healthier versions. Make them contain only PPW. Protein, Produce and Water.
  • List out 2 or 3 PPW breakfast meals you enjoy eating.
  • Alternate these meals on your menu plan the first week. Remember breakfast doesn’t have to be traditional. Eating leftovers at breakfast makes things quick to reheat.
  • Lunch is next. Do you have time to make a meal each day for lunch or is leftovers a better choice. Remember “Simple is easiest, Simple is best”
  • If you choose to make your meals, prep as much as you can the night before.
  • Lunch can be easy. Baked chicken from the night before takes on a whole new appearance on top of a salad. Don’t have leftover chicken? Open a can/bag of tuna to place on top of the salad. Another option is to grab a few hard boiled eggs and make egg salad using an avocado as the mayonnaise. Add in a variety of raw veggies and your lunch is complete.

Knowing is only half the battle. Even if you know what’s good and expect to eat supportively, if the foods aren’t around when it’s time to eat, it’s hard to succeed.

Planning, preparing, and consistent application is the other half of the battle. If you are just starting out and need to a review of the refresher course check out Meal Planning Week One.

You can make this happen! It takes a little planning and dedication once a week to get your plan on track.

My friend Georgie Fear made a Meal Planning ​timeline. 

Meal Planning -Taking that First Step

There’s no doubt that planning your meals is not only crucial to achieving your best body, but also extremely challenging! Today’s hectic lifestyles make “grab and go” a lot more likely than “sit and relax”.

Who’s got the time to make it all happen?

You can achieve your best health and enjoy great food- the key lies in your ability to plan.

Planning your first week of meals is easier than you think.

  • Write down your family’s favorite meals. To help you out, list the dinner meals you ate last week. You might need to ask your kids for help. Shoot to write down five to seven meals.
  • Tweak these meals if they need to be healthier versions. You’re looking to fill your plate with lots of Protein, Produce and Water.
  • List out 2 or 3 PPW breakfast meals you enjoy eating.
  • Alternate these meals on your menu plan the first week. Remember breakfast doesn’t have to be traditional. Eating leftovers at breakfast makes things quick to reheat.
  • Lunch is next. Do you have time to make a meal each day for lunch or is leftovers a better choice. Remember “Simple is easiest, Simple is best”
  • If you choose to make your meals, prep as much as you can the night before.
  • Lunch can be easy. Baked chicken from the night before takes on a whole new appearance on top of a salad. Don’t have leftover chicken? Open a can/bag of tuna to place on top of the salad. Another option is to grab a few hard boiled eggs and make egg salad using an avocado as the mayonnaise. Add in a variety of raw veggies and your lunch is comlete.

Knowing is only half the battle. Even if you know what’s good and expect to eat supportively, if the foods aren’t around when it’s time to eat, it’s hard to succeed.

Planning is half of the battle. Speaking of planning, make a grocery list. Using your meal plan as a guide to what you need to pick up list out the foods to buy.

You can make this happen! It takes a little planning and dedication once a week to get your plan on track.

Here's a peek into a week I planned. Nothing fancy but it gets the job done.

To your Best Health,

Coach Nancy​

I just Can’t Seem to Get It Done

I recently had a conversation with a sweet person who is struggling to make continual progress. In fact she told me she was 'failing miserably'. I can relate to that. Many times in my life I have felt like I was given an insurmountable task. Often times I have success for a day or two, sometimes even a week before falling off the trail again. 

I came across some helpful tips that I thought I would share with you. I don't think I am alone when I just can't conquer a skill on a long term basis.


  • I like lists. What I like better than lists is a list that is all crossed off. One way to build a habit is to add it to your daily To Do list. Even if you feel like the task is so small that you don't need to add it to your list, for instance taking your daily vitamins. Allow yourself the feeling of accomplishment each day as you check it off the list
  • Find your Why? In fact find a deep why. Keep asking yourself why until you just don't have an answer anymore. I did this recently with a student here is her Why. Why do you want to lose 10 pounds? I want to be a size smaller in clothes. Why will being in a smaller size change things? I was that size before my last baby. Why or what does that size allow you to do or feel? It makes me feel happier. Why does a clothing size change your happiness? It makes me feel sexier and then I feel more loved. Why do you feel sexier? Because I have confidence in myself, instead of hiding myself.     Do you see how much more powerful having confidence is rather losing 10 pounds?
    • Start small for a quick reward. Usually when we can't seem to get a task done, it is just too big to conquer all in one day or one week. Its just too big. Taking your goal apart and dividing it into smaller more manageable bite size pieces you'll find greater success. That success can spur you onto more action. Your success is a party given just for you. Enjoy it soak it in. Learn from that success that more of these parties are around each corner. Just make those corners close together.
    • Find some peeps. Losing weight, getting healthier, becoming more fit is a popular there. It probably won't take a long time to find a friend or two looking to do something similar. I have a group of peeps that hang out together on Facebook. We jump into conversations that we want and just listen on other. This is a closed group so while we chat together, the whole world doesn't see it. "Happy Healthy Lives - No Food Guilt" is the name of our group. If you can relate to that title maybe this is the group of peeps you are looking for. No worries if its not, the important thing is to find some people to help you along your journey. 

You might find a combination of these will push you past your hurdle. It might be just one of these ideas that spurs you to reach your goal. But try them out. If one doesn't work, try another one. Find the one that works best for you. 

To your best health,

Coach Nancy​

Your BUT is Too Big! And How to Change It.

While driving in the car recently with Dean, he told me; "Your BUT is too big." Of course I was hearing it and not reading his words so I sat quietly for a minute stewing. 

Nancy Carlson 
Coaching Queen

After I realized he wasn't talking about my physical appearance but rather my reasoning behind my lack of action on a project, I calmed down just a bit. You see I was working diligently trying to get this monster project done and struggling. Have you ever been in that position? 

You see I kept feeling like I was stuck. That I had hit a point that I couldn't get over. As we talked about it, Dean kept hearing over and over...... "BUT this and BUT that."​ He heard all the reasons I couldn't get it done. 

My BUT was too big.

Instead of agreeing with me. He helped me to see that I could reduce the size of my BUT. (please realize this is a metaphor for my reasons, my excuses, my sticking points.)

We broke it down to smaller more manageable size pieces.

What does this mean to you?

Have you caught yourself saying: 

  • "I wish I could lose weight BUT........"​ 
  • "I'd love to plan out my meals BUT......."
  • "I can eat healthy most of the time BUT on weekends or at work or while on vacation or when I am visiting the in - laws"
  • "I want to drink more water BUT......"

Your BUT is too big. Try breaking it down into more manageable doses. 

  • I can lose weight by eating 3 satisfying meals when I am hungry.
  • I can plan my dinner meals Monday - Friday. I'll let Saturday and Sunday be for right now until I can tackle them. 
  • I can eat healthy through the week but I can also have a healthy breakfast on Saturday and Sunday. At some point I'll work on the rest of the meals but for now I'm content knowing I'm moving forward. 
  • I can drink more water when I am at work by leaving a water bottle on my desk as a constant reminder. 

Instead of changing your whole world right now. Take a small piece. Work on that until you have a good handle on it. Then take a bit more piece of that world to work on. Those small pieces done well, will become a habit faster by working at them little chunks at a time. 

To your best health,

Coach Nancy