Category Archives for "Mindset"

Handling the Holidays- The Appetizers

We're kicking off our Thanksgiving suggestions very fittingly -- with the dish people think of first, appetizers.

As if Thanksgiving doesn't have enough calories associated with the dinner alone, we always start it off with hors d'oeuvres or what my friend’s toddler calls, HAPPYtizers.

Now these can play a critical role, especially if there are hours between when your guests first arrive and when the REAL meal is served. But the calories can also quickly add up, particularly if you are snacking mindlessly.

So here are my strategies for handling appetizers, food and drink that is tempting, and that will be around for a good bit pre-meal. Note: these strategies are good for later that evening with dinner and dessert as well.

  • Survey your options before eating. Eye everything down first without a plate and determine what you will eat.
  • Skip any food that you can get anytime. A bowl full of M&M's? Who needs them? Not when you can drive past any gas station later that evening and pick some up (That is if you decide your Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without them. And I’m betting that won't happen.)
  • Fill up on low-calorie options like veggies (watch the dip) or salads (careful on the dressing). Then, look at the entire selection and determine what you'd REALLY like to enjoy. Allow yourself to have some of that -- enjoy it and move on.
  • Don't hang out next to food. C'mon that's just asking for trouble. Once you've enjoyed some appetizers, put your plate away and situate yourself away from the food.
  • Bring your own HAPPYtizers if you're a guest (ones that won't wreck your diet) and if you are hosting, fool the crowd with some of these lower calorie/lower fat options that AREN'T low on taste!

 Stuffed Mushrooms

1 small white onion

4 portabella mushrooms

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, fine diced

1 pinch nutmeg

1 pinch black pepper

1/2 cup sherry

¼ cup Vegetable stock

1 cup feta cheese

parmesan cheese

Chop onion with 1/8 dice, remove ribbing in mushrooms, cut ribbing and stems of mushrooms. Add oil to a sauté pan. Sauté onions, diced mushrooms and nutmeg through veggie stock, then add garlic until aromatic. Add the feta cheese and stir to combine. Stuff mushrooms with mixture, sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan cheese, and a drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Cut each portabella mushroom into quarters to serve.

Antipasto Sausage Skewers

12 ounces fully cooked Italian-style poultry sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil

1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed and cut into 1-inch pieces

2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces if large

1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage; cook, turning 2 or 3 times, until warmed through and browned, about 8 minutes. Thread 1 small or 1/2 large basil leaf onto a small wooden skewer. Add a piece of roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomato, artichoke and sausage, arranging them on the skewer so that it can stand up on the sausage end. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make about two-dozen skewers.

Green Goddess Dip (great with veggies) 

1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted and peeled

2 scallions, green and white parts, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup fresh tarragon

1/4 cup fresh parsley

3 Tablespoons white vinegar

3/4 cup buttermilk

Salt

Vegetable sticks, for dipping

Place the avocado, scallions, tarragon, parsley, vinegar, buttermilk and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender; puree until smooth.


Enjoy your Holidays. 

To your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

P.S. If you need some help handling the holiday stress click here!


Handling the Holidays – The Stress

On Thanksgiving, do you eat and eat and eat and eat, because it is there? Do you leave the meal feeling stuffed and guilty for overindulging again?

Or

On Thanksgiving, do you feel deprived, hungry, pick at only a few food items, watch as everyone else gets to eat what they want? Are these your only options?

This Thanksgiving, put a plan in place. Enjoy the special meal, choose small portions of those food items that aren’t typically on your menu plan. Don’t go at it with a buffet line mentality, but as someone with a treasured meal mentality that allows you to look forward to a meal that has finally arrived.

With the holidays here in full effect, I thought I’d cover some common struggles over the next few weeks we all face during this time of year.

And that leads me to our first one. LACK OF SLEEP.

It's true when we're rushing to fit it all in, sleep is the very first to go. We stay up later than we should knowing that we "just need to get through the next couple of days...week or month." And yet, even though we may finish a project or task by staying up later, that sleep decrement bleeds into the next day. Lack of sleep is more than just self-imposed 'punishment' for not being able to get everything done.

It can lead to weight gain, difficulty concentrating, and can flat out ruin your holidays.

So if you're already putting sleep on the back burner to start crossing things off your holiday to-do list, take a moment and consider what really needs to get done.

Ask yourself, what do you want to create the most this holiday season? Instead of telling yourself you need to have a perfectly decorated house, home made goodies for every acquaintance you can possibly think of, the ideal Christmas present for everyone on your list, in addition to being perfectly dressed, coiffed and manicured, maybe you pick a 'theme' for the season.

Focus on ONE thing and let go or delegate the rest. I know it sounds easier said than done...but how many years have you tried to pack everything in and watched the month vanish at a blink of an eye....with no real meaningful memories in it's place?

Here are just a few trade-offs to consider so that you may go to bed earlier each night.

  • Purchase gift cards instead of presents for people on your list. Easy one stop shopping and little gift wrapping involved. Plus, as a friend always says - it's 2 gifts in one...now you have a reason to go shopping too!
  • Hire someone to clean your house.
  • Pick one or two key rooms to decorate and let go of the rest.
  • Shop at stores that offer gift wrapping with purchase.
  • Having a party? Have it catered and/or hire a bartender and enjoy the opportunity to visit with family and friends rather than spending your time in the kitchen.
  • Shop online.

And yes, I know, sometimes you DO NEED to stay up later than you'd like. Here's your recipe for the next day.

Take a nap if you can. 15-20 minutes. No more or else you'll end up creating a cycle that could make falling to sleep at night harder.

Lay off the caffeine. I know, sounds like it's impossible...but it's not. Suffer through the sleep deprivation for the day, and sleep more soundly the next night.

Don't skip your workouts. The exercise will help to make you feel energized. At the least, get outside for a quick 15-20 minute walk in the brisk air. Invigorating.

Bottom line, ask yourself is staying up late to do whatever you need to do, really worth it? Are these expectations you have of yourself necessary or even important to you? If not, it's time to let go.

To your Best Health (and next time),

Coach Nancy

Shut the Negative Out

"I can't lose weight."

"I can't find the time to plan my meals."

"I can't find the energy to get to training."

Our minds are powerful. Your internal dialog sets the tone for what you believe is true about yourself. If you keep telling yourself “I can’t lose any pounds off the scale” or “I can’t find the motivation” then you WON’T! You need to start BELIEVING you CAN!!! Can’t is a four letter word that we want to banish from our internal self.​

Somewhere between being perfect and giving up, there’s BETTER.

Many of us strive for perfection, especially on the journey of weight loss. When things don’t go as planned you might say “Forget it, I will start again tomorrow” and tomorrow turns into Monday and so on. Then that voice inside your head might tell you, you failed again so why bother trying any more. You need to SILENCE that voice and get back on track! Every day (even every minute) is an opportunity to get better and closer to our goals!

We must choose to be positive and shut the negative out! There is so much negative going on in the world it is hard not to be brought down by it. Be grateful. Write down something positive about each day and see the difference it makes. Small shifts like this can make a big difference in yourself. I wouldn’t doubt that soon gratitude will be overflowing to others.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

A Work in Progress

Today is THE day.

Have you been perfect? No? Well, that's a GOOD thing!

Because we are looking for progress, not perfection.​

Coach Vince Gabriel put it this way, “When you get half-way up the mountain you can look at how far you have to go or you can focus on how far you have come.”

We humans can be such difficult creatures to get along with.

“I only lost 2 pounds of fat last month!!!” and frustration sets it.

I bet if you lose 24 pounds of fat this year you would be pretty happy about it though. You will need a whole new wardrobe, and you know how much you love to shop.

You can’t lose the 24 without losing the 2.

So stop trying to be perfect all the time and be happy when you take that next step, when you make just a little more progress.

Progress might look like:

  • I went shopping for the week
  • I ate vegetables this morning 
  • My meal plan is done…for today
  • I only had two cookies last night 
  • I walked a different route so I wouldn’t be tempted to snatch candy from the office jar
  • I did something good for myself today

Progress, not perfection.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy​

Time Outs Have Rules, Too

One of the best ways to relieve stress is to give yourself a time out. As a parent, I have often taken a few deep breaths before talking to my child about a situation that has emotions high. When my kids were little I would help them to calm down and ‘think’ about an issue by having them sit in a time out. That small amount of time gave them a chance to avoid more aggravation by taking time just to be alone. Time outs are valuable for adults too.

5 reasons why adults should have timeouts:

  1. Stress. Being an adult is tough work. While we might want to do one thing, we realize we have obligations and other people who are relying on us. Daily pressures add up to a mountain of stress.
  2. Sleep. If only we could take our own advice and get to bed when we need it, it seems like there is always one more thing we have to do. Then on top of that, we don’t sleep like soundly like we once did.
  3. Work. This might be the cause of our stress but often it just adds to the stress we place on ourselves.
  4. Nutrition. I don’t know about you but there is always room for improvement when it comes to my eating. I get a bit anxious when I think about the possibilities I could have if only I could eat better.
  5. Physical training. While this is fantastically wonderful for you, training is self imposed stressed on our bodies. With proper sleep, great nutrition and plenty of water that stress is negated by all the goodness of training. But see above if you have any doubt there might be an issue.

Ahhh a time out, a place to gather focus. A time to energize and feel like a human again. A time out is a place to get better. As a child we had time outs in order to calm us, help us to regain focus, energize ourselves so we could rejoin the group. As grown ups we can gain all those benefits again.

Here is what you do for an adult time out:

  1. Lie flat on your back with a small pillow under your head to keep your spine in total alignment. Breath. Deep inhales with your exhale becoming like a relaxing sigh. Putting your thoughts into alignment with your breathing. Think about your breathing. Listen to the sound of the air traveling in and out. Notice what happens to your shoulders and your toes. This is not an opportunity to work out your next list of things to do or think about the meat you forgot to take out of the freezer.
  2. If taking time to lie down in the middle of your office floor is not a good idea to keep normal in other people’s mind, the next best place to do a 5 minute time out, at your desk with your head back on the head rest and eyes closed. Set a timer so you don't fall asleep. Again focus on your breathing. Notice and feel what how your body is responding. While in your time out, consider it your time.

Time outs are an effective way to manage your stress but also become a better version of you.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Don’t Do What Ice Does

Do you know how ice becomes ice?

​The chemistry behind it all?

"Lots of little H20 molecules are buzzing around as water. Then, as the temperature drops, they slow down ... a n d s l o w d o w n a n d s l o w d o w n ... and finally lock into place as ice. To me, that comes perilously close to describing the way we work. Imagine a bird’s-eye view of a building with people working inside. People come in, full of energy. And then they slow down, sit down and spend the whole day locked in place (desk, meeting room, repeat). We get locked into place, locked down into being efficient and in the groove — but not really being creative. To get creative, you’ve got to move it, move it. You’ve got to move it, move it! *Thanks, Vanilla Ice.”- from the book Be Creative by Michael Bungay Stanier.

I know what you’re thinking and you are right but you are also wrong.

You are probably thinking ahead to me writing all about get your body moving. Get off that chair and do something active. I know you can hear me inside your head…… "you can do anything for 30 seconds".

But I’m not going there.

I’m old. I am reminded of that fact often as I fill in forms and my age bracket is lower and lower on the page. I see the facts that my date of birth has me scrolling to find the year I was born.

With age comes the gnawing idea that I am becoming set in my ways. My patterns of behavior are like ice. They are solid and very predictable.

That’s not a good thing when I want to change something. What about you? How easy is it for you to change something about your behavior?

Face the facts, you’ve slowed down and your habits are iced into your being. It’s going to take some work and a long time to melt that exterior and create new.

Change can be difficult, no question.

These 3 steps to reaching any goal help us to get ourselves unstuck:

  1. Create A Plan
  2. Take Daily Action Steps
  3. Reassess and Adjust

Don’t settle for being in a rut. Get yourself unstuck from the path you’ve settled into.

When an ice cube melts, it does so slowly. At first the ice doesn’t seem to change at all, then a slow trickle of water melts down. A tiny drip is followed by another and soon a small puddle develops.

The water can now be shaped into something new. But nothing can happen until that first tiny drop trickles down.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

My Choices: Are They Good, Better, or the Best I Can Do?

Good, better or best?

We face choices every day. Choices in what we eat, when we eat our meals, where to eat, eating on the go or taking time to sit, having a meal or drinks with family and friends or alone. Choices hit us even at the grocery store.

You have your meals planned and you’re heading to the store. You’re in front of the strawberries ready to pick up the berries for a salad you planned for dinner the next night.

AH..... you stop because there are two choices. The berries on sale and some organic berries. What do you do?

While your thoughts pause long enough you realize that you could take an hour out of your day tomorrow morning to pick strawberries. It was always a favorite while a kid and now you can make those memories with your own family.

Oh and another option speaks up while you are still standing in the produce section - you could just stop on the way home and buy some at that farm stand.

Oh, what to do, what to do.......

Is there only one right choice?

Life is so so busy. I have 50,000 things on my to-do list just for today. So my best choice is that I should stay at it, hit the ground running and keep on going until all 50,000 are done.

It will make me feel good to check off 50,000 things.

What will it cost me to do all those things?

  1. Sunshine - today is gorgeous and I will miss all of it
  2. Time with my family - one thing I have learned more than anything else is that life is short and I can't get time back with my kiddos or hubby
  3. Sanity - I'm probably not the nicest person as I fly around in a whirl wind
  4. Energy - when I finally finish I will collapse in exhaustion going right to bed
  5. Sleep - I will probably miss some of that or a lot depending on how long it takes me to complete my list 
  6. Another to-do list

What will I gain?

  1. Time tomorrow because nothing is left to do
  2. A big sense of accomplishment
  3. Relief as some of these things have been hanging over my head

What does this have to do with good, better or best?

Everything.

I make choices that involve my being and affects my well-being.

It affects my mood, my family and their moods, it effects my stress levels, my nutrition, my sleep, my relaxation time. It affects it all.

So for me, today, I will not do 50,000 things, more like 20 or less. Because:

  • Sunshine is important to me - more important than to-do's
  • Time is priceless - my to-do list will always be with me
  • Sanity - I can't take back an unkind word, only apologize for it
  • Energy - others deserve my wholeheartedness and I want to give it to them
  • Sleep - I will be a better person (see sanity above)

What is your best plan today?

Coach Nancy

Consistency is Your Trump Card

Consistency is that one things that trumps all else.

It allows for an off day. It allows for us to forget to take out meat from the freezer. It allows us to reach for a candy bar instead of a salad.

But then we start right back up again.

Consistency is also what others know us for. If someone described me in how I ate, how I slept, how I trained, how I grocery shopped, they would do a great job if they had a knowledge base of my normal actions. If I normally eat wonderful foods fixed right at home and train hard which helps me to sleep well, they will know this from knowing me. Since they have had conversations with me, they know I am proactive and supplement my sleep and health, and love to grocery shop quickly.

Often we think of consistency as what we do. It is that, but it is also what we are known for.

It is rare that I stray off the path and don’t train 4 times a week. Strange, but it’s true that I stress out and overindulge in sweets. These are not normal patterns for me.

What is your normal? What do you do over and over that people know you’ll do the next time and almost every time?

Consistency beats out intensity every time.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

One Step at a Time

“If you want to teach, to change minds or to cause action, a consistent curriculum is always better than a single event. Drip by drip.”   -Seth Godin

Think about a staircase. It connects two paths. It leads you upward or down. It helps you to the next level. It promotes you to a higher plane.

You have to take the action necessary to achieve that motion. Without you, a staircase does nothing.

How does a stair case work? Simple, one step at a time, one foot in front of the other. Sure you can take two at a time for a brief sprint but most of us travel one step up and then another.

The same holds true when you are connecting paths of nutrition. If you are at point A and want to get to point B, you do that one step at a time.

ProCoach changed my life. While I was ‘eating good’ and in ‘good shape’, it was forced and difficult.

Now, I have a sense of control. I gained that through the consistent coaching and daily focus of ProCoach. It’s not a quick fix. It’s a year long staircase where you take one step at a time.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Be Just Like Superman

I am a big fan of Superman. Like who wouldn’t be? He is a good guy, not just good in what he does but an all around nice guy. But he had bad days like the all of us mere humans do.

What did Superman do to manage his stress? Where did he go? Who did he turn to?

Superman had a Fortress of Solitude. His fortress was a place where the cares of this world didn’t follow him. He could be himself. He could hang up his cape and talk with those he loved.

Superman also had Lois Lane to turn to when things were going downhill. When Superman was with Lois, he could be Clark Kent. He didn’t have to be or do anything special with her. They were a team, they helped each other. Lois was the one who often hid the kryptonite from Superman. He often rescued Lois from danger. Who is your Lois Lane? Who can you team up with?

Superman spent time in his Fortress of Solitude. Superman had Lois Lane.

Superman didn’t live a fairytale where it was all sunshine and rainbows. In fact, he thrived on catastrophes and near world disasters. That is until Kryptonite came out. His biggest source of stress, the thing that weakened him most was Kryptonite.

Now what is your kryptonite? Superman could do extraordinary things but he could easily be turned into a pile of helplessness by being exposed to kryptonite. What makes you lose all your senses when it comes to food? Where do you find yourself always giving in to things that won’t help you get to your health and fitness goals?

Write it down.

Identify your superpower/s when it comes to food. Fill in this statement:

My superpower is ______________________.

Your follow up statement will be:

I will put away/lock up my kryptonite which is _________________.

Remember, I can help you. I can be your Lois Lane. If you are stuck, let me help you get unstuck.

Each day, consistently employ your superpower/s and every day have a strategies to keep your kryptonite locked up.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

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