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Archive for 2016
The Six Building Blocks for a Foundation of Good Health
By Stacey Gretka, BSHN
I'm not in the business of making rules. I often find them far too restrictive for any real or lasting success, but when it comes to changing or creating habits, guidelines are absolutely necessary. Think about it: as a mom of two young children, I am constantly reminding my little ones to brush their teeth, put on shoes, flush and wash, and so on. I build guidelines and reinforce those guidelines until one day, those habits will be formed, and, without a second thought, will be executed. The guidelines and constant reminders will fall away, and they won't feel as though brushing their teeth is an annoying rule enforced by a nagging mother. Reaching for intuitive health as an adult is the same way. Before it becomes part of your routine, part of your foundation, the new or improved life skills will require guidelines. Here are my top 6, must-do guidelines for changing your habits and creating a healthier lifestyle.
1. Eat every 3-4 hours! Your body functions best when it gets a steady and timely energy supply. No need to store excess fat if your body is "confident" that it won't be starved into needing a back-up.2. Manage portions. Your stomach can only process around 800 calories at a time, so anything over that is immediately going to storage. Not to mention it stretches the stomach, spikes blood sugar (and therefore insulin response), and overall makes you lethargic. Keep each meal and snack within a safer zone of 300-500 cal and your body will be cruisin' through the day at top metabolic speed.3. Plan ahead. Consider first that success and change occur only through discipline, then consider that the definition of discipline is "delayed gratification through training and modified behavior." How can you delay gratification? By making a decision ahead of time, and then waiting for the result. When you make decisions ahead of time, you don't leave the outcome to chance (or mood). It allows you to have more control and a more predictable outcome.4. Stay active. Formal exercise isn't always an option, but calories in vs. calories out will always be the ultimate overseeing rule of weight loss/health. Your body uses a lot just to exist, and your daily activity requires a lot of output as well. Add to that a few intentional times that push your body to be better and stronger, and you'll find yourself feeling unstoppable.5. Drink water. You can eat the healthiest food in the world, but it will never reach your cells without water. You can exercise to your heart's content, but you'll never sweat without water. You can have the most efficient and perfectly designed organs, but they'll never filter a thing without water. It's the transportation system for all that goes on within you. Don't miss out by skipping (or skimping on) this crucial component.6. HAVE FUN!!! Remember, if your goal is to lose weight (or gain weight, or manage a condition, or improve in your sport...) to be happier, then being miserable while you're trying to reach your goal is defeating the purpose entirely. So enjoy your life, enjoy this journey, and make wise choices that allow you to continue playing the game for as long as possible.
I also like to remind people who are struggling to sift through the plethora of information that's thrown at them daily to seek guidance from someone they trust. It can be very hard to see the forest for the trees when we are taking on the world, so hire someone whose job it is to help you slow down, focus on one step at a time, and create personal guidelines that encourage positive, intuitive, and long-lasting change. You don't have to do this alone.
Click here for a complimentary consultation with a professional who cares.
The 7 Habits of the Highly Healthy
Study after study has shown that many different people can eat the same foods and incur varying results. What these studies don't talk about is how the habits of these people differ, too. In fact, if you ask your favorite healthy person what it is that they do differently, they may not even be able to pinpoint it themselves. So here's a list of the top seven habits that generally healthy people agree they do.
Healthy people subconsciously...
1. Eat Slowly. This might include chewing for a long time before swallowing, clearing out their mouths completely before the next bite, or enjoying conversation while dining. Often, they are the last ones to complete their meal, and usually (though not always) there is food left on their plate when everyone else is done and ready to go.
2. Know About Food Safety. As a result, they often avoid eating at buffets or parties. This isn't because they're worried about losing their diet, but rather about getting sick from food poisoning. The positive side effect is that they don't hang out near (and thus aren't tempted by) the food tables or buffet selection.
3. Move a Lot. They may not even realize it, but healthy people aren't even thinking about running "back upstairs" to grab their coat or shoes. They don't mind multi-tasking, and therefore often are brushing their teeth while walking around, starting laundry, picking out clothes, or even knocking out a few calf raises.
4. Start Small. Knowing they can always go back for more, generally healthy people typically do not fill their plates. Instead, they nab a few bites of each option, and if necessary, go back for a few more bites of their favorite. In fact, you can usually see most of their plate, rather than a heaping pile of food.
5. Listen to Body Cues. Many of your inherently healthy people aren't tracking their water or calories (anymore), but know when they haven't had enough of the necessities like water, veggies, fruit, etc. The same people often know when to stop noshing, when to get up and stretch, and when to call it quits for the day. Overall, honoring their body's needs is so ingrained that they often don't even realize it's happening.
6. Are Aware of Weaknesses. Chocolate covered pretzel weakness? They know it. And they tell others. "Oh, no way, I cannot go to _____, because I cannot resist their _____." You've heard them say it, and that's because the intuitively healthy population is not afraid to share their downfalls in hopes of support.
7. Love Food. Not the act of eating. That's right, they savor every bite, enjoy the rare specialty, and occasionally indulge in their favorites. They appreciate the flavor of each food item (and usually avoid smothering that flavor in sauces). They're often not afraid to try something new, and yet rarely feel obligated to finish a dish. Sometimes eating can be a chore whose only purpose is to fuel the body, so they'll often turn to small, nutrient dense snacks throughout the day and save their taste buds (and cash) for a truly enjoyable meal once or twice a week.
Need help forming more effective habits? Contact TNT today!
Spinach & Tortellini Soup
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
9 ounce whole wheat tortellini package (cheese filling)
4-5 cups baby spinach
4-5 cups baby spinach
Salt and pepper to taste, add in red pepper flakes for an extra kick.
-Pour chicken broth and ½ cup of water to a pot.
-Bring chicken broth to a boil and add tortellini till tender, 10-13 mins.
-Stir in spinach until wilted
-Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes, as desired.
Tuscan Bean Soup
2 cups dried cannellini beans, soaked over night (can use low sodium cans for a quicker process)
2-3 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery, roughly chopped
¾ yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 zucchini, chopped
4-5 large kale leafs, chopped
1 large waxy potato, peeled and cubed
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar q
1 Tbsp dry thyme, chopped
1 Tbsp dry rosemary, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste.
-Chop onions, celery, and carrots.
-Using a large dutch oven, coat pot with 1 Tbsp of olive oil, add veggies above.
-Cook veggies till tender
-Add garlic and combine well.
-Drain the overnight beans and transfer into pot.
-Add 4 cups of water and 1 c chicken broth
-Season with all spices
-Cover until beans are tender.
-Add squash, potato, zucchini and kale leafs plus an additional cup of water and red wine vinegar.
-Reduce heat to low medium, cover for 35-40 mins.
Serve with whole wheat garlic crostini
Tomato and Cannellini Bean Soup
1 can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 red pepper
1 can of spicy diced tomatoes
½ yellow onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 c vino seco (dry wine)
1 c water
½ Tbsp complete seasoning
-Chop onions, pepper and garlic.
-Preheat a large sauté pan to medium heat
-Add 1 tsp of olive oil, onions and peppers until translucent.
-Stir in garlic to the pot and season with complete seasoning and pepper.
-Add the rest of the veggies (zucchini, tomatoes and beans) stirring occasionally.
-Combine vino seco, and water into the pot.
-Season with salt and pepper (to taste) cover and let simmer for 30 mins.
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup Eggplant, 1 inch cubes
1 cup zucchini and/or yellow squash
¾ pepper (red or yellow), 1 inch cuts
1 yellow onion, chopped
1-2 tomatoes, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
-Chop all vegetables into 1 inch pieces.
-Add oil to a large sauté pot, add veggies in order, cooking each for 2 mins before adding the next veggie, stirring occasionally.
-Once all veggies are in the pot, add garlic, thyme, basil, bay leaf and the red wine vinegar.
-Add ¼ cup water, cover and simmer for 25-30 mins.
Serve over a bed of whole wheat pasta, brown rice or quinoa
A couple of months ago, we rounded up the latest and greatest in wearable fitness trackers, yet even just since the New Year, we've seen several new options hitting the market. And the major push, as we expected, is to have something unique, but non-fitness-y. So many people truly are interested in monitoring their progress, and yet announcing to the board meeting that they're trying to lose weight is hardly top of their agenda. More than this, the aging population is also intrigued by tracking their activity, monitoring their blood pressure, and additional biometrics without looking like a walking medical facility. What about the younger crowd? Those who moms and dads are concerned for, but aren't particularly fond of wearing a watch (even the band did get small enough to fit their wrists)? 2016 brought solutions for them, too! Awareness of wellness is definitely the current slogan for the U.S., but we're bringing fashion back. Check these out!
Created by a 94-year-old fashion icon, the socialite collection goes beyond any other fitness tracker or smart watch available - it looks gorgeous. Sure it tracks your activity and updates you on any mobile notifications you might be receiving. Yet, the features also include an optional safety function to send emergency distress signals, geolocation information, as well as sound recordings to contacts of your predetermined choice, putting this statement piece in a class all its own.
Withings is on-point with their options: after just having released their Activite Steel, they now have a family-friendly clip-on disc that doesn't require recharging! The Withings Go is no doubt designed with kids in mind, and priced at only $69 they didn't forget mom and dad are usually the ones responsible for outfitting the kids (sometimes more than once when things magically disappear). The best part of this super simple tracker is the e-ink display, that appears to always be on. It simply ticks off progress showing a star when all the tick marks have been met. Vibrant colors can be worn as a bracelet or as a clip-on (think: shoes). And did we mention you can take it for a swim? Yep, it's even safe for your excessive hand-washing preschooler. More information can be accessed when you sync the Go with its free app, but for most kids the basic display will be plenty. Go, go, gadget tracker!
While it's not here, yet, this is one product you will want to watch. Click the link above to watch the video of how Profusa will continue to change the whole idea of monitoring and tracking this year. The company has already proven miraculous with their original Lumee which has allowed medical practitioners to monitor oxygen levels continuously in patients with Peripheral Artery Disease. This means saved limbs and lives because tissue oxygen levels drop well before advanced signs and symptoms occur. Now they want to help those with Diabetes monitor their glucose levels without pricking their fingers every two hours, they want to help triathletes monitor blood oxygen levels, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure levels to know when to stop, eat, or hydrate accordingly. Profusa will bring biometric tracking to the world with their innovative biosensors.
Another year is here and it feels like without warning, we're already off and running. I am afraid to blink! That it might be Thanksgiving when I open my eyes... With the calendar days already ticking off, I am hastily trying to gather my thoughts on how to make and, more importantly, how to keep my New Year's Resolutions.
This year, I'm making smarter commitments. Here's How:
1. Stop resolving and start committing.
Rather than making goals or resolutions that leave room for acceptable failure, make a commitment to yourself. Think about the different connotation that simple word makes: making goals always seems easy because we tend to forgive ourselves if we don't reach them. Commitments are harder to make because of the fear of failure, because breaking a commitment is wrong. In fact, I joke with my clients that there's no way they'd go through with wedding vows that included the phrase, "I'll make it my goal to be faithful to you." Why? Because making a goal says you're okay if you don't reach it. So this year, don't leave room for not reaching your desires, commit.
2. Be specific instead of intangible.
"I'm going to learn to play the piano." What does that even mean? How do you define when you've reached this goal? Is it knowing how to read sheet music? Or is it memorizing "Chopsticks?" Or is it something else? Each of us has a different understanding or interpretation of what it means to know how to play the piano. Be very specific and tangible when making your commitments so that you know and can measure when you've actually accomplished something on your list.
3. Make an action list.
Once you have an idea in mind, you'll need to make a list of actions and items required to accomplish your goal. Take the piano commitment, for example: what do you need to own or have access to if you're going to learn to play the piano? Maybe a piano, lessons, exercises? Make a list. Then you'll have actual, tangible tasks and steps to complete.
4. Make a timeline or schedule. Track your progress.
Successful marathon runners don't wing it. They have detailed schedules that detail their run lengths, times, nutrition, hydration, and strength training daily leading up to the big race day. That's because breaking things down into manageable portions works. Preventing your brain from becoming overwhelmed by some daunting, intangible goal, making a practice schedule or timeline for items on your action list is a must. From calling arts studios for access to pianos to setting a date on which you'll download the learn piano app, each task is do-able and gets you closer to achievement. And don't forget to track your progress. Whether you put smiley face stickers on your calendar for every day you practice or you use an app like this one, tracking is a great way to make sure you're following through, and allows you to "snap-to" when you notice a week has gone by without a sticker!
5. Visualize yourself reaching your commitment.
What will you look like when you're tinkling the ivories at your family Christmas party? What will you be wearing, whose piano are you playing, who else is there? Recreating the moment in your mind's eye allows you to bust through any doubts of whether your desires are realistic. These day dreams can even help you make the items on your action list (if your version of knowing how to play the piano means playing in long white gloves, you'd better make sure you own a pair)!
6. Don't do it alone.
You know that writing your "goals" down is always the first step to achieving them. Studies have proven this time and again. Studies have also proven that creating the proper support and accountability system is often what makes or breaks someone's success when the going gets tough. So don't do it alone. Tell your friends, your family, your nutrition counselor what your desires are for 2016 and allow them to help keep you accountable.
Here at TNT, we make it our commitment to ensure our clients have the support and accountability they need to reach and exceed their own commitments. We're here to help you define and achieve your optimal health and sports performance goals, so give us a call today: 704-549-9550. See you soon!