Keeping Up With Your New Years Resolutions

New Years Resolutions are a funny thing. It’s as if we wait all year to make promises to ourselves to be our best selves- to work harder, exercise more often, eat better, drink less- that, let’s be real, do not last long. We should really be making these self-improvement goals every day of our lives, but instead we believe that the start of a new year will bring real change. Wouldn’t it be nice to stay true to your goals without the stress or self-sabotage?  Yes, of course it would, but this can be challenging! Here are some tips to help keep you on course with your resolutions and health goals throughout the new year:

Create realistic and specific goals.

People often rush to set their resolution, and even more often want to make a big change in their lives (quit smoking, loose so-and-so many pounds) instead of setting realistic, planned out, step by step goals. When you don’t give yourself enough time to plan out your resolutions, you are not setting yourself up for success. To make a goal truly doable, one needs a thought-out plan of action based on self-reflection and understanding.

Remember learning about SMART goals?  SMART goals can be used as a guideline to form top-notch goals.  SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. It is important to answer the questions “who, what, where, which, when, why” when planning your goals. Who do you need to surround yourself with to achieve this goal?  Is it a gym buddy, or just a friend who can hold you accountable?  What do you want to accomplish? Where do you need to be to work towards your goal? Identify a location and establish a time frame in which this goal will take place. Which requirements and restraints will you face? And why are you working toward this goal in the first place? Are the details of the goal realistic? Nailing down the specifics will make it much easier to get what you want. Here is an example to help:

 

  • Specific = I want to get to my optimal weight. I’ll schedule accountability calls with my friend for five minutes every Friday evening.
  • Measurable = I will drop 8 lbs in the next six months.
  • Attainable = I will accomplish this goal by cutting out soda and all packaged food and by walking for 30 minutes five days/week outside.
  • Realistic = This goal is something I can accomplish within the set timeframe.
  • Time = Accomplish this six months from today.

Make the necessary preparations.

Once you’ve set your specific game plan, it is now time to take the steps toward success. Depending on your resolution, this could mean emptying the pantry of all processed foods and sugar, or maybe it’s getting your gym membership before your intended start date for your new workout schedule. I can’t stress enough how key it is to find people either with similar goals who you can surround yourself with, or people who will be a good source of support. One of the reasons why people tend to fall short of their goals is because there is no support system in place. It is a lot easier to give up or flake on yourself when you feel you’re working alone. Even scheduling a five minute call once a week with an accountability partner can do the trick.

Do not create resolutions that overly restrict yourself.

This goes back to lesson 1: create realistic goals.  It’s nice in theory to think that you can go from eating chocolate every day to never touching it again, but this probably isn’t realistic. If you over restrict yourself this can be a recipe for self-sabotage (think late night ice cream binges) or can just cause disruption with your endocrine system from too much stress. Instead of going overboard and completely depriving yourself, lighten up just a little and create rules like the three-bite rule (only have three bites of sweets a day) or instead of doing cardio five days a week, do cardio for four days and take a relaxing yoga class on the fifth day. Whatever your resolution is, there is likely a way to stay on track without seemingly punishing yourself. And remember, if you mess up, don’t be too hard on yourself!  Learn to forgive and start over. Negative self-talk won’t do you any good.

Looking for some extra accountability with your goals from a professional health coachSign up for a complimentary 50-minute consultation with me and we can discuss the best ways to help keep you on track!

Three Health Myths Busted!

Myth #1: The Less You Salt Your Food The Better

209785620_2515_detail-300x225For years we’ve heard about Americans’ high salt intake and the American Heart Association‘s instructions to reduce salt consumption.  The truth is that salt is essential to our diet and offers many health benefits, but many Americans consume too much regular old table salt which is processed and stripped of its minerals, not quality sea salt which retains potassium, magnesium, calcium, and other minerals. These mineral properties found in sea salt lower the stress hormone, cortisol, which leads to a healthy weight and fast metabolism.  Too little salt in the diet, under 2300mg of salt a day, can actually lead to heart disease and early mortality. Salt contributes to improved sleep, because it balances our hormones, supports thyroid function, reduces stress hormones, and increases metabolic rate. If you’re experiencing low energy, try sucking a few sea salt crystals and see how you feel.

For more information on the health benefits of salt, click here.

Myth 2: You Can Eat Whatever You Want As Long As You Exercise

My dad was an athlete. He always used to tell me that as long as I exercised I could eat whatever I wanted. I was an active kid too, so I always ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and as much as I wanted.  Turns out, this is a myth!  Just because you exercise does not mean you should live off of table sugar and processed junk and eat as much of it as you want.  These foods are never good for us, they just aren’t natural.  There are many foods that are healthier and will better fuel the body for exercise anyway. Exercise also isn’t the most effective way to lose weight, researchers say. Exercise has many health benefits and is good for maintaining weight and curbing hunger, but proper nutrition is the quickest way to lose pounds.

Myth #3: Diet Drinks Aid in Weight Loss

diet-soda-weight-loss1-300x300Soda might as well be renamed “death in a can.” The high sugar content and unnatural ingredients have many known health risks, but what about the diet versions?  “Diet” sodas swap out sugar for artificial sweeteners that contain chemicals that cause cancer. These diet products also contribute to weight gain, since the artificial sweeteners cause cravings for calorie-dense foods.  Historically we aren’t used to getting our calories from our beverages, so our bodies aren’t satisfied after drinking sugary drinks and want more.  Stick to water as often as possible, or if you’re looking to ween yourself off soda, try switching to flavored seltzer.

Why Routines Are the Ticket to Success

Humans are creatures of habit.  Most of us have a daily routine of some sort, whether we are conscious of it or not. Life can definitely be hard and full of stress.  The more out of control we feel, the more a routine will benefit us. There aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, so keeping a routine helps greatly with time management, efficiency, energy, and motivation. Through personal experience and through my health coaching practice, I have realized that maintaining a routine is repeatedly one of the best ways for achieving success and happiness.

Everyone has their own morning ritual, but the day should begin with some type of routine.  My morning routine begins with my puppy’s cold nose on my arm every morning around 6:45am.  I get up, let him out and Wake-up-to-a-new-day1feed him, drink a warm glass of lemon water and have a small bite to eat while I journal for a little, brush my teeth, get dressed for the gym, work out, and then eat my post-workout meal.  This doesn’t need to be everyone’s routine, but for me, I anticipate my morning going as mentioned.  When these things don’t happen, my entire day is thrown off. Work gets put off, my energy is low, I get crabby often because I’m stressed from my routine being altered, I procrastinate more, forget to do certain things, crave foods I shouldn’t be eating, and just feel out of balance.

Think about the times you’ve traveled or had a reason to change your normal schedule.  Did you notice any differences in your day?  Perhaps differences in your eating, sleeping, emotions, motivation, or stress levels?

Sleep- Going to bed and waking up at the same time is crucial for healthy sleep patterns and deep sleep. Sticking to a schedule also gives our minds a sense of a starting and stopping point with work during the day.  For example, if you work a 9-5 job, our minds know that those hours are working hours.  But if you work a job with inconsistent hours, you’ve probably experienced your mind and body getting out of whack, and that it becomes more challenging to get in the mindset of work mode.

Meals- Try to eat at the same times daily.  This keeps our blood sugar levels steady throughout the day and gives us a sense of consistency.  Even eating the same foods (or similar foods) every day gives us one less thing to think about.

Morning Routine- In my opinion, having a morning routine is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Wake up at the same time, brush your teeth and wash your face, have a glass of water, and get dressed, even if you work from home.  This pattern helps get our mind prepare for the day and for work.  I also find I stay more organized and have more energy during the day if I stick to my morning routine.

Exercise- Even if it’s just stretching or getting off the subway a few blocks early so you can walk the rest of the way to work, a morning routine will help your success.  Exercise is a great way to escape stress and 31d21c8c1ae2bdde84b3483a75531396it gives us a sense of accomplishment.  This initial success in our day prepares us to take on the rest of the day and the obstacles it may throw at us.

Friends and Family- Spending time with the people that make us happy is important for maintaining balance in our lives.  Even with a busy schedule, find a little time during the week to catch up with the people that matter most.

Personal Time- “Me time” is so important!  Our lives are so busy that we often forget to make time for ourselves.  This alone time is time to decompress, reflect, relax, and to do the things that make us happy. Don’t use this time to respond to emails or phone calls… that does not count as personal time.

Interested in health coaching?  Check out my website jkhealthcoach.com for more information or contact me at jessicakhealth@gmail.com.

Sources: Motivate Thyself, Man Cave Zen

Zucchini Fritters

Looking for a fast, delicious way to prepare zucchini?  Then try some zucchini fritters!

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All you need is a skillet, a clean dish towel or cheese cloth, a food processor or box grater.  There aren’t too many ingredients, so this can definitely be a budget-friendly meal.

Serves 1-2 people

Ingredients:

-2 medium-sized zucchini, grated (using box grater or a food processor)

-1/4 cup flour (use coconut flour for a gluten-free version)

-2 cloves garlic, minced

-1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

-1 large egg, beaten

-salt and pepper

-2 tablespoons EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

Optional:

-1-2 avocado

-hot sauce

Instructions

1. Place grated zucchini in a colander over the sink. Add salt and gently toss to combine; let sit for 10 minutes.

2. Using a clean dish towel or cheese cloth, drain zucchini completely.

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Squeeze cloth to remove excess water from the zucchini.

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Come on, SQUEEZE!  (Look at that concentration!)

3. In a large bowl, combine zucchini, flour, Parmesan, garlic and egg; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Scoop tablespoons of batter for each fritter, flattening with a spatula, and cook until the underside is nicely golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side, about 1-2 minutes longer.

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5. Smash the avocado in a bowl using a mallet or spoon.  Scoop the avocado onto the zucchini fritters and add hot sauce to your liking.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

Original Recipe: damndelicious.net

Get Fat Now!

Fat has been a diet no-no for quite some time, but luckily the fat-free era is finally over.  Research shows that fat is essential for our bodies.  Saturated fat is no longer the problem, but is actually the solution for our bodies to repair cells and for proper hormone function. It’s time to enjoy our egg yolks, our whole fat yogurt, or our chicken breasts, skin on. Think about our ancestors, the hunter-gatherers.  Could they have survived harsh conditions and the time between meals if it wasn’t for fat consumption? Hell no!  Our bodies NEED fat, but fat from the right sources.

The body is made up of 97% saturated and monounsaturated fat, and the remaining 3%  is polyunsaturated fat. That 3% polyunsaturated fat is half omega-3 fats and half omega-6 fats.  It’s important for our bodies to have balanced levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, 1:1.  Without this equal balance, too much omega-6 causes inflammation, while omega-3 is neutral.  A diet high in omega-3 fat and low in omega-6 fat is ok thought, because the omega-3 fats will reduce inflammation.

Vegetable oils are a main source of omega-6 in the modern diet.  Some of these oils high in omega-6 include: safflower oil, corn oil, sunflower, soybean, cotton oil.

Fatty fish oil, quality extra-virgin olive oils, coconut oil, or quality butter are all examples of omega-3 fats (yay, butter!).  Omega-3 fats are also vital for the following health benefits:

  • Reducing the risk of heart disease and causes of death associated with heart disease
  • Reducing severity of symptoms associated with diabetes
  • Reducing pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Reducing risk of osteoporosis and bone loss
  • Improving health and reducing symptoms for those with autoimmune disease
  • Helping those with anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder
  • Reducing risk of various types of cancers
  • Improving cognitive function

(Sources: Wellness Mama)

My favorite ways to incorporate healthy fats into my diet:

1.  Eat fat for breakfast, especially before and after a workout.  Below is a favorite, quick breakfast of mine full of omega-3s.  2% Greek yogurt, berries and bananas, topped with protein-packed hemp seeds, and omega-3 sources, flax seeds and chia seeds.

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2. Invest in quality extra virgin olive oil (preferably pressed somewhere local to you), organic coconut oil, and grass-fed butter.  These products can be a little more expensive, but you’ll use them all the time and you won’t need to feel guilty about using the butter.  You can even save money by switching your beauty and home care products to olive oil and coconut oil.

4. If you’re a coffee drinker, add a tablespoon of organic coconut butter to your morning coffee or try Bulletproof coffee.

5. Some of my favorite sources of omega-3s: avocado, salmon, almond butter, eggs, grass-fed meats, extra virgin olive oil, butter, chia seeds, flax seeds, Brussel sprouts, and shrimp.

If you’re having trouble losing weight, suffering from exhaustion or stress, try adding more healthy fats to your diet.

Benefits of Lemon Water

Lemon water is refreshing and full of health benefits.  Start the morning off with a glass of water (at room temperature) with fresh lemon before eating and try having a glass before meals to help with digestion.  Lemon water is not only thirst quenching, but also eliminates toxins and restores our body of vitamins, minerals and trace elements that we need.

The following are various health benefits of lemon water:

1. Aids in weight loss and digestion.  Lemons contain fiber, which reduces cravings.

2. Helps with constipation.

3. Lemons contain potassium.  Potassium provides energy and helps the nervous system.

4. Cleanses the liver of toxins.

5. Reduces inflammation.

6. Hydrates and contains lots of electrolytes.

7. Freshens breath and fights tooth pain and gingivitis.  However, try not to drink lemon water right before brushing your teeth (drink plain water instead), since the citric acid can erode tooth enamel.  If you already have tooth enamel issues, consult with a dentist before consuming lots of acidity.

8. Reduces joint and muscle pain.

9. High levels of Vitamin-C help fight illness.  Also good for pregnant woman, since lemons aid in the growth of bone tissue in their developing babies inside the womb.

10. Repairs skin by clearing blemishes and fighting wrinkles.

11. Full of alkaline, which balances PH levels and reduced chances of cancer, since cancer cannot thrive in an alkaline environment.

(Source: LAHealthyLiving)

Hot tea with lemon, honey, and ginger is another good, cleansing option.  In Ayurvedic practices, morning rituals should always start with tea with fresh ginger, lemon, and raw honey.  Ayurveda is a 5000-year-old form of natural healing native to India which focuses on achieving good health by balancing mind, body, and spirit.