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Emotional Eating – What is it and how can I get a handle on it?

Date:  6th March 2019         Category:  Mindset, Nutrition,

Picture this: You hit the snooze button one too many times, had a last minute project thrown at you at work, and then sat in an hour of evening traffic.

 

Finally home, you breathe a sigh of relief, head into the kitchen, and decide you deserve a snack after the day you’ve had. Maybe you reach for a bag of crisps, then a bit of chocolate.

 

Before you know it, you’ve munched your way through the entire kitchen without eating a proper meal. You’re stuffed, ashamed, and wondering what just happened – WTF?!

 

Sound familiar?

 

It’s called emotional eating, and in a nutshell, it is eating for any other reason besides actual physical hunger, fuel or nourishment.

 

3 Trademarks of Emotional Eating

  • Binging – usually on high-sugar and carbohydrate-rich comfort foods (i.e. junk food). How many people do you know who reach for avocado and apples when they’re upset?
  • Mindlessly eating – you’re not aware of what or how much you’re eating or how those foods are making your body feel.
  • Eating to numb, soothe, please, relax, or reward yourself, i.e. “I had a bad day and deserve it” kind of thinking. Eating during these times provides temporary relief, but often leaves you feeling worse than where you started!

 

The trouble with emotional eating is it overrides your body’s natural hunger cycle and can promote things like:

  • weight gain
  • an increase in your risk for inflammation and chronic disease
  • create an unhealthy relationship between you and food
  • lead to more danger types of disordered eating

What Triggers Emotional Eating?

 

Even though it’s called “emotional eating” because people often reach for food to cope with their feelings, there are a lot of other non-hunger reasons that can prompt you to eat.

 

Some common non-hunger reasons include:

  • Uncomfortable emotions, like anger, guilt, fear, and sadness
  • Stress
  • Boredom
  • Need to feel pleasure and/or comfort

Six (6) Tips to Help You Get a Handle on Emotional Eating…for good!

 

If any of those scenarios sound familiar, know that you’re not alone! Emotional eating affects a lot of people at one point or another.

 

Want to know what you can do to stop emotional eating in its tracks? Here are 6 great tips!

  1. Have a non-food outlet to process uncomfortable feelings

  • Try journaling, exercising, or talking to a trusted friend or counsellor
  1. Manage stress

  • Exercise, meditation, deep breathing, getting enough sleep, and not taking on more than you can realistically handle can help decrease stress levels.
  1. Recognise boredom

  • Call a friend, take a walk, pick up a book, or tackle a DIY project or hobby you’ll enjoy when you know boredom is likely to strike.
  1. Practice self-care

  • Pamper yourself with a bubble bath, manicure, or curl up with a good book – whatever makes you feel good!
  1. Practice mindful eating

  • Avoid distractions at meals. Your focus should be on the food in front of you.
  • Eat slowly, chew, and savour each bite. This helps give your body time to receive the signal from your brain when it’s full.
  • Stop eating when you feel full.
  1. Eat a balanced diet

  • The majority of your diet should be nutrient-dense whole foods.
  • Allow for occasional treats and indulgences so you don’t feel deprived.
  • Include protein, fibre, and healthy fat at each meal to promote satiety.

 

RECIPE:

 

These energy balls feel like an indulgent snack, but are made from whole food ingredients and contain a bit of protein, healthy fat, and fibre to keep you fuller longer.

 

Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Energy Balls

 

Ingredients

 

125g cup natural almond butter (or other natural nut butter)

70g cup coconut flour

70g cup dark chocolate chips

75ml cup maple syrup

Pinch of sea salt

 

How to prepare

 

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, stirring until smooth. If mixture is too thick, add 1 tbsp of water at a time to help the mixture come together.
  2. Scoop 1 tablespoon of the mixture and use your hands to roll into a ball. Repeat with remaining mixture.
  3. Store energy balls in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

 

 

REFERENCES:

 

Study: Current Diabetes Reports, 2018 — Causes of Emotional Eating and Matched Treatment of Obesity

 

Study: Journal of Health Psychology, 2015 — Boredom proneness and emotion regulation predict emotional eating

 

Healthline: Mindful Eating 101 – A Beginner’s Guide

Getting The Reins on Stress

Date:  14th January 2019         Category:  Health, Mindset,

Does this sound familiar? Wake up, take the kids to school, go to work, head home, make dinner, clean the house, go to bed.

 

On paper, your life seems boring, dull, and routine. But you know that’s not true. Before heading out the door in the morning, you’ve got to get your kids’ clothes on the right way round. Finally, when you’re ready to rest and relax with the family at the dinner table you get a call from work with a problem, and the kids just won’t settle down when it’s time to go to bed.

 

 

We all live a busy life nowadays, we are constantly on the go and plugged in to social media.

 

Its no wonder peoples stress levels are through the roof.

 

Here’s what you can do to find some calm in the midst of the stress storm.

 

Sleep

 

When you’re stressed out, it’s often difficult to fall and stay asleep. Having regular sleep and wake times before stress strikes make it a little easier to get the Zzzs you need when stress comes creeping around your bedpost.

 

Time

 

In the days and months when stress after stress piles up, it often seems you just don’t have enough time to deal with any of the stressors. By writing down how you’ll tackle each stress-inducing issue, you’ll feel more in control and able to handle all of the stressors you’re dealing with, one at a time. Before you know it, your “stress” list will be eliminated.

 

Relax

 

It may seem self-evident when you’re trying to learn how to beat stress, but remembering to forget is often a forgotten aspect of reducing stress. In the event you find yourself unable to beat stress with all the other stress-reducing techniques, take a little time to sit back and take a deep breath. That breath not enough? Head to the beach or the mountains, and leave your phone at the office or at home.

 

Exercise

 

Though exercise is only one of the effective stress reducer available, it is the only one that reduces tension, while toning up your physique. If you want to keep stress at bay (and not just fight off the sudden stress attacks you may be experiencing), make regular exercise a part of your routine.

 

When you don’t deal with stress properly, you may neglect important relationships, lash out at people without reason, or have difficulty performing up to par at work. So, if you think letting stress bother you is no big deal, think again.

 

Stress is often difficult to handle. Because of this, it’s common for the sufferer to keep it inside and feel isolated as a result. However, many people have found solace in talking with others about what is bothering them. Whether relying on a support group, trusted family member or friend, communication is an often used key to stress relief.

 

Sex

 

Many people are happy to learn that sex can be a great way to find stress relief. It burns calories, creates hormones that result in good feelings, and strengthens monogamous relationships. As strong relationships also reduce stress, sex offers twice the stress reduction of other techniques.

 

But Wait – There’s More!

 

Want another handful of stress-reduction tips? You’ve come to the right place.

 

Try the following for added relief from your stress:

 

Aromatherapy
breathing exercises
cutting back on caffeine and alcohol
eating a healthy, well-balanced diet
listening to relaxing music
music therapy
pick up a new hobby
writing or blogging about what is stressing you out

 

If none of these seem to help, talk with your doctor to determine how you can address the specific stresses in your life.

Upset You Only Lost 1 Pound of Fat?

Date:  11th January 2019         Category:  Mindset,

If You’ve Ever Been Upset That You ‘Only Lost a Pound’ You Need To Understand That Losing 1 Pound of Fat is a BIG DEAL!

 

One pound of fat is approximately 3500 calories. So if you were to eat around 350 calories more per day than your body uses, in just ten days, you’d gain one pound of fat.

 

If you kept putting on that amount of excess every day, you’d continue to gain weight until your body reached an equilibrium where the extra fat it’s maintaining burns the 350 extra calories. This simply means that you’d gain A Lot of Weight!

 

 

Lets Say, You Lose 350 Calories of Fat:

So if you were to lose around 350 calories of fat per day than your body uses, in just ten days, you’d lose one pound of fat!, kind of simple…right?

 

The danger for many people who are going through the weight loss process is that they don’t really understand what we’ve just covered here. They misunderstand the importance of the accumulative effect of losing ‘Just 1 Pound of Fat.’ And because of this, they can often ‘fall off the wagon’ and go back to their old lifestyle habits that got them fat in the first place.

 

So Congratulations for losing at least 1 pound of fat… You’re doing great, you’ve obviously made some positive lifestyle changes, and you need to appreciate what you’ve done so far… so go ahead and pat yourself on the back 🙂

Mindfulness and Meditation…Do They Really Work?

Date:  11th December 2018         Category:  Health, Mindset,

Well…yes, they do really work. The fact is, science shows definite health benefits for people who use mindfulness and meditation.

 

Before we dive in, let’s just make sure we’re on the same page when we say “mindfulness” and “meditation.”

 

“Meditation” is the ancient practice of connecting the body and mind to become more self-aware and present. It’s often used to calm the mind, ease stress, and relax the body.

 

Practicing “mindfulness” is one of the most popular ways to meditate. It’s defined as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.”

 

Mindfulness meditation is well studied in terms of its health benefits. I’m going to talk about a few of them below, and refer to it as “mindfulness” for the rest of the post.

 

The link between mindfulness and health = stress reduction

 

Have you heard the staggering statistics on how many doctors’ visits are due to stress? Seventy-five to ninety percent!

 

So, if you ask me, it makes a ton of sense that anything that can reduce stress can reduce health issues too.

 

Mindfulness reduces inflammation, reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and improves sleep. All of these can have massive effects on your physical and mental health.

 

I’ll briefly go over the research in three main areas: mood, weight, and gut health. But know that the research on the health benefits of mindfulness is branching into many other exciting new areas too.

 

Mindfulness For Mood

 

The most immediate health benefit of mindfulness is improved mood.

 

In one study, people who took an 8-week mindfulness program had greater improvement in symptoms according to the “Hamilton Anxiety Scale.” They were compared with people who took a stress management program that did not include mindfulness. It seems that the mindfulness training was key to lowering symptoms.

 

Other studies show that mindfulness has similar effects as antidepressant medications for some people with mild to moderate symptoms of depression.

 

While mindfulness isn’t a full-fledged cure, it can certainly help to improve moods.

 

Mindfulness For Weight

 

Studies show that people who use mind-body practices, including mindfulness, have lower BMIs (Body Mass Indices).

 

How can this be?

 

One way mindfulness is linked with lower weight is due to stress-reduction. Mindfulness can reduce stress-related and emotional overeating. It can also help reduce cravings and binge eating.

 

Another way it can work for weight is due to “mindful eating.” Mindful eating is a “non-judgmental awareness of physical and emotional sensations associated with eating.” It’s the practice of being more aware of food and the eating process. It’s listening more deeply to how hungry and full you actually are. It’s not allowing yourself to be distracted with other things while you’re eating, like what’s on TV or your smartphone.

 

People with higher mindfulness scores also reported smaller serving sizes of energy-dense foods. So it seems that more mindful eating = less junk.

 

Mindfulness about food and eating can have some great benefits for your weight.

 

Mindfulness For Gut Health

 

Recent studies show a link between stress, stress hormones, and changes in gut microbes (your friendly bacteria and other critters that help your digestion).In theory, mindfulness-based stress reduction could be a way to help prevent negative changes in the gut’s microbes.

 

Also, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) seems to be linked with both stress and problems with gut microbes. In one study, people with IBS who received mindfulness training showed greater reductions in IBS symptoms than the group who received standard medical care.

 

The research here is just starting to show us the important link between stress, gut health, and how mindfulness can help.

 

Conclusion

 

Science is confirming some amazing health benefits of the ancient practice of mindfulness meditation. For moods, weight, gut health, and more.

 

Do you regularly include it in your life? If so, have you seen benefits? If not, would you consider trying it?

 

Recipe (Relaxing Tea): Relaxing Herbal Teas

There are many relaxing herbal teas that would be great after meditation.

 

Try any of these by just adding boiling water:

  • Green tea (has a bit of caffeine, or you can choose decaffeinated green tea)
  • White tea (also has a bit of caffeine, or you can choose decaffeinated white tea)
  • Rooibos tea
  • Peppermint tea (or steep fresh peppermint leaves)
  • Ginger tea (or steep slices of real ginger)

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: You can add a touch of honey if desired.

 

BONUS Guided Meditation “Recipes” (videos, apps & podcasts)

 

How to Meditate video

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0y1Lu0L8nU&index=5&list=PLerdqrUWzOkd7m9HQj1yfJiI09pwVhPcD

 

How to Meditate in One Minute or Less Every Day video

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtG8No-MMOM&list=PLerdqrUWzOkd7m9HQj1yfJiI09pwVhPcD&index=10

 

Calm App

 

https://www.calm.com/

 

Headspace App (free 10-day trial)

 

https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app

 

Daily Meditation Podcast

 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/daily-meditation-podcast/id892107837?mt=2

 

Hay House Meditations Podcast

 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/hay-house-meditations/id955266444?mt=2

 

References:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditation

 

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/benefits-mindfulness-meditation/

 

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/mindful-eating-guide/

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3341916/

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4454654/

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26186434

7 Simple Ways To Eat More Mindfully

Date:  28th November 2018         Category:  Mindset, Nutrition,

Eating as mindfully as we might on holiday, for example, is not realistic for many of us, especially with work, busy families, physical routines, and all the other daily distractions.

 

Here are seven simple ideas to help you establish more mindful eating habits, and perhaps start to reconnect the body and mind again.

 

1. Tune in to your body’s signals

 

Rather than just eating on emotional cues (different for each of us, like sadness, anger, frustration, loneliness, stress or even just boredom) we can learn to tune into and be better listeners of our body’s actual hunger signals.

 

For example, is your stomach growling, is your energy low, are you feeling a little lightheaded, or even ‘hangry’?

 

2. Put food on a…plate

 

Too obvious? Think about this: eating out of a bag is not a very mindful practice! So, get in the habit of placing even snacks on a plate before eating them. This helps you to take notice of exactly what and how much you’re actually eating.

Also, acknowledge the time, effort and passion you put into creating your meal – consider all the ingredients, and the preparation and intention involved in getting the food from stove to plate!

 

3. Sit….at a table

 

Now that you’re eating from a plate, continue “formalising” your gastronomic experience by always sitting at a table.

 

This helps to pull your attention back to your food and to your eating habits. It has also been shown to dramatically reduce overeating – especially for those who tend to eat in front of the TV.

 

4. Absolutely, positively NO devices at the table

 

Now that you’re sitting at a proper table, designating the first few minutes of a meal for quiet, mindful practice can be beneficial – for everyone at the table. This includes putting away the devices and turning off the TV.

 

5. Slo-o-o-o-w down (and chew!)

 

Slowing down is one of the easiest, and most effective ways we can get our body + mind to coordinate in their signals of what we really need for nutritional purposes.

 

The body actually sends its “I’m full!” signal about 20 minutes after the brain – a little glitch in human physiology and also why it can be easy to overeat. But, if we slow down, we can give our body a chance to catch up to our brain, hear the signals properly, and eat the right amount.

 

Chewing more, and more slowly, is probably THE simplest and most effective way to begin developing the habit of eating mindfully.

 

6. Put down that fork!

 

Putting your fork down between bites of food reinforces your enhanced chewing habit, rather than mindlessly picking at your plate or preparing to shovel in your next bite. Yet another opportunity to really taste your food!

 

7. Make it more difficult to feed yourself

 

Making things more difficult is a great way to force yourself to pay attention to a more intentional act of eating – you can apply this to many areas of your life!

 

One way to up the challenge is to eat with your non-dominant hand. For 90% of us, that’s our left hand. While this may seem tedious to do at every meal, try it for breakfast or maybe just at snack time – or maybe at a dinner with friends for some entertainment value!

 

So, there you have it – seven super easy, but actionable ways you can start practicing mindfulness, especially when you’re eating. Your whole body will benefit from simply slowing down, and being more intentional and present while eating.

 

 

RECIPE

 

Tapping into ALL of your senses is a great way to be fully present while eating – because it isn’t just about taste. There are so many things to experience when we eat food — colours, textures, smells and even sounds. Let’s put this concept to the test!

 

The Mindful Raisin Challenge

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 plump, juicy raisins

How to eat raisins…mindfully:

  1. With raisins in hand, begin to explore them with all of your senses. Imagine that you’ve never seen a raisin before. Discover everything you can about them!
  2. Turn them around with your fingers and take note of the colours.
  3. Observe the texture – any softness, hardness, coarseness, or smoothness.
  4. Put the raisins up to your nose and take note of any aroma.
  5. Place the raisins close to one ear, squeeze them or roll them around, listening to any sounds.
  6. Now…the really fun part! Slowly put the 3 raisins in your mouth, noticing the sensation of your mouth beginning to water as you start to chew them.
  7. Chew the raisins slowly and with intention until they are virtually disintegrated.
  8. When you feel ready to swallow, note the sensations of swallowing the raisin – for example, sensing it moving down your throat and into your esophagus on its way to your stomach.
  9. Visualise this happening, and the energy and nourishment that this intentional eating is going to provide your body.
  10. Take a moment to congratulate yourself for taking this time to experience truly mindful eating!

How To Beat Negative Self-talk and Limiting Beliefs

Date:  26th October 2018         Category:  Mindset,

A little self-criticism is a normal shared human mental pattern, and can even be healthy for the most part. But, we can also just as easily open the door to that overly vocal “negative nelly” voice in our head.

 

However, if your negative voice is preventing you from doing what you want or need to do in your life, then it has to get booted back out the door. This kind of mental chatter has no right to set up shop in your mind.

 

Deeply held negative beliefs, especially when they’re firmly rooted in your unconscious, stress you out, damage relationships and can greatly limit your potential for health and happiness.

 

If you’re sick of having the same old conversation with negative nelly, then be sure to try some of the ideas I’ve outlined in this blog on how you can shift away from this damaging mindset, and finally release yourself of these limiting beliefs.

 

 

What are limiting beliefs?

 

Limiting beliefs are the little, but persistent voices that convince you that you can’t be or do or have something due to a perceived inadequacy in some area of your life or personality.

 

Your negative nelly narrative usually goes something like this:

 

I won’t ever be [this]…

 

I can’t do [that]…

 

I don’t have [this]…

 

I don’t deserve to be/have [this]…

 

And, one really common one that comes up for many people…

 

I am not good enough.

 

Let’s change up the narrative you may have been having with yourself for a very long time!

 

 

Overcoming negative self-talk and releasing limiting beliefs

 

Your limiting decisions have shaped everything you do, and they have likely prevented you from seeing opportunities and maybe even discouraged you from trying some things at all.

 

The good news is that it’s totally possible to permanently change a long-held belief — even the ones that are lifelong.

 

You only perceive what you believe, so your beliefs shape the very world you live in.

 

But, when your limiting beliefs come into question, your whole world can experience a shift for the better.

 

Here are a few ideas to help you silence your inner critic for good!

 

When you find yourself feeling “stuck”, or repeatedly spinning your wheels on the same speed bumps that life might be throwing your way, it’s always a great idea to seek out the help and guidance of a life coach, counsellor or therapist.

 

In addition to that, there are several things you can do on your own, in your own time and space…

 

→ The first step to releasing limiting beliefs is to shift your thinking into AWARENESS

 

Time to bring those disempowering thoughts out of hiding! Once you do that, know that you have choice.

 

However, just simply being aware or having knowledge of them is not enough, it’s just the first step. You must understand and truly believe that you have a choice about how to react to stressful situations.

 

→ Possible thinking, not just positive thinking

 

Your mind is a powerful thing, and when you fill it with thoughts of what’s possible (not just positive), your mindset will start to shift.

 

When you believe something IS possible, you will notice options and opportunities coming up for you that would simply not have be noticed if you did not believe it was possible.

 

With repetition, your positive feelings will intensify, the new neural connections will strengthen, and you’ll start to notice just how awesome this new “win” really feels!

 

Reminding yourself often of these little wins can further shift your mindset and help you embrace the bright side of your perceived “failures” or shortcomings. It also helps to simply accept that you are perfectly imperfect, just the way you are!

 

→ If you wouldn’t say it to your friend, don’t say it to yourself

 

Your limiting beliefs are assumptions you make about reality that often aren’t true. They aren’t helpful, and they certainly don’t serve you or the goals you want to achieve.

 

Ask yourself: would I say these negative, hurtful and unsupportive words to a friend?

 

→ Adopting empowering beliefs such as:

 

“It is not my job to please everyone else.”

 

“Just be me. There will never be anyone else like me.”

 

To swap out your limiting belief with a more empowering one, you’ll need to play a little mind game:

 

Convince yourself that the value you thought you were getting from the former limiting belief isn’t worthwhile, and that your new empowering belief can serve to fill this void.

 

→ Take some time and space that’s all yours

 

Ensure that you are creating space in your life for these new empowering beliefs. Take action and get into the habit of using your new beliefs as often as possible until they begin to feel comfortable, familiar and routine to you.

 

Just remember – you have the ability to harness the power of the possible! Overcoming negative self-talk and releasing yourself of limiting beliefs takes commitment, introspection and a good dose of self-confidence to make the necessary changes stick.

 

There’s the old saying that we view ourselves through a much harsher lens than the rest of world does. So, let’s try to bring our own lens back into focus.

Feeling Down? Need a Mood Boost? Eat This

Date:  4th July 2018         Category:  Mindset,

No question that what you eat can affect how you feel, right?

 

Mental health and brain health are complex. So are the foods we eat, and the ways our bodies interact with those foods.  While, we don’t know the exact mechanisms how food and nutrition help, we know a few ways food impacts our moods.

 

First, what we eat becomes the raw materials for our neurotransmitters. “Neurotransmitters” are biochemical messengers that allow our nerve cells to communicate (ever heard of serotonin?). They are important not just for thinking and memory, but also for mental health.

 

Second, what we eat affects our blood sugar. And having unstable blood sugar levels can contribute to mood swings.

 

Let’s talk about mood-boosting and mood-busting foods.

 

Mood-boosting foods

 

Some nutrient deficiencies look like mental health problems; this includes deficiencies in B-vitamins, vitamin D, and the mineral selenium. So, getting enough vitamins, minerals, (and other things like antioxidants) are key.

 

These nutrients not only reduce inflammation but also fuel the biochemical reactions in our bodies. Including those that create neurotransmitters. So make sure you’re eating a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. In fact, studies show that people who eat the most fruits and vegetables are the happiest.

 

Also pay special attention to vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin), as it’s not naturally occurring in too many foods. Selenium is an essential mineral found in Brazil nuts, walnuts, cod, and poultry. Try to add some of those to your weekly diet.

 

Second, make sure you get enough protein. Protein is your body’s main supply of amino acids. Amino acids are very important for mood issues because they are the building blocks of neurotransmitters. Protein also helps to regulate blood sugar. I recommend eating protein with every meal; this includes dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, poultry, and meat.

 

Third, complex carbohydrates like sweet potato and quinoa are great too. They allow better absorption of key amino acids like tryptophan. Tryptophan is used by your body to make serotonin (your “happy hormone”) and melatonin (your “sleepy” hormone). So, if you want to relax, try these in the evening.

 

Fourth, fish and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids (nuts, seeds, and algae) are also mood-boosting. Omega-3s are definitely “brain food” and may help to ease some symptoms.

 

FUN FACT: One study showed that giving one multi-vitamin and one omega-3  fish oil tablet per day to prison inmates reduced the incidence of violent behaviour by 50%!

 

Last but not least, make sure you’re hydrated. Mild dehydration can cause mood issues as well.

 

Mood-busting foods

 

You won’t be surprised to hear me say processed foods are mood-busters, right? One study suggests that eating a lot of processed foods devoid of nutrients can increase your chances of becoming depressed by as much as 60 percent! This is on top of the research that shows nutrient deficiencies can look like mental health problems.

 

“But it makes me feel good!”

 

Yes, some of these mood busters can make you feel better temporarily. Some big food companies study how to maximize the “pleasure” centers with the perfect amount of sugar, salt, and fat. Not to mention the color, texture, and taste; they can light up our taste buds and make us feel good… for now.

 

A few other things to avoid are:

  • Alcohol (nervous system depressant)
  • Caffeine (may worsen anxious feelings and ability to sleep)
  • Sugar (messes with your blood sugar and can worsen inflammation).

 

Conclusion

 

Bad moods can lead to bad eating habits; and, bad eating habits can lead to bad moods. If you need a mood boost, stick to minimally processed nutrient-dense whole foods. Things like fresh fruit and vegetables (including leafy greens), nuts and seeds, eggs, fish, poultry, and meat. Avoid common mood-busting foods like alcohol, caffeine, and sugar.

 

And remember, sometimes “feel good” junk foods, only make you feel good temporarily. So, try my newest recipe for fruit salad, below.

 

Recipe (mood boosting): Fruit Salad

 

Serves 6-8

 

Half a watermelon, cubed

2 handful’s of blueberries, fresh

2 handful’s of blackberries, fresh

2 handful’s of green grapes

 

Instructions

 

Place all fruit in a large bowl and gently toss.

 

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: Substitute or add any ready-to-eat fruit, like chopped peaches, or raspberries.

Creating a Mindset for Health

Date:  18th May 2018         Category:  Mindset,

So much of health is all about habits and actions, but where do these all stem from? What if we don’t have to make as many changes as we think we do? What if there was one powerful thing that makes a lot of difference?

 

That thing is mindset.

 

Mindset is sometimes called “the story we tell ourselves.” It’s our attitude toward things in our life. And we have control over our mindset.

 

And research is showing that it may be far more powerful than we thought.

 

Very interesting health mindset study

 

Here’s a quick story about a fascinating study.

 

Researchers at Stanford University looked at a bunch of people’s health and wellness lifestyle habits, as well as health markers.

 

What they found was that the people who thought they were a lot less active had a higher risk of death than the general public. And, they also had up to 71% higher risk of death than people who thought they were more active. Even if they actually weren’t less active!

 

How is this even possible that people who simply thought they were less active had higher risks, even if it wasn’t true?

 

There are a couple of ideas why. One is that maybe if we feel like we’re less active, it may make us feel more stressed. And stress isn’t good for our mental or physical health. Second, there may be a bit of a mind-body connection where the body embodies what the mind visualises.

Researchers don’t know why, but what matters is that there is a good mindset. So, let me give you a couple of strategies to boost your mindset for health.

 

Health mindset strategy 1 – Aim for good enough.

 

Almost no one eats perfectly seven days a week. It’s inevitable that obsessing over the quality and quantity of everything we eat or drink isn’t necessarily a great mindset to have.

 

It can bring on binging, shame, and guilt – none of these are great ways to get healthy. We want to get healthier by making better choices and building better habits. And these are usually best done incrementally – one step at a time.

 

So, instead of having a black and white approach where everything is good or bad, why not try aiming for good enough to empower ourselves to make better choices, instead of perfect choices.

 

Health mindset strategy 2 – Stop making tradeoffs

 

When you try to earn a gluttonous weekend by eating clean during the week, you’re making a tradeoff. You’re telling yourself that, as long as you’re good most of the week, you can go wild on the weekend.

 

And that’s not good because the mindset is jumping from one extreme to the other. You’re controlling what you do all week, and possibly thinking about how to indulge over the weekend. Just live as though you’re trying to do well every single day. Like you care about your health and wellness. You’re doing your best, and that’s good enough.

 

Conclusion

 

Mindset for health can be a powerful tool for better physical health. There’s a proven mind-body connection that research can measure.

 

Thinking positively, and dropping the black/white and good/bad labels, can help you reach your health goals.

 

How is your mindset for health? Which of these tips resonate with you the most? How are you going to implement them in your life? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Recipe (Morning mindset refresher): Chia Lemon Water

 

Serves 1

 

1 tbsp chia seeds

½ lemon, sliced

water

 

Instructions

 

Add the chia seeds & lemon to your favourite water bottle. Fill to top with water.

 

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: Shake before drinking.

9 Ways to Break Free From Stress

Date:  11th April 2018         Category:  Health, Mindset,

Can’t Meditate? Here are 9 Other Ways to Break Free From Stress

 

I know! Meditation is the secret sauce to take your wellness up to the status of the elite gurus. It’s the “be all, end all” for the health of your entire mind-body-spirit. It’s the absolute must-do that is the only path to beating the infamous health-buster called “stress.”

 

Don’t get me wrong; practicing meditation is an excellent approach to optimising your health and overall well-being. Meditation is great for relieving and dealing with stress, and all of the issues that come along with it. But it’s not the only way to get there.

 

The whole purpose of meditating is to calm the mind and emotions and relax our physical body too. And there is always more than one way to get there.

 

Let’s talk about some of the other things to try if meditation is not exactly your thing.

 

Journaling

Spending some time every day writing out your thoughts can help to relieve stress. You can use journaling to list the things you’re grateful for, this is known as gratitude journaling. You can use it as a “brain dump” to get all of your thoughts and ideas out of your head to soothe your mind. You can use “ever since” journaling to describe your life after you reach your goals.

 

Reading

It’s one thing to read to learn something that you have to learn, or to advance your knowledge. And, you can also read for pure pleasure. To get caught up in a story and just relax.

 

Colouring

Adult colouring books are all the rage! Not *that* kind of adult, but colouring pages with lots of detail and tiny areas to colour in. Something that can take you hours. You can always opt for something simple, like kids colouring pages too. The idea is the same. Repeated movements and focusing on the art you’re creating can help to clear your mind.

 

Knitting (or other crafts)

Knitting or other similar activities are a great way to de-stress; this is a skill that comes in all levels from beginner to advanced. You can choose a quick little rectangular scarf to make, or a detailed sweater. You can choose the pattern, size etc. Once you get into the flow of these skills, they’re great to do when you’re feeling stressed. Not only can they relax your mind to focus on your work, but you can end up warming yourself or others with the products you create.

 

Gentle exercise

Gently moving your body is another great way to de-stress. Activities that are slower and less intensive are ideal. Things like walking, yoga, stretching, or tai chi can all be great ways to relax your mind and improve your strength and balance at the same time.

 

Sleep in or take a nap

A common cause of increased stress hormones is lack of sleep. Too little sleep and too much stress go hand-in-hand. So, getting enough good quality sleep is important to help you break free from stress without having to meditate.

 

Pamper yourself

Maybe you love getting massages or mani/pedi’s? Maybe you love a long bath or lighting candles? Perhaps you can add your favourite relaxing music to the mix for a pampering evening? Spending some time to pamper yourself regularly is great for your mind, body, and spirit.

 

Spend time in nature

You don’t have to head away for a holiday to relax in nature. While a calm beautiful beach or cabin in the woods may be amazing, you don’t have to go that far. Even spending time on the grass at your local park or playground, or walking outside can do the trick.

 

Make time for people and pets you love

It’s so important to spend time with family, friends, and pets whom you love. New research is coming out about the health issues related to loneliness. Reach out and plan to hang out with your besties, or even offer to take your neighbour’s dog for a walk in the park.

 

Conclusion

Stress reduction is the goal. How you do it, be it meditation or otherwise, is not that important. What’s important is that you find what works for you.

Try journaling, reading, colouring, knitting, gentle exercise, sleep, pampering yourself, spending time in nature, and making time for people and pets you love.

Have other great ideas? Let me know what helps you de-stress in the comments below.

Recipe (calming): Lavender Essential Oil

Instructions to inhale directly

 

Add up to 6 drops of undiluted essential oil to a handkerchief/tissue and inhale occasionally. Use up to 3 times per day.

 

Instruction for steam inhalation

 

Add 3 – 12 drops of undiluted essential oil to a bowl of steaming water. Inhale slowly and deeply for 5 – 10 minutes. Use up to 3 times per day.

 

Tip: Lavender isn’t the only calming essential oil. You can also use angelica, balsam, benzoin, bitter orange, cedarwood, celery, chamomile, cornmint, cumin, curry, frankincense, grapefruit, jasmine, juniper, labdanum, laurel, lemongrass, marjoram, nutmeg, palmarosa, parsley, patchouli, peppermint, rose, rosewood, sage, sandalwood, scotch pine, spearmint, star anise, sweet basil, sweet orange, thyme, or ylang ylang.

The Stress Mess: How It Messes With Your Health

Date:  26th February 2018         Category:  Health, Mindset,

We all have some level of stress, right?

 

It may be temporary (acute), or long-term (chronic).

 

Acute stress usually won’t mess with your health too much. It is your body’s natural reaction to circumstances, and can even be life-saving.

 

Then, when the “threat” (a.k.a. “stressor”) is gone, the reaction subsides, and all is well.

 

It’s the chronic stress that’s a problem. You see, your body has specific stress reactions. If these stress reactions are triggered every day or many times a day that can mess with your health.

 

Stress (and stress hormones) can have a huge impact on your health.

 

Let’s dive into the “stress mess.”

 

Mess #1 – Increased risk of heart disease and diabetes

 

Why save the best for last? Anything that increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes (both serious, chronic conditions) needs to be discussed.

 

Stress increased the risk for heart disease and diabetes by promoting chronic inflammation, affecting your blood “thickness,” as well as how well your cells respond to insulin.

 

Mess #2 – Immunity

 

Did you notice that you get sick more often when you’re stressed? Maybe you get colds, cold sores, or even the flu more frequently when you are stressed?

 

Well, that’s because stress hormones affect the chemical messengers (cytokines) secreted by immune cells consequently, they are less able to do their jobs effectively.

 

Mess #3 – “Leaky Gut.”

 

Stress can contribute to leaky gut, otherwise known as “intestinal permeability.” These “leaks” can then allow partially digested food, bacteria or other things to be absorbed into your body.

 

The stress hormone cortisol can open up tiny holes by loosening the grip your digestive cells have to each other.

 

Picture this: Have you ever played “red rover?” It’s where a row of children hold hands while one runs at them to try to break through. Think of those hands as the junctions between cells. When they get loose, they allow things to get in that should be passing right though.  Cortisol (produced in excess in chronic stress) is a strong player in red rover!

 

Mess #4 – Sleep Disruption

 

Stress and sleep go hand-in-hand, wouldn’t you agree? It’s often difficult to sleep when you have very important (and stressful) things on your mind.

 

And when you don’t get enough sleep, it affects your energy level, memory, ability to think, and mood.

 

More and more research is showing just how important sleep is for your health.  Not enough sleep (and too much stress) aren’t doing you any favours.

 

Stress-busting tips

 

Reducing stressors in your life is an obvious first step.

Can you:

 

  • Put less pressure on yourself?
  • Ask for help?
  • Say “no”?
  • Delegate to someone else?
  • Finally, make that decision?

 

No matter how hard you try, you won’t eliminate stress altogether. So, here are a few things you can try to help reduce its effect on you:

  • Deep breathing
  • Meditation
  • Walk in nature
  • Unplug (read a book, take a bath)
  • Exercise (yoga, tai chi, etc.)
  • Connect with loved ones

 

Conclusion

 

Stress is a huge and often underappreciated factor in our health. It can impact your physical body much more than you might realise.

 

Stress has been shown to increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes, affect your immune system, digestion and sleep.

 

There are things you can do to both reduce stressors and also to improve your response to it.

 

You can ditch that stress mess!

 

Recipe (relaxing chamomile): Chamomile Peach Iced Tea

 

Serves 1

 

1 cup steeped chamomile tea, cooled

1 peach, diced

 

Place both ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Add ice if desired.

 

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: You can use fresh or frozen peaches.

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Can honestly say joining ultimate u fitness is one of the best life changes iv made …the classes are always different and high energy The meal plans are lush & Dan is always on hand with advice .. and everyone is so welcoming and warm atmosphere.

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For five years I’ve been yoyo dieting and trying different exercises none of them have worked. 5 weeks into ultimate fitness feeling better than i have in ages and nearly 2 sizes down.

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