I frequently get asked what my approach is to nutrition counseling so with the New Year approaching, I wanted to layout my philosophy for any new clients that might be looking to get help making their healthy resolutions for 2013 a reality.
My Eat2Win Approach
Food = Fuel. I prefer to focus on what foods I should be eating versus those I shouldn’t eat. Your body is like a race car and it needs special fuel to perform at its very best. It requires protein to build and repair muscle which you get from lean meats and legumes. It requires carbohydrates to give you energy and support your workout routine which you get from whole grains. It especially requires antioxidants which work to repair your body’s daily build up of oxidation (think rust on a race car) and ward off disease which you get from maximizing your fruit and vegetable intake. If you spend your time focusing on what you need to eat fuel your body, you’ll feel more satisfied, feel less deprived and have more energy to get through your day.
Get up and move. Making healthy eating choices is only half the battle. You need to exercise or find someway to add motion to your life. Everyone is on their own pace here. Add more to what you are doing if you want to see change. If you are starting at zero then anything counts – take the stairs or walk around the block a few times after dinner. If you are more of a recreational athlete, then it’s about consistency and cross-training to stay healthy and prevent injury. Also don’t forget to fuel your workouts. You wouldn’t drive your race car around on empty and you shouldn’t be exercising without pre-fueling, eating post-exercise for recovery and hydrating to maximize your workouts.
Self-accountability. When you solicit my services, we join in a professional and personal relationship. I’m here to help you meet your goals. Over the course of our relationship my role may shift from nutrition expert to counselor to cheerleader to coach. I will give you the knowledge and tools to help you be accountable to your goals. However, I can’t make you change. No matter how much I might want to “will” you to change, you’re the only one who can decide to get out of bed at 5:30 am to get your workout in or keep yourself honest when you are eyeing the portions on your plate. You need to be ready for change. Change has to come from within yourself. You need to be accountable to yourself to make change happen.
Small, lasting changes. Making healthy lifestyles changes is a commitment, but it isn’t one that requires drastic, body-shocking changes when the clock strikes midnight. It starts with a nudge here and there…maybe eating out one day less a week or going meatless on Mondays. Then you lean in a little more by drinking less soda and more water or signing up for the yoga class you been meaning to try. Once these changes feel more routine, you can turn things up even more by cooking at home more or working to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. The bottom line is that we are talking about small, sustainable changes that don’t scare your body into retreat, have nothing to do with dieting and have a chance of becoming habit.
Moderation versus deprivation. My approach is also NOT about extremes. It’s not about cutting something out of your life completely. There is always room for your favorite crutch, it just requires portion control and self-accountability. Working in extremes typically means the change in not sustainable (think No Carb) and then you end up beating yourself up or overindulging when you fall off the wagon. Having something you really enjoy in moderation and being mindful when you indulge will mean you feel satisfied and not guilty at the end.
If you like what you have read and need some help reaching your healthy goals, we would probably make a good team. Give me a call or drop me a note and let’s discuss how we make 2013 the year you made your health and well-being a top priority!
For the first time ever (with the exception getting a stomach bug on my last trip to India), I came back from vacation without gaining weight. It wasn’t exactly an accident, but didn’t make myself crazy about counting calories either. Here are a few simple tips that worked for me and hopefully you can use on your next vacation.
- Prioritize exercise amenities (and use them!) – What do you look for when you research hotels? Free wi-fi, a lovely view? Add whether or not your hotel has an exercise room to your top list of priorities. They are becoming more common, but you can easily review the hotel amenities on your travel or hotel website to confirm. This of course means you also have to prioritize packing your workout clothes. They take up a lot of room, but the results (more energy and less jet lag in addition to weight maintenance) were worth it. Try to get your workout out of the way in the morning so you can have the rest of the day for fun. When that doesn’t work, head for a walk or to the gym when travel companions are napping to get your energy boost. Working out on vacation is a must when you are gone longer than a week (I learned that the hard way). It helps you maintain your muscle mass, keep your weight in check and restart your workout routine when you get back home since you won’t be starting from scratch.
- Hoof it – One of the best ways to explore a new city is on foot. You stumble upon the best finds and it helps you get oriented with your new surroundings. You’re going to burn extra calories while getting a first-hand view of your vacation destination. You can look up walking tours of your destination before you go for a little guidance. Be sure and pack comfortable walking shoes. I cannot say enough about my Teva Kayenta Walking Sandals. I have them in Walnut and find I can wear them with shorts, skirts and dresses. They are comfortable for a long day of hitting the pavement and look stylish as well.
- Eat local – This is always a great idea whether you are at home or on vacation. We visited one of the local markets in Istanbul and found a dazzling array of fresh fruits and vegetables. Figs were in season so I snacked on those between meals. We ate local specialities (even when they looked strange) which were made with fresh local ingredients. Eating local on vacation means that you are going to taste the best your destination has to offer and typically enjoy a high nutrient content meal since your food hasn’t had to travel a long way to your table. Every location has its specialities, but for those who tend to gravitate to tropical destinations (like me!) you are mostly likely going to get your fill of juicy fruits and vegetables and the freshest seafood.
- Go meatless – I didn’t follow this 100% of the trip, but when I had the option, I opted out of meat at most meals. This was easy to do given our destinations of India and Istabul, but it’s still a choice you make. The vegetarian dishes were so flavorful, I didn’t feel like I was missing out. When I did have “meat”, I opted for the fresh seafood that was plentiful and better prepared since they were local specialities.
- Indulge in moderation – One of the reasons I’m a little surprised we didn’t gain weight is that we didn’t really deprive ourselves of indulgences. I had my champagne cocktails and ate my baklava, but I was careful to do it in moderation. Dessert was still a special treat, the ice cream was portioned to one scoop and the baklava was bite-size. Drinks were alternated with water and were limited to prevent hangovers and ruin the following day’s workout and sightseeing.
- Give yourself a break and enjoy your vacation – It’s about enjoying your vacation not deprivation. So if you go a little crazy one day (like I did on my food tour – more to come on that!) don’t beat yourself up over it. Reset your intentions for the next day to get a little more exercise and listen to your hunger/fullness cues. If the scale moves a little higher than it was before you left, that is OK too. Look back on your wonderful memories and then make a plan to double-down on your workouts and get back on track with healthful eating.
I hope you have enjoyed your summer vacations as much as I have and that you can use these travel tips on your next vacation (or staycation!).
Leave me a comment if you have your own healthy travel tips that you would like to share!