Top 10 Tips for Weight Loss

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Top 10 Tips for Weight Loss

Weight loss and weight management is not a one-size fits all.  Bio-individuality is the concept that what works for one person may not work for another.  After all, all of those fad diets came into existence because they worked for someone, somewhere.  Does that mean that you should eat nothing but cabbage soup though, please no!

That being said, there are certain measures we can all take that will not only benefit our weight loss efforts, but also our overall health and wellness. 

  1. Drink Water- Hunger is often confused with dehydration.  Try and drink 8 glasses of water per day.  This will help you feel fuller and also slow down your “auto-pilot” mode when you normally reach for a snack.  Additionally, a glass of water before a meal or snack will help you eat less.  Drink up!
  2. Eat Carbs- Real Carbs- Carbs have mistakenly become the enemy.  We need carbs in our diet.  Our body uses it for energy and fuel.  However, not all carbs are created equal.  Replace refined carbohydrates like bread, pasta, pretzels, etc. with complex carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.  Complex carbs are high in fiber, which slows digestions and promotes stable blood sugar levels. 
  3. Choose Healthy Fats- A common misconception is that fats make you fat.  In reality, we cannot live without fat.  The body utilizes dietary fat for energy, healthy hair, skin, and nails, vitamin absorption, and normal every day bodily functions.  Choose good fats, like avocados, nuts, and seeds, fish, and extra virgin olive oil.
  4. Emphasize Lean Protein- Our bodies require protein to continuously renew and replenish our cells, stabilize blood sugar levels, and give us energy.  The richest sources of protein include animal products (meat, eggs, and fish) and plant sources (beans, nuts, and seeds).  You can be a vegetarian and get ample amounts of protein, but you also don’t have to be!  If choosing animal proteins choose learner proteins, like chicken, fish, and turkey, rather than red meat.
  5. Eat Breakfast- I know so many people who skip breakfast.  They’re not hungry, don't have time, the list goes on and on.  Ditch the excuses.  Eating a hearty and healthy breakfast will give your metabolism a jumpstart and help you better control cravings throughout the day.  When we miss our first fuel opportunity of the day, by mid-morning we are hungry and more likely to engage in mindless nibbling, snacking, overeating, and over compensating for any calories “saved” by breakfast.  
  6. Eat More Frequently- Try and balance your food intake throughout the day by eating smaller main meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and supplementing with healthy snacks.  Don’t forget to eat until you’re no longer hungry rather than eating until you’re full.  There’s a huge difference!  Our eyes are often bigger than our stomachs and we take HUGE portions at mealtime.  Eating regularly throughout the day will help cut down on mealtime portion size.
  7. Exercise your Body and Mind- Exercise has enormous benefits for your mind and body.  Decreased body weight, smaller waist circumference, lower resting heart rate and blood pressure, and endorphins to boost your mood- all results of exercise!  We’re all busy so exercise smart and efficiently rather than spending hours in the gym.
  8. Catch Some Zzz’s- Did you know that according to research, those who sleep five hours or less weight five pounds more than those getting at least seven h ours of sleep per night!  Lack of sleep can lead to irregular energy balance, metabolism and appetite.  Sleep more, eat and weigh less- awesome!
  9. Cook- Again, I know we’re busy and or you simply may hate cooking.  It feels tedious and requires clean up.  But isn’t it worth it if you can control portion sizes, quality of ingredients, and cut back on your intake of sodium, fat, and calories.  Check out some of super fast recipes for more tips, but get cooking in the kitchen!
  10. Keep Track of what you Eat- Be a label detective!  Regularly check labels.  My rule of thumb is if I can’t pronounce it, I probably shouldn’t be eating it.  The healthiest foods are those found just as nature intended- whole and unprocessed.  When was the last time you saw an ingredient list on an apple or stalk of celery?  Additionally aim for foods with lower sugar content.  Read more about sugar here and try and stay away from foods with no sugar, or 5 grams or less. 

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30-Day Transformation Program

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30-Day Transformation Program

Have you repeatedly tried to lose weight, unsure of what calories to cut and how to portion things?  Or maybe you’re eating well but consistently getting mysterious stomachaches or bloating.  Believe it or not, in just 30 days, these common frustrations can be fixed!

Starting October 1st, fellow health coach, Carley, and I will be leading a transformative 30-day group-coaching circle to shift your attitude and relationship with food.  This 30-day program is modeled off of the Whole30 Challenge.  As a group we will eliminate foods that are the most common causes of weight gain and digestive issues. 

Committing to this program will provide you with the proper tools, guidelines, motivation and support to encourage your success.  Along the way, you’ll align yourself with food that fuel you, and crowd out the ones that don’t.   Yes, you’ll lose weight, but it’s about so much more than that.

You will feel amazing, energized and motivated by your success, and the success of fellow participants.  If you’d like to stop counting calories, forget about portions and still become the best and healthiest version of yourself, this is for you Are you in?

For only $95 you will be lead in 5 group coaching sessions throughout the month.  Join with a friend and you can each join for $70.  Don't miss out on this life changing opportunity!

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Dear Sweet Tooth, I Hate You

For many people, myself included, sugar, and more specifically dessert, can be a vice, a weakness, what feels like a constant struggle.  There are times when you would kill for some chocolate.  Everyone looks like a walking Snickers bar…I get it.   

We assume that in order to be our best selves, we have to exercise for hours or restrict our caloric intake to that of a single piece of kale.   Don’t get me wrong, I do love kale!  But I also LOVE cookies.   I’m all about practicing balance and moderation.

Sugar is admittedly not great for you, and we have to be careful of the amount of sugar we are consuming (whether knowingly or not).   The more you cut out sugar, the less you crave it- it’s true.  Before opting for any traditional dessert I recommend trying to curb the craving with fruit.  Often times the natural sugars in fruit will subside your hankering for desserts with tons of refined sugars and/or artificial sweeteners. 

That being said, dessert can be OK!  For starters, there are plenty of healthy dessert alternatives.  To be clear, I do not mean the low-fat, low-sugar crap we often see on processed food labels.  These are not good alternatives.  Low-sugar means nothing more than a ton of artificial sweetener.  Low-fat usually has more sugar to compensate for flavor loss, therefore more calories than its full-fat counterpart.

Healthy dessert alternatives can be something like organic dark chocolate.  An “emergency” stock of dark chocolate is a great option to help subside your sweet tooth.  Dark chocolate, though an acquired taste, does have some nutritional benefits.  It is a great source of antioxidants!

If taking a small portion is a slippery slope for you, that’s ok.  In fact, it’s more than ok.  Recognizing and acknowledging these qualities can be a very powerful tool to your nutritional success.  For that reason, I prefer to have desserts where I can limit myself to a single serving size. For example, I whip up a batch of healthy chocolate chip cookies, and store them in the freezer.  When I want dessert I defrost only one cookie.

Don't live in a life of fear.  Dessert doesn’t have to be so scary or guilt-ridden.  Whether it's a Paleo cookie or splurging for the best, like a giant cookie from Levain, it’s important to listen to your body’s cravings.  I also believe that nutrition can’t be so constricting.  You will never truly succeed in a healthy, well-balanced life, if you are not able to live!  Part of this means enjoying yourself, the company you keep and all of life’s little and big celebrations, even if that means a few pieces of cake along the way!

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Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs

“Is butter a carb?” –Regina George

 For as long as I can recall, carbohydrates have been the enemy in the dieting world.  Like calories, all carbs are not created equal.  All carbs are not EVIL, in fact specific carbs, are a necessary part of healthy living.

The answer to which carbs are OK is both simple & complex.  This is my lame attempt at a pun, but seriously, carbohydrates can be broken down into two categories- simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.  These two categories are defined by their chemical makeup, and what your body does with them.

For the most part, simple carbohydrates are higher in sugars and lower in fiber, providing little value to your body.  This is generally the rule of thumb to determine if a carb is a “good carb,” or one that should be avoided. 

Here’s where it gets tricky, though.  Fruits and vegetables are technically simple carbohydrates- ugh what???  Before you swear off fruits & vegetables and start spreading rumors about having to eliminate vegetables to lose weight, let me explain. 

Fruits and vegetables ARE composed of basic sugars, but they vary drastically from other carbs in this category like cookies and cakes.  Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, which changes the way our body processes the carb.  The fiber slows down the digestion process and breaks down the sugars, making it more like a complex carb in digestion.

Complex carbs are made of longer chain sugars, which takes the body more time to break down and digest.  Complex carbs are most commonly whole grain carbohydrates like brown rice, quinoa, lentils, etc.  Again, just to avoid any rumors or confusion, remember that fruits and vegetables react more like complex carbs.

The bottom line: carbohydrates serve as you body’s primary source of energy.  It is not a matter of avoiding carbs but instead, choosing the right ones.  

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Fresh Start to Fall - The Whole30 Challenge

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Fresh Start to Fall - The Whole30 Challenge

On the heels of a summer filled with ice cream and rose, Labor Day marks a harsh snap back to reality.  While you should have no regrets about rose all day, maybe your jeans are feeling a little tight and you’re craving a fresh start to fall.

Enter the Whole30 Challenge.  Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes), while “healthy” foods, could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. 

If you’re reading this to find the perfect post-summer diet, just stop reading now.  This is not a diet.  Let me repeat- this is not a diet. As a health coach, I am generally very anti-diet, in favor of lasting lifestyle changes.  I resort to the Whole30 Challenge as a good food ass kicking, when I really need to knock my sugar and junk food cravings

I know it sounds like a diet because you’re removing, well basically everything.  But it is actually an eye opening, food enlightening experience.  The first time I completed the challenge, I was shocked at how much delicious, whole foods, there really are to eat, once you remove packaged and processed crap.  I was also appalled at how many foods contain sugar, unnecessarily.  Sure, you’re usual sugar suspects like cookies and candy are expected on the list but what about chicken sausage, and roast turkey?  Sugar??  Yup! 

You learn to be completely aware of what you’re consuming and how these removed foods may have been affecting your body.  When stripped from your diet completely, your body can heal and recover.  It’s like pushing the “reset” button on your metabolism.

It sounds crazy, like the extremist equivalent of a foodie, but it completely changed my life.    In just 30 days, it changed the way I felt and thought about food. 

This is not to say it’s easy.  It takes a lot of effort and preparation to avoid some of these foods.  You have to carefully check labels and ask questions, especially when eating out.  But you can do it!  And you’ve done things that are MUCH harder.  To quote the Whole30, “It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth – the only physical body you will have in this lifetime.”

Even though I’m a health coach, I’ll be the first to admit that this is challenging and I am inclined to “slip.”  To avoid this and encourage myself to complete the challenge, I recommend finding something or someone to hold you accountable while doing it.  This could mean doing it with a friend or blogging about it (like I am doing now), so everyone knows you’re doing it.   

And now you know, I’m doing the Whole30 challenge again.  I am responsible for my own health and I’m taking it into my hands for the next 30 days.  You all are holding me accountable, so thank you!

Over the next 30 days, I will share my challenges, recipes, and more.  If you have any questions or comments, please email me, or post below.  I also encourage you to check out the resources on the Whole30 website.

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by Chloe- 100% Vegan, 100% Delicious

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by Chloe- 100% Vegan, 100% Delicious

If you haven't already, make a date to check out by Chloe.  Having only opened a few weeks ago, there are consistently lines out the door for lunch and dinner!  This new West Village staple is truly unique.  By Chloe is a fast-casual concept offering a plant-based, vegan menu- serving real food that does not sacrifice any flavor or satisfaction.  And for all you vegan skeptics, fear not.  This not your granola-crunchy, hippy dippy, kind of restaurant.  The menu features popular items such as a Guacamole Burger and Pesto Meatballs.

Chef Chloe Coscarelli is the brains and talent behind by Chloe.  A lifelong vegetarian, and vegan for ten years, Chloe is an award-winning chef and best-selling cookbook author.  Chloe first earned national attention after winning Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, as the first vegan chef to win a culinary competition on national TV!

I sat down with Chef Chloe to talk about her new restaurant, favorite foods, diet, and more!


How did you find your passion for food & cooking?  Being in the kitchen with my mom growing up!

Walk us through “a day in the life.”  What does your daily routine and diet consist of?  Most days now it consists of being at by Chloe - in the kitchen, interacting with customers.  When I can, I try to make it to a yoga class or just go for a long walk.  Luckily being at by Chloe, I’m never at a loss for delicious food!

What are you favorite foods? Vegan Mac & Cheese and cupcakes

What are the most popular items at by Chloe?  Avocado Toast & our Guac Burger

What’s your favorite item on the menu?  Our collection of homemade ice creams- they are made from almond milk, coconut milk, and agave!

By Chloe highlights locally sourced ingredients, what is your favorite ingredient right now?  Local sweet corn!! I like it grilled, in soup, salad, or even ice cream!

What made you decide to become a Vegan?  I was a vegetarian at a very young age and have been an animal lover my whole life.  Once I made the connection between animals and food, I went vegan and never looked back.

What tips would you give someone trying to be a vegan or vegetarian? Don’t get caught up in the labels and don’t overthink it.  Take it one day, or one meal, at a time and go from there.

What tips do you have for making things healthy without sacrificing flavor?  Fresh herbs and lots of avocado is the key to making anything rich and flavorful!

What’s a staple in your kitchen at home?  Fresh coconuts- have to hydrate!

Can you weigh in on the two opposing schools of nutrition- low carb vs. low fat?  Not a fan of low carb at all.  Not a fan of low fat either…hello avocado and cashews!  I like to go low meat and low dairy- viola!  You can eat everything delicious in that diet. 

 

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Food Over Exercise

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Food Over Exercise

Exercise is so, so, so important!  Please do not misconstrue what you’re about to read, as any sort of knock on exercise.  Exercising is incredibly beneficial to our health and well being, whether you want to lose or maintain weight.

That being said, exercise is not a get out of jail free card when it comes to food.   Ever notice that ironically, or strategically, there are often bakeries, fast food chains, etc. “conveniently” located next to gyms and fitness studios?  There is a serious fallacy that exists today about calories in vs. calories out.  You can spend endless hours in the gym, but poor nutrition will always thwart your weight loss efforts.

If you haven’t seen the documentary ‘Fed Up,’ I highly recommend it.   This film poignantly highlights that today, more and more Americans are exercising, and yet obesity rates still continue to rise.

So is eating less more important than exercising more?  I don't think it’s eating less so much as eating well.  Exercising can increase your metabolism and thus fuel your appetite.  That’s a good thing!  But how you satiate your hunger will make all the difference.  It is important to stick to whole, unprocessed foods. 

In order to not derail all of your hard work in the gym, it is important to eat clean in the kitchen.  No workout can compensate for a diet lacking in lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables.

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The Skinny on Teatoxes

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The Skinny on Teatoxes

I’ve recently gotten a lot of questions regarding the “truth” about tea detoxes, aka “teatoxes.”  It’s all over Instagram and celebrity feeds, so I must admit, even I was intrigued.

Shape Magazine has a great expose on the “power” of such teas.  The main takeaway- “when it comes to detoxification, tea alone isn’t enough for the job.”

Tea can be extremely beneficial in its hydrating nature and digestive aid so I’m not knocking the power of tea.  However, tea, no matter what kind, can truly detoxify your body if you don’t detoxify your diet first!

All the tea in the world won’t undo the damage of processed and fried foods.  In order to truly detoxify your body, crowd out processed and packaged foods by increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.   

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Deconstructing Cravings

If I don’t have chocolate this second, I might die.  Sound familiar?  Cravings can come on strong and with a vengeance! 

Many people view cravings as weakness, but really they are important messages meant to assist us in maintaining balance.  Our bodies are SMART!  These cravings are no accident. 

Think about it?  We instinctively know when to go to sleep, and when to wake up.  Our body maintains a temperature of 98.6 degrees, our heart never missing a beat and our lungs always breathing. 

Instead of beating ourselves up for craving certain foods, we must learn to deconstruct it.  Understand what your body wants and why?

Below are some of the primary causes of those crazyyy cravings:

  1. Primary Food Imbalance- Sometimes we are fed not by food, but by the energy in our lives.  This “emotional food,” if you will, is what we refer to as Primary Food.  If our primary food is imbalanced, eating can be used as a substitute to fill any of these voids.  Being dissatisfied in a relationship, stressed at work, bored with your daily activity, etc. may all cause emotional eating and cravings.
  2. Hydration- We often confuse a lack of water, as mild hunger.  As soon as a craving hits, try drinking a full glass of water.  You may surprise yourself and find that the craving no longer persists.
  3. Nutrient Imbalance- Inadequate nutrients often produce strong cravings.  If your diet is lacking in any particular nutrient (i.e. protein, fiber, fat, etc.) this deficiency can cause unique cravings.  Diminished nutrients can cause cravings for non-nutritional forms of energy, such as caffeine and sugar
  4. Food Extremes- If your diet or meal consists of an abundance of foods/beverages on one side of the flavor spectrum, you often experience cravings for the exact opposite, soon after.  For example, if you eat a large portion of excessively salty foods, you will most likely soon crave sweets due to this flavor imbalance. 
  5. Hormonal- If it’s that time of the month, in addition to sometimes acting like a raging lunatic (GUILTY), cravings may be increasingly heightened particularly for sweet and/or salty foods
  6. Habit- This seems the most basic but is sometimes not the most obvious.  If we follow every dinner with a sweet treat (even small), our dinners begin to feel incomplete without dessert, causing habitual cravings. 
  7. Self Sabotage- This craving cause goes beyond food and originates within our psyche.  When things are going extremely well, sometimes a self-sabotage syndrome occurs. We crave foods that throw us off and thwart all of our hard nutritional work. 

 Now that you are aware of these primary causes, when a craving strikes, take a second and try to decode the real reason behind your dire “need” for chocolate. 

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This is Your Brain on Sugar

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This is Your Brain on Sugar

This is your brain on sugar.  Sound familiar?  This is your brain on drugs.  Turns out it might not be as far off as we think.  Recent studies show that sugar is actually more addictive than cocaine or heroin!  We all know “crack is whack.”  Well, news flash- so is sugar!

When I was young, my dad taught me that we had two separate stomachs, one for dinner and one for dessert.  No matter how full you are there is always room for dessert.  Thanks a lot dad…

The scary thing is, this ridiculous notion, happens to be somewhat true.  Of course we do not have two separate stomachs but one of the many dangers of sugar is that it fails to turn off our appetite hormones.  Fructose (found in sugars and naturally occurring sweeteners) does not trigger the release of leptin or insulin, key hormones that control appetite and satiation.  So, while my dad’s separate stomach theory didn’t exactly pan out, he was onto something when he said no matter how full you are, you can still be hungry.

For far too long, I took these “words of wisdom” literally.  No matter how full I was, I always had dessert.  When I thought I needed something sweet after my meal, what I really needed was sugar rehab!     

Detoxing from all sugar and sweeteners is no easy feat!  Not only do we crave it like crazy, but nowadays it seems to be hidden in EVERYTHING.  Take a look at any label.  It doesn't even have to be obvious like candy or cookies.  Guaranteed, there’s still probably some sugar.   I started finding sugar in the most unassuming of places- tomato sauce, chicken sausage, deli meats, the list goes on. 

Furthermore, labels list sugar in grams.  What a meaningless measurement for a society that measures sugar in teaspoons.  So let’s decode this gram measurement.  4g are equivalent to one teaspoon.  Now take a look back at these labels and you’ll realize that one serving size contains 5, 10, even 15 teaspoons of sugar?  Would you sit there and eat 15 sugar packets in one sitting.  I hope not, so why are we doing it in our food?

I encourage all of you to channel your elementary school days in D.A.R.E. class and turn the cold shoulder to sugar!

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The Difference Between Primary and Secondary Foods

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The Difference Between Primary and Secondary Foods

When we talk about foods we typically think of the actual food on our plate; what we consume to nourish and fuel our bodies. 

As a certified health coach, we take a holistic approach to health.  In addition to examining traditional aspects of nutrition and fitness, we also consider “outside factors” that equally influence our health and wellness.   

Primary Foods consist of these “outside factors” that satiate our hunger for life as opposed to hunger for food.  Examples of primary foods include healthy relationships, fulfilling careers, and regular physical activity.  Sometimes we are fed not by food, but by the energy in our lives.        

The Institute of Integrative Nutrition teaches, “When primary food is balanced and satiated, your life feeds you, making what you actually eat secondary” hence the distinction between primary and secondary foods.

Therefore balanced nutrition not only involves the physical food on your plate but also the emotional.  If you’re not healthy, or something is feeling “off,” consider both primary and secondary foods.

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Navigating Nutrition in the Office

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Navigating Nutrition in the Office

For those of you who work in an office setting, myself included, nutrition can be hard to manage.  There are a variety of factors that make healthy eating a challenge.  Today I’ll tackle two of the most common issues in the office: eating a well-balanced meal & snacking!

If you have a kitchen and/or storage space in your office this can be a blessing or a curse.  Unlike in the comfort of your own kitchen, most likely you are not selecting the office food supply.  Whereas at home you can more easily avoid temptation by simply not keeping it in the kitchen, at the office, such temptations may be staring you right in the face.  On the other hand, you can use this space to keep all of your “cooking” essentials to create a delicious and nutritious meal!

In what I like to refer to as Top Chef, Office Edition, I bring in my own groceries for breakfast and lunch to whip up quick, easy and healthy meals!  Not only is this is a huge money saver but its also healthier than any takeout options.  Great breakfast ideas include oatmeal topped with berries and nut butter or chia seed pudding.  As for lunch, I stock up on lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.  Basically, anything you like for lunch (salad, sandwich, etc.).  I prefer to put the meal together at work, to avoid soggy lettuce and schlepping Tupperware everywhere.    

Now that you’ve become a Top Chef Master in the office, let’s take a look at snacking.  Many people are victims of eating mindlessly at their computer, completely unaware of how many calories they’re consuming.  My advice is to PORTION YOUR SNACKS.  Instead of bringing an entire bag (of anything) over to your desk, take out a single portion.  This will ensure that you are not mindlessly eating more than you intended.  Another key is to balance your snacks.  What do I mean by this?  Include a protein in your snack to keep you fuller, longer.  Some healthy snack options include carrots and hummus, celery and almond butter, fruit and nuts, etc.

We spend a majority of our time in the office (working 9-5? –Hah I wish!) so it is imperative that we maintain our healthy habits!  There are definitely challenges when it comes to navigating nutrition in the office but it’s no excuse to eat poorly. 

 

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Portionology

At the core of every diet is the recommendation of adding portion control into your daily routine.  I’m not a fan of “diets” but I do believe that proper portion control can have a positive impact on your ability to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  While portion control and awareness is the easiest way to lose weight, it is also one of the hardest practices to implement.  Here are 8 tips to better portion control:

  1. Know Your Triggers- There are certain things that set us off.  They may not be the same things for everyone but that’s why identifying your own triggers can help you plan ahead and avoid overeating.  For me, I’m the family “baker.”  Every holiday, I found myself surrounded by (and tasting) cookie dough, cake batter, pies, you name it.  Knowing that this is one of my triggers does not mean I have to stop baking.  Instead, I now keep a glass of water nearby.  Rather than reaching for spoonfuls, or fistfuls (if I’m being realistic), of cookie dough, I now taste only for quality control and then drink water
  2. Chew- When I say chew, I don’t mean just enough to swallow.  I mean, really chew enough to break down your food.  Chew, and then chew some more.  This aids in digestion, slows down your meal, and helps you realize sooner that you’re full.  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that people that chew more, consumed about 12% fewer calories and had lower levels of ghrelin, the so-called hunger hormone produced in the stomach
  3. Crowd Out- A common misconception is that portion control means tiny portions of everything.  Quite the contrary!  Add volume without the calories by eating more vegetables and leafy greens.  You will fill up on the “good stuff” and eat less sugary or fattening foods.
  4. Drink Water- Drink a glass of water before eating and continue to drink throughout the meal.  Try alternating bites with sips.  Not only can eating while dehydrated make it harder to digest food, but you may also feel hungrier.
  5. Plate Your Food- Sounds fancy, I know.  Before you start studying the Food Network, I’m only recommending that you serve food on your plate rather than eating family style.  This way, you’re less likely to keep picking at food left out on the table, long after you’re full.
  6. Know the Serving Size- A fellow friend and health coach recently introduced me to these portion controlled Tupperware containers.  This is a perfect way to learn the proper portions of various food groups.  If you don’t want to buy these, no problem.  Use smaller plates and ramekins (instead of cereal bowls), for fruit, desserts, etc.  You can also make your own single serving snack packs.  When you bring bulk food home, portion it out into small Ziploc bags, maintaining freshness and guaranteeing you eat the proper portion.
  7. Set the Scene- Sit down and avoid distractions when you’re eating.  This goes for meals and snacks!  Try not to eat while scrolling through your Instagram feed or working on your computer.  Focus on your food and you will enjoy it more and avoid consuming excess calories by eating mindlessly.
  8. Know When to Stop- Instead of eating until you’re full, eat until you’re satisfied.  There’s a difference!  If after 20 minutes (the tame it takes to digest your food) you’re still hungry, guess what?  You can always have more!  More often than not, you will have eaten the perfect amount and cut down on calories.

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Counting Calories

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Counting Calories

I recently saw a feature on the Today Show about Calorie Counting.  With the availability and accessibility of apps like My Fitness Pal and Lose It! calorie counting is becoming an increasingly popular way to lose weight.

I’m just going to come out and say it, I HATE calorie counting.  I know it works for some people, and that’s great.  If you’ve lost weight by calorie counting than keep up the good work!  Especially in the field of fitness and nutrition, it’s so important to acknowledge that what works for one person may not work for another person, and that’s ok!  

My issue with calorie counting, in addition to it feeling very tedious to me, is that it can easily give people the wrong impression about food and the calories they're consuming.  Simply put, all calories are NOT created equal.  Your body responds differently to different foods.

Equal calorie consumption of cookies or kale will not have equal results.  Just looking at quantity alone, you get way more bang for your buck with the kale.  One small chocolate chip cookie is 132 calories.  Not terrible, but 132 calories of kale is 4 cups.  That’s a lot of kale.  I don’t think I’ve ever eaten 4 full cups of kale in one sitting and I LOVE kale.

Additionally, refined carbohydrates, like those found in cookies, will cause your blood sugar level to spike, signaling your body that it needs to store fat cells.  Kale, however, is quite the contrary.  It is full of fiber and as such aids in digestion.  Kale is filled with so many nutrients, vitamins, folate and magnesium.  Per calorie, kale even has more iron than meat and more calcium than milk.  Cookies?  Not so much.

Don't get me wrong; I’m not saying that if you’re craving a cookie, kale will suffice.  That’s a joke right?  But instead of painstakingly tracking every calorie, I recommend focusing on GOOD calories and portion size. 

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