As we go through the holidays, we enjoy traditions that have been with us for as long as we can remember. Shortbread cookies, gingerbread houses, candy canes, egg nog, etc.
We know this stuff isn't good for us (and I'll save the details for another post) but the memories behind them are ones that we cherish every year.
So, if you are going to indulge in the treats of the Christmas season, please do two things for me. One, have the cookie, sit down, and truly enjoy it, savour it, don't eat it on the run. And two, increase your intake of anti-cancer foods. Your body will thank you for it.
Cravings are enemy #1 when it comes to weight loss.
It doesn’t matter how strong willed you think you are, will power is no match for our body’s physiology. When hormones are out of whack, ignoring the intense call for whatever sweet or salty treat floats your boat is next to impossible.
This time of year is even harder. A friend told me she was standing in line in a clothing store buying and one of the sales lady’s was walking up and down the line with turtles chocolate.
Who doesn’t love those little damn chocolates? She had her safety candy with her and she popped that lemon candy into her mouth before she could even say no thank you. Of course she could have had the chocolate.
There is NOTHING wrong with having 1 delicious chocolate turtle but here’s the thing…you're going grocery shopping after, or to an open house, and you certainly don’t want the chocolate to trigger a desire for anything else.
So if you are finding the holiday temptations challenging and want 3 proven ways to beat cravings, so saying "no thank you" isn’t painful, then implement my suggestions below.
You should know that controlling cravings has everything to do with balancing your hormones through choosing strategic foods… you are NOT a bad person for caving into a craving. Physiology trumps will power every time.
Tip #1: Eat breakfast within 30 minutes to an hour of waking up.
Breakfast sets the hormonal tone for the day. If you skip breakfast then your blood sugar levels drop around 10:00am causing a craving for something sweet. The blood sugar rollercoaster continues all day.
Even if you aren’t a breakfast eater grab a hardboiled egg or a handful of nuts to stabilize blood sugar.
Tip #2: Have 10 grams of fiber with your lunch.
Fiber is as close to a magic pill as you can get. It helps to keep you feeling full, stabilizes your blood sugar levels and helps excrete harmful toxins through your bowel movements.
10 grams of fiber suggestions:
2 tbsp of chia seeds
½ cup of beans or lentils
1.5 cups of berries
Tip #3: Have applesauce with your meal.
Our taste buds like a variety of flavors at meals and the sweet flavor isn’t typically one of them. Try having 1/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce with your lunch or dinner. The sweetness of the applesauce will help reduce the desire to have something sweet after dinner.
Please don’t ignore your cravings thinking they are normal. It’s your body’s way of letting you know something is out of balance. Pay attention to when you crave and what you crave. The one thing I know for sure is that in the absence of food cravings it’s much easier to make properly portioned food choices… even when there are chocolate turtles around.
If you’d like to discuss your food cravings, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or follow me on twitter: @cheryl_wahl
Like me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/northshorenutrition
In good health,
Cheryl Wahl, RHN, Personal Trainer
It’s been proven that sleeping through the night will help you lose weight. The more up and down you are throughout the night, the more likely you are to not only not lose weight- but you’re more prone to gain weight. This is related to a hormone level reaction. Waking up throughout the night disrupts how this hormone reacts and is made within the body, thus leading to weight gain. Researchers believe (and have proven over and over again in studies) that sleeping throughout the night helps to regulate all hormones, improving your metabolism and promoting weight loss.
Ok, this is easier said than done- right? Wrong. You can get a good night’s sleep. In fact, sleeping through the night is not only good for your waistline, it’s great for productivity purposes, too. Here are my seven tips for getting more sleep each and every night!
#1. Don’t drink anything caffeinated after three in the afternoon. This sounds obvious, but it’s hard to do. Coffee, green tea (well, any tea), and sodas (which you shouldn’t drink anyway) are all sources of caffeine and beverages we’ve learned to drink well into our favorite primetime programs. Cutting off caffeinated drinks after three in the afternoon will improve your ability to go to sleep on time and stay asleep throughout the night.
#2. Keep your bedroom at 68°F and dark. This temperature is scientifically proven to help people sleep through the night. The warmer your room, the harder it will be to sleep. And bright lights or bright paint will not help your ability to sleep. Think ‘bat cave’ at a cool and crisp sixty-eight degrees.
#3. Have a ten minute bed time routine. This will help you psychologically prepare for sleep. Don’t just fall asleep whenever. Set a time and then setup a routine that allows your brain and body to cool down before you attempt to sleep. Some people write down what they’re thankful for, ten minutes before bed time, others pray, some people sit quietly and mediate. Do whatever works for you that doesn’t involve checking your phone or email.
#4. Take the clock out of your room. You don’t need this. You think you do, you don’t. Trust me and try it for a week. Your body will naturally know when to wake up once on schedule. So, put the alarm clock down the hall or outside the door until you can get your body trained to wake up on time and without the clock. Having a clock in your room adds a subconscious pressure that awaits tomorrow’s stress. Don’t think about time or tomorrow, remove the clock and focus on being present in your bed.
#5. Don’t eat heavy meals after seven at night. This will help you avoid digestive issues that will have you back and forth to the bathroom during the night. It also helps avoid foods that are likely to disrupt sleep. The same goes for drinking. Try not to drink anything (including water) an hour before your bed time to avoid unwanted interruptions.
#6. Shut off the phone. Many smart phones have sleep modes. Set your emergency numbers and ringtones to how you desire. Shut off email and other non-essential alerts. Make sure the phone is across the room where you can’t see, hear or sense it.
#7. Don’t go to the gym at night. Working out releases hormones and dopamine in the brain, which can make you feel great and even ambitious. So ambitious that you can’t seem to ‘settle down’ and you just have to send an email, plan out an idea or concept, etc. Plan your fitness routine for the mornings. Even if you have to wake up early, getting to the gym or walking early in the morning or late in the afternoon is far better than working out past dinner time.
Sleeping consistently is a crucial step in any fitness or weight loss routine. Getting a good night’s sleep can also help prevent strokes and heart disease and improve productivity. It also reduces stress levels. Don’t be one of these people who claim they don’t have time to sleep a full six to eight hours a night. That’s nonsense and it will eventually catch up to them medically. Our bodies sleep for a reason and we shouldn’t ignore our body’s natural urge to rest for more than four hours.
Sleep can also reduce how old you look. Proper sleep helps to improve skin elasticity and decreases bags under the eyes. By sleeping a minimum of six hours per night, for three months straight, you can take three to five years off of your appearance without any cosmetic procedure.
So look great, become healthier, and improve productivity simply by implementing these easy-to-follow seven tips into your daily routine!
In good health,
Cheryl Wahl, RHN, Personal Trainer
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