Should I cut carbs to lose weight?

How many times have you heard “low carb” and “weight loss” in the same sentence? It’s no secret that “low carb” is a common theme in today’s dieting world. Maybe you’re thinking about trying it… OR maybe you’re thinking about trying it AGAIN, because it worked for you once before. But now you’re thinking “this time, I’ve got to actually stick with it”, right?  Well I say FORGET IT!

Find out why you initially lose weight on a low carbohydrate diet,  why it doesn’t work in the long run, and what actually DOES work!

Why the weight loss with low carb diets?

It’s common for those just starting a low carbohydrate diet to initially lose a significant amount of weight over a short period of time. But here’s a fact you may be interested in… Every 1 gram of glycogen (this is the stored form of glucose/carbohydrate in the body) holds on to about 4 grams of water. So when you initially cut carbs, depleting yourself of glycogen, you are primarily losing water weight… not fat!  If one remains on a low carbohydrate diet to the point that there is no glycogen or glucose to be used, the liver will start a process called gluconeogenesis in which it breaks down lipids and proteins to generate the glucose required for brain function. This is often accompanied by symptoms of physical exhaustion/fatigue, lack of mental focus, irritability, and the often described “low carb flu.” Eventually, your body will kick in to ketosis, a metabolic state in which the liver produces “ketones” from fat for the brain to use… essentially this is a “fat burning state.” However, high levels of ketones can be very dangerous as it can lead to dehydration and changes in the chemical balance of your blood.

Why do most people regain their weight back?

It’s hard enough to follow a strict diet that avoids 3 major food groups  (grains/starch, fruit, and milk/yogurt), let alone one that also makes you feel like crap! And even after just one “cheat day” with a moderate amount of carbohydrates, your starving liver and muscles will store as much glycogen as they can, including the extra water weight. This is what causes the significant re-gain of weight when one goes off of a low carbohydrate diet… not to mention, the overindulgence that can likely occur after finally giving in to those “forbidden” foods.

Why do I need carbohydrates and how much?

Carbohydrate is our most readily available source of energy (over fat and protein). It is the first to be used for energy during exercise, and our brain’s require glucose (from carbs) for energy. The minimum recommended amount of carbohydrate is 130 grams/day as this is about the amount required for daily brain function. Most people will require more than this, especially those who are very physically active.

So back to the question… Should I cut carbs to lose weight?

While I say NO to following a low carb diet, I do say YES to cutting back on carbs if you are currently consuming a lot of  “empty calorie” carbohydrates. Empty calories come from foods/beverages that contain a lot of calories with little to no nutritional value.  These include sweets or foods with added sugar (candy, cookies, cake, pastries, ice cream, sweetened cereals, etc.),  high fat/fried or refined carbs (potato chips, french fries, Cheetos, etc.) , and regular sodas or other sweetened beverages. These foods/beverages are contributing an excess of calories, likely putting you above your “caloric budget” necessary to promote weight loss.

So what does work for weight loss? 

Weight loss ultimately depends on calories in vs. calories out, regardless of where those calories are coming from. But because the body requires all 3 macronutrients (the nutrients that provide energy/calories), it’s a good idea to get a balance of all 3,,, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. The quality of foods/beverages also matters. It’s pretty hard to lose weight if you’re feeding your body mostly junk and not the right fuel. So when it comes to carbs, focus on fiber-rich sources such as whole grains (whole wheat or rye bread, brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, oats, bran, popcorn, etc.), beans and peas, and fruit (which contains both fiber and natural fructose “fruit” sugar). Fiber will help keep our appetites and cravings under control by keeping us feeling full longer, provide us with sustainable energy, and assist with digestive regularity.  Other nutrient rich carbohydrates are milk and yogurt which contain natural lactose or “milk” sugar, as well as protein which has a satiating effect. All of these carbohydrate sources will give you more “bang for your buck” in terms of the nutrients per their calorie content, compared to the refined or high sugar versions mentioned above. So when it comes to cutting calories for weight loss, I first suggest cutting some of the “empty calories” in your diet first and/or replacing them with more nutrient dense (lower calorie) alternatives. So instead of that pie and ice cream for dessert at night, instead have fruit and low fat Greek yogurt. Or in place of regular soda, switch to sparkling water with lemon. Making changes like this over time, can have a huge impact on our waistlines… and for the long run! 🙂

Please share… Have you ever tried low carb dieting? What was your experience? What are you currently doing to lose/manage your weight? 

How Much Water Do You Really Need?

How often do you hear “you need eight 8 oz cups of water per day.” But is that really true? How much water do you really need? 

So…No, the above recommendation is definitely not true for everyone!

Here are the facts:

Fluid needs vary from person to person, and will depend on your size, the temperature, and the amount of sweat lost through physical activity.

A basic rule of thumb for a normal, healthy adult is to aim for at least half of your body weight in fluid ounces (i.e. that’s 70 fluid ounces for someone who weighs 140 pounds). Those in hot or dry climates and/or who lose a lot of sweat through strenuous physical activity, may require more. You can also monitor hydration status by paying attention to your urine. If you are urinating  every 2-4 hours, have a good volume of output, and the urine color is lemonade or lighter, this is a good rule of thumb that you are adequately hydrated. Also, keep in mind that the sensation of thirst is the first sign that your body is already slightly dehydrated. From a weight control standpoint, it’s common to mistake thirst for hunger… so when you think you might be hungry and crave a snack, a big glass of water may actually be just what you need!

Why is fluid intake important? Water accounts for 50-80% of body weight, depending on lean body mass. Water plays a critical role in many functions. It regulates temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, lubricates joints, helps flush out waste products, and supports digestive regularity. Hydration also plays an important role in energy level, exercise performance, and preventing fatigue. In fact, dehydration of as little as 2% loss of body weight results in impaired performance.

Does only plain water count? No! Believe it or not, solid foods contribute 20% of total water intake! Who would have thought?!! Fruits, and then vegetables are the food sources with the highest water content. Think juicy oranges, watermelon,  cucumbers, and tomatoes, just to name a few. And then consider that other beverages including milk, juices, and even coffee and tea will count. While it was once thought that caffeinated beverages can be dehydrating, the latest research is showing that they actually do not increase risk of dehydration. So while they do have a mild diuretic effect (meaning they cause you to urinate more), caffeinated beverages can actually count for hydration.  But there is one beverage that does NOT count… and that’s Alcohol, which can dehydrate you. So for every cocktail you drink, try to match it with an extra glass of water.

Not getting enough fluid? 

Try these tips to help yourself stay hydrated:
1. Drink a large glass of water first thing in the morning and before every meal.
3. Keep a glass or bottle on your nightstand, work desk, or other common areas as a visual cue to drink up!
4. Take a large bottle of water with you when leaving the house
5. Keep water with you when exercising, and take drinks at periodic points throughout your workout (i.e. every 5 minutes, every mile, between sets, etc.)
6. Add squeezed lemon, crushed fruit, or small amounts of fruit juice to enhance flavor if plain water does not appeal to you.
7. Use sparkling water if you prefer carbonated beverages.

Please share what you are doing to stay hydrated! 

Willpower is Overrated!

Are you working towards a goal but can’t seem to make progress? Do you beat yourself up for not being disciplined enough to fight temptations, make a change, or get started with something?

But the problem could be JUST THAT!… the fact that you are relying on SELF-DISCIPLINE and WILLPOWER!  I hear it a lot… “I just need to make myself do it” (such as in the case of starting regular exercise)… or… “I’ just need to STOP eating those sweets”  (in regards to fighting temptations).  But willpower and self-discipline only go so far. It takes a lot of mental energy to fight temptation… and the more energy it sucks up, the higher the chance of eventually giving in (like talking yourself into, or out of, something) during a weak moment.

It’s inevitable that you’ll need to exercise self-discipline to some extent, but why not make it easier on yourself by minimizing how much of those limited “self-control” reserves you need to tap in to? Quit relying ONLY on willpower and self-discipline! Set yourself up for success by following these 4 steps:

  1. Create an environment for success! So if you want to eat healthier, it would probably be a  good idea to rid your house of all the junk foods/beverages that are temptations for you.  I’m not saying you can’t eat those “treats” ever again. Trust me, you will still have plenty of opportunity!  There are enough temptations outside of your home that you have no control over—- like the options at the store, restaurants, social gatherings, special occasions and holidays, and possibly even at work. These are the situations you should be saving your “self-disipline reserves” for and when you will need that willpower the most.  A successful environment serves a purpose and makes it easier to follow through with changes that support your goals. So for instance, if you keep fresh fruits and vegetables readily available (like a fruit bowl on the counter, or precut raw veggies at eye level in the fridge) you are more likely to choose these for snacks rather than the ice cream you’d have to leave your house to pick up.
  2. Set up Cues-  Create cues or “triggers” that will remind you to take certain actions. So for example, laying out your workout clothes the night before where you will see them the next morning– this will help trigger you to exercise after you wake up. When repeated regularly, a cue-to-behavior relationship will become so second nature, that you won’t  need to “will” yourself to choose that behavior… it will just happen!
  3. Plan It Out!- When you know you will be facing a tempting or challenging situation, take action ahead of time and have a plan! So if you tend to “impulse” buy at the grocery store, maybe you should eat something beforehand so you are not hungry, or write out a grocery list, and STICK TO IT! Or let’s say you have dinner plans  at a restaurant… I’d suggest checking out the menu options ahead of time and decide what you will order before you even get to the restaurant. That way, your decision is already made! You don’t have to risk being influenced by the people you are with, the environment around you, or maybe even that pre-dinner glass of wine ;). Or lets say you will be attending a holiday party…. Rather than “saving your calories” all day for the feast, you should eat your meals that day as you normally would, and maybe even an appetite-curbing snack (such as a piece of fruit or handful of nuts) before the party so your hunger won’t get the best of you!
  4. Write It Out!- Writing out your goals and plans is powerful! While in our minds we may have good intentions, a plan in WRITING MAKES IT REAL! It holds us accountable to ourselves. Write down your long-term goals in a notebook, add your exercise plan, meals, etc. to a calendar/planner. Much like a commitment or “appointment” you would make with someone else, when you write it down there’s a much better chance you will actually follow through with your own goals, rather than blowing them off.

Take Action: Start with 1 change/goal you want to work on. How can you create your environment to set yourself up for success? What cue(s) can you put into place to trigger that behavior/change? What tempting or challenging situations will you face that could steer you off track, and what will be your game plan for these situations? And… Be sure to WRITE THIS ALL DOWN!  Please share! 

 

The Weight Loss Solution… Eat Like A Kid!

I have a 2 year old. I am a Dietitian. When these two worlds collide during mealtimes, sometimes I get frustrated… like really, really, REALLY frustrated! Why won’t she just try the chicken? Why won’t she just eat one more bite of broccoli? Why is she refusing the pasta today when she gobbled it up yesterday? How could she only eat a fourth of her meal and be done already?  Or refuse the entire meal altogether?!! The struggle is real for me and my tot, as it is for so many other parents. But recently it dawned on me that us adults have it all wrong! I realized my daughter is actually eating (or not eating) in a very natural, normal, innate way. A way that us adults should be modeling. Yes, I said we should model our kids! And here is why you should EAT LIKE A KID!

Think about a newborn… it seems like all they really do is eat, sleep, and poop right? Well their “on demand” eating patterns are established to meet their bodies’ physiological needs. Their bodies tell them when they are hungry or need to eat (i.e. that dreaded… I mean, adorable… infant cry 😉 ), and their bodies tell them to stop once they’ve had enough.  And we, as parents, honor that. I mean it would be pretty hard to force a baby to drink more milk if he/she refuses to suckle anymore, right? So why is it ok for us to push our kiddos to “eat two more bites” or “finish your plate” when they insist that they are done? Who are we to decide how much they need?

And then there are those times, when my daughter can’t seem to get enough, like when she’s having a growth spurt. For all of the times our kids refuse to eat, they most likely will make up for it at another time. So us parents should just lighten up, right? Easier said than done… but WHY is it so hard for us? Maybe it’s because we have a different idea of what “normal” eating habits are. Somewhere along the way in our own lives we were trained, influenced, triggered, or somehow programmed to eat for reasons other than just to meet our physiological needs.

As we grow up… through environment, experiences, family or interpersonal influences, food somehow turns into much more than just fuel for our bodies. I mean, how many of us have bribed our children with a treat if they just behave themselves?  Unfortunately, I’m guilty of this more times than I’d like to admit :(.  For many of us, food may be a reward, a comfort, a stress relief, a social activity, or an outlet for boredom. You may have been trained to “clean your plate” or not waste food, or you may eat just because food is available or offered, regardless of physical hunger.  And then on the other hand, there’s DIETING— the deprivation, restricting certain foods, skipping meals or eating too little in efforts to lose weight, when your body is actually screaming “feed me!” Either way, we are letting our brains, not our bellies, run the show!

So what can we learn from kids?

  • Listen to your body- Young children will eat when they are physically hungry, and stop when they are full, regardless of how much food is left. Plain and simple.
  • Mindful eating- Young children often take a lot of time to eat. Between bites they might babble/talk, laugh, make silly faces, whatever. And the most common of all— every young child has played with their food. But is this so wrong? In most cases, absolutely not! They are exploring the color, shape, texture, and taste of food.  They are simply appreciating what they are about to put (or not put) in their mouths. Something all of us should do! Did you know it takes 20 minutes for the brain to get the signal from the stomach that you are full/satisfied? Chances are, if we all took more time to eat, we would probably EAT LESS, and ENJOY FOOD MORE!
  •  Be choosy about your foods- Kids are picky. They don’t eat just anything. They may eat something one day, but refuse the same thing another day. Not to mention, it can take up to 10 times to offer a new food before a child accepts it (like in the case of certain veggies with my daughter :/ ). The main point is, kids tend to eat what they feel like at that particular time, and they don’t necessarily eat something just because it happens to be available or offered. By choosing what our bodies need at the time, and what our taste buds enjoy, we will ultimately be satisfied in the long-run!

So to wrap it up… listen to your tummy and taste buds, and EAT LIKE A KID!

As for me? I’m trying my best to lighten up on my daughter during mealtimes, but even more so, I’m trying to follow her lead… even if that means I play with my food every now and then 🙂 .

Take Action: If you are a parent, how can you make mealtimes easier on yourself and your kiddos? OR, if you realize that you need to improve your own eating habits, what can you start doing today to rewire your behavior and thinking about how and why to eat?  

Roasted Chicken and Veggies

Chicken tends to be one of those foods that people commonly get tired of… but I say, there is soooo much you can do with chicken! If you like the flavors of garlic and basil… this chicken recipe is for you! And BONUS: what a flavorful way to get veggies in too!

Roasted Chicken and Veggies

Ingredients: 

  • 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (cut into bite size cubes)
  • 2 cups fresh Broccoli Florets
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, choppedimg_3454
  • 1 Green (or Yellow) Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 of a Red Onion, chopped
  • 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Basil
  • 1 Tbsp minced Garlic
  • 2  tsp Italian Seasoning (I use Mrs. DASH)
  • 4 Tbsp Olive Oil

Directions: 

  • Chop the chicken, and all of the vegetables as specified above.
  • Pour olive oil into a large bowl. Add garlic and italian seasoning. Whisk until combined.
  • Add the chicken, vegetables, and basil. Mix all ingredients with large spoon until the chicken and veggies are evenly coated with the oil/seasoning mixture.
  • Spray a 9×13 inch pan (or roasting pan) with cooking spray. Transfer chicken/vegetables into pan.
  • Bake at 450 degrees for about 25 minutes (or until chicken is fully cooked).
  • Serve with pasta or rice. Enjoy 🙂

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Pre and Post-Workout Fuel

One of the most common questions I get asked is… what should I eat before and after I exercise? 

To get the most out of your workout, it’s critical to give your body the right nutrients both before and after exercise . Here are the basics for Pre and Post-Workout Fuel:  

  • Pre-workout: Carbohydrates for fuel. Ideally, you should  fuel your body 1-3 hours before exercise with carbohydrate, which is the energy source for your muscles. Some good carbohydrate choices include:  a piece of fruit such as a banana or apple, berries, dried fruit, oatmeal, whole grain dry cereal or crackers, pasta or rice, or a slice of toast. If strength training, I would also suggest including a small amount of protein to help prime muscles for repair after your workout. Some good protein choices are an egg, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts/nut butters, and lean meat. It’s recommended to avoid high fat foods, and not to eat immediately before exercise (especially a full meal) as either can cause GI discomfort, and interfere with energy supply to the working muscles. Also, consider sticking with familiar foods that you know you tolerate, especially on the day of a big event or race.
    **Here are some pre-workout ideas:
    1. Oatmeal or whole grain dry cereal with low fat milk
    2. Smoothie made with fruit and low fat milk or yogurt
    3. Slice of toast with an egg
    4. Apple or banana with 1 Tbsp. of peanut or almond butter
  • Post-workout: Carbohydrate and Protein. As soon as possible (or at least within 30 minutes) after a workout, consume carbohydrates and protein. This gives your muscles an opportunity to restore glycogen (from carbs) that has been lost during exercise, and repair and rebuild muscles (from protein). A 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio is recommended.
    **Here are some ideas:
    1. Low fat chocolate milk
    2. Yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit
    3. Turkey or tuna sandwich with veggies
    4. Hard boiled egg with a few whole grain crackers
    5. Trail mix with dried fruit and nuts
  • Hydration Matters: When adequately hydrated, your heart can more efficiently pump blood, and deliver oxygen and other nutrients to your working muscles. This will give you more energy (making the workout seem easier compared to when not hydrated). While fluid needs vary from person to person, a good rule of thumb  is to consume 2 cups (16 oz) of water 2 hours before exercise, and 1 cup (8oz) within 15 minutes prior to exercise. During exercise, drink about 1 cup every 15-20 minutes. You may want to consider weighing yourself before and after exercise… and for every pound lost (through sweat) , replace it with 16 oz of fluid.

***Take Action:  Do you need to adjust your pre or post workout meal/snack? How about fluid intake? How is your body responding? How’s your energy level when you exercise? How does your stomach feel? Please share what’s working for you (before and after exercise) to fuel your body!

Give Yourself a Break!

A few weeks ago, late on a Sunday night, I found myself tossing and turning in bed for hours… heart racing, shallow breathing, and on the verge of what felt like an anxiety attack, or mental breakdown? Not totally sure! But I felt overwhelmed and exhausted from just the thought of starting another week… no fuel left in my tank, no motivation to do “all of the things” but fear about what would happen if I let go of doing “all of those things.” I started my week sleep deprived but kept going, going, and going, until I got sick and my body said STOP! I was exhausted…  I was BURNED OUT!

So… I took a break, went on a 2 week vacation, spent lots of  time with family and friends, and got a new perspective.

Why do I share this? Because If I went through this, there’s a good chance so many other people are going through it too, and I want to help! So today I am here to tell you to GIVE YOURSELF a BREAK EVERY DAY!  Here is why:

  • You have one life! And it’s a journey, not a destination.  It’s easy to forget that the day-to-day grind is all part of our LIFE. We “dread it… hate Mondays… can’t wait for the weekend to finally get here, TGIF, can’t wait for that vacation”, blah, blah blah! And during that daily grind, we run around like crazy people in survival mode, not fully present, and taking for granted all of the blessings that are right in front of us! Or at least I found myself there, until I had to remind myself that the laundry, the dishes, and “all of those things” aren’t going anywhere… but my daughter will grow up, she will leave the house, all of the people I love are not going to be around forever. I WILL NOT BE HERE FOREVER. In the big scheme of things, will it matter if I cleaned my house? Or will it matter that I made the most of my time with the people I love, connecting, laughing, having great conversations, making memories, trying new things, and making a difference. There are no guarantees in life, you have just one, and it’s getting shorter… Make the most of it… give yourself a break everyday to STOP and SMELL the ROSES!
  • There’s a a difference between being “busy” and being “accomplished.” Many of us jam pack every minute of our day with tasks that don’t really matter. At the end of the day, we may feel (falsely) “productive” but find ourselves empty and worn the f*** out! We may even be keeping “busy” as a way to procrastinate from starting more meaningful projects or even connecting with other people… things that are outside of our comfort zones, yet could bring us more happiness, energy, and sense of self-worth if we accomplished them.
  •  If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t do anything great! I’m guilty of a prior belief that rest and sleep were wastes of time….the mindset of “If I’m sleeping or relaxing, then I’m not being productive.” My sleep was always the first thing to go when life got hectic and “busy.” Even now, I still don’t consistently get adequate sleep. But I can tell that when I’m sleep deprived, I feel anxious, irritable, overwhelmed, and have difficulty focusing and making confident decisions. If I’m in that state, how much good can I really do in the world? Can you relate to this? If not a sleep issue, maybe you have let other self-cares go… maybe it’s healthy eating, exercising, journaling, meditation, etc.  If you don’t take care of yourself, you will not be or give your best… and at some point, you will just burnout!

So GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK! Only you can figure what that entails for you. Ask yourself these questions to figure what needs to change in your life. I highly encourage you write down your answers in a notebook or journal.  Answering these questions will help your create your self-care plan and the life that you want! Even if you just take a few minutes a day to answer just 1 or 2 questions at a time…

  1. What does “self-care” mean to me?
  2. What am I doing when I feel my happiest?
  3. What things or actions give me the most energy?
  4. What can I do everyday to feel happy and energized?
  5. When in my day can I make time for this?
  6. What am I grateful for?
  7. What would my ideal day look like?
  8. What causes me to feel stressed? overwhelmed? or anxious?
  9. What “busy” tasks am I spending too much time on?
  10. Can I delegate any of them to other people, or possibly pay to have it done?
  11. How can I work smarter (not harder) with the other tasks?
  12. Are there any commitments that are not worthwhile that I can let go of?
  13. What more purposeful (or self-care) things do I want more of in my life, and how often?
  14. How can I be sure they get added/scheduled in? (i.e. weekly date night, monthly girls’ night out, vacation twice/year, monthly massage, etc.)
  15. What have I been wanting to do (or try) but haven’t? (i.e. such as bucket list items, or personal or professional goals)
  16. When I am feeling drained, what can I do to recharge myself?
  17. When I am feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, what can I do to alleviate these feelings?
  18. Who can support me and/or provide me with accountability?

**** Take Action Today! Get a journal or notebook, and answer all of these questions to figure out what you want and need to change in your life. Remember, even if it’s just a few minutes each day… this is you TAKING TIME FOR YOU!  This is your BREAK! 

Please share your insights! 

Homemade Granola Bars… Customized for You!

Imagine yourself in the cereal/granola bar aisle of the grocery store… Do you ever  get overwhelmed by endless varieties of fiber bars, protein bars, energy bars,  power bars, breakfast bars, yogurt bars, fruit bars…. Ahhh! There are more BARS out there than ever, and many choices are no better than a CANDY bar!

Try out my homemade granola bar recipe! The best thing about it– you can customize the ingredients to meet your preferences and nutritional needs. Get creative, and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups dry oats
  • 2/3  cup crushed almonds (or other nut)
  • 2/3 cup crushed peanuts (or other nut)
  • 1/3 cup flaxseeds, ground
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries (or cranberries)
  • 1/3 cup of raisins
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter (or almond butter)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  • Place oats, nuts, flaxseeds, and dried fruit in a large bowl. Mix together.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the peanut butter and honey.
  • Pour the peanut butter/honey mixture in the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix well until dry ingredients are coated well and evenly.

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  • Line an 8×8 inch baking pan/dish with parchment or wax paper, leaving extra on the sides
  • Press the mixture into the baking dish. Pack tightly and evenly.

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  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Pull the edges of parchment paper to remove the  intact granola from the pan.
  • Cut into 12 bars (3×4 cuts)
  • Best stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in refrigerator or 10 days at room temperature.

Enjoy! 🙂

How to Stop Boredom Eating!

While eating only when you are truly, physically hungry is ideal… I think we have all found ourselves eating when not hungry. I know I have many times! I’m going to focus on one very common trigger… boredom!

Can you relate? Do you find yourself seeking out food in these common situations….

  • While winding down in the evenings
  • During slow points at work
  • Downtime at home on the weekends
  • While doing something that is “mindless” or not very engaging (such as watching TV)
  • When  procrastinating on a project, or while doing something you don’t enjoy
  • When alone with nobody around to talk to

So how do you combat boredom eating??? Here’s how:

Find something to do…STAT!  There is no better way to prevent or stop the trigger than to fulfill that specific need.  So if you’re bored, you need to get UN-BORED! The problem is that we eat because we think we don’t have anything better to do, but that is so not true!

According to a thesaurus, here are a few words that describe the opposite of being bored….

  • Fascinated
  • Energized
  • Interested
  • Engaged
  • Refreshed
  • Enthusiastic
  • Excited
  • Exhilarated

So now that we know the feelings that essentially describe NOT being bored, follow these simple steps to stop boredom eating for good!

  1. Take out a piece of paper and list out all of these words leaving space between each.
  2. Go through each word/feeling on the list and think about something you do that gives you that feeling. Write down the activity(ies) next to each word/feeling.
  3. Put that paper somewhere it is readily available (purse, wallet, posted on the fridge, posted on computer at work, etc.)
  4.  The next time you feel bored and want to eat, refer to that piece of paper and do something from that list!

Because I was once a boredom eater, I came up with these steps and IT WORKS! Here is what is on my piece of paper:

  • Fascinated- 1) being outside in nature, and/or 2) playing with my daughter
  • Energized- going for a run, or just moving my body in some way
  • Interested- 1) reading a good book, or 2) researching a topic I’ve been wanting to know more about
  • Engaged- 1) calling/catching up with family or a friend I haven’t talked to in awhile, OR 2) writing a blog post 🙂
  • Refreshed- 1) breaking a sweat through exercise and then taking a shower,  or 2) cleaning out a closet or drawer and tossing or donating items I no longer need
  • Enthusiastic- 1) listening to music, or 2) journaling
  • Excited- planning a trip, a social gathering, date night, or to attend an event… basically just making future plans to look forward to!
  • Exhilarated- 1) being productive by either accomplishing things from my to-do list or finishing a big project, or 2) doing something good for someone else

So those are my boredom go-to’s! Once you’ve a chance to come up with yours, please share!

 

Healthy Burrito Bowl Recipe

When you think of the word “burrito”, what generally comes to mind? Maybe something along the lines of high fat, high starch, cheesy, loaded, smothered goodness? In other words, it’s bad for me, right? NOOOOO, it doesn’t have to be that way!

Here is my burrito bowl recipe that you MUST try! It has all of the goodness of an amazing burrito….minus the tortilla and the guilt! This is a common weeknight go-to meal that my burrito eating husband LOVES!

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 1/2 of a medium onion
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can (15 oz) of black beans OR 1 cup frozen corn
  • 10 oz can of diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite salsa
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice, prepare according to package instructions
  • Desired toppings/add-ins (guacamole, low fat shredded cheese, etc.)

Directions:

  • Spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Over medium heat, brown the ground turkey, breaking up into pieces.
  • Add the onion and bell peppers. Cook over medium heat until the onion/peppers are tender (about 10-15 minutes).
  •  Add the beans or corn, diced tomatoes, and salsa. Mix well, continuing to cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the cooked rice and stir until all ingredients are mixed well.
  • Sprinkle cilantro on top.
  • Serve in bowls and add desired toppings.
  • Enjoy!!

Do you have a healthier version of a dish that would otherwise be considered not so good for us? Please share!