Posts Tagged ‘losing weight’

To Your Sweet Success!

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

I don’t mean to get personal, but what did you eat for breakfast today? I’ll bet some of you can’t remember, some would rather not say and some may have skipped this all-important meal altogether. The reason I ask is because what you eat for breakfast is critical to jump-starting your metabolism, boosting your energy and staving off cravings for what I call the “quick-fix” foods–doughnuts, candy bars, bagels, muffins, etc.

I like to give my clients a breakfast experiment that I learned at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City a few years ago. Every day for a week they try a different kind of breakfast and note how they feel and when they get hungry again. By the end of the week, they have gained a new awareness of which foods support their energy and which foods make them crash and burn.

It’s the sugar highs and lows that seem to cause problems for most of us, though. If we start our day with a cup of coffee and boxed cereal, for example, that caffeine and sugar combination sends us out the door full of energy. On a typical work day at about 10 a.m. we find our energy lagging and start seeking our first pick-me-up. It’s usually another cup of coffee and something sweet to get that blood sugar rising fast, since it just dipped into the danger zone.

We get the boost we needed from that quick-fix and do all right until lunch. The taste for sugar is going strong at this point, so it doesn’t take much to be persuaded to go to a fast-food restaurant for a heavy dose of more fat, salt and sugar in the way of chicken nuggets, fries or a burger. We may even have decided to be “good” and opted for the salad–if only the dressing weren’t loaded with fat, salt and sugar, too!

All’s well in our body’s energy department until around 3 p.m., when we need another quick-fix food. This time a candy bar is in order. Since there are all sorts of “healthy” bars available today, we can convince ourselves that the raisins, nuts and seeds make all that sugar, salt and fat okay. Up goes the blood sugar again–just in time to keep us out of the danger zone.

Dinner may be a bit late, since we have an extra report to get out or the kids to pick up at soccer practice or just need a little R & R with some cheese and crackers and a glass of wine. In any case, we feel rushed when we do start cooking and rely on whatever short-cuts we can use to get the meal together fast. A box of pasta with cheese sauce or frozen veggies in their own special sauce make the fast food tastier. (They threw more fat, salt and sugar in the sauce, so we wouldn’t notice that it otherwise tastes like cardboard). We defrost some chicken breasts in the microwave and voila! Dinner is served.

The cravings are in full force a couple of hours later when the TV is blaring and every few minutes we see a food or pharmaceutical commercial. We just can’t resist a few cookies from the cookie jar or that pint of ice cream in the freezer. We guiltily slink off to bed, thinking we’ll do better tomorrow.

I know once you’re on this blood sugar roller coaster it’s not easy to get off. That’s where a healthy breakfast comes in. Starting your day with a low-glycemic/high fiber smoothie is a great place to begin. Blend fresh or frozen berries, maca, ground flaxseed and protein powder, plus a little agave nectar or yacon syrup if you need it for sweetness, water and add some ice to make it thick and rich. (I throw in a fresh-from-the-farm egg every now and then for protein). It keeps me energized and satisfied all morning; plus, without the caffeine, there is no drop in energy to drive me toward the mid-morning muffins.

It’s one meal and one change that can make all the difference if you want to feel and look better. The rewards are great, too. No more mood swings, fatigue, extra pounds, acne, or a host of other symptoms and conditions brought on by the sweet stuff. Besides, when the new you starts getting compliments, success never tasted so sweet!

Menopause or Menoforward?

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Experiencing a window on my clients’ lives has made me think menopause should be called menoforward or menosurge instead. This is a time when women reawaken to themselves.

We no longer care so much what others think, and seem to get a powerful urge to express…be…do…whatever our heart desires. It is only when we try to squash this drive to live authentically that we run into trouble.

I tried to keep plugging away at a job that I no longer felt passionate about and I was getting chronic symptoms like backaches, migraines, a pinched nerve and IBS (let alone the hot flashes and weight gain of menopause) until I took action.

When I pursued my passion for nutrition, commuting to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC, the four-hour train ride on weekends and extra studying during the week should have exhausted me, but instead I felt revived and refreshed by the people I met and the information I learned. I felt even better when I began losing weight and balancing my hormones with whole, fresh food.

I learned that steadying my blood sugar with beans and whole grains helped me to reduce my cravings for sweets. Without all that sugar, my hot flashes weren’t so frequent or intense. I also supplemented with Evening Primrose Oil to balance out my hormones.

So many women have spent most of their lives caring for others, that when they finally do have the time to care for themselves, they have forgotten how. That’s where the quick fix comes in. When you are last on your list, popping something sweet, rich, and decadent into your mouth becomes an easy reward or pacifier. The problem is that the need for expression, nuturing, friendship, support or relaxation still isn’t met. It is just stuffed down and waiting for the next piece of candy or some wine with cheese and crackers.

My yearning to help women feel stronger and healthier developed into a business, through which I could guide those who want to lose weight, eliminate cravings and live a life that supports and excites them. Someone recently wrote on FB that the best thing we can do for the world is to “be ourselves.” That is what we were created to be and, actually, who are we NOT to be. So, if you are connecting with this at all, the time is now! It may take a temporary “pause” until you know just how you want to surge forward. But don’t let anything stop you. Your whole being is ready to soar once you start listening–and the world needs you!