The last 3 months of the year are rough...I get it! Between pumpkin spice this, apple pie that, tailgating, football watching, Halloween candy eating, Thanksgiving food scarfing, party food snacking, Christmas cookie baking, holiday dinner devouring, New Year's Eve imbibing....there are a lot of delicious food and drinks available at all times in all places. It is in your face in the stores, at work, home, restaurants, parties and more!
A lot of people go into this last quarter of the year saying..."Well, there is so much going on these next few months that between all of the food, cold weather, stress and travel, I will just let myself go and start over again on January 1"...........BUT what if you DIDN'T? What if, instead of "letting yourself go" for an entire QUARTER OF THE YEAR, you decided to make healthy choices, continue or start working out and even eat some of your favorite holiday treats in moderation? What if, by the time January 1st came around, you were already 3 MONTHS AHEAD of where you would have been if you had decided to "let yourself go"?
Did you know it takes most people 5 months to work off what they gained over the last quarter of the year? When January comes around and if your resolution is to lose weight, you are basically just trying to take off what you just put on. Again, what if you did not put on any weight, and instead by January, you were the same weight or maybe even a few pounds less than you weigh today? What if you didn't indulge over the next 3 months so you didn't have to restrict yourself come January? January doesn't have to be a sad, hard, food eliminating, extreme workout doing, alcohol banning month. It can be...just another month!
How do you do this, you ask? You don't need to diet. You don't need to avoid the fun holiday foods. You don't need to workout for hours. You just need a plan.
You don't need to give up your favorite holiday foods. Just remember, everything in moderation. Try to eat well 80% of the time and indulge a little 20% of the time. That doesn't mean to get crazy and eat everything in sight. It just means, have a small treat each day or enjoy a holiday meal when they come around. Remain in control. Planning ahead will save you. You don't need to be perfect, just don't let yourself go over the next 3 months. Your January 1st self will thank you.
If you need help navigating through the holidays over the next few months, please contact me for health coaching https://www.elenamccown.com/services.html ! Sometimes you need an accountability partner, someone to help motivate you, give you ideas of what to do at a party or when food is constantly around you, or maybe you just want someone to help plan your weekly menu. That is what I am here for! Just remember, you CAN do this. If you need help along the way, please ask :)
When people find out that I am a health coach, the questions start coming in:
"What do you think about the Keto diet?"
"I should stop eating all carbs to lose weight, right?"
"Which form of intermittent fasting should I do?"
"If I eat 500 calories a day and workout for hours, can I lose 20 pounds this week?"
Unfortunately, society has woven this diet mindset into our heads for the last several hundred years. We grow up by watching our teachers, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, coaches, friends, etc., try countless diets over and over again, finding success for a bit (maybe) and then going back to their old habits, only to gain even more weight before trying a different diet, again. We see it in the movies, on TV, in magazines and now on social media. Diets are EVERYWHERE. They are hard to ignore. I bet you have tried a few different ones out. If not you, someone very close to you has.
We are constantly hearing or reading about super foods, specific ways we should eat, what time of day is best to eat, how often to eat (or not eat), different pills, supplements, drinks and more. All of these things that promise us the one thing we can't seem to do on our own...weight loss. One false promise after another. Some of these things have never been studied, aren't FDA approved, give false stories/research and some have even resulted in death. All to help us lose a few pounds...to probably eventually gain it all back, plus more...leading us to diet again! It is a vicious cycle.
Now, I am not saying diets don't work. Yes, there are people who have done diets and have effectively lost weight and kept it off and that is wonderful! Sometimes they can even be motivating for a fresh start. I am talking to the average person who has completed diet after diet only to lose and gain weight over and over again. You know why it isn't working? Diets are NOT long-term solutions. Diets are something made to be done and completed. The problem is that most people will not continue these diets over time. They are too restrictive, cut too many calories, cause you to be obsessed or depressed, causing calories to RULE your life. Once you decide you are done with the diet, you fall back into your old habits (the ones that caused you to gain weight in the first place).
These diets cause you to feel fear, sadness, anger, depression and restriction towards food. STOP your war with food! Food is meant to be used as a fuel source, and yes...to even be enjoyed! It provides your body with the energy you need to not only sustain your life, but give you energy, keep your brain functioning and help you to feel good! It should not cause you stress and make you feel guilty!
There are no "bad" foods. You haven't "messed up". You make choices each day with what you eat. Some meals/snacks/days/weeks might be better than others. The idea is to eat nutritious food to provide your body and brain with the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that it needs. There is no perfect way of eating. There is no perfect diet. There is no perfect meal and there is no perfect food. The key is variety.
Eat a variety of food! Try different vegetables, fruits, grains, protein, dairy/calcium foods. See what you like. If you don't like something, try it again and again in different ways. Create a lifestyle that you can live with...forever! Identify your unhealthy habits and replace them with healthy ones. Get creative with your food and find your balance between healthy eating and indulgent. You don't have to follow any rules or stick to any magic numbers. Aim to choose foods closest to their natural form and when you can't or don't, that is okay too! Try to do a little better each day. Aim to make small changes that you can live with. By making small changes, you won't feel overwhelmed by a major overhaul and you will be able to comfortably start down the right path. It might take a little while to see results from living a healthy, balanced lifestyle versus a diet, but would you rather start to slowly see a change that gets bigger and bigger with time and lasts forever, or see a drastic difference that quickly fades away as soon as you stop your diet?
Eat salads...but eat some burgers too! Pizza? Sure! Nachos? Of course! Eat your favorite indulgences in moderation. It is not a problem. It does not mean that you aren't healthy. It does not mean that you made a "bad" or "wrong" choice...and it doesn't even mean you had a "cheat" meal. It just means that you are human. Don't starve yourself. Don't stuff yourself. Do your best to live each day balanced.
Stop your war with food. Start making more nutritious choices. Stop counting calories. Don't try to be perfect, just try to be a little better each day. Enough with the pressure to eat perfect, look perfect and be perfect! Don't eat to lose weight; eat to fuel your body, eat to get the vitamins and minerals you need, eat to provide energy to get through each day, eat to feel good!!! Weight doesn't matter. Focus on your health. When you focus on eating nutritious foods and enjoying some of your favorite treats in moderation, the rest of the results you desire will come.
Eat well. Live well. Be well.
I always love baking or cooking new things when we have people over. This past weekend I decided on making cookies with some ingredients I had on hand. I have made flourless peanut butter cookies and flourless peanut butter ginger cookies (I will post the recipe in a few weeks) before that I love but I wanted to do something new. Oatmeal raisin cookies are one of my favorite cookies and I had oats and raisins on hand so I went with that. I used oats and almond butter in place of the flour and the coconut sugar gives them a caramel flavor. They are so soft and chewy, I love them!
Servings: 24 cookies
Prep/Total Time: 20 minutes
I'm pretty excited about this recipe. It might be my new go-to party dip. I always loved spinach artichoke dip but would feel sick from all the cream cheese/mayo/cheese. I wanted to make a healthy version for Labor Day and was trying to think of the best way to replace those ingredients (and without using dairy-free or just less fatty versions of those ingredients). I thought avocado would be perfect since it would still lend the richness of the (healthy)fat to the dish as well as a great flavor. Plus, guacamole is awesome on its own so I figured an addition of spinach and artichoke would amp it up even more! Bonus: you are eating a delicious appetizer that is made out of a bunch of nutritious vegetables and it is gluten-free and dairy-free!
Prep/Total Time: 15 min
I am a food loving, activity seeking health coach who resides in Franklin, TN with my husband and two sweet dogs (Lola & Penny).
I believe everyone should eat balanced and not cut food groups if you don't medically need to. All foods can fit in a healthy diet. Unfortunately, I have to avoid gluten and also limit myself with dairy, so my goal is to provide healthy, gluten-free/dairy-free recipes so EVERYONE can enjoy all foods, even if you do have to cut out certain food groups. My recipes are encouraged for everyone to eat, not just for those with sensitivities/allergies! Most of my recipes can be easily converted by using real dairy and whole-wheat in place of my allergy-free substitutes.
Looking for something specific? Everything can be found by category under the "Life" and "Recipes" sections on my website or you can search below.