Category Archives: Fitness

01Apr

THINK POSITIVE & STAY ON TRACK (yes, it’s possible, ladies)

pregnancy cravings

A positive outlook on your food and exercise program is not about perfection.   While this is important for every man, woman, child and grandparent, this is especially important for all my pregnant friends out there to remember.  Perfection does not exist in the real world and placing this type of expectation on ourselves only sets us up for failure, disappointment and a cascade of poor choices (and having a very difficult task of getting on track once our bundle of joy arrives).  Whether you’re struggling to eat a single healthy meal during the first trimester (when it seems all that’s palatable are saltines and cheese!) or you’re at your peak in terms of fitness and nutrition, I encourage everyone reading to adopt this motto:  it’s about making small (and then larger) steps to improve the way you think, the way you eat, and the way you exercise so you can reach a manageable and healthy weight and ultimately develop lasting self-love and kindness.  And most importantly, view the occasional splurge or the choice to just relax as an “experiment” of sorts rather than a failed attempt at being “good”.    As long as we strive each day to improve and be better than the day before (or the meal before), for that we should smile, pat ourselves on the back, and value our beautiful selves.

A new friend of mine who also happens to be a fantastic health coach, encouraged me to keep track of all the healthy choices I made during those extreme times of nausea, fatigue and moodiness so that I might inspire the next pregnant mama with whom I work J.  For me, it was important to know my options, for the sake of my own body and mind, and for that of the little baby growing inside me.  So much research shows that our behaviors during those 9 months are powerful indicators of the health, personality and disposition of our offspring.  Hopefully my TOP 6 PREGNANCY TIPS will resonate with you, perhaps your aversions and/or cravings were different, but for me, knowing a thing or two about nutrition and listening to my body has yielded this list of “do this”, “not that”….   ENJOY!

I was tired all the time, I wanted to just sleep, relax, watch TV, read…. INSTEAD, I forced myself to get outside (as long as it was above 35 degrees) for a brisk walk.  I found with EVERY walk, the fatigue and nausea subsided and the endorphin release provided me with a bit of energy to carry me through that next hour or so.  Don’t shoot for pre-pregnancy fitness routines and this is not a time to increase the intensity… do what you can so that you feel good!

I craved carbs, and wanted bread, pasta, pretzels and crackers, eating this made me actually feel worse! I noticed when I gave into my cravings I ended up in a perpetual cycle of sluggishness, lack of satisfaction, more hunger and weight gain.  INSTEAD I chose gluten free grains (most of the time).   Knowing gluten is an energy drainer (even if you don’t have a gluten sensitivity) inspired me to change my grains of choice.  I started eating snacks like rice cakes with peanut butter, brown rice, oatmeal with apples and cinnamon  (some oats may be cross contaminated and have gluten, but this choice sat well with me), muffins baked with almond flour, and if I wanted crunchy cereal I went with Crispix or Rice Krispies.  These choices left me feeling not so blah, heavy or bloated.

The nausea was unbearable most days.  INSTEAD of eating my way through, I would rub some Peppermint Oil (my favorite is Young Living) on my temples and rub on my hands and just aromatically enjoy the scent.  Surprisingly, most times it was a relief! As is the scent of ginger or sipping ginger tea is for many women!

I craved comfort food – pizza, Chinese food, diner food (being in Jersey, a diner in most town centers).  INSTEAD of going with the greasiest, most unhealthy option, I would allow myself to order from these places, but I would always order heavy veggie options, only eat a few of the fries, then get back on track for the next meal or snack.   I drank lots of water and herbal tea between meals to help flush out the salt and processed food that was laced throughout my body :)

I needed to snack all the time!  I wanted salty food some days and sweet snacks the next!  INSTEAD of eating chips, and pretzels, and candy, I always carried around with me a small bag of mixed nuts: dry roasted almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds.  For my sweet cravings, I always had a piece of fruit first (usually grapefruit for frozen grapes), and if I still wanted more, I would opt for dried fruit (apricots, dates, cranberries, figs, cherries).  They are all natural sources of sugar and left me satisfied and feeling good about not giving into the alternative.

While I’m ordinarily a veggie lover the thought of leafy greens and smoothies made me want to vomit during the first 14 weeks.  INSTEAD of avoiding vegetables all together, I would sneak frozen peas into my rice, or eat them on the side with some sea salt.  I could eat raw carrots with hummus, so I chose to eat these two snacks on most days.  Find something, anything you can stomach, and try to incorporate it into your daily routine.  There are so many fantastic phytonutrients hidden in vegetables and any amount is better than none!

I could go on and on, but these are just a few scenarios that I thought might help.  For more inspiration, reach out for a health consultation with yours truly :)

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29Mar

THIS IS YOUR (NEW) BRAIN ON EXERCISE

brainexerciseHmmm, should I or shouldn’t I? It’s 19 degrees outside, I’d much rather curl up with a book (who am I kidding, I have a 2 year old at home!) and there are still 3 solid months before I have to don a bathing suit!   BUT, beyond the very obvious benefits of physical activity (toning muscles, improving heart and lung function, reducing my risk of major diseases, and even adding years to my life (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389) the evidence behind exercise and improving cognitive functioning has really inspired me to get up and get moving on some of the coldest and laziest of days.  And this is why; thank you, Dr. David Perlmutter, for your summary!

Physical exercise is one of the most potent ways of changing your genes; put simply, when you exercise, you literally exercise your genes.  Aerobic exercise in particular not only turns on genes linked to longevity, but also targets the BDNF gene, the brain’s “growth hormone.”  More specifically, exercise has been shown to increase BDNF, reverse memory decline in elderly humans, and actually increase growth of new brain cells in the brain’s memory center.  Exercise isn’t just for trim looks and a strong heart; perhaps its most powerful effects are going on silently in the upstairs room where our brains reside . . . which gives a whole new meaning to the phase “jog your memory”. 

In the past decade we have really been able to quantify and qualify the extraordinary relationship between physical fitness and mental fitness. . . The newest findings make it undeniably clear that the link between exercise and brain health isn’t just a relationship.  In the worlds of science writer, Gretchen Reynolds for the New York Times, “It is the relationship.”  Exercise, according to the latest science, “appears to build a brain that resists physical shrinkage and enhances cognitive flexibility.”  And this, my friends, many mean that there is no greater tool at our fingertips than physical movement.

 

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