Since becoming a health coach, I have come into many instances where people assume that I am very strict on my eating habits. They ask if I ever indulge in something that isn’t nutritional. They assume as a professional, I never eat the slice of cake, piece of chocolate or bag of potato chips. So, I want to set the record straight....
When it comes to my personal choices, I most certainly enjoy foods! I do my best to stick to a 90:10 ratio of whole foods such as fruits, veggies, lean proteins and healthy fats vs the opposite. This means that I do my absolute best to eat the healthiest foods daily and on occasion enjoy some of my old favorites. So here is my confession about the foods I enjoy.
My Favorite Treats
The reason I share all of this with you is to let you know you aren’t alone. I find myself wanting a chip and you know what? Sometimes, I have one or two or three...
The truth about pursuing a healthy lifestyle is to do what is best for YOU. It doesn’t mean you never eat your favorite foods at Thanksgiving again. It just means, you enjoy it without guilt on occasion. There is no such thing as perfection. We’ve all been there when we haven’t gotten to the store, we didn’t prep the food, we’re at a party or go out with friends. Giving yourself some grace is vital. But it is also important to not let that occasional indulgence turn into a nightly occurrence.
My hope is that you will know that choosing to live healthy is the best thing you could do for yourself. But that also means giving yourself the chance to indulge. It’s one day at a time as you work up to crowding out processed food and replacing them with new healthier favorites!
Before you know it, your body won’t crave that chocolate bar like it used to. You’ll take a bite of that chip and notice that it didn’t taste the same. These are all good things!
And you’ll wake up one day and realize that you love other things and crave them more. This is how I live my life as a health coach and what I encourage others to do for themselves. We are all bio-individual. Yes, strive for health and fuel your body with the best food you can.
But… it’s not a crime to enjoy one piece of pie.
Does crazy in love = crazy weight gain?
When we are in love we do crazy things – like finish off a large pizza, french fries, and lava molten cake with our love. Studies show more than 50% of couples in comfortable relationships put on weight. What starts out as throwing caution to the wind and eating anything and everything while falling in love can become a pattern that is hard to break once you’ve become a couple. Let’s consider why this occurs + how to keep it from happening ↓
3 REASONS YOU’RE GAINING RELATIONSHIP WEIGHT
① You’ve Lost Motivation
You feel secure in your relationship, so motivation to look your best wanes. Your partner loves you inside and out so appearance is not as important. Resist the temptation to live in your comfy sweats which can hide those extra pounds, and continue to make that "single-person" effort. Maintaining your weight and physical appearance is a simple way to make you feel good and much easier than the extra effort you’ll have to put forth to undo the damage.
② You’ve Skipped Too Many Workouts
With a busy schedule, you may have sacrificed your exercise routine to spend more time with your partner. Now it’s difficult to get back into your workout regime. Be intentional about getting a workout scheduled in. Write it in on your planner and refuse to change it. If you get your partner onboard, go to the gym together. Take a walk after dinner; you’ll be exercising and spending time together.
③ You’ve Eased Into Unhealthy Eating Habits
It’s easy to slip into your partner’s unhealthy eating habits during the early stage of the relationship. As time goes on, you may find you’re craving more salt and sugar from "junk" food and losing sight of your former healthy choices. Don’t give up healthy eating intentions due to this relationship. Share with your other half your desire to eat healthy and why it’s important to you. You might be surprised to find your partner eventually joins you on the healthy side. Eat healthy together while also finding time to enjoy sweet treats or savory foods in moderation. You might also find that a lot of healthy recipes can be nutritious and delicious too.
Don’t let being in a comfortable relationship override your desire to be fit and healthy.
Beware of these pitfalls and get back to the routine you had before as quickly as possible. Ideally, working with your partner to create a healthy lifestyle together would be best.
If you’re struggling to find the right balance to reach your goals, you may want to reach out for support. I help couples to define their goals and create a healthy routine to help them feel their absolute best.
For more information, schedule an initial couple’s health consult with me.
When you start looking at ways to reduce your stress levels, you probably focus on how much work you are doing, what your daily responsibilities are, and whether or not you practice good self-care. These are all very important, but don’t forget about the simplest choices you make every day that could be impacting your stress.
A common one has to do with your diet, where some foods can increase stress, while others help to reduce it. In fact, your diet has a much larger impact on your stress levels than you might expect, and your stress can determine what your food choices end up being. This is a vicious cycle that starts with focusing on proper nutrition to fuel your body.
The first thing that can happen if you have a poor diet is that you have nutritional deficiencies. These deficiencies can affect not just your physical health, but your emotional health as well.
DID YOU KNOW?
For example, did you know that low folate can affect your mood and lead to feelings of depression? You get folate from foods like eggs, asparagus, spinach, and avocado.
Some other nutrients you need to help balance your mood and fight stress naturally are:
Omega 3 fatty acids – Healthy fats are important! You can get your fatty acids from healthy sources of fats like salmon, tuna, walnuts, and olive oil.
Vitamin D – Do you know why you feel more energized and happier during sunny days? It is the vitamin D from the sun’s UV rays. If you live somewhere that is cloudy and rainy a lot, or it is the winter where there isn’t much sun, you will need to supplement vitamin D through your food. You can get it from foods like fatty fish, eggs, dairy, and fortified cereal.
Fiber – For more fiber, eating more fruit, avocados, and whole grains is usually a good place to start.
Calcium – While many people get their calcium from dairy and yogurt, you might not be someone who eats dairy. In this case, you can get it from foods like almonds, sesame seeds, tofu, and kale.
Iron – You also want to make sure you have enough iron. Iron can help with your mental health, as well as balancing your energy levels. You can get iron from red meat and turkey or vegetarian options such as lentils, chick peas, beans, cashew nuts, tofu, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, kale, dried apricots, figs, raisins and quinoa. My favorite option- Dark Chocolate! :)
Protein – You get protein from many of these same foods, including meat, poultry and fish, dairy, cheese, eggs, and nuts. You can also get your fill of protein from a lot of plant-based options including lentils, chia seeds, broccoli, nutritional yeast, quinoa, and tofu.
Feeding Emotions with Unhealthy Foods
Another link between stress and nutrition is that you can often “help” the stress and emotions with food. The problem here is that you probably go for the more unhealthy foods. Emotional eating isn’t really bad for you if it is only occasionally, after all, you should find something that helps you to deal with stressful situations. However, if you deal with chronic stress or you get into the habit of only using food as a way to comfort yourself, it can become a problem. You might overeat, have too much unhealthy foods, and even be malnourished because you aren’t getting enough vitamins and minerals.
Unhealthy Habits from Stress
Having too much stress in your life can further encourage you to have other unhealthy habits. Not just having vitamin deficiencies and emotional eating, but generally overeating the wrong foods, not getting enough exercise and sleeping too much, drinking alcohol, smoking, or doing drugs. These can all turn on you and not only not help with your stress, but actually make it worse.
The Cycle Continues
This is a vicious cycle that is very heard to get out of. Once you start going to unhealthy habits to deal with your stress, you feel that temporarily it is helping, but it is hurting your mental health in the long-term. The best thing you can do is stop this cycle now, start eating right, and look for healthier ways to manage your stress.
Don’t feel like you can never emotionally eat, just don’t rely only on that. Try to find healthier habits, such as visiting with friends, playing with your dog, or getting in a little more exercise. If you would like to discuss further- Let's Chat!
It’s a fact that most people don’t eat as many servings of fruits and vegetables as they should. While you try to keep your fridge and fruit bowl brimming with fresh produce options, don’t forget about your freezer. It’s one of the best places to stash frozen fruits and vegetables, which can have bountiful nutritional value, like their fresh counterparts. Whether you can’t find your favorites fresh because they’re out of season or they’re too expensive, try looking for these seven frozen fruits and veggies to stock in your freezer instead.
When broccoli is on your shopping list, but a fresh crown is $3, head to the freezer section. Broccoli when frozen retains its nutrients, losing less ascorbic acid in your freezer than it does when waiting for you in your fridge. Steam it for a quick side dish, make stir-fry, or top it on a fresh-made pizza. Soups, frittatas, and pasta dishes are other great ways to use frozen broccoli.
2. Bell Peppers
There are more vitamin C and antioxidants in frozen bell peppers. Plus, they can be used to make a stir-fry or fajitas in a pinch, no slicing and dicing required.
They’re not just a handy ice pack when you have a bruise or sprain. Frozen peas are a fantastic addition to your meals and far easier to work with than fresh peas. They still retain their initial nutrients, too, hosting more beta-carotene than fresh or canned versions. Steam or thaw them first before you add them to your dishes. They go great in a brown rice bowl, are perfect for salads and pasta, and make a great soup with peas thrown in.
Peaches still retain phenolic compounds when frozen, and they still taste just as amazing. Thaw them out to put on your coconut yogurt, puree into a healthy pudding, or add to salads with walnuts and goat cheese.
Fresh spinach takes time to wash. In the freezer, it’s ready to go and even has more beta-carotene than raw spinach. It’s an easy side dish for a busy night all on its own, but feel free to get creative with soups, pasta, curries, dips, or even on top of white pizza.
6. Organic Berries
Berries are marvelous super-fruits, but they are always ranked as the dirtiest by the EWG. Organic is best, but buying them fresh can really add up. When you purchase organic berries frozen, though, you can have the best of both worlds. Buy a mix or buy one type of organic berry, and you can make wonderful smoothies, top off your coconut yogurt, or use them in healthy desserts.
Although carrots are usually plentiful and inexpensive, they are more nutritious than fresh carrots. They store so well, too, that if you have a crazy week and have no veggies on hand, you’ll have carrots ready for a side dish.
With these frozen produce items on hand, you’ll always have access to making healthy and nutritious meals, even when your fridge and cabinets are going bare.
If you feel like you are drowning underneath your responsibilities, worries, and stress, you might be dealing with a bad case of overwhelm. This can seem like something everyone deals with, but it does affect your mental and physical health, which means you don’t have to just deal with it. There are ways to reduce your overwhelm, starting with mindfulness.
MINDFULNESS- It can sound intimidating, but is nothing more than living and thinking in the present and helping your mindset to reflect that. There are many benefits of mindfulness, including helping to reduce stress and overwhelm.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a hot topic lately, especially when talking about personal development, mental health, and reducing stress in your life. Mindfulness is wonderful for so many areas of stress, including overwhelm and burnout.
So, what is mindfulness? It is a state of being more aware of your thoughts and intentions, finding a place of acceptance, and living in the presence. There is a lot to mindfulness, but this is the basic definition of what being mindful means. You are aware of what is happening right now, whether it is experiencing your stress, then rationalizing it, eating a meal, or focusing on a craft project. No matter what you are doing, you can benefit by being more mindful.
Living in the Present
The first part of mindfulness is living in the present, which can help a lot if you have been overwhelmed lately from stress in your life. When you get overwhelmed, it can be hard to focus on what is most important. You tend to have so much going on in your brain at all times, that it feels hopeless and like you will never be able to manage it all.
This is where mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness allows you to live in the present, where you are only focused on this very moment. What is important right now? Not in a week or a month or a year. Not worrying about what already has happened. JUST focus on RIGHT NOW. This can help you to organize your thoughts and find what your priorities are.
Mindful Exercises and Techniques
Mindfulness can be a very simple process, depending on what you need it for and the situation where you are trying to be mindful. The basic technique just involves being present, sometimes writing down what you are doing, thinking, and feeling in that moment. For example, if you are trying to be more mindful during your meals, you can get out your journal and really be detailed with how you feel eating these foods. Are they nourishing you? Do you enjoy them? Are you happy with your choices? This can be a great tool for intuitive eating as well.
There are also some different exercises that can help you with mindfulness if you are new to it, or struggling staying in that present state. Here are some good exercises to start with:
Body scan – The first technique is not only used for mindfulness, but for meditation as well. This is a body scan exercise, where you are going to mentally scan each part of your body, one section at a time. This allows you to be more mindful by focusing on how each part of your body feels in that moment, but can also get you into a relaxed, meditative state.
Instead of thinking about what is worrying you at the moment, you instead think about parts of your body, like your scalp, ears, chest, stomach, arms, legs, hands, or feet. Go through each body part one at a time, really focusing on it.
Breathing – You can also try a breathing exercise with mindfulness. For this, just the action of practicing your breathing gets you into a meditative, mindful state. You will be thinking about your breathing right in this moment, and not worrying too much about the past or the future. Breathing exercises are simple – just sit in a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. Inhale deeply, then exhale. Each time you inhale and exhale, try to hold it for several seconds, and relax your mind and body as you do this.
Use Your Senses – The last mindful exercise you can try out is where you try to use all of your senses in this moment. For example, what do you smell? Do you feel anything near you? If you’re eating or drinking, what do you taste? Use all 5 of your senses for this practice.
If you want to connect to discuss more mindfulness techniques- Contact Coach Jenny Today!
On a Scale from 1-10, How Stressed Out Do YOU Feel Right Now?
With everything going on around us, stress levels are understandably HIGH. And all of this added stress could be sabotaging your results if you’re not careful. I’m going to dive in and show you why, but I’m also going to give you a few of my favorite strategies to help you manage during these difficult times.
Some stress can be good for you. Our bodies are incredibly adaptable and can IMPROVE when under stress. For instance, during your workouts, you place stress on your body, and it gets stronger in response. Or when you work hard on mastering a new skill, which is another form of stress, your body and brain respond by getting better at it.
Here’s a quick review of what happens when you get stressed.
Let’s say you’re at work and your boss drops a huge last-minute project on your desk, and you only have a day to get it done. First – Awesome! They trust you! But second – Wow. How are you going to get it all done? Stress to the rescue! Your body immediately releases a bunch of hormones to help heighten your senses to either attack the problem or run away. This is fine once in a while, but if it becomes a constant issue (current pandemic), can lead to real problems.
Here’s why it matters. All those stress hormones – like cortisol and adrenaline – can cause a long list of issues in your body, including lowering your metabolism, if you have a lot of exposure to them.
First, thanks to the cortisol you can start to crave high fat, high sugar comfort foods. These fire up your brain’s “reward centers” giving you temporary relief from your stress and making it easy to slide into a pattern of overeating sugar and salty treats.
But get this! A study done a few years ago found that women who ate a high-fat meal after feeling stressed out the day before burned about 100 fewer calories the next day. Plus, they had higher insulin levels, which promotes fat storage, especially in areas that are the worst for your health, like your belly.
So … what can you do?
The most important thing you can do is to BE MINDFUL and listen to your body.
Have you ever noticed how sometimes you’ll just be living your life, working or going about your regular business, and all of a sudden you realize your shoulders are incredibly tight, and you wonder how long you’ve been walking around like that? Or that you’re breathing shallowly, which is another sign of stress?
Stress can sneak up on you over time, which is why it’s important to work STRESS MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES into your regular lifestyle! The amazing thing is that these techniques FEEL GOOD and leave you feeling recharged! Plus, they can help undo the negative effects stress can have on your metabolism.
This can be as simple as finding ways to work “alone” time into your day to recharge. This can even be listening to music you enjoy while you do the laundry or other household chores.
The key is to BE INTENTIONAL with this time and allow yourself to relax.
You also can experiment with breathing exercises or meditation. There are a ton of Smartphone apps for this and some fitness trackers also have a breathing feature. They do make a difference!
Another idea is cutting back on anything that causes you a lot of stress. For example, if you find that scrolling social media makes you feel uncomfortable, unfollow accounts that make you feel that way! The same thing goes with the news. If it makes you feel tense, stay informed, but don’t let yourself get swallowed up by the daily ups and downs in the media!
Finally, Let's get to the most important.... exercise, which can be a major stress buster. Exercising works in several different ways to help you feel better and rev your metabolism! When you’re physically active, your body releases endorphins, which are brain chemicals that act as natural painkillers. Not only do these endorphins help cut stress, but they also help you sleep, which is another big stress buster. Plus, working out is GREAT for your metabolism, because all that physical activity helps you burn more calories.
That’s a quick rundown of how stress can impact your metabolism. Definitely worth the effort to work some stress management into your routine!
If you’d like to talk about your goals, send me a message and we will set up a time to chat!
Appropriate portion size is one of the main ingredients in having a balanced relationship with food. Over time, our portion sizes have grown exponentially, and so have our health issues as a nation. What used to be a typical portion size when eating out is now considered a kids meal -but with some practice, getting your portion sizes in check is simple and rewarding.
These tips don't restrict what you eat but help you stay mindful about how you're eating.
Serve yourself on smaller plates
One of the quickest ways to cut your portions down is to change your plating. I regularly use a salad plate as my main plate for meals -- and filling a salad plate is more along the lines of a healthy portion. This also tricks your eyes, since you're filling the whole smaller plate instead of using a large dinner plate and leaving an empty space.
Know which foods get more real estate on your plate
In addition to eating larger portions than we should in general, we're often allocating more space for the wrong things. Your vegetables or salad ideally will take up half your plate. Your protein of choice can allocate for a quarter of your plate, and any complex carbs can fill the other quarter.
While eating whole, fresh foods is always best, there are times when we use sauces, dressings, and pantry staples to prepare our meals. If you make a habit of reading the labels, you'll know how much is in each serving to avoid those serving-size traps. I like to stay mindful of this when using packaged items to supplement my meals.
Don't forget to stay mindful when you dine out
It's nice to get takeout sometimes or go out to dinner with people you adore. However, the meals you get in restaurants tend to be double the size or even more than a reasonable portion. You have a few options here. If you're ordering takeout for yourself, ask the restaurant to split the portion and enjoy the rest the next day. You can also split an entrée with someone else or order an appetizer and small salad as your meal. For me personally, I find that picking a delicious appetizer with a small side salad does the trick perfectly.
If you still feel hungry, make sure you're keeping your hydration in check. That's another reason why we tend to overeat. When you look for ways to keep portions to their true sizes and eat the right kinds of foods, you will start seeing the results you've been working towards.
Have you ever noticed how much harder it is to have willpower when you’re stressed or have had a long day at work or with the kids? It doesn’t have to be “bad” stress, either – your willpower can lag after an awesome day spent sightseeing, shopping, or doing something else that you love. The reason this happens is because of something called “decision fatigue.” Studies show that the more decisions you make over a day, the harder it is to use your willpower or self-control.
For instance, after a long day, you might not feel very energetic and feel like skipping your workout. Saying “no” to junk food can also become harder. You might procrastinate on chores, and if you go shopping, you could end up spending a lot more than you planned.
Here’s a weird fact: even your ability to do basic math equations can be affected!
This doesn’t mean you’re out of luck when decision fatigue kicks in. Instead, now that you know it’s a real “thing,” you can head it off at the pass. Here are some things you can do to avoid decision fatigue in the first place:
You can burn off the stress with a workout (you’ll feel better once you get going!) or eat a healthy spicy meal (studies show hot foods boost endorphins, the feel-good hormones).
If that seems like too much work, how about brewing a cup of tea and finding a quiet spot to relax with a good book?
Another great way to combat decision fatigue is by having a support network. Having a strong team around you is a HUGE part of being successful. Your team can keep you on track and focused.
A lot of people who experience decision fatigue think that there is something wrong with their willpower. They blame themselves and then get insanely jealous of others who seem to be able to stay on track no matter the challenges. The difference between you and them isn’t willpower – it’s that they have created (and follow) healthy habits that help them plan for decision fatigue moments because they happen to everyone. So if you struggle with willpower issues, then this is just an indication that you need to cultivate habits and create systems that will help you manage the stressful parts of your day when you’re not up to making healthy choices for yourself.
Cheers to Creating Healthy Habits! 🥂
Do you ever feel like creating healthier habits like exercise and eating nutritious foods is a lot harder than it should be? I get it! The IDEA of changing habits or adopting new ones can seem overwhelming. I have fantastic news for you that will make you feel better about creating healthy habits.
I am going to do a series of blog posts on building habits to help you get over the overwhelm, so you can start making healthy, positive changes. But first, it is important to understand habit-building itself, and WHY we think it’s so hard to change. In a nutshell, it all comes down to one thing, Your MINDSET. Once you get your mindset right, everything else begins to fall into place.
Fun fact: Did you know that having a positive mindset can help you make healthier choices and live longer? Even better fact: You don’t have to be born with a positive mindset. It is something you can create and strengthen over time.
I think we have all struggled with mastering new habits – things like meal prep (and then actually eating the meals we prepped), sticking with a new exercise plan, getting up earlier, reading more, etc. I know that when I used to try to get back into my habit of using a food journal, I would do great for a few days (or even a few weeks) and then boom, all of a sudden I forget or (confession) blew it off. And then I started to feel a little guilty, later I would get upset with myself … and then I would catch myself saying “I’ll just start again tomorrow” or “I’ll start next week.” (Cue the endless loop of frustration!).
Creating a new habit can be hard, and you can end up with unrealistic expectations – like having it mastered in just a few weeks. Or being perfect at it one or two days. Let’s just put it on the table and say that’s completely unrealistic.
Be prepared to slip up now and then, and when you do, get yourself back on track as soon as possible. Eventually, it WILL become easier, especially when you start to see the results of all your effort!
Lasting changes take time – so whenever possible, make sure you pick a habit that you are between 80 – 90% sure you are ready to create. If the habit seems like you won’t be able to do it on your most hectic or crazy days then dial it back, see how you can lower the difficulty level until you feel it is doable. It will increase the likelihood you will own that new habit.
The other thing to remember is that you CAN build healthy habits, even during holidays, celebrations, etc. It just takes choosing the best habit, making it doable, and having the mindset for your new habits. Maybe that is meal prepping some healthy lunches to offset indulgent dinners or parties. It could be swapping your calorie-laden latte for a "lightener" version that you make at home. Possibly you decide to go for a walk for 30 minutes a day on your lunch break instead of sitting in front of your computer.
Do you need a little strategy session to come up with troubleshooting advice for making those habits a reality? If so, be sure to get in touch with me, and let’s see if we can’t get you feeling confident about your new healthy habits this month! Click Here to Book a Strategy Session!
Confused about whether you should seek the help of a Health Coach or a Nutritionist?
Both help with diet, right? They sure do. However, their focus and approaches are completely different. Let’s take a look at a health coach vs nutritionist: what do they do, how do they work and what’s their main point of difference? Learn which of these modalities you should engage to help you achieve your wellness goals.
What does a Health Coach do? A health coach is a supportive mentor who helps their clients make healthy diet and lifestyle choices to improve their overall wellness. If you want to lose weight, get fit, or create a more balanced life, a health coach can help you achieve this.
Health coaches are trained in basic nutrition, exercise and fitness, well-being concepts & skills, dietary planning, stress management, and weight loss. They undertake specialized training to learn problem-solving, accountability, and motivational skills, so they can best support their clients.
You can work with a health coach one-to-one in person, online, or via a group coaching program. Health coaches address a wide range of lifestyle factors, mentoring people to choose the right diet and fitness regime to suit their needs.
What does a Nutritionist Do? A nutritionist is an expert in food, diet, and nutrition. They are trained to assess the health needs and dietary requirements of their clients, providing dietary advice, meal plans, and nutritional supplements where required. Nutritionists educate their clients to create healthy eating habits and make good food choices to prevent illness and achieve specific health-related goals. Nutritionists work in a variety of settings, including the food industry, private practice, as corporate nutrition consultants, in fitness facilities, and research organizations.
The difference between a health coach and nutritionist?
The main difference between a health coach and a nutritionist is their approach and area of specialty. Health coaches don’t just focus on diet and nutrition; they assess your well-being as a whole, also looking at lifestyle factors such as your sleep, relationships, stress levels, and exercise. It’s worth noting that health coaches are only trained in basic nutrition. So, if you have nutritional deficiencies, complex nutrition requirements, or need support with a specific health condition such as diabetes or food allergies, a nutritionist should be your first port of call.
Nutritionists have special nutrition training and are experts in all things related to diet, food, and nutritional requirements including nutrition through the life cycle (such as in pregnancy or children) and for specific ailments and conditions.
Another difference is the approach taken by each modality. Health coaches focus on goal-setting; they create strategies and accountability measures so that clients achieve their health objectives. Nutritionists, on the other hand, devise nutrition guidelines and plans from which the client has to work from. Nutritionists help their clients get to the root cause of their health issues by taking an in-depth medical case history and assessing blood tests if applicable.
Even though health coaches and nutritionists work in a similar capacity, their approach and area of focus differ. Health coaches tackle wellness as a whole, looking at lifestyle factors as well as diet. They set specific goals for their clients and mentor them to achieve these goals. Nutritionists have in-depth nutrition knowledge and are able to provide their clients with specialized dietary advice and meal plans. Whether you engage the services of a health coach or a nutritionist, you will be one step closer to achieving your wellness goals and becoming a healthier, happier you.
Want to Schedule a Complimentary Consultation? Click here to schedule a session today! One of your Health Coaches or Nutritionists will follow-up to chat!
I have been working remotely for a few years now. If you are new to working from home and need some ideas- Here are some tips and ideas to get started...
1. Have a dedicated workspace. Now don’t get me wrong, I definitely work from my couch a lot of days, but when I work from my office space, I feel so much more productive! If you don’t have a room that you can dedicate to office space, designate an area of your home. Maybe it’s your kitchen island or kitchen table. Make it a habit to create your office each day and put it all away at night.
2. Create a work environment. This meshes with the last tip. Try to make sure your space is work-friendly. Create a similar environment that you ordinarily would in your workplace. Some ideas, play music, keep snacks nearby, and keep your area organized with work essentials Trust me, this will help your brain enter “work mode” and get out of “home mode.”
3. Have a morning routine. Set your alarm to wake up at a specific time and create a morning routine before rolling out of bed and going straight to your computer. I like to tidy my house in the morning, brew a cup of tea and meditate before starting the workday.
4. Get dressed. Get ready as if you were going into the office. If you usually wear business casual clothes, you don’t necessarily have to get that fancy, but if you typically shower in the morning, continue the ritual! Do your hair and makeup and put on something that makes you feel like the boss that you are.
5. Set time boundaries. This one is so important! It is so easy to hop on the computer at 8 am and work until bedtime. Try hard to have established working hours. Set up those boundaries for yourself, and your coworkers so they know when you’re online, but otherwise, it can wait until the next workday
6. Get outside. Get fresh air at least once a day! Drink your coffee outside, eat lunch outside, or go for an afternoon walk. I would guess that most of you take a long lunch break at the office, now that you’re at home, you can still do the same! Set those boundaries, baby. Taking a daily break from my computer does allow my brain to reset and recharge so I can finish the day strong.
7. Communicate your schedule. If you live with a roommate or spouse, communicate your schedule at the beginning of the day. Let them know if you have phone calls, webinars, or virtual meetings. Make sure you are on the same page. Share with them what your day looks like to create a quiet space free from distractions.
8. Change your scenery. This one is more useful when we are not in quarantine but can still apply to your house office. Before social distancing, I liked to change my scenery and work from a coffee shop or the library at least once a week just to switch things up. Now that we are housebound, I plan to work from different areas of the house and even create a space outdoors on the patio. Changing the scenery helps to keep the brain stimulated!
9. Don’t forget about your commute time! So many people I know use their commute time to unwind after a day at work. If you need that time to distance yourself from work, build it into your day. Plan an at-home workout during that time, go for a walk, or schedule some downtime to debrief.
10. Focus on work. When you are home, it is easy to start cleaning up or doing laundry, but if you were at the office, chores would not cross your mind. Keep your space as neat as you can to keep your mind centered on work and save the cleaning for after-hours!
Hang in there, folks! I know this is a crazy time for everyone and finding a routine though it all feels like a struggle. Don’t be afraid to take each day as they come and restructure your routine if it isn’t working for you. Everyone is working on finding a new normal, therefore be patient and gentle with yourself.
Since being in quarantine for the past few weeks, I have delved into studying more about nutrition, overall health, and researching the difference between wellness vs. well-being, while continuing being a facilitator for a college course CHS 300:The Science of Well-Being. It is amazing to learn that our future healthcare professionals are creating "well-being toolkits" that they can use themselves and also share with patients. And, I am lucky enough to help & guide them along the way. The amount of support and empathy they provide in our little Online Learning Community is nothing short of AH-MAZING! We just completed my favorite week, The Science Behind the Ripple Effect of RAKs. I am also excited that I get to expand my facilitator hat by adding a nutrition & digital technology course to the mix next semester. #professorinthemaking
Patient & Educator Experience:
As an educator, I can't stop questioning, Where is the support truly needed? If you are part of my tribe, you know the reasons I chose a career as a health educator. Some say I have the unique background of being a patient for many years while having the education, research skills, and knowledge to support patients and individuals who need an additional voice and answers beyond the exam room. During my time as a patient, I had two top specialists ask me if they could use my case study in medical textbooks as an anonymous patient. Of course, I said yes, so that means, somewhere out there medical students, maybe even students who took my course could be trying to solve my case. So Weird! My husband and I joke about this all the time, but I seriously could have been an episode of Grey's Anatomy or House, HA! Quick overview: I was in extreme pain, limited mobility with oxygen levels dropping, and high fevers. Doctors agree I am LUCKY to be alive. I like to think that I have a team of guardian angels watching over me.😉 If you want to know more, keep reading my blogs, I will continue to discuss my case study & journey along the way.
BACK TO BEING AN ADVOCATE....
What I needed during that time was an advocate, someone with the skills and abilities to research all my medical records, put the puzzle pieces of my symptoms together, and suggest out-of-the-box suggestions. Sometimes, it may not be that extreme, but when 1+1 is not adding up, it is time to find other solutions. I have always been an advocate for myself. You can briefly read about it here--> WELCOME TO MY BLOG.
FLASHBACK PHOTO BELOW...
I remember this day clearly. It was one of the last photos taken before I became extremely ill. I was pricked and prodded by doctors leading up to a surgery that saved my life. I was not feeling great, but I got to enjoy the beautiful rays of sunshine before months of bed rest. Flash forward 5 years later, I am healthier than ever. This is one reason I love being a Health Educator, Coach and Patient Advocate. I want to help others become "detectives" of their health so they can health and be the best versions of themselves.
BACK TO THE PRESENT...
When talking to my mom the other day on the phone, she was excited and happy that I am working towards becoming a BOARD CERTIFIED PATIENT ADVOCATE. But, she also was not sure EXACTLY what a patient advocate does... SO, what exactly is a patient advocate?
To put it simply...
DEFINITION OF A PATIENT ADVOCATE:
A person who helps guide a patient through the healthcare system. This includes help going through the screening, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of a medical condition. A patient advocate helps patients communicate with their healthcare providers, so they get the information they need to make decisions about their health.
WHY A PATIENT ADVOCATE IS NEEDED?
A patient advocate is trained to serve as a second set of eyes and ears to listen as the doctor or nurse spews out everything in a matter of minutes, to know the correct set of questions to ask and what things to look for as this is what they do daily. The patient advocate is there to represent the patient and the patient only, not the hospital, the doctors or the nurses.
MY HEALTH COACH EXPERIENCE:
I have worked for years as a Certified Health Coach after receiving my degree in psychology and credentials as a certified health & wellness coach. The majority of my clients have either been women with reproductive disorders or college students who struggle with stress, anxiety, and weight loss. I was reminded this week, that my journey on this educational path started 6 years ago, when a memory appeared on my Facebook page. It was a check-in for the second day of orientation at an internship I completed in the nutrition department at Weill Cornell.
SIDE NOTE: Recently, a new door has opened, and I can't wait to share with you all. More details coming soon... 😀
AS A HEALTH COACH...
What have I discovered?
That most individuals need a "detective" to help them solve their health and wellness puzzle. I create solutions individualized to their unique needs. I like to become a member of my clients' healthcare professional team of doctors, specialists, etc.. to make sure they are informed and make the best decisions for their health. A lot of the time, it has been discovered that it is a medication or certain food that is making someone ill, lack of vitamins & minerals, or it can be an illness that gets dismissed.
So to conclude this latest Blog: All About Coach Jenny Addition....
I am excited to use my time while being in quarantine to continue with my studies, to keep educating, and coaching current and new clients. JAC Wellness is currently working on a virtual membership platform for as little as $1 for a trial membership. Lots of goodies will be included such as meditation programs, healthy habit challenges, recipes, and so much more.
We are also continuing to see clients via ZOOM for more individualized sessions geared towards your needs. Everyone will receive a discount of $25 per session or we can come up with a package deal for anyone interested.
Random Photos of Team Leader & Course Material Creation
Salad generally isn’t something we search around to find new recipes for — it’s usually the same old routine, which can indeed become drab. But guess what? It doesn’t have to be that way!
It’s time to mix things up and make salads exciting, delicious and something you crave…and once you get creative and find your flow, this will undoubtedly be the case!
I’m sure I don’t have to convince you that salads are good for you. Salads generously provide you a healthy helping of nutrient-packed greens, nourishing raw veggies and an extra pep in your step afterwards. With so many perks all in one bowl, it’s time to re-kindle your relationship with salads and get them back on your plate.
Here are 3 tips for making delicious salads that you will crave:
One of my favorite ingredients to use in salad is fresh tomato salsa or pico de gallo. I make mine with diced tomatoes, minced onions, fresh cilantro,lemon juice, cayenne pepper and a splash of olive oil. I often use this as a replacement for salad dressing.
Are your ideas brewing already? What are you inspired to throw in your next salad? Tell me what you’re ‘cookin’ up!
I know you’ll want something special to put atop that delectable salad in your near future, so I’ve included one of my favorite easy, homemade salad dressing recipes for you below. It’s full of healthy fats and all natural ingredients. So easy and much healthier than the sugar laden bottled salad dressings made with inflammatory oils and sugar. Enjoy!
Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette
Olive oil — 1/2 cup
Balsamic Vinegar — 1/2 cup
Dijon Mustard — 1⁄2 teaspoon
1 clove garlic, minced
Basil — 1⁄2 teaspoon
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Vitamin C is known to help reduce common cold symptoms(1). It can shorten the duration of cold symptoms, as well as the severity of those symptoms(2). Vitamin C contributes to immune defense by supporting various cellular functions, which can help protect our bodies from many things, including environmental oxidative stress (3). Vitamin C can be found in many fresh fruits and vegetables, including red peppers, broccoli and spinach, to name a few.
Check out this recipe: This soup contains 113 mg of Vitamin C per serving
Zinc is another major player in building up our immune system and foods are often overlooked as a great place to find zinc. It is essential for many cellular functions, including our immune system, especially in times of stress(4). Oysters are a well-known source of zinc, as is red meat. If you’re looking for plant-based sources, chickpeas and almonds are also a great source. This recipe has 7 mg of zinc and 95 mg of Vitamin C too!
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin, and for good reason! The sun is the best way to get vitamin D(5). Throughout the winter months, and due to global conditions right now, you may be spending less and less time outside, so it’s best to find ways to increase vitamin D through food. Vitamin D is often overlooked for building up immune function, but insufficient vitamin D is linked to impaired immune function(6). Foods that are a great source of vitamin D are liver, mushrooms, egg yolks and fatty fish.
This meal below packs 123 IU of Vitamin D. Egg yolks are a good source of vitamin D and peppers are a great source of vitamin C
Garlic is often a vegetable that goes unnoticed when it comes to building up immune response. It’s one of the oldest remedies across many different cultures to help the immune system(7). It contains many different compounds that have the potential to influence immunity(8), and there are so many different ways to use it!
By now, we all know the positive effects that probiotics can have on our gut flora, but they can also help our immune response. Probiotics are proven to help with elevating our immune system(9). In fact, yogurt with a specific probiotic strain may help reduce upper respiratory tract infections in the elderly(10).
Side note: I added a cup of chick peas(garbanzo beans)to one of my batches of soup & chopped, peeled & diced a potato for more of a comfort soup. ( optional)
THIS BLOG POST ALSO GIVES YOU A TINY SNEAK PEEK OF APPLE JACS RECIPE CLUB COMING SOON......
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SO YOU CAN GET FIT & STRONG IN THE COMFORT OF YOUR HOME
A workout space doesn’t have to be an entire room. It only needs to have some flex space where you can shift furniture to create a zone that allows you the space to exercise effectively. You can use some of the furniture in the room as a prop to workout with (doing tricep dips from your ottoman or sofa). I recommend at least a 7′ x 7′ space where you can lay a yoga mat down easily and manage more active exercises (especially if you are working out to a video).
Organize your space so that you have a spot to store your equipment safely, and then you don’t need to pull it out of the closet every workout session. Trust me, the more work you have to do to get prepared for your workouts, the more reasons you will find NOT to exercise. Make it easy on yourself and keep it all in one location. If it's a large open room, consider getting free weight stands and decorative bins that will allow you to store your equipment in the room but maybe not in plain sight.
Jennifer Castro is the owner of JAC Wellness Solutions. She is a Health Educator & Patient Advocate who specializes in Women's Health & Vestibular Disorders. When she was diagnosed with an inner ear imbalance called Meniere's Disease, she knew she had no choice but to step up her game and become a detective for her own health. Coach Jenny is working towards becoming a Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach while creating course content for health coaches and educators. She created an educational program for preschool teachers called Jump & Roll Fitness which provides healthy habits and movement curriculum for preschoolers. When she is not working on her health coaching business, she is also an educational instructor helping individuals study for the State exams to become a Life Insurance Producer. She also works as an Insurance Broker providing insurance solutions for small businesses, wellness, and medical practitioners. This blog is ALL about health, well-being, nutrition, lifestyle hacks, kitchen hacks along with stories of her own personal health journey. Coach Jenny loves to garden, spend time with her hubby, and
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The only perfect time to commit to making a positive change in the way you take control of your health is NOW!