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......
If you are looking for supplements to add to your daily lifestyle- Click the image below to receive 25% off all orders. If you would like recommendations-click here
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 a Health Educator & Patient Advocate who specializes in Women's Health & Vestibular Disorders. Coach Jenny is working towards becoming Board Certified while working as an Instructional Team Member for the College of Health Solutions at ASU. She also works as an Insurance Broker providing insurance solutions for small business & office settings, employee benefits and workplace wellness options