Five Tips For A Better Night’s Sleep

Have you said “bye bye” to sleeping through the night?

 Are you feeling exhausted and running on stress hormones all day? 

Then read on for Five Tips For Better Sleep and an amazing recipe!

The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing

Sleep is this daily thing that we all do and yet we’re just beginning to understand all of the ways it helps us and all of the factors that can affect it.

Lack of sleep affects just about everything in your body and mind.  People who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for so many health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer; not to mention effects like slower metabolism, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and inflammation.  And don’t forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making skills.

Do you know that lack of sleep may even negate the health benefits of your exercise program? 

OMG – What aspect of health does sleep not affect???

Knowing this it’s easy to see the three main purposes of sleep:

  • To restore our body and mind. Our bodies repair, grow and even “detoxify” our brains while we sleep.
  • To improve our brain’s ability to learn and remember things, technically known as “synaptic plasticity”.
  • To conserve some energy so we’re not just actively “out and about” 24-hours a day, every day.

Do you know how much sleep adults need?  It’s less than your growing kids need but you may be surprised that it’s recommended that all adults get 7 – 9 hours a night.  For real!

Try not to skimp!

Don’t worry, I have you covered with a bunch of actionable tips below.

Five Tips for better sleep

  • The biggest tip is definitely to try to get yourself on a consistent sleep schedule. Make it a priority and you’re more likely to achieve it.  This means turning off your lights 8 hours before your alarm goes off. Seven. Days. A. Week.  I know weekends can easily throw this off but by making sleep a priority for a few weeks your body and mind will adjust and thank you for it.
  • Balance your blood sugar throughout the day. You know, eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fiber).  Choose the whole orange instead of the juice (or orange-flavored snack).  Make sure you’re getting some protein every time you eat.
  • During the day get some sunshine and exercise. These things tell your body its daytime; time for being productive, active and alert.  By doing this during the day it will help you wind down more easily in the evening.
  • Cut off your caffeine and added sugar intake after 12 pm. Whole foods like fruits and veggies are fine, it’s the “added” sugar we’re minimizing.  Yes, this includes your beloved chai latte.  Both caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a bit more active than you want it to be in the evening. (HINT: I have a great caffeine-free chai latte recipe for you below!).
  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time (that is 8 – 10 hours before your alarm is set to go off). This would include dimming your artificial lights, nixing screen time and perhaps reading an (actual, not “e”) book or having a bath.

How many of these tips can you start implementing today?

Recipe (Caffeine-free latte for your afternoon “coffee break”): Caffeine-Free Chai Latte

Serves 1-2

1 bag of rooibos chai tea (rooibos is naturally caffeine-free)

2 cups of boiling water

1 tablespoon tahini

1 tablespoon almond butter (creamy is preferred)

2 dates (optional)

Cover the teabag and dates (if using) with 2 cups of boiling water and steep for a few minutes. Discard the tea bag & place tea, soaked dates, tahini & almond butter in a blender. Blend until creamy. Serve and Enjoy!

Tip:  You can try this with other nut or seed butters to see which flavor combination you like the best.  

Click Here to view the recipe as PDF or to print/save a copy of this recipe.

About Sharon  

As a Certified Holistic Health Coach, I’ve taken more than twenty-five years of client work and personal life experience to create a proven system to help you live the vibrant healthy life you desire. 

If you struggle with weight, low energy or nagging health issues.   

I want you to know…It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way.   

I invite you to join me for a FREE one hour “It’s All About YOU!” call. 
Together we will…
  1. Clarify your vision for a healthier, thinner, and happier you!
  2. Identify what has gotten in your way in the past (it’s not always what you think)
  3. Map out the next right steps for you to live the vibrant healthy life you so desire. 
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Posted in Nutrition

Why Is My Metabolism Slow?

Why is My Metabolism Slow?

You may feel tired, cold or that you’ve gained weight. 

Maybe your digestion seems a bit more “sluggish”.

You may be convinced that your metabolism is slow.

Why does this happen?  

What can slow my metabolism?

Metabolism includes all of the biochemical reactions in your body that use nutrients and oxygen to create energy.  And there are lots of factors that affect how quickly (or slowly) it works, i.e. your “metabolic rate” (which is measured in calories).

(Click Here to see my earlier blog  – What Is Metabolism)

But don’t worry – we know that metabolic rate is much more complicated than the old adage “calories in calories out”!  In fact, it’s so complicated I’m only going to list a few of the common things that can slow it down.

Examples of common reasons why metabolic rates can slow down:

  • low thyroid hormone
  • your history of dieting
  • your size and body composition
  • your activity level
  • lack of sleep

I’ll briefly touch on each one below and I promise to give you better advice than just to “eat less and exercise more”.

Low thyroid hormones

Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism.  When it produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down.  The thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) tell the cells in your body when to use more energy and become more metabolically active.   Ideally, it should work to keep your metabolism just right.  But there are several things that can affect it and throw it off course.  Things like autoimmune diseases and mineral deficiencies (e.g. iodine or selenium) for example.

Tip: Talk with your doctor about having your thyroid hormones tested. And read this article first so you can have an informed conversation with your doctor. Click here for article.

Your history of dieting

When people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down.  This is because the body senses that food may be scarce and adapts by trying to continue with all the necessary life functions and do it all with less food. 

While dieting can lead to a reduction in the amount of fat it, unfortunately, can also lead to a reduction in the amount of muscle you have.  As you know more muscle means faster resting metabolic rate.

Tip: Make sure you’re eating enough food to fuel your body without overdoing it.

Your size and body composition

In general, larger people have faster metabolic rates.  This is because it takes more energy to fuel a larger body than a smaller one. 

However, you already know that gaining weight is rarely the best strategy for increasing your metabolism.

Muscles that actively move and do work need energy.  Even muscles at rest burn more calories than fat.  This means that the amount of energy your body uses depends partly on the amount of lean muscle mass you have. 

Tip: Do some weight training to help increase your muscle mass.

Which leads us to…

Your activity level

Aerobic exercise temporarily increases your metabolic rate.  Your muscles are burning fuel to move and do “work” and you can tell because you’re also getting hotter.

Even little things can add up.  Walking a bit farther than you usually do, using a standing desk instead of sitting all day, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can all contribute to more activity in your day.

Tip:  Incorporate movement into your day.  Also, exercise regularly. This article has six great tips for adding more non-exercise activity to your day. Click here for article

Lack of sleep

There is plenty of research that shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate.  The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

Tip: Try to create a routine that allows at least 7 hours of sleep every night. 

Give this thyroid loving recipe a try!

Recipe (Selenium-rich): Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

Serves 4

½ cup Brazil nuts

2 cups water

nut bag or several layers of cheesecloth (optional)

½ cup chia seeds

¼ cup unsweetened cacao powder

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Blend Brazil nuts in water in a high-speed blender until you get smooth, creamy milk.  If desired, strain it with a nut bag or several layers of cheesecloth.

Add Brazil nut milk and other ingredients in a bowl and whisk until combined.  Let sit several minutes (or overnight) until desired thickness is reached.

Serve & Enjoy!

Tip:  Makes a simple delicious breakfast or dessert topped with berries.

Click Here to view the recipe as PDF or to print/save a copy of this recipe.

About Sharon  

As a Certified Holistic Health Coach, I’ve taken more than twenty-five years of client work and personal life experience to create a proven system to help you live the vibrant healthy life you desire. 

If you struggle with weight, low energy or nagging health issues.   

I want you to know…It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way.   

I invite you to join me for a FREE one hour “It’s All About YOU!” call. 
Together we will…
  1. Clarify your vision for a healthier, thinner, and happier you!
  2. Identify what has gotten in your way in the past (it’s not always what you think)
  3. Map out the next right steps for you to live the vibrant healthy life you so desire. 
Like what you see? Want more?

Sign Up Now

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Posted in Dieting, Exercize, Healthy Eating, Healthy Lifestyle, Nutrition, Recipes

Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals

Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals

Another holiday season is upon us. Sometimes those holiday feasts are just amazing. And it’s not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance that can lead to overeating.

It is way too easy (and common) to indulge on those days.

But it doesn’t always stop there.

Sometimes we overeat on regular days.  Or at regular meals.  Or All. The. Time.

Here are three ways to avoid overeating at meals.

(Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)

Tip #1: Start with some water

When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food it’s too easy to fill a plate (or grab some samples with your bare hands) and dive into the food.

But did you know that it’s possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger?  Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.

Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten.  And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss (…just sayin’).

Not only will the water start to fill up your stomach before you get to the buffet, leaving less room for the feast but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.

Win-win!

Click here for more on the benefits of drinking more water. 

Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”

You’ve heard of mindfulness but have you applied that to your eating habits?

This can totally help you avoid overeating at meals as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion.

Just as being mindful when you meditate helps to focus your attention on your breathing and the present moment being mindful when you eat helps to focus your attention on your meal.

Do this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savoring every mouthful.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe.

This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less.

When you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full.

So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.

Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites.

I talked more about mindful eating in last week’s blog. Check it out here

Tip #3: Start with the salad

You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish.

But don’t start there.

(Don’t worry, you can have some…just after you’ve eaten your salad).

Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they’re full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fiber and water.

Fiber and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller.  They’re “satiating”. They will help you to keep from overeating at meals. 

And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you’re about to indulge in a large meal.

Summary:

Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.

 

If you’re not a fan of plain water, here’s recipe to add some flavor without adding sugar and calories. 

Recipe (Water): Tasty (and beautiful) Pre-Meal Water Ideas

If you’re not much of a plain water drinker or need your water to be more appealing to your senses here are five delicious (and beautiful looking) fruit combos to add to your large glass of water:

Slices of lemon & ginger

Slices of strawberries & orange

Slices of apple & a cinnamon stick

Chopped pineapple & mango

Blueberries & raspberries

Tip: You can buy a bag (or several bags) of frozen chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or uber-cool mason jar in the morning.  They’re already washed and cut and will help keep your water colder longer.

Click Here to view as PDF or to print a copy of this recipe.

About Sharon  

As a Certified Holistic Health Coach, I’ve taken more than twenty-five years of client work and personal life experience to create a proven system to help you live the vibrant healthy life you desire. 

If you struggle with weight, low energy or nagging health issues.   

I want you to know…It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way.   

I invite you to join me for a FREE one hour “It’s All About YOU!” call. 

Together we will…
  1. Clarify your vision for a healthier, thinner, and happier you!
  2. Identify what has gotten in your way in the past (it’s not always what you think)
  3. Map out the next right steps for you to live the vibrant healthy life you so desire. 
Like what you see? Want more?
Have weekly blogs delivered right to your inbox.  

Sign Up Now

Posted in Dieting, Healthy Eating, Healthy Lifestyle, Nutrition, Recipes

Everything You Think You Know About Healthy Eating – Is Wrong

Healthy Eating – Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong!

And it’s Making You Fat and Tired

Healthy eating, nutrition and diet info is everywhere! And everyone has something to say about what what eating healthy really means. 

And each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you.  Right?

Well, maybe…

Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat.  This has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it’s certainly not the “holy grail” of health. 

Let’s focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it. These are the foundation of healthy eating. 

What you eat and drink

The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important.  Don’t get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that’s simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone. 

When the intense focus on how much we ate didn’t work in the long-run it wasn’t really a surprise. We kinda knew that already, didn’t we? 

You can certainly still continue to count your calories, carbs, and fat but don’t forget to also pay attention to what you eat. 

Ideally, you need a varied diet full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods).  This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.

Every day this is what you should aim for:

  • A colorful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack. You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Enough protein. Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism – I talked about this in last week’s blog on Metabolism).
  • Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones). There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” – you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your uber-healthy salads.  Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks, and get grass-fed meats when possible.  You don’t need to overdo it here.  Just make sure you’re getting some high-quality fats.

How you eat and drink

Also, pay attention to how you eat and drink.

Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought.

Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you drink your food?

When it comes to how you eat let’s first look at “mindful eating”.

Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savor every bite.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe.

This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.

This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less.  Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full?

Thought so!

We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.

Here’s more on Mindful Eating

And don’t forget about drinking your food. 

Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!) but drinking too much food can contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness. 

Don’t get me wrong a green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal, not a snack.  And don’t gulp it down too fast.

If your smoothies don’t fill you up like a full meal does try adding a spoon of fiber like ground flax or chia seeds. And watch the protein content of your smoothie too. Fruits and veggies are great, but they lack the protein you need to feel full and to build muscle.

The big takeaways – consider not only how much you eat but also what and how you eat it. These are what healthy eating is all about. 

Need some help with healthy eating? 

 I can help you with that. 

Struggling with your weight or low energy? 

I can help you with that. 

Let’s chat about it and I’ll tell you how.

Click Here to set up a time for us to talk.

Below is a recipe for my go-to, meal on the run smoothie. It’s a nutrient dense, protein-packed complete meal that will fill you up for hours. This recipe is especially handy in the off-season months when fresh local produce isn’t available. 

Berry  & Greens Protein Smoothie

2 Scoops Shaklee Life Shake Vanilla(soy protein or soy-free vegetable protein) 

1/4 cup Shaklee Energizing Soy Protein Vanilla

1 Scoop Shaklee Organic Greens Booster

1/2 cup fresh or frozen organic berries of your choice    

10 Ounces Unsweetened/Unflavored Almond Milk

3-4 Ice cubes 

Blend together in high powered blender or Vitamix. This recipe is too much volume for a nutri-bullet or single serve blender. If using one of these, you’ll have adjust down the quantities and liquid. 

Click Here to view as PDF or to print a copy of this recipe.

 

About Sharon  

As a Certified Holistic Health Coach, I’ve taken more than twenty-five years of client work and personal life experience to create a proven system to help you live the vibrant healthy life you desire. 

If you struggle with weight, low energy or nagging health issues.   

I want you to know…It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way.   

I invite you to join me for a FREE one hour “It’s All About YOU!” call. 

Together we will…
  1. Clarify your vision for a healthier, thinner, and happier you!
  2. Identify what has gotten in your way in the past (it’s not always what you think)
  3. Map out the next right steps for you to live the vibrant healthy life you so desire. 
Like what you see? Want more?
Have weekly blogs delivered right to your inbox.  

Sign Up Now

Posted in Dieting, Healthy Eating, Healthy Lifestyle, Nutrition, Recipes

What Is Metabolism?

What is Metabolism?

This word metabolism is thrown around a lot these days. You know that if yours is too slow you might gain weight.  But what exactly does this all mean?

Well technically “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body.  It’s how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.

Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive.  And without this amazing biochemistry, you would not be possible.

Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:

  • Allow activities you can control (e.g. physical activity etc.).
  • Allow activities you can’t control (e.g. heartbeat, wound healing, processing of nutrients & toxins, etc.).
  • Allow storage of excess energy for later.

So when you put all of these processes together into your metabolism you can imagine that these processes can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right.

Which brings us to the “metabolic rate”. 

Metabolic rate

This is how fast your metabolism works and is measured in calories (yup, those calories!).

The calories you eat can go to one of three places:

  • Work (i.e. exercise and other activity).
  • Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions).
  • Storage (i.e. extra leftover “unburned” calories stored as fat).

As you can imagine the more calories you burn as work or creating heat the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store for later.

There are a couple of different ways to measure metabolic rate.  One is the “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) which is how much energy your body uses when you’re not being physically active.

The other is the “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE) which measures both the resting metabolic rate as well as the energy used for “work” (e.g. exercise) throughout a 24-hour period.

What affects your metabolic rate?

In a nutshell: a lot!

The first thing you may think of is your thyroid.  This gland at the front of your throat releases hormones to tell your body to “speed up” your metabolism.  Of course, the more thyroid hormone there is the faster things will work and the more calories you’ll burn.

But that’s not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate. How big you are counts too! Larger people have higher metabolic rates; but your body composition is crucial! 

As you can imagine muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does.  So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be.  Even when you’re not working out. 

This is exactly why weight training is often recommended as a part of a weight loss program.  Because you want muscles to be burning those calories for you. The thing is, when people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down which you don’t want to happen.  So you definitely want to offset that with more muscle mass.

Aerobic exercise also temporarily increases your metabolic rate.  Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they’re doing “work”.

The type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate!

Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and metabolize your food.  This is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF). You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body metabolizes foods differently. Fats, for example, increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by 15-30%.  By trading some of your fat or carbs for lean protein you can slightly increase your metabolic rate.

Another bonus of protein is that your muscles need it to grow.  By working them out and feeding them what they need they will help you to lose weight and keep it off.

And don’t forget the mind-body connection.  There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate. That’s why lifestyle is so important for sustaining a healthy weight

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism and how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate.

Wondering what your metabolism is doing or how you can perk it up a bit? I can help you with that. 

Struggling with your weight or low energy?  I can help you with that. 

Let’s chat about it and I’ll tell you how. Click Here to set up a time for us to talk.

 

Below is a recipe for a simple, quick, lean protein dinner. Meals like this will put you well on your way to healthy eating. 

Click Here to view as PDF or to print a copy of this recipe.

Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts

Serves 4

2 lemons, sliced

1 tablespoon rosemary

1 tablespoon thyme

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)

dash salt & pepper

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive old

 

Preheat oven to 425F.  Layer ½ of the lemon slices on the bottom of a baking dish.  Sprinkle with ½ of the herbs and ½ of the sliced garlic.

Place the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle salt & pepper.  Place remaining lemon, herbs and garlic on top of the chicken.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Cover with a lid or foil.

Bake for 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through.  If you want the chicken to be a bit more “roasty” then remove the lid/foil and broil for another few minutes (watching carefully not to burn it).

Serve with a side of your favorite veggie and a serving of brown rice & enjoy!

Tip: You can add a leftover sliced chicken breast to your salad for lunch the next day!

 

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-energy-balance

 

About Sharon  

As a Certified Holistic Health Coach, I’ve taken more than twenty-five years of client work and personal life experience to create a proven system to help you live the vibrant healthy life you desire. 

If you struggle with weight, low energy or nagging health issues.   

I want you to know…It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way.   

I invite you to join me for a FREE one hour “It’s All About YOU!” call. 
Together we will…
  1. Clarify your vision for a healthier, thinner, and happier you!
  2. Identify what has gotten in your way in the past (it’s not always what you think)
  3. Map out the next right steps for you to live the vibrant healthy life you so desire. 

Click Here To Schedule Your Call

Like what you see? Want more?

Sign Up Now

Have weekly blogs delivered right to your inbox.  
Posted in Dieting, Exercize, Healthy Eating, Healthy Lifestyle, Nutrition, Recipes

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