Three Simple Steps to Eating Healthier During the Holidays

Three Simple Steps to Eating Healthier During the Holidays

The holidays are a great time for relaxing with family & friends and attending parties, tree decorating, and annual outings.

All of these activities typically include lots of food and drink that we don’t normally consume, which can wreak havoc on our body! 

How to Reduce Sugar

Sugar is the number one offender! But staying away from sweets at this time of year isn’t easy. We usually consume more sugar than normal, which means our bodies become more acidic than usual.

Did you know that studies show sugar is actually more addictive than cocaine? That means the more we eat, the more we want.

I could make simple recommendations like, “just say no” or “track your weight,” but I actually don’t believe in that type of guidance at the holidays or in everyday life.

When I was addicted to sugar, walking away from cookies and cake was near impossible! Over the years, I’ve found that to reduce the sugar cravings and make the holidays easier to navigate, there’s one thing we can all do: Bulk up on the healthier options at the beginning of the day so the body doesn’t crave the “bad” stuff nearly as much.

This strategy is called “crowding out.” It’s a term I learned when I trained for my health coaching certification. It means that instead of focusing on what you “can’t have,” focus on adding more nutritious foods—which will naturally “crowd out” the non-nutritious options.

Tweetable Waive off cravings for non-nutritious options by bulking up on healthy options early in the day. @staceycrew #healthyholidays

Planning Ahead

Whichever type of party or holiday activity you attend, be sure to plan ahead in terms of what you eat, especially on the day of the party.

Begin by cutting back or eliminating the carbonated drinks and drink more water .

Tweetable Pre-game for holiday parties by eating healthy and drinking lots of water to stay hydrated. @staceycrew #healthyholidays

Pre-gaming with healthier options allows you to indulge guilt-free once you’re at the party.  Pre-gaming will also help you avoid the holiday food hangover and actually reduce temptations to overindulge.

Alcohol contains a lot of sugar. So drinking a cocktail is often-times the equivalent to eating a donut. Have one cocktail, glass of wine, or beer followed by a water to rehydrate.

Party Day Strategy

Here are your three strategies for allowing yourself to enjoy the holiday season:

  1. Pre-game with healthy options — On party day, skip the breakfast donuts, eat something hearty like a hard-boiled egg and some oatmeal instead. For lunch, eat a clean salad (add some meat or beans for protein) with an olive oil-based dressing (bottled ones contain a lot of sugar – read the label) and some healthy snacks in between. Go-to healthy snacks include an apple, carrots and hummus, and strawberries. If you’ll be heading to a party directly after work or in the early evening, consider stopping for a juice or a made-from-scratch-smoothie.
  2. Cut-back on carbonated drinks especially diet ones (yes!), are loaded with chemicals that create inflammation in the body and wreak havoc on our digestive tract. One 12-ounce can of diet coke contains 39 grams of sugar. The daily recommended maximum of added sugars per day for women is 25 grams and for men it’s 37.5 grams. So, one 12-ounce can (and most people are drinking 16-oz or 32-oz drinks) of diet coke and you’re already blown your daily sugar intake. Carbonated drinks are one of the main reasons people have trouble losing weight and can’t get rid of the spare tire.
  3. Increase your water intake Again, this is a go-to health booster. Most people are walking around dehydrated and don’t even know it. Better yet, start a warm lemon water routine each morning to lubricate your body’s internal systems. You’ll be amazed at the results by incorporating this one change into your morning routine.

So, choose one of the above and you’ll be way ahead of the game. Now go and enjoy the holiday season!

To get a jumpstart on the New Year, download my FREE 3-Day Jumpstart to eliminate sugar, gain more energy, and eat clean.

 

Stacey Crew is “The Kitchen Health Coach” based in Charleston, South Carolina. She is a Certified Wellness Coach & published Author, and owner of Stacey Crew Wellness. She helps individuals achieve their health goals through a 4-prong approach of understanding the individual’s wellness needs, educating on specific topics, empowering the individual to make informed decisions, and providing accountability—all in a supportive environment. Stacey is an Amazon best-selling author of The Organized Mom: Simplify Life for You & Baby One Step at a Time and author of the soon-to-be-released Nourish You! Transform You & Your Kitchen for Healthier Eating.

Connect with Stacey @staceycrew on Facebook and Twitter and @staceycrewwellness on Instagram.

 

Bring Magic to Your Routine with Walking Meditation

Bring Magic to Your Routine with Walking Meditation

We are entering a great era in which bliss is chic and a centered, grateful heart is the coolest accessory. It’s amazing to watch things like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness become mainstream. All of us are benefiting from the focus on well-being and healthy living that is finally sweeping through the western world.

As this happens, many ancient eastern traditions are becoming more commonplace. This is especially true for meditation. Today, people are talking about it and actually engaging in the practice of meditation now more than ever before in the west. 

But as mainstream as meditation is today, many folks are still getting acquainted with different types of meditation and how it can help. Today, I’d like to enlighten you to the amazing practice of a walking meditation. 

In traditional meditation, you sit still for a certain amount of time and either participate in a guided meditation or quiet your internal dialogue in a zen-based meditation. 

In walking meditation, you are literally walking and moving throughout your meditation.  As you walk, you focus on your breath. You also focus on the physical sensations of walking such as: the sensation of the ground under your feet, the movement of your limbs, and the sights and sounds around you. 

During a walking meditation, try your best to focus all of your attention on the act of walking and all of the sensations that accompany it. Similarly to a sitting meditation, you take note of a thought that is vying for your attention but you gently let it go and re-focus back to the act of walking. 

Given that walking can be an incredibly sensory-rich experience, it is almost easier to practice thought control and quiet your mind in a walking meditation.  If we compare this to a sitting meditation (wherein we have very little sensory experiences to focus on and distract us from our thoughts) a walking meditation is simply a delight for the senses and extremely fertile ground from which cultivating a quiet mind is less strenuous and more accessible for all of us. 

 

But here’s the magical part of walking meditation:  It teaches us in vivo that we can adopt a meditative state of mind anytime, anywhere. 

 

As you practice walking meditation and enter a meditative state, you start to experience the certainty that yes- you can bring peace to any moment. Your spiritual self does not have to lay dormant until you have a quiet opportunity to whip out your meditation mats again. You can bring peace to your mind in the here and now, even as you take your morning walk. 

 

 

Guest Blog by: Diane Webb, LMHC.  Diane is a psychotherapist in upstate New York that specializes in anxiety reduction, post-traumatic stress disorder, overcoming depression, transpersonal therapy and achieving emotional peak performance. For more information and how to work with Diane, visit: The Peace Journal  Connect via Facebook Here: The Peace Journal Facebook

Sometimes You Just Need To Make A U-Turn!

Sometimes You Just Need To Make A U-Turn!

My alarm did not go off this morning, so I woke-up late.  Because it was pouring rain my teenage son asked me to take him to school instead of riding the bus.  My daughter forgot her flute and asked me to drop it by the school for her… This was just the beginning of my morning.   (more…)

Living Through Grief – A True Story Of The Process.

Living Through Grief – A True Story Of The Process.

“I have found that mindfulness, self-acceptance and meditation have given my daughter and I the strength we needed to get through the darkest of days and emerge blinking into this new life we have found ourselves in.” -Liane Richardson

It wasn’t until my recent experience with the death of my late partner, that I really realized the true darkness and pervasiveness of grief. It was if a light had been extinguished, the raw fear of realising that your life, complete with all the hopes and dreams you had together, was over. The support that I had so often taken for granted, gone in the blink of an eye. It has been fifteen months since his death, and I marvel at how resilient our daughter and I have been, faced with the lack of his physical presence in our life. It’s no time at all really, not in the grand scheme of things, but it sometimes feels that he has been gone forever. We have overcome all the major milestones for the first time and the rawness of our loss is fading.

 

There isn’t a one size fits all aspect to grief. In fact, it is quite a selfish emotion, we grieve for the loss of something or someone in our life, be it a person, a pet or a lifestyle. As such it is something that can overwhelm and, if we let it, consume us. That said, it is perfectly normal to grieve, and there isn’t a time limit, however, don’t let it be the sole focus of your life. Life comes at us pretty fast nowadays and change is something the majority of people shy away from. No-one chooses to wallow in grief, it really isn’t healthy, BUT it is an essential part of the process of momentous change after a loss.

 

I did a lot of research on grief and the grieving process after his death, especially trying to find a way to help our daughter live with her loss. Children deal with loss completely differently to us adults, my daughter needed to be with friends, to do normal things, not be whispered around or treated differently. Which was just as well because I nearly fell apart! It is true that one really finds out who your real friends are when the chips are down, and I was blessed to be surrounded by many people who softened the blow of his passing.

 

There is a general consensus amongst psychologists that there are stages to the grieving process:

 

  • Denial. We can’t or won’t accept the loss and what it means for our future.

 

  • Anger. With them for dying. With others for not saving them. With ourselves or a higher power.

 

  • Bargaining. “Don’t let them die, please God, if you let them live I’ll do X.” Or in the event of their death ”if I do this God, will you bring them back to me?”

 

  • Depression. This is the one that, if you allow it to take hold, will take you down with it. You dwell on the unfairness of it all, the lack of their presence in your life and the “what ifs” and “if only’s”. To be depressed as a result of the situation is a normal reaction to a loss and it is a necessary emotion to be able to heal and move on. To allow the depression to take hold of you is another thing altogether.

 

  • Acceptance. The acceptance of your new reality.

 

There is no defined way that we will experience these emotions, indeed some of us won’t face all of them, although I did, to a lesser or greater degree. Ultimately the final stage is the one that will allow us to move forward in our new altered reality, because, like it or not, we can’t turn back the clock.

 

I have found that mindfulness, self-acceptance and meditation have given my daughter and I the strength we needed to get through the darkest of days and emerge blinking into this new life we have found ourselves in. He would be so proud of us and how well we have coped with his passing.

 

So we’ll keep on keeping on knowing that as each day passes the pain will slowly get easier to bear. I liked a quote I once saw on Pinterest, it said; Grief is like a stormy sea, the waves crash over you incessantly, gradually the storm, and the waves will subside and where once there were huge engulfing waves, there remain just tiny ripples and you can edge forward into your altered future.

 

With love and light,

Liane

xoxoxoxo

 

 

Liane Richardson is a mother to four amazing children and a perpetual optimist bobbing around in the Sea Of Life.  Her mission in life is to give others a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on. She is a strong believer in laughter being the best medicine (and chocolate!).  What we think, we attract, so stay positive. Receive more goodness from Liane on her website: Liane Richardson

 

Three Ways To Transform Your Money Mindset

Three Ways To Transform Your Money Mindset

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t-you’re right.”                                                                                         -Henry Ford

 

When I started my journey to becoming financially fit, just a little over a decade ago, I had no idea where I was headed. I knew I needed to make some serious changes in my relationship with money because I was nowhere close to where I wanted to be, where I dreamed of being all my life. I knew I had the drive, I knew what I wanted my financial future to look like, but I didn’t know why I just couldn’t seem to get ahead and reach my goals of being financially free.

 

So what was stopping me? My money mindset!

 

Now some of you may be thinking, what in the world is money mindset and why should I care? I get it, I had no idea what it was until I started searching for a way to dig my way out of the $25,000 of debt I had got myself into because I wasn’t aware of the somewhat toxic relationship I had with money. I was living paycheck to paycheck and I wasn’t paying attention to where I was spending my money. I knew how much money I had in my bank account and when it was gone, it was gone. By the last few days of the month I’d be eating ramen noodles and driving around on the fumes in my gas tank hoping I’d have enough to make it to the bank to cash my check on payday. I was MISERABLE!

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How “Bear Necessities” Enhanced Our Life

How “Bear Necessities” Enhanced Our Life

While growing up, Disney movies and Nickelodeon were keen influences on my way of life.

One of my favorites still rings true today

Disney’s version of “The Jungle Book.” Its catchy song “Bear Necessities” has given me a few “ah-ha!” moments while replaying it in my head.

“Look for the bare necessities, The simple bare necessities. Forget about your worry and your strife, I mean the bare necessities, That’s why a bear can rest at ease. The simple bare necessities of life.”

Yes! The simple bare necessities of life and the ability to live with little and be grateful for what you have now — this is what I often find myself inspiring students with, and for good reason.

After a devastating house fire in 2011, my husband and I were left with nothing but the clothes on our back. We were graciously sent donations from our fantastic Beaufort community, and I learned quickly what it was like to live with bare necessities.  Food, clothing and a hotel room for shelter were what we had. This experience quickly shifted our definition of what was necessary and what was important.

People, not things, were most important now. (more…)

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