Food Strategies for the Holidays

SHK_Week-1_Day-1

The holidays are filled with amazing foods, especially fudge, cookies, pies, and large meals. Traditionally, it is the time to feast and celebrate. It can cause us to gain unwanted weight, and causes food-related stress.

It’s not fun watching everyone eat, and feel like you cannot participate in the “celebration.” I think we tend to focus on what we cannot do, instead of realizing we are making a choice. We choose not to eat certain foods, because _________. Each of us will have different reasons for not eating the high-sugar, high-calorie foods of the Holiday season.

I love home-made fudge! I choose not to eat a lot of it, because it contributes to water-retention and swelling in my joints. I make the choice to feel better, instead of indulging and hurting for a week or two. Each of us has different reasons for not wanting to eat certain foods. We need to realize and honor ourselves, over the peer pressure of other people or holiday memories.

I believe that we need to re-define what it means to celebrate the holidays. Does it really mean to eat so much food we feel sick? Or, is it a time to re-connect with family and friends? What role does food play in these events? Does it really need to be a high-calorie feast, or can it be a healthier alternative?

It’s easy to follow the same old path that we grew up knowing. It can be challenging to create new traditions. I think the Thanksgiving turkey is ingrained into our societal culture. When we think of Thanksgiving, we think about the large turkey dinner with all the fixings. What would happen if we chose another meal option?

Our culture dictates that certain foods go with specific holidays. We blindly follow this rule, without questioning its relevance in our lives. Do we really need the huge turkey feast? Or, can we chose other options and still celebrate the holiday?

Just a little food for thought. . .

Blessings for a fun-filled safe Thanksgiving. . .

Wellness for All. . .Karen

Fitness & Wellness Coash

Holidays & Food Consumption

 

The fourth of July is tomorrow. It’s a great day for picnics, barbecues, fireworks, and outdoor activities. Usually, there is food. . .lots of food, and not necessarily healthy food.

What to do?

Make smart choices.

I avoid hot dogs, but am happy to eat a hamburger. Hot dogs have too much fat and too little nutritional value. I will eat chips, but a small amount. Potato salad is wonderful!

So, it goes to portion sizes, or skipping something else. I tend to eat in moderation. It’s okay to feel a little bit of hunger.

Basically, I’m not going without. I’m taking care of myself, for myself and those I love.

I tend to think about portion sizes. I don’t worry so much about everything needing to be healthy food. I find that if I deny myself the opportunity to choose, I crave the item I’ve band from my diet. I guess it’s true that we want what we cannot have. . .

Challenge for Those Who Accept. . .Have a wonderful holiday! Eat food you enjoy! Work on controlling the portions, and don’t worry about the rest! Remember moderation. . .

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

Fitness & Wellness Coach

 

Baby Steps. . .

Are the pounds coming off slowly, but too slow?

Weight loss is a process of baby steps towards a greater goal. The end results are better health, more energy, and feeling better. Physical fitness is a key part of weight loss. That means exercise, and burning calories.

My fitness path is one filled with starts and stops and changes. I started as an athlete as a kid. Then, I moved into coaching, teaching, and finally becoming a certified fitness instructor. It was easy to maintain a healthy weight, and eat right. It was my lifestyle.

Now many years later, I am emerging from a weight struggle. After topping 200 pounds (2008) after an injury that put exercise on-hold, I am finally changing back to the healthy lifestyle. Yes, I’ve lost 20 + pounds since March 3rd (from 191). In part, it’s because I decided that weight loss was the most important thing in my life at this point. I decided that my family was just going to have to accept the change. This is for me! There is no option to fail!

This focus and determination fuels the weight loss, and fitness gains. I started out in February barely averaging 500 steps per day. This is truly horrible! I spent my days working in my home office at the computer, and struggling through the day.

Now, I am averaging 5000 to 6000 steps per day. I’ve made these weight loss gains through Shakeology, re-learning how to eat and how much, and increasing my movement. These steps are produced through walking 3 to 5 miles every other day. I find my body needs to rest a day in-between workouts.

In addition to walking, I’m stretching. Stretching is that part of the exercise routine that helps prevent injuries. I’ve built it into my life. I stretch my legs whenever they start feeling tight. It’s easy to do, even in line at the grocery store. . .

I’ve begun to add weight training into the routine. I haven’t added weight yet, and am using my own body weight to accomplish my goals. I should be able to add additional weights in the next 2 to 3 weeks. I LOVE weight training! It is one of the quickest ways to tone up.

These are all processes that can be used by anyone to attain their weight loss goals. The biggest component is to listen to your body, and progress in small measurable increments.

Challenge to Those Who Accept. . .Write down your goals, and visualize successful completion. Decide how important these goals are in your life. Then, proceed. . .

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

Fitness & Wellness Coach

Keeping the Weight Off

 

Whether easy or not, it can be challenging to keep your weight loss from creeping back! It is an issue for all who have experienced the extra pounds of fat stores clinging to their body. I am not an exception either.

It is important to know why the extra pounds accumulated on our bodies to begin with. It could be an injury, unresolved issues, medication side effects, or health issues. These are the biggest contributing factors.

So, how do we keep the weight off?

We change how we view ourselves, our past, our medical issues, and the medication we take. We change our attitude about food, and our relationship with it. We think about and make conscious choices about the food, drink, and medications put into our bodies. In short, we become aware of our lives.

Food intake is the biggest thing we have control over. With all the current research on food, pesticides, and nutrition, we have the tools to make healthy food choices. With a change in our relationship with food, it becomes easier to choose a healthy snack or meal. Our bodies start to crave fresh, raw foods, instead of processed food products.

Does this mean that some foods are no-nos?

That is a choice that each individual makes. I choose organic, because I’m allergic to pesticides. I do this to feel better, and live a healthier life. It is for myself, and benefits my family. Each person has the power to make these choices to fit their individual lifestyle.

Challenge to Those Who Accept. . .Make a list of the foods currently included in your diet. Look at the ingredients that make each of these foods. Decide if you want to put these ingredients into your body. . .

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

Fitness & Wellness Coach

Fitness is a Lifestyle. . .

copyright Karen Ulvestad

Fitness is a Lifestyle. . .just like Addiction is a Lifestyle. It takes the same amount of time to put on clean blue jeans, as it does torn ones. It comes down to our choices. Some of these choices are automatic or habits.

Fitness is a form of self-care. We are caring for our body, mental well being, and perceptions of self. We become strong, caring individuals that are able to bring our innate gifts to our families, work place, and the world.

True fitness begins in our kitchen. The saying “we are what we eat” is true. Our food is our fuel for our body, and poor quality fuel creates issues in the body. It cannot run at optimal performance, and we experience increased illness / disease.

The next part of fitness is getting up and moving. If we are out-of-shape, it may take baby steps to walk around the block or take the flight of stairs without being “winded”. This part takes determination, focus, and belief.

The last piece is finding yourself. This could be meditation, writing a journal, or simply a walk in nature. It requires finding that quiet space within, and self-acceptance. This may be the hardest part with our busy Lifestyles.

Challenge to those who accept. . .Take 15 minutes everyday to find your quiet space within. 

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

Fitness & Wellness Coach

Food is Energy

082513-KLU-7376e

Food is energy for our bodies. What we put in shows in our energy levels, health, and feelings. Our level of wellness is directly reflected by our food choices.

Processed foods are high in sodium (salt), refined sugar (usually sugar beet), and chemicals. It’s best to read the label on all processed foods purchased. The items listed at the top are the biggest part of the product.

Raw foods are wholesome, and contain more nutrients than processed. The differences here depend on whether the food is organic, conventional, or GMO. The tomatoes above are organic, and sold at the local Farmer’s Market every summer.

GMO produce tends to have the highest amounts of pesticides, and some have been modified to carry pesticide substances in their genetic make-up.

Conventional produce uses traditional fertilizers and pesticides. These chemicals are usually on the surface of the food.

Organic produce uses organic methods of fertilizer and pest control. The use of chemical mixtures is not used on the food.

Challenge for those who choose to – Document the types of foods you eat for a week. Look at the list of foods, and decide if you want to change.

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

Note –
Definition – A pesticide is usually a neurotoxin, and kills bugs though stopping their nervous system. These neurotoxins affect good insects and wildlife too.

It Takes Belief

BelieveWithEveryFiber

To change, we must believe we can change. Every fiber of our being needs to be on-board for change, especially when it is a major lifestyle change!

The biggest yet littlest way to change is to start with one small item. It could be walking 20 minutes a day more than normal, or drinking one less mocha per day. These small changes add up in the long run. The idea is to increase good habits, and decrease bad ones.

Simple change ideas are eliminate processed sugar; eat more fresh fruit; stop eating fast food; eat unprocessed food (meat, cheese, yogurt, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, etc.).

Challenge to those who chose to accept – Quit one small negative habit and add one small positive habit. There will not be an immediate change, but over time the changes become noticeable.

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

Fitness & Wellness Coach