Canada’s New Food Guide

If you are familiar with my website, it will come as no surprise that I love Canada’s new food guide. Why?

  • It’s focused on unprocessed foods – low in sodium, sugar and saturated fats.
  • It includes more fruits and vegetables.
  • It encourages us to make water our beverage of choice.
  • It is simple to follow: no need to measure or count.
  • It suggests cooking at home, and provides recipes to get us started.
  • It promotes eating mindfully: taking time to eat, and noticing when we are hungry and full.
  • It is backed by good science.

In addition, the site offers tips for things like healthy eating on a budget and meal planning. Check it out!

Start Small and Do It Your Way

I have chronic neck and shoulder pain. This has certainly been exasperated by poor posture (hunching over my computer keyboard). I have worked to resolve this by using a standing desk. I have also been including strength training (working on my back, shoulder and abdominal muscles) to help with my posture. One thing I have not been doing frequently enough, even though I know it is important, is stretching. I am VERY inflexible. I have wanted to include yoga to help with this, but even beginners’ classes have been challenging and have often left me feeling worse than when I started. Is there such a thing as a pre-beginners’ class? It turns out there is, sort of….

During a recent search on Youtube (my main source for free exercise videos), I came across chair yoga. I have begun incorporating it into my routine, and I am really enjoying it.

I love that I am able to do a modified downward dog (first picture) to open my chest and shoulders. I have trouble with the regular dog, often leading to more neck and shoulder pain, rather than less. Eventually, I may graduate to beginners’ yoga, but right now I am “starting small and doing it my own way”.

If you’d like to give chair yoga a try, I highly recommend this video. It was developed by the therapists in the Chronic Pain Service at Toronto Rehab, Rumsey Centre. It takes only 25 minutes, and remember, moving everyday is one of the best ways to manage (or prevent) pain!

Be Your Own Valentine: The Ultimate Gift of Self Care

What do you want this year to look like for you?

Do you want to feel relaxed, stress-free, energized, healthy, and happy?

If you want to take better care of yourself, but you don’t know how to get started, my new online workshop is for you, for the investment of only $99.

Over four weeks, you’ll learn….

  • Week 1 – Positive Self Talk – Shifting your inner voice can have a huge impact on how you feel and what you do. Learn how to do this.
  • Week 2 – What Brings You Joy? – (Re)discover the activities that fuel you and how to find time to include them.
  • Week 3 – All About Your Body – What we eat plays a role in how we feel and what we do. Learn how to include healthy, easy and delicious meals.
  • Week 4 – A Nurturing Space – How transforming your space can help transform your life.
  • And so much more!

This workshop will give you the unique opportunity to work with a certified coach for a fraction of the cost of a one-on-one program. You will be able to ask questions, gain personalized insight about your situation, and learn from others in the community.

Sorry guys, this group is for ladies only, but it would make a great Valentine’s Day gift!

Space is limited as I want to ensure I have time to work with each of you.

It all begins on February 1st.

To reserve your spot, get in touch!

And remember: Self-care is not optional, and it is not selfish. Only when you are mentally and physically healthy can you live your best life and be your best for others.

With love,

Coach Heather

Take Baby Steps

One reason people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions is that they try to change too much at once and quickly become frustrated and overwhelmed. I have certainly been guilty of this. In addition to losing a few hibernation pounds before heading off on vacation, a quick glance at my vision board will show that this year I am hoping to add strength training, meditate, do yoga, take up running, declutter, work on my finances, manage stress, eat healthier, get more sleep…. Whew! Even thinking about trying to do all of these at once is so intimidating that I might give up before I even start. Instead, I have learned to break my goals down into manageable, baby steps.

This is a simple and effective strategy. The success I feel when I achieve one, small goal gives me the motivation to add another. I already shared how making your bed every morning may lead you to tidy out your sock drawer. Replacing one can of soda a day with a glass of water may lead to other steps to reduce sugar in your diet. Give it a go, and if you find you need help to break your goals down, please contact me.

Eat More Fish

This week, I have been focusing on decluttering my pantry. Who knew that I had so many packages of rice noodles? I have been inspired to use up my pantry ingredients, along with what I find in the fridge and freezer, in an effort not only to declutter, but also to save some money on my ever increasing grocery bill. All I needed to pick up for this delicious Weeknight Red Curry from Bon Appetit was a pound of firm white fish. I chose cod. I will definitely be adding this to my monthly menu!

Tonight, I will be making another Asian inspired fish dish that we have enjoyed before: Spicy Miso Ramen with Chili Roasted Salmon from feasting at home. You guessed it. I have salmon in the freezer and ramen in the cupboard.

There are many health benefits to including more fish in your diet:

  • It is high in important nutrients
  • It may lower your risk for heart attacks and strokes.
  • It may help with depression.
  • It’s a good dietary source of vitamin D.
  • It’s delicious, as you will soon discover when you try the recipes I have shared.

Enjoy!

Make Your Bed

You may be wondering why I have included a picture of my made bed today. Well, that’s just it. My bed is MADE. One of the things I am focusing on this year is relieving stress in healthy ways. Believe it or not, something as simple as making your bed in the morning can help.

  • It sets the tone for the rest of the day, giving you a feeling of accomplishment that you take with you as you head out the door.
  • It is an infectious act, which might lead you to tidy up other areas, like the top of your dresser.
  • All that tidying up will mean less clutter, and a tidy space is very calming.
  • Finally, there is nothing quite so blissful as ending a long day by climbing into a freshly made bed.

This one little thing can make a big difference. Give it a try!

Hydrate

One of my goals this year is to drink more water. During a busy day, I often forget. I even take a huge water bottle with me to work, but I might as well use it to do bicep curls because I rarely remember to sip from it. At least that way it would still be contributing to my health.

There are SO many benefits to making sure you are hydrated. I’ve included just a few.

  1. Weight Loss. Did you know that clinical studies have found that people confuse thirst for hunger about 35% of the time? The next time you feel like reaching for a snack, have a glass of water first.
  2. Glowing Skin. Drinking enough water helps with skin elasticity and prevents dryness and dullness. Who doesn’t want a smoother, more youthful complexion?
  3. More Energy. Dehydration causes fatigue, so that afternoon slump that leads you to the vending machine or coffee pot could be alleviated with a glass of water.
  4. Better Brain Function. Staying hydrated will improve your mood, concentration and memory.
  5. Improved Digestion. Water helps your gastrointestinal tract break down food properly and promotes regular bowel movements.

Now, having a water bottle with you is actually a great tip for improving hydration. It just hasn’t worked for me… yet. What has helped is using an app to track my intake. There are many free apps available. I am using My Water Balance: Daily Drink Tracker & Reminder. The free version allows me to track water, coffee and tea. The optional upgrade would allow me to track other beverages.  I asked for reminders, and at first, I have to admit, that I found them a little too frequent and slightly annoying. However, using the app has really improved my water intake. Who knows? Maybe I’ll soon be emptying that water bottle.    

 

 

 

Focus On What You Gain!

“One reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up instead of what they have to gain.” Rick Godwin

Did you start 2019 with a goal in mind? Healthy eating? Weight-loss? Stress management? More family time? Only four days in, your focus and enthusiasm are hopefully still strong. However, research conducted by Strava, suggests that January 12th is the day when your motivation might begin to falter. How can we ensure that we make it past that fateful date? I encourage my clients to do as Rick Godwin suggests, and focus on what they are gaining from the changes they are making, rather than what they are giving up. Really, attitude IS everything!

Let’s look at healthy eating as an example. Whether they are trying to lose weight, or for other health reasons, many people believe changing their diets will involve restriction and deprivation. They focus on having to give up ice-cream, cookies, french fries….

Now, I feel the need to mention, at this point, that I don’t believe in “good” or “bad” foods. I think that there are some foods you should eat less often and in smaller amounts, or perhaps learn to make healthier versions of. But telling yourself that you will never again eat cake could lead to cravings that would derail your attempts to improve your weight and nutrition.

Keeping that in mind, you will still need to make sure that most of the food you consume, most of the time, is real: unprocessed/additive free.

So what do you gain out of eating that way? Well first of all you get to eat great food! As your taste buds recover you will discover just how delicious foods are in their natural state. Cravings for salt and sugar will be reduced. You’ll have more, stable energy. More focus. You’ll reduce your risk for diseases like type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. You’ll improve your heart health. You’ll likely lose weight (if that is your goal), and if you have children, you will be an excellent role model for them. Wow! That’s a lot! Feeling more motivated?

Focusing on what you have to gain will increase your chances of reaching any goal. Give it a try.

I want to leave you with a recipe I tried recently: Roasted Vegetable Quesadillas from Taste of Home. They are very easy to make. I actually made the filling (there was a lot of it) a couple of days ago, and then have used it to make lunch for the last two days. You could add black beans. The cumin is very mild (kid friendly). You might want to add a smidge more. I topped mine with homemade guacamole. Yum!

One Big Domino

I have just come across the One Big Domino theory, and it makes a lot of sense to me. It suggests that we identify the one big thing we can do, or big change that we can make, that will make everything else easier. By knocking down this Big Domino first, you will open up possibilities in 2019 that will amaze you!

A Big Domino could be reducing your sugar intake. The many benefits you would receive from making this change could include…

 

  • less inflammation and joint pain
  • less bloating and gas
  • weight loss
  • reduced cravings
  • decreased appetite
  • high and stable energy
  • improved mood (more focus, less depression)
  • removal of stubborn belly fat
  • clearer skin and less wrinkles
  • decreased risk of diabetes, stroke and heart attack

What could your Big Domino be?