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Nutrition

5 Healthy Things to do Over the Holidays

The holidays are coming! We know you are busy, so we will keep this short. 

If you had to focus on just a few things to get ready for the holidays, here’s a short list: 

1. Plan. Plan ahead by practicing a couple healthier alternatives to the holiday dishes we all love there are some great recipes available at: https://healthystepsnutrition.com/healthy-recipes/

For some amazing holiday sides, may we suggest: 

2. Set goals. With many holiday gatherings coming, set a goal for a # of times to exercise this month & set a goal to drink water instead of alcohol. These 2 things can help deal with the sometimes added stress of holiday gatherings.

3. Don’t go in hungry. Don’t arrive at holiday gatherings hungry. The day of these gatherings, start your day with a healthy, balanced breakfast, and drink water prior to your big holiday lunch or dinner. This may decrease the temptation to overindulge.

4. Balance. Keep your holiday plate balanced choosing healthy sources of protein, carbs, and fats using the plate method. Aim to keep things colorful with a lot of different vegetables. 

5. Enjoy your time with your family, socialize, play games, and laugh lots. Try to commit to having one plate of food and being done to avoid mindless eating and to allow the time to focus on making holiday memories with the ones you love. 

IF YOU NEED ACCOUNTABILITY OVER THE HOLIDAYS, ENLIST THE HELP FROM OUR EXPERT NUTRITION COACH. 

BOOK YOUR FREE INTRO USING THIS LINK: https://sycamorecrossfit.com/programs/nutrition/

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Nutrition

One thing to take OFF your plate this holiday season

How many different things can you worry about at one time this time of year? We already have the normal holiday stresses of finances, family, and lack of time and daylight. This year, we can add the continuing worry of a pandemic as the icing on the 2020 cake. 

Have you found yourself saying, “I just can’t add one more thing to my plate right now”?  This is a very common response when people talk about their health and wellness goals this time of year.  This is also the reason that so many goals are put off until after the New Year. 

Here is the one thing that you can take OFF of your plate this season to help you reach your health goals: stress about your food choices!

Food should never be something that causes you stress or anxiety.  It is merely a lump of calories on a plate; some foods being more nutritious, and some being more delicious!  There is a way that you can still enjoy all of your favorite seasonal treats, and still work toward your goals (and no, this isn’t some gimmick or a FAD diet). 

You can accomplish this through a habit-based approach to your nutrition.  When you focus on your habits surrounding food, rather than only the foods you are eating (or not eating), you are able to apply these habits to any situation you are in, examples:

Holiday parties→ focus on eating when you are hungry, and stopping when you are full

Stress snacking → learning appropriate stress management techniques

Too busy to cook → learning effective weekly planning/meal prepping to fit your schedule

Working with a nutrition coach is about so much more than telling you what you should be eating.  It is about helping you learn about your behaviors surrounding food, and ways that you can start practicing simple habits, one at a time, to improve these behaviors.  Book your free intro today, and let’s take a little stress off of your plate. https://sycamorecrossfit.com/programs/nutrition/

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Nutrition

4 Strategies for Navigating a Healthy Holiday

The holiday time is here! ‘Tis the season for family, festivity, and food—lots of food. Temptations are everywhere, and parties and travel disrupt daily routines. What’s more, it all goes on for weeks!

But how do you stay on track when everyone around them seems to be splurging? 

You need a PLAN to stay on track! Here are 4 Strategies to help you plan for a healthy and happy holiday season:

Strategy #1 Eat close to your usual times to help stay on schedule. 

You can implement this tip by creating a plan! Try to keep to your regular schedule as much as possible. Now, this even goes beyond eating and into other routines such as sleep and physical activity. You need to plan for some consistency during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. 

Strategy #2 Invited to a party? Offer to bring a healthy dish along. 

Veggie platters are an easy and obvious option but did you know that there we have lots of healthy holiday side dish options that are sure to be a hit? Green Bean Casserole, Garlic Mashed Cauliflower, Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash, and Healthier Holiday Stuffing are some of our favorites!

Strategy #3 Don’t skip meals to save up for a feast. 

Skipping meals will cause you to become overly hungry, and then more likely to overeat. When we surpass our hunger cues we are more likely to surpass our fullness cues as well. The best strategy for attending a holiday feast is to make a plan for consistency with your eating routine.

Strategy #4 If you have a holiday treat, enjoy it and move on.

Who doesn’t love a treat? The holiday time can bring some delicious sweet treats such as pies, cookies, candies, and cakes. The key here is not to overdo it. Decide which sweet treat you will enjoy – have it and then move on.

Even though you may not be able to control what food you’re served, you can meet potential challenges armed with a plan. Use these 4 strategies as your recipe for navigating a healthy holiday, no matter what’s cooking! 

Are you looking for additional accountability and support over the holiday season? Learn more about nutrition coaching with a free intro, schedule HERE!

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Nutrition

How to Save your Fruits and Veggies

We have all been there — you are super excited to start eating healthier so you go out and buy tons and tons of fruits and veggies. Then, before you know it, 75% of what you bought has gone bad before you can eat them! Important things to keep in mind are : 

 

1) Don’t keep your produce in the door of the refrigerator where temperatures fluctuate. Keep them in the middle or bottom drawers to keep temperatures more consistent and avoid spoilage.

 

2) Don’t keep raw meat and produce in the same area of the fridge or counter. Cross-contamination is likely to happen, and you risk the chance of getting ill.

 

Here are some tips to keep your favorite produce ready to eat. 

 

VEGGIES:

 

Fresh heads of lettuce, spinach, kale and other leafy greens should be washed really well with water before refrigerating. Dry the leaves and store them in a clean plastic bag with a few paper towels. Switch out the paper towels as needed.

 

Asparagus should be stored in the refrigerator and will last longer if stored these two ways: wrapped with a moist paper towel or standing them up in a glass of cold water wrapped with a damp paper towel

 

Garlic and onions should be kept at room temperature and in a well-ventilated area.

 

Store your mushrooms in a brown paper bag in the fridge or a cool, dry place. Don’t use plastic or glass, as this will trap in moisture and shorten their shelf life.

 

Place fresh herbs in a jar or vase of water, just like you would a bouquet of flowers. They’ll last longer and you’ll have beautiful green decor for your kitchen!

 

FRUITS:

 

Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature away from sunlight and washed just before using. Be sure not to store your tomatoes in plastic, as this will trap moisture and increase the likelihood of spoilage.

 

Fruits from the “drupe” category such as mangoes, plums, peaches, avocados, and nectarines can be ripened at room temperature in a brown paper bag, and should then be refrigerated for longer storage.

 

Clean your berries in a mixture of 10 parts water and 1 part white vinegar. It will help remove excess dirt and help them last longer by preventing mold growth.

 

Pro Tip:

Freezing fruits and veggies at home is a fast and convenient way to preserve produce at their peak maturity. Peel and freeze your bananas, mango,  papaya, cooked cauliflower, beets or sweet potato in a clean plastic bag. Use them later in baking or for delicious smoothies!

 

Want more information on meal prep? Schedule a free nutrition into!

 

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Nutrition

The #1 Way to Get the Most From Nutrition Coaching

You have made a great decision to work with a nutrition coach and  start a journey to improve your nutrition long term. You know that nutrition plays a big role with your progress and overall health. You know that without having a balanced diet you could be neutralizing all the hard work you are putting in the gym.

What you may not know is how to get the most out of your nutrition coaching. One of the first things to remember is to be realistic with your goal and with what you are willing to do. It is very difficult to go from prepping very little or none at all to prepping everything for an entire week. You should think about making small improvements to what you are currently doing in order to prevent burnout or being overwhelmed.

Your nutrition coach doesn’t want to overload you with too much information or with difficult action steps which is why you may not get a meal plan in the beginning. Your nutrition coach could just give you a few things to work on right away, like increasing veggies, drinking more water, and decreasing sugary drinks.

The next thing is to ask for help when you need it! Feeling lost or confused is not something you have to just deal with because you don’t want to bug your nutrition coach. One of the main reasons we have the HSN app is for you to directly communicate with your nutrition coach and allow them to respond to your questions/concerns as soon as they are able. You always have the option of asking the group as well- most of them are going through the same thing or have been there and can help, so ask away!

The absolute MOST important way to get the maximum benefit from your nutrition coach is through honesty and full disclosure. Tell your coach about your sweet tooth, how much alcohol you drink , the number of sugar packets that go in your coffee, how often you are eating pizza, and how you feel about meal prepping.

Your nutrition coach isn’t put in that role to judge or criticize you, but to help take where you are and suggest small steps towards better habits and food quality. If you are at the stage where you are logging your food, be sure to log everything (even the two Hershey kisses you snuck in at work), just because you don’t log it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Without knowing exactly what you are putting in your body it can be very difficult to help guide you in making small improvements.

You made the right decision to start working with our nutrition coach so be sure to take full advantage of the opportunity. You want to reach your long term goal so be honest about what you are consuming and open to making small changes that you know you can stick with. Remember, it doesn’t take one day to gain a bunch of weight or to establish bad habits so it will not take one day to get it off or establish good habits.

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Nutrition

Ways to Shrink the Size of your BUT

If you want to reach your goals, you must shrink the size of your but.

It’s time to review those long term goals that you set at the beginning of 2019. How is that long term goal for the end of 2019 looking? Are you feeling like this goal is attainable, or are you losing motivation? Let’s look at this a little deeper.

If you had a weight loss goal for 2019, and you are about halfway there in accomplishing this goal, what kinds of thoughts are starting to sneak in that are delaying your goal attainment?

Often with a health and fitness goal, after some progress, our minds start playing tricks on us, telling us its OK to start adding in more desserts, not logging our foods, not meal prepping, or skipping a workout. We may also find that we are using the word BUT more, and making excuses for these behaviors that we know delay our goal attainment. Let’s look at some examples…

I’ve had some great progress this year, losing 10#, BUT I really hate logging my food
I’ve gained some consistency with eating more real food, BUT I really hate spending time in the kitchen.

After having some success with meeting our long term goals, gaining consistency with healthy habits, this is the time to really strengthen our mindset. This is an important time to challenge our thoughts in order to achieve your long term goals. Look at your dialogue and challenge yourself to come up with alternative thoughts if you notice that you are starting to use the word BUT to make excuses for behaviors that could derail you.

Remind yourself of WHY you are working hard to achieve your goals and re-frame those statements to shrink the size of your BUT. Here are some alternatives to the statements above:

I know that type 2 diabetes runs in my family and I want to do everything I can to prevent that for myself. I know that food logging will help me stay accountable to eating the right foods and in the right portions.

My work week is busy, and I know that meal prep helps me make better choices during these busy times of the week. It’s worth the small investment once a week to have a healthier week ahead.

To improve your chances of achieving your long term goals, you must shrink the size of your BUT.

 

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Nutrition

Steps to Handling Emotional Eating Part 2

Last week we discussed emotional eating. Many of us are susceptible and good nutritional habits can be easily derailed by it in times of extra stress or hardship. Your challenge for this past week was to work on cultivating mindfulness and creating space. Check out last week’s blog post if you need a refresher.

This week I want to share 3 additional tactics to help you combat the trap that is emotional eating. Work on practicing each different skill and decide which benefit you the most.

Experience your emotions.

The space created by distancing yourself from the distraction of food allows you to experience these emotions, receive their message, and explore what they are trying to tell you. They aren’t useless, they tell us what in our life is or isn’t aligned with our values and goals. They signal to us that something isn’t right and needs to change. Until we have this information we can’t start working on the root cause of the emotion, rather than the symptom of eating.

Explore whatever you’re experiencing (free from judgement). What are you feeling? What are you thinking? Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with? Keeping a food journal (what you eat as well as what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling before and after eating) is a worthy tool to help in this process.

For many, this is the most challenging and uncomfortable step of handling emotional eating. As unpleasant as an emotion may be, though, sometimes the only way through it is through it. Emotions are part of the human experience, and we generally benefit from experiencing, exploring, and embracing what they are trying to tell us.

Do what you can.

Ask yourself what you can do about the emotions you’re experiencing. Many emotions are rooted in circumstance that are within our control. Take stress, for example. Is it your job… finances… relationships? What steps can you take right now to start working towards a solution? If it’s loneliness, what might you do to foster meaningful relationships? What clubs, religious organizations, interest groups, or meetups could you pursue to connect you with like-minded individuals? Hell, even going to a coffee shop, museum, or dog park might be an option, even if only to be around other people without speaking with any of them.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, what can you do to ease your burden? If you’re feeling like a failure, what’s one thing you can do collect a “win”? If you find certain places or people to be associated with the feelings driving your emotional eating, how can you start distancing yourself from them?

Some emotions may simply take time. Heartbreak or mourning after someone exits our life, for example, are often completely out of our control. That said, even if there’s nothing you can do about the circumstance surrounding such feelings, food is not the only tool at your disposal. When working through these emotions, explore other options. Can you seek out the support of friends or family? Can you fill the void left by your loss with activities like hobbies or volunteering? Can you direct that emotional energy towards a worthy cause?

Would you benefit from the help of counseling or therapy? If so, there’s no shame in that. We’re not meant to go through life on our own, and if you need help, seek it out.

The key takeaway is that emotions are signals that something in our lives is out of alignment, and that it’s on us to figure out what to do about it. Explore your options. Do what you can with what you have.

Hang in there.

This isn’t intended as some blanket encouragement to just “deal with it”. It’s a reminder that you are not perfect, emotions and all, and that’s totally okay.

Your methods for dealing with emotions – even if through food – are valid. Nothing you feel or you eat for any reason is a reflection on you as a human being. You’re fully capable, however, of making a change. You’re fully capable of creating the life that you deserve. You’re worthy of nothing but the best life – complete with all the messy, uncomfortable, unpleasant emotions that come along with it. If you’re dealing with these emotions through food and would like to stop, consider taking the steps listed above.

 

 

Whatever you do, don’t quit. You won’t nail this right off the bat. Continue to move forward. Continue to pick yourself up. Continue to dust yourself off. Continue to pat yourself on the back every step of the way. Need some additional guidance? Schedule a free nutrition intro meeting and we can talk about it more.

This will not be easy.

This will take time.

This will take effort.

You’re worth it.

You’ve got this.

-Chris Robinson

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Nutrition

Steps to Handle Emotional Eating Part 1

How often have you turned to food in times of uncomfortable, unpleasant, emotion? You’re not alone. Many of us find ourselves in a pattern of turning to food when we experience emotions such as these. We might do this to distract, numb, or comfort ourselves. You probably already know, however, that the relief brought by food is only temporary. The distraction, numbness, or comfort is fleeting, and after we’re through we’re often stuck with different, but equally unpleasant emotions. Guilt. Shame. Embarrassment. This isn’t a pattern against which we’re powerless, despite how little hope we might have that we can break free. Let’s look at five steps you can take to handle emotional eating.

 

Cultivate mindfulness.

The better in tune you are with your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, the better equipped you’ll be to control how you respond to them. This is where cultivating mindfulness – the ability to identify and explore your thoughts, emotions, and circumstances without judgment or reaction – will be a great asset. The good news is you’re already demonstrating at least some mindfulness already. You’ve already developed a level of self-awareness sufficient to identify your problem in the first place. Developing this skill further will strengthen your ability to manage how you respond to your emotions, empowering you to pursue options other than food. While there are many ways to cultivate mindfulness, practicing meditation is one of the simplest and most effective.

Create space.

Next, you’ll want to create space between the emotions you’re experiencing and the moment you turn to food to manage them. Whenever you feel the urge to turn to food to avoid facing an unpleasant emotion, take a deep breath, acknowledge what’s going on without judgement, and work to delay acting on your impulses. Even if you’re only able to delay turning to food by one second from when you are experiencing emotions, you’re making progress. Each second after that will be even easier. You may find that the sense of urgency declines as you build the skill of letting the emotion “be”. Another step you might consider taking to create space is physically distancing yourself from the foods you most often turn. The rich, intense flavors and textures of such foods serve to distract us from whatever we’re experiencing in ways that other foods might not. Whatever your reasons for your food of choice, shaping your environment to limit access to them might be worth considering. Inconvenience and avoidance, however, might not be the most effective long-term solution, as simply ignoring a problem doesn’t necessarily make it go away. In the short-term, though, it might help you minimize the impact emotional eating has on your health and fitness goals.

 

Practice these skills this week and stay tuned for more tips next week.  Meditation and putting space between you and foods you want to avoid will both be difficult, but powerful. If you have questions or need some accountability, don’t be afraid to ask your coaches questions or schedule a nutrition meeting. We are here to help you work through it!

In health,

Chris Robinson

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Nutrition

Taking the long-term approach when it comes to nutrition

What does that look like?

Taking a long-term approach to improving our nutrition means we have intent, objectives, goals and a mission to accomplish not only short-term goals, but also long-term goals. The big picture mission is simple, we want to be happy, healthy and strong – both mentally and physically. Being consistent with healthy habits like drinking water, meal prepping, and eating real foods is key to accomplishing your long-term goals.

Intent without action accomplishes nothing.

Setting goals is easy. Being accountable for those goals is the hard part – and that’s where working with a nutrition coach in customized nutrition programs and participating in ongoing coaching programs over time is important.

First, let’s start with mapping out a long-term approach. Follow these three easy steps:

Begin with the end in mind: What do you want to achieve? What will it take to get there?

Start small. The little wins will snowball into larger wins down the hill. Consistency wins.

Establish SMART Goals.

What’s a SMART goal? Glad you asked!

S – Specific; Should be simple and defined what you are going to do.

M – Measure; Tangible evidence so you can achieve the goal.

A – Attainable; They should push you just outside your comfort zone.

R – Results-Focused; Goals should measure outcomes, not activities.

T – Time-Bound; Goals should be linked to a time frame that creates a sense of urgency.

Here’s an example of what it looks like to map out nutrition goals over the course of a year:

I will eat a balanced breakfast using the plate method at least 5/7 days this week.

I will meal prep dinners with 3 compartment containers with balanced portions of lean proteins, green vegetables, healthy fats, and healthy carbohydrates for the next month to deal with busy times of the day.

I will eat balanced plates with lean proteins, green vegetables, healthy fats, and healthy carbohydrates, and have a glass of water instead of regular soda for at least 2 meals per day in the next 3 months.

In the next 6 months, I will log my meals daily to learn about my macronutrient balance, and work with my nutrition coach to stay accountable to losing 15 pounds in my customized nutrition coaching program.

This year, I will enlist the support of a coworker, family member, or friend as another accountability partner to make sure that we are eating healthy balanced meals 90% of the time, and getting to the gym at least 3-4 times per week.

I will work with my nutrition coach to stay accountable to losing 30 pounds in my customized nutrition coaching program.

It’s your turn! What does it look like for YOU to take a long-term approach when it comes to YOUR nutrition?

Map it out, and sit down with your nutrition coach to get a plan in place for accomplishing your long term goals! BE WELL!

 

-Chris Robinson

Categories
Nutrition

4 Steps to Making Nutrition Simple

“Something as fundamental as nutrition shouldn’t be complicated.” This is a phrase you will hear from anyone familiar with HSN, over and over again. People all over the world have to eat daily- and more than once, so it should be kept as simple as possible. With so many fad diets, supplements, and quick fixes, it can be overwhelming. Then there’s internet searches that produce over 700k results about nutrition. It can make your head spin – what is right? What is best for me? What do I eat? How often do I need to eat? Should I fast? Do I need a cleanse?

If you are considering something perceived to be a quick fix or a plan asking you to eliminate whole food groups, you probably shouldn’t be doing it unless prescribed by your doctor. It can be hard to remember that you didn’t attain your bad habits overnight and they won’t be fixed overnight either. Building new habits and making progress takes time, especially when you are trying to lose fat or overhaul your poor food choices. Don’t try to overcomplicate things!

Keep it simple by following these four steps:

  1. Eat balanced meals 3 times per day (add 2 snacks between meals if that works for you). Log your food to make sure it is balanced.
  2. Drink plenty of water (80oz) and keep other beverages to a minimum
  3. Work with a nutrition coach or buddy to keep you accountable
  4. Take your Omegas-3s daily

Obviously, there are many other things you can do to support your nutrition, such as exercising at least three days a week, sleeping a minimum of 6+ hours, and finding ways to relieve stress. When it comes to your eating, don’t waste time convincing yourself that it’s hard or you can’t do it. Keep your plate clean and your mindset simple. It’s just something necessary that you have to do daily, and it can be done in 4 easy steps.

 

-Chris Robinson