2019 diet free forever

Today I am offering you hope! Make 2019 the year you embrace a healthy lifestyle.

You’ve tried lots of diets and sadly they don’t work for long.

I know your struggles because they are mine too. By the end of January my diets were done. But there is hope!

Instead of a new diet I encourage you to make lifestyle choices.

That’s what worked for me! I made little changes that become habits. I lost 20% of my body weight and I’ve kept it off for over 9 ½ years. I call the little changes – little steps. Every little step makes a difference!

I want so much for you to have success too.

That’s why I keep writing this blog every week. To offer you hope and encourage you on your health journey.

I want you to make lifestyle changes too, because they work!

I want you to win!

You can make little lifestyle changes too!

Every little step makes a difference!

Last week I shared my best tip for eating less food.

It’s a simple as switching to a smaller plate.

By switching to the smaller plate I ate less food. I lost some weight! The smaller plate helped me judge my portion sizes too.

Now the smaller plate is part of my healthy lifestyle. You can read more of my story here.

To embrace a healthy life style I have realized that we need to include our body, mind and spirit in our healthy choices.

Our bodies are wonderfully created and we often just focus on our food choices and adding in exercise.

We neglect our minds and how our thinking affects our choices. We hardly ever involve our spirit.

But I have learned that a healthy lifestyle needs to incorporate our body, mind and spirit for long-term success.

As a follower of Jesus Christ I want you to know that God loves you and cares about your health. His power is available for the asking!

Each week I write to encourage you on your health journey.

Some times our lives get crazy busy and taking care of us is last on the list. But I have learned that if I make care for me a higher priority then I care for others better.

I’ll share some of my personal struggles and successes.

I share recipes for yummy and healthy food. We all need fun ideas for nutrient rich food choices.

We’ll learn how our minds and our thoughts affect our choices in life.

We’ll find sneaky ways to help our bodies move more. We will find surprisingly easy ways to include exercise into our daily lives.

We will learn the power that is available to us by claiming God’s promises. God’s words have power!

 

We will support and encourage each other on the good days when most choices are healthy.

On the rough days when there are more poor choices we will still be encouraged because that’s real life!

Imperfect progress is still progress!

Remember that every little step makes a difference!

Today’s little step: Make 2019 the year we walk together as we create and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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If you have been encouraged please share this with a friend.

Believe it and say it with me.  Every little step makes a difference!

 

My best tip to eat less!

I know a little secret that fools my brain and helps me eat less everyday!

A little trick I use at every meal. This little trick helped me lose weight and keep it off for over 9.5 years!

It’s a secret that I can’t keep to myself, I have to share with you! In fact, I shared it before but it’s worth repeating!

What’s my little secret?

I use a smaller size plate, the luncheon size. It doesn’t sound like much of a change, but the evidence proves it makes a big difference.

The smaller plate holds less food but it looks very full. My brain and eyes like the plate to be full,

I don’t feel deprived and my portions are naturally smaller!  I’m not on a diet. It’s a lifestyle!

Researchers have found that our brains have trouble judging how much food there is on a plate. We use the size of the plate as our reference for how much food to put on it. Overall they found that people serve themselves more food when using larger dinnerware and serve themselves less food when using smaller ones. http://foodpsychology.cornell.edu/content/plate-size

Take a look at these 2 plates, which has the most food?

IMG_5923

IMG_5924

 

 

 

 

 

Most of us think the plate on the left has more food. The surprise is that they both have the same amount, 1 cup of macaroni and cheese and 1/2 a cup of green beans.

The one to the left is the smaller luncheon size plate. The food covers most of the plate and we think there is more.

The one to the right is the full size dinner plate. The food covers less of the plate and we think there is less.

When we fill both plates they looks like this.

IMG_5921

They look pretty similar, however the difference in the portion size is amazing; it’s double the amount!

On the smaller luncheon plate, to the left, the portion is 1 cup of macaroni and 1/2 a cup of green beans.  The caloric count is 375.

On the regular dinner plate, to the right, the portion is 2 cups of macaroni and a 1 cup of green beans.  The caloric count is 750!

Wow! What a difference in calories!  By switching to a smaller plate, at this meal, we save 375 calories.

This little change made such a big difference for me!   By using a smaller plate I lost weight and kept it off!

TODAY’S little STEP: – Switch to a smaller size plate for your meals and snacks.

If you have found this post helpful please share it with your friends.

 

10 Tips for handling holiday eating!

Tis the season for eating!

Everywhere I go there will be tempting goodies. Then I’ll add some holiday stress and I’ll have the perfect combination for overeating.  My favorite foods – turkey, stuffing, gravy, pie, cookies, rich desserts and chocolates will be within my reach.

But this year is going to be different!

I have strategies to share!

10 Healthy tips to beat the holiday food frenzy.

1. Be realistic. Don’t try to lose pounds during the holidays, instead try to maintain your current weight.

2. Plan time for exercise. Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and prevent weight gain. Get your 20 minutes of exercise everyday. Break it up into two 10-minute sessions. On a day when you overeat, add extra minutes.

3. Eat until you are satisfied, only the turkey needs to feel stuffed! Savor your favorite holiday treats. Sit down, get comfortable, and enjoy.

4. No mindless eating from the bowl of party snacks. Serve yourself on a small appetizer plate and physically move away from the food.

5. Leave a calorie allowance for dessert. If you love dessert and hate to miss out then make a point to cut back on the hors d’oeuvres or skip the bread. Or avoid the pasta and have mostly salad and veggies.

6. Put desserts on a small plate, or even better, on a napkin. It’s a simple trick: You can’t fit as much on a napkin, so you won’t eat as much. No trips back for seconds!

7. Just say ‘NO’! Don’t feel as though you have to say yes to everyone that offers you food. Don’t let yourself be bullied into eating something that you really don’t want.

8. Trim back on the trimmings. To shave calories, go easy when adding nuts, cheese, cream sauces, gravy, butter, and whipped cream. These additions don’t add much to the meal, but can add plenty to your waistline.

9. Wear snug clothes. When you wear snug-fitting clothes chances are you’ll feel full faster. No elastic waist pants for us girlfriends!

10. Be a food snob. If it’s not a 10 then it’s not worth the calories! Scan the choices for foods you truly treasure and skip the everyday dishes.

healthy eating tips

holiday eating

Here’s my healthy self-talk statement for the Holiday Season

holiday healthy self-talk

TODAY’S little STEP:  Incorporate these strategies and enjoy the Christmas season!  Celebrate the birth of our Saviour and King!

This is a repost from last year.  Good stuff is worth rereading!

If you have found this helpful please share it with your friends!

Keep the joy and say goodbye to stress this Christmas!

The pursuit of perfection has to go!  Be real this Christmas.

It’s so easy to get caught up in decorating the tree with the latest colours, baking Pinterest perfect cookies and shopping for hours for the best gifts.

I really do love Christmas but instead of feeling joyful I often feel grumpy and tired.  

Especially if my cookies ended up like those Pinterest fail photos. haha

My daily TO DO LIST gets too long and my stress level gets way too high.

But this year I’m taking back my joy. I’m setting new priorities!

christmas to do list

I’m making spending time with people my priority this Christmas.

TODAY’S little STEP:  Reduce the stress and increase the joy! Let go of the picture perfect Christmas and be real!

If this has encouraged you please share it on Facebook or Pinterest.

A nutritionst shares – 2 tips for dealing with stress!

Ever wish you could ask a licensed nutritionist some questions free of charge?  Well your wish has come true today!

Charity Elliott my wonderful daughter in law is doing a guest post for us today!  I asked her 2 questions. 

#1.  Which vitamins help our bodies cope with stress?  

#2.  What should we eat to help us cope with stress?

Charity says….”A huge factor to consider when talking about stress, is our perception of stress and how it relates to our mental health.

For some people, spilling their coffee in the morning is a huge source of stress.  For others, they mentally don’t perceive stress unless they are in crisis.

While our perception of stress can be a product of our upbringing, it can also be linked to our mental health and ability to cope with the curve balls life throws us.

For years I was very sick, during those years the smallest things could cause me to feel anxious and stressed out.

Now that I have regained my health, I have a much better grasp on my mental health and am better able to handle the stressors that come into my life.

A huge part of regaining my health was learning what foods and vitamins I needed for optimal mental health.

Regular blood work is an important part of managing your health, you should request blood work at least once a year from your doctor if it hasn’t already been recommended. They should check all your nutrient levels and help you set up a plan for reaching optimal levels.

Before starting a new vitamin/mineral you should consult your doctor or Naturopath. Here are a few of the vitamins/minerals that are important to your mental health.

Vitamin D

Up here in the North we see very little sunlight. From October to April we can go weeks, even months, with cloudy grey days.

Our body needs sunlight to synthesise vitamin D, without it we need to supplement.  

Recommended dose is 1000 IU every day, but your doctor may recommend a higher dose depending on testing. Vitamin D serves many functions that can help decrease anxiety and depression.

Magnesium

Recently, magnesium has been making headlines in the news as a possible supplement for treating depression. Magnesium is needed in hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body.

It supports your immune system and your heart health. It also helps regulate bloodsugar and aid in the production of protein and energy. Your magnesium levels can easily be tested with blood work.

B Vitamins

B vitamins are crucial to a healthy body! They have a direct impact on your energy levels, brain function, and cell metabolism. The B vitamins help prevent infections and helps support cell health and the development of red bloodcells.

Being deficient in certain B vitamins can be life threatening, low B12 is also known as pernicious anemia and can have life altering side effects if not caught early enough.

Eat Your  Vitamins

Even more important than supplementing, is eating a variety of whole foods that provide your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs.

I recommend at least 50% of your diet be made up of vegetables and fruit.

Vegetables are some of the most nutrient dense foods on earth.  Most people aren’t eating near enough of them.

You also want to make sure that you are intaking enough protein and fat in your daily diet.

Including eggs, red meat, fish, chicken, nuts, seeds and avocado oil are all ways to increase your protein and fat stores. Your brain is made up of mostly fat, hence, it is so important to include it in your diet.”

O.K. friends now we know which vitamin supplements to talk to our doctors about.

Adding more protein and fat may be a bit of a surprise.  I was part of the low fat diet for years and I was always hungry.  Since I have added healthy fat into my daily choices I am satisfied and I feel full for much longer.   The same goes for protein.  When I eat a handful of mixed nuts as a snack I have the energy I need until my next meal.

Charity has a heart for everyone who struggles with health and well-being.   Charity has a cool website to checkout.  She features regular blog posts and recipes.  She also offers individual nutrition services.

 Charity Elliott Nutrition

But she is taking the month of December off as she is expecting her first baby.  Which also happens to be our first Grandbaby!

Today’s little step: Check with your doctor about vitamin supplements.  Eat more veggies, protein and healthy fats!  

How to reduce your stress in just 10 minutes!

Feeling stressed? 

Can you carve out 10 minutes in your demanding day? 

Just 10 minutes of your crazy life that will reduce your stress, increase your metabolism, lower your blood pressure and improve your mood.

Are you surprised that –  “Exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries”? Mayo Clinic

That’s good news!

In my quest to reduce my stress I was reminded of just how important exercise is. Exercise needs to be part of my stress management plan and yours too!

If you have any health issues that make movement difficult it is imperative that you visit your Doctor and have a wellness checkup first.

Our bodies were not designed to sit around all day.  Just getting up and moving causes blood to flow, muscles to work and makes us breath deeper.

So before you think we have to spend an hour in the gym to reap the benefits of the stress reducing components of exercise, read this good news!

“Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise  (like walking) has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. About five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects.” Link

Within 5 minutes of exercise our bodies start to receive the benefit.  Even on our craziest days we can find at least  5 to 10 minutes to move our bodies!

Walking one of our best choices! http://littlestepstohealth.com

Walking is one of our best choices.  It’s easy to do. It can be done outside, inside, alone or with a friend.  All we need is a pair of good walking shoes.

How do our bodies respond to a short walk?

Physical activity causes our brains to produce endorphins.  Endorphins are naturally occurring chemicals in our brains. They can make us feel happy.

That’s why we usually feel “better” after a good walk.

Walking gets us breathing deeper, which triggers the body’s relaxation response.

Walking can help us forget the cares and irritations of day.  Focus on just one task at a time.  Focus on the movements of our bodies.  Focus on taking deep breaths.  Focus on our surroundings.  Enjoy the sights and sounds.  If you walk with a friend you have the added benefit of processing life.  A walk and talk with a good friend helps reduce our stress. “Walking releases tension from the major muscle groups, deepens the breathing and quiets the nervous system.  It also gets us out into nature, which is relaxing.” says Jeff Migdow, M.D., an integrative physician in Lenox,Mass.  Reduce stress

Exercise can also improve your sleep.  Stress often affects our ability to fall asleep or stay asleep.  Improved sleep helps us combat stress.  Things often look ‘better’ after a good nights’ sleep.

Walking outside is my favorite exercise.  It is my best strategy to beat stress and win! I walk with my husband most evenings. When winter comes we walk in a Mall. There’s a small one near by that has only a few stores.  It’s warm and dry and free.

When we don’t walk together I use a walking DVD. I really like Leslie Sansone’s walking DVDs.  I own dozens of them.  There are no crazy dance steps – just walking, side steps, kicks and knee lifts.  She has real women like us walk with her.  Leslie is in her forties and a great encourager.  I can walk in the comfort of my living room.  She has posted quite a few of her walks on YouTube.

Here’s the more advanced one!

If walking is difficult, then try some chair exercises.  I recommend Anne Burnell.  Her programs improve strength, flexibility, energy and coordination.  The exercises are all done in a chair.

Click on this link Anne Burnell. This video is about 8 minutes long.

If the computer is not for you then set a timer for 10 minutes and walk outside or inside.

Say it with me and believe it.  Walking reduces our stress!

Today’s little step:  Walk for 10 minutes everyday.  It will reduce your stress and help you cope better!

3 Tips to deal with stress!

Are you stressed or anxious? 

There are big stressful events in our lives that we have little control over.  But some stress we bring upon ourselves. 

These little stressors of everyday life are under our control. 

I’m on a quest to learn how to identify my stressors, reduce my stress or handle it better.

I don’t think we need to go into all the scary details about how stress and anxiety affect our health.  We know it does.

What we need are the strategies to identify everyday stress,

reduce it and handle it better.

What causes me stress? 

What makes my heart beat a little faster? 

What makes my blood pressure to go up?  What causes butterflies in my stomach? 

A) Procrastination is a big one for me.  I think I have lots of time so I leave tasks to the last minute. 

Then I get stressed because I don’t have enough time to do the task well.  Then I also beat myself up a little because I didn’t get the task done earlier.  If my procrastination affects other people then I feel badly about that too.

This is a stressor I have control over.  I can do something about it.

How will I reduce this stress?

I will schedule time to get tasks done early, by actually blocking off a chunk of time. 

I will set an early deadline.  I think I will also add in some accountability. 

I will tell Don my imposed deadline and that will really help me get tasks done early.  

I will apply this principle to getting ready for Christmas this year.  (I hope to post some short videos on Facebook on how to reduce stress over the Christmas season.) 

B) Unrealistic expectations.  I am a ‘To Do List’ kind of person and I have a tendency to put too many things on my daily list. 

I think of all the home tasks that need to bedone.  I think about the preparation for the ministries I’m involved with. 

I think about all the people I should contact or have coffee with.  I think about the exercise I should do and the books I should read. 

I get stressed, because of my perfectionist tendencies, when I can’t do them all.

How will I reduce this stress? 

My new strategy is to have only 4 things on my list.  Those are the true priorities for the day.  Anything else is a bonus.

I’ve been trying this one for a few weeks and it has helped me a lot.

 My list is doable!

C) Thinking and worrying about the future. 

My Mom’s health is failing.  I’m helping her navigate doctor’s appointments and managing awful side effects from medications.

I’m wondering how she will cope this winter.  I want to fix everything and I can’t. 

How will I handle this stress?

This is a stress that I can’t reduce but I can control how I handle it.

I can’t change my Mom’s health but I can control how I think about it.  I can have control of my thoughts with God’s help.    

When I think about my Mom and start worrying about her future, I hold that thought captive for a few seconds. 

Then I say a quick prayer,

‘Thank you God for how you are already working out the details for my Mom. 

Thank you that You care about her. I will trust You.’ 

Sometimes this prayer gets said over a dozen times a day. 

But when I pray like this it puts God back in control. 

I can leave the problem in His very capable hands. 

Just insert your situation into this prayer if you like.

How about you my friend?

Identify some of those daily stressors-those things that cause your heart to beat faster and your blood pressure to go up.

After you identify them, take a few minutes and decide how you can reduce that stress or handle it differently.

Here’s a core verse to claim for our stress and anxiety. 

“You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon Him, for you are His personal concern’.  1 Peter 5:7Phillips New Testament In Modern English.  

I love how that version says, ‘for you are His personal concern’.

Wow. 

The God of the Universe cares personally about us and our stress and anxiety.

Today’s littlestep: Identify 3 things that cause you stress. Stressors that you have controlover. Then take a little step to reduce that stress or handle it differently.

I would love to hear what your stressors are and your plans to deal with them.