How to Move More During Holidays

How to Move More During Holidays

How to Move More During Holidays

When it comes to enjoying holidays, there are two big constants—socializing and food. Whether we’re talking about Labor Day, the 4th of July, or any of the big winter holidays, you can bet your days off will be full of friends, family, and delicious stuff to eat and drink. 

Hopefully, you’re happy to have the time with your friends and family! But long weekends (or even weeks) spent celebrating can lead to derailed plans if we aren’t careful. So how can you enjoy your holiday festivities without blowing up your health goals and feeling crappy afterward?

If you ask me, the secret is in adding as much movement as possible during these times.

Depending on where your family lives, where you’re spending your holidays, and what your typical lifestyle is like, there are a variety of ways to incorporate more movement into standard holiday activities. When coupled with being intentional about what you choose to eat and drink, these activities can help keep you from straying too far off-plan so you won’t feel bloated, tired, or guilty once the holiday has passed.

 

1. Look for reasons to walk or bike.

Are you spending the holiday somewhere near your neighborhood? Consider walking or biking to your destination—you’ll be thankful for the extra exercise, and it’s better for the environment! Double win.

 

2. Plan active socializing time.

You’re going to be chit-chatting with your loved ones anyway . . . Why not do it while passing a frisbee around or playing a game of catch? Staying on your feet while you catch up with everyone is more fun than sitting around on couches, and the endorphin boost will keep everyone in great spirits all evening long.

 

3. Gather friends for an after-dinner walk.

In the spirit of continuing your social time AND increasing your movement, plan ahead for everyone to take a walk after dinner. Not only does this help boost your step count—you might find that you’re less prone to overeating if you know you’ve got some exercise ahead of you.

 

How do you stay moving during holidays and social gatherings? If you’ve got your own tips, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Posted - 9/17/19 (Tue) Read more...

 

What's Your Vacation Food Philosophy?

What's Your Vacation Food Philosophy?

What Is Your Vacation Food Philosophy?

When it comes to vacation, are you a planner or more of a spontaneous traveler?

I’m all for spontaneous activities, but when it comes to eating, I have to argue that planning (at least somewhat) is the way to go!

When I go on vacation, I like to generally stay on plan. Not rigidly—I love to leave room for trying new foods and wines! But I know that when I’m traveling, I frequently need extra energy to truly enjoy my days, so I make sure to eat well leading up to the trip and, often, while I’m on the trip.

That’s not to say my way is the only way though! Depending on your vacation food philosophy, you might find that you feel happiest when you allow yourself to loosen up a little on your trips. I can certainly appreciate that choice as well—when my family goes to Vermont, for instance, I often let myself indulge a little more than I typically would.

My point here is that there’s no one right way to approach nutrition while you’re traveling . . . But it is important to remember that vacation doesn’t HAVE to mean you’re coming home ten pounds heavier.

When it comes to finding that happy medium between enjoying yourself and staying on plan, here are a few questions I like to ask myself when planning a vacation . . . 

What’s the Vibe of the Trip?

By this I mean, what are you likely to end up spending your time on? And how does food play into that? If you’re going on a two-week hiking excursion, for example, I’d recommend that you plan your nutrition pretty carefully. After all, you’ll need your energy! However, if you’re planning to lounge on the beach for a week, you’re probably okay to enjoy a margarita or two. Ask yourself: Is this a culinary trip? Will my meals be influenced by my kids or partner? Depending on your goals for your vacation and your travel companions, you may find yourself feeling more or less inclined to watch your nutrition throughout the trip.

What’s Happening Before and After Your Vacation?

Are there events in your life that you’re going to need lots of energy for in the time around your trip? Are there any special occasions that might render this a bad time to look a little bloated in photos? If you’ve got any big stuff on the horizon—other trips, conferences, weddings, photoshoots, etc—they may be worth taking into consideration.

Are You Likely to Beat Yourself Up Over Slowing Your Progress?

This one can be kind of a loaded question . . . Let’s face it, five pounds or so doesn’t hit us all the same way. If you’re the type who can lose weight somewhat easily, then splurging on vacation treats is probably no biggie. But if you’re like a lot of people, losing five or ten pounds is something that takes monumental effort and a few weeks. Having a few extra beers or a couple of ice cream cones might feel like the best choice in the moment, but are you going to beat yourself up when you get home? If you make the decision to treat yourself, you MUST be willing to ditch the guilt and get on with your life. If you struggle with guilt, you might want to consider sticking close to the plan for your own sake.

 

So, l ask . . . What’s your vacation food philosophy? I’d love to hear more about how you navigate nutrition while you’re on holiday! Let me know in the comments.

Posted - 9/10/19 (Tue) Read more...

 

The Dangers of Kurbo: Why You Should Think Twice Before Putting Your Kid on a Diet

The Dangers of Kurbo: Why You Should Think Twice Before Putting Your Kid on a Diet

The Dangers of Kurbo

Why You Should Think Twice Before Putting Your Kid on a Diet

If you keep up with the health and wellness world at all, you’ve probably heard a lot lately about Kurbo by WW. In case you haven’t though, here’s the scoop: Weight Watchers recently released Kurbo, an app intended to kelp kids ages 8–17 reach a “healthier weight.”

Using a traffic light system, Kurbo teaches kids to rate their foods as green, yellow, or red—good foods that the kids can eat all the time, moderate foods that are healthy but warrant portion control, and bad foods that should be occasionally budgeted in. The app pairs kids with a coach based on their goals and their personality, and between weekly coaching support and the nutritional info available in Kurbo, the child is supposed to lose weight and feel “more confident, healthier, and more confident in [their] skin.”

Now, on the surface, I can see where that might sound harmless. Limiting unhealthy foods and working with a coach aren’t inherently bad things on their own. Except when you take into consideration that we’re talking about CHILDREN. Because no matter how smart the Kurbo marketing team is and how carefully they frame their intents, Kurbo is a dieting app for kids. Period.

Before we dive in much deeper, I just want to say one thing:

PLEASE do not put your child on a diet. 

Yes, some kids are technically considered overweight. Yes, childhood obesity rates are quite high in certain parts of the country. But a dieting app is NOT the answer.

 

Why Kurbo (And Dieting During Childhood in General) Is Dangerous

If we’re being honest with ourselves, many of us have pretty messed up relationships with food. If we’re being *brutally* honest, we can take that one step further and realize that many of our unhealthy beliefs around food, weight, and health started when we were pretty young.

As sad as it is, this isn’t unusual. In fact, a 2015 study by Common Sense Media found that children start expressing dissatisfaction with their bodies as early as age five.

The fact is, our kids are bombarded from DAY ONE with images of what a “healthy” or “attractive” body looks like. Whether you want to believe it or not, your kid definitely has some preconceived notions of what it means to be or look “healthy.”

(Spoiler alert: Society is telling your kid that healthy means thin.)

Now, is it important to help kids form healthy habits from an early age? Absolutely! But dieting is NOT how we make that happen.

When you put your kid on a diet, what you’re telling them is that a) there’s something wrong with them and b) they can fix that thing by controlling what they eat. Forgive me for being blunt here, but if that isn’t a recipe for an eating disorder later in life, I don’t know what is. 

Furthermore, dieting during childhood also sets kids up to be overly conscious about weight and physical size. They’re far more likely to prioritize meeting a certain arbitrary health standard rather than focusing on feeling healthy, energetic, and confident. 

When it comes to teaching kids to eat well, food shaming is the BIGGEST no-go. It drives me crazy! Labeling foods as “good” and “bad” creates an inappropriate emotional relationship with food and sets your kids up to ride that dieting rollercoaster all their lives.

If you’ve personally struggled through the ups and downs of that rollercoaster ride, I ask you: Is that what you want for your child? 

 

How to Talk to Your Kids About Nutrition

If you want to help your kids start life with the right nutritional footing, the most important thing you can do is to get them comfy with nutritional fundamentals. Expose them to delicious, healthy foods as often as possible. Get them excited to try interesting or exotic fruits and veggies. Make the enjoyment of healthy foods a regular part of your lifestyle, and don’t make it about a number on a scale. Being a good role model is the single best thing you can do to help your kids have a healthy relationship with food. 

You can also include movement and activity in your discussions of what it means to be “healthy.” Encourage things like backyard play, family kickball games, or after-dinner walks—again, not as a means of losing weight, but as a way to simply have fun and feel great.

Thanks for listening to my rant. If you’re a parent, I hope this helped you make sense of all the controversy surrounding the Kurbo app. If you’re still feeling unsure about whether Kurbo is right for your family, I want to leave you with this: DIETS DON’T WORK. They don’t work for adults, and they definitely don’t work for kids. If you stick with a plan of moderation and incorporate protein, fat and carbs into each meal, you’ll be well on your way to success. 

If you have any additional questions about your child’s health, Kurbo, or healthy living in general, I’d be happy to talk with you! Comment below or email me at dawn@dawnmcgee.guru. 

Until next time, what I wish for you (and your whole family!) is that you’d create a life you love with no feeling hungry, depriving yourself, or giving up your glass of wine with dinner (or weekend cookies, as it were. ;) ).

 

Posted - 8/27/19 (Tue) Read more...

 

How to Eat, Move, & Recharge Like A European

How to Eat, Move, & Recharge Like A European

How to Eat, Move, & Recharge Like a European

If you know me, you know there are two things in life I love more (and spend more time on) than almost anything: food and travel.

Recently, my work took me to Europe for ten days of meetings, sight-seeing, and—of course—sampling delicious local foods and wines. My colleague and I had the pleasure of seeing Spain, Portugal, and the UK, and while we were definitely there for business, it was great getting to immerse ourselves in European culture a little bit.

Every time I travel to Europe, I’m reminded of how different lifestyles there can be from the typical American lifestyle. Without digging in too deep and turning this into an Anthropology lesson, suffice it to say that a lot of the lifestyle differences simply come from a difference in mindset and habits.

In keeping with my three big themes—Eat, Move, & Recharge—I felt super inspired during our trip to rethink all three of these categories with a from a more *European* frame of mind. Though my observations are certainly not universal, I did come away with some big-picture revelations. These are my takeaways on eating, moving, and recharging like a European.

1. Eat Like a European

I love the UK for its own reasons, but I could rave about the food in Spain and Portugal for hours. The freshness, the seafood, the olive oil . . . Ahhhh. While my diet in these countries was definitely not low fat, it was pretty light on breads, dairy, and soy. And no processed carbs! While we traveled through Spain and Portugal, we found ourselves dining more on tapas than heavy, full meals (which made sticking with PFC Every 3 pretty easy!). In addition to eating lots of fish-centered meals, we also drank quite a bit of wine. (Hey, when in Europe!). Even so, I didn’t gain a single inch, because . . .

2. Move Like a European

. . . we moved a lot! Many European towns are extremely walkable. During our ten days in Europe, getting my steps in was a breeze. Even with flying to a different city almost every other day, we still managed to sightsee by foot everywhere we went. Without spending any time in the gym or committing to any “serious” workout time, I managed to log about 5–7 miles per day. That’s no joke!

3. Recharge Like a European

Perhaps one of the most pleasant lessons I’ve ever learned from the Europeans is this: It’s okay to slow down. Even though we were in a variety of amazing, gorgeous cities, we didn’t put too much pressure on ourselves to see everything. We did more than our fair share of sight seeing, but I always took a couple of hours to put my feet up in my hotel room to recharge my batteries. Being an ambivert, I needed some time by myself to regroup and recharge. I can’t speak for my colleague, but for me, taking plenty of time to recharge was key in ensuring that I had the energy and willpower to continue making good choices about food and movement while we traveled from town to town.

Whether you’re going to Europe, enjoying a domestic vacation, or simply hanging out in your hometown, I hope you find these ideas useful and that you’ll apply some of them to your own lifestyle in the upcoming week! 

Do you have any of your own travel stories to share? How do you eat, move, and recharge when you’re on the road? I’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to share your experiences in the comments section below!

 

Posted - 8/20/19 (Tue) Read more...

 

How to Customize Your Self-Care

How to Customize Your Self-Care

How to Customize Your Self-Care

If you had all the time and money in the world, how would you practice self-care? Would you go off on a week-long retreat in some adorable little mountain chalet with all your closest friends? Would you sign yourself up for bi-weekly 90-minute massages into perpetuity? Maybe you’d go for a solo facial on your own private island?

There’s no wrong answer—we’re all a little different, so it only makes sense that our self-care rituals should look a little different. Depending on whether you’re an extrovert, an introvert, or an ambivert (like me!), you may feel the need to choose activities that allow you more social time or more alone time.

As an ambivert, I have the pleasure of seeing self-care from both sides of the spectrum. There are days when I LOVE being around people, but there are also a lot of days when I really need to carve out some me-time and be alone in order to recharge. Wherever you fall on the extrovert-introvert scale, these are some of my favorite tips for customizing your self-care.

 

Self-Care For Extroverts

If you’re an extrovert, you might start feeling stressed and cranky if you haven’t gotten in enough quality social time. Recharge your batteries by:

  • Grabbing lunch with a friend

  • Taking a walk and chatting with a colleague

  • Inviting your family over for dinner one evening

 

Self-Care For Introverts

If you’re an introvert, you likely feel overwhelmed when you have too many social pressures. Allow yourself to escape those pressures with:

  • A relaxing massage

  • A solo lunch on a local cafe’s patio

  • A long bubble bath, complemented by your favorite book

Self-Care For Ambiverts

If you’re an ambivert, your needs will likely vary depending on what’s going on in your life. For most of us ambiverts, intimate social events can be a great way to sate our extrovert sensibilities without overdoing it. Some of my favorite ambivert self-care activities include:

  • Going for a hike with a small group of friends

  • Signing up for a group tour of a city you’ve never been to

  • Working from a local coffee shop or library for a day (as opposed to working alone from home or in a busy office environment)

No matter which of these groups you most closely identify with, remember that it’s totally normal to need different things on different days. Learn to trust your intuition and give yourself permission to practice whatever type of self-care sounds good to you—you may just not be a mani-pedi person. Massages might make you uncomfortable. Maybe you dislike hot weather too much to fuss over a garden. That’s all okay. There’s no right or wrong way to take care of yourself, friend.

I hope you’ve found this helpful and that you’re able to incorporate a couple of these activities into this week. Let me know what your favorite self-care activities are in the comments! And while you’re at it, I’d love to know: Do you consider yourself an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert?

 

Posted - 8/13/19 (Tue) Read more...

 

How to Squeeze Extra Movement Into Your Day

How to Squeeze Extra Movement Into Your Day

How to Squeeze Extra Movement Into Your Day

What Traveling Through Europe Taught Me About Active Lifestyles

Have you ever felt so inspired by an excursion that you just HAD to talk about it? 

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Europe, and holy cow! Apart from the normal tiredness associated with traveling across time zones, I feel super recharged, refreshed, and ready to share a few realizations I experienced.

I’m an active person in general, but I have to tell you: My travel in Europe made me realize how sedentary the American lifestyle is in comparison to your average European lifestyle. 

Granted, I was not working a full day while I was there. But still, the cities we visited were extremely pedestrian-friendly, walking to/from activities was pretty standard, and I managed to get in an insane amount of movement without having to schedule planned gym time much at all. It was fantastic!

Now, I know most of us can’t drop everything and head to some adorable, walkable European hilltown—even as much as I travel, this was a particularly special treat. We CAN, however, find ways to incorporate this mindset of movement into our daily lives.

With that in mind, here are a few tips I took away from my trip:

1. Take advantage of prolonged daylight to walk to/from work, errands, etc.

We may not all live near enough to work to walk to our offices, but I bet you could walk to a local market next time you need a loaf of bread, to that cute coffeeshop a few blocks down from your place of work, or to your neighborhood book club. Wherever you go, choosing to walk or bike as often as possible is an obvious but stellar way to combine your workout time with other activities.

2. Turn social events into opportunities to move.

We’ve talked a lot recently about navigating nutrition during your summer barbecues and picnics, but did you know these social events are also a great excuse to get up and get moving? You don’t have to talk the whole group into a walk around the neighborhood. Just grab a frisbee or a kickball and initiate your favorite backyard game. Backyard sports can be a lot of fun whether you consider yourself an athletic person or not, and if your social events involve children, they’ll love getting to play games with the adults.

3. Drink as much water as possible.

With more movement comes a greater need for hydration! Sipping water (or sparkling water, if you want to feel extra European ;) ) throughout the day and with your meals will keep you feeling cool and hydrated even in the midst of all your extra activity.


 

Overall, my biggest piece of advice to you would be to work on “thinking active.” If you get into the habit of looking for opportunities to increase your activity levels, you’ll be surprised at how many opportunities to get moving arise in the course of any given day. 

If you’d like to hear more about my trip or about my summer activity habits, don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and join my Facebook Group, Never Diet Again. And as always, feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments below! 

Ciao, and cheers to your health!

 

Posted - 8/06/19 (Tue) Read more...

 

How to Enjoy Barbecues and Picnics the Healthy Way

How to Enjoy Barbecues and Picnics the Healthy Way

How to Enjoy BBQs and Picnics the Healthy Way

What’s the best way to spend a beautiful, sunny, clear day? If you ask me, it’s hard to beat a barbecue or picnic with loved ones. The smell of meat and veggies on the grill, backyard games, great conversation . . . Ahhh.

But if you’re making a conscious decision to choose healthy foods, barbecues and picnics can feel a little like a minefield. After all, who wants to be that person showing up to the party and refusing to eat anything?

Luckily, there are a ton of ways to enjoy barbecues and picnics without having to miss out on the joys of cooking and eating with your friends! With just a few modifications, you can enjoy barbecues and picnics just as much as everyone else, without derailing your food plan. Here are a few of my favorite tips for doing just that.

1. Be the host.

Whoever plans the party sets the menu, right?? By hosting the event, you can choose what foods you’ll serve. Opt for healthy-but-tasty choices like grilled chicken breasts, veggie skewers, and a big summer salad. Trust me, your friends won’t fuss about the lack of hotdogs—in fact, depending on how many other barbecues they’ve attended recently, they may even welcome something a little different!

2. Bring a dish.

If you’re a guest at someone else’s shindig, you can’t control the whole menu. But you CAN be a gracious guest and bring food to share. Similarly to above, showing up with a big salad to share, a few fillets of chicken breast or fish for the grill, or even a bowl of fresh fruit for a healthy dessert ensures that you have something healthy to eat, and most hosts won’t mind a bit!

3. Watch your portions.

Maybe you’ve really been craving a classic cheeseburger or bratwurst from the grill. If you decide to treat yourself to standard BBQ faire, that’s totally fine! But watch your portions. Enjoying a cheeseburger with all the fixings is okay, but do you really need that cheeseburger, a hotdog, a few beers, and ice cream for dessert? I’d argue that you very likely do not.

4. Moderate your alcohol and water intake.

On the topic of having a few beers, one of the biggest tips I have for enjoying a barbecue or picnic the healthy way is to watch your alcohol consumption. When you drink more, you’re more likely to overeat. To keep yourself feeling refreshed in even the hottest temperatures, I recommend having not one but three glasses of water in between each alcoholic beverage. This will help curb your appetite, keep you from over-indulging on alcoholic beverages, and ensure that you stay hydrated.

The Bottom Line

In matters like summer social events, your happiness is the most important thing. If you’re passionate about sticking to your food plan, these tips will help you accomplish that. However, if you end up splurging a little more than you meant to at your next event, it’s important not to beat yourself up. Just enjoy your food, have a great time, and get back on plan ASAP—no guilt necessary.

What are your favorite healthy, BBQ-friendly foods?

If you have a go-to healthy dish for summer events, I’d love to hear more about it! Leave your response in the comments section below. Until next week, I hope you’re living a life you love without being hungry, feeling deprived, or giving up your glass of wine with dinner.

 

Posted - 7/30/19 (Tue) Read more...

 

What Journaling For a Week Taught Me About My Health Habits

What Journaling For a Week Taught Me About My Health Habits

What Journaling For a Week Taught Me About My Health Habits

#SorryNotSorry—I really dislike food journaling. While I know it’s helpful for a lot of people, it always feels like kind of a headache to me. It’s an extra chore in my busy day, and frankly, I’d rather skip the writing and just dig into my meal most of the time.

Nevertheless, a few months back, my coach suggested I give journaling a try. So, being a good mentee, I decided to give it a shot. And honestly? I have to admit—I was a little surprised by how much I learned. 

Even being the type who normally monitors my food intake pretty closely (I’m a nutrition coach, hello), there was a lot to unpack about my day to day nutritional habits. And though everyone’s food patterns look a little bit different, you could totally copy my experiment and use a one-week (or more) food journal to audit your own nutritional habits next time you hit a plateau or a slump.

So without further ado, here’s what food journaling for a week taught me about my health habits:

 

1. I was eating way too much when I went out to eat.

I thought I was doing a great job when I was going out to eat. I followed my own advice on eating beforehand, ordering intentionally, and taking leftovers home. (If you’d like to hear more about my advice for handling restaurants, I wrote a blog about that too!) But despite all that, when I looked at the list of what I’d eaten in my journal, I was SHOCKED at how much I’d actually been consuming.

Reflecting on my dinners out, I realized I was adding extra calories to my meal—a seemingly benign appetizer, a second (or third) glass of wine . . .  I’d also completely lost track of my portions and how much was healthy to be eating. Yes, I’d divided my restaurant meal into two portions, but depending on where you’re eating, even a half-portion may still be WAY too much food. 

These little additions had an impact on my body fat and waistline, which I’m not terribly happy about. This was the first major wake-up call brought to me by my food journal.

 

2. I wasn’t eating enough protein with my breakfast.

Just like most people, when I don’t eat enough protein with my breakfast, I get hungry faster than I normally would. Since I work from home, I kept finding myself in my kitchen looking for snacks not long after breakfast. Finding little things to munch on in between meals often leads to poor food choices, so this wasn’t good. Not to mention, it threw off my macros when I made a really bad snack choice just because I was hungry .

 

I already knew these snacks were something I struggled with, but once my food journal helped me realize that I was eating too little protein, I was able to better address the problem. I started adding additional protein sources to my breakfast. This made a huge difference for me. I was no longer in the kitchen rummaging for unhealthy snacks because I was able to wait three hours to eat. Visually seeing my macros helped me figure out the culprit behind my mid-morning hunger and actually do something about it. 

 

3. I was letting myself get too busy to cook at home.

Do you ever have those weeks where cooking just feels impossible? Between travelling, meetings, and everyday obligations, I end up feeling that way a lot. While it’s okay to eat out every once in awhile, cooking at home is almost always the better choice. Still, when you find yourself in the middle of a crazy week, it’s easy to use that busyness as an excuse to just order takeout and call it done.

 

I knew I’d been doing that a little more than I probably should have, but my journal helped me realize that these “treats” had become way more frequent than I was admitting. While everything we order tastes really good and I do generally try to choose the healthiest things on whatever menu I’m ordering off of, I could certainly prepare healthier, more nutrient-dense, cleaner food at home.

The Changes I’m Making

After digging deep and analyzing my health habits with my food journal, I’ve decided to make some changes. In addition to being way more careful about what I eat at restaurants and adding protein to my breakfasts, I’ve realized that I really need to prioritize movement. 

Maybe I can’t make myself less busy, but I CAN commit to squeezing in activity wherever possible. Even on the busiest days, I can almost always find 15 minutes between tasks to go for a walk, hop on my elliptical, do some stretching, etc. At a minimum, I can take laps around my house while I’m on a conference call. These are small actions, but they can add up to big results over time.

I know not everyone works at home like me, and that it can be more challenging to squeeze movement in when you’re in an office environment. However, I challenge you to think about how you can tweak your routine to create more room for physical activity. This might look like taking a walk around your office building while you’re waiting on an approval, or doing a workout video while your baby is napping. Whatever you can do to get moving, do it!

While I can’t say that I’m staying on the food journal train, I do think the experience of tracking my habits for a short time was valuable. What do you think? Are you into journaling? Can you see how journaling for a few weeks might be valuable in your own life? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Need An Accountability Partner?

If you feel like you need someone to hold you accountable to making smart nutrition and movement choices, join my free Facebook Group, Never Diet Again! There, you’ll find tips, recipes, and fitness check-ins to help you stay on track. Just like in this blog, we get real about the journey to finding a balance between health, family, and professional life. Not only that, but you’ll enjoy support from women who share your health goals and want to see each other succeed. So what are you waiting for? Check it out now!

Posted - 7/23/19 (Tue) Read more...

 

How to Eat at Your Favorite Restaurant—Without the Guilt

How to Eat at Your Favorite Restaurant—Without the Guilt

How to Eat at Your Favorite Restaurant—Without the Guilt

For a lot of people,enjoying a meal with friends and family at a favorite restaurant is one of life’s greatest pleasures. I’d have to agree with those people! Eating out usually means good times and happy memories, but when you’re being conscious about eating healthy, it can also cause feelings of guilt over food choices. 

But what if I told you that with just a little planning, you could eat out at restaurants and enjoy yourself . . . with no guilt (or extra pounds) attached?

You don’t have to decide between enjoying an evening out or staying on-plan. I promise, there is a healthy balance between the two.

Here are my best tips for minding your healthy eating plan and having fun, too. Keep these in your pocket next time someone invites you out to dinner! They’ll save you from the guilt and help you make better choices without giving up your social life.

Never Go to a Restaurant Hungry

A lot of my clients reach out to me for help navigating their food choices at restaurants. Perhaps you feel the same way they often do—as if you can’t enjoy going out to eat while trying to meet your goals. 

If you’ve been caught in the yo-yo diet loop before, it’s understandable that you’d think about restaurants from that perspective. Most traditional diets recommend that you only eat foods on your meal plan with no exceptions. But remember—this isn’t a diet. You’ve got flexibility and a strategy for moments like these.

When I’m working with those clients on a plan for making successful choices at restaurants, the first rule we implement is to NEVER go to a restaurant hungry. You may be thinking, Well, why would I go to a restaurant if I’m not even hungry? 

I know this seems counterintuitive, but let me explain. If you go to a restaurant with your stomach growling, you’re not putting yourself in a position to pick the healthiest menu option. Your cravings will feel overwhelming, and there’s a pretty good chance those cravings will take over and decide what you order. 

On the other hand, if you have a healthy pre-dinner snack before heading out to the restaurant, you’ll be in much better shape to make a healthy choice when ordering. 

Plan On Taking Leftovers Home

Want to avoid overeating? Show up at the restaurant having already decided to take half your meal home with you. Most of the time, meals at restaurants have more than enough food to be considered two servings (or even more). If you follow the tip above and have a snack before dinner, you won’t have a problem splitting your meal into two servings.

What I especially love about this tip is that it doesn’t just save you from overeating; it saves you money (two meals for the price of one!) and provides you with a super easy, cooking-free meal tomorrow. All you have to do is reheat the leftovers, and voila! You have a delicious lunch ready to go. If you find that your leftovers are not enough for a whole meal, try adding some veggies or a side salad to make it more filling. If you need more protein and fat, adding a boiled egg should do the trick.

Having fun, living your life to the fullest, and being healthy aren’t mutually exclusive. I have been successfully using these two tips to strike a balance between loving food, keeping an active social life, and trying to make healthy choices as often as possible for years, and they haven’t failed me yet! I think you’ll be surprised just how easy eating out without the guilt can be when you follow these guidelines. Bon appetit!

Want More Tips?

Interested in learning more easy health tips like these? Join my Facebook group, Never Diet Again, for FREE and simple tips, recipes, nutrition and fitness check-ins, and support from other food lovers like you and me. We can’t wait to get to know you better!

 

 

Posted - 7/16/19 (Tue) Read more...

 

This Summer, Take Time to Relax and Recharge

This Summer, Take Time to Relax and Recharge

This Summer, Take Time to Relax & Recharge

Do you pay much attention to those unofficial “national holidays” that always seem to pop up on social media? This past Friday (the day after Independence Day) was apparently National Workaholics Day, and that got me thinking about what a great time of year this is to slow down, relax, and recharge. 

Hopefully, given that this blog is publishing right after the Fourth of July weekend, you’re coming off of a long, enjoyable break. Long holiday weekends offer great opportunities to recharge, of course, but what about regular weeks where we don’t have a built-in break? As nice as it is to enjoy occasional vacations and three-day weekends, learning to recharge as part of our regular daily schedules is vital to living a balanced, healthy life.

Fortunately, summertime makes that almost too easy. Between the gorgeous weather, amazing seasonal produce, and generally laid-back vibe of the season, you don’t have to look very far to find opportunities to recharge this time of year. 

My Favorite Ways to Relax and Recharge During Summer

1. Picking Fruits & Veggies

We’ve talked a lot about fruits and veggies over the past couple of weeks, but they’re back again! You might be wondering whether picking produce really counts as a relaxing activity, but I personally love it. Back when I used to work in an office environment, there just so happened to be a Pick-Your-Own Strawberry Farm quite near my workplace. I absolutely loved heading there for my lunch break to pick a carton of strawberries, enjoy my lunch on the farm, and take a few moments for quiet contemplation.

2. Swimming

You don’t have to be Michael Phelps to enjoy some pool time! When the dog days hit, jumping into a nice, cold pool is a welcome relief. If you’re in the mood for a workout, swimming laps is an awesome way to check off your cardio and strength workouts. If you’d rather just relax and clear your head, though, that’s totally fine! Floating peacefully, swimming underwater, or even just dipping your feet in a wading pool while you read a book can be great ways to recharge your batteries on a summer afternoon. 

3. Stretching

Are you a parent with kiddos home on summer break? We love our kids, but having them around full-time can put a kink in our typical routines. If you need a quick break but aren’t at liberty to leave the house for a long reprieve, try simply stepping into a separate room for some stretching. You can roll out a yoga mat or sit on the floor; stretch in silence or put on your favorite music. Even if you can only steal away for five minutes, time spent decompressing and loosening up your muscles will leave you feeling 100x better.

What are some of your favorite ways to recharge during the summer months? Share a few of your favorite activities in the comments section!

Until next week, what I wish for you is that you live a life you love without being hungry, feeling deprived, or giving up your glass of wine with dinner. Looking for some extra accountability between now and then? Check out my free community, Never Diet Again, where we support one another, share tips and recipes, and post regular nutrition and fitness check-ins to keep you on track. See ya there!

Posted - 7/09/19 (Tue) Read more...