Tag Archives: tips

Eat This Instead Of That:Healthy Food Swaps

Healthy food swaps can be difficult,transitioning your diet when you are working towards building healthier eating habits can be challenging. It can be overwhelming, confusing, and feel like you are drinking information from a fire hose. There is A LOT of information out there regarding trendy diets, healthy foods, what not to eat, etc. Let me just start by saying it doesn’t have to be difficult and confusing. 

Today I want to share just a few of my go-to food swaps to make that transition to healthy eating easier while still enjoying tasty food. Sometimes it seems like in order to change your eating habits and eat healthier you have to forfeit all the foods you love. And I am here to tell you that isn’t always the case either. 

My Favorite Healthy Food Swaps

Swap Sour Cream for Greek Yogurt: Is your burrito even a burrito without sour cream on top?! Sour cream is high in fat but you can easily swap it with plain, nonfat Greek yogurt for that same texture and consistency. I promise you won’t even know the difference! 

Swap Coconut Oil for Vegetable/Canola Oil: Hydrogenated oils such as vegetable and canola are not good for our health and have inflammatory effects on our body. Instead of baking with a highly refined oil, use coconut oil that is less refined and has more nutrients. 

Swap Dark Chocolate for Milk Chocolate: Look for chocolate that is 70% or higher in cacao. This type of dark chocolate has less sugar, more antioxidants, and more fiber. 

Swap Almond/Oat/Soy Milk for Regular Milk: Regular dairy milk can be irritating for some and it can also be high in fat and sugar. Swap it out for an unsweetened almond, oat, or soy milk as a healthier, dairy free option that will also have less sugar. 

Swap Regular Pasta for Chickpea or Lentil Pasta: Regular pasta is highly processed and has a high carbohydrate content which is especially not good if you struggle with blood sugar issues. A great, healthier alternative to pasta is lentil or chickpea pasta which is less refined, has more fiber, and more protein!

Swap Granulated Sugar/Can Sugar for Honey or Maple Syrup: Granulated sugar is ultra refined and basically nutritionally void. Instead of baking/cooking with regular cane sugar, swap it out for honey or maple syrup which are less refined, taste just as great if not better, and have a lower glycemic index helping to keep your blood sugar more stable. 

 

There are MANY MORE healthy swaps than just the short list above that you can make as you embark on your health and wellness journey. Honestly, small changes can make a drastic impact! Keep your eye out for fat and sugar content and try to find alternatives that are lower in fat, sugar, and are less processed and refined. Start small and little by little you will get there without having to forfeit delicious foods!

 

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us!

How to Eat Healthy On-The-Go

Eat healthy on the go…

Life can be busy. Our days can get away on us between work and school and errands and, and, and… How often do you find yourself in a pinch without a lunch or dinner plan and you are busy running from one thing to the next?? Perhaps you’ve been so diligent in your quest at eating healthy but then time gets away and you didn’t have time to plan and the next thing you know you are driving through Chick-Fil-A or sitting at a restaurant for dinner feeling like you should just throw up your hands and call it quits. 

Don’t call it quits just yet, my friend. Even in the hustle and bustle of life and the days that aren’t planned or don’t go as planned, we can still maintain healthy eating habits while on-the-go. Here’s how.

3 Ways to Maintain Healthy Eating On-The-Go

Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Whether you are stressed or depressed or overwhelmed or tired, don’t let those emotions dictate your food choices. Easier said than done, I know, but this can be dangerous territory. When going through the drive thru in a pinch, let your decision be made through a clear mind, to the best of your ability. Choose foods that best align with your health goals. Thankfully, nowadays there are many more healthy options even at fast food restaurants. Always choose something that has protein, veggies, and the least amount of added carbohydrates/fat (i.e. dressings, condiments, etc.)

Use helpful apps to guide your decision making. There are several helpful apps out there to help you make the BEST, most healthy food decision you can if/when you have to eat out or go through the drive thru. My Fitness Pal is a helpful app to show you the calories, carbs, fat, protein of items. Most restaurants are on My Fitness Pal now, but if not, perhaps that restaurant has their nutritional info on their website/app. Cheat Day is another app that will help you find the healthiest options at over 700 restaurants, including many fast food and convenience restaurants. 

Create an SOS grab bag for your car. Having some healthy snacks on hand to grab quickly can be the difference to staying on track for the day or ending up in the McDonald’s drive thru at 2 PM. Keep some non-perishable snack items in your car in a little lunch bag. Think nuts, seeds, healthy trail mix, dried fruit, clementine’s/oranges, RX bars, Lara bar, Chomps meat sticks. These are all items that are great to have in a pinch that you can easily access and can prevent a hangry meltdown or a hangry decision you’ll later regret.

 

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us!

Breaking Down Fitness Lingo Part 2

Welcome back to Part 2 of our ‘Breaking Down the Fitness Lingo’ blog series. Today we are going to cover all of the fitness terms from H to Z. Get ready, here we go!

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) High Intensity Interval Training is a specific type of cardiovascular exercise that focuses on alternating short bursts of all-out (anaerobic) exercise with less intense recovery periods. There is no set duration for this type of training although typically 30 minutes is sufficient to experience the benefits of HIIT. Some of the benefits of HIIT training include its efficiency, increased fat burn, increased cardiovascular capacity, little to no equipment needed, increased metabolism, and you can lose weight without losing lean muscle mass. 

High Impact– High impact on the joints and involves activities where both feet are off of the ground at the same time. High impact activities include running, jumping, plyometrics, and gymnastics. 

Heart Rate Zones– Zones to help you understand how hard you are exercising. Heart rate zones are the zones in between our personal resting heart rate and our max heart rate. A simple way to determine your personal heart rate zones is to take a % of your max heart rate. The different heart rate zones correspond with the intensity of your training. Heart rate zones are linked to anaerobic and aerobic thresholds. There are 5 different heart rate zones: 

HR Zone 1 (very light): 50-60% max HR

HR Zone 2 (light): 60-70% max HR

HR Zone 3 (moderate): 70-80% max HR

HR Zone 4 (hard): 80-90% max HR

HR Zone 5 (max): 90-100% max HR

Isometric– A form of exercise involving the static contraction of a muscle without any visible movement or change in the angle of the joint. Isometric exercises are done to improve strength in one particular position. These types of exercises can be beneficial for increasing stabilization. 

Lactic Acid Lactic Acid (lactate) is a chemical byproduct of anaerobic respiration. Lactic acid is also produced in our guts and in yogurt from bacteria. Lactic acid is in our blood where it is then deposited into muscle cells and red blood cells. 

Lactic Threshold– Lactic threshold is the point in your exercise where the lactate in your blood begins to exponentially increase and accumulate at a faster rate than it can be removed. This oftentimes happens with high intensity exercise and can result in vomiting and not feeling well and needing to stop the activity. 

Low Impact– Activities where one foot remains on the ground at all times, therefore being low impact on the joints. Walking is an example of a low impact exercise. 

Max Heart Rate– Max heart rate is based on a person’s age and is calculated by subtracting the person’s age from 220. This number is the maximum times the heart should beat during one minute of exercise. 

MET– MET’s are metabolic equivalents that can help determine your body’s energy expenditure and the intensity of an exercise.  A MET is the ratio of your working metabolic rate versus your resting metabolic rate. One MET is the energy used to be still/at rest. MET’s are calculated by multiplying 3.5 ml of oxygen (your cells use approximately 3.5 mL of oxygen to create energy for one MET per kilogram of body weight) times your body weight in kilograms. MET’s can be helpful in determining an exercise routine and to help you gauge how much you are getting out of your workout. Keep in mind that energy expenditure will vary person to person based on age and fitness level. 

One Rep Max– Your one repetition maximum is the max amount of weight you can lift for one rep of a specific exercise. You can use this information of your one rep max to determine the weight you should be using for your sets in general. 

Plyometric– Plyometric exercises are aerobic exercises used to increase speed, strength, and endurance. Plyometric exercises typically involve jumping such as squat jumps, burpees, box jumps, clapping push-up, and ski/lateral jumps just to name a few. These types of exercises are powerful, high exertion exercises that are meant for conditioned individuals and athletes. 

Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) The Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale is a way to measure the intensity of an exercise and how hard you feel like your body is working. The rating is on a 6-20 scale, 6 being the easiest and 20 being the hardest, all out effort. It is based on the individual’s personal physical feelings and experiences during the physical activity (i.e. increased heart rate, increased breathing, sweating, muscle fatigue, etc.). Although the scale is subjective in nature, it has been shown to provide a fairly accurate estimate of your actual heart rate during exercise. 

Repetition– In reference to strength training, a repetition is the number of times you perform a given exercise during a set. 

Resting Heart Rate– A normal resting heart rate range for adults is 60-100 beats per minute. A lower heart rate signifies that your heart is able to work more efficiently and you have better cardiovascular fitness. 

Steady State Cardio– A cardio workout with a continuous steady effort that can be sustained for a longer amount of time with a stable heart rate and oxygen consumption. This type of exercise is unlike interval training in that you do not vary the intensity or energy output. Steady state cardio can help to increase your aerobic fitness level and cardiovascular endurance. 

Strength/Resistance Training– The goal with this type of exercise training is to improve strength and function of muscles. You can weight lift using barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells, etc. and you can also use resistance bands for resistance training. You can also do strength training using your own body weight to do exercises such as squats, push-ups, lunges, etc. 

Set– In reference to strength training, a set is repeating the same exercises a certain number of times. For example, you complete 10 squats for one set, then rest, and perform another ‘set’ of 10 squats. 

Superset– Two or more strength training exercises that typically work the same muscle group and are performed back to back without any rest periods. 

Tabata– A high intensity interval training protocol created by Japanese scientist, Dr. Izumi Tabata, that involves 20 second all-out maximum work intervals followed by a 10 second rest interval for 8 cycles (a total of 4 minutes). 

Warm-up– A warm-up is done prior to beginning exercise in order to prepare the body for the stress of exercise. A warm-up should consist of 5-10 minutes of low-intensity aerobic movements or dynamic stretches to increase blood flow to the muscles to warm them for more intense exercise. 

Now that we’ve gone from A-Z in the fitness world, hopefully you have a better understanding of some of these terms that are thrown around in your fitness classes or at the gym. I hope this understanding will help you continue to make progress and move forward in your health and fitness journey!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us!

iPhone Charger Wars

I have the ultimate family test of love, compassion, and sharing!  ……  “What is it, you ask?”    Share ONE iPhone charger for a week.  LOL  Yep, my family of 4 kids plays this game all-the-time!  They must love it because no matter how hard we try to keep the house stocked with chargers, it inevitably always comes down to ONE.  That one charger that has someone’s name written on it, but it has been smudged out so that no one can make out the writing.  That one charger that starts a war between siblings and turns the fight into a suburban version of The Hunger Games.  That one charger that barely works because it has been pulled out of the wall too many times and the wires are exposed.  This charger becomes a lifeline for my children and they fight over it like piranhas.  Sound familiar?  

Well, this week, I am turning the tables and need your advice and parenting tips!  What do you do?  I feel like there are a few options:

  1. Take the charger away and let the electronics die a slow death.   The consequence of this could be a lovely night that is screen-free, but I am more anticipating 4 kids crying in their bedrooms and weeping, moaning, and acting like, they too, are dying.
  2. Pick one kid that has been especially awesome lately and let that child use the charger while the others cry in their room and yell at me for picking favorites.
  3. Create a rotating schedule of charging everyone’s phone for 15 minutes. No one is happy, but their phone is given just enough life to keep the screen on.
  4. I buy all 4 kids’ new chargers, and I cry in my room, silently defeated by the parenting game because my kids just won. 

What do you think?  Is there a better option?  What do you do?

In the meantime, I bought a Samsung.  Let the kids play this crazy game while my phone is still at 100%.  (wink, wink) 

-The Impactful Parent

@theimpactfulparent on social media

Let’s Break Down the Fitness Lingo A-Z (Part 1)

Let’s Break Down the Fitness Lingo A-Z (Part 1)

Do you ever walk into your group exercise class or are working out in the gym and you hear all kinds of terms being thrown around and you have no clue what they mean? You are not alone! There is a lot of fitness lingo out there and sometimes it’s hard to keep up with it, especially if you are new to the gym arena or fitness in general. I’m here today to help break down the lingo for you so that you can head to the gym with confidence or get the most bang for your buck with your at home workouts. Knowledge is power and the more you know about fitness terminology, the more you can seek to grow and improve in your fitness goals. 

Let’s start from A- F this week and work our way through some of the most common fitness terminology. We will finish with F – Z next week, so stay tuned!

Active Recovery– Low intensity exercises and activities that follow a more strenuous exercise day. It helps heal the body/muscles back to pre-training levels. The goal is to increase the heart rate and get blood flowing to the muscles to clear out any leftover metabolic waste (i.e. lactic acid) causing muscle soreness and fatigue. Examples include walking, biking, yoga, and swimming. 

Activities of Daily Living (ADL)- A term used to describe fundamental skills required for an individual to independently care for oneself. These daily self-care activities include bathing, feeding, dressing, homemaking, mobility, and leisure activities. 

Aerobic Activity- Physical exercise (also known as ‘cardio’) of low to high intensity that raises the heart rate and increases the rate of breathing. Aerobic refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism. Examples of aerobic activity include walking, running/jogging, swimming, rowing, and cycling. 

Anaerobic Activity– Anaerobic means ‘without oxygen’ meaning that this type of exercise breaks down glucose stored in your muscles for energy without using oxygen. Anaerobic exercise is high intensity, high power exercise such as high intensity interval training, sprinting, biking, or some forms of weight lifting. 

Body Composition– Our body weight broken down into its various components such as fat, protein, lean muscle tissue, bone density, and water. It is a more accurate depiction of your overall health. A body composition scan will analyze your body fat vs. lean muscle mass. 

Body Mass Index (BMI)- A person’s BMI is determined based on their height and weight. It is calculated by dividing the person’s weight in kilograms by the square height in meters. BMI does not take into account a person’s body composition (i.e. lean muscle mass or body fat). 

Boot Camp– A type of physical training designed to increase strength and fitness through various exercises that may or may not be modeled after military style fitness training. Boot camp style workouts can be performed at gyms, by personal trainers, indoors or outdoors. Boot camp offers a lot of flexibility and diversity for exercise training. 

Cardiovascular Exercise– This is another name for aerobic exercise and we often refer to it as ‘cardio’. This type of exercise relies on the aerobic energy generating process, which uses oxygen as its energy source. The CDC recommends adults do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular activity each week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise (or a combination of both). For cardiovascular benefits, aim to spend 20-60 minutes doing cardio exercise in your target heart rate zone. 

Calisthenics– A variety of exercises that work large muscle groups, relying on a person’s body weight as their resistance. Exercises include movements such as pushing, pulling, bending, jumping, or swinging. These types of exercises help to improve and develop strength, endurance, flexibility, and coordination. 

Circuit– One completion or ‘round’ of all exercises in a set, typically with strength training or high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. Example circuit: 10 squats, 10 push-ups, 10 tricep dips

Circuit Training– A type of exercise regimen that works to train different muscle groups. Circuit training allows you to work on cardio, muscular endurance, and strength training at the same time, which is the best combination for building lean muscle and burning fat at the same time. One ‘circuit’ is one completion of all of the set exercises in the program and then you repeat from the beginning. Circuit training is different from interval training where you push through high intensity moves, going all out and alternate with rest periods or low intensity moves. 

Cool Down– Your exercise session should end gradually by slowing down. You can cool down by changing your pace to a less intense activity (i.e. running to walking) or by stretching. Your cool down should last approximately 5 minutes to allow your body to relax and recover. 

Core– Your core is the midsection of your body that includes the muscles around the front, back, and sides of your body. The muscles making up our core include internal and external obliques, transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, multifidus, and the pelvic floor muscles. Our core muscles are deep within the abdominals and back and attach to the spine or pelvis. Our core muscles are the main stabilizers for the entire body. 

Compound Exercise– An exercise move that incorporates multiple muscle groups such as squats, deadlifts, and lunges. It can also involve a movement that combines two movements such as a bicep curl to a shoulder press or a deadlift to an upright row. These types of compound exercises are efficient and effective for increasing muscle mass, strength, and burning more calories as compound exercises require more effort than isolated exercises (a single bicep curl alone). 

Cross Training– Involves mixing various types of exercise and training methods to develop a specific area of fitness. The benefits of cross training include a reduced risk of injury, improved total fitness, and enhanced weight loss. Cross training aims to pair workouts that support one another such as swimming with running or boot camp and a spin class. 

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)- DOMS is muscle pain/soreness that typically occurs 1-2 days after a strenuous workout. It is caused by eccentric exercise (the tension and lengthening of muscles) which causes microtears in the muscle fibers. Our muscles adapt to these microtears by increasing inflammation to the damaged sites, leading to delayed muscle soreness.

Dynamic Warm-Up– A warm-up that involves active movement, taking your body through ranges of motion to prepare your body for your workout routine. Unlike static stretching, a dynamic warm-up does not involve holding a stretch. Dynamic warm-up moves should mimic the movements you will be doing in your workout. The purpose of a dynamic warm-up is to increase blood flow and oxygen to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments and increase range of motion. 

Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC)- This can also be called the afterburn effect because your body continues to burn calories after your high intensity workout is finished. EPOC is the increased consumption of oxygen within the body and the calories it burns to recover from exercise. High intensity exercise generates a greater EPOC or afterburn than lower intensity exercise because of the increased demands on the body and the higher amounts of oxygen needed to recover. 

Flexibility– The range of motion for a given joint. The ability to move joints effectively through a complete range of motion. 

Foam Rolling– Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release technique using a foam roller. Foam rolling can be utilized to help relieve muscle tension, break up lactic acid causing soreness, decrease inflammation, and increase your range of motion. Foam rollers are cylinder shaped but can come in varying densities and sizes. It is beneficial to incorporate foam rolling into your warm-up and cool-down routine when exercising. 

Functional Move– Functional moves are based on real life situational biomechanics such as lifting a heavy box or carrying grocery bags. Functional movements typically involve using multiple muscle groups and moving in multiple planes of motion increasing the involvement of the core muscles. 

Ok that is all for today! That was a lot of definitions….hopefully you learned something new and can incorporate these terms in your fitness regiment and know what they mean! Being able to navigate the gym or your group exercise classes with confidence is SO important!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us!

TWSM NYX Eyeliner Review

Eyeliner is tricky. They run under your eyes giving you that “I just got dumped look” & takes some real effort to apply. I actually have to hold my breath while applying, My clients feel the pressure too. They focus so much on trying to hold their heads still so much they end up shaking out of concentration/nervousness. 

The pencils are a soft glide but don’t really give you a neat application. Some liquid liners are so messy and sensitive. 

I recently picked up the NYX Professional Makeup Epic Wear Eye & Body Liquid Liner for $10 at Ulta, you can also find it at Target. I am really impressed with it! They carry this in several colors, Blue is my absolute favorite for a wing liner. She was easy to apply & has a brush applicator which I prefer over a felt tip liner a million times. 

I was feeling super crappy a few days ago, so I figured wearing eyeliner would make me feel better about myself (I haven’t worn makeup in months-thank you COVID) I felt super cute but by the end of the day I was not feeling any better, I actually felt much worse and cried a lot for no reason at all. After having cried I realized my eyeliner was still intact. Win!

The product claims to last up to three days & I believe it….. Wouldn’t recommend keeping it on for more than a day but I believe it. 

Let me know if you try this product or have a product you love! Catch you next time 

Xoxo 

-Selena 

@selena_willcutyou

Simple But Effective Beauty Routine

Simple but effective with 4 items beauty routine…

I am not a Mom or single but I am working, typically I am always in a rush to get somewhere and not nearly caffeinated enough. Even if it’s just doing stuff around the house I always make an effort to do these four things because it makes me feel beautiful and alive. 

Less is more for my daily look simply because I am a high functioning lazy procrastinator and my energy only goes so far. This look can take me anywhere from 5 – 15 minutes (I am also a perfectionist). 

  1. SPF: Sunscreen because duh! You can use a Moisturizer with SPF, BB cream, Powder, Foundation or straight up coppertone for the face. Just put it on!

       SPF is as important as brushing your teeth. It’s going to save you from needing to get botox        every 4 months in the future. I tell all my clients “it’s the cheapest & best anti aging product          you can get” 

    My SPF of choice is the Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40. It’s completely clear, good for all skin                types, has a natural velvety finish so it works amazing as a primer under makeup & it’s made      of clean chemicals, yay to better choices! 

 

  1. Mascara: Lashes! Curl them and put on some waterproof mascara. This is where the process can get long. I was blessed with long beautiful eyeball hairs but they are straight as sticks…. so I really prioritize curling them before applying mascara. This step really does most of the heavy lifting from this beauty formula because it opens up the eyes, making you look awake and gives the appearance of bigger eyes.

      Waterproof formula not just because I am uber emotional and anything can happen but              because they keep the curled shape intact. When I use a regular formula they go back to              being flat no matter how much elbow grease I put into curling them, think of it like this…. If          you curled the hair on your head and brushed water through it what would happen? The              curl pattern would go back to its regular state. Science <3 

      Any waterproof mascara works, I use the Voluminous by Loreal – Makeup by Mario (Kim’s            MUA) swears by it.

 

  1. Brows: This process is subjective, do whatever you want with your facial hair. My preference is that if I could laser off every hair below my lashes I would. Fluffy and Bushy brows are definitely my jam but very shaped and intentional with the look. When grooming my brows I don’t want to make myself look like anyone else nor do I want to try too hard.

       I like to use a tinted brow gel with fibers because it keeps the hairs in place, gives a tint and         with a heavier hand you can literally paint the brows with it & the fibers add some bushy-             ness to the brow. My preferred product of choice is Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow+                    Tinted Volumizing Eyebrow Gel in shade 3 Medium (neutral light brown) 

 

  1. Lip Balm: Nothing screams out “I did not try” like lips that resemble cracked sidewalks. I can always rely on Carmex.

That’s all folks! I hope you enjoyed it. Keep in touch @selenawillcutyou 

Xoxo 

Selena

How to Have a Happy & Healthy Holiday Season

Oh the holiday season that is upon us! This most wonderful (yet busy) time of year is filled with food, festivities, gathering, decorating, shopping, and traveling. If you are anything like me, the sights, smells, and music all make this time of year so nostalgic and magical. But along with all of the magic comes the inevitable stress, overeating, last minute shopping, planning/hosting parties, and full calendars for the entirety of the month of December it feels like. 

Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK, which is crazy! But there is a 5 week period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s that we need to plan and prepare for. We all want to enjoy the holiday season and all of the fun and joy it brings, but we also want to do our best to maintain our healthy lifestyle that we’ve worked so hard for. And 6 weeks of festivities and parties and eating can sure do a number to our waistlines and all the hard work we’ve put in. 

The goal of today’s post is to help you feel confident going into this season and ready to take head on the temptations, reduce the stress, and simply enjoy! We’re going to talk about three of the most common “problems” people face this time and year when it comes to maintaining health and wellness and a few tips on how to maintain health given these potential barriers. I think everyone can agree that some of the biggest struggles in staying fit and healthy this time of year revolve around our time, food and drink, and overall stress

TIME

This time of year always seems to fly by. There are never enough hours in a day to get all of the items checked off our list it seems. In order for this season to not become overwhelming and no longer joy-full, we need to make a PLAN to maximize our time and priorities. 

If one of your priorities this holiday season is to continue to exercise and move your body, make a plan for it. Our bodies need just as much exercise during the holiday season as any other time of year. Plan your workouts/movement around travel or plan to move while you travel. Pack a pair of running shoes and some resistance bands. Even walking for just 30 minutes a day will keep you feeling good and keep you active and well. 

Here are some common “problems” or barriers around exercise that arise for people during this time of year and some solutions.

PROBLEM: There isn’t a gym at the hotel or grandma’s house (or wherever you are staying).

SOLUTION:  Body weight exercises are a great way to exercise when you have no equipment. Body weight exercises help to improve balance, coordination, core strength, and flexibility. Stair climbing, walking outside, lunges up and down the driveway, squats while you brush your teeth. 

Travel Tips- Pack those running sneakers and easy to carry equipment like a workout DVD or a jump rope. Those things easily can fit in your carry on or check on luggage. 

PROBLEM: There simply isn’t time to workout, Meghan! Shopping, decorating, cooking, running around…there is no time left for working out. 

SOLUTION: Use a Tabata Timer to do a quick HIIT routine. 

You can download a Tabata timer app on your phone. It’s simple- you do 8 rounds of exercise in 4 minutes. You can choose to do one exercise or two and alternate back and forth. You will complete 20 seconds of all out work followed by a 10 second rest for 8 rounds for a total of 4 minutes. Do a couple of tabata’s and I promise you will be sweating and your heart rate will be elevated…and you’ll feel so good afterwards! Exercises like squats, jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups, tricep dips, mountain climbers, and jumping rope are perfect to do with the Tabata timer. 

Second- plan your workouts! Because this season can be so hectic, it may be a good idea to institute early morning workouts for these few weeks. Getting a good morning sweat in will also help you to maintain those healthy habits and choices the rest of the day! If you can’t do 30 minutes to an hour at one go, split up your workout into 10 minute bouts throughout the day. 

PROBLEM: You’re family and friends don’t understand why you want to exercise. 

SOLUTION: Stick to YOUR goals! Don’t let others detract you from your plan and your wellness goals. Stay firm. Maybe invite them along. It’s a good way to de-stress and can be a fun family activity. 

Another family fun activity is to sign up and hit the road for your local Turkey Trot, which is typically a 5K race that you can run/walk. It’s a great way to get in some movement before you put on your stretch pants for your big dinner! 

FOOD AND DRINK

Cookies. Egg Nog. Casseroles. There is always plenty…and plenty of temptation. How can you overcome these temptations around all of the yummy foods and drinks this season?!

 

    Eat a pre-party snack. One trick I tell my clients if they are going to a party or out to a dinner where they know they could splurge and over-eat is to eat an apple before going! Apples are full of fiber and will help fill you up a bit before you even go to dinner, therefore you will consume fewer calories. This will help you to not overeat the bad stuff and keep your appetite in check. 

     Choose your beverages wisely. The holiday season inevitably comes with lots of alcohol consumption between the eggnog, wine, fancy cocktails, and social drinking. Drinking alcohol is consuming empty calories because it won’t curb those hunger pangs. Alcohol doesn’t provide satiety. It’s best to avoid mixed drinks that have a lot of sugar. The number of calories isn’t the issue per say, but rather the number of grams of sugar in these fancy holiday drinks. For example, 1 cup of eggnog typically contains 30-50 grams of sugar depending on the brand. Let’s remember that the daily recommended sugar intake is 25 grams for women and 37.5 grams for men according to the American Heart Association.

Eat your protein first. When we eat our main protein source first, we help to curb our hunger and keep our blood sugar in check. Eating protein can help to keep your insulin levels lower. Eating protein before a party or first thing at the party will help you to control your cravings for the other high calorie foods. 

Drink plenty of water. Drinking water helps to fill your stomach so that you feel fuller and won’t cave to those cravings as much. Try to drink a bottle of water en route to your party or drink several glasses throughout the party. 

Pick your cheat or “treat” meals and fully enjoy it. We all need a cheat meal! That is key to any sustainable life changes and finding balance. We can’t deprive ourselves all of the time, otherwise we will go off the deep end eventually and lose all progress. Each day during the holiday season, we are tempted with treats- whether leftover at home or sitting in the lobby at our office. We could easily consume cookies and pie everyday between Thanksgiving and New Year, which is 37 days by the way for 2020. Let’s say you are consuming an extra 300 calories per day of sweets and goodies, which is equal to about 2 cookies or a piece of cake or pie. This adds up to just over 11,000 calories which equals 3 pounds of fat! The average already overweight person gains about 5 pounds during the holiday season according to NY Times. A survey by Fitness Magazine and Jenny Craig in 2013 found that 47% of women gain 4-5 lbs during the holiday season. So what is the key? My suggestion is to enjoy those holiday parties and get together’s, which typically happen on the weekend, but that will require sacrifice throughout the week. Leave the cookies in the jar at the office and say no to any treats at home or that your kids bring back from school. Eating a reduced-calorie diet, higher-protein diet five days per week and enjoying a couple of holiday parties or get-togethers each week can easily result in maintenance of body weight through the holidays. 

  1. Try new recipes or try replacing ingredients in your favorite recipes with healthier ingredients.Try replacing the not so great ingredients with healthier options. It can be pretty simple to clean up your favorite recipes. Some of my favorite swaps include swapping oil for Greek yogurt in breads, applesauce instead of butter or margarine, whole wheat flour instead of bleached white all-purpose flour, veganaise instead of mayonnaise, Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, honey or maple syrup instead of pure cane sugar. 
  2. Eat mindfully. Eating mindfully might be a new concept for you. Eating mindfully is simply being more aware of your eating experience. Paying closer attention, notice your thoughts, feelings, sensations of the food. Oftentimes we eat so mindlessly and just put whatever in our mouths and don’t think anything at all about the sensation, taste, texture, etc. Give your body 15-20 minutes to recognize if it is full or not before going back for seconds. 

STRESS

Over the years, this joyful time of year has transpired into a stressful, chaotic time of year for many. The holiday season shouldn’t and doesn’t have to be stress-filled. By using these 5 tips, hopefully you can reclaim your sanity and the season and say good riddance to the stress that every other year has brought you. 

 

  1. Be Realistic. Oftentimes we enter the holiday season with expectation in mind as to how things will go with certain family members, what food we will eat, what fun we will have, etc. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. Try to keep those expectations in check so that you don’t come away feeling disappointed and upset and so that you can be fully present and enjoy the time with family. 
  2. Plan Ahead. Planning ahead does take forethought and time but in doing so, it will greatly reduce your stress you feel later on once the crunch time comes. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup. Also, plan ahead with your budget! Our budget can easily fly out the window this time of year and then create immense stress come January. Think ahead, talk with your spouse or other family members and come up with a plan for your budget so you aren’t overspending and having to pay the repercussions of that later. Maybe instead of gifting to everyone this year, you can start a family gift exchange, or make homemade gifts for friends and co-workers. 
  3. Set Aside Differences. Everytime families come together, there will be differences in opinion, tradition, sometimes values, etc. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
  4. Take a Breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm. Some options may include: Taking a walk at night and stargazing .Listening to soothing music. Getting a massage. Reading a book.
  5. Learn to Say ‘No’. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time. Learning to say no is very powerful and freeing. Learning to say No then allows us the freedom to say yes to the things that really matter!

“The more you live in the extremes of all or none, good or bad, the more likely that’s going to get you into difficulty,” says Gary Foster, chief scientific officer for Weight Watchers International. “The key is that this is a lifestyle. When it’s an on-or-off diet or a boot camp mentality, that’s a short-term behavior. It’s destined not to work out very well.”

We don’t have to live in an all-or-nothing state of mind around the holidays. Starving to over-indulging. Feelings of deprivation to feelings of guilt. 

 Give yourself permission to enjoy but in reasonable portions and reasonable frequencies- not all the time and not the whole cheesecake. The goal is to strike a balance.  

I hope these tips will help lead you into a life-giving, balanced, and enjoyable holiday season.  If you need other accountability, book a health coaching session with me by emailing me at hello@homebodysoul.com. I offer a FREE 30-minute health coaching consult call if you’d like to set a plan in place for your holiday season.

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer

Breast Cancer Awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! I know this post is coming a few days late, but better late than never, especially on an important topic like this. 2020 has been anything but a normal year and with that I feel like October and Breast Cancer Awareness Month didn’t get nearly the attention it typically does. But, I am here today to hopefully shed some light on the subject and show you the importance of FOOD and NUTRITION when it comes to fighting and preventing breast cancer and really, any cancer.

This month is very near and dear to my heart given my mom’s survival of Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer and her subsequent need for a double mastectomy to hopefully prevent breast cancer in her future because of her predisposition as a BRCA1 gene carrier. Praise God for miracles! 

Today I want to share about a cancer fighting diet! There are foods that have been proven to help fight against cancer, prevent it, and even cure it! The food we put into our bodies has such drastic effects on our health and wellbeing. Food can be and is a very powerful tool when it comes to our health! I fully believe that food is medicine!

A FEW BREAST CANCER STATISTICS:

  • Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. In 2020, it’s estimated that about 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers.
  • A woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Less than 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it.
  • About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
  • For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
  • About 5-10% of breast cancers can be linked to known gene mutations inherited from one’s mother or father. Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2genes are the most common. On average, women with a BRCA1 mutation have up to a 72% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. For women with a BRCA2 mutation, the risk is 69%. Breast cancer that is positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations tends to develop more often in younger women. An increased ovarian cancer risk is also associated with these genetic mutations. In men, BRCA2 mutations are associated with a lifetime breast cancer risk of about 6.8%; BRCA1 mutations are a less frequent cause of breast cancer in men.

Data via breastcancer.org

So, where does this leave us? It leaves us with a conviction to fight this horrible disease. Together as women, through education, empowerment, and self-care, I believe we can beat this. Today I want to focus on the power of food and how food can help us to combat this cancer and many others.

WHAT DOES FOOD HAVE TO DO WITH CANCER?

Cancer is really just abnormal cell growth. Inflammation is the underlying issue that precipitates cancerous tumor initiation, progression, and growth. Studies have found that 30-40% of all cancers can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle and through dietary measures.

The root causes of cancer are often times complex and unknown, but possible causes include:

  • Poor diet
  • Exposure to environmental toxins
  • Genetics
  • High stress levels
  • Poor digestion and nutrient absorption- Leaky Gut Syndrome
  • Lack of physical activity

LET’S TALK ABOUT FOOD

In general, eating a plant based diet has been shown to decrease the risk of cancer. Strive to eat more whole foods instead of processed foods. Below is a list of some of the top cancer fighting foods that have been listed on many reputable sites and throughout research articles, etc.

LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLES

We all know we should be eating more greens. Eating green vegetables is ingrained in us from a young age thanks to our mama’s. Well, looks like there is a good reason after all. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, romaine, arugula, collard greens, etc. are all rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Vitamin A and Vitamin C (beta-carotene) are the most common vitamins found in leafy greens and contribute to their cancer fighting effects. “And the benefits keep coming; as natural sources of glucosinolates, they also contain antibacterial and antiviral properties, inactivate carcinogens, help reprogram cancer cells to die off, and prevent tumor formation and metastasis. These powerhouse chemicals are known to break down during the chewing and digestion process into biologically active compounds that prevent cancer cells growth, which are referred to as indoles, thiocyanates and isothiocyanate.” – Dr. Axe

CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES

Eat up those Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, turnip greens, broccoli, and cauliflower! The cancer preventing effect comes through the chewing of these vegetables, surprisingly. Cruciferous vegetables are chock full of all different kinds of antioxidants like glutathione, sulforaphanes and insoles. You can roast these vegetables, add them to stir-fry, eat raw with hummus, or add them to soup.

BRIGHT ORANGE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

The bright orange pigment in fruits and vegetables means they are radiating phytochemicals! The main phytochemical found in bright orange fruits and veggies is carotenoids. Carotenoids are derived from Vitamin A and include beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lycopene, and lutein. Beta-carotene in particular has been found to help fight cancers of the skin, eyes, and organs, along with promoting detoxification and liver health. Eat sweet potatoes, citrus fruits, pumpkin, squash, and carrots- just to name a few.

GARLIC

Bring on the stinky breath! Again, phytochemicals to the rescue. The phytochemicals found in garlic have been found to stop the formation of carcinogens such as nitrosamines from growing in the stomach and intestines. Nitrosamines enter our system when we eat nitrates, which are a common food preservative and are oftentimes found in deli meat, bacon, sausage, etc. Garlic can help fight against stomach, esophageal, colon, and breast cancers.

NUTS AND SEEDS

Because seeds and nuts are low in saturated fat, they are a great addition to a plant based diet. “Chia seeds and flaxseeds are two of the most nutrient-dense seeds in the world. They provide fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and a range of important minerals. Hemp seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are also beneficial and full of healthy fatty acids, as are walnuts, brazil nuts and almonds. Their health benefits are best sprouted and can be used easily in smoothies, baked goods and with yogurt. Aim for two tablespoons daily.”- Dr. Axe. Flaxseed also contains a beneficial plant compound, lignin, which helps fight against cancer. Eating nuts and seeds has been shown to decrease the incidence rates of colorectal and breast cancers.

MUSHROOMS

Any kind of mushroom in the mushroom family has been linked to help immune health and fight against cancer. Reishi, cordyceps and maitake in particular can improve immune function and cell regeneration. If you aren’t into eating these funky fungi, you can find them in pill/capsule form and in some supplements!

TRADITIONAL TEAS

Tea contains many flavonoids, which are known for their antioxidants. Kaempferol, a flavonoid, has been shown to have a protective nature against cancer. “Researcher Margaret Gates, a doctoral candidate at Harvard’s School of Public Health, suggests that consuming between 10 milligrams and 12 milligrams daily of kaempferol — the amount found in four cups of tea –offers protection against ovarian cancer.”

Source via WebMD

FRESH HERBS AND SPICES

Turmeric in particular is a super-spice! Turmeric contains curcumin which is the main ingredient in curry powder. Turmeric is often used as a flavor/spice in Indian dishes. Turmeric can be added to rice, chicken, lentils, and vegetables. Turmeric and curcumin have been proven to fight against bladder, gastrointestinal, colon, and breast cancers. Turmeric mainly helps to prevent and decrease inflammation. Try adding 1 tsp. of turmeric into your daily meals. It can be added to eggs, a stir fry, or used in a chicken seasoning blend.

BERRIES

Berries are some of the most antioxidant filled foods on this planet! Berries contain a plethora of the proanthocyanidin antioxidants, which are known to help reduce free radicals and the damage of free radicals. So many berries are included in this category too- blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, goji berries, and blackberries.

OTHER IMPORTANT SUPPLEMENTS

VITAMIN D

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that not only helps build strong bones through its ability to help absorb calcium, but it also can prevent cancer. A recent report by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) showed a link between increased vitamin D intake and reduced breast cancer risk. It found vitamin D to lower the risk of developing breast cancer by up to 50%. Researchers believe that Vitamin D helps prevent cancer by lowering and prohibiting the growth of cancerous cells. Vitamin D can be found in supplement form but you can also meet the recommended amount through sunshine, seafoods such as cod, shrimp, and salmon, and through eggs. The RDA of Vitamin D is 1,000 IU. By soaking up 10 minutes of sunshine each day, you can get approximately 5,000 IU’s of Vitamin D (with 40% of your body exposed).

PROBIOTICS

Remember how I mentioned our gut flora as a risk factor  at the beginning of this post? So many of us have (to some degree) leaky gut syndrome and suffer from inflammation in our gut which leads to negative health effects. “The human gut microbiota has a significant effect on many aspects of human physiology such as metabolism, nutrient absorption, and immune function. Imbalance of the microbiota has been implicated in many disorders including inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, asthma, psychiatric illnesses, and cancers. As a kind of functional foods, probiotics have been shown to play a protective role against cancer development in animal models. Clinical application of probiotics indicated that some probiotic strains could diminish the incidence of postoperative inflammation in cancer patients. Chemotherapy or radiotherapy-related diarrhea was relieved in patients who were administered oral probiotics. By modulating intestinal microbiota and immune response, some strains of probiotics can be used as an adjuvant for cancer prevention or/and treatment.” – NCBI Pub Med

Food is medicine! What we eat and put into our bodies matters for our immediate and long-term health. Don’t underestimate the POWER of whole foods…it could be life or death. Eat well to BE WELL!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer

Quick And Easy Healthy Snacks

Quick and easy healthy snacks…Snacking! It’s so fun and easy to do. But if we aren’t careful and mindful, it can quickly get out of hand and have a negative impact on our health/wellness goals. Admittedly, I am a grazer throughout the day, so I need to have options readily available so that I am making healthy choices as I “graze” and not just simply eating whatever because I am so famished, which can very easily happen. As a mama to a toddler, it’s also very tempting sometimes to reach for his snacks- ya know, the goldfish crackers, fig bars, animal crackers. But- if I am exercising self-awareness and mindful eating AND have healthy snacks on hand, this is less likely to happen. I’ve found that if I keep these favorite items of mine stocked in the pantry and refrigerator, I am more prone to eat them throughout the day instead of reaching for something unhealthy and nutrient void. 

Thankfully, my husband and I are pretty health conscious, so we don’t typically have a lot of “bad” food in the house, which definitely helps! Although the toddler snacks can be oh so tempting!  If it’s not there tempting you and having a stare down with you as you battle in your mind whether or not to eat it, then the better you are able to stick to your health goals. So, we just don’t even tempt ourselves, (especially with items like cookies, ice cream, chips, etc.). 

Here are some of my personal favorite snacks that are my go-to. Some of them are Paleo and if they aren’t, we always try to steer towards gluten free at a minimum. 

Hummus: Hummus is a great choice because it can be paired with so much- cut up veggies, baby carrots, crackers, pita bread, the list goes on. I typically eat hummus with fresh cut up veggies like carrots, baby bell peppers, or cucumbers. I also like hummus with gluten free rice crackers. 

Greek yogurt: We really don’t eat a lot of dairy in our household, but this is one staple I always have on hand. I love Greek yogurt because it is naturally fat-free and is loaded with protein! Now, if you really want the healthy option, you’ll need to opt for the plain greek yogurt. I know those flavored Chobani’s are so tasty but they are loaded with sugar- like 18 grams or something crazy! I know some of it is “natural” sugar from the fruit, but when you are most likely going to add more sugar with granola or another topper, I think it’s just best to go with the plain. You can dress up the plain very easily. Add some honey, fresh berries, Paleo cereal, granola and you’re set with a tasty and super healthy-protein rich snack. You can even use greek yogurt in smoothies or shakes! In fact, I’ve even substituted greek yogurt for sour cream in spinach dip and used it in banana bread too! 

Fruit: I always like to have a plethora of fruit available in our home. Our typical fruit list is this: Cuties (clementines), apples, bananas, mangoes, strawberries (or some other type of berry). Occasionally we will mix it up and get pineapple or pears or a melon of sorts. Fruit is great because you can eat it alone or use it as a topper on oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, and many other options. And it’s easy to grab and go and take with you to the office or as you run errands. Pair an apple or banana with peanut butter to get a combination of healthy fats and fiber. 

Tortilla Chips with Salsa and Guacamole: This is probably my least healthy snack that I eat, but it’s really not too bad. I LOVE salsa and guacamole! I could eat it everyday no problem! I always make sure to get gluten free corn tortilla chips or gluten free sweet potato tortilla chips. Recently, I’ve been really into the  blue corn tortilla chips. Yum! Newman’s Own has a great salsa that tastes so fresh and is full of different veggies so I feel like it’s not too terrible for me! Trader Joe’s also has some delicious, fresh salsa options. And if you are looking for the BEST guacamole recipe, hands down Alton Brown’s recipe on The Food Network is amazing! I use it every time!

Nuts and Dried Fruit: This is another great snack for on-the-go. Almonds are so incredibly good for you (within reason, of course). Grab a handful and snack away. I love dried fruit too! I love raisins on Ants on a Log or on top of a rice cake with peanut butter. I also love dried apricots, but I can only eat a few at a time because they are high in sugar. Instead of getting the generic store trail mix that isn’t the healthiest, opt to make your own. It’s really quite simple. Choose 1-2 nut varieties (think almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts), 1-2 dried fruit options (choose from dried banana chips, dried apricots, dried pineapple, dried apple, dried berries, raisins, craisins, etc.), 1-2 seed varieties (pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds are great), and if you are feeling adventurous, you can add in some yogurt chips or dark chocolate chips. 

Chia Seed Pudding: This simple to make snack is chalk full of fiber! Chia seeds are also high in antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and improve heart health. Basically to make chia seed pudding, you soak your seeds in liquid and the seeds soak up the liquid to make a jelly-like consistency. You can add in a variety of add-ins such as berries, nut butter, cocoa powder or cinnamon. 

Prosciutto and Cheese: Nothing sounds better to me than a little meat and cheese platter. I love charcuterie boards and could literally eat them everyday! Make your own little snack board with some dried meats, high quality cheese, veggies, and fruit. 

It’s important to have healthy snacks available because there are always those moments when we “forget” to eat lunch or are just really hungry and it’s in those moments of feeling famished where we are the most vulnerable to blow our “diets” and grab for the Snickers or bag of potato chips. Creating snacks ahead of time or having something readily available and easy to make or grab helps us to maintain our healthy eating goals! Nowadays there are so many “healthy” packaged snack items. Try to stay away from too many packaged items (within reason) and aim for whole food options. Bars and healthy chip-like items may be “healthier” but they are still processed and not as nutrient dense as say an apple and peanut/nut butter. 

There are other great, healthy snack options out there but I just wanted to share some of my personal favorites and go-to snacks with y’all! Enjoy!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us!