All Posts in Physical Health and Nutrition

February 11, 2016 - No Comments!

My Plan to NOT Gain Weight This Holiday Season

 November 19, 2014

Why am I making a plan?  If I make a plan and say that I’m going to do it, I’m much more likely to actually follow it, or at the very least, do better than not making a plan.  
IMG_0227Two years ago I put on about 8 pounds and I didn’t have a plan.  I was also coming off of dieting really hard and didn’t have enough balance with my food prior to the holiday season.  I was too strict with my diet before the winter months and didn’t allow some of the “not as healthy” foods in my diet… hence the weight gain once the tasty treats began!  Last year I had a plan for the first time ever. I didn’t stick to it 100%, but I did better than I ever did.  I only gained a couple of pounds and was easier to work back off.

So What’s my plan for the big family holiday dinner days?

Meal One: Meal Replacement Isagenix Shake.  It’s delicious, nutritious, and a perfect balance of macronutrients (protein, fats, and carbs).  It’s a lower (than most) calorie meal, and I’m guaranteed to start the day out well by having a healthy and balanced meal full of essential vitamins, nutrients, and minerals.

Appetizers: Skip! As much as I love cheese, crackers, and veggie dip, these extra calories just aren’t worth it to me! I also won’t feel like I’m missing out.

Dinner:  Fill up my plate with all of the tasty and not-so-healthy foods that are specially prepared for the holiday! If it’s something I don’t LOVE the taste of, I won’t take it.  It won’t be worth the extra calories.  But I’m sure as hell gonna enjoy that stuffing, mac ‘n cheese, turkey, and whatever else will be there.  I am a fast eater, overeater, and picker by nature, so my goal is to eat slowly and really enjoy every bite.  That will help me not overeat.

Dessert: Hell yea I’m eating dessert! No more than one small plate full, and again, if it’s not something I REALLY enjoy, I’m not going to waste the extra calories.  But I want to enjoy the tasty holiday treats at the same time.  Right before dessert I’m going to have a plain protein shake.  This will help me not overeat the sweets.  It will fill me up a bit and the protein will help slow down the digestion of the large amount of sugar.

Weight gain typically happens when you overeat carbs and fats.  Desserts = sugar (carbs) and butter (fat)!  Tasty, but in excess it leads to fat gain.  I want to enjoy my family holidays, but when it comes to the many other events going on around the holidays, I plan on cutting back on the sweets this year.  If I decide to eat dessert, I will count it as a meal and will eat a protein shake with it.  It’s not the best or healthiest option, but it allows me some flexibility.

What’s my plan for the days outside of the big holidays / normal days of the season?

Outside of the family dinner days I’ll be sticking to my normal typical healthy diet plan. If I end up with leftovers, I will only eat the “clean” ones, meaning food without a lot of excess oils, sugars, creams, etc. added to it.  Those are the hidden calories that you come across at restaurants and in tasty holiday dishes.  I want to enjoy those foods on those special events, but I also need balance and don’t want to be eating them every day for a month or two straight.  So I’ll only eat leftovers if it’s something that I feel is clean and healthy for the non-holiday meals.

Desserts and baking at home: Same goes for baking.  I don’t plan on taking desserts home.  I took a ton of desserts home last year… and probably like you, if it’s sitting at home and I see it… I will eat it!  I want to enjoy the desserts, but I also want to have some balance.  I’ve recently started experimenting with healthier dessert alternatives, so that’s my plan this year.  Home baking and desserts that will be in my house during the holiday will be stuff like:

http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2013/04/flourless-chocolate-chip-chickpea-blondies-with-sea-salt-vegan-gluten-free-healthy/

http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2014/11/chewy-double-chocolate-chip-cookies-sea-salt/

Use Your Food for Fuel

I plan on sticking to my typical weight lifting routine.  Gotta keep moving!  Days sometimes get missed with gym schedules, traveling, and family dinner schedules during this time and that’s ok.  It’s gonna happen and as Taylor Swift so greatly says, “shake it off” and start new the next day.  But the days that I lift, I will get a damn good workout in and I may even throw day or two of cardio in. Maybe.  Or yoga instead because I enjoy it much more!  It will help make up for the extra food and the food will fuel my workouts.  Use it for muscle gains!

I hope this helps you with your upcoming holiday plan!  It’s important to share special moments with family and friends and not feel guilty about what you’re eating.  It’s also important to find some balance.

Happily and Healthfully,

Hilary

www.happyhealthyhabits.com

Feel free to post comments and questions!

 

 

January 16, 2016 - No Comments!

Acid Reflux and How I Overcame It

August 12, 2014

Body pH Levels and What It Means

Our ideal body pH balance should be at 7 - around neutral.  See this article and chart for more details.  The spectrum of pH levels ranges from 3 (most acidic) to 10 (most alkaline).  Basically, this is what the article states:

- When your body is in an acidic state, your body is susceptible to diseases including: digestive disorders, circulatory and cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, respiratory issues, cancer, and arthritis.

YIKES.

My Acid Reflux Story

In Spring 2012 I was diagnosed with silent reflux.  Silent reflux is acid reflux that does not produce heartburn or indigestion.  So basically, I didn’t know there was anything wrong with me until I literally was unable to speak!   The silent reflux had caused vocal cysts, which is why I was unable to talk.  (Not being able to talk when you’re a music teacher can be pretty challenging!)  I spent the summer going to speech therapy and voice therapy at Philadelphia Ear, Nose, and Throat Associates (who were awesome therapists, BTW) as well as being on vocal rest and talking very minimally.  Emotionally, it was incredibly difficult to try and hold back talking.  However, the vocal rest was the best thing I had done for myself.  The cysts died down to a barely visible size - no surgery necessary-  and with proper speech training, I was learned to speak without pounding on my vocal chords.  (I knew how to sing without harming my voice, as I have been a vocalist my whole life and studied music education and voice in college, but I never applied it to speaking.  I had no idea how harsh you can be on your own vocal chords just from talking. TEACHERS, I’m sure you understand this).

Coffee CupKicking the Acid Reflux Meds

When I was first diagnosed with silent reflux I was given pharmaceutical grade medicine from the doctor.  They helped at first, but about two months later I noticed that my throat started to ALWAYS burn no matter what I ate, drank, or did.

After some research, I found some (very few) articles on the negative effects of acid reflux meds.  In summary what I discovered was:

- Your stomach NEEDS acid to digest properly (the good kind)
- You may experience acid reflux symptoms because your body does not have enough acid production in your stomach (contrary to what you may hear)
- Acid reflux meds blocks the productions of acid in your stomach
- No acid in your stomach is NO good; the meds are only a temporary fix and may eventually do you more harm

What I did -  Quit the meds and started taking Unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar to bring the good acid back into my stomach that I need.  In two weeks the burning in my throat stopped. Huh!?

Other Things I’ve Done that Alleviated My Acid Reflux Issues

Drank Aloe Vera to help sooth my throat and help heal it
- Added Apple Cider Vinegar to my diet to put good acid in my stomach
- Put lemon in my water for the same reason above
-Took Green’s First pH alkalizer that I found on the web
- Ate more alkaline foods for a better balance (fruits and veggies) to balance out the acidic foods in my diet (meat, coffee, grains, alcohol)
- Took Gaviscon (on rare occasion) after I drank something very acidic (coffee or wine) to keep the acid down and keep my throat from burning
- Fall 2012, after a summer of speech therapy, I finally said out loud that I didn’t want to be a teacher and was unhappy doing what I was doing.  STRESS was probably the biggest cause of my acid reflux.  Living unhappily and doing something you don’t want to do creates more stress and provides an unhealthy and acidic internal environment.  To be honest, I’ve barely had any acid reflux issues since I built up enough confidence to say that I was unhappy. When I started to try and figure out what I truly wanted in life, and not what I thought I should do in fear of disappointing others I found my symptoms go away. THIS bullet requires a blog or book on it’s own.

Things You Can Do to Help Control Your Acid Reflux and Create Healthier Habits

- I dare you, quit the meds and start drinking apple cider vinegar (diluted in some water) every day to bring back the good acids in your stomach
- Eat balanced meals (eat something alkaline for every acidic piece of food you eat)
- Put lemon in your water
- if you’re gonna eat something you know will upset you, take Gaviscon after you eat or drink it
- Try the Green’s First pH Alkalizer, it seemed to help me at the time

Remember: Healthy Body + Healthy Mind = Happy Life

Healthfully Yours,

Hilary