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Five Savvy Ways to Jumpstart Weightloss

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Whether your motivation is a New Year’s resolution, planning a special outfit for an event or aiming for a Summer bod -- fitness, diet and weight loss are top on the self-care hit list.  Am I right? We prioritize health and wellness and “finally losing the weight” at times when we feel most motivated.  Here’s the thing: if all it took was motivation, we’d be there!  And if it was about going to the gym or dieting, everyone would be getting results.  The bottom line is that it takes more than motivation and the standard strategies.  For results, we need to SHIFT from our notion of motivation, willpower and drastic action to a plan that focuses on simple, do-able, daily steps designed to SUPPORT your body’s innate wisdom.  Keep reading to learn the top 5 things to put on your daily action plan so you can ditch diets and stressful strategies and get closer to your goals, starting now.

 

1.      Break a Sweat:  Go for a short hike with friends, or a brisk walk or become a Wogger, like me – I’m a proud Walking Jogger. I walk a bit, jog a bit; wash, rinse, repeat.  Then, at least once a day, have a dance break.  I double-dog dare you to pop on some rockin’ tunes and dance around.  Grab a YouTube yoga video or something cardio (I love the Fitness Marshall videos – popular, fun music and cardio dance combined). Why not the gym, you ask?  2 reasons: #1, People fail to go to the gym due to lack of motivation. There’s always something better to do and driving to the gym becomes a low priority.  And, #2, gym workouts can put so much stress on your body that you produce more cortisol and halt weight loss.  If the gym is your zen zone, by all means keep doing your thing, but if it’s not, know that you are allowed to find your own rhythm… you don’t have to train insane in the gym.  You do have to break a sweat, activate your muscles and get your heart rate up a little doing something that you enjoy.

 

2.      Drink Water:  I know you read this all the time and it sounds like the simplest advice. Drink at least 8 ounces of water a day… blah…blah..blah!  Gorgeous, I am telling you right now that without enough water that’s exactly how you feel (and you may not even know it).  Even as a Health Coach, I didn’t really believe it.  I used to get maybe 4-6 glasses of water every day in the lineup with a couple cups of coffee and some tea.  I figured all was well, all things considered.  But, I was way wrong, and you likely are too!  Especially in the summer and especially on sweaty days or days with higher activity, our bodies need more water.  Eight (8), eight-ounce glasses of fresh, clean, no frills added W-A-T-E-R is what’s on tap, for real.  Not only is it something your body has a critical need for (for basic metabolic functions and pretty much every bodily function), but it also keeps you out of the trap of sugary drinks with lots of empty calories.  Ditch everything else for a week and switch to plain water.  This step alone can result in a few pounds of weight loss, better sleep, improved skin tone, better focus and more energy. 

 

3.      Mock Me: Alcohol contains sugar, stresses the liver and sets off insulin resistance – all of which can result in weight gain. So, if you are looking to lose some weight, take a break from alcohol and opt for the mock!  Not only are mocktails super refreshing and fun but they allow you to feel festive and engaged at social events without sabotaging your health! Many mocktail recipes can be found with a simple Google search, but you can also join me for a Mocktail or Kombucha Class for hands on tasting fun!

 

4.      Prioritize Produce: When people look to lose weight fast it’s often at the expense of proper nutrition.  Short term “solutions” can add up to long-term weight gain because of the negative impact on metabolism and digestion. Instead of doing something drastic, shift your approach and prioritize produce.  Summertime means greater access to fresh fruits and vegetables.  If you are looking to burn some calories this summer, you need to eat well. Eat Clean. Ditch processed foods. Eat the rainbow daily. Your body will respond with slow, even weight loss while you enjoy the bounty of summer gardening!

 

5.      Sleep: You’re not alone if you’re wondering what sleep has to do with weight loss.  What’s wild is that improving sleep almost always improves weight balance and overall health!  Studies show that insufficient sleep affects appetite and satiety hormones. It also impacts the ability of our fat cells to respond to insulin (if you’ve heard of “insulin resistance” this is it).  Without enough sleep or enough good sleep, we experience increased levels of a hunger hormone called ghrelin and decreased levels of the satiety/fullness hormone called leptin.  Sleep deprived study participants consumed about 300 calories a day more than when they are well-rested, with the calories coming from higher-fat and higher carbohydrate foods. Long story short -- Don’t compromise on your sleep.

 

Cause I love ya, I can't wait to connect with you some more.  Reach out on Facebook, tag me on Instagram or email me -- sarahlawrencehealth@gmail.com .  I want to hear about your summer savvy weight loss wins, your warms and wonders about everyday health.

xo,

Sarah

 


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SarahLawrenceCHHC

What to drink when you drank too much... or just need a pick me up!

 

Potassium broth... what to eat when you (eh-hem) overindulged or just need a bit of a pick me up. It's not unusual when seasons change to feel the impact of a congested liver. I have had many clients email about this -- feeling drained, with lower than normal energy, even lower back pain. If you're in this camp, you're not alone!

Make yourself some of this goodness!

6 medium Russet Potatoes

6 celery stalks

1 bunch parsley

2 medium carrots

2 beets

1 bunch dark leafy greens (kale, collards, chard)

3 one-inch slices of ginger root

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns

 

Put 10 cups of water into a pot, cover and bring to a boil.
Gently wash your produce, but don't scrub too hard.
Slice the peel off the potatoes at about 1/8 inch depth. We are using the peel for this broth, so set the potato insides aside for another use.
Roughly chop remaining vegetables.
When water is boiling put in everything except the ginger. The water should cover the vegetables with an inch or two to spare on top.
Return to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer.
Cook covered for 1.5 hours.
Add the ginger and continue simmering with the lid on for 30 minutes.
Turn off the heat and gently mash the veggies, then strain the broth.

Sip this throughout the day or use some as a base for a light soup.


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SarahLawrenceCHHC

Wilted Spinach and Dandelion Greens Salad with Beets

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Try this tasty Spring Salad and enjoy the bright colors and balance of flavors! Make it: 1 roasted beet, sliced; 1 small red onion, thinly sliced; 2 tablespoons olive oil; 2 teaspoons maple syrup; 2 tablespoons cider vinegar; 2 cups baby spinach, washed and dried; 2 cups dandelion greens (washed and dried, stems removed; tear or chop into bite-sized pieces OR reduce to 1 cup and mince -- increase spinach to 3 cups); Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste ************** Saute the red onion slices in a skillet until they soften, but not so much that they lose their color. Stir in the maple syrup and cider vinegar. Pour the hot dressing over the greens and beets, tossing everything to coat with dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. If dandelion is too bitter for your taste to start, increase the baby spinach from 2 cups to 3 cups and then try reducing the dandelion greens to 1 cup and mince them before adding to the spinach. Let me know what you think! xo,Sarah

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SarahLawrenceCHHC

Sweet!

The Super Bowl is over and Valentine's Day is 7 days away.  We're in the zone where added sugars are abundant --- junk foods, party fare, chocolate treats!  There's no better time to do this, Friends: Let's talk about the sweet stuff.

Doubt I need to tell you that too much sugar is associated with all kinds of health risks.  When we consume too much sugar we are not only likely to gain weight, but also increase our risk for heart disease, chronic inflammation, diabetes and impaired immune function.  It's wild, but evidence shows that sugar consumption (regardless of the source - table sugar, honey and unsweetened orange juice were in the study) depressed the immune system of healthy volunteers by about 50 percent for up to five hours. If you consume sugars at every meal or in beverages between meals then we're talking about a significant impact on immune function.

According to a 2009 study in Circulation, annual sugar intake increased 19% from 1970 to 2005. In 2009, the American Heart Association (AHA) reported Americans were ingesting an average of 111 grams of sugar per day which is the equivalent of about 450 calories per day! Currently, most Americans are consuming about 30% more added sugar than in 1970 however, the top20% of U.S. adults and children are consuming between 650-730 calories of added sugar every day!

 

The AHA suggests limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than 100 calories per day(about 6 teaspoons) for women and no more than 150 calories (about 9 teaspoons) per day for men. 

 

The other factor to consider is that high-glycemic foods (think: white bread, potatoes, and corn syrup) can trigger cravings and light up the parts of your brain linked to addiction.  So, when you open that can of Pringles or box of chocolates, there are physiological and psychological reasons why you can't eat just one.

 

Don't be bummed! You can still eat sweets!

The trick to satisfying your sweet tooth comes in WHAT you choose to eat (and WHEN you choose to eat it... but we're gonna save that piece for another day).  Working with the Glycemic Index, you can know WHAT choices are LESS LIKELY to spike your blood sugar and impact your health negatively. 

Here's how the glycemic index (GI) breaks down:

  • low-glycemic have a GI of <55;
  • moderate-glycemic foods have a GI of 56-69;
  • high-glycemic foods have a GI of >70 .

White table sugar has a GI of 80 and high fructose corn syrup registers at 87. 

 

The good news is there are healthy, low glycemic alternatives!  My favorite:

  • Liquid stevia. 
    GI 0
    Stevia doesn't spike blood sugar, has zero calories and it comes in plain and flavored versions.  A little goes a long way!  Stevia is actually 300 times sweeter than sugar. This herb has been used as a sweetener for centuries in South America, and it's even said to aid digestion. However, it does have a slight aftertaste, which may take some getting used to.

That said, stevia doesn't work for everyone (or in everything). Here are other lower glycemic options you can use to replace high fructose corn syrup and processed table sugar:

  • Yacon syrup.
    GI 1
    This liquid has the benefit of being rich in prebiotics (which feed good gut bacteria), but can cause some gas or bloating because of this! Extracted from the yacon plant (a South American tuber) the syrup has half the calories of sugar and a high concentration of indigestible inulin, a complex sugar that breaks down slowly. It's an excellent source of potassium, calcium, phosphorous, iron, 20 amino acids.  Use 2/3 cup instead of 1 cup of sugar.

  • Lucuma.
    GI 25
    Lucuma powder is made from the Peruvian lucuma fruit, and is rich in minerals such as iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B3, beta-carotene, and fiber. One tablespoon of white sugar contains 14 g of sugar calories, while one tablespoon of lucuma only contains 2 grams (although it still has 60 calories overall). The powder tastes a bit like maple syrup.  You can also substitute it directly (1:1 ratio to sugar) in baking recipes, especially if brown sugar is called for. 


  • Brown Rice Syrup.
    GI 25
    Brown rice syrup is made from boiled brown rice and has a gooey consistency like thick honey. It's really sweet, and has a distinct butterscotch flavor. The syrup contains trace minerals of vitamin B, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamin K. This is a sweetener that's a better option for you than refined sugar because it won't digest as rapidly, but it still contains as many calories as sugar -- so use it sparingly.


  • Raw local honey.
    GI 30
    This golden stuff is rich in antioxidants, enzymes, amino acids, minerals, and phytonutrients.  It is thought to have some medicinal properties and can help with seasonal allergies. With a much lower-glycemic rating than table sugar, raw honey is a great alternative sweetener. It has more calories than sugar, but because it is sweeter, you can use less.

     If you're vegan, it's not for you because it's considered an animal product.


  • Coconut Palm sugar.
    GI 35
    Coconut sugar is the evaporated sap from coconut trees.  It's granulated and can be swapped 1:1 for white sugar in recipes.  Has the added benefit of being rich in magnesium, potassium, zinc, and B vitamins.


  • Grade B Maple Syrup.
    GI 58
    Darker and usually thinner than honey, grade B maple syrup is definitely higher glycemic so best used occasionally or as a treat.  It's also high in zinc and manganese. Calorie-wise it's comparable to sugar, but because of its sweeter taste, you only need to use 2/3 cup of maple syrup per 1 cup sugar. Be sure you're buying pure maple syrup, not anything that's been cut with high fructose corn syrup! 


You may have noticed that agave isn't on the list.  Even though it doesn't spike blood sugar, it turns out that it's not so great.  Recent research has shown that agave is processed in the body (by the liver) similar to high fructose corn syrup... yikes!  Steer clear of it as much as possible and opt for one of the other sweet alternatives instead!

 

Check back for a few more posts this week that will include recipes featuring some of these alternative sweeteners.  Health is a matter of balance and synergy.  To thrive, we don't deprive!  Join me and learn simple shifts that will help you be your healthiest in 2018!

xo,

Coach Sarah


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