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Personal wellness, Uncategorized

Bust through Barriers like a Badass

brick wall

Excuses, Excuses…

Kids are great at finding the funniest reasons why they can’t or won’t do something. Usually involves a scary monster under the bed at bedtime or a suddenly sick tummy right before the bus arrives. But don’t discount your own adult ability to come up with some super creative reasons why you can’t workout, make a healthy dinner or block off some time to decompress and de-stress.

We are pretty good at creating reasons, excuses and barriers to the very goals WE decided to work toward in January. I’m not saying that all barriers are made up – there are legit reasons why getting to the gym can seem impossible. And, plenty of solid rationale as to why take-out is the best option on a busy night of homework, sports and email catch up.

When Excuses Become Habits that Become Behaviors…

The trouble starts though when our excuses and perceived barriers become habits and ingrained thoughts in our heads. Those habits lead to behaviors that take us anywhere but toward the goals we hoped to achieve this year.

So, if you’ve found yourself 6 weeks into the year and you haven’t seen the inside of a gym or your kitchen since Groundhog Day, there are a few tried and true ways to refocus on what’s in the way (spoiler alert – it’s mostly YOU) and map out a plan to get this badass train back on the rails and heading in the right direction.

  • First – you cannot do this alone. Even the baddest of the badasses can’t do everything on their own. It doesn’t matter if you are the only one who wants to lose weight, get in better physical shape or start another healthy habit. Your entire family needs to be in agreement and supportive. Family meeting time. Regroup over a sit-down dinner at home and lay the ground rules again. Get everyone to agree that you’re going to stick to the plan and then assign everyone a role in that plan. Kids love to “help” when they think there’s an important task. Ask them to make a workout chart (like their chore chart) and check off each day that you/they work out. Or, get your significant other to agree to meal prep with you on Sundays. When everyone has a role, the plan is easier to execute.

 

  • Second – take a good hard look at your calendar. Badasses don’t spend time on stuff that doesn’t make them (or the world) better. What are you filling your time with – quality activities or busy-ness? I recently excused myself from two committees because the time spent didn’t provide the return on investment that I was putting in. Worthy endeavors for sure, but they were taking up time without providing me with some value (tangible or intangible). Freeing up 2 hours a week allows you to fit in two 30-minute workouts and an hour of meal prep on the weekend.

 

  • Finally – make a list of every possible barrier. Be an honest badass. Write down ALL the reasons you’ve told yourself that you cannot work toward your goal – from the obvious to the absurd. Then, next to each one, write the solution to that challenge. Finally, give each one a confidence score from 1-10 (1 being not confident at all that you can bust through it and 10 being super confident you will kick this barrier’s ass). Then start with the easy ones. For example, if one of the barriers is lack of childcare for an evening spin class and the solution is asking your mother in law to babysit (which she LOVES to do), your confidence in busting that barrier should be a 10. So, call her up and get it scheduled.

Get out of your head…

The BS we tell ourselves is typically creative and dramatic but when we really look at what stands in our way, the reasons are often much simpler and less dramatic than we think.

Sometimes the simple act of writing down all the things and seeing them on paper gives you the push you need to solve the problem. When we keep everything in our heads it gets lost in the clutter of every day decisions and tasks.

Don’t get stuck in a cycle of overwhelm and put your health last. Recognize that you’re off track, identify the reasons and create a plan of action.

If you’d like a free Barrier Buster worksheet to help you with the process, download it here. Or, I invite you to set up a time to chat with me on how I can help you bust through those barriers and get to the healthiest, badass version of yourself.

 

food, Uncategorized

Ditch the Diet.

do-you-know-what-youre-eating

In the world of food, nutrition and “dieting” there seems to be a trend a minute that people flock to in hopes of a quick fix for years of poor eating patterns. They hear that some way of eating has helped their neighbor, friend, relative lose 20 lbs. in two weeks and they are on board! Sometimes it’s a cleanse or a detox drink. Or an elimination diet or juice fast. Regardless of the tactic, the promise seems to always be a quick solution to a long-standing problem.

Not all these diets are bad or unhealthy (but some are). And, when done properly and with the right mindset and expectations, they can be a great way to jumpstart your metabolism or help you reset after a holiday season filled with heavy foods. However, most are not permanent lifestyles nor are they the solution for the yo-yo dieter who will try just about anything to lose the weight. They usually offer short term results and often lead to disappointment and greater weight gain after stopping.

When a client comes to me frustrated after years of dieting only to lose weight and then gain it back (plus more), I don’t start with another diet suggestion. As a health coach, my job is to assess your food journal and help you understand where your nutrition might be out of line with what your body needs. My job is to help you understand how your body uses food as fuel and guide you in choosing the right foods to feel your best and lose weight.

In looking at months of food entries for my clients, I can confidently say that our biggest problem when it comes to eating isn’t just how many calories we’re eating but rather the quality of those calories. A calorie isn’t just a calorie despite what you’ve been told in the past. Some calories are better than others and will help you lose weight, have more energy and build lean muscle. You need fiber and high quality protein, you need FAT (yes, fat) and sodium and all the nutrients.

And – truth bomb here – just because you work out consistently doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want if it stays within your calorie count. Your body is a finely engineered machine and requires fuel that is high quality.

Clean up that dirty diet

So, what do I recommend to my clients who have been trying diet after diet, and still not losing weight? Ditch the diet and clean up your plate! Yep. Take a good long look at WHAT you are eating and the contents of that food and clean it up. You will feel better, lose weight and have more energy. I recommend clean eating as a way of life, not a diet. And, guess what, it works.

You’ve likely heard of clean eating as it has been part of some dieting hype in recent years. It’s not an elimination diet or a cleanse. You can have every food group if you choose. You can eat meat or be a vegan. Paleo, Keto, Weight Watchers and all the other diets can be dirty or they can be clean. Junk food has a points value and highly processed meat can be “ok” on some diets.

I’m going to take the hype out and give you the straight scoop on why this way of eating – regardless of your age, size, fitness level, demographic, etc. – is one of best ways to structure your diet.

Fitness Magazine has one of the simplest explanations of clean eating “clean eating is about eating whole foods, or “real” foods — those that are un- or minimally processed, refined, and handled, making them as close to their natural form as possible.”

To put it simply – clean eating is having an apple vs. apple sauce, eating steamed broccoli vs. frozen broccoli with cheese sauce added. Whole grains vs. white/refined grains. Organic, grass fed beef vs. pre-packaged, seasoned ground beef for tacos. Are you following me?

It’s sometimes a little bit more work over convenience. Most importantly, it’s about reading labels, being informed and making better choices. Clean eating doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated or time consuming. It just takes planning.

My tips for cleaning up your pantry, fridge and plate

  • First and foremost – track your diet for 3 days. You cannot improve upon what you are unaware of. Everyone has access to MyFitnessPal. Identify where you are eating more convenience, packaged or processed foods that can be swapped for their whole counterparts. Good indicators of a “dirty” diet are high sodium and saturated fat levels, and low fiber intake. If those are out of whack, chances are your diet is too.

 

  • Raid your pantry and read labels. My favorite app for food shopping is Fooducate. Scan a barcode; get a grade for that food. And, an explanation of that grade, definition of ingredients and healthy alternatives.

 

  • Sound it out. If you cannot pronounce the first 2-3 ingredients (which are listed in order of their quantity) then you should toss it. A whole grain roll should list a grain as one of the first two ingredients. Avoid fillers and sneaky sugars (corn syrup). Note: not all preservatives are bad – some are needed to keep your food safe. Things like steric acid, sorbic acid and ascorbic acid are preservatives that can occur naturally in some foods and help prevent mold, and spoilage. Scan the label and Fooducate will tell you why those ingredients are in your food.

 

  • Beware of marketing claims. Natural, organic and whole are some of the most common ones. Understand what they truly mean and the requirements for obtaining those labels. It’s not always a rigorous process. Also, be wary of endorsements by organizations like the American Heart Association (they put their seal of approval on Subway sandwiches). Research what it takes to get that claim put on a package. Sometimes it’s just a donation to an organization.

 

  • Don’t fall into the organic trap. You don’t have to buy EVERYTHING organic. Some things are more at risk for pesticide contamination, especially fruits and veggies. Google these two phrases… “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” food lists. It will tell you the fruits and veggies have the most risk for pesticide residue and should be bought organic.

 

  • All stores have good food. You don’t have to shop at a specialty store to get high quality food. Think local with farm markets and local grocers who get their meat and dairy locally. The closer the food is to you, the fresher it is and less processed it’s likely to be.

 

  • Make small changes. A complete overhaul of your diet can be overwhelming. Aim for one change a week. Start with leaner proteins with no added flavors or colors, or fresh veggies and fruit vs. saltier canned or sugar-added frozen varieties.

 

  • Be kind to yourself. All packaged food isn’t the enemy. We have lives to lead and families to raise.  Sometimes convenience wins. Aim for the 80/20 rule and indulge occasionally. Life is too short to never eat few Oreos or potato chips.

Dieting is no fun and I don’t recommend it

I believe that no food group should be off limits and that whatever you want to eat can be eaten in a cleaner, fresher way. Carbs aren’t the enemy, and neither is fat or dairy or sugar. Everything can be incorporated into your diet in the right way to allow you to enjoy eating while doing what’s best for your body.

Don’t overthink it. Start small. And, keep track of how you feel as you make changes. That’s the best reward.

And, guess what…you don’t have to do it alone. Working with a health coach to help you raid that pantry, provide recommendations and keep you accountable gives you the support you need to make these positive changes.

Jump back on that Resolution Wagon

If you’ve fallen off the New Year’s resolution wagon, let’s get back on track. My 6-week reset starts Feb. 12 (we prep this week) and you can be looking and feeling great by St. Patrick’s Day!

Message me for details. And, if you haven’t picked up my free Meal Planning & Prep Guide, get it here! It will get you started on the clean eating path and help you plan your meals each week.

Like this blog post? Sharing is caring. And, it helps educate people about eating healthier!

 

Uncategorized

The February Slump

never give up

Here’s a fun fact…

80% of you who made New Year’s Resolutions will give up by Valentine’s Day. Yep. It’s a documented statistic and it sucks. Especially when you really do want to make a positive change. And, even more so if you’ve invested in a gym membership. The average gym can see an increase in memberships of up to 40% during January but the trends show that 4 percent of new gym goers don’t even make it to the end of January and 14 percent drop out in February.

So, maybe you’re among the 14% of gym drop outs or you’re in the 80% of well-intentioned resolution makers who’ve said “Eff it…I like sitting on the couch eating ice cream!”

You’ve tried the gym and it’s not your thing for a myriad of reasons – too crowded, too many germy people touching all the equipment, no assistance from gym staff or you’ve just got a general feeling of intimidation because you’re the newbie and all the regulars know exactly what they are doing (spoiler alert – most of them don’t!).

I gave up the gym about 3 years ago. For some of the reasons above and the fact that I prefer to not drive somewhere to workout given my busy schedule and travel for work. Sure, I love group classes, but they were never at the right times for me and now there are so many online options for classes and the wonderful world of Class Pass and other similar services.

Opting out of that Gym Life

If your about to check out of the gym scene, and are a little lost on your resolutions, here are few tips for reevaluating and getting back on track toward your goals.

  • First – do you really want to quit the gym? Nowadays they are much more lenient in gym memberships and contracts which makes it easier to cancel. So, if you’re really thinking of canceling make sure it’s for the right reasons. If it’s because you can never seem to get there for a class you wanted to take, or if it’s out of the way on your drive to and from work, or if it just doesn’t have the clientele that you feel comfortable being around (gyms all have a personality and the people who join tend to emulate that), then it’s probably not going to work. If you are quitting because you took a few classes and you’re sore or the treadmills were all taken when you showed up at a prime time, then you may want to give it another go because those are not reasons to just throw in the towel. Revisit why you joined and if you’ve really committed to trying.
  • Re-create the gym at home. If you decide you want to quit, what’s your back up plan? Could you create the gym experience at home? What did you like about the gym? Was it the classes? The variety of equipment? Having other people around you for motivation? Pick the things you liked and re-create them in your own home. If it’s classes, get online and find a streaming service or search YouTube for exercise classes and demos. Here’s the beauty of this…it’s on your schedule, you can try new things without feeling awkward or embarrassed, and you can start and stop the video to ensure you’re doing it right. Winning! If you like the equipment they have at the gym, investigate what you can invest in now. Guess what – all the people who bought treadmills for their New Year’s resolution and found out they hate running will be looking to unload it for a sweet price. Check online garage sale pages for good deals. If you liked the loud music or having people around you, get a good wireless speaker for your music and invite a friend over to workout.
  • Did you have an accountability partner? Among the 80% who give up on their New Year’s resolutions there are people who probably would have succeeded if they had someone keeping them accountable, or at least encouraging them. Accountability is a critical factor to achieving any goal. Yet, when it comes to our health and wellness, we’re often to proud or too stubborn to ask for help and support. And, when we do pick someone to hold our feet to the fire, they tend to be people who love us and have a tough time giving us some tough love. Behavior modification is difficult to do alone especially if you’ve engaged in a behavior (i.e. overeating or being sedentary) for years. Having someone who can have the tough conversation with you is just as important as signing up for the gym. Did you have someone who was checking in on you to see if you were going to the gym? Or better yet, who would go with you? If not, you may want to enlist the help of someone who is good at giving you a gentle but firm push to stick to your goals.

Don’t Give UP!

Gym membership or not, if you’ve said sayonara to your resolutions, don’t give up all together. You can refocus and get back on track. Working with a coach or trainer – even for a short period of time – can make it easier. We work with you to ensure you are setting SMART goals, that you are doing exercises appropriate for your skill and fitness level and we can look at your food journal and help you identify patterns and gaps in your nutrition and hydration. Most importantly, we hold you accountable without worrying about offending you or jeopardizing a relationship. Tough love is our thing.

If you’d like to chat about the resolutions you made or if the gym is really for you, I’d love to help. Message me or get one step ahead of the game and fill out this free online wellness assessment and we’ll chat about your answers on a no obligation Well Chat.

It’s only February…don’t give up!

 

Uncategorized

Simple Ain’t Easy

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Simple Ain’t Easy…Isn’t that a country-western song??

Look…I don’t know where the idea started that just because something is SIMPLE that it is also EASY.

With the onslaught of the New Year; New You BS out there, everyone would have you believing that getting off the couch, putting down the remote and chucking the ice cream container into the trash is, well, just that easy. It’s not. If it were, we would have no obesity problem in this country and we’d all be flaunting our six-pack abs.

Getting up and getting moving is a simple concept.

Eating veggies instead of eating cake is a simple idea.

No advanced degrees required to figure out how to do those things. But none of that is easy if you’ve been sedentary for years or you have deeply ingrained habits and attitudes about food. Behavior modification; changing habits…those are tough things to do successfully.

And sure, you can simply join a gym, buy a bag of protein powder, or set up a treadmill in your basement but without the internal motivation and the external accountability, those purchases will likely go to waste and you’ll be back to feeling frustrated and defeated.

How do you get to “hey that was easy,” when there’s no Staples button to push for your health and wellness?

Truth bomb here…you may NEVER get to easy. However, you can get to creating habits and behaviors that are EASIER and more ATTAINABLE because you’ve learned the strategies and actions needed to change your mindset. Read on to understand how you can make it more simple and natural.

  • Celebrate your past SUCCESSES. Don’t tell me you’ve never had any success as it relates to health and wellness. At some point you’ve done something awesome like lose 10 lbs. or run a 5k. Or, maybe you just downloaded MyFitnessPal and tracked your food for a month. Those are all WINS. They demonstrate that you have been in a place where you were committed to making a change. So, write down as many wellness wins that you can think of to help refocus your mindset and motivate you to try again.

 

  • Find your WHY. In college your reason for wanting to lose weight might have solely centered around looking good in a swimsuit on spring break. Fast forward 20+years and your reason for wanting to lose weight might be to have the energy and stamina required to keep up with your toddler. Or, you’ve been told by your doctor that your blood pressure is too high. Funny how life and priorities change, right? Fill in the blank to help you figure out WHY being healthier is important to YOU (not your spouse, partner, friend, etc.). “If I were healthier/more fit, I would be able to_________________”. Then, write it on a sticky note and put it somewhere that you’ll see every day. This will remind and motivate you to take action when you’re not really feeling it.

 

  • Set just 1 GOAL at a time. When New Year’s rolls around we like to go completely overboard on goals. I’m going to lose 20 lbs., reorganize my entire house, read 25 books, and learn a new language this year. We overwhelm our brains before we can even get started. Then, usually we give up on the goals by February and only think about them again around December when we are reminded that we didn’t accomplish any of them. It’s a vicious cycle that we perpetuate on ourselves. So, this year, I challenge you to just set 1 goal for your health and wellness at a time.  Goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound) and they should be flexible, giving you the ability to rework them on a monthly or quarterly basis. Start with one goal for the next 90 days. Then focus relentlessly on that goal. When you achieve it, set a new goal so that by the end of the year, you’ve accomplished 3-4 things that have made you healthier.

 

  • Plan for the PITFALLS. You are going to face roadblocks and barriers along the journey. Knowing what they are and having a plan to deal with them puts you in control. Let’s say you are traveling for a week for work and your meetings start at 7 a.m. and end at ??? (because, you know, dinner and then drinks after dinner). Be ok with the fact that your workout schedule might be off. Set realistic expectations for how often you’ll be able to exercise. Map out your meals by looking at the restaurant’s menu ahead of time and taking some healthy snacks with you for the road. Go in with eyes wide open so you don’t completely derail all your hard work.

 

  • Seek the right SUPPORT. Your friends and family are well-meaning. They want to help you and be supportive of your goals. Here’s the harsh truth…they are usually terrible at keeping you accountable. They love you and, as such, can’t always be honest with you. So, you need someone who is removed from your situation and can be firm with you in a kind way to keep you focused. Working with a personal trainer or health coach is a great way to have accountability without jeopardizing personal relationships or making it super awkward at family get togethers.

So…there you go. My advice to you for making change simpler. It still may not easy, but these strategies work and you can use them NOW! It will never be a perfect process but it can be one that is less stressful. Be flexible and patient with yourself.

Tired of starting over with your health and wellness goals?

Then I invite you to set up a free Well Chat with me. We’ll just talk about what your concerns and challenges are, and how I would recommend approaching them. If it makes sense for us to work together, great. If it’s not the right time, that’s ok too. But I’m still going to give you my best advice to help you through whatever challenge you’re facing. I may tell you something you don’t want to hear but I will always give you my honest, unbiased advice with no hard sales pitch.

In the meantime, check out my new page detailing some of my coaching programs and go through the archives of my blog and read some of that stuff! I give away a ton of info that you can use right away!

Finally…A head’s up on a new program I’m offering (it isn’t even published yet) for the busy professional who wants daily, weekly, monthly accountability and coaching. This is for the exec or entrepreneur who needs a trusted partner to help them set goals and adhere to them for the long term. It’s called Coach on Demand and it’s freakin’ awesome. It’s like having a health coach and personal trainer with you 24/7. Well – probably 16/5 – I need SOME downtime! Message me if you want some info.

Helping you with your wellness is both SIMPLE and EASY! Let’s talk soon!

xoxo

Niki

Uncategorized

Embrace the Food Fails to Ultimately WIN

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We are a week into the new year and I’ve already heard from friends and family that they feel like they’ve failed on their resolution to eat better. Yep. 7 days in and people are already feeling like a failure. Guess what? That’s ok! Feel all the feels and read on to learn why this is a GOOD thing!

We’ve all been there.

We have a few small squares of dark chocolate. A second glass of wine while making dinner. A bag of chips in the afternoon because you have a late business dinner. In our heads we know that individually, these items don’t have a ton of calories. And, often we rationalize the calories because of exercise we’ve done or will do (inner voice: Girl – 45 minutes of spin burns 400 calories, you’re good to have that second glass of wine!). The danger of trying to exercise your way out of a calorie vortex is that we usually overestimate how many calories we burn and underestimate how many we consume. But that’s not what I’m talking about today. Today it’s about embracing the food fails. When you know you’ve eaten too much or you’ve eaten foods that are not fueling you in the right way.

Empowerment not shame!

Food can be tied to so many emotions, so I don’t advocate adding to those feelings with guilt or shame. What I want you to feel is the feeling of EMPOWERMENT and CONTROL. In order to do that, you need to have an accurate picture of what you’ve eaten so you can:

  1. Own the reality. It’s easy to minimize, rationalize, etc. when it’s all in your head. When you type it out in an app or write it in a journal, it becomes real as hell and you are required to own it.
  2. Identify patterns. Now that you have an accurate food diary, you can look for habits and patterns. For example, are you always snacking on something salty or sweet at 2 p.m.? When you find the pattern, or trigger you can address it and refocus your attention and behaviors in a positive way.
  3. Move forward. When you get real with yourself, it allows you to release that inner guilt, so you can move forward. Don’t you feel better when you’ve confided in a friend about something that’s bothering you? It’s the same thing with your health. Holding in that guilt perpetuates the behavior. Release it and move on.

The last one is perhaps the most important. Keeping the feelings in and continuing to be stuck will only snowball into a pattern of destructive behaviors. How many times have you had one or two days of eating poorly coupled with sitting on the couch binging a new show (I’m over here raising my hand)? If you don’t catch it in those first few days and course correct it can turn into a week and then a month, and soon, it’s been 6 months since you’ve been to the gym or cooked a meal at home.

Go back and track!

So, what’s my advice for someone who’s had a few days of too much dark chocolate, chips and wine? I don’t scold, guilt or shame. I tell them to go back and TRACK it.  This is not about punishment. Rather, it’s about helping them be accountable to their goals, recognize triggers and vulnerabilities, and put a plan of action in place to avoid another detour. Tracking ALL your food is a tool to empower you. It allows you to see the bigger picture of your diet, be in control of what you eat and know when you can treat yourself and when you need to dial it back. Most people feel a sense of relief when they see what they’ve been eating because they know they can now deal with it.

If you never acknowledge where you’ve been, you can’t get to where you’re going.

That’s the point of building healthy habits – achieving your goals! To understand your diet, you must be honest about it. Good, bad or otherwise. No one balks at tracking their calories when they do well and stay within their allotment. Because it provides a self-esteem boost and keeps you motivated. I believe tracking the bad days can do the same. Maybe not a self-esteem boost but it refocuses you and motivates you to do better the next day.

So, let’s get real. Let’s write down the missteps. Let’s own the feelings so we can move beyond them. Embrace the food fails to move forward with success and empowerment!

For more tips on how to get your mojo back in just 7 days, check out this blog post. And, if you’re ready to stop avoiding reality and take control of your health, let’s chat.

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Ready…Set… Start. Stop. Continue.

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All the New Year’s Feels

The ball has dropped, you’re picking confetti out of your hair and you’ve come to the realization that the New Year is here and you haven’t really thought about what you want to accomplish in 2018. It’s ok, I feel you.

Or maybe you’re super organized and already taking inventory of things you want to change, improve, etc. Yes, girl, yes! 

The first of the year is as good a time as any to be self-reflective, but I’m going to challenge you to do it differently this year – ‘cause I like to be different y’all. And because people get stuck in their own heads over setting goals or figuring out what to focus on. We over-analyze, over-think, obsess, and then give up usually.

There’s a better way.

One of the things I took from my corporate life as an executive speechwriter and coach, was an exercise that provided a quick and simple way to assess whether something was working. It could be a product launch, a new procedure, process or policy, or, simply a self-assessment of a speech or presentation. Done usually at the end of an event or project, a group of us would sit down and say, “what would we start, stop and continue?”. Simple, right? What should we start doing? What didn’t work well that we should stop doing and finally, what worked, and we should continue to do?

Fast forward to today and my work as a health coach for professional women, and I find myself using similar strategies in my assessment phase of working with new clients. Assessment like this, along with an action plan and accountability along the way are at the foundation of my health coaching philosophy. You cannot be successful at improving your well-being if you don’t have all 3 A’s.

What I love about this exercise is that it covers all the bases and allows you to recap, review and retool without overthinking it. SO…let’s use this for New Year’s resolutions. Ask yourself… “What will I start, stop and continue in 2018?”

Here’s how I’d recommend doing it.

Step 1: Block 30 minutes. This is not meant to be something you ponder for days and weeks. It’s meant to be a high level, general assessment of your efforts over the last year. Specific goals, actions, and next steps for improvement can come later.

Step 2: Find a Quiet Place. You need to focus on yourself. Minimize distractions. And, this is a solo activity so don’t sit in the kitchen with your family and ask them what you should start, stop, and continue. Do this for YOU not for what you think others want from you.

Step 3: Get writing! Grab a journal, notebook or 3 pieces of blank paper. Write START, STOP, or CONTINUE at the top of a blank page then spend 1-2 minutes on each question and write whatever comes to mind. Use a timer so you don’t spend too much time overthinking it. There are no right or wrong answers. It’s like a brainstorming activity at work. Just write what pops into your head but keep thinking “What do I want to Stop/Start/Continue.” There will be repeats, nonsense words, etc. Get it all down on paper.

Step 4: Look for the Common Themes. Identify similar themes and consolidate them into 1-3 general ideas. For example: if under the category of “STOP” you have several words or phrases like, overeating, stress eating, eating out, etc., group those under “poor eating habits.”

Step 5: Pick 1 From Each Category. From the common themes in each category choose 1 thing you’ll focus on starting, stopping, and continuing.  Write each one in your journal like this…

“In 2018 I will START______. In 2018 I will STOP______. In 2018 I will Continue________.” You’ll come back to them when you are ready to set SMART goals and action plans.

There you have it. 30 minutes; 3 areas of focus for 2018.

Something to work towards eliminating; something you want to implement as a new habit and something you’ve done well and want to keep doing. Boom! You are well on your way to becoming that healthy, happy and productive person you’re meant to be. Way to go (high five, fist bump, woot)!

What’s Next?

Now that you know what you need to focus on, let’s talk about action and accountability. These are often the most difficult phases of resetting your health habits. Setting goals around these themes is a critical step because it’s not enough to just say “I’m going to stop eating out in 2018.” How are you achieving that goal? Why is that goal important to your health? And, then there’s the sticking to it. Accountability and stuff. Yeah…that’s what I’m here for. Let’s chat. Hit me up with your Start, Stop, Continue answers and we’ll get on a call and see how I can help you set and achieve your 2018 goals.

In the meantime, if you’re not part of my private health and wellness Facebook group for professional women…Fit, Fab & Fierce Health & Wellness Tribe for Professional Women, well…get over there and join us!

Have a safe, healthy and happy New Year! Much love from my family to yours!

Xoxo

Niki

Crab Ceviche

Print Recipe
Crab Ceviche
Quick, easy appetizer recipe that is low calorie but delicious. Serve with tortilla scoops or crackers. Serves 2 but you can scale it to larger portions.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prep Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place the shredded crab into a glass or porcelain bowl. Plastic or metal are not recommended.
  2. Stir olive oil into the crabmeat until well coated, then stir in the cilantro onion, tomato and serrano peppers.
  3. Squeeze the lime juice over everything, and mix well. Season with plenty of salt and pepper. Refrigerate for about 1 hour before serving.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Serving (179 g)
Servings Per Recipe 2
Amount Per Serving

Calories 90

Calories from Fat 25

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 3g 5%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 50mg 17%
Sodium 250mg 10%
Total Carbohydrates 7g 2%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugar 4g
Protein 10g
Vitamin A 2% • Vitamin C 20%
Calcium 6% • Iron 0%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Total Fat Less than 65g
Saturated Fat Less than 20g
Cholesterol Less than 300mg
Sodium Less than 2,400mg
Total Carbohydrate 300g
Dietary Fiber 25g
Calories per gram: Carbohydrate 4 • Protein 4 • Fat 9

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Wellness to Give & Receive

Last minute wellness gifts to give and receive…

We are down to the wire with Christmas just a few days away. Perhaps you’re still struggling with what to buy a friend or family member who has made a commitment to being healthier. Or, maybe you’re wanting to jumpstart your wellness BEFORE the New Year.

Either way, there are 5 great last-minute gifts you can throw together or order online that will help you or your BFF get focused on getting healthy!

  1. The Yogi Pack. Put together a tote bag with a yoga mat, yoga block, water bottle and towel with a gift card for a free yoga class at a local studio. I’ve found that TJMaxx and Marshalls have great fitness related gear at awesome prices.
  2. Gift an App. Find a great app (or 2 or 3) that will help your friend or family track their goals, monitor their food and fitness, or guide them in stress relief or meditation. It’s easy to gift it through the iTunes App (see graphic below).gift an app
  3. Online Class Pass. This may be out of the price range for your neighborhood gift exchange or office swap but it’s the perfect gift for you and your family if getting fit and not dealing with a gym is on your list for 2018. Grab a yearly membership to All Access Beachbody On-Demand and receive literally hundreds of streaming workouts available any time, anywhere!
  4. Socking Stuffers. Yes, you read that correctly – socking, not stocking – stuffers. Socks are a key piece of equipment for any avid exerciser. Properly fitting socks that don’t slip down under your heal or bunch up in your shoe while providing support, cushion and comfort. My favorites are Feetures, but here are some other suggestions
  5. Give the gift of Attention & Accountability. Offer to be a workout buddy or an accountability partner to someone you know is trying to make a positive change. Send them an email telling them you too want to get healthier and that you’d love to join them on the journey. You have no idea how helpful it is to have someone with you along the way when you’re trying to make a change for the better. Change is tough. Having a friend who won’t judge and who is a great encourager, is worth more than any material item you could buy!

Enjoy this time with family and friends and count your blessings for all that you have with your health and wellness. I’m thrilled that you’re part of my journey and hope you’ll continue with me into 2018!

Niki

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Snowballs are for Throwing

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GAME ON! The holidays are in full swing with Hanukkah coming to a close, Christmas about a week away and, holy crap, 2018 is literally staring us down!

If you are like me, you’ve likely overcommitted and now you are feeling as if everything has snowballed out of control and you can’t possibly get it all done. But it wasn’t always that way, right? You weren’t always an out of control snowball barreling down a mountain of stress. You probably started the month as a beautiful, light snowflake floating through your day. You were managing work, family, shopping for the holidays, parties, etc. But slowly your sweet snowflake self started to pick up things to do and people to entertain and places to be. And, your healthy snowflake body is now picking up stress, weight gain, exhaustion and general crankiness because you’re booked from 7 a.m. to midnight each night. And, now, with two weeks until the end of the year, you’re a hard, icy ball of stress.

I get it.  Only so many hours in the day. Too much to do. Holiday stress. Blah, blah, blah.

I’m not minimizing the struggle or the demands. They are very real. But I want to caution you on letting it all take over and putting off your needs until January 1. It’s a slippery slope (no pun intended) and when you put off one thing like exercise, it’s that much easier to say “F-it” and let it all slide (pass the cookies and wine, please!).

So, with just a few weeks to go until the New  Year…here are three things you can do TODAY to stop the snowball effect and stay focused.

1. Schedule (3) 30-minute workouts over the next week. Right now. Find the time, block it off and protect it. Those 30 minutes will be calorie burning, but more importantly, STRESS burning. Working out increases endorphins, reduces stress, helps you sleep better and boosts your immune system.

2. Drink more water. Look – I know I sound like a broken record with the whole WATER thing but I’m here to tell you it is the single easiest thing to do to improve your health with almost NO EFFORT! Especially in the midst of the gastronomic Olympics you are putting your body through. Drink half your body weight in ounces, or at least 64 oz. a day. You’ll feel fuller, you’ll have better digestion and your skin will glow like the sparkly lights on your tree.

3. Cancel one evening event. Yep. I know you’ve said YES to way too many things. You need your sleep and down time. Lack of sleep slows your metabolism and makes you eat more during the waking hours. Find one thing you don’t need to attend and gracefully decline. Or, outsource something that you were planning to do after work one night (have groceries delivered, shop online instead of hitting the mall, etc.). Strive for 7 hours of sleep (8 is best but I’ll take 7 during the holidays).

BONUS tip: Abstain from alcohol until Christmas arrives (or for the rest of Hanukkah). Better yet, try to wait until New Year’s Eve. Don’t shoot the messenger (especially one who loves a little Pinot Noir on a cold winter night). Alcohol is empty calories and can disrupt your sleep. Just cut it out until you absolutely have to have a glass of wine to deal with your Mother in Law.

So, that’s it…a few easy ways to refocus over the coming week and for the rest of the year so things don’t snowball.

As always, if you want more specific recommendations or have already let things get out of control, I invite you to take my FREE online assessment of your health and wellness needs. Fill it out and let’s chat. No obligation. No pressure. No BS. Just some honest talk about your goals, lifestyle, habits, and what might work for you.

Here’s the link again...When you finish it, I’ll follow-up via email to set up a time to chat.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Xoxo

Niki

 

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The Struggle Doesn’t Have to be Real

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Stop Struggling…

As I make my rounds to holiday gatherings in my neighborhood and at work, and continue my holiday prepping/shopping I find myself in the same conversation over and over again with busy women who know I’m a health coach. 

It goes something like this…”I need to make changes in the New Year…I need to lose weight/workout/get more sleep/stress less. I’ve tried everything and struggle to stick with anything after a few weeks” Followed up with “What do you recommend?”

I always love talking health and wellness, and want to share what I know with my friends, family and colleagues, of course! So when I’m asked what the secret is to being healthy and fit, or what diet or workout will work, I lean in and whisper…

ALL OF THEM. ANY OF THEM.

Yep. That’s right. They all work. Keto. Paleo. Weight Watchers. Whole 30. Barre Method. Spin. Yoga. 

But here’s the caveat…they won’t ALL work for YOU (each of us has a different body type and composition) and NONE of them will work long-term without support and accountability!

They always look a little shocked when I reveal this information, as if they’ve been duped or it can’t possibly be that simple. And, the next question is usually – “Well, how do I figure out what works and make it stick??”
Ahhh…that’s why the struggle is so real for so many people. The struggle to stick with something in order to make a permanent, sustainable change for the better.

Understand what your Body Needs

That’s where we need to dig in a little more and truly understand what your body needs. There is no “one size fits all” or “generic” program that works for everyone. There are common philosophies and principles that we all can follow to be healthier (drink more water, get more sleep, etc) but when it comes to your body and how it metabolizes food for energy and how it burns calories most efficiently, you are a unique and special being who requires unique and special attention. Working with a health coach or personal trainer to assess your body type, habits and physical activity will help determine what program works best for YOU!

Regardless of what program or exercise regimen you start, the key to long-term success and sustainability is support and accountability. Going into the New  Year with a big goal to lose weight and make a major lifestyle shift cannot be done alone. Well, initially it can be done alone but you are more likely to be successful in the long-term with support, guidance and basic accountability. In fact, an NIH study found that weight loss programs that offered both exercise and dietary modifications, as well as social support and supervision (i.e. checking in with a coach) had higher adherence rates than programs without the support and that only focused on physical activity.

Find Your Tribe

So, how can you create that support network and have accountability when none of your friends or family feel like jumping on the healthy train?
1. Seek out an online or offline support group. Find people like you who have goals to be healthier and spend time with them – formally or informally. Your workplace may have a group that meets to discuss healthy living.
2. Join a walking/running/cycling club or take a fitness class at your gym or community center. Even if it’s once a week, you’ll feel a sense of obligation and accountability if you’ve paid for or signed up to go.

3. Work with a certified health coach or personal trainer. We know how to assess your needs and recommend the safest, most effective program that fits into your lifestyle.
You don’t have to spend a lot of time or money joining clubs or classes but find one thing that works for you once a week that will keep you accountable.

Stop the Madness

I know you’ve tried everything. I know it’s frustrating. I know that you don’t have the time to be starting over every January. I know it’s easy to say The Struggle is Sooooo Real. But we need to stop the madness.
Stop saying that you’re starting over. Start saying that you are going to do things better, smarter, different this time. You’re not starting from scratch; you are continuously improving. Speak to yourself with a positive voice. Tell yourself this year will be the best yet because you’ll do things that are lifetime behaviors not quick fixes.

Now What? 2018 is Staring me Down!

If this speaks to you and you’re like “hell yeah, Niki – the struggle is so NOT real” – then I invite you to take my FREE online assessment of your health and wellness needs and let’s chat about what might work for you in your quest to make 2018 your healthiest year yet!

No obligation. No pressure. No BS. You take the assessment. I provide you with some feedback on what I think will work for you. Just some good old-fashioned girl talk about your goals, lifestyle, habits, and what’s worked/not worked in the past. Because in about 2 weeks, you are going to be thinking about the future and what’s to come in 2018. I don’t want you to be holding on to old frustrations and struggles. That’s so 2017.

Here’s the link again...When you finish it, I’ll be in touch via email to set up a time to chat.

In the meantime, I want you to join me in making a pledge to ditch the struggle and embrace the journey! It’s not going to be a New Year, New You – it’s going to be a New  Year, Better You. 
Much love, my friends!
Niki