First, of all I want to start off by apologizing for not posting in a long time. Free time in the 1st trimester was spent resting after work, and lately I’ve been writing at my other blog. I’m blogging about baby over at Baby Makes Three. If you want to see pictures from our Gender Reveal Party, check them out here.
Preventing Winter Weight Gain:
If you’re like me, the winter months may make you to want to stay inside under a blanket with a cup of hot cocoa. Now that daylight savings has hit and it gets darker earlier, I find myself coming home from work and wanting to sit on the couch with a good show/movie. My normal (and usually easier) plan is to head to the gym for a workout class or meet a friend to go walking. So, I completely understand how hard it is to get yourself to the gym in the winter rather than do what your body wants, which is hit the couch. But I promise you that once you complete that workout, your body will thank you for the extra energy and the mood-lifting endorphins.
3 Tips to Prevent Weight Gain:
- Hit the Gym at the Right Time: For some people, they are too exhausted after a long day at work to work out. You know that you will not even try to force yourself to make it to the gym even though you know it will make you feel better. So, if you’re one of those people, you may benefit from an early morning workout (before you head to work). Sure, you’ll have to get up earlier, but you will get a great workout in, and you won’t feel guilty for watching your favorite TV shows after a long day on the job. Or maybe you are someone who cannot get motivated again once you make it home from work. The best tip for you is to always keep gym clothes in your car, and make sure you head straight to the gym after work (do not go home first). Because you know that once you make it home, you won’t be getting out in that cold weather again. You must plan in advance to accomplish your workout goals.
- Get REAL FOOD Conscious: During the winter, people’s vitamin D levels drop because they are not exposed to the best source of vitamin D, which is sunlight. This is one reason why it’s very important to get your vitamin D levels checked regularly-you probably need supplementation at least during the winter months. Low vitamin D levels are linked to depression, and many people struggle with SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder), caused by not being exposed to as much light/sunshine. This could lead to comfort eating during the winter blues. Instead of turning to comfort foods turn to real foods, which will boost your mood. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, folate, & B12 are especially important. These include wild salmon, walnuts, eggs, dark green leafy veggies, sunflower seeds & organic/grass-fed meat products. When you’re focused on eating foods that grow from the earth and less processed foods, the weight will naturally come off.
- Don’t Go Overboard at Holiday Festivities: Some people blame the winter pounds on the holidays. And if you’re someone that has multiple Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years parties to attend, than you definitely have to work harder at preventing the weight gain than others. But it IS possible, and you CAN do it. The best way to not overeat at a holiday party is to eat a healthy snack right before the party. A handful of nuts is an easy snack to keep in your purse when you’re on the go. The healthy fats & protein in the nuts will keep your blood sugar from dipping and will give you a sense of satiety so you’re not starving at the party. Make sure you’re eating protein at every meal/snack to keep you feeling fuller longer. When you’re at a party, don’t feel like you have to deprive yourself. Enjoy the food, but just make sure you limit the items that are exceptionally high in calories/fat/sugar. Load your plate up with veggies/fruit and protein first, then have a small portion of the higher carbohydrate items. Remember that sugar is just as addictive as cocaine is, so the more you eat it, the more your body wants it. Focus on your veggies & protein during the winter months, and this will help you not go back for seconds and thirds on all those holiday desserts.
Enjoy this holiday season and remember the reason for it all. Don’t stress over the little things, because we all know what stress does to our body. Have fun with all your loved ones, and safe travels to you all!
If you ever need help with your weight or other nutrition issues in your life, feel free to schedule a private consultation with me.
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC
via Blooming Natural Health
As most of you know, cold and flu season is just around the corner. Unfortunately, it seems as if the “stomach bug” has already shown its face in many people’s homes. I’m sure you’ve also seen all the signs for flu shots in your area. While I won’t be getting a flu shot, I will be practicing preventative tips to protect myself from the flu. Here are ways to keep your immune system strong this season:
Tips for Protecting Your Health During Cold/Flu Season:
- Get plenty of Vitamin D: Most people are deficient in vitamin D. Unfortunately, one wouldn’t know this unless they got their vitamin D levels tested. I know, I say this a lot, but it is extremely important to know your vitamin D levels. I get mine checked at least twice a year. Optimal vitamin D levels are: 55-65 ng/mL. A deficiency of vitamin D triggers infections, autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease), cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Optimal vitamin D levels are known to be more effective in preventing the flu than a flu vaccine. The best source of vitamin D: sunshine! It’s important to get out and enjoy at least 10-15 minutes of sun per day (without sunscreen). As winter approaches, and it becomes harder to get natural sunlight, it may be necessary to take a daily vitamin D supplement. Many people even need a supplement during the summer; again, why it’s so important to get your levels checked!
- Eat Healthy: Everyone knows it’s important to eat healthy, but I think that most people underestimate the power that food has on the immune system. If you’re eating healthy and are exposed to certain illnesses, you have a great chance of not catching it. Foods to enjoy are:
- Organic fruits & vegetables
- Fermented foods such as kombucha, yogurt, etc.
- Organic, pastured meats & eggs (including 100% grass-fed beef)
- Healthy fats, such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, nuts.
- Avoid sugar, especially refined sugars. Sugar weakens the immune system. If you need sweeteners, use raw honey, maple syrup, & stevia.
- Raw honey has antibacterial, antifungal, & antiviral properties (LOCAL raw honey is best, especially for allergies)
- 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar per day
- Supplements: Vitamin D (depending on your levels), probiotic, elderberry, fermented cod liver oil or another purified source of omega-3 fatty acids
- Get plenty of sleep: 7-8 hours per night is ideal
- Exercise: Increases your resistance to illness
- Stay stress-free! Find ways to manage your stress to keep your immune system strong. Try yoga, prayer, meditation, talking to a friend, whatever works for YOU.
Even if you still get sick doing all of these tips, your symptoms will be a lot milder than if you weren’t following these healthy guidelines.
Praying your family enjoys a sick-free fall and winter!
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN,CLC
STRESS. Seeing that word even makes me feel the effect of it, and I cringe. Sometimes I get so angry at stress because I feel as if it is controlling me, and I don’t know how to let it go. What makes me even more frustrated is when I don’t feel like I’m stressed, but internally I am and my body gets hit with the repercussions of it. Do you ever feel that way? You tell yourself over and over again, “I’m not stressed. I’m fine. Everything is good.” Yet, deep down, you know something is going on because you’re not sleeping well, you’re moody, or your body is holding onto that extra weight even though you’ve tried so hard to be extra healthy.
Well, I’m just going to be honest with you. I don’t have it all together, and I’m not going to pretend like I do. Who really does? I’ve been extremely stressed lately. There is a lot on my plate at the moment, and I just can’t seem to find time to get it all done. What I’m learning is that while all the good things in our lives are wonderful, too much of anything can be bad. You’re probably thinking, “She’s just now learning this?” I feel like this is something that some of us will always battle…the challenge of simplifying our lives when the world around us tells us the complete opposite. Even though we justify our activities/commitments because they are “good,” it’s imperative for our health and our sanity to practice the magic word, “no.”
Maybe these harmful effects of stress will motivate you to find ways to de-stress:
- Weakened immune system
- Weight gain
- Acne or other dermatological issues
- Anxiety disorders
- High blood pressure
- Back/neck problems
- Heart disease
- Stomach ulcers
- Fertility problems
- Hair loss
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Chronic inflammation
- And More!
How do I deal with stress? As I said earlier, I’m slowly learning how to say, “no.” I also spend much time in prayer and meditation. Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night is another goal of mine. Finally, bikram yoga has been great in helping me de-stress. A study performed by Boston researchers concluded that people who practice yoga 3 times a week report better mood and lower anxiety compared with people who walked the same amount of time. Of course, ANY exercise is beneficial to help you beat stress.
What about YOU? What are some things that you can cut out so that you’ll be less stressed? And what methods do you use to de-stress?
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN