Fullness vs. Satiety

Feeling full from your meals and feeling satisfied with what you’ve eaten are two different things, but equally important to your habits. We’ve all been there. We feel full, but yet want something more. We’ve finished our meal, but for some reason still keep thinking about something to snack on. This could be because what we ate allowed us to physically be full, buy not satisfied.

If you are not satisfied with the foods you are eating, more than likely you will overeat. For example, you might be thinking a salad would be good for lunch. You put greens, vegetables, maybe some beans or meat on it with a little dressing. But then still feel hungry. However, if you made a salad with greens, vegetables, protein of choice, maybe some cheese or toasted nuts/seeds, dressing and then had a few crackers or a piece of bread on the side, you might have been more satisfied with your meal and not felt hungry afterward.

Finding pleasure in eating and our meals is part of what food does for us that is healthy. I’ve said before, food is more than just calories or fuel. It’s emotional, social, pleasurable, ect. If you are not finding pleasure or satisfaction in what you’re eating, more than likely you will overeat to find that satisfaction or pleasure.

Building a Satisfying Meal for You

  1. Finding a Healthy Balance
    • Make sure in your meals you are having a balance of your macro-nutrients. These are your carbohydrates, protein, and fats. These in combination help you feel full and helps to regulate your blood sugar.
    • For instance, if you were to make a green smoothie with greens and fruits, protein will increase the fullness factor, and then adding a tablespoon or two of fat like a nut butter, coconut cream, a piece of an avocado, etc. would give it that extra satisfying creamy yummy factor.
  2. What Do I Look Forward to Eating?
    • Find the foods you enjoy eating. Not limited to the taste. All senses are involved in eating and our food. Do you like the way it smells, the texture, does it add a pop of color to your meals that brings it all together?
    • Find out if you are looking for a cold or hot meal. Some people find that cold meals are good for sides or snacks, but for meals they are looking for something warm. What is it that you’re looking for in your meal?
    • Take a moment to find what it is you are hungry for. Sometimes I have made something for lunch already, but then realize that peanut butter sounds really good. So then I’ll have a few peanut butter crackers or a spoonful of peanut butter as a snack – right after I eat lunch. (TIP: There’s no set time after a meal that you can have a snack.)

You’ll find that you when you are satisfied with your meals, the less you’ll eat and the more you’ll enjoy the food you are eating. You’ll have a better view of food and notice that giving in, even if it’s a small amount, is worth it.

I know for some people who are dealing with eating disorders that this might not be a habit you can incorporate into your life right now. And that is okay. This is about knowing yourself and taking care of your body and its needs nutritionally and mentally.

Take Away

If you are not feeling satisfied with the meals you are having, try to find what would make it something you look forward to eating. Sometimes it’s just by adding that one extra ingredient that makes all the difference in your fullness and satisfaction factor.

I’d Love to Hear From You

What makes your meals satisfying?

Goals vs Desired Outcomes

I wanted to take this blog post this week and talk about something important. It’s how to change your mindset of goals. I had talked about it in a previous Instagram post a few weeks back, but decided it was something to write about here on the blog. First let’s talk a little about the difference between goals and desired outcomes and then we’ll look at an example.

Goals vs Desired Outcomes

  • A goal is something to achieve. Whether it’s a goal for a day, week, month or years, it’s something you can control and can accomplish.
  • A desired outcome is the result of those goals that you are trying to achieve. Sometimes you can achieve them, other times you might have to change your desired outcome to be more realistic.

Photo by Agence Producteurs Locaux Damien Kühn on Unsplash

Goals

Let’s use the example of weight loss. To achieve weight loss there are many goals that have to be made for it to happen.

  • Changing the way you eat
  • Changing how much you eat
  • Changing the places you go to eat
  • Changing your grocery list
  • Changing what you snack on
  • Changing how you view food
  • Changing your routine and having more time to exercise
  • Changing your routine to have time to prepare healthy food
  • Changing the foods you’d normally order
  • Changing how many vegetables you eat per day
  • Choosing different foods you might have been scared to try
  • The list goes on…

Those are all goals you have control over and can conquer one by one and accomplish. These are the parts to focus on and rejoice when they are met! Changing your lifestyle, your choices, your routine, your habits – it is no small thing. So noticing that just because weight loss might be your desired outcome, it doesn’t mean that on the way there you are not reaching goals and accomplishing something. You are overcoming huge obstacles physically and mentally. That’s something to be proud of!

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Minor Desired Outcomes or Small Victories

The other thing to remember, is that you might have an overall desired outcome to lose, let’s say 50 pounds. There are minor desired outcomes or small victories that are showing you that you are reaching your overall desired outcome.

  • Your clothes fit different
  • You have more energy throughout the day
  • You’re sleeping better
  • Your skin and hair look healthier
  • You’re able to see your knuckles and wrists a little more
  • Your knees are starting to look like knees again
  • Your ankles don’t bloat as much
  • You’re able to go down a notch in your belt loop
  • You’re able to walk a little further
  • You’re able to run a little faster
  • And the list goes on…

Although it might take you longer to reach your overall desired outcome, never pass up the small victories you are reaching to get there. Those are huge steps and something that should be noticed! Give yourself credit and work with your body. Notice that it’s changing because of the original goals you had control over and your body is responding to it. Those small things to notice are huge!

Weight Loss Note

Your body loses weight starting from your extremities (feet and hands) to your middle (men – stomach, women – hips/thighs) and then starts all over again at the feet and hands. When you start losing weight if you are staring to see your feet and hands a little more, or your elbows and knees become more pronounced, or your face is a little thinner, it’s working. You might not see it in your desired places like your belly or hips, but it’s on it’s way there. Your body is doing its thing.

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Be Balanced

We live in a world that is fast and goal oriented. You want to get something done, you do it and it’s accomplished. You want to know the answer to something, you look it up and within seconds have the answer with a video to go with it. With nutrition and especially with weight loss we think we can do the same. “I want to lose 10 lbs this week, I’ll do whatever I have to do to get there!” Our mindset and the will to accomplish our goals isn’t the only thing that will get it done. Working hard and having a strong will is important, but our body has it’s pace and is working as hard as it can. Just because you don’t see things right away, doesn’t mean nothing is happening. Although you didn’t reach your desired outcome in the time frame you wanted it to happen, doesn’t mean it won’t happen or that you failed in some way.

You have to be balanced in knowing what you can do, what you have control over and let your body do the rest. When you feel discouraged remember the goals you’ve already achieved and the small victories you might already be seeing. Just because you don’t reach your desired outcome in your desired time, doesn’t mean you’ll never get there or that you’ve failed. Just because you might have been trying to reach a desired outcome and are exhausted trying to get there, you might need to ask yourself if it’s realistic. If the desired outcome is a source of stress or irritation for you – change it.

Bottom Line

Don’t forget, the things to focus on are the goals – what you can control. Then giving attention and acknowledging the small victories that come with it that you notice as a result. Give credit to yourself for the things you personally accomplish. And keep things realistic. If you don’t meet a specific time and date, it doesn’t mean you didn’t accomplish anything. Instead of having a date in mind to reach a specific desired outcome, how about have that as a “check in” with yourself to see where you are and to remember where you were before. Either way – whatever goal you have, don’t give up!

 

 

I’m Official!

I’m officially a Nutrition and Wellness Consultant! I can’t believe it!

A few years ago I took a hard look at this course and it was something I really wanted to do. With my life the way that it was, and where I was emotionally and mentally I was not prepared to jump into this. I felt unsupported and incompetent in everything in life.

Fast forward a few years and I started to get my feet back on the ground and stable in my decisions and life. After a few other things were in place, I jumped in and had a plan! I’m so glad that I did. I learned a lot from the AFPA course and no matter where I go with it now, I’m glad I did it. I’ll always have it with me and now have the confidence to go further. Who’s with me?!

Knowing when to start your goals is the beginning, but having the courage to jump on it when your ready is another thing.

Is there a goal you are struggling with to jump into? Contact me or let me know in your comments. I’d love to hear from all of you!

2019 Healthy Habit 1: Getting Enough Rest

From my previous post I talked about how my motivation is not at it’s peak in January and February. It comes with spring, so although a new month and year is a great idea to start new goals, I usually fizzle out in a few weeks and then go back to my old routine I had at the end of the year before. You have to be honest with yourself when it comes to goals and this is one of my honest moments. So instead what I do, and encourage those who have the same problem, is I think of things you can start doing now that are healthier habits, or the habits you can start now that will help with your motivation when it comes time for the more challenging habits later.

Photo by Tracey Hocking on Unsplash

Sleep In The Winter

The days get darker, the stress gets higher, and depression for a lot of people can be the worst in January and February. We are all just trying to make it to sunnier days. Some sleep more. Others are not able to sleep well. The less sunlight the more melatonin our bodies create and thus makes us more tired and sleepy. And the added emotional stress darker days can bring, it can have the opposite effect and keeping us up. So just because you might feel drowsy doesn’t mean you should keep hitting the snooze. Or just because “you don’t feel tired” doesn’t mean you can play another episode of your favorite show. No matter the time of year, our bodies still require the same amount of sleep. Of course the heavier meals, darker days, and warm cozy blankets make it hard to not to just want to nap and sleep longer. This is something I have to constantly have self control in.

Is there a danger in sleeping too much?

Sleeping Over 8 Hours On Average

Studies have shown that people who sleep more than 8 hours or up towards 10 hours have poorer health. Here are some of the results.

  • Increases heart disease
  • Harder to maintain a healthy weight
  • Can raise blood sugar levels
  • Brain fuzziness
  • They wake up more frequently & not getting enough deep sleep
  • Effect moods

Sleep is good and sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health, but too much of a good thing can be bad. If you are sick or recovering from surgery – then sleep as long as you need. But on a regular basis, oversleeping can be just as bad for you in different ways than not sleeping enough.

Photo by Ludovic Toinel on Unsplash

Not Enough Sleep And Nutrition

For one thing we know sleep is important for the brain although it stays highly functional throughout sleep. It helps with moods, anxiety, we can think clearer, make better decisions, and are more motivated. We know it also effects our energy levels. When we are tired, we sleep, and (usually) we wake up and have energy to last the day. Sleep gives your digestive system time to rest. When you sleep the need for fuel is reduced and your metabolism and digestive system slows down. It also gives your digestive system added energy the next day to do it’s job.

What about specifically nutrition?

Sleep Deprivation:

  • Makes you more vulnerable to inflammation. Those with inflammatory digestive disorders like IBD or IBS, sleep deprivation can make this worse, and then lead to a lack of nutrient absorption.
  • Makes you crave sugar. Since you didn’t get a good night’s sleep your body wasn’t able to recharge like it needs to, so it’s crying out for energy! Your cell’s #1 source of energy is glucose (sugar). You start craving sugar in the morning and usually will reach for the less nutritious kinds of it. Move over apples, hello doughnuts!
  • Makes you more hungry. Your hunger hormone, ghrelin, is elevated after a poor night’s sleep to be able to get more energy through food that it lacked through sleep.
  • Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter and regulator when it comes to sleep. It is primarily found in your gut and is also essential for your digestive functions. If your levels of stress and sleep hormones, including serotonin, are not balanced, that means your digestive functions will be unbalanced as well. Your digestive tract won’t be able to absorb nutrients like it usually does or move the way a healthy gut would.

Photo by Sanah Suvarna on Unsplash

Bottom Line

Whether you are sleeping over 8 hours or sleeping 6 or less hours a night, get your sleep schedule back on track for your mental and physical health. People vary when it comes to their sleep needs, but normal hours are anywhere from 6.5 – 8 hours. Here are some basic things that can help.

Sleeping Too Much (More than 8 hours):

  • Sit up when you turn off your alarm.
  • Turn your light on. I have a lamp on my night stand that isn’t too high voltage so it doesn’t blind me, but has light. Light helps to wake your body up naturally.
  • Wake up and go to bed relatively at the same time (within 30 minutes) every day.
  • Have a wake up routine. Once I sit up I do something to stimulate my brain. Even just texting my husband good morning, since he’s usually gone by the time I wake up, will help. Then onto morning stretches and going out of the room to get my morning glass of water.

Sleeping Too Little (6 or less hours):

  • Set a time to be in bed 30 minutes or an hour before when you are suppose to be asleep.
  • No screens while in bed.
  • No alcohol an hour or two before bed. Although it’s a depressant and can make you feel sleepy, it doesn’t help your body naturally slow down, and puts excess stress on your liver when it already will be detoxing while you sleep. Alcohol also doesn’t help you stay asleep once you are asleep. A lot of times when I had a glass of wine too close to bed, I’ll wake up a good 3-4 times a night because I can’t stay asleep.
  • Have a night time routine. Some nights that might be hard for me to go to bed, I make an herbal tea – sometimes meant for sleep, sometimes not. I do something that is relaxing and doesn’t involve a screen. Reading a book or magazine, coloring, drawing, etc. Some additional things might be lighting a candle and listening to calm music while in bed.

Sweet dreams y’all!

Can Comfort Foods Be Beneficial?

We all know we have our favorites. Mom’s creamy Tuna Casserole. Grandma’s Cheese Sauce. Mashed Potatoes with Cream Gravy. Cookies. Ranch.On.Everything. Pie. Any Fried Foods. Donuts. Chocolate. PIZZA. CHEESECAKE. Anything rich and delicious. They have been viewed as something unhealthy, and from a nutrition standpoint, that is still true for most average comfort foods.

I know when I’m sick, if I haven’t completely lost my appetite, I just want mashed potatoes or something sweet. Or when I’ve had a really stressful week, I’ll go to our favorite pizza place (an hour a way) and eat a veggie pizza – yes with cheese – and I don’t even feel bad afterward. Just because we crave something, doesn’t mean our bodies “need” something from it. There is nothing on that a huge plate of cheese fries that my body “needs”. Or does it?

Photo by Robin Stickel on Unsplash

 

“Benefits” Of Comfort Foods and Why We Crave Them

First is the obvious, it makes us feel good. Foods high in fat, sugar, and salt activates the brain’s reward system which increases pleasant feelings and can reduce the tension our stressful lives bring on.

Food association is a thing. We associate certain foods with memories, people, family and so on. We might need comfort and security if we are feeling lonely or isolated. For example, if you move away from home that is far enough away that you can’t see your family on a regular basis, you might start craving family foods or cultural foods that are hard to find so you have a sense of comfort.

Aside from making us feel good with our reward system and help with feeling less lonely, comfort food can increase the levels of good-feeling hormones in the brain like dopamine, endorphins, etc. They can make us have a more positive state of mind, increase our motivation, reduce stress and anxiety, and makes us have a sense of euphoria. These foods our brain knows will help it produce what we need to balance out somethings in our life. And there is always a need for that.

Photo by Tina Guina on Unsplash

I’ll use myself as an example. If I don’t have some sort of comfort food periodically, I won’t stay on my healthy routine. I save those foods for when I do feel like I need a “reward” after a long and busy stressful week – out of the ordinary. Or I save it for girls night, or vacation. If I completely voided myself of those foods like mashed potatoes, I could last a good few months, but then I’d break and there I’d be eating comfort foods all the time. Your brain can’t be all work and no play. Comfort foods are it’s vacation foods.

Keep in mind you still need to be in control and keep your balance.

 

Balance

Food addiction is something to realize and admit. You still need to keep your habits in check. For me every few weeks, going to get some pizza isn’t going to throw me off. Others might be different. Like with my husband James. He’s always had sodas in his diet. Processed sugar was an addiction for him. Getting off of it took weeks and months. Trial and error. But once he did get away from it, he knows he can’t go back to it. If he had a coke, he’d have 4 glasses without blinking an eye, but an small piece of homemade chocolate cake wouldn’t turn him to the other side and he would be able to get back to his routine. Everyone is different with what they can handle. Some foods for some people they just can’t go back to.

If you are an emotional eater/stress eater, realize where it’s coming from. Yes after a hard day you might be wanting a huge slice of cheesecake (oh man!) but know where and why you are eating those things and realize that although it might bring you momentary relief, it’s not going to solve anything. Keep your balance. Know that although you might be having this food right now, it doesn’t mean it’s okay to have it everyday.

Allow yourself a break. Like I said before, your brain can’t constantly be in work mode all the time. “Vacation” foods, as I like to call them, are a good break and rest here and there throughout your life. Just stay mindful and know when and how much of a “vacation” you actually need.

 

Healthier Alternatives

With that being said, I usually try to have healthier alternatives before going straight for rich and sugary foods. But sometimes that still just doesn’t cut it. A lot of times it does. Find a healthier recipe to what you are craving and your brain won’t let you forget so that your reward system will be triggered, but not in excess or in an overdose. Here’s some ideas.

  • French Fries
    • Baked Potato and still have a small amount of butter, chives, even a small amount of cheese
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Chocolate Cake
    •  Few squares of Dark Chocolate
  • Ranch On Everything You’re Eating
    • Make a Low Fat Yogurt Ranch

 

Bottom Line
  • We use comfort foods for comfort. There are times for that.
  • We use them to feel closer to ones that we love and comfort foods can help us to feel less lonely.
  • Comfort Foods trigger our reward system which can help in stressful situations.
  • Be mindful of food addictions and what you can handle yourself. Some foods you might not be able to go back to.
  • Be mindful of emotional and stress eating and when it’s happening.
  • Try having healthier alternatives before diving into the unhealthy.
  • Your brain needs a “vacation” sometimes too. But same with vacation, it only happens sparingly.

What to Do to Ward Off Winter Blues

Darker and shorter days are here. The time we had in spring and summer is now cut “shorter” with earlier sunsets and gloomy days. I know it effects me, although I love fall and winter foods and clothes. The further we get into winter, the worse it gets. A lot of people have been diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder. Most, at the least, feel the effects of winter days and notice the difference in how they feel in winter compared to summer. Is there anything you can change in your routine or diet to help? Let’s talk about a few ideas to try and a few things I know that have helped myself and my family. Then we will get into some foods you can add to your diet that are mood boosters!

Photo by Mpho Mojapelo on Unsplash

Sleep – Stick to a Schedule

Sleep is an important part of any healthy routine. It decreases anxiety, helps to maintain a healthy weight, and improves our memory.  Since we repair when we sleep, it’s no wonder why it helps with recovery (including in the brain), and aids our immune system by helping to take care of some inflammation in the middle of the night. In winter time it almost feels like our bodies go into hibernation mode. Sticking to a schedule of when you go to bed and when you wake up can help in general, but especially in the winter. They are saying now that sleeping more than 8 hours (when you are not sick or recovering from surgery) can be unhealthy. It messes your system up. So shoot for 7-8 hours a night, no more, no less.

When your body knows when it’s time to wake up, whether the sun is up or not, it will produce the hormones it needs to naturally wake up around the time your alarm goes off. If you are like me and already have a hard time waking up in the morning without hitting the snooze, try going to bed and waking up roughly around the same time every day, weekend days or not. Not only will your body be ready to wake up and move, but your mind will be better equipped to take on the day.

Sticking to a schedule has helped me. I noticed I’ll start waking up a few minutes before my alarm goes off, which means my body is naturally producing the hormones to wake me up. Some days, not so much. It takes time, but if you stick to it, it’s worth it. Your body naturally sticks to a schedule, and that includes sleep.

 

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Get Sunshine Whenever You Can
Increase Your Vitamin D

I live in Texas. We get a lot of sun most of the year. And the winter isn’t that long. But when your body is used to sunny days for half the year or more and then going to rainy overcast gloomy days, 3 days of that can feel like years. It feels like a yo-yo effect some times. So whenever there is some sunshine, I try to make sure I take in every bit of it that I can. Keep the blinds open during daylight hours as much as you can. Your body wants natural light. If you can walk outside during your lunch break, go for a walk, even 5 minutes. Early afternoon time is when the sun is the brightest in winter. Even if it’s overcast. Fresh air and daylight, filtered or not, helps.

We naturally get “vitamin D” from the sunlight. There’s a whole process that our bodies go through that takes the sunlight, transforms it into something we can store, and then when needed activates it to what we call vitamin D, so that we can use it inside our bodies. Just like plants, we need our sunlight. When the sunlight is restricted, taking vitamin D supplements helps. It can help to improve your mood during those months that you can’t get as much sun as your body became use to in summer. If you already take vitamin D, talk to your doctor about if you should increase the dose in the winter if you don’t already do so.

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Start a Project and Plan Ahead

Keep your mind active. Become creative. Start a hobby. Have something to look forward to doing other than sitting and watching TV when you get home. Do something with your hands while you stay warm inside with a cup of tea. Also, staying proactive with planning outings like dinners, movies, inviting people over, and so on, can help. Stay active and don’t close yourself off too much. I’m the type of person that needs to have some time alone to recharge, especially in winter, but too much of anything can be bad. Keep your balance.

You can even plan a vacation during winter months just to get away from the norm. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, but getting out of your normal routine and away, even a day trip, can give your brain the rest it needs from the every day stresses that are at home.

 

Photo by Photos by Lanty on Unsplash

Bright Colors

Bright colors are known as happy colors because they can brighten our mood. Having clothes with colors other than grey and black is part of it. Or, if your like me who wears a lot of black already, add the color in jewelry, scarves, etc. Keep bright colors in your house too. Fresh flowers in the kitchen or in the bedroom when you wake up can stimulate your brain and start off your day with a positive attitude.

I usually try to have a small vase, like the one in the picture, in the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. It doesn’t take much and you can buy a bouquet at the grocery store and have the flowers spread throughout the house. It’s something little but once I started doing it the more I loved it and the more I missed it if I didn’t have some sort of fresh flowers in the house.

 

Photo by Jenny Hill on Unsplash

Keep Moving

Just because it’s colder outside doesn’t mean you can’t move. That’s something I have to repeatedly tell myself in winter. Even if it’s inside, keep some sort of an exercise routine. Exercise helps our health in many ways, but specifically for what we are talking about, it elevates your mood because it helps our bodies produce endorphins. Then there is the fact that in the winter we eat heavier foods, so exercising helps our bodies digest and feel better although we might of had a huge pile of mashed potatoes at dinner. When I feel light instead of sluggish or bloated, I feel better about myself which adds to the positive attitude we need in winter.

This is probably the hardest one for me because I can’t stand being cold. And thinking about going outside in the cold to do something that already is hard to get my mind to accept is even harder. Having others with you helps. But even if it’s just a 10 minute walk or jog around the block everyday whenever you can fit it in, helps.

 

Photo by Scott Warman on Unsplash

Winter Mood Foods

Here are some foods you can add to your diet in winter or have as your snack after lunch time to help make sure your body and brain are getting the right “feel good” nutrients.

To Increase Omega 3s and help with brain function

  • Salmon
  • Turkey
  • Flax Seeds
  • Walnuts

Increase Folic Acid to help increase Serotonin

  • Leafy greens
  • Oats
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Oranges
  • Lentils

Increase Trytophan to help increase Serotonin and Melatonin

  • Turkey
  • Bananas
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Chickpeas

It’s not a cure, but doing these things and adding more of these foods in your diet can help.

Stay warm, well fed, stay active, and sleep well this winter season!