Goal #3: Break my sugar craving.

So on Monday we took a deeper look into Goal #2 to increase my energy now lets move on to Goal #3: Break my sugar craving.

Sugar is addictive for 2 reasons. 1: eating a small amount makes you want more. 2. Suddenly quitting causes withdrawal symptoms like headaches, mood swings, cravings and fatigue.

I honestly was never a huge fan of sweets until my pregnancy and then something changed. I read somewhere that when you are pregnant with a girl you crave more sweets and for me this ended up being true.  I wanted everything sweet especially fruits, coconut milk ice cream and chocolate.  Unfortunately this craving has stuck with me postpartum. Now my goal is to kick the sugar habit.

I have already been making strides to improve this by not making Oh She Glows amazing chocolate chip cookies once a week, or should I say have Neil make them for me. It was awful at one point we were making them at least once per week.  I am glad to say it’s been about five weeks since we made our last batch -win!

Although it has been five weeks since I enjoyed those yummy chocolate chip cookies it hasn’t stopped me from making a number of other baked goods, enjoying coconut ice cream and chocolate. I have been using natural sugars as much as possible and my cravings have been reduced but I am still craving a piece or two of dark chocolate most nights.

Action Steps.

  • Eat Balanced Meals.  Make sure to create meals focus on vegetables and then have ¼ of your meal be a whole grain (brown rice, quinoa, barley, millet, bulgar, etc) ¼ should be high quality protein such as beans, tempeh, or tofu. Additionally, add 1-2 tbsp of a healthy fat (avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, nut butters, nuts, etc); this will help to feel satisfied and curb your cravings.
  • Replace processed snacks (anything with a long ingredient list or filled with sodium, sugar and HFCS) with whole foods such as fruits, nuts, veggies, etc.
  • Think before eating. When a craving comes on rather than give into it try to deconstruct the craving to figure out the actual cause.

What do your crave? Why do you crave it?

Goal #2: Increase my Energy.

Now that I’ve laid out my goals in my Becoming My Own Client posts it’s time to put things into action. I am purposely going to skip over, Goal #1: Lose Weight. I’d like to be back to my pre-pregnancy weight by October 2013, because my action step to make this happen is to focus on working on goals 2-7. As you will come to see that all of my goals overlap with one or more other goals, to be successful I must find balance in all aspects of my life.

Increase energy by eating more greens

Goal #2: Increase my Energy.

en·er·gy/ˈenərjē/

Noun:
  1. The strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity.
  2. A feeling of possessing such strength and vitality.
Synonyms:
power – vigour – vigor – vim – zip – strength – pep

Action steps to increase my energy:

  1. Reduce or eliminate caffeine. Caffeine can cause dehydration and the rise and fall of blood sugar which can cause mood swings and cravings.  I don’t have a lot of caffeine, most days just one cup of coffee but more and more I am finding myself having a second cup of coffee to “make it through the day”.  That being said my goal is to replace that second cup of coffee with a glass of water or herbal tea.
  2. Drink water. If there is one thing that most people don’t do enough of it’s drink enough water. Most Americans are in a constant state of dehydration which can have a number of negative effects including cravings.
  3. Eat dark leafy green vegetables. Greens a filled with vitamins and nutrients that make you feel refreshed and energetic. They help improve circulation, purify the blood and strengthen the immune system. I love greens but for some reason I don’t eat enough.  My goal is to eat dark leafy greens, such as broccoli, collards, bok choy, kale, mustard greens, broccoli rabe, arugula and dandelion greens, 5 days per week.
  4. Use gentle sweets. I am going to avoid processed sugars and use natural sweeteners like maple syrup, agave nectar, dates, and coconut sugar. Also I am going to increase the number of  sweet vegetables such as yams, carrots and beets, that I eat to help reduce cravings for sweets.
  5. Get physical activity. Simple activities, like walking or yoga, can help increase energy by doing as little as 10 minutes per day.  I have increased the frequency of my workouts but now I want to do more yoga and increase intensity.
  6. Get more sleep and rest and relaxation. A tired and stressed body craves energy and often we turn to food for energy instead of what we really need- a nap. Lately I have been staying up later at night once E goes to sleep but really I need to go to bed earlier so I get more rest.
  7. Take time for myself. Finding activities that restore your energy, such as a walk, a bath, a museum, or a movie helps to increase energy.  I haven’t been taking nearly enough time for me so my goal is to take 30 minutes per day to do something just for me.

How do you increase your energy?

The New Date Night (We Need Your Help)

Now that E is in more of a consistent nighttime routine and we aren’t spending 60-120 minutes trying to soothe her to bed and bounce our brains out (so over the exercise ball) we finally have time for ourselves.  During the week we we end up filling our time trying to catch up on work or cleaning but on Friday nights we are free to take the night off from our chore and work duties.

That being said we don’t really have the money to spend on a sitter and to go out to dinner so we have decided to have date nights in.  That being said we need ideas! We were thinking about having every Friday night be dinner and a movie night but we need ideas for movies and meals to go with them. Our only requirements are that they have to be movies that are already out on DVD or Netflix and meal ideas have to be relatively budget friendly and vegan(izable).

So what are your suggestions? What is a good movie you have seen lately or a recipe that you think we should try? Or do you have a good themed movie and meal idea? Send your ideas our way and we will feature a new date night each week!

Get Your Summer Satisfaction

As a former 9-5er I know what a challenge it can be to enjoy all that summer has to offer during the week.  However there are a number of things that you can do to enjoy the longer days and warmer nights (and not just on the weekend).

  • Join a team. Or in my case have my husband join a team so I can go to his games. Often you will find adult recreational league sports teams and even many companies have summer sports teams to play on.  In our area you can find softball, soccer and even kickball leagues for adults to participate in during the week. Neil plays softball once per week and it’s a great way for him to get out, enjoy the weather and socialize during the week (as well as stay active).

  • Run clubs. Join (or start) a summer run club.  One of the greatest things about summer is that it stays lighter out so much later which allows for running outside to be more accessible after work.  Many athletic stores, running associations and even some towns/cities have summer group runs that are after work (and some before).
  • Farmers Markets. What better way to enjoy summer than to also enjoy locally grown food? Often we think of going to weekend farmers markets but did you know that many areas also have afternoon/evening weekday farmers markets? This is the perfect opportunity to get outside, do a little shopping and enjoy summers bounty!
  • Local Studios. Check out what type of summer events are happening at your local yoga studios or Lululemon.  In our area we have one studio that offers AM yoga on a dock at the waterfront and our local Lululemon has a number of outdoor fitness events that go on (and most are free).
  • Local Events Calendar. Check out your town/cities local events calendar to find out what fun summer events are coming up for the week/month.  Often you will find outdoor movie nights, carnivals, live music, brewers festivals and so much more.  Locally we have a movie night in the park once per month in June, July and August and every Thursday night there is Summervale a fun little event down at a local cooperative farm that features local food and lots of activities.
  • Eat Outside. Take advantage of the weather by dining al fresco!  You could plan to pack up a picnic to take to a park or down by a lake after work, head out for dinner at one of your favorite restaurants or make a home cooked meal and enjoy it on your porch (patio, balcony, lawn, etc). This is as great way to really enjoy summer and to create a fun dining experience for your whole family.

 

Q: What are you favorite ways to take advantage of all that summer has to offer?