Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Your Healthiest, Juiciest and Happiest Ever

Spring is in the air, and the beach is calling. Photo from Gateway Community Health.


that time of the year again – Yep, you guessed it – SPRING TIME!!!!

Days are longer with the promise of warmer weather. With higher temps come bathing suits and shorts.

Oh, baby do I love looking at all those men in Central Park who have taken the time to hit the gym this winter. I just wanna lick them like a delicious frozen popsicle on a hot summer day. Oh la la! … My bad.

There is a healthy recipe for losing those last, stubborn pounds whether it is 10 or more. Photo from Salt Lake Accident doctor.

So many of you probably already revisited that New Year's resolution.

Does this scenario ring a bell for anyone?
“I will be my ideal body weight this year. I'm going to lose that last 10 pounds, that's it. I want to be tight, toned and super H-O-T!!!!!”

Well, what's stopping you? Chances are it's probably Y-O-U.

It's O.K. Now is the time to access all the ingredients needed to be your healthiest, juiciest and happiest ever.

So what's been missing from your program? Discipline? Exercise? Variety of healthy food choices? Lack of inspiration? What’s your WHY?

Well, have no fear, NYC Healthy Chick is here to get your assets off the couch and into action – of course, after you read the rest of my article.

"Self-compassion is the missing ingredient in every diet and weight-loss plan," says author and Harvard psychotherapist Jean Fain. In her new book, The Self-Compassion Diet, she stresses the importance of cultivating awareness and self-acceptance wherever you are.

The tools are practical and holistic and include guided visualization, meditation, positive self-talk, cognitive restructuring, writing and journal exercises. Three strategies used are 1) Satisfaction, 2) Gradual Change and 3) Wisdom – meeting your inner diet coach. Most important, the use of self-kindness takes away the shame component that is part of traditional diets while also creating a healthy and harmonious relationship with food.

Proper diet, exercise and meditation are all key components in a lasting weight-loss plan. Photo from Akili Tea.

In my health coaching practice, I tell clients that they are amazing and perfect already. Plus, I stress how important it is for them to love the body they are in right now ... not just the body they imagine or achieve when they reach their goal weight. Some days I have to remind myself of this practice.

Another important lesson is the one about our relationship with food. There are no wrong or right, good or bad choices. I teach the importance of mindful and balanced eating while focusing on consuming healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and a little animal protein.

When the body is balanced it craves nothing. Bodies tend to be out of balance when they work too much, when we don’t have enough quality relationships, when we don’t have a physical or spiritual practice in place. When we are out of balance our stress levels skyrocket, not to mention cortisol levels. This creates that spare tire around the midsection, and food cravings can be off the charts!

We can’t have that, so here are NYC Healthy Chick's five questions to ask before you eat anything.

1. Am I really hungry or am I dehydrated?

2. If yes, what am I hungry for?

Curried Chicken and (Brown) Rice Soup does the diet good. Photo from Food Network.

3. Is what I am about to eat going to support me in meeting my health goals?

4. If it doesn't, am I self-soothing or self-medicating myself so I can feel better about some area in my life?

5. If I make the choice to eat something that doesn't support my goals am I'm fully accepting of myself and where I am now?

Below are some NYC Healthy Chick-approved springtime recipes to test drive:

Stuffed Chicken Divan with a Sherry Dijon Sauce

Curried Chicken and Rice Soup (Use Brown Rice Instead)

White-Bean Chili

These dishes are guaranteed to put some spring in your step.

General Daily Guidelines for a Balanced Diet

Fruit: 1-2 servings – remember it's still sugar even though it's all natural.

Greens and Vegetables: 5-10 servings (broccoli, bok choy, napa cabbage, kale, collards, water cress, mustard greens, broccoli rabe, dandelion, green cabbage, arugula, endive, chicory, dark leafy greens, mesclun, wild greens, spinach, swiss chard and beet greens)

White-bean chili is an interesting twist on a traditional dish. Photo from Food Network.
Grains: 1-2 servings (oatmeal – not instant, quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat – kasha, amaranth, barley, bulgur, cornmeal – polenta, cousous, kamut, millet, rye berries, spelt, wheat berris & wild rice)

Nuts and Nut butters: 1-3 servings (brazil, almonds, cashews, pine nuts, coconut, pistachios)

Beans: 1-3 servings (adzuki, anasazi, black, black-eyed peas, cannellini chickpeas, cranberry, fava, great northern, kidney, lentils, lima beans, mung, navy, pinto, split peas – make sure to get them dried and soak them as canned beans have a lot of added sodium)

Animal Protein: 1-3 servings (meat, fish, chicken – be sure to eat a variety all the time)

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