Two Things You Have to do in Order to be Successful

If you’re already struggling with that New Year’s resolution,fear not – we’ve got you covered! This article is going to cover two really simple things anyone can do to move towards achieving their goal.

In order to understand where you are in relation to achieving your goal, you first need to understand the Transtheoretical Model of Change. The Transtheoretical Model of Change is an easy way to explore the stages we all go through when making any sort of change in our lives.

The most important thing to understand here is that we don’t necessarily go through these stages progressively. We can move up and jump back one, two or even three phases, and then return to our previous stage. The tips today focus on two things that need to occur so we can progress forward through these stages.

Source: Addictioninfo.org

1. The first thing you need to do in order to move through the Stages of Change is increase your self efficacy (your personal belief in your ability to achieve your goal).

This starts with setting goals so small that you have absolutely no choice but to be successful. Goals so small, that you couldn’t fail even if you wanted to. Once you achieve success with your smaller goals, your self confidence and belief that you can achieve a slightly larger goal will increase, as will your chances for long term success in the future. For more on small goal setting, check out my previous blog post, The Secret to Success. 

2. The second motivating force for moving through the Stages of Change is finding more pros than cons to the change you wish to make.

In the early phases of making a change, finding the pros to your change is especially important. During this time, your pros serve as motivation. If your cons outweigh your pros, your motivation will be low, and you probably won’t be successful in making your change. If you feel as though you are struggling with motivation – maybe the answer to that struggle is that you can’t find enough good reasons to make the changes required to achieve your goal.

Hopefully, these little gems give you insight into your own successes and struggles with different goals you are working on achieving. An easy success is always nice, and it’s always helpful to understand why we make the choices that we make. Being able to understand why we don’t achieve what we set out to achieve can be useful too, as it allows room for personal growth and self compassion.

We’d love to know: what is your big goal for the New Year?

 

Healthy Snack Ideas

Lots of people have questions around snacking. The most common questions I get from my clients are:

So today, we are going to focus on addressing these questions and leave you with some guidelines and options for healthy snacking.


Should I Eat Snacks?

Let me just start off by saying that snacks are more than okay to eat and that they are so important! That said, snacks are only beneficial if you eat them when you are truly hungry and if they are comprised of healthy foods.  

Most of us structure our eating habits around our work schedules during the week. This means that breakfast typically happens between 6 am and 7 am, lunch is around noon to 1 pm, and then dinner is served after work, usually around 6 pm to 7 pm. That is about 6 hours between meals!


How often should I eat?

 

First and foremost, always listen to your body. Most people find they feel the most energized if they eat every three to four hours. What’s more important than that though, is tuning in and asking yourself if you are truly hungry.

Waiting too long between meals causes us to feel like we are starving by mealtime. When we are starving, we compensate by overeating, then we feel uncomfortably full.  This habit turns into a terrible cycle of starving and stuffing ourselves. Small, sensible snacks between meals can help to prevent this cycle from occurring and enables people to make more sensible food decisions.


What should I eat?

 

Consider snacks a “mini-meal” and include a little protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats, whenever possible. Snacks should range from 150 – 300 calories depending on individual calorie needs.

Not sure what fits that criteria? No worries, we’ve done the work for you! See below for a list of healthy snacks.

 


Here are some great snack ideas to help get you started:

 

  • Yogurt with granola and honey or a few almonds
  • Cottage cheese with fruit (if canned fruit, make sure it’s packed in it’s natural juice, not syrup)
  • Fresh fruit with string cheese
  • One handful of your favorite nuts with fresh fruit
  • A whole-wheat pita spread with hummus
  • Half of a turkey or peanut butter sandwich
  • Two rice cakes spread with almond butter
  • Apple slices or celery sticks with peanut butter
  • Whole-grain or whole food-based granola bar (I love Lara and KIND bars)
  • Two cups of salad greens with 1/4 cup beans and 1 tablespoon salad dressing
  • One fruit leather with Greek yogurt
  • Two graham crackers with one tablespoon of peanut butter and a banana
  • Raw vegetables with two tablespoons sour cream dip
  • Once ounce of organic corn tortilla chips, salsa and one fourth of an avocado
  • One half cup dried fruit

 

Gut Health and Exercise

The Love Affair between Your Gym and Your Gut

How does your gut work?

The microbiome is a hot topic in the realm of nutrition and healthy living. A quick overview of gut microbiota: everyone’s gut contains trillions of microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, archaea, viruses, and protozoans, and we have now discovered that these fun little creatures may work in different ways to affect:

  • Metabolism
  • Immunity
  • Endocrine function
  • Mental health
  • Disease processes

Luckily, most of our gut bacteria are good bacteria that work with our intestinal cells to aide in the processes and pathways listed above. It is also widely known that the more diversity in strains of bacteria, and a more diverse microbiota in general, is better for overall health.

How can you help your gut?

Some of us may already be aware of one outside factor that affects our gut – food. You may have already heard that you should be consuming foods that contain probiotics and prebiotics, such as yogurt, kimchi, kefir, fibrous vegetables, etc. While the foods we eat certainly have a huge impact on our gut health, the workouts we do may also be contributing to the microbiota goodness.

The relationship between physical activity and gut microbiota is still a new topic with much more research needed. However, the research that exists shows that an increase in physical activity may have a positive impact on your gut health.

A combination of rodent and human studies has shown the following beneficial outcomes:

  • Increased diversity in the microbiome
  • Improving the bacterial ratio
  • Increased microbial diversity in human stool

 How can you improve your workout?

While your gym routine is helping improve your gut health, your gut bacteria are also affecting your exercise capabilities. Research is showing that physical activity can be improved with a healthy gut, as microbiota aide in water, hormone, and nutrient delivery during exercise. The science is not yet conclusive on how or if exercise alone affects our microbiome, but it does show that physical activity may have beneficial effects on gut health.

We also know that physical activity rewards our bodies in many other ways, such as decreasing anxiety, improving cardiovascular health, sleep, weight, and much more. So treating your gut right by consuming foods high in pro and prebiotics, exercising, and reducing stress can improve your gut microbiota, which in turn helps reduce stress, improve chronic illness, and aid in your daily workout routine.

It’s a win-win!

Histamine Intolerance

itchHeadaches, rashes, gastrointestinal issues, fatigue, brain fog…sure there are a lot of potential causes to these seemingly unrelated symptoms. These symptoms are very common in my typical clients and we usually find that diet plays a role. Lately, I have had several clients where an intolerance to histamine (a chemical naturally occurring in food and the body) is causing of many of these symptoms.

Could histamine become the new gluten??

So many clients have been presenting with histamine intolerance, that I wanted to blog about it. It’s hard to tell if histamine intolerance is increasing in the population, or if the holistic medical community is just getting better at recognizing this condition. Either way, whenever you have an intolerance to any food or chemical, you want to get to the bottom of WHY you have that intolerance.

My latest intern, Carrie Claiborne did the digging for this wonderfully informative post. I will let her take it from here!


Ever feel a little out of it after eating? Maybe it’s a headache, anxiety, or you have a bad case of “brain fog”. Maybe you have an allergic like reactions to certain foods. Ever feel itchy or have trouble breathing after you eat? Ever get a flushed face after drinking red wine? If you are experiencing these symptoms then you may have histamine intolerance.

What is histamine?

Histamine is a chemical that occurs naturally in foods. Some foods contain greater amounts of histamine than others. Histamine is also naturally produced in the body. In the body, histamine is involved in immune responses, plays a role in regulating gut function and numerous other processes throughout the body.

What is histamine intolerance?

Histamine intolerance is a condition of increased gut-functionbuild-up of histamine in the body. When the body is overloaded with histamine, an array of allergy-like symptoms can occur.

The build-up of histamine is usually caused by decreased activity of the enzymes that break down histamine. There are two enzymes responsible for breaking down histamine. These enzymes are diamine oxidase (DAO), which is the main enzyme that breaks down histamine, and Histamine N-methyltransferase (HNMT). If you suffer from histamine intolerance, the function of these enzymes is likely impaired.

Decreased function of the enzymes that break down histamine can be genetic or can develop from a variety of factors. These factors may include medical conditions, alcohol or drug use, or medication that may have DAO-blocking properties.  If your symptoms are being caused by a medication, drugs or alcohol – getting rid of those symptoms is as simple as discontinuing use of the substance. Of course, never discontinue a medication without the approval of your doctor.

What are the symptoms of histamine intolerance?

Symptoms of histamine intolerance can be chronic, sporadic, or sudden at onset and can include:

  • Headaches/dizzinesstoilet-paper-627032_1920
  • Rashes/itching
  • Diarrhea/vomiting
  • Abdominal pain/spasms
  • Chronic constipation
  • Flatulence
  • Panic attacks
  • “Leaden exhaustion” – during or after a meal; sleep does not restore vitality
  • Chills, shivers, discomfort or low blood pressure

Symptoms may mimic other food intolerances or conditions. It is important to exclude conditions that can cause similar symptoms such as a food sensitivity, celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity or an intolerance to something else such as lactose or fructose.

How do I know if histamine intolerance is the cause of my symptoms?

If you have already excluded the above mentioned food related possibilities (food sensitivities, celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity or an intolerance to lactose or fructose) and are still experiencing symptoms you may want to explore the possibility of histamine intolerance. Because the underlying issue for those suffering from histamine intolerance is not an allergic response, but an overload of histamine in the body, allergy testing for histamine intolerance is not reliable.

The best way to determine if you have histamine intolerance is by following an elimination diet. To do this, exclude foods high in histamine for at least two weeks while keeping a food and symptom diary. If you notice you are feeling better, and having less symptoms by the end of the second week, you may very well have an intolerance to histamine. If you add higher histamine foods back to your diet and have a negative reaction to those foods, you can be just about certain that histamine is playing a role in your symptoms.

How is histamine intolerance managed?

Managemgrocery shopping --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbisent of histamine intolerance consists of following a low-histamine diet to the level of the individual. It is important to keep in mind that the amount of histamine tolerated will vary from person to person. Taking an antihistamine before meals may be helpful in some cases. The use of a DAO supplement to help breakdown histamine from ingested food also may improve symptoms.

What foods should you avoid if you have histamine intolerance?

If you think you may suffer from a histamine intolerance, there are a few things to keep in mind when planning for your elimination diet:

  • Some foods have a high content of histamine, these should be avoided for a few weeks while you monitor for an improvement of symptoms
  • While histamine is always produced by the body during digestion, some foods cause the body to release more histamine than other foods. Some people choose to avoid these foods during the elimination phase of the diet as well
  • Additionally, some foods may contain different levels of histamine depending on their ripeness or how they are stored
  • Not all histamine containing or histamine releasing foods have been identified so you might discover intolerance to something not listed as you learn how to best manage your symptoms
  • You may find you can tolerate some histamine containing foods, but not others, as each person with histamine intolerance has a different level of histamine they can tolerate.

For the most comprehensive histamine foods lists, as well as additional resources for following a low histamine diet, check out the Low Histamine Chef.

Eliminating foods from your diet can reduce the nutritional quality of your diet. Therefore, it is important for anyone following a diet that restricts foods to maintain a nutritional balance. Substituting foods of equal nutritional value of those that are restricted becomes an essential part of management. It is a good idea to enlist the help of a registered dietitian in this process.

Creating a Positive Body Image

Have body anxieties ever impacted your life? For most women (some studies showing more than 90%), the answer is a resounding yes. If body image is something you struggle with, Spring is the perfect time of year to renew your mind and thought process when it comes to how you feel and what you tell yourself about your body.

Body image is defined as how you view your physical self.  This is not only what you see in the mirror but also how you feel about living in your body and how those perceptions influence the choices you make.

Being healthy will occur at many different weights and will vary from person to person.  The number on the scale is only a measure of the amount of force you exert due to gravity. This number can fluctuate from day to day and even hourly.  Being healthy and happy with your body should be your main goal with weight loss as a possible side effect.

Try these seven tips to help you reframe your body image:

  1. Focus on your body’s capabilities!  Your body allows you to dance to your favorite song, move across a busy street, or stand to cook a meal!
  2. Surround yourself with positive people who view you as a whole person.  Internalize their compliments and give compliments in return.  Compliment other’s giving praise for their work ethic or acts of compassion instead of commenting on their appearance.
  3. Talk to someone about your struggles with positive body image. The person you choose to talk to may be a therapist, friend, or dietitian.
  4. Meditate to connect with your thoughts and to give yourself time for reflection.  This time can help to identify triggers in your life that might be initiating a negative body image.
  5. Rewire the negative pathways that have been created in your brain.  At some point or at many points in your life, someone judged your body creating a pathway in your brain that is initiated every time you are triggered by a certain memory or emotion.  Consistently replacing that negative thought with a positive or neutral statement will eventually rewire the pathway in your brain.
  6. Focus on giving your body what it needs to be healthy, to be stronger, to have more energy, or to heal.  Food and specifically calories should not be viewed as a reward or punishment but as energy and fuel.
  7. Don’t beat yourself up when you eat something you don’t perceive as healthy. Acknowledge what you ate and move on. Do not use that choice you made to sabotage your body image. Choosing to eat a cookie is not a rational reason to be mad at yourself.

Remember the perfect body does NOT exist!  Removing that image will help you be happier in your own skin. Shifting your perspective will take time, exploration and courage. Being happy with who you are and how you feel about yourself Anchoris worth the effort.

Share with us! What is the single most helpful thing you have done to create a positive body image?

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