Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Five Daily Habits of Happy Women

I just read a great article that made me feel inspired and happy. It discussed how research shows that small, everyday habits make a huge difference in the ability to create a positive mindset. By adding a few easy choices into your daily routine, you can really change your attitude. I liked this so much I am going to make a conscious effort on my own part to do these as well.

9 AM - Start your day with green tea. People who drink four or more cups of green tea a day are 44% less likely to be depressed than those who sip it less often. There is an amino acid in it called "theanine" that may spur the release of seratonin, a chemical in the brain that makes you feel good.

12:30 PM - Detox your lunch. When you pack your lunch, pack it full of fresh, raw fruit and vegetables in addition to fish and whole grains. Women who eat these things have lower odds of depression.

4 PM - Take a power walk. Exercise endorphins are proven to lift your mood. A single session, even as short as 20 minutes, can raise spirits for up to 12 hours.

7 PM - "Pump iron at dinner." For best absorption, take your vitamin supplement with food and make sure it has at least 18 milligrams of iron if you are premenopausal. It has been proven that sufficient iron intake improves mood.

10 PM - Track the good stuff. I really loved this idea! Every night, write down three things that went well for you that day. Describe the role you played in making them happen. You'll be increasingly mindful of how much control you have over the bright spots in your life.

I'm really struggling with a lot of pain lately and I'm trying to find holistic and natural ways of healing. I've been doing yoga on my own and received a prescription from the doctor to take yoga class so I can add the cost of the classes into my medical bills to go toward taxes at the end of the year. I also see a chiropractor friend of mine once a week and should begin decompression therapy soon.

I also researched a diet that aids in relief of pain and have begun following those nutritional guidelines. Along with all of these, I am trying to become more mindful in general. Mindfulness meditation can help ease pain, manage stress, gain control over addictions and things like emotional eating, boost your immunity, strengthen relationships, improve memory, and the list goes on and on. I hope that this inspires someone else!
In Good Health, Natalie "FNT."

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Q & A - "Healthy but Obese... HELP!"

Hello! I read your blog. I am in need of a program. :( I have reached a personal all-time high of obesity and need help. My blood pressure and everything is good. Do you have a suggestion of a healthy way for me to lose?"

-Client Kept Anonymous

If you were my client, in our initial meeting there would be a few things to discuss first. There is a form that you must fill out, not just for legal purposes, but also for your own safety & to let the trainer know any conditions you have at the moment so we can make a plan based around those needs (i.e. if you had knee surgery, the trainer would need to know that so he/she didn't start making you do lunges & squats & put you in the hospital!). This is also done because after a certain number of red flags come up, ANY trainer with a quality certification/education, would have to have a note from your physician in order to train.  The criteria include things like surgeries/rehabilitation, age, obesity, high/low blood pressure, joint problems, osteoarthritis/osteoporosis, etc. Different certifications dictate this a little differently, but the general rule of all of them is 2-3 positive criteria & the trainer will need a note from your physician prescribing exercise. This is NOT a big deal because most every physician wants their patients to lose weight in order to improve these criteria & their overall health in general. I personally use two positive criteria most often as a need for this prescription, but sometimes it's 3; it just depends on the severity of the criteria. 

Since I know this person, I am comfortable sharing this information with him/her. If you are not my client, be sure to read my Disclaimer & Resource Information page. Thanks!

Having gotten that out of the way, since you are healthy and just have some weight to lose, you can do pretty much anything! That's how I was when I lost my weight the last time (5 years ago). I've gained and lost the same 50-60 pounds at least six times. The last time in 2006, I got a trainer and NEVER missed an appointment. that's the key - you have to show up! It was when I was training with her that I realized, "I can do this, too!" and I never looked back. I was in a career change in my life and just took a desk job at the gym, started studying, got ACE-certified and the rest is history.

Other places I went for support included You can make a profile (called BodySpace) and track your progress and get support. The site also offers tons of articles on different workouts based on your needs. Of course, it also sells supplements and work-out aids, but always do your homework and be careful with those. I only ever used a 20-calorie energy drink powder that you add to a bottle of water before my workouts. I really needed a little extra pick-me-up to stay motivated. If you're trying to slim down, stay away from the supplements. Most of them are to build mass and bulk, the last thing we wanna do!

Including extra fiber (AND WATER!) in your diet is so good for you because it helps move waste, fat, and toxins out of your body; so the more frequently you go to the bathroom, the healthier you will be (better skin, brighter glow, less fatigue, etc.) and the more weight you will lose. Sorry if this is TMI for some of you, but everything that your body does is natural. I learned very quickly after starting at the gym that people who are seriously into taking care of themselves find none of these topics off limits. And where do you think that weight you lose goes? It goes out your pores and in the toilet.

The best thing that helped me move into a healthier lifestyle was by being at the gym all the time, I was constantly around positive influences. Working out, eating right, and being healthy was "cool" to everyone around me, so it was easier for me to adopt a new lifestyle. It takes 21 days to change your habits. You can do that! And the best way to do it is with a great support group surrounding you. It is proven that having a work out buddy increases your chance of success. Ideally, this is a trainer because sometimes using a friend can actually backfire because if they fall off track it is easier for you to, as well. Find some way to make yourself accountable to someone - it keeps you honest!

Finally, go to the archives in my blog back to the beginning of 2009. Start with the post "Detox 101: Getting Started" and work your way backwards. These posts include all the information you need to get started. There is a little math involved, but if you're serious about changing your life you will hang in there and do the work. As you work your way through, there are meal plans, workouts, and important information that will help you lose weight. This is all the information that you need to get started. You can change your life one day at a time. Set small goals and take baby steps. Good luck and don't give up!

~Natalie "FNT"

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Eat As If Your Life Depends On It With Foods That Heal

I am sure you all have heard the age-old saying, "you are what you eat." Take this saying to heart with some tasty, fresh foods that have been proven to have healing tendencies. These are nutrient-rich foods filled with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Not all foods are created equal. While some foods can make you feel sluggish and tired, others can help keep your brain sharp, lower blood pressure, and protect against heart disease.

Cantaloupe -
Healing Properties:
Lowers/prevents high blood pressure with potassium and vitamins.
- 60 calories in a cup of cubes.
- 100% RDI of vitamins A and C in half of a cantaloupe.

Blueberries -
Healing Properties:
Promotes brain health by improving learning and memory.
- 83 calories in a cup.
- PACKED with antioxidants, vitamin C, manganese, and fiber.

Grapefruit -
Healing Properties:
Fights/prevents cancers and aids in immunity.
- 52 calories in 1/2 a fruit.
- A major source of vitamins A and B5, potassium, folate, fiber, and cancer-fighting lycopene.

Tomatoes -
Healing Properties:
Fights/prevents cancers and aids in immunity.
- 23 calories in one fruit.
- A primary source of the cancer-fighting lycopene and vitamins A and C.

Spinach -
Healing Properties:
Spinach is an overall powerhouse. It fights cancer and heart disease. It is rich in folate which is an essential part of diet for women of child-bearing age. It promotes eyesight and is an alkaline producing food, which regulates body pH.
- 7 calories in a cup.
- Spinach provides 200% your daily requirement for vitamins A and K. It is an excellent source of carotenes, vitamin C, folic acid, manganese, magnesium, iron, and vitamins B1, B2, B6, and E.

Red Bell Pepper -
Healing Properties:
All varieties of bell peppers - red, orange, yellow, green - contain nutrients that help battle heart disease and cataracts; but a red bell pepper has twice as much vitamin C as the others and a healthy dose of beta-carotene. Beta-Carotene helps prevent night blindness and other eye problems, skin disorders, enhance immunity, protects against toxins and cancer formations, colds, flu, and infections. It is an antioxidant and protector of the cells while slowing the aging process.
- 20 calories in one pepper.
- 158% of your daily requirement for vitamin C in one half cup.

Walnuts -
Healing Properties:
When it comes to rejuvenating brain functions for the elderly, there's hardly any better thing than walnuts. Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that vastly improve the functioning of the brain cells, walnuts are must as an anti-aging ingredient to improve memory, relieve depression and improve cognitive functions.
The walnut is an excellent source of bio-available melatonin and can vastly improve sleep in people, both in terms of quality and hours of sleep. Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant that makes walnuts an excellent source to check cellular decay that happens due to free radical hits. Studies have shown that eating walnuts regularly considerably minimizes risk of many life-threatening diseases that develop from cellular decay and improves bone health. Just four walnuts a day, and you can enjoy a longer, happier and younger life, the simplest possible way.
- 200 calories in 1/4 cup.
- 100% of your daily requirement for Omega-3s in just three walnuts. Now you can save a ton of money on supplements and just buy some naturally whole, in-shell walnuts that your body can digest much easier!

Black Beans -
Healing Properties:

They can help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) by as much as 24% because they contain a rich amount of soluble fiber. This fiber balances blood sugar levels even in diabetics so that it reduces the need for insulin. Black beans will satisfy any hunger pangs thereby making them a great source for burning calories. They prevent constipation because they contain insoluble fiber. Some digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis can be cured by this fiber.
Nutrition: - 70 calories in 1/2 cup.
- Excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids (at least three times the amount of regular beans and equal to about one ounce of a cold water fish). Packed with nutrients such as manganese, folate, vitamin B1, phosphorus, fiber, and magnesium. Black beans are also a great source for iron.

In Closing:
The other great thing about these eight foods is that with the exception of black beans, you can easily find them all in their natural unprocessed form at most any grocery store. Even if you buy black beans in their dehydrated, bagged form, they are still processed because that is not that natural state. Remember, you just have to be aware of what you eat. Also, I am referring to these foods in their natural state, but you can always make a few shortcuts here and there like pre-washed, bagged spinach or raw, unflavored walnuts that are already shelled. Remember to simply be aware.

Great Quotes to Remember and Empower:
"I eat as if my life depends on it." - Suzanne Somers
"You are what you eat." - Anonymous
"Not all foods are created equal." - Anonymous

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Flat Belly Sabotage

If you are a person who carries extra weight around their middle, you have more to worry about than just tight waistbands and muffin-tops. The closer you carry excess weight to your heart, the higher your risk of heart disease (the number one killer of women) and other heart-associated problems. This is also referred to as being "apple shaped." People who are "pear shaped" may dislike their thicker backsides, hips and thighs, but they are genetically less predisposed than their apple counterparts. Ditch the following foods and replace them with alternatives to slim your waistline as well as your risk.

1. Diet Soda!!!!!!! - Carbonation and artificial sweeteners make your system BLOAT. Switch from Splenda in your coffee and ice tea and use Truvia instead. Drink three 8-ounce glasses of iced green tea a day and watch as the antioxidants boost your metabolism and burn more ab fat when combined with just three hours a week of moderate exercise.

2. Fat-Free Cheese - Not only are the fat-free kinds tasteless, they are missing the belly-flattening polyunsaturated fatty acids that full-fat or reduced-fat organic dairy products have. Replace them with organic 2% varieties.

3. Ground Turkey - All ground turkey is not created equal! You really have to pay attention to what kind of turkey you are buying. Make sure you are buying extra lean turkey and not regular ground turkey, which includes the skin and more saturated fat. There are lots of extra calories and fatty foods linger in your stomach longer which leads to bloating and gas (yuck!).

4. Creamy and Cheesy Dips - Ditch the dip for salsa and hot sauce instead. Hot chiles contain a lot of capsaicin which has been shown to boost metabolism. Hot sauce is also a great no-calorie way to add flavor. Sprinkle some cayenne pepper on any meal to give it a spicy bite without any flavor (I actually carry cayenne in my purse because I love spicy food so much!).

5. Sugar-Free Sweets - They contain sugar alcohols which are hard to digest, leading to BLOAT. If you think you are tough enough to have the real thing in your house without binging, do it but keep them out of sight. I personally don't let them come through my door.

6. White-Flour Bread and Pastas - Switch to whole-grain breads and pastas and stay away from highly processed, refined white-flour. If you have already made the switch, WATCH YOUR PORTIONS! One serving of pasta is about the size of a computer mouse. Get honest with yourself about portions.

7. Canned Vegetables - You may as well just skip the vegetables and eat a few tablespoons of salt instead! Not only are these vegetables loaded with sodium, but they are so over-processed that they are void of all vitamins and nutrients. Invest in fridge- and freezer-friendly containers. Chop all your fresh vegetables once a week and store in containers so they are ready to heat and eat in a flash.

Remember - Take responsibility for this one body and one life you have. Find resources, get honest and take control!

Coming tomorrow: Foods that Heal.

Good Evening and Good Health,

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Healthiest (UNPROCESSED) Foods for Everyday

I have mentioned before that the best way to lose weight and get your best body (including muscle tone you never thought you could achieve and long lean muscles) is to improve your diet by including foods in their most natural state as possible. In simple terms: AVOID PROCESSED FOODS! Remember, if it didn't swim in the sea, walk on the land, fly in the air, or grow in the earth you probably don't want to eat it. If it comes in a box, carton, can, etc. you probably don't want to eat it. When processed foods are unavoidable, try to pick foods that are minimally processed (i.e. less than 5 ingredients). Here are some everyday foods that you can choose in their best form, a somewhat processed form, and the worst form.


1. Apple *** Natural Applesauce (No added sugar) *** Apple Toaster Pastry
2. Orange *** 100% Orange Juice *** Orange Drink/Gatorade
3. Fresh Strawberries *** Strawberry Preserves *** Strawberry Gelatin Dessert
4. Peach *** Canned Peaches in 100% Juice *** Canned Peaches in Syrup
5. Fresh Figs *** Fig Preserves *** Fig Newtons
6. Pineapple *** Canned, Diced Pineapple *** Pineapple Cocktail Cup
7. Corn on the Cob *** Corn Tortilla Chips *** Corn Flakes
8. Spinach *** Bagged, Pre-washed Spinach *** Frozen, Creamed Spinach
9. Garlic *** Jarred, Minced Garlic *** Bottled Garlic Marinade
10. Carrots *** Baby Carrots *** Frozen Honey-Glazed-Carrots
11. Soup from Scratch *** Canned Soup *** Dehydrated Soup Mix
12. Heritage Ham *** Deli Ham *** Packaged Deli Bologna
13. Whole Turkey *** Deli Turkey *** Turkey Meatballs
14. Grass-fed Beef *** Grain-fed Beef *** Frozen Beef Patties
15. Fresh Chicken Breasts *** Deli-sliced Chicken *** Chicken Nuggets
16. Pasture-raised Eggs *** Omega-3 Fortified Eggs *** Egg Beaters
17. Cream - Fat-free Half Cream/Half Milk *** Flavored Dairy Creamer
18. Plain Yogurt *** Flavored Yogurt *** Flavored Yogurt Drink
19. Whole Grain Bread *** Whole Wheat Bread *** Fortified White Bread
20. Dried Whole Wheat Pasta *** Dried White Pasta *** Instant Noodles (i.e. Ramen)
21. Brown Rice *** White Rice *** Flavored Instant Rice
22. Peanuts *** Natural Peanut Butter *** Processed Peanut Butter
23. Fresh Edamame *** Tofu *** Frozen Veggie Burgers

When you don't have time to cook from scratch, here are some good ideas of packaged foods that can still be healthful and minimally processed.

Pantry Staples:
  • Uncle Ben's Fast and Natural Whole Grain Instant Brown Rice
  • Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Wheat Blend Spaghetti
  • Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Pacific Natural Foods Organic Free-range Chicken Broth
  • Bumble Bee Skinless and Boneless Pink Salmon
  • Dole Wildly Nutritious Signature Blends Frozen Mixed Berries
  • Cascadian Farm Organic Frozen Cut Spinach
  • Bird's Eye Asparagus Stir Fry
  • Annie's Homegrown Organic Whole Wheat Shells and White Cheddar
  • Kashi All-natural Tuscan Veggie Bake
  • Stonyfield Farm Organic Yogurt
  • Organic Valley Lowfat 1% Milk
  • Food for Life Organic 7 Sprouted Grains Bread
  • Alvarado St. Bakery Sprouted Multi-grain Bread
  • Bear Naked 100% Pure & Natural Cranberry Raisin Cereal
  • Arrowhead Mills Organic Steel Cut Oats Hot Cereal
  • Post Shredded Wheat Cereal
Snacks, condiments, and Spreads:
  • Larabar Energy Bars
  • Snyder's of Hanover Sourdough Hard Pretzels
  • St. Dalfour Black Cherry 100% Fruit Spread
  • Crazy Richard's Natural Chunky Peanut Butter (ONE ingredient!)
  • Maranatha Organic No-stir Creamy Peanut Butter
  • Guiltless Gourmet Mild Black Bean Dip
  • Wholly Guacamole Classic
  • Sabra Classic Hummus
  • San Marcos Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
  • Drew's All Natural Organic Salsa
  • Haagen-Dazs Fat-free Mango Sorbet

This is a simple list that helps you get the idea of what "processed" really means. If food is not in it's purest form, then it is processed. Foods that you would even consider healthy - like brown rice, applesauce, pre-washed bagged salad, baby carrots, and whole grain bread and pasta - are processed. It is nearly impossible for most of us to avoid all processed foods, but you just need to be more aware of what you are eating and how much of it is actually pure, natural food.
Just as a little tip - if you have a food processor or coffee bean grinder you can try to make your own nut butters and fruit spreads. Then you know exactly what is in it. Just be careful when you buy nuts that you buy plain, raw nuts. Buying roasted, salted, or flavored nuts just defeats the purpose.
Go back and read some earlier posts to remind yourself of other tips. Remember to try to keep sugar less than 5 grams per serving. Check out free Apps for your iPad or phone, especially Fooducate which gives each food a letter grade based on processing and nutrition simply by entering the barcode. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments and check back often!
In Good Health, Natalie

Saturday, February 12, 2011

One-Year Post-Natal Update

Just as an update super fast, my baby turned one and I weighed 123 pounds. I also learned after getting a new PCP that I am 5'3," not 5'2." With all that has happened since 2009, the "Detox 101" post and following meal plans are still a great way to jump-start your weight loss. Also, the post called, "Make That the Last 2 Pounds," is an acceptable daily meal plan for after detox. I am working on finally finishing my Lifestyle and Weight Management Coach certification this year, so with new learning will come new posts and information you can use. Good health and stay FNT!

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