Staying active on vacation by hiking and going for walks

How To Eat Healthy On Vacation

Finding ways to eat healthy on vacation can feel difficult because of how easy it is to go overboard. But going on vacation is not a reason to overeat and ditch all of your healthy eating habits.

Going on vacation is the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and unplug from your daily stressors. I love the feeling of exploring new places and trying local food.

But here is a little mindset shift I want you to consider. Instead of feeling like a vacation is a time to overindulge and come back feeling like you need to detox and reset, how about thinking of ways to stay aligned with your weight loss and health goals so you feel better than ever when you come back from that vacation?

Honestly this mindset shift has changed my life and perspective every time I am away from my usual routines and rituals.

So today, I will be sharing practical and helpful tips on how to keep your healthy eating habits in balance while enjoying your vacation.

How To Eat Healthy On Vacation

Start the day with a healthy protein- and fiber-packed breakfast

Starting the day right with a healthy breakfast is KEY! Your breakfast usually sets the tone for the rest of the day. When you eat breakfast that is balanced right, it keeps your blood sugar levels stabilized and can help prevent you from overeating throughout the day. 

Some ideas of a protein- and fiber-packed breakfast include: veggie omelet with a side of berries, oats with hemp and chia seeds, fiber packed smoothie, whole grain cereal with nuts and seeds like flax, chia or hemp and adding powdered peanut butter.

Start the day with a healthy protein- and fiber-packed breakfast
Start the day with a healthy protein- and fiber-packed breakfast as an easy way to eat healthy on vacation

Snack smartly

One of the easiest things you can do on vacation is packing healthy snacks. With all of the convenient options you can buy today, healthy snacking is easier than ever. You can buy pre cut vegetables and put them in separate containers or zip lock bags, you can also buy nut butter that comes in single portion sizes. There are just so many options and it does not have to take up any of your time. It all comes down to planning in order to stay consistent with your goals.

For more ideas on how to stay consistent with your healthy eating goals, click here.

 

Snacking smartly on vacation includes lots of fruits and vegetables
There are so many convenient options that make healthy snacking easy and quick.

Use the local grocery stores

This has become extremely important after I had kids. Anytime we go on a family vacation we visit the local grocery stores to load up on fruits and vegetables and lean protein. It makes our life so much easier to have our usuals on hand especially with picky eaters. 

You don’t have to go overboard here, but just having something easy and quick on hand can change the day. It also helps you save money and time because you’re not rushing to a fast food restaurant every time you get hungry. Not to mention it saves you lots of extra calories down the line. Even though I totally believe all foods fit no matter what your health and weight loss goals are, those extra calories do add up over time. It is important to find a balance where you enjoy your favorite foods, like ice cream, without going overboard on a consistent basis. 

To learn about some mindset shifts to consider while you’re on a weight loss/ healthy eating journey, click here.

Food shopping local fruits and vegetables
Shopping at local grocery stores and markets is an easy way to keep healthy and fresh snacks on hand

Staying active is key

I used to fall for the trap of thinking that all fun activities on vacation need to revolve around food, but that quickly changed when I became aware of this subconscious thought.

Here is the truth: not all of your fun activities need to revolve around food.

Find ways to have fun that get you active and that don’t always include eating. I love food, don’t get me wrong. But staying active and doing things that have you moving your body helps you feel good afterwards. Some examples include playing volleyball on the beach, going for a walk or biking through town, or checking out a local museum.

Stay hydrated

Dehydration is common when traveling, especially when flying. Bring an empty water bottle to the airport and fill it up after you pass security. Also make sure to take a bottle wherever you go to help keep you hydrated.

I hope these tips were helpful for your next vacation! Don’t forget to have fun, relax and enjoy yourself 🙂

Learn how to properly read a nutrition label

How To Properly Read A Nutrition Label

One of the first things we learn in nutrition school is how to properly read a nutrition label. I believe this is one of the most important things to learn how to do properly as there are SO many choices available.

woman in the grocery sharing how to Learn how to properly read a nutrition label
Grocery shopping is less overwhelming when you learn how to read a nutrition label

The nutrition facts label is a label required on most packaged foods showing what nutrients and ingredients are in the food. The nutrition label can be found on the side of packages.

Some food labels can be tricky to decipher and it takes an experienced eye to understand what certain food labels mean.

I decided to dedicate a post on how to read a nutrition label properly and how you can use the information effectively to your advantage.

Alright, let’s get into it.

How To Properly Read A Nutrition Label

labelled How to properly read a nutrition label
It is important to learn how to read a nutrition label properly so you can make better eating choices
This image is from the FDA website

You can reference the image above throughout this post.

Step 1

Take a look at the number of servings in the package (servings per container) and the serving size. In this example, there are 4 servings per container and EACH serving size is a cup (four cups total).

All of the numbers given on this nutrition label are for a single serving, NOT the entire package. In this example, there are 280 calories per serving. If you ate the entire package then you would consume 4 servings, or 1,120 calories.

Step 2

Glance at the number of calories. I am not someone who recommends counting calories or tracking calories. But, it’s still good to know approximately how much you are consuming. 

Also, depending on the food product, I may totally ignore the calories and calories per serving.

Let me explain. If I am buying a whole and nutritious food, like almonds, the number of calories does not matter to me personally.  Just because the calories in this food may be high, it does not mean that I am going to avoid it. 

However, knowing that almonds are higher in calories helps me be aware of the portion size I am consuming. Knowing general information like nuts and seeds are high in fat which means they are higher in calories is important for those that want to lose weight.

Calories are a “good to know” but not something you really need to stress about. 

Here is a blog post where I explain how to lose weight without needing to count calories.

Step 3

Read the total carbohydrates, dietary fiber and added sugars.

Total carbohydrates is all of the carbs in the food which includes fiber, total sugars and added sugars.

One important nutrient that I highly recommend you start paying attention to is dietary fiber. On average, American adults eat 10 to 15 grams of total fiber per day, while the USDA’s recommended daily amount for adults up to age 50 is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men.

Choose foods with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving whenever possible since fiber is essential for overall health and wellbeing.

Remember, the number listed is the nutrient per serving so you can have 2 servings to double the fiber intake.

Let’s quickly talk about added sugars versus total sugars listed on the label.

Total Sugars on the nutrition facts label includes sugars naturally present in many foods, like the sugar in milk and fruit INCLUDING any added sugars that may be present in the product. 

Added Sugars on the Nutrition Facts label include sugars that are added during the processing of foods like corn syrup and table sugar. Try to limit these added sugars as much as possible.

nutrition facts
The sugar from these dates is solely from the food itself. There are zero grams of added sugar.

Step 4

Look at the nutrients you need to eat less of: Saturated Fat, Sodium, and Added Sugars.

These nutrients are associated with adverse health effects because they are generally over consumed. Eating too much saturated fat and sodium has been shown to increase risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure according to American Heart Association. Consuming too much added sugars can lead to weight gain and diabetes.

Step 5

The % Daily Value (% DV) is the percent daily value for each nutrient in a serving of the food. This number shows how much of that nutrient is in a serving of food.

A quick guide to %DV

  • 5% DV or less of a nutrient per serving is considered low
  • 20% DV or more of a nutrient per serving is considered high

A few things to keep in mind when trying to choose better food options. 

Fat free foods does not mean healthy or healthier.

For example, if you are deciding between fat free and full fat dairy, go with the full fat or at least low fat. This is because some nutrients need fat to absorb better. Some vitamins that need fat include vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K. When you choose fat free dairy, your body will not absorb vitamin D well. Therefore, choosing food options with some fat, especially when they naturally come with fat, is usually the better choice. Also, having fat in food provides energy and satiety so don’t be afraid of fat in foods.

Try to choose foods without any added sugars as often as you can. Usually ultra processed foods contain added sugars, oils and other additives. This is not to say you can’t ever eat those foods, but being mindful of how often you are eating foods with added sugars will help you understand your eating habits.

Ingredient list

The ingredient list must contain every single ingredient present in the food product, in order of greatest to least. This is how I usually compare food products. For example, let’s say I am buying strawberry jam. If strawberries are not the first ingredient, I am not buying it. Other jams may not even use real strawberries so this is where the ingredient list comes in handy. You can easily compare the quality of the food product when you are reading the ingredient list.

read a nutrition label properly
How to properly read a nutrition label

 

Healthy Holiday Crock Pot Recipes

10 Healthy Holiday Crock Pot Recipes

Having healthy holiday crock pot recipes on hand is a life savior if you ask me. You can use them every year to reduce stress and anxiety especially if you love hosting holiday parties, like I do!

Healthy Holiday Crock Pot Recipes
Healthy Holiday Crock Pot Recipes

If you are constantly busy and you struggle to find the time to cook for yourself and your family, then using a slow cooker (or a crock pot) is going to save you so much time and energy! 

The crock pot is one of my favorite kitchen tools to use especially when it comes to preparing our holiday feast!

A few reasons why you need to use the crock pot during the holiday season is that it helps you whip up a few meals ahead of time, it frees up oven and stove top space, and it also frees your hands to do something else. 

I used to leave all the prepping for the day of the holiday, but that caused me so much stress and anxiety. When I discovered the crock pot, all that stress and anxiety went away because you set it and let it do it’s thing.

And if you’re worried as to whether or not food will taste good in the crock pot, then have no fear! Whether you choose a ham, a beef roast or chicken breasts, using your crock pot is a great choice. This is because it helps to tenderize meats and really allow the flavor to develop.

So, in today’s post, I will be sharing a roundup of healthy holiday recipes that you can easily prepare using a crock pot.

10 Healthy Holiday Crock Pot Recipes

Peppered Beef Soup

Recipe: https://www.southernliving.com/syndication/peppered-beef-soup

Soup is the ideal recipe to make ahead of time. This creamy, hearty soup looks beautiful and it adds so much warmth and comfort, perfect for the holiday season! 

Green Bean Casserole

Recipe: https://www.southernliving.com/syndication/green-bean-casserole-0

This is an easy recipe and is always a crowd pleaser. And what is better than a casserole on Christmas? This dump-it-and-forget-it method saves so much time and energy and is the perfect comfort food.

Green bean casserole
Green bean casserole

Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato-Black Bean Chili

Recipe: southernliving.com/recipes/slow-cooker-sweet-potato-black-bean-chili-recipe

Slow cooked sweet potato recipe is the ultimate comfort and hearty choice especially if you live in a cold climate and have chilly winters.

Sweet Potato-Black Bean Chili Recipe
Sweet Potato-Black Bean Chili

Cranberry Sauce

Recipe: https://www.mccormick.com/recipes/sauces/slow-cooker-cranberry-sauce

This is such an easy recipe, so make sure to save it! You can even use this for Thanksgiving and it will be on repeat for the entire holiday season.

This recipe combines an orange, a cinnamon stick, bay leaves and sugar to create a delicious sauce that also leaves your house smelling amazing! I also add in a few tablespoons of fresh orange juice which gives it an extra boost of orange flavor. 

Slow Cooker Spiced Poached Pears 

Recipe: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/slow-cooker-spiced-poached-pears/

This easy recipe is a must for your holiday dinner. It is so easy, looks beautiful and it helps you get in some nutrients.

Slow-Cooker Cider

Recipe: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/slow-cooker-cider/

This slow cooker apple cider recipe is one that I add to the menu for my annual holiday party. Whenever we attend holiday parties, I also like to take this recipe with me. I love that it is warm and it’s non alcoholic.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Recipe: https://www.cookingclassy.com/slow-cooker-pot-roast/

Is it even a Christmas dinner without a pot roast! This slow cooker pot roast is a must and it adds variety to your holiday table. I like to add different meat options to cater to everyone’s preference.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Recipe: https://damndelicious.net/2015/10/31/slow-cooker-balsamic-brussels-sprouts/

Prep time for this recipe is less than 10 minutes! And if you love Brussels sprouts, this is a must try and is always a crowd pleaser. I also love that it adds festive colors to your holiday table.

 

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast 

Recipe: https://damndelicious.net/2019/11/16/slow-cooker-turkey-breast/

This recipe always comes out juicy, moist and tender! I have tried so many recipes in the past and I find that my turkey comes out dry. This is one of those few recipes I always go back to. Make sure to use the drippings to make a delicious gravy!

Crockpot Mashed Potatoes 

Recipe: https://showmetheyummy.com/crockpot-mashed-potatoes-recipe/

Mashed potatoes are a classic Christmas side dish that everyone loves. This is a recipe that is on repeat during the holiday recipe and it is one of my favorite side dishes.

Crock pot recipes holiday healthy
My favorite crock pot slow cooker

Click here to purchase my favorite crock pot slow cooker. I use this for EVERYTHING and I have had it for over 6 years now! I love that you can buy it in different sizes too.

Last note: please remember that during the holiday season, it can be easy to feel like you are off track of your health and weight loss goals. However, as I mention quite often in my blog posts, it is not about the specific foods you are eating. It comes down to the quantity of food consumed and in what combination of foods. Please enjoy your meals and desserts and take the time to tune into your body to gauge when you are starting to feel full. 

If you want to learn more about how to eat in a balanced way that allows you to fully enjoy food without any restriction or deprivation, click here and here.

Staying healthy during the holidays

Easy Strategies to Staying Healthy During the Holidays

As we all roll into the holiday season, there is no better time to reevaluate your health and find ways to stay healthy and consistent during the holidays.

 

cute holiday cookies and sweets | Staying healthy during the holidays
It can be hard to focus on staying healthy during the holidays

This time of year, most people will want to wait until the New Year to start focusing on getting healthy and losing weight. But it is amazing how much progress you can make during this time when you keep in mind that the holidays will ALWAYS happen so learning to stay healthy during the holidays will be beneficial for the rest of your life!

I completely understand wanting to be fully present during the holiday season and not feeling like you need to think about your food choices, but this is the perfect time to really step into your power.

How many times have you thought that since the new year is around the corner, you might as well hold off on your goals until January?

You think that you might as well eat all the “fun foods” now because you SWEAR you won’t eat them again next year and that this time it will be different?

If this sounds like you, trust me I’ve been there too and this back-and-forth diet cycling is not a fun place to live in.

If you’re ready to level up and get out of the cycle where you go from one extreme of being strict and rigid to the other extreme where you “revenge eat”, let’s dive in. 

Easy Strategies to Staying Healthy During the Holidays

1. Working on your mindset during the holidays

Feeling like you have to completely restrict the foods you binge on simply because that food is there takes some habit and behavior changes. 

It’s not that you lack willpower. It’s because, for YEARS, you’ve seen these foods as either “good” or “bad.”

I completely agree that some foods are not good for you and we really should not be eating them on a consistent basis, but cultivating this mindset where you believe: If I eat ONE, I must eat ALL of them because “I messed up” is the first thing you may need to unpack. 

Here is a tip that may feel counterintuitive but one that tremendously helps you eat healthy and allow you to fit those foods into your healthy lifestyle:

You need to give yourself permission to eat whatever the heck you want because YOU are in control. And because you are in control, you get to decide what you want to eat.

Try this exercise:

Next time you have something you consider “bad,” instead of beating yourself up over it, take the time to REALLY taste it. Ask yourself if you really love the taste or if you are eating it because of EMOTIONS?

Is the decision you are making to eat this food coming from something physical or is it more emotional?

This helps you do 2 things:

  1. Distinguish if you actually love the food or not
  2. Uncover a subconscious belief about yourself that you now get to work on! Fun, right?

2. Maintain a good exercise routine 

Maintaining an exercise routine - Staying healthy during the holidays
Maintaining an exercise routine is a very effective way to help you stay healthy during the holidays

This is important when trying to stay healthy during the holiday season because when everything around you feels out of routine, maintaining a part of your routine that helps you FEEL good is going to help you stay consistent.

Exercising or getting any sort of movement in (walking around the neighborhood counts!) is going to help you feel good. Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol while stimulating the production of happy hormones like dopamine.

I really believe that when you are in a healthy place in your mind, you do good things for your body.

When you feel good physically by maintaining an exercise routine, or even starting one during this time where stress levels may increase, you are more likely to make choices that align with your long term goals.

So stick with it and see how much better you feel that you decided to maintain a part of your routine that helps keep you grounded and in alignment with yourself and body.

3. Eat your fiber, protein and healthy fats to stay healthy during the holidays

I know, I know. But truly, this is going to help you feel SO good. A new study shows that eating this way helps to balance hormones to help make weight loss more effective. It is not groundbreaking news that you need to eat your fruits and vegetables, but eating the right combination of nutrients helps you feel good and curb hunger.

This allows you to shift your focus to eating BETTER quality foods. When you do this, you can eat MORE food and feel satisfied which helps you stay consistent. Who wants to feel hungry all the time? Not me! 

Tip: Make a grocery list every week of foods that fall into these categories (protein, healthy fats, and fiber) and aim to have this combination for most of your meals. 

This helps you visually see how you can combine meals that are balanced and filling.

The good news is eating in a balanced way can be easy even in the holiday season. This time of year, many vegetables are served (green beans / green bean casserole) protein: turkey or ham and the fat is usually within the meal that is prepped.

If you need some ideas, this blog post can help!

This way of balancing your meals helps you curb cravings and it helps you stay full and energized. Clients have told me that by eating this way, they don’t even FEEL the need to take a walk to their kitchen “looking for something satisfying.” 

4. Set boundaries with family

Do not be afraid to set boundaries with family and friends to help you maintain a positive attitude and protect your mental energy.

Your health is not just your physical health. Your mental health matters too especially when certain family members tend to push boundaries.

During this time many family members like to discuss sensitive topics like: flu vaccinations, give unsolicited medical advice, and provide tips to stay healthy and lose weight. If certain topics trigger you, work on walking away and not feeling the need to respond!

If you are looking for customized support and guidance from me, check out my services here!

 

healthy eating during the holidays
Staying healthy during the holidays starts doesn’t mean you need to cut out any food

Bottom line: Decide to show up for yourself and take bold action!

You still have time to accomplish or make tremendous progress. Stay healthy during the holidays and show up for yourself.

Xx Ayat

 

Gut microbiome and weight loss

How To Improve Gut Health For Weight Loss

Gut health and weight loss go hand in hand.

You’ve probably heard of gut health, but have you ever really thought about how important it is for your OVERALL health?

What is gut health?

Gut health is the function and balance of bacteria in the many parts of the gastrointestinal tract. The term “gut microbiome” refers specifically to the microorganisms living in your intestines.

If you’ve ever “gone with your gut” or had that “gut feeling” to make a decision, or felt “butterflies in your stomach” when nervous, these are clues that the brain and gut are talking to each other. This is why your gut is known as the second brain .

This “brain in your gut” is the link between digestion, mood, health and even the way you think.

Scientists call this brain the enteric nervous system (ENS). 

There is research showing that a healthy gut can even improve your mood, your thinking and can help boost memory.

gut health is important for overall health and weight loss
Gut health is important for overall health and weight loss.

There are many different types of bacteria in the gut, good and bad.

We will not talk much about bad bacteria in this post. But just know that bad bacteria causes illnesses like digestive issues, constipation, diarrhea, some diseases and has even been linked to mood fluctuations.

On the other hand, our bodies have a symbiotic relationship with our good bacteria. This means the bacteria lives with us and on us in a way that is beneficial for both of us.

One of the amazing benefits of having a healthy gut is the production of short-chain fatty acids by the good gut bacteria.

These short-chain fatty acids are the main source of nutrition for the cells in your colon. The release of these short-chain fatty acids play an important role in reducing the risk of inflammatory diseases, type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and other conditions while improving the immune system.

The opposite of symbiosis is dysbiosis, or the disruption in the balance of the microbiota, which can lead to physical problems that show up as IBS, constipation, diarrhea, even depression and anxiety. 

Gut health is an important, yet often neglected, factor in losing weight and can impact your overall health.

Not a lot of people know this fact. So in today’s blog post, I am sharing a roundup of facts on how gut health works and how it can affect your ability to lose weight.

In fact, in a new study, scientists found that weight loss is heavily influenced by the genes and enzymes within the bacteria living in your gut. 

The science behind gut microbiome and its effect on weight loss or weight gain is still in its infancy. However, this new study expands our understanding to how the gut microbiota influences weight-loss outcomes.

Gut Health and Weight Loss: How To Improve Gut Health For Weight Loss

Your gut health can either help or cause resistance to weight loss. 

Thankfully, you can drastically improve the health of bacteria in your gut by doing just a few easy things on a daily basis.

1.Eat more probiotics.

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for you, especially your digestive system. Probiotics are found in yogurt, kefir, tempeh and fermented foods. You can strengthen these good bacteria with prebiotics. Because probiotics are living things, they need food for these healthy bacteria to survive and thrive. Prebiotics is the food for the bacteria’s growth.

You find prebiotics in fiber rich foods like apricots, artichokes, almonds, pistachios and legumes, berries, apples. You can boost fiber when you eat these fruits and vegetables with their skin.

Here is my favorite smoothie recipe that is fiber rich and loaded with prebiotics!

2. Fill up on fermented foods.

Some examples of fermented foods are: kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh, kombucha, and yogurt. 

Fermented foods are important because they are loaded with probiotics. They further help strengthen the health of your gut bacteria.

Fermented foods like pickles helps improve gut health which can lead to weight loss
Fermented foods like pickles are loaded with probiotics which can help the good bacteria in our gut thrive and multiply.

3. Limit processed foods.

Even though most foods are processed these days, pay attention to the ultra-processed and refined foods because they lack diversity and fiber. They are also filled with added sugars, salt, artificial sweeteners, additives and preservatives. Your microbiome thrives on diverse fibers that can be found in a variety of plant-based foods like colorful fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  Try to choose a wide variety of colorful produce items when you go to the grocery store to maintain a healthy microbiome.

Disclaimer: please note that the gut microbiota isn’t the only factor that influences weight and body fat. There are many other variables that play a role including age, physical activity, diet, and gender.

highly processed foods can alter gut health
Limit ultra-processed foods as they have been shown to disrupt your gut health and microbiome.

Medications and the gut microbiome

Let’s quickly talk about medications as it is important to know that some very common medications can disrupt the balance of your gut microbiome.

This is NOT to say you need to stop taking your medication, but if you are taking some of those listed below, it may be a good idea to really focus on strengthening your gut microbiome and increasing your fruit, veggie, and fermented foods intake.

Some medications you should be mindful of and that can affect gut health include:

  • Antibiotics – While antibiotics can be highly effective in treating serious bacterial infections, there is concern about misuse and overuse.
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) – NSAIDs (i.e., Motrin, Advil and Aleve) disrupt the normal balance of the beneficial bacteria living in your gut.
  • Antacids – All antacids neutralize the acid in your stomach, which is the body’s first line of defense from harmful pathogens that we eat every day. We increase our risk for stomach bugs and infections if we are taking antacids regularly.
  • Antidepressants – One of the most popular classes of anti-depressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Scientists estimate that 90 percent of serotonin is made in the gut. Imbalances in serotonin have been linked to diseases including irritable bowel syndrome, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
  • Sleeping pills – Like antidepressants, sleeping pills are fat-soluble drugs. They can penetrate the gut wall and injure the natural balance of the digestive system.
  • Laxatives – Laxatives can also affect the balance of gut bacteria.
  • Statins – Statins, or cholesterol lowering medications, may negatively influence the balance of gut bacteria.

Please review with your physician or primary care provider before taking or stopping any drugs and medications.

Pills and medications can alter gut microbiome
Certain medications have been shown to alter the microbiome.

If you want to learn more about how to build your meals for a healthy weight loss that prioritizes your gut health, click here.

Woman stepping on a scale to see weight loss

How To Lose Weight And Sustain It

How to lose weight and sustain. This is a very common question I frequently get asked.

As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I can 100% tell you that there is a better way to lose weight and actually keep it off. Most women make the mistake of eliminating certain foods and trying ALL the diets thinking they keep regaining the weight due to lack of willpower or because they’re weak.

In reality, it is NOT a lack of willpower. It is that you are using methods that simply do not work.

When you restrict foods and drastically cut calories, you do lose weight, but you quickly regain it as soon as you go back to eating normally or you go back to including the foods you had been restricting.

Maintaining a healthy weight is important, keeping in mind a “healthy weight” is very individualized and personalized to you. Maintaining a healthy weight does not mean being at your thinnest size and having a low body weight.

I define having a healthy weight as:

  • The weight where you are eating a diet full of foods that are nourishing, give you energy and make you feel good
  • Being able to eat your favorite foods without any guilt, shame or feeling “out of control” around them
  • Having a healthy relationship with food and your body

Today I will be sharing practical and effective ways on how to lose weight and sustain it.

How To Lose Weight And Sustain It

Eat breakfast everyday

You probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I would have to agree. You do not need to eat breakfast as soon as you wake up, but it’s important to eat something before you are famished.

Waiting to eat until you are overly hungry leads to overeating which leads to weight gain, if done consistently.

I have worked with many women helping them lose weight and keep it off and one of the most common characteristics of women struggling to lose weight is they cut calories low and they usually skip breakfast. This is the worst way to lose weight because it slows your metabolism and it messes with your hormones. And these negative effects take A LOT of time to undo.

The best way to keep your metabolism revved is to eat meals that are high in proteim, high in fiber with some healthy fats. This way, you can eat MORE food and lose weight.

healthy balanced breakfast as part of your weight loss diet | How To Lose Weight And Sustain It
Eating a healthy balanced breakfast helps keep your blood sugar levels stabilized which leads to fewer cravings and weight loss that lasts

Eating more produce

One of the simplest ways to eat more and lose weight is by eating more produce. You can eat so much more food when you load up on the veggies, specifically. 

Eating more fruits and vegetables ensures you are eating a diet full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This helps you feel good and energized as you are losing weight.

Have you ever been on a diet where you were exhausted and cranky all the time? Yeah, we don’t want that because then what’s the point?

One of the best ways to add more fruits and veggies is to plan it in.

Make a list of the fruits and vegetables you love to eat so you know what you’re getting at the grocery store. You can also decide to try a new recipe or a new vegetable once a month. 

When you have a list and a plan ready to go, you are more likely to stick to it.

eat more produce to lose weight and sustain it
Prioritize adding more produce in your diet for a healthy and sustainable weight loss

Exercising

Most people think they need to sweat profusely and be completely out of breath for their exercise to count, but that is not the case.

Taking a 20-30 minute walk most days of the week as an exercise routine is a great start.  Studies show that walking daily helps reduce depression, anxiety, lowers blood pressure and even improves insomnia.

Once you’ve gotten into a stable exercise routine, you can switch it up and even add some strength training.

Getting into a routine that you can actually stick to is a bigger priority when you are first starting out.

Small, realistic goals

Trying to change everything all at once leads to unsustainable methods and therefore unsustainable results. 

Focusing on one thing you need to improve on TODAY and sticking to that one area of focus until it becomes routine is important.

Some examples of small, realistic goals include:

  • Eating 3 veggies a day or;
  • Drinking an extra cup of water or; 
  • Taking a 15 minute walk 3 times per week

Start small. Remember this is not a race and there is no finish line. You are working on improving your health in little ways every day so they add up and show up in a big way in the future.

weight loss dietitian setting small realistic goals | How To Lose Weight And Sustain It
Taking the time to set small realistic goals and getting clear on your weight loss goals is important for taking intentional action

Finding a support network with others who also want to learn how to lose weight and sustain it 

Having a support network and those who are on a similar path makes the journey more fun and exciting. Being able to share struggles and ways to overcome obstacles with someone who understands what you’re going through helps keep you on track and can help keep you motivated.

Getting enough sleep

Sleeping enough is so underrated when it comes to weight loss and weight maintenance. Getting adequate sleep helps hormone balance and helps curb cravings. Have you ever noticed that when you’re sleep deprived you crave sweets and snack foods? This is because your body is looking for a quick boost of energy and those highly processed foods provide that quick boost of energy.

Try getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night for optimal health and long term weight loss.

sleep is important for longterm weight loss and sustaining it
Sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and weight loss

To summarize: How to lose weight and sustain it

The question how to lose weight and sustain it is a complex one and it is very individualized.

Losing weight and keeping it off does not have to be complicated. Weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight is more than just dieting and exercise. Focusing on a well rounded, balanced healthy lifestyle will lead to habit and behavior change which leads to weight loss that actually lasts.

This is not to say that healthy food and the number of calories does not matter when it comes to weight loss. But in order to maintain the lost weight, it is important to look from a holistic perspective. 

Clients have been able to maintain their weight loss and achieve their health goals by shifting their focus from  solely relying on the number on the scale to tell them how far they’re come to tuning in to how their body is feeling.

Take some time to analyze your health and the different areas in your life where you may need to shift some attention. This is because more often than not, your weight loss is tied to the other areas in your life.

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My Clear Glowy SkinCare Routine

My Clear Glowy SkinCare Routine

I can now share my clear glowy skincare routine after years of experimenting with different skincare products!

My Clear Glowy Skincare Routine keeps my skin feeling healthy and glowy
My Clear Glowy Skincare Routine leaves my skin feeling healthy and moisturized

Having a skincare routine has been a very important part of my life for the past 4 years now.

I do not believe that great skin is simply a matter of DNA. Your daily habits have a big impact on the condition of your skin.

There are so many different skin types and it is important to pay attention to what skin type you have.

It took me so long to understand my skin because I spent YEARS being frustrated and aggressive with it.

As someone who grew up with terrible acne and used every drying acne product on the market to try and get rid of it all, I can tell you that having a good skincare routine is CRUCIAL.

But please keep in mind that having acne and other skin impurities is completely normal and trying to get rid of every blemish and every pore is unrealistic. 

So set realistic goals with a simple routine and watch your skin transform.

Making a conscious effort of taking care of your skin can help make it clear, healthy, and glowy. Your skin is the largest organ on your body and taking care of it daily is essential in a healthy lifestyle.

My Clear Glowy Skincare Routine

Having a skincare routine that works for you can prevent breakouts and other skin issues.

It does take dedication and patience to religiously follow a skincare routine daily, but with a simple one that you enjoy doing it can be easy to stay committed.

I used to have oily skin that was acne-prone. I would break out all the time and I would pick at it – which I learned later on that is a HUGE NO NO!!

My Clear Glowy SkinCare Routine
Taking care of your skin is important for overall health as your skin is your largest organ!

Clear Glowy SkinCare Routine – Morning Routine

Step 1: wash with water

I stopped washing my face with cleanser in the morning because I realized the more I washed my face, the oilier my face got.

Excess washing stripped my skin from its natural oils and when I stopped doing that, the healthier my skin got.

In the morning, I just wash my face with plain water and I pat it dry.

I use these face towels  just for my face and I keep them in their own drawer in my bedroom.

Step 2: Vitamin C serum

Next I use a vitamin C. I splurge here because I have tried A LOT of them, and none of them give me the same results like the Skinceuticals C E Ferulic.

Vitamin C has been studied extensively and is an amazing antioxidant for your skin meaning it protects skin cells from damaging free radicals caused by UV exposure.

Vitamin C also promotes collagen production,  which has the potential to thicken the outer skin layer, reduce fine lines, and is essential for firm, youthful skin.

Step 3: Moisturize 

Moisturizers help to protect my skin barrier especially in the winter from the cold winds. Moisturizers also help to seal in moisture and the vitamin C serum.

I am not as picky with my moisturizer as I am with my serums and my skincare actives. You can opt for something that is budget friendly like the Cerave Am Facial Moisturizer. 

Step 4: Sunscreen 

Applying sunscreen is THE most important step in all of this. If you do NOTHING else, do this one step to protect your skin.

I noticed my skin drastically improved when I became consistent with applying sunscreen.

There are different kinds of sunscreens: physical and chemical.

Personally, my skin does better with physical sunscreens, also known as physical blockers. Physical sunscreens contain active mineral ingredients, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which work by sitting on top of the skin to deflect damaging UV rays away from the skin.

On the other hand, chemical sunscreens contain organic compounds, such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate and avobenzone and they are absorbers of UV rays as they attempt to enter the skin. 

After you’re done with your morning skincare routine, it is time to make yourself a high-fiber, high-protein smoothie to nourish your body from the inside out.

Check out my full list of products that I use and love here.

Clear Glowy SkinCare Routine – Evening Routine

Step 1: Oil Cleanser

In the evening, as soon as I finish work, I wash my face.

I always do a double cleanse which helps to really clean my face  without stripping it and drying it out. The oil pulls out impurities, makeup and stubborn sunscreen.

I first use the DHC oil cleanser and I gently rub it in circles on my face and eyes to get the makeup and skin products off. 

Step 2: Water-based Cleanser

Then I wash off the oil cleanser with a water-based cleanser like the Cerave hydrating facial cleanser.

Double cleansing is the best way to get rid of the residue and build up from the day and AMAZINGLY has kept breakouts away. I actually break out when I don’t double cleanse! Try it for yourself and let me know how you like it.

Double cleanse products for clear, glowy and healthy skincare routine
My double cleansing products

Step 3: Tretinoin or retinol

Disclaimer: I do see a dermatologist for my tretinoin as it is a prescription medication.

Tretinoin is part of a class of medications called retinoids. This medication does wonders for my skin and provides anti-aging benefits.

It definitely took some time for my skin to get used to this potent cream, but once it did, I started seeing transformation in my skin health.

My skin now has a natural glow and people ask me how I maintain healthy skin. It is mostly due to my consistent tretinoin cream.

What I love about tretinoin is that there are many medically reviewed studies on this medication, and research has shown that it does provide anti-aging benefits to the skin. Tretinoin has been proven to prevent, reduce, and treat wrinkles. It also helps to treat and prevent age spots. By stimulating collagen production in the skin, it strengthens the skin resulting in a more youthful and bouncy appearance and who doesn’t love that?

If you do not have access to a dermatologist, you can start with a retinol. It is not as potent as a prescription, but if you are consistent with it, you will definitely see results. Retinol can be found over the counter. Many brands carry a retinol and as someone who used retinol before switching to tretinoin, I can say that not all retinols are created equal. Skinceuticals and Paula’s Choice are two of my favorite brands that I have personally seen amazing results. 

Bonus: if you tend to break out a lot, this is the one product you NEED to be using.

Step 4: Moisturizer 

You can either use the same moisturizer you used earlier in the day or you can use a heavier one.

Because my daytime moisturizer has SPF in it (I double up on my sunscreen), I do not use the same one at night.

I like my night time moisturizer to be heavier and thicker to really do some heavy duty moisturizing while I sleep so I wake up with glowing skin.

Step 5: Exfoliation and Face Masks (only 1-2 times per week in my clear glowy skincare routine)

As I have learned the hard way, it is very important to be gentle with your skin and gentle exfoliators are something I use a few times a week.

There are a few different types of exfoliators and two of the most common ones are: chemical and physical exfoliators.

Chemical exfoliants are acids that help get rid of dead skin cells and keeps dry skin at bay. They help to gently take off the top layer of your skin without the damage that physical exfoliants create.

I completely got rid of physical exfoliants, you know the St. Ives Scrubs (do NOT use these on your face) and really anything with harsh beads.

I now only use chemical exfoliates like those with salicylic acid and glycolic acid.

Face masks are also a weekly must and I am OBSESSED with the clarifying skin mask from Skinceuticals. I have used this for over a year and I love how my skin looks and feels afterwards.

Here is a complete list of my skincare products mentioned in my clear glowy skincare routine :

https://shoplist.us/collections/27971

 

 

 

High Protein High Fiber Smoothie

High Protein High Fiber Smoothie

A fiber and protein rich smoothie that is delicious, thick and creamy.

high protein high fiber smoothie green smoothie
High protein high fiber smoothie that is simple, delicious and creamy.

If you are a busy mom trying to find ways to fit in your nutrients without spending too much time in the kitchen, smoothies are a great option!

Smoothies are great for breakfast, snacks, and even as a pre- and post-exercise drink. They are packed with nutrients, and can easily be customized depending on your nutritional needs.

High Protein High Fiber Smoothie

When you are making a smoothie, it is important to make sure you are balancing the carbs with fiber, protein, and healthy fats. This combination of nutrients helps you feel full and energized for a long time, because it is digested slower than a plain fruit smoothie or a juice. 

This is one of the biggest reasons why I prefer smoothies over juicing. Juice is digested quickly and, even though it provides a quick boost of energy, that energy does not last and makes you feel hungry soon after. This is because when you juice all of the fiber and sustenance is removed. 

Smoothies are also a great way to help you reach your weight loss goals because they are filling and help you curb cravings and they are so easy to make!

One of the biggest reasons women have a hard time losing weight is because they are not eating enough food AND they are not eating enough of the nutrients that help support their weight loss in a way that is healthy and sustainable.

Therefore making smoothies a part of your lifestyle, especially if you feel like you do not have the time to focus on your weight loss goals, can be extremely helpful and helps keep you on track.

A few extra benefits:

They are an excellent way to sneak in some greens and a squeeze of lemon juice will help with digestion. Adding healthy fats from chia seeds and avocado will keep you full, your hormones balanced, and your skin glowing.

This smoothie can be considered a meal in a glass as it contains healthy fats, protein, fiber, and carbohydrates all in one. 

 

ingredients for weight loss high fiber high protein smoothie
The ingredients used in a high fiber high protein smoothie are simple and you can use only whole foods if you prefer

 

Recipe

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups liquid of choice (I prefer almond milk)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 handfuls Spinach 
  • 2 mini cucumbers
  • 1 cup berries 
  • 1 date
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 scoop of protein powder 
  • Squeeze of lemon 

This smoothie provides 23 grams of fiber and 30 grams of protein per smoothie.

Instructions:

Simply add all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until thick and creamy.

You may add ice if you prefer your smoothies chilled.

Enjoy!

Tips for making a high-fiber/ high-protein smoothie:

1. How to lessen sweetness:
  • Don’t use dates
  • Substitute the banana with a frozen zucchini
2. How to choose the right ingredients:
  • Aim to choose between 1-2 high-fiber carb choices and try and limit the amount of fruit added (no more than 2)
3. How to substitute the ingredients:
  • Don’t be afraid to substitute ingredients with what you have on hand.
  • You can use peanut butter instead of hemp seeds as a way to add healthy fats
4. How to prepare the ingredients ahead:
  • Freeze bananas and keep frozen zucchinis on hand
5. How to add creaminess:
  • Use ice
  • Use frozen fruits and veggies to help add creaminess and thickness to your smoothie.

Here is a link to the video of this smoothie and you can visit my Instagram page for more recipes!

If you are looking to lose weight for the last time without cutting out any of your favorite foods or food groups, click here to book a 1:1 call with me.