nutrition

Zucchini baking adventures

Looking for an easy, delicious and fun way to bake with zucchini? I got you! 🤗

Zucchini Oat Choc Chip Protein cookies

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup shredded zucchini with water squeezed out
1 mashed banana
1/2 cup nut butter
1 scoop casein protein (I used vanilla)

Bake for 9-11 minutes at 350° F until starting to crisp.
Let me know how yours turn out! 😍

Tidying Up

Every time I sweep, vacuum, and mop the floors in our house, I find other tiny particles of dust, dirt and or dog hair within 5 minutes of being done cleaning.

It drives me nuts. It’s a never ending fact of life. We clean, things get dirty again. 😝

As I was cleaning yesterday, I realized the floor is just like our minds.

Once we get in the habit of being aware of our thoughts, the next step is to be curious about them and tidy up our minds so that our thoughts, beliefs and ideas are in line with our values and our goals. The mind, however, likes to be efficient, so if there’s a pattern of unhelpful thoughts (anxious, negative, doubtful) they need to be swept up, just like dirt on the floor.

This, as well, is an unending process. And it requires more frequent attention at first (like a house that’s never been cleaned), but, just like a room that’s cleaned regularly, it takes less time and effort if you keep it up regularly.

So, if you want crave less stress, more joy, a habit of focus or productivity, start cleaning up your thoughts and beliefs.

A clean mind gets you weight loss, health, organization, time management and balance.

Have a lovely Monday my friends!

Xoxo,

Liz

Let’s stay in touch.

Living and Learning and Moving and Grooving

Learning feels good most of the time, right?

I love to learn (I ought to, I have spent half my life learning).

It feels good to know, to be intrigued, to be curious. It also makes us feel like we’re doing something.

Which, we are, unless we’re learning and reading and consuming information about something (like weight loss or changing a habit) that eventually requires us to take action. C’mon, if you’ve been reading, you knew where I was going.

We need to take what we have learned, interpret it for ourselves and then apply it to our lives. Wah, wah, wah…

This is a big place where I see people get stuck (don’t worry, it takes one to know one, I’ve spent plenty of time in stuck-city myself).

It’s so easy to get stuck in the consuming phase.

The reading, learning, gathering information phase.

All under the guise of “learning”.

But at some point, we have to take that first step to applying all of it. And I can tell ya, no amount of learning is going to outweigh the learning of real life experience.

I was thinking about this while running earlier today.

I spent years consuming and learning information, about self-help, about weight loss, about life.

But it was so cozy there, and it felt so productive to keep reading and learning. Like wrapping myself up in a blanket of knowledge.

Then I had that “awww crap” moment (most likely from one of those learning tools). I actually had to do something. Nothing would change if I didn’t take any action.

And it scared the crap out of me. The unknown? To actually take action? Oh geez. Yeah, those warm and fuzzy “this is easy” books left that part out. Dang it. 

So I started to take action. Again and again.

And some lessons I had to learn the hard way (by doing), multiple times.

There is a saying that you will continue to be presented with situations, challenges, etc in your life until you learn the lesson that you need to continue to move forward.

Well let me tell you – this was very true on my food journey. I was a champion of overeating. And stuffing myself until my stomach hurt. Of feeding an upset stomach (with carbs and sugary baked goods or ice cream or whatever sounded palatable at that time) and wondering why it got more upset, or why I couldn’t lose the weight that week. Or why I couldn’t eat the same way and lose my weight.

Anyone out there relating to this?

I beat myself up over it. I joked about it (duh, this is why I can’t lose weight… must be genetics… believe me, I had every excuse in the book).

I minimized it. Until one day, something shifted. I started seeing what I was doing for what it was – making excuses.

Because of what I was telling myself. It was all up to me! Those freaking books had been right all along. All that corny, woo-woo, blah blah blah, the power is “within you”… It was true. And my refusal to accept it was holding me back.

Well. That took a while to wrap my head around. But then I started to embrace it. And change my actions to be more in line with all of that learning. And things started shifting! The weight started coming off. And, since then, I have lost all of the weight. I reached my goal (30 lb total). I can maintain it easily now. I don’t worry about it.

Of course I challenge myself to continue to grow and evolve (I like a challenge, what can I say).

Now I teach other people how to find where they are stuck and help them move through it to the body and the life they love.

I know it can take time and I truly believe that everyone has their own path of growth. You may not be ready now. You may still be in your gathering and learning phase.

What I have learned is how to take that knowledge you are gathering and apply it to get to your goal.

To use it to be confident, to feel comfortable in who you are and sexy and awesome in your body. It just takes being open to changing.

You don’t have to fully believe it can happen when you start – you only have to believe it is possible.

I encourage you to ask yourself and check in. Are you learning and consuming or are you taking action toward your goal? It is easy to go down the learning path and feel like we’re changing when we’re really just consuming. It’s okay to learn and apply along the way. Just don’t forget to keep learning by doing. That is where the greatest progress is made. 

You’ve got this, my friend. Go out there and believe in your possibility. Believe in yourself. I believe you can do it. If I can, everyone can too.

Xoxo,

Liz

Why our stress monster wants us to EAT

You may think you’re the only one out there overeating due to this unprecedented time of stress. You may find yourself face down in a pizza or a vat of ice cream. I hear you, I have been you. 

You may not remember how you got there, or maybe you very intentionally chose to cope with your anxiety, your stress, your brain absolutely freaking out about the state of the world by diving head first into a bag of Doritos or an entire box of girl scout cookies.

Okay, take a deep breath. Now let it out. 

It is okay. What has happened, is done. It is now in the past. 

Using food to cope with stress is a very common reaction. It is something almost all of us have done at one time or another.

 Eating is one of the most convenient ways to self-soothe that exists. 

Does that make it healthy? No. Does it make you hopeless? Definitely not. 

It does increase your risk of health problems later on, even if all that COVID-19 gives you is a cough and some immunity as it passes through your area. As an aside, this doesn’t mean it is okay to go out and frolic around… social distancing and staying home are being recommended to protect EVERYONE – we’re all in this together, please do your part. 

Obesity and eating unhealthy foods regularly is associated with a multitude of chronic diseases including diabetes, osteoarthritis, and heart disease.

Then why the heck do we turn to food in times of stress? 

Eating does a few things in the moment of stress:

  1. It gives you a hit of dopamine (that feel-good chemical that makes your brain chill out, even if only for a few minutes)
  2. It distracts you from whatever uncomfortable emotion you’re facing (in this case stress, worry, fear, etc) and soothes you temporarily 
  3. It makes you feel like you have control over SOMETHING… as that something goes in your mouth. We can always choose to eat or not eat
  4. It gives your body something to do to avoid your mind and those swirling thoughts creating your stress

Okay, so now that we’ve identified a few points about using food to cope, let’s touch on some science.

Remember our primitive brain, that part of the brain that’s ready for fight or flight at any given moment? Its big signal to turn ON and be ready is cortisol, otherwise known as “the stress hormone”. This is secreted by your adrenal glands. It is up-regulated (more is pumped out into your system) during times of stress… to get your body ready to RUN AWAY and AVOID DEATH.

This is useful if you are in imminent danger.

But not so much if you are constantly on high alert and producing increased levels of cortisol on a regular basis. This causes your body to run down, which decreases your immune system defenses. Which, as you may have guessed, can lead to you feeling poopy and tired, and getting sick more frequently.

Cortisol also slightly increases your metabolism and sends signals to other parts of your body to increase your appetite. So in a direct way, acute stress first decreases (cuz you aren’t going to want to digest when running from that tiger, cave girl), then it will increase your hunger signals. And of course it doesn’t focus your brain on all the healthy stuff – heck no. It wants you to get the most bang for your caloric buck so-to-speak.

So it leads you toward the cookies and away from the carrots. Pretty crazy right? Our bodies are pretty amazing when you step back and think about it.

The thing to remember is that while all of this is going on internally – your brain will be pushing you toward the easy fix. 


So are you doomed then to eat with any type of stress? No. 

This may be an easy, unconscious way to self-soothe and relax in the moment, but you always have a choice of what you are nourishing your body with. Especially when it comes to food. 

Our brains like to give us all kinds of excuses in the moment of why that gas station hot dog and soda are the best things for us, but most of us can agree that our rational brain knows better, even as it indulges in the feast of donuts, candy, and a frappuccino.

So, what’s a girl to do when COVID-19 is knocking on the door? 
Put down the ice cream and back away. 

Now is a great time to start practicing better habits. You don’t have to be perfect 100% of the time. 

Make a game plan for next time you know you’re going to feel some stress… and have a plan in place. When you find yourself halfway through a bag of chips, enact that plan (or better still, catch yourself before you autopilot into the pantry or the fridge. Stop, reconnect with your brain and body at that moment).

Breathe. Journal. Go for a walk. Reconnect and allow yourself to feel the stress, to describe how the stress feels in your body. Make a list of all the things you can choose to do instead of eating in that moment of stress.

 And move forward and eat what you planned for your next meal. Eat earlier if you find that you are physically hungry. Then continue to focus forward. The only time to look to your past is to learn from it.

Be kind if you don’t catch yourself early or if you only stop eating your stress-food at the end of the moment.

Each time you practice a new habit, it becomes easier.

You are worth treating yourself well and your body with respect. I hope that by understanding a little bit more about why we eat when stressed, you can decide to move forward in healthier ways during this challenging time in our world. 

I encourage you to try these techniques and then let me know how they are working for you. You can do this. Choose to thrive.

Have a great week,

Liz

Let’s stay in touch.

Emotional Adulthood

When I was a kid, I used to think people grew up and became adults and all of those annoying and weird behaviors that we saw in our colleagues as children, adolescents, and teenagers would go away.

Silly me.

Yes, it was naive but I thought that somehow we all went through some transition (maybe a portal, not sure what my 8 year old brain was thinking exactly) and we morphed into adults. ha ha ha.

So now, I’ve grown up. And truly have witnessed a spectrum of emotional behavior in my almost 43 years on this earth.

Some adults are very, well, adult-like. They take responsibility for themselves and their thoughts, words, and actions and contribute to the world.

And, then there’s the rest of us…

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. Maybe not.

We all know people who are ALWAYS the victim, never take any responsibility for anything in their lives, their jobs, what they put in their mouths, how they talk or act or how they feel. Right?

The thing is, most of us will sometimes still act like a victim or like someone else is a villain. Or not take complete responsibility for our feelings and lives.

It’s hard, y’all. It’s freaking hard.

The concept of emotional adulthood is something I learned about 2 years ago. I’ve been working on it since then.

It’s simple concept and my toddler brain ALWAYS wants to throw a huge tantrum about it, lol.

Basically, it’s this: YOU are responsible for all of your thoughts, feelings, actions, and results. YOU. No one else.

Boom, mic drop.

I know, right? It kinda blew my mind too.

So if I’m responsible for all of it, I’m both the victim AND the villain? No. When we take responsibility, we can see clearly that our thoughts create ALL of our emotions. No matter what is going on in this busy world around us.

Nothing anyone else says or does affects us in any way. Until we make it mean something by thinking a thought about it.

Like I said, it sounds simple, but it’s pretty profound. And it can change your life, if you let it.

Have a great weekend my friends. I’m going to be off “adulting”.

Let’s stay in touch.

Excuses, excuses

We all know what excuses are and what they look like.

So why do we let them stand in our way?

We can use them to hide, avoid, or procrastinate.

When we are feeling fear, doubt, overwhelm, or discomfort, an excuse can let us off the hook. It can help us hide.

An excuse is still a choice.

I love the saying “whatever you’re not changing, you’re choosing”.

It is so true. For everything.

You can complain about your life, how everyone else’s life looks better, easier, safer, happier. Social media exacerbates this and makes it appear that everyone else is a baller and living “the” life.

Did you know that’s not true? Like really know it?

Everybody has good and bad days, good and bad thoughts. It’s what we make them mean and how we accept or refute them that makes us unique.

No one else can live our life. No one else can make our choices. We’re making them. Whether it’s something we choose or something we don’t. Either way we’re choosing.

When you choose to make an excuse, you’re shortchanging yourself. Your opportunity. Your chance.

What are you making excuses about today? And what do you REALLY want?

Go out there and go for it.

Let’s stay in touch.

How can I start today?

When you want to change your habits, it can be overwhelming.

Those of us who have tried multiple diets, exercise programs, small vs large changes in our lifestyle… we get it.

We’ve been there. We know what you’re thinking and what you’re going through.


There will never be a “perfect” time to start.

Perfection is an illusion, and it’s also a method of procrastination that SOUNDS noble. But, basically, it’s an excuse.

Meet yourself where you are today
.

Start today finding things you LIKE about your body and your life. Find things you’re doing well already. Write them down!!

Then keep doing them consistently… then add other small things, that may seem silly or inconsequential or “not enough” at first… write them down, commit to them, practice them… then slowly keep adding.

Before you know it, the time has passed, you pick your head up… and you’ve achieved your goals.

Let me help you, it would be my honor. I can teach you how to become the best version of yourself. Click here to start thriving today.

Let’s stay in touch.

Anxiety

What is anxiety?

It can be defined as the body’s natural response to stress. It is a feeling of fear or apprehension of what’s to come. It is thought to be normal in situations such as public speaking or going into a new situation such as a job interview or the first day of school.

Anxiety begins with a thought about the future that may or may not come to fruition.

Anxiety can evolve into a series of thoughts that becomes a habit, a pattern, a habitual way of thinking. When it starts to interfere with daily activities and is provoked in situations where it does not routinely occur, it can be diagnosed as a disease process that is abnormal (that is not what we are typically referring to here).

Some people may be predisposed to anxiety thoughts – either as a protective mechanism from childhood, as a result of modeling parental behaviors or through learned habits that are routinely reinforced.

There’s a quote that worry is a debt for a thing we have not yet purchased. Why would we take on debt when we get nothing for it?

Because our mind experiences worry as as something useful, as an action, it gives us something to do.

Especially when there’s a situation or circumstance that we have no control over.

I understand that it feels useful to worry, to ponder, to think about all possible outcomes, as if this could somehow change the outcome or protect us. It feels that we’re doing something productive to find a solution.

Anxiety can also be a cover for other emotions that we’re not wanting to feel (like hurt, anger, sadness) and it can be a protective emotion.

This is not meant to be a discussion today about anxiety as a disorder or a diagnosis that has a biochemical or hormonal basis (that’s a whole other topic).

We’re talking about the feeling of anxiety that exists in our lives day-to-day. That nagging sensation that arises when we feel out of control and out of touch and unable to stop ourselves from worrying about something that we have no control over.

As I was writing the initial draft of this post, one of my mentors and an expert in the nutrition field, Georgie Fear, RD, published a fantastic article about nutrition and how it affect the feeling of anxiety. Read it here. She writes brilliantly about how what we eat affects our level and perception of anxiety. I encourage you to read it and incorporate her suggestions for decreasing day-to-day anxiety symptoms by adjusting your nutrition accordingly.

It should be no surprise that processed foods, sugar, and other fatty foods can increase our sensation of anxiety and depression.

Think about the circumstances that cause you to worry.

What types of things cause you anxiety?

Why do they cause you to worry?

Think back to situations where you had worried ahead of time. Then think about after that event or time… did the worry help? Did it feel justified? Did it feel useful?

Meditating with the Headspace app keeps me centered on a daily basis

Try this exercise. Choose to become aware of your worry, your anxiety and watch it when it occurs. Be curious about it. Don’t judge it (or yourself for having it), just observe it as it spreads through your awareness.

Next, describe how your body feels when you’re experiencing it in the moment. Does your stomach clench, do your muscles tighten, does your heart race? Do you start to sweat or feel jittery? Write down or verbalize what sensations you are feeling in your physical body. Watch your mind as you watch your feeling and are aware of it.

What thoughts are increasing this sensation? What thoughts are decreasing it? How could you choose to think about the circumstance that is causing your anxiety?

Let me know… how did you do? What did you feel? What did you notice?

Frustrated with Food

Have you ever felt like you just wanted to be able to quit eating altogether?

I have.

Food is not like any other distraction for emotions. It’s always there. And we have to eat to survive.

We can totally quit smoking, drinking alcohol, doing drugs, bingeing on Netflix or social media… but we can’t just stop eating.

That makes learning how to eat for nourishment that much more difficult. Because it’s not like we can just ignore it or pretend it doesn’t exist. It’s so hard to do on our own.

We have to somehow make peace with our demons and eat to survive while trying to avoid overeating, stuffing ourselves, falling into the donuts, baked goods, chips, or other tasty treat that beckons us in times of stress, fatigue, boredom, or sadness.

Trust me, I get it!! I’ve been there.

And I designed a course to help you get past all of it.

It’s a fantastic course that give you the tools and knowledge to STOP BEING STUCK. To overcome your food issues.

It teaches you how to eat for health and fuel and nourishment and to stop using food as your best friend, your distraction, your escape. It teaches you how to change your habits long-term with the assistance of a coach and a community. You move at your own pace and get support when you need it.

This course is for you if any of the above speaks to you and you know what I’m talking about. It’s never too late to make a change.

It is your life, your health, your time to thrive. Start today.

Click here to sign up today and get started with healing your food issues and transforming your life.

Intuitive Eating and Emotions

Do you trust your body?

Do you know when you’re physically versus emotionally hungry?

How do you feel physical hunger? For some, hunger is experienced as a “rumbling in the tummy”, a sensation in your body, a signal that it’s time to eat. This sensation can also occur during digestion, normal meal times, and when you smell or see food. Learning to distinguish which rumbles are hunger takes some practice.

Along the way, a lot of us have lost touch with our bodies and listening to its signals.

This happens for many reasons.

Especially for those of us who have developed habits of eating for reasons other than physical hunger, getting back in touch with body signals can be challenging.

Being in touch with my hunger is something I practice actively every day. I used to eat every time my stomach rumbled… Nervous? Eat. Digesting? Must be time to eat. Smelling or seeing something delicious? Yup, eating it. It took me some trial and error to learn this on my own. It took some practice.

I asked myself, am I physically hungry? Or does my face just want to eat?

This is something I teach, along with building habits to help us reconnect with our body and learn to trust it to tell us when it requires food.

I know that it’s much easier to do when you have a knowledgeable coach to guide you. My practice and experience got vastly easier once I accepted some help.

How much food is enough food and how to manage the other reasons we eat (boredom, stress, anger, anxiety, joy, anxiety) are something to explore as well. This can often be challenging as we’re rushing through our days and our meals and usually then we aren’t eating with focus and intention.

I am definitely guilty of eating quickly and eating when distracted (and then being pissed off that I didn’t taste or enjoy anything I had just eaten… so I used to go in search of more food).

It is okay to have calories or macros to focus on for a brief period of time, especially if you have a very focused athletic goal or are learning more about different nutrients and what works for your body and weight goals.

I am all for learning more about your foods, your body and your health. Teaching and education are what I do in my career and in my coaching. I also know that tracking calories or macros is not a long term solution. I’m being real because I want you to be successful long term.

It is imperative to learn to hear what you body is telling you regarding hunger and satisfaction for your long-term health.

Intuitive eating is something we knew how to do inherently as kids. A lot of us lose this skill as we grown up and life gets in the way. Sometimes these emotional eating habits start young.

We eat to cope with or avoid difficult emotions, we eat to fill boredom, sadness, or loneliness. We eat to celebrate, we eat to connect. We eat to dull other sensations. We eat to get that “hit” of dopamine (processed foods and sugar, I’m looking at you) to feel good for a minute when everything else in our life sucks.

Relearning hunger and satisfaction signals are key to eating intuitively and maintaining your weight and your healthy body long-term.

If you’re overweight or have an unhealthy relationship with food, it’s likely you’re not in touch with your body’s signals and you’re eating for reasons other than physical hunger.

Tell me – how often do you eat due to your emotional state rather than because you are physically hungry?

%d bloggers like this: