Get in Shape, Feel Better: Holistic Tips That Work!

 “True health doesn’t have a dress size or a weight on the scales. It is the feeling of waking up FRESH, having the energy to move your body, be creative and enjoy life”.

-Harriet Hills

On the Self-Care Goddess podcast episode #89, Harriet Hills, a certified Nutrition & Wellness Coach specializing in weight management and exercise nutrition. Harriet and I discuss the fundamentals of nutrition, individual metabolism and importance of water & exercise. We also talk about how and why fermented foods are beneficial for gut health and enlist 3 practical ways to overcome sugar cravings.

The following information are just a few of the golden nuggets from my insightful conversation. Listen to the entire episode here.

13 Tips To Help Improve Your Wellness

  1. When initiating a diet change, start small and add a new fruit or vegetable that you do not consume regularly. Think “What can I add to my shopping basket?” which means – rather than restriction, focus on diversity. Add a different fruit or vegetable each week to improve the relationship with food. When we are filling ourselves with good food, there is less room for unhealthy/ unfavorable food.
  2. Try fermented food like miso, kombucha, kimji, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, olives and yogurt because they are a good form of bacteria. Gut is the foundation of our health. The yeast and bacteria in fermented food are helpful to the gut because of the diversity in them. The more fermented food we have, the better nourishment we give our microbiome. Think of the gut as a jungle. To feed your jungle, you need different healthy plant variety that will help all the gut bugs feed on them.
  3. Get a good sleep routine to support your mood.
  4. Build up food tolerance, if you are noticing flare ups keep a food diary to pinpoint exactly what it is that is causing flare ups.
  5. The most preferred diet is personalized to every individual. However, the Mediterranean style diet with lots of seeds, vegetables, pulses, lentils, small portions of lean fresh fish/ meat and some dairy is a diverse diet, great for our gut.
  6. Take a bit of ashwagandha in the morning. A liquid based supplement in the morning helps the gut especially if you overindulge slightly. For example, if you have too many glasses of red wine, it will help settle the stomach. However, supplements are not mandatory, opt for a food first approach.
  7. Probiotics do cleanup work and keep us more in tune with hunger signals from the gut. They strengthen the brain to gut connection thus helping with weight management & cravings.
  8. Allow breaks between food and do not graze between meals. Have a 12-hour window where you are not eating – A minimum of 12 hours overnight fasting is recommended.  
  9. Exercise early in the morning for weight management. Exercise is personal to everyone so find what works for you. Most people have hectic schedules during the day so wake up early & follow a morning routine for work out. Nature walks are 100% effective. The workout duration could be a minimum of 20 – 30 minutes. CrossFit & Pilates are good for strength and powerlifting. Also introduce small snippets of exercise throughout the day as opposed to one big workout and then sitting down all day. For example, do a 10-minute walk or some squats when you go make a coffee to keep your body active and blood flowing during the day. Weight training is empowering, strength building and good for longevity especially in midlife when bones and muscles start to decline.
  10. Take enough protein i.e., 1-2 grams per kilogram of body weight. Harriet recommends an amazing brand called ‘Organic Powders’ which uses organic ingredients and no artificial sweeteners/ gum or emulsifiers.  Putting a scoop of protein in your meal or shake could be doing you a disservice if its full of processed artificial food.
  11. Have a snack once a day. Breakfast, lunch, a snack (a small meal, never a bar) that contains protein is a good practice before an early dinner.
  12. Enjoy your food, sit down, think about it, savor every mouthful, remove screens and distractions. This helps your brain register and overcome false cravings, not overeat or snack later on. Food is to be enjoyed, if you are eating alone add a little music to make it enjoyable. We deserve nourishing and delicious meals and cooking them is an enjoyable task. We can make simple meals in less than 10 minutes.
  13. Reflect on your day and think about what you’re grateful for each evening.

I invite you to listen to my Self-Care Goddess Podcast episode #25 “How Yoga Can Help You Detox – Mentally, Physically & Emotionally”.

3 Ways To Overcome Sugar Cravings

As we know gut bacteria is in control of our cravings. Here are top 3 tips for overcoming sugar cravings:

  1. Start your day with something savory. A sweet breakfast begins the day by spiking blood sugar levels with sugar and starchy carbohydrates. This sets the day on a downward spiral increasing cravings. Something savory like toast with peanut butter / sweet potato / eggs & avocado etc. are better breakfast choices.
  2. Introduce more rich sweet foods, instead of cutting out sugar completely. These include 85% dark chocolate, dates or figs that have a slightly richer taste and are naturally healthier. If you introduce more of these in your diet, you will develop a richer palate and they are easier not to over consume while still getting the sugary treat/ flavor.
  3. Reduce artificial sweeteners (diet coke, protein bars etc.). These are foreign chemical ingredients that according to research, disrupt the gut microbiome and are 200 – 300 times sweeter than actual sugar so we are naturally going to crave more of it.

I invite you to read my blog post, “Using CACAO as a Catalyst for Healthy Living”.

Take Home Message

Start taking ownership for things instead of refusing blame”. Don’t be defensive saying “Oh, that wasn’t my fault, but I’ll fix it now” Work hard and do not stress over things that you can’t control. 100% honesty is expected when consulting a nutritionist.  Remember no one’s going to do the work for you, YOU must make the changes for YOU. It is very easy to come up with excuses and rely on other people, when actually you can only rely on yourself. Take personal responsibility and focus on what you want to achieve.

Listen to the full podcast episode #89 on the Self-Care Goddess Podcast.

Here are this week’s self-care tips. For past podcast guests self-care habits, check out my Instagram or Facebook page.

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I look forward to connecting with you and learning more about your story and your health and wellness goals. Schedule a FREE introduction call here.