Welcome to New Year Better You Boot Camp!
Welcome back to Week 2! We've got a new set of challenges! Not too long I attended a conference with three top doctors from Johns Hopkins. They were asked by the audience what they do to stay healthy. The consensus was exercise, sleep and eat your vegetables. In fact, one of the doctors said,”It’s really hard to make a case against vegetables.” How true! This week we're concentrating on all 3!
It's also time to check-in! Drop me an email or schedule one of your coaching sessions and we'll talk about where you are today after your first week :)
Let me know if you have any questions. Have a a great day!
Eat Your Fruits and Veggies!
Challenge #1: Eat 3 - 5 servings of fruit and 3 -5 servings of veggies each day.
Want to feel and look your best? Fruits and Veggies are the key. They are famous for their anti-aging, anti-allergy, anti-stress, and cancer fighting abilities. They also have been linked to lower levels of inflammation and cholesterol. A massive study of 124,086 men and women over a 24 year period found that a diet with a high intake of flavonols, flavan-3-ols, anthocyanins and flavonoid polymers may also contribute to better weight control.
Fruits and vegetables are also nature's anti-aging products. They play a critical role in helping us feel and look fantastic. One reason why is they contain antioxidants and water.
What's an antioxidant?
Antioxidants are what fight against the damage that free radicals (the byproducts of our bodies using oxygen) can cause in our bodies. Antioxidants are what help to fight cancer, aging, arthritis, inflammation as well as the effects of stress, pollution and the sun on our bodies. They also help to prevent macular degeneration.
Where can you find antioxidants?
Think brightly colored fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, tea, coffee, wine, spices, herbs and even dark chocolate. Yup, I said dark chocolate! Today, we're concentrating on fruits and veggies.
What exactly is a serving?
This is a great question, especially since there tends to be some variation for leafy greens.
- A serving size for most fresh, frozen or canned vegetables is a 1/2 cup, or about the size of a tennis ball.
- A serving size of leafy greens is approximately 1 cup raw or a 1/2 cup cooked.
- If you make smoothies and put the entire vegetable in the smoothie, this counts toward your servings. If you only use the juice though, this won't count towards your total since you lose a lot of the nutrients and fiber.
- Also, good news, 1/2 cup of tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of salsa count towards your vegetable servings.
- Condiments such as ketchup, relish, and pickles won't be included in your tally though.
What should I strive to eat each day?
A good guide is to aim for the colors of the rainbow! Dark green, pale green, white, orange, yellow, red and purple are all awesome. This will increase the number and variety of antioxidants that you're consuming. Also, remember, the sugar in fruit is not the same as added sugar because fruit is loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals. Enjoy!
Need some ideas to add some veggies in your diet in unexpected ways?
Roasted Butternut Squash Hummus: Veggies and protein from the chickpeas in a delicious dip.
Sweet Potato Pizza Crust : Mix it up spaghetti sauce, pesto or a light amount of bbq sauce. Buy a rotisserie chicken to shred on top, pop on some veggies, cheese or no cheese or you've got a meal.
Cauliflower Pizza Crust: You can also find these premade in a lot of grocery stores now.
Orange and Avocado Salad with Sweet Chili Vinaigrette: Want something a little different? Healthy fats, B vitamins and citrus combine to make this a well-being boost!
Minestrone Soup: Delicious and packs a veggie punch!
Spaghetti Nests: Have little kids? Or big kids for that matter? These are a great way to get some greens in them in unexpected ways.
Challenge #1: Eat 3 - 5 servings of fruit and 3 -5 servings of veggies each day.
Challenge #2: 30 Minutes Per Day of Moderate Intensity Activity
There are so many benefits of exercise that if we could bottle the effects and put them in one pill, everyone would be taking it! Exercise not only helps to improve our mood, energy, strength, bone density, cardiovascular system, brain health and memory but we also tend to sleep better! As if that's not enough, exercise helps to reduce stress, inflammation and our waistline.
Sometimes, we forget that our heart is a muscle. Cardiovascular activity is especially great at increasing the strength of our heart muscle!
Last week, we working on adding movement throughout our day. This week, we're going a little further and working on building a habit of 30 minutes per day. You can break it into 10 minute chunks or accomplish it all at once. This will also get you one step closer to your daily step goal.
How much and what should I do?
You can choose any activity, preferably one that you like so that you do it! But, I'd like you to aim for 30 minutes per day of moderate intensity* activity like walking, running, biking, an exercise class, an online class, swimming or you can even have a dance party in your house...anything you like!
Since exercise is often the first thing to go when we get busy and stressed and is also the very thing we need most when we get busy and stressed, I want you to make a plan for it. Each night, look at your schedule for the next day and decide how you'll fit it in your day.
*What's moderate intensity? Think of cardiovascular exercise on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 is super easy. 10 is an all out effort that you could not sustain for too long. Moderate is about a 5 to 6 on that scale
Go to Sleep!
Challenge #3: Sleep for 7 - 8 hours/night or increase your sleep in 15 minute increments.
One of the biggest and most important improvements you can make in your physical and emotional health is to get enough sleep. And, as we hear more and more about the flu and colds this season, sleep is a key ingredient in helping keep our immune systems strong!
Sleep is essential to human beings. We need it as much as we need water and food. But, for many of us, sleep is also one of our biggest challenges. Whether we're trying to find the time to sleep, trying to go to sleep or trying to stay asleep, everyone has their own unique relationship with sleep.
Unfortunately, lack of sleep has been worn like a badge of honor or a mark of success in our culture. Thankfully, this is beginning to change! When we get enough sleep our memories are sharper, our brains function better, our athletic performance increases, and our moods are better. We can even control our weight better and often reduce our belly fat. Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain in the abdominal region. Yup, you may actually reduce belly fat if you get some sleep!
Last week we worked on increasing our movement, eating well, and reducing stress which all help to improve our sleep. You may have even already noticed an improvement in your sleep quality. This week, we're going to really focus on it!
Prepping for Sleep When is bedtime?
The most important step is to figure out what time you need to go to sleep to meet the challenge. Follow these questions to find your bedtime:
1. What time do I need to get up tomorrow morning?
2. Now, count backwards 7 - 8 hours from what time you need to wake up.
3. Then, add on 15 minutes to allow yourself time to fall asleep when you get in bed.
4. You now have your non-negotiable bedtime.
5. As you climb into bed, this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that may help to put the day behind you.
- "Finish every day, and be done with it... You have done what you could - some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in, forget them as fast as you can, tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it well and serenely, and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense." - Ralph Waldo Emerson.
What's Your Sleep Routine?
- Develop a sleep time routine. Before we tuck little kids into bed, we often give them a bath, dim the lights and read a happy bedtime story. Kids have the right idea! A warm bath or shower relaxes our bodies.
- Read a happy bedtime story. Again, kids have the right idea. A happy story promotes happy thoughts. Upsetting conversations or news programs too close to bed can have the opposite effect. They actually increase stress hormones like cortisol and can disrupt sleep.
- Begin to dim the lights an hour before bed to promote the production of sleep-inducing melatonin.
- Keep your bedroom cool.
- Plan to stop using your computer, IPads, smart phones and video games 30 minutes to an hour before bed. The blue light that's emitted from them can actually suppress our production of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone. You can also look to see if you a have a 'nighttime setting' on your devices.
- Are you binge-watching on your computer? This is becoming really common since we often watch on our computers now. Same rule as above applies to watching shows on our computers too. It's all about the light.
- How bright is your bathroom light? This is a common one. Sometimes, we do all of the above steps and we're sleepy. But, we then wash up and brush our teeth in a bathroom with really bright lights which wakes us back up. When it's time for bed, instead try to use the light from the hallway or invest in a dim light for the bathroom to use before bed. This has been a game changer for people.
- Do you have trouble staying asleep? This is so common. Instead of trying to fight it or count down the hours until you have to get up, try telling yourself, "I can fall asleep or stay awake but I'm going to just enjoy this restful time in bed." You're body is still receiving benefits just resting. And, often, with the pressure off of trying to go to sleep, we actually go back to sleep.
I could write a book on sleep but these tips will hopefully get you started on a peaceful slumber. Aim to get 7 - 8 hours of sleep per night, Or, if that's impossible especially if you have a young baby, try to increase your sleep by 15 minutes at night or during the day when the baby is napping.
Good luck with your 3 Challenges! Don't forget to check them off on your tracker.
I'll see you on Monday!
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