Day 194, Quote 19: Interview Question “What motivates you?”

I have so many things that I want to do to give back to the world around me. When I have an idea I flush it out and then run with it. There’s a part of me that’s fearful that if I don’t try then I will never know my own greatness.

I said this to a client the other night and it’s something I need to remind myself of now.

Her and I have been discussing new job opportunities and taking steps to apply. During this talk she said she wasn’t sure if she should apply to one we had most recently talked about – it really is the perfect fit for her – because she didn’t have a degree. I looked at her and said “they didn’t say you would need one”.

The trick with job postings is that they list everything they would want in a candidate if they could build one. It’s the perfect world scenario, but it’s not reality. No where in this posting did it say she needed that. It’s possible that they would have other candidates apply that have one, but she’s in the process of obtaining her degree and she has plenty of transferable skills.

I told her, you need to let them tell you no. By not trying you are telling yourself no for them.

She’s scared of something new and there is validity in that fear. New is scary because you can’t predict any outcomes.

I’ve been writing and editing and deleting the last section of my workbook. My intention was for it to be done in May or early June at the latest. I’ve been questioning the words and second guessing if they’re coming out right. Am I saying what I want to and how will it be understood are pretty typical questions I’ve been asking myself.

When I think about why I’m writing this to begin with and what’s preventing it’s completion – they are opposite and competing ideas.

I want to help others who may need guidance, but don’t want someone to hold their hand – I can understand that. I want people to feel capable and confident with most of their decisions, even though I know myself isn’t always feeling that way. More often than not is the goal, not perfection.

So what’s preventing me? It’s my own issue with imposture syndrome and the possible negativity.

I told JP the other day that one day, when I’m more removed it won’t be a big deal, but I still struggle with the idea that I don’t believe I’m all that special to really warrant that kind of attention.

I was listening to a podcast the other day and the host was talking about what feeds you, what motivates you. She said that she’s never liked the idea of being fueled on haters because of the power that she believe it gives them. It allows them credit for your work.

I think I teeter back and forth.

I am motivated by the greatness I continue to see in others. I am energized when they light up and it makes me want to continue to work with others and coach them on their paths. I am motivated by the accomplishments that I achieve that I didn’t think I could do because they are challenges I’ve never willingly put myself through – like going back to school.

I do believe that there have been aspects of my journey that I’ve done in spite of others that I’ve benefited from, but by thanking those who doubt my abilities, I am giving them power. I guess the way I think of it is how some of us have weakness around certain foods. What about that food makes us crave it, desire it, not have enough of it? Why do we allow food to control us? There’s something bigger going on. So why fuel off of negative energy?

I don’t want to put bad energy into my environment. There’s a lot of other shit happening, there’s no reason to not take each day in stride and look for the goodness. Each day can’t be great, but there can be good in each day.

I’d like to think that I have this outlook regardless of what’s going on around me or to me. This is the outlook I want to always have.

So, like I told my client – I’m not going to submit to a defeat that may not even exist. I’m going to give my all and put myself out into the world with the hope that those who are seeking a similar heart will feel grounded and connected and that those who are seeking to be spiteful will eventually get bored and keep walking.

I am giving myself permission to be frustrated that hate can make us fearful to be bold and do great things, but I am also telling myself that I have more greatness in me that out shines the power I had been giving the doubtful voices in my head, the voices I had previously heard.

❤ Cristina

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Wellness Refocused Education: Does stretching make an impact?

I’m sure many of you have been told that stretching and warming up as well as cooling down are an important part of your workout. Have any of you ever really thought about why or if there are better ways to warm up and stretch?

Would you laugh if you learned that you may want to stretch on a daily basis even if you’re not exercising?

There are a lot of activities that we do that can put stress on our bodies, many we don’t typically think of such as sitting or standing for long periods of time or walking. Crossing your legs or sitting on your wallet can actually be a literal pain in the ass…and lower back.

Just like there are different styles of exercise to achieve different health goals (i.e. strength training, endurance training, etc), there are also a variety of stretches with unique purposes, but first what are we stretching.

Our skeleton is compromised of  206 bones, which makes up about 20% of out mass (Marieb & Hoehn, 2016). Our skeletons are “divided” into two sections: axial and appendicular portions. The axial includes the skull, vertebral column and the thoracic cage. This section of the body has 80 bones. The other 126 bones are found in appendicular portion, which includes the pectoral girdle and the upper limb, the pelvic girdle and the lower limb. This section of the body is what helps us with mobility (Marieb & Hoehn, 2016).

Our bodies have different kinds of muscle tissue, but for this post, we’re talking about skeletal muscle also known as voluntary muscle (Marieb & Hoehn, 2016). Skeletal muscle attaches to bones and during contractions they pull on the bones or skin and create movement. The amount of work a muscle can do is based on stimuli acted on the muscle and the muscle reacts and adapts. Overload helps the muscle increase strength and endurance.

There are three functional classifications for joints:

  1. synarthroses – immovable joints (ex. skull bone – cranial and facial bones)
  2. amphiarthroses – slightly moveable joints (ex. pubic symphysis – pubic bones)
  3. diarthroses – freely moveable joints (ex. shoulder – scapula and humerus)

Within these classifications are structural classifications: fibrous, cartilaginous and synovial. Synovial are considered diarthroses.

The way we move is determined by our range of motion or ROM at our synovial joints (Page, 2012). A synovial joint is where articulating bones are separated by a membrane of fluid. These joints are reinforced with ligaments. There are sixkinds of synovial joints in the human body:

  1. Hinge
  2. Pivot
  3. Plane
  4. Saddle
  5. Ball-and-Socket
  6. Condyalar

“Joints are the weakest part of the skeleton”, but there are ways to stablize them (Marieb & Hoehn, 2016). The shape of the bone plays a small role in stablization whereas ligaments and muscle tone  are the most important for stablizing the joint. Muscle tone in this sense is defined as “low levels of contractile activity in relaxed muscles that keep the muscles healthy and ready to react to stimulation (Marieb & Hoehn, 2016).”

It’s clear that stronger muscles assist our joints, but does stretching prevent injury or even soreness post-workout? Well, there’s research on both sides, but first what kinds of stretches are there to utilize?

There are three kindsof stretches: static, dynamic and pre-contraction.

A static stretch involves holding a muscle in specific position to allow and create tension. This style stretch is repeated and can be done on your own or with a partner.

A dynamic stretch is an active stretch will moves a limb through its full ROM. This style of stretch can also be repeated and done on your own or with a partner.

A pre-contraction stretch involves a contraction of the muscle being stretched such and can be performed with resistance provided by a band, strap or partner.

Both static stretching and dynamic stretching commonly suggested in training, however, studies show that dynamic stretching may have more benefits than static stretches.

A 2009 study examined the effects of dynamic and static stretching on vertical jump and activity of the muscle tissue. Researchers found a signification increase in activity in the muscle tissue after participants engaged in dynamic stretching in comparison to static stretching (Hough, P.A., 2009). “In this investigation electromyographic activity was significantly greater after dynamic stretching compared with static stretching indicating an increase in muscle activation post dynamic stretching.” Dynamic stretching engages the muscle in a movement, versus holding it like static.

This ties back to the amount of work a muscle is capable of is determined by the amount of stimuli placed upon it, repeatedly. It’s hard to say if while the dynamic stretching had more of an impact than static stretching did if it was a combination of positive factors that contributed to the improved jump.

Researchers also found that there was an increase in neuromuscular mechanisms, meaning the contact between the brain and muscle fibers were able to increase communication. Dynamic stretching may better assist in preventing injury because of the potential growth of muscle fibers and the impacts on strength.

A pre-contraction stretch, may be suggested to assist ROM and flexibility. Similarly to dynamic stretching, muscle activation in this kind of stretch may remain the same or increase after the stretch is executed (Page, P., 2012).

The kind of stretch can determine the amount of benefit and overall stretching may play a role in decreasing injury in certain sport disciplines. However, post-workout muscle soreness or “delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) can occur after single bouts of high-intensity running and/or unfamiliar activity (Herbert et al., 2011).” This is the body’s reaction to a new activity, which can include doing the same exercise with a different load than previously used such as increasing weight or changing the repetition range or even variations of form. The way the stretching is incorporated into programming can play a role in the amount of benefit.

Literature from a review in 2017 found that acute stretching versus long-term chronic stretching could have different affects on performance, DOMS and chronic injury in endurance runners (Baxter et al., 2017). The review found that much of literature argued that acute stretching during a warm-up may have actually decreased efficiency. Other research examined in the review found that joint stability was a result of muscle strength in general, not acute stretching.

Other research examined in the review argued that engaging in chronic stretching wouldn’t hinder immediate performance and could increase flexibility (Baxter et al., 2017). However, even chronic stretching research came back to discussing the important of muscle strength and stiffness in relation to joint stability.

The same review found that many studies were investigating the benefits of static stretching, not comparing benefits of variations of stretching, which would give different results or incomplete results.

Other research that I found interesting has looked at the exercise interventions – not necessarily just stretching, but incorporating exercises that contribute to prevent. A review on the effectiveness of exercise interventions to prevent sports injuries sought to determine if exercises such as strength training, stretching, proprioception or a combination of these could reduce acute or overuse injury. They examined 25 trials that included 26,610 participant with 3,464 injuries and determined that strength training in general “reduced injuries to less than a third and overuse injuries could be almost halved (Lauresen et al., 2013).”

This I found this interesting because the components of dynamic stretching are similar to components of strength training such as shoulder circles and arm circles, which can be done with or without weight, squats, which can also be done with or without weight. There are some dynamic stretches that are just stretches such as leg swings or neck flexion/extension.

This past spring, when I got back into a structure lifting routine I had less low-back pain, less muscle spasms and tightness and less likeliness of my SI dislocating, which meant less trips to the chiropractor. She explained that exercises like the back squat, even with light weight helped elongate the muscle and stretch it out. I had been seated more often than I ever had been while in school and that was causing an issue for muscle and joints because it meant that it wasn’t being activated as much.

I used a dynamic warm up without my workout and I incorporate components into my lifting, even though I’m doing a prewritten program. My favorite dynamic warm up is of course for legs:

  1. Hip abduction with a medium resistance band (both sides): 10 reps
  2. Hip abduction with a medium resistance band (both sides): 20 reps
  3. Forward hip height knee lifts with a medium resistance bands (both sides): 15 reps
  4. Standing kickbacks with a medium resistance band (both sides): 10 reps
  5. Side hip height knee lifts with a medium resistance bands (both sides) 15 reps
  6. Banded forward hip hinge: 2 sets of 10 reps
  7. Banded barbell squats with just the bar: 10 reps

I do this before I start my workout, but I’ve also incorporated some of these into my routine. I always warm up large lifts like squats, deadlifts, bench press, over head press – mostly, anything with a barbell. I’ve utilized banded clam shells – and those are no joke.

There’s importance in developing strength and flexibility in both joints and muscles, but I think the research shows that it can come from a number of source. It’s not just about one kind of stretch or just resistance training. Together these can lead to less pain and a decreased chance of daily injury.  Regularly activity can also increase circulation by assisting blood to flow into your muscles.

I’m pro-stretching, but I think it needs to be dynamic and it should compliment what you’re doing that day in the gym. My upper body/back day warm up is very different than my lower body warm up.

Do you stretch or do you focus on multiple movements in your programming to assist in muscle and joint development?

❤ Cristina

References:

Claire Baxter, Lars R. Mc Naughton, Andy Sparks, Lynda Norton & David Bentley (2017) Impact of stretching on the performance and injury risk of long-distance runners, Research in Sports Medicine, 25:1, 78-90, DOI: 10.1080/15438627.2016.1258640

Herbert, R., de Noronha, M., & Kamper, S. (2011). Stretching to prevent or reduce muscle soreness after exercise. The Cochrane Database of Systemtic Reviews, 1-50.

Lauresen, J. B., Bertelsen, D. M., & Andersen, L. B. (2013). The effectiveness of exercise interventions to prevent sports injuries: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 871-877.

Marieb, E. N., & Hoehn, K. (2016). The Skeleton. In E. N. Marieb, & K. Hoehn, Human Anatomy and Physiology (pp. 199-250). New York: Pearson Learning Solutions.

Marieb, E. N., & Hoehn, K. (2016). Muscles and Muscle Tissues. In E. N. Marieb, & K. Hoehn, Human Anatomy and Physiology (pp. 278-320). New York: Pearson Learning Solutions.

Page, P. (2012). Current concepts in muscle stretching for exercise and rehabilitation. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 109-119.

Hough, P. A. (2009). Effects of Dynamic and Static Stretching on Vertical Jump Performance and Electromyographic Activity. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 507-512.

Perrier, E. T. (2011). The Acute Effects of a Warm-Up Including Static or Dynamic Stretching on Countermovement Jump Height, Reaction Time, and Flexibility. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 1925-19231.

Day 187, Quote 18: “Reach Out Eagerly”

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. -Eleanor Roosevelt

I’ve rewritten this three times. I don’t typically go through and edit heavily. I’ll look for spelling or grammar. Maybe clarify, but I don’t typically reread to rewrite. But I just wasn’t saying what I wanted to in the way I wanted to. My headspace was weird this morning and I think that’s why I’ve been rewriting.

There’s a lot in my head that I want to get out, but even to me I don’t know how to formulate the words.

I guess I’ll start with the obvious. I finished the second week of work and I’m about to start week three. This is still a brand new adventure and I’m curious to know when the newness will fade, but I’m hopeful that it won’t fade greatly. I’ll get into a groove and the anxiety and fear of screwing up will disappear, but the excitement of new project aspects will keep it fresh.

I always say that I’m “bright-eyed and bushy tailed” and I’m eager. I’m eager to learn and to get involved. I’ve been told that’s not always a good thing.

Well, for me, it’s more than just having money to live or in some cases survive.

I want to be passionate. I want to light the world up.

I want to be fired up about what I’m doing. It’s not that I get sad when it’s not a fantastic day – trust me I know that’s not possible every day. However, every day has the possibility of being good.

If the flame is dying or the attitude towards the position and work is or has faded and it feels like you’re dragging ass to your “job” then I do think you need to make a change. A change won’t happen in a few days, but if you figure out a plan and create a realistic timeline, you can work towards change. I digress.

This job isn’t just a job. It’s an opportunity to make the world brighter, to fill the gap and create possibility. It’s the same way I view coaching. I never thought I would want to be a coach, but with every person and every check in, I find myself full as they realize their own greatness.

People need to be given opportunity and choices to take them.

At work there was less anxiety, more reading, more writing and more understanding about how I fit into the puzzle. And I know that as I make connections and take the lead in meetings I will be more active and feel more engaged. I will feel capable of hitting the ground running every Monday.

There are aspects I’m comfortable with already and others I’m getting used to.

I haven’t had to lead meetings or monitor task delegation in a while, but I’m excited to get back to it. It’s slightly comparative to coaching because I do check in with clients in between calls about how their weeks are going and how they are feeling about progress. While I may not necessarily delegate all the tasks they are working on throughout the week, my clients and I come up with their to-do lists to work towards whatever their goals are – this is similar.

I love seeing tasks be accomplished and the puzzle come together. We can see the potential as it comes together.

I love reading research articles and digging, I’m currently researching medical drones – that’s something I never thought I would be reading about. Another part of my role will be assisting in editing abstracts this month that are being submitted for the international conference hosted this winter.

This really is a good balance of dancing on the comfort zone line.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about having a new schedule, but I’ve been able to adapt to it.

I welcome change, but I also know that there’s an adjustment period. I tell my clients this and this is something that I have to remind myself sometimes – we aren’t super human even if we do extraordinary things sometimes.

So, sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s like a slap in the face.

This was somewhere in between.

~~~

This is the part of the post where I’ve written and deleted and rewritten a few sentences over and over again.

I’ve been to the gym and kept up with my workout schedule and I’m glad that I’ve pushed myself to focus on it because it’s helped me get through other things this week.

I’ve been dealing with anxiety stemming from interpersonal relationship dynamics with friends. It’s been causing flashbacks, which have been just as vivid as ever.

In some cases, I’m going through the motions in the memory and in others I’m watching the scene. There’s no obvious rhyme or reason to the memories I’m seeing.

It’s recess. It’s gym class. It’s the grocery store. It’s holding a roll of film and then holding the photos.

It’s clips. It’s full color. It’s slow motion, it’s hyper speed.

But I can taste them. I can smell them. I can feel them.

I never used to get flashbacks like this when I was stressed. Only the past few years. I think we all go through periods where we think back on memories, but it’s literally as though a little person is digging into a filing cabinet and exclaiming “aha! this one.”

I’m planning on journaling this weekend and seeing if I can make any connections of the memories to the relationship dynamics. After breakfast this morning when JP and I were talking about our plans for the day and I told him I wanted to get some writing done and about the flashbacks this week, I started crying hysterically. Physically, it came out of no where. Mentally, I knew it was bound to happen some time.

It’s weird because my headspace overall this week has been pretty damn good. I never second guessing the typical things that take a hit – eating, working out and sleep. I felt capable of getting everything I had to do done, and getting things I wanted to do done as well. It’s also possible that I’ve finally had time to settle down from running around this week and it just caught up to me. It’s possible that just “brain dumping” here and into my journal will give me the clarity that I need to lessen the flashbacks and regulate my anxiety. If I feel I need more, then I’ll do more.

For today, I planned some writing and a possible nap before going out with a former client for dinner. Since nothing NEEDS to be done today, I’m giving myself the chance to go through motions as they feel good.

❤ Cristina

Wellness Refocused Education: Alcohol

I can’t have wine. I can’t have beer. I can’t go out.

I’ve heard this from a few clients. I’ve read it and heard it from a few people online. When I started, it’s something that I said myself.

It’s possible to still have a beer or a glass of wine and lose weight and create a healthy lifestyle. I kept alcohol in my plan during my last competition prep and saw the lowest body fat percentage I have ever had. This isn’t something many people practice, but in my last prep, it’s something I wanted to keep in for when I wanted a drink with dinner or date night. I wanted the ability to have a drink if I felt comfortable with having one work in my day.

Alcohol consumption and weight loss comes down to a few things.

  1. Maintaining a caloric deficit consistently over time.
  2. Determining how you feel about the choice of having a drink.

Weight loss/fat loss occur over time. While weight can fluctuate greatly day-to-day, true fat loss occurs over a period of time longer than a few days. You need to be in a caloric deficit over that period and that can be created through your nutrition protocol and workout programming.

The mental aspect of dieting is something that I talk about heavily with my clients because I don’t believe in eating things you don’t like (you won’t adhere to your plan if you don’t like it) and you also need to be comfortable or at least ok with the ramifications (if any) of your choices.

Three questions I get often are:

  • Why doesn’t alcohol have a nutrition label?
  • How do I track alcohol?
  • Should I leave space in my diet for alcohol? i.e. should there be an allotted number of calories or macros for alcohol to replace food?

Before we answer these questions, let understand alcohol a little bit better.

When we talk about alcohol as a consumable like beer, we’re meaning ethanol. Ethanol is a specific type of alcohol that you find in beer, wine and distilled spirits. Alcohol and ethanol are used interchangeably.

Alcohol is technically a macronutrient.

Chemically they are structurally similar to carbohydrates. Chemically, carbohydrates are C6H12O6 whereas ethanol alcohol is C2H5OH. Alcohol is similar to carbohydrates because they’re created from fermented carbohydrates in a process called ethanol fermentation or alcoholic fermentation.

Image result for alcoholic fermentation formula

Alcohol has 7 calories associated per gram. This makes them more calorically dense than carbohydrates and protein, but less calorically dense than fat (Thompson & Manore, 2015). Ethanol is a specific type of alcohol that you find in beer, wine and distilled spirits.

Alcohol provides no nutritional value, but it has energy.

So, if it’s a macronutrient why isn’t it on a nutrition label?

While the FDA and USDA are regulatory entities for food and supplements, they don’t regulate alcohol. That’s the short answer. Alcohol is regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). This organization doesn’t require that companies provide nutritional information on their products. However, in 2004 a ruling called the Federal Alcohol Administration Act allowed TTB to implement labeling regulations as long as the information was accurate and not misleading to consumers. The FAA Act also had restrictions about marketing and statements in relation to benefits of alcohol. Since the FAA Action, more alcohol companies have tried to appease health conscious consumers by adding nutrition labels, however, if you look closely, you’ll see in many cases the calories don’t match the nutritional values provided on the label.

The reason – alcohol isn’t a nutrient that is usually provided on a label, and since much of the carbohydrates are converted into alcohol only those not converted are accounted for on the label.

Below is a label of Angry Orchard Hard Cider. We all know that apples are carbohydrates and we know carbohydrates is a fancy name for sugar. You’ll see that calories, carbohydrates and sugars are accounted for on the label, but if you multiply 31g of carbohydrates by 4 calories per gram, you get 124 calories, not 210. That’s not to say that there are truly 84 calories or 12g of alcohol in this bottle, but you get the idea – the energy is accounted for, but not the nutrient.

This was in the fridge at JP’s parents house. Notice how it lists carbohydrates as 5g (which is 20 calories) and at the top it says calories from alcohol 120 (roughly 17g). I’m not sure if this is something that we will be seeing more of, but I do think it allows people to make more healthful decisions – nutritionally and psychologically.

How do you track it if you’re counting macros?

I recommended threeways to accommodate alcohol into their plan.

1. Since it’s chemically similar to carbohydrates, you can over-accommodate by taking the total calories of the drink and dividing by 4 calories (1g of carbohydrates) to determine how many grams of carbohydrates you would use to account for your drink.

2. Calorically, since they’re close to fats at 7 calories per gram, you can divide by 9 calories (1g of fats) and determine how many grams of fats you want to use to account for your drink.

Both of these ways to accommodate alcohol aren’t going to be perfect – there’s no perfect way to account for it. Even if you’re counting calories, many people aren’t measuring all of the ingredients in their drinks and are estimating their consumption – especially if they’re ordering out.

3. The most common way I recommend they accommodate alcohol into their plan is to calculate it similarly to above and accepting and allowing themselves to eat in a surplus that day. I hardly ever recommend that clients substitute alcohol for food. Not only is alcohol not nutritious but decreasing food will also amplify the impacts that alcohol can have on a body such as stimulant effects.

Early in my journey, I made the mistake of attempting to leave space in my day for a drink to go out and it hits you like a ton of bricks if you’re not careful. Now, if I have a drink I’ve actively made the decision to have it and go over my calories for the day. This doesn’t mean that I load up and go over excessively. In many cases I’m putting my body into maintenance range, not necessarily a surplus.

We’ve talked about how the body breaks down certain nutrients from complex to simple forms and we’ve talk about how some things are broken down at different rates. As a liquid, alcohol is readily absorbed from the both the stomach and the small intestine – it’s not digested before reaching these two organs (Thompson & Manore, 2015). Foods containing protein, fat and fiber help slow down absorption rates of alcohol and therefore slowly the effects of it.

After alcohol enters the bloodstream, it moves to the liver where it’s broken down. The liver produces two enzymes that break down alcohol – alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) (Thompson & Manore, 2015). These enzymes break down alcohol so that it’s energy can be readily available to the body.  After the energy has been made ready, the body only has two options – use it for energy if caloric needs haven’t been met or convert it to fatty acids and store it for later.

While age, gender and weight can impact how alcohol impacts a person, the rate at which alcohol breaks down once it reaches the liver can’t be altered regardless of the myths out there.

Why do so many people cut it out of their diets if you can still lose weight and fat when consuming alcohol?

Again, there’s no nutritional value and it’s easy over consume energy through alcohol consumption. It’s not just from alcohol in beverages that the calories come from, many who enjoy mixed drinks are adding calories through sugary mixers and additions likes cherries and whipped cream. Other negative behaviors like over-eating as well as heavy drinking are also associated with alcohol consumption.

It’s possible that there are some benefits to light or moderate alcohol consumption. Resveratrol is a phytochemical found in red wines, grapes and other plants that can play a role in limiting cellular damage and help lower risk of certain chronic diseases (Thompson & Manore, 2015). However, the amount of resveratrol in wines may be too little to make a meaningful impact and therefore a purified supplement of resveratrol would be recommended. Much research has found links between moderate alcohol consumption and lower chronic disease, but not causation. “Clinical studies are limited by their observational nature as well as for the difficulties to abstract the benefits of wine from other confounders” meaning that it can be hard to determine if the benefits were from the wine or other healthy positive behaviors (Artero, Artero, Tarin & Cano, 2015). There are clear risks to drinking too much alcohol such as higher risk of chronic disease like impaired bone health, pancreatic injury and diabetes, abdominal obesity, cancer.

There is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) for alcohol, however, moderation per gender is encouraged. Moderation for women is one drink per day and no more than two drink per day for men.

Similarly to deciding if you should have a dessert after dinner or an extra serving of what would be considered a treat, you should feel confident in the decision to participate. Having a glass of wine or a bottle of beer shouldn’t make you feel derailed or feel like you’re ruining progress. It should be accounted for in whatever way you believe will be helpful. If it’s moderating the rest of the day and acknowledging that you will be out of a deficit that day – then so be it. If it’s not counting it, but going about your day tracking other items – then so be it. Just don’t allow yourself to become out of control.

As for me, I enjoy a beer with dinner. I like a cocktail when it’s hot. Sometimes I put liquor in my coffee when we make brunch.

Cheers!

❤ Cristina

References

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. (2018, July 2). Beverage Alcohol. Retrieved from Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau: https://www.ttb.gov/alcohol/bev-alc.shtml

Artero, A., Artero, A., Tarin, J. J., & Cano, A. (2015). The impact of moderate wine consumption on health. Maturitas, 3-13.

Department of the Treasury: Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. (2004, April 7). Caloric and Carbohydrate Representations in the Labeling and Advertising of Wine, Distilled Spirits and Malt Beverages. Retrieved from Department of the Treasury: Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau: https://www.ttb.gov/rulings/2004-1.pdf

ScienceDirect. (2018, July 2). Ethanol fermentation. Retrieved from ScienceDirect: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/ethanol-fermentation

Thompson, J., & Manore, M. (2015). Nutrition: An Applied Approach. Boston: Pearson.

Day 179, Quote 17: “You’re halfway there”

Image result for halfway done quotes

This week has been good.

It’s been weird, but good.

I dusted off my dresses and found the rest of my bobby pins – this is what got me mentally in the game. It was nice to have a break from sheath dresses, heels and shaking hands, but I’ve been ready for that break to be over since February.

I started applying for jobs in February knowing that it can take a while for the application to become an interview and the interview to become an offer and an acceptance and a start date.

I started applying early because I was still figuring it out, but I knew what would make my heart sing. I know the kind of work I wanted to do, and I won’t lie it was a bit broader than I had anticipated.

I started on Monday, and let’s just say I’m glad to be through the paperwork and actually working on reading through literature pertaining to my role.

I have Wednesdays off and it gives me time to continue to volunteer where I had been doing my fieldwork placement this past spring.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intimidated a little bit, but honestly, I think it’s good for me to be pushed and work towards my potential. We never know what we can accomplish if we don’t do something new or something that makes us a little uncomfortable.

My role as a project coordinator is going to test me and push me to be a better manager and organizer. I will be coordinating efforts between our team overseas in Liberia and different entities here like the CDC.

This project was developed after the Ebola outbreak in 2014 and if you don’t know anything about Ebola here’s some important things to know:

  1. It was discovered in the 1976 near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo
  2. It’s mainly located in sub-Saharan Africa
  3. Scientists aren’t completely sure where it came from, but suspect animals
  4. It spreads through direct contact of bodily fluids of a person who is sick or has died from Ebola
  5. There’s no approved vaccine or treatment for Ebola
  6. It’s deadly

The work this project is doing to strengthen initiatives in Liberia is truly amazing. This work is and will be impacting thousands of lives if not the whole country. I think that’s why I still feel on cloud 9. I know the potential implications of this project and I get to be a part of it.

I never thought I would be here.

I guess we’ll see where week two takes me as I start having meetings with our teammates. Academically – I’m done. Like done. I submitted my final on Monday and grades were posted today. Solid A in fieldwork and A- in US Government. Officially graduated with highest honors. I can’t even say how nice it feels to be done with papers and tests and to have time to write for fun and read for fun. Until I say I’m bored and take the leap for my MPH. I DO want to take some time off before diving in. Right now, one masters is enough and I’m content with the associate’s I just finished.

I’ve got my eyes on Boston University, but I also want to get experience before jumping into that. Now is the time to “relax” and enjoy the new path, work on my writing and keep moving forward with coaching.

In the gym – my lifts haven’t felt this good or capable in months. I surprised myself with my deadlift on Wednesday and again with my squat on Thursday. The next four weeks of this program really may be magic. I can’t wait to see where I end up and reassess the next steps.

I think I will want to work within my maxes after the program and work on some other self-created programming. I’ve missed writing out my own workouts, however, I did rework some of my accessory work for the PH3 program and I still saw appropriate progress.

Deadlifts and squats are still movements I want to work on, but I want to incorporate some other movements that work on mobility and flexibility. I also may have my eyes set on the rope in my gym.

Last week, I noticed the hanging rope from the ceiling in the functional room. I haven’t really gone in there. It’s where the TRX and kettlebells live. It’s away from the barbells and machines. I used to hate the rope in gym class and I haven’t climbed one since middle school, but there’s a part of me that kind of wants to try and see if I can do it.

I think it’s important to mix it up and being half way through the year, I’m excited to see what else I can do. I’m excited to see what else we have planned.

We’re going on our first hike of the season this weekend and I’m hoping we get a few more in as our schedules are slightly more flexible this summer. We had wanted to start this in the spring, but winter wouldn’t leave and classes kicked my butt.

We had wanted to run a 5K and 10K (me and JP respectively), but his foot just isn’t having it. We’re pretty sure it’s from poor support after a recent run so we’re postponing until later this summer.

I’m happy with where things are, and last summer’s feels feel miles away.

Bring on July. Bring on the rest of 2018.

We’re still working on exploring outside of Moscow Mules, but slowly chipping away at the other goals.

❤ Cristina

 

 

Day 174, Quote 16: “I just don’t know”

What is good enough?

At what point does being proud of yourself matter more than the pride others project onto you?

I just don’t know. Me neither.

I’ve been thinking about this post for a really long time, but it took a first check-in with a new client to decide to say yes and write it.

There are many of us that experience imposture syndrome. It’s common among Type A personalities, it’s also common among trauma survivors. Remember trauma is objective. Every individual has experiences differently and that means that even the same situation may be traumatic for one person, but not another.

Emotional abuse can be more harmful than physical abuse in some cases because physical wounds heal more easily. It’s not hard to identify a broken bone and to put a cast on it. Emotional wounds can take years to identify and acknowledge and work through before they actually heal.

We we’re discussing success and the feeling you get when you’re proud of what you’ve accomplished. She is filled with doubt, and I’m honest, so I told her that I have moments like that too and I explained I felt that way when she contacted me because I was in awe.

I ask everyone to fill out a questionnaire because I want to make sure that we’re a good fit. I want to make sure I understand their support system, their goals, the motivation behind their goals and their expectations of coaching. I don’t want to take on a client that I don’t believe I can help or one that doesn’t have the same expectations of the relationship. Like all potential clients, she told me that the questionnaire was hard.

It made her think about her goals and how they were connected. I’ve had a few questionnaires that have put me into tears, but I also don’t claim that I’m excellent at holding back tears.

Her goals aren’t about physical attributes.

Her short-term goals:

  • Be more social
  • Not over think/doubt myself
  • Find what I am mean to do or be

She followed up these goals by stating that she wasn’t sure if these were actually goals of not.

Our screening lasted longer than they normally do, and we’ve already discussed extending out check-in times. This isn’t the first client I’ve done this for and as many of mine know, most of our calls are longer than an hour anyway. We were both in tears on the screening and I’m not ashamed to say I was in tears on Wednesday night when we had our first call.

Wednesday night we were talking about doubt, success and the influence of outside opinions.

I asked her the above question and she didn’t know the answer. That’s ok, she doesn’t need to and neither do I.

They’re competing ideas – be confident in your decisions and give zero fucks or seeking approval and never settled for your own satisfaction. There’s the alternative – being confident in your decisions, but then seeking approval as you reflect on the choices you’ve made.

When I stopped speaking to my family, it was easy to not reach out. It was easy to not call. Calls weren’t pleasant even when they started out well. They always left me defeated. When I finished my master’s program, I had graduated with a 3.947. I had received one A-. The response on the other end of the phone was “well, it’s not an MBA so it probably wasn’t that hard.” This is the only reason I remember my GPA.

I loved the program. I learned so much about program design and goal setting. It really is a lot of the basis that I use in coaching now. I connected with some of the most brilliant nonprofit leaders in the Boston area. I busted my butt and I was so proud because it was rigorous, and I hadn’t been 100% confident that I could do it. I try to hold onto the pride I had in myself because this was just an example of many that showed me how some people just can’t be happy for you.

I would be lying if I told you I never think about what the reactions of others are to my accomplishments and failures. I do, but I also try to step back and be objective about my own success and failures because if I can’t fill my cup on my own then nothing will ever be good enough.

I have to disagree with Yoda here. You can’t do something without trying. If I try to run a race, I’m still running the race, but there’s no promise I’m going to be capable of finishing, but at least I tried. You practice, and you keep trying and you move the needle over time.

I don’t know why, but I’ve had an easier time being satisfied and proud of my accomplishments and ignoring the opinions of those who actually know me. I think part of the reason is because they should know how I hard work and my backstory –  I shouldn’t have to explain myself. There voices While, I know I should care less about strangers, those seem to be the opinions I struggle to brush off because I know they don’t know me and I feel like I need to explain myself.

In a world where we can connect with a click of a button, it’s hard to say, yes I am enough, yes my voice is enough, yes my opinion is more than enough.

This is something that I find myself working on everyday. I share my story and that’s considered “content creation” in the digital age. But for me, it’s not about the likes, but the impact. Am I making a positive impact? Do others feel that they can share and be authentic because I try to share honestly and be authentic?

I can’t control how others feel about me, but I can control how I feel about myself. So, again, it’s hard, but at what point can we be proud of ourselves and allow that to take precedent over the projections that others put on us?

❤ Cristina

Wellness Refocused Education: Snacking intentionally

When I started competing I thought I had to eat every few hours. This was something that I had read about, but more importantly (at the time) it was something that I saw over and over again in practice online.

For me, every few hours meant every three hours. I was on a cycle of eating about seven or eight meals or snacks, which were small in volume. I didn’t have macronutrient goals per meal (I still don’t). I didn’t have calorie goals per meal (I still don’t).

Now, there’s nothing wrong with eating in this structure. I do think small meals can help you get through the day, but naturally, this method also has you in a cycle of wondering what time it is and when the next meal is coming. This kind of focus on meal timing has the potential to be harmful mentally. This concept can be considered grazing, since meals are consumed steadily throughout the day instead of in two or three large meals.

Transitioning away from this approach to eating when I was hungry was a slight struggle at first. However, after a few months, I relearned my body and now I have an idea of meal timing that works for me as well as how full certain combinations of foods make me so that I can plan when I’m on the go.

One positive thing from this eating structure is that I started to eliminate labels from food like breakfast, lunch and dinner.

By removing labels and eating what I’m interested in, I gave myself more flexibility and diversity to my meals. Some days I just want eggs for dinner – they’re also quick and no hassle.

I hear often, that snacking is bad, can lead to weight gain and in some cases can lead to going “off-track”. I think many confuse having a snack with negative snacking behavior like what we describe as mindless eating. I do also understand that some foods can lead an individual to not stay on track and in that case, I would encourage that person to dig deeper and think about why that food has that power.

So snacking, what’s the science say?

A 2011 study investigated the definitions of snacking, perceptions of snack foods and snacking behavior defined “having a snack” as “eating food between meals or eating a light meal (Chaplin & Smith, 2011).”

Other research has defined a snack by caloric consumption, social interactions and the time of day for the consumption, but “these definitions fail to consider the influence of social patterns and/or cultural norms on timing and size of eating occasions (Chaplin & Smith, 2011).” These definitions also don’t take into consideration a person’s motivations to eat such as not triggered by hunger or social environment.

Another article that reviewed definitions of snacking and motivations to snack found that without a consistent definition of the words snack and snack, it’s hard to determine if prevalence has increased and if it does in fact contribute to weight gain (Hess, Jonnalagadda, & Slavin, 2017).

For the purpose of this post, the definition that I’ll use is:

Snack: an individual food or light meal consumed between meals with or without intent.

Researchers of the 2011 study also found that language used to describe and talk about food influenced how it was reported such as labeling “healthy foods” as snacks (Larson, Miller, Watts, Story, & Neumark-Sztainer, 2016). Gender also made a difference.

While having a snack can simply mean that you have consumed an individual item or light meal with intent, snacking behavior is typically associated with over-consumption of calories.

A 2016 study in the Journal of Nutrition examined snacking behavior from 2,793 adolescents to determine the influence this behavior had on weight status (Larson, Miller, Watts, Story, & Neumark-Sztainer, 2016). Researchers were interested in this examination because there is a lot of conflicting findings that suggest snacking behavior may or may not contribute to weight status in young people, which impacts the strategies provided to those seeking to improve dietary adherence.

What they found was that snacks have the potential to be calorically-dense, which may cause someone to over consume calories; however, the behavior on its own of having a food or light meal in between meals isn’t inherently harmful to health (Larson, Miller, Watts, Story, & Neumark-Sztainer, 2016).

However, paired with other behaviors, there’s greater potential for calorie-dense snacks to be chosen such as watching television (mindless eating) and skipping legitimate meals.

As an adult, I look back on times in childhood and think about the things I missed out on – the hours of naps I said ‘no’ to and the snacks I missed out on. As an adult, these things have greatly helped me maintain my health, even when there are times it doesn’t seem so great.

Being “allowed” to have a snack truly comes down to the psychology of dieting and eating behaviors. It comes from having all or nothing mindset. What we thought we knew about a healthy lifestyle has been made more complicated by the reality that we need to be healthy mentally as well and understanding that creating lifestyle change doesn’t happen in a bubble.

Be intentional

Going back to the definition that I created above – the ending, with or without intent. I think this part is key. Having a snack with intention means it’s part of the plan.

When I plan out my day, especially if I know I will be in and out of the house, I intentionally pack them with me. There’s potential that I won’t need them, but having a snack planned helps me with dietary adherence or “staying on track”.

I know if I’m truly hungry, I can wait about 30 minutes before I feel like I need to find something. If I don’t have a snack with me I’m more likely to not care about my choice, which will more than likely be calorie-dense.

As a society, we’ve changed greatly in the past 50 years. The workforce is larger with more women going to work, many of us work jobs with longer hours or nontraditional hours, we’re are living at home longer, having children later, obtaining more education, etc. If our schedules have changed and adapted with the needs of society, why not adapt our eating to our lifestyles?

There is no right way to go about meal timing, which means there’s no wrong way either. If we can take away labels and change the language that we use when we describe food, we may be able to create eating behavior that encourages adherence and gives us the satisfaction of participation.

When labels are removed the possibilities are endless. Eating well doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t have to be complicated. I carry one or two protein bars in my purse, but I will also put some crackers or pretzels for the when I’m running around.

Some of the snacks I’ve been enjoying lately are:

  • Snyder’s mini pretzels
  • Wheat Thins
  • Individually wrapped cheese bricks
  • Quaker caramel rice crisps
  • KIND bars
  • Fruit: grapes, bananas and apples
  • Protein bars and protein shakes are always a staple
  • Nuts: pistachios for JP, walnuts for me!

snacks 1

A helpful tip, that I still implement is to portion my snacks when I get them home from the store since I typically plan and prep the day I grocery shop. This isn’t necessarily ideal for all foods because some could get stale, but  portioning a few snacks can be helpful. If you don’t plan out your week and prefer to take it a day at a time, you can still portion out some snacks so that they’re easier to grab when you’re on the go.

If you don’t mind buying individually wrapped snacks, that’s also fine. I don’t buy everything individually wrapped because it’s not cost effective for us., however, if you know that the packaging makes a difference in your decision-making then you need to find a strategy that works for you.

Tell me, how are your choices impacted when you don’t have something on hand or something planned?

 

References

Chaplin, K., & Smith, A. P. (2011). DEFINITIONS AND PERCEPTIONS OF SNACKING. Current Topics in Nutraceutical Research , 53-60.

Hess, J. M., Jonnalagadda, S. S., & Slavin, J. L. (2017). What Is a Snack, Why Do We Snack, and How Can We Choose Better Snacks? A Review of the Definitions of Snacking, Motivations to Snack, Contributions to Dietary Intake, and Recommendations for Improvement. Advances in Nutrition, 466-475.

Larson, N. I., Miller, J. M., Watts, A. W., Story, M. T., & Neumark-Sztainer, D. R. (2016). Adolescent Snacking Behaviors Are Associated with Dietary Intake and Weight Status. The Journal of Nutrition, 1348-1355.

Tartakovsky, M. (2015, August 3). 5 Ways to Expand All-or-Nothing Thinking. Retrieved from Psych Central: https://psychcentral.com/blog/5-ways-to-expand-all-or-nothing-thinking/

 

 

Day 169, Quote 15: “Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.”

No one is immune.

There are some things we just don’t grow out of, no matter how much we want to or how hard we try.

For some, it may be hard to look in the mirror and see the person standing in front of them instead of the person they used to be. For others, it may be how they think about their environment or how they respond to it. These may be things that we work on piece-by-piece by never fully let go.

I’m sure you’re noticing a pattern by now with how I talk with my clients and try to talk to myself. So I have no issues saying again, this is something I talk to my clients about often because this is also something I tell myself.

Behavior change is hard. I’ve talked about that before. You need to be ready for it. That being said, once you’ve felt good about making changes and you’ve practiced them, it can STILL be hard. Our behavior is a result of many things, it’s more than we “know”.

There’s two conversations going on in my head and I apologize if they get a bit jumbled, but they intertwine.

The first is reminding you that I was diagnosed with PTSD after college and just after I started losing weight. Around the time I was diagnosed with PTSD, I was also diagnosed with binge-eating disorder and anxiety. At the time I didn’t understand that multiple disorders could be diagnosed. Now, I know that it’s called concurrent disorders and it’s more common than we think.

I took medical leave almost two years ago because of my PTSD, and while I had been diagnosed four years before, I had never struggled with flashbacks, anxiety attacks and disassociation as intensely as I did when I started medical leave.

During college, food was a source of comfort for me like it is for many. It was part of socializing, it was part of coping, it was everything.

I know now that the behaviors I had that led to my weight gain were also related to my mental health. Honestly, as a college student, that wasn’t something I had considered before.

Seven months after college, I started to lose weight because I felt like I couldn’t control anything around me and this was something I knew was about my behavior. After I started losing weight, I had struggled with my eating in spurts around times of high stress, sometimes for a few days at a time, but never for longer than that. I never thought of this as more than stress-eating.

It was weird when my therapist at the time said I had binge-eating disorder. Our sessions revolved around growing up in an abusive household and how it impacted me in the present day. We talked about my relationships and the life I was creating for myself and making connections with previous experience and behavior to current experiences and behaviors. It was weird when a second therapist also agreed that I had an eating-disorder.

When I’m in good headspace, I don’t struggle with eating or decision-making or sticking to whatever “plan” I have at the time – that goes for sleep schedule, workouts, as well as eating – all aspects.

The second is telling you that I do feel good about where I’m at with everything. It’s been a weird year schedule wise, but I feel like I’ve gotten a good handle on adjusting priorities and creating a lifestyle that works for the current time.

Some of the feelings I’m going to talk about came to a surprise to me because I’m not 100% sure where they came from.

I’m also sure some things I will say may sound like they’re contradictory.

Let’s start at the beginning-ish.

In the beginning, when there were dinosaurs and I felt like change and progress were going to take forever – portion control meant eating smaller portions than what I had been, i.e. putting less on my plate and therefore in my mouth. This meaning was easy to follow because my daily diet was out-of-control and it wasn’t hard to just decrease my portions.

Eventually portion control meant making the decision to either follow the specific serving size on a package or to have a portion of that size, i.e. sometimes I have one serving, sometimes I have two, sometimes I have half a serving, etc. This was more structured and specific to my goals.

When I was competing, the above concept of portion control was a bit more meticulous. While I still chose to have one or two servings, I was more precise with my measurements.

So, I repeat – when I’m in good headspace – adherence isn’t hard for me. I’m deadline driven. I thrive in a goal-oriented environment. In isolation, the weight loss portion of my journey wasn’t hard because I had no issues sticking to smaller portions and moderating my food or working out – it was everything else in my environment that made it hard.

Today, even though I’m focusing on developing my strength and body re-composition, I’m allowing some flexibility with my eating, which means it might not be so perfect. Real life isn’t perfect. For me, I need to be flexible – I want to be flexible, otherwise, I think we find ourselves upset in every situation that we believe we have no say in or is out of our control.

I don’t have off-limit foods. I truly try to be flexible within macro-counting. I don’t eat foods I don’t like. I also try to change up my meals and be creative because you can’t live your life on a meal plan. When I’m not tracking everything, I have an 70/30 or 60/40 rule – track most things, but work on making good choices.

When JP and I go out to eat, I always get something I won’t cook for myself at home – like fish. I just can’t cook it the way they do at the restaurant. I’ll also get something slightly ridiculous like a burger with every topping on it because it’s not something I would do regularly anyway.

When we get dessert to bring home from local bakeries, my thought process is usually these will be here tomorrow and the next day and the next, so picking up the number we want is enough for now. We usually pick up two (depending on the size) and we split them. I pick one and JP will pick one. We don’t usually bring home more than we’re going to eat that day.

However, sometimes, when I’m trying to decide about something we don’t have often, I do struggle to finalize my choice. I may change my choice three or four times. I may say it out loud and talk to JP about it. Sometimes I go back to my first choice because there’s a reason I said it first, even if I don’t know it.

This is struggle I found myself in Sunday morning when we went to get bagels.

We always have bread in the house. Bread isn’t special. We make sandwiches a few times a week with whole grain bread and it’s satisfying enough – fiber, vitamins, all the things a grain should provide.

We always have English muffins in the house too. We probably eat them twice a week and since we don’t buy burger buns, sometimes we use plain English muffins in place of those. If you’re making a face at that, you don’t know the magic of a toasted English muffin and how it holds your burger patty and toppings in place!

We don’t keep bagels in the house. I’m not really sure why, but it’s probably because the size of the English muffin is enough to satisfy the craving and provide fullness without being too full. Sometimes a bagel can be too much.

There’s a bagel place by JP’s parent’s house called Gunther Tootie’s. The name always makes me giggle and their bagels fill me up for hours. I usually get a breakfast sandwich and that accounts for breakfast and a snack because it really is that filling for me.

I like to plan what I’m getting when I go out, but at 29, I also know what I like to eat. I know that I don’t like poppy seed bagels, but I do like lemon poppy seed muffins. I know that I like the idea of everything bagels, but I don’t like the mess they create so I never get them. Maybe I’m a pain in the ass, but I’ve talked to pickier eaters.

The conversation I usually have with myself and even with JP when he’s deciding is – sweet or savory? What am I trying to satisfy because let’s face it – this is about taste. From there I’ll ask what stands out that sounds good and what will keep you satisfied. I do ask myself about satisfaction in relation to fullness because I don’t like to be hungry after I’ve eaten a meal that I believe should’ve kept me full. I also ask about satisfaction in relation to taste because 1. I should like the taste 2. Food is also about experience. Everything has its place: fuel, experience, nutrients.

Yesterday morning I knew I wanted a bagel, obviously. I figured I would probably get a bagel sandwich, but I couldn’t decide between sweet and savory. My first choice was a bagel with salmon because we NEVER buy salmon. I then went down the rabbit hole of should I get this, or should I get a bacon, egg and cheese, maybe I should get a chocolate chip bagel and honey walnut cream cheese.

image1.jpeg

In my head, I probably went through five or six choices and then said to JP, “I think I’m going to get salmon on a rainbow bagel, and I’d like to bring home two bagels for us to have for breakfast this week.”

He looked at me and said “yeah, we could do that.”

So, I ordered a rainbow bagel with salmon, regular cream cheese, red onion and tomato to eat right then and a chocolate chip bagel and an onion bagel for later this week. They’re already planned for breakfast on Tuesday.

image2.jpeg

This was the compromise for the battle in my head.

I know it’s one that many others face too.

Here’s what I know about this battle.

  1. I know that the bagels aren’t going anywhere, at least from what I know about this business – they aren’t going anywhere. And if they were, there’s other places that bagels can be obtained. I also know that it doesn’t matter that I know that. This kind of thinking is associated with disordered eating behavior and eating disorders – and yes, these are different, but connected concepts.
  2. I know that it’s ok to not have a perfect plan or to change your mind and therefore alter the plan. Sometimes you don’t know what you’re going to be in the mood for, but this was more than not being able to decide what I thought would taste good. This was a moment I felt that I wasn’t in control of my relationship with food.

We have many relationships. We have relationships with people around us. We have relationships with ourselves. We also have relationships with food. Our relationships impact our decision-making process in both positive and negative ways. They create our environment.

These are two of the most important questions I ask clients – who or what is in your environment and what are these relationships like?

These are also questions I ask and reevaluate in my own journey.

Who or what is in my environment and what is the impact they are having on me.

Right now, so many exciting things are happening, and I never thought I would get here. It’s overwhelming. It’s a good overwhelming, but with the excitement comes fear and doubt of something new. I don’t always feel it, but sometimes it creeps in.  Sometimes it puts pressure on the other relationships I have.

For me acknowledging the feeling in general is a good step. Talking about how it’s impacting other aspects of my life is another.

My relationship with food isn’t perfect, but it’s better than it used to be, it’s a work-in-progress.

Trusting myself is going to be an ongoing project and that’s okay.

Great relationships take work and time. I’m not in a rush.

 

❤ Cristina

*If you think you may be struggling with an eating disorder or disordered behavior patterns, please seek proper professional assistance. The National Eating Disorders Association has a helpline that’s open 24-hours a day. If you don’t think your behavior warrants that call, consider reaching out to a therapist in your area who can assist your specific needs.

 

 

Recipe: Smoothie bowl

I won’t lie, whenever I see smoothie bowls online I am always envious because they also look delicious and perfectly put together. I don’t know about you, but fruit doesn’t keep me very full so it’s something I typically pair with something else. I may have berries in my oats or a banana with my protein shake. I top yogurt with fruit and nuts sometimes. But on it’s own I could eat a ton of fruit and not be full for long.

However, since  March we’ve been consuming a ridiculous amount of fruit that has led to the purchase of large bags of frozen mixed fruit. It lasts longer than fresh fruit and it’s perfect for in yogurt and smoothies. I do buy fresh, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE crisp fruit, but honestly guys, read the labels. Frozen fruit is just as nutritionally dense as fresh and you can find bags that have NO additives, which makes it a pretty economic choice when some fruits aren’t in season.

What brought me to this recipe is the search for a snack while lunch was cooking. For me this was an appetizer to baked chicken. I was running low on veggies and was trying to figure out a carb to have with lunch. I then realized that I could just have lunch in parts and call it a meal.

What You’ll Need

  • 1 cup of frozen fruit
  • 1/4 cup of milk or milk alternative
  • 1-2 tablespoons of protein powder
  • Optional toppings: nuts, seeds, granola, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, more fruit

Directions

1. In a food processor, grind/chop 1 cup of frozen fruit for a few minutes. You’re going to want to pulse the fruit as it start to chop. I used mixed fruit from Dole that I got a sale a few weeks ago.

*Using a few fruits gives a good base of flavor and textured. You could combine bananas, strawberries, blueberries, etc. if you don’t have a pre-bought bag.

2. Add a 1/4 cup of milk or milk alternative to the chopped fruit. I used almond milk. After blending in milk, consistency should be thick like frozen yogurt.

3. Add 1-2 tablespoons of whey casein protein powder. I added 1 tablespoon, which is about 1/4 scoop of protein powder. The more protein you add, the thicker it’ll be and you may need to add a little more milk. If you’re using whey isolate it may not be as thick as whey casein blend. If you’re using a vegan or plant based protein, I’m unsure how thickness will be impacted.

4. Transfer fruit base to a bowl and level out.

5. Optional: Top with your favorite toppings. The fruit base will have a lot of flavor so you can eat it on its own or you can jazz it up with toppings.

* Be mindful of you’re toppings and what they add nutritionally and calorically. This base is a moderate carbohydrates base with 5-12g of protein depending on how much protein and brand (1 or 2 tablespoons) you added. Nuts/seeds/nut butter will add fat and some protein; fruit will add more carbs; coconut will add fat and carbs, etc.

Estimate nutrition for my specific base: 1f | 18c | 7p

With toppings: 9f | 30c | 9p

 

Wellness Refocused Education: Steel Cut Oats v. Rolled Oats

One of my clients and I were talking about oats the other day. She said she had to eat steel cut oats, and I asked, “why do they HAVE to be steel cut?”

She said well they’re healthier for you.

I told her that wasn’t necessarily true.

So, let’s talk oats – what’s the difference between them?

Steel-cut oats are minimally processed, meaning they have only been cut a few times from their original form of oat groats. They can take up to a half hour to cook.

Rolled or old-fashioned oats are oat groats that been steamed and rolled – this makes for faster cooking.

Quick-oats are rolled oats that have been chopped – even faster cooking.

Nutritionally, these are all made from oat groats, so they should contain the same number of calories, protein and fiber. However, the biggest nutritional differences will occur when you compare brands. Oats made from Quaker may differ from oats that are store brand.

Oats are a great source of vitamin E (a fat soluble vitamin) and B-1 and B-2 (both water soluble vitamins).

The biggest difference is how your body digests steel cut versus rolled oats.

The steaming and rolling process that the rolled oat goes through make them easier on digestion in comparison to steel cut oats. This is because the outer layers of the steel cut oats have insoluble fiber, which is harder for digestive enzymes to breakdown (Rasane, Jha, Sabikhi, Kumar, & Unnikrishnan, 2015). While steel cut may help with satiety, they may also result in bloating (Rebello, O’Neil, & Greenway, 2016). To further help with oat digestion you can soak your oats overnight or slow cook them. Here’s how I make mine overnight.

So why does it seem like there are more differences nutritionally?

Serving size matters. I’ve seen some brands list the serving size as a ½ cup of dry oats where I’ve seen other’s list it as 1/3 cup. The serving size dictates the caloric and nutritional value.

Add-ins and topping make a difference. I buy plain rolled oats because sometimes I actually enjoy plain oat meal, but mostly because I enjoy the chance to experience with different toppings and flavors. I love using protein powder in my oats – it adds protein and flavor, which allows me to add minimal toppings. I also love berries and peanut butter in my oats.

If you look at some of the instant oatmeal’s available in the store you’ll see packets that include high sugar flavors like maple brown sugar, apple cinnamon, etc.

Below is a comparison of steel cut oats, rolled oats and apple cinnamon from Quaker Oats.

oats photo 1oats photo 2

You’ll notice that steel cut and rolled oats are pretty much the same, except steel cut has 2g of insoluble fiber, which comes from the lack of rolling the oat groats (soluble v. insoluble fiber). Comparing these two to the Quaker Instant: Apples and Cinnamon flavor, you may noticed that the serving size is the same weight, but as you scroll through the table you’ll also see an additional 6g of carbohydrates, but 12g of sugar – this is because a portion of oats have been replaced with sugar, spices and apple pieces, all of which add weight and sugar.

Really what this comes down to is asking yourself 1. What texture do you prefer? 2. How much time do you have?

If you like oats in general, they have a lot of benefits like the vitamins listed above but can also help with maintaining a healthy cholesterol level as well as satiety throughout the day, which can assist with dietary adherence.

Remember, there’s a lot of marketing tactics used to make us as consumers believe something is much healthier than it truly is. Don’t get fooled. Read labels, ask questions and do a little digging on your own.

Lastly, how do you take your oats?

❤ Cristina

 

References:

Rasane, P., Jha, A., Sabikhi, L., Kumar, A., & Unnikrishnan, V. S. (2015). Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value added foods – a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 662-675.

Rebello, C. J., O’Neil, C. E., & Greenway, F. L. (2016). Dietary fiber and satiety: the effects of oats on satiety. Nutrition Reviews, 131-147.