Talyakosstrin

In 2018 Fuel Your Life Beyond the Food!

 

Very often our health and wellness goals and New Year’s resolutions revolve around food and weight. While a wholesome, nourishing diet is a very important goal aimed at leading a healthy, energetic life, it is just one piece of the puzzle. If other aspects of your life don’t fulfill you, no amount of vegetables will make you happier. Now, I’m not telling you to eat junk food and sit on your couch all day. What I am saying is focus on the complete picture; fueling your life physically, emotionally, and spiritually will bring you closer to a happier, healthier, more fulfilled YOU!

 

In 2018 I want you to broaden your health and wellness goals. In addition to adding in more whole foods to crowd out the processed foods and sugar, focus on leading a life you love! Do you participate in physical activities you actually enjoy?  Do your relationships fuel you? Does your career motivate you? Do you have a spiritual practice that inspires you? Do you do something fun every day? Do you make time for YOU and include self-care rituals that nourish you?

 

I have clients whose initial main focus is to lose weight, increase energy, or heal digestive issues—all very important goals.  We work together towards gradually adding in more whole foods that nourish their unique body and crowd out the foods that don’t serve them well. But that is only one aspect of what they gain in my 6-month integrative health-coaching program. They find physical activities they actually look forward to doing each day. They learn ways to reduce their stress through breathing techniques, meditation, and yoga. They improve relationships with their loved ones. They are happier at their jobs. They become more mindful while eating and in all aspects of their daily activities. They sleep better and are more at peace. They carve out time to do activities that rejuvenate them. They radiate with a newfound appreciation for themselves and their life!

 

Leading a healthier, happier life goes beyond the food on your plate. Here are some of my favorite tips for gradual modifications you can incorporate in the coming year to fuel yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually:

  • Slow Down– In this fast paced, technology-based world we are always in a rush. We run from place to place and constantly think of the next task or event. Resolve to add 10 extra minutes to get to your next activity. Take a step back and look around and truly appreciate the moments with your family, friends, and all that nature offers in this beautiful world.
  • Sleep More – Make sleep a priority. Give your body a chance to rejuvenate and rest as much as possible. Start by going to sleep 30 minutes earlier and turn off electronics an hour before bed, so you can truly unwind.
  • Do Physical Activities you Enjoy – Experiment and find physical activities that motivate you. If you don’t like running on the tredmill, then don’t run on the treadmill. Do you Love to dance? Take a dance class. Cherish your time in nature? Go for a hike. Do you enjoy team sports? Get a group of your friends or family together for a game. Do you enjoy group strength training? Take a boot camp class. Are you looking for more of a lower impact class? Try yoga or Pilates. The important thing is to do an activity you like, so you actually look forward to it!
  • Do What You Love – Find a career you love or make changes, so you can love the work you already do! Does your job bring fulfillment and gratification? Are you using your strengths and creativity? Are you motivated? Are you working in a positive environment with those who encourage you? Do you look forward to work? Are you involved in networking groups to enhance your career? Ask yourself these questions to see if your career aligns with you or how you can improve it.
  • Find a Spiritual Practice That Speaks to You – Spirituality comes in many forms including religion, yoga, meditation, art, music, and nature—just to name a few. Add to your life a spiritual practice that inspires and enlightens. Find something that grounds you and is your happy place. Don’t be afraid to try something new.
  • Appreciate, Forgive, and Cultivate Positive Relationships – Relationships should provide joy, comfort, and growth. Acknowledge and appreciate those around you. A simple “thank you” can make someone’s day. Forgive those who have done you wrong, and make peace with the past. Talk to the person or write a letter that describes how you feel; often just writing the letter without sending it is enough to let it all go. You will feel a sense of peace and closure. Release the negative people in your life who are downers and surround yourself by those who support you and motivate you to be your best self!
  • Be a Yes for You – Too often I hear clients say that they just don’t have time for themselves, yet they manage to do things for everyone else in their lives. It’s OK to say no to others when they ask you to do something. It’s OK to place your needs first. Be a YES for you in 2018 and carve out time for you every single day, even if it’s just 20 minutes. Do something relaxing and fun! You are not selfish for doing so, and absolutely deserve it.
  • Start and finish the day with gratitude – When you wake up in the morning, acknowledge everything you are grateful for in life. List the items out loud or write them down. Count your blessings when you go to sleep and appreciate all of the good things that happened that day. You will start to focus on the positive rather than the negative.
  • Set Intentions - Intentions help you achieve your goals and provide a roadmap to your desired destination. Set intentions for yourself each day such as: “I intend to slow down and find the beauty in everything,” “I intend to be selective with my time,” “I intend to try something new,” or “I intend to stop before responding to someone right away and acknowledge both sides of the situation.” Intentions will motivate you, provide a focus, and set you on a path to work towards your goals.
  • Listen to your body– Last, but certainly not least, always listen to your body. If it needs rest, then make sure to get sleep and slow down. If your body is aching, do stretches. If your stomach hurts, pay attention to the foods you are eating, how you are eating, where you are eating, and incorporate stress releasing activities such as yoga and deep breathing. Your body knows what it craves and is your best healer.

 

Make 2018 the year to nourish your body, mind, and spirit. We can work together to create the life you love!


Talyakosstrin

Start Your Day on a Positive Note!

How do you start your morning? Do you:
  • Feel overwhelmed by your to-do list and start thinking about what you have to complete first?
  • Immediately go on auto-pilot and mindlessly complete your morning chores?
  • Hit the snooze button one time too many until you realize you will be late for work or your first appointment?
  • Take care of everyone else in the household before you even think about yourself?
Any of these scenarios sound familiar? Your morning does not have to start this way. You can choose to start each day with intention and on a positive note; and you can make that happen with a morning routine that just focuses on nourishing you and your body.

Picture this – You set an alarm 20 minutes before your usual wakeup time, and you are the first person in the household to awaken. Rather than pressing the snooze button and rushing to get everything accomplished before you head out the door, you decide to use this precious time wisely. You stretch your body to full extent from head to toe and check in with yourself. You take some deep breaths and gently get out of bed. When you enter the living room, you open the window and greet the morning sunshine. You notice and appreciate the sound of silence and stillness around you. You prepare a cup of hot water and lemon, and curl up on the couch with your journal to list the top 3 things you are grateful for that day. You smile as you realize there is so much to be thankful for in your beautiful life. You then spend the next 5 minutes breathing deeply as you inhale positive thoughts and exhale any tension or negativity that you may be holding. You open the door and step outside to take in the crisp, fresh air. You are now ready to start your day and take on anything that comes your way!

How does this scenario sound? Peaceful, right? What a fabulous way to start the day! And all it took was an extra 20 minutes. How we choose to start the day has a huge impact on our mindset. When we begin the morning on a positive note we set the tone for the rest of the day. Everything just seems to look a lot brighter. Conversely, if we wake up and immediately begin to worry about our to-do list, check our emails, rush and only focus on everyone else in the household, it starts the day with anxiety and frustration—and where does that get us?

Now you may be thinking, “How do I add another 20 minutes to my morning?” and I totally get it.  You don’t have to take 20 minutes. If taking 10 minutes helps, then that is 10 more minutes that you’ve dedicated just for you. New habits take time to create, and you slowly work towards them. First start with 5 minutes, and see how that goes. As you notice how much better you feel each morning and begin to appreciate this additional time you’ve created just for you, start adding another 5 minutes and then another 5 minutes. You will cherish this new-found “you time” and will look forward to it every morning.  The key is to start somewhere.

Below are some of my favorite ways to start the day on a positive note. See what fuels you, and slowly incorporate it into your new routine.  

Deep Breathing
–Lie in bed or find a quiet space in your house on a chair, a couch, or a yoga mat on the floor.  Close your eyes. Inhale and exhale deeply and focus on the sound of your breath.

Drink Hot Water – Rather than reaching for a cup of coffee, start your day with a cup of hot water and lemon, and sip it slowly.

Stretch – Stretch in bed or lie down on the floor. Pay attention to how your body is feeling from head to toe.

Yoga – Do some gentle yoga poses to wake up your body. Do your own routine or follow a short video such as Morning Yoga with Adriene.

Meditation –Take 10 minutes to do your own form of meditation while sitting up or lying down. If you prefer a guided practice, try the apps Headspace, or Insight Timer.

Morning Walk –Go for a walk around the block. Inhale the fresh air. Look at the animals and trees around you. Appreciate all that nature has to offer, and if you’re lucky watch the beautiful sunrise.

Get Fresh Air - If a walk is too long, just step outside for a few minutes with your cup of hot water and take some deep breaths.   

Gratitude – Appreciate what you have in life. Say these things to yourself or out loud. If you enjoy writing, keep a gratitude journal.

Morning Affirmations – Say positive, inspiring affirmations to yourself such as “I am blessed,” “I am healthy,” “I am beautiful” “I am worthy,” and “I am looking forward to a fabulous day!”

Set your intentions and goals for the day – Set your intentions for the day, and begin with a positive attitude. Write down a couple of small goals and action steps you will take to achieve them. Take a minute to appreciate how far you have progressed towards your long-term goals.

As you continue the rest of your morning, be mindful and present in all that you do.

You have the power to choose how to start your day. Each morning is an opportunity for endless possibilities, and even one positive action can help you to get off on the right foot. When you establish morning rituals that include positivity, intention, gratitude, and presence, you will uplift your spirits, reduce stress, and gain a new sense of energy for another amazing day ahead!

Talyakosstrin

Just Breathe


Have you ever been in a situation where you were angry or anxious, your chest tightens, and all of a sudden you realize that you have forgotten to breathe? I think we have all been there at some point. We let the stress of our day-to-day activities consume our mind—we forget how to relax, and the increased level of stress can be harmful to our bodies. Sometimes we just need to take a step back, stop what we’re doing, and breathe deeply.

The automatic act of deep breathing comes so naturally to babies, yet as adults many of us do not breath properly or to our maximum potential. Our constant on-the-go mindset in this fast paced life has led to increased anxiety, which results in a rapid heartbeat and quick short breaths from the chest instead of from our lower lungs.  Many of us tend to reach for unhealthy “quick fixes” such as comfort food or alcohol to manage stress; these only temporarily mask the issues and can have other negative consequences.

Stress management is crucial for a happier, healthier lifestyle, and deep breathing is a simple, yet powerful tool that can be implemented anywhere at any time. When you breathe deeply and slowly, you reverse the stress response in your body by slowing down your heart rate, lowering your blood pressure, and calming your body and mind.

Take just a few moments each day to tune into your breath; the resultant reduction in stress will yield additional benefits such as muscle relaxation, increased energy, enhanced blood circulation, improved digestion, deeper sleep, and an overall heightened sense of peace and happiness.

Focus on consciously breathing slowly and rhythmically by engaging your abdominal muscles and diaphragm instead of the muscles in the upper chest and neck. Inhale through your nose for 5 seconds as you bring air deep down into your lungs. Picture your lungs expanding. Hold for 3 seconds. Exhale slowly through your mouth for 5 seconds. Continue to do this several times, and you will immediately notice an enhanced state of relaxation.

Helpful Tips to Incorporate and Enhance a Deep Breathing Practice
  • Set aside the time - Carve out specific times in the day to practice deep breathing.  A great way to start is by taking 5 minutes first thing in the morning and 5 minutes prior to bedtime. You will begin your day with a sense of energy and peace and unwind with a sense of relaxation for a deep night sleep.
  • Take a computer break - Work-load building up? Stressed about a project? Staring at the screen for too long? This would be a good time to take a computer break, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. You will clear your mind, reenergize, and more productive.
  • Take advantage of traffic - No one likes to sit in traffic; but rather than getting angry, take long, deep breaths, and you will feel much better.
  • Use Daily Reminders - Place sticky notes around your house and the office with a reminder to “Just breathe.” It’s always helpful to have a visual reminder.
  • Place a hand on your abdomen during the practice - Notice your stomach rise and fall during each breath.
  • Add some peaceful background noise - Play calming music or nature sounds during the practice to achieve a deeper state of relaxation.
Play around with your breathing practice and see what methods work best for you.

We can’t always control the stressors in our life.  We CAN, however, learn to manage the negative emotions in a more positive way by focusing on our breath. As you incorporate deep breathing practice into your daily life, in time it will become a natural habit.

“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.”--Etty Hillesum

Talyakosstrin

Accountability: The Journey from Commitment to Results!


Recently someone said to me, “Talya, my wife and I know what to do to lead a healthy lifestyle. We know that we should eat more fruits and vegetables, cook healthy meals at home, and add more exercise to our life, but what advice do you have to help us get there?” My answer is accountability.

As is true for that individual, most of you know what needs to be done and yet many of you struggle to achieve interim goals that lead to sustainable habits.  Identifying these goals is a step in the right direction--it is in fact the first step towards achieving health and wellness transformation. Adding accountability to the mix is oftentimes the key to bridging the gap between commitment and results.

Having someone in your life to hold you accountable adds the motivation to stay on track and to achieve your goals.

As an Integrative Health and Wellness Coach, I work with you, support you, and hold you accountable as you make gradual modifications to your diet and lifestyle based on your unique needs. I can help you learn to listen to your body and what it craves: physically, mentally, and emotionally. You will take small steps towards your intended goals towards a progressive transformation and have a coach to cheer you on along your journey!

Working with a coach who will hold you accountable derives several benefits:

  • Commitment - having a committed partner increases the probability of following through with stated goalsWhen a client commits to working with me, they have my commitment to be with them every step of the way to create positive, progressive lifestyle changes.
  • Motivation - reporting to a coach provides the motivation to continue to work towards established goals. I love it when clients leave each session excited and confident to tackle their next goals. It is inspiring to see the smiles on their faces when we meet again and they share their success stories.
  • Positive reinforcement - a coach helps steer you through the off day or week. A coach will help you to identify what may be standing in the way of reaching your goals and help you to adjust accordingly.  I always remind my clients to keep a positive mindset and move forward no matter what happened on the prior day. The important thing is to progress towards a better tomorrow.
  • Support - a coach supports you and cheers you on along your journey so that you don’t have to go it alone. I check in with my clients several times a week to follow up on their progress and provide support between sessions. We celebrate daily achievements and successes together, no matter how big or small.
  • Focus - a coach will help you to identify why you want to achieve your specific goals and help you to stay on track during the process. I work together with my clients to focus on the items that are the most important to their physical and emotional needs.
  • Time-Management Improvement - a coach will help you to create specific, concrete, measurable action steps to best fit your schedule and needs. For example, rather than a plan to exercise 4 days next week, my clients and I review their planners.  We select specific dates and times for their workouts, list the type of exercise they will complete, and include the length of time for each activity.


As Bob Proctor, Coach and Mentor said, “Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to result”. I look forward to the opportunity to support you and provide you with accountability during your progressive health and wellness transformation.


Talyakosstrin

Vacation Balance & Bounce Back


School is out! It is time for warm weather, sunshine, outdoor activities, beaches, barbecues, swimming, and of course travel. I’m sure you are looking forward to your upcoming vacation to relax, unplug, spend quality time with your loved ones, have adventures, try new activities, experiment with food, and have fun!

We can all use a vacation to get away from the hustle and bustle of our daily schedules. However, vacations can also be a time where we let ourselves go a bit, neglect our self-care, and overindulge. I am a huge fan of traveling and that, of course, includes trying the local food and beverages; but I take a balanced approach.

Rather than living a life of restriction and deprivation, I follow the 90/10 rule where you maintain a healthy lifestyle 90 percent of the time, but allow yourself that special treat once in a while. Vacation is definitely a part of that 10 percent.  Now that doesn’t mean you go crazy and pile up a mountain of food onto your plate in the buffet line, eat a whole pizza pie, or drink a pitcher of margaritas every day. You can, however, try each of the items from the buffet, have a slice or 2 of pizza, order the specialty cocktail, and enjoy the local cuisine.

Now you may be thinking a few things to yourself right now. “This sounds like a great plan, but how do I actually follow this and not go overboard?” “What else can I do while on vacation to maintain a healthy lifestyle?” “If I do happen to overindulge, how do I get back on track after the trip?”

No worries! Below I will provide tips to help you maintain a balanced lifestyle while you still enjoy your vacation and will also add recommendations to get you back on track if you may have gone a little overboard.

Healthy Lifestyle Tips While On Vacation
  • Stay hydrated - Bring a water bottle with you wherever you go and keep an eye out for local fountains to refill.
  • Prepare and pack smart – Bring exercise clothes and sneakers so you are properly equipped to go to a gym, get some outdoor cardio, or enjoy a long walk as you take in the local attractions. Bring appropriate footwear, so you are able to walk each day.
  • Keep moving –Take any opportunity to walk. Skip the public transportation and explore sites by foot. Take a break from sunbathing and stroll on the beach. Use the hotel stairs instead of the elevator for some added cardio.
  • Bring healthy snacks –Always have a high fiber, healthy snack on hand whether you bring some items from home or you find a local grocery store near your hotel. The snack will keep you full until your next big meal, so you are less likely to overindulge. Great examples are vegetables or fruit with nuts, nut butter, or hummus.
  • Scope out the menu – Check out restaurant menus in advance to look for some healthier options. Don’t be afraid to ask the server to cook an item differently or swap out a side dish.
  • Eat slowly – Have a portion of the famous deep fried dish, but chew slowly, be fully present, and enjoy every morsel.
  • Be mindful of portions – Select a few of your favorite items from the buffet or family style platters, but fill up your plate once. Use a salad plate instead, so it looks full, but in fact you halve the size of the portion.
  • Enjoy alcohol in moderation – Alcohol is generally a part of socializing while on vacation, and I am a huge wine lover.  But rather than a whole bottle of wine, have a couple of glasses.
  • Save room for the entrée - Be mindful of table appetizers such as breads, muffins, and crackers at restaurants. Have the warm roll, but set the basket aside.
  • Be mindful of dressings and sauces – Enjoy the toppings, but ask for the dressings and sauces to come on the side, so you can control how much you pour onto your dish.
  • Guilt Free Dessert – It is a definite must to try the local dessert, so stop for a cup of creamy gelato before heading to the Colosseum or order a Nutella crêpe before visiting the Luvre, and enjoy them fully and without guilt.
Get Back on Track Post Vacation
  • Go grocery shopping right away – Stock up on fruits vegetables when you get home and plan your menus for the week.
  • Meal prep –Choose the evenings you are going to cook that week, so you don’t spend hours in the kitchen each night. Prepare your breakfasts, lunches, and snacks the night prior, so you don’t even have to think about making the healthy choice the next day.
  • Load up on lots of greens –Flood your body with the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs to reenergize. Make a green juice or a smoothie in the morning, have a colorful salad with a variety of greens for lunch, and enjoy extra broccoli, asparagus, spinach, or brussels sprouts with your dinner.
  • Eat at home – Try to eat at home as much as possible that first week you return, so cooking becomes more of a habit again. You also know exactly what’s going into your food, you will avoid sodium-laden meals, and—as an added bonus—you will save money!
  • Catch up on sleep – Of course when we travel we all want to stay up later to explore the nightlife or to get a head start on the morning adventure, so sleep is often neglected. Therefore, it is so important to make sleep a top priority when you return. Go to bed early and get a deep night sleep to allow your body to heal and rejuvenate.
  • Drink lots of water and stay hydrated – it’s just as crucial to stay hydrated post vacation to flush out the toxins and mitigate bloating. Start your day with a cup of water and lemon in the morning and bring that handy dandy bottle with you throughout your day.
  • Fuel up with fiber – Get your digestion back on track after a vacation with fiber. Include beans, oats, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, berries, whole grains, and vegetables.
  • Use your calendar for exercise accountability – Mark down on the calendar the days and times you plan on working out and include what activity you will do each day.
  • Don’t weigh yourself- Don’t obsess and worry about a number on the scale. Rather, focus on setting new short-term goals such as getting to those exercise classes and having fun cooking new recipes for the week.
And most important...move forward & no regrets!  Don't beat yourself up for any vacation splurges. You had a fabulous time, made your choices, and now you start anew tomorrow! 

Enjoy your travels everyone! :)

 

 

 

 

 

Talyakosstrin

Go Green!

Spring has arrived and the growing season is upon us. I cannot wait for the farmer’s markets to open to try all of the local fresh produce! If you have been to a farmer’s market, you probably gravitate towards the brightly colored fruits and vegetables such as the plump red tomatoes and the mouth-watering berries. While tomatoes and berries are very beneficial to your health, don’t forget the greens!

Green vegetables are usually the most commonly missing foods in a person’s diet which is a shame because they are essential for a healthy body and immune system. Let’s be honest... when you hear the words “green vegetables”, do you sometimes think of bland and boring? Do you automatically think of celery sticks? Or are you envisioning that sad, iceberg lettuce salad with a sprinkle of grated carrots and croutons? I also would be avoiding greens if that’s all that was available. Forget that image! There are so many delicious greens easily accessible all year round, and there are limitless ways to enjoy them.

Some of my favorites include: Spinach, Kale, Cabbage, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Asparagus, Artichokes, Green Beans, Arugula, Bok Choy, Endive, Mesclun, Swiss Chard -- and there are so many more!

Experiment with new greens you’ve never tried and change it up each day so that you don’t get bored. See which ones you enjoy the most and don’t be afraid to try something new J. The more variety you have in your diet the more health benefits you will receive from the wide array of nutrients.

Now I know what you’re thinking. It’s great to be told what greens to eat; but where do I find them, and how do I prepare them? I’m here to help deal with your frustration!

Below are some tips to incorporate nutritious greens into your diet and experiment with delicious ways to prepare them.  

Try greens from different sources – See what you enjoy from your neighborhood supermarket. Scope out the local family owned produce store. Stop by that health food store you’ve always wanted to try. Support the farmers at a nearby farmer’s market or join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). I am personally so excited to be joining the Seton Harvest CSA this year!

Purchase produce that works for you and your lifestyle
– If you like to purchase loose vegetables by the pound, then do so. If you prefer bulk packaged vegetables, then buy those. If you are short on time and like to buy pre-cut vegetables, then that works well too. If you find that your vegetables often go bad quickly, then start with frozen and buy a smaller amount of fresh greens to incorporate in your meals.

Have fun with salads! -
I love experimenting with a variety of colorful vegetables, healthy fats, protein, and whole grains. Keep it raw or add in cooked vegetables. Make it savory or sweet to your liking. Top it off with some nuts or seeds for additional crunch. The sky is the limit! Click here for some salad recipe inspiration.

Use various cooking methods – Aside from enjoying the crisp refreshing greens in their raw natural state, there are several quick and easy cooking methods. Experiment with boiling or steaming. Sautee greens in a skillet with some protein and your favorite grain. Grill them on a skewer. Toss the vegetables in the oven with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper; set the timer, and roast them while you prepare the rest of the meal.

Start with breakfast:
Start your day on the right foot by adding greens first thing in the morning. Add greens to your eggs or toss them into your favorite smoothie or green juice. Include them with avocado in a savory breakfast bowl. Find some delicious green smoothie recipes here.

Wrap it up or sandwich it!
– Add a variety of greens to your whole grain wrap or sandwich. Add them to your chicken, turkey, tuna, or to your burger.

Use green herbs
– Keep on hand a variety of fresh herbs such as basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, dill, and parsley. Sprinkle them on your salad or add them to your sautéed or roasted vegetables. Add some to your steamed vegetables and drizzle with olive oil or avocado oil for some extra flavor.

Dress it up! – Now I’m not talking about dousing your greens with store-bought dressings like blue cheese or ranch; they are processed and filled with added chemicals and sugar. Experiment with various vinegars, healthy oils, seasonings, and spices. There are so many quick and easy recipes! Click here for dressing tips and inspiration!

Dip it! Enjoy green veggies such as green beans, snow peas, zucchini, broccoli, or celery   with a healthy dip. Experiment with guacamole, hummus, or nut butter. Try my delicious homemade Simple Hummus recipe. (you will never go back to store-bought again)

Indulge in “chips” – Rather than reaching for potato chips, make your own green vegetable chips. Branch out and try different chips in addition to kale. Crispy Brussels Sprouts are my personal favorite! See various leafy green chip recipes here.

Get creative with leftovers – Use the steamed broccoli and asparagus from last night’s dinner and add them to your whole grain breakfast bowl. Sautee them with your morning eggs. Add them to your salad or wrap. Toss them into the skillet with your favorite protein for dinner. You will save time, reap the added nutritional benefits, and enjoy the varied flavors!

Stock up and prep ahead – Set yourself up for the week by stocking up on your greens on the weekend, so you have them at your fingertips when you’re ready to prep!

I’m a firm believer in the gradual addition of greens to your diet to naturally crowd out the sugar and processed foods. Rather than avoiding burgers, have that burger with a side salad or steamed vegetables instead of the fries. Enjoy your steak with roasted asparagus or broccoli dressed in olive oil and lemon. Add spinach to your pizza. The most important thing is to start with something, and find enjoyable ways to continue to incorporate greens into your life. Go green!

Talyakosstrin

It’s Always Better When We’re Together


Everything is better with a buddy! When your significant other joins you on your health and wellness journey, it provides a positive support system, and makes the journey along the way more fun. I cherish the hikes and walks my husband and I take together, and I love to be with someone who appreciates the delicious flavors of fresh, whole foods. What’s more, he is one fabulous sous chef! My husband and I are each other’s motivation to live a healthier lifestyle because we know how important it is to take care of ourselves. The more we nourish our bodies and minds, the more quality time we will have to spend together in the future.

A supportive significant other will love you, believe in you, push you, help you grow, and motivate you to be your best self. You will cheer each other on during your good days and lift each other up during your bad days. You will hold each other accountable as you reach your goals together. And of course, you will have fun as you progress towards your transformation!

In the spirit of American Heart Month and Valentine’s Day, try some of these activities together with your loved one to add more health and wellness into your life.

Cook dinner together - Make a healthy, wholesome dinner together and share the tasks. While one of you preps the food, the other can start the cooking process. Assign certain dishes to each other based on what you enjoy. Even if one of you is not savvy in the kitchen, no worries! Simply slicing vegetables is a huge help and is great teamwork. Share a glass of red wine and turn up the music. Set the table and light candles. Cherish each other’s company while you slowly chew and savor the homemade meal you cooked together.

Take a cooking class - Want to get out of your kitchen and have a fun, interactive date night? Spice it up and take a cooking class! Look for a cuisine you both enjoy, or be adventurous and try something completely new. Enjoy a delicious cooked meal with fresh, quality ingredients that you created, and best of all, you don’t have to worry about the dishes! :)

Try a new fruit or vegetable - Experiment with new fruits and vegetables. Taste a new berry, melon, or apple variety. Try a new leafy green or cook a unique seasonal squash. Eat them raw or use different cooking methods. See what each of you enjoys most about these new whole foods you introduced into your life.

Try a new healthy dish on the menu - Change it up. Rather than order “the usual” at your favorite restaurants, try a new grilled fish, salad, or side vegetable medley. Start out with a warm, hearty soup instead of fried calamari. Instead of getting French fries or spaghetti with your entree, how about a side of roasted sweet potatoes? Each order something different and share your dishes. You will add more nutrients to your diet, add variety to your life, and expand your palate.

Run or walk outdoors - Get outside together. Breathe in the crisp, fresh air and clear your head. Go for a long distance run, take a brisk, fast- paced walk, or slowly stroll outside while you enjoy the scenery around you. Discuss life or move in silence and appreciate each other’s company as you take in the sounds of nature.  

Be a gym buddy - Let’s face it, there may be days when one or both of you may not feel like going to the gym. If you are each other’s gym buddies, you will motivate one another to get off the couch. Having a gym buddy will hold you accountable and push you to get there more often. Run next to each other on the treadmill, count reps while doing weights, or take an exercise class. Even if you prefer different activities at the gym, at least you are there together.

Do a couple’s sport - Play a friendly, fun interactive sport! Try out your tennis or pickle ball rackets, play a game of one-on-one basketball, or even get other couples to join you. Join a kickball or softball team. Whatever you love, as long as you’re both moving!

Go for a bike ride - Dust off those bicycles that have been sitting in your garage and test out the wheels. Go for a leisurely bike ride by the water or get down and dirty on your favorite path in the woods.  Take an hour ride or make it a day trip and pack a healthy picnic lunch.

Do yoga together - Clear your minds, breathe, and focus while you do yoga together. Join a class or do a yoga session at home. It is a great physical workout, and a beneficial mental workout. You will both feel more relaxed, grounded, and peaceful.

Get a couple’s massage - Treat each other to a rejuvenating day at the spa and sign up for a couple’s massage. Take advantage of the hot sauna, hot tubs, and detox. You both deserve it!

As Jack Johnson says, “It’s always better when we’re together.” There are so many fun activities you and your loved one can do to add health and wellness into your life. Experiment and see what you both enjoy the most. Cherish the time together as you transform your bodies and your lives.

Talyakosstrin

Every Step Counts Towards Your Progressive Transformation!

A friend recently said to me, “It is not about what you can’t do, but rather what you CAN do.” This applies to every aspect of life and is so important to remember when you’re trying to make lasting changes for your health: physically, mentally, and spiritually.

·      If you want to make big changes, try starting small.

·      Change doesn’t happen overnight.

·      A little progress each day will lead to big results.

·      The smallest steps can have the largest impact on your life.

Gradual daily modifications are the key to long-term sustainable change that will guide you towards your life transformation.

Ditch the “quick fixes” and fad diets. These “quick fixes” take you from 0-100 at a rapid rate, and there is no time for true growth. They may work at first, but the restriction and deprivation will lead to frustration; eventually you may rebound. Rather than restricting yourself completely, take one step at a time to create new habits you will actually keep for the long haul!

Forget the all-or-nothing attitude, and get rid of the perfectionist mindset. If you are unable to do something in the exact way you’d prefer to do it, or if you can’t give 100%, don’t decide to do nothing instead. Small changes are better than making no change. The important thing is to just start somewhere. Don’t nix physical fitness just because you can’t make it to the gym.  Begin by adding some activity, and look for activities you love. If you gradually add delicious, fresh, whole foods, you will slowly crowd out the sugar and processed foods.

Switch the phrase “I don’t have time” with “I will to the best of my ability make the time.” At the beginning of each week and for each day, plan ahead to see how you can incorporate healthy choices to fit your schedule. Select the days and times you will exercise. Make time for a lunch break each day, and choose which evenings you will cook. Write it down or put it in your phone to provide more accountability. Remember, it’s okay if you have to adjust the times, but at least you have taken that first step to plan for it.

True change takes time, and it is a gradual process.  Set long-term goals for modifications, and subdivide these goals into short-term, realistic changes you can make along the way. Be patient with yourself. Congratulate yourself as you take each step towards achieving these goals. Create a positive support system to cheer you on as you continue your health and wellness journey. You will move forward each day, each week, and each month. You will start to notice that these new habits will become part of your daily life.

Here are some helpful tips to gradually add health and wellness into your life so that you may achieve your long-term goals.
  • Swap Water for Soda and Sugary Beverages – Instead of completely cutting sugary drinks out of your life, start by cutting back from 4 sodas a day to 2 sodas a day. Swap it out for 2 cups of water. Gradually continue to add in more water and reduce the soda intake. Bring a water bottle with you wherever you go so it’s always available. If you want extra flavor add lemon, lime, or berries. As you progress you will eventually crave more water, and you will no longer reach for the soda.
  • Eat Slower and Have Smaller Portions – In our fast paced life, eating has become a rushed event. You often gobble down food, and your mind doesn’t have time to register when you are full. If you chew more slowly, you will notice that you won’t need as much food to feel sated. Fill your plate once, and wait 20 minutes to see how you feel after the meal. You will be surprised to discover that you won’t need that second helping.
  • Add Vegetables to Your Meal – Rather than eliminating the processed foods and sugar from your diet completely, slowly add more vegetables to your meals. Continue to have the burger or pizza, but add a salad. Ask for a side of veggies with your steak and potatoes. The more vegetables you add to your diet, the more you will crave them; and you will slowly crowd out the processed foods.
  • Have a Fruit for Dessert – Instead of skipping dessert, swap out that cookie or cake for a piece of fruit. There are so many delicious fruits that can satisfy your sweet tooth. Try some berries, melon, kiwi, a crisp apple, or sliced pear. Don’t immediately eliminate the cookie; start by switching to fruit every other day. Then each week add more fruit, which will slowly replace the processed, sugary desserts.
  • Keep Recipes Simple – We don’t all have hours to spend on cooking each evening, and while Sunday food prep is very helpful, not everyone wants to spend their entire afternoon in the kitchen. Instead of going out to eat and giving up on cooking completely—which can lead to unhealthy decisions—keep it simple. Choose recipes that take 30 minutes to make and have 5-6 ingredients or less. Set aside a few minutes on the weekend to plan your meals for the week, so you don’t have to think about it in the evenings.
  • Work Towards 3 Meals a Day – Many struggle with eating 3 meals a day due to lack of time.  When you skip meals, your blood sugar level falls.  This often leads to snacking, poor choices, and binging by the time dinner arrives. Rather than committing to 3 full meals a day immediately, start small. Have a banana with nut butter in the morning. For lunch, begin with nutritious snacks that are easy to take with you on-the-go. Some great options are sliced vegetables, nuts, hummus, or a hard-boiled egg. Once this becomes a habit, work towards having larger balanced meals that include vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. As you notice the energy you gain from having consistent meals throughout the day, you will start to crave nutritious, complete, balanced meals. You are also less likely to attack the refrigerator when you get home for dinner.
  • Go for a Walk – If physical fitness isn’t currently a part of your life or you just haven’t been able to find the time to fit it in, slowly add it into your weekly routine. Don’t worry about hitting the gym or running a 5K. Start with 20 minute walks around the block a few days a week. Walk with a buddy—it’s more fun, and you have accountability. Increase the distance or time every week, and you will notice that you feel more energetic. You will start to feel more comfortable and want to add more variety of exercises to your life.
  • Change It Up and Do What You Love! – If physical fitness is already a part of your life but you’re looking to take it to the next level, switch it up. When you do the same exercise all the time, it is very easy to get bored and give up completely. Rather than sticking with the same workout every day, mix it up and try something new. Take a boot camp, kickboxing, cycling, Pilates, yoga, or Zumba class. Experiment with styles of workouts. If you love to swim, find an all-year- round pool. If you prefer videos, do those. If you like team sports such as basketball, get a group of people together to join you. See what workout setting and style you prefer, and do what you love!
  • Just Keep Moving - Every bit of movement counts. Rather than parking in that spot in front of the store, choose a spot further down the lane. Instead of taking the elevator or escalator, take the stairs. Get up from your desk every 30 minutes, and walk around the office; use the time to refill your bottle of water. Take a walk outside and get some fresh air—an activity that benefits your body and helps clear the mind.
  • Schedule “You Time” for 10 Minutes a Day–Most likely you don’t have time to get a massage on a daily basis, and an hour yoga class may not fit into your schedule each day. Set 10 minutes a day for “you time” even if it means drinking a cup of tea in the morning and listening to your thoughts. Be in the moment, and meditate for a few minutes. If you’re not comfortable with meditation, just the act of being present and breathing will ease stress and help you relax.
  • Reduce Social Media Time to Twice a Day - Social media and screen time have grown tremendously over the past years and have lessened and diluted our interpersonal interactions. Rather than cut social media cold turkey, commit to such activity twice a day—perhaps once in the morning and once in the early evening. Take the newly found free time to enjoy quality time with your family and friends. You’d be amazed at how much more present you will be during your conversations. Once you see how much more meaningful your relationships can become, you may consider putting away your phone during meal times and and other social interactions.
  • Go to Bed Earlier – Sleep is a crucial component for a rejuvenated body. Rather than making a commitment to go to bed an hour earlier each night, begin with smaller steps. Commit to 20 minutes earlier at first, and go from there. As that first commitment becomes a consistent achievement, try 30 minutes earlier. As you notice the energy you gain from earlier bedtimes, you will make it a priority to incorporate a good night sleep into your daily life.
Try some of these tips and slowly incorporate health and wellness into your life. You will feel happier, more energetic, and empowered by your progress towards your health and wellness transformation. Remember, it all begins with that first step. As Confucius said, “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”