Connecting During Busy Times – A Moms Story

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When one of my oldest and best friends, Moni, talked about me guest blogging on her site, I immediately jumped at the chance because that is what I do best…act and then think.  Then, once I had the chance to think about what I would blog about, I groaned and thought that this was just one more thing on my ever expanding plate of parenting three (sometimes four) kids, being a full-time working mom and spouse, an unpaid but much bugged taxi driver, and housekeeper for a messy but cleanish home. (There is a difference in my world!)  However, I am going to put ink to paper and don’t quote me but “I think I am a bit excited to try this”. 

For clarity – I have two stepchildren and two of my own children.  My stepchildren are 19 and 18.  My 19 year old stepdaughter lives with her mother and my 18 year old stepson lives with us.  I also have two children with my spouse, an 11 year old boy and 9 year old girl.  Just to further furnish the proof that I am not far from insanity – we also have 3 dogs, a bird, and a hamster.  Seriously. 

Now, what to write about.  There are so many thoughts that popped into my head about living a life with 3 (4) kids running amok but I decided to share a wonderful way I am able to feel close with my kids in such a hectic, technologically managed life. 

My kids are the biggest priority in my life (I know – Captain Obvious) and as a working mom, I have to make time for them.  I am one of the many moms who look wistfully into their kids’ rooms in the early morning, just seeing their outline in the dark, and wishing I could wake them and say “good morning my chicken-littles” (that is what I like to call my kids – don’t laugh!).  However, 5 days out of the 7 I am able to still wish my kidlets a good morning, albeit through the phone, but at least I get to hear their sleepy voices in the morning. 

My spouse, who has the (mostly) lucky task of seeing the kids off to school in the morning, has said to me on numerous occasions, “why does it take you so long to put the kids to bed at night?  I just say good night and leave them”.  Obviously, he isn’t a (nag) mom who demands that the kids wash their face and hands (with soap!) and brush their teeth (aka “monkeys”) for more than 30 seconds.  (I had an embarrassing kids’ dentist appointment last time and am now anal about teeth brushing – but that is another story).  But, the real reason why I take so long to put the kids to bed is because of the “Tree”. 

For all you parents out there who have kids that want a glass of water, have an itchy back, leg, arm, or want to tell you good night 18 more times, I want to let you know that I have conquered the never-ending bedtime saga! 

One random night over a year ago, I was putting my kids to bed and becoming more and more irritated because I knew that lots of crap things were awaiting my attention…dog walking, lunch making, quick tidy, a little adult time, my 5 minute shower (including a poorly maneuvered shave), etc and my kids just wouldn’t stop.  I hate raising my voice which invariably turns into yelling but was becoming quite adept at it.  “Done,” I said.  I went into my son’s room and just started talking.  I spoke about a specific thought that popped into my head and when I had finished (less than 5 minutes) my 10 year old son was asleep.  I did the same for my 8 year old daughter and got the same “fist pumping” result. 

Since that night, I will tell my children the same story if they are restless or I want some emotional extra time with my babies. 

My son, who is now 11 and a half, asked me last night to tell him about the “Tree”.  And still, once I was done, he was almost asleep and felt safe and warm. 

I want to share the story with you – it isn’t anything special – I made it up one night as I thought it would make the end of the day for both my kids and me that much better.

When I tell the story, the room is dark; I speak in a very soft voice and gently stroke my son’s hair and hold my daughter’s hand.  It is my moment of peace in a very much (sort of) organized chaos I call my life. 

The Tree

“It is a beautiful sunny day and you are walking in a field all by yourself.  The yellow grass is so soft against your legs and the sun is shining on the top of your head.  But you aren’t hot because there is a nice cool breeze against your face that you feel.  As you are walking, you see a big tree in the distance; a tree with green leaves (picture a maple) and it is all by itself in the middle of the grassy field.  It is waiting for you.  You start to walk towards it; as you are walking, the tree gets closer and closer until at last you reach the tree.  Underneath the leaves of the tree it is dark and shady.  You slowly start to walk around the huge trunk of the tree and all of a sudden you see a spot that looks SO comfortable.  You sit down on the green moss and it is so soft against your bum.  You lean back into the trunk of the tree and it seems to be perfect for your body to lie back on.  You have never been so comfortable in your life.  The leaves are rustling, the sun is shining on you, but not on your face; it is making a sun blanket on you so you are warm.  There are no other sounds around you except for birds singing and the leaves rustling.  You feel your eyes getting heavy and start to close them. The leaves are rustling around you.  Your arms and legs feel heavy.  You hear the leaves rustling and feel the sun blanket keeping you warm.  Your eyes keep getting heavier and heavier.  The tree is so comfortable and you feel protected by the tree.  You are safe here.  You can’t open your eyes anymore because they are so heavy – the leaves are rustling and the sun is shining.  Everything else is so quiet.  Shhhh.  Go to sleep my baby.  Mommy is the tree and will always protect you.  Always.”    

I always leave my kids’ rooms afterward with a small smile on my face and secretly am a little more convinced that I AM a good mommy.  (Then it is time for a glass of wine!)


Author:  Bree (Barnard) Krul

  • Mom/stepmom of 4 kiddos
  • Legal and insurance professional
  • Previous Restauranteur
  • Part-time Caterer
  • At work workout professional (stair climber, 'squatter' beside my desk and 'planker' with office door closed)
  • Former D1 Volleyball Player
  • Lover of the invention of 1.5L bottles of wine!

Don't go through the holiday sabotaging your health (including your waistline).   Let me be your wingman!.    Click here to grab my 9 tops tips to avoid holiday health sabotage aka - the bulge!

When It Is Bigger Than Yourself

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Today is Mila’s Birthday

At precisely 4:24 pm (or thereabouts) 3 years ago she launched into this world with lots sass and hasn’t slowed down since.  

Whether you have kids or not.   Embrace birthday celebrations or not ... (though I don’t know why you wouldn’t. It’s a free pass to be spoiled, hang out with whom you choose and eat cake) They are a time for natural reflection.

Not to be a Debbie Downer but there is a pretty good chance that we have all lost someone close to us before their time.  

There is another good chance that there is someone(s) or something that you love more than you ever dreamed you could.   A spouse, family, friends, pet, hobby.  Whatever. 

My point is....

There comes a time when it is more than just about you. 

You have heard me preach from the hilltops about loving yourself enough to believe wholeheartedly that you are worth feeling like a rock star (and looking like one if that is your jam). You are worth looking and feeling tens years younger than you are, worth fitting into your skinny jeans without every inch of your lower half protesting and worth liking what you see in the mirror.

The real point 

When deep down you want to be around as much and as long as you can ...  for them.  You want to be the best version of you ..... for them.   Gosh help us, Mila is active as they come.  I want to be running and playing with her for the next few decades - or at least until she thinks I'm still cool.

I think birthdays (take em or leave them) are a gentle reminder.   Actually,  it’s a pointy elbow jabbed right in the rib cage telling you that it is more than just about us sometimes.

So I challenge you to think about what it is that is your driving force.  If you're are open to sharing it, I would love to hear.  Put in comments or email me personally Moni@MonikaTupholme.com

In thriving health,

Moni

PS.  I'm pretty pumped about some cake today!! (Mom gets some too)


Below is a little something I wrote for Mila when was turning 1 and chasing after one of my volleyballs:

My Hope

  • I hope you will have a love and passion for sports.
  • I hope you learn to love a ‘sport’ through play and having fun.
  • I hope you embrace your determination and focus and learn to filter the ‘I can’ts’
  • I hope you love and nourish your body, inside and out.
  • I hope you embrace the collaboration of a team and hard work for a goal.

My Promise

  • I promise to be a parent, not a coach- and if I happen to be both, I will try my best to separate the two.
  • I promise to be your biggest cheerleader and loudest fan.
  • I promise to celebrate your victories.
  • I promise to let you fail.
  • I promise to wipe your tears, nurse your wounds and build your courage.

My Prayer

  • I pray that you are humble in victory and gracious in defeat.
  • I pray that you are confident, not arrogant.
  • I pray that you appreciate the power and beauty of what your body can do.
  • I pray that you appreciate the power and beauty of what your mind can do.

As your Mom, these are my hopes, promises, and prayers for you, my daughter.


I am so excited to share my latest FREE resource "Santa Stole My SPanx" to help everyone get ready for 'that' holiday party.   Get yours here

7 Days to Slim Down & Rock Your Holiday Outfit  FREE

My War Paint

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Bye Bye Sleeping Through the Night

 

I’m a dark circle with a hit of under-eye puffiness type of girl.

I do not hide sleep deprivation very well and with a soon to be 3-year old that has decided to get up every 3 hours for the last two months, I’ve had to crack out some serious war paint.

Anyone close to me knows that lately, I’ve been obsessing with my families lack of quality sleep. 

Funny how it becomes all you talk about.   For every “how’s it going?”, I answer “I’m tired”, and every new mom that says her 2 month old “is sleeping through the night”, I  want to bop them on the nose.

This utter lack of mental clarity is because you feel achingly exhausted or are “running on stress hormones” all day.

In an effort to help everyone get a solid nights sleep (and save money buying concealer), here are some great tips (and an amazing recipe) for you!

The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing

Sleep is this daily thing that we all do and yet we're just beginning to understand all of the ways it helps us and all of the factors that can affect it.

It is funny how we can grow an ear in a petri dish but figuring out all the intricacies of sleep eludes us.

We do know this:

Lack of sleep affects just about everything in your body and mind.  People who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for so many health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer; not to mention effects like slower metabolism, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and inflammation. 

And don't forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods (ask my husband), memory and decision-making skills.  I.e.) don’t ask me anything but a “yes” or “no” question right now.

Do you know that lack of sleep may even negate the health benefits of your exercise program? (Gasp!)

OMG – What aspect of health does sleep not affect???

Knowing this, it's easy to see the three main purposes of sleep:

●      To restore our body and mind.  Our bodies repair, grow and even “detoxify” our brains while we sleep.

●      To improve our brain's ability to learn and remember things, technically known as “synaptic plasticity”.

●      To conserve some energy so we're not just actively “out and about” 24-hours a day, every day.

Do you know how much sleep adults need?  It's less than your growing kids need but you may be surprised that it's recommended that all adults get 7 - 9 hours a night.  For real!  

all those people that say they can go with only 3 to 4 hours of sleep a night – be careful.  They’re not human.

So what can we do to really help us get quality sleep (again, minus the 3 year old)

Tips for better sleep

●      The biggest tip is definitely to try to get yourself into a consistent sleep schedule.  Make it a priority and you're more likely to achieve it.  This means turning off your lights 8 hours before your alarm goes off.  Seven. Days. A. Week.  I know weekends can easily throw this off but by making sleep a priority for a few weeks your body and mind will adjust and thank you for it.

●      Balance your blood sugar throughout the day.  You know, eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fiber).  Choose the whole orange instead of the juice (or orange-flavoured snack).  Make sure you're getting some protein every time you eat.

●      During the day get some sunshine and exercise.  These things tell your body its daytime; time for being productive, active and alert.  By doing this during the day it will help you wind down more easily in the evening.

●      Cut off your caffeine and added sugar intake after 12 pm (no I am not joking – if you have late afternoon crashes there is a reason why).  Whole foods like fruits and veggies are fine, it's the “added” sugar we're minimizing.  Yes, this includes your beloved chai latte.  Both caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a bit more active than you want it to be come evening time.

(HINT: I have a great caffeine-free chai latte recipe for you below!).

●      Have a relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time (that is 8 - 10 hours before your alarm is set to go off).  This would include dimming your artificial lights, nixing screen time and perhaps reading an (actual, not “e”) book or having a bath.

So how many of these tips can you start implementing today?


Recipe (Caffeine-free latte for your afternoon “coffee break”): Caffeine-Free Chai Latte

Serves 1-2

1 bag of rooibos chai tea (rooibos is naturally caffeine-free)

2 cups of boiling water

1 tablespoon tahini

1 tablespoon almond butter (creamy is preferred)

2 dates (optional)

Cover the teabag and dates (if using) with 2 cups of boiling water and steep for a few minutes.

Discard the tea bag & place tea, soaked dates, tahini & almond butter into a blender.

Blend until creamy.

Serve and Enjoy!

Tip:  You can try this with other nut or seed butters to see which flavour combination you like the best.  Cashew butter anyone?

References:

http://www.thepaleomom.com/gotobed/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/hacking-sleep

 

Coffee - Who can drink it and who should avoid it?

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My husband gave up coffee.  Funny enough his name is Joe.

We decided to pause the coffee (and other food/beverages) to help his digestive system.

First few days were 'interesting' (if you know what I mean), but then he honestly did not miss his 1 to 2 cups a day.

Coffee is one of those things - you either love it or hate it. You know if you like the taste or not (or if it’s just a reason to drink sugar and cream). You know how it makes you feel (i.e. your gut, your mind, etc.).

Not to mention the crazy headlines that say coffee is great, and the next day you should avoid it!

There is actual science behind why different people react differently to it. It's a matter of your genetics and how much coffee you're used to drinking.

NOTE: Coffee does not equal caffeine. Coffee contains between 50-400 mg of caffeine/cup, averaging around 100 mg/cup. Coffee is one of the most popular ways to consume this stimulant. But… a cup of coffee contains a lot of things over and above the caffeine. Not just water, but antioxidants, and hundreds of other compounds. These are the reasons drinking a cup of coffee is not the same as taking a caffeine pill. And decaffeinated coffee has a lot less caffeine; but, it still contains some.

Let's look at caffeine metabolism, its effects on the mind and body, and whether coffee drinkers have higher or lower risks of disease. Then I’ll give you some things to consider when deciding if coffee is for you or not.

Caffeine metabolism

Not all people metabolize caffeine at the same speed. How fast you metabolize caffeine will impact how you’re affected by the caffeine. In fact, caffeine metabolism can be up to 40x faster in some people than others.

About half of us are “slow” metabolizers of caffeine. We can get jitters, heart palpitations, and feel "wired" for up to 9 hours after having a coffee. The other half is "fast" metabolizers of caffeine. They get energy and increased alertness and are back to normal a few hours later.

This is part of the reason those headlines contradict each other so much - because we’re all different!

The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body

NOTE: Most studies look at caffeinated coffee, not decaf.

The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body also differ between people; this is partly from the metabolism I mentioned. But it also has to do with your body’s amazing ability to adapt (read: become more tolerant) to long-term caffeine use. Many people who start drinking coffee feel the effects a lot more than people who have coffee every day.

Here’s a list of these effects (that usually decrease with long-term use):

●      Stimulates the brain

●      Boosts metabolism

●      Boosts energy and exercise performance

●      Increases your stress hormone cortisol

●      Dehydrates

So, while some of these effects are good and some aren’t, you need to see how they affect you and decide if it’s worth it or not.

Coffee and health risks

There are a ton of studies on the health effects of coffee, and whether coffee drinkers are more or less likely to get certain conditions.

Here’s a quick summary of what coffee can lead to:

●      Caffeine addiction and withdrawal symptoms (e.g. a headache, fatigue, irritability)

●      Increased sleep disruption

●      Lower risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's

●      Lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes

●      Lower risk of certain liver diseases

●      Lower risk of death (“all-cause mortality")

●      Mixed reviews on whether it lowers risks of cancer and heart disease

Many of the health benefits exist even for decaf coffee (except the caffeine addiction and sleep issues).

NOTE: What’s super-important to note here is that coffee intake is just one of many, many factors that can affect your risks for these diseases. Please never think the regular coffee intake is the one thing that can help you overcome these risks. You are health-conscious and know that eating a nutrient-rich whole foods diet, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep and exercise are all critical things to consider for your disease risk. It’s not just about the coffee.

Should you drink coffee or not?

There are a few things to consider when deciding whether you should drink coffee. No one food or drink will make or break your long-term health.

Caffeinated coffee is not recommended for:

●      People with arrhythmias (e.g. irregular heartbeat)

●      People who often feel anxious

●      People who have trouble sleeping

●      People who are pregnant

●      Children and

●       teens.

If none of these apply, then monitor how your body reacts when you have coffee. Does it:

●      Give you the jitters?

●      Increase anxious feelings?

●      Affect your sleep?

●      Give you heart palpitations?

●      Affect your digestion (e.g. heartburn, etc.)?

●      Give you a reason to drink a lot of sugar and cream?

Depending on how your body reacts, decide whether these reactions are worth it to you. If you’re not sure, I recommend eliminating it for a while and see the difference.

From a tea lover at heart,

Moni

Recipe (Latte): Pumpkin Spice Latte

Serves 1

3 tbsp coconut milk
1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp pumpkin puree

½ tsp maple syrup (optional)
1 cup coffee (decaf if preferred)

Instructions

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can use tea instead of milk if you prefer.

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/coffee-good-or-bad/

Instant access to 5 Foods That Will Help Boost Your Metabolism & Lose Weight Naturally

The Turkey Stole My Stretchy Pants - Take 2

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You know you have done it. The unbuckle, unzip, lean back to try to release the tummy over the buckle bloat. Tis the season and it all starts this weekend in Canada! Turkey Day!!

A couple of years ago while pregnant with Mila I did a blog on my love affair with my stretchy belly maternity pants. From the zipper up it is all elastic, that surprisingly gives and takes with an expanding belly, and keeps your pants up at the same time. Who knew? Perfect for not only pregnancy but for the post-meal food hangover.

Now it is my love with my stretchy pants. Specifically my stretchy tight jeans. You know the ones – the first post wash wear they are tight enough to suck, lift and contour just right. The last pre-wash wear you secretly think you have lost some weight because they are now looser. Win-Win in my books.

 

TAKE 2

 

The holidays are a whirlwind of get-togethers, parties and happy times. Each occasion may seem like a pass to splurge a little, but the consequence is the worst.

Last week I dove into why relying on our ‘willpower’ is BS and how we need to be strategic in how we ‘outsmart our brains with 3 tips to stop overeating at meals.

If you missed it you can check it out here Ditch The Willpower

Stretchy pants or not, here are some more top tips that will help keep anyone on track and evade that food hangover! That other type of hangover?.........well, you’re on your own.

 

MORE TIPS

 

Don’t skip meals or healthy snacks to “save room”

This will totally lead to the binge and a sure-fire strategy to holiday food hangover. Keep your normal healthy eating meals and snacks through the day leading up to the event. Don’t show up ravenous and ready to eat the whole cheese plate.

Remember your weaknesses!

This is not only regarding the sweet nectar of the chocolate gods but also (for me) things like bread and cheese.

Instant bloat.

So I have learned, and now am fine with walking away from those two loves. Why? Simply because I feel so much better not eating them, so I learned just to stay clear. So recognize your weakness and how it makes you feel – big picture not instant gratification.

PS – if you still do not trust yourself then have a partner in crime. E.g) my hubby knows how I feel and rant after I eat the cheese plate so he will give me friendly raised eyebrow to remind me to back off.

Choose Wisely

Relates to the above, but choose your first buffet picks wisely. Salad. Research suggests that you’ll consume the largest quantity of the foods you eat first (salad), so set yourself up for success by starting with a healthier choice like the veggie plate and hummus (or salad).

Hungry Man® Portion

Who doesn’t love going back for some seconds of Mom’s homemade stuffing or an extra large piece of pumpkin pie? Please remember you are not an Offensive Lineman for the Cowboys and that your body needs time to say to your turkey coma brain “hey dude - enough, I’m full”. Practice smart portion sizes and amounts.

Keep moving

I know it is so easy just to slide on that coach, semi-horizontal and moan, but try to keep moving. The holidays are prime excuse time and I hear it all: It’s cold - Wear more layers. I’m so busy – Guess what, everyone is busy. No time – Prioritize, you deserve that time.

 

Did you still indulge?

Just in case you didn't listen....

a) Try some hot (not boiling) lemon water with ginger and fresh mint. Triple digestion help.

b) Take some digestive enzymes. Our body naturally produces enzymes to digest food but certain factors like age, food sensitivities/intolerances, eating large meals lead to stomach upset. Having a high quality (very key) enzyme to help you digest meals more efficiently and elevate the senses of fullness and bloating after a large meal. This is the one I trust and my family uses*

Wishing you and yours all the best over this holiday season. Savour the time, laugh out loud and make memories.

Moni

* For 10 % off the digestive enzyme I use (that ships straight to your home) - Contact Me and I will hook you up!

 

Ditch the Willpower - 3 Tips on how to stop overeating at meals.

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Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals

Sometimes those holiday feasts are just amazing.  When going back for seconds (and even thirds - been there) feels like the right thing to do.

And it's not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance that may distract us from focusing on the amount of what we are consuming.  

But it doesn't always stop there.

Sometimes we overeat on regular days.  Or at regular meals.  Or All. The. Time.

My husband is an awesome cook (me not so much), so it is easy to just to want ... more!

Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals.

(Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)

If you have worked with me you know how I feel about relying on straight willpower.  It doesn't work.  WILLPOWER has this super hero aura around it, that by a magical force it will be there time and time again.  Well it doesn't.   Mel Robbins says it best..

"Our willpower is not at some constant level all day, waiting around for us to use it. Nope, it gets weaker with each decision we make. This is why, after resisting chocolate all day, you can’t help but have that dessert at night.

And there’s research backing this. Roy Baumeister, a prominent psychologist, has researched the phenomenon of decision fatigue, which is the idea that our willpower decreases with each decision.

Decision fatigue it what leads to analysis paralysis. When your brain is low on mental energy, it’s really hard to make good decisions on the things that matter–like your goals.

This research has inspired some of the most visionary people. It’s why Steve Jobs wore the same outfit everyday, a black turtleneck, blue jeans, and white sneakers.  By conserving his mental energy by taking away smaller decisions, it enabled him to focus his energy on big decisions–the ones that mattered. " 

OK back to over eating and out smarting our brain.

Tip #1: Start with some water

When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food it's too easy to fill a plate (or grab some samples with your bare hands) and dive into the food.

But did you know that it's possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger?  Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.

Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten.  And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss (...just sayin').

Not only will the water start to fill up your stomach before you get to the buffet, leaving less room for the feast but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.

Win-win!

Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”

You've heard of mindfulness but have you applied that to your eating habits?

This can totally help you avoid overeating as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion.

Just as being mindful when you meditate helps to focus your attention on your breathing and the present moment being mindful when you eat helps to focus your attention on your meal.

Do this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savouring every mouthful.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe.

This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less. 

When you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full.

So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.

Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites.

Tip #3: Start with the salad

You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish.

But don't start there.

(Don't worry, you can have some...just after you've eaten your salad).  I'm not totally nuts!

Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they're full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fiber and water.

Fibre and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller.  They're “satiating”.

And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you're about to indulge in a large meal.

Summary:

Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.

Recipe (Water): Tasty (and beautiful) Pre-Meal Water Ideas

If you're not much of a plain water drinker or need your water to be more appealing to your senses here are five delicious (and beautiful looking) fruit combos to add to your large glass of water:

●      Slices of lemon & ginger

●      Slices of strawberries & orange

●      Slices of apple & a cinnamon stick

●      Chopped pineapple & mango

●      Blueberries & raspberries

Tip: You can buy a bag (or several bags) of frozen chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or uber-cool mason jar in the morning.  They're already washed and cut and will help keep your water colder longer.

In thriving health,

Moni

References:

http://summertomato.com/the-science-behind-mindful-eating-what-happens-to-your-body-during-a-mindful-meal

https://authoritynutrition.com/7-health-benefits-of-water/

 

Who is Leading This Sh@t Show and why should we care.

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Feel like you can't seem to lose weight as quickly as you used to?

Notice that at each birthday, you have a few more lumps / bumps and aches / pains than you had the year before?

Well this is largely due to a decline in your metabolic rate as we age.   As early as our late twenties we may notice that we can not eat the same things we used to without gaining weight. Furthermore, those extra pounds do not fall off as easily as they used to.  I don't know about you but I felt this 'change' every decade and therefore coined these periods as Sh@t Shows (excuse the expletive)

You've likely heard that your metabolic rate declines as you age. But what the heck does this all mean?  And why should we care?  

Well, lets dive in a bit.  Stay with me here (or scroll down to the video and juicy recipe at the end.)

What is Metabolism?

This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days.

Well technically “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body.  It's how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.

Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive.  And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible.  Pretty cool right?  So in essence your metabolism is the master ring leader!

I also like to think of it this way - your metabolism is the driver of your car.   You can have Dale Earnhardt driving a Corvette or Aunt Beth cruising in her Civic.  (PS - nothing against civics, owned one for years!!)

So when you put all of these processes together into your metabolism you can imagine that these processes can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right.

Which brings us to the “metabolic rate”. 

Your Metabolic Rate

This is how fast your metabolism works and is measured in calories (yup, those calories!).

The calories you eat can go to one of three places:

●      Work (i.e. exercise and other activity).

●      Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions).

●      Storage (i.e. extra leftover “unburned” calories stored as fat).

As you can imagine the more calories you burn as work or creating heat, the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store for later.

There are a couple of different ways to measure metabolic rate.  One is the “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) which is how much energy your body uses when you're not being physically active.

The other is the “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE) which measures both the resting metabolic rate as well as the energy used for “work” (e.g. exercise) throughout a 24-hour period.

What affects your metabolic rate?

In a nutshell: a lot!

1. The first thing you may think of is your thyroid. 

This gland at the front of your throat releases hormones to tell your body to “speed up” your metabolism.  Of course, the more thyroid hormone there is the faster things will work and the more calories you'll burn.

But that's not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate.

2. How big you are counts too! 

Larger people have higher metabolic rates; but your body composition is crucial! 

As you can imagine muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does.  So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be.  Even when you're not working out.

This is exactly why weight training is often recommended as a part of a weight loss program.  Because you want muscles to be burning those calories for you. 

{Want time efficient and metabolism boosting workouts every Wednesday? - Click here}

The thing is, when people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down which you don't want to happen.  So you definitely want to offset that with more muscle mass.

Aerobic exercise also temporarily increases your metabolic rate.  Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they're doing “work”.

3. The type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate!  (You know me - I can't leave nutrition out of it)

Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and metabolize your food.  This is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF).

You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body metabolizes foods differently.  This is what I LOVE helping people to do and it was a game changer for me.

The one tip that helped transform my metabolism - 7 min video

 

Fats, for example increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by 15-30%.  By trading some of your fat or carbs for lean protein you can slightly increase your metabolic rate.

Another bonus of protein is that your muscles need it to grow.  By working them out and feeding them what they need they will help you to lose weight and keep it off.

4. And don't forget the mind-body connection.  There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate.

Phew - that was a TON of information and really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism and how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate.


Recipe (Lean Protein): Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts

Serves 4

2 lemons, sliced

1 tablespoon rosemary

1 tablespoon thyme

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)

dash salt & pepper

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 425F.  Layer ½ of the lemon slices on the bottom of a baking dish.  Sprinkle with ½ of the herbs and ½ of the sliced garlic.

Place the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle salt & pepper.  Place remaining lemon, herbs and garlic on top of the chicken.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Cover with a lid or foil.

Bake for 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through.  If you want the chicken to be a bit more “roasty” then remove the lid/foil and broil for another few minutes (watching carefully not to burn it).

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can add a leftover sliced chicken breast to your salad for lunch the next day!

Don't forget to watch The one tip that helped transform my metabolism - 7 min video

Moni

xo

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-energy-balance

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-ways-to-boost-metabolism/

The Top Knot is Not the Man Bun of 2 Years Ago

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Nothing like a kid to keep it real.  

My son says to me, ‘ Mom why do you always wear your hair up?’

My honest answer can be either be one or all of the below:

-       My hair is dirty.

-       It is hot

-       It is messy

-       It goes with my outfit

-       It is in my face

-       It’s easy and quick to do

-       It’s ‘cool’

My answer for him, simply:

-       I like it this way

The man bun thing was a fad that I didn’t understand but did appreciate the social push in making it a true lifestyle choice.  I also peeked a time or two at@manbunlifestyle posts to see how this lifestyle was working out.  For some it seems A-OK. Check it out and you will see what I mean.

However the top knot is different. For many of us, the knot is out of pure necessity.  We don’t have time to contribute to a ‘lifestyle’ and/or think about the impact we are making with wrapping our hair on top of our head.   But thankfully it has become more main stream and doesn’t seem to be a fading hairstyle like the banana clips of yester year. 

Yes I am really talking about top knots - stick with me

However, my knot ideology came to a screeching halt when my friend / hair stylist said:

“Beauty (he always calls me that and it makes me smile every time) – you’re giving yourself a mullet, you need to lose the knot”

A rush of anxiety came over me.    I am not and will never be one of those beautiful beings you see with their flowing locks down blowing wistfully in the wind as they run after their kids in the park – if you catch my drift.

And working out with my hair down?  Well, I won’t even go there.

So what is the moral of this top knot rant?

Well I wanted to stress that it really all comes down to:

Do what makes you feel good.    

If you love to style your hair then make time and do it.   If you love the convenience and style of your hair up - then do it!

(I happen to feel great in a soft worn T with lulu’s (and top knot) 99.9% of the time.  The other 0.01% I like to sparkle and go out and dance.)

Do what works best for what you so you can feel good and tackle your day with confidence.  The key here is making sure you give yourself a little time to even consider what may make ‘you’ feel great.

So have an amazing day!

My mullet and I are going to grab my banana clip and get going.

Moni

P.S. - If you haven't checked out the FREE GUIDE - 5 Foods That Help Boost Your Metabolism & Lose Weight Naturally - Click to learn what it is all about!