Thursday, November 21, 2013
The holidays are officially here, starting with
Thanksgiving. And since Thanksgiving revolves around food, many people worry
that they will fall victim to the cycle of overeating, feeling guilty and then
struggling to get back on track making their health a priority. To help minimize the anxiety and really enjoy the holiday, it’s important to have a game plan.
First, decide on your mindset. Remember it's only one
day! If you want to make it an eating frenzy, go for it. Just remember to get right back on plan Friday morning.
Now let’s say, like most of us, you want to enjoy the delicious Thanksgiving
food, but you also want to keep your metabolism firing on all cylinders and minimize any excess weight gain and bloating…these tips are for you:
1. Eat in 3's all day long. A big Thanksgiving myth is to starve
yourself all day so you can dive into dinner. When you do that, it
actually slows down your metabolism and then causes you to over eat at dinner
and store fat. Simply eat when you wake up and all day long, which will keep
your metabolism humming and minimize the quantity of food you consume at dinner
& any excess fat storage.
2. Eat your thanksgiving meal twice! Instead of eating one huge meal that forces you to unbutton your pants, simply take your Thanksgiving meal and enjoy one helping. Then three hours later, enjoy a second helping. This will prevent any big blood sugar spikes and will minimize fat storage.
Bonus Tip - Make sure to balance out your plate with some Protein (turkey) Carbs (sweet potatoes, stuffing & salad ) and Fat (some butter for your potatoes or some salad dressing for your salad). And if you want dessert, you can always make that your third meal. Smaller meals that are spaced throughout the day let you rock Thanksgiving food and stay in shape!
3. Eat a small protein meal before bed. A big mistake that many people make is eating a high calorie meal right before bed. This triggers fat storage. A simple adjustment: About 3 to 4 hours after your Thanksgiving meals (notice I said meals!), right before you go to sleep, have a small meal of just protein and fat such as plain Greek yogurt and almonds, a hardboiled egg or a protein meal replacement shake.
There you have it; easy tips to survive Thanksgiving and
keep your body functioning like a fat burning machine!
Mark Macdonald- Creator of the Venice Nutrition system and
Author of NY Times Bestseller Body Confidence
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Halloween is upon us and its candy time! All too often, we
tell people that they shouldn't eat candy or need to avoid it. In theory, that makes a lot of sense. In
reality, many people, (both kids & adults) love candy and when eaten in
moderation, it's fine.
Below are my tried and true tips on how you CAN eat candy
and what adjustments to make to minimize the fat storing damage and energy
crashes. Let’s face it. Saying
"just don't eat candy" only makes people want it more, so here’s how
to enjoy your Halloween while staying on track towards reaching your health
1). Understand the 2 different types of candy.
Do you know the difference between skittles & a snickers
bar? Basically there are two types of candy. One type is made of just
sugar like skittles, jolly ranchers, hot tamales, gummy bears, etc. Your body breaks down this type of candy fast
and it causes a blood sugar spike (which is why too much candy makes kids coo
coo). Soon after the blood sugar spike,
you have a blood sugar crash, making you want more candy. That afternoon
candy craving you have is simply low blood sugar.
The second type of candy has sugar (carbs) with some fat
& a little protein, like hershey's kisses, snickers, twix, three musketeer,
etc. This type of candy typically has
more calories than straight sugar candy, but because it has some fat and
protein too, it won't spike your blood sugar as fast.
This is why you probably feel a bit more satisfied after munching
on a snickers bar vs. a box of mike & ike's.
2) Eat protein & fat with your candy.
My son Hunter loves skittles and when he just eats candy
alone it causes a huge energy and sugar surge followed by a huge crash. The solution to the energy highs and lows is
simple. Just have some protein and fat
right before eating the candy. By simply snacking on a stick of string
cheese, or a cup of Greek yogurt or sliced turkey & nuts before the candy
(your carbs) it slows down the rate your body metabolizes the sugar to help
prevent big spikes. In addition, by eating your protein & fat first,
it makes you want less candy because you are preventing the sugar high.
You also want to follow this tip with the candy
that already has a little protein & fat (like Milky Way for example).
Despite the fact that this candy is digested slower, it still doesn't have
enough protein or fat to keep blood sugar stable, nor is the quality the
3). Pace your candy.
We get so excited with the abundance of Halloween candy
that we "go for it" and indulge like it’s the last candy we’ll ever
eat! Pacing your candy means working it into little treats with a couple of
meals a day. For example, after a sandwich for lunch, throw in a Hershey
kiss or a small bag of skittles for desert. When that mid-afternoon
craving is coming, have some cottage cheese, with some almonds & berries,
plus a bite size snickers or starburst. By
adding the candy at the end of your meal, you’ll find that you feel satisfied and
actually crave the candy less.
4) Be cautious of low calorie candy because it’s loaded
with sugar sweeteners.
Many times we think we're doing great by focusing on the
"no or low sugar" candy. Remember, the sweetness needs to come
from somewhere and it typically comes from artificial sweeteners that are difficult
for your body to digest and can cause gas and bloating. In addition, the
chemicals in artificial sweeteners are not the best for your body. Look
for candy that is sweetened with "stevia" or natural sugar, like
honey, if you looking for low calorie candy.
Join me on Headline News (HLN) this and every Monday at
1:30 pm for my segment Mike, Mark & Monday – Get it Back in Gear. This Monday we’ll be talking CANDY and
reviewing the tips above!
There you have it, your now know how to indulge with your
favorite candy and minimize the damage.
Mark Macdonald- CEO of Venice Nutrition and Author of NY
Times Bestseller, Body Confidence
Monday, September 30, 2013
While we all know that the best way to get your vitamins and minerals is with a balanced diet packed full of whole, nutritious food, many of us struggle to make this happen. If your lacking, the following supplements can help fill the void.
One of the most important nutrients in our body is
calcium, mainly because it does so much to keep us healthy. In
addition to building and maintaining strong, dense bones and preventing
osteoporosis, calcium is also required to maintain our heart rhythm and aids in
proper muscle contraction, hormone secretion and nerve transmission. Despite
the fact that calcium needs increase as we age (approximately 1200 mg per day
for females 50 and older and males 71 and older, compared to 1000 mg per day
for younger adults), our modern day busy lifestyles may be the reason why so
many of us are lacking adequate amounts. Research proves that three servings a day of
high calcium foods such as milk or yogurt, fortified orange juice, and dark
leafy greens are a great start. If you are not meeting your calcium needs via diet,
it’s very important to take a calcium supplement to fill in the gaps and
prevent your body from robbing much needed calcium from your bones.
Vitamin D is so important because your body needs it in
order to absorb calcium. Some studies show that Vitamin D may even help to
prevent depression, cancer and diabetes, though much more research is needed. It
is clear however that without adequate Vitamin D, we risk bone loss and density
and increase our risk of bone related injuries. While many of us take in enough Vitamin D
(approximately 600 IUs per day for people under 70 and approximately 800 IUs
per day for those over the age of 71) via fortified foods and exposure to sunlight,
some of us may be lacking or have greater Vitamin D needs and require a Vitamin
D supplement. Your doctor can perform a blood test to determine if a Vitamin D
supplement is necessary.
Research shows that Omega 3 Fatty Acids can lower blood
pressure and cholesterol, improve brain function, reduce joint pain and
inflammation, and perhaps even protect against heart disease and stroke, thus
making them a critical component of optimal health. Omega 3 Fatty Acids can
also improve the health of our hair, skin and nails. Because our bodies do not make these
essential Omega 3 Fatty Acids on our own, it’s important to get them through
diet or supplementation. To get the
recommended 3000 mg of Omega 3 Fatty Acids per day, aim to eat 1 serving of
fatty fish like salmon three times per week or consider a fish oil or flax seed
The Venice Nutrition Team
Thursday, July 18, 2013
In a word? Yes. Because the Venice Nutrition program is based
on eating frequent, balanced meals made of whole, natural food, it is perfectly
healthy to follow while pregnant. That being said, there may be a few
adjustments that you may need to make while following your program.
Perhaps you joined the program initially to lose weight,
tone up, increase energy or enhance athletic performance.
Your personal nutritional parameters can still work for you
while pregnant; only now the goal is to eat more frequently to make sure that
you’re providing enough fuel for both you and baby. In general, you need approximately 300 more
calories per day while pregnant. So
rather than eat larger meals every 3 to 4 hours, it’s best to eat every 2 or so
hours (which will add an additional meal or two per day). Always
tune in and really listen to your body; if you feel hungry sooner, your body is
letting you know that you need more food, so eat!
It’s important to aim for as many natural, high quality
foods as possible to get the most vitamins, minerals and fiber. It’s also important to balance these natural
sources of protein, carbohydrates and fats to keep blood sugar levels stable
and keep both you and baby healthy.
Chicken, pork, egg whites or egg beaters, low fat
cottage cheese or low fat Greek Yogurt, lean beef and certain types of seafood (speak to your doctor about low mercury seafood options) are all
excellent sources of high quality protein.
Choose whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal, sweet
potatoes, beans, a variety of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables and salads
for high quality carbohydrates. If
having medium quality (medium processed) foods like bread or pasta, aim for the
whole grain, high fiber variety as often as possible.
Heart healthy fat choices include avocado, nuts, nut
butters, flax seed oil, and olive oil.
It’s also really important to make sure that you are getting
enough high calcium food in your diet.
And we know many of you depend on quick “all in one” meals
like protein bars and protein smoothies.
Speak to your doctor to make sure that the supplements you take are safe
Also, speak to your doctor about taking a multi-vitamin and
any other supplements that may be helpful to support the growth of your baby.
The Venice Nutrition Team
Thursday, April 18, 2013
of sun, sand and fun. In my early
twenties, vacation usually involved guzzling fruity mixed drinks under the sweltering
sun while stuffing myself with fried food from the buffet. And
exercise? Umm…does doggie paddling ten
feet to the pool bar count? And sure, it’s fun while it lasts but there
is nothing more annoying (or defeating) than returning home from vacation heavier,
craving junk food and foggy. After all,
what’s the point of working so hard before
vacation to get in shape just to blow it when you finally get there? Why not live
it up while maintaining your health goals?
Now that I’m a little older, I’ve learned how to have fun
without packing on extra weight and feeling as though I need another vacation.
Here’s how to stay fit without sacrificing the fun on your
next vacation. Be
honest with yourself and your goals!
Unless you’re going away to a spa or fitness retreat, your goal
should never be to lose weight while on vacation. Think about it…how many people really
lose weight while veering from their everyday routine? Instead of focusing
on losing weight and progressing, shift your mind set towards maintaining
your body and goals. Success is
coming home from vacation close to the way you went in! Now you just have to pick up right where
you left off.
Be prepared. Staying
fit on vacation begins before you
even get there. To prevent cravings
and bingeing, it’s important to eat frequent, balanced meals every three
to four hours throughout the day. Pack balanced, portable options like protein
bars, protein powder, dried fruit, nuts, and turkey jerky to munch on in
between meals or whenever it’s just not possible to sit down to eat. The goal is to prevent hunger and
over-eating. And always pack more than you think you
need; I find I go through these snacks fast while on vacation!
your plate with protein, carbohydrates and fat. Start with a hearty portion of lean
protein (think chicken, seafood, pork) and then add a small portion of
carbohydrates. More than likely,
there will be plenty of fat hidden in the meal so no need to add more.
Load up on H20. This
one’s obvious; particularly, if you drink alcohol. Being hung over or bloated on vacation
is never a good idea!
Take advantage of your surroundings. Try a new activity like yoga on the
beach, snorkeling, shopping the markets or even a brisk walk in the sand
(the unstable terrain engages all of your balancing muscles and helps you
burn more fat). The key is to get moving and have fun
while doing it.
Get back on track. It’s
fine to indulge here and there, especially while on vacation. The key to
success? Get right back on track at your next opportunity with a balanced
meal to re-stabilize blood sugar and feel your best!
See? Staying on track while away from your everyday routine doesn’t
have to be difficult. So relax, already!
Real life will be waiting for you when you get back.
Lead Nutrition Coach and Head Chef
Friday, February 22, 2013
How much sugar is
recommended, and how much do most Americans usually get?
The bigger question is how much carbohydrates do Americans consume? And the answer is too many. You see, all carbohydrates (even healthy ones
like fruit, oatmeal, brown rice, vegetables, etc…) are broken down by our
digestive system into glucose (sugar).
Since excess carbohydrate intake is largely to blame for our society’s increase
in obesity, the real question is how many carbohydrates should you consume per
meal to prevent the negative results of excess sugar intake?
The answer is blood sugar stabilization.
Let’s begin by explaining blood sugar’s role in your body. You see, glucose (or sugar) in your
bloodstream is responsible for fueling your nervous system and creates the bulk
of your body’s energy source: ATP, the
same energy required for every movement you make.
By stabilizing blood sugar levels with the right nutrition,
you create balance (homeostasis) within your body. Your body then releases what it doesn’t need
like stored body fat, toxins and excess sodium and protects your lean muscle
mass to ignite your metabolism.
Here’s how it works. Whenever you over-eat or indulge in a
carbohydrate-heavy meal, your blood sugar spikes (above 120 mg/ dl) and your
body stores fat. Just the opposite
happens whenever you skip a meal, eliminating the carbohydrates and calories
that your body needs to thrive or
work out on an empty stomach. Blood
sugar levels drop too low (below 80 mg / dl) and your body is forced to burn
lean muscle mass for fuel in place of body fat.
This loss of lean muscle slows your metabolism and makes it nearly
impossible to reach your goals.
The fact is that though many people eat “healthy,” they fail
to eat “correctly” and inadvertently spike and crash their blood sugar levels
all day long!
Stabilizing your blood sugar (keeping levels between 80 and
120 mg/ dl throughout the day) will naturally help you look and feel your best. You’ll optimize your workouts by giving your
body the fuel it needs. You’ll burn
body fat, protect and increase lean muscle mass, eliminate sugar (carbohydrate)
cravings, boost your energy and continually break through stubborn plateaus. In short, stabilizing your blood sugar will
help you to achieve your goals permanently!
The 3 Factors to
Stabilize Your Blood Sugar:
So how many carbohydrates should you have
per meal? This varies per individual,
but overall a balanced meal of 35% protein, 35% carbohydrates and 30% fat will
keep your blood sugar stable and give your body the right dosage of sugar to
achieve optimum results.
- Meal Intervals –
Your body is a “refuel as it goes” machine and needs to be fed
consistently! Eat one hour within
waking (before exercise) to kick start your metabolism and then every 3 to
4 hours throughout the day until bedtime. Your last meal should fall
within one hour of going to bed to help prepare your body for
fasting. Frequent meals will keep
blood sugar levels steady and help to prevent you from overeating and
spiking blood sugar or skipping a meal and causing blood sugar to drop too
- Nutrient Ratios -
Each meal should have a balance of complete protein (animal or soy
protein), with a small amount of healthy fat and a small amount of
carbohydrates to keep blood sugar levels stable. It is critical to get the correct
nutrients (protein, carbohydrate and fat) in every meal.
- Meal Size - Your
body can only process a certain amount of food at once and eating smaller
meals every few hours will keep blood sugar levels steady. Each meal
should be roughly the same size (same amount of calories).
What are the
health risks of too much sugar or the equivalent?
Anytime your blood sugar spikes above 120 mg/dl, your pancreas over
releases the hormone insulin. When this
happens your body shifts into fat storing mode.
So the more blood sugar spikes you have, the more fat you store. This can lead to an onslaught of health challenges
including obesity, heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes.
Let’s discuss Type 2 Diabetes. Type
2 Diabetes has a genetic component to it, but the main trigger of the onset of
this medical challenge is years of over consuming carbohydrates and spiking
blood sugar levels. Eventually the cells
that respond to insulin (your hormone that lowers your blood sugar) become
insulin resistance and this causes your blood sugar to stay elevated, leading
to Type 2 Diabetes.
The solution is to start
stabilizing your blood sugar now and you can most likely prevent the disease
and if you already have Type 2 Diabetes, start following the 3 principles above
to get your blood sugar levels back in balance.
Mark Macdonald- Creator of the Venice Nutrition System, MonaVie Nutrition and Fitness Expert and Author of NY Times Bestseller, Body Confidence
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
As January comes to an end, unfortunately so do our lofty
New Year resolutions. Why is it so hard
to make Near Year resolutions stick? As
a Certified Nutrition Coach with Venice Nutrition for ten years, I have learned
that lasting resolutions stem from real determination, preparation and most
importantly, being honest with yourself.
Want to make it happen for real this year? Keep reading!
Before setting any goals for 2013, ask yourself:
Am I being realistic?
One of the most common mistakes we’ve all been guilty of is creating an
unrealistic goal that simply won’t work with our lifestyle. For example, do you consistently work 70
hours a week and take care of a family?
Perhaps, the goal of cardio for one hour a day, six days a week just won’t
work for you and setting a goal that unrealistic will only lead to
Take a moment to truly evaluate your goals, lifestyle, job,
and family obligations. Look at your
calendar and schedule in a realistic exercise routine that you can adhere to,
such as cardio 4 to 5 days per week for 45 minutes. And remember to get creative with your
solutions. Perhaps getting dressed and
driving to the gym every one of those days will cut into your actual work out
time. Instead, invest in a fun workout
tape for home or take a brisk power walk in your neighborhood. Like any goal in life, you want to make sure
that it is realistic, do-able, and works with (not against) your current
Of course, it’s important to aim high and stretch outside of
your comfort zone to achieve anything important in life….. and it’s just as
important to know yourself! For
example, if you know that chocolate is your absolute weakness, avoid making the
mistake of setting a “no chocolate ever again” policy. Better yet, allow yourself to have your
favorite indulgence once or twice a week.
Being honest with yourself and what’s important to you keeps you happy
and leads to a “balanced” lifestyle…..and that eventually leads to achieving
your goals permanently!
Know the difference between Short Term and Long Term Goals (and
make sure to set both).
“I’m going to lose 50 pounds!” Sound familiar? Sound daunting? That’s because it is! In fact, if this is the type of goal you have
set for yourself in the past without success then you know just how daunting
and unattainable a goal like that can seem.
This is an example of a Long Term Goal and without Short Term Goals to
make it happen, Long Term Goals can seem next to impossible. So what’s the solution? Create realistic and small Short Term Goals
along with your ultimate Long Term Goals.
Both are critical to your success.
Short Term Goals are daily, attainable goals that you should
set for yourself on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Because they are relatively small and
realistic changes, these goals are easy to achieve. This sense of achievement leads to daily
healthy habits and a huge source of motivation (“Yes! I did it!”). Best of all?
Continually achieving your Short Term Goals leads you to finally reach
your Long Term Goals (such as reaching your ideal weight or gaining the
endurance and stamina to run a marathon for example). Need some ideas on how to set your own Short
and Long Term Goals? Here’s a great example:
Let’s say Jim, a member of Venice Nutrition, is already
stabilizing his blood sugar by eating balanced meals and working out
regularly. His Long Term goal is to lose
45 pounds and reduce his blood pressure with the intention of getting off of
his blood pressure medication permanently.
Here’s some examples of Short Term Goals he could set for himself in
order to achieve his Long Term Goals.
Short Term Goals for week 1 & 2:
Drink 10 glasses of water every day by bringing a large
refillable water bottle to work.
Avoid adding table salt to meals, particularly at dinner
Read the Quality of Food Chart in the Handbook and adjust my
shopping list so I can start replacing 2 of my lower quality carbohydrates per
day with higher quality carbohydrate choices.
Add interval training into my weekly exercise routine 1 time
per week to start
Short Term Goals for week 3 & 4:
Reduce alcohol to 2 drinks per week. I will do this by having 2 drinks on Saturday
night while out to eat and avoiding alcohol with dinner throughout the week.
Replace one protein bar per day with a higher quality meal
(such as turkey, fruit and nuts) that I can pack with me the night before work
Increase interval training to 2 x per week
Each week, Jim can continue to set realistic, attainable
goals for himself. And remember Jim’s
Long Term Goals that seemed so hard to reach?
Now that he’s created daily, healthy habits by achieving his Short Term
Goals, it’s only a matter of time before Jim loses the 45 pounds and reduces
his blood pressure!
Always remember to write down your goals on paper (along
with the “how to” achieve them where necessary; notice how some of Jim’s goals
include how he’ll achieve them as well).
Keep your goals on hand as a daily reminder and for when those moments
of weakness occasionally creep in. It’s
also very important to re-evaluate your goals and create new goals weekly or
bi-weekly to achieve.
If you find that you are having challenges creating or
sticking to realistic goals for yourself, consider working with a personal
Certified Venice Nutrition Coaches in one of our centers or through our Phone
Coaching programs from the convenience of your own home! Your personal
Certified Nutrition Coach will help you to create and stick to your goals, and
provide the support, motivation and tools you need for success. To learn more
about working with your own personal Certified Nutrition Coach, click here.
Set yourself up for success.
Perhaps you set the Short Term Goal of including more high quality
carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, brown rice and sweet potatoes into your
daily life instead of bread and pasta.
Now’s the time to create a game plan to make it happen. An example would be to make a batch of brown
rice or a salad in bulk for the week so you can easily “grab and go” come meal
Is your goal to have a cheat meal only once or twice a week
instead of on a regular basis? Well,
take a walk through your kitchen and hide the junk food so there’s less
temptation. Want to reduce your alcohol
intake but get sick of regular water?
Stock up on flavored seltzer water or lemon slices to jazz up plain H2O
to have on hand instead. It’s all about
creating solutions! Remember, if you
take the time and prepare a bit, it will be a lot easier to actually achieve
the goals you set for yourself.
And a few final pointers to reach your goals:
Enlist a “buddy” or share your goals with friends and
family. You’re more likely to succeed
with the support of the people who are around you the most.
Catch yourself doing something right. Acknowledge your successes every time you
achieve a Short Term Goal, no matter how small.
Did you drink all 8 glasses of water today? Have you added an extra 10 minutes of cardio
on to your daily routine? Excellent!
Making a big deal out of even the smallest successes makes you feel good
(great actually!) and sets a positive tone to motivate you to keep going.
Start journaling again, if only for a few weeks. Though not every one of our clients and
members journal, we have found that our most successful ones do! Journaling keeps you focused and
informed. For instance, if you notice
you’re always craving carbs around 4 pm, take a peek at your journal. You may find that the reason you are crashing
is because you’re going too long between meals or eating low quality food. This knowledge is powerful because now you
can create a solution.
Be patient. It takes
about 3 months before new habits start to stick so stay the course.
Most importantly, you have to believe. Any goal is possible if you set your mind to
it and believe that you can achieve it.
Every year I am amazed and thrilled by the success stories I
have witnessed with thousands of members and my own personal nutrition
clients. I invite you to use the above
guide as your “blue print” to success in 2013.
Set realistic and attainable goals.
Stay the course. Believe in
yourself. The rest will fall into place.
Lead Nutrition Coach and Head Chef
Friday, December 14, 2012
Between the holiday parties, braving the overcrowded malls
and preparing decadent meals, it can be hard to find the time to take care of
YOU. The following “To-Do List” is packed full of sneaky (and effortless) ways
to make yourself a priority this season.
Start today and say goodbye to holiday weight gain and fatigue for good!
While Shopping or
- Opt for low calorie coffee sweetened with Stevia, cinnamon
and low fat milk in place of Starbuck’s holiday coffee drinks and save hundreds
- Always pack a balanced, portable snack like a protein bar to
avoid a stop at the food court
- Dress comfortably and wear sneakers to turn your shopping
day into a cardio workout
- Consolidate your gift shopping into one or two days and use
the extra time to get in a workout
- When holiday food shopping, buy only what you need and don’t
forget your VN Grocery List (pull it up on our mobile site or print it ahead of
time) to help you stay on track
- Give the gift of good health. Consider asking for or
purchasing healthier gifts this year like a gym membership, massage gift
certificate, our Body Confidence book or a membership to Venice Nutrition
While at Home:
- When cleaning, focus on engaging and tightening your
abdominals for a quick core workout
- Designate one day a week to prepare high quality food in
bulk like chicken, brown rice or a salad for quick grab and go meals all week
The holidays are busy enough. Make sure to take the time for
YOU this season…your waist line will thank you.
The Venice Nutrition Team
Monday, November 05, 2012
We all love this time of year… candy on Halloween, a big feast on Thanksgiving followed by endless holiday parties for Hanukah or Christmas and last but not least a big New Year celebration! As fun as the holiday season is, it’s also known as the “waist line” increasing season (the not so fun part of the holidays). Well not this year. Here are 3 tips that will keep your weight in check and help you not only survive, but win this holiday season!
Tip 1 – Eat in 3’s
Your body is a “feed as it goes” machine, which means you need to feed it consistently throughout the day. The rule of 3’s makes this really easy. Simply eat every 3 hours (total of 5-6 meals a day) and divide your plate in thirds, 1/3 protein, 1/3 fat and 1/3 carbohydrates. Eating this way keeps your blood sugar balanced, which balances your hormones and triggers your body to steadily release fat.
Tip 2 - Have your MRFK
We all know that life is busy and during the holiday season, well.., it’s even busier! This is why having a MRFK (mobile readiness food kit) is crucial to stay on plan. Your MRFK is your “quick to go” meal options that allow you to get a balanced meal during those tough meal times like early morning, mid- morning, mid-afternoon and late night. It could be simply a protein bar in your purse or briefcase, or a more deluxe MRFK that includes proteins like turkey jerky, Greek yogurt, hardboiled eggs, and fats like nuts, seeds, and carbohydrates like fruit, veggies or crackers. Or try meal replacements like a protein bar or shake. You can load up a travel size cooler and be ready to take on the world, even during holiday shopping!
Tip 3 – Cheat Right
It seems like the best food of the year is during holiday time…it’s truly the “eating” season! The cool thing is you can “have your cake and eat it too” you just need to know how work those extra treat meals into your plan. By eating 3-4 oz of protein before any type of treat meal (cake, chocolate, candy, alcohol, pie, etc.) you immediately slow down the release of sugar into your blood, which minimizes the fat storage from that meal. Then 4 hours after the treat meal, aim to get right back on plan and your metabolism will keep on humming.
There you have it..3 do-able tips that will help you survive during this holiday season and actually enter the new year with a faster metabolism than you had Halloween night…now that’s what I call winning through the holidays!
Here’s to an happy and healthy holiday season!
Creator of the Venice Nutrition Program & Author of Body Confidence
Monday, October 29, 2012
If there is any day of the year that I get a craving for candy, Halloween is it! And while one piece certainly won’t derail your results, bingeing all day on Halloween treats will. Just a few pieces of candy can leave you tired, cranky, bloated and craving more sugar. Worst, the effects of an all-out binge fest can last for a few days. So here are a few tips to stay on track tonight and for the next few days until the Halloween treats are gone.
1. Remind yourself of your goals. I recommend that you read your goals out loud and post them in a place where you can see them (even if it’s on the inside of the front door while you hand out candy!). When your goals are literally staring you in the face, they are a lot harder to ignore. You’ll also think twice before mindlessly reaching into the candy bag.
2. Keep up with your meals. Whenever you skip a meal or eat a meal that is not balanced in protein, carbohydrates and fat, it’s only a matter of time before blood sugar drops and cravings kick in. Add a bowl full of accessible candy to the mix and you’ve got a recipe for disaster! Keep the physical cravings in check by eating frequent balanced meals to stabilize your blood sugar.
3. Hide it! One of my favorite tricks to avoid over-eating high fat and high sugar treats is to hide them. It's the old, "out of sight, out of mind" trick... and it works! I prefer the basement but at the very least store extra candy up high (not at eye level) and preferably in a cabinet where the shiny colorful packaging can't tempt you. Whatever you do, don’t keep a bowl for “guests” (yeah, right!) out on the kitchen counter. I’ve learned the hard way that the “guest” bowl of candy always seems to end up on my thighs!
4. If you want a piece of candy, choose your favorite and have it with a balanced meal (go light on the carbohydrates in the meal to make up for the extra sugar in the candy). Better yet, skip the candy altogether and plan a real "off meal" like Saturday night dinner reservations at your favorite restaurant. Sometimes a measly piece of candy just isn't worth the spike and dip in blood sugar but your favorite meal always is!
I can remember as a kid my parents always had to “test” the candy to make sure some stranger hadn’t “poisoned” it. If this sounds familiar, it may be time to re-think your Halloween strategy and implement the tips above!
I'm curious....do you have any tips to avoid the dreaded Halloween hangover? Please share!
Lead Nutrition Coach and Head Chef