Healthy, Happy, Turkey Day. Workouts and Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving

“As we express our gratitude, 
we must never forget that the highest appreciation
is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Thanksgiving happens to be one of my favorite holidays of the year because I LOVE giving thanks. There is no better reason to express gratitude for those that you love and take time off to celebrate all of the blessings in your life. However it can be challenging to balance all the celebrations with healthy, mindful living. Heavy meals, stressful schedules, and travel can cause us to feel weighed down. But I believe with a few simple healthy alterations you can stop the holiday food hangover from happening. Here are some of my suggestions for a happy, healthy Thanksgiving celebration. This is just a list, choose which thoughts will work for you.  Remember: You can be the change. Start a healthy Thanksgiving tradition and pass the good feelings on <3

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Caroline’s Healthy, Happy Thanksgiving Strategies. 

    • Aim to maintain (not lose) weight during the holiday. This one is key – set a realistic goal to maintain your weight and practice healthy behaviors during Thanksgiving.
    • Offer to cook or bring a healthy dish to your Thanksgiving gathering. I like making these maple roasted sweet potatoes or honey mustard carrots. Healthy, festive, and satisfying!
    • Eat breakfast and make it healthy. Eating a healthy breakfast that includes lean protein (eggs or egg whites, salmon, protein-enhanced smoothie, Greek yogurt) and fresh fruit (apples, pears, berries) or vegetables (spinach, bell peppers, broccoli) will get the day started on the right track and help keep you satisfied and less likely to binge or “pick” throughout the day. Not only that but a strong start to the day is essential in keeping your metabolism going and your energy levels up.
    • Eat regularly and in some kind of reasonable pattern. It may be tempting to skip meals or plan to restrict or diet the day following a family holiday — but this is self-sabatoge and will set you up for failure with your healthy lifestyle goals. Make the Thanksgiving meal just one more meal in the week rather than investing it with supernatural powers. Remember, much of the meal is healthy. The key is portion size and moderation.
    • WORK IT OUT in the morning. Whether you are near your own gym or visiting your family back home, planning an intense workout before the busy day begins is essential. It will jump-start your metabolism and give you some time off to decompress from all the holiday festivities and time spent “on”. If you can get outdoors for a hike, brisk walk, bike ride, run, ski, surf, paddle, or snow shoe, do it. The outdoors is invigorating and you’ll take in some needed fresh air. Remember: you don’t need to do a 90 minute marathon workout, a 20-40 minute intense circuit workout will be most effective in boosting your metabolism and getting your day started strong. Here’s an example of an intense 10 minute workout you can do anywhere. Repeat the circuit 2-3 times for a longer sweat session or go through it once and focus on quality. I cant wait to hear what you think 🙂

 

  • Practice being present. Take your time and enjoy what you eat! Although it is tempting to dive right in and gobble everything down, slow your spoon and take the time to chew, breathe, and appreciate your food. Putting the fork and knife down between bites will actually result in less of a chance of overeating. It’s a good idea to stop eating before you are STUFFED to the brim. It takes the brain a little bit of time to register satiety (the feeling of fullness) after the food hits the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. Stop when you are satisfied not when you are stuffed. Remember it takes 20 minutes for the body to register that its full.
  • Drink lots of water. Water will help your intestinal tract process food and digest. It will also take the edge off your hunger and help you avoid overdoing it on the calorie beverages (e.g., soda, fruit punch, alcohol, egg nog, etc.).
  • Pick your Faves! Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy and indulge. The key is not over doing it. Survey the whole table before starting. Choose which foods you’ll enjoy most and if it all looks good, take a small taste of everything. Remember portion control is key to indulging mindfully. Often all you need is a taste of these to satisfy your craving. Make it your goal to practice moderation, enjoy each bite, and give thanks!
  • Practice what you will say to food-pushers. Oftentimes family members want to see you “enjoy” the meal, and think that the only way that you can do so is to overindulge. Talk to family members in advance about your goals and ask them to support you by not commenting on how much you are eating or pressuring you to have a second serving of Mom’s famous stuffing. Think ahead of different ways you can communicate your healthy living goals to them in a clear and compassionate way. Remind family that you are trying to enjoy your time with them and that you appreciate their support.
  • Get some fresh air after dinner. This is one tradition my family always practices that I love. After dinner we go for a walk around the neighbourhood to digest and catch up. Its a great idea to get outside for at least 30 minutes post-meal to move. The fresh fall air will invigorate you and fall is a beautiful season to enjoy some quality time with family. I believe one of the best ways to bond is to get moving and am thankful my family has this tradition.
  • Focus on more than food. In the beginning, Thanksgiving wasn’t about eating or football. According to Wikapedia, “Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.” In truth, there are so many other things that make Thanksgiving special. Ask family members to share what the holidays mean to them. Perhaps it means reconnecting with family members that you don’t usually get to see, or sharing in a service activity that feels good. Brainstorm ideas with your family in what you can do together to make the season more special or connected. Take your focus this Thanksgiving away from what you are eating and on towards what you are celebrating 🙂

More than anything Practice gratitude! Thanksgiving a great time to reflect, spend time with loved ones, and to feel gratitude for blessings received. Be present, positive, and make the most out of the holiday by feeling your best. Whats one way that you feel your best during the holiday of thanks?? Leave your suggestions as a comment below, I love hearing how you inspire healthy living in others 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. I am thankful for each and every one of you, and I appreciate your support in helping to continue to spread the message of wellness, health, and positive thoughts for positive results.  Wishing you the happiest of holidays.

With gratitude and love,

Caroline

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How To Stop Binge Eating Late At Night And Damaging Your Diet

Do you eat late at night? Binge eating late is bad for your health, here’s how to stop self sabotaging your diet and keep your eating in check.

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Do you sometimes sneak a late-night snack, even after you’ve had a big dinner? Or worse, do you find yourself binge eating at night?

You are not alone! Millions of people struggle with late night binge eating. Its a problem that can eventually lead to obesity, diabetes, and depression.

The truth is that having a giant meal and then going right to sleep is guaranteed to pack on the pounds.  If you binge eat late at night just before bed, your body will store the extra calories as fat instead of processing and burning them. Not to mention binge eating late will interrupt your sleep patterns, cause digestive issues, and create an irritable mood (from lack of sleep and tummy trouble!)

So, how does this happen? Why, even after a big meal, do you crave more food, more sugar, and more junk, and you want to have chips or sweets or other unhealthy foods? What is the root cause of this, and how do we deal with it? According to Dr. Mark Hyman, an imbalance of the hormones that regulate your appetite are the root cause of the binge eating issue. He believes there are specific things that trigger each of them, and if you understand how to balance them, you won’t have cravings for sweets and other foods…and you won’t be binge eating late at night. According to him, the following four hormones are:

  • Insulin – A very important hormone that your body produces to process the sugar in your diet. When your insulin spikes then crashes after eating sugar and flour or junk, it makes you hungry. This can even happen after a large meal of “good food.”
  • Leptin – This is the brake on your appetite. Leptin says to your brain, “Oh, I’m full. I don’t need any more food.” When you eat a lot of sugar, processed foods, and flour, the leptin doesn’t work anymore. Your brain actually becomes leptin resistant.
  • Ghrelin – A “hunger hormone” produced in your stomach that helps regulate your appetite. Leptin sends the message, “You should eat – I’m hungry!”
  • Peptide YY – A hormone that is produced in your intestines, and it says, “Hey, I’m full! I’ve had enough to eat. I don’t need any more.”

There is also one other hormone that comes into play: cortisol, the stress hormone. When you’re stressed, your cortisol level goes up, and when that happens, you get hungrier and your blood sugar and insulin levels rise. This sets the stage for pre-diabetes or insulin resistance, and it’s a vicious cycle.

I think Dr. Hyman is right, that all of these hormones have to be kept in balance in order to prevent late night hunger attacks. But I also feel like there is a second piece to night binge eating: emotions. Sometimes we binge eat at night because we are lonely, bored, tired, stressed, or sad.

Emotional reasons we binge eat at night include:

  • Boredom. You may be bored or dealing with another emotion like stress, and use this time to preoccupy or numb yourself with food.
  • Restriction. You have restricted your calories too much during the day and truly are hungry.
  • Off-limits thinking. The psychological nature of “dieting” prompts you to feel that late-night eating is taboo, which in turn creates “off limits” thinking. Sometimes when we tell ourselves we can’t have something, we end up wanting it all the more.

I think ending late night binge eating comes from 1. balancing the body’s hormones and 2. understanding and addressing the emotional cause of raiding the cabinets come midnight. If you want to stop late night binge eating you’ll want to address both.  Here are my tips to help you balance your hormones and practice mindful emotional nutrition. Hopefully these suggestions will help get you to sleep and not overeat 🙂

How To Stop Binge Eating Late At Night:

  • Figure out your pattern (emotional/physical). Start by keeping a food journal throughout your entire day. Include what you ate, how much, where, and who was with you (if anyone). Note how you were feeling before, during, and after, and how hungry you felt on a scale from zero (being hungry with physical symptoms) to 10 (stuffed) before and after. You can read my guide on keeping a food journal HERE. Tracking the details of your diet can be very eye-opening, it can help you see your patterns on how you are eating and if you are getting enough throughout the day at regular intervals. It can also raise awareness to your emotional eating habits  the bonding ritual of night eating with their ‘partner in crime’ or eating alone while watching TV.
  • Determine why you do what you do (emotional/physical) Once you know what you’re doing, stop and consider what it is that triggers this behavior. What’s the need you’re trying to meet? Are you eating a bag of chips out of boredom or bedtime habit? Soothing your loneliness with chocolate? Trying to ease your sadness with spoonfuls of peanut butter? Relieving stress with a dish of ice cream? Or are you eating because you are physically hungry because you didnt get enough calories throughout the day?? Understanding the cause of your late night eating will help you work to solve the issue with something other than peanut butter.
  • Eat breakfast (physical): This is one of the key strategies to stop the nighttime cravings. Of course if you are bingeing at night, you probably won’t want to eat breakfast, because when you wake up, you’re still full. So, you’ll  have to work to break that cycle, and you have to start with breakfast: a good, protein breakfast. Here are a few high protein breakfast ideas to get you off to a good start. If you have one of those for breakfast, it’ll keep your blood sugar even all morning and all day.
  • Don’t drink your calories (physical): If you have sugary, liquid calories in the form of sodas, juices, lattes, sports drinks, or iced teas, it will spike your insulin and blood sugar and will cause cravings.
  • Make sure you eat regularly (physical): Have breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you want a snack in between, that’s fine, but make sure you eat at regular rhythms and regular times. Your body is a hormonal clock, and you have to eat in rhythm to keep it in balance.
  • Have protein and good-quality fat at every meal (physical): Good fats are nuts and seeds, avocados, coconut, olive oil, or quality protein like chicken, fish, or grass-fed meat. Some combination of these (plus lots of vegetables) balances your blood sugar.
  • Find your pause button and soothe the stress (emotional): Stress makes you fat (and overeat); relaxing makes you thin. Learn to find your pause button and de-stress. I encourage you to look at my blog on reducing stress to learn exactly what to do. Breathing, yoga, and exercise are some of my favorite ways to reduce stress, which helps reset the hormones, balance brain chemistry, and stop the cravings.
  • Prioritize sleep (physical) : If you don’t sleep, you will be hungry, especially for carbs and sugar. Why? Because when you deprive yourself of sleep, ghrelin, the hormone that drives hunger goes up and PYY, the hormone that makes you feel full, goes down. So, if you want to lose weight, get your daily dose of ZZZ’s!
  • Find your food sensitivities (physical): People don’t realize this, but you often crave the thing you’re allergic or sensitive to. And gluten and dairy are among the biggest triggers for food sensitivity. Try to get rid of these for a few weeks and see if your cravings stop.
  • Nix Mindless Munching (emotional).  If you’ve gotten into the habit of eating in front of the television or while working on your computer, aim to eat meals only in the kitchen. You can also choose to limit your TV/computer eating to fruits and vegetables. Or occupy your hands in other ways — ride a stationary bike, do exercises with an exercise ball, take up knitting, pay bills, or write notes to friends.
  • Spice Up Your LIFE (emotional). Many people snack at night because they’re bored. Keep your evenings interesting, and you’ll find it easier to refrain from mindless snacking. Take a night class, plan an evening exercise session, find a new and interesting book or hobby, etc.

I believe that by addressing both the physical and emotional needs of your body you can work to end late night binge eating. Take care of yourself with the kind of quality and love that you would take care of your best friend. Would you keep your best friend up and binge eating late into the evening for no reason? Nope. So take a deep breath and put down the midnight bag of chips. Your future self will thank you for it 🙂

In health,

Caroline

Want to build a balanced body? Check out my book, Balanced Body Breakthrough and get your mind, body, and spirit in great shape so you can love your life.

If you are interested in scheduling a consultation to discuss ways we can work with together and improve your health and happiness, contact me at: carolinejordanfitness@gmail.com

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Winter Fitness Motivation Secrets

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Bundled up and ready to ROCK these cold weather workouts!

Cold temperatures and less sunshine make exercising in the winter extremely challenging. Motivating yourself to keep fit during winter can feel like a bit of a battle….and somehow the warm bed always looks a little bit better. How can you stay inspired to exercise when it’s cold outside? Read below for my tips to help you stay fit all winter

Caroline’s Winter Motivation Secrets:

  • Set A Goal. Prepare for the winter woes by setting a few fitness goals. Whether it’s to lose weight, run a race, lift a certain amount of weight, or swim a set distance – having something to work for will become a great motivator. Studies on personal achievement have shown that you’ll usually reach 80% of the goals you put onto paper. Tell your friends and family of your goal and have them keep you accountable in your quest to be healthier.
  • Get Competitive. Healthy competition can make you a stronger, more competent athlete. Make bets, sign up for weekly races with friends, or participate in training events sponsored by local athletic clubs. Engaging in friendly rivalries puts you in charge of your performance and helps foster a sense of community with other athletes. And who knows…. Maybe you’ll end up winning some neat prizes!
  • Find a Friend. Recruit a friend for your sweat sessions and you are more likely to stay accountable for your workouts. Working out with a friend will help keep you consistent in your fitness and more likely to challenge yourself with new routines or higher levels of intensity. Fitness friends are like having a personal cheering squad; you’ll feel good about what you have accomplished and have more fun while you are at it.
  • Schedule and Stick to it. Plan workouts in advance – before the weather catches you unprepared and causes you to miss it. Anticipate the weather forecast and plan for activities that won’t be interrupted by seasonal elements. Write down all your workout appointments and use a calendar, planner, or even set a text message reminder to keep you on track.  When your workout date is in clear view you wont be able to forget it. Simple time management skills will make it much easier to stick to your fitness without giving into excuses.
  • Use an online program to help chart your fitness and keep you on track like nikerunning.com or fitocracy.com.
  • Try a routine that’s simple and easy to start—like jogging from right outside your apartment or doing a straightforward routine at a gym that’s very close by. That way, you’ll have fewer excuses for not getting started.
  • Motivate yourself with a wardrobe you love. Sure its superficial, but honestly I love fashion and if it gets you going then whats the problem? Use your favorite holiday dress, pair of skinny jeans, or suit to remind you why all those burpees and squat hops are worth it.
  • Power Up Your Playlists. Nothing is more motivating than new MUSIC to move to. With services like spotify, pandora, and songza it’s easier than ever to find playlists to power up your workouts. Look for songs with upbeat tempos, strong beats, and positive lyrics. It’s hard not to move with your favorite jams blasting out of your earphones! Start by subscribing to one of my spotify playlists here, I’ve got many motivating tunes to move to!
  • Focus on FEELING Good. If you feel like you “have to” fit exercise into your day, you are much less likely to WANT to do it. Instead, shift your focus to how fitness makes you FEEL versus considering it a “requirement”. Take note of your energy and stress levels after every exercise session. When you are tempted to ditch your daily fitness, remember how you feel when your workout is over. Simply recalling the positive emotions exercise gives you will keep you motivated move more.
  • Try Something New. Take a fitness class or participate in a community active event different from your regular routine. From Latin dance classes to group rowing, there are always new ways to challenge your body. Use yelp to search the local gym, studio, and group sport activities in your area.

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    Caroline Jordan Fitness Group Outdoor Bootcamp. Winter workout made fun and friendly! Team burpees!

  • Think Positive. If you think you’re lagging behind or doing a “bad job” with your fitness, you’ll find it much more tempting to throw in the towel and quit. Self doubt and negative thinking are huge obstacles to winter motivation. You can read all about this in my “get rid of workout guilt” post. It’s important to focus on the POSITIVE. Be proud of all your athletic accomplishments and acknowledge yourself after every workout.

 

Cold Weather Workout Musts:

Now that you’re revved up and ready to go, there are a few things you should do before exercising in the cold. Take these things into consideration before you step into the chilly winter season.

  • Bundle UP. Dress for your outdoor workouts in layers that can be easily removed once you start to sweat. Choose synthetic materials and breathable clothes that can help keep you warm while drawing sweat away from your body. Your outer layer should repel wind and precipitation and the inner layers should provide additional warmth. Add jackets, hats and gloves/mittens that can be removed or added as your body heats up or weather conditions change. A thermal turtleneck can be pulled up over the mouth to warm the air you breathe. Avoid cotton, which stays wet next to your skin. Several thin layers are warmer than one heavy layer, keep a supply of clothes ready to pack on and you’ll be ready to go!
  • WARM up. Extend the length of your usual warm up when exercising in cold weather. Spend at least 5-10 minutes preparing the body for exercise with lower intensity movement. This will help prevent injury and prepare your body properly for a great workout.
  • Drink Up! Even when it’s cold, you’ll still heat up and lose fluids through sweat. Cold air has a drying effect, which can increase the risk of dehydration. Make sure you drink water or a sports drink before, during, and after your workout.
  • Don’t Stay in Wet Clothes. When you are wet from rain, snow, or sweat you’re at an increased risk for hypothermia, a lowering of your body temperature. Immediately after your workout, hit the showers and change clothes to avoid marinating in your own sweat and getting sick.

Staying motivated to exercise can be difficult all year round, but staying on track with an exercise regimen when it’s dark and cold outside can be a real battle. Take a moment and think of at least 5 ways you can BEAT the winter slump and AMP up your fitness.  What are your obstacles to winter wellness? How can you improve your weekly habits  to keep your motivation going? What will you need in order to succeed this winter? Warm Gloves? Lululemon run vest? Awesome playlist or fitness class? Plan ahead and prepare to take on the winter season strong. I challenge YOU to try new things, take chances, and feel your best come spring.

Heres to a season full of health, happiness, and kick butt cold-weather workouts,
Caroline
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For a more positive, powerful life: #liveinlove & Give Thanks!

 

1384062_10102214812125573_1778011250_n“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful. But gratefulness that makes us happy.”

You don’t have to be Oprah to know…. there is a whole lot of power in the act of GRATITUDE.

Practicing gratitude can center you, help you live in the moment, enhance your relationships, help you overcome hurdles, improve your health, and motivate you to reach your goals. Showing gratitude is a great way to spread positive feelings in the world around you. When you think about it, reaching your goals starts with a single positive thought. Feeling grateful for what you have can produce the good feelings that keep you moving towards the happy life you want.

Sadly work, school, friends, family, hobbies, and daily routine can trap us into a pattern of negative thinking. It only takes one negative thought to breed more and before you know it you’re stressed, unhappy, and frustrated. Negative thinking is a sinking ship, once you are in its gonna be hard to get out of it. This downward spiral can eventually create other ailments in your life, including constant fatigue, depression, and isolation (because really, who wants to hang out with a negative person?). Believe it or not, you can reprogram your thoughts, break out of a negative funk, and generate more happiness in your life simply by focusing on the positive. How do you start? By using the power of GRATITUDE. The easiest way to do this is by starting a daily gratitude practice.

A regular gratitude practice is one of the best ways to retrain your brain to think positive. Research has shown consistently expressing gratitude can have many benefits. A study done at the University of California showed that participants who kept a daily gratitude list complained of fewer physical symptoms, felt happier and more optimistic about their lives, were better able to meet goals, and exercised more.

Personally, I’ve found so much encouragement, happiness and love from focusing on what I’m grateful for rather than what I don’t have. I ain’t saying it’s easy. Actually, it’s tough as hell sometimes. But it is possible, and you’ll find great results!

Here’s what I do to keep gratitude alive and  cultivating positivity in my life: 

“I am so grateful for my job that I love and that I feel is purposeful in the world.”

“I feel so blessed to be a part of the Hackcancer teamHackCancer is a group of fun, philanthropic, young professionals supporting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Man Woman of the Year Campaign. Through our work together I have met some incredibly inspirational, positive, and powerful people that have become close San Francisco friends”

“Today I am grateful for difficult challenges, changes, and everything else that helps me grow.”

It takes work, but you CAN learn to focus on the positive in even the most dire situations. Though it may seem difficult and unnatural at first, have a gratitude practice and choosing to focus on the positive every day will help you cultivate a greater sense of happiness and optimism about your life.

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We might not have the power to control everything in our lives, but we do have the power to choose our thoughts and focus them on the positive. Practicing gratitude is one of the best ways to do this and I’ve found helps create the right attitude that can transform my day. When I am grateful, I am living in the moment and I am happy for the moment. I can honestly say that when I start thinking about all of the things I’m grateful for, even a bad day can start to seem pretty good…

THIS MONTH, I invite you to join me in my #liveinlove daily gratitude challenge. Ive done the challenge in the past and have found it to be extremely powerful in living a positive and present life. The premise of this year’s challenge is the same—snap photos of items you are grateful for to stay more present and grateful every day. If you’re new to the challenge or need a refresher,  here’s what you need to know:

No photography skills needed. You don’t need to be a photographer or even all that interested in taking photos to participate. All you need to be is interested in staying present and focusing on things you’re grateful for.

Don’t be scared by the word “challenge.” It’s just what these photo things are called so don’t let it prevent you from participating. There’s no reward, no punishment—just an opportunity to be more present.

Any kind of camera works. You can take your photos anyway you want to—with your phone, with a digital camera, with a DSLR, Holga, Instax, SLR, Polaroid. Anything goes when it comes to cultivating gratitude.

Start at any time. You can start the challenge on November 1 and do it for the whole month (as I’m doing) or you can start the challenge any day that works for you. The point is to focus on staying present for thirty days.

Use hashtag #liveinlove. If you post your pics on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, etc., be sure to tag them #liveinlove so others can see them. I’ll be posting mine on Instagram “carolinejordanfitness”

Share your photos. You can share by using the #liveinlove hashtag, by posting the links to your photos (if you have them online) in the comments section, or by sharing them on my facebook fan page HERE.

You might think that, after two years of gratitude challenges, I’d be tired of coming up with creative ideas for staying present using photography, but each year I’ve done this, I’ve found it to be such a great way to stay present. Knowing that I have to take a photo a day, I find myself being more mindful of the world around me, and I also find myself being particularly mindful of that day’s specific item. If you’ve done the challenge before, you probably already know how helpful it is when it comes to staying present and thankful. And if you haven’t tried it out yet, give it a go and see how it feels!

I believe this #liveinlove challenge has the power to  positively change your life. And I think deep down in your gut you know it. Having a gratitude practice will fill your life with happiness. And we could all use a little more of that right?

With love and gratitude,

Caroline