I wish I could sell you that weight loss pill

If you're on social media, you are undoubtedly seeing a few friends posting how an amazing weight loss supplement has really helped them shed the pounds, lose belly fat and get shredded, all without having to change their diet! Your friend insists these all-natural pills/shakes/bars/superfoods/drinks speed up metabolism, keep hunger at bay and melt fat.

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Not only does your friend love these supplements, she knows you'll love them so much that you'll want to sell them, too! And if you do join her sales team, then you can buy these great supplements from her at a special discount. What a deal! 

I wish I could sell you weight loss pills that would do make weight loss so effortless.

Only catch is that these pills don't exist.

If they did, we'd all be on them, we'd all have lightning fast metabolisms, and we'd all be super shredded. 

You know what does work for weight loss? Building healthy habits. You know, eating nutritious food, moving your body, sleeping well and controlling your stress level. There's no magic to it, but these habits take time and consistency to build. Save yourself time, energy money and angst and get to work on building those habits now. 

Need some support?  Please be in touch to schedule a one-on-one consult or with your questions! 

 

Make This: Delicata Squash Rings

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While I love the flavor and creamy texture of starchy winter squash (not to mention the nutrition punch in the form of fiber and vitamin A), it feels like such a chore to hack at that tough outer skin to get to the good stuff. 

Until I discovered Delicata squash, the squash that requires NO PEELING! The skin is super thin and very edible. 

You'll recognize it as the oblong light yellow squash with green or dark yellow stripes running longways. Wash it well, then cut it in half, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp. Slice it into half-inch thick rings, and it's ready to bake.

Set the rings on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and season with a sprinkle of sea salt, and take things up a notch with one or more seasonings, like cinnamon, garlic powder or onion powder. You can add a small swizzle of olive oil if you like to help the seasoning stick, but by putting the rings on parchment they won't stick, and by giving plenty of space on the pan, they'll brown nicely. Pop them in the oven for about 15 minutes and then flip them. If you’re feeling super fancy, swizzle a scant teaspoon of pure maple syrup at the halfway point, but again, that's optional. Roast for another 15 or so minutes (depending on their thickness). 

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For a quick and balanced weeknight meal, serve them as the starchy component of your meal: They're great over wilted kale or collards, or with roasted green beans or Brussels sprouts. Add your protein, or some rinsed and drained canned beans and a handful of raw pumpkin seeds, and you're set. Leftover squash rings (if you have any!) make tomorrow's lunch salad really special, too, or enjoy them with yogurt for breakfast or a snack.

Recipe: How to pumpkin spice without derailing your fitness goals

I do not have enough fingers and toes on which to count the number of times the term "Pumpkin Spice" has come up in conversation with clients this fall. Lattes, cookies, cake and fudge spiked with artificial pumpkin spice flavoring, cheap soybean oil and loads of sugar are ridiculously tempting this time of year, but they're cinnamon-y landmines if you're trying to eat more healthfully. For example, the ubiquitous Grande (16 oz) Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, even with non-fat milk and no whip, contains a whopping 49 grams of sugar—that’s 98% of your daily allotment of added sugar in a 2,000 calorie diet (based on a the American Heart Association recommendation of max of 10% of calories from added sugar).

Is it possible to enjoy the autumn joy that is pumpkin spice without consuming a day's worth of sugar? And could you even--dare I say it--find a way to make pumpkin spice a healthy choice? I say YES! and the proof is below...

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Pumpkin Spice Dip

Makes 1 serving but is easily multiplied

  • Make the Pumpkin Spice by shaking up these spices in a small jar (you could also use a commercial mix, but why would you?!):
    • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • Pinch of cloves
    • Pinch of allspice
  • Make the yogurt dip by blending these ingredients with a whisk or spoon:
    • 2 Tablespoons of unsweetened non-dairy yogurt (I used Anita’s Plain Coconut Milk Yogurt Alternative, or you could use Kite Hill Plain Unsweetened Almond Yogurt Alternative) OR an excellent quality Greek or Icelandic plain yogurt
    • 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin (make sure it's plain pureed pumpkin, not canned pumpkin pie filling)
    • Prepared pumpkin pie spice to your liking: Start with about a teaspoon and add more to your taste
  • Add a topping if you choose:
    • Drizzle a teaspoon of natural peanut or almond butter
    • Sprinkle a Tablespoon or two of muesli (I used Michele’s Toasted Muesli--made locally in Baltimore!)
    • Add a Tablespoon of raw seeds or nuts
  • Slice up some apples or pears and enjoy as a tasty dip, or eat it with a spoon for breakfast or a snack.

Fall Group Health Coaching

The holidays are coming! Will this be the year that you finally avoid the annual holiday weight gain? If you're ready, not just for a happy holiday, but to lay the foundation for long-term health, greater energy and lasting weight loss, I'm excited to announce my fall group health coaching program:

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During this four-week program in Towson, participants will…

  • Learn what a healthy diet is
  • Identify the habits and environmental factors that impact the way we eat
  • Acquire practical skills for shopping for, ordering and preparing healthful meals
  • Master the skills for planning healthy meals and snacks
  • Share recipes and strategize for eating healthfully to make progress towards health and fitness goals through the holiday season.

The greatest benefit of the program is support and accountability, not just from your health coach, but from the other members of your group. 

Full details and registration coming next week, but complete the form below, and I'll forward those details to you directly:

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PSA: It's National Black Dog Day!

Meet Osita Shafer, my personal Black Dog Day ambassador.

Meet Osita Shafer, my personal Black Dog Day ambassador.

Inviting a dog into your family is a wonderful way to give your health a boost. Not only does having an animal give you a great excuse to be more active and to get outdoors, interaction with a dog can be a tremendous stress reliever.

After our beloved dog died suddenly on New Year's Day in 2014, I couldn't imagine adopting another dog ever again, but in the summer of that year, puppy fever hit the Shafer household. We talked about dogs, followed every local shelter on social media, and constantly visited and re-visited animal shelter websites looking for a new addition to our family. 

Around the fall, my husband John came around to the idea that he really wanted a border collie--known for their smarts and for being highly active--so we started following all the border collie rescue sites. We kept a running notebook with names and locations of all manner of beautiful white and spotted dogs and puppies, and exchanged emails and applications with shelters and rescue organizations. We went out to meet a couple dogs but something just wasn't right. 

Then one day John sent me a flurry of forwarded emails and texts, all worked up about a profile of a dog he found on a rescue website. I looked at the photo of the dog, and I was baffled. This dog was black in color. You couldn't read any expression on her face. I couldn't see anything special about this puppy, and if I had seen the profile first, I certainly would have kept going.

Turns out I would have been in good company. Did you know that black dogs are statistically among the last to be adopted in shelters, and the first to be euthanized? There is some thought that because of their color, they don't photograph as well, which is a huge component of adoption these days, especially considering how many potential adoptive puppy parents scroll through photos before visiting shelters. 

Thankfully, John was insistent, and on 12/13/14, we met Osita and adopted her the same day. I can't imagine our home without her now. Happy National Black Dog Day!