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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Your new favorite potluck dish: Whole Grain Taboule

Holiday picnics and potlucks are landmines for those of us trying to eat healthfully. One of my best strategies is to bring a healthful dish, but I don't want to be that guest; you know, the one who brings a sad, soggy casserole full of weird ingredients that sits untouched. I'm going to share one of my favorite picnic dishes, and despite being loaded with healthful ingredients, it always gets raves. Plus it's super easy to put together--it's less a recipe and more of a put-some-stuff-in-a-dish-and-let-the-ingredients-do-the-work.

Whole Grain Taboule

  • 1/2 cup of your favorite whole grain, dry (great options include bulghur wheat, quinoa, or a whole grain blends like those from truRoots
  • A pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 1 big bunch of scallions, washed and chopped, both green and white parts
  • A big bunch of parsley, leaves washed and chopped (avoid woody stems, but thinner stems are fine)
  • Juice of one big lemon (or a couple smaller)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • OPTIONAL: A handful of fresh mint leaves, torn into small pieces
  • OPTIONAL for serving: 
    • Hummus
    • Chickpeas (canned are fine, just drain & rinse)
    • Fresh lettuces or other leafy greens
    • Lemon wedges

Cook whole grains according to the package using water or stock. BONUS: For really delicious grains, before you cook them, toast them in a dry pan. Just add grains to a pan with no oil or liquid over medium heat, and toss them them till they are lightly brown and emit a nice, toasty smell. Toasted grains have a nutty flavor that really adds to any dish.

Combine the cooked grains with all ingredients (excluding the optional ingredients for serving) in large bowl, adding plenty of ground pepper and some coarse salt. 

Let this sit several hours overnight so the flavors really develop. Serve as is, or with the optional serving options.  Makes 4 entree-sized servings, or 6-8 (or more) side dish servings.

Mother's Day gifts that aren't cheap chocolate

Is there a mom in your life who deserves something special for Mother's Day? I’ve written before on the perils of sugary, salty, fatty food gifts for those of us who are working toward health and fitness goals. Skip the cheap box of chocolates made with fractionated palm kernel oil and corn syrup, and thank mom with something meaningful! There are plenty of cool events this weekend in Baltimore where you can find a unique gift:

Towson University Spring Pottery Sale  

Friday, May 12, 3 - 9pm and Saturday, May 13, 9 - 5pm.

Buy a handmade gift created by upcoming artists and professors of Towson. Be on the lookout for fantastic work by Towson professor and local artist Mary Cloonan (pictured)! The sale is located in the ceramics studio, room 3012 in the Center for the Arts building.


For the Greater Goods Market

Saturday, 11am - 4pm at R. House in Remington.

At "Baltimore's Handcrafted Shopping Pop-Up Party," you'll find works by small businesses and local makers. Plus a portion of funds go to support Remington Village Green 


Pile of Craft 

Saturday, May 13, 10am - 5pm at St John's Church @ 2640 St Paul Street

Charm City Craft Mafia puts on this much loved spring show featuring more than 50 artists showing their locally handmade works.


Baltimore Farmers' Market  (or any of our region's amazing farmers' markets)

Sunday, May 14, 7am - noon under the JFX

Take mom out to the market Sunday! It's a scene: This time of year, you'll find lots of potted plants and herbs, locally made food by quality producers like Michele's Granola, Zeke's and Hex Ferments, plus local functional and decorative artwork. And of course, there's plenty of fresh produce! Come early to snag a quart (or two!) of berries from Agriberry. 


What other great options have I missed?

Variety: Spice of Life or Cause of Overeating (or both!)?

Imagine this scenario: You walk in to the kitchen in your workplace after just eating a healthy and tasty lunch, and surprise! There is a tray with home-baked chocolate chip cookies brought in by a co-worker who is a fantastic baker. How many cookies will you take?

Now imagine this scenario: You walk into that same kitchen after the same lunch, and hot dang! There are a couple trays: One has chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies and pumpkin fudge. The other has slices of banana bread, brownies cut into little fudgy diamonds and freshly cut fruit. Now how much do you take back to your desk?


Variety is a great thing when you choose different fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts to get a full range of nutrients to thrive. But it can also be a real willpower killer.

Why do we feel extra helpless when faced with a variety of cookies and pastries? We’re pleasure-seeking creatures, and that makes it tough to say no when we’re presented with an opportunity to enjoy new stimuli. There’s actually a name for this concept: Sensory-specific satiety. As we eat one kind of food, it generates less and less satisfaction. The first bite of the chocolate chip cookie is amazing, but as we continue to eat chocolate chip cookies, the flavor and texture become less novel to us. On the other hand, if you’re faced with a variety of many new foods and flavors, you have the opportunity for many amazing first bites. Each new flavor and texture is a revelation to your taste buds and your brain!

With the holidays here (they’re here, folks!), office treats, party buffets and overflowing holiday tables are a reality. Knowing that we’re susceptible to overeating in the face of variety is a good start, but how do you slow your roll in the face of temptations?

Be mindful. Before you load up your plate or napkin, ask yourself "Am I eating because I'm hungry?" or do you want a taste because something looks delicious, or because this food has a special memory for you. There’s no shame in admitting you want to eat for pleasure or nostalgia, not fuel. But if that’s the case, and if you still decide you do want that treat, take portion size into consideration.

Taste. Don’t wolf down special treats while you’re standing or hovering over the sink or trash can. Really taste! It sounds hokey, but take the time to really observe the way the food smells, its texture, its flavor. Really savor each bite. You may even try to chew each bite 20 or more times before swallowing to make sure you’re really cued in on what you’re eating.

Don’t feel obligated to eat the whole thing. There’s no law that says you have to eat the whole cookie. Ever have the experience of taking a bite and then finding that a cookie is kind of “bleh?” Don’t finish it! You can also pre-empt yourself from eating the whole thing by taking a smaller portion. I used to work in an office where I was notorious for swooping in (with a clean knife, of course!) and dividing doughnuts and cookies into quarters and halves. Some folks may have thought I was kooky, but over the course of many boxes of doughnuts, it makes a real difference in terms of managing my health (not to mention my waistline).

Be compassionate. This time of year can bring up a lot of stress and emotion. Sometimes food equals comfort, and before you can think about it, you’ve devoured three cookies. Let it go.Be compassionate with yourself and promise to be mindful next time. Because this time of year, there will be a next time.

 

I recently wrote about the importance of having a plan going into the holiday season—another great strategy in the face of temptation. If you need a hand coming up with a plan to maintain your current weight and health, to lose some weight or to work on other wellness issues, get in touch to schedule a conversation.