Stay Healthy Throughout the Holidays

As a wellness coach, one of the questions that I get asked the most is: How do you stay healthy during the holiday season? Studies suggest that individuals gain an average of one pound per week. Not only is this extremely unhealthy for your body and mental state, but you will be starting the New Year off at a disadvantage. Here are my top 10 tips that will keep you fitting in your favorite pair of jeans, while still being able to enjoy the season:

Your Goal is to Maintain

This is not the time to commit to a Whole 30 or cleanse program. While I am a huge fan of completing a reset, wait until January. You are not setting yourself up for success during this hectic time of year and will be missing out on celebrating with your family and friends. Having your Grandma’s famous (you fill in the blank) is tradition after all.

Never Arrive Hungry

I always coach my clients to have a high-protein snack (turkey and vegetable roll-ups, hummus and vegetables, hardboiled eggs, string cheese and apple, almond butter and flaxseed crackers) before they attend a holiday soiree. This will make it easier for you to pass on the high-calorie appetizers that add up to 100s of extra calories before you even hit the dinner buffet.

Design Your Plate in Moderation

As a rule of thumb, fill ½ of your plate with vegetables and salad (hold the croutons and fatty dressing please), ¼ of your plate with protein, and ¼ of your plate with your favorite holiday dishes (macaroni-and-cheese, mashed potatoes, casseroles, etc.) Refrain from going back for seconds. If you have a sweet tooth, choose one small serving of a dessert.

Be Mindful of Your Alcohol Intake

As the Millionaire Matchmaker instructs: “stick to a two-drink maximum” or the calories will add up exponentially. For example, a 5 oz. glass of red wine (or half the pour you think) is 125 calories. Further, most cocktails are loaded with sugary carbohydrates, so a night of drinking gives your body a sugar rush, followed by an inevitable crash. This leads to the crave-over as I like to call it (a.k.a. deep dish pizza and fried food!)

Skip the Extras

During the season, sugary high-carbohydrate junk food is everywhere. It is readily available as donuts at your workplace, candy dishes at the checkout counter or homemade delights in your friend’s kitchen. Do not skip meals, and thus, leave yourself open to falling prey to your cravings. I always carry a serving of nuts or a collagen protein bar in my purse for when I start to get hangry. Walk away, call a friend, return an email or make J Lo/Tom Brady your screen saver for motivation. Anything to remind yourself that the bagel is simply not worth it.

Exercise the Stress Away

The holidays is a lot of extras (parties, events, family, food, drink, etc.), not to mention the added financial burden. Instead of eating or drinking your stresses away, use movement to release all of those wonderful endorphins and give yourself a mental break. If you have a regular fitness routine, stick with it throughout the season. If you are looking to start one in January, this is the perfect time to experiment with classes and join a local gym. I encourage my clients to shoot for at least 10,000 steps per day, especially on days when their schedules do not allow for a more routine workout. Everyone can get at least 30 minutes of walking in over their lunch hour or Christmas shopping at the mall.

Use Your No Button

You do not have to attend every holiday event and party. You can and should say no or sneak out early. Do not overbook yourself to the point where your health suffers. Please do take a night off to watch your favorite holiday movies in your PJs.

Sleep Rocks

Strive for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to regulate your hormones and keep your metabolism in check. When you are sleep deprived, your hormones ghrelin and leptin get disrupted. Ghrelin is the go hormone that tells you when to eat, while leptin is the stop hormone that tells you when you are full. Thus, more ghrelin plus less leptin equals weight gain and a slowed metabolism.

Homemade Food Does Your Body Good

Plan ahead and cook when possible, as you are already consuming enough added sugar, flour, salt and fat. Prepare extra portions for lunch and readily available dinner options (fresh or frozen) for when you get home from an after work event. I always have an “emergency make meal” available in my home, even if it is just scrambled eggs with herbs and vegetables. It will stop you from ordering a late-night pizza.

Detox Day

One thing that I always advise my clients during the busy season is to schedule in detox days every week. Meaning no alcohol, grains, sugar and dairy. Focus on eating vegetables, protein and healthy fats and fruit in moderation. A sample day might be: Berry Smoothie, Chicken Breast and Mixed Greens Salad (full of non-starchy vegetables, olive oil, vinegar and seasoning), handful of raw nuts, and grilled salmon with roasted vegetables. You do not need to count calories, just focus on eating super clean to give your digestive system a rest and beat unwanted bloat. You can also counteract this by drinking green, peppermint and ginger teas throughout the day and taking a Detox Bath before bedtime.

Posted in Fitness, Health, Nutrition Tagged with: , ,

How to Set Micro Goals for a Healthier Life


Many people become mentally overwhelmed striving to achieve their overarching macro-goals. For instance, the thought of losing 50 pounds can seem somewhat daunting, but when you break it down into micro-goals (5 or 10 pounds at a time) it seems attainable. Plus this type of goal setting allows you to celebrate the small victories. Maybe after the first 10 pounds, you treat yourself to a massage and after 20 pounds you cheer with a new dress. This builds momentum and keeps you motivated until you reach your ultimate goal.

Take the hot new fad diet craze. Let’s go with paleo or simply transitioning into a whole foods diet. If you’re someone that lives on sugar and junk food (and hasn’t even looked at a vegetable besides an iceberg lettuce salad in ages) this is going to be a difficult feat for you to stick with for an extended period of time going cold turkey. Your body will experience unpleasant detoxification symptoms, such as sugar withdrawal, headaches, skin irritations, etc. You may also have trouble adjusting to the healthy amount of fiber in your new diet. All of these unpleasant symptoms and the new difficulties in eating out, cooking, etc. may discourage you from continuing on your path toward renewed wellness and weight loss. Therefore, you need to transition in small increments by setting micro-goals.

Slowly crowd out the junk by striving to eat 4-5 servings of vegetables a day and 2-3 servings of fruit. Focus on this for the first two weeks as a micro-goal. This is the only thing you need to change diet wise. Greens are amazing for youthful skin, weight management, immunity and natural detoxification, while colorful vegetables and fruits contain powerful antioxidants that protect against cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Committing to a green smoothie for breakfast each morning is a great way to get some fruit and vegetable servings in first thing.
Weeks three to four: focus on keeping up with your fruit and vegetable intake and adding a healthy protein source (grass-fed meat, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and dairy) at every meal and snack, which will keep your energy up and metabolism humming throughout the day.

Weeks five and six: keep up with your first two micro-goals and now eliminate all white flour products and sugar, empty calories that affect your health, immunity, and pack on the unwanted pounds.

The weeks beyond you may opt to set more micro-goals and eliminate grains (or you may find that full paleo is not for you) but you’re giving your body and mind time to adjust to the new dietary changes, as well as celebrating small victories along the way.

The same idea applies to the beginning of getting back into your new fitness routine. If you haven’t worked out in months and you decide to go to a Cross-fit class 5 days a week, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Your body needs time to physically adjust or you may injure yourself. Not to mention that you will mentally burn yourself out trying to do too much at once. Thus, break it up into small increments. Maybe you start with walking three to four days a week and you build up your time each week until you reach 60 minutes. Or you commit to going to Crossfit once the first week and build up to more days as your body adjusts. The point is developing an exercise routine for the New Year will help with weight loss, heart health and add years and quality to your life.

The best way to work on micro goals for your diet and exercise routine is by creating micro-goals in increments that work for you. Maybe it’s a week, two weeks, one month or 21 days (studies suggest it takes this long to form a habit). Take out your smartphone calendar and schedule in what you want to achieve in each increment and create a reward for yourself. I suggest not using unhealthy food rewards, instead focus on fun life activities and splurges (movie tickets, concert tickets, vacation, something for your wardrobe, spa treatments, exercise class, cooking class, date night, ladies night). Also, put a paper calendar or sticky notes with your goals somewhere visible to you every day (like your bathroom mirror, car visor, desk) to keep yourself motivated and on track. This practice can apply for trying to lose weight to cleaning out your closet. Breaking things down promises less stress and success in the long run.

Posted in Health

Lavender for Sleep


Lavender is a common herb used for improving sleep and reducing stress in the body. Here are a few ways to include it in your nighttime routine.

Lavender Tea
Ingest lavender in tea form before bedtime to help soothe you to sleep and prevent insomnia. You can make it yourself by boiling some water and letting both the leaf and flower seep. Lavender is easily accessible at your local Farmer’s Market. There are also many teas containing lavender available at your local grocery haunt.

Take a Lavender Detox Bath
Quiet your body and mind before bed by soaking in a bath for 20 minutes using: 2 cups Epson salt, 1 cup baking soda and 8-10 drops lavender essential oil. Going in and out of the warm water will also cool your body’s inner temperature inducing a restful sleep.

The scent of lavender has also been known to increase deep, restful sleep for both men and women. Diffuse it in your bedroom before bedtime or spray it on your pillow. You can do this by diluting a few drops of lavender essential oil in a water bottle or buying a lavender spray at your local health store or online. The scent is also helpful in treating headaches and migraines.

In addition, you can purchase sachets, blankets, neck pillows and animals that contain dried lavender. They give off a subtle scent that can be relaxing to have near you during bedtime. You can even heat some of these items up in the microwave and not have to worry about falling asleep with an electric blanket!

Posted in Health


detox tea

Great for your health and cleansing your body, especially if you’ve been having lots of summer treats. Have one first thing in the morning to start your day in a positive way! Plus it makes your skin glow ladies 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized

ECW Tip: Back-to-School Bento Lunch Boxes


Instead of a boring peanut butter and jelly sandwich, start the school year off by preparing bento lunch boxes with your kids. A traditional Japanese bento box holds rice, fish or meat, and vegetables. BUT you can create custom boxes to accommodate each family member’s favorite cuisine! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Hummus and Pita Plate: Pack 1/3 cup hummus with whole-wheat pita squares, baby carrots, baby tomatoes, and grapes.

Deli Roll-Ups: Roll 3 slices of deli turkey and/or ham around one Laughing Cow wedge and spinach. Serve with bell pepper slices, cucumber slices and cinnamon-sprinkled apple slices.

Wasa Salad Platter: Pack 4 Wasa crackers with one scoop of tuna or chicken salad, celery sticks and strawberries.

Taco Bar: Pack 3 oz. grilled chicken, 2 small corn tortillas, ¼ cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese, ¼ cup guacamole, ¼ cup salsa, and 2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt. Serve with pineapple slices.

Pizza Box: 1 whole wheat English muffin, top each half with pizza sauce, part-skim string cheese slices (use one piece total) and turkey or vegan pepperoni slices. Serve with broccoli and berries.

Cold Soba Bowl: Pack 1 cup soba noodle salad (recipe below), snap peas and orange slices.

Lunchtime Soba Noodle Salad

Serves 4

  • 12 ounces soba (buckwheat) noodles
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons grated peeled ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce (such as Sriracha or sambal oelek)
  • Salt
  • 1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the soba noodles and edamame and cook according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain the noodles and edamame and run under cold water until cool.
  2. Combine the peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil and chili sauce in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water and whisk until smooth. Add the noodles and edamame, season with salt and toss to combine (add more cooking water to loosen, if needed). Divide among shallow bowls and top with the chicken, cucumber and scallions.


Posted in Uncategorized

Champagne Pops!!!


A FUN adult summer treat!!!

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Mint sprig
  • 1 pint ripe strawberries
  • 5 cups champagne
  1. Make the syrup by placing the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved and turn off the heat.
  3. Add a sprig of fresh mint to the syrup for flavor. Let it sit in there while you prepare the strawberries.
  4. Remove the green tops from the strawberries.
  5. Puree your strawberries in a blender until they are completely smooth.
  6. Discard the mint sprig and stir the sugar syrup, strawberries, and champagne together.
  7. Fill your popsicle molds and freeze the mixture until it is completely solid. This will probably take at least two-three hours.

Enjoy, as long as you are over 21 years old!!!

Posted in Uncategorized