How Sweet it Isn’t…

 

photo (9)

When I heard the latest dietary guidelines recommend that adults limit their intake of added sugars to no more than 10 percent of their daily calories, I was thrilled! Finally, we’re admitting that sugar is a/the major cause of obesity and disease in our country, and I’m glad that’s reflected in the latest guidelines. Over the last 11 years of my fitness and  health coaching career, I’ve placed a huge emphasis on cleaning up my diet, and I’m proud to say I’m much healthier than I was before I started this journey. But, there’s always room for improvement and it’s always important to re-evaluate nutrition every now and again. So lately, my husband and I have been paying much more attention to the added sugars in some of our favorite foods, and it’s been a really good wake up call.

My favorite Greek yogurts, for example, can have 15-25 grams of sugar in them. The gluten free granola I sometimes sprinkle on top? 17 grams. The Clif bars we take on our weekend hikes: 22 grams. And then there’s the less obvious stuff: what’s in salad dressing, tomato sauce, the honey or maple syrup I use in cooking. That piece of dark chocolate I must have every day… I mean, it’s a good thing I bake as rarely as I do…that would really make the sugar grams add up!

So, needless to say, we’ve learned a lot by reading and re-reading the nutrition labels of our favorite “healthy” foods. And we’re not giving them all up. But, we are choosing to make simple swaps to lower our daily intake of added sugars. Here are some of the simple swaps I’ve made so far:

  • Switching from vanilla Greek yogurt to plain Greek yogurt: Save 9 to 16 grams of sugar per serving. (Tip: this can take some time to get used to, so I recommend adding cinnamon, a little fruit and maybe some chia seeds…so good!)
  • Sprinkling walnuts on top of my yogurt instead of granola: 16 grams less sugar per serving
  • Making my own trail mix (from nuts and seeds) instead of eating store bought: 9 grams less sugar per serving
  • Cooking chicken with a little olive oil and homemade spice blends instead of with barbeque sauce or other marinades: Saves at least 10-12 grams of sugar per serving.

Other ideas my clients and I have found helpful include:

photo (8) Homemade overnight oats…tell me this doesn’t look better than anything you can get in a packet…

  • Making plain oatmeal with cinnamon and chopped nuts instead of flavored instant oatmeal or “healthy” cold cereals:  Save 12-16 grams of sugar per serving
  • Buying flavored seltzer instead of vitamin water or iced tea:  Save at least 32 grams of sugar. Whoa!
  • Toss olive oil, some lemon and garlic on your next salad instead of store bought dressings: Save about 10 grams of sugar (sometimes more!

I encourage you to take a few days and really look at what you’re eating. Look at the sugar content and decide if there’s a way you can reduce your sugar intake a little bit each week. I’m not talking major changes…little swaps add up. Feel free to share your swaps…I’m always looking for new ideas!

For more info about the 2015-2020 dietary guidelines, look here:

http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/

 

 

 

 

 

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New Year’s Reflections

For those of you who know me well or have trained with me in the past, you know how much I love goals. Daily goals, weekly goals, long-term goals. It’s how I stay accountable to my clients and myself, and is, I believe, the only way we can get where we want to go. But there’s something that’s just as important as looking ahead, and that’s looking back.

Blue Hills_2015

Like it is every New Year’s Eve, yesterday was a day of reflection for me. A chance to look back at the past year, relive some of the highlights, and process some of the tough times. It was a trying year, at times, facing some personal challenges but forcing me to grow into a more patient and less anxious person in the process. All while reminding me that I have THE MOST supportive husband, family and friends. For the first time, I also took some professional risks, which was terrifying, humbling and necessary. And because of that, I realized that the world doesn’t end if I make a mistake, embarrass myself or make decisions that don’t please everyone. What does happen, though, is that I learn from each mistake, each interaction, each embarrassment and I plan better for the future.

I’m so glad I took the time to think back on this year. To celebrate our first year of homeownership, the growth of a career I am so very passionate about, the reconnecting with old friends and meeting some amazing new people, taking a spontaneous and very memorable road trip with my husband and growing as a person, a wife, a friend, a daughter and a sister. And though it wasn’t always perfect, the challenges I faced in 2015 have prepared me for a healthier, happier and more productive 2016.

I always tell potential clients during our first meetings that, if you’re looking for very quick results, no matter what it takes, I’m not the trainer for you. But I am the trainer for you if you want to look back, one year from today, and reflect on the many healthy lifestyle changes you have made over the year, celebrate your successes and the achievement of multiple short-term goals, and appreciate the healthier you that you have become. I encourage them to focus on who they want to be a year from now. If you can embrace that a healthier lifestyle is a long-term commitment and that each year you will be healthier than the year before, then we’re gonna get along just fine!

So, in taking my own advice, I’m looking back on this past year and celebrating the small goals that I did meet despite some obstacles and appreciating how much closer it has taken me to the person I am going to be on December 31st, 2016. I can’t wait to share my story with you next year!

Happy New Year. And may 2016 bring you the happiness and wellness you deserve.

 

And now for some 2015 highlights: 

Auntie Pic_May 2015 Cape Cod_2015

Becoming and Auntie again and annual summer vacation to the Cape. so grateful for this amazing family of mine.

 

Nashville_2015

Driving from Boston to Nashville, Kentucky and West Virginia with my was one of the most memorable trips my husband and I have taken together. We were both surprised, but road trips might be a thing from now on!

Newport_2015

Connecting with a very good friend in Boston and Newport this year was a highlight, for sure. It’s good to know that certain friendships never change, despite distance, careers, family obligations and time.

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Finally joining the biking culture that is quite big around our city. So glad two very good friends convinced me to pick up this new workout and do the New York 5 Boro bike tour…I’m obsessed!