Right now everyone is talking holidays, everyone is talking about how to survive. This is what I want to know. Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves during this time of year? What happens to the other periods of time where there is always a holiday, there is food and so forth?
So, I wanted to give you 40 tips that can go across the entire year, 40 tips that you could do a tip a week and get you through the year. And as always, when I share tips with you it’s not for you to say, “Oh my god, I gotta do it all, and I can’t.”
It’s time to get started
And I want you to think about this – as I go through the tips say to yourself, “That sounds like something I can do right now.” And as you go through it and you get a few of them, and I’m hoping that out of the 40, you get several that you’re like, “Yes, I can do that.” Once you have that “I can do that” list, I want you to say, “What can I do starting now?”
Most people are, “I’m going to wait till Monday.” Well, stop that, why don’t we wait till then? With the 40 tips I’m giving you there is something that you can start doing TODAY. The beauty of all of these tips are that, a lot of the things that I’m giving you are not rocket science. I also come at it a couple of different ways for you to make it kind of simpler and easier.
Stop Eating the Same Foods
The first thing is rethink your nutrition. And I know that can be a challenge for some people because we are creatures of comfort; we like what we like. Some of the things we have been eating for so many years we don’t know how not to eat it. And to make that shift would just be a lot for us. And I get it.
There are a lot of my clients that when we hit a certain age your body just starts to reject, or maybe your body has been rejecting it for a really long time and you just didn’t know that your body was rejecting it. You just thought that everyone gets bloated after they have dairy, or everyone gets bloated after they have Nightshade.
So, I always challenge my clients, “Let’s do some experimentation, let’s get some variety into your food.” Because then you will be able to know when you have some food sensitivities without having to spend globs of money on those tests. So, the first thing I want you to think about is rethink your nutrition.
This time of the year I know it’s a little bit more challenging because not as many fruits and vegetables are coming in season. We’re kind of at the tail end of the harvest, but I challenge you to go in and try something new. And there are a lot of great new squashes that you maybe have not had. Go in there, try a new squash, try a new vegetable, try a new fruit, try something. Because if you go to the grocery store and all you eat are blueberries, or all you eat are apples you are not getting any biodiversity (a big word to say variety) in your food. So, I challenge you to go in and try one new thing every single week when you go to the grocery store.
It Is Easy Being Green
The second big thing is green vegetables. The beautiful thing about green vegetables, especially for us ladies, is that it helps us the balance our hormones. They help us to excrete the excess estrogen. And for most of us, that excess estrogen is what causes us to get that kind of 40-belly, that puffiness, that extra fluff that a lot of us feel that we have on us. And so, I challenge you to fill half your plate, at least 2/3 of meals with green vegetables.
It could be spinach, broccoli, Swiss chard, kale. Kale is not the end-all-be-all, and if you are like, “I hate me some kale”, it doesn’t have to be kale – Swiss chard, a myriad of lettuces, collard greens, turnip greens, beet greens, they’re out there, and just dive head-first into them.
Don’t Ditch (All) The Fats
The other thing is good fats. For those women of 40, back in the late ’80s, early ’90s you ran from fat like it was the Devil. Now we have realized that it’s not all fats, it is just a handful of fats that cause artery-clogging issues. And it’s not just peanut butter, it’s not just olive oil, it’s not just almonds. So just like number one, I challenge you to add variety to your good fat oils.
I want you to go into any quality grocery store and go into the oil aisle and there are just rows and rows and rows of oil. And I want you to pick any oil, with the exception of corn, soy, vegetable, canola. Those are the four that I don’t want you to try. Every other oil I want you to grab it, and I want you to try to bathe in that thing. (I’m kidding about the bathing.)
The thing about good fats
As we age, we start to lose the collagen production in our skin and our skin becomes dryer, especially this time of year if you live in a northern climate. The moisture is just sucked right out of the air. So, for us ladies of a certain age, the more moisture we have in our skin we look ageless, we have great skin complexion, makeup goes on nice and smoothly, our hands don’t look like old ladies’ hands, we have nice smooth, supple skin. And when you have nice, smooth, supple skin, you don’t look old.
And who wants to look like an old lady? No one does!
Be selective about your treats
I love treats. I love wine. But I need to be selective. And I have a 3-bite rule – after three bites if it doesn’t blow my hair back, it’s not for me. Especially at this time of year because, if you work in a corporate environment, I feel like every vendor on the planet says, “Hey, I’m going to send every office on the planet a tub of whatever fattening food.” And then it stays out on someone’s desk and as you go by you grab a handful, you grab a handful, you grab a handful, and then you don’t even realize whether you’ve had 40 handfuls or if you had four handfuls.
So, I want you to just be selective. I want you to be mindful of what you’re eating for your treats and schedule them out. Let’s be honest, most of us already know what our weeks look like. Most of us know primarily what our months look like. So, I want you to say, “Thanksgiving is coming so that’s going to be a cheat day. Not a gluttonous day, but I’m going to have some treats and it’s going to be okay and we are going to wake up the next day and it’s not going to be about “burning it off.”
It’s just going to be about ‘Hey, I enjoyed some great conversations with my family’ or ‘Hey, my family didn’t make me so crazy, they didn’t make me so nutzo.'” So, I want you to think about those kinds of things, focus on the event versus making the food the main event.
Move your body at least 30 minutes
Now, so many people get caught up with exercise thinking that every workout has to be kick ass workout, “If I can’t lift my arms to wash my hair the next day then I failed. And I need to get to CrossFit 40 times a week, and I got to do this, this and this.” And we make this laundry list of must dos in order to consider myself healthy and fit.
For a lot of my clients I challenge them just to get up and walk out their front door for 30 minutes, because sometimes that’s all you’ve got. And if you’re not feeling that walk, or if it’s cold out or if it’s raining outside, throw on a YouTube video. There are dozens of them on demand, a million ways that you can work out at home. And trust me, I used to be one of those people that thought I had to go to the gym in order to get a good workout, and if my workout wasn’t two hours then why workout? Yes, I had that craziness going on.
Four years ago, we had a really bad winter and it snowed pretty much every other day. In order for me to go to the gym I was literally shoveling out my car to go to the gym, shoveling out my car when I was at a gym, shoveling out my car to go to work, and that was just way too much shoveling. So, I started working out at home and I found that I really enjoyed it. It was a way for me to just roll out of bed, put on some workout clothes and not care how I looked, walk down in my basement and I could get in a 30-minute quick, fast workout without much muss or fuss.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way
So, I challenge you to find something that you like. If you like going to the gym and you need that motivation, go to the gym. But if there are days that you just can’t do it, there are plenty of things that you can do at home without much equipment and just get stuff done. I always encourage my clients if you can go to Marshalls or Target or one of those stores and buy just two dumbbells and a kettlebell and a jump rope, my goodness, you can just have yourself a good sweaty old mess of a time. So, just think about what are ways that you like to move your body? Is it yoga? What is it?
Know your triggers
Be aware of trigger foods. I like treats and we’ve talked about that, but sometimes we pick treats that make us lose our stuff. If I buy ice cream for home, I know that I’m not going to be like, “I’m just going to have two bites and I’m good.” I’m going to have the whole whatever it is, gallon, pint. Whatever size I buy, the more I buy, the more I’m going to eat. And I’m going to be like a goldfish, I’m going to eat until I explode. And so, what I found is any of those foods, peanuts or any nut, if I have it in my house it’s like I can’t stop eating it.
So, I challenge you if you have those food that you can’t stop eating, sister girl, there is not enough willpower on the planet, so stop relying on willpower because willpower will slap you upside the head and leave you on the side of the road. I challenge you to say, “You know what, I don’t even want to tap into my willpower, I’m just going to leave that on the shelf.” And if there are foods that are brought into your house, they must go. When people come to my house for say Thanksgiving or Christmas, I send people home with food, I’m just like, “Hey, it just can’t be here. I don’t need this in our house, here you go, rock on with your bad self.” And I just get it out of my house, and that way there’s no temptation, there’s no me trying to have willpower, there’s no me having guilt. I have too much going on up in my head to think about guilt and the would-haves, the could-haves, and the should-haves.
Watch and learn
And I know this next one is tough for a lot of people, it’s tough for me too, but food log. If you keep a food log it keeps you honest. and also if you’re working with a coach it also is a way for the coach to be able to say… If you find yourself hungry or craving, it’s a way for us (a coach) to play detective so that I can go through your food log and I can see particular foods that might not be satisfying that. Or maybe you’re eating a little too much of something that is triggering your cravings, and so I could easily be able to I like where you should change things up.
The other thing is that it makes you own your stuff. It makes you look back at the ugly truth or the pretty truth and own up and fess up like, “I had too much of those handful of popcorn walking past the receptionist desk, too much of that peppermint bark.” That food log keeps you honest, it shows you what’s going on.
I don’t want people to look at the food log as a way to beat themselves up, that food log is a way for you to just own your shit, a way for you to look back and say, “Every day at 4:00pm, I find myself at that dang vending machine, and every day I punch in A4, and I don’t know, how those peanut M&Ms just happen to jump out into my hand.” Then we can trace back and say maybe you’re not eating enough food so that at 4:00pm the Hungry Henrietta comes out. Or maybe at 4:00pm you have a meeting with someone you don’t like, so this is your way of coping.
A food log helps a myriad of things, it’s just more telling, it helps to create the story. I love CSI, and if you think about it, they would walk into the crime scene and they would figure out who killed Colonel Mustard with the knife, and that’s what a food log does, it helps you to kind of go back and kind of dissect what’s happening in and around your world.
The other thing is to reduce the stress in your life. Whenever I hear people say, “That’s just how my life is; my life is just stress”, I just say, “Girl, I feel for you, that’s sad if you think that your life is meant to be a stress ball.” And I challenge my clients to find ways to reduce their stress.
One of the first ways I challenge my clients to reduce their stress is to say no. Especially at this time of the year it’s really easy to overcome it, it’s really easy to be the Yes Man, it’s really easy to try to be that Perfect Pam who can do it all – you’re breastfeeding your kid, making dinner while balancing your budget and being a rock star at work. I know that’s how we were raised, that we could do it all and be it all, but sometimes you just got to say no. Sometimes you’ve got to say. “You know what, I’ve got too many balls up in the air, I can’t” and not feel guilty about it.
Delegate your stressors
One of my mentors says no is a complete sentence. And when she said that it was so freeing because I was that person who tried to do 500 things and if I couldn’t do 500 things in a day I was like, “So many other people can do it, how come I can’t do it?” And that “no” really helped me to just reign in what was in my wheelhouse, what was my strength, and what wasn’t my strength, what I should delegate.
It can be something as simple as if you are supposed to bake cookies for the bake sale. Nobody said you’ve got to make them from scratch, you can go pick them up at the bakery. That saves you, I don’t know, an hour. And I want you to think about those little things – grocery shopping, do you physically have to go to the grocery store? Or can you make it simple, can you use some type of online delivery service? And I know the online delivery service that I use here in Boston is awesome. I can just schedule it for when I want them to show up, and they show up at my house, bring it up the stairs into my kitchen, the only thing they don’t do is put away the groceries. And if they did that, I would probably have them move in and see if they would cook for me.
Take a hike (or just go for a stroll)
Add walks into your life. And not power walking, these are just nice long, leisurely walks. Nice, long leisurely walks help to bring our sympathetic nervous system online, it helps to tell our body that it’s okay to chill out. And despite as much evolution as we have, certain systems in our body – especially that fight or flight response – still think that we are living in the caves. And the stress of getting an unexpected car bill or the stress of your boss dumping work on you, our body goes into that fight or flight. And when you go into walks of nature it tells your body that “Hey, we can chill out, we don’t need to be waiting for that saber tooth tiger, we’re not going to be sprinting to save our lives, and let’s just deep breath, let it in, let it out.”
Increase your fiber
If you’ve heard all the commercials, we need to increase our fiber. One, we should regularly go to the bathroom and this is probably something that people don’t openly talk about, but we’re going there. You should regularly go to the bathroom, and when I say go to the bathroom, I’m talking poop, you should at least once a day. And if you’re not, then I want you to check two things,
1) the amount of water that you’re drinking, because if you’re dehydrated, you’re 90% likely to be constipated, and when you’re constipated it’s like cement, it’s not coming out.
2) increase the amount of fiber that you have.
So, I challenge you that if you’re constipated to increase your water and fiber. Those off-the-shelf products have a place and a time, but I challenge you not to use them on a regular basis in order to make you go. If you’re not going on a regular basis there is some type of digestive issue that’s happening, and I challenge you to start to get to the root cause of that digestive issue. The reason why I talk about the root cause being digestive issues is that so many of our hormones, our immune system, are all made in our guts, and when we don’t explore our gut health it’s just like a domino. Kind of like that song – “the shin bone is connected to the knee bone, the knee bone is connected to the hip.” It’s totally that.
So, if we don’t have a good gut health and we’re not expelling the waste, that’s how we get rid of a lot of the excess hormones in our body, that’s how we get rid of our excess dead cells, so we have a lot of waste products floating around. And when we have a lot of excess waste products floating around, we get inflammation, and that inflammation makes us look puffy, and we all know that puffiness is not a good thing.
I’ve got one more for you, and again, I’ve put the rest of the tips on my website just to make it easier for you guys. You can go to bit.ly/40tipsover40.
One of my favorite over the counter Fiber products.
The last one is HIIT exercise. We were raised in the aerobics age where you just like went as hard as you could for 60+ minutes, or you went out for a run, or you hopped on the elliptical for 40 minutes.
I challenge you to do shorter intense duration of exercise, so that you’re pushing hard for maybe one to two minutes and catching your breath, pushing hard one to two minutes, catching your breath, pushing hard one to two minutes, catching your breath.
That has been found to be the most effective exercise for us ladies. That can be done on any piece of cardio equipment, with kettlebells, or battle ropes. You can do a variety a great metabolic HIIT exercises without a lot of equipment.
I know that a lot of you hear that when you hit a certain age and your body just basically gives you the finger, that you’re supposed to settle. Well, I’m not a girl who settles, and I had that very same thing happened to me.
My doctor told me that that’s just how it is, and I should eat less carbs. Well, that’s a piece of the puzzle, but there is more to it when you hit 40. There are some tweaks, there are some changes that need to be made, but they don’t need to be drastic changes.
It requires you to be a little bit more mindful in your food choices, a little bit more mindful in your workouts.
The first two big things I challenge everyone is sleep and stress. I have four other principals in my Reality Diet Method that I work my clients through, and it is a flip on how to get the best results and make it a lifestyle. I am not one of those people who are like, “Don’t eat that, don’t eat this” kind of person. I spent a lot of years doing that, and that’s painful.