Appreciate the life you are living and achieve more through EnerG coach, Ellen Goldman. Your questions on balance, motivation and your lifestyle are answered through these simple tips and solutions. Get more out of your life with the help of Identity.
Ellen Goldman EnerG Coaching
Question: What is the best way to spend my lunch hour?
There are as many ways to answer this question as there are lunch hours in a year; probably more. How best to use this precious hour will be different for everyone. However, first and foremost, everyone should eat lunch. Skipping a mid-day meal to either get more work done, do chores, exercise, or anything else, is not wise. We need fuel (i.e.food) to keep us going. Taking a break to relax, rewind and refuel is essential for a productive afternoon. That being said, since most of us don’t need 60 minutes to eat, we could fill much of the hour with another activity. How to decide what? Ask yourself this question, “What could I do that would make me feel accomplished, proud, and refreshed?” For some it could be a quick workout, for others crossing tasks off the list would relieve stress and feel great. Some may need a nap! Personally, I love to read, check in with friends by phone, or walk my dog. My best advice no matter what you decide to do with your time is to take a break from working, eat a balanced healthy lunch, and then do whatever will allow you to return to work feeling refreshed and ready to focus.
Question: My children snack all afternoon and then aren’t hungry for dinner. How can I change this habit?
I can certainly understand your concern, and commend your desire to create healthier eating habits for your children. When snacking all day interferes with eating a healthy meal, problems may develop. Aside from developing life long poor habits that will be hard to break, this could lead to vitamin deficiencies, unnecessary weight gain, and lack of energy. Snacking is not necessarily a bad thing, depending on when, what and how much is being eaten. Do keep in mind the smaller stomach capacity of a child means they need more frequent but lighter meals/snacks. However, you want to assure that they are well balanced and properly spaced throughout the day. Create a routine around eating, just as you do for school, homework and bedtime. You might need to renegotiate some house rules, such as no more eating except at the kitchen table.
Begin by taking a look at their overall dietary habits, which I am sure, you are mostly in charge of. Offer your children a healthy breakfast within one hour of their awakening. If they refuse to eat it, remind them there will be no food available until it’s time for the mid-morning snack. Stock your home, and their lunch boxes with plenty of fruit, veggies, lean protein and complex carbohydrate grains. Rid your home of an abundance of junk food, but have some treats available. Completely denying your kids the “fun foods” their friends enjoy will lead them to rebel and sneak those foods anyway they can. Prepare and pack healthy lunches, and plan for a nutritious snack for after school of mid-afternoon. Make dinner a time they look forward to- as much as possible relaxed, at home, everyone enjoying a meal and together time at the table. The more fun, the more they will look forward to this time of day. It helps to get kids involved in the planning of meals and snacks. Take them to the market with you, teach them the difference between foods that keep us healthy and those that are fine for an occasional treat, and get them helping in the kitchen. There are lots of cooking classes for kids that might spark their interest in learning and experimenting with new and different foods. Once your children get used to healthy eating every 2 – 3 hours, they will return to the instinctual habits they had as infants- I eat when I am hungry, and stop when satisfied.
Question: What are easy snacks to bring to the office for the day? Easy to make and pack that will keep me balanced and energized all day.
The best snacks are a combination of lean protein, a small amount of healthy fat, and complex carbohydrate. This will keep your blood sugar even, and allow you to stay energized and focused. Some of my favorites include a fruit and a low-fat cheese stick, a few whole grain crackers with hummus, veggies and lo-cal salad dressings or dips, hard-boiled egg and some grapes, yogurt and berries, or a 150-200 calorie bar (the higher the fiber and lower the sugar grams, the better.) I’m not a peanut butter lover, but two tablespoons spread on an apple, pear or whole grain pita is a favorite of many of my clients. Think of your snacks as a mini-meal, and you’ll come up with loads of ideas. A cup of soup, cereal and skim milk, half an English muffin with a slice of cheese, or left overs from last evenings dinner. What ever your choice, to stay balanced and energized, eat often and eat light (don’t go more than four hours without some food), choose a combination of the food groups rather than just one, and sip on water all day.
Question: I can’t find my drive in the AM to workout consistently. I make up every single excuse I can. What do I do? I have no money for the gym so everything is on my own and I have no buddies to workout with.
Let’s take a look at each of your challenges individually. Although compliance rate for exercise is definitely seen more in AM exercisers, there are plenty of individuals who exercise consistently at other times of the day. So if lunch time, afternoon or early evening feels more appealing, go for it. If however, morning is the best time for you, is it fatigue due to not enough sleep or lack of motivation that is truly the problem? If it’s the first, try creating a consistent bedtime that will give you 7-8 hours of sleep each night. If it’s the latter, create a list of all the reasons you want to exercise and the benefits you’ll receive from doing so. If exercise is a “should” rather than a “want” you’ll be battling getting your workouts in no matter what time of day.
As for having no money for the gym, there are tons of no/ low cost activities that only require investing in sneakers. Walking is free, and if you add great music or a book on tape, you won’t need a buddy. If you ask around, perhaps a friend or relative has a bike in their garage that hasn’t been used for years, and they would gladly give away. If you want the companionship of others, look into what your neighborhood has to offer. Community centers, high schools, and parks & recreation departments often offer no/ low-cost group exercise classes. The bottom line is this- once you find your compelling motivator for being more active- your WHY, the HOW will appear.
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