EngerG Coaching: Tips for your Lifestyle & Wellness (Mar. 2013)

Identity Magazine - Wellness Q&A
Written by Ellen Goldman

Question: I know some friends that were successful losing weight by going vegetarian. Thought I would give it a try. To my horror I gained weight! What gives?

Appreciate the healthy  life you are living and achieve more through EnerG coach, Ellen Goldman. Your questions on balance, motivation and your healthy lifestyle are answered through these simple tips and solutions. Get more out of your life with the help of Identity.

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Question: I’ve been trying to lose some weight and eat healthier.   I do great until around 3-4 PM, and then it’s downhill from there.   My willpower wanes and by the evening I find myself overeating and making all the wrong choices.   Can you help?

Answer:   It will probably surprise you to hear this, but you just might need to be eating more.   During the day, that is. Chances are your late afternoon and evening overeating is because by then, you are starving! Too many think that if they skip breakfast and lunch, or eat extremely light, it will help with their weight loss efforts.   The truth is, rather than curb your calorie intake, it will lead to extreme hunger later, often resulting in afternoon and evening binging.   Eat breakfast and lunch everyday, making sure your meals include protein (like eggs, chicken, lean meats or soy products) and whole grains (try oatmeal or brown rice).   Plan for a late afternoon snack which will curb your hunger until dinner.   Yogurt and fruit, or hummus and whole grain crackers are great choices.   Keep fresh fruit and cut veggies available and within sight to munch on while preparing dinner.   Close down your kitchen at least two hours before bedtime, so you’ll be sure to wake up ready to eat a healthy breakfast, rather than feeling stuffed and guilty about the night before.   That will only start the cycle of skipping meals and binging late again.

Question: I know some friends that were successful losing weight by going vegetarian.   Thought I would give it a try. To my horror I gained weight!   What gives?

Answer: This isn’t as uncommon as you might think.   There’s lots of great reasons to go vegetarian, or cut back on animal products; lowering blood pressure, reducing your risk of diabetes and weight loss.   However, done the wrong way and it could be a recipe for weight gain.   Too many individuals replace meat and poultry with refined carbs rather than focus on increasing the veggies.   Are you reaching for pasta, bread, potatoes or even sweets to fill you up.   Make sure vegetables account for at least half of every meal, and have a small portion of whole grains rather than the other way around.   Increase your protein which will give you the nutrients to boost satiation, keep your metabolism revved and preserve your muscle.   Plant proteins aren’t absorbed as readily as some animal proteins, so you’ll need to increase your intake from when you were consuming meat and poultry.   Try tofu, soy products, lentils, nonfat Greek yogurt and quinoa; all great protein sources that won’t pack on the pounds.   Watch out for cheese, a mainstay for many a vegetarian.   It’s calorie dense for a small portion, which often leads to over consuming.   If you are serious about continuing this eating plan, consider having a consultation with a good dietician who specializes in vegetarian and vegan lifestyle.   It will be a great investment that will put you on the road to weight loss and a health promoting food plan.   Good luck!

Question:   I recently began working for home, which I love. The change has allowed me to improve many of my health habits.   I now exercise rather than have a morning commute, prepare healthy lunches from my kitchen, and cook dinner for my family rather than bring in take-out, since I’m home as soon as the work day ends.   The only problem seems to be my inability to organize my working space.   The small room with the computer and desk is the only spot in my home to work.   As a result, all the household files, paperwork and bills are constantly in view.   Along with that are the kids school papers, projects, party invitations and books.   Everyday I say I am going to get it all organized, but it will take so much time away from my work.   I find all the other stuff distracting, causing my mind to wander to home responsibilities when I’m working, and work responsibilities when I’m tending to home.   It’s causing me enormous stress, and I’m beginning to doubt whether working from home is such a good idea after all.   Is there a solution to this mess, or will stress derail all the other health benefits I am enjoying?

Answer:   Fear not; there is definitely a solution, but it will take some time and effort.   However, keep in mind that the time you spend organizing your space will eventually be paid back in a more efficient, calm work day.   When you are no longer distracted by the mess, you’ll become more productive.   Pick a day and time when you know you can devote a few uninterrupted hours to this project.   Make it fun by playing music you enjoy.   If the kids are old enough, enlist their help.   They just might come up with some creative ideas you hadn’t thought of.     Start by separating all the “stuff” into three piles- household, kids, work. Inventory what you have and decide if it all needs to remain in this one room.   Throw or giveaway anything that’s outlived your needs and remove any items from this space that aren’t being used in this room.   Then ask yourself, “What things will help me to retrieve items instantly when needed?”   Files, file cabinets, bulletin boards, bookcases, baskets, desk top organizers?   You might like to color code these items by category.   Once you have an idea of what’s needed, take a trip to your local container and/or office supply store.   There are loads of portable organizing options, some on wheels, that can be kept in closets or other rooms and brought in when in use, and out of sight when not. Now add a few items that will make the space more inviting and pleasant.   A plant, a few family photos, and a painting on the wall will go along way towards calming you the moment you walk in. Initially this project will take a large chunk of time.     After that, you’ll probably be able to manage keeping your systems up with a fifteen minute clean up at the end of each day.   If you find you really can’t manage this on your own, consider hiring a personal organizer for a few sessions.   Just make sure the systems set up make sense to you and match the way you work and think.   This is your space.   One last suggestion, at the end of each workday, before heading to the kitchen for dinner prep, spend a few minutes to reorganize and then shut down.   File what you won’t need the next day, take coffee mugs to the kitchen sink, empty the garbage if it’s overflowing.   This way you’ll begin the following work day calm and organized, ready to get down to work.

Question:   I have been paying much closer attention to my health over the last year.   As a result, I have lost 12 pounds, my back and knees hurt less, I’m handling stress better, and my sleep is greatly improved.   At lunch with my best friend last week, I noticed she really didn’t look well.   When I questioned it, her answer was, “Oh I’m fine, just exhausted and my back’s been aching.”   She is very overweight, and I want to encourage her to change her poor health habits.   Is it OK to approach her, and if so, how best to do it without hurting her feelings?

Answer:   Your love and caring for your friend is admirable, and your desire to help her take better care of herself is certainly understandable.   However, this conversation could be treading on a land mine if not handled properly.   First and foremost, you must evaluate your relationship.   If there are times that you two are competitive and/or confrontational, you may be best off not bringing this subject up unless asked.   She might just view your attempts as a way to show off your own success, or as criticism and rejection.   Touchy subjects like weight and health are best to open up only with those you have a solid foundation of mutual respect, love and trust.   Secondly, listen for “change talk.”   Has your girlfriend complained about her weight or pains followed by comments such as, “I really need to do something about this.” Or, “I probably should go on a diet.”   This would indicate that she is actually contemplating change, and just might be ready and open for help and support.   Next, ask permission!   I can’t stress this enough.   Try, “Is this something you would like to talk about?”   Be accepting of whatever answer you receive. If no, move on to another topic.   If yes, begin with a question such as, “If you were going to do something about this, what might you try?”   Resist the temptation to go into preaching and teaching.   The most basic human need is for autonomy- the desire to be self-determining and self responsible.   In other words, no body likes to be told what to do!   Only when asked and with permission should you offer advice and suggestions.   Lastly, ask your friend, “In what way can I help and support you?”   If at anytime during your conversation, you feel that tempers are flaring, or you sense your friend is getting defensive or angry, it’s best to stop and re-evaluate.   Perhaps she is not as ready as you thought, or you have slipped into telling rather than asking.   However, done with gentleness and compassion, and never with judgement, you just might help your friend move forward in her own wellness journey.


Please free to email Ellen with your question. It will be answered in the order it’s received. Please continue to check back for your question to be answered. Note: we do not use last names.

About the author

Ellen Goldman

Ellen Goldman created EllenG Coaching to help overextended business professionals and entrepreneurs who are worried about their health and happiness, and are either exhausted, burnt out, out of shape, overweight, or all of the above! Through her coaching programs, motivational talks and online courses, she shows clients how to integrate health into their busy lifestyles with simple, small steps that lead to massive change, resulting in greater energy, focus, productivity and happiness every day. With 30 plus years experience in the health and fitness industries, working as a personal trainer and certified wellness coach while raising her family, Ellen knows first hand that you do not need to sacrifice your health and happiness to have a successful career. Her mission is to help others thrive both personally and professionally. To learn more about Ellen and her wellness programs, visit www.EllenGcoaching.com

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