Tag Archives: amy larson health coach

Enjoy What You Eat – No Regrets

My clothes are feeling tight lately and I hate it. A small bulge has appeared over the waist of my jeans—not comfortable! That said, I wouldn’t trade the events of the past few months or the delicious food and drink that I consumed for anything!

My daughter’s college graduation, an annual long weekend with my two best friends from high school, and a 25th anniversary trip with my husband to the Pacific Northwest gave me many special opportunities to eat for enjoyment and try new foods. Unfortunately, when you eat muffin tops, you get a muffin top.

Growing up, I was fortunate to have a mother who provided nutritious food and an environment that wasn’t toxic to a healthy body image; despite all that, our culture sure did a number on me and I’m sure you can relate to that experience. I believe that our current problem with high obesity rates is partially due to the self-hate that so many of us take on.

When we compare ourselves to what the media considers to be ‘beautiful’, it causes stress; and STRESS, as it relates to a healthy weight, is detrimental! The only way I have found to manage the societal pressure to “look a certain way” is to be mindful that I HAVE to eat for nourishment. So, I should enjoy doing it every day.

So when my clothes start feeling a bit too snug, I remind myself that it is a marker of happy celebrations and the highlights of my life. Delicious food is an important part of that.

So when your jeans feel tight, reach in the closet for a more comfortable outfit!

2 Tips for Relaxed Eating: The Benefits are Worth the Challenge!

Relaxed EatingEating in a relaxed environment is key to properly digesting our food and drink. When our body and mind are stressed, chemicals in our brain, such as cortisol and insulin, surge and create an environment that doesn’t support a healthy metabolism—in this scenario, even eating healthy food can result in weight gain. When you consider the very act of meal prep alone (cooking can oftentimes be a stressor), it’s a challenge to actually eat under stress-free conditions.

To create an optimal eating environment, I start inside my head.

Tip #1:

Envision a relaxed scenario. Even if my time is pressed and circumstances seem contradictory, I create a vision of what is ideal. With this positive mental picture, I can then put forth the necessary efforts to make it a reality. For example, I get up early to prepare food for my family. I have a routine that consists of just 6 or 7 minutes where I eat my breakfast served on an attractive plate or in a pretty bowl with a cloth napkin in an uncluttered space in my kitchen. (Yes, I really do this.)

Even if you don’t have cloth napkins, you’ll notice a difference by simply dedicating a small, defined, area in your kitchen where you can eat peacefully. What I actually eat varies, but the environment is always an attractive place. When I eat in this way, I actually notice and enjoy my food, rather than shoving it down my throat and giving myself indigestion.

When you keep your stomach happy, it reflects in your overall body and mood.

Tip #2:

Another example is thinking about food prep in advance of the time I actually need to start cooking. When I’m able to chop or dice ahead of time—like in the morning, or when my daughter is in the kitchen after-school—I can prepare a meal knowing that I don’t have a million and one things to do to have dinner ready at 6 pm. This reduces my stress about dinner prep, making dinner itself a more relaxing experience.

As I finish up this post, I recall a story about a friend who is a beautifully relaxed eater and works hard to maintain this good habit. When he’s on the golf course and approaching the 18th hole, he phones the restaurant at his course and orders lunch. When he and his friends arrive at the restaurant, his lunch is waiting for him and he can start eating right away. This way, he doesn’t feel rushed to eat at the same pace as his buddies, and can actually enjoy his food—good thinking! I believe we can all afford to take a page from my friend’s book so that we may all experience the benefits of relaxed eating.

What do you do to eat in a relaxed environment? Leave me a tip in the comments!

What is Wellness to You?

Amy Larson, Health Coach - Photo of me and my mom.

Me and my mom!

As I work to launch this website, I’m pondering the overarching theme of optimal wellness and what that means for me and for my varied clients.  What comes up for me regularly this past year is:  do the best you can in your current and sometimes immediate circumstances.  This would apply to many aspects of health, including exercise, relaxation, service to others and of course, food.

Most of the time I can control my food environment and eat healthful foods.  Usually I am home or close enough so I can pack food from home.  Those times when I didn’t have total control used to make me uncomfortable and sometimes truly anxious – and that’s not helpful to anyone’s overall health!

Specifically I recall a fun and meaningful trip last summer with my mother and daughter to east Tennessee to the area where my mother was born and raised.  Being a northeasterner and a healthful eater, I was alarmed at the constant presence of deep fried foods of all kinds, fatty meats (even in beans) and sugar laced tea and fruit.  After a minor freak out and the realization that this food was everywhere – in restaurants and home cooking alike – I turned a mental switch and decided to relax and enjoy myself and simply do the best I could with the food choices available.  And a lot of the food was pretty delicious!   But the most significant part of this was the fact that I could actually enjoy myself and the people I was with, and know that I would be okay eating less than  healthful choices for those few days.

I still think about that wonderful trip and don’t regret eating those hushpuppies one bit!