Stop Setting Goals

Stop Setting Goals

At the beginning of the year, it’s inevitable that we start thinking about our goals for the year ahead. Why? Because nobody will stop talking about it!

So how has that been working for you in the past? Are you the type of person that sets goals and then makes them happen, no matter what? A lot of people (and by ‘a lot of people’, I mean ‘me’) have a hard time with that. Goals have become a target we set up that we want to hit, we try to hit, but we often don’t hit. Goals have become dreams.

Dreams are great. But when it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee, reality can tend to lock us down and immobilize even the best intentions.

So what are we to do? It’s time to stop making goals and start making commitments. Is it your goal to pick up your kids after school? Or is it your commitment? Is it your goal to brush your teeth before you go to bed? Or is it your commitment? See where I’m going with this?

Look at the goals you made (or are tempted to make) How can you turn them into commitments instead? And since that is often too much, how about starting with just one commitment that you can actually follow through with? Success is about taking small steps, one after the other.

Change is challenging so stop expecting that your goal setting is going to help you make big sweeping changes. It’s a journey and like any journey has some steps forward, some back, some round about, some direct. Make a commitment to a smaller step that will naturally lead you to the change you desire.

Small incremental steps will get you where you want to go. That’s how you become a black belt too. You don’t jump from white belt to black belt! You start as a white belt, and then you get your next belt, and your next belt and the next belt… You take small steps to get where you want to go.

So make a commitment to where you want to go, and then make a commitment to that first small step to get there .That’s how it works. 

Setting big lofty goals is easy. Following through with them is hard. Stop making it so hard for yourself. Start taking the small successful steps that will get you to where you want to go. 

Happy New Year!

4 STEPS TO TURN RESOLUTIONS INTO REALITY

4 STEPS TO TURN RESOLUTIONS INTO REALITY

 

If you’re making resolutions for 2016, there’s something you need to know:  We are all naturally resistant to change. However, if we work with that fact, instead of against it, we have a chance to really make it happen.

Why are we so resistant to change? It’s what keeps everything in balance.  It’s called equilibrium or homeostasis.

There is a sweet spot where things naturally hover.  For instance, your body temperature has a homeostasis – it stays within certain degrees. Not too hot, not too cold.  Our hormones have a natural balance, as does our blood sugar and our weight. Our bodies have a set point and like to stay within a couple of pounds here or there.

Resistance to change is also evident in our businesses, in our families, and even our cultures. We become accustomed to what’s “normal”, and we typically resist everything else. So whenever we set a resolution, like many of us do at the beginning of the year, it is no wonder we backslide. We can’t always follow through with those resolutions, because we naturally slip back to where we were comfortable before. That’s just how it is. 

Whatever it is you’re resolving to do this next year, I’m sure it has heart and meaning for you, so what can you do to make sure that they become a reality? Here are 4 steps on how you can use your resolutions to really progress and have more success in 2016. 

1.    Plan for failure.

Once you understand the science behind homeostasis, then you can use it to your advantage, rather than resist it. Realize that it is part of the cycle of change: 2 steps forward, 1 step back. Then you can actually make peace with that, and plan on what you’re going to do when things get tough.

You can expect resistance from yourself, and you can expect some resistance from others as you start to change.

Be on the lookout for all the ways that resistance shows up. Sometimes it’s a pain or a sickness. Lookout for self-sabotage, disharmony with the people around you and any kind of drama. These are indicators that you are on the right track – you won’t be surprised by it.  You’ll simply deal and move through it.

2.    Create support for your success.

So just as you’re going to plan for failure you’re also going to create support for success. One way to do this is to tell other people about your resolution. That will keep you accountable and help build your cheerleading team.  Next, find out what tools you might need to fulfill your resolution, and make that happen. Simply create support around you that will help build you up, and help you through those rough times that are sure to come. 

3.    Create rituals.

You need to create rituals around whatever it is that you’re resolving to do. 

What are rituals? Rituals are conscious habits.  You simply have awareness around what it is that you’re doing, step by step – and you turn it into a ritual.

As an example, before you go to bed, you brush your teeth, right? Nobody’s telling you to brush your teeth. You haven’t had to read self-help books around brushing your teeth. You’ve just made it a habit, because you know it’s something that you need to do. Well that’s what we have to create around our resolutions. We have to create habits, so that they just become part of who we are.

4.    Develop a learning mindset.

In martial arts, we call it the white belt mind. If you already know everything, then you’re not going to actually learn something new. It’s that learner’s mindset that will help you keep that resolution.  

In fact, why don’t you dedicate yourself to life long learning? To learn is to change. And that’s what resolutions are all about – you want to make a change. Only learners can really change, not people who know everything already. If you ever hear yourself saying, “I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,” then you know you do not have a white belt mind.  The learner says, “Oh really, oh good, tell me more, tell me more.” 

So I hope you have a wonderful year ahead and you’ll take a few minutes today to reflect on everything that you’re grateful for. Set resolutions if you must, but remember, be intentional and take action on your dreams.  You deserve it.

The Onion Lotus Recipe

The Onion Lotus Recipe

I made this dish the other night for my girlfriend’s birthday.  A year ago, we were in Bali and every day we walked passed a beautiful Lotus pond that was close to our house.  I wanted to remind her of our amazing hikes and all that we loved in that amazing place. Food can do that.  It can transport you.

I love onions.  Yellow, white, sweet, red — I love them all.  And there are so many ways to eat them: raw, grilled, sauteed, roasted, pickled…  They always do their part when they are added to a dish, working hard in the background to add flavor but not steal the show.  That’s why it is fun to find a recipe like this one where the onions get to be the shining star.

This Onion Lotus may look fancy but is so simple to make.  This is a great side dish but you’ll want to serve them on a plate where they have lots of to spread out and show off!

ONION LOTUS

Ingredients:

    • Red onions (how many do you want to eat?!?)
    • Olive oil
    • Balsamic vinegar
    • Salt and pepper

Directions: preheat oven to 375°.

1.  Cut the bottom (root) off of the onion off but just enough to keep it from rolling around.
2.  Carefully cut the onion 4 times as if you were going to make 8 wedges but DON’T CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH.  You want it intact at the bottom.
3.  Rub olive oil all over the outside of it and place all the onions in a baking dish.
4.  Drizzle with a little more olive oil and some balsamic vinegar, letting it seep into the wedges. Add salt and pepper.
5.  Cover the dish with foil and put in oven for about 45 minutes or until the onion is soft.
6.  Take off the foil and spread the “petals” out a little bit.  If they don’t move easily, the onions need to cook longer.  If they move, separate them a little and put back in the oven.
7. Cook for another 15 minutes or until the petals brown on the edges.

8. Once cooked, let them rest for a few minutes before moving them to your serving dish where they will open beautifully.

The Lotus is so breathtakingly beautiful as it emerges clean and pure from the murky waters, symbolizing rebirth and spiritual enlightenment in ancient religions.
What’s your plan to eat clean this summer?

What’s your plan to eat clean this summer?

It’s official—Summer has arrived!  Yeah! Time to spend with family and friends—and you know what that means… Vacations, BBQs, Weddings, Summer Cocktails, Holidays.

How do we navigate all the TEMPTATION?!  It’s time to put on our big girl panties (or big boy tightie-whities) and develop a winning strategy to eat clean this summer before we find ourselves underwater.  Is it possible to celebrate without booze?  Well, of course it is if you want to. Is it possible to have fun without the cake?  The answer is YES but how to do it is the question.

How do we stay focused on our goals? Well, the key to this is discovering our Triggers.  What is it that you sets you off?  What is it that is impossible to say NO to, or, opens the door for other things that are not on your clean eating plan?

For example, have you ever noticed that the mini bar in your hotel room actually knows your name ~ and calls out to you?  Maybe even whispers sweet nothings in your ear until you succumb?!  Yes… seeing all that sweety-salty stuff are Triggers that can seduce the best of us. Solution?  Have it removed (or at least the contents) when you check in to the hotel.  You can even have that arranged before you arrive.  No Trigger, No Temptation, No Trouble!
First step is to know what your Triggers are. C’mon, that’s not too hard to figure out, is it?
sugar_gateway
Then it’s time to make some decisions IN ADVANCE as to how you want to deal with them.  (Warning: do not wait until you are in the situation. This ranks with going grocery shopping when you are hungry… not a smart idea)
Set up your guidelines and then ask someone to support you so you can be more accountable during the event.  Here are some ideas:
  • “I’m going to eat in advance.” Protein and fats are most satisfying and helps avoid temptation.
  • “I’m going to have 3 bites of my mom’s brownies.” Determine what you will eat/drink and how much of it.
  • “I’m taking my favorite salad to the party.” Take your own food/drink with you.
  • “I’m going to have one glass of wine.” Make it a spritzer by adding a little club soda and lime. (Not only is alcohol liquid sugar but it lowers our resistance to other Trigger foods)
  • “I’m going to go for a 45 minute walk before dinner.  Want to come with me?”  Make time to move – exercise with a friend!
You are worth your goals. You can reach them without sacrificing a good time. Remember, food is not the only way to have a great time.  Focus on your friends and family. And let the Love in!
Two Easy Coconut Milk Recipes

Two Easy Coconut Milk Recipes

Okay, now you know how to make your own Too Easy Almond Milk, but do you know how to make coconut milk? It’s another great alternative to regular milk because it’s lactose free, which makes it easier to digest for most folks. Coconut milk has a ton of health benefits but it’s the creamy taste that keeps us coming back for more! I just know you’re going to love the recipes and the videos this week.

Make Your Own Coconut MilkFun fact: In Sanskrit, the coconut tree is known as “kalpa vriksha” and translates to “wish-fulfilling tree” or “tree which gives all that is necessary for living”. And it’s true, you could literally live off of coconuts if you needed to. Another cool fact is that the entire coconut can be used – everything, including the flesh, sugar, oil, water, and milk.

Coconuts are highly nutritious and contain important vitamins such as C, E, B1, B3, B5, and B6. They also consist of vital minerals including iron, calcium, and magnesium. Their unique fatty acids help the body to feel full and trigger brain receptors that control appetite, aiding in weight loss. Studies show these fatty acids may also kill bacteria that cause plaque formation in the arteries, reducing the risk of heart disease. Coconuts have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, which help boost immunity and fight viruses. An added bonus? The nutrients in coconuts have been proven to help fortify and condition both skin and hair. The fatty acid content may help with dandruff, dry or itchy skin, and infections along with preventing wrinkles. Yes please!

Benefits of Coconut Milk

  • Contain important vitamins and minerals
  • Aid weight loss
  • Boost immune system
  • Prevent heart disease
  • Promote hair and skin health
  • Tastes delicious!

Today I want to share with you Two Easy Coconut Milk recipes! The first is with a fresh coconut. This one requires a little more work since you have to open and empty a young coconut. The second recipe is a bit simpler because it uses dried coconut. Both of these recipes are less expensive than buying commercial coconut milk at the store, plus they taste better and don’t have all of those gross additives and sugar!

Coconut Milk Part 1: From Fresh Coconut

 Equipment needed:

  • High speed blender
  • Nut milk bag or cheesecloth
  • Bowl
  • Glass jar with lid

Ingredients

  • 1 young coconut
  • 1 cup filtered water (optional)
  • 1-2 t Vanilla

Instructions:

  1. Open the coconut (which you can learn how to do here)
  2. Empty the coconut water into a bowl
  3. Scrape out the meat of the coconut
  4. Blend the coconut meat and coconut water until smooth and add water to taste. (Or if you want more coconut milk — I know I do!)
  5. Strain mixture through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth and squeeze coconut milk into a bowl
  6. Add vanilla
  7. Transfer coconut milk into a bottle
  8. Keep covered and refrigerated
  9. Shake before using and enjoy!

Bonus: Use coconut paste in a smoothie or favorite recipe, or blend back into the milk for more texture.

Coconut Milk Part 2: From Dried Coconut

Equipment:

  • High speed blender
  • Nut milk bag or cheesecloth
  • Bowl
  • Glass jar with lid

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried organic coconut (either flakes or grated)
  • 4 cups hot water (hot but not boiling)
  • 1-2 t vanilla (optional)

Instructions:

  • Blend dried coconut and water until smooth
  • Strain mixture through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth and squeeze coconut milk into a bowl
  • Transfer coconut milk into a bottle
  • Keep covered and refrigerated (keeps for 3 or 4 days)
  • Shake before using and enjoy!

Bonus: Use leftover coconut meal in your favorite recipe to replace other flours.

TASTE TEST

Okay, so after I made coconut milk both ways I decided to conduct a little taste test. The coconut milk made with dried coconut is definitely much creamier and tastes more like the commercial brands you might find in a store. The milk using the fresh coconut is refreshing and is less creamy, tasting more like coconut water.

Both are absolutely delicious and I think it comes down to what you’re in the mood for. If you feel like having something refreshing and a little lighter, opt for a fresh coconut. If you feel like something creamy and delicious, use the dried coconut. Or you can do what I did and just make both so that you never have to choose between the two!

Which Coconut Milk method do you like better?! Share in the comments below!

Lose Weight by…Doing Nothing?!

Lose Weight by…Doing Nothing?!

While diet and exercise are well known to be key components to weight management, there is another major player that doesn’t get it’s fair share of glory: Sleep.

There’s nothing like a good night’s sleep. Our performance, how we look, the way we feel and ultimately our health are all influenced by how much sleep we get. While 9+ hours of sleep each night is ideal, less than 7 can leave us feeling foggy and irritable in the morning. But the consequences of sleep deprivation go way beyond waking up cranky. Countless studies have found that lack of sleep can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, slower reaction times, depression, cancer… and more.

Our bodies need sleep in order to reboot and repair. Think of sleep as a miracle drug with restorative powers. While we’re catching ZZZs, our bodies are working to regulate blood pressure, promote faster healing and muscle repair, and keep our memories sharp. It’s no coincidence that when we get a good night’s sleep we wake up feeling rejuvenated and just generally happier.

Benefits of sleep:

  • Contributes to weight loss and curbs carb cravings
  • Boosts mood and eradicates depression
  • Reduces blood pressure and stress levels
  • Reverses type II diabetes and minimizes the risk of heart disease
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Promotes faster healing and stronger immunity
  • Improves memory
  • Prevents cancer

While it provides a plethora of benefits, getting enough sleep is a lot easier said than done. With laptops, TV screens, and Smart Phones all around us it can be all too tempting to scroll through our Twitter feeds or watch that new episode of Scandal in bed. However, letting the hours tick by with these artificial lights isn’t doing our bodies any favors. And while a nightcap might seem like a good way to unwind after a long day, alcohol may induce sleepiness but it’ll disrupt your REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and leave you feeling restless. Just like nutrition and exercise, sleep is a vital element to a healthy lifestyle and it’s essential we give our body the time it needs to reset and revive.

How to get more sleep:

  1. Establish a routine. Consistency lets our bodies know when it’s time to wind down and when to wake up.
  2. Exercise regularly.
  3. Avoid large meals late in the evening. Opt for a light snack rather than heavy carbs prior to bed.
  4. Turn off electronics. Not only are they distracting and rob us of sleep, but the artificial lights can mess with our circadian rhythm (a fancy term for our internal body clock).
  5. Cut down on caffeine.
  6. Put away the wine. Alcohol leads to a disrupted sleep so choose an herbal tea or hot water with lemon instead.
  7. Avoid sugar. It will keep you awake and spike your blood sugar.
  8. Keep the bedroom on the cooler side. Between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.
  9. Try a soothing activity like journaling or meditation if you can’t fall asleep.

Sleep benefits our weight, health, heart, and mind so while it may seem counterproductive, we need our ZZZ’s to stay healthy both mentally and physically. Try some of the tips above tonight to get a good night’s sleep so when that alarm clock goes off, you’re ready to take on the world. Nighty-night!

What is your favorite nighttime ritual that helps you sleep? Share in the comments below!

Big Fat Lies About Your Diet: Lie #1

Big Fat Lies About Your Diet: Lie #1

LIE # 1: EATING FAT MAKES YOU FAT

It made sense, so we bought it.  If we eat fat, we will get fat. Simple logic. Then the dreaded 3-letter word got linked with things like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes—fat was clearly the enemy.

Well, it’s time to expose the truth, so here’s the skinny on fat. Fats are a vital part of a healthy nutrition plan! They help us absorb important vitamins and nutrients and are essential to our nervous systems. The monounsaturated fats in olives, olive oil, and avocados actually help us to prevent belly fat and protect our arteries from the buildup of plaque. The polyunsaturated fats found in fish and seeds help boost our immune systems along with brain function. The Omega-3 fatty acids in grass-fed meat help to normalize thyroid functions and increase our metabolic rates and muscle mass. Fat also plays a crucial role in reducing inflammation. See? Fat has been getting a bad rap.

Some of the benefits of fat include:

  • Helps our bodies absorb nutrients
  • Prevents belly fat and increases muscles mass
  • Protects arteries
  • Boosts immune system
  • Reduces cognitive decline
  • Normalizes thyroid functions
  • Increases metabolism
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Prevents cancer and other diseases

An added bonus? Healthy fats keep our appetites satisfied longer so we don’t overindulge. Have you ever noticed how at a restaurant you can keep reaching for another slice of bread, but when you have a small cut of steak you feel full? That’s because healthy fats keep us feeling satisfied faster and for far longer than refined carbohydrates and other junk. They’re a necessary part of a healthy diet.

What happens if you don’t get your fat fix?

When we don’t get enough fat, our body responds with some pretty ugly side effects. Fatigue, heart problems, vitamin deficiencies, mood imbalances, itchy skin, and poor body temperature regulation are just a few of the risks that come with not getting enough fat. Another side effect? Weight gain. WHAAAAT?!?! When our bodies don’t get enough healthy fat, it often leads to excessive appetite. Yup, not eating enough fat can actually make you fat. Oh, the irony!

Fats are our friends! Without them our body functions can get thrown out of whack. However, that doesn’t mean that the fat in those deep-fried mozzarella sticks, packet of Ding-Dongs, or other processed foods is doing us any favors. The fats I’m talking about are the ones found in real, whole foods. It’s also important to keep in mind that those foods you see at the grocery store labeled “fat-free” are loaded with sugar, calories, and gross additives.

So what kinds of fatty foods should we be eating? Here a list that will get you started.

Healthy_Fats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bottom line is eating fat does NOT make you fat. You need fat.  We should aim to have 3 servings of fat every day at about 1 tablespoon each for optimum health. Start taking healthy fats for what they really are: delicious, nutritious and oh, so satisfying!

Here’s a great article for you to read too:  Top 7 Most Common Reactions to Your High-Fat Diet (and How to Respond) by Mark Sisson

I’d love to hear from you!

 What’s your favorite fat and what’s your favorite way to eat it?  Share in the comments below.

And what’s another Big Fat Lie you would like exposed? Let me know—I’m on it!

Much Love,

Melodee_Sig_sm

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