Tag Archives: weight loss

Hold the Shame, Pass the Sweet Potato Fries

23 Feb
The day I decided to nourish and accept myself. It was a good day.

The day I decided to nourish and accept myself. It was a good day.

I don’t think we ever plan on ordering a side of shame with our sweet potato fries. I know I didn’t, but it happened. There I was, standing by the sweet potatoes in the grocery aisle, having a full-on guilt-trip about whether I should buy them or not.

I picked up the sweet potato. “No, it’s a starch.” I put the sweet potato back. “I don’t want to make my stomach issues any worse.”

“But my body needs carbohydrates.” I picked up the sweet potato again. Anxiety swept through my body. “I shouldn’t.” I put the sweet potato back. “I’ll just buy a butternut squash instead.”

Have you ever experienced the constant chatter of “shoulds” and “should nots” running through your mind about food? It’s exhausting, and believe me, you aren’t alone.

In 2008 my stress levels were at an all-time high, which turned into my health’s all-time low. I was diagnosed with low hormones, stage III adrenal fatigue, gluten intolerance and a parasite. Yippee. Part of my health restoration included cleaning up my nutrition, so I did. I felt physically fantastic and I was quickly healing… but emotionally, I began to get anxious around food.

Throughout this time, I continued my studies with nutrition and the psychology behind it to better help my clients. It was through this journey that I finally saw the disconnect between the valuable health coaching I was giving my clients, and the fact that I wasn’t listening to any of it in my own life.

I realized that I was using food to “fix” everything I thought was wrong with my life and me. This awareness lead me to read Marianne Williamson’s book “A Course in Weight Loss,” where I was introduced to the concept of mindful eating. A concept that stated I could truly enjoy food without judgment AND use it to nourish my body. Umm, yes please! It was the Cat’s Meow and I had to learn more, so I did. And I practiced. A lot. And I realized that food is not only a great source of enjoyment, but also an opportunity to nourish our body and respect our inner wisdom.

Thankfully, I also realized that food isn’t the only source of pleasure in our lives. Our heart is hungry for a lot of things: companionship, laughter, gratification, acceptance. Maybe that sweet craving isn’t for our favorite sweet treat, but maybe it’s for more sweetness in our life. More smiles. More bubble baths. And I’m pretty sure more hugs, which I have plenty to share… along with my sweet potato fries.

 

If you are holding yourself back from fully living life until you lose weight or have the perfect body, or you struggle with food anxiety, fatigue, cravings and digestive upset, please join me for Truly Nourished. This eight-week journey will help you move through negative self-talk, build a supportive environment, teach you to listen to your body and awaken your natural ability to support your health and well-being. Classes begin soon. Please contact me at stephsbell@yahoo.com for more information and to register.

Mindful Eating for the Holidays: A Guide to Ditching Food Shame and Elastic Waistbands (Part 2)

17 Nov
IMG_1974

An eye-pleasing foundation to my Mexican Chicken Soup: celery, broccoli, carrots, red bell peppers and garlic. Pretty to look at, healthy for my body and tastes delicious!

You’ve just finished a fun dinner with friends and can’t possibly think about eating any more… that is, until you are presented with the dessert tray–a glorious presentation of apple crisp, pumpkin pie and brownie sundae topped with hot fudge sauce and candied walnuts. You order dessert, even though you are full, and  finish every last bite.

… And then it begins, “Why did I do that? I’m such a pig. I shouldn’t have done that. I feel horrible. I wasn’t even hungry, but it looked so good. Ugh, I’m disgusting.”

You’ve just experienced the strength of eye hunger, one of eight hungers we possess, compounded by your nagging inner critic (does that dude EVER take a break?). The typical American will gain 5-7 lbs over the holidays and eye hunger has a lot to do with that, so let’s explore why this little booger hampers our holiday bliss and what we can do to keep our eye hunger working for us and not against us.

First, let’s define it: Eye hunger is when you become hungry looking at food (via in person, on TV or in a magazine) or reading a recipe, even if you just ate. Many studies have proven that our eyes will override our mouth, stomach and body. For instance, subjects at a movie theater who were given stale popcorn ate it just because it was there and they could smell it. It didn’t even matter that it tasted awful.

So, over the holidays when you are surrounded by mounds of delicious turkey, mashed potatoes and caramel pecan pie slices, use these helpful tools to satisfy your eye hunger without eating double and feeling miserable.

1. Create beauty. Our eyes appreciate beauty, so use pretty plates, napkins and table decor.

2. Surround yourself in beauty. Get out in nature, savor your favorite piece of art, look at pictures of your beloved, listening to soothing music.

3. Cook and eat food of various colors, textures and shapes. Arrange it beautifully on plates and bowls. It takes just as much time, but with a little extra thought, it can make a huge difference in improving your food relationship (and health).

4. Use a small plate. Fill half of your plate with vegetables, a 1/4 with protein (meat or vegetarian based), an 1/8 with starch (potatoes and grains) and an 1/8 with healthy fats (you can also skip the starch if you have diabetes, Celiac disease, etc.). If it is a holiday or special occasion where dessert is served, consider sharing your dessert with one or two people. Or consider a healthier dessert such as dark chocolate dipped strawberries. Ummm… yes please!

Now it is your turn! The next time you buy groceries, practice purchasing vegetables of every color to ensure eye satiety (green, orange, red/purple and yellow/white). If you don’t eat a lot of vegetables, then do it with fruits and vegetables such as making a roasted vegetable salad with broccoli, carrots and cauliflower served with a protein and eating red grapes for dessert. Now that’s a feast to behold!

If you missed part 1 of this series, check it out here!

Mindful Eating for the Holidays: A Guide to Ditching Food Shame and Elastic Waistbands (Part 1)

10 Nov

Have you ever finished your Thanksgiving meal feeling bloated, guilty for what you “shouldn’t have eaten” and wishing you had on expandable panel pants with fart-blocking odor technology? Sucks, doesn’t it? Feeling miserable is no way to spend your holidays. So let’s cut the self-loathing and bring Holiday Cheer back with mindfulness.

Mindful eating is not some woo-woo foodie concept. All it means is to be aware of the nourishment that real food provides us without the judgment and criticism (aka enjoyment!). And it starts by paying attention to what our body is telling us (not our mind).

So let us reclaim the wisdom of our body, shall we? Rather than ignoring the signs of suffering that is evident in the farting, burping and bloating, let’s help our body ditch the Rodney Dangerfield complex and show it a little respect.

The next time you eat a meal, listen to your body and take note (buying a special journal for this works best) of how you feel. If you feel energized, satisfied and your skin is glowing–your on the right track. If you feel sluggish and your poop smells like last weeks rotting cabbage, don’t judge and berate yourself for what or how much you ate, just say, “Sorry body. What can I do differently to feel and look better next time?” And that’s when you’ll check out my handy-dandy chart below to make small changes to feel awesome!

Action Jackson: Practice listening to your body now, so when Thanksgiving rolls around, you’ll have a more attuned idea of what portions and what types of food work well for you. If you need more personalized support, shout me a holla’ down at stephsbell@yahoo.com and we can work together to help you reach food relationship bliss.

Digestive Symptoms_Page_1

Digestive Symptoms_Page_2

How to Throw a Halloween Hootenanny 101

20 Oct
Austin Powers needs his teeth back! Check out the apple and almond butter recipe here: http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/green-meanies-recipe.htm#

Austin Powers needs his teeth back! Check out the apple and almond butter recipe here: http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/green-meanies-recipe.htm#

Let it be said: I am from the generation that slayed vampires as opposed to falling in love with them and letting them sparkle (it must be noted that Buffy the Vampire Slayer did produce some enjoyable vampires in Angel and Spike). So there’s that. Now, let’s enjoy Halloween minus the guilt, shame, upset stomachs and sugar comas!

 

Here are 2014’s Tips for a Halloween Hootenanny to Remember…

1. Bring Nature In. Rather than decorating with candy corn, use acorns, apples, or leaves to add a homey vibe to your fall decor… or (un)lively things like mummies, zombies and spiders. Whatever…

2. Let it Glow! Swap the spider cupcakes and bloody cookie fingers in your gift bags for a G-rated Rave and hand out some glow sticks.

3. Work Your Thang. Build special memories with your kids and show them (and yourself) that play is fun and important for a healthy body. Start the night with a Mini-Monster’s Ball before your dinner. Play the Monster Mash and other fun Halloween tunes and dance your little vampire heart out. After dinner, join the kiddos and walk house-to-house with them while they trick-or-treat. Take turns thinking of different ways to get to the next house… maybe you do the Igor Foot Slide, the Boogie Man Boogie or the Headless Horseman Trot.

4. Bat Wings, Brains and Barf. Doesn’t that menu just scream “Eat Me!?” Plan a fun Halloween dinner that will actually excite the kids to sit down and eat a healthy meal before trick-or-treating. Think chicken “bat” wings, scrambled “brains,” carrot “fingers” with almond “fingernails” (stick the slivered almonds on the carrots with a little hummus), or guacamole vomit (bonus points for extra chunky and having it come out of a pumpkin or other figure) with vegetable dippers.

5. Savor Your Sweets with Enjoyment and Pleasure. It is Halloween, have your favorite candy or cookie or dark-chocolate dipped carameled apple and enjoy it in the company of your family or friends. The key is to not just devour it, but savor it. Eat it slowly, taking time to notice all of the flavors, colors, textures and feelings. Make it a game and see who can eat the slowest. The more we enjoy food, the less power it has over us and the better we realize that one actually is enough.

6. Spread the Love. Allow your kids to choose 10 pieces of their favorite bite-size candy (a month supply at two pieces per week). Allow them (and yourself) to have one or two pieces of candy that night. Place the remainder in the freezer, picking one night during the week when they may have two more pieces of candy. This will give all of you something to look forward to and know that you aren’t depriving yourself of your favorite sweet treat. After they choose their candy, bag the rest and donate it or throw it away. Many organizations and dentist offices will collect the candy (and some will pay you for it) and donate it to troops overseas. Go to http://www.halloweencandybuyback.com for a list of participating businesses.

Whatever you decide to do this Halloween, laugh often, be safe and enjoy the little moments in life.

How to Flourish In Your Body

6 Oct
Enjoy every experience and be present in the moment... even when you are grocery shopping.

Enjoy every experience and be present in the moment… even when you are grocery shopping.

There is no need to

shame,

beat,

punish or

diet our body to good health.

 

Rather, let us

ACCEPT (that we are perfectly imperfect)

RESPECT (our body and know we deserve to feel amazing)

LISTEN (to our body and what it truly needs)

FEEL (that our self-worth is not in our appearance)

and LOVE our body. (that’s it–just love)

 

Then, true health will SHINE throughout us.

Spice-Roasted Acorn Squash

9 Sep

IMG_1952Just 1 cup of this cute little pumpkin (including all other winter squashes) is loaded with Vitamin A (60% of DV), C (26%), 5 grams of fiber and plenty of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Winter squashes are also shown to reduce inflammation and regulate blood sugar levels…. so how do you cook this delectable veggie? Well, while I love to use butternut squash in soup, I find simply roasting acorn squash in spices and herbs to be warm and comforting too!

 

Ingredients:

1 acorn squash

1/2 tsp coconut oil

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

***you can also skip the spices and use herbs such as thyme, oregano and parsley with the sea salt

 

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 375°. Wash acorn squash thoroughly and pat dry. Cut off stem and bottom of squash, then slice in half and scoop out the seeds. You can discard the seeds or roast them. The skin is edible, so I don’t peel it, but you can if you want or if you’ve purchased a non-organic squash.

2. Cut the halved squash in half again, then cut into 1/4″ wedges (I follow the natural grooves of the acorn squash) so they resemble steak-size fries.

3. In a mixing bowl, combine coconut oil and spices (or the herb options with sea salt).

4. Place the acorn squash wedges in the coconut mixture and coat well. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes.

Serves 2-4

Simply Delicious Beef Tacos

20 Jul

IMG_1946Me gusta tacos! This meal is perfect for health conscious awesome people like yourself who want to quickly put a meal on the table. This entire meal took less than 30 minutes (45 if you make a more difficult side dish) to make, so don’t let the ingredient list fool you, it’s mostly just dried spices. And, if you have a set of extra hands, it will take you even less time.

 

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs grass-fed ground beef

4 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp paprika

20 turns cracked black pepper (or 1/4 tsp)

1 tsp cilantro, chopped (or to taste)

2 scallions, chopped

8 chives, chopped

Juice of 1 lime

1/4 cup water

1 container butter leaf lettuce (organic, triple-washed)

Garnish: avocado, salsa, black olives, mango salsa, guacamole, etc.

 

Directions:

1. Brown the meat in a skillet and drain the fat. Add all of the spices, cilantro, scallions, chives, lime and water to the skillet and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. While the beef is browning, throw together your side. I made a salad of chopped zucchini that I let sweat and patted dry (learn how here), chopped red bell pepper, avocado and Whole Foods mango salsa (for a homemade recipe, try this). Rinse and pat dry the butter leaf lettuce so it is ready to go.

3. Layer the ends of two butter lettuce leaves and fill with the taco meat and any garnishments you like.

4. Enjoy with friends, family or in solitary peace on your porch.

 

Serves 6