Step 1:

Note: This is a general summary of the plan (I recommend that each step is done for a week so you have time to adjust). After an assessment and some goal setting, these summaries will be modified to fit each client’s needs. If you’re after more advanced nutrition and fitness coaching, I will adjust the program to your lifestyle!

Eat your meals normally, but have a breakthrough with higher-quality snacks.

For example, instead of carb-based snacks like chips, cookies or candy, have a handful of crunchy, toasted nuts (almonds, walnuts or mixed nuts with low salt), crunchy raw or grilled veggies (skip the ranch dip), some olives, a handful of grapes (red or black will give you more nutritional punch), a serving of fresh fruit, a small low-sugar yogurt (such as Light and Fit), reduced-fat string cheese, or a small serving of protein (like salmon, tuna or lean meat). Think of snacks as a mini-meal, with proteins, healthy fats and complex carbs like veggies and fruits.

More nutritionally balanced snacks like those above will keep your blood sugar more stable, give you longer-term energy, and fill you up more. The portion size should fit on a typical 5 inch saucer.

Pass on corn or potato chips, crackers, donuts, pastries, candy bars, sodas, french fries, ice cream treats, cookies, etc. They are nutritionally imbalanced and will add to your weight gain and health problems (more wrinkles, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, inflammation, etc.). And for what little nutrition you get, they are actually more expensive!

Remember: If the carb is white, think red light!

After age 35 or 40, those sugary, salty, processed snacks will spike your blood sugar and add pounds of fat each year. Just 100 calories per day from these foods can add 10 extra pounds per year; an extra 200 calories per day can add 20 pounds per year!

That’s why small changes in eating higher-quality snacks will bring big benefits with lowered cravings, weight loss and improved energy!

If you make healthy snacks a mini-meal, you will have 4-5 smaller meals/snacks throughout the day. That will also help to minimize daily blood sugar spikes and help control weight gain while giving you a healthy supply of energy all day! 

For added progress this first week, jot down the snacks you switch each day. A few quick notes should be enough. You can even do it in the evening. An easy notation format is this:

chips/nuts = chips to nuts.

candy bar/fruit = candy bar to fruit, etc.

Before sleep:

Take some time to relax and de-stress and take 5-10 deep breaths. Acknowledge any progress made on healthier snacking/eating and feel appreciation for your effort. You’re getting there! 

Additional suggestions will be included in individualized plans each week.

Step 2:

Keep the breakthroughs for healthy snacks, and replace ½ of your regular carb portions at meals (especially white potatoes, rice, soft pasta, bread, biscuits, or other white/high glycemic foods) with more of your favorite veggies (complex carbs) instead.

For example, if you would normally have a baked potato, rice or pasta, take half a normal portion (you can save for another day). Replace it with your favorite veggies. You can even use your favorite mixed veggies (frozen without sauce are okay). Dress with small amounts (1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and vinegar or citrus juice, pasta sauce (not ketchup), prepared mustard, teriyaki, balsamic vinegar, etc.). Season with ground pepper, oregano, curry, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, cayenne, or other favorite spices for added flavor and zing. A few shakes of sea salt can be okay, unless you have high blood pressure.

All of the spices I listed have extra health benefits. Some are great as anti-oxidants, others can help your blood sugar levels and metabolism. The cinnamon and curry balance each other and cinnamon is helpful for lowering blood sugar (and no, it’s not sweet like it is in apple pie!). I often use about 6 dashes of cinnamon and 6 dashes of regular curry, which is not hot, just earthy and mildly spicy. Some health experts say that cayenne or pepper flakes can help to speed up your metabolism.

For added progress this second week, jot down the carb portions you switch each day. A few quick notes should be enough. You can even do it in the evening. An easy notation format is this:

potatoes/cauliflower = potatoes to cauliflower.

white rice/corn = white rice to corn, etc.

Continue relaxation/5-10 deep breaths before sleep and take time to de-stress. Acknowledge any progress made on healthier eating. Good job this week!

Step 3:

Keep the previous nutrition breakthroughs and visualizations from steps 1-2, and add 15 minutes of brisk walking several times a week or add other physical activity/exercise you enjoy. For example, use a tread mill on slight incline, dance around, do yard work, or engage in any other activity that’s fun and enjoyable for you. These activities can burn 100-150 calories each time depending on intensity and your build. For more info, see activity calculator on main page links.

Walking is easy as you can work it in when you have a short break (A good pair of walking shoes is helpful). Do it for some quiet time to reflect and take some personal time (it’s also good for reducing stress). Or do it with friends or family if that fits your lifestyle better.

The activity needs to elevate your heart rate just to the point that you can still have a conversation without gasping for breath. For those people who are driven to achieve more, you can start this activity in week 1 or 2 if you desire. It will speed up fat burning and help to rebuild your health faster. If you are active now, great! We can work to individualize a program to maximize your results!

Continue relaxation/before sleep visualizations and take some time to relax and de-stress. Acknowledge any progress made on healthier snacking/eating/activity and feel appreciation for your effort. You’re doing a good job!

Step 4:

For this last step/week, I will work with each client based on the initial week’s of the program and progress made. We will create a custom plan, whether it’s focused on more nutrition, exercise or a mix. Stress management might also be included! For now, I will hold off posting specific suggestions here.

© 2011-2012 by S. Carney/Quick Start Your Health Plan


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