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We know being grateful can help us relieve stress, adopt an abundance mindset and be happier, but did you know practicing gratitude can also help you lose weight?


Recent studies tell us that gratitude isn't just good for your mental health; it does wonders for your physical well-being too. One study, conducted by Mills and colleagues in 2015, found that gratitude helps lower blood pressure, reduces stress, and even improves your sleep. It can also be a powerful tool in the battle against symptoms of depression and anxiety, which can boost your weight loss motivation.

Grateful people tend to steer clear of resentment and envy, and the more we experience this positive emotion, the higher our overall positive vibes. It's like a chain reaction - positivity breeds more positivity.


Not all people who experience stress see weight gain, but there are several ways these two are interconnected.


1. Stress has a hormonal impact: Stress triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone associated with the body's "fight or flight" response. Elevated cortisol levels over an extended period can lead to increased appetite, particularly for high-calorie and sugary foods. Excess circulating cortisol levels also promotes that 'stubborn', hormonally-driven belly fat.


2. Stress and emotional eating go hand in had: Many individuals turn to food as a coping mechanism during times of stress. This emotional eating often involves consuming comfort foods that are typically high in calories, sugars, and fats.


3. Sleep causes disrupted sleep patterns: Stress can negatively impact sleep quality and duration and sleep has been linked to weight gain and obesity. Sleep deprivation can affect the body's hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin, leading to an increased appetite and a preference for energy-dense foods. Additionally, fatigue from lack of sleep can decrease motivation for physical activity, further contributing to weight gain.


Gratitude can be a powerful tool in reducing stress in several ways:


1. Shifts Focus:

Gratitude encourages you to focus on the positive aspects of your life, shifting your attention away from stressors and negative thoughts. This mental shift can help reduce stress by promoting a more positive outlook.


2. Perspective:

Practicing gratitude helps you gain perspective on your problems. When you reflect on the things you're thankful for, it becomes easier to see that your stressors may not be as overwhelming as they initially seemed.


3. Stress Reduction Hormones:

Gratitude has been linked to the release of "feel-good" hormones, such as dopamine and oxytocin. These hormones can counteract the effects of stress hormones like cortisol, helping you feel more relaxed and less stressed.


4. Resilience:

Regularly practicing gratitude can enhance your emotional resilience. It equips you with the tools to better cope with challenging situations, making you less likely to perceive them as stressful.


5. Social Connections:

Expressing gratitude often involves acknowledging the support and kindness of others. Building and maintaining social connections through gratitude can provide a strong support system, which can help mitigate stress.


6. Improved Sleep:

Gratitude can improve the quality of your sleep. When you focus on positive aspects of your life before bedtime, it can help calm your mind and reduce the anxiety that can interfere with sleep.


7. Mindfulness:

Practicing gratitude often involves being mindful and present in the moment. Mindfulness can reduce stress by grounding you in the here and now, helping to reduce rumination and worry.


8. Positive Feedback Loop:

As you experience the benefits of gratitude, it can create a positive feedback loop, reinforcing the practice and its stress-reducing effects.


To harness the stress-reducing power of gratitude, you can start by keeping a gratitude journal, where you regularly write down things you're thankful for. You can also express your gratitude to others through words, actions, or small gestures, which can strengthen your social connections and further reduce stress. Incorporating gratitude into your daily routine can be an effective way to help manage stress and improve your overall well-being.


Kickstart your gratitude by joining my 15-day Gratitude Challenge in my Facebook group starting November 24th! Just join the group and you'll be alerted to the daily prompts. All you need is a journal and an open mind. :)


How can gratitude help with weight loss?

Gratitude can indirectly help with weight loss by positively impacting your mindset, emotional well-being, and behavior. While gratitude itself won't directly cause weight loss, it can play a supportive role in the following ways:

1. Reducing Stress:

Expressing gratitude and focusing on positive aspects of your life can help reduce stress. High stress levels can lead to overeating and poor food choices, which can contribute to weight gain. Lowering stress through gratitude can help you make better choices when it comes to your diet.


2. Improving Emotional Well-being:

Gratitude can enhance your emotional well-being and overall mood. When you're in a better emotional state, you're less likely to turn to food for emotional comfort, reducing emotional eating.


3. Promoting Mindful Eating:

Gratitude encourages mindfulness by making you more aware of the foods you have, their quality, and the pleasure they bring. Mindful eating can help you enjoy your meals more and reduce overeating.


4. Building Healthy Habits:

Expressing gratitude can be a part of a broader self-care routine, which may include regular exercise and a balanced diet. Maintaining these habits is crucial for weight loss and overall well-being.


5. Enhancing Motivation:

Gratitude can motivate you to take better care of your body and health. When you appreciate your body and its capabilities, you may be more inclined to engage in physical activities and make healthier food choices.


6. Strengthening Social Support:

Gratitude can strengthen social bonds and relationships. Having a supportive network can make it easier to stick to a weight loss plan and maintain healthy habits.


7. Shifting Focus:

Instead of focusing on what you lack or what you can't eat, gratitude encourages you to focus on what you have and the nourishing foods available to you. This shift in perspective can make it easier to make healthier choices, say no to the unhealthy ones, and follow your WHY.

Combined with a diet balanced in nutrients for your blood sugar, exercise that compliments your hormones, and creation of sustainable healthy habits using my EAT framework, you will absolutely achieve and maintain a healthy weight!


Kickstart your gratitude by joining my 15-day Gratitude Challenge in my Facebook group starting November 24th! Just join the group and you'll be alerted to the daily prompts. All you need is a journal and an open mind. :)



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Worried about bone loss? Here’s what busy women need to know about calcium-rich foods and supplements.



Milk does a body good, right? (Anyone remember that??) Milk is an excellent source of calcium, along with calcium-rich foods dairy and non-dairy foods. But you’re not actually absorbing 100% of that calcium.


Here’s what you need to know to prevent bone loss.


What's the Big Deal with Calcium?

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, building and maintaining sturdy bones and teeth, helping muscles send messages to the brain and blood vessels shuttle blood throughout the body.

Calcium teams up with vitamin D to increase its absorption.


Bones: The Calcium Vault

The majority of your calcium stash—about 99% of it—is tucked away in your bones and teeth. Think oft hem as your body's bank vault, where calcium is the currency. As you grow, your body invests in your bones, and by the time you hit 30, you've pretty much reached your peak bone mass. 90% of peak bone mass is achieved by age 18-20 and is completed by age 30.

After menopause, women lose an average of 1% of bone mineral density each year. Bone loss slows down after 70, but it's still happening. 30% of post-menopausal women will have osteoporosis.


Which foods are highest in calcium?

Foods should be your first choice in meeting your calcium needs each day.

Of course, there’s dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese.

Non-dairy foods have significant amounts of calcium too.

Canned sardines and salmon (with those tiny, edible bones)

Kale, broccoli, Bok Choi

Foods fortified with calcium in the US, like tofu (if it’s calcium-set), ready-to-eat cereals

Fruit juice – calcium citrate malate is a well-absorbed form of calcium in some fruit juices.


Is Calcium Hard to Absorb?

Age, level of stomach acid, disease, and medications can all affect calcium absorption.


Calcium Absorption – What Interferes with calcium absorption?

Certain compounds in plants like oxalic acid and phytic acid can form tricky bonds with calcium, reducing its absorption. Spinach, with all its healthy goodness, has an absorption rate of just 5%. Meanwhile, milk has a 27% absorption rate.


Caffeine, phosphorus, and low vitamin D levels can also join the "let's make calcium absorption harder" party.


How Much Calcium Should I Take at One Time?

Whether it’s from food or supplements, the body can absorb about 500 milligrams of calcium at a time. If your supplement has more than that, your body has to do something with the rest. It’s possible that the calcium could cause blood clots or calcium deposits on artery walls.


What Helps the Absorption of Calcium in the body?

There are a few things and conditions that can increase your calcium absorption.


Vitamin D is necessary to absorb calcium and sometimes it’s better taken with food and not on an empty stomach.


Should I Take a Calcium Supplement?


I believe in a food-first approach and a nutrient in pill form is not processed in the body the same way as from food.


There have been studies that found little, to no benefit, from taking a calcium supplement to prevent hip fractures. There have also been studies that have found that calcium supplements increase the risk of calcium buildup in the heart’s arteries.


That being said, you may need a supplement to meet your needs.


The two most common supplement forms are calcium carbonate and calcium citrate.

The actual amount of elemental calcium in each supplement is important because that’s what your body is absorbing.


The supplement label usually tells you the amount of elemental calcium in each serving, but you can figure it out, as well.


Calcium carbonate is 40% elemental calcium by weight. So, if your supplement is 1,000 mg of calcium carbonate, it contains 400 mg elemental (absorbable calcium).

Calcium citrate is 21% elemental calcium.


Which Form of Calcium is Absorbed Best?

Calcium carbonate should be taken with food for better absorption. (Since it’s solubility rate is lower.)

Calcium citrate is less dependent on stomach acid, so it can be taken without food, but, in general, absorption of supplements is greater if taken with food regardless of stomach acid.


Remember, one of the biggest factors in absorption is the amount consumed at one time. Absorption is best with intakes of less than 500 mg at a time. And absorption decreases as amount increases.


For example, you absorb 36% of a 300 mg calcium dose, but only 28% of a 1,000 mg dose.

Why Can't I Tolerate Calcium Supplements?

Some people have a harder time tolerating calcium supplements than others.


Smaller doses throughout the day can help reduce side effects like gas, bloating, and constipation.


(Which are worse with calcium carbonate supplements, especially if stomach acid is lower (like in older people and those on antacids.) Taking calcium supplements with meals or in divided doses also decreases side effects. (So, if you’d like to take a 500 mg calcium supplement each day, consider taking a 250 mg dose in the morning and a 250 mg dose in the evening.)


How do I Choose the Best Supplement?


Supplements’ safety and truthful claims are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission. Many products independently test their products and may bear a U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) abbreviation, (CL) Consumer Lab, NSF (National Sanitation Foundation); they meet voluntary industry standards for quality purity, potency, and tablet disintegration or dissolution.


For some supplement recommendations that are third-party tested, visit my Fullscript Bone Health store HERE.


Can Too Much Calcium Supplement Cause Problems?


Although your body has a built-in regulatory process for calcium maintenance, disease and

overuse of food + supplements could cause high calcium levels.


You don’t want to consume more than the tolerable upper limit of calcium each day from food and supplements combined. This could increase your risk of kidney stones, constipation, prostate cancer, calcium buildup in blood vessels, and a decrease in absorption of zinc and iron.


So, stick to the RDA (recommended daily allowance) for calcium.


Calcium is your ally in the journey to healthier bones and a happier smile. Cheers to getting up off the toilet by yourself when you’re 90! :)




The information provided on this website in intended solely for education purposes and cannot

substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician or Registered

Dietitian Nutritionist.

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If the thought of packing lunch every night for your whole family exhausts you, brighten up! Here are 6 tips to make lunchbox meal prep easier and 5 meal ideas you’ll love!


Bento style healthy lunchbox


Aaah, the smell of autumn and pencils in the air….


Every parent knows this time of the year comes with the dreaded question…what will I pack the kids for lunch this week? I had to get more creative recently since my older daughter’s school is now nut-free and we eat a lot of things containing nuts.

(Although I’m not sure which is worse…choosing lunches or dinners!)


With a little planning, you can pack those lunches with ease (including your own) without resorting to bulk boxes of chips and cookies.


A little meal prepping for kids’ lunchboxes can go a long way. It can be a great way to save time and ensure that your child has nutritious meals throughout the week. I don’t do a big meal prep on the weekend because that’s our only family time together. Instead, I’ll squeeze in assembly of items and I may make one extra thing each week. (Like, chocolate yogurt muffins, banana bread, energy balls.)


Grab your Lunchbox Cheat Sheet HERE for easy lunch ideas for you and your kids!


Here are some lunchbox meal prep tips for your kids’ lunches and your own:



2. Plan ahead: Have a flexible lunch plan for the week. Pick a “main dish” for each day, then prep or buy easy sides like granola bars, whole fruit, and yogurt cups to use all week. Consider where you may have dinner leftovers that can double as lunch. Soups, stews, and chillis can be frozen and used for lunch another day, as well.




menu

After my 8-year-old’s lunch kept coming home untouched, I asked her to make a menu so I’d know what she’d like. It had to have a protein, a carbohydrate, and a fruit or vegetable. I also ask my daughters to pick out their snacks the night before. They place the snacks in the lunchbox or in a special section in the fridge. (This is so I don’t forget to take it out of the fridge in the morning…and so my husband doesn’t eat it instead :)


4. Prep ingredients in advance: Cut up fruits and vegetables, boil eggs, or cook proteins like chicken or beef in advance. Portion out trail mix, crackers, and dry snacks in baggies ahead of time. This will make it easier to assemble lunches quickly during the week (and easy for your kids to pack their own lunch, as well. Independence is paramount to relieving yourself from some of this work.)


5. Invest in good storage containers: Use reusable containers that are easy to open and close and keep food fresh. Bento-style lunchboxes with compartments can help keep different foods separate and fun.


These are some bento box-style lunch boxes and thermoses I like:


These are glass storage containers I like: https://amzn.to/3roJfW3


6. Get creative: Try different combinations of foods to keep things interesting for your child. Include a variety of colors, textures, and flavors to make their lunch more appealing. Also, sprinkle in some fun fruit cut shapes or sandwich cutters – lunchers of all ages like to eat fun shapes. (C’mon, don’t you get excited to eat star-shaped honeydew in an Edible Arrangement??)


If you love Uncrustables, you’ll love these sandwich cutters!


A sandwich

I do love Uncrustables as they come in just the right PB combos we enjoy, especially the chocolate-flavored hazelnut spread. (And, for any who knows me, I could live simply off of that brand name Ferrero delectable hazelnut spread.) AND these little frozen sandwiches have truly decent ingredients (my only complaint being that I’ve gotten my family used to natural peanut butter.) BUT, they are more expensive than making them yourself - if you have a few extra minutes on the weekend, make a bunch, throw them into baggies, and freeze them.)





These are fruit cutters that have been adding fun to our end-of-summer watermelon:


So here are five ideas for balanced lunchbox meals for kids:


1. Turkey and Cheese Skewers: Skewer chunks of turkey and cheese together for a protein-packed snack. Pair it with yogurt, watermelon, a mini oatmeal muffin, and a love note. (I always add the love note :)


2. Ham and Cheese Roll-Up: Roll up a slice of ham with half a slice of muenster cheese. Serve it with unsweetened applesauce and raw carrot sticks.


3. Sunflower Seed Butter and Strawberry Wafflewich: Spread sunflower seed butter on a waffle, top it with sliced strawberries and make a sandwich. Include hard-cooked egg whites and cucumber slices as sides.


4. Chicken Salad in Whole Wheat Pita: Fill a whole wheat pita with chicken salad. Serve it with red grapes and cucumber rounds.


5. Pizza Kabobs: Assemble tortellini, pepperoni, grape tomatoes, and green bell peppers on skewers to create pizza kabobs. Include marinara sauce for dipping and serve with red grapes.


Remember to consider your child’s preferences and any dietary restrictions they may have, or the school has when planning their meals. With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can ensure that your child has healthy and delicious lunches throughout the week.


Grab your Lunchbox Cheat Sheet HERE for easy lunch ideas for you and your kids!

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