Change the way you make your New Year’s Resolutions

2016 is almost upon us. And boy did 2015 not disappoint when it came to life changes and new beginnings. We moved to Texas, Brett graduated from Towson and has a career as a geologist, I left PowerBar to create my own nutrition coaching and meal planning business, we adopted a rescue Ridgeback and so much more. Looking into 2016, I am so excited for all the new changes that will take place, new people to meet, new places to explore, new adventures to conquer and life in general. I hope that 2015 was good to you as well. This is the time of year that people start making resolutions, deciding on what changes they might want to make in their life, setting new goals and resolving to do things differently and/or better. There’s nothing really magical about the day. When to clock strikes midnight, you’ll still be the same person. It’s just how you approach the new year that makes it special. It’s like a fresh start.

A friend posted on Facebook a great sentiment: don’t buy into creating resolutions that make you feel bad, stop criticizing yourself and be you.  I am a big believer in being yourself. In fact, one of my sayings (especially in nutrition and endurance coaching) is “be the best you that you can be.” We need to love ourselves first and foremost because if we don’t love ourselves, how can we be the best wife/husband, mother/father, sister/brother, etc. We can’t. And just because someone is say a professional triathlete, it doesn’t make you any less deserving of love because you are a middle of the pack athlete. This is just an example and really we can apply that towards anything.

If you feel negative when thinking about creating a resolution, or you hear people saying you must change to be a good person, don’t make a resolution or listen to them. I feel differently about resolutions. I don’t think of resolutions as telling yourself you’re not good enough, I think of them saying to us “how can I make me (who’s pretty awesome) better?” If the answer is, “I’m pretty perfect as I am” then no worries. Ignore making a resolution. But if there is an area you want to get better at or grow in, awesome.  And really, I think we can all make ourselves better.

I do think that resolutions can be apart of our yearly routine, or even daily and weekly. Some people are bothered by ads marketing towards News Years resolutions. Thankfully I don’t notice that there are marketing adds designed towards wanting to change someone from a negative perspective. Maybe it’s since I don’t watch a lot of TV, listen to the radio with ads, or maybe I just tune them out. I do notice marketing, but I’m at a place in my life where if I am going to make a change, it’s because I want to make a change. Not because someone else tells me that I need to. So I think of resolutions as a way of goal setting. In fact I think the words can really be used interchangeably. And that’s how I hope you look at them too. Not as something negative because people think you aren’t great and need to change, but because you are striving to make positive changes in your life and to be “The best you that you can be.”

Resolutions=Goals

As you look into 2016, think about the goals that you set out for yourself. It seems that people are often talking about weight loss. Well, if you need and want to lose weight, it’s as good a time as any to start. You might even get a great deal at a gym now. If you want to be more organized (this is one of mine), it a great reminder that it’s a new year. If I want to make this year the best it can, being more organized will help me achieve my goals. If you want to eat healthier because you want to feel better, achieve your goal weight, recover faster and race stronger. Great, think about  how going into 2016 you can do this. There are many ways, and ahem self plug, if you’re struggling with knowing what food choices are the best for you, making delicious meals or saving time on preparing foods, go to my meal planning site http://www.fueledandfocused.com. You might be reading this blog from the site as well. I love helping others feel better, make better choices and just have overall better lives. It’s a great thing about being a nutrition and endurance coach. I help people to achieve their goals.

So if you’re feeling inundated with resolutions and are either feeling stressed about them, down on yourself or just don’t know what resolutions to make, here are some tips on how to create them.

Goals give us an edge in 3 ways:

  1. Direction-they tell us where we’re going and how we get there
  2. Feedback- how is our progress
  3. Support-they help us to keep going when we might give up

Goals can be small, or they can be huge. I recommend having both. But I also believe it’s important that you focus on the smaller goals first, because they help us to achieve the larger goals. Here’s an example:

Small goal: I’d like to go to practice every day

Large goal: I’d like to make the Olympic team

In order to make the Olympics, you need to go to practice. Those that skip practice won’t achieve their large goal.

Goals should be SMART:

  • Specific- I’d like to gain 10 watts of power on the bike vs I’d like a stronger bike
  • Measurable- You could use the same specific goal- the power meter will measure your watts
  • Achievable- a 10w increase in FTP (1 hour power) is very achievable vs wanting a 200w increase
  • Realistic- This is a realistic goal
  • Time Bound- Now just change the goal to, “I’d like to gain 10w in my 1 hour FTP within the next 3 months.”

So looking at it, you might have said: I’d like a stronger bike. But then, using the SMART principles, you’ve clearly defined it.

Use these guidelines to help you create your goals. Here are some nutrition examples:

  1. I’m going to eat breakfast every day, even when running late-create some make ahead meals to take on the go
  2. I’m going to always bring a water bottle with me when I go to practice, and I’m going to drink 20oz per hour.
  3. I’m going to bring a protein and carbohydrate based snack in my bag for post practice so I can start refueling my muscles.

As we approach 2016, think about what goals/resolutions you might want to make going forward. Remember, if they make you feel bad about yourself, they aren’t good goals. Choose goals/resolutions that help you to make you the best you that you can be. Here’s to a happy, healthy and wonderful 2016!

 

 

Healthy (and yummy) Holiday Cookies

This past week I set out to make some healthy holiday cookies. I had a few requirements like lower in fat, calories, sugar, using ingredients that weren’t too hard to find, and lastly, gluten free. Since many athletes and possibly some of your family and friends are going gluten free/are gluten intolerant, I wanted to make cookies that they could enjoy. Now, let me say, if you aren’t gluten intolerant, or have Celiac’s disease, going gluten free is not healthier for you. You are welcome to substitute in 100% whole wheat flour in the place of gluten free flour.

I made 5 types of holiday cookies and these 2 came out the best:

Gingerbread Molasses: a more traditional New England holiday cookie (4g of added sugar per cookie)

Gingerbread Molasses Cookies

Directions

  • *Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • 1. In a large bowl mix the flours, baking soda, spices and salt. Set aside.
  • 2. In a medium bowl cream the butter. Add the egg and mix.
  • 3. Add the Truvia, molasses and orange juice. Mix.
  • 4. Add the molasses mixture by hand to the flour mixture folding gently.
  • 5. The batter will be soft, however roll the batter into 12 even sized balls. The size will be approximately the size of a silver dollar.
  • 6. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the top is cracked and the bottom is a golden brown.
  • 7. Let cool on a wire rack and store in an air tight container.

Ingredients List

  • 1 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter/coconut oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup Truvia
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tbsp orange juice or water
 

Nutritional Data

157 Calories (kcals)
29 Carbohydrate (g)
3 Protein (g)
6 Fat (g)
1 Fiber (g)
108 Sodium (mg)

Oatmeal Spice Cookies: (2g of added sugar per cookie)

Oatmeal Raisin Spice Cookies

Ingredients List

  • 1 cup gluten free all purpose flour-I used Bob’s Red Mill
  • 2 cups oats-gluten free if needed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • Dash of cloves
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar Truvia
  • 1/4 cup Stevia
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup Craisins

Directions

  • 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • 2. In a medium bowl place flour and oats. Stir.
  • 3. Mix in baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Stir well and set aside.
  • 4. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream butter.
  • 5. Add Truvia and Stevia and blend.
  • 6. Mix in egg, applesauce, orange zest and vanilla and mix until blended.
  • 7. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, a little at a time.
  • 8. Mix gently with the mixer, or remove and continue to mix by hand.
  • 9. Stir in walnuts and raisins by hand.
  • 10. Roll the batter into balls about the size of silver dollars.
  • 11. Place on baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until bottoms are golden brown. My oven took 12 minutes.
  • 12. Remove from pan and let cook on a wire rack.
 

Nutritional Data

121 Calories (kcals)
16 Carbohydrate (g)
5 Protein (g)
5 Fat (g)
2 Fiber (g)
80 Sodium (mg)
I hope you like these cookies as much as we did. Remember, it’s ok to indulge a bit, as long as you are eating 80-90% healthy and unprocessed foods. But when you’re at a party or holiday meal where almost everything is loaded with fat and sugar, it’s nice to have something you know is a good choice.
Happy Baking and let me know what you think!