Monthly Archives: December 2013

How to Get Off the Holiday Sugar Train

You did it! You survived the holiday season. Well almost, New Years is still around the corner. We don’t have to wait until then to start talking about pulling the reins back in and getting off the sugar train. The solution doesn’t have to be complicated, hard, or require a special diet.

Your favorite holiday drug …

CookieMonster

If you’ve ever been to one of my presentations you probably know that I’m a professed recovering sugar addict. The kind of thing you don’t like to admit as a “Health Coach.” Sugar is addictive. If you don’t believe me, consider this….a substance is classified as addictive if:

  • Eating a small amount creates a desire for more (who eats one cookie?)
  • Suddenly quitting causes withdrawal symptoms such as headache, mood swings, cravings, and fatigue (sound familiar?).
  • Loss of control (the “standing in the freezer sneaking ice cream bites” syndrome)
  • Continued use despite adverse consequences (when you can actually see your butt expanding but you don’t care)
  • Relapse rate is 97% (the “what’s one bite?” syndrome)
  • Progressive and terminal (the more you eat, the more you want and the more you eat, the worse it is for your health)

In the past few weeks if you indulged in some sweetness, did you find yourself craving more (probably at the same time of day)? I did. And did you give in? I did.  And have you found yourself sneaking a few small treats every day swearing to yourself that come New Years, you’ll stop or start exercising or something along those lines? I did. Don’t beat yourself up. You’re up against an addictive and delicious foe.

So what to do now…? 

Am I asking you to give up sweets? Absolutely not! I’ve done that and it’s a road that doesn’t lead you to a healthier place. It actually leads to a crazy place where you feel starved no matter how much you put in your belly. A healthy life is a balanced one – so expecting yourself to forever abstain from something your body naturally craves doesn’t seem very plausible.

My point is that it is really easy to get addicted to sugar and start an unhealthy habit vs. indulging in a well-deserved once-in-a-while treat. Follow these tips and I guarantee you can get off the sugar train. I do it every time I feel myself slipping and you can too.

Get off the sugar train…

1. Go cold turkey – I’m serious. The longer you keep eating it the longer it takes to break the craving cycle. Get it out of your body and the cravings will stop. It takes 3 days for me. That’s it.

You’ll want to cut out all refined sugar. I would also suggest taking out fruit juices for a while if you drink those a lot. You can also choose to cut out refined white flour products as well because they act as simple sugars in the body.

2. Make a plan

  • Clear the temptation out of your house as best you can. Out-of-sight out-of-mind works too. All of my husband’s stuff gets banished to “the drawer”.
  • Buy alternatives that make you excited about food and will help quell the yelling sweet tooth.  Plan out your week. What are you going to eat for meals and snacks? Are there any events you need to navigate? If you don’t plan – you won’t make it. Take 30 minutes and get your butt to the store.

Here are some naturally sweet ideas:

    • Roasted root veggies with coconut oil and cinnamon
    • Fruit salad
    • Fruit smoothie (with real fruit)
    • Sliced apples with nut butter
    • Dried fruits/nuts (GORP)
    • Mix raw honey into unsweetened Greek yogurt
    • Sweet herb teas
    • Celery and nut butter and raisins
    • Fresh or dried figs with a hazelnut
    • Baked sweet potato
    • Stevia (a natural alternative to artificial sweetener and the only one I recommend)

3. Eat a solid delicious breakfast – you hear this one all the time…because it’s TRUE! Starting off with something that’s going to keep you satiated and well-nourished goes a long way to set you up to be immune against pesky cravings. Here’s a list of awesome breakfast ideas.

4. Walk it off – just a small walk can do wonders for your mood and it beats cravings. Half the time we’re just bored when we open the refrigerator door. Get out there and get your endorphins going. You’ll be a different human when you get back. If a walk isn’t your thing – just move somehow.

Walk Motivators: Go with someone to spend time together, call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while on the way, take the dog, take time for you and leave everything else at home, or listen to an audio book.

5. Ditch the caffeine habit – don’t unsubscribe yet just hear me out. I know to some of you this sounds completely impossible. I promise, I understand the fear that strikes your heart at the idea of a morning without coffee. Here’s the truth about caffeine. It may help you temporarily but it sets you up for a crash later that leaves you more tired and craving quick energy like simple sugars.

Try it and if you don’t have more energy and less cravings … go back. I’ve had many clients thank me for getting them off the habit.

6. Drink more water – the bonus here is that your skin will look amazing instantly if you can master this.This is how much you need…

•200 lbs = 12.5 cups = 4.5 water bottles (22oz)
•180 lbs = 11.25 cups = 4 water bottles
•160 lbs = 10 cups = 3.6 water bottles
•140 lbs = 8.75 cups = 3.1 water bottles
•120 lbs = 7.5 cups = 2.7 water bottles
•100 lbs =  6.25 cups = 2.3 water bottles

Why it really does matter…

Excess sugar consumption is tied to almost every disease including many types of cancer. It’s also tied to things like premature aging, wrinkles, weight gain.  So basically, too much sugar makes you sick, old, fat, and wrinkled before your time. Awesome. All very good reasons to get it under control.

How much is too much? …

You might be thinking that this is all great for people who abuse sugar but that’s certainly not you, am I right? You only sweeten your coffee so what’s the big deal. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 tsp for women and 9 tsp for men. The average adult consumes approximately 22 tsp while the average child consumes 32tsp per day because it’s nicely hidden in so many of our fav foods. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you eat food from a box?
  • Do you eat out?
  • Do you eat white bread or flour products (pretzels, cookies, crackers, waffles)?
  • Do you drink sodas or sweetened drinks of any kind (tea, redbull, soda, gatorade)?
  • Do you love sweet dairy…(yogurts, ice cream)?
  • Are you a Starbucks junkie?
  • Do you order fries to eat the ketchup?
  • Do you eat cereal or any kind of pastry for breakfast?
  • Do you read labels to see what your food is made of?

If you answered yes to these questions and no to the last one – I can promise you’re getting more added sugar than you suspect you are. You’re not alone. We do sugar in a BIG way in this country. Check out this article for some stats that you won’t even believe. 

The bottom line…

You can break your sugar habit. As you learn to eat without so much sugar you’ll stop craving it and start to notice how it impacts your energy and general well-being – so it’s easy to keep it up. 80% of the time I do my best to eat well and 20% of the time I say eff it and eat what makes me happy. Luckily a lot of the time, the healthy stuff is what makes me happy because I feel the best and you will too. You can do it. And if you can’t, I can help. Talk to me.

 

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Essential Oils for Pregnancy and Beyond

Essential Oils

Pregnancy was quite the learning experience. Looking back, I think I had it pretty easy (most of the time) and I owe a lot of that to my little friends…essential oils.

As you know, pregnant women have to be especially careful with what they ingest which is pretty crummy timing because we go through our fair share of aches, pains, nausea, anxiety, and more. I relied on essential oils for relief for many of these ailments.

If you’re pregnant, get your hands on some essential oils and feel better already… and the best part is that you will feel really good about taking such good care of you and your baby with natural plant medicine.

Here’s how essential oils saved my pregnant butt:

(All of the oils listed here are Doterra – my favorite and recommended brand)

Serenity (blend) – helped lull me to sleep and stay that way even at the end when nothing else worked. Now I use it on my baby when he’s fussy.

Coconut oil mixed with Immortelle (blend) – diminished my stretch marks. I was cocky enough to think that I was going to be one of the lucky few who don’t get them. One morning around my eighth month there they were – a couple dark purple streaks on my lower tummy and bright red ones down my upper belly.  I know they say that once they start you can’t stop them but I did. I still ended up with a few but I think it would have been way worse without these two little powerhouses. The bonus is you can also use it on your face too for any fine lines starting there.

On-guard (blend) – kept the germs away. This immune boosting blend fought off colds when they were starting like nothing else. It also shortened the one cold I did get. This is especially helpful if you have little germ factories running around, in my case it was my beautiful nephew, Hunter. I used it on both of us.

Digestzen (blend) – touched heartburn when nothing else could. At the end, it was so bad that nothing was going to help but giving birth. That said, I would have been much meaner pregnant lady without this oil. It helps with any kind of stomach upset. I think I went through 2 bottles.

Lemon – I used this one a lot during my nesting phase. It’s the perfect way to naturally clean your house without exposing you and your baby to chemicals. I use this one all the time pregnant or not. For some easy DIY cleaning recipes, don’t miss this post.

Deep Blue (rub) – soothes those muscle aches and pains. I’m blaming my aching body the strange sleep positions that seem to come along with the third trimester but whatever the cause – you don’t have to suffer. Ask your partner to rub it on and give you a little massage then lay back on your huge ridiculous pregnancy pillow and enjoy the warm/cold tingle.

Solace – for sore boob relief. I don’t know about you but this was unbearable for me at least in the first trimester. Solace helped.

Malealuca (aka tea tree) – when I thought I was getting a yeast infection this oil stopped it dead in it’s tracks overnight. There are many other uses for this one. It’s one of the most essential.

Breathe – to open up my airways. I was a little stuffy through my whole pregnancy due to swollen membranes but thanks to Breathe I was able to do just that. It was especially great at night.

Where to buy them:

Doterra oils are only available through personal consultants. I believe in them so much that I signed up to share them with the world. They are amazing. If you’re interested in buying Doterra you can do that here. There are many other brands out there but I have yet to find one that rivals the quality of Doterra. You can still find some decent ones – just be sure you’re getting 100% pure organic oils. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Additional reading:

If you’re interested in learning more about using essential oils during your pregnancy, birth, and beyond I encourage you to read “Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Birth, and Babies” by Stephanie Fritz LM, CPM.

 

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Why We Loved our Home Birth

I learned that when you tell someone you’re going to have a home birth most people look at you like you’ve lost your mind and some will even tell you so. Our son was born on November 16th, 2013 in the comfort of our home. I never would have guessed that I’d have a home birth but I did and we loved it. Here’s our story…

The gears started turning…

I research everything so when we were thinking about having a baby I geeked out on everything baby. I found a documentary called, “The Business of Being Born” and it opened my eyes to a whole new world of birthing babies. I loved the idea that a woman’s body is brilliantly designed to make and birth babies and that in most circumstances we don’t need any interventions to do so. The mothers featured in the film were actually looking forward to their birthing. They labored and birthed their babies without intervention and with grace, courage, and total trust in their bodies.

It was the exact opposite of the portrayals of birth I’ve always seen and what I’d always felt about labor…FEAR. Those women inspired me. Maybe I didn’t have to fear birth but embrace and trust it. I decided then that I wanted to have as natural a birth as I could (safely).

You want to have your baby where?… 

The choice to have the baby at home came later. I knew I had to decide where I would be the most comfortable. For me, I knew that was not going to be the hospital. The next option in my mind was a birthing center but the closest one is in Taos. It never occurred to me that I could have the baby at home but that was really the only other option and not much different that being in a birthing center. The idea started to grow on me.

I was really hung up on the little stuff like what happens with the mess and how does it work with the birthing tub. I was also hung up on the BIG stuff like what happens if something goes wrong. We started doing our research and talking to midwives and mothers who had home births and finally after a few months decided that it was the right choice for us.

Have you lost your mind?… 

I didn’t realize how many other people were not going to agree with that decision. We spent a lot of the pregnancy defending our choice. That part was hard. I get it though – it’s definitely not common or well understood.

I think I almost gave my dad a heart attack. My mom came around more but couldn’t figure out why “I wanted to poop in my own sheets.” Others were ready to save me from home birth and take me to the hospital. I know I had many people in my life thinking I’d completely lost my mind. Many others were very supportive. I was actually surprised though how many women told me they wish they’d had a home birth.

What I loved about having my baby at home…

  • The birthing tub…I can’t believe how relaxing this was. Contractions in the tub were very manageable. I also used a heating pad with the same effect.
  • I could use my own bathroom whenever I wanted to. Let’s face it, labor isn’t glamorous. You’re leaking, bleeding, pooping, throwing up, and who knows what else. I loved that I could do those things in the comfort of my own bathroom without being attached to tubes.
  • I could eat and drink…and I did. It gave me the energy I needed to get through it.
  • I could be in any position that felt good to me – which varied a lot. I labored in 4 different rooms in our house usually leaning over something. I can’t tell you why but that’s just where I needed to be.
  • I took a nap (during active labor) in my own bed…Just the fact that I felt relaxed enough to nap in between contractions during the transition phase of labor tells you my comfort level.
  • I set the mood (music, low lights, essential oils, attendees)…This was really crucial for me. Music made a world of difference in my demeanor, my diffuser was blowing relaxing lavender scents into the air, and all the lights were kept very low. I didn’t know ahead of time but it turns out I like to be alone when in pain. I was so glad that I had full control over who was in my presence during that vulnerable time.
  • I held him from the second he came out…and I didn’t ever have to let him go. I decided what procedures happened to him so he never left my arms and no one whisked him away until I said so. He was nursing within minutes.
  • I feel a huge sense of accomplishment and empowerment … I am so proud and empowered by our natural home birth. It taught me a lot about my own limits and left me with a sense of “If I can do that, I can do anything.”
  • All my prenatal/postnatal appointments were done at home…I loved this so much. Being pregnant is inconvenient in many ways but my pre- and post-natal appointments were definitely not. My midwife came to my house for all of them and stayed as long as I needed her too. We discussed milestones, worries, and questions all along the way. I felt well taken care of.

In the end…

I would recommend home birth to anyone. Having the comforts of home and the freedom to do whatever I wished during an otherwise very uncomfortable time brought me a lot of peace. My midwife remarked several times how impressed she was at how calm and relaxed I was even into the harder parts of labor – that could only have been accomplished at home.

Being relaxed makes labor easier and quicker. Many women find a hospital as their place of comfort and I can understand that. There is no right way with birth and most of the time we don’t have control over the situation anyway. Home birth isn’t right for everyone and my point is not to say that it is. I wanted to share my story because I had a great experience. You can read about Peter’s Birth Story right here.

Me, the peaceful warrior, in the birthing tub.

Me, the peaceful warrior, in the birthing tub.

What about you? What did you love or not love about your own birthing?

 

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Peter’s Birth Story

Our son, Peter Jozsef Bakosi, came into the world on a rainy Saturday morning. He made his debut on the living room floor at 8:47 a.m. Long before he arrived, we were planning to have him at home. I never would have believed you if you told me that 5 years ago. I mean who does that, right?  Read more about why we decided on a home birth.

Our Story…

I knew our baby was a boy, I had a feeling he would come early, but I didn’t know he was going to have all that amazing hair. I was 38 weeks along when the contractions started but I was afraid to get excited. My worst fear was that it was false labor and I’d be pregnant for up to four more weeks. At that point, natural child-birth looked easier.

It was a Thursday night and I particularly remember because I watched Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal trying my best to ignore the contractions. That night I slept and the contractions subsided the following morning.

They started again Friday midday and continued getting closer and closer. We started at every 15 minutes and then eventually went down to about 7 minutes. Up until that time the contractions were not too bad. I could just breath through them. When they reached 5 minutes apart they were too intense to handle on my own. I woke Jozsef up and told him it was…

Time to call the midwife…

Woohoo! Tanja and Myriah (our midwives) arrived at about 3 a.m. and a quick check revealed that I was already 8 cm dilated. Whoa, I finally believed that I was having a baby and was so happy to see them.

Jozsef and Tanja filled up the birthing tub for me. Something I always thought I wanted to try but in the moment wasn’t really sure about. I’m so glad I tried it.

I labored in the tub for what seemed like an hour (but really who knows – I was in labor land where minutes feel like hours). I immediately noticed the contractions were easier to manage. A lot easier…the pain went down by at least a third. It was AHH-mazing. I was singing and laughing between contractions. Everyone should try the tub.

20131116_033616

And then I took a nap?!?!…

The darn tub was almost too relaxing because it felt like everything started slowing down. All of a sudden I was exhausted and all I could think about was getting my face on my pillow and that I better get out before my labor stopped. So I laid down in my bed and actually started to doze off between some intense contractions.

Tanja kept saying how amazing it was that my body was able to let me rest like that – something she attributed to how well I took care of myself during the pregnancy. I was annoyed. I wanted to progress – to reach the goal – to be over it already…not take a freaking nap.

I was concentrating hard on relaxing – what I considered my top priority. When I could completely relax during a contraction instead of fighting it, the pain was manageable. There was a distinct moment in each contraction when I would feel my body just go with it and the pain dissolved. It was empowering but not an easy task.

Sometimes I would just focus on relaxing all my muscles – harder than it sounds during a contraction. Other times I repeated to myself “I surrender” over and over again. I would imagine my cervix opening like a flower. I imagined my body easily opening up to let him out. I did anything I could to stay positive and relaxed. Music really helped with that.

I change my mind, I can’t do this…

Pretty soon though I could see the sun rising, I was sick of being in labor, and sick of surrendering to contractions so I started bargaining. I’d read about that in all the pregnancy books – the point where you know you have to push the baby out for it to be over but you’re terrified to do it so you try to find a way out of it.

I was asking God for a miracle. I was even thinking about a c-section at that point. I finally asked Tanja if she could just reach up there and get him out.

I didn’t know how I was going to keep going but I knew I needed to. I wish I could say that I found the courage or the power and went into the next phase as a birthing powerhouse. The truth is… I went in like a pouting child. I was so pissed but at least it was time to push.

I jumped the gun…

At least I thought it might be. Looking back though, I think I just wanted it to be time. I may have jumped the gun on that one. I was back in the tub and pushing with everything I had. It felt really great to do something different but I could tell I wasn’t making much progress.

I was so scared I would never be able to get him out. Eventually though he moved down enough to where I could actually feel his little head full of hair (surprise). That gave me motivation to keep going.

His arrival…

Tanja asked me to get out of the tub so she could assist me better. So with baby Peter’s forehead already born (yep), I got out of the tub (still not sure how I did that) and got into a squat position and leaned back against Jozsef who was sitting in our lazy boy recliner. He held me and I gave it one more push and our baby’s head was born. I pushed again and the rest of him shot out in to Tanja’s hands. I guess I needed the firm ground to finally get that baby out.

The next thing I knew that slippery, beautiful, very alive little person was up on my chest. I was in total shock and amazement. It was like I recognized him instantly but I had so much fun checking him out for the first time. He didn’t cry, was so very alert, and was staring right up at us with deep gorgeous knowing eyes.

Jozsef was behind us – the amazement and joy of the moment streaming down his face. I was too shocked to cry and frankly relieved for a break from contractions. I wanted to celebrate! I was so relieved to have that little guy in my arms. It was the greatest moment of our lives. He was nursing within minutes.

Here we are a few hours after he was born…

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Final Stats…

  • 1 home birth
  • 32 hours of (manageable) early labor
  • 6 hours of intense but peaceful active labor
  • 5  stitches
  • 2 proud parents
  • 2 excellent midwives
  • 1 beautiful baby – 7 pounds and 20.5 inches with blue eyes and light brown hair

He still parties all night long just like he did in my belly (but we’re working on it). Being a mom is the best thing I’ve ever done. We’re tired but still loving every minute.  Here’s a shot when he’s a few days old…

photo 1 copy

What surprised me about labor…

  • I thought it would hurt more (and less)  – I guess enough people scared the hell out of me to the point that I thought my contractions would be way worse. Not saying they were easy, but they also weren’t unmanageable. Thanks are in order, I guess, but shame on you for scaring pregnant people. I also thought it would be easier to push but that was the hardest part for me.
  • I didn’t know it was going to hurt so long afterward – I’m pretty sure someone told me that once your baby was born the pain went away – LIAR. I guess they didn’t get stitches. I was completely unprepared for how hard it was going to be on my body and that I would be able to just to barely function – not to mention trying to take care of a newborn. I’m really glad to be over that part.
  • I didn’t know that I like to work through pain alone – For 75% of the labor I wanted to be alone. I barely spoke and didn’t even open my eyes. I guess it makes sense if I think about it. I don’t like anyone to see me vulnerable – part of my control-freakness probably.
  • I didn’t know I was strong enough – Who knew I had that in me? I had high hopes that I would be able to go through with the natural birth but part of me was always afraid I couldn’t do it. I also had no idea that I was harboring an inner Deepak but it’s in there and I’m happy about that. Namaste. Om.
  • I didn’t know I’d be quiet – I always imagined I’d be vocal and cursing like a sailor but to my surprise I was exactly opposite. I did drop the F-bomb once while pushing but other than that I was very quiet and internal – so not like me usually.
  • My husband is a rock star. I know this shouldn’t surprise me and it doesn’t but I can’t get over how supportive he was during the pregnancy, labor, and now in the first weeks after our son’s birth. I am one lucky new momma and certainly have to count my blessings for the two beautiful men in my life.

photo 3 copy

 

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