BY JANE DANIEL
Who am I?
Hi! My name is Jane Daniel. I am a proud mom to three healthy boys, a lover of the great outdoors, a forever student, health nut, exercise enthusiast and native of the Triad. I am also a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
What do I do?
I am a holistic health coach with multiple certifications in all things related to health, nutrition and exercise. In 2015, I received my first certification as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. I haven’t stopped taking classes since then and hope I never will! The areas I’m most passionate about are my training in Ayurveda, Polyvagal Theory, Female Hormone Optimization and Weight Loss, and most recently the Journey of Intrinsic Health. All of these have one thing in common; the body has the ability to heal itself if we allow it to do so.
I’m super excited to have the opportunity to share all things health for the lovers of Forsyth Woman magazine!
The Health Benefits of Gratitude and Tips for Making it a Daily Part of Your Life
According to scientists, gratitude is a deep feeling of appreciation…having the propensity to see the glass as half full. There isn’t a one size fits all approach to practicing gratitude. However, research psychologists Robert Emons and Michael McCullough have found that gratitude results from recognizing that you have obtained a positive outcome and that there is an external source linked to this positive outcome.
Studies have shown that gratitude makes positive impacts:
- Alleviates symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Enhances sleep quality and duration
- Supports greater cardiovascular health
- Reduces inflammation
- Improves responses to stressors
- Boosts social, family and romantic relationships
A trick I love to do on my morning walk or daily commute is to find “glimmers” throughout my day. Glimmers are little bits of happiness that are experienced; the more glimmers you acknowledge, the more they illuminate other glimmers.
Ways to Implement your Glimmers:
- Create a feel-good playlist for driving to work or waiting in the carpool line
- Diffuse your favorite essential oils
- Get in touch with nature, notice the beautiful color and sounds that surround you
- Curate your social feeds with people, places, and groups that bring you joy
- Ritualize your coffee or tea making process; use a mug that brings back wonderful memories
Healthy Tips on Thanksgiving Day
On to some practical tips for navigating the holidays while enjoying family and friends. The average American gains EIGHT pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s but you don’t have to be this statistic!
Try these helpful tips when enjoying a big meal with family and friends:
- If you love strength or resistance training, have a great workout before your meal using big muscle groups like legs and back. Your muscles are starving for glycogen which means your muscles will use up the calories instead of your fat stores!
- If you aren’t sure what will be served, offer to bring a healthy side. Roasted Brussels sprouts and bacon are a crowd favorite!
- Arrange your plate in a healthy way!
- Prioritize protein. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient compared to carbs and fats. The thermic effect is greater, too; the body uses approximately 20% of protein’s calories to break it down into usable energy. This means that a 500 calorie serving of beef tenderloin only registers as 400 calories!
- Add above ground vegetables. Above ground veggies are full of fiber and water, increasing your feeling of fullness. Extra credit if you consume lots of color in these veggies. Our hunger hormone leptin, which is the “put the fork down” hormone, says, “I’m good” when color is consumed. Each color of the rainbow has different phytonutrients which research has shown to satisfy leptin.
- Have 4-6 bites. If you only have a dish once a year at Thanksgiving, go ahead and have 4-6 bites of it …your grandmother’s sweet potato casserole, your aunt’s twice baked potatoes, or that delicious homemade chocolate pie. Enjoy and savor every bite!
- Walk! Instead of hunkering down on the sofa after a big meal, go for a walk with the fam. A “postprandial” walk will help lower blood sugar, reduce bloating and gas, and improve sleep!
The bottom line is that a “flex” meal even once a week is not going to derail your weight loss/maintenance efforts. The issue arises when you have a slow drip of “this and that” every day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Be mindful of what you are consuming, express gratitude, and move as much as possible during this time of year.