The warm breezes of spring mean that Easter is around the corner! After the heavy colors of Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine’s Day, the bright, cheerful colors of spring are a welcome sight.
But the cheerful colors are not limited to flowers and eggs. There is no escaping the onslaught of sugar that threatens us at every turn. From jelly beans to chocolate bunnies, empty calories abound.
You need a plan.
First, the facts
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you really do need to know what you are getting yourself into when you reach for that fluffy, yellow peep.
Brace yourself, this is going to hurt…
Sugar is really bad for you. (If you've listened to me for any length of time, this information does not surprise you.)
When you consume Easter candy, you are getting a large dose of sugar. Whether it is in the form of High Fructose Corn Syrup or cane sugar, it slams into your system like a bowling ball, and the effects are disastrous.
Within the first 20 minutes or so, your blood sugar level spikes as the sugar enters your bloodstream. It arrives there in the form of glucose, which is your body’s main source of energy.
This sudden rise in blood glucose stimulates your pancreas to start pumping out large amounts of insulin, which is the hormone that helps your cells take in the available glucose.
Some of this glucose is used immediately for energy. But the rest stored as fat by insulin, to be used later.
The more sugar you eat, the more insulin your body produces as it works hard to remove the glucose from your blood.
But these high levels of insulin are not healthy. For one thing, the extra insulin in your blood stream signals to your body that you need more glucose, which causes you to crave even more sugar.
But even worse, after repeated exposure to high insulin levels, your cells begin turning numb to the effects of insulin, and this leads to a condition called insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes.
When your cells no longer respond properly to the storage effects of insulin, the sugar in your blood has nowhere to go, and so it continues circulating in your blood. This is what is known as a ‘high blood sugar level.’
The result is that you feel fatigue, because you have no way of accessing the energy that is in your blood stream.
You will likely feel weak, tired and have trouble concentrating, because your brain uses glucose to function.
If your blood sugar levels stay elevated, damage begins happening to various parts of your body.
For example, the capillaries become damaged (which leads to blindness), your kidneys become diseased (which can eventually require dialysis) and nerve damage occurs throughout your body (which can lead to amputations).
The heart muscle also suffers, which leads to heart disease, and your organs begin aging at a faster rate. You also become more susceptible to infections.
The ravages of sugar cannot be overstated: that handful of jelly beans is not worth it.
But it’s Easter!
Easter only comes once each year. Do you really have to be so uptight about it?
Yes, you do. Because there will always be an excuse to eat poorly. Last month it was Valentine’s Day.
The month before that saw New Year’s Eve. Before that was Christmas. Before that was Thanksgiving.
And the holidays in each of these months weren’t the only excuses for eating unhealthy food—no doubt your schedule included countless other “can’t-miss” opportunities to throw all caution to the wind!
You likely had business dinners, birthday parties, evenings out with friends, fundraising banquets, breakfast meetings, church dinners…
Every one of these occasions screams, “But this is special!! It’s okay just this once!”
At some point, you have to stop the insanity, make a decision and choose health, so that the indulgence truly becomes the exception; not the rule.
So let’s look at some alternatives for your Easter celebration. You do not have to sit there munching on steamed asparagus while those around you are tossing back marshmallow ducklings by the dozen.
Consider the following ideas for Easter basket treats and munchies. Sticking to this list will ensure that you are clear headed and full of energy while your buddies are slipping in and out of consciousness after their sugar highs!
Dried fruit (eat with a protein such as nuts)
Very dark chocolate (choose some with very little sugar)
Fresh fruit (it's fun and colourful on a skewer!)
Whole grain crackers and pretzels
Popcorn (NON-GMO is best)
Non-food ideas for kids’ baskets:
Garden starter set
Have a healthy Easter!
May Anne xo
P.S. Kick-start your journey to good health and faster weight loss with my 5-Day Sugar-Free Challenge. Click HERE to join for FREE!
Last week, you may have seen the first part of this post, where I shared five of the eleven reasons you may not be losing weight. I’ll include the link to the first post HERE, so if you haven’t seen it, you can watch it now.
Today, I want to share with you the remaining SIX REASONS why you're not losing weight.
#6. You’re Not Drinking Enough Water. It’s surprising how many people are not drinking enough water. It’s such a simple thing, but can make all the difference. Hydrating helps your body flush out extra water, toxins, and can get rid of that extra weight.
#7 You Use Diet Drinks. Cutting out sugar and empty calories are good for weight loss, but the long-term effects of diet drinks are the exact opposite. Artificial sweeteners found in soda, juice, low-cal flavored yogurts and other diet foods, actually increase cravings for sweets like cake and cookies. Not to mention, they’re harmful for your health as well.
#8. You Rush While Eating. I used to be so bad for this and I’m sure I’m not the only one known to finish up a work assignment while quickly eating lunch at the same time. Or to mindlessly snack on food while watching a movie with the family. We all do it, but it’s too common nowadays, and eating while distracted can cause you to overeat, even if what you’re eating is "healthy."
Mindful eating will help you to enjoy it more, and will also help you to pay attention to your body's signals.
#9. You Don’t Take Time To Relax. If I asked you when the last time was that you haven’t felt stressed out, you probably wouldn’t be able to remember. It’s not just you. Between your work, family and personal life, you’re almost always stressed out.
The issue is that stress doesn’t just make you feel out of control; it can also halt weight loss by forcing the food you eat to be converted to fat rather than used as fuel, and that has to do with an increase in the stress hormone cortisol.
#10. You Focus Too Much On Working Out. Working out is obviously important for weight loss and we need it to be healthy. In fact, exercise makes up 20% of weight loss, while what you eat makes up the other 80%.
Unfortunately, some people will put most of their focus on working out and not enough on what they’re eating, and they end up either over-training without the proper nutrients to replenish or they end up wondering why they’re not getting the results they want.
#11. Your “Why” Isn’t Clear Enough. Most people start a new plan or program without the proper motivation, and this leads to falling off the plan in no time at all.
When you don’t have your reason “why” you’re doing it clear enough, any old excuse will have you reaching for a row of cookies. Motivation needs to come from within.
You need to spend some time on your reason why and become really clear on it, make it strong so it resonates with you, and then keep it in front of you at all times.
When I work with clients both 1:1 and in group programs, we walk step by step together through tips like these and many more, and we’re able to spend more time on them.
If you would like my help in discovering ways to overcome that weight loss plateau, so you can finally have the body you’ve been waiting for, simply message me HERE.
I’ll see you next time.
A lot of my clients tell me they’re able to lose a certain amount of weight right off the start of a new diet, and then they plateau and they can’t lose anymore.
They’re frustrated and wondering what they’re doing wrong because they feel that they’re doing all the right things.
They’re working so hard to say NO to to all the things they want to eat and they’re working out 5 days a week....and yet the scale won’t budge. What gives?
They’re so tempted to give up, and yet they also know that if they do, they’ll feel even worse.
Since this is such a common frustration, and I want to help people get their efforts to work in their favour, I decided to put together a list of lingering habits that people commonly hang onto.
I’ve got a lot of great information here for you, so I’m going to break this list into two separate posts, for this week and next week.
1. You Overeat Healthy Foods
Just because a food is "healthy" doesn’t mean you can eat as much of it as you want. Some of the healthiest foods out there, like nuts, avocados and dark chocolate are good for you, but if they’re eaten in excess, they can lead to weight gain. When you eat more macronutrients than you need at one time, anything in excess is stored as fat.
2. You Haven’t Removed Temptation
Every successful plan should start with one thing: cleaning out the old and making room for the new. You need to get rid of the goal-destroying temptations in your cupboards and fridge and fill them with the healthier options. This is why I teach people how to do a kitchen clean out from the get-go in my programs.
3. You’re Not Eating Enough
It sounds like it would help, but under-fueling your body is actually just as harmful as over-fueling. Many of us have wrongfully believed that eating as little as possible in an attempt for quick weight loss, is the best solution. Not only can this lead to nutritional deficiencies, but it can actually have the opposite effect on weight loss because when you severely reduce calorie intake, the body holds onto fat and uses muscle stores as energy, which can slow metabolism.
4. You Don’t Get Enough Sleep
Regardless of eating well and working out, without the proper sleep, long-term weight loss will still be hard to achieve. There’s a strong connection between weight gain and sleep deprivation, and this is because of the increased levels of your body’s stress (and fat-storing) hormone cortisol. It also sabotages the efficiency of your hunger-regulating hormones.
5. You Have All-Or-Nothing Thinking
Have you ever noticed that whenever you start a diet, you automatically begin obsessing about the foods you “can’t” have?
Now, you suddenly want them more than you did before your diet, and if you do have some, you feel that you’ve totally blown it and you might as well give up and eat the whole cake. Having an attitude of “I can have that piece of cake, I’m just choosing not to,” is way more helpful and puts you more in control.
If you do have a piece now and then, no worries, be ok with it and get right back on track. Wallowing in guilt and shame will only keep you from your goals and keep you stuck in a cycle of self-disappointment.
If this has been your issue, I encourage you to follow the steps above and let me know of any changes you see. I'll be back next week with the remaining tips!
Until next time,
May Anne xo
P.S. If you want my support and guidance, as well as personalized tips and strategies to help you lose the weight easier (without dieting), send me an email HERE and we'll set up a complimentary 20 minute Discovery Call. We'll chat and see if we'll be a good fit!
I Used To Be A Wreck.
When you first glance of this picture of me, you might naturally assume that my life has always been great and that maybe even things have come easily for me. I know I've assumed that about people lots of times. It's natural to assume based on what we see on the outside.
People have told me they think that I have it all together. They assume that I haven’t experienced struggles and challenges like they’ve experienced.
That’s likely because I’m a bit of a perfectionist and a people pleaser, and I care too much about what other people think. So, even when life has been really, really hard, I haven’t let many people see that. I’ve always wanted everyone to think that I have it all together and can handle everything that comes my way.
What I want to share with you is taking a lot of vulnerability and openness on my part. It’s really really hard for someone who has cared way too much about what other people think to be transparent. If what I’m sharing helps anyone to feel like they’re not alone, and that there is hope, then it’s worth it.
The reason I’m choosing to share these things with you is because the times that other people have been brave enough to openly share their challenges and struggles, it has really helped me. It helped me see that I’m not alone and the things that I’ve gone through, others have gone through as well.
Over time, I’ve learned that no matter how perfect someone else’s life might look, no matter how flawless their appearance, there’s always more going on behind the scenes that the rest of us don’t see.
Life for me is good now, and I’m grateful for the challenges and struggles that I’ve gone through because they’ve helped me to grow, and they’ve helped me to help others. But it wasn’t always that way.
Anxiety has plagued me my entire life, for as long as I can remember. Anxiety, depression and panic attacks were so bad in my early 20’s that I had to quit my job and go on disability for a year. I had been fulfilling my dream of modelling with an agency in Toronto and had just finished my reign as Miss Metropolitan Toronto - and I had to give it all up because I couldn’t cope.
Anxiety, low self-esteem and a distorted body image were no doubt the cause of a lot of really bad choices that I made over the course of many years. I won’t go into all of the details here, because it’s not necessary and because truthfully, they sound too much like soap opera material.
I’ve watched a loved one go on diet after diet for as long as I can remember, and when I was younger, I mistakenly came up with the distorted thought that I needed to be thin to be accepted and loved.
I teetered on the verge of anorexia in my teens and practically starved myself for 6 months when I was 16, and at 5’7” and 113 lbs, I still thought I was too big. My view of myself and my worth was completely distorted. I looked sick and I felt even worse.
Partying was something that temporarily made me feel better, and I partied all the way through my teens and into my twenties (even though, the next day I would feel a whole lot worse.)
When I was 35, I became a mom for the first time, and although I was ecstatic at finally being a mom, it was bitter-sweet. I was a single mom from the time my son was born until he was 5 years old. That was not the plan I had for my life, to raise a child completely on my own, and that part of it really, really sucked. I faced a loneliness that I wouldn’t wish on anybody.
I worked full-time with my son in daycare from the time he was a year old, and I felt like life was passing me by. It felt like all I did was work, pick up my son, get dinner ready, spend a bit of time with him, put him to bed, clean the house and drop dead-tired into bed by 9pm. And then repeat it all the next day.
My son rarely slept for more than 2-4 hours at a time until he was 2 years old, so needless to say, I was a walking zombie for years.
Physically, I suffered with IBS and digestive disorders, adrenal fatigue caused by stress, extreme tiredness, moodiness, candida overgrowth, food sensitivities, and I continued to battle with anxiety and depression on and off.
I can’t tell you how many counsellors and doctors I had seen in those years and how many medications I reluctantly took for anxiety and depression, and some of them did help temporarily.
The real changes and the lasting changes took place over the course of several years.
Like I said, life is not perfect now and I’m certainly far from perfect, but looking back at everything I just wrote now, it all seems like a lifetime ago.
Although I always had a passion for natural health (I grew up on a farm in the country where we basically ate off the land), that passion was hidden in the background while I was in the depths of everything I was going through.
When that passion did resurface and I had the chance to go back to school to study natural nutrition, I used everything that I learned from my course, from naturopathic doctors and from my own experiences of what worked and didn’t work and put them all into action for my own healing journey.
Through that journey and with the help of certain counsellors and pastors, I was on the way to health and wholeness.
Along the way, I had hoped for a magic pill or supplement to make everything better, but I came to realize that it wasn’t one specific thing that was going to help, but a tool kit of many things, including changing how I ate, making lifestyle changes (sleep, stress, exercise), changing my mindset (with daily declarations, prayer, relaxation techniques) and in my case, a counsellor to work through issues that needed to be worked through.
It wasn’t until I started feeling better that I realized just how awful I felt before, and that it really wasn’t how I was meant to feel. I had thought it was my normal.
Even when I do indulge now and then (which does happen), I notice a huge difference in how I feel afterwards, because now my norm is feeling good.
I no longer believe the distorted lie that I need to be thin to be accepted. I ‘choose’ to be the size I am now because it makes me feel good.
Regular exercise, eating well, getting enough sleep, reducing stress and Mindset are huge for me when it comes to how I feel physically, emotionally and mentally. They all work together, and what affects one part, affects the whole.
Looking back, I can appreciate every lesson I learned and every challenge that I faced, because they helped me become who I am today, and it’s blessed me with a compassion and understanding for what other people are going through, that I may not have had otherwise.
Thank you for letting me share my story with you.
May Anne xo
P.S. If any of what I shared resonates with you, please share it in the comments below. You may help someone else reading this. Or, you can send me an email HERE.
Hi there, I’m May Anne, and I’m a holistic nutritionist and the founder of the Slim Down Program, where I help people to stop dieting and instead discover a strategic way of eating that boosts their metabolism, balances their hormones, reduces their cravings and boosts their energy, all while regaining their health.
I just wanted to say to everyone else with food cravings, that I get it.
Before I was a nutritionist, I was chronically exhausted and relied on pick-me-ups like sugar, pastries and bread to get me through the day.
I would start my day with carbs like cereal, toast a bagel or a muffin and then would need a mid morning pick me up a short while later. I would then have a sandwich or a basic salad for lunch with just veggies on it, and would wonder why I would constantly have afternoon energy crashes, with foggy thinking, emotional ups and downs and food cravings.
I found it really hard to say no to foods like pastries, muffins, pizza, baked goods, especially in the afternoon when I was tired.
I didn’t understand it because I thought I was eating healthy enough. I was buying foods that said “light,” “low fat” or “low calorie” or “healthy” on the package. I didn’t realize that the problem was not only WHAT I was eating but it was HOW I was eating it and WHEN I was eating.
Since becoming a nutritionist, I’ve learned that almost always, cravings for carbs indicate a blood sugar imbalance. I hadn’t realized that when I was buying foods that were marketed as “diet foods” or “healthy foods” I was missing out on some much-needed nutrients and my body was letting me know by signalling cravings.
Many times when we experience that afternoon energy crash, it’s because of what we ate at breakfast and lunch. When simple carbohydrates are eaten on their own it can quickly satisfy your hunger and give you an energy boost, but both are only temporary, and it leaves you craving more simple carbs when energy drops a few hours later. And then you’re on a blood-sugar rollercoaster, and the cycle continues over and over.
This cycle will ultimately lead to weight gain, as well as a lot of other health issues, because many diseases actually begin with blood sugar issues.
And, if you team willpower up against blood sugar issues, the willpower will lose every time. Your lack of willpower is not your fault. The solution is to balance your blood sugar, which I’ve learned for myself, will go a long way towards getting rid of those cravings.
Reducing your cravings for sugar and starch is a great step towards feeling better and lasting weight loss. I invite you to click HERE for FREE access to my 5-Day Sugar-Free Challenge, where you will receive all of the tools you need to crush your cravings.
If you have any questions or comments please let me know.
I’ll see you next time.
May Anne Jordens-LaFlamme is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and the owner of "Wellness with May Anne." She is truly a lover of all things Natural Health. Her passion is helping women to lose the weight for good, in a practical and sustainable way, so they can stop dieting, feel good about themselves and like what they see in the mirror.