5 Steps to Getting Results that Stick

Have you ever found yourself saying, “I know what to do, I’m just not doing it”?

Maybe you’re excited to start a new diet plan. This time is going to be different, you tell yourself.

You start off strong but then work suddenly becomes hectic, or maybe you go on a trip or spend a weekend visiting your family. In other words, life happens and gets in the way of your new plan to eat healthily.

We’ve all been there at some point. But here’s what you need to know.

That’s right.

You can know all the tools of the trade – know the best health practices, have a great meal plan – but unless you’re able to take consistent action, and not continually get thrown off course when life gets in the way (as it inevitably will) you’ll never get the lasting results you desire.

The reality is, changing our deeply ingrained habits and behaviors is no easy task.

It doesn’t matter if your end goal is weight loss, clearing up eczema, healing digestion or improving health markers related to blood pressure or cholesterol.

It’s tempting to want to overhaul our lives in one go. And sometimes that works for a while.

BUT if you’re somebody who continually finds yourself back at square one starting all over again with your diet, or unable to create healthy habits that actually work for your lifestyle, then please read on!

5 Steps for Getting Results that Stick

1. Revisit your “WHY”. So you want to lose weight. Great. Why? Grab a pen and paper and take 10 minutes out of your day to make a list of all the reasons. Looking great in a bikini is fair game but try to dive deeper. Come up with at least 5 or 10 meaningful to you reasons on why you want to lose weight. How will things be different in your life? Consider how not losing the weight is holding you back, regardless if those limitations are self-imposed or not.

Perhaps you want to prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy, or reduce your risk for health complications like cardiovascular disease or Type 2 Diabetes later down the road. Maybe you just want to feel more confident in your own skin or make shopping for clothes a more pleasurable experience. There’s no right or wrong answers, but the reasons must be meaningful to you.

Now that you have your handy little list keep it somewhere safe. You’re going to refer to this list every time things get tough and you want to give up. This list will serve as your reminder as to why you started down this path in the first place. And no it’s not simply to torture yourself, you have a more meaningful agenda at play. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.

2. Identify your Biggest Constraint(s). In other words, what’s that one thing that holds you back the most from experiencing the health you want. If you could just remove this one obstacle then things would be easier and you’d likely get results faster.

Is it your lack of organization or ability to prepare healthy meals for yourself? Is it the regular “drinks” out with friends that leave you feeling crappy the next day and constantly skipping your morning workout? Is it the daily coffee habit that exacerbates your IBS and leaves you feeling anxious? Is it the nightly stress eating or sugar binges?

You may have a long list of obstacles you believe to be holding you back, but it’s really important to zero in on the one (maybe 2) things that stand in your way the most. This isn’t always glaringly obvious and might require some investigative work, but once you’ve pinpointed it you’re going to make it your sole focus (for now).

3. Set Your Limits BUT Under Commit. This is where you commit to smaller actionable steps that move you closer to your end goal. But wait! Before you go committing to removing gluten, sugar, coffee, and alcohol all at once for 2 months starting on Monday – stop. Remember, you’re just choosing the one (maybe 2) biggest constraint(s) from step 2. This isn’t to say that you can’t handle more; you’re just not going to commit to doing more. It’s all in the semantics! This means you’re free to accomplish more, but you’re not going to make it a commitment.

It’s important to only make commitments that you’re 90-100% confident you know you can complete. In other words, before making the commitment ask yourself, “How confident am I on a scale of 1-10 that I can actually complete this goal”? If your answer is anything less than a 9, I encourage you to reduce the commitment to make it easier.

For example, let’s say you chose a lack of exercise as your biggest constraint from step 2. You might commit to working out 2 times per week for 30 minutes. Remember, you can always workout more than you say you will, but unless you’re absolutely confident that you can do it consistently every week don’t commit to more.

Another example might be giving up something, such as alcohol. There are a few ways you can tackle this. One, for example, might be to commit to only having 2 drinks per week (on the weekend only) for the next month. Then at the end of the month you’ll reevaluate. On the other hand, you might do better giving yourself absolutely no wiggle room at all because you know a few drinks might lead to a few more, in which case committing to no alcohol whatsoever for a set period of time might actually be easier for you.

You get to choose for yourself. The whole point is to only make commitments you know you can keep, knowing full well you can always up your efforts later once you have a few wins under your belt. Just remember:

4. Reward Behavior NOT Results. While we don’t have direct control over whether the scale goes down 10 pounds by the end of the month, we do have direct control over our behaviours. This concept is sooo empowering because it sets you up for repetitive small wins that boost confidence and motivate you to keep on going.

For example, if your biggest constraint from step 2 was lack of physical exercise and you’ve made the commitment to workout for at least 30 minutes 2 times per week, then at the end of the week as long as you’ve checked the box 2 times on working out for 30 minutes then you’ve succeeded. Yay! This is why it’s also easiest to make commitments that are unambiguous – meaning either you completed it or you didn’t. There’s no gray area in between.

Now that you’ve got working out 2 times per week under your belt, maybe you’ll decide to boost your commitment to 3 times per week; or perhaps you’ll decide that 2 times per week is just perfect for you right now and you’ll move on to tackle a different obstacle, like that 3 pm coffee you know you don’t really need!

5. Get Support. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to join a 12-step program or hire professional help. The point is to set yourself up to win by eliminating any potential challenges.

It might mean nicely telling your co-worker to stop offering you her home-baked cookies because you’re trying to eat healthier and they’re just “oh so tempting”. Or maybe it’s letting your friends know that you’ve decided to cut back on alcohol for a while so they know to stop offering you drinks when you go out. It could also mean having a friend to go for after-dinner walks with, or to call when you know your tendency for emotional eating is at its peak. Having a nutritionist or coach who can hold you accountable and who you can regularly check in with can also be very helpful (*wink*wink).

In the end remember that it’s consistent action that will continually repel you forward and lead to lasting results.

Hope you found this helpful!

xo Elaine

As always, I love hearing from you. In the comments below, feel free to share your own thoughts on how you’ve successfully created new healthy habits that have stuck with you over the long-run. Also, if you found this post helpful, I’d really appreciate it if you could share it with somebody you know who could benefit!

My Top 10 Wellness Tips

10 tips

Keeping healthy goes far beyond the food we put in our mouths of course, but the food we choose to consume each day does play a huge role.

Sometimes though it’s easy to get caught up in the fine details of which particular diet is best, or in the subtle nuances of one particular health principle, rather than looking at the big picture story.

Recently I was asked to share some of my top wellness tips with a group of busy professionals, and I figured I would share the list here with you as well, since we can all use a gentle reminder now and then.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, it likely won’t be the first time you’ve heard me mention these tips, and by now they may even be second-nature to you. For others though, this list can serve as a reference point as to which areas could use some extra attention.

As I often say (and I’m sure I sound like a broken-record to a few of my clients – ha!):

Progress, not perfection.

Here they are!

1. Keep Hydrated. Always start your day off with at least one full glass of water before you consume anything else (i.e. coffee or food). Add some freshly squeezed lemon for a detoxifying boost that will also help to stimulate digestion. Drink water or sip herbal teas between meals. Raw veggies and fruit are also water-rich and provide hydration.

2. Get in the Greens. Try and include some leafy greens or green vegetables with at least 2 meals per day. For example, you might sauté some baby kale with your morning eggs, have a big green salad at lunch, and/or include some roasted broccoli at dinner. Greens are alkalizing and help balance out the acidity of other foods.

3. Think Vegetable-Centric. I’m not one for labels but I think we can all agree that vegetables are good for us! Regardless of whether you follow a vegetarian diet or a paleo-style approach, aim to make at least 50% of your plate vegetables – especially at lunch and dinner. Think of them as the star-performers!

4. Get Serious about Digestion. Healthy digestion is the foundation of optimal health. We are what we digest, absorb and assimilate. Suffering from regular heartburn, indigestion and bloating is no way to live life and is NOT normal.  Search “digestive health” on my website for specific tips for improving digestion and healing your gut.

5. Limit Sugar. Stick to a lower sugar diet and watch your sugar cravings magically disappear. Satisfy your sweet-tooth with fruit, sulphite-free dried fruit or a few squares of 70% or higher dark chocolate. I just posted a new recipe for my date-sweetened Raw Chocolate Energy Bombs. These are the perfect little snack to curb a sweet tooth and are balanced out with plenty of healthy fat and protein. Save the sugary stuff for occasional treats.

6. Don’t Fear Fat. Just be sure to choose the right ones! In with the avocados, coconuts, olives, salmon, raw nuts and seeds, whole eggs and butter, and out with the hydrogenated and partially-hydrogenated, “man-made” fats – i.e. store-bought salad dressings, margarines, and commercial vegetable oils found in many packaged foods like cookies, crackers and chips.

7. Get Your Beauty Sleep. Aim for 7-8 hours of solid sleep per night for optimal health and regeneration. Upgrade your sleep hygiene if you have problems sleeping. Disconnect from all electronic devices at least a few hours before bed and make sure your room is completely dark – if not wear an eye mask to block out any light.

8. Move your Body. Stay active and exercise regularly. Get outside for daily walks, hit the gym, or take a class – whatever feels good to you. If you’re sitting at your desk all day stand up regularly and take mini stretch breaks.

9. Manage Stress. Stress is a silent killer. It disrupts our hormonal balance and can lead to a whole whack of health problems, not to mention make it impossible to lose weight. Take time out for yourself, get regular nature breaks, look on the bright side of things, and if possible develop a mediation practice to help diminish stress and anxiety.

10. Prep (a little). You don’t have to devote an entire Sunday afternoon to food prep but a little groundwork is necessary especially if you have a hectic work schedule and are dedicated to eating healthy. You’d be surprised at what you can get done when you get creative with your time, like throwing together a salad while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, or roasting a tray of vegetables while you’re doing the laundry. Aim to pack your lunch at least 3-4 days per week (if not more). Bring leftovers from dinner and stock your desk with a few healthy snacks so you’re ready when hunger-strikes rather than running to the nearest coffee shop for a sugar fix. Did I already mention my Raw Chocolate Energy Bombs?

As always I love hearing from you! In the comments below let me know which tips you’re already easily incorporating into your life and/or which areas you struggle with the most.

xo Elaine

Looking for a Healthy Snack? Try these!

Raw Chocolate Energy Bombs

Looking for a healthy snack to get you over the 3pm slump?

Look no further!

These little bites are packed with healthy fat, protein and have no added sugars. They’re the perfect little treat for curbing a sweet tooth while keeping blood sugar levels stable and providing a nice boost of energy.

They travel well too and are perfect for road trips, plane trips, and hikes. I personally love throwing a few of them in my bag for those occasions when I know I’m going to be out of the house for a while and will need something to get me through until I can eat again, like when I’m running errands or shopping. As you probably know, hunger is the antithesis to a successful shopping trip!

The variations to this recipe are endless, so feel free to swap ingredients and get creative. The ones below are nut-free so are also great for kids’ lunches too.

Recipe // Raw Chocolate Energy Bombs

– ½ cup of pumpkin seeds
– ½ cup of sunflower seeds
– 2 tbsp of raw cacao powder
– ½ cup of chopped dates (try Deglet Noor or Medjool)
– Pinch of sea salt
– 1-2 tbsp of water
– Shredded coconut flakes or raw cacao powder for rolling

1. Add seeds to food processor, and process until finely ground. Pulse in cacao powder, dates, and sea salt and slowly add water.
2. Form mixture into teaspoon size balls and roll them in coconut flakes, cacao powder or other topping of choice, and place on a parchment paper lined dish.
3. Store in refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 5 days or freeze them to last longer.

Makes 12-15 “bombs”


Gluten-Free Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I was a young girl I used to bake chocolate chip cookies with my grandmother in her kitchen. I have fond memories of dancing around her kitchen and dining room waiting impatiently for the cookies to finish baking. It was always the same song playing on her old record player – Music Box Dancer by Frank Mills – my favorite at that time, and I think it was probably me that kept requesting she play it again.

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about these cookies so I decided to dig up her old recipe and put my healthy spin on them. Of course the original calls for shortening, white flour, and white + brown sugar. I swapped some of the ingredients and scaled back on the sugar and what I ended up with was a delicious and “healthier” alternative to the original. I’m not sure if healthy and cookie can go in the same sentence since these are still filled with chocolate chips and sugar – albeit a natural sugar. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a sweet treat and have a hankering for chocolate chip cookies, these are a great option. And yes, they’re gluten-free yet they’re still soft and chewy. This recipe is a win!

Recipe // Gluten-Free Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

– 1/4 cup of butter
– 1/2 cup of coconut sugar
– 1 egg
– 1 tsp of vanilla extract
– 1/2 tsp of sea salt
– 1/2 tsp of baking soda
– 1/2 cup of coconut flour
– 1/2 cup of quinoa flakes
– 3/4 cup of chocolate chips

1. Mix flour, quinoa flakes, sea salt & baking soda.
2. Melt butter and mix with coconut sugar, add vanilla and (beaten) egg.
3. Stir in flour mixture. Add chocolate chips.
4. Bake for approx. 10-12 minutes @ 325 degrees.
5. Let cool for at least 10-15 minutes so they don’t break apart.

Makes approx 12 cookies.