By: Dr. Stephanie Duffey
With the holidays coming to a close, it’s a great time to reflect on what happened in 2019 and look ahead to 2020. If you’re like me, you probably have a million ideas for what you’d like to achieve in the new year. It’s hard not to get caught up in the idea that you have to make huge changes the second January 1 hits. I’m here to tell you that while I admire your ambition, there’s a better way to achieve what you’ve set out to accomplish. In this post, I’ll outline how to set long-term goals (not short-term resolutions) so you can crush 2020!
One big goal can seem daunting and unattainable. But one small adjustment per month–now that’s more realistic! Consider breaking your large goal into smaller milestones. Weight loss is a common one that I hear about often so let’s break it down using a six-month tracker.
Notice that you can make a huge undertaking feel much more manageable by simply splitting out what you want to achieve into consumable, monthly or daily to-do’s. Much like I recommend keeping a food journal, I also recommend that you track any progress or setback you experience each month. This holds you accountable and helps you understand where you need to continue to make changes, and where you thrive.
Good luck with your long-terms goals this new year and if you want help from an expert, let’s chat!
By: Dr. Stephanie Duffey
The holidays are always a time of year where we spend time with loved ones, bundle up, and of course indulge! We’ve all been at a family gathering where we’ve gone back for a third roll (or dessert), only to regret it later. Often this spirals into the unrealistic declaration that we’re “never touching carbs again.” And then we try…and fail…and the cycle repeats. Sound familiar?
I’ve been there too and my personal philosophy is not about restriction—it’s about balance. What if I told you, you could feel better about the choices you’re making and enjoy that slice of grandma’s famous apple pie? Here are a few of my tips for mindful eating, especially around the holiday season.
1. Focus on a nutrition plan, not a diet
Unless you have a food intolerance or allergy, try not to think about eliminating entire food groups. I hate to even use the word “diet,” because when I think of nutrition, I don’t like to think of cutting things out. A balanced plate is the best kind of plate.
2. Choose minimally processed foods
A great place to start is by reading nutrition labels, or choosing foods that don’t require a nutrition label. For packaged foods, the fewer ingredients, the better. Another tip is to look for ingredients you recognize. Try to avoid labels with overly complex ingredients like monosodium glutamate, sucralose, or other nearly indistinguishable words. Instead, stick to a wide variety of fruits and veggies, lean proteins, and foods as close to the ground as possible.
3. Keep a food journal
I know it sounds tedious but I can’t tell you how beneficial it is to physically track what you’re consuming. Journaling about what you’re putting into your body offers good insights to habits and holds you accountable. It also allows you to easily identify how you feel after eating certain foods. You may start to notice patterns. For example, eating sugar could make you feel lethargic or more prone to headaches. Maybe it will even force you to think twice before eating that sugar cookie.
4. Ensure you’re hydrating (with the right liquids)
Hydrating with the right liquids not only helps curb hunger, but it’s also essential in keeping everything running smoothly in your body. Try to stick to water and sparkling water rather than sugary drinks. If you like coffee or tea, consume these in moderation and be aware that they can cause dehydration when consumed in large quantities. Make it your goal to drink half your weight in ounces of water. So, if you weigh 130lbs, your goal is to drink 65oz of water.
5. Let it go!
This one is really important to remember. The holidays are meant to be fun, so be mindful but enjoy yourself. If you had one roll too many, or that slice of pie you didn’t need, let it go and look at each meal as an opportunity to fuel and nourish your body with care.
I hope you enjoy all the wonderful food and time with your loved ones this holiday season!
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By: Dr. Stephanie Duffey
As a physical therapist, I’m often asked the question, “How do I know when I need to slow down, stop, or keep going?” It’s a valid question, and one that many people struggle to identify. It’s challenging to interpret what you’re feeling in your body, when you can push harder, and when you need to scale back. So, to keep things simple, I came up with a little something I like to call the stoplight method. Let’s break it down.
Green Light: When you’re operating at the green light level, you’re able to exercise with no aches and pains and you may even be looking for ways to intensify your workouts. If you’re a runner, you’d be able to maintain the current pace or distance that you’re following with no discomfort. This is where you want to be (but I know this isn’t always possible or realistic).
What to do: Maintain what you’re doing, or experiment with advancing to the next level. For runners, this means working toward a faster pace or increasing your mileage.
Yellow Light: Signs to look for if you’re approaching the yellow light include light soreness or achiness that persists for more than 24 hours after your run, a small limp when running (but not when walking), and slight swelling of your joints after a run.
What to do: Slow down a bit—this is your body telling you to back-off. Take a rest day and re-evaluate how you’re feeling. Try to recognize patterns. For example, maybe your knees start to hurt when it’s time to get new running shoes, so take a trip to the shoe store! Listen to your body and take action if there’s a behavior you need to change to feel better and enhance your performance.
Red Light: If you’re approaching the red light, you’re experiencing very sharp pain that stops you in your tracks. The pain is debilitating and you are unable to walk without a limp. You may be experiencing intense swelling in your joints and intense discomfort that doesn’t subside after 24 hours.
What to do: It’s time to consult an expert. You may be at risk of a stress fracture or other serious injury. While it’s challenging to seek help and cease physical activity, it’s important to be seen by an expert early, so your injury doesn’t intensify. You may also be able to recover more quickly if you get help for the problem earlier rather than later.
I hope my simple stoplight method helps you identify how to deal with the pain you may be experiencing in your body and the action steps you need to take to feel better.
Need help from an expert? Let’s chat!
By: Dr. Stephanie Duffey
Hi, I’m glad you’re here because I’m thrilled to launch our new blog! In early 2019, I founded Empower Physio & Wellness because I’ve always valued the power of movement and physical activity for overall well-being. I wanted to offer more to my clients while sharing my passion for helping people–especially women, unleash their inner strength.
This is the exciting next step in my journey as a business owner. Whether you’re looking for advice about how to deal with back pain, tips for eating mindfully throughout the holiday season, or how to reach your goals, you can find this (and more) here on the blog.
Leave a comment below and let me know a topic that you’re interested in reading about.
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