Allow me to introduce my former colleague, Kimberly Daly! Kim and I worked together many moons ago at Good Housekeeping, when we were both young and energetic Editorial Assistants. I went to my first editorial event with her, and I remember thinking she was so chic and sophisticated. (I still do!) Kim has gone on to do a lot of exciting things since then, including becoming a Beauty Editor and a Certified Health Coach and Healthy Living Expert. She’s been published in Marie Claire, Shape, Parents Girl’s Life – just to name a few. And she practices what she preaches – she’s run 3 (3!!) marathons and has her own running, nutrition and lifestyle blog called Some Kind Of Runderful.
Kim has always been super helpful to me whenever I had nutrition or running questions. After I took the bar exam this past summer, I was plump, out of shape and lethargic. With her help I lost about 10 pounds, and worked my way up to running 4 miles a day! (When I started I couldn’t even make it a 1/2 mile without stopping). She’s even inspired me to sign up for nutrition classes, so I can pass on even more useful information to you!
So, when I noticed that as the holiday season progressed that my jeans were getting a wee bit tight from all my holiday and birthday splurging, I decided to turn to Kim again for some healthy eating tips – and pass them on to you! Now that that 2014 is here I’m totally trying to get my eating and fitness back on track – and if you are too then these tips are just what you need!
Jen: After overeating over the holidays, what is the best way to try to lose weight/ improve your health and what are some of the mistakes people make when trying to do this?
Kim: Eating more than usual over the holidays does two things. It puts your body into storage mode—which leads to weight gain. And it creates an association in your brain that an uncomfortably full stomach equals happiness—we typically stuff ourselves silly when surrounded by loved ones in relaxed, joyful settings. That leads to most of us making two major mistakes when we try to drop those extra pounds.
The first is to drastically reduce calorie intake, or to stop eating all together. When your body is lead to believe that food is scarce and another meal won’t be coming any time soon, it tries to conserve what it has in storage by slowing down your metabolism. Your body is hardwired to last through a famine, so it will burn fewer calories when you stop eating at regular intervals.
The second mistake is that we tend to put shame around weight gain and devalue ourselves for splurging when the holidays are over, which only hinders our ability to lose weight. Your emotions have a huge impact on your digestive system and your cravings, too. When you’re down on yourself, your metabolism is depressed and it’s harder to resist comfort foods and other treats. It’s so easy to become blue after the holidays—the parties are over, your relatives fly home, and there you are dealing with the cold, dark days of winter alone. Adding that shame is only making things worse.
The best way to lose weight is to keep eating, but to fill up on lower calorie fare. Aim for three meals and two snacks per day, never going more than four hours without eating, except when sleeping, and lean on whole foods (nothing packaged or processed), like fruits, veggies, nuts, and grains.
Jen: What are the best foods to do this?
Kim: I like to focus on warm vegetable dishes, like roasted brussels spouts and creamy butternut squash. Broth-based soups, stews, and baked veggies are great because they’re low in calories and warm and comforting, too.
Jen: Is detoxing really good for you? And if so what is the best way to detox and the best foods to do so?
Kim: Going on a detox diet or doing a cleanse can be beneficial if you do it right—for most people that means only being super restrictive for about three to five days. Detox diets and cleanses can help you refocus on your health and push toxins out of your body, but I don’t recommend juice cleanses this time of year. They tend to leave you feeling too light and cold, which can turn on cravings for refined carbohydrates, like bread and pasta, and dairy.
You can get similar results by adding more whole veggies to your diet—it’s essentially a solid-food cleanse. Nutrients in green vegetables, like spinach, kale, broccoli, asparagus, and brussels sprouts push toxins that are stored in your fat cells out of your body, removing the need to hang on to those love handles. The extra fiber also improves digestion and helps you feel full making you less likely to crave junk.
Jen: What are the benefits of a plant based diet to losing weight/improving health?
Kim: Plant-based diets offer big time benefits! They rid your body of toxins, help you reach your ideal weight without much effort, and greatly improve your cardiovascular health—all that improved blood flow causes the rest of your body to function optimally, too. If you decide to focus on one health goal for 2014, I hope it’s eating more vegetables!
Jen: What are easy fitness changes people can make to help?
Kim: Stop thinking of fitness as something you have to do. Fitness should be fun! I repeat: Fitness should be fun! There’s no rule that says you have to spend an hour a day slogging it out on an elliptical machine, while staring at a gym wall.
Get outside! Skip up a hill—don’t laugh, this can make you a faster, stronger runner if that’s your goal. Invite your friends for a power walk and some girl time. Find an activity that you love—adult kickball, soccer, roller skating, anything!—and make that part of your routine. You’re more likely to stick to an exercise plan that makes you smile than one you dread.
And just keep moving! You’ve heard the little suggestions before: Take the stairs, park in the furthest spot possible, get off the bus one stop early—they really do add up. Being more active in general will increase your calorie burn and enhance your weight loss efforts.
Jen: Thank you, Kim, for so much helpful advice!
I don’t know about everyone else, but I really want to start 2014 off right (even if the first few days weren’t all that healthy) and I think these tips will help me, big time. I’m going to really try to motivate myself to start running again – even though it’s so cold out. The carrot in front of me is that it will help my skiing, and help me fit into my ski pants….
To that end, I have a super yummy recipe for you based on Kim’s tips! Its a healthy butternut squash soup – courtesy of my Mom! She made it for me for my birthday and I realized that it would be the perfect recipe share with Kim’s advice and kick off a year of healthy eating!
My Mom took a delicious sounding but fairly unhealthy recipe (it called for bacon and sour cream) that she found on All Recipes and turned the whole thing on it’s head – reworking it into a delicious and very healthy soup for my birthday dinner. I was lucky enough to bring the leftovers up to Vermont with me, and used it as a warming lunch after a day in the cold.
This soup totally fits the bill for Kim’s tips for a healthier new year, and a healthier you! I hope you like it as much as I did!!
- 2 small Butternut Squash (or 1 small butternut squash and 1 acorn squash), peeled, seeded and cubed
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 1 large Onion, Chopped
- 5 stalks Celery, chopped
- 5 Carrots, chopped
- 1 Parsnip, chopped
- 2 Bay leaves
- 3 1/2 teaspoons Curry Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon Thyme
- 1 Apple, peeled, cored and cubed
- 4 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 3/4 Apple Cider
- 1 1/2 quarts Vegetable Stock
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Place squash in a large bowl and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, mix to coat and sprinkled with salt and pepper and spread in a single layer in a pan.
- Roast squash in oven, turning once, until fork tender. Approximately 30 - 40 minutes.
- Place 1 tablespoon olive oil with the onion, celery, carrot, parsnip, bay leaves, curry powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a dutch oven and cook over medium high heat, until soft.
- Add apples and squash and cook for 5 more minutes, then add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
- Pour the apple cider over the mixture, and reduce heat to medium low and bring to a simmer. Allow mixture to reduce it's volume by half, then add vegetable stock and cook for 20 more minutes.
- Puree the soup in small batches in a blender, or use an immersion blender. Always use caution when blending hot liquids to not burn yourself with any splashes.
- Serve hot. Enjoy!