Balance – Yoga & Nutrition! Guest Blog by Nutritionist Courtney M. Walberg, RD, NASM-CPT

Balance can be defined as “a state of equilibrium, equal distribution of weight and mental steadiness or emotional stability. It is a habit of calm behavior and judgment.” I met Joey Soto early one morning after a workout at 24-hour fitness in Santa Monica. Our conversation flowed, as we both agreed on having a “healthy balance” of nutrition and fitness in life. Joey focuses on the balance in yoga and meditation/breathing exercises for the mind, while I, as a Registered Dietitian, focus on the balance of nutrients your body requires daily through foods and beverages. Also, being a Certified Personal Trainer, I focus on implementing a fitness plan that can work in conjunction with your nutrition plan to suit your lifestyle.

Balance in regards to a stable weight can be related to the simple equation: calories in= calories out. However, this is not as easy as it sounds! There are many things that affect weight including genetics, age, height, activity level, sleep, and stress. That is why I’m here as a Registered Dietitian to help you understand which foods are healthy and the recommended portion you should eat them for a state of “equilibrium.” Nutrition is very individualized and I do not believe in a “one fits all approach.” We are not robots and therefore are not expected to eat perfectly everyday or participate in max intensity exercise daily. I believe it’s important to enjoy life and “live it to the fullest!” Moderation in all things is key to a healthy weight and lifestyle.

Are you craving a piece of chocolate or cookie, seeing that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner?” I recommend that you have a small piece! If you deprive yourself, you’re likely to find yourself overeating a large meal (or the dessert your were originally craving) later. I love the dark chocolate covered almonds with sea salt and turbinado sugar from Trader Joe’s! (If you haven’t tried them, I recommend that you go buy them today and you will not be disappointed!). The serving size is 13 almonds, however you only need two or three max to satisfy your craving in a healthy way (i.e. this dessert is high in antioxidants and monounsaturated fats which help to lower your bad cholesterol). Another healthy “sweet tooth suggestion” is to try ½ of a warm oatmeal raisin cookie and pair it with a scoop of nonfat plain Greek yogurt and fresh blueberries on top. The photo at right shows my balanced healthy breakfast of egg white vegetable omelette with avocado and fresh berries!

I encourage you to shift your focus to eat mindfully and focus on the here and now experience of eating including sight, flavor, texture, the amount of food and thoughts/feelings you have about it. I believe in treating your mind and body RIGHT! If you give your body the right nutrients, it will thank you. More importantly, when you are craving something, it is a sign that you aren’t getting enough of something else (i.e. signs of inadequate total calories or protein or heart healthy fats, antioxidants, water, etc.). Our bodies are smarter than we think and will send signals to notify us of these needs. Life is about enjoying nutrition and giving your body the “healthy fuel it needs” to carry on through the day. You will be more focused, efficient, have more energy, better blood sugar control and maintain a healthy weight when you eat “balanced meals” (small, frequent meals containing whole grains, lean proteins and heart healthy fats) throughout the day. Eat “treats” in moderation and maintain self-control. I recommend to pre portion your “treat of the day” out and then put them away in the cupboard or fridge. If you eat something like chips or cookies out of a bag or box in front of the television, you will likely lose count of how much you’ve eaten and feel overly full before you know it, not to mention the calories add up quickly! Mindless munching is common at night while relaxing after a long, stressful day. People oftentimes turn to food as comfort or as a reward, when it should never be viewed as this. Treat yourself to a massage, a manicure and/or pedicure, walk with your pet, a yoga class or game of golf, tennis, soccer or basketball with friends.

With the combination of a physical balance in yoga with Joey Soto and a nutritional physiological balance of food/beverages and looking at “food as medicine,” I believe you will reach the perfect equilibrium (hence the name of my business- Nutrition For Body And Mind). Please don’t let the stresses of the world or life, knock you off your feet! Many people make “losing weight” or “joining a gym” part of their New Years Resolutions. I recommend you shift these “resolutions” to goals that can fit into your daily lifestyle. Make SMART goals!

To find your life balance, schedule a nutrition consultation or personal training session with Courtney Walberg, Registered Dietitian, Certified Personal Trainer, and Founder of Nutrition For Body And Mind (http://www.cwnutritionforbodyandmind.com/). Healthy Regards!  - Courtney

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