Kara Nickerson, RD, PN1 is a Registered Dietitian with over a decade of experience in the fields of weight loss, functional medicine, corporate wellness and fitness, personal training/ performance enhancement specialist and private nutrition coaching. Kara is the WellAware (employee wellness program) manager and WellAware Health Coach at Inova.
Kara’s personal wellness philosophy is to create an environment that encourages people to make positive and sustainable lifestyle changes. She believes that most people have the desire to live the richest and healthiest life possible, and often only need expanded awareness and support to do so. Discussing areas of improvement, implementing even the smallest changes and constantly assessing your needs can often lead to great results.
March is National Nutrition Month!
March is one of my favorite months; National Nutrition Month and March 8 was one of my favorite days; National Registered Dietitian Day! As a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer, each March I take the chance to reevaluate my nutrition and health habits, think about my goals and/ or try something new with regards to my health. Today I would like to share a few of my favorite tools that I use to stay healthy.
www.MyFitnessPal.com or the My Fitness Pal App
Tracking your food intake can be really eye opening (I often get eye rolls when I suggest tracking to clients). You don’t need to track forever, but it is a good idea to track for a couple weeks on and off throughout the year to make sure you stay in line with your goals. While calories play a role in many individual’s goals, I am a huge believer that quality of calorie is more important than quantity. With My Fitness Pal, one of my favorite features is that you can see a pie chart each day that breaks down the percentage of macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) that you ate. More often than not, I suggest aiming for a pie chart with three similarly sized “pieces” for your daily intake*.
Try tracking your food this week. You can learn a lot about yourself
- Are your pie pieces (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) similarly sized? Is one piece much larger than another? What foods are causing this variance?
- Did you eat fruits and vegetables every single day?
- Do most of your meals contain a source of protein?
- Does that candy bowl in the office play a hand in you not reaching your goals?
*This is a suggestion. Please consult with a Registered Dietitian or Physician before drastically changing your diet.
Working Out at Home
I love working out early in the morning. It is a great stress reliever, it is time for just me and it is something I do to help me reach my health goals. Even with a workout time of 5:30a, I sometimes find that I can’t make it to the gym; work, family, laundry……something is bound to come up! Here are a few of my favorite at home (non gym) workout tools:
- Running shoes: power walking/ jogging/ running is a fabulous and cheap form of exercise. Invest in a good pair of shoes to help avoid injury. Many running stores will asses your gait and make a shoe suggestion based on it. Once you have the shoes, the apps Map My Walk or Map My Run will tell you how far you went and at what speed. The world is beautiful, go explore!
- Fitness Buddy App: This app has a library of exercises broken down by body part with “how to” pictures to ensure you have proper form. You can create your own workout or there are also pre made workouts to follow, if you prefer.
- Resistance bands: These are the exact bands I currently have under my living room couch. You can find a ton of resistance band workouts on You Tube. Many resistance band sets come with workout ideas as well.
- You Tube: I LOVE You Tube for at home workouts. Here are some You Tube videos I have used.
- Fitness Blender
- 30 Day Yoga Revolution
- Mommy Trainer (20-30 minute workouts)
- Daily Burn
- Zumba workout – search this term and pick your favorite!
I understand that “Plan” is not necessarily a “tool”, but it is something we need to do to be successful.
Plan when you will workout. Are you, or can you be a morning person? Obstacles between you and your workout will be more prevalent in the evening. At 5am, typically, an alarm clock is your biggest obstacle.
Plan all or some of your meals for the week. I plan out my lunches and the family dinners each week. I try to prepare as many lunches and dinners on Sunday as I can for the week. The least amount of planning I have to do during the week, the better.
Plan your grocery trips. When you have your meals for the week decided, you essentially have your grocery list made. My grocery store has an app that you can create your list on. It automatically put my list in order of how the products are displayed in the store. A list also keeps me from buying food that I don’t need in the house and ensures I have healthy options to choose from during the week. Efficient grocery shopping makes me happy!
These are some of my favorite tools. What are some of your favorite tools? What do you do to stay motivated and healthy?