Being a great Health Coach is more than just possessing the knowledge to help others improve their health and sharing health quotes and pretty looking plates of food. Those looking to make changes in their lifestyle are looking up to our profession for inspiration, so, our work needs to be “true love made visible” so it can have the power to make an impact on others, to touch them and inspire them to self-betterment and becoming better versions of themselves.
For me, Health Coaching is a calling. People are looking up to us not just for our knowledge, but how authentic we are in our message. We need to be relatable, honest, real, with compassion and kindness for those who are struggling and yet have strength to tell them the truth, the way things are and reality of the journey ahead, not just give a lip service. And we also need to have integrity to show up every day and be first in line who take inspired action in our own lifestyle to show what is possible, commit to our own self-betterment so we indeed can be great in our profession. Integrity is when we do the right thing when no one is watching. People can spot a fraud. We give it away in our energy or lack of it. You can not fake authenticity. Authenticity is beautiful. There are people I follow because they are honest and authentic. It also takes skill to be able to comunicate it right, but energy is always there and can not be faked.
This article is not just about to show what I do on a daily basis, something I am asked about all the time. Following Get.Healthy.With.Sanela on Instagram would pretty much answer that. I also wish to communicate something much deeper than my “dear diary”while I also give those who asked me what they were looking for.
I am inspired to write something rather different today. Something personal. And yet, something that concerns those who desire, sometimes desperately, to get healthy. I hope it gives hope.
You see, I have been healthy most of my life. I started being conscious about food when my mother’s breast cancer and her pure will to survive has inspired her to seek alternative ways of beating it on top of cancer treatment she received. Based on what I now know, she choose foods that reduce inflammation in her body naturally through seeking answers in plant-based diet and that gave her body a fighting chance to heal itself. I don’t even think she knew why she did what she did, she just knew instinctively by being open to natural healing she picked up from books and advice from people who had knowledge about the natural healing of plants… Fast forward 40+ years, she is a healthy 78-year-old still inspiring with her attitude to health and taking care of herself.
I was only an eight year old girl at the time when she had breast cancer. I remember waking up every day with a fear that I would lose her to cancer. I was fully aware what was going on. She made close friendships with nine other ladies in Zagreb clinic where they were all treated and all shared one room. Over the next 12 months, I remember phone calls she received being notified of their passing on, one by one. My father was my rock at the time. Hers too. I remember overhearing her crying to him saying that she feels lesser than a woman after the operation. He replied: “You at least have one. Look at me, I have none!” She laughed. And retold that story many times after that. We still remember it. Support is everything sometimes. When you feel you are at your lowest point, it can mean the difference between you giving up and picking yourself up again. Support is love. And I felt it. I still feel it. And I am better person for it. I am so grateful for this experience early on. It shaped who I am today.
Almost every single day, more and more studies are proving that sugar is addictive and it plays a major role in the development of many major diseases from heart disease, diabetes, cancers, Alzheimer’s, just to name a few.
So, everyone knows it is bad for us and yet we still indulge in it daily, some perhaps even unaware of its addictive properties.
So, what can we do about it? More importantly, dear reader, could you, perhaps, be one of many who is eating too much sugar?
Some obvious signs that you may be addicted to sugar are:
You constantly crave sugar and simple carbohydrate foods like bread, pastries, cakes, biscuits, coffee with sugar, etc…
You crave meat and salty foods (as a way for body to seek balance as you are eating too much sweet foods – and it works vice versa too),
You can not stop eating simple carbohydrates and “will power” simply does not work
You eat them so much and can get to the point of being sick from the quantity you have eaten?
If any of the above is YOU – yes, you indeed may be eating way too much sugar or simple carbohydrates, in general.
But, do not worry as you are not the only one and it can be changed.
I used to be the same. For years. Because I ate healthily the rest of the time, I convinced myself that it was OK. Everything in balance, right?
Feeling that I was not in control and could not stop was driving me crazy.
Nutella was the poison of my choice… I would sneak into the kitchen just to have “one little teaspoon”. And then I kept going for more, until I felt I was going to be sick or realising that in the space of two to three days it was all gone. Guilt galore!
The truth is, with that action, I was undoing all the great work I was doing the rest of the day. Because of the way I felt emotionally (guilty, frustrated, disappointed) as well as physically (possible diarrhea, stomach pain, occasional spots on my face), I decided to take action…
Most people have their poison. What is yours?
Whatever it is, I can assure you that it can be kicked.
The truth is, we all need a small amount of sugar to function.
Government has set daily adult sugar intake to a limit of 90 grams for adults (it includes natural and added sugars), whilst there is no guidance on children’s upper overall sugar limit intake.
There is, however, guidance on the amount of free sugars or added sugar. That limit for adults is 25 grams for women and 37 grams for men, whilst it is, on average, 25 grams for children (depending on the age, it ranges from 19 grams for 4-6 year olds, to 30 grams for children aged 11 and above.)
To put it all in perspective, one can of fizzy drink or a fruit juice is around 40 grams of sugar. So, just this puts us over the limit and you can imagine how much more we could be having if we have a cake or biscuit on top, start our day with cereals or pastries, put dressing on our salads or sauces over our food (that are high in both sugar as well as salt), etc. No wonder we are addicted.
On average, research shows that children, in particular, have three times more sugar than they should on a daily basis. Adults are right there too. It has been estimated that an average Brit is eating sugar by pounds, over 100 lbs of sugar per year.
Have a look what the health implications are for sugar over consumption:
Cycle of sugar highs and lows, which effect our energy levels throughout the day, focus and concentration as well as our moods.
Same cycle causes us to over eat and store excess weight, which, in turn, can lead to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, just to name a few major conditions that have all been linked to sugar.
It lowers our immunity making us more susceptible to immunity related conditions.
It causes tooth decay that has become more and more common in children
So, given health implications, we must kick the sugar habit, like our life depended on it – because it does!
The science shows that eating sugar emits the same signals in our brain that drugs, such as cocaine, activate. It is easy to give a solution to a healthy, active lifestyle, but, given the nature of sugar, my experience tells me that it is easier said than done.
However, it CAN be done and you CAN do it, you must believe in this!
Here are some tips how you can start kicking the sugar addiction:
Eat three meals and two to three snacks OR five to six small meals a day. For most people, if you don’t eat regularly, your blood sugar level will drop – hunger sets in and so does the craving for sugary/ carby snacks.
Eating a good, balanced breakfast is essential to prevent sugar cravings. I recommend a very special Healthy Breakfast to all my clients that my whole family use that is easy, quick and nutritious and gives body all it needs in a perfect balance. The typical breakfast full of carbs and sugary or starchy foods is the worst option since you’ll have cravings all day (cereals/ bread etc.).
Try to incorporate protein, fibre & fat with each meal. This helps control blood sugar levels. Make sure they are healthy sources of each. Example: Tofu or oily Fish combined with large salad made out of courgettes, carrots, tomato & pepper in a little olive oil and fresh lemon juice.
Take a Pharmaceutical Grade multivitamin and mineral supplement, Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin D3. Nutrient deficiencies can make cravings worse and the fewer nutrient deficiencies, the fewer cravings. Certain nutrients seem to improve blood sugar control including Chromium, Vitamin B3 and Magnesium. Rather than buying them separately, Good quality Multivitamin & Mineral is preferable.
Add naturally sweet foods to your meal: Use a little bit of raw honey rather than sugar is far better alternative. Squash & sweet potato instead of potatoes. In the evenings have plain yoghurt with some berries or some warm honey water. Have a piece of fruit instead of a cake!
Cleanse Your Colon. There are parasites that live in the colon and feed on sugar, making us crave refined sugars and carbs even more. I recommend an amazing programme that helps cleanse colon – Your skin will clear up, you’ll have more energy and retain less water, and pretty much everything in your body will feel and look better than ever, not to mention your sugar cravings disappearing.
Spice It Up. Spices such as cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, cloves & cardamom will naturally sweeten your foods and reduce cravings.
Analyse. Write down when and why you are craving sugar to help you come up with what triggers are and a plan to break the cycle.
Explore the emotional issues around your sugar addiction. We could be substituting an emotional need that isn’t being met with sugar.
Get enough sleep. When tired, we often turn to sugar for energy. Also, it triggers cortisol, fat storing hormone that encourages weight gain.
Break habits that involve sugar. Watching late TV, going for a coffee with a friend or to a party almost always involve some sugary food. Read a book instead, occupy yourself, plan your outing and commit before going out to what you will eat and drink and, of course, make a healthy choice.
Practice Distraction. If it works with children, it works for adults too. It is said that cravings usually last for 10-20 minutes maximum. If you can distract yourself with something else, like going for a walk, it often passes. The more you do this, the easier it gets and the cravings get easier to deal with and you will develop habit how to deal with them.
Get Active. Whatever form of exercise you do, be it yoga, walking, dance swimming – it will boost your energy & mood, relieve tension and decrease your need for a sugar high. Exercise has been found to have a positive effect on our blood sugar levels.
No sugary snacks in the house or office. Out of sight – out of mind! Go cold turkey! Sometimes, this is the only way.
Get Educated on food labels. Educate yourself about what you’re putting into your body. Learn to read labels. Food can be very cleverly marketed and that yoghurt that is portrayed as healthy could be loaded with sugar.
Watch Hidden Sugars. Sauces, dips, soups, baked beans, etc… are all loaded with sugar (and salt).
Watch Sugars in Disguise. Most of the complex carbohydrates we consume like bread, including whole wheat, cereals, bagels and pasta aren’t really complex at all – they are highly refined & act just like sugars in the body. Same with fruit juices. It is not a substitute for fruit. 330ml of fruit juice contain over 40 grams of sugar – like eating several bananas in one go! The same sugar content as in one can of coke.
Drink lots of Water. Sometimes we are thirsty rather than hungry. Drinking water can help with the sugar cravings.
Eliminate added Salt – as mentioned above, in the same way as too much sugar makes us crave salty foods and meats – also is true that too many salty foods and animal products, especially processed meats, will make us crave sugar as a body’s way of seeing balance.
Work on your Mindset. This may be the final point, but do not underestimate it. It could be the one that makes all the difference. Your mind is powerful beyond measure. You can only achieve an idea if it is clearly planted in your mind and remains a daily focus. Where focus goes, energy flows. Focus on being healthy with vibrant energy and at your goal weight. Why? Because life is a lot more beautiful when you are not sick or lack energy or when can move effortlessly because you are not carrying excess weight. You already know what to choose in order to have that kind of health. It is not easy, but it is worth it! That is how you truly honour the gift you were given that is your body.
Here is to kicking the sugar habit! Because you are worth it! You are sweet & beautiful already!
I would also like to invite you to take a FREE ONLINE Wellness Evaluation and find out how well your own diet is balanced.
Thank you for reading!
Your Partner in Health,
Free Wellness Evaluation
If you are not getting the weight management and health results that you are after, Wellness Evaluation can help analyse your diet and find areas where you may be falling short and recommend solutions.
It will help you understand what changes need to happen and why in order to take your health to the next level in a healthy and balanced way…
Local clients can also enjoy the benefit of a Full Body Composition Analysis…
Rome has not been built in one day and our attempt to improve our physique and health should pretty much be approached with bearing the same in mind… We need a plan, patience & vision. Those with vision move even in darkness. Our vision for ourselves is best when not focused on the outside appearance alone as our health and beauty are a lot more than just skin deep. Our vision needs to be strong and inspire action every day, which will make us more patient and committed to a long term goals. Then we need a plan that is simple, even fun and that nourishes us on our path to becoming the best version of ourselves.
One of the biggest mistakes we all make is waiting for the “perfect storm”, that perfect moment to start something new… to start a new diet, to stop smoking, to look for a better job, start that project, make an important phone call, study for the exam… The only perfect moment is RIGHT NOW. Delaying action whilst waiting for that perfect opportunity is simply procrastination and the more we do it, the more we develop a habit of it that can be very costly.
Whether we need to lose weight or just mintain healthy metabolism and energy, science proves that eating five smaller meals in proper balance and frequency is of what makes the difference. It certainly works for my weight management clients. Proper balance is reached where snack has on average 10 grams of protein and is under 150 calories. This is one of those examples. 3-4 courgette strips with a small cube or slither of goats or feta cheese, seasoned and then curled and baked for 10 minutes and served on its own or even 1-2 egg whites for even more low calories protein. This is very tasty and very easy to make. Also, could be a great party finger food. Enjoy! 🙂
Cooking does not need to be complicated. What is important for any meal is for it to be balanced. I am not a cook book kind of girl, I have no interest in following long complicated recipes as life is too short and, while it seems that lot of my life revolves around food because I talk about it, help people with it, cook it, take pretty photographs of it (as photography is my second passion) and then talk more about it – I actually do not enjoy it when process is too lengthy. I cook completely the opposite way most people do. Most people might think what they will have or what meal they would like to cook after they see a recipe, get ingredients and then cook. I, instead, buy food making sure I have dairy, meat, meat free options, grains, fruit and vegetables (so, all major food groups)… I open up a fridge and it almost as if talks to me: “Have this!”, “Try this”, “Have that!”. I like my meals to be delicious, I strive for balance and high nutritional content, but also I aim for as little cooking time as possible. In my world – this is a true WIN WIN.
So, why go through a whole trouble of replacing food staple such as bread and putting, instead, grilled sliced aubergines or courgettes instead? Simple, bread makes me bloated, as it does quite a few people I know. Also, 1 slice of bread happens to be the recommended Government serving of carbs per mal, so, two slices needed for a sandwich just makes the whole meal go out of balance. Yes, even if you use wholemeal/ whole grain (and I hope you doo)… You see, any excess carbs will be stored as fat and anything more than one single slice will pretty much put majority of people in exactly that kind of scenario and we do not want that.
So, finding a way to enjoy sandwiches whilst being pretty smart about it, is quite cool and, as I found, even more delicious. Breadless sandwiches are a great way to enjoy your light dinner or lunch with a difference. Grilled aubergines and courgettes filled with egg omelette, tomato, spinach and feta cheese,are above pictured. I sometimes even put grilled chicken and vegetables. Absolutely delightful, balanced and delicious with added fibre and nutrients.
Alternatively, have an open sandwich, like the one pictured below. My option for that is usually rye bread. Or to avoid highly processed what bread – use spelt bread… still one slice if you want your meal well-balanced. I wont apologise for this advice, you may actually thank me for it 🙂 as it may revolutionise your weight management efforts. You are welcome.
Grilled Aubergine sandwitch bites with chicken and pepper relish
These are an ideal snack as well as a side to your meal. A couple of Portobello Mushrooms, stuffed with some cottage cheese or spinach with goats cheese, placed under a grill for 10 minutes and, voila – couple of them are under 150 calories snack with over 10 grams of protein and some fibre. Fabulous snack when at home and really being keen on having something different. This is it! Sprinkle with some chilli flakes, sit back and enjoy! Break time! 🙂
Here is a delicious way to enjoy Formula 1 Healthy Meal. There are a lot of recipes how to make a delicious chia pudding for breakfast, this one ultimately ticks all the boxes as it will have more protein, more nutrients and more fibre than your typical chia pudding and would be classified as a meal in itself so you can rest assured body is getting all the nutrients in a perfect balance.
Jenni has been my client for 6 months now and it was one of those moments when she first came to CobraFIT initially that I felt instant connection that I usually feel with people who are just open, kind individuals. You just have to love Jenni. Whenever there is a new participant at CobraFIT, I know Jenni will immediately try to give them some tips and advice, be kind, tell them how good the plan is working for her and make them at ease. I am so grateful to have Jenni as part of our community, such an invaluable member and now very dear friend too. Here is Jenni’s story to date…
“I met Sanela as I had signed up for her Cobrafit workout. My journey back to health, up to that point, had been slow to get off the ground and I was looking for a weight training style of workout to compliment my other excercise.
Lejla has been a client for three years now, today being her anniversary of getting started initially and has, on her journey, inspired many around her to take the next step. She is an invaluable member of our Herbalife USA Eat Clean Support Group and I am so grateful for her loyalty and support. I have not met Lejla yet, but surely look forward to visiting Washington in not so distant future. Thank you so much for your feedback, Lejla, delighted you too have been inspired to dream bigger and I know you will continue to be an inspiration… Here it is…