Anxieties Around Sugar Consumption

NOVA Sports Nutrition sugar intake

Anxieties around consuming sugar have become increasingly prevalent in modern society as awareness of its potential health impacts has grown. Many people worry about the effects of excessive sugar intake on their overall well-being, including weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and dental issues. This concern is not unfounded, as there are many studies that have linked high sugar consumption to these health problems.

Part of the anxiety surrounding sugar consumption comes from its presence in our modern diet. Sugar is not only found in obvious sources like sweets and sugary drinks but also in a lot of processed foods, including sauces, dressings, and even snacks that “seem” healthy. This makes it difficult for people to control their sugar intake which then leads to feelings of frustration and anxiety for those trying to make healthier dietary choices.

The conflicting information in the media and online can also contribute to uncertainty and anxiety about sugar. While some sources emphasize the detrimental effects of sugar on health, others try to downplay its risks or promote alternative sweeteners as healthier options. This conflicting advice can leave people feeling confused and anxious about making the right choices for their health.

To address these anxieties and make informed decisions about sugar consumption, it’s very important to educate ourselves about the role of sugar in our diet, its potential health effects, and strategies for reducing intake. Fortunately, there are many educational resources available to help you navigate these concerns such as The American Heart Association and Dietary Guidelines For Americans. 

Managing sugar anxieties can be difficult, but there are several strategies that can help you navigate your concerns more effectively:

  • Read Labels: Become familiar with reading food labels to identify sources of added sugars in packaged foods. Look out for terms like sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, and other sugar derivatives.
  • Focus on Whole Foods: Incorporate more whole foods into your diet, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. These foods are naturally low in added sugars and provide essential nutrients.
  • Limit Processed Foods: Minimize your consumption of processed and packaged foods, as these usually contain hidden sugars. Opt for homemade meals and snacks whenever possible to have more control over ingredients. 
  • Practice Moderation: You don’t have to cut out sugar entirely to be healthy. Instead, focus on moderation and mindful eating. Enjoy your favorite sweet treats occasionally, but be mindful of portion sizes.
  • Find Alternatives: Experiment with natural sugars or sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or stevia as alternatives to refined sugars. Just remember to use them in moderation.
  • Stay Hydrated: Sometimes, feelings of hunger or cravings can be mistaken for thirst. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and curb cravings.
  • Manage Stress: Stress can trigger cravings for sugary foods, so finding healthy ways to manage stress can help reduce the urge to overindulge in sweets. Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
  • Plan Ahead: Plan your meals and snacks in advance to avoid impulsive decisions when hunger strikes. Having healthy options readily available can help you make better choices.
  • Seek Support: If sugar consumption anxieties are significantly impacting your well-being, consider seeking support from a registered dietitian, therapist, or support group. Talking to others who share similar concerns can provide validation and practical advice.

Remember, it’s normal to have concerns about sugar consumption, but it’s important not to let those anxieties control your life. By adopting healthy eating habits and finding a balance that works for you, you can enjoy a varied and satisfying diet while prioritizing your health and well-being.

NOVA Sports Nutrition is here to help you make food choices that align with your health goals. Whether you’re training for a team sport, endurance race, physique competition, or to improve your health generally, NOVA can create a workout plan to help you reach your goal. We take the guesswork out of meal planning and will help you to take control of your diet once and for all!

Nutrition counseling services are provided via secure video chat or in-person in Northern Virginia. Please reach out via the contact page or schedule a free discovery call to learn more about pricing for our nutrition services!

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Mindful Eating for Athletes

NOVA mindful eating

Mindful eating involves deliberate focus on your internal and external environments. The aim is to increase your presence during eating by consciously consuming food using all your senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound). Most people however are eating mindlessly.  Mindless eating or eating without purpose, may cause your body to get confused about what, when or why you need to eat and may become driven by external cues to eat. These external cues may include: eating because others are eating or because food is in front of you and responding to appetite signals (i.e. food smells good) over hunger signals (grumbling stomach). Overeating is also common with mindless eating because you may eat too quickly to register fullness. This can impact body composition, efficient fueling for training, sleep, and your relationship with food. All of this may ultimately impact health and sports performance.  

The use of mindful eating aims to increase awareness of hunger cues of the body and fullness signals, eating with purpose and intuition. In general, your body has an instinctive way of knowing just what it needs to maintain weight and sustain health. Eating mindfully can assist the athlete in building skills in the selection of foods and quantities necessary to support training and competition needs of the body. Mindfulness practices and eating strategies for athletes can help reduce stress, improve overall quality of life, improve sleep, and even reduce the risk of injury.

Mindful eating strategies for athletes go beyond simple fueling guidelines. Mindful eating is about bringing together the ideas of what your body needs physically and also using inner wisdom (what we know and understand about ourselves and our bodies). This will help athletes succeed in figuring out individualized fueling and training plans in addition to fostering a healthy relationship with food. 

Increasing awareness of internal cues like hunger, energy and appetite and understanding what the body is trying to tell you can help to ascertain dietary energy requirements day-to-day. Being mindful of the food you are eating and the role it plays in fueling your body and being grateful for how food helps you develop and increase performance, rather than just taste and convenience, will help drive better choices to serve the body’s needs to perform at your best. 

Minimizing distractions during meals is a great way to get started with mindful eating. Other habits can include chewing your food more thoroughly, savoring each bite, and evaluating how you feel before, during, and after your meal.

Mindful Eating is Useful for Athletes

  • Increase awareness of your physical and emotional cues for eating
  • Understand the impact that training has on your body’s signals of hunger and fullness and when fueling the body is a priority
  • Develop strategies to foster a healthy relationship with food 
  • Decrease over-thinking, stress and self-criticism associated with dietary intake and eat for enjoyment and nourishment.  
  • Allow intake to be flexible with variations in training load from day-to-day and eating to meet training demands on a busy schedule
  • Assist in building skills in the selection of appropriate foods and quantities to support training loads
  • Reduce overeating or overcompensating intake for something you missed
  • Empower decision making and ownership over intake
  • Increase ability to adapt to unforeseen circumstances and still make a good food choice (on the road eating before and after competition)
  • Help with positive weight management and altering body composition
  • Develop strategies to foster a healthy relationship with food, reduce disordered eating, and prevent under-fueling

Tips to Help Athletes Achieve Mindful Eating

  • Eat meals without distractions by focusing on what you are eating
  • Acknowledge your meal time by sitting down to eat and dedicate time for eating
  • Avoid eating “on-the-go” when you can, so that you can focus more attention to eating
  • Prior to eating, take 10 seconds and pause to check-in with yourself and identify your internal cues to eat, and what role that food will play in fueling your training or health.  
  • Understand that you do not need to finish everything on your plate, stop eating when full and put the leftovers away for another meal.
  • Just like your sport and training, mindful eating takes practice to master; be persistent and patient, and change will come.

If you are looking to adopt more mindful eating habits, try some of these tips to enjoy food more while improving performance. Focus on making positive memories, enjoying your favorite foods, and banning any feelings of guilt over food choices. If you still feel anxious about food choices send Nikky a message and she will be happy to offer additional support!

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Growing Your Own Vegetables

NOVA gardening

Gardening is a great option to provide healthy food options for your family. Gardening is also a great way to get some physical activity, fresh air and sunshine. Gardening outside connects you with nature and can destress the body. Vegetable gardens can save you money on grocery bills.  Families who create gardens eat more fruits and vegetables than those who do not. 

Let’s start with some of the best fruits and vegetables to grow in Northern Virginia: 

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Lettuce and Leafy Greens
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini and Squash
  • Beans
  • Berries (Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries)
  • Herbs (Basil, Parsley, Mint, Oregano)
  • Broccoli and Cauliflower
  • Carrots and Radishes

Once you’ve figured out what you’d like to grow, follow these tips for beginner gardeners:

  • Before you start digging, choose a location that takes into consideration the size of the garden you want, the type of plants you want to grow and your climate. 
  • The amount of sunlight each area gets; some plants need full sun while others tolerate partial shade.
  • Consider how much time you have to garden; you can start small and gradually increase the size of your garden, as you gain experience.
  • Water plants regularly, at the base of the plant and early in the day. Clear weeds from your garden regularly; weeds compete with plants for water. 
  • The best time to plant a garden varies depending on your climate. In general, you should plant when the soil is warm and the weather is consistently temperate. Consult the National Gardening Association website  for the best time to start planting your garden and other helpful tips. 

It’s always a good idea to consult with local gardening resources on your journey. Check out the Virginia Cooperative Extension for specific advice tailored to your area. Lastly, if starting a garden is not possible, consider participating in a local community garden

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Beyond The Table: Farm-to-Fork

NOVA Beyond The Table

This year’s theme is “Beyond the Table,” which addresses the farm-to-fork aspect of nutrition, from food production and distribution to navigating grocery stores and farmers markets. Beyond the table also includes where and how we eat:  around the dinner table, on the go, auto dining, in schools and restaurants, socially and at entertainment venues. A registered dietitian nutritionist can help you create healthy habits that are sustainable and suit your lifestyle, incorporating any unique needs you have.  A healthy intake includes a variety of foods, eaten at home and away, no matter your food budget.

Tips to Stay Nourished on Any Budget

  • Cook at home
  • Use a grocery list to avoid overspending and impulse purchases
  • Shop weekly sales when purchasing foods
  • Join a community supported agriculture group
  • Plant a garden and grow food at home
  • Buy local

Eat a Variety of Foods from all Food Groups and Around the Globe

  • Regardless of your food choices, make half your plate fruits and vegetables, with the other half lean protein choices and whole grain pastas, brown rice or potatoes.
  • Include your favorite cultural foods and traditions
  • Eat foods in various forms including fresh, frozen, canned and dried.
  • Experiment with recipes using different ingredients
  • Try new foods or healthy global cuisines such as:
    • Stir-fried chicken and vegetables served over brown rice
    • Minestrone
    • Gnocchi (mix spinach in the dough) served with chopped vegetables 
    • Pita Sandwiches full of vegetables
    • Dolmas (grape leaves stuffed with ground meat and vegetables
    • Eggplant and squash over rice
    • Gazpacho (soup with cucumber and vegetables)

Make Your own Meals at Home.

  • People who eat more home-cooked meals not only tend to consume more fruits, vegetables and dietary fiber, but also eat less saturated fat and salt. 
  • Homemade food is typically more budget-friendly than dining out
  • Try new recipes online or treat yourself to a new cookbook.

Sustainable Food Practices

  • Get creative with leftovers to reduce food waste and save money
  • Enjoy more plant-based meals and snacks
  • Buy foods in season and from local farmers and markets when possible
  • Grow food at home, participate in community gardens or buy into community supported agriculture with local farms.

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Alcohol: Impact on Athletic Performance and Health Goals

NOVA alcohol consumption

In the world of sports nutrition, every choice you make matters, including what you choose to drink. While a post-game celebration or a casual drink with friends may seem harmless, the truth is that alcohol consumption can have significant effects on both athletic performance and health goals. Because February is American Heart Month, we’ll explore how alcohol impacts the body, discuss its effects on athletic performance, and provide strategies for responsible consumption to support your fitness journey.

Understanding the Effects of Alcohol on the Body

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that affects various bodily functions, including hydration, metabolism, coordination, and cognitive function. When consumed, it is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, where it begins to exert its effects on the body’s systems.

Effects on Athletic Performance

1. Dehydration: Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it increases urine production and can lead to dehydration. Proper hydration is essential for athletic performance, and excessive consumption can impair your body’s ability to maintain optimal fluid balance.

2. Impaired Coordination and Reaction Time: Alcohol can impair motor skills, coordination, and reaction time, which are crucial for athletic performance. Consuming alcohol before a game or workout may compromise your ability to perform at your best and increase the risk of injury.

3. Decreased Muscle Recovery: Alcohol consumption can interfere with muscle recovery and repair processes by disrupting protein synthesis and increasing inflammation. This can prolong recovery time between workouts and hinder progress toward fitness goals.

4. Disrupted Sleep Patterns: While alcohol may initially make you feel drowsy, it can disrupt sleep patterns and reduce the quality of your rest. Adequate sleep is essential for muscle recovery, cognitive function, and overall well-being, making consumption before bedtime detrimental to your health goals.

Strategies for Responsible Consumption

1. Moderation is Key: If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Limit your intake to moderate amounts and avoid excessive or binge drinking.

2. Hydrate Properly: To counteract the dehydrating effects of alcohol, ensure you drink plenty of water before, during, and after drinking. This can help minimize the impact on hydration levels and support overall health.

3. Plan Ahead: If you have a game, race, or intense workout scheduled, consider abstaining from alcohol altogether to ensure optimal performance and recovery.

4. Know Your Limits: Be mindful of your tolerance level and how alcohol affects your body. Listen to your body’s signals and prioritize your health and fitness goals.

5. **Choose Wisely: Opt for lower-calorie, lower-sugar alcoholic beverages, such as light beer, wine, or spirits mixed with soda water or low-calorie mixers. Be mindful of added sugars and empty calories in cocktails and mixed drinks.

While enjoying a drink occasionally may be part of your social life, it’s essential to be aware of how alcohol consumption can impact your athletic performance and health goals. By practicing moderation, staying hydrated, and making informed choices, you can strike a balance between enjoying the occasional drink and supporting your fitness journey. 

Do you or someone you know struggle with alcohol misuse? Check out this link to see the top recommended treatment centers in Virginia.

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Recognizing Eating Disorder Awareness Week

NOVA Eating disorder awareness week

As Eating Disorders Awareness Week approaches, it’s essential to shed light on the significance of recognizing, understanding, and supporting those affected by eating disorders. Eating disorders are serious mental health conditions that can have profound effects on both physical and emotional well-being. In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of raising awareness about eating disorders, discuss common signs and symptoms, and provide resources for support and recovery.

Why Eating Disorders Awareness Matters

Eating Disorders Awareness Week serves as an opportunity to educate the public about the prevalence and impact of eating disorders, challenge stigmas and misconceptions, and promote early intervention and access to treatment. By raising awareness, we can help those struggling with eating disorders feel seen, heard, and supported, and encourage open conversations about mental health and body image.

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms:

Eating disorders can manifest in various ways and may not always be obvious. Some common signs and symptoms to look out for include:

  • Obsession with food, calories, and weight
  • Severe restriction of food intake or excessive exercise
  • Preoccupation with body image and fear of weight gain
  • Binge eating episodes followed by feelings of guilt or shame
  • Withdrawal from social activities and avoidance of meals with others
  • Changes in mood, energy levels, and physical health

It’s essential to approach conversations about eating disorders with compassion, empathy, and non-judgment, and to encourage seeking professional help and support.

Sharing Concerns About and Eating Disorder

Sharing your concerns with a loved one or friend who may have an eating disorder is easier said than done; sometimes, affected people won’t be aware of the severity of their condition and may deny that a problem exists at all. NEDA (the National Eating Disorder Association) offers several helpful tips if you have a friend or family member who may be suffering from an eating disorder, some of which include:

  • Learn as much as you can about eating disorders so you can understand people’s thoughts and struggles with food
  • Know the difference between facts and myths in regards to nutrition and fitness to enable you to explain the discrepancy in the person’s behavior vs. what is considered healthy
  • Compliment them on qualities unrelated to their appearance (creativity, sense of humor, etc.)
  • Be honest about what your concerns are; never judge or criticize, but emphasize that you are worried and want to make sure they are healthy
  • Refer them to a dietitian or other health professional with expertise in treating eating disorders

At NOVA Sports Nutrition, we take a holistic, comprehensive approach to nutrition therapy with the goal of improving client relationships with food, exercise, and body image. For athletes with disordered eating or an eating disorder, we will focus on a healthy return to sport and work collaboratively with additional healthcare professionals as appropriate including athletic trainers, counselors, psychologists and physicians.

The goals of outpatient nutrition counseling include developing a regular eating routine that provides balanced nutrition and adequate energy to fuel performance and activities of daily living. Your dietitian will work with you to create a sustainable plan that gradually allows you to remove stress around eating and achieve freedom from negative thoughts related to food or exercise.

We provide nutrition counseling for the following conditions:

  • Disordered eating
  • Orthorexia
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Binge Eating Disorder
  • Avoidant-Restrictive Feeding and Intake Disorder (ARFID)

Treatment can be very effective in aiding recovery from eating disorders, but outcomes are significantly better when treatment is started early. If you have concerns, don’t brush them aside.

You can’t force someone to get treatment, but you never know who might be the positive influence that helps someone with an eating disorder address his or her situation. It could be you.

For more information, please see the links below:

ANAD.org
NationalEatingDisorders.org

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Heart-Healthy Fuel: Sports Nutrition Tips for American Heart Month

NOVA American Heart Month

February marks American Heart Month, a time to raise awareness about heart health and encourage individuals to take steps toward a healthier lifestyle. While exercise is crucial for cardiovascular health, nutrition plays an equally important role, especially for athletes looking to optimize their performance while keeping their hearts strong. In this blog post, we’ll explore how sports nutrition can support heart health and provide practical tips for fueling your body in a way that benefits both your athletic endeavors and your cardiovascular system.

The Heart-Healthy Diet Blueprint

A heart-healthy diet is rich in nutrient-dense foods that support cardiovascular health. Here’s a breakdown of key components:

  • Emphasize Plant-Based Foods: Load up on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. These foods are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and improve heart health.
  • Choose Healthy Fats: Opt for sources of unsaturated fats, such as avocados, olive oil, nuts, and fatty fish like salmon and trout. These fats can help lower LDL cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Limit Saturated and Trans Fats: Cut back on foods high in saturated and trans fats, such as fried foods, processed meats, and commercially baked goods. These fats can raise LDL cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease.
  • Watch Your Sodium Intake: Limit your intake of sodium by avoiding processed and packaged foods and opting for fresh, whole foods instead. High sodium intake can contribute to high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease.
  • Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration is essential for heart health. Aim to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially during exercise, to keep your cardiovascular system functioning optimally.

Sports Nutrition Strategies for Heart Health

Incorporating heart-healthy nutrition practices into your sports nutrition routine can benefit both your athletic performance and your cardiovascular health. Here are some practical tips to help you fuel your body while supporting your heart:

  • Balance Macronutrients: Aim for a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in appropriate proportions. Choose complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats to provide sustained energy and support muscle repair and recovery.
  • Prioritize Whole Foods: Focus on consuming whole, minimally processed foods whenever possible. These foods are rich in nutrients and phytochemicals that support heart health and overall well-being.
  • Include Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Incorporate sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts, into your diet. Omega-3s have been shown to reduce inflammation, lower triglyceride levels, and improve heart health.
  • Be Mindful of Portions: Pay attention to portion sizes, especially when it comes to calorie-dense foods like nuts, seeds, and oils. Moderation is key to maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Listen to Your Body: Tune in to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, and eat mindfully to avoid overeating. Fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to perform at its best while respecting your body’s natural signals.

As we celebrate American Heart Month, let’s remember the importance of nourishing our bodies with heart-healthy foods that support both our athletic performance and our cardiovascular health. By incorporating these sports nutrition tips into your routine, you can fuel your body effectively while keeping your heart strong and healthy for years to come. Here’s to a heart-healthy February and beyond!

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Sports Nutrition: Myths vs. Facts

NOVA Myths vs. FAct

Let’s debunk some common sports nutrition myths. In the world of sports, athletes might encounter a lot of information about nutrition, some of which may be misleading. To navigate through the myths and misconceptions, athletes should rely on evidence-based practices that align with their individual needs and goals. 

In this blog post, we’ll debunk common sports nutrition myths and present the facts that every athlete should consider for optimal performance. Let’s dive into the science-backed facts that will help you make informed decisions about what to eat and when, ensuring you fuel your body for success in your chosen sport whether you’re a basketball player, a swimmer, or a bodybuilder. 

Myth: Carbohydrates Should Be Avoided for Weight Loss.

Fact: Carbs are a primary source of energy. Choosing complex carbs (whole grains, fruits, vegetables) in moderation supports energy needs and overall health.

Myth: Protein Only Matters for Bodybuilders.

Fact: Protein is essential for muscle repair and growth, and it’s crucial for all athletes. Endurance athletes, in particular, benefit from adequate protein to support recovery. Why specifically endurance athletes? Muscle building or power athletes typically need more than endurance, though it certainly is still very important for that group)

Myth: Hydration is Only Important During Exercise.

Fact: Staying hydrated is crucial at all times. Dehydration can impair performance and overall health. Athletes should hydrate consistently throughout the day. Pro tip: minimum fluid intake should be ½ your bodyweight in oz. of fluid per day. When exercising/sweating, that number should go up!)

Myth: Supplements Can Replace a Balanced Diet.

Fact: While supplements can be useful, they shouldn’t replace whole foods. A well-balanced diet provides essential nutrients that are often missing in isolated supplements.

Myth: Fats Should Be Avoided for Better Performance.

Fact: Healthy fats (avocado, nuts, olive oil) are essential for overall health and can provide a steady source of energy. They play a role in hormone production and nutrient absorption.

Myth: Eating Before Exercise Causes Cramps.

 Fact: Proper pre-exercise nutrition is important. While eating too much or too close to exercise may cause discomfort, a balanced meal a few hours before is generally beneficial.

Myth: Sports Drinks are Necessary for Everyone.

Fact: Sports drinks can be helpful for intense or prolonged exercise, but water is sufficient for most activities. Excessive sports drink consumption can lead to unnecessary sugar intake.

Myth: The More Protein, the Better.

Fact: While protein is crucial, excessive intake doesn’t necessarily lead to more muscle gain. Athletes should aim for an optimal, not excessive, protein intake.

Myth: All Athletes Should Follow the Same Diet.

Fact: Individual nutrition needs vary based on factors like sport type, intensity, body composition, and personal preferences. Personalized nutrition plans are essential.

Myth: Skipping Meals Helps Weight Loss.

Fact: Regular, balanced meals support metabolism and provide sustained energy. Skipping meals can lead to nutrient deficiencies and negatively impact performance.

It’s important for athletes to stay informed and consult with nutrition professionals for personalized advice. Nutrition is highly individual, and what works for one athlete may not work for another. The focus should be on a well-rounded, individualized approach to support performance and overall health.

NOVA Sports Nutrition is here to support you in your performance goals. We are experienced in tailoring our plans to each individual, based on their sport. Book a consultation with us to discuss where you are in your journey and how we can support you! 

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January: The Month of Sustainable Change

NOVA January health

January is a great time to reset and think about your health and to pause and reflect on
the past year to help you determine what comes next on your wellness or fitness
journey in the new year. However, January is also the time when advertisements
on quick fixes, diet supplements and fad diets too good to be true also begin popping up
everywhere. As you put your holiday decorations away and prepare for the start of
2024, remember that the best way to improve health and nutrition is not through quick
fixes, but rather sustainable changes that you can implement gradually over time. If your
health and fitness is not where you would like for it to be right now, you can focus on
getting back on track one step at a time.

If you’re not sure where to start, here are some simple steps you can implement today
to start improving your health and wellbeing:

Slow Down and Breathe
A great tool for stress reduction is to take a few moments to slow down your day and
just breathe. When you are stressed, your blood pressure rises, your heart and
respiration rate may also accelerate. Taking 10-15 minutes to sit still, be calm and
breathe deeply can counteract all of this

Take time to chew your food, savor each bite
Chewing well and slowing down your intake of food, helps you savor every bite. By
chewing longer, you are allowing food to linger in your mouth and stimulate taste
receptors on your tongue. This helps start the digestive process and gives your
body time to signal the brain when you are getting full.

Be in tune with your hunger cues
Paying attention to your body’s cues for hunger can help keep you healthy and
signal you when to eat. Some common physiological hunger cues are stomach
growling, low energy, headaches, shakiness and general weariness.

Be mindful and move with purpose
The principles of mindful movement are the same as any other mindfulness practice:
keep yourself in the present moment to experience the here and now and get the
most out of each session. Be aware of your movement, focus on your breath, and
notice how your body feels as it moves. Staying in the present can keep you
mentally strong because you are no longer focusing on yesterday or worried about
tomorrow.

Stay hydrated
Your body needs to be hydrated to function at its best. If there isn’t enough liquid
in your body, essential functions like circulation and digestion will not perform
efficiently. Your organs may not get the necessary nutrients for optimal
functioning and even slight dehydration affects performance.

Prioritize Protein and Vegetables (especially the greens)
Protein
Protein is an important part of a healthy diet. You need protein in your diet to help
your body repair cells and make new ones. Protein is important for growth and
development. Adequate protein reduces muscle loss, helps with recovery after
exercise, builds lean tissue and because it curbs your hunger can help with
maintaining a healthy weight.
Greens
Adding leafy greens to your diet is an easy way to get the vitamins and minerals
your body needs for optimal health. These vegetables are good sources of many
vitamins and minerals such as: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, magnesium,
potassium, calcium and fiber, but low in calories. Green, leafy vegetables help
support vision and skin health; and may reduce the risk of heart disease, high
blood pressure, and the risk of obesity.

NOVA Sports Nutrition is here to get you back on track. Whether you’re training for a team sport, endurance race, physique competition, or to improve your health generally, NOVA can create a workout plan to help you reach your goal. We take the guess work out of meal planning and will help you to take control of your diet once and for all!

Nutrition counseling services are provided via secure video chat or in-person in Northern Virginia. Please reach out via the contact page or schedule a free discovery call to learn more about pricing for our nutrition services!

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Post-Holiday: Getting Back Into A Healthy Routine

NOVA healthy routine

Hope you had an amazing holiday season filled with joy and delicious treats. Now that the festivities have wrapped up, let’s dive into some strategies to get back into a healthy routine.

Start Small, Win Big

Research shows that setting realistic, achievable goals is key to long-term success. Instead of aiming for drastic changes, start with manageable adjustments. Small dietary changes can lead to significant improvements in overall health.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Proper hydration has numerous benefits, including aiding in weight management and positively impacting overall well-being. Keep a water bottle handy and make a habit of staying well-hydrated throughout the day.

Move That Body

Regular physical activity is known to improve mood, reduce stress, and promote cardiovascular health. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week for overall well-being.

Rediscover the Joy of Cooking

Cooking at home has its perks, from healthier meals with fewer calories to the joy of experimenting with nutritious recipes. Experimenting with nutritious recipes can not only enhance your culinary skills but also contribute to better dietary choices. Embrace the kitchen and make it a fun part of your routine.

Prioritize Sleep

Sufficient sleep is essential for overall well-being as part of your healthy routine. Getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night has been linked to improved immune function, cognitive performance, and overall health. Establishing a consistent bedtime routine, creating a sleep-friendly environment, and avoiding screens before bedtime can contribute to better sleep quality.

Find a Buddy

Having a friend to share your health journey with can boost motivation and accountability. Whether it’s a workout or meal prep partner, having someone by your side makes the process more enjoyable.

Practice Mindful Eating

Taking the time to savor your food and being aware of your body’s hunger and fullness cues can contribute to better weight management and overall well-being. Be mindful of what you eat and enjoy your meals more fully.

Embrace these practical tips to make your post-holiday health journey smoother. Here’s to a healthier and happier you in the year ahead! 

Cheers to making 2024 your most balanced and positive year yet!

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