Jennifer Hanway

Enliven Your Lightest, Brightest You

Jennifer Hanway is a Holistic Nutritionist, Bio Signature Modulation Practitioner and Certified Personal Trainer, originally from London but now living in Newton Centre and working in Back Bay, Boston.

Filtering by Tag: stress

What To Do When You Have Lost Your Fitness Mojo

I met with a friend of mine yesterday who needed some advice - an avid runner (a couple of marathons in the last few years), group fitness class lover, yogi and lifter in the gym, she had lost her 'fitness mojo'. The appeal of the couch and TV were far outweighing her desire to exercise, and she was not enjoying her favorite classes and workouts when she did go. 

Perfect timing for me to advise, as I am just coming out of this funk myself. Only this last week have I found my love for working out again, the last two months have been a struggle for me to feel motivated and enjoy my workouts. This is especially hard for me as in my industry it is expected that trainers love to train, and I believe that we should practice what we preach. The flip side of this is that we are human, and it can be just as hard for us to haul ass to the gym, or to strap on our sneaks and go for a run. 

So I gave my friend the same advice I gave myself: stop being so hard on yourself. Energy levels will ebb and flow, and its what you over the course of weeks, months and years that is important and will impact your health, not what happens over the course of a few days. Also, there may be a biochemical reason for needing the downtime: in my case I had followed a diet regime and workout plan designed by a trainer/dietitian colleague of mine in the UK over the summer that had totally kicked my butt, and the dental surgery I had in November was way more intense with a longer, harder recovery than I had expected. In my friends case she had run two marathons in the last two years, coupled with some stressful family events, and a super challenging job. 

All of these things will effect our physical and mental health, and at this point 'pushing yourself' is the last thing you should be doing and no amount of positive self talk or beating yourself up is going to help. Prolonged stress is going to raise your cortisol levels (stress hormones), which has a cascade effect on your adrenal function, possibly resulting in adrenal fatigue (when your adrenal glands function sub optimally). If this is the case then it is time to back off, and give yourself time to rest and recover, and implement nutrition, wellbeing and supplement strategies that will help you heal the body and get back on track. I suffered with severe cortisol disregulation and adrenal fatigue 3.5 years ago, following the unexpected death of my mother, and my move to the U.S. and recovered by using the above strategies. 

So back to the advice I gave my friend: give yourself permission to take time off (this was the most important part), nourish yourself with great food and more sleep (now is the time to up your good carbs and get your 9.5 hours), workout only if you feel like it, and prioritize lifting over cardio, and add in some great supplements such as Vitamin D (everyone should be taking this at this time of year), magnesium (to help deal with stress), and adaptogens which help the body deal with stress and fatigue. And be kind to yourself. 

If you would like any more information on dealing with high cortisol levels or adrenal fatigue please feel free to comment below of email me at jenniferhanway@icloud.com. 

 

 

 

My Top Five: Apps for Health, Fitness and Wellbeing

  The new year comes with a lot of resolutions for all of us, and if those resolutions include improving your health and wellbeing then read on!

It has been proven many times that we are more likely to stick to our healthy habits if they are made easily accessible to us, and what could be more accessible than our smart phones, tablets and laptops that we cant seem to live without these days!

You can use all of these apps without having to purchase an expensive gadget such as a Fitbit or Jawbone (I don't own any of these).

I love anything that makes wellbeing easier, and as someone that couldn't live without her iPhone I wanted to share with you my top five apps that I use to help with my nutrition, fitness and wellbeing.

1) My Fitness Pal

Available as an App and via their website, My Fitness Pal is my go-to for food tracking for both myself and my clients. It is so easy to use, and has a huge database of foods ranging from grocery store goods to restaurant dishes. Even better, you can scan barcodes on food packaging for easy uploading.

You can also allow your friends to see your food diaries, and this can help accountability, and also makes it very easy for your nutrition coach to keep track of your food intake too (I see you...)

As with all food tracking apps I do not agree with their 'one size fits all' approach to calculating calorie allowances, so I suggest setting your own custom macros in accordance with your goals.

My Fitness Pal is free.

2) Nike+ Training Club

One of the originals and in my opinion the best of all workout apps available, you cant beat the behemoth that is Nike for a huge variety of beautifully shot and easy to follow workouts.

You can set the workout to music from your iTunes library, reiview all the exercises before you start the workout (I love this feature), and view the workout on your television if you have Apple TV. Workouts range from 15 minutes to 45 minutes so even those strapped for time have no excuses!

Nike+ Training Club is free.

3) Yoga Studio

Yoga Studio by Gaiam is my favorite of all the yoga apps available as it is so easy to use, clearly shot, and easily accessible to beginners. It has options for viewing ready made classes, from which you can select based on focus, ability or duration, or you can create your own class depending on what you want to achieve from your practice. From what I have seen so far all you need is a mat and some space, and you are ready to go. I love the Yoga for Back Pain classes, and the Deep Relaxation ; )

Yoga Studio is $3.99.

4) f.lux / Sunn 

Such a simple concept, but I've really found these two apps life changing. Both apps make the color of your computer or smartphone displays adapt to the time of day showing as warm at night (less blue light) and like sunlight during the day. Bringing down the amount of artificial light you are exposed to after dark can lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and normalize our circadian rhythms, helping us sleep better at night.

I use f.lux for my laptop, and Sunn for my iPhone, as Apple do not allow f.lux unless you jailbreak the phone.

f.lux is free and Sunn is $3.99.

5) Headspace

Headspace is a relatively new app for me but I love it already. Think of it as 'meditation for non-meditators'. You are guided through a series of  'brain training sessions' by the creator Andy Puddicombe (a meditation and mindfulness expert and a fellow brit - this app is worth downloading for his soothing British accent alone), in which you are asked to focus on your breath, physical sensations and noise around you, making for practice that can be adopted by anyone.

Your are also able to track your progress, find friends who are also using Headspace, and pick practices from collections to suit your mood and lifestyle.

Headspace is free for the first 10 sessions, then moves to a paid subscription starting at $7.99 if you sign up for a year.

 

I'd love to hear about the apps you use to enhance your nutrition, training and wellbeing! Please share your suggestions below so we can all reap the benefits!

Rest and Reset: The Importance of Less Stress, More Sleep

The holidays are a wonderful time, but they can often mean self care and sleep get a little neglected. With this in mind I wanted to draw attention to an old post that rings true especially at this time of the year...Isn't sleep a blessing?  Not only does sleep make you feel wonderful, it has some pretty amazing health benefits too: 

  • It helps to control weight and improves body composition (ration of body fat to lean muscle) in two ways. Sleep regulates the hormones that effect appetite, and when we don't get enough sleep our bodies produce more of the hormone ghrelin which in turn leads us to make poor food choices and consume more calories. Research studies have also shown that lack of sleep leads to less energy output, i.e. we are less likely to exercise (or even walk around the block) due to tiredness and lack of motivation.
  • It increases your ability to handle both mental and physical stress. Not only this but sleep lowers both blood pressure levels and the stress hormone cortisol.
  • It has a beneficial effect on our mood and our thinking. Not only does it make us feel happier and less worried (studies show a long term sleep deficit can lead to depression and anxiety) good sleep increases cognitive function, leading to better judgement, improved focus and less tendency to takes risks.
  • It enables cell repair throughout the body, important for both repairing muscles post workout (we are at our weakest state post workout due to the breaking down of muscle fibers, they will repair and get stronger whilst we sleep) and beautiful skin (repair at the cellular level results in less fine lines and wrinkles, and gives us a glowing, even complexion).
  • It decreases inflammation: chronic inflammation is the source of many diseases, including cancer, obesity, and heart disease. We all need some level of inflammation in the body to help heal and fight off infections, but when too much inflammation is present (this can be caused by a myriad of things, from stress to bad food choices and poor gut health) it can cause the immune system to malfunction, relating in auto immune conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and arthritis.

There are many simple ways to improve the quality of our sleep, below are five easy to implement health habits:

  • Introduce a caffeine curfew: for me this time is 3.30pm, for others it may be later or earlier, depending on your tolerance for caffeine. If you find your mind racing the minute you close your eyes start moving your caffeine curfew back by half an hour to see if it helps. One of my favorite alternatives is the caffeine free Turmeric tea from Numi Organics:

Numi Organic Turmeric Tea Amber Sun

  • Get outside in daylight: as the days become shorter we can find ourselves not seeing the daylight hours. By taking just a 10-15 minute walk outside at lunchtime you can normalize your circadian rhythm, letting your body know it is time to ‘wind down’ when the sun goes down.
  • Ensure adequate magnesium levels: due to our modern diets and extra environmental stresses the majority of us are magnesium deficient. Magnesium is needed in over 300 metabolic processes in the body, and is vital for ensuring a restful nights sleep .
  • Do not take the phone into the bedroom! Use an old fashioned alarm clock, or if you must use your phone turn the wifi off and switch to airplane mode for good measure. The electrical signals will have a negative impact on quality of sleep, even if you do not wake up. I love to use a daylight alarm clock for the most gentle, natural way to wake up:

Philips HF3500/60 Wake-Up Light

  • Consider supplements for sleep: they are many natural supplements available that can help aid sleep, my favorite is a product called RestoREM from the Poliquin Group. RestoREM contains the nutrients 5-HTP, Phenibut and melatonin and to improves serotonin levels, resulting in better sleep patterns to leave you feeling refreshed and energised when you wake up.

The Poliquin Store

Sweet dreams everyone!

The information and materials provided in this blog are to support and assist people who are looking to improve their health and wellbeing I understand that all new dietary/supplements/ exercise programs should be undertaken after consultation with a medical doctor. Jennifer Hanway is not responsible for any injury or illness sustained whilst following the information in this blog.

Stop, Drop and Meditate: Lengthen Your Lifespan Through Meditation

Both Charity and I were privileged to be in the presence of Deepak Chopra last Sunday as he presented a talk based on his new book, Super Genes ( a full book review will be on the blog in the next couple of weeks).It was two hours of wonderful insights into genetics and epigenetics, and I learnt so much about all components of wellness, not just training, nutrition and healthy lifestyle, but how community, environment and finances can effect your genes and your health.

I have a rudimentary understanding of how meditation can improve wellness,  but listening to Deepak speak in detail about the health benefits of meditation, specifically in relation to lengthening your lifespan made me even more determined to incorporate meditation into my daily wellbeing routine.

Every day stress and high cortisol levels can negatively effect the health of our chromosomes. Telomeres (watch out for that buzz word in ten years time) are the very end of our chromosomes, and the more stress we encounter, the more wear and tear on our chromosomes.

Telomeres have been compared with the plastic tips on shoelaces, because they keep chromosome ends from fraying and sticking to each other,

Every time a cell divides, the telomeres get shorter. When they get too short, the cell can no longer divide; it becomes inactive or "senescent" or it dies. This shortening process is associated with aging, cancer, and a higher risk of death.

However, there is something we can do to help halt and repair this process. An enzyme called telomerase maintains and heals the telomeres, which prolongs the life of our cells. An increase in telomerase slows down the unraveling of telomeres.

This is where meditation comes in. A study completed in 2010 showed people in an intensive meditation practice had greater telomerase activity  than those who did not meditate. The Chopra Foundation, along with some of the top medical schools in the country are currently studying how mindful awareness can help increase both out health and out longevity.

I'd love to help you remove the barriers to mediation (no time, have to be in a special place, cant stop thinking, I'm bad at meditating), and encourage you to take part in a short, easy, convenient meditation practice you can do pretty much anywhere.

Here is a video originally shared on Charity's You Tube channel (details below), to help guide you through an easily accessible breath focused meditation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsC02pxyyqw

 

For more information on Charity and Meditating Together check out her daily meditation affirmations, inspirations and education posts on:

Facebook: Meditating Together

Instagram: @meditatingtogether

Twitter: https://twitter.com/meditating2ther

Email: meditatingtogether@gmail.com

YouTube: Meditating Together

Periscope: @meditating2ther

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Reader Q & A: Healthy Holiday Travel

Dear Jenny, I am traveling over the holidays and know that eating healthy in airports and hotels can be a struggle. Could you make some suggestions on how to stay on plan while away from home?

Thank you, Whitney

Hi Whitney and thank you so much for reaching out! I'm sure a lot of readers are facing the same challenge this week, so thank you for your question.

So, airport food is not as bad as it used to be. However, that really depends on which airport and where you are flying in and out from, for example, Boston's Logan domestic departures has some great healthy options, including Epic Bars, (also available from Whole Foods) which  I consider to be a 'real protein' bar, and are definitely one of my travel go-tos.

Epic Bars

Most airports also have nuts, go for plain, unsalted and raw to avoid the inflammatory oils used in the roasting  process, and the salt will also mean you will hold extra water whilst flying. Also you should be able to find at least apples and bananas at the airport for the vitamins and minerals.  Grab a green juice and a coconut water, as well as a couple of liters of water to keep you well hydrated in the air, and feeling great when you land.

Another great real protein snack that I like and that is super portable is Krave Artisanal Jerky (also available from Whole Foods).  Unlike other jerkys that can contain gluten, artificial flavorings and nitrates, Krave uses domestic meats and all natural ingredients. My favorite is the Turkey, Chardonnay and Thyme, but all of the flavors are pretty delicious!

Krave

My third portable protein option is a great protein shake. I don't recommend whey or soy proteins, so the best option is a vegetarian protein such as rice or hemp. My two recommendations are Primal Clear 3.0 and Proveg, both available from the Poliquin Group. Throw in a scoop of their Espresso Wellness Greens powder too, adding the benefits of over twenty servings of fruit and vegetables. Make shakes easily on the go and in the hotel room by taking a blender bottle with you too.

Another travel must have for me is a bag of gluten free oats. Most hotel rooms have some kind of device for boiling water, so you can make hot oatmeal by filling the hotel room coffee cup with a scoop of oats, and covering in hot water for five minutes, or until the water has absorbed. I love adding the aforementioned Espresso Wellness Greens to this too for a delicious chocolate flavor.

If swinging by a supermarket on the way to the hotel is an option stock up on apples, bananas, any whole, uncut seasonal fruits and pre cut veggies (such as carrots, cucumber, bell peppers), etc, that you can keep in the hotel room refrigerator.

Lastly, my four other travel essentials are non food related, but I don't travel anywhere without them!

Numi Teas: try the Tumeric or Mint teas if you have overindulged, and as a better option than the super acidic hotel room coffee.

Bucky Eye Mask: the best eye mask I've ever tried. Hotel rooms can be full of LED lights which can disturb sleep, so an eye mask is good insurance for a restful night.

Woodlot Candle: Woodlot offer a selection pack of candles, the small size is perfect for slipping into hand luggage, and help you feel at home in a strange place. For rest and relaxation chose the Rekindle scent.

Wind Down:perfect for stressful travel, being away from home, and family gatherings, this chocolate flavored chewable from the Poliquin Group can be taken when you are feeling harassed or overwhelmed, and has an instant calming effect.

I hope this helps Whitney!

Rest and Reset: the Importance of More Sleep, Less Stress

Isn't sleep a blessing?  Not only does sleep make you feel wonderful, it has some pretty amazing health benefits too: 

  • It helps to control weight and improves body composition (ration of body fat to lean muscle) in two ways. Sleep regulates the hormones that effect appetite, and when we don't get enough sleep our bodies produce more of the hormone ghrelin which in turn leads us to make poor food choices and consume more calories. Research studies have also shown that lack of sleep leads to less energy output, i.e. we are less likely to exercise (or even walk around the block) due to tiredness and lack of motivation.
  • It increases your ability to handle both mental and physical stress. Not only this but sleep lowers both blood pressure levels and the stress hormone cortisol.
  • It has a beneficial effect on our mood and our thinking. Not only does it make us feel happier and less worried (studies show a long term sleep deficit can lead to depression and anxiety) good sleep increases cognitive function, leading to better judgement, improved focus and less tendency to takes risks.
  • It enables cell repair throughout the body, important for both repairing muscles post workout (we are at our weakest state post workout due to the breaking down of muscle fibers, they will repair and get stronger whilst we sleep) and beautiful skin (repair at the cellular level results in less fine lines and wrinkles, and gives us a glowing, even complexion).
  • It decreases inflammation: chronic inflammation is the source of many diseases, including cancer, obesity, and heart disease. We all need some level of inflammation in the body to help heal and fight off infections, but when too much inflammation is present (this can be caused by a myriad of things, from stress to bad food choices and poor gut health) it can cause the immune system to malfunction, relating in auto immune conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and arthritis.

There are many simple ways to improve the quality of our sleep, below are five easy to implement health habits:

  • Introduce a caffeine curfew: for me this time is 3.30pm, for others it may be later or earlier, depending on your tolerance for caffeine. If you find your mind racing the minute you close your eyes start moving your caffeine curfew back by half an hour to see if it helps.
  • Get outside in daylight: as the days become shorter we can find ourselves not seeing the daylight hours. By taking just a 10-15 minute walk outside at lunchtime you can normalize your circadian rhythm, letting your body know it is time to ‘wind down’ when the sun goes down.
  • Ensure adequate magnesium levels: due to our modern diets and extra environmental stresses the majority of us are magnesium deficient. Magnesium is needed in over 300 metabolic processes in the body, and is vital for ensuring a restful nights sleep .
  • Do not take the phone into the bedroom! Use an old fashioned alarm clock, or if you must use your phone turn the wifi off and switch to airplane mode for good measure. The electrical signals will have a negative impact on quality of sleep, even if you do not wake up.
  • Consider supplements for sleep: they are many natural supplements available that can help aid sleep, my favorite is a product called RestoREM from the Poliquin Group. RestoREM contains the nutrients 5-HTP, Phenibut and melatonin and to improves serotonin levels, resulting in better sleep patterns to leave you feeling refreshed and energised when you wake (https://main.poliquinstore.com/?___store=usw&acc=cd00692c3bfe59267d5ecfac5310286c).

The information and materials provided in this blog are to support and assist people who are looking to improve their health and wellbeing I understand that all new dietary/supplements/ exercise programs should be undertaken after consultation with a medical doctor. Jennifer Hanway is not responsible for any injury or illness sustained whilst following the information in this blog.

 

Weekend Wellness Round Up

Grab a coffee or a green juice and take a seat on the couch! Every Saturday I will be posting links to five of my favorite blog posts of the week in the fields of nutrition, health, fitness, wellness, beauty and self care to help you learn even more about these topics, and to introduce you to voices in the wellness sphere you may not have heard of... Amy Myers MD is a Functional Medicine doctor based in Austin, Texas. I have just finished reading her book, The Autoimmune Solution, and I learnt so much that I intend to implement in both my nutrition plan and that of my clients.

http://www.amymyersmd.com/2015/10/is-stress-damaging-your-gut/

Danielle La Porte is like the strong, feisty, no B.S. big sister I wish I had. I first came across her work in her book The Desire Map, which focuses on setting 'goals with soul'. I have followed her ever since, and love this post with Kate Northrup about a topic that definitely falls into the 'self care' category: money.

http://www.daniellelaporte.com/kate-money-interview/

Madeline Shaw is a fellow Brit who is having huge success in the UK and beyond. Her website is filled with beautiful photos and delicious recipes that prove that eating clean does not mean being deprived.

http://madeleineshaw.com/recipes/sweet-potato-fennel-and-chilli-stew/

Hip and Healthy is another website from across the pond that I have had the pleasure of guest blogging for in the past. I love this article addressing lower back pain as I find this is a common thread among my training clients due to their sedentary jobs.

http://hipandhealthy.com/the-10-minute-workout-to-ease-lower-back-pain/

And finally, a little weekend fun! Ben Greenfield is a personal trainer and author with extensive experience in the fitness and wellness industry. I love his podcasts and always learn something. This post however, is something a little different than Ben's usual material, and is best read in private!

http://www.bengreenfieldfitness.com/2015/10/how-to-increase-sexual-endurance/

Meditation 101: Scheduling Meditation into Your Busy Day

I chatted with Charity Collier, a Boston based Meditation teacher who is currently enrolled in the pioneering Master's program of Mindfulness Studies at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. She is also a substance abuse counselor and uses meditation as a tool in her counseling practice. She currently facilitates meditation groups three times a week in the addiction recovery community. Charity's mission is to change the stigma of meditation and make it accessible  to all who are looking to stress less and feel more happiness in their day to day lives.

Case Study: Me, female, 35, Personal Training and Holistic Health and Nutrition Consultant. Understands the importance of meditation for stress relief and all round health and well being, but struggles to find the time and motivation. Has an ‘all or nothing’ approach, I feel I should meditate for 30 mins a day twice a day every day, but of course this does not happen….

 I understand on a basic level the importance of meditation, but can you elaborate?

This question has many layers. Going back to the foundations of meditation in the Buddhist practice, meditation was a form of mindfulness. It was how a person could be enlightened from their suffering mind. Meditation has worked its way into Western culture and is becoming popularized in a secular manner. 

Meditation allows a person to view their thoughts in the present moment. Whatever those thoughts are, the goal is to not judge, or cling to the goals is just to be aware of the thoughts, or of the fact you are thinking. 

By being aware of ones thoughts you can see where our mind is going to, ‘we befriend our mind’. We begin to see what emotions and feeling arise, and in these moments better understand ourselves, realize that we can let go of thoughts, and slow down the physically reaction stress and anxiety cause. The tool of meditation can help heal the stress filled mind. Once stress is lower then the physical benefits can be reaped.

Who can benefit from meditation? 

Every single human being. As a student of the first graduate program in the US for Mindfulness Studies I am seeing my colleagues apply mindfulness meditation to children in schools, children and adolescents with mental health issues such as ADHD and Autism, CEO’s  and employees of companies and elderly people with Alzheimer's. I myself facilitate meditation with people in addiction recovery.

What are the common myths about meditation? 

There are so many. I think the most common one is that people believe they have to shut off their mind, that the mind should not be thinking. That is impossible! Meditation is about being aware that your mind is wandering and just being aware of those thoughts.

Another myth is about people sitting around saying OM - this does not happen in a secular meditation practice. There are mantra meditations that I often do, but that is to help keep me in the present moment. 

 A big myth is that to benefit from a meditation practice you have to meditate for 30 minutes or even an hour. A five minute meditation can be just as beneficial for someone as 30 minutes. Life happens and I can not always get in 30 minutes, some days it is 10 or 15. I have a practice I recommend to beginners for doing meditation while at a red light. That is only a few moments and could change your whole commute.

A common myth is people believe they need to be in an exact environment. While being on a cushion sitting upright is the ideal position, it does not have to be the only position. There are body scan meditations which are done more successfully laying down. Also someone could meditate in bed. Some days when I wake up and have time I either sit right up and meditate or continue laying there and meditate.  

How would you help someone like myself create an achievable, sustainable meditation practice? 

First I would propose a realistic goal of time. Having a goal of 30 minutes 2 times a day is hard to sustain. Then when you do not achieve it you end up feeling bad, guilty and start judging yourself (ie the ‘Suffering Mind as mentioned above). 

I would recommend looking at your schedule. On busy days having the goal of 15 minutes, on quieter days or at the weekend aim for up to 30 minutes. I believe people can benefit from any amount of time in meditation.

Finding the time in the day would be the next step. Perhaps setting your alarm 30 minutes earlier than you have to and getting in a meditation practice before you start your day. Remember you can still lay in bed and meditate! Have videos for meditation in the office; come back to your office 15 minutes earlier from lunch, put on your ‘Do not Disturb’, and meditate for 15 minutes. 

If you find that your day has gotten away from you and you haven't found time to meditate, as get into bed for a night time meditation. It is a great way to ensure a wonderful nights sleep, as well as to let go of the stresses from the day.  

Just like fitness, the best way to start is to not think about it, just get started! Once you do you have already tackled the hardest part. Our ego minds are fearful of us doing something good for ourselves and it will talk us out of anything. It is being aware of that ego mind (which becomes clear with a consistent meditation practice), and when the ego mind starts talking you know not to cling and follow it.

Let go of the idea of a perfect meditation practice!

Please find below a 5 minute stress relief meditation that Charity was kind enough to create especially for us!

[wpvideo cx9C2lCT]

For more information on Charity and Meditating Together check out her daily meditation affirmations, inspirations and education posts on:

Facebook: Meditating Together

Instagram: @meditatingtogether

Twitter: https://twitter.com/meditating2ther

Periscope: @meditating2ther (Every Wednesday I do a live meditation on Periscope at 9pm EST)

Email: meditatingtogether@gmail.com

YouTube: Meditating Together

Charity will be joining me for the Wellness Talk next Tuesday to discuss how meditation can relief stress and aid a restful nights sleep. For tickets please click the link below:

https://www.movewith.com/events/rest-and-reset-with-jennifer-hanway

Contact: jenny@jenniferhanway.com