Articles by Ellen Collis

Willpower: Why it Won’t Make You Skinny post image

If you’re waiting for the day that you’ll wake up and *poof* have the iron-clad willpower of Gywneth Paltrow, then, well…you might be waiting for quite a while. In my opinion, willpower—for the most part—is not a genetic blessing possessed by only the skinny elite. To me, willpower is created through a series of conscious efforts that later help you make good decisions.

Here’s what I mean: [continue reading…]

5 Foods to Help You Sleep Better post image

While most of us are overworked and sleep deprived, it’s not always easy to actually fall asleep once the lights are out. Below are a list of foods that will help you get more (and better quality) shut eye. [continue reading…]

Binge Eating: How to Stop This Destructive Habit post image

Overeating on special occasions – a birthday dinner, holiday meal or during vacation – won’t derail you from reaching your health and weight loss goals.  After all, indulging within reason is a key component to any healthy diet.

However, regular binge eating is extremely detrimental, even if you are “healthy” most of the time. So if you find yourself making your way through peanut butter jars, pints of ice cream, and boxes of cereal in just one sitting, it’s time to get a handle on this destructive habit and consider the following tips. (Take it from someone who’s been there!)

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Peanut Butter Fudge Recipe: Indulge Without the Guilt This Winter! post image

Whenever I need a recipe idea, the very first resource I consult is Tara Stiles. Not only is this yoga guru extremely talented, beautiful, and sweet, but she comes up with the best healthy, easy-to-make recipes I have ever seen. Every time I watch one of her cooking videos on YouTube, I find myself saying, “I want to make that now!” And unlike some of the fancy recipes I add to Pinterest, I actually do. Her Arugula-Red Pepper-Hummus Tortillas are a lunch staple, and the Detox Kale Crunch Salad was just what I needed after overindulging during the holidays.

I know that it’s cold out and you just want comfort foods and treats to snuggle up with on the couch. Trust me, I get it. My sweet tooth seems to kick into overdrive this time of year! And when I was tasked with making a dessert for a  co-worker’s birthday recently, I thought hard about what would be yummy and healthy, and then I came up with this recipe! (Who doesn’t like peanut butter and chocolate?!) [continue reading…]

Workout Review: Jillian Michaels Killer Buns & Thighs DVD post image

I would venture to guess that the motivation that comes with setting New Year’s resolutions is already starting to wane ever so slightly. (It is Blue Monday after all.) Am I right? It’s cold…you’re carrying five extra post-holiday pounds…your skinny jeans are tight. And did I mention it’s coooold out?! I hear ya — but don’t surrender to your environment and get stuck in a slump!

I think it’s always a good idea to have a few workout DVDs on hand this time of year. I’m all for making my life easier, and friends, we still need to sweat this season. A lot. That’s exactly what you’ll do with the Jillian Michaels Buns & Thighs DVD. I chose to try this one because well, my flat-as-a-pancake posterior has much to be desired, and I knew that the Tough Love Queen would push me harder than I could on my own. Want to get your butt kicked? This workout will do it…literally.

I’m a pretty fit gal who enjoys the types of plyometric circuit workouts that Jillian promotes. Burpees? Love ‘em. Pushups? Bring ‘em on. The varying movements never get boring and I love being challenged in multiple ways at once. In this video, an exercise that works your core will also likely challenge your upper body strength and balancing abilities.

So as you can see, I’m not a beginner, but I will try to write this review in a way that can be beneficial for everyone. [continue reading…]

Lose Weight Without Dieting Tip #11: Don’t Let Friends Get You off Course post image

Who hasn’t bonded with girlfriends over mounds of French fries and pints of ice cream? But it’s time to ask yourself if that “bond” (which inevitably leaves you feeling bloated and guilty later) is truly worth it.

Here are three key tips to dealing with friends and food: [continue reading…]

New Years Resolutions: How to Be Successful With Your Health and Fitness Goals post image

Hey guys! How are you feeling now that the holidays are over? Do your skinny jeans still fit? I hope so!

I’m sure you’re starting to put your New Year’s health resolutions into place, but before you do, take a minute to consider these points: [continue reading…]

Social Eating: How to Stay on Track During the Holidays post image

Sure, eating is fun — a lot of fun — particularly when you’re out with a group celebrating a special occasion. ‘Tis the season for ugly Christmas sweater parties, cookie swaps and extra-jolly happy hours. Temptation is everywhere you turn right now, so you might wondering if it’s even possible to avoid gaining five (or 10!) pounds this year? The answer: Yes.

Consider these tips no matter what scenario you find yourself in: [continue reading…]

Lose Weight Without Dieting Tip #10: Snack Smarter post image

Now that you’re eating a healthy breakfast every morning and making better choices at lunch and dinner, it would be a shame to blow it in between meals, wouldn’t it?

Here are my tips on how to snack smarter:

Munch mindfully: As you know by now, I am a huge advocate of mindful eating, and snacking is not an exception. It doesn’t have to be a painful process, but it does take a little bit of effort and awareness. Oh, and a positive attitude. Yep, that always helps. Be thoughtful when you’re snacking—put fruit or popcorn in a bowl and don’t eat standing up.

If you eat a piece of string cheese on the short walk from your fridge to the computer, chances are, your brain won’t actually register than you had something to eat. But unfortunately, it counts. Every handful, every nibble…it all counts, whether you took the time to actually taste and enjoy it or not. And think of it this way: Consuming 500 less calories a day for a week is a one-pound weight loss. Do you really want to use up those precious calories on bites that you hardly even remember? [continue reading…]

Lose Weight Without Dieting Tip #9: Be a More Mindful Eater post image

This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned the importance of mindful eating, and it most certainly won’t be the last. I know that carefully thinking through food choices probably seems like a massive chore (especially when you’re out with friends or tired at the end of the day), but please trust me—it is always worth it. It’s kind of like working out—you’ll never, ever regret doing it! And just like exercise, consistency is key with mindful eating!

How often do cravings hit at mealtime? Do you frequently indulge them? If you wake up in the morning with a hankering for pancakes or a fatty breakfast sandwich, gulp down a glass of water and pause for a minute to ask yourself if it’s really worth it. [continue reading…]

Lose Weight Without Dieting Tip #8: Make Smarter Dinner Choices post image

How’s the meal planning coming along, everyone? Are you ready to discuss how to eat healthier at dinner? A lot of people really struggle with making good choices at the end of the day for various reasons. It could be because they are tired, unprepared, or flat out feel like they deserve a treat.

I get it, I’ve been there. But if you want to shake some pounds, you need to commit to being a bit more prepared and mindful in the evenings. Below are a few tips that have helped me tremendously. [continue reading…]

Lose Weight Without Dieting Tip #7: Create Better Habits at Lunch post image

Now that you’re starting off your day with a healthy breakfast, we can move on to lunch. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so I let myself indulge a little in the morning (ie. Homemade French Toast or Almond Butter Jar Oatmeal), which usually makes it easier for me to eat healthy the rest of the day.

How many of you are squirming in your seat as you count down the minutes until lunchtime? If you’re reaching for your lunch at 11:59am every day, take a second to pause and ask yourself if you are actually hungry yet. If your tummy is really grumbling at this time, you might need to go back and reevaluate what you had for breakfast.

Whenever I start getting antsy for lunch at noon, but I know that I’m not hungry, I distract myself with a project at work to take my mind off eating. (Don’t eat just because the clock says it’s time, as Bethenny Frankel says.) I’ll say, “Ok, I’m not going to get out of my chair until I finish X.” And usually, a whole hour passes, I feel good about being productive and then I’m ready to eat! Students can follow the same rule with homework or reading assignments.

So, what are you eating for lunch? Do you plan it the night before? Eat vending machine popcorn? Grab a slice of pizza? Or do you skip it all together? I hope not! [continue reading…]

Lose Weight Without Dieting Tip #6: Build a Better Breakfast post image

We’re going to go back to basics today and talk about breakfast. Are you eating it? Regularly? Does your morning meal sustain you until lunch? Yes, folks, everything your mom told you about the first meal of the day is true: It’s important.

Why you should eat in the am: When you eat breakfast, you are literally doing just that…breaking the fast from the night before. You need fuel in your tank to function at your best and to rev up your metabolism. If you skip breakfast, your body will hold onto the food you consume next (lunch) for as long as possible instead of burning it right away. Essentially your body is saying, “Food, finally! Gotta hold onto these nutrients—who knows when I will get them again!”

Weight loss and eating breakfast has been linked multiple times, so do I really need to convince you to make this a priority? Plus, who doesn’t want an opportunity to eat?! Also, studies have shown that those who skip breakfast have a tendency to consume more food than usual the next chance they get and have a higher tendency to snack on high-calorie foods. [continue reading…]

Lose Weight Without Dieting Tip #5: Get a Grip on Emotional Eating post image

Now that summer is over and the temps are getting cooler, it’s only natural to get a case of the blahs. But don’t give up and undo your good efforts and hard work from previous months—I won’t let you! Whether you’re seriously going through a rough time or just find yourself a bit bored with life in general, think about these rules the next time you want to Band-Aid the situation with a bag of Doritos. [continue reading…]

Lose Weight Without Dieting Tip #4: Set Yourself up for Success post image

Now that you’re getting more sleep and consuming less sugar (right?), it’s important to take a closer look at how you are setting yourself up to succeed in your weight loss efforts. Are your choices helping you or making it harderfor you to reach your goals? Because really, healthy eating is not about willpower—it’s about making conscious decisions that help make it easier for you to make good decisions. Chew on this: [continue reading…]

Lose Weight Without Dieting Tip #3: Take Control of Your Sleep, Sugar Cravings, and Stress post image

The last time I checked in, I emphasized the importance of making small, conscious lifestyle changes. Continue to think about how these efforts can really impact the big picture—whether you set an intention to go on a walk twice a week, drink more water daily, increase the intensity of your workouts or add more veggies to your meals.

Now, I’m going to hit ya with a little tough love and ask you to take it a step further. I know this might not be very much fun, but you really need to start taking control of—and owning up to—your actions. What do I mean? Well, I’ll put it in language we all can understand these days: Facebook.

Status Update #1 @ 4pm: Third Starbucks trip of the day! #grandesoylattePLEASE
Status Update #2 @ 1:30am: Omgggg Why am I still awake??? #fml
Status Update #3 @ 9am: Need…coffee…now #ughhhh

Ok, so I’m exaggerating a bit to make a point, but I HAVE seen similar updates on Facebook. The thing is, when it comes to your body, everything is connected. Don’t drink multiple cups of caffeine a day—particularly late in the afternoon—and then wonder why in the world you can’t get to sleep at night! Sure, there may be other contributing factors, but trust me, your Starbucks habit is not helping.

People in general tend to make excuses that have them believing there’s just nothing they can do to change. I know, I used to be one of them. But it’s time to get a grip and think about three of the biggest hindrances to weight loss: [continue reading…]

Lose Weight Without Dieting—Rule #1: Attitude is Everything post image

For the better part of my adult life, I was a Monday through Thursday calorie-counter. Once Friday hit, I’d loosen my belt juuuust a little…and then a little more, and then…by Sunday night, I’d find myself sitting on my couch in baggy sweats staring at the bottom of yet another empty pint of ice cream declaring, “I’m going to be good on Monday!” For me, this cycle was normal. In fact, at the time I assumed that everyone ate their body weight in junk food on Sunday night!

When I diagnosed myself as an emotional eater last year, a sense of self-awareness came over me. I have always prided myself as being an optimistic, resilient person, but I realized that when it came to food, I was quite resentful and angry. Why can’t I just eat a freakin’ cupcake and not have to think about it?! How can she polish off a burger and fries and stay so skinny? (Sound familiar?) Simply put, I was pissed off that making consistently healthy choices always seemed like such a chore.

[continue reading…]

Diet Testimonial: How Bethenny Frankel Helped Me Get My Emotional Eating In Check post image

Pretty much everyone who knows me (including my 1,181 Facebook friends) is aware of the fact that that I am an avid Bethenny Frankel supporter. Whether you love her, hate her or simply just don’t get her, there is one thing I can say about this savvy businesswoman: She makes a heck of a lot of sense (and money!).

After reading Naturally Thin, I stopped obsessing about food; The SkinnyGirl Dish taught me that healthy cooking doesn’t have to be labor-intensive and A Place of Yes prompted me—immediately—to pursue a career as a nutrition counselor.

Here’s where where my journey with food and emotional eating began… [continue reading…]

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