Health and Fitness Tips for Busy People

 

Got questions about health and fitness?  I’ve got answers!  Here are the most common questions and goals that I’ve received from clients and answers that give the results you want.  Here we go!

Health and Fitness Tips

How can I lose weight?  Burn more calories than you consume.

What can I do to get healthy?  Stop eating junk.  Start eating more natural, unprocessed foods.

I want toned abs & arms.  Eat clean and strength train.

I want to see results.  Have specific goals and track them.  If you don’t know what you’re aiming for, how will you know when you get there?

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exuperys

I don’t have time to work out.  Yes, you do! If you can carve out 5-15 minutes during the day, you can do simple effective moves that will give you results! I’ve even designed a workout you can do in your kitchen while you are waiting for water to boil or coffee to drip. Now THAT is using your time wisely 🙂

I can’t seem to get motivated.  Get a workout buddy or coach to help you.  Oh, and read these!

Got more questions for me?  How can I help?  Leave a comment below & I’ll post an answer for you!

Other posts you should read:

Are You Making These 5 Dieting Mistakes?

How To Be Your Best Self

This post on Oprah.com by the great author Jeffrey Eugenides is amazingly motivating! How to Believe in Yourself—Even If You Sometimes Don’t

 

Are You Making These 5 Dieting Mistakes?

 

Trouble losing weight or keeping it off?  Make sure you aren’t making one of these common dieting mistakes.

Are You Making These 5 Dieting Mistakes?

Setting Goals That Aren’t Realistic

Setting an unrealistic goal will almost guarantee failure.  Instead, set S.M.A.R.T. goals when it comes to weight loss.  Donald Hensrud, M.D., weight loss expert from the Mayo Clinic recommends 1-2 pounds per week.  If you lose weight at this pace, you are more likely to keep it off.

Choosing the Wrong Kind of Diet

A diet that doesn’t include any of the foods you like to eat may work in the very short term, but it is unlikely that you’ll achieve you longer-term weight loss goals.  Several studies have found that following a low-fat diet doesn’t make it any easier to lose weight or to keep weight off.   Study participants who followed moderate- or high-fat diets lost just as much weight as those who follow low-fat diets.  Successful weight loss depends largely on one thing — burn more calories than you consume.

Not Planning Ahead

If you don’t plan ahead, you’ll be reaching for the first thing you can get your hands on at lunch or dinner time to satisfy your hunger.  Take the time (maybe on a Sunday morning to plan for the coming week) to make a list of your favorite nutritious meals.  Shop for all of the ingredients and plan your meals for the week at one time.  Bring low-calorie snacks like an apple or a small Greek yogurt to the office to make hitting the vending machines less tempting.

Drink More Water

Drinking water aids weight loss and flushes out toxins from the body.  According to an article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, obese participants in a six-month clinical trial both lost weight and reduced waist circumference by drinking water compared to participants who drank caloric beverages.

Skipping Meals

Meal skipping is not a successful way to lose weight.  Frequent meal skipping actually reduces your metabolic rate, making weight loss more challenging.  Eating regular meals keeps you energized throughout the day and makes it less likely that you’ll overeat at night to compensate.

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Other posts you might like:

5 Sneaky Ways to Lose 10 Pounds Fast

5 Things You Can Do To Feel Better Instantly

How To Be Your Best Self

 

How To Be Your Best Self

That particular week seemed more difficult than others.  I felt angrier and my patience was pretty much nonexistent.  I remember sitting in a team meeting and, for no reason, tears started to well up and I discreetly left the room so that no one would notice.

I was leading a very big project at work, and things were running as smoothly as one would expect, but I was literally on 24/7.  I couldn’t remember the last time I’d taken a day off.  A year or two maybe, with the exception of Christmas day.  For about two years, I had dreamed of going to a destination spa I’d discovered online.  I could practically feel the tranquility through the photos on the website.  In a minute of desperation, I called the spa & was told they had availability for the next week.

meditation-lake

1) TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF

The spa was usually booked weeks in advance, so I took their availability as a sign, booked the trip, and committed to taking the next week off.

The timing wasn’t great from a work perspective…in two week’s time, I was going to be hosting a conference with over 100 guests flying in from around the world.

But some crisis or extremely urgent work matter was always on the horizon…there was never a good time to take a day off, much less an entire week.

Sound familiar?

My colleague swore that she’d get in touch with me if there was any out-of-control emergency that should couldn’t handle herself.  I let out a big exhale, and a few days later I was off!  And you know what?  The office didn’t fall apart, the conference was a huge success, and I did a better job hosting because I was able to relax and recharge.  Anxiety gone.

Take time for yourself.  You deserve it.  Jobs come and go.  Bosses you admire move on to other jobs.  You are with yourself for the long haul … so give yourself the down time you need.

2) NURTURE YOURSELF

We’re all grown-ups with jobs, relationships, and maybe kids of our own, but there is an inner child in all of us that needs nurturing.  Instead of nurturing that inner child, we busy ourselves and/or pick up bad habits to avoid feeling alone, sad, or inadequate.

I used to be the queen of negative self-talk.  My diet was awful, I didn’t exercise, I drank coffee or soda all day, and I didn’t get enough sleep.  I was even going to therapy, but I wasn’t doing the work I needed to do outside of that hour/week, so it took a really long time to get where I needed to be.  That was my path.  I made it, but I wish I hadn’t suffered as long as I did for no good reason.

Take the time to take care of yourself physically.  Get a physical every year.  Have you blood drawn and check for things like high cholesterol on a regular basis.  Drink water, eat healthy foods, and get the amount of sleep that you need.  No job in the world is worth feeling miserable every single day.  If you don’t take care of yourself, who else will?  And what about the people you take care of?  If you can’t take care of them, who’s going to do that?

Make self-care a priority. You will never regret it.

3) LET GO OF YOUR CONTROL OBSESSION

When I arrived at the spa, the control freak in me was delighted to find that someone had carefully selected a full day of yoga & exercises classes, short wellness seminars, and body treatments for me based on my “pre-arrival interview,” and I had schedule waiting telling me what I’d be doing the next day.

Desperate for soul-nourishing, I had decided in advance that I was going to become a yoga devotee during my week away.  On my first morning at the spa, I showed up to the first yoga class on the schedule, just before 8 a.m.  I found myself a spot at the front of the class, little overachiever that I was.

Then something happened, instead of the instant bliss-fix that I had planned, all I could feel was the pain and tightness of my hamstrings and my hunched shoulders.  I started to feel defeated, like I had failed before I had started, and I couldn’t stop the negative thoughts spiraling in my mind.

The teacher invited the class to “open our hearts.”  (OK … I’m actually embarrassed to admit the first thought that popped into my mind, but if one person can resonate with this, then it’s worth it!)  The first thought I had when this teacher said “Open Your Heart” was “F-YOU!”  I was actually angered by this complete stranger’s suggestion that I trust her and allow myself to become vulnerable.  Inside I was screaming, “I’m here, aren’t I?  I’m trying!!!  What else do you want from me?”  Somehow I viewed her kindness as an intrusion — a criticism that I wasn’t trying hard enough.

I couldn’t get past it that week.  I wasn’t ready to give up control.  I toughed out that class until the end, but I never went to another yoga class the entire week.

Luckily, there was more than yoga planned to improve my wellness that week.  A couple of days later, I met with Sarah, my assigned personal trainer.  I was in my early thirties at the time, but I felt like I had the body of an 83-year-old!  Like on The Biggest Loser when they tell the contestants “Your body age is actually 79!”  That was what I felt like.

Sarah was nice, but she was there to prove a point.  She challenged me with “heavy” 10-lb hand weights and encouraged me during the interval training she had designed for my session.

That 1:1 experience was what I needed, along with a little positive reinforcement.  I was able to let go and be vulnerable.  I started running outside after that meeting with Sarah, and it was during those runs that I was able to feel a certain freedom.  Once I let go of the need to control any and every situation (which is impossible, by the way), I finally felt like the universe was on my side.

My advice here?  Just let go.  Sounds easier said than done, but it is incredibly powerful.  If you need to talk to a professional or a friend, coach, or mentor to get there, do it!  Once you stop fighting, it gets so much easier.  And you’ll be so much happier.

4) BE GRATEFUL.

One of the most popular items on the schedule that week was a one-hour wellness seminar called “How To Be Happy.”  I think every single person in attendance that week was packed in to the room for that message!

One of the big takeaways from that session was practicing gratitude.  We were asked to keep a gratitude journal for the rest of our stay.  Before bed each night, we were to write down five things that we were grateful for each day.  In doing so, we were creating a scenario where we were looking for positive things that happened during the day.  It could be something big like, “I’m grateful for the amazing personal trainer I met today and the way she encouraged me” or something as small as, “I’m grateful that we had cheesecake for dessert tonight — I love cheesecake!”

Keep a gratitude journal.  You’ll spend the day looking for things you can write about, making it harder to focus on negativity or problems!

5) TRUST YOURSELF

A few years later, I was rummaging through a closet and found the binder of resources I had taken home with me from the spa to continue working on my goals.  I found a little note that read:

“Great job this week! You can tell you feel refreshed.  Keep this feeling going by exercising daily.  You have to make yourself a priority — you deserve it!”

Wise words!  I made a risky decision and started a whole new career and chapter in my life.  Today I make my living writing about health, wellness, and self-care.  I also coach women who are looking to make healthy changes to their lives and improve their level of happiness.  I eat healthier, I get more rest, and I make exercise and my personal relationships a priority.  I’m happy to say that once I was able to silence my inner-critic, I also came to enjoy yoga and its many benefits!! 🙂

Trust yourself.  We deserve much more care and kindness than we tend to give ourselves.  And really, the only validation we need is our own.

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Lose Weight in a Week: 4 Easy Ways to Drop Pounds in 7 Days

Lose Weight In A Week

More than likely, if you are reading this post you fall in to one of two categories:

1) You are sick of being overweight, feeling unhealthy, and have no idea where to start

OR

2) You’ve been eating too many desserts lately OR slacked off exercising (or both) and want to lose the 5-10 pounds you gained while you weren’t looking

Whichever of these two buckets you fall into, good news — you’ve come to the right place!  This post will give you 4 Easy Ways to Jumpstart Your Weight Loss and Drop Pounds in Just 7 Days.  I’m serious!  Try these tips for just seven days, and comment below and share your results.

I’ve given this same advice to my coaching clients, and they have had success.  Read their Testimonials here and see what they had to say for yourself!

Without further delay, here are 4 Easy Ways to Lose Weight … starting TODAY!

Drink Water

Water has zero calories, zero carbs, and no sodium.  It’s great for revving up your metabolism, and it flushes out toxins (and excess water) from your body.  I’ve complained myself that water is boring & tasteless.  If this is how you feel, add a lemon or lime wedge.  Plain sparkling water is ok too as long as the sodium content is very low (aim for 30mg or less).  Avoid juices, energy drinks, soda (yes – even diet soda), etc. this week.  You can drink one cup of coffee or tea per day, but don’t add sweeteners or creamers.  (C’mon … it’s a 7-day commitment, not forever!  You want to lose weight, don’t you?)

Cut Out White Bread, White Rice, and White Pasta

Cutting out white-grain products or simple carbohydrates and replacing them with whole-grain or complex carbs diet will slim you down quickly.  Simple carbs are high in sugar, low in fiber, and while they taste good and give us comfort they have little to no nutritional value and cause belly bloating.  They are digested very quickly and leave you hungry just a short time after eating.  Replace white grains with whole-wheat bread, rice substitutes like quinoa and barley, and vegetables, which are digested more slowly & keep you feeling fuller longer.

Do Some Kind of Cardio Every Day for 30 Minutes

Wait — don’t close out of this post!  I promise, this isn’t a deal breaker!  If you want to burn calories, you have got to move.  Again, this is a 7-day challenge to kickstart your weight loss goal or slim down for that bikini you’re going to be wearing in two weeks.  If you don’t have a solid thirty minutes, you can break it up into two 15-minutes sessions or three 10-minutes sessions.  You MUST have time for that?!  No casual strolling here either.  After a warmup, get that heart rate up for a good 30 minutes by brisk walking, walking uphill, jogging, get your butt to a Zumba or other dance class, or jump on any piece of aerobic equipment such as elliptical machine.  You can even go old-school, low-tech and do 30 minutes of jumping rope, jumping jacks, or anything that gets your heart rate up for 30 minutes.  I like to use the FREE Nike Training Club app where there are tons of free workouts just waiting for you & many require NO EQUIPMENT.  No excuses … JUST DO IT!

Get More Sleep

This one isn’t so bad, eh?  Who doesn’t long for more zzz’s?  And guess what?  Your body needs it.  A study published in 2012 found that just a few nights of bad sleep can throw your metabolism into a tailspin.  The study showed that getting four hours of sleep a night for four nights made healthy people’s bodies resistant to insulin — a condition that leads to weight gain, diabetes and other serious health problems.

Not everyone needs eight hours of sleep per night.  Some need less, some actually need more to function optimally.  You can find out how many hours you need by reading this post I wrote for MindBodyGreen.  For the next 7 days, though, focus on adding just 30 minutes of sleep each night.  You might have to turn off the television a little earlier or wait until tomorrow for your turn at Words With Friends, but your body will thank you.

After you try this, please come back & leave a comment below & let everyone know about your progress!  

Other posts you might like:

How Do You Know If You Need a Life Coach?

Motivation — Where Are You?

What’s Past The Comfort Zone?

 

 

Is Ditching Dairy the Answer to Having a Flat Stomach?

In addition to ramping up my cardio & Pilates the past couple of weeks to get Bikini-Body ready for Hawaii in a couple of weeks, I’ve been reading up on food-based cleanses and other recommendations to get rid of any excess bloat before suiting up.  Only 12 MORE DAYS until I say “Aloha”!!!  Can’t wait!

12-image

A 2009 Baylor College of Medicine study found that about 12% of adults are lactose intolerant, which causes swelling during digestion.  In many, the symptoms can be mild enough or we can grow to believe they are “normal” enough to where we may not even know that we have the intolerance.

Several experts suggest ridding your diet of both dairy & wheat products for 7-14 days before a beach vacation to appear as svelte as possible.

I love my morning coffee with 2% milk and my afternoon Tazo Awake Tea Lattes from Starbucks, so this is going to be a tough one!

Starbucks Tea Latte

I started substituting almond milk in my morning coffee, which isn’t bad at all.  I’m going to switch to herbal tea in the afternoon or a cappuccino with almond or coconut milk.  We’ll see!

 

I don’t think ditching wheat products will be too difficult.  I did it once before in the 2011 Whole Living Action Plan (and dairy too, for that matter).  I did feel immensely better after giving up dairy, caffeine, and wheat products for an entire week!

I’ll keep you posted on my journey!  Any ideas for your favorite milk-substitutes are much appreciated!  I do LOVE a good coffee in the morning since I don’t use any sweetener, a little splash of something creamy is a must!!  Thanks for sharing below!!

 

Redefining Health & Wellness

So, you have a goal to be healthier, more fit, to lose weight, be happier, and just feel better in general.  What’s next?

Grab a pen & notebook, your iPad, or whatever… It’s time to take notes and start making the vision in your head a reality.  Ready?

Health and wellness is about more than just diet and exercise.  Think about your mental health as well.

  • Are you happy?
  • How much time do you spend doing what you love?
  • Check in with yourself …  do you remember what inspires you?

If you can’t remember or haven’t thought about your passions in years … don’t worry; you are not alone.  Start by asking your self questions and just getting as much information about you as you possibly can.

What do you consider your strengths to be?  What do your friends and coworkers tell you your strengths are?

You are creating a vision, so dream as much as you want to here.

  • What do you want your life to be like in 10 years?
  • What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
  • What do you see in this ideal life?
  • What are you doing (working, going to school)?
  • Who are you spending time with (family, friends)?
  • Where are you (are you living in the same place)?
Once you have a vision, it is time to start defining your goals.  Read all about goal setting in my earlier post, Do You Have a Plan?

I want to save you a lot of wasted time and disappointment by sharing this one thing with you. You have GOT to track your progress.  Put your goals down on paper!  The success rate of women who keep track of their goals is leaps and bounds ahead of those who do not. It is a proven fact.

Other tips for success:

  • Share your goals with your friends & loved ones  
  • Hold YOURSELF accountable  
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Sometimes the only difference between success and failure is getting the help you need.  I’d love to work with you on developing your wellness vision.  Between now and the end of this month, I’m offering $100 of my Personalized Wellness Plan service.
Other posts you might like:

Motivation — Where Are You?

I needed this today!! You Must Believe In Yourself

I’ve missed more than a few posts lately, and I can’t remember the last time I sent out my weekly newsletter that is supposed to go out every Tuesday.

I really *was* busy at first with my house move, then it was a challenge to get our internet service set up.  But that has been resolved since early September.  The truth is, I’ve just been feeling demotivated.

I was set to write an article for my favorite magazine.  I’d been dreaming of writing for them since I first launched my new career as a health coach and health writer.  After a well thought out query to the right editor, my pitch was accepted!  I was really on cloud nine.  As many writers know, magazines often have a 4-6 month lead-time … so I wasn’t surprised when the editor told me that my piece was slated for the March issue & that she would be in touch in August with the formal assignment & a due date in September.

August came, I followed up.  September came, I followed up.  October?  Still followed up, but starting to get the message.  While it is actually par for the course to be ignored by an editor to whom you send a query or pitch, I thought it was incredibly strange to get the cold-shoulder after a response & tentative due date?  I let it totally wreck my confidence (well, that and the many other flat-out “no’s” and cold-shoulders I’ve gotten since August).

I’m not thin-skinned at all.  I actually welcome a rejection letter!  At least I know that my idea was considered & perhaps not right or coming at the right time.

So rather than write about rejection when I myself was feeling de-motivated, I chose silence.  I guess I should also add that I haven’t been getting ANY comments on any of my posts, so I have to wonder if anyone is even reading my blog anymore????

I’m not one who gives up easily, so here I am today trying to keep it real, taking a deep breath, and setting a personal goal to keep writing & keep reaching for my own dreams.      I read an awesome article today by Jeffrey Eugenides (the guy who wrote Middlesex & The Virgin Suicides) called How To Believe in Yourself – Even If You Sometimes Don’t.  In the article, he talks about his journey as a writer & how he has dealt with own fears & anxieties.  It is a great story about he came to realize that inspiration comes from within.  It gave me the motivation to pick up my laptop & compose this post when all I really wanted to do was sleep all day!  Give it a read!

Oh, and if you read this post … please leave me a comment so that I know someone out there is STILL … well … out there!

 

 

 

How To Be Happy

Ah, happiness … why does it elude us sometimes?  We work hard, we’ve done everything we are supposed to do, but that happiness fix seems just out of our grasp.

When I googled “How To Be Happy” before writing this post, there were more than 2.5 billion search results returned.  Seems like we are all on the same quest.

One of Audrey Hepburn’s famous quotes – “The most important thing is to enjoy your life — to be happy — it’s all that matters.”

But how do we do it?  Most of us don’t think of happiness as a kind of good health.  Getting happy and staying happy involves just as much self-care as scheduling regular visits with our doctors, therapists, and personal trainers.

Part of being a good health coach or wellness coach is the ability to dig deep & figure out what is eating away at us that causes us to overeat or have unsatisfying relationships.

People often ask me, “Why Do I Need Wellness Coaching?”  We are all unique individuals, so the solution to health & happiness is unique for each and every one of us.  In fact, I’d bet if MORE people had personalized wellness plans developed for them, they wouldn’t need a therapist AND a personal trainer — they’d be setting and achieving goals that broke through both their physical and mental health barriers.

Here are some things you can start doing immediately to Get Happy:

1. Practice gratitude.

Once a week, think of just one thing you are grateful for and write it down. The more specific you are about why you are grateful, the more successful this is. Remember not compare yourself to others. When you do this, negative thoughts creep in. Focus on YOUR life!

2. Experience life.

You don’t have to go far — just get out of the house!  Sitting on the couch watching TV isn’t getting you anywhere – literally! – and it’s could be making you depressed.  Even if you don’t want to, take a walk and be grateful for the beautiful scenery around you. Or, get up early one morning and go to a place where you can watch the sunrise. It is a beautiful thing to witness, and you have an opportunity to do it every day.

3. Commit to an attitude of gratitude.
Start each day by saying “I am grateful.” My friend has a small bell hanging in one corner of her office at work. Every once in awhile, someone will brush past it as they enter her office, and the bell softly jingles. This is her private reminder to herself to count her blessings. Find something that works for you.

Other articles you may enjoy:

The Science of Gratitude

What Makes You Smile?

5 Things You Can Do to Feel Better Instantly

 

 

How to Make Time for Yourself

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that like me, none of you have had a magical star-aligning moment where you have all of the time, confidence, and support you need to reach your healthy living & fitness goals.

It takes work and dedication in our lives filled with imperfect circumstances!

I’m here to tell you that it *IS* possible to make time for yourself.  I want to see you make some serious effort towards your self-care goals.  To create the time, you may need to say “no” to some obligations, cut down on TV or Facebook time, trade off childcare duties, get up early, or stay up late.

Think you can’t find the time?  Read Laura Vanderkam’s book 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think.  It will OPEN YOUR EYES!!!

For inspiration and workouts you can do anywhere, check out my Pinterest boards for lots of great FREE resources.

Once you’ve cleared some space for focusing health & wellness goals, put it on your calendar!  If you don’t take charge of your time, someone else will be GLAD to do it for you.  Don’t give away that power!

Make it happen!

Photo courtesy of dailypositivequotes.com

 

 

What’s Past the Comfort Zone?

I’m not going to lie to you … accomplishing your fitness goals is not always a piece of cake.  In fact, it is HARD WORK!

The last few weeks have been super challenging for me.  In addition to moving to a new home, I started working in the office three days a week.  I quickly saw how easy it was to fall back into my old rut of putting my self-care LAST on the priority list.  As a result, my body has been feeling worn down and I can’t seem to get enough rest.

Luckily, I realized this very quickly and started to correct my lazy behaviors.  I firmly believe in practicing what I preach.  If I’m going to motivate and inspire others to take care of themselves, then I have to do the same.

Thanks to the Sexy September Challenge we’re doing this month, I’m lucky enough to have others inspiring me too!  I had a really good run on Tuesday.  Instead of my usual 3.5 mile loop of the Stanford Dish Trail, I decided to take a different route that added another two miles.  During the run, I felt like I was so far out of my comfort zone that I couldn’t see it anymore!  The good (and awfully painful) thing about this particular trail is that once you start the loop, you HAVE to finish it.  It was hilly and the 6pm sun was a menace, but I felt SO good when I was done.  Its the longest run that I have ever done … maybe ever!

I think you have to push past your comfort zone to see what you are made of.  To truly know that you CAN accomplish your goals, despite all of the hurdles in the way.  This is true in fitness, and in life.  Once you see what you can do, nothing can stop you!

Stay in touch on the Wellness Science Facebook page to be inspired & inspire others for the rest of Sexy September!

I love comments & questions, so keep them coming!