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

 

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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4 Tips to Healthy Eating

 

There is no single “healthy” diet.  In fact, many eating patterns sustain good health. 

What these health eating patterns have in common is lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as well as healthy sources of protein and fats. 

Here are 4 Tips to Healthy Eating that will lower your risk for conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer.

1. Change what’s on your plate

In the fall of 2011, nutrition experts at Harvard School of Public Health unveiled the Healthy Eating Plate. Refined grains like white breads and rice have less fiber and way fewer nutrients than their whole grain substitutions.  Check out the plate below.  Half of your diet should consist of fruits and vegetables, while the other half is healthy proteins and whole grains.  Research has shown that people who ate more fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and weight gain, and those who eat more fruit also have a lower risk of stroke.

heatlhy-eating-plate-400-full

2. Stop drinking soda/pop/whatever you call it and drinks filled with SUGAR!

Research has also shown that sugar-laden drinks can raise the threshold for feeling full.  Therefore, you have to eat more to feel satisfied, which promotes weight gain!  

A 2011 Harvard study found that sugar-sweetened beverages were one of the dietary components most strongly linked to long-term weight gain among healthy women and men.  Drink more water.  A reasonable goal is 4 to 6 cups per day.  Black tea, black coffee, and “fizzy” water are also ok (water for sodium content in carbonated water – see #3)

3. Learn to like less salt. 

Your daily sodium intake should be limited to about 2,300 milligrams (mg), which is roughly the amount in a single teaspoon of salt.  If you have high blood pressure or are at risk for it, limit sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day.  My general rule of thumb … read the nutrition content on labels.  Make sure that the per-serving sodium content is less than the number of calories per serving.

4. Plan for snack breaks

Healthy snacks increase energy levels by stabilizing blood sugar with the added benefit of providing healthy nutrients.  You know you are going to need a snack some time in the late morning (if you start the day early) and at some point between lunch and dinner.  Prepare a couple of healthy snacks ahead of time and have them on hand. Good choices include a banana or other fruit, a handful of raw, unsalted almonds or sunflower seeds, or a small container of plain nonfat yogurt with a few berries.  

Try implementing these 4 tips to healthy eating and watch your health & energy levels improve!

Healthy Eating Tips

Why Resolutions Fail


Achieve your 2012 Goals With These Simple Tips

I overheard a conversation in the locker room at the gym today between two ladies who were regular gym-goers.  One of them commented on how quiet it was in the gym this morning given that it was the holidays.  The other reminded her about how busy it was going to be next week when everyone who set New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, get in shape, or just to be more healthy began showing up at the gym.  Her friend remarked that by February it would be far less crowded because most people would have given up on their resolutions already!

It wasn’t so much a shocking remark as it was a sad one.  What truly is the difference between people who are able to adopt a healthy lifestyle and those who crash and burn after a few days or weeks?

To me, the difference between a failed resolution and the ability to make lasting changes, develop a healthy lifestyle, lose weight, and feel more energized is all in the approach.  Here are a few tips to making successful resolutions and avoid being a statistic.

1)  Don’t Ban Your Favorite Food Forever.  If you eat chocolate on a daily basis and decide that you are never going to eat chocolate again, you will probably not be very successful at achieving this goal.  Instead of banning it forever, vow to have a small piece a couple of times per week.  Switch from milk to dark chocolate, which has antioxidant benefits.  Yes, chocolate CAN be good for you!

2)  Don’t Do Too Much Too Soon at the Gym.  If you haven’t been to the gym in five years, you need to ease into exercise.  Make sure that your doctor has given you the all-clear to exercise if you have any injuries or ailments of concern.  Start slow and be consistent!  If you belong to a gym or plan to join one, classes are a great way to stay motivated.  Try different things (spinning, Zumba, yoga, etc.) to keep your body guessing what is coming next & maximize calories burned & muscles worked.

3)  Don’t Go It Alone!  It is much easier and much more fun when are working out with someone.  This even works if you actually exercise on your own & then have a virtual “accountability buddy.”  For those of you that didn’t see this on my Facebook page, I’m starting a 21-day exercise challenge on January 3rd.  Join me and others who have already signed up who share your goals.  We can all keep one another accountability & share ideas, milestones, and successes!

Leave me a comment here and let me know what your healthy living goals are for 2012!  I’d love to help you achieve them!

Happy New Year everyone!

Avoid Food Temptations and Weight Gain With These Simple Tips

 

Did you know that if you consume just 100 calories more than you burn every day, you’ll gain ten pounds in one year?  Pretty disturbing, isn’t it?  This tidbit of information can actually help you now that you are aware.  These small changes can make a big difference in controlling temptations this holiday season.Sit When You EatInstead of grabbing a handful of this or that during the day, actually sitting down using utensils and a plate may help you consume less.  Our brains have been trained to respond a certain way at mealtime.  If you make a rule not to eat without sitting down, eating will become more mindful… therefore, less mindless nibbling while making dinner and throughout the day.

Have the Soup

Studies show that starting out a meal with soup can activate brain signals that begin to tell you that you’ve had enough to eat.  By the time you finish with your main course, you’ll be satisfied instead of thinking about the dessert cart.  To minimize calories, stay away from cream-based soups.  Opt for vegetable or broth-based soups with vegetables rich in fiber.

Stay Away From the Buffet

Scientists have found that we consumer more calories when we see big spread of food.  Don’t torture yourself by going to an all-you-can-eat buffet.  Don’t feel like you have to put a little bit of everything on your plate.  It will not hurt the host or hostesses feelings if you consume in moderation.  If you are at a holiday party and they are serving potatoes, pass on the bread.

Use a Smaller Dish

Do you ever notice that when you choose a larger bowl or container, you tend to fill it up?  When you go for ice cream, use a small tea or coffee cup instead of an oversized ice cream bowl.  Also, use a mini ice cream scoop or small spoon to serve yourself rather than a giant serving spoon.  You’ll serve yourself less and still be satisfied.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

When the treats are out, we eat them.  You know that co-worker with the giant M&M jar on her desk?  We’ve all got one — and each time we pass her cubicle, those blue & green peanut M&Ms are beckoning for us!  Studies show that when candies are placed out of sight in the workplace, people ate half as much.  Don’t tempt yourself by keeping treats in plain view.

Comfort Food: Why Are You Seeking Comfort?

Millions of people use food as a way of seeking comfort from pain or hurt in their lives. Most are doing it without even realizing it.

Do you find yourself sitting at home, alone & bored watching TV and eating when you aren’t hungry? Do you suffer from insomnia and find yourself getting up during the night & cleaning out the pantry? They don’t call it comfort food for nothing!

In order to break through this unhealthy behavior, you have to dig deep and figure out what is really eating at you! It may be worry about something going on in your life or someone close to you. It may be an issue stemming from childhood that you never worked through and hoped to bury. You have to work your way through the pain in order to come out on the other side. This hurt and discomfort you are experiencing is good — it is showing you that you are due for a change.

You may have tried dieting in the past many times with no success. Don’t beat yourself up about past failures. You weren’t ready to make a change or you needed help! Sometimes the true difference between failure and success is getting the help you need and deserve!

I want to help you by giving you a FREE resource that you can use to finally make the change you’ve been longing for and end your feelings of hopelessness once and for all.

Visit my website and click to download our FREE Wellness Workbook here: goo.gl/qKo3j