Monthly Archives: March 2014

5 Ways to Live a More Positive Life

I feel it is my duty to share how I maintain such a positive outlook on life.  People comment regularly on how I have the ability to always make them feel better, or they ask how I can always find the positive in every situation.  This is a skill that I have practiced and learned throughout my many experiences in life, it wasn’t always natural for me (trust me).  If you’re someone who is looking to get more out of life, here are 5 simple ways to live a more positive life…

1. Appreciate everything around you! People often want appreciation from others. Instead, start to appreciate everything around you, for example:

 – The sunshine and the weather (this can be hard especially at this time of year, but soon, spring will be here!)

– How easy it is to get healthy food and our unlimited supply of drinkable water

– Your health and fitness.

– The people around you. Your friends, family, co-workers and any strangers you walk by everyday

– A good TV-show, a movie or a song on the radio

– A good conversation.

– The roof over your head and the clothes you wear.

– All the great things you can find online (including my blog of course!)

– Yourself. If look closely, there is a lot to appreciate about yourself (this is a tough one for most people)

These are just a few things you can be grateful for, I’m sure you can think of many more!  Practice doing this everyday, even write a few things down when you wake up or before you go to bed (keep a Gratitude Journal).  It’s a quick way to turn a bad mood into a more positive and productive one. Just try if for a minute and see how it changes the way you feel. It’s a win/win situation and I promise you, more people will want to be around you if you appreciate them more and think this way!

 2. Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want!
The more I do this, the more I discover that it is so key in improving my life. It sounds silly but it takes practice but by doing this, in time you will begin to see your life fill with more of what you want and you will be surrounded by the type of people you enjoy being around!  We are so good at focusing our thoughts on what we don’t want (and the people who we don’t want to be like) rather than what you want. If you do that then it will be hard to get what you want in life.  For example, if you want to improve your finances then focus on having a great financial situation rather than your lack of money and your debts. If you want a new relationship then focus on meeting a lot of new people and forming great relationships rather than focusing on your loneliness and your lack thereof. If you want get in better shape then focus on the lifestyle that you need to have in order to get there!  If you don’t then you’ll miss many opportunities that your mind just blocks out since it’s focused on what you don’t have.  But if you do this then there will be a greater chance of opportunities popping up that you have always dreamed of.  Your mind can mostly just see what you focus it on. So focus on what you want in life instead of what you don’t want.  I think it is also important to focus on WHAT YOU HAVE instead of WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE…another important thought pattern to practice!

3. Self educate and explore yourself!

This is something I am constantly doing. Whether I want to learn more about myself, the people I interact with, the fitness industry, my business, areas of my life that I want to improve on, I take responsibility and seek out the resources that I think will help me become better!  This is one of the keys to a better life!  We can never possibly know everything so it is so important to constantly look for ways to educate ourselves.  One of the best things I ever did to learn more about myself emotionally and spiritually was to do a 200 hour hatha yoga teacher training program.  It was one of the most intense 8 months of my life but the end results have changed the way I view myself and the world around me.  I have become much more self aware and kinder to myself and those around me.  I am also constantly looking to learn more about my career in fitness, whether it is related to programming for my clients, nutrition information, injury treatment and prevention, how to improve someone’s behavioural patterns, etc.  I’ve read books, articles, attended seminars, talked with experts, and I have also learned a lot through my own self discovery.  I still have so much to learn, I am a lifelong learner! Find out what area of your life needs improving and start to seek out the resources that will help you to achieve what you’re looking for! This is also a great way to get to know yourself better and understand why you think, feel and do – or don’t do – the things you do. And knowing yourself better – and other people too, since we share so much that make us alike – is pretty useful if you want to improve your life and lives of other’s too.

 4. Take action!
So many times I hear people saying “Man I really wish I could do _________” or “I have always want to ____________” or “I wish I had the motivation/discipline/will power to _______________”  Well guess what? YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO, IF YOU REALLY WANT SOMETHING!  Yeah, this one’s maybe easier said than done, but stop wishing and start doing! There is so much great information on how to go about it and it’s a great way to improve your life. “Just do it!” is one of my favourite mottos. But if you feel like you really can’t do what you want then it will probably not be too helpful. If you feel that fear is holding you back from doing something then you might need someone to help you out (i.e. for fitness goals, an awesome personal trainer!) Here is something else to think about, if you want something you’ve never had you must do something you’ve never done (thanks to my wonderful fiancé for that quote).  In other words, you  must step out of your ‘comfort zone’ in order to achieve your biggest goals and dreams.  Take a risk, it might not always work out BUT you’ll never know if you don’t try right?  A good way to make your goal or less daunting, break it into smaller steps or goals and confront your ‘fear’ little by little, thereby creating a momentum that let’s you move on to the next step. Another is learning to surrender, accept the now, live in the present (something that takes practice, yoga has really helped me with this!)

5. Improve your social skills!

This is such a big part of my life! Not only is my job VERY social but when I am not at work I surround myself with many different group of friends!   So much of the happiness, value and fun in life comes from  my interactions, experiences and relationships with other people. Improving those interactions and your communication skills can greatly improve your life.  Sometimes, when we spend too much time alone that we become overwhelmed by our thoughts (and most times the negative ones and those feelings lead us to feeling more self conscious!) so if we surround ourselves with positive people we can focus our attention outward.  Most people have a hard time living in the present as they are too preoccupied thinking about what happened yesterday, or last week or last year OR they are worried about what will happen tomorrow, next week or next year.  We must practice focusing on what is happening right now!  If you can’t enjoy the present moment, when will you be able to enjoy the future?  This is the joy of having great friends and a busy social life!

  To all my positive friends and followers out there, do you have any other tips to share that can help someone who is looking to live a more positive life?

Les 🙂

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Why so Many ‘Healthy’ Women Can’t Lose Weight

I read this article on MINDBODYGREEN and had to share it with my readers as I have many clients wanting to lose the ‘last 10 pounds’….
 
Women who are “healthy” but still carrying those last 5-10 pounds: this post is for you. These are the top areas women neglect, even when they think they’re being healthy. In contrast to the gimmicky, quick-fix methods out there, this post examines the root of your problems. 
1. You have an estrogen to progesterone imbalance.
 Many women — especially those of child-bearing age — have an estrogen dominance problem. If you exercise daily, it’s likely that you’re using up your progesterone and estrogen is dominating. Other causes of estrogen dominance include environmental factors such as pesticides, plastics, industrial waste products, car exhaust, meat, soaps, furniture and carpet.
 
Diet, environmental avoidance of xenoestrogens, and taking supplements can bolster your progesterone and decrease estrogen dominance. There are many books, websites and detailed articles I’ve found helpful, and I’m happy to share with those who want more information. 
 
2. You’re not getting enough vitamin D.
 
Possibly due to our awareness of skin cancer and the use of sunscreen, our levels of vitamin D are lower than they were decades ago. Vitamin D acts like a hormone in our bodies, and deficiency has been linked to allergies, asthma, weight gain, fatigue, food allergies and even cancer. Vitamin D levels can be tested by your healthcare provider, and supplemental vitamin D can be found in various forms. 
 
 
3. You have high cortisol.
 
High levels of cortisol (our “stress hormone”) is another big reason we tend to keep weight on our abdominal area. I used to wake up very early to do a spin class or intense run, then race home to get ready for work, then deal with my young kids and chores. That increased my cortisol levels and working against my goals of having a lean body.
 
If you feel like you need to be on a caffeine drip at all times, it means you’re having too many highs and lows with cortisol as a big culprit. Cortisol is associated with increased appetite, cravings for sugar, and weight gain. You need to unwind everyday with whatever it is that shuts off your hypervigilence — even if it’s for 10 minutes per day.
 
4. You’re eating processed “healthy.”
 
Excess sodium, GMOs and sugar are all hidden ingredients which are both inflammatory and causes of excess weight gain. Just because it’s at a health food store and it’s “gluten free” or “low fat” or “natural,” DOES NOT mean it’s good for you. It took me a long time to get over this, because packaging with the words “natural” and “healthy” are very enticing.
 
5. You’re eating too much fat.
 
Paleo and other higher-fat diets work for some people, but many women, such as myself, don’t do well with them. Our bodies may do well with fat — especially when added to greens — but be careful not to go overboard.
 
 6. You’re skimping on quality sleep.
 
This still remains tried and true. Your hormones need it. Your muscles need it for repair, and your brain needs it. The two hormones that are key in the relationship between sleep and weight loss are ghrelin and leptin. Put very simply, leptin tells us when to stop eating and when you’re sleep deprived. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you’re sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin.
 
Often when I am having sleep disturbances or jet lag, I use melatonin and magnesium as supplements to get me on the right track.
 
7. You’re not eating your cruciferous vegetables.
 
Cruciferous vegetables from the vegetable family Brassicaceae include cabbage, kale, cauliflower, bok choy, broccoli and other similar green vegetables. Not only are they good for you because of the feeling of fullness you get from the fiber, but they’re also good for estrogen metabolism through a compound called indole-3-carbinol (I3C). It is a natural source of DIM (3,3-Diindolylmethane) that helps promote estrogen balance. This is the cheapest, easiest way to get your hormones — and your weight — in balance.
 
Les 🙂