Tag Archives: goal setting

Hi I’m Leslie. I am a recovering speed addict…

It’s true, I can remember a period of my life (over 5 years ago, when I first started personal training at Goodlife) when I felt as though there weren’t enough hours in the day….my to-do list was never getting smaller and I couldn’t keep up with my day to day tasks not to mention having  a social life and being in a relationship PLUS working out, eating and cooking and sleeping, PHEW!  Thanks to a 200hr yoga teacher training program a signed up for couple of years ago, and establishing a regular yoga practice,  I was made very aware of how my lifestyle and my “need for speed” was wearing me out!  I have been working very hard putting everything that I have learned into practice and this book (“Speed” by Stephanie Brown) was another confirmation of my former speed addiction.

Excerpt from “The Power of Less”

“For many people these days, work is a constant stream of emails, of new and requests, of phone calls and instant messages, of papers and notes and files.  The day starts with an inbox full of emails, and ends with an inbox just as full, and each email represents a request for information or for actions that we don’t have time to fulfill.  We are drinking from a fire hose of information, with no idea how to reduce the flow…”

So true right? This is very stressful and wasteful.  If we stop to think about it, it’s not how we want to spend our lives. How do we overcome these problem of overworking ourselves and feeling as thought there aren’t  enough hours in the day?  We must set limits!!  Focus on the important things instead of EVERYTHING!  Life can become  much simpler, it’s all about choices!  We must learn how to identify the essentials and eliminate the rest…much easier said then done…

 

Now the book that inspired me to write today’s blog post is called  “Speed: Facing our Addiction to Fast and Faster-and Overcoming our Fear of Slowing Down” by Stephanie Brown. Since I was never very good at book reports (yep, I still struggle to summarize the important parts of a book and put in my own words)  in school, here is a summary I found on Barnes and Noble…

“Feeling rushed, out of control, and overwhelmed?
Feeling like you can’t keep up… and can’t stop?
It’s not just you.

From the need to be constantly connected and the changing definition of “work hours,” to unrealistic expectations of instant gratification, our bodies and brains are being harmed by habits that, as with any kind of addiction, promise short-term satisfaction while doing long-term damage.

As a psychologist and addiction expert who practices in Silicon Valley, Stephanie Brown sees firsthand the impact of ever-faster technology and the culture it has spawned. She knows it’s affecting us mentally, physically, and spiritually. In this ground breaking book, she explores how our beliefs and behaviors are being shaped by the seemingly limitless new world we’ve entered in recent years—and why faster doesn’t always equal better. Dr. Brown offers a step-by-step plan for breaking out of the speed trap. With practical guidelines, she shows us how to ease up on the gas pedal and reconnect with ourselves, learning to accept—and value—our limitations as human beings, reduce our stress levels, and free ourselves from our counterproductive obsession with speed.”

Sounds pretty interesting right?? I don’t want to give away too much of the book (you should read it yourself if you want to learn more) but one part that I found really interesting was the questionnaire she included in the beginning of the book.  Take a moment and answer the questions below.  How many do you say YES to??

Twenty Questions: Are you Hooked on Fast?

Your behavior:

1. Do you want to slow down but you cannot? Have you lost control?

2. Do you keep adding activities without taking any away?

3. Do you work longer and longer hours, but don’t ever finish?

4. Do you treat other problems: sleep, anxiety, depression?

5. Do you act first and think later?

6. Do you check your email and reach for your phone first thing and last?

Your feelings:

7. Do you feel internal pressure to live fast and act fast, which becomes a craving to “connect” more rapidly?

8. Do you feel empty if you are not in constant action?

9. Do you feel nervous without your tech gear in hand or pocket?

10. Do you feel the beep of your phone as a comfort that gives you a shot of adrenaline?

11. Do you feel you belong when you are rushing, stressed and in action?

Your beliefs:

12. Do you believe you have no limits and you are entitled to live without limits?

13. Do you believe you should think, feel, react, and behave instantly?

14. Do you believe you will fall behind if you slow down?

15. Do you believe success equals fast and faster, and slowing down is falling?

16. Do you believe you should only feel good, only feel high; other feelings are a sign of failure?

17. Do you believe stress is the price of success and chaos is normal?

18. Do you believe that the “new intimacy” is through technology; less time for off-line relationships is the price of success?

19. Do you believe instant action is a virtue and you can overcome anything with enough willpower?

20. Do you believe all change must be big to count?

Are you addicted to speed like I was? (there are a few on here I still struggle with, but I am working on it now that I have been made aware of them!)

What she also included were tips to help you slow down…read below….

The Twenty Guidelines for Slowing Down: How to Unhook from Speed

Your behavior:

1. You ask for help; you seek a mentor who believes in slowing down for guidance and support

2. You develop a recovery action plan.

3. You begin to make small steps toward change.

4. You learn to pause, to reflect on your behavior, feelings and thinking.

5. You ask yourself, “What am I doing?”

Your feelings:

6. You feel the reality of limits and face the feeling of failure.

7. You become aware of feelings, and learn to face them.

8. You trust that the high of impulsive action is NOT the feeling you seek.

9. You develop a wider range of new feelings.

10. You come to trust that deep, intimate human ‘connection’ exists in a slowed down, quiet state.

Your thinking:

11. You believe in the reality of limits.

12. You learn to recognize and challenge your belief in entitlement.

13. You challenge your belief in willpower.

14. You believe in the value of small steps and a slower sense of time.

15. You believe in a new definition of success; you best effort within a structure of limits.

16. You believe in the value of delay, endurance, and the concept of “enough.”

17. You believe that growth and change are not instant; that ‘quick fixes’ reinforce the thinking of fast and impulsive action.

18. You believe in the value and necessity of reflection as a part of health and success.

19. You challenge your all-or-none thinking.

20. You give new meaning to ‘service.’

It is a process…it takes time and practice.  But the best way to improve your relationship with yourself and others, your health and anything else that is being affected by your fast -paced, non-stop, go-go-go, so many commitments, not enough time, crazy lifestyle is to stop for a moment, turn off your computer, turn off your phone(s) and sit in peace to think really hard about what you really want to accomplish in your life.  Instead of bragging about how busy or stressed out you are, focus on the ESSENTIALS and allow everything else to drop away.  It’ll make you much happier, less stressed, and surprisingly, more productive!

Ever since I started doing more self reflection I know what my limits are.  I have taken the steps (it is a work in progress) to simplify my life I have been able to reach new goals and habits and love sharing my experiences and tips with others.  Focus all your energy and time on one thing at a time (start small and build on one small ‘thing’ at a time) instead of trying to accomplish everything at once.  Practice yoga, meditation or deep breathing….it works!

For more information on how to simplify your life be sure to pick up Leo Babauta’s book “The Power of Less”, you’ll be glad you did…I am almost done reading it and I just picked it up from the library (my new favourite hangout!) an hour ago!

Les 🙂

 

 

 

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Why is weight loss so hard?! Part 1

Do you think it’s easy to lose weight? If you listen to the weight loss industry, read magazines/books/articles, shop in health food or supplement stores, you have read about or been told how easy it is–just take this pill, follow that diet or buy this piece of equipment and the fat will just disappear. In fact, we spend over billions each year on weight loss products and services and yet we’re still overweight. So with that being said, is weight loss really that simple?

The idea behind weight loss is simple–burn more calories than you eat. This can be accomplished by replacing a couple of sodas with water and adding 20 minutes of walking each day. Sounds simple…and it is. If it’s that simple, why can’t we seem to do it?

There are a number of factors that contribute to our weight gain that you already know. But it’s not just about finding time to exercise or choosing the salad over the burger–it’s about genuine commitment to make healthy decisions every day….REGARDLESS of what’s happening in your life. If you’re not ready to make some changes, losing weight will be hard. I have come up with 10 things you’ll need to look at in order to get yourself in the right mind set and on the right track to weight loss!

1. Your Attitude. If you’re only on a health kick to lose weight or look a certain way, it will be hard to lose weight permanently. Why? Because, what happens if you don’t see results quickly enough? You give up. Weight loss is a great goal, but unless you have something else to motivate you, what’s to keep you going if the scale doesn’t budge? It takes time to lose weight–how will you motivate yourself in the meantime? Find more reasons to be healthy–having more energy, dealing with health problems or wanting to live longer to be around for your kids. Those are some awesome reasons, if you ask me. We will all have moments of weakness, when we fall off the wagon, miss a few workouts, etc, but we must pull ourselves back up and start over again! It doesn’t always have to be an all or nothing approach! Tomorrow is a new day! Oh and I totally love this quote….

2. Your Workouts. If you don’t workout consistently enough, it’s hard to lose weight. Yes, it’s possible to lose weight through diet alone, but you’ll likely hit a plateau. You don’t need to spend hours in the gym, you only need to set up a reasonable workout schedule that you can follow each week. It’s not about killing yourself with workouts–it’s about finding something you like and that you’ll continue with for the rest of your life. You have to be willing to be more active on a regular basis–not just for a week here and there. Having a personal trainer or a workout buddy is a great way to hold yourself accountable!

3. Your Eating. I can’t emphasize this enough! Weight loss is 80% nutrition and 20 % exercise! TRUST ME! I used to be the person who was convinced that I could eat whatever I want as long as I workout hard everyday.  THAT DIDN’T WORK!  I get best results when I really pay attention to what I am eating and avoid any foods that will not help me reach my weight loss goals. This woman and her book totally changed my thoughts about healthy eating and the importance of nutrition…if you aren’t familiar with Tosca Reno (the Eat Clean Diet Queen) I highly recommend you check out her selection of awesome cook books 🙂 She is Canadian!

Changing the way you eat is another thing you’re going to have to do for long-lasting weight loss. You need to be willing to replace unhealthy foods with healthier choices–every single day. This might mean:

  • Keeping a food journal
  • Spending more time in the grocery store reading food labels
  • Spending more time preparing meals
  • Saying no to extra portions
  • Making conscious choices about what you put in your mouth.

For permanent weight loss, you need to pay attention to what you eat and make good choices more often than not. Maybe a structured diet eventually ends, but healthy eating never stops…there will never be a time when you’re done eating healthy. You might feel you’re sacrificing the good stuff (pizza, fast food, etc.) and your life won’t be fun if you can’t have those foods. Guess what? You can still have them…just not whenever you want. Are you ready to make these changes? Are you ready to stop giving your body the most convenient thing available (and often the most fatty) and, instead, spend time planning what and when you’ll eat? Because that’s what it takes to get healthy…permanently.

4. Your Lifestyle. If you want a healthy life, you have to be willing to change how you live. It most definitely doesn’t mean changing everything overnight, but simply being open to new ways of doing things. Some things you might need to change for a healthy life are:

  • Daily Routines. You may need to get up earlier to prepare your lunch or squeeze in a workout, use your lunch hour for exercise or go for a walk after work instead of watching TV. Are you willing to do this?
  • Limits. You might need to set new rules for yourself limiting how much TV you watch or how long you sit at the computer. You’ll need to pay attention to how you spend your time and where you’re out of balance so you can add more movement.
  • Your Pantry. I’m the kind of person who will eat an entire bag of Doritos or cookies if they’re in the house (I’m dead serious!) That means I don’t keep them in the house and if someone brings them home, they must hide them. If you want to be healthy, you may need to get rid of those foods you just can’t resist.
  • Your Schedule. If you’re not willing to sit down and change the way you live each day to include exercise, time to prepare meals and time to nurture yourself with sleep, it’s hard to lose weight!!!   People use busy schedules as an excuse not to be healthy…are you one of them? If you’re not ready to take responsibility for the schedule you’ve created, it will be hard to lose weight. I hear this excuse A LOT and I could use it as well but I choose not to! The results are worth the extra effort 🙂

5. Your Surroundings. Sometimes, you can’t control the things around you. At work, you may be surrounded by temptations–donuts, vending machines, invitations to eat out for lunch, etc. That’s just one thing you have to deal with…but what about your home? Surround yourself with things that will support you in your efforts to get healthy. That might mean spending your hard earned money on a personal trainer, setting up a corner of the house with workout equipment or instead of watching mindless TV a few nights a week choose to do an exercise video. Set up an environment that encourages those healthy choices and reminds you of them!! Always having a fridge and pantry full of healthy groceries is a guaranteed way to make sure you are making healthy food choices everyday!!

Check back later in the week for Part 2 where I will be completing this list with 5 more ways to make your journey to a healthier lifestyle a little less overwhelming…

What changes are you going to make today to make sure you are set up for success?? Are you as dedicated to your goal as you think you are?? If you really want something, stop dreaming, set a goal and start DOING IT!

Les 🙂

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Be SMART! Don’t wait until the New Year to start…

Hello and hope you have all survived the craziness of the holidays-travelling, socializing, drinking and eating, staying up late, etc etc…I most certainly have enjoyed the break but am ready to get back to work!!

Now that Christmas has come and gone I hope you have had time to start thinking about your goals in the upcoming months…

Remember the best goals are S.M.A.R.T. goals…check out my friend Lydia’s blog post called “How to set SMART goals”  I have included below…

new years resolution

For example, let’s say you want to lose weight (a very common goal after all the holiday eating). Instead of making the resolution “lose weight”, let’s make a SMART goal:

S – Lose 10 pounds

M – You can measure this by weighing yourself on a regular basis (once a week is fine)

A – This is where it gets personal and specific to you. If losing 10 pounds is attainable, perfect, if not, adjust to what you can do.

R – This one goes hand-in-hand with attainable. I believe in stretch goals (aka going beyond what you think is possible) but you do want to aim for something that’s realistic.

T – Setting a deadline is one of the most important aspects of a SMART goal. Without a deadline, how will you know if/when you have achieved your goal? For our example, let’s say 6 weeks (for a safe 1-2 weight loss per week).

To sum up, our goal is to lose 10 pounds in 6 weeks. At the end of 6 weeks, we’ll know if we’ve met our goal.

SMART goals set the foundation for action

Having the goal is the start, then you need an action plan. Here’s where I think many resolutions break down. Even if you create a specific, measurable goal, without a plan, how will you get there?

In keeping with our goal to lose 10 pounds, here are some ways we can plan for success:

– Start eating clean. Cut out white sugar, white flour and processed food.
– Drink 2L of water a day. (Notice how this is specific and measurable)
– Go to the gym 3-4 times per week. Book in your calendar!
– Limit alcohol to 2 nights a week (there’s a lot of sugar in alcohol)

Those are just some very specific ways that will help contribute to the goal of weight loss. Whatever your goals are, you need to outline the steps you’ll take to get there.

To help you get started with setting your goals for 2013, I’ve created a free, downloadable goal-setting template for you.

 

SOO what are your goals for 2013?? How do you plan on achieving them??

Les 🙂

 

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How to stop falling off the wagon!!!

if you're tired of starting over

Are you one of those people who starts a diet or makes a decision to eat healthier and then less than a week later you’re back to eating unhealthyfoods and finish off an entire carton of ice cream?? Well in today’s post you will not only learn why you do this…but WHAT to do about it and hopefully how to prevent it from happening again!

But first, I want to share an interesting article I found on the internet that sounds very similar to the way I dealt with food in the past (and not gonna lie I am human and have weak moments from time to time even now!!)  This is also very similar to what I’ve noticed over the last several years working with  many different people as a personal trainer and observing how people lose weight…it’s long but worth the read…you will most likely be able to relate…

“It’s that when most people start a diet (which by the way I don’t encourage), they seem to have NO IDEA what will keep their enthusiasm going and keep them from cheating… and eventually failing.

And when they fail on these diets, they feel “out of control” of their lives…like a weak person that has no willpower…or a loser that’s failed — AGAIN!

Have you ever started a diet and really believed that THIS time it is gonna be different because you have found that drive and determination to change yourself… NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES?

Have you told yourself, “I don’t care how hard it’s going to be. I’m ONLY going to eat what my diet says is okay to eat.”

Ok let’s get real here!! Here is an example of what happens to most people (including myself)…

So here you are, on a diet and it’s the weekend and you have plans to go to a party!

You  have been so good all day long and only eaten exactly what the meal plan told you to eat today. You’re feeling really good about yourself and know that you’re going to have a great time at the party tonight.

You show up at the party feeling great and looking good.  You make your way over to the appetizers and there they are…Fresh baked, hot chocolate chip cookies! NO! Not COOKIES!  I LOVE COOKIES!  But there they are… teasing you with their sweet, sugary aroma and hot steam dancing around the slowly-melting chocolate chips (HAHA!)  Your senses take all this in and your mind quickly zooms in on the chocolate chip cookies. Suddenly, you can think of nothing else.  It was as if everyone in the party  has disappeared and there is a spotlight pointed at the tray of cookies (seriously this has happened to me before!)  You tell yourself, “I’ve been so good all day long. One cookie isn’t going to hurt any.” So you grab one and stuff it into your mouth. OMG!! Pure decadence. Mouth-watering ecstasy.  No worries in the world… just you and your cookie… wait! It’s gone! That was over way too quickly… you must eat more. And so you grab a second, and then a third, and then a fourth… and before you know it, you’ve had 6 fattening, sugar-filled chocolate chip cookies. Was that on your diet meal plan for the day?  I guess probably not.  All at once it hits you…What Have I Done?!  You ate 6 chocolate chip cookies in less than 5 minutes. How could I let that happen? I was doing so good.

Well, now that this night is shot… you might-as-well enjoy it while you can and have some fun.  So you go over to the chips and guacamole and start piling it on.  You tell yourself, “I’ll start back on my diet again tomorrow.”

And so the cycle repeats…

Isn’t that a funny phrase, “start back on”?  How can you “start back on” anything?  Can’t you only start something ONCE?  How many times have you “started back on your diet”? If you’re like me then you don’t even remember.  I would start a diet and really believe with all my heart that I would stick with it… that NOTHING was going to break my willpower.  I would tell myself, “This time it feels different.” “It feels special.”So why did I always end up back at the same place with a cookie in one hand and a fried tortilla chip in the other? I was doing everything I could to convince myself that I needed to change my body. I took a ‘fat picture’ of myself and pinned it to my bathroom mirror, I made a list of all the things about my body that I hated and wanted to change, I even laid out my high school jeans so I could look at them every day for motivation. But still I was cheating. Still I couldn’t keep from eating those super-fatted and sugar-filled foods. You would think that the disgust that I felt every time I caught a glimpse of my thighs in a mirror would be inspiration enough to PUT DOWN THAT COOKIE AND GRAB A CELERY STICK…

but it wasn’t.

Every time I started a diet to change the body that I hated, I failed. Finally, it hit me…THE BIG AH-HA THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING FOR ME!.  Maybe the reason that I kept failing at my diets wasn’t because I didn’t have ENOUGH hatred for my body… Maybe that hatred was actually the reason why I was failing. I started to think about this a little deeper. I had been torturing my body and trying to force it to change… but it wasn’t responding.  In fact, it was rebelling and I was getting fatter. The more I thought about this, the more it seemed to make sense. Of course!

Why SHOULD my body change? What motivation am I giving it? Hatred. And what responds positively to hatred? Nothing. Think about what would happen if a friend wanted YOU to change. If she comes to you insulting you… and telling you everything that she hates about you… and all the reasons why you should change… and then DEMANDING that you change…You’re probably not going to react really well to this line of talk… and you are probably NOT going to change. No, you’d just get defensive and grind your heels in deeper. But if she comes to you with caring… and humility… and from a place where she is wanting to help you because she loves you… and then she convinces you there are wonderful reasons to make the change…You might feel inspired.You WANT to change.

I started to treat my own body like a friend that I wanted to inspire. Every day I would tell my body all the beautiful things that I loved about it. And when my body (or mind) made a mistake, I immediately gave forgiveness because I didn’t want my body to become discouraged. This shift in my thinking about my body changed my relationship with my body. It was no longer an enemy that I was fighting against… My body became my strongest ally. And we were fighting together for the same common goal — to be the healthiest person possible. It was suddenly much easier to stop eating junk food or to stop after one. It actually brought me JOY. And that was just the beginning…The more time I spent exploring my body, the deeper into my SELF I travelled. And you know what I found? Hiding underneath all these bones and organs, quietly and patiently waiting to be discovered…Was my spirit. And once I was introduced to my spirit, my fascination with my body faded quickly. And I made some really big discoveries…I am more than my body. This body is where my spirit lives. Every time I eat junk food or crap, I am polluting the house of my spirit. More than that, I WANT to give my spirit a beautiful place to live… and only pure, clean natural foods can build that. And so I started eliminated unhealthy foods from my diet, one-by-one and replacing them with healthy foods. And the healthier I ate, the brighter my spirit shined. I love that feeling. I CRAVE that feeling. I appreciate how great it feels when your spirit shines brightly because I spent the first decades of my life without that feeling. And now, I’ll do anything for it… I’ll even give up chocolate chip cookies. I even enjoy working out.

If this sounds crazy to you, I understand. I never thought I would find a better feeling than eating a plate full of chocolate chip cookies… but I have. When I feed my spirit the pure, clean, natural foods that it needs…My spirit rewards me in so many ways. I have more energy than I know what to do with, I laugh like I did when I was a schoolgirl, and I find happiness EVERYWHERE – even in the most common things. You may be thinking, “You get all this from food?” Believe it or not, Yes. When I finally found a deeper motivation to eat healthy foods, I stopped eating crap. All that crap I used to eat was dead. Dead of life, dead of nutrition, and dead of any good energy. Once I started to eat healthy foods, it was like someone came and breathed life into me. It feels so good to eat healthy! And it begins to actually taste BETTER to you than that junk food does. When your food is dead – YOU ARE DEAD.

I feel like I am alive for the first time in years. I got so many good feelings from eating healthy that I got hooked and didn’t want to eat anything else.

And you know what happened? My body started to change. My eyes got brighter, my skin got clearer, and all that extra fat around my thighs, butt and stomach disappeared. AND I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE! When I started talking to other women who have healthy eating habits, turns out they all have some higher motivation for rejecting crap and embracing healthy, natural foods. Some are healing from an illness…Some are following spiritual beliefs…Some have ethical reasons… Regardless of WHAT the motivation is… it always comes from some higher place other than “I want to look hot in a swimsuit.” The physical desire to change won’t carry you through those really difficult times when you want to cheat because that’s a physical desire as well. The physical pleasure you get from pigging out won’t always win over your physical desire to be “hot”… But your spiritual one will. When your motivation comes from the deepest place within you, it is driven from a much more powerful force. It is NOT driven by fear or hatred – it is driven by love. And that’s what kept me from cheating and failing at my diet. Today, if I do decide to cheat (which I sometimes do) I know that I won’t feel good after I eat it, and it won’t give me the same rush of health that I’ve become hooked on… But I do it anyway and I allow myself the enjoyment while I’m eating it because I know that that’s ALL the enjoyment I’m going to get. I deal with the after effects – the bloating, the indigestion, the sluggishness and lack of energy… And then I get right back to my healthy diet because that is what I prefer. Now, I CHOOSE foods that give me sustained enjoyment that nourish my body, mind and spirit. Look, I’m not some spiritual sage levitating four inches off the ground in lotus position… I’m not some great and powerful person or some holy saint with superhuman powers… I’m just a regular woman from a small town in Texas that turned my attention to what really makes me happy… and I found out that it wasn’t in chocolate chip cookies after all.

I know any woman can turn her attention inward…and discover what REALLY makes her happy…so that she can start to make better choices. And when you PREFER to make better choices, you will STOP failing at your diet. In fact, you won’t have to ever diet again. I know that this is not something that happens right away, and that maybe you might need some more guidance to find your way to where I am. 

PHEW! I am back!  Now  I am going to share with you 5 simple steps you can follow to stop failing at your ‘diet’ and prevent you from constantly starting over again:

1. Don’t be on a diet!!  Instead make wise-food choices.  Eating healthy food allows your body to get the nutrition it needs and it promotes a healthy physique as well.  There are foods that can naturally promote weight loss and a lot of these clean and healthy foods.  This includes a wide variety of vegetables and fruit (most veggies), as well as lean sources of protein, complex carbohydrates (oatmeal, quinoa, sweet potato, brown rice, etc) and a fair amount of healthy fats as well.  Stop failing at your ‘diet’ by wisely choosing the right foods!
2. Do not skip meals! Skipping meals will not do you any good. Do not believe in the common misconception that starving yourself makes you thinner and healthier. This is false! In fact, skipping meals can sabotage your weight loss attempt! Skipping meals causes your metabolism to slow down and as a result, the fat deposits are not thoroughly and easily burned. Skipping meals also makes your body eager to store more fat than the usual because fat stores are necessary to sustain you during the times that you are hungry and skipping your meals. Tip: You should be eating 6 times a day!
3. Proper timing of meals.  Many underestimate the effect or proper timing in food intake. What most do not know is that proper timing can increase or decrease the effectiveness of your weight loss routine. For one, eating on time makes your metabolism regular and on its peak. Correct timing also decreases untimely cravings at night. Tip: Eat small meals (with protein at every meal) every 2-3 hours!
4. Go natural-Eat whole foods! Nature has its way of making our body fit. As much as possible, always go for fresh, organic foods and avoid those which are commercialized and artificial. Commercialized and artificial products are high in bad fats (good fats can be found in natural food sources like avocado, oils, nuts) which are more resistant to fat burning. Moreover, these junk foods often contain a lot of salt and other preservatives which promotes water retention. Excess water makes you feel bloated and heavy.
5. Make your best worst choice– Sure, you might for various reasons make nutritionally or calorically (is that a word?) frightening choices, but so long as you asked yourself these two important questions, “Is it worth it”, and, “How much do I need to be happily satisfied”, there can’t be a wrong choice.  Sometimes your best may be a basket of chicken wings but perhaps a smaller basket than normal and one less beer, or a fancy coffee with whip just ordered less frequently, or a bowl of ice-cream instead of a pint, or a small bag of chips rather than the giant bag, or a full-sized chocolate bar rather than an entire Blizzard. What I’m getting at is that sometimes we make choices that are less than ideal, but that so long as you’ve made your best worst choice, you’re still doing great!

 

Hopefully this has been helpful and you will do your best to stick to your plan of eating healthy!  I would love to hear your feedback and thoughts on this topic, I know so many of us struggle with this!!

 

Les 🙂

 

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Do you Practice Mindful Fitness?

We should learn to   live in the present moment....

I recently received the latest issue of CANFITPRO (Canadian Fitness Professionals: the organization I am certified through) and came across a very interesting article called “Mindful Fitness”.  Here is a section from the article I had to share…

“Many of us are constantly looking for an alternative to the non-stop, stressed out, fast food lives we are living which are driving us to exhaustion, and are responsible for the booming rates of conditions such as obesity, drug addiction and cancer.  As fitness professionals we are responsible for illuminating another path that can help save us as individuals and the planet as a whole.  It involves the simple concept of mindfulness. We cannot ignore this movement towards mindfulness and in fact we need to embrace it for our own benefit and the benefit of every life we touch..

Mindfulness is the act of being conscious of our own thoughts, movements, and speech in the present moment and without judgement.  Mindfulness is letting life unfold as we watch, noticing the thoughts and feelings that arise in our minds without necessarily acting on them.  It brings peace to our hectic lives.  It sounds simple but if you’ve ever tried being consciously aware for any length of time you’ll know that it’s something that takes practice.  Imagine what life would be like if we made only conscious decisions and didn’t pay so much attention to the unconscious thoughts and feelings that are constantly driving us to ease and comfort.  We would be living a life on purpose.  The beauty of mindfulness is that it gives us a conscious control over our decisions and allows us to live a life of our own choosing…”

So true right?? Before I started practicing/studing yoga I would’ve read this article and laughed, actually I never would’ve made it past the first paragraph as I was guilty of living life in the fast lane; constantly thinking and worrying about tomorrow, what I was going to do next, what meal I was going to eat, who I was going to train etc.  Now I am the complete opposite!  I really do my best now to live in the present, and I am much more aware of what I am doing, feeling, thinking at the present moment.  Let me tell you, my stress levels have decreased dramatically!  I am also a much better listener as I actually listen and give other people my full attention instead of having 100 thoughts and scenarios going through my mind!

This also relates to success with my workouts.

Here is a list of 4 things you can do to practice “Mindful Fitness” :

1. Make a Plan Including Goals (and Barriers) to Your Success
One of the first things I share with my clients over and over again is the famous quote:
“those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”
Hence, in order to have success in your fitness, you must clearly define your goals and figure out why you are motivated to reach those goals. Are you motivated to lose weight? If yes, ask yourself why. Are you motivated to run a 10k? Why do you want to do this?  Be sure that your reasons are YOUR OWN and that you have not become swept up in another person’s dream or vision.  Once you have defined your goals, write down what may get in the way of your progress (barriers). It could be time, lack of equipment, work commitments, childcare or other obligations.  Just know that the same things that have been getting in the way of your success will continue to hinder you unless you avoid those roadblocks with workable solutions. Once your plan is underway and you have begun putting in the work to improve your fitness, there are additional things you can do to practice “Mindful Fitness”.
2. Pay Attention to Your Body by Learning to Differentiate Pain from Discomfort.
Remember, you are not always going to be comfortable while you are exercising (ask my clients, if it burns it means it’s working!). It is tough work and you must get comfortable being uncomfortable. Pay attention to your body by learning to differentiate between pain and discomfort. It is often quite uncomfortable running up a hill. You might be breathing heavy and if you are not used to that you may not like it. However, your foot should not hurt simultaneously. Be aware of pains and twinges that may lead to an injury down the road. If a specific mode of exercise hurts you, then you may need to find another one that suits your body better. Listen to your body and be conscious of what it can do.


3. Keep a Fitness Journal
Practicing “Mindful Fitness” is also about noting your progress so that you have a clear vision of your past when your perception may become skewed. For example, how would your body be affected if you began walking one mile per day? Well, one mile will burn about 85 calories. Therefore you would burn an additional 595 calories per week or 30,940 calories per year if you regularly practice this. That equates to a loss of 9 pounds per year, not to mention all of the other health benefits that you cannot physically see. Sometimes change seems so slight that you feel you are not making progress. If you keep a fitness journal, you will appreciate being able to look back and see how far you have come. Understand that making small incremental changes will eventually lead to big results.


4. Give Yourself Permission to Reevaluate Goals When Natural Backslides Occur
Finally, accept that there will be times when you are going to backslide and miss your workouts. Even the pros go through this. When it happens, revisit your goal sheet and reevaluate your motivations. Give yourself permission to amend your goals or your motivations and become determined to continue moving forward one small step at a time.

“Mindful Fitness” is about creating a realistic plan, listening to your body and being aware of how it feels. Find your balance, choose activities that agree with your body and be willing to work hard to achieve your desired results. You won’t regret it.

Meditation is the ultimate mindfulness activity.  I still have yet to attend a meditation workshop or class.  If you’re intimidated by meditation (as I am) keep in mind that in order to reap the benefits it doesn’t have to be for a long period of time but it should be done daily for as little as 5-10 minutes.

The simplest way to connect with the present moment (as I’ve learned through yoga) is simply sitting quietly and breathing for a few minutes.  Breathing with purpose and noticing how calming it feels to inhale deeply and exhale deeply is the most important and easiest thing you can do 🙂 I dare you to try it…

Speaking of breathing and yoga, I will be teaching a yoga class this Sunday at LC Fitness Studio (1376 Bank Street, B200) at 1pm.  Come and practice “mindful fitness” with me and you’ll leave feeling refreshed, re-energized, more flexible and very relaxed but most importantly you’ll be happy you dedicated 75 minutes of your day to yourself!

 

Les 🙂

 

 

 

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Have you heard about Aquatober??!

Today’s blog post is written by a new friend of mine Lydia Di Francesco.  We haven’t met in person yet but thanks to the world of social media (Twitter and Facebook) we have connected and I look forward to meeting this fellow fitness enthusiast!  I had to re-post because I think this is an awesome challenge for October.  How many of you are joining us in drinking nothing but water for the month of October, I mean AQUAtober???

There’s something refreshing about the beginning of a month. It’s like we can hit the re-start button on our lives. If you’re like me, I sometimes have grand plans of getting things accomplished… projects around the house, new recipes to try, keeping the house tidy (always a challenge!) … but as the month goes on some things get pushed to the side.

31 day challenge

Today is a day where we can re-focus, attempt to prioritize, and get life back on track. It’s also the start of “Aquatober“! Let me explain.

Aquatober is the brainchild of John, from YoungHouseLove. (Side note, YHL is an amazing blog written by two funny DIY bloggers. It’s my favorite read of the day!) Basically, for the month of October, John only drinks water (and sometimes milk) instead of sugary drinks like juice, pop, caffeine, alcohol, etc.

I think this is a fabulous idea and I will be joining John in this 31 Day Challenge! I invite you to do the same. Who’s with me?

If you’re joining the Challenge, let me know in the comments section. Also, let’s see if we can get others to join in! Share the Challenge on your Facebook page and tweet about it using the hashtag #Aquatober. I’ll be blogging throughout the month with tips on how to drink enough water, ways to add some pizzazz to water without compromising the challenge, and more! (Stay updated by subscribing by RSS or email)

I know Thanksgiving is next weekend and is often a time when alcohol is served. If you really feel the need to indulge, try to keep it to a minimum. As well, like John, I’ll be drinking a bit of unsweetened almond milk with my homemade granola. Feel free to slightly adapt the challenge to fit your particular needs. The main point is to avoid drinks that are high in sugar (juice, pop, alcohol) and caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea, pop).

In case you need some convincing, here are 10 reasons why you should drink water.

 10 benefits of drinking water

Thanks Lydia for bringing this challenge to my attention!  I look forward to drinking unlimited amounts of nothing but H2O, anyone else??

Les 🙂

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Another successful 30 day challenge!!

Wow did the month of September fly by or what?! I think it is because of the 30 day yoga challenge I was taking part in, it has been so much fun! What an experience, I seriously don’t want it to end!  I have met some wonderful people through this Be the Change Challenge and am quite proud of how well everyone has done!  What I look forward to most this weekend is a class on Sunday with Megan Campbell then off to chow down with some new friends (other challengers) at The Table in Westboro to celebrate and share stories our successes (and struggles) this past month! Thanks to everyone who has supported me along the way and helped me reach my fundraising goal! There is still time to donate 🙂

I decided to sign up for this challenge organized by Megan Campbell with the intention of getting into the habit of doing yoga every single day.  Yes I know, I’m a new yoga teacher so I should already be practicing yoga everyday, well I have to be honest, while I have been doing yoga at least 3-4 times a week I haven’t been doing it everyday!  I guess all I needed was a little 30 day challenge to get me on the right track!

After all, many spiritual traditions refer to 30 days and the power it has to transform habits, relationships, jobs, patterns. It’s within that time span you gain the power to make or break habitual patterns and ways of living.

I found that during this challenge I was very diligent and made time to get on my mat everyday (except for one day but I did it twice the following day, not sure if that counts but oh well!) At first I was taking advantage of the free yoga classes that we being offered at Pure Yoga Ottawa but as my days started getting busier I found that I was really enjoying doing my own practice at home!  The hardest part (just like anything else) is getting there on your mat (showing up), connecting with your breath, taking the time to relax and giving yourself a few moments to feel grounded and at peace.  Once I get there it is always feels so good  and I always finish feeling better and as though I’ve accomplished something 🙂  What’s even better is I get a great stretch out of it and depending on my mood and energy levels, a great core workout!

So do I think that everyone should try doing yoga every single day? Is it the best way to become happier, healthier and more in tune with your body and your surroundings!? OF COURSE! But don’t take my word for it, you’ll have to try it yourself! Many yoga studios offer first time visitors a first time unlimited intro month special (for example at Pure Yoga they offer an intro special of $40 for unlimited yoga your first month!)  If going to a yoga studio everyday is not feasible for you there are many other options…check out my friend Sarah’s video series called Surviving Yoga for more tips on how to get started in yoga and how to stay committed to a yoga practice.

Now if doing yoga isn’t something that interests you THAT IS OKAY!! Maybe you have other goals you want to achieve or habits that you want work on.  My Mom (for example) has done a few 30 day challenges but her first one she went without wine or beer for 30 days!!  Sounds tough right?? She thought so too, but after only 2 weeks of no drinking she didn’t even feel like she wanted to drink.  She also was happy because she lost weight, trimmed inches and felt so much better!  In fact, since the challenge (8 months ago) she rarely drinks at all anymore!  Imagine that?!

So are you sick of having hang overs or want to get rid your beer belly?  I dare you to challenge yourself to going without any alcohol for 30 days.  Once you get past the first week or turn down an offer to go for drinks with a friend you’ll be able to do it for the rest of the month!  You’ll be amazed how much better you feel and look (less bloated, more energy, less cravings etc).  And yes, you might ‘accidentally’ have a drink during the challenge but don’t beat yourself up about it.  Just acknowledge what you did and move on!  We are human, we make mistakes, bad decisions etc.  It’s not the end of the world.  But don’t ever give up because at some point you’ll get sick of constantly ‘starting over’.   I plan on continuing to practice yoga everyday, I find I really miss it when I don’t do it 😦 Now that’s a good thing!

In case you haven’t gotten the point of my post yet, here it is….SET A GOAL, TELL YOU FRIENDS, PICK A DATE, COME UP WITH A PLAN (do a 30 day challenge), SURROUND YOURSELF WITH A SUPPORTIVE GROUP/FRIENDS, STICK TO YOUR PLAN and the best part–> CELEBRATE YOUR SUCCESS!!

It’s that simple 🙂

Did you know that the beginning of next month starts on a Monday??  October 1, 2012; the perfect date to start working on your next goal…what’s yours going to be?? I’m going to begin preparing for a figure competition next spring 😉 The 7 month countdown begins!!

Please share your goals/30 day challenge below…

Les

Also, don’t forget I am teaching yoga this Sunday at 10am at LC Fitness studio.  It’s an all levels class and only $10 dollars for a 75 minute class.  Bring your own mat, a water bottle, a towel and a friend.  Stay tuned for updates on new class times starting in a few weeks 🙂 Hope to see you there!!

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What inspires you??

As many of you may notice, I write this blog in hopes of inspiring people to live a healthier (and happier) lifestyle.  I have been asked by many people what “inspires’ me and to be honest, it’s hard to define what inspires me.  I find it even more difficult helping other people find their inspiration, but I try my hardest let me tell you! Ask my clients!

Why am I writing about inspiration??  Because it is an amazing feeling when you are inspired!! It is what pushes us to do great things!  It comes in many forms-people, art, music, blogs, nature-no matter what form it takes, inspiration is what moves us to dream, to make plans and sparks the desire to move out of our ‘comfort zone’ and learn or achieve something bigger.  Inspiration can be that little push we need to turn a thought into an action.

When I was younger and playing competitive sports I was always inspired by a CHALLENGE!! If it was fighting for a starting spot on the team, overcoming an injury, being told that I needed to improve in a certain skill, a concept in school I didn’t quite get, someone telling me that I couldn’t do something…whatever it was, as soon as I put my mind to something I was dead set on achieving it! Has anyone else experienced this??

As I’ve matured and entered the working world I am inspired by the people around me.  I always strive to be the best at what I do (I can blame my parents for this who set very high standards and had high expectations of us growing up (thanks mom and dad!), and the fact that I am a bit of a perfectionist) I can remember when I first started working at Goodlife, I was fascinated and ‘inspired’ by the trainers who loved their job and had a waiting list of clients wanting to train with them.  So what did I do?? I worked my butt off to become the best trainer I could be and ended up having a consistently full schedule of clients.

A few years later, some trainers left Goodlife and started their own personal training businesses and became very successful.  So what did I do?? I got inspired and took the plunge and started my own business even though many people told me it was ‘risky’ and I should ‘take my time’ but I knew that if the other trainers could do it I could do it!  And so far (in only 9 months) things are going very well and I believe that I have established a solid reputation in the fitness industry.

When it comes to working out and what inspires me to stay fit I would have to say my clients are the reason I stay in great shape.  Not only do I LOVE to exercise (and often) but I am constantly inspired seeing how hard my clients work to improve their own health and fitness that I have no choice to be one step ahead of them 😉  So thank you to my clients for pushing me to achieve such a high level of fitness, where would I be without you all?! Bet you didn’t even know you were inspiring your trainer??

I also find inspiration from reading other people’s blogs.   It doesn’t matter what the topic of their blog is but just reading  about what someone else is truly passionate about inspires me 🙂

So here is my advice to you- once you’ve discovered what inspires you, it’s time to use it!  What is the general urge you get when you see/feel/experience these inspiring things?  Does it make you want to backpack around Europe?  Does it make you want to take a yoga class?  Perhaps it makes you want to run a marathon?  Whatever your sources of inspiration are telling you, WRITE IT DOWN!   Make a little list of the dreams that your sources of inspiration are pointing to.  These are things that are important to you, things that drive your happiness.  It’s necessary to discover these before you can live life to the fullest!

So what inspires you?? I’m curious, so please share!!!

Now if you’re one of those people who struggles to find inspiration hopefully now you will start to think of things that you’ve always wanted to do but never seem to go for as you keep telling yourself ‘it’s impossible’ or ‘that’s never going to happen’.  Well guess what?  It’s never too late to start!  You are the only one holding yourself back from accomplishing your goals…and always remember this…

 

Stop dreaming and start writing down your goals, come up with a plan/date you would like to achieve them by and then put your  plan into action!  That’s right-JUST DO IT!

Les 🙂

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