Achievewellnessphx

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Build a Foundation for a Healthy New Year

A few days ago I was speaking with a potential client.  She said she did not want to get started with a diet and exercise plan until after the holidays.

On the surface, this may seem like a sound plan.  Why start a diet that you know you won’t be motivated to stick to?  After all who wants to count calories, skip the egg nog and buttered rum drinks, and miss a holiday party to meet their personal trainer.  NO ONE!

Personally, I think the holidays are the best time to start taking steps toward your health and fitness goals.

Losing weight and getting in shape are about more than just exercising and cutting calories, they are about making lasting lifestyle changes.  Making changes to your lifestyle does not happen over night, it takes time and practice.  The holiday season provides a terrific opportunity to start making these changes.  Waiting until the new year to initiate sudden, drastic changes can make reaching your health and fitness goals a daunting task.  The holiday season lets you begin to make small changes that lay a foundation for bigger changes down the road.

I have put together a few tips to help you establish lasting lifestyle changes this holiday season:

  • Start keeping a food journal.
    • A food journal will help you monitor the amount of calories and macronutrients (carbohydrates,protein, and fats) your are eating per day.  Seeing what and how much you are actually eating can be a wake up call and may help you start making better nutritional choices.
    • Even if you do not try to make any changes to your eating over the holidays, a food journal will get you into the habit of tracking and monitoring your new dietary program once the new year arrives.

I recommend either myfitnesspal or myplate to my clients.  Both have extensive nutrient data and basic food tracking on the free versions of the app.

  • Get 15-20 minutes of physical activity every day.
    • If you are planning to lose weight or improve your fitness in the new year, getting into the habit of working out on a regular basis will make going to the gym easier once January hits.  Taking a walk on your lunch break, using the stairs, doing exercises or stretching while watching TV, or riding your bike after dinner can get you into the habit of scheduling time in your personal calendar to exercise.  Once you begin to see how easy it is to find time to exercise and the better your start to feel physically and mentally the more likely you are to continue into the new year and even increase your workout time.
  • Pay attention you how you feel after you eat or drink.
    • The simple act of noticing how you feel after you eat or drink certain items can lead you to make wiser food and beverage choices.  If you notice that you are frequently fatigued, bloated, and distracted the day after binging on hot cocoa and Christmas cookies, you can use this knowledge to remind yourself to limit the amount of sugars and other carbohydrates you eat in a sitting.  If you notice that you’re always hungover the day after snogging several eggnogs at the office party it can serve as a reminder to drink fewer drinks or choose another alcoholic beverage.

This leads into our next tip:

  • Eat consciously.
    • Many of us mindlessly shovel food into our mouths without taking the time to consider what we are doing, especially when we are socializing. Practice becoming mindful of what and how much you are eating.  Pay attention to the experience of eating.   Before you eat ask yourself a few questions:
      • Will this help me reach my goals?
      • Do I really want to eat/drink this?
      • Am I hungry?
      • How will this make me feel tomorrow (sick, guilty, ashamed, terrific)?
    • You may ask yourself if eating a second slice of pumpkin pie helps you achieve your weight loss goal.  Even if your answer is, “NO, but I’m eating it anyhow”, you have created awareness about your eating habits and you can store this insight for use when the new year arrives.
  • Watch out for emotional eating (or not eating)
    • The holiday season can be stressful and this can cause us to eat and drink not to support our health but rather to satiate our emotions .  If you are one of those folks who gets extra anxious or emotional during the holidays, take note of your eating and drinking habits.  Consider whether your desire to eat an entire fruitcake is because you love fruitcake or because your stressed out about seeing your family on Christmas.
    • On the flip side, if you tend to lose your appetite when you are anxious, set a reminder to yourself to eat a little something every few hours, like a small handful nuts, a greek yogurt, or a few slices of turkey.  Not eating can be just as detrimental to your long term health goals as overeating.

Taking a moment or two to think about what we are about to eat gives us the opportunity to take responsibility for our eating choices, a skill you must master in order to adopt a healthy lifestyle in the new year.

Finally,

  • Make an effort to eat clean and healthy 80% of the time.
    • While you do not need to follow a diet during the holidays, making a deliberate attempt to make smart nutritional choices the majority of the time will help you counteract the effects of holiday eating and drinking. For example, if you know you have a big holiday party coming up, focus on eating foods that are low in calories but high in nutritional value, like lean protein and vegetables, for a few days ahead of time.  That way not only will you have offset some of the less nutritious choices (and calories) you may eat at the party, but you will feel like you’re indulging on a delicious treat rather than just another cookie.
    • Also, consider your portion sizes.  Chances are you will need to cut back on portions once you start the new year so start practicing now.  Rather than a heaping pile of mashed potatoes, try cutting the portion size by 1/3 or 1/2.

The great thing about adopting a few of these changes during the holiday season is that you do not have to be perfect.  Think of it as practice for the big event.  Because you have not attached these habits to a specific health goal yet, you can make mistakes, learn from them, and get better without feeling guilty or as if you have failed.

While practicing these tips throughout the holiday season may not result in weight loss  or improved your health, they may prevent you from gaining additional weight or even getting sick.  After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  In addition, you will have laid a strong foundation to build on for amazing health and fitness success in the new year.

 

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You Are Who You Are…

The experiences of your life, both good and bad, shape who you are.  To feel anger, sadness, regret, or hatred about those experiences means you must feel some level of those feelings about yourself.

In order to truly love and feel good about yourself, you must acknowledge and accept the negative experience as much as the positive ones.

 You do not need to be thrilled about them and you don’t have to dwell on or repeat them, but you do need to embrace and be grateful for the lessons they taught you, for without them you would not be you!


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The Power of “IS/ARE” statements

A few months ago, I wrote about the power of, “I AM” statements.  In that post, I suggested you use “I AM…” statements to help you powerfully manifest the life of your dreams.  In the eyes of The Universe, “I am” statements are statements of fact.  Whatever you say you are is what you are, as far as The Universe is concerned.  As a result, consciously making empowering, “I AM” statements can help shape and define your life.

The great thing about “I am” statements is you can use them to help improve your relationships with the people around you.  When you say things like, “We are…” or “They are…” you also call into existence more of the corresponding qualities.

For example, if you are talking about your coworkers and you say, “WE ARE a terrific team!”  You create an even better and more cohesive team.  Or in relation to your spouse, “He/She IS loving and supportive”, you are guaranteed to create even more love and support.

Remember, these types of statements do not need to be true NOW, they simply need to be positive beliefs you choose to manifest,

To be clear, “They are”, “He/she is”, or “We are” statements are not about changing other people.  We have no power to manifest or force change on others nor should we try.  Instead, these types of statements reframe our views or beliefs about the relationship with these individuals.  As you begin to react differently and more positively to the relationship the other person/people may also begin to react in a more positive way.  Or they may not.  Either way you will be in a better frame of mind and your inner peace and positivity are all that matter when it comes to achieving your dreams.

“Is/Are” statements are not an end all cure all.  If your boss acts like a jerk or your spouse is abusive, using “Is/Are” statements most likely will not miraculously make the situation better, but they may help you manifest a space for yourself that makes your life tolerable until you can create a plan to move on.

Now that you are aware of the power of, “IS/ARE” statements, think about some of the relationships your would like to reinforce or improve and then write down a few statements to support what you want to create.

Feel free to share your statements below to help inspire and motivate other readers.

Until next time:


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Be A Lotus

I love the lotus flower.  There is something about these beautiful flowers rising above the water that inspires me and makes me happy and peaceful.

During a meditation recently, I began to see how we could benefit from following the path of the lotus.  The lotus flower grows up from the bottom of a pond or lake.  The roots burgh into the mud while stalk rises through the muck and mire of the water finally emerging above the surface with a flower of pink, red, white, or blue.  The lotus can live for hundreds, even thousands of years.

Like the lotus, our lives are often rooted in muddy soil.  These are the hurts, slights, and negative beliefs that we encounter as we go through life:

  • We get get teased or bullied
  • We fail and get embarrassed
  • We encounter physical or emotional abuses
  • We have our hearts broken
  • We lose loved ones
  • We dream and our dreams are dashed
  • We feel unloved, unappreciated, alone, depressed, fearful, not good enough
  • Etc…

But, if we live like the lotus, we grow out of these experiences and up through the murky waters of life to emerge above the pain, sadness, and fear to as beautiful flowers.  From this beauty and tranquility was can inspire those around us and bring happiness and peace to their lives.  With this gift we can create an impact on the world that latest for centuries, maybe millennia.

So my friends, I encourage you to “BE a LOTUS”.  

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Until next time, have a happy healthy day!


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Love Yourself Today

As the week begins, we can easily get caught up in the hurry and chaos of the week.  While trying to meet all of our obligations and responsibilities to our family, friends, and coworkers, we often forget to stop and care for ourselves and our needs. 

 We forget to show ourselves some loving care.  

It is important to remember that caring for ourselves is not selfish, it is what is required to allow us to have the energy and focus we need to help those around us. 

 Taking time to love and care for ourselves is the best way to love and care for others.

So, today I encourage you to:


Until next time, have a happy, healthy day!