Health & Wellness vs. Weight Management

If there’s one thing I’ve learned on my fitness journey it’s that there’s more to it than meets the eye. Often times, the biggest triumphs of all can’t be measured in numbers.

Most people will say they want to “live a healthy lifestyle,” when what they really mean to say is that they want to lose weight through diet and exercise. But does this weight management approach to wellness work in the long-term? Is their lifestyle actually changing? I’d argue that it’s not. Not really.

The way to achieve optimal health and wellness is to bring awareness to how the combination of mental, physical and social health affects your overall wellbeing. (These can be broken down into several other categories, but for now we’ll focus on these three.)

Wellness Wheel

It’s easy to dismiss how our mental state impacts our physical and vice versa—don’t get caught in a vicious cycle of one negative component influencing the others! Here are some ways to promote healthy habits in each category:

  • Mental: Short breaks from work have been proven to increase productivity and work satisfaction.
  • Physical: Small changes mattergoing for a daily walk and eliminating unhealthy foods from your diet are great steps toward positive physical change!
  • Social: Human beings are naturally social creatures. Take a step outside your comfort zone and start a conversation with your neighbor or join a local fitness group. Community support goes a long way in staying focused on achieving your goals.

A great way to get started is to take a personal health assessment. By answering a few questions, you can get a look at what areas in your life you should pay more attention to. This insight will lead to a development of life-long healthy habits, for a healthier AND happier you.

Are You Sitting Too Much?

Sitting too much can literally kill you.

Ok…so maybe that’s a bit dramatic…but sitting too much should scare you!

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examinations Surveys, which examines about 5,000 people in United States each year (Nelson & Zeratsky, 2012), 50-70% of people sit for 6 or more hours per day. That might seem like a lot, but if you think about the “average” daily schedule of a 9-5er, that isn’t far off the mark.

sedentary

Getting Productivity Up & Moving Infographic by Ergotron is licensed under a Creative Commons Attributions 3.0 Unported License.

So how does this impact our health? Too sedentary of a lifestyle can cause:

  • Low energy
  • Slower metabolism
  • Back and spine injuries
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Risk of heart disease

How can you combat this? It’s easy – get moving!

  • Stand every hour – take a quick trip to the bathroom or go get some coffee.
  • Park farther away – sure that front row spot is nice, but those in the back are better for you!
  • Track your steps with an activity tracker – Using an activity tracker that monitors your idle time and steps is a great way to see what your daily activity looks like.
  • Take the stairs – if it’s possible, always (always!) take the stairs.
  • Outdoor walk – walking is good for the soul and the body!

 

So, are you sitting too much? What can you do to become more active?

Renewing Your Vows

As we slide into the holiday season, I thought it would be a good time to talk about evaluating the personal goals we’ve set for this year. These goals can come in many different shapes and sizes, losing weight, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, saving money, getting a new job, etc.

They’re things that make you say to yourself – I can do this! I pinky promise I will do this! But are you keeping those promises?

I usually set too many goals for myself – my New Year’s resolution list (yes, list) is usually 5-6 items deep. And, if you’re like me, you also get really, REALLY disappointed if you haven’t kept those promises to yourself.

This year I was better – I set one big goal and several small ones. The big goal: finally going to the dentist. I can proudly say that I have conquered my fear of the dentist’s chair and now have beautiful teeth!

I’m still working on the smaller goals. It’s such a cliché to say this, but LIFE HAPPENS. You get sick of working out. You don’t want to eliminate all carbs from your diet anymore. Sometimes, you REALLY want that slice of cake and/or that glass of wine.

So, here’s an assignment:

Step One:

Think about the goals you’ve set for 2016 and evaluate your progress. Are you where you want to be? Where you thought you would be? Write it all down. And, yes, use actual paper – typing doesn’t give you the same sense of personal responsibility as a handwritten note does.

How do you feel? Do you feel better now that you can actually SEE how your year has played out? Even if the paper is filled with negative things, it can still be helpful. You can see the bad habits and get a better understanding of why you’re not where you want to be.

Step Two:

I want you to throw that paper out. (Yes, toss it.)

Get another sheet out and write down your goals again. But this time, be realistic. Focus on the things you know you can accomplish before the New Year.

I want you to renew the vows you made to yourself. Be truthful and honest with yourself and take responsibility for your actions. This honesty is the only way you’ll get to where you want to be. It’s the only way you’ll be able to believe in yourself and start kicking ass, instead of sitting on it.

Water, Water Everywhere

**Repost: This is critical information that everyone should know!**

“False Mondays” are the worst – you know what I’m talking about – they’re the day after a Monday holiday. One of the best things I’ve found that helps get me through these days is WATER!

It’s easy to forget that our body needs water – a recommended 8-12 cups PER DAY!

Dehydration Symptoms include:
~ fatigue and/or dizziness
~ poor concentration
~ muscle cramps
~ dull, dry skin
~ bad breath
~ mood swings
~ chills
~ back or joint ache
~ headache
~ sugar cravings

Join this month’s challenge – let’s drink our 8-12 cups/day and see our transformations.

Take a photo of yourself now and save it – we’ll compare on Sept. 30!

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My naked selfie! Sept. 6, 2016

Expedite Life Defined

This is something I’ve wanted to write about for a while…and I’m finally getting around to doing it! (Achieving goals like a boss!)

I’m a dreamer with big plans and hopes for the future. I want to be fit, I want to go back to school and maybe, one day, I want to have a family. I’ve always thought that there’s a time and place for these things to happen; each separated into their own little timeframe of when they should be accomplished. And somehow, magically, I expected that each of these would just happen. Poof! You’re fit! You’re educated! You’re a mom!

But, wouldn’t ya know it? That’s not exactly how it works. You can’t just sit around on your butt and expect Life to just happen! You have to make it happen! Who knew??!!

When I began to actually look at what I wanted to accomplish and how impossible it all seemed, I thought –I need a mantra. I need something that defines what I want my life to look like. And so, “Expedite Life” was born!

This is what Expedite Life means to me: It means living life in the NOW; not the someday. It means getting up every day and saying to myself – Today I will make shit happen! I will own my destiny. I will NOT give up. No excuses.

I have no idea what my life will actually look like in 3 months, 5 years or 20 years and that’s ok. What’s important is putting in the work and making it happen. There’s only so much hoping, wishing and waiting you can do – why wait for something when you can have little pieces of it every day?

 

P.S. – If you’re looking for a GREAT self-help book to light a fire in your pants and get you started on your own journey, I highly recommend You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero.

 

What is Clean Eating?

This is something I’m asked often – “What is clean eating?” “How do you do it?”

Eating clean is about hitting refresh on your eating habits – eating more of the healthiest options in each food group and less of the not-so-healthy. Eating clean means you’ll finally understand why your Mom always told you to eat your greens: because they’re good for you!

It’s about paying attention to what’s going into your body and how your food affects you!

Here’s the simple answer to these questions – clean eating is eliminating (or trying to) the processed foods from your diet. It’s about making healthy and informed choices.

I say “try to” eliminate processed food because, let’s face it, we’re all busy. We’re all running from point A to point B at a million miles per hour; we all need food that’s convenient and fast. But that doesn’t mean the food needs to come from a vending machine or drive-thru window. With a little bit of know-how and preparation, we can all eat cleaner and live healthier lives.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Limit processed foods: Most processed foods are full of unnecessary ingredients like sodium, sugar and fat. There’s a reason why that bag of candy is two servings and a reason for why you eat it all at once!

    Simple tip: If the list of ingredients is long and unpronounceable, chances are that “food” contains A TON of processed junk!

  2. Eat more vegetables: Vegetables are high in vitamins, fiber, low in calories and just all around good for you! The recommended daily amount for most adults is 2 ½ to 3 cups.

    Simple tip: Squeeze your veggies into a morning omelet, have them as a midday snack or incorporate some into a healthy smoothie!

  3. Last call for alcohol: Eating clean also includes cleaning up what you drink. Staying within the recommended amounts per day is a safer way to some spirits without breaking the scale the next day.
  4. Lose the sugar: Reducing your added sugar intake is one of the easiest ways to jumpstart a path toward a healthier diet. Sure, it’s hard and yes, you will have withdrawal symptoms – headache, grogginess, mood swings; but it’s also worth it. Eliminating sodas, candy and baked goods is a good place to start.
  5. More fruit, please: Fruit – or “nature’s candy” – is naturally sweet and delicious. If you’re over indulging in processed sweets, you just might not be able to notice it! Rich in vitamins, fruit is a great way to round out a healthy eating plan.

    Buyer beware! If you’re not buying fresh fruit, frozen, canned and dried fruit is minimally processed and are all great options. Make sure you read the ingredients list – look for no added sugar and fruit canned in its own juice.

27 Things That Happen When You Turn 27

  1. You’re in complete denial that you’re one year closer to the big 3-0. As such, you awaken your inner child and plan Disney vacations.
  2. People tell you to stop complaining about your age – either because they’re older OR, better yet, much younger and internally thankful that they’re not that old. YET.
  3. You find 1+ gray hair.
  4. You may or may not be considering coloring your hair on a regular basis.
  5. You find yourself crying randomly and aren’t sure why.
  6. You consider opening a 401K.
  7. You start paying attention to your 401K’s performance. (Dammit, NASDAQ– get your shit together!)
  8. You actually ENJOY watching the news in the morning. While you sip hot tea and cuddle up with your afghan.
  9. You wake up in the middle of the night to empty your suddenly weak as hell bladder.
  10. In the morning, it hurts to move. Despite your lumbar support bed and pillows.
  11. You realize you ACTUALLY can’t sleep without your lumbar support pillows.
  12. You receive samples for anti-aging cream. -.-
  13. Your parents/siblings say – “Don’t you feel old, yet??” Thanks, Mom.
  14. Your DVR is filled with HGTV home makeover shows. “Open concept” living = goals.
  15. The junior’s sections in department stores are so not age-appropriate.
  16. Your “seasonal wardrobe” includes cardigans. CARDIGANS!
  17. You’re concerned that your jeans are “mom jeans”…and you’re not a mom.
  18. Your scale reminds you that you really didn’t need to order pizza last night…for the third time this week.
  19. You don’t remember that you ordered pizza three times this week.
  20. You find yourself enjoying pre-bedtime reading. (Of a self-help book, no less.)
  21. You realize you have a BEDTIME. Under eye circles are real. And they’re not pretty.
  22. You learn to enjoy a decent glass of wine. And how to tell the difference (pre-hangover) between the good stuff and the cheap stuff.
  23. You realize the importance of family and friends; and what keeping in touch with them means.
  24. You have a savings account.
  25. You rediscover life’s little miracles. Whadup sunrise, where you been?
  26. You enjoy nap time. Seriously – can we make this a daily thing?
  27. You realize that your life hasn’t ended; if anything it’s just getting started.

Self-Reflection

Once upon a time, I felt trapped inside my own body. I thought of myself as this beautiful, skinny and successful person who just needed to break free of my “fat body.” Then, if that happened, I would be happy.

In March I decided to commit myself to daily nutrition check-ins and a workout program – 30 minutes a day – that was realistic for my schedule.

And in just one short month, I’ve realized that my entire mindset about who I am was completely wrong. I AM a beautiful and successful person. I don’t need some number on a scale to tell me that. I want a healthy body, not a “skinny” one.

Each day I discover something new and wonderful. Maybe it’s a deeper belief in myself and maybe it’s a reminder to accept my body’s limitations – it’s a marathon, not a sprint!

If you have struggled or are struggling, please know that you’re not alone. Others have the same fears, the same hopes for the future. I encourage you all to set aside a little time for self-reflection. It’s the first step toward changing your life – creating a fulfilled and purpose-driven life.

Q&A: How do YOU do it?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked this question: How do you do it? How do you get up every morning and workout? And stay on your meal plans? And not lose focus?

Let me start off with this – I’m not 110% committed. There, I admit it! I occasionally wake up late and need another hour of sleep; I don’t workout every day; I have cheat days!

I’M NOT PERFECT. No one is. But I STAY FOCUSED on my goals!

  • You have to commit yourself! I work for EVERY pound lost, EVERY drop of sweat. If you’re not putting in the work, why would you expect to see results?

    It’s important to establish goals in the beginning, that way you have something to look forward to! Don’t dwell on the bumps along the road – life happens. The journey of adapting a healthier lifestyle is what you should be focused on.

  • Plan ahead. I cannot stress this one enough. Plan your meals a week in advance – I typically meal plan and grocery shop on Sundays – and plan your workouts! It might seem silly at first, but after one week of executing your plan, you’ll ask yourself how you ever managed to go without it!

    Even if you’re a busy mom or a working professional (or both), spend an hour or two, one day a week and plan it out.

  • Set your goals. You have to define what your goals are – what your personal hopes and dreams are…not your neighbors. This is no time to keep up with the Joneses.

    Who/what are you fighting for? Why do I want/need this change? These are KEY GOALS to keep in mind as you struggle, as you fight to change.

  • Face your fears! Your about to turn your life upside down, at a 45 degree angle. Yes, it’s scary. It’s hard. And, at times, it seems impossible. That’s the beauty of change. If it doesn’t scare you, then you’re not trying hard enough.

I have faced every single fear there is about transitioning over to healthier habits. I struggle with emotional and binge eating. I struggle to PUSH PLAY.

I want you to remember what I remind myself of everyday:

~ You are capable of doing this. YOU ARE BRAVE ENOUGH, STRONG ENOUGH.

~ YOU ARE everything you need to be to BECOME WHO YOU WANT TO BE.

Now, get out there and shred it!

#ShredItToShedIt #ExpediteLife

My 3 Day Refresh Review + Results

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Overall rating: B

Pro:

The meal plan is straightforward and easy to follow. (<< Yes, “straightforward” is one word. Look it up.)

Con:

I usually felt hungry mid-afternoon, despite following the day’s meal plan.

Results:

I lost 4 lbs. and 3 in.

Thoughts:

I wasn’t expecting much from the 3 Day Refresh. I’ve sort of hit a plateau since my initial weight loss after going GF. I knew not to expect a dramatic weight loss from just 3 days on a restricted diet, but I also hoped to at least see something.

I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to meal plan and how full I felt after lunch – which is a Vanilla Refresh shake, a fruit serving and a veggie serving.

I was also pretty stoked when I saw a little bit of weight loss! Who doesn’t love that?!

I don’t know if I will be doing this again any time soon. I do like how most people seem to use it as a way to jumpstart their weight loss and as a way to keep your system “clean.” I think that’s the most beneficial use for this product.