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.

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.

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

I Hate Cardio

I hate cardio and maybe that’s why I push myself to do it – ok, it is. Because I know if I don’t, I’d gladly skip it and move on to something else…like relay donut eating. !!! Ok, not really – but I’m not going to say that it hasn’t crossed my mind…

Today was the official kickoff of my #21DayFix workout and meal plan – I set up a workout station, planned the next few weeks’ meals and put up a vision board to help keep me focused on my goals!

Of course, it all began with a total body cardio workout – at 5:15 a.m., because I know that if I don’t get up and fit it in first thing, I won’t do it later. I’ve tried and it just doesn’t happen. I’ll go strong for a few days, maybe a week or so; and then, by the time I realize what I’ve done, I’ve missed 3, 4, 5 workouts and feel like a complete failure.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I’m tired of being disappointed in myself. I’m tired of quitting. I’m tired of on again, off again fitness plan.

I’m ready to take control. I’m ready to change. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

Be Thankful

There is Always Something to be Thankful For

Photo courtesy of http://simplereminders.com.

Every year during the month of November people share what they’re thankful for. These things can range from their faith and trust in God to family and from having a job to general good health.

I decided I would keep this tradition alive and share a few things I’m thankful for. 🙂

  • My Family – without their support I wouldn’t be where I am today and I wouldn’t have the courage to seek the best out of life.
  • My Health – while I’ve had my ups and downs in this department, I would consider myself to be in good health overall.
  • My Job – I am extremely thankful that I was able to land a job within 3 months of graduating college AND one that related to my major! I find that this is something rare among millennial college graduates who often settle for jobs they can get.
  • God’s Grace – In all things I seek His guidance and advice. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for prayer and listening to their answers.

What are you thankful for?

The DOs outweigh the DON’Ts

I’m putting this here so I’ll always remember – the DOs outweigh the DON’Ts.

Why I DON’T want to lose weight…

  • I like food…greasy, carb-y, so-not-good-for-you food…smothered in gravy.
  • I don’t have time to workout. I mean, I have TV to watch, Netflix to binge on and LOTS of eating to do!
  • Changing my diet is way TOO hard! And expensive! I just bought 10 boxes of mac n’ cheese on BOGO – I can’t just throw it all away!

Why I DO want to lose weight…

  • I need to LIVE A HEALTHIER LIFE. Find out what the risks of fat are, here.
  • I want to TAKE CHARGE. I’m tired of being a backseat driver – I want to live my life without feeling limited by my size!
  • I want to LOOK & FEEL better – inside and out. Health starts from the inside, out – can you imagine what that must feel like? To accept yourself and heal from within??
  • I want to FEEL BEAUTIFUL and COMFORTABLE IN MY OWN SKIN.

There are like 1,000+ more reasons that could placed in either category…these are just a few that are circling around in my head.

*Opinions expressed above are solely my own and in no way represent the opinions or viewpoints of others. No harm is intended by this post – everyone’s weight loss journey is different and stems from different motivators! 🙂

Your Diet Starts Now – But Not With Food

Each time I think about changing my diet, my first thought is this – what can I cut out of my diet? Every carb, sweet and processed thing I’ve eaten in the past month runs through my head…pizza…cupcakes…candy…and on, and on and on.

And when that happens, so do the negative thoughts.

For as many times as I’ve started and stopped a diet and exercise regimen you would think that I would know being successful starts with your mindset and everything else comes second.

You have to commit. Zero-in on what you want to do with a new lifestyle and what you want to do differently. Because this is a lifestyle change – for you and your family and friends.

Why are you saying “YES!” to a healthier lifestyle?

“Me” Time

The older I get, or rather the older I FEEL, I’m beginning to understand the TRUE VALUE and IMPORTANCE of “me” time.

I, like many people I know, have a problem with stress. Must more importantly, stress management. I recently read in article in Shape magazine about iceberg stress – how we’re only really aware of a fraction of the stress we have and like an iceberg, there’s a whole lot more going on just under the surface.

They key to managing this kind of stress and not driving yourself crazy in the process is to first actually determine what you’re stressed about. I find that writing down ALL of the things I’m obsessively thinking about helps me actually SEE what’s going on in my head – without me even realizing it!

The second thing to do is find a stress management system that works for you! I enjoy photography, journaling, meditation, yoga and exercise, as well as a good old-fashioned nap! Sometimes these activities last an hour or more, and other times I just need a quick 5-10 minute meditation session to help clear my mind.

By doing these simple things, we can begin to understand what’s going on in our life a little bit better.

http://stressexperts.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Icebergs-emotional.jpg

What’s REALLY lurking beneath the surface? (Photo courtesy of StressExperts.)

So – how do you deal with stress? Meditation and yoga? Do you go on short walks during the day to clear your mind? What works and what doesn’t – I want to hear!