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.)
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 matter—going 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.
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.
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.
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!
Ok, so I know I’ve posted about my vision board, but I wanted to share a few other tech items and non-tech items that I’m using to help me achieve my fitness goals.
All of these things together help me make sense of the jumbled mess in my head – “what am I eating today?”; “what do I want to accomplish in 21 days; in 2 months?”; “what are my resting stats and how am I performing during exercise?”; “how’s my sleep?”; “how do I ‘feel’ about these lifestyle changes?”; “what can I do better to feel better?”
- Vision board – This one is pretty self explanatory, you create a board where you post inspirational quotes, images and your goals. The board helps you visualize your goals, how you can accomplish them and serves as a great reminder of why you started in the first place! Here’s mine, where’s yours?
- FitBit Charge HR – This was a “splurge purchase” that I decided to do. It has literally changed my life! I love it! It helps me not only track my daily steps and heart rate, but I wear it at night to track my sleep habits! <<This has been one of the most useful benefits because I can “see” why I feel so tired! 😉
- FitBook Lite – This book was a gift from my coach; a welcome to the team gift! Yay! I just browsed through it today – it’s a 6-week planner/journal that helps keep you organized and focused on your goals too! You also get access to a free e-book which goes into more detail about how to use the journal, as well as some pretty tasty recipes! After the 6 weeks are over, I know I’m going to want another!
- Meal planning – Ok, so this is probably the most helpful and critical tool I use! Without this I know I would fall back into old habits and wouldn’t have a clear picture on my nutrition…I’m still bad at eating enough fruits and veggies, but I know planning ahead helps!
I’ve been giving some thought lately to how active I am on social media and how active I should be.
Overall, I think I’m less active online that I should be – especially if I ever expect to get a job managing social media accounts. There’s a fine line between posting enough and too much and sometimes I’m not sure where that line really is.
One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to get a new job, so why not start today by improving my social media presence?
Take a look at your newsfeed on any social media platform and you’ll notice a couple of things:
- People really like to share funny and/or inspirational viral videos, recipes and inspirational quotes.
- They also share the happy moments in their live; and, while there’s nothing wrong with that, sometimes they’re ONLY sharing the happy moments.
Now I know, there are two (or more) sides to every story, and some people really do live extraordinarily happy and fulfilling lives and others choose just not to share their dirty laundry (<<<this is me!)
Social media has done wonders for people the world over, helping people connect in ways that weren’t possible before and keeping families in touch with what’s going on in each other’s lives.
There are also downsides to letting social media and the things we post (or don’t) dictate the face we show to the world. The biggest one for me is the lack of organic interaction and candid moments.
People just don’t share photos anymore, they share selfies. They take dozens of photos of themselves and/or others and/or their food, just to share one…usually with the hashtag #MyLife. When, in reality, it’s not their life. It’s a glorified picture shoot – staring themselves and using their surroundings as a stereotypical backdrop.
I miss organic photography. Here’s a quick look at 40 historic photos and these taken during the Great Depression and these taken by the late Vivian Maier, a woman who captured the essence of everyday life.
Here are a few I took on a rainy day, with my new 50mm lens!
There are thousands upon thousands of photographs just like these – all taking a look into the depth of what it means to be human, what it means to be alive – and they’re all unique, at the same time.
It’s just something that I miss and wish we would see more of.
Ok, confession time…I suck at dieting. And exercising. Basically it’s VERY HARD for me to stick to a self-prescribed diet and exercise plan.
I’ve tried more times than I care to admit – and maybe that’s a serious part of the problem! I’m stuck in my head about how many times I’ve failed and what I did wrong, while ignoring the positive!
As usual, I made a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight – but it’s more than just trimming down my waist – it’s about changing my lifestyle to something healthier.
One way I’ve been doing this is cutting out gluten…which is extremely hard! I don’t want to merely substitute my whole grain bread for gluten free bread, because then I’m eating unnecessary carbs. I want to change my eating habits for good; and that includes incorporating unprocessed food, more fruits and veggies, more water and portion control.
I’ve almost got the plan in place, I’ve already gone through my cabinet and pulled out all of the gluten products (again). Goodbye Oreos! My milk and I will miss you!
How has new-age technology impacted us? We can see, feel and experience it’s impact in our daily lives – increased violence and desensitization to violence, decreased empathy, little-to-no family interaction – when was the last time your family sat down at the dining room table for a meal? Or enjoyed a family game night? – among many, many other things.
Technology has also helped society in very positive and life-changing ways – better medical care, interactive and innovative teaching tools, keeping people connected, etc.
All of this has got me thinking…what would happen in a world-wide apocalyptic situation? Would we be able to keep in touch with our neighbors? What about world-wide communication? Are CB radios still a thing…how do you even use a CB radio?
This is definitely food for thought and something we should all be thinking about as the world continues to become a massive desensitized place of violence.
I’ve decided to take the plunge and apply to grad school. And, for me, that means taking the GRE. …commence freak out.
I haven’t studied for a test like this since 2006-7 – when I took the SAT 3 times and the ACT 1 time trying to get my goal score. Do you know how expensive those tests are?? And, I took 4!
I can’t afford to retake the GRE a million times – I don’t have the money or time to “spend” on it, even if it means a better chance of getting into school.
So, I started researching 3-month study plans for the GRE. And you know what I found? There are a few million resources out there (Google reports 174,000! Still way too many for me to use.) and they all basically say the same thing – follow our boring study outline and you’ll do great.
The problem with this? It’s boring. Boring beyond boring. Netflix binge-watching is definitely WAY more interesting. So I brainstormed…how can I make studying not so boring? Here are a few things I came up with:
Izzie’s Fun Study GRE Tips:
- Develop a study plan that works for you. I planned 3 months of study, with each month devoted to a topic – Math, Verbal and Analytical. Assign tasks for each day, keeping it simple and light!
- Complete the Sudoku in your daily paper. This keeps your mind sharp and helps with analyzing patterns and combinations.
- Complete (or attempt to) the Crossword in said daily paper. This will help your vocabulary, word association and analysis skills.
- Read the Comics (political cartoons are optional) in the paper. I find that reading the comics is a good way to allow your brain to decompress in a way. It’s practically one of the best times during my work day (except for morning coffee and afternoon tea).
And there you have it – 4 fun tips to studying for the GRE!