Saturday, January 26, 2019

Resolution Tip #4: Rock Your Inner Boy/Girl Scout and BE PREPARED! (Exercise Edition)

Raise your hand if you've ever promised yourself that... 

"I mean it.  THIS time,
 I'm going to set up an exercise plan and stick to it," 


....and then you quit in a couple of months.


Wow!  Look at all those hands!  

Yup.  I've been there too.  You're not alone.   

Exercise is harrrrd.  You know it's called a "WORKout" for a reason, right?  It's WORK!!



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So there's a million excuses as to why we didn't "stick to it" THIS time, but let's just explore the top 5:

            Excuse #1:  I don't have enough time.

            Excuse #2:  I'm too tired.

            Excuse #3:  My legs (feet, arms, shoulders, back, neck, etc.) hurt.

            Excuse #4:  I'm too old/fat/uncoordinated/embarrassed to workout at the                                         gym.  Besides, it's expensive.

            Excuse #5:  I hate working out alone.  And exercising is boring.



Hey, I'm with ya.  I think I've used ALL of those excuses at one time or another.  But the thing is...exercise is important.  A body in motion stays in motion...a body at rest?  Well, it gets all soft and mushy, it's more easily injured, it has more inflammation, the joints ache, the energy wanes, and we just kinda sit there like a lump.  Blah.  If you want an active future for yourself...you gotta keep your body moving. 

So what about the excuses?  The best way to stomp out your excuses is to prepare for them!  KNOW that they're on the horizon and be prepared to meet them head on!  

So let's break it down!


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Excuse #1:  "I don't have enough time."

We live crazy busy lives--work, kids, commute, errands, taking care of the house, etc. and when time gets tight, exercise is often the first thing to go.  But what if we got creative with our time?  Think we could make it work?
  • Solution #1:  Put exercise on your schedule.  Set an alarm if you're going to exercise first thing in the morning.  See it as part of your day...an immovable appointment.  And remember...it doesn't have to be an hour long thing!  10-15 mins is better than nothing, right?
  •  Solution #2: Did you binge watch Game of Thrones or Stranger Things?  If so, you've got time!  TV time is a great time to sneak in a little exercise!  Squats, push ups, lunges, marching in place, stationary bike, plank, leg lifts, stretching...there's time for all of that!  You just gotta decide to do it!
  • Solution #3:  Want healthy kids?  Exercise is important for them too!  Grab the kiddies and get outside!  Play at the playground, go for a walk, throw the frisbee around, head out for a swim, build a snowman, jump in puddles...there's lots to do outside!  Too cold?  Have a dance party inside, do yoga together, practice karate kicks--who knows?  Your kids can probably come up with something pretty creative if you ask them!  :)
  • Solution #4:  Got little kids?  Pop em in the stroller or strap them to your body and walk them around town!  Got bigger kids who play sports, have dance lessons or music lessons?  While they are doing their thing, you can take that time to walk the ball field, run up and down stairs, pair up with another parent and have a "walk and talk" around the building.  
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Excuse #2:  "I'm too tired."
  • Solution #1:  Exercise. Yup.  Exercise is the solution to your problem.  Hear me out...  Ever had one of those times when you dragged yourself to the gym even when you were super tired?  Do you remember how you felt when you were done?  Most likely, you were tired in your muscles but more energized overall.  Why?  Exercise increases your blood flow which means that your heart is pumping oxygen to your brain, muscles, and tissues faster. It also promotes the release of neurotransmitters that will make you feel better and give you MORE ENERGY. Even moderate exercise can improve your energy levels!  Don't believe me?  Next time you get out of bed in the morning, do 20 jumping jacks right away.  Bet you feel more energized!  And that's a great way to start your day!
  • Solution #2:  Exercise when you DO have energy.  A lot of people "save" their exercise for the end of the day.  But that's when a lot of us are really tired and we just want to relax.  Next time, try getting your exercise done first thing in the morning.  Start small. Try going to bed 15 minutes earlier and setting your alarm for 15 mins earlier.  Then pop out of bed and do 15 mins of exercise before you start getting ready for your day.  If mornings aren't great, try going for a brisk walk during your lunch break.
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Excuse #3:  "My legs (feet, arms, shoulders, back, neck, etc.) hurt."
  • Solution #1:  If you've got an injury, check with your doc and see what exercises are ok to do!  Lots of times, you can work around your injury.  If it's a foot injury for example, you could work your upper body, and you could most often do floor exercises or chair supported exercises.  If it's a shoulder issue, you could still go for a brisk walk.  Now, that being said, maybe you have a more encompassing injury (like a back or a neck injury) and in that case, your doc might give you PT to do...PT counts as exercise!  But remember, always follow your doctor's orders!  :)
  • Solution #2:  If you're hurting because you overworked a muscle, then give it a rest.  Vary your exercise--upper body one day, lower body the next.  And think about building rest days or light days into your schedule--maybe boot camp every day isn't a good idea for you!  Have days when you go for a walk or take a gentle yoga class instead of that hardcore class you usually take.  Give your muscles a chance to recover and rebuild.
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Excuse #4:  "I'm too old/fat/uncoordinated/embarrassed to workout at the gym.                               Besides, it's expensive."
  • Solution #1:  Face your fears.  I know.  It's easier said than done. But the thing is, it's just YOU and YOUR MIND standing in your own way!  Just go once. Just go for a little bit of time or for half of a group ex class.  Sign up for beginner classes, gentle classes, or a free demo of how to use the equipment.  Bring a supportive friend who can show you the ropes.  Ask the front desk attendant when the gym is the least crowded and go then...  There are lots of ways to ease into working out at a gym.  You can do this!
  • Solution #2:  So let's say you face your fears.  You go to the gym and let's say it's the WORST experience ever!  Snooty people.  Cruddy facilities.  Classes WAY more hardcore than you need.  Crazy crowded.  And just NOT good.  Welllll...you could always try a different workout facility, right?  Check out your local library, health care center, community center, and YMCA.  Typically, classes offered at these locations are much more beginner friendly. 
  • Solution #3:  Now, about the expense.  A lot of gyms have free trials. Yoga studios and Barre studios often offer reduced rates through Groupon.com or LivingSocial.com.  The Y sometimes offers financial assistance to those who qualify. Community Centers and Recreation Departments usually have inexpensive ways to get your exercise on too!  You could also join Meetup.com where many exercise classes/opportunities are offered for free or at a reduced rate.
  • Solution #4:  So, some people are just introverts (I'm one) or they just don't have money to spend on a gym.  This is perfectly cool!  Exercise at home!  There are TONS of free exercise classes on the internet--any kind of workout you could possibly want.  Plus you don't have to pack a gym bag, you can workout in your jammies, and shower in your own bathroom!   You could also borrow dvd's from your local library or stream video on your TV!  Lots of options for the at-home exerciser!
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Excuse #5:  "I hate working out alone.  And exercising is boring."
  • Solution #1:  Bring a friend or a family member when you workout.  Besides, you're more likely to stick to an exercise routine if you've got someone as dedicated as you who will come with you. 
  • Solution #2:   Join Meetup.com.  Sign up for activities you like and get the bonus of making new friends who enjoy the same activities.
  • Solution #3:  Mix it up.  You don't have to do the same type of workout every day.  Yoga, Bootcamp, Weights, Crossfit, Tabata, Swimming, Tennis, Dancing, Hula Hooping, Skating, Surfing, Skiing, Hiking, Snowshoeing, Slack Lining, Biking, Rowing, Horseback Riding, Frisbee, Soccer, Tennis, Basketball, Tag, Jumprope, Swinging on the Swings ...you get the idea, right?  Exercise doesn't have to be boring.  There are lots of choices!  Have fun with it!  Plus, if you cross train, you activate different muscles and build new brain pathways!  Fun, right?
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OK, so now you are prepared to face all your exercise excuses head on!  Boom!  You will not let anything or anyone derail you from the promises you made to yourself, right?  

YOU ARE IMPORTANT!!  

Now go make your exercise plan, get out there, and kick some booty!

Good luck you guys!  (And have fun!)

Namaste,
Dorothy



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Friday, January 18, 2019

Resolution Tip #3: Rock Your Inner Boy/Girl Scout and BE PREPARED! (Food Edition)

I will be honest with you.  I have not always been successful in achieving my nutrition goals.  Why?  

I was a woman with a million excuses...

"I HAD to do take out...there wasn't any good food in the house."

"I was traveling...you know what airplane food is like!"

"I was at a party...it would have been anti-social to sit there without a drink in my hand!"

"They ordered in at work!  Seriously....There was NOTHING healthy on the table! And I was STARVING!  I HAD to eat four slices of pizza....and a chocolate chip cookie."


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For me, personally, I needed to be brutally honest with myself.  My lack of success wasn't because of lack of time, extenuating circumstances, or lack of a cooperative environment...it was because I didn't prioritize or prepare.  I kept saying my health was important to me, but I never treated it as a true priority when it came to doling out my time and effort. 

So I figured it out (mostly).

We gotta follow the Boy/Girl Scout motto and 
BE PREPARED.

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Ha.  Easier said than done!  

So, how did I eventually go from flying by the seat of my pants to being a good little Girl Scout?  Take a look at my tired old excuses and my new kick-booty, take-responsibility, and be-prepared approach! 

"I HAD to do take out...there wasn't any good food in the house!"
  • Now I make a food plan for the week.  I make a shopping list.  I stick to it...No matter how much chocolate is on sale.
  • My fridge, freezer and cabinets are stocked with healthy fresh food--Stuff I actually like and am interested in.  There's no sense in buying a bunch of kale and just staring at it if you don't like kale!  Buy what you like!
  • I keep veggies and fruit washed and chopped in the fridge for easy access, cooking, and snacking.  And when I know I have a super busy week ahead, I buy veggies that are pre-chopped (or veggies that don't need chopping at all!).
  • Frozen veggies are essential for busy people.  They are super convenient and can be made in a flash.
  • I cook once and eat two or three times.  Leftovers make a fast and easy breakfast or lunch for the next day and if you've got an Instant Pot, Crock Pot, or other big ol' pot you can make large quantities of sauce, stew, rice, quinoa or whatever and stick the extras in the freezer for the next week!  Woot! 
  • Now, even though I like my food quick and easy, I also get bored and crave International foods. So...my spice cabinet is fully stocked so I can make things with an Italian, Asian, Mexican, Indian, or Mediterranean taste profile!



"I was traveling...you know what airplane food is like!" 



I used to say I couldn't be healthy when I was traveling...I literally thought it was impossible. But now...

  • I put nuts, seeds, and unsweetened dried fruits in little snack baggies or re-usable containers so I can grab them and go and always have healthy food on hand.  
  • Hello?  Fruit, anyone?  Apples, bananas, berries...all easy to grab and go.
  • Sometimes I need a little on-the-go protein.  Meat is tricky 'cuz it needs refrigeration.  And though I'm not a fan of processed meats, Chomp Sticks are pretty good in a pinch (they have 'em at Trader Joe's). If you're not a meat eater and you're a bean person...hummus in a "to go" cup with carrots and celery works great too! 

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"I was at a party...it would have been anti-social to sit there without a drink in my hand!"

Parties were my Achilles heel.  It always took too much willpower to "be good" and it felt awkward not drinking.  
  • Oh, I like to party as much as the next person, but the logical person inside of me knows that liquid calories add up and once I've had two alcohol-based drinks, I find my lowered inhibition and party-mode attitude lead me straight to the food table and next thing I know, I've pulled up a chair and I'm eating the bowl of chips as if it were a single serving put there just for me.
  • So now, especially if I'm hosting, I drink faux cocktails.  My fave is soda water with muddled lime and mint. In a fancy glass, of course!  This way, I'm drinking something special, others don't feel funny about drinking when I'm not, I don't suck down the extra calories, and I don't have a hangover the next day!  Total win!

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"They ordered in at work!  
Seriously....There was NOTHING healthy on the table! And I was STARVING!  
I HAD to eat four slices of pizza....
and a chocolate chip cookie."

And this was me ALL THE TIME. It was always someone else's fault.  I felt like I was never in control.  I was not making my own choices.
  • First things first...I never let myself get to the point of "STARVING" anymore!  This is where being prepared (and eating healthy, rather than "dieting") is so important!  If I eat my leftovers for breakfast and some healthy snacks during the day, I shouldn't be ravenous enough to go on a mindless feeding frenzy at lunch or dinner. 
  • Secondly, YES!  It sometimes happens that I really do get stuck with NO HEALTHY FOOD OPTIONS!  No matter how much I plan, it still sometimes happens.  So in THAT case...I try to be mindful.  I decide how far off the wagon I want to go and then I ENJOY it to the fullest without guilt or remorse!  I know that tomorrow will be a new day...no downward food spiraling, no throwing in the towel!  I'm going to get right back to nourishing my body to it's fullest so I can achieve what I set out to do--be my healthiest self!

OK, so that's it.  All of my old excuses are GONE thanks to planning and prep!  Being healthy doesn't just happen.  We have to be mindful about it.  We have to plan and be prepared!

You got this, right?  You're gonna go prep and kick some booty, yes?  Yes! 

Next post, we'll explore how Being Prepared can help you be healthy in other ways too!  (It's not all about the food!)

Hugs to you, Friends!  

-dorothy










 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Resolution Tip #2: Quit Torturing Yourself

So lots of resolutions revolve around eating healthy food.  In order to eat "healthy" we need to cut out the "junk", right?  The biggest--and I mean THE BIGGEST (and most avoidable)--thing I see derailing people from eating healthy is...(wait for it)....
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...People buying junk and keeping it in their own houses!


Yup.  I kinda think we like to torture ourselves.  We make these great goals to eat healthy, get fit, reduce our chances of getting chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, and then we walk into the grocery store and see a sign that says, "Ben & Jerry's--On Sale $3.75!" and we're like, "Yeah, you're totally coming home with me.  But don't worry, I'll put you in the freezer where I won't see you...'cuz I'm eating healthy these days!"   

Then, plop, plop, plop...three pints go into the cart.

What are we doing????

You wouldn't put a crack addict in the middle of a bunch of crack, would you?  Why do we torture ourselves?  

If junk food is in our house, we have to use a constant stream of willpower to avoid it.  And we only have so much willpower, right?  Eventually, it crumbles and we dive headfirst into that ice cold pint. And then, if you're like me, you look at the damage you've done and you say, "Well, I've eaten half of it already, I might as well finish it off so I don't get tempted by it tomorrow."  And then you eat the whole thing and go to bed feeling like total crap (physically and mentally).  

The next day you're all bloated and sad and you go to the freezer to take out the meat for that evening's healthy dinner and you see the other two pints just staring at you. Darn.  Now you gotta finish those too, or they're going to torture you all day like the other one did.  

And so starts the downward spiral lined with junk food and bad feelings.

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We are not bad people. It is not our fault that we feel this way...not really.  We are food addicts--mentally and physically.  Especially when it comes to sugars, carbs, and packaged goodies.  We are bombarded with commercials that tell us how yummy these foods are. There are scientists working for all the big name food companies whose sole job it is to find just the right combo of chemicals, additives, and flavors that will make us crave more junk.  As kids, we are rewarded with junk food when we do something good ("You won your game!  Let's go get pizza and ice cream!!!").  And, as if we don't have enough outside forces steering us towards junk, inside our bodies, sugar affects the opiate receptors and neuropathways in the brain in the same way as cocaine and other addictive substances!  The more we eat sugar, the more hardwired we are to crave it.  The deck is stacked against us!


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So let's do ourselves a favor.  Let's stop the torture.  Don't buy the junk in the first place. Don't keep it in your home.  Let it sit on the shelf in the store--on sale, or not.  Take THAT, Ben & Jerry!

And for those of you who are saying, "But my kids like it!" or "My significant other likes it!", think about this....

YOU know the dangers of too much junk food and sugar. 

YOU know that junk food causes health issues (obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, leaky gut, candida overgrowth, autoimmune disorders, etc.).
  
YOU know it makes you feel crappy.  

YOU know all these things, otherwise, you wouldn't have made the goal to kick it to the curb. 

Now, your family is important.  You don't want them to feel crappy, struggle with their weight, or have health issues, right?  Maybe your quest for good health will help them to feel healthier and happier too! 

Oh, and by the way, I'm not saying you and your family should never eat junk food ever again. That would be totally silly.  Part of life is enjoying its sweet little pleasures.  


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What I AM saying is...give yourself a fighting chance to break your addiction first (a few weeks maybe?)--clear your home of junk.  Quit torturing yourself by surrounding yourself with foods that you're addicted to.  Break your addiction.  And then, when you're "clean" and you DO have junk food, it doesn't become a downward spiral with a face full of Oreos and a heart filled with guilt and shame.  Instead, it's just a small, wonderful treat...as it should be!    :) 

     We all have days like this...

So that's today's Resolution Tip #2:  Quit Torturing Yourself.  Stay tuned for Tip #3...Rock Your Inner Boy/Girl Scout and BE PREPARED!

Hugs to you, Friends!  Wishing you much success!

-dorothy


  



Friday, January 11, 2019

How to Make New Year's Goals (And Actually Achieve Them)


According to U.S. News, 80% of New Year's Resolutions fail by the second week of February


And...

The Washington Post reports that 25% of us abandon our resolutions in only 7 days!  




Have you abandoned your resolutions yet?   

I hope not, 'cuz I'm here to help you avoid becoming a part of those very sad statistics!  In the next few weeks, I'm going to be posting tips and tricks to help you stay focused and kick some Resolution Booty!  Are you with me?  Let's get started!  



Tip #1:  Write It Down and Tell a Supportive Friend

Professor Gail Matthews at the Dominican University in California found that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down.  That percentage goes up even more if you share your written goals with friends who believe in your ability to accomplish those goals.  Pretty awesome, right?  And we've all got paper and a pencil available...and hopefully friends that believe in us...so...no excuses, right?  

So how do you write a goal?

SMART Goals, SMARTER Goals, CLEAR Goals, HARD Goals, Mind Maps, Vision Boards, Goal-Setting/Tracking Apps...there are tons of tools available for setting your goals, and I encourage you to check them all out, 'cuz different things work for different people.  

For today, I'm going to focus on SMART Goals....just because they're pretty much the rage right now.  :)  


What are SMART Goals?  SMART is an acronym:


1.  S is for Specific. 

So how often have you said, "My goal is to workout more."  What does that mean?  More than what?  More than your dog?  More than your neighbor?  Once a week?  Three times a week?  Every day? And what kind of workout?  Are you bellydancing?  Playing football?  Swimming?  What?  Pretend I'm the Goal Police and give me every little detail:

  • Who is working on this goal? Hopefully, the answer is YOU!  AND, do you need to elicit anyone else's help to make this happen?
  • What do you want to accomplish?  Get detailed!
  • Where are you going to be when you're working on this goal?
  • When will you work on this goal? 
So instead of "I'm going to workout more, " you might be more specific and say something like:  "I'm going to workout more and increase my strength and endurance.  I'm going to get up Monday through Friday at 6AM and do a 15 minute online body weight workout in my living room.  Saturday will be a rest day.  Sunday I'll take a one mile walk with my friends.  We'll choose the route on Saturday night. If my friends can't go...I'll walk by myself!  I'm going to do this for one whole month."   Now THERE'S a goal you can totally rock!  It's specific and detailed!  No fumbling around and wondering what you're going to do each day...it's already spelled out for you!


2.  M is for Measurable.

This part of goal setting is pretty closely related to the above paragraph about being specific. If you're really detailed and specific, it's EASY to measure your goal.  

For the above goal, you might make a daily checklist to see if you really DID do 15 mins of exercise M-F and walk for one mile every Sunday.  That way, you know you accomplished your overall goal of "exercising more". (Plus you get to check boxes every day...and that feels awesome!)

If you want to know if you increased your strength and endurance, you could make a plan to see how many pushups (sit ups, squats, jumping jacks...whatever!) you could do in 2 minutes BEFORE working on your goal and see how many you can do in 2 minutes at the end.  Have an idea in mind of how many you'd like to do...that way, you know if you accomplished your goal! 

3.  A is for Achievable.

Answer the questions:

  • How can I accomplish this goal?
  • How realistic is this goal based on the constraints that I have (time, money, health, etc.)? 
For example...if you have never ever exercised before, setting a goal to run a full marathon in a month may be overstepping the mark...just a tad. You have to give yourself the chance to be successful!  It is better to write goals on the easier side, achieve them, and then set higher goals for the next round, than to set crazy-lofty goals that might actually hurt your health rather than boost it.  PLUS, experiencing success makes you want to experience more success...cuz it feels SO good!  :)  

4.  R is for Relevant.

To me, this is the most important part of your goal.  Why does this goal matter to you? 

And again, be clear, be specific, and REALLY picture all the benefits you get from achieving this goal.  So you wanna work out "more" and "increase your strength and endurance"...WHY?  Why does that matter?

Will it give you more energy?  Will you lose weight?  Will it be easier to keep up with your kids?  Will you be more comfortable in your clothes?  Will you feel more confident?  Will you be able to do more fun, active, activities?  Will you lower your cholesterol?  Will you feel proud of yourself?  Will it give you joy?

Imagine completing your goal...really visualize it.  What expression is on your face?  How do you feel?  What can you do/experience now, that you couldn't before?

5.  T is for Time Frame.


If you were really Specific in step one...you've already got your time frame.  

That being said, sometimes it's hard to come up with a time frame.  So...if you're doing a month-long goal, think about the following questions:

  • What do I want to accomplish by the end of the month?
  • What can I accomplish in half a month?
  • What can I accomplish in a week?
  • What can I do each day?
  • What can I do TODAY?

When you write your goal...if you can, incorporate dates.  Put them on your calendar.  Saying you'll do it "someday" or "soon" or "when I can" never happens. It just doesn't.  If you're going to work out every day at 6AM, put it in your calendar and set your alarm.  No excuses...nothing else takes priority.  Your goals are important.  YOU are important.  Don't forget that!


SOOOOO...That's it!  Think about your goals.  Write 'em out.  Share them with your amazing supportive friends.  Then go kick some booty!

Now this was just tip #1.  In the next few weeks, I'll put together more things to motivate you to stick with whatever it is you want to accomplish.  Don't be part of the 80% that gives up before February.  You got this!

Hugs!
Dorothy







Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year! (Now Go Make Some Big Mistakes!)

Hey Kids!

I'm sharing my favorite New Year's Quote with you.  It's all about taking chances, being bold, and making mistakes.  Don't be afraid to live big this year...as they say, "Even if you fall on your face, at least you're moving forward"!  LOL!

Happy New Year, Everyone! 

Dorothy


P.S.  I took this lovely photo of the water, sky, and mountains in the background, not knowing that my finger was waggling down into the picture.  Luckily, it was the perfect  mistake for this New Year's Quote!