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How To Become A Goal Setter – A Teaser

Thursday, September 29, 2011

 

Do you have a dream, a goal that you’ve been wanting to achieve for a long time but every time you think about getting started you get stuck? You just have no idea how to get it off the ground or which steps to take to get the ball rolling?

Do you make resolutions, faithfully, every January but come March they’ve fallen to the wayside and you’re not sure why?

Are you the type of person who makes goals all the time with the intention of improving yourself and/or your situation but then go so overwhelmed that you drop ALL of them?

Come back here on Tuesday because I’m going to show you how to finally achieve all of these goals and then some! I’m going to teach you how to make the kind of goal that’s guaranteed to make you a success and make you confident that you can attain all the other goals you make for yourself. There are no magic tricks here folks! I’ll give you practical and easy tips and tricks that successful people all over the world use in their goal setting.

So whether you want to get yourself healthier, find a new job, clean out your house or even save for that Parisian vacation you’ve always wanted, get your butt back here on Tuesday. You’ve got nothing to lose and EVERYTHING to gain!

What are your biggest obstacles when it comes to goal setting? Join in on the conversation on my Facebook and Twitter pages and let’s talk!

How To Make A Difficult Decision

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

 

Ever have one of those days when you’re forced to make a decision where you simply do not know what to do? You know what I mean, one of those “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” type situations? These are usually intensely personal and leaves us begging for someone to just tell us what to do. This could deal with the decision to file for divorce, moving across country, having to have an intervention with a loved one and other equally difficult situations where you have no choice but to act.

In these situations, how do you know what to do? How do you know which decision is the right decision? When both decisions point to something possibly “bad” happening, how the hell do we decide what to do?!

Unfortunately, I’m not here to answer that for you.

Unless we have a crystal ball, there’s no concrete proof that our decisions will be the “right” one but there are a few things we can consider before we make that choice. The good thing is that there really is no “right” or “wrong” decision, there’s just the best decision we could make at the time and that’s that. If we sit and consistently mull over the “what if’s” we’ll NEVER make a decision and be frozen in the midst of indecision and that’s akin to being stuck in limbo, you’re neither here nor there and so you just sit, frozen in fear.

Recently I had to make one of these decisions regarding a personal matter and as much as I really just wanted to sweep it under the carpet, it just wasn’t going to happen so I had to put on my big girl panties and figure out what I was going to do. Here’s what I did:

  • I made a pros and cons list of each decision I could possibly make.
  • I consulted friends for their opinions, not so that i could take the responsibility off of myself but to make sure I was seeing the situation in a 360 degree perspective and not blinded by my own emotions.
  • I then tapped into my personal value system. Knowing what my priorities were in this situation, I began to formulate my decision. This is incredibly important to do because when you know what your values are, regardless of the decision you make, you know you responded in accordance to your heart AND mind and it is there that you can never go wrong! Don’t blindly make a decision and blame it on your values, REALLY look deep within yourself to find your intention in the situation. Is it to develop a relationship with someone? Is it to improve the life of you and/or your family? What is it that you really want the outcome to be and why? When you’re honest with yourself and know what your values are, you’ll be much better able to make the difficult decisions in life.
  • Trust in yourself! This one can be hard because the last thing we want to do is make a decision that could potentially lead to diastrous results or cause us to, *gaps*, FAIL. But in all decisions you make, trust in yourself that you’ll be able to handle whatever outcome occurs with your decision. You are a much more capable person than you realize so it’s worth it to work on trusting yourself and your ability to handle life’s difficulties.

When I went through this process, I was able to make my decision. When you’re in a situation where there is no right or wrong answer, all you can do is the best that you can. The end result may not be the most desirable thing in the world but that doesn’t mean you’re a failure or a bad person, it doesn’t mean that your values are skewed, it just means that it didn’t work out and you can take what you learned into consideration the next time you have a similar decision to make.

When you make a decision basd on what you truly believe in you create integrity in your being and when you have integrity, there is no wrong answer. Trust in yourself to do what’s right and when you’ve made your decision, stick with it because you know it’s the best decision you could make given the circumstances.

Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual so we just have to make do with what we’ve got and when you know what you’ve got (your values), you will always make the best decisions!

How do YOU make life’s big decisions? Join in on the conversation over on my Twitter and Facebook pages!

Calorie Counting Is Not A Bad Word

Thursday, September 22, 2011

 

I’m quite a fan of blogs. I’m subscribed to so many that when I came back from vacation I had well over 500 that needed to be read and realized I should probably start to cut back. I’m a HUGE fan of healthy living blogs, I love to see how other healthy people adapt their lives around health as it helps me to develop my own life and gain different perspectives for my clients.

That being said, I’ve noticed an alarming trend that many healthy living bloggers are giving calorie counting a bad rap and I think it’s important to talk about it.

I completely understand where they are coming from when they plead that we consider the quality of our food over calorie counting. They’re trying to create more empowered women who care less about their weight and more about their overall health and the mental anguish women can get from focusing more on their weight than their health is something that needs to be addressed.

The problem lies in the fact that there ARE people out there who want to lose weight and if you are trying to lose weight, calorie counting is the single most effective way to do so. Not only does the research show it but I’ve personally tried calorie counting and just portion control and let me tell you that I was much more successful when I tracked my calories over than when I just tracked portions.

Calorie counting teaches us about proper portions and provides us with daily accountability and a goal to aim towards. You can eat all of your foods in the proper proportion but you can still eat so many calories in those portions that you wind up eating too many or you end up eating too little and your body goes into starvation mode. Knowing what proper portions look like AND the nutritional value of the foods you are eating will help your weight loss become more successful.

Yes I believe that it is the quality of the food you eat that is most important but for those people who are overweight and have never been taught about the quality of food or never learned what proper portions look like, it is extremely important to educate yourself on this.

Of course, obsessive calorie counting is an issue and this becomes an important issue if someone is suffering from an eating disorder such as anorexia where calorie counting is something they use to stay in control. In these circumstances, it’s not a good idea at all but for the millions of people out there who have the opposite problem, who are giving AWAY their control to food, it becomes vitally important.

You don’t need to count calories forever but when it comes to actual weight LOSS, it makes things so much easier, regardless of how tedious it may be.

I also think that, although these blogs mean well, it causes people who DO agree with calorie counting to hide away or defend themselves when they admit to doing it. It’s not a bad thing and it’s upsetting to think that these people, many of whom already suffer from self-esteem problems, are being made to feel inferior or unempowered simply because they find some benefit to it.

Knowing what I put into my system on a daily basis, by calorie counting, practicing portion control AND focusing on quality foods has not only empowered me to make healthy decisions in my life but it’s been instrumental in learning more about my body AND being successful in my weight loss.

So stand up, be proud, and count those calories if that’s what you want to do. Never defend yourself even for a moment!

 

What are your thoughts on calorie counting? Join in on the conversation over on our Facebook and Twitter pages!

The Passage That Helped To Change My Life

Monday, September 19, 2011

 

Curious about how I achieved my “a-ha” moment? What it was that made me realize that things needed to change in my life? What made me quit my job, move to the city and start my life over again? It was with the help from this simple passage from a 224-page book:

 

“THE TRUTH IS YOU REALLY ARE IN CONTROL – IN TOTAL CONTROL. For some reason, you are consciously or unconsciously choosing to be in that lousy job, you are choosing to hate the single life, you are choosing to stay in a destructive relationship, you are choosing to let your daughter drive you crazy, you are choosing to sabotage anything good in your life…or whatever else it may be for you. I know it is difficult to accept the fact that you are the cause of the feelings that take away joy in life. It is very upsetting when you begin to see yourself as your own worst enemy. On the other hand, this realization is your biggest blessing. If you know you can create your own misery, it stands to reason that you can also create your own joy.” – Susan Jeffers, “Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway”

 

Seriously, if I never recommend another book in my entire life, I’ll die happy knowing I recommended this book to you. It helped to change my life, and, if you let it, it can help to change yours as well!

Join in on the conversation over on my Facebook and Twitter pages!

 

your no-bullsh**t guide to weight loss: 4 steps to permanent success – ONLY 1 DAY LEFT TO REGISTER!

If you’re sick of gimmicky diets or programs that don’t deliver, then join me on September 21st for a night you won’t soon forget! I’m going to giv eyou the information that the media doesn’t want you to know but is essential if you want to lose weight and get it off, permanently! All I require of you is a working computer with a headset and the determination that you’ll do the work necessary to make your weight loss a success! This is a FREE webinar so what’s not to love?!
Visit my classes page to learn more and sign up NOW, time is running out!

10 Ways To Create More Time

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

 

One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from people regarding why they “can’t” work out is that they have no time.

Seriously? That’s your excuse?

Listen, I know we’re a hectic society and that although we have all these fancy devices and inventions to make our lives easier we’re busier than ever, but I don’t see time as an excuse. If you want to get fit and healthy, you MAKE the time.

To help you out, here are 10 different strategies you can use to create more time in your day to work out. Remember that you don’t always have to work up a major shower-inducing sweat, sometimes just 10 minutes of getting off your butt is all that’s needed. The important thing is to create an active life more than it is just to burn calories!

10 Ways to create time (to work out)

1. Turn off the TV.
  • What shows do you watch on an average day and how many of those do you actually like or are merely “filler” shows? Get rod of those filler shows (like the news, you can get it anywhere) and use that time to work out. With the invention of DVRs and online streaming there’s even no excuse with the shows you do like. Record them and watch them later, TV is not a priority, your health, however, is. You’ll calm your mind and de-stress better with a good workout more than you will with TV. Use your favourite shows as a reward instead, if you work out for an hour, you can watch it!

2. Prep meals the night before.

  • Take the time, directly after dinner while you’re still in the kitchen (or just before bed) to prep what you can for meals the next day. Set the coffee maker, make your lunches and even prep for your next dinner. This doesn’t have to take long and will save you a world of time in the morning so you can get your sweat on rather than making meals.

3. Turn your kids’ sports games into workout time.

  • I know you love your kids and want to encourage them but you really don’t have to watch EVERY soccer/baseball/football/ring toss game. You can work with other parents to carpool so you have the time to work out or, once the game starts, use that time to get your own workout in. You can do laps around the field (while still keeping your eye on the game) or go to a nearby gym.

4. Take family quality time outdoors, not in.

  • Sure playing boardgames with the kids is fun family time but you can get it just the same by getting outdoors and doing something active. Go hiking together, take walks, try geocaching (a GREAT family activity). Think outside the box so you can not only teach your children the joys of activity but gets you into a consistent routine as well).

5. Pull in those favours!

  • I know that, as a parent, you want to try and do just about everything yourself, but it’s perfectly okay to ask for help. Ask a parent, sibling or good friend to babysit when your spouse can’t so you can go work out. It’ll do you a world of good to get away for a bit and give your kids some much needed family time with the rest of their family.

6. Team up with a friend – have them take care of your kids and then switch!

  • Have a friend who’s also struggling with getting their workouts in? Ask them if they’d be willing to babysit your kids for an hour so you can work out and, in turn, you’ll do the same for them! It’s a total win/win!

7. Pretend the snooze button doesn’t exist.

  • I know it’s hard but seriously, don’t even consider it and you add 10-20 minutes to your day right there. When that alarm goes off, don’t think and just flop out of bed. You may not feel awake right away but once that workout is done, you’ll be rarin’ to go!

8. Utilize breaks for activity.

  • Use your work breaks to go for walks, do some light strength training or hit up the gym. If you don’t have use of a shower, no problem, you don’t need to work up a sweat as long as you’re up and moving! If you do have access to showers and a longer lunch, go for lunch workouts and eat at your desk. That way you have mornings AND your evenings free!

9. When socializing, don’t suggest drinks/dinner, suggest an activity instead!

  • This is one of my favourites. I like making active social plans with a lot of my friends. We may end up at a pub after the fact but  normally we’ll make running dates, spin dates or a date to try something new that we’ve both been wanting to try. This is a great way to get to really know who your friends are because nothing says friendship like encouraging each other through a particularly gruelling run or hike!

10. Use the time it takes to bake your dinner to work out.

  • This is another favourite! If you have a dinner dish that takes some time to cook (like a casserole), pop it into the oven and take the time it takes to bake to work out. I usually hop on the elliptical or throw in a workout DVD for the duration of the baking and then use the 10-15 minutes it takes for dinner to cool to shower.
How do you make the most out of your time? Do you have some time issues you need some help with? Head over to my Facebook page or Twitter page and let me help!

Your no-bulls**t guide to weight loss: 4 steps to permanent success

If you’re sick of gimmicky diets or programs that don’t deliver, then join me on September 21st for a night you won’t soon forget! I’m going to give you the information that the media doesn’t want you to know but is essential if you want to lose weight and get it off, permanently! All I require of you is a working computer with a headset and the determination that you’ll do the work necessary to make your weight loss a success! This is a FREE webinar so what’s not to love?!
Visit my classes page to learn more and how to register!

Change. It Ain’t That Bad!

Monday, September 12, 2011

 

Last night I attended the first class of my final course needed for me to graduate. It’s true, at 29 years old I decided to go back to school and now, at 32, I’m finally finishing the degree I began more than ten years ago! I’m excited that it’ll finally be over (what was I THINKING?!) and proud that I decided to finish what I started so long ago.

For some people change is exciting, the feeling of a clean slate where anything is possible is a motivating factor in and of itself but for many people, change is feared. We are creatures of habit, we wake up every day and know what will happen. We have morning routines, work routines, weekend routines. There’s comfort in these routines, it’s not chaotic, we can plan ahead knowing that, aside from unpredictable events, we know exactly what’s going to happen. A significant change like going back to school as an adult, moving, changing your health habits, getting married, having children, etc., throws a huge wrench into that routine. But as much as routine is comfortable, it also causes us to become stagnant as individuals. I know a few grown adults who haven’t changed and still act like 15 year olds, it’s not pretty. We’re naturally evolving creatures and, as such, require change to move forward and become our best selves. Change is an inevitable part of our lives, fight it and we become miserable and left behind, embrace it and you will see your world with new eyes and new experiences. Sure there’s a risk that you’ll fail, there always is, and you know what? I’m not going to tell you that you WON’T fail but there’s just an equal (and more likely a greater) chance that you WON’T fail, that you’ll succeed wildly but if you don’t take that chance, you’ll never bloody well know!

Over the last couple of years I’ve made several changes in my life so I guess you could say that I’m an expert in this field and I can tell you with authority that the only difference between someone who makes these changes and someone who doesn’t is that the person who makes the change actually DOES IT. There’s no difference in the amount of fear between the two at all. When I originally quit my front desk job and moved to Toronto with very little plans, I was more frightened than I ever had been in my life. I had no clue if the plans I actually did have would turn out. When I decided to start running, I had no idea if I could do it or if I just looked like an idiot and when I quit my perfectly good desk job after four years to start my own business, I was terrified. But in all instances I felt the fear, took a deep breath and stepped off that cliff regardless feeling the fear and terror the entire time. No, it hasn’t all worked out the way I’d planned it but in every way it’s turned out for the better, I’VE turned out better.

I’ll be honest, had I known what I was getting into going back to school while also holding down a full time job I probably would have thought twice about diving in. It’s been immensely stressful (not to mention expensive) and I can’t tell you how many times I broke down and threatened to drop out (usually it was right before exam time). It’s been a rough 2.5 years of almost non-stop schooling but the end is finally in sight and only now can I look back and know that it was all worth it.

When you make the decision to take control of your health, it’s never an easy road to go down. Western society is so ingrained with bad habits that changing them is no easy feat, I won’t sit here and tell you otherwise. I see media claims of weight “melting” off and “30 Days To ______” and shake my head, changing your behaviour does not happen in five days, thirty days or even six months sometimes. It takes focus, determination and consistency to change these habits. It takes serious commitment.

But it’s 100% worth it.

Changing my unhealthy habits has seriously been the most difficult thing I’ve ever done but I don’t regret a single day of it. Even during the most frustrating, emotional days when all I wanted to do was hide away and eat bags upon bags of Doritos, when my weight never seemed to budge and I just couldn’t “see” the rewards of my efforts I never regretted smartening up, sitting down and journalling out my feelings instead of giving into my unhealthy impulses no matter how difficult a decision it was to do at the time. I do this even now, mostly with workouts! There are plenty of days where I want nothing more than to roll over, pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep but then I remind myself that I have never regretted a workout but I DO regret skipping them and that’s usually enough to make me throw the covers back and get my sweat on. All the same, it’s taken me over three years to create a consistent workout routine and yet I still have those days! Although I know I’m not the only one and those who are much more fit than I am go through the same issues, I used to have fantasies of NEVER having those days, that I would make perfect decisions every day, I’d bound out of bed having dreamt of a good workout and spend my days beaming with positivity and shooting rainbows out of my butt. Oh reality, you hurt me so (but probably saved my ass a world of multi-coloured pain).

The point, if you haven’t figured it out already, is that although change can be difficult and sometimes the outcome is not what you thought it would be, it’s worth it, especially when it comes to changing your health (physically and mentally). You’ve only got one body, one life and one chance to make it the best so get out there and do it!

Join in on the coversation on my Facebook and Twitter pages!

 

Your No-Bulls**t Guide To Weight Loss: 4 Steps to permanent success

If you haven’t found out already, next Wednesday (September 21st) I’m hosting my first webinar! (Can I get a WOOT WOOT?!)

If you’re sick of gimmicky diets or programs that don’t deliver, then join me on September 21st for a night you won’t soon forget! I’m going to give you the information that the media doesn’t want you to know but is essential if you want to lose weight and get it off, permanently! All I require of you is a working computer with a headset and the determination that you’ll do the work necessary to make your weight loss a success! This is a FREE webinar so what’s not to love?!

Visit my classes page to learn more and how to register! You won’t want to miss this!

It’s Vacation Time!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

 

We all go on vacation for a reason. It’s the one time we can get away from our everyday responsibilities and just breathe again. It’s the time to turn off the computer, ignore the cell phone (unless it’s to organize a time to grab martini’s) and breathe deeply.

So with that, I’ll see ya’s next week! I’ve got some vacationing to do!!!

Staying Healthy While Travelling

Monday, August 29, 2011

 

Currently I’m in lovely Victoria, British Columbia with my fiance, visiting my cousin and her husband for the week. It’s the first REAL vacation for Alan and I having spent our other vacations here in Toronto. That being said, both of us are working hard to get the last of the weight off and tone up in preparating for our wedding next fall and don’t want to blow it just because we’re “on vacation”. It got me thinking about staying healthy while travelling, whether for work or for pleasure and how we can get so conflicted about what “vacation” really means.

In my own opinion, there’s nothing wrong with indulging while on vacation or not being so structured as far as your workouts go. You’re on vacation because you need a break from your everyday life and the responsibilities and structures that lay within it. That being said, it’s very easy to use that as an excuse to go far too overboard and coming home feeling like you ate your weight at the dessert buffet and feeling guilty for it, having to now work extra hard to burn off the couple of pounds you gained while you were gone.

Food

The airport is a nasty place for healthy food. There’s usually very little healthy options either in the airport or on the flight. Your best bet is to plan ahead. Our flight was at 8:50am on a Thursday morning, our taxi picked us up at 6am and didn’t make it to the airport until closer to 7am. We knew that we’d end up having to have breakfast at the airport so I scoped out the options and opening times beforehand. We managed some coffee and oatmeal instead of chancing it on the first available place we came across that only offered doughnuts and muffins. I also knew that we wouldn’t be served an actual meal on the flight (instead, we’d have to pay for an overpriced sandwich that looked questionable) so instead we packed some healthy snacks to last the five hours (including a few Lara Bars, some apples and pre-sliced veggies).
As for after the flight, you can easily Google your hotel’s location and search for restaurants and grocery stores in the area. If you can get a mini fridge put in your room (if it doesn’t have one already), you can take a trip to the grocery store to at least get your breakfast and grab some snacks so you don’t wind up at a buffet because you’re famished come lunch. You can make a plan to only eat out once per day or eat out at a more indulgent place once a day.
What I like to do is still make an effort to maintain my healthy lifestyle by indulging in only the things I don’t get the chance to each any other time. Real pizza in Italy? Go for it! Fish and chips in English with a pain of ale? Order it without questions! French pastries at a Parisian cafe? A MUST! But you don’t have to eat them every day or order five eclairs in one sitting. Practice mindfulness! Recognize that yes, you are indeed eating pizza in Italy and savour the moment. Really taste the pizza, drink in the scenery, write it down later or commit the experience to memory. Eat slowly and be grateful for the experience you’ve been given! No, you might NOT have a chance to do it again but that’s no reason to engage in gluttonouse behaviour if you’ve really lived in the moment.
Quite frankly, I’m in British Columbia. I’m still in Canada and I’m staying with my cousin. There’s not a lot of “new” food I’m experiencing so there’s no reason for me to go overboard at all so I’m working on just living in the moment, having meals with loved ones in an absolutely beautiful part of the country.
While in the Dominican with my best friend in 2008, we kept each other in check. We always made sure the other was well hydrated, had sunblock on and just being there with someone else who was also trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle kept us from going overboard at the buffet. I somehow managed to wait until the last day before i had the chocolate croissant I had been eyeing all week and man did it taste good! We also encouraged each other to hit up the onsite gym and played some volleyball to keep active. We joke now that we think we’re the only people in existence that went to the Dominican and came back 5lbs lighter but it’s because we were being great influences on each other instead of being the bad influence! So buddy up while on vacation and make a commitment to help each other stay on track!

Fitness

Staying fit while on vacation isn’t really all that difficult. No, there’s no reason to hit up the gym every day or do what you normally do but why not, instead of doing a bus tour of a city, do a walking, running or bike tour? Not only will you get to see the city and stay in shape but you can also say you RAN through Spain or South Africa or wherever you are! I want to get some quality exercise here in B.C. so even before we left I told my cousin I really wanted to see the famous B.C. mountains by hiking through them and I brought my running gear so I can check out her seaside town on foot!

If you’re travelling for work, bring your laptop with you and your favourite workout DVDs to get your sweat on in your room or check out their gym facilities or see about getting a pass at a local gym. Bring a jump rope and resistance bands for a quick workout in your room. If you have a smartphone, there are a gazillion fitness apps out there you can use. My favourite is the Nike Training Club! This great app (designed for women but equally as effective for men) allows you to choose from a variety of workouts that mostly use a set of hand weights and a medicine ball and narrates you through a pretty ass kickin’ workout so this is a great app for bringing to your hotel’s gym!

Staying healthy while on the move doesn’t have to be difficult if you prepare in advance! What are your healthy travel tips? Join in on the conversation over on my Facebook and Twitter pages!

Meal Planning Websites & Templates

Friday, August 26, 2011

 

Continuing on in my series of meal planning, I want to end on giving you some places to go in the direction of meal planning website and old fashioned printable templates for those of us who like to have things right in front of us!

Websites

Menu In A Box *Subscription Required*
This is a family friendly website that boasts:
“…healthy meal plans for your family…created by a Mom for busy families to make meal planning healthy and simple! Everything you need from meal planning tools, downloads, how to tips, kids activities, birthday and lunchbox planning, nutrition tips and plenty of inspiration!”
It features:
  • Hundreds of healthy budget friendly, family and kid favourite recipes
  • Instructions on how to create your own meal plans
  • Print recipes & generate a shopping list in minutes
  • No time then select from hundreds of already made menus
  • Learn basic cooking techniques and teach them to your family
  • Save money by learning how to make the most of fresh produce
  • Meal planning printables from meal planners
  • A kids section to inspire your kids to get in the kitchen
Free to anyone who joins, the popular Canadian magazine, Canadian Living gives all members access to their easy to use meal planning section! It may not have all the bells and whistles as paid subscription sites but you do get:
  • Plan your meals and recipes in advance for the whole family
  • Create printable grocery lists
  • Add special notes to yourself
  • Print your individual Meal Planner to stick on the fridge
Meals Matter *Free*
“Our daily meal planner makes it easier to prepare healthy, economical meals at home by helping you organize recipes and meals for each day. You can contribute your favorite recipes to Meals Matter and then plan your meals for the week by adding them to your daily meal planner. If you don’t have a recipe to add you can also write in what you plan to eat for any given meal.”

Templates

First, for an easy template you probably already have on your computer, if you use Word (whether on a PC or a Mac) there’s a pre-made meal planning template section but for some different ones, try the following:
Don’t forget to check out Google Documents for other possible templates or go crazy and make your own to really customize it!

What should you use?

So, after all this you may be wondering what I prefer! (No? You don’t give a damn? Too bad, I’m telling you anyway to indulge my ego) Do I use funky apps or a website or what?
Oddly enough, I’m an old fashioned paper and pen kinda lass. I tend to write my meals down using pretty pens and then slap it on the fridge so both my fiance and I know exactly what we’re eating during the week. Then I plug in all of my shopping ingredients into The Simple Grocery List app on my iPhone. I’m a very visual person so I need to have the meal plan right where I can see it at all times without pulling it up on my phone (plus I like sparkly pens and markers – it makes me feel crafty). So you definitely need to find out the most effective method for you to use. If you buy a $70 software program but don’t stick to it, what’s the point? If you’re not certain which to use, many of the paid programs have trial offers you can use and give each one a shot for a week or so and see which one is most effective. When you find out what it is, stick with it! Give it some time and meal planning will become second nature!

Meal Planning Software & Apps

Friday, August 26, 2011

 

As I mentioned last post, meal planning is one of the most effective ways of creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It takes the guesswork out of your week and reduces stress. Although it can take a bit of time to do initially, technology has made it even simpler! There are a crap load of software, apps, websites and printable templates on the web to make this easier and more organized. All you need to do is pick your poison and stick with it. The following is a very non-exhaustive list of online resources you can utilize to make your meal planning a breeze! For this post, I’ll focus on a few software and app options and with the next post I’ll focus on websites and old fashioned printable templates!

Software

Living Cookbook  $34.95 Windows PC only
This aware winning, easy to use meal planning software is for everyone from families to chefs to resturants. Features include:
  • Manage your recipe collection
  • Plan meals using the meal planning calendar
  • Calculate nutrition for any recipe, menu or meal
  • Create grocery lists organized by grocery aisle
  • Manage your kitchen’s inventory
  • Publish and print cookbooks
  • Print on any size paper, including index cards
  • Share your recipes as files or emails
  • Import every major recipe file format
  • Copy recipes directly from the Internet
  • Help file with over 500 help topics
  • Online support forum with over 32,000 members

Cook’n Recipe Organizer  $79.95 Mac and Windows compatible

With over 3 million copies sold, this software is a family friendly meal planner that features:
  • Enter and organize your own recipes
  • Search hundreds of recipes in seconds
  • Adjust recipe serving sizes automatically
  • Create weekly menus & make shopping lists
  • Analyze nutritional value of any recipe
  • Print family cookbooks
  • Email recipes to family & friends
  • A free eCookbook of your choice with purchase

Shop’n Cook Menu  $49.95 Mac and Windows compatible

This is an easy to use meal planning software program tha also comes with a downloadable app for your iPhone for convenience at the grocery store! It also includes:
  • Add easily recipes by typing them in, pasting them from the clipboard, or importing directly from the internet: no formatting is necessary
  • Organize your recipes by categories and in cookbooks. Enable anyone to read them with free Shop’NCook Reader software
  • Plan your meals for days or weeks at a time. Create an aise-ordered grocery list with a click of the mouse
  • Includes a customizable database of 2000 grocery items with nutritional data. Get an accurate nutritional analysis of your recipes effortlessly.

Apps

Menu Planner  $1.99 Compatible with iPhone, iPod tough, and iPad.
A very popular menu planning app, it features:
  • Plan out your meals exactly how you like them, as far out as you like
  • Store your favourite recipes, with the ability to enter them online through the Menu Planner website and sync them to your device or import recipes directly from popular recipe websites
  • Sync your data between multiple devices
  • Create a shopping list from your meal plans and recipes, with support for multiple stores
  • With the Pantry View, indicate which items you already have in your pantry to make meal planning easier
  • Supports multiple stores for your shopping lists
  • Easily swap meals from one date to another
  • Add your own meal types (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, etc)
  • Add your own categories (main dish, side, dessert, etc)
  • Add your own foods
  • Ability to add notes to meals
  • Ability to move individual meals to a different date
  • Ability to send meal plans through email
  • Ability to email a shopping list
  • Free online backup and restore of your data
  • Email plans for a date range you specify

Mealboard  $1.99 Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

Great for families, this app features:
  • Add your own recipes and categorize them to make it easier to search when planning your meals
  • Create a meal plan. Adjust settings to show weekday only or all 7 days
  • Add more than one dish for each meal
  • Once your meal plan is created, you can automatically create a shopping list with one tap of a button
  • Grocery list also has the option to show prices to help keep you on a budget
  • Share your recipes, meal plan, and grocery list by email to keep the family informed
  • Sync your information to “the cloud” to share between devices
  • Use the website interface to add or edit your recipes and then use it on your devices

In the Kitchen: Food Network Recipes, Chefs, Cooking Tools and Shopping Lists  $1.99 Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

Love The Food Network? Always seeing someone make a dish and want to make it too? Now you can have ALL 45,000 Food Network recipes on your phone, along with:
  • A built-in unit converter
  • A kitchen timer
  • A recipe box, which is synced with your recipe box on foodnetwork.com
  • A shopping list that you can add items to from individual recipes
  • The ability to email and share favourite recipes on Facebook and Twitter
Do you use a meal planning software or app? Which one do you love? Join in on the conversation on my Facebook and Twitter pages!

Meal Planning In 3 Easy Steps

Thursday, August 25, 2011

 

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If there’s one technique I’ve learned to love on my journey towards health it’s meal planning. Not only does this appeal to the part of my Type A personality that loves organization, I also know exactly what I’m eating during the week, exactly how much to buy and whether there’ll be leftovers that can be carried into other days.

Meal planning helps to cut calories, ensures that your meals are healthy and well thought-out, cuts down on waste because you’re only buying what you need and cuts back on your grocery bill. All it takes is a little bit of time, one day a week and you barely have to think for the rest of the week. I always find that I feel more in control and on track with my eating when I plan and for busy people, it also cuts back on the extra step of pulling at your hair because you have no clue what to make for dinner after a 12 hour work day and your kids are freaking.

I tend to do my meal planning on the weekends, usually the day of or the day before I plan to go grocery shopping. It just makes things easier and more organized.

First and foremost, I don’t meal plan for every single meal. For me that’s just too tedious and I’m fairly predictable in that I eat the same breakfast almost every day (oatmeal and coffee) and I eat leftovers from dinner the night before for lunch so I just plan my dinners for the week and make sure I make enough that both my fiance and I have lunch the next day. But if you can’t stand the thought of eating the same stuff throughout the week, you can use these steps for every meal and not just for dinner! The other thing I try to plan out are my snacks, I snack about twice daily and tend to snack on fruit and a protein so I’ll have something like a dozen almonds with an apple or a nectarine with a small cup of yogurt but if I don’t plan them, I’m apt to start munching on whatever’s laying around!

Step 1 – Get Your Supplies

You’ll want to get:

  • A pad of paper and pen or pull up an empty document on your computer
  • Your favourite cookbooks
  • Your favourite cooking websites
  • You and your family’s schedule for the week
  • Your kids/spouse (optional)

Step 2 – Brainstorm

Look at your schedule for the week. Will you be home each night? If you live with others, who else will be home and for which days? Do you have a social function coming up? Anticipating any late nights at work? Kids have soccer and you’ll have little time to make dinner? Book club meeting on Wednesday? Look ahead for these and plan for them.

Once you know what your week looks like and how much time you’ll have to cook your dinners, grab your favourite cookbooks/websites, your mental cookbook, ask your kids/spouse what they would like to eat and starting brainstorming the meals you’ll make for every night of the week. Write it down and make sure you also add which cookbook/site you got it from with page number if necessary for when you get to cooking it. This is a great opportunity to get your kids involved and teach them the importance of healthy eating. It also makes them feel like they’re contributing and you get some quality time with them. It also (hopefully) ensures that they’ll actually EAT the food you made for them (score)!

One other tip is to look at the ingredients before you make your grocery list. If one recipe calls for only 1 tablespoon of ricotta cheese, you won’t want to buy an entire container for just 1tbsp. Try looking for one or two more recipes that also call for ricotta so you’re not needlessly buying containers of things you only need a couple of spoonfuls for.

Step 3 – Compile the grocery list

Now that you know what fabulous foods you’re going to eat this week, go back to the beginning and write down all the ingredients you need that you don’t have in the house for your grocery list. It may be easier to do this on the computer because then you can highlight your list and sort it to see doubles of things you need. Again, don’t forget about your snacks! Then hit up the grocery store and you’re done! All you have left to do is make your dinner!

If you’re really keen, you can even start making some of your dinners on the same day and just batch cook for the rest of the week and then all you need to worry about is reheating your dinners through the week. Frankly, I rarely do that but that’s also because I find cooking relaxing and look forward to it during my day so you do need to check in with yourself and see what would appeal the most to you!

Another option, now that you know you’re making this week is to start prepping beforehand. If Mondays dinner calls for 1 cup of onion but so does Tuesdays, go ahead and chop up and extra cup and put it into a container for less of a prep time on Tuesday!

Meal planning is even easier with meal planning software/apps and online templates, often for free. Next week, I’ll give you a few options you can use to help your sanity and I’ll also share my own personaly system for meal planning!

Do you meal plan? What are your best tips? Join in on the conversation over at my Facebook and Twitter pages!

Dealing With Disappointment

Monday, August 22, 2011

 

For the last four months I have been training to run a 30km race. It would have been the furthest distance I have ever run and something I had been looking forward to since I decided to run it last summer. I created a training plan, did all the research I needed, talked to friends who have run the distance (and longer) and was all ready to train.

From mid-May to mid-August I trained, every Sunday morning I’d run distances of 15k to 26k and although it was difficult, I did it.

Exactly seven days before my race Alan and I were walking to lunch and I tripped up a concrete curb and bashed my right foot so hard I sprained my fourth toe (surprisingly, all other toes were completely unaffected!).

The morning before my race I decided to test my toe and go for my first run since I sprained it. I tentatively put my running shoes on and went out for a very easy run around the neighbourhood. I realized very quickly that if my race would have me finish in an hour or less I probably could have done it as my toe didn’t hurt very much at all but I was planning to be out there for close to four hours. My feet would swell, constricting blood flow to my toe and possible cause some seriously painful cramping. I had no idea how that would affect the healing of my toe and decided that racing for such a long period of time wouldn’t be such a good idea so I spent the rest of my run dealing with the disappointment.

Disappointment sucks. As children we throw tantrums when we’re disappointed and I know plenty of adults that do the same but seeing as it’s an inevitable part of our lives we might as well learn how to deal with it! Disappointment is simply the feeling we get when we can’t do what we’ve been wanting to do and that’s just not a fun feeling at all and it can be very hard to get over it if we spend a lot of time focusing on it. I think a lot of this ties in very nicely with the Buddhist philosphy of letting go. The main tenant of Buddhist philosophy is that all life is suffering and that we suffer because we desire. By “desire” they mean that we attach ourselves to people and things with a ferocious determination but Buddhists are smart to understand that nothing, absolutely nothing, lasts forever. Things are things and can be lost, destroyed or just plain forgotten about. People, whether through time or death, do not loast. For many people who aren’t Buddhist this seems to be a pretty bleak way of seeing things but I happen to think the exact opposite. For Buddhists, knowing that all things are impermanent, that everything dies in one way or another, they live solely in the moment, being grateful instead of fearful for what they have right here, right now. To me, it’s one of the purest ways to live! There is no jealousy, envy or disappointment because they already know that at some point they won’t have it anyway so if it doesn’t happen or it goes away, they’ve expected it yet were able to enjoy it for what it was when they had it so there’s no need for sadness.

Pretty cool, eh?

I admit that I have a long way to go to experience that way of thinking. I get excited about a lot of things and when they don’t go as planned or don’t happen at all, I get really disappointed. But during my “test run”, when I realized that this race was just not happening, I decided to reframe my thoughts. Instead of being upset about not racing, I acknowledged that it sucked but that’s just the way it is and thought about the reason why I decided to run 30k in the first place. Like any new distance I’ve endeavoured to run I decided to register because I merely wanted to SEE if I could do it. When I decided to run my first 5k back in 2008 I did it because I had no idea if I could. After I found out that I could, I started to see if I could run a 10k, a 15k, a half marathon and then the 30k. Well, I spent the last four months training for this 30k, my final long run was 26k and although it was really difficult, I knew that if I could run 26k I could run 30k. I have no doubt about it. So in the end, I have accomplished my goal and one day in the future I will train again to get to that finish line.

I also looked forward. This was to be my last endurance race until about 2013 so I could focus on other things and now I can get started with it. I love nothing more than having a new goal on the horizon and starting the action steps to achieve it so instead of wallowing in pity, I looked ahead and pumped myself up for what the next year will bring.

Instead of wallowing in disappointment, remind yourself that all things are impermanent and be grateful for what you have in the moment. Reframe your thoughts and move on!

How do you deal with disappointment? Join the conversation on my Facebook and Twitter pages!

Your No Bulls**t Guide To Weight Loss: 4 Steps To Permanent Success

Thursday, August 18, 2011

 

There’s exciting stuff goin’ on in my world and I’m so happy to be sharing it with all of ya’s!

In September, I am hosting my very first webinar! Throughout my weight loss journey I’ve been asked a bazillion times how I’m doing it/did it and it’s made me realize just how misinformed people are about what it really takes to lose weight. We all know that, for those of us with no pre-existing conditions, to lose weight we need to eat a little less and move a lot more but I’ve discovered through my own experiences that there are a few fundamental steps that no one talks about, like the most effective type of motivation needed and how to make your weight loss plan so effective that there’s no way you can’t succeed! I’ve decided that i’m going to teach it to you.

For free.

It’s true! Webinars like this can easily run for hundreds of dollars but I don’t believe this information should be sold as this stuff should be shouted from the rooftops and handed out in pamphlets on the street. Weight loss can be difficult enough and my philosophy is to try to make it easier and what’s easier than giving you free information? Nothing!

So, if, like me, you’re sick of seeing the absurd amount of weight loss programs out there that never bloody well work, you won’t want to miss this! I am going to strip away the media fluff and tell you what you need to know to make your weight loss a permanent success. I know it works because it’s exactly what I did to lose over 85lbs and keep it off for over three years and counting.

This is a game-changer folks! I’ll give you the information needed to discover your motivation and then give you the steps to help you start losing weight, permanently! No fluff, no fine print, you won’t have to cash in your life savings nor will you be asked to sell anything! So join me on September 21st, at 8pm (EST) for a fun and informative webinar to help you start living the life you’ve always dreamed of!

You’ll want to register for this ASAP as it is filling up FAST!

Tossing The Scale

Friday, August 12, 2011

 

A year and a half ago I did something unprecedented. I took the scale out of the bathroom, gave it to my fiance and asked him to throw it into the recycling bin.

He looked at me, a bit skeptical, and said “Are you sure?”

“Yes,” I said, “get rid of it!”

And in that moment, my self-worth and success stopped being determined by the scale and my life has been much better since!

Why did I toss that mother effin’ scale? Although I wish I could tell you that I am a perfectly logical individual who would NEVER let a number get to me, it totally did. That scale caused more upset and frustration than I’m willing to admit. I could have worked out hard for three or four days that week and ate really, really well but if that danged number didn’t budge (or budge “enough”), I would think of myself as a failure and go through those horrible motions of self-doubt and low confidence. I may have felt the best I’ve ever felt in my life but if I didn’t drop in numbers, that feeling would go away in an instant. Ya’ll know what I’m talking about, I know it!

So I finally felt it was too much. I was working very hard to get rid of the things that caused me to feel horrible and the scale was one of them. For me, that number was not a motivator at all, that number just made me feel like crap. The scale was like an abusive partner that you want to get rid of but don’t have the courage to. How would you know if you lost weight if the scale didn’t tell you?

Well folks, losing weight and getting healthy IS more than a number on a scale. Besides, that number can fluctuate several times a day and your weight gain or weight loss has so many dimensions to it that the number you see is never, truly, an accurate gauge of your success; it’s just ONE gauge. If you aren’t affected by that number I’m in awe of you, but for the rest of us, there’s no reasons to continuously let it affect us the way it does. You don’t need a scale to lose weight OR feel great!

If you felt great and proud of yourself this week due to how well you stuck to your plan, that trumps what the scale says ten-fold! And trust me, I know how hippy that all sounds, I truly do, you want to feel great AND lose weight! But trust me, if you keep how proud you felt in the forefront of your mind and that carries you to stick to your plan week after week, you WILL lose weight even if it doesn’t happen every single week. Besides, I’ve found from personal experience that during those times where the scale didn’t budge at all, I was getting MORE compliments than when I was actively losing weight! My body was still toning and re-shaping itself even when the scale wasn’t moving, almost like my body was trying to catch up with the changes and so put a halt on the weight loss until it situated itself and then I started losing again.

Many people say that the scale helps to motivate them. That if it goes up, they know to be extra careful that week or helps them to re-evaluate their week. I can understand this tactic but I still think it’s a slippery slope because your body isn’t predictable like that. You could have had an amazingly successful week but, for whatever reason, your body may not have dropped the weight (could be water, sodium, bodily changes, the time of day, what you ate the night before, anything) and then you’re making changes based on a false indicator. I highly recommend evaluating your progress often but you need to look at it as a whole and not just from one single indicator or else you’ll be making changes that could do you more harm than good.

Tips for gauging your success without the scale

  • Clothes. This is the easiest and most effective. Some people will buy a piece of clothing (or an outfit) that’s one or two sizes smaller than they are now and every few weeks, try it on until it fits! Or use your current clothes as a gauge and watch them fall off of you!
  • Use the tape measure! You may not be losing numbers on the scale but you’re probably losing inches around your body. Measure various body parts, write down the date and number and then every week or month or so, do it all again!
  • Stick with your plan! I’m always so proud of myself when I have a really great week where I get in good quality workouts and ate well. Whether I lost weight or not, it makes me feel proud to know that my newfound healthy behaviour changes are getting easier and easier!
  • Compliments! This past spring I participated in a bootcamp for three months and although I didn’t lose much weight (we did use a scale as part of our measurements), I knew I had made massive changes because both my fiance and my bootcamp instructor said they noticed more definition in my toros. I also experienced massive gains in my strength and fitness which I was ecstatic about.
  • If you’re into tracking, stay tracking. Regardless of the number on the scale you’ll know that you’re doing well if you know your numbers and this has worked for you in the past.
  • Make a specific goal that relates to your weight loss. For me, a short term goal of mine is what I like to call: Boobs Over Gut. That is, I monitor myself on a regular basis to see whether or not my boobs jut further out over my gut or if they’re both the same size. I’ll know I’ve reached my goal when I see that, indeed, my boobs are bigger than my gut.
There are a lot of ways to gauge your weight loss success that doesn’t have to involve the scale. Even if you decide to not toss your scale, try incorporating some of these tips so that the next time the scale doesn’t give you a number you expect, you’ll have more than one way to recognize if you have improvements to make or if you’re on the right track but your body is just adjusting.
Would you ever toss the scale? Why or why not? How do you gauge your success? Join in on the conversation on my Facebook and Twitter pages!

How To Stay Motivated To Achieve Your Goals

Friday, August 05, 2011

 

Ever wonder why your motivation to get healthy fizzles out after a few weeks? I can almost all but guarantee it’s because your motivation is based only on external cues and not on intrinsic ones.

Extrinsic motivation is when we’re motivated for reasons outside of ourselves, like “looking smoking hot in a bikini”, “to get rich”, and “to make my partner proud”. Losing weight, in and of itself, is an extrinsic motivator (which may be one of the reasons why it can be hard to do).

Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is when we’re motivated for internal reasons. When we’re motivated to keep up with our kids because we want to develop good relationships with them. It’s when we want to stave off the heart disease that runs rampant through our family. It’s when you strive inwardly to achieve a goal (to see what you’re capable of or to stretch what you think are your limits so you can reach your ful potential).

Both types of motivation have their place in creating healthy goals, and, in fact, extrinsic motivators are sometimes the best ones to start with, but only intrinsic motivation, making an emotional connection to your goal, will keep you going long enough to see the goal to its finish. I use extrinsic motivators as mini-goals to get me to achieve my intrinsic goal down the road. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look smokin’ hot in a bikini and you just might get there if your intrinsic goal is to strengthen your body so you can live a long and active life.

The problem can be that extrinsic motivators are easier and safer to come by than intrinsic ones.

What do I mean by “safer”? Being intrinsically motivated requires you to look within yourself and ask yourself why you want to do something and, for many people who are overweight, that means you have to look at the stressors that are causing you to be overweight. Oftentimes weight gain is a symptom of a stressor that we are not dealing with and it can take courage to confront these issues but is essential to do if you want to change.

So how can you find your intrinsic motivation? Here is the single most effective way to figure that out: When you have your goal in mind, ask yourself how the end result makes you feel. Do you well up inside out of happiness and possibility or do you feel indifferent, closed off or frustrated (like you HAVE to have this goal instead of wanting it)? If it doesn’t excite you, it’s not intrinsic. And intrinsic motivator will make you feel good, not freaked out. Sure the goal might seem overwhelmeing in the doing (start my own business or run a marathon) but the end result should leave you feeling pumped up, standing taller and ready to face what’s to come.

Learn more about how intrinsic motivation can build you up for permanent success how to balance both extrinsic and intrinsic goals by staying tuned for more information on my upcoming free class on September 21, 2011. I’ll show you evidence that intrinsic motivation trumps extrinsic motivation when it comes to weight loss and how to stay motivated as you work towards reaching your goal! For more information, contact me now!

Join the conversation over on my Facebook and Twitter pages!

Do You Need A Swift Kick In The Arse?

Friday, August 05, 2011

 

I skipped my run on Friday morning. I knew I was skipping it when I turned the alarm off three times and told myself that I’d hop on the elliptical on Saturday, instead.

Normally that wouldn’t be a big deal but when you take into account that I skipped both of my usual yoga sessions as well as a circuit training session last week leaving me with only one day in which I worked out, you see there was a bit of an issue.

When I decided to quit my old job and coach full time I created a new morning routine: I would wake up at 6:30am (same as usual), have a light pre-workout snack and then meditate for 30 minutes while the snack settled and then I would work out. This assured me that I would start my day doing two things that benefit me, mind and body. But what I didn’t take into consideration was how my body was going to adjust to the new routine. I thought that because I was waking up at the same time I always did my body wouldn’t notice the difference. Boy was I wrong! For the first two weeks I was working from home I woke up several times throughout the night and even now, over a month in I’m not always sleeping through the night. This caused my cool new morning routine to sometimes get shoved aside for extra sleep which also meant that I’d skip my workouts a few times. For the first two weeks I didn’t care, once I realized that my body did actually have to adjust, I just paid attention to what it needed but I said that after two weeks I needed to put my foot down and get into a routine.

Well, it’s been over a month now and that routine is not quite set yet. One side of me recognizes that it’s only been about a month and it could take a while for my body to adjust to this new routine when it was used to a completely different routine for well over four years. The other side, however, also knows that for me to make this a consistent routine I need to put in a solid effort for about two months to make it stick.

So this begs the question: How do we know when to be firm with ourselves and when to relax?

I see it on message boards all the time. People who are struggling with creating a new habit and the comments they receive range from “Don’t beat yourself up over it, it takes time”, to “Okay girl, I’m here to give you a swift kick in the arse! Just get out there and get it done!”.

 

How to know when to relax and when to kick yourself in the butt (in no particular order)

  • Look at the situation in context. If I looked at last week in general I could kick myself in the butt as I didn’t work out much at all last week but if I take the entire month into consideration I know it’s only been a month and we never can tell when our body’s will get used to new changes. Also within the last month I have made the effort to create this new routine. Yes it may not be every day but I’ve started the process and that’s important to note. New routines are not made over night and I’m creating a huge new change.
  • Are you using the new routine as an excuse to not do it (because it’s new)? On Friday, I’ll admit, I used the fact that I was still adjusting as an excuse to not run. If you look deep within yourself, you know when you’re just making an excuse. This is when you need to give yourself a swift kick in the butt!
  • Did you just start this new routine? If you only started five days ago then just relax and be kind to yourself (unless you use it to create the excuse not to do it, see above point). Like I said, it could take up to two months before something becomes a habit and no one’s perfect. Sometimes we literally just forget in the early days so you may want to post some sticky notes where you’ll see them but if you do slip up, no worries, just keep at it!
  • Have you been doing this routine for a long time and this is the first time you’ve slipped up? Don’t worry about it! It happens to the best of us and sometimes we need a break.
  • Are you stressed out about something else? Sometimes the effects of stressors trickle down to other areas of our lives and this can be tricky. If it’s a major stress, be good to yourself because you don’t want to add to the stress but if it’s just a frustration (like work frustration), give yourself a kick in the butt because it’ll make you feel good about yourself and you’ll feel more in control of other areas of your life.

Most likely I shot myself in the foot when I created a totally new morning routine. I haven’t meditated regularly in a few years and although I work out regularly, I’m not used to doing it in the morning yet. I need a swift kick in the arse in regards to my workouts but I can definitely (and should be) kind to myself about working in my meditation. Perhaps a new schedule should include just getting in my workouts for the first month or two and then work in meditation!

How do you know when to relax or kick yourself in the butt? Join in on the conversation on my Facebook and Twitter pages!

Missed A Workout? Who Cares?!

Friday, July 29, 2011

 

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So, you did it, you joined a gym!

“This time it’s different,” you say, “this time I’m going to stick with it! Let’s DO IT!”

You make a goal to go three times a week for at least an hour. You even hired a personal trainer for a few sessions to get you used to the equipment and give you a plan of action. You’re pumped. You’re ready! Life is going to change! WOO HOO!!!

Three weeks later you turn the alarm off, ready to head out to get your workout in when you remember you have a doctor’s appointment in an hour. The rest of your day is packed, you know you won’t have another chance to go to the gym today but you can’t cancel your appointment. You decide, instead, to go the next morning but when the alarm goes off you hit snooze, you’re not used to getting up early on that day! You go back to sleep. The day after you get ready to head out but got an emergency call from work, you have to go in early. You’re already riddled with guilt for skipping the day before. Why couldn’t you just get up and go?! Why did you sleep in?! You wonder what the regulars at the gym will think when you go back. They’ll obviously have seen that you’ve been missing. They won’t know you had an appointment, they’ll just think you stopped going. You couldn’t hack it. They’re judging you.

You stop going to the gym. You tell yourself that you’re a failure (again). You tell yourself that you don’t have what it takes, that you don’t have the discipline. That you’ll always be unhealthy. You’ll always be FAT.

Sound familiar?

Whether it was at a gym, Weight Watchers, our own program or whatever, it’s happened to ALL of us at some point or another. We get so jazzed up to start building a new, healthier life but the moment life itself pops up and throws a wrench into our beautifully laid out plans we stop, figure we can’t do it and tuck our tails in defeat.

I’m here to tell you that you never have to go through that again! Here are a few things to keep in mind when you find yourself sliding off the wagon and back into sedentary living:

One (Or More) Missed workouts does NOT equal failure

The truth is that missed workouts happen. Sometimes you’ll even (*gasp*) SKIP workouts on occasion! It’s just life. It has nothing to do with you or how worthy you are or how determined you are. Life happens. Life will always happen. On those days that you wind up not working out, stop yourself immediately from judging your actions and, instead, either figure out when/if you can make up the missed workout or just call it a day and make sure you do your next scheduled workout! There’s absolutely NO reason to miss a workout just because you missed a previous workout. You won’t have lost any fitness in those few days and even if you have (if, say, you had an off month), you can gain that back much easier if you just get back on it rather than just pack it in! It’s no biggie!

plan ahead

Because life happens it’s best to plan for missed workouts in advance and figure out what you’ll do if something comes up. For instance, when I train for races I always look at my schedule for the weeks where I’ll be training. If I have appointments or it’s exam time I take that into consideration while creating my training plan. I work in active rest weeks during exam time because I know my priorities will have to switch to school instead of training. As much as I believe in prioritizing your workouts, there are occasions when it’s advisable to prioritize other things so just plan for it.

Also, make a mental plan of what you’ll do if something comes up unexpectedly the day of a workout. Have a Plan B waiting where you’ll either work out for 10-20 minutes at lunch, go for a walk after work if you can’t get in a good sweat session or get it in the next day. If you plan ahead you’ll know exactly what to do when these inevitable situations pop up.

you are NOT being judged

Dude, let me tell you right here and now that no one at the gym gives a damn if you go or not. They’re all too busy working out themselves to bother worrying about you as well. Even if there is an idiot who pretends to care what’s it to you? They’re only acting that way because they have no confidence in themselves. You don’t work out for their benefit, you work out for yourself. I know this is easier said than done but is something you’re going to have to get through if you want to make working out a regular routine. Get over yourself! Besides, if there are administrative peeps or personal trainers who do notice your absence they’ll be MORE upset that you stopped showing up completely than if you missed a few workouts and came back! They want you to be there because they want you to be happy, they’re not judging you as a person!

If you haven’t already, you need to identify what your internal motivation is for getting healthy because if all you have is an external motivation (like having others look highly on you) then it won’t work at all. That motivation needs to come from inside of you and that will push you back into the gym regardless of who is, or isn’t, looking at you.

Don’t Think, Just do

Most of the time we just need to get out of our own heads and just do it. We spend so much time overanalyzing how it’s going to look or how horrible we are for missing a workout that we just talk ourselves out of getting healthy altogether. That because we missed a workout or several weeks of workouts, we’re not worthy to receive the benefits of living a healthy life.

Stop thinking so much! When your alarm goes off, don’t think. Just turn off the alarm, sit right up in bed and put yourself on autopilot. If your brain tries to think about the exercise, tell it to shut the hell up, get your clothes on and do it Nike style (just do it)!

The important thing I want you to get out of this blog, if you haven’t already, is that you deserve to be healthy. You deserve to be happy! You have what it takes to achieve your goals and you are no different than anyone else. Other people miss their workouts. Hell, I missed mine TWICE last week! It doesn’t make you a loser. It’s honestly no biggie. It means nothing and says nothing about you as a person so make your plan and get back at it, no excuses!

Fess up! What do you do when  you miss workouts? Join in on the conversation on my Facebook and Twitter pages!

5 Great Summer BBQ Swaps

Friday, July 29, 2011

 

How to stay healthy while still enjoying the bBQ!

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If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good summer BBQ! Spending time with friends and family enjoying the great weather, some music and generally celebrating life is simply too good an opportunity to pass up! That being said, I know that when I first decided to start changing my eating habits I was nervous to attend them because I wasn’t sure how I’d handle all that amazing, yet normally quite unhealthy, food choices. Potato salads with mayonaisse, burgers high in saturated fats, ice cream, alcohol, fried foods and more, it can be quite a daunting challenge.

I’m not here to tell you to never eat these foods again. Hell no! If you’re really looking forward to Aunt Mildred’s famous gummy bear potato salad, make room for it, but don’t go overboard! You can always ask her for the recipe or remember that she’ll probably make it for the next BBQ and you can look forward to more at that time. The trick is to just indulge in the things that you would ONLY have at these BBQs. You can have a burger any day of the week but you may not get a chance to have the homemade raspberry pie your best friend only makes for that one BBQ every year.

Also, you best bet to make sure you’re guaranteed to have something healthy to eat but still yummy enough that no one else will care that it’s healthy is to swap! Here are 5 simple, yet effective, ways to swap out unhealthy ingredients for healthy ones:

Mayo – Yogurt

Swap out high fat mayo for plain yogurt (try greek yogurt for a wonderful, creamy texture that’s also absolutely loaded with protein). You can still use the same ingredients you use with your mayo recipe, just use the same amount of yogurt as you would mayo. The other upshot of this is that the salad won’t be nearly as heavy tasting and will, instead, be more refreshing which is what we want to feel in the summer anyway!

Potato Salads – Grain Salads

Unless everyone at the party is substituting mayo for yogurt, you’re going to find that most potato salads are very high in calories and tend to be full of processed, refined ingredients so why not bring a grain salad using quinoa, couscous, wheatberries or speltberries? These grains have more protein, more nutrients than white potatoes and you have more of an ability to play around and create a healthy, unique dish. I recently made a quinoa salad with lentils for a family party and it was greedily snatched up by all my family members and they hadn’t a clue just how healthy it was!

Regular Hamburger buns – hamburger thins

These are now a staple in my house! Instead of using heavily refined hamburger buns that are also high in calories, buy thins! They’ve become much more popular in the grocery store and are located in the same section as the regular buns. Buy multi-grain or whole wheat to cut back on the refined sugars and processing! This will save you a TON of calories and you’ll actually taste the burger and not the bun!

regular burgers – portobello mushrooms

This one may seem a little out there but, if you’re a mushroom person like I am, you’ll love this! Get rid of the burger altogether and just lightly oil two large portobello mushrooms and grill them on the BBQ! Fill them with whatever you want (lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, mustard, etc.) and munch away! This will help save room in your tummy for other delicious food. Remember: you’ll be having burgers all summer long, no need to have them at each and every get-together!

Alcohol – Sparkling Water

I know, I know, what’s a BBQ without a cold, refreshing beer (or glass of Sangria)? Beer not only contains between 100-200 calories per 12oz glass, it (as with any alcohol) messes with your liver which is NOT cool as your liver cleans your body! Alcohol is also a diuretic, leaving you susceptible to dehydration if you’re not drinking water in between bottles. On a really hot day this could really cause some problems and you could ruin the party! What a drag! So try a sparkling water instead, all you need to do is add slices of fresh fruit to a pitcher of plain or sparkling water and chill. It’s incredibly refreshing! I also recommend adding cucumber slices for a particularly lovely drink! If you opt to still drink your booze, try to limit it to two and drink plenty of water in between!

 

How do you stay healthy at BBQs? What are your favourite swaps? Join in on the conversation on my Facebook and Twitter pages!

The Secret To Weight Loss Success

Friday, July 22, 2011

 

Pssst! I’ve got a secret to tell you!

I know you want to lose weight, right?

Well! I can tell you how and it doesn’t involved a program, membership fees OR never having to eat chocolate again!

Ready for it?

Are you sure? ‘Cause I think you may be a bit mad at me so I’ll give you another moment or two to ask yourself if you’re really ready to hear what it is I have to tell you!

Okay. Here it is: If you want to lose weight, permanently, you’re going to have to eat less and, well, move a lot more.

I KNOW. You probably hate me right now and I apologize for that but it’s the truth. And yes, I’m aware you’ve heard it a million times before but you’re hearing it yet again because that’s how you have to do it. Whether you count calories or not, you have to cut back on how much you’re eating and get off your butt. There’s absolutely no easy way out of this no matter what the media tries to tell you.

Now, the good news is that I’m not entirely full of crap either.

I know that although that’s scientifically what you have to do to lose weight, I also know there’s one more step to this.

For you to be able to eat a little less and move a lot more you need to change your behaviours and changing your behaviours is entirely all in your noggin’.

Yup! So, to re-cap, if you want to lose weight permanently you have to: eat a little less, move a lot more and change your mental behaviours/attitudes.

It’s that last one that’s a bitch, let me tell you! It’s that last one that causes us to throw in the towel three weeks into a diet program, to “give in” to your third slice of pizza and it’s the one that causes our impatience. But without it, you’ll just continue to lose and gain the way you always have and it will never stick. A permanent, healthy lifestyle begins when you change your behaviours so if you’re not prepared to work on your behaviours, you’re not prepared to lose weight. It’s that simple.

Now, if you ARE prepared to work on changing your unhealthy behaviours, then you’ve come to the right place! On September 21, 2011 I will be offering a FREE webinar on how effective weight loss begins and why your other attempts at losing weight never worked. This is gonna be pretty spectacular, folks! I’ll share with you exactly what I did to lose 85lbs for GOOD and the habits I had to change in order to do so. I’ll share secrets that few people will tell you about losing weight, what I experienced while losing weight and take some questions!

So, if you’re ready to lose weight for the last time, make sure you “like” me on Facebook and/or add me on Twitter! I’ll be revealing more about the webinar over the next several weeks!

I’m SO excited to offer this to you, free of charge, because I don’t think this information should be kept from anyone!

Are You Grateful?

Friday, July 22, 2011

 

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Are you a worrier? I’m totally a worrier. Well, I’m better than I used to be, I guess you could say that I’m a worrier in recovery. All this means is that although I still worry, I’m better able to stop it before it gets worse or talk myself down when I start to get anxious.

I used to worry about everything. It was exhausting! I’d worry about what I did last year, I’d worry about what would happen in twenty years! I’d worry about appointments, about how I did my job (or how I didn’t do my job), I’d worry that I didn’t do something the “right” way and I’d worry about OTHER people ALL.THE.TIME. My silent motto was: Why worry tomorrow when you can worry today?

But about a week or two before this past Christmas something changed. It was the morning after my best friend and her boyfriend were over for our Christmas dinner. Our bedroom is adjacent to the kitchen and I woke up after having slept in (ohhhh yeah!!!) and I saw the piles of dishes beside the sink from my bed and that’s where something changed in me. Whereas normally I would’ve dreaded having to deal with that mess, I found myself smiling and cuddling up deeper into bed. I became so incredibly grateful for my life that I was almost moved to tears. Those weren’t just dirty dishes, they were dirty dishes created out of joy. They were created out of love, fun conversation, good wine, great friendship and laughter. I was grateful to be able to sleep in on a Sunday morning beside a man that I loved and who loved me back in a house that I was grateful to live in. Shelter, love, security and food. That’s the first three of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs met right there!

Did anything different happen for this newfound gratefulness to occur? No! I still had all the same stressors in my life as I did months before when I was worrying about everything but for some reason, on that winter morning, gratefulness crept up into my wine-filled, sleep-addled brain and made a home for itself.

The awesome thing? This feeling of gratefulness has yet to go away and now that I’ve grabbed onto it, I sure as hell ain’t gonna let it go! Christmas ended up being one of the best Christmas’ ever because I focused on what I had in my life and not on how I was going to afford gifts.

Yes, bad crap happens and will continue to happen. Some of it is worse than others but you always have something to be grateful for. Your happiness in life is not dictated by events, they’re dictated by how you respond to those events and if you respond out of a place of gratefulness, the quality of your life will expand 1,000%!

I don’t worry nearly as much as I did before because after that morning, I didn’t want to miss my life and constantly worrying does nothing but cause you to miss what’s happening right here, right now. A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with cancer. At age 25, she has lymphatic cancer (I can’t even imagine). At first, I freaked out, then I realized that my freaking out would not do her a lick of good. What she needs now is people who are strong and can support her. I am grateful for every moment with her, dealing with things one day at a time. Whatever happens will happen but right now she’s making the decisions that are best for her in this given moment and all I can do is the same back. There’s no use in worrying, she doesn’t need people worrying, she needs support and that’s what I’m going to do.

Now, anytime I find myself stressing out over things I cannot control, I take three deep breaths and count three things I’m grateful for in that moment. It allows me to clear my head and create a place of appreciation. The past is the past and there is nothing I can do about it, the future hasn’t even happened yet so why am I worrying about it? If I act in each moment of my life in a way that brings integrity, love and appreciation to everything, no matter how difficult it is to do so, the future will take care of itself. It has so far!

The best way for you to start living a life of gratefulness is to make a list of things to be grateful for and, like what I do, keep this with you for when you find yourself freaking out over events you cannot control and read them to yourself. Life, right here and now, isn’t all that bad. In fact, it’s only as bad as you make it so do you want to make it negative and sour or do you want to be happy and let that carry you?

The choice is up to you.

Join the conversation on my Facebook and Twitter pages.

How To Make Exercise Stick

Thursday, July 21, 2011

 

I hate going to the gym.

There, I said it. I figured it’s best to get it off my chest early on so you don’t start wondering why I never talk about going there.

I’ve had two gym memberships in my life. The first time I went for about two weeks before I stopped going yet, like most others, I kept paying the monthly fee for a while until I finally quit. The second time was about two years ago when I didn’t have outdoor clothes to run in the winter so I got a six month membership at the community centre. I went faithfully, three times a week, for about four months until I went stir crazy and refused to step foot into it again. All gym and no play makes Therese a dully and crazy woman!

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(Don’t be knockin’ The Fonda! She knew what she was doin’!)

Don’t Do it if you don’t want to

Now, I’m not bashing the gym and I don’t want you to hate the gym either because I know lots of people who love going and have friends who need your attendance to help pay their bills! I only say this because had I felt that going to the gym was the only way I could exercise I never would have gotten myself into a consistent routine. This is one of the most common mistakes people make when starting to exercise. If you don’t like it, don’t do it! A lot of people say that sometimes we need to do things we don’t like to get what we do want. This is true to a point but, mostly, I think this is a load of crap! If you want to get healthy you need to set yourself up for success and forcing yourself to do workouts that you dread on a daily basis is a sure-fire way to get you to just quit, and then beat yourself up about it. Trust me, it’s not your fault!

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find what you enjoy

We’re naturally going to stop doing things we don’t want to do or, worse, hate doing. If you hate what you’re doing you won’t put as much effort into it, you’ll get negative and crabby and quickly find an excuse as to why you really don’t need to be doing it anyway. But if you choose activities that you actually enjoy doing you’ll put lots of effort into it, you’ll be ready and antsy to do it and you’ll want to do it every day! This is what you need! You need an activity that excites you as much as possible, or at the very least, you love what it does for you and therefore you are more apt to do it even on days you just want to stay glued to the couch. Better yet, find a few activities you enjoy and switch it up frequently. Not only will this stave off boredom but it’ll prevent repetitive injuries (these are injuries caused by using the same muscles over and over again)!

Experiment!

But what if you’ve never exercised a day in your life? What if you don’t know what activities excite you? I’ve totally been there! With the exception of a short stint in eleventh grade when I did 20 minutes of aerobics every morning for eight months (and then summer break started and I never did it again), I never did any sort of exercise until I picked up running in 2007. I had no idea what I enjoyed so I just started experimenting! I found that running, although not something that makes me jump out of bed with total joy, makes me proud of myself. It gives me constant goals to strive for and options for improvement. It helps me to clear my head and just be. Through experimenting I found that I really only like to strength train when it’s done in a circuit training format. I get bored when I strength train as is but once I mix it into some sweaty super-sets and intervals, I look forward to picking up those weights! I found out that I love spinning and yoga but don’t like dance classes (I’m so not co-ordinated). I’m always up for trying new forms of movement simply so I can see whether or not I like it and will add it to my list of fun activities or put it on my life of “never again” activities!

If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a list of activities you can try, just pick a few (many gyms and clubs offer free trials or cheap day passes so you won’t break the bank with your experimenting) and create your own list! Who knows, maybe you’ll find that grabbing your gym bag and doing circuits around the gym floor is what floats your boat! If so, rock on, I left the treadmill empty just for you! 😉

give these activities a try:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Jump-rope
  • Circuit training
  • Get a personal trainer
  • Yoga
  • Dance Trance
  • Pilates
  • Spinning
  • Zumba
  • Kickboxing
  • Bootcamp classes
  • Intervals
  • Nordic walking
  • Swimming
  • Water Polo
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Tai Chi
  • At home DVDs
  • Skiing
  • Join a sports team
  • Martial arts
  • Rock climbing
  • Trapeze (this is really hot right now)
  • Tennis
  • Pole dancing (this totally has an extra benefit ifyaknowwhatImean…)

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and move!

What are your favourite activities? What do you love about them? Join in on the conversation on my Facebook and Twitter pages!

Patience

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

 

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According to my MacBook’s dictionary, the word “virtue” means someone who shows “high moral standards”. HA! So this is why so few of us have patience! It’s a virtue for a reason: it takes someone with the characteristics of a saint to have it! So let’s not feel too badly about not showing it, shall we?

That being said, it’s also lack of patience that can explain part of why it’s so darned hard to change our behaviours. We want it NOW! We want everything now! This has lead to the invention of all sorts of things from downloadable movies to my quick-drying nail polish. Some of these things are pretty useless (the flowbee, anyone?) to some pretty awesome inventions like the sod we just laid in our backyard (oh sod, the raccoons may roll you back up but we’ll always roll you back down). But, when it comes to our health, we must do our best to act like the saints of yore and practice a bit of patience.

Why? you ask?

Geez, you’re so impatient! Hold your horses and I’ll tell you!

Patience = Success

When it comes to your health, even if it’s a pressing issue like having developed diabetes or something similar, you cannot expect that you will change overnight. Cutting out everything cold turkey and incorporating behaviours that you have never engaged in before is a sure-fire way for you to come crashing down. Don’t believe me? How many times have you tried to lose weight before? Or change another behaviour like smoking or liking So You Think You Can Dance? You probably gave it a shot for a few weeks, figured it wasn’t working and stopped. We’ve all done it, I even know what the hell I’m doing and I still do it! But what do you think would happen if you just kept at it, despite your frustrations of it not paying off immediately? That you didn’t over think things and just made the new behaviour consistent? You may, depending on how you’re making those changes, find that it actually starts working! It takes roughly one month of performing a new behaviour every day (or not doing an old behaviour) for it to become a habit. If you’re only doing it a few days a week, it takes longer and that’s for only one specific behaviour, so doing it for three weeks isn’t going to stick anyway. The key is to give yourself a bit of patience to allow the new behaviour to become a habit whether this takes one month or six.

For us to be able to turn our lives around we need to understand that this will be a process, a process that requires us to deal with why we are engaging in these unhealthy behaviours, finding our how to change these behaviours and then learning how to incorporate new behaviours. This will take time and that’s okay because Rome wasn’t built in a day, trusting the process will ensure that this change is permanent and isn’t that what we’re trying to do here, make permanent changes so we can live long, healthy lives?

I know, it sucks. It goes against everything our society tells us is right. We’ve become conditioned to feel entitled to have everything we want happen immediately and if it doesn’t then we must be some sort of failure for not being able to make it happen. We have a tendency to beat ourselves up when we are sick or overweight, that we did it to ourselves and so we want to get rid of it as soon as we can to prove that we can still take care of ourselves. But beating yourself up isn’t going to work, it’ll just make it worse because you’ll end up expecting too much of yourself and come crashing down, hard. You know the feeling I’m talking about. Change requires patience, persistence, internal motivation and kindness. For goodness sake, be kind to yourself! You deserve it! Even if you don’t believe me, I’m tell you that you do so just believe it, m’kay? Trust me, it won’t hurt!

Be Kind & Realistic

Although this is a topic that extends far beyond this blog post, one of the things that helped me to learn a little bit of patience was being kinder to myself. When we expect too much of ourselves we tend to simultaneously be a lot more impatient with ourselves. Understand that this is a process that does not happen overnight and deal with it one day at a time. If it’s an important goal, you owe it to yourself to take the time to learn to do it right, regardless of how long it takes.

You also need to be realistic about your goals. It is not realistic to say you’re going to start working out five days a week and stop eating dessert every day if you’ve lived a sedentary life and ate dessert after every dinner. Going cold turkey like this very rarely works for anyone. You need to be realistic with yourself, start off with working out maybe three days a week and cutting back to having only three desserts a week for a month or two and then perhaps cut back to two desserts a week and increase your exercise to either four days a week or increase the amount of time you exercise during those three days a week from 30 minutes to 45 minutes.

What? You need a real-life example? That’s cool, I can dig it.

When I first decided to get healthy the only thing I did was to get rid of all snacks in the house and I emptied the fridge of all caloric drinks, replacing them with water. That’s it. I ate what I would normally eat (no matter how much of it I ate) but if I wanted a snack I would either have to find something healthy to eat, MAKE something, or go out to the convenience store. Normally I’d realize I wasn’t hungry anyway and would then go do something else. With that alone I lost 12lbs in the first and not two months after that I rarely snacked and to this day I rarely keep snacks in the house and only have a mid-afternoon scheduled snack. Once I got that down I started going out for a short walk, three days a week. I kept up exercising only three days a week (but increasing intensity – I began running) until only two years ago, now I have a 4-5 day per week habit of exercising. Baby steps, my friends, baby steps!

Get Support

Dude, you’re not a mountain! You CAN be moved and that’s perfectly okay! Yes, you can probably make these changes on your own but I can guarantee it’ll happen more consistently (and feel easier) if you get a system of support set up around you. Having a support system in place will ensure that you stay on track, have realistic goals and keeps you motivated on those more impatient days when you just want to curl up in the fetal position and have a good cry. Having someone who knows what your goals are, why you want them and what you can do to get there is an essential factor in your success. All it takes is even one person you can count on to support, encourage, call you on your poop and help you to figure yourself out to help you to keep going. Whether this is a friend, partner, child, work colleague, coach or community (online or offline), tell people about your intentions and, importantly, let them help you! It took me years to realize that my friends actually do care about me and WANT to help me! When I realized that, my life became much easier!

The Recap

  • Change doesn’t happen overnight. Deal with it.
  • Trust the process. Change will happen if you trust that consistency is key!
  • You owe it to yourself to take the time to do it right, not as fast as possible.
  • Is your goal realistic? If not, how can you make it more realistic so the change can stick?
  • Do you have a support system in place? Do you have someone who will help you to achieve your goals? If not, who can you go to today and tell about your plans?

So, how do you practice patience? Get in on the conversation by visiting my Facebook page or Twitter page (do it now! Hee hee)!

Raspberries!

Friday, July 08, 2011

 

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I’m pretty excited right now! I would say that, by the end of this week, my raspberry bushes will be absolutely bursting with fresh tasting sweet and tart raspberries! Can I get a “woot woot”?!

Do people still woot? I never know anymore…

Raspberries are one of my very favourite fruits. I love that sweet first taste and then shockingly tart after taste! It’s like a party in my mouth! Quite honestly, you could give me raspberries over chocolate any day of the week!

I think you should love raspberries too! Raspberries contain loads of awesome goodness that can help your body heal and protect itself!

Nutrition

Raspberries are an amazing source of vitamins B12, B3 and C. They also contain high amounts of folate, magnesium and dietary fibre!

Antioxidants

Raspberries are high in antioxidants which help to prevent and repair oxidative stress (a process that damages body cells and has been linked to the development of cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s).

Anti-Inflammatories

Raspberries contain anti-inflammatories that help to fight infection, promote healing and improves eyesight and memory!

Cosmeceuticals

Raspberries are becoming quite popular in the natural cosmetics industry. Their oil is rich in vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids and has a natural SPF of between 25-50! Cool!

Uses

To get the best benefits of raspberries, you’ll want to ingest them as is or raw mixed in things like smoothies or juices. You can also add them to your cereal in the morning! My favourite is just a plain bowl of them (washed and hopefully organic) topped with some greek yogurt!

 

What are your favourite ways to eat raspberries? Join the conversation over on my Facebook or Twitter pages!

This is an article about growth … asdf asdf

Saturday, June 18, 2011

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This is another great article

Saturday, June 18, 2011

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This is a great presentation

Saturday, June 18, 2011

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Welcome To My Blog!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

 

Welcome to the very first, super special, one-of-a-kind inaugural blog post for the launch of my new site/new business! I am really looking forward to connecting with you twice a week to bring you lots of tips, tricks and inspiration to make your journey towards a healthier lifestyle easier and fun!

Who Are You?

Therese Headshot

My name is Therese Lean and I’m a simple Canadian girl who has a passion for helping others get their health on track!

The long version of my personal story can be found on my website‘s About Me page, but for those of you who don’t have much time today, here’s the shortened version:

I had been overweight almost my entire life. At age 13 I tipped the scale at 180lbs and by the time I finished University I had grown to 250lbs! I’ll be honest, I never thought about why I was overweight, it’s just what I always was. I was teased for it in grade school and my shy nature caused me to internalize the humiliation and I dealt with it just by eating and eating and eating. By the time high school hit, emotional eating was ingrained in me and it made me miserable. I began to blame everything that was wrong in my life (and by that time I thought everything was wrong) on my weight. I was unlovable because I was fat. I was a failure because I was fat. I’d never amount to anything because I was fat. I was a loser because I was fat.

This warped way of thinking followed me throughout my twenties until 2007 when I was finally living on my own in a small apartment in my hometown. I didn’t have many local friends, I had just gone through a break-up, hated my job and had way too much time on my hands. This lonely downtime caused my brain to start churning and I started to see what my future was going to be like if my life kept going the way it was. I would be lonely, overweight, unhappy and still working a job I hated. I would also most likely die an early death due to heart disease as it is so prevalent in my family’s history.

Was this prediction a bit overly dramatic? Probably. It absolutely terrified me! This was not the future I wanted but was the future, for some reason, I felt was my lot in life.

I was desperate. I did not want this to be my future! I began Googling self-help strategies and began reading anything and everything I could about people who went through similar situations and managed to change their lives. What I found was that all of these people, when they were at their lowest, had given away all of their control to extraneous circumstances. They thought their lives were dictated by the people and situations around them (just like I had been doing!). What they did to change their lives was to take back that control, they had to realize that their lives were only dictated by their own actions. They alone allowed these people and circumstances to decide their lives and they alone made the decision to not all that to happen anymore.

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Before                                                  After

This knowledge was startling to me because this was the first time I felt like a mirror was held in front of my face. I finally realized that was exactly what I had been doing! Instead of taking responsibility for myself and my life, I had given it away to other people because I didn’t want to deal with it! It was too hard and painful to dig deep and deal with my own emotions and even worse to realize that I alone was responsible for the state of my health and my life at the time.

Well let me tell you, that was a huge slap in the face for me and that day I put on my big girl panties and did what I need to do.

Four years later I am 90lbs lighter, my health is in the best condition it’s ever been, I live each day with gratitude and happiness and am working in a field that I believe in and love!

What Do you do?

Due to my own personal health experience and having spent the last few years helping people on an informal basis to identify their own health goals and create actions plans to help them achieve these goals, I knew what I had to do. I decided to become a Personal Health Coach.

Huh?! What the heck is a personal health coach?!

Simply put, I work with you, one-on-one, to help you identify your own personal health goals and then we create an action plan for you to achieve them! We work together over the phone (or online), once a week where I provide accountability, support, an ear and the knowledge of what it takes to turn your behaviours around and create lasting change. Unlike programs that have one person working with several people at the same time, your coaching sessions are 100% unique and tailored to your own needs (and therefore completely confidential).

Aside from personal coaching, I also provide group classes, challenges and workshops geared towards those who are looking to kick start their healthy living journey but have no idea where to begin! We’ll work together to get you into a consistent exercise routine, start cutting back on portions, learning how to cultivate your motivation and a whole lot more!

If you’re someone who is determined to get your health on track and willing to do whatever it will take to get there while having fun, please contact me and we’ll set up an appointment to discuss more! Keep in mind, your first coaching call will always be FREE!

why a blog?

Simply put, I believe in social media! No, I don’t spend absurd hours on Facebook or Twitter but I have seen amazing things happen between people using social media and I believe blogging is one of the best ways we can get to know each other! It allows me to give you constant information and get feedback from you!

Expect this blog to be a one-stop-shop of tips, inspiration, ideas and motivation for you while you head down this healthy path. I’ll share my own experiences, news, upcoming events, recipes, exercise tips, behaviour change tips and tons more so please bookmark the site, subscribe to it and keep in touch!

Also, my apologies for the inability to comment on the blog right now. Over the next few months we’ll be working hard to get the bugs squashed on the website (and blog) and should have comments up and running in August! In the meantime, please feel free to head over to my Facebook page or Twitter page and we can carry on the conversation there!

I can’t wait to get to know you!