BLOG 174 MEDITATION
On our fitness journeys, we train our bodies, but we also need to train our minds. Inner awareness, focusing, redirecting your thoughts, and developing concentration, are all benefits of meditation. Other positive associations include improved mood, sleep improvement, more self-discipline, and less symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Emotional health is also boosted by the reduction of depression and anxiety. Others say it has bettered their memory and attention span. The list goes on to include decreasing blood pressure, pain reduction, and helps fight addictions.
But to be honest, meditation stressed me out more. Sitting in stillness actually increases my anxiety. As a Women’s Health Magazine Action Hero, I read the magazine from front to back each issue that comes out. And well, I really related to Jenny Everett’s article in the July/August 2018 edition, called “Micro Meditations”. Now this, I can handle. Multitasking meditation is right up my ally.
The alarm clock in the morning isn’t exactly a gentle start to the day. But staying in bed for 2 minutes to take a few deep breaths, listen to the birds, and stretching out the body, is a much better way to ease out of bed. An abrupt jumping out of bed to rush the getting ready process doesn’t set the best tone for the day.
Smell the coffee, and stop burning your mouth trying to get it in. Stop adding sugar and taste the java.
A shower has many scents, sounds, and temperatures. Feel it. Feel the fresh water. Don’t just hop in and hop out.
The make-up routine for women or shaving process for men can be good for focusing the mind for the day. It actually makes you feel good about yourself before getting to work to meet deadlines and hustle.
Even when taking the stairs (which you should), think about each step. A lot of muscles are working in that body to produce movement.
When someone compliments you, be grateful and think about it for a few moments after. Smile that someone said these words to you.
When driving, turn the music off. There’s a lot of noise to the rest of your day. Let the mind focus and be in the present. Listen to sounds of the car and to the road.
When you say thank you, mean it. Explain why you are grateful to the person. So often we say it but don’t mean it. Appreciation and acknowledging someone else’s effort or kindness goes a long way.
Instead of being frustrated while on hold on the phone (because we love the world of automated phone directories), be happy you have some time to just get this task done. Maybe slowing down for a moment is okay.
When on a run or walk, maybe no music, no phone, just you. Be in the zone of that run. Let the body and mind feel good and release those positive endorphins.
And when eating, just eat. No distractions. Take bites, don’t inhale. Smell and taste that food in front of you. Mindful eating helps with portion control and even weight loss.
Finally, when it’s time for bed, scan the body from head to toe. Breathe in and breathe out to just breath. Aches and pains subside when you just sink the body into the bed. Clear and declutter the day.
So these are what I’ve started to do. I think they’re very helpful tips to include on your fitness journey. A little meditation here and a little meditation there feels pretty darn good. Your mind and BODY will appreciate thank you.
BLOG 173 OUT EXERCISING
If only we could out exercise a bad diet. If only it were that easy. No one will argue that it’s easy to put on the LBs, but not so easy to take them off. Why is that?? You can’t out exercise the calories, fat, sugar, and carbohydrates that accumulate in excess. The good old days of being 16 and eating whatever your heart desired and still be thin, just don’t exist anymore. Think about that cheeseburger, shake, and fries, and how much it truly takes to counteract their damage.
So you might what to think again about how many calories you are taking in versus what you are burning. This also might influence your exercise choices.
If you aren’t gearing up for a 100 mile bike ride or Ironman, that super high carbohydrate pasta dinner with a few rolls, isn’t necessary. Jogging a couple miles the next morning won’t undo the intake. On the other hand, dessert last night isn’t going to fuel a quality workout the next day. High fat and high sugar foods aren’t going to equip you for the endurance and energy to have a quality workout to burn them off. Just a few moments on those lips, leads to more fat around the waist and hips. Pizza won’t make those problem areas disappear. The beers don’t add up to a six pack on the belly. That sluggish feeling doesn’t stir up motivation either. In fact, most might agree that when they eat healthy, they feel better, and actually want to workout. Hmmmm, there’s something to this FIT Lifestyle.
Most people underestimate how much they are really eating. Let’s say you at a McDonald’s Bic Mac, Large Fries, and Large Coke = 1330 calories. That would require 6 hours of strength training, or 2.5 hours of running, or 4 hours of walking. That is a major setback. Even if you goal is general fitness to maintain and be able to eat what you want, this e equalizer method doesn’t quite pan out. It’s not just the one bad meal. It can be the accumulation. The nightly glass of wine, the eating out twice per week, the creamer in the coffee…. it adds up and then by the end of the month the caloric totals reflect what has happened on the scale. If one glass of wine has about 110 calories then that takes about 30 minutes of walking to burn off (just that one glass). Being strict is not what I’m promoting, rather, being honest with yourself is the key if you have set numerically driven data goals. You don’t have to bring your egg whites like me, but you do have to tell yourself that your choices directly reflect your results.
The good old metabolism mechanism can only do so much. Healthy choices are critical on your fitness journey and each one counts. Enjoying the foods you like every now and then, really does have to stay to as infrequently as possible. Don’t make too many exceptions to the rules, because your goals and YOU are worth feeling, looking, and operating at their best.
BLOG 172 FRUIT & SUGAR
Summer time means fresh fruit. The strawberry stands are open, peaches are ready and fruit salad is on the spread at every event. To be clear, fruit is good for you. These colorful choices are full of vitamins and minerals. They can also help reduce the risk of many diseases and help lower blood pressure. This means that fruit helps with the maintenance of our bodies. But, they have sugar. Yes, natural sugar, but sugar is sugar in that body of yours. Fructose (another name for sugar) is harmful for your metabolism. When it comes to sugar in fruits it’s really about the amount you are consuming. For example, an apple has about 12 grams of sugar compared to 40 grams of sugar in one soda. So it would take 3 apples to have the same amount of sugar as one soda. The more informed you are the better, so let’s talk about fruits with the highest amounts of sugar.
I was able to find the top fruits with the most sugar according to WebMD.
1. Mangos – 1 mango = 45 grams
2. Grapes – 1 cup = 23 grams (thought to consider for wine consumers)
3. Cherries – 1 cup = 18 grams
4. Pears = 1 medium = 17 grams
5. Watermelon = medium slice = 17 grams
6. Figs = 2 medium size = 16 grams
7. Bananas = 1 medium = 14 grams
Here are fruit choices that have less sugar:
1. Avocado (yes it’s a fruit) = 1 whole avocado = only ½ grams sugar
2. Guava = 1 = 5 grams
3. Raspberries = 1 cup = 5 grams
4. Cantaloupe = 1 wedge = 5 grams
5. Papaya = ½ of one = 6 grams
6. Strawberries = 1 cup = 7 grams
Back in the day when I worked for Medifast, fruit was not allowed. Like any item, portion control is necessary. Trust me I can eat a whole watermelon or a bag of grapes, but at some point, the excess sugar would be like having candy. Why do you think fruit tastes so sweet and good?? That little burst of energy after some fruit salad is from the sugar. Every BODY can benefit from fruit, but not in excess. Sounds pretty familiar, but the more I remind the more you are aware ?
BLOG 171 FEAR
Fear is stifling. This emotion puts a halt to forward movement, specifically to change. On our fitness journeys, we know that change is required. Old ways have led to the decision to be fed up and do something about our health. But fear can stop anyone from hitting the green light and starting. We feel threatend by the new environment that will surround us. Like we feel safe in our home, we feel safe in our comfort zone of habits.
Here are some of the reasons that prevent putting one foot in front of the other and doing what needs to be done:
1. Losing your freedom – we are giving up power to the structure of healthy living; the comfort zone was free will to live life without consequences
2. Pain – exercise is uncomfortable, there will be soreness, and there will be times your body with hurt from the hard work
3. The Unknown – results may or may not happen and you don’t know what life without cake would be like
4. Disappointment – not knowing precise results or setting too high of expectations
5. Failure – not meeting your own expectations or reaching some timeline of progress you desired
6. Loneliness – your fitness journey is unique to your and your body, so that might mean straying away from the crowd and being strong enough to turn down drinks and food
Fear isn’t always rational. Let’s face it, being healthy is unquestionably important. We tend to work ourselves up emotionally about events that may or may not even occur. There is a loss of control with where this journey could take you. But if we live our life in fear, we may never see the pot of gold on the other side of the rainbow. Taking control and doing what is best for your BODY shouldn’t be scary. Fear the fact that you might live longer ? Don’t fear what has not or may not ever happen. Live today and every day with the hope and intention that your fitness journey will better YOU in so many different ways.