Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Relish the Holidays (Don’t Just Survive It)

Almost every fitness website, blog, magazine, etc. features content on “how to survive the holidays” with minimal stress and limited weight gain. There are countless articles providing instructions on how to select healthy items from a holiday meal, how to recreate (or, more accurately, ruin) holiday treats and how to manage stress during this busy time.

If you are a fitness-minded person, the holidays can provide additional tension and temptation as well as throw off your carefully managed fitness program. In the past, I have definitely stressed my way through the whole holiday season. Then, on January 2nd, I would have a tremendous sense of loss and sadness when I realized that I worried away the holiday season instead of relishing in it.

Well…I am so done with that.

I am vowing to be present at every moment this holiday season. I am casting away concerns and stresses and going to find joy in all things holidays, even waiting in line and the 1-2 extra pounds I may temporarily gain. I will eat healthy and train hard 95% of the time, but I will allow myself to enjoy my holiday meals and holiday parties without guilt.

The holidays are a very special time of year that should be celebrated and cherished, not survived. I encourage you to keep that top of mind. The holidays will not sabotage your fitness goals as long as you stay tight on your diet and training the majority of the time and not give yourself license to indulge in every holiday treat available to you.

Wishing you many blessings this holiday season….


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Find Your Motivation

My alarm wakes me at 5:30AM almost every morning beckoning me to my morning cardio. Sometimes I can’t wait to get out of bed and get going. However, there are plenty of mornings when I feel tired, unmotivated and completely uninterested in training.

Yes, occasionally, I just put off training, but nine out of ten times I reach deep and get my butt moving. Why? My desire to reach my goals is way more powerful than my emotions telling me to “stay in bed.”

However, if I did not have a goal, would I be as motivated? From experience, “NO!” I have learned that I need a goal driving my fit lifestyle; otherwise, I lose focus.

Sometimes my goals are related to physical achievement (i.e., preparing for competition/photo shoot, to feel confident in a swimsuit, etc.). However, there are times when I focus on being extremely strict with my training to help me maintain composure, a balanced mood and a sharp mind during a hectic workweek.

So…if you have a floundering level of commitment to a fit lifestyle, I urge you to take the time to set goals that will motivate you through those “don’t feel like it” days.

Don’t be lame and set the goal, “to get in shape.” You will need to dig deeper than that to find something powerful enough to overcome the creative excuses you dream up not to train.

Why do you want to get in shape? To feel more confident? To buy a pair of skinny jeans? To make your ex jealous? Put some thought into it. When you find a goal that gets your blood flowing, you are in business. Good luck! ☺

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Candy: Trick or Treat?

The adorable little packages of sweet goodness tempt us each Halloween.

The candy is called “fun-size,” “bite-size” or “miniature,” providing the perfect rationalization for indulging in it.

In years past, I have thought to myself, “it’s a small treat…I’ll just have one.”

Well as far as I am concerned, that is the trick.

Having a piece of candy only makes me want candy more. I don’t even think about candy until I taste it. Then, I can’t stop craving it thanks to the hypoglycemic rollercoaster it creates. Before I know it, I have eaten two full candy bars worth of the cute little mini versions. Something I would never do otherwise and wouldn’t consider just because it is Halloween.

So, what’s a fitness-minded person to do? Never eat a piece of candy again?

Umm…. no, that’s crazy. Everyone needs a little treat from time to time. The key is having a plan that allows you to enjoy a treat without sabotaging your fitness goals.

Here’s the plan I employ:
1) Choose two pieces of Halloween candy (150 – 200 calories) that I really want.
2) Save them for the day I have a cheat meal to contain the indulgence to one period of time.
3) Eat them immediately following a balanced meal (protein, complex carb and fat) to minimize the negative impact on my blood sugar and help control the sugar craving cycle.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Two is My Limit. What's Yours?

Two is my limit.

I know myself well enough not to exceed that.

No, I am not referring to the occasional cocktail. (In that case, my limit is ½). I am referring to the number of days I can go without working out before I feel like I am losing my mind.

Some people may think that I am being obsessive about training or that I am too concerned with my appearance. However, that’s not it at all. Working out centers me, releases stress, gives me a sense of control of my life and creates a feeling of exuberance. When I miss training for too many days, I experience the exact opposite of those emotional and psychological benefits.

So, if work or life has caused me to skip training for a few days, I make sure I don’t let it last more than two. Even if I can’t make it to the gym, I at least go for a run or a walk or perhaps do some plyometrics to get in a good, energizing sweat.

In life, it is critical to know your limits. Whether it be how regularly you need to train to feel good, how much sleep you require to feel refreshed or how much of which foods you need to feel energetic and healthy, each one of us has unique needs to achieve our best self. Experiment and know yours.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My First Blog Entry: "Recovering From Analysis Paralysis"

Thanks to some recent encouragement from a friend, I am finally making my first blog entry.  (I have only been talking about doing it for a year!)

It would be convenient to blame being busy for my delay in beginning this blog, but the truth is that I blame it on being crazy.  :) 

I am a chronic over-analyzer. This characteristic serves me well in my profession as a marketing researcher and brand strategist, but it can also cause me to think myself into a corner where I feel I cannot take action. This is referred to as analysis paralysis.

Analysis paralysis is really annoying and can take a great idea or good intention and suffocate it. I have a notebook full of blog topics that were never written, because I allowed my over-analyzing to create self-doubt, which ultimately kept me from moving forward.  So…no more.

I am committing myself to this blog, because I want the opportunity to share thoughts, information and ideas that might help someone else live a more balanced, healthy and happy life. It is a simple goal, so I am going to stop over-complicating it and get busy.

With that in mind, are there goals in your life that you are passionate about but have not been pursued because you keep making excuses? Maybe you want to get in better shape. Perhaps you want to change your career. Or, maybe you just want to take on a new hobby.

Whatever it is, I ask you to take a small step in the direction of where you want to go.  If you want to get in better shape, you don’t have to turn your diet upside down overnight and run a marathon tomorrow. You can begin by eating a balanced breakfast or investing 20- 30 minutes of your day doing cardio. A comfortable walk is a step in the right direction. You will be surprised at how one change, not matter how small it is, can create the momentum you need to make big change.

For me, it began with one word typed today. Now I feel like I am on a roll…

"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." - Dale Carnegie