Anyone can start a new fitness routine or begin a healthy eating plan. That’s the easy part. The hard part is sticking to it when reality sets in. Living a fit and healthy lifestyle is hard, and it’s important to know how to keep yourself motivated to ensure year-round success.
Develop a plan and write it down
It’s hard to stay motivated when you’re aimless. Goals like “getting healthy” and “losing weight” sound nice, but they aren’t specific enough to provide measurable, realistic feedback. Build a smart, goal-oriented plan that focuses on specifics that can be measured. If you can see progress, you’re more likely to stick to whatever is causing the positive change in your life.
“You may also find it helps to keep an exercise diary,” suggests the Mayo Clinic. “Record what you did during each exercise session, how long you exercised and how you felt afterward. Recording your efforts and tracking your progress can help you work toward your goals, and remind you that you’re making progress.”
Find support in others
Some people have all the drive they need stored up inside them. They can wake up at 6am every morning and go for a run before work. They can fit a trip to the gym into their busy lives. They can say no to the free donuts in the conference room.
Many of us, however, have a hard time doing it alone. And there’s no reason you have to! One of the best ways to keep yourself motivated is to hold yourself accountable. If one day you’re struggling with working out and eating better simply for yourself, it’s nice to have the support and accountability of others to fall back on. If this sounds like you, group exercise classes might be the way to go. There are also diet support groups you can join.
“Group exercise offers a variety of benefits you might miss out on if you choose to work out on your own. Some of the benefits include exposure to a social and fun environment, a safe and effectively designed workout, a consistent exercise schedule, an accountability factor for participating in exercise, and a workout that requires no prior exercise knowledge or experience,” says the American College of Sports Medicine.
Not a people person? No worries. You can also use your canine friends as motivation as well. Your dog is healthier when they receive daily, or at least very frequents walks and playtime. If you don’t have a dog of your own, join a dog walking or pet sitting service, and get paid to exercise while you play with other people’s dogs.
Don’t be afraid of rewards
As human beings, we like to be rewarded when we do good things. Call it what you will, but if we don’t feel like we’re being compensated for our sacrifices, we get bitter.
One of the worst things you can get bitter about is your own health plan. If you don’t allow yourself some rewards for all of your hard work you will get burnt out. Do not think about rewards on a daily, workout-to-workout basis. No, you can’t eat a whole pint of ice cream because you spent an hour on the treadmill. If you want to see fitness results, you have to stick to a set of goals year-round. But don’t deny yourself life’s little pleasure every once in awhile. Relax. Except in the most rare of circumstances, a couple of beers or a piece of chocolate cake isn’t going to kill you. And it could give your brain’s reward center the boost it needs to keep you going on your fitness path.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com]]>
Check out this guest post featuring an infographic on dieting myths. Then, in the comments below, let us know, which of these your personal experience has proven accurate.
Fat is bad, right? That’s what dieting magazines and news stories have told us for years. But that’s wrong: Eating fat by itself doesn’t cause you to gain weight, and healthy fats in particular can be a great way to tell your body that you’re full.
That’s just one of the dieting myths that many people think, and follow. But those dieting myths may be a detriment to your health long term. Take desserts: Many people think they have to eliminate them entirely. But balance is key to eating that’s a healthier long-term approach to life.
Want to discover more health facts—and dieting myths? This graphic can help.
Guest post and graphic provided courtesy of Quill.com
Below I’m going suggest a few small, subtle shifts in your approach to getting healthy and fit, all of which I hope will make you more likely to be successful and less likely to be resentful or fall off the wagon.
For many people, early January means a new diet, intentions of daily workouts, and a level of strictness and control that’s pretty much impossible to stick to. And after a season of (usually too much) eating and drinking, we somehow think that’ll be the solution to weight gain, puffiness, and poor eating.
This is personal for me, too, as the end of last year was not what I had hoped in regards to my eating habits, weight management, and fitness level. How do I know? Not by the scale, which I’ve nearly completely eliminated from my life (and you should, too), but rather by the snug fit of my clothes, looking in the mirror, and my level of soreness after moderate workouts.
In years past, I would have freaked out at this and reacted by putting myself on the new popular diet. This would last for anywhere from a few minutes to a few days before I’d become so resentful at the restriction, that I’d want to eat any disallowed thing just to rebel. That would lead to guilt, shame, feelings of failure and worthlessness. Following that would be a new diet because ‘this time I can really do it.’ And thus the dieting cycle would begin again.
Likely you, or someone close to you, as followed the same ineffective pattern, as well.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Because we learn from ads, media, and society that we must look perfect, and in first looking and being perfect, then we’re allowed to love ourselves.
Now, being older and wiser and fed up with that futility, I’m going for a new approach. And I’m hoping it’s one you’ll embrace as well.
What we all need first is not a trendy new diet, but rather the right mindset: one that says ‘I love my body at any size and shape, and I know it has the wisdom to help me find the right weight for me.’
When we begin from a place of self-love, the biochemical, neurological, and electromagnetic energies all work to support our success. And that’s a helluva lot better than struggling through a diet or battling our own self.
Most of us know what healthy, clean eating looks like and we have a good sense of the healthy lifestyle habits that make us feel and look good. (If not, this, this, or this article may help.)
Starting with self-love means ’embracing self-care, making it a daily practice, and allowing health to follow.’ With self-love–and being aligned in your body and mind about what you want–you can ‘trust your inner wisdom knowing the body has the innate ability to heal.’ This can mean guiding you to healthier, clean eating choices, better portion control, less stress, etc.
With self-love, the attitude shifts from one of worry, fear, shame, guilt, and embarrassment around size or shape to a focus on health and feeling good. And with that shift, when you “emphasize health before vanity, you’ll come to look–and feel–the way you desire.” (Quoted from our Manifesto.)
What I know from my own life and the increasing collective experience, is that when we accept and love ourselves and our body first, we’re a lot more successful with our own efforts to eat well and be healthy.
Therefore, as you embark on your New Year’s Resolutions to get healthy and lose weight, start with the most important thing first: love and acceptance. When you begin there, it’s much easier to eat intuitively, to stop when you’re full, to consume things that truly make you feel good, to exercise in a way that boosts energy and mood, and do all the other healthy lifestyle habits that will help you achieve whatever goals you’re setting for yourself this year.
For me, this means: cooking healthy meals at home, eating when hungry, practicing stopping eating when full, sipping BeLight Tea to curb needless snacking, eating in a way that supports good digestion, sleeping enough, and reminding myself daily how wonderful and strong my body is.
This year, practice love. Practice body acceptance. Manage stress. And let the healthy eating and healthy habits flow.
Leave a comment: Were you planning to start a diet as part of your New Year’s Resolution? Did this post impact your thinking at all?
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Look to herbs–certain herbs can improve energy and focus while helping to reduce stress.
With herbs, unlike with boosting energy by sugar, there’s no sugar crash, blood sugar or insulin issues, or weight gain to worry about. While sugar lends a temporary relief in stress by boosting dopamine, particularly in sensitive people, frequent consumption of sugar can cause physiologic stress on the body as it works harder to pump out insulin and deal with excess glucose.
Since these herbs are free of stimulants, they can be taken late in the day or by people sensitive to caffeine. These herbs are safe, natural, and gentle on the system.
To get the enlivening properties of the following herbs, consider sipping them as herbal teas, using these herbs in cooking, or just smelling their essential oils.
Spicy, warming herbs like cayenne, ginger, and cinnamon invigorate as they warm you up, boosting metabolism, stimulating digestion, and increasing blood flow. The spiciness alone can make you feel more awake, while also helping to clear your nasal passage of the winter stuffiness. Chinese Hawthorn (Shan Zha) works in a similar way, helping increase blood flow and stimulating digestion.
Adaptogens are certain types of herbs that help your body better cope with and resist the effects of stress. They balance major systems in the body, including the immune, endocrine, and central nervous system, and as a result, they can help mitigate or even avoid the exhaustion caused by being overstressed. Some adaptogens also increase endurance and stamina, and help quicken recovery time after exhausting experiences. For not only the stress-reducing effects but also their energy-lifting qualities, look for Schisandra, eleuthero, licorice, and gouji berries. These work great as herbal infusions, or powdered and added to smoothies, juices, or oatmeal.
Culinary and aromatic herbs like turmeric, safflower (or saffron), rosemary, mint, and citrus can also be used to enliven on cold, lethargic winter days. The aroma of citrus brightens mood and helps you to feel more awake and clearheaded. Turmeric, safflower, and rosemary all reduce inflammation and promote better blood circulation. (Inflammation in the body often causes water retention and a feeling of stagnation, thus by reducing inflammation, things can get moving again, opening up passageways for energy to flow.) Finally, mint has a revitalizing, refreshing quality that stimulates the senses and raises alertness.
Spicy and culinary herbs are all great in cooking, not only for their energizing qualities but also for the wonderful flavor they impart on food.
If you’re dragging to get yourself out of bed just to start the coffeepot every morning or the stress of the season is wearing you down, these herbs will help lift energy and boost stamina. Say goodbye to the morning joe and hello to an herbal infusion.
Not sure where to get these herbs? Many of the adaptogens are found in our wellness tea blends–especially BeBalanced for stamina and stress relief.]]>
Most people feel that their home is a safe place to be, free from pollution, debris, bugs, and anything else that might make them sick. However, more and more people are finding that their homes are the cause of their illnesses. Impure air, mold spores, toxic gasses, and other such home problems often go undiscovered, leaving families to wonder why they’re all experiencing headaches. If you are concerned about what’s lurking in your home, there are a few things you can do.
Hire a Professional to Clean Hard-to-Reach Places
There are a few locations in your home that you may never have considered cleaning. For example, air conditioning ducts are a hotspot for mold due to leftover moisture. If mold is permitted to grow in these ducts, your AC is pushing out spores and likely triggering allergy-like symptoms. Hire a professional to clean these areas and limit the possibility of impure air in your home.
Keep Your Bathroom Clean and Dry
A consistently humid bathroom is a haven for mold and bacteria. You want to ensure that your bathroom, particularly your bathroom linens, stays dry when not in use. Bath mats are one of the worst places in the entire area and should be treated with extra care. The consistently damp mats often are cleaned infrequently, leaving them full of flourishing bacteria. Wash these mats often to avoid as much mold and bacteria in your bathroom as possible.
Check Your Home for Leaks
Unknown leaks within your home could be another source of symptom-causing mold in your home. Check the house thoroughly for any leaky plumbing and consider hiring a plumber for a professional inspection. A few extra bucks for an inspection certainly is worth feeling better and living worry-free in your own home.
Beware of Dust Mites
Dust mites can live in a number of places in our homes. They are commonly found in mattresses, sofas, pillows, carpet, blankets, and towels. Dust mites need warmth and humidity in order to thrive. Therefore, the best way to prevent dust mites is to thoroughly dry any potential dust mite habitats, wash bedding regularly, vacuum and dust frequently, and be sure to cover pillows and mattresses well in order to block the mites from getting in.
If you have a particularly old mattress or sofa, you might want to consider swapping it out for a new one. Keeping old mattresses and upholstery dust mite-free is very difficult, and their existence in your home could be causing you to develop health problems.
Don’t Skimp on Vacuum Quality
Vacuums are supposed to be a tool to keep your home clean and debris-free. However, low-quality vacuums may actually worsen your air quality. Vacuums that do not contain a HEPA filter are sucking the dust and microbes from your carpet and launching them into the air you breathe. A HEPA filter is one of the only ways to ensure that what your vacuum takes in stays in.
There are many hazards within your home that you may not be aware of. Fortunately, with a little research, some professional guidance, and a few accessible changes, you can bring your home up the standard you and your family deserve.
Image via Pixabay by PeteLinforth
Comment: If you found a health hazard in your home and successfully (or not) remedied it, please share your experience–how you discovered it, what you did, and what worked. We’d love to know in the comments below.
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