Friday, 31 December 2010

Weight Loss and Improved Fitness on your New Year’s Resolutions list…….yet again?!?! How to break and make habits….

Here we are on the last day of 2010. This year has flown by for many of us due to the numerous events that have taken place over the last year and yet most of us (myself included) will find ourselves making one common New Years Resolution which we have made year after year….To get more fit and/or lose weight. Ugh…..the guilt, shame and frustration that come along with listing this resolution…again! Why is it that each year this one resolution is stuck and (let’s face it) never leaves the top of the resolutions list?

There are many theories out there…a positive one might be that you are always working on bettering your health and fitness. If that’s the case, then good for you!

My theory is that the things we do most of the time are the hardest things to change. These are the things that you do nearly every single day such as brush your teeth, check your emails, commute to work or school, clean the dishes and get ready for bed at night. If you paid attention, you would probably notice that you have an unconscious method to each of these daily tasks (i.e., you might always brush your teeth starting on the left side of your mouth every morning and evening). These routine habits (i.e., what you eat for each meal) are hard to change because you do them without thinking about them, without being conscious of your actions…and creating a change requires conscious decision-making ALL THE TIME. Then, there are the things you only do occasionally, or perhaps frequently but not quite as often as daily habits. These tend to be driven by conscious decisions – meeting new friends, reading more books, cooking a new recipe, etc. These things that are driven by conscious decisions are easier to change because you are not on autopilot. Being aware and focused is the perfect environment to change. That’s right….just thinking and focusing on a goal makes change easy! The moment you get back on autopilot the same feelings of guilt or shame come creeping back in along with the cookies and chips.

If your 2011 resolutions list includes losing a few lbs or improving your fitness, try these tips to keep you conscious and present. You will succeed at making the changes you want in your health and fitness goals which will create feelings of accomplishment, better energy and the pure ecstasy of looser fitting jeans:

1. Sit down and set a goal- Seriously….sit down and think about it. Be specific about what you want

2. Write down your goal EVERYDAY for 45 days- “They” say this is how many days it takes to change or create a new habit. Do this first thing in the morning every morning. It should only take a minute or two. This will continuously keep the goal in the forefront of your mind creating the new ‘good’ habits needed to achieve your goal

3. Ask for help- Tell your friends and family members that you really want to make these changes and that you want and need their support. You know when and where you are weakest in keeping yourself accountable. Requesting loved ones to step in during these times can help you push through the tough times so your reach goal

4. “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” As Voltaire said (and G. Ruben likes to use in her book, The Happiness Project)- Just because you don’t have the body of Jessica Biel or Hilary Swank doesn’t mean you aren’t beautiful, healthy and perfect in your own way. Keep plugging away at it one curtsy squat and steamed kale leaf at a time

Good luck breaking old and creating new habits in 2011. Happy New Year!



Thursday, 30 December 2010

Tea…..a friend with benefits

"If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are too heated, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you." ~Gladstone, 1865

This is one of my favorite quotes. My friend Katie read it to me once many years ago and I connected to it immediately and have never forgot it. I have always found tea to be there for me when friends like Katie or my husband aren’t around to help pick up the pieces of my neurosis, breakdowns, break-ups, fat days and upset stomachs….When I was going though a harsh break-up, chamomile stroked my hair. When it was rainy outside and I felt gloomy inside a cup of Earl Grey along with a good book warmed my heart. When I work on the computer and need a little motivation, green tea always cheers me on. When I over indulged, a cup of lemon ginger or two were there to help me stop ruminating about much I over ate and/or drank.

There are always a plethora of tea boxes in my cupboard and occasionally I am guilty of packing my morning favorite (Yerba Mate) in my suitcase to shout “Good Morning!!” to me when I wake up on holiday…now if I could also pack Katie in my bag too...

Here are some benefits of various teas. See how tea can support your body and emotions….

Black Tea* promotes blood flow in the brain without over stimulating the heart. It helps prevent tooth decay and manages diarrhea

Green Tea* is chock full of antioxidants which fight free radicals that damage the cells. It keeps skin looking young and radiant and helps rev up the metabolism for fat loss

Lemon Ginger Tea is great for easing nausea brought on from overeating, motion sickness or post-operative nausea

Yerba Mate* is very energizing, antioxidant rich, digestion inducing, immune boosting and even aids weight loss

Peppermint Tea has numerous benefits, especially for those that suffer from indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome. It calms nausea, gas, heartburn and dissolves gallstones. It can even control chronic pain, muscle aches and helps reduce even severe herpes outbreaks. It’s also an amazing stress reliever

Nettle Tea is high in iron helping purify the skin. It is great at helping calm asthma and fights against allergies such as hay fever. It is also good for the digestion system

Rooibos Tea is recommended for people suffering from irritability, headaches, disturbed sleeping patterns, insomnia, nervous tension and mild depression or hypertension. It is higher in antioxidants than green tea and is safe to drink at night since is caffeine free

" a religion of the art of life." ~Okakura