Staying on Track

If you recall from my previous post, I noted it’s much easier to have success with your fitness/weight loss/health goals if you make a plan and make a commitment.  I know, personally, that if I say I’m going to do something, I may not always follow through with it. But if I commit to something, I am committed 100%.  So, here are my commitments for 2018:

Whole 30

To kick off the new year, I’ve committed to another Whole 30 – which begins TOMORROW. As always, I’m super excited to start another Whole 30 Program.  I have over-indulged in my fair share of chocolate this Christmas season, and I really need to slay my sugar dragons.

Whole30 Reset

I began preparing for my 30 days late this past week.  I got my grocery shopping done and spent part of the weekend eating clean meals.  My fridge is organized and the chocolate is going into cold storage.  I have been waiting to get started and now I’m more than gung-ho. I know how great I feel during and after my 30 days and I know the chocolate will be there later on down the road if I really feel the need to have some.  But, for the next 30 days, I’m committed to clean eating and drinking.

Gym Routine and Workouts and Rest

Fortunately, I don’t really ever need to push myself to exercise.  In fact, I’m eager to do my workouts and, it seems, it’s often all I think about.

Rest Day2

I mean, if I’m being completely honest….

In addition to my boot camps, family fitness classes, and attending Zumba, I have regular gym sessions (I often exercise more than once a day – splitting my days with lifting in the morning and cardio/boot camp in the evenings).  Therefore, I sometimes get through a work day on 3-5 hours of sleep.  And, let’s be honest, that just isn’t enough.  Although I am fully functional on just a few hours of sleep, I am committing to resting more in 2018.  I am going to let go of my fear of missing a workout and spend time relaxing (and snoozing).

RestDay

Eye Health

A few years back I had eye surgery.  It was a gross surgery where my eyeball was cut into and a membrane was scraped out.  Although, my vision in that eye on it’s own has not improved (and may never), my vision with both eyes together is still better than 20/20. That being said, I’m constantly fearful that the sight in my good eye will go and I’ll be SOL.  If it happens, I won’t be able to read and my driver’s license will likely be taken away.

Eyes

Be proactive and take care of your vision.

I have been as proactive as I can be, but the issue with my “bad” eye was such a fluke that there really is no way to prepare for or prevent the same thing happening in the other eye. However, I am careful with my eyes and I do what I can to ensure my eye health is up to par.  I keep drops in my desk at work and at home, I always have my sunglasses on during the day, even in the winter, and especially with all this snow in Nova Scotia so as to prevent Photokeratitis – or snow blindness.  In fact, I have several pairs of sunglasses with different UV protection and different shades of protection so that I have a pair to go with every weather condition. And I already have my next appointments set with my eye surgeon/check-ups.

Although I don’t wear glasses or contact lenses, Warby Parker now offers a Prescription Check App that allows an eye doctor to assess your vision and provide an updated glasses prescription.  If you are someone who wears glasses, or just want to have your vision checked out, then it may be worthwhile checking out this app.

So that’s my short-list of my commitments for staying on track this year.  What’s on your list?

~Cheers

 

 

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“Small Change, Big Gain”

Last month I wrote a post on my Top 5 Wellness Favorites.  Included in that post, was mention of the company Elysium Health.  Elysium is all about the small, daily habits that lead to a healthier and better life.  And since my post, the team at Elysium has come up with a great infographic and included quotes from some wellness sites – MINE INCLUDED.  (That’s me at the bottom – NSFitBitch.)

ElysiumSCBG

Thank you Elysium for providing this great infographic and for including my post.

~FB

My Top 5 Wellness Favorites

wellness

I was asked recently about favorite personal wellness tips and as I’ve been reflecting on my regular routine, I’ve been able to narrow them down.  Here are my top five favorites:

1.

Exercise and nutrition/clean eating.  Obviously I have a passion for fitness and good basic nutrition.  They have become such a huge part of my life that it is more than apparent that they would be number one on my list.  And, since I believe fitness and nutrition go hand-in-hand, I have joined them as top rank.  I am a huge lover of cardio, but for the past 8 months, I have been completely obsessed with my strength training and have been focusing most of my gym time on that.  I would encourage everyone to add a strength training routine to their regular fitness regime.  I’m also a cheerleader for clean eating and following the Whole 30 program.  I am not a clean eater 100% (I literally just ate a handful of salted caramel chocolate chips), but I often try to stay away from processed and junk and fast foods as much as possible.  In fact, I am gearing up for a Whole 30 in a few weeks.  I also love starting my day off with some form of exercise.  It used to be a crazy Insanity workout or other form of cardio, then it was yogo, and this summer it has been early morning walks.  I am so in love with my early morning walks for a few reasons but the biggest one is the solitude in the mornings.  It’s usually just me out there and I love the stillness and the quiet and the fresh air in my face.  I also love the little feeling of accomplishment in the mornings and the walks have been giving me that.

2.

Water.  Lotsa water.  I love water.  It’s my favorite drink.  In fact, aside from a morning coffee or the occasional glass of wine, it’s the only thing I drink.  And I drink a lot of it. Water is essential in every day life – you can read here a past post on why water is important.  I love water and I constantly have a glass of it on the go, whether I’m at work or working out, I try to continuously guzzle.

3.

Sleep.  Sleep is right up there with water – it’s essential.  And it’s a big part of how I’m going to function.  I hate not getting enough sleep.  About 5 years ago I had a bad bought of insomnia for months on end and it was terrible.  I was barely functioning.  I was a walking zombie.  I’ve written two posts previously on sleep and I stand by my word (you can read them here and here) and there’s also plenty of research being done by companies, like Elysium Health , on the science behind sleep—you can learn more about their findings on cellular health and NAD+ and their connection to sleep here .  I love sleep.  I try to get as much as I can but it doesn’t always work for me.  A good night would have been sleeping 7 hours but most nights, according to my FitBit, see me sleeping anywhere from 5 to 6 hours.  Eventually, when I’m exhausted enough, I’ll manage a good 7 or 8 hours, but I will always strive.

4.

Me Time.  It’s really important – no, make that crucial – that every person take some “me time”.  Although my morning walks and other workouts can often be accounted for as me time, I like to find time during the day just for me.  Time far away from chaos and hustle and bustle and social media.  This me time is usually my reading (or writing) time.  I am an avid reader and become completely enthralled in my books.  And I look forward to curling up under the summer sun or before bed to leave where I am and, instead, get lost in the words of my book.  I urge everyone to take 20 minutes (at least) each day to themselves.

Sparkles

5.

Quality Social Time.  I am a social being.  In fact, my nickname has always been social butterfly.  Just as it’s important to take me time, it’s also important to have social time with other people.  I love spending time with my family and my friends and my co-workers and my workout buddies.  Getting out and enjoying the company of others (and allowing them to enjoy your company) is very important to maintaining good mental health.  And mental and emotional health are just as important as physical health.  Having fun or having a good cry (if required) are important to keeping us healthy and balanced.  And this means getting social in person – not hopping onto Facebook to chat.  Your mind, body, and soul need you to interact with other human beings.  So, whether you go to a fitness class or a Bible study or book club or just get together with your friends or family, ensure that you do it.  Often.

mind-body-soul_design

So, that’s it.  Those are my personal top 5 (I’m sure there are more) favorite wellness tips to living a healthy life.  What are yours?

~FB

 

Instant Results

I saw this meme the other day on my Facebook feed and I thought how true it is and has been for many of us.

instant-results

We’re just entering our second week of 2017 and, as most people do, many of us have also made New Year’s Resolutions.  (Have you?  Tell me about them.)

I almost never make resolutions for the new year because I know I’m more than likely setting myself up for failure.  (Stop swearing.  Yeah right!)

Instead, this time I have have made the decision and commitment to work harder on my strength training this year.  For Christmas I had received a free-standing boxing bag, something I have wanted for a long time.  I was ecstatic Christmas morning.  And I have been utilizing it this past week like crazy.

In addition to the boxing, I am going to continue to my strength training in the gym (and at home) with lifting weights and, hopefully, continuously increasing the weight.  Of course, this part will depend on how my back fares.  I wretched it again just this morning while shoveling snow.  Sometimes I feel like it’s never going to heal.  But, that being said, I will work on my strength while doing my best not to injure myself any further.

work-for-it

My Whole 30 60 (I am aiming big this time) also starts tomorrow morning and I have been so excited to get going.  Don’t get me wrong, I am going to miss chocolate and those dreamy peppermint mochas, but I know how wonderful I feel when doing a Whole and committing myself to completely clean eating for 60 days has me on edge in all the good ways.

But see – this is the point of this post.  Instant results would be fabulous!  But it’s just not realistic.  Oprah said years ago on her show that if there were a pill out there to make her lose weight she would be on it!  But, unfortunately, there is no magic pill. You have to work for it.  You have to.  The only instant result you get is making the choice to change your life.

That’s right, in one instant you can change your life.  You can commit yourself to a better lifestyle – to eating cleaner, to sleeping more, to getting enough water to drink, and to exercising.

30-minutes

Even 20 minutes a day can change your life!

Many years ago, when I was overweight and at my heaviest, I made that commitment. And, as you know, I haven’t looked back.  I have changed my life.

At first, I had a hard time getting through my workouts.  I was panting and huffing and puffing.  I could barely get through three minutes.  But I kept at it and I worked my way up to 10, 20, 30, 60, 120 minutes.  I have often said that 20 minutes a day can change your life  and I stick by that.  You do not need to spend hours upon hours in the gym.  But you do have to do something.  Start off with a goal of even 5 minutes a day.  Work your way up to 10 or 20 minutes over the weeks.  See how different you feel, how easier it is to breathe, how harder you can go.  Feel the difference in your body and how your clothes fit.  Commit yourself to one month.  Give yourself 30 days of eating better and working out even 3 times a week.  I challenge you* to do that. Thirty days is not a long time.  But those thirty days can change your life.

You have to work for it.

~Fit Bitch

*Anyone accepting my challenge, please feel free to comment or email me and let me know you’ve accepted the challenge, or if you want fitness tips, instructions, workout ideas, or nutritional advice/healthy eating coaching.

Sleep

A few years ago I wrote a post on Sleep and how it affects your health and weight.  At the time I was still battling insomnia, although not as bad as it had been several months before.  And I had discovered that my lack of shut-eye affected, not only my sanity and ability to function like a normal human being, but also my weight.  As my sleep cycle decreased, I watched my weight increase.  I was frustrated on so many levels, but eventually, sleep came easier to me and I finally got back to a semi-normal amount each night.

As I noted in that post, our sleep norm is down to an average of 6 hours per night from the norm compared of 7 hours per night 10 years ago, and 9 hours per night compared to the norm at the turn of the century.  (I’m not an expert, but I can almost guarantee that with the increase of social media, the average rate of sleep in North Americans has decreased from 6 hours per night since I wrote that post three years ago.)

Sleep deprivation has shown to 1. affect the release of cortisol (a hormone that regulates appetite), which can leave one feeling continuously hungry, and 2. increase fat storage (your sleep loss can affect the way your body metabolizes carbohydrate, leading to excess blood sugar, promoting the overproduction of insulin, leading to fat storage).

Fortunately, as indicated in my original post, there are many great ways to ensure you get a good night’s sleep and well rested (stay away from caffeine, don’t exercise right before bed, etc.).  This time around, my very first suggestion is likely, in this day and age, the most important:

  1. UNPLUG!  Social media is terrific for catching up with friends and staying in touch, but honestly, I think it’s killing us slowly.  So many people are worried about what they might miss if they disconnect from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.  Even for just a few hours.  And therefore, are online all.night.long. If you want truly want to get a decent sleep, I suggest logging off your accounts and shutting down at least a good hour before hitting the sack.  Seriously, if you are that much of a social media junkie, then you likely need a detox anyway. Log off computer, turn off the TV, shut down your phone (or at least put it on media silent) so that your brain can unwind from all that garbage.

    plugged-in-sleep

    Turn it off!  Snapchatting your “fake” sleep look is not as important as getting the real Zzzzs.

  2. RELAX.  Have a warm bath, read a book (one of my favorite ways to wind down), meditate, have some conversation. AND FINALLY:
  3. CHECK YOUR MATTRESS Often we become so accustomed to our beds that we don’t realize how really terrible our mattresses are, and that they could verily be the reason our sleep pattern is so poor.  We wake up with aching backs, stiff necks, and zonked out, yet we continue to sleep on the same old mattress each night.

LEESA has some pretty terrific mattresses and other products out there that they call “a Universal Adaptive Feel™ that adapts to all body shapes and sizes and all sleeping styles. This is particularly useful for couples, as each side adapts differently to each partner.”  This is pretty perfect.  Think about how many times you wake up in the night because your partner is dipping the bed.

You can also check out The Sweet Home’s review on why Leesa is the best foam mattress around!

If you’ve noticed your rate or quality of sleep is suffering and your weight is changing (and not for the better), it is worth it to evaluate your sleep pattern.  If you feel you are getting enough sleep but you still wake feeling groggy and tired, perhaps it is the time to check out a new mattress or pillow.  Or, you can even look at how you are sleeping: are you facing the right direction, etc.?  I know not everyone believes in Feng shui (a Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment), but it may be worth checking out.  If you’re used to your head facing north, flip yourself around so that you’re facing south.  Seriously: don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!

In the meantime, you can also check out Leesa’s the tips below on how to become a morning person.  And may you have sweet dreams.

sleep-graphic

~Fit Bitch

Sleep is Your Friend

Mujer intentando dormir
Last November is when my Insomnia first began. I don’t know how it started or what caused it. But I would have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep. Sometimes I’d eventually fall asleep, sleep for 15-45 minutes and then be awake the rest of the night. Some nights I’d lay awake until 4, 5 or 6 in the morning and then would have to get up before 7 to prepare for work. And some nights I just wouldn’t sleep at all. This would occur most often. And usually, it would be two or three nights with no or minimal sleep. I would be a low-functioning zombie at work, then go off to the gym or to fitness class and then home hoping to sleep but never getting there. The insomnia still occurs but it’s not as frequent. THANK GOODNESS.

This may or may not have been the beginning of a small (but very frustrating for me) weight incline. Even tho I was working my butt off, even increasing my exercise, I have gained an itsy amount of weight (but itsy is sometimes enough to make one want to bang her head off a wall – amiright or amiright??). Why? Because getting enough sleep is dire to a healthy life and weight.

Research has shown that an important factor in losing weight, and keeping it off, is adequate sleep. Your hormones are affected by sleep. The most important one is leptin, the hormone that tells you you’re full. The minute you are sleep deprived, your leptin levels go down. Ghrelin is the hormone that says ‘feed me.’ When you’re sleep-deprived, your ghrelin levels go up. “When you consider that the average American sleeps just six hours a night- down from 7 hours a night only 10 years ago, and 9 hours a night at the turn of the century- it’s no wonder American’s are struggling with weight and obesity issues.”

Keys to a good sleep are to reduce stress and avoid overeating. A good night’s rest can help keep hormone levels stable and eliminate behaviors that follow sleep-deprivation. Lack of sleep can cause the body to create cortisol, a hormone often linked with stress (cortisol increases appetite and may also ramp up the motivation to eat). Our brains may actually signal us to look for high-fat, sugary “comfort foods” after a stressful, sleep-deprived day. It’s also important to note that people who are sleep deprived usually consume more calories in the day – especially in the evening.

It’s important to make sure that the quality of your nightly sleep is deep and gives you the rest your body needs. The following may help you get a good night’s rest:

Unwind before bedtime with a warm bath or shower, yoga stretches, light reading, meditation and/or listening to quiet music.

Stay away from caffeine in the afternoon and evening, and limit your alcohol consumption to one drink at least a few hours before bedtime. (Caffeine is a 12 hour drug so be aware that if you’re consuming caffeine after noon you might be awake and alert well into the night.)

Exercise, but not right before bedtime.

Don’t take naps.

Go to bed when you’re tired, but get up at the same time every day whether you’ve had a good amount of sleep or not.

If you have trouble staying asleep at night, keep clocks where you can’t see them. This may help you avoid feeling stressed about the amount of time during which you’ve been unable to fall back asleep.

When your body feels rested and you are getting the sleep you need, your hormones will work in balance and support your overall weight loss program.

Cat Nap

Cat Nap

I wish you all a peaceful sleep.

~Fit Bitch