Why Sugar Is Bad And What You Can Use Instead

sugar-is-bad

How much sugar are we really eating?

Sugar has become a hot topic.  In excess it makes us fat.  The problem is that MOST of us are eating it in excess.  We’re probably eating more than we think because it hides in MANY everyday “non-sugar” foods such as tomato sauce, fat-free salad dressings, marinades, crackers, yogurt, bread etc.  According to Forbes, American adults are eating 22 tsp of sugar per day and what I found even more horrifying is that the average American child eats 32 tsp of sugar per day!!!  WHAT?!?!

The American Heart Association recommends that most women get no more than 100 calories a day of added sugar from any source, and that most men get no more than 150 calories a day of added sugar. That’s about 6 teaspoons of added sugar for women and 9 teaspoons for men.

According to the American Heart Association, children up to age 8 should take in no more than 3 to 4 teaspoons of added sugar per day. Older kids and teenagers should limit themselves to no more than 5 to 8 teaspoons of added sugar each day.  Wow – we are REALLY exceeding the recommended amounts!!!

Why is sugar bad?

There are many names of sugar but let’s talk about one of the most common types of sugar –  table sugar – white sugar also called sucrose.  It originates from sugar cane or sugar beets but is highly processed.  When we ingest sucrose, our bodies use enzymes to break it down into 2 (equal) compounds – GLUCOSE and FRUCTOSE. 

Glucose is our body’s main energy source.  It is found in every living cell on the planet.  Glucose is essential and when we don’t consume enough of it, our bodies manufacture it.  It comes from the carbohydrates (grains, veggies, fruits ) that we eat.  Glucose is either used immediately for energy or stored in the muscle cells or liver as glycogen for later use.  Insulin is secreted in response to glucose in the bloodstream and facilitates the entry of glucose into our cells.  The secretion of insulin is a good thing because it causes the hormone leptin to be released.  Leptin is an appetite controlling hormone that tells us when we are full.

Fructose on the other hand, has a different metabolic pathway and is not a preferred energy source for our muscles or brain.  We have no physiological need for fructose and our bodies do not manufacture it.  Fructose can only be metabolized in the liver (putting additional strain on our liver).  Fructose is more lipogenic or fat-producing than glucose.  It does not stimulate the production of insulin and as a result does not trigger leptin.  In fact, studies have shown that fructose raises our levels of grehlin (the hunger hormone and signals us to eat!) 

If we eat small amounts of fructose it is not a problem and the fructose will be broken down into glycogen (like glucose is) and stored in the liver for later use.  The problem arises when our liver is full of glycogen (which is becoming common) and we eat a lot of fructose, this overloads our liver and forces the fructose to form into fat.  This can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (which is the most common liver disorder is developed countries).

One of the popular sweeteners used today is High Fructose Corn Syrup (read a label of any processed food and you are sure to find it!).  HFCS consists of 55% fructose and 42% glucose (and 3% other sugars).  Fructose is twice as sweet as glucose and this syrup mixture became (in the 1960’s) a inexpensive alternative to sucrose.  There is a debate on whether table sugar is worse than HFCS but two things are for sure – High Fructose Corn Syrup is genetically modified, and a highly processed substance.  This form of sweetener is in SO many packaged foods and is definitely one to avoid.

I just need to pause and make an important point VERY clear.  You may be reading this and think to yourself “Fruit contains fructose so therefore I must stop eating fruit because it is going to make me fat”.  I need to tell you emphatically that thinking is WRONG!!  And here is one of the best explanations that I found in an article from Scientific American:

“Drinking a soda or binging on ice cream floods our intestines and liver with large amounts of loose fructose. In contrast, the fructose in an apple does not reach the liver all at once. All the fiber in the fruit—such as cellulose that only our gut bacteria can break down—considerably slows digestion. Our enzymes must first tear apart the apple’s cells to reach the sugar sequestered within.” 

Do you see the difference?  Eating fruit will NOT make you fat.  Fruit is a WHOLE food.  It has antioxidants, vitamins and fibre.  It has not been processed so our bodies must process it.  Loose fructose coming from a highly processed food just slides right into our liver – bam!

This article went on to give a great example of how fruit will not make your gain weight.  “In a small but intriguing study, 17 adults in South Africa ate primarily fruit—about 20 servings with approximately 200 grams of total fructose each day—for 24 weeks and did not gain weight, develop high blood pressure or imbalance their insulin and lipid levels.”

I would hazard a guess that you don’t even come close to eating 20 servings of fruit a day so you are safe!!

Just in case you are still not convinced that you should give up sugar, here are some dangers of excess sugar that you may not know about.  Kristin Kirkpatrick, M.S., R.D., L.D., highlighted these studies in her article in the Huffington Post:

  • – A 2013 study in the Journal of the American Heart Association provided strong evidence that sugar can affect the pumping mechanism of your heart and could increase the risk for heart failure.
  • – A 2012 paper in the journal Nature showed evidence that fructose and glucose in excess can have a toxic effect on the liver similar to the metabolism of ethanol — the alcohol contained in alcoholic beverages.
  • A 2009 study found a positive relationship between glucose consumption and the aging of our cells.  Sugar actually promotes wrinkles.
  • A 2010 study in children found that excess fructose intake (but not glucose intake) actually caused visceral fat cells to mature — setting the stage for a big belly and even bigger future risk for heart disease and diabetes.
  • A 2012 study found that excess sugar consumption was linked to deficiencies in memory and overall cognitive health.
  • A 2013 study estimated that 180,000 deaths worldwide may be attributed to sweetened beverage consumption. The United States alone accounted for 25,000 deaths in 2010. The authors summarize that deaths occurred due to the association with sugar-sweetened beverages and chronic disease risk such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

So what CAN you use to sweeten your food?  That is a GREAT question.  There are many options and the surprising thing about these natural sweeteners is that they have great nutritional value!

Here are my 5 favourite natural sweeteners that we use in our house:

  1. Raw Honey – unlike white sugar (that is basically empty calories), raw honey contains B Vitamins (I like to think the Bees are giving us “B” vitamins), enzymes, antioxidants, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc and phosphorous.  You do not want to cook with raw honey.  Use it raw for it’s best nutritional value – for example, on hot oatmeal, toast, yogurt, salad dressings etc.
  2. Stevia  it comes from a plant in South America.  It has zero calories and zero carbohydrate.  It is 200 times sweeter than sugar so you do NOT use it in the same ratio as sugar.  It is heat stable so it is great to use in baking.
  3. Dates – come from a tree.  Dates contain potassium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium and vitamin B6. They are easily digested and help to metabolize proteins, fats and carbohydrates.  They can also be used in baking.
  4. Coconut Sugar – contains iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, antioxidants, phosphorous.  It is low glycemic so it won’t spike your insulin.  It is easy to substitute for white sugar because it measures the exact same in baking.  I find it makes things slightly less sweet.
  5. Maple Syrup – contains manganese, calcium, potassium, and zinc. It is rich with antioxidants, so it will neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative damage. Select darker, Grade B maple syrups because they contain more beneficial antioxidants than the lighter syrups.

Those are my personal favourites.  I hope you feel compelled to reduce your sugar intake.  Take baby steps if you need to.  Your body will thank you.  You will feel SO much better!

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School’s Back! Fast & Healthy Food Tips

back-to-school

Today’s blog is from my friend Jenn Burton, a mom and Holistic Nutritionist.  She has some great nutritional tips for school!  Thanks Jenn!!

Oh yes is it that time of year again…….just look at social media! Many of my friends posting back to school lunches, breakfasts. Everyone starts of with such good intentions but 5 days a week can be long preparing food for little ones and yourself. My little one will be starting school next year so I am some what lucky but I do make his lunches for day care so I can feel the pain.

Here are a few tips on how to manage time and providing healthy options for you and your children:

  • Smoothies – put all ingredients a night (except the frozen items). Add wonderful foods like chia, hemp, protein powders, sneak greens in. In the morning all you need to do is add the frozen fruit and or ice, blend and serve.
  • Energy Balls – great for grab and go either for school snacks, before or after sport snacks. Alternatively, you can buy “Good for Me” products (school safe), they are great but a bit pricey. See the recipe below.
  • Cut up veggies – cut a bunch of veggies and store in a bowl of water to keep fresh and crisp, this way you can just grab and add to lunches. Pair it with hummus and there is a great snack. The best veggies to keep in water are carrots, celery and radishes.
  • Easy Breakfast – oatmeal is a great start to the day. loaded with fiber, complex carbs and protein. This will stabilize blood sugar and keep you full for a longer period of time. Helps to avoid 3pm afternoon crash. Add food such as hemp hearts, chia seeds, cinnamon, maple syrup and berries. Rolled oats cost pennies in bulk and can feed big groups of people and quick and easy to make.
  • Lunches – lately I have been roasting veggies and bbq’ing chicken breasts to add to wraps or a big green salad. This makes for a quick lunch or dinner. Add greens, hummus, cheese. I buy most of my poultry from Howards Farms which are located north Newmarket/Holland Landing area. They sell a 5lb box of chicken breasts for $28.00. They also attend the Newmarket Farmer’s Market, they sell out very fast http://www.freewebs.com/howardsfarm/.
  • Dinners – invent in a crock pot or an insta pot, it can be a lifesaver for those cool and busy days. You can cut up everything at night and throw it in the morning, set the time and walk away. I bought a insta pot last year and haven’t used it to it full capabilities yet but it does have great features where you can sauté right in the same pot, this has saved dishes for me! My go to’s for the insta pot are spaghetti and meatballs, fajitas, soups and stews.  Another fast idea is to make taco salads, literally cook ground chicken (make your own taco sauce to avoid any sulphates and it is yummier anyways), cut up tons of veggies, greens, sour cream, avocado. Buy the yummiest taco’s from a health food store called “Casa Fiesta”. Make a big batch so everyone can take for dinner and lunches. See below for homemade taco mixture.

 

Energy Balls

  • 1 cup of large flake oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 ground flaxseeds
  • ½ cup nut butter or sunflower seed butter for school safe
  • 1/3 maple syrup
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • Add in any of these yummy additions – hemp hearts, protein powder, cinnamon, chocolate chips
  • Mix and roll with hands, store in fridge

Recipe courtesy of Schwartzman http://www.rachelschwartzman.com/

 

Homemade Taco Mixture

  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Mixed together all ingredients. When using the spice mix, use about 2 tbsp per pound of meat. Brown your meet and drain fat. Sprinkle with seasoning and add 1/3 cup (may vary) of water. Simmer until water is absorbed.

Recipe courtesy of Family Fresh Meals

Look for my next blog on how to shop for your family at Costco!
~Jenn~

~follow your bliss~

How To Set & Achieve Your Fitness Goals

A photo by Will van Wingerden. unsplash.com/photos/cZVthlrnlnQ

Achieving health and fitness goals is not as simple as saying you want to lose weight or get fit.  There are proven ways to properly set realistic goals AND actually reach them.  Follow these steps to help you formulate the best goals and get you on the right track for achieving them.

#1 Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Using this acronym will help you write out your goals.

SPECIFIC

You need to be clear on exactly what you want to achieve.  Saying you want to get more healthy or lose weight is too vague.  Getting specific with numbers is crucial.  For example:

For body shape:

“I want to lose 10 pounds in the next 3 months”

“I will lose 4% body fat in the next 4 months”

For Fitness:

“I want to be able to do 10 pushups on my toes by Christmas”

“I want to do an unassisted pistol squat by next September”

“I want to run a 10K race by spring”

for Heath:

“I want to reduce by sugar intake to 25 grams per day”

“I want to make homemade healthy dinners 5 nights per week.”

MEASUREABLE

How will you track your progress?  When you are specific with your goals it is much easier to measure your improvements and know if you are on track.  It is helpful to take your long-term goals and break them down into smaller pieces.  For instance, take your 3 month goals and set up smaller weekly and daily goals with action steps to help you move in the right direction.

ACHIEVABLE

If you can not envision yourself achieving a goal then it is not the right goal for you.  There are things that people would like to achieve but if they can not actually SEE themselves accomplishing it then they will never be able to achieve it.  Make it do-able.

I also find that it is hard for people to know what is an achievable fitness goal.  This is where your Fitness Trainer can help.  For instance, losing 1-2 pounds a week is a realistic and achievable goal.  Losing 1% body fat per month is another realistic goal.  You can ask a Trainer to help you chose an achievable goal.

RELEVANT

Is this goal important to you?  How will your life change if you achieve this goal?  Make sure this goal is something YOU want and not something that you think you want based on external pressures from people around you.  You need to have a big reason WHY you are bothering to go after this goal.  Be clear on what you want but be even clearer on WHY (more on this at #3).  Otherwise you will quit when things get tough.

TIMED

There needs to be an end point.  Once you have decided on your goal, you need to set a realistic end date and work towards that goal in achievable steps.

#2 Be accountable

I can really speak from experience on this one.  I have set many goals.  Written them on paper, looked at them regularly, had a plan but never told anyone and guess what?  I failed.  I feared the feeling of embarrassment if I shared my goal and never hit them.  But here’s the thing, sharing your goal makes you accountable.  Sharing your goals allows your biggest fans to be your cheerleaders.  Sharing your goals makes you keep going when you want to give up.

If you keep your goals trapped inside yourself expecting to be internally motivated and inspired, I can tell you this – you will fail.  There are so many obstacles and bumps on the road to your success.  If no one knows what you are trying to achieve, it’s so easy to give up.  Finding the right people (a friend, an accountability partner, a coach, a trainer) to fuel your fire, keep you inspired and help you stay focused is so important.

#3 Find your WHY

You will need to dig deep and find out WHY this goal is important to you.  This WHY will drive you when you feel like giving up.  This WHY is something that is deeply emotional for you.  You just need to figure it out.  Here is a technique to discover your biggest motivators and your WHY: 

  1. Start out saying your goal – for example: “I will lose 5 pounds in one month”
  2. Then ask yourself “What will that do for me?” and answer that question.  For example: “My clothes will fit better.”
  3. Then ask yourself again “What will THAT do for me?” and answer that question.  For example: “I will feel better about myself”
  4. And keep asking this same question “What will that do for me?” until you reach the final answer.  THE REAL ANSWER.  You will discover what is really important to you.  You will discover your WHY and the deeper, emotional reasons you want to achieve this goal.  This is what you need to know in order to be successful.

#4 Fuel your FIRE, Everyday

You will not wake up every morning and feel motivated.  There are challenges and roadblocks that will constantly knock you down.  You will need daily inspiration to keep you fired up for your goal.  Here are some suggestions:

1) Positive self-talk.  We all have limiting beliefs that are stopping us from achieving our goals.  You may be surprised how negatively you talk to yourself when you really listen.  Examine your self talk and try saying positive affirmations out loud everyday.  You can post positive notes on your bathroom mirror or somewhere that you will see them multiple times a day.

2) Visualize yourself having already achieving your goals.  What will your life look like after you have arrived at your destination?  See yourself enjoying your success.

3) Look at motivating pictures to stay motivated and inspired.  Use photos or quotes.  Post them where you will see them daily.

4) Have a cheerleader, a coach or an accountability partner and check in regularly.  Choose someone who will pick you up with you fall.  Someone who believes you can do it.

5) Listen to inspiring music or watch motivational videos or read powerful books.  Anything that sparks the fire within you to keep on keeping on.

#5 Identify your obstacles and make a plan to overcome them

There will always be challenges on your way to success.  It isn’t going to be easy.  Take a look at what is stopping you from achieving your goals right now.  What are your roadblocks?  Do you have bad habits or sabotaging behaviours that you need to change?

For instance, do you sit on the couch watching TV and snack on junk food?  This is bad habit,  an obstacle that needs to be overcome.  But how?  Our habits become ingrained and so hard to break.  They are neural pathways that become stronger with repetition.  Think of a rut on a road that your car tire gets trapped in.  That’s what happens with our habits.  Getting out of that rut requires a new pathway.  And making a new rut in the road isn’t easy! 

One way to make a new neural pathway (and habit) is to use visualization.  For example, if you are a late night TV snacker (I’m talking to myself here!), imagine yourself sitting on the couch watching TV.  Visualize yourself getting the munchies for a fattening snack.  Instead of eating that sabotaging food choose a different response.  Visualize yourself getting up off the couch, and making a green tea or grabbing a book or going for a walk or snacking on veggies instead.  Choose a behaviour that you can substitute and actually visualize yourself acting it out.  This is the beginning of changing a negative neural pathway into a positive one.

Not all obstacles are bad habits.  Some are just poor planning and bad time management.  For example, if you haven’t taken the time to pack a healthy lunch you may be stuck for good options and only have unhealthy choices available.  We need to be prepared and plan ahead.  That being said, I just want to make one side note and say “sh*t happens”.  Life isn’t always a bowl of cherries.  You can NOT beat yourself up for being human.  Tell yourself it’s ok and move on.   

#6 Take Action, Everyday

Small actions are cumulative.  I heard somewhere that people overestimate what they can achieve in a day and underestimate what they can achieve in a lifetime.  Do not assume that small, daily acts towards your goals are not going to add up – they are!!  Staying consistent is the key.  Taking actions towards your goals everyday will help you get to where you want to go and help you stay focused. 

I hope that helps you on your road to success.  Happy goal-setting!

The Best Anti-Aging Remedy

old-age

There is an all-natural anti-aging remedy that will keep you looking young, give you energy and improve your vitality into your old age.  The remedy is exercise!  Today I want to show you WHY exercise is the best anti-aging treatment you can find.

Aging at the Muscular level

During our 30s we achieve our peak muscle mass.  In our late 30s we begin to gradually lose our muscle mass at a rate of 0.5-1% annually.  This age-related loss of muscle mass, strength and function is known as sarcopenia.  It results in weakness, loss of endurance and a reduction in our metabolism.

The primary treatment for sarcopenia is exercise, specifically strength training using weights or resistance bands.  As we age we also produce less growth hormone, which is responsible for the development of muscle tissue.   According to ACE (American Council on Exercise), moderate-to-vigourous intensity of training is most effective for stimulating the hormone responsible for muscle growth.  Low-or-moderate intensity exercise (such as walking) is not as effective.

High-intensity resistance training increases strength and muscle mass and maintains youthful levels of energy and a more youthful appearance. 

High-intensity resistance training, also referred to as Metabolic Strength Conditioning, challenges the entire body through timed intervals with minimal rest.  High-intensity resistance training could sound daunting to anyone who hasn’t exercised.  But we need to make a note that this style of training is relative.  The key is the level of challenge that the individual is experiencing with the resistance training.  On the Perceived Exertion Chart we want to aim for a level 8 with H.I.I.T training.  Squatting up and down from a chair without stopping for 10 reps could be high-intensity for a non-active senior. 

Aging at the DNA level

DNA has areas at the ends called telomeres.  With every cell division, these telomeres are shortened and eventually become too short for the cell to divide further.  This point is called senescence.  When multiple cells in a tissue become senescent, it no longer functions properly and the tissue ages.  Ultimately, telomere length indicates cellular aging. 

Stephen Roth from the University of Maryland studies exercise and telomeres.  He says that “researchers now accept telomere length as a reliable marker of cell age.  The shorter the telomere, the functionally older and more tired the cell.”

A study done in Germany by Dr. Christian Werner, an internal-medicine resident at Saarland University Clinic in Homburg, showed some very interesting results.  When tested, the  sedentary older subjects had telomeres that were on average 40 percent shorter than in the sedentary young subjects.  This seems logical as the older subject’s cell where getting older just as they were.  But, when examining the telomeres of runners, the older subjects were only 10 percent shorter than the young runners!!

The research at Saarland University found that telomere loss was reduced by approximately 75 percent in the aging runners. According to Dr. Werner “exercise at the molecular level has an anti-aging effect.’’

In order to keep your muscles strong and your cells young, you need to exercise.  Evidence continually points to High Intensity Training as the most effective way to exercise.  The great thing about Hiit Training is that it’s quick so you can squeeze it in to your busy schedule.   It’s never too late to start.  

As Jim Rohn says “Take care of your body.  It’s the only place you have to live.”

11 Unique Benefits of Yoga

yoga-cottage-dancer

Exercise is truly a “magic pill” for optimal wellness but there are unique benefits of yoga that you will not achieve in other forms of fitness!!  These benefits will show the importance of yoga and how it will improve your physical well-being and increase your longevity. 

Here is a list of the exclusive benefits of yoga:

#1 Improved Balance

Our bodies move in different directions all day.  We move forward, backward and side to side.  We twist and rotate.  To improve our balance we need to move through all these planes of motion.  Traditional exercises usually utilize one plane of motion (think bicep curls or push ups).  You may have a Fitness Trainer that is taking you through multi-planar exercises (if you are my client – we are doing multi-planar movements in our H.I.I.T. Training).   Yoga is one of the BEST ways to incorporate multi-planar activity.   Yoga poses will allow your body to move in all 3 planes: sagittal, frontal and transverse and will improve your ability to balance.

Studies with stroke survivors have proven that yoga positively impacts balance.  Arlene Schmid, PhD, a rehabilitation research scientist at the Roudebush VA Medical Center  says “Yoga improves balance because it’s complex—it includes the mind and the body, and helps to coordinate movements.”   Our mind and body work together to perform multi-planar movements.

#2 Improved Flexibility

There are 5 components to fitness.  These 5 things together measure your fitness.  They are cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition. Flexibility is often overlooked and under-rated.  Our flexibility WILL decrease as we age.  It is part of the aging process.  If you are not actively engaging in activities that improve your flexibility you are only going to become less flexible.  As the saying goes “use it or lose it”.

Not being flexible is usually the excuse people use for why they do not do yoga when that is the very reason why you SHOULD participate in yoga.  Yoga poses stretch your muscle fibres and increase your range of motion.  With consistency you can become more flexible at any age!

#3 Improved Digestion 

Yoga has many poses that involve twisting.  This type of movement activates our digestive system and improves function.  You could say it’s like giving your gastrointestinal tract a massage.  Many people suffering from IBS and other digestive disorders have found natural relief through yoga.

#4 Increased Body Awareness

One of the great benefits of yoga is that your body learns positions and postures that you may have never tried before.  You begin to notice your limitations and imbalances.  Maybe you can twist more to the left; maybe you can lift your leg higher on the right.  The poses allow you to see where your weakness are; where you need to improve and which muscles are tight.  It lets you understand your own body.

#5 Improved Lung Capacity

Most of us are guilty of inefficient breathing.  We “chest breathe” by filling only the top of our lungs.  This leads to a lack of oxygen in our blood vessels which can create a strain on our heart and lungs.  This type of breathing also contributes to our feeling of stress and our fight-or-flight response.  Learning how to breathe properly allows you to connect your mind and body, be more mindful and present, and initiate your parasympathetic nervous system (see more below).

#6 Decrease in cortisol levels and Improved adrenal function

We live in a world of non-stop stress.  We are constantly bombarded by an overwhelming load of information and electronic alerts.  We have deadlines and duties that are set to repeat everyday.  It’s hard to feel refreshed or rested when we have no “real” relaxation time.  Our bodies are stressed out and overloaded with cortisol because our adrenal glands (which secrete cortisol) are on overdrive.

Here is where yoga (unlike most forms of exercise) can give you the relaxation you need.  When we step on our yoga mats we focus on our breath.  We take slow, deep breaths instead of quick, shallow breaths.  This allows our bodies to transition to our parasympathetic nervous system.  It tells our bodies we are no longer in a fight-or-flight state.  We can actually rest.  We can feel the restoration and calm wash over our bodies. 

beginner's mind photo

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#7 Improved Spinal Health and Posture

We sit for extended periods of time on our computers.  We slump forward while driving or watching tv.  We hunch over our cell phones and iPads.  It results in terrible posture.   Yoga helps us do the opposite.  We learn to open our heart centres.  We learn to pull our shoulders away from our ears.  We stand tall with dynamic tension engaging our postural muscles.  During yoga classes we are taught proper alignment and positioning.  Yoga gives us a heightened awareness of proper posture and spinal alignment.  In addition it strengthens our postural muscles.

#8 Improved Pelvic Floor Function

For women this is critical.  Anyone who has given birth can relate to a little “pee-leakage”.  This is not an uncommon problem.  Exercising our pelvic floor is so important but often forgotten. 

Yogis understand “Root Lock” which is called “Mula Bandha” in Sanskrit.  This is our pelvic floor.   These muscles are essential for certain postures like Bridge pose.  Yogis learn how to engage these muscles. Aging and childbirth both bring strain and dysfunction to our pelvic floor muscles.  Body awareness and learning how to engage these muscles are taught in yoga classes and helps improve their function.

#9 Improved Circulation with Inversions

Let me start by saying that I am not encouraging you to try doing handstands.  Often people can injure themselves by trying to do too much too fast.  Doing headstands and handstands is so enticing and sexy.  It’s all over Instagram!  You must be careful though and do them correctly.  Inversions are beneficial because they provide the brain with more oxygen and blood.  This increases mental functioning, and improves concentration, memory, and processing abilities.  But, let’s face it.  Inversions are not for everyone.

I suggest starting out with something much simpler but equally beneficial.  There are terrific benefits with “legs up the wall” pose.  Studies have shown that holding legs up the wall pose for 10 slow yogi breaths is as rejuvenating as a 20 minute nap!  This is a simple pose that anyone can do.  It encourages blood flow back to your brain.  It is rebalancing and re-energizing.

#10 Improved Immune Function though the Lymphatic System

Our lymphatic system has many roles, one of which is to remove waste and toxins and maintain our immunity.  The lymphatic system has no pump and relies solely on muscular contractions, body movements and breathing.  Though the twisting, rotating, bending and inverting postures of yoga our lymphatic system is stimulated.  This improves our immunity and our ability to fight pathogens. 

#11 Improved Joint Health

Yoga helps circulate the synovial fluid inside our joints.  Synovial fluid is the cushioning inside our joints that allows the ends of our bones to smoothly glide over each other with out friction.  Within the joint there is also cartilage which covers the ends of the bones.  The synovial fluid supplies nutrients and oxygen to the cartilage. 

Yoga poses take your joints through a full range of motion.  This helps circulate the synovial fluid which in turn feeds the cartilage and keeps it nourished and healthy. 

Besides all the physical benefits of yoga there are many mental and emotional benefits.   In yoga we are taught to let go of competition and judgment.  We learn to accept ourselves and others for where we are.  We learn to be more mindful on and off our mats.  It is a wonderful form of exercise.  It is something you can do from age 3 to 93. 

I encourage you to start your own yoga practice.  The reason it is called a yoga “practice” because that is what you do.  Constantly practice.  Constantly learn and constantly improve.  You will receive all these amazing benefits of yoga and so much more once you begin.

“Yoga adds years to your life and life to your years.”

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5 Things I learned from Celebrity Trainer – Harley Pasternak

Harley Pasternak

I got the amazing opportunity to meet Harley Pasternak in person this past weekend.  I was so incredibly excited about meeting him.  You could say I was coming out of my skin with excitement and wanted to share it with somebody who would be equally thrilled.  So i called my husband and in my giddy voice I shouted “OMG!  I just met Harley Pasternak!!!”  And he replied with a disappointing “who?”  Hahaha – ok maybe its just a big deal if you are a fitness trainer.

Harley Pasternak is a Celebrity Trainer, Nutritionist and Bestselling author.  He has written 6 books about fitness training and nutrition.  He has worked with many celebrity clients, including: Jennifer Hudson, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Megan Fox, Bono, Halle Berry, and Ariana Grande to name a few.  He grew up in the Toronto area and I have been a fan of his for many years.  What I love most about Harley’s philosophy on health and fitness is that he always keeps it simple.  He breaks things down into bite-size, do-able steps that makes any goal seem possible.

Recently Harley took a year off of personal training to do research.  He was finding that the abundance of information regarding weight loss was becoming confusing to many of his clients.  In his quest for answers he hired university students to find ALL the research they could (from around the world) about how to become leaner and healthier.  They complied all the research and found that there were 4000 things that you can do to become leaner and healthier.  No wonder we are confused!!  Four thousand things we should do??!!!  Talk about information overload. 

Harley and his team dissected their metadata and narrowed it down to 5 easy, do-able, daily habits that anyone can do in order to achieve a leaner and healthier life.  And I want to share this information with you!

The 5 Things You Need To Do Every Day – According to Harley Pasternak

#1 – Get 10,000 step every day

Harley says we are a society that “over-exercises but is under-active”.  Think about it.  We sit in our cars and drive to work.  We sit at our desks for 8 hours.  We get back in our cars to drive home.  On the way home, we may stop at the gym a couple days a week to push out a super intense workout.  Then, we sit at the dinner table.  Sit and watch tv or look at our computers.  Then we lie down and sleep.  We sit on our butts way too much.  Our bodies are made to move consistently throughout the day, not just for that 30-60 minute workout, 2-3 times per week.  We need to think of ways to move more everyday.

In Harley’s research, he found that the healthiest countries in the world average 10,000 steps per day.  Do you know what the average daily steps are for Canadians and Americans?  Five thousand.  That’s it.  I know many of you who pound out way more than 10,000 steps so kudos to you!  You got step one done.

#2 – Sleep at least 7 hours every night

Ok.  I need to be honest and tell you that this is a mindset I need to change.  I always think that I am being a superhero if I can rock out my day on less sleep.  Sleep in my mind is overrated and honestly, I can sleep when I’m dead so let’s move it!!!  Slowly, I am learning that this is not a good attitude for my health. 

We have all heard the many reasons why we should get enough sleep.  But here is what Harley taught me about sleep that hit home a little more and made me think I need to make sleep a priority.  There are 2 hormones that are affected when we lack sleep: Ghrelin and Leptin.  These are our appetite hormones.  Ghrelin is our appetite increaser and Leptin is our appetite suppressor. 

The role of these hormones is interesting (and perhaps a good topic for another blog) but for now all you need to know is this:  If you are lacking sleep – even if it is just 30 minutes less than you need, you will eat 20% more calories the next day.  What!?!  Seriously, this is a big deal.  Sleeping less makes you eat one-fifth more food and ultimately makes you gain weight.  So, I may be a superhero with less sleep but I will be bursting out of my spandex suit!!  Not exactly a look I am going for.

#3 – Simplify your diet

Harley’s suggestions for eating healthier and becoming leaner are simple.  Instead of making things complicated with calorie counting.  Use your hands as measurements so that you can always see if your portions are correct.  Throughout your day eat 3 meals and 2 snacks. 

Here’s what he says you should include with each of your 3 meals:

  1. Protein – the size of your palm
  2. Fat – the size of your thumb
  3. Vegetables – unlimited amount so eat an abundance
  4. Fibre – the size of your cupped hands

Here’s what he suggests for your 2 snacks:

A combination of any 2 items from the above list.

Simple, easy and do-able.

#4 – Unplug from technology for one hour every day

I don’t think many of us would argue with the fact that we are over-attached to our technology.  I am unreasonably anxious if I forget my phone at home.  You can choose any hour of the day to disconnect.  Perhaps you choose the first hour when you wake up or maybe right after work or during the dinner hour.   Notice how you feel when you purposely unplug.

Harley suggests turning off our technology for the hour before bed.  There is a reason why the sky turns red and orange in the evening.  It is this light that starts preparing our bodies for rest and restoration.  Research is showing that exposure to the blue light from our phones into the evening hours has serious effects on our sleep and general health. 

If unplugging from technology the hour before bed isn’t possible, then try setting your phone to Night Shift to minimize the impact on your sleep.  If you have an iPhone you can scroll up to get your setting screen and hit the button at the bottom that looks like a sun and moon mixed together. 

#5 – Do Resistance Training at least 5 minutes every day

Our bodies are meant to push and pull and exert force through our muscles everyday.  Harley eliminates all the road blocks and excuses by making this completely achievable.  Who can’t set aside 5 minutes per day to pump out a mini workout?  No one.  Harley says that if we have a daily habit of 5 minutes of strength training it makes us more accountable to our goals.

Harley suggests that we should start by focusing on one muscle group per day (i.e. triceps, biceps, chest, shoulders, glutes, hamstrings, quads – you get the idea).  He explained that this daily habit will allow us to burn more calories, lose more body fat, boost our metabolism,  protect our bones, sharpen our focus, manage our pain and chronic conditions and keep us on track with our diets and our goals.

You can always add more time into your day to workout.  But start with 5 minutes and make that consistent.  Remember, exercising is important but it’s also important to MOVE all day long. 

I hope you found these tips helpful.  I know I did.  Let me know if you have any questions or comments. 

If you are looking to add exercise into your daily life and want an easy to follow plan,  check out my Beginner’s Guide to Yoga & Meditation.  Learn basic yoga poses and a simple way to meditate for 2 minutes everyday.  Click here to get the free guide.

Weight Loss Tips: 12 Things That Are Sabotaging Your Goals

weight loss tips

Losing weight can be a frustrating endeavour.  You may feel like you are doing everything right and still not see results.  There are things that can sabotage your efforts.  These little things can be major road blocks on your journey.  Check out this list and make sure you are not losing your weight loss battle to these 12 saboteurs.

#1 Sneaking small bites

Calories add up.  This can be a dangerous habit and it is very easy to do.  Think about how often you finish off what your kids don’t eat.  Or maybe you are a baker and you sample as you go.  How about packing kids lunches and nibbling as you pack?  I read a quote that said “Your stomach is not a waste basket”.  Do not feel like you are letting food go to waste if you don’t eat it.  One way to avoid doing this is by keeping a food journal (because it is so annoying to write down one bite of something) Another way to avoid sneaking bites is to try to be more mindful.  In other words, whenever you eat don’t do anything else.

#2 Relying on processed foods

First of all let’s be clear on what a processed food is.  By definition it is anything that is packaged in a box, can or bag.  There is no doubt that packaged foods vary widely in nutritional quality.  I can buy a “packaged” loaf of bread that is sprouted, organic and made with whole grains or I can buy a loaf of white bread that is stripped of all nutrients and fibre.  Obviously it is important to read the ingredients on any packaged food. 

Processed foods that have gone through a lot of mechanized preparations are stripped of enzymes and fibre (the bran and germ are removed from grains).  Since these are removed, the accompanying nutrients: B vitamins, phytonutrients, antioxidants, phenols, minerals and protein are also removed!  These nutrients are critical for optimal health and disease prevention.

With the enzymes, protein and fibre eliminated, highly processed foods are easily digested.  When less energy is required for digestion, you have a lower calorie burn.  This happens when eating processed foods.   Since the processed food gets assimilated quickly into your body, your satiation fades quickly and you are hungry again shortly after.  In addition, processed foods typically have a higher glycemic index which result in an increase in insulin secretion and weight gain.

Here is a link to an interesting study of Whole food meals versus Processed food meals.

#3 Ingesting artificial sweeteners

Between 1986 and 2010, the number of American adults eating and drinking sugar-free foods and beverages jumped from 78 million to 187 million, according to the Calorie Control Council.  WOW!!  Diet soft drinks are the most popular sugar-free products, followed by non-carbonated soft drinks, gum, and sugar substitutes, according to the organization. 

So many foods are artificially sweetened and we may not even realize it.  Please read the labels before you buy!  Did you know that Bear Paws have artificial sweeteners?  Yep, sorbitol is in the list of ingredients.

Here is what happens when you eat something sweet (sweetened by sugar).  First, your brain releases dopamine, which activates your brain’s reward center. Then Leptin (an appetite-regulating hormone) is released, this informs your brain that you are “full” once a certain amount of calories have been ingested.

However, when you consume something that tastes sweet but doesn’t contain any calories – hello artificial sweeteners – your brain’s pleasure pathway still gets activated by the sweet taste, but there’s nothing to deactivate it, since the calories never arrive. 

Artificial sweeteners basically trick your body into thinking that it’s going to receive sugar (calories), but when the sugar doesn’t come, your body continues to signal that it needs more, which results in carb cravings.

Some studies suggest that artificial sweeteners could raise your blood sugar levels even MORE than if you indulged in sugar-sweetened sodas and desserts!!

Researchers have also found that saccharin (a.k.a. Sweet‘N Low), sucralose (a.k.a. Splenda) and aspartame (a.k.a. NutraSweet and Equal) raised blood sugar levels by dramatically changing the makeup of the gut microorganisms (bacteria).  Artificial sweeteners disrupt your intestinal microflora and this has also been linked to an increased risk in obesity.

#4 Using too many condiments and sauces and dressings. 

These items can be packed with sugar and calories as well as artificial sweeteners.  This is where label reading is important.  Salad dressings can be a huge saboteur.  Try using just oil and vinegar or try this recipe of my hubby’s for a yummy salad dressing:

Corrado’s Salad Dressing (serves one)

3 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 tsp olive oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp honey

#5 Not drinking enough water. 

If you don’t drink enough water, you may think you are hungry when you are actually thirsty.  This will lead to increased calorie consumption.   Plus, mild dehydration will reduce your metabolism.  A study in “The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism” from 2003, showed that metabolic rate increases by 30 percent after drinking 2 cups of water.” 

If you feel inexplicably hungry an hour after eating a meal, try having a drink of water or a herbal tea (not black tea or coffee as it doesn’t hydrate you in the same way) and see if the feeling passes.

The goal is to drink 2 litres of water a day (or eight 8-ounce glasses) but please be sure you don’t increase your water intake dramatically in one day or you will never leave the bathroom!!

#6 Not eating enough vegetables

Vegetables are the healthiest, most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.  They are also low calorie and packed with fibre that will fill you and satiate your appetite (reducing your calorie intake).  Without an abundance of vegetables, you will become vitamin and mineral deficient which can slow down your metabolism and decrease energy.  Aim for 10-12 servings of vegetables and fruits per day.  You need more vegetables than fruit.  Use the ratio of 5 vegetables to 1 fruit.

#7 Not eating enough healthy fat

Good fats are vital for your health.  Fat doesn’t make you fat (unless, of course, you are overeating) Every living cell in the body needs fat to absorb nutrients and to rebuild and produce new cells.  Healthy fats give you energy and boost the liver’s function of releasing fat (we need fat to burn fat). Some good choices of fats are coldwater fish, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, nuts, seeds, nut butters, coconut oil, chia, olive oil, avocados, and grapeseed oil.  You can aim for  20-35% of your daily calories to come from fat.  Just be aware that fat is very calorie dense and you will need to eat it in the appropriate portion (see tip #9).

#8 Skipping Meals

The longer you wait between meals, the hungrier you get and the more likely you are to overeat.  According to Registered Dietitian Amy Jamieson-Petonic, your blood sugar begins to fall after 3 hours without eating.  After 4 hours you’ve digested everything you ate earlier.  Once you’ve crossed the 5-hour mark, your blood sugar begins to plummet, and you grab whatever you can to refuel.  The longer you go without eating, the poorer the choices you are likely to make.

Eating breakfast is important.  People who regularly eat breakfast tend to weigh less than those who skip their morning meal. They also get more nutrients like vitamins D, B12, and A. They may even be more likely to resist food cravings and make better food choices, especially when protein is part of the meal.

#9 Not paying attention to portion sizes

Portion sizes are important.  They differ for men and women.  Click here to go to my most favourite easy to follow guide for “eyeing” portion sizes without measurements. 

#10 Not being prepared

Decide on your meal plan for the week and then shop for that plan.  Not having a plan for lunch and dinner will result in less than healthy choices (hello pizza delivery!).  Also, carry healthy on-the-go snacks with you so that when hunger strikes you are not left with McDonald’s as your only option.

#11 Not working out with enough intensity

Listening to your body is important so that you do not injure yourself.  But you will not see results if you do not push yourself.  Working out should be challenging.  You want to sweat and feel uncomfortable.  You want to feel your muscles burning.  Only you can gauge your level of intensity so don’t cheat yourself.

#12 Using negative self talk

Negative self-talk gets you nowhere.  You may not even be aware of the voices inside your head but you are always talking to yourself.  Take some time and listen to what you are saying to yourself.  It matters!!!  As Henry Ford says: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right”.   Your thoughts become your words; your words become your actions and your actions become your reality.

Click here for a list of positive affirmations on Pinterest

Here’s to feeling good in those skinny jeans 🙂

Jump Start Your Health With Walking

Jump Start Your Health With Walking

 

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Hi!  My name is Glenneth and I am the blogger behind YourPathToFit.com.  I am super excited to be here – Thanks, Natasha!!!
A little about me – I am in my mid-40s and live in Knoxville, TN.  I am a holistic health coach and a certified personal trainer.  Six years ago I started walking for fitness and have walked over 150 5Ks since then.  I started out as a true couch potato and I believe that walking is a great exercise if you need somewhere to start.
 I firmly believe that being healthy and fit is different for everyone and you have to find what works for you.
 Looking to get started working out and don’t know where to start?  WALK!
What You’ll Need
  • While you can truly walk in any type of clothing and shoes, I highly recommend some good athletic shoes if you are walking any kind of distance.   Go to a running store and get fitted.  They will be pricey, but trust me – your feet will thank you.
  • A water bottle – it is super important to stay hydrated while working out – especially during the summer heat.
  • A place to walk (see section below)
  • An app or a watch that tracks time and distance (optional).  I currently use an app on my IPhone called Map My Fitness.  I also have an Apple Watch and a Garmin I use sometimes.
Where to Walk
My favorite place to walk is at a local children’s hospital.  They have a .7 mile loop around their building that is close to my house and in a safe neighborhood.  Some places you might consider walking:
  • The gym on a treadmill or track
  • A local school’s track
  • The mall
  • Local greenways
  • Through your neighborhood
Do think about safety – especially if you are walking alone.  I recommend letting someone know where you are walking and when you will return.
How to Get Started
If you haven’t worked out in a while or are completely new to exercise, this is what I start my clients with.  Schedule time three days per week giving yourself a day of rest between each walking day.
  • Day 1 – Walk 10-15 minutes
  • Day 2 – Walk 15-20 minutes
  • Day 3 – Walk 20-25 minutes
By the end of the first week, you are walking 1 mile at a time.  Walk at a comfortable pace.  You should be able to carry on a conversation, but not sing.  Try to find something fairly flat (this is pretty hard in our area) and then work your way up to hills.
Want to train for a 5K?  My Walk Your Way to a 5K ebook is a 6-week program to get you ready for your first 5K.
Thanks for letting me drop by!
Glenneth

5 Things You Need to Stop if You Want to Lose Weight

weight loss#1 Stop Drinking Your Calories.

There are so many ways you can drink calories.  Fancy, flavoured coffees, soft drinks, mixed alcoholic drinks, fruity beverages and the list goes on.  Drinking your calories often results in overeating.  There is little satiation when it comes to these drinks.  Plus, they are often packed with sugar.  This leads to a rush of glucose into your bloodstream followed by increased insulin and then fat storage – yuck. 

Let me give you a few examples of how sugary some of these drinks can be.  Have you ever tried vitamin water?  It sounds healthy right?  Water is the first ingredient but it is followed by sugar.  A 591mL bottle has 120 calories, but guess how much sugar?  There is 31 grams of sugar in a bottle!!  Yikes!!  That equals 8 teaspoons of sugar!! 

Here is a simple formula that you can use when you read food labels:

4 grams of sugar = 1 tsp = 16 calories

Ok – so you don’t drink vitamin water, good for you.  But take a close look at what you do drink.  Do you have Iced cappuccinos at Tim Horton’s?  That’s 150 calories with 32 grams of sugar – another 8 tsp of sugar.  What about a vanilla latte from Starbucks?  That’s 250 calories with 35 g of sugar.  Nine whooping teaspoons of sugar!  I don’t even think we need to discuss soft drinks like Coke and Pepsi.  But here is what is interesting, there is 39 grams of sugar in a can of Coke – that’s pretty similar to the supposed “healthy” vitamin water.

#2 Stop Buying Low-Fat Products

Fat is not the enemy when it comes to weight loss.  Sugar is our enemy.  When a food item has been stripped of fat, the flavour gets lost.  To make up for the lack in flavour, manufacturers have to add in sugar, artificial flavours etc. to make up for it.

How many grams of sugar should you aim for? Here is the recommendation by the American Heart Association guidelines.

Women: no more than 100 calories per day which equals 6 teaspoons or 24 grams

Men: no more than 150 calories per day which equals 9 teaspoons or 36 grams

Wow!!  So, it is recommended that I have 6 tsp of sugar per day.  That is not an easy task, especially when so many of our products have added sugar.

Manufacturers package their products in a deceiving way.  They make claims that sound healthy and nutritious when they are not.  You really need to read the nutrition facts before you decide whether a supposed “health” product is actually healthy.  Let’s take low-fat yogurt as an example.  The typical flavoured low-fat yogurt serving size has 110 calories with 17 grams of sugar.  That makes 4 tsp of sugar.

Using the sugar formula:

4tsp x 16 calories = 64 calories!! 

Here is the shocking news – more than half of your calories in this yogurt come from sugar!!!!  So – how healthy is it?   You can do the same math this granola bars and cereal and baked goods.  It is shocking! 

#3 Stop Waiting For The Perfect Time

There will never be a perfect time.  Life will never stop throwing challenges at you.  If you wait, you will wait forever.  Eating right is not an all or nothing venture.  Please stop trying to be perfect.  This is my biggest frustration when it comes to helping people with their weight loss goals.  You do not have to do it right all the time.  Make small changes.  Take baby steps.  When you fail, get up and make your next decision a healthy one.  When you mess up, don’t say to yourself: “Oh well, I will start again on Monday”.  No!  You will start again right now, this next second because you can and because you forgive yourself for being human.  You will mess up – so what.  Keep going.  If you fall 7 times, get up 8.  Do it.  Otherwise you will never get there.

#4 Stop Depriving Yourself

One of the worst things you can do when you are trying to maintain long-term weight loss is to deprive yourself.  You will be setting yourself up for failure if you think that you can resist all your favourite foods.  And seriously – how fun is it to know that you can’t eat something you love?  A more effective strategy is to indulge in your favourite “unhealthy” foods 20% of the time.  You have probably heard the 80/20 rule.  Eat healthy 80% of the time and eat your cheat foods 20% of the time

There are different ways people live by this rule.  You’ve probably heard of “cheat days” when people allow themselves a day to eat whatever they want.  You could do this method if it works for you.  I don’t find this method is effective for me.  I feel gross if I have a whole day dedicated to eating junky foods.  Plus, I like to have a little indulgence everyday.  I try to reserve a small portion of my calories each to day towards my “treats”.  Here is a formula that you can use to figure it out.  If you eat approximately 1500 calories a day then take 20% of that and you will get 300 calories.  This is what I will reserve for my “fun food”.

Also, make sure that you are really mindful when you are eating.  This means you need to slow down and stop multi-tasking while you eat.  Really taste your food.  Most of us are guilty of being busy on our phones of being distracted while we are eating.  If you do this, you will find that once you are done eating you won’t even remember how your food tasted.  This is not helpful for feeling satiated.  Taste your food, enjoy it.  When you eat, don’t do anything else.

#5 Stop Eating Late At Night

It is likely that you are watching tv while you eat at night.  This is not mindful.  You are mindlessly munching away, not even noticing if you are full or not.  The food you eat after dinner is probably due to emotional stress or cravings or boredom.  It is not likely that you are hungry. 

Studies have shown that eating late at night leads to twice as much weight gain!!  A great reason to stop!!

This is probably one of my biggest weaknesses when it comes to eating healthy.  I do eat at night.  Vegetables are a great choice any time of the day and basically are considered a free food.  But do I ever feel like eating a carrot late at night – not a chance.  My goal is to keep my snack to 100 calories (but I’m not always successful, especially when my hubby brings home a bag of chips!!) 

Be patient with yourself.  Take baby steps.  Try to reduce your intake.  Make healthier choices.  And try to come up with a healthy behaviour that replaces your bad one.  Perhaps reading a book would keep you from eating.  Or lock the door when your husband brings home a bag of chips!!  Haha!  Whatever you do, don’t quit.  You can do it.

How To Motivate Yourself To Workout

how-to-motivate-yourself

Motivating yourself to workout means focusing on your reasons WHY and eliminating excuses.  Exercise can easily be pushed to the bottom of your to-do list.  I find that if I can eliminate my  obstacles and remind myself WHY I workout, I am more likely to follow through and DO IT!

5 Ways to Motivate Yourself

#1  How to motivate yourself to workout when you have NO TIME!

Overcoming the no time excuse is all about PLANNING

There are countless urgent and important issues that need our attention on a daily basis.  Scheduling your week and knowing when you are going to dedicate time to workout will help you dramatically.  Remember that HIIT training (short bursts of high intensity) allows you the luxury of shortening your workout.  Just 10-20 minutes is enough to get great results!  Just remember to push yourself.  

Click Here to get to my YouTube channel with a variety of  10 minute workouts

There will be times when your plan goes awry and you may miss your workout but I want to encourage you to have the commitment to yourself to workout even if it’s just for 5 minutes.  You know you will feel better if you do and you can maintain your fitness level if you stay consistent (even if it’s only 5 minutes of intense exercise). 

#2  How to motivate yourself to workout when you are TIRED or you just don’t FEEL like it

Overcoming these excuses requires ACCOUNTABILITY.

Paying for classes or a personal trainer keeps you driven to workout when you don’t feel like it because you’ve paid your money and people are counting on you to be there.  If you don’t have a trainer or you aren’t going to classes (Click here to find out about my HIIT Training classes) then you might want to have an accountability partner.  Have someone who has the same goals as you and make a pact together to workout a certain number of times per week.  Check in with each other and hold each other accountable.  Having someone to answer to makes a big difference.

#3  How to motivate yourself to workout when it feels like you AREN’T GETTING RESULTS

Overcoming this excuse requires you to focus on your GOALS and your WHY

You can make yourself a goal board and put up photos of what you want your body to look like.  Write your goals on the board and put it somewhere you can see it every day.  Write on the board WHY you workout.  Maybe working out makes you feel strong, empowered, thin, lean, sexy etc.  Maybe you do it to reduce stress, maintain your health, improve your mood, enhance your youthfulness & longevity.  There are endless reasons why we should workout.  What are YOUR reasons

Once you have your goals written down.  You will need a way to measure your success.  Having a method to track your fitness level and improvements is inspiring and motivating.  For more information on how you can measure your fitness success check out my blog on fitness testing.

#4  How to motivate yourself to workout when you are FALLING BACK INTO BAD HABITS

Overcoming this excuse requires staying inspired with DAILY POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS

These are positive statements that you say to yourself every day.  You actually are speaking into existence what you want your life to look like.  You need to be aware of one thing regarding positive affirmations.  You absolutely MUST say them in a positive way.  In other words don’t say something like “I will not eat sugar” because your brain doesn’t hear the “NOT” part and you are basically saying “I will eat sugar”.  Hahaha – seriously! – the total opposite of what you want.  If you don’t believe me, click here are read about the white bear experiment (also referred to the Ironic Process Theory or Thought Suppression).  If I say to you “Do NOT think about a white bear” – what do you think about??  A WHITE BEAR!!  So, say your affirmations in a positive way – “I chose to eat only healthy foods that nourish my body”.

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Here is an example of a positive affirmation statement for exercise.  You can easily make up your own and put them where you will see them often throughout your day.

You can find more Positive Affirmation Statements for a healthy lifestyle on my Pinterest account.  Click here to see more examples.

#5  How to motivate yourself to workout when you JUST DON’T WANT TO GET SWEATY

Overcoming this excuse requires a QUICK, NO-FUSS BEAUTY ROUTINE

One of my personal common excuses to not workout is that I just don’t want to get sweaty and have to fix myself up again to be presentable!   So I will share with you my with quick, no-fuss beauty routine and a photo of the products I use:

quick-beauty-routine

#1 Facial wipes to wash my face – I like the live clean wipes because they are paraben and phthalate free and have a pleasant but not overwhelming scent.  Then I use the same wipe (with additional soap and water) or a washcloth to wipe down my body

#2 Dry Shampoo – ok – this is a game changer for me.  And yes, I am SOLD on this brand.  I have tried several different types of dry shampoo but Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk is my favourite.  It gives my fine hair lots of body and I can even have consecutive days of sweat drenched hair still look great!

#3 BB Cream – I am not sold on any particular brand but BB creams are great because they are a multifunctional beauty product.  They moisturize, protect from sun, correct flaws, and tint your skin giving you a great glowing look.  It has the benefits of skincare, sunscreen and makeup in one tube.

#4 Ponytail elastics and bobby pins – practicing making a messy bun is a good idea.  It’s a cute style and is pretty easy to master with a few bobby pins.  The sad truth is that once I workout my hair just doesn’t look as lovely as when I carefully blow-dried it out.   I don’t want to take the time to blow-dry or flat-iron it again so putting it up is the next best option.

I hope these ideas have been helpful and will keep you motivated to workout.  If you have found ways to keep yourself motivated or have a quick beauty routine that has worked for you please share in the comments!