New Year’s Resolutions: 2 Things You’re Doing Wrong!

It’s getting to be that time of year again…New Years resolution time! The most common kinds of New Year’s resolutions revolve around changing eating and exercise habits, which is great. However, most people fail to stick to their New Year’s resolutions. Why?

2 Big Reasons!

In all my years working in the fitness industry and helping people achieve their goals, I have identified two major mistakes that many people make when they try to change their health habits.

Mistake #1: You are too focused on what you shouldn’t be eating
If you have ever gone on a diet, you know what I mean by this. Many diets focus on what foods you need to limit or cut out completely, like high fat foods, carbs, sugar, gluten, etc. This puts your mind in a state of lack. You begin thinking about all the foods you can’t eat and you start to feel hungry….and maybe even angry!

photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Instead of focusing so much on what you shouldn’t be eating, focus on incorporating healthier foods into your diet. Stock up on fresh veggies and try making some different dips – like avocado dip, spicy peanut dip or yogurt ranch dip. Look at healthy cooking cookbooks to get ideas and focus on making balanced meals.

Incorporating more greens, veggies and fruit into your diet is more enjoyable than obsessing about cutting out the naughty foods!

Mistake #2: You are too focused on what you should be doing.
When it comes to exercise, many people feel that it is just another thing they should be doing, but not really something they want to do. Like flossing and mammograms.

Exercise is not a chore, its a privilege. If you are healthy and able enough to move your body you are lucky. Our bodies were designed to move, not to sit at a desk for hours. Stop seeing exercise as something you should do and start seeing it as something you get to do.

photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

I realize that having a busy schedule can mean not having much time for yourself, which can make you feel like your scarce free time should not be squandered on a treadmill. Fair enough! But if you shift your idea of exercise  so that you see your workout time as me-time – time you have to invigorate your mind, body and spirit and just be in the moment – I can guarantee you will find it easy to achieve regular exercise.

So this year when you make your New Year’s resolution, don’t think you have to force yourself to do something that sucks (working out) and refrain from indulging in dietary debauchery (pasta with cream sauce and cheese). Instead just focus on enjoying moving your body and eating fresh, green, balanced meals and I promise your cravings for cheesy pasta and couch-time will subside!

This year, do something different and treat yourself to some Private Coaching sessions to help transform your mind and body.

 

3 Rockin’ Ways to Motivate Yourself to Workout

Looking for new motivation to exercise this Winter? It can be tempting to give in to the Holiday silliness of frantic shopping, obligatory Christmas parties and all out gluttony, all the while avoiding your workouts. But since giving yourself an extra boost of fitness motivation will keep you sane this Winter, I wanted to share my 3 favourite ways to get excited about working out:

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

1) Buy yourself nice workout gear
This actually makes quite a difference in how you feel about exercising. If you are working out in old, crappy, stained t-shirts and stretched out yoga pants, you probably don’t feel or look your best during exercise.

While you certainly don’t need flashy new workout clothes, if you feel good about your appearance when your exercising, you are creating a positive association with working out. And if you feel good while working out, you will want to do it more often.

Of course, you don’t want this to become just another excuse not to exercise (I can’t start working out until I have a whole new gym wardrobe…), but you generally want to avoid wearing fitness clothing that is physically uncomfortable or that makes you feel self conscious (like what the lady above is wearing).

2) Try something new!
Break out of your shell and try something different – something that scares you a bit – like pole dancing or indoor rock climbing. Not only will this shake you out of your workout slump and challenge your body in new ways, but it will keep your mind present and focused – you may even forget that you are “exercising.”

For Christmas I bought myself a go-go dancing DVD. I don’t know how much of a workout it will actually be, but I think it will be a nice change of pace from my usual workout routines (plus, the YouTube video for it kind of cracked me up 😉

3) Download new music, often
Frequently changing and updating your ipod with motivating music will have you looking forward to your workout time. There is nothing worse than being stuck listening to the same horrid Lady Gaga song that you’ve already heard 1000 times while your running on the treadmill.

Choose music that energizes you and change it often to avoid boredom. Or better yet, switch ipods with your workout buddy every now and then just to mix things up.

Good luck this Holiday Season! In the comments box below, let me know how you like to keep yourself motivated to workout during the Winter months….

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How to Love Exercise in 3 Easy Steps!

Hate exercise? Wish you loved going to the gym, running and doing power yoga? If you are one of the many people who hate working out, you have probably noticed that it is really hard to get motivated to do it!

Which makes perfect sense! The secret to staying motivated to exercise is to actually enjoy doing it. But how to love exercise? Changing your thoughts about exercise is the quickest and most effective way to change your health and body.

Positive thoughts about exercise = Enjoying exercise = Sticking with exercise

How to change your thinking in 3 easy steps:

how to love exercise

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Step #1: Accept where you are – and choose to love and honor yourself anyway.
Don’t waste time beating yourself up or wishing you were different. If you hate exercise, be honest with yourself. On a sheet of paper, write the following:
I really dislike exercising, and that’s okay. I choose to love and accept myself anyway.

Step #2: Be open to the possibility that your thoughts and feelings can change.
In your journal, write the following: Even though I don’t like exercise, I am open to the possibility that my feelings about it can change.

After you write this, imagine yourself enjoying exercise. Imagine what that would feel like. How would you know you loved exercise? Would you be excited to get up in the morning to do your workout? Would you feel energized afterwards? Really get a clear picture of your exercise loving self in your mind – and believe that it is possible for you to love exercise, even if you don’t feel this way right now.

Step #3: Tell yourself that it is safe to love exercise.
In your journal, write the following: It is safe for me to love exercise, OR it is safe for me to be fit.

Intense exercise stimulates the production of adrenaline, which is also present in the body when you are in a state of fear. This can make exercise seem pretty unpleasant and on a subconscious level you may associated it with being in danger. Similarly, we often eat to soothe ourselves and for many people, extra fat on their bodies makes them feel protected.

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Read over your journal entries twice each day. Or better yet, say the three phrases to yourself throughout the day – particularly when you are feeling unmotivated to workout. You will be on your way to loving exercise in no time!

 

Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

photo courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net

The other day I heard the expression “combing the mirror”. It refers to our tendency to focus on changing external, superficial factors when we don’t like what we see, rather than changing ourselves on a deeper level.

When you want to lose weight, what do you do? Most people focus on changing how they eat and try to exercise more. While there is a direct correlation between weight loss and diet and activity levels, this isn’t the whole story.

There is a theory that our reality is a reflection of our internal state and this is certainly true when it comes to diet and exercise. Whether or not you are successful with a diet or exercise program depends on your internal state – your thoughts, beliefs and feelings.

You may know exactly how to eat to lose weight or how much exercise you should be doing, but that is quite irrelevant if your internal state is one of self loathing and negative belief patterns.

Before you change your diet and exercise routine, ask yourself these important questions first:

  1. How do I feel about my body and my self? Do I like it? Do I want to do good things for it and take care of it or do I want to punish it for being “bad”?
  2. How do I feel about exercise? What do I need to change or do in order to feel more positive about exercise?
  3. How do I feel about food? Does it make me feel powerless? Do I see it as a soothing balm for unpleasant emotions or boredom?

photo courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net

As you ponder these questions, you will probably become aware of some negative thoughts. Take out a sheet of paper and jot down one thought that you would like to change for each category (Body/Self, Exercise and Food). You should have a total of three negative or limiting beliefs.

Now, come up with a positive replacement thought for each one. For example, if your negative belief about exercise is that “it feels awful and I hate doing it”, you might replace it with “the right kind of exercise makes me feel good”.

Spend five minutes each morning reading your replacement thoughts. Close your eyes and say those thoughts to yourself as if they were 100% true. Really get into the feeling that those beliefs create. Imagine yourself having lost the weight, eating healthy and exercising regularly. What would that look like to you? How would you feel? Focus on that feeling.

What you are doing here is reprogramming your mind to accept the new beliefs and to anchor in the image and feeling of being healthy and energized. Throughout the day, particularly if you are about to make a poor food choice or skip your workout, bring this image and feeling to mind, reminding yourself of your new beliefs.

So if you are asking yourself “why can’t I lose weight?!”, notice if you are just “combing the mirror”. Once you make changes to your self on a deeper level, this will be reflected back to you in the form of self-love, joy, energy and yes, weight loss!

 

Need a little extra help in changing your thought patterns? I offer Individual and Group Coaching programs to help you reach your goals.

 



Poor Man’s Mojito

This is my favorite non-alcoholic drink recipe, which is a healthy rendition of a mojito – basically a mojito without the alcohol and sugar. I know, I know…..but you can drink it anytime, anywhere and it’s easy on your body and wallet.

Carbonated waterpoor man's mojito
lime, cut in half
a few mint leaves

1) Crush the lime leaves with a mortar and pestle, or just tear them before placing them in a fancy glass
2) Pour carbonated water over mint leaves
3) Squeeze lime juice into glass until desired limeyness is achieved

Tip: If you are used to drinking sugary soft drinks this might seem a bit tart to you, so feel free to add a little agave nectar or honey, at least until you can handle it straight up!



Tabbouleh-Greek Salad Recipe

This salad is a complete meal in itself, making it a perfect dinner on a hot Summer evening….and the leftovers make a great lunch!

1 cup quinoa or bulgur
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 red pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cucumber, seeded and finely chopped
4 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
5 green onions, chopped OR 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
generous handful of parsley, chopped
1 can olives, drained and finely sliced (optional)
1 cup (or slightly less) crumbled feta

Dressing
1 lemon (juice and grated rind)
1/2 cup olive oil (extra virgin)
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
cracked black pepper, to taste

1) If using quinoa – bring 1 cup quinoa and two cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Cover saucepan and turn heat to low for 15 min.
If using bulgur – place 1 cup bulgur in a bowl and pour 2 cups boiling water overtop – stir and cover while you make the rest of the salad (20-30 min). You may need to drain any excess water before adding to the salad.

2) Grate the peel of about half the lemon, using a zester and then juice it and place in a bowl – add olive oil, crushed garlic and cracked pepper and mix well – set aside.

3) Chop up the red pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, olives, parsley and feta and throw it all together in a large salad bowl.

4) Drain and rinse the can of chickpeas and add to the salad.

5) Add the quinoa or bulgur and then mix well with the dressing.

Enjoy!!!!

 

 

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Vegan Pesto Recipe

This vegan pesto recipe uses pecans instead of pine nuts, kale instead of basil and eliminates the parmesan cheese altogether, making it a cheaper and healthier alternative to traditional pesto. It goes wonderfully with fresh linguine or in wraps and sandwiches.

2 large handfuls of kale (stems removed)
1 large handful of pecans
2/3 cup olive oil
1 small handful of parsely or basil
2 cloves garlic, crushed through a garlic press
2 pinches of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1) Place kale in a blender – it should fill about half the blender.

2) Throw in the pecans, olive oil, parsely, garlic, salt and pepper and blend until smooth. You may need to stop the blender and stir the contents a few times so it blends evenly.

Tip: You may want to use more or less olive oil, depending on how thick you want your sauce.

 




How To Love Exercise

Believe it or not, your workout can be a very enjoyable part of your day and not just another thing you have to do. Here are my top 5 fitness tips for making exercise something you can actually look forward to:

1) Mix it up! Don’t just do one kind of exercise. If you go for a run on Monday, do weights on Tuesday and enjoy a yoga class on Wednesday. Not only will your body be challenged by the variety, but it will thank you as you won’t be putting repeated stress on the same joints day after day. And you are less likely to get bored if you change things up.

2) Aim for 20-30 min a day, everyday. It is better to a little exercise more often than doing one long workout a week. This way, it is easier to make exercise a regular, everyday habit. And with 20-30 min it is not some daunting, unachievable task.

3) Workout in an environment that you enjoy. If you don’t like The Gym, don’t go. Figure out a way to workout at home or outdoors. Or take a dance fitness class, go swimming or do some yoga in your backyard. Many people have this idea that if you aren’t on a treadmill at the gym, it doesn’t count as exercise. There are many different ways to move your body and burn calories, so choose something that energizes you!

4) Listen to your favorite music. Take the time to regularly update your ipod so you always have new music to enjoy. This can be a great motivator to workout!

 5) Think of your exercise time as me-time. This is the time when you can clear your mind and focus on yourself. Its like a trip to the spa….but not quite as relaxing!

Do you have any secret tricks for making your workout time enjoyable? If so, what are they?



Healthy Diet Tips

First off I need to confess that I am not a fan of alot of the diet advice out there, most of which makes healthy eating out to be this miserable, joyless ordeal.  I believe that counting calories, denying myself treats and obsessing about food is a complete waste of time. Eating healthy doesn’t have to conflict with eating well, as long as you follow a few healthy diet tips. Here are my Top 7 Healthy Diet Tips to help you eat better:

1) Don’t focus on calorie counting and depriving yourself of the foods you enjoy. Instead focus on choosing foods that nourish your body, give you energy and make you feel good.

2) Keep a positive food journal where you keep track of all the healthy things you eat – make it your goal to fill your journal each day!

3) Indulge in small, healthy snacks throughout the day like carrot sticks and hummus, rice crackers with cucumber slices, popcorn with olive oil and nutritional yeast, or apple slices with a little almond butter.

4) When you go to the fridge to grab a snack, check in with your belly – is it really hungry or is the hunger in your mind?

5) Stay mindful of how your stomach feels as you are eating. When you feel full, put down your fork. Refrigerate your leftovers and finish them later when you are hungry again.

6) Cut out all sugary soft drinks – replace with carbonated water and lime juice with mint leaves or other fruit slices or berries.

7) If you get a sweet tooth in the evenings, try drinking tea with licorice or cinnamon in it – the natural sweetness curbs cravings for desserts.

Try working these 7 Healthy Diet Tips into your daily life and you will notice what a difference they make in the long run.



Recipe: Oatmeal for One

This is one of my favorite breakfasts – it’s delicious, healthy and it stays with you well into the day. It also has an exotic, tropical flare with the banana and coconut. This recipe doubles well.

1/2 cup quick oats
3/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp agave syrup (or brown sugar, maple syrup)
1 sliced banana (or 1/2 apple, sliced)
Optional: shredded coconut, chia seeds

1) Stir quick oats and milk together in a small saucepan and place on medium heat – stir frequently as it heats and bubbles (for about 3-4 min, or until consistency has gone from watery to clumpy)
2) Add cinnamon and nutmeg, stirring well
3) Remove from heat and stir in sweetener of your choice
4) Place banana slices in bowl and pour oatmeal overtop – sprinkle with shredded coconut and chia seeds if you like.

Enjoy!