3 Daily Habits Keeping You Unhealthy

August 15, 2014

Our daily habits have the biggest effect on our results and outcomes. The actions we repeat over and over determine our reality whether it is the fit of our pants, our inner dialogue or the balance in our bank account. Just as spending money on coffee and dining out each day can add up over time, so can an extra cookie after dinner or a negative thought each time we do not follow through with our goals.

The importance of our inner dialogue is paramount. What we tell ourselves determines our reality each day. Perhaps you get on the scale in the morning and let the number staring back at you dictate whether or not you have been successful over the past week. If the number is higher than you hoped, you embark on a journey of negative self-talk, berating yourself and using these harsh words as motivation to ‘do better’, ‘be more strict’, or ‘just follow the plan’.

Oh mama, that sounds like a world of hurt to experience on a daily basis. The issue is that you think that you are getting better by talking negatively to yourself!

Maybe if I am harder on myself, I will finally get it! I will finally be able to avoid sugar and treats.

Here is a great question to ask yourself: How is that approach working for you?

The end game of living a healthy lifestyle is to experience peace, enjoyment and complete physical and mental health; therefore, creating negative inner dialogue is short sighted and ill-informed. To turn your health-conscious journey around to the positive side of the road, here are 3 daily habits keeping you unhealthy.

Placing Blame On Others Or Yourself

Q: If I am not to place blame on myself or others, who is to blame?

A: Practice awareness without blame or judgement. Here is a real world example. You get on the scale, and the number is up. You can blame yourself and go on a negative mental tour of all the things you did wrong. Another option is to blame others or external situations. Perhaps you attend a family gathering and there are no healthy options to eat so clearly that is not your fault.

The issue with placing blame at all is that it leaves us with no power to make better decisions. We can certainly accept responsibility about the reality of our situation and then work to make the best choice based on what we are dealing with. When we stop looking for a place to lay the blame, we find options for success to move forward instead.

Defending & Explaining Our Position

Gosh I am a work in progress on this one. Why does this habit keep us unhealthy? Because frankly it is a waste of time.

At the end of the day we must get to the point where we give up worrying about what others think. Your friends, family and co-workers will either understand where you are coming from or not. It is certainly not up to you to go on a personal crusade to get everyone on your side! Instead, consider this as a daily mantra: ‘I am a passive sign of health and fitness’ This does not mean you sit around doing nothing, it is actually the opposite. Inspiring others with your actions is far more likely than motivation via empty words and explanations.

Marching to the beat of someone else’s drum.

Trying to fit into someone else’s definition of success is an unfulfilling journey. What makes you happy? What creates energy, joy and fulfillment in your life?

One simple tool to determine what you really enjoy is to ask yourself what you would do if you had an entirely free weekend with no commitments at all. I learned this one from my coach Jill Coleman. If no one knew what you were up to, what would you spend your time doing?

My answer was writing, walking, meditating, time in nature with my man, movement that feels good, and a dinner with friends and family.

Start here. Creating a daily life full of actions you enjoy is the surest way to find consistency and positivity. No guilt required.

Have a beautiful & positive week!

Lana

Sensational Side Dishes

August 15, 2014

This week I hosted a nutrition webinar for the ladies in our Blast Fitness Lifestyle Club. We chatted for an entire hour about how to get results from our eating practices without feeling deprived. One of the habits we discussed was to include more volume foods on our plates. Volume foods are simply choices that offer a large amount of food for a relatively small caloric load. Vegetables are one of the best examples of volume foods. The issue is, they better taste good or sustainability will suffer!

Here are some of my favourite side dishes that offer a ton of volume on your plate with a lower caloric load for your waistline.

Prosciutto Asparagus Roll-ups

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Sauteed Ginger Greens

Roasted Corn & Black Bean Salad

 

Staying On Track While Stressed

August 08, 2014

Admittedly, this topic would make a great book. The subject matter is so vast, but can be narrowed down to a number of impactful actions for today's post.

The point of eating well and exercising during periods of stress is that it does help us to deal with that very stress we are experiencing, much better.

During times of stress we often stop exercising altogether, we tell ourselves we do not have time and our regular routine of being mindful fails. Likely a considerably more negative impact on our waistline are the food decisions we make when we are stressed. We tend to overeat, eat mindlessly and choose processed, sugary and salty foods from packages. 

So what if you had a really simple plan to follow during those stressful times? Would it be easier to stay on track? The problem is that having a handout of exactly what to do during stressful times becomes a stressful thing to read in itself! As you are likely beginning to realize through my other posts, this is a mindset shift first and a 'follow the stress workout plan' second type of deal. You must first believe that it is possible to stay on track during roadblocks and normal life challenges. 

I believe that a few steps to follow can help you to see that stress does not have to mean the end of eating well and exercising regularly. Sure, your workouts may be shorter, your food choices likely not ‘perfect’, but we can certainly create a plan that is ‘good enough’. In order for you to actually follow through when life gets crazy, the most important part is focusing on SIMPLICITY.  

The thing is, following a ‘good enough’ plan during stressful life events is better than the option you are currently experiencing: Doing nothing with your body and everything with poor eating habits.

Step 1: Exercise Intensely

This past weekend my friend Janna and I completed a strength workout that included 3 rounds of 3 total body exercises and finished with us running downhill for 15 minutes to the beach to meet a friend. The fact that we were both texting each other days later with our muscle soreness woes is a testament to the 'something is better than nothing' approach. 

I even had time to use my cat as resistance.

What you need for an intense workout during a time crunch:

- 10-30 minutes

- Yourself

Yep, that is all. No equipment? Try squat jumps, push-ups, jumping jax, stairs, plank. Repeat. 

Step 2: Eat Simply

This is the biggest disaster area during busy, and emotional times. It can be as simple as telling yourself you do not have time to pack a healthy lunch or as deep as reaching for comfort food when tough mental struggles come up. 

In keeping with our simplicity theme, I thought I would share my eating mindset during stressful times:

- Protein: usually boiled eggs (easy to make ahead) or I order sushi and get tuna sashimi, last option is a protein bar.

- Fruit & Vegetables: Always have apples in my fridge. Whip up a protein shake with spinach and blueberries.

- Water: Always have it with me and always choose this first before any other drink. (even coffee!)

- Have a treat when I feel I want it and move on!

This takes little to no effort, is my go-to plan and I only get to this point when super short on time (deadlines, projects, lots of traveling). It is totally not perfect and I do love to spend my time cooking, most of the time. When life gets crazy, you need to find a way to stay on track with food choices if you want to achieve your goals.

Step 3: Find Healthy Ways To De-Stress Quickly

Once again, we go to the 'I don't even have time to put on my seatbelt, how am I going to fit in a yoga class?' place in our heads, don't we?

Here's a question for you, how effective are you at completing work related tasks when you are super stressed?

Answer: Probably not so great. I tend to worry and procrastinate more than actually completing work when I am stressing. Finding ways to de-stress does matter. We become more efficient, we are a lot more pleasant to our friends and families and we are less likely to fall off the eating well and exercise wagon when we chill out a little. 

My favourite de-stressing activities: 

- Yoga (a class or 10-15 minutes of breathing and movement in quiet at home)

- Walking outdoors (this is so effective! Decreases heart rate and blood pressure, helps us to stay in the moment)

- Meditation (check out The Compassionate Mind started by my friend Bev Janisch for simple guidance)

As I shared with some of my Blast Fitness Bootcamp Ladies this week, I often write posts as an online diary of sorts. It helps to keep the information realistic, relevant and true! I really do follow the steps above during times of greater stress. 

If you think this can help anyone else in your life, do not forget to ‘share’ this post with the social media icons at the top of the page!

Love & Peace,

Lana

BBQ Roasted Vegetables

August 08, 2014

Last Saturday was the first time I had ever used a bbq on my own....I know, I know, you can't believe it. Well here's my explanation. Growing up we didn't have a barbecue. My Dad cooked everything in the oven or on the stove top. These days, I do 98% of the cooking in our house and my fiancé mans the bbq during the other 2% of the time when he is helping with dinner! 

Anyways, it was hot out (hence the extremely brief hot pink shorts) and after a detailed lesson on how to turn on the propane, light the burners and not burn my eyebrows off, it was really easy. So of course, I have used the bbq 4 times this week and this has been one of my favourite albeit simple creations. 

Ingredients:

2 small zucchini chopped into sticks

4 bell peppers sliced into wide pieces

1 tbsp olive oil

fresh ground pepper

rock salt

Turn on bbq and prepare to medium heat (omg I don't even know bbq language!) After washing and chopping the veggies, toss in a bowl with olive oil, using your hands to coat lightly and evenly. Top with desired amount of salt and pepper. I tend to err on the side of caution because you can always add more salt and pepper after roasting. Place all veggies on bbq and close lid for 2-3 minutes. I turned mine over twice, roasting for a total of 15 minutes. I like them a little on the undercooked side rather than limp and overdone. Remove from heat and serve as the ideal side to your fave lean protein. These roasted veggies make for wicked leftovers the next day!

5 Ways to Master The Consistency Mindset

August 03, 2014

On Saturday night this weekend I drank two glasses of wine. It was a shiraz-malbec blend and it went perfectly with my dinner of roasted vegetable pizza!

I honestly debated about writing this as of course I want to inspire you all to eat healthy, make great decisions every day and add activity to your lives on a regular basis. But does eating pizza and drinking red wine totally throw you off? Does it mean you are no longer going to see the results you are working towards? Nope.

Seeing muscle definition in our arms and feeling great with the fit of our clothes does not happen over night. When we embark on the journey to changing our body, we can take the fast route of restriction, a diet plan and crazy exercise routine that takes all of our willpower to complete or we can adopt a sustainable approach.

A sustainable approach relies on consistency to be successful. It relies less on willpower and more on creating successful daily habits. You see, once an action becomes a habit, it costs us much less mental energy and conscious effort to harness the willpower to complete each task.

Sustainability is a balance of healthy choices and indulgence because that is an approach that can last.

But HOW do I become consistent with all these healthy habits you may ask? It comes down to five mindset shifts. These have been paramount in my journey to enjoy eating pizza, drinking wine, exercising regularly and seeing results physically over the last 2 years.

In essence, these shifts are like mantras that I have repeated to myself many times over. Feel free to take them, write them down and use them in your daily conversations with yourself when it feels so easy to fall back into your old habits.

My body composition was not created in a day and will not be ruined in a day either.

I use this mantra at two times, when I find myself becoming frustrated with results after bumping up my training or when I have had a treat and feel myself starting to wonder if it was a good idea! Knowing that the journey of body change is sustainable when I enjoy the process helps to keep me on track and away from restriction.

Expect disruptions to the plan and know how to deal with them.

You are going to travel, you are going to eat at a restaurant. Getting rid of these normal (and awesome!) parts of your life would be ridiculous. Instead, make an effort to pack a healthy snack, to not throw it all away when on vacation and to order a healthy and delicious meal when dining out. 

 

Two of my awesome clients exercising before their wedding in Palm Springs, California (photo bomb by yours truly!)

After you enjoy a treat get back on track at your next meal, not on Monday.

Waiting until Monday might actually be the biggest mindset trap of all. Why is Monday such a great time to start? Getting back on track at your next meal or snack is paramount to consistency. I find that knowing my next meal or snack will be anything I want allows me to enjoy pizza and wine from time to time without guilt.

Practice makes progress.

You are going to mess up. It will happen. Stop beating yourself up about it and consider that this is a practice. No great champion ever got to where they are seamlessly. Roadblocks and mistakes make us stronger, so choosing to see challenges as learning opportunities will help you to succeed.

Small actions lead to big results, but avoid obsessing over every little thing.

This one is tough to balance. Perhaps you are an all or nothing personality. You are either eating healthy or not. One practice that works great to balance out small actions each day yet not obsess over every little piece of food or minute of exercise is to find a couple mini-indulgences you really enjoy each day. Perhaps you love cream in your coffee, or feta cheese in your salad or a square of dark chocolate in the afternoon. Avoiding the former would cause you to feel restricted, and adding these small yet full of flavor items each day helps you to stay on track in the long run. Eating a salad you enjoy is a much more sustainable practice than forcing an unsatisfying meal of ‘protein and veggies’ each day.

To help you on your journey towards consistency, I have named August #leanhabitmonth on our Blast Fitness Facebook Page! Check out the hashtag for a new habit each day for the entire month.

We are already up to 4 habits for #leanhabitmonth:

Eat leafy greens

Choose complex starchy carbs vs. refined carbohydrates Incorporate relaxation time

Perform resistance training regularly

The process of successful habit change is slow, back and forth and so worth it in the long run!

Have a fantastic week,

Lana