How to Make Time for a Time Out

relax

“What do you do to relax?”

I once asked this to a group of women and got the reply, “Relax.  What’s that?”  

 

In this “hurry up” society when everything is at our fingertips, and Starbucks will now have our coffee ready when we arrive, we don’t know how to relax.  Stress relieving activities.  What are those?  And if we knew them, why would we do them?  We don’t have time!!  

Given that it’s Spring Break around here, I thought I’d spend a day on this topic of taking a time out.  We’re not going anywhere this week, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find time in our day to relax, decompress, or take a time out.  

These days people think they have to take a vacation, go to the beach, or camp out to relax.  But even then, they’re tied to their iphones, ipads, electronics, etc.  

 

So how, in our everyday lives, do we build in time to relax, decompress, take a time out?  In this day and age driven by stress, HOW can we build in some relief?  

 

  1. Breathe – No really, just BREATHE.  Take a minute, seriously, just one minute, and focus on your breath.  Feel and hear the inhale.  Feel and hear the exhale.  It can be calming.  It can help you focus and get you centered.  Eventually the minute will extend to two minutes then five minutes.  Then maybe you can think of doing this upon waking and before going to bed and anytime through the day when you realize you need to focus or need a time out.  
  2. Read – Find a book of five minute devotions or scripture readings.  You may enjoy poetry or even a few pages of a novel.  
  3. Get outside – Take a leisure walk.  Maybe take your lunch outside.  Open your blinds or windows if you can’t get outside.  Let the sun shine in!
  4. Gratitude – Take note of things for which you are grateful.  Keep a journal.  When you lay down at night or wake up in the morning, write down 3-5 things that you are thankful for.
  5. Self-Care – Soak in a warm bath.  Schedule a manicure or pedicure.  Or just take 15 minutes to do your own nails.  Massage.

 

Now when are you going to do this?  

You can start with five minutes.

  • It may mean getting up five minutes early.  
  • It may mean catching yourself when you’re scrolling social media and instead close your eyes and breathe for a couple of minutes.  
  • It may mean that when you are out doing errands, just park a little bit farther away and walk to your destination.  Feel the warm sun or the breeze as you go.  

So whether you’re on a beach this week or working 9-5, do yourself a favor and take a time out.  I dare you!

 

Do you find it difficult to relax?

How do you work in daily time outs?  

I know my list isn’t complete.  What are some other ways to sneak in some stress relief?

Boring Menu: Ways to “Healthify” Your Favorite Recipes

healthify

Do you feel like a healthy diet consists of a daily grilled chicken salad?  Rabbit food anyone? Carrots?   

I remember my son asking me one evening “What’s for dinner?”  And my husband sarcastically replied, “Chicken, chicken, or chicken?”   

Ok, so I could get by with eating the same thing everyday.  I don’t mind that my daily meals are pretty much the same, but my family wants a little variety.  So how do you keep some variety and stick with healthy choices?  

 

Protein and Dairy Options

Besides chicken, you have turkey, pork, and lean cuts of beef.  Starkist tuna has so many different flavors of tuna in their ready-to-go packets.  I love the new buffalo flavor, and the sweet and spicy has been a longtime favorite of mine as well.  My husband and son deer hunt, and we enjoy venison.  Bacon, anyone?  You haven’t had bacon until you’ve had deer bacon…just sayin!  We get most of it ground, so I use that in meatloaf, chili (well, my husband makes chili, not me!), tacos, spaghetti, hamburgers.  

Low fat cottage cheese is a good source of protein as well as nonfat plain greek yogurt.  In a recipe calling for cream cheese, you can use lowfat or nonfat cream cheese or greek yogurt.  In a recipe calling for sour cream, you can use plain greek yogurt.  

When it comes to milk, you can gradually switch from whole to 2% to 1% to maybe even skim eventually.  And now there are several alternatives.  I use unsweetened almond milk in cooking a lot.  Again, big reduction in calories and the lactose in regular milk can have negative effects on some tummies.

 

Salads

You can do so much with a salad.  After your lettuce, you can toss in all kinds of cut up veggies, maybe even some fruit (grapes, strawberries, or oranges), low fat cheese, lean protein, a few nuts (slivered almonds or walnuts).  

 

Baking Options

I love baking with oat flour these days.  There’s also almond flour and coconut flour as well as whole wheat flour.  (Be sure to read about measuring adjustments if you use a different type of flour.)  For sweeteners there’s stevia.  Honey and pure maple syrup can be used in some recipes.  Coconut oil is very popular these days in both solid or liquid form to replace oils or butter in a recipe.  Protein powder is also an option to add a little flavor (vanilla or chocolate) in the place of the sugar and/or flour.  

These are just a few quick ideas to get you thinking about how to make small changes to recipes to either add nutrition or lessen the fat, calories, and processed stuff.  

 

Here’s one I make often….it’s a healthy alternative to rice krispy treats.  My son often eats them for breakfast.ricekrispy

1 cup nut butter (I use natural PB (Kroger brand is great!), but you can use nut butter of choice)
1 cup honey
Melt on stove over low heat
Add crisp rice cereal (or cheerios or maybe even a Kashi cereal) 4-6 cups depending on the cereal you choose.  Stir together to coat.  
Press into 9×13 pan.  Let set.  

This week in my closed Facebook group, I’ve been sharing some recipe ideas like this one with the girls.  If you’d like one of those recipes, sign up here to be added to my weekly email list, and I’ll send you one (or two!) of the recipe ideas.  

 

What is one of your favorite recipes that you’d like to healthify?
What is one of your favorite healthy recipes?
Let’s share some ideas and help each other with some new ideas!  

3 Responses to Stress and Simple Solutions

food&stress

This week I’ve been posting on various social media channels about this concept of Temple vs Trash Can.  It’s not an original idea.  You’ll hear it on several faith and fitness platforms.  But the idea here is how do we treat our bodies?  Do we treat them like the temple that they are?  Or do we treat them like a trash can?  

 

Let’s talk about food intake for a minute.  And more importantly how we use food to deal with stress.  I find that in those times when we are stressed and need our bodies to function even better is when we treat them the worst.  

To be sure, stress happens.  We have deadlines to meet.  We have to be at school and work on time.  We lift weights or run marathons.  These things, and countless others, cause stress in some form or another.  It doesn’t necessarily indicate something bad.   You can’t live life and make decisions without some stress.  When we let it take over is when it becomes a negative thing.  And it seems that more times than not, the way we deal with stress is food.  

 

3 responses to stress and simple solutions

  • We get in a hurry.  Stress makes us feel rushed.  And one of the first things that suffers is our mealtimes and the quality of food we consume.      

Solution:  Plan ahead.  Make meals you can freeze.  Have protein bars available.  Drink a superfood shake.

  • We wear ourselves out.  We get tired.  We lose sleep.  We grab something like sugar or extra caffeine to give us a jolt of energy.

Solution:  Make rest a priority.  Stick with a bedtime and wake up routine.  Consume foods like nuts and lean protein that will give energy that sustains.  

  • We lose our focus.  We become mindless when it comes to what we put into our bodies.  We grab ‘n go.  

Solution:  Take time to breathe.  Take five minutes in the morning to focus your day and pray and meditate.  Take another five in the evening to count your blessings or read a devotion.  

 

When we rush and grab or load up on sugar and energy supplements, we trash our bodies.  And when we trash our bodies, the stress on them only becomes worse.  Not only are we dealing with stressors outside but now our bodies are fatigued and low on energy, our mindset is negative and we lose confidence in the task at hand.   

But when we take some time to plan, get some rest, get our focus, we treat our bodies like the temples they were meant to be.  We honor them by filling them with good things.  We honor them with rest and time to breathe.  And when we do this, then those things that are demanding our time and our attention…..our schedules, projects, family, sporting events, etc…..we can show up for them healthy and present and ready to give our best and face the challenge before us.  

 

How do you deal with stress?  

Have you ever considered the concept that your body can be a temple or a trash can?

 

Be sure you’re signed up for my weekly emails.  I go more in depth with tips and personal experiences on how to live fit and free!

To Cheat or Not

cheat

What are your thoughts on “cheat meals” or “cheat days”?  

I get asked this question often.  Let’s tease it out a little.  

 

We’ll start by considering the definition of cheat (as found on Dictionary.com).  As a verb it means  to violate rules or regulations.  As a noun, a cheat is someone who acts dishonestly or is a fraud.  It can even refer to victimization by taking an unfair advantage over someone.  

 

I didn’t read anything good about “cheat” in those definitions.  Did you?  And if you apply that to the idea of cheat meals or cheat days, then it leads you to consider that you are violating rules if you have a cheat meal.  Or it would mean that when I “cheat”, then I become a fraud.  That by eating “healthy” 6 days a week or 20 meals a week but “cheat” a day or a meal, then I’ve fooled you or myself along the way?  

 

Have you figured out where this is going?  I imagine you have.  All things related to “cheat” are negative.  And when it comes to something related to me or how I eat, I don’t need anything negative labeling me.  I have enough struggle in my mind fighting off negative thoughts, comparisons, etc.  I don’t need to weekly refer to myself and my eating habits in any way like I’m cheating and being a fraud.  

 

Here’s the deal, I don’t like the term “cheat” when it comes to how I eat.  (Actually, I don’t want it to describe me in any way!)  If I choose to eat chicken and veggies or 2 slices of pizza, I’m going to own it.  (Not become a victim of my choices as the definition may imply.)  I don’t need to explain or justify it according to a “cheat”.  

This goes back to what I am all about, what this blog and my programs are about.  We….you and I….need to find what works for our unique body.  When we do that; when we become a detective, we learn how our bodies respond to foods.  We know when we need to fight off a craving or when we can trust ourselves to have just enough to satisfy.  We also know that if we’re training for a big event, say we just did a 15 mile training run, and we want pizza for dinner that night, then we can, and we should if that sounds yummy and satisfying!  And if we did absolutely nothing today but still want to have ice cream at the end of the day, we can have it.  And not only have it, but we can enjoy it in the process.  And why do we enjoy it, because we’re owning our choices.  

 

Can we have pizza and ice cream everyday and expect that we’ll stay fit and healthy?  Probably not.  But if you’re honoring your body, you’re going to learn what makes it feel good and healthy, and you’ll want to eat mostly those things.  There will be room for what someone else may call a “cheat” but it will just be what sounds good and tastes good and makes you feel good at that given meal on that given day.  

New Month! Are You Ready?

 

new month

February!  New Month!  Fresh Start!

We humans just love fresh starts.  We like clean slates.  The beginning of a week or month can feel very refreshing, especially if we feel like the last week or month wasn’t so good.  But let’s not forget that every day, every moment can be a fresh start.  What happens when you mess up on Monday?  Are you going to wait an entire week until you start over?  I sure hope not!  A lot more can go wrong throughout that week!  Instead of a little stumble on Monday, you could be 10 steps backwards by Sunday.  Nevertheless, we have reached a Monday, first day of a new week, and it also happens to be the first day of a new month.  

 

How are you feeling right now?  

Are you beating yourself up and feeling bummed about how the last month, which was the first one of a new year, went?  It was supposed to be so good.  New Year!  Fresh start!  Goals!  Well, if it didn’t go quite as planned, that’s okay.  We’re back at a first.  Reset and start today.  Look at those goals you wrote down January 1.  Gather that intention and motivation.

Are you feeling energized?  Did you have a good month?  Are you moving in the right direction?  Then let’s keep the momentum.  Stick to it.  Keep those goals in front of you and keep pressing forward.

Maybe January just was.  You look back and can’t believe we’re already turning a calendar page.  Maybe today is when you set your 2016 intention.  Maybe you just need to set a focus for this one month then go from there.  It’s one step at a time.  The struggle and thus the victory comes with recognizing where YOU are NOW and what you need to do to move forward.  

 

Let me know:

 

How was January?  Highs and Lows?

What is your intention for February?  

 

If you’re looking for some accountability, email me!  I’d love to tell you about my 40 Days of Faith and Fitness that will be taking place during Lent.  

Training Tips To Get At Those Goals

 

training tips (1)

It’s the end of January.  How are you doing with your January 1st goals?  What about those resolutions? It’s not too late.  Don’t throw in the towel!  

If you’ve signed up for a spring race, it’s likely time to get started on some focused training.  

If you’ve had trouble with motivation given the cold weather and recent snows, that’s okay.  The weather is giving you a break.  Take advantage of it!  

 

I’ve got some tips to get you going!

 

  1. Make a schedule.  Plan your week.  When are you going to run?  How far?  What about cross training?  What workout DVD are you going to do?  Rest days?  Put them on the calendar.  You’re more likely to stick with it.  
  2. If you don’t know where to start, find a plan.  If it’s running, Runner’s World has some good links to training plans.  If you’ve signed up for a race, the race’s website is likely to have some links to training plans.  Do you have “runner friends”? Reach out to them.  Do you like DVDs?  I can hook you up with a good workout.  Do you have a gym membership?  Check out their class schedule.  
  3. Get a friend.  Invite someone to meet you at the gym.  Get together at your house and put a DVD in and get moving.  Meet up with a running group.   I can get you connected!  Take the dog for a walk.  Dance with the kids.   
  4. Decide on your goals.  Finish?  Set a PR?  Lose weight?  Get off the couch?  Unwind?  Fresh air?  Set the goal and then do whatever it takes to reach it.  

 

Still struggling?  I’m here to help!  Email me and let’s get moving!  

 

Tell me…

What goals are you working towards right now?  

What tips do you have to get at your goals?

I’ve Got a Challenge For You!

Challenges

 

Sometimes we need a little challenge to propel us forward to change or to action.  Maybe you’re sitting here, middle of January, still not quite sure how to make changes or get started.  (Monday I blogged about how to figure out what step to take.  You might want to check that out!)  I have a couple of opportunities for you to join a group that will hold you accountable and help you reach your goals.  Keep reading.  You can take action at the end!  

 

I recently shared this in an email with my subscribers. (If you didn’t get it, that means you’re not on my email list.  Sign up here!)  

A year ago I was in a slump.  I was dealing with a bum hamstring and hardly got any running in for the month of January.  I was browsing the online space looking for another quick fix. I was starting to allow my mind to go to the wrong place about myself and about what would work to make me look good, run fast, etc, etc.  In the middle of all of it, I started following some gals on social media who shared their faith while also talking health and fitness.  I just kept gravitating towards those types of accounts.  I wanted what they had.  I’ve always known that my struggle with weight and body image was the thing that kept bringing me to my knees everyday asking for God’s help in that area.  But I still struggled. As the lent season neared, I started thinking about giving up social media, specifically Facebook, but in the process I ended up following a gal who opened up a private Facebook group called “40 Days of Prayer and Fitness”.  After messaging with her and praying about it, I felt like this was where I belonged for those 40 days.  I was going to check this thing out.  You see, I had never joined a community of supportive women when it came to my struggles with my weight and self-image.  I just figured God and I would handle it on our own, which a lot of times just meant ME attempting to handle it on my own!  It turns out that joining that group was a complete game changer for me.  I had to be vulnerable.  I had to admit that I wasn’t strong enough to do it on my own.  But amazing things happened for me during those 40 days.  My nutrition improved.  I replaced bottles of supplements and various protein powders with one shake each morning that has become my healthiest meal of the day.  I no longer tie my food intake with my exercise output.  I gave my morning quiet time number one priority.  It happens before my sweat sessions!  And because saying YES to that 40 days of prayer and fitness literally changed my life, I’m paying it forward and inviting YOU to join me this upcoming lent season for 40 Days of Faith and Fitness.  In my next email to my subscribers (that could be you too!), I’ll be sharing more of my experiences as a result of being in that 40 days group last year.  

This 40 Days of Faith and Fitness Challenge group will give you the opportunity to grow in your faith and see how your fitness is very much a spiritual part of you.  

 

loverun

Now, if you’re looking for something right now and something short that will just help you get off the couch and out the door, our local running group is doing a Winter Run Challenge Week that kicks off on Sunday, like THIS Sunday!  There are daily training runs that you can attend.  We’ve been doing a winter and summer run challenge week for several years.  It seems to help everyone put those January 1st goals into action.  It’s a week of accountability.  It’s free and open to anyone!

 

 

So how do you sign up for these???

40 Days of Faith and Fitness:  Email me, and I will give you more information.  The group is free.  

Winter Run Challenge Week:  Email me, and I’ll get you on the Shelby Roadrunners Newsletter List.  This group is free.  

You can’t beat it!  2 unique (and did I mention FREE?!?!) opportunities that will get you started on a fitness journey, maybe get you back on track, or maybe just give you a completely different approach to your fitness.  Whatever it is, we could all use a little shake up or a little challenge in our lives.  Sign up today!

Tell me:

What helps get you moving toward a goal?  

Have you ever participated in a challenge group?  If so, what was the most beneficial part for you?