Mindfulness: No More “Why Did I Just…” Moments

mindfulness

Please tell me I’m not the only person who has eaten half bag of trail mix or half dozen (or more!) mini Reese’s cups and then stop and say “Why did I just do that???”  Can anybody relate??  It’s like I lose my mind for a minute only to realize (too late!) that I just made a poor choice!

 

Mindfulness.

 

Let’s start with a dictionary.com definition:  “a technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them.”  

So first of all, WHEN do we have time to focus full attention only on the present???  Aren’t we usually doing 3 things or more at once?  

AND, what’s this “not judging” business?  I’m bad or a cheater if I eat half bag of M&Ms right??  I need to punish myself.  I need to verbally beat myself up.  

I’d like to propose that we can begin to take some steps towards mindfulness to reduce (and eventually rid ourselves of) “Why did I just….” moments!

I find that I have these out-of-control, mindless  moments most often when I’m tired, stressed, overwhelmed.  I’ve had it.  I’m over it.  I have no willpower or self-control left.  My tank is empty, and I think my tummy is too!  So I go on a spree before I realize what I’ve done.  

 

Mindfulness.

 

I believe that when we slow down, even a little, and take care of a few areas of our lives, we become more mindful.  It’s what we do in the other 23 hours and 55 minutes of our day that will save us from ourselves in those 5 minutes of losing our minds.  And it boils down to taking care of ourselves.  

Earlier this week I posted a picture of me getting a mani/pedi while reading a book and said that this is something that helps me stay mindful.  Now, how is that?  Those things (even though that mani/pedi was the first one I’d had in 2 months) provide some relaxation.  I took about an hour out of my day for some self-care.  I have a half marathon on Saturday.  I had PMS.  I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed with a few things.  I needed to take care of me.

Girls, it’s okay to take care of yourself.  You are better for everyone when you take a little time for you.  Because this is how it goes otherwise…..back to our scenario of “Why did I just do that?”  If one of those moments happen, then it leads to feeling bad about yourself, the negative chatter in your mind, and it all spirals out of control.  

So a key thing to help you stay mindful is self care.  It could be in the form of mani/pedi, a massage, bubble bath.  Whatever says “pamper me” to you.  

As I mentioned, when I’m tired it’s easier for me to have those out-of-control moments.  I think I need “fuel” and not in the form of lean protein or my superfood shake.  It’s usually in the form of chocolate!

When we’re well-rested and feeding our bodies proper fuel, it’s easier for us to practice mindfulness.  We have energy.  We’re not dragging in the mid-afternoon grabbing for a quick pick-me-up.  

Here’s the thing, when we have more energy and mental focus, we can Experience the signals we’re getting from our bodies and then properly Assess them as to whether to Take action.  

We’ll call it the EAT strategy 😉 When we begin to condition ourselves to slow down in other areas….taking the 5 minutes for quiet time, a bubble bath after the kids go to bed, a 10 minute walk before everyone else wakes up, scheduling an hour once a month for a mani/pedi….we can slow down in response to our hunger and craving signals and begin to assess what, if any, action we need to take to satisfy that urge.  

It’s a practice.  I still have moments.  In fact, a common phrase I use is “I need a moment”.  My son knows it’s like a “mom time out”.  I need to get my head right and my attitude right before I respond to anything or anyone.  

If you want more on mindfulness and exclusive content, sign up for my weekly email here.

Additionally, I have a free group starting on Monday April 11.  We’ll be talking about mindfulness and a whole lot more as it relates to your faith and fitness journey.  If you need some support and encouragement, reach out to me.  I’d love to have you in the group!  

 

I wanna hear from you….

When do you feel most out of control?  

Do you have a key word or phrase that lets your family know you “need a moment”?

How do you stay mindful?

8 Excuses Busted: Make One Change Today

no excuses

No More Excuses!  Easier said than done, right?  I mean, I don’t always make excuses, I just don’t  or can’t or won’t.  Anybody with me?

 

But there are definitely times when our excuses feel very real.  And honestly, they don’t feel like excuses.  They are facts of our lives.  They are real to us, and it’s hard to see a work around or another option.  Healthy eating?  I only have so much in my grocery budget.  Work out?  I only have so much time in a day.  Rest?  Have you seen my schedule???  Quiet time?  I pray when I’m falling asleep at night.  

 

Today I’m going to take on a few excuses, or maybe even facts of life, and bust them with some practical tips to a fit and healthy lifestyle.  

1.  Not enough time

  • As it relates to working out – For some reason we think that we must work out 30, 60, 90 minutes for it to “count”.  But that just isn’t the case.  Whether we do 10 minutes when we get up and 10 minutes at lunch or a 15-20 minute workout, something is better than nothing.  And those 20 minute workouts can give you some amazing results.  I recently reviewed some YouTube workouts that were only 10 minutes long, and they left me sore and sweaty.  Check them out here!
  • As it relates to preparing healthy food – Do you have a crock pot?  Do you have some time on the weekend or maybe one evening a week when you can bake ahead some chicken and put it in the refrigerator?  How about put snacks in a baggie or small container?  You can freeze a variety of dishes and pull them out to fix for dinner.  The key is to plan and prepare ahead of time.  

2.  Not athletic, can’t run, hate cardio – First of all, running isn’t the only exercise.  While some people (me included!) love it, others hate it, and that’s okay.  You don’t have to become a runner.  You didn’t have to be an athlete in high school to be able to exercise now.  There are so many workouts these days, I’m confident you can find something you’d like to do.  Do you like to dance?  What about Zumba or Cize?  Do you like hardcore bootcamps?  What about a kickboxing class or the new Hard Corps 22 workout?  Bike.  Walk.  Lift weights.  Yoga.  I can help you find a workout that’s right for you!  

3.  Weather – My husband has been known to be a “seasonal” exerciser.  I tease him about hibernating in the winter.  Lol!  I often say it’s not the weather it’s the clothes.  With the right clothes, you can get out in any type of weather (for the most part.  I know issues like asthma do make extreme conditions difficult.  Listen to your body!).

4. Too expensive

  • As it relates to working out – It doesn’t cost anything to put shoes on and go out the door for a walk.  But even if you want/need shoes and workout clothes, they can be found on sale all the time.  You can purchase one DVD with several workouts for a small amount of money.  There are several workouts on YouTube and Pinterest that are legitimate and easy to follow…and free!
  • As it relates to eating healthy – Places like Wal-Mart, Kroger, and Target know that people are interested in organic, gluten-free, and just all around healthy foods these days.  You can often find store brand for cheaper than name brand items.  Places like Amazon and Drugstore.com offer great deals on healthier versions of items.  Frozen produce or seasonal fresh produce are usually priced right.  

5.  My family doesn’t support me – This is often where it comes in handy to define your Why.  (read more here!)  Get your family involved.  Set the example.  If you have to, when they’re eating chicken nuggets and fries for dinner, have a salad.  Eat the protein and veggies while they go ahead and eat the starch.  Just choose smaller portions of whatever you have fixed for the whole family.  Take the kids to the playground and walk laps while they swing and slide.

6.  Healthy food doesn’t taste good – There are so many healthy Pinterest boards to follow with easy recipes.  One of my favorite websites is www.hungry-girl.com.  She has some great ideas on how to make your favorite recipes healthy without losing the yummy taste.  Seasonings are your friend.  Be willing to experiment.  Check out some ideas here.  

7.  I’m tired all the time – I know it seems backwards, but getting fresh air and movement will help your energy level and get those endorphins moving in your body.  Even if it means getting up 10 minutes early to go for a walk.  When you begin to replace sugary and starchy foods with fruits and vegetables and lean protein, you will notice improvement in your energy level.  

8.    God knows what’s in my heart – Yes, He does.  But He still wants time with you.  “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) Just take a minute to really notice His presence in your life.  Write down 3 things for which  you are grateful.  Be purposeful in this time.  It will provide mental clarity.  

 

What’s next?  I know it’s not easy to bust these excuses on your own.  Accountability is key.  Support is critical, especially if you feel like you’re the only one in the house who wants to get healthy.  I have an answer!  Join my “Fight the Good Fight!” Facebook group.  This will be 3 weeks of check ins, encouragement, support, and accountability.  It’s free!  All I need from you is a desire for and a commitment to living fit and free!  It’s not always easy, but together we can “Fight the Good Fight!”  To get your special invite to this private Facebook group, please email me to let me know you want in AND what excuse you’re ready to bust!

 

Tell me….

Did I miss any excuses?

What other tips do you have to bust the excuses?

 

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!  

Never Leave Home Without It

Hemp Bar

As part of my #sweatpink ambassadorship, I was given these products to review.  Be sure that all opinions are my own.

 

I’m a bar girl.  No, not the kind that goes drinking and dancing!  The kind who likes a good protein bar for a snack or even for breakfast with my shake.  I’ve tried all kinds.  Some leave you wanting something else.  Some are super sweet.  Some are loaded with so many chemicals that a candy bar might be a better choice.  Some leave an aftertaste that makes me looking for more food.  The shelves are overcome with bars of all types and flavors.  So when I had the chance to try a new bar, I jumped on it.  

 

I received 2 bars in the mail.  I had never had these bars prior to this.  hemp_bar

 

I was super excited to get a chocolate one, and it was the first one I tried.  Surprisingly, it was not my favorite.  I felt the flavor was bland.  My favorite was definitely the apple cinnamon.  It had a really good cinnamon taste (and I love cinnamon!).  

 

I liked the texture of the bars.  It’s sorta grainy.  The limited ingredients and way they are made, make them a great bar to stash in the car or in my purse.  They don’t have a chocolate coating or chips in them that would melt.  hemp_bars

 

After eating the bar, I felt satisfied. It made for a good afternoon snack.  

 

And to be fair, I gave it the kid test.  I let my 12-year-old son taste of it, and as you can see, he declined to finish it off.  He appreciates “health food” to a certain extent, I guess.  Maybe we’ll try again at another time!  

hempbar

To sum it up, I’m all about being prepared.  Sometimes my day gets crazy, either at home or out and about.  I like to have things available at all times that will give me an energy boost or hold me over until the next meal.  These bars fit the bill on something that is nutritional, transportable, and tasty.  I’ll be stashing some in my purse and my car!

 

What is something you never leave home without?

 

Manitoba Harvest is running a photo contest. (Details here)
Tag @manitobaharvest #hempheartbar #fuelledbyhemp #sweatpink @fitapproach for a chance to win a box of your favorite flavor of Hemp Heart Bars!
A winner will be chosen each month!
Eligibility: open to US and Canada residents
The discount code hhbarlaunch1015 will get you 15% off!
Expires 3/31/2016
 

Why Did I Just Eat That?

guilt

“I should have never eaten that!”

“I was bad today.  I ate _______ (you fill in the blank).”

“Why can’t I ever pass that up?”

“Why did I just eat that?”

“I feel gross.”

“I have no willpower.”  

 

Chances are you’ve spoken one or more of those phrases before.  I know I have.  

Why do we gauge our worth on how we eat?  How did our food choices become the thing that determines whether we are “good” or “bad”?  A jug of milk goes bad when it’s kept beyond its date.  A carved pumpkin goes bad if it’s left on your porch until Christmas.  You say “good boy” when your puppy goes outside to potty instead of doing it on your carpet.  You tell your toddler “good girl” when she picks up her toys without being told.  

Yes, we can choose to make better choices when it comes to our food, BUT those choices don’t determine our worth. We must begin seeing our food choices separately from the definition of our worth.  Just because I eat something “bad” (although I don’t feel like anything should be labeled “bad”, but more on that in my email on Monday.  If you’re not signed up, you’d better get on the list!), doesn’t mean I’m bad.  It just means I’ve not made the best choice at that given moment.  

The next move we make is key.  And if we separate what we ate from the definition of who we are, it’s easier to say “Ok, so how do I get back on track?”  “What do I need to do next, so this doesn’t turn into a downward spiral?”  It just is.  It just was.  Move on and make a better choice.

I know…it’s hard.  Especially if you’ve always tied your worth to how you look, how much you weigh, what you’re eating.  Many people are either “on” or “off”.  They’re following a certain and very specific eating plan or they’re just eating whatever.  It takes practice, and it’s a process, to get away from those feelings of guilt and shame around food choices.  But to live in true freedom, it’s worth the work and the time and practice to get away from that mindset.  

 

What about you?  Is this an area of struggle for you?  

What labels have you given yourself based on your food choices?  

How would it feel to let you food choices be totally separate from how you view yourself?     

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.  

Visions of Sugarplums: How to Enjoy Without Overindulging

visions of sugarplums

I know Easter and Halloween are candy-filled holidays, but I’d have to think that Christmas tops them both with candy and cookies and all kinds of yummy treats everywhere you turn.  If it’s not the goodies, it’s the hot chocolate and cider and “mommy and daddy” drinks!  lol!  We’re bombarded with all kinds of yumminess.   They LOOK yummy!  They SMELL yummy!  And we know they TASTE yummy!  

 

How can we navigate the sweets and treats and all the Christmas goodies without feeling deprived and yet stuffed and blah?  I have some ideas!  

 

Make/Take an alternative

  • Katie at Dashing Dish has some great recipes, many even gluten free, that are super healthy and taste just as yummy as the real thing.  
  • Hungry Girl (Lisa Lillien) can give you an alternative to any dessert that is simple and less sugary but still tastes just as indulgent.  
  • Sign up for my newsletter and get my recipe for these healthy cookie dough balls.cookie_dough

Drink sparkling water or hot tea

totaltea

 

There are so many flavored no calorie waters and teas.  

(I’ve written about how much I love Total Tea and Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane.)  This keeps you hydrated and gives you some flavor.

 

 

Brush your teeth

After a meal and small treat, brush your teeth with some minty toothpaste.  This will leave   your mouth with a fresh and clean taste.  

Close the kitchen and savor lasting conversation

Once you’ve had your meal, clean up and close the kitchen.  Sit by the fire and be present with the ones you love.  

Eat mindfully  

If you’re going to have a treat, allow yourself to enjoy it.  Experience the taste and the smells of the dish.  If you’re standing and conversing and trying to eat all at the same time, you won’t enjoy your treat and will also tend to eat more than you may even realize.  

Taste Then Toss

It’s my number one go to tip on all things food.  Nothing is off limits….ever.  But you don’t have to indulge in an entire piece of cake, slice of pie, cookie, etc.  And at Christmas especially, there seems to be more than one option or thing you REALLY want.  So have a bite or two, then toss the rest.  (Or share it with someone.)  The point is, you don’t have to eat all of it.  And chances are, a bite or two gives you the satisfaction without feeling stuffed.  

What is your favorite Christmas treat?