Spring Into Fitness

Cheryl Richardson in her book Life Makeovers: 52 Practical and Inspiring Ways To Improve Your Life One Week At A Time wants to share the eight most important things she learnt about creating a healthy lifestyle, in the hopes that it supports you in your quest for a healthier body, mind and spirit.

  1. Remember there’s more to getting fit than eating well & regular exercise, getting fit is an emotional, spiritual, psychological & physical process & that if you don’t consider all 4 areas in your fitness plan, the chances of failure are pretty high.
  2. When you shift your focus from losing weight to creating a daily practice of self-care, your chances of long term success increase dramatically, even though weight loss may be important to you, let that just be a by-product of living a healthy lifestyle.
  3. There are no “one size fits all” eating & exercise plans, learn to eat well for your body type & find the form of exercise that best suits your individual needs & desires.
  4. Remember you don’t need to lose a certain amount of weight to feel good about yourself, you only need to take good care of your body today, focus on eating well & exercising just for today & eliminate negative self-talk which can be the biggest obstacle to getting & staying in shape.
  5. Take a break from the catalogue & magazine subscriptions that contain air-brushed, computer enhanced images, they only create self-loathing.
  6. Engaging in a simple, appropriate free-weight programme is a powerful way to reconnect with your body & burn fat as well as a form of meditation when you focus & move slowly, putting your full attention on the muscle you are strengthening, connecting to your body in a deeper, more spiritual way also allowing you to achieve much better results in significantly less time.
  7. Always remember when you fall off the fitness path throughout your life that getting back on track & feeling good about yourself is just one healthy food choice or one workout away.
  8. Its ok to give yourself a break, an occasional ice cream sundae or a missed week of exercise wont kill you, the quest for perfection on the other hand probably will.

This week consider the obstacles that might be preventing you from achieving your fitness goals. list five obstacles that might prevent you from creating a healthy lifestyle. Then next to each obstacle list a possible solution that will help you to overcome the obstacle so you can move towards a positive change. Once you have listed the five obstacles and solutions, choose one solution and implement the change this week. It only takes one small action over time to produce results.

What Is Fuelling You

Cheryl Richardson in her book Life Makeovers: 52 Practical and Inspiring Ways to Improve Your Life One Week at a Time urges you to become aware of the habits and behaviours that keep you hooked on adrenaline. She asks you to consider the following questions:

  • Are you drinking a lot of coffee during the day?
  • Do you spend to much time on the computer?
  • Do you Rush from one appointment or task to another?

She then asks you to write down in your Daily Dialogue the three habits that keep your adrenaline pumping. For example mine would be:

  1. To much caffeine
  2. Checking my phone, emails, social media etc. far too often
  3. Double booking myself (saying that I can fit things in, when I’m busy, and then trying to make it work)

Now this week pick one new behaviour from the list below and practice it faithfully for the next week.

  • Go to the GP and get an adrenal stress index test (a simple saliva test taken throughout the day) if you physically feel as though you cannot slow down.
  • Schedule regular 15 minute relaxation breaks during the day to practice being still.
  • Change your work habits. Instead of checking your voicemail, email several times a day, challenge yourself to cut back to twice a day. Clear your desk and only work on one thing at a time. Turn the ringer off on the phone. Tell others you’ve extended your return message policy from within one day to one week. If work begins to pile up its time to get help. Either hire an assistant, request support from your boss or decide to let go of certain aspects of your work altogether.
  • Breath deeply. Start taking mini self care breaks throughout the day by breathing deeply throughout the day. Place your hand over your abdomen and as you breath feel this area move in and out. To help you remember, link this practice to daily events like settling your self at your desk, before you leave for lunch and again before you leave for home.
  • Take a good multivitamin to support your bodies immune system.
  • Give up caffeine and cut back on sugar and junk food too.
  • Get regular exercise, get up and take a brisk walk to work off excess energy when you feel anxious or overstimulated. Start walking to work, taking stairs or using your lunch break to get your body moving by going for a walk.

I already take a good multivitamin and walk during my lunch break so the new habit that I’ll practice this week is  breathing deeply. I will try to practice this when I sit down at my desk , before I leave for lunch, when I get back and before I leave at the end of the day.

Build on success, remember each little change made over time will make a big difference in your ability to slow down and improve the quality of your life.



Boost Energy

Gretchen Rubin in her book the Happiness Project decided in January to focus on boosting her energy. She felt that more vitality would make it easier to stick to all the happiness resolutions in the future. Research shows that happiness energises you and that having more energy makes it easier to engage in activities like socializing and exercise that in turn boost happiness. Studies also show that when you feel energetic your self esteem rises.  She decided it is important to tackle both the physical and metal aspects of energy. For her physical energy she needed to make sure that she got enough sleep as a bad nights sleep is one of the top two factors that upsets peoples daily moods. Sleep deprivation impairs memory, weakens the immune system, slows metabolism and fosters weight gain.  To get enough exercise, it boosts energy levels, as people who exercise are healthier, think more clearly, sleep better and have delayed onset of dementia. For her mental energy she needed to tackle her apartment and office which felt oppressively messy and crowded because outer order brings inner peace. Cross off tasks from her to do lists and start acting more energetic as studies showed that acting more energetic leads to becoming more energetic.

  • Go to sleep earlier. Try to get the recommended 7 to 8 hours sleep a night. Try to get ready for bed well before bedtime, keep your bedroom slightly chilly and as dark as possible. Do a few prebed stretches & avoid any work that requires alert thinking near your bedtime.
  • Exercise better Walk more, the repetitive activity of walking triggers the bodies relaxation response & so helps reduce stress while at the same time providing an immediate energy boost & improving mood. Get yourself a pedometer & make sure you hit the recommended daily 10,000 steps that reportedly keeps most people from gaining weight. Start strength training for 20 minutes,a few times a week, lifting weights increases muscle mass, strengthens bones, firms the core & improves shape, because working out with weights helps people maintain more muscle & gain less fat as they age.
  • Toss, restore, organise. Start by going through your personal papers at home & organising your desk to get a fresh start on the new year. Discard as much as you can. Hang your new calendars. Try to make your personal space at home where you do paperwork as inviting as possible.
  • Tackle a nagging task.
  • Act more energetic. Act the way you want to feel, fake it till you feel it.