What an amazing weekend I had at the West Coast Women's Show. I was given the opportunity to speak on the Health and Wellness stage. After some debate I chose the topic of Finding Balance. As this is an issue I have really struggled with in all aspects of my life.
I have a series of 10 tips that I have began to follow that I find help me maintain a certain sense of balance with being a working full time mom and an athlete.
Over the years I found that this is a common theme with other women. Family, work, love life, household duties, fitness, friends, and the desire to be good enough and well.....it is a challenge to say the least.
When I was a trainer/coach my clients would work so hard to achieve their fitness goals. Once these were achieved and their sessions ended, 9 times out of 10 clients would return in a month or so back to their original weight or lifestyle.
So the question I began to ask was "Why?" "Why can't we reach our goals in Fitness and maintain them?" "Why do our physical goals tend to fade away"?
Even for myself I would reach a fitness goal but had difficulty maintaining it.
What I realized is balance was missing in our goals. We had not created this as our lifestyle but rather our "wedding diet", "mexico diet", reunion diet and once we were finished we...well returned back to what we knew.
So the question is "How do we reach our goals and then maintain a lifestyle that is balanced"?
Now to some my life does not seem balanced, so how could I speak on such a topic when I train pretty much every day, eat very healthy, live a fairly regimented life and tend to seem "extreme". However, I am not advocating following what works for me, what I am encouraging people/women is to find is their own balance...Mine is not yours and vis vera....
My fitness goals are Health, Vitality, Strength, Feeling Sexy and Great in a pair of Jeans, not spending hours in the gym and enjoying my life in the process.
I am willing to do the work, but I want the results. So I tailored my plan to achieve and maintain theses goals. This is not saying that I am 100% balanced all the time but these 10 tips it makes it much easier.
I am hoping that in applying them to your lifestyle they also work for you..
1: Put Yourself First
With everything women do on a day to day basis, we seldom put ourselves first on the list. I am not advocating abandoning your children but rather take that 30 min for yourself. I often felt guilty when I put Mekaella in child minding at the gym after she had just spent the day at daycare. My Mommy guilt was high. However, what I found is I am a better mother and more present when I give that time to myself.
Be grateful for where you are. You will not get to your goal overnight (no matter what those late night infomercials tell you). Be thankful for every part of yourself exactly where you are, spending extra energy hating your body or situation is a waste and gets you nowhere. Start working towards your goals by taking baby steps. This was paramount for me when I started on my weight loss journey. I had to love all 200lbs of myself, if I wanted to move towards 150lbs and sometimes....it was really hard but I kept being thankful for every imperfection...after all they are mine...
Creating goals in every aspect of your life, not only gives you a direction in which you are heading, but also keeps you focused on those days when it seems as things are not shifting. I have an end vision of what I want to create and I have to put the work in each and everyday to get there. Once I reach that goal I need to redirect my goals and create new ones.
4: Food and You..
One of the biggest challenges I face is mindless eating....you know what I'm talking about...a jar of peanut butter...with no real hunger just boredom and a spoon. I still catch myself being unmindful with food. Taking the time to really enjoy what you are eating and not just standing in the kitchen picking because you are stressed or bored.
A big part of food is to really understand you are what you eat. I wish I could tell you that you can eat cupcakes and look fit, but unless you are an anomaly (and certainly I would NOT be friends with you...LOL) it is most likely not going to happen.
You don't need to be a certain size, or weight, but to have health, energy, and feel good in your skin, fuelling your body with the proper nutrients is what it takes.
Make sure you are eating protein with each meal. Your body uses protein to create lean muscle which speeds up your metabolism (which means Fat loss…Yippee..).
Having healthy fats (Nuts, coconut oil, olive oil) will help with heart health, lowering risk of diabetes and weight loss!
Your low glycemic carbs are needed for energy (whole grains, yams, brown rice). Enjoy these earlier in the day so your body utilizes them and they will not be stored as fat ( i.e.: dinner and last meals of evening try to have more protein and veg).
I follow the 80/20 rule...80% of the time I follow a plan with my food. I eat 20grms of protein per meal, keep my carbs earlier in the day and have good fats in my diet. However 20% is my time! When I can and I DO….
I indulge and enjoy my glass of wine and dark chocolate...oh and Aged Cheddar cheese…LOVE CHEESE!
But I do know that in order to find a balance I only have these treats 20% of the time. The rest of the time I fuel my body with healthy and nutritious food..
5: Prepare to Win
As I pack Mekaella's lunch each day for school, I also pack my own lunch. This ensures that I have my snacks and meals and that I do not make unhealthy choices, which falls in line with my 80/20 rule. If I end up eating out I always choose salads, or vegetables with a lean protein and dressing on the side. It does not take long to prepare your food and snacks for the day, I tend to eat the same things for simplicity sake. I challenge you to try to start packing your snacks and meals. It takes 21 days to form a habit. See how easy it will become.
I notice a profound difference when I drink my gallon of water per day. My skin glows, I feel clear headed, not to mention it helps with weight loss, regular bowel movements, the list goes on and on...I challenge you to drink a Gallon a Day. Take a before and after pic and send it to me, you will be astounded!
7: Use Your Body
My playground has always been the gym; I love weights, cardio equipment, classes and the energy. If you are a person who does not like the gym I suggest you find another activity, think back when you were a kid, what did you like to do?
There are so many wonderful adult activities available such as join a baseball team, go rollerblading, swimming, hiking, walking, playing with your children. The list is endless but the idea is the same...move your body!!
My last Fitness show I decided to use one of my cardio sessions to Rollerblade with my daughter. Now would I burn more calories than doing sprints? Yes..... but I enjoyed having those moments with my daughter far more then the monotonous stairs and I guarantee my stress levels were lower.
We need an average of 7-9hrs a night and with everything in our days I know many a night my head is spinning with “To do Lists” instead of counting sheep.
We all know how we feel when we don't have enough sleep; tired, grumpy, slow, and foggy. The list goes on and on. But who knew that sleep also helps with weight loss?
Lack of sleep slows down your metabolism. It lowers your bodies’ ability to release Leptin which is a hormone that says "I'm full". Add to the equation it also increase's production of the hormone Ghrenlin which is what tells your body it is hungry. So you feel hungry, foggy, grumpy and further insult some lovely dark bags under your eyes. The saying "Beauty Sleep" now makes complete sense.
Supplements are there to do exactly what they say...Supplement your diet. My daily foundation supplements include OmegaEssentials Fish Oils, HCP 70 Probiotics, Vegegreens and Precision Whey Isolate protein powder.
However, I have Supplements that help at different stages while I work towards my fitness and weight loss goals.
Green Coffee Bean; stabilizes my Blood Sugar Levels, Raspberry Ketones; speeds up my metabolism and Garcinia which taken 30-60 min before you eat creating a sense of fullness so you don’t eat as much. I use especially at that time of the month when I am constantly hungry.
On special treat nights White Kidney Bean, which block up to 80% of your starchy carbs is my go to!!!
Recently, I added Rhodiola to support my adrenals. This helps with increased energy, improved mood and increased libido!!
10: Your Plan
In the end this is your life.... every glorious second of it...so I ask are you being your best? Are you challenging yourself each day to better yourself? What is stopping you?
I wanted to be a positive example to my daughter but more than that, I wanted to be an example to myself of what I could do and accomplish...
Some days I am good and some days I could be better, but each day I use these steps to keep me on track toward my goals…
No dream is too big, but it happens at one step at a time…Be patient. Love yourself. If you fall off get right back on. I know you can do it…
And as I tell my daughter each day “Go Be Brilliant”
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