nutrition, Personal wellness, Uncategorized

The Space Between

Have you seen this graphic/meme/tweet circulating social channels? As funny as it may be, it’s scary true – especially for those of us who are taking time off.

week between christmas and new years.jpg

Wednesday feels like a Monday. It’s “normal” to be eating cookies for breakfast and going to the movies midweek. College football is on every day and weekend news anchors are filling in on a Thursday. Nothing is familiar or routine, and our bodies and minds are confused.

If you are feeling bloated, tired, cranky and suffering from brain fog, you’re not imagining these things. They are real. The “week between” is a real thing and can seriously mess with your wellness.

AdobeStock_126394975 (1).jpegWhat Went Wrong…

First of all, you have likely spent the last 30 days burning the candle at both ends trying to get it all done before the holidays. You may have put workouts on hold and relied on take out or fast food as a dinner solution. Add in the extra holiday lunches, happy hours and cookie exchanges and your body has been processing a lot more food — mostly sugar — than it’s used to handling. It happens. To all of us. Pardon the seasonal pun but it’s like a snowball. The more you allow a habit to roll (eating out, not exercising), the bigger the issue it’s going to be come. And, when you finally realize it’s out of control, the snowball has run you over. The week in between can be a time to squash the snowball or a time to ignore it until it hits you in the face with an icy sting.

What Can You Do About it…AdobeStock_183508816.jpeg

Don’t ride it out. You may not believe it but these five or six days can be a reset of your mindset and your habits. You won’t undo several months (or years) of unhealthy behaviors overnight but you can start feeling better, more energetic and healthier in as little as a week. And, it’s not going to require you to spend hours at the gym or starve yourself.

Check out my best tips for maximizing the week in between and getting BACK ON TRACK.

  1. Clean and Restock the Fridge. From a food safety standpoint, toss any properly stored leftovers from dinner after 48-72 hours. You’re sick of ham anyway. You can keep some things like veggies and make a healthy stir-fry. But get rid of anything from dinner that’s been in the fridge for more than two days. Out of sight, out of your diet! Restock with healthy foods – check out and print this clean eating grocery list.
  2. Hydrate Like it’s Your Job. Start with 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water. More if you workout or if you just want to flush out the bad stuff. Water isn’t just about quenching your thirst. It improves digestion (get it moving!), helps curb cravings and overeating, keeps your energy up and helps your skin look clearer and brighter. Use one of your holiday gift cards to get a fancy water bottle that keeps the stuff super cold and carry it with you everywhere!
  3. If You Eat It, Track it! Use a notebook or app but track your food. If you eat it, track it to stay aware of what and how much you are eating. That’s the first step in getting control of your nutrition. Without knowing what you’re eating, how can you change a habit? Go one step further and calculate the calories you need to maintain or lose weight and stick to that number for a week. You may be surprised how quickly you drop a few pounds when you are aware of what you’re eating.
  4. Bring the Exercise Back. If you have time off, this is the perfect time to start exercising again. If you are back to work, it’s a great time to play around with different times that a workout can work with your schedule. Unlike other trainers, I’m not recommending 60 minutes of hardcore exercise. If you’ve been off for a few months, ease into it. 20 minutes a day, 3-4 times per week. Walking is an amazing way to get back into an exercise habit. All you need are sneakers. You can calculate your optimal heart rate for calorie burning but here’s an easy way to tell if you’re working hard enough – can you easily carry on a conversation while you walk/run/exercise? If you can, you can amp up your output a bit. You should feel a little breathless to be gaining the fat-burning benefits.
  5. Accountability Counts. Don’t do this alone. Enlist a friend or neighbor who can help you get back on track and then hold each other accountable. Or, if you’re really ready to make a change and need more concentrated support, consider a trainer or coach to create the systems to hold you to your goals and help you through your challenges.

You Got This…

The week between can be filled with more busy-ness or it can be a quick reset of your habits and routine. It can set you up for a great New Year or it can make it even more difficult to change habits after the holidays have passed.

If all of this resonates with you but you still don’t know where to start or you’ve been off track for a long time, I invite you to check out my upcoming New Year’s program, the Little Black Dress Project.

LBD Promo graphic (1)

The LBD Project is focused on whole-person wellness that helps you lose weight, reset unhealthy behaviors and rebuild confidence to take on 2019 and kick ass!

For a limited time, you can take $100 off with coupon code LBD100. Have questions or want to discuss? Let’s chat. Fill out this form and I’ll be in touch for call.

Enjoy the time off if you’re taking it and let’s get ready for an amazing 2019!

 

 

 

 

 

Personal wellness, Uncategorized, Workplace Wellness

Don’t Let that Extra Daylight Fool You

ecard

Spring ahead into a busier schedule

Daylight Saving Time is here and with it comes more daylight and more “stuff” to cram into our already hectic 24 hours. Somehow, we rationalize that more sunlight gives us more time (it doesn’t, obvi) yet little of that “new found” time is spent on ourselves. Wait. What? We get all this energy around more daylight and then fill it with other people’s priorities. Hmm. Ok. How’s that working for ya?

Look – more daylight or not, we have 24 hours to spend every day. Think of it as $24 that shows up in your wallet every time the clock strikes midnight. Let’s pretend that each dollar represents an hour of your day. How do you spend it? What do you prioritize?

Here’s how mine used to be spent on a weekday:

  • $10 on work (in the office, commuting or traveling)
  • $5 on sleep
  • $2 on running kids around
  • $1 on making dinner
  • $1 on answering work emails at home
  • $2 attending a board meeting for a community organization or volunteering at school
  • $2 helping with homework, class projects, costume creation, school play line rehearsal.
  • $1 on shopping, errands, etc.

Did I catch up on some things over the weekend? Sure, but then sub in the kids’ sports, social events, cleaning the house and other chores/errands and I filled up those 10 hours spent working on a weekday. My point? You get the same hours in a day as everyone else. You must find time for your health, your well-being (your waistline). That may mean that something else needs to go! The consequences of ignoring your physical well-being ain’t pretty. And, you’ll be no good to any of those people if you have to drop everything to focus on a health crisis.

It happens to the best of us

I totally get this. That was my time budget above. And, I have a great partner who helps around the house and as well as a support system – but I got caught up in the cycle of self-care denial that quickly spirals out of control. For me, it resulted in being 30 lbs. overweight, exhausted and, well, cranky!

I reached the point where I couldn’t stand what I saw in the mirror and knew I had to take action. May have been imperfect action at first, but action nonetheless. It took me well over a year to lose the weight but I’m proud to say I’ve kept it off for nearly 7 years.

While I adopted new, healthier habits, all my focus wasn’t just on sweating more and eating less. A lot of it was about unloading stress, needless “to-dos” and mental baggage that was weighing on me and keeping me from doing things that would make me healthy. It was around re-prioritizing myself and my health. Making time for workouts and to cook meals at home. It was getting the whole family on board with new lifestyle choices.

Since that time, I’ve become a personal trainer and health coach and know all the right things to do from a food and fitness standpoint. However, as a recovering do-it-all woman, I also have the personal experience to share the lifestyle changes I made that work together with nutrition and exercise to get you closer to your goals and further away from the destructive cycle of self-neglect.

Start spending time on you FIRST

From my experience, these things help start you down a path to putting yourself first and improving your health:

  1. Get real about where/what you spend time on. Track everything you do for one week. Write it in your calendar as if everything is a meeting you attended. Then, review it and see where you are wasting time. If you find that you spend an hour a day talking to your mother, sister, best friend, or others, block time once a week to catch up with people on your commute to or from work instead of when you get home and want to work out. Or do you scramble every night with what to make for dinner because you didn’t really plan for the week? Set aside 2 hours on Sunday to meal prep instead of zoning out in front of the tv. Find the time wasters and eliminate them or consolidate them into blocks with a designated start and stop time.
  2. Get good at saying NO! Get comfortable with politely turning down requests, invitations and opportunities to volunteer. I always remember that when I say YES to something that means I’ll eventually have to say NO to something else. Choose wisely. There are millions of ways to do it but I’ve found that keeping it short and simple is better than trying to justify or create elaborate reasons. Most times, I simply say, “Thank you but I’m unable to volunteer/attend.” If you feel like giving a reason why, great, but it’s not required. Your time is yours and what you choose to spend it on, is entirely up to you. Don’t let friends, colleagues or others guilt you into saying yes.
  3. Get a budget for your time. Map out how much time you are willing to spend on volunteering, working at home after hours, etc. and then plan for it. The key will be to add in 5-7 hours a week for self-care. That’s a small investment for the ROI you’ll receive. And then treat your time budget like a real one – don’t go over and if you’re under, spend the surplus wisely. Bonus: When you only budget so much for activities that are for the benefit of others, you have a great out for things you don’t want to do but hate saying no to (see tip #2 for how to enjoy the art of NO). “Oh, I’m so sorry Linda, I’d love to help with bake sale but I’ve already booked my volunteering time for this month. Maybe next month!”
  4. Get over doing it all on your own. You are a professional woman, entrepreneur or maybe a small business owner – start acting like it! You have help when it comes to running your department or company. You don’t do everything on your own just because you can. You have accountants and administrative assistants and other professionals to help you. So why do you insist on doing it all when it comes to your personal life? Invest in services and people who can do the things you don’t have the time or energy for or that are not a good use of your time (like cleaning the whole house on Saturdays). Same goes for your health and wellness. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, hire a professional to help you. A personal trainer, health coach or nutritionist can quickly assess your needs and get you a path to better health with the right food, fitness and lifestyle behaviors.

As a recovering do-it-all kind of gal, I know now that being all things to all people just means having nothing left for myself. And, when we continue to overspend our time budget and take on even more responsibilities, we eventually become overdrawn and even bankrupt in our health and wellness.

Assess, take action and ask for help

Take the time to ASSESS what you’re spending time on, take ACTION to prioritize what is truly important, impactful and enjoyable, and finally, ASK for help with the rest. When you do, your schedule opens, your time bank is full and you can be that strong, healthy and happy overachiever that everyone loves.

Try it..

Xoxo

Niki

PS – if you’re ready to finally ditch the crazy diets and the over-the-top exercise programs and still lose weight, let’s chat about my 8-Week Fit, Fab & Fierce Bootcamp. Lose up to 15 lbs., jumpstart your metabolism and transform bad habits into healthy lifestyle behaviors. Schedule a chat here:  https://goo.gl/forms/J5eqpgY98H2nnBBk1 or text me at 412-310-6882.

 

 

Personal wellness, Uncategorized

Bust through Barriers like a Badass

brick wall

Excuses, Excuses…

Kids are great at finding the funniest reasons why they can’t or won’t do something. Usually involves a scary monster under the bed at bedtime or a suddenly sick tummy right before the bus arrives. But don’t discount your own adult ability to come up with some super creative reasons why you can’t workout, make a healthy dinner or block off some time to decompress and de-stress.

We are pretty good at creating reasons, excuses and barriers to the very goals WE decided to work toward in January. I’m not saying that all barriers are made up – there are legit reasons why getting to the gym can seem impossible. And, plenty of solid rationale as to why take-out is the best option on a busy night of homework, sports and email catch up.

When Excuses Become Habits that Become Behaviors…

The trouble starts though when our excuses and perceived barriers become habits and ingrained thoughts in our heads. Those habits lead to behaviors that take us anywhere but toward the goals we hoped to achieve this year.

So, if you’ve found yourself 6 weeks into the year and you haven’t seen the inside of a gym or your kitchen since Groundhog Day, there are a few tried and true ways to refocus on what’s in the way (spoiler alert – it’s mostly YOU) and map out a plan to get this badass train back on the rails and heading in the right direction.

  • First – you cannot do this alone. Even the baddest of the badasses can’t do everything on their own. It doesn’t matter if you are the only one who wants to lose weight, get in better physical shape or start another healthy habit. Your entire family needs to be in agreement and supportive. Family meeting time. Regroup over a sit-down dinner at home and lay the ground rules again. Get everyone to agree that you’re going to stick to the plan and then assign everyone a role in that plan. Kids love to “help” when they think there’s an important task. Ask them to make a workout chart (like their chore chart) and check off each day that you/they work out. Or, get your significant other to agree to meal prep with you on Sundays. When everyone has a role, the plan is easier to execute.

 

  • Second – take a good hard look at your calendar. Badasses don’t spend time on stuff that doesn’t make them (or the world) better. What are you filling your time with – quality activities or busy-ness? I recently excused myself from two committees because the time spent didn’t provide the return on investment that I was putting in. Worthy endeavors for sure, but they were taking up time without providing me with some value (tangible or intangible). Freeing up 2 hours a week allows you to fit in two 30-minute workouts and an hour of meal prep on the weekend.

 

  • Finally – make a list of every possible barrier. Be an honest badass. Write down ALL the reasons you’ve told yourself that you cannot work toward your goal – from the obvious to the absurd. Then, next to each one, write the solution to that challenge. Finally, give each one a confidence score from 1-10 (1 being not confident at all that you can bust through it and 10 being super confident you will kick this barrier’s ass). Then start with the easy ones. For example, if one of the barriers is lack of childcare for an evening spin class and the solution is asking your mother in law to babysit (which she LOVES to do), your confidence in busting that barrier should be a 10. So, call her up and get it scheduled.

Get out of your head…

The BS we tell ourselves is typically creative and dramatic but when we really look at what stands in our way, the reasons are often much simpler and less dramatic than we think.

Sometimes the simple act of writing down all the things and seeing them on paper gives you the push you need to solve the problem. When we keep everything in our heads it gets lost in the clutter of every day decisions and tasks.

Don’t get stuck in a cycle of overwhelm and put your health last. Recognize that you’re off track, identify the reasons and create a plan of action.

If you’d like a free Barrier Buster worksheet to help you with the process, download it here. Or, I invite you to set up a time to chat with me on how I can help you bust through those barriers and get to the healthiest, badass version of yourself.

 

Uncategorized

Leaders Behaving Badly – Breaking the Bad Habits We Fall Into

Young Woman Working at Home, Small OfficeShame on you. Seriously. You talk a good game but you don’t live it!

Women who encourage other women to have more balance and be more present in their family’s lives. All the while, they are a boiling pot of stress ready for the lid to blow off and to let out all the pent up steam. All because of a few bad habits.

Professional women are unique creatures. We have the amazing ability to appear to be doing it all — Killing it at work; making it to all the kids’ soccer games; volunteering at the local animal shelter. Only to go home and collapse from the exhaustion of our lives.

The problem with living like that…being on, going non-stop, is that something needs to take a backseat to all the other priorities. And, guest what? It’s usually our health and wellness. And, that sucks.

Women, and high achieving professional women in particular, don’t know when to stop and take time for themselves. It seems selfish and extravagant. We’ve worked really hard to get where we are (despite earning 73% of our male counterparts ). And, research shows that women and our “do it all” personalities burnout faster than men (60% more according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). That stress leads to weight gain, high blood pressure, and a bunch other health problems.

So, admitting the problem is the first step, right? Then, what’s next? Where do women start in breaking these bad habits so they can continue to be high-achievers and not burned out couch zombies by the age of 40?

Here are some of the common “bad habits” I see in my clients and some of the strategies I’ve recommended to them. It’s not enough to say, “stop it.” Women aren’t wired that way.

Bad Habit #1: Running from meeting to meeting from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Solution: First of all, I’ve seen executive women who don’t even leave time for a bathroom break. It’s time to rethink your schedule if you can’t even pee. We all like to think we are absolutely indispensable to every conversation, I challenge you to be a true leader and delegate routine meetings to a junior colleague or someone you are mentoring. Give them the opportunity to shine so you have the opportunity to hit the restroom and regroup for the strategic meetings. Then, get a report out from them in a walking meeting. Grab a coffee or smoothie and head outside (weather permitting) to discuss.  You’ll get some fresh air and maybe some fresh ideas.

Bad Habit #2: Multitasking at lunch to catch up.

The Solution:  Focus on one thing at a time. There is truly no good way to multitask (don’t believe me? Science says so!). When nothing gets our full attention, nothing gets done well. If you have 30 minutes to eat lunch, dedicate half that time to eating. Just eating. Then, use the rest to answer emails, make appointments, scroll Facebook. Whatever to-dos you have that have been slated for your lunch time. This approach is important because being mindful of what you eat leads to better eating habits — like proper portions, and more nutritious choices. Bonus – you might actually enjoy eating. Focusing on one thing at a time will yield better results for your health, your career and family  life!

Bad Habit #3: Keeping your phone by your bed and checking it first thing.

The solution: Charge your phone elsewhere.  Easy to say. Tough to implement. I’m a terrible offender of this. However, when you wake up and start reading, processing, and responding you are literally inviting stress into what should be your most peaceful place, your bed! Again, I know this because…science. Here’s what I recommend and I’m trying my best to do. Put that phone somewhere that requires you to move before you look at it. Better yet, put it in a place that requires you to sweat, like on your treadmill or inside your running shoes by the front door (assuming an outlet is nearby). Then, if you must, read the stuff that you’ve missed when you’re walking or stretching. If nothing else, put it by the coffee pot so at least you’ll be caffeinated before you start dealing with life.

Bad Habit #4: Relying on Take Out More than Once a Week.

The Solution: Meal prep with friends. This solution solves two problems – having nothing to eat during the week and having no time for friends. Pick two Saturdays or Sundays each month and invite a friend or two over to do meal prep. Agree on 7-8 dinners that you’ll prep for the next two work weeks. Keep it simple and clean (buying a bunch of frozen meals doesn’t count!). Grab some wine, and prep together while you catch up on life. A few hours invested in preparing meals are good for your body and the time with a friend is good for your soul.

Your wellness starts on the inside. Stress, lack of sleep, and relentless multitasking will take a toll on your psyche and eventually your body.

Even if you pick one bad habit to change, you are doing something positive for your health. You’re also setting an example for your employees and co-workers and your family. Small steps will lead to a greater state of wellness. And you don’t have to give up that high-achieving, Rockstar status to be healthier. You really can have it all. Just not all at the same time.

Is this resonating? Do you find yourself saying, “hell yes” to all of this? If so, let’s chat. This is just the tip of the iceberg. To truly revolutionize your health and wellness, you need support and accountability. I can help. I’ve been there and know how to get more from your career and life through having a wellness state of mind.