THE PATH TO A HAPPY, FIT LIFESTYLE

20140527_4372

We are coming into our third week of 2017, and January is already flying by. I thought this would be a good time to talk about the fitness lifestyle, self acceptance, and breaking the guilt and shame cycle.

I know what this time of year can be like. We start the new year excited with plans to eat better and workout regularly. Life gets hectic and we start to slip a little on our nutrition goals or miss a few workouts. This is often where the guilt creeps into our thoughts and leads to an “all or nothing attitude.” Rather than guilt spurring us to be more consistent, it erodes our motivation by telling us we are not strong enough. This leads to more skipped workouts, less consistency with our eating habits, and even giving up entirely.

I had a client once tell me “Carol, I just need to be stronger and stop making excuses! I tell myself that I am going to do better but am just not motivated and I can’t seem to get my act together. But I need to do it!” As she was saying those words, I could see a look of shame and distress cross her face. The look was saying, “I am not good enough or confident enough to make changes.”

Fitness is a lifestyle, and one you are good enough to achieve! Fitness is not a single 8, 10, or 12 week program. It is not the diet in the latest best selling book. It is not just one transformation program. All of those things have a place, and I use those methods to help women learn lasting nutrition and workout habits. But, fitness really begins with our attitude and how we feel about ourselves. We have to break the cycle of shame and the “all or nothing” mindset. Shame will never create the type of body you desire. Guilt will never create confidence. It simply breeds more guilt. Working out is a process where we learn our bodies, become increasingly comfortable with who we are, and build confidence. We don’t need to achieve a total transformation to begin this process. We can start today changing how we see ourselves.

Here are my three ways to begin a fitness lifestyle that is joyful and shame free.

Practice being judgement free – If you skip a day of working out, don’t judge yourself. If you had less than a perfect meal or day with your eating plan, don’t dwell on it. You can always get back on track tomorrow.

Focus on one simple nutrition or workout habit at a time rather than trying to tackle all the changes at once -Try choosing just one action you can consistently do, such as having a healthy breakfast or working out 3 days per week for 20 to 30 minutes. Then stay consistent with that one thing. Keep it as simple as possible in the beginning. You can always build on the positive routine you have set.

Journal for fitness – I recently wrote a newsletter on this subject that I encourage you to read. It is a practice I started last year and am finding to be beneficial for me with my fitness, business, and personal goals. When you write down your thoughts without judgement, it helps you to be fully present in the moment rather than stressing out about what needs to be done next. It also give you insight into deeper feelings that may be interfering with your fitness path. I like to start with a prompt such as “today I feel…” or “today I have a big idea…” I always include a section for gratitude, because living in gratitude helps me be joyful and content. I then write my schedule for the day using the insights I gained from journaling.

This year let’s focus on a different type of transformation – one that occurs from the inside out. 

How Important is Breakfast? Behind the Hype

According to the American Diabetes Association, blood sugar levels rise as we age and typically increase by 1 to 2 mg/dl per decade after age 30. Rising blood sugar levels can affect the quality of life and decrease life expectancy. However, there is research that suggests that eating a healthy breakfast at the right time could help in the prevention of blood sugar problems and diabetes.

A study in Japan followed almost 5,000 middle aged adults for over a decade and found that those who skipped breakfast were twice as likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. Two recent 2015 studies found that the American lifestyle of eating a light breakfast such as toast and coffee with a large dinner at night was detrimental to controlling blood sugar. It was discovered that eating more calories at breakfast, when the glucose response to food is lowest and consuming fewer calories at dinner, when the glucose peaks after meals, resulted in more stable blood sugar levels throughout the day. In other words, it is better to eat a larger meal in the morning when your body is better able to process those calories.

A highly controlled study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Division of Sleep explored the timing of meals and its effects on the glucose levels. Initially participants ate breakfast at 8:00 a.m. and the last meal at 8:00 p.m. and slept normally through the night.  Their blood sugar levels were normal.  Then they flipped the timing of the meals.  Subjects had breakfast at 8:00 p.m., dinner at 8:00 a.m., and slept during the day. The glucose levels were 17 percent higher in the evening. The finding suggests that the circadian system (physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a 24 hour cycle and respond to light and darkness) strongly affects glucose tolerance and that the timing of both meals and sleep were of significance.

I was formally one of the toast and coffee Americans.  Despite what studies say or find, I have discovered the benefits of eating a good breakfast.  Properly fueling my body in the morning provides more energy for my workouts, and I am better prepared to tackle the day.  In addition, I have found I am less likely to binge on other unhealthy foods throughout the day. I begin every morning with an omelette, oatmeal, and strawberries.  Try this simple omelette recipe.  Easy to make and fresh ingredients.

IMG_1041

Ingredients:

Trader Joes Olive Oil Spray

1 whole egg

8 TBSP liquid egg whites

Garlic Powder 

1 TBSP jalapeño pepper chopped fine 

1 TBSP Pico de Gallo or fresh chopped tomatoes

Small handful fresh baby spinach leaves

Spray a small skillet with olive oil spray and turn to medium heat. In a bowl whisk together whole egg and egg whites. Pour into the skillet and heat for 2 minutes. Top with garlic powder, jalapeño, and pico or tomatoes.  Add spinach leaves. Continue cooking until egg sets and begins to brown. Fold omelette in half and serve.  

References:

Statistics About Diabetes: American Diabetes Foundation Association

NCBI.nim.nih.gov, Breakfast Skipping is Positively Associated with Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Evidence from the Aichi Workers Cohort Study 2002-2011

Brighamandwomens.org Press Release You Are When You Eat: Link Between Blood Sugar and Internal Clock Explored. April 13, 2015

University of Missouri study, April 29, 2015

Tel Aviv University study, March 2015