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Wednesday, June 12, 2019



Be Well - Vacation Edition
Relaxing on the beach or exploring a new city, a time out from the normal routine can be a wonderful thing. But it can also make it tough to stay fit—all those meals out and indulging in a few (OK, a lot of) cocktails doesn't exactly help either. All that fun means you might return home feeling less than refreshed. The good news is feeling healthy during and after our vacation is totally possible. A few smart choices can keep us active and energized and help us get the most out of our time away.


Eat Well
Airport. Feast on a high powered meal before hitting the airport to avoid having to eat at the fast food courts. Or, if you know your airport has some great choices, build in time to choose those. DIA has a Root Down and Elway's so if you are coming to see me, you’re all set! If you forget or don’t have good restaurant options, today’s convenience store are full of good options (thank you Paleo, Keto, Low-Carb, Fasting and all the others fads our food makers cater to!)

Prep for jet-lag. Adjusting to a new time zone might make you hungry at odd or all hours. Feed the urge to snack at 4 a.m. with water and focused breathing (it really works!) and wait for regular meal times. If you decide you must, choose an option like a handful of nuts that will give your body some meaningful calories and not make too much acid.

Drive past the drive-thru. If you’re driving to your getaway, plan where and when you’ll be stopping for meals before hitting the road. It’ll give you more flexibility when choosing a healthier restaurant—or figuring out the best options. And of course, pack your own healthy snacks! (See a theme here?)

Save space for treats. Visiting France? It’d be a sin not to try out some crepes. The beach? You WILL want those drinks with the tiny umbrella. And that's just fine! When you’ll be indulging, indulge! Savor every bite and sip and reward your beautiful body will all the other healthy meals and snacks you can find that day.

Beware of buffets. With so many delicious choices, how to choose anything other than, well, everything? Start by using a smaller plate; it’ll encourage smaller portions. Also aim to fill up on as many fruits and veggies as possible. Just have to try that cheesy pasta? Spread the love and share it with a friend.

Stay regular. No, not that kind of regular. Keeping a fairly consistent diet helps maintain health better than being erratic. Even when you're on vacation, aim to eat roughly the same amount and kinds of food as you usually do. Your body will thank you.

Visit food markets. They’re a great place to soak up some local culture and eat delicious—and cheap—fresh food. Local food is better for the environment; you get to pick what you’re eating; and you'll even squeeze in some movement as you walk around the market. Triple WIN!

Pack snacks. When you plan to be out all day, bring along your own healthy snacks to stave off hunger. It’ll keep money in your pocket and away from unhealthier options. Trail mix, hand held fruit and veggies (carrot and celery sticks for the win!) are all healthy, portable options.

Make your own meals. If you’re staying somewhere with kitchen access, take the time to whip up your own delicious meals as much as often doing your stay. You’re more likely to eat something nutritious at home—and you’ll know exactly what’s in it.

Beware of drinks. A single cocktail, mocktail, soda, energy drink or other can contain loads of sugar and empty calories. If a stiff drink is necessary (and sometimes it is!), try some of these healthier drinks instead.

Take a local cooking class. It’ll help relieve stress and you’ll be able to recreate the flavors of your vacation long after it’s over. Bonus points for doing something cultural and off the beaten path!


Move Well

See the sights. On foot or bike, that is. Skip the bus tours and check out your new surroundings the old-fashioned way to get those heart rates up while taking in the views. Lots of cities even offer walking, biking, paddling and running tours to let you explore while getting a workout in.

Take the stairs. Skip the elevator and sneak in some extra cardio. Bonus: Lots of sightseeing attractions—churches and towers, for example—have stairs with architectural oddities, letting you kill two birds with one step.

Embrace your surroundings. If you’re at the beach, try doing the usual yoga routine on the sand instead of indoors. A change in scenery might be the boost needed to get physical. Take a long walk through a local park when kickin’ it in a new city.

Be adventurous. Break out of a workout rut and use vacation as an excuse to try a new, fun activity. Whether it’s rock climbing, sailing, or trapeze swinging, challenge yourself to try something different while you’re away.

Try the local specialty. Take advantage of what an area’s known for—or even plan a vacation around it! Unroll a yoga mat in India, climb boulders in Colorado, learn tai chi moves in China, or let your colors show with flamenco moves in Spain. It’s a great way to learn about a different culture while getting your fitness fix.

Make exercise your vacation. A surefire way to guarantee you keep moving while traveling is by planning a getaway around a fitness event or competition. Force yourself to vacation by registering for a race in a different city or try a weekend fitness retreat.


Room Well

Check out amenities first. Make it easy to squeeze in workout time by booking a hotel with a gym or pool. If that cozy bed and breakfast doesn’t have the facilities, find out if discounts are offered at a local gym or scope out a nearby park or walking route.

Scope out the neighborhood. Book accommodation near places where you can get your sweat on. If you need to run laps before starting your day, make sure there’s a track nearby. If you can’t unwind until you hear namaste, stay near a yoga studio. ASK! The locals will know where to go.

Do it anywhere. Bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere and require zero equipment. Bust a move in your hotel room to keep fit.

Stash food. Ask for a room with a mini-fridge and keep it stocked with healthy snacks like fruits, veggies, and nuts to avoid room service. If I am going somewhere I know I won't get to a store, I carry an apple and avocado a day. It’s 100% worth the extra baggage fee!


Rest Well

Keep work away. It’s a vacation, remember? Resist the urge to check work e-mail and focus on having fun. It will keep your mind clear and allow you to decompress. If your job, like mine, requires you to check in; set limited hours so your contacts will know when to expect you and you can really log off the rest of the time. No emiling allowed from the top of a 14er!!!

Free your mind. Meditating for just a few minutes each day can help relieve anxiety and

stress. Bonus points if you can find a beautiful space to do it in.

Get the most out of time off. Doing activities that you enjoy, keeping your cell phone off, and sharing time with friends and family (or alone time!) ensure that you’ll get the most bang for your buck out of a vacation.


Friday, December 14, 2018

Gratitude at all costs? NO. Thank you. 

“Be grateful.” "I'm trying to be grateful." "I guess I should be grateful..."

If I had a nickel for every time I hear or say those words, specially this time of year. Well, I'd have a lot of nickels. 
Most of us, somewhere along the way, have been told that we are supposed to be happy and grateful for what we have: grateful for all the opportunities that life has presented us, grateful for our health, grateful for...everything.
And I am not here to tell you that there aren't massive health benefits to recognizing our blessings and expressing gratitude for the same. You can read more about that here. But here's the rub. Many of us, in the quest to be grateful feel told to shy away from expressing our true emotions. It goes something like this:
I feel sad.
I’m not supposed to feel sad.
There’s no reason to be sad.
I’m not that kind of person.
My life is great, I should be grateful.
We judge, reason, analyze, and rationalize our feelings in an attempt to feel in control, yet we often forget that our feelings are there for a very good reason. When we allow ourselves to naturally express how we’re really feeling, a shift occurs and new feelings tend to show up.
Eugene Gendlin, a former professor at the University of Chicago phrased this idea so eloquently in saying the following:
“When a feeling is felt, it changes. Most people don’t know this. They think that by not permitting the feeling of their negative ways they make themselves good. On the contrary, that keeps these negative static, the same from year to year. A few moments of feeling it in your body allows it to change. If there is in you something bad or sick or unsound, let it inwardly be, and breathe. That’s the only way it can evolve and change into the form it needs.”

A few moments of feeling anything but grateful in your body allows it to change. Imagine giving yourself time to feel whatever you’re really feeling. Imagine shelving the judgment, analysis, and rationalization for just a few moments.
Here are a few techniques to help you release any sort of false gratitude and get closer to your true feelings:

1. Make a safe space. Most of us don’t express ourselves fully because we don’t feel safe doing so. Find a space in your life where you can fully express, whether it's in your car (one of my favorites) or at a close friend's place. Go somewhere where you feel totally comfortable being totally honest with yourself.

2. Find your crew. Think about someone in your life who you can always depend on to be your friend, even through difficult times. Ask this person if they would be willing to be with you as you express how you’re actually feeling. Once you get the yes, try out a simple sharing exercise. Set a timer for three minutes and say aloud, "I feel ________.” Don’t stop until the timer goes off, and let yourself share without a filter, even if the words don't make sense right away.

3. Talk to yourself.  Not in a 'people will wonder about you' way, but in a 'so you can know the answers' way. Try it on for size. Ask yourself what feelings are waiting to be expressed, and, without judgment (or with a little less judgment than usual), let yourself answer honestly. You might find yourself laughing, screaming, crying, yelling, grunting, or just staying silent. Embrace whatever comes.

Practicing sitting with all the emotions we are capable of, not just the one that seems to get all the attention during the holiday season, is one of the best ways I know to survive and even thrive through all the seasons of our lives. Looking for more on how to have a healthy holiday season? Check out my favorite 4 Real-Life Ways to Have a Happy Healthy Holiday. And if you are looking for that ally, please don't hesitate to let me know. That is what i am here for!

Gratefully, (most of the time) yours,
Erika


Sunday, September 2, 2018

Fuel better, Feel Better. For REAL!

After nearly a full year of vetting, learning, doubting, experimenting, sharing with some of my most trusting clients - feeling the results in my own body and seeing my family’s health blossom; I am so proud to announce my partnership with one of the fastest-growing nutrition companies i bet you’ve never heard of. 

But that’s going to change!

My new team is full of nutritionists, athletes, trainers, health coaches, and doctors. I’m learning so much!!! Totally comprehensive line of products: kid’s stuff, athletes performance, support for healthy aging, weight loss...means I can support all of my clients, rock my own health and make sure my entire family gets the nutrients they need. 

I know! 

I’ve always said we can “just do it with grocery store food.” And maybe some of you can. But I wasn’t. Just days after starting to eat these live, raw and dehydrated superfoods, I could feel the difference. And my family... My WHOLE family!!! 😍 

I mean look at us, we’ve got places to go and we need the fuel to get there! 




So what’s changing?
I can now offer 100% money-back guaranteed superfood product support for my weight loss, athletic and lifestyle programs. 

What isn’t changing?
My commitment to mentoring each and every one of my clients with personal, positive, caring attention to your goals and your challenges. Because that is I do. 

Why now?
This is working for me and for my family. And I wouldn’t be doing my job if i didn’t share it. Have you seen the news? Glyphosate??? Well, that’s a whole other post. 

I would love to tell you more. 

Comment, message me, call me, send a carrier pigeon. Ask me anything! My passion is inspiring small changes that make each of us more vibrant and healthy so we can keep on doing the work the world needs us to do. I am beyond thrilled to add this to the tools we have to do just that

Want to hear more? Shoot me an email: erika@tayloredfitnessonline.com

Sunday, June 3, 2018

How to get a Bikini Body in Two Simple Steps

All of a sudden, out of nowhere, we’ve reached that point of the year where we start to fret about buying a swimsuit. It’s just dawned on us that the body we've been wrapping in sweats and sweaters all winter will soon be on display on a beach somewhere or at the neighborhood pool

Guess what; It’s not a coincidence we are feeling this way.

That sound you hear? It’s the avalanche of “summer is coming” content flooding the airwaves, internet searches, magazines, tv shows, store shelves and every other nook of the advertising world.

You know the type of stuff I’m talking about. It’s the “how to get your body beach ready in time for summer” articles. The dozens of beauty brands pedaling cellulite-busting and fat-melting creams and potions. Friends posting status updates about their “bikini body” weight loss progress accompanied by the obligatory before and after shots.

It's a thing. And it's not new.

Bo Derek in 1979's 10. Pamela Anderson in 1992's Baywatch. Kate Upton in 2014's The Other Woman. Each time you see a woman jogging on a beach, there are two consistent realities: She is always in slow motion, and she is invariably slim. The former is hilarious, while the latter is more harmful. Presenting any body as the only desirable type of body may sell, and it may also be pretty darn dangerous.

The Rise of the Bikini Body

The concept of the bikini body is simple: In order to wear a bikini, and have it be deemed socially acceptable, you should have a specific type of figure. This includes but is not limited to: a thin waist, round butt, full-but-not-too-large breasts, and long legs. There should be no cellulite, no body hair, no stretch marks, no blemishes. In short, you should have the body of a heavily Photoshopped celebrity that fits the profoundly narrow definition of beauty in Western society.

According to The Cut, the term "bikini body" was initially popularized as a result of a weight loss chain's ad campaign in 1961. The name of the company was Slenderella. "Summer's wonderful fun is for those who look young," one ad read. "High firm bust — hand span waist — trim, firm hips — slender graceful legs — a Bikini body!" The message was loud and clear: Want to look good in a bathing suit? You have to look like this. And you know those weird videos of women in the '50s and '60s lying on vibrating tables that supposedly "shook off" fat? That was what Slenderella specialized in. While it wasn't exactly an effective workout, it did usher in a phrase that would be used to aggressively shame women's bodies for years to come.

This theme has continued throughout the last six decades, both in advertising and in entertainment. Most of the most iconic scenes in films featuring women in swimsuits reflect this — just look at literally any Bond girl ever. Onscreen and off, the term "bikini body" has become synonymous with tall and lean. A quick Google search of the term shows exactly what it's associated with: Again, the images almost exclusively depict thin, able-bodied white women in their twenties and thirties with medium-sized breasts, narrow waists, zero cellulite, hairless skin and toned stomachs. The framework for having your body considered bikini-worthy is clearly narrow.

And no matter what your weight is, there's always a label somebody wants to slap on it: pear-shaped, skinny, hourglass, top-heavy, fat, whatever. You're "supposed" to dress according to your body shape, as though humans neatly, naturally fit into these categories. 

How This Affects Us

At least 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a "clinically significant eating disorder" during their lives. The median age of eating disorder onset is approximately 12 to 13 years old. Forty-two percent of girls in first, second and third grade say they want to be thinner. The fact that many folks, particularly young women and girls, have negative feelings toward their bodies is nothing new.

Eating disorders are not always the direct result of poor body image — many folks cope with trauma by controlling their food intake, for example, while others develop eating issues in response to familial relationships, such as a parent who's constantly nagging their child to lose weight or to eat less. It is not so simple as seeing a tabloid making fun of, say, Kelly Clarkson for gaining weight — and poof! Suddenly you've got an eating disorder. Still, the messages telling you over and over and over that your body is inadequate, unsightly, disconcerting and unacceptable are grating — and borderline impossible to avoid. 

The concept of the swimsuit body is nothing more than a societal myth constructed to tear away at self-esteem. In a culture that profits from our insecurities, the bikini body traps consumers into believing they must change something about themselves in order to be deemed socially acceptable. Although striving to be healthy isn’t necessarily a bad thing, health is not the end goal in the “bikini body challenge.” Our obsession with looking “beach ready” just shows how normalized objectification and self-hatred is: we merely accept this fear of looking fat on the beach as something completely normal. 

While this is typically associated with women, men struggle with this same issue: all genders are impacted by low self-esteem when it comes to body image (particularly relating to swimsuits). In a recent poll on Twitter, 63% of respondents said they had avoided going somewhere in public due to self-consciousness regarding their body in a swimsuit (the demographics of this poll were primarily college and high school students).

Rejecting the Ideal

In the past few years, people — particularly women — have been pushing back against this impossible-to-meet standard. Models, bloggers and prominent celebrities like Mindy Kaling, Amy Schumer, Jennifer Lawrence and Mo'Nique have outspokenly rejected the traditional notion that their bodies need to match one specific appearance, lest they resign themselves to a life of floor-length dresses and knee-length swimsuits. Model Tess Holiday, for example, runs the popular Eff Your Beauty Standards page, posting photos of gorgeous folks of all sizes rocking crop tops, bikinis, short skirts and more. You name it, they've worn it, and worn it beautifully. Another loud and proud promoter of body positivity is YouTube star Meghan Tonjes, whose #BootyRevolution campaign invites people to share their figures as she celebrates her own — and refuses to let anyone make her feel like her body is somehow not acceptable or worthy of being seen.

So how can we fix it? We can start by abandoning the idea of the “swimsuit body.” We, as a society, must be more accepting and loving of not only others, but ourselves as well. We must look for happiness and satisfaction within ourselves as opposed to attempting to find happiness by emulating the girl on the cover of Sports Illustrated (yes, she is beautiful, but so are you and everyone else, in a unique and radiant way). 

Remember, there are only two steps to getting the perfect swimsuit body: buy an awesome swimsuit and put it on YOUR body, just as it is.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Self-Care. Why its a non-negotiable part of your wellness routine and how to get it now!

Self-care, like mindfulness and 'clean' eating and 'functional' fitness are terms wellness pros like myself throw around a lot these days. And while all of these concepts can be powerful tools in our health tool belts, overuse of the words themselves often leads to confusion about how we can implement them into our daily lives.

So what, exactly IS this self-care thing we are all talking about???

Often-ignored but totally necessary, self-care is any action or behavior which benefits us by improving our mental and physical health through better self-esteem, less stress, and overall wellbeing and that helps us avoid triggering health problems (like increasing our risk for heart problems due to excess stress, for example). These behaviors help provide balance in an increasingly over-stimulating world. Self-care makes up an essential part of a healthy lifestyle that keeps us healthy, happy, and more in-tune with our minds and bodies.

Great. So know we know what it is. So why aren't we doing enough of it?

Healthy self-care isn't always easy! It can be tough to make the healthy changes and manage stress in positive ways when we are bombarded with messages of easy fixes like alcohol. Self-care is also sometimes associated with selfishness and lazy, over-indulgent behavior. This mentality might make us feel guilty for thinking we need to take a break from our lives to do something that, simply put, makes us feel better. But ignoring our needs has some dangerous side effects: It makes us more likely to get sick and can make existing conditions worse; not to mention the emotional toll of never taking a break.

Making the time to check in with your mind and body isn't only not selfish, it is necessary! When we take good care of ourselves, we're likely to see an improvement in many aspects of our lives, including our physical health, relationships, and even our income. Plus, by making the choice to practice self-care, we have a tendency to care more for others; proving its importance for not just ourselves, but the world around us.

So what's a wellness wanting person to do???  How do we work self-care into our already very full lives?

Self-care is a very individual thing, so there's no set prescription for how or when to do it. Which can make it harder to figure out what is right for you. Luckily, exploring what works for us each is part of the process and is great for us in and of itself. Lost for ideas? No worries!!! While there is no one size fits all. The silver bullet is in the practice itself so anything you so will do the trick until you figure out your best recipes.  Here are some great places to start to slash stress, boost happiness, and improve total health. Practice any of these self-care behaviors (or any others that occur to you!) daily, weekly, or even hourly; whatever feels best to you IS what is best for you.

1. Get outside
Ditching the comfort of your home is a great way to improve mental and physical health. Similar to meditation, spending time out of doors benefits the brain. Being outside in nature also makes us feel more alive. Even visiting in an area with more green space (i.e. parks and gardens) is associated with greater life satisfaction and less mental distress. Consider taking your sweat session into nature, too. Working out in the Great Outdoors boosts mental health, and may decrease tension, anger, and depression. It doesn't need to be much just walk fast enough to boost that heart-rate a bit and you will reap the rewards.

2. Pay it forward
By helping others, we actually help ourselves, too. Lending a hand not only boosts mental health, but may also lead to a longer life . Volunteering also positively affects self-confidence, self-esteem, and general wellbeing.

3. Breathe and breathe the right scents.
We know that breathing techniques can help us relax. But what we breathe might be just as important as how we breathe. While the benefits of aromatherapy are debated, research suggests that citrus scents, orange essential oil in particular, can help slash stress and anxiety, and getting a whiff of rosemary may boost memory .

4. Be happy (even if you have to fake it at first)
We all know that happiness feels good, but it’s also great for our health. Feeling happy may even prevent disease, including heart disease. But being happy is easier said than done, right? Turns out there’s actually a simple way to feel more upbeat: Just crack a smile! Tell yourself you feel happy and eventually yourself will start to believe you!

5. Meditate.
Meditation is proof that it doesn’t take a ton of time to do a mind and body good. Just a few minutes of quieting your mind can help relieve stress. Other benefits include a boost in compassion and emotional stability, meditating could even keep winter illness at bay . The best part? Its benefits continue even when we’re not meditating—consider it the gift (to yourself) that keeps on giving. Remember, its the trying it that is the key. Like flexing a muscle, the more you try the better it gets. Check out my favorite meditation technique for us newbies here. 

6. Dance!!! 
Shaking your booty doesn’t just make for a fit physique. It may also improve both mood and body image, lead to a better outlook, is associated with a lower risk for dementia, and even help you make friends. Consider this your cue for a silly impromptu dance party. Seriously. Right now!!!

7. Turn up the tunes
If you’ve ever noticed that certain songs bring a smile to your face, you’re not alone. As it turns out, science has taken note, too. Research shows that listening to music makes already positive emotions even more intense, and upbeat music in particular can do great things for your mood. Plus, jamming out can also improve heart health .

8. Eat more fruits and veggies
Adding more fruits and veggies to our plate is a great way to practice self-care all throughout the day. Eating berries boosts brain health while noshing on peppers prevents Parkinson’s. And in case we needed another reason to load up on nature’s goodness, filling up on seven portions of fruits and veggies per day might make us happier.

9. Swear it off.
If you've been in the room with me when I get activate about something, you know i practice this one often. True, a potty mouth isn’t appropriate in a lot of scenarios (work… church… on a date… you get the picture). But dropping a few creative curses might be an easy way to blow off some steam. Swearing can even reduce physical pain, and may even boost confidence and self-esteem. REMEMBER, timing is everything, so be sure to filter your expletives to avoid adding embarrassment to stress. And I don't want to hear from your mothers about this one!

10. Get it on.
Another one you may not want to talk to mom about...There are tons of awesome things about sex, even apart from the way it makes us feel. Getting busy can boost the immune system, help to reduce stress, and may even relieve migraine and other chronic or acute pain. And that’s just to name a few of its health benefits. I could go on about this one all day. But maybe that's best saved for another time... Even if you are going to 'go all the way,' cuddling is good for you. Studies show that physical contact reduces stress and releases a hormone called oxtocin that boosts happiness.

11. Get between the covers.
See, it's not just me with a one-track mind! I meant BOOK covers!!! Contrary to what some middle school bullies believe, reading is cool. And, it’s really good for our health. Reading on a regular basis keeps the mind sharp as it ages, and reading fiction in particular makes for more creativity and a more open mind. Cracking open a book may also improve sleep and make us more empathic. Book worms unite!

12. Laugh out loud
There’s a reason people say laughter is “the best medicine”: Chuckling and giggling benefit our mental and physical health, especially when combined with exercise . Giving into a case of the funnies can improve our overall quality of life, while getting goofy with other people can help us connect with the people we laugh with and foster our relationships. Watch a funny movie or a comedy on television, those Family Ties reruns may actually be good for your heart.

13. Get some ZZZZs
There tons of things that can sabotage our sleep, whether it’s a late night at the office, a wild night with friends, or just catching up on Game of Thrones. Skimping on shut-eye can hurt job productivity, make us choose to eat larger portions and make other questionable choices, and may lead to diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Prioritize sleep time for a healthier, happier you; even if it’s just a quick cat nap during your lunch break.

14. Declutter
Clutter can stress us out and bring us down. On the flip side, sorting through and purging unorganized papers, clothes, knickknacks, or whatever else is crowding our lives may help us be more productive, cheerful, and calmer. And, see #2, give some unneeded stuff away to an organization that will put your clutter to good use!

15. Pound the pavementNot only do walking and running it torch calories, but both are great mood-boosters that can help reduce anxiety.  Both may even provide pain relief. Exercise in general is linked to decreasing symptoms of depression, so lace up your sneakers the next time you need a mood lift.

16. Indulge in a massage

Set aside some time to experience the complete and total bliss of a massage. It soothes both the mind and muscles, improves sleep quality, and reduces stress.

17. Namaste
It comes as no surprise that yoga is a healthy practice. It helps relieve anxiety, stress, and depression, all while boosting energy levels and improving our overall sense of well-being. Don’t think you have to commit to a full-length yoga class to reap its health benefits. Just 20 minutes on the mat improves focus and boosts the brain . Try these simple yoga poses with me to erase any built-up tension. 

18. Unplug

These days, it feels like everyone’s glued to a phone, laptop, or both at the same time. Deliberately taking a break from social media, e-mail, blogging, and so on can help us recharge and gives our brain the downtime it needs to work at an optimal level.

Remember, the magic bullet is the practice. Finding your optimal mix will take time and will asl change depending you your needs and the world around you. Learning to keep looking for that right mix of self-care practices and making the commitment to stick with them is the answer. And YOU deserve it. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you take steps on this non-negotiable part of your fitness journey. I'd love to hear from you! 

Wishing you wellness,
Erika

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

4 Real-Life Ways to Have a Happy Healthy Holiday.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s; Times of  nothing but joy and celebration, togetherness and happiness.
Right?


Well, yes. I hope that for most of us joy is the prevailing thing we feel this time of year. But let's be realistic. The holidays are rarely only merry and bright at every turn. In fact, they can be downright stressful and often come with challenges to both our physical and emotional health. 


But there is hope! It is possible to survive and even thrive during this season. It takes a little thought, a bit of planning and a lot of mindful attention but we can do it! 

#1. Eat (And Drink) Well
It is shockingly common to pack on 5-10 pounds during the holiday season. Yikes!!!  But there are ways we can eat well and not deny ourselves the treasured pleasure of our favorite holiday foods.
  • Know which foods are high in caloric content and low in nutrition. Don’t deprive yourself if there are some that you know you will be sorry to miss. Indulge in moderation and savor every bit.
  • Eat several smaller meals throughout the day instead of "saving yourself" for the gorge of one party or buffet.  Keep your blood sugar steady and you'll make better choices when it's time to sit down for the feast. 
  • Opt for healthy options at home, and when visiting others, bring a healthy dish to share. YES!!! Be that lady that brings the veggie tray!
  • Uber-key, this time of year, be careful of liquid calories. Alcohol especially. There is a giant difference between a glass of  wine and your brother's White Chocolate Peppermint Pumpkin Spice EggNog. In addition to the empty calories, alcohol makes it harder to make good food choices and your body will scream for sugar the whole next day. Dangerous when you KNOW there are cookies everywhere. My drink of choice for holiday parties is club soda with a splash of tart cherry or pomegranate juice. Looks and feels festive and delivers an extra dose of anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant deliciousness.  
#2. Move!!!


Exercise is just as, if not even more important during the holidays as any other time of the year. It not only helps you burn the extra calories in your neighbor's famous Peppermint Bark, it will also support you in managing stress and in keeping up will all the added events and activites in your calendar.
  • If you have a regular workout routine, stick to it as best you can! It may seem like a luxury as your holiday schedule starts to fill up skipping workouts can make us feel sluggish and depress our immune systems. Not a good time of year for feeling blah so keep those appointments with yourself!
  • Aim for getting your heart rate up at least four times a week and move at a moderate pace for at least 30 minutes everyday.
  • Try not to sit still for longer than 20 minutes at a time. It can be challenging with holiday travel and going to see your niece in her pageant but it is possible. Squirm in your seat. Do some isometric contractions of your glutes (in other words, clench your butt.) Tell your husband you'll leave him alone for the second half of the game if he takes you for a walk at half-time. 
  • The weather outside may be frightful sometimes, but the winter has a lot of fun to offer too. Ice skating, sledding, snow sprints — all of these can be great exercise. 
  • Holiday get-togethers offer a wonderful opportunity to share in some healthy traditions like a walk after dinner or a inter-generational snowball fight. Seize this chance to set the example for younger generations to get up and get moving so they will be healthy enough to pass them on and on and on. Along with that EggNog recipe. 
#3. Prevent illness and injuries (if you are skimming this, don't miss the last one!!!) 
  • Colds and the flu are most prevalent in the winter. Prevent them by washing your hands regularly and urging others to do the same. 
  • Stay hydrated! If the air is extra dry in your neck of the woods this time of year, plain water may not do the trick. I add peppermint oil to mine to encourage my body to soak it up. 
  • Dress in layers so you can help your body self-regulate. 
  • Sprinkle sand on icy patches and be sure snow is removed from walkways as soon as possible. 
  • Be sure you know and employ safe shoveling practices. 
  • Be mindful of those at increased risk of falling but remember that falling is a risk for ALL of as and a fall can ruin not just your holiday. Proper footwear, adding balance practice to your exercise routine and being sure that the holiday wrappings are properly put away in a timely fashion will all contribute to an injury-free season. 
  • Make sure your heating works and is safe. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. Install a carbon monoxide detector and test it once a month. 
  • Keep grills and generators out of the house, and don’t run your car for long periods of time in the garage. 
  • Most residential fires also occur in the winter; never leave fireplaces, stoves, and candles unattended.
  • Protect your sleep! I know there is a lot on your list but remember that if you sacrifice sleep, you sacrifice health. Get those 8 hours even if it means missing Charlie Rose.

#4. Give Back
Volunteering has a lot of benefits for our health. When doing good, we feel empathy which increases our levels of oxytocin. When we volunteer we feel more socially connected, reduce the risk of anxiety and depression while we strengthen self-esteem and self-confidence. Helping others in a meaningful way can also lower blood pressure, improve sleep quality and decrease risk of dementia. Here are some ideas for volunteering this holiday season. And, you know your community I bet you can think of others that would be welcomed in your village.
  • Babysit a young family member; 
  • Ring the bell for the Salvation Army 
  • Offer a ride to a person who can't drive or does not have access to a car
  • Help at a nonprofit group such as the Humane Society or Meals on Wheels 
  • Share your professional experience with a resource center as a career coach 
  • Tutor at a local school or for a neighborhood kid who could use a boost
  • Do errands for a neighbor who needs help; or 
  • Volunteer at a museum or another local organization looking for extra holiday help
Most importantly, take the time to do the things that give you joy. And don't just do them. Savor them. Drink them in. Hold those moments in your heart because those are the moments that this season is truly made of.

Wishing you wellness and happy, healthy Holidays!
Erika

Monday, October 30, 2017

100 Reasons to Workout Right NOW!



We all have those days that we don't think want to workout.  Luckily, as humans we are able to talk ourselves into doing things we know are good for us even when the 'don't wannas' strike. Here are some things to remember the next time you need a little motivation to get up and get moving...


100 Reasons to Exercise Right NOW


  1. Because it makes you feel confident
  2. Because it helps you get stronger
  3. Because exercise helps combat depression
  4. Because you'll feel proud of yourself
  5. Because you have goals you want to reach
  6. Because you'll feel bad if you don't
  7. Because you want to move forward, not backward
  8. Because it burns more calories than not working out
  9. Because it improves your heart health
  10. Because you want a great butt
  11. Because it prevents diabetes
  12. Because you want to be a good example to your kids
  13. Because you want to feel good in your clothes
  14. Because it reduces your risk of cancer
  15. Because your body was made to move
  16. Because you want to be an athlete
  17. Because you want to look better
  18. Because it lifts your mood
  19. Because you want to stand taller
  20. Because it reduces back pain
  21. Because it feels good
  22. Because it makes you feel accomplished
  23. Because you spend most of your day on your butt
  24. Because swimsuit season is always coming
  25. Because strong is the new skinny
  26. Because dieting only works so much
  27. Because it strengthens your bones, too
  28. Because it helps you lose weight
  29. Because it allows you to eat more food
  30. Because it's the best way to spend "me" time
  31. Because it helps you de-stress
  32. Because it's cheaper than therapy
  33. Because you want a strong core
  34. Because you want to take care for yourself
  35. Because you take pride in your body
  36. Because it strengthens your legs
  37. Because it helps your clothes fit better
  38. Because you want to push yourself
  39. Because you are capable of more than you ever imagined
  40. Because moving your body feels good
  41. Because it keeps your mind sharp
  42. Because it helps you beat belly bloat
  43. Because it helps you sleep better at night
  44. Because it gives you energy
  45. Because you want to stay healthy as you age
  46. Because you want to look younger
  47. Because you want toned arms
  48. Because it improves your balance
  49. Because it burns off last night's dessert
  50. Because it boosts your immune system
  51. Because sweat is sexy
  52. Because you want to live longer
  53. Because you want to get better at your game
  54. Because you want to catch someone's eye
  55. Because exercisers earn more money
  56. Because you're more likely to eat better when you exercise
  57. Because you want to shave time off your running pace
  58. Because you want to breathe easier
  59. Because you want to see the scale drop
  60. Because exercise improves your sex life
  61. Because you are worth it
  62. Because being fit makes everything in life better
  63. Because you promised yourself that you would
  64. Because you deserve a better life
  65. Because it'll help you drink more water
  66. Because you want to do real push-ups
  67. Because it reduces your healthcare costs
  68. Because you'll miss fewer days of work
  69. Because you want to create a new future for yourself
  70. Because it'll help you like what you see in the mirror
  71. Because it makes clothing shopping more fun
  72. Because you want to look and feel incredible
  73. Because exercising can be fun
  74. Because it'll give your skin a glow
  75. Because it's a good way to spend time with your friends
  76. Because it'll help you prevent the middle-age spread
  77. Because it reduces your blood pressure
  78. Because you don't want to let yourself go
  79. Because you don't want to squeeze into an airplane or rollercoaster seat
  80. Because it strengthens your spirit
  81. Because it's a cheap way to entertain yourself
  82. Because you'll be able to reward yourself
  83. Because you need a reason to wear those new workout clothes
  84. Because you're tired of being tired
  85. Because not working out is not going to get you very far
  86. Because it's a great way to spend time outside
  87. Because you made a commitment to yourself
  88. Because you're tired of starting over
  89. Because there will always be another wedding, vacation or reunion
  90. Because you're not a quitter
  91. Because it improves your cholesterol
  92. Because it boosts your metabolism
  93. Because it prevents age-related muscle loss
  94. Because if you can do this, you can do anything
  95. Because a fit body is a healthy body
  96. Because it beats sitting on the couch
  97. Because everyone has at least 10 minutes to spare
  98. Because you want to be stronger than your excuses
  99. Because not working out isn't working out for you
  100. Because the only workout you ever regret is the one you skip