Changing Your Mindset

Our mindsets are formed through prior experiences and emotional milestones in our lives.

Unfortunately, if you are like most of the population, then you have developed several “counter mindsets” A counter mindset is one that holds us back and doesn’t help us produce the results that we want in life.  This mindset is a negative way of thinking and visualizing the world.

Changing your “counter mindset” is something that doesn’t happen by accident-it’s a conscious choice that we have to make and it takes some serious work.

Did you know that approximately 65,000 thoughts go through our minds each day?  The majority of these thoughts are negative, whether we realize it or not.  Most of us struggle with “ANTs”, which are automatic negative thoughts that occur so often throughout the day that we are most likely not aware of it.

Here are 7 steps that we can take to change our mindsets:

1.  Accept that your thinking needs an adjustment

The first step in any change is acknowledging that you need to make one!  Just identifying this will help you make a step in the right direction.

2.  Identify your “ANTs” (Automatic Negative Thoughts)

Pay attention to your negative self-talk and how frequently it happens.  Being aware and identifying these harmful thoughts is pretty eye-opening.  You may notice that your negative thinking can be narrowed down into a few key themes.  Taking a mental or physical note of this is a big step towards change because we can’t change what we don’t recognize in ourselves.

3.  Change your thought patterns

There are two fairly easy approaches to moving your thoughts from a negative to a positive.

The first one is to FORCE yourself to change your thinking.  For example, instead of looking in the mirror and seeing your flaws, compliment yourself!  It might feel phony at first, but once you get into the habit of consistently filling your mind with positive affirmations vs negative ones, you will start to believe yourself and grow.

The other idea is to try the “IF/THEN” approach which is a thought process that allows you to think past your negative thoughts.  For example, IF you start to say that you are too tired, too out of shape, or too lazy to exercise, THEN go straight to your closet and put on your workout clothes and go for a walk.  Sometimes just by taking one step in the right direction is enough to shut your ANTs down.  You can prepare yourself ahead of time by writing down several IF/THEN statements.

4.  Understand your “WHY”

Since most of our unhealthy habits and ANTs were formed when we were kids, changing our mindsets takes hard work to break.  Understanding your why can help you work towards a more positive outlook.  To set a why-think about a goal or dream that will have a transformational change in your life.

Examples of a why may be:  “To improve my relationship with my companion” or “To be happier in my career.”

Once you identify your why, write it down on paper and why it is important to you.

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5.  Realize that motivation is not enough

High achievers understand this reality so they stop mentally punishing themselves every time they stumble or fail to stick to a plan.  Knowing this will allow you to be emotionally freer which will encourage you to try again tomorrow and not give up!

6.  Start with super small goals

Set tiny, achievable goals that you can easily reach.  For example, if you want to reduce stress, try deep breathing for just 1 minute each day.  Or, if you want to start exercising, make it a goal to walk for 5 minutes.  Decide that your mini goal is the minimum and that you can do more if you feel up to it.  More times that not, you’ll feel awesome because you are over-achieving when you do more and if you just do the minimum, you’re still hitting your goal.

To ever make any serious change, we have to take small steps and repeat them daily.  This will create momentum towards positive change.  Consistently hitting our small goals will form new mindset habits.

7.  Acknowledge that you will FAIL

Highly successful people realize that the only thing that really keeps them from their goals is stopping, so they don’t stop!  They know that they’ll have obstacles and failures along the way but they give themselves permission to screw up because failure will help them learn and make adjustments as they see fit.  If you know that failure can happen and you accept it, seek feedback and make changes to get back into the game.

I hope these tips help you as much as they do me.  Do you have other healthy mindset habits that work for you?  I’d love to hear them!

 

How To Be More Positive

I am usually a very upbeat person but there are some days that I  battle with a very pessimistic view of myself or just life in general.  This happens to be one of those days, so I thought I would write about it.

I know that I have ZERO to complain about so I am puzzled why I sometimes struggle to count my blessings when I have SO much to be thankful for.

There are some days that are much better than others, but on the BAD days (today being one) there are things that I can do to create a more optimistic mindset.  I will admit, however, that I went out and had a few drinks with friends this past Saturday night and didn’t sleep well after, so right there I know that by not caring for my health, I am paying the price mentally….

Anyways, if you struggle with this same problem, here are some things that we ALL can do when we are battling negative emotions:

Do Something Kind For Others: 

It’s easy to get wrapped up with your own misfortunes.  Instead, try to step outside of your daily routine to help someone else.  This can provide you with a new perspective on life and fill you with positivity.  Aim to do one nice thing for someone each day-whether it’s a phone call to a loved one, writing a letter to a friend, complimenting someone at the grocery store, or buying a stranger a cup of coffee.

Practice The Two Positives Exercise: 

When you are not used to thinking optimistically, it can be hard to stop the negative flow of thoughts. This shift takes time. Be patient with yourself, and first just try to observe your thought patterns:  Are you judging others?  Are you focusing on your failures?   Do you find yourself complaining about your job?  Are you criticizing yourself or your body?

When you observe these thoughts, take a moment to counter each negative thought with two positive observations or gratitudes. Think of it as adding in two positives for each negative thought you recognize.

Practice Gratitude:

One of the quickest ways to shift your focus away from negativity, judgment, and disappointment is to list the things in your life for which you are grateful. Be grateful to have your jobby job, to be able to sleep in a bed each night, for the health of your family, for the sun that comes up each morning, for the people that love and care for you, for a chance to “start fresh” each new day, and for a body that lets you experience life.

Practicing gratefulness can cause almost an immediate shift in your perspective. Keeping a daily gratitude journal (even if it’s a list on your phone) can help remind you to keep life’s blessings at the forefront of your mind.

Have A Positive Posture:

My dear friend, Courtney Rouse, has the best posture out of anyone I know!  I am always complimenting her on this and you know what- she’s a pretty darn positive person so I do believe this is an effective strategy.

The mind and the body have an intrinsic connection—each greatly impacts the other. If you are struggling to move your mind into a more positive perspective, try moving your body there first. Try standing up straight, shoulders back, chin held high, stretching your arms out as wide as they can go. Feel powerful. Feel positive. Carrying yourself with “positive posture” will encourage your mind to feel more positive as well.  (This works…I swear-I just forget to do it!  Courtney Rouse…will you help remind me please?)

Smile:

Another way for your body to “trick” your mind into being more positive is through smiling. The simple act of smiling, even if you are faking it at first, can instantly change the way you feel internally. Whether you are sitting at your desk, driving in your car, or walking down the street, smile. You will be amazed how your mind reacts. Even better, try smiling at a co-worker or stranger you pass in the hallway or on the sidewalk. Chances are they will smile back.

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Surround Yourself With Positive People:

It’s hard to maintain a positive perspective if you are constantly pulled down by the negativity of friends, family, or co-workers. If you get trapped in a negative conversation, gracefully try to change the subject to something more positive. (I am guilty of NOT doing this….working on it though!)

If you are surrounded by a bunch of negative people, it may be time to reevaluate your circle of friends in an effort to be surrounded by uplifting individuals.

We all know that life is not always easy, and sometimes we get handed some majorly shitty cards to deal with.  However, it is our own perspective that ultimately determines if we will drudge through the mud and muck with a sour attitude or if we will brush our shoulders off and try our best to be a better version of what we were yesterday.

I hope these ideas help!  Let me know what you think or if you have other strategies that keep you feeling uplifted or lighter.

 

Nutrition & Mental Health

If you know me fairly well, you will know that I am extremely passionate about mental health.  That is because I have noticed a significant improvement in my own mood and mentality since I started taking better care of my body.

I used to battle with depression in my high school and college years and I believe that was mostly caused by the fact that I didn’t sleep well, I didn’t eat nutrient dense foods, I drank too much alcohol and not enough water, and I didn’t participate in a regular exercise program.

Mental illness runs in my family and my father was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was 17 years old, so I have really tried to make a conscious effort to improve my own mental wellness as well as the mental health of my family.

Over the last several years, I have noticed more research that has been done on the link between inflammation caused by certain foods in the body and mental illness.

A lack of key essential nutrients is now KNOWN to contribute to poor mental health in people suffering from:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • ADHD

The inflammation that causes these mental disorders starts in the gut and is associated with a lack of nutrients in our food such as:

  • Magnesium
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Probiotics
  • Vitamins/minerals that are essential for our bodies to function properly

Read this article right HERE to learn more.

The following list of foods are the BEST options to help boost mood, cognition, and metal health:

brain healthy foods

1.  Fatty Fish: salmon, trout, and sardines
2.  Coffee
3.  Blueberries
4.  Tumeric
5.  Broccoli
6.  Pumpkin Seeds
7.  Dark Chocolate
8.  Nuts
9.  Whole Eggs
10.  Oranges
11.  Green Tea
12.  Avocados
13.  Beets
14.  Celery
15.  Carrots

Try to incorporate these foods into your weekly diet as much as you possibly can.  In addition to adding these key nutrients from your foods, don’t forget to get outside for fresh air (away from your technology), hydrate your brain with filtered H20, get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and consistently move your body every day.  Do these things and your chances of feeling depressed, anxious, and scatter-brained should greatly decrease.

Got any questions or feedback?  Let me know!

 

 

Creating & Keeping Healthy Habits

You don’t have to wait until the new year to start setting a couple of new goals or develop a new positive habit.

Here are some ideas to help you out:

1.  For any healthy habits to stick, you need to figure out your “WHY” for making positive change.

Ask yourself WHY you want to build a new healthy habit or change a bad one. Write it down. And hang it up somewhere you can see it every day.

2.  RECRUIT ALLIES: find a friend or group of friends to build the habits with you.

Studies show that people with weight loss goals that start them with a friend or group are 70% more likely to follow through than if they did it alone.
*Remember, those first few weeks are the toughest, which means they’ll require the most effort to get started.*

3. Never miss TWO in a row!

What happens if you miss a day? Who cares! One day won’t ruin you – but two days often times will-because 2 becomes 30 in the blink of an eye.
As pointed out in a research summary: “Missing the occasional opportunity to perform the behavior did not seriously impair the habit formation process: automaticity gains soon resumed after one missed performance.”   But, more than one missed opportunity and things start to go downhill…..

4) DON’T PICK HABITS YOU HATE

“Hey Sally, I know I should run so I’m trying to build a running habit even though I hate running.” STOP!  You can get the same results with a different habit, such as dancing or swimming. Pick a habit that isn’t miserable for you and you’re more likely to follow through on it.

*At the same time, there are tons of success stories from people who went from hating exercise to loving how it feels. It’s because they made the habit part of a bigger picture: “I am exercising at the gym because I am building a kick-ass body so I can start dating again!” It’s because they had a BIG enough why to overcome their initial dislike of exercise until they learned to love how exercise made them feel.

5) TRY TEMPTATION BUNDLING

Consider combining a habit you dislike with something you LOVE, and you’ll be more likely to build the habit. For example, allow yourself an hour of watching Netflix, but ONLY while you’re on the Elliptical. This is called “temptation bundling” and can be a powerful tool for positive change.

What temptation bundling does:

It reduces the amount of time that you devote to temptations. After all, you’re limiting the situations in which you’ll allow yourself to engage in the temptation.
It increases the likelihood that you’ll engage in desired behavior. That is, it makes it easier for you to adopt positive habits.
READY TO BUILD A NEW HEALTHY HABIT?

Start small: 1-2 habits to begin. For example, if you want to start exercising: instead of setting a goal to do it every day, start off with 2 days a week of 15-20 minutes and then slowly add on when you are ready.  Or if you want to eat healthier: start off by cooking one healthy meal per week and then add another meal the next week.

REACH OUT TO ME HERE IF YOU’D LIKE SOME HELP!

Detoxifying Yoga Poses

The yoga poses below will stimulate your circulatory, digestive, and lymphatic systems, helping you rid your body of waste and toxins!

In addition to the physical benefits, yoga can also provide mental clarity. The calming and centering aspects of yoga are essential for an all-over detox for your mind and body, helping release physical, mental, and emotional toxicity.

Here is a list of just some of the benefits of adding yoga into your weekly health & fitness routine:

  • Increased energy
  • Improved sleep patterns
  • Better balanced hormones
  • Improved digestion
  • Less stress
  • Less toxic build-up in the body
Forward Fold

Detoxifying forward fold pose

 Forward Fold Pose:

This pose is great for opening tight hamstrings, allowing your head to fall below your heart. It also reverses the pull of gravity, encouraging circulation of blood throughout the body. The folding motion squeezes the belly which also moves things along for digestion.

downdog

Downward dog with a lifted, bent knee

Three-Legged Downward-Facing Dog Pose

Holding your head below your heart and your leg lifted in the air in this variation of Downward Dog encourages blood to circulate throughout the body, as well as move fluid to the lymph nodes. This pose can also be very relaxing, which can help in mental detox as well as releasing stress, fear, and sadness.

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Revolved Chair Pose

This pose strengthens your quads and glutes in a major way!   This deep twist is also excellent for aiding digestion as you feel the gentle pressure on your kidneys, liver, and spleen that stimulates the removal of toxins, while toning your abdominal wall.
It stimulates the heart, improving circulation in the blood, respiratory, and lymphatic systems.
Modification: Start in Chair Pose, bringing hands together at your heart. Take a big inhale to lengthen spine, and exhale to twist to the right, taking left elbow outside of right thigh. Inhale to center and exhale to twist to left. Repeat this sequence five times on each side.

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Dolphin Pose

This pose really challenges your shoulders, core, and lower leg muscles.  It also helps stimulate the nervous system and promotes and feeling of relaxation.

Tips:  Try to line up your arms parallel to each other with your elbows in line with your wrists.  Squeeze your quads!  Relax your neck and muscles in your face while holding this pose.

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Locust Pose

This pose strengthens the entire back of the body, opens the heart, and encourages good posture. The pressure on your abdomen also encourages digestion, which stimulates the release of those things that might be causing you stress.

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Plow Pose

Plow Pose strengthens and stretches the back muscles, aligning the spine and improving your posture, stimulating the abdominal organs, ovaries, bladder, and kidney, and relieving digestive issues. It also increases metabolism and tones the abdominal wall.

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Supine Twist

A twist will help give you mental clarity, relieve stress and deep tension, and detoxify your entire system by primarily massaging your internal organs, encouraging the elimination of toxins.
When you release your twist, fresh blood and nutrients rush back into your digestive organs, helping nourish and support them. *Stay in Supine Twist for at least five deep breaths, then repeat on other side.*

Try these yoga poses to help promote detoxification, reduce stress, increase flexibility, improve mental clarity and more.  I recommend holding each pose for at least 5 breaths or longer and try your best to be focusing on your breath and body vs being lost in thought.  Good luck-I hope these help!

Simple Ways To Reduce Your Sugar Intake

I just started on the Taste Of Healing’s “The Clean 15 Detox” and it inspired me to offer a few tips to help others cut down on their own sugar consumption.  During this particular detox, I am eliminating all sugar & alcohol, but I think that some people work best by slowly reducing their sugar intake over time.  It’s amazing how good you can feel when you cut down or eliminate it from your daily routine.  (Not to mention ALL of the health benefits!)

These are ways that I have cut down on my sugar consumption in the past and they have worked for me.  Maybe some of these will work for you?  Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Ways to Cut Down On Sugar:

1.  Start your day with a  NO SUGAR ADDED BREAKFAST because starting your day off right sets the tone for the remaining meals.  Examples: hard-boiled eggs and a piece of fruit, grilled veggie omelet, berry & nut butter smoothie, apple & almond butter

2.  Drink sweetened coffee drinks?  Try a flavored coffee bean instead, such as Jim’s Organic HazelnuCoffee which can be found right HERE.  (Seriously-it’s so good!)  Add a splash of unsweetened nut milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

3.  Craving a something sweet? Eat a date (or two) with a tablespoon of almond butter & cinnamon instead of chocolate after dinner.

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4.  When the 3 p.m. frappe or sugar cravings hit, eat a piece of fruit instead. Even better-pair it with a protein like a handful of nuts!

5.  Grabbing drinks after work or dinner? Instead of tonic water, get the club soda and vodka (duhhhh), and then take note of these 60 tips for healthier boozing.

6.  Cookie craving when you get home from said drinks?  Try to make your own desserts using stevia or honey instead of the white stuff.   Since making my own treats takes time and effort, I find that I eat sweet stuff a lot less often than when I can easily grab store bought stuff from the pantry.

7.  Check your labels and look for these favorite foods that contain more sugar than you think (yep-I see you granola!)

8.  Squeeze one less squirt of ketchup or barbecue sauce on your burger because that sh*t sneaks in a lot of sugar!

This is all about making little changes over time so you don’t overwhelm yourself.  Small adjustments to live a healthier life can lead to BIG improvements over time.

I hope that you found these tips to be helpful!  Please comment if you have found other ways to cut down on sugar that have worked for you.  Reach out HERE if you have any questions!

Naturally Boost Your Metabolism

Metabolism is a term that describes all chemical reactions in your body.  It often is used interchangeably with “metabolic rate”, which is the number of calories you burn.  The higher this is, the more calories and fat you naturally burn off and keep off.  In addition, having a higher metabolism can give you more energy and make you feel better.  Who doesn’t want that?

Here are 7 ways to naturally kick your metabolic rate up so that you can burn more fat:

1.  Eat Protein At Every Meal: Eating protein raises your metabolic rate by 15-30% and can make you feel fuller longer, which can keep you from overeating.  Eating protein also keeps you from losing muscle mass, which is a common side effect of dieting.

2.  Do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): I know you’ve heard this before-intervals of quick and intense bursts of activity during exercise has been proven to help boost your metabolism and burn more fat than steady cardio and it still works long after your workout is over!

3.  Lift Heavy: Having more muscle on your body allows you to naturally burn more calories and fat in any given day.  Lifting heavy weights vs light weights is more effective in helping you increase your muscle mass and improve your metabolic rate.

4.  Drink Green or Oolong Tea: Both of these teas have shown to increase metabolism by 4-5%.  They are low in calories and may help promote weight loss and weight maintenance in certain people.

5.  Get a Good Night’s Sleep: Lack of sleep is linked to a major increase in the link to obesity.  It is also linked to raising blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, increasing your hunger hormones, and decreasing the hormones that make you feel full.

6.  Drink Coffee (yay!): Studies have shown that coffee (like green tea) can boost metabolism up to 11%.

7.  Stand Up More:  Sitting too much is bad for your health and can cause you to gain significant amounts of weight.  (Not to mention the bad effects it has on your heart!)  If you have a desk job-set an alarm every 10 minutes that will remind you to get up, walk around, and get the blood flowing in your body.  (This will also help you refocus and get more energy as you continue working.)_MIR8203

Gluten Free Pumpkin Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

Now that it’s finally fall, I’ve been craving the flavors of pumpkin and cinnamon.  I made these bars this weekend, which are actually healthy enough to have for breakfast.   You could replace your usual packaged protein bars with these for a great on-the-go snack option too!

Isabelle helped me make them-another easy recipe to whip up during your busy day!

If you want to make this recipe vegan-sub in a flax egg (1 tbsp group flax + 3 tbsp of water-whisk together and let sit for 15 minutes) and use vegan chocolate chips.

INGREDIENTS

Wet Ingredients
  • ½ cup 100% pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Dry Ingredients
  • 1 ¼ cup gluten free rolled oats
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons gluten free oat flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¼-1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup pecans, chopped
Optional Topping
  • 1 tablespoon vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon pecans, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or greased foil. Set aside.
  1. Add the wet ingredients to a large bowl: pumpkin, coconut oil, maple syrup, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Whisk until well incorporated.
  2. Add the dry ingredients: oats, oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Whisk together until just incorporated, making sure no flour patches remain. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts.
  3. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan. Using a rubber spatula, smooth into an even layer. Optionally, press chocolate chips and nuts into the batter.
  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the edges have browned. Mine took 25 minutes. Allow to cool on a cooling rack for about 1 hour, or until completely cool. Lift out, slice and enjoy!

*Store in an airtight container for up to one week.  Freeze in an airtight container for up to one month & let cool 10-15 minutes before eating.*

No Bake Dark Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Ingredients:
  1. 1 1/2 cups gluten free oat flour (for paleo version sub for 1/2 cup coconut flour)
  2. 1/4 cup coconut flour, sifted
  3. 1/4 cup granulated sweetener of choice (I used Stevia but you can try coconut palm sugar)
  4. Pinch sea salt
  5. 1/2 cup almond, cashew, or peanut butter (can sub for any nut butter)
  6. 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  7. 1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks/chips
  8. 1/4 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  9. Dairy free milk of choice (I used unsweetened Almond milk)
Instructions:No bake cookies2
  1. Line a large plate with baking paper and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours with the granulated sweetener and sea salt and mix well.
  3. Stir through the melted nut butter and sticky sweetener of choice and mix well- Mixture should be very crumbly. Add the white chocolate chunks and dried cranberries and mix until fully incorporated.
  4. Using a tablespoon at a time, add more dairy free milk until a thick batter is formed.
  5. Using your hands, form into small bite sized balls and press firmly onto the lined plate and press to a cookie shape. Use a fork to cross each cookie. Freeze for 10 minutes or refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm.
Notes
  1. * Coconut flour brands differ. Depending on that you may need significantly more dairy free milk.
  2. Cookies can be left at room temperature but will be soft and fudge like. For firmer cookies, keep refrigerated.

Burn More Fat During Exercise

We all want to know how we can get the most out of our workouts in the shortest amount of time possible.  I’ve never been someone who enjoys exercising for hours a day; I prefer to get in & get a super-effective workout quickly so that I can move on with my day.
Want to get the most out of your workouts and burn more fat during exercise?  The following are ways that you can start burning more calories and increase your lean muscle mass during your workouts, starting today:

1.  Focus On BIG Movements
Multi-joint exercises engage maximum muscle tissue, increase the calories you expend, and raise your metabolism.  These exercises target multiple muscle groups instead of isolated muscle movements.  Examples: squat with shoulder press, lunge hold with bicep curls, push-ups with weighted donkey kicks.

2.  Use Heavier Weights With Shorter Rest Periods
Research shows that training with heavier weight helps raise your metabolism higher & for longer than training with light weights.  Also-researchers from the College of New Jersey reported that people who rested between sets for 30 seconds vs 1-3 minutes burned significantly more calories.

3.  Intensify Your Rest Periods
Instead of sitting around on your bum in between weight lifting sets, try skipping rope or doing a round of mountain climbers.  Doing little “bursts” of cardio in-between your strength moves adds up to serious fat burning and also improves endurance levels!

4.  Perform Fast, Fun Cardio
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been proven to be a way better method for burning fat compared to long, slower paced cardio.
A study published in the International Journal of Obesity compared individuals who did steady-state cardio for 40 minutes to those who completed just 20 minutes of HIIT training, both for three times a week. The HIIT group lost a significant amount of body weight and body fat compared to the steady-state group. The steady-state group actually saw a 1 pound increase in fat mass!  Try to choose different forms of cardio-the more variety, the better!  Examples: intervals of sprints, rowing machine, stair stepper, elliptical, bike riding, plyometrics, etc…

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Barbells in CLT

If you have questions or would like help in creating a more fat-burning workout routine for yourself, message me HERE.