Tag Archives: healthy habits

Deepak Chopra: 5 Steps to Take Charge of Your Wellness (Part 2)

Scale-Apple-Measuring-Tape-DietContinued from Part 1, here are the final 3 steps to take charge of your wellness:

Step 3: Identify Harmful Patterns

To change your negative habits, you have to know what they are. Some bad habits, like smoking and excessive drinking, are obvious, but others may be less so. Sitting all day is damaging to your health, even if you get half an hour of exercise or more before or after work. Depriving yourself of eight hours’ sleep for even a short period is also hard on the body in ways that sleep researchers are just beginning to fully recognize.

Forming a new habit takes repetition and focus, and if your attention is elsewhere you may have a harder time adjusting to new behaviors. For that reason, some experts advise against planning big changes if you are going through a particularly stressful period. I think that reasoning is wrong. Although it’s true that you are likely to have more setbacks at such times, it’s just as true that people change as a result of meeting challenges and crises: “Aha” moments occur quite often when somebody hits bottom.

Visualizing your desired outcome is a useful tool in your journey. “Seeing” yourself as you wish to be has helped smokers quit, obese people lose weight, and sports champions achieve their goals. In order to change the printout of the body, you must learn to rewrite the software of the mind. This truism is reinforced by brain scans that show a decrease in certain higher functions (making good decisions, following reason over impulse, resisting temptation) when a person falls into a pattern of giving in to a wide range of lower impulses, such as fear, anger, or simply physical hunger. You need to implement a healing regimen that encourages and rewards your good choices if you want brain pathways to follow suit.

Step 4: Make Steady Changes

Even though you are working on the big picture, for psychological reasons a series of small victories is desirable. In essence, you are training your brain to succeed. Most of us, having been defeated by old conditioning, take the course of least resistance, not realizing that we are training our brains into pathways that rob us of free will over time.

So begin with a victory you can define and which means something to you. Skip red meat for a week. Take the stairs, not the elevator. If you’re very out of shape, walk 10 minutes every day and gradually build up your time. Put down your fork halfway through your meal, take a few deep breaths, and ask yourself if you’re still hungry. If you work at a desk, make it a rule to always stand or pace when you’re on the phone. Over time, what seem like baby steps produce new physiological changes in every cell of the body. Trillions of cells are eavesdropping on your every thought and action. Instead of pretending that your body doesn’t know what you’re doing, make yourself the gift of delivering good news to your cells.

In my view, the most important victories occur in awareness, however. If you tend to procrastinate, be aware of the reasons you do it. We get comfortable in our warm, fuzzy old routines, and making changes, even small ones, feels threatening psychologically, as if even a positive change is a risk. Predict when you will procrastinate and invent a strategy to outmaneuver your future self. For example, if you know you’ll be tempted to hit the snooze button instead of getting up for an early morning jog, put your exercise clothes across the room from your bed—with your alarm clock on top.

Step 5: Reinforce Good Decisions

Sometimes brain research underlines the obvious, but it is a breakthrough to observe MRI scans and see for yourself that good decisions “light up the brain” in ways that are different from bad decisions. In the larger scheme, when you undertake a wellness program, you will be faced every day with the choice to stay the course or abandon your mission. How does your brain make choices, then?

Executive control, which means choosing a thought or action to meet an internal goal, is managed by the brain’s prefrontal cortex. The orbitofrontal cortex and amygdala play roles in regulating decision-making based on the memory of feelings. Regions of the midbrain in which the neurotransmitter dopamine is predominant also influence decision-making. Some of the choices that trigger dopamine’s release: eating sweet foods, taking drugs, having sex.

We may overindulge in chocolate cake because we tend to value the short-term outcome we know (deliciousness) over the long-term outcome we have never experienced (weight loss and increased energy from better nutrition). One way to break that cycle is to reward ourselves in a different way. Instead of eating cake, we can go play a game or listen to music.

How long does it take to form a new habit? An average of 66 days, according to a 2009 study from University College, London. Repetition and giving yourself time to adjust are the main factors in forming a new behavior pattern.

For more information go to: www.deepakchopra.com

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Originally published February 2012

Deepak Chopra: 5 Steps to Take Charge of Your Wellness

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A basic outline for prevention has existed for more than thirty years, but wellness has had a hard time making real headway. Old habits are hard to break. Our society has a magic bullet fixation, waiting for the next miracle drug to cure us of every ill. Doctors receive no economic benefit from pushing prevention over drugs and surgery. For all these reasons, compliance with prevention falls far below what is needed for maximum wellness.

Rather than feeling gloomy, my focus has been on getting the individual to take charge of their own wellness. This can be a considerable challenge, since we are each unique in our bodies but also unique in our pattern of bad habits and poor lifestyle choices. More than 40% of American adults make a resolution to live a better life each year, and fewer than half keep their promise to themselves for longer than 6 months. Conditioning is hard to break, but the key is that the power to break a habit belongs to the same person who made it – the turnaround amounts to giving up unconscious behavior and adopting conscious new patterns.

Once your mind begins to pay attention, your brain can build new neural pathways to reinforce what you learn. Much is made of the brain’s ability to change and adapt – the general term is neuroplasticity – but I think science has been slow to catch up with wise experience. It has always been true that applying awareness in any form, through such things as resolve, discipline, good intentions, and mindfulness, has the power to create change. The practical dilemma is how to use your strengths and motivation to help yourself remain committed to wellness as a lifetime pattern.

Step 1: Set Goals by Baselining Your Health

The first step in taking control of your well-being is to set goals, and a sensible way to do this is to “baseline” your health. Gather some basic facts that realistically inform you about your body: weight, height, family history, exercise habits, general diet, and a self-assessment of your stress levels at work and in your home life.

Some experts would add medical measures that only a doctor can fully determine, such as blood pressure, cholesterol and other lipids levels, and bone density. My difficulty with these tests is that they encourage worry. Being in an anxious state is a bad motivator for most people. It can motivate you for as long as you remember to be afraid, but after that, people tend to give in to impulses, make erratic choices, and increase their own stress levels. With that in mind, I go against the grain of standard medical advice, at least partially, by saying that heeding these medical markers should come second, after you have already set yourself on a good wellness program for at least six months. Give consciousness a chance before you undermine it with potential anxiety.

How do you actually set your goals? Start thinking about the big picture. Changing poor lifestyle habits is rarely easy, especially if they comfort you, as smoking or overeating do for many people. You need a strong vision of what you want to achieve in order to succeed. I’d say the strongest vision comes from knowing about a simple trend: the latest research shows that more and more disorders, including most cancers, are preventable through a good wellness program. The benefits are increasing with every new study.

Step 2: Set Priorities

Making lists of your hot spots and your sweet spots will help you to set your personal priorities. The hot spots are weaknesses, the sweet spots strengths that crop up during an ordinary day. You can’t attack every bad pattern all at once; it’s good to achieve a series of small victories at first.

Hot spots: List the times you feel unhappy or most agitated—fighting a futile battle to get a good night’s sleep, perhaps, or recriminating yourself for ordering dessert when you were already full. Identify with clear sights your biggest challenges, such as getting to bed on time, reducing food portions, resisting sweets, choosing the couch over the treadmill, and so on. Doing this will help your mission take shape and direction.

Sweet spots: List the things that give you joy and satisfaction, for instance, spending time with your family or enjoying a favorite hobby. Recapture in your mind what it feels like to resist ordering dessert or to spend half an hour walking outdoors. Appreciating the sweet spots in your life is a source of strength as you embark on your habit-changing mission.

Steps 3, 4, & 5 coming up in the next post!

 

Originally published February 2012

Your Fail-Safe Guide to Healthy Hotel Travel

find your inner self

Traveling is one of life’s great adventures – a chance to explore foreign cities, meet new people, and try out alternative lifestyles. Whether you travel for work or pleasure, you probably know that exploring new territory can be as thrilling as it is occasionally draining. Why is that? For one, it gets us out of our routine…for better or for worse. We might escape the cares and worries of our daily life, but can also slack on fitness routines and healthy eating plans. But that’s the trade-off, right?

Well, not necessarily. More and more people are deciding that travel shouldn’t necessarily make us throw out healthy practices. Key to this is the ability of hotels and other accommodations to provide services and amenities that support healthy eating, fitness, mindfulness practices, and the like. But finding such places can be tricky.

Here are 5 sources to help you pick a hotel with the best healthy amenities to keep you fit and happy, even on the road:

Hotels with outdoor fitness amenities (Reuters)

 “StayWell” Hotel Rooms: Keeping You Healthy in Vegas (Forbes)

Hotels that offer yoga classes, fitness experts, and more (Well&Good NYC)

How to have a “green” hotel experience (Greatist)

Turn Your Hotel Room Into A Healthy and Budget Friendly Kitchen (Living Harvest)

 

So next time you find yourself away from home and in search of accommodation, keep in mind the kind of healthy amenities you’d like to find in a hotel. There are so many great offerings these days, and it won’t be hard to stay healthy and happy while you explore!

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18154748891333272199Are you ready for a healthy Vegas vacation?

The first of their kind in the world, Stay Well Rooms at the MGM Grand in Vegas are furnished with a number of amenities designed to maximize health, wellness, and relaxation. From dawn simulator alarm clocks, to state-of-the-art air and water purification systems, to aromatherapy, Stay Well rooms provide an unprecedented opportunity to have a healthy travel experience — even in Las Vegas. Designed by real-estate pioneer Delos Living, in conjunction with the Cleveland Clinic and Dr. Deepak Chopra, Stay Well will change the way you think about travel and hotel rooms. Learn more or book your reservation here.

5 Ways to Monitor Your Health with a Smartphone

iPhone 4SWe’ve come to associate our smartphones with unhealthy habits, such as stress, questionable social habits, lack of sleep and not getting enough exercise. But app developers are changing this perception with an abundance of apps to help us eat better, move more and rest adequately. Here are the best ways to turn your smartphone into your greatest health advocate.

Keep Track of Calories

Who has time to count calories? Quit bending your brain and let your smartphone take over. There are tons of apps for this, but the top rated apps are

  • My Fitness Pal
  • Calorie Count by Fat Secret
  • Calorie Tracker
  • Lose It!
  • 40:30:30

These apps include the calorie count of foods you eat, help you track the calories you eat each day, count the calories you burn through exercise and allow you to keep a journal of your progress. The one that’s different is 40:30:30. This unique app helps you keep your nutrition in balance while you’re cutting calories so you don’t neglect important sources of iron, calcium, fiber, antioxidants and other critical nutrients for health.

Compare the Nutritional Value of Foods

Being healthy goes beyond weight. Good, healthy habits include getting all the vitamins and minerals you need. Apps like Restaurant Nutrition allows you to compare the choices offered by restaurants so you can pick something healthy before you sit down to eat. Fooducate is a great app that scans the barcodes of food you’re contemplating and tells you exactly what you’re getting, including calories, fiber, vitamins, etc.

Monitor Diabetes, High Blood Pressure and Gluten

Sticking to a special diet is hard in our world of fast, highly processed foods. Fortunately, there is no shortage of apps for the BlackBerry 10 smartphones and others to help us stay on track. For example, dLife Diabetes Companion allows you to look up diabetic-friendly foods, watch helpful videos, get your questions answered, find diabetic recipes and manage your blood sugar all from your smartphone.

For those managing high blood pressure, there’s Heartwise Blood Pressure Tracker and Heart Pal. The advantage of Heart Pal is that not only does it help you make healthy decisions about your blood pressure, it also keeps your doctor informed of your progress.

Those with gluten intolerance will enjoy the Gluten-Free Scanner, which examines the barcode of foods to determine if it’s safe for you to eat. Find Me Gluten Free helps you find businesses catering to your gluten-free dietary needs.

Get Some Exercise

Staying active is a challenge when work, family and social obligations are so demanding. Apps like Endomondo help you stay social and active by allowing you to connect with your friends from Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo! and other social sites and track each other’s activities by GPS. Fitbit is an app about all things fitness, including calorie counting, how much exercise you get, your weight, heart rate, glucose levels, blood pressure and even sleep. The app is free, but you’ll need to invest in the monitors and other gadgets to take full advantage of Fitbit’s capabilities.

Build Better Sleep Habits

Sleep deprivation affects our mental and physical health. As mentioned, Fitbit One offers some helpful sleep tracking aids. Jawbone Up is an updated release of Jawbone and shows marked improvement over the original. This app can keep track of your sleep habits, such as when you’re sleeping peacefully versus tossing and turning. It also helps with your activity levels and eating habits.

Who knew your smartphone was the ticket to better health?

Want to Snack Less and Concentrate Better? Try This!

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 10.55.40 AMOkay, humor me here. This sounds silly, but it really works. Try the resolution to “Chew on a plastic stirrer.“

I’ve found that I snack less, and concentrate better, when I chew on a plastic stirrer–the kind that you get to stir your to-go coffee.

I picked up this habit from my husband, who loves to chew on things. His favorite chew-toy is a plastic pen top, and gnawed pen tops and little bits of plastic litter our apartment.

But he also chews on plastic stirrers, and at some point, I decided to give this practice a try. I’ve been astonished at how helpful this small habit is.

I keep these stirrers in my office and backpack, and whenever I sit down at my computer, I pop one between my teeth. An occupational hazard with writing is to write while eating, smoking, or drinking–usually things that aren’t very healthy–but having the stirrer in my mouth diminishes that urge. True, my urge to snack has plummeted since I’ve started eating along the lines suggested by Gary Taubes’s book Why We Get Fat, but this habit has cut down it down still further.

Also, chewing on a stirrer helps me to concentrate. I feel more focused when I’m chewing away. I’m not sure why that is. Perhaps it’s the placebo effect–but the placebo effect is quite effective, so I’ll take it.

I’m a devoted hair-twister, so I definitely have an aptitude for nervous habits. Chewing on a plastic stirrer probably the adult equivalent of popping in a pacifier, but it’s effective.

How about you? Do you ever chew on plastic stirrers, straws, pencils, ice or other things? Or do you have other habits that are similarly helpful?

Are Your Hidden Habits Hurting You?

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 3.13.24 PMYou can’t turn on the television or read a newspaper anymore without learning about some celebrity who has died from a “hard” addiction. The trial of Conrad Murray and the death of Michael Jackson are example of such a headline. Hard addictions usually include illegal drugs, prescription drug abuse, designer drugs and/or alcohol. Hard addictions can also include sex, gambling and food. What about those habits that aren’t considered “hard-core addictions”? These other hidden habits can have a negative impact on your life. While the consequences may not seem as severe, they do impact our every day lives. What do these hidden habits look like?

There is an ever-growing list of hidden habits that are viewed as “soft”. The key factor is that these habits, while harmful, do not usually result with the extremely harsh consequences of typical “hard addictions”. The follow are a few examples of activities or substances that can harm your day-to-day quality of life.

  • Talking on the phone excessively
  • Texting/ IM’ing
  • Procrastinating
  • Daydreaming rather than accomplishing your tasks
  • Complaining consistently
  • Gossiping with friends or co-workers
  • Acting negative during a large portion of your day
  • Belittling loved ones or co-workers
  • Caffeine in any form

All of these activities can appear harmless, if they are done in small doses. When we overindulge, we run the risk of having a hidden habit turn into a dangerous addiction. When we use any of these activities to overcome your emotional feeling, or to make you feel full, complete, whole or satisfied, there may be underlying issues. The underlying issue of fear is similar to those that experience “hard” addictions.

Regardless of whether a habit appears “soft” or is an addiction, it can be equally devastating to the person displaying the behavior. All negative activities steal your time and energy. You find yourself devoting more time to things that are not benefiting your life. The benefit of having a hidden habit, over having a hard addiction is that hidden habits are usually easier to break. But it will take vigilance, mindfulness, and time to overcome.

If you have taken a moment to reflect on your day-to-day activities, and find that you have negative habits that are taking away from your quality of life, it is time to take action. Being aware of your negative habit is the first step. Once you are aware of the hidden habit, think about the reason you have the habit. Are you truly engaging with your negative habit because you have become comfortable and complacent?

If your negative habit is not serving you, think of ways to replace your negative habit with a positive one. You can also ask those surrounding you, who you trust, to hold you accountable. If you set a goal of cutting caffeine out of your daily routine, let others know so they can hold you accountable when you walk towards the coffee pot. If you feel the urge to spread the latest gossip, take a second to think. Is the news that you just “have to share” going to benefit anyone, or are you simply spreading news that could potentially hurt someone? As you become more aware of your hidden habits, it will take some work on your part to break them.

We all have habits, good and bad. It is important to conduct a self-check on a regular basis to determine if your habits are hurting you or helping you. By being mindful, aware and pro-active, you will find your old negative habits replaced by healthy positive habits. These healthy habits will improve your emotional, spiritual, physical and mental well being. You will be pleasantly surprised by the results.

 

Originally published October 2011.

Deepak Chopra: Are Your Genes Your Destiny?

Genes are units of heredity that code for every protein that occur in our body and are transferred from one generation to another. Are genes deterministic? Is it possible to “turn on” genes that are good for you and turn off the genes that not?

In this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well, Deepak discusses how good sleep, stress management, good nutrition, exercise, and healthy emotional relationships can have an effect on our genes and how they are expressed. Check it out!

It may seem hard to believe that habits and lifestyle choices can have as much of an effect on our lives as our genes, but the key lies in the triggers that influence how our genes are expressed. Yet more reason to nurture a healthy lifestyle and take care of our bodies and minds!

Subscribe to The Chopra Well for more inspiring videos from Deepak Chopra and friends!

Larry King’s 25-Year Campaign for Heart Disease Awareness

557px-LarryKingSept10_(cropped)Much has changed since 1988, when Michael Jackson topped the billboard charts, Ronald Regan occupied the White House, and Mikhail Gorbachev launched perestroika. Then, as now, Larry King’s interviews have illuminated the notable personalities, popular culture, and geopolitics of our times. It was also back in 1988 that Larry King began shining a light on another kind of big presence in many lives: heart disease.

After surviving quintuple bypass surgery in 1987, thanks to excellent doctors and a good insurance plan, Larry King felt grateful. He knew that others weren’t so lucky and so, to help those less fortunate, he founded the Larry King Cardiac Foundation (LKCF). For the past 25 years, the Foundation has helped uninsured individuals with heart conditions receive life-saving treatment. To date, thousands of families have benefited.

Over the past quarter decade, the healthcare landscape has shifted dramatically, however. Here in the United States, we face daily news about the soaring rates of adult and child obesity. In the backdrop of this, the Affordable Care Act is set to reshape the issue of the uninsured. Regardless, one thing that’s absolutely clear is that winning the battle against heart disease will require us to marshal the forces of collective action on a whole new level.

The good news is that there are countless organizations and individuals who are making a positive impact on heart heath in small and large ways – from physicians and hospitals to organic farmers, moms, and neighborhood walk organizers. With that inspiration in mind, Larry and his wife LKCF Chair Shawn King are expanding the scope of their original mission to shine the light on these everyday heart heroes, while still providing direct services to heart patients.

The Kings recognize that providing emergency cardiac care is the end game – i.e., the critical difference between life and death for some. But boosting prevention and healthy habits is the very definition of universal care for each and every one of us. We know so much more now about how to reduce the risk of heart disease. Plus, we are more keenly aware of the dire economic impact to families and our nation as a whole of doing nothing to turn the tide.

From First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign to local activists all across America, we have the tools and troops we need to meet the prevention challenge. The LKCF wants boost that grassroots energy and spread it far and wide. To do so, the Kings will leverage the power of – and their access to – digital, social, and traditional media to spread the word and accelerate the impact of innovators, who are saving hearts everyday through the promotion of better nutrition, more exercise, stress reduction, and other positive steps to healthier living. By using creative outlets to expand the national conversation, the LKCF will give as much airtime and applause to everyday heart heroes as can be mustered.

As the new LKCF president, I’m excited to help refine what it means to have a heart to heart, and get the word out. We hope you’ll do your part in ensuring a more vital future by sharing these stories and watching them grow. Here are a few that deserve a big shout out:

Heidi Katherine Uzelac is a recent high school graduate who spearheads a wonderful annual event that turns fundraising and information sharing around heart health into a team effort. June 1st will be Heidi’s second annual Heartchase Scavenger Hunt. It’s a city-wide race in Beverly Hills that sends groups of 2-5 out across the community to complete “heart healthy” challenges. If you can’t join the fun in person, consider jumping in online with some support. Game On!

Francie Randolph founded Sustainable CAPE to demonstrate the direct link between local food, wellness, and protection of precious land and water resources. She also uses games to educate school kids and families to become agents of change, who take charge of their own health and the health of the planet. These things are, of course, connected, and events like the Zucchini 500 vegetable race bring delicious together with sustainable and joyful. Tasty goodness!

For a bit more on happy steps to a good life, check out Spirit of Women, which uses dance to encourage more women to stay healthy, get moving, and participate in health screenings. Day of Dance events happen all across the county – learn the moves, live longer, and smile doing it!

 

Related Articles:

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Calcium and Dairy

What’s the Deal with Salt? New Report Suggests We’ve Been Worrying Too Much

Why Cooking Will Save Our Lives in the Face of Obesity, Diabetes, and Addiction

6 Reasons (And One Adorable Video) to Celebrate “Bike to Work Day”!

Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 12.46.33 PMIf you haven’t heard, May is National Bike Month, and it’s time to start gearing up for an active and green summer! Sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, this month is all about staying healthy, doing your part for the environment, enjoying the rush of fresh air, and experiencing your city outside the confines of a car. There will be bike month events taking place in communities around the country, which you can learn more about here. Tomorrow is Bike to Work day, so if you haven’t hit the pedals yet this month then there is no better time to start!

“But I don’t have a bicycle,” you might say. “I don’t know how to ride a bike… My bike is broken… I want a cycling partner…” Fear not! The League has compiled a database of resources for cities around the country. So if any of the above concerns applies to you, simply visit their website, type in the name of your town, and voilà! (If your town is very small or remote it may take some more digging, but Craigslist and Meetup.com can be great places to start. Just beware of scams.)

For some people, a bicycle might seem like an absurd alternative to the ease, comfort, and speed of a car. But there are several invaluable benefits to cycling over driving:

  1. You can avoid traffic and parking woes.
  2. You can get a great workout while simultaneously getting where you need to go.
  3. No gas, cheap(er) fixes, easier to maintain.
  4. You’re able to experience your city in a more tactile way than you would from inside a car.
  5. Fresh air, wind in your face, feeling your muscles work to get you from place to place.
  6. You can feel super cool and inspire healthy habits in your friends and colleagues!

What are your top reasons for biking?

As if you needed any more inspiration to hop on your bicycle this minute, here is a ridiculously adorable video of one Philadelphia cyclist biking around town with his kitty cat on his shoulders. How cool is that?!

 From the purring we gather kitty is into biking, too. 🙂

 

Photo credit: Flickr

8 Springtime Health and Happiness Strategies

If winter is the time to hunker down and be meditative, spring is the time to, well, spring into action! If you’re ready to shake off the winter blahs and the extra padding you accumulated over the past few months, take a cue from nature.

Think about it: The animals are coming out of hibernation and getting active. New shoots are breaking through the frozen earth and feeling the sun. The sunlight is brighter and the days are lighter and longer. Nature sends us messages about how to get healthy by making seasonal changes too. All we have to do is listen.

Here are 8 new springtime health strategies that lead to good health for your body and soul, and will help you look and feel your best.

“Spring up” your diet.
Indigenous people who live close to nature eat seasonally. It’s a healthy way to eat that naturally helps you shed those winter pounds and make you feel light and springy. Seek out foods that are fresh this time of year, such as green leafy salads with sprouts and radishes; strawberries and baby asparagus; and seasonal fish and shellfish.

Get in a springtime mood.
Scientists have proven that we have around 60,000 thoughts a day, the vast majority of which are negative! For one week, every time you catch yourself having a negative thought, which robs you of energy, state it in the opposite way. Replace “I can’t” with “I can.” Make that shift over and over until you begin to see more and more time pass between negative thoughts. Watch how much more spring you have in your step at the end of the week. 

Commit to outdoor time.
Scientists have proven what shamans have known for millennia: that being outdoors in nature makes people happier, calmer, healthier, and more energetic. Make a conscious effort to spend at least 30 minutes outside daily doing anything. You will feel significantly less stressed, more connected, and more energetic as you get in step with the spring light, spring smells, and spring activity.

Try something new.
Springtime is a time for renewal. To get into the mood of change and forward momentum, try a new sport or an old one you haven’t done for a long time. Often, when we engage in new activities, it’s especially motivating. The more types of activities you engage in, the more energetic you’ll feel.

Sprout some new eating habits.
Did you get into a carb habit over the winter? Try this: For one week, cut out all sweets, pasta, and breads. Then slowly add more carbs back in—but only complex carbs with lots of fiber (whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables, beans, etc.). Notice how much lighter you feel.

Refresh an old workout routine.
This spring, don’t let workout boredom squelch your motivation to get in shape. Change your workout course. Do the familiar course in the opposite direction. Or find a workout partner. Or work out at a different time of day.

Take a springtime trip.
Pick a wildly beautiful place in nature. Schedule a weekend to go camping or hiking. Or simply take some extended time to relax in a wonderful outdoor place where spring is showing its colors and beauty. Taking a trip in nature will jumpstart your springtime energy and will shake off the hard work, restlessness, and stagnation from winter.

Accept that challenge is normal.
Lots of us this time of year look in the mirror and think, “I’ll never get in shape by swimsuit season.” Think of a fragile crocus pushing its way up through the frozen earth. Challenge is a normal part of striving, growing, and overcoming obstacles. Realizing this will help you manage your fear and negativity and propel you forward.
 
 

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