Column: EAT FIT LIFE with BETH DOUGLAS

Kickstart a Happier, Healthier Balanced Lifestyle

A holistic approach to life & health

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Everyone longs to be healthy, but we sometimes wonder how to find the time to make it happen. Can we fit exercise and healthy eating into our busy schedules? I promise you we can, and I promise you it’s worth it. Because not only will you be healthier, you will have more energy and time for what is most important in your life.

I know from my own experience how tricky life balance can be. I have always loved motivating people to live healthier happier lives. I started my career in the health and fitness industry because I loved helping my clients achieve their goals. I loved helping them find the right balance of nutrition, and mental and physical health - a balance that would work for them their entire lives.

Thirty years ago I began working in gyms directly with members. Then, I climbed the corporate ladder and found myself still working in the industry but sitting at a desk and no longer working directly with clients.  

I thought I had reached success, but it wasn’t how I imagined it. I was gaining weight and wasn’t sleeping. I didn’t have any time for my own health. Worst of all - I didn’t have time for my family. Problems were showing up everywhere. I felt awful physically and mentally, and I knew I needed to make some changes.

We are all looking for the solution to how we can live a healthy balanced life, but we need to recognize the truth. Are we really making a commitment to living a balanced healthy and happy lifestyle, or are we just making excuses?

We all have challenges such as work and family responsibilities, whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or a CEO. We need to recognize that if we feel our health and happiness slipping away, it’s time to make some changes.

Balanced living means considering all aspects of your life, but first, you must believe it is possible. Next, you need to prioritize to unjumble your life. And finally, you need to be consistent.

Believe – Why not you? You have felt that tingle that gets you excited about making a change or starting something new. Then the self-doubt trickles in, slowly drowning your tingle, like water dripping on fresh a painting until the excitement is unrecognizable.

Did you know that the number one regret of people on their death beds is that they did not live a life true to themselves? Instead, they worried so much about what others expected of them? Somewhere deep inside, you know what kind of life you want. Think like the Oaktree, not the acorn. The acorn hopes for one day; the Oaktree knows it’s possible.

Unjumble your life – Separate what you need from what you need to get rid of. We are being pulled in so many directions and have so many demands that we never get our list completed. We have too many things to accomplish and we end up going an inch deep and a mile wide. What are the top 5 things that a most important to living a balanced life? When you can identify the top 5 things it allows you to say no to the less important or the things that are going to stall your success.

Consistency – This is a Biggy because without consistency it is almost impossible to find success. When we bite off more than we can chew it is hard to stay consistent with the changes that we have made. This is why most of us fail to reach our goals. We need to take bite-size chunks of things we know we can do. Set yourself up for a win! (Examples... Walking for 20 mins after dinner instead of watching TV and eating a healthy breakfast) Once we have created these habits we can add on more. 

Once we are able to commit to the belief, prioritizing and consistency we can then start working on a plan.  By focusing on the following:

Family – Schedule time to check in with the family, maybe a Sunday night 15-minute meeting to review the upcoming work week. This will help to go over upcoming commitments so there are fewer obstacles in your schedule.  Schedule at least one outdoor activity as a family, maybe a hike on the weekend.

Lose the remote! Sorry, but spending time watching TV every night after dinner is not going to help you stay connected, nor will it help move you toward a healthier life. This is a perfect time to move your body and connect with your family as you move towards living a happier and healthier lifestyle.

We all know that walking lowers stress and cortisol and can assist in weight loss. But did you know that being outside could make you happier, and more cooperative? Some even believe it increases memory and intelligence.  Imagine how much easier it might be to get your kids to do their homework and get the little ones ready for bed. 

Work – Is your job an excuse or is it really keeping you from living a healthy life? Is it really keeping you from exercising? Is it really keeping you from eating healthier? This is the number one excuse I hear from my clients. I can’t make healthy choices because of the J-O-B, and I feel you because it was my excuse as well! Pretty amazing because I work in the fitness industry. These are my top four ways to avoid using your career as an excuse.

  1. Prep your food Take a couple of hours on the weekend to prep whatever meals you are eating away from the house; this includes sporting events for the kiddos.
  2. Walk at lunch When you have lunch already at your desk it buys back the time that you would be driving and/or eating out. So, get up and get to walking.
  3. 3 p.m. cravings When you’re feeling tired or lethargic you need to be prepared with an energy-packed snack that won’t spike your insulin. When we eat unbalanced here, it leaves us craving unhealthy foods when we get home. (See sample healthy mid-day snack in the free worksheet)
  4. Two 10-minute walks during the workday. Not only will the help you with relieving stress and lowering your cortisol levels, but it will also ignite your metabolism and help with those tight hips and stiff necks.
  5. Strength Training - How you are working out is just important as getting in a workout, especially after the age of 40. We carry so much stress in our everyday lives that most of us already have high cortisol levels. When we are in a state of high stress, oxygen-deprived workouts can contribute to cortisol spikes. If we don’t focus on weight-resistant and stress-reducing exercises, we can very likely be losing muscle while slowing down our metabolism. 
  6. The older you get the more you need to focus on building and maintaining your muscle mass. A pound of muscle requires 300 – 500 calories a week and adding more muscle is the secret to creating a metabolism that requires more calories. I’m not knocking cardio, it should have a place in your program and hopefully, if you are able to make the changes in your family and work habits, it's already built into your week. But if you want long-lasting results!  You will need to pick heavy things up to change how your body burns calories
  7. ‘Me’ Time – Finding time to take care of yourself and quiet your mind will help with stress reduction. Schedule time each week to allow yourself to destress, at least one hour weekly. There are 168 hours in a week; schedule one of them for you, or maybe you spend a few minutes on relaxation by yourself each day.
  8. Morning Time- Get up a few minutes early in the morning and have some quiet time before the rest of the house wakes. Don’t use this time to catch up on your emails or the news, that creates noise and stress. Grab your coffee step outside and enjoy the sunrise. Instead of taking a quick shower at night take a long soak in an aroma-filled bath (see list of essential oils that promote relaxation on the free worksheet), use this time to meditate, read or just listen to relaxing music. Yes, you might get to bed a half-hour later but you will sleep way better than you would have if your eyes had spent that time on a screen. 
  9. Laughter- Make sure you get some laughter in each day. Laughing can help to alleviate stress, fight off infections, boost brain health, lower blood pressure and improve your mood.

Are we that different?

My reasons for making changes may be different from yours. I was overworked, overweight, and overstressed. I thought I had no time for my family, no time for my health and I was spiritually bankrupt. I spent time focusing on what wasn’t working instead of what was. Some may have thought I had a successful career. But I know I was not living a successful life.

If at this moment you are wanting to make the change, make it specific to you. Finding balance and time to live a happier healthy life isn’t always easy but it’s always worth it.

Click the link below to download your free worksheet to Kickstart a Healthier Happier Balanced Lifestyle.

https://www.eatfitlifewellness.com/

Beth Douglas is a fitness professional/life coach who has guided her clients to a healthier lifestyle as they navigate changes to their nutrition, exercise, and, most importantly, perspective. Recently, Beth has launched EatFitLife to help more people via an online group setting. 

EatFitLife, fitness, balance, Beth Douglas, health, fitness, eating, meal plans, life coach, fitness coach, nutrition, health advice, column

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