Tag: exercise

How Tracking Food Helps With Weight Loss Success

A very big piece of advice I would like to pass along to you is to track your food and exercise, in some shape or form. It has a lot of benefits, more than I could ever list. So here are the highlights.

These are just a few methods of tracking:

  • Online or through an app: Spark People and MyFitnessPal are just a couple that I’ve had personal experience with and have found work well. There are likely countless others.
  • Computer: some programs such as Microsoft Works and Microsoft Word have food and exercise logs. You could also create your own custom food/exercise logs with simple tables or other buttons within some of these programs.
  • Paper and pen: go old school and use a notebook to write down what you have eaten and done for exercise or print logs from programs and use them to write them down.

Now you may want to know what is so important about tracking food and exercise when you are trying to improve your health and lose weight. I’ll tell you why I believe it to be so important:

  1. To see where you stand throughout the day as well as at the end of it, such as eating within your calorie range, getting enough fruits and vegetables, getting enough protein or fiber, not getting too many carbs or too much fat.
  2. To measure physical capabilities and see how much more you can do compared to when you started or even a couple weeks ago. Some ways to see progress would be with time (minutes), distance, speed, repetitions of strength training exercise, increasing the weights for strength training, etc.
  3. To see what works for you as well as what does not. That way you can repeat what does work and cut out what doesn’t. You will be able to look back and see trends to help you decide your course of action going forward. If you weren’t keeping track, how would you know?

As you track your food and exercise in one form or another, you will also find that it gives you accountability to yourself. It provides you with the chance to see what you’re doing each day in relation to your goals and progress. Keeping track of what you eat and what exercises you do, as well as possibly even how you felt about it if you want, will help you to continuously move forward.

Then as you go along, you will know how to change things as needed and find what works for you. A lot of this weight loss thing is finding what works for you personally. Sure, you can get a million and one ideas from the internet, but some things will work for you and others won’t. Some of it won’t interest you and some simply doesn’t work for you or your body, and this is one way to keep track of that as well.

~Bonnie~

10 Ways to De-Stress When Life Gets Crazy

What I feel is most important is loving ourselves and taking care of ourselves when life gets crazy. I’m not sure about you, but this time of year is proving to be a little bit crazy and busy, this month especially is full of events and deadlines!

One of our biggest downfalls as human beings is stressing out. We’re constantly bombarded by anything and everything, we have mountains and mountains of work not to mention our home life to juggle, or we simply feel overwhelmed about life in general.

Here are some things you can do pretty much anywhere or anytime to de-stress when life is causing you to feel overwhelmed for whatever reason:

  1. Write. Journal, blog, or jot a few notes down on a piece of paper to work through what you’re feeling. It’s quick and it helps a ton. Not only are you organizing your thoughts, but writing and rereading what you wrote can help you discover new things or come to realizations you wouldn’t have otherwise.
  2. Read. Grab your favorite book or any good book and start reading it. It could be a novel, a self-help book, a real life story, anything that you find pleasing. Reading is relaxing because it gets you out of your own mind and into another world. While you’re taking a mental vacation between the pages, your mind can process other thoughts and feelings, which in turn helps you work through your feelings and calm down.
  3. Listen to music. This one can be a given to a lot of us, but even though I love music, sometimes I can forget that it’s such a stress reliever. Pump up your favorite tunes, turn on your favorite radio station, or watch music videos. Sing along and even dance along, let those tunes carry you away!
  4. Take a walk or workout. Taking a walk in the fresh air or getting a workout in can allow you to work through your thoughts and feelings as well. You can take out your frustration or disappointment and work super hard in your workout. Going for a walk is great too as it’s another way to get outside of your head while still allowing your mind to work through things.
  5. Call a friend. Do you have a buddy you like to talk to when you need to just get it all out? Call, email, or message them. A true friend will always be there for you, as a listening ear or to give you advice if you want it (or sometimes when you don’t want it). Talking through things allows you to hear things from another perspective, out loud as well as through feedback from your friend.
  6. Color. Coloring isn’t just for kids anymore. Grab or print a coloring page and something to color with and start coloring. It is really therapeutic. It allows you to zone out and do something with both your mind and hands that is constructive. Your pictures do not even have to be pretty for this to work. If you think this is something for you, I would also encourage you to go to the store and pick out a kids or adult coloring book and coloring utensils that make you excited to color: colored pencils, markers, crayons, colored pens, anything works!
  7. Housework/organize. Work on cleaning, organizing, or decluttering your house, yard, or car. Making everything clean and fresh is remarkably refreshing to your mind as well!
  8. Pamper yourself. Go see a movie on your own or with a friend/loved one, get your hair cut or colored, get your nails done, go to the library to spend some quiet time, visit a museum, spend some time in nature, or just do anything that makes you feel pampered and relaxed. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Just give it some thought and pick something that works for you.
  9. Play. Play with your kids or pets, or those of friends/family members. It will help release the inner kid in you and help you feel more carefree and alive! Trust me, it is fun! Be silly and throw yourself into it!
  10. Hot shower/bath. Water therapy. Take a nice relaxing bath if you can, or a hot shower. If you have access to a pool or hot tub, those can be amazingly relaxing as well. Whatever floats your boat!

My personal favorites are walking, writing, and reading. If I’m really antsy or anxious, putting myself to work picking up the house or organizing things helps me too. It gives me something to do physically that betters my world in some way! I also love to pamper myself whenever I get the chance to.

What is your favorite way to de-stress when you feel overwhelmed?

 

~Bonnie~

What I Love About Beachbody

A little over a month ago, I signed up to be a Beachbody coach, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It wasn’t one I took lightly and it had to come at just the right time. You see, I had been approached by a Beachbody coach over a year ago, who wanted me to be a part of her team. However, I did not feel connected to her or what she was offering at the time. It was tempting, I wanted to be able to make an income working from home and doing something as awesome as inspiring others to live a healthy life, but it didn’t feel like the right decision for me.

I still believe that, firmly. She was not the coach I needed to sign up with and it was not the right time for me! Plus I wanted to go it on my own and do things my way, and I was just beginning to learn about blogging and making it work for me. That had been a dream of mine for a long time because I’ve always loved to write. Towards the end of last year, I refocused my blog (and here you are!) and was still working on making health coaching work on my own.

Well, what do you know…? I started connecting with a few Beachbody coaches in various capacities. One of them in particular I felt like we were on similar pages and I knew I could trust her, because I already felt comfortable talking to her and resonated with some of her story. I still didn’t want to be a Beachbody coach when I first met her, but I was fascinated by how much she helped other people and the quality she provided. Like I said, I started making friends with other Beachbody coaches and saw how much they were benefiting from their Shakeology and the awesome workouts they were doing, and I just kept feeling pulled into this new world. Being an independent health coach, all on my own, was not going very well.

Honestly, I was struggling with my own healthy living journey because of a bunch of changes in my life since the summer and a lot of upheaval that left my world very unstable. Now that my world had gotten more stable, I was still struggling for various reasons. Healthy living has been an important part of my life for almost three years now, as I will be celebrating my three year anniversary in May, and I had not given up on it, but was having a lot of trouble getting back on track. Before all these changes in my life, I was so strong and motivated in my journey. Then all those changes occurred, and I let things go because it was just too overwhelming to juggle it all at once. These experiences and my struggle is what finally led me to make this wonderful choice to become a Beachbody coach.

Becoming a Beachbody coach was a decision that was made for a number of reasons.

  1. It provided me with the ability to help others with their healthy living goals. As I mentioned above, inspiring others to live a healthy life is something that I find truly amazing and it is one of my biggest passions.
  2. There is this huge supply of workout resources and nutritional supplements that provide a much needed boost! Take for example, the Shakeology shakes are really helping me. As I deal with autoimmune disease, joint problems, and other chronic issues that make me tired and fatigued throughout the day, drinking Shakeology is really making a difference. It is helping me get through my days with less napping and more overall energy!
  3. To help me with my own journey, and get me back on track. It has still been slow progress in the past month with getting my eating back on track especially and learning how to be consistent with my workouts again, but I am finally making the progress that I need… and I know that the container system that came with the 21-day fix package is something that I can use long-term, and is more practical for me than counting calories, which is what I used to do. Now it is about portions, getting in healthier foods instead of just focusing on how many calories the food has, and eating more whole foods.
  4. Being able to continue working from home, doing what I love while helping other people. I already was working from home as a freelance writer, but healthy living is such a huge part of my life and has been for a few years, that it really needed to be a part of my career as well.

Do you feel you have something to offer other people striving to live a healthy life?

 

~Bonnie~

How Our Furry Workout Partners Can Inspire Us

Our furbabies are more than just companions and family members, they can actually make wonderful workout partners too! Just a few days ago, I was doing Cize and my puppy, Jasper was bouncing around and wanting to play because I was dancing and laughing. It made such a big difference to me because I felt a bit silly at first. I don’t dance often, and I’ve never been a good dancer, and exercise videos in general can sometimes feel a bit silly when I first start them. However, when he was looking at me, cocking his head, it made me laugh and when I laughed, he started bouncing around like he wanted to join in. That made the workout so much easier to get into and just feel it, not feel so silly!

This experience as well as knowing that my Jasper will be a great walking and running partner once he has all of his vaccines, got me to thinking about how our furry workout partners are very beneficial in our pursuit of a healthy lifestyle!

Walking and running buddies

While it depends on many factors, our dogs can make amazing walking and running buddies. In fact, they encourage us to get up and go in the first place. They need the exercise as much as we do and if we don’t take them for a walk or a run, we may pay the price in the form of a hyper dog. When you go for a walk or a run, having your dog with you helps you feel safer and more energized too!

Workout video companion

Whether your dog or cat simply hangs out in the room with you while you exercise, giving you someone to vent to when your workout is tough, or actually tries to join in, our furry workout partners are great at keeping us company while we exercise! I know back when I only had my cat and I needed to wake up at dawn to get a workout in, she would keep me company by perching on the back of the couch or one of the chairs. Knowing she was there with me brought me comfort and silent encouragement.

Hiking buddy

Similar to having a walking or running, having a buddy to go on a hike with can help you feel more motivated, energized, and safe while you’re hiking. One of the things that has concerned me about hiking is doing it alone. I don’t really have any friends close by or family members that would enjoy going hiking, but now that I have an active and energetic dog, he will make the perfect hiking buddy. He will make me feel safer and more confident on my hikes.

Yoga or stretching

Our pets might enjoy being near us or helping us when we stretch. Their idea of helping may not be conducive to a good workout, but they will likely brighten up your session. Sometimes they may think that you are a playground that they should play on while you’re stretching. It can either be annoying, or entertaining, or maybe even both!

Our pets benefit as much as we do for us to get exercise in with them by our sides. They get exercise themselves or companionship, and we get the same in return!

 

~Bonnie~

11 Inspirations to Improve Your Health

We all need inspiration to lose weight, or in this case improve our health, because it can be hard to stay motivated and inspired to do so. There are many reasons to lose weight and get healthier. Sometimes we need to be reminded on a daily basis of all those things that should help us stay inspired. Here are eleven of the biggest inspirations for you to keep in mind:

1. Physical Health

We can improve our physical health by eating more healthy foods, getting physical activity, and drinking more water. It helps increase our strength, endurance, and to fuel our bodies in the way they need to be fueled. What is important to remember is to do what you can with what you have and not take on too much at once. Every little healthy decision that you make adds up to big results over time. It doesn’t need to all be instantaneous. Have patience and do your best!

2. Emotional Health

Your emotional health is just as important as your physical health. As you learn to live healthier in your everyday life, some patterns may become apparent with your emotional health. For example, you may start to figure out what triggers you to feel depressed, anxious, or simply irritated or upset. When you figure those things out, you have a better chance of cutting things off before they get worse. That is one of the biggest benefits that I have found with improving my overall health, is to get to know myself well enough to improve how I function each day.

3. Mental Health

This is another one that depends on how well you are getting to know yourself. As you become more aware of your patterns, history, and other factors, the more you can gain control over your life. That doesn’t mean it will be easy by any means, but you can start to control what circumstances and situations you put yourself into a bit more and prepare for the ones you can’t escape from. It will help you gain more stability and contentment within your own life.

4. Play more and keep up with your kids and pets

Let’s face it, our kids and pets often have more energy than us. They are younger and just like to have fun! The healthier you are, the easier it is to keep up with the kids and pets in your life. It is so much fun to actually get involved with their play, actively engaging with them, much more fun than just watching them have all of the fun on their own!

5. Have more adventures

As your health improves, you will be able to go on more adventures. Sometimes it is difficult to get out of the house and that means that we are limited on our chance of adventures. However, there is a whole world out there just waiting to be explored and enjoyed. Some of the activities that you’ll be able to do more, or better, are to going shopping at the mall, hiking, taking walks around the neighborhood, going to theme parks, and whatever else strikes your fancy. Life is meant to be lived so improve your health and go out there to live it!

6. Gain more energy

Energy is something that a lot of us experience in short supply in our daily lives. The thing about living a healthier life, is that your energy will increase. Mine didn’t increase very fast but at some points, I felt much more energized than I had ever experienced, simply because I was eating healthier, getting more exercise, and drinking plenty of water. I’m confident that you will see some kind of increase in yours as well, as long as you consistently work on improving your health.

7. Live a fuller life with a better future

The better you feel and the healthier you are, the more you will be able to accomplish in your life. I also found that the longer I worked on improving my health and actually started accomplishing what I set out to do, the more I felt I was capable of accomplishing in other areas of my life. It gave me the confidence and the determination to go after many more of my dreams. To say the least, it was invigorating! Not only will you feel like going after more things to create a better life and future for yourself, but you will also have more energy and improved health to do so.

8. Feel better overall

You will feel better all around as you improve your health. This touches on many of the above inspirations, but this one is generalized for a reason. You will feel better overall which will boost you on so many different levels. It will help you do more and be more in your life.

9. Travel easier and more comfortably

When you lose weight and are healthier overall, traveling becomes a bit easier and more comfortable. You can fit in the bus, train, or plane seats better which means you have more room. Those seats are still small, but it does make it a bit more comfortable. Not only that, but you will have more energy to deal with the exhausting effects of traveling and be able to do more exploring on your vacations.

10. Clothes shopping can be a lot of fun

As you lose weight, you will need new clothes. Whether you go the route of thrift stores, clearance racks, or full sale, you can have a lot of fun shopping for new clothes in your new sizes. Then being able to actually wear those clothes instead of the same old ones all the time, it is such a rush! It can even be an experience in and of itself as you discover colorful and amazing clothes that you can wear that you may not have been able to wear before!

11. Boosted confidence, self-esteem, and much more

Losing weight and improving our health does us wonders in other aspects as well. The biggest way this happens is helping us feel better about ourselves all around. We start to see the good within us as we work on improving our overall health, and what we are capable of. We are all strong and capable, and we can see that even more pronounced as we work on improving our health!

Let me know what inspires you the most to improve your health in the comments, I would love to hear them!

 

~Bonnie~

Health and Wellbeing Benefits of Having a Dog

If you’ve ever had a dog or thought about getting a dog, this post is for you. We may adopt or rescue them for many reasons, but the truth is that they offer us as many benefits as we offer them. I want to share with you all the health and wellbeing benefits of having a dog in your life, from the physical, to the mental, to even the emotional. They have so much to offer us in turn for our love, care, and meeting their needs.

Physical Benefits of Having a Dog

  • Healthy routine and rhythm to the day, especially if you spend much of your day sitting down. They force us to get up to take them out, feed them, fill their water bowls, play with them, and take them for walks. I know if it weren’t for my parents’ dog, and now my puppy, I would not get up and get moving as much as I do since I have a computer-based career. Those two furry creatures force me to get up every hour, or hour and a half at the most, these days. That is so beneficial to me to get the blood flowing, to break up the monotony of working nonstop, and to get a mental break from my work.
  • Daily walking. Nearly every dog needs some sort of physical activity throughout the day. Most dogs need at least 15 minutes of walking a day, and many more need at least 30-60 minutes a day. There are some, particularly high energy, breeds who need even more than that. Getting out and walking every day to take care of their physical needs in turn helps us take care of our own physical needs. Exercising is a daily activity that we need to take care of ourselves as well.
  • Playing. We all need some play in our lives. Dogs are playful, they crave that attention every day and even multiple times a day. This can come in form of roughhousing, tug-of-war, fetch, frisbee, or simply running around like crazy! It is so fun for them and brings joy to our lives too. I know there are many times that I needed that fast-paced play to get the blood flowing, and the laughter of seeing how adorable the dogs look while they’re playing. There’s never a shortage of laughs!
  • Overall increased activity. They help us get increased activity throughout the day, through taking them out for potty breaks, taking them for walks, and playing with them. That increased activity certainly adds up over time.

Mental Benefits of Having a Dog

  • Consistent responsibility for another being. When we bring a dog into our home, we take on the responsibility for another being. We can’t just take them in and forget our responsibility to them. They need a commitment and consistent care. This causes us to think beyond ourselves and only our needs. Our responsibility to them can help distract us from our mental woes too. Whenever we’re feeling down, we still have to get up and take care of them. There’s no way around that.
  • Combats mental disorders. Anyone who deals with a mental disorder of some sort will likely find benefits to their mental health for having and caring for a dog. Some of the things that dogs help combat are depression, anxiety, and PTSD among others. I personally deal with depression and anxiety on a regular basis and having my puppy has helped with my anxiety. He helps remind me that there is a bigger picture and little things that cause me anxiety aren’t that big of a deal. I just need to focus on doing my best. He has very low expectations of me, basically just to take care of him and love him. The lack of pressure, and the presence of unconditional love, helps me feel calmer.
  • Talking out loud to your dog can reduce loneliness and help you intellectually. If you spend a lot of time alone, things can get lonely and you will begin to miss the interaction with other human beings. While a dog can’t talk back to you, they are still good for listening, bouncing ideas off of them, and just having some general interaction on a daily basis. I know that I talk out loud to my puppy a lot and it releases a lot of pent up stress and helps me express myself more.
  • Helps you interact with other people more. You talk to more people when you walk, as you are more approachable and dogs also help break the ice. Not only that, but you feel braver when you’re walking with your dog as opposed to walking alone. Other people with dogs might also strike up a conversation with you about yours or their dogs. The other day, I had a conversation with a fellow dog owner. I’ve run into her quite a bit more since getting my puppy, even though I was out there quite often with my parents’ dog before that too. The conversation was funny, I felt like a parent because I was talking about my puppy. He elicits this level of pride for me and I really enjoy talking about him, rather than talking about myself!

Emotional Benefits of Having a Dog

  • Companionship and social interaction. Like I mentioned above in the mental benefits, the social interaction with your dog is so beneficial, especially when you don’t have a chance to be with other people as often as you might like or need. Your dog is also a constant companion. They rely on you, so they will rarely leave your side for too long. Knowing that they are there and that they are someone whom you can rely on as well, helps you feel more secure and comfortable.
  • Unconditional love. Dogs do not have conditions on if they love you or not. If they love you, they love you. If you take care of their needs and love them, then it’s almost guaranteed that they will love you back. Most dogs aren’t super picky about who they spend time with, although some may prefer one person over another. Knowing that someone loves you no matter what will also help you feel more secure, and less lonely!
  • Affection and touch. Petting your dog can offer you many benefits. It is comforting and pleasing, and can ease your worries and stress. Their affection in return for your love is also comforting. I know whenever I feel down or need some kind of comfort, petting my puppy helps me immensely.

There are so many health benefits to having a dog, I couldn’t even list them all here. Think about all that your dog offers you in return for your taking care of and loving him. You will see what I mean, that they are so beneficial for us in so many different ways. You will have better overall health, as well as a boost in your mood and positive feelings. They may be a lot of work, especially when they are young and especially rambunctious, but they offer so much in return for the challenges!

What does your dog offer you? What do you offer them? How do those things benefit you both? Bonus: tell me about your dog(s). I love to hear about them!

 

 

~Bonnie~