Simple Ways You May Be Sabotaging Your Health Routine

serenbe vegetables
Establishing a consistent health routine that you enjoy can be a major challenge. There are so many temptations in life that make choosing to exercise or cook a nutritional meal seem like the least desirable options. (I’m looking at you bacon and macaroons.) So to give yourself the best chance for success, make sure you aren’t sabotaging your health through these behaviors:

 

You view making healthy dinners at home as a terrible chore.
One of the best ways to transform your health for the better is to start cooking your own meals. I see so much resistance to this in the United States where most of us choose to either go out to eat at restaurants or just heat up a processed, frozen meal at home. I get it- I love going out to eat! After a long day, the thought of working in the kitchen once you get home is a nightmare. But cooking really is key to knowing what’s in your food and having the power over your own health. Compared to restaurant food and frozen dinners, your own healthy meals will have far less sodium and fat, and far more nutrients. So decide to flip cooking on its head! Turn on some Cuban salsa music in the kitchen or have a conversation with your love as you cut vegetables. Take pride in learning how to satisfy both your hunger and nutritional needs with your own two hands. View cooking as an exciting, new challenge- your health will thank you.

 

You choose ways of exercising that are far away from your home or generally just a lot of effort to participate in.
Here’s an example. I see a fun opportunity to go kayaking every Wednesday with a South Florida fitness group but notice that I’d always have to drive an hour north of my house to meet them where they all live. Not to mention that I’d, of course, then have to rent the kayak and carry it over to the water (and back again later). I just stop things right there. It’s too much time and effort, and I know myself. Sure, if it was a one time kayaking trip I could convince myself to do it as a great, new experience. But to commit to participating in an activity that’s far away on a weekly, or multi-weekly, basis is just setting myself up for failure. For most of us, it goes like this: some days we’ll feel tired and not be in the mood to drive a long distance, then we’ll feel guilty and disappointed in missing the session, and then we’ll eventually stop going. Save yourself from that experience by choosing workout activities that are within a comfortable distance zone for you and that don’t take a ton of extra effort for you to participate in. Remember- you want to feel compelled to exercise on a regular basis, so make the whole process as easy as possible on yourself!

 

You don’t plan out your meals by the week.
Before I started on my summer travels, I was creating weekly meal plans for my boyfriend and I that detailed what we’d need everyday for breakfast, lunch, snacks, drinks, and dinner. I scheduled in two possibilities for meals out, preferably a nice dinner and a weekend brunch. Everything for my weekly shopping list was planned down to the ingredient. Eating in this way definitely goes against my personality type- I enjoy going out to dinner on a whim and picking the restaurant based on my current mood. But the truth is, if you want to eat healthily, you have to plan it out ruthlessly. If not, you’ll buy a whole bunch of random, expensive food from the store and not know what kind of dishes to make with all of it. A disgusting amount of food will likely end up unused and thrown away, and you’ll spiral into a pit of self-loathing every time you spot a grocery store. It’s happened to me a million times before, and the only thing that’s helped is planning meals, dish-by-dish, for the whole week. Boring, but true!

 

You sit down to unwind – watching TV, surfing the internet, looking at Facebook on your phone – right after coming home from work.
I know that all you probably want to do when you get home from work is sit down on the couch and relax for a bit. I understand. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea! To keep your momentum going, walk right through your front door and into your closet to put on your workout clothes and your sneakers. It will be a million times harder to get up in order to workout or cook a healthy dinner if you’ve already gotten more tired and comfortable in front of the TV. If you only remember three words I say, just remember: Don’t sit down!

 

You don’t make social time happen with exercise time.
We only have so many hours in a day, and the best way to maximize your time when it comes to exercise is to simultaneously make it friend time. Not only will you be bonding positively by getting in shape together, but you’ll also be making workouts fun and exciting by having a friend there. What could be better? By doing this, a positive correlation between exercise and happiness will be created, and you’ll also be building your sense of community. When I was living back in my hometown of Naples for 5 months last year, I joined an amazing, all ladies workout group called Blaze Fitness Fusion with a friend of mine. The workouts were always challenging, but what made me fall in love and keep coming back multiple times per week were all of the great women I was getting to know at the same time. So do yourself a favor- make a health commitment with a friend to keep exercising together and challenging each other.

 

You always talk the talk but never walk the walk.
A study discussed in Newsweek found that simply talking about a goal that we’d like to achieve gives us the same mental satisfaction as actually completing the goal. Keep that in mind as you scroll through pictures of yoga poses and healthy dishes on Instagram. Do you see all of these inspirational images and vow to your friends, “From now on, I’m going to juice every morning and practice yoga for 30 minutes before work”? For most of us, we get pumped and make big promises to the special people in our lives, saying that we’re going to work towards a new health goal. Honestly though, how many times does the goal achieving process stop there? We talk about the goal for a bit, feel happy, and then forget about it. Let’s catch ourselves and make sure that that we don’t get too satisfied with only talking about goal achievement- actually working towards our goals is what we should really be proud of!

 

So are you guilty of any of these forms of self-sabotage? I know I’ve certainly struggled with some of these issues, both in the past and present. The key is to remember that nobody can ever be perfect, so forgive yourself for past sabotage and decide that today is a fresh new day to begin again. Please share your thoughts in the comments below, and let us know if you have any extra tips for avoiding these behaviors. 🙂

Hope you’re having a wonderful week,

xo Caylee

 

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The Importance of Following Your Intuition

Most people I’ve ever met seem to struggle with indecision while making major life choices. This is common in the human experience – we all feel scared that we’ll make the wrong decision and be led down a path that we never intended to go in life. We then resort to making a pros and cons list or talking endlessly with our best friends and parents to try and debate the correct answer to our problems right out of each other. But how many times have you settled on a life decision and then changed your mind again less than a day later, because you somehow talked yourself out of it?

The truth is – nobody in the entire world knows the correct answer to your dilemmas and life choices better than you. The problem is that you need to follow your inner intuition first.

I’ve had a great deal of experience in this method of inner decision-making. Usually, I’m really good at following my intuition, and I’ve found it has never steered me wrong. But there’s been a couple of big instances, in recent rears, where I desperately didn’t want to hear what my intuition was screaming to me.

The most major time was in relation to an ex-boyfriend who I’d hoped more than anything was “the one.” He had everything going for him and was such a fun, thoughtful guy, but when he invited me to permanently move up to the Northeast with him to start his shiny new career, my insides froze. Not just froze, but shut down. Every time he would mention our future plans together up North, I would get sick to my stomach and feel trapped in despair. He was being just as sweet as ever, but I became depressed and developed major anxiety issues. Now, if I’d just listed to my intuition that was yelling to be heard, I would have ended it then and saved us both a lot of drawn out hurt. Instead, because I didn’t want to believe my intuition to be my truth, I ignored it and played our emotions back and forth for many months. “I want to be with you” changed to “I can’t be with you” in a matter of days – it was emotionally exhausting and devastating for both of us. In the end, we obviously broke up for good, but it left us with more emotional baggage and dark memories of each other than if I hadn’t avoided my blaring intuition about the situation.

So how do we become better at listening to our intuition? Since everybody has varying physical and emotional reactions when intuition is trying to steer you, I believe the most important thing you can do is to be in-tuned with your body – listen to it. Recognize how it feels when everything is normal and then the difference in feeling when something is wrong. Here is an example:

A completely non-threatening looking guy comes and sits down next to you at a bar. You know from your experience of listening to your body that usually when a nice-looking man approaches, you might feel a little shy and have a slightly higher heart-rate due to that. But as this man starts talking, your chest clenches up tightly, your hands feel disconnected to your body, and you feel an unexplainable sense of fear in the pit of your stomach.

PLEASE LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. You don’t want to find out why your body was having a terrified reaction to that man. It is so important to hear what your body is telling you in any situation or decision. Intuition is your deep, subconscious way of telling the social version of yourself exactly what you want. The subconscious will usually win in the long wrong, because it’s trying to lead you towards happiness. You might as well listen to it in the first place!

Next time you’re needing to make a big decision, go over all the choices in your head using vibrant imagery like it’s actually happening. Imagine what the outcome of the various choices would be, and listen to how your body feels with each one. Does one make your stomach clench? Do you suddenly feel a tinge of sadness? How about a feeling of joy or relief? Don’t ignore these emotions – I guarantee that if you follow this intuition regularly, you will always make the best decision. Just like I should have made the hard decision with my ex-boyfriend and broken up with him sooner – sometimes, the hard answer is still the right answer.

Don’t let your future be dictated by a pro and con list or what your loved ones think is best for you – only you can feel the right choices for your life. So what are your experiences with listening to your intuition? Have you ever had an experience like me and ignored your intuition? Please share your stories in the comments below! 🙂

Wishing you a happy Monday,

xo Caylee

 

Take an Afternoon Meditation Break – Right Now!

One of the best things you can do for your well-being is to use between 5-10 minutes daily to relax your mind and meditate. Just taking this simple step lowers anxiety, decreases muscle tension, and increases concentration abilities, among many other benefits. I know it’s hard remembering to dedicate time to meditate on the regular – even I forget to stop everything I’m doing and breathe sometimes. But trust me – it will help all of us, mentally and physically, in the long run. Here are some basic steps to get an easy meditation practice going in your life:

 

One. Find the most quiet place you can in your home or office. You want the least amount of noise possible so that your thoughts won’t always get taken away from meditation.

Two. You can sit in a chair or directly on the ground, or lie down someplace. It doesn’t really matter how you position yourself as long as you are comfy enough to not get distracted by aches, but not so comfy that you’ll immediately fall asleep!

Three. Set your timer. A person not experienced with meditation would probably want to start at 5 minutes, and you can work your way up from there with time.

Four. To get started, I like to focus on my breath for a bit to clear my mind. I put my hands gently on my stomach and slowly breathe in through my nose for 5 counts – hold it in for 5 counts – and then release with controlled breath for 5 counts. Do this small breathing exercise until you feel more relaxed.

Five. Once the mind feels relatively clear, I start breathing normally again, and just let it all go. You don’t have to focus on any imagery in your mind or concentrate on your breaths. Just be. Just breathe. It’s okay if your mind wanders – this is a normal part of the practice. Acknowledge your thought with kindness but then try to clear your mind again.

TIP: When your mind gets distracted, use the breathing exercise from Step #4 to relax again, or repeat any type of positive mantra to yourself. Examples that I use include – “I am enough,” “Life is so beautiful,” and the classic “Om.”

Six. Keep breathing and letting go of your stress until the timer goes off. Remember: it’s okay if your brain gets distracted. Just hear the thought, and try to let it go. Finish off the end of your meditation with a thought of gratitude for something or someone special in your life. Then it’s time to go back to the real world until your afternoon meditation time tomorrow!

TIP: I like to use an app on my phone called Dharma Meditation Trainer to help me remember to sit down and focus on my breathing. A daily meditation reminder will pop-up, and the app provides you with a timer which increases your meditation length with usage.

 

Meditation is just that simple! The hard part is getting yourself to do it on a regular basis, but don’t beat yourself up about it if you miss a day. Just get back to it the next day – it’s a small action that majorly contributes to total well-being.

So do you have a regular meditation practice? If so, what is your preferred method? Everyone has their own way that works best for them. If you don’t have a regular practice, what is keeping you from taking up meditation? Please share, and let us know in the comments below! 🙂

Have a beautiful day,

xo Caylee

 

Energize Your Day in Four Simple Steps

For the past few years of my life, everyday when 3:00 PM rolled around I would get a massive headache. It didn’t matter if I was in a college class, chatting with a friend, or working at the office – if it was midafternoon, you could find me catatonic with my head pounding and desperately needing an energy boost. Work always came to an unproductive standstill, and I was so exhausted that I basically slept with my eyes open. My brain screamed, “COFFEE! COFFEE! I. NEED. COFFEE.”  You guys, that is what an addict sounds like.

 

To be honest, my previous habits made me feel like total crap everyday, but I couldn’t seem to shake them. I put off altering my negative lifestyle for almost a year, because my boyfriend and I loved going out to eat in Miami at delicious restaurants (with even more delicious cocktails) almost every night. It’s really hard to change when you’re having so much fun doing the things that make you unhealthy. Trust me, I understand your pain! But as I saw my energy levels plummet even more, along with my mood dipping to a depressed low point, I knew I finally had to get down to business in making myself feel good again. Along with my boyfriend also having health issues from all of our unhealthy habits, it became clear to me that our lifestyle needed to change immediately.

 

Where I used to eat a bunch of salty, frozen processed foods or fat-laden meats at restaurants, now I like to make homemade meals with fresh produce. On a normal day, I will try to eat at least two types of fruit and four types of vegetables. Except as a treat here and there, I’ve stopped drinking coffee… Shocking, right?! This is not because I have anything against coffee now – it’s just that with my lifestyle change I don’t need caffeine in order to stay awake anymore. It’s a miracle! I also avoid added sweeteners, heavy meats like beef and pork, and white bread. I’m not strict with my meal plan, or withholding in any way, but I’ve found that I truly want to keep eating like this because it makes me feel so much more energized and happy. For a person like me who always felt sluggish, to feel healthy and vibrant is an amazing thing.

 

If you find yourself feeling sluggish during the work day and need a healthy pick-me-up, here are some easy lifestyle changes you can incorporate into your routine for a coffeeless energy boost:

 

 

Do you have any other energy boosting tips? Let us know in the comments below, and please feel free to share this post with your friends!

 

Hope you have a vibrant day,
xo Caylee