Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘wellness articles’

live-in-the-moment

“Remember then:there is only one time that is important – NOW! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.” – Leo Tolstoy

There are two ways to live life: consciously or unconsciously. Conscious living, or “mindfulness” means being an active participant in your life, choosing the experiences you get involved with, and taking responsibility for the decisions you make. The opposite, living unconsciously, means allowing circumstances to dictate your life, remaining passive, and taking little to no ownership over what life brings. When it comes to living consciously or unconsciously, which one sounds more appealing to you in this one and only life? I thought so 😉

When you live consciously, you become intentional in the things you do. You put yourself in the drivers seat, and instead of waiting for things to happen, you MAKE things happen. You get more done, are more mindful of what you do, and are more focused. All of this gives you the ability to accomplish the things you set our to do and to be more successful in life. The best part is that holding yourself accountable for the life you have has a direct and positive impact on self-esteem, attitude, and belief in yourself.

Studies have shown that conscious living also provides numerous health benefits. It helps reduce and manage stress, chronic pain and blood pressure, and increases immune function and ability to cope with disease. Individuals who live consciously tend to be happier and have a more positive outlook than those who don’t. They tend to take themselves less seriously, are less impulsive or reactive, and accept their own weaknesses without self-judgement. Further, they’re able to take criticism more easily, and suffer less from depression and other emotional and behavioral issues.

Living consciously also means focusing on the present and not dwelling on the past or obsessing about the future. In other words, you live life in the moment. This translates to experiencing more positive thoughts and feelings as most of our anxiety and fears are rooted in past disappointments or regrets and the worry we feel about the future.

Finally living a conscious life helps you develop closer relationships. You’re more in tune with your emotions, thoughts, and reactions which helps you to be more sympathetic and understanding toward others. And you can more easily understand the impact of your choice on you life as well as those around you.

Ready to be an active participant in your life and live in the moment every day? Conscious living encompasses all aspects of life. Everything from what you choose to eat at dinner to the way you treat people can involve intentional thought and action. Living consciously can occur at any moment, on any day, just by actively being present during your experiences and being aware of your feelings and emotions. All it takes to get started is a commitment to be present in your life. Here are my guidelines for living in the moment (and actually enjoying it!)

always-live-in-the-moment--source

Caroline’s Live In the Moment (and ENJOY it!) Suggestions For Success

  • Stop and Smell the roses. Throughout the day, take time to pay attention to what is happening around you. Become mindful of your environment and how you personally fit into it. Observe colors, sounds, light, smells, and textures. Savor moments by allowing all of your senses to fully experience them. Make a habit of noticing new things in every situation, even for those repetitive actions like walking to work and making breakfast.
  • Experiment: Every day find something new to try. Take a class. Attend a seminar. Read a new book. Play a new game. When opportunities present themselves, embrace them openly and look for the potential that they may bring. Say YES instead of no and do one thing a day that scares you. Trying new things keeps you engaged, youthful, and living to the fullest.
  • Stop Thinking: Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder and former executive director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School tells us, “Ordinary thoughts course through our mind like a deafening waterfall.” Part of our inability to live consciously is that we let our thoughts overtake our minds, precluding us from living in the moment and experiencing life. Instead, allow yourself to “just be”. Focus less on your thoughts and more on whats going on around you at the moment. Actively take part in the present while shutting out negativity of the past or future.
  • Breathe: When you feel the urge to be impulsive of have a knee-jerk reaction to something, stop and take a few deep, cleansing breaths.  When it comes to building a conscious life, deep breathing helps you hit the “restart” button. Instead of reacting hastily or irrationally, you’re able to gain self-control and have more rational and appropriate responses to situations and circumstances. Best part is deep breathing is free, easy, and can be done ANYWHERE! Inhale, Exhale, REPEAT!
  • Accept Challenges, Pain, Worry: When something is uncomfortable, we often feel compelled to avoid it. Instead of pushing these feelings away, simply allow yourself to feel them and accept them for what they are. When we don’t acknowledge negative feelings, our minds deal with them in indirect ways. This can manifest in unhealthy behaviors, or worse cause us to do things we may regret. Accepting negative feelings, however, helps us understand our stressors, anxieties, and reactions, giving us the power to move forward and create new feelings and reactions so we can move past negativity instead of dwelling on it. I always say you have to FEEL in order to heal!
  • Switch from Autopilot to Manual: You know your inner autopilot is at work when you feel like time has passed you by, yet you have no idea what you did or what happened during that time. You are going through the motions instead of actively engaging in your life. Maybe autopilot kicks in during a commute or while running errands. Or maybe its at work for longer periods of time. To get the most out of life, its important to be an active participant. Shut off autopilot by increasing your awareness of your thoughts, actions, decisions, and experiences. Don’t defer to others to make decisions for you or allow circumstances to dictate your life. Doing so will only lead to disappointment and frustration. As pilot of your life, you have ultimate control of where you go and the direction you head. Constantly look for ways to engage in what life has to offer…. you never know what may come your way.

Studies have shown that when individuals take the time to enjoy the moments of their lives, they experience more joy, happiness, and positive emotions, and fewer of those that are negative or depressive. But you don’t need research to tell you that conscious living is worthwhile, being an active participant in your life just FEELS better!

How do you practice mindfulness and “live in the moment” on a daily basis? Heres to living and loving every second 🙂

Caroline

Information for this post provided by 52 Small Changes: One Year to A Happier, Healthier, You by Brett Blumenthal. Great read, check it out!

Other Things To Check Out This Week:

l_dab92760-82c1-11e1-81f5-fdfd88800001

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Guiding-Hands-Art

In a world of triple-stacked hamburgers, double-stuffed cookies, and super-sized cups of soda, many of us tend to overestimate appropriate portion sizes while underestimating the amount of food we eat. It’s no surprise: over the last twenty years, we’ve seen continued growth in portion sizes to a point where we’ve entered an era of “portion distortion”. At restaurants and fast- food establishments, super-sized portions are served in order to provide “super” value to the customer. At the grocery store, companies have super-sized packaging of their products, and even at home, we’ve managed to steadily increase the size of our dinnerware. Unfortunately, all this growth has had an impact on our waistlines: we think big, we eat big, and it shows.

At the start of a New Year and the common resolution to eat healthier, I thought it a good time to address portion control. Here are my portion control guidelines to help you practice portion control and reach all of your wellness goals.

portions-428x500

Caroline’s Smart Size Portion Guide.

The simple skill of knowing how much to eat is an important key to weight loss and weight maintenance. Eating appropriate portions enables us to eat to a point where we are comfortably full, yet not so stuffed that we regret it later.

Research has shown Americans often underestimate how many calories they are consuming each day by as much as 25 percent. The hard truth is: you can’t escape a bad diet. The effects of poor nutrition and over generous portions will catch up with you at some point!

In order to understand appropriate portion sizes of foods, there are three things you’ll need to learn: 1) You’ll need to understand how much of a typical food constitutes a portion size, 2) you’ll need to know what that portion size looks like visually, and 3) you’ll need to learn how to apply this knowledge in your life.

The following lists include a select number of various types of food, their typical portion sizes, and everyday objects that equate to portion size. Although there are a few exceptions, most of the foods listed are whole, as there are an infinite number of processed or packaged foods. Further, since eating whole foods is always recommended over processed foods, it seems more appropriate to focus on them.

webmd_photo_of_common_objects

Portion Size Guide Of Whole Foods

Fresh Fruit* = 1 cup = woman’s fist

    • apple
    • apricots
    • blackberries
    • blueberries
    • kiwi (2 pieces)
    • orange
    • pear
    • plums (2 pieces)
    • raspberries
    • strawberries
    • tangerines (2 pieces)

*exceptions: banana, grapefruit, portion size = 1/2 fruit

Leafy Vegetables = 1 cup = Baseball

    • arugula
    • baby romaine
    • boston lettuce
    • mixed greens
    • red lettuce
    • romaine
    • spinach

Fibrous Vegetables = 1/2 cup = 1/2 Baseball

    • artichoke hearts
    • asparagus
    • broccoli
    • carrots
    • cauliflower
    • celery
    • cucumber
    • eggplant
    • green beans
    • onions
    • red cabbage
    • red peppers
    • snap peas
    • squash
    • zucchini

Breads = CD case

    • Bagel (1/4)
    • English Muffin (1/2)
    • Whole-grain bread (1 slice)

Meat = 3 ounces = deck of cards

    • beef
    • chicken breast
    • pork tenderloin
    • tofu
    • turkey breast

Fish = 3 ounces = computer mouse

    • cod
    • halibut
    • mahimahi
    • red snapper
    • salmon
    • swordfish
    • tuna

Grains, Legumes, and Starches = 1/2 cup = 1/2 baseball

    • barley (cooked)
    • beans
    • brown rice (cooked)
    • cereal
    • corn (cooked)
    • edamame
    • oats (cooked)
    • potatoes (all varieties)
    • quinoa (cooked)
    • whole grain pasta (cooked)

Dairy

    • Hard Cheese = 1.5 ounces = 4 dice or lipstick case
    • yogurt = 1/2 cup = 1/2 baseball

Fats

    • Avocado = 1/2 medium = deck of cards
    • oils = 1 teaspoon = 1 die
    • nuts – 1/4 a cup = golf ball

If you don’t already have measuring cups or spoons, it might be helpful to purchase them. You may even want to consider investing in a nutrition scale, which will allow you to weigh various foods. Spend a week measuring what you eat and comparing it to the visual cues so you can accurately understand typical portion sizes and what they look like. Display some of the everyday items in your kitchen so they are conveniently located. You may even want to take a couple of them with you when you go out to eat. Eventually, you’ll be comfortable assessing portion sizes without measuring cups, spoons, or props and will be able to do so no matter where you are.

 Serving-Size-of-Common-Foods1

Knowing proper portion sizes is only half the battle in learning the art of eating the right amount. It’s what you DO with that knowledge that really counts. Eating out and busy schedules can make portion control more challenging. Here are my suggestions on how to use your portion control smarts in the moment:

 Caroline’s Portion Control In ACTION guidelines:

  • Before Eating, Divide The Plate. Here’s a simple rule to portion a plate properly: Divide it in half. Automatically fill one side with fruits or vegetables, leaving the rest for equal parts protein and starch. This way, you begin to see what a properly balanced meal looks like. Spaghetti and meatballs? Steak and potatoes? They’re only half a meal, incomplete without fruits and vegetables.
  • Pre-Portion Tempting Treats. People tend to consume more when they have easy access to food and the bigger the package, the more food you’ll pour out of it. Measure out your food choices into a ziplock bag, bowl, or plate before you eat. Put the package or dish away and then sit down to enjoy your pre-portioned snack or meal.
  • Avoid Mindless Munching. It’s all to easy to keep eating food when it’s readily available. I call it the “see food diet”. If you can’t resist food when it’s around you, have it put away or leave the room. Turn off the television, computer, or any other distractions so that you can pay attention to what you are eating. When you are dining out, ask the server to have the bread removed from the table. In the office steer clear of your co-workers candy jar or the community food table. When you are mindful while eating its easy to avoid damaging your nutrition goals with munching.
  • Downsize The Dishes. If you’re part of the “clean plate club” and one of the 54 percent of Americans who eat until their plates polished, you’ll want to make sure your dishware is modestly sized. On a standard 8- to 10-inch dinner plate, a portion of spaghetti looks like a meal. On a 12- to 14-inch dinner plate, it looks meager, so you’re likely to dish out a bigger portion to fill the plate. Look for dishware that helps you in sticking with your healthy portion control goal. That way even if you eat until your plate is clean it wont do too much damage!
  • Limit Your Choices. The more options you have, the more options you’ll want to eat.  Look to limit your food choices to avoid the temptation to sample everything in sight.  When at a buffet or party with a large assortment of food, view all the dining options first and then fill your plate with portions of the foods that you want most. Avoid the temptation to go back for seconds once you are comfortably full.
  • If you have good food in your fridge, you’ll eat good food. You control 100 % of the food that is brought into your home. Use this power to your advantage. Stock up on foods that nourish you and if you know you can’t stop at just one potato chip, then don’t buy them at ALL.
  • Enjoy Dining Out with moderation and mindfulness. Eating appropriate portion sizes when dining out is especially challenging. Restaurant servings sizes are often enough for 4 people! To keep portions in perspective, consider ordering two appetizers instead of an entrée. If you are dining with others, you may want to split an appetizer and entrée with another person. If you order an entrée for yourself, evaluate how much of the food on the plate equates to a portion size and ask for the rest to be set aside. You can ask for a doggie bag or save the portion for another meal during the week. And always share dessert!

What is one way you practice portion control when dining out or cooking at home? It’s important to be mindful of the quantity of food you’re eating and hopefully the guidelines above will help you enjoy eating healthy, balanced portions. Eat slowly, savor your food, and enjoy your company. Heres to a year of eating well, feeling well, and being unstoppable!

Yours in Health,

Caroline

Other Things To Check Out This week:

Read Full Post »

IMG_0820 

“Getting older is the best thing that ever happened to me. I wake up every morning rejoicing that I’m still here with the opportunity to begin again and be better.” –  Oprah.

On December 27, 2012 I joined together with 13 cousins and 6 aunts and uncles to celebrate the life of one woman: My Grandmother. Grandma stands as an inspiration to us all, the walking proof of a life well lived. She is  glowing, full of health and vitality. Celebrating 90 years of life with my family was a memorable, meaningful night for me. I set a new personal goal: to live to 90 (and THEN some) just like my Grandma Joan.

What can you do to age gracefully and increase your longevity? Luck and genetics are a piece of the puzzle, but you can’t control that. To increase your odds of reaching 90 and beyond, it’s about focusing on what you can do. Loading up on fruits and veggies, working out five days a week, and cutting down on stress are just a few habits to help you age well. Here are a few other suggestions from one woman who knows, my Grandmother!

IMG_0818

Lessons on living till 90 (and THEN some!) from Grandma Joan

Move Your Body. Regular exercise is one of the strongest predictors of a long life. Thats because being active is like turning up a car engine. It keeps systems running better so even if there’s a decline with age its less severe. Unfortunately, many of us are stuck behind a desk most days with a sedentary job, which can negatively affect longevity. To add years to your life, make exercise part of your daily routine. Even a little bit goes a long way: try walking 30 minutes a day and a few times a week add on something else like a dance class or lifting weights. Research shows that people who perform even the most basic movements (walking just 3 to 5 days a week) live longer than those who don’t.  Especially the older you get—stop moving, stop living.

Have Meaningful Relationships. Having meaningful relationships is critical to your health. Partly because the reverse – being isolated – can lead to depression and even dampen the immune system. My Grandma knows this all too well, she had SIX kids after all! Her one tip of advice? Just make sure to surround yourself only with people who can lift you higher. You want to be around those that positively influence your life and encourage you to reach your goals. Establish regular dates to be social with your those you love. Go to happy hour, visit a museum, savor a meal, enjoy life together!

IMG_0816

Set the Table and Share Home-cooked Meals. Making it a priority to share meals with those you love not only helps build meaningful relationships (see above) it improves your nutrition. Cooking your own food means having control over the ingredients, so you can make sure there are no chemicals or preservatives and no extra amounts of sugar or salt. Plus, using fresh vegetables and fruits from your own garden is a huge bonus. The more recently the produce was picked, the more nutrients it has, which means more antioxidants and vitamins to keep your body and brain young. My Grandma makes dining an event: the table is set and  we sit down (distraction free!) to enjoy a mindful, nutritious meal together.

photo-2

Have a Hobby. Having a pastime reduces stress and provides a sense of accomplishment. Its even more beneficial to have a hobby that allows you to be creative. Creative hobbies take you out of your daily patterns and ignite your inner spirit. Make a vision board, take a cooking class, and engage in a creative projects as often as possible. You’ll find that time spent in creativity heightens your happiness and gives you more energy for the other areas of your life.

Always dress as if you are meeting the Queen. My grandmother would never let me leave the house without brushing my hair at least 100 times.  Good thing too because research actually confirms that a little vanity is good for you. In a Harvard study, people who thought they looked better had an actual drop in blood pressure. And as much as I LOVE spending all day in stretchy pants, there is something to be said for getting yourself together. Feeling confident about how you present yourself will increase how you feel now AND later!

Maintain a Healthy weight. If you keep your weight in a healthy range for your gender, age, and height, it keeps your organs healthy, there’s less need for medication, and it enables you to maintain a healthy lifestyle longterm. Most health problems in America can be correlated to lifestyle and bad habits. Eating right along with exercising and not smoking are the key habits that slash your disease risk by 80 %. Choose good for you foods and aim to keep your weight in a healthy range (click here for a healthy weight assessment).  The healthier you are, the better you feel. The better you feel, the longer you live.

DRINK water, don’t smoke, and moderate your alcohol intake. Well you knew that one already!

Be in good spirits. I truly believe in the power of positive thoughts to heal, energize, and help us enjoy life. What we tell ourselves and the messages we take in from others affect our ability to live long, happy lives. They help the health of our mind, body, and soul. Recognize that you create your perceptions from the inside out. A person’s mood in the moment creates his or her experience; a person’s experience does not create his or her mood. Those who understand this live a smooth and stress-free life and do not play victim to external circumstances. Moral of the story: the quality of your thoughts creates the quality and longevity of your life! 

Make Downtime a Priority.  Skimping on leisure time can raise your risk of heart disease eightfold. Not to mention the very REAL negative health effects of stress and working too much. The simple solution? Schedule regular downtime.  I like to practice what I call Personal Protected Days (PPD). PPD’s are all about learning to take time for yourself and incorporate balance into life. When you don’t get enough downtime, then you can’t appreciate or enjoy the time you have with others.  Book leisure time into your schedule and don’t let anything else get in the way once it’s on the calendar. We all need different amounts of alone time based on personalities, schedules and family commitments. Even if you live with a friend, a spouse, a partner or kids its important to find some space for yourself. Do whatever it takes to find this space and protect it. Learn that taking  time for yourself is NOT selfish, but an essential part of living a long life!

Experience the World. Being engaged in the world gives life meaning. That is a good thing for your mental health and seems to lower your overall risk of dying. It’s better to look back on life and say, “I can’t believe I did that,” than to look back and say, “I wish I did that.”  So take the trip, learn a new language, try something new and enjoy all that life has to offer. Even if you live till 100 life is STILL too short. Go for what you want and don’t wait to experience life!

Have an attitude of gratitude. Practicing gratitude can center you, help you live in the moment, enhance your relationships, help you overcome hurdles, improve your health, and motivate you to reach your goals.  Feeling grateful for what you have can produce the good feelings that keep you moving towards the happy life you want. Look around and count your blessings. Clear your head of all the little things that won’t matter down the line, when you’re looking back at all the times you cherished the most in life, and find a reason to make every moment one of them.

Thanks for teaching me how to live well just by being YOU Grandma. Looking forward to enjoying year 90 (and THEN some) with you!

483266_10101509749666393_670607368_n

Is longevity one of your goals? How do you work towards living a life that is long and FULL? Leave a comment below with one habit you have that increases the amount of years in your life. Heres to enjoying a healthy, happy life and increasing our longevity simply by doing it.

Caroline

15604_10101509849306713_1775609293_n

“It’s not the amount of years in Your Life….but the amount Of LIFE in your years!”

Other Things To Check Out This Week:

Read Full Post »

As we approach the new year, there is one thing on everybody’s mind: GOALS. One thing I find extremely effective in setting goals that have lasting power is creating a vision board.  A vision board is a visual representation or collage of the things that you want to have, be, or do in your life. It works to activate the law of attraction which is the idea that your mode of thinking, be it positive or negative, directly affects what the universe puts out there for you. In other words, if you think negatively, your life will only result in negativity. But if you put positive mental energy into the universe, positive outcomes—getting that promotion you wanted or getting out of debt—will happen. It’s kind of like the little engine that could, “I think I can I think I can”.

21040323229378776_apJLtT2b_c

Creating vision boards is considered by many to be a vital step on the road to success. Since positive, focused thinking is the key to achieving goals, pinpointing what those goals are and having something tangible to symbolize them is an essential part of the process. Vision boards remind us what we should and should not be doing in order to achieve our goals. The images and phrases that make the board should represent the highest priorities in your life. It reinforces what you truly want in your life and helps keep you on track in living it.
202732420696098239_mdFNwQo5_c

A vision board usually consists of a poster or foam board with cut-out pictures, drawings and/or writing on it of the things that you want to manifest in your life. It’s simple.

By selecting pictures and writing that charges your emotions with feelings of passion, you will begin to take action towards making those things happen.  Your personal vision board is only limited by the extent of your own creativity. Vision boards are whatever you create them to be – I’ve seen everything from simple to those that could probably sell in an art gallery. Having artistic ability is not a prerequisite for creating a functional vision board and the procedures I’ve outlined below can be used by anyone.

The general elements that a well-designed vision board should include are:

  • Visual. Your subconscious mind works in pictures and images, so make your vision board as visual as possible with as many pictures as you can. You can supplement your pictures with words and phrases to increase the emotional response you get from it.
  • Emotional. Each picture on your vision board should evoke a positive emotional response from you. The mere sight of your vision board should make you happy and fuel your passion to achieve it every time you look at it.
  • Strategically-placed. Your vision board should be strategically placed in a location that gives you exposure to it. It’s helpful to look at it often and give your mind a reminder of your desires.
  • Personal. Negative feelings, self-doubt, and criticism can damage the delicate energy that your vision board emits. If you fear criticism or justification of your vision board from others, then place it in a private location so it can only be seen by yourself.

1774_10101513189827283_1750832609_n

Supplies Needed

    • Big piece of cardboard or poster board
    • Large selection of magazines (preferably in color)
    • scissors
    • Tape/ glue (i prefer double sided tape)
    • Printer (for images off the internet you want to include)
    • Ribbon

Ready to get crafty? Here are my Steps To Create Your Vision Board:

    1. Decide the main theme of your board. It may be based on something specific you wish to accomplish or obtain, or it may be a general idea of everything that makes you happy. (and yes you can make a vision board just specifically of the man/woman of your dreams 😉 )
    2. Find pictures that correspond with your theme, either from old magazines, photographs, or from the Internet.
    3. Print (if necessary) and cut out your pictures.
    4. Type or write some affirmations or empowering words that correspond with your theme.
    5. Glue your pictures and affirmations to your poster board and pin them to your cork board.
    6. Hang your vision board somewhere you will see it often.

Now I know what you are thinking… how can a board full of magazine cut outs REALLY get you what you want out of life?! I understand many skeptics may never get crafty with their goals and cardboard. But there’s no harm in creating something tangible to inspire you. If it does help you get that much closer to your goals, more power to you.  Just don’t forget the essential secret to success is to put forth the effort and take action to make what you want out of life happen. A compelling vision combined with focused action is the key to a positive outcome.  

What is your vision for 2013? 

Leave a comment below if you chose to create a vision board this year. Better yet, send me a photo of your vision board at carolinejordanfitness@gmail.com . Looking forward to sharing a bright and beautiful New Year with you. Put what you want OUT THERE. I believe this will be our best year yet! A Compelling Vision + Focused Action = Positive Outcomes and I am POSITIVE about that one 🙂

Happy New Year to you ALL!

Caroline

Looking for more ways to make your goals a reality in 2013? Check out these posts:

53621051784176446_LacjG26Y_c

Read Full Post »

423612_10101319335053803_374012064_n

Wellbeing is not about having buff biceps. Its about mental health, life satisfaction, and energy levels. It’s about learning to take excellent care of yourself – mind, body, and spirit.  It’s about self-respect, self-love, and putting yourself first so that you can live your purpose and give to others.  When you love yourself first everything in your life works. It seems simple but this concept is hard to master (Im working on it daily and getting better, but trust me I need a constant reminder!). One thing I know for sure is that if you learn how to love yourself, you will have the  keys to success.

Self-love comes in many different ways and means something different to everybody.  Here is a list of 100 ways to nourish your mind, body, and spirit.  This is not a checklist – only a list of suggestions. Feel free to take the ones that speak to you and ignore the rest. Start treating yourself like you would treat a small child, with the gentle kind of care that you deserve. Changing the way you treat yourself takes time and practice. Start here. Start now. Don’t waste another second.

100 Ways To Love Yourself

  1. Put a post-it on your mirror that says, “You look beautiful!” – and then accept the compliment every time you look at yourself.
  2. Buy fresh flowers every now and then. – Brighten up the place.
  3. Used colored pens for no particular reason. – Blue and black are fine, but how about orange?
  4. Take a walk without a destination. – It’s a great way to get some exercise and clear your mind.  Be mindful of what you see, hear and feel.
  5. Take a hot bath. – With bubbles.
  6. Write in a journal. – Write anything that calls you.  Ideas, experiences, dreams, frustrations – get them out of your head and down on paper.
  7. List the things that you’re grateful for. – You can’t help but feel better when you literally count your blessings.
  8. List the things that you like about yourself. – We can all list the things that we don’t like about ourselves.  Turn that around and think about your many positive qualities.
  9. Create something. – Many of us have gotten away from actually making things.  Create some artwork.  Write something.  Build something.  Make something that didn’t exist before.  It can be functional or frivolous – as long as you enjoy the process.
  10. Treat yourself. – We struggle to be disciplined, especially with money and food.  You deserve a reward, right?
  11. Smile. – It’s very difficult to feel bad when your face is happy.
  12. Squash negative thoughts. – Listen to what’s going on in your head and actively quiet the voices of pessimists and critics.  Assume the best, not the worst.
  13. Try something new. – Go out on a limb.  Learn something new.  Do that thing you’ve always wanted to try.  The more experiences you have, the richer your life will be.
  14. Get enough sleep. – Everything is hard when you’re tired.
  15. Meditate. – It takes a little practice at first, but if you find a meditation that works for you, you will be calmer and more peaceful.
  16. Drink plenty of water. – It’s basic, but it’s so good for you.
  17. Stretch. – Before you start your day, take a few minutes for a good muscle stretch.  It just plain feels good.  And, it’s fast, easy and free.
  18. Put some “me time” on your calendar. – When life gets busy, doing things for yourself is the first thing to be sacrificed.  So, actually block out time on your calendar.  Call it a ‘staff meeting’ or something so that no one intrudes on your time.
  19. Call a friend. – Think of someone who you enjoy and ring them up!
  20. Ask for help. – This can be hard.  But it’s so important to recognize when you need a sounding board, or some advice, or an extra pair of hands.
  21. Say no. – Your time is valuable.  Set boundaries to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
  22. Ask for a hug. – We all need one.  So just go get one.  The person you ask probably needs one too.
  23. Delegate. – Hire someone to mow the lawn or scrub the floors.  Teach the kids to do laundry.  Give that project to a co-worker.  You do not have to do it all.
  24. Take a deep breath. – And another.  Now another.  It’s like a mini-break to reset yourself during the day.
  25. Light a candle or use a reed diffuser. – Your sense of smell creates the strongest memories.  Find scents you love and enjoy them.
  26. Claim some space for yourself. – A place where you can go to have a quiet moment to read a book, or meditate, or cry – somewhere that you can get some peace and privacy.
  27. Get out into nature. – Reconnecting with the earth is just good for your soul. Feel the breeze.  Breathe the fresh air.  So good!
  28. Buy the good ice cream. – Even on the tightest of budgets, this is important.
  29. Use lotions & soaps with scents that you love. – It’s a nice way to pamper yourself, plus you’ll smell good all day.
  30. Give a compliment. – Telling someone that they had a fantastic idea or that they look beautiful in that color creates a pleasant environment and makes two people feel good for the price of one.
  31. Listen to music. – Listen to whatever makes you happy.  Can you be grumpy while listening to Gloria Gaynor?  I think not.
  32. Play. – Something we forget as adults.  A board game, a sport, finger painting – find something frivolous and have fun!
  33. Eat foods that you love. – Low fat, low calorie, low carb – blah, blah, blah.  Food is to be enjoyed!  Put food into your body that nourishes you in every way.
  34. Be silly every now and again. – We take ourselves entirely too seriously.  Let go.  Be spontaneous and outrageous!
  35. Laugh. – Sometimes you just need a good laugh to lift your spirits.
  36. Limit screen time. – Too much time in front of computers, TV’s, video games, and blackberries (or all of the above) disconnects you from the world immediately around you and makes your brain mushy.  Make sure that you’re getting plenty of input from the non-virtual world.
  37. Be present. – Be deliberate about experiencing what’s happening right now.  It’s all about the journey – don’t miss yours!
  38. Stop worrying. – It’s going to be fine.  Because it is.
  39. Trust yourself. – You are smart, capable and talented.  Your choices are just as valid as anyone else’s.  Don’t second guess yourself.
  40. Do something that’s only for you. – Remember that hobby that you used to have time for?  Or that food that no one else in your house likes?  Reclaim it.
  41. Make sure your health is in order. – What’s more important than your health?  See your doctor regularly.  Make sure you are getting the vitamins or supplements that you need.  Advocate for yourself as you would for your child.
  42. Give to someone in need. – Donating your time or your stuff or your money to someone less fortunate makes you feel good and puts your problems into perspective.
  43. Sparkle! – Feeling schlumpy?  Get all dolled up. Wear something schmancy.  It’s a good way to find your strut.
  44. Dance. – It’s inherently joyful.  You can’t be sad if you’re dancing!
  45. Write your own rock star introduction. – Image you’re on tour with thousands of screaming fans.  How will you be introduced?  “Please welcome the brilliant, the amazing, the gorgeous….you!”
  46. Stand up for yourself. – Your needs are important.  Don’t let anyone disregard them.  Pushing back can be scary but it’s empowering too!
  47. Celebrate! (for any reason at all) – Your kid learned to tie his shoes!  Your taxes are done and filed!  The week is more than half over!  Let’s party!
  48. Find a mantra or an affirmation that lifts your spirits. – “Today is a new day.” “I know that life always supports me.” “I get everything that I want.”  Find one that works for you.
  49. Stand tall. – Your spirit can’t soar when you slouch.  You feel much more powerful when you stand up straight and look the world in the eye.
  50. Have sex. – What can I say?  It feels good.
  51. Get a massage. – Again what can I say?  It feels good.
  52. Choose optimism. – Thinking positive thoughts has a tangible impact on your day and on your life.
  53. Dream big. – You can do anything you set your mind to!
  54. Tune out the naysayers. – People criticize for many reasons, most of which have nothing to do with you.  Follow your heart – not everyone has to get it.
  55. Add color to your surroundings. – Beiges and taupes are pervasive these days.  Depressing.  Make sure that you introduce energetic colors where you work and where you live.
  56. Surround yourself with the things you love. – Photos of loved ones or mementos that bring happy memories.  You should have the stuff that you love all around you.
  57. Declutter. – You should have ONLY the stuff that you love.  Purge everything in your life, both physical and emotional that you don’t honestly need, use or love.  Everything else distracts you from your true intentions and bogs you down.
  58. Stop procrastinating. – Procrastination is a form of perfectionism.  Accept that it’s not going to be perfect and just get it over with.  Image how great it will feel to not have it hanging over your head any more!
  59. Listen to your inner voice. – Your instincts are good.  It’s important to listen to your own head and heart.
  60. Cut yourself some slack. – Arguably the most important tip on this list.  We hold ourselves to impossible standards and then beat ourselves up when we don’t meet them.  Would you be this hard on anyone else?
  61. Slow down. – When you’re living your life at top speed, you’re missing most of it.  Stop and take a breath.  Look for ways to adopt a more humane pace.
  62. Identify your passion. – What do you love?  Do you have a non-profit organization that you feel passionate about?  Are you passionate about water polo?  How about 14th century Portuguese literature?  Find something in your life that really floats your boat.
  63. Toot your own horn. – You’re awesome.  Please make sure that everyone knows it.
  64. Move your body. – Run and jump and climb a tree.  Take a tap dancing class.  Power walk.  Anything that feels good that gets your blood moving.  The only limitation:  it has to be fun.  Don’t get on a treadmill if you hate the treadmill.
  65. Invest in really good bras. – This one is gender-specific, obviously.  You feel much better about yourself when you’re hoisted up properly.  So stand tall and salute the sun ladies!
  66. Purge things that aren’t good for you. – Unhealthy foods, cigarettes, a miserable work environment, toxic people – do what you have to do to set boundaries and demand the highest quality of life.  You deserve it.  Things that don’t nourish and support you – think about how you might be rid of them.
  67. Limit your news consumption. – It’s important to be well-informed, but the non-stop feed of earthquakes and plane crashes and economic crisis and war is not good for us.  Be deliberate in finding a balance that’s best for you.  Once you’ve seen today’s news cycle, turn it off.
  68. Say yes to life. – Opportunities are everywhere.  Take a class, join a team, go bungee jumping.  When new things present themselves to you – jump at the chance.
  69. Stop hating your body. – If the women of the world took all of the time, energy and money that we spend on hating our bodies and turned it towards something productive, there would be no war, poverty or disease left on the planet.  Your body is your body.  Nobody’s looking at your physical flaws because they’re all too busy trying to hide their own.  Let’s give ourselves a break and let it go.
  70. Sing loudly. – In the shower and the car and anywhere else you like.  With reckless abandon.
  71. Be kind. – Be nice to someone else.  You will have made the world a better place.  What feels better than that?
  72. Tell someone you love them. – We often forget to say it out loud.  It matters.
  73. Take all of your vacation days. – You earned them.  Don’t give them back to your company for nothing.
  74. Play hooky. – Call in sick once in awhile when you’re not sick.  Use the day to pamper yourself (not to catch up on errands or housework).
  75. Take pride in the hard times that you have overcome. – What didn’t kill you made you stronger.  It wasn’t easy, but you did it!
  76. Let someone else be in charge for a while. – Other people can be responsible while you do something for yourself.
  77. Don’t answer the phone unless it’s someone you want to talk to right now. – Some people find it difficult not to answer a ringing phone, but it’s liberating once you learn to ignore it or even better, just turn it off.
  78. Have faith. – It’s going to work out.  The future is bright!
  79. Take a personal inventory. – Does your behavior match your true intentions?  If there’s a disconnect, you’re carrying a heavy weight.
  80. Go on a retreat. – For a couple of minutes or a couple of days, get away for a bit to re-energize.
  81. Put your finances in order. – Money problems are enormously stressful.  Paying off debt where possible, putting bills on automatic payment, and working with a financial planner if necessary can all help to ease the strain.
  82. Eliminate all expectations of perfection. – In fact, eliminate the word ‘perfect’ from your vocabulary.  If you expect yourself to be perfect, you will never stop beating yourself up.
  83. Find a good way to blow off steam. – Bottling it up indefinitely will probably end badly.
  84. Be who you are. – your authentic, true self.
  85. Spend some time alone for quiet reflection. – We spend all of our time go, go, going.  Try stopping to think about your life, your goals, and your dreams.
  86. Keep your words positive. – Happiness and complaints cannot coexist.
  87. Let light and fresh air into your house. – Sunlight is a must.  Open up those windows!
  88. Turn off your e-mail, cell phone, blackberry, fax, etc. for a while. – It’s not healthy to be accessible 24/7.
  89. Pare down your to-do list. – Feeling overwhelmed?  What’s on your list that can be delegated, avoided, or jettisoned?
  90. Avoid boredom. – Keep your brain active to keep the blues at bay.
  91. Make your home a haven. – Your home should be a place where you can take a breath and really relax.  If it isn’t, you may have some work to do.
  92. Be stingy with your time and energy. – Both are precious and should be spent on things that really matter to you.
  93. Let go. – 80% of everything is irrelevant.  Focus on the other 20.
  94. Minimize multi-tasking. – Yeah, women are supposed to be good at it, but that doesn’t make it good for us.
  95. Break your routine once in awhile. – Get out of a rut and into a groove.
  96. Take action! – If something isn’t right in your life, fix it!
  97. Plan ahead. – With a few minutes of organizing your time and to-do’s, you will be better prepared to take on the day.
  98. Pay attention to your energy. – Are you most productive first thing in the morning?  Are you sluggish after lunch?  Honor your natural cycles and plan accordingly.
  99. Spend time with people who make you happy. – Who nourishes and supports you?  Surround yourself with those people.
  100. Enjoy your kids. – It’s easy to rush through the day without really connecting with them.  Make a conscious effort to talk with them about their day.
  101. Avoid self-deprivation. – When it comes to food, it’s OK to cut back on things that aren’t good for you (sweet, sweet carbohydrates), but if you feel deprived, it’s probably not maintainable, creating a vicious circle of cheating and guilt.
  102. Forget the word “should”. – Instead of doing what you think you’re supposed to, follow your own path.
  103. Intentionally enjoy your journey. – As you go through your days, look around.  Be present with what you see, hear and feel.  You might be amazed at what you’ve been missing.

Ok so I got carried away and there you have it, 103 ways to show yourself LOVE. Changing the way you treat yourself takes time and practice, but with an earnest effort self-love can be the foundation of living a happy, healthy life. This may sound simplistic, but it is also true.  As we learn to love ourselves, as our thinking changes, as we develop self-worh and self-esteem, then we begin to allow life to bring to us all the good it has in store. May you find find ways to honor yourself today and everyday. Here’s to living and loving every moment in this beautiful life!

With Gratitude,

Caroline

297871_10101317057248543_700116577_n

Other Things To Check Out This week:

Read Full Post »

“Actually, I think all addiction starts with soda. Every junkie did soda first. But no one counts that. Maybe they should…” – Chris Rock

True story, I used to be a junkie. Diet 7Up was my soda of choice and I was addicted. A.D.D.I.C.T.E.D. I drank the stuff like it was water. Because once you start with one… the sugar in the bottle naturally makes you want MORE. My friends would caution me, “you really need to get rid of that stuff Caroline.” but I blew it off. I didn’t want to part with Diet 7Up. I wasn’t ready yet. Until the day came when I was. I was tired of spending so much money, dehydrated in need of water, and ready to give up the fake stuff. And then I did it. I beat my addiction to diet soda. I can’t tell you it was easy. But I can tell you it was worth it.

Since 1950, soft drink consumption per capita has quadrupled from about 11 gallons per year to about 50 gallons in 2003.

Sugar is a common term used to describe a variety of sweet substances. There are naturally occurring sugars, such as those found in whole fruit and dairy products (lactose). And there are “added sugars”, which aren’t naturally found in food but rather are added to foods when we cook or bake, or during the processing of packaged and industrially prepared foods.

Over the last several decades, American consumption of added sugars has climbed to an all time high, and unfortunately, research has shown that this increased consumption is significantly contributing to disease and health issues in America. High consumption of added sugars are associated with the rise of obesity and with the increased risks for high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, inflammation, and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Further, regularly consuming refined sugars can cause insulin resistance and raised blood sugar levels (both of which can set the stage for type 2 diabetes), weight gain and fat storage, decreased immune system and endocrine function, constipation, moodiness, premature aging, and the list goes on.

The American Heart Association suggests that women should consume no more than 100 calories (about 25 grams or 6 teaspoons) of added sugars per day, while men should consume no more than 150 calories (about 37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons) each day. This is a drastic contrast to the 22 teaspoons consumed on average today.

When we explore where we get most of our sugar, sweetened beverages are overwhelmingly the most to blame. Sweetened beverages account for over 40% of “added sugar” in the American diet. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, soft drinks alone account for 33 percent of consumed added sugars, with the sweetened fruit drinks trailing a distant second at 10 percent. It’s no surprise: one twelve-ounce can of soda contains over nine teaspoons of sugar, while the more common twenty-ounce bottle contains seventeen teaspoons!!

Other foods definitely contribute to our sugar intake as well, but not at nearly as high of a rate. Candy and cake come in a 5 percent each, ready to eat cereal compromises 4 percent of the total, and then comes table sugar and honey, cookies and brownies, and syrups and toppings.

With so many added sugars attributed to sweetened beverages, it’s safe to say that eliminating sweetened beverages from your diet can drastically reduce your daily sugar consumption and improve your health.

If giving up sweetened beverages seems painful, I’m here to tell you it will get easier after a few days. The more we feed our addiction to sugar, the more we crave it. When you break the cycle, however, your body begins to crave less sugar; and in a few weeks, you won’t miss it so much. After being clean from diet soda for years, when I taste the stuff it blows me away by how sweet it is! It brings awareness for how much I had lost sensation to sweet when I was a diet soda addict.

** A note on beverages and ARTIFICIAL sweeteners.

 Its best to avoid beverages that are sweetened with artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, saccharin, and Sucralose. These are highly processed, chemically derived, zero-calorie sweeteners that are used to intentionally reduce calories in otherwise high-calorie foods and beverages. Although artificial sweeteners may seem healthier in the short-term, many studies have shown that they can increase cravings for sugar and carbohydrates, and can potentially negatively impact your metabolism. Further, they may cause dizziness, hallucinations, and headaches, among other health issues. As a result, it is best to cut out artificial sweeteners from your diet and avoid drinks or foods that contain them (yes you Diet 7Up).

Sip smarter and reduce your intake of sugar with my “Better Beverage Check List”

Survey Your Consumption. Keep track of the sweetened beverages you consume. Note how many grams of sugar are in each beverage, and add up your total at the end of the day. Make sure to include all types of sweetened beverages, including soda, juice drinks, flavored waters such as vitamin water, Gatorade, sugar added to your coffee or tea, or anything else that has added sugar in it. If you consume beverages that have artificial sweeteners, write them down as well. Each day of the week, continue to write down how many grams of sugar you are consuming as you make attempts to cut back your intake. I find using an online food journal is an easy method of keeping track of your diet for better body / health benefits. Click here for my tips on keeping a helpful food diary.

Reduce your intake. Consuming sugar in liquid form makes it easy to ingest a ton of empty calories very quickly. Further, these beverages have little to NO nutritional value and cause large spikes in blood sugar. Reduce your sweetened beverage consumption with these tips:

  • Soft Drinks. One of the best ways to eliminate soft drinks from your diet is to substitute them with club soda and a slice of lime or lemon. For a less drastic change, you can make a mixture of three parts club soda with one part 100 percent fruit juice. Dilute the mixture with a little more club soda each day until you can drink it with just a splash of juice, or even better just a splash of lemon or lime. Also, be sure to choose club soda or seltzer that is sodium free. A second way to reduce your soda consumption is to wean yourself off of it. For example, if you normally drink a twenty-ounce bottle of soda a day, drink only sixteen ounces on day two and substitute the other four ounces with water or club soda. On day three, cut back to twelve ounces of soda and eight ounces of water or club soda. Continue to reduce your intake each day so that by the end of the week you’re consuming little to no soft drinks with added sugar or sugar substitutes.
  • Flavored Water and Other Sweetened Beverages. One of the easiest ways to reduce your sugar intake with drinks like Vitamin water, Gatorade, lemonade, sweetened iced tea, etc, is to dilute them with water. Start with a mixture of three parts of the flavored drink and one part water. Each day increase the amount of water until you are consuming little to none of the flavored drink. Ultimately, work down to plain water or sodium free club soda with lemon or lime. Read more on the myths of sports beverages (propel, vitamin water, gatorade) in this interesting Fox News article.
  • Cocktails. It is easy to overdo it on alcohol calories and often cocktails can have more sugar than an entire bag of candy. While the occasional cocktail won’t hurt you, it’s smart to read up on how to make the best choice when you are out  on the town. Click here to read my “Think Before You Drink! Conscious Cocktail Choices.” article and use these tips to enjoy your night out without too much damage.
  • Juice. Although juice contains plenty of vitamins and minerals, its high in sugar and low in fiber. This includes juice made with 100 percent fruit. Even though the sugar found in fruit juice is natural, it can still have similar impacts to your blood sugar as added sugars. Instead of a glass of juice, eat a piece of fruit. You’ll get all the healthful benefits from the fruit along with some fiber, which will help to keep your blood sugar levels stable, make you feel more satisfied, and help you reduce your overall sugar intake.
  • Coffee and Tea. Many coffee and tea drinkers add sugar to their caffeinated beverages. Unfortunately, caffeine can cause ups and downs in hydration and blood sugar, potentially fueling sugar cravings. If you sweeten your coffee or tea, try replacing sweeteners with low-fat or non-fat milk. They contain natural sugars (as opposed to added sugars) and protein, creating a more nutritionally balanced beverage. If you like iced tea, choose unsweetened green or herbal tea. You may also want to add a drop of stevia – a natural sweet herb – for sweetness. Finally, since caffeine can contribute to sugar cravings, you may want to limit consumption of caffeinated beverages and move toward decaffeinated options instead.

Drink Plenty of WATER.As we have talked about several times on the blog, drinking plenty of water is important to your health. Lack of hydration can cause us to feel hungry or even feed our sugar cravings. If you feel like you are craving a sweetened beverage, have a big glass of water and see what happens. If your craving subsides, there is a good chance you are dehydrated.

If you have already eliminated sweetened beverages from your diet, you can look to start reducing added sugars in other areas like these:

  • Minimize processed foods. Whole foods never have hidden sugars. Whole foods are those foods you can eat right from nature and don’t require any processing. Foods that are packaged or processed, however, tend to have a lot of hidden sugars. For this reason, when you are craving a sweet food, try to limit yourself to those that are naturally sweet, or more specifically whole fruit and sweet vegetables, like carrots and tomatoes.
  • Eliminate “Fat-free” and “Low-Fat” Packaged Foods. Many low-fat and fat-free versions of goods are loaded with extra sugars. If you want to indulge, its almost better to have the full-fat version which will satiate your cravings more because of the fat content, then to reduce yourself to the high-sugar, low fat option. Remember when we talked about the 80/20 rule of healthy eating? This is a good strategy here.
  • Experiment with Spices. There are many spices that provide sweetness to a dish without the extra calories of sugar. Sweeter spices to try: cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, coriander, ginger, cloves, and cardamom.
  • Stop adding Sugar to meals. Just as you can add spices to recipes, you can stop adding sugar to your meals. Adding sugar on top of fruit, cereals, and other foods that are already sweet is excessive. When you stop adding the sugar for a few days, you should see a decline in your cravings for it.
  • Read Nutrition Labels. The ingredient list on product packages help you spot hidden sugars such as high-fructose corn syrup and other added sweeteners. Also, pay attention to the carbohydrate section of the Nutrition Facts panel to understand how much sugar a product has. Ideally, you want to keep the number of grams of sugar as low as possible and the number of the grams of fiber as high as possible.

Have you ever been a sugar or soda addict? What was your secret to breaking the habit? Leave your thoughts and comments below! 

I am a believer that knowledge is power. The more informed you are, the more you can make the right choices for you. I hope this post inspired you, lets TOAST to your health and a long life together 🙂

With gratitude,

Caroline

Other Things To Check Out This Week:

 

Information for this post provided by 52 Small Changes: One Year to A Happier, Healthier, You by Brett Blumenthal. Great read, check it out!

Read Full Post »

Group fitness classes offer encouragement, community, and positive energy that can keep you  motivated and help you achieve your fitness goals.  Not to mention groups are much more engaging than sweating solo and the camaraderie  from the other participants can increase the fun factor in your workouts.  But with millions of different group fitness instructor options, sometimes choosing the right class for you can be daunting. Finding the right instructor can make a huge difference in whether or not you enjoy group fitness and choose to make it  lifelong habit.

The best group fitness instructors make exercise fun and help you improve your conditioning by appropriately challenging you according to your fitness level. They also teach moves that help you get the most out of your workout and avoid injury by providing guidelines during class on how to correct your form.

But choosing the right instructor isn’t just a matter of trial and error. There are steps you can take ahead of time to ensure the instructor you choose is qualified and a good fit for your personality and fitness level. Here are my top tips to help you find your best group fitness instructor fit that will inspire and guide you to greater health and more fabulous workouts!

 

Check for Credentials

One of the first things to look for in a fitness instructor is certification from a nationally recognized certifying organization, such as the American Council on Exercise (ACE) or the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). That accreditation tells you the instructor you’re working with has the knowledge to provide you with a safe and effective workout.

The club where you work out should make sure their instructors hold appropriate credentials. But if you’re not sure, you can double-check by logging on to the ACE  or ACSM website or asking the club for a current list of instructor certifications. Doing your homework will ensure you have a teacher that’s qualified to guide you in safe, effective workouts.

Get References.

Ask other participants who’ve taken a class with a particular instructor about the class format and teaching style to decide whether a certain class would be right for you. Have they enjoyed the classes? Are there any drawbacks to be aware of?  Many reviews from other regulars will give you an idea of what to expect in your first workout with that particular instructor. Yelp can also be a good place to do some research online to discover other’s experiences. 

Find a TEACHER not just a leader.

Find an instructor who is a teacher—NOT just a leader. Really qualified group fitness instructors should be cueing form and imparting some information that’s valuable for you to take out of the room with you. Listen to what they’re saying, do their words educate and inspire you? When you can get a great workout AND learn about your body in the process, you’ve found a talented teacher. Heres a clue to help you:  A teacher has good information. A leader may just exercise in front or count a lot of reps.

Find an instructor who speaks your body language.

We all learn and follow in different ways. Some need to hear articulate cues, some need to visually see an exercise, or some may even need a hands-on adjustment to feel the exercise. All instructors motivate their groups in different ways. Its important to find an instructor who “makes sense” to you. It can be highly subjective. Consider it looking for a coach. Who’s going to get you to work harder for your very best results? Chances are you’ll know when you meet him or her after a few workouts.

Just DO IT .

Taking class is the only way to know if the fitness instructor is right for you. During the class, look for an instructor who:

  • Makes the class personal by making eye contact with you and others in the room.
  • Makes you feel welcome, comfortable, and tries to learn your name.
  • Offers modifications and intensity options to meet all ability levels in the room.
  • Makes exercise fun, engaging, and positive.
  • Focuses on improving health and energy, rather than appearance or fitting in “skinny jeans”.
  • Avoids comparing participants or “barking orders” and instead provides genuine acknowledgement for personal accomplishments.
  • Always puts your workout above his or hers. Its a BIG red flag if the instructor is more concerned with getting his/her workout instead of helping you get yours.

A good instructor will do all those things and make you feel mentally, physically, and emotionally happy.  If it’s your first time, consider introducing yourself to the instructor and asking him or her to keep an eye on you, especially if you have medical issues to consider. And always try a class at least twice to see if you really like it. No instructor should be judged by just one class. Everyone has off days and it’s never the same class every time. Give each instructor three classes to see if their style matches what you are looking for. Ask questions. Give feedback. And always give everyone a chance.

Most likely when you find the right instructor for you, you’ll KNOW. A light bulb will go off in your head and you’ll think, ” OH WOW! This is the most amazing class ever! Why haven’t I taken this class before?!!?”. When you find your group fitness fit you’ll be smiling LONG after taking the class. Its a good sign when you can’t wait to go back.

The connection you make with your fitness instructor can be life altering. I am a better person because of my time sweating with Shannon Fable, Stephanie Snyder, Jay Blahnik, Erika Quest, and Buddy Machua. These teachers went above and beyond helping me with my physical strength…. they changed my life simply by being in it.

Do you have a favorite fitness instructor who has helped you grow stronger? Leave your favorites as a comment below – share your referrals and we will all get a chance to take class with top notch teachers!

Hope to see you all in class soon! Till then… keep shining 🙂

Caroline

 

Other Things To Check Out This Week:

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: