8 Easy Ways To Stay Focused On Healthy Lifestyle Changes

Recently I was speaking with someone who seemed to have lost their motivation for going to the gym, eating healthier, and improving their overall fitness. They stopped their food journal, went to the gym MAYBE two times a week if they didn’t get it in their head to not go when they left the parking lot of their employer, if they did that, they kept their appointment time one time that week. In short, they lost their WIT(Whatever It Takes)!

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That’s right, they sank down the hole and lost their connectivity to why they began their journey in the first place. So, let’s say you are one of those people. This was the #1 reason people flop on their journey. Not lack of trainers and coaches, not lack of gym choices or places to workout or buy healthy foods, not lack of hope, or not enough knowledge according to the American Psychological and their survey called Stress in America. It was lack of willpower. Oh, I know you aren’t but let’s pretend for a moment that you are. How would you get it back? How would you motivate yourself to get back in to the swing of things and get your your WIT’s back?

1. Whatever It Takes: It may sound corney but the first thing to do is to get your mindset right. Where ever your mind goes, your body follows. So, before you even start to think about excuses, this is when you tell yourself “WHAT EVER IT TAKES!” You say this over and over. Get your physiology into it, use your arms, your legs, your torso and say it like you mean it, because you DO mean it, don’t you? Of course your do!

2: Review your goals- Are you setting SMART goals? Oh PLEASE tell me you are at least setting your goals! How can you get somewhere if you don’t know where you are going? I’m always surprised when I’m in a consultation with someone and I ask them what their goals are and they respond with very vague, “I wanna lose weight.” type of goals. No. That won’t work! You need to set SMART goals! Write them down, look at them every day.

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3: Try a Vision Board- A Vision board will tune your brain into where you want to go. More and more people seem to understand the impact visioning can have on not just health and fitness successes but in many areas of your life. I prefer a board you have in your home that you look at each day, but Pinterest has certainly helped with allowing people to create and access boards where ever they are. No Excuses!

4: Stress Relief – There is no doubt whatsoever that stress can be a major energy zapper! Think about what your body feels like when it is stressed. All the muscles are tightened, and usually stress is something that most people allow to affect their bodies for a long period of time, not just a few minutes. There are many ways to relieve stress, from quiet walks in nature, to meditation and yoga. Even aromatherapy and massage. Learning stress coping techniques such as deep breathing will also help alleviate stress. 

5: Plan ahead – Oh it sounds so simple doesn’t it? let me tell you what, it sure helps with you already have that intention in your mind that you are doing what you set out to do! If it’s a workout, lay your clothes out in advance. If it’s dietary, advanced food prep ( and take it with you) is the best way to stay on track and avoid getting things on the run when you are hungry or want munchies. 

6: Make it a ritual or appointment with yourself. If your goal is to go running every morning, work it in to your morning routine or ritual. If it’s after work ( when people tend to be more tired) DO NOT GO HOME AND SIT ON THE COUCH OF DOOM!! Take your workout clothes with you and either change at the gym or, in the restroom of your employer and go straight to your running start point, or gym. We all know that if you’ve worked a long hard day and you come home and sit on the couch, it’s like your butt get’s super glued to it. Don’t do it!

7. Share your goals – Find an accountability partner or let others know what your (SMART) goals are. Ask them for help..only if you REALLY want it though. Some people will ride you like a horse if you tell them your goal is to go to the gym 5 days a week and you miss a day because you are sick (really sick).

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8. Track your progress – One way I have found to work is by using a journal to write in each night that I did was I was supposed to do. I label how many days in a row and how I felt before and after my workout or ate my foods. I write the time of day, the date and the day. For food this is a great way to recognize how your body reacts to certain foods during the day. Some people use a calender and put a big red X on the day they do what they should have done. The visual part of that is that you don’t want to break the success chain of big red X’s. 

 

The frizzle, Frazzle, burnt out rant of a mother, coach, trainer, competitor, and wife.. who HAS HAD IT!

I’ll start of by stating my apology to anyone who may be offended by anything I post in today’s blog. As you know, this blog is about Health, Fitness, and Wellness. Even though I have posted mostly about regular stuff that the majority of the population understands and relates to, there are some things that a small portion of the population are going through and because it is such a SMALL portion of the population, they feel alone, isolated, unable to be understood…. yes, ALONE.

You see, a person who is tremendously stressed, who takes on the problems and the troubles of all those people they feel they NEED to be responsible for (family, friends, those whom they have chosen to help and support), someone who has been diagnosed with both MS and Hashimoto’s, and is one who is believed to be an Empath, life can be very challenging. Mentally and physically. If you are one of these “small population” people.. guess what, I understand. I am one of these “small population” people too.

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Over the past few months I have done all i could not to break down and lose it. I’ve cried, I’ve been stressed, I’ve been holding the world on my shoulders and today, the world slipped. I closed my eyes and I just wanted everything and everyone to go away. I wanted my brain to stop. Just stop. Stop thinking. I wanted my aching body to stop aching and for the  muscles to relax. 

Normally, I can meditate. Release and quiet my mind, but these past few months, it hasn’t been working. I try and things, and feelings come pushing through the closed door. Almost in a way to prove to me that I can’t close it out and now.. my brain and my body are fried.

I need to break away for a bit and take the time I need to “rewire” my brain. Since I have been trying and working so hard towards my goals,and I HAVE been at an unbelievable pace with sometimes having near nothing to show for it! I am letting go of the majority of the goals for right now. With the exception of the financial goals because those just can’t be set down on the nightstand till I’m ready to pick them up again. Letting go of goals. Wow. For me, this is completely unheard of but if I keep going at the pace I have been trying to go, I just don’t know. Actually, it’s simple. I can’t. I have been giving myself in so many directions and incredible amount of my time and energy and with me being the person I am.. I’ve reached the STOP SIGN. I’m done… for now.

I am BURNT OUT! I went to the gym today thinking what would help would be a hard workout. Started off with a Barbell Flat Bench Press. 165lbs I pressed. Heavy, but this is what I needed… right? It was difficult but it was more difficult because my brain kept going to places like “what if my hand slipped off the bar? What if I was unbalanced and lost my center on the bench and fell to the side?” These are things you can’t be thinking when you are doing heavy weights. My husband tells me, “good job!”. Normally I’d be happy with my 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps with this weight. Today, I was pissed. I wasn’t FEELING it. My workout was failing me!! The final chest exercise we did was the peck deck…130lbs..not bad I guess. 4 sets…I’m disgusted with myself and this workout. Again, this is a workout that normally I should feel good about and leave the gym happy and with energy. But not today. Not for me.Good God (roll eyes) I have to take time out for Yoga and Pilates.

“Instead of helping you burn off steam, your usual 45-minute jog makes you feel even worse.” Yep, that’s me. 

“If you’re really frazzled when you start to exercise, your body reacts differently than if you aren’t in such a state, explains Sarah L. Berga, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Berga and her colleagues have observed that moderately-intense exercise can cause cortisol levels to spike even higher in women who are already so stressed that they’ve been missing their periods. At the same time, the “hyperstressed” women’s glucose levels dropped, which meant there was less available energy to fuel their exertion. Berga suggests taking a break from hard workouts and signing up for a package of Pilates classes instead.”

I’m so burnt, my HAIR hurts!

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Your scalp feels weirdly sensitive when you shampoo your hair.

“Stress often leads to the release of neuropeptides and other natural chemicals in the skin, and that causes inflammation, explains Richard Fried, MD, PhD, a clinical psychologist and dermatologist with a private practice in Yardley, Pennsylvania. In some people, that inflammation erupts in angry pimples or a flare-up of rosacea. In others, the neuropeptides, which are responding to protect the skin from invaders, can cause blood vessels to constrict, making skin all over the face and head feel tight, tingly and overly sensitive. You’ve also probably been tensing your facial muscles for weeks (unconsciously bracing for a confrontation), so they’re tired and slightly sore. Fried says the feeling should subside when you start to feel more relaxed.”

 

Now add this to the symptoms auto immune issuers suffer when they are stressed out and… WHALLA! You have me! A freakin’ mess of a basket case!

When I was single and had little to no responsibilities I would disappear when I felt like this. I could go away, far away. “ROAD TRIP” would be calling my name, and I would jump. Those who knew me knew eventually I would show up again. Sometimes it would be a month or two down the line, but I’d show and and ease their worried minds. Now that I have a family and responsibilities, obviously, I can’t do that and so sometimes I feel trapped, unable to escape, and with no where to run to.

“I get grumpy and don’t filter my thoughts before they come out of my mouth.” — Laurie Dumar, via Facebook

As HuffPost Healthy Living reports, “this urge to lash out originates in the amygdala, the region of the brain that processes stress. “When constantly, severely stressed, the amygdala can become overly sensitive and hyper-vigilant, making even relatively harmless events (such as a whiny child or a snoring spouse) seem like a threat,” writes Laura Schocker. “That explains those instinctively snappy over-reactions we can all have when feeling strung out.”

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I have been pushing myself too hard for too long. Giving until I honestly feel I have nothing left to give, and I am broken, out of order…for now.

Taking care of yourself and your mental and emotional wellness is vital for your over all health. Recognize when you need to take a break, and take it. I am.

Thank you for taking the time to read the rambling of someone who …well… you get it by now.