4 Surprising Ways that Mindfulness Meditation WILL Transform Your Life

This week Walker Tracker is excited to have Lena Franklin join us a guest blogger. Lena is a Mindfulness-based Psychotherapist and is the head of content for Welzen.

Welzen is a wonderful app which provides a variety of mindfulness tools to assist users in developing their own meditation practices and improve their wellbeing.

In honor of May being designated as Meditation Month Lena is sharing her insights on how meditation can provide you with inner peace along with emotional balance and joy.


 

Our minds are regularly engaged in an inner dialogue that involves stories about work, marriage, financial status or that strange look our friend gave us. We experience 60 – 80 thousand thoughts a day and…wait for it…the majority of those thoughts are negative. Wow, right? So, in order to transform our lives, we must transform our thoughts.

In a world where you truly need to disconnect to find a signal, carving out time for stillness and silence is imperative to our health and happiness. Essentially, meditation can create a greater sense of inner peace, emotional balance, love, and joy. It’s energizing to realize that we hold the power to increase our sense of internal happiness, the feeling state our society is frantically striving for.

But we need to make a fundamental shift if we’re going to begin experiencing the deep inner joy and contentment we’re seeking. THE shift: Move from focusing on external to internal consciousness. What does this mean? Well, instead of grasping and clinging to external materials and life circumstances to be happy, look within…deep within…and stay there for periods of time. Through our great teachers of stillness and silence in mindfulness meditation, you’ll be transformed. Here’s how:

1.) Self-Love

In order to love our lives and those precious people in our lives fully, we must connect with an authentic sense of love for ourselves. Through mindfulness meditation, we’re able to gain a felt sense of our wholeness beneath the not-so-accurate thoughts of being deficient human beings. When we can finally drop into mindful presence, receiving and accepting ourselves in the present moment, no matter what is going on externally, we begin to appreciate our imperfectly perfect selves. And through this appreciation, we learn to love ourselves more — embracing the goodness of our true self beneath fear and self-doubt.

2.) Compassion Cultivation

I like to say that “to journey inward is our highest calling” because to go within through the practice of meditation is to be courageous enough to see what’s there. We all experience thoughts and feelings we’re not so proud of. The Buddha taught that because we are humans living on this earth, we suffer. This very suffering is the connective tissue that binds humanity together as one. To honor our inner distress (without pushing it away) with compassionate presence is to transform the way we walk through the world. When making compassion meditation a daily practice, we honor not only ourselves but all of humanity.

3.) Profound Peace

We’re constantly looking externally to grasp at the next exercise fad, supplement or treatment that will bring us the peace and joy we’re so desperately longing for. A fundamental tenet of mindfulness meditation is the belief that peace exists within the depth of our being. Again, this is the shift from external to internal consciousness. The more we’re able to be present with the ebb and flow of our inner landscapes (thoughts, feelings and body sensations), the more quickly we’re able to find that profound inner peace when we need it. It’s a choice. When we choose to go inward, we choose to walk the path of peace. Peace is our natural state as human beings.

4.) From Stress to Serenity

Mindfulness meditation gives us an inner tool to begin witnessing our thoughts without judgment or attachment. With dedication and practice, we can start to see that our thoughts are real experiences, but they’re not necessarily based on truth. Much of our stress as human beings stems from negative thought patterns that loop in our minds. Shifting from the busyness of our mind into the presence of our breath decreases cortisol, the primary stress hormone that floods our bodies when we’re caught in our maladaptive thoughts. Meditation is our tool to shift from stress to serenity.

Cultivating a meditation practice is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and the world. You see, the amazing capacity for peace, love, and joy thrives within. And beneath the turbulence of daily living, we can begin to reclaim the essence of our power, transforming our lives from the inside out.

Our Moms Share Healthy Insights

In honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday we are taking time to appreciate the women who molded some of the employees at Walker Tracker–their mothers. We asked our moms to share healthy habits they tried to teach, the special activities they did with us as kids, and what inspires them to continue to live healthy lifestyles.

Once you see these responses, it’s obvious… we got our passion for wellness from our mamas. Who doesn’t love seeing embarrassing childhood photos? Scroll down for some photos these moms shared.

Are there any healthy activities you like to do with your kids, past or present?

Oh gosh yes. Bicycling, swimming, gardening, chatting and eating special meals. And I love walking – city walking as well as walking in paths in the woods, and also tramping through woods without paths, checking out the plants and the animal traces.Rosemary Rinder, mother to Blanca Garcia-Rinder, VP Customer Success

We used to bike and go on walks on the weekends.Oristela Guidos, mom to Emily Guidos, Program Manager

Nash and I love to go for walks and he thinks it’s pretty interesting when I try to do yoga at home.Ellen Nelson, Program Manager, mama of Nash Nelson

We did yoga together and worked in gardens together. Cy helped me build my blueberry raised bed out in Kings Valley a few years ago. We hiked Opal Creek.–Julie Cooper, mom of Cyan Cooper, Business Development Executive

We’d go on nature walks, camping on the beach, walking in our neighborhood and go on lots of bike rides.–Jeannette Moran mama to Jill Moran, Marketing Assistant

Being active is key to living a healthy life. Our favorite activities to do together are walking, indoor fetch sessions in the winter, swimming in the summer (Zoey is quite the little river otter!), and the occasional game of tug-o-war when we are feeling feisty!–Stephanie Green, VP Business Development, dog mom to Zoey

Are there any healthy habits you tried to install in your children?

Daniel Griego’s family

Eat healthily, exercise, get enough sleep & nourish friendships.–Melissa Reglin, mother to Taylor Welsh, CEO

Eat whole organic foods, get involved with sports, music and art!!Teresa Griego, mom of Daniel Griego, Developer

Do you have any health tips you live by?

Walker Tracker is a very integral part of my life, it created a certain kind of mind-set for me around movement (I never “took a walk” just to walk before Walker Tracker) and it is a way to actually “keep track of oneself” –sort of grounding one to their embodiment-be in one’s body.Jenni Fallein, mother to Ben Parzybok, CTO and Founder

Ellen & Nash on a walk

Ellen Nelson and Nash on a hike.

Tip 1: I love Michael Pollan’s recommendation on food: ‘Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.’ Tip 2: Stay close to your family and friends.–Rosemary Rinder (Blanca)

Everything in moderation & quality over quantity.Ellen Nelson (Nash)

My life is one big health tip. I try to recognize space in my life. Time for meditation and relaxation.Julie Cooper (Cyan)

Make good food choices and move everyday.Jeannette Moran (Jill)

Eating vegan these days! Walk walk walk!Melissa Reglin (Taylor)

Always talkie while you walkie.Stephanie Green (Zoey)

What inspires you to get up and get moving every day?

I’m an obsessive-compulsive pedometer carrier and it inspires me to move on a regular basis. I do also love that I can get credit for my other obsessions like yoga, swimming, skiing and gardening and I try to be really prudent about what I “claim.”Jenni Fallein (Ben)

My family is a huge blessing and has always inspired me to get up and moving everyday!!Teresa Griego (Daniel)

My children (and now my grandchildren) inspire me to get up and get moving so I can try to stay ahead of them… or even just keep up!Shawna Green, mother to Stephanie Green

My family, I want to be healthy and live longer to enjoy them.Oristela Guidos (Emily)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What Women Really Need to Stay Healthy

Walker Tracker is pleased to introduce you to InVite Health. InVite Health offers a variety of natural health products and also provides education on a wide range of health and wellness topics. Since May is Women’s Health Month InVite Health is sharing their recommendations on ways to stay healthy especially for women in these busy times.

What Women Need to be Healthy

Nutrition is at the core of a healthy body; what you feed your body can be the difference in how you feel, your weight, your risk of chronic diseases, and your overall health. With women constantly on-the-go, it’s important that they put their health first and make self-care a priority. By taking steps to get and stay healthy, you’ll set your body up to keep your energy high and your body strong.

 

What are nutrient depletions?

Nutrient depletions occur when your body is not receiving the correct amount of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids and other important nutrients. This can be caused by numerous factors, such as following an unhealthy diet, prescription drugs and medications, and free radical damage.

“We live in an increasingly polluted environment, loaded with toxins; the soil we grow our food in is often nutrient-depleted and many consume processed, factory—made foods supplying scant nutrients. Ironically, our bodies wind up requiring even more vitamins and minerals to effectively metabolize nutrient-depleted goods. Add that depletion with less time spent outdoors, minimal exercise, prescription drugs and medications, and chronic stress, and the result is that many individuals are truly nutritionally deficient,” reports Archana Gogna, MS, CNS, MBA, Director of Nutrition for InVite® Health.

 

Balanced Nutrition

Nutrient-rich foods provide energy, this includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and protein. You’ll want to avoid excess calories from added sugars, saturated fats, and alcohol. Women have different needs than men, so there are a few nutrients and vitamins that they should take special care in consuming.

Iron-rich Foods found in red meat, turkey, fish, and kale, provide good health and energy levels for women. Iron is an essential mineral that helps transport oxygen throughout the body.

Folic Acid, one of the B-vitamins, are found in citrus fruits, leafy greens and beans. Folic acid is important as it helps the body produce and maintain new cells.

Calcium is crucial for strong bones and teeth, heart health, muscle function and nerve signaling. It can be found in in dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt, but also in seafood, leafy greens and legumes.

It has been estimated that approximately 70% of Americans have Vitamin D deficiencies. This is due to combination of factors, including low levels of sunlight, obesity and low consumption of foods high in Vitamin D like fatty fish. Vitamin D has been shown to support normal blood sugar and blood pressure levels, and promote a healthy immune response.

Be sure to include a balance of these foods in your diet in order to reap the benefits of each nutrient.

 

A Superior Multivitamin

For these reasons, healthcare professionals are advising women to begin taking a safe, reliably-made, high-quality multivitamin mineral formula on a daily basis to fill the nutritional deficits in their diet. Scientific Director and Pharmacist, Jerry Hickey, understands that women have different nutritional needs and recommends a multivitamin that contains, not only a superior base of vitamins and minerals, but four additional ingredients that naturally support women’s health.

  1. Iron Bisglycinate is a gentle iron to support energy and endurance. It does not cause nausea or constipation.
  2. Type I Collagen is needed for the maintenance of skin, nails and hair, as its production slows with age.
  3. Purple Corn Flower support brain, eye and breast health and metabolism.
  4. DIM, or Diindolylmethane, is formed from the indole-3-carbinol found in cabbage vegetables that helps support breast and cervical health.

 

With a solid base like a healthy, balanced diet, a superior multivitamin and moderate activity daily, women can help lay their own healthy foundation in order to keep their bodies as active as possible.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.

May is Meditation Month! Do You Meditate?

MeditateThere are about 42,700,000 results for the Google search “mindfulness meditation.”  This is not so surprising. “mindfulness meditation” has been appearing in headlines everywhere, and even the most well known news outlets are talking about it.  There are apps for your smartphone or computer to help you practice or learn about it. There are speakers who hold conferences. There are yoga studios on every other block in almost every town.  If you haven’t heard of “mindfulness meditation” you’re in for a treat! One of the main goals of meditation is to be more present in our lives and in the lives of others. To be more focused on what is in front of us and less on the past or future.  And here we arrive at an answer as to why there may be a sudden surge in “mindfulness meditation”. Anxiety, depression, stress are all on the rise. So, yoga to the rescue! Meditation to the rescue! The science says it works! (See the New York Times’ article How Meditation Changes the Brain) If you have not tried it yet, you can find a guided practice to get started below and learn how Walker Tracker can help you on your meditation journey.

I won’t go into details here because a blog post is too short for all that there is to learn about meditation, but let us be reminded that mindfulness meditation comes in many forms.  Some focus on being mindful while praying or doing yoga, and others while doing exercise (ex. Tai Chi). At Walker Tracker we are especially interested in an ancient Buddhist practice known as Walking Meditation.  Walking Meditation encompasses mindfulness, as well as exercise and connection to nature. You can use Walking Meditation to supplement your Walker Tracker experience, and continue your meditation practice while staying on top of your steps.  Let’s learn how to practice from the Zen Master and best-selling author Thich Nhat Hanh who uses walking meditation in his teachings:

Walking Meditation

“While walking, practice conscious breathing by counting steps. Notice each breath and the number of steps you take as you breathe in and as you breathe out. Don’t try to control your breathing. Allow your lungs as much time and air as they need, and simply notice how many steps you take as your lungs fill up and how many you take as they empty, mindful of both your breath and your steps. The link is the counting.

When you walk uphill or downhill, the number of steps per breath will change. Always follow the needs of your lungs. You may notice that your exhalation is longer than your inhalation. You might find that you take three steps during your in-breath and four steps during your out-breath, or two steps, then three steps. If this is comfortable for you, please enjoy practicing this way. You can also try making the in-breath and the out-breath the same length, so that you take three steps with your in-breath and three with your out-breath. Keep walking and you will find the natural connection between your breath and your steps.

Don’t forget to practice smiling. Your half-smile will bring calm and delight to your steps and your breath, and help sustain your attention. After practicing for half an hour or an hour, you will find that your breath, your steps, your counting, and your half-smile all blend together in a marvelous balance of mindfulness. Each step grounds us in the solidity of the earth. With each step we fully arrive in the present moment.”

Thanks for reading, and please let us know about your meditation experience in the comments.

Walking For Water – World Water Day

Every day, I turn on the faucet without a thought, unable to imagine what I would do if nothing came out. It seems like I am always hearing about how important hydration is for health, especially while being physically active, and I do my best to stay hydrated throughout the day. I recently learned that if you held all of the water in the world in a gallon jug (~3.85 liters), there would only be about a tablespoon of fresh water. With such a statistic, it does cause me to pause and think about how blessed I am to have fresh water on demand, as well as wonder what can be done to help the 2.1 billion people lacking access to safely managed drinking water services (United Nations World Water Development Report 2018). This reflection is timely, as today is World Water Day, a day to draw attention to the importance of fresh and clean water.

On Sunday, April 29th, Walker Tracker is participating in the Carry5 Walk For Water, a fundraiser for Water 1st International. The walk involves carrying water for 5 kilometers in solidarity with the 1 billion people who lack access to clean water. Walker Tracker is supporting Water 1st International because sustainable water and sanitation projects improve health & wellbeing, as well as create opportunity in the world’s poorest communities. Every $85 raised provides one person with clean water and a toilet FOR LIFE.

Walking for your health is important, but you might also consider being physically active for a cause that is important to you. Many nonprofits hold walking fundraisers. Another option, if your nonprofit of choice does not hold a similar event is to create your own fundraiser by asking for donations based on your own physical activity. You could participant in a local 5k walk/run or sports tournament and ask coworkers, family, and friends for donations. You would be helping your health and your cause. A win-win. What will you walk for?

To donate or learn more about Water 1st and the Carry5 Walk visit https://water1st.org/carry5/portland/. Stay tuned for updates on our walk.

Battling Sugar – Cravings vs Healthy Options

Growing up I always had a fondness for sweet treats. My Mom would often tease me that I was born with a sweet tooth. But today, as more research is available on sugar, the candy bar or cookie that I’ve added as a regular part of my diet is having a direct effect on my overall health. Studies have shown that sugar is highly addictive and can have negative results not only in gaining weight but also increased mood swings. Additionally, it may cause skin to age more rapidly and can cause stress or damage to various organs including the heart. For more information on sugar’s effects please see Web MD’s article “How Does Too Much Sugar Affect Your Body?

Even though it’s common knowledge that we should reduce or even avoid sugar, I find it hard to stop cold turkey when it comes to sweet snacks or desserts.  So here are a few healthy food options that I often eat to help me fight an oncoming sugar craving. Just be sure to follow the rule “everything in moderation” when choosing one of these options.Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate – A bar that is at least 70% cacao is a healthy option that is full of antioxidants. Just limit yourself to a few squares.

Coconut Oil – This healthy fat can add flavor to your foods. Try it in your morning coffee in place of sugar. It acts as a sweetener and provides you with an energy boost.fruit

Fruit – Whole and dried fruits are a great way to eat something sweet while still consuming healthy fibers and nutrients.

Liquorice Tea – It tastes like the candy but will also balance your blood sugar and cortisol levels which should prevent a craving.

Carrot Sticks – An excellent snack that also serves as a source of beta-carotene and is known to lower cholesterol levels and improve eye health. You can also dip them in hummus to make them taste even better.Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes – This starchy but sweet vegetable will help satisfy your hunger and hinder the need for additional snacking.

Beets – This sweet vegetable tastes great and also fights off inflammation which is the cause of conditions such as migraines, arthritis, and heart disease.

Chia Seeds – A great source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as other nutrients this water-absorbing fiber will feed your hunger. Chia Seed Pudding is a great dessert choice.Cinnamon

Cinnamon – This spice is known to regulate blood sugar levels which will reduce your cravings. Try adding cinnamon to sugar-free applesauce or on half a banana with crushed nuts.

Nut Butter – Almond or cashew butter gives you that sweet taste. You’ll also be selecting a healthy fat and protein option.

I do occasionally still reach for a cookie or other sweet treat, but the options above have helped me to make healthier choices and curb my sugar cravings.

Is there a healthy snack you opt for when you have a sugar craving coming on? Do you like a healthy recipe that is low in sugar or sugar-free?  Share your tips and comments with us below.

Butternut Squash Soup – Winter Comfort Food

Butternut Squash SoupDuring the winter months, warm meals become extra comforting. Here is a quick butternut squash soup recipe for you all to try at home. It is one of my personal favorites, and is perfect to pair with a green salad or roasted veggies. This recipe is from Wellness Mama.


Ingredients you will need (6-8 servings):
•  1 butternut squash
•  1 cup coconut milk (unsweetened)
•  1 cup chicken or veggie stalk (plus more to thin soup of needed)
•  1 sweet onion
•  2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
•  Salt and pepper to taste
•  ½ teaspoon garlic
•  ½ teaspoon nutmeg
•  A sprinkle of thyme


Instructions:
1. Cut top and bottom off of butternut squash and use knife to carefully cut remaining skin off.
2. Cut in half and scoop out seeds (they are great roasted!)
3. Chop squash into small cubes and dice onion.
4. In a large stock pot, melt the butter and add diced onion.
5. Saute 3 minutes until starting to soften and add squash.
6. Saute an additional 5 minutes until squash starts to brown.
7. Add coconut milk, stock, and spices and bring to simmer.
8. Simmer about 20 minutes until soft.
9. Use a blender or hand blender to puree until smooth.
10. Serve warm or make ahead to reheat for a fast meal addition.

Enjoy!

 

Walker Tracker’s Favorite Podcasts

10 Podcasts Walker Tracker is Addicted To

At Walker Tracker we’re all about motivation to stay active and live a healthy lifestyle. When it comes to working out sometimes that involves listening to music to get just the push you need to get up and get moving. But for me, music isn’t always my best motivation. I often find I’m listening to my favorite podcasts during my workout or when I’m sitting at home. I knew I couldn’t be the only one with a minor podcast addiction, so I asked around the Walker Tracker office and received an overwhelming response of podcast suggestions that I’d like to share with you.

Below is Walker Tracker’s 10 favorite podcasts that we can’t get enough of.  Check out our list and let us know what other podcasts we should add to the list.

 

The Curiosity Podcast
Each week, The Curiosity Podcast interviews experts on a variety of compelling topics. Curiosity has something for everyone. You can find stories about Science and Technology, Amazing Places, Food and Culture, and Mind and Body. That’s just the beginning. Curiosity is the podcast to listen to when you want to learn something new every day.

Lore
Not for the faint of heart, Lore is a critically acclaimed podcast that focuses on real-life scary stories. If you love sitting around a campfire and listening to hair-raising tales then this podcast is for you. Each episode explores the darker side of historical events, places, and people.

The Moth
The Moth broadcasts storytelling from live events they’ve held around the globe. This podcast is famous for its authentic stories of the human experience. Each show has a unique theme and different storytellers who share their personal experiences. One story may bring you to tears while the next can keep you laughing. You’ll never what to expect with The Moth.

Philosophy Talk
“Question Everything” is the best phrase to describe Philosophy Talk. This weekly podcast led by several Professors from Stanford University encourage their listeners to join them in examining a broad range of subjects. Their goal is to challenge their listeners to not only recognize their own beliefs and assumptions but also view issues from a new perspective.

Radiolab
Radiolab investigates a variety of topics on science and philosophy while presenting them in a unique and fun storytelling style. Episodes are broken into a combination of stories, musical cues, and interviews. The interviews are with experts in the field or with people that have an interesting story about the show’s topic.

Song Exploder
If you love music and are looking to learn more about your favorite bands and how they are inspired then give Song Exploder a try. This podcast asks musicians to deconstruct their songs and share their influences and their creative process. Song Exploder has talked with an extensive list of artists from Björk to Metallica. They have over 100 guests bands for you to choose from.

Ted Radio Hour
Ted Talks are famous for their inspiring speakers and subjects. This tradition continues with the Ted Radio Hour. An engrossing podcast that touches on a diverse mix of topics, ideas, and perspectives. Its thought-provoking content will give you something to contemplate throughout your day.

This American Life
This award-winning podcast has been going strong since 1995. Each week This American Life shares stories that follow a specific theme. Well known for its engaging storytelling the show isn’t afraid to experiment by creating unique episodes such as taping a show for 24 hours in all night restaurant or putting a band together from classified ads. With over 600 episodes you’ll find something that piques your interest or check out the host, Ira Glass’ recommended list of episodes:  “New to This American Life”.

The Tim Ferriss Show
You may know Tim Ferriss as a “self-experimenter” and best selling author of “The 4-Hour Work Week”. You can now follow him via his podcast The Tim Ferriss Show. In his show, he interviews notable professionals in a variety of fields and breaks down the steps they took to reach their success to help listeners find tools and strategies that may work for them.

Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me
NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me is a quiz show which may cause you to laugh out loud. Each week call-in contestants and the show’s guests, which are experts in the news and entertainment industry, are asked to determine which provided news stories are true and which are made up. You may be surprised by which stories are actually true.

 

These are just a few of the many podcasts that we at Walker Tracker are listening to.  Do you have a podcast you listen to regularly? Share your favorites with us.

Harnessing the Power of Intention for a New Year’s Revolution

Walker Tracker would like to introduce you to Christa King the Founder of Fitlandia and 30 Days to Thriving. Christa has agreed to be a guest blogger and share some of her insights on being healthy in the New Year.  Thank you Christa!

 

You read the title right – a New Year’s Revolution v. a Resolution!

Throw out everything you grew up learning about going on a diet in the new year. We all know by now that quick-fixes and short-term diets don’t work. Yet there’s still something powerful about the intention of making a fresh start and recommitting to yourself that can’t be ignored.

The energy and spirit of resolutions can be married with sound lifestyle changes to make reaching your goals easier and sustainable for life. Let’s get your mind (and body) ready for a reset by understanding why diets fail and practical steps to making change last.

 

Diets FailWhy Diets Fail

Our Thought Patterns Are Powerful. Did you know that over 108M people in the US are currently on a diet, yet nearly 70% will fail at reaching or maintaining their goals? Why? It’s because willpower does not last. That all-powerful emotion has an expiration date and can’t be sustained. Once major stressors hit (job change, divorce, move, loss of a loved one, etc.), our primal brain kicks in to make us feel safe, taking us back to known pleasures in sugar, alcohol and refined carbs (and other things that fire up the pleasure center).

Over the years, we’ve carved some deep neural pathways to provide a temporary relief from uncomfortable. Without creating new thought patterns in response to stress, we will naturally fall back into an old pattern as our brain strives to make us feel grounded again.

It’s in Your Gut. The other reason diets fail us is because we have unresolved gut dysbiosis (overgrowth of bad bacteria) sending messages to our brain to go get its preferred food source: sugar, refined carbs, alcohol, dairy, and fruit. This can generate intense cravings for these foods, making it incredibly challenging to avoid. In fact, most “diets” allow for fruit and so most people end up removing “bad” foods, only to find they’re loading up on bananas. The bottom line is that you must first starve the bad bacteria to reduce these unmanageable cravings.

There’s so much power in knowledge so just understanding that your unconscious thought patterns drive 90% of your behavior (that can be changed!) and that you can reduce sugar cravings through a thoughtful detox can go a very long way in setting you up for a successful lifestyle change.

 

The Four Cornerstones of Fitness

There is something so very exciting and powerful about entering a new year. The hope, determination, motivation, and inspiration around us can have a significant influence on our desire to change. So, take advantage of it, but do it the right way by harnessing the four, necessary components to making a permanent lifestyle change including:

Good Nutrition1. Good Nutrition. Ready to clear up that gut, get off processed and packaged foods and start feeling great? Proper nutrition is key and it starts with a whole foods diet. That means reducing and removing (as often as possible) any food with a label on it, and instead, adopting a practice of preparing your own meals. This will ensure there are no additives and preservatives that could be messing with your hormones, robbing your body of needed nutrients, or causing you to be addicted to certain foods. Take a break from sugar, refined carbs, and alcohol, as well to starve the bad bacteria and get your body back on track.

2. Daily Movement. We were meant to move! Make daily movement a part of your everyday routine. Unlike previous dieting myths, you do not have to follow the old “no pain, no gain” mentality. You cannot out train a poor diet so no amount of pushing yourself in the gym will give you permission to binge. Instead, look to exercise as support for your brain health, releasing endorphins, relieving stress, and boosting cognitive function. And for heart health, you don’t have to put in an hour at the gym each day. Even a regular routine of brisk walking can have terrific cardiovascular benefits. If you’re short on time and want to take your workout to the next level, try a 7-minute HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout that you can do anywhere.

3. Positive Thinking. We are what we think. Take that in for a moment. We are, what we think. If you think you don’t have time to cook your own meals or get in exercise, guess what? You’re right. You must adopt healthy thought patterns to drive your behaviors. So, here’s what I want you to do… start catching your negative thoughts and immediately state it into a positive thought. For example, if you catch yourself saying, “Ugh, I hate exercising,” immediately restate it saying, “I absolutely love and look forward to daily movement.” You don’t have to believe it at first. BUT, I want you to attach an emotion to that new thought. Ask yourself how you would feel if you did believe it. Then repeat this practice and watch things start to shift like magic. Just try it for a week, catching yourself each time, restating it into a positive and attaching the good emotions to it. You’re creating a new neural pathway for your brain to follow and your desire and actions will follow!

Community4. Community Connection. Did you know that you’re three times more likely to reach your goals when you’re connected with a like-minded community? Harness this time of year, and find your tribe. Connect with people who you can gain and give motivation and inspiration to, as well as navigate challenges together. This is a powerful force to move you beyond the weight loss.

As you think about the New Year and your intentions for change, know this – you can reach the goals you desire. This is an incredibly powerful time to take the leap and harness the energy around you for change.

If you’re feeling unsure where to start or need an extra boost of support, you can join the next session of 30 Days to Thriving and get everything you need to start your journey of transformation off right.

 

Christa King, CEO & Founder of FitlandiaChrista King is the CEO & Founder of Fitlandia. You can learn more about Christa and 30 Days to Thriving via her website Fitlandia.

 

 

Please, share with us your ideas, revelations, and plans for your New Year’s Revolution!

Boost Your Mood This Winter

Tracking MoodAs the weather begins to change and the day turns to night earlier and earlier, many of us feel the effects of winter on both our mood and bodies. Here are a few things that I do each week to make myself feel refreshed and chill.

MusicListen to your favorite song.
We all have that one song that instantly makes us want to get up and dance, or even just gets a cheesy grin going. Take a few minutes to re-energize and throw on your favorite tunes.

ShowerTaking a hot bath or shower.
Indulging in an extra long shower or steaming hot bath can help our blood begin to circulate better, making you feel more energized and ready to take on anything. Not to mention the steam will provide your skin with much appreciated spa-like treatment.

1. ExerciseGet moving.
Even just a single set of jumping jacks can leave you with more energy. Walk up and down the stairs at work a few times, do lunges across the hall or take 5 minutes of your lunch to power walk around the block.

InspirationSurround yourself with things that inspire you.
Add plants or vibrant pieces of art to your workspace, glancing at these items a few times a day can remind you of the things that make your heart full.

Meditate.
Take 5 minutes each morning to breath, smile without reason, and say a short mantra that directly reflects your intentions for the day.  

VolunteerVolunteer.
Take a few hours each month to donate your time to your community. Food banks, local YMCA clubs, libraries or soup kitchens are all places that accept and welcome help from those in their community.