Moderation

Ahhh, Moderation… Probably the most hated, cringe-worthy word ever uttered to someone trying to lose fat. We are so used to the rules of dieting; eat this, not that, exercise like this for the best results and avoid these foods altogether that the thought of listening to our hunger cues and doing it on our own is down right scary.

 

Subconsciously we are led up the garden path of abstaining perfection until… your brothers wedding, your best mate’s birthday or Friday night work drinks. It goes a little something like this: all week deprive, restrict, and withdraw until come the weekend we are deemed to have done such a good job that we deserve a little treat! You have worked out as per the given schedule, not eaten the foods you love and cut back on your alcohol – it’s been tough! So it’s the weekend and what do we want to do – go all out. Monday rolls around and we are back on-board the diet train.

Not only is this incredibly bad for your digestive system it is also horrible for your mental health. Perfection should never be the goal and giving up the foods you love entirely, to me, is punishment.

 

There is a solution and it IS moderation, 365 days a year. But here is the trick: Save those indulges for special occasions and eat enough to be satisfied, have a bite or two of your favourite food EVERY day and be conscious nourishing your body to be at it’s best. Save those extra titbits for post workout or during the time when you are hungry. Remember hungry? Listening to cues that your body is sending is paramount – I’m hungry, full, tired or thirsty. It is so simple yet we complicate it by all ‘the rules’.

You are extra hungry after a long day at work, you crave certain foods due to hormonal cues and after a long run or exercise session, you get hungry. These times will balance out on the days when you are not super busy and you do get your rest – eat a little less.

Moderation is all about you. Creating a receptive and flexible metabolism where you are fueling your system with what it wants when it needs it.

Fear of failure

Why is it that we have ingrained in us such a fear of failure? ‘Fear’ can sabotage ‘try’ in an instant and not only that, think about what you could be missing out on because of it.

 

Have you ever noticed in a social setting or gathering of people the best and most intriguing stories come from those events in life that have challenged us? That time you got bogged up the paddock, when you fell over in your running race at school sports day or when you were thrown off your horse the first day of mustering. Moments in life when, at the time, you felt frustrated, confused, embarrassed or even angry in the situation but later you over-came something, learnt something or were able to laugh at yourself. I love thinking about that; you win or you learn.

 

Being brave to walk into the new gym, having courage to try that new exercise or the tenacity to get up and go again after several times being knocked down. All of these experiences provide learning; learning about yourself, learning about your life and becoming aware of all the new things you want to learn.

 

Struggles are what make the good times and successes GREAT. We can appreciate the sweetness only after we have tasted the sour and sweated a little. So, lean into that struggle. Get a little uncomfortable. Be a bit vulnerable. Then watch yourself and your self-confidence grow and shine. There is so much to live and enjoy in this life; don’t let fear hold you back.

You’re doing great

Late last year I got a last minute dentist appointment one Friday morning in hopes of alleviating the sharp pain I felt in a lower molar. Thinking it would be a quick needle and filling, I would be out of there in 20 minutes to enjoy my scheduled restaurant lunch date (with myself)… 3 hours later, out I walked/stumbled.

They had found a very infected and rotten tooth (yuck!) and I was in need of an immediate root canal procedure. I lay there, mouth open, not knowing how long it would take or at which second I would feel the flinch-worthy pain of an active nerve being hit. It was horrible. I believe at one point I asked with a slur ‘can’t you just knock me out?’

The nurse looked into my distressed eyes about half way through and simply said in a calm and assuring voice, ‘you’re doing great’.

Such a simple statement; however at that moment it felt so comforting – you’re doing great. You are doing a great job and every now and then it doesn’t hurt to remind YOURSELF that.

Our busy, ever-compounding life gets more and more complicated and it begins to feel like we are just treading water at the best of times to keep up. If, unfortunately, you do not have someone in your world reminding you of the fact; you’re doing great.

The perfect start

What if I told you that in just 3 minutes a day you could improve your life? Would you laugh, and then pause for the sales pitch?

If you have read my columns you would know that I am absolutely not about products or ‘quick-fixes’ but more about healthy, purposeful daily intentions.

So here it is; here is the 3-minute-a-day challenge that I hope might become one of your effortless long-term habits. What if first thing in the morning you stood up out of bed, leant down and touched your toes then, while breathing deeply, slowing reached up to the sky – repeat for one minute. Minute two, push ups, on your toes or on your knees as many as you can in one minute. Its only 1 minute, you can do it! The third and final minute will be star jumps, fast or slow, bounce or no bounce, but continuous for one minute. That’s it! If you follow that up with some water and a walk (if you can) then you are well on your way to a good day. You’re awake. Your blood is pumping, a little muscle burn perhaps and some heavier breathing. The perfect start to your positive intentions for the day ahead – you can pat yourself on the back and BOOM(!) you’ve already had a success for the day.

This little win may lead to a salad for lunch, a spontaneous trip to the gym after work or some sit-ups during t.v. time.

For more incidental exercise ideas or small acts of movement to include in your day please feel free to email me at sigsfitbits.com

The power of habits

Over the past few weeks (or has it been months…) I have put forward a few basic fundamental ideals towards a healthy lifestyle. Need a refresher? Water, walking, vegetables, the occasional bought of sweaty resistance exercise, to try new things, increase the incidental exercise and of course, to be kind to yourself.

So often our minds know what to do, but our bodies seem to let us down. Our intentions get over-ridden by impulsive acts of satisfaction that don’t always support our plans.

 

Who of you can resonate with the ‘I’ll start on Monday idea’ or ‘tomorrow will be easier than today’? I sure have. Things will be easier, I will make better choices and I will be on my way to a new me. I will do this, that and the other flawlessly and keep on going all the way to perfection. Ha!

 

But, honestly, perfection doesn’t exist and there has to be an easier way to make progress then that mentioned above. Going bull-at-a-gate restricting nutrition, exercising 2 hours a day will only lead to burn-out and ultimately, failure. So we need to discuss habit change. Why do we perpetually set our bar so high? The sound, sustainable way to change old habits or to make new ones is – slow and steady, one at a time. Habits, once engrained shouldn’t take up mental space – they should be subconscious and require little to no effort. In the beginning you will need to set yourself up with some small wins and acknowledge those victories over and over until they become a part of who you are. One habit at a time; one day at a time. Fully aligned with who you are and where you want to be.

Know what you want

I love to cook healthy, delicious and nutritious meals for me and my family. I am grateful every day for the joy it brings me because as a wife and mother it is a huge daily task putting food on the table. I will even go as far as to say that I enjoy grocery shopping and EVEN enjoy putting them away when I get home. The nightly ritual of sitting down together to a home cooked meal with no distractions is bliss to me.

 

Definitely not a chef or too adventurous with my creations, however I do love to eat good food, so dining out on the rare occasion when we head into town is a real treat. But I have to admit that I am a little fussy when it comes to menus and the quality of food and I simply will not apologise for that. If I’m going to spend my money on a café or restaurant meal I expect it to be fresh, flavorsome and pleasurable.

 

Having made the decision some time ago to eat minimally processed healthy food at home, when I dine out, these habits stick with me. I will choose the salad most of the time and I am not afraid to ask for an extra serve of chicken, some steamed greens or a side of sweet potato fries. The lesson here is to not be afraid asking for what you want even if that means designing your own combination of a few different elements. A very recent dining experience reaffirmed the fact that in most establishments they are more than happy to accommodate your dietary requirements and/or individual preferences. At the end of the day they want happy customers and you want to be one!

Make it count

Being healthy and active are lifestyle choices that are no-ones responsibility but your own. We choose what to eat, how to move and how to interact with others.

Today I want to hit more on the topic of physical activity. You have the walking down-pat by now and you are consciously being more active with your incidental exercise but when it comes to a home or gym workout what do you do?

 

After my kids were bigger and I ditched the pram, it was then that I embraced early morning solo runs. I was able to get out before they were up and while my husband ate his breakfast I could run up, down and around our hilly dirt tracks. I would clock up between 8-10km every day and this would leave me ravenous for the entire day; a nightmare when I was trying to lose fat by restricting my food intake. Little did I know back then this mammoth cardio output did little to change my shape or lose fat but I will admit that I was pretty fit. Flash forward to know, like everyone our lives seem to only be getting busier, and I like to be in and out of the gym in 30 minutes preferably. I still get up early before the kids but I spend this time building muscle and burning fat through high intensity exercise that pushes my body and instigates the healthy body composition I looking for, more muscle and less body fat. You just have to push yourself; think sweaty, puffing and some muscle burn.

 

So, the good news is that you don’t have to spend hours upon hours in the gym or running 20km a week. Get in there, give it all you got and let those metabolism-boosting hormones do the rest for the following hours, even days. You will reap the benefits of both cardiovascular fitness and strength gains in a much shorter period of time. Even if its 10 minutes, make them count!

More Than a Number

I for one am over the moon for the new and extremely profound trend of ‘strong is the new skinny’! As a woman who has found strength training post-childbirth, I understand first-hand just how improving strength can manifest positive newfound strength in other aspects of life.

 

But it hasn’t always been this way and I am certain that there are women who are still bound and controlled by numbers every day… I’ve been there, done that (and so grateful to have made it to ‘the other side’). As women, society seems to want us to fit into a mold of sorts… These dimensions of ‘beauty’ are generally defined by numbers. What we weigh, the size of our waist, to the number of calories we eat… What happened to us all being made beautifully individual and perfectly imperfect? When you actually stop to think about the stupidity of trying to have every woman fit into a desired picture frame it is truly sad.

 

Trust me; you cannot ‘hate yourself skinny’. True body love and acceptance is not found in any of those horrid numbers, it is found within you. You Are Enough; just as you are. The more you love yourself, the more you will be loved by others. The more you feel loved the more you will want to nurture and be compassionate to yourself and make those healthy choices sustainable!  Good food, fresh air and a whole lot of fun.

You simply won’t know unless you try…

I really enjoy making my kids lunches every morning. I like to put in little packages of love and yumminess to surprise them at school. Every school day without fail they will have a meat and salad wrap, a piece of fruit, a homemade sweet and sometimes a little love note from me.

Last week as I was preparing the lunches the night before going back to school I asked my eldest son, ‘would you like to try some cut-up kiwifruit for your fruit tomorrow?’ He simply replied: ‘Ok, I’ll give it a try.’ It was at that moment I realised the huge power in trying. Think about it; how will you possibly know if you like something if you don’t try it.

Fear is often the cause of why we resist trying new things, but what is the worst that could possibly happen? You don’t like to eat it, you don’t enjoy moving that way or you make a temporary fool out of yourself… who cares, we all do silly things from time to time, its what keeps life interesting… and funny!

Once again over the weekend I was beautifully reminded of the power in ‘try’ watching a new kids movie. The cute animal characters were out to change the world and the catchy song proclaimed the words to the effect of, even if I’m afraid I’m going to try.

That simple act of trying something new could potentially change your life; you could love it, and if you don’t, no big deal. For me this all ties back into doing your best, try your hardest to be the best you can be. Unlock all the doors as they show up in your life every day, big or small, put yourself out there and try!

The power of walking

After I gave birth to our second son, like most women, I really wanted to get active and healthy again. Any woman with children knows just how challenging some days can be with little ones, the simple act of having a hot cup of tea might just be your biggest achievement for the day.

To this day I will tell anyone and everyone who will listen, that the best investment I ever made during my early days of motherhood was a good, sturdy, paddock-worthy pram. Being in the bush our dirt roads are usually pretty rough and ready so you just have to make the best with what you have. This is why I love walking as a form of exercise so very much; all you need is a road, and in my case a pram as well.

Walking is by far the most functional of all movement practices. Your body is designed to walk and it loves to move. I have addressed the value in incidental movement practices but now I want you to know just how walking for 30 minutes a day can change your life. Not only will it make you fitter, but it is a wonderful time for thought and meditation, it can warm you up on a chilly morning, you are guaranteed to feel better for the rest of the day and this will lead to better food choices to fuel the body you are moving. As you can tell, I love to get my 30 minutes of exercise in first thing in the morning; alarm set and off I go. This is MY time to prepare for the day, to practices new skills and to move. It is then that I can give of myself to others and feel like I have achieved something no matter how the day pans out.

So off we would go; 2 kids armed with snacks, several dogs and hills… Oh how those hills challenged me. I always felt happy and proud when we returned home, and the kids loved it too!