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You’re You, I’m Me July 31, 2010

Posted by Jen in Healthy Eating.
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This morning I just feel like blogging. Actually, because I’m following some of the advice from the book I talked about yesterday, I decided that I should do things that match up with my goals. And one of my goals is to blog frequently and build my wellness coaching business. But I’m not sure what to blog about!

One thing that I am interested in discussing, though, is how everyone is different. “Well, duh!” you’re probably thinking. However, I think it’s important to remember. I know it’s important for me to remember. For instance, sometimes I compare myself to other people as far as what they are eating, what their fitness level is, how thin they are, etc. But comparing myself to someone else and then trying to be like them isn’t necessarily the way to go.

For instance, body type. I’ve never had thin legs. I never, ever will. My legs have become more muscular since I’ve been strength training regularly, and I hope they’ll get even stronger, but they’re not going to be skinny. Similarly, I’ve got a rack. Yes, that kind of rack. It’s not going anywhere, no matter how much weight I lose (I am not complaining about this). In others, it would be unhealthy for me to try to be super skinny. I’m a curvy person. I will sometimes tell others, “my body is made for snuggling”.

It’s important to remember that your body is your body. Your friend (or a person on a blog you read) might be the same height as you but weigh more, or weigh less. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with your weight, so stop comparing! And that goes for me, too.

Another big different? Diets. I think every single one of us should strive to eat lots of vegetables, some fruit, some whole grains, some healthy fats and proteins. Beyond that, people enjoy and thrive on a huge variety of foods. I am not a high protein person. I am a vegetarian but I don’t eat much dairy or eggs, and I get my protein mostly from beans, nuts and nut butters, and sometimes soy products. That’s okay for me, and I am still having no problem building muscle!

Other people absolutely adore fish, chicken, eggs, etc. That’s not me, and that’s fine. Everyone needs to find what works for them. And when I say “what works for them”, I mean, what makes them feel fantastic. If you think fast food and soda is working for you, I want you to check in with your energy levels. They’re probably not great. You want to eat in a way that fuels you for life!

Continuing on the “what other people can eat” track, some people do just fine eating some sort of dessert every single day and feel fine. My sweetie, for instance, can eat cookies or candy every single night and not be triggered into eating the whole house. He doesn’t feel guilty and he maintains a stable, healthy weight. I like treats, too, but eating too many of them too often does not make me feel good. And some people, like a former client of mine, cannot eat sugar at all, period. It makes her feel like absolute crap.

Just because you see someone else thriving on a certain diet does not mean it’s right for you. Read lots of books, experiment, but notice your energy levels. Jot down what makes you feel great and what makes you feel tired and lethargic. YOU are the only one who knows what’s best for you, and you should be deciding what goes into your body.

As for me, this morning I did upper body and abs first thing, had a smoothie with kale, a frozen banana, cinnamon, and a TBL of natural peanut butter, walked about three miles, ran some errands, and came home and ate three whole grain pancakes with shredded carrots (in the batter), cherries, and walnuts. Delicious! And I am brimming with energy!

But now I’m going to veg out on the couch and read. Have a great day.

Craving Control July 30, 2010

Posted by Jen in Binge Eating, Emotional Eating, Exercise, Healthy Eating, Meditation, Mindful Eating, Motivation.
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A few days ago I picked up the book Change Your Brain, Change Your Body by Daniel G. Amen, MD. This book, as the title suggests, is about ways to use, train, and change your brain to affect your body in a positive way. There are tips for craving control, balancing hormones, foods that help the brain, and more. The author, Daniel G. Amen is a clinical neuroscientist, psychiatrist, and brain imaging expert.

So far I’ve read through the chapter called “The Craving Solution” and “The Weight Solution”. I especially liked the former chapter. Amen’s suggestions include some things that I love to do and some things that I hadn’t thought much about. I thought I’d share some of this tips for craving control below.

  • Get at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night. I feel like crap if I don’t get about 7.5 or 8 hours each night. The best way to achieve this is to pick a bed time 8 hours before you’re alarm is going to go off and get in bed at that time, no excuses. Also, stick to the same sleep schedule, even on the weekends. For instance, I’m not working today, but last night I was still in bed by 10:15 and woke up slightly before six. I feel great! No need to sleep in.
  • Maintain a healthy blood sugar level by eating frequent smaller meals. Do you wait until you’re starving and then cram down whatever you can find to eat? The book refers to a 2007 article by Matthew Gailliot and Roy Baumeister that shows self-control failures are more likely to occur when blood sugar is low. Drinking alcohol, skipping meals, and consuming sugary snacks or beverages cause dips in blood sugar and can impact how good you are at sticking to self-controlling behaviors. I didn’t know this before, and it’s great information!
  • Exercise to boost blood flow to the brain. You already knew exercise was great for your waistline, your butt, your heart, and your lungs. It’s also great for brain health and your overall well-being. Stop making excuses and start exercising! Even if you just start walking briskly a few times a week, you’re on the right track!
  • Practice mediation. Over and over I have tried to consistently practice meditation, and it’s getting easier for me. This book has convinced me to make it an absolute priority every day, period. If you’ve never meditated at all, just try sitting in a quiet spot for ten minutes a day and focus on your breath. At first it might feel very uncomfortable, but keep it up and eventually it will become much easier.
  • Create focused, written goals. When I read this recommendation I started singing from the rooftops. I love written goals. Dr. Amen states that the brain needs clear direction and that when you are focused on what you want, it makes it much easier to match your behavior to make it happen. Your mind is powerful and it makes happen what it sees. He suggests writing down goals for relationships, work, money, and health, and posting them somewhere you can see them every day. I have done this and plan on reading them each morning when I get up and each evening before bed.
  • Be careful with too much technology. Apparently we’re completely frying our brain’s pleasure center by being on the Internet, watching TV, and playing way too many video games. He suggests watching less than one hour of TV per day and keeping computer time (outside of work) to a minimum. This one is a toughie, but imagine how much other stuff you could do with your free time if you weren’t sucked into the reading the latest about Lindsay Lohan and the war.
  • Write down five things you are grateful for everyday. This is one of the many suggestions he has for calming the brains emotional centers. This helps you feel good and focus on the positive in your life. By focusing on the positive instead of the negative, you actually change your brain.

This is just a teensy bit of great information contained in just one chapter of the book. My favorite thing about the book is that it states plainly that the brain (and that includes will power and habits) can be changed. The more often you say “no” to overeating and “yes” to healthy habits, the stronger the brain will become. It will be easier and easier to keep up good habits!

Motivating Yourself to Strength Train July 28, 2010

Posted by Jen in Exercise, Strength Training.
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I love cardio. But I hate(d) strength training. Sooooo boring! But now I’m finally doing it regularly, and I’m seeing results!

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Okay, so this is Madonna, who, at 50+, still has a way more muscular bod than me, that’s cool.

The point is, strength training can take some getting used to. And keeping up with it takes some serious motivation.

Here’s how I got myself motivated and have kept it up regularly for the last few months:

  • Focus on the benefits! I’m 30, and I know my body is already going to start losing muscle mass if I don’t counteract it. Not only do I want to counteract any muscle loss, I want to build it, because lean muscle makes me look good, feel stronger, and impresses my cats because I can now 12 bent-knee push ups in a row. Another benefit? Calorie burn. Muscle burns more calories than fat, even when you’re sitting around scratching your butt, so you want to have more, people!
  • Don’t go it alone. If I had gym buddies to help motivate me, I would go that route, but because I only join the gym in the winter and have a perfectly good DVD player at home, my best friend for strength training is Cathe Friedriche. Followed by Jillian Michaels. I do sometimes life free weights on my own, but I find I push myself much, much harder if I’m working out with someone else, even if they’re on the TV. Lately I’ve been doing this DVD, which kicks my ass (actually, my abs, biceps, shoulders, chest, and ass).

  • Set a goal. The main reason I think setting a goal is important is so that you give yourself enough time to actually see results. Your goal may be to strength train twice per week for six weeks, or it might be to follow an outlined muscle-gaining plan that lasts much longer. Your goal might be to lift a certain amount of weight, or whittle your waist to a certain measurement. Whatever you decide, make sure you pick something tangible that you can check off in your mind and say, “I did it!” Pick a goal that will yield results you can see.
  • Let your results be your biggest motivator. I’m telling you, now that I can actually see my biceps and triceps and actually feel stronger, I want to strength train. Sure, like any other exercise I sometimes have to get my mojo up to do it, but those results and my desire to continue to gain strength and tone are the biggest motivator for strength training I’ve ever run into.

Strength training is just as important as cardio and stretching, not to mention doing things for your mental and spiritual health, to your overall wellness. Quit making excuses and pick up those dumbbells!

Don’t Push, Pivot July 26, 2010

Posted by Jen in Binge Eating, Emotional Eating, Healthy Eating, Meditation, Motivation, Weight Loss.
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Photo credit: John Drysdale

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Don’t think about elephants. Don’t think about elephants! Don’t think about elephants!

What are you thinking about?

This same idea applies directly to weight loss and overcoming emotional triggers for eating.

Let me explain: Let’s say you have a tendency to reach for the ol’ pork rinds after a stressful day at work. You’ve noticed this habit and have decided to change it. You get home from a stressful day at work and start thinking about the pork rinds.

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“I can’t eat those pork rinds. I told myself I would do something else. I can’t eat those pork rinds. I can’t eat those pork rinds. Dammit! I’m eating those pork rinds NOW!”

The more you tell yourself not to do something, the more you’re going to think about it, and the more likely you are to do it.

That’s why I like to tell my clients (and myself!), “don’t push, pivot”.

What if you got home from work, but instead of telling yourself over and over to avoid the pork rinds, actually pushing back on the thought,  you pivoted to a new idea and, hopefully, a new feeling and action?

“I can’t eat those pork rinds. Uh-Oh, now I feel super laser focused on the pork rinds. I’m going to pivot my attention and energy to something completely different now. Such as leg raises! Or cat juggling! Or perhaps I’ll go search for shiny objects in the lint-trap! Excellent”

Okay, my example is sort of ridiculous, because who turns to pork rinds and who distracts themselves with shiny objects? (If I have offended you, I’m sorry.)

The point is: If you are constantly worrying about avoiding something, or worrying about not avoiding something, you’re spending way too much time focusing on the “something” instead of pivoting your attention to something that will enrich your life.

Focused on that giant bowl of ice cream your husband is eating? Get up and darn socks. Focused on how fat you think your pinkie looks today? Put on a pair of gloves and go shovel the driveway. Focused on how worried you are about your review next week? Try writing a letter to your grandmother/hairdresser/ex cell mate. There must be some way for you to pivot your attention to something positive.

Remember: Don’t push back on the thought, pivot away from it. Good luck!

Why Aren’t You Eating Your Veggies? July 25, 2010

Posted by Jen in Healthy Eating.
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You know you’re supposed to be eating lots of fruits and veggies, right? They’re beautiful, they taste good, they’re great for your waist line, and including a bounty of colorful veggies is one of the keys to losing weight and keeping it off for good.

So why aren’t Americans eating enough of them? Why aren’t you?

Here is Dr. Andrew Weil’s Food Guide Pyramid. I’d like to the USDA’s Food Guide Pyramid, but I don’t trust the government’s recommendations for nutritional, especially when they’re in bed with the meat and dairy industries.

But I digress. Because no matter what guide you look at for healthy living, it’s going to emphasize eating plenty of veggies, and at least moderate amounts of fruit. (And if you’re following a plan that doesn’t recommend consuming these foods, run!)

Yet Americans are still only eating an average of 4.4 servings of fruits and veggies a day, and although the article I just linked to doesn’t mention it, the two most popular “vegetables” Americans consume are French fries and ketchup. Um, I don’t think those should count.

Honestly, it’s not that hard to get the servings of fruits and veggies you need – around 7 to 9 servings. That sounds like quite a bit, but half a cup of fruit is a serving, and you could easily eat a cup of fruit with breakfast, meaning you’ve already covered two servings by 8 am!

Here’s how I fit in my fruits and veggies yesterday:

Breakfast: Overnight oats topped with grated carrot (hey, we eat it in cake, why not in other foods?), cherries, and blackberries. It tasted good, really. Fruit and veg servings: About two.

Early lunch: Brown rice with cranberries and cashews, steamed broccoli, shredded carrots and cucumbers. Fruit and veg servings: At least two.

Afternoon snack one: Green monster (a smoothie with greens, usually spinach or kale, blended right in) with half a frozen banana and a butt load of organic spinach, plus some peanut butter. Fruit and veg servings: Two or so.

Afternoon snack two: Peach and whole wheat tortilla (homemade) Fruit and veg servings: One

Dinner: Indonesian Gado Gado from Spring Street Cafe. This was peppers, onions, and summer squash with tofu sautéed in peanut sauce and served over cooked kale and fresh spring mix. Fruit and veg servings: At least two.

And there you have it: Around nine servings of fruits and veggies. Maybe that sounds like way too many veggies for you at this point. How about taking some baby steps to increase your produce consumption?

  • Always, always, always include a cup of fruit with your breakfast. Cut up a big banana and put it on your cereal. Make a fruit salad. Dump a cup of berries over your yogurt. Make a fruit smoothie. Start your day off right!
  • Add veggies to everything you eat. Making an omelet? Add spinach, onions, and peppers. Having tacos? Add tomatoes, romaine lettuce, black olives. Having spaghetti? Add peppers and onions to your marinara sauce. Making lasagna? Layer in zucchini and summer squash instead of noodles, or just add veggies in each layer. Add veggies to your stir fry, lettuce and tomato to your ham sandwich, and roasted veggies to your burger.
  • Add fruits and veggies to your baked goods. Ever hear the trick of buying a box of cake mix and mixing it with a can of pumpkin instead of the required eggs and oil?  Tastes great and is very moist, is much healthier, and also adds vegetables to your diet! Add applesauce instead of oil to baked goods for a lower fat dish with the addition of more fruit and fiber. Instead of making chocolate chip muffins, make blueberry ones!
  • Make French fries at home. You don’t have to give up French fries as a veggie, just make them at home! Wash and cut up a potato or sweet potato in wedges, toss with a little olive oil and spices, and bake on a cookie sheet for about 15 minutes per side in a 400 degree oven.
  • Make fruit your dessert. Instead of a piece of cake before bed, how about another cup of fresh fruit? Or, if you must have ice cream, have a small serving with berries poured over it. Or try making banana soft serve.

See? You can do it!

What’s your favorite way to eat fruits and veggies?

If I Can Exercise, Anyone Can! July 24, 2010

Posted by Jen in Exercise, Motivation.
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Do you work out? How often? Why not? What are your favorite types of exercise? Do you strength train? Do you stretch?

I just like to ask alot of questions, don’t I?

I love to workout. I’m working on loving strength training. I am often too lazy to stretch, but I’m a work in progress, as we all are. In fact, 10 years ago, at age 20, I was just starting to get a taste for exercise.

Growing up I was about as un-athletic as they come. I hate gym class, was always picked last for every team, and pretty much dreaded anything that required any coordination on my part. I did ride horses from maybe age 10 to 14, which certainly was a workout, though I only did that once a week.

I hated to run, hated to play volleyball, hated gym. Did I mention I hated trying to be athletic? I should add that I didn’t mind walking and biking around my neighborhood, and I have liked hiking since high school. I didn’t think of those activities as working out, though, just as fun things kids did.

In college, though, I started hitting the gym with my roommates. Over the winter I joined a gym for a month. I finished college and purchased workout DVDs (and videos, hello!) to follow along. I bought free weights. In my mid twenties I started running. Not competitively or anything, but I have run two half-marathons at this point. I still walk regularly, hike, lift weights, go to the gym, etc. Once I got started it didn’t take long before I was hooked.

And if you’re not hooked yet, trust me, it can happen to you, too. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t a team sports player in high school; I actually have great coordination and can do step aerobics. It didn’t matter that I would walk the mile instead of running it during the bi-annual Presidential Fitness Challenge; I have now run a mile in as fast as 7 minutes and 30 seconds. Why do I exercise? Because my life doesn’t feel complete without it. Because it feels good.

Imagine waking up in the morning and having energy. Imagine really wanting to head outside for a brisk walk or a run. Imagine being excited about getting sweaty! If you are resistant to the idea of exercise, think about it as a gift to yourself, not as something that is taking you away from other activities. What would you rather be doing? Watching TV? Surfing the ‘net? 30 minutes of physical activity will leave you way more invigorated than that!

What’s your excuse for not exercising? And how are you going to change it starting NOW?

Eating Well On A Budget July 22, 2010

Posted by Jen in Budget.
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Although it’s very important to me to eat a mostly healthy diet, it’s also very important to me to eat well on a budget.

You, too?

How about some tips for eating well on a budget, then?

Make it from scratch whenever possible. Making things from scratch that other people buy pre-made is a huge way I save money. Last night, for instance, I made whole wheat flour tortillas from scratch. They were cheap, delicious, and, bonus!, had only a few ingredients in them: King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour, baking powder, salt, olive oil, and water. Other things to make from scratch:

  • Cook beans from dry instead of buying canned
  • Make your own bread and pizza dough
  • Buy grains (such as rice) that need to be cooked the full time as opposed to those that are already par-boiled (the minute versions are so much more expensive!)
  • Cut up potatoes and bake your own oven fries instead of buying them pre-cut
  • Instead of buying rice and pasta dishes that are pre-made and pre-seasoned, do ’em yourself

Focus on whole grains, veggies, and fruits. We all know meat and dairy are super expensive, and some vegetarian faux meats are just as bad. However, if you make a meal around beans, whole grains, and veggies, your grocery bill will be much lower! A bag of kidney beans at my grocery store is about $1.31. If I cook those with a can of diced tomatoes, some spices, a chopped up onion, and some garlic, I’ve got a nice big pot of chili for just a couple of bucks. I can pour the chili over homemade polenta or brown rice and serve with a salad, and I’m good to go!

Make a budget and stick to it. Even if you still want to buy the cheap and fast versions of things, and even if you’re buying your meat come hell or high water, setting and sticking to a budget will save you lots of money. Think about it: How many people plan what they’re going to spend on groceries? Most will make a list, throw some extra things in the cart, and pay with plastic. And some people (okay, I’m guilty, too) will go to the store multiple times per week if they want something special or have run out of an ingredient at home. However, if you pick a budget (mine is $40 a week, and that feeds just me, not both of us!), take the cash out of an ATM machine, and only spend the cash designated for your groceries, I promise, you’ll save money.

Now, when I want something in the middle of the week I think extra hard about if I really need it. If I’m out of cash I can’t get it and make due with what I have, but if I have the cash I consider if my purchase will get me the most bang for my buck.

What do you do to save money?

Vegan Inquiry July 20, 2010

Posted by Jen in Motivation, Sprituality.
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The other day my mom emailed me the link to a really interesting article. It’s called “When Veganism Is An Eating Disorder”. You can read the full article here.

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This article struck a chord with me. I have been a vegetarian since I was 13, though I certainly did not do it to avoid eating fat or to cut calories, as did one of the people mentioned in the article. I really just didn’t like meat very much, and was an extremely picky eater!

However, as time has gone on I have dabbled with veganism, and it has been a source of struggle for me. I do not believe I’ve ever chosen to go vegan for weight loss reasons, but more for ethical reasons. However, I still have some issues around it, because when I see that other people are vegans I often end up feeling guilty, like I should be a vegan because it’s healthier and better for animals and the planet.

FYI: “Should” is a red flag! If you notice you are doing something because you think you should, it’s time to stop and figure out where that voice is coming from! And, for your reading pleasure, I’m going to do some inquiry right here, live, on where my guilt and “shoulds” about veganism are coming from. (I’m using a loose version of the The Work, developed by Byron Katie.)

Ready?

I should be a vegan because it’s better for my health.

Is that true? I think it’s probably better for my health because I’ve read that it is. And because the saturated fat and cholesterol in eggs and dairy aren’t good for me. And those foods also cause cancer. (I’ve ready WAY too many books on health and diet for my own good.)

Is it absolutely true in all circumstances? Hmmm. Well, if eating a vegan diet is causing me mental strife, and ultimately to be unhealthy mentally, then no. And if avoiding something with cheese in it, only to go eat three pounds of natural peanut butter because I’m feeling deprived, happened, that certainly would not be healthier than just eating the damn cheese.

How do I feel when I think that thought? Kinda anxious and guilty. Like I’m doing something wrong if I’m not eating the healthiest diet possible.

How would I feel if that thought could never enter my mind? Free! Happier, lighter.

Turnaround: I shouldn’t be a vegan, because it’s better for my health. I should be a non-vegan, because it’s better for my health. I should be my health, because it’s better for my vegan. (I’m not sure what that one means, just trying different combos.)

Do any of the turnarounds sound as true or truer than my original statement? YES! “I shouldn’t be a vegan, because it’s better for my health” feels true to me. I love, love, love eating vegan foods, and will probably always eat lots of them, but giving myself that label and putting that pressure on myself is not healthy. Also, the part where I wrote, “I should be my health” feels true to me. We should all be our own health. We all need to decide what truly feels right for us.

Phew, see how helpful inquiry is?

How Do You Deal With Overeating? July 17, 2010

Posted by Jen in Binge Eating, Emotional Eating, Meditation, Motivation, Weight Loss.
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Let’s say things in your life have been going swimmingly. You’re making progress towards a healthy and satisfying life, your relationships are doing well, and you’re staying on track with eating for fuel, not for emotional reasons.

And then you have a bad day at work. Or get in a fight with a loved one. Or find out someone you care for is sick. Wham! You’re back at the fridge, doing the thing you used to do to comfort yourself.

You’re eating. You’re stuffing down the fear, feeling the rush of biting into a piece of cake, and just want to keep moving, keep avoiding, keep eating.

Eventually, you’ll stop. Your stomach might be hurting, or you might realize the eating isn’t doing anything, or your spouse may have come home and you don’t want to get caught eating.

You brush and floss your teeth and get ready for bed. The anger and guilt are already filling you up, causing you to feel terrible about what you’ve done, terrible about who you are, and terrible in your skin.

This time is a gift. Yup, a gift.

See, this can go a few ways. You can continue to berate yourself. This does a few things: It helps you continue to avoid the feelings you were avoiding by eating, because you’re so busy focusing on how awful you think you are. It may also cause part of you to feel righteous, because you’re punishing yourself for being “bad”. Unfortunately, this type of behavior may lead you right back into binge eating the next day, as you try to avoid the ever-growing number of bad feelings piling up.

Another way this story can go: You make a plan to go on a diet. You decide you can overcome this over-eating problem by sticking yourself on a strict regimen. You will overcome. You will fix yourself, dammit! However, this method is going to lead you right back down binge lane, and, wouldn’t you know it, you’ve still managed to avoid thinking about or feeling the thing that upset you in the first place.

Or how about this story? You let go of the berating and the dieting. You let yourself go to sleep, telling yourself you’re a good person and you’re loved. In the morning you wake up and acknowledge the way your body feels, but you treat yourself with love. You take a few minutes to sit somewhere quiet and actually feel the feelings you’ve been trying to avoid. You journal. You meditate. Your forgive yourself for all the ways you’ve been punishing yourself. You plan some delicious and healthy food to eat during the day. You wait for your body to tell you it’s hungry. You get back on track. You are gentle and kind to yourself.

Which way feels the kindest to you? Which way would you like to deal with your problems?

Your Ideal Day July 15, 2010

Posted by Jen in Meditation, Mindful Eating, Motivation, Sprituality.
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What does your ideal life look like? Okay, maybe that’s too big a place to start. What does your ideal day look like? How does it smell, taste, sound, and especially, feel?

Where do you wake up? Is it light or dark? Is it next to someone or alone? How does your body feel? Are you relaxed, excited, energized? What do you spend your day doing? Remember, this is your dream, no one elses. Below is a simple exercise to get you to get your creative “Ideal Day” juices flowing, but before that, I’d like to address something else.

Like, what the heck does your ideal day have to do with trying to lose weight, improve your body image, get in touch with yourself, and more? EVERYTHING, people, everything.

Why do you think you are so hard on yourself in the first place? Why do you think you eat when you’re not hungry. Let me tell you, it’s not because you’re living your dream life.

If you’re eating when you’re not hungry, you’re trying to avoid something else. If you are willing to go there, really go there, and explore what you want your life to truly be about, you’ll be one step closer to getting in touch with the real you, and getting your hand out of the Cool Ranch Doritos.

So, up for the challenge of imagining your “Ideal Day”?

  1. Go somewhere peaceful where you can relax, unwind, and be alone for at least 15 or 20 minutes. Bring pen and paper with you so you can record the details of your ideal day.
  2. Spend some time in your body. Take deep breaths. Wiggle your toes. Do some neck rolls. Close your eyes.
  3. Feel around for any tight or stressed-out areas in your body. If there is tension in your tummy, breathe deeply and see if you can’t let it go for now. Try to get to a place of presence and peace.
  4. Ask yourself, “On the perfect day, where do I wake up?” Fill in every single teeny tiny minute detail that you can. The color of the walls, the smell of the room or of breakfast, everything. Make sure to write down how you feel, and bonus points if you genuinely start to feel this way while you do the exercise!
  5. Ask yourself, “What am I looking forward to today? How will my day unfold?” Make certain to capture the feeling of what this ideal day will bring, and again, be as detailed as you can be.
  6. Walk yourself through the entire day, from the time you get up until the time you go to bed. Be detailed if you can!
  7. Notice where you felt the most excitement and the most reservation. This exercise could potentially bring up scary feelings and thoughts such as, “But I’d have to quit my job to be a ballerina!”, or “Oh no, I’d have to kick my 37-year old son out of the house to do the renovations I’m dreaming of!”, etc. Acknowledge the thoughts as they come up, but press on with the exercise.
  8. When you’re done, read over your ideal day. Fill your entire body with the deliciousness of how it would feel to be living this life.
  9. Keep the piece of paper. Read it every single day. Dream about your ideal day every single day. Let the good feelings wash over your body every single day. When you feel like beating yourself up over your weight or eating another doughnut, re-read your ideal day.
  10. Contact a life coach to get you started on your journey to actually living your ideal day! 🙂  Oh, did I say that out loud?

What’s your ideal day?