Simple Ways to Healthify your Vacation!

5 Healthy Travel Tips!

Who is going on a summer vacation? Or who has already been on one? Whether you are going somewhere this summer or not, you are bound to go on a trip at some point. And today’s Fit Dish link up is all about healthifying your vacation. Thanks to Jill and Jessica for hosting!

Now, let me be honest here…. I am not a strict exerciser on vacation. Why? Well, because 1) exercise is NOT what my vacations are about and 2) I would rather be taking in the sights and sounds around me with the people I love. Not everyone I love and travel with exercise. Ya know?

But, I do have some simple ways to stay relatively active and not overly indulge. That is more important to me than working out in the hotel gym or sticking with salads during my whole trip. Bah hum-bug!

So what are these two simple tips you speak of, Bri? Glad you asked dear friend.

  1. I get at least 10,000 steps and don’t sweat the rest. One of my favorite things to do in a new city or town is walk around. Walking is staying active and you can be amazed at how many steps you’ll get staying curious, exploring the beautiful place you are in. Actually, I think the most steps I have gotten in a day was when my husband and I went to Nashville, Tennessee. We walked around the downtown area for quite some time so even if he didn’t realize how active he was being, he got over 20,000 steps. Haha.. how is that for being active AND hanging out with ones you love AND seeing the sights? Just call me the step wizard!
  2. I try foods that really look delicious and don’t sweat the rest. On vacations, food is a secondary focus and not really a primary. Well, I guess it can be reversed for some (like chefs and foodies), but I 100% love seeing new places over focusing on food. And this helps to healthify a trip a bit. When you don’t focus too much on food, you eat 2 or 3 meals a day and only snack when hunger strikes. You still taste delicious food, but you aren’t participating in a gluttonous affair. Eat what you really want. Drink what you really want. And when your done, be done. No need to clean your plate unless you really are that hungry.

Did you pick up on the fact that I used “don’t sweat the rest” twice up there? Yeah, that’s because a vacation is supposed to be stress-relieving! If anything you are doing is adding stress, stay away. And that includes trying to be a stickler with your marathon training plan or 6 week cleanse while on vacation. No sir. Stress keeps that waistline thick too, ya know.

So what would be your top tip to healthify a vacation if even just a little bit?

I actually wrote a blog post for Nature’s Bakery not too long ago about vacations and ways to stay healthy. You can read that here if it interests you. It’s geared towards keeping you from getting sick on your trip so you have more time to smile and frolick to and fro!

Happy Tuesday, friends!

Is Email Stress a Real Thing?

Do YOU have a Screen Addiction-

I read this article the other day called, “Sleep Wellness, Digital Detox and Mindfulness.” It was from WELCOA, a trusted wellness resource in the corporate wellness industry. I learned quite a bit from it so thought I would share a few of the important pieces from it.

Here ye’! Here ye’! (Not really sure why, but felt the urge to say that.)

Lack of quality sleep is a HUGE problem in America and the newest factor to play into this poor quality is America’s collective infatuation (nice way of saying “addiction”) with smart digital wireless devices. And get this, the worst part is the hyper vigilance of social networking, video gaming and non-stop tweets or texts. It is rewiring our brain for stress right before bed when our brain really just wants to relax!

I am sure most of you know, but sleep disorders are often associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and several other chronic diseases. I hear from people all the time trying to lose weight saying they do everything right with physical activity and nutrition. Unfortunately, there are SO MANY MORE factors than those two when it comes to your health. And sleep is one of those factors!

Stress too.

This article mentioned that on average people check emails up to 37 times per HOUR. Yikes! And this doesn’t include text messages. We are over stimulated, my friends! Some people feel the urge to respond immediately to emails, even feeling guilty if they don’t. The terms “techno-stress”, “email stress”, and “screen addiction” were thrown around a little. And after reading these stats, I agree. In general, we have a screen addiction problem in America!

We can blame the brain for this one. 😉 The receipt of emails and tweets is accompanied by the release of Dopamine, the feel good neurotransmitter. This is the same neurotransmitter associated with chemical addictions, or any addiction for that matter.

Keeping the stats going, fewer than half of employees nationwide leave their desk or workstation during their lunch hour. These peeps probably think they are being more productive, but this is really leading to higher stress and fatigue.

The article ended with a blurb about meditation and how it is the VERY thing that we all need to do on a regular basis to counteract these negative effects. Meditation (and it comes in many forms) improves sleep quality, decreases Cortisol levels, decreases chronic pain, increases immune function, decreases blood pressure, increases mental acuity, and improves overall mental well-being.

Damn Sam! You know if that were a pill EVERY SINGLE person would be taking it.

I thought this was a really great statement so am copying it word for word. “Remember, it is the ego that trips the fight or flight response. Mindfulness helps deactivate this switch to non-threatening times.”

I wish corporate wellness programs offered more training and instruction on meditation and mindfulness in the workplace, but we aren’t quite there yet. We still focus a little too much on nutrition and exercise. Everyone gets that eating an apple is better than apple pie and taking a walk is better than sitting on the couch. Hopefully soon we will all move to the more complex. Like meditation and improving sleep!

If you have never considered meditation, I highly encourage you to look into it just a tad. Even deep breathing for 5 minutes in the morning while laying in your bed is better than nothing! You will train that sweet, beautiful brain of yours to stay calm in times of stress. I like to switch things up whether it is a moving meditation (walking outdoors on a lunch break or a little morning yoga), guided meditation on CD, or simply deep breathing followed by a little journaling.

The cool thing about meditation is there is no right or wrong way to do it. And starting is the hardest part! Try it without judgment and see where your mindfulness journey takes you. It just might be magical!

The Fit Dish Interview

Fit Dish Interview

Were you one of those peeps growing up that LOVED playing mash or answering questions about yourself for school projects? I did. I loved thinking about the past and the future. It has always been fun, although only now do I realize how important the present is too.

For this week’s Fit Dish link up with Jill Conyers and The Fit Switch, I am to answer some questions. Taking me back… and I love it.

So, here we go…

  1. What is your proudest achievement to date? Marrying the love of my life three days after the worst day of my life. It wasn’t easy AT ALL, but I learned that with him I can get through just about anything.  And I also realized just how big my support system really is. It was amazing to feel all the love at my wedding. It still gets me teary eyed to be honest. Love is what life is about.
  2. What keeps you passionate? Curiosity. Passion comes in different areas for me, for sure, but in terms of my career staying curious is what keeps the spark alive. I love learning new things, having open discussions with others, meeting new health professionals, trying out new workouts, taste testing, reading health-related books, keeping up with the trends, etc. A curious mind is a growing mind.
  3. What makes you the most proud to be a woman? Honestly, I would have to say the ability to empathize or relate to others. I don’t know that I would say men can’t do the same, but it comes natural for a lot of women. Call it the maternal instict. I am also proud that women come in all different shapes and sizes and we are ALL beautiful in our own unique way. Hot diggity damn!
  4. Why do you think it’s so important for woman to unite as a sisterhood and empower each other? We all go through different experiences (highs and lows) at different points in our lives. We will be depressed about something at some point and we will be thrilled about something at another point. I can guarantee that when we are depressed we are the hardest on ourselves. No one else needs to beat us down. Instead, we need to get each other out of the funk when we are in it. Get us back to that kick-butt self that we really are! Unite and kick butt together. How about that?! Plus, I think we all bring positives to the table. We all have unique talents and gifts. Let’s embrace them. Together we are more powerful!
  5. What are some examples of small ways we can empower the women around us in our day to day life? 1) Smile to another woman daily. Even something as simple as a smile can change a person’s day. 2) Let a friend know how kick ass she is. No, you don’t have to be mush-face (unless you want to), but saying a positive at some point everytime you see your friend can be inspiring. For example, are y’all meeting for a run? Tell her how good she did afterward and give her a high five. Or is that a new dress she got and looks great in? Tell her how beautiful she looks. And lastly, 3.) Share your story. Share with others when given the chance. I think shame is a big problem (that is finally being talked about- thanks Brene Brown!), but talking more can get rid of shame for a lot of peeps. Most of us think we are alone in our problems. Newsflash! We aren’t. Someone else also has crippling fears of speaking in public or has to take off days from working out because the couch and McDonald’s sound more appealing. You are NOT the only one! No problem is worth guilt and shame.
  6. What is one piece of advice you would like to share with the #FitFam? Health is so worth the life-changing habits unless the life-changing habits start to rule you. Not to get all serious on ya now, but it’s the very reason I believe in intuitive eating over any diet. I felt ruled by diets in the past and it was a worse road to walk down than the time I was a child regularly eating instant mashed potatoes, a roll, and Little Debbie with a Cherry Coke for lunch. If health takes away your happy, you are no longer healthy! Be true to you, my friend.

These interview questions are inspired by the Lorna Jane #IAMWOMAN campaign. Love it, love it, love it!

The rules are… There are NO rules!

The

I was doing yoga today. Not in the morning like I usually prefer to do yoga because I was in a bad mood whenever I woke up and DID NOT want to do any movement, I also did not want to eat a healthy, wholesome breakfast.

And you know what? That’s okay. Because the rules are… there are no rules! And that was my mantra today while doing yoga. Living a healthy life is never about perfection or following strict rules.

Not everyone wants you to believe that. Some want you to buy his or her book or follow his or her diet and fitness plan so that you help them become famous or put money into their pocket. A book full of rules that you enjoy at first and then feel ashamed about whenever you “fall of the wagon.” You blame yourself because the rulebook says you have to do it and if other people can do it, why the heck can’t you?

I am not saying everyone is like that. In fact, I think more and more people are truly becoming the CEO’s of their own body. I think more people are relishing in the idea of mindfulness, not only when it comes to various life things but also nutrition and fitness.

This. Is. Awesome.

I am really happy that more professionals in the health industry are pushing mindfulness, making your own “rules” (and being okay when you break them… consider them guidelines instead of rules), and being happy in the body you have NOW.

This mindset is so empowering. Yes, it takes away the excitement or thrill of the next fad diet or fitness plan. But, it also puts YOU in the driver seat instead of in the back of the truck. It’s a bumpier ride back there!

You are the CEO of your body. I love saying that. I totally 100% agree with it. So much so that it should be the tagline of this blog. I promise to never be the dietitian/nutritionist that pushes a diet, pill, or specific fitness plan. I promise to always help others see their potential and help guide them to making decisions that are best for them at that specific time. I promise to educate others on the power of changing simple habits and not following strict rules.

And just for the fun of it… what is one rule you have heard that you are going to break in terms of nutrition or fitness? One of mine is “Not eating carbs past 3pm.” So freakin’ ridiculous and is so not my cup of tea! How the heck am I going to know ahead of time if I want some type of carb after 3pm or not? That changes by the day!

Your turn! Happy Friday, dear friends.

Seven Healthy Life Hacks

7 Healthy Life hacks

Hello, friends. I am linking up today with Jill Conyers and The Fit Switch for The Fit Dish link up. We are talking “healthy life hacks” today. Ooooh Weee that gets me excited. I can’t wait to read what everyone else writes about!

Are you into healthy life hacks? I consider a healthy life hack one that has influenced my life in a positive way. I am talking get the juices flowing, smile going, body glowing type of life hack. One that now I can’t imagine life without.

I have several of these. Some I have learned from others and some I have learned from trial and error. Either way, they work for me. Maybe one, two, or a few resonate with you.

I give to you… Bri’s Healthy Life Hacks:

{ONE} Make the bed every morning. This is so simple, yet has such a positive impact on my day. When I make my bed, I am telling my brain… “You are organized, now go get ’em TIGER!” It just keeps me sane. Makes me feel unmessy in a messy world.

{TWO} Warm water with lemon. I know you hear over and over about the importance of water. But, I am telling you, water first thing in the morning is one of the BEST things you can do for your body. And add a little lemon. It makes your digestive system happy, my dear, which in turn will put a smile right on that beautiful face of yours. You don’t have to go warm (or hot, in my case most of the time) but that is the way I prefer it.

{THREE} Take a shower when feeling blah! I learned this the hard way. I work in very casual dress (yes, workout clothes) most days. When I first started working from home I found it very easy to skip the morning or lunch time shower sesh. I would punt the shower to the evening or even the next morning (I know, I know.. hygiene alert!). But, no more. I find that I feel better when I shower and get myself ready most days. I like to feel beautiful and part of feeling beautiful for me is washing my hair and putting a little makeup on. Such a mood lifter, I am tellin’ ya!

{FOUR} Get outside daily. This is huge, especially when the sun is shining! We get vitamin D from the sun (10 minutes sans sunscreen) plus many other benefits. I mean, even plants require the sun. It’s good stuff, y’all. Sun gives us power so even on days where we can’t do a 30 minute walk or bike ride, sitting outside with a mug of coffee or tea for 10 minutes meditating on the birds and the trees will suffice. Part of getting outside daily is also the connection with nature. Even the city girls can appreciate nature.

{FIVE} Morning to-do list. Before I start work, I write a quick to do list for the day. I write a personal one and a work one. This keeps me on track for the most part. I have heard before to “eat the frog” meaning complete the hardest one on your list first. But, I have to admit, I often do the opposite. I am easily distracted at times too so I have to keep to-do lists. They keep me sane, although I am working on limiting how many I put on each list. It’s amazing how productive you think you will be versus how productive you actually are and vice versa. My days are very different… often! I can be productive penny one day and then distraction dana the next.

{SIX} Movement breaks. Think of these as smoking breaks for the non-smoker. Why wouldn’t anyone take a movement break? Hello, happier necks, backs, and waistlines! I do not have a hard time remembering to take these, but for the peeps that do even setting an alarm 3 or 4 times per day can help. Move for like 10 minutes. You deserve it! Trust me. And that excel spreadsheet you are working on? It can wait. Our bodies aren’t designed to sit for 8 hours straight, no chaser. 😉

{SEVEN} Love. So simple, yet the most important! Being grateful for those you love (including pets) is essential to health and happiness. I love spending time with my furry friends and also my husband. I also love calling a friend if it has been awhile since we have spoken or checking in with my mom or dad if it has been a few days. They text and I love it!

Alright, I can keep going but I think seven is a GREAT number to stop on. Lucky seven! What is one healthy life hack you would add to the list?