Posted in How To's

IS STRESS RUINING YOUR LIFE? Or are YOU?

Simply living in a stressful state more often than not is self sabotage at its finest. Most of the time we don’t even realize it’s happening!

 

Think about it- Stress makes us tired, snappy, we look like hell and our bodies suddenly stop cooperating. The sabotage cycle has already begun when these signs are apparent.

 

STRESS HAS MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES!

 

On one hand, stress signals the body to change various hormones and their levels in order to help us adapt. That’s great!

 

On the other hand, our bodies are NOT designed to battle stress on a daily basis (like so many of us ask it to do). Push your body too far and it will release special signals (neurotransmitters) that are REALLY NOT GOOD.

 

Here’s the nightmare that stress is causing inside your body:

  1. Increased heart rate, forcing your heart to work way harder than it should
  2. Hormone secretion resulting in major bloat, water retention & horrible digestion
  3. Disruption of your menstrual cycle that can eventually impair reproductive function
  4. Decreased thyroid function, resulting in ZERO energy, way less sleep and frustrating weight gain (despite not changing ANYTHING in your diet or routine).

 

Stress is inevitable. But managing it is KEY to our lifelong health and happiness. Looking for tools to help you reduce stress, understand your body and be confident in your skin?

 

 

Posted in How To's, wellness

5 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR ESTROGEN IN CHECK

5 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR ESTROGEN IN CHECK:

Estrogen imbalances can cause countless health problems for women, making it a frequent topic of discussion. The pendulum swings between estrogen dominance (an excess amount of estrogen) or lack thereof (not producing enough estrogen). Estrogen dominance often manifests as insomnia, weight gain/fluctuations, slow metabolism, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and even hair and skin problems. If your body isn’t producing enough estrogen, a low sex drive, unstable emotions, weight gain, depression and anxiety are not uncommon for women to experience.

 

Although this is not at all a complete list of symptoms or concerns, one hormonal imbalance can encourage others. That being said, here are 5 helpful ways to naturally keep your estrogen levels in check:

 

Check your gut!

Gut health plays a role in hormone regulation, estrogen imbalances included. Without enough beneficial bacteria lining the intestinal wall, digestive issues can occur. This something a probiotic can improve!  For a cost-effective way of increasing probiotics in your diet, try making fermented foods like kombucha, kefir, or sauerkraut at home.

 

Improve your diet!

Encourage  proper hormone function by increasing your fruit and vegetable intake and eliminating foods that are cooked in vegetable or canola oils. Instead, use oils that are rich in fatty acids and omega 3s like olive oil. Avoiding  highly-processed foods and sugary treats wont hurt either.

 

Go natural!

Household products can impact your estrogen balance depending on the chemicals and ingredients. Many cleaners and beauty products contain synthetic substances that act like natural hormones in the body (but clearly are not). Eliminate this by carefully selecting which chemical cleaners you allow in your home & switching to more natural makeup & skincare brands. I use the app  “Healthy Living” to score my household products and learn more about their impact on my health.

 

Less stress, more self care!

High stress is often linked to hormone imbalances, including estrogen. Stress involves 3 key players: cortisol, progesterone and estrogen. When we experience stress, our bodies make cortisol to cope. In order for our bodies make cortisol, it must also make progesterone (the governor of estrogen). The result: cortisol production steals progesterone from the body. Progesterone is the governor of estrogen and keeps it in check. When that governor is compromised, estrogen SPIKES out of control (like a teenager, if you will)! This is why stress management is KEY! Slow down and do some self-care, whatever that might look like.

 

Get your beauty sleep!

The body repairs itself while you’re asleep, and regulating hormones is part of the body’s repair cycle. Lack of sleep can encourage hormone imbalance! You can avoid this by improving your sleep environment with a weighted blanket, light blocking curtains or a new pillow. A proper night time routine supporting restful sleep is also key (aka no screens, electronics or lazer tag before bed!)

Posted in How To's, wellness

Still Struggling To Achieve Your Goals?

Are you struggling to see results?

Tired of starting new diets or programs that don’t work?

Sick of feeling self conscious and uncomfortable in your skin?

Still guessing on WHERE to start & WHAT to eat?

Have you tried EVERYTHING and feel like NOTHING has worked?

I get it! I’ve been where you are and experienced similar struggles and frustrations myself. My personal fitness journey started with the intention to never sacrifice self confidence or comfort again.

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Posted in How To's

The Art Of Organization

“For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” – Benjamin Franklin

When I started purchasing homes & creating my own living spaces I would often strive for a flawless, impossible to maintain showcase that cost much more than I could afford. My new mission? Living my life in a house that makes me truly happy.

Your home should be a place you look forward to returning to every day. It’s all about simple solutions that will not only make your living space more organized but also more spacious, lighter and calmer. You will waste less time searching for your keys or tripping over the mess. You won’t need to hide things in drawers or shove them away because you will love what you have.

Pairing down, putting away and purchasing thoughtfully are some of the ways that I have created calm in my own life. I can help you achieve this clarity, calm and order, too!  Here are eight ways to get there:

  1. Buy fewer things! Resist impulse or “speed bump display” purchases (the strategically placed items near the check out counter that you never actually need) and focus on quality.
  2. Donate things you don’t use. This includes unwanted gifts, clothes you no longer wear, odds and ends that you have’t touched in over 3 months.
  3. Shop your own house. Everyday items such as baskets, trays, and hooks are perfect for storage in every room. Use baskets for blankets and extra cozy things, hang kitchen supplies with hooks to save counter space and place similar items on trays, giving them a “home.”
  4. Steal ideas from experts! Pay attention in stores and hotels for how things are displayed. When visiting friends with living spaces you enjoy, take note! Ask questions! Recreate your vision.
  5.  Phase out plastic. You won’t want to stash away products made out of more sustainable materials such as wood, glass, bamboo or ceramic. They are much more pleasing to the eye (and better for the planet).
  6. Less is more. Bigger is NOT better in terms of storage. Huge closets and pantries make hoarding extras easy and keeping track of belongings more difficult.
  7. Establish simple routines. Keep car keys, glasses and remotes in a designated spot. Commit to resetting your kitchen before bed to save time in the mornings.
  8. MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME! Too much order is cold, uninviting and unrealistic. Life is for living and our homes are the playground. Simplicity combined with less clutter is all you need.
Posted in How To's, wellness

4 Steps To Start Intuitively Eating

Learning how to stop dieting requires courage. Dieting provides safety and the illusion of control. Learning to listen to your body in order to lose weight requires letting go of that control and THAT requires grace, lots of grace. 

It involves trusting yourself, your body and the cues it gives you to reconnect with what your BODY WANTS. The hardest part about that is that listening to your body and allowing it to guide you is the only way this will work. If you are thinking “that is the most impossible task, I have been counting and tracking for years on end” that was my initial reaction as well! I felt the same way.

It is possible to ditch dieting and fully immerse yourself with intuitive habits! It is not an instant process, it takes time and quite a bit of focus. Intuitive eating often feels ore challenging then counting calories in the beginning of the process. Clinical studies have shown that diets don’t work time and again. In fact, most people gain the weight back — plus some! It may sound counter intuitive, but by allowing yourself to stop dieting and change your mindset around food, you will find FOOD FREEDOM.

Below are 4 steps to stop dieting and start eating intuitively:

  • Give yourself permission to break the rules: In order to remove the feeling of obsession and control around food, you have to escape the “rules.” Eliminating the restrictions and inviting freedom is a really powerful act for your mindset. You are giving yourself permission to have anything you want, which psychologically actually helps you NOT want it. No more calorie counting, macro tracking, weighing, food label memorizing or anything else you’ve learned to do in order to control your body and how it looks. All foods are equal and allowed at all times. NOTHING is off limits to you! This where the grace comes in. This part can feel really scary, don’t be afraid. You got this.
  • Honor your hunger and fullness: These are the two pillars of intuitive eating that require your full attention. To reconnect with them try asking yourself, “Do I like this food? Is that what I want to eat? Am I really hungry or am I bored, stressed or feeling emotional? Am I satisfied, or did I eat more than I needed?” Feel your feelings when you are not hungry. Food won’t address those, but you should.
  • Be ok with “the feels”: Emotional eating and responding to triggers is one of the biggest reasons why we over eat as well as start diets to begin with. By sitting with your feelings and allowing space to coexist with them you are no longer masking the “uncomfortable feeling” in your stomach that suffocating with food never ends up helping. You will feel better AND lose weight (double win)!
  • Ditch perfectionism: You will take several steps forward and one step back throughout this entire process. It is a process with stages, just like anything else that is new! You will teeter on the verge of success and at other times feel derailed and completely drained. This is not a linear process and it is OK to struggle. In fact, it is necessary. If you have moments where you want to throw in the towel, go back to your old ways and start another diet- you are doing it right. Don’t give up!
Posted in How To's, Uncategorized

Balancing Health & Travel

I’ll be the first to admit that traveling and / or participating in weekend festivities make the balance of health and living life more challenging. They create obstacles around staying focused on a plan, can completely throw off your progress or the routine you created that otherwise works really well.

I used to view weekends or trips as a “free for all” with food and beverages. I also came home feeling like absolute crap, not to mention my head space was less than positive. My body struggles with fatigue and the stress of traveling. My motivation was to figure out how to have the best of both worlds! 

Learning to travel and participate in social events without sacrificing my health or balance was a big turning point in my nutrition journey. I felt empowered by options, solutions and how amazing I felt. Small changes led to big results that were no longer fleeting. My progress improved and became consistent with a few small changes.

Here are my favorite tips that helped me enjoy travel and living life without losing my balanced lifestyle, neglecting my needs or impacting the memories I make! 

  1. Eat small, frequent meals: Travel in general can throw off eating habits. Eating small meals every few hours (3-4) will avoid getting overly hungry as well as not force your body to work too hard on digesting large meals while in flight or being mostly sedentary for the day. That constant flow of energy will make a difference!
  2. Eat a serving of fruits in veggies in every meal: Balancing the good stuff with the fun stuff is the best approach during travel and will naturally create more balance in your diet. Set a goal to have a little of each in your meals and enjoy feeling great AND the food all at once! Prioritizing your plate with bright colors and balanced food groups makes all the difference in how you look and feel.
  3. Drink plenty of water: This is the number one thing people neglect when traveling and it’s the most important! You can use an app to track water or get a Hydro flask and use the airport water stations to refill it as needed. 128 oz of water per day is the goal (more if your flight is a long one). Bottoms up!
  4. Go vegetarian for the day: Challenge yourself by forgoing meat for the day and exploring other options. It encourages plant-based choices, great variety and new recipes/ dishes that you might not have tried otherwise.
  5. Share meals and deserts rather than entertaining a “food free for all.”  It can be tempting to overindulge on vacation, the local cuisine can truly be a once in a lifetime experience! Rather than eating to the point of discomfort or not partaking at all (BOO), share it and have a small portion of whatever you want to try. Your body will thank you by feeling amazing the next day. You won’t skip a beat!

For more information, tips and tricks visit www.carsonlainefitness.com

Posted in How To's

Maximize Your Time & Productivity By Working Smarter, Not Harder

“It’s not too late. Time is not running out. Your life is here and now, and the moment has arrived at which you’re finally ready to change.”- Cheryl Strayed

Between owning my own business, enjoying hobbies, being present in my marriage and my friendships, I often feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. My life is full and time is limited! The worst part? I find myself in a position when evaluating what I have on my plate that I am not willing to give any of it up! My secret weapon is to work smarter, not harder. I have become a master at maximizing every hour of my day in order to honor the choices and commitments in my life. Below are some of the habits I have formed to keep me sane, manage my time, and feel successful regardless of what life throws my way!

Imagine starting each day feeling organized, knowing where to focus your attention while having ample time to do all the things. Now, let’s make this vision your daily reality by being proactive. Each night before bed consider your schedule for the following day and identify the top 3-4 priorities or tasks that will require most of your time and attention. Write those top tasks on a list, they represent the tasks that MUST be addressed that day. Do not strive to over achieve on your top task list! Having more than 3-4 tasks on your plate puts you in a poor position to have a manageable day. It also results in throwing off your sleep, stress levels, schedule and ability to be your most productive self. Identifying your top tasks also allows you to wake up each day with intention, a plan for your day already in place, making it easy for you to dive right in! Feeling like your list will never end? Train yourself to remember that there is ALWAYS more to be done. By identifying what on your list can truly wait you will cross each task off in order of importance without sacrificing your sanity. Spend your precious time moving forward, not side to side.

Setting boundaries is essential for great time management and productivity. Establishing a task timeline or even a “cut off time” to have things accomplished is the key to reducing stress, eliminate the feeling of “rushing around” and most of all maintaining a work life balance. Boundaries, limits and prioritizing your time allows a seamless transition into family time, social hour or whatever is next without additional work stress. If you are someone that struggles to meet deadlines or conclude things in a timely fashion, start by implementing a “cut off time” each night. This “cut off time” is the deadline and your productivity reminder that your tasks should be finished and not costing you time that you do not have. It will help you stay on track for completing tasks, maintain a manageable schedule and encourages great balance. My “cut off” time alarm is my favorite sound of the day! It holds me accountable and on my most stressful days creates a “light at the end of the tunnel.” I set an alarm on my phone and make it my biggest  priority to honor that deadline. When working smarter, not harder one can easily accomplish their tasks while also creating much needed balance on a daily basis.

Prioritize being proactive at all times. We spend a lot of time time each day being reactive, especially in work settings by Responding to emails, sitting in meetings and solving other people’s emergencies. Although some of this can be avoided, some of it is completely out of your control and operating from a place of reaction will road block your ability to accomplish your top tasks in a timely fashion. A great solution that will increase your productivity and focus when unavoidable disasters strike is setting a time limit for each task. Identify the most important task and set a timer for 25-30 mins (or the time your schedule allows) to dedicate your entire focus on that single task. When the timer is up, you will have been far more productive than if you were thinking about the task, working on it while checking your email, answering your cell phone while simultaneously scrolling social media. That stop watch or timer is more than a time limit. It is what creates a guaranteed window of time throughout the day to be productive,  laser focused and free of distractions that otherwise compete for your time and energy.

It is a proven fact that the average office worker loses about 2 hours a day due to distractions. They can’t be eliminated completely, but limiting distractions is a key component for optimal productivity. Silence your cell phone, close the extra windows on your desk top, close your door and create a space that truly sets you up for success. I strategically turn my message and email notifications off on my cell phone during working hours. Even better, turn it off! Your boss and schedule will thank you simultaneously for being the most efficient worker in the room.  Not to mention, the benefit of increased productivity and efficiency will far overpower the additional scrolling, text messaging, or daily 35 minute snooze that never actually makes you feel more rested.

Using these tips and establishing habits that encourage you to work smarter and harder will positively impact your life in every way. Enjoy more free time, have more fun, take care of yourself and see the people in your life that matter the most. Life is for living, after all.

For additional tips, helpful resources or information please visit http://www.carsonlainefitness.com.

Posted in How To's

My Favorite Products For The Best Night’s Sleep

Getting a good night of rest is more difficult to come by than ever. Between the hectic schedules, managing kids, husbands, commitments, the increased screen time & chronic stress levels it truly doesn’t come as a surprise. Night time routines, among other things, are still in high demand and an imperative part of learning how to sleep like a superhero. Without proper rest, it is nearly impossible to tackle the day ahead to the best of your ability.

 

I have personally battled insomnia (in addition to high stress, demanding schedules & life in front of screens) for over 10 years. Sleepless nights and resulting fatigue are miserable! Over time, I have found several products that have helped me wind down, improved my sleep and have become some of my biggest tools to prioritize restfulness & turn my sleepless nights into the 7-9 hours of restoration that our minds and bodies so desperately need.

 

Below are my favorite products (and links to purchase) to help you wind down, unplug and get a better night of sleep. Let’s dive in!

 

  1. For those using melatonin, habit forming sleep aids or a prescription to encourage sleep you may notice that their effectiveness wears off rather quickly. The body quickly identifies these “false” substances and builds up a tolerance because of their limited ability to “hack” into cellular structures. Exchange your old sleep aids for Serenity capsules, a completely natural, plant based capsule filled with essential oils and coconut oil that will give you an incredible nights rest without the harmful chemicals or tolerance build up. An equal alternative is using the Serenity essential oil blend as a pillow spray, on the wrist or under the tongue.
  2. If you are spending a fortune on bedding and sheets with little to no return on investment, return them for a set of bamboo sheets. These sheets are silky soft, absorb more moisture than cotton and allow for the perfect temperature while you rest. The fabric allows them to keep cool when needed and also provide warmth easily as an alternative. They are a small investment compared to other high thread count sheets and are a must have staple in your linen closet.
  3. Allergy season, climate changes, germs and dusty air vents all contaminate the air we breathe. At night, this can result in sleepless nights of coughing, scratchy throat or other common allergy systems preventing you from sleeping like a superhero. Investing in an air purifier will eliminate those symptoms and ensure that every breath is free of anything keeping you from a good night of rest. They range in price, function and size. We have one in each bedroom of our home!
  4. In addition to bamboo sheets, sleeping under a weighted blanket has proven health benefits that you won’t want to miss. These blankets, usually ranging from 15-20 lbs ease insomnia, help with sensory processing disorder, fight back against stress, reduce anxiety, improve focus for ADHD, encourages calm, aids in PTSD, panic disorders and symptoms of OCD and depression all while improving your sleep. In my experience, the added weight doesn’t equate to either additional heat or an increase in temperature. These blankets have built in temperature control systems to provide you with all of the benefits without sacrificing any comfort.
  5. Sleeping soundly involves more than a solid night time routine and the products above. The way we wake up each day has an equally profound impact on our energy levels, focus and ability to fall asleep naturally again the following night. Our bodies are designed to rise with the sun and begin to wind down after sunset. We have trained ourselves to wake up to harsh alarms, loud noises and snooze buttons, all of which have absolutely no benefit to our natural sleep cycles or circadian rhythm. The more effective and beneficial alternative is using an light alarm clock with light simulators. These simulators create the natural lighting of a sunrise (and sunset to aid in winding down) each morning rather than alarming our bodies with loud noises and rude awakenings. Waking up to light rather than racket encourages your body to wake up naturally as it would if you had left the windows open and the sun was peeking through, nudging you awake to start another day.

For more information on sleep, natural remedies or to gain access to helpful resources designed to improve your health and wellness, please visit www.carsonlainefitness.com

Posted in How To's

Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain: 8 tips for tackling the holidays stress free!

Navigating the holidays without gaining that annual 5 lbs of “fluff” can be the most challenging obstacles for those practicing mindfulness around health and wellness.

Some approach the holiday season swearing to resist the endless amounts of cookies, cocktails and other sweet-treat temptations included in most social events between the November and the New Year. They are ambitious.

Others enter the holidays surrendering their health and fitness goals completely. Returning to family is stressful enough. Just the thought of returning to family with their goals as a top priority seems laughable. Their goals, progress or intention of approaching the holidays with balance and mindfulness is simply out of the question. Why miss a  a prime time opportunity to maximize every gathering, party and temptation when starting over on January first is the familiar routine?  The decision is made that their goals can wait and right then they head face first toward the dessert trays.

There is massive grey area between these two extremes. However, navigating the space between restriction and a free for all is too overwhelming! American’s have embraced approaching the holidays with a hyper focus on the food and temptations. In reality, these special days have absolutely nothing to do with food.

For those looking to approach this year’s company parties, family dinners and exciting get togethers with mindfulness, balance and a realistic approach KEEP READING! Be empowered to incorporate healthful habits into this year’s holiday season without the stress! Below are my go-to tips for enjoying the holidays without putting your health on hold.

TIPS FOR NAVIGATING THE HOLIDAYS THIS YEAR:

1. Setting expectations:  Set an expectation on what needs to happen in order for you to enjoy the holiday season without sacrificing your goals. How do you want to feel after the party? What obstacles might you face? Examples of expectations include deciding on a number of alcoholic drinks you will consume before you even arrive at the party, or to premeditate a plan of attack for the inevitable desert trays. Will you have one of each? Avoid it all together? Make a plan and set the tone for the evening.

2. Don’t be a hero: Never show up to a party hungry! No one can make good decisions on an empty stomach and will usually resort to over eating from being overly ravenous for too long. Having a small meal or snack right before you leave will keep you from eating by the handful and encourage you to fill your plate with food choices resembling mindfulness and moderation because you aren’t on your hunger death bed.

3. Keep multiple snack stashes: Having healthy snacks at your fingertips can be a lifesaver when you are in a pinch! Have a supply of tuna, almonds, healthy bars, fruit, snack veggies and water at the ready whenever hunger strikes. Keep an emergency kit of snacks in the car, purse, gym bag or office! Don’t be caught empty handed when hunger strikes! This will prevent you from feeling too hungry and encourage balanced choices despite any curve balls that get thrown your way.

4. Dress for success: When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you tend to make better choices that align with your goals! Dressing in an outfit that shows off your figure will serve as a great motivator for you to avoid doing anything that would make you feel like a beached whale when you leave the party. Choose something that fits you right now, not last year’s ensemble that is too tight or no longer comfortable. You deserve to feel beautiful, confident and comfortable all season long.

5. Offer to bring a dish: Bringing an entre or appetizer creates an opportunity for you to prepare something that fits your needs and can also be enjoyed by others. Get creative with the usual holiday recipes and prepare something on the lighter side. Incorporate something with fresh vegetables or a yogurt spread instead of the usual butter and cream. Provide a fresh dessert option with berries and sorbet to balance out the sugar cookies and chocolate. The other guests will appreciate the variety and you can have the best of both worlds.

6. Fill your plate guilt free: It can be difficult to know what to expect when attending an event with zero insight regarding what will be available for food. Once you are settled and familiar with your options a great strategy is to prioritize what will go on your plate. Identify which dishes you’d like to enjoy the most and take note if there are some things you can go without. By prioritizing what goes on your plate you can enjoy your annual favorites without feeling like you over did it, or accidentally having a plate that resembles a small mountain. Fill your body with the foods you love and enjoy them guilt free. An approach allowing you to enjoy your favorite things in moderation will set you up for ultimate success every time.

7. Add some spritz to your cocktail: Cocktails are part of the fun! They also present significant temptation and an easy opportunity to over do it in the worst way. Create a spritzer version of your favorite beverage by pouring your glass with 1/2 seltzer of choice and the other half with you alcoholic beverage. Enjoy a buzz without all the empty calories (and half the hangover). Requesting “bitters” (available at any establishment serving beverages) to seltzer water is calorie free option that looks identical to a spirit for those that are bashful about cutting back on drinks.

8. Important reminders: The food isn’t going anywhere. You have the choice to treat the temptations of the holiday season like you do every other day of the year, but with better decorations! Remember that just because the calendar reads “November” and “December” your goals and priorities don’t require a pause.You to remember that you have the power to choose. Make the choice that best suits your life, goals and dreams this holiday season!

 

For more tips, tricks and resources for living your best life in your best body please visit www.CarsonLaineFitness.com