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 wellness

The Juggling Act: Your Man Vs. Your Goals

Failure to prepare is preparing to fail. -Benjamin Franklin

Maintaining balance and prioritizing relationships is a common struggle. Health and fitness goals are challenging! They can be hard on you as well as on your family in the event they aren’t joining in on the fun. But, it doesn’t HAVE to be hard. My marriage is my biggest priority. I am a wife first and foremost, and everything I do needs to reflect that. In all honesty, that is hard to swallow sometimes when my goals and motivation are at an all time high. It is not uncommon for motivated people to have the ability to create a tunnel vision that is out of this world. If you are feeling like you are playing a constant game of tug of war with your relationship and your goals, you are not alone. Regardless of how willing you might be to re adjust priorities to reach your goal, we can’t ignore our loved ones along the way.

Let’s begin by increasing awareness. Identifying how your choices and goals impact the people closest to you is one of the best things you can do to maintain perspective.  Be prepared for things to change and motivated to keep them the same. Goals require perseverance. They also require compromise. The bigger the goal, the bigger your awareness needs to be on keeping the peace and holding on to as much balance as you can. When the game of tug of war starts to be too much, refer to the below ideas to come up for air whether it’s alone or with your family.

  1. Not all dates revolve around food: Some of our favorite stress releases are a going to the movies (bring your own snacks!), bowling, playing cards, making a list of things we want to accomplish at home, going to the gym together instead of alone, etc. Additionally, there is no reason you can’t have a special date night that involves food! Refer to my recent blog on “Navigating Social Events & Meals out” for more information on how to honor your goals without sacrificing time and memories with your family. Sometimes just an hour of “normal life,” or giving yourself permission to take a mental break from your goals serves as a great distraction and reset to bring your mind back to the people you love the most.
  2. Practice random acts of kindness: Your support system is your lifeline! Make sure to express gratitude and love for the people pushing you along. You are only as good as your support system and they are working hard, too. Sometimes going to the extra mile to make my husband a special dinner, take him on a surprise date to the movies or write him a card makes me feel just as good as it does him. It’s the LITTLE THINGS!
  3. Laugh: Don’t get so caught up in your routine of gym, sleep, eat and repeat that you forget to live your life. Go to the social gatherings, eat at the table with everyone else, make time for your friends. So many people get anxiety from the THOUGHT of temptation when tackling a goal. There is no need for that. Life is for living and you can still enjoy it while chasing your fitness dreams.
  4. Set boundaries: We set boundaries for work, personal time, children and friends. Do it for your goals as well! You can be 100% dedicated to your journey to health and still prioritize your loved ones by giving them time and your undivided attention whenever you can. Be intentional, be present and make sure they feel connected to you. Don’t be the person that only talks about the gym, food prep and how exciting your progress is!  Be well rounded, have other hobbies and tend to all aspects of your life. You are more than your goals.
  5. Be aware: Your goals are a CHOICE. If we are so lucky to have loved ones that are willing to push us along, supporting us and honoring our goals is THEIR CHOICE. That is important perspective. Reaching your goals and thriving is a gift. It’s a powerful and overly satisfying experience that breeds MORE activity. However, reaching your goals will not be nearly as rewarding if you don’t have your special people beside you at the finish line. Your life is happening right now. You can work toward your goals without sacrificing the special moments that happen every day. Don’t miss them.

Tackling a fitness goal can be a big part of your life, but it does not define you. Your new body and lease on life will not suffice when the universe throws you a curveball and you really need your people. Be mindful and focused on what really matters regardless of how it challenges you. These people, your family and loved ones are what matter.

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

Posted in wellness

Hitting The Nutrition Reset Button

The winter months, but specifically November and December are infamous for encouraging avid health seekers to fall off the wagon, put a pause on important goals and make excuses for choices (including  or the abundance of holiday treats being enjoyed). Simply put, the holidays make prioritizing nutrition more challenging! This also explains the phenomenon most of us anticipate each year. I refer to it as the annual health and fitness “reset” that happens every January. The parties are over, the gym gets busier, new fads are for sale, vacation in Hawaii is approaching and of course, a new year means a new YOU.

Nutrition and diet heavily influence our bodies in terms of how they look, feel, function, and behave. In order to optimize our health (and bodies), the approach taken with nutrition and food choices matters. The good news? Starting fresh with your health can be done in different ways. The approach yielding the most success is the approach that will work best for YOU. I have successfully used a more gradual approach allowing for incremental changes as well as “a clean slate” approach, designed to begin your fresh start immediately. Let’s compare!

A gradual approach allows more space and time for comfortable changes within reason. By phasing things out in increments it can be easier to find your flow along the way. If you are someone that is easily overwhelmed by change, the thought of cleaning out your panty, and are not suffering from physical symptoms related to nutrition, start here! Below are my best tips for navigating the gradual approach successfully:

    • Start with breakfast: Start to replace processed, sugary foods with whole, nutrient dense options. For example, swap the pop tarts for a hearty bowl of oats!
    • Think ahead and have the ingredients handy for the breakfast meals.
    • Commit to this act for one week.
    • Take note of any changes in feeling, energy, hunger, fullness, etc.

 

  • The following week include changes to lunch, and repeat the steps above.
  • Proceed to dinner on week three, as well as any other snacks being consumed throughout the day.
  • Be methodical and plan ahead! Preparation is key.

In comparison, a “clean slate” approach is my personal favorite and is often referred to as the “cold turkey” method. This approach works well for those that are highly motivated, accountable to a structured plan and are eager for results. This is also the best approach for those battling painful or uncomfortable symptoms caused by a food allergy or sensitivity. Starting fresh this way requires some thought ahead of time! Below are my favorite tips for wiping your slate clean and starting fresh:

  • Identify any trigger foods that create temptation or no longer work for you.
  • Clean out the pantry and prepare a new grocery list.
  • Plan ahead and account for any events or meals out that could cause an accident.
  • Substitute wisely and often (refer to “Painless Pantry swaps” blog article for suggestions).
  • Be ok with not feeling ok. Depending on the number of changes happening it is not uncommon to experience temporary fatigue, headaches, changes in appetite or energy while your body adjusts.
  • If you fall off the wagon, DON’T WORRY! Identify what went wrong, think of a solution for next time that situation comes up, and get right back on the horse. Perfection isn’t welcome or necessary here.
  • Revamp your recipes and meals! It’s important that time spent in the kitchen is enjoyable. Use this fresh start as a chance to make new foods, try new things, and master a recipe you never thought you’d try!

Breaking free of bad habits is a MUST in order to reclaim your health. The only thing preventing this healthy, fresh start is YOU. Give yourself the gift of health this holiday season and be the change you want to see in your life, mind and body. Everything you need to be successful is already inside of you. Take the leap!

 

For more information on living your best life in your best body please visit www.carsonlainefitness.com