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, 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

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 Uncategorized

Navigating Travel, Meals Out & Social Events Stress Free

It is not uncommon that weekends are the hardest to “survive” when you have health and fitness goals. It was the same for me, and its something I hear ALL the time with my clients. It is easy to stay on track during the week while we stick to our routine. Work, gym, sleep, repeat. Then, the weekend comes and it seems as though our will power and decision making skills evaporate completely. The evaporation of skills is a mentality. It derives from fear and intimidation of feeling capable of making choices that align with your goals when social gatherings occur, or dinner is at your favorite restaurant. There is, believe it or not, a happy medium between YOLO and “I’m on a meal plan, I can’t have that.” That black and white mentality is typically to blame for set backs. Learning to account for meals out and how to fit foods in without blowing my macros or progress was one of the most empowering tools I developed during my fitness journey. Don’t be a prisoner to your meal plan, and don’t allow intimidation of trying as an excuse to fall off the wagon. Below are some tricks that help me navigate my weekends and social time without compromising my progress. My goal in sharing them is to help others break this frustrating cycle.

  1. You can’t out train a bad diet: The first step to finding a better weekend balance is understanding that you cannot out train a night of binge drinking and eating whatever your heart desires. You can be as diligent as you want to throughout the week. But, consistency is what your body craves the most and is also what will bring you the best results. Knowing that repeating those nights weekly are making all of your work and efforts during the week go to waste should be some motivation to start to tone it down.
  2. Check the menu ahead of time: Knowing your options and eliminating the pressure to make a quick decision can make a huge difference. Most menu’s are available online if you know where you are headed in advance. Going to a friends house? Ask them what is being served, and offer to bring something! That is a great way to add in healthy foods or things that you know will work for you that day. Lots of menu’s are available on My Fitness Pal and have the macro information on there. If you don’t see it, you have the option to request it on your tracking app. If you have a favorite spot and the menu isn’t available yet, request away! TheMacroExperiment.com is another outstanding resource for this. You can also call the establishment and ask them how things are prepared. If you had a serious food allergy, you wouldn’t hesitate to do this. Your goals and progress are not any different!
  3. Menu Manipulation: Half the battle to successful ordering is knowing what to look for and request. When reviewing a menu, request options that are baked or grilled. Most menu’s will also have things that are on the “lighter side” to select as well. If you want something low fat, request chicken or fish instead of beef. Low on carbs? Request double the veggies instead of the starch it comes with. Here is a little list of quick tips I use every single time I am out to eat.
    1. Eat before you go! That way you aren’t starving when you sit down
    2. Double the water, drinking as much as I can helps me with portion control
    3. Skip the bread basket- don’t hesitate to ask them to hold the chips or bread, you don’t need that crap on your table!
    4. Request a baked/ grilled option, and ask them to hold the butter and oil. That way, you can ensure your protein was cooked simply with herbs and spices only, and not injected with additional crap for which you cant account.
    5. Sauce on the side- when in doubt, ask them to either hold the sauce or put it on the side for you. You can always dip your fork in it, or pour it yourself so that you can better estimate serving sizes, etc.
    6. Double the veggies- Most entrees come with a starch and a vegetable side. If you are low on carbs or want to add volume, request double veggies! The brighter and more colorful your food, the better.
    7. Request a “half” size! This is a GREAT way to aid with portion control, especially if you are someone that struggles to not pick at your plate. Get half the burger, or half the salad, or half the entrée. You can take the other half home, or give it to your Husband, if he is a bottomless pit like mine!
    8. You don’t HAVE to finish your plate. Eat slowly, and eat until you are satisfied. If you know the portion was massive, section off the amount you’d like to eat and then make a mental note that you are finished after that point (I will sometimes even cover my plate with my napkin once I know I am really full. That prevents me from continuing to pick and eat when I know I should be finished).
  4. Portion sizes: In order to track accurately, you need to have an idea of typical portion sizes. For meat, a 4-5 oz serving is typically the size of a closed fist. When in doubt, track for a bigger portion. 1 cup of veggies is about the size of your palm as well. It is always better to over shoot in this instance. A typical pour of wine is 5 oz., etc. When in doubt, ask your server! It is their job to relay any information you need about what you are putting in your body. Knowledge is power.
  5. Tracking on the fly: There will be plenty of times at social gatherings, when traveling or attending dinners out where you have to just guess and go. Yo can always insert each menu item individually! Tracking SOMETHING is so much better than throwing in the towel and ignoring your choices for the night. Any accountability is better than no accountability. It doesn’t need to be perfect! Family dinner at your favorite burger joint? You can enter your burger like this: 1 hamburger bun, 1 oz cheddar cheese, 1 tomato slice, 6 oz chicken breast, 1 oz ketchup, 1 lettuce leaf, etc. You can do that with ANY meal that you order. The menu items have to list all ingredients, so take note and enter that stuff in!
  6. Be Needy: Restaurants expect special requests. They are used to serving people with severe food allergies or intolerances and are happy to cater to their needs. You are no different, and there is no shame in making special customizations to your order! Don’t be afraid to request different variations of what you need. The will be HAPPY to accommodate you, and you will feel so much better for it!
  7. Ignore the haters: People will ask you questions or comment when you take your health into your own hands. They will ask you “does that fit your plan?” or why you made special requests. Don’t let this deter you from putting your goals first. When this happens to me, I remind myself that they are usually curious and wanting to learn. People envy that kind of self control, and want to emulate it. Own your choices, and shout them from the rooftops. The people that matter will always support your choices and help you stay the course!

As this weekend approaches, try implementing these tricks. You will be shocked at how much you can enjoy your social life and weekend without the guilt that you completely bulldozed your fitness goals.

For more information on nutrition, healthy recipes and meal planning 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