Don’t Let the “Fall” – Lead You to Failure!

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The start of the fall season has been a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, I love the beautiful scenery from the autumn leaves. I also love being able to wear my favorite winter boots – I think most women look forward to that.

On the other hand, it’s really interfering with my workout and eating habits. My preferred time to work out is first thing in the morning. I like to get it out the way so I don’t put it off the rest of the day. Unfortunately, since the mornings are chilly and my heater is on, I’m struggling to peel myself out of my warm, cozy bed.

As for my eating, I’m craving more comfort foods. It’s only natural to do this. Our bodies go through cycles just like the seasons. According to Ayurvedic theory, everything in the universe — living or not — is connected. Good health is achieved when your mind, body, and spirit are in harmony with the universe. A disruption of this harmony can lead to poor health and sickness.

For followers of Ayurveda, anything that affects your physical, spiritual, or emotional well-being can cause you to be out of balance with the universe. Some things that can cause a disruption include:

  • Genetic or birth defects
  • Injuries
  • Climate and seasonal changes
  • Age
  • Emotions

So, in order to achieve my balance, I need to adjust my thinking. My mind wants to hold on to what has been working for me in the past. For the past few months I’ve enjoyed eating light (salads, fruit, and smoothies). I’ve especially enjoyed the abundance of sunshine. I’m a nature girl so having beautiful weather makes me want to be active and makes me want to be outside. On the contrary, the cool, fall temperatures make me want to wrap up, and spend hours on the couch watching the Food Network and reruns of Criminal Minds.

I realize that is a slippery slope and will quickly put me on the path to the dreaded winter weight gain.  I want to avoid that by any means necessary. I’m assuming you do too. So, here are some suggestions to help keep your momentum with your healthy habits.

  1. Don’t resist the change, embrace it. I realize the important thing for me is to get my workout in. I’ve decided that I will get up on the mornings that I can to do my early workout. And on those days that I can’t get up, I can work out after work.
  2. Listen to your body. Just because my mind wants to stay with the salads and smoothies, my body is craving something different. I’ve dropped the smoothies for breakfast and added my oatmeal. I can incorporate smoothies later in the day for a snack if necessary, but as long as my body wants something warm and comforting in the morning, oatmeal it is.
  3. Incorporate activities that are compatible with the fall season. This is still a great time of the year to go hiking. It’s also a better time of year to get back into running. It’s harder to run when the temperatures are high, but fall weather makes for ideal running times. Finally, bring the activities indoors. Start that group fitness class you’ve been wanting try out, like spinning, Zumba, body pump, etc. Even if you like swimming, a lot of the major gyms have heated indoor pools.
  4. Prepare healthier versions of comfort foods. Pull out the crock pot and make your own chili or vegetable soup. When I make my own food I know it’s healthier. I can add as many veggies as I want. If it’s laden with veggies I can eat more food without adding a ton of calories.
  5. Nurture your soul by spending more time with family and friends. This is the ideal season to cherish your loved ones. If you’re going to be inside, make it quality time with family. Optimal health is about a holistic approach. When we nurture our mind, body, and spirit it fosters an environment for good health.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful. Until next time…

Peace, Love & Fitness!

Reference Links: http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/ayurvedic-treatments

Get Fit, Feel Free AND Have Fun!

hiking2When it comes to working out and staying motivated one of the best approaches is to find an activity you love. Spending time immersed in an activity that is physically challenging, but also enjoyable, will never feel like exercise and will keep you coming back. For me, that activity is hiking.

I got into hiking a few years ago and its truly an activity I cherish. I honestly can’t remember who introduced me to it. I’m guessing it was probably something I ended up trying from a desire to do something different. That’s typically how most hobbies begin for me. I get bored really easily so I’m always trying something different, especially when it comes to working out. I’ve been working out since I was 17, and have tried just about every fitness craze. I’m constantly looking for new adventures to rev up my workout. I’ve done kickboxing, spinning, hot yoga, cross fit, boot camps, and Zumba -just to name a few. But nothing has lasted as long as my love for hiking.

Hiking satisfies a multitude of my needs simultaneously. It provides physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits to me. That is what keeps me coming back. It also offers variety. Even though I tend to hike the same trail all the time, it’s just as challenging as the first time I did it, and it feels like a different workout every time. I absolutely love exercising outside. Being in nature makes me so happy; it’s the ultimate stress reliever for me. Finally, it nourishes my spirit. NOTHING makes me more aware of God’s presence and how real He is than when I’m near the ocean or when I’m in the mountains. The views and the scenery are so spectacular it confirms for me that God exists. I feel closer to God when I’m in nature than I do any other time. That’s why I prefer to hike alone. I occasionally go with a friend, but I typically go by myself.

So, because I love it so much, I wanted to offer you some insights about it, and make the case for why you might want to consider it.

1.  Hiking is inexpensive. It doesn’t cost anything to get on most trails. To reduce injury you will probably want to invest in some good hiking shoes and maybe a hiking/walking stick.

2. Hiking promotes mental health. Exercise in general helps reduce depression, stress and anxiety. This is especially the case for hiking. Hiking outdoors will help you feel closer to nature, which may increase your happiness and make you feel more fulfilled.

3. Hiking is a great workout. Outdoor hiking can be on a level, well maintained path, or up a pathless mountain. This makes it excellent for people who are hoping to improve their fitness level. They can continue to take more and more difficult paths. Also, depending on how hard you push yourself, hiking is a cardiovascular activity. So it has cardiovascular benefits, such as reducing the chances of heart disease. Finally, it’s excellent for muscle tone, especially cross country hiking because your body and legs have to compensate for the rough terrain by working harder.

4. Hiking allows you to experience nature and all of its splendor. There isn’t a gym workout that compares to the scenery you get on a hiking trail. Whenever I hike I make sure I take it all in. I don’t ever allow myself to take the views for granted. I never tire of looking at the city of Atlanta from atop Kennesaw Mountain.

5. Hiking is appropriate for any fitness level. Flat trails are ideal for beginners, whereas anyone looking for a challenging workout can venture onto trails with more hills and rough terrains. Uphill hiking can burn similar amounts of calories to jogging, up to 370 calories an hour.

Finally, I can’t end this blog without making a few recommendations. Hiking trails are plentiful all across the country and around the world. If you’re looking for a trail in your area there is an awesome site that provides information on hiking trails in every state. It’s www.AmericanTrails.org.

Georgia is included on that site, but I want to offer you a short cut. We have several trails available in our state parks. Click on this link for the list of all of our state parks -www.gastateparks.org. My favorite is Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park www.nps.gov/kemo because it’s beautiful and close to where I live.

Question: Now that you have all this information about hiking, do you think you’ll give it a try?