Driven By Beauty

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Whether we like to admit it or not, no matter how shallow it sounds, it is true, we are wired to like beautiful things. Naturally then, we are more likely to enjoy a beautiful meal, a workout in a beautiful place, a fitness routine with beautiful form, or the beautiful feeling of a goal accomplished!

My point? When is the last time you focused on not just the beauty of weight loss or growing strong muscles, and focused on the beautiful fitness, health and wellness routine you are creating? Are you having trouble hitting goals or milestone targets? Are you bored of your routine? Do you like the food you’re eating? Does the idea of reaching your goal light a fire under your ass to go do it?! If not, then you need to find the beauty in these things, find the passion and desire to succeed by creating something you want to do, eat, or experience!

A few quick tips:

Make your food attractive and pick brightly coloured fruits and veggies, and even beans, seeds, and grains!

Take your fitness to a nice park, your backyard (outdoor space in your building, a terrace/courtyard perhaps?) find a yoga studio where you like the decor and feel comfortable, or a fitness gym/studio where the “toys” speak to fun and fitness in your language.

If your goal doesn’t offer strong drive for you, it’s time to revise or rewrite until the feeling you get when you think about achieving it–whether it’s crossing a finish line, feeling good walking by a mirror in the buff, on the beach in a bathing suit, or achieving a strength goal–is a beautiful feeling that has you magnetized and focused more on what you want for the long term than what may act as a distraction right now.

My Beautiful Goal: Did you know that cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada and 30% of all deaths in our country are from cancer?! I am working towards a beautiful goal of raising $2500 for the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer benefiting Princess Margaret Hospital and Cancer Research Centre and riding my bike 200km! But there’s a story behind my goal that keeps me driven and passionate and is a beautiful full circle; in fact Canadian Cycling Magazine thought it made a great story and published it! And that’s a beautifully awesome feeling! I feel so honoured and so grateful that perhaps my story could inspire others, maybe it could help you connect with the beauty and purpose behind your healthy lifestyle goals. You can check it out here. And if conquering cancer is a cause you’d like to support, I’m so grateful for any donation you’d like to contribute. You can sponsor me in the ride here (all proceeds got to the ride and you get a tax receipt too).

Want to learn more about how to incorporate a beautiful routine into your life? Sign up for the weekly Awesomeness Update, or if you’re feeling ready to take action call 416-994-6267 or fill out an online request for a free consultation on how we can help create a program for you.

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© Lisa Kingsley-Correia and Create Fitness Health and Wellness, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited

Staying Active as it Gets Colder: 10 Tips for Fitness & Fun

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1. Keep your fitness goals in mind and create a plan for how you will achieve those during colder weather when maybe you just won’t want to or maybe even be able to workout outside (please no wild ice storms this year mother nature!).

2. Ty a new sport or winter activity: good places to start if you’ve not been active in the winter: skating, skiing (cross country or downhill), hockey. If you’re already seasoned to these why not try snowshoeing, curling, dogsledding (yup you can try it in Ontario cottage country!), or horseback trail riding, which is an amazing year round activity.

3.  Go play outside! Yes, just play outside. Remember when you were a kid? Or maybe you don’t if you didn’t grow up here, then even more reason to play in the winter, you can appreciate some of the fun that all this cold brings. It’s an adventure in fun and fitness you have likely forgotten about. I haven’t missed a year of crazy carpeting since I travelled and was out of country for the winter, and before that it was years. Why? Because it’s just too much fun not to take part in it. So go jump in a leaf pile, throw around a football, and in a couple of months build snowman, or even better a snow fort, have a snowball fight, or go tobogganing.

4. Find a few things you enjoy doing indoors and have the space for at home. Maybe it’s a workout video, dancing with your kids (or your dog, I know this happens!), or even your partner (wild idea I know!), maybe just some calisthenics to get you going in the morning.

5. Take some classes, hire a trainer, or find a gym buddy. Find a way to be accountable for doing your fitness routine and sticking to your goals. If you find a class you like you’ll probably meet friends that expect to be toughing it out with you each class. Hire a trainer if you’re really committed to ensuring goals happen and are ready to truly get results. Find a gym buddy if you know what you’re doing and you just need someone to meet and make sure you get to doing that workout.

6. Get to doing those home projects and those activities you ignore but want done (like dusting the top of the kitchen cupboards for example). Colder weather is the perfect time for those, and keeps you moving. So throw on some motivating tunes and get to it!

7. Think in layers. When it’s cold outside and you bundle up and exercise you will become a sopping sweaty mess very quickly under all of those clothes. So dress in layers for optimal comfort. Your base layer should be sweat wicking (merino  wool and many synthetics are better for this), and your top layer should be water and wind resistant. When you get too warm you can pull of a layer without going from bundled to exposed (and wet with sweat).

8. The equipment for the job. In addition to layers having the right equipment for the job is very important. So bundling in a ski jacket may be appropriate if you’re going skiing, also if you plan on running in the winter do you have shoes that will keep your feet warm and dry? Do you have a way of ensuring traction in potentially slippery conditions? In some winter activities you’ll want a tuque in others perhaps just a beanie. Big mitts or sleek but warm gloves? Make sure when it comes to the weather you’re ready for your chosen activities. Because I can’t make an exhaustive list here, ask me or use the staff at MEC, Europe Bound, Sporting Life, Running Room, Nike Stores, and others. They can be excellent resources for your sport specific needs.

9. Hydrate. Often in the winter when we don’t feel like we sweat as much,  or we’re “just playing”, or “just shovelling”, we will just not drink enough water either. We’re not seeking cool refreshment in the cold, but then make some herbal tea, or warm water with lemon, or just have some room temperature water, doesn’t have to be frigid, but with our heating systems that dry the air, we need it just as much, and perhaps because we neglect it, maybe even more!

10. If you want to stay active during the cooler weather take it easy when you’re under the weather, or you could end up prolonging or worsening your illness. If you’re illness is mild or you’re close to recovered you can do some lighter-than-usual cardio, and stretching is usually okay anytime, just go really gentle. If you’re super sick rest rest rest and that’s all, don’t even try to work or get stuff done around the house, do the bare minimum, seriously it’s the only time I usually advocate for it, but there is a time for and it’s when you’re very ill. And just no strength conditioning, sorry! I know some will miss it, but it creates further work for your body to repair (which is fine when you’re healthy) and that doesn’t bode well with getting better.

BONUS Tip! Perhaps you struggle with the seasonal changes, or you are just not motivated when it’s dark by 4:30, or just “ugh! it’s so cold!”. Try keeping your workout and your major need-to-do activities during daylight hours. I know this may require schedule adjustments, and perhaps lunchtime appointments, but our bodies really like the daylight. We’re not as nocturnal and our late teens and early twenties may have had us believe we could be, so do your best to do major productivity “stuff” in the daytime in order to ensure it gets done, and get enough sleep, to ensure you  feel awesome year round!

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Copyright © 2014, CREATE Fitness, Health & Wellness Inc. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lisa Kingsley-Correia and Create Fitness Health and Wellness Inc. with appropriate and specific direction to original content.

You Can’t Always Eat What You Want: but if you try sometime you just might find you get what you need

If you missed last week’s installment check it out, this is Part II. Last we talked portions, servings, and knowing what this all means to your nutritional needs and your health and fitness goals. It’s a good place to start when you’re not sure how to start making dietary changes. This week we’re looking at what to eat, or in some cases what not to eat when you’re looking to start a health and fitness program.

So let’s start with the very basics, you know it, you probably don’t want to hear it, but it is absolutely crucial to your success. The advice goes something like no more Coronas, Hagen-Dasz or Cheetos. Eventually you can be human and indulge in a treat here and there. But those aren’t foods, they are calories that serve no purpose to your system. When you look to not just lose a few pounds that you’ll gain back again (and often, a few more pounds), and want to truly end the cycle of insanity, you need to start looking at food as fuel; that sounds soooooo boring, I know! Let me tell you how much I don’t eat boring food, and I would never succeed at staying healthy and fit if it had to be. You’ll have to start working with herbs and spices and interesting ideas and preparation techniques (interesting not hard), but it can be easy and tasty. Life doesn’t have to be all broiled chicken breasts and steamed broccoli!

You may try to fool yourself into saying that some things that aren’t good are okay. But you know that a microwave dinner with a section of veggies, a protein, and a starch only sounds good until you see all of the additives in it and the fact that its questionable length of time spent frozen really limits (or completely annihilates) the potential for a live enzyme (good stuff that you’ll find in fresh raw fruits and veggies) to be present. You tell yourself these stories, but you know deep down, good food is barely any different from how it came from the earth (i.e. peeling a banana, or cooking the chicken is good) and is fresh. You know there is no way any of this heavily processed (actually engineered!) to appeal to our taste buds’ on an addictive level, is shaped to be a fun food, and/or live a long time on grocery store shelves, is actually any good for you.

So to get what you need the best advice I can give you is start by making sure every meal has:

* 1/2 of your plate filled with fruit and/or vegetables (1 meal should be fruit the others vegetables for healthy proportions).

*1/4 of every meal should be a protein-rich food. This would be meat, fish, poultry, beans, meat substitutes (not too many of these, most are filled with preservatives and fillers), eggs, some nuts (others are just very high in fat), and many dairy products (check the label and make sure, like nuts the product is not just high in fats)

*1/4 of your plate should be a complex carbohydrate. This is grains when they’re still brown, potatoes and sweet potatoes with the skin.

*Fats are still important and help initiate a bunch of very important bodily functions including release and regulation of a number of hormones, so don’t go cutting fat out! Healthy fats are very vital to our health and not enough can actually cause hormone imbalances. Since your hormones are the major controllers of how your body metabolizes energy I would recommend not depriving them of their much needed fats. That said 3 tbsp. a day is a good amount of healthy fat. This includes your salad dressings as well as oils used to cook.

Keep in mind each meal doesn’t have to be balanced as described above, just keep in mind that these are the proportions of food that you want to be eating every day. Most of us don’t get half the vegetables we need, too much high-fat protein like pork and beef, and all kinds of simple carbohydrates from grains which is just a pile of calories stripped of their nutrient value, prepared in a deep fryer and more than sprinkled with sugar, usually caked or crusted with it. Use these guidelines to start and be honest with yourself about the health value of your foods. Try recipes using spices and herbs, rather than tonnes of sugar and fat, to add flavour. Take on the food can be fuel and flavourful mindset, you’ll still enjoy it, kick-start your results and feel awesome!

For more tips on fitness and nutrition check us out on facebook, twitter, google + and instagram

And if you’re still having trouble getting results, we guarantee them, and offer a free consultation to get you started. Click here now to learn more.”

© Lisa Kingsley-Correia and Create Fitness Health and Wellness, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lisa Kingsley-Correia and Create Fitness Health and Wellness with appropriate and specific direction to original content.

Size Matters: how to get your portions under control (and not starve!)

If you’re new to fitness and health you may have gotten some great gains to begin with and now you’ve hit a plateau, or you may never have gotten many real weight loss results although you are fitter and stronger feeling. I guarantee this is because of what you are eating, and how much.

I am not even remotely suggesting you go on a diet, not even a little. I am suggesting you take up lifetime healthy eating habits. The suggestion is that you eat real food, that you eat all you want in the realm of vegetables, beans and legumes, and never starve yourself. That you get the right nutrients at the right times. And yes, at first this will seem like a diet because initially you will miss many of the “foods” and mindless quantities you previously indulged in.

I’ll be very brief on this first point, and delve deeper in the next installment on the “what”. Eat good food. You know what really good food is, it’s something your ancestors would have made to eat for a regular meal. Not a fancy meal, not for dessert or special occasions. That’s the short “what”, but let’s start off with the real detail in how much.

“Why start with how much?” you ask. Well because if you start with the right amount and the wrong food you quickly learn that you’ll starve. If you’re supposed to eat 7 servings of vegetables a day and only 3 servings of fat, you will quickly find yourself eating vegetables. While there are definitely better and worse vegetable preparation choices, you will still be eating much better than if your balance were leaning towards 7 servings of meat or dairy.

The most important notes on portion are the following

Measure your portions: eyeballing is good in a pinch, or once you’re an expert, but measuring keeps you honest. Even once you’re pretty experienced you’re best to return to the measuring cup for a week or so every once in a while, again it keeps you honest with yourself.

Learn what a serving is: A serving of cooked vegetables is different from raw. Nuts are measured at a 1/4 shelled. Some nuts and fruits, like macademia and avocado for example are high in fat and best considered fats instead of proteins or fruit, respectively. They are healthy fats, but fats nonetheless. Most cheeses have a bite-size amount as a serving, but cottage cheese is a whole cup per serving, and ricotta a 1/2 cup.

Understand the difference between a serving size, packages’ “serving size”, and portion size: The Canada Food Guide, American Food Pyramid, and most other bodies that advise on health (and even diets) have a fairly standard way of categorizing and measuring foods. Companies producing these foods do not always adhere to these standards when delegating a serving size to their food, it is often not particularly relative to anything we relate to a standard serving size, be wary of this when eating foods with nutrition information. The more processed and hard to categorize a food is, generally the more inconsistent their ideas of serving sizes are. Portion size is how much you put on your plate. You could eat 2 servings of bread in one meal and that would be 1 portion. People will use these words interchangeably and sometimes without much understanding. Now you know the difference, say whatever you want, as long as you understand the difference!

So take a look at one of the food guides and start to learn about how much of each food you should be eating every day for your sex and age (these are general guidelines, if you are very active at work or play you may need more!. This alone should help you to start yielding some results.

For more tips on fitness and nutrition check us out on facebook, twitter, google + and instagram

And if you’re still having trouble getting results, we guarantee them, and offer a free consultation to get you started. Click here now to learn more.

© Lisa Kingsley-Correia and Create Fitness Health and Wellness, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lisa Kingsley-Correia and Create Fitness Health and Wellness with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Keep Growing, Keep Learning… and try not to split your pants!

So often we get stuck in these ruts of doing the same old thing. At our homes, with our families, and at our jobs. There comes monotony and stagnation. While routine is good, expanding and learning and growing with a routine is even better!

To ensure you get the best quality service, and fitness and wellness care, it is a priority to ensure that learning and growing are happening in the CREATE world all the time.

Last week many of you know I was at a fitness conference, where I did sessions learning new fitness techniques to introduce at the studio, but I also took a couple fitness business-based courses too. You’ll notice in the past few months some things have changed in terms of the customer experience. I am always looking for ways to keep you all well-served and loving the CREATE experience even if you have to be at the studio tired and early or exhausted after work.

I also learned a few more interesting lessons: if you wear track pants with no stretch you may split your pants as you split your squat. You can replace said pants with really bright colourful ones, and if “own” the look you get compliments, if you’re sheepish about your bright “out there” pants you’ll get pointed and laughed at. Be brave and be unique: own your awesomeness! I learned restraint can be gratifying. There are no new toys for the studio from the trade show this year (a first!). Buying gimmicks, cheap “stuff”, or things that won’t get used for the sake of buying is not “saving” just because it’s on sale. It also takes up valuable space and create more stuff to dust, no benefit to you or CREATE (ok I knew this one, it’s harder to remember with the equivalent of a “big kid’s toy store sale!”). So you see it’s not only the sessions that offer the lessons.

Every year I also endeavour to take on this conference (which is the biggest in N. America), and also to advance my knowledge and growth within the fitness and wellness realm in some other manner.

This past year’s endeavour was HUGE, so it’s going to take almost a year and a half, but I want to take the time to learn and absorb all of the fantastic knowledge that’s being conveyed to me. I will have my 200RYT at the end, that is, I will have a whole lot of yoga training and practice under my belt and not just be recognized as certified as I am now, but registered with the Yoga Alliance.

I want not only to teach you fitness, but to inspire you to grow and learn in all aspects of your life as wellness of the body and mind are linked. Yoga doesn’t just say so, there are numerous studies about it! I’m sharing it to A) set an example for you to carry on learning in a realm you enjoy or to try something new, and B) let you know that I do always continue to learn so that you are always getting the best, the newest information, and if it proves safe and worthy, perhaps the newest trend or gimmick too!

So how have you challenged yourself to learn and grow lately? (Aside from the fitness, unless that’s your newest thing to master!) Learning and mastering new things is always hard, but once you’re getting it the rewards are usually far beyond your new skill or realm of knowledge and have grown you in other ways.

So stop putting off that course you wanted to sign up for, that class you’ve been meaning to take, or joining that club. Chanting: Do it! Do it! Do it!

Click to Learn and Grow more Awesomeness in your life and registeri for your complimentary Fitness Consultation today!

Yoga, Drunken Fishermen and Bikinis: Life Lessons from the Dock

The dock at my cottage has often been a place of reflection and inspiration for me. I have likely spent more hours here than anywhere else on or around the property, although in the lake is likely a close second. It is from the dock that this week’s newsletter is being created.

This morning I did some yoga on the dock too (as I often do), and unfortunately I had forgotten that my cottage yoga clothes were in the clean laundry pile I forgot at home. No excuses, I decided I would do double duty this morning: daily vitamin D intake cottage-style (in other words low SPF sunscreen and a bikini), and yoga combined. This somewhat risqué approach to yoga-wear I knew might attract some attention. However, I didn’t foresee the judgment it attracted would reinforce valuable lessons to share.

9:00 am

I sat reading on the dock at first and 2 men were trolling by in a boat furthering their beer bellies and fishing. With their engine running they couldn’t hear each other well, however I could hear their conversation as if they were next to me with the way the sound carries over the water. They swore profusely, spoke very poorly of their wives, and defended to each other their right to be “smashed until I leave” and how they should be able to drink and drive home because their wives don’t understand that drinking and fishing is the best talk time men have and it should last right ‘til the end of the weekend. I judged them harshly in my mind and thought how grateful I am to be a woman and have what I deem to be better conversations than the one I just overheard.

10:00 am

I am doing yoga now, the same 2 men troll by. This time I hear them talking about me. They are saying “look at her doing that in her bikini”, “desperate for attention”, and “thinks she’s so hot, her ass is eating those bottoms”.

Now I wasn’t hurt by what they said, I knew I had reason and logic for doing what I was doing, and yes “my ass is eating those bottoms” it’s a Brazilian bikini bottom, they simply don’t cover as much bum (they are all the rage in Portugal, as my sister and I discovered on our recent trip. We were the ONLY women not wearing them, but we fixed that. Now apparently, we’re the only ones wearing them here, but now how can I revert to a lesser tan?). But really, I just don’t care what most people think.

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That’s Lesson 1: the only opinion about you that really matters is your own. If you take personally everyone’s 2 cents you won’t be left with any self-esteem nor anything you could do with your life that everyone would approve (career-wise, hobby-wise, spiritually, or otherwise). There will always be opinions, favourable and unfavourable (you know the saying about everyone having an opinion). If you can use the favourable ones as support or a boost that’s fantastic! But remember you may also get boosts and support from others even if you’re not living in a way that supports a positive opinion of yourself and thus, at the end of the day check-in with your opinion of you. Keep in mind also sometimes even your own can be very harsh; you may want to reflect on whether you’re being fair to yourself when you find yourself in a position of being overly self-critical. Ask yourself if you’d berate a friend the way you are doing to yourself.

Lesson 2: you never know who can hear you, or is listening. Don’t say things you wouldn’t want others to know about you unless you are in real and true private. Don’t say things about others you wouldn’t want to get back to them. I mean for all these guys know if I can hear them clearly, so may their wives.

Lesson 3: Rather than judge others, save your judgments and use other’s less favourable behaviour to clarify who you want to be. Use the energy to better yourself rather than lessen another. After judging those men, only to be judged by them an hour later really hit home this point. I think they were wrong about me, but maybe there’s something I misunderstood. Also, maybe I was wrong about them. Maybe not. It doesn’t matter, what does is getting an even better grasp of where I’m going and adjusting my course. We’re often so busy telling others they’re going the wrong way we forget to check our own compass. Remember, only your going the right direction, and being on course is what matters.

1:38 pm As I close writing this piece someone from their dock just spoke to them from across the lake. And now they know everyone has heard their conversations for the last 4.5 hours. They are now discussing how they must chat more quietly. And everyone on the lake can still hear this conversation. I’m grateful I got to take home some lessons today, each of us in our own time I suppose.

 

We won’t judge you if you’re not ready for a free consultation, but if you’re ready to take charge of your fitness and health we have answers for your fitness, health and wellness needs. Call 416-994-6267 to request your free consultation or click to fill out a webform request.

Getting in the Mind Game

I’m fairly certain most people think the hardest part of fitness is the working out part. You see grueling videos of people doing exercises that make you think “uh yeah, right!”. Let’s face it, anybody who has worked hard to be able to do such things likes to show off so you don’t see nearly as many people doing “regular workouts”,, and then on the other end of things you get all these “fail” videos and that can be equally as discouraging. Well, all those discouraging thoughts are part of the “mind game”.

We can’t shut off our brains and they are in fact the hardest part to deal with when getting fit, and really, when it comes to accomplishing any goal. So the remainder of this post will be from the perspective of overcoming our mind’s paralyzing, defeatist, down-talking ways in relation to accomplishing any goal, because when it comes to winning against the cynical mind, it really isn’t a matter of what you’re trying to accomplish, it’s about having the tools to get the dreamer’s mind winning, making dreams reality, and teaching that cynical side to stuff it!

“Conquering” the mind game is the first part of achieving any goal, if you’re not winning at this you’re not going to win, sorry. Be ready to take on your inner jerk.

I’m going to briefly introduce the concept of Raja yoga here, without getting too philosophical on anyone who’s not into yoga (going to point out quickly and immediately for anyone religious that yogic philosophy can be applied within any religion without going against, changing, or losing one’s faith, research for yourself this belief is a myth). The Raja yoga path is important as it pertains to mastery and control of one’s own mind; the ability to focus. And really, any accomplishment of a goal is the ability to focus on it, not be deterred by other, usually external factors that sway you from what you really are going for. Now there’s a lot more to it than that, but that’s the most basic breakdown and is particularly relevant to what we’re discussing here.

Did I mention Raja means King is Sanskrit? So be the king of your mind. Have focus and control. You don’t perceive a king letting everyone run his kingdom. You are the king, so you don’t let external factors and the internal cynic (this part is comparable to a king’s shady advisor with an ulterior motive) rule your kingdom.

We can also make the comparison of the little devil and angel on one’s shoulders so often seen in cartoons. Maybe you’ve never pictured it as such personally, but next time you hear that negative “voice” telling you sarcastically “way to go!” or “as if you could do that” feel free to tell it where to go, or you can thank it for its opinion, “but I’m going to do xyz instead.”

I think most of us aren’t even aware of how often the little devil makes an appearance in our thoughts (start paying attention and you’ll be shocked at its presence), often when we’re doing something we said we wouldn’t (i.e. partaking in a bad habit), that guy isn’t even being rude, more like “oh it’s fine, it’s just one.” or “you’ll be back on that wagon tomorrow”.

How about we compare this little devil to a friend? If your friends were rude to you every time you “messed up”, you’d stop being friends. And if you have friends that continually sabotage your dreams and goals (and we all have at some point) we usually end this friendship, allow it to fade away, address the issue with them (if we’re not willing to let go of the friendship, I recommend this as the healthiest choice) OR we let them continue to be part of the problem—often harbouring resentment—then accept and live with the problem (aka letting go of the goal/dream).

So now you’re ready to beat that little devil and get your mind game on. Excellent! To start that means you have to be aware of the way you talk to yourself, let the little angel do the talking. Self-talk should be only as good, or better than you would deal with an annoyed/angry/frustrated/incompetent customer if you were working a customer service job (and were actually doing a good job!).

On the road to any goal, especially in a realm that is not your strong point, you will have to work hard, overcome setbacks, and probably fail a few times Yup. Fail! More than once. That’s part of life, challenges, and goal achievement. The question is are you going to get back up? You learned to use a knife and fork, walk, maybe ride a bike or swim, didn’t you? You failed a heck of a lot at those for sure. It was ok to be annoyed, angry, frustrated, and incompetent. Heck, it was ok to have a foot-kicking floor-squirming crying tantrum sometimes, and all the while that little angel was just chilling, waiting for you to get it together enough to tell you “it’s ok, just try again.” She was winning customer service awards left, right, and centre when you were a kid! So why are you beating yourself up now?! Stop it!

Now, and this is key, you must believe you can. If you can’t believe it’s possible you will run out of steam very quickly and give up. If it’s a very big goal and impossible to believe, then rework it. Now. Make it smaller and truly believable. Once you have some power of achievement backing you up to wave in the face of the little devil when it tries to get you down, then you can make it bigger because you have proof it’s wrong.

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t—you’re right.” –Henry Ford

Now some tools. Your little devil will automatically tell you this is lame. I thought so too, but really, how’s listening to that crap been working out for you so far? Alright then:

1. Figure out what you want… not what you don’t want! Try I want to be thin, feel fabulous and healthy, I want to be smoke-free and be able to run, I want to be happy with what I have and save money.

2. Frame your goal in the present tense, as if your goal is already a reality. Try I am thin, feel fabulous and healthy, I am smoke-free and be run like a champ, I am happy and have all I need, my savings grow every day.

3. Stand in from of a mirror, close your eyes (yes, I know that makes no sense, it will, one step at a time, ok?).

4. Remember a real time in your life when you felt strong/empowered/confident/able to do anything. A time when you felt all of those would be awesome, but if you have just one or two of those feelings that will do. Note that this memory doesn’t have to be related to your current goal.

5. Remember that moment and how you felt, really get in to that moment, and more importantly, that feeling. When you’ve captured that feeling vividly…

6. .. open your eyes. Look yourself in the eye and say your present tense goal.

7. Do 3-6 daily.

8. Repeat this “goal mantra” every time you have a little devil “you can’t” moment. Do the whole darn thing if the time and place are appropriate. Note that shared public bathrooms will have you looking very weird, so I don’t recommend it. But if it’s one of those make or break moments, weird might be better than failing. Alternately, if you can’t handle screw-faced looks from people it might be best not to attract them when you’re already in a weak state; just use your discretion.

9. Tell that little devil to shove it, you know it sounds lame, but ask: ”what of extraordinary and overwhelmingly positive significance have you done for me lately?!” …………… “Right bud! Thanks for your opinion, but I’m going to try this.”

And now to conclude with something very cliché: you’ve only got one chance at this life thing, so you may as well be in it to win it and try your best. Focus on your progress and praise yourself when you’re doing well. You don’t want your life to be coming to a close only to regret going for mediocre.

Everything you do is a statement of what you think you are wroth. Act accordingly!

© Lisa Kingsley-Correia and Create Fitness Health and Wellness, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lisa Kingsley-Correia and Create Fitness Health and Wellness with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sooooo you want to go on a diet?

As a trainer people always ask me what diet is best and how to eat. While not a nutritionist I do have some nutritional training, lots of experience personally (I haven’t yet mentioned in this blog my personal struggles with food: enormous capacity to overindulge, which has left many in awe, and I’ve suffered from major compulsive eating behaviours!) and knowing what my clients eat too, I can tell you this: the best diet is no “diet” at all!

 

What?!

 

It’s actually very simple. You do have to pay attention to what you eat, and make a lifestyle of it (in fact that’s the trick to “dieting”), BUT it is super simple: eat real food, mostly veggies, fruits, beans/legumes, some other protein-based foods, and a few whole grains, nuts and seeds, and stop when you are 80% full. I will delve into greater detail below, and share rationale for each “rule”.

 

Let me qualify the definition of real food. It is food that someone 150 years ago would have understood the concept of, along with the way it is packaged. So yes, they may have known crackers, but not from a box! While tomatoes and pickles might have been a canned item cream of asparagus soup wasn’t! In addition real food generally has a short ingredient list, a curry perhaps being an exception. This ingredient list should only contain items someone 150 years ago would understand.

 

What about my favourite international recipe or recipe from your country of origin? Foreign is ok, so if you were to have asked a Thai/Indian/Mexican/Italian 150 years ago and they would have understood you’re in the clear. FD&C anything, artificial anything, high fructose corn syrup, glucose, fructose, dextrose, maltose (look up all the names for sugar) MSG (look up all the names for this too!), etc. is not real food, anything that contains it is not real food.

 

But sugar and butter and flour were around 150 years ago. Yes, they were, and they are real food, now let’s be clear the less processed the better. So if it’s white you want that to be a VERY limited part of your consumption. Remember also the rule about eating mostly vegetables, fruits and legumes; with those in mind sugar and flour and butter are limited to minor additions anyhow.

 

You also want to look at making natural protein sources the next food group on that list. Proteins are beans/legumes, eggs, fish, poultry, dairy, and meat. I would include them in that order from most consumed frequently to least. Organic tofu (this is a whole other topic but soy crops are way too messed with to eat anything but real unadultered soy), and in more limited quantities (unless you’re vegan, then give ‘er!) nuts and seeds are fantastic and healthy too, remember though that nuts and seeds are calorie dense so pardon the pun but don’t go nuts! Processed meats are so full of badness I would avoid them like the plague particularly if they are packaged and not from the deli counter. Of course we’re avoiding processed food, but processed meats often get forgotten for being processed when new to eating a real food diet. Fake meats for vegetarians are also something to maintain on the special occasion list as they’re usually heavily processed and full of additives.

 

That’s a lot simpler than most books heh? Why should you care about all the health factors you just want to lose weight? Well if you want to keep it off and maintain it, you’re going to need a lifestyle plan not a short-term diet. You can’t sustain long term weight-loss with a diet. If you want a healthy body weight and to feel good know that it’s a commitment. It’s a little tricky at first, but gets easier day-by-day, and while you’ll always love your crappy favourites, you’ll love them less, and you’ll actually crave good food! Also, the most important part of your immune system is all the bacteria in your gut, that’s where it all starts. If you don’t keep it healthy things just go downhill from there. You won’t just be overweight, you could be sick too. That’s why (as a kid who grew up in the 80s) you should “give a care”!

 

If you want more detail I’m sure in future blogs I will cover more but want to keep it simple for those who are looking for easy to digest information. Nutrition and health are things we should understand, they’re the building blocks of the one thing we own for life. Instead food is viewed as a burden, chore, entertainment, pastime, optional when it’s inconvenient, and many other strange and unhealthy ways, and we pay with illness and disease. Remember next time you pull up to the drive through that a bucket of chicken nor a Big Mac make for quality building blocks. For a little bit more detail keep reading, there’s a paragraph or 2 on each rule so that you can understand the “whys” of each one.

 

Eat real food: Processed foods are not food. We eat it, often it tastes good and is convenient, but that was the point when it was designed in a lab. And food should be grown and eaten, not grown, designed, fortified, tested, tweaked, packaged and marketed. To get my point across when’s the last time you saw a citrus fruit that had to say “Now with Vitamin C!” in order to help you select if you’d get a lime or a grapefruit? With regard to refined foods (usually the white “white” version of grains and sugar), they are real food with all of the nutrition removed and the calories left behind. If I told you I was going to give you the packaging my iPhone came in (and apple does have nice packaging, looks good) but there’s nothing inside, would you want it?! White bread/sugar/rice looks so clean and uniform, but it’s like the empty iPhone box: it fills a void, but it serves no purpose. Since the whole point of eating is to provide nutrition of which the refined food is void, it’s best avoided.

 

Mostly veggies, fruits and legumes: that is what our digestive tract was meant to process most. They contain both kinds of fibre which keeps those insides clean and moving freely allowing for your body to readily absorb nutrients and remove waste. They are full of micronutrients (also known as vitamins), and your body was designed to get vitamins from these foods and not a tablet, so your body will absorb this goodness better than from a vitamin tablet. They are low in calories. Our diets are generally very calorie dense, by the time we feel full we’ve eaten way more calories than we should have if we haven’t loaded up on these foods; this is why so many of us are overweight.

 

You’re thinking: some people say fruits are too full of sugar. Really? You’re afraid of the calories in fruit sugar but eat crap non-food, c’mon now! If you are diabetic be smart about this and use moderation. If you’re not diabetic think of fruit as nature’s candy.

 

Stop when you’re 80% full: It takes a while for the signal to get from your stomach to your head that you’re full. So stop and wait for that signal to arrive rather than stopping at full and feeling overfull by the time you’re clearing the dishes… and you should be clearing dishes, fast food restaurants don’t make real food, even if it looks legit there’s all kinds of nasty and preservatives added, sorry!

 

Some protein in a particular order: protein is important, especially if you’re very active, but unless you’re a vegetarian or vegan you get enough for sure, probably more than you need and your kidneys have to work overtime to process the excess. So despite what certain high protein diet pushers will tell you about hunter gatherers, we were more gatherer hunters. Flesh from fish to meat were a limited part of our diet. A) we had to catch it and B) we lived in communities where we had to share it, in other words 12 oz. meat was on a list of extreme rarities, if ever. And in case you haven’t tried, animals aren’t easy to catch especially without a gun or perfectly engineered crossbow, that’s even still not always easy, so meat wasn’t going to be a daily indulgence for our ancestors (yes, there are a few exceptions in some cultures. I welcome you to eat a predominantly raw whale meat diet, for example, if you prefer. I’m just thinking what I recommend is more realistic for most people’s available food selection). So the above explains why beans/legumes are first on the list. The rest: eggs are easier to catch, than their moms, they don’t run away, which means we also would have had more of them in our diets for millennia and therefore can absorb nutrients from them well, if you want to look at protein from an evolutionary standpoint (there are a few very popular diets surrounding evolution right now.

 

Fish and poultry are good sources of protein, fish also have healthy fats, and neither is associated with heart disease the #1 North American killer. That said, excess fish consumption is associated with mercury poisoning. Farmed fish, meat and chickens are raised in very unhealthy environments. Generally we reject “yucky” looking produce because who wants to eat rotten or deformed food? Can’t be good for you right? Well then, you might want to apply that to your meat. I don’t want to scare anyone or show anyone disturbing pictures (I don’t like that either), just know that if it isn’t organic it probably falls in to the unhealthy/rotten/deformed category (or does significant environmental damage that will screw over our source of air or water, which you might need as well). Either way, probably time to ease up on quantity and go for a few quality pieces of organic meat every once in a while instead.

 

Dairy is for baby cows. I know I love it too! But it’s not like human milk, and would you even drink human milk? No? That’s gross you say? But from a cow it’s fine? I see.

 

Never mind how silly our mindset around this is, here are the facts: an estimated 65-75% of the world’s population cannot properly digest dairy products. If your descendants are from northern Europe you may be luckier and your chances of feeling awful after dairy consumption are only 5-20% depending on the country, if you’re from Asia though chances are you’re 90-100% likely to feel like crap! And the rest of the world sits somewhere in between. It is incidentally quite racist how dairy works itself out, except for with Indians: if you’re from Northern India you’re a lower 30% chance of lactose intolerance vs. South Indians who are at 70%,. There dairy wants to divide the country. Otherwise, for the most part it has a lot to do with genetics, and therefore race. I’m not racist, but dairy is and I’m conveying the facts of racist dairy folks.

 

So since most of us are looking to improve our diet, putting something in that we cannot properly digest, real food or not, isn’t a great idea, especially since creating an imbalance like that begs to alter the overall balance of our system. If you can digest it that’s great, it’s not to be overdone as it still is high in fat most of the ways it’s presented (cheese, butter, sour cream). If it’s reduced fat it is refined/processed and therefore not real whole food (and affects its digestibility and nutrient absorption once it’s made lower fat!). Just keep those guidelines in mind, also overall butter, yogurt, kefir, and well-ages cheeses tend to be the most digestible for most.

 

So now you understand they “whys” and I’ve done it up for you in 2500 words. So much easier than reading a book on a fad diet that isn’t sustainable, so that you’ll just have to read another one when a new fad comes along. That cycle can be OVER!!! YAY!!!

 

On the validity of this information:

Is this just my opinion? Nope. I mean this isn’t anyone else’s exact advice, BUT there have been several studies done over the years (I’m going with 80-ish years for those wanting numbers), the most newly published I’ve read was published this year (2014). Smarty pants’ from Ivy League schools and such have a lot of the same things to say as I do, but make it all complicated sounding. Or the beef and dairy industry lobby for propagation of their products despite that they’re not so great for us in the massive quantities that we eat them, so you don’t really hear this eat real food perspective as much as you should.

 

I always encourage further learning and investigating more for yourself. Most of the food documentaries on Netflix are a great place to start (caution on “Vegucated” it’s an experiment in veganism. It’s graphic: good to know where your food comes from, but I had a tough time watching and this approach didn’t suit me). Everyone needs to know more about their bodies and what they put in to it. After all you’re stuck with it for life, may as well ensure you’re in on how to operate it; you’ve been driving it without knowing for how long now?!

 

The sources are from years of accumulated knowledge via school lectures, magazine articles, peer-reviewed journals, conferences and other professional development, documentaries, books, and some valid internet sources. I cannot define where or how each tidbit of knowledge came to me, sometimes I’ve received it via a multitude of these sources. I do encourage you to learn more if you’re not sure. For those who don’t have it in them to look it all up there’s one that’s sure, and I’m sure you know it just to hear it: I’m not steering you wrong when I say “Eat real food!”

Unite for Awesomeness!

I’ve had some experiences lately that have left me uneasy. Experiences where competition was not friendly, where potential camaraderie among my peers with common goals and interests was trumped by a need to judge, puff up their chests and flaunt their feathers. I then realized that this week we celebrated International Women’s Day and it’s the perfect time to shed some light on these experiences and share how much power we have among each other to enable or disable one another; what kind of woman do you want to be? (and if you’re a man, what kind of woman do you want your wife/mother/daughter/sister to be? Sometimes we ladies need reminders from the important men in our lives!).

So two experiences lately that left me feeling ugh! And I’ll finish with a most amazing story:

I got a week trial membership at a new high-end, gym in Toronto recently (yes, I have a studio, but it’s always coo to check out new “fitnessy” places) that’s marketed for hardcore types. I went in a few times, well I was thoroughly enjoying some of the equipment that’s not ideal for the boutique studio and having a great time. But the women in there stared and competed with one another in ways that were awfully uncomfortable.We’ve all had that feeling when you can tell you’re being judged with every move, and I not only felt it but could see it happening all over the gym among others. It left a terrible “vibe” with me. Then there were the few that were friends, but then they would collectively be judging and watching, which of course was even worse. Ugh!

In large part I kind of wanted to join a gym again in order the hire a trainer for myself (why do so many trainers not see the benefit of having one themselves?). This attitude of non-support and unhealthy judgment and competition turned me off though. As it turns out some of the friendly girls were trainers at that gym working out in their off-time. Perhaps that because I clearly knew what I was doing they wrote me off as “not a potential client”. That’s a shame for them, but really that attitude is a shame for all of us!

Recently on facebook and elsewhere on the web I’ve seen a lot of posts of women who are hot plus size ladies being compared to thin and/or fit women in a way that’s judging/bashing them as skinny and unattractive. I’ve also seen fit women bashing skinny women… The whole gamut, except of course bashing the plus size women because that’s just wrong and no one would dare! BUT WAIT! Why is it okay to bash anybody for a shape or build that in large part is not their choice, but genetic? Or maybe it is a choice, but if you’re healthy (i.e. not anorexic, obese, suffering from body dysmorphism or disordered eating) why should you be made to feel bad about it? And if not healthy, well why is anyone like that save for either starving to reach ideals or stuffing emotions and food often but not solely caused by this judgement and competition.

You see fat girls have gotten the dirty end of the stick since the thin trend decided to stick around for so many decades. Ironically, North Americans are now heavier than ever (that’s a whole other issue!), so achieving the “ideal” is harder than ever to boot! Yup, plus size lovelies have a tough time, no denying that. And if you are having a tough time with that body image why on earth would you try to make anyone else of any other shape or size suffer in their own skin?! Why fit girls would  not inspire skinny girls rather than voice to the world “that” is not who I am and don’t compare me to it!” And why skinny girls would you make anyone not a size 00 feel huge?! Ugh!

Let’s face it, women are primed from childhood to compete with each other in ways that are less obvious and more insidious and isolating than men. Ways that cause us, rather than working as teams to take down another team in friendly competition, to tear each other down and break each other apart. Often in unfair matches of 5 to 1, without any rules (like competitive team sports), with simple words like fat, skinny, slut, prude, butch, priss, bitch, I’ll stop there. You know the words. You’ve used them or had them used on you, likely both. Sometimes it’s more than just words. Either way, it doesn’t matter: you get my point.

So now you’re feeling pretty UGH! Well let me tell you about 5 amaaaaaazing women. Jana, Esther, Marita, Femke, and Jenny; they were known as “The Girls” if you decided that the epic thing to do with your life in 2012 was ride your bicycle from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa.

Most of us came on the trip alone, only a few shared the experience with a partner or friend. None of The Girls knew each other prior to the trip, and in fact hailed from all different countries. But they bonded quickly and began riding together and supporting one another through the long tough days.

Me (red shirt) and "The Girls"

The Girls and I on a morning where they offered me much needed support to break a record.

This wasn’t some kind of exclusive club, they would sometimes split up or someone else would join them, but overall they stuck together and supported one another. And in doing so they broke records, had a heck of a time (we all did, I mean come on, we rode our bicycles across Africa, but they rocked it!), and added a whole lot of awesomeness to the days: dressing up to cross borders (not something I’m going to recommend doing but in all scenarios turned out fine), an interesting take on the classic Easter Egg Hunt (designed for 60 adults, that’s planning), a group quiz night (what a bunch of laughs!). I could go on and on. But I’ll finish with they supported each other through it all, and they all finished EFI (every f***ing inch of Africa) without ever hitching a ride, grabbing a support truck, etc. One of them had several broken toes, one had a crummy bike and found herself borrowing anyone else’s any time she could, another ended up with some nerve damage to her hands due to lack of shocks and excess of bumpy road, it’s amazing she could hold her handlebars the whole time. 12,000km (7450 miles)! In temperatures that went from 2C to 54C (35F- 129F). And while they are all strong and devoted women, and I don’t doubt that given the right circumstances they could do it on their own, they were able to do it (mostly) gracefully, enjoyably, happily because of one another, and contribute to making it fantastic for everyone around them too!

So do you want to be woman who tears others down OR do you want to be a woman who bands with others to be amazing?! Together we can do anything… well maybe we can’t fly but I’ve seen 5 great women ride bicycles the distance of 1.5 times around the Earth in 4 months, and I’m certain that’s “anything” enough!

For more fitness awesomeness check out:

http://www.createyourawesomeness.com

http://www.instagram.com/createyourawesomeness

http://www.facebook.com/createfitnesshealthwellness

http://www.twitter.com/lisakctrainer

https://plus.google.com/117728837895759455000/posts

For more on epic cycling expeditions across continents I offer a 100% unsponsored shout out to Tour D’Afrique http://www.tourdafrique.com

Just the Base-Six

Based on not-so-empirical nor well-charted data, and thirty-some years of experience it’s still fairly safe to say this: no one signed up for this “body thing” as far as they can remember. No one seems to be able to find any signed lifetime contract for the “mind thing” and its unfathomably bizarre complexities either. Yet the only things everyone we’ve ever known seems to have in common are these two things and what comes with ownership of them.

Sure everyone’s are fairly personalized. Some come with various features internally and externally, sometimes they are not what we would have ordered, if only we could recall having ordered “this one”. Some parts breakdown, we break them because we haven’t taken good care, had an accident, or they break and we can’t even figure out why. A couple things are very clear: no one gets a manufacturer’s warranty and it didn’t come with instructions.

Of course you don’t have to look hard for instructions. Many are all too happy to foist upon you what to believe, or how to make your body like the most popular celebrities. This site won’t bother with that. It will “bother” to help you improve, maintain or even maximize the ability of your body, fine-tune your mind, attitude, goals and dreams. It’s a bout you, it doesn’t judge your idea of ideal fitness, dreams or goals. Although you may find yourself  wanting to take a tighter grip of the reigns, rather than letting the wild horses of life drag you away from the places you dream of.

Maybe you’re thinking this sounds good, but who the heck are you? And how are you qualified? Although I think my own life is fascinating, I won’t bore you, BUT there’s a little about me at the end of the article if you really want to know. I’ll give you this: you can learn the not-hard-read-a-blog tips, ways, tricks, systems, tools, etc. to create what you want. I didn’t take such a simple route, but these things are what I do now and life is good!

If you’re already on to a fitness routine and feel good that is excellent! You’ve got step 1 down (you can come back later when we delve into other “stuff” , or to shake up the fitness routine. Until then there are facebook and twitter links below for more goodness).

If you wonder: why basic fitness first? It’s hard to believe you can do the things you want to if physically you don’t feel well, strong, and capable (and maybe haven’t for years!).  Think about it: you expect amazing results to be able to do what you want, achieve goals and/or dreams but you’re not managing the vehicle that’s going to make it all happen. How are you going to manage your dream business/intense managerial position/amazing relationship with a partner/friends/family, or whatever it is you desire most? Now let’s imagine you also want to enjoy these things you’ve worked towards. So you see it is necessary you are feeling well, strong and capable. Learn to manage yourself well first so that you can manage more!

Let’s start with the Base-Six™. These are 6 basic strength exercises and a couple of other tools for the basic care of your body. Also remember: I don’t know you, so check with your doctor if you have any health conditions or have any doubt that you can safely start an exercise program.

You’re going to need to:

  • Do cardio (repetitive and constant movement like power walking/jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing, aerobic classes). If you are very inactive start off slowly and build up. At least 3, up to 5 days a week. Go for at least 10 minutes at a time, but totalling 30 minutes throughout the day. Make sure to use the first few minutes to warm up gradually, and the last few to cool down gradually. Make sure you do warm up/cool down every time if you’re splitting it up.
  • Strength training. You do not have to look muscular, you just have to maintain your body so it is healthy. 2 to3 times a week. 6 basic moves is all you need to start (once you start to get a little stronger it gets boring not to switch it up a bit!). Add one of the Base-Six moves each week. Do 12 to start, take a break, do 12 more. I’m going to list them, but for details on each move (how to make them easier/challenging, important safety tips), I will be posting one move a week for the next 6 weeks on the facebook link below. Base-Six exercises: Squat, Lunge, Row, Press/Push Up, Shoulder Press, Plank.
  • Stretch: every day that you exercise. At the end of your workout while your muscles are still warm. Be gentle: feel tension, but not pain (this is not just because it sounds nice, pain is a message from your body to stop!). Hold, don’t bounce, each stretch for 30 seconds (seconds! Not count to 30 as fast as you can) or more if you like. You will find more on this on facebook.

Remember: start slowly, build up. You CAN do it! This is the first step to a life of what you want, so take charge now! Let me know how you’re doing in the comments below, on facebook, or email.

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/createfitnesshealthwellness

https://twitter.com/lisakctrainer

Who the heck I am and why I’m qualified: My name is Lisa Kingsley-Correia (Lisa K-C). My education and career experience are primarily in the fitness and recreation industry. I’ve almost always worked with children too (young people offer so much perspective outside of our closed conditioned adult minds!). In terms of goals and dream achievement: fitness education offers a lot in the realm of goal achievement, I’ve adapted much of it to apply to life. For decades I chose “the hard way” to do many things and not always in an admirable manner. I finally learned that this approach to life wasn’t working for me and started learning to take to heart some lessons. I have now become very happy, enjoy my life, and achieve my goals and dreams all the time. I love being able to share this, so you can feel the freedom I do!