Break Free From Your ROUTINE
Routine can be as addictive as a tub of Ben & Jerry’s right after a…well let’s just be real…after one spoonful.
And while enjoying this (as a major treat every now and again in the correct portion…OMG I sound like my mother, sorry) is relative to savouring the moment, it can also sabotage all of your efforts to live a healthy, fit, lifestyle.
Same goes for routine. I know it may not seem that way but it’s true.
Taking a break every now and again from your routine is necessary to achieve balance and lasting health. Really, it is.
Routine offers little room for spontaneity so it is invaluable for us to break free of our regularly scheduled training, eating and timings. How many of you honestly, feel compelled to eat the same foods day in day out or train your bodies the same way everyday?
Although this may be helping you achieve results physically, what do you think it is doing for your mind and spirit?
One word: SUFFOCATION and deep down inside, especially overtime, you start to get the feeling of, is this all there is?
HELL NO. Life is happening.
Here are some of my favourite ways to jump on the freedom train:
1. Get out of town - You will be forced to try new cuisine, experiences and train in a different setting.
2. Take a new class or train at a different gym - Never tried yoga or barre? Why not grab a friend and have some fun trying it out? Perhaps sign up for a guest pass at another gym or taking your workout outdoors.
3. Try a new recipe every week or a new food each day for a month - Need some inspiration, click here. Check out what foods are in season and as you are walking in the market, see what draws your attention. eat intuitively.
4. Book a spa day - Pamper yourself at your favourite spa. Enjoy a massage or a treatment package either on your own or make it a date with a friend.
5. Try shopping at a DIFFERENT market - One where you don’t know your way around and enjoy the experience of trying new things. Farmers Markets are amazing if you have access to one.
6. ***Write down areas in your life where you are dedicated to your routine and notice how you feel in those areas of your life. Do you feel in control? When you break free do you feel out of control? Notice and become aware of your control patterns. The need to control is based in fear and does not serve your higher self.***
Zain’s **No More CELLULITE** Game Plan
Not sure if its something in the air this week but I have received several messages on social media asking about tips on how to deal with cellulite.
As the warmer season approaches and we start bearing more skin, we women become super conscious about the little fat pockets that like to park right up on our thighs and hips.
Before I started living the way I live and eating the way I eat, I too dreaded the ‘cottage cheese-like’ lumpy skin around the tops of my legs but I can honestly say that now, due to my lifestyle, it is nowhere to be found.
Cellulite is simply fluid retained in fat cells that increase as weight/body fat increases and due to a lack of oxygen in the area, they get squished together creating the dimply look. Free-radicals, age, diet and lifestyle have a lot to do with it but let me tell you, clean eating is a major game changer. I had more cellulite at 25 than I have at 33 and that is a fact.
So here’s what I do to keep cellulite at bay:
Choose foods that oxygenate the blood and help release fluid retention
- beet root
- salmon and other fatty fish
- flax seeds
- dill weed
*drink at least 3 liters of water per day, every day as well as lots of herbal tea
*my PURIFY VITAMIN WATER works wonders for fluid retention so sipping on this all day will benefit you big time in the cellulite department
*coconut water works wonders
*enjoy foods packed with healthy fats and oils as they will help your body let go of the fat it is holding onto. I recommend fatty fish such as salmon or black cod as well as coconut oil, walnuts, avocado and chia seeds
*avoid highly acidic foods and stick to alkaline foods, to find out more about what this means click here.
*avoid sugar, salt, alcohol and caffeine (including chocolate, not raw cacao) as these things SUCK the oxygen right out of your blood stream.
A regular weight training and cardio program will do wonders for you. Weight training, transforms fat cells, which hold 25% water, into muscle cells which hold 75% water. The magic ingredient in water is….you got it….oxygen.
Here are some of my favourite cellulite-fighting training activities. Try to incorporate these activities into your life at 4-5 days per week.
- HIIT sprints
- full-body weight training
- functional training
- barre classes
3. Secret Tips & Tricks
Being the complete tomboy that I was growing up, I was fortunate to have a sister who was really in the know about all things beauty related. Her natural talents for creating amazing skin and body care recipes as a kid ultimately led her to becoming the founder of an incredible skincare line sold and used at some of the top spas around the world. Her stuff is the only product I will use on my skin and body and its made with organic indigenous ingredients such as kelp, clay, oils and herbs.
*That said, you should look for a product line that is all-natural, that suits your particular body. Don’t buy into all the humbo jumbo magic creams.
*My sister also swears by something called dry-brushing. For those of you unfamiliar with this, you use a dry loofah brush in a circular motion on your ‘cellulitey’ areas and this helps to break up the fat and increase circulation. To see a demonstration of how to perform dry brushing technique, click here.
Here is a little recipe for a masque that my sister would make for cellulite. This should be applied directly to your trouble areas to help oxygenate, tighten and relieve fluid retention.
AntiCellulite DIY Masque -
Combine 1 avocado, 1 beaten egg, 1 tsp of kelp powder, 10 drops of sweet orange oil, 5 drops of fennel oil, 1 tbsp coconut oil and 1 tbsp raw honey. Mix together and store in a mason jar in the fridge.
Start by dry-brushing the area then apply this masque to your trouble areas 2-3 times per week allowing the masque to sit until it dries, then wash off with cool water.
Remember, cellulite will not vanish overnight but if you remain committed to a clean diet with lots of antioxidant fighting foods, train regularly and practice dry-brushing, you will start to notice your body transform and your cellulite will become a thing of the past!
How To Achieve LASTING Weight Loss
LASTING weight loss for me, was NOT the result of simply eating and training. Of course these are two critical elements of achieving weight loss but in my experience of ups and downs, there is one thing that has made all of the difference and no, it was not a book, certain meal program or diet or was it coaching or guidance from an outside source.
What has led to my lasting balance with my weight and physique is:
LOVING MYSELF ENOUGH TO LISTEN TO MY BODY
No matter what diet I followed, no matter how much external guidance I received or how hard I trained, being disconnected to my body and ignoring its signals made me dependant on external techniques to get my body to a point of balance.
This was fleeting because the moment that I could no longer follow the diet plan I had been working with because I was going away or when the program ended or I stopped training that way, the weight would all come right back and for those of you who have experienced this, you understand how frustrating and disappointing this can be.
Don’t get me wrong, learning how to eat clean and train have metamorphosized my life but what has caused these habits to become a way of life took a deep excavation of all of my feelings of worthlessness and fear of failure, perfectionism and self-judgement and replace them with compassion, forgiveness, understanding and love.
As I did this, my intuitive voice began to speak louder and louder to me and I started to listen.
From deep within, messages came to me about what foods to choose and what exercise would benefit me most that day. Living like this, with this level of freedom and watching as my body has become leaner, stronger and more flexible as a result of it is what I believe in our society we have moved so far from.
So how did I learn to do this? Well, a regular meditation practice helped a lot. What it did was it quieted my mind so that I could actually hear what my body was trying to tell me. The messages, many times, conflicted with what my head said which spoke to me in the way of calories, fat grams what I should and shouldn’t be doing based on so-called ‘weight loss rules.’
Well the rules worked but they were never lasting and I decided to choose myself over them and guess what?
Sure it was scary as f*&^ to let go of what I had learned and believed to work, but it has changed my life and has given me the gift of lasting balance in my body.
We are used to looking outside of ourselves for the solution. My prayer is that you realize that this behaviour is conditioned and that your body is so much wiser than anything outside of you, provided you trust it enough to let it guide you.
New Week, New Plan:
SWITCH OFF YOUR HEAD
SO YOU CAN HEAR
WHAT YOUR BODY’S
TRYING TO TELL YOU
It’s Monday (thought I’d state the obvious for those of us still clinging to the weekend) and with that, comes all of the new expectations, obligations and pressures.
As the mind races to catch up after it has just had an opportunity to wind down, we jump on the head train headed wherever it wants to take us…through the I should be tunnel straight into the salads all week for the rest of the week station because perhaps we may have let go a little too much this weekend.
Want to jump off? Not just yet, let’s try this first.
*Let’s go up to the roof of the train (or anywhere you feel comfortable in your space), find a seat to ground yourself and take a few, long, inhales and exhales. While we do this, let’s focus our energy on our heart chakra and envision the colour green as it gets brighter and richer. Let all thoughts still and just listen.
* What is the first feeling that comes into your heart?
* Can you decode this and if so, what is your body saying?
Perhaps it is asking for something specific like a certain type of food. All cravings stem from a lack of nutrients in the body. For example, if you have a chocolate craving, chances are you are low on magnesium.
Perhaps it is asking for more rest or a day off from training. It may be asking for some fresh air or longing for some connection, in which case you can plan to do a long walk close to nature or reach out to a friend.
* Once you figure out what your BODY is telling you rather than what your HEAD thinks you should do, you can truly open to the gift of the present moment. From here, you have the POWER to choose differently ie. you can choose from a place of love rather than of fear.
* This does not mean that you throw your hands up in the air and forget about your responsibilities, rather, you let go of the guilt, drama and pressure associated with them and through your connection to yourself, you find increased productivity, diligence and success because your heart will guide as to how to direct your energy.
Why not start the week differently this week? Why not let your heart guide the way?
If I’ve learned anything in my journey to balance and health its that my body is far wiser than my head could ever be. Listen.
100 Reasons To Meditate
Still making excuses as to why you don’t have time in your schedule to meditate?
Just as we spend time strengthening and detoxifying the physical body through eating healthy, whole foods and engage in regular and intense physical exercise it is equally critical to develop a strong and detoxified energy body.
Our personal energy bodies consist of the electromagnetic field that surrounds us which communicates with the energies of all living things including people, the food we choose to eat and our environment. The electromagnetic field also communicates with the 72,000 energy channels throughout our body as well as the seven main energy centers, or chakras.
I could blab on about this all day but why do that when we can do this:
1- It lowers oxygen consumption.
2- It decreases respiratory rate.
3- It increases blood flow and slows the heart rate.
4- Increases exercise tolerance.
5- Leads to a deeper level of physical relaxation.
6- Good for people with high blood pressure.
7- Reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate.
8- Decreases muscle tension
9- Helps in chronic diseases like allergies, arthritis etc.
10- Reduces Pre-menstrual Syndrome symptoms.
11- Helps in post-operative healing.
12- Enhances the immune system.
13- Reduces activity of viruses and emotional distress
14- Enhances energy, strength and vigour.
15- Helps with weight loss
16- Reduction of free radicals, less tissue damage
17- Higher skin resistance
18- Drop in cholesterol levels, lowers risk of cardiovascular disease.
19- Improved flow of air to the lungs resulting in easier breathing.
20- Decreases the aging process.
21- Higher levels of DHEAS (Dehydroepiandrosterone)
22- prevented, slowed or controlled pain of chronic diseases
23- Makes you sweat less
24- Cure headaches & migraines
25- Greater Orderliness of Brain Functioning
26- Reduced Need for Medical Care
27- Less energy wasted
28- More inclined to sports, activities
29- Significant relief from asthma
30- improved performance in athletic events
31- Normalizes to your ideal weight
32- harmonizes our endocrine system
33- relaxes our nervous system
34- produce lasting beneficial changes in brain electrical activity
35- Cure infertility (the stresses of infertility can interfere with the release of hormones that regulate ovulation).
36- Builds self-confidence.
37- Increases serotonin level, influences mood and behaviour.
38- Resolve phobias & fears
39- Helps control own thoughts
40- Helps with focus & concentration
41- Increase creativity
42- Increased brain wave coherence.
43- Improved learning ability and memory.
44- Increased feelings of vitality and rejuvenation.
45- Increased emotional stability.
46- improved relationships
47- Mind ages at slower rate
48- Easier to remove bad habits
49- Develops intuition
50- Increased Productivity
51- Improved relations at home & at work
52- Able to see the larger picture in a given situation
53- Helps ignore petty issues
54- Increased ability to solve complex problems
55- Purifies your character
56- Develop will power
57- greater communication between the two brain hemispheres
58- react more quickly and more effectively to a stressful event.
59- increases one’s perceptual ability and motor performance
60- higher intelligence growth rate
61- Increased job satisfaction
62- increase in the capacity for intimate contact with loved ones
63- decrease in potential mental illness
64- Better, more sociable behaviour
65- Less aggressiveness
66- Helps in quitting smoking, alcohol addiction
67- Reduces need and dependency on drugs, pills & pharmaceuticals
68- Need less sleep to recover from sleep deprivation
69- Require less time to fall asleep, helps cure insomnia
70- Increases sense of responsibility
71- Reduces road rage
72- Decrease in restless thinking
73- Decreased tendency to worry
74- Increases listening skills and empathy
75- Helps make more accurate judgements
76- Greater tolerance
77- Gives composure to act in considered & constructive ways
78- Grows a stable, more balanced personality
79- Develops emotional maturity
80- Helps keep things in perspective
81- Provides peace of mind, happiness
82- Helps you discover your purpose
83- Increased self-actualization.
84- Increased compassion
85- Growing wisdom
86- Deeper understanding of yourself and others
87- Brings body, mind, spirit in harmony
88- Deeper Level of spiritual relaxation
89- Increased acceptance of oneself
90- helps learn forgiveness
91- Changes attitude toward life
92- Creates a deeper relationship with your God
93- Attain enlightenment
94- greater inner-directedness
95- Helps living in the present moment
96- Creates a widening, deepening capacity for love
97- Discovery of the power and consciousness beyond the ego
98- Experience an inner sense of “Assurance or Knowingness”
99- Experience a sense of “Oneness”
100- Increases the synchronicity in your life
(list source: ineedmotivation.com, image: flickr)
Learning to Let Go of Toxic Behaviour
It’s been awhile since I have set my alarm clock for 3:45am. Once upon a time, it would be a daily occurrence and I would do a meditation from 4am until 6:30am that included mantras, a basic kryia (series of breath and movement), chakra balancing and then still, silent meditation.
I practiced this, daily for the most part, for 3 years.
I stepped away from this practice well after I felt that it was no longer serving me. What kept me holding on, was knowing that if I could do it, I probably should do it. That some how, it made me a ‘better person’ if I did it. Talk about missing the point entirely, right?
It wasn’t until I moved in with my partner years ago when I realized that its not about the specifics of WHAT you do but HOW you do it and what your INTENTION is behind it.
It’s not to say that my practice wasn’t real, it definitely was for that time and place in my life but as we all know, our lives change…we change and so we require different things to serve us and help us heal and awaken during different times in our lives. This includes people and relationships.
The difficulty lies in when we hold onto something out of fear, control or feelings of inadequacy because it is then that the ‘something’ becomes toxic and harmful.
At present, and be honest here, are you holding onto something that is no longer serving you?
Ask yourself why?
Can you take a step forward, today, to choose differently? I mean to really CHOOSE love over fear in this particular case?
Over the years, my meditation practice has adapted to a one hour practice from 6-7am (most days, some days earlier and some days not at all) and it is imperfect, some days painful, some days a blessing and I TAKE IT FOR WHAT IT IS.
On the days it sucks, I ask myself what I am resisting and why.
Over the next few weeks, I am studying with a Master Teacher who has sparked my desire for satvic (most peaceful time) 4am meditation so I am revisiting this place of peace that I once found a lot of joy in and it feels incredible now knowing that I recognize the voice of my inner guide and have the balls to actually listen to her now.
How was it for me today? Pretty amazing. I am so excited to wake up, literally, with Mother Nature.
#BlissedOut big time.
Curious about how much water you should be drinking daily? Check out this awesome chart to give you an idea of where you stand.
(source: fullspike.com, via sunwarrior)
Make Exercise YOUR Secret Weapon!
Exercise resistance. I have it. You have it. We all have it. But what if I told you that it is actually possible not to have that resistance at all. Would you believe me?
Lately, I have been working deeply with how and why this resistance develops and it occurred to me that, like everything else, resistance is a choice that stems from repeated thinking attached to action.
Seems very Pavlovian right? Well it is, kinda (I mean, you can introduce a whistle if you want to ;)
The key lies in reprogramming the brain to create new neuropathways where exercise is concerned.
1. Plan your workout at a time in the day when you feel most energized. Are you a morning person? Do you like to train during the afternoon or at night? Listen to your what your internal bio-rhythms are telling you, YOUR BODY KNOWS BEST.
2. Let go of PERFECTIONISM when it comes to exercise. Yes, its important to follow a structure but that structure must work for you and be created around you and how you feel. Don’t force yourself into a program that doesn’t feel right. So you can’t do 20 push-ups so what? Do 10 and then do 10 more on your knees until you can. Be your own coach and supporter rather than cutting yourself down.
3. You know that amazing post-exercise GLOW that you feel? Visualize and feel that glow whenever you think about exercise at all. By doing this, you will begin to reprogram your brain and create new neuropathways.
4. Make exercise your SECRET WEAPON!!! - Aside from your regular structured training, turn to movement and moderate exercise when you need to take a break from life or during times of stress.Work getting challenging? Schedule a power walk on your break. Having a disagreement with your friend or partner? Why not hit up a yoga or barre classe?
It’s that easy.
We all have them. Hell, I was the queen of them and I still struggle with creating impossible standards to live by to this day.
Sure, I suppose we can blame society and media to some degree for brain washing us since childhood to be the most perfect, the most beautiful, the most accomplished, but the reality is, WE are the ones who are responsible for creating these prisons for ourselves and then force ourselves to live within their confines.
What impossible standards have you forced yourself to live under?
Are you forcing yourself to be a certain weight/size?
Are you trying to be the ‘perfect’ partner, lover, mother, friend?
Are you trying to be ‘perfect’ in general?
Governing your life by these impossible standards that can/will never be achieved will not only cause you to live in a perpetual state of fear, anxiety and stress, it will rob you of your freedom and your precious present moment.
Now ask yourself - although it can be scary - what are you willing to let go of for the sake of self-love?
Can you identify what needs to be healed or loved in your life and can you offer yourself that healing?
You may need to sing it out, pray it out, shout it out, dance it out or sweat it out but by facing the fear of letting these impossible standards go, you will allow yourself true freedom and true growth.
What I have come to learn is that there is no one who knows my needs better than I do. There is no one who can heal me more deeply than I can heal myself, the key is simply to unburden ourselves and accept the true wisdom from our higher selves.
Be your own healer. Be your own medicine. Identify and let go of those awful standards that you have created for yourself. It’s time.
How I Mentally Prepare for a Challenging Workout
We’ve all been there. There are those super challenging days that every one of us who is dedicated to living a fit, healthy lifestyle goes through. We stall. We have another cup of tea…one thing leads to another…oh and then, it’s time for another meal so then we plan to cook, eat and promise to hit the gym strong after that.
Being the dedicated, fierce ones that we are, we put on our power outfit (for me its my Nike Pro tights & neon green sports bra), lace up, grab our water bottles and ipod and - what often feels like dead-man-walking - we get ourselves into the gym door knowing that by getting ourselves there we have scaled half the mountain.
Yep, your dirty little secret is out. All those little rituals and promises that you make to get yourself to the gym…we all have ‘em…so why don’t you take a deep breath and exhale.
Good. Feel better?
So to reiterate, ALL of us, whether you are an Olympic sprinter, a super hot, super fit celebrity with a zillion dollar power trainer or a woman who is working on getting fitter to live a longer life with her children, ALL of us have those moments when we must really push through our mental resistance.
Here’s How I Mentally Prepare
- Ground my energy by sitting on the floor and taking a few deep breaths
- Bring my focus to the present moment without thinking of what lies ahead
- Bring to mind the feeling of completing my training, that victorious, empowering feeling of strength and physical ‘glow’
- Set an intention for my training ahead. This could be as simple as one word or one goal that I wish to achieve in my training session that day
- Pump myself up by jumping or running on the spot to get my blood flowing or throwing on a song I love and bouncing around to that freely before heading out
- Remind myself that what I LOVE training, that I am CHOOSING to live this lifestyle because it FEELS fantastic and that being able to do so is a GIFT (the gratitude part always helps)
- I often dedicated my workout to someone else in my life who I know can benefit from that energy