TOP TIPS FROM A HEALTH COACH: MAKING LASTING CHANGES FOR YOUR FIT SOUL JOURNEY. One of the responsibilities I take very seriously is to help my clients make a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable fir them now and thier future.
Let’s face it, it is counter-cultural to live a healthy lifestyle. Most Americans consume the Standard American Diet (SAD) which is loaded with refined sugars, processed foods, and fake foods. They are also physically inactive. 70-75% of Americans are overweight or obese, Obesity is the number one cause for heart disease, stroke, dementia, type 2 diabetes, and most cancers.
Not only that, several recent studies that rank the top 10 “fattest cities” in America note that all ten are in the south. Very sadly, Jackson, MS , my hometown, holds the #1 spot! This is definitely not a category we want to win! Jackson is the number one city in the nation for diabetes. Also, we rank in the top ten for adults with high blood pressure, obesity, physical inactivity and high cholesterol.
As a proud southern woman, deeply rooted in our southern traditions, I long to be a part of the change to help reverse the current state of health for our nation and more specifically my back-yard.
The wonderful news is that a healthy lifestyle will radically change the statistics for everyone!
In my experience of health coaching, I find many of people saying, “I know what to do to be healthier, I just need to do it.” I help people master the art of a healthy lifestyle by providing a plan to execute their actions and place structure in their efforts. I also provide accountability and support while progressing toward their goals.
You have one precious life to live, and the body you have is a beautiful gift. Let’s get that body on track and in the condition it should be. This will take intention, consistency, and dedication.
Here are tips for success:
Living a healthy lifestyle is a journey, not a destination. Consistency is key, and it is a process that will not happen overnight. You must have a “consistent” mindset of your bigger goal- to be the healthiest possible version of yourself. Cultivate a deep commitment to continue and stay on this journey. Here are some ideas that can help you with your journey:
The Fit Soul Integrative approach for optimal health results:
Set your intention now. Make goals. This takes planning.
Buckle in your mindset. Make a choice, tell yourself daily what your intentions are. Write them down and review them frequently. Energy flows where intention goes. Set Reasonable, Attainable Goals. If 40 pounds of weight loss is your goal, it will not happen in 3 weeks.
Small healthy swaps in your nutrition and adding a little bit of extra movement daily MATTER! You don’t have to take the all or nothing approach. These healthy swaps really add up!
Adopt the “I CAN, I WILL!” mentality
You are much stronger than you think you are. You are capable of far more than you think you can achieve. Push and challenge yourself.
I am a firm believer in the 80/20 rule, I apply to this nutrition and fitness. Eat clean, nutritious whole foods 80% of the time, then really enjoy your 20%. This means you really can have cake if you want it, and a cocktail if you desire it, occasionally! Moderation is the KEY word here. A piece of cake and 1 cocktail will not blow your diet for the week, but a whole cake and a cocktail every night will.
By following the 80/20 rule, you will not live in deprivation, and this will help you make healthy habits, not more rules and restrictions THESE DO NOT WORK!
Drink more water
Research shows obese people who drank 2 cups of water before each meal over a 3-month period lost 5 pounds more than those who didn’t. 1 year later, the water drinkers had kept more of that weight off.
Sometimes drinking water can be, well, a little bland. I love infused waters. I make a fresh gallon every Sunday and continually replenish throughout the week. Grab this Skinny Water Guide to get some of my favorite infused water recipes: http://www.thefitsoul.com/skinny-water/.
Cut out sweetened beverages!!!!
These “foods” are the number one cause of obesity and type 2 diabetes. One can of soda a day increases a child’s risk of becoming obese by 60%. One can of soda a day increases a women’s risk of type 2 diabetes by 80%. You are not off the hook with artificial sweeteners though- they have their own associated risk. Also, don’t be fooled by “diet” drinks. The artificial sweetener in these only makes your body and brain crave sugar more!
“Crowd out” sugar, processed foods, fake foods, alcohol, and caffeine. This causes weight gain, inflammation in the body, digestive distress, poor focus, and lethargy.
Eat whole foods and superfoods, they nourish the body! Really hone in on the 80/20 rule. Learn to listen to your “biofeedback system”, your body’s way of telling you how it is feeling. There is no “one size fits all” diet, you really have to be your health advocate. Example- gluten is not my friend, it makes me feel very sluggish, my joints hurt, and puts excess weight on me very quickly. I have learned to avoid it but can actually tolerate it in very small doses. So, I might enjoy ONE delicious hot roll for the week, not every day, it does not serve me.
What does serve me and most of us is a balanced diet, with a rainbow of vegetables and fruits, some high-quality proteins and really healthy fats.
In my programs, I teach how to make this an actual lifestyle for you and your hectic schedule. Practice COET-Cook Once Eat Twice, maximize your time in the kitchen. We must get cooking in our kitchens to get and stay healthy!!! Many people have had success on my 4 week program The Sexy Slimdown. Click this link to learn more more http://www.thefitsoul.com/slimdown/.
Here are a few questions to help you on this journey of nutrition:
- Do I have nourishing foods on hand? Or do I plan to make nourishing food?
- What will I eat when things get busy this week?
OK, here’s the exercise component!
Establish and keep an exercise routine. Schedule your workout and treat this time with integrity. SOMETHING/ANYTHING will always come up and take this exercise time away from you. Respect your commitment to yourself and eliminate all excuses.
Keep the 2-day rule. Never go 2 days without exercising. Your body needs you to exercise. We are created to move our bodies and stay in motion.
Move your body and keep moving your body.
NEAT Movement-Stay active during the day. Again, our bodies are created to move. Aim for more standing than sitting during the day. Beef up your “NEAT” movement- Non- Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. This is the calories you burn during the day simply by moving, it really adds up in helping you burn a significant amount of calories.
10k steps a day- this is really hard to do- but the American Heart Association recommends we get 10,000 steps a day- I say this in addition to your workout.
- Keep the 2-day rule.
- Apply the 80/20 rule to exercise as well.
- Add NEAT movement in. Non- Exercise Activity Thermogenesis
Stress increases the hormone cortisol which causes all sorts of health issues in the body. It makes our bodies crave carbohydrates and store belly fat. Even if you don’t eat more, you still can gain weight due to stress.
Learn to SLOW down your crazy life- don’t overcommit. Seek to create balance and margin as much as possible. Establish new, healthy habits to reduce stress and relax- such as going for a walk, meditation, prayer, mindfulness, time with friends, or a deep breathing. Pencil this in on your calendar.
Here a few good questions to ask yourself each week:
- Am I over-committed? What can I say no to this week?
- Have I scheduled in self-care?
Proper sleep is crucial for overall health and stress and weight management.
Research shows that 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night is recommended. The risk of developing obesity rises 23% with just 6 hours of sleep per night, 50% with 5 hours per night, and 73% with 4 hours per night.
Establish a sleep routine! Work to eliminate devices and screens an hour before you go to sleep. (turn your phone on do not disturb mode)
Gratitude literally changes everything. Foster an abundantly grateful heart. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice the things they are thankful for experience more positive emotion to feel more alive, sleep better, experience more positive emotions, express more compassion and kindness and even have stronger immune systems.
Start every morning with 3 things you are thankful for. Keep a gratitude journal- of reflections You can be thankful for a beautiful sunset, a glass of refreshing cold water, that your children are doing well and moving forward with their lives, etc. University of California Davis psychologist Robert Emmons, author of Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, shows that regularly keeping a simple gratitude journal can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.
Find an accountability partner and seek support from friends and family as you are making these healthy changes in your life.
Join The Fit Soul Fam Facebook community to find encouragement and support. Ask a friend to do this with you. https://www.facebook.com/groups/thefitsoul/
As you can see, for optimal overall health it is an integrative approach. Your health is one of the greatest gifts you have- protect and nurture it- you are worth it!!
Amy Ramsey is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and a Certified Personal Trainer. Additionally, she is a fitness enthusiast. She regularly teaches Zumba, HIIT classes, Bootcamp classes and runs races with her husband. You can find her business, The Fit Soul by Amy Ramsey, at www.thefitsoul.com. Follow her at The Fit Soul By Amy Ramsey on Facebook and Instagram.
She does one on one personal health coaching, group health coaching, and group personal training. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org where you can schedule a free consultation.