Archive for the ‘Motivation’ Category

8 Attitudes That Cripple Your Health and Wellbeing

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Emma
Creative Commons License photo credit: Adam UXB Smith

Fitness and health is so much more than eating well and going for the occasional jog. In fact, fitness and health start with the mind. If your head is in the wrong space then it is very difficult to achieve any long term fitness, weight loss or health goals. In this post I am going to talk about 8 attitudes that cripple your long term health and well being. They might even be making you fat!

1. Jealousy
If you go to the gym you will probably know what I am talking about. The green eyed monster is extremely bad for our health and well being because we are constantly comparing ourselves to other women at the gym. Sometimes I actually feel like the gym is a lot like high school; everyone checking out what the other girls are wearing, talking about and how they look when they do certain things. It can be quite stressful. If you go to the gym worried about how all the other women look better than you do then you are going to set yourself up for disaster. You will end up quitting out of frustration.

2. Playing the victim
I hate to say it but most of my friends play the victim. Every time I see them for coffee or dinner they talk about how hard done by they are and create a thousand excuses for why they haven’t been going to the gym or eating healthy. The sad fact is that none of them know they are doing it. They all think it is normal. And to some extent being the victim is very normal in our society. The fact of the matter is you have a choice. You can choose to be a victim of your own circumstances or you can choose to make a change. And if you want to look and feel good, live a long healthy life and be happy with your own situation you are going to need to stop playing the victim.

Here is an interesting article about playing the victim in Psychology Today that has some excellent insights about where the victim game leaves you in the end.

3. Laziness
If you took a look back at the last 10 times that you skipped a work out or got take away instead of cooking a meal I would wager that at least eight of those times it was because you couldn’t be bothered. Laziness is probably the most damaging attitude there is when it comes to health and fitness because, unfortunately, health and fitness are so damn hard to maintain. Working out at the gym is not easy, shopping for the right foods each week is even more annoying. However, laziness is even more annoying because it will cause you to have future regrets. One of the most painful things you can ever imagine is getting to your 50s, 60s and 70s and realizing that you wasted your life being lazy. Stop today.

4. Stress
Stress is an interesting one because a lot of you will disagree with me that it is an attitude. Most people think it is just something that occurs that we have no control over. And while I believe that is true some of the time, I also understand that a lot of women out there use stress as an excuse. They say that they are too stressed to go to the gym or cook a meal. The funny thing about that attitude, however, is that going to the gym and eating healthy are two of the most powerful cures for stress!

- Despair
Creative Commons License photo credit: Juliana Coutinho

I also think that part of the reason women get stressed is because they are not achieving their weight loss goals. But if you made exercise a priority you would find that less stress occurs.

5. Insatiability
As a regular gym goer I constantly see women come and go. Some of them stick at it for a few months, other only last a week or so. And while there might be a whole host of reasons for this lack of consistency I understand that a lot of women are completely insatiable when it comes to exercise. In fact, I would go so far as to say that every single person (male and female) has experienced this when it comes to their exercise programs.

Insatiability means that you are impossible to satisfy. You become bored easily and as such you struggle to finish your goals. The fitness world is rife with this problem because fitness and weight loss goals take so long to achieve. After a week of the same workout you get bored and either move on or give up. I think this has a lot to do with our modern world of iPhones and Twitter and Facebook where we need to be constantly entertained. You can change your workout a few times but after a while you need to tackle the boredom otherwise you will end up giving up like everyone else.

6. Procrastination
We all do it and we all know its bad. Procrastination is an attitude that will send you to an early grave and an obese waist line because you simply never get around to it. Strongly linked to laziness, procrastination is much more sneaky. Why? Because it happens one omission at a time. Laziness is a general attitude that is very easy to spot but procrastination might only occur once or twice a week – just enough to sabotage your progress. You can bet your bottom dollar; the second you hear your mind saying “I’ll just finish this first” or “I’ll make up for it later” you are on your way to a lifetime of putting things off. Nip it in the bud as soon as you can.

lady sits, birds bathe
Creative Commons License photo credit: Looking Glass

7. Impetuousness
I have to admit being a very impetuous person. When I first started becoming interested in working out at the gym I just dived in as if I was an expert. Bad idea. Within a month I had obtained a pretty serious injury that plagues me to this day. Being impetuous means that you rush into things without really thinking them through first. This is a crippling attitude because, when it comes to health and fitness, you need to know a lot of information in order to do it correctly. If you go back and read our article on why you can’t lose weight you will see that it is extremely important to read and study and talk to experts before you try to play around with your body. Information is power and a lack of information is often crippling.

8. Impatience
Impatience is the final attitude that I want to talk about today. It is closely linked with almost all of the other attitudes and, like the other, it is extremely harmful for women who are trying to lose weight, get healthy and change their lives. The thing you need to realize really early on is that weight loss and fitness take a long time. They take years to really pull off in a long term way. And not only that, they take a long time on a daily scale. You need to exercise and eat healthy every single day if you want to make long lasting progress. If you are impatient you kill your progress at the very root because you just won’t stick it out.

If you want to learn to become more patient you need to really work on yourself because it is a long held habit. The article in the link is a great starting point for everyone out there.

Conclusion

Everything that you do in life starts in the mind. If you have a healthy attitude with a good motivation you will find that you can achieve all sorts of successes. If, however, you live your life choked by poisonous attitudes you will end up failing at everything you touch. Really examine yourself and see whether you are harboring any of these 8 attitudes that cripple your health and well being. Recognizing them is the hardest part.

How to Get More Energy and Never Feel Tired

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

it's a beautiful day for pillow fights.
Creative Commons License photo credit: jessica.garro

One of the most common complaints that modern women have is that they do not have enough energy and they always feel tired. I know the feeling, I’m sure you know the feeling too. We have to get up early, perhaps do some exercise, go to work and come home and cook dinner. We have to see friends, go out on the weekend, pursue our hobbies, eat junk food when were busy… the list is endless. In this post I am going to show you a few ways to get more energy and never feel tired.

Why am I tired?

In order to solve any problem you need to know the cause. If we don’t know the cause it would be impossible to target what is exactly going wrong. Imagine trying to treat heart disease if you didn’t know you had heart disease. It would be impossible. The same is true of low energy levels. You need to firmly establish why it is that you are tired. Without this knowledge we really are just stabbing in the dark. And how to we find out what the cause is? Go to your doctor. Your GP is the only person who is authorized to make an official judgment about why you are tired. The rest of us can guess and make suggestions but only your doctor can advise you. Go and see him/her this week and then revisit this post for some extra help.

That being said, there are some very common reasons why people get tired. Take a look at this list and see if you fit into any of the explanations. These might be some good things to bring up with your doctor:

  • you eat less than four handfuls of vegetables a day
  • you eat less than two handfuls of fruit a day
  • you drink mostly sugary drinks and not a lot of water
  • you go to bed at different times each night
  • you stay up late for no reason
  • you don’t sleep well because you are stressed
  • you exercise less than four times a week
  • you are anxious about work, family or something else
  • you have a history of insomnia or some other health issue
  • etc

If you think that any of these sound like you then I have good news for you. We can solve the problem. But rather than relying on a blog post for health information, go to your doctor and just make sure you are on the right track. He/she will also be able to tell you if your blood is healthy and whether there are any other issues that might be hiding in the background.

How to get more energy and never feel tired

2nd Annual Yoga with Iululemon Athetica
Creative Commons License photo credit: daveynin

So you have been to the doc and they have given you a clean bill of health. Now that you know there are no underlying issues we can start the methodical process of changing some habits in your life so that you don’t feel tired anymore. The tips that follow can be used individually or all at once. The more you can adopt the better. But, most importantly, don’t just adopt them for a week or two. Try and make these permanent habits that you take with you for the rest of your life.

1. Eat more fruit
Fruit is not given enough attention in today’s culture. We hear a lot about the benefits of vegetables but due to the fact that it is made up of sugar, a lot of people make the mistake of ignoring fruit. Let’s be clear – fruit won’t make you fat. Fruit is an extremely natural food that humans have been eating for thousands of years. Our digestive systems are designed perfectly for fruit. If you are feeling tired and low on energy then you need to start taking in more fruit, especially early on in the day. The vitamins, minerals and, yes, even proteins, will make you feel energetic for a long time during the day.

2. Get your sleep habits right
Obviously, if you are feeling low on energy we need to look at the sleep habits. I have written about this a few times before and as such I don’t want to rehash it again. Basically, you need to be going to sleep at the same time and waking up at the same time every day. If you can’t do it every night of the week then just do your best. Your body needs to know the routine and the habit, if you muck up your sleeping arrangements your body’s clock gets extremely confused and can actually become “jet lagged” for up to three days after. Some other posts on sleep include:

You might be surprised to know that the idea of eight hours sleep per night is just a myth. In fact, it is a harmful myth. Get your sleep in order if you want to get more energy. This point is not really an option.

3. Do an “energy” based exercise
We all know how to run and lift weights. We know how to tense certain muscles and we know how to move the body in a variety of ways. But how many of us know how to control our internal energies? Not many. And that is something we need to work on.

If you have been abusing your body for years with junk food, late nights and alcohol there is a good chance that your internal energies are a little out of whack. If you go to a Chinese doctor he/she will be able to tell you what energies are damaged by looking at your eyes and tongue and listening to your pulse. I have so many friends who, having tried every western form of medicine, gave acupuncture a go and found that it cured them completely. And this is because it corrects your chi or internal energies.

Tai chi and yoga are the two best forms of “internal” exercise. These ancient disciplines have been keeping people healthy for thousands of years by using certain poses and breathing techniques to move the energies of the body in a certain way. Don’t believe it? Good. You will be all the more surprised when you give it a go and feel amazing!

4. Drink green tea
If you are a regular reader of Free Women’s Fitness you will know that we love green tea. And with good reason! Countless studies have shown that green tea is an amazing health food due to all those antioxidants that it has. People who drink green tea are less likely to develop heart disease, cancer and, yes, it can help you feel more energetic.

Loving my teapot
Creative Commons License photo credit: ?Debs?

The reason green tea can help is twofold. Firstly, it has caffeine in it and as such it will give you that little pick-me-up that we so often need. Secondly, the hot water mixed with the health benefits of the tea can really serve to clean out your system and rejuvenate the mind. Remember, if your body is toxin free your mind is likely to be clearer and that is, a lot of the time, the only thing you need to feel more energetic.

Remember, you need to drink green tea without milk if you want to get the most health benefits. Studies have shown that the protein in milk can destroy some of the goodness in the tea and as such you do not extract as much from it as you could.

5. Cut out refined sugar
One of the absolute worst things you can do for your body is eat refined sugar. The problem? Americans are addicted to it. It is in every cereal, snack and even some supposedly healthy meals. Take a look at anything that says “FAT FREE” and you will notice it is full of sugar. And it is sugar that makes you fat! So why is no one worried about it? But I digress.

Refined sugar is a very simple sugar that carries zero nutrition with its energy. That means you are taking in lots of calories but getting no benefit. Compare that to a bowl of fruit where the sugar you eat comes with minerals and vitamins and goodies that you can’t get anywhere else. Sugar is bad. And it makes you feel low on energy because it causes spikes that are followed by a sugar low. And in order to get yourself out of that low you need more sugar. And so the cycle continues.

If you need to get a sugar hit go with natural raw honey or fruit. Try and get rid of anything in your house that has processed sugar in it and see how you feel after just a few weeks. I bet you feel better than every and I bet you lose weight without even trying.

Conclusion

If you can adopt at least one of these points, great. If you can adopt all of them, fantastic! Each one will give you more energy and stop you feeling like a zombie all day long. If you have any other suggestions please let us know by leaving a comment. I’m sure a lot of our readers have some wonderful tips.

How to Not be Intimidated at the Gym

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

Twitter 365 Project - Day 8
Creative Commons License photo credit: rich115

Many women avoid going to the gym because the are intimidated by all the massive bodybuilding males and all the super fit females in their designer workout gear. Other women avoid going to the gym because they are naturally shy people and the gym represents something very foreign. I can understand. I was once like you.

In this post I am going to give you a few simple techniques that you can use to not be intimidated at the gym. I am certain they will help you overcome your fear.

How to not be intimidated at the gym

Have a read through these techniques and take what works for you. If you find that something has a particularly good effect then keep it up. If something is not working then forget about it.

1. Realize that nobody cares
The biggest thing that I cam to realize some years ago is that people care a lot less than I think they do. People are not staring at your huge butt. People are not looking to see what brand sneakers you have on. People are not critiquing your workout.

The truth of the matter is that everyone there is as self conscious as you! When you are worrying about what THEY are thinking they are sitting there worrying about what YOU are thinking. So relax. Nobody cares.

2. Go with a friend
A great way to get over the initial gym fear is to go with a friend. If you workout together you will have the “safety in numbers” feeling and you will be a lot less intimidated by all experts walking around. In fact, people who workout with friends are often seen as the trend setters and other people will be more open to what you are doing.

3. Book a session with a trainer
Booking a session with a trainer is a fantastic way to learn the techniques and workouts that will get you fit and healthy. But it is also a great way to overcome that intimidation factor. Why? Because the trainers run those gyms. They are there everyday and they know the people and the machines inside out. In fact, they might even introduce you to some of the more intimidating people such that you will now become friendly with the people that you once feared.

4. Understand that the gym is a friendly place
Another important realization I had after spending a few weeks at the gym was that it was a very friendly place. The people there are mostly interested in improving their lives and getting healthy and fit and as such the place has a very positive vibe. This can differ from gym to gym (some gyms are more like pick-up venues as opposed to gyms) but for the most part they are warm and friendly places.

5. Participate in a class
Every gym has a set timetable of classes including yoga, pilates, pump, RPM spin classes, etc. It is a good idea to join in one of these classes as soon as you get to the gym as it puts you in a big group and gives you something to do. I have found that I am a lot less likely to be intimidated when I am focused on a class and following an instructor. In those classes everyone becomes a student – all are equal.

If anyone has any other tips please head over to the forum and let us know. And don’t forget to enter to win a free iPod!