Healthy Meal Prep for the Busy Family

Everyone has seen all those pretty Pinterest and Instagram posts with the little containers of perfectly prepped and planned meals. This leads to the question-How can I possible do this with a family to feed??

It’s not as hard as it seems! With a few little tips, a clear grocery list, some input from your family, and an afternoon of cooking, you can have a week’s worth of healthy meals that will not only save time, but keep everyone’s bellies full-while sticking to a healthy food plan-and perhaps even saving some money and frustration at the same time.

Everyday I have people tell me that they cannot meal prep for a myriad of reasons:

-kids are picky eaters

-spouse refuses to eat “rabbit food”

-everyone in the household has different eating styles-allergies, vegetarian, gluten free, etc.

-it’s too expensive

-it’s too time consuming

With a little planning, ALL of these situations can be handled, and you will not only save time, but money.

In my home, meal prep solved ALL of those problems AND also solved the teenager issue of “There’s nothing to eat!” My family has consisted of a spouse that eats anything, a daughter that swings between vegan/vegetarian, a teen linebacker that needs food nonstop, a teen son with weight issues, and a person who experienced a million sensitivities who also eats extremely healthy (yes, that would be me, pre healing my gut-those issues are now completely gone! You can read about THAT here!). Meal prep has been an absolute blessing to me-the shopper, the cook, the mom.

To be straight up-you don’t need to prep your food in those pretty containers. You can, it looks nice in photos and stacked in the fridge, but it’s not necessary. It can be helpful for packing meals that need to be on the move, like lunch, or for the person in your family with specific food needs, but I tend to use regular large size Rubbermaid containers for prep. These can even be frozen for future use, and are microwave/dishwasher safe as well. I’ve also used Ziploc freezer bags, which work so well with small spaces in the fridge.

Make a Plan and Think Streamlining Your Proteins

The first thing you need to do is plan your meals. Ask your family for input if needed. List your favorite meals, take eating preferences into consideration, and make a menu with at least 4 main dinner meals. Look for ways to streamline your meals based on main ingredients; are there two or more meals with chicken? Beef? How can you prepare those meats for use in all your recipes? Is there a way to make or divide certain meals into half vegetarian? Half gluten free? Can you prepare some of a meal without onion, or peppers, or heavy spices that your children may not like? If you approach it this way-you will likely find that it’s not so hard to satisfy everyone in your family. For example, if you’re planning an Italian dish, can you make a small portion without meat sauce? Can you make a small portion with gluten free noodles? If your favorite dish is heavy on spice and onion,  you can separate a portion without those strong flavors. These portions are easily placed into their own small containers.

Check Your Schedule Plan your Shopping

Next, look at your schedule for the week. Are you home every night for dinner? Do you plan to eat out? Are there nights that you need to grab something and run? Make note of those occasions.

Using your meals as a guideline, start to plan your grocery list. To make things super easy, double some of your recipes for lunch leftovers, or for the freezer. List the produce and proteins you will need in total for all meals so that you can easily buy in bulk portions. Check your add-ons like spices, canned needs, cheese, etc; before doing your shopping.

Once you have your grocery list in hand, check local sales, and gather coupons if you are a frugal shopper-you can also save by shopping in bulk at places like Costco and Sam’s Club.

Plan Your Cooking

I highly recommend shopping and cooking on separate days, just to give your self a sanity break. Or, plan to cook 2 or 3 times a week, but cook more than one meal-again, using the same “main” item, like your protein, makes this mush easier! For example, using chicken bought for three meals, using one portion as a main dish, another portion for a chicken and rice dish, and another portion for chicken tacos or fajitas. The chicken is prepared at the same time, and you will have 3 dinners ready to go-and maybe even some leftovers for lunches!

Meal prep day was often an afternoon of family time when my kids were teens. They would help, learning to cook as we went along. One teen would chop veggies, another would cook up ground turkey or beef, while another stirred sauces and checked the oven. We could usually prep a week’s worth of lunches and dinners in an hour and a half. It was an absolute blessing to come home after a busy day and literally be able to list off menu items available to reheat from the fridge!

It’s been a few years since the teens became adults and moved on with their lives, but all of them still prep meals in advance. Even when I am alone at the beach, I cook once or twice a week for myself and enjoy having a very active lifestyle without concern about stopping to plan and fix my meals, or run the stove on a super hot summer day. Below is my all time healthy meal prepped favorite recipe for you to try and enjoy!

Meal planning and prep is a HUGELY popular topic with many of my clients and friends, and one of my favorite healthy lifestyle hacks to teach. If you’d like to learn more, or get some ideas and assistance in starting your journey with this great time saving healthy life hack, just reach out to me!

Meal Prepped Super Healthy, Super Yummy Chicken, Rice, and Veggies

This is SO easy and SO tasty! I keep it in my fridge year round for quick meals.

You will need:

Chicken breasts, cooked, and chopped into bite sized pieces.

Rice of your choice, I use brown rice in the cups that heat up in the microwave.

Steamed veggies of your choice-cook until blanched if storing them in the fridge.

Favorite sauce-I use a natural sweet and sour, but soy, hot sauce, all add a different flavor to this dish and can be used to mix it up.

I keep these things handy, and literally throw it all together, heat for a minute of two, add my sauce and salt and pepper-and I have a hot, incredible tasty and healthy meal ready in under two minutes!

from my professional website Beewell.com

Meditation for Real People

I recently wrote about getting a good, quality, night’s sleep, and in that article, I mentioned meditation (something that helped me-the chronic, lifelong, insomniac) get some rest. I realized, shortly after posting the article, that the word “meditation” often gets a weird response. Some people envision dancing hippies, or cultist beings, while others just laugh in confusion and discomfort. So, today, in deep respect to the idea and concept of meditation, I’d like provide a little education and info!

Meditation has been a part of my life for a very long time. It took me a very long time to realize that, when it is a regular part of my routine, my life seems calmer and easier to navigate. When I get away from it for long periods of time, I inevitably come back to it after finding myself stressed, exhausted, and very ungrounded. Life gets chaotic, and for me, having 4 teenagers in the house, homeschooling them through graduation, and being very active in their activities and sports should have been a perfect time to practice lots of meditation-but I abandoned it in the crazy schedules! After the last child graduated, and I ventured to the beach for early pandemic, I found my routine again, and it was life changing. It is now a daily routine for me, if only for 10 or 15 minutes.

My youngest, now 20, called me inquiring about meditation a few months back, something I found to be quite fascinating because it’s so not “him”. He was having trouble turning his mind off and getting a decent amount of sleep, and had tried many of my suggestions with little relief. I had suggested meditation several times, but it was his number 1 quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, who put it into his head. Rodgers spoke about discovering yoga and meditation during an interview, explaining why meditation has become an important part of his daily routine: “Finding time, without the TV on or the phone, to sit in silence is healing”, he said. “To be able to quiet your mind and have intentions and focus on the things that are important to you and kind of drown everything away. We live in a world where we’re just constantly being distracted and we need stimulation.” This spoke to my son, and he began a journey of meditation to quiet his mind, and ultimately, better sleep and a clearer head. (Thank you, Aaron!)

Basic meditation is simply about finding stillness, quieting the mind, and calming the body-and who doesn’t need a little of that in our lives?

There are so many science-based benefits of meditation! Literally, many of the daily anxieties, mood swings, stressors, and aches and pains most people experience can be lessened or removed by a short daily practice of meditation.

Benefits include:

*Focus and redirection of thoughts

*Generates a positive mood

*Helps with habit building

*Develops discipline

*Helps with pain tolerance

*Promotes stress relief

*Controls anxiety and feelings of anger or fear

*Promotes emotional health

*Enhances self awareness

*Lengthens attention span

*May reduce age related memory loss

*Generates feelings of kindness

*Improves the quality of sleep

*Decreases blood pressure

As you can see, the benefits of meditation are varied and amazing! I have experienced just about every benefit on this list, and more. It is a practice that is easy to learn, requires very little to get started, and has immediate impact on your wellbeing.

So-if you’re ready to get started on a simple habit that will change your life quickly, I’m ready to teach you how-all you need to do is find at least 10 minutes in your daily life to follow through. Perhaps it will be when you wake, or during a work break, or even right before bedtime-but PLANNING to do it and following through is the only small obstacle keeping you from reaping ALL the benefits that await you! You can do this just about anywhere-sitting on your porch, visiting your favorite place in nature, while bathing, or simply just by putting down your phone, turning off the noise, and enjoying some peace in your day.

How to Meditate

~Setup your space and check your surroundings. Your meditation space should be quiet and peaceful, and remain that way for at least 10 minutes. Close doors, turn off your phone, and plan to be in a quiet space for the time allotted.

~Wear comfortable clothes, or loosen any clothing that may be restrictive or tight. You may want to remove your shoes, belts, hats, etc. Be as comfortable as possible.

~Relax, sit comfortably with your feet on the floor, or find a comfortable position where your legs are relaxed and at ease, or even lie down if you like.

~Breathe deeply to relax, focus on your each individual breath, breathing in through the nose, deep into your lungs, then slowly release through the mouth. Find a rhythm in your breathing, and place your focus on the sound.

~Allow eyes to close, gently. This will help you focus on the breathing, and remove distractions from the mind.

~Check in with yourself. Are you comfortable? Do you need to adjust your position? Remove your socks? Is the tag in your shirt itchy? Notice your senses, bring awareness to your body, and adjust as needed.

~Scan your body, make sure each body part is relaxed. Wiggle your toes, circle your neck if it feels tight, etc. RELAX and BREATHE.

~Simply breathe and BE. Be still, be quiet, be calm.

Upon Finishing

~Let it go, release yourself slowly, and allow yourself to sit with our thoughts for a moment.

~After completing your time, avoid sudden movements-bring your body out of this calm state slowly, be kind to your body, and gentle in your movements.

~Hold yourself with loving kindness for the positive being that you are, let go, walk forward, live with a true heart, and go on with your day.

I hope that this article has inspired you to take a few moments to meditate each day, and perhaps even start a journey into deeper, more intentional meditations to change your existence in your life. Meditation as a regular practice can have a huge impact on everything that you do, and as you learn more, and practice more, you will see amazing things happen in every aspect of your life-mentally, physically, and spiritually. If you would like to explore meditation more in depth, or are interested in finding a personal wellness plan to works for your life and goals, please feel free to reach out to me. I’d love to talk about your health and wellness journey!

Dreaming of a Good Night’s Sleep?

Today I’m getting personal! I am here to admit it! While I’m an ace at getting my steps in (I hit 47 thousand in a day last week!), doing my strength training, yoga, pilates, drinking all of my water, and eating about 98% clean-I STINK at sleep. I’ve never been a sleeper!

As a child, I would go to bed, hear the rest of my family follow a few hours later, and spend the entire night listening to them snore quietly around the house while my brain refused to shut down. I’d doze off as the sun began to rise, and be woken to go to school an hour later. No amount of sleepless nights led to an inevitable deep sleep for me, and I carried this trait into adulthood. I still battle with this, finding that most nights I am very tired, looking forward to going to bed, but realizing in the hours that follow-I just can NOT sleep.

So, let’s talk about sleep!

The Negative Effects of Not Getting Enough Sleep

Whether you are a “bad” sleeper, or perhaps just someone who’s life just doesn’t allow for much time for sleep, sleep deprivation can have a wide range of negative effects. Unfortunately, the disadvantages of not getting enough sleep are beyond daytime drowsiness and can’t be fixed with a daily dose of caffeine. Lack of sleep can jeopardize your safety and that of others around you or lead to serious health consequences. The following is a list of some surprising negative effects of inadequate sleep.

Faster Aging

Sleep deprivation can affect the way you look and accelerate the aging process. After just a few days of sleepless nights, many people start to develop wrinkles, lackluster skin and dark circles under the eyes. Much of this is caused by higher levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in the body which become elevated when you don’t get enough rest. When in excess, cortisol breaks down collagen – a protein that keeps the skin smooth, elastic and looking young.

Health Problems

A few nights of missed sleep can be fixed easily with more rest during subsequent days and is unlikely to have long lasting effects on your health. However, when you don’t sleep well for weeks, months, or even years, this will start to take a serious toll on your health and put you at a much higher risk of developing a range of health problems including depression, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Increased Risk of Causing Accidents

Lack of sleep causes drowsiness that can increase the risk of accidents when driving, operating machines and performing various other tasks. Drowsiness slows down your reaction times and this makes it much more difficult to respond when you need to. This is why fatigue is one of the leading causes of automobile accidents on the roads today.

Poor Mental Performance

If you’re sleep deprived, many of your cognitive responses will not function at peak levels. Your attention span, reasoning, sense of judgment and problem solving skills will be impaired when the body is not well rested. Lack of sleep also affects the way your brain processes and stores information and you’ll tend to forget things more often. All of these factors make performing effectively and productively during the day very difficult.

Weight Gain

It may be hard to believe that not sleeping enough can cause you to pack on some extra pounds. However, recent studies have found that shortened sleep time decreases the levels of leptin (a hormone that suppresses your appetite) in your body while also elevating levels of ghrelin (a hormone that induces hunger).  A lack of sleep also reduces your human growth hormone (a hormone that stimulates muscle growth and fat burning) levels that limit the rate at which your body burns fat. The overall result is that if you don’t sleep enough, you’ll be more likely to overeat and your body will burn off these excess calories at a slower rate.

As you can see, sleep holds a major key to our over health and wellbeing. That said, different people need different amounts of sleep. Some people cannot function on less than 8 hours, while others do just fine with 6. It’s important to be mindful of how you feel during the day. Do you need several cups of caffeine to make it through? Do you find yourself dozing off at your desk mid day? Do you lack physical and mental energy regularly? If you experience these things, and know you are probably not getting enough sleep, it’s time to make an effort to make some changes.

And Now…The Positive Effects of Sleep

After an uninterrupted sleep session, you should feel refreshed, full of energy and ready to take on the day. The importance of sleep goes beyond boosting your mood and energy levels. In recent years, scientists have gone to great lengths to understand the health benefits that sleep brings. Here are a few awesome benefits of getting decent sleep:

Better Memory

Numerous studies have shown that sleep has a positive effect on your memory and allows the brain to become much better at remembering things. Researchers believe this is the result of a process known as memory consolidation whereby the brain recalls skills learned while you are awake.

Enhanced Concentration

Sleep is like nutrition for the brain. When you get enough of it, the chances of losing concentration during the day are much less. This makes you much more alert while you complete your daily tasks and has a direct positive impact on your effectiveness, productivity and performance.

Faster Muscle Growth

The body releases growth hormone and builds new muscle cells while you are sleeping. Not only does it renew and revitalize your cells but it also repairs any tissue damage. This is particularly beneficial if you perform weightlifting workouts, as the intense exercises that make up these workouts tear your muscles slightly so that they can grow back bigger and stronger. Sleep provides your body with the platform it needs to fully repair these torn muscles and maximize your muscle size and strength.

Increased Fat Loss

Researchers have found that getting enough sleep can help you eat less and even accelerate the rate at which your body burns fat. Sleeping helps regulate the levels of ghrelin and leptin in your body – 2 hormones that control hunger and appetite. It also stimulates the production of human growth hormone – the hormone that supports and speeds up your body’s fat burning processes.

Improved Physical Performance

If you’re an athlete who wants to improve your performance, getting good quality sleep every day can help you achieve this goal. Researchers at Stanford University ran a study on college football players who slept for at least 10 hours daily over several weeks. They found that not only did the well-rested athletes increase their average sprint times but also felt less tired and had more stamina during the day.

Reduced Stress Levels

When your body is sleep deprived, it goes into stress mode. Its functions remain on high alert, this causes a spike in blood pressure and cortisol – the stress hormone. High blood pressure increases your risk of heart attacks and stroke, while being stressed has a negative impact on your mood and increases your risk of falling into depression. By ensuring that you get enough sleep on a regular basis, you can keep your body out of stress mode and stay in a calm, relaxed state.

AND FINALLY! 5 Tips on How to Get the Best Sleep

At this point, I’m sure both you and I have realized the importance of getting enough sleep to be able to function at optimal levels. Sleeping well improves your appearance, brainpower, memory and other vital body functions. It also reduces your risk of gaining weight, feeling fatigued or developing chronic health conditions. Both adults and children need 6 or more hours of sleep every night for optimal health. However, just getting the recommended hours of sleep each day does not mean that your body is getting the rest that it needs. A lot of people toss and turn all night, don’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning and find themselves drinking ALL the coffee to avoid drowsiness during the day. Quality of sleep is so important! So, here some tips to help you get the sleep you need:

Sleep in a Cool, Dark & Quiet Room

Sleeping with the lights on is one of the major causes of sleep deprivation. When your eyes are exposed to light, neurons are aroused, and this disrupts your sleep. Research has also shown that light exposure before sleep suppresses the production of melatonin – the hormone that controls your sleep and wake cycles. A reduction in this hormone at night normally leads to varying levels of sleeplessness. To avoid sleep disruption due to nighttime exposure to light, always sleep with all the lights off. This includes the light emitted from electronic devices, so make sure your computer, phone, tablet and other light producing equipment are either turned off or stored outside the bedroom.

Too much heat can also disrupt your sleep quality. To keep cool while you sleep, make sure you keep the window open and ensure the room is well ventilated. If you still find that you’re too warm after doing this, go to bed wearing lighter clothing and consider less blankets.

Noise is yet another thing that can have a detrimental impact on the quality of your sleep. To minimize the amount of noise in your room, make sure there’s nothing in the bedroom that could potentially make noises while you sleep. If it’s noisy outside your bedroom, try sleeping with a fan running (my entire family travels with box fans!) or even earplugs.

Avoid Caffeine After 3pm

As you probably know, coffee is a rich source of caffeine. These chemicals change the brain’s chemistry by binding with sleeping inducing receptors known as adenosine in order to keep you awake. The stimulating effects of caffeine can wreak havoc on your sleep because they take hours to wear off. Therefore, if you are an avid coffee drinker, (or other forms of caffeine) consider stopping consumption at 3pm. If that doesn’t help, consider stopping it even earlier.

Get Comfortable Before You Sleep

There are many ways to get comfortable before going to bed and these can improve the quality of your sleep. For instance, taking a hot shower raises your core body temperature and this helps to improve sleep. Alternatively, having a hot bath can relax your muscles and help you to have a soothing night of sleep.

Try Essential Oils or Scent Therapy

Essential oils and natural scents such as cedar wood, roman chamomile, sandalwood, valerian or lavender are all-natural relaxants and can help you have an amazing night’s sleep. There are lots of ways you can use these scents to enhance your sleep quality. If you’re having a bath before bed, try putting a few drops of your favorite sleep inducing scents into the bath and then allow the aromas to work their magic. Using these scents in the bedroom can also help calm the body and bring about sleep.

Unwind Before Bed

One final way to maximize your sleep quality is to start unwinding and getting ready for bed a few hours before you sleep. Disconnecting from the Internet, switching off the TV and your other electronic devices, and spending the last few hours of the day doing a relaxing activity can change your quality of sleep. For the last 30 minutes of the day, try to stop everything, empty your mind and focus fully on getting ready for sleep. In my personal life, I discovered that 15 minutes of restorative yoga, followed by a calming period of meditative breathing was my ticket to more sound, and deeper sleep.

Sleep is just one of the pillars of great health, and it’s in balancing all of the pillars that leads to ultimate wellness. If you are interested in finding the balance in your life, and becoming the healthiest and happiest you can be, let’s connect and chat! I’d love to hear from you and get you started on your own personal wellness journey.

 Be Blessed and BeeWell

The Magic of Blueberries!

For many of us, it’s blueberry season! I just got back from the grocery store with some, and was inspired to write about them! These indigo-colored berries are sweet, long lasting, and versatile. They are a great way to jazz up salads, smoothies, yogurt, pancakes, or waffles. Not only are they tasty and easy to snack on, but they are powerhouse superfoods with a wide range of benefits. Here are just a few magical benefits of the super sweet “candy of nature”!

High in nutrition

Blueberries are very nutritious. A cup contains four grams of fiber, 36% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin K, 24% DV of vitamin C, 25% DV of manganese and 15 grams of healthy carbohydrates.

Low in calories

Although they are high in nutrition, they are low in calories. One serving of 148 grams of blueberries only contains 84 calories.

King of anti-oxidants

Blueberries are often referred to as the king of antioxidants. They contain a high number of flavonoids that reduce the risk of various types of diseases and illnesses like cancer and heart problems. 

Promote anti-aging

Daily consumption of blueberries reduces the risk of DNA damage and the development of anti-aging symptoms.

Fight various diseases and illnesses

Blueberries can help reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure and improve your memory and other brain activities.

Workout partner

Blueberries are great for restoring and repairing muscle damage after hard workout sessions. Add a handful of them to your post-workout protein shake or smoothie.

Help in losing weight

The fiber in blueberries helps you feel full, satiates cravings, and provides you with loads of long-lasting energy. Whip up a smoothie or throw them into some Greek yogurt to help keep your snacking healthy.

Healthy digestion

Having a handful of blueberries as a dessert after your meal will help to improve your digestion and will save your body from disturbing illnesses like constipation.

Promote clear and glowing skin

Blueberries promote clear skin. The high levels of vitamin C help reduce the damages of smoke, pollution and built up makeup. Try a blueberry facemask at home to help your skin regain its glow. 

Have luscious locks

The vitamins and nutrients in blueberries can help restore the luster and shine of your hair. You can even crush a handful of blueberries and add them to your hair oil as a hair mask. Apply, let sit for a few minutes, and rinse. Your hair will feel amazing.

You are strong when your bones are strong

Blueberries contain magnesium, calcium, iron, and phosphorus that promote strong, healthy bones. Daily consumption of a handful blueberries may help repair damaged bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

SO GOOD!

Blueberries can be adding to almost anything-throw some into yogurt, on top of your cereal, into salads, or mixed right into your protein pancakes or waffles. They add a sweetness that allows you to reduce the sugar in man recipes!

To get a super powerful morning or post workout kick, try making a power smoothie with blueberries as the star!

Allow yourself to be creative, use your favorite add-ons, and make this a power filled addition to your daily nutrition!

Start with your favorite milk-almond, oat, it’s your choice! Add in some spinach or kale (I promise-you won’t taste it!!), perhaps a scoop of your favorite protein powder, and a handful of blueberries and blend! To add more nutrition and power to your shake, try adding some greek yogurt, chia seeds, or flax seeds. For a little added sweetness, try adding half a banana to this. YUMMY! If blueberries are not in season where you live, frozen blueberries work just as well, and make give your smoothie an extra creamy and milkshake type of texture and taste.

If you’re looking for ways to clean up your diet, find the right nutrition for your lifestyle, learn how to reduce stress in your lifestyle, or gain focus and motivation to make healthy choices in your life to live the best life ever, please feel free to connect and set up a personalized plan just for you. You can also follow me on IG for daily inspiration, tips, and freebies.

Be blessed and BeeWell!

The Healing Powers of Yoga

Hello readers! This week I want to share about something that is very dear to me-yoga! I’m super excited and happy to announce that after years of practicing yoga, I recently enrolled in a program to become a certified yoga teacher! I’m looking forward to sharing more information about yoga with you in the near future!

There are many different forms of yoga, each of which has many of the same health benefits, but each style also has some unique qualities. There is hatha yoga, hot yoga, restorative yoga, and so many others. In this blog post, I want to share about restorative yoga. Restorative yoga is so AMAZING!

With restorative yoga, you are doing a practice that is much gentler on your body. It is intended to help heal your body and mind, promote wellness, and help you learn basic stretches that will open up your body and allow for healing. This form of yoga-like others, promotes deep breathing through the nose, which leads to a very calming, cleansing, almost meditative feeling that reduces stress and anxiety, and bring a focus and stillness to the mind.

Do You Need Restorative Yoga in Your Life?

Have you felt a little anxious? Perhaps you’re having a hard time falling or staying asleep? Maybe you wake in the morning feeling un-refreshed or cloudy headed? Maybe you have moments of anger building up during your day, or simply realize you need a sense of more calm and less drama in your life? Maybe you are a multi-tasker or someone that simply cannot turn those constant thoughts off long enough to find some peace? Perhaps you simply feel little aches and pains in your life from a lack of getting proper exercise, or perhaps, you’ve paused to check your phone a few to many times  while reading this post???? Yoga….it IS your friend!

Restorative Yoga for Stress Relief

Most forms of yoga can be amazing for stress relief, but restorative yoga has a few added benefits for this purpose.

First of all, restorative yoga is more of a slower and gentler form of yoga. Instead of moving swiftly from one pose to the next, each pose in restorative yoga is going to be held for considerably longer, with deeper and very measured breathing. This is great for building up your strength and flexibility, but also gives you time to adjust and stretch through each pose. You are given more time to breathe during the pose and relax your muscles fully-you will find that with each breath, you are able to relax deeper and more completely into your poses.

You will notice that in a restorative yoga class, the entire environment is much more relaxing, which in of itself makes it better for people who are doing yoga specifically to help relieve stress. Often, whether done in class or online, there is meditative sounds or music to bring you even further into your relaxation for both mind and body.

Why Props Are Used in Restorative Yoga

Another big difference between restorative yoga and other forms of the practice is that props are used frequently. This is a mellow yoga class that is meant to relax you, so props are often used to help support your body. This allows you to hold the poses in the proper position, and for longer periods of time. Keep in mind-It is this length of time for each pose that really makes it “restorative” and healing for both your body and mind.

If you take a yoga class, they might tell you what items to bring, though most classes also provide them for their students. However, if you are doing it at home, get props like yoga blocks and bolsters if you can. Otherwise, rolled-up towels or small blankets also work great. These props make it easier for you to reach and hold each pose even if you have little flexibility or balance, therefore taking much f the body challenge out of the yoga equation.

The Best Stress-Relieving Yoga Positions

While many yoga poses used in restorative yoga are great for stress relief, there are some that are better to start with. If you are dealing with stress and overwhelm, try some of these beginner-friendly poses:

Child’s Pose

It is always good to start with a yoga pose that is very simple and easy to get your stretch in, such as the child’s pose. If you do other workouts, like strength training or Pilates, you might be familiar with child’s pose as it is a common post-workout stretch.

The child’s pose is done starting on your knees, with the top of your feet and shins flat on the ground. Leave your knees about shoulder-width apart, then start bending your body forward until your head and shoulders between your knees. Bend forward as far as you can with your arms stretched out in front of you. You want a good stretch, but not so much that it causes discomfort or pain.

Child’s pose helps calm the breath, eases lower back pain, stretches the hips and thighs, and increases circulation throughout the body.

Supported Bridge Pose

Lie on your back with your knees bent, and feet just far away from your bottom that you can touch them with your fingertips. Place a folded blanket or pillow under your lower back if support is needed. In this pose, you will gently rise from the hips, through the thighs, into a “bridge, with the upper back and shoulder still on the ground. Keep your arms relaxed and by your sides, or place them over your belly or heart. Hold this pose while breathing slowly through the nose. Bridge pose strengthens the back and glutes, while opening the chest and hip flexors. It brings calmness to the body, alleviates stress, improves digestion, and can even help with depression.

Legs up the Wall

 You can try the legs up the wall yoga pose, another classic pose that is great for beginners. All you need to do is find a wall in your home or the yoga studio that you will be able to lean your body against. You will lie with your back and buttocks on the ground, with your legs straight up in front of you, on the wall. An easy way to get into this position is put one hip on the wall, lay down flat, slowly swinging your legs around to go up the wall. Using a folded blanket under your hips will reduce any pressure from the lower back. Holding this position while using a steady breath will release tension throughout the entire body, reduce anxiety, and even lower the heart rate. This pose can also help with insomnia.

I use restorative yoga almost nightly in my personal routine. In recent weeks, during some especially stressful moments, I have pulled out my mat several times a day to spend a few moments doing simple poses and breathing deeply and slowly. The degree of calm I feel almost immediately has made me a huge believer in the practice. I hope you will take a few moments to try a pose or two each day and see how it can bring a calming, positive affect to your daily life. As always, if you’re interested in exploring new mindsets and pathways for your health and wellness journey, please reach out to me! I’d love to help set up, support, and motivate you in a program designed just for you.

Intermittent Fasting 101

Intermittent fasting has become a hugely popular way of eating and living for health, fat burn, longevity, and even brain clarity. It’s not so much considered a “diet” as it is a lifestyle and eating pattern. In recent months, it’s become a huge topic in many of my circles and groups, and it’s often one of the first topics my perspective clients want to discuss when we begin our health relationship. So, this week, while searching for the perfect topic for a blog post, IF-intermittent fasting just seemed like the perfect choice!

This way of eating doesn’t so much involve “what you eat”, but “when you eat”, so the restrictions as to food choices are not as critical as most eating plans. Pairing intermittent fasting with a healthy balanced diet can result in not only weight loss, but many other really incredible health benefits as well.

There have proven to be many benefits to living the IF lifestyle. When it comes to weight loss or maintaining weight, IF works! Eating within specific time frames leads to lower calorie intake without the dreaded focus on food choices or food restrictions. During periods of fasting, human growth hormones increase quickly, leading to stored fat loss and muscle retention, and insulin levels appear to drop quickly, which makes fat loss easier. And, incredibly enough, “autophagy” occurs after a short period of fasting-this is when our cells begin to digest and get rid of old and dysfunctional cells, replacing them with new cells. There are also changes to hormone levels and genes during this process that affect longevity, aging, and help protect against disease.

While people using IF usually find that making the adjustment to this lifestyle a little challenging, they soon come to realize that it becomes a rather easy lifestyle change, and are pleased to see rapid, visible results that keep them motivated to continue on. They find that weight loss is quicker, easier, and more convenient, report a decrease in inflammation in the body, find better brain clarity and mood balance, and find that their metabolism increases, and their sleep is better. Many people even report that they feel as though they have cleansed or detoxed their entire body systems!

The WHAT and the HOW

There are several ways of doing IF, and it can easily be structured to fit your particular lifestyle and habits.

16/8 is the most popular method of this lifestyle, in which you fast for 16 hours, and eat within an 8 hour period 7 days a week. For many, this may mean stopping food intake at 8pm, and not eating another meal until noon the next day.

2/24 in another way of doing IF. With this method, fasting is done for a full 24 hours twice a week, and a regular schedule of eating exists for the remaining 5 days. Low calorie beverages are allowed during this type of fasting, and some people even incorporate drinking bone broth into their fasting phases for added gut health benefits.

5:2 is yet another way of doing IF, and this method has one eating less than 500 calories 2 days a week, and eating regularly on the remaining days. This method does have the added responsibility of counting and monitoring calories and/or marcos on the two days of restricted eating, so keep that in mind when making your plans. This form of IF only works if you are NOT using the other 5 days to eat very large amounts of food.

*All of these methods work with reducing caloric intake when a healthy, somewhat moderated approach is taken during “eating times”. Some healthy regard for fueling your body and monitoring your intake is necessary as with any healthy lifestyle choice.

In my own personal experience with intermittent fasting, I have found that it works wonderfully. I have done IF in many ways over the last several months, generally using a 17/7 schedule as a regular routine. On occasion, I fast for 2-4 days every few months to balance my gut and detox my body and soul. You can read about my longer fasts here if you are interested. My routine 17/7 eating pattern has proven to improve my sleep, and given me more mental clarity and focus. It has also helped remove my nightly cravings for carbs, which is a huge win! I have also noticed that when my fasting period is up, I am NOT as likely to want to eat large meals-my stomach seems to feel full much quicker, and I stay full for longer periods of time.

Many people doing IF use apps to track their fasts and inspire or challenge them. I have found that using an app to track my fasts does two things-inspires and motivates me to complete my fast, and, there’s something about hitting the “start fast” button each night that adds some form of “closure” to my day. It’s kind of like telling my brain and stomach “We are DONE!” It’s all about MINDSET!

Fast Habit is the first app I used, and it was a free version. It simply alerted me to start fasting each night at the time I had set, and alerted me the next day when my fast was over. Simple, basic, free. Highly recommended for the beginner.

Fastic is the app I currently use. I have the paid version for the bells and whistles. This app also sends me alerts-including one an hour before my fasting time starts in case I need to take advantage of getting in my last meal. The paid version also offers daily lessons on nutrition, mindset, diet biology, motivation, and other interesting facts. I’ve learned a lot using this app, and it’s also highly recommended. Apps, of course, are not needed, you can simply add your start and finish times to a reminder on your phone calendar.

The “WHO” in Intermittent Fasting

While many studies show that Intermittent Fasting is a safe form of eating for most adults, there are some people that should not follow this lifestyle. If you are underweight, pregnant, trying to conceive, breastfeeding, or suffer from any eating disorder, this lifestyle is not recommended.

One should seek guidance from a medical professional before attempting Intermittent Fasting if they have diabetes, low blood sugar, are on medications, have low blood pressure, or have a serious illness.

Side Effects Possibly Experienced During IF

For most healthy individuals, side effects are very mild and, as the body adjusts and adapts, temporary. Hunger pains, food cravings, low energy, disrupted sleep, irritability, bad breath, and dehydration can occur in the early stages of IF.

Many of these side effects can be due to dehydration; people tend to drink less fluids when not eating meals and snacks throughout the course of a day. To alleviate this issue, be sure to consume fluids regularly throughout the day. 64oz of water should be the goal, and tea and coffee are allowed. (keeping in mind that caffeine will dehydrate you, make sure the bulk of fluids is water!)

I hope that you’ve learned a few things about this “all the rage” healthy lifestyle choice and perhaps have decided to try this out for yourself. If you’d like to learn more about intermittent fasting as a lifestyle, or are looking to make other healthy lifestyle changes to improve your life, I encourage you to reach out to me for a free and fun conversation about finding the steps, information, and motivation to live your absolute BEST life!

Please visit my professional site BeeWell.com for more info, freebies and tips!

Super Fresh and Healthy Summer Eating: Starring Kale!

It’s summer time for many of us, and it’s a fantastic time to add some fresh, light, and healthy veggies to our diet! If you’re looking for a power packed but super low calorie vegetable to add to your summer meals, leafy greens like kale, is a great choice. Kale grows well year round and is easy to find at any grocery store. It is a superfood filled with health benefits like helping to reduce various types of cancer and type 2 diabetes, boosting digestive health, and helping to manage blood pressure. Kale has antioxidants to help remove toxins from the body, as well as fiber, and a huge range of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, K, and A, as well as calcium, magnesium, and manganese. Kale is a perfect staple for many diets, from clean eating to Paleo or Keto. At 33 nutrient packed calories a cup, kale is considered one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet!

To get you started on your quest to add this amazing green to your diet, here is a personal summer favorite recipe of mine-chicken kale soup, as well as four different types of kale salads to try out this summer!

Chicken Kale Summer Soup

1 sweet Onion chopped

1 bunch scallions chopped

2 tbsp minced garlic

3 carrots sliced

1 tbsp butter

½ bunch kale, washed and torn into small pieces

1 15oz can diced tomatoes rinsed

2-3 chicken breasts cooked and chopped

6-8 cups chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

Saute the butter, onions, scallions, garlic and carrots until soft, add chicken broth and heat to a beginning boil. Add chicken and tomatoes, cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Add kale pieces, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on very low heat an additional 10 minutes.

This is a super tasty, very light summer soup that is less than 90 calories a serving.

Citrus Kale Salad with Dressing

2 ruby red grapefruit

2 oranges

6-8 oz kale washed and torn into smallish pieces

3 tbsp orange juice

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 ½ tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp honey

pepper to taste

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

small red onion sliced

4 oz feta or goat cheese

Peel and section oranges and grapefruits, removing pits. Cut into bite sized pieces.

Mix together orange juice, white wine vinegar, Dijon, sugar, salt, and olive oil-whisk until blended well. 

Toss kale, onion, and ½ of dressing together, add salt and pepper to taste. Top with citrus pieces, onion, and sprinkle with cheese. Serve with remaining dressing.

And, a few other super easy ideas for superfood kale salads:

Chopped Kale Superfoods Salad

This salad is great when you want a chopped salad and have some berries and quinoa you want to use as well. Adding quinoa, makes it a heartier salad that really fills you up. It’s an ideal meal if you follow a clean eating diet.

 Use chopped kale for this chopped salad, then add rinsed uncooked or cooked (cooled) quinoa for a nice crunch. You can add a variety of superfood toppings to this for a powerful summer meal.  Berries, like cranberries and pomegranate seeds work well with this. For more crunch and added healthy fats and proteins, add some crushed walnuts as well.

Kale and Veggies Salad

Another great option for kale salad is one that uses even more veggies. You can also add berries to this salad if you wish as well. Simply replace your lettuce with kale!This can be a good main course, but it works well as a light lunch or a side dish as well. This salad uses fresh kale, along with some brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower, all of which are available throughout the summer season. If you want to add a little fat to the salad, you can add some bacon bits as well. Nuts taste great on the top. Leave it as-is or make a simple dressing with olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, and some lemon juice.

Kale and Apple Salad

Kale happens to taste great when combined with sweet fruits. This kale and apple salad is perfect when you want to combine fresh flavors for a brand new taste. Use your chopped kale, along with some sliced sweet apples, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or even sliced and pitted cherries, and add some chopped walnuts or almonds. To add more protein to this salad, add sprinkles of goat or feta cheese. Add a splash of lemon juice for a tasty light dressing.

The Absolute Beginners Guide to Eating Healthy

If you’re currently not eating a healthy diet, it can be difficult to start such a plan. However, healthy eating, along with some enjoyable form of exercise is very important for maintaining good bodily function and goes a long way towards living a disease-free life. If you struggle with healthy eating, then you know that breaking unhealthy habits can be the most difficult part of the process. Therefore, if you truly want to live the best lifestyle possible, it is important to follow tips in order to start eating a more healthy diet.

A great first step when you want to start eating your way to a healthy lifestyle is to rid your home of all temptations that will distract you from following better eating habits. Ideally it would be a smart choice to keep junk foods and beverages out of your house so you will not be tempted to snack during those times of day when you find yourself eating out of boredom or stress. If you’re worried about being hungry, keep healthy snacks like carrot sticks, yogurt, fresh fruit, or whole-wheat crackers on hand. If you find that you just cannot bear to toss out the sweets, try keeping small portions of those foods for special occasions only. Eating a few, (emphasis on few) of these won’t ruin your diet but also will give you that little sugary fix you crave.

Another great step to healthy eating, when you’re first starting the process, is to take a few moments to learn what foods are the healthiest for you and how they work within the body. To start eating healthy, we must begin by thinking healthy. Most people understand that fruits, vegetables, and low-fat meats and dairy products are good for them, but few people understand why. The key is learning about the nutrients the body needs to be at it’s optimal health. When you understand how specific nutrients work and why you need them, it becomes easier for you to make healthier choices for your body. Knowledge, especially in this case, really is power! You body, after all, is a machine and machines run best when powered by the right fuel!

Preparation is a major key in starting a new healthy diet. You must take into consideration your schedule for meals. If you often eat in a rushed hurry at odd times of day, you are probably more inclined to grab a rushed meal-that will probably do more harm than good. So plan ahead! Instead of grabbing a fast food lunch on the go, take a bagged lunch to work, complete with a healthy wrap or some lean meat, and some fresh fruit and vegetables. Try a little meal planning for your evening meals-having a planned, prepped and ready meal waiting for when you arrive home would be ideal, but in our fast paced lifestyle, sometimes this just can’t be done. One way to solve this problem is to plan out your evening meals for the week before you do your weekly shopping. Focus your meal prep around 2 main foods each week. For example, in week 1, plan 3 meals using chicken breasts, and 3 meals using lean beef. Cooking those foods at the same time, then adding other ingredients to make several prepped meals will ensure that you have healthy, tasty foods available when you are too tired to plan or cook. Think: chicken breasts with a hearty salad one night, chicken and bean chili another night, and even a hearty chicken soup for another meal. Doubling up on these foods can also provide easy healthy lunches.

When planning your grocery shopping, always have a plan and a list ready. To eat as clean as possible, and to avoid the temptations of high calorie, nutrient low, packaged foods, focus your shopping trip on the perimeters of the store: produce, meats, dairy. Fill your cart with seasonal fruits and veggies for side dishes and snacks. Look for lean cuts of meat, and lower fat versions of your favorite daily products. Never shop when you are hungry! Have a small healthy meal or snack before leaving for your shopping trip so that you are not tempted into buying things just to satisfy your need to eat.

Start with baby steps. Even if you only replace one soda a day with a glass of water, you are really improving your calorie intake. If you eat fast food every day for lunch, try replacing that half of the time with better quality foods. When you start by taking small steps you aren’t cutting out all of the foods you love all at once. By taking your time to learn about your eating habits and slowly replacing them with better meals, by taking the time to learn and understand why you should be doing that and making the necessary changes in an orderly fashion, you will feel much better within yourself physically, mentally and emotionally and well on the road to becoming as healthy as you can be.

If you are ready to take the next step but looking for guidance, knowledge, and motivation, consider setting up a time to discuss and set your goals, gain the nutritional knowledge that you need, learn meal planning and prep, stress relief, and more, and get started on a fantastic journey to finding yourself in the best health possible. Today can easily be a changing day in your life. Contact me now for a free 30 minute call.

www.beewell.com

Gaining the Mindset for Weightloss

Weight loss is one of the most challenging things you can do, but also one of the most rewarding. It not only changes your body composition and improves your physical health, but it can also improve your mental health at the same time. The problem is often not with your physical body, but how your mind reacts to changing certain lifestyles that will help you lose weight and keep it off.

Often, when we make the decision to create healthy changes in our lifestyle, it’s based on something negative that has happened; a doctor has said something to worry us, we don’t like the way we feel, our clothes don’t fit the way we want them to, or we don’t like what we see in the mirror. Those negative prompts get us thinking about making changes, and often times, the changes that need to be made are not exactly the things we want to do, and this just sets us up for a negative, and seemingly impossible, task that is just not sustainable in the long run. The answer to this endless cycle is mindset!

What is MINDSET?

Mindset, in the general sense, is the set of beliefs that shape how you make sense of the world and yourself. Mindset influences your thought patterns, your feelings towards things, and how you will react to situations around you. There are two types of mindsets: fixed and growth.

Fixed mindset is the belief that things are simply the “way they are”, and that those things cannot be changed.

Growth mindset is the belief that you have the power and ability to make the changes you need to reach the goals that you desire.

To achieve the needed mindset for weight loss-or any health changes you wish to make in your life-the mindset needed is, of course, GROWTH! You need to believe that you CAN! And, believe me-you CAN. To get you started on your journey to a healthier you, here’s a few things to think about. I encourage you to think about these carefully, reflect on them, and even journal or make a list to help you find the clarity you need to get started on the right track.

Find a Positive “WHY”

It’s important to put a positive spin on your “why”. Instead of thinking about losing weight to avoid needing a medication or lowing your blood pressure, try to find a positive reason, like feeling younger, or being able to play more with your grandchildren. Instead of thinking about losing weight because you clothes don’t fit the way you want them too, try switching your thoughts to how awesome you will feel when you simply don’t have to feel self conscious in anything you wear. Instead of thinking about what you “can’t eat, wear, do” in your life, think about the things you CAN or WILL do. Think about them often. Write them down. Talk about them. Plan for them. Replace your negative thoughts with positive thoughts, and you will find that the entire process becomes less daunting; less restrictive, and less like a chore.

Why Are You Overweight, or Why Do You Struggle With Your Desired Weight?

In order to have a healthier mindset to help you lose weight, you first need to figure out what the main purpose for your weight gain is. This can be something from your childhood, unhealthy habits, food addiction or disordered eating, and medical conditions. Sometimes, your weight is determined by genetics or a medication you are taking, so weight loss and your mindset is going to be much different than if it is from your mental health or simple unhealthy choices you have been making. Knowing the clear reason behind any excess weight will help you get a plan in action to get it off.

Keep Weight Loss Simple

Once you have figured out your WHY, and pinpointed why you have gained weight, you are on the right path to developing a healthier mindset for weight loss. It is important to start by making it very SIMPLE. Don’t try to do a complicated, fad diet, a crash diet, or anything that might be hard on both your body and your mind. Don’t try to lose 10 pounds in a week or start your diet at the same time as a rigorous fitness routine. Start slow, keep it simple, and give yourself enough time to really understand the process. Remember, small steps add up to big changes, but big changes all at once are exhausting and often left far behind in our thoughts. One or two small changes in a week’s time are more than enough. Build on changes as you go, adding as you feel more empowered. It’s better to make four small changes consistently over 4 weeks, then it is to make 4 changes in one week that only make your life seem restrictive and difficult.

Choose Your Own Goals and Path

Your journey has to be your own! What works for your co-workers or best friend is likely not the best choice for you! If everyone is eating keto, but you don’t like the menu choices-it’s NOT going to work for you. If your best friend is dropping weight by running several miles a day, and you hate outdoor exercise-it’s NOT going to work for you. You absolutely NEED to find changes in your lifestyle that work for YOUR life. You need a movement program that you enjoy, not one that you dread. You need foods that you love to eat, not foods that make you feel restricted. Your plan needs to be focused on you. (If you need help with this-this is my specialty! Let’s chat!) You should find some excitement in the changes you are making, because in the end, those changes will be easy to sustain.

Get Educated

One of the best ways to stick to health lifestyle changes is to become educated! Spend a little time researching the foods you eat, read the ingredients on your packaged and processed foods, learn how foods work in your body, and how exercise affects your overall wellbeing. Working with a health coach or a nutritionist is a great place to start in understanding how the foods you eat work with your body, and how overall wellness-stress, sleep, exercise, mindset-affects how you feel and how you live.

Be Mindful

Recognizing emotions and feelings towards food, eating, and how we live our daily lives can really help you understand why and where changes need to be made for the better. For example, eating while stressed is a huge factor in weight gain. Recognizing the pattern can lead you to finding other ways of relieving stress. Rushing through meals, or eating on the go are other factors in our weight. Learning to be mindful of our meals, taking time to enjoy the foods we eat, noticing when we feel satisfied and full, are all important factors in weight loss and weigh control.

Gravitate to Positivity During Your Journey

Find your support! Gain a healthy tribe of like-minded people! Consider a health coach to guide you, motivate you, and keep you focused. Avoid people who are going to bring you down, encourage unhealthy eating habits, or who talk down to you along the way. This journey is life changing, and you will find that it’s a much easier and pleasant path if you surround yourself with people that believe in healthy living, and believe in YOU.

Learn to Focus on the Now

Instead of focusing on the scale, the mirror, or “the number” you wish to see, focus on each moment. Looking into the future at a point in which you will feel you have reached that ultimate goal will only make you exhausted. Focus on hourly and daily goals to keep your motivation positive and constant. Pat yourself on the back for your healthy breakfast, celebrate the fact that you stopped eating after 7pm, congratulate yourself for getting a power walk in! Do this ALL day, EVERY day and remember that it’s these small steps, these small victories that will get you to the BIG goals!

Ask for Guidance, Find a Cheerleader, Make it Happen!

Consider finding a health coach to help you find the right mindset and program that will work for YOU. Unlike other generic “diet” plans, a health coach will work with you personally to design a plan that will be all about YOU. This plan will be about your goals, your choices, and your needs, and fit perfectly into the lifestyle you have and crave. A coach will help you find and set small, but specific, measurable and celebrated, attainable, relevant, time focused goals in each session, and celebrate them with you as well. They will help you change negative thoughts and habits into positive actions, as well as educate and inform you when you may be feeling overwhelmed by the vast amount of information that surrounds us daily on the internet and in society. It’s time to find what works for YOU, and make it all about YOU and your goals. If you’re ready to see what that might look like in your life, let’s chat! I’d love to put a plan together and get you where you want to be!

from my business site BeeWell.com

Walking into Summer!

Summer is a great time to focus on exercise; the weather is nice, the days are longer, and we tend to spend more time outdoors. For those looking to add some exercise to their summer schedule, but may be looking for something low impact and low cost, walking is definitely the answer!

Walking provides so many health benefits, and it’s literally a free activity, so it’s a win-win situation.  Walking increases the fitness of the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, boosts your metabolism, burns calories at a steady rate, helps improve muscle strength and tone, reduces body fat, and helps strengthen our bones and improve our balance. In all, simply walking each day, helps our bodies more than any other exercise. It can be done almost anywhere, costs no money, and can also take us to some beautiful places! Who doesn’t want an exercise program like that??

If you’re already on a regular program of walking, this article can provide you with some summer reminders for safe and comfortable walking. If you’re brand new to a walking program, I hope this will inspire to you lace up and set out for some fun walking adventures!

For those just starting out, it’s recommended that you start your new walking plan slowly, adding time, distance, and a faster pace as you get comfortable with your new fitness plan. Try to start with 20-30 minutes a day, adding a few minutes as you gain confidence and strength in your plan. As you gain endurance, try adding intervals of faster pace, or perhaps some hills to your journey to get those calories burning and muscles toned.

Because summer brings us hotter weather and lots of sun, it’s important to be prepared and safe as we walk each day. Here is a list of helpful tips to keep you moving, healthy, and safe all summer long.

TIMING

Because summer brings us more heat and longer days of bright sunshine, it’s crucial to plan walks at a time in which you will not be greatly affected by those factors. Try planning your walks for early morning before the heat of the day sets in, and find that not only do you get a sense of accomplishment early in your day, but also benefit from an increase in your metabolism all day long! If early morning exercise is not your things, plan for a late evening walk around sunset as the day cools down. Walking in the evening will not only aid in digestion of your dinner, but help relieve stress and tension, and prepare you for more restful sleep.

INDOOR WALKING

For some, walking outside is not possible. Super hot weather, traffic, heat intolerance, or schedules can make getting an outdoor walk in difficult. Treadmills are a great option if you have access to one, and your entire workout can be done without thought of weather. This workout can even be done in front of the TV! Start at a slow pace, and a small incline, building upon both as you feel your endurance build. If you don’t have access to a treadmill, try 20 minutes of marching as you watch a favorite show, and build upon it as you go. For those thinking this is silly-I will admit-I have hit over 30,000 steps watching Sunday Football games-and never left my house!

DRESS FOR STEP SUCCESS

It’s important to have decent, sturdy, comfortable shoes no matter where you might be getting your steps in. Make sure you shoes fit well, and don’t cause any discomfort as you walk. Protect your feet! Tend to blisters as needed, and adjust laces and insoles to get the most comfortable fit.

Light colored clothing is a must when walking during summer months! Avoid dark colors that pull the heat into your body. Look for cool cotton clothing, or even an air wicking fabric to be sure you are dry and cool. Loose fitting clothes will help you feel cooler and drier as well. Avoid poly blend fabrics, as they tend to hold in both heat and moisture. Consider a hat to keep your face cool and dry as well. And don’t forget your sunscreen!

FIND A BUDDY OR A TRIBE

Having a walking partner keeps you motivated! Conversation helps pass the time, and you may feel safer as well. In many areas, there are walking groups or clubs that meet regularly in neighborhoods and parks, and you can find these on Facebook, Nextdoor, or Meetup. Walking with others helps motivate us to get moving, keeps us interested in the process, and allows up to build relationships in a healthy manner.

MAKE IT FUN

For those walking solo, add a little creative multitasking to the effort. Try a new playlist to keep your heart pumping and you feet moving. Listen to an audible book, learn a new language, or catch up on you favorite podcasts while enjoying you walk. These things will not only challenge your creativity and mind, but make the time fly by as you get your exercise in.

HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE

As a general health rule, I encourage my clients and friends to aim for half their body weight in ounces of water each day. (150 pound person should aim for 75 ounces of water) This is a normal, average goal for general daily purpose. During hot months, and times of exercise, water intake should be increased. Get a water bottle that is easy to carry, and fill it with cool water for the duration of your walk. Be sure you are well hydrated BEFORE heading out for a walk, and upon completing of your walk, drink even more fluid. Dehydration can hit us quickly on hot days, and can leave us feeling really horrible. To be sure you are properly hydrated, check your perspiration levels-if you are not perspiring, you need fluids. Most people can also check their hydration levels simply by checking the color of their urine. Very dark urine can be a sign of dehydration, and clearer urine can indicate a well hydrated body. (This does not work for people on medications or experiencing illness) It’s best to keep to a regular schedule of drinking cool water throughout the entire day. 

EXPLORE, EXPLORE, ENJOY

Look for new places to enjoy you daily walks-perhaps a new path or park, a new neighborhood, or even a new town.  Mix up your walking schedule by planning new places to walk, new friends to walk with, new things to listen to as you walk, and you will find this to be a new adventure! Be sure to check your surroundings, know your area, watch for traffic, and ensure that your walk will be safe. (THIS from someone that can easily wander upon an alligator or coyote on a daily walk!) Be safe, explore new things in your life, boost your health, and have a fabulous summer!

From my business site Beewell.com