Tag Archives: fitness

How to Eat Healthy On-The-Go

Eat healthy on the go…

Life can be busy. Our days can get away on us between work and school and errands and, and, and… How often do you find yourself in a pinch without a lunch or dinner plan and you are busy running from one thing to the next?? Perhaps you’ve been so diligent in your quest at eating healthy but then time gets away and you didn’t have time to plan and the next thing you know you are driving through Chick-Fil-A or sitting at a restaurant for dinner feeling like you should just throw up your hands and call it quits. 

Don’t call it quits just yet, my friend. Even in the hustle and bustle of life and the days that aren’t planned or don’t go as planned, we can still maintain healthy eating habits while on-the-go. Here’s how.

3 Ways to Maintain Healthy Eating On-The-Go

Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Whether you are stressed or depressed or overwhelmed or tired, don’t let those emotions dictate your food choices. Easier said than done, I know, but this can be dangerous territory. When going through the drive thru in a pinch, let your decision be made through a clear mind, to the best of your ability. Choose foods that best align with your health goals. Thankfully, nowadays there are many more healthy options even at fast food restaurants. Always choose something that has protein, veggies, and the least amount of added carbohydrates/fat (i.e. dressings, condiments, etc.)

Use helpful apps to guide your decision making. There are several helpful apps out there to help you make the BEST, most healthy food decision you can if/when you have to eat out or go through the drive thru. My Fitness Pal is a helpful app to show you the calories, carbs, fat, protein of items. Most restaurants are on My Fitness Pal now, but if not, perhaps that restaurant has their nutritional info on their website/app. Cheat Day is another app that will help you find the healthiest options at over 700 restaurants, including many fast food and convenience restaurants. 

Create an SOS grab bag for your car. Having some healthy snacks on hand to grab quickly can be the difference to staying on track for the day or ending up in the McDonald’s drive thru at 2 PM. Keep some non-perishable snack items in your car in a little lunch bag. Think nuts, seeds, healthy trail mix, dried fruit, clementine’s/oranges, RX bars, Lara bar, Chomps meat sticks. These are all items that are great to have in a pinch that you can easily access and can prevent a hangry meltdown or a hangry decision you’ll later regret.

 

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us!

Caring For Your Body During Grief

This may not be the most glamorous topic to talk about but it’s an important one nonetheless and one I’ve personally walked through and experienced recently. I haven’t shared a lot with you about my personal life but I am going to share today because I feel it is important for you all to see and be able to relate to someone who has experienced grief and some of the ways I’ve learned how to best care for my health and wellness during such a time.

Five weeks ago, I had a miscarriage. I was seven weeks along and had seen a heartbeat just 24 hours prior. My husband and I had a difficult time conceiving our now 2-year old son, so when we got pregnant after just 4-months of trying, it felt like a huge victory and blessing. We were thrilled! Obviously, God had different plans.

The last several weeks have been difficult to say the least. Grief and loss are something I haven’t had to experience up close and personal. I’ve felt it alongside others and extended family, but this was the closest it’s been to me as far as me losing someone I love. I am sure most women who have experienced a miscarriage will tell you and agree with me that a lot of the grieving is over what could have been, the hope, the anticipation…It’s its own unique path for sure.

But what I am here to share today is a few ways we can best care for ourselves when we face grief, loss, and suffering. Life is hard and painful and it’s not a matter of IF we will face hardship, but rather WHEN. So, whether you are in it now or not, pocket these tips for when that day comes (and obviously I don’t want ANY of you to face hardship but unfortunately it is inevitable).

Here are 3 things I’ve personally learned about caring for my body and health during this season of grief and loss.

Rest– Everyone always says to ‘get some rest’ when you are under a lot of stress or suffering. And rest is good, but what kind of rest are we talking about? Because the sleep-kind of rest won’t cut it, at least that is what I found. Rest, real soul rejuvenating, healing rest doesn’t come from catching more zzz’s but through time, solitude, being still, gathered around friends/family, doing activities that bring you joy. Sometimes it’s physical rest and sometimes it’s mental rest. Our minds and bodies need time and space to heal and sometimes simply BE. Resting and stepping away from the demands of life for a few days or weeks is totally acceptable and necessary. It is good for our physical bodies and our mental health.

Do What You Can– There were many days following the miscarriage where I couldn’t do much of anything. My productive self basically came to a halt. Life shut down, as it should during a difficult time. I’m so grateful for my husband and community that helped with child care, food, etc. As the days went by and the more I began to feel like myself both physically and emotionally, the more I was able to do. Don’t rush it. Do what you can each day and if one day that is absolutely nothing, just know that is healthy for your body for right then and right now. I had to remind myself that this wouldn’t be forever and so letting go of my taskers was ok and acceptable and was actually the BEST thing I could be doing for my health and wellness for that time. Doing an intense workout and depriving myself of the food I wanted was in that time and space, not the healthiest option for me. It would have caused me more harm than good. Sometimes it takes great discernment and wisdom to know what our bodies/minds need. Being healthy isn’t always choosing the salad or working your tail off at the gym. Sometimes the healthiest thing you can do for yourself is to step back, rest, and eat the queso. Just sayin’…

Move and Eat with Leisure– I have to be honest, most days following the miscarriage and all that ensued, I didn’t eat my normal, healthy way. And that is ok! Our bodies physically NEED different things when we are under such emotional and physical stress. In that time, I physically needed more carbs and that is what felt good and nourishing for my body. If you can’t stick to your healthy, clean eating plan during a time such as this, it’s ok to give yourself permission to meet yourself where you are at and know it won’t be forever. Other days I craved protein and veggies and I knew that is what my body needed for nourishment and energy. Just listen to your body. And the same with activity. Most days a walk outside felt really good. It may have taken A LOT of conjuring up to get out there but once I was up and walking with my husband and son, it was restorative for my soul and helped my health and body on my road to recovery both physically and mentally/emotionally.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve. But how we care for ourselves and what we speak over ourselves during that time is important. Don’t be too hard on yourself. It is a season that won’t last forever. Taking the time to slow down, rest, move your body a little, and meet each day as it comes- these are all healthy ways to care for your body and your soul. I know we may not view these things as “health/wellness” and caring for our bodies but being healthy and well is far more than eating a kale salad and doing a 45-min spin class. It also involves our mental and emotional state and how we handle and deal with stress, grief, overwhelm, etc. Be kind and gracious to your body and mind.

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us!

Eating Healthy On A Budget

I want to bust the myth that eating healthy cannot be done affordably or on a budget. Perhaps much to your surprise (and against popular opinion), you do not need to spend your ‘whole paycheck’ in order to eat and maintain a healthy diet. Don’t get me wrong, healthy food can be expensive and eating a healthy diet can and likely will require some sacrifices in your life, but it can be done on a budget and it truly can become a lifestyle for you and your family. 

Here are 10 tips to eat healthy on a budget

Buy in Bulk- Buying certain foods in bulk can save you a significant amount. Items like oats, rice, barley, nuts, seeds, lentils, and beans are all great options for buying in bulk. Simply keep them in airtight containers in your pantry and they will last several months. These food items are also great staples to have on hand and can be used for a variety of meals and recipes. If you are able to front load your grocery money, shopping at wholesale club stores like Sam’s Club and Costco is another great way to save money by buying in bulk. It takes money on the front end, but you will save in the long run especially if you focus on buying staples like olive oil, nuts, dried fruit, meat, and frozen fruit/vegetables. This is truly the way to go when buying staple items that get used up quickly. Buying these items at a conventional grocery store can sometimes be close to double the price than at a wholesale store.

Buy Online- One of my favorite online grocery retailers to shop and save money is Thrive Market. Think Whole Foods meets Costco. Thrive Market carries a variety of healthy pantry items along with other household, beauty, and pet products that are all clean, eco-friendly, and mostly organic. Thrive Market has their own brand of items if you want to get an even better deal. Thrive carries some of the EXACT same brands and items as Whole Foods for less. 

Eat Seasonally- Buying produce that is in season is a great way to save money while eating healthy. It is also a great way to enjoy the best of the season and support local farmers. Seasonal produce is not only cheaper, but it is at its peak for freshness offering better nutrients and taste. 

Maintain an Organized Refrigerator/Pantry- Knowing what you have can save you a lot of money and decrease food waste. Be sure to take inventory before heading to the grocery store so you don’t find yourself questioning if you have that item at home while standing in the grocery store just to find out you already have two at home. I think we’ve all done that before…Toss any expired foods before grocery shopping as well. Speaking of tossing expired foods, along with maintaining an organized refrigerator and pantry, knowing how to store food is also important. Take some time to educate yourself on how to store fresh produce and pantry items so that you aren’t wasting precious food and money. 

Coupon & Check Sales- Take some time and look through the paper for sales at your local grocery store. If you live near a Sprouts Farmers Market you can take advantage of their double ad Wednesdays where you can shop the sales from that week’s ad as well as the previous week’s ad. There are several grocery savings apps out there so no need to clip paper coupons if that isn’t your thing. Check out Ibotta, Checkout 51, Rakuten, and Coupons.com just to name a few. If I see a favorite pantry staple item such as Banza chickpea pasta on sale, I always take advantage of the sale and stock up on a few. This is a great way to save money in the long run and you’re always sure to have your favorite items on hand. 

Buy Off Brand- Nowadays the store brand is just as good as the name brand as far as quality but for a fraction of the cost. Try shopping at a specialty grocery store like Trader Joe’s or Aldi whose entire store is dedicated to their own brand. These stores have become very popular among those looking to cut down on their grocery bill. Most big box chain grocery stores also have their own brand that is more cost effective than the name brands. 

Meal Plan- One of the easiest and most effective ways to save money at the grocery store and on your monthly grocery bill is to meal plan. Going into the store with a game plan and a specific list of items needed will help you from buying unnecessary items or over buying. Speaking of grocery shopping….also avoid grocery shopping when you are hungry. Back to meal planning…I like to sit down one day a week (typically on the weekends) and plan my meals for the week. I use this time and take inventory of my refrigerator and pantry and figure out what items we need. I like to choose 4 meals per week to cook but that will depend on the size of your family, how much you eat out, and how often you want to cook. Once I decide my meals and I know what I have and don’t have, I make my very detailed grocery shopping list. I always like to meal plan BEFORE going to the store but some people like to shop the sales at the grocery store or shop at a farmers market and then plan their meals afterwards depending on what fresh items they purchased. This can be an effective technique but does take more of a knowledge of what to cook and what to pair together versus following more exact recipes. The main goal is to take some time to plan and know what you plan to cook so you don’t overbuy and waste and to ensure you are buying what you need and not adding extras to your cart and your grocery bill.

Know What/What Not to Buy Organic- While buying organic is a great thing to do, if you are trying to eat healthy on a budget it isn’t necessary to buy everything organic. There are some items that are more important than others to buy organic. EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen is a great place to start when determining what to buy organic and what can be purchased conventionally. Check out the lists here

Cut Down on Snack Foods- I think you’d be surprised at how expensive crackers, cookies, and other prepackaged foods are considering the low nutritional value they offer. By skipping out on the snack and junk foods, you can reallocate that money to fresh, whole foods that are better for you! Oftentimes, fresh, whole foods are just as affordable if not cheaper than prepackaged, processed foods but it takes a shift in our mentality. 

Go Meat Free Once a Week- No need to go full on vegetarian but opting to do a meat free meal once a week (maybe Meatless Monday) is one way to cut down on your grocery bill because meat can tend to be expensive, especially quality organic, grass-fed meat. This is also an effective way to expand your palette and cooking repertoire by trying other healthy foods and finding different protein sources from things like beans and lentils. You don’t have to sacrifice protein just because you eat meat free…I think you’d be surprised by the amount of yummy vegan/vegetarian options out there now. 

I hope these tips will help you the next time you step foot in the grocery store and empower you to reach for the healthy items while keeping some extra money in your pocket.

 

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us!

Easy Workouts That Can Be Done on Your Lunch Break

Easy workouts that can be done on your lunch break. Finding the time to workout can be one of the biggest, if not the biggest hurdle for people when it comes to establishing a consistent exercise regimen. We are all busy and stretched thin for time. As women especially, our time and energy are pulled in every which direction- home, work, kids, community/volunteer service, church, friends, etc. 

One key to maintaining a consistent workout regimen is to get creative with your time management. No need to work out for an hour when you can get just as effective of a workout in in 20-30 minutes! This is one of the main reasons I am a fan of HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts. They are short but highly effective! 

Utilizing your lunch break to get in a quick yet effective workout or movement is one way to get creative with your time, especially if you are short on it. If you are working from home, this is even better because you likely won’t need to shower afterwards and can jump right back into work. If you don’t typically take a formal lunch break, I’d urge you to consider blocking your schedule for 30 minutes to invest in yourself and your health and take a much-deserved break in the middle of the day. It’s a great way to reset and be sure you are coming back to work for the second half of the day refreshed, mentally and physically, and able to give your very best to your work. 

Here are 3 easy workouts that can be done on your lunch break! 

*HIIT Workout– Like I said above, 20 minutes of high intensity interval training is enough to get your heart rate elevated and your heart pumping for an effective workout. And the great thing is you don’t need any equipment; there is SO much you can do with just your body weight and by doing plyometric type moves (think jumping type exercises). I like to use the Tabata timer app for my HIIT workouts when I am crunched on time because you can do as many rounds as you have time for and each round is 4 minutes. I typically will do 1-2 exercises per round (each round is 8 times through of 20 seconds of work with a 10 second rest to make up the 4 minutes). The key is to do as much heart pumping work as you can do in 20-30 minutes with little to no breaks. 

*Walking– A simple walk can go a long way! Walking is SO beneficial for our health. Get outside and go for a quick 20-30 minute walk or walk around your building if it’s inclement weather outside. I think sometimes we don’t give walking enough credit, but it is a very effective form of exercise for heart health, hormone health, and overall wellness. Walking is a great lunch time option because you can get fresh air, vitamin D, and move your body, plus you won’t get too sweaty If you need to return to the office.

*Core Workout– This is a great option for a lunch time workout because you won’t get very sweaty. Working our deep core muscles is SO important for improving our overall strength, helping with our posture, and enhancing our other workouts because a strong core is vital for proper form. Working on our core strength and pelvic floor strength is low impact but certainly not a waste of your time and effort. Increasing core and pelvic floor strength can help if you suffer from back pain, incontinence, or if you are trying to heal diastasis recti postpartum. 

 

Give your lunch time a makeover and use that time to your advantage to squeeze in some movement that will give you a boost of energy for the rest of the day, help you progress in your health/fitness goals, and allow you to spend your after work time doing the other things you need to get done.

 

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us!

Breaking Down Fitness Lingo Part 2

Welcome back to Part 2 of our ‘Breaking Down the Fitness Lingo’ blog series. Today we are going to cover all of the fitness terms from H to Z. Get ready, here we go!

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) High Intensity Interval Training is a specific type of cardiovascular exercise that focuses on alternating short bursts of all-out (anaerobic) exercise with less intense recovery periods. There is no set duration for this type of training although typically 30 minutes is sufficient to experience the benefits of HIIT. Some of the benefits of HIIT training include its efficiency, increased fat burn, increased cardiovascular capacity, little to no equipment needed, increased metabolism, and you can lose weight without losing lean muscle mass. 

High Impact– High impact on the joints and involves activities where both feet are off of the ground at the same time. High impact activities include running, jumping, plyometrics, and gymnastics. 

Heart Rate Zones– Zones to help you understand how hard you are exercising. Heart rate zones are the zones in between our personal resting heart rate and our max heart rate. A simple way to determine your personal heart rate zones is to take a % of your max heart rate. The different heart rate zones correspond with the intensity of your training. Heart rate zones are linked to anaerobic and aerobic thresholds. There are 5 different heart rate zones: 

HR Zone 1 (very light): 50-60% max HR

HR Zone 2 (light): 60-70% max HR

HR Zone 3 (moderate): 70-80% max HR

HR Zone 4 (hard): 80-90% max HR

HR Zone 5 (max): 90-100% max HR

Isometric– A form of exercise involving the static contraction of a muscle without any visible movement or change in the angle of the joint. Isometric exercises are done to improve strength in one particular position. These types of exercises can be beneficial for increasing stabilization. 

Lactic Acid Lactic Acid (lactate) is a chemical byproduct of anaerobic respiration. Lactic acid is also produced in our guts and in yogurt from bacteria. Lactic acid is in our blood where it is then deposited into muscle cells and red blood cells. 

Lactic Threshold– Lactic threshold is the point in your exercise where the lactate in your blood begins to exponentially increase and accumulate at a faster rate than it can be removed. This oftentimes happens with high intensity exercise and can result in vomiting and not feeling well and needing to stop the activity. 

Low Impact– Activities where one foot remains on the ground at all times, therefore being low impact on the joints. Walking is an example of a low impact exercise. 

Max Heart Rate– Max heart rate is based on a person’s age and is calculated by subtracting the person’s age from 220. This number is the maximum times the heart should beat during one minute of exercise. 

MET– MET’s are metabolic equivalents that can help determine your body’s energy expenditure and the intensity of an exercise.  A MET is the ratio of your working metabolic rate versus your resting metabolic rate. One MET is the energy used to be still/at rest. MET’s are calculated by multiplying 3.5 ml of oxygen (your cells use approximately 3.5 mL of oxygen to create energy for one MET per kilogram of body weight) times your body weight in kilograms. MET’s can be helpful in determining an exercise routine and to help you gauge how much you are getting out of your workout. Keep in mind that energy expenditure will vary person to person based on age and fitness level. 

One Rep Max– Your one repetition maximum is the max amount of weight you can lift for one rep of a specific exercise. You can use this information of your one rep max to determine the weight you should be using for your sets in general. 

Plyometric– Plyometric exercises are aerobic exercises used to increase speed, strength, and endurance. Plyometric exercises typically involve jumping such as squat jumps, burpees, box jumps, clapping push-up, and ski/lateral jumps just to name a few. These types of exercises are powerful, high exertion exercises that are meant for conditioned individuals and athletes. 

Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) The Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale is a way to measure the intensity of an exercise and how hard you feel like your body is working. The rating is on a 6-20 scale, 6 being the easiest and 20 being the hardest, all out effort. It is based on the individual’s personal physical feelings and experiences during the physical activity (i.e. increased heart rate, increased breathing, sweating, muscle fatigue, etc.). Although the scale is subjective in nature, it has been shown to provide a fairly accurate estimate of your actual heart rate during exercise. 

Repetition– In reference to strength training, a repetition is the number of times you perform a given exercise during a set. 

Resting Heart Rate– A normal resting heart rate range for adults is 60-100 beats per minute. A lower heart rate signifies that your heart is able to work more efficiently and you have better cardiovascular fitness. 

Steady State Cardio– A cardio workout with a continuous steady effort that can be sustained for a longer amount of time with a stable heart rate and oxygen consumption. This type of exercise is unlike interval training in that you do not vary the intensity or energy output. Steady state cardio can help to increase your aerobic fitness level and cardiovascular endurance. 

Strength/Resistance Training– The goal with this type of exercise training is to improve strength and function of muscles. You can weight lift using barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells, etc. and you can also use resistance bands for resistance training. You can also do strength training using your own body weight to do exercises such as squats, push-ups, lunges, etc. 

Set– In reference to strength training, a set is repeating the same exercises a certain number of times. For example, you complete 10 squats for one set, then rest, and perform another ‘set’ of 10 squats. 

Superset– Two or more strength training exercises that typically work the same muscle group and are performed back to back without any rest periods. 

Tabata– A high intensity interval training protocol created by Japanese scientist, Dr. Izumi Tabata, that involves 20 second all-out maximum work intervals followed by a 10 second rest interval for 8 cycles (a total of 4 minutes). 

Warm-up– A warm-up is done prior to beginning exercise in order to prepare the body for the stress of exercise. A warm-up should consist of 5-10 minutes of low-intensity aerobic movements or dynamic stretches to increase blood flow to the muscles to warm them for more intense exercise. 

Now that we’ve gone from A-Z in the fitness world, hopefully you have a better understanding of some of these terms that are thrown around in your fitness classes or at the gym. I hope this understanding will help you continue to make progress and move forward in your health and fitness journey!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us!

New Year, New Fridge, New Pantry, Tips on Organizing-Part Two

New Year, New Fridge, New Pantry, Tips on Organizing-Part Two. You can view Part One here.

Moving onto the pantry…We are going to apply several of the same principles and strategies when it comes to organizing a pantry. 

If you don’t have a built-in pantry or a pantry-type closet in your kitchen, that is ok. You can easily re-purpose a piece of furniture like a glass cabinet, hutch, or bakers rack and turn it into a pantry. 

Step 1: Clean out your pantry just like your refrigerator. Take EVERYTHING out and wipe down the shelves and drawers. After your pantry has been cleaned out, wiped out, and expired items tossed, it’s time to create a system BEFORE putting everything back in. 

Step 2: Begin to group things into categories- baking items, breakfast items, snacks, candy, etc. Be careful not to over categorize- really focus on the basics. Once you have your categories, you can begin to find a place for each category of items. Think about what you use daily and be sure those items are more accessible. 

Step 3: Now is when you will figure out what baskets, bins, and containers you will use as you reassemble your pantry. 

Use baskets, bins, and containers to your advantage. Baskets are great to put chips, boxed snacks, bars, etc. You can even put jars/cans in a basket if your pantry is more visible and you want it to be more visually appealing and tidy. Baskets are a great tool to help maintain cleanliness and organization in your pantry. I also highly recommend the OXO pop top containers. They keep food fresh and are easy to wash. These containers can be used for virtually anything in your pantry (or even elsewhere in your home). 

Use glass jars for pantry staples. Transfer common ingredients (especially baking ingredients) such as flour, sugars, spices, pasta, rice, granola, nuts, etc. into large glass jars with lids. Mason jars work great and are an affordable option. One idea is to take the jars to your local grocery store that sells bulk items (i.e. grains, beans, nuts) and replenish your staple items from the bulk bins. This will be a more cost-effective option versus purchasing these items pre-packaged.

Add shelving. If you have a pantry with a door, you can add an over the door shelving unit to add even more storage space to your pantry. These are particularly great for spices, cans, and other small items. 

Everyone’s pantry and refrigerator situations are a little different, but I hope these tips inspire you to clean out, organize, and set yourself up for success this new year and beyond. Our home environments have such an impact on our health and our ability to maintain our goals. Systems, routines, and organization play such a crucial role in us being able to maintain our health and keep moving forward with our goals so that it truly becomes a sustainable lifestyle. Happy organizing!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer

Why You Need To Add NEAT To Your Day

Ok, you’re probably thinking what the heck is NEAT,  Meghan??, just from the title of this post.  Well, I am here to tell you! NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis. That’s a lot of fancy words that are probably foreign to you so let me break it down for you.

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis are calories burned outside of exercise. Any activity or movement you do during the day that is NOT formal exercise is considered NEAT exercise. Cleaning, walking, raking leaves, moving objects, climbing stairs…basically any activity where your body is moving outside of exercise, eating, and sleeping. Most of us do some amount of NEAT every single day without even realizing it. It’s truly just a part of living our lives. 

So, why is NEAT important and what is the benefit of it? NEAT exercise is important because we can burn more calories by simply moving more throughout the day doing normal daily lifestyle activities. It may be hard to believe, but the energy expenditure and caloric output from NEAT exercise can be substantial and help you to maintain or even lose weight. 

Research has shown time and time again that those who move throughout the day are more likely to maintain their weight or reach their weight loss goals versus those who are sedentary and expend most of their energy in a single exercise session. A greater caloric output occurs throughout the day with various modes of movement than oftentimes you can achieve in a single 30-minute exercise session. 

Most people spend a majority of their day at work sitting behind a computer. This mode of working and living has definitely contributed to our more sedentary lifestyles and obesity epidemic in our nation. One effective way we can shift this is by adding more NEAT movement to our days. 

I often encourage my more sedentary clients who work 9-5 jobs to set alarms throughout the day to stand, go for a walk, or do some air squats near their desk. Try walking to lunch instead of driving if it is feasible. Park further away at the grocery store. There are SO many creative ways we can add more NEAT movement into our day to day lives to help maximize caloric output. Not only can we benefit by burning more calories throughout the day but this will also make us healthier individuals and a healthier country overall. 

NEAT is pretty neat, right?! Give it a try!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer

Set Your Goals Into Motion For 2021

Set your goals in to motion for 2021….We are SO close to a new year when we can finally put 2020 in our rear view! I think we’ve all been anxiously awaiting this moment the last several months…or perhaps since 2020 began. 😉 While we may be putting a lid on 2020, not everything will magically disappear or fix itself once Jan. 1, 2021 hits. We must still be INTENTIONAL with how we want 2021 to be for us and our families. We have to know what we value most and what we want this year to look like for our families, even if the circumstances don’t change entirely or even if this is another hard year…because we really don’t know. But, we can go into 2021 with our eyes wide open, prepared, and ready to take on the year with grit and determination. And how we do this is by setting intentional goals that we CAN control; how we run our homes, how we care for our bodies, how we prioritize family time…all of these things we have more control over than we may think. Let’s choose wisely and intentionally for 2021. Let’s choose TOTAL health and wellness for 2021 and beyond. Today I am going to walk you through a proven way to set and achieve goals. Here we go…

Studies show that only about 19% of people who set New Year’s resolutions maintain their goals long term. 

What is goal setting? Goal setting is the practice of cultivating and developing an action plan to motivate and guide someone towards a specific goal. Goal setting is a common practice in self development and can include the use of goal setting techniques such as SMART criteria . Goal setting is the first step in planning ahead for the future and for achieving the life you desire to live in various facets including but not limited to your health, relationships, education, work/career, etc. 

So what is this SMART criteria? 

SMART is simply an acronym for the guide to goal setting. The purpose of using SMART to help guide you in your goal setting process is to provide clarity to your ideas, bring focus to your work, help you to use your time and resources in a productive manner, and help you achieve lasting success for your goals. 

What does SMART stand for? 

Specific: Target a specific area for improvement

Measurable: Set a goal that’s measureable

Attainable/Achievable: Is this goal possible to attain?

Relevant/Realistic: Can this goal realistically be achieved? Is this goal relevant and does it make sense for you?

Time Bound: State when you will get it done and state a specific time frame or end date for goal. 

Next time you want to achieve a specific goal, take some time and break it down into a SMART goal and write down each specific step and how you will achieve it. 

Questions to Ask when Goal Setting: One of the questions I like to ask myself and have my clients ask themselves first and foremost is ‘why are you doing this?’ If we do not assign a bigger ‘why’ to our goal setting, we will have no purpose or value to fall back on when things get tough and we want to throw in the towel. Your ‘why’ is not only your fire starter so to speak, but it’s also your fuel to keep the fire burning. When the flames have simmered down on your goals, what is the thing that will reignite that flame, that fire within you? It needs to be your ‘why’, your deeper purpose and vision for your life. Take some time to think about your ‘why’ and cast a vision for where you want to be in 10 or 20 years. Think about the life you want to look back on when you are 80 years old. Think about the legacy you want to leave behind and the imprint you want to leave on your family and community. 

I know it can seem daunting and overwhelming to think about your life in such a big picture kind of way and then figure out how you are going to get there. The secret sauce is to start small. I am a firm believer that little adds up and that the small daily decisions we make ultimately impact our life long-term. As Annie Dillard once said, “how we live our days is how we live our lives.” So our 80-year old vision for our life has to start here and now, today. Start small. 

Why Small Works: Again, going back to SMART goals, it’s important to have specific and reasonable goals. It can be easy to get excited and jump in with both feet without really thinking about the logistics of how you will achieve the goals you have set. This is one of the biggest reasons why New Year’s Resolutions fail. According to US News and World Report, 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail by February. But they don’t have to. 

Find Accountability: Whether it’s a friend, a co-worker, spouse, or a health coach like myself, having an accountability partner will greatly impact your success in maintaining your goals and achieving them! Have your accountability partner check in with you via text or email once a week or however often you decide you need accountability for your specific goals. Working with a health coach is a great way to not only receive accountability but it also provides a time and space to discuss any barriers or obstacles coming in your way and how to overcome them so that your goals stay a reality. 

With these few pointers, I hope you can set your goals into motion this year and every year. And remember, there is nothing special about January 1st. Today is as good a day as any to begin working towards a new goal and begin living a healthier lifestyle. If you have a goal or need to re-evaluate your priorities and how you want to live your life, today is as good a day to begin! I promise you won’t regret it. Don’t wait until next year to begin living a life of purpose and priority, achieving the goals that matter to you. 

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer

 

Sources:

 

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/modern-mentality/201812/why-new-years-resolutions-fail

Healthy Holiday Round Up Part 2

Healthy Holiday round up part 2 is a continuation of a 3 part blog.

You can see ‘Healthy Holiday round up: Part One’ here.

I am sure you’ve seen gift guide after gift guide this holiday season from your favorite bloggers. I don’t know about you but the gift guides can be super helpful when buying for that tricky person in your life or getting ideas for teachers, co-workers, and friends this season of giving. 

Today I want to provide you with a healthy holiday roundup of some of my PERSONAL FAVORITE resources when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. I am by no means sharing this as a sponsored ad; everything I am sharing I am sharing freely because I genuinely LOVE the products/programs.

As we round out an utterly stressful, tragic year, I think we can all do ourselves a favor and bless ourselves and those around us with the GIFT OF HEALTH as we enter into 2021. If you’re anything like me, this year truly revealed the importance of being grounded in a healthy lifestyle- physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Below are just a few ideas and products that I love and that I think you will too….or will love to gift to someone you love this Christmas season.

Programs: 

30 Day Fit & Healthy Jumpstart Program– This is MY newest program that I am so excited to share with y’all. It’s a 58-page digital guide that will walk you through 4 weeks of foundational health/wellness lessons. You will be equipped with knowledge in the areas of meal planning, exercise, fueling your body with proper nutrition, and much more. This program includes several worksheets/trackers as well as handouts such as a grocery shopping list, pantry list, and healthy snack ideas.

Metabolism Makeover– I personally know Megan who is a registered dietician and  is the creator of this program and I cannot recommend her enough. Her nutritional background is SOLID and her approach is flexible and sustainable. 

Nancy Anderson Post Pregnancy Ab Rehab Course– I have yet to purchase this course and use it myself but I will FOR SURE be using it during and after my next pregnancy. I’ve followed Nancy Anderson for a while now and I wish I would have known about this program when I was postpartum with our first child. She will help you get rid of your belly pooch by healing your core and pelvic floor from the inside out. I’ve seen some incredible results!

Fitness:

Whole Body Fitness Planner & Resistance Bands– This is another one of my own products that I created. This planner is a 6-month, undated fitness planner that is literally like having a personal trainer with you everyday for less than the cost of ONE session. The daily guided workouts provide the structure for that day’s workout but allows the user to choose which exercises to plug in (over 250 exercise options included in the exercise appendix in the back of the planner) based on preference and ability. This is like no other fitness planner out there and it is SO comprehensive, flexible, and scalable. This program/planner can be used at home or the gym. I also sell a set of 3 resistance bands (with a carry case) along with the planner. 

Gliders– A great and convenient fitness tool to keep at home to help you get an effective workout. There are SO many things you can do with gliders ranging from core work, to low impact, to high intensity workouts. 

Fabletics Fitness Attire– Fabletics is offering a special promo where you can get your first 2 pair of leggings for $24! It’s a steal! I love the quality of their fitness attire and it’s a fraction of the cost of other brands. The best way to get the most bang for your buck is to be a part of their monthly membership which is $49 (but you can skip any month and cancel at anytime).

See you next week when we will introduce Part 3-Mental Health/Wellness, Healthy Snacks & Other Health/Wellness.

Meghan Meredith

HomeBodySoul, FounderCertified Health and Wellness Coach

Certified Personal Trainer

www.homebodysoul.com

Connect with us @homebodysoul

How to Have a Happy & Healthy Holiday Season

Oh the holiday season that is upon us! This most wonderful (yet busy) time of year is filled with food, festivities, gathering, decorating, shopping, and traveling. If you are anything like me, the sights, smells, and music all make this time of year so nostalgic and magical. But along with all of the magic comes the inevitable stress, overeating, last minute shopping, planning/hosting parties, and full calendars for the entirety of the month of December it feels like. 

Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK, which is crazy! But there is a 5 week period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s that we need to plan and prepare for. We all want to enjoy the holiday season and all of the fun and joy it brings, but we also want to do our best to maintain our healthy lifestyle that we’ve worked so hard for. And 6 weeks of festivities and parties and eating can sure do a number to our waistlines and all the hard work we’ve put in. 

The goal of today’s post is to help you feel confident going into this season and ready to take head on the temptations, reduce the stress, and simply enjoy! We’re going to talk about three of the most common “problems” people face this time and year when it comes to maintaining health and wellness and a few tips on how to maintain health given these potential barriers. I think everyone can agree that some of the biggest struggles in staying fit and healthy this time of year revolve around our time, food and drink, and overall stress

TIME

This time of year always seems to fly by. There are never enough hours in a day to get all of the items checked off our list it seems. In order for this season to not become overwhelming and no longer joy-full, we need to make a PLAN to maximize our time and priorities. 

If one of your priorities this holiday season is to continue to exercise and move your body, make a plan for it. Our bodies need just as much exercise during the holiday season as any other time of year. Plan your workouts/movement around travel or plan to move while you travel. Pack a pair of running shoes and some resistance bands. Even walking for just 30 minutes a day will keep you feeling good and keep you active and well. 

Here are some common “problems” or barriers around exercise that arise for people during this time of year and some solutions.

PROBLEM: There isn’t a gym at the hotel or grandma’s house (or wherever you are staying).

SOLUTION:  Body weight exercises are a great way to exercise when you have no equipment. Body weight exercises help to improve balance, coordination, core strength, and flexibility. Stair climbing, walking outside, lunges up and down the driveway, squats while you brush your teeth. 

Travel Tips- Pack those running sneakers and easy to carry equipment like a workout DVD or a jump rope. Those things easily can fit in your carry on or check on luggage. 

PROBLEM: There simply isn’t time to workout, Meghan! Shopping, decorating, cooking, running around…there is no time left for working out. 

SOLUTION: Use a Tabata Timer to do a quick HIIT routine. 

You can download a Tabata timer app on your phone. It’s simple- you do 8 rounds of exercise in 4 minutes. You can choose to do one exercise or two and alternate back and forth. You will complete 20 seconds of all out work followed by a 10 second rest for 8 rounds for a total of 4 minutes. Do a couple of tabata’s and I promise you will be sweating and your heart rate will be elevated…and you’ll feel so good afterwards! Exercises like squats, jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups, tricep dips, mountain climbers, and jumping rope are perfect to do with the Tabata timer. 

Second- plan your workouts! Because this season can be so hectic, it may be a good idea to institute early morning workouts for these few weeks. Getting a good morning sweat in will also help you to maintain those healthy habits and choices the rest of the day! If you can’t do 30 minutes to an hour at one go, split up your workout into 10 minute bouts throughout the day. 

PROBLEM: You’re family and friends don’t understand why you want to exercise. 

SOLUTION: Stick to YOUR goals! Don’t let others detract you from your plan and your wellness goals. Stay firm. Maybe invite them along. It’s a good way to de-stress and can be a fun family activity. 

Another family fun activity is to sign up and hit the road for your local Turkey Trot, which is typically a 5K race that you can run/walk. It’s a great way to get in some movement before you put on your stretch pants for your big dinner! 

FOOD AND DRINK

Cookies. Egg Nog. Casseroles. There is always plenty…and plenty of temptation. How can you overcome these temptations around all of the yummy foods and drinks this season?!

 

    Eat a pre-party snack. One trick I tell my clients if they are going to a party or out to a dinner where they know they could splurge and over-eat is to eat an apple before going! Apples are full of fiber and will help fill you up a bit before you even go to dinner, therefore you will consume fewer calories. This will help you to not overeat the bad stuff and keep your appetite in check. 

     Choose your beverages wisely. The holiday season inevitably comes with lots of alcohol consumption between the eggnog, wine, fancy cocktails, and social drinking. Drinking alcohol is consuming empty calories because it won’t curb those hunger pangs. Alcohol doesn’t provide satiety. It’s best to avoid mixed drinks that have a lot of sugar. The number of calories isn’t the issue per say, but rather the number of grams of sugar in these fancy holiday drinks. For example, 1 cup of eggnog typically contains 30-50 grams of sugar depending on the brand. Let’s remember that the daily recommended sugar intake is 25 grams for women and 37.5 grams for men according to the American Heart Association.

Eat your protein first. When we eat our main protein source first, we help to curb our hunger and keep our blood sugar in check. Eating protein can help to keep your insulin levels lower. Eating protein before a party or first thing at the party will help you to control your cravings for the other high calorie foods. 

Drink plenty of water. Drinking water helps to fill your stomach so that you feel fuller and won’t cave to those cravings as much. Try to drink a bottle of water en route to your party or drink several glasses throughout the party. 

Pick your cheat or “treat” meals and fully enjoy it. We all need a cheat meal! That is key to any sustainable life changes and finding balance. We can’t deprive ourselves all of the time, otherwise we will go off the deep end eventually and lose all progress. Each day during the holiday season, we are tempted with treats- whether leftover at home or sitting in the lobby at our office. We could easily consume cookies and pie everyday between Thanksgiving and New Year, which is 37 days by the way for 2020. Let’s say you are consuming an extra 300 calories per day of sweets and goodies, which is equal to about 2 cookies or a piece of cake or pie. This adds up to just over 11,000 calories which equals 3 pounds of fat! The average already overweight person gains about 5 pounds during the holiday season according to NY Times. A survey by Fitness Magazine and Jenny Craig in 2013 found that 47% of women gain 4-5 lbs during the holiday season. So what is the key? My suggestion is to enjoy those holiday parties and get together’s, which typically happen on the weekend, but that will require sacrifice throughout the week. Leave the cookies in the jar at the office and say no to any treats at home or that your kids bring back from school. Eating a reduced-calorie diet, higher-protein diet five days per week and enjoying a couple of holiday parties or get-togethers each week can easily result in maintenance of body weight through the holidays. 

  1. Try new recipes or try replacing ingredients in your favorite recipes with healthier ingredients.Try replacing the not so great ingredients with healthier options. It can be pretty simple to clean up your favorite recipes. Some of my favorite swaps include swapping oil for Greek yogurt in breads, applesauce instead of butter or margarine, whole wheat flour instead of bleached white all-purpose flour, veganaise instead of mayonnaise, Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, honey or maple syrup instead of pure cane sugar. 
  2. Eat mindfully. Eating mindfully might be a new concept for you. Eating mindfully is simply being more aware of your eating experience. Paying closer attention, notice your thoughts, feelings, sensations of the food. Oftentimes we eat so mindlessly and just put whatever in our mouths and don’t think anything at all about the sensation, taste, texture, etc. Give your body 15-20 minutes to recognize if it is full or not before going back for seconds. 

STRESS

Over the years, this joyful time of year has transpired into a stressful, chaotic time of year for many. The holiday season shouldn’t and doesn’t have to be stress-filled. By using these 5 tips, hopefully you can reclaim your sanity and the season and say good riddance to the stress that every other year has brought you. 

 

  1. Be Realistic. Oftentimes we enter the holiday season with expectation in mind as to how things will go with certain family members, what food we will eat, what fun we will have, etc. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. Try to keep those expectations in check so that you don’t come away feeling disappointed and upset and so that you can be fully present and enjoy the time with family. 
  2. Plan Ahead. Planning ahead does take forethought and time but in doing so, it will greatly reduce your stress you feel later on once the crunch time comes. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup. Also, plan ahead with your budget! Our budget can easily fly out the window this time of year and then create immense stress come January. Think ahead, talk with your spouse or other family members and come up with a plan for your budget so you aren’t overspending and having to pay the repercussions of that later. Maybe instead of gifting to everyone this year, you can start a family gift exchange, or make homemade gifts for friends and co-workers. 
  3. Set Aside Differences. Everytime families come together, there will be differences in opinion, tradition, sometimes values, etc. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
  4. Take a Breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm. Some options may include: Taking a walk at night and stargazing .Listening to soothing music. Getting a massage. Reading a book.
  5. Learn to Say ‘No’. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time. Learning to say no is very powerful and freeing. Learning to say No then allows us the freedom to say yes to the things that really matter!

“The more you live in the extremes of all or none, good or bad, the more likely that’s going to get you into difficulty,” says Gary Foster, chief scientific officer for Weight Watchers International. “The key is that this is a lifestyle. When it’s an on-or-off diet or a boot camp mentality, that’s a short-term behavior. It’s destined not to work out very well.”

We don’t have to live in an all-or-nothing state of mind around the holidays. Starving to over-indulging. Feelings of deprivation to feelings of guilt. 

 Give yourself permission to enjoy but in reasonable portions and reasonable frequencies- not all the time and not the whole cheesecake. The goal is to strike a balance.  

I hope these tips will help lead you into a life-giving, balanced, and enjoyable holiday season.  If you need other accountability, book a health coaching session with me by emailing me at hello@homebodysoul.com. I offer a FREE 30-minute health coaching consult call if you’d like to set a plan in place for your holiday season.

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer