Wellness

Guess who’s back?

Hello World!

It’s 2017, and guess who’s back? Me! I know I’ve been a little MIA due to life, but now I’m in a place where I can actually focus balancing work and a healthy lifestyle again (hooray!). Since we last spoke, I have graduated college and work full time in the “adult world”.

The adult world has some caveats though. I never realized how tiring it is to work a regular 9-5 job. One would think that since I don’t have kids (unless you count my fur-child, Munchie) that I would have all of this energy and time to do things, right? Nope. Maybe it’s part of getting older and being in a routine, but I’m exhausted. Because of that, my health did start to go down hill- not working out as much, eating as many chicken fingers as I want, etc etc. As you can probably imagine, those things don’t necessarily help.

Finally, I decided to make a change. My favorite girl who invented POP Pilates, Cassey Ho, came out with something called PIIT28, which is the pilates version of HIIT workouts (high intensity interval training)! I’ve been a follower of her usual calendars, so when I saw PIIT, I was hooked. It’s about 28 minutes of super high energy pilates- you sweat, you burn, you get sore! Along with those lovely things, you feel STRONG. I’ve been doing it for 18 days, and I can already see my abs getting distinct again. Woo hoo!

In addition to PIIT28, I started the 28 Day Reset today! It’s a meal plan that goes hand-in-hand with PIIT28. You completely omit dairy (easy for me since I’m allergic, lol), gluten, sugar, and processed grains for 28 days, then slowly re-introduce these things while keeping up healthy eating. It’s genius! She gives you a weekly calendar of meals and a grocery list, so you literally just print it and go. I also appreciate that the recipes aren’t too complicated in nature, which makes prepping meals in advance easier. Seriously, if you’re looking for a way to kickstart your body for Summer, this is where it’s at.

If you aren’t already, I definitely recommend following me on Instagram @Happy_Body_Blog! You’ll see my progress through PIIT28 and the 28 Day Reset. Also, if you want to see what these programs are all about, follow the affiliate links below!

PIIT 28 + 28 Day Reset Power Pack

PIIT 28

28 Day Reset

Now in terms of my site, I am super excited to bring about some changes! I’m creating new designs and logos, along with posting twice a week along the same lines of what I’ve always done: fitness, nutrition, mindfulness, and beauty! Are you ready? I am!

Peace and love!

Wellness

3 Essential Parts to a Healthy Lifestyle

Hello, world!

So my life is going through some big changes! I started a new job, gearing up for a move (the boyfriend and I will be living together!), and preparing for my last year of undergrad! Crazy, right?

Of course, nature has the most impeccable timing, so I have actually been sick for 6 weeks! I haven’t been able to work out AT ALL, so in the mean time, I have really focused on cleaning up my eating habits. I’ve made a lot of changes, which I will definitely go more into detail, including pictures and recipes, in my next blog post! (That means you should follow my blog to make sure you don’t miss it!) πŸ˜‰ But now that I am FINALLY getting out of the sick streak, I am trying to figure out a NEW fitness routine! I’ve always been a huge fan of pilates, but I feel I have finally reached my plateau, and therefore need to add other elements in order to see my fitness increase! I’ve even been asked by others to make some workout routines for them! Once I design my new routine and test it out, I will post it on here for you all to try! I can’t wait for that to happen!

Speaking of, I finally have a YouTube channel! Get excited! One evening while avoiding studying for finals, I randomly made a beginner’s plank routine in my room and uploaded it! The angle stinks, but there’s a funny story behind that. I recorded the routine once, then realized I should have played music in the background. So I did it again, but realized I didn’t set my phone right so the angle wasn’t the best. Therefore, I did it again, and it was perfect! However, my phone didn’t register that I hit the record button, therefore it never recorded… By that point it was midnight, and I was like “screw it, it’s fine!” So if you haven’t seen it yet, check it out here! I promise my future videos will have much better angles, hehe.

I am of course reading up on different routines and types of fitness. One that sparks my mind (and I promise I’m getting to the point of this post) is Insanity, a crazier version of P90X. My roommate just started doing it a couple months ago, and I admit, I was surprised. It’s not recommended for someone to go from a sedentary lifestyle straight into such an intense workout regimen without getting burned out quickly. Every morning I could hear her doing the workout in her room, and I was indeed impressed. Eventually, she started doing her workouts in the living room, and that’s when I made a realization- she was just doing the “hiphop abs” routine every day, and not the rest of the program. And she stopped doing it all together after a couple weeks. My response to this is as follows:

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

Although it’s fantastic that she was up and active, doing the same exact workout every day along with no diet or lifestyle change = no overall change! (Not to mention completely giving up!) It truly saddens me! After a month, there was no difference in her health. If you want to see a difference in your body, you must pay proper attention to all 3 parts of a healthy lifestyle: fitness, nutrition, and mind.

  1. Fitness involves getting your body moving and active. No matter what your style is, true fitness for change requires 2 things: cardio and strength. I don’t care who you are, you need a nice combination of both. Cardio can be any range of things from running, dancing, swimming, biking, etc. Strength entails either lifting weights (increasingly heavier to bulk up, or lighter weights to remain trim) or performing strength exercises, like lunges, squats, pushups, crunches, planks, and things of that nature. Together, you are building a powerhouse in your body- the cardio of course burns calories, but also strengthens your heart and endurance, while the strength training increases power and muscle, which thus increases your metabolism. (A faster metabolism means you burn more calories while at rest- woo hoo!)
  2. Nutrition entails all of the nutrients you intake. What we put in our bodies has such a huge impact on weight loss, health concerns, endurance, mood, skin, everything! If you continue to eat junk everyday, for example ramen, fried foods, and cookie dough, your body will have a very hard time finding the nutrients it needs to recover and strengthen from a workout! It’s like trying to find your lipstick at the bottom of your giant purse- your body has to wade through all of these miscellaneous things just to get to what’s important. These over processed, sugary, and fatty foods decrease your energy levels, make your skin not as clear as it can be, and can even exascerbate health issues! Now don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean you can never ever enjoy fresh baked Ghiradelli brownies ever again, it just means your overall eating habits should be healthy. So in order to see the best results from your workouts (or even to get the motivation to work out!), you must eat clean! Feed your body with the nutrients it needs from fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
  3. Mind involves all things that promote well being and a balanced state of mind. High stress levels and lack of sleep are major inhibitors of healthy body change! It’s true! When you don’t get enough sleep every night, hormones aren’t released to regulate body weight and your likelihood to make good food choices deminishes. You can even read my previous blog about how sleep affects weight loss to find out the science behind it! It comes down to this: if you are eating clean and working out but not getting enough sleep or have chronic stress, you will not see the changes in your body that you should be seeing. Ensuring that your body has enough rest to recover and a balanced state of mind are crucial to the whole process. Taking time to relax and decompress is just as important to making a permanent lifestyle change!

If you combine these 3 areas, you will see changes not only in the shape of your body, but your happiness and well being. Your body image will improve. I can say, ever since I simply began eating clean and making sleep a priority, I can see a huge improvement in my self esteem and body image. I’m even more proud of the changes I’m making! When you put the puzzle pieces together, you can see the bigger picture!

So next time you’re thinking of making a change, don’t just commit to a diet or workout routine- commit to a lifestyle change!

I would love to hear your thoughts on the 3 parts to a healthy lifestyle! What do you think? πŸ™‚

Peace and love!

Wellness

9 Ways to Improve Sleep Habits and Lose Weight!

Hello, world!

I have recently made a huge discovery in my life, and I know I’m not the only one when I say this:

I. Need. Sleep!

Yes! School + internship + volunteer work = no time for relaxing, let alone sleeping! I have been living off of coffee and Redbull to try and make myself acceptable to be around. However, at the same time, I was unhappy with my body, and Pilates just wasn’t cutting it. I then decided to wake up even earlier to go running for that extra cardio, and my body got WORSE! I was exercising and eating healthy, yet I was seeing the opposite results. This is when the realization struck me- I’m not getting enough sleep!

It is true; sleep directly correlates with your weight, body image, sanity, and more! Sleep and weight are like a cigarette smoker that takes vitamins and eats healthy- those leafy greens and colorful fruits can’t do enough good to save you from the damage smoking causes! If you don’t sleep well, your body can’t adequately reward you for the good eating and fitness habits you’ve developed!

There are multiple reasons why getting a full night of sleep is so important. For starters, sleep directly affects your ghrelin and leptin levels. Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates appetite (Hey brain, I’m hungry!), and leptin is a hormone that signals fullness (Hey brain, stop eating, I’m full!). When you sleep for less than 8 hours, your ghrelin levels rise and your leptin levels decrease. This means you want to eat more and don’t know when to stop! Research has also shown that sleep deprivation increases cortisol levels, the hormone which tells your body to store food as fat. Lack of sleep makes your metabolism sluggish, so cortisol saves the energy for later. See where this is going? More ghrelin makes you eat more, there isn’t enough leptin to tell your brain to stop, and the cortisol and slow metabolism stores the food for later, thus causing weight gain. It’s not a pretty picture.

So what’s the diagnosis? Get more (quality) sleep! Here are 9 tips to help you get those wonderful zzz’s:

  1. Examine your sleep patterns with an App. Let’s face it, do we really know how much REM (deep) sleep we are getting at night, or how restless of a night we have? There are many apps that solve this problem. I personally use Sleep Time by Azumio in the Apple App Store. It’s very easy to use- set the clock to when you want to wake up, and place your phone face down on the bed, and go to sleep! The app tracks your sleep patterns through the night, and will wake you up at the most optimal time in your sleep cycle (don’t worry- the earliest it can wake you is 30 minutes before your alarm time!). Using graphs and great visuals, you can see exactly how you are sleeping at night! Through the app, I’ve found that I feel the most rested with a minimum of 8 hours of sleep per night.
  2. Don’t just set a bedtime- tell the people around you too! I know that I must wake up at 7AM every M-F to get ready for work, therefore I must go to bed at 11PM to get that 8 hours I (desperately) need. For the longest time, the bedtime never worked. My boyfriend would call, my friends would text, my roommates would want to talk to me- all of these people kept me up, and I felt bad telling them I needed to go to sleep. Well, let me tell you, do it anyway. I promise it isn’t rude! When you tell people about your determinations, you are much more likely to actually follow through because people are expecting it. When people know what your rule is, they will follow it without you having to remind them every time.
  3. For extra peace, use “Do Not Disturb” mode. Sometimes you have those friends that wake you up at 3AM with a text about some crazy story, or you get those butt-dials at the crack of dawn (no pun intended). Of course turning your phone completely off means you lose your alarm clock and sleep tracking apps. The iPhone has made it easy- do not disturb mode! Turning on that little crescent moon by going to Settings -> Do Not Disturb means you’ll receive texts and calls, but your phone won’t make a sound or vibrate. It will only actually ring if a person is calling you for the second time within 3 minutes (ie, emergency calls). So never fear, you can receive those texts without being woken up by them!
  4. Enjoy your caffeine fix in the morning only! I love my coffee. I try to stick to just one cup, but sometimes a second just magically appears… you know those days! It’s a wonderful stimulant that makes mornings possible and helps speed up your metabolism. However, there’s a reason why you just don’t seem to feel sleepy by bedtime! Caffeine has a half-life, meaning that after approximately 6 hours half of the caffeine consumed is processed and out of the body. So if you drink 80mg of caffeine at 3PM, there’s still 40mg in your system at 9PM. The more caffeine you consume close to bedtime, the lower the quality of sleep you’ll get.
  5. Drink more water! You’ve probably heard this a dozen times on every healthy living article you’ve ever read. Believe it or not, water is crucial! If you find that you’re reaching for that second, third, or even fourth cup of coffee just to get through the day (see tip #4), drink more water! For starters, caffeine dehydrates you since it’s a diuretic (facilitates bathroom visits). When dehydrated, we feel sluggish and awful, hence the temptation for another round of Starbucks. Instead, drink a glass of water first. It will help flush your system so that you’ll feel more energetic. By not consuming caffeine in the afternoon/evening, you’ll avoid the problems of being unable to sleep at your bedtime.
  6. Hungry near bedtime? Eat cherries. We’ve heard many an article claiming “this food torches body fat” and “this food will magically do this,” but here’s a legitimate one. Cherries can help with sleep. Melatonin is a chemical found in the body that regulates your internal clock (when to fall asleep and when to wake up), and its naturally found in cherries. So if you must get that snack before bed, enjoy some cherries fresh, frozen, dried, or even juiced!
  7. Follow the light of day- make sure your bedroom is dark at night. This may sound silly, but the amount of light in your room at night can affect your sleep. As mentioned in #6, melatonin controls your internal clock. Your body naturally follows the light of day- awake when the sun is up, tired when it’s dark. As the light goes down, more melatonin is released to signal your body to go to sleep. When there is lots of light, your body wants to wake up. If you have light coming in through your window or a bright nightlight, these can hurt your quality of sleep. Use curtains or even buy an eyemask to block out the light so your body will know it’s sleep time and stay asleep.
  8. Turn off the big ceiling light and turn on the smaller lamp close to bedtime. This also goes along with setting your internal clock. If you have trouble going to bed at a normal hour, help your body wind down and know that’s it’s time to settle for sleep. When it’s close to bedtime, turn off your big room light and turn on a smaller, dimmer light in the room. It’s enough for you to see where your pjs are or read a nice book, but not enough to keep your body stimulated. It’s like working out and immediately going to bed- your body is hyped up with energy from all of the work it just did, so flipping to sleep mode just isn’t easy! Make that transition easier by dimming the lights about 30-60 minutes before bed and relax, read a book, or even have your darling give you a massage!
  9. Meditate to ease the mind.Β Many restless nights are the result of anxiety, excitement, and brains that just won’t be quiet! Once you’ve dimmed those lights in #8, use this relaxation time to meditate. Not only does meditating help ease the mind so that you may sleep soundly, it also has numerous health benefits. It lowers anxiety and stress, and increases focus and creativity. You can find a great article from lifehacker.com about meditation here.

There you have it! All in all, better sleep will make weight loss easier. Remember, weight loss comes from a lifestyle- you must combine nutrition, fitness, and mental health to attain it! So keep up those great eating and work out habits by adding sleep to your routine. Make it a priority, much like going to the gym! In the end, we are all happy when we feel rested. Isn’t that what we all want?

What do you think of these tips? Have any tips that work well for you? Share them in the comments!

Peace and love!