Dance to one song a day

You may wonder why I started off with dance as your first small step to weight loss.  I could have suggested you start walking or go to the gym or any number of ways to become more active and burn those calories.  But dancing isn’t just for burning calories. Dancing can change your attitude and change your outlook.  Dancing can improve your mood and reduce stress.

Dancing also has been shown to improve memory and balance, strengthen decision-making skills, and increase levels of serotonin (that feel-good hormone that helps emotional balance). Dancing may even spark your creative side.

The studies that have been done on how dance affects are mental and physical well-being have looked at more time spent dancing then just one song a day, but we’re talking small steps here so start with one song.

If you’re interested in moving to more than one song, check out local opportunities to move and groove with others.  Your local gym may have a Zumba® (make sure you don’t go deaf while you’re working to get the rest of you healthier though) or a dance exercise class.  My gym has line dancing and even a class to move to the beat in the pool.  Join a community group for ballroom or line dancing.  You usually don’t have to be part of a couple to enjoy, but if you can get your partner to go, that’s another great benefit.

If you’re not quite ready to step out and move your groove thing in public, check out YouTube.  They have instructional videos to show you how and where to step and some good tunes to dance to.

So put this blog down, turn up the music and dance to one song today. Keep dancing to at least one song every day for the next 31 days (or 31 years).

the WHAT of tracking

You want to track. You intend to track. But, what do you track?

Don’t say everything. Unless you’re already tracking close to everything, everything might be too much.  Since tracking helps you focus your attention and energy on changing behavior and habits, consider what you want to change.  Then track that.

You could track…

individuals walking shoes

Your steps: If your goal is to get more steps, then tracking the number of steps you get each day is important.  If you don’t know how many you did yesterday, then how will you know you got more steps in today unless you track it. Check out how 100 more steps add up.

Cute parson russell terrier dog on lead on walk with his owner10 minutes of activity: If your goal is to move more, you could track your time in 10 minutes blocks of physical activity.  A walk around the block for your morning break could be one check-mark. Vacuuming the house could be another couple of marks. Walking the dog, yet another.  Soon you’ll want to mark off one more block then you did yesterday, or you’ll make the effort to get at least one in today. Change it up.

 

green and red healthy foodYour servings of fruits & veggies: If your goal is to eat 5 or more servings of fruits & vegetables each day, then give yourself a gold star for every serving.  Soon you might be planning your weekly menu around your veggies to ensure you get your gold stars. Increase your plant slant.

 

water with mint, cucumber, and limeYour water: If you’re trying to make water your go-to beverage choice, tracking the number of glasses or ounces you grab each day can help.  Celebrate and mark each time you choose water over soda.  Drink up.

 

use the remote control to change channels on TelevisionYour TV time:  Your tracking goal doesn’t just have to be about increasing the better choices. Sometimes tracking can help you decrease behaviors that you want to change.  With a goal of no more than two hours of recreational screen time each day, you could track your TV time to identify your baseline watching and then make changes from there.  Remember, I may have written TV, but this could include your computer, smartphone, and tablets too.  What’s in your day that shouldn’t be?

 

bigstock woman decision donut fruitYour emotions, feelings, level of satisfaction, or stress:  Tracking creates awareness about choices, situations, and behaviors.  If you track your emotions or stress level before you eat, you could identify a trend that when you feel bored, you reach for crunchy snacks.  After certain situations, you note that you’re feeling extremely stressed, and you go for chocolate.  If you track your satisfaction level during meals, you may find that you stop eating when you feel comfortable and not waiting until you feel full. Make each day delicious.

WHAT will you track this week?

keep, let go, begin in 2016

I love the week between Christmas and New Years.  It’s a great time to dream about what I can accomplish in 2016.  But it’s also a time to look back and see what worked, what didn’t, and move forward.  I don’t set resolutions, but I do choose a motto for the new year.  I also look at what I want to KEEP, LET GO, and BEGIN in the next year.

weight_loss_tracking_for_small_steps

KEEP Tracking — Okay, I did let the tracking go over the last couple of weeks, but I’m going to keep tracking my food, my treats, and my activity.

 

Cute parson russell terrier dog on lead on walk with his owner, isolated on white background

LET GO of excuses — There will always be more to do in re-establishing my organizing business here in Pennsylvania.  I will let go of the excuse that I’m too busy, or that I’ll just finish this or that before I go to the gym or for my walk.

 

illustration depicting a sign post with directional arrows containing a life choice concept. Blurred background.

BEGIN asking — Whether it’s asking how a meal is prepared or asking for additional support on my journey, this year I’m going to ask more questions and make more requests.

 

What will you Keep, Let Go, and Begin this week?


 

Start 2016 off with a bang!!

GO - Get Organized in January and save 50%.  Keep what you love, let go of the rest.

Join a party and clear the clutter.

make room for the new year with Dhucks Closet Clearing party.  You'll love what you keep.

 

declare your freedom from the piles of paper with Dhucks Paperwork Parties.  You'll be able to find what you keep.

 

 

 

 

Offer expires 1/30/2016.

 Use GO2016! to add a promotional code discount to the total

(right hand box once you begin the checkout process).

you know you should, but you don’t

Are you struggling to do something about your weight or your health you know you should, But you just can’t seem to stick to it longer than the one day?  You’re not alone.  Here are some things you can do:

Turn the should into want toChange the words you use.  It can make a difference in your willingness to take the action.  Instead of sayingI should go for a long walk every day,” say “I want to go for a long walk every day.”

Prevent all-or-nothing thinking –
Add flexibility to your goal.  In addition to “I want to go for a long walk every day” tack on “or as often and for as long as I can.”

Get specific – Include the where, when and who.  “I want to go for a three-mile walk every morning before 8” or “I will walk at 4:30 pm on Tuesdays with Janet and we’ll meet at the park.”

two women walking

 

What will you change or add this week?

 

Stop living life for what’s around the corner & start enjoying the walk down the street. 

Grant L. Miller

move naturally

Move Naturally  — the seventh Power 9®


women in blue pants walking her dog - move naturally

Find ways to move more!

You’ll burn calories without thinking about it.

 

 

 

You may have heard these ideas to getting more steps in your day before, but are you doing any of them now?

  • Park further away.
  • Take a lap around the store before you start shopping.
  • Take your dog for a walk (or take your neighbors dog).
  • Take the stairs instead.
  • When unloading groceries, hauling leaves, or lugging laundry, lighten your load and take more trips.

 

woman planting and weeding her gardenDo you like to garden, dance, or play with the kids?  Do more of it.

 

 

Do you enjoy traveling?  Go places that are walkable.

 

bigstock-Children-Helping-Washing-Car-2438102Do your floors need vacuuming, your windows need cleaning, or your car need washing?  Okay, so they may not be my favorite activities, but it is a great way to multitask (cleaner space & more movement).  Get others to help you.  It will go faster and be more fun.

 

 

two dogs walking in the snowAs for me — my dogs are getting me off the computer throughout the day.  We don’t have a fenced yard yet, so I get to take them out every couple of hours.  I also think I should get credit for the time and effort it takes me to bundle up so I don’t freeze.

 

Find ways to stay active and move naturally.

 

How will you naturally move more?

Check It Out

Blue Zone Project Power 9 Infographic.jpg

Blue Zones Project is coming to Hawaii check out their Facebook page

 

 

 

 

multi colored circle of people icons
You’re not alone!

Get Your Paperwork DONE! Party  Join us on March 28 to work on taxes, complete your bookkeeping, or organize your photos.  Click on the link for details and to register if you want to get your paperwork done.

Closet Clearing Party — March 21  Click on the link for details and to register if you want to create a closet that supports and energizes you.  No need to work on your closet alone, join the party and see how much quicker it goes.

make the most of your gym membership (or exercise equipment)

Single purple gift box with silver ribbon on white background.Did you get exercise equipment for Christmas?

Did you ask Santa for a yoga class (or Zumba)?

Did you find a gym membership in your stocking?

 

Do you have everything you need to successfully use it this year?  Here are some things you can do to increase the likelihood that it gets used.

 

EXERCISE EQUIPMENT

  • Set it up permanently.  Even if the equipment is made to break down for easy storage, the time it takes to set up eventually will be a great excuse to skip your exercise.
  • bigstock home gym treadmill elliptical Make your exercise spot a destination.  Make your environment welcoming, supportive and motivating.  Don’t put your treadmill, exercise bike, or elliptical in the basement or out in the laundry room, unless the view draws you in each time.  Some paint, posters, and other decorations can make your area a destination to enjoy.
  • Define success through smaller goals.  Instead of promising to exercise for an hour every day, commit to starting out with 15 minutes three days a week or something similar.  As my life coach, Carole Billingham, told me years ago – under promise and over perform.

 

EXERCISE CLASSES

  • Choose something you love to do. Or try out different classes to see if both the activity and the instructor are a good fit for you.bigstock exercise class small
  • Schedule it first.  Enter your classes on your planner/schedule now.  Schedule it for the next three months.  As other appointments come up, schedule around your classes.  Be sure to keep some time before and after the class as a buffer so that you can transition from one appointment to the next.
  • Set your alarm.  Use your phone or an alarm clock to remind you to get ready and go to your class.  If you have a tendency to lose track of time, an alarm will be useful in refocusing for the next activity.

 

GYM MEMBERSHIP

  • Grab a buddy.  Having an exercise buddy can definitely help get you to the gym, especially on those days when any excuse will do to keep you away.  Accountability to someone else, as well as, the support and encouragement that a buddy provides can make the difference.Portrait of a smiling female trainer with clipboard pointing tow
  • Take advantage of any complimentary training sessions offered.  Most gyms have staff who will show you around the machines and may offer a 30 minute personal training session.  Take it.
  • Make it a habit.  Find a spot in your day where going to the gym makes sense for you and stick to it.  Even if your original exercise plan can’t be followed because of an injury or not having enough time, modify your work out and keep going to the gym.  This will build the habit of walking through those gym doors.

I got a gym membership for Christmas and was excited to get back into a routine.  However, because of a chronic back problem I had to go for physical therapy (PT).  For now, I’m restricted to only the PT exercises.  I was worried that I’d lose my motivation if I wasn’t going to the gym regularly.  Then I realized, I can still go to the gym (building the habit) and do my PT exercises.  When I’m ready to get back on the elliptical, it won’t be much of a change — I’ll have the habit of walking through those doors.  Make the most of your gym membership!

May this year bring all that you need to be
healthy and happy!

Happy New Year 2015 colorful triangles

What change do you want to see?

Check It Out

10 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Gym Membership from ultimate geek girl

I’m trying out the iPhone app – Habit Builder.  Share your favorite health app with me (and I’ll add it to the list next week).  They also make an app for Android.

 

bigstock-Believe-24514889Courage to Create Your Life on Purpose

Email me to see if lifestyle coaching is right for you.

keep going

I was asked by a reader (I’ll call her Jessica) to give her “some tips on staying motivated or diet plan ideas”. Her situation may be different than yours but apply and tweak the ideas to what’s happening in your life.  Jessica has a full time job which requires her to be on her feet most of the time, she’s going to school and she’s pregnant.  She wants to make sure she “find more energy to make sure I’m taking care of myself properly.”

Here’s my advice to Jessica:

First – Congratulate yourself on achieving your degree, moving cross country, starting a new job and all the other things you’ve been juggling. You’ve taken on a lot, achieved a lot and now you get to put you back on your priority list.

Second – I know you’re energy is low and you’re tired. Have you been able to take your morning and afternoon breaks and go for a walk outside or even down the hall? I know your job seems to limit your break time but maybe a 15 minute walk before your shift. If walking is out (since you’re on your feet all day and pregnant) is there a pool you can tread water or walk in? That will take more than 15 minutes but it might feel like play instead of exercise. Maybe the YMCA has mommy & me classes.  What I’m trying to say is — look for some activity that you might be more willing to do than doing nothing.

Third – Find ways to add veggies to everything. Spaghetti sauce (shred some carrots and chop up some kale and add it in). Easy to cook and great left overs. Do you have a slow cooker? I have several slow cooker recipes on www.smallsteps.us/food/recipes/. Spaghetti isn’t one of them but it’s usually just what we have in the house and spices. Slow cooker meals can be healthy with lots of veggies and provide great lunches for several days. TAKE your lunch break.  Don’t work through your lunch hour.  Take it, own it, enjoy it.

Next – Put your fruits and veggies at eye level. Don’t leave them in the produce drawer. Buy pre-chopped fruits & veggies so that you don’t have one more thing to do.

Finally – Are you eating enough protein at breakfast? I know that if I don’t get protein in the morning, I’m snacking like crazy at 4pm. So eat eggs, Canadian bacon, and even my Frittata recipe (I make that on Sunday and have quick breakfasts to go several days in the week).

Bottom line — have some fun with the movement thing (dance around the house), find easy ways to get more veggies, fruits & protein.  Give yourself a hug. If nothing else, just give yourself a hug.

As for staying motivated.  Motivation is not a constant thing.  Motivation rises and falls.  It’s natural.  I find motivation in taking small steps to change, enjoying the journey and acknowledging just how far I’ve come.

What will you do to keep going this week?

 

Things that remind me to keep going…

sunflower
Finding the warmth and the light within each of us
dr pepper cap soda last 7 1998
My last soda (July 1998)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a rainbow at Liliuokalani park Hilo
The beauty around me
I Resolve
I resolve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment and share how you are balancing, prioritizing, or multitasking. 

If you found this post useful, supportive, interesting or fun, please share it with a friend.

 

back to basics

This week it’s back to basics for me.

  • Fruits & veggies – Whether I focus on eating a rainbow or plan to have one fruit and/or veggie at EVERY meal, I will eat more fruits & veggies.
  • Water – Drinking my six 8-ounce glasses of water.  Thanks, Stacey, for the great tip that it’s easier to get more water in if you drink through a straw.  I went out and bought one of these Aladdin tumblers and it works.
  • Activity Log sheetTracking – I need (and want) to find a tracker that works for me.  Some people love their tracking app, but for me, it takes too much time to find afood listing that is close enough to what I’m about to eat.  Paper works best, but I haven’t found an option I like.  This week, I will be looking again.  Meanwhile, I’ll use the activity log that helped me change it up.
  • Put ME back on my own to-do list – Over the last couple of months, I’ve been pushing me off my own to-do list.  This week I’m scheduling some time with friends and maybe (just maybe) some time watching the ocean waves.

 

What habit is basic to your health?

Check It Out

vacations & exercise, a great mix

Vacations call for new activities: walking tours, site seeing on foot, enjoying local hiking trails, swimming, walking on the beach, or participating in a local event. Time at a resort offers great opportunities to  try new exercise bigstock-Dumbbells-with-towel-isolated--42960595classes, schedule some time with a personal trainer, golf, tennis, enjoy group hikes or bike rides, and even get on some different gym equipment.  But don’t forget the relaxing part – take time for a spa treatment or relax by the pool. My 3 Point Plan for being active at conference:

  • I rearranged my half-marathon training schedule to do the longer walks on the days before the conference starts.  I’m going early to enjoy a mini-vacation filled with resort activities.
  • Take walking breaks between sessions and invite a new acquaintance to walk with me.  A great way to connect and get my steps in.
  • Take a stroll around the grounds before turning in.  It will be a great way to decompress from a busy day.

 

hiking trail in PA Butler county slparker
This was taken in early spring. I can’t wait to see it now.

The second part of my vacation will be the easiest to get my steps in.  There are  numerous parks with miles of trails within a 20 minute drive of Steve’s apartment & work. Here’s my 3 Point Plan for keeping my steps high:

  • Explore every park, trail, or historic site nearby.  Use ‘easiest access to the best parks’ as a way of narrowing down where we want to buy.
  • Longer hikes on the weekends.  I’ve packed my raincoat, just in case.
  • Explore downtown on foot.  We’ll be site seeing, dining, and shopping in Pittsburgh and various small towns nearby.

 

Besides I need to check out this trail

duck walk PA hiking trail slparker
Duck Walk in Preston Park, PA

 

have plans, will travel

packed your bags for vacation and make your plansVacation plans.

We spend time planning our vacations: where we’ll go, what we’ll see, where we’ll sleep, how we’ll get there, and many more details.  But do you make plans for eating & exercising on vacation?

I will be going on vacation this month and am making my plans.  The first week I’ll be at a resort in Arizona as I attend the National Association of Professional Organizers conference (and sit for my exam to obtain my ADD Specialist certificate from the Institute for Challenging Disorganization).  I’ll be spending the following two weeks with my husband, Steve, in Pennsylvania.

There are three main things I need to plan for:  1) what and how I’ll eat on vacation; 2) how I’ll exercise during vacation; and 3) eating and moving on my flying days.   Today, I’m focusing on the air travel plans.

Moving –  This is the easiest thing to plan for. I will:

  • Wear my Fitbit pedometer to record all the steps I take walking the terminals during layovers.
  • Avoid the moving walkways and  take the stairs whenever possible.  Taking the stairs means my carry-on needs to be light and mobile.
  • Wear my walking shoes.  Yes, it requires unlacing and lacing them at security, but that’s one minute’s inconvenience compared to all the steps I can get in.
  • Do my in-flight stretches.

Eating – Easy to plan, more challenging to stick to sometimes.  Here’s my plan:

  • Drink water.  I will drink at least one bottle of water on every leg of the flight.  Yes, that means using the on-board lavatory, but that’s a stretch break.
  • Pack my meals as I can.  I’ve found roasted chicken breast is easy and tasty.  Maybe my favorite cold quinoa salad.  Fruit cups (commercially packaged fruit cups are allowed to be taken out of Hawaii but keep the “liquid” limit in mind when going through security).  Remember to take plastic spoons and forks and pre-cut anything that would need a knife.
  • Pack snacks such as almonds, protein bars (low sugar ones), and jerky.  I’ve taken flat bread and spreadable cheese wedges before, maybe I’ll take that again.   All of these can work as a snack throughout the vacation too.
How will you travel healthier this summer?

Check It Out

Airplane yoga: 18 exercises for healthy flying from CNN – great pictures even if I won’t be traveling first class.  I’ve copied this to Evernote and can pull it out on my iPhone app and try them out on the flight.

Finding Healthy Foods on a Road Trip – for those driving

Share your tricks for traveling healthier.

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