Happy Spring! I am so excited for warm weather and sunshine! I am saying prayers, crossing my fingers and doing all the things for the best balance of rain and shine this year. Balance in nature is beautiful. Just like in our lives, although as I get older, I am discovering that there really is not a perfect balance. We have highs, lows, and plateaus.
In our health journey there will be plateaus. You are not slipping backward (which great) but frustratingly you are not moving forward. Why and what is going on and how can you change it? Let’s talk about 4 elements that are affecting your progression and you may not even know it!
- SLEEP – Are you on team no sleep? You have heard it before 8 hours of sleep every night! It seems impossible to get because clothes need to be folded, dishes need to be done, you have not had a chance to scroll social media, or you just want an hour with no kids talking! I understand not wanting to go to bed early because I am there every night! But and this is big…your sleep is more vital to your health than dishes or scrolling social media. If you are not getting a good solid night’s sleep, you are doing a disservice to your body. Sleep plays an important role in body regulation, heart and brain health, and it helps aid in weight loss and gaining muscle. There is no excuse for not getting the correct amount of sleep. I know it is going to be hard and will not happen overnight but training yourself to get 7-8 hours sleep will pay off in the long run. My suggestion is to start with going to bed 15 minutes earlier every night for a week, then another 15 minutes and so on until you are at that sweet spot of 7-8 hours.
- Food – Are you eating more than you believe you are! Think about this, you are making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for your kiddo, what do you do next? You lick the knife or maybe dunk that spoon in and have yourself a bite. It could be you are grabbing a handful here and there of chocolate chips (guilty) or potato chips. Perhaps it is bigger than that and you are getting a second helping because it tastes good. All of this adds up. Your biggest power move here is to track your food. I am not talking about for the rest of your life. I am asking for a week. Track every bite, morsel, and sip. At the end of the week look at what you are ingesting. You may find that you are eating a lot more than what you thought! Now that you know better, you can start doing better. Making the small changes with this will add up to your benefit. Now go ask your spouse or a friend to hide those chocolate and/or potato chips!
- Exercise – You have been working out for a while now and you just are not seeing the changes that you want. Again, your biggest move is going to be tracking. Consistency over time is going to be our best friend, but tracking is going to be the trainer that we need pushing us. You have been working out for weeks and you know you are getting stronger, so why no changes? Have you increased your weights? Are you pushing yourself to do more reps? Tracking can help you see that you started a program curling 8lb dumbbells and after 4 weeks you are still curling 8lb dumbbells. It is time to increase the weight. In a cardio move you are doing 10 reps in 30 seconds; with tracking you can see you are still doing the same. It is time to push for more reps. To keep seeing those changes you want; you must keep progressing. Remember to have 1 or 2 rest days a week. Working out is a stressor to your body and if you push too hard you could cause unwanted weight gain through bloat and inflammation. Tracking what you do will help you make the changes that you want.
- Stress – It is everywhere! We have stressors coming at us from every angle. What comes in must go out and if we do not learn to process the stressors and control our reaction it will end up affecting us physically and mentally. Stress can cause physical pain, bloat and inflammation. It can even affect how quickly or slowly food moves through your gut. The processing part is difficult and as individual as our fingerprint. There is not one thing that will work for everyone. That is why you will have to try many different approaches to find what will help you. There are a million ways to help you handle stress and below I show and explain one move to help bring you back to center.
Sit on the floor (or in a chair). Place your legs in a comfortable position, criss cross applesauce or straight in front of you. Place your hands palms up resting your thighs, or one hand on your stomach and the other over your chest. Take in a deep breath for a count of 4, hold the breath for a count of 4 and release for a count of 4. Do this a few times until you find focus and you are back to center. Blink your eyes open and smile. Do not inhale/exhale fast so you do not become lightheaded. This is a great breathing exercise to do anytime and anywhere! Now stand up and go to the kitchen and make these 4 ingredient no bake samoa cookies. You will be centered and smiling even bigger!
1.5 cups toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup soft dates (medjool dates are great but you can use any kind)
1tbsp nut butter (I used Sunbutter)
Melted chocolate (I used dairy free Enjoy Life chocolate chunks)
Toast coconut in oven at 350° for 5 minutes or in an air fry on 350° for about 3 minutes. Let cool. In a food processor (or good blender) mix coconut, dates and nut butter until a soft dough forms. Shape into cookies (whatever size you like). Use a dowel and poke a hole in the middle. Place in freezer to set. Melt chocolate in microwave safe bowl. Dip the bottom of the cookie into chocolate. Put back in freezer, let the chocolate harden. Then drizzle with remaining chocolate. Enjoy!!
Of the 4 elements, one is not more important than the other. Your health and goals are not comparable with anyone else. This is about you. As you have read through this, one may have struck a chord with you. I encourage you to work on that and then move your way through the others. You may want to work on all of them simultaneously but if that seems a bit overwhelming just concentrate on one.
Give everything a try and let me know how it goes. If you are wanting to work one on one or have any questions, please contact me.
Jilisa Ghareeb has been a Beachbody coach for 6 years. Her favorite part of being involved with fitness and nutrition is watching her clients change and open up a whole new world. As a coach she, is able to help others by introducing them to a change that is often scary, intimidating, and full of “what ifs” to an encouraging and inspirational lifestyle full of “I cans”. She uses her own story to show others that everything is possible with hard work and determination. If you’re interested in reaching out to Jilisa for more information you can contact her via email, on Instagram or Facebook.