Healthy Living with Jilisa Ghareeb: Say I Do to You

School’s out for the SUMMER!!  Why are we so excited for that when most of us still have to go to work every day? I love for my girls they do not have to get up so early and ride the bus for so long. There are no more dioramas and reports due. They can just be a kid (a kid that still must do chores and schoolwork)! But it does mean that the routine is out the window, and we lose a little focus. It can be hard. It is like they are in the honeymoon phase, and anything goes. Which seems appropriate since June is the biggest wedding month of the year.

Honeymoon Phase

Who does not like the honeymoon phase of things? I would argue if someone said people did not. When you think about it there is so much hope and happiness. Everything just feels right with the world. This same feeling goes for diets and working out. I believe that is part of the reason why we jump from diet to diet. I have talked about this a bit before, we read or hear about some new thing that someone we know or someone in the media is doing and we jump on it and when we do not think it works for us, we jump to the next thing.

One reason for this is that we want to stay in the honeymoon phase because of how we feel (cue the release of happy hormones) and never get to the real work. We need to get to the heart of the marriage and stay there to see the results. The honeymoon phase will never give us the results that we long for. The results come from consistency and discipline. That does not mean that there cannot ever be a day or a moment of treating ourselves, it just means that we need to put in the consistent work the majority of the time.

One big question is how do we get the feeling to last and put in the hard work at the same time? Since for the majority of us the thought of hard work is not one, we associate with happiness or feelings of euphoria. One way is to make sure that we are setting realistic goals for ourselves. When you think and believe that you will get 6 pack abs, lose 20lbs or train yourself to not eat a whole bag of chips in one sitting in the next 2-4 weeks you are setting yourself up for failure. When the results don’t happen when we want them to happen, the honeymoon feeling fades and you will find yourself trying to find the next thing that you believe is going to work. The funny thing is the harder you work the more “happy” hormones you release and the better you feel.

Happy Hormones

The happy hormones are dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins or D.O.S.E. Let’s figure out how we can give ourselves a DOSE that will keep us in the honeymoon phase when we are in weeks two through 8. When you start a new program the first week is great. You get up early or get home from work and have no problem getting your workout in. The next week you think to yourself ‘I can wait until later,’ but later never comes and you find yourself starting week 1 all over again. It sounds crazy but it is true that the euphoria can wear off that fast.

  1. Small changes make the difference. Lay clothes out, have your pre-workout ready to mix, have the tv set to your workout. Small things like this really do make a difference. And knowing that stuff is ready to go in the morning can be enough to keep you motivated and happy to workout.
  2. If you have been reading this column for a while, I should not have to say anything else. But for the newbies and the people in back. YOU NEED SLEEP! Sleep is vital to your well-being. It helps you mentally. It helps your digestion. It helps your muscles recover. It keeps your family and friends safe…well at least mine, because I am a bear when I am tired!
  3. One more thing is to remember that this is a marathon, a long marathon. Maybe think more like an ultramarathon. And you need to set small goals that you can reach in a timely manner. If I set a goal that is 8 weeks away, it will seem so far away that I will slack off and probably not reach it. If I set a 1-week goal, I will reach it and then set another 1-week goal.

There are many other things that will help that slow release of those happy hormones. Remember to have fun (that releases all the happy hormones). It is not punishment. You are celebrating all that your body and mind can achieve.

Let’s say I DO!

Not only is June the month of wedded bliss. It is also the start to Summer and it is the perfect time to start a new workout program or a nutrition plan. June is a happy month. This might sound corny but ask yourself to marry the program you want to start and say I Do to yourself! Marriage is a commitment, and it is time you commit to yourself. Commit to the happiness you deserve. And commit to this salad recipe! This will for sure make you happy!

Recipe of the Month:  Lemon Orzo Bowl (or just call it Summer)

200g orzo (this is a very small pasta that kind of looks like rice)
1 avocado, pitted and diced
½ red onion, sliced
150g strawberries, sliced or diced
2 handfuls of baby spinach (I chopped mine up)
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice and zest from ½ lemon
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Dressing (so good):

Juice and zest from the other ½ of the lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp Dijon mustard

  1. Cook the orzo according to package instructions
  2. While that cooks, prepare the dressing by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl. Cut up the veggies
  3. The orzo should be done, so drain that and cool it with cold water. Transfer to a bowl and mix with olive oil, lemon juice and zest, salt, and pepper
  4. Add the red onion, strawberries, spinach, and avocado. Stir all that up. Ideally you would want to the let the salad rest for 10-15 minutes for more intense flavors
  5. When ready to serve, drizzle over the dressing, season with salt and pepper (if desired) and sprinkle with fresh parsley.

You can divide this up to share with people or you can just eat all of it! This a like summer in bowl. Let me know if you make it and how you like it! And I cannot leave you with out the…

Move of the Month:  Hip Flexor Strengthening

Use two small weights or soup cans and position them on the floor about a foot apart. Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out so that the weights are in line with your ankles. Pick your leg up and hurdle over the first weight and then over the second weight. Then back to the start position, that will be 1 rep. Start with 10 reps and switch to the other leg and do 10 reps. Work your way up to 1 minute on each side.

Strengthening your hip flexor is important because this muscle (really a group of muscles) is what keeps you moving. These muscles let you walk, run, swivel your hips, kick, and bend. Who does not want to do those things?! When your hip flexors are weak you may experience lower back or hip pain. Weak hip flexors can affect your posture and the way you walk. You might be surprised to learn that your lower back pain has nothing to do with your back!! Add this move into your weekly routine to keep your body moving forward.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me. Starting and navigating a new journey can be intimidating and overwhelming. Working with someone who has been in your shoes is extremely helpful and encouraging. Journeys are better when in the company of others.

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.

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