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Getting Rid of Some Extra Weight

Before the shape-up session….

On this first day of May, I’m happy to share some exciting news. I lost five pounds over the weekend.

Well, technically the process started on Friday and continued with a couple of hours of work on Saturday and Sunday. In the end, the tally may have been closer to six pounds. This transformative process was made possible thanks the power of a paper shredder and my resolve to cut out the clutter in my life.

This first Motivation Monday post of the new month is a reminder of how good it feels to get rid of those unwanted pounds that sit on your desktop and peek through the drawers and doors of cabinets around the house. They come in the form of expired coupons, statements, receipts and even those sentimental holiday cards. Even though managing everything from banking to health care is becoming an increasingly paperless experience, it’s amazing how the pounds can still sneak up on you. As the owner of a cozy New York City coop, I know all too well how good we can get at hiding them. Since my home also doubles as my workspace (when I’m not on location), if things are in order, I find I’m much more productive. When things get messy, so does my schedule. 

…and after. Ready for a productive week!

While it’s crucial to carve out some to exercise and stock up on healthy groceries, it’s equally important to find some precious moments to eliminate the clutter that can weigh down the mind. Along with the papers, that includes the pile of clothes you’ve been meaning to go through to sort out donations. It can even include the vanity in your bathroom filled with expired medications or lotion bottles with just a drop left. 

Now that spring has sprung, I encourage everyone to pencil in some time for a good mental health session courtesy of some old-fashioned spring cleaning. Side effects may include the proud feeling of accomplishment in lightening up your living space. Another bonus: when you get rid of the old, you also make room for a few new feel-good items including a couple of bright-colored duds for your workout wardrobe or even a new light-weight, smell-like-spring body wash or lotion. 

The bottom line is sometimes adding a couple of serious get-rid-of-the-clutter sessions to your healthy living routine can be a great May activity to help you stay on track with your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous! 

Do Your Own Thing

Knock Out Self Doubt!
Photo by Leslie Hassler

Blame it on a super insane work week followed by a lazy weekend which included Palm Sunday, but here you have you have one of my shortest Motivation Monday posts in recent memory.

This shot of inspiration comes to you courtesy of my love for group exercise classes, namely Physique57 and ILoveKickboxing. No matter how hard a workout may seem, the key is to always do your thing. Forget what the person next to you is doing and focus on your own pace, your own form and your own breathing. Finding that inner focus not only insures you’re going to get to the most out of your exercise session, it also allows you block out some of the noise that we’re all bombarded with day after day. That kind of concentration can make the mental part of your workout that much more intense and the workout that much more rewarding when you make it to the finish.

For me, there’s nothing like being in a kickboxing class working one of the heavy bags surrounded by the sounds of punches and kicks against the canvas. However, even lifetime fitness fanatics aren’t immune to self-doubt at the gym. Sometimes, I find myself wondering: Am I hitting as hard as the warrior next to me? Are my kicks making the same “boom” on impact? Then with one solid punch, I put the focus on my workout and forget about the rest of the room.

Exercise is personal. The idea is to just keep moving and do what you can do. If you’re not racing through a set of mountain climbers as fast as the person next to you, don’t sweat it. The key is you’re moving, you’re sweating and you’re doing your pounding heart and your sweaty body some serious good. At the end of your workout session, only one thing matters: do you feel better than when you started?

Wherever and whenever you find the time to workout, remember your mind has the power to keep it a judgement free zone. With spring finally in bloom, take advantage of a new season of group exercise schedules and opportunities to take the activity outside. Find what works for you and you’ll be amazed how easy it is to stay on track with your goals to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Make Your “Me Time” Belong To You

Knock Out The Noise! Photo by Leslie Hassler

Knock Out The Noise!
Photo by Leslie Hassler

This short and sweet Motivation Monday post is all about you. Specifically, it’s a reminder that’s exactly what the time you make to exercise should be –  time for you and nothing else.

I can’t tell you how many times I’m surrounded by people on elliptical machines or even at the weight rack who focus on their texts or emails when they should be concentrating on their form, their breathing and the oh-so-wonderful benefit of clearing the mind. Snap your Instagram photo and move on to your exercise routine, people! Honestly, if you’re not a doctor or emergency worker on call or a mom with a sick kid at home, how many of us really need to respond to that new email right away? Will the world stop spinning if you update a client on a project 30 minutes after you receive the message instead of ten?

In a world where we search workouts that give us the biggest benefits in the shortest amount of time, we absolutely owe it to ourselves to make those precious minutes count. So here’s my challenge for you this week: whether you decide to take a 20-minute walk in the morning, squeeze in a 30-minute workout on your lunch break or commit to a total hour of a group exercise class after work, tell your colleagues, family and friends you’re simply not available during that window of time. Before you snicker and say, “Laura, that’s impossible,” think about this: if taking 10 minutes out of your day to bang out some burpees or take a brisk walk is going to make you calmer and think more clearly when challenged by deadlines; difficult clients or your kid’s core math homework, then you owe it to yourself to be strong and tell people when you need a few minutes of me-time.

Sometimes the hardest part of taking care of ourselves is telling even the people who love us the most what we need to be a healthier and happier person. Why not use this week – when we welcome a brand new season – to take a chance and see what happens. If the world doesn’t stop spinning because you waited 20 minutes to respond to a few texts, then I’d say you’ve taken a bold step forward in your journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

‘Tis the Season for Fitness!

You Must Chill!
Photo by Leslie Hassler

Hopefully you beat that turkey hangover, survived the crazy Black Friday crowds and are ready to tackle a new work week. As the holiday season of 2012 has also officially kicked into high gear, I thought this Motivation Monday offered the perfect opportunity to touch on the importance of keeping your mental health in check during the hustle and bustle of this joyous but chaotic time of year.

Now more than ever, getting those workouts in will help burn some of the extra holiday calories that come in all shapes and sizes ranging from homemade cookies to sweet, seasonal cocktails. Weight maintenance aside, breaking a sweat can also help you shake off some of the extra stress of the “most wonderful time of the year” including battling the crowds in overheated stores and spending extra amounts of time with the extended family. When you add online shopping and maybe some lo-cal recipe surfing to the everyday stimuli of  emails, texts, Tweets and status updates, it’s no wonder our minds are in overdrive.

With so much more than sugar plums dancing through our heads, it’s more important than ever to not only get those workouts in, but also steal some precious moments to disconnect and re-boot. Here a few tips to make it happen:

  • Focus on one thing at a time: If you set aside one hour to write holiday cards or wrap gifts, then for those 60 minutes, don’t deal with texting or answering emails. If it makes you feel better, you can alert your social network that you’ll be offline for a bit. Then put on whatever music motivates you to be a good elf and  get to work.
  • Step away from the computer: When December starts, I will be making a conscious effort to NOT turn on my home computer unless absolutely necessary when I get home from work and the gym. I will check my iPhone or iPad at least once before bed to make sure I didn’t miss any “emergency” correspondence, but it makes a difference not to have the desktop on with the Facebook tab taunting me to make my way back to the keyboard.
  • Turn off the TV: Try to establish one night where the DVR does the watching for you. Turn that night into decompress time with family or friends. Maybe play cards or a board game to forget about the holiday craziness for awhile. It may turn into a night of getting the Christmas gifts in order, but it’ll be time to tackle those holiday chores with fewer distractions.
  • Make me-time a must: If you’re making the commitment to find 20-30 minutes in your crazy schedule for a workout, take another five minutes to stretch. Then try and add five more minutes to a hot shower at night. When you’re out shopping, treat yourself to a lavender-scented body wash or moisturizer to turn that shower in to an extra calming experience. Sip some caffeine-free tea afterward, burn a candle with a calming scent and try to shut down that overactive mind before getting under the covers.

As you work through this holiday high-time and make an effort to workout, don’t forget the importance of standing still for awhile, too. Never underestimate the power of your mind on the journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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