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Setting Achievable Fitness Goals In 2021

As a rule, New Year’s resolutions are notoriously prone to failure. Every year, so many of us set goals for ourselves with great intention, only to find them unfulfilled when the end of December rolls around. For whatever reason, the fiery motivation and enthusiasm felt in January begins to wane and we fall off the wagon. Let’s be real. It happens to all of us.

Many resolutions have something to do with fitness, health and physical improvement in general. This is abundantly evident by the wave of new people flooding the gym each January and the endless television commercials pushing the latest piece of fitness equipment promising that with their product, your body transformation will be a piece of cake (no pun intended).

The problem with many New Year’s resolutions, especially pertaining to fitness, is that people set goals that are either not specific enough, not sustainable or based on unrealistic expectations.

In this article, we are going to breakdown some of the more common fallacies regarding fitness goals that will hopefully set you on the right path to sticking to your fitness resolution this year!

Baby Steps Are Okay

So, you are all geared up to charge headfirst into a year full of quality workouts, clean eating and endless workout selfies on social media. You have purchased a shiny new pair of trainers, armed yourself with flashy gym outfits and maybe even acquired some sleek new headphones.

There is nothing wrong with any of these things but let’s hit pause for a second and talk about your plan for structuring your new workout and diet routine. Often times, the enormous amount of motivation felt when starting a fitness routine leads to attempting drastic changes to an individual’s lifestyle.

People try things like being determined to go the gym seven days per week or immediately cut out every bite of junk food from their diet. The problem with this mentality is that it is not sustainable.

Any kind of change is hard; therefore, it is important that you ease into the process. Start small with your plan and go from there. For instance, make it a point to workout 2-3 times per week, only give in to that bowl of ice cream on the weekends, etc.

Fitness Requires Playing The Long Game

The media makes it seem like physical transformations should be an expedited process and that noticeable results can be an overnight process. This notion is far from the truth. Buying into these ideas will only leave you discouraged and burnt out in a short amount of time. It is crucial that you understand that transforming your body can certainly be an enjoyable, fulfilling process, but it takes a lot of time and effort!

The people that you see on magazine covers and infomercials didn’t get their physique by knocking out a few sets on whatever product they are pushing “15 minutes per day, twice a week.”

Having a sound understanding of the investment required to achieve your fitness goals is a must if you plan on sticking with your resolution and avoiding the disappointment of not seeing the results you are looking for overnight.

Enjoyment Promotes Consistency

The biggest determining factor of your success in any goal you set for yourself, especially regarding fitness, is consistency. Without it, the workout routine you choose, and diet plan you follow don’t mean a thing.

That being said, your fitness journey needs to be one that you enjoy. Human nature is inherently prone to avoiding unpleasant experiences and seeking enjoyment whenever possible.

Going to the gym and eating healthy can’t be a miserable endeavor, or you will not be consistent. Having fun while being disciplined and working hard can undoubtedly happen simultaneously! Remember this is just one step in building your best lyfe. We all make mistakes. Be nice to yourself. You got this girl!

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6 Beneficial Ways to Deal with Critical People

Coming across criticism throughout your life is completely normal. Constructive criticism is fine, but some people who are so relentlessly negative that they can suck the joy out of life. No matter what happy news you might have, they are guaranteed to find the cloud to fit your silver lining.

Here are 6 strategies you can use to deal with hypercritical people.

  1. Don’t Take It Personally

It’s a safe bet that it’s not you, it’s them. Some people just hug their negativity around them like a security blanket, and it colors their view of the world. They criticize everything because that suits them. Watch how they treat other people. It’s guaranteed they criticize everybody, not just you.

  • Listen to The Message

Is the person obscuring the message? Maybe your critical colleague or friend is tactless, or bad at expressing themselves rather than being mean. Try to see past the messenger to understand what is really being said, otherwise you might miss out on some valuable advice.

  • Accept the Feedback

You can decide to take crucial feedback on its own merits. That is, as a source of honest feedback. At least with hypercritical people what you see is what you get! If you can see past the blunt delivery, you may be able to find a kernel of truth that can improve the way you do things.

  • Deal with Your Discomfort

Criticism never feels good. Try to read your own discomfort as another source of information about what is being said. Does the negative feedback trigger a recognition deep within you? Maybe it subconsciously reminds you of a past event, but maybe there’s a ring of truth in the criticism. Sit with your discomfort and see what it’s telling you.

  • If You Can’t Take the Heat, Stay Out of the Kitchen

If you can’t stand being criticized, then it’s up to you not to get into situations with people who are likely to criticize you. Don’t ask for advice or expose yourself to their negativity. They’re not likely to change, so you need to take control and avoid such conversations. Don’t share good news if you know they’ll throw cold water on it, don’t seek their praise if you know you won’t get it.

  • Stay Out of Their Way

You have a choice about how to deal with negative people. You can decide not to engage with their negativity, you can ignore them, or you can just avoid them altogether. If you must have contact with a negative person at work, for example, be helpful but don’t engage with them. Otherwise, it’s up to you whether you want to have any contact with such negativity, or not.

Ultimately, focus on controlling what you can control and don’t let anyone get in your way of living your Best Lyfe!

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Essential Oils for Personal Use – Make Bath Products, Skincare Treatments, Facial Cleansers

Essential oils are ideal for making homemade beauty and skincare products. However, before you use them, you want to be sure to avoid the stronger oils that may burn the skin or cause irritation. These include lemon oil, cinnamon oil, peppermint oil, or clove oil. There are so many great things you can do with essntial oils take some time and try things out. My personal favorite branch is https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005YETQMA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B005YETQMA&linkCode=as2&tag=bestlyfeever-20&linkId=f30ab7ab2a4cc63ad62c65adfa0832d6">Plant Therapy 7 & 7 Essential Oilss Set 7 Single Oils: Lavender, Peppermint & More, 7 Synergy Blends 100% Pure, Undiluted, Natural Aromatherapy, Therapeutic Grade 10 mL (1/3 oz)Plant Therapy. I trust the ingredients, they’re affordable and they have https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MCTVBX9/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B01MCTVBX9&linkCode=as2&tag=bestlyfeever-20&linkId=20deb4ab7fe562f9716ad26b28d9ec45">Plant Therapy KidSafe Wellness Set. 100% Pure, Undiluted, Therapeutic Grade. Includes: Tummy All Better, Nighty Night, Sniffle Stopper, Immune Boom, Germ Destroyer, Skin Soother. 10 ml (1/3 oz) each.KidSafe products that can be used for many different reasons for the kids.

Perk up tired eyes with Clary sage essential oil.

Anything that gets close to the eyes may cause a reaction, so be careful with this one. If your eyes are tired, puffy, or itchy and red due to allergies, try adding one or two drops of Clary sage oil [link to product] to a bowl of warm water. Swish to combine, then dip a clean wash cloth in and gently place over the eyes. You really need a very tiny amount of Clary sage for this. This herb has been used to heal the eyes and promote clear vision since Medieval times. If eyes burn after making contact with the warm cloth, discontinue use. If you experience unpleasant tingling, you can remove the remaining Clary sage oil by washing your face in coconut oil.

Coconut oil makes a nice facial cleanser.

You can mix up a recipe and store the rest in a glass jar with lid, until next time you want to use it. To make, combine a cup of coconut oil [link to Amazon product] with a tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Drop in one or two drops of lavender, rose or geranium essential oil, or a combo of these. Apply to face, rubbing in with fingertips, and avoiding eyes.

NOTE: Avoid using the stronger oils such as lemon, peppermint or cinnamon in your facial and skin care blends. These tend to irritate and may even leave a light burn mark if applied directly to a sensitive area.

Oatmeal, coconut oil and lavender soothe the skin.

Blend up a cup of whole oats in the blender. Add to a bowl, along with a half a cup of coconut carrier oil [link to Amazon product] and about 20 drops of lavender oil [link to product]. Mix into a paste and massage into the face and neck. Remove with warm water and a wash cloth.

Mix up a lavender, rose and oatmeal bath soak.

Soothe skin after a sunburn with healing oatmeal. Blend 3 cups rolled oats with 30 drops of lavender, 30 drops of rose, or a combo of both. [link to products]  Pour in about a half a cup next time you need a good soak.

Relieve aches and pains with essential oil bath salts. Into your warm bathwater add a cup of Dead Sea bath salt [link to SaltWorks product on Amazon] along with about 5 drops of lavender oil. Swish in, then step in. Relax for about a half hour while the healing minerals and calming lavender soak in. 

Make a homemade facial cleanser or mud mask.

It only takes a quick peek on the internet to find tons of homemade skincare recipes. Many of them are clay based, using ingredients like Bentonite clay [link to Amazon product], which is derived from volcanic ash and is extremely effective at pulling out toxins. You don’t need an exact recipe to make one of these at home. Just a spoonful or two of the clay, plus bit of water or rose water [link to Amazon product] to make it pasty, and 2-3 drops of a mild essential oil such as lavender, rosemary, rose, geranium, jasmine or chamomile [link to products] will help you get the right consistency.

Add green clay to your homemade face mask.

French green clay [link to Amazon product] is another popular skincare ingredient, affording healing properties to soothe irritated skin. You might try mixing up a facial mask of a few tablespoons of French green clay [link to Amazon product], aloe from an aloe plant, and one or two drops of chamomile oil or chamomile and orange [link to products] for a facial mask that heals and purifies. Just like any skincare mask you’d buy at the store or online, apply the mask to your entire face avoiding the eye area and mouth. Leave on until the mask starts to dry, no more than 10 minutes. If your skin begins to burn or feel uncomfortable, you can always rinse the mask off early and apply a moisturizer like the one listed below.

Make copycat cleansers and moisturizers using natural ingredients.

All Natural, Homemade Cucumber Facial Cleanser

Ever consider adding fresh ingredients to your facial cleansers and masks? Why not take your cue from the skincare companies? You can make a cucumber cleanser by blending up a few slices of cucumber with a cup of yogurt and a bit of fresh mint. if your skin tends toward dry, a half teaspoon or so of sesame or jojoba oil [link to Amazon product] can be added. For extra healing and pleasant aroma, add a drop of rosemary essential oil. [link to product] Any remaining cleanser can be stored in a dark colored glass container [link to Amazon product] in the fridge. The sooner you use it, the better chance you’ll have of utilizing the natural cleanser’s healing properties.

Homemade Apricot Almond Exfoliant Recipe

Want to make your own exfoliant? Walnut shells are a popular natural ingredient in commercial skincare products. You can crack a few shelled walnuts, and add them (why not add the actual nuts, too – they’re loaded with essential fatty acids) to a blender along with a cup of plain yogurt, and some slices of fresh apricot. A drop or two of almond oil or orange oil [link to products] will put the finishing touch and add a great scent to your homemade exfoliant. Don’t forget to store what’s left in a lidded container in the fridge, and use within 4 days.

Honey Turmeric Facial Cleanser Recipe

Honey and turmeric cleanse the face. Another great recipe for homemade skin cleanser – a tablespoon of honey, about 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric, [link to Amazon product] and a half-cup of yogurt. For essential oil healing power, try a drop or two of neroli oil. [link to product] Apply to the face, massaging in and avoiding eyes. Let absorb for a few minutes. Rinse using a clean wash cloth.

Choose a carrier oil and your favorite EOs for homemade facial moisturizer.

Homemade natural moisturizer can be fun to whip up at home. If you’re over 35, your skin might need an extra boost of healthy oils. Jojoba, coconut, almond, and olive oil [link to Amazon products] will all work great as the base for your natural moisturizer recipe. Fill a squirt bottle [link to Amazon product] 3/4 of the way with the carrier oil. Add 30 drops of your favorite, mild essential oils such as lavender, geranium, Clary sage, jasmine, neroli or vanilla. [link to products]

Banana Lemon Facial Cleanser Recipe

Banana works great for natural skincare. Try this make-at-home skincare treat. Mash up a banana, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon almond carrier oil [link to Amazon product], 2 drops of carrot oil [link to product]and 2 drops of neroli oil [link to product]. The almond oil adds moisturizing properties. Massage your homemade cleanser onto your cheeks, chin, nose and forehead, avoiding eyes. Let the cleanser soak in for several minutes. Remove using warm water and a clean wash cloth. Store unused portion in the refrigerator.

There are so many great things you can do with essential oils. These are just a few to get you started. Enjoy!

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LIMITING NEGATIVE SELF-TALK

Most people have dealt with some sort of negativity their entire lives. Negative experiences start during childhood and continue throughout our adult lives. This is a normal part of life that we all deal with. Too often though, our thoughts become negative as well. Even more troubling is when we start talking to ourselves in a negative manner. This negative self-talk is one of the most limiting behaviors one can deal with. Use these tips to help overcome it.

  1. Distinguish between negative thoughts and critical thinking.
    We need to have a certain amount of self-critique, otherwise we will never believe that we are doing something wrong. However, you need to recognize when that critiquing becomes negative self-talk. When you can distinguish between these, it will lead to a better situation.
  • Accept failure.
    If you like to beat yourself up whenever you fail, you are in for a steep road ahead. You will fail, and you will do it many times in your life. Embrace this as a gift rather than a burden. Try to view failure as more of a lesson learned. Don’t tell yourself you are a failure, tell yourself that you just learned what doesn’t work.
  • Repeat daily affirmations.
    You should look for affirmations that fit your current life situation. Use these as often as you can. Try repeating these affirmations every day. You should even write them out on a piece of paper and keep them close. The idea here is to program your mind for positive thinking. The more you keep at it, the more natural it will become. Ideally, those negative things you tell yourself, will eventually be taken over by your positive affirmations.

  • Limit your exposure to people who are negative.
    These people thrive on negativity and enjoy dragging others down with them. If you cannot avoid them altogether, spend as little time with them as possible. You already struggle with negative self-talk, so you don’t need them adding more negativity. If you spend more time with positive people that build you up, your negative self-talk will naturally reduce.
  • Learn to see the good in people.
    If you are always thinking negatively of others, it makes sense that you will more naturally think negatively about yourself. Being more open minded towards others will help you be more accepting of your own flaws as well.
  • Negative thinking is a choice.
    Even though you have been bombarded with it since you were a child, thinking negatively is something you choose to do. Conversely, positive thinking is just as much a choice as negative thinking. Choose positive thinking. This isn’t an easy quick fix, it takes a lot of work and practice. …so start now!
  • Strengthen your self-belief.
    Negative thinking often occurs due to a lack of belief in yourself. When you strengthen your confidence, it will help you get through those times that bring you down.

ACTIONABLE STEPS

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Each month find a new affirmation that you can repeat to yourself daily. Affirmations will help you switch your focus from negativity to positivity.          Set up a negativity journal and write in it whenever you think a negative thought. Write down all your feelings and if possible, the reasons why you came to that negative conclusion. The write down the reasons the negative thought ISN’T true.  Write down three aspects of your life you are grateful for. It can be anything you want. Think about your family and other people in your life. Think about your job or your business. Repeat this as often as possible.  

FURTHER READING

Check out some of the below books to help take the next step. Remember we are constantly evolving and there is no such thing as perfection. But don’t ever stop working towards your Best Lyfe!


1. What to Say When You Talk to Your Self

2. Talk to Yourself Like a Buddhist

3. Enough: Silencing the Lies That Steal Your Confidence

4. 365 Days of Positive Self-Talk

5. Me, Myself, and Lies: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself

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Basics Of Nutrition

There are many things to learn about when it comes to nutrition. But the basic concept is “What goes in must come out.” Your body is like a machine: it takes what it needs from what you feed it and gets rid of the rest by urine and the bowels. So let’s talk poop…

If you notice you have a problem about elimination, you should take it seriously, go see a doctor. Many people have this problem. Don’t be shy or anything, it can be very serious to your health.

The first step is finding out if there even is a problem. First you should see how many bowel movements you have daily (BM). If you have one per day it’s not a problem, however it is better to have 2 to 3 BM’s a day and more if you eat more often. But if you find you are having one per week or 2 per month, then you have a serious problem.

For some people they might say they don’t find the time. The reason could be they are out all day and would prefer to have their BM at home rather than a public bathroom. But let me tell you, you will keep your colon quite happy if you go several times for the day. If you are looking for a trick it would be to eat a lot of raw fruits and vegetables, steamed beets and using digestive enzymes with your meals. Do whatever you can; it will be beneficial to you.

I have just lightly touched on the subject, but if you have a problem you should consult a doctor and seek help. Because this problem is not good for your health, take care of it today and look forward to tomorrow. May you live a healthy and prosper life.

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Goal Setting for Kids

While many adults set goals and New Year’s resolutions not many children attempt to do this. Why not help your children set goals or resolutions for the coming year?

There is no reason why your child cannot set a goal and this is a great habit for them to get into. Their goal could be something as simple as reading one book each month or learning how to print their name by their 4th birthday. Other goals could be to learn how to tie their shoes or even to help mom in the kitchen at dinner time.

Getting your children into the habit of setting goals and reaching them will help them in all areas of their lives. They will learn it is possible to set a goal and reach it and that this process can actually be a fun one.

You could always make your child’s goal relate to yours in some way or other.  By doing this, everyone in the family can be working on similar things. For example you may want to exercise more so why not involve your kids too? Help them decide what type of exercise or sport they would like to participate in. Family sports include things like skating, ski-ing, hiking, cycling, walking and running. Or you could all sign up for a self defence class.

Once your child has decided on their new goal help them write it down and create a date for it to be in place. Try not to make the decision for them, give them ideas and suggestions but let them make the final choice.

Even very young children can set a goal for themselves, whether it is just cleaning their room or learning to get dressed without any help. Be available to give them help when it is needed, but allow them to try and figure out how to reach their own goals.

You should encourage your children to set a goal that can be achieved in a relatively short time frame. Getting them to learn how to tie up their own running shoes by spring would be a good example. Goal dates could be based around the changing of the seasons, based on their birthday or for the start of your annual family vacation.

Children will have a much shorter attention span so it is important that you are there to give them encouragement and support as needed. It may not be necessary for them to work on their goal every single day. Maybe putting some time aside on the weekend is sufficient.

Older children can have larger goals, possibly ones where they have to save money in order to get something they have dreamed of owning. Or you may offer to pay half if they save up the other half. This teaches children that they have to work to get things in life. Plus they will value their new item more if they had to spend some of their own cash for it!

Once your child reaches their goal let them know how proud you are of them. Share their success with other family members too. Then encourage them to set a new goal. Goals can be set around personal achievements, the desire for a new toy or wanting to join a new sports team or take up a new hobby.

If their goal is a little harder for them to achieve, help them write out a plan of smaller steps so that they can actually reach their goals. Remember to help them learn to enjoy their journey by making it fun. It’s never to early to teach them how to build their Best Lyfe!

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Are You Cooking The Nutrients Out Of Your Food?

There is a great deal of evidence that tells us that some cooking methods are not appropriate for all foods. In fact, some foods retain all of their essential vitamins only when consumed raw. However, cooking does allow your body to digest other vital compounds more efficiently, making cooking a necessary part of a well-rounded, nutritious diet.

More important than the “raw versus cooked” food debate is the method which you use to cook your food. How you cook your food will determine its nutritional value when it is ready to eat.

How Should I Cook For the Most Nutritious Food?

The thick cell walls of plants make the nutrients and vitamins contained inside of them difficult for our bodies to access. When you cook plant-based foods, those cell walls are broken down. Cooking some foods can increase your body’s ability to absorb specific nutrients as well as improve digestion of essential compounds such as antioxidants and proteins.

Cooking can, however, degrade some nutrients, with some cooking methods preserving food’s nutritional value better than others. Vitamins B and C are water-soluble, so cooking them for long periods of time in water will significantly reduce the presence of these vitamins in those foods.

In particular, boiling, poaching and simmering of most fruits or vegetables is not recommended because it removes a great deal of these critical vitamins from your fresh foods. Water-soluble Vitamin C can be retained by cooking these foods without water and at lower temperatures, or by eating them raw.

Other short cooking methods that can help you retain Vitamin C, beta-carotene, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients include microwaving, roasting, baking, steaming, and stir-frying. Each of these has benefits for particular foods and vitamins, but in general, the shorter cooking times and lack of water make these methods suitable for cooking many types of foods and for preserving their nutritional value.

Tips for Retaining Nutrients While Cooking

It is always advisable to use as little water as possible, avoiding long exposure to water at high heat for most vegetables. If you sauté or steam vegetables, use the liquid in the pan as a part of your recipe to still enjoy the nutrients lost to the water during cooking. Always use as little water as possible to cook foods.

When preparing vegetables for cooking, leave the peel on and leave the vegetables whole whenever possible. This will decrease the surface area exposed to water, thereby reducing the vitamin loss. You can always peel or cut foods up after cooking if you prefer to eat them that way.

Shorter cooking times preserve more nutrients than more prolonged exposure to heat. This allows the cell walls to break down, so you can access nutrients without degrading the food more than is necessary. Quick cooking techniques like stir-frying and microwaving are shown to decrease Vitamin C loss in many vegetables.

To Cook or Not to Cook?

It may seem impossible to make the “correct” choice between eating all food raw or cooking everything. In reality, eating a variety of foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains, nuts, and seeds as well as using a variety of cooking methods will give your body all the nutrients you need to be healthy.

Try to not always cook your vegetables the same way, as some cooking methods preserve certain nutrients but degrade others, and remember to eat raw foods regularly, too.

When you select varied cooking methods across time to prepare your foods, you will ensure your body has access to all the necessary vitamins and minerals your fresh food has to offer.

Let’s work together today to stop the vicious cycle of dieting and work on a clean diet where you can create a lifesytle.

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5 Ways to Remain Self-Motivated After a Setback

You did it! You figured out how to be self-motivated. It was no small feat, but now you’re done…right?

Not so fast. Just because you learned how to be motivated from within doesn’t mean the chase is over, and you’ve won the game.

Just as life has its ebbs and flows, people have their own ups and downs. You may have a setback (or two or three), and in that case, you have no idea how your mindset could change.

That may sound daunting, but it’s important to be realistic. If you’ve gotten this far as a self-motivated individual, you’ve likely had to be realistic with yourself in the past. It’s not game over – you’ve just started a new level, a new phase of life that you’ll have to conquer. Check out these 5 ways to keep up the self-motivation after facing a setback.

  1. Redefine Your Approach

If you did the same things for your entire life and never made changes to your approaches, you probably wouldn’t make much progress. When you feel like you hit a roadblock, view it as a chance to figure out a new way around it.

  • Spend Time with People Who Make You Feel Good

Not everyone makes you feel great. Whether it’s a personality conflict or someone who brings you down, if you feel like you’re leaving a social situation with more negative feelings than positive ones, it might be a good idea to check out of it altogether. Those people definitely won’t lift you up and help you get back on your feet.

  • Give Yourself Some TLC

The first thing you may do when you experience a setback is to get angry with yourself. You may turn from self-motivated mode to self-deprecation mode in a matter of moments. Don’t do that! Instead, remind yourself of all the great things you’ve done – all of your accomplishments and wonderful qualities. Give yourself a designated period of self-care, because as soon as you beat yourself up about something, it’ll be much harder to get those inspiration levels back up later.

  • Reward Yourself at Least Once Daily

While you’re indulging in self-care, be sure to do at least one positive, uplifting thing daily. That doesn’t mean finishing a pint of ice cream or staying in bed all day. It means you should do something productive that makes you happy. Try taking a walk outside or cooking a healthy, delicious meal. Maybe you’d like to try out a new hobby or start going to the gym.

  • Let the Past be the Past

It’s called the past for a reason. You could spend hours thinking about what happened before your setback and how you could have changed it. Hindsight is 20/20, so the only thing that will happen here is it will make you feel worse. Be confident in your decisions, and don’t look back. 

There will be set backs over the years. That is normal. It’s in these times that we are growing the most. It’s what you do in these times that make the difference. So go after it! Create your Best Lyfe!

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Eat Your Stress Goodbye – Stress Reducing Diet

When you’re stressed out, the foods that you’re turning to are most likely going to be traditional ‘comfort’ foods – think big meals, take-out, fatty foods, sweet foods, and alcohol. Let’s face it – we’ve all found some comfort in a tasty meal and a bottle of beer or glass of wine when we’ve been stressed out or upset about something. However, this isn’t a good permanent solution.

When you’re turning to unhealthy foods you can feel better temporarily, but in the long run, you will feel worse. When your body isn’t getting the right nutrition, you can begin to feel less energetic, more lethargic, and in some cases less able to concentrate and focus. All of this can lead to even more stress.

Foods that Fight Stress

If you’ve been feeling more stressed out than usual lately, it’s important to know which foods are best to choose and which to avoid when it comes to combating stress and helping you to deal with feelings of stress and anxiety. The best way to fight stress is to have a healthy, balanced diet which includes a moderate amount of each of the different food groups.

Filling up on foods such as whole grains, leafy vegetables, and lean proteins as the basic staples of the diet is the best way to ensure that your body gets the optimum amounts of nutrients to fight both physical and mental health problems. When it comes to choosing the foods to eat, some have a range of great properties which help the body to combat stress. Choosing these stress-busting foods will help to heal and calm your mind permanently, rather than providing a temporary fix.

Some of the best stress-fighting foods include:

  • Avocado – Avocados are a creamy and versatile fruit which can be eaten in a range of different ways whether you enjoy it raw, made into sauces, dressings and dips, or in a smoothie. These nutrient-dense fruits have the properties to stress-proof your body, thanks to their high glutathione content which specifically blocks the intestinal absorption of certain fats which cause oxidative damage. Avocados also contain higher levels of vitamin E, folate, and beta-carotene than any other fruit, which boosts their stress-busting properties. However, be careful with portion control when eating avocado, as it is high in fat.
  • Blueberries – If you’re feeling stressed out and reaching for the snacks, swapping chocolate or chips for one of the best superfoods is a great way to help you deal with your stress levels and achieve a higher level of calm. Blueberries have some of the highest levels of antioxidants, especially antho-cyanin, which means that this berry has been linked to a wide range of health benefits including sharper cognition, better focus, and a clearer mind – all of which can help you to better deal with stress.
  • Chamomile Tea – Of course, it’s not all about what you’re eating when it comes to managing stress; what you’re drinking can also alleviate or worsen the stress you’re feeling. Drinking liquids which are high in sugars and caffeine, such as coffee, energy drinks or soda, can actually increase your stress levels if consumed regularly. Chamomile tea has long been used as a natural bedtime soother, and it has also been used in clinical trials, which determined that chamomile tea is effective in reducing the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Chocolate – Although it’s usually seen as an unhealthy treat, there is an undeniable link between chocolate and our mood. Studies have shown that eating chocolate can actually make you happier. However, that doesn’t mean that you can start munching on chocolate bars every time you’re stressed out – chocolate works best as a de-stressor when eaten in moderation and as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Dark chocolate in particular is best for you, as it contains more flavonols and polyphenols, two hugely important antioxidants which can help combat stress, more than many fruit juices.
  • Beef – Grass-fed beef is not only kinder to the planet and to animals, it’s also good for people, too. Grass-fed beef has a huge range of antioxidants, including beta-carotene and Vit-amins C and E, which can help your body to fight stress and anxiety. If you’re looking for more reasons to spend a little more money on organic, grass-fed beef, it’s also lower in fat than grain-fed beef whilst being higher in omega-3.
  • Oatmeal – Oatmeal is great in that it can be a filling comfort food, but also has a large number of healthy properties to actually make you feel better from the inside out. A complex carbohydrate, eating oatmeal causes your brain to produce higher levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin, helping you to feel calmer and less stressed. Studies have shown that kids who choose oatmeal for breakfast tend to be much sharper throughout the morning in school compared to kids who had alternative morning meals.
  • Walnuts – If you’re looking for a healthy snacking option which will help you to stay better in control of your stress levels, walnuts are a great choice. There is no denying the sweet, pleasant flavor of walnuts and they can be a tasty snack for in-between meals or as part of a desert. A versatile nut, walnuts are great for salads, or add them to a sweet treat such as coffee and walnut cake.
  • Pistachios – another food which is great for snacking on and can also help to combat stress and anxiety in the long term is pistachios. Studies have found that simply eating two small, snack-size portions of pistachios per day can lower vascular constriction when you are stressed, putting less pressure on your heart by further dilating your arteries. Along with this, the rhythmic, repetitive act of shelling pistachios can actually be quite therapeutic!
  • Green Leafy Vegetables – leafy, green vegetables should be a pivotal part of anyone’s diet. Along with helping to combat stress, leafy greens are full of nutrients and antioxidants which help to fight off disease and leave your body feeling healthier and more energized. Dark leafy greens, for example spinach, are especially good for you since they are rich in folate, which helps your body to produce more mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which is a ‘feel-good’ chemical. Making leafy greens a part of your diet will help you to feel happier and less stressed out overall.
  • Fermented foods – last but not least, eating fermented foods such as yogurt can help to keep your gut healthy, which actually in turn will help to improve your mental health and reduce stress levels. The beneficial bacteria which are found in fermented foods such as yogurt actually have a direct effect on your brain chemistry and transmit positive mood and behavior regulating signals to your brain via the vagus nerve.

Putting Together Your Diet Plan

Planning your meals wisely is key to not only staying physically fit and healthy, but also to staying mentally strong and being able to best manage your levels of stress. Knowing which foods to avoid and which are the best to reach for to snack on when you’re feeling worried and anxious is important to helping you get control over your emotions and fears.

When you’re feeling stressed, you may be tempted to reach for classic ‘comfort foods’ – usually foods which are laden with sugar, very starchy, or greasy. However, although these foods can make you feel momentarily better, they will actually make you feel worse in the long run.

Having stress-busting snacks such as fresh berries, dark chocolate, yogurt, walnuts or pistachios, or even a fruit smoothie with avocado and leafy greens in it can help you to feel better in both the short and long term when it comes to stress.When it comes to combating and dealing with stress in the long run, it’s important to make sure that for the most part, you are eating a diet which is healthy and balanced.

In order to stay on track, it’s a good idea to make a meal plan for your week and plan ahead to make sure that you have a good selection of these stress-busting foods in your kitchen to make meals and snacks from when you’re feeling like stress-eating. Making sure that the majority of your meals include foods such as lean proteins and leafy green vegetables will not only make you feel healthier overall, but can improve your mental health and stress levels, too.

A good example of a healthy, stress-busting menu would be:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with berries or a fruit smoothie with avocado and berries

Mid-morning snack: Natural yogurt with fruit or a handful of pistachio nuts

Lunch: A whole-grain pasta salad filled with plenty of leafy greens

Afternoon snack: Dark chocolate

Dinner: Grass-fed beef with vegetables

Before bed: Chamomile tea

Of course, you don’t need to stick to this menu – but it gives you a good idea! Remember to exercise good portion control when eating foods such as nuts, chocolate, yogurt or avocado! As the saying goes, you are what you eat – so make sure that first and foremost, you’re filling yourself up with foods which are good for your mental health.

Need some help putting this all together? I can certainly help you through. Check out the latest updates from Best Lyfe Ever including my FREE mood boosting course! Plus don’t forget to share your success stories!

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DISCLAIMER:

This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.

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6 Simple Tricks for Dealing with Pressure

If you aren’t careful, pressure can sneak up and overwhelm you. Before you know it, you’re a mess. Sitting in your chair, sweating, heart racing, and dreading the thought of doing any work. Fortunately there are some tricks to dealing with pressure. With a little practice, you can turn nerve-wracking stress into pure motivation.

Count Backwards

It sounds simple, but counting backwards from 100 is a great way to distract yourself from pressure and reset your mindset. This easy trick is the perfect way to get started doing a task that you’ve been putting off. Simply sit back, close your eyes, and count backwards thinking only of the numbers instead of what is stressing you out.

Meditate

Meditation is an excellent way to relieve stress according to numerous medical studies. Clearing your mind from all thought and concentrating on your breathing leaves no room in your head to fixate and focus on what’s bothering you. Learning to meditate is one of the best ways to beat chronic stress and overwhelming pressure that there is.

Exercise

Nothing works like exercise when it comes to dealing with pressure. Not only does the act itself take your mind off of whatever is stressing you out, it also helps your brain to release positive endorphins that can make you feel great. People who exercise regularly report feeling less stress and pressure at work and at home.

Believe in Yourself

Positive thinking can be one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. The simple act of believing in yourself and knowing that you’re doing your best is a great way to turn pressure into motivation. The next time you’re faced with overwhelming pressure, tell yourself that you can do it. Whatever tasks lay before you, think positively about them and envision yourself completing them.

Enjoy What You Do

It never hurts to enjoy what you do, although this can be a difficult way of dealing with pressure. Look for the little things in the task that you like doing and complete them. You’ll find that once you start working you’re motivated to keep going. People who enjoy their jobs report feeling less pressure and higher levels of motivation than those who don’t like what they do for a living.

Stand Up and Take a Break

If nothing else is working, then stand up and take a break. Taking 5 minutes for yourself every hour is a great way to reset and refocus on the task at hand. Studies have shown that people who socialize at work, or even just stand up and stretch their legs, get more done than those who sit at their desk worrying over the task at hand.

Need help with any of this? Reach out! I have many ways I can help you through this which includes teaching you to meditate, get on a healthy path or just with learning how to live a better lifestyle and your Best Lyfe Ever! Don’t forget to also check out my FREE online course to help with boosting your mood!

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10 Ways To Sneak Some Extra Fruits And Vegetables In Your Family’s Diet

We all know by now that we should be eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. But knowing and doing are two different things, aren’t they? Sometimes it is just not easy to get them all in there. We are constantly tempted to fill up on convenience and junk food. If your family is anything like mine, they’d much rather fill up on a bag of chips or a bowl of rice or pasta instead of trying an apple or a plate of steamed broccoli. So we’ll have to get creative. Here are a few ideas to “sneak” some extra vegetables and fruits in your family’s diet.

1. Start the day with a breakfast smoothie. All you have to do is throw some fruits, low-fat yogurt and ice in a blender. You may also want to add a scoop of protein powder in there for good measure. Just blend for a few seconds and you have the perfect breakfast ready to go. I like to sip mine in a thermal cup on the way to work. To make it even more appealing for your kids, use some frozen yogurt or a scoop of ice cream in the smoothie. They won’t believe that you are letting them have ice cream for breakfast.

2. Dried fruit makes an excellent snack any time of the day. Add some small cartons of raisins to your child’s lunch box, pack some yogurt-covered raisins in your husband’s briefcase and keep some trail mix sitting around for snacking. You can also add dried fruit to oatmeal and cereal in the morning. My family loves banana chips in their breakfast cereal.

3. Add some fruits and vegetables to your family’s sandwiches. You can add some banana, sliced apples or strawberry slices to a peanut butter sandwich. Top a turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and anything else they will eat. You can even make a sub shop style vegetable sandwich by combining several different vegetables with some mayonnaise and cheese on bread.

4. Have a salad bar at dinner. Set out a variety of chopped vegetables, some cheese and croutons as well as several choices of salad dressing along with the lettuce and let everybody create their own perfect salad.

5. Let them drink their fruits and vegetables. Keep an assortment of fruit and vegetable juices in the fridge and encourage everyone to drink them as a snack. Get creative. You could start “family cocktail hour” by pouring everybody a glass of his or her favorite juice over ice. Add some straws, cocktail umbrellas and sit together to talk about how everybody’s day went.

6. Try this for dessert. Put a small scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt in a bowl and top it with lots of fresh or frozen fruit.

7. Offer fruits and vegetables as snacks. You can cut apples into slices and top them with peanut butter or cheese. Cube cheese and serve with grapes. Cut up some fresh veggies and serve them with ranch dip. And of course there’s ants on a log. Spread some cream cheese or peanut butter on the inside of a stick of celery and sprinkle raisins on it (wow, fruit and vegetable in one snack).

8. Try some new fruits and vegetables. Pick something exotic to get your family’s curiosity. With a little luck their curiosity will outweigh their initial apprehension to trying something new. You could try artichokes, plantains, papaya, mango, star fruit, or anything else you can find in the produce department of your local store.

9. Make a pot of vegetable soup or a stew that’s heavy on veggies and easy on the meat. Both of these make some great comfort food when the weather gets cold.

10. Start “My Veggie Day”. Each family member gets to pick a vegetable one day of the week. They qualify to pick a vegetable as long as they tried each vegetable the week before, otherwise they lose a turn and Mom gets to pick.

Incorporate a few of these ideas and you will have everyone in your family eating more fruits and vegetables in no time.

Here is another tip:

Now that everyone in the family has gotten a taste for it, make sure you always have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies available and ready to snack on.

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An Exercise In Confidence…

Did you know that confidence is a learnable skill? If you look at your life right now you will find confidence in many areas. If you are honest with yourself you will also notice areas of your life where you lack confidence.

For example, I workout almost every day and it is a huge part of my life. I love it. This wasn’t always the case. When I first learned how to lift weights I was awkward, weak and clumsy. I was always looking around the gym at the experienced people worried that they might be judging me. Had my desire to lose weight and improve my health not been so strong at the time, I very likely would have let the discomfort of the situation force me to quit and give up.

But I didn’t. I found an experienced workout buddy and started to learn. I slowly but deliberately became stronger and more comfortable in the gym setting. After a few short weeks, it was almost second nature to me. All of the feelings of embarrassment and inferiority had disappeared. I had developed confidence. The same way I had developed confidence when I learned to walk as a baby, when I learned to ride a bike as a young boy and when I learned how to drive at age 16.

There is no trick to the development of confidence. It is a predictable process that any of us can implement for virtually any action or habit in our lives.

Have you recognized this and applied this in your life?

Have you mistakenly accused yourself of not having to ability to do something due to a lack of confidence?

I want you to take a moment right now and mentally review your dominant thought patterns.

Most people have at least one area in their life where they lack confidence. For some, it could be speaking in public, for others it could be meeting new people and developing relationships. Identify that specific area in your life right now

  1. You have to identify a major goal that you would like to achieve

  2. You have to identify where you lack confidence in terms of the obtainment of this goal. I assume you lack confidence in this area because if you did not lack confidence then you would have achieved this goal by now. So identify what that blockage is:

    1. If you’re an entrepreneur, maybe you lack confidence in presenting funding proposals to other business owners or financial institutions.
    1. If you are in sales perhaps you are limiting your success by not pursuing the large accounts.
    1. Maybe you are in a relationship and you‘re not happy with the behavior of your partner, do you lack the confidence to ask for what you want?

  3. Write at least one paragraph that describes your confidence block and your current state of mind. When you imagine yourself in this situation of low confidence, what comes up for you. Are you anxious, nervous, upset, etc… Describe your state as accurately as possible

  4. Now that you are aware of your confidence blockages, you can begin to redevelop them. Define one major activity that you can implement ASAP that moves you towards your goal

    1. If you have a fear of speaking, your activity could be to rehearse a 10 minute power speech in front of the mirror
    1. If you struggle in sales, you could plan to practice and refine your sales presentation with a manager or senior colleague

  5. Write a commitment to yourself to practice this new activity every single day for the next 30 days. If you really want to commit to this, find an accountability partner and perform the activity with them so that you have a witness.

  6. At the end of 30 days, repeat step 3 again and analyze where you are at in terms of confidence. Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10

You can continue this until you reach a level that you are satisfied with when it comes to your confidence in this area of your life!

Learn additional ways to improve your mood and live your Best Lyfe by taking my FREE Perk Up Course now!

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5 Cool & Tricky Ways To Eat More But Weight Less

The title of this article closely resembles one of those pesky pop-up ads on your favorite Internet site, claiming some remarkable fitness solution “in just 30 days!”.

When it comes to weight management, most would assume that in order to lose (or maintain) a certain body weight, eating more food is entirely counterproductive.

There is some truth to this assumption; any time you consume more calories than your body burns, the excess must be stored somewhere (remember those laws of conservation of energy from high school?).

However, there are actually a few gimmick-free ways that technically allow you to consume “more” food without experiencing any weight gain.

Throughout the remainder of this discussion, we will describe 5 tricks that allow you to consume more food without gaining fat in the process. Quite literally, having your cake and eating it too!

Same Portion Size Does Not Mean Equal Calories

When it comes to different food options, the same serving size of two different items in no way means they contain the same amount of calories. As you are (hopefully) aware, a fist-sized portion of lean chicken has nowhere close to the caloric content of an equal amount of chocolate cake.

What does this mean for you desire to eat more food without suffering the consequences? Well, to do the trick, it is important to pick out foods that are relatively low in calories in relation to serving size. This allows you to technically eat more food while simultaneously keeping your calorie count to a minimum.

Experiment With Different Eating Windows

While this trick may seem like a technicality, eating all of your daily calories within a relatively short window is another way to feel like you are stuffing your face guilt-free. Though this is often cited as intermittent fasting, you are not required to follow any specific protocol.

This approach may be rather difficulty at first. Over time, however, your body will most likely make a smooth adjustment. If you can maintain the willpower and self-control to avoid eating outside of whatever “window” you set for yourself, you can all but go crazy during feeding time, while still not maxing out your caloric budget.

Don’t Spend Your Calories On Liquids

One of the quickest and easiest ways to go overboard on calories is through sugary drinks such as soda and frozen beverages. Without even realizing it, you can easily consume half a days worth of recommended calories in only a few of these items! In your noble quest to eat more food without gaining weight, this obviously leaves you much less room to work with.

Instead of spending your daily calories on sugary drinks, try consuming water or another low-calorie alternative. By doing so, you are able to eat more food without going overboard on calories.

Whole Foods Versus Their Processed Alternatives

There are many reasons why whole foods are vastly superior to the processed excuses for nutrition readily available all around us. The fact that they almost always contain fewer calories is one of them.

When food is consumed in its natural form, it is spared the refinement process, which usually involves the addition of high calorie sweeteners and preservatives.

Simply put, as far as calories go, you get much more bang for your buck by eating whole foods. While stuffing your face with fresh produce may not be quite as enticing as a pint of ice cream, at least you eat more of it!

Lastly, You Guessed It, Exercise

This one is pretty simple and probably the first thing that comes to mind when posing the question of how to eat more food without gaining weight. Exercise causes the body to need more calories to burn as fuel.

This approach is quite the opposite of the other choices we have discussed in that instead of being mindful of your total caloric intake, you can actually decrease your bottom line.

To be fair, the amount of exercise required to burn a significant number of calories is pretty high. Eating till you are stuffed and trying to undo the situation on a treadmill is not very efficient. However, getting enough exercise on a consistent basis will allow you to eat more while reducing the amount of calories your body stores.

Need some help with these and starting your path to your Best Lyfe? Check out what we have to offer and don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter!

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Are You Too Self-Critical? It Could Be Draining Your Confidence

If you’re anything like me, you can be a little self-critical. I think this is many of us. However, in order to start to live your best lyfe, it’s important to take a look within. Introspection can help us learn about ourselves. It can help us see that we are not perfect and give us the right balance of doing what is right and doing whatever we want, no matter the circumstance. People who aren’t introspective often blame others for all problems, even when it’s their fault.

However, you can overdo it to the point where you are knocking yourself. When you get to this point, you can be jeopardizing your confidence. You need to find the right balance of learning about yourself and keeping up your self-esteem.

Always evaluate every situation you find yourself involved with. Don’t make assumptions as they can be wrong, without the right information. You want to make sure that you have covered all the basis before making any determinations. You want to eliminate any possibility that you are the cause of any negative situations. If you are, own up to it and try to make the situation right.

But, don’t just take the blame for everything. If you discover that you are not the cause, then speak up and let that be known. Self-critical people will tend to blame themselves automatically. This can bring down your spirits over time. It’s okay to help others when they are the responsible party. When you do this, they will be more willing to help you when you are at fault.

It’s important to pick your battles, too. If you find something minor that came up, you may want to let it go. Sometimes, it can even be worth taking the fall for these minor situations. It won’t have much impact, and by doing this, you can help everyone involved to move forward.

If you take the fall for major things, however, you are setting up to make the situation worse. The person who is truly responsible will continue to act in a detrimental way because you let them get away with it. If you are taking the blame for everything, it’s time to stop. It’s not helping, and you may not be able to reverse what people believe about you. Many people do this to keep the peace, but in the end, it’s not good for anyone. Responsible parties need to take responsibility, and the only way that will happen is to stand up to the culprits. By doing so, you will gain more confidence and make each of these situations right. You got this! Work with me today on living your Best Lyfe!

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How to Handle a Bully

It’d be nice to think that once you’re out of school, you’d be done with bullies for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, that can be far from the truth, as anyone who’s ever had a bullying boss, co-worker or friend can attest.

We all know what bullying looks like as a kid: name calling, pushing, meanness, just to name a few. But how do you know that someone is an adult bully?

Often, in the name of security and keeping the peace, we may let bullying just roll off our back. But if someone you know is a bully, they may take subtle actions such as:

  • Ignoring you – This is a form of disrespect, and aims to control you by keeping you guessing and never knowing. You make a request or ask a question, and don’t get a response.
  • Being late, or not showing up at all – Again, this is another form of disrespect, but it can sometimes have more serious consequences, such as missing an important appointment or being late for a meeting.
  • Starting rumors – The bully that starts untrue rumors is seeking to sabotage you and your reputation. Seeing you react (or overreact) to hearing lies told about yourself is what they thrive on.
  • Passive-aggressive behavior – Backwards compliments, deliberate procrastination, having to have the last word… these are all examples of passive-aggressive behavior that a bully might exhibit.

These are only a few examples of how a bully might act as an adult to control a situation. How you handle each situation is the key to taking away the bully’s power.

First and foremost, if you find yourself being bullied a lot as an adult, take a close look at whether you’re playing the victim. Due to your upbringing, you may not even realize that you’re doing it, but often, a bully will instinctively aim for the person who already has a victim mentality. If that’s you, you’ll need to learn to stand up for yourself and become more assertive in the face of the bully.

If all else fails, simply separate yourself from the bully. This may be more difficult to accomplish in a work situation, but be creative, and try to create space between you and the bully. The less you are around them, the less harm they can do.

Also, try to remember that most bullies end up that way because of low self-esteem and a fragile sense of self-worth. By asserting yourself, you take away the bullies power, and maybe… just maybe… you’ll show them that they don’t have to be that way. Don’t let bullies get in the way of your Best Lyfe!

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4 Strategies for Fostering Inner Peace Now

Inner peace is just one key element in your Best Lyfe Ever.

Inner peace goes beyond personal needs or goals for oneself – it’s a major contributing factor to cultivating peace in the world. How can we focus on peace for the world if we can’t find peace for ourselves? That starts with the individual, so when you make strides toward achieving inner peace, you’re really contributing on a much larger level. Feels like a big responsibility, right?

Let’s not look at it as a responsibility but as a privilege. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to contribute by working on yourself. What are you waiting for? Let’s get started on cultivating inner peace with these five strategies!

  • Learn how to be mindful

Mindfulness is all about paying attention on purpose. It allows us to focus fully on the one thing we truly have. This moment. Developing a mindfulness practice helps us to stop living on autopilot, staying stuck in the past, or worrying about the future. It sounds like a simple concept. And it is. But it’s not easy. The good news is though that in each moment, you have the chance to be mindful again. Taking up this one practice will literally change your life.

  • Don’t take things too personally

You’re focusing on yourself, but you shouldn’t be internalizing. There’s a huge difference there. If you find yourself insulted easily, try to remember that it’s not a reflection on you. The person who was grouchy at you may have just had a rough day or fought with their spouse this morning. The truth is, people rarely think about us as much as we believe they do.

  • Be still

It’s hard to be still and fully present. It’s do-able, though. And peace is found in the trying or practicing. Take time to sit on a beach or the grass outside, maybe at your local park. Instead of looking at all the people passing by and watching where they go, just sit still. Maybe you’ll want to close your eyes. Just let people pass by like clouds in the sky. You’re being present and refraining from overthinking. Enjoy the sensations of the wind blowing your hair and the sun on your face. Hear people talking without getting caught up in what they are saying. When your mind rushes ahead or wonders why a child is crying, just bring it back to your breath. You’ll find yourself smiling without even thinking about it. Now, that is inner peace.

  • Let your actions speak louder than words

This tip leads us back to where we started – cultivating peace in the world by finding it in ourselves. When you’ve found a sense of inner peace, you will naturally want to share it with others. You’ll want nothing more than to show others that peace isn’t as elusive as we believe in our fast-paced modern world. You spread peace by being kind, compassionate, and loving to others. Allow the peace you feel within fill the space and the people around you by the way you behave.

So sit back and listen to that inner peace and intuition. What is it telling you? Define your Best Lyfe starting today.

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Yoga for Insomnia

I don’t know what I did before yoga. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a hardcore yogi but I certainly have days when I need yoga in my life. It helps me relax, stretches muscles I haven’t used in a long time or clears my head.

Yoga is the perfect natural cure for insomnia. The more you do it, the better you become at it and the greater effect it has on your entire being. Yoga works wonders for the body, mind and spirit. Even if you’re never done yoga before, you can jump right in with a short series of poses that are meant to relax, de-stress and prepare the body for a good night’s sleep.

Next time you’re faced with a bout of insomnia, try this series of yoga poses to ensure a deeper and more restful sleep.

Begin with a sacral massage. Lie on your back on the floor with your arms and legs out straight. Press your hands into the floor firmly but gently and pull your pelvis inward so that you are pressing the small of your back into the floor. Take several deep, slow breaths. Slowly pull your legs toward you until you are hugging your knees into your chest. Take a deep breath in, then let it out gradually. Rock back and forth from side to side, breathing gently and deeply.

Next, go into a shoulder stand.

You are still on your back, with your knees pulled in. Now you will slowly lift your feet up into the air. Place your elbows against the floor and put your hands on each side of your waist. With one swift but gentle movement, lift your pelvis off the floor with legs still straight up. Pull your waist inward as you take deep, slow breaths and point your heels skyward.

Continue to strongly support your waist with your hands as you reach your feet overhead and focus on straightening your torso with waist sucked in gently. This pose can be challenging for beginners. If you can’t seem to steady your torso so that everything is in alignment from your shoulders all the way to your feet, that’s okay.

This pose feels wonderful even if yours needs a little practice. It allows the blood to flow to the liver and other organs, and works against gravity. There is a modified version of shoulder stand where the waist is slightly bent but the feet are still up in the air, with shoulders and elbows supporting. Feel free to try this less strenuous version. Shoulder stand, like all of the inverted yoga poses, is highly relaxing and restorative to the body.

Move into Plough pose.

Shoulder stand flows easily into plough pose, which is another somewhat challenging position that comes with great relaxation and restoration benefits. From shoulder stand where your legs are in the air, pull your legs in toward your body as you gently bring your waist back to the floor to a flat-back position. Breathe deeply. Tuck your arms underneath your back as you open the chest and shoulder area for a strong posture. Pull your legs over your head and then behind you. They are out straight. Your toes are reaching for a spot on the floor behind you. Your shoulders are engaged, head tucked into your chest, and your arms are behind your back. You’re making a tipped L shape with your body. You are breathing slowly and deeply, and your throat and thyroid are receiving a nice massage by being constricted in this fashion. Hold this pose for several breaths.

The next pose after Plough is bridge.

Slowly raise your legs and unfold your body until you have returned to a supine position (lying on your back with legs straight out. In the last pose, you had your arms at your side and then tucked them under to hold a strong shoulder posture. You’ll be doing this again for bridge pose, only this time you’re going to do a backbend. So, breathing slowly and deeply, place your arms at either side of your body and tuck them under you a bit. Bracing yourself by firmly planting fee on the floor, raise your pelvis off the floor, keeping arms engaged for support. Raise your backside into the air as high as it will go. Breathe deeply and try to relax into this challenging pose. Bridge is similar to Wheel pose or a backbend, except that instead of using your feet and hands to support you, you use your feet and arms.

Relax your spine after that series of stretches, with Inverted Child’s Pose. Once you’ve breathed through a good strong bridge pose, you’ll want to give your back and neck a few moments to relax and allow the blood and healing oxygen to flow through your body. So take your waist back down to the floor and slowly bring your feet in to hug them. Give yourself a good, firm squeeze while breathing deeply. You can also repeat the sacral massage, is this is a good way to realign after that challenging series.

Move into Lotus pose/neck stretches.

Photo by Elly Fairytale on Pexels.com

Slowly go from the inverted child’s pose and sacral massage to the lotus position. You’ll need to sit up for this. Do it with slow, deliberate but calm movements. Bring your feet in toward your pelvis to the “butterfly” position. You should be cupping your ankles with your hands as you sit up tall and strong. Legs are open and knees are bent. Firmly push your sit bones (pelvis) into the floor. This is very grounding, and allows the energy to flow to your reproductive organs. Still clasping your ankles with your hands, move your legs slowly up and down as though you’re a butterfly fluttering its wings. Continue to take deep breaths while maintaining a strong upright posture. When you’re ready, take your neck into some gentle stretches. Put your chin to your chest and squeeze your throat area. Tip your head all the way back to feel the stretch in the front of your neck. Move your head toward the right shoulder, slowly. Now the left. Next, make slow circles with your head, moving slowly, gentle and mindfully. Take plenty of deep breaths. When you constrict, you should be breathing in. When you stretch, you should be releasing air from the lungs.

While in lotus, do neck slow neck stretches: forward and back, side to side, around to the right and left, and then rotate your neck slowly in a circle to the left and right.

Locust pose.

Locust pose gives a massage to the pelvic region including the reproductive organs. Begin in the prone position, lying on your stomach on the floor with legs out straight behind you. Hands are planted firmly against the floor, pushing down, also at your sides. Begin by taking a deep breath in and pulling in your waist to elongate your spine. This is the opposite of arching your back.

Breathe again, and now shift at the waist so that you are arching, hands still firmly engaged into the floor at both sides. Move into an arched position, and work on pushing into your pelvic bones so that your legs, still straight out behind you, lift off the floor. Your arms can either be in a “superman” flying position facing forward, or you can put them straight out behind you alongside of your legs. The focus is to keep the legs and arms lifted while grounding the pelvis into the floor. Continue to breathe for several counts. This is one of the more challenging poses in this relaxing series.

Locust moves easily into cobra.

Here, you are allowing your legs to rest as they splay out behind you. Meanwhile, you are lifting the front of your body, rising from waist to shoulders, head poised in an “attacking cobra” position. Arms are at your sides with palms placed flat on the floor. You will push off from the palms of the hands and send your energy out through the ends of your feet and your mouth. Breathe from your pelvic region. This is a triumphant pose that brings blood flow to the reproductive organs.

Ease into cat and cow (go back and forth between these several times), then rest in child pose.

Once you finish Cobra, you can get on your hands and knees (as if you were scrubbing the floor) for some cat and cow stretches. These do wonders for the spine. This is basically slow, relaxed and controlled arching and rounding of your back. Involve your neck and shoulders as you alternate between cat and cow. Breathe in on cat and out on cow. Take your time. Breathe steadily. Be mindful of the stretch and how good it makes you feel. End by tucking your head and hugging your knees, essentially rolling yourself into a ball as in child’s pose. You can also do child’s pose where your knees are pulled in but you stretch out your arms

Down facing dog may be considered challenging initially.

However, the more you do it, the stronger your arms become and the easier and more effective this pose gets. To do it from child’s pose, you’ll want to remain in the prone position but then go into a “pushup” position with your hands on either side of your body and your midsection lifted. Then raise your backside into the air, keeping hands and feet engaged and strong, pressing into the floor. Dogs do this stretch naturally. For humans, the pose detoxifies the body. Stay fluid as you breathe through the stretch, allowing your body to arch and then come back to center. Hold this pose for a count of six breaths.

Down facing dog:

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Take your down dog into plank position. This is where you go into a pushup position, but instead of pushing against the floor to raise and lower your body, you simply stay still and hold the pose. Arms are slightly bent at the elbow, hands and tips of toes engaged and pushing into the floor. Breathe, and focus on keeping abdominals taut. You can even imagine the energy flowing outward toward your toes, via straightened legs. Hold this pose for six breaths.

Plank pose:

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Switch between downward facing dog and plank pose a few times – you’ll may notice your back cracking and it feels wonderful.

Now move from plank into forward fold. To do this, pull your backside up as you would in downward dog, but the idea is to walk your feet forward toward your hands, then rise your torso up until you are standing. You may have to shift yourself slightly or maybe even do a little hop to get there. That’s okay. Feet are hip-width apart. If you’re good at making the transition from downward dog to forward fold, you can swoop your arms out and upward (i.e. “spreading your wings”) so that you are standing upright as you reach for the sky as high as you can go. This provides a great spine alignment and stretch. Move slowly and steadily. Then, “swan dive” into forward fold by sweeping your arms out, bending your body in half at the waist and reaching for your toes.

Forward fold:

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Finish in a seated position for one last lotus pose, or the butterfly wings motion. Posture is lifted. Waist pulled in. Pelvis grinding down into the floor as feet push together with legs open. Clasp your feet with your hands. Open and close your legs slowly. Breathe deeply.

Lotus pose again:

Finish with a corpse pose.

This where you swing your legs around and then go from sitting to laying on your back. Place arms at your sides. You may put a blanket over you if you tend to become chilled during this final relaxation. Close your eyes. Breathe slowly and evenly. Focus on keeping your body perfectly still, breathing through your diaphragm. If you fall asleep that’s okay.

Corpse pose:

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Drink Water

When finished with your yoga sequence, drink a couple of big glasses of water or herbal tea. Say goodbye to tension and hello to rest, relaxation, balance and healing. Sleep well, friend. Enjoy your Best Lyfe.

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Digestive Balance and the Ability to Absorb the Vitamins in Your Food

Sometimes we take all the supplements or feel like we’re doing the right things but we’re still not getting all the benefits of certain vitamins and minerals. As you know though in our search for our Best Lyfe Ever, we never want to do things that are not all the way in.

Some people may be deficient in certain vitamins and minerals due to something called leaky gut syndrome. This is where food allergies have caused inflammation of the lining of the stomach and digestive tract. The tiny cracks that line the stomach which allow food to pass through and be absorbed by the small intestine become larger, resulting in food particles entering the bloodstream where the body then perceives these as attacking it and sends out white blood cells as a defense. This results in inflammation or swelling of the affected area, which impacts digestion and absorption of necessary vitamins in a negative way.

Other Factors That May Hinder the Body’s Ability to Absorb Nutrition from Food:

Lack of good bacteria in the digestive tract and lining of the stomach, as a result of excess sugar intake, too many rounds of antibiotics, alcohol use, and stress. The good news is that these beneficial bacteria can be replenished by way of probiotic foods such as bananas, yogurt, garlic and onions, raw cheeses, and fermented foods such as tofu, soy sauce, pickles and sauerkraut.

Eating too fast and not chewing food thoroughly. The longer food is in the mouth and being masticated to tiny bits, the more likely a person will be able to fully absorb its vitamin makeup and benefit from the nutritional value. Saliva contains enzymes that help break down the composition of your food so that you can digest it completely. Chewing further helps this process along.

Too many processed foods and not enough whole foods. Processed foods are exposed to extremely high heat to prolong their shelf life and make them more portable and easy to prepare. Anything that has had the liquid extracted from it (think powdered soups, gravies, even juices) is probably nutritionally inferior. Consider the destruction of delicate enzymes and amino acids that assist us in deriving the necessary nutrition from said food.

Eating the wrong food combinations. Foods that are strategically combined afford the best potential for obtaining the full nutritional benefit. For example, green vegetables are great but your body will be able to use them even better if you combine with a healthy oil such as olive, an acid such as vinegar or lemon, and an aromatic such as garlic.

Cooking (or not cooking). Lightly cooking some foods (such as cruciferous vegetables like broccoli) is said to help them be processed more easily by partially breaking them down. On the other hand, something like oranges and lemons pack the biggest nutritional punch if served fresh and uncooked.

In the end this is just one step in living your Best Lyfe Ever. Nothing replaces a healthy diet and lifestyle. I can never express this enough. Eat the right foods and move your body! But don’t forget to breathe also! Enjoy your Best Lyfe!

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7 Low-Carb Hacks to Help You Feel Full All Day

Trying to live your Best Lyfe Ever but also enjoy food? One of the biggest concerns that you may have about the low-carb diet is staying full. Without a large quantity of carbohydrates to fill your meals, you may wonder if you will feel hungry.

Try these tips to avoid that low-carb hunger:  

  1. Ground almond flour. Instead of using regular flour, switch to ground almond flour for your meals. I am not a total fan of almonds and in fact I despise Almond milk but I use almond flour all the time to make some of my favorite treats such as gluten free brownies (no one has any idea).
  • This low-carb hack is filled with protein, and you’ll feel full while using it.
  • You can make a variety of items with almond flour, such as pancakes, muffins, or bread. Almond flour is versatile and filling, so you won’t miss regular flour.
  1. Cauliflower rice. Did you know that you can use cauliflower as a substitute for mashed potatoes? Ok… Let’s keep it real though. It doesn’t taste anything close to regular rice but with the right spices and seasonings, it can be very good.
  • Cauliflower is a healthier choice than regular potatoes and is considered a lower carbohydrate vegetable. You can grind up and mash cauliflower to make mashed flakes.
  • You can also use ground up cauliflower as rice and create a pizza crust from it. Top the pizza with your favorites. I recommend buying it precut to save time. I tried grinding it once and it was not worth the time and aggravation it took if you ask me.
  1. Spiralized vegetables. A spiralizer is a simple kitchen tool that you can use to make vegetables into tiny strips that resemble noodles. If you don’t have one, then you can use a sharp knife to cut up the veggies into small strips or you can hack like me and buy them pre-cut. Many local grocery stores have them pre-cut now or you can find frozen varieties.
  • This low-carb hack lets you make your own healthy pasta and noodles.
  • Zucchini tends to be the most popular vegetable to spiralize in the kitchen. However, you can also experiment with eggplant, peppers, and other veggies. I love spiralized butternut squash! The key is to pick a firm one that can be cut into little pieces with ease.
  1. Lettuce wraps. One of the easiest low-carb hacks is to make wraps or tortillas with lettuce instead of flour items.
  • Wrap your favorites such as meat, vegetables, and salsa in a lettuce wrap to reduce the carbohydrates.
  • The wraps will still taste delicious, but they’ll have lower calories and more nutritional value. You don’t have to stick with iceberg lettuce and may want to try other varieties as you experiment in the kitchen. You can even use cabbage leaves to make the wraps.
  1. Vegetable chips. Regular potato chips won’t work on a low-carb diet, but vegetable chips you make yourself at home are fine.
  • Bake your chips in the oven and serve them with sea salt, olive oil, or spices.
  • You can make vegetable chips from zucchini, eggplant, squash, and other foods. Pick your favorites and cut them into bite-size pieces. Kale, spinach, and sweet potatoes all taste delicious as baked chips.
  1. Use citrus flavor. Lemons and limes make great low-carb substitutes for traditional salad dressings and sauces that may have too many calories. A squeeze of lemon or lime can add instant flavor to a salad, soup, casserole, or other dish. A simple olive oil and lemon dressing with a bit of salt and pepper is my favorite on a salad!
  • You don’t have to worry about carbs with this flavor option. Experiment with it in the kitchen and try adding it to different dishes.
  1. Be creative. The key to staying satisfied on a low-carb diet is to think of creative ways to use the healthy ingredients in your kitchen. A simple tomato and lettuce can turn into a fun meal with the right low-carb sauce. I personally love Primal Kitchen products! They have great unsweetened versions of basics like ketchup and salad dressings!
  • Don’t be afraid to try new vegetables, nuts, or seeds on a low-carb diet.

A low-carb diet doesn’t have to be boring or unsatisfying. Use these tips every day to feel full and happy while eating low-carb. A low carb diet could be just one hack to living your Best Lyfe Ever!

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10 Tips to Heal Your Gut

You can’t be much healthier than your gut is. It’s only been recently discovered just how important gut health is to overall health.

You have a lot of cells in your body – roughly 37.2 trillion! But you actually have far more bacteria: about 10 times as many. You have more bacteria in your body than you do human cells. These bacteria are predominately in your digestive tract.

The health and composition of these bacteria are pivotal to your overall health. These bacteria are necessary to digest and absorb nutrients. They also synthesize vitamins and provide some immunity from the flu virus and other unwanted invaders.

Over the last few years I have dealt with chronic urticaria. 6 doctors, no answers. It wasn’t until I started to focus on the gut did these go away. There are often many signs your body is giving you like hives to tell you there is something deep in your gut going on.

What you choose to eat and drink has the greatest impact on the flora, or gut bacteria, in your body.

 

These strategies will help you heal your gut and your body:

  1. Consider taking probiotics. Much of your digestive system consists of the flora, or bacteria, that live in your gut. There are foods that contain these healthy bacteria, but you can also consume them in pill form. Probiotics are a great way to improve your gut health.
  2. Chew your food thoroughly. The more you chew your food, the easier it is to digest. When you chew your food thoroughly, you increase the amount of surface area your digestive juices are able to attack. This creates far less stress for your digestive system to deal with.
  3. Eat a healthy diet. Eating unhealthy food is bad for every part of your body, including your gut. Maximize your health by eating the healthiest possible diet.
  4. Adjust your fiber intake. While most people need to eat more fiber to have a healthier gut, there are a few people that would do well to eat less. The recommendation from the medical community is 25-35 grams per day.
  5. Relax! Stress is hard on every part of your body, and that includes your gut. Minimizing the amount of stress in your life can do wonders for your overall health. Either remove the sources of your stress or learn how to relax in spite of the stress in your life.
  6. Sleep. Your overall health, including your gut health, improves when you get enough sleep. Most people in our society could stand to get another hour or two of sleep each night. If you’re not getting at least seven hours each night, you need more sleep.
  7. Reduce sugar intake. Sugar is considered by many scientists to be a toxin. It can be damaging to all the cells of your body. Artificial sweeteners aren’t a great substitute. Certain types of bad bacteria in your gut are able to consume various artificial sweeteners and become too prevalent in your body.
  8. Eat fermented foods. Fermented foods are essentially probiotics in food form. Yogurt and sauerkraut are two of the most common examples. Miso, kefir, tempeh, pickles, and kimchi are other options. Eat more fermented foods, and your gut will thank you.
  9. Try a plant-based diet. Many people struggle with meat and dairy products. You might find that your digestive system feels and behaves better when you focus on plant-based foods.
  10. Consume bone broth. Bone broth is made by boiling bones and connective tissues. You can purchase bone broth in the store, but the best broth is made at home. There are plenty of recipes available online. It’s very easy to make, but time consuming. I cheat by putting mine in the crockpot for 24 hours. It can be quite tasty if seasoned properly.

 

If you haven’t been paying attention to your gut health, you’re not as healthy as you could be. What you eat and drink has the greatest impact on your gut health. Not only does the food you eat impact the health of every cell in your body, but it also affects the bacteria in your digestive tract.

When your bacteria are healthy, you’ll be much healthier, too! This is just one step in the journey to your Best Lyfe!