How to start healthy habits which you can stick to

Habit change process which works

If you ask yourself the question why is it so hard for you to stick to the healthy habits, believe me you are not alone. Most of us human beings are just not consequent enough to stick to habits which are not convenient, pleasant, comfortable or give some kind of pleasure. So how can you train your mind to change your habits to achieve a healthier and balanced lifestyle?

As simple as it is, just follow the cycle of habit creation:

  1. Reminder
  2. Routine
  3. Reward

Let’s go through the below illustration what it really means for every day practice:

Train yourself to stick to the healthy habits for long term

All the activities you do during the day is the collection of habits or so called routines which you developed over the years.

Starting with the a very simple example, as soon as the sun goes up (reminder) you get out of bed (routine) and you get a cup of coffee (reward) to start your day. You never have to think about it, you just do it as this is part of your lifestyle.

Now, let’s try to turn this into a tool which helps you to overcome your inner weaker self and actually get yourself moving or eating healthier.

You need a good and simple REMINDER, an activity which you do every day not failing a single time or an event which is happening no matter what…like brushing teeth in the morning. Now you have to connect this activity with your ROUTINE, let’s say every morning after I brush my teeth I will do 10 burpees (which is by the way one of the best way to boost your endurance and make your entire body stronger). If you want to be sure that you get the habit just leave a post-it on your bathroom mirror so you can’t miss it. The next step is the best of the whole cycle, you have to REWARD yourself so you have a positive experience which makes you want to repeat. In this example I will reward myself with a tasty and healthy breakfast.

I have created two more examples which I would like to share with you for inspiration:

  • I would like to get a habit to walk more during the day to compensate for sitting a lot in the office, therefore I decided to walk couple of tram stops when I take the tram to work or go for lunch.  The reminder would be the tram stop where I would like to get off, the routine is the walking and the reward is some window shopping which I really like to do.
  • The last example is one of my biggest achievement over the last year. As soon as I reach home after work, I check the mail (reminder) and go straight to run (routine) before I would do anything else at home. My reward is of course a healthy bowl of soup or seasonal salad which is very easy to do after I return from my workout. You can find my healthy recipes on Instagram.

You got inspired? Try it out, start with small changes, one at the time and do not let yourself discouraged!

5 simple tips to stay fit during holidays

5 simple ways to stay fit during holidays
If you want to stay fit during your holiday follow these 5 easy steps

You have done so well lately and now the holiday season is right around the corner. What I find personally difficult is to go and enjoy the well deserved holiday without jeopardising all the hard work I put in to get fit. Usually end of the holiday I go home with couple of extra kilograms not even fitting into my nice holiday pants. Do not understand me wrong holidays are there to enjoy, let out the steam, relax and not to worry about diet. However with a small effort the after holiday frustration can be avoided.

I put together this bucket list which I take with me for my next holiday just to remind myself that small things can lead to a big change to make sure you stay fit:

  1. Keep hydrated but avoid any sweetened drinks: so much better option to tap into the great variety of fruits which is available for a quick shake. You need only crashed ice, fresh fruits and a blender. In case you do not trust the ice (in some holiday destinations could be a problem) you can do wonder with simply putting some lime and mint leaves into ice cold water. Do not forget, many times you are really just thirsty and not hungry, so before you reach for food DRINK.
  2. Do not completely give up your exercise plans: exercises can be easily added into your holiday plans, you just have to WANT it. Be creative even if you do not have a gym, you can do so much with your own body weight. It also prevents you from eating too much. What works really good for me is an early morning run before the sun comes up and gets really humid and hot. It does not have to be very long, just add some lunges and sprint at the end and you are fully refreshed and ready for the day. I also noticed that I’m much better avoiding temptation at the breakfast buffet after the exercise, I do not crave for food that much.
  3. Try out new activities for an active holiday: the best thing to avoid unnecessary eating and drinking is to keep yourself busy with fun and interesting activities. Holidays are good opportunities to try out new things. If you spend your holidays close to the water, do not be shy to go for some water activities. Stand-up paddling, kayaking, surfing or diving are really fun and great work-out options.
  4. Watch the portion: what I keep telling myself is just because I’m in holidays I do not need to eat double the portion than at home. I’m surviving pretty well at home without breakfast buffet or three course menu for each dinner. So why I’m doing it during the holidays? The variety of choices, this must be it. Why do you need to try everything in the breakfast buffet, you will have the same choices tomorrow. Rule of the thumb, starter must go. The main course is perfectly fine to satisfy your appetite, starters just added calorie. You can also go wrong with healthy choices like salad if you take it with a dressing which is a calorie bomb. The simplest to ask your waiter for olive oil and vinegar. Deserts, either share it or skip it. No compromise.
  5. Get the right combination: you love steak, no problem go for it but drop those potatoes. You have a great grilled fish do not spoil your appetite with fries, reach for the fresh salad. Finish up with a good glass of vine, sugary cocktails just add to much calories.
Do these workouts during your holiday to stay fit
Easy no gym exercises using your own body weight or be creative and find a substitute… like a coconut. Morning jogging at the beach is unbeatable.

I would be very interested to hear whether you find the list useful. Share with us what is your trick to keep fit during holidays!

Most importantly, enjoy your holiday! You deserve it!

 

How to get yourself motivated to stick to your exercise routine and have fun

How to motivated yourself to do more sport and have fun

The dilemma many of us facing is how to embed regular exercising routine into our lifestyle. We have way too many things going on during the day at work, family matters or just catching up with old friends we have not seen for a while. And when the weekend comes we can’t wait to finally relax, go for a short weekend trip or just do absolutely nothing (shocking right?).These are all very good reasons to skip your exercise routine and choose rather your duty or leisure.

I would be lying if I would not face this dilemma over and over again, which motivates me even more to find a way out which works for me and hopefully could work for you as well. As many things it all comes down getting to know yourself, setting clear priorities (yes, this is a time when you grab your pencil and a piece of paper) and go through what is really important for your happiness and how it comes together with you feeling fit, healthy and balanced.

Here is my story

Problem realisation: it happened just a few years back when I spent a wonderful weekend at the beach in Slovenia with my family. Everything was all good but I could not truly enjoying myself, which was very unlike me. I was wondering what was wrong, I love travelling, I love going for weekend trips with friends and family, I love the sun and the water, I love late nights out with wine and good food. Well, back then I was working late hours, eating on the go and skipping sports which led to increased weight and even more frustration. I did not truly realised the seriousness of the case and the impact on me until the point the bikinis were out of my suitcase. I was wondering how can I keep my self-confident if I’m simply not happy in my body. On the other hand I did not want to give up completely my lifestyle, I needed to find a solution where I can still enjoy the things I love but I do not have to jeopardise my body and gain back my self-confidence.

Finding solutions: I was not a big runner before, yes I went for jogging time to time but I would not have called it regular. However I realised that running is a sport which is giving me a lot of freedom. I can do whenever and wherever I want, I’m not dependent on anybody. I can even do it when I’m on a weekend trip in the mountains, traveling for business or enjoying my city break abroad. Adding running into my current lifestyle just seemed like a good match.

Putting into action: the next step was to create a clear plan of what do I want to reach within a certain timeframe, how often I have to go running per week to reach my goal and which time of the day would work for me the best. As a motivating factor I signed up for my very first half marathon abroad. Why abroad? Well, this is what I love to do, travelling is my true passion and nothing makes me run more than the thought that in a few months I will be racing down the streets of my favourite city or a place I always wanted to go. Combining my hobby and life passion with healthy lifestyle was a way for me to find the missing motivation and turn exercise into my every day activity. And the best part of it, as soon as you are open for this lifestyle change, you will find people who are as passionate about it as you. So why not organising a family, friends or team event? You get a healthy amount of competition which keeps you on your toes and a possibility to share these moments with people who care about you.

To Sum it up: independently which exercise you choose the best way is to fit it into your lifestyle, combine it with your life passion and find people in your environment you can share with. Find a positive spin and go with it. It is really rewarding when it all comes together…

 

On the road – simple tips how to stay fit during business travel

Stay_fit_and_active_while_business_travel

I used to travel a lot back at the time, staying several weeks in hotels and commuting between offices and airports. I always found very difficult to find a healthy balance and stay fit next to all the travel. There were just way to many uncontrollable factors (at least this is how I felt). For example the food in the airplane, local food in the country I visited, regular company dinners, breakfast buffet, long office hours and no adequate canteen. Eating out and not being able to prepare food for myself was the real issue. I also could not keep the regular exercise routine anymore. It was just too hard to stick to a fix schedule with all the appointments.

During my most busiest time of traveling I started putting on weight, little by little added up. I was really frustrated about it and did not know what to do until I changed my job and stopped travelling. Of course this is not always an option, it must be some other solution to make business travel more healthy. This week I was back on the road again. When I was packing my luggage I was keep telling myself that I will do everything this time not to fall back to the old routine.

I started to think about these uncontrollable factors and how I can take them out of the way. Let’s just go through the list what makes business travel so unhealthy and find a way to deal with it:

Airplane food: dependent on the time of travel have your proper meal before the flight and skip the food entirely. Take the water to get properly hydrated. If it is not a practical choice (which in my case was not an option due to flight times) take the time to order a healthier option. Airline firms offer nowadays many food options to choose from especially in long haul flight. I have  a vegetarian in my profile which works for me.

Business lounge: while it is really practical to spend your waiting time in the lounge, do not get tempted by all the free food just to pass the time until boarding. Instead take a good book with you or do a rehearsal of your presentation and stay with your refreshing water.

Wending machines: you have been traveling and had a lot of meeting, no time for lunch? Do not grab sweets from the wending machine. Instead bring your apple and nuts with you to fight your hunger until you can bite into something better. It is generally a good idea to take with you your favourite healthy bar too for traveling.

Business dinner: it is almost inevitable to go for dinner with your clients or colleagues and no question networking is key for your business. However think it through and organise it according to your schedule. Do not skip your gym time entirely to have a bite, keep some evenings empty for yourself. Also, when you eat out remember the 7 simple food rules, they also apply when you are not at home!!

Lack of sport: sport is a must while traveling therefore pick your hotel wisely. Do some research before you book, a nice and inviting gym can support your motivation. Go there on the morning before breakfast to make sure your workout does not get skipped in case you have obligation in the evening. You can also do some exercises in your room directly, you only need your body weight and a towel, perfect for planking, jumping jacks, burpee, squads or crunches. Walk the streets, great start of the day to collect your thoughts before you arrive to the office or meet your client.

Challenge is up! Let’s go girls!

What does it mean to you being FIT?

How often did you hear that people say “I have to exercise more to get fit, but I’m so busy”? What is the first picture which comes into your mind about doing exercises? If you ask me, I picture a gym full of big guys lifting weights. This is exactly what we were always been told “if you want to get fit lift as many weights as you can” or “do as many crunches as possible”. Can you picture it? How do you feel about it? While I do not oppose the concept working out, it is really not a way how I imagine getting fit.

Now, I would like to take away this picture and replace it with this one:

Being_fit_thedesiredme_blog

This is what it means to me being fit. Living a healthy lifestyle with full of action. Always on a move…run up to stairs, having long strolls in the city, go for a great hike in the mountains, swim in a lake or simply play games with friends in a park.

Changing your perception what it means to you being fit should also change the way you make your choices day by day. Do not wait until the opportunity arises for you to go the the gym. Being fit and feeling fit should follow you in every STEP you make!

take_the_stairs_2

I really mean it!

You can very easily just take the stairs every day at work, instead of waiting for the elevator. You can climb up the stairs in the train station in your ever day commute instead of taking the escalator. You can skip a couple of stop with the tram, just to walk through the city or take your bicycle for a change.  Take your time during your lunch break to have a walk instead of having your sandwich in front of your computer. Meet up with your friends after work to play some badminton in the park or take your family for a nice swim.

Following this spirit I installed a new step counter app on my phone. I want to track how much I really move outside of the gym and my regular running sessions to remind myself that being fit continues outside of the fitness club and part of my every day life.

It all starts with the first STEP…


Thanks for the great pictures:

 

 

Climbing flickrand reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

Life is a Cocktail flickrand reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

Walking flickrand reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

Running in the Tall Grass flickrand reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

Late for children's day! flickrand reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

Dance flickrand reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

Yosemite Hiking flickrand reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

Kubb flickrand reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0