Why Routines Are the Ticket to Success

Humans are creatures of habit.  Most of us have a daily routine of some sort, whether we are conscious of it or not. Life can definitely be hard and full of stress.  The more out of control we feel, the more a routine will benefit us. There aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, so keeping a routine helps greatly with time management, efficiency, energy, and motivation. Through personal experience and through my health coaching practice, I have realized that maintaining a routine is repeatedly one of the best ways for achieving success and happiness.

Everyone has their own morning ritual, but the day should begin with some type of routine.  My morning routine begins with my puppy’s cold nose on my arm every morning around 6:45am.  I get up, let him out and Wake-up-to-a-new-day1feed him, drink a warm glass of lemon water and have a small bite to eat while I journal for a little, brush my teeth, get dressed for the gym, work out, and then eat my post-workout meal.  This doesn’t need to be everyone’s routine, but for me, I anticipate my morning going as mentioned.  When these things don’t happen, my entire day is thrown off. Work gets put off, my energy is low, I get crabby often because I’m stressed from my routine being altered, I procrastinate more, forget to do certain things, crave foods I shouldn’t be eating, and just feel out of balance.

Think about the times you’ve traveled or had a reason to change your normal schedule.  Did you notice any differences in your day?  Perhaps differences in your eating, sleeping, emotions, motivation, or stress levels?

Sleep- Going to bed and waking up at the same time is crucial for healthy sleep patterns and deep sleep. Sticking to a schedule also gives our minds a sense of a starting and stopping point with work during the day.  For example, if you work a 9-5 job, our minds know that those hours are working hours.  But if you work a job with inconsistent hours, you’ve probably experienced your mind and body getting out of whack, and that it becomes more challenging to get in the mindset of work mode.

Meals- Try to eat at the same times daily.  This keeps our blood sugar levels steady throughout the day and gives us a sense of consistency.  Even eating the same foods (or similar foods) every day gives us one less thing to think about.

Morning Routine- In my opinion, having a morning routine is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Wake up at the same time, brush your teeth and wash your face, have a glass of water, and get dressed, even if you work from home.  This pattern helps get our mind prepare for the day and for work.  I also find I stay more organized and have more energy during the day if I stick to my morning routine.

Exercise- Even if it’s just stretching or getting off the subway a few blocks early so you can walk the rest of the way to work, a morning routine will help your success.  Exercise is a great way to escape stress and 31d21c8c1ae2bdde84b3483a75531396it gives us a sense of accomplishment.  This initial success in our day prepares us to take on the rest of the day and the obstacles it may throw at us.

Friends and Family- Spending time with the people that make us happy is important for maintaining balance in our lives.  Even with a busy schedule, find a little time during the week to catch up with the people that matter most.

Personal Time- “Me time” is so important!  Our lives are so busy that we often forget to make time for ourselves.  This alone time is time to decompress, reflect, relax, and to do the things that make us happy. Don’t use this time to respond to emails or phone calls… that does not count as personal time.

Interested in health coaching?  Check out my website jkhealthcoach.com for more information or contact me at jessicakhealth@gmail.com.

Sources: Motivate Thyself, Man Cave Zen

Get Fat Now!

Fat has been a diet no-no for quite some time, but luckily the fat-free era is finally over.  Research shows that fat is essential for our bodies.  Saturated fat is no longer the problem, but is actually the solution for our bodies to repair cells and for proper hormone function. It’s time to enjoy our egg yolks, our whole fat yogurt, or our chicken breasts, skin on. Think about our ancestors, the hunter-gatherers.  Could they have survived harsh conditions and the time between meals if it wasn’t for fat consumption? Hell no!  Our bodies NEED fat, but fat from the right sources.

The body is made up of 97% saturated and monounsaturated fat, and the remaining 3%  is polyunsaturated fat. That 3% polyunsaturated fat is half omega-3 fats and half omega-6 fats.  It’s important for our bodies to have balanced levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, 1:1.  Without this equal balance, too much omega-6 causes inflammation, while omega-3 is neutral.  A diet high in omega-3 fat and low in omega-6 fat is ok thought, because the omega-3 fats will reduce inflammation.

Vegetable oils are a main source of omega-6 in the modern diet.  Some of these oils high in omega-6 include: safflower oil, corn oil, sunflower, soybean, cotton oil.

Fatty fish oil, quality extra-virgin olive oils, coconut oil, or quality butter are all examples of omega-3 fats (yay, butter!).  Omega-3 fats are also vital for the following health benefits:

  • Reducing the risk of heart disease and causes of death associated with heart disease
  • Reducing severity of symptoms associated with diabetes
  • Reducing pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Reducing risk of osteoporosis and bone loss
  • Improving health and reducing symptoms for those with autoimmune disease
  • Helping those with anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder
  • Reducing risk of various types of cancers
  • Improving cognitive function

(Sources: Wellness Mama)

My favorite ways to incorporate healthy fats into my diet:

1.  Eat fat for breakfast, especially before and after a workout.  Below is a favorite, quick breakfast of mine full of omega-3s.  2% Greek yogurt, berries and bananas, topped with protein-packed hemp seeds, and omega-3 sources, flax seeds and chia seeds.

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2. Invest in quality extra virgin olive oil (preferably pressed somewhere local to you), organic coconut oil, and grass-fed butter.  These products can be a little more expensive, but you’ll use them all the time and you won’t need to feel guilty about using the butter.  You can even save money by switching your beauty and home care products to olive oil and coconut oil.

4. If you’re a coffee drinker, add a tablespoon of organic coconut butter to your morning coffee or try Bulletproof coffee.

5. Some of my favorite sources of omega-3s: avocado, salmon, almond butter, eggs, grass-fed meats, extra virgin olive oil, butter, chia seeds, flax seeds, Brussel sprouts, and shrimp.

If you’re having trouble losing weight, suffering from exhaustion or stress, try adding more healthy fats to your diet.

Kick Your Cold the Natural Way

I’ve been under the weather this past week suffering from a cold.  In our western culture we tend to rely heavily on pharmaceuticals and blindly take whatever the doctor prescribes without ever questioning if those drugs are really necessary. Many of our ailments can be cured or suppressed with nutrition, rest, hydration, and overall care of our bodies.

Chicken sou

I’d like to share a story about a woman in my program (The Institute for Integrative Nutrition).  By the age of two this woman was prescribed 11 rounds of antibiotics for ear infections. Years later the woman came to learn she had a dairy intolerance the whole time and could have avoided her infections had she known that or had the doctor thought to check for other problems with her health.  The antibiotics ended up stripping her immune system leaving with her problems, mainly constipation, for 25 years.

drugs

Often, like with this woman, we don’t look at the full picture in terms of health, and are quick to take anything given to us by a doctor or found on a shelf to cure ourselves. In developed countries’ children get prescribed, on average, 1-20 different types of antibiotics by age 18.  Sometimes antibiotics are necessary, but overusing the drugs can often be more harmful than helpful.  Now, we shouldn’t be taking antibiotics for a cold anyway, but just wanted to share that info.  Sometimes medicine and a doctor’s opinion is necessary, and I’m not saying never to trust either.  Just remember our bodies are like gardens that need love and attention.  If we listen to our bodies and look for signs we can sometimes figure out what it is we’re really needing or missing.

I’d like to share though some natural home remedies you may not have thought of to help you with your colds this cold season:

1. Mind Over Matter– This is my first step, because it’s the best place to start when you feel yourself getting sick.  There is a reason for the placebo effect;  Our mind can trick our body into healing itself.  Whenever I start to feel a cold coming on I try to tell myself as much as possible that I’m not getting sick.  It’s difficult, but the more I convince myself I’m ok, the quicker I seem to heal.  Try it out and pair it with the other remedies mentioned below.

2. Drink fluids– Our bodies are comprised of 85% water and our brains are made up of 73% water.  Keep yourself hydrated to flush out toxins.  Also drink hot water/tea and broths.  Chicken soup is especially powerful and has been proved to reduce upper respiratory cold symptoms and clear mucus.  Here is an interesting NY Times article about chicken soup: The Science of Chicken Soup

3. Lemons–  I love to drink my water or tea with lemon.  Lemon has high levels of vitamin C, antioxidants, and flavonoids to help fight colds, the flu, or other bacterial or viral infections. I actually try to drink water with lemon almost every day, because there are so many other benefits like liver cleansing and weight loss.

4. Garlic– If you eat garlic raw and not cooked, then garlic is the food of choice while fighting the cold, flu, chest infections, digestive disorders, and fungal infections.  Garlic is a strong antioxidant with antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral agents.  Since you likely don’t want to just chew the garlic on its own, try making a leafy green salad with crushed garlic and olive oil. Squeeze some lemon on the salad too.

garlic

5. Coconut Oil– Since my previous post on the benefits of coconut oil, I have learned this oil is far more versatile then I ever thought possible.  Seriously, it can be used for nearly everything, including kicking a cold.  Coconut oil contains an abundance of vitamin E, which helps with not only anti-aging and hair and skincare, but also increased brain function and energy, metabolism, hormonal balance, thyroid stimulation, and lower cholesterol balance.

6. Echinacea– Pick up some echinacea in the form of liquid extracts, juices, capsules, or teas to find your cold or flu.  Echinacea is immune strengthening and has been used for other conditions like bladder infections, blood poisoning, strep throat, and headaches.

echinacea-purpurea

In addition to my home remedies, just remember to get plenty of rest to give your body time to heal itself.  Take care of yourself, bundle up and don’t go outside in the wind with wet hair like I did!

References:

Antibiotic Overuse

Benefits of Garlic

Benefits of Echinacea