Three Tips to Make Exercise Part of Your Life

Since the beginning of this year, I’ve noticed that lots of people are having a hard time reengaging in regular physical activity.

The thing is that we had so many disturbances in our routines (blame the pandemic 🙄) that many of us have fallen off the bandwagon.

Even people who were regular exercisers before the lockdowns are now finding quite challenging re-establishing a routine and getting their mojo back.

So if this is happening to you (or if you simply want to make exercise part of your lifestyle), keep reading😊

 3 tips to make exercise part of your life (and to actually enjoy it!)

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How Open-Minded Are You?

A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.

Frank Zappa

Open mindedness is usually considered a positive quality and it’s a personality trait.

But what exactly is open-mindedness?

Being open-minded means being receptive to a wide range of ideas and experiences with no judgement or prejudice. Open-minded people are willing to listen to another person’s point of view with curiosity, even when they don’t agree with it.

They may think “what can I learn from this person?” rather than argue or try to prove their point. The thing is that open-minded people know that they don’t know everything, and are ok when their ideas and beliefs are challenged.

Why would you want to be open-minded?

Well, It gives us the opportunity to review outdated concepts and beliefs so we can learn and grow. This allows us to gain insights about ourselves, to experience new things, to feel more optimistic about the future and to become mentally resilient.

How can you become more open minded?

  • Nurture a beginners mind – instead of saying “I already know this” which closes your mind to new ideas, try shifting to a “what can I learn from this?” mentality.
  • Keep in mind that every idea is valuable – don’t discount ideas that don’t agree with your beliefs straight away. Let them simmer in your mind. This way you’ll be more likely to see nuances that you haven’t considered before.
  • Explore polarities – instead of labelling everything as right or wrong, true or false, look at things through different perspectives. Ask yourself – “what else could this mean?” or “what would be like if I was in this person shoes?”
  • Look at everything with curiosity – when you look at things with the eyes of a child, your imagination kicks in. Your horizons expand and suddenly anything is possible. That’s when you get “ah-ha” moments.
  • Allow yourself to experiment – if you look at every experience as an opportunity to try new things, you stop perceiving mistakes as “bad” and more like part of the process. It’s liberating!
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How Lack of Sleep Impacts your Weight

Did you know that poor sleep can impact your waistline?

That’s right. Fat tissue has it’s own biological clock that can be affected by lack of sleep.

For instance, our bodies tend to release enzymes that promote fat burn at times of high energy demand (such as early in the day) and that promote fat storage when there’s less energy demand (at night), following our natural circadian cycle.

However, when this cycle is disrupted, let’s say by staying up late watching Netflix, our ability to regulate appetite is also affected. We tend to crave high calories treats at a time in which the body is storing energy.

In addition, a poor night of sleep reduces levels of leptin (hormone that promotes satiety) and increases levels of ghrelin (hormone that stimulates hunger). That means you’ll be more likely to overeat.

Besides when you’re sleep deprived, you’ll also be moody and foggy. So there’s a good chance that you’ll look for comfort in tasty snacks and won’t have the willpower to resist cravings.

So here are a few things you can do to have a better night of sleep.

5 steps to better sleep

  • Move your body – Regular exercise may help you realign your internal body clock. Just avoid very intense exercise late in the evening because it may interfere with sleep.
  • Turn off electronic devices – Artificial light disrupt melatonin production which is responsible for deep sleep. Put away your phone and other devices at least 30 minutes before bed.
  • Clear your mind – A mind full of thoughts and worries creates stress, making harder to fall asleep. Journaling before bed is a good way to empty your mind.
  • Find relaxing activities – Activities that calm you down reduce the fight or flight response and contribute to a better night of sleep. Take a bath, meditate or read (paper book, no electronic devices!).
  • Make the room dark – A dark room induces melatonin production making it easier to fall and stay asleep. Turn off the lights, cover your windows and put your phone facing down.

BONUS TIP: Be careful with sleep ins – most people need to be awake around 16 hours before they feel sleepy. So if you wake up very late, you probably struggle falling asleep at night.

Keep in mind that a good night of sleep can make you feel good during the day. It also contribute to better food choices, more energy to work and exercise and better ability to manage stress. Seriously, sleep is a recovery rock star.

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Breaking Bad (habits)

A habit is hard to break.

Old Proverb

You’ve probably heard that many times. But do you know why?

Well, a habit is a behaviour that has become nearly or completely involuntary due to continuous repetition. This behaviour becomes so ingrained that it is triggered without conscious awareness and elicit an automatic response.

Because of this nature, it is said that a habit is hard to break. Unless…

… you make a conscious effort to rewrite the pattern.

But in order to rewrite a pattern, you must first understand it.

Which brings me to the habit loop.

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3 reasons why you shouldn’t set weight-loss as a goal

How many times have you said that you were going to lose weight? And how many times have you given up before you got there?

According to several researches, almost half of the adult population of the USA (49.1% – CDC 2018), UK (48% – Mintel 2016) and Australia (46% – DAA 2017) are actively trying to lose weight.  Unfortunately, the success rates seem to be very low because many people make several attempts throughout their lifetime.

But what is the real problem here? Is weight-loss a mythical creature that no one seems to know how to capture?

In my perspective, the problem lies on how we have been conditioned to approach weight-loss and it all starts with the goal setting process.

You see, for most people, weight-loss is not even a goal. At best, it is an intention. The same as getting rich, being successful or finding happiness. What does it even mean?

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Self-care vs Self-indulgence

When you are feeling down and need to lift your spirits, what do you usually do?

A Bubble bath, a walk in nature, a cup of tea and a book…

Self-care is noticing your own needs and taking an active role in maintain or restoring wellbeing.

But be careful with the strategy you choose to adopt.

Eating a whole bag of cookies or draining a bottle of wine, – is not good for you and you know it. Neither is sitting in front of the TV for hours or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

Don’t mistake self-indulgence for self-care. How do you know the difference?

By how you feel after it. If you feel energised, joyful and in peace, it’s definitely self-care. But if you end up feeling guilty, ashamed or simply yucky, it was just a desperate attempt to break an undesirable state. 

We all have our moments. It’s not realistic to think that you must feel bubbly and cheery all the time.

There will be days, in which you will feel less than best and that’s ok. Just understand that in those days, you will need a little more love, kindness and compassion. That’s what self-care really means.

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The big shift

If you have been struggling with weight-loss, you must watch this video. In this video, I explain how a simple shift in perspective can improve your long-term motivation and commitment, helping you staying on track.

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Turn weight-loss failure into success

Weight-loss is not just about calories in and calories out

This is a gross oversimplification of a very complex process. You see, weight-loss is a multifaceted process with way too many variables that cannot be just boiled down to a mathematical equation.

The truth is that even the scientists don’t know for sure everything that it is involved in it. So let’s spot pretending that this is just a matter of exercising more and eating less.

The human body is a complex piece of machinery that relies on homeostasis to function properly.  If you are not familiar with the term, homeostasis is a self-regulating process that resists changes in the external environment in order to maintain a steady state of physical and chemical conditions that are crucial to survival.

When we make drastic attempts to lose weight, we threaten the stability of systems, and the body has no choice but to defend the energy balance.

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The one thing you need to know to achieve your goals

“Your body will not manifest anything that your mind doesn’t believe is possible.”

Carla Torres

That’s right. Everything is created in your mind first. Your thoughts influence your behaviours and your behaviours, well, they influence your results.

If deep inside you don’t feel you can achieve something, your mind will prove you right. This means that you won’t find the strength you need to push your limits. You won’t have the will to look for solutions. You may try again and again but you will always fall short.

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Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

You know how we can feel very confident one minute and totally inadequate the next?

Well, that happens because we are constantly comparing ourselves to others. It’s not as if we do this on purpose. It happens automatically in our unconscious mind.

You see, in order to process the immense amount of information that comes our way every second, the unconscious mind must find a way to filter what is relevant and important.

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