Another look at the fad-diet trend of the new year

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Whatever you choose to do for your health this year, do so because you love your body, not because you hate it.

We are our worst critic. We are the ones immediately pointing out when we could have done something better or eaten something healthier. That is an exhausting dialog to continue!

I believe we improve our health best when we respect our bodies. No matter what size you are. Truly.

Please take time and watch this TED Talk featuring Kelli Jean Drinkwater – Enough with the fear of fat.

In this video, she talks about how the cultural fear of fat has made us stressed, anxious, and abusive to ourselves and others. It is also a primary marketing tool some fitness industries exploit so you buy their latest product, supplement, or program. You aren’t alone, and you don’t need to be a certain size to be healthy, loved, and supported.

instaquote love yoru body

Make 2017 bad-assier.
I’ve taken highlights from the 10,000 self-help books I’ve read, Star Wars, and my mom and come up with a plan for 2017.

1) Catch yourself (before you wreck yourself) When you say something negative about yourself, or about another person, STOP IT! Don’t contribute to the negativity.
2) Authenticity – Just be yourself. Sometimes I get the question “what do you eat? I’ll just eat that and then look like you!” Sorry friends, that’s not how that works. Instead of trying to look like somebody else, be your true self. I know, that sounds woo-woo. But if we ground ourselves in our truth, we will shine so much brighter.
3) Redirect. Change whatever you said or thought into something positive. So if you are staring at your tummy, shaming your weight, try saying “I love my body, I respect my body.” You wouldn’t talk to your best friend the way you talk to yourself would you?
4) Impeccable words. We know that words can lift us and words can crush us. Choose wisely. Not only in what you say to others, but what you say to yourself.
5) Make mistakes! We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to eat the right foods, do the best exercises, have the right job. But I believe there are multiple paths to your happiness and they starts with prototypes! Use your journey to weed out what doesn’t work. Every time you start a program or idea and it doesn’t work, celebrate! Learn from what works and what doesn’t!
6) Enjoy! Life is precious. Smile more, dance more, and give yourself a break! Tell that critic voice thank you but you aren’t interested today. Be kind and find programs, gyms, and other people that will help you be the best human you can be!

Be well and be awesome, to yourself and to others.

Feeling the burn!

britt mcvicar fitness, personal trainer, yoga, olympia, workout

True or False: You should push yourself in exercises until you really feel the burn in your muscles.

False. This isn’t another article saying that heavy lifting  and that one exercise trend that is sweeping the nation with intense exercises are all bad for you. NO! Those are necessary and great ways to really transform your body.

BUT you can really screw your bod over if you ignore alignment and core strength. Set your foundation before launching into your exercise programs.

Lesson 1:
Chances are your core is on a sabbatical. Even if you can plank like a rock star, there is a possibility that your core doesn’t fire correctly when you walk or do other exercises. Your core is meant to stabilize and protect your body.

This is why isometric exercises are so great, you are replicating the duty of the core. This is also why I am not a fan of sit-ups, those work your hip-flexors and crunch your neck. Unless you are in a competition where you are head-butting your knees, I’d bypass sit-ups and do dead-bug!

Lesson 2:
Your body is a cheater. It actively looks for ways to conserve energy (calories). Even if you find an exercise routine that melts away 10 lbs, in about 4-6 weeks, your body will burn fewer calories because it got smart, and that sucks.

Solution? Do mini-modifications to your exercise routine, switch out every 4-6 weeks with a different routine or yoga!

Lesson 3:
Slow and steady win the race. If you like super intense workouts to see how many squats or burpees you can crank out in 45 seconds, awesome! If you just asked what a burpee is, you may benefit more from slowing down and focusing on all the muscles that are involved in a certain exercise.

Next time you sit down in your chair at your desk or for your evening meal, take the count of eight to do so. Your friends and family may look at you and wonder if you have hemorrhoids, but just tune in to your body and see if it is a bit more challenging to slow down. Do you feel your core engage at all? Or are you sending all the work to your hips and shoulders?

Important side note: if you are in the mid-west, this meal is supper, if someone invites you for dinner you best show up at noon!

Sparkles,
Britt

You don’t need luck to lose weight!

The best way to lose weight is to start at the end. No, not your rear end!

We’ve talked about visualization before and taking yourself into the future, thinking of what success looks like, and creating that reality. If you don’t believe you can do it, you may always have that meany-pants voice in your head.

Rewind – What is your goal? To lose weight? To fit into a certain pair of pants? To look a certain way for an upcoming event? Examine what it is you truly want and make sure it is something you can measure. What does success look like?

Fast-forward- If your goal is to lose weight, picture that thinner version of you. What is a typical day for that you? You probably start your day off with a delicious breakfast, avoid sugars and starchy carbs. You probably get daily exercise. And the big kicker? You have a lot less stress 🙂

  • Visualize
  • Believe
  • Start at the End
  • Practice

Believing is crucial. If you find it hard to picture you at your goal, then jot down what you think could be holding you back. What are your barriers? This can be tricky and counselors and coaches can help tremendously.

Practice is necessary. You get better at believing if you make this a habit. Schedule time to really practice the feeling and visuals of you achieving your goal!

I’m not making this shit up! Here are some great resources for you to check out this week!

Love and sparkles,
Britt

Read This BEFORE you eat that Thin Mint!

Girl Scouts ROCK! An organization that teaches young girls to explore the power they have in creating, designing, repairing, engineering and, as we are most associated with, selling! That’s right friends, the cookies are here so how do we avoid storing them in our rear?!

Much to my surprise, the serving size of thin mints is NOT an entire sleeve. Tragic as that may be, there is a good lesson here. Girl Scout Cookies, like all treats, are fine in moderation. It can be difficult to keep track of everything you eat and drink. Thankfully, there are great apps, online tools, and easy life hacks to keep you on track.

How many calories?

Check out Lifesum. This handy app will set up your daily requirements of not only calories, but macronutrients like carbohydrates, protein and fat! I enjoy this app because the daily recommendations are based on your goals like “I want to maintain weight” or “I want to lose weight.” Remember, this is a guideline, not a hard number so if you are over or under, that doesn’t mean you failed eating that day.

Make a fist

So you are out to eat and you don’t want to bring your measuring cups to dinner, probably a good idea. Here is some science that says you can make a fist to determine what your plate should look like. Keep in mind, this for someone who is eating 3 meals per day and probably very light snacks.

Another great trick to control intake while eating out – ask for a to-go box when your meal is served. Separate a fist-sized portion and put the rest in you to-go box. 

Review the stress

Does the word “diet” make your anxiety sky rocket? Do you start to panic when you really want a bite of a sweet treat or everyone else ordered french fries and you ordered a slice of iceberg?

Breathe – The anxiety rooted in these decisions lies far beneath two all-beef patties, nasty-ass mayo sauce concoction, lettuce, cheese pickles onions and sesame seed bun. If this is the case, you may want to talk to a pro that can help you get out of your head and look objectively and what’s going on.

Love and Sparkles,

Britt

Spot treating – your body is not acne

My arms are jiggly,” “I just need o loose the belly,” “I don’t like my love handles so I need to do side-crunches!”

Honing in on the areas of your body that bug you to most won’t hurt, but it may not be the most efficient way to lose fat or shape and tone that area.

“Then why Britt do all those commercials and pictures in magazines have exercises geared toward my most hated part of my body?”  Because dear friend, they want you to buy the magazine or product that they are selling. Simple as that.

Ab exercises – this is our go-to when we want to get thinner and we think a six-pack will develop if I just head-butt my crotch 100 times a day for 21 days!

Well, you may get stronger abdominal muscle you need to burn more calories during the day than you are consuming, to lose the fat around your abdomen.

OK Britt, quit being a downer! What can we do?!

  • Take a step back and look at the whole pie- you are more than just a slice, you are the WHOLE package. You have love, skills, talents and strength in your whole body, so what if your dimples just happen to be in your thighs right now?
  • Pick your exercises wisely If your underarm area is your biggest fret because it keeps waving at people long after you’ve stopped, add arm exercises to a regular cardio program. These won’t do the trick all on their own, but can make you feel like you are getting to the parts that shake your confidence right now.  Try push-ups, squats, tricep extensions, tricep push ups and tricep pull downs.
  • Pick your food wisely  The Nutrition Diva is currently my favorite resource for nutrition tips! Here is an article about foods that can partner with your cardio to reduce belly fat!
  • Please never use the phrase muscle confusion, please. You cannot confuse your muscles, they are designed to react to varying tension. So just – don’t! *End rant*
  • Love yourself! You are AWESOME!

Love and Sparkles,
Britt

 

Make your to-do-list kick a$$

03Lately I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed, like the day doesn’t have enough hours for me to get everything done. Does that sound like something you are dealing with? Like you set out Monday with a course but are quickly pulled in a million different directions and feel BUSY all day.

Sometimes it’s just hard to stay focused on whatever task you are doing because your ever-growing to-do-list is hovering like a drone, judging to see if you could be more efficient or work faster!

So what do you do? My motto is aim to do less 🙂 Yes, this will make sense soon.

Set your intention, out loud or on a piece of paper!
What if you started your day setting your intention. It can be as simple as “Today I am open” meaning, you are open to what needs to happen. Not focusing on what HAS to happen. Or maybe its “Today I am focused” so that every time you get distracted by the squirrel running outside your office window, you have a gentle reminder that today is your day to be focused. Doing this also allows the law of attraction to intervene, providing you with what you need to lead you to your dreams, or just help you with your day.
TASK: Give it a try, set your intention for the day and let me know how it goes!

Do LESS!
I know, sounds nuts right?! But let’s consider this. What if you had a to do list of no more than 4 items? Yes, you need to go to the grocery store, do laundry, pick up the stuff in the living room, drop off the mail, pick up shampoo, exercise, pick up kiddos, make dinner, pour a shameless glass of wine and collapse and binge on Netflix. How in the WORLD can I get that all in one list!? Fret not friend, this list is about the must do’s. When you focus on what NEEDS to be done, the rest of the tasks fell into place. I tried this yesterday and by the end of the day, not only had I checked off my must do list, I made a big dent in the other stuff.
TASK: Take a small sheet of paper, like folding an 8 1/2 x 11 in half 3 times. Your to-do-list should fit on that. Don’t be a poophead and write super small so you can cram more!

Forgiveness
You forgot to pick up the mail, or you had a soda with lunch but are trying to cut back, or you really meant to exercise today but you didn’t. When you find yourself worrying about what you didn’t do, pretend it’s your best pal telling you the same thing. You would easily forgive your friend if they missed a lunch date, or if they forgot to send the email to your group confirming a meeting, so why wouldn’t you forgive yourself?
TASK: What is one thing you can forgive yourself for doing or not doing today?

The thing is, you FEEL like you accomplished so much more when you are able to see that you checked things off your to do list. So make the ones that you check off count. Get you most needed done and watch the rest of your day fall into place.

I’m not promising peace love and joy because you made a list, but I am promising that this challenge will allow you the opportunity to think about what is most important to you each day.

For more amazing stuff on setting intentions and attracting the good, check out The Universe Talks : http://www.tut.com/

Disclaimer: No drones were used in the making of this blog

Love and Sparkles,

Britt

Act like a toddler for better health!

That’s right, throw your BEST tantrum at work today and if there is no chocolate milk with lunch, you’re OUTTA THERE!

Just kidding 😉

Acting like a toddler, however, can be a great tool to make healthier choices and to move your body better.

For a moment, try not to compare yourself to your own 2-year-old, or that screaming kid in the grocery cart ahead of you. Let’s think of what it’s like to be a toddler in these three areas.

Movement 

When toddlers learn to walk, they do it starting in a squat position (NO, she’s bringing up squats again!) That’s kind of backwards from how we approach it now. You go to the gym, loosen up or walk into your favorite fitness class, and *grunt* you can’t get your butt down, your back is supposed to be straight and why are you losing feeling in your right foot?

Can we start from the bottom? Why not relax into the posture like garland or squat pose in yoga. Gently press your arms into your leg muscles and picture those legs opening like a book. You don’t need to ace this on the first try, but research suggests it’s better to know the movement that you are trying to achieve in order to be better at practicing it. That’s what exercise is anyway: us practicing over and over, each time trying to get better form or more repetitions in a set time. Now after you’ve tried that, stand back up and gently lower yourself to your point of comfort or challenge, take a deep breath in and see if you can sink down one more inch! In what ever exercise you are doing, meet the exercise at both ends! Now you can have your cookie 😉

Eating

Every see a toddler eat? I recently had a girlfriend over and her 1 ½ year old (or however many months I’m supposed to say) was eating a delicious snicker doodle! But, instead of gulping it down like I just did to my breakfast bar, she took a bite, then ran a few laps around my giant living room, played with her toy, and a few minutes later she returned to take another bite. BRILLIANT! Slowly savoring her treat. Again, please don’t take me literally and go run around the restaurant or your dinner table in between bites. Take this as an opportunity to be mindful and remember to savor your food. Enjoy then have a conversation with those around your dinner table or take a sip of water and relax.

Napping

I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to my mom for not taking naps as a child. With my sincerest apologies, I am trying to make up for that in my adulthood. Seriously though friends, napping is AMAZING for you. Here is a great summary of a scientific study that examined the effects of sleep on body fat percentage. We need sleep and yes, you have stress, life, kids, it all piles up. But if you can’t get good sleep, you are disrupting the most important rhythm our body has: the circadian rhythm. That ever important internal clock that helps our brain signal our body when we need to shut-er-down and rest. When this is disrupted, your life is disrupted. I know you are busy and swamped, but please PLEASE pay attention to getting rest each night. Make it a priority and I can tell you, you will feel better and more balanced. 

Squat, eat and nap!

Britt

britt.fitnessmail@gmail.com

Conquer your 2016 – best ways to achieve your goals

“What’s your new year’s resolution!?” asked every retail clerk and friend in the country. Are you feeling that pressure lately too? People asking you what resolutions are this year, what you are going to do differently this year? Then you start thinking of last year’s resolutions, and 10 points to the person that can remember what those were!

Ok, let’s break this 2016 down!

Goals vs Resolutions: There is a stigma out there that resolution setting doesn’t work. Well one person put that to the test to find out why. Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor, found that we increase our success rate for our goals when we have accountability, commitment, and we just write the damn things down! Here is a great article about her research.

So this year, set your goals and write them down! Maybe try ordering them in order of what is most important for you so you focus. Then tell a buddy, find a friend, hell, post it on social media and hold yourself accountable to your goals.

Vision statements: So this mentor of mine asked me if I made resolutions for the new year. I’ve made a couple in the past but in the last 5 years, instead of resolutions, I’ve written my hearts desires on a piece of paper with my close girlfriends and we stuff them in a bag and open them again the following year. The purpose is to write it down and put it out in the world. Set the intention and see how it unfolds. (Anyone read the Secret?!)

Well my mentor suggested I take that a step further and make a daily vision for myself. “um what?” I asked. She said that if I would just write down how I want most of my days to look, it will add so much power and motivation to my vision because I will have a daily reminder of the intentions I am setting.

Challenge accepted – I wrote down my typical day. I won’t bore you with the deets but here is the basic premises:

–   I will wake up next to my husband and puppies and smile, because I am grateful for all of them

–  I will get out of bed with energy because I have purpose for each day

–  I will meditate for 15 minutes because it is my intent to remember the things I control, and the things I do not

–  I will nourish my body with good food and beverage choices because that will make me stronger and healthier

–  I will have the opportunity to exercise most days because I love what it does for my health – and I really love yoga pants

–  I know that my family will have enough money to pay bills, buy groceries that we need and want, and be more than able to save for our future

–  I know that I will have time to make a good dinner and share it with my family most nights

Affirmations: I’m going to add that your daily vision should include telling yourself a daily affirmation. I know, I feel the eye-roll coming but just hear me out. Write down phrases or ask a friend or your partner to write down things they think about you. “I am awesome” “I am loved” “I am worth it” – and use those to tell yourself something each day you can this year.

Fear not: She also said “The opposite of fear is love.” Read that again – love. Love beats fear, so when you are afraid of changes, paying bills, losing friends and family, or whatever you have in your life’s bucket right now remember, on the other side of that fear is LOVE. For me, it’s not so scary when I’m able to remind myself that the fear is only an emotion, it’s not concrete. It doesn’t have teeth or rope to hold me back. And when I can get past that fear, there is love. I don’t know about you, but in my life, love has been pretty awesome.

Write down your goals, review them daily, and share them with a friend or loved one so you have accountability! Or try a vision statement for your days of 2016! Or do both!

Much love and new year’s sparkles

Britt

Are you a Hell Yes?! Advice on making adult decisions

Holidays are here! Extra cookies at offices, parties, cold weather and the “what the hell, I can spend my money on that” attitude. When you ask someone how they are doing, their reply is “Oh I’m just so busy!” This time of year can be overwhelming for many. Days have less sunshine, we are reminded of family that has left this world, and if your co-worker brings one more batch of sugar cookies you will flip!

Do me a favor, take your shoulders down away from your ears, both feet on the ground, lift your rib cage up and forward. You matter and you are worth it!

Now that you feel like a superhero, allow me to share some advice I heard this week. Listening to Tim Ferriss, author of the Four Hour Work Week which you should all read, he interviewed an entrepreneur/musician and had some excellent take-aways. Tim interviewed Derek Sivers, creator of CD Baby which is an online distributor of independent music and has spoken at TED Conference.  Here is what I found awesome and worth sharing with you!

1)      Hell Yes! Or No –  Derek had a really interesting take on the decisions we make. Whether it’s an invitation to go to lunch, or an offer to work on a new project or company. Derek says we have two choices, hell yes or no. Meaning, if you aren’t TOTALLY in and jump up and down with a fist pump for good measure, then your answer is likely no. He says this tactic will help us rid ourselves from the piddly stuff that isn’t that important but we do anyway because we feel we HAVE to. Or maybe we want to but the truth is we don’t have time and other parts of our lives suffer because we spread ourselves too thin (sound familiar?) Derek said that when he put this into practice, he suddenly had more time for when something amazing came up and could say hell yes! Before, when those opportunities come, we are so busy that our hell yes’s can lose their luster. So put this to the test on a few choices and see how it works for you. Are you a HELL YES? Or a no?

2)      Summarize the good books that you read – That’s right, get your paper and pen kids, there is a quiz! KIDDING! Derek offered some great thoughts about how when you read a good book and are like “YES! That spoke to me and I love every sentence in here!” Then six months later you can’t remember what was in the damn book that was so awesome! You aren’t getting old, just some of us don’t have that type of memory system in place. Derek’s solution: Write a brief summary for the book or grab the highlights and notes from your Kindle and put them in a word doc. When you actively review that which stood out, it helps you retain those nuggets. Review these notes when you can to maintain your list of awesome from the things you read.

There was SO much more than those two things so you should definitely tune in to Tim’s podcasts for more.

Let me know what you think and if you put any of these nuggets to the test!

Happy Christmas and may your New Year be filled with blessings that make you whole – and sparkles

Britt

Why you win with meditation – everyone likes winning!

You have no doubt heard or read something on the benefits of meditation right? About how you can clear your mind by breathing so that maybe, just maaaybe, you won’t yell profanities at the dude that cuts you off or flip off your boss behind their back – may or may not be speaking from experience here.

What do you picture when you think of meditation? An Indian guru sitting crisscross-applesauce with a comfy pillow under his tush, golden sun shining through the gazebo and birds peacefully flying by? Or someone with no children, no pets, and a stress-less job that drinks organic tea and eats kale? Maybe it’s just someone like you who decided to give it a try one day.

We aren’t surprised when we read that some of the most successful and happy people of the world meditate – so why the HELL haven’t we done it yet?! Confession time: I did a guided meditation for the first time last week. I didn’t see birds or start farting sunshine, but it did make me learn something about the power of my mind.

Set the scene – I had just an online training and was sitting on the floor of my living room playing fetch with my hyperactive terrier and googled guided meditations. I had just heard Tim Ferriss’s podcast on the five things he does each day to “win the day.” Meditation was one of them. So I tried it because Tim Ferriss is amazing and you should all just do what he says 🙂 The first four minutes were FULL of my brain bouncing from every thought and going on tangents, while trying to ignore my dog nudging my hand and whimpering because we had only played fetch for an hour – he’s 13 by the way.

So I stuck with it because according to people that have tried this, if they are able to once, JUST ONCE bring that monkey brain back to the present, hearing their breath and realizing that they are in the now, they win the meditation game. It’s not about keeping your brain empty, we are human and that’s just impossible! Instead, its about having the control to recognize when your brain is bouncing and bringing it back to feeling your body inhale, taking notice of where the breath goes. Is it your lungs that rise or maybe your tummy? Wherever that is, feel that breath enter filling the cavities of your body and as you exhale, pressing up with your diaphragm. In with the good shit, out with the bad shit.

Sure enough, six minutes into my trial run, for a VERY brief nano-second, I had a glimpse of what that is like. I’m sure it’s different for everyone but for me, I was lighter, quieter, and ever so slightly in control. It was powerful. And for just a moment, if you can bring yourself there, there is a peace and warmth that I just can’t put into words. I’ve meditated three times since then, loving every journey.

You don’t have to meditate for hours or every day, maybe try 10-minutes? Maybe just a day or two a week. I started with Tara Brach, because she literally wrote the book on how to meditate. She has a bunch of guided meditations. If you don’t make it the whole 10 minutes, so what?! Try it for YOU. This meditation is one of my favorites so far.

Why friend, why do we know this is good for us, but we just don’t try it?! This isn’t rhetorical so PLEASE EMAIL ME and tell me about your journey with meditation. Have you tried it? Wanted to try it? What stops you or what motivates you?

Love and sparkles,

Britt
britt.fitnessmail@gmail.com