Dear community, dear friends,
I must admit that I started challenge out of a bit of frustration. Three times this past week on Facebook, I've been seeing "a fitness challenge" with a selfie of some half-cladded 'skinny' woman. That image watered my seed of anger. But I digress with 3 deep breaths to calm down my anger.
If you've been my personal training client before, you know I believe that looking "skinny" isn't necessary fit and vice versa, being fit does not necessarily equate to looking skinny, as the media and magazines often portray. Rather, it's about feel good about your whole self in body, mind and spirit. More holistically, feel at peace with who you are and the world around you. Looking good is only a small part of a holistic approach to wellness. A "fit" looking body may just give you temporary happiness, until you gain all that weight back. Then what? We may have seen or know of people who go on this so called "yo-yo" diet and have not shown consistent happiness, have they?
A healthy lifestyle is a way of life, for the rest of your life, not just a 6-week challenge. So now you understand that I only use "6-Week" in my subject heading to grab your attention and hope that it's a good gentle encouragement to kick start you on a healthy, joyful and peaceful lifestyle and naturally make it your way of life as you cultivate more awareness of what's going inside and outside of you.
Some awareness practices Sarah and I follow are:
1) Eating plant-based such as fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds.
2) Meditating regularly to bring awareness to body, mind, emotions and surroundings.
3) Surrounding ourselves with Mother Nature and positive beings.
4) Taking good care of our daily sufferings.
5) Cultivating joy and peace in our daily activities
6) Practicing daily gratitude.
7) Enjoying life.
So, let us begin with this initial kick start. I've explained each point in greater details below. It's very simple. So simple that I've attached a one-page PDF for you to print and put on your fridge to remind you and check off your daily so-called challenges. If you stick to the challenge you'll start to see something magical changing in you. It's called positive perception to life as your brain re-wires to a more positive outlook on yourself and life. This re-wiring of the brain is called "neuroplasticity," which will create a lasting effect.
Two important things I'd like to advise you is that you commit to this challenge and be kind to yourself, especially when you catch yourself not being mindful or forgetting an activity. Remember the number of months, years, or decades you spent creating these negative habits and thoughts, which means some activities might take more diligence/effort than others so you can care and change how you perceive yourself and the world.
Looking "fit" does not necessarily equate to long-term happiness. Wellness is a holistic approach, from food, thoughts, emotions to surroundings and regular exercise. It is not just about physical fitness.
The list of challenges is by no means exhausted. Please feel free to do extra, if it's too enjoyable or add more of the positive things you are already doing.
1) 10-15 minutes. Sit and meditate on breath. Check in with how you are feeling and set the day's intention based on your observations of body, mind, emotions, and spirit.
2) Eat one plant-based meal, which includes vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. Be mindful of your caloric intake in the store-bought salad dressings. A simple recipe Sarah makes is 2/3 vinegar, 1/3 olive oil, and a few drops of tamari (Japanese soya sauce) and a few chopped up garlic cloves.
3) Walk outside at least 10 minutes, preferably in nature. If it's too enjoyable, challenge yourself with 10,000 steps everyday, or add in brisk walking to a light jog to strengthen that heart. Sarah's currently inspiring me with her daily 10,000-step goal. Walk/jog in such a way that it feels joyful and pleasant. Did you know that heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada? Let us combat and reduce this number.
4) Have gratitude for 3 things everyday, and feel free to share it out loud to your loved ones.
5) Do your chore or daily activity with your full attention and without distractions, eg. brush your teeth, eat, put on clothes, walk to car, talk to a loved one without a device in your hand etc.
6) Practice watering someone's flowers ie. be kind, offer words of encouragement, be inspiring!
7) Bring awareness of your ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) and counter them with something more positive. For example. "Gee, this shirt makes me look fat." to "I need a new shirt that will make me feel awesome."
1) Do 1.5 to 3 hours of moderate to high intensity exercise of your choice.. For example, canoeing, running, group fitness, yoga, Qi Gong, Kungfu, dancing, cycling, etc. My challenge to you is to get your Heart Rate up to about 80% of your max up to 2 hours every week. Max HR = 220-Age. Remember that a common cause of death is cardiovascular diseases every year. This can be prevented.
2) Have at least one meal/evening with your family with no devices and practice having positive/good conversations. Water each other's flowers.
3) Practice deep listening without judging, educating or giving advice to anyone. Do this at least twice a week. Smile at a the speaker with your full attention.
4) ONE whole day of not complaining about a thing. Look for the good in yourself, your family and the people you encounter.
5) Read a few pages of a wholesome good book.
Have fun with this challenge and feel free to report your joys and challenges on the Facebook Event Page.
Click here for the Checklist in PDF
Email me if you have questions.
Keep fit, Eat well, and Look for the Good,