How To, Personal Development

6 Tips on How to Become a Morning Person

Are you struggling to get moving in the morning? While, you may refer to yourself as not a “morning” person- you are very capable of becoming one. I will be sharing 6 tips on how to become a morning person. Routine is everything! Training yourself does not solely relate to working out. We also have to train our body, especially if we are seeking to make changes in our lifestyle.

6 Tips on How to Become a Morning Person

  1. Create a schedule: Having a schedule in place is essential. Create a morning routine and stick to it! A schedule will not only hold you accountable but it will keep you motivated. I recommend for you to select a time and commit to waking up and eating breakfast at the same time daily. This includes weekdays and weekends. You can even include a morning workout or morning stretch into your routine which will help get you moving after your slumber. You will notice after a week that your body time clock will have adapted to your new schedule and you may find that you are waking up before your alarm.
  2. Use a Smart Alarm: Opt for an alarm that does not have a snooze button. I have overslept so many morning by accidentally selecting the snooze button. Some of those mornings were not accidental but definitely resulted in me running late to work. I personally hate to hear abrupt and annoying alarms in the morning. I was lucky enough to find a application, “Sleep Cycle” in my app store (Apple). Sleep Cycle allows you to select the time which you need to wake up by and will gradually wake you within 30 minutes prior to that time, depending on where you are in your sleep cycle. Studies report that there are stages of sleep when you should not be interrupted. This app monitors your sleep cycles and wakes you at the most appropriate time in order to wake you up when you are feeling optimally rested.
  3. Open your blinds: Allow natural or artificial light into your bedroom and throughout the house. Lighting signals to your brain to stop making melatonin which is a hormone that encourages sleep. Waking up before the sun rises can be a challenge especially if you are trying to wake up and get ready in a dark or poorly lit room. The darkness and poor lighting will promote sleepiness.
  4. Exercise: Opting to exercise or stretch first thing in the morning is a perfect routine to help wake up your body. It has been reported that morning exercises assists with lowering blood pressure, reducing stress/anxiety, and encourages you to sleep better at night. Recommended activities: morning walk/jog/run, walk your dog, yoga
  5. Enjoy a protein-packed breakfast: Avoid heavy breakfast items such as biscuits or bagels. Instead opt for high protein items such as eggs and yogurt. Protein encourages wakefulness and will help in keeping you full longer. Protein is packed with nutrients to keep your energy levels elevated which will further help you feel better in the mornings.
  6. Avoid naps: Fight the urge to nap throughout the day. Naps can definitely through off your schedule and destroy all your progress from your newly developed morning schedule. Naps make it harder to fall asleep at night. If you are noticing that you are feeling sleepy towards the end of the day, use this as an opportunity to go to bed earlier at night.

I hope you find these 6 tips useful. Please comment below your experience and feedback. Let me know what worked and did not work for you. Your insight can help others. If you are a morning person, please share any advice you have regarding what keeps you grounded and motivated.

FLWE ❤

Food, How To

3 Tips on How to Deal with Coffee Cravings

While you may classify your love for coffee as an “addiction,” it more than likely is just a dependence. It is really not that difficult to kick your coffee habit to the curb or at least have more control over your coffee craving.

One aspect to keep in mind is that caffeine withdrawal does not last that long and your body will naturally reset itself after a free weeks of abstinence from consuming coffee. Yes, you may experience some side effects such as: headaches, tiredness, irritability, and trouble concentrating are all are temporary and will resolve on its own. The longer you successfully refrain from coffee, your tolerance for caffeine will also decrease.

3 Tips on How to Deal with Coffee Cravings:

  1. Quit Cold Turkey: Remind yourself that symptoms of withdrawal are only temporary. Symptoms can range mild to severe and will very individually. Some people may find it challenging to function normally and others may be able to work through the sudden transition. Withdrawal normally occurs within 12-24 hours after your last cup of coffee. The majority of withdrawal symptoms will peak after two days without caffeine but could potentially last up to ten days.
  2. Gradually Give it Up: If you are not willing to quit cold turkey, fearful of the symptoms you may encounter- slowly begin to reduce your coffee intake each day. You can even replace coffee with another caffeinated beverage that has lower caffeine. For example, the average cup (8 oz.) of coffee has about 95-200 mg of caffeine; a cup (8 oz.) of tea has about 14-60 mg of caffeine. Making a simple change, tea over coffee can assist with weaning you off of coffee.
  3. Break your Coffee Routine: If drinking coffee has become a daily routine breaking your habit is as simple as altering your routine. Instead of enjoying a cup of regular coffee you may want to opt for decaf in the morning. Another option, would be to replace your morning coffee with another beverage (tea or breakfast smoothie).

If you are struggling to break your coffee craving please share what you think causes the setback in your life? Is it the taste that you crave or the experience? Do you drink coffee for social reasons? I would love to learn more about your thoughts and experience with coffee cravings.

If you have successfully overcame your coffee dependence please share what worked for you.

FLWE ❤

Fitness Journey, Health, How To

How to Reduce Your Weight Effectively

Are you looking to lose weight? Has your progress flatlined? If your goal is to reduce your weight effectively here are a few recommendations that I suggest you incorporate in your routine:

  1. Workout Variety- Do not allow your body to get use to the same old routine. Mixing up your intensity, duration, and workout type will shock your body into weight loss. If you are not already, combine both cardio and strength training in your routine.
  2. Strength Training- Incorporating strength training with free weights into your routine will encourage weight loss. Remember: the more muscle you have in total body mass will allow you to burn more calories in your workout.
  3. Sleep- Be sure that you are getting an adequate amount of sleep daily. People that are sleep deprived often have a harder time at losing weight and often weigh more, compared to those who eat the same diet but receive adequate sleep. When your body lacks sleep it “over” produces the following hormones: leptin and ghrelin which signals hunger pains.
  4. Nutrition- Exercise and diet together work to improve your health on the inside and out. Physical activity works to reduce your risks of disease (heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, etc.). Balanced nutrition assists with improving your health (heart health, brain health, energy levels, and weight control).
  5. Recovery- Although, you may be addicted the results you are seeing from working out, do not forget the importance of “rest days.” Your body and muscles need time to repair and this occurs when you are sleeping. While asleep you produce the most growth hormone; further assisting with burning fat and building muscles. Overtime building more muscle results in increased strength which further encourages weight loss.

FLWE ❤

Food, How To

Meal Prep Basics

Over the past few weeks I have received a lot of questions on social media regarding how and why I chose to meal prep. I have decided to write a post just to go over some of the basics of meal prepping. If I missed your question please comment below, email, or reach out to me on social media and I will be sure to respond back to you.

What is meal prepping?

Meal prepping is the preparation of a meal that is portioned out to last up to 3-7 days. You can meal prep for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Why meal prep?

Meal prepping has become so popular because of the convenience. I meal prep because I have found it to be a crucial way to reduce waste and allows me to plan ahead and count my calories effectively. If you are not planning your meals out ahead of time you are more likely to succumb to the temptation of eating unhealthy food. I know this for a fact because there has been many days when I would come home from work with no dinner planned and I would look at my husband and ask him what he wanted to eat and I would be so unprepared. Either, the meat would not be thawed out or we both would be indecisive on what we wanted to eat. Meal preparation is the last thing you want to find yourself doing after a long day of commuting and work.

It became even more difficult when my husband decided to follow a ketogentic and carnivore diet. With his diet change, he had his meals planned out- his meals were simple. As a result, I was left to plan meals for me and the rest of our family. So, if i didn’t prepare in advance or was too tired to cook when I got home in the evenings I would find myself ordering takeout. Honestly, takeout is the worst dead-end option ever! We live in the suburbs and we only have a few options for takeout: pizza and Chinese food; none of which are healthy food options. Aside, from the food options being unhealthy it can be costly to order out. (Average $20-$25 per takeout order) If you opt for takeout 1-2 times per week, it really can add up. I decided that this was not the way to go. Opting to meal prep was a great decision and the money I save from not ordering out during the week goes directly to purchasing groceries. I vowed to not waste anymore money on takeout. The food is never that good anyways!

How do I meal prep?

Saturday’s are grocery days for our family. Midway through the week my husband and I make our grocery list based off of what we would like to cook for the upcoming week. Since meal prepping does not offer much of a variety during the week we definitely take our time and plan our meals and try to switch up the contents of our meals each week. For example, if you are meal prepping chicken this week, consider prepping a red meat for the next week in order to add a variety. If not, I can almost guarantee that you will get tired of what you are eating and will give up on meal prepping. There are so many food combinations that you can create when meal prepping. Be creative!

So, we set out on Saturdays and grocery shop at all of our favorite stores which include: Aldi, Lidl, and Wegmans. Having our grocery list handy has been a helpful tip and disciplines us to stick to the list. If something is not listed, we do not need it. (No junk food) I have to say eliminating the junk food can save you so much money. We literally only purchase what we need for the week: meats, veggies, fruits, and spices. We prevously would shop for a few weeks at a time and stock up but found that we were not shopping efficiently. Shopping for the week ensures that no food goes to waste- it’s not enough time for fresh produce to spoil. We personally do not like to freeze our meat and opt to keep it fresh by not freezing it. Shopping in bulk for groceries can result in waste since you are racing to use food before the expiration date and you sometimes may purchase food and forget you even have it. This is what I call “wasteful shopping” and we were once victims of it.

Sunday’s are then dedicated to meal prepping. On Sunday morning I wake up and will put a load of laundry in; between doing laundry I meal prep. Meal prepping literally only takes about 1-2 hours out of my Sunday morning. Most importantly, meal prepping saves me 4-5 hours per week from having to cook dinner. This means when I come home from work all I have to do is heat dinner up which has already been portioned out. This is the best thing since sliced bread!

Preparation of Baked Chicken

Here is a look in to this weeks meal prep:

  • Baked Chicken (onions, green/yellow/red peppers)
  • Cabbage w/ Carrots
  • Steamed Potatoes

Meal Prep – Final Result

I encourage everyone to meal prep. If this is something you are currently doing each week please comment below your experience with meal prepping. Is it beneficial to you? Do you find yourself saving time throughout the week? If you are not currently meal prepping but are interested- I challenge you to give it a try for a week or two. Comment below your experience and let me know your thoughts. I wish you all continued success in your health and wellness journey.

FLWE ❤

Fitness Journey, How To

The Secret to Losing Weight: 3 Tips on How to Get Healthy

The Secret to Losing Weight

Everyone wants to know the real secret on how to lose weight. Well, it’s no secret at all. However, it is necessary to “get healthy.” There are a 3 simple tips that I have for you that will definitely guide you on the right track to weight loss. If you find your self guilty of not abiding by these 3 simple tips, you may be struggling significantly with your weight.

3 Tips on How to Get Healthy:

Tip #1: Consume Real Food

Nutritional Food: Whole & Fresh Produce

Your meals should be of nutritional value. It is highly important that you eliminate processed foods from your diet. Processed foods are extremely bad for your health as they are often high in sugar, contains artificial ingredients, chemically processed for overconsumption, difficult to digest, low in nutrients and essential vitamins.

While, it is easy to recommend people to eat fresh and only eat meat and fresh produce. However, it is unrealistic for many due to situational circumstances and schedules. While eating fresh is encouraged it honestly is time consuming to meal prep and it is definitely something you have to work yourself into. In this case, when you are grocery shopping if it has a label– READ it!

Familiarize yourself with the various ingredients found in food. My husband coached me that if you can not pronounce the ingredient or are unable to recognize it by name —DO NOT consume it.

Tip #2: Daily Caloric Deficit

Caloric Deficit = Weight Loss

The food that we eat all contains energy that is in the form of calories, in which we consume. Consuming calories assists our body to function properly. However, many of us consume more calories than required for optimal performance and health. Extra calories consumed are then stored as fat which results in weight gain.

The ultimate goal is to achieve a daily caloric deficit. By creating a caloric deficit you will be able to get rid of extra fat and achieve weight loss. When your body goes into a caloric deficit it receives its energy source from stored fat; stored fat is stored energy. Once your body begins to burn fat for energy you will loose weight as a result. Achieving a daily caloric deficit is essential in achieving weight loss.

Weight Loss Chart

Achieving a caloric deficit does not always mean you have to eat less food. You can simply cut your portion sizes, eliminate snacking, and choose lower calorie food when meal planning. Other recommendations to achieve a caloric deficit include: increasing your activity level and overall balancing your diet and exercise.

So, take a look again at your recommended calorie goal. Just because you may have a recommended calorie goal ranging between 1,200-1,500 does not mean you need to consume and account for each calorie daily. If you are unsure of how many calories you are consuming or what is recommended based on your BMI I would encourage you to visit my site: http://www.ericamckinney.goherbalife.com and complete my free wellness survey. Another great tool is myfitnesspal which is a application you can download on your phone that allows you to log your meals and you can get a accurate calculation of your calories consumed and overall macros daily. I use this application daily to log my meals and to ensure that my calories are controlled.

Tip #3: Moderate Exercise

Moderate Exercise Examples

The benefits from incorporating moderate exercise in your daily activities are endless and beyond simple weight loss. Some benefits include: improved mood, increased energy levels, improvement of brain health, and improved sleep. Other health benefits that have been linked to moderate exercise includes lowering blood pressure and improving cholesterol.

Personally, exercise just puts me in a better space. It is a stress reliever and allows me to wind down nicely after a long day. Your exercise does not have to be lengthy or strenuous. A brisk daily walk is sufficient enough to get your blood circulating and heart rate elevated. Once you reach your targeted heart rate you will then go into fat-burning zone which is optimal for weight loss. The goal is to burn fat and not just calories.

I must insert the following disclaimer: a high rate does not mean you are in your fat burning zone. The targeted heart rate that you want to achieve is typically between 60-70% of your max heart rate, which will assist in keeping you in a fat burning zone. If you would like to monitor your heart rate closely I would definitely recommend investing in a fitbit or apple watch with heart rate monitoring.

For those just starting out and are looking to increase your activity level and achieve weight loss, there are many everyday activities you can engage in that will tap into your fat burning zone.

  • Park further away from store entrances
  • Walk more (lunch break, weekends, family dog)
  • Skip the elevator- take the stairs
  • Walk your local mall

Now that I have shared the secret to losing weight with you, put these tips into practice. I challenge you to incorporate the above lifestyle changes into your daily routine for a minimum of 3-4 weeks. You have the ability to make a difference in your life and health. I believe in you and want to hear about your success and testimony. Check back in 1 month and comment on this very post your progress. I want to hear your success stories!

FLWE ❤

Fitness Journey, How To

6 Ways on How to Begin your Fitness Journey

6 Ways on How to begin your Fitness Journey

Many of you may have thought about embarking on a fitness journey. Yet, something always seems to get in your way. The most common excuses that I hear from those that I coach, all stem from pure procrastination. You are setting yourself up for failure– if you are lacking a plan.

This week I am bringing you:

6 Ways on How to Begin Your Fitness Journey

1. Set Your Goals

It sounds easier said than done. Setting your goals and having a clear understanding of the expectation that you have for yourself is a crucial step in beginning your fitness journey. If you lack clear goals you are not going to know what you are working on or why.

This was me January of 2017. I declared as my New Years resolution that I wanted to start working out. Well, what I failed to do was set my goals. It was easy for me to sign up for a gym membership. I even committed to the gym several days out of my week. However, I did not see any results in the mirror or on the scale. I was doing at least 45 min – 1 hr of cardio on various machines (treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bike). The vision I had for myself was not clear. I didn’t have a purpose. I knew I wanted to lose weight but I didn’t have a goal weight set. I didn’t know what exercises would benefit me the most based on my goals; all because my goals were non existent.

When beginning your fitness journey it is imperative to set your goals up front. Write it out. You have to be able to see your goals on paper (the vision).

Ask yourself: What is my goal weight? Do I want to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain? Is strength training my goal? Have I checked my BMI? How many calories should I be consuming daily?

These are all important questions to ask yourself when developing your goals. Having a clear vision of your goals will set you up for success.

2. Get Motivated

After you establish your goals– get motivated. You can not wait for someone else to motivate you. You have to seek to motivate yourself. Without motivation, you will not be able to sustain in your fitness journey. There are going to be days when you don’t feel like sticking to your goals. You may feel tempted to have a cheat day or skip the gym. Motivation can push you through these negative thoughts and keep you on course. Setbacks will set your further away from your goals and results will be further out of reach.

I challenge you to think about what are the motivating factors in your life. If you are lacking motivation- you need to find motivation ASAP. Motivation is crucial to your personal success.

3. Form a Routine

A routine is a habit. Start incorporating good and health habits in your life. For me I start my day out with listening to my favorite podcast (personal development). While listening to my podcast I make my shake and tea in the morning to start my day. Since I am a working Mom, my day begins before the sun comes up while the house is still quiet. My quiet time is first thing in the morning. This is also the time where I can accomplish the most out of my day. How I start my morning, sets the tone for the remainder of my day. Waking up on the right side of the bed is real.

After I listen to my personal development podcast and enjoy my shake and tea, I am then ready to begin my day. This is my routine. If I miss this step in the start of my day, my momentum declines and I find that I am more inclined to excuses.

Your routine also includes your commitment to workout. Plan the days you are going to commit to the gym. Fitness is 80% nutrition, and 20% workout. If you plan your workouts into your schedule, it promotes self accountability which is also a crucial aspect to your success.

Do you have a routine? (Please share below in the comments) I would like to know what motivates you. Sharing what motivates you may encourage someone else in their journey.

4. Take Action

Now that you have your goals set, motivation, and routine in place; it is now time to take action. Incorporate these changes into your daily life. Consistency is key!

Remember, any distraction from your goals, lack of motivation and routine is a set back to your overall results. You can not achieve success if you are failing to put in the necessary work. Your results depend on you and your willingness to make the necessary changes within your life.

5. Document your Progress

Documenting your progress is important because it is motivating to see your progress and track how far you have come. Seeing your results over time is the most encouraging feeling. Progress is what drives success. If you see that you are making progress you will want to continue.

Do not get discouraged in the beginning if you know you are staying on course with your goals, motivation, and routine but are not noticing any results. Consistency is a major factor and results are not achieved over night.

Keep this in mind:

Results- 6 Ways on How to begin your Fitness Journey

6. Revisit and Revise Goals/Progress

On your fitness journey I highly encourage you to revisit and revise your goals/progress often. With progress, you may need to alter and make changes to your goals and routines accordingly.

For example, if your goal is to lose weight you may realize that you need to incorporate strength training or need to focus on a certain area now in order to tone.

It’s ok if your goals change over the course of your fitness journey. Being able to revisit and revise your goals is imperative to the success of your progress. What you may be currently committed to as far as goals and routines may not be working for you as they did months ago when you initially committed to them.

Be flexible and listen to your body. Take a look in the mirror. Do you like what you see? Have your goals changed? Is there more that you are looking to achieve, than what you are holding yourself accountable for?

Your biggest competition is not going to be the next person beside you or in your circle on their fitness journey. Your biggest competition should be YOURSELF! I encourage everyone to follow these 6 ways on how to begin your fitness journey. Hold yourself accountable for your health and wellness. You are held accountable for the results you are seeking to achieve.

As the coming weeks progress I plan to revisit some of these topics and blog deeper into the importance of certain areas. Keep personal development on your radar. I would love to share with you my favorite podcasts that I listen to daily for personal development.

FLWE ❤