Tag Archives: healthy-living

Unclutter Your Cluttered Life

In this fast paced world we live in, it is so easy to get caught up in this rat race we call life.  No one knows this better than Vonda White, President of Collegiate Risk Management and Author of Success Against the Odds.   We are all moving 100 miles per minute, and between work, school, kids, friends, email, Facebook, voicemails, housework,  etc. it is easy –and inevitable – to become cluttered and out of control.

So how do we take the clutter out of our life?  Some would say, get rid of all of your unnecessary belongings and eliminate possessions that have accumulated over the years.    However, clutter comes in two forms, physical and mental clutter.   Just as we need to organize our belongings, we also need to organize our life.    It is important to be mindful of what clutters our life and what we can do to fix it.

Getting rid of mental clutter can be accomplished the same way as getting rid of physical clutter.  You must first figure out what is important to you.  Once you have accomplished that goal, you can begin to set aside the other things that are taking up your time and energy, and focus on what is important.

How do we organize our lives, and begin to unclutter ourselves?

Make a List of Priorities

Knowing what is important to you is the first step in organizing your life.  Take the time to make a list of what is most important to you, in order of priority.   Life will be a little neater when you gather your priorities in a list that you can physically see.

Rework your Calendar

If you have too much scheduled on your calendar, it wouldn’t hurt to unclutter your Success Planner by rescheduling things that can be done at a later date.   For example, rescheduling a pedicure to free up some time for other things won’t hurt you.   Don’t stress about something you can easily change?

Take a Time-Out

Time to ourselves is sometimes the thing we need to get back on track.  A little breather can be very refreshing.   Taking a step back and a deep breath can put some sanity back in your life when things are hectic around you.

Recognize Time Wasters

Make a list of the things that waste time in your routine.   While talking on your cell phone, IM’ing with your friends, posting on Facebook or checking Facebook status’s or Tweeting are a great form of entertainment, allowing these things to take over your life can be detrimental to your calendar and wreak havoc on your state of mind.   Set aside a certain time of day to get your social media fix.  Remember your priorities on your list.  If you are checking your Facebook while you are in a work meeting or your daughters play, you may not be focused on your priorities at hand and clutter will begin to take over your life.  Set your automatic messages on your phone to alert persons IM’ing you that you will get back to them, and set aside a time of day to do so.  Don’t allow time wasters to overtake your day.

At the end of the day, there are only so many hours to accomplish all of our daily tasks.  Find out what is important to you and focus on your priorities.   Learn to say “No” to things that clutter your schedule and see how balance and serenity will enter into the world around you.

How Beginners and Advanced Exercisers Get Great Abs

Summer is here, which means long summer days at the beach and lazy afternoons by the pool (unless you are taking summer classes). But what does that really mean to most of us…? It’s time to work on our beach-body!

Thanks to an article in SHAPE Magazine, here are the best abs exercises for beginners and advanced exercisers.

Best Abs Exercises for Beginners 

1. Plank

Lie facedown on mat. Place forearms on mat, elbows under shoulders. Place legs together with forefeet on floor. Raise body upward by straightening body in straight line (don’t let your hips sag). Hold position.

2. Side Plank

Lie on your side on mat. Place your right forearm on mat under your shoulder, perpendicular to your body . Place your left leg directly on top of your right leg and straighten knees and hips. Raise your body upward by straightening through your waist so your body is ridged. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.

3. Pallof (Cable or Band) Press and Hold

Adjust a cable machine so the pulley is at chest height. Grab the handle with both hands and walk out so there is tension on the cable. Now, turn 45 degrees so you face sideways in relation to the cable, and assume a hip-width stance with the handle at your chest. This is the starting position . Press the cable straight out in front of you and hold. Brace your midsection and do not let it pull your arms or trunk to the side; the object of the exercise is to resist rotation.

Best Abs Exercises for the Advanced 

1. Half-Kneeling Chop

Attach a rope handle to the high pulley of a cable station. Kneel down so that your outside knee is on the floor but your inside knee is bent 90 degrees, with your inside foot flat on the floor. Your left side should face the weight stack. With both hands, grasp the rope with an over-hand grip at arm’s length, just in front of your left shoulder. Your hands should be about 18 inches apart. Your shoulders should be turned toward the rope, but your belly button should be pointing forward. Your torso should be upright. Allow your torso to rotate as you pull the rope past your outside hip. Don’t round your lower back. Keep your arms straight and core braced. Complete the prescribed number of repetitions to your right side, then do the same number with your right side facing the stack, pulling toward your left.

2. Half-Kneeling Lift (Reverse Chop)

Attach a rope handle to the low pulley of a cable station. This exercise starts in the same position as the half-kneeling chop (above), except you pull the rope up past your outside shoulder. Keep your arms straight and core braced the entire time.

3. TRX Reverse Crunch

Start on your hands and knees and place each foot through the bottom loop of each TRX band. Lift your knees off of the ground and keep your elbows straight similar to a pushup position. Tighten your core muscles and try to keep your back straight. Use your abdominals to pull your knees in towards your chest. Carefully extend the legs to the starting pushup position.

Give us your feedback! What are some more great abs exercises?

Why You Should Eat Like a Turtle

Are you a fast or slow eater? One thing that these two people have in common is being made fun of. Slow eaters get in trouble for taking too long and making their friends wait while fast eaters are consistently being asked questions like, “did you even chew your food?” Studies have proven that one pace is actually better than the other, in terms of your health.

So which is better for you… to eat quickly or slowly?

The answer – it’s better to be a slow eater. Why?

Problems of eating too fast

Eating too much

Most Americans eat too fast, and as a result, they take in too many calories before they realize how much they ate. According to WebMD, it takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness. Leisurely eating allows ample time to trigger the signal from your brain that you are full. And feeling full translates into eating less.

Recent research presented at a meeting of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity showed that overweight men and women took in fewer calories when they slowed their normal eating pace.

Higher risk of diabetes

Healthy experts have long warned that fast eating can lead to weight gain, but what you might not realize is that wolfing down your food can also lead to another health consequence: a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Yeeks! Lithuanian researcher found that speedy eaters were two and a half times more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes than those who eat at a more snail-like pace.

Bloating

According to Live Strong, bloating can occur when you add excess air to your stomach, causing your stomach to feel larger or uncomfortable than it usually does. One of the problems with eating quickly is that it introduces excess air into your digestive tract. Also, you have a tendency not to chew food as thoroughly when you eat quickly. This can cause larger pieces of food to become trapped in your stomach, which might give you the sensation that food is sitting uncomfortably.

Benefits of eating slowly

Eating slowly not only helps you eat less calories, it enhances the pleasure of the dining experience. Here are the benefits of eating slowly:

Eat less calories

No bloating

Savor your food

Enjoy the dining experience

Feel full faster

Solution

To master the art of slow eating, put on some music, light a few candles, turn off the TV and any other distractions, and concentrate on your meal. Perhaps the perfect place to start your turtle-like eating pace is at dessert. Take a bite, eat it slowly, savor it, and do nothing but enjoy the flavor, texture, and experience of the delicious dessert. Try also putting your fork down between bites, this can help to extend the amount of time you eat.

The researchers aren’t sure exactly why this is the case, but it’s worth remembering next time you’re sitting down to a meal. Eat a little slower and savor your food longer.

Are you a fast eater or a slower eater?

Three Ways to Spring Clean Your Diet

It’s spring, which means it’s time to clean your place from head to toe. Sounds like fun, right? But with final exams coming up — who has the time? I’m sure that you would pick cleaning over studying any time… but for now, here are three easy ways you can spring clean your diet before finals week.

1. Switch from soda to lemon water

One of the easiest ways to clean up your diet is to ditch the soda. Whatever you do… don’t fail for the diet or zero calorie nonsense. Diet-soda or regular, there are plenty of health warnings about the stuff. A favorite drink among detox enthusiasts is lemon water — warm or cold. Just squeeze the juice of a half of a fresh lemon into water and sip.

2. Repair cells with kale

Kale is antioxidant rich and considered nature’s scouring pad for its ability to scrub your cells clean. My favorite way to eat kale is to boil kale for about 5 minutes (you don’t want it to turn brown) and sprinkle a small amount of vinegar on it — preferably plum vinegar, which can be found at your local supermarket, like Publix and Whole Foods. Loaded with that dark green pigment, kale is chock-full of antioxidants that fight disease and cell damage.

3. Swap out refined sugar for fruit

If you normally sprinkle sugar on your cereal in the morning, try slicing a banana on top instead. The goal here is to think of fruit as your sweetener of choice — and get creative with it! Try apple slices on your almond-butter sandwich instead of jam, or kiwi slices in your Greek yogurt in place of honey.

There are many ways you can clean out your system, but at least these 3 ways will get you started before you say bye spring semester and HELLO to summer.

Q: How do you spring clean your diet? Any advice for people trying a detox plan this spring?

College Students Should Make Exercise A Habit

Having exercise as a habit means never thinking twice about working out!

Recently the Founder and CEO of Collegiate Risk Management, Vonda White gave advice to Pretty Hard Work on how to get motivated to work out. Working out is very important for being healthy and succeeding in college… so here’s the scoop on exercise motivation.

First off — Here’s some insight on Ms. White. Vonda not only started the successful student health insurance company, Collegiate Risk Management in 1996, she has also become a success coach and author. Her book, Success Against the Odds and Success Planner have helped others turn their dreams into reality. She strives to inspire and help others achieve their goals through her effective goal-getter process. Learn more here!

In the article on Pretty Hard Work, Vonda explains how the best way to get motivated to work out is by making it a daily habit. You want to stop saying that you “should” work out and just start doing it one day. It only takes 21 days to have a new positive habit, after all! So decide right now when, where and how you will work out regularly.

Try looking at exercise like school — you have a set schedule on when and where your classes are that you can’t change. If you skip class, you’ll miss valuable information that may hurt your grade or even worse… your future. Therefore slacking off isn’t even an option — You work hard and finish strong with positive results!

Don’t waste another minute of wishing you were fit. See below how to get motivated and make exercise a habit!

So… what motivates you to work out?