Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Eating Smart Starts with a Plan

I know there are times when our schedules get so out of hand that we can barely find time to bathe let alone eat well. In fact, most of the busy clients I work with are just like you. They are very smart and knowledgeable when it comes to what a healthy diet and lifestyle looks like. The real challenge is to make it happen in their hectic and over-committed lives. Right?

So, for the busy folks I work with, I tell them the key to implementing healthy dietary changes is to think it through and make a plan. Planning smart is key to eating smart. If you make healthy choices available to you when you need them, chances are you will make better decisions.

I’ve listed a few tips that I apply to my life to hopefully help you develop you own “smart eating plan” so that you can start eating better and feeling better, too:

Plan for the week ahead – It sounds daunting, I know, but planning out your meals for the upcoming week will keep you on track with your health and wellness goals. Take an hour or two on the weekend to plan, and if possible, do all your grocery shopping in one trip (which will save you time too!). Get ready-chopped and pre-packaged veggies to use in your recipes or to have on hand snacks. Try one of the many salad assortments available for a quick and light dinner

Cook once eat twice (or more!) – This is one of my favorite tips to live by. When it comes to healthy eating, nothing beats home-cooked meals made from scratch. Having to scramble to make a meal every day is tough, and “Cook Once Eat Twice” can help you save time and headache. I will broil several chicken breasts to use for the next few days in salads, in soups or as a main dish with some veggie sides. I also cook a big batch of grains (brown rice, quinoa, etc.) and use them in different combinations.

Stock your fridge, pantry (and desk drawer at work) with healthy snacks – make sure you have some healthy snack alternatives handy so you don’t go for the vending machine which is usually stocked with less desirable options. I’m lucky to have a fridge at work, where I usually store fresh fruit, or hummus with veggies. If you are always on the go, a handful of nuts with dried fruit or an apple with nut butter (available in single-use packets) can be great pick-me-ups, too.

Just keep in mind that fresh whole food is always better than processed foods – there are many “bars” on the market with “health claims” – however, most of them contain high doses of sugar, additives or processed “food-like” products that are less than desirable. If you have to turn to packaged foods, always read the labels to make smart choices.

Instead of getting caught with nothing for dinner, stock a few healthy frozen options so you don’t dial the greasy pizza place. Make a point to pair frozen meals and fresh veggies (remember the pre-chopped purchases from the grocery store in my first tip?).

Alright, so this might not be a “perfect” fit for your schedule, but it is a huge step up from eating on impulse and making dinner decisions based on your well-worn-out brain tired from a hard days work. Having a plan is one step that sets you up for success. I challenge you to try the tips I’ve outlined. They really DO work! But don’t stop there! Experiment with creating your own healthy “short-cuts” to eating well. You might be surprised to see how resourceful you can actually be when you take responsibility for your own health.

Are there any tips I’ve missed that you have found to work for you? Leave a comment and let me know. I’m always up for learning new strategies for healthy living.

As always - Enjoy Your Life!

John Aaron Villarreal

Monday, January 13, 2014

Fake It or Make It: A Guide to Achieve Your Goals

Ever heard of the phrase, “Fake it till you make it?” I’m not a big fan of the way it’s worded because I think we should always remain true and authentic to ourselves, but the idea does hold a valuable concept. It’s the concept of modifying your behavior to create the outcome, situation, or lifestyle you desire

We all have goals/dreams we would like to achieve. The trick to making these achievements a permanent reality is to determine who we are going to be once these goals have been accomplished. How will they change you and your actions? How would you feel?

For some, a goal may be to have more energy throughout the day. So, put yourself in that person’s reality. What would your current life be like if you already reached that goal? Chances are, you would be making time to prepare healthy energetic foods & snacks, exercising regularly and fitting in some self-care and recuperation time (like meditating or getting a massage)

The idea of “fake it till you make it” is to determine what you can you do right now to create the feelings and emotions of that person who’s already realized their goal. Create the emotions of achieving your goals, and you will be able to attract the outcome.

If you want to lose 10 pounds so you can alleviate the stress on your joints and live a pain free life – then determine what you can do right now to feel that way.

Instead of waiting for the goal to “happen” to you, why not “step into” the new YOU? Try acting from that place, and integrate the new identity into every cell of your body.

How does it feel to act like the NEW you? If it feels good, stay there. If it feels off, maybe you want to revisit your goals to see if they are truly aligned with your values and are authentic to you.

If it feels like you have one foot on the gas pedal and one foot on the breaks, ask yourself, “Do I truly believe that I can become this new person?” If there is any doubt, any little voice in your head that says you can’t, see what beliefs are holding you back from living as the new YOU.

Until you are entirely on board (conscious, subconscious and your physical body), your efforts will be met with roadblocks and frustration.

Your “do it now” action item:
List 3 things you can do right now to achieve your desired feelings and emotions… and do them often!

Sometimes finding the reasons for self-sabotage can be difficult to find. Sometimes you need someone “outside looking in” to help you determine the burdens that are holding you down. If you feel like this, consider setting up a complimentary coaching session with me. Together we can demolish the barriers that are keeping you from living your dreams of a healthier, happier you. Feel free to call me any time: 713-562-2474 or visit my online schedule to book your session immediately.

As always - Enjoy Your Life!

John Aaron Villarreal
massage therapist | health coach

Monday, January 6, 2014

Achieve Your Goals by Starting with Your Feelings

This is the time of year everyone is talking about New Year's Resolutions and setting goals. I used to think that the "resolutions" themselves were actually the goals. Turns out I had it all wrong...

“Goals” are more like “stepping stones” that will bring you closer to the kind of life you want to live; what you’ve always dreamed your life would be like. It's what pulls you through when things get challenging and you feel like giving up. Having a great life is all about goals: big goals, small goals. Together, they assemble your life from dream to reality.

I've also recently discovered that goals are so much more than “physical” or material achievement. I've met many people whose amazing accomplishments have left them feeling spiritually unfulfilled, emotionally ill, physically broken, and deeply unhappy.

So aside from getting a raise or promotion, losing weight, meeting the love of your life; whatever your goals may be - what emotions do you want to experience by achieve those goals? Do you want to feel “sexy” again? Do you want to feel "strong" and “in control” of your life? Try to achieve those “emotions”, and the “physical” manifestation will follow.

Let's say you have a goal of losing 20 pounds. When you focus on how reaching that goal will make you feel, you won’t get stuck beating yourself up over the last few pounds if you are already feeling fabulous. And, that freedom from self-abuse will be what "pulls" you toward the completion of your goal - effortlessly.

It’s what some people call it the “Big Why”.

Why do you want to achieve your goal? Dig deeper than your initial answer. Your initial response to wanting to lose 20 pounds may be to look good in your clothes. Don’t stop there… Why do you want to look good in your clothes? Your next response may be that you want to feel confident about yourself. Well, then.... keep going - Why is that self-confidence so important? (See where I’m going with this?)

Perhaps that self-confidence is important to you because you will then feel empowered to do more of the things that you wanted to do and live your life to its fullest potential! This is the BIG reason!

Feelings like this will pull you forward when you feel unmotivated. They will be what gets you back on track when you fall off the wagon.

So, get in touch with your feelings (your REAL feelings); the root feelings of why you desire reaching any particular goal. Then make note of them whenever you write down your goals.

On a side note: make sure they are stated in the positive. Since the subconscious mind does not filter the “negative” – if you say, “I don’t want to feel tired” your subconscious mind only focuses on “tired” – and you will stay being tired.

Instead, say “I want to feel energetic and productive,” then your subconscious mind will actively work toward finding to achieve a more energetic life!

Your "do it now" action item: 
Make some time this evening to journal about what feelings and emotions you want to have through achieving your goals in 2014. Create a “Big Why” statement and remember to "go deep." Ask "why" you want to achieve a goal at least three to five times to get to the real "core" of your motivation. Then, keep this list handy to review and recharge whenever your feel stuck or fall off the wagon.

I would love to hear what you come up with. So feel free to leave a comment below.

As always - Enjoy Your Life

John Aaron Villarreal