7 Practical Steps to Cultivate Better Balance and Wellbeing

In the daily rush, better balance and wellbeing can feel elusive. Like something we’ll get to when life gets back to normal. But here’s the thing: there is no perfect time. And trust me – you have the tools at your disposal to make it achievable. 

Here are seven practical steps you can take to cultivate genuine wellbeing, lasting balance, and even make strides towards your health and weight loss goals. As you consider each one, embrace the idea that these aren’t distant ideals but attainable realities.

**Step 1: Reduce Mental Overwhelm**

The stories we tell shape our lives. When you dwell on busyness, ruminate on past decisions, or indulge in self-pity, you create overwhelm for yourself. If you catch yourself doing this, redirect your focus to what you do control and identify your next best step. When you strike this mental balance, overwhelm subsides. 

**Step 2: Prioritize Your Wellbeing**

Reclaim your personal time. Block out weekends on your calendar. If that feels like too much, start with a few hours here and there. Ensure you make time for regular moments of rejuvenation and enjoyment. 

**Step 3: Disconnect to Reconnect**

Our digital age requires that we create our own work-life balance, because tech won’t automatically do it for us! Silence non-urgent notifications from apps and email, and create automated weekend email responses, soaking in a little peace and quiet. 

Photo by Annemiek Smegen on Unsplash

**Step 4: Mindful Moments**

I’ll be honest. I like to scroll now and then. IG has some freaking funny cat reels and 80’s GenX videos that I totally relate to. But mindless scrolling can end up wasting time rather than refreshing us. Find intentional ways to savor your free time. Tune into the beauty around you, compliment a stranger, or strike up a chat. Treat these mindful moments like a spa day for your mental and emotional health.

**Step 5: Reduce Sugar Intake**

Sugar might give you a quick pick-me-up, but it can wreck you on the other end. Blood sugar swings and urges for more sugar leave you exhausted. (Not to mention beating yourself up for eating junk food that you really didn’t want and made you feel like crap.) Have your go-to meals and snacks ready for any situation. And stay hydrated with water. Your mind and body will be all smiles!

**Step 6: Seek Support**

Whether you’re struggling in your personal or professional life, don’t hesitate to reach out for support. Simply discussing issues with colleagues, friends or mentors can build a network to help maintain your health. If you need more focused support for challenges related to sticking with healthy habits, consider coaching with me.

**Step 7:Use the Key Word**

Balance is all about knowing when to say yes and when to wield the mighty “no.” While saying yes can be tempting, it’s essential to say no when overcommitting would tip the scales. Embrace the power of saying no in order to protect your time, energy, and well-being.

When life comes at you fast, balance is your ticket to success, personally and professionally. It’s not a static place to “get to” but rather a way of life that you cultivate. Keep prioritizing better balance and wellbeing; they’re your path to being a Healthy Hottie and living the life you want.

5 ways to eat less sugar, for good

When I told you about my top 5 secrets for keeping fit over 50, I left one out. I learned how to eat less sugar. A lot less.

I didn’t leave it out on purpose. It goes along with my focus on whole plants (#5). But with the number of inquiries I get from women who want help in doing the same, it really deserves a deeper dive.

My goal is not to argue for less sugar. I’ve made the decision and my desire is to help others who want to do the same. If you’d like to do the research, here are two resources to get you started: Sugar and Cardiovascular Disease and Does Sugar Lead to Weight Gain.

To be clear, I’m talking about added sugars. Not those naturally occurring in a food. The cool thing is that nutrition labels now highlight added sugars compared to total sugars for processed foods. Super helpful.

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

If you want to learn how to eat less sugar, try these five things:

  1. Get the majority of sweetness in your diet from whole plants. These natural sugars have less effect on your dopamine levels, helping to keep your consumption of these foods in balance. (E.g. ever notice that once you eat a cookie, you crave another? But you probably never crave a second or third banana or bowl of strawberries. One suffices.) My favorite “dessert” is 2-3 dates dipped in almond butter.
  2. Choose unsweetened beverages. Sodas and juices pack a huge amount of sugar per serving. Try a tasty cinnamon tea (my clients love this) or one of the many sparkling waters with a fruity essence. If you drink alcohol, here’s a helpful graphic to see the sugar content of various drinks.
  3. Make the switch. Beyond the obvious baked goods and candy, identify what you eat regularly that contains added sugars and consider switching to something with less (or no) sugar. Yogurt can be healthy, but sugar content varies widely among varieties and brands. My choice is plain, greek yogurt to which I add my own fruit. For peanut butter I always choose unsweetened (just like the peanut itself!). For bread and cereals, I look for those with the least added sugars. I really like Ezekiel products.
  4. Beware the condiment. Foods like ketchup, barbeque sauce, pasta sauce and salad dressings can have more sugar than you’d expect. Find options and brands that help you limit your intake. I tried a plant based recipe recently that called for a sauce I hadn’t tried before. Upon discovering the first ingredient was sugar, I decided to be creative and exchange it for something else. It was delicious.
  5. Stop fantasizing. If a client tells me how hard it is to not eat sugar and how much she loves something (like ice cream, cookies, etc.) I know she’s in for a long haul. Unless she stops ogling all the sweets. I can relate. I used to do it. I’d see something and tell myself how good it would taste. Especially something with chocolate. Or buttercream frosting. Or my afternoon cafe mocha. But all that thinking about sweets – and that I deserved it, of course – only made me desire it more. Start fantasizing about what you really want. Sugar is a disappointing substitute.

There you have it, five ways to eat less sugar. Once you put these steps into play it becomes easier, almost automated. Take it at a pace you can manage. Pick one thing and master it. Then go to the next. If you can do several at once, go for it. The most important thing is to keep at the forefront of your mind that this is a lifestyle. That you are discovering a new way of eating and being. Now, go fantasize about that.

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