Mastering the Juggle – How to Effectively Balance Your Life

The Reality…
In a recent blog I offered ten tips to reduce stress, stress being one of the three components of the Weight Loss Triangle I advocate.  (If you missed it, click here to read Ten Tips to Manage Stress.)  One of the tips offered to reduce stress was to examine how you spend your time and incorporate more balance into your life.  Life balance is one of my favorite topics!  I love this topic because I used to be really, really bad at juggling, and mastering it was key to my current level of happiness and fulfillment.
Balancing the competing areas of our life requires some strong juggling skills, and most of us have not mastered the art of the juggle.  Do you find that when you’re thriving in one area of your life, the other areas seem to suffer a little…or a lot?  Do you get stressed out because of all the competing demands and find yourself unable to keep up?  If you answered yes to either of those questions, you probably need to work on life balance.  Life balance is a necessary component of happiness and fulfillment in life. 
The Challenge…
Our lives are filled with so much wonderful subject matter.  Love and Marriage.  Children.  Friends.  Relationship with Self.  Health and Fitness.  Travel.  Hobbies.  Personal Development.  Spiritually and/or Religion.  Service to Others.  But it’s easy to lose sight of how wonderful each of the areas of your life can be when you’re experiencing stress over how to pay the appropriate amount of attention to each area.  I used to consider some areas of my life necessary, but not necessarily wonderful.  Work.  Home. Finances.  To name a few. My commitment to those areas was more of an obligation and necessity of adult life.  And because of my perspective I didn’t enjoy any of my time spent in those areas. My current perspective is that each area of my life is wonderful and adds to the fullness of my life.  None of it’s a burden and none of it bogs me down.  There’s so much beauty in that balance, but achieving the balance can be tricky. 
The Solution…
The solution I found to creating a healthy balance in life involved the four-step process outlined below.  I believe finding life balance was a key component of managing stress and achieving a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy body weight. 
1.     Identification of Your Areas of Life.  Make a list of the areas of your life, including anything you would like to incorporate prospectively.
2.     Set Goals for Each Area of Your Life.  What kind of relationship do you want to have with your spouse or partner?  Your kids?  How much time do you want to spend with your friends?  How much time do you want to spend on travel?  What are your goals for your professional life?  How much wealth do you wish to build? How do you want to organize and manage your home?  What level of health and fitness are important to you, and how do you get there or maintain? How can you combine different areas to maximize efficiency in your balance?  Can you exercise with a friend or your spouse?  Would your family share a vacation with friends?  If you’re married, some of these will be joint goals.  The point is to spend some time setting a direction for each area so you know where you are headed.
3.     Plan Accordingly.  Part of life balance is planning.  If you are proactively looking at each area of your life as you plan your week ahead, you can be sure to incorporate actions that will not only bring you into balance but also ensure you are headed towards the achievement of your stated goals at all times.  Of course, there will be periods that lack balance for one reason or another, but the key is to always be paying attention to where your time is spent so that you never go too far out of balance and never stray too far from the attainment of your goals in every area of life.
4.     Prioritize.  Clock time is limited, so it helps to establish priority items for a defined period of time.  You can use any time as a frame of reference, meaning for this week, or this month or this quarter, my top priority will be “x” or “x,y, and z”.  Most of my clients are weight loss clients, and we discuss pretty early into the coaching that they must make their health and weight loss goals the top priority if they are to achieve their desired results.  With weight loss, falling into the health and fitness area, as the number one priority until desired results are achieved, a time slot for exercise, food and drink intake and stress management is always reserved and takes priority over everything else. 
I highly recommend trying the four-step process above, or devising your own life balance plan.  Bringing life into balance with evaluation and planning is the key to relieving the stress that comes from being out of balance and pulled in different directions by all the competing areas of your life.
The Invitation….
Please leave me feedback on this blog or any questions as a comment below! 
   
To get started on a deeper dive into permanent weight loss, click on the calendar below to schedule a FREE mini-session with me.  What do you have to lose but some weight??  

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The Secret of Time Management in Weight Loss

The Reality…
Doing everything that must be done to succeed at weight loss can be daunting.  You have to figure out what you’re going to do for exercise.  You have to figure out when you are able to fit that into your schedule.  If you’re planning to work out right after work, you have to have an exercise bag packed and ready to go in the morning.  You also have to figure out when you’re eating and what you’re eating.  You have to go to the grocery store and buy healthy food options.  You have to spend time preparing the meals.  Finally, you have to decide what you’re going to do to reduce your stress and make time for those activities.  Sometimes taking the time out to “reduce the stress” can create stress itself because your mind might wander to all the things you have to get back to when you’re finished de-stressing. 
The Challenge…
It can be a challenge to pull everything together on top of your existing life obligations.   Planning in advance and time management is key to the process of ensuring you effectively manage the three components of weight loss:  diet, exercise and stress management. 
The Solution…
My work with weight loss clients incorporates something called the Weight Loss Triangle Program.  The theory of the program is that weight loss is impacted by three factors: (1) Food and Drink Intake – what you put in your mouth, (2) Exercise – how you burn calories, and (3) Stress & Stress Management – how to effectively manage life stress.  Based upon the individual factors and preferences of each client, a simple protocol is developed to put them on the road to achieving a healthy weight.  Clients are encouraged to reserve a two hour period on Sundays to plan in advance what they will do each day of the upcoming week to achieve their weight loss goals. 
Using the considerations below, a protocol is developed and followed by the client until they achieve their desired weight and level of health:
  • Food and Drink Intake – based upon the client’s schedule, eating times and food and drink to be consumed are determined in advance.  The client decides how quickly or slowly they desire their weight loss to occur, and we plan accordingly.  Many clients elect to incorporate in “planned cheats” each week. The natural consequence of this decision, of course, is that weight loss comes at a slower pace, but the client is more content and less likely to abandon the eating plan since it is specifically designed based upon their goals, objective, and schedule. “Planned cheats” can include desert once a week, two free meals eating out each week, a certain number of permitted alcoholic beverages each week. 
  • Exercise – b:ased up the client’s schedule and current level of fitness, exercises to be performed, amount of time to be spent and days to exercise are determined in advance.  Again, the amount of exercise the client elects can very based upon how much effort they wish to expend, or their schedule in the upcoming week
    • Stress Management– depending upon the level of stress in the client’s life, we work together to develop stress management techniques that are meaningful to the client, and we decide in advance when the client will incorporate those techniques to effectively manage stress, and the effects of stress which can interfere with weight loss. 
Using time management and planning in advance translates to a much higher success rate for achieving weight loss goals than figuring it out “on the fly” each day.  
The Invitation….
To get started on a deeper dive into permanent weight loss, click on the calendar below to schedule a FREE mini-session with me.  What do you have to lose but some weight??  

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Ten Tips to Manage Stress

The Reality…
Stress hits us from many different directions in today’s world.  And some of our sources of stress are delivered to us non-stop via the Internet.  According to a recent study, American adults spend more than 11 hours per day watching, reading, listening to or simply interacting with media.  It’s no wonder we are more stressed than ever before.  
Aside from what’s going on “out there” that we read about online and otherwise, we have our own personal stressors.  Work-related stress is a major source of personal stress.  A recent Forbes article reported the following survey results for workplace trends in 2019:
  • 76% of respondents said workplace stress “had a negative impact on their personal relationships”
  • 66% have lost sleep due to work-related stress
  • 16% have quit jobs because stress became too overwhelming.
Add additional personal stressors such as relationship conflict and money challenges to the mix, and it’s no wonder so many people are suffering.  According to the Global Organization for Stress, 75% of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in month prior to the survey and nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year.
Sadly, we don’t even need to see the statistics, watch the news or go online to know stress is on the rise.  We feel it in our own bodies.  In fact, stress may be one of the primary reasons we find ourselves living in an overweight body, and maybe even trying to medicate against health challenges such as high blood pressure. 
The Challenge…
If you allow stress to go unchecked, your mind and body may experience some undesirable side effects, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, premature aging, mood disorders, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system.  Stress can also lend itself to poor dietary choices, which contribute to unhealthy weight gain and obesity.
How do you cope with your stress?  Do you do anything proactive to manage it?  Or do you give it free reign to lessen the quality of your life and your health?  Does stress impact your relationships?  Does stress keep you up at night?  Have you wanted to your quit your job because you found it too stressful?  Can you look in the mirror and see it on your face?
The Solution…
The truth is that if you don’t manage stress, it will manage you.  And it will seriously impact the quality of your life, your health, and your efforts at weight loss.  Below are ten tips to reduce your level of stress.  Each one will be explored in more detail in upcoming blogs because I consider stress management to be key to maintaining a healthy body, and a happy life.  I recommend you incorporate some sort of stress relief into each day to counter balance the inevitability of stressful situations that will present themselves in your life.  A mindful daily practice of stress management will help avoid the accumulation of stress in your mind and body, which can lead you to chronic stress and put you at risk for significant health problems.  Try some of these and see which ones work for you.
  1. Meditation
  2. Yoga
  3. Exercise 
  4. Spend time in nature
  5. Plan your week in advance
  6. Work on improving your organization skills
  7.  Learn to say NO to too many commitments
  8. Optimize your sleeping environment for a good night’s sleep
  9. Examine how you spend your time and incorporate more life balance
  10. Examine, and work on, your thoughts about your life circumstance and stressors
The Invitation….
To get started on a deeper dive into stress management and permanent weight loss, click on the calendar below to schedule a FREE mini-session with me.  What do you have to lose but some weight??  

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