Mind/Move Challenges

Welcome to Evolve 180’s Mind/Move Challenges!

You can supercharge your Health Journey in just 10-15 minutes
per day with these simple and easy exercises!

MOVE

Choose one exercise from each section (upper body, core, and lower body) each week, then add a walk.
See our tips on getting started with MOVE Challenges below!

NOTE:  Click on a link below to see the demo video on Sweat.com

Walking

15 Minute Walk:  We recommend a 15-minute walk 3 times per week, or more often.  If you are just starting out, and 15-minutes is too long, start shorter. If you’re more advanced and 15-minutes is not enough, go longer.  More often is better. Walking daily is a great goal to set!

Lower Body

Running

Lower Body

Focus on:

Core

    Running

    Core

    • Planks  · Incorporates multiple muscle groups.

    Easier options to get started:  

    Upper Body

    3 Kinds of Push-Ups  

    The following exercises can be done without any weights, to begin with. As you grow stronger and are able to do more repetitions, consider adding cans of soup, water bottles, or hand weights to make these gradually more challenging.  

    Running

    Upper Body

    3 Kinds of Push-Ups  

    The following exercises can be done without any weights, to begin with. As you grow stronger and are able to do more repetitions, consider adding cans of soup, water bottles, or hand weights to make these gradually more challenging.  

    Having Trouble Choosing a Mind/Move combination?

    We can help you with that.

    We have 4 predesigned Mind/Move Challenge Combinations for you!
    Now it’s even easier to proceed on your fully encompassing personal Health Journey!

    * Click on each below to open up the PDF version. 

    MIND

    Choose one Mind Challenge each week. Or choose the one you love and stick with it. It’s up to you! 

    See detailed instructions on each MIND Challenge Topic below. 

    Journal, Journal, Journal

    Journaling is the only way to consciously win the unconscious battle you are always fighting with the ancient part of your brain when you are losing weight. By writing down everything you eat or drink “whilst doing it” or immediately after, you’ll win!

    Mind Challenge

    Challenge:  For the next 7 days, journal every bite and every sip you take!

    Each day, preferably right before or immediately after you eat, write down details about your meal. Every bite, every sip should be included.

    Extra Credit:

    • Measure your portions for the first 3 days to be sure your journal is accurate.
    • Bring your journal to your next visit and share it with your coach.
    • Really, this shouldn’t be a challenge. It should just be something all of us do every day. But for many of us, it’s difficult to make ourselves do it.  This challenge is one you should circle back to whenever you notice yourself being less consistent.

    Deeper Dive:

    If you find yourself very resistant to this challenge, we’re sorry to break it to you, but you are probably one of the people who need it the most!

    Consistent Food Journaling is the biggest predicting factor for success in a weight loss journey -period.  And yet, many people resist this simple tool, dismissing it as ‘annoying,’ or claiming they don’t need to do it for one reason or another. We commonly hear clients say, “I eat the same thing every day, so I don’t need to journal.”

    The problem is that these clients run into as many difficulties as any other client who doesn’t journal – despite their belief they are doing the same things every day.

    Part of the problem is that as human beings, we are subject to both our conscious and subconscious minds. Even when you consciously think you’re on track, your sub-conscious may be sabotaging you in subtle ways you won’t notice unless you’re tracking.  Why would it do that?  It’s just trying to help you survive!

    As far as evolution is concerned, we are not very different from our prehistoric ancestors.  In their day, fat storage was an essential survival tool and any situation that caused us to burn it was some kind of life-threatening food shortage. Despite living in a very different world today, our primitive survival mechanisms still operate with similar priorities.  We store as much fat as we can when food is plentiful (some of us have this as a super-power which probably used to be a survival advantage but today – not so much).  And our bodies resist burning fat so it will be available in case of emergency – such as the next winter or in case we become injured and can’t hurt.  Much of this is driven by ancient parts of our brain and physiology.

    Our fancy new prefrontal cortexes that think using rational logic, strategy, and big-picture perspective might realize being overweight is unhealthy and decide to lose some fat. But our ancient brains don’t get the memo – and they couldn’t read it if they did.  This food shortage (your weight loss protocol) is an emergency (it believes), and it has all kinds of ways to influence your behavior to make sure you consume as many calories as you can – especially if you’re not paying conscious attention.

    Without tracking, you might consume ten ounces of protein instead of eight.  You might pour four tablespoons of cream into your coffee, not two.  You might forget you’ve had your one serving of cheese for the day and eat a second — or the portion won’t be one ounce, it’ll be three.  Your subconscious mind will be ecstatic that it’s consumed enough calories that it won’t have to use up any more of its precious fat stores.  Your conscious mind will step on the scale, realize it hasn’t dropped any weight over the last week, and be confused.

    Trust us on this one!  Journaling is the only way to consciously win the unconscious battle you are always fighting with the ancient part of your brain when you are losing weight. You win by staying conscious, and you do that by writing down every single thing you eat or drink *as you are actually doing it* or immediately before/after.  It’s that easy.

    Zoom Out Technique

    This is particularly helpful for those of us who turn to food for comfort. It can also be helpful in managing life’s ordinary upsets and stressors.

    Mind Challenge

    Challenge:  For the next 7 days, use the Zoom Out technique if you notice yourself becoming upset about something.

    If you notice yourself feeling upset (angry, sad, frustrated, etc.), find somewhere you can relax for a moment to practice the Zoom Out Technique.

    • If you’re angry, start by saying to yourself, “I’m angry.” Feel those feelings.
    • Next, zoom out by rephrasing to “I’m feeling anger.” Ask yourself where you experience the sensation of anger in your body. What thoughts accompany it in your mind.
    • Next, zoom out again by rephrasing to “I’m aware that I’m observing my own anger.”  Become curious about the difference between the part of you observing, and the part of you feeling anger.
    • Finally, zoom out one more time to “I’m aware that I’m aware.”  Explore what the “I” is who observes. What is the nature of that awareness? Where does it reside?

    Keep track of the times you do this in your Food Journal and share any insights you have with your coach!

    This exercise can help you quickly regain perspective if you’ve gotten stuck in a painful or difficult tailspin of emotional reaction.  “Stress” and difficult situations with work, home, or friends are the most common reasons people give for going off their food plan. This technique gives you a fast, effective alternative to eating to soothe your feelings.

    Deeper Dive:

    The Zoom Out Technique is particularly helpful for those of us who turn to food for comfort, but it can also be helpful in managing life’s ordinary upsets and stressors.  Give it a try and you’ll see!

    Has this ever happened to you?   You’re going about your day, sticking to your plan, when out of the blue something upsets you and makes you angry.  Suddenly you’re in a tailspin.  Resentment builds, anxiety spirals, your mind is hijacked and everything else fades away as you stress over this situation.

    If you’re a comfort eater, before long you’re craving your old standbys: fast food, chocolate ice cream, bread — whatever has been your personal go-to comfort food of choice.  A hijacked mind is a very uncomfortable place to be for long and food can temporarily release endorphins that calm and relax you — taking the edge off at least for a few minutes.  If you’re not a comfort eater, you may experience other impulses designed to relieve your feelings, such as the desire to confront a situation and vent your feelings. Or you might just want to withdraw, get away from whatever, or whoever has upset you.

    Our anger example is an easy illustration because anger is an extreme emotion and we can all relate.  However, even more common – but just as disruptive – are the small stressors we all encounter each day.  Sudden upsets, chronic upsets, daily work-life stressors, lack of sleep, lack of enough down-time — all of these add up to push you into that hijacked state.  When you’re hijacked you’re prone to making rash decisions, including abandoning your weight loss journey, to try to feel better in the short term.

    Brain scientists would tell you that what’s happening when you’re hijacked is that your primitive amygdala and its arsenal of stress hormones (a.k.a. your lizard brain) have taken center stage.  When that happens, you lose full access to your prefrontal cortex (a.k.a. your higher brain regions) where logic, perspective, and even language reside.  Your lizard brain’s job is survival.  When a threat (anything that hijacks you) is perceived, it’s going to nudge you to fight (vent or confront) or flee (withdraw from) the situation.  Comfort eating falls into the ‘withdraw’ category – temporary escape though it may be.  In either case – without your higher reasoning accessible, you’re in danger of making a short-term decision that doesn’t fit into your long-term goals for yourself.  Yelling at your co-worker, making a hurtful comment to your partner, grabbing your keys and driving away, or eating your way through a pint of ice cream are all responses that suggest you may not have all of your decision-making tools available at the moment.

    We offer tools to counteract this precarious state of mind because snap decision-making using your lizard brain can be hazardous to your chances of staying on track with your weight loss journey.  Retaining access to your perspective and long-term goals for yourself is essential to your success. If you can remember WHY you started the journey and access the intense feelings of desire that go along with that sense of purpose (both functions of your higher brain), you’ll be much more likely to make it to your goal.  If you lose sight of your goal, you’ll be in danger of losing your resolve.

    Fortunately, we have a ‘hack’ for regaining access to your higher brain during moments of upset.  This technique was inspired by Dr. Mark Atkinson, author of True Happiness.  It’s simple and easy.  All you have to do is give it a try a couple of times when you AREN’T HIJACKED — as practice — to get a feel for what to do when you are.  So here’s how to get started.

    Print out the (attached?) page and take it with you to a place where you can sit or lie comfortably.  Pick a recent situation that upset you.  It needs to be one that spurred difficult thoughts, strong emotions, and was hard to shake.  Re Experience for a moment those thoughts and feelings as vividly as you can.  Let yourself feel them as if they were happening now.  Go ahead and get angry, sad, frustrated, or upset.

    Now, once you’re feeling it, go through these exercises one step at a time and really try to notice any shifts that may occur with your internal relationship with those strong thoughts and feelings.

    Once again, we’ll use the example of feeling anger for our explanation.

    Once you are really deep in remembering how angry you felt, start by saying (and really feeling):  “I’m angry.” Go ahead and feel those intense feelings.  Remember all the things that pissed you off.  Cuss and swear in your mind.  Imagine saying all the things you’d like to have said. Even imagine punching, kicking, or yelling at whatever or whomever is making you so mad.

    Next, zoom out one level.  Say “I’m feeling anger.”  With this step, try to notice what feeling anger is like.  Do you feel it just in your angry thoughts, or is it in your body too?  If so, where?  Is it hot? Cold? What color would it be if you could see it?  What sensations does feeling anger cause?  How do you know it’s anger and not some other emotion? What thoughts come with it?  Try to be specific.  If you notice certain types of thoughts correspond with feeling anger, try saying “I’m thinking angry thoughts.”  Notice whether there’s any difference between this step and the last one where you were angry.

    Next, zoom out one more level.  Say, “I’m aware that I’m observing my own anger and angry thoughts.”  If you (the thing you call “I”) can feel anger, there must be a difference between you and the feeling of anger.  Does that feel true?  If so, where do you end and the feelings begin? What else does your “I” observe?  What about the thoughts you’re thinking?  Are you the same as the thoughts you’re thinking? Or are they separate, too?  What or who is this ‘observer?’

    And finally, zoom out one last time.  Try, “I am aware that I’m aware.”  In this step, notice that not only can you observe your own experiences from a vantage point that is separate from them, BUT you can also observe that you are observing.  Ask yourself, who or what is it that is aware? Can you sense the “I” inside of you?  What is the nature of that “I”?  Is it large? Small? Still? Moving? Steady or changing?  See if you can find it and feel it and sit with it for a moment.

    By this time, you should feel a lot calmer and the feelings of anger should have moved from a loud clamor to something less intense and overpowering.  This is because each step of this exercise re-engaged a piece of your prefrontal cortex (higher brain) until it once again took center stage.  From here you should be able to have some perspective on your situation and make decisions using a part of your brain that is more oriented to your long-term goals for yourself, rather than momentary ‘relief’ of a threatening state of mind.

    The Science Behind The Zoom Out:

    In case you’re curious about the way this works, here’s a bit of psychology speak to explain it.

    First, we stepped you back from being completely identified with your feelings and thoughts (I am angry) to a vantage point with a bit more perspective on them (I’m feeling anger).  The wording is slightly more analytical – which calls upon the prefrontal cortex to engage.

    Next, we asked you to use meta-thinking about your own feelings. And then we had you take that to the next level in a sort of meditation ‘hack’ that asks you to engage with the central beingness that exists in all of us. Making it all the way up the zoom-out scale can really bring you some peace in the midst of an upset because remembering your highest, truest nature is very calming.  But even just the first or second zoom levels can buy you enough distance from the situation to help you make better decisions with more perspective.

    Going Deeper:   

    If you enjoyed this exercise and want to keep exploring your own relationship to the thoughts and feelings you experience, here are a couple of helpful metaphors we’ve found to help describe these concepts in understandable terms.

    METAPHOR – MOVIE THEATER 

    You are in a movie theater watching a screen.  On that screen, your thoughts play out like a movie. Notice that the images are usually from the past or the future – but rarely about what is happening right now.  The past is over, and we don’t really know what will happen in the future, but your mind serves up these images as if they were real.  Your body responds to them as if they were real – despite the fact that none of them are actually happening right now.  If it’s a horror movie, and your heart is pounding in terror for your life, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to remember that you are sitting safely in a theater, not being chased by a psycho-killer?

    METAPHOR – BLUE SKY AND CLOUDS 

    Imagine your thoughts and the feelings that accompany them are like clouds drifting across a blue sky. Sometimes they block out the sun with dark & stormy weather (moods). Other times they are light and pleasant.  But all of them drift, change, come and go.  The sky is never static – just like your mind. It’s constantly changing from light to dark, stormy to clear and back again.  Moods (clusters of thoughts and the feelings that accompany them) are like the weather.  You are like the sky – the background observer across which these temporary experiences play out.  And your central awareness is like the sun – sometimes hidden by clouds and weather – but never really gone – and in actuality the reason we have light to ‘see’ at all.

    Mindful Eating

    Mindful eating can reduce overeating by up to 70%, so this is an amazing habit to adopt not just for the Mind/Movement challenges, but also for life going forward.

    Mind Challenge

    Challenge:  For the next 7 days, eat mindfully.   

    • Each mealtime, turn off all screens, phones, TVs, or other distractions.
    • Don’t eat while driving or working.
    • In each day’s Food Journal, give yourself a rating of 1-10 for how well you did.  1=not great. 10=great!

    Mindful eating can reduce overeating by up to 70%, so this is an amazing habit to adopt not just for this challenge, but ongoing.

    Deeper Dive:  

    Distraction is a major cause of overeating. Stay present by reducing distracting or numbing behaviors while you’re eating. Each time you eat, turn off screens, put down your phone or tablet, turn off your TV and minimize other distractions.  Don’t eat while driving or working or doing other activities. Be present. Experience your meals fully.

    This practice will help you not only during weight loss, but it’ll be a great tool for Maintenance, as well!  Mindful eating can also develop your awareness about your relationship to food, hunger, fullness, and more!  Pay attention and write down any insights you might have as a result.

    When you rate your success in your food journal, think of it this way.   1 = you did not eat mindfully at all.  10 = you did great and really experienced your meal from the first bite to the last.

    Mentally Rehearse Your Success

    “Create the grandest vision possible for your life – because what you believe, you become” – Oprah Winfrey. This exercise utilizes scientifically validated techniques used by professional athletes, musicians, and surgeons to increase their likelihood of achieving excellence in pursuit of their performance goals.

    Mind Challenge

    Challenge:  For the next 7 days, take 5-7 minutes each morning to mentally rehearse your success!  

    This exercise borrows scientifically validated techniques used by professional athletes, musicians, and surgeons to increase their likelihood of achieving excellence in pursuit of their performance goals.

    • Each day, take 5-7 minutes each morning to vividly imagine the things you want to happen once you reach your goal.
    • Making it vivid is the KEY. What sights, sounds, sensations do you envision? What feelings are evoked?
    • Write down in your food journal ONE takeaway from each day’s visualization that felt important and motivating.
    • Send or bring your list to your next Coaching visit, and share the highlights with your coach!

    Simple explanation:

    The more vividly you picture your desired goal, the more likely you are to achieve it! There are a multitude of studies by psychologists and neuroscientists confirming the power of visualization.

    Detailed Instructions & Explanation:

    • Make it Meaningful
    • What are some of the best, most meaningful things you can imagine happening as a result of reaching your goal?
    • Does it involve looking amazing for an event?  Maybe a wedding, a vacation, or an excursion? Or a chance to run into a certain someone and having them notice how great you look?
    • What about how clothes fit? Is there an outfit you’ve been dying to get, or a section of your closet you’d love to fit back into?
    • How about an important health outcome?  Like lab tests showing lowered cholesterol, blood sugar, or blood pressure?  Or finding out you’re no longer diabetic!  What about the astonishment on your doctor’s face when he sees you at your goal weight?

    Whatever prompted you to begin… whatever you held in your mind that caused you to call Evolve180 and take the first step on the journey you’re now on… THAT is your key to ensuring you make it all the way to your goal. It’s important not to judge your motivations, no matter what they are. If they mean something powerful to you, that is what matters.  Motivation can be personal and private – or sometimes just hard to explain. That’s ok. As long as YOU can get in touch with it, that’s what counts.

    Some people feel hesitant to admit their primary motivator is how they look.  Please don’t dismiss the power of the desire to look great!  There are reasons we, as humans, value fit, lean physiques — they represent health, vitality, and desirable traits in a mate!  These qualities are a big evolutionary deal – so who are we to argue with nature?  Some of us remember a notorious celebrity from the 90s who built her entire weight loss empire from her desire to make her ex-husband regret leaving her.  So what?!  It got her going in a healthy direction and fueled her journey all the way to her goal. It worked for her.

    Whatever got you motivated to start, embrace it, be grateful for it, and BUILD on it.

    Make it Vivid:

    For this exercise, detail and feelings are key.  If your motivation is to look great for a wedding, picture yourself at the event.  Smell the fragrance of flowers and food.  Feel the cool smoothness of a champagne flute against your fingers.  Hear the music and the voices of the guests. Is it warm or chilly?  What are you wearing? Look down at your body and smile because you notice how slim and healthy it looks.

    Bring as much detail as possible to your vision and feel as many feelings as you can.  Are you triumphant? Relieved?  Proud?  What do people say who notice your weight loss?  How does it feel to be complimented? Feel yourself respond.  If you’re smiling, notice the feeling of your eyes crinkling and your cheeks stretching.

    The more detail and feeling you can imagine, the better.  The more real it feels, the more your subconscious mind will shift into aligning with that “reality.”  You’ll start to naturally make choices that help move your closer to your goal – without even realizing it!  And when the going gets tough, your vision will be fresh and vivid to remind you of your priorities.

    Create the grandest vision possible for your life—because what you believe, you become.”  — Oprah Winfrey

    Mindfully Incorporate More Movement

    This challenge combines the power of your mind to increase the frequency of your movement!  The more you move throughout your day, the more energy you burn (which helps with weight loss), and the more habits you create around moving more!

    Mind Challenge

    Challenge:  For the next 7 days, try to make everyday tasks a chance to MOVE more!  

    • Each day, try to incorporate more movement into your daily activities
    • March in place as you clean the kitchen, go upstairs more often than you need to.
    • Keep track of what you did in your Food Journal and share it with your coach!

    This challenge combines the power of your mind to increase the frequency of your movement!  The more you move throughout your day, the more energy you burn (which helps with weight loss), and the more habits you create around moving more!

    Deeper Dive:

    Here are some more ideas to try!

    • If you’re folding laundry, do it standing up and try to incorporate a bodyweight squat as you reach for the next item.
    • If you’re going grocery shopping, park in the farthest parking spot you can find to increase the distance you walk to and from the store.   Hint:  This challenge can be facilitated by a Fit-Bit or Apple Watch to help you count total daily steps.  Take note of how many steps you usually average and try to increase them by 10% each day!
    • Any time you are on the phone (when you don’t need to be at your computer), walk while you talk.  It can be outside if the weather is friendly. Or inside – around your living room or up your stairs – if needed.
    • If you are cleaning, try to make your movements more exaggerated. Take less direct routes if you’re walking around, move your arms more than you need to, bend and stretch and try to make routine cleaning into a calisthenic/isometric workout!
    • If you are going to read, grab an audiobook instead and listen while you walk around your neighborhood, on a treadmill, or even just around your house.

    Join our Facebook Group:  Evolve180 Clients, Friends & Family to share your ideas and hear others!

    If you come up with great ideas to incorporate movement beyond our suggestions, please share!

    Random Acts of Kindness

    Getting out of your own head and thinking of others for a little while each day is very therapeutic!  Practice putting the energy that you’d like to receive out into the world.

    Mind Challenge

    Challenge:  For the next 7 days, try to incorporate ONE Random Act of Kindness each day.  

    • At least ONE Random Act of Kindness
    • At least 3 days this week, but preferably 7 days.
    • Only one of your recipients should be a close friend or family member.

    Getting out of your own head and thinking of others for a little while each day is very therapeutic!

    Practice putting the energy that you’d like to receive out into the world.  See below for some fun ideas.

    Why Random Acts of Kindness?

    According to Psychology Today, Kindness promotes empathy and compassion; which in turn, leads to a sense of interconnectedness with others.  When we practice random acts of kindness, It releases positivity: We feel better and the recipients of our acts feel better, which then makes them more likely to be kind to other people!

    This relates to your weight loss journey because the more you concentrate on others, the less time you will have to think about what you aren’t eating, or aren’t doing (such as forgoing happy hours or tuning out food your family is eating that you aren’t, etc).

    Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

    • Pay it Backward: buy coffee for the person behind you in line.
    • Send a positive text message to five different people right now.
    • Donate old towels or blankets to an animal shelter.
    • Surprise a neighbor with flowers or a potted plant.
    • Let someone go in front of you in the grocery line who only has a few items.
    • Encounter someone in customer service who is especially kind? Take an extra five minutes to tell their manager.

    Phone A Friend

    “The only way to have a friend is to be one” – Ralph Waldo Emerson. Offering support out of the blue is a great way to create strong, stable social connections. Strong social bonds are one of the keys to long-term mental health and happiness.

    Mind Challenge

    Challenge:  For the next 7 days make a plan and Phone a Friend!  

    • Make a list of 3-7 people you like or care about, but with whom you’ve lost touch.
    • Especially include them if you suspect they may be isolated, lonely , or would just really love to hear from you.
    • Call one of them each day.
    • Make notes in your journal about how you felt afterward. Share your experience with your coach!

    Offering support out of the blue is a great way to create strong, stable social connections. Strong social bonds are one of the keys to long-term mental health and happiness.

    Friendship isn’t about whom you have known the longest …It’s about who came, and never left your side.”   – Unknown

    Deeper Dive:

    Research suggests that friendships can help us find purpose and meaning, stay healthy, and live longer. The intimacy, support, equality, and emotional bonds we have in our friendships are unique.  Stable and reciprocal relationships are precious and form the foundation for a healthy life - body mind and soul.

    But they aren’t something to be taken for granted.  It’s important to ask yourself if you’re doing your part to contribute to the strength and longevity of your friendships.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself;

    • Am I communicating consistently?
    • Am I creating reciprocity?
    • Have I been helpful lately?
    • When was the last time I shared a compliment about who they are or told them why I appreciated them?
    • When was the last time I did something nice for them?
    • Am I a reliable presence in that person’s life?

    If you are making sure most of those questions have good answers, you probably have the makings of a positive, life-long friendship. Even when we have distance (in terms of geography or even time…) we can make sure we are being positive, helpful, showing up from a distance, whether that’s just checking in by text or sending a funny joke or forwarding an article or calling—making time.

    Especially during difficult times, it’s important to show up and provide an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on. In-person is great however virtually is far better than not connecting at all.  This will do you as much good as it will do them.

    Let It Go

    Just like with losing weight, sometimes it’s hard to let go of things.  Take a little time each day to get rid of something you no longer need or want. We all know that when you lose some things — like excess weight — you actually win.

    Mind Challenge

    Challenge:  For the next 7 days, choose ONE thing in your life (physical or mental) that you no longer need and Let it go! 

    • Make a list of 7 things that you no longer want or need in your life
    • Each day, choose one of those things and get rid of it.
    • Throw it away, donate it, delete it or give it to someone who would appreciate it.

    Just like with losing weight, sometimes it’s hard to let go of things.  Take a little time each day to get rid of something you no longer need or want.

    • Clothes that are now too big, or shoes that you no longer wear.
    • Broken items you have never gotten around to fixing.
    • Apps on your desktop or phone you never use.
    • Things that take up mind-space — you’ll know them when you think about or see them.

    Deeper Dive:

    Symbolic Letting Go

    We all know that when you lose some things — like excess weight — you actually win. But the confusing language of “loss” can trap your mind into holding on to useless things. This week, we want you to symbolically double down on releasing excess weight by also releasing unneeded things in your physical world.

    Karen Kingston, in her amazing book ”Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui,” makes this excellent point:  “Particularly if you are engaged in any kind of self-improvement work, you need to update your environment regularly. So get into the habit of leaving a trail of discarded clutter in your wake, and start to think of it as a sign of your progression!”  This advice is very relevant to your weight loss journey.

    Part of letting go (or clutter clearing) is making room energetically for better, healthier, and fresher things to come into your life. If you do this while holding the thought that what you clear from your life and body today makes room for something better to flow in, you’ll experience a noticeable lightening of mental energy in both your cluttered environment and your physical self.

    There is something powerful about affirming the abundance of life by having the confidence to let go of what you don’t need now, with the confidence that if you need something like it again, it will be provided to you at the right time. Try it, you’ll see!  These energy exercises can be as powerful as any plank or side squat!

    Plan to tell your coach some of what you let go of this week. We will be excited to help you celebrate the multiple ways your life is getting lighter!

    Structured Breath Work

    Inhale, Exhale, Repeat. If you breathe in specific ways you can actually influence your own nervous system! Deep breathing exercises are hallmarks of good yoga and meditation practices, but they can also help with everyday life as well!

    Mind Challenge

    Challenge:  For the next 7 days, choose one of the following breathing exercises and do it for one minute, twice a day.   

    Using one (or both) of the options below, practice structured breathing for 1 minute, 2X per day.
    Keep track of this in your Food Journal and make note of any observations you have about the experience.
    Share the results with your coach.

    Choices:

    • Long Exhale: Breath in through your nose for 4 seconds, and out through your mouth with a soft whoosh for 8 seconds. Repeat.

    OR

    • 4-6-8 Method:  Inhale through your nose for 4. Hold for 6. Exhale through your mouth, making a soft whoosh sound for 8.  Repeat.

    Deeper Dive:

    Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

    Deep breathing exercises are hallmarks of good yoga and meditation practices, but they can also help with everyday life as well!

    Why do they work? Because if you breathe in specific ways you can actually influence your own nervous system!  McKenna Princing from UW Medicine offers this quick biology lesson to help explain:

    “Your autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary actions like heart rate and digestion, is split into two parts. One part, the sympathetic nervous system, controls your fight-or-flight response. The other part, the parasympathetic nervous system, controls your rest and relaxation response. These two parts of your nervous system can’t be turned on at the same time, which means if you work to activate one, the other will be suppressed. (Breathing exercises activate your parasympathetic nervous system). Breathing more deeply also allows for more carbon dioxide to enter your blood, which quiets down parts of the brain, like the amygdala, that handles your anxiety response.”

    If you’ve never tried intentional breathing before, you’re in for a treat.  Find a quiet spot, give yourself a minute or two to practice, and breathe away. Soon you’ll find yourself more calm, relaxed, and ‘chill’ than you were before you started.

    Attitude of Gratitude

    There are two components of gratitude, according to Greater Good Magazine. Affirmation of goodness and recognizing where goodness comes from. Gratitude can help reinforce your motivation to reach your health goals.

    Mind Challenge

    Challenge: For the next 7 days, find 3 things you are grateful for each day and write them in your Food Journal.  

    Each day list 3 things you are grateful for in the notes section of that day’s Food Journal.
    Take a moment to really appreciate those things.

    Extra Credit:

    If one of those things is a relationship or a person, take a moment to send them a heartfelt note about how you feel.
    Share the results with your coach!

    Some of the well-known benefits of gratitude:

    Physical 

    • Stronger immune systems
    • Lower blood pressure
    • Better sleep

    Psychological

    • Better mood and a happier outlook
    • More alert, alive, and awake
    • More joy and pleasure

    Deeper Dive:

    According to the team at Greater Good Magazine, gratitude has two components. Writing a gratitude list is an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world by acknowledging the gifts and benefits we’ve received. This doesn’t mean that life is perfect; it doesn’t ignore complaints, burdens, and hassles. But when we look at life as a whole, gratitude encourages us to identify some amount of goodness in our life, no matter what else is happening.

    The second part of gratitude is recognizing where that goodness came from. Was it from inside or outside of ourselves?  In most cases, this kind of reflection reveals a magnificent abundance of goodness flowing into our lives from many sources including other people or even a higher power (if you’re of a spiritual mindset). This recognition cultivates a humble sense that the universe is a positive and caring place — even when things are also hard.

    This ties into your weight loss journey because when you are ‘depriving yourself’ of something (i.e. some choices regarding food), it can be helpful to remind yourself how much abundance and goodness you have in other areas of your life.  Gratitude can also help reinforce your motivation to reach your health goals so you can live a long, happy life in the midst of all the good things in life you appreciate.

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