A Reminder to Stress Less

As the Holiday season begins approaching (or might already be here) I am going to start a series of blog posts with topics and tips to help you stay healthy and in check during the hectic and fun season. This week I am starting by re-posting an old piece of mine because it is such an important topic; stress. I hope everyone can take a moment today to read, reflect, and incorporate one of these tricks into their routine!

Are you constantly stressed out or are you in a chronic state of stress and do not even realize?

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Stress has so many immediate and long term negative effects on the body. These harmful effects can be both physical and mental. Stress can induce chronic disease, anxiety, depression, heart attacks, panic attacks, and other difficult health issues. Matter of fact, 90% of all chronic disease is caused by stress, and to make it worse, about 70% of the population knows that they are stressed out and only about 25-30% try to do something about it.

What are easy ways to reduce or deal with stress?

  1. Breath. Yes, this may sound corny, but if you can really pause for a few minutes, close your eyes, and practice deep breathing you will immediately feel less stressed. Scientifically, your body can not release the hormone that causes relaxation at the same time as the hormones causing stress therefore this practice works if you focus. Simply inhale 4 to 8 counts of breath and exhale the same; repeat for a few minutes.
  2. Journal. Taking a few minutes to write out how you are feeling will help you prioritize, organize, and refocus your thoughts. It may bring a new perspective or give you an “aha” moment that will help you calm down and distress.
  3. Move. Many people find that exercise is a great way to release stress from the body. It can take your mind away from the issues or challenges at hand while pushing your body into a new level of awareness. When you exercise your body releases endorphins that cause you to feel good and motivate you to eat well and work harder. Exercise can be strenuous or just a light walk.
  4. Sleep. So many people underestimate the importance of getting AT LEAST 7 hours of sleep every night. Inadequate sleep leads to decreases in important hormones that help manage stress levels within the body.
  5. Hydrate. Dehydration does not allow your brain or body to function properly. Drinking the recommended amounts of water daily and avoiding large amounts of caffeine will help keep your mind conscious and more able to deal with challenges and changes thrown at you.
  6. Eat Right. Avoid processed, sugary, or fatty foods. Having a strong and healthy body will give you more energy and fuel to work through stress or even totally avoid it.

    Here is a great article that discusses foods that aid with stress relief via Mind Body Green: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4170/7-Foods-to-Fight-Stress.html

Exciting News!! I am officially a Certified Holistic Health Coach

This week I have some exciting news to share with everyone. After six months studying at IIN (Institute of Integrative Nutrition), I am officially certified as a Holistic Health & Wellness Coach and can begin to take on clients. I have studied over a hundred dietary theories as well as how all aspects of one’s life affect how we look at and think about food.

So, what is a Holistic Health & Wellness Coach and what can I do to help you?

I take a holistic approach to health coaching; meaning I look at all aspects of your life to help you regain control over food and weight issues. I realize that not one way of eating works for everyone and I am excited to find the best approach for each of my clients in order for them to feel their best. I am here to be a guide and supportive mentor who empowers you to take responsibility for your health and achievement of your personal wellness goals. Some common areas where I may help you could include weight management, food cravings, sleep, energy, stress management, digestion, an basic nutrition skills & habits just to name a few…

Your first free consultation will consist of an hour long session to get to know one another and understand your goals and desires. If you believe we are a great fit we can pick a program and plan to start your health journey to happiness and balance.

If you or someone you know is interested check out my new website; Michelle Marie Holistic Health Coaching for lots more information and contact me at michellemariemcg@gmail.com to schedule your first consultation! I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge and helping so many of you gain freedom from food and find happiness in life!

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The Power & Influence of Fitness Instructors

Do you jump out of bed in the early hours of the morning or sneak out of work a little before five to get to a fitness class? Do you book out your classes weeks or months in advance to ensure you get a spot? This enthusiasm to work out is hard to find and a big reason most “fitness obsessed” people have this drive is partially because of their instructors.

Anyone who takes group fitness classes knows how crucial having a great instructor is to your workout. Everyone has experienced an instructor who is lacking energy, speaking softly, and just seems to be going through the motions of class, which causes you to have a not- so-awesome workout. Fitness instructors to most become like family; they are the people you see every day, probably more often than most of your actual family of friends. These women and men start or end your day on a high note with energy and self-confidence. Instructors have the ability to turn your bad day into a good one and it is so important to find a studio where you know you can always depend on this. Good instructors deserve so much more credit than they receive because they always find a way to put their life stresses and bad moods off to the side to make their clients experience the best it can be.

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For me, at Pure Barre Wellesley, I never have to worry about having a bad instructor or a lack luster workout. This group of ladies is amazing, and they always show up to teach a class with 100% enthusiasm. These women are what make it so easy to get up out of bed each morning for 5:45 am class. One of my favorite instructors, Ang, has a way of pushing me to my limits in every single one of her classes. She is known to keep you performing your “A-game” all class and never lets anyone give up. She has a way of making you move your body in ways you didn’t know it could and always makes sure to give you a shout out in class when she notices your extra push. I leave her classes feeling as strong and confident as ever. I look forward to the classes she teaches because I know I will be challenged both physically and mentally. Being  a member for almost a year now, and taking at least two to three classes with Ang a week, I have never had a mediocre experience with her so I had to find out how she and many other great fitness instructors do it..

How do you stay motivated and energetic for every class, especially days when you teach 3 or 4 in a row?

Without a doubt my motivation comes from the energy that our clients bring to class every day. When I see a client push themselves out of their comfort zone, it always gives me the fuel to keep things challenging! Physically, it’s important to eat small healthy snacks in between classes and stay hydrated as well.

What is your favorite way to keep the clients pushing for their best during class?

My favorite thing to do to keep clients motivated is to give a few name shout outs and say what they are doing well. When people want to break out of a position, I think specific positive reinforcement can really help!

What do you love most about being a Pure Barre instructor?

My favorite thing about being a Pure Barre instructor is when a client tells me that they are seeing results in their body that they’ve never been able to attain before. When clients begin to experience positive changes, they become even more confident in class and in themselves.

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I hope everyone is able to find a place where they can experience great instructors, and for those that do, remember to thank these amazing people for the crucial role they play in your everyday life!

This article also appears on Women’s iLab to inspire the next generation of female leaders.

A Health & Lifestyle Coach’s Guide through the Holidays

With the Holiday Season in full swing and the year coming to a close, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to sit down and talk to a new close friend of mine and women entrepreneur; Stephanie Ferisin. Stephanie is a health and lifestyle coach based in Boston, MA and is going to share with everyone a little about her journey as a woman in business as well as some key tips for staying grounded and healthy during the stress of all your holiday parties and festivities.

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Stephanie Ferisin; Health & Lifestyle Coach

 

1. Can you tell us a little about your business and the journey it took to get where you are today?

I help men and women make peace with food and feel at home in their bodies. Because everyone deserves freedom over food, health and happiness.

I know what it’s like to feel powerless around food. It doesn’t feel good. Especially when you know that if you could just get over this “eating thing,” you could step into your full potential. The thing that we don’t realize is that when you try to tighten your grip on controlling food, you swing in the exact opposite direction, eventually. You binge and you feel disappointed, like you lack willpower or control.

But I can tell you now that it’s only when we stop fighting to control our weight that food loses its power over us; we clear our minds of the constant obsession – the calorie-counting, scale-weighing, guilt-induced dieting – and we create more brain space to do what we love to do.

Trust me, I would know. After nearly ten years of battling my weight, I finally dropped my end of the rope. I’ve healed my relationship with food and my body and am now dedicated to helping others do the same.

In 2014, I founded Stephanie Ferisin Health & Wellness with the intention of helping men and women struggling with body image and weight management issues find freedom over food and confidence in their skin and their step. Since then, I’ve learned so much about myself. Being a female solopreneur is both scary (talk about stepping out of your comfort zone!) and liberating at the same time. Similar to my journey in improving my health and healing my relationship with food and my body, I’ve found that there is incredible power behind our mindset. Think about it: the way you do anything is the way you do everything, right? Better yet, the way you eat is the way you live your life. For me, that’s meant trusting myself when taking risks. I trust that I may make mistakes along the way (I’m perfectly imperfect. We all are.), but I’ll learn from them and grow from the experience.

2. With 2014 coming to a close, what advice do you give to your clients looking to make changes in the coming year?

As this year comes to a close, I’m thinking about all of the incredible changes I’ve experienced – I started my business, became a barre fitness instructor, got engaged and have solidified friendships with people who are more like family, who love and support me. With the coming of the New Year, I know many people start thinking about health-related (or really, weight-related) goals. Perhaps they want to lose weight, “slim down,” get toned muscles, you name it. But so long as they are preoccupied by the size and shape of their bodies, they will be fighting for control. And by now you know that trying to gain control over your weight is not the answer to achieving long-lasting health and happiness.

So as you prepare to set your intention for the coming year, consider the following: “When we decide the journey matters as much as the result and that we want to have a good time, most of the time, we radically change our personal definition of success.” – Danielle Laporte

It’s not about the goal, it’s about how you feel when you get there. So if you’re looking to make positive changes in your life — your health, your career, your love life, your social life — consider thinking about how you’d really like to feel along your journey. To help you get started, I’ve outlined the steps you can take to identifying your core desired feelings and getting crystal clear about what you want. Enjoy!

5-step exercise to identify your core desired feelings:

  1. In each of the areas of your life (listed below), describe how you would like to feel.
  • Lifestyle/livelihood, Body/wellness, Relationships/society
  1. Narrow down your core desired feelings to 3-7.
  • Stay away from bold words like confidence and success
    • Go deeper and ask yourself, “What is confidence?”
    • Ex: confidence is feeling acceptance
  • Don’t rely on outside forces to define your reality
    • If you want to feel acceptance, how can you set the rules up for yourself? Can you practice more self-compassion and find acceptance with yourself? Ask yourself: “What can I do to bring this feeling to the moment? How can I set up the rules for myself?”
    • Remember, you can’t choose what happens to you but you can choose how you feel about it
  1. Declaration of core desired feelings
  • Write it down on a piece of paper and place it somewhere visible. It’s your reminder when you feel like you’ve gotten off track.
  1. Question your motivation
  • Why do you want what you want? Who am I trying to please?
  1. Check-in
  • If you find yourself sliding back to old habits or thought patterns, ask yourself: “Am I moving towards or away from my core desired feelings?”

A big thank you to Stephanie for sharing these amazing tips on getting through the Holiday Season and beginning a new journey into 2015. I hope everyone takes something from her message and enjoys the next few weeks with friends and family!

If you want to work or learn more about Stephanie’s Health and Lifestyle coaching visit her website at www.stephanieferisin.com

This article also appears on Women’s iLab to inspire the next generation of female leaders.