7 Mind & Body Adjustments Before Starting Any Diet

7 Mind & Body Adjustments Before Starting Any Diet

Most diets fail, so what can you do to stay at a healthy weight?

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I came across a startling statistic in an article on a popular health site that claimed nearly 90% of diets fail. Although the article went viral, that failure rate turned out to be a bit exaggerated. Still, we're talking about a failure rate of about 70%, so something is wrong.

So, why are most diets failing? Well, think of weight gain as merely a symptom of a larger issue. Most people focus only on the numbers, and don't realize that their entire lifestyle might have to change to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

#1: Adjust your schedule

Before signing up for an expensive diet like Nutrisystem or Jenny Craig, (whoa, pricey!) do what you can to flip those odds from failure to success. How? Here are some free ways to prepare yourself for sustainable weight loss, and a healthier lifestyle.

Starting a new workout routine means freeing up a few hours each week from your already-packed schedule. You may think the real work lies in doing the actual workout when 99% of it is done in rearranging meetings and routines to have the time to workout. That's why a lot of people are willing to pay so much for meal delivery diets, as their #1 priority is convenience.

#2: Adjust your sleep

Sleep is so vital in weight loss and overall health as it affects leptin, ghrelin, cortisol, and growth hormone – among other things. I am a night owl and that used to think it was okay to sleep at 1am and wake up at 6:30am. I could only maintain that until I felt like I had completely run myself into the ground, and my hormone levels have yet to recover. It's digging a deep hole that is tough to get out of.

#3: Adjust your stress

Eating is a common reaction to stress, so this is a huge reason to manage your stress. The other is cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that when elevated for a period of time can really interfere with metabolic processes. If you're like me, your metabolic processes are junk to begin with, so anything that would affect that more should be avoided.

Personally, I had a really rough time with work-induced stress for years, and it was one of the reasons I started my own business. While that may sound stressful to some people, it meant the pressure of pleasing or reporting to someone above me and playing office politics was gone. My clients are theoretically my bosses, but I'm doing work that was collaboratively built and it's an entirely different feeling.

#4: Adjust your shopping

Eating healthier means more meal planning, grocery lists, and reading labels. Add this to one of those time consuming items you now have to fit into your schedule. No more zipping through the grocery store on autopilot grabbing whatever strikes your fancy. It's a tough adjustment for many.

#5: Adjust your family

Reduced dinners out, less fast food for the kids, different dinners with the husband – they're all consequences that they will face because of your commitment to get healthy. It may be rough on them to understand why you need to clean out the pantry, but they'll adjust and all be better for it. Still doesn't make it easy!

#6: Adjust your mind

Unless you adjust your mind to how you got to where you started, you may never reach a place of satisfaction. Identifying root causes and working on rewiring your brain and response mechanisms is incredibly hard. It requires introspection, opening up old wounds, and fighting yourself. Not everyone needs to go to therapy, but many of us do. It's a huge time and monetary investment, and the work is messy for something as seemingly easy as sitting on a chair and talking.

#7: Adjust your body

It's painful to start exercise if you've been sedentary. Heck, it's painful to exercise if you've been away for a couple weeks. It's not a comfortable feeling. You have to work to figure out what to do, and how to do it. You learn certain things bore you and others excite you.

You might get injured and end up having to adjust your body in an entirely different way. If you aren't getting the results you think you should be, you might need to get lots of blood work and become an advocate for you as the patient seeking answers. So while you may think that going to the gym is part of "visible work," there are so many other things that go into it before it is a consistent, enjoyable routine.

I'm not saying all of this to make you think it's impossible to lose weight or get healthy. It's worth it. I'm taking time to meal plan and figure out what will work for me in the long run. I'm testing new eating guidelines to see if they make me feel better, worse, or the same.

My exercise has been limited with my ankle so I've had to adjust my workouts to include swimming again, which means even more time to get ready and then shower afterwards. It requires feeling uncomfortable for the 20 steps from the pool locker room to the water where I fret about having to share a swim lane. It's a lot of work, but it's what needs to be done to make things happen.

The invisible work is where the difference will be made. Do the invisible work.

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An Open Letter To My College Freshman Roommate

Be sure to send this to your college freshmen roommate if you love them as much as I love mine!

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Dear College Freshmen Roommate,

To be honest, my first impression of you was a quiet, shy private catholic school girl. (Wow, this couldn't have been the farthest thing from the truth)! I remember walking behind you and your boyfriend on the way to the bars on our very first night of Summer B. I kept thinking how much you didn't like me because you didn't say hi to me. Little did I know, after admitting to each other our unfortunate first impressions of each other years later, you were just being cognizant of me because you thought I was a real-life version of Regina George from Mean Girls. It turns out you weren't the shy, private school girl I thought you were and I definitely wasn't as cool as Regina George after all.

Lexi Garber

It didn't take much time for us to become best friends. You had me at "So, do you know what a mountain melt is from Ale House?" After this day, I knew we were going to be lifelong friends and celebrate our passion for carbs, fast food, and sugar together. You make friendship seem so easy. You're always down to study whenever, leave the library whenever, and most importantly, get Chick-Fil-A no matter what our budget is or how broke we are. You always pick up the phone and support all the bad decisions I make. You ALWAYS figure out all my Wordscape puzzles for me and support my real life Candy Crush addiction.

Lexi Garber

I realize that you give me a slice of home when my mom doesn't answer the phone. I love that we always get to talk about our high school memories together because every story is a new and exciting one for both of us. Sometimes I'm happy we met in college because we would have caused way too much trouble in high school together. Besides, I get to hear about how much of an awesome volleyball player you were and I tell you about crazy my lacrosse years. Although, I will say how much it sucks when we go home for summer and winter break because I do get major separation anxiety!

Lexi Garber

When we go out, you know we're requesting ALL Luke Combs songs and sing until our voices are gone. Whether it be going out to the club, binge-eating, studying at the library, watching the Bachelor in your apartment, going to football tailgates or watching baseball games together, we are ALWAYS laughing. You have this amazing brightness and you only radiate positivity and happiness. I can't wait to see what the rest of college has in store for us. I feel so grateful that I got the chance to meet you and call you one of my true, lifelong best friends. I love you to Infinity (the place where it all began) and Back!

ROOM 416 INFINITY HALL ALWAYS!

Lexi Garber

Forever and Always,

your college freshmen roommate



Lexi Garber



Lexi Garber

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5 Ways to Fight Fall Allergies Naturally

Sneezing in October? Here are some easy natural ways to fight allergies the natural way with no pills or medicines!

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Spring is typically considered the season for allergies. However, fall, due to the high amount of vegetation and increase in humidity from rain, brings with it its own set of allergens, such as pollen, ragweed, dust mites, and outdoor mold spores. If you find yourself constantly sneezing, coughing and having a stuffy nose this time of year, try some natural remedies instead of heading to the pharmacy to pick up antihistamines.

Here are 5 of the most useful natural ways to fight allergies:

1. Minimizing exposure

Ever sleep with the window open and wake up with a sore throat? It might sound obvious, but avoiding exposure to triggers is the best way to avoid allergic reactions. Keep your windows closed to stop pollen and mold spores from coming inside.

Wash your clothes, shower and wash your hair if you've spent a lot of time outdoors where you could have picked up pollen. Finally, air purifiers and vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters will remove any allergens such as pollen, mold, and dust that have made it into your house.

*Tip: If you do buy the top-rated HEPA filters, they'll stop most of the allergens but might slow down your A/C flow in the Summer!

2. Anti-inflammatory diet

Allergies are inflammatory reactions to which certain people are more predisposed to than others. Eating a diet rich in foods that are anti-inflammatory can counteract this tendency. Omega 3 fatty acids, found in fish, nuts, and flax, have been shown to reduce the frequency of asthma attacks in people with allergies. Other anti-inflammatory foods include green tea, curcumin, dark chocolate, and most fruit and vegetables.

3. Probiotics

Allergies can be a strong sign that your immune system is out of balance. A good way to fix that is to eat fermented foods rich in probiotics such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha.

Probiotics have been shown to have a number of health benefits including the ability to reduce the impact of seasonal allergies. Rich in friendly bacteria, these foods will help diversify your gut flora, which in turn will help balance your immune system and reduce the risk of allergic reactions.

4. Exercise

It might not sound fun to exercise if you have allergies, but moderate to intense exercise for 30 minutes 3-5 times a week has been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory effects, reducing the risk of allergies and asthma attacks. Plus, regular exercise provides a host of other physical and mental health benefits including Vitamin D exposure.

If exercising outdoors increases exposure to allergens such as pollen and mold spores, it might be better to work out at home or in a gym until symptoms are reduced. *There's a surprising amount of pollen in areas you might not expect it, like in the city or even at the beach!

5. Local Honey

Immunotherapy is the process of exposing someone to a small amount of allergen, with the purpose of reducing their sensitivity to it and preventing future allergic reactions.

Eating large amounts of local raw honey, which contains diverse types of pollen, has been shown to help desensitize people with hay fever. It is crucial that the honey you eat was produced in the area where you live, and that it is raw. Pasteurized supermarket honey will not work, and forget that cheap stuff that's been boiled or imported from China!

Fighting Allergies Without Pills

If you like to spend a lot of time outdoors in the fall biking, walking, or apple-picking, allergies to pollen and mold spores can ruin your fun. Minimizing exposure to these allergens when indoors can help. Also, simple life changes such as exercising more, eating a diet that is high in anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids, and consuming probiotics, can reduce your chances of having allergic reactions.

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