THE BEST SKIN CARE ROUTINE

A couple of weeks ago, a very close friend told me she had made a decision to start taking better care of herself. She then proudly showed me this very expensive face cream she had to make a 45-minute drive just to buy. We made small talk girl (or woman) talk on how we should allow ourselves to spend the money on the body that works the money (#YOLO) and then she drove off.

I couldn’t get the thought off my mind. I called her a few days later to share my thoughts. Permit me share it with you too and maybe go into greater detail.

My friend above is not alone. Lots of women are spending a lot of money on their “rubbing oyels” and whatever else they apply on their skin or do to their skin in an attempt to look young(er). Estimated to be to the tune of over $200 Billion by 2021! We place a high value on how we look on the outside. We have very high standards when it comes to what we will put on our skin. At the same time, we kick and scream about how expensive a pound of salmon is, how expensive it is to “eat healthy”, how hard it is to take time to cook nutritious foods. But here is the thing: NOTHING will influence how well we age more than the foods we eat. Period. The end. I promise you that the single most effective and affordable anti-aging strategy or skin care routine is what we put in to our mouths. I am all for spending your money and taking care of your skin, but if we are not addressing the root cause of aging, the root cause of the wrinkles and sagging skin, we are fighting a losing battle.

The signs of aging and the rate at which we age is influenced by the quality and the quantity of what we eat. The face cream she bought can address wrinkles but it will not slow down the aging process. We make more impact working from the inside out, addressing the causes of aging at the cellular level.

Hormones and chronic inflammation have a lot to do with aging. The foods we eat are the building blocks of our bodies. Food provides the raw materials the body needs to make new proteins including hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers that send marching orders to all organs telling them what to do. When hormones start acting up (because they are not manufactured correctly, or enough), we start to age. Inflammation is the starting point for all disease processes or break down in the body. It is also greatly influenced by what we eat. If we want to age well and have the best skin, we must keep our hormones happy and keep inflammation under control. That is the real secret.

So how can we eat so that we are creating a healthy, youthful resilient body and slowing down aging? I share 5 practical implementation strategies:

Eat to control blood sugar. We are eating way too much sugar. By sugar, I mean carbohydrates. One of the most common ways we trigger inflammation and speed up the aging process is by increasing blood sugar too much and too frequently. I am not condemning carbs, but we have to be smart about our carbohydrate consumption. We don’t need carbs at every meal. We don’t need to have the heap of rice plus two fingers of bananas all in one meal. A big change you can implement today to slow down rate of aging is to stay away from foods that spike blood sugar. I try to consume starchy carbs mostly after vigorous exercise or in the evening. ½ cup is more than enough for most of us.

Pay attention to the fats you are consuming. Specifically, reduce sources of Omega-6 fats and include more Omega- 3 fats in your diet. Omega-6 fats are the “bad fat” common in processed/refined foods. Think most things that come in a box or a bag. Stay away from oils such as canola, soybean corn oil, vegetable oils and things that have those oils. Coconut oil, olive oil are better alternatives. Omega-3 fats help reduce inflammation in the body. Good sources are wild caught fish like mackerel and salmon 2-3 times a week.

Fast every once in a while. More and more research is showing that periodic fasting can slow down the aging process. However, fasting will not make up for a bad diet. Your nutritional foundation has to be on point before you toy with the idea of fasting. I personally do what is called intermittent fasting 1-2 times a week.

Eat more vegetables! If you know me, you would know this was coming. Honestly, I truly believe that veggies are the panacea for everything! Eat a wide variety of colorful veggies. They supply the antioxidants that the body needs to fight reactive oxygen species. That is big book I know, but trust me you don’t want ROS running around in your body.

Drink more water! Enough said! Drink until your pee is the color of lemonade. For me that is about 2 liters a day. Find out what it takes for you.

Other lifestyle changes that really go a long way to slow down the aging process is sleep more and reduce stress in your life.

While we can’t stop aging, we can slow it down. I have nothing against lotions and potions and creams. My argument is that before we spend our money fixing the outside, why don’t we spend the same resources and address the issue at its roots. We are going to eat anyway. Why not spend the money on quality nutrition so we don’t just look young on the outside, but we equally feel young on the inside. Yes?

Let me know your thoughts!

Coach Yaje

My Yummilicious Vinaigrette

 

So we got the memo to eat more veggies. We are incorporating more salads in to our diet. In our minds we are doing well, except it may not be as simple as that. A salad can quickly go from healthy to unhealthy if you are not careful with the ingredients especially the dressing – the type and quantity. I still have memories of this avocado dressing from Chick-fil-A that was over 300 calories in one innocent sachet.

There are generally two types of salad dressings: creamy and vinaigrettes. Vinaigrettes are usually healthier/lower in calories than the cream based types. The findings from my research of the labels of 3 popular salad dressings support this claim. Per 2 tablespoons serving size

Calories Total fat Total carb.
Kraft Thousand island 130 12 g 4 g
Hidden Valley Ranch 160 14 g 2 g
Ken’s Vinaigrette 100 10 g 3 g

Side Note: this could be a good science fair project for my son Nathan next year:)

As always, I share strategies you can implement so you are not ruining your salads with the dressing choice.

  • Read the label if buying. Ensure sugar content is below 5 g per serving (5 grams is about a teaspoon of sugar). Total fat of 10 g or less per serving is advisable. Look out for words such as “Hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” on the label. Such indicate trans-fats. No Bueno. The shorter the ingredient list, the better. Words you can’t pronounce on the label are usually not a good sign.
  • No “sese” salad. My hubby makes “sese” out of his salad. I silently cringe every time I see him drench his plate with his favorite Thousand Island. I don’t say anything because he has made a huge improvement from the fufu dinners, but whatever dressing you use, you should drizzle not drench. Measuring the quantity of the dressing can be a good idea. 2 tablespoons is okay.
  • Nothing is free in FAT-FREE. Fat-free dressing may be lower in calories, but when they take out the fat, they usually replace it with other (not-so-good) things to help with the flavor. Enter High Fructose Corn Syrup – no thanks!
  • Make your own! Homemade is always the healthiest, best tasting and most cost effective option in my opinion. You get to control the quality of the ingredients if you make your own.

Ever since I discovered this vinaigrette recipe, the frequency of my consumption of salads has increased significantly. It is super easy to make. With an empty jar and a few ingredients, you probably may already have in the pantry, you can whip up this “Yummilicious” dressing in a jiffy anytime. I share the recipe below, but if you remember nothing else, remember this: one-part vinegar, two-parts oil. I like mine tangy. For a less tangy vinaigrette, use 3 parts oil and one-part vinegar. Anything else is optional. Another quick way to dress your salad is to toss it lightly with a good olive oil, then squeeze a little lemon or drizzle some balsamic vinegar over it. Toss with a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper and you are good to go.

YUMMILICIOUS VINAIGRETTE RECIPE

Per 1 tablespoon:72 cal. 8g total fat. 1 g total carb

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 – 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (less tangy to tangy)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon Fresh-ground black pepper

1 table spoon Dijon mustard

Optional:    2 cloves minced garlic, 2 tablespoon minced fresh herbs or 1 teaspoon dried herbs, spoonful of honey or brown sugar

Pour oil and vinegar in a glass jar with a screw top. Add salt, black pepper. and any optional ingredients. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Note that the oil in the vinaigrette can cause it to solidify if stored in the fridge. Just let the dressing sit outside at room temperature and always shake well before using.

If you make it, be sure to let me know!

Coach Yaje

 

How to read “Think and Grow Rich”

Think and Grow Rich is not a novel. This book was not written to entertain. It is a textbook outlining steps that can be taken to achieve success in the game of life. Be it money, fame, power, contentment, peace of mind, personality, happiness. The book should be studied. The book will work only if you do your part and do the work. In other words, put what you read into practice.

  • Get a notebook. A composition notebook will work.
  • Read every story, take every action.
  • Do not read more than one chapter in a day.
  • Underline/highlight/jot down any sentence that speaks to you.
  • Record any successes/ideas that you experience or that come to you as you read. These may be in the form of intuitions, creative ideas, chance meetings, dreams, connections.

We shall meet once a week to discuss one chapter at a time. Please show up ready.

Learn. Do. Become

Coach Yaje

Self-Care is Self-Love

Every time I hear some one  use negative language to refer to their body or body parts, it hurts my heart. Women especially tend to use very negative and quite frankly hurtful words to refer to their bodies or body parts when they are trying to improve on it. Trying to improve your body from a negative point of view may be the reason why you are always giving up. Approaching self-improvement from a place of self-hate is a losing proposition.

I am on a mission to try to offer a different perspective to women and most especially women who have carried a pregnancy and birthed children. Have you ever stopped for one minute to consider what your body had to put up with to carry and bring to the world a new human being? I am always in complete awe. As a mother of three including twins, I sometimes look at my midsection and just want to kiss it with immense gratitude. I have all the loose skin. All the stretch marks. Everything that I could stand in the mirror and grab and shake and hate. But when I look in the mirror and see the diastasis recti (abdominal separation as a result of my pregnancy), I remind myself of why I have that (blessings of being a mom) and from that place of self-love, I ask myself what I can do to appreciate this core. My answer is the fuel that I use to endure the tough Jillian Michaels core workouts. My answer is what I use to hold that 5 minute planks even when I think I am going to die. My answer is why I can look at the plantain chips and say “no thanks!”. This daily practice is WHY I can sustain a fitness lifestyle.

You cannot sustain a self-improvement project from a place of self-loathing, self-hate or as a punishment. You simply will not go far. Sooner or later you will lose your motivation and that is always the beginning of the end. The change you are seeking to make will start to feel like a chore. Nobody likes to do chores.

I encourage you to practice a more useful and positive perspective. Focus on why you deserve this change. Focus on why it is great for you. Focus on the benefits you stand to gain. With a consistent practice of focusing on the positive, you are more likely to sustain the change you are trying to make.

As always let me know your thoughts.

Coach Yaje

JUMPROPE 101

With a tool as simple as a Jump Rope and a few minutes each day, you can enjoy the numerous benefits that jumping rope has to offer. Benefits such as improved cardiovascular fitness plus total body muscle toning at the same time. Jumping rope ignites your metabolism, improves bone density and torches calories fast.

Most people avoid incorporating jumping into their fitness routine because of fear of injuries or knee issues. Jumping rope can actually be a low impact activity when done properly.

I have incorporated jump rope into my routine now for the past 2 years and as always, I share what has worked for me.

Establish the proper rope length: Too long and you catch the rope. Too short and you get a tougher workout. To figure out the correct length, fold the rope in the middle and step on it with one foot. Both handles of the folded rope should come up to shoulder level. Many jump ropes have a fixed length. You may adjust the length by tying knots close to the handles to shorten. The brand I have is the Buddy LEE speed rope. It is a worthwhile investment. It allows you to customize the length.

Proper storage: You want to keep your jump rope hanging when not in use. Jumbling it up in a gigantic knot will cause kinks in the rope and interfere with your ability to jump.

Wardrobe/environment: You do not want to wear baggy clothing. No dangling earrings or anything that might catch the rope. Ladies might want to tie their hair in a bun. If you are just starting, it is a good idea to wear properly padded shoes. Running shoes will work. If jumping indoors, make sure you create some space so you are not knocking off furniture or hitting people. Lastly, use a mirror so you can check your form especially if you are a learning.

Surface: The surface you jump on should have a little bit of “give”. A rug that is not too cushioned, a yoga mat or hardwood floor is good. Outdoors is good too. Jumping on cement or pavement can cause shin splints because of the pounding nature of the workout.

The mechanics: Master the basic bounce step and get proficient at it before you mess around with other fancy styles. Proficiency is achieved when you can do at least 140 continuous jumps per minute.

  1. Face forward. Body upright.
  2. Hold the handles lightly. No excessive gripping.
  3. Keep elbows close to the body
  4. Make sure feet are properly aligned and not turned inwards.
  5. Jump only about one inch off the floor
  6. Make about 2 inch circles with the wrist to turn the rope.
  7. Land on the balls of your foot.
  8. One jump per swing of the rope.

What NOT to do:

  1. Don’t kick feet backwards
  2. Don’t do double bounce
  3. Don’t make big circular motions
  4. Don’t land flat footed.

If you are new to jump rope, start small. Limit session to about 5 minutes a day to avoid injuries. Eventually you can work up to 10 minutes a day. You want to do calf stretches after a jump rope session to help with faster recovery and keep you in the game longer. I hope you consider adding Jump Rope to your movement routine. As always, if this post adds value to your journey, let me know and please share.

Coach Yaje

YBC BOOK #1 – THINK AND GROW RICH By Napoleon Hill

I am excited to reveal the inaugural book for YAJE’S BOOK Club (YBC)… Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill! Think and Grow Rich is a classic. It was first published in 1937 and more than 15 million copies have been sold worldwide. It has been used by many rich and famous people and many entrepreneurs to build success.

The “GROW RICH” part of the title is not just about material wealth. The book is about the formula for success in whatever you desire. The book teaches powerful lessons for growing into your greatness and succeeding in life however you define it.

This formula for success was passed on to the author by Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie was a world renowned steel magnate in his day. He passed on the secret formul to Napoleon Hill in an interview Hill had with him while working on an assignment to write a series of success stories about famous people. Carnegie made Napoleon Hill promise to make the secret known to the world. He wrote the book to keep that promise.

The Carnegie formula for success.

The formula is not given away. It is left for the reader to discover. It is a secret. Here are some attributes about the Carnegie Secret:

  • The secret is mentioned more than a hundred times throughout the book. It is said to be mentioned at least once in every chapter.
  • You have to be intentionally searching for it and you will only recognize it only if you are ready to put it into use.
  • The secret cannot be had without a price but the price is far less than the value of the secret. It cannot be bought. It cannot be given away.
  • Those who master and apply the secret will reach high stations in life, accumulate riches and bargain with life on their own terms. Those who acquire it use it to succeed with very little effort.

We shall officially kick start reading on JUNE 1, 2017. In the meantime, please get a copy of the book Think and Grow Rich.

I will post a reading guide on the blog at the beginning of the week.

Learn. Do. Become.

EATING WELL ON A BUDGET


One of the members in my private coaching group noted that even though healthy eating was more expensive, preparing and cooking healthy meals was way faster than conventional meals. This is a sentiment I hear very often and that I take exception to. My reaction often is “compared to what?” People will spend plenty of money on clothing items, skin care etc. But when it comes to buying quality foods to nourish their bodies, cost is usually used as an obstacle.

Is healthy eating really expensive? We can go down the the-health-costs-associated-with-unhealthy-eating route, but most people just want to know how to eat for good health or for fat loss on a budget. I’ll try to stick with that.

In my opinion, eating for fat loss or health does not have to be more expensive than any other diet. Can it be? Absolutely. You can spend a huge amount of money on a “regular” diet or you can spend a little. You can spend big money on a healthy eating diet or you can spend small. Bottom line: you can eat well on any budget.

Here are my top 7 strategies  to help with eating well while saving money:

  1. Plan your meals: If you have your week set out ahead of time you’ll know exactly what you need to buy to make those dishes as opposed to buying  ingredients, you might not end up using. Write a weekly menu and make a corresponding grocery list. It also helps to check what you have at home so you don’t end up buying what you already have.
  2. Cook at home and keep your meals simple: Focus on protein, vegetables and fat. It is not necessary to use fancy recipes that call for exotic and expensive ingredients. Complex recipes will likely cost more than simple meals.
  3. Only buy what you know you’ll eat. No need buying the kale when you KNOW you can’t stand it just because they say it is healthy. Stick to veggies that you like.
  4. Cook enough for leftovers. Left-overs from dinner is usually lunch for me the next day. I pack my lunch right after dinner. Saves me so much money.
  5. Grow your own vegetables and herbs. If you cannot grow your own veggies, at least grow herbs. They are so easy to grow and ridiculously expensive in the store.
  6. Veggie prep: Cut up and wash your own vegetables! Nowadays, it’s amazing what we’ll do for convenience. Truth is, you are paying for being able to skip those steps. I shared a blog post on how I veggie prep here.
  7. Buy your meat whole: It’s not actually that hard to divide up a chicken and they end up being WAY cheaper than buying the individual pieces.

Let me know what strategies you can implement or share tips of your own.

Coach Yaje

How to Navigate the Messy Middle

Whenever we set out to accomplish something we usually start out 100% inspired, motivated, excited, strong, hopeful and eagerly anticipating success. Then somewhere in the middle of our goal we CRASH. This is where things get uncomfortable, uncertain, hard. Self-doubt, fear, and negative self-talk creep in. Welcome to the Messy Middle!

Being a long distance runner, I experience this all the time. I also see this with people I coach. Regardless of the race distance or goal, somewhere around the middle you start doubting yourself. You may start asking questions like “Why I am here all by myself when the rest of pretty much every one I know is at home still sleeping?”. Why am I doing this? A few years ago, I ran a 5k with one of my twin girls. At the end of the race, I asked for her thoughts. She said, “Mommy, it is funny. At the beginning, you are like woo-hoo I am running a race! In the middle, you are liked what am I doing here? At the end of the race, you are so proud and happy you stuck it out”. Her thoughts were right on point.

The middle is where things get messy. When you’re in that Messy Middle, you want to BAIL. Maybe you actually do bail sometimes. I know I have. But, once you push through, all those initial feelings of optimism, motivation, excitement come flooding back.

Below are some strategies, some tools to help you take control of the Messy Middle and reach your goals.

  • Remember your WHY. Always go back and look at your purpose for pursuing that goal. When you keep your reason at the fore front, you can tolerate any how.
  • Think about how success is going to FEEL like. What is it going to feel like to say I did it! I finished that race. I finally lost the weight. I conquered my alcohol addiction? I quit smoking? I beat my sugar addiction? What will the finish line feel like? The power, the joy, the pride! The bragging rights!
  • Focus on the moment. Sure, it might hurt more at Mile 10, but we are still at mile 6. No need worrying about how you are you going to survive the rest of your life without sugar, let us just focus on today. Let us not anticipate how hard it is going to be. Think about the one little step you can do right now. Just put one foot in front the other. Just worry about making one good choice today. Just one more mile. Don’t borrow worry from tomorrow.
  • Slow down if you have to, but do not quit. Breathe. Take stock. Think. How can you make this work? What are the stakes? What is it worth to you? Winners don’t quit and quitters never win.

The Messy Middle is where you will make something of your goals and dreams OR where you will lay them down to die. The choice is yours. Understand the power of that decision. If you repeatedly allow your dreams to die when you get to the messy middle, not only will you not achieve the particular goal you are after, but it will also impact your ability to succeed in the future. If you are constantly setting the same New Year’s resolution year after year to finally get in shape, stop drinking, quit smoking, whatever it be, then you know what I am talking about. When you bail on yourself, you are practicing failure.

Brene Brown in her book, Rising Strong said:

The middle is messy, but it’s also where the magic happens

Whatever you do, do not quit. I challenge you to power through that messy middle. You can do it. It’s always worth it when you get to the finish line.

Coach Yaje

Introducing YAJE’s Book Club

The average person reads one book per year! I find that such a sad statistic given the wealth of knowledge that can be found in books and the power that knowledge can have on your life if you apply what you read about.

I have been toying with this idea of an online book club for a while now. Anybody who knows me will not be surprised. I love to read and when I find something that changes my life, I share. It just makes sense to share my passion for learning through reading books as well.

Introducing…YAJE’s Book Club.

YAJE’s Book Club is a different kind of book club. The book club will emphasize applying the knowledge gained from books into our lives to make us become better in all areas. We will read books that will teach us about what was not traditionally taught in schools. Books about:

  • how to set goals
  • how to motivate ourselves and others
  • how to handle adversity in life
  • how to profitably use our time
  • how to accumulate wealth
  • how to handle stress

What you can expect from me:

  • I will pick out a Book of the Month. This will be in any topic.
  • I will provide a reading guide to make sure you get the most out of the book. The reading guide will be posted on my blog (www.myhealthyfitlifestyle.com) at the beginning of the week
  • I will moderate a Facebook live session to discuss the book on the last Sunday of every month.

What I expect from you:

  • Make time to read for at least 20 minutes a day at a minimum
  • As you read, jot down notes about anything that stands out to you and how that can be applied in your life.
  • Pick a “word of the day” from the book and use it either in speech or writing every day.

I plan to include my son, Nathan, on this project. I have already ordered all 19 Texas 2017 Bluebonnet books. He will read for a minimum of 20 minutes daily. Every day, he will write a “Dear Mommy” letter and tell me in his own words the important take home points. Additionally, he will pick out a WORD OF THE DAY and use it in 5 sentences in the letter to mom. I strongly encourage you to do the same for your kids if you have some.

Thomas Carlyle once said:

What we become depends on what we read after the professors have finished with us.

We all learned how to read in school. With the ability to read and apply the knowledge, we can be anything.

I truly believe this. Let’s LEARN, DO and BECOME better together!

If you would like to join the book club, let me know.

Yaje

How to Get Started with Weight Loss

A couple of weeks ago, I was having a conversation with a buddy of mine. He told me this story about a family member who had been instructed by her doctor that she needed to lose a lot of weight. She was overweight and was starting to develop obesity related diseases. My buddy proceeded to tell me about the feeding habits of this relative of his. From what I was able to gather, the issue was clearly that she ate way too much. Their solution to get her started was to get her a pair of running shoes. I was like “wait, what?”

I hear similar stories all the time. People decide they need to lose weight. They pick up somebody else’s plan and try to implement and most times it does not work. Off course it will not work! The solution they are trying to implement is not customized to their particular problem. If the plan was not made for you, it won’t work for you. You have to identify what is causing you to gain weight and work towards solving your particular problem. You have to create a strategy that can work for you and that you can sustain. To find something, we must search in the right place.

I offer an approach, a formula, that you can take and personalize to work for you.

  1. Identify your biggest rock. In other words, what is your biggest obstacle? When do you usually fall off the wagon? For example: Are you eating too much? Are you eating the wrong things? Are you drinking too much sweetened beverages or alcohol? Are you not getting enough sleep? Are you not active enough? Do you eat out too frequently? Are you consistently snacking after dinner? Getting to the root cause is a mission critical step. Identifying the problem is half the problem solved as the saying goes.
  2. Create a short term goal. Write down a short term (4-weeks preferably) goal to help you overcome the obstacle you identified in step 1. Making it a short term goal offers a sense of urgency. It offers a sense of immediacy. I find that when the goal is too far out, people tend to relax and procrastinate.
  3. Break it down. Break down the 4-week goal further into weekly objectives.
  4. Create micro goals. Break it down even further. Each day, as soon as you wake up from bed, spend a couple of minutes to look at your goals and ask yourself “What is the ONE THING can I do today that will help me move towards my weekly goal?
  5. This is the most important step…DO IT!!! Do that one thing right away if you can. No excuses. Just get it done.
  6. Stay accountable. If you are not focusing on the goals, you are not going to be acting on them. The role of accountability cannot be over stated. Do not set these goals and forget about them. Keep them front and center. Look at them every single day. Recite them if you have to.
  7. Automate. In other words, form a habit. Automation helps you conserve will power. Make it easy to do right and hard to go wrong. If you want to learn the best strategies to form habits, you should read Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before book on Habits. It changed my life.

If you need help identifying your big rock, setting manageable goals and/or staying accountable on your journey, do not hesitate to contact me.

Coach Yaje