Good morning friends! I’m loving this quote that I stumbled upon this morning via Instagram browsing. It’s a great reminder of why I love mornings and why I love Mondays. I encourage you to take this new week as a fresh opportunity to make your dreams come true and to be happy! Remember, YOU hold the power 🙂
As you know, this month is all about gratitude = the quality of being thankful. I’m so grateful to wake up everyday and do something that I love: share fitness & healthy living with people I care about = YOU! I’m also grateful for the opportunity to share my fitness business start up story with SELF Magazine. Woo ho0 – check out my article on self.com!
I’ve found that practicing acts of gratitude makes me a happier person. In fact, studies from University of California Berkeley show that grateful people are less resentful, more optimistic and healthier than their ungrateful counterparts. Also, physically expressing gratitude generates a greater happiness return than simply feeling appreciation. So just in time for Thanksgiving, here are five acts of gratitude to ensure you have the happiest holiday!
- Savor the Small Stuff – Whether it’s your morning cup of coffee or hot shower after a long day, take a moment to be present and acknowledge your little luxury.
- Say Thank You – Actually pick up phone, call someone and tell him or her how much they mean to you. Not only with they feel wonderful, but you will too.
- Love Your Body – Go for a sweat session at your favorite fitness studio. Afterwards thank your body for its physical fitness.
- Be One With Nature – Step outside and look around. Appreciating nature’s beauty can quickly lift your spirits.
- Acknowledge Your Accomplishments – Make a list of three personal accomplishments and thank yourself for your dedication and commitment. We often express gratitude to others, but it’s equally important to appreciate ourselves.
This Thanksgiving, I encourage you to not only feel thankful but to also express your gratitude!
Happy Thanksgiving! xoxo, Brit
I’ve been getting over a cold the past few weeks which had me feeling pretty groggy. Thank God I don’t sick very often, but when I do I recognize a pattern of lifestyle changes that largely contribute to my lack of health. For instance, I get sick when I overindulge, get stressed out or spend minimal time doing activities that energize me (like teaching fitness classes). I saw this quote and loved it because it rings so true to my personal health. Of course I added some “GRIT by Brit flare” and elaborated on each point with my colorful commentary. I hope these words of wisdom keep you healthy today, tomorrow and forevermore! xoxo, Brit
1. Eat Lightly
Eating well and eating lightly are two different things. I have several friends, including me, who overeat because we are eating “healthy” foods. This is not a good look. Hopefully you read the guest post I featured on Intuitive Eating. If not, go check it out. Bottom line is that overeating may cause temporary satisfaction but it ultimately leads to sickness, obesity and even depression.
2. Breathe Deeply
Breathing deeply requires to us to tap in to our diaphragm and “fill up our bellies” with air. I learned the technique and value of breathing deeply through my yoga practice. I find that deep breaths calm my nerves and help me process my thoughts. “Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. Not surprisingly, it can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.” (Source: Harvard Medical School)
3. Live Moderately
It is possible to have too much of a good thing. As much as I love to travel and socialize, I have to be mindful of getting burnt out. The same goes for sipping wine, shopping, investing in relationships, etc. Every few weeks it’s a good idea for me stay in, not make any plans for the weekend and just chill on my couch with a few good books. To ensure good health, we must be mindful of aiming for moderation in all aspects of life – even the good stuff.
4. Cultivate Cheerfulness
Nothing brings about sickness more than sadness. Go out of your way to be cheerful. For me, the trick is to never allow myself to get really down in the dumps. I mean, obviously life brings about some serious challenges and it’s healthy to grieve. However, I believe in the laws of Physics. A body in motion, stays in motion. A mind that starts cultivating negative thoughts continues to cultivate negative thoughts. It takes a TON of energy to perform a 180 degree turn. It’s a lot easier to move forward in the direction you are already headed. So make a conscious effort to cultivate cheerfulness even during tough times – Fake it till you make it!
5. Maintain An Interest In Life
I find that my interest in life diminishes when I’m feeling hopeless. To me, being hopeful about life and being interested in life go hand in hand. Life is crazy complex but it always works out for the good. So stay hopeful. Be interested in helping others, observing beauty and seeking the happy ending. This curiosity will initiate a personal vitality and internal energy to help ensure good health.
Hope your week is off a to a great start – mine certainly is. Last week was quite hectic for me. I had to travel to both Memphis and Salt Lake City for work. When the weekend came I was completely exhausted. Needless to say, I did not feel like the hitting the gym on Saturday nor doing anything that required even the slightest bit of energy. Fortunately, the thought of hanging out with my “fit friends” was enough motivation to keep me from skipping my Saturday morning workout. Afterwards not only did my body feel better, but I was less stressed and had a more positive attitude overall. It was like magic – lots of good vibes and positive energy. That’s the beauty of exercise, it’s great for the mind, body and soul. Activity generates the energy that brings about good vibes. Good things come to those who sweat!
On that note, here’s some fitspiration to get your sweat on – 20 Minute Calorie Blaster treadmill workout from the GRIT by Brit archives. You can check out the original blog post for detailed instructions. I highly encourage you to give this bad boy a whirl some time this week. I am.
And finally, check out these 13 Mental Health Benefits of exercise. On the list, Stress Relief ranks #1. I can attest to the accuracy of this claim. Just for fun, here’s a pic of me and my girlfriends on Saturday night enjoying the residual good vibes from my morning workout.
Wishing you a wonderful week with lots of sweat and good things! xoxo, Brit
Hey gang – it’s almost Turkey Day! I know many of you are probably getting Instagram and Facebook overload from your friends sharing their “30 Days of Thanks” or whatever it’s called. While I’m sure it can be annoying, don’t “hate” too much. Turns out, drinking the gratitude Kool-Aid can do us good.
Let me digress for a bit. We’ll come back full circle. I promise.
While growing up in Texas I attended a small, Southern Baptist church and we had this ritual of giving “praise reports” during every service. At this time, members of the congregation would stand up and share something good that had happened during the week (i.e. a promotion at work, healing from a sickness, winning a big game, an exciting family vacation, etc.). We always did “praise reports” before sharing “prayer requests.” Prayer requests are unfortunate situations in which people needed prayer, support or encouragement. I always wondered why we had this practice of first giving praise before we prayed about a problem. Over the weekend, a friend shared this video with me (below). While watching it, “praise reports” started to make more sense…
“The Science of Happiness,” suggests that the simple of act sharing gratitude (aka sharing praise reports) is therapeutic in itself. Being grateful and expressing gratitude can actually give us the strength and perspective that we need to make it through tough times. In short, gratitude gives us GRIT. Gratitude makes us happier.
In true GRIT by Brit fashion, I also thought to myself, “Maybe expressing gratitude for 2 good arms, 2 good legs and a heart and lungs that work can be the extra push I need on days I don’t feel like working out?” haha – we shall see.
Watch this video from SoulPancake if you want to feel good, get in the Thanksgiving spirit and maybe even tear up a bit 🙂
“Praise [gratitude] works best at the start, before the miracle, before the breakthrough, before the restoration.” – Brian Houston
New research suggests that having a general sense of well-being, feeling energetic and cheerful, relaxed and happy with life may actually reduce the chances of having a heart attack. (Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263175.php)
“If you are by nature a cheerful person and look on the bright side of things, you are more likely to be protected from cardiac events,” – Lisa R. Yanek, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
CHOOSE TO BE CHEERFUL TODAY!
Happiest Thursday to you! I saw this quote on Twitter, “We can always quit, why start now?” It made me take a step back and reflect on decisions I’m currently facing in my own life. I gotta be honest….I’m TIRED. Work is demanding. Traveling is draining. In addition to that, the effort it takes to plan my workouts, blog, volunteer and consciously spend time with the people I love, leaves me with very little in my “Energy Budget” at the end of each day. BUT I’m happy to say that even though it seems like I’m “running on empty” at least I’m still running. And that, my friends, is a blessing!
So, I write this blog post for both selfish and selfless reasons:
- I hope it motivates you to keep pushing
- I needed to give myself a pep talk 🙂
Have a wonderful day – you got this!
Lots of luv,
4-week Shape-up Challenge: Lakshmi’s Final Update
I’ve spent 4 weeks on the Grit by Brit shape-up plan and in the infamous words of Ms. Brit, “I’ve seen some things.” Maybe more accurately, I’ve learned some things – about myself, my habits and my goals:
- Success is a commitment – I’ve finally realized that when it comes to my body and my health, achieving a goal does not happen at a finite point in time. It’s a continual commitment. There is a reason that the phrase is “healthy lifestyle,” and not “healthy moment.” Achieving a healthy lifestyle requires commitment to a healthy life. It’s not one of those quick fix wedding boot camps – be intensely committed for 3 weeks, look buff for the big day and then stop once he’s passed you the ring. Being healthy is something that I need to consider every time I want to eat something or be active (or not active).
- It takes a village – Hillary Clinton was so right – you can’t do this alone. Get supporters to cheer you on when you’re doing well. And to scold you when you’ve fallen off the wagon. Talking about my healthy life goals reinforced them in my head (the whole “speak it into existence” idea) and helped make those around me accountable for my success, too. No one wants to watch someone fail in health. If you tell people about who you want to be, they will enable success.
- My body is smarter than I am – My brain is my worst enemy. It tells me I’m hungry when I’m not. It tells me I need to stop cycling when I shouldn’t. It tells me to not get out of bed when I need to. Turn the brain off. I learned to listen to my body. Am I hungry? Let me ask my energy level and stomach. Can I go further? Let me ask my legs and heart. Sometimes the answer is “Yes, stop! You’ve worked too hard” and other times it’s all “Lakshmi, please, your grandmother could keep going.” Whatever the question, I learned to let my body answer instead of my brain.
- I am not perfect – Brit was continually telling me to not be so hard on myself. I find that when I hold myself to the expectation that my healthy behavior must be 100% compliant with the plan, I fail hard. And once I fail, I can’t pick myself back up. I need to lower the expectations of myself and minimize the impact of the failures so that I can get right back on-track.
- I am perfect – You all read about how a woman mistook me for being pregnant. My self-esteem after that episode was low. WAY LOW. But then I realized, I am who I am. I am a fertile looking woman, who is great as she is. I have (finally) realized that the whole idea that people come in different sizes isn’t necessarily because they have varying abilities to portion control. Instead, it’s sometimes just because you were handed those genes. I was at the Levi’s store this weekend (amazing transition from genes to jeans) and noticed that all their fits had positive names (Slight, Demi, Bold, Supreme Curve). This taught me my size – no matter what it is – is awesome.
Thanks friends for reading! And thanks Brit for being both my good cop and my bad cop.
Missed one of Lakshmi’s updates? Catch up on her journey here:
Happy Labor Day everyone! I hope your weekend was joyous and well. Mine certainly was. I went to Boston to celebrate the wedding of one my dearest b-school classmates. Despite living in Boston for 2 years, I experienced a completely new side of Bean town = Southie. Usually, I try to stay away from Southie at all costs (read: Gone Baby Gone & The Town), but I was pleasantly surprised by history, “grittiness” and authenticity of the neighborhood. I enjoyed a nice 5 mile run around the South Harbor and had a killer vegetarian sausage breakfast burrito at Sophia’s.
After the wedding, I hopped a ferry to Martha’s Vineyard for a night. The island exhibited a wealth of racial and cultural diversity (I was expecting to only see Sperry’s and blondes). My friends and I kept up the physical activity with paddle boarding at the beach. SO FUN! Took me a while to get my groove. I definitely bit it like 3 times, but it was totally worth it. If you’ve never tried paddle boarding, you must. My core and booty are super sore today 😉
While the food was great and the scenery was unreal, the best part was the company. As I reflect on the weekend, I’m so grateful for my positive and loving friendships – something I TOO OFTEN taken for granted. Thank God for good friends.
So, here’s to Bean Town, Martha’s Vineyard, and all things Gritty and Nautical.
This week I had to take my annual IBM health assessment to get a rebate on my health insurance premiums. I figured it was worth my time to save $150 bucks. Usually, I breeze through these things because they seems like such a formality, but this time I was intrigued by the survey questions in my “Personal Vitality Assessment.”
I got to thinking…rather than always focusing on my fitness or nutrition, I should frequently take a step back and think about my overall vitality. Personal vitality measures overall health in 4 key areas:
- Purpose – INTERESTING! (I very much believe that having a sense of individual life purpose is absolutely fundamental to personal happiness and contentment – read more)
Here’s a snap shot of (what I thought) were the most interesting parts of the Personal Vitality assessment. As you can see, some of my responses are included. I was going to hide them, but figured you guys would appreciate the honesty/transparency…
I think we could all benefit by asking ourselves these questions on a regular basis. Doing so may help us understand the areas in our life and in our health habits that need more attention.
Give yourself a Personal Vitality assessment and let me know how it goes – don’t forget an action plan!