On the wings of Juneteenth and America’s Independence Day, I thought it a good time to dedicate the remainder of the month to being free. In the current politicized racial disharmony, freedom is being discussed as it means so many different things to so many different people. While I am not going to get into that aspect of the conversation here, I decided to ask those that know me and are on a journey like me to improve awareness and metrics pertaining to our health and fitness levels to consider the following: What bad habits are like shackles and are impeding your progress? Do you feel enslaved by salt, sugar, or fast food? Does your mind and negative self-talk oppress you? Is your relationship with food, exercise, or even healthcare professionals indicative of a need to change your perspective?
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery.Bob Marley
None but ourselves can free our minds.
We are generally harder to ourselves than others. Use this month to reflect on those things or habits that are holding you back. There is no time like the present to work towards liberation from any thing that no longer serves you–toxic relationships, bad habits, or even trauma.
We all have the power to be cycle-breakers. For me, recognizing the very unhealthy all-or-nothing mindset when it came to food AND reconciling that while my parents were good people who loved me, they did not do me any favors in how they shaped my views of food. Giving myself permission to change and still love and admire them went a long way in coming to view food as fuel and not as a reward or crutch.
Give yourself permission to do what is right for you, and set yourself free!
For most of us, the current state of the world is an unprecedented and uncertain time. The Covid-19 pandemic, racial struggles, and the financial strain of the closures are all taking a toll on the holistic well-being of the global citizenry. Collectively and as individuals, we are more aware of our health status, and many are seeking to improve it, protect it, or both!
From the comfort of your own home, you can use these well-intentioned moments to improve your health with a few small changes. I know, I know. You want to emerge from the cocoon that is quarantine like a glistening butterfly! Drop 25 pounds! Go from the couch to a 5k! But, small, doable, steps are the key to not only big changes but lasting changes! We are talking about improving the overall quality of life! The following five tips can be tackled one-at-a-time or all together for a sure-fire jumpstart to a healthier you!
- De-stress yourself-and enjoy it!
While activities like meditation, walking, or more rigorous exercise have all been common suggestions for reducing stress, simple but enjoyable pastimes like reading, listening to music, or stroking a pet are effective self-care strategies that can really pay off when it comes to soothing the systems of the body. Prolonged stress releases different chemicals and hormones in the body that have been linked to things including heart disease, stroke, hypertension, migraines, and obesity. These are common co-morbidity diseases that can be better managed or even prevented when stress levels are keep in check.
Tip: Tight on time? Spend a few minutes with your eyes closed. Take a deep breath in through your nose for a count of four, allowing the belly and chest to expand. Exhale through the nose to a count of four, pressing the air out from the belly. Repeat a few times in a moment. You can repeat as your schedule permits and before bed!
- Pass on the salt. Foods naturally have salt, or sodium, and if your diet includes frequent meals out or processed foods, it is likely that you are consuming too much sodium, which can increase blood pressure.
Tip: Swap the salt for flavorful salt-free seasoning blends and only use salt during meal preparation.
- Skip the added sugar. Much like salt, added sugar lurks everywhere. A common culprit of weight gain and contributor to sustained high blood glucose levels, reading labels and simple swaps can go long way.
Tip: Seems daunting? Swap one sugary drink a day with water and enjoy whole pieces of fruit instead of juices.
- Stretch it out. Taking a break at work to stretch or making sure you do so before and after exercise can prevent injury and maintain healthy range of motion of joints.
Tip: Not exercising that day? Find a natural time of day to limber up like when you are getting out of your car after your commute!
- Get more sleep! The strategy that dreams are made of! Adequate sleep is critical in allowing the body the chance to restore and rejuvenate itself. Sleep shortage has been linked to increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, regardless of weight, exercise, or other factors. An adult needs an average of 7 hours of shut-eye nightly.
Tip: A brief stretch and deep breathing can help balance hormones and relax you so that you can fall asleep faster.
These strategies can be easily and quickly added to your daily life despite all that is going on around us. The road to optimal health is not linear, or smooth. The thing to know and focus on is that it is never too late to maintain or to improve your quality of life by building healthy habits. You are worth the effort!
Greetings and welcome to Fierce Fitness ATX!
I am a wife/mom/health and wellness enthusiast and constant student. I started my classes as a side hustle a few years ago. I have relied on my pursuits to keep me moderately healthy and in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, found myself wanting to really invest in myself and my health, and to help others to do the same. I hope to provide more than just workouts; I hope to share and build a community atmosphere of like-minded health seekers that are welcoming, nurturing, and supportive of each other.
This site, which will include a blog/vlog, free and premium content, and links to other sites, is the beginning of the community I hope to build, uplift, grow, and connect. It is borne out of my love and concern for the health and well-being of all and is predicated on the fact that we are on a journey, a continuum of becoming the best possible versions of ourselves.
Here, you will only find encouragement and acceptance. I offer no judgments, but will share affirmations and validations that you are enough and the desire to become healthier in whatever way you chose will be supported.
Here you will find the following:
- My personal triumphs and struggles regarding weight loss, improving health and fitness, goal-setting, and self-love and acceptance
- Posts within my lane (I am NOT a medical doctor but do have formal training and professional, quality expertise in some areas) including issues/research about public health, rehab after injury/sedentary periods, fitness, basic dietary information as it relates to improving health and fitness to name a few. Please check out my full bio here.
- Videos/links to workouts that may not be for everyone (please consult your physician before beginning any type of exercise program or dietary changes)
- Appropriate comments, questions, and thoughts of the community (those that are not in the vein of support or decency will be deleted)
I am excited for this site to be a connector in a larger community of health and wellness seekers! I look forward to learning and growing with each of you!
Leslie, Founder of Fierce Fitness ATX