Catherine Roscoe Barr, left, and Mana Mansour talk about multi-muscle exercises at Steve Nash Fitness World and Sports Club.

My incredibly inspiring friend, reporter Mana Mansour, recently spoke to me on an episode of go! Vancouver about wellness resolutions for 2013.

I was so happy to share a little of what I’ve learned along the way through my work as a fitness professional and wellness writer, as well as my voracious appetite for new books and information on how to live your best life.

Everyone talks about fat loss and dieting and this pill and that exercise. But being well is simple.

I shared with Mana what I call The Winning Trifecta of Wellness: actions that produce optimal brain chemistry.

If you strive for optimal brain chemistry, everything else will fall into place.

The Winning Trifecta of Wellness includes stress management, exercise and nutrition.

The effects of stress management, exercise and nutrition on the mind are more powerful than their effects on the body – think of fat loss, muscle tone, flexibility, strength and endurance as pleasant side effects.

The effects on the mind are immediate. You feel happy, alert, positive, creative, vibrant, energetic and confident when you take time to rejuvenate your mind, move your body and provide it with the right fuel.

Once you discover the immediate effects of the Trifecta on your brain chemistry – how you feel – you’ll be more motivated to regularly take time for stress management, exercise and nutrition, much more motivated than working towards long term goals like losing 6 inches or dropping 15 pounds.

See the go! Vancouver segment below. 

Stress Management

You can’t control what’s going on in the world around you but you can control how you react to it. Thoughts and feelings are chemical communication in your mind and body so do as much as you can to create a healthy environment, not a toxic stew.

  1. Take 10 deep breaths
  2. Smile
  3. Meditate
  4. Start a gratitude journal
  5. Get out in nature
  6. Take time to pursue a hobby
  7. Build community – get together with friends and family, perform random acts of kindness, volunteer your time or money to help others

Exercise

  1. Move. Period. Look at housework in a whole new light. Be thankful you have to walk your dog. Dance more. Take a quick stretch break. Do 20 jumping jacks. Walk to as many errands and meetings as possible. Have sex! Anything is better than nothing – just 10 minutes a day will produce positive changes.
  2. Move as many muscles as possible in as many different ways as possible. Choosing multi-muscle exercises will give you the most bang for your buck, by revving up your metabolism and moving oxygen and nutrients throughout your body.
  3. Have a contingency plan. Listen to your body and be flexible with your schedule. Some days a vigorous workout, where you break a sweat and get your heart pumping, will feel great. Some days you need gentle movements like a bike ride along the seawall or a restorative yoga class. Sometimes, if I can’t be bothered to drag myself to the gym, I workout in my living room. If I’m too tired or running too late for a morning workout, I’ll workout right before I eat lunch, and if that fails, I’ll workout right before I eat dinner.

Nutrition

  1. Choose fresh and un-processed products – if you do this, you can’t go wrong
    • Shopping local, sustainable and seasonal may cost you a little more in the short term but the long term benefits to your health and wellbeing are priceless, not to mention the deposits into your karmic bank account by supporting your planet and community.
    • Every time you make a purchase, you’re voting with your money. When you purchase local, sustainable, seasonal, free-range, organic, un-processed foods, you’re voting for the humane treatment of animals and products that aren’t pumped full of hormones or sprayed with chemicals.
    • Also, by knowing where your ingredients come from and preparing most meals from scratch you can control what you’re putting in your body and eliminate as many chemicals, fillers and junk as possible.
  2. Hydrate with water! Drink a glass when you first wake up because you’re likely dehydrated and keep drinking throughout the day. If you’re not keen, try making it more fun by adding citrus, cucumber or frozen berries or have a mug of hot water with a squeeze of lemon.
  3. Fuel your body throughout the day, especially after a workout and after fasting overnight – going to bed on an empty stomach improves sleep quality because your body is able to focus on repair and rejuvenation, not digestion.
    • Ideal day of eating: 7AM, 10AM, 1PM, 4PM, 7PM = 12 hour fast
    • Eating every 3 hours ensures that your blood sugar levels stay steady
    • Spreading calorie intake throughout the day increases metabolism and also helps you to avoid binge eating and poor choices because you’re starving

Mana Mansour, left, and Catherine Roscoe Barr check out the fresh produce, sustainable seafood and animal products that meet the 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Standards at Whole Foods Market.

So, forget about the long-term goals and focus on the now. Focus on how you feel. Don’t make weight loss your new year’s resolution – resolve to feel good by creating optimal brain chemistry through stress management, exercise and nutrition.

By making optimal brain chemistry your new year’s resolution, you can immediately feel energized, positive, creative, happy and vibrant – and fat loss, muscle tone, flexibility, strength and endurance will be icing on the cake of health and happiness!

 

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