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healthy routine Archives | Elizabeth Borelli

Posts Tagged ‘healthy routine’

How to Turn Your Summer Fitness Goals Into a Game


Summer is in full swing!  Pool parties, family vacations and long beach-y days are the stuff memories are made of.  The last thing anyone wants to do in the midst of all this fun is put feet to scale and get a chilly dose of reality.  So don’t!  Fun and health are not mutually exclusive, nor should they be.  Summer is the perfect time to keep your fitness goals alive and well by turning them into a season-themed game.

Gamifying your fitness goals is easy.  And if you can get some family members and friends on board, all the better.   Check out the 7 simple steps below to learn how.

How to Turn Your Summer Fitness Goals Into a Game

1. Choose your goal.  Do you want to get more exercise, or lose a few pounds by improving your diet?  Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Take advantage of the warmer weather and focus on goals unique to the season.
  • Early morning walks, afternoon swims or evening bike rides are wonderful this time of year; and easy to track progress using wearable devices or mobile fitness apps.
  • Or focus on nutrition, committing to keep sugar consumption down by swearing off sugar-sweetened drinks or replacing calorie laden desserts with healthier choices.

2. Invite some friendly competitors.  Is there a colleague, neighbor or family member you can enlist to join your challenge?  The more the merrier, and if you have more than 3 people, create some teams.

3. Decide on a start and end date.  Once you have your plan in place, get it going asap, before people change their minds or go on vacation.  A 30 day challenge is a good timeframe;  long enough to see some results but not intimidating enough to keep people from playing.

4. Schedule your plans into your daily calendar and increase your chances of meeting your goals significantly.  Use little cues like leaving your running shoes near the door or stocking healthier foods to keep prominently positioned in the kitchen to help you stay on track too.

5. Stay connected.  Either meet in person on a regular basis, or stay in touch via social media to track progress depending on the nature of your game.  Everyone will benefit from the social support.  If you’re meeting to exercise, it’s a non-issue, but if you’re doing a morning green juice cleanse, stay connected to keep each other on track.

6. Recognize small wins along the way.   Celebrate weekly progress via social media or email if you’re not meeting in person.

7. Keep score and create a compelling incentive for the winner.  Whether you’re competing with just one person, or a whole group, decide at the beginning what the prize will be.  Maybe the winner is treated to a movie, a pedicure or even an Amazon Gift Card by the other players.

Finally, and I won’t list this in the steps since it’s fairly obvious, have fun!  Use the camaraderie and support of your game to outweigh the challenge of learning a new habit.  Go team!!

Mindful Eating, 5 Tips to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick


If you’re riding the wellness resolution trend this year, you may want to take note.   While the New Year may harken the best of intentions, they’re usually short-lived.  When it comes to health and mindful eating, less than 10% of resolutions survive the test of time, and I’m talking months, not years.  The fact is, Americans make over 200 food-related decisions per day according to a recent study, yet when asked to estimate that number, participants’ guess an average of 15.  Yes it’s true, the vast majority of our eating is done mindlessly.

But there is good news too!  You have the power to change your mindless eating default and bring these decisions to the forefront (frontal lobes in this case), where they belong.   So IF you’re serious about a New Year’s resolution that involves improving your energy level, losing weight and feeling happier all around, listen up.   Here are some common-sense strategies for making it happen for real this time.

1. Discover your most compelling motive for making change.  Motivation plays the biggest role when it comes to enacting long term, positive behavior change.  But identifying your true motive may not be as obvious as it seems at first glance.  Ask yourself, “Why do I want to lose weight, really?  What will the outcome look or feel like?”  Dig deep and envision clearly.

Leading neuro-science expert Dr. Daniel Amen keeps a picture of his grandson where he’ll see it every day, as a reminder of his real motive for keeping his health a priority.  The mocha fudge becomes less tempting when you connect it to a bigger picture, as in avoiding options that move you further away from your goals.  The same rationale has been effectively used by former smokers to kick the habit, it works!

Another great way to do this is to create a vision board, complete with images, as in pictures of loved ones you’d like to have the energy to spend more time with, or people who inspire you through their achievements that you know are not outside your realm of possibility too.

2. Then choose one habit that you know isn’t serving you.  Do you hit the drive-through every morning only to end up so hungry you’re wondering how you’ll possibly make it all the way until lunch?  Nosh on packaged snacks when you get home from work and regret all the empty calories later?  Instead of resolving to diet away the extra ten pounds, start with one simple behavior change directed toward achieving that goal.  Give yourself time to get comfortable with that change, whether it’s days, weeks or months until this becomes your new normal.  Now you’re ready to take another step, and repeat until your diet brings you all of the benefits excellent health has to offer.

3. State your personal credo, write it down and memorize it.  Sticking to a healthy routine that’s working feels great, but you still need to prepare for the unexpected.  The homemade cheesecake muffins your well-meaning co-worker shares with the group, the Philly Cheesesteak your partner wants to share, the small vs. jumbo-sized anything.  If these offers cross your path, decide in advance on your default, then remember your credo when temptation strikes.  The treat will be gone in a moment, but the self-empowerment of establishing new resolve keeps on growing, long after the dazzle has fizzled and the New Year has passed.

So now you’ve made a mindful decision to prioritize health and wellness this year.  You know your motives, you’re prepared with healthy alternatives and you know your credo.   The question then becomes, in times of stress or temptation, how do we stay aligned with our best intentions?

4. Avoid your triggers, and pack alternatives  If you know you’re tremendously tempted by your mom’s homemade lasagna, with it layers of cheese and rich, meaty sauce, instead of hoping you’ll have the willpower to resist, which after a glass of wine and a little convincing, you won’t, plan ahead.  Eat some raw veggies or fruit and drink a big glass of water before you’re in any situation where you’re inclined to be hungry and lots of food you know you’ll regret later is imminent.   Decide in advance how much you’ll try, and stick to it.  Have a ¼ piece of lasagna and fill the rest of your plate with veggies.   Don’t break the code:  once you start snacking on empty carbs it’s much harder to stop, so make your snacks healthy, even if you have to bring them yourself.  The key again is to plan ahead.

5. Make your health a top priority!  You may have noticed that sometimes your willpower seems stronger than others.  Ever wonder why when you’re calm and well-rested, you seem less inclined to succumb to temptation?  One reason is pure physiology.  It takes energy to exercise willpower, and if we’re out of fuel, we’ll have less of it. If it’s way past lunchtime, you’re beyond hungry and the only opportunity to appease that need is the big Mickey D’s, you may stop, and once you’re there at that drive though and your willpower is weak, all bets are off.  So avoid these pitfalls!

  • Get enough rest (a huge factor in harnessing willpower)
  • Exercise even a little bit every day, even 15 minutes of brisk walking counts!
  • Prepare ahead to avoid the pitfalls

Yes this takes intention and even a bit of time, but you already have the tools you need to succeed, including the willpower.  When you prioritize your health, you’ll bring your best self to the table, making smart choices easier and happy outcomes more likely every time.