How to get things done …

Recently I have a friend that asked me how I managed to do everything that I do.

This is funny because I may give the impression that I get it done but it’s not that easy.

The only reason that helps me get through everything is that I know what I want in my life, I have a vision for my future. I am working towards it and on the bad days I think about it to cheer me up. That’s for the mental part.

For all other “terrestrial” aspects I must say, I just get organized by writing to do lists everywhere, taking notes ….and missing on my sleep (not good).

Yep, sometimes I just wish our days could have more than 24h. Or 24h to work on our stuff and then night time to sleep.

It must also clarify anyway that yes, I get a lot of things done but I also can do nothing for days!

Sometimes I am just too tired, so I am literally a potato couch. I am procrastinating a lot and my mind is wondering so much all over the place that I can’t concentrate on one single thing and get it done at all.

It seemed important to me to share the truth: I am good at a lot of things, but I am not a wonder woman getting done everything perfectly. Yes, I accomplish tasks, but it comes at some costs. But I go along with it because I know some sacrifices need to be made to get what I want.

The trick is in my capacity of being rigorous and organized. Perseverance, audacity and self-adaptation are the qualities that helped me get where I am today.

As I said, my mind is very active, I am always thinking and stressing about something for my future, I am constantly writing to do lists on paper and on my phone.

I have short- and long-term goals I want to reach so I have to divide my tasks and choose what has priority.

My tools are very basic, maybe some of them will help you:

  • Every Sunday I write down a list of the things that have to get done.
  • I make this list fit with my planning day by day (work, sport, social life). The key is to do the distribution properly: not try to do everything on the first days of the week or just on the weekend.
  • On top of the list is always put the task that is the priority of the week.
  • I prepare all my lunches on the weekends. This way I don’t have to worry every night about what to eat tomorrow and I don’t spend extra money eating crap outside.
  • My clothes are ready the night before the next day. It can seem juvenile but again, a save of time. In the morning I don’t lose time trying on different outfits. My gym clothes are also always ready in my gym bag so when I come home from work, I have less chances to skip my training: I just have to pick it up and go.
  • All the things that I do for my mental health I also prepare them as much as I can. Easy access and everything prepared: my workouts in the gym or at home, I have playlists of music for yoga in the morning and playlists for meditation at night and in the morning.

I try to not skip the essential elements that makes me a good human being: enough sleep and food, workout, meditation and walks on the beach. That works for me. You do you.

Some weeks are super productive and some others not, it is what it is. Life is fluid and blablabla you know the expression, take it day by day.

I am still working on a very important fact that everybody faces:  not to get overstressed by all the things that aren’t done yet.

This if the favorite thing my crazy mind and ego like to do: stress about the future.

My mind makes up scenarios for every aspect of my life about what can happen and how, what should I do in this situation or in this one…

First of all, it is completely useless, no matter if you stress or not, what has to happen will happen.

And second, it is a tremendous way to waste your time and your energy… that you should use instead to do things that actually lower your stress.

We all have ways to cope with stress and the overwhelming fear of failure and the future.

Some of us drink too much, take drugs, over train, eat junk… No judgment here, I have been through very dangerous and unhealthy behavior myself.

But one of my ways to reduce my stress and get things done is to be a freak with my organization.

 

Try to use of my tricks to organize your week and let me know if you felt better by saving time, money or energy in some way.

 

Breakfast or not breakfast …

I think that our generation has heard so many different myths about food that we don’t really know how to eat anymore.

We have been told to never skip breakfast, have it big, eat less at lunch and then super light at dinner, not eat between meals and then yes you can have snacks, have various milk product every day and now no milk is evil, have bread have pasta have rice and now no have gluten free products only !

The food lobbies are doing an incredible job with their marketing. We go to demonize food and then have them too much. We eat all the time and then we fast. We go from industrial prepared meals to full organic products or vegan diet without seeing a doctor and having a check up to see what’s actually going on in our bodies.

People I am telling you, we are nuts.

I am not a dietician, nor a doctor so today I will speak only from my experience.

When I was a kid I could have easily a breakfast with no issue. Then when I was 10 years old, I started to get sick every morning, I would puke before leaving home or just arriving at school. I didn’t know what the problem could be and was so ashamed I didn’t tell my parents. There, I stopped having breakfast for more 12 years.

Turns out I found out recently it’s the milk in my hot chocolate that I wasn’t digesting well. I today have a glass of chocolate almond milk because I love it !

I started to have breakfast again when I was 23… recovering from anorexia so it was not possible to skip a meal, I had to gain weight again.

There, I have tried different options: cereals, granola, Greek yogurt, bread with jam, tea, orange juice, turkey, fruits, eggs, protein pancakes, smoothies…

It took me a while to adjust the quantity, the food my body liked in the morning and what was enough to help me hold on until lunch (but I still need a snack during the day).

Today I am at a point of balance that works well for me: I have two whole eggs (I know not only whites), home-made bowl of chocolate granola and a green tea.

I have another green tea and an apple during the morning before my lunch, so I am not tempted by crap.

For years I repeated I was okay with the fact of not having breakfast. Truth I wasn’t: I was feeling exhausted all morning, it was extremely hard to concentrate at school and then at work, I was eating sugary snacks all morning and eating way too much at lunch to compensate.

So, in my opinion, in terms of energy yes, you need to have breakfast. If you don’t have appetite when you wake up well then have your food with you in your bag to have it in the bus or when you get to work.

Finally, in terms of fat loss I don’t fucking know. Some people say you have to eat it in the morning to lose weight, some others not. This is a debate that only trial can settle. I would suggest you give it a try for 3 weeks and see what happens: 3 weeks without it and 3 weeks with it. Check out your weight in the balance, the way you feel in your clothes, your look in the mirror, your digestion, your appetite and your mood!

Most of us are not nice persons when we are hungry. Before getting upset with your man/kid/coworker you might want to ask yourself if you should have a piece of food.

Quick reminder: skipping the breakfast doesn’t give you a pass to eat crap later during the day. If you do so, we need to start from the beginning and talk about caloric deficit, energy level and basic metabolism.

If you do need us to talk about these subjects let me know.

Dear bread

As any French person, back home I was a big bread consumer. Mostly because we have really good bakeries with good quality bread that stays crunchy or soft. And let’s not talk about the pastries we have or I am going to get nostalgic.
It’s been an interesting marketing campaign against bread and the evil: gluten !!

I will make another article about gluten but for now I just want to talk about how to choose a good bread, one sort that will help you get a lot of nutrients: cereal bread.

For starter, I just want to say that you don’t need to banish bread for your diet if you want to loose weight. It’s just about moderation. Also, the type of bread you choose is important.

The only way to loose weight is to control your energetic intake by spending more calories than the ones you are absorbing (especially with sports).
Cereals bread has a healthier impact in your health than usual white bread. But off course, i you eat an entire baguette every day, you will gain weight. A food can be healthy but it doesn’t mean that you can eat it without moderation.

First basic thing to do: not eat your bread during a meal with anoter carb like rice or pasta. It’s one carb or the other but not both.

If you choose your cereals bread to share with your meal you can enjoy its benefits because it’s rich in fibers (helping digestion and fight cravings), starch (provides energy), Vitamins E and B (antioxydants vertues), potassium, magnesium, phosphore and iron.

So there is no real reason to banish it from your diet, just keep the quantity reasonnable.

In terms of timeline, it’s better to have for breakfast and/or lunch but avoir having it at night for dinner. For brakfeast you can have it with a little bit of butter and jam. For lunch you can choose to eat it with a salad, or even as a snack during the day.

As it is with good things in this world, don’t overindulge.
Bon appétit !

Mistakes to avoid after a workout

You just finished your workout ? Great, I am proud that you went through with it ! But did you know that to be healthy there are certain things to do before and especially AFTER ?

Things that you should avoid doing ?

Yeaaaah I know, it’s not enough to exercize to be healthy, that would be too easy. If you want to optimize your trainings and keep a healthy mindset in the long term, you have to adapt your strategy .

So here are various elements you should really be careful about after your session :

  • Drink water ! Most of us we don’t drink enough of it during the day and the lack of hydratation can be really dangerous when you train. Our body composition is in majority composed by water, when you exercize you sweat so you lose more water. You have to keep drinking after your workout even if you don’t feel really thirsty.

 

  • Eat unhealthy food : I don’t know how many times I have heard people leaving the gym saying « let’s go have sushis or burger ; I trained so hard, I deserve this ». Okey I understand you want to reward yourself it’s human. But let’s make it clear here, only professional athletes can eat whatever they want because they spend HOURS EVERY DAY training as hard as they can. That is not our case ; if you systematically eat unhealthy foods, your workouts are going to be completely useless and you will give up, disappointed by the absence of results. You can indulge once in a while but if you really want results, after your workout stick to fibers, good proteins and a bit of carbs to fill up your energy stocks and build your muscles.

 

  • Skipping the streching : this part is as much as important as your warm up. You reduce the risk of injury and allow your muscles to get recover faster. If you are bothered by the longer time of your session I suggest that you reduce the number of series or rest time. Because it’s crucial to include at least 10 minutes of warm up and 5 minutes (or more) of streching when you are done.

 

  • Leaving the place like a mess : I am so annoyed by the people that leave weights everywhere at the gym and don’t pick it up. In particular guys that leave heavy weights everywhere that I can’t move. I have bruises on my legs all the time because I step on it. It’s like people don’t care if it’s not at their home. Anyway, it doesn’t matter if you train at the gym or at home, leave the place nice and clean, respect the trainers and the others members.

 

  • Be a potato couch for the rest of the day : okey, you trained, you can be proud of yourself. But it’s not a reason to be inactive until tomorrow. Keep moving as much as you can. Our body is made to be moving all day, not sitting at your desk or in you car. Move as much as you can during the rest of the day. It will keep your metabolism running.

 

  • Not sharing your journey ! This one can sound stupid but believe me, when you start taking pictures and videos, publishing and sharing with people, you become more accountable. It provokes good reactions around you and keeps you motivated. You don’t have to take the same selfies endlessly but don’t be shy and show your work !

Sugar alternatives

We all have our little weaknesses, I don’t know about you, but mine is every piece of food that is sweet. If it was healthy and possible to eat just chocolate it would be my case.

I think our tastes come from a place of habits.

I have never been a soda and chips girl. We never had sodas or any salted foods at my parent’s house, except for birthdays. My mom cooked very simple meals with natural ingredients. I remember we had ketchup on the table only on sundays to eat with our fries. She didn’t used much salt but spices and replace sugar with cannelle and other ingredients when cooking pastries.

She used to cook us home made cakes and I never got tired of it. I can’t talk about addiction but for sure I am a sweet-mouth girl. Whenever I am happy, sad, excited or stressed, I want to eat sugar.

I tried to suppress it completely of my food intake but it’s really hard because there is sugar … basically everywhere.

I am not eating white chemical sugar anymore but I need/like my sugar intake every week from different sources : chocolate, ice cream or cereal bars.

I am trying to suppress as much as I can because it’s a really toxic product to take. I have learned in different studies that’s even more addictive than cocaine. It also increase obesity tendancies, diabetese, mood and energy swings.

Like everything in life I think we can have it with moderation. To help you reduce your instake you can replace your white chemical sugar by :

  • Birch sugar : this natural sugar is found in vegetables lie cauliflower, plums and red fruits. It taste like chemical white sugar but it doesn’ t increase so much the sugar level in the blood after a meal. Careful with the quantity, if you eat too much of it you can get flatulences and diarrheas (not sexy but real).
  • Honey: this natural one has anti-inflammatories, antiseptics and anti-bacterials properties. You can put in your tea, yogurts, granola cereals and use with ginger it can help you to cure your cold sore.
  • Stevia : it’s been pretty famous the last couple of years. It comes from a South America plant Stevia Rebaundiana. It doesn’t contain calories and don’t attack the teeths. But it has a bitter taste so everybody doesn’t like it (hate it personnaly).
  • Agave syrup: it comes from a Mexican plant, taste like honey but it is more liquid. In addition of vitamins and minerals it also contains a lot of fructose sor careful with the amount you use.
  • Coconut sugar : it has the same sugary power as white chemical sugar but cost way more money because of it extraction process. It has also the same amount of magnesium, zinc and iron so keep your consumption reasonable.
  • Maple syrup: one of the best Canadian product I have ever eaten. You can use for pretty much everything with as pancakes, crepes, yogurts, tea…

A lot of sugar alternatives are not as healthy as we would think. A lot of these have a lot of fructose or are extracted with a chemical process.

The best advice I can give you is you try all of them with different recipes so you can feel what you like more and be reasonnable with the quantity.

Also keep in mind it’s a long process to reduce this consumption but it’s possible. I used to put 5 squares of sugar in my tea, I only put 1 spoon of honey on it now.