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5 to Thrive Review + Q&A 

Hello, everybody. Welcome. Today we're going to talk about our 5 to Thrive series. I had so much fun putting this together for you, and I appreciated the feedback I got as well. It seemed like it was a nice New Year's surprise, and you guys had a lot of fun with it. I think going forward, based on the feedback I got from you, I will definitely be doing more of these 5 to Thrive series, so I'll keep my ear to the ground, as I always do, and look for health trends that I think will interest you, and also that I'm hearing a lot when I'm talking directly to you, the kind of stuff are you interested in, and what's top of mind. And, I'll be putting together a series like this for you, just five easy emails with how to incorporate habits. And even if you don't want to incorporate them, just to better understand what they are and how they might be impacting your life.

5 to Thrive: Five Simple Habits to Start 2019 Right. I mean, we're already in the second week of 2019. I's crazy how time flies. I hope it's going well. I hope you had a wonderful holiday, and I hope that this year is starting out to be a wonderful year. These five habits will certainly be worth revisiting if you're watching this in the future. Absolutely still on point and still worth knowing about.

5 to Thrive Quick Recap

We looked at:

  • doing a thought detox

  • how to hydrate your body

  • cortisol conscious workouts

  • white space and JOMO 

  • intermittent fasting 

Habit #1: Thought Detox/Ugly Journaling

The first 5 to Thrive habit was this idea of a thought detox. If you've been around here for any length of time, then you know I'm a huge fan of what I call ugly journaling. Where this came from was in talking with the women that I work with, there was often this feeling of wanting to take up a practice of journaling, and in fact, owning several really beautiful journals. This is not that. This isn't some sort of keepsake that you are going to refer back to, pass onto your kids, remember what was going on in your life down the road. This is more grabbing scrap pieces of paper, getting whatever isn't sitting right, whatever feels sticky, whatever feels like it isn't flowing out onto that piece of paper and out of your body, out of your head, and just processing it in that way.

That's one of the reasons I call it ugly journaling. You don't need a beautiful journal for this. You can get rid of any of those sort of ugly feelings inside. And when you are done, you are going to just tear it up. It's gone. It's done.This is the point of ugly journaling. I think this is a life-changing practice, and I personally have seen incredible results with just mindset shifts and understanding what's going on, understanding what you want, understanding what you don't want, what's working, what's not working. This can really shed a lot of light in those areas.

Question 1: "Does it matter or is it better to ugly journal in the morning? I like to do it before bed to clear the day."

Great. It doesn't matter. You can start your day with this. You can empty your head in the morning to go through your day clearheaded and focused. You can do it in the evening to clear the day and go to sleep clearheaded and focused. Doesn't matter. Do either, whichever one works for you, just make sure you're doing it.

Question 2: "I tried to ugly journaling once. I had nothing to write. Should I try again?"

Yes. Yes, you should try again, and that isn't unusual, especially when you're starting. In the beginning, it feels strange, like you're just writing on a piece of paper for five minutes. You set a timer, and you just write whatever pops into your head. Sometimes you barely even lift the pen from the page. Again, this is not something that you're referring back to. It's not something that you're going to be reading, so it doesn't matter what it looks like. But, it can feel a little strange to begin with.

You're basically developing the habit of getting in touch with that inner voice, that wisdom that is inside you that knows what to do and knows what you need to hear. And you're just creating space to let that flow onto the page. It can feel strange in the beginning. I just suggest writing that down. Write down, "I don't know what to write. This seems like a waste of time. I don't know what I'm doing. What have I been thinking about lately? What's on my mind," and just start to see what comes out. Every time you do this, does something magically appear that you're like, "Aha! now I understand it all"? Of course not. That's not the point. The point is to develop a daily practice to be in touch with that inner part of that just knows exactly what you need.

And you are going to have days where you'll be like, "Wow. Okay, I didn't make that connection, and now I see it," and other times it'll just be something that you do. You tear up, and you won't give any more thought to it. So, just start with some prompts. I don't know why I'm doing this. What do I want to write about? What would I do if I knew what to do? Stuff like that, and just see what comes out. Definitely try again.

Question 3, this is an interesting one: "I'm trying to never have negative thoughts. I want to only have positive in my life. This seems to be really negative."

Okay, I can see that point of view. It is called ugly journaling, and we have mentioned getting some sort of ugly stuff out of you. There's a couple things I want to bring up with this question. Never trying to have negative thoughts. I think this is a very societal, very North American thing to view some emotions and some thoughts as negative and some positive.

For example, say you've just suffered a great loss and you feel sad. Is that a negative emotion or is that a necessary part of processing what's happening? I think the better thing to do is to really observe how you are reacting to the emotions that you are experiencing instead of labeling them as negative or positive. Because trying to force yourself to feel positive all the time is ... I know that's what we hear, you know, you want to be positive, you want to have high vibration thoughts, and everything is about staying positive. But, the truth of the matter is that's not the whole of life's experience. Some things are going to happen that will hit our stuff in a way that makes us feel triggered by it, and that might be something that we see as negative. If you just stand back and observe it, that's really the process of this journaling. It's to be more of an observer of your thoughts and your emotions. When you say negative and positive, you're really putting a judgment on them, and that's not the point of this at all.

Still, I can appreciate your point here. And if you have tried ugly journaling ... I've experienced this with one other person that I worked with where she just felt like she was constantly writing negative stuff. Maybe that stuff needed to come out, but maybe that's something to journal about as well. Why does this feel negative? Why is this negative stuff coming up? What is it here to tell me? And then I would adopt it in that way. Hopefully that answered your question. If you want to do a bit more following up with me, just let me know.

Those were the questions for our thought detox, or our number one 5 to Thrive habit, ugly journaling. 

Habit # 2: Hydrating.

This is always a popular topic. This is always something that most people want to improve. The way that I look at it is make it as easy as possible. Half your body weight in ounces of water a day. There's your goal. Easy to do, easy to measure, and easy to see how you're feeling.

I also included in that particular email lesson a habit tracker that you could download. You can use that for any habit you're trying to build upon this year. Habit truckers are wonderful because then you just mark off the days that you do the habit, and it's really satisfying to see all those Xs, or circles, or highlights, or stickers, whatever you want to put on that habit tracker. To see them all in a row can feel really nice and motivating. Just pay attention. How much water are you drinking?

I only had one question about water. I think most of us did know that we need to drink water, and we know that it's healthy. I did have several comments just about the content about not realizing how much it did impact our body, and it really does. I got this from two different people, so I kind of merged it into one question.

Question # 4: "I was told to never drink water with food. Is this right?"

This comes up a lot. I'm not sure where you are getting your information. There's a couple of thoughts about this. In yoga would be the prana, that digestive fire, and the concept is you don't sip water as you're practicing yoga because it diminishes that fire. There is something similar in Chinese medicine in terms of not overloading your stomach with water as you are working to digest. When we start to translate that into what we know in terms of western anatomy, physiology, the fire of your belly, the fire of your digestion, is the acid in your stomach. The pH of your stomach is very low. It's very acidic. It's necessary to kill microbes that are coming into your body through food, and also to digest your food, breakdown your food, and make it usable for your body.

It has been scientifically proven that water does not change the pH of your stomach, having some water is not going to decrease the acid of your stomach. That being said, I wouldn't suggest taking all of the ounces of water you're going to drink in a day and having them with a meal. That would be probably excessive and you'd be really stuffed because you'd be full of water and food.

What has been shown to be really effective is to have a glass of water 30 minutes before you eat. This allows you to tell the difference between am I thirsty or am I hungry when you're eating, and is actually proven to help people lose weight. If you're drinking water 30 minutes before you're eating, then you're stimulating the digestive enzymes. Not a lot of people realize that in order to digest your food, those enzymes biochemically actually need water to work. So if you're taking small sips of water with your food, that's going to help the enzymes in your mouth start that digestive process. There's no problem with having a little bit of water while you're eating. Don't be guzzling tons of water. But when we look at which foods are best in our bodies, fruit, vegetables, smoothies, soups, all of these foods are very high in water, and that's because our digestive processes need water in order to function. So, I wouldn't worry if you like to have a little bit of water with your meal.

Habit #3: Cortisol conscious workouts. 

I bet not many people are giving thought to their cortisol levels. Cortisol is what we know as our stress hormone. It's kind of getting a bad rap, if I'm being honest. It does other things as well. You want your cortisol to be in balance. You don't want it too high, and you don't want it too low. If your cortisol is out of balance, you will drag your butt out of bed in the morning. You will drag your butt through the day. Then at night, you will all of a sudden be wide awake and unable to sleep. You'll be exhausted all day, and then you can't sleep at night. You may notice that your hair is thinning. You may notice that you're putting on weight, your mood is not really where you want it to be, and you just are not feeling the way that you want. This is imbalance.

When we look at workouts, if your workout is too strenuous for your body and you are not resting and relaxing enough in between, it is going to cause your cortisol to rise and stay high. Every workout causes your cortisol to have a little bit of a bump, and that's okay, perfectly normal. You want that. If you never work out, if you are a couch potato, your cortisol's going to be too low, and then you'll have no energy. So again, it's all about balance.

When we look at cortisol conscious workouts, we're talking hormones here. I am loving this trend. The trend that is carrying from 2018 into 2019 is women getting on top of their hormones, realizing that their lifestyle has everything to do with how well their hormones are functioning, and taking matters into their own hands. I love this. Get that power. Do what you need to do to make your hormones work for you. Hormones are exquisitely sensitive to the tiniest fluctuation, so you need to be very careful where you're getting your information.

It's very popular right now. There's a lot of, I'm going to use air quotes, experts out there. Just be careful. Be conscious of who you're following and be paying attention to how your body is feeling. In February, I am actually going to do a whole series. It'll either be a five-part or a six-part series on hormones, which I'm really excited to share with you.

Let's get to the questions that people asked about cortisol conscious workouts. This first one, there was ... This is a bit of a longer question, but I think that there's some real value in sharing this with you because it paints a picture that I think some of you are going to be able to relate to. 

Question #5: ”I love that you're addressing this topic. It's exactly where I'm at. Two years ago, I made some big decisions about work life and my health. I was really stressed when running my business and dealing with the challenges of three children with special needs. I've lost weight, 55 pounds, and walked daily for a year.I switched to the gym 18 months ago to push my fitness level higher, and instead I began to feel all the familiar sensations of tired and wired creeping back in. It took awhile to start turning things around. Now I feel ready to work out again, but I find walking a bit boring as my only activity. What is a good mix for those of us emerging from adrenal fatigue that will tone and boost metabolism without the cortisol bump?"

This is a fantastic question. There's a couple of things that I want to talk about here. When you are talking about toning, usually we think we have to lift gigantic weights and do all sorts of crazy stuff that is going to produce tone in our body. I am a huge fan, a number one fan of functional exercise, so doing the kinds of movements that you require in your daily life and doing them at higher rep and lower weight. What does this mean? This means instead of doing bicep curls with a 40-pound weight eight times, this is doing pushups with your own body weight, and doing more reps with lower weight.

I personally don't ever use more than two pounds when I'm working out, and I try and use my body weight as resistance. I'm a big fan of this for protecting your joints. I'm a big fan of it because it works more with your body. This is what works for me. This doesn't mean this is going to work with you. But if you are noticing that you have a cortisol bump when you go to the gym ... How would you notice you have a cortisol bump? The best way to notice this is your sleep. If you find that your sleep is interrupted, then that means your cortisol levels are staying too high from your workouts.

So, what would I like you to do instead? What's really cool is this year what's trending is shorter workouts, and I love this trend. 20 to 30 minutes max. I talk to so many women who are working out 45, 60, 90 minutes. It is way too much, way too long. 

I'm sure you guys have probably heard of the H-I-T, the HIT workouts, the high intensity training where you do bursts of activity and then you're done. Well, this year what they have is the H-I-L-I-T, so high intensity low impact training, and I really love this. This would be doing more functional exercise. This would be using your body weight, and this would be get it done quick. If you notice that your sleep is being interrupted, then you are not giving yourself enough time to recover between workouts. My suggestion is if you're starting to go back to the gym, so for this particular person, you're starting to go back to the gym, do your weight workout, go for higher reps and lower weight just to start, and give yourself a couple of days in between. Your workouts should not be longer than 20 to 30 minutes.

Hopefully that's helpful. My experience is that you re trying to do way too much at once. You go to the gym and you do everything. No, that's not what you need to do. Just go to the gym. You should be out the door in probably about 20 minutes, okay? No longer than that, and try and really function on or focus on your functional exercises.

Question #6: ”I’m training for a marathon. Is that a bad idea for my cortisol?"

And this is a great question because it may have sounded like that from what I was saying in the 5 to Thrive, and it's not necessarily a bad idea. What you need to do is pay attention to how you're feeling. How's your sleep? How are you feeling? Does everything seem to be in balance? Are you having hormonal breakouts? Are your periods really terrible? Is your skin looking dull? Is your hair falling out? Are you not sleeping? Is your energy low? How are you feeling?

This doesn't mean you can never train for a marathon. If you're noticing some of these signs that your cortisol levels are too high, just back off a little bit. Give yourself a bit more rest. That's all you need to do. Maybe instead of running one day, you're going to walk. Maybe instead of running one day, you're going to do yoga. Maybe instead of running one day, you are going to sit on the couch and watch Netflix. Just give yourself a break. Pay attention to how you're feeling. There is no one-size-fits-all. If anyone tells you they have the solution, one size fits all, no, it's just not true. You need to figure out what works for you. And if your cortisol levels are too high, you're going to know it. You're not going to be sleeping well, and you're going to be feeling pretty rotten.

Habit #4: White space and JOMO.

Okay, how much do you love JOMO? I had so many people ask me what this was. You know what FOMO is, right? The fear of missing out. JOMO is the joy of missing out. Let's just give that a moment. I love that one.

They're predicting 2019 is our year to simplify. When I am working with you, your schedules ... I know I always say this, but it's too much. You have no white space in that schedule. It's when you plan your week, and this would be a great time if you don't have the Plan Well guide or you had it and you were using it and then kind of forgot about it, just do a refresh. You can go get it again. Schedule properly. Because when you look at your week, if every moment is jam packed, what are you going to do when life happens? Because it's going to happen. Stuff is going to happen. It's going to knock you off course. You need to have space in there, space to accommodate all of these things that just happen. It just pains me to see all the stuff you have planned. This year, it's about simplifying. What can you take out of there? Clear some space.

In this particular lesson, we looked at clearing space in your home. I'm a big fan of the belief “messy bed, messy head”. Clear a space in your home. We started with your bedside table. I think that's an easy, manageable place to start. It's the first thing you see in the morning and the last thing you see at night. We also talked about having a gratitude practice. The research on gratitude is just ... It just grows, and grows, and grows. It is the easiest thing you can do to elevate that energy in your body. Write out what you feel grateful for and why, that's the piece that's often missing. We forget to put in why. Or having a jar of little pieces of paper where you write down exactly what you feel grateful for and why. You can refer back to it when you're having one of those bad days. And again, it'll be one of the first things you see in the morning and the last things you see at night.

Question #7: "I love the idea of gratitude, but when I try it, I get stuck. How can I get started?"

You are way overthinking this. I like to use the prompt, "I feel grateful for blank because blank." So, I feel grateful for the internet because I'm able to talk to you right now. I feel grateful for my two healthy dogs because at the vet today they had a dog that was being put down. I feel grateful for being in my cozy house because it's raining outside and I get to stay in here. That was what, five seconds? That's three gratitudes. Don't overthink it. This doesn't have to be deep. You can be grateful for your cup of coffee because it feels warm and cozy when you drink it. It's that simple. So don't overthink it. Just use that prompt and write down whatever comes to your mind.

Don't get stuck. Don't overthink it. It's simple, and the research is just crazy, you’re going to sleep with that higher level energy in your mind. I imagine you can only have good dreams if you've been grateful right before bed.

Question # 8: ”We are overwhelmed by clutter. With three kids, two dogs, and two adults, our house feels unmanageable. Where can I start ? When I tried to get my family onboard, they aren't willing. Help!.”

First of all, yes, clutter. Have you seen on Netflix there is a series by Marie Kondo called ... Oh, what's it called? I think it's just called Tidying. I could be wrong. Just look up Marie Kondo. If anyone's here watching and you know what it's called, let me know. She is the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and this book is just the most lovely book that you will ever read. Oh, Megan's saying, "Yes, it's called Tidying, and it's so good." Isn't it good? So, what she does is she goes into people's homes and she helps them manage their clutter. Krista, you watched the first one? Oh, it's called Tidying Up. Thank you, Megan. I watched the first one as well.

For this question, she's got three kids. She's got two dogs, she's got two adults living in this home, and this is why I say start with your bedside table because that is your space. The dogs, the kids, and the other adult probably have nothing to do with your bedside table. Start there. It's small, it's manageable, and, as I said, it's the first thing you see in the morning, the last thing you see at night.

Now, what Marie Kondo would do for example, if you were going to do your clothes, you take all of your clothing and you put it in a pile. When you see the piles of clothes, it almost makes you feel sick. You realize the excess that we have and how we have so much stuff that we just are not using.

What she will have you do, part of her process, is to pick up each item and to figure out if it sparks joy. What does that mean? It means when you pick it up, do you love it? Does it feel good on your body? Do you want to wear it? Then it's sparking joy. You keep it. If you pick something up and you do not feel that way, maybe it's itchy, it's too tight, it's got a hole, you never wear it, then it's not sparking joy. You thank it, and you send it to someone else.

Why I find this beautiful is she just teaches a method that ... I don't want to use the word forces, but opens your eyes to respecting your staff, to treating it well, and to loving everything that you have. I just think that's so beautiful, instead of seeing all this stuff and feeling completely disconnected from it.

The excessive pile is actually, I think, the biggest impact though. When you see it all it really makes you conscious about what you're bringing into your life, and her methodology, as I said, of just really respecting your stuff. It is just a wonderful series. I love the book. I still to this day use her folding technique. 

And my advice is stay in your own lane. You cannot get rid of someone else's stuff for them. If you could, my house would not be filled with sports memorabilia. This does not bring me joy, but it's not my stuff, so I stay in my lane. I lead by example, and I take care of my own things. Where you can, take care of your own things. Start with your bedside table. Then, I would do your clothing, then books. Just go through the process. I think that once you start to get rid of some of the clutter, you will be astonished at how mentally freeing it is.

Habit #5: Intermittent fasting.

This one I was really excited to share with you guys because it is a super hot topic. And again, it has to do with hormones. And again, for anyone that's just joining now, I will be doing a hormone series in February five- or six-part series. I'm excited about this trend moving into 2019, carrying on from 2018.

Intermittent fasting, is when you are putting some space between when you're eating and when you're not eating. You want to be aiming for eating as many hours of the day as you are not eating. What would that look like? If you go to bed at 10 and you wake up at seven, you stop eating three to four hours before bed. If you stopped eating at seven, you don't eat until seven the next day, 12 hours of feasting, which is eating, and 12 hours of fasting, which is not eating. What intermittent fasting isn’t, is starving yourself. That is not the point. That is going to be a disaster for your hormones.

Women have had mixed results when it comes to intermittent fasting, and this is because they're trying to do too much or they're being instructed to do too much. Our hormones are exquisitely sensitive to any sign that we are starving. Biologically, this makes sense, doesn't it? Because we are the ones that have children. And if we're starving, we can't have children. So, you need to be very careful with this and you need to pay attention to what your body is telling you.

I believe the best way to do it, physiologically, is to stop eating earlier in the evening, fast overnight, and then have breakfast, because you want your cortisol levels to be highest in the morning. That's when they're supposed to be the highest, and food supports that. 

Question #9: "I can't stop snacking at night. Can I postpone breakfast instead?"

Yes, you can. Physiologically, I don't think that that is making the most sense for the reasons that we just talked about. Your cortisol should be highest in the morning, and you want your body to be emptied of food so that you are maximizing your sleep in the evening. What happens when we're eating all the way up until the time that we're going to sleep is instead of spending our time cleaning our body, replenishing our body, restoring, regenerating, doing all of that while we're sleeping, our body is too busy trying to digest our food, and that is not what you're supposed to be doing while you're sleeping. That's why you want to start moving the time that you're eating further away from your bedtime.

We're looking at the hormone insulin specifically here. If your insulin level is here, when we eat food, it goes up. Then, it's supposed to come down and have another break until we eat again. The problem is that a lot of us are pushing all of our eating into the later part of the day, and then your insulin is just not really ever getting down to that lower level. This is why you have to be really firm about fasting overnight. And I really do think the best way to do this is to move your fast or to move your eating time further and further away from your bedtime.

That being said, if that just really doesn't work for you and you would rather not have breakfast in the morning, try it. Just see how you feel. I'm going to tell you this though, as soon as you have anything other than water, you are not fasting. I don't care what you put in your coffee. I don't care if you put oil, butter, coconut oil, put whatever you want in there, but you're not fasting anymore. So, you have broken the fast as soon as you have coffee, anything but water passing your lips. Some people believe that coffee with butter is still fasting. It is not fasting. So you can try. It's just not where I would point most people in terms of direction.

I also have to address the ‘I can't stop snacking at night’. This tells me that you've tried to stop snacking at night, and somehow it is not working for you. I would say, as a rough estimate, over 50% of the women I work with complain about this. This is not just you. Snacking at night is a real issue. You are not alone. We have all struggled with it. It is just a habit, but there is a lot of mindset behind it as well.

Next week, I have a guest experts coming to chat with me and to chat with all of you, and this is her area of specialty. I'm really excited to share her expertise with you. I would suggest "I can't stop snacking at night" might be a great thing to bring back to your ugly journaling exercise. Just see what pops up.

All right, this is our last question. I merged this one together. I got it from several different people. 

Question #10: ”Can I fast if I'm pregnant, underweight, and diabetic?" 

Remember, you are not starving yourself. That is not the point. Intermittent fasting is just putting some space where you are not eating. It is looking at times when you're eating and times when you're not eating. It is not starving yourself, so don't ever think it is starving yourself. That is a terrible idea.

If you are pregnant, if you are underweight, if you are diabetic, any of these issues may indicate that ... Not issues. I'm sorry. Being pregnant is not an issue. Any of these situations, life circumstances may lead to instability in your blood sugar. If this is you, how do you know how far back you can move your meals before you go to sleep? This is easy. If you are waking up in the middle of the night because you've started intermittent fasting, that means that your blood sugar is unstable. Your cortisol is spiking. Remember, cortisol is not just the stress hormone, it is also our wake-up-in-the-morning hormone. So if your blood sugar dips too low, your body will try and balance it out. There'll be a surge of cortisol, and it'll wake you up. If this is happening to you, then try having a snack before bed. Tablespoon of almond butter, few almonds, just some great snack before bed. This will help to keep your blood sugar stable over the night. If you are waking up nauseated when you're pregnant, this could be why. Your blood sugar's too low, you may find that having a snack right before bed is a really good idea and makes you feel good. Remember, this is all about what makes you feel good.

Little kids will sometimes have this experience, especially when they're growing. They will be waking up in the night because their blood sugar is dropping. People with high metabolism, same thing. If your kids wake up in the morning and they're nauseated, I saw this a lot in practice, try a snack before bed and this can help to stabilize that blood sugar.

That wraps up the questions for 5 to Thrive. If you have any questions that did not get answered or you want to go in depth with anything, just let me know and I'm happy to do it. Just to quickly review, we went through 10 questions today that had to do with our 5 to Thrive, again they were one: thought detox, which is that ugly journaling. Two, hydrating. Remember, half your body weight in ounces of water. Plus there's the habit tracker. Make sure to grab that. Number three, cortisol conscious workouts, and this is directly related to your hormones, which we are doing a series for in February. Number four, white space and JOMO, or the joy of missing out, which I really recommend this year. And if you haven't picked up The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up or watch the series on Netflix, you're probably going to want to after you listen back to this video. And number five, intermittent fasting.

These are five simple habits. My aim was to try and make them take less than five minutes a day. Obviously that doesn't work in every instance, but I tried to make them as simple and doable as possible. All right, everyone have a great Tuesday. I will see you back next week. We have a guest expert for you. And if you have any questions, whether you're watching the replay or you are here live, just make sure to get in touch with me, and I will see you soon. Bye, everybody.