#fit&fine

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The message is clear: Great or even good health requires you to eat better and exercise more.shutterstock_533965357 Earlier this year, I shared my journey to maintaining as a woman of a certain age: “Fit And Fine At Any Age”. The blog inspired passionate conversation amongst friends, family & colleagues. The struggle, commitment and BS are real!

For me a healthy lifestyle is a journey not a destination. Frankly, that mindset keeps me on my Ps and Qs. “Feel good, celebrate yourself, but don’t get too comfortable girlfriend.” Letting down your guard breeds mindlessness. Fit and fine is a mandate for mindfulness – every day all day. My tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle:nutritioninfographic

  1. Be proactive about managing hunger. When traveling, pack healthy options that keep you from eating fast food that’s always in great abundance. Fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, and low-calorie nutrition bars travel well. If you spend a lot of time in your car, keep a “healthy stash” in your car.

2. STOP – Don’t eat out of that potato chip bag! First, understand the amount of calories your choices consume. Practice  self-control by estimating the number of calories you are okay with and then count out every cookie, chip… on a napkin. Yes, I’m talking 1, 2, 3, and 4 . . . Apply the same principle when drinking adult beverages: wine, beer, mixed drinks — YOU NAME IT! 

3. Save some for later. That slice of pie, brownie, large cookie, if it’s not miniature, save half for another day. Think differently about sandwiches and burgers. I hate being redundant but, save half for later.

4. Drink warm green tea or water instead of soda, fruit drinks, or alcohol with your meals and in between meals. See Tip #5 before you grab the sugar or sweetener!

5. Out with the BAD                                                                                                            in with the BETTER
         Sugar                                                                                                                                        Honey
         Salad Dressing                                                                                                                     Olive Oil or Red Wine Vinegar
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        Refined rice, pasta, bread                                                                                                 Whole grain rice, pasta, bread 
         Non-Fat Yogurt                                                                                                                     Greek Non-Fat Yogurt
          Fry                                                                                                                                             Bake or Broil

6. Not ready to eliminate calorie rich condiments and sauces? Try my “1 Tablespoon Rule” for a couple of months. Over time you’ll be able to reduce it to 1 Teaspoon. You get where this is headed: minimize or remove.

7. Eliminate large or supersize orders of anything — small please. Enjoy it slowly (LOL)!

8. Order restaurant salads without salad dressing (see Tip #5). Or request the dressing on the side. If it’s on the side, implement Tip #6.

9. One day a week avoid eating meat, poultry or fish. For that day, all of your nutrients will come from the other food groups.

10.  Get & keep that body moving. Walk, run, swim, dance, jump rope, cycle…Start small and make changes incrementally. Successfully integrating physical activity into your daily routine requires alignment of your mind and body. The goal is to make your exercise regime sustainable. Check out choosemyplate.gov for ideas on increasing physical activity.

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11. Speak up! Let people know when you can’t, don’t, won’t eat… But you can and will enjoy… Most people want to be supportive. Living your truth is amazingly empowering.

12. Be mindful of your thoughts . “As a man thinketh, so is he” (Proverbs 23). Some days will go better than others. Don’t waste time lamenting on what you didn’t do. Reflect, adjust, recommit and get back at it. Edit your self-talk to include I am, I’m doing…Envision yourself living at the level you want. Put in the work. The results speak for themselves.

“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference” ~ The Serenity Prayer

Until next time, remember healthy is very sexy. By any means necessary, keep you fit and fine!

This blog was written in loving memory of Watson Stewart. Thank you dad for inspiring exercise and healthy eating — from my beginning!
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The Culture Equation

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An organization’s culture is a reflection of the behaviors exhibited by its employees. People get their cues of acceptable and revered behaviors from those with the strongest organization presence. Who would that be? They are the decision makers, the communicators of decisions, the influencers of strategy and policies. Some of those folks have titles like executive, leader, and manager. And some don’t.

It’s not enough to have a set of organization values nicely framed and frequently articulated. Intention and accountability are essential to mobilizing your organizational culture. Keep your eye on how people are living those values in their daily unceremonious interactions.  Remember: Employees hear what you say and mimic what you do. 

If you really want the organization values to be more than aspirational, take a hard look at the behaviors of those entrusted to lead.

Here’s a great clip from Strategy & Business: What Is Corporate Culture?

 

10 Principles For Mobilizing Your Organizational Culture

 

 

 

principles-for-mobilizing-organizational-culture

 

Fast Company:  Culture Eats Strategy For Lunch

 

 

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Why Diverse Teams Are Smarter.

Harvard Business Review provides more data informing of the value of diverse teams…Hiring individuals who do not look, talk, or think like you can allow you to dodge the costly pitfalls of conformity, which discourages innovative thinking.

Strategies and tactics related to organization culture, management and leadership practices, hiring, employee communication, talent management & development. . .are essential for an organization to  leverage and thrive with a diverse workforce.   What’s getting in your organization’s way? Check out Organization Challenges to D&I.

 

 

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You’ve been planning to fill this critical job opening for at least 2 years. Whoever takes this job will be a key player in transforming the organization culture and leading the initiatives essential for the organization to thrive over the next few years. The weight of this decision is real and one that you aren’t taking lightly.

The candidate pool started with 21 applicants. To increase the likelihood of identifying the best candidate for the job, your organization engages in a multi-dimensional vetting process that includes behavioral and situational structured interviews, assessment and sample tests, stakeholder and employee team interactions. In fact, employee teams are responsible for recommending the final candidates for the hiring manager to interview.shutterstock_268365578

As you scan the interview documentation and resumes of the final 2 candidates, you aren’t finding yourself particularly excited about either. Now is hardly the time to challenge or change the hiring process. That should have happened pre-project kick-off. Changing the process is simply not an option. And no career minded professional would dare abdicate their responsibility by refusing to participate. So you move forward focused on gleaning information about the candidates and matching it to the job requirements and the organization needs. Inevitably an offer is extended and the hire is made.

Hiring people is a power play and formidable responsibility. Much like the power associated with casting your vote. Whether it’s voting for President, Senator, Governor, Mayor, . . . We are matching peoples’ qualifications (work & performance history + leadership & behavior traits) to the:

  • Role/Job
  • World, country, state, city, . . . needs
  • Requisite values & behaviors

VOTING in and of itself is our individual & collective power to hire political candidates. Selecting the right candidate means evaluating real data and minimizing and or eliminating distractions. Distractions like whether or not the candidate makes me feel some kind of way (i.e., enthusiastic, excited…). Why? Emotionalism in the hiring process leads to bias – conscious and unconscious. When we are emotional, we aren’t objective and instead of seeking out facts, we end up on a mission to confirm our impressions. Similar to employment hiring outcomes, when our vote is based purely on emotion, we too often make the wrong choice. Nonetheless, making a choice for whom to elect is our obligation. And like employment hiring, we must reconcile that the role we play is meaningful, significant, and essential to our organizations, city, and country.

Sure there’s lots of dissatisfaction with the election process and the 2016 Presidential Candidates – all the more reason to vote. Professionally, we manage through imperfect systems and people all the time. In the words of Sheryl Sandberg, “done is better than perfect”.  Sift through the data, cast your vote, and be a part of the world’s largest hiring team. We’ll collectively determine the right candidate to offer the job as President of the United States.  (CANDIDATE’S NAME) . . . you are hired!

 

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Click here to become a registered voter: USA.GOV

Transforming The Customer Experience

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Organizations that aren’t making intentional efforts to affect their customers’ experience are missing opportunities to grow and drive earnings. The truth is customer experience work requires vision and transformational leadership. McKinsey does a really good job in offering guidance and insights into the journey. The info graphics and video clips are spot on. Vision, patience, determination and collaboration are fundamental behaviors for anyone leading or participating. Ultimately the entire organization will be touched by this work – when done well. Which makes sense when you are looking for sustainable change. “The whole organization has to line up against the customer experience.” After all, your customers are why you exist. Right?

 

McKinsey Executive Briefing, August 2016

 

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Your vision & mission is the true north intended to guide you in living on purpose. Be determined & courageous. Put in the work! Olympians offer excellent real life examples of people “putting in the work”… #goforthegold

 

 

FIT & FINE AT EVERY AGE

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Let’s be absolutely honest, everyone likes to look and feel good. Our standards of beauty may not be the same. But that has little to do with liking, no LOVING what’s looking back at you in the mirror. Feeling good emotionally and physically influences the quality of our lives. If you’ve ever been ill, had a health crisis, or been a part of someone else’s health crisis or recovery, then you know how absolutely precious it is to have good health. There’s a lot to the healthy equation. Genetics, hormones, ethnicity, socialization, economics, education, gender . . . are influential factors to a healthy disposition.  Some of these factors are within our control and some aren’t. But, here’s what I know for sure: if living our absolute best life is the vision, then caring for and cherishing our bodies as sacred gifts has to remain at the top of our priority list period. 

Like many women, my challenge slowly appeared as I approached my late 40’s.  I started noticing weight creep (when the scale shows that you are gaining, but it may not be as obvious otherwise). My face was getting fuller. My clothes were fitting differently. And I was NOT feeling my reflection in the mirror at all.  I struggled to understand what was happening to my body. I’ve always had a healthy diet and exercised regularly. The few people that I shared my concern with, including my doctor, thought I was nuts. In fact, my Doc accused me of wanting to hold on to my  “college girl figure”. ? Please, I’ve never had a desire to hold on to anything that wasn’t in the present. Anyway, after a pretty heated debate, Doc finally advised that if I really wanted to shed a few pounds, I would have to “shock my system”. I carefully considered my Doc’s counsel – “shock my system”. ? I’ve never dieted, never counted calories. The most I’d ever done was eliminate red meat from my regimen. Nonetheless, I was committed to figuring this out and getting to a happier place.

After much research – that included talking with friends that were experienced dieters – I decided that Weight Watchers online was the best tool for me. My goals:

  1. Shed the unwanted pounds.
  2. Take inches off my waistline.
  3. Understand the best food combinations to maintain my target weight.
  4. Evolve my workout regimen to sustain good to great health andtone tight look that I could love.

That was over 5 years ago. The >20 pounds I shed has NEVER returned. Maintaining is the result of adapting and creating a new normal. My healthy lifestyle has been redefined. I no longer avoid taking pictures or glances in the mirror. In fact, when it comes to my reflection & mirrors, every now and then I have to do a double take (go girl)!

There were a few “aha moments” while on this journey. Actually, they read more like transformative life lessons.  Hopefully something here inspires your determination. Hopefully you’ll be encouraged to be relentless about elevating your sexy and being fit and fine at any age.

  1.  Be willing to make changes and accept new learning. This means you may have been wrong about what works. Or what used to work just doesn’t anymore. Embrace and practice the new learning your new truth.
  2.  When eating out, ask for what you want; frequent restaurants that are willing to accommodate your requests. Make meals out of appetizers. Order from the kids’ menu. Share meals. Be thoughtful about dishes with creams or saucy combinations.
  3. Plan, plan, plan. Meal planning is one part of life that procrastinating or simply being lazy will cost you.
  4. Know your body. Keep it nourished and fueled with real food. Don’t allow yourself to get hungry. You know exactly what your body will need during the day. Think ahead and be prepared. You will avoid overeating or eating junk that will take you off track.
  5. Practice mindfulness when you are eating. It will help you not overeat. What is mindfulness? I appreciate Jon Kabat-Zinn’s definition, “paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of the experience moment to moment”.
  6. Enjoy all that you love a little bit at a time. That’s what I call portion control!
  7. Some things take time. With a plan that is yielding results, you will get to your goal. It may take longer than you hoped. You may have to edit your plan to see improved results. But with every thoughtful action you get closer to your goal. Remember, “The race isn’t given to the swift, nor to the strong, but to the one that endures to the end”. (The Bible)
  8. Give yourself some credit when you earn it. After all, “you are doing the dam thing”. (Kristen Williams)
  9. Pray daily for understanding, courage and guidance. Remind yourself  “with Christ all things are possible”. (The Bible)
  10. Embrace your humanity. There are some things we simply cannot change: hormones, weather, time. Learn to “work it” in every situation – adapt. You can control YOU so practice adapting!
  11.  Nothing happens when you do nothing! Real living happens when you take action; when you block out the voices of folks that just don’t get it or worse — haters. Real living happens when you respond to your own voice, vision, and calling. It is a great life!
  12. Nobody needs to “get it” (your vision) but you. This is about your life and your health. Know that you are worth every ounce of energy you commit to your life.
  13. Educate yourself about nutrition, exercise and food. Take action. Only a fool has knowledge and does nothing with it.
  14. It’s okay to want to be fine and sexy! It is absolutely possible to be fit and fine at every age.

 

A current pic of the author embracing her new normal.
The author’s workouts increased from 3-4 days per week to 4-5 days per week…