How to Use the Weekly Meal + Exercise Planner November 11 2016
A few customers have asked to see a closer look at the weekly Meal + Exercise Planners in the Signature Life Designers. I thought I'd include a sample of how I use it so you can get some ideas of what is possible (but please excuse the terrible hand-writing!).
Each Signature Life Designer has a 'Health' section at the front (after the 'Goals' section) which has 52 weekly Meal + Exercise Planners. There are sections for each day of the week and breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks (a category of mine which always has way too much writing in it!), exercise (a category which normally has too little writing in it!) and a water tracker.
On the right side are some dotted lines which I use for either a grocery list, recipe ingredient list or for a quick reference for calories in my most common meals.
Ideally, on a Sunday night I'll write up my meal plan for the week and have done some meal prep for lunch and snacks. I'll block out any lunch / dinners I have out with friends and then try and plan out a lot of the rest. If I'm writing a list of groceries, I put it on the right hand side where the dotted lines are and then take a photo on my phone in case I'm dashing up to the shops and have left my planner on my desk.
I find the exercise section really handy as it keeps me accountable if I set it up at the beginning of the week. It's also useful if you are training for a big event such as a marathon or ocean swim. I'm not much of a runner so no marathons here (!) but I did recently complete the Couch to 5km program (so yep, not really in the same league as a marathon haha!) and it was great using the exercise tracker to write out the eight week program and tick it off when done, recording my times and distances.
The Compact Life Designer has been created differently as it is a smaller planner with only a monthly overview page for health (rather than 52 two-page spreads tracking it weekly in the Signature). The monthly overview gives you space to record the day's calories or points intake and the week's exercise to give you a big picture look at how you're going rather than a detailed in-depth view. This is more useful if you're not following a set meal plan / diet or are using an app to record some of the information for you. You can see in my mock-up below (based on a week when I was trialing the sample books months ago) I used both a daily calorie count and then switched halfway through the week to daily points tracking.
I'd love to see how others use their meal and exercise planners for inspiration so please feel free to tag #amelialanelifedesigner on instagram so we can all see!
Healthy Habits: Morning Exercise October 03 2016
At the beginning of this year, I made a conscious effort to incorporate morning exercise into my daily routine. I know the timing of it doesn't work for everyone but I've tried morning, lunchtime classes and after work gym sessions and I know mornings are the most beneficial for me (read: the most likely to happen!).
When I've exercised in the morning I feel full of energy for the rest of the day and am also much more likely to eat healthily until at least dinnertime. But it's mainly that boost of endorphins and energy setting me up for a positive and productive day that gets me addicted.
My absolutely favourite form of exercising to start the day is a swim in an ocean pool (usually Bronte, pictured, or if I'm free to travel further afield Freshwater), but more commonly it's laps at Andrew Boy Charlton Pool in the Botanic Gardens or a quick run around Centennial Park.
While swimming has always come naturally, I'm definitely not a runner! What helped convert me was the Couch to 5km podcast series (I used the NHS one but there are a few out there). The weekly accountability and really noticing my progress was so motivating. I'm 100% a 'gold star' person - i.e. needing feedback from someone else to keep me going - and I also liked how the pace was manageable so I wasn't just immediately turned off once it got hard (like every time I'd set out to go on a run by myself!). It also helps me to go home and record it in my Amelia Lane Life Designer so I feel the satisfaction of ticking it off as 'done'!
To really get you behind the idea of setting up healthy habits, I strongly recommend Gretchen Rubin's book 'Better Than Before'. One of the main principles is that habits strop you having to make decisions over and over again because they just become routine. So it's no longer an option whether or not you're going to do something, you just do it unthinkingly. I'm still trying to ingrain the habit of morning exercise as I know it always makes me feel happier and I hope this motivates you to give it a try also!