Why Play is the missing link to your Health and Wellness Success

Courtesy Google Images

Courtesy Google Images

Do you remember the saying, "Like a kid in a sandbox"? Well, as an adult, it may be more potent than you think.

As a trainer, nutrition coach, and a yoga teacher, I have seen so many people become attached and over rigid with their health and wellness goals. They become obsessed about gym time, anxious about enjoying a chocolate bar, depressed if they miss a workout, and reluctant when stepping on a scale. 

we begin to feel stuck and stifled in our own goals. we start to not see a way out. 

When you lose the Joy and Exploration of your health and well being wants, you lose the keys to the kingdom of your success.

See, here is the thing about your well being desires: they are yours. No one else's. You have EVERY RIGHT to explore the avenues you need to take to make changes. Period.

Courtesy Google Images

Courtesy Google Images


Why Play matters in your success.

The idea of play (what I mean by it) is not something new. CEOs, Highly Skilled Professionals, and Successful Artists have been using this for ages.

Play, how I define it is:

The capacity to explore actions and ideas not for the sake of going somewhere with it, but for the sake of exploring. 

What happens when you do this? 

  • Doors Open-  When you bring play into a situation  for example like your food choices, you no longer feel tied down to just ONE choice. You can start to explore different recipes, you can swap food options out, and dare I say even play with your food!
  • Options Expand- While it isn't the point of bringing Play into your personal health wants, you will notice that the possibilities become stacked HIGH and could become ENDLESS. Who says you need to lift heavy to create change? Why not yoga, walking, aerobics, zumba, cross country skiing, line dancing, polka dancing, figure skating, hula hooping, skateboard, and so much more? All create great change to your overall health, so don't know 'em until you try 'em!
  • Insights Ignite- You may find when you bring play/exploration/creativity to your area where you feel stuck, that new insights occur. You may realize you have been GRUDGINGLY going down a certain way of practicing yoga or meditation and want to try a different practice like tai chi or qi gong! 

This practice of bringing play to areas you are stuck has helped me MANY times. The first time I practiced this for ten months straight, my business improved, I booked a musical, I became a more confident person, and I learned to grow up and realize I don't have to be perfect to take action. I just have to take action and explore and see what unfolds. 

How do I start bringing play into my life of wellness?

Courtesy Google Images

Courtesy Google Images

1. Start with one area of your health you feel stuck.

2. Find some sticky notes to write on and a pen to write with. 

3. With yourself, or your community of friends and family, start to write on each sticky note ALL THE OPTIONS you can think. Literally. 

4. Do not STOP until you can't think of anymore options to play/explore!!!

5. When you feel like you may have exhausted your options, take a moment to pause and see all the new avenues that have opened up. 

6. You can repeat this for any area of health, or even life itself. 


I hope this idea of play is something you use to create change. It is an underrated practice but so thrilling to do when you feel stuck and still want to succeed. 


Happy play time ! If you want more feel free to subscribe to my blog, check out my YouTube Clips  or find me on Instagram by clicking here


Lee Skunes



Why Food and Friends Can Affect Your Stress

Hey All, welcome back! Today is the final part of the series of what you can do to ACTIVELY create habit change around your stress. 

The past few posts we talked about how breathing, yoga, and cardio can all help stave off stress’ influence. Finally, we are going to talk about how food and friends can help to boost your immunity against stress. Let’s get started with nutrition.

Courtesy Google Images

Courtesy Google Images


Eating and Stress


    Nutrition and stress have been researched many times and studies come back a lot to two chemicals that affect your food cravings: ghrelin ( a hunger modulating chemical in the body) and cortisol (chemical linked to the stress response in the body).

     Studies show that increased cortisol levels can affect your body’s gut health and food processing capabilities. For some, this leads to weight gain as the metabolic rate (the rate at which your body metabolizes food and other chemicals in the body) slows down, while for other individuals stress may suppress hunger, leading to weight loss. 

     So why is it we crave high sugar and high fat content food when we are stressed? Well, some research has discovered that the possibility of sugary foods and high fat foods help to stop the stress production and stress processing parts of the brain. This then can potentially lead to weight gain, as well as a cycle with stress - food craving habits being cemented. 


So what can I do about it?


Pause Momentarily.

Are you grabbing something impulsively? Take that moment to pause to investigate why you are reaching for the candy or sugary soda. 

Choose Mindfully.

Have you taken the moment to pause? Once you have done that, choose a food that is in alignment with your health and wellness goals. 

Prepare Successfully.

Have 20 minutes at home? Preparing simple and nutrient dense foods from home doesn’t have to take long. Taking 20-30 minutes at home to make things like no bake protein balls or cutting up veggies for the next day doesn’t have to be complex. 

Now I want to make this clear. I am not saying you can’t enjoy some good doughnuts or ice cream. Heck, I love a good ben and jerry’s and fizzy colas adventure. What I am trying to get across to you is that

if your consistent action is to go for the sugary foods and high fat content ALL the time, you may want to look at your habits.

I know this is not an easy area to create change around. Be patient with yourself. Habit change in food does not happen over a night, or a week, or even a month. It takes TIME, CONSISTENCY, and PATIENCE.

Let’s move on to social support.


Social Support and Stress



    Ever been in a group of friends and realized that being around them drains you? Or have you ever had the experience where are having an amazing conversation with a group of friends and you feel less stressed, more energized, and ready to take the day? This isn’t mere coincidence. Your friends and family affect your health and can even help reduce the impact of stress on you and your health.


    According to the American Psychological Association, in 2015, Americans report a significantly larger amount of people than the year previous reported their stress levels at an 8 out of 10. In addition, the average rating per day went up from a 4.9 to a 5.1 out of 10 for daily stressors. These are no small numbers!


    Emotional Support from friends and peers is a massive stress reducer for you and your mental and physical health. Studies show that high levels of social support can help boost your immune systems and help boost your self-esteem to deal with those stressors in daily life.


How to influence your Social Support


Cast Wide.

In an area where you feel like your social network opportunities are small? Cast a wider net of potential supporters. You could try things such as facebook, twitter, your local church group or yoga studio to start to find a few friends to help create a solid core of support.

Act Proactively.

Waiting for your social support to come to you? While you may be someone who can make this happen, most people have to work at finding this. Don’t give up if after a few tries it still doesn’t happen. Perseverance will pay off. 

Ask Generously.

Struggle with social skills? Asking a few colleagues or family members you do trust can help ease the pressure of doing it yourself. You may even gain the confidence to do it yourself in the process of asking!


I hope these lists help you out to help you fight off stress and its not so nice effects it can have on you.


    If you have any questions or wanna hear more about how to create habit changes for your health, head on over to the home page and pick up your own FREE copy of Six Effective Habits: Your Checklist to Well Being. You’ll also receive a free calendar to check the list off and see your day-to-day actions come to fruition in real time. 

Happy Habit Building!

-Lee Skunes, creator of Peak Body Integration



Why yoga and cardio can help manage your stress


Hey everyone. Thanks for coming back. This article is part two of three for how to reduce your stress. 

Don't want to read? Watch the video above instead!

Last post we talked about how breath influences your stress. Today I am going to talk about yoga and cardio training. Both can help to reduce and lower your levels of stress and its impact on the mind and boy.  I am also going to give you habits to start to utilize both of them.

Let's start with yoga. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, "A number of studies have shown that yoga may help reduce stress and anxiety. It can also enhance your mood and overall sense of well-being." Not only that, but yoga has also been studied to help with lower back pain, knee pain, and sleep issues. 

To say it is beneficial is an understatement. 

How do I start using yoga to help with stress? 

Here are three ways you can start to engage with yoga:

1. Find a local yoga studio that offers foundational yoga classes or beginner's series classes. 

2. Find a yoga dvd/website. Websites like yogaglo and live108 are solid places to start. 

3. Hire a private teacher. I HIGHLY recommend doing this in the beginning, especially if you have injuries and previous surgeries. 

It doesn't have to be a full 60 or 90 minute practice. In fact, some days all I get in are about 20-30 minutes. That is AMPLE time to influence your well being.

If you need more information or assistance, feel free to send me a message on either here of my facebook page, Peak Body Integration.


Let's move on to cardio.

Courtesy VideoBlocks.com  

Courtesy VideoBlocks.com


According to Harvard Health, "Regular aerobic exercise will bring remarkable changes to your body, your metabolism, your heart, and your spirits. It has a unique capacity to exhilarate and relax, to provide stimulation and calm, to counter depression and dissipate stress. It's a common experience among endurance athletes and has been verified in clinical trials that have successfully used exercise to treat anxiety disorders and clinical depression. If athletes and patients can derive psychological benefits from exercise, so can you."

You'd think cardio training would increase stress. In fact, it actually buffers it. Think of it like a super power shield in your immune system. 

Looking to build your cardio training? 

Look no further. Here are 3 steps you can take TODAY to start your cardio journey.

1. Jump Rope- Buy one off of amazon that is appropriate for your height. Start with 50 consecutive jumps. Then add 5 each time. Make your way all the way up to 100. Score!

2. Walk/Jog/Run. Even 15-20 minutes a day of this can help to build your stress reduction resiliency in your body. 

3. Do these 3 actions in a row. Repeat 3 times. 50 Jumping Jacks/ 50 high knees/50 Bodyweight Squats. 


There you have it! Simple, effective, action based tips. No need to over complication. Play the long, slow, steady, consistent game and you will succeed. 


Habit Habit Building!

Lee Skunes, creator of Peak Body Integration