Dr Orlena: Hello, and welcome to fit and fabulous with me, Dr Orlena. I'm super excited today. We have got an amazing guest, Ashley, Ashley. Hello and welcome.
Ashley: Thank you, Orlena. Thank you for having me. I'm so happy to be.
Dr Orlena: My absolute pleasure. So do you want to just tell people a little bit about yourself and what you do?
Dr Orlena: And I suspect you're going to give the topic away by telling us what you do.
Ashley: Yes. So I'm Ashley Brown. I'm a mama of two, I'm also an educator and I'm the founder and owner of routine and things, which is a routine and planning company that helps women structure their life to lighten their load. And so I'm absolutely in love with routines.
Ashley: I think they are so beneficial. So you're alive and just helping you decrease your mental load, but I know we'll get into that.
Dr Orlena: Yes, absolutely. And this is why when I saw the title of your podcast and thought, Ooh, I love my habits, systems and routines. So for me, I teach people healthy living and.
Dr Orlena: People always say, I want to be able to do it without thinking. And I'm like, yes, you do. And you know what? That means. That means habits, systems, and routines. Exactly. Exactly. I do think people are a little bit averse to habit systems and routines because. They kind of feel a bit like, I don't want my life to be structured and I liked to be spontaneous and so much is going on.
Dr Orlena: It just feels like another thing to do. So you tell us what you think the benefits are and how they help people out.
Ashley: Yes. I have ran across so many people who feel that way, that because maybe they're a free spirit or like you said, they just love spontaneity that they feel as if that structure is going to constrict them from doing the things that they want to do.
Ashley: But I love to think about routines as actually giving you more space in your life. Like when you know, you have a. Plan in place because that's all a routine is, is a plan that you have thought about. And now, you know how you're going to move through a certain area of your life, whether that is a morning routine or a bedtime routine, or even how you exercise or how you cook or feed your family.
Ashley: When you have a plan in place, you don't have to think so hard. You can just flow with that routine and that open. More space for you because you're not going to have all this chaos going on, trying to figure out what you're cooking at the last minute, trying to scramble to get your kids together and out the door in the morning, you already have a flow.
Ashley: And so that's really going to give you more space, not only just space to like, do be spontaneous, but also mental space. Right. And we have so much going on in our heads all the time. And so routines can really help decrease your mental load a bunch. And so if you feel like. Routines are going to really restrict your you're doing.
Ashley: We're just, you know, restrict your spontaneity. Just know it doesn't, you know, routines don't have to do that. That little bit of structure actually helps you.
Dr Orlena: I love it. And I always talk about the habit fairy. I always say, you know, that we have that to me years ago, it used to be that thought, what am I going to cook for dinner?
Dr Orlena: What am I going to cook for dinner? What am I going to cook for dinner? And then this little voice, which would say not that my kids are going to eat it anyhow, but that would just consume so much of my day. And now I don't even think about it and like talk, you know, I think that's because of the habit ferry.
Dr Orlena: I just have habits. I have to confess. I never really know. Well, I have normally a plan of what I'm going to call. But yeah, the habit ferry takes away all of that noise, that effort, that just, oh, what am I going to do? And, and, and to your other point as well, I think time-saving, I was just talking just before this call, I had my group coaching call and one of the ladies I said to one of the ladies.
Dr Orlena: Do you use a slow cooker? And she's like, oh, I just don't have time. And I'm like, no, no, no, no. Wait, when you've got it in your system, when you've got it. So that it's routine and you do it without thinking, it saves you time. We have like slow-cooker dinner, vegetable chilli. Every Wednesday. I feel like I don't have to cook dinner on Wednesday because it's already done.
Dr Orlena: I've done it at seven in the morning. It's so easy. So, listen, I know that you do meal planning and you know, the people who are listening are busy moms meal planning is one of those things that most people think I ought to sit down and do a meal plan, but I hate it. I can't be bothered to do it. So what are your big tips for those people who.
Dr Orlena: I don't have that system flowing
Ashley: For meal planning. I think definitely. I feel like I used to be this tight where I was like, I know I want a meal plan, but then it would just take me when I would sit down to do it. I would just be like racking my brain, like, oh my gosh. Okay. So when am I going to cook?
Ashley: When am I going to fix for the family? And so. I started to put together this routine where I would just look at what I had in my refrigerator or in my pantry really quick. And it took probably about two minutes. What do we have in here then? I would say, okay, from what we have, what are some really easy meals I can fix that I know of, but I don't have to go on Pinterest to try to file.
Dr Orlena: I was thinking pictures. I was like, when I used to do this, I would go, oh, I've got one ingredient and then you'd go on Pinterest. And then half an hour later, you'd have. 50 different recipes and go,
Ashley: no. So I wouldn't, I would try my best not to go on Pinterest. I would be like, what meals do I know I can cook, like what I have in my fridge and my pantry.
Ashley: And so then I would say, okay, well, let me make a grocery list after I decided the meals, but always say stick to what you know, and what you know, your family. Like when we, you know, at times we can get a little spontaneous or want to try a different dish, but if you stick to what you know, then that's going to make it easier for you to meal plan.
Ashley: Cause I'm, I'm really big on making the same meals all the time and it works because we like them. Yeah.
Dr Orlena: And I would add to that as well. Like it doesn't have to be exactly the same. I know I have picky kids. And so sometimes you do have to get that balance. Right. But for example, What am I really love is saying, oh, I've got a cabbage.
Dr Orlena: So I'm going to do stir fry vegetables, and perhaps put some noodles in, but it doesn't really matter what I always think vegetables are so versatile. It doesn't really matter what vegetables I'm going to throw in because, Hey, I've got some carrots and I. Other bits and things, and that's fine, but I know what flavors I'm going to be using.
Dr Orlena: So the recipe there is the flavors really, and whatever happens to be in the fridge, which is always.
Ashley: Yes. No, that's very true. Cause I remember I used to do things a lot. Like some years ago where I would be like, okay, we're going to have like a taco type of theme or we're going to do like an Asian type of thing to, you know, every week or every Wednesday we'll do an Asian theme or maybe it's like a pasta thing every Thursday.
Ashley: And so that is really helpful because you can still have some variety, but you at least, you know what flavors you're going on. Yeah,
Dr Orlena: exactly, exactly. And another thing that I found really useful in planning my week is knowing which am I sort of, I call them stress states, you know, that day where everything happens.
Dr Orlena: And for us it's Wednesday, not today because it is Wednesday as I record this because all my children are off school with COVID, but normally on Wednesday, it's, you know, so many extra school activities that you know, and I've got cool. That there isn't space for me in the day to then cook dinner. So I know that it's slow cooker vegetable chili.
Dr Orlena: And as I said, it's just so easy. I put it on it's just routine, but I've actually taken the hardest answer. We can turn that into the easiest day of the week by just having that routine, that routine, that routine. And I don't even have to think about it.
Ashley: Exactly. Exactly. And I love that. That's the beauty about routines.
Ashley: Even if you can have for your meal plan, like some backup backup meals for those stress days, like knowing like sometimes we don't want what's on our meal plans. Sometimes we're like, okay, I have a taste for something different. So if you already pre-planned like what your backup meals may be, then it might be helpful when you do have those stress days or you want something.
Dr Orlena: Fabulous and somewhere else in people's lives, do you see habits and systems and routines helping people?
Ashley: Oh, when it comes to really how they start their day. I talked to a lot of women who just have really fabulous morning routines or women who really want a really great morning routine because how you start your day, many times will lead into the rest of your day.
Ashley: And so starting that your day. With more ease and like doing something for yourself, even if it's something really quick. Like, I remember I was talking to someone yesterday and she's like, it makes me really happy to make my bed in the morning. So making my bed, even that quick three minutes is like really beautiful for me.
Ashley: And so I think that's a routine that. Many people strive for, but I also think it's super helpful for us to have a morning routine where we can flow and really give to ourselves. I think morning is really important. Yeah.
Dr Orlena: So what you do in the morning sets you up for the rest of the day. May I ask you what your morning routine looks like?
Ashley: Yes. So my morning routine, I just changed it probably about. Three weeks ago. But now I wake up and I'm, I'm a huge guy, girl, so I pray. I love to pray. And so I'll pray and then I'll give myself like a little, like, I'll do a lot of stretching and like kinda massage my body because I'm not a real like morning person.
Ashley: I wake up. Five 30, but I really don't want to be up. So I have to try to wake my body. So I do a bunch of stretching and like kinda massage myself. And then after that I'll do a meditation. So I love meditating. I've been doing that for at least two years. And so I'll meditate for about between eight to 10 minutes.
Ashley: And then that's when I'll start, like getting ready for the day. So that's my morning routine. Fabulous. And
Dr Orlena: I bet you just sort of tumble out of bed and it's just normal now because that's what you've been doing for so long.
Ashley: Exactly, exactly. Right. It just, you have to really, you know, be patient with the process because it does take a little bit of time to really lock into your routine where it kind of flows.
Ashley: You still have to think about it. It's not, it's not as like subconscious as a habit, but it still flows for you at a certain point.
Dr Orlena: Fabulous. So this year in my business, I have been focusing very much on emotional eating for women because I see that this is the key, the key to making changes that so many people try and making changes.
Dr Orlena: And until this piece is really looked at nothing really changes, not in the long run, essentially. So talking to people who know that emotional eating is an issue for them. How do you think systems and habits and routines can help?
Ashley: Yeah, I think, oh, that's something I'm actually going through right now where I'm trying to be more conscious of not eating when I am stressed, when I am tired, when I just don't, when I'm fed up, because I used to like, I'm working on it.
Ashley: So it's like, I'll go to that very quickly. Like, let me get me some pasta because I had a stress and it's like, no, that's not helping you. So I think that, you know, systems, habits and routines are really great for that because when you, we know how it feels, when we start to feel stressed or overwhelmed or anxious, we can feel it in our bodies.
Ashley: We can sense it. And so I feel like. Building a routine where when you feel that feeling in your body to just pause and really reflect on why are you feeling the way that you're feeling. Like even that simple other routine that simple of like trying to get that habit down could really be helpful in you saying, okay, well, yes, I had a long day, but then saying, what else can I do other than eat?
Ashley: Is it any other way I can relieve this tension and this stress and this emotion other than eating. And so for me recently, what I've been doing is I'll say, okay, I want to eat something because I'm kind of stressed. I'm not feeling that. Let me read a book. Let me, let me take, cause sometimes my girls are with me and so I'll be like, it's it's reading time.
Ashley: Like, let's go upstairs. I'll sit down. I'll read my book. Or maybe sometimes I'll just say, okay, take some deep breaths. Let's breathe it out. Let's do some breath work. And so that has been helpful for me. And so I think it's really all about building that type of routine or system where you can stop, reflect, and then choose a different idea.
Dr Orlena: Fabulous. And what I'm hearing you say is creating a habit and systems and routines that are stronger than. The habits that you have of emotional eating. I love it. Fabulous. Well, thank you so much for chatting with us today. Where can people find more about you and your services?
Ashley: Yes. So you can check me out routineandthings.com.
Ashley: That's our website, or if you're also on Instagram, you can follow me at routine and things. We have a, a great, you know, great amount of things for you when it comes to routines and planning. So definitely check it out for happiness. Thank you so much. Thank you, Dr Orlena.
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Dr Orlena Kerek (MBChB from the University of Bristol, UK) trained as a pediatric doctor. She is now a family health coach. She helps busy mums who want to feel amazing by eating healthy food, enjoy a healthy life, get back into their honeymoon shorts and teach their kids healthy habits all without thinking about it.
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