The struggle is real but suffering is optional

Early this summer I was casually chatting with a friend over just common #momlife problems. Towards the end she made an innocent statement about how good it felt to simply know “I too, make mistakes.”

Brene Brown, a social researcher, professor, and author, talks extensively about the tremendous impact hearing the phrase “me too” has when people are in the midst of a struggle.

In fact, one of the main reasons I started to talk and continue to talk so openly about my various eating disorders and body image problems was your very own HEALING impact on ME.

When I revealed not only my bout with anorexia but also binge eating, I got dozens of emails back saying some form of, “ME TOO!!”

And then again, when I became open about how brutal a financial and emotional blow creating sweatlocal was in the midst of unemployment, another set of dozens of “ME TOO!!”

 

Not that everyone was mounting businesses, of course, but my pain in the struggle resonated with yours and yours with mine and that dark shame that hides behind isolation seemed to give way to hope.

 

Here’s the thing… my friends surprise that, “I, too, make mistakes” stems from reading my newsletters and blog posts and not seeing that what I write about are things I’ve spent countless HOURS pondering and reflecting over, WEEKS studying and reading, and MONTHS practicing, experimenting, and failing fast to find solutions.

I PURPOSEFULLY do not share my PERSONAL LIFE PUBLICLY in the midst of a storm because if I have no solutions, insights, or growth to offer then all I’m doing is complaining, venting, wallowing, and whining and that is indulgent, unhelpful, and not worthy of taking up real estate in your inbox and your precious time.

Continue reading “The struggle is real but suffering is optional”

3 Healthy Habits to question (and actually get healthier)

If you know anything about me and how I coach fat loss, you know I love mindset but I’m also not afraid of numbers.

I’m totally fine getting formulaic with calories and macros and deficits  in a world where “just listen to your body” is all the rage.

And it’s an awesome protocol, btw.

YES!… you should ABSOLUTELY listen to your body!!!!!

The thing is, that “kumbaya” diet advice fell hella flat with me back in the day when all I was doing was binge eating at night, feeling ashamed of my inability to follow my goals, and frustrated that I “couldn’t stay on track.”

WTF does “trust your body” mean to a person who habitually finds themselves standing in front of the pantry, frantically stuffing cheerios into their mouth, promising themselves this is the last handful only to reach back in again?

I felt BETRAYED by every single hunger/fullness cue my body sent my way??!!??  Your fat loss solution was trust… HA!!!

I don’t start fat loss coaching with numbers because I believe numbers are inherently better than an intuitive eating approach.

I just know at my peak of frustration, the assumption that I had a strong enough relationship with my body to TRUST it, was laughable at it’s best and punchable on most days.

So yes, in Diet Rebellion, my fat loss coaching program, we get right to work on finding basal metabolic rates, total daily energy expenditures, and deficits because I am working with people, who like me, believed their bodies were deceiving them at every meal time.

With that said, numbers alone, DON’T HOLD THE KEY either, so from day 1 we also dive into some of the behaviors and beliefs that created the patterns that keep us stuck.

Below, I’ve listed 3 for you to consider and none are contingent on you trusting your body cues at meal times, btw.  All three points are loaded, however, and I plan to expand each farther Thursday night at 7:45pm (June 8th) on Facebook Live.  

In particular, myth #2 and the statement  ***Create a calorie deficit you can COMPLY with 80-90% of the time.  Both are loaded and require a good bit more explaining, especially if you’re walking in highly distrustful of your body.

Myth #1:  More information means better and faster results

Information overload is a real thing.  At some point, we simply know ENOUGH to commit and the quest to find an undiscovered trick in the bag leads to CONFUSION, DISORIENTATION, and the FEAR of getting things wrong.

“I read a Facebook article that said to eat more fat, but then this other one said to eat less fat.”

“My friend sent me a Facebook article that said carbs pre-workout are optimal but I read one that said they are better post workout.”

“This girl I follow on Instagram is doing keto, maybe I should too.”

We end up doing everything and nothing at the same time.

Turn down (or OFF) the volume on details with words like “optimal” and “greatest” and put your energy GETTING BACK TO THE BASICS!  

*** Create a calorie deficit you can COMPLY with 80-90% of the time.

  •  Myth #2:  “healthy” and “fat loss” are synonymous

As healthy as almonds are, you CANNOT eat a jar of them a day and lose weight.

Stop mindlessly eating them because every single magazine article and blog post lists them as an OPTIMAL midday snack option!!!

If a small amount isn’t actually satisfying your hunger WHY ARE YOU EATING THEM?????

Seriously, why?

Because they are “good” and other things are “bad.”  Because “clean eating” makes you a better person than eating “dirty” foods.

Almonds are great, sure, but they do pack a caloric punch that adds up fast.

YES… Sometimes you should EAT THE CHEEZ ITS for the simple, honest, and human reason that they’re going to hit the spot, you can finally stop craving, and in the long run eat LESS calories because you did so.

  •  Myth #3:  Just eat like a bodybuilder

I get it.  A bodybuilders methods work.  You get shredded.

Quick question, though… do you REVERSE DIET like a bodybuilder too?

Oh, don’t know what that is because Shape magazine always seems to forget to publish the other side of the shreddedAF industry, right?

Reverse dieting is when you take the BRUTAL 12-16 week 6 pack meal plan and work backwards from stage ready so that you don’t gain a DISPROPORTIONATE AMOUNT OF FAT back after such hardcore dieting.

Shredding for the stage is HELL FOR YOUR METABOLISM and anyone in the sport of bodybuilding who aims to stay there actually goes (or is supposed to go) through another long ass period of reverse dieting beginning their off season.

If you can take the 4 oz tilapia, 1 cup broccoli, and 3 oz of sweet potato meal plan for 12 weeks, you eventually have to learn to eat more moderately anyways.  Your body WILL NOT ALLOW YOU to stay shredded like that or eat so minimally without real and major repercussions.

One of those being HABITUALLY binge eating!

(Light bulb moment for me!!!!)

Okay… so this his blog post is by no means comprehensive.

I consider it a starting point for introspection and discussion and that’s why I’m excited to do and think it’s necessary to do a Facebook Live, Thursday, June 8th at 7:45pm.  Gah!  I love coaching live and in person!

@sweatlocal

 

 

 

The #7DeadlySins Journal and that fru fru mindset stuff

I’ve been blogging consistently now for two years, but I’ve journaled on and off my whole life.

Did you ever own one of those journals w/ the lock and key?

Yeah… I stayed stocked and when at the book store, I would salivate at the thought of owning more.

So, it’s really not all that surprising that last summer when I was introduced to bullet journaling as a way of organization that it would stick.

Here’s what most folks don’t know… along w/ the “to-do” list and “chore tracker”… my method of bullet journaling is so loosely structured that when the moment arises and I want… NEED… to capture my thoughts into words, I jump inside whatever page is ready to receive it.

And, as a naturally high strung persona recovering perfectionist one might say… I find an instant release after I’ve let my pen have it’s say.  In fact, writing turns my RESTLESSNESS into instant CLARITY and FOCUS.    

That simple pen and paper (or flashing scroll when blogging) takes my brain that moves a million miles a minute and forces it to SLOW DOWN to a snails pace so I sit WITH my discomfort, feelings, confusion, expectations, and mistakes.

My past and present CAN’T GET DISMISSED as a flashing thought…

… that fight I had with my husband, that riff that tore me apart from a friend, my unexpected miscarriage, my late night rendezvous with all the candy in the pantry… all get dealt with or at least begin the sometimes arduous journey towards understanding.

In other words… I can attribute a huge part of my personal growth to taking the time to put MY STORY into words.

That’s where the magic of journaling happens and that’s truly my end goal with this whole email journaling series,  #7DeadlySins of Fitness (and anything else really), jumps off on June 5th.

One email per week.

One journal entry.

Each topic dealing with the 7 Deadly Sins – wrath, gluttony, sloth, pride, envy, lust, and greed.

It’s not just, hey! read this super indulging email and write how you feel about it… you’d never journal or get the benefits of journaling if it was structured that way!

I want you walking out of the next 7 weeks having learned a solid PROCESS on how to at least start to get to the bottom of madness that is holding you down.

So much of our “problems and issues” with eating, exercise, comfort foods, judgement on eating and our relationship with our bodies… doesn’t have ANYTHING to do with calories, macros, burpees, or cellulite.

You can’t effectively work through all those tangibles until you’re willing to work with what’s happening INSIDE your head first! So…

Here’s how this whole journaling thing is going to go down… and even if you’re not doing this #7DeadlySins thing I highly recommend that the next time you attempt to journal you’re doing so with these 4 parts key elements in mind…

  •  What’s your ANECDOTE?

Every email will start w/ one of my stories in wrath, pride, gluttony, sloth, lust, envy, or greed to prompt YOUR OWN story.  These “sins” are UNIVERSAL… not a one of us have lived this life without having become victim to them all at some point.

BE HUMAN.

I certainly plan to be, but the point of the email is not my story but yours!  SOMETHING about what you read is meant to trigger one of your past or present experiences on the same topic.

However, this time… you’re not allowed to just THINK about this experience, we’re going to slow your brain down to that critical snails pace so you sit with the memories and the circumstances and WRITE FREELY.

That’s the other thing… forget periods, good grammar, correct spelling, or political correctness.  Give yourself permission to get totally UNCENSORED!  Super important so that the next steps have an impact!

  •  How are you ACCOUNTABLE?

Read over your story and ask yourself, where am I playing the role of victim?  Yes… super hard and can piss you off but such a key point when personal growth is an end goal.

Stop being the angel who got trampled on.  Stop being a martyr.

We may not be responsible for how things started, but we sure as hell all are accountable to how we REACTED to it.  We can control NO ONE but ourselves so this part is about putting the focus on us rather than wishing and hoping someone else would do x, y, and z.

What is YOUR x, y, z towards resolution?

Lose judgement and exchange it for RESPONSIBILITY.  Own your part.

  •  Are you willing to/should you ADAPT?

Whether it’s a deeper sense of gratitude or learning how to set new boundaries with people, every experience carries a valuable lesson.

The third step in this email journaling series is to … RE-WRITE your story having taken into account where your responsibility lies.

How would things be different if you had… not screamed back, assumed someone’s words were meant to injure, or stayed completely silent?  Write a new ending to the story so that you can truly understand what RESOLUTION would look like for you.  Then…

  • What’s the next immediate ACTION?

Big or small, forward progress is on YOU.  Doing, not thinking, creates change!  

Little things can get taken care of fast but if you’re dealing w/ something complicated you’ve got simply find that small thing you are responsible for today, right now, to closer to being at your best again.

Action cures anxiety.  The best thing you can do is NOT try to do all the things at once.  Start small, but DO something!

You guys, I’m super excited about June 5th… again, not because it’s about my story, but because I have felt the benefits of journaling (and blogging) for so long and hope to pass it along!

I’d love to have you along for the ride and hope to provide for you lots of light bulb moments that will propel you out of some of those sad or dark hang ups in friendships, food, exercise, and body image.

When Resentment Changes Responsibility

2012 was a year of abrupt and major change.

  • Lawrence and I opened up sweatlocal.
  • 24 hours later Lawrence lost his job.
  • I got notice that my teacher certification had expired (so no backup plan.)
  • I went from stay at home mom and “hobby trainer” with all the time in the world to full time business owner.

The ripple effects of that shift continued to shake our family well into 2013 and 2014.

Financially “starting over” is no joke.

 

In fact, it didn’t really feel like starting over… b/c when Lawrence and I first began our life together we had zero kids, no mortgage, no day care costs, no car payments, and most importantly…

 

NO STANDARD OF LIVING.

Right?!?!  We were like fresh out of college life!  We were young, wild, free and without much expectation of what this world “owed” us.

 

Our peers were beginning their lives and careers as well.

 

We were all in the same boat together.

 

By 2012 that was not the case.

 

As we were “losing it all” my friends were renovating kitchens, adding square footage to their homes, buying boats and second homes.

 

I, on the other hand, was visiting the bank weekly draining our savings to make sure we didn’t lose a home and kept food on the table.

 

Listening to my friends’ “problems” about whether to put dark or light slabs of granite on their new kitchen islands was so utterly out of my league I spent a good 12 months avoiding every possible outing I could.

 

I just COULDN’T relate!

 

It’s like when you have a baby and your friends are bitching about how tired they are because they stayed up too late drinking at the bar…

 

Their all “I’m so tired and sleep deprived!”

 

Meanwhile you’ve breastfed an infant 3 times through the night for the past 6 months so you just want to slap your girlfriends in the face b/c they actually HAVE NOT A CLUE what sleep deprivation really feels like.

 

Same with counter tops!

 

You don’t to rain on their home dreams parade but really… Is that what we’re calling a problem these days?

 

Granite?

 

So for a long time I sat RESENTFUL of what I was going through.

 

And let me be clear… what I struggled with is child’s play in comparison to what others have gone through and are dealing with today.

 

I by NO MEANS want to give the impression that my suffering has much grandeur at all.

 

What I want to highlight is that MY PERCEPTION of my friends and my circumstance was exaggerated by MY INSECURITIES and MY LIFE LENSE.

 

My perception of them was a

REFLECTION OF ME… not them!

 

Full on Ownership.

Full on Responsibility.

It was in these 12 months that I realized how much of my personal SELF WORTH was wrapped up in my bank account, car, kitchen, house, vacations.

 

I felt ashamed, unworthy, annoyed, and angry not because ANYONE ELSE was making me feel that way.

 

I MADE MYSELF FEEL THAT WAY.

DAMN IT!  Here I was believing I was really “a simple sort of girl” just because we lived within our means… without credit card debt, I didn’t buy expensive purses or spend lots of money getting my hair done.

 

Yet, when life threw me a curve ball and took away COMFORTS and LUXURIES (I felt entitled to) I wanted to hide… to retreat.

In other words…

 

I didn’t want others to see me

if I wasn’t at my best!

I was not so humble a person after all.

HARD PILL TO SWALLOW.

But I did.  And truth be told… I needed it because before 2012, I just couldn’t see that I was existing simply to enjoy all the things this world offered me instead of ENJOYING ALL THE THINGS I COULD OFFER THIS WORLD!

 

Right?

 

Okay… so I can’t enjoy square footage in a house, a brand new kitchen, a new car, a week to Disney.

 

There’s no six pack, tiny waist, perfect marriage, or angelic kids to envy here either!

But aren’t I (and aren’t we ALL) so much more than all those tangibles?

 

  • That’s when I threw myself headfirst into sweatlocal.
  • That’s when I started writing honest and blunt emails.
  • That’s when I showed up on social media as plain ‘ol regular me.
  • That’s when I started being transparent about food and exercise struggles in my blogs.
  • Hell… that’s when I started cussing again.  LOL!!!

It was a lightbulb year …

1.  where I took #radicalresponsibility for my thoughts and actions (check out Jill Coleman for more on this!)

2.  showed up #imperfectAF and let the chips fall wherever they may

3.  and learned to be grateful for the #unpinterestable parts of my life and body.

As it turns out learning to be authentic AT MY WORST, gave me more happiness and value than I ever imagined.

I know that life’s roller coaster is not done with me yet and there’s plenty of obstacles that will come way in the future.
Shit… if they are anything like 2012-2014, I’m in for some falls, spills, and sucker punches.
It’s going to suck.  Of that, I’m certain.
Not looking forward to it… but here’s the thing… next go around I know I’m not trapped.

I may not be in charge of my circumstances, but I am 100% responsible for how I conquer them.  

With all of that super personal and vulnerable info, you should know that this post is just the tip of the iceberg.

 

For anyone ready to descend themselves into some major mindset shifts like the ones above, I’m finishing up a 7 week, 7 minute journaling email series focusing on the 7 Deadly Sins of Fitness (and actually everything)…

 

Yup… Gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth, and the super juicy envy and wrath.  How are they showing up and making you feel worse about your body, how you eat, what you eat, how you judge yourself, others, the bigness/smallness of your body?

 

I’ll be sharing with you my own personal stories and questions to uncover and yes… absolutely to TRIGGER your own worst struggles and turn them into positive shifts.

 

This email series is NOT for everyone btw… there are no free meal plans or free workouts involved.

 

This is all about head space… sitting in your worst… in the hopes of getting to your best.  Join here FREE!  

 

Everything begins Monday, June 5th and every Monday til July 17th you’ll get 1 email and 1 journaling exercise to flip your inner script.

10 Holiday Food Rules (that you don’t eat like a rabbit or kill your bikini dreams)

Pet Peeve:  I am going to start my diet AFTER ___________ (insert any holiday of the year.)

Have you looked at a calendar lately?

There’s a candy/food holiday or celebration AT LEAST once per month.

Add in birthdays, showers, weddings, sporting event celebrations, GNO, vacations, and work events and you are LUCKY to ever find even just 10 days worth of uninterrupted  “just workin’ on my abs over here” time to focus.

Why are we trying to figure things out by EXCLUDING the obviously IMPORTANT and REOCCURRING holidays that add some fun and flavor to our lives?

We are doing ourselves a MAJOR disservice on #shredmode by trying to lose weight and NOT figure out how to incorporate celebrations WITH OUR FITNESS GOALS!!!!!

Since Easter is right around the corner (and then Cinco de Mayo, and then Mother’s Day) I wanted to provide 10 super fast and actionable tips that will help set you up for big time success 365.

(1) Eat as normally as possible until the actual holiday event –

Continue reading “10 Holiday Food Rules (that you don’t eat like a rabbit or kill your bikini dreams)”

Getting Gritty from the Inside Out

     This is a story I shared a few years back inside of my newsletter, Sweat Unfiltered.  Once a week, I’ll email my best tips, tricks, and insights into diet, nutrition, and mindset.
.
     This was one of those epic emails that struck a chord because while the details are unique to me, we ALL have that story that literally changed us from the inside out…
 .
How sweatlocal came to life is mine.
Last week, I purposefully left this 3rd life altering moment out of my newsletter, in part because the story of how sweatlocal came to life is completely different from the other two moments I described earlier.

Continue reading “Getting Gritty from the Inside Out”

Optimism is RAD!

I wholeheartedly believe in the GOODNESS of people.

In fact, my personal and business decisions are grounded on this very premise.

In other words, I CHOOSE to play out my life on OFFENSE, ready to score points, instead of defense where the best I can hope for is the PREVENTION of others scoring on me and the once in a blue moon defensive interception that results in a touchdown.

When I hear people criticize optimism as a viable mode of operating and responding to the every day obstacles of life, they use words like “head in the clouds” or “refusal to see reality.”

But here’s what the nay sayers aren’t understanding…

By choosing optimism, I am not negating the existence of negativity.  

I stand in FULL RECOGNITION that there are a million bad things that may and can happen if I don’t create walls and barriers and spend my time and energy catching the lone wolf trying to take advantage of me.

I know the big bad wolf is in the forest.

I simply don’t focus on the wolf.

Let me put it to you this way…

which farmer is happier and more successful…

a.  the one spending time, money, and effort fertilizing his garden or

b.  the one pulling weeds all day?

Which has a bigger harvest at the end of the season?

The answer is crystal clear.

The farmer on offense… not the one on defense in a pile of weeds.

So if you find yourself in a pessimistic rut, a few suggestions on how to RETRAIN your brain to stop looking for the wolf, to stop picking weeds all damn day, to focus on the goodness that is in this world instead of what is lacking.

  • BE AWARE OF YOUR EMOTIONS – Seriously though… take a day, hell even an hour and give all the emotions you feel a name.  Do you find yourself using words like joy, challenged, interest, gratitude or more often than not are you miserable, stressed, bored, thankless.  That’s on you.  That’s your lense.  That’s your focus.  You are responsible for your perspective so use your POWER and create a new filter.
With that said, there are some  professions that require us to catch mistakes constantly.  Accountants and lawyers are prime examples.  I point this out so that we stay mindful that some of us have to guard ourselves extra carefully so that we don’t bring our work perspective into our personal life.  You cannot enter into your personal relationships and home life constantly looking for flaws and mistakes!  
  • LIFT OTHERS UP – Yup… give yourself the “silly” little task of complimenting 3 random people every day.  As ridiculous as this might sounds, this little exercise MAKES you focus on seeing the positive side of people.  And seriously… it takes 3 seconds, it makes someone else’s day better, and it costs you NOTHING.  What the hell are you waiting for?  Go out and be ridiculously kind.  Feed your soul!!!
  • And finally, ASK YOURSELF THESE 3 QUESTIONS when things aren’t going your way:
    • Is this forever?
    • Is this normal?
    • Is this personal?

Positive psychology tells us that those who learn to answer these questions recognizing that what’s not going right is likely TEMPORARY, UNCOMMON, and EXTERNAL and are better equipped to bounce back and conquer.

In other words if you have trained yourself to interpret struggle as catastrophic, you’re going to have a helluva time turning things around.  The strongest are those who can take the negative and deflate it’s importance by seeing it as a brief and remote annoyance.

There is no doubt that optimism is a conscious choice and a daily practice.

You will have your good days, as well as, your bad ones.  But, as you become more aware of the emotions you entertain daily, the vocabulary you use to describe others, and the headspace by which you tackle conflict… Optimism becomes second nature.

 

Holy smokes… and the freedom of that is worth every effort you make to get yourself there.

The friends you make and opportunities created on offense far out weigh anything you were guarding against from the big bad wolf.

Water your garden.

Big fat middle finger to the weeds.

Optimism is RAD!!!

#sweatlocal

 

10 Unconventional Fitness Ideas Our Kids Need

When I first got curious about fitness, I’d read, absorb, and implement every single piece of literature, post, article and to-do list out there.

Every day there appeared a new “do this every day,” “never eat that” or “amazing superfood discovery” that made it feel IMPERATIVE and even detrimental to my body if not incorporated immediately.

Before long I found myself with a laundry list of RULES.

  1.  Protein at every meal was not enough… lean protein only.  Will get fat and have a heart attack otherwise.
  2.  Dairy made me absorb less fat with food so if I eat nuts, I should have it with milk or yogurt.
  3.  But damn it, dairy is apparently full of harmful things so only buy organic, hormone free, and limit it to one serving daily.  Skip it on days where I don’t eat a lot of fat.
  4.  Sugar is from the devil so never eat cookies, brownies, and really candy of any kind.  It’s a sign of weakness if you do.  Honey and agave nectar appear to be superior forms of sugar so maybe once in a blue moon drizzle this over oatmeal.
  5.  Bread is for people who don’t really care about their health.  I mean with all the best selling books and viral articles circulating around, how could one argue otherwise.
  6. Vegetables are important but the color of the vegetable will determine my success.  Pretty sure I need to avoid anything that doesn’t make the super food list.  That’s just seems safer.
  7. There are to be “No excuses” for missing workouts so sleep and REST is for the weak minded. Clearly this is not something I am so I just need to do more and try harder.

I could go on and on and on… but you get the picture.

Fitness and wellness DOMINATED my life.

Because of that, I found going out of town or eating with friends HIGHLY STRESSFUL.  I had to have everything in a clearly laid out schedule.  I could NOT miss my workout session no matter what.

At every event, I needed to know what was being served, when, and if it didn’t appear to suit my bazillion rules, well by golly, I could not possibly let my precious earned muscle go to waste or my lean zero-fat belly blimp up in a matter of an evening.

I’d eat before or pack tupperware.

Or when even more desperate… I’d pack canned tuna in my purse in case there were no suitable proteins to eat.  Pizza?  Poison!!

I’d excuse myself to go to the bathroom and down the can AFAP and try to discreetly walk out to hide the smelly can in my car.

I knew what I was doing was weird… but hell I was COMMITTED.  If everyone else wanted to be fit as much as me they’d realize all of their mistakes!

And because of that, fitness wore me the F*#K out.  I was depleted… physically and mentally.  No amount of EFFORT was ever ENOUGH.  I could always do more.

Until finally my baby girl noticed my obsession and it hurt my heart.  DEEPLY.  So much so it literally sent me on a new journey.

I was living OPPOSITE to what I wanted for both my kids and that had to change.  Monkey see.  Monkey do.

Lord… I did not want them doing what I was doing!!!!!

So I decided MY life had to be a LIVING EXAMPLE of HAPPY and HEALTHY which meant I was no longer going to allow any book, article, or post to  create rules that made me feel dirty, unworthy, stupid, or lazy.

Fitness is not allowed to change me or my kids serving me FEAR AND SHAME disguised with information.

And so I’ve made a list of the 10 things I find myself constantly preaching against at home… and even at Sweat Fitness Studio as well.

They represent my core values… as a woman who overcame food and exercise obsession, as a personal trainer who finds herself in contact w/ men and woman battling unattainable demands, and as a mom who wants her kids to enjoy fitness without feeling like there is anything wrong with them right now… as is!

And by all means, feel free to add to the conversation!  I am not afraid to defend any of these points and I would also love to hear the things that you are battling with as well.

FITNESS IS NOT ALLOWED TO TELL US…

  1. Food is earned – We’re not dogs dancing for treats.  If you treat food like a trophy earned you’ll find yourself doing “more tricks” for more food.  More mileage, more classes, more burpees, more reps.  I can’t have this or that because I didn’t do this or that.
  2. It defines us – You offer this world so much more than just your body.   It is not your job to make this world happy with your body.
  3. Smaller is better – Nope… sorry.  The pursuit of smaller didn’t make me happier.  Size is not a measure of happiness.  Gotta love the now before you love the future.
  4. Rest is weak – Rest triggers progress.  Wanna lift more… rest more between sets.  Wanna run faster… rest longer between laps.  Wanna curve your cupcake craving… sleep in an extra hour mid week instead of coming to class.  Wanna break a plateau… stop dropping more calories and add rest.  Watch your body give back.
  5. No pain, No gain – There’s good pain.  There’s bad pain.  One burns… the other strings.  If it stings… it’s your body kindly asking for you to stop or to rest.  It only asks nicely a few times before it snaps.  LISTEN!
  6. 6 packs are normal – Okay so yeah… the fact that Lady Gaga’s “gut” stirred up such a frenzy of haters is alarming.  It’s obvious she works out, has her nutrition on point more often than not, and has put time and effort into her overall health.  The absence of a 6 pack is not an indication of poor health nor something to hide.  Our bodies are allowed to fold, move, and jiggle with us!
  7. Villainize food groups – There is no such thing as a bad food or a good food.  Any food can take on that adjective.  It’s about how you view it and use it that puts it into particular categories.  Candy is not inherently bad.  Candy eaten all day, every day… that’s bad news.
  8. It comes with a guarantee – If it comes w/ a guarantee it’s a gimmick or a fad.  Our bodies are too complex for anyone to simplify into a one way formula w/ a golden guarantee sticker on the label.  Change takes time, effort, problem solving skills, failure, re-tries, get back ups, tweaking.  Fitness, like life, is neither linear nor fair.  Get used to it now… it makes the journey flow so much easier.
  9. More is more – like basic economics there is a point of diminishing returns.  Your body will stop responding positively.  Your work load does not automatically translate to equal returns.
  10. One way – the best way to move is the way that you enjoy and are most likely to return to most often.  Sure… there are the details to worry about but if you hate it… it will never stick.  Your way is the best way first.

FITNESS is supposed to be an ENRICHMENT of who we already are.  If you find that your journey is taking parts of you away, PERMISSION TO PIVOT… PERMISSION TO CHANGE COURSES… PERMISSION TO BE A RULE BREAKER.

When I look back at the complexity of my former fitness life and the paper thin layer of skin and fat that it “rewarded” me with, I want no parts of it and I want my kids to have a role model that preaches and teaches and champions a different way.

To my mommas and daddy’s reading this, I want to take inventory of the things you do and say and FEEL about your body.

Would you want your daughter, your son, repeating this?

Monkey see.  Monkey do.

#bethechange

What if we didn’t hate ourselves?

What if we didn’t hate ourselves?

What would we wear?

What would we eat/not eat/ drink/ not drink?

Where would we go?  Would we be more adventurous?  Care free?

Who would we talk to/not talk to?  Would we treat others the same?  Allow others to treat us the same?

How long would we stand in front of the mirror?  Would we avoid our own eye contact in a mirror?

 

Honest questions from a recovering perfectionist who has forced herself to SIT WITH these questions and answer them honestly and whole heartedly.

If I loved myself… I’d wear the same thing on a Monday as on a Friday.  There’d be no skinny jeans or fat jeans.  I could wear a tight pair of pants after eating tons of salty and sweet food the night before and not feel fat (which is really a disguised word for nasty or ugly.)

If I loved myself… I could sit with a decadent piece of chocolate cake and ENJOY it like a 4 year old… without judgement of myself or worries of my weight.  I could eat it without worry that someone else is watching or engulf it as if someone may steal if from me.  I could drink a glass of wine or a big glass of chocolate milk at 9pm and not worry about the calories or sugar.  I could answer to what my body desires… vegetables, burgers, or Skittles and eat just til fullness.

If I loved myself… I would settle into the uncertainty of unknown faces and places.  I would walk into any room, stage, place and feel it was my right to be there as much as anyone else’s.

If I loved myself… I could take bold responsibility for the way I REACT to the way others treat me.  I could whole heartedly accept a compliment without the need to make an excuse or point out a flaw… “well it’s just the lighting is so good.”  or “…no, no… I still have just 5 more lbs.”  I could stand up for my beliefs in confidence and in kindness and not worry about acceptance or rejection.  I could be me.

If I loved myself… I could stand in front of the mirror and tell myself I’m beautiful… and BELIEVE it.  I would not feel the need to squeeze, to pull, to look away, or to compare.  I could STAY in front of the mirror and simply be nice.  I could observe my face and body with the same kindness and love as I have for my daughter’s.

UNWIRING myself as a person who needed to prove herself to herself and to others took me on a journey to understand what it means to have INNATE SELF WORTH.

To love myself in the same way I love my kids… irreversibly, completely, undeniably.

There’s not a thing they can or cannot do to make me love them more or less.

They are as they are and them changing, growing, maturing, getting good grades or bad grades, spilling food or forgetting to do chores… none of that moves my love for them up or down.

I might feel frustration or anger but the love… well…

It’s innate… instinctive, intuitive, inherent, and 100% steadfast.

“What… I am supposed to love myself… like this????”  Yes!!!!

My messy journey has taught me I am to live inside my head and my body with that same compassion and respect.

I can mess up… like royally mess the hell up… and my worth does not move.

I believe as a coach it’s my job to not only show my nutritional and exercise journey… but hell… my head has played more games with me than my metabolism!!!

If I talk macros and deadlifts… I gotta talk mindset!

And if you’re wondering where all these rainbows and unicorns are coming from all of a sudden… it’s because this week I watched an amazing human unable to make eye contact with herself in the mirror.  Not just once… but for an entire 50 minutes.

There’s no meal plan and there are no burpees or sets of squats than can work our mindsets!!!

It takes us laying our hearts out on the line for others... to say I’m holding space for you in my head and my heart and I know your pain really well.  I’ve been there.

You don’t have to believe you’re beautiful today because we’re on this journey together and I’m going to carry that burden for you right now.  And as we grow together and you trust me more and you trust you more I’m going hand you back pieces of YOUR “I’m a bad ass, beautiful puzzle” for you to put back in place.

And you may not know at first where they go.

And you may not even have realized those pieces were missing until you’ve re-discovered them.

And you may not always want some of those pieces back right away.

And that’s okay… the journey is really messy… but it’s also really worth it!!!

Gah… to slowly (and I do mean slowly) sift through all of the stories and scribbles and SEE your whole self and be able to look her square in the eye and feel nothing but love for her.

 

“YES” to New Year’s Resolutions and Here’s How to Write Them

I am 100% a fan of making New Year’s Resolutions!!!

I know many people don’t meet them, but I don’t find that to be a flaw in WHAT New Year’s Resolutions are, I simply think most folks could use some kick ass “How To” coaching on goal setting.

So that’s what I intend to do today…

Elevate your New Year’s Resolutions so that they go from lofty OUTCOMES written on a sheet of paper to manageable TASKS that you are ACTING on throughout the year.

I’m going to write this blog post a little “backwards” because I don’t want this process to “get lost” in words and paragraphs if you don’t need them.

So I’m going to give you the steps to goal writing FIRST.

Whenever you see (*) that means if you’re curious or confused there’s an explanation at the bottom.

Cool?

STEPS TO YOUR “LET’S CRUSH 2017 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS”

  1. Find some quiet time and space in your day and get as comfy as possible.  Wine, coffee, tea, pjs, prayer or mediation… do whatever you have to do so that you are not feeling stressed.  You are in a frame of mind to think big thoughts and big dreams.
  2. You need paper and pen because this is a PROCESS you are about to undergo.  This is NOT a 2017 “to-do” list.  Grab your diary, bullet journal, or several sheets of paper and your favorite pen or pencil.
  3. * On a sheet of paper, create 3 -5 life categories where you want to experience change.  Each category must be broad and not have any or much overlap with the other one.  For example, Fitness, Career, Family. 
  4.  Under each category just free write  ideas you’d like to happen.  Don’t worry about any timelines or barriers right now.  It’s important that you begin your thoughts by saying… “If time, money, education, expectations, and fear of failure were not an issue…” and write those dreams down.  Take all the barriers out when setting your vision!!!!  You will address fears in just a sec.  
  5. By the way, if you feel hesitant to write anything down because you feel a bit exposed, vulnerable, or like it’s impossible… you’re on the right track!!  This document is YOURS and you need to give yourself PERMISSION to be AUTHENTIC.
  6. You can acknowledge fears or mindset barriers on a different sheet of paper to keep you aware of things you DON’T want to attract in your life or as a reference point for future self development.  You don’t have to shove fears and pain away in a little box.  Give them a voice.  Write them down.  As Brene Brown brilliantly exposed… “Shame cannot withstand being spoken.” so just looking at them in the face provides you the reference point of GROWTH.  
  7.  ** Time to REVERSE ENGINEER your goals.  You will want a sheet of paper for each life category you created.  Title each one.  For example:  Fitness Goals 2017, Career Goals 2017, Family Goals 2017.
  8. For each life category break up 2017 into quarters starting from the END of the year!
    1. October -December,
    2. July- September,
    3. April- June, and
    4. January -March.
  9. Look at your free writing sheet, if you stated that a 2017 goal is to lose 15 pounds then your job is to state IN THE PRESENT TENSE (not the future tense) what you are DOING CONSISTENTLY (not perfectly) by the last quarter of the year that get you to that goal.
    • I strength train 4 times per week.
    • I order grilled or sauteed foods when I go out to eat.
    • I drink 2 glasses of wine on Fridays and Saturdays with friends.
    • I drink 2-4 liters of water daily.
  10. If you are consistenty doing these things by October, November, or December of 2017, what is it reasonable for you to do July- September, April- June, January – March?
  11. BAM!!!! You now have your task list for the first quarter of this year!!!!  OMG… your goal doesn’t seem so big and scary anymore does it?  If you’ve done this with healthy expectations, you are looking at January – March like … hell yeah… I got this!!!!
  12. Repeat this process for all the other categories you’ve picked.
  13. *** CAUTION:   If you focus on everything, you’re focused on NOTHING!!!
  14. The hardest part if you’re not careful is revisiting your plan.  Out of sight, out of mind.  In sight, in mind.  If you respond well to technology, set reminders on your phone every two weeks.  Make them fun or uniquely yours so that they propel you to either look at your list, modify your list, or continue on the path you’re on.  I’m a bullet journal girl now so my 2017 vision and goals travel will be traveling with me every day.
  15. #MindsetCheck:  FORWARD PROGRESS is success – Not landmark dates and pounds and numbers you set arbitrarily months prior!!  Your plan can shift and move WITH you and keep you in motion.  It’s not meant to hold you down.  LET YOUR DREAMS EVOLVE.  

 * CREATING GOAL CATEGORIES TO FIX THE PROBLEM OF MOTIVATION

This is what I want you to know about motivation… it naturally comes in WAVES… with highs and lows.

So when you catch a wave on high… congrats!… it’s time to get to WORK.  This is the easiest time to harness focus, tenacity, resilience, and grit so it’s an awesome time to begin doing the hard things it takes to get you to your goals.

Here’s the thing… that wave will inevitably come to shore and THAT’S fine and completely natural!  You can expect to hit a low about every to 30-60 days.

The problem I see people make most often is that they get stuck on the brilliance of what being on that wave was like and STAY on shore waiting for that SAME wave to come back and scoop them up on another wild ride so they can finish their right all at once!

Uhm… nope… that wave is gone and trying to re-create it and force it to the finish line gets you STUCK and in a rut.

What you need to do is be excited for all the steps closer you are now than you were before.  Be self aware enough to understand that maybe your whole system and life needs to do nothing more than to work on KEEPING that goal for now.

And if you’re lucky one of your other goals might catch your eye.  It might speak to you and say, “hey… you ready… let’s ride.”

2.  ** REVERSE ENGINEERING GOALS

This is NOT a new concept… maybe a new term you haven’t heard before.

If you’re a teacher, you know exactly what this looks like.

You identify the vision and goals from the course of study, you break that down into your year’s course syllabus, you break that down further to create your units, you chop that down further to create your tests, you shave that down to even further to create your week’s lesson plans where each day has it’s own tasks to be completed.

You take a MACRO look and REVERSE the learning process from there.

Not a teacher?  Do you grocery shop?  Betting your best food weeks are when you can take a MACRO look at your life, month, weeks and plan accordingly?

If the objective is… I want the family to eat their proteins and veggies then you are forced to ask questions like… What days are we at home?  What days are the kids activities?  When is that board meeting again?  What days am I cooking?  What days are take out days?

I’m betting most of what’s on your agenda repeats itself for at least a season so you begin to see patterns like:

Monday is a crock pot day so you google a recipe for that, Tuesdays kids have activities so it’s take out so what restaurants have the best proteins and veggies, Wednesdays it’s church so sandwiches and salads are easy, Thursday all the best shows are on so we’re all at home and try a new recipe etc.

You build your menu, then your grocery list by REVERSE ENGINEERING your week, month, or season.

*** 3.  LIFE IS MESSY

Life doesn’t happen in a neat and tidy list or calendar.  

Despite your best efforts, you may NEED TO CHOOSE which goal speaks to you.  Which wave do you want to catch?  Where do you most want your initial focus to be?

It is inefficient to try to do ALL the categories at once.  Then again, I don’t know you and I don’t know your exact goals either.

Some may be as “easy” as organize my house so you’ve literally picked one room in the house to tackle each month.

If that’s the case then yeah… I think you could totally organize your bedroom a little each day in January and also hit your fitness January – March goals at the same time.

Also, don’t get all bent out of shape if your fitness wave only gets you through the first 6 weeks of the year.  No biggie.  Totally natural!  Put that goal to rest… doing your best just to maintain… and simply go to another category.  I bet you’ll be crazy excited to tackle that one.