Monthly Archives: May 2015

How to break a plateau when eating less and exercising more does not work

The other day I was talking with a client who was feeling so stuck in her results, that she just was not making any more progress, despite exercising  2 hours a day, 6 days a week for months and months. She was exhausted and not seeing results.  Her automatic thought process was about how to do MORE exercise and tighten up to her diet again, to get better results.

You may have experienced this before in some sense, and you may have also gotten to the point where you simply cannot just do more exercise or eat even less.

Because there is a limit on the amount of calories you can reduce and only so many hours in a day. That is always why I coach my clients to find the most time efficient exercise and most sustainable way of eating to maintain or the get results.

In other words what is the least amount of exercise you can do and the least “strict” you have to be to get results.

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When it come to breaking a plateau the absolute best way to break through is to trust the process of change.

I know you are thinking “Duh Adele, of course I need to change something if I am not getting results.” But I can’t help but repeat it again and again as I so often see people get stuck in the cycle of doing the same thing over and over again and not getting the results they are looking for. And expecting a different outcome. Isn’t this the definition of insanity we hear about?

So what can you do to break a plateau?

Trust the process. It is scary to try something new when it comes to eating and working out without ultimately knowing the outcome. We think if we are less strict on our diets or cut back on our workouts we will automatically blow up and gain 20 lbs.

BUT if you can learn to trust a new way it may lead you on the exact path you are seeking.

Take a break by EL,EL. The Eat Less, Exercise Less method was coined by the company Metabolic Effect and used as a way to give our bodies and metabolisms a break from excessive exercising and strict eating. Essentially if you exercise more you need to eat enough to meet your needs and if you are exercising less then you don’t need to eat as much.

The worst combo? Eat less, exercise more which you can read more about here. If you are constantly restricting food and working out more, trust yourself to take a week or two off.

Reduce your caloric intake AND your workouts and give your body and metabolism a break. This will not work the same if you reduce your calories and still keep  working out intensely. With EL,EL two traditional weight training sessions (think non CrossFit) are recommended and tons of walking!

Take a closer look at your workouts. Like my client above, she was working out hours on end and not seeing results. You can only workout so much in a day. Working out two hours a day is not only inefficient for our body, it is stressful on our time and our lives, especially when we have work and families.

If you are not getting results, change something. I told her to try 3 strength training days a week and if she must, one higher intensity cardio day for no more than 20 minutes. She automatically will give herself 5 more hours of time a  week.

If you are on the unmotivated find an accountability partner or hire a coach.

Check your nutrition. “It’s not my eating, I am doing everything right.”  Sorry but if you are not getting results, you are not doing something right with your nutrition. Perhaps your intensity in your workouts could account for a few pounds, but if you have a significant amount of weight to lose or are trying to shred that last percent of body fat, your nutrition is not right, if you are not seeing results.

With my clients I encourage the 2-2,1-1 food journal method. This is a method I created because who wants to record what they eat every single day? Not me. SO I suggest the following:

2-2,1-1 = 2 days on 2 days off, 1 week on 1 week off

1. Record what you eat for two days.

2. Take two days off and repeat.

3. Take 1 week off.

4. Record what you eat the next week for 2 days on 2 days off.

Once you evaluate what is or is not working for you, then transition to 2 days on 2 days off, 1 month on 1 month off. This is a great way to check in with your nutrition, without having to record it every single day or every single week. Eventually the goal is to get to the point where you only check in when you feel like it.

Check your stress and sleep levels. You are doing everything right and not seeing results. If this honestly sounds like you you may need to check your stress levels and sleep patterns because  both can have a drastic impact on your physique if stress is high and sleep is low. Make these a priority AS MUCH as your nutrition and workouts.

Get to bed early, create a relaxing night time routine, and find ways to include relaxing activities into your weekly routine whether that is naps,  massages, baths, meditating, 20 minutes of reading, any activity you find relaxing but not in the zoning out style (think tv or facebooking).

Remember all these methods take trial and error, trial and error, trial and error. And then success! Have patience with the process and with yourself.

 

Do THIS to help control your snacking


Goldfish. Almonds. Chips. Dried fruit. Bacon. Grapes. Cookies. Chocolate chips. Spoonfuls of peanut butter. Soda.

Do you have one “snack attack” food that you go to when your hungry, craving, or bored?

I am strong believer that you can eat a moderately healthy diet and have a better body, without falling into the cycle of depriving and restricting yourself for weeks and then binging and losing control, and repeating  itself again.  The cycle in itself is insane because no one gets results and if they do they are stressed and guilt ridden out of their mind.

 

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What if we started focusing on implementing strategies that help us develop self control rather than constantly focus on what foods we should or should not eat? 

When talking with people about foods/diet/nutrition, I try to steer the conversation away from the  “eat this, not that” direction and discuss tools to bridge the gap of what we know and what we actually do.  Taking proper action to help control and moderate eating is just as important, if not more, than what you eat. Just my .02.

In the book The Willpower Instinct, Kelly McGonigal backs all her willpower talk by science about  what causes people to have willpower, or rather lack of willpower, when it comes to a host of impulsive behaviors. One of my favorite strategies she talks about to strengthen self control has to do with delaying gratification.

When it comes to our health and body most of us have future goals, or things we are working towards.We want to work out more, limit snacking, stop late night eating, not stress about food, lose weight, get stronger, etc.

These goals are all good and well, but when it comes to resisting temptation we feel the best time to do it is NOT in the moment, but tomorrow and the next day.  We are not as motivated by future rewards as we are by the present reward of satisfaction and pleasure.

We like to rationalize poor decisions, like eating a bag of cookies or chips or skipping workouts, because  the promise of doing better tomorrow is so much greater.  We look to our future selves to do better. We throw “right now” into the wind and give ourselves permission NOT to make the better choice. We get in the way of what we really want with the excitement and pleasure of instant gratification.

When it comes to health, it’s why we eat until our hearts desire,  forgo workouts and/or smoke and drink with abandon. It does not seem as detrimental what we are doing in the moment and we often discount how it will affect us in the future. We are confident in what want: better health, to eat less, to lose weight. Then we are faced with temptation.

There is good news!

 

“The good news is, temptation has a narrow window of opportunity. Anything you can do to create that distance will make it easier to say no.” Kelly McGonigal

DO THIS to help with snacking ( or any other impulsive, in the moment behavior). Try waiting 10 minutes. This helps because according to McGonigal, our brain treats the temptation like a future award. And as it turns out we are not so motivated by future rewards. Try  distracting yourself by doing something for 10 minutes when faced with a temptation that you want to resist. Give yourself permission to have the snack if you still want it but ask yourself if it is about wanting something, or just wanting something in this moment.

For additional practice, let another 10 minutes pass and ask yourself if you still want it? Or ask yourself if your desire could be delayed for additional time? This is what actually helps build self-control and self trust. Practice, practice, practice. And this is not just a one time deal either. It is ongoing until you feel your snacking has improved.

Trial and error, trial and error, trial and error, lead to small successes, which lead to big successes. Remember you are not giving the item up forever, just 10 minutes. You may not want it as much as you think you did. Practice and let me know how you do!

What my mother gave me: the gift of imperfection

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Putting things in perspective even at a young age. 🙂

My mom always told me that when I grew up I would take the things I liked about her and her parenting and I would use them as my own and the things I did not like so much I would leave behind. I always have admired the bravery and authenticity in this statement and admission of imperfection.  That she was doing her best, the best way she knew how and it was ok if I did not agree with her 100%. I did not have to follow in her footsteps 100%.

And I have found that while growing up  this has happened almost automatically.  I have taken with me the things I work for my approach in life and set the rest aside. This Mother’s Day I want to share my moms top 3 pieces of advice that were ingrained into my brain. So much in fact, that now a days I just laugh when she gives me this advice. Because she still does.

Put it in Perspective.

I remember coming home from a shopping trip mad because I didn’t get the shirt I wanted, was annoyed by my sister, or complained if I had to eat peas at dinner. My mom would always respond by telling me to put it in perspective. “There are people out there who are not as fortunate as you. You should feel blessed for what you have.” And even at a young age, it was really easy to understand, and really hard and frustrating to argue, because I knew she was right. To have food, clothes and love in abundance was a luxury that some did not have. So that is where my perspective mindset began.

We have 100% control of how we view ANY situation. From the worst of the worst we have control of how we will work through it and how we will come out of it. And yes life happens and we will be faced with the unbearable at times. But on a day to day basis, I would rather put every situation in perspective to lessen misery, resentment, frustration and anger.

I do this by asking myself.

How can I turn this situation around?

Can I see this from some else’s point of view?

What do I have to be grateful for in this moment? 

I know this stuff is tough and takes practice. It is something I still work on from time to time but it does become easier and require less conscious effort as you practice it. I can chose to view the world through a lens of possibility and opportunity or through the lens that everyone is out to get me make me miserable. No thanks. I’ll take the first.

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Something does not have to be perfect to be beautiful.

This story could be another blog in itself but to sum it up quickly. My grandparents were traveling through Germany in the 1970’s and my grandfather wanted to buy my grandmother the ring he wished he could have given to her when they got married. So they settled on a gorgeous 2 carrot diamond set on a ever so thin band to replace the “itty bitty diamond ring that I borrowed $150 from my father to buy.” Words of Grandpa by the way. The jeweler, in being transparent, told by grandparents that while it was a beautiful stone, it did have a small flaw that you could see with the naked eye. And it did but my Grandma replied that she was still interested by saying “Something does not have to be perfect to be beautiful.” I think my Grandma was ahead of her time with her positive psychology thinking and this perspective was passed down to my mom who passed it down to my sisters and I.

 I think sometimes we get so caught up in perfection, that we ignore reality and the concept that perfection is an illusion. I can’t tell you how many times I get consumed with constantly trying to do everything! Why can’t I do it all?  But instead of comparing my sad looking dinner, my un photogenic closet, my failed workout, or Lulu’s never ending dog hair around the house to  pictures on Pinterest, maybe I could just give myself a pat on the back and tell myself that I am  doing the best I can. And that sometimes I just need to let my best be good enough.

I have to remind myself that “perfect” does not guarantee pain free living. We start to associate doing every thing right, (being perfect) with automatically bringing happiness and joy into our lives. And when we do things wrong, (when we are not perfect, act perfect, or look perfect) it represents that we are not worthy. It is ok to strive to do our best but I don’t think this works unless we have some compassion for ourselves along the way. We are all just trying our best and our best does not have to be perfect to be beautiful, to be accepted, or to get things done.

Soak it.

Ok so this is somewhat of a joke because my mom’s remedy for everything seems to be to soak it. Growing up whether we had a tired body, a headache, were stressed, had a blister on our toe my mom would draw up a bath and tell us to soak it. I think that was my mom’s way of saying that we can’t make everything better but we can try. And if we can just focus on the positive we can make it through with less pain and more joy.

You see, my mom is one of the kindest, most warm hearted people on the planet. She is the master at killing people with kindness with the genuine interest to make their day better. Growing up my mom would do things like this. “Let’s see if we can make this cashier smile. She looks like she is not having a good day.” I would roll my eyes in embarrassed as my mom would chat with the cashier, give them a compliment or two, and it was obvious in her approach that there was no way they could really not be nice back.

She would almost always get a smile out of the person. And you know what I did yesterday at the grocery store. I started chatting with the cashier, giving her compliment, and wishing her a great weekend. As I was walking out of the store I was thinking about how nice it is to just make connections with people. To go out of our way to give a compliment or be nice. To extend that extra gesture of kindness when we really do not have to. And it was not until I this very moment, writing this blog, that I realized exactly where I got that from. My mama.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom, and to all the mom’s out there.

I asked on and off social media for the best advice you ever received from you mom and I just love the responses I got back.

“To be a smart, confident and kind woman with manners.”

“To be ME. And to never let anyone influence me to do otherwise.”

“That a mom’s most important role is to raise good humans…no matter what they do as a career, what’s inside is what matters.”

“To go with my gut.”

“Have a kind heart to heart others and be your true genuine self.”

“Have a magnanimous heart.” ( Had to look it up. Magnaminous: generous in forgiving an insult or injury; free from petty resentfulness or vindictiveness: noble).

24 ways to come out on top after getting a divorce

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You may think I am talking about who gets the t.v., the dog or those dollar bills, but  I am actually talking about emotional side of divorce and coming out of it with a mindset that you are where you are, you have been where you have been, and no matter what happens you will rock it. But only if you believe that to be true!

It is said that dealing with divorce is like dealing with death, and from personal experience, I agree. It is the removal of a supposed constant in your life but the glaring difference, that it leaves you with the opportunity to change, learn, and grow in your own life and in your relationships.

I chose the number 24 because it has been 24 months since I split from my ex-husband after 7 years of marriage. It has been in the back of my mind a little bit because when I  look back on the past two years I can look with a fresh perspective and tell myself that it was not as difficult as I thought it was and am pretty proud of myself that I made it through.

The truth is, it was as difficult as I remember it to be and I still did make it out ok!

 

With the heartache of a failed relationship I also had a whole other host of fears about independence, supporting myself, the future, relationships, living arrangements, having enough, being enough, doing enough and to top it all off I had to deal with chronic back pain the first 365 days of being on my own, which you can read about here.

I’m pretty sure I cried everyday for the first 6 months, talked to my family on the phone everyday, and did my best to sooth my fears of the unknown. It wasn’t so much about the past, it was about the future. “Would I be ok?” I spent many a mornings peeking out from underneath the pillow covering my face, trying to convince myself to go to work, get outside, telling myself all I had to do was take the first step. And it worked. Because the first step didn’t seem as bad as feeling like I had to transform my entire life, which I was kinda was.

Here are 24 things that got me through the past 2 years and left me feeling like I came out on top of this life altering challenge, not below. I repeated these things days in, day out for over a year and still repeat them to this day. It is not really waking up one day and saying. “I did it. I am over it.”  It is the culmination of all these things repeated over and over and over again.

1. Be open to the possibilities ahead.  In the moment this is a tough perspective but instead of focusing on what you are unable to do, focus on the potential opportunities.  Deciding you can’t do something or have something immediately cuts you off from the possibility. Deciding you do have options and opportunities at least gives you a chance.

2. Let people help you. Whether it is friends, family, or a therapist. Whether they help you monetarily, by listening or by helping you move. Let people help you. Do not try to do it all on your own. I had SO many people reach out in so many ways and for that I am forever grateful.

3.Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. You are only doing your best, as we all are.

4. Know that “This too shall pass.” This is an amazing quote my uncle introduced me to over 10 years back and it as always stayed in my mind that no matter how difficult (or joyful) a moment/time period is, it will pass.

5. Read daily affirmations. This helped me for a solid 4 minutes each day. I would wake up, read a page of positivity and love and be inspired. And then within minutes after I would have my head under the pillow not wanting to face the world. BUT those minutes added up to hours that I know helped inspire me and make it through that first year. Just that constant reminder of all the beauty in life and that everything would work out one way or another.

6.Get over how you envision your life to be and focus on what is currently is. This is one of the easiest ways to lessen misery. Detach any thoughts about the should’s and the what is’s and focus on the reality of the situation. And the potential of the situation.

7. Find a hobby. I started a blog. This has been something I have always wanted to do, more so to share my health and fitness passion but I have realized along that way that our own personal stories can have a greater effect on others. Because when it comes to our core we all deal with similar struggles and challenges and it helps to know that we are not alone in the journey.

8.View it as period of growth and learning. When we “fail” or things do not work out as planned, look at what you learned from the experience and how it helped make you a better person. You will find something, I promise!

9. Try not to take what other people think or say personally.  You become very brave and courageous during this time because everyone has an opinion , questions or a judgement. It is easy to get caught up in what other people say or take words to heart but without getting caught up in their added input you just live out your story the way it was intended.

10. Find your way back to your friends. Your friends circle definitely changes during this time which is very saddening but you also reconnect with your friends who you know will always be there for you no matter what. It is a great reminder in the value and beauty of friendship. You know the true friends will not stray far.

11. You find your way back to yourself. Who am I? What do I want out of relationships and life? What do I need to do to get there? Ask yourself these questions.

12. Take your future into your own hands. In my case it was just me. I had to transition from lax part time work and become a women working to support herself completely and this was really scary for me. But you know what, I did what I need to do to make that happen. I added hours at work and started my online biz and now I am super focused and passionate in my career. Relying on myself has been very empowering.

13. Practice the worst case scenario. In my situation, my worst case scenario would be that I had to move back home with my mom. I decided that if I couldn’t support myself or the stress of it was too much, that is what I would do. Was it ideal? No. But I love my mom and I could envision coffee mornings on the couch chatting about all the blessings in life. It wouldn’t be a terrible situation to be in.

14. Practice forgiveness and let go of resentment. Holding onto resentment hurts one person the most, you!  Not the other person. It allows us to get so worked up about our own issues, while that other person is probably not even thinking about them.When we forgive others we give ourself emotional  freedom. Nothing is worse than being tied down to past regret, anger and frustration.

15. Don’t let it define you. It is something that happened not to you, but for you. It defines your story but not you as a person.

16.  Take 100% responsibility in the situation. Don’t result to playing the victim card. When we build our case for why everything is happening to us we are seeking agreement from others to help convince ourselves that control in our lives is outside us. The situation will play out as it will but how we view it is in our control. This is tough, tough stuff that can be hard to admit at first.

17. Be a little selfish. As in be selfish with your newfound independent self and do the things you want to do. Eat dinner when you want to. Go on a trip you have been promising yourself.  Spend a little extra money on something special.

18. Don’t bash the situation or the person. When we do this on a constant basis we make it all about “me”  and find power in seeking attention and putting other people down. It is actually a great revelation of our own insecurities.

19. Get excited. Even through each and every struggle I had this hint of excitement of a fresh start, a new beginning and a chance to reinvent myself, not drastically but in anyway I saw fit.

20. Re invent yourself. A divorce doesn’t need to be the only reason for you to do this but often times we get so attached to who we are from a couple standpoint that we often forego our dreams, desires and wishes. Sometimes we forego our authenticity as a person. It is not wrong or right, but I encourage you, divorce or not, relationship or not, re invent yourself if the way you are living or being does not match your authentic self.

21. Take away the thoughts you attach to it. You have complete control over your thoughts. And yes it is emotional and you will have moments of sadness and anger and that is totally ok. BUT you decide if you linger in them or how much of your day and outlook they will effect. Feel your emotions and then move on. And when I say move on, I mean move on in the moment because this whole process can take years for some. And that is ok!

22. Remind yourself that you are enough. Because you are.

23. Believe in love again. It is possible. 🙂

24. Own your story.You may feel the need to defend your decisions and defend your story but let me tell you, the best way to come out on top, is to own who you are and the story of you life. This is my story, take it or leave.

What to do when you just love food + the bread halo

IMG_6843“I just love food too much.”

Is this you? I get you! Because I love food too! I know many people who love food and are able to maintain their physique and not let their enjoyment of it get in the way. Food should be tasted, enjoyed and respected. So using this as an excuse to reaching your goals is invalid. To me anyways.

 Now this is said with no judgement but to give a different perspective and to have your ask yourself what would change if you started to view food as a relationship. It actually is if you think about it. We either have a healthy or unhealthy relationship with food. We either respect it or we don’t. We are either aware of how it will effect us or we are not. We either view it with love and appreciation or with frustration or negativity.

We are so judgmental to our poor foods and they are either good or bad, or used with severe restriction or extreme indulgence.  Food is a relationship and should be appreciated and not taken advantage of just like our human relationships.

So lets talk food judgements with The Bread Halo, a term I coined myself, which shows just how much conditional love and respect we give to food.

I see people avoiding healthier foods like potatoes, bananas, watermelon, and bread because of the higher sugar, carbs, etc and feel virtuous and strong for doing so, but then binging at night because they have been depriving themselves for too long. Instead of indulging in a slice or two of bread or a banana and peanut butter or a potato, they go all out and eat pizza, poptarts and ice cream sandwiches.  They avoid these perceived “imperfect” foods all day but then eat foods that are way less healthy.

So why do we feel successful from staying away from bread (or other healthier foods) if it is going to lead to an all out indulgence in processed foods? My point being if you are starving at night or want something filling try eggs and toast, a peanut butter and banana, or find a protein you like and make a shake. These snacks are filling but only a few hundred calories and sure beat 500-700 easy calories of lower quality foods. I am not saying ice cream or pizza is bad, but how often can we stop at just a few bites or just a slice?

So what can you?

Break the habit. You must train yourself to break the habit before or while you are doing this which i know is ironically the hardest part. If your habit is to have something sweet after dinner, which leads to bowls of ice cream you need to find something to distract your mind and fill your time. I like to use this by a tool called Delaying Gratification which I read in the book The Willpower Instinct.

There is something about instant gratification that we thrive off of, thrive in a sense that it makes us feel good temporarily.  We want something instantly. Studies actually show that the longer you wait for something, the less important it is to you. The longer you wait for something the easier it is to say no. 

So how can you implement this with eating? The next time you are tempted by late night snacking, dessert, fast food, going back for seconds when you are stuffed, try this:

Wait 10 minutes.  Create distance from the food by doing something else or just lay down and chill out for 10 minutes. If in 10 minutes you still want that particular food, you can have a few bites. Wait 10 minutes and have a few points. Practice this like you would practice anything else in life. When food becomes less about the immediate gratification it makes it easier to say no. Give this a try and see how it works for you. You might give in the first few times and that is fine, but once your train yourself to develop this habit you may find that what you are craving is not really what you want.

It is okay to be hungry. Because we are so use to having food the second we want it, it is like we are almost fearful of becoming hungry. But remember, eating is a blessing and a responsibility.

Our bodies will survive without eating every 6 hours or every 3 hours, it is just that we have conditioned our bodies to do so. Have you ever had a moment where you were starving and had no access to food? You went to your favorite restaurant starving and there was an hour and 30 minute wait? At first you probably anxiously fidgeted in your discomfort but once an hour passed you were ok. It was just getting pass that initial state of hunger. I like to practice with a 12 hour fast overnight. Meaning if I eat my last meal at 7 p.m., I will not eat my next meal until 7 a.m. This allows be to *practice* responsibility when it comes to food and not feeling like I have to eat just because the clock says so. If I wake up truly starving, I will of course eat.

Stop when it no longer tastes like a 10. I find this helpful when I am snacking or craving a sweet treat. I will indulge in a few bites and they usually tastes amazing but beyond that it is hard to tell if I am truly enjoying it, or it just eating mindlessly without really tasting the food.

Food is essentially about survival but also about social enjoyment. There just gets a point where we almost are greedy with it and instead of using if for the betterment of our lives we use it as a cover up for discomfort and not facing other issues, such as boredom, loneliness, or use it as an escape.  It is not really that you just love food so much. It is that you love the escape it gives you.

Often times we commit to make a change but only until it becomes too uncomfortable. We commit to eating better and exercising more until we are faced with a situation where the exercise is really hard or food is too tempting and then we say screw it and give in because we do not want to face the discomfort. But remember eating has a lot to do with the attachment we give it.  Without the attachment it is just fuel and information for our bodies.  Stressful or not.  Lunch time or not. Hungry or not. Wanting it or not. The cool thing is you get to decided what it gets to be.