6 things I want every woman to know about health and fitness

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Let’s talk about you for a minute. Lets talk about your transformation. The one that takes you from not feeling like you are taking as good a care of your health as you could be, not feeling great in your own skin, and not living your best life to having the healthiest body you can and feeling strong, comfortable, happy, and confident in your own skin. Envision it. Feel it. Know it is possible. 

There is one big problem though. An umbrella of problems rather that come in the form of conventional wisdom and current advice encouraging women to shrink their bodies through low calorie, low fat, restrictive diets and excessive exercise.

The diet dogma, more is better, all or nothing, get smaller to be happier approaches, are the exact things that keep us struggling.

It seems that our brains like to think that just because exercise takes longer or is a diet is more restrictive it must be better for us, or better at getting results.

It sure kept me struggling for years. I thought that more exercise was better and stricter eating would get me the results I wanted. With much time, self trust, and a little bit of guidance I slowly started to cut back on exercise and loosen my rigid diet guidelines.

A funny thing happened when I started to cut back on exercise. I got a little bit happier first and then leaner second. I was happier in a sense that I wasn’t putting so much pressure on myself to workout, was able to relax around my food choices, slowly practicing more positive self talk and body acceptance.

I started focusing on exercise that helped me create a strong foundation with body and help support a healthy metabolism and eating foods I enjoy without deeming things as off limit.

How could I get leaner by doing less exercise and being less strict with my eating? It blew my mind and everything I always thought I knew about working out and eating.

So I started to mix up the conversation with myself and clients. Instead of turning to what I *should* do with eating and exercise I started to turn towards more mindset work behind why I do what I do and started to learn to create my own way of doing things.

With that in mind I put together a list of things that I hope women (and any one for that matter) will start to consider when it comes to a healthy and happy lifestyle.

More is not better when it comes to exercise and less is not better when it comes to food.

More time and burning more calories is what we have been taught when it comes to working out. Eat less calories and restrict more food is what we have been taught when it comes to eating.

That is simply not the case. Just because you spend a lot of time exercising or restricting food does not mean you will get better results. You may temporary get results and believe me I know that feels enticing, but the quicker it comes off the quicker it will go back on.

Sustainability and consistently trump any specific way of eating and exercise. In can be daunting to commit to the process for life rather than any type of 21-day, 30 day, 60 day program, but the more you get comfortable with the idea, the more you will be likely to implement it.

You don’t have to change everything all at once.

I want to discuss Pareto’s principal which I am sure you have heard of before as the 80/20 rule. I always hear it in this phrase. You wear 20% of your closet 80% of the time.

When applied to eating and exercise think about it this way. Eighty percent of your results come from 20% of your effort. In other words most of your results are coming from a series or set of large habits not all the nitty gritty details.  This is actually great news because it takes away the need to try to change everything all at once.

The 20% are what I refer to as the difference makers. The things that make a difference. Healthy meals, proper sleep, consistent exercise. Not whether or not berries are the best fruit choice or if squash has too many carbs.

Nutrition is different for everyone and diets are not the answer.

I know this is tough in the beginning because we want answers. We want to be told exactly what to do and have a plan laid out for us. It feels safe, it feels controlled, it feels like we are doing more and harder we try, the better results we will get.

The reality is these types of plans work against us. They keep us in a powerless cycle of never relying on our own body, thoughts, and desires and keep us fearing certain foods, fearing social events with excessive food and temptation and things that are not on plan. They keep us in a dependent state only supporting our belief that we can’t do it without a plan, diet, or quick fix cleanse. But we can.

If we can learn to trust our instincts, trust ourselves and learn how to make food and exercise work for us, not against us, we will realize that it doesn’t have to be so damn difficult, strict or tiresome. It can feels simple and easy with time.

Wanting to change is not enough. You have to put in the work.

In the beginning it feels tough and like everything is working against you. You put out a ton of effort and investment into change and it feels like your results are lagging behind. It feels unfair. It feels hard. It feels like it is not worth it.

It is tempting to want to give in at the first signs of struggle or self perceived failure. But through your struggle is where your success lies and there is no way around it. Change will come, you just have to stay with it, learn and move forward.

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Happiness is in the journey not just the outcome.

We like to think that once we reach our body goals that we will have a flood of happiness and confidence that we because we finally made it we can either stop putting out the effort or will find this great burst of happiness and satisfaction.

Happiness and joy is often found in the process. In overcoming challenges. In experimenting to see what works best for your body. In conquering new exercise and trying new recipes. In little accomplishments along the way.

Refrain from putting all your worth and happiness in that end goal and practice it now. Otherwise before you know it, everything will have passed you by and you will be left searching, new body or not.

Being able to do something long term is your golden ticket.

Not quick fixes, detoxes or cleanses. As much as you want them to work they just don’t plain and simple. You body is its own amazing detoxification system.

Creating your own process and your own unique rules in regards to exercise and eating is what matters if you want sustainable change.  The journey does not require an ounce of perfection. In fact it requires you to get comfortable with failure, set backs and discomfort and requires you to have the mindset to just keep going.

In the beginning it may take weeks, months or even years to find your formula but what is that amount of time if it is something you can do forever. Start to question the traditional rules and pay more attention to how you feel. Listen to your body. Like the way you live. Be in it for the long haul!

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