Category Archives: Mindset

Do this or continue to struggle

I just finished the book The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson.

Ok in all honestly I just finished RE- reading it.

Ok I read it twice and am reading back through my highlighted parts.

This book is filled with the most seemingly obvious advice equivalent to a “just do it” of sorts but I couldn’t help but nod my head in agreement, every sentence that passed my eyes.

What is the slight edge and why do you need it? It is essentially this. It is the culmination of daily actions repeated over and over again to get the results you are seeking.

How do you use it? You quit blaming, talking, thinking, contemplating, and searching and implement the little things each and every day over and over again. It is as simple as it is hard.

Because success, reaching goals, and overcoming challenges is not a big magical accomplishment that all of a sudden happens, it is a series of little things done each and every day that add up over time. We know this, we just don’t do it. Or we do it and expect immediate results so we stop doing the little things we need to do to get us to where we want to be.

I still do this when starting a new exercise program or want to tighten up my diet. I think that because I have been at it for a week I should have the grand results I have been seeking. With much practice I have broken the cycle of simply stopping when the results are invisible and keep the bigger picture in mind and just keep going. It is not that it isn’t working, it is just you have not allowed enough time to pass.

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Where you can start?

Quit stopping at survival and keep going to success.

Us humans get comfortable in survival mode. We unintentionally self sabotage our best efforts to improve our health and change our habits. It’s not that we don’t know what to do, it is just that we don’t do it for long enough.

When we workout more we think we can eat a ton more, when we drastically reduce calories our bodies respond by slowing our metabolic rate making it harder to make the weight budge, and when we skip our healthy habits we create poor habits and justify our choices.  A recent article in the New York Times states it perfectly.

“The human body and brain are funny. They often, and rather insidiously, undermine some of our best efforts to be healthier, in an attempt to maintain our physiological status quo.The result can be that we do not benefit as much as we’d hoped from changes to our lifestyles.”

Or in the case of using The Slight Edge Olsen suggests that humans are comfortable in survival mode and waiver back and forth between survival and failure instead of pushing towards success.

When we start to slip to rock bottom we will do anything to get back to survival mode, where we are getting by, just good enough. Once we get to survival mode, we get comfortable and naturally stop doing the things that keep us progressing.

There is nothing magical about going from failure to survival and survival to success, it is the same actions you have been doing, you just have to keep doing them.

To be successful with body change you have to keep going, even when you don’t feel like it or the results are intangible. 

Take responsibility for yourself and your choices.

“When you take and retrain full responsibility – even when others are wrong or the situation is genuinely unfair – you get to keep your life’s reins in your own hands.”Jeff Olsen

I don’t think we mean to always put the blame on other things or other people, I think deep down it is more like a mode of self protection. If there is some reason we are not able to complete a task or put in the work, it makes us feel just a little better if the responsibility is not on us. No time, no money? No problem, we get to wipe our hands clean and be off the hook.

When we take responsibility, we get full power in return. Full power in each and every one of our choices from the way we eat, when we exercise, and what we prioritize. This in itself is truly the best place to be. We can own our choices and have the ability to change them. 

I know sometimes little choices seem insignificant, like eating a healthy breakfast or doing 10 push ups and 10 squats a day won’t matter much. But 365 breakfasts over the course of the year does make a difference. And 280 push ups and 280 squats each month is significant compared to none. The little things are really easy to do, but they are also really easy to skip, yet when you take responsibility, the power is yours.

You supply the actions. The universe will supply the time.

Our current conditions are not shocking when we look at all the choices we made day after day to get us to where we are.

If you are in a healthy state you most likely have made several positive decisions over a very long period of time that have led you to where you currently are. If you are unhealthy, the same thing applies. You have made several decisions over time that have had an impact on your health and you have made them again and again.

Body change is not based on a single choice, a days worth of choices, or a weeks worth of choices. It is based on numerous choices every for months at a time that lead to our current conditions whether they serve us or not. Patience can be one of the most annoying but valuable pieces of advice.

To get to a place where you want to be you simply choose positive actions day in, day out. You do it over and over again until you are successful and then you keep doing it. Plan for what might get in the way. Don’t stop when things get tough. Practice a little patience and put a lot of trust in the process.

 

4 strategies to stay consistent with the exercise you know you should be doing

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One thing I hear from women over and over who are not getting results in the gym is that they have trouble stay consistent, committed, and are really just craving enough energy and motivation to get to the gym.

Look, we all know we should be exercising, it’s no secret, but just owning a workout plan doesn’t ensure that we will actually follow it.

You see, there is a huge gap between knowing what to do and actually doing it. Many of us know what do and if we don’t know we can easily search for it online. Yet there are several factors we never take into account.

 

What to do when you don’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning or how to motivate yourself after a 10 hour day at work.

How to implement or develop a routine.

Taking your own lifestyle into consideration.

Proper nutrition and health of your metabolism.

Finding a routine you enjoy.

These are all important factors that somehow get overlooked. The idea that we simply need to “just workout more” is a level 1 way of thinking. In order to overcome this we need to level up and figure out what really gets in the way and how to address it.

Today I am talking 4 strategies to help you stay more consistent and implement what you already know you are suppose to do.

Prioritize what will have the most impact on your results.

When it comes to working out, if you only have 30 minutes to workout 3 times a week choose weight training.

Weight training is best way to create muscle and lose fat over any other program. Long duration cardio and burning more calories will not only bump up your hunger levels but can also strip your precious lean muscle mass which we so desperately need to hold on to.

Sprints or high intensity training can bump up your metabolism but don’t create strength and body change the same way weight training does.

You can also create a “cardio” like effect by the way you pair your exercises together, resting less, or adding more weight.

When you commit to shorter weight training sessions you are already one step ahead of the game. You are controlling your hunger better (ever notice too much exercise makes you hungrier and have more cravings), you are managing your time better, and you are prioritizing what needs to be done first when you have the time.

Play mind games with yourself. 

More often than not, starting the workout is the hardest part. It is like getting out of bed in the morning. Sometimes it just feels so brutal but once you are up, you are ready to go. Same thing with workouts.

The truth is you will not always feel motivated to workout, so stop relying on that. You will not always have the willpower to just be more disciplined, so stop relying on that. Sometimes you may just have to play mind games with yourself to get the work done.

For example when you don’t feel like starting commit to 5 minutes and once that passes commit to 5 more.  Commit again until the workout is done. If after 20 minutes you truly feel the workout is hurting more than helping cut it there.

During your sets. Focus on the exercise or set at a time.  I love the psychology of just focusing on the two exercises at the same time, with a superset which is alternating between two exercises. If I can just focus on the first pair for 2-3 rounds I can feel successful before moving on to the next pair.

Something about narrowing the focus on a couple exercises instead of an entire workout takes away the enormity and overwhelm of it all. Ask yourself how you can simply make that set the best set.

Commit to less to get more.

Commit to exercising 6 days a week for a hour and you will quickly learn that a schedule like that is hard to maintain. Family in town? Go on a vacation? Insanely busy week at work? Kid gets sick? You can’t control these factors so always commit to the minimal effective dose of exercise you need to get results.

What is the least amount you need to workout to see body change or maintenance.? You still have to put in the work, but not as often or in as much quantity as you think. Intensity will always trump duration so keep in mind that with shorter workouts, there always needs to be a greater demand on the body. 

More breathlessness, perhaps more weight added and/or less rest. You don’t need 6 days a week when you have these factors pooled together in a few great workouts.

Check in with how your workouts affect you hunger and craving levels.

I don’t know about you but the more exercise I do the hungrier I get. Why? I am demanding a lot of my body and need the support of my nutrition. When increasing exercise it is the worst time to cut calories. The body will have a compensatory effect and be more likely to overeat or crave more food.

When starting a new exercise program don’t automatically resort to cutting calories and eating stricter. I have my clients focus on the P and the N. Portions and nutrients. That is it.

Where can I fit more nutritious food into my day?

How can I do it in a way where I keep portions in check and feel satisfied?

The answer is not to get stricter. The answer is to learn how to find a balance between not being deprived and being satisfied so yes I am giving you the permission you need to include wine, chocolate and bread in life in moderate amounts.

Pay attention to how high stress and low sleep might be affecting your appetite as well. All these things are contributing factors so it is easy to see why it is incredibly important to simplify your workout and the time you do it in. You have a lot on your plate to begin with!

Remember that being consistent is not about being perfect. It is about focusing on the decisions and choices that will have the most impact on your results. Trying to do everything all at once will overload your physical and mental state. And your results depend on how likely you are to keep working out week in, week out and how likely you are to manage nutrition.

If I asked you if you could start by just getting to the gym 1 more day a week than you currently are, doesn’t that feel a lot more doable than asking you to get there 6?

Whatever your next step is the more confident you feel about doing it, the more likely you will do it. Once you build more confidence the cycle repeats itself. Take action, build competence, build confidence. Repeat until it becomes a habit.

 

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How to motivate yourself to workout when you are not motivated

Today I am going to talk about motivation and how it plays a part in your workouts.

I use to use “being motivated” as the prime means to getting my workouts done. If I could just set a goal, have a workout partner, or have an event to work towards then I would get my workouts in more consistently and be super motivated.

Motivation would usually come full force the first couple weeks but inevitably dwindle as days passed. It was almost like I was more motivated to start the plan than actually follow through.

Then the guilt would follow.

 Why couldn’t I just have the discipline to stay on track?

Why couldn’t I just workout 6 days a week like I promised myself?

Why isn’t this time different?

And eating is a whole other issue. Why couldn’t I say no to that cookie or just be strict with my diet like I intended?

I would then respond by trying to up my game by restricting even more and being even more disciplined. Eventually the motivation would fall off yet again.

The thing with motivation is it comes full circle and ebbs and flows hindering our best efforts to stay consistent and put in the work long enough to actually get results.

It begs the question: Does the answer then lie in being motivated all the time?

Not so much. Successful people put in the work whether they feel like it or not, whether it is convenient or not.  What if we didn’t feel motivated to take care of our children or go to work? 

The reality is we will not always feel motivated to workout or make healthy choices. We will be faced with times we are tired, unmotivated, and just not care. Sometimes it is ok to take a step back and miss a workout or two, or a week or two, but in the big picture having motivation is not going to be a reliable source to stick with it.

I can give you some tips to lay out your clothes the night before or keep your end goal in mind but really it is a mindset shift.

Here are a few things to consider to curb the “I’m just not motivated” way of thinking.

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Not motivated? Don’t believe everything you think and do the work anyways.

You do not have to commit to perfection but you do have to commit to hard work.

 

Working out and getting healthier/fitter/stronger is not about perfection. And it can feel quite overwhelming to feel like you have to do everything right and nothing wrong just to make improvements.

That is simply not the case.

Trying to follow rigid diets and workout plans create a false sense of security that if we do everything right we will get the desired outcomes, but that is not always how it works.

Instead of seeking perfection cultivate a relentless commitment to yourself, to your desire to improve and change. It is not about doing everything perfect, it is about doing something consistent. 

Don’t believe everything you think.

 

Giving up, telling yourself you just don’t have what it takes to be healthier, or saying that you have tried before and it just doesn’t work is interesting from a psychological standpoint in a sense that it provides comfort.

When you a have a fixed view of what you think you are able to do, you convince yourself you don’t really have to try because you tell yourself it just doesn’t work. And you believe it.

I get this because it feels painful. It doesn’t feel good to try, try, and try again and feel like nothing ever works. It feels good to blame age, stress, other people, time schedules and even lack of motivation, as to why we are unable to reach our goals.

Believing that you have the abilities, desire and want to make change, is just as important as taking action itself. I never met a successful person in any area of life who said that they just kinda wanted something and it all worked out. Have passion, have desire and have an unwavering belief that you will be successful.

Change your habits because of the love you have for your body, not the hate you have for it.

 

You do not have to hate your way to success. You hear me say this ALL the time but often do you really practice this idea.

Even if you are dissatisfied with your current habits or body, you can still accept yourself without accepting the situation. You can still be content without being satisfied.

Challenges and struggles never feel easy. Changing habits does not feel easy. But that is how we grow. That is how we learn. That is how we change.

A strong, successful mindset grows in the process, learning and improving, not just in the ultimate outcome.  Have an active part in your life and your success.

My FREE workout challenge, 16 to 16 starts November 25th, the day after Thanksgiving, with the idea to commit 16 workouts to yourself between turkey day and the end of 2016.

You don’t need the new year to be motivated when you can start now. Sign up here: http://bit.ly/16to16fitcamp

All the details arrive in the first email and workouts arrive in your inbox the Wednesday the night before Thanksgiving or you can do your own workouts. Join the fun here!

If you want the perfect body, I am not your trainer.

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If you want the perfect body, I am not your trainer.

If you want your life to stop revolving around the next diet, to stop obsessing about falling off the wagon yet again with eating or exercise, to get stronger, healthier, and more fit, or to just find some calm, peace and love with your body, let’s talk.

I once read an article about an Olympian who trained for years to make it to the podium. He did and once he had that medal hung around his neck, his first thoughts were, “Is this it? Is this all I have been waiting for?”

I have found the same thing with people and their bodies. They lose the 10 pounds they have always wanted to lose, and now they want to lose more. They deadlifted the weight they have always wanted to and now they want more. They fit into their favorite dress and now it is not good enough.

From an Olympic medal to a women wanting to lose weight these emotions are indictors that is is not really achieving the goal for most, it is the feelings of accomplishment, pride, and effort along the way that really has the most impact on our joy and happiness.

When you get the perfect body you will always want more.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I know what it feels like on days when jeans fit too tight, when your stomach feels a little flabby or where you just feel gross and miserable in your own skin.

I know what it feels like to want to feel healthier, to look better, and to feel more confident but I also know the perfect body is not the solution to happiness or fulfillment.

Confidence and happiness are typically found more in the process of what you set out to accomplish, more than the end result itself.

The idea that having a smaller, more perfect body will contribute to happiness only sets us up for struggle and eventually being let down.

You might say I like to help women expand.

Not from a physical sense but from the mindset of realizing what you have to offer in life. Helping women get smaller and smaller with their bodies also makes me wonder if our mindsets and perspectives shrink as well.

Does the focus on the perfect body narrow our focus so greatly that it neglects other areas of our life?

We are most happy and fulfilled not when we reach our full potential but when we are working toward it.

 

I realize there are tons of programs that want to help you look better naked, get thinner thighs, get long and lean muscles, and flatten your stomach.

I realize that many fitness models sell their programs in their half naked bodies sending subliminal messages that you too can get their bodies with their programs.

And as humans we like that. We like something to aspire too. We like something greater than us to motivate to be the better version of ourselves.

We like the idea that if we can just control our diets and workouts that we will be good enough.

We really just want to be good enough, validated, and worthy.

 

And that is what I wish for my clients.

That confidence comes, not from the perfect body, but from doing the work, making improvements, and learning that yes they can do hard things.

Our bodies are more than a certain look and focusing on strength, health and overcoming our insecurities and fears is more rewarding than a flat stomach.

That while we can’t always control the outcomes we can control our efforts.

Our bodies will change inevitably. Skin will sag, wrinkles will form, age will set in and the less we can tie or value or worth with our bodies the better off we will be.

That we have more to offer the world than what our bodies look like.

Health is a series of sustainable habits developed overtime, not a magic bullet or quick fix.

That it is important to take care of our bodies but be more than a body.

Will Lifting Weights Make Me “Bulky?”

I love this example of how I went to try on my green, plaid shirt from last year and realized it was being stretched at the buttons. And then it hit me. This is what women consider bulky. As you can see from the picture on the left, taken within days,  I do not appear bulky at all, but lifting weights can add muscle and potentially size, in certain places that may make your clothes fit tighter.

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I am taking my pic on the right in my pajama pants. Just wanted to explain the color combo.

 

I often hear from women that they fear lifting weights will make them bulky. And honestly, I do completely get, what most associate with the term bulky. Your jeans fit a little tighter, your shirt fits a little snugger and you assume that you are automatically going to grow out of all your clothes and develop bulging muscles.

In reality,  you probably will not train hard enough to achieve that effect. And if your waistband is getting tight, chances are it is more about extra cookies, ice cream, and pizza making you feel bulky, than lifting weights.

Overall the indication of slightly snugger close may actually be the result of less body fat.  It all comes down to your perception and what is important to you. Here are some thoughts to consider.

It’s all in your mindset.

Instead of the  bulky association, realize that you are gaining a little more muscle on your body. The two pictures above, show a lean look on the left and a tight fitting shirt on the right on the same day. It is all about perception.  If I am lifting heavy do I need to stop or maybe I just need to get a bigger size shirt?

I want to remind you that typically when your diet is pretty decent and you are lifting weights, you are gaining muscle and hopefully losing fat, and that it is possible to carry a higher fat content while looking leaner. I looked way leaner two years ago (down two jean sizes) after I stopped working out for a few months due to chronic back pain, but I was pretty miserable and felt extremely weak in my everyday life and winded in yoga, walks and stairs. I would much rather have a tighter shirt then feel weak and be in pain.

Track your training and nutrition. 

Use a journal to track your workouts and nutrition to see how your body responds. Incorporate a weight routine and follow a healthy way of eating that keeps you looking, feeling and moving your best.

If you do not see the changes in your body that you wish to see, contact an expert in the field who can help adjust your training and nutrition.

Educate yourself on what building muscle actually does for the body.

It creates more muscle on the body can create higher calorie expenditure throughout the day.

It can increase your body’s ability to burn fat during and after exercise and be more effective for fat loss than other types of training in a shorter amount of time.

It can help increase bone density.

It can help create shape on the body. Weight loss is one thing. Creating the shape you desire is another. More defined arms? More shapely butt? There is no shame is aesthetics are part of the reason you work out. Weight training will do that better than any other.

I want to point out that I do not expect everyone to want to, or need to, lift super heavy weights. It’s a personal preference. Some prefer a leaner look, some prefer more muscular. It is your body and you have the right to your preference. But do not discount weight lifting because you think it will give you a bulky look and keep in mind that any serious size may take a minimum of a year to build.

Advice from a Pilates Instructor.

I get poked at with playful fun at all the strength and conditioning conferences I go to when I introduce myself as a trainer and Pilates Instructor. Though it is a very interesting position to be in because they are two very different training methods.

In my opinion everyone needs to lift weight. At the same time I feel Pilates is the missing link to everyone’s routine.

This could be an entirely different blog but the most concerning things I hear often are women wanting to take Pilates to get the “long and lean” muscles or work with 3-5 pound weights only because they feel it will create “tone.”

However the look that is being described is one that is created by lifting weights, heavy enough to create definition and change in the body. Tone is muscle being built and revealed.  I’m not saying Pilates can’t create that I just hate the misconception and the marketing worlds play on women and their insecurities. I love strength coach Mike Boyle’s explanation about the long/lean concept here.

“One of my favorite lines of bull is the old “ this exercise or training method will give you long, lean muscles like a dancer”. This is akin to telling people you can turn an apple into an orange right before their eyes. You can no more make a short stocky female client have long lean muscles like a dancer than you make someone taller. Exercise will remove subcutaneous bodyfat and reduce intramuscular fat stores but, changing the source of resistance in a resistance-based exercise will not produce a muscle that appears different and or larger.”

A few more reasons to lift weights.

The more muscle you have, the more potential calories you can burn while exercising AND at rest.

Lifting weights keeps you strong, mobile, stable (very important as you get holder to help in fall prevention) and functional in your everyday life.

It makes you feel like you can take one anything life throws at you (just my personal opinion). When I see women get stronger in the gym, I see them become more empowered in life.

So can weights make women “bulky”? Well if you associate a tight shirt with bulky, then it would be a yes to you. But if you look at my picture on the left, you would probably say no.

It is all relative and all your own perception.

How do you get started? I put together a free  guide that includes 4 strength training workouts that feel like cardio, so you get the best of both worlds.  For more insights on a weekly basis, to get your guide and for how to exercise smarter snag your spot here: http://bit.ly/sscardioguide

 

 

I actually do regret that workout. Why listening to your body is one of your greatest tools for success.

 

 

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When I get personal and share my story I must be honest I sometimes wish my health and fitness journey was a little more black and white.

Like I wish I could say I lost 40 lbs post baby or I use to be overweight and unhappy and today I am healthy and confidence as can be. It feels like it is more inspiring to see someone drop 5 sizes or show up with 6 pack abs then me telling you about how listening to my body was key in my own personal healthy transformation.

And I am not talking about listening to if my body is hungry or not, I am talking about a true and dire need to slow down and do less, to get more. You see I have a had a HUGE transformation, it is just not as clear to the eyes of others.

The other day I came across that quote that you always see floating around online, “ I really regret that workout said no one ever” and it made me laugh because I used to share that bullshit. But you know what? I most definitely have had workouts that I have regretted. And pushing through workouts or running myself into the ground just to breath hard is not always the best answer or most effective way to train.

When more is not better.

One Saturday morning in the summer of 2013 I found myself in tears sitting in a slumped, crossed legged position on my yoga mat, trying to do an at home workout. It consisted of 10 birddogs alternating, 10 air squats and a set of 5 kneeling push ups. I vividly remember it and you know these exercises are far from high intensity. But I was experiencing extreme fatigue and extreme and chronic back pain. I had not had an intense workout in weeks.

But I just couldn’t get my heart rate up and if I couldn’t get my heart rate up how would I stay in shape? How would I exercise? Would I gain all this weight? All I had done all week was walk. I gave myself a rest (for 7 days) and I was still in so much pain. What is wrong with this picture? I just couldn’t bring myself to allow time for my body to heal.

Fast forward to the present and would you guess I have finally have felt some reprieve in my adrenal fatigue type exhaustion (the only thing I can compare it to). Yes that is nearly 3 years since I began my rest and recovery journey.

I would say from the years 2010-2013 I did NOT listen to what my body truly needed in terms of my health. I ignored it time and time again, giving in to the notion I so easily accept now. More is not better. I thought more willpower, more discipline, more restriction and more working out was the answer to not only my body goals and success but to my happiness as well.

Now I know it is the exact opposite. The more you try to use willpower, restrict and talk down on yourself the harder it is to get where you want to go. You absolutely do need to put in work and effort, just not in the ways you think.

You body hears everything your mind thinks.

The trouble with me personally with my health, was that my mindset was completely screwed up and during those years I had a mini health breakdown where my emotional stress was manifesting itself physically. Though I was at a healthy weight and body composition, I experienced what I can only compare to as some sort of adrenal fatigue or excessive exhaustion.

No doctor would diagnose it as that of course and every test I ran came back normal. Iron was good. Nope I didn’t have celiac disease. My thyroid was fine.  But I wasn’t.

I would take naps at my sisters house when we had bbq’s and get togethers with friends. I would wake up exhausted after 10 hours sleep. I would start workouts with the feeling I typically should have mid workout, heart racing. My adrenaline was on overdrive. I tried taking a few days off. Didn’t help. Tried taking a week off. Didn’t help.  So I did the next best thing. Started up CrossFit (insert sarcasm).

For someone who loves to workout as much as myself, it was so very difficult to grasp the idea of rest and recovery. I thought if I could just push through it I would be ok. If I just took a couple days off my body would thank me.

But this whole exhaustion concept is kind of like weight gain. You don’t notice it right away. You don’t gain weight from eating one double bacon cheeseburger and you don’t ruin your metabolism with one intense workout. But at some point, it could catch up. And for me it did.

My saving grace was an odd one. A miserable one actually. It was what I now affectionally refer to as my 365 days of back pain that saved me because I was in too much pain to do anything but walk. I had no choice but to rest and let my body heal.

Here is how I did it.

I did not have a diagnosis of anything in particular so it was kind of up to me to decide what to do.

I stopped all intense exercise. CrossFit. Long runs. Anything that got heart rate up quickly or for prolonged periods of time.

I started focusing on rest and recovery activities in equal parts to my workouts. Walking, yoga, massage, and hot baths.

I kept moving in ways that my body allowed. Slow air squats, weight machines. Walking. Basic yoga. Exercises prescribed by my physical therapist. 

I started training from the inside out. Mindset and emotional well being first. Physical second.

I started focusing less on willpower, discipline, restricting and doing more exercise and started focusing on why I do things, habits, moderation and making peace with my body.

What you need to know.

 

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You don’t have to run yourself into the ground.

We think the answer with exercise is more, more, more but I like to say the answer is not more exercise but smarter exercise. Smart exercise is exercise that you don’t have to add more time (hours) just to get results. Smart exercise is exercise that encourages a healthy metabolism. Smart exercise is exercise that gives you the most for your time. Smart exercise is finding ways to move that you enjoy, or can at least tolerate.

You don’t have to workout everyday.

You do not have to commit to a hard, intense workout everyday to get results. Though for me personally I commit to some type of movement everyday. That could be a walk, 10 minutes of yoga, or maybe a 15 minute workout just to get moving or a foam rolling session. I find that this helps with my productivity, well being and keeps my health priorities in the forefront of my mind. 

I find that most people do great on 3 strength training days a week and then anything on top of that is bonus. IF you are challenging yourself enough in your 3x a week workouts, your rest days will be crucial in your recovery.

Challenge is all relative your journey.

What is challenging to you may not be to someone else and challenge can come in different forms. Currently I challenge myself with lifting heavier but give myself tons of rest. Breathing hard for extended periods of time or even short bursts is not the only way to create a demand on your body.

If you don’t have control of your exercise you still have control of your diet.

If your workouts have to lessen this does not mean your health has to go out the window. If workouts and exercise are reduced for a period of time you can always balance that out with your diet. 

If we can just slow down and listen to what our bodies truly need we will find that we are able to get stronger, leaner, happier, whatever it might be, with more ease. You supply the action and the universe will provide the time. You just need a little patience and self trust.

6 amazing things that start happening when you stop doubting yourself.

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“Doubt is the rust of life. Doubt hold you landlocked in paralysis unable to move either way. The time you spend doubting is the time you are not alive. So rid yourself of the doubt, take that step one way or another, your heart knows what is best, but take it right now.” Author Unknown

In all transparency the time this quote rang true the most was I in the midst of trying to make my marriage work 4 years back (pre divorce). I was so broken and unsure about what to do and I desperately wanted a sign to point me in the right direction.  I was paralyzed by the possibility of each decision and what it would be bring and how I would be affected. The truth was either way I would be affected. Either way it would be hard.

I had an overwhelming feeling of what I “should” but I also had a gut wrenching instinct of what I wanted to do.

I think doubt floods in and out of our lives at different levels of intensity. Sometimes it is with big things like marriage, relocating, or switching jobs. Other times it is with little things like what to eat and what to wear that day (females know this).

No matter the experience it keeps us locked in a state of uncertainty feeding worries and anxieties about making the best decision possible. It leaves us wondering if we are worthy enough, if we are good enough. It requires us to take a stand on either who we are or what we believe and put that out to the world, without knowing how the world will respond back.

Yes sometimes we need time to think, to contemplate,  to make smart decisions by analyzing all the potential outcomes, but sometimes we also need the permission to just make a decision that we know is in line with what we need, want, or what best fits the situation so we can take that next step forward.

Self doubt is paralyzing and while we all want to make the best decisions to impact our lives, realize that we can only control the decisions we make and how we react to them, not the outcomes itself. There are no guarantees on outcomes.

It is scary to take the next step without knowing exactly how things will workout, but along the way you build the values of confidence, conviction and resiliency.

“When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.” ~Honore de Balzac

 

It becomes less scary and you learn to get comfy with newness, change, and discomfort and know that whatever life throws at you, you will be ok, one way or another.

Going through a divorce was one of the most life altering events I have ever experienced. It was the only time I had ever lived alone or supported myself in my life and here I was with the world saying, “Here you go Adele. Here is the freedom to figure it out and make it happen.”

But I did it, quite well I might add. It built my courage, bravery and confidence and make all the other unknowns a little less life shattering and that is why today I am talking about amazing things that happen when you stop doubting yourself and start trusting yourself.

You get less attached to the outcomes and more engaged in the process.

Getting attached to outcomes is like a game. You either win or lose and tie your emotion in that. The worry with self-doubt always remains, what if? What if things don’t workout? What if I struggle? What if I am not good enough? How will people react? 

All these are valid worries but none of these are solutions to any problem. Sure you can forecast and create a back up plan, lets say if you leave to a new job and it doesn’t work, but excessive worrying and contemplating drains mental energy that you could be applying to other pursuits. It doesn’t really do anything to help the outcome.

BUT when you can learn to put that energy into the process of figuring it out, doing the work, comfortable or not, you give yourself more power in the process. And like the quote above says, “When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.”

You have more confidence in yourself and what you believe in.

When you doubt less and find more conviction in your choices you build more confidence in your values, yourself and what you believe in and stand for.

Is it easy to describe what you stand for, or what you believe in? Or does it make you shy away and wonder what you really want out of life?

Can you freely share your opinion with others without worrying how they are going to react? Or do you hide it because you feel unsure? Do you doubt your opinions or do you back them?

The more you stand behind yourself the more comfy you get with what you think, feel, and value and feel less worry in sharing it with others. You learn and grow and build more confidence in the process.

I know for me, I have grown over the years and have done best to conform less and expand myself more. Sometimes you just have to show up to the world as you are and be ok if certain people aren’t on the same page as you.

You realize you don’t need to be perfect.

Author, Brene Brown says, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good,” and I just love this because so often I find we tend to think that if we can’t make the perfect decision we can’t make any at all.

The more you give yourself permission to just be good the more your choices will relinquish control over you. It doesn’t matter if your choice is the 100% prefect choice, it matters more that you learn to figure out whatever the choice gives to you.

I use to feel this way with eating and exercise. I just wasn’t sure what to eat or how to workout to the absolute best of my ability to get the best results. What if carbs were my problem? Maybe I should do Paleo? Should I be running more or lifting more? I don’t know. What are the perfect choices?

I’ve learned that trying to make the perfect choice often leads to no choices. Or a lot of mental anguish spent trying to figure it out.

I would collect more and more information, seeking the perfect plan without really implementing anything to see if it worked. I was constantly searching, constantly wondering, constantly doubting, unable to take action, unable to move forward.

But once I did. I built confidence, mistakes and all.  I made more choices,  built more confidence and the cycle now repeats itself.

You build resiliency.

I love the word resiliency as it embodies strength. Strength though hardship, strength through discomfort, strength through life. Falling and getting back up. I don’t want to crumble when life gets tough or hard because it is inevitable that it will.

Even if you feel you crumble in moments it is how you come out of it that matters. You learn to embrace the discomfort instead of constantly seeking safety.

I don’t want to question my actions, my thoughts, and who I am on a regular basis worrying I don’t meet certain standards, wondering if I am good enough, or it my choices will equate to the perfect outcomes.

While tough times are uncomfortable and frustrating they build our strength for the next obstacle.

You get comfortable with discomfort.

One thing in life I know for sure is that is does not always feel easy and that we will experience challenges and struggles. When you put yourself out there in moments of discomfort you get better at dealing with them.

“The best way out is through.” Robert Frost

This can be as simple as doing something new each day, that is out of your comfort zone. This can be having the difficult conversation you don’t want to have instead of avoiding it. This can be as simple as making more decisions.

This can be as simple as facing a fear. Not something you are terrified to do but maybe something you have always really, really wanted to do that makes you a little fearful but a little excited as well.

The best part is with this is that you don’t let failures hold you back, you don’t avoid situations that can benefit you just because they are not so comfy, and sometimes, sometimes, you get over that big huge fear you have been hiding from.

You find clarity in your thoughts.

Self-doubt, either with who you are, or with your decisions, is mental clutter. It is an operating system that leaves you in a state of misery because nothing is ever good enough, nothing is ever certain.

Once you start to practice trusting yourself more, with your choices, and who you are, it frees up some mental space in your head. Decisions don’t feel quite so agonizing. The challenges have a light at the end of the tunnel. You find value in who you are and what you believe in,

You start to do more of the things you want to do in life.

You start to live your life intentionally each and everyday.

You start to embrace who you are and what you believe in.

And you give yourself and other permission to do the same.

I would love to hear your thoughts on self-doubt  in the comments on my Facebook page!

If this stuff resonates with you I send out weekly emails on food, fitness, and mindset! Click below to access exclusive content from Adele.

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Does how you eat and exercise really have an impact on your health?

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Well, yes, yes it does. Eat too much of the wrong foods in the wrong amounts at the wrong times and you will gain weight. Moderate your food with healthy choices and you should be golden.  Move more and exercise a few times a week. You know this right? The thing is, it is just not that easy.

I get questions all the time about what to eat at what times and when to workout for how  long. But I rarely get questions and messages like the following.

I am concerned that the lack of sleep I am getting is affecting my food choices throughout the day. Please help.

I noticed I have a bad habit at night and eat when I am bored. What strategies do you have that could potentially break this bad habit and implement a new one?

 I seem to be caught in this cycle of restricting my food and exercising simply to burn more and more calories. Can you help me address the emotional aspect of this cycle?

It’s funny because we never think to address what gets in the way. We just want to know the quick and easy what to do’s. Food and exercise itself is not the solution it is about what gets in the way of actually doing it.

It has to do with the ability to say no when you need to say no (don’t eat that extra cookie) and yes when you need to say yes (go workout instead of watching the Bachelor).

The problem is there are so many limiting factors competing against you making a simple concept extremely challenging and complex. 

We know what to do, we just don’t do it.

And the idea that restricting foods or working out more and more just to burn calories and put in the time is absurd. It brings us right back to where we started in this cycle of on again, off again.

It’s not really about eating the perfect combo of foods, detoxes, diets, cleanses or food lists, it is about everything behind that from self control, emotions, habits, and behavioral patterns we have developed.

We never think to work on that stuff because that is never what we have been taught. We go back to what foods to eat time and time again and focus on the wrong things.

Rely less on willpower and more on your changing your habits.

When willpower fails (which it will) our habits will take over, good or bad.

We think that willpower is the answer to our success but the more we use willpower (all our decision making through the day) the weaker it gets. Whether you are resisting candy at work or debating whether you should workout at 5 p.m., these decisions drain willpower.

No wonder we start off our days at our strongest and it slowly dwindles by the end of the day so we are snacking on jars of peanut butter  at night. Oh wait, thats me. 😉 Basically using more and more self control lead to losing more self control.

Us humans love habits so it is no surprise that our eating and exercise habits are on auto drive and therefore determining the outcomes with our body. While these habits can be very difficult to change, but they can be changed.

Super simple solution:

Find one thing that you can improve on. It does not even have to be a complete makeover of the habit. If you drink 2 sodas a day, cut back to one. Add veggies at one more meal a day. Do 10 push ups and 10 squats for every new episode you watch on Netflix. Don’t think I don’t know about those marathons?! 😉 The point is not a drastic overall but one simple improvement at a time. Work on it until it becomes so easy you don’t even think about it.

Practice consistency & patience.

Boring alert!  I know it is not nearly as exciting as doing a juice cleanse and seeing those first few pounds drop off the first day because you are putting your body in a state of restriction but consistency and patience is crucial to your physical and emotional well-being. The thing is when you do it right most people get frustrated because they do not see results right away and give up.

To do the work and keep going even when the it feels the results are invisible in the beginning.  It feels unfair. It feels like all your hard work is not paying off. You have been doing everything right and are still not seeing results.

Consider this. All your previous choices have gotten you to where you are today. You did not gain or lose weight, get stronger or more flexible by what you did last week, it is by the choices you have made and the habits you have developed over the past weeks, months and years.

If you can learn to exhibit patience as you consistently make good choices over time, not only will your body thank you but so will your brain.

Be Persistence.

I love consistency but I like persistency more, and you might learn to as well. Consistency is doing the work time and time again.

Persistency is doing the work even when it is difficult. It is sticking with it even when things are not going your way. It is continuing to endure the hard stuff and build positive habits over a long period of time. It is learning to get comfy with the process of doing the work on good days and bad days.

Could you learn to embrace challenges and difficult and learn how to overwork not having enough time in the day and be presented with your greatest temptation and overcome them?  Expect the challenges. Expect that things will not go right. Expect that this path will be tough and embrace it and learn from it when it is.

What you do today and tomorrow and the next day will determine where you will be months and years down the road. Just like anything else though, you have to actually do the work to create change. If you do the same old thing that doesn’t work, you will get the same old results that you are not happy with. To change something you have to change the way you are doing things.

3 ways cheat meals are failing you


When I go out to dinner and have a cheat meal I feel the need to eat everything because I don’t want to take home leftovers and be tempted by them when tomorrow I have to start over.

Can you relate? For me I was never a fan of cheat or treat meals but I experimented with them over the years because it kinda made sense.

When I worked hard all week to be compliant and disciplined with my eating it felt very natural to feel like I had earned a reward and some freedom in my eating choices for a meal or even a day.

It felt sensible, innocent, and harmless. What I have noticed over the years, through my own experience, and the experiences of others, is that cheat meals seem to do more harm than good.

From a psychological perspective I can see why. There is a term called moral licensing that pretty much says being good gives yourself permission to be bad. Making “good” food choices all week makes you feel good about yourself therefore making you more likely to give in especially when you have conflicting desires like, “I really want to be good but I also want that cheeseburger and fries.”

As humans we often like to moralize anything that matches our impulses to make ourselves feel better. It is like a protective mechanism so we can minimize uncomfortable feelings.

Whether people realize it or not cheat meals have a significant impact on the way we think about food, eating, and ourselves. Here is how.

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I have to eat it all otherwise I can’t cheat again until next week….

Cheat meals turn eating into a measure of worth.

The name cheat meals has commonly been changed to treat meals to take away the negative connotation that people are being bad when they indulge out of their normal regime.

Ironically the word treat seems to imply that we are deserving for having a good week or staying compliant to a plan. I wrote an entire blog post about labeling food as good or bad which you can access here, but ultimately we start to apply it to our self worth which is completely absurd.

When I eat good foods I am good. When I eat bad foods I bad.

When I stick to my diet I am in control and successful. When I fall off of it I am not.

The less we can associate food with labeling the more we can eat food based on how we feel, whether or not we are hungry, and how much we really need. Food labeling encourages a black or white way of thinking like there is no middle ground. It makes us feel like we have to food choices in life, only being on track of off track.

The last place our self worth is defined is in the food we choose to eat.

They don’t take into account how you feel in the moment.

When I experimented with adding cheat meals into my diet I found that even after my week of good eating, I didn’t always want a cheat meal but I ate it because I deserved it and if I didn’t eat it then, I would have to wait an entire week to have it again.

Can you see where this completely ignored any awareness in regards to my body and only focused on rules and restrictions I placed on myself?

I also had times where cheat meals would turn into all out binges or a days worth of cheat eating if I messed up I might as well wait until tomorrow to start again fresh. Like the scenario at the beginning of this post, no cheat leftover could be left in the house because it would ruin tomorrow if I was trying to start clean. It didn’t matter if I was hungry or a certain food would make me more satisfied I just went along with this mentality.

This is equivalent to getting into a fender bender and than ramming your car into a wall anyway. You have the option to fix yourself mid binge.  You have the option to bring more awareness to the moment and realize that you have the power and choice to switch gears. You have the knowledge that every choice can make a difference.

They perpetuate the all or nothing mentally.

This is essentially what this entire post is breaking down. The idea that eating has to be perfect and on plan or you fall off the wagon all together. I don’t even like the idea of a wagon. You are never on or off the wagon you just are.

Overdoing it one night just to wake up the next day and hardly eat until dinner time is a prime example of getting caught up to two extremes and never finding that middle, moderate ground.

I had a client tell me the other day that this whole perspective I talk about, practicing to navigate eating in between the extremes of deprivation and overindulgence sounds great in theory, but it is hard.  Really hard. I couldn’t agree more.

But just like with every hard endeavor in life you practice. You fail. You try again. It is really hard to accept this with a concept like eating but it is no different. You practice. You fail. You try again. Repeat this 20 times and maybe on the 21st you will get a little better and the next times and the next time.

How to break the cheat meal cycle.

I know you may be wondering what in the world you are supposed to do next. The question I like to ask people is this: why do you feel the need to have a cheat meal? Usually it is because people have been depriving themselves too much during the week. The more deprived you feel, the more likely you will be to overindulge at some point.

What you eat tomorrow is highly dependent on what you eat today. So while you might feel great restricting food all day, feeling strong and in control don’t be surprised if that night or that weekend you overindulge more than you cared for.

The answer is to feel more satisfied during the week so you don’t feel the need for cheats and treats.

Why not eat eggs and bacon for breakfast instead of egg whites and spinach?

Why not add cheese on your salad instead of just chicken and lettuce?

Why not eat a piece of chocolate every single day?

Why not feel more satisfied every single day of the week so you don’t feel like you are missing out or need to go all out on the weekend?

Perfect eating never leads to long term success. Consistency beats perfection and you may just be surprised how much easier it all feels when you learn to trust yourself more around any food every single day and not wait until the grand designated cheat opportunity.

If you want tips and insights like theseI send out weekly emails full of food, fitness and mindset strategies you won’t get anywhere else. Get on my list here.

A Step by Step Guide to Cultivating A Diet Free Lifestyle


IMG_1700With my 5 – Week Refresh program launching this week I wanted to touch on the subject of creating a diet free lifestyle, and am doing so without addressing food all that much.

In essence diets are simply the kinds of food that a person eats. In fact, people all over the world eat differently (different diets) and maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle.  Except in modern society diets are referred to more in terms of restrictions of certain foods, food groups in attempts to lose weight or change the body.

And restriction itself is the farthest thing from the answer to sustainable weight/fat loss or body change.Yet so many people are tempted by meal plans, the newest diet, cleanses, food rules and detoxes even when the reality is that they just do not work.

The perfect way of eating is very grey but as humans we really, really want it to be black and white. Like if someone could just tell us what to do, we would follow it. We all do it. I have done it.

We blame being lazy, having no time, needing to be told what to do, and having no self control as the reasons why we just can’t stay on track. Here in itself is where the problem starts. The mindset behind eating. The perception of what you should and shouldn’t do and the reasons you tell yourself you can’t do it.

I am big on personal responsibility but in a way it is hard to blame people 100% for this failure because our culture has engrained this all or nothing approach as if there is no middle ground, as if there is no other way.

You are either all in on a diet that allows certain foods and bans others or you just give up and eat with abandon because it won’t really matter anyways.

I like to look at it this way. Our culture is responsible for putting out this type of information 100% and we each have 100% responsibility to do something about it. I took this equal responsibility concept from a recent read The Big Leap.

To put it simply, it all begins with the way your perception and how you choose to react in any given situation.

I know you were hoping for a step by step guideline that said at breakfast you eat eggs and veggies or a carb or protein source but today we are going about this in the complete opposite way.

So let’s start with a refresh on your perspective.

Meal plans, rules and restrictions create dependency and don’t even give us the opportunity to fend for ourselves when diet foods are not within arms reach. Office parties, social gatherings, nights out with friends. What are you really suppose to do if you show up and there is only chips and dip and you are starving? You could:

  1. white knuckle your way through the party
  2. eat ALL the chips and salsa
  3. eat a few chips and call it a day

Most people rarely ever choose c. It is usually a, followed by a binge later on, or b, followed by a period of guilt, remorse and shame and then back to your strict ways the next day because you already screwed yourself for the day anyways so why bother making good choices for dinner? Even worse if it is a Saturday night, you might just as well wait until Monday.

It creates a viscous cycle that keeps us tight on plan for a time, and then inevitably we will fall off, experience guilt and then get back on the same plan.

It’s tempting though, I get it. It feels organized, it feels in control, it feel like you are disciplined enough to achieve success. I will start by breaking down 4 steps to help to break the diet cycle.

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Feeling stuck in the diet cycle is a learning experience. It won’t go away until you learn what you need to know. And you will learn it once you adopt these strategies.

Step 1: Consider the sustainability factor

The success of a diet does not only depend on results, it depends on lasting results. So often I have people tell me things like this.

“The Whole30 really makes me crave sugar less.”

“Weight Watchers works when I do it.”

“I feel great when I go gluten free.”

The question always remains, “How long did that last?”

Because short term results are all good and well but what is the point if you can not make it last. Whenever I get tempted by the latest diet or food trend or seeing some fit chicks meal plan I ask myself, “Am I willing to eat like this forever?” If the answer is no, I know I check myself and turn back to trusting myself and my process.

Step 2: Habit awareness is more important than you think.

What does this look like? First off eating is highly automatic and in order to break poor habits you have to plan, prepare, and actually stop, think and contemplate about the foods you are choosing to consume and why.

It could be as simple as swapping out your morning donut for greek yogurt and fruit or as complicated as working to intentionally fight the stressed out binge. The more you start to pay attention, the better chance you have at learning where you are most likely to give in and have the power to actually do something about it.

In the book The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg, he has a habit loop theory that suggests that you can’t simply get rid of bad habits you can only replace them.

The human brain likes effortless and most people have been wrapped up in bad habits for so long they no longer realize they are doing them. In essence the key is to be aware and learn to change your routine. If coming home from work is leaves you immediately in a stressed out binge at the fridge door, the idea is that you occupy your time with something else the moment you walk in the door. This takes time, patience and lots of trial and error before you find success.

Step 3: Nutrients and portions.

What if you said goodbye to all the food rules you have tried or been taught and focused on just two concepts? Eating foods high in nutrients and portion control. What if you started to pay attention to how you felt eating by navigating the space between deprived and an all out binge?

You know this. More veggies, less pop tarts, stop at 2 pieces of pizza.

I am completely aware it is not this simple but unless you have a uber specific physique or endurance goal or just want to get in the best shape of your entire life you don’t need to make it so complicated on yourself.

This does take a little bit of introspection and work and while it might feel more difficult in the beginning than someone telling you to have chicken breast and broccoli for lunch it provides you with the tools that you can take wherever, whenever.

Step 4: Practice The Self Trust Solution

The ability to stop turning to meal plans and food restrictions begins with the ability to turn inward and learn the tools and insights to trust yourself any time, any place, with any food.

The best way to trust yourself is to trust yourself and see what happens.

Cultivating a diet free life style is figuring out what gets in the way of eating in a way that is sustainable. I love to quote Brene Brown with “How-to’s don’t work if you don’t talk about gets in the way.”

Diets don’t give you the tools you need to move forward. They don’t address things like willpower, habits, stressful/emotional eating, moralizing food or finding way to eat moderately and mindfully.  They try to give you a complete life overhaul in week 1.

You get blasted with information and then are left wondering how you can possibly implement everything you know ongoing.

The reality is this cycle will continue unless you are given the tools to break it. It all begins with your mindset and the willingness to make that the focus and let go of food rules and find what I like to call food freedom.

Here’s a quick recap.

  1. When tempted by a diet ask yourself, “Is this a way I can eat forever”
  2. Focus on changing one habit that you feel is most detrimental to your health by replacing the routine.
  3. Focus on nutrients in your diet and portion control.
  4. Practice trusting yourself around food without being on a diet.