Category Archives: Mindset

health hacks (you need to know) that have nothing to do with eating and exercise


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This is the final post in my series where we went wrong with health and fitness. In the first I discussed food, the second exercise, and in this third and final piece I am going to talk about the mindset that goes behind it.

With all the talk about what to eat and how to workout I find myself asking, does body change and weight loss have even have anything to do with food and exercise?

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.

Food and exercise is important but it in itself is not the solution. You find the solutions to your problems when you start to look at what gets in the way of these things.

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. 

You know what to do, you just don’t do it.

Or you think you have to restrict foods and workout all the time and inevitably end up right back where you started like discussed in part one.

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 behavioral patterns you have developed.

You never think to work on that stuff because that is never what you have been taught.  I know I didn’t. For years I thought it all was about food and working out, food and working out. But it was a vicious cycle that kept me with tunnel vision unable to focus on anything else. In todays third and final post I decided to breakdown what matters besides eating and exercise.

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Sleep & Stress Management.

We need to make good decisions more often and high stress and low sleep inhibit that.

Have you ever felt really sick one day from not sleeping enough the night before only to get a full night sleep and feel amazing? Point proven.

Have you ever had 2, too many martinis only to end up at Jack in the Box with a burger and fries? Lack of sleep shows similar effects on the brain as mild intoxication?

Have you ever had a hard day at work and walked straight to the fridge and snacked non stop from until bedtime? Stress could be the culprit.

If you can learn to focus on these two components alone you will be amazed at how much easier it is to make good choices when your heart is not racing and you are well rested.

Super simple solution:

A quick tip to help with high stress or falling asleep is this. Take 3 deep breaths. Inhale for a 4 count and exhale for a 4 count. These counts are not scientific as I made them up all on my own because the recommend inhale for 7, hold for some marathon of a time and exhale for 8, was just too much too soon. The point is to help slow your breathing to get into reaction mode.

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

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

We think that willpower is the answer to our success and 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 break, 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.

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.

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.

Persistence, Persistence, Persistence.

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

There is no super simple tool for persistence. 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. You can and you will.

The death of labeling food good or bad

I am confident that the death of labeling food as good or bad is upon us and I simply want to help spread the word. It’s not really the classification of the food itself that bothers me it is the emotional impact associated with food labeling, especially with women.

Classifying foods like this never really helped us anyway. Good just doesn’t represent a healthier choice it represents a strong control and an inherent self worth of being good enough. 

Bad doesn’t just represent a lesser nutritional choice, it represents a lack of self control and a lack of worthiness. Sure there are foods that are more nutrient dense than others but bad doesn’t mean off limits and good doesn’t mean a free for all.

Personally I remember ten years ago when I picked up The Eat Clean Diet Cookbook and within weeks I had eliminated all “bad” foods. Things like bread, condiments, anything with an ounce of sodium, anything with added sugar, desserts, and focused on “good” foods like fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, brown rice, chicken, and ground turkey meat.

I didn’t even like the term cheat meals. Why was I going to intentionally eat “bad” food? On good days I was good and happy, on bad days I was sad and shameful.

Even with these rigid guidelines I could never find a middle ground. It was always on or off. Good or bad. I had months where I was able to adhere but any results I saw never felt worth it because it was always so stressful and consuming.

After years of focusing on moderation, mindfulness, and the mindset that goes with food labeling I now have a better understanding of why food labeling can push us towards poor food choices and away from better ones. Its completely fascinating and it begins like this.

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Fries, bacon, and chilli. So bad? Or just food?

Being good gives ourselves permission to be a little bit bad.

Or so willpower researcher Kelly McGonigal says in her book The Willpower Instinct. As humans, we like to moralize our choices. We like to feel like we are doing the right thing and making the right choices so we do our best to convince ourselves of that.

When we do something that we view as “good” like eat a healthy breakfast or choose not to skip our workouts we are actually more apt to make poorer choices or skip workouts at a later time because we let our good behavior let ourselves of the hook for  a later time.

It is almost like our good behavior cancels out our bad behavior and sometimes it’s not always something we are aware of.

There is a term in psychology called the halo effect in which we justify our choices, looking for any reason to give into temptation. In the dieting world researchers have even coined a term in relation to food, the health halo.

When we eat something “good” it subtly justifies an indulgence of something else.

Eating a salad makes it ok to eat dessert.

Adding vegetables on the side make pizza ok.

Eating appetizers only for dinner make unlimited alcohol not so bad.

Saying no to the bun makes it ok to have all the fries.

Good choices make the bad ones not so bad. However more often than not many of us would have been better off just ordering the cheeseburger instead of eating a salad and then eating all the appetizers, drinks and desserts that come along with it.

We lose common sense when we label foods as good or bad and look for any reason to give into temptation.

Moralizing choices can come in many different forms.

It can be viewed as what you could have done but didn’t.

I could have had 3 martinis but I only had two.

It can be justified in the fat free ice cream.

Well it is fat free so I can have more.

If can rewarding yourself with your workout.

I had a hard workout so I deserve a big meal.

Awareness is the first step of change.

This is a mental practice that begins in awareness. When I work with clients on changing habits I encourage them NOT to go crazy trying to change it at first because typically the harder someone pushes to change, the harder it will push back.  I have them start by noticing what they are doing when they are doing it and practice an internal dialogue. 

“Hey, I just worked out and I am crushing this meal because I feel like I deserved it. Interesting.”

Then practice shifting it to what the reality of the situation is. “I am not eating this meal because I have been good and I deserve it, I am eating it because it looks good and I am choosing too.”

The idea is with time and practice you will slowly started to notice that your food choices are not about you being good or bad, it is not about the food being good or bad, it is simply about what you are choosing to do.

Viewing it from this perspective takes away some of the power that food has over our emotional state and our need to give ourselves permission to give in. Eat a cookie because you want to, not because you deserve it.

In the end it is short sighted to operate in a state of thinking that we just need to be more strict and stick to virtuous foods that imply that we worthy of having it. Food is food. Some of it is way more nutritious than others but when we can stop thinking about it as some sort of moral licensing we can start to view food as what might be best for our health, goals, and state of mind. We can take our halos off and not give in to mind games that contribute to the food and eating struggle.

19 ways to create a badass health mindset in 2016


No doubt the health of your mind is as important as the health of your body so don’t be surprised that much of these badass tips are in regards to the way you think about things.

Knowing you should workout and eat well are all good and well but it doesn’t really matter unless you figure out what gets in the way of doing the work. Can you imagine living a life where food and fitness feels a little less stressful and you thrive off of it,  and not feel like you are just barely hanging on to survive feeling overwhelmed all the time. 

Here are 19 ways you can (and will) create a badass health and fitness mindset in 2016!

 

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This must be my badass mindset going on. Time outside? Yes please.

 

Take the first step. You don’t need to see the full path and know exactly what will happen. In fact you never can predict what happens for sure but instead of contemplating how to workout or what to eat, just do something already. We are so quick to talk ourselves out of why something might now work instead of just putting in the work to see what happens. The best way to build confidence? Just do something.

Surround yourself with people and things that keep your goals and intentions front and center. Quotes, notes, people, places, classes, hobbies. Surround yourself with healthy likeminded people who have similar visions an goals as you. You can’t get everyone on board around you but perhaps someone or something.

Create a theme. You don’t have to write a blog or be in the movies to declare your theme for the year. And the best part is, it can be whatever resonates with you. Edgy? Sensitive? Hardcore? The only requirement is that it inspires you to be better and do better.

Don’t tie your happiness to your body. Being happy when you reach a certain size, lift a certain weight or achieve a certain goal is all good and well but that momentarily excitement comes and goes just like everything else in life. Tie your happiness to the journey, the good and the bad, because that is where the reward lies.

Eat healthy foods because they are damn good for you. Don’t get caught in diet dogma like restriction, low carb, and low fat. Eat whole, fresh food as often as possible because it is full of nutrients and things your body needs and thrives off of. Don’t think you do it just because you are supposed to and it is boring and hard.

Limit your processed food intake because it sucks for your body and your mind when overdone. Basic guidelines: eat food in moderate portions and include veggies often. Don’t overthink it.

Ask yourself what you would be without that thought? I am totally going Byron Katie on you with one of her thought provoking pieces of advice. Ask yourself what you would be without being overwhelmed, unsure, frustrated, upset. You would just be. The power is in the thought and if we think it or not. Feel what you need to feel and move on quickly.

Workout because you want to be strong. Let go of the aesthetic drive and work out because you want a capable, strong body. Set workout goals that have nothing to do with the way you look but the way your body moves and feels. Without realizing it your body will change, whether that is leaner, stronger, healthier, more capable. 

Stop investing all your efforts into believing you are not good enough. You are good enough in this very moment even if you feel you are not where you want to be. Quit feeling like you have to do everything perfect and that if it isn’t perfect it isn’t good enough. Be perfect by being the best you.

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“Everything we experience – no matter how unpleasant – comes into our lives to teach us something.” Isyanla Vanzant

Strive to be healthy because you love your body not because you hate it. Hating yourself to success is not the only way. What about appreciating, being grateful and loving your way to success. It is possible but it begins by changing the way you think.

Confidence/Competency Loop. Become more confident by taking action. By educating yourself about making healthy choices and actually doing it, you become more confident and less fearful in your actions. When we feel fear building we tend to resort to not doing anything.

BUT when we start to take action and realize, “Hey, this isn’t so bad. I CAN do it,” we build our confidence, become more aware of what we can achieve and the cycle repeat itself. Our competence builds and so does our confidence.

Pay attention to the way you speak to yourself. “Whether you think you can or can’t, you are right,” said Henry Ford. If you keep telling yourself you are not motivated, you can’t do it, you always mess up, you don’t have time, your life will continue to play out that way. Give yourself a chance by owning all your choices as perfect or imperfect as they might feel.

Put yourself ON the hook. My business coach talks about this all the time. Put yourself on the hook. As in, not off the hook. Because when you are off the hook you are, in a sense, no longer obligated to put in the work and rid yourself of any responsibility. You get to wipe your hands clean and say “Nope, its not on me. I can’t do anything about it.” So in life, in relationships, with your job, with your health, put yourself ON the hook big time! Why? Because there is no better place to be that in your power.

Read new books. Some people think self-help, mindset, and motivational and inspiration books are simply a bunch of woo woo common sense advice and that the universe doesn’t give shit about what you do. While yes a lot of it is quite simple and seems far fetched to some, I can’t think of better way to keep my goals, thoughts, priorities and intentions in line than reading something everyday that keeps my mind in a positive, growing state.

I don’t even know where to begin with recommendations but lets start with The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday, The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz, and The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson.

Get into your discomfort zone. You hear challenge? You say bring it! Change happens in your discomfort zone and if you are ready to look discomfort in the face and not shy away you are on step ahead of the game my friend. Discomfort can be unsettling but just know that on the other side is magic.

Act as if you are already where you want to be. In my latest read The As If Principal by Richard Wiseman it says emotion follows behavior. Do you need success to be happy? Or do you need to be happy to have success? Act “as if” you are already where you want to be and the rest will follow. Worst case scenario is you walk around feeling pretty badass! 😉

Say, “How fascinating!” I wish I could remember where I read this (I can’t take credit) but I once came across the perfect response for when daily difficulties, challenges and stress arise and that is simply to respond with “How fascinating.”

I take this as a statement of wonder and curiosity about how during this life and this moment, this is what you are presented with.  Sometimes if feels unfair and frustrating. It is up to you to decide how you will deal with all the good and the bad. What will you choose? Will you let it break you or make you?

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Just take action. Failure is not a sign of weakness. Only a lessoned learned.

Figure out what makes you feel alive and do more of that. Make a list of things you love to do. You don’t have to show any one and don’t judge yourself for a second. Write down things, moments and people that you truly cherish and enjoy. Things that add value and joy to your day.

It can be simple things like coffee in the morning, spending time outside, or spending time with a certain person. It could be bigger things like traveling, a day adventure or something you have never done before. For the simple thing add them in weekly. For the bigger things, add them in as often as possible.

Fall in love with your life and this moment.  Woo woo alert! But seriously, it is so easy to catch ourselves in states of searching for a certain moment, a certain experience or a person to make us feel certain way.

We spend time wishing we somewhere else, wishing we were someone else, waiting for someday down the road when we find happiness. But everything you are looking for are moments happening along the way. What you are searching for is right in front of you, it just depends what you make of it.

Don’t forget about 2015. We get so caught up in looking ahead to 2016 that we forget about everything that 2015 has already or can still teach us. What did not work well this past year is as much of a lesson as what did work well.

Before you even think about next year take a moment or two of reflection on how this past year played out for you and only then start to envision yourself in 2017. Yes 2017. What can you do in 2016 that will get you to where you want to be? What is your vision?

Don’t forget to check out my lifestyle membership group to help you learn how to apply what you know and beyond. Make this your year! New year, new you? Nah. New year, improved you. Details here.

Is 6 meals a day good advice for fat loss?

Establishing parameters feels good when it comes to eating because it gives us guidelines in attempts to simplify the chaos we have made of food.

Low fat. High fat. Low Carb. Vegan. Paleo. The Zone.

Don’t eat after 8. No carbs at night. Eat 6 meals a day.

I am going to talk specifically about the latter today but ultimately know that no specific way of eating will conquer bad habits, overindulging regularly or restricting food for lengths of time.

Eating 6 meals a day is a modern way of eating. Back in the day (even 50 years ago) we never were given the advice to pack our Tupperware for the the day and time out our mid morning and afternoon snack whether we were hungry or not.

We are told to eat more often because it speeds up our metabolism and if you can speed up your metabolism you can turn yourself into a fat burning machine and get the results you are seeking.

If you eat every few hours it will control your hunger.

If you eat every few hours it will boost your energy.

Don’t feel bad if you have believed this or tried this. I sure have. I have done the extremes of the tupperware packing to simply making sure I eat every couple hours. I remember one day stressing out about how I was going to eat my mid morning chicken and vegetables during my 5 minute break between clients. I wasn’t even hungry!

The thing with the body is it adapts and if you train yourself to eat 6 meals a day it starts to expect to eat 6 meals a day. Hungry or not.

Is this wrong?

No. If you are hungry, eat. At the same time learn to find balance with hunger. Not giving into it the second you feel like it but not letting it drag on too long in hopes it will give you better results.

Here are a couple concepts to consider about hunger and eating 6 meals a day.

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Am I hungry or does the clock say it’s time to eat?

Don’t be scared to be hungry.

The thought for many of us is that if we just eat 6 meals a day we won’t have to worry about being hungry because we are eating every few hours. This is standard advice. But what is wrong with temporary hunger?

In part 1 of my blog post The Hunger Games, I discuss this mindset dilemma in which some people think being starving all the time equates to success. Hunger for sure does not indicate victory but it is not something to fear either.

I often have clients tell me, “But if I eat breakfast I am hungry for the rest of the day.” I respond, “Good. Your body is meant to be hungry.” 

Hunger is not the issue, self control is. Learning to adapt to the discomfort of hunger from time to time and how to control eating when hungry are good practices to adopt.

Eating more often gives you more opportunity to overeat.

When our willpower is shot and our self control is limited (which it is these days) why would we so often give ourselves more and more chances to eat (and overeat) throughout the day? More and more chances to have to make decisions!

In the book The Willpower Instinct, by Kelly McGonigal, it discusses how we make, on average, about 200 food choices a day and our self control is highest in the morning and decreases throughout the day. 

So let’s not  force ourselves into more decision making with food. Start by planning your 3 bigger meals for the day and 2 snack ideas. Then go about your day and try to eat in accordance to true hunger, not what the clock says.

Eating every few hours keeps your body in a chronic state of digestion. 

When we eat every few hours our bodies are constantly digesting and never really get a time to rest. This can leave people feeling bloated, feeling like they constantly need to have food in their system and not really paying attention to what their body is saying. Hungry or not.

Like I said above, this is a modern way of eating that we have trained ourselves.

Eating every few hours doesn’t take into account if you are hungry, need or want food.

In a world of high access and overabundance of food, we are used to eating just to eat. Just because the food is there. Just because we have a craving. Just because we feel like it. We are told to eat things to curb our cravings, to ward off hunger, to keep us full.

But we are talking temporary hunger people. We are talking a couple hours of hunger. It is ok to be hungry. Now if you are skipping food all day, every day to lose weight, trying to be productive at work, and get your workout in at 5 p.m. before you settle down for your one meal of the day lets talk. That is not smart or sustainable.

Is there a place for eating more often throughout the day? Sure. When schedules are odd  or training for certain goals like bodybuilding, an athletic event, certain physique goals. There is a time and place for eating more often throughout the day.

Blindly following common advice is something we need to start thinking about in depth before we actually apply it. Just because we are told to do it doesn’t mean it always works.

Some reading this article may be committed to their small meals throughout the day and love it. Some may have dabbled in it a bit and some may eat one meal a day. The key is, is it working for you?

Ask yourself that question and proceed as necessary. Tell me, has eating small meals throughout the day helped you?

How to get “unstuck” from where you are and find your version of healthy

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Does having a healthy body lead you to a healthy mind? Or does having a healthy mind lead you to a healthy body?


Today I want to talk about where you are. Not where you want to be. Not where you used to be. Where you are right in this very moment.

A lot of negative emotions that range from discontentedness to unhappiness, frustration, sadness, and anxiety show up when we expect our current state to be different from what it actually is. We get so focused on our bodies and how they use to be or what condition we think they should be in, we lose focus and energy of actually putting in the work to do what we need to do on a daily basis.

We focus on how we use to workout when we had all the time in the world, what we use to wear 10 years ago, or what we use to eat when we were 19, on a diet, stressed, or did not work full time.

We focus on what our bodies could be in the future: healthier, leaner, stronger. We focus on how our minds could be: happier, freer, more confident.

But what about now? What about what we need to do today, this afternoon, at this very moment to get unstuck from the past and future and work toward our own version of healthy. How do we stop putting off what we know we want to do? How do we bridge the gap from where we are and where we want to be?

As much as health is physical, it is equally, or more, emotional and if you are feeling stuck, start to learn to shift the way you think about things. You may ask, but how?

I know that I personally can easily get hung up on what other people are doing or stress on a daily basis if my daily habits don’t line up my with health vision. I always hold on to the hope, desire and belief about a vision of where I want to continue to go but when I don’t do it, it frustrates me. It makes me feel stuck. It makes me feel guilty. It makes me feel frustrated when I just am not following through with what I intended to do.

The thing is, I have always put in the work to be healthy. I workout regularly and eat well but the way I use to think about food and exercise has not always been healthy.

I would either get caught in the deprivation of food or thinking more and more exercise was the answer.  I would think about diets or workout programs I did in the past that worked or how I could eat whatever I wanted when I was training 3 hours a day for volleyball practice.

I would focus on the wrong things, thinking that my happiness was equated to being leaner or having a flatter stomach in the future. That if I could just hurry up the process and be in complete control of my choices I would just be ok. I would just be happy. I could start living my life more and be more confident.

Learning a little bit of patience, consistency and focusing on the commitment of doing what I need to do now (as in today) instead of the or future has helped me feel, not as overwhelmed.

How can we learn to not tie our happiness to some long term goal but find satisfaction in daily commitments and successes? 

The book The Slight Edge discusses positive psychology research that actually shows that happiness is derived more from the day to day actions and accomplishments than big events or ultimate goals.

This. Is. HUGE. When it comes to our healthy journey could we learn to be more engaged in the process, the day to day accomplishments then continuously seeking some big end goal?  Success with health is ongoing and a daily commitment for the rest of our lives, as scary and enormous as that may seem. It is not a one and done kind of program.

How to become unstuck? 

Becoming “unstuck” and finding your version of healthy is a combination of effort and the way you think about things. Because being miserable on our journey really does nothing for us. It sucks the energy from us that we could be using to our body and health.

Before focusing  on the exact eating or workout plan start here, as simple as it may seem.

Acknowledge your current state.

Acknowledge your current state with your body, your schedule, your habits. It doesn’t matter what you did in the past or could do in the future. It matters what you choose to do now.

Ask yourself these questions.

Does success lead to happiness or does happiness lead to success?

Does having more make you grateful or does being grateful make you feel like you have more?

Does being having a better body make you worthy or does feeling worthy lead to a better body?

The big misconception that happiness is created by the big, elaborate events, monetary gains, the perfect job OR reaching a certain standard with your body.

When you can come from a place of self acceptance and ownership of your choices, you start to rely less on what the outcome could be and if you could make you happier and more on the process of doing the work. Belief is a great strategy and starting point but not when done alone. Results and change don’t come from hope.  They come from daily action, work and patience.

Do the work by starting small.

 

Changing everything at once is like trying to teach a baby how to walk in a week. It just doesn’t work. Wake up each day and vow to do your best. Vow to eat more veggies, drink more water, make your healthiest choices at meals. Commit to some type of movement each day, even if it is not a full workout.

Don’t commit to perfection and when you fall (because there will be failures) get back up and try again. And again. And again.

When it comes down to it: where you are stuck in your health journey?

Is it with your body or with your mind?

Does having a healthy body lead you to a healthy mind?

Or does having a healthy mind lead you to a healthy body?

6 ways to be more peaceful with your body, food, and fitness


Today I want to talk about body acceptance and being in it for the long haul, with your health that is. At some points in my life I feel I have been afraid to just accept my body as is, healthy or not ( I have had my share of health struggles) in all its imperfections. I feared I would somehow sabotage my results. It was like if I felt ok about my current place, even while striving towards improvement, I wouldn’t put in the work, want to be healthy, have motivation etc.

This also related to my style and thought process was to be more strict with food and do more and more exercise.  With January approaching I want to give you an alternative to body shame, quick fixes, super strict diets, and programs that just don’t offer anything sustainable. If you do decide to embark on any of these things ask yourself this.

If I put in the work, am I ok with gaining the weight back as soon as I go back to my old ways.

I get the quick fixes and quick results feel kind of good because going all out and putting in all your effort it gives a false sense of long term success because in your head because you are doing more and more you think you will get better and better results.

But more is not better. Smarter is better.

 

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And if you have tried quick fixes before and gained weight back or they didn’t last for any particular reason be sure to check that off the list as something that does NOT work for you.

This is not a bad thing. It is actually a good thing because you know you no longer need to try it because you have experienced for yourself, it does’t work.

There is no short cut that is going to get you to where you want to go but there are tools and strategies that will help. Today I share with 6 mindset makeovers to help you be more peaceful with your body, food and fitness, no matter where you are in your journey.

“Stop shouding.”

Thinking that things should or should not be a certain way is one of the quickest ways to misery. Thinking that you should be losing weight, be making more progress, be leaner, or be different than where you are only sets you up on a path to feeling bad about where you are. You are where you are, and where you are is perfect. Just because you have not done something in the past does not mean you cannot start right now.

Taste your food for what it is, not what you want it to be.

My man actually said this to me one day when eating vegetables.  “I just try to taste food for what it is, now what I want it to be.” Not his favorite thing in the world but he knows there are health benefits to them and therefore adds a side of veggies to his pasta, pizza and chicken fingers.

I love this and will do an entire blog on his food pairing soon (shh he doesn’t know) but my point being his comment. To taste food for what it tastes like not what he wants it to taste like or what he thinks it should taste like. Vegetables are vegetables. They are not pizza and they do not taste like pizza. Accept veggies for who they are and what they do. This not to say you should eat foods you do not enjoy but is to say that you can appreciate food for what it is and what i does for your body.

Accept and train your body for what it is, not what it use to be.

I played in a summer volleyball league a couple years ago and we affectionally named our team the Use-to-be’s. We were no longer 19 year old volleyball players in training season and our expectations should no longer be that. Don’t get me wrong you can still get leaner, stronger, lose weight, but keep in mind that your body is not the same as it was 10 years ago, before you had a baby, had surgery, whatever if might be.

Ask yourself, what is your body prepared to do today. Just because you once were able to eat whatever you wanted, lift heavier, work out every day doesn’t always mean you can do it now. Things like being decades older, having a full time job, or having a baby will forever change your body. Not in a bad way, in a realistic way.

Take responsibly for your choices.

It is so easy to put blame on anything and anyone other than yourself. I know from personal experience, it feels better. It feels better to tell myself that I didn’t have the time, the resources or that someone else messed up my schedule. It feels better to blame it on the holiday, being social or the person next to you who ordered dessert.

But ultimately, your choices are within you control. You can not always control the outcome, but you can control what you do everyday.

Being starving and eating everything at dinner, means you didn’t prepare during the day.

Not getting a single workout in means you did not prioritize it.

Not being motivated means you are telling yourself you are not and therefore it plays out.

Being too tired means you did not sleep enough.

Being too stressed means you are letting the stress get the best of you.

Start cultivating your own results and don’t let anything or anyone (including your own brain) take away your power. Nothing is happening to you. You ultimately make the decisions.

Quit thinking things are not fair.

I use to think it wasn’t fair that some girls didn’t work out as hard as I perceived myself to, or at all, and were able to eat whatever the wanted, while keeping their cute, petite shape. I on the other hand was in the middle of my stressful eating, workout out every damn day routine, and pouting along the way.

It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing. If it works for them great but it doesn’t mean it will work for you and it is not a matter of fairness. Every body is uniquely different and the quicker you focus on your own journey and quit comparing yourself to someone else the more energy you will have to apply to your own process.

Find your difference makers.

Don’t focus on everything when trying to change your body. There are some things that will make more of a difference than others. Eating a healthy breakfast, snacking less after dinner, having more protein and veggies throughout the day, getting in a couple workouts a week. These are the things that matter. 

Creamer in your coffee, ketchup on your eggs, one cookie during the week. These things do not matter as much if you have other things under control. So please don’t ignore bread or bananas all day, only to go on and eat straight from dinner until bedtime. Pick one thing to change and focus on that until you don’t even have to think about it any more. 

Find what makes a difference and go do it.  Practice makes progress. And then practice again to make more progress. You don’t have to go to extremes or hate yourself towards body change. You can find peace and acceptance, it just starts with a little practice. 

what I learned from 3 challenges in November

The month of November provided to be a GSD (get shit done) kind of month. Without realizing it I committed myself to 3 completely different challenges that made me up my game in 3 completely different ways.

I did a 30-Day workout/shape up challenge, a 30-day blogging challenge to myself, and a #findthemoney challenge.

You always hear the criticism that perhaps because I overcommitted that I wasn’t really able excel at one, but I throughly enjoyed the mild pressure I put on myself to better myself in these 3 areas of life. And I think that is because I didn’t really stress about any of them. I practiced what I preach all the time and simply enjoyed the process. I will give you a a quick run down of each one.

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My new workout tank!

30-Day Workout Challenge

I did this for two reasons. I was feeling a little mindless with my eating and there is a prize of $1000. This challenge ends December 5th so I am just wrapping it up this week. And look, I don’t have weight to lose, not even my goal. But why not shoot for something that helps me feel a little more in control of my choices. THIS in itself is more important to me than the perfect body.

When I am eating out of boredom, mindlessness, and stress, I don’t feel good about myself. Honestly I don’t even know if the before and after pics will show anything different when I take the after this Saturday but I feel better regardless. I will be sure to blog more, post challenge with how I changed up my exercise and eating, and maybe even send the before and after pics to my email list.

#Findthemoney Project

I am always conscious about spending but this project by Danny J intrigued me, not so much as finding extra cash, but in not being as wasteful and frivolous with my choices. At the beginning I was required to total all my expenses for the week to see what I was spending and where.

I actually had done this, this past July and August on my own and knew that I was spending $600-$700 a month on food, just for me! In all fairness I often shop at Target for groceries so that total included paper towels, dog food and toothpaste here and there, but $700?

The suggestion was to spend $35 a week per person on food. I am a tall, active, hungry girl and I eat a lot so I didn’t stress trying to make this number but I knew for sure I could get it under $100 a week. So what did I do? 

First I stopped shopping at Target for groceries. Enough said. Next I tried to use up as much food in the house as possible each week and practically cleared out my freezer. I used my canned foods, foods I bypass in my cupboard every week and used all the spices and condiments I had instead of buying new ones.

I limited pricey products like Komboucha and Quest bars to just a few this month. At $3 a pop, I saved a ton. I spent less on convenience food, like pre made rice and pre chopped veggies. I sucked it up and did the extra cooking and chopping.

I also didn’t get any manicures or pedicures this month, which I normally get one of each minimum, and did my own. I didn’t really buy any clothes, books or household decor this month but when I did buy something I made sure I got rid of two other things. For example I bought a new workout tank (truly the last thing I need but oh well) and I got rid of two clothing items.

It really made me contemplate my purchases and I almost got a rush by NOT buying things because it meant extra money in my pocket. Perfect time for the holiday season with present buying and time off. I can estimate that I have $300 extra in my pocket this month! Perfect for some Christmas shopping.

Blogging Challenge

I set this challenge for myself. To post 30 blogs in the month of November. I think I hit 29. Normally I blog once a week and never really find myself ahead of the game but I noticed I had 5 blogs written, waiting to be posted so I thought why not? I write everyday anyways, I might as well write some more. It has actually been really fun for me because I have so many post-its, lists and notes on my phone about blog topic that I never was lost for an idea, I just had to put in the work and write it.

I made a public commitment on social media and in my coaching group to do this and it helped a ton because I put myself on the hook, which is exactly where I like to be.  Responsible for my choices. Which, as scary as it is, it pretty empowering at the same time.

What this month taught me.

I have felt very fulfilled and accomplished this past month and it got me thinking about happiness, joy and being content in life. A lot of these positive emotions are associated when we are working toward our full potential in any area of life.

You don’t need money or an extraordinary amount of time to better yourself in some way. You just need the desire and drive to make a change. The key to is to have a little compassion and patience with yourself and that is exactly why this month was so awesome for me. When I splurged on a certain, food, skipped a workout, bought a new shirt and missed one day of blogging, I didn’t beat myself up over it. I just moved forward. This is such a HUGE transformation from what projects use to look like for me with tons of pressure and criticism from myself and myself only.

If you ever have times where you feel a little lost, lonely or unsure of which direction you are headed, invest in yourself, in something. Taking action of some sort is one of the best ways to lessen misery. Yes, life can be difficult and we are all justified in our own struggles but we also have so much opportunity when we let go of the victim mindset that everything is happening to us.

Instead of feeling like the word owes you something, find something you owe the world and go do it. Even if that starts with bettering yourself by waking up every day and making the bed.  

Click here for a FREE Holiday Workout Challenge!

Why Being Grateful doesn’t mean you have to settle Part 2

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Today I want to finish up my 2-part blog series on why being grateful for your body and what you have doesn’t mean you are committed to settling and not striving for improvement.

I think sometimes the stress and dissatisfaction with our bodies feels like a very lonely struggle.  I know everyone feels it in a sense, from the leanest of people I know, to the most overweight people I know. No one is immune in some sense or at some point. But when it comes down to it, it has less to with what you body looks like and more to do with your mindset and perception of what you are capable of doing.

We are promised greater happiness, success and satisfaction with our bodies, or at least that is what we think, when we see photoshopped women and super thin celebrities as the “role models” for what our body is “suppose” to look like. We associate losing 10, 20, or 30 pounds with being fully content and joyful. Yet even when we do achieve the look we are desiring, we are often left wanting more because it is not the look we are striving for, deep down in is contentedness with who we are and what we look like.

Could it be that contentment is the cure? Not a different body. Could you just accept yourself right here, right now for what you look like and what your body does, even if you are striving for improvements? Could it be that using gratitude is the way to achieve satisfaction with your body, not losing the weight or being leaner?

Why choose gratitude over negative self talk and excuses?

Gratitude is tough, especially if we are not where we want to be. If we just loved everything single thing about our body then of course it is easy to be satisfied. When we are dissatisfied it takes a lot more effort. But are we looking in the wrong places?  Excuses and negativity often take away from the solution itself.  It takes owning our choices day in and day out, that result in the body we have and the body we want. 

Rather than dwelling in poor choices or making excuses about why we can’t make progress we can use gratitude to make better choices in the future. We can use gratitude to focus our attention on what we do have rather than what we do not have. Can you imagine what would happen if you took every negative thought about eating, working out, and your body and made it a positive, productive thought?

Every time you start to let the negativity, shame and sadness creep into your head make a conscious effort to turn it into something that actually helps you create a solution in your present state. That is acceptance and gratitude at its finest. To appreciate even in the toughest of times. Gratitude is a decision.

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Your body’s current condition does not determine your self worth.

Sometimes I have been guilty about feeling bad about my body and then in turn feeling bad about myself. Even thought deep down I know I am more than a body. I am more than a size, a number or if I fit into a certain pair of jeans. I know my body does not determine my self worth, but sometimes it is a mindset I get stuck in. It is a constant practice to remind myself that my body does not determine self worth!

The other day I talked about a concept known as the “if,then” detriment, and it is so often applied to the correlation between body shape and happiness.

If I lose weight, then I will be happy. 

If I get rid of my cellulite then I can feel ok about myself.

If I can control my eating, then I am worthy.

Let’s switch this mindset.

Instead of any of this negative body talk,  use healthy striving self talk. 

My worth is more than my jeans size or the number on the scale.

I want to be healthy and strong for myself. 

I am worthy of happiness, love and respect right this moment.

It is so hard in the moment to snap out of this mindset, when you feel depressed, anxious or upset about the way your body looks or feels. The best thing you can do is acknowledge it and use healthy striving talk that promotes of mindset of being enough. The first few, or first hundred, times you may not believe it, but after practicing this you can change shift your mindset into a more positive, powerful state.

Would I talk to others, the way I talk to myself?

Another concept I use when dealing with the dislikes of my body is thinking about why I am so hard on myself. If I could use the same love and compassion towards myself as I do for others, I would be able to accept myself the way I accept others. Other people bodies do not determine my love or appreciation for them. I do not critique other peoples bodies the way I do my own. 

People who are most satisfied with their bodies are the ones who do not let their body’s “flaws” determine their worthiness but also view their health and fitness, as a journey not a destination. Again it is about the journey.

Struggles with food, mess-ups, missed workouts, months in the gym, maybe months out of the gym….it is all a part of life. Of course we can and should strive to be healthy but when we can focus more on the appreciation about what we have and what we are working toward we can be more accepting in the moment. I am where I am suppose to be. You are where you are suppose to be. We are always learning and growing and that is what is it about.

#GetGrateful Tasks:

Write down 5 things you are grateful about in regards to your body. It can be internal, such as the air in your lungs or the beats of your heart. It can be shown in your ability, to be able to feed yourself, dress yourself or do an activity like run or dance or play with your children.Your body is so blessed to be able to do those things. Pretty impressive when you dig deep and think about it, right? Or it can be about your appearance, your eyes, your hair, your arms. Write it down. I doubt you will have trouble making a list. Read them often.

Write down 5 excuses you make about why you can’t change or why it feels hard. Then change those 5 statements to solutions. This is difference in talking and taking action.

Why Being Grateful doesn’t mean you have to settle, Part 1


IMG_2979Today I want to talk about having gratitude for yourself, your life, and everything beautiful, and not so beautiful, that surrounds you. 

Somewhere along the way we become conditioned that what we own, where we are in our lives, what we look like, and who we are, just isn’t good enough.  We downplay strengths, compliments, and successes, because somehow allowing ourselves to be good enough, just doesn’t cut it.

I think there is an underlying  fear within all of us, if we invite goodness, gratitude and confidence into our lives we somehow set ourselves up for disaster, letdown, and failure. It feels if we are grateful for our current situation, accept a compliment with confidence, or find happiness, even when goals have not been met, we won’t be motivated to improve or progress in our lives.  In a world of already “not good enough’s” we desperately try to minimize as many negative emotions as possible. Like this quote says though, we are all meant to shine.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?  Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

Let yourself shine.

We bring so much to the lives of others by simply showing up as ourselves. Not when we say whatever we feel, or criticize and bash people with open brutal honesty, but when we show up with courage, confidence and purpose as ourselves. There is no need to play small or downplay our amazingness. We can show up with gratitude and know that our current conditions are exactly as they were intended to be and we have it in our control to improve, while being content with where we are.

This is tough because often our insecurities come out in blame, envy, comparison and withdrawal. We get caught in a never ending cycle of not being “good enough” and current acceptance gets confused with resignation.

Remember there is not a guideline for who we should and should not be, what we should and should not feel, or where we should be in our lives. I should be happier, I should be more exciting, I should be leaner, I should eat a certain way,etc. When we feel we should be a certain way, we are then telling ourselves that we are not good enough right now.

What if we changed our perspective? To no longer devalue ourselves and our feelings but GIVE value to ourselves, our feelings and accept who we are and how we feel. We do not need to rely on other people to tell us we are good enough, we can simply rely on ourselves.

When we rely on constant validation from others we are constantly living in a world of dissatisfaction. If we can learn to accept and start loving ourselves, we will not have to rely on it as much from others. When will we be enough? 

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Enough is now.  Not if or when. Enough is NOT the following statements. 

“I will be happy when I lose weight.”

“I will be happy if I get a new job.”

“I will be happy when I am in a different relationship.”

“I will be happy if I made more money.”

Believing you are enough right NOW, is the first step of your journey of progress and change. You can strive for all of the above, but why not be happy right this moment, right now, while working towards your goal? More money could be 10 years from now. A 50 lb weight loss could be a year from now.

Are you going to spend all that time miserable and upset the way you are, OR are you going to embrace yourself, and life, to the fullest, right now exactly the way you are? Be grateful for the present moments and people and you will find happiness and joy to be more abundant in life.

how to be less miserable and have more gratitude in relationships


With all the celebration for thanks, love and family during the holidays we all know this: relationships bring so much joy to our lives but also can bring a great deal of stress, hurt at the same time and require tons of effort.

From personal experience I have realized that my own thoughts and perceptions play a huge role in the quality of my relationships and either benefit them or take away from them. What we do and how we view things is HUGE! This does not even begin to go how we interact with others or what others say and do, it begins with our own thoughts, ideas, and stories we make in our head, assumptions.

Not making assumptions is one thing in life that can take a way so much pain and misery. Think about it. Do you ever assume the other person is thinking something or feels a certain way?

For example, someone responds abruptly to you, you either get pissed off, mad or think something is wrong. You react based simply on what you are assuming, which technically is a make believe story you created in your head. You are not alone, I do this ALL the time and it has been a constant practice of mine.

We assume, take things personally, and go about our days in self-inflicted drama and made up stories in our heads and it becomes very inwardly focused. All about ourselves.

I am quite amused as I write this because it sounds ridiculous that we can get so worked up about things that we don’t even know to be true. If you want to know ask, take people at their word, because at that point it is up to them to let you know if something is wrong, and live your in truth, free of make believe problems. We want others to be every thing we want them to be, but they are not, and thats OK!

Love and accept others for who they and learn to ask for what you need in relationships. We can always improve, grow and nurture relationships but lets do it with less expectations, assumptions and judgements.

One of our greatest traps is waiting to be happy or waiting for someone else to make us happy.

 

Everyone is simply doing their best. Have you ever thought about it this way? That everyone around you is just try to handle the situation in the best way they know how. Maybe becoming defensive and critical is the BEST they know how. Maybe that is how they were raised, maybe it is how they feel in the moment, maybe it is all they know.

Let’s use divorce as an example. I have witnessed friends and family go through divorce and I have seen some handle it with honest attempts to be as compassionate as possible, considering the situation, and some handle it with anger, rage and be just plain mean. Some may think one way is wrong or right but when comes down to it is the best they know how, dealing with the flood of emotions with such a huge life change. 

But we also have the choice to choose how we handle situations. Make the best of it or let it ruin our days. We can play victim and view the world as everything is happening to us or we can learn to make things work for us.

Take Personal Responsibility In Your Relationships

 

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I think part of personal responsibility intertwines with gratitude because we cannot appreciate and be grateful for our lives if we are constantly putting the blame on someone or something else. In Byron Katie’s book Loving What Is, she calls it “arguing with reality.” And when you think about it, it can almost be comical when we get  frustrated, upset or negative about simply, what is real. 

Your friend is always busy and rarely makes time to hang out. You get upset. This is the reality.

Your husband is watching t.v. when you want him to be hanging out. He wants to watch t.v. You do not want him too. That is the reality.

There is traffic.  It is the reality.

In all these situations you can choose an alternative. 

This concept helps you become aware that it is hard to practice gratitude when we are constantly arguing with reality. When we are constantly not accepting what is, or trying to change what it. Change your perspective.

You can still love and appreciate your friend, even if you don’t see each other all the time.

You can let your husband watch t.v. and do something you want to do. Sip some wine. Read a book. Go workout.

There is traffic. I get be frustrated the whole way or enjoy time to chat, listen to music etc.

The problem with “I’m Fine” in relationships.

 

You know what I am talking about. Someone asks if you are ok and you say, “fine” even though something is eating away at you. You somehow expect that person to know what you are upset about and try to manipulate the situation by making them feel bad about what you never expressed to them, though they asked you what was wrong and you said, “fine.” 

We tend to use passive aggressive behavior to get our point across and this solves all of the following:

Nothing.

This type of behavior encourages:

Someone in the dark about what you are feeling. It is YOUR job (personal responsibility) to bring them into the light to talk, communicate and understand. They actually did their job by asking you what was wrong.

Causes you to feel resentment, anger and hostility towards the other person for not having a superhero mind reading power.

Does NOTHING for the relationship.

I bring this up again because I feel this is such a normal, innocent sounding ( but very detrimental) aspect to so many relationships from those I have observed to my own experiences. So the next time someone asks you if you are ok, instead of saying “fine” say what you feel. Just do it. Have enough faith in the person you are dealing with that they can handle what you choose to share with them.

Learn to let go of the past, be more engaged in the present and anticipate the future with excitement, even though you know there will be struggles and challenges. If you can’t find something to be excited about, it has nothing to do with your life, it has to do with your mindset.

Sometimes we get caught up in how we expect life to be and we think that everyone is out to get us, to hurt us, to cause us pain and suffering. We even assume that those close to us want to cause us that hurt. It has more to do with the expectations we create, the personal responsibility we refuse to take, and the stories we make up in on our head. 

Choose more responsibility and truth, with less judgement and misery.