how to be happier in your relationships and life

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If there is anything I have learned about what stands in the way of happiness, it is that we feed our own fears by the way we think about life, relationships, our bodies and beyond.

We spend so much time in my life being fearful that we don’t have enough. We don’t have enough money, work, meaning, love,  attention and purpose. I mean, we don’t even get enough sleep or have enough hours in the day. We look around and try desperately to grab ahold of something that has purpose, that gives us a sense of comfort and guarantee.

But enough is never guaranteed and there is a false sense of security of what having enough really means. The only guarantee is that change is a part of life. I fought this for so long and still do in some moments but have learned to accept that with the wonderful life comes the challenging and the struggle too. We can actually have a say in our happiness by practicing the following.

Let yourself feel what you need to feel and move on quickly.

I use to try to fight my feelings all the time. I would tell myself don’t be sad, anxious, upset or overwhelmed.  There is actually research that shows the harder you push away a thought, the harder it will come back at you and the more likely you will believe it to be true. This concept actually has a name, the ironic rebound.  When I ask you not to think about the purple flamingo, what do you think about? This can explain why it is hard to fall asleep at night when you keep thinking about why you can’t fall asleep, or why if you forbid something from your diet you keep thinking about it.

The solution to this struggle is actually to let yourself feel what you need to feel. Allowing yourself to think a thought, actually helps lessen the chance that you will continue to think it. Entertain the thought, observe it, even the ones that bring up fear and uncertainty. When allowing yourself to think your thoughts without so desperately trying to change them, you slowly start to develop more self trust that you can handle whatever may come your way. (This has worked especially well for me when I have a hard time sleeping at night).

Stop making assumptions.  

We humans are great at assuming. We like to assume what will happen in certain situations, interpret direct words with all kinds of meanings and especially, we LOVE to assume what other people mean (especially in our close relationships) with their actions, glances or even direct words. Even better we believe it to be true. Can you find the humor in this even just a little? I can.

We like to dream up big stories in our mind and assume that our friends are mad at us, our partners don’t love us and even worse, we send emotional fire back to “burn” them because we don’t know how to ask for what we want. Because “they should have known!” It comes down to the fear of what other people are thinking and what they might tell us if we had the courage to ask.

To free yourself from this cage, ask for what you want and say what you feel and need. You cannot expect others to understand that and magically read your mind. It is scary and challenging because we fear the worst. We fear we will lose our relationships if we show up to the world as we really are and asking for what we truly need. When you do this though, you will no longer need to make assumptions because you will have the truth.

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Don’t take things personally.

“Personal importance or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about “me.” Miguel Ruiz

Yikes! Did you ever think about it that way? Nothing is really about our own self when someone treats us poorly and we take it personally, it is more so about them. Yet we make it about us, especially when people are difficult, rude, negative or critical.

Their actions and comments have more to do with how they view themselves, and less with how they view you. Maybe the situation IS personal but if you act on it with negativity and anger, the person will quickly learn they can depend on you for a reaction.

That is exactly what they want. A reaction to prove they have gotten their point across. Say what you feel and mean what you say but when you can temper your emotional response, it keeps you on the high road, it keeps you working to make the situation better, and keeps the tone rational.

Practice gratitude.

I have a saying. The trouble with gratitude is, it always works. Because you can always find something to be grateful for even in the midst of a storm. Being grateful doesn’t mean you walk around happy all the time and never experience pain or sadness, it means you choose to look at the opportunity instead of the obstacles in any given situation. It doesn’t mean that life is always good, it means you find the good when possible. 

Studies have actually shown that with the time span of 21 days, dedicating two minutes a day, those you wrote down 3 things they were grateful for every day started to focus more on the positive then the negative aspects of anything. Other options include journaling about a positive experience over the last 24 hours or writing one positive email or note a day? Positively begets positivity. 

Happiness is a constant work in progress.   Feelings of lack, or not being fulfilled feed the cycle of fears, scarcity and not having enough.

The beauty is, you can break the cycle. Feed your joy instead of your fear by practicing gratitude, abundance, being open in your relationships with who you are and what you need, and the realization that you are enough and you have enough, not when you achieve something big, but in this very moment, realize just how good things really are.

how to be consistent when results are invisible

Consistency is a complete game changer if you are seeking a healthier body and lasting change. Most plans will work, if you can stick to them with them. When you use the consistency method though, the results are often invisible to begin with. The little things done each and every day seem boring and insignificant and like they won’t add up. All too often plans are quit before results ever show up.

Being consistent does not fee as sexy or interesting to say that you do Paleo, gluten free or that you juice green smoothies every day.  It feels kind of lack luster to simply respond with “I eat consistent.” We tend to value novelty and choose the next best thing over good common sense. We want something that gives us rules so we can be compliant and feel good about our commitments. We want results and we want them now.

I understand because I have been there too. Thinking that if I eat well for a few days my ultimate goal will show up. That if I have a couple good workouts I will reach my strength goals or if I stretch every day for a week my flexibility will improve dramatically. Each time I quit too soon I feed my belief that it is impossible to make change with small daily efforts.  

You will be more successful if you understand that the little things you do each and everyday matter and will add up if you wait it out long enough for the outcome to show up. Then keep at it.

Is the answer really to be dieting and struggling and wasting mental and physical energy for the rest of our lives?  Is food either a strict plan to be followed with compliancy and discipline or a free for all of eating entire pizzas. Are workouts to be done with dread?

The answer likes in finding the dreaded middle ground of balance and moderation. Of acknowledging where you are truly messing up. Of giving up excuses that the little things don’t work when you have not even put in the effort to know. When I talk talk about my C3 formula for change I use being conscious, compassionate, and, you guessed it, consistent to find your own way. Here is what I hash out with my coaching clients.

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Putting in little efforts everything day and repeating them over and over again, is the answer.

How to be more consistent?

 

Be committed to the process, not the end goal. You have to acknowledge that the reason you are not making progress is because you are not staying consistent. You are not committed to the process day in, day out and focusing on doing the little things to get you to where you want to be. You have to be committed to the process even when you don’t see results. It’s like saving money. If you want to save “x” of dollars, it doesn’t happen right away but with little contributions over time it will.

Practice changing one habit at a time. It is so tempting to want to change everything all at once, but that is exactly what keeps us struggling. Instead, focus on getting really good at one thing before moving on to the next. Where do you start? What is your number one struggle? Focus on changing one big thing that will have a significant impact on your results. Over night snacking, poor lunch choices, lack of activity. Pick one thing and do it well.

Do not deprive or restrict yourself. So often I see people deprive themselves from the foods they love only to fall off the wagon. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT TO GET RESULTS. Just consistent.

Focus on things that matter. Creamer in your coffee or choosing a banana over an apple or a piece of bread here and there are not going to make or break you. Choosing whole pizzas, fast food, and a bottle of wine every single night, might. Focus on the big things that will make a difference. Getting more water in. Having a balance of protein, carbs and veggies at all your meals. Working out a few times a week.

Eat foods you enjoy. Eat delicious food that you enjoy. Because when you do you are so satisfied other foods don’t tempt you. When you are not emotionally satisfied with your food your cravings will be higher. When you are not physically satisfied with your food, you will be craving more.  If you do not look forward to what you eat, you are not doing it right and you will not be consistent.

You might love cookies, pizza, pop tarts and nachos but I bet there are healthier foods that you enjoy too! So make a list right now of food you love. See what you come up with and go from there. Then make a list of foods you despise, and don’t eat them.

Focus on a day at a time. Don’t stress about next week or next month or family vacation. Take it day to day.  If you find you are feeling overwhelmed then you are probably focusing on too much. Take it meal to meal. If you are still overwhelmed take it moment to moment. Ask yourself what can you do well in this very moment. Embrace the process and learn to shift your focus to what you can have, not what you can’t have. This wears on your willpower and makes you think about what you can’t have even more.

When consistency is going well you can worry less about extreme workouts and perfection with your eating. But you have to sustain motivation to keep you going and you have to have a clear vision in front of you and believe deeply that you can set out what you are about to achieve. It is hard to envision living this in the long run but you will NEVER get there if you are not consistent.

Consistency  is what you apply for 30, 60 ,90 days and beyond. Even when you are not seeing immediate results. Even when you feel like you fall off track.  Even when you feel lost and don’t know where to turn. It matters less about what specific plan you follow and more that you actually consistent with it.

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what i learned when i accidentally signed up for hot yoga


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I 100% did not intend to sign up for hot yoga. As a fitness pro and yoga enthusiast I have felt subtle, self inflicted, peer pressure that I should take a class just to experience it. I mean, I’ve tried bulletproof coffee, cauliflower rice and CrossFit. I should at least try hot yoga. The appeal just hasn’t been there so I haven’t done it.

On my recent Seattle vacation I found a trendy yoga studio on the same block as our studio apartment. Could this be any more appropriate for me? I think not. So I sauntered in, got class schedule and paperwork and signed up for the 6:00 am class the following morning. After all the walking and lack of workouts on my trip I was looking forward to it greatly.

The next morning I walked the dark Seattle streets at 5:45 a.m. in my yoga pants and long sleeved shirt and jacket, made it to the studio, got my yoga mat, put my belongings away and headed to the studio which was ironically a foggy door. Hmmm. My first sign.

I opened it and a blast of heat escaped and I can’t remember if I said it out loud or in my head but “Oh, f*#K” was the first thing that crossed my mind. My intention was not to hot yoga.

I wasn’t going to leave the class though the heat and heaviness of the air was not inviting. I set up my mat, laid down and took off my long sleeved shirt leaving a tank and yoga pants remaining. Once class started, after the first few poses, sweat was dripping down my body. And I don’t sweat. In side angle pose I could feel my bracelet sliding a centimeter at a time down my wrist and could feel the layers of clothing mold to my skin.

Should I take off my tank top and just do the class in my sports bra and pants I thought? Hell no. I never workout in my sports bra. Just the thought of it leaves me feeling to vulnerable, like I am completely out in the open for everyone to judge any other unflattering aspect of my body. Even worse, I have the mirror to judge myself the whole class. You see, I am very pro healthy body image though I can’t deny for a second that I never struggle with it myself.

My awareness and practice, in appreciating and embracing my body has improved greatly but I still have moments of insecurity, doubt, and “not good enoughness.” My moments of body shame are expressed in this expectation of what I am suppose to look and with what I currently look like.

Shame is the most powerful, master emotion. It's the fear that we're not good enough.Brene Brown

I somehow, over the years, have determined that any flaw on my body is unhealthy. A less than magazine like stomach, cellulite, shorts that squish my waist, and thighs and a butt that make my pants fit tight somehow don’t match up to worthiness and somehow represent unhealthiness in my head even though I workout consistently and am very conscious of what I eat. Any poor food choice or skipped workouts goes right to my trouble areas, even though I know that is not how it works.

I am also well aware that the diet/weight loss industry is a multi billion dollar industry that prays on the insecurities of women and the impression that we should look a certain way. Women feel the expectation to show up perfect in the world, to be more by losing more and having a smaller size, therefore making our vision, perspective and mindset smaller.

I can’t stand the talk of programs that give women flatter stomachs or thinner thighs. Programs that banish cellulite and help you lose 10 pounds without even trying and the implication that they make us more worthy. That our worthiness is defined by our bodies and the smaller and more defined we are the more valuable we are. We get tied into the idea that “if” we look a certain way “then” we will be happy. This is self destruction at its finest.

The responsibility is on us and I love it.

This is not a reason not to take responsibility for your health.This is in fact, full responsibility on you, on us, to not let them take away our worthiness by determining what size we should be.

While this still fires me up I no longer put the blame on the industry. I put the responsibility on us as women. The industry will not change quick enough to influence us in a different way, so it is time to do it ourselves.

We can only feel smaller as a person if we choose to.

We can only feel unworthy with our bodies if we choose too.

The picture perfect models can only make us feel bad if we choose too.

It is time to take responsibility in our choices, not to feel bad because of the images of so called perfection and desire portrayed but to choose, to own and rock what we have no matter what. Be we are so much more than just bodies. 

You want to know what I did in my yoga class? I said screw it. Off came the tank top and I completed the rest of the class in my sports bra, not caring what others, or myself would think, in unflattering poses or movements. I let my body look like what is was meant to look like during that class, not what I felt like it was suppose to look like.

I will most definitely go back to my shirt wearing ways because I like being clothed when I workout and more importantly don’t have anything to prove to anyone else. Only myself. I don’t feel the need to work out in a sports bra but if I want to do yoga in it from time to time I have no reason to let shame and insecurity hold me back.

I will continue to acknowledge when I feel shame and insecurity wash over me and will do my best to practice self compassion and acknowledge that I am more than just a body. My body does not define me. Working towards being the healthiest version of myself will always be high in value, meaning and purpose but will not be defined by an unobtainable image of perfection.

3 lower body exercises that are harder than they look

Do you ever feel like you need just one new exercise in your routine just to keep it fresh?

I am a self proclaimed program jumper. Mainly because I have such passion for all kinds of movement and activity. I like lifting heavy things, yoga, pilates, metabolic resistance training, body weight training, kettlebells, swimming, hiking, boxing-ish and random sprints on walks with my dog. I want to do it all!

The one thing I cannot deny though is the amount of progress you will see when you keep a detailed program record of what you do, including your exercises, sets, reps, and weights used. I am super proud of myself for dedicating the past three months to a thoughtfully planned out program and instead of just guessing or making up reps and sets as I go, I have it all written down and record what weights I do each week.

I have been focusing on one heavy lift at the beginning of the workout and then have been adding a few of the variations I want to share with you today.

These in particular are not heavy in resistance but always challenge me more than I remember with that “burn” feeling and not to mention my heart rate jumps up enough for me to call it my cardio.

The Bulgarian Split Squat

These are plenty challenging without weight but I have been adding 15 lb dumbbells and it sure does make a difference. I like the BSS because of the increased stretch it puts on the hip flexor, the balance challenge, and how they build single leg stability.

 

Single Leg Hip Thruster

If the single leg version feels too challenging always start with both feet on the ground and work up to the single leg thrust. This is a great exercise for the glutes and hamstrings and is just one of the many fun variations you cand form a hip thruster.

High step up

The high step up is a great quad and glute developer and again great for single leg stability. It gets the heart rate up even without any additional weights. Always choose form and quality of movement  before adding weights.

 

Start by adding a 2-3 sets of 10-12 into your workout with any given exercise and let me know how it goes.

 

Pumpkin, Protein, Oatmeal Pancakes

You might say I am forcing fall a bit, but as soon as October hits I am ready for sweatshirts, cozy plaid blankets, and pumpkin goodies. I love the change in seasons, even though Southern California’s are mild.

I am no cook by any means, if fact I refer to myself as the lazy cook. In all honestly I simply don’t like recipes that contain tons of ingredients and tons of steps. But I am not big into eating out every day of the week either.

I want to eat simple, healthy food that taste good.  Rich, creamy meals usually leave me feeling sluggish and low energy and over the years I have transitioned my tastebuds to the point where I crave healthy food more and rich food is not evening appealing. You can read more about my journey here.

My healthy eating strategies lie in finding meals that are simple to prepare and throw in a couple new recipes here and there when I feel inspired. In fact, my goal right now is to try one simple new recipe each week and create a simple eating recipe booklet. Pumpkin inspired me this weekend so here ya go!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder (I used cake batter, any protein flavor that will blend well with pumpkin)
  • 1 small packet of truvia or stevia
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix together.
  2. Heat pan and coat with a cooking spray.
  3. Use a 1/4 cup to scoop a small amount of batter on pan.
  4. Cook until solid enough to flip and then cook on the other side until done.

Makes 4-6 pancakes, depending on the size.

I will top mine with peanut butter or a dollop of greek yogurt.

4 ways to quit the comparison game


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I have come along way in my mindset journey but comparison is something I practice on a daily basis. Some days I don’t let it get to me and other days I let it bring me down.

But I keep practicing because deep down I know that another person’s success, whether deemed as a better body, more money, a promotion, a nice outfit, a better house, does not indicate my failure or lacking.

This is really tough when we have access to everyones highlight real on social media. We see peoples best out of 20 selfie, their Pinterest like meals, and when we are home bored on a Saturday night we see their exotic Caribbean vacation and someone feel bad about ourselves. 

Do you ever see the bathing suit model when she’s bloated, someones meal when it looks like a pile of mud or a the stack of bills that they have to pay on a Friday night. Rarely.

And really it is a game we play in our heads isn’t it? We go about our days minding our own business and then we get to that moment where envy, lack, and failure takes over. We win in our heads when we do something well, we lose when we see someone doing something “better” than us.

Here are 4 things to keep in mind when you feel comparison taking you down. 

Remember, comparison is an ego game.

This is something I don’t like to admit because I like to think I do not have a big ego. But when I compare, I do. You know why? Because when we compare we are either deeming ourselves better or less than someone else.

If I lift more weight in the gym than someone else do I really want to consider myself better than them? No. If I make less money than the person next to me do I want to consider myself less than them? No. If I have my shit together all the time does it mean I am superior to someone else? No.

But some people do. To each is own, however having those feels of superiority will leave you feeling inferior when you come across someone who does it better. And while I am proud of my hard work in life, the superior, inferior game does not feel good. In fact, in robs my joy, happiness and feeling good about myself and my life.

Be aware of what is real.

Victoria’s Secret models, fitness models and images that grace the covers of fashion magazines. They are not accurate depictions of how people look everyday.  They probably trained for months to get that look, that they will maintain for a day or two.  Models do not sustain that look for an extended period of time. As for the women who DO have that body shape in real life, when we see them in magazines we are still seeing an altered image. They are airbrushed, touched up, glamorized, with the perfect angles and lighting, and somehow have created an image in our heads of what is ideal in society.

Be realistic about your goals and what you are comparing yourself too. Keep in mind that you are often your worst judge and ask yourself if you would criticize other people’s bodies and lives the way you criticize your own.

Use comparison as inspiration.

If you see someone who you constantly envy could you turn that into inspiration? This is tough because comparison is usually associated with jealously and envy which are not good or helpful feelings. But if you learn to acknowledge those feeling and turn them into reasons to motivate and better yourself you can learn to keep your eyes on your own paper and “do you” really well.

Because everyone has their own strengths and you will NEVER be better than anyone in everything, though it is amusing when I see people behave that way. By turning the focus back on yourself it actual gives you this incredible amount of power to do something about where you feel like you might be lacking.

When you spend your time trying to seek validation or approval from others by trying to be better than the next, you waste your energy and resources on your own self. Get clear on what you want and find ways to find meaning and purpose in life and spend less time on letting others define your worth.

Learn to be content but not satisfied.

While an end goal can be fulfilling, it is not responsible for complete joy and happiness, and the process of actually getting there is where we thrive, through the struggle and all! Just like losing weight, getting promoted, getting into a relationship, reaching a goal is not a guarantee for our satisfaction. We get it so mixed up sometimes that “if” I achieve a certain goal, “then” I will be happy.

It is the if/then conundrum. Start to learn how to enjoy the journey. I recently posted on Instagram, that I love being a work in progress. I think as humans we get consumed by goals but deep down we really love the journey. Because once that goal is hit we automatically seek more. So if you are going to be constantly seeking out improvement (which is fine) learn how to be content along the journey even if you are not completely satisfied. You don’t have to be miserable on your way to success.

In the end being sex, interesting, and admired is not just about the physical being or what they own, but about the person you portray, the ideas you have, and the person you are. Have you ever been mesmerized by a person in general by the way they carry themselves, the way they act, or the knowledge they speak. I have!

You were meant to be real, not perfect. You were meant to be you not someone else. You have gifts to share that no one else has. So instead of trying to be a clone of someone else, be more human, be more real, be more you.

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the 3 biggest food mistakes you are making

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I am getting a tad more personal here today because I truly feel that our struggles with food run deeper than simply what we eat.

I had a time in my life where I almost felt desperate. I was doing everything “right” yet stuck in this diet cycle. And it wasn’t just the perfect eating and endless workouts, it was the unhappiness, stress, guilt and overwhelming amount of mental energy that went alone with it.

It almost felt like my life was missing some type of higher purpose, some types of great meaning and fulfillment.  And looking back, I understand why. I was focusing on my time and energy on simply what my body looked like, no matter what else was going on in life.

It dulled and clouded my perspective on life. And with all the stress and effort, my body was staying exactly the same. It felt like I didn’t care if my body was the exact same if I could just alleviate the stress and negative emotion around it all.

I wish I had someone at the time to help guide me towards a different way of thinking.

I was making some major mistakes in relation to food and it didn’t have to do with anything I was eating. It was my perception around food.  I had to learn that the answer was not a another diet or period of restriction.

Because that is exactly what kept me struggling. I had to do a little self reflection but I gathered 3 food mistakes I use to make and see others commonly make when it comes to food and eating. Do you?

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Ignoring portion sizes.

Its kinda ironic because we tend to think if we eat healthy foods, low fat, low calorie, sugar free that we have permission to eat as much as want. I get it. We all do it.

But a free for all, even with healthy food, can hinder our goals as well. Because it keeps us from listening to our bodies. I started to realize this over the last couple years on vacation. I wouldn’t have access to as “healthy” foods as normal so I would eat more bread, burgers and things I just normally wouldn’t eat.

Because I didn’t deem them as healthy in my head, I would be really conscious of keeping my portions smaller and not going back for seconds if I wasn’t truly hungry. You know what started to happen? I would come back from vacation feeling leaner than when I left!!!

My point is that I was listening to my body and eating until I was 80% full. How do you know you are 80% full? You feel like you could have another bite or too. And this is flippin hard!! Because this is where the true practice comes in. Saying no when you feel satisfied but you feel like you could have a little bit more.

Setting foods as off limits.

Starting today, don’t label any food, meal or macronutrient off limits. Protein will not make you bulky, carbs are not bad for you, fat will not make you fat. Bread, chocolate, wine? Don’t label it good or bad, just label it as food.

Our first solution for body changes always seems to be restricting certain foods. But have you ever noticed that when you set a food as off limits you seem to want it more. There is actually research on this concept in one of my favorite books called The Willpower Instinct. And essentially, the more you try not to think about something, the more you think about it.

The author Kelly McGongial states, “Whatever fear of desire you try to push away will become more convincing and compelling. When you stop try to control unwanted thoughts and emotions they stop controlling you.”

Whats the answer? Let yourself feel what you need to feel and try not to feel like you have to act on it. If you are thinking you shouldn’t have bread, let yourself have that thought but also let yourself have that piece of bread.

I use having chocolate everyday as a way to take away the power. Now when holidays come around I could cared less about the little appropriate colored foil candies surrounding me. In fact, I don’t even want them!

Practicing the scarcity mindset.

Using the scarcity mindset when it comes to food keeps us in a state of lacking. We fear if we don’t have this cookie, glass of white, plate of nachos we won’t ever be able to have it again. Because the truth is food will always be available to you.

If late time snacking calls your name, remember you can have that food tomorrow. Just because it is Halloween doesn’t mean candy won’t be in the store after it is over. Just because you say no to ice cream right now doesn’t mean there will not be another opportunity.

I think this perspective intensifies itself because we commit to eating perfecting, doing a diet, being on a meal plan, etc. When we do those things we create scarcity with food, because we “can’t” have it. But we can, we just have to focus on making smarter, more conscious choices and just not be so greedy when it comes to our food. How lucky are we to be able to have food WHENEVER we want it!?!

Practice having an abundance mindset when it comes to food. We have enough, we are enough, we will be enough. Practice not needing food whenever you want it and in turn food will lessen its power and control on you.

 

 

 

how to workout when you just don’t want to

I want to talk about motivation when it comes to exercise and working and I want to start by sharing a personal experience.

Last Sunday I wasn’t 100% sure if I was going to workout. I woke up, had my coffee and breakfast and then around 11:00 a.m. I was hesitant but decided that I was going to go to the gym.

I got dressed and was literally on my way out the door. But then Lulu (my golden furbaby) wagged her tail at me and I cuddled on the couch with her for a bit and I do not know what happened but my motivation went flying out the door.

And even as a fitness professional I get these feelings of not being motivated to workout quite often to be honest.

It is not always the lack of the motivation, it is the mental battle in my head with the positive and negative reasoning.

Just go to the gym. No I don’t want to.

You will feel so much better once you are there. But I don’t want to drive.

Think of the feeling when you are done. But what if I can’t give 100%. It is not even worth it.

Just go. I don’t wanna go.

And you know what I find the most obnoxious with this situation. The ambivalence and indifference in not being able to make a decision. I kinda just felt like I could take it or leave it. Whatever.

I sat on the couch and started playing with my phone and even got a little teary because I just hate it when I create this unnecessary scenario. SO what did I do?

I told myself. You either go the gym or don’t and be ok with either scenario. Guilt, regret and dwelling in my own pity party were not an option.

And then even though I did not want to do, I intentionally fought my feelings in the moment it was hardest and got up and simply walked out the door in a matter of seconds.

If you followed my habit challenge a few weeks ago you know this is the key to habit change. Fighting the habit in the moment it is hardest. Does it always play out like this? No.

Sometimes I stay home, but more often than not I fight the urge to go against what I know will ultimately help me long term. You see motivation is not something that you always have, it is something to create. And the more you intentionally fight habits the greater chance you have at breaking them, but the more you give into them, the better you get at that too!

So the next time you feel your workout motivation wavering here some new mindset and motivation shifts to use and practice.

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Think about how you will feel after you are done. Most of the time getting to your workout is the hardest part, but once you there, and once you complete your workout you are so happy you did. Look to your future emotions and feelings to get you motivated. Because isn’t this something you deep down want? To be healthier, leaner, in better shape. Yes it is! I know you want those things so dig deep and keep the bigger picture in mind. Enduring that ambivalent moment where you can’t decide and pushing through is where your success lies.

Find an accountability partner, trainer or coach. Having someone hold you accountable is a huge motivator because being in something together makes it less about you and more about the experience as a whole. It’s not just about you. Find a reason to do it for your family, support your friends, or simply be committed to a greater purpose then simply the way you look or that you just have to exercise. Because doesn’t working out bring greater meaning to your life when you are doing it for your health and longevity, not for your dress size.

Choose an activity that you enjoy or feel comfortable with. Will I tell you that resistance training is the best type of exercise to do to build strength and get results. Yup. But does it trump actually moving and doing something you enjoy or will actually do? No. Exercise you will do is better than none at all. But if you feel uncomfortable weight training, ask yourself why? Are you afraid of failure, are you afraid it will be hard, are you afraid of starting something new? Start small and learn to enjoy the pursuit of something new, something challenging, and something worthwhile. 

Workout at home. Doing an at home workout is one of the quickest way to erase all those excuses in your head. You don’t even have to go anywhere and could do your workouts in your pajamas for all I care. I am confident you can find 15 minutes in the comfort of you own home to do something.

Intentionally fight the urge not do your workout. This is how poor habits are broken. The more you say no to actions that lead you toward your goals, the better you get at it. The more you fight the urge the better you get at it too. Make your decision in seconds and just go. Be ok with whatever you decide.

Change your beliefs. I don’t care what you pre existing beliefs are about you and exercise. I don’t care if you feel lazy, don’t like it or don’t considered yourself a “good exerciser.” Don’t make those statements because that is how your life will play out. Start to proclaim that you want to workout to be healthy, that you go to the gym 3 times a week, that you are motivated to workout and get fit and you would be amazed at what will unfold.

Get comfortable with the fact that this is a life long commitment. Get use to the idea that this is not just something that you are doing this week, month or year. This is something you are doing for life and if you are in it for life, it better be something you can stick too.

 Commit to the process. Do the work. Prove to yourself that you can do tough stuff and that you can push through the tough emotions in life. Because if we always waited until we were motivated to workout, we probably wouldn’t be doing it a whole lot. You don’t need any reason but the simple choice that you can change your direction at any time, in any moment.

How to cultivate a loving perspective with your body

If you are like me, this health and fitness stuff is all good and well but ultimately you just want to move in a way that feels good to your body, eat food you don’t stress over, spend time with people you care about and live your life doing more of the things you want to do and less of the things you do not. This is the reality I have cultivated over the years. But it didn’t always feel this way.

When done right, I truly believe your health and fitness are a catalyst for these things and I am not talking about a certain degree of leanness. I am talking about being able to do the things you want to do and not letting the health of your body or your own irrational fears hold you back.

Because it’s not about changing your body, it is about changing your mindset first and foremost and here is exactly how you can begin to do that.

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My motto. Move often. Eat Simply. Live Freely.

Move Often. Ask yourself how you love to move and go do it!

Growing up in an active family sports were never really about “exercise.” They were about being active, healthily, and doing something as a unit, whether that was a team I was on or doing something with the family.

But trying to find movement fun in adulthood? I lost that for awhile.

I had a huge mindset shift a few years ago after experiencing, what I call, my 365 days of back pain. After finally healing, I developed bundles of gratitude simply for my body and what it does. I realized that exercise was about not doing more, but being more efficient in my workouts, in shorter amounts of time and including movement I truly enjoy and that feels good for my body.

But it all started with changing your mindset around movement. It is something that should enhance our lives not take away from it, and it is something we get to do!

How to move and improve your body. If you find you have this negative association with working out or being active I want you to make a list of all the things about why you feel it is negative.

It is too hard. It is something you have to do.

You have had a long day at work.

You don’t know what to do.

You have no one to move with.

Then replace each sentence with a positive outlook. It does not have to be hard. I get to do it. I can go for a walk. Moving makes my body feel good. Repeat your positive outlook over and over until you believe it.

Eat Simply. Oh food, how we spend so much time stressing and criticizing you, while indulging and spending time with you.

Here is the deal. We have to face food every day. The thing is, it does not have to be complicated and we should spend more time enjoying it, then stress or over OR under indulging with it.

So instead of viewing food as this dreaded thing or this excuse that you love food so much and that is why you eat, view food as information for your body.

Pay attention to:

How food makes you feel.

What triggers you to eat and why.

What you do in social settings?

What you enjoy and actually like. And what you don’t enjoy.

Take all this information your body gives you and learn from it.

Does eating fast food make you feel bloated? Do you eat everything on your plate no matter what? Practice leaving a few bites. Is wine something you enjoy? Well, please don’t get rid of it altogether.

The more you deprive yourself the more likely you are to indulge. So instead of this constant battle of restricting and then binging why not try eating mostly healthy and build in a few indulgences throughout the week so you don’t feel the need to overindulge or proclaim anything off limits.

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How to eat simply ( with less complication & overwhelm).

For starters, spend less time and energy restricting and more time putting things into action.

Use, what I like to call, sabotage prevention foods. Food that prevent your own self sabotage.

 Ask yourself. What are two things you love to include in your diet? Wine, cookies, peanut butter, a steak, bacon, a banana? Make sure you have a small portion a couple times a week.

Adding these foods in, in small amounts can actually work to prevent you from your own self sabotage, restricting for weeks and then indulging for days. Why?

Because you have been including these things in your diet so there is no need to overindulge and claim it as a cheat meal. This week, try to make your focus eating healthy and strategically place these things in your diet. While at first it can seem like a little bit of work, it will eventually become effortless, and that is the goals right? To make eating feel a little more effortless and a lot less stressful.

Live Freely. It sounds so simple but all we really want to do is just be happy right?  Feel freedom in our lives, comfort in our own skin, and free from stress and negativity.

Here’s the thing. Struggle will always be a part of life and the more we can accept it as that, the less we will have to fight it.

One of my favorite quotes on happiness is by positive psychologist Shawn Achor.

“Happiness is the joy we feel working toward our full potential.”

Happiness is not an arrival or a claim that our lives are perfect all the time. Happiness is a journey and process of growth and as long as we are growing, we are thriving in a sense. In our relationships, in jobs and careers, and in our health.

Being stagnant sends us straight on the path to misery. And maybe not in the moment but eventually if you look back and you are exactly where you were 10 years ago in any area of your life, you may find yourself desiring more. The good news is that it is never to late. You can start right this very minute.

Be a happiness hunter?

Do something. Growth does not have to be this huge concept and is not achieved in one day. Or is it? The beauty of growth is that we can do little, tiny things each and every day to contribute to our well being and personal development.

Learn a new skill.

Read a personal development book and start your day with a fresh perspective.

Try a new exercise in the gym. Add some weight.

Learn a new recipe.

By practicing, learning, and opening up yourself to growth in smaller areas of your life, it will translate to bigger areas in your life.

Practice gratitude. I will leave you with this. The trouble with gratitude is, it works. In any given situation, if you can shine some light and appreciation on where you are and what you have in your life, you are well on your way to living a happier life.  Because there is always beauty and opportunity in each and every day, challenges, and obstacles we face.

what you can learn from a plate of fries

Before fries…Real Quick. 

Next week I am super excited to open enrollment for my 5 Week Healthiest Self Refresh.  I created this because I had a new vision. I want to teach women how to develop an effortless way of healthy living . To free you from the diet cycle of on again, off again. Of restricting then indulging. Of time consuming workouts, then no workouts. Of all or nothing. There is an in between and I want to help you find it. Not by giving you an exact plan, but by helping you create your own way by changing your beliefs and changing your habits so you have the tools you need to move forward that you can use forever. Get on the wait list, or even if you are just curious and want more info, here.

NOW…

I find lessons in all areas of my life.  Sometimes it is on my walks watching the way my dog reacts to her surrounding, sometimes it is people watching at dinner, sometimes it is with a my plate of fries.

Last month on my vacation to Oregon I was at the airport with a 3 hour layover and grabbed lunch with my sister.  I usually order salads when eating out simply because they fill be up (with plenty of protein and fat thanks to chicken, bacon, cheese and avocado, dressing still on the side, not just lettuce cucumber and tomato) but on that day I was extra hungry and knew I needed something with not only that protein and fat but carbs too!

So I ordered a bacon, turkey sandwich and went to order my usual side salad but they said it was going to be $4.95. And I thought 5 dollars for a side salad which I know will be lettuce and croutons, no thanks. But my other option was fries.

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I did eat the entire turkey, bacon sandwich but I managed to leave most of my fries….

And if you have been with me for awhile you know that I do GREAT at sampling fries off my boyfriends plate. Although he kinda messed up my practice because this year he gave up fries for his new years resolution, which is a completely different story, for a completely different blog. Although I will say he has stuck to it like a champ!!

Anyways I have been so good and practicing this but I rarely practice ordering my own fries and moderating them. So within seconds I noted that this would be good *practice* for me to have my own fries and just have a few. I was actually a little bit nervous because what if I ate every single fry off that plate despite not being hungry. Because sometimes self control just goes out the window!!

But you know what? I had to practice, and I did. I ate half a sandwich and had a few fries. And then ate my other half and had a few more. This is not something I have always been good at. I used to eat them all and then I gave into the lazy way of self control. Just avoiding foods I can’t control all together. That way of thinking, while is a good way start, doesn’t really help us practice saying no. It is having to face the food you actually want and say now.

Now I have not always been good at his but I have practiced and practiced over the years and it has paid off!

So then do you know what the fries had me thinking?

How lucky am I? How lucky are we?

How fortunate we are that food is always be available to us?

I think sometimes we get so caught up in the idea that if we don’t have food and have it NOW that it won’t be available to us.

Like if we don’t have it now, we are saying no forever.

And alot of it comes into play because we tend to try to restrict ourselves and end up in this cycle of doing the same thing over and over again. Restrict, binge, guilt repeat.

But what if you changed your thought process and started to become more aware. Just because I don’t have dessert or wine tonight doesn’t mean I can’t have it tomorrow night. Just because I pass on food now doesn’t mean I can’t have it next week. Just because Girl Scout cookies are for sale now doesn’t mean I can’t get them next year when they are on sale.

How can you change? Start by using what I call my AAA formula.  

For every change you need an:

Affirmation + Approach + Action

You absolutely need to have the belief that you can change your ways. You need to have an approach (knowledge, desire, know how).  And you need to actually do it. When you are missing a link, nothing gets accomplished.

Once you change your belief that you don’t have to eat everything in sight, you need to learn how to apply it and practice it. And this is the strategy I will share with you today.

Practice saying no to food on occasion, when you are not truly hungry. Many times we eat food because it is circumstantial. Your co-worker brought in cookies, so you have one. Costco is giving out samples so of course you take them. It is a holiday, so you indulge. You have dinner at your moms so you clean your plate. You are at the movies so you need popcorn. The truth is, you do not need to do any of these things, unless you want them. Start to pay attention to when and why you eat, and if it is just because of the circumstance gently remind yourself that you do not have to. You can have the same foods tomorrow if you truly wish. Food will always be available to you. 

Because practice makes progress! And progress is what we want and need for growth! Next time you have the opportunity practice. You may eat it all the first ten or twenty times. But if you stick with it, you will get better. The only way you can’t improve is if you give up.

Again be sure to get on the wait list for my 5 Week Healthiest Self Refresh program. Because the answer is not to eat less and less and to work out more and more. The answer lies in your Affirmation + Approach + Action!