How to exude confidence to the world


What is confidence? Confidence is personal freedom. You know my motto! Move often, eat simply and live freely. And living freely is living with a strong belief in your self and your abilities, that no matter what life throws at you, you will come out on top.

 

I think what we are all really dying for, is for someone simply to give us permission that we are enough. That our body is enough, that our careers are enough, that we are a good enough parent, a good enough friend or family member. That we are living a good enough life. And if you need that permission to validate you are doing ok I am giving it to you. You are ok.

IMG_7849

Why, why, why,why & why?

When it comes to your body or life, ask yourself why the thing you are most dissatisfied with makes you feel so bad?

What about your body or who you are makes you feel bad? Answer out loud and then again ask yourself why? ANd then ask it an additional 3 times to really get to the root of where this is coming from.

Example.

Why does it make me feel bad that my jeans do not fit?

Because it makes me feel bad that I am not in good shape?

Why? Because when I am in good shape I feel more confident?

Why? Because I sometimes feel like being in better shape is all I have going for me.

Why? Because I am not confident as a parent/friend/in my job, etc and when I rely on the way my body looks I feel like I have a higher self worth and others will love me more.

Why? Because deep down I just want to be loved and I don’t love myself.

You see that? One why would have not gotten to the core.

So how do you feel comfortable in your own skin?

 

Focus on you. Stop comparing. It does not matter what others are doing. It matters what you are doing. I see women of all body shapes, of all levels of monetary success, of all career levels who are confident and those who are not. Confidence is not dependent on our circumstances, it is dependent on how we choose to view ourselves. There will always be someone prettier, leaner, smarter, or more successful so comparing to that one person or group of people is like trying to hit a moving target. It will always be moving. And if you keep shooting and missing, you will not only never be confident, you will never really be able to grasp true joy and gratitude.

Make decisions. Even small ones! Doubt keeps us frozen. It keeps us in a state, unable to move forward or back. The quickest way to build confidence is decide what you want to do and be who you want to be and do it. Start small if you need to. Make decisions about where you want to eat, what you want to wear, what movie you want to watch and go confidently in that direction. Once you do this over and over it will translate to the bigger picture in life.

Have compassion for yourself.We think that the harder we are on ourselves, the better. Somehow it seems like a copout to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt and show sense of compassion along the way. We should be prettier, in better shape, have better hair, a more stylish home, a different car, a different job. But c’mon, you are doing the best you can in your given circumstances. And self criticism is actually LESS of a motivator than self love. Give it a shot.

Don’t rely on others to validate your worthiness. Sure it is great to have someone tell you you are pretty or compliment your outfit, but don’t rely on it to feel good about yourself. Feel good because of you, not because of someone else. When we can adopt this mindset it turns out wonderfully because it does not matter what any one else says or does not say, you just show up to the world as you as and are ok.

OWN your body own the story your body has. Your body has an amazing story. A story unlike anyone else. Own it. If you can learn to detach your thoughts about the lies you have created about your body you can create a new story. Our body is only what we perceive  it be. Strong, healthy, unhealthy, weak? If you find your story is a sad, negative and lonely one, it will lead to a sad negative and lonely life. BUT if you view your body as happy, positive and abundant, guess where that will lead you.

Enough apologizing and explaining already. DO you find yourself constantly apologizing or explaining who you are. Perhaps even deflecting compliments. Someone comments you look great and you say respond with how lame you are that you have not been to the gym in weeks. Your body and mind hear that! That you are lame! And unless you want to live a lame life, stop saying that! Stop apologizing an start owning!

Stop surveying others to find the answer you want to hear. Hello number one problem I personally have. When I am stuck in paralysis from making decisions, I start asking everyone around me what they think I should do. Like I need validation or someone to tell me it is ok. Should I spend money on this? Should I take this trip? Is this good enough. My current practice is surveying myself and myself only. Until I am trying to make one of my moms recipes then I call her for help!

Match your body and mind. Sometimes there is a disconnect between how you feel and how you look. You might feel super confident and then look at your body and it does not match your emotion or you might feel like you look damn good but your soul is crying for worthiness. Remember you do not need anyone to make you happy. You need you.

It is not wrong to care what other people think, I mean we all do. We don’t like to admit it but we do. But try not to let it affect you. If your feathers are ruffled by something someone says or does take a honest look at why that affects you so deeply. Chances are it has to do more with you then them.

In the meantime work on this completely crazy concept of meeting your body with unconditional love and self acceptance while working towards where you want to be along the way.

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

AJ-64-1

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

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

So what can you do to break a plateau?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Record what you eat for two days.

2. Take two days off and repeat.

3. Take 1 week off.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Do THIS to help control your snacking


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

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

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

 

IMG_5927

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is good news!

 

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

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

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

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

What my mother gave me: the gift of imperfection

IMG_7347

Putting things in perspective even at a young age. 🙂

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

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

Put it in Perspective.

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

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

I do this by asking myself.

How can I turn this situation around?

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

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

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

IMG_4139

Something does not have to be perfect to be beautiful.

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

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

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

Soak it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“To go with my gut.”

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

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

24 ways to come out on top after getting a divorce

AJ-165-1

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_6843“I just love food too much.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what can you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Cameron Diaz said what?!?

IMG_1598Awhile back I saw Cameron Diaz being interviewed on Oprah. Gorgeous, glowing and ever so sweet and vibrant, she sat chatting about everything from movies to body image. Oprah asked her something along the lines of if she struggled with her body image at all? Did she ever even have a bad day?

“Of course I have bad days,” Cameron responded without even hesitating. “I have days where I look in the mirror I and don’t like what I see.”

This was an aha moment for me because it really opened up my eyes that I could have someone else’s body or physical qualities that I deemed “perfect” but still be unhappy or have bad days.

I completely acknowledge the value of wanting to feel confident in our skin and healthy in our own bodies but beyond looking a certain way, at its most basic element it is a choice. It is something we can make before reaching where we want to be whether that is improving our bodies or improving our jobs.

It takes a radical shift in our psychology and the way we think about ourselves.

Seeking out a certain look to just to feel validated or accepted really digs into our own insecurities and inadequacies of not being good enough. We think we we just just be leaner or just look a certain way we will be have all the joy, happiness, and good things in life we need.

In reality it is trap when we caught up in the “if, then” psychological mess of thinking that, “if” we looked a different way, “then” we would be happier. It is a comparison trap really.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

You have heard this before I am sure but have you ever thought about a day when you feel like you are rocking it and then you see someone else rocking it too and suddenly your achievements and “goodness” don’t quite measure up?

Remember the woman with the perfect body, she has struggles too. The effortlessly matched fashionista, may not view life as effortless. The successful business person may not enjoy the work like they are portraying. The parent who seems to have everything together, may just be trying to hold it all together.

We all feel inadequate in our own ways. And while we are all so different, this is an area where we are the same. The challenge is to not let our self proclaimed inadequacy rob our happiness and self love. We must realize that how our bodies are shaped, how our clothes look and whether our dinners look like they do on Pinterest do not define our value or worth. (I know you have had that Pinterest thought before). 

You are not only successful when you get to where you want to be but you have little successes along the way that should be celebrated each and everydayIt is possible to have ambition and feel blessed with the life you have at the same time. 

Learning to embrace the journey is what life really is all about. Once one goal is met, another is usually created because we are not usually most happy not when we achieve something, but when we are engaged in the process itself.

How do I shift my thoughts?

 

I want to give you simple question to ask yourself when you are struggling. It could be with body image or anything else in life, from relationships to your parenting or career.

In the book, Loving What Is by Byron Katie and she points out a valuable question that I have started to ask myself during moments of comparison, when I am having trouble in a relationship, or feeling stressed. 

What is one stress-free reason to believe that thought?

What is one stress free reason to believe someone is more attractive, more successful or “better” than you? What is one stress free reason to compare? You may find a stress free reason and if you do, that’s fine. If you cannot find one, release your feelings, release your thoughts.

Because at that point it is only your perception holding you back, keeping your from happiness and joy. It is only your thoughts controlling you. The beauty is, you can change those thoughts as difficult as it may be sometimes, you have the power.  Seriously? Yes seriously, and this is very exciting because it is all on you. But instead of being burdened with this personal responsibility, get excited. It is all on you, to change your thoughts, to change your way of living if it does not serve you currently! 

Focus less on what others are doing and more on what you are doing. Honor your own journey and all you have to offer to yourself, to your relationships and to the world around you. And remember that someone else’s success, beauty, and achievement does not diminish your own.

What my biggest failure in life taught me

I have always been my own worst critic. I am much harder on myself than I am on anyone else around me and I judge myself in ways that I would never judge other people. I have always tried to live my life doing the “right” thing because subconsciously, I have now realized, I thought that if I did everything right, everything would workout the way I wanted.

The cold hard truth is that is just not how life operates and though we try so hard to desperately control the outcomes, we can only control our actions, our thoughts and our behaviors. And this is scary and empowering all at the same time because it gives us the control to make decisions without ultimately knowing how things will turn out.

AJ-156

The thing with failures is that they are a part of life and the term failing is often dictated by the people around us. Failures are viewed as negative only when we or others determine them to be that way. Each of us have bouts of unsuccess every single day or week, and some of us have huge events that are viewed with disapproving eyes as failure.  I have had the great learning experience of divorce before many of my friends have gotten married.

And while I at first viewed this as a HUGE failure, I now, with fresh eyes can view this as a tremendous period of learning and growth. I can read criticism written on other peoples faces without them even saying a word. And I reply my defenses in my head. I know marriage is suppose to be forever. I know you are suppose to make it work through the struggles and the challenges. I know it is not something to be taken lightly.

*BUT* I also know that you cannot go against your what your heart and soul truly believes it needs and wants in life.  Relationships are flipping hard and require tons of effort, dedication, and comprise but I do not believe the connection should be forced. You either work to fix it or find a new way.  I have learned so much about ME and how I am my ultimate enemy in relationships. I do not believe I would have gained the insights I have or be where I am today without all the challenges and struggles that preceded.

Over the past couple years I have practiced forgiving myself for my life not turning out exactly as predicted or as it “should.” I have allowed myself to follow my heart into the unknown while learning about myself and relationships along the way and realizing that I am the biggest barrier to my own happiness and joy.

Let someone love you as flawed as you feel you are. We are all immune to perfection. Don’t let your flaws become an excuse in relationships.

It is not others job to make you happy, it is your job to make you happy.  The more you rely on other people for happiness the more you will be disappointed.

People will do what they are going to do. You will not be able to change them, unless they want to change themselves. Trying to get someone to change can lead to resentment unless they are open to the change.

You are the secret to your own happiness. You can control your attitude on how you view situations, 100%.  It is okay to be sad, angry, and frustrated but ultimately you decide how much it controls you.

Everyone struggles with something. You and I probably share the same struggles on some level. If not, you share them with someone else.

Getting mad, angry and irrational towards someone else, is a direct reflection of how you view yourself. The next time you get so upset about something, think about why you are feeling that way. It probably has to do with more of your own insecurities and suffering than the actual situation. 

Shit happens, figure it out. Enough said.

Change is inevitable. Instead of fighting change, go with it. Change is one thing you can count on.

Trusting yourself is the ultimate form of self love. No matter the outcome, if you trust your self, you know you will be ok.

Perfectionism is a disguise for shame.  We try to be perfect to cover our insecurities, flaws and things we are self conscious about. 

The more out of control we feel the more we try to control things. The more we try to manipulate others and the events that take place each and every day is a direction reflection of how out of control we feel. 

The more we hold on to resentment, anger, shame, and regret the more we give ourselves permission to stay exactly where we are, take less responsibility and not give ourselves an opportunity to change. You either stay where you are or figure out a way to change it.

Heavy is beautiful

IMG_6152

Most people turn to some sort of cardio conditioning and diet restriction to lose fat/weight. Keep in mind this. No matter what the scale says, if you are not lifting weights you potentially will carry higher percentages of fat than you wish. The antidote? Resistance training and selecting exercises that create a demand on the body.

The suggestion that women should lift heavy is thrown around social media and the fitness world but I feel like people simply bypass the phrase without really consider what this means or automatically assume it is not for them.

Today I want to talk about how to implement lifting heavy weights into a routine and why it is beneficial, not just for body composition, but for your overall health.

You may have questions.

“How and why would I want to lift heavy?”

“Isn’t it dangerous?”

“How do I know what is heavy enough?”

“Does it really matter all that much?”

Strength training with heavier weights has a host of benefits that range from improved body composition, to an enhanced metabolism, improved strength and endurance, whether you are looking to  improve in a sport, the gym,  or activities of daily lifting. 

I have had many clients say how much stronger they are carrying their grandkids or groceries and, to me, that pretty much solidifies why we should all train with weights in one form or another.

And if bulk is your concern, read here.

A little bit of education.

You can skip this part if you are pretty savvy in the weight room but some people are left wondering what 3×12 or 3×3  means and how exactly do you lift heavier and why would you choose one over the other.  The first number being the number of  sets  you will complete and the second number how many repetitions you will do for each set.

For example, if you are trying to develop pure strength you would choose a heavy weight you could only perform for close to 3 repetitions. If you are just a beginner, or getting back into it, I wouldn’t even worry about it, but if you have been doing this awhile, are looking to get stronger and add muscle mass (not necessarily size) and have never experimented with this kind of training before I would highly considered it. The physique and strength benefits are amazing and leave you feeling you can take on anything.

Heavy is relative.

Heavy for one person could be completely different for someone else.  In college, I would struggle to get 165 pounds for 3 reps on a back squat while the girl next to be was struggling at 205. The point being that we were each challenging ourselves at our fullest capacity at that time.

 I am not saying that you ever have to get 100 pounds plus on your back to challenge yourself, but I am encouraging you to be more aware of how much you currently challenge yourself when lifting weights.

 

A lot of time lifting heavy gets a bad reputation that it is dangerous and potentially harmful, but I do not think it is any more dangerous than NOT training your body in a way that builds strength and mobility. Lifting heavy is not any more dangerous than being weak.

Exercise Selection.

I see women especially focus on isolation exercises whether they are using the ADuction/ABduction machine (inner/outer thighs), bicep curls, triceps presses and abdominal exercise in hopes that they will “burn” the fat right off that area and that is simply not the case.

Ultimately you cannot spot reduce in any noticeable way.  Choose multi joint exercises that work multiple muscle groups such as shoulder presses, push ups rows, squats, lunges, deadlifts etc.

These will give you the most bang for you buck and in the long run, help increase muscle, which will reduce fat allover more than your single joint exercises. Also do not omit training the upper or lower body in fear that you will get too bulky. The legs especially will give you a higher calorie burn because they are some of the biggest muscles in the body.

Why lifting LIGHT weights is a waste of time.  

If you do any exercise and rep out 20 repetitions without really feeling any type of challenge you are not giving the muscle enough stimulus to see any kind of change.

Whether you are looking to change your physique or be stronger, you are seeking some kind of benefit, and simply going through the motions on machine and hopping to the next is what  I would consider a waste of time. Challenge yourself.

How to lift heavy for beginners. 

Start by picking exercises that you feel comfortable doing and you know you have good form.

Select your usual weight and perform 12-15 repetitions and ask yourself if you could do 5 more? If the answer is yes, then bump of the weight.

Do this until you find a weight that is challenging for 12-15 repetitions. Once you have determined these weights for various exercises work out in this fashion for a couple weeks recording your numbers doing 2-3 sets of each exercise that feels challenging for 12-15 reps.

Then bump your weight up to one that feels challenging, with the same exercises for 10-12 reps.

A workout example to start would be performing each of the following exercises for 12-15 repetitions and then repeating the entire set 2 more times. Eventually move to the lower rep range.

3×12-15

DB Shoulder Press

Goblet Squat

Seated Row

Split squat

If you are looking to get the most out of your workouts and actually see changes in the body, you need to actually feel a challenge when you lift weights.

There are definitely some body weight exercises that can create a similar stimulus and effect without adding additional weight but the key point here is you need to be challenged. Start slow,  always practice good form, and listen to your body.

 

If you want more direction on how to get a stronger, leaner body I am opening up a wait list for a 10 week gym program I am launching May 10th, Super Simple Super Sets. It will give you 10 weeks of workouts, telling you exactly what to do and how to progress to challenge your body and continue to get results. Zero obligation to commit to the program but you will get tons of exercise education over the course of the next couple weeks, plus a free workout nutrition guide to get you started! Click below if you are interested!

Click Here to get your FREE guide!

6 ways to be a smarter crossfitter

IMG_2472

Exercise you love is exercise you will do. Period. I was a member of a CrossFit gym (just can’t bring myself to say box) for almost two years, attended and obtained my Level 1 Certification, where I was instructed by the oh so fabulous Christmas Abbott, and even have written posts about why I love CrossFit. So, to get this out of the way this is not a CrossFit bashing post but a PSA, if you will, on how to reconsider how you CrossFit.

Take some responsibility and scale your workouts like it is your freaking job.

Be super conscious of your weight selection.  Some workouts are meant to use heavier weight and some are meant to use lighter weight. A workout may call for a women to do 65 lb thrusters and you may think “Yes, I can totally do that weight!” But if the workout is meant to be a “lighter” workout that you should try to fly through, and you struggle to do just a few 65 lb thrusters, you need to adjust your weight according.  Heavier is not always better. 

Also check yourself if your form is sloppy. If your hand release push ups start to look like a sad version of upward facing dog in yoga, drop down to your knees. If you kipping pull up is sloppy in “Angie” then please choose a band or do a jumping pull ups, and  if your shoulder is jacked just skip the sumo deadlift to high pull all together. Have no shame in opting out or choosing different exercises.

Which leads me to my next point.

Just say no.

 I attended my first CF class after a two year break recently, and I might as well have just said “Hi, my name is Adele and I refuse to do kipping pull ups.” I didn’t introduce myself that way but I did say I do not do kipping pull ups. If your kip is on point and you have had no issues, do your thing, but if you struggle or your form is sloppy just say no. Like I said above, choose a difference variation. Work on that exercise outside of the WOD to be able to implement it in to your WOD.

I will also say no to workouts all together that just plain suck. There is no need for me to attempt to snatch a barbell over my head 90 times at progressingly increasing weights. Olympic lifts  are SUCH technical movements that people spend YEARS developing. I would suggest spending more time working on your Olympic lift technique than repping out high numbers.

Don’t let others peer pressure you into going hard all the time.

I get the benefits of working out in a CrossFit community, even working out with other people in any sense. It does push us to work harder and do more than we normally might do by ourselves and this is why I am a huge fan of CrossFit, personal training, accountability partners etc. It’s the best feeling when you just did what you did not believe you could because of the person or people next to you.

BUT you know your body best and pushing harder and doing more does not always result in a greater outcome. Take a quick scan of how your body feels that day. Are you fueled? Are you fighting a flu bug? Are you sleep deprived? These components play a huge factor in how you will perform. And on those days you want to show up but just do not have it, take it easy. If it does not catch up to you today, it will tomorrow.

Focus on rest and recovery as much as your workouts.

One of the biggest trends I see, is not an extreme injury that keeps people out for months, it is the go hard for three weeks, then go home for two weeks pattern. I know this from first hand experience. I would get 4 workouts in for a few weeks and then have to take a few weeks off from exhaustion, an aggravated shoulder, or soreness so extreme that I was in no shape to be working out. Gotta love your first workout with full rope climbs.

The 3 days on, 1 day off motto of CrossFit is just too much for some, and if that is you ( it sure is me) be ok with it. Just know the harder you push in your workouts the more you will need to rest and recover to come back in full form. The hard thing about this is it tends to catch up with us a couple weeks after we over do it. To keep your routine and motivation more consistent, schedule in rest days, pay attention to your body, and view recovery as the key to getting stronger, not just your workouts.

Rest is your friend and should be treated with respect in each and every workout and in each and every week.

Stop with the strict challenges already.

Ok please stop with the strict challenges, committing to 5 days a week of training while minimizing your food intake to way less than you expend. When you workout MORE and eat LESS, you are setting yourself up for perfect scenario to shoot your hunger and cravings through the roof and drop your energy levels to the ground. Even if you make it through the challenge you will not be able to sustain this kind of training and eating and you will jack up your hormones and your metabolism. If you are choosing to workout more, then please eat more to show your body some love and give it some support, for all the hard work it is giving you.

Results are ones that last, not come and go. Ask yourself if you can eat like that forever? If yes, keep at it. If no, remember that  you do not have to be super strict to sustain results. I want a diet that includes chocolate, an occasional adult beverage and indulging in rich food when I feel like it.  Why? Because I plan on doing those things forever.

Focus on the big picture.

Always keep in mind the prescribed weight CrossFit sets for men and women based on the most ELITE athletes in the world. Just as you don’t expect yourself to have the same training ability and skills as Lebron James do not expect yourself to have the same training ability and skills as Rich Froning.

Some of these points may be way obvious or some may be a fresh perspective but I want to encourage you to start thinking outside the box and take the structure that CrossFit gives you and adapt it to make it your own.