Today's podcast is a personal story that I hope will resonate with you. It's my own transformation journey and goes into where my weight problem started, how it got worse, and what happened for it all to change. This is intended to open your mind to possibilities. Trust me, if I can transform, so can you.
I'm back with a new season of The Fit Habit Podcast. Today we're walking through the best of 2018 workouts, recipes, inspiration, blogs, podcasts and more. I also discuss how to think about 2019 in a way that's less restrictive and more fulfilling. I also cover lots of personal stuff and we go deep on the meaning of life.
Get the show notes at www.thefithabit.com/bestyear2019
Emotional eating is tough. It's something we all deal with at some point and it can take you down a spiral of self-destruction if you don't find a way to manage it.
In this episode, I share practical tips for dealing with emotional eating and how you can address the root causes. If this is something you'd like more support and help with, I invite you to check out my new program on dealing with emotional eating and building better habits for a lean and fit life.
Find out more about the program right here.
Thanks for listening!
Very often we excuse ourselves from achieving what it is we want for ourselves because the cards aren't stacked in our favor.
- The gym is too far away, so I didn't work out.
- She doesn't work full time, so of course, she's fit and I'm not.
- I don't have time to take care of myself, I have a job and a family.
- If I didn't have to work full time, I'd kick ass at being a professional blogger.
- I can't get a better job because I don't have a college degree.
But let's say you suddenly had the time Saturday afternoon to go to the gym. Would you go? Imagine you could wake up an hour before your family and do an hour of writing before everyone else gets up. Would you do it? Have you tried everything you can possibly do to get a better job? Everything?
Here's a truth I want you to think about for a moment... it doesn’t matter how smart, capable, educated or advantaged you are, it’s the doers that get ahead.
In 2018, I'm dedicating the entire year to the pursuit of getting you past your aversion to being a "doer". From the big picture vision of where you want to go to the tiny, detailed tasks you need to do to get there, I will help you get yourself to a point of execution. To get you started, here are a few ideas to chew on.
- Make sure your mental blocks aren't actually just a lack of desire. I've mentioned this before that very often we don't do what we need to do because we don't actually want to pay the price of achieving our goals. Sure, I'd love rock hard abs, but I'm not willing to give up what I know I have to sacrifice, just for a leaner midsection. It's just not worth it for me.
- Make sure you're thinking through the small stuff, not just the big picture. Yes, it's great to be a big thinker and have a strong, clear vision of where you want to go, but do you actually know what you need to do on a daily basis to get there? I think this is where a lot of us get hung up. It's the how of execution that's not clear. When you feel yourself spinning your wheels and going nowhere really fast, that's why. Break down your big goals into smaller ones and write down your steps in the form of daily tasks. This is a MUST DO for big thinkers.
- Manage your time like a boss. Yes, I have plans to get blog posts up at least twice a week, but life gets in the way. You probably feel the same about getting to the gym or the salad you didn't eat for lunch any day this week (hmmm?). You have to prioritize and plan my friend. Hard stuff never happens by accident. It's always 100% intentional and planned.
- Let some stuff go for 90 days. In order to succeed at the point above, you're going to have to say no to some things, but not forever. You can have what you want, but not all at once. Decide what you want in the next 90 days and commit fully to making it happen. This will not only get you results, it will also help build confidence to make more results happen.
- Bite off less than you can chew. For once, please don't try to be a superhero and make outlandish commitments that you can't possibly follow through on. This year, why not commit to not disappointing yourself? We do this SO often, we rarely notice it. Imagine your inner child (or in my case, inner old lady) is counting on you to do what you say you're going to do. Do you really want to look that person in the eye and say - "sorry, you just weren't important enough"?
More to come, but give these ideas some consideration this week. You are 100% worth the effort.
Want help reaching your fitness goals? I offer affordable, action-driven fitness training online that will help you crush your fit goals and your new year. Find out more right here.
[bctt tweet="Hard stuff never happens by accident. It's always 100% intentional and planned. " username="@fundinghappy"]
Beautiful Photography by Archer Inspired
“Resistance is proportionate to the size and speed of the change, not to whether the change is a favorable or unfavorable one.” ~ George Leonard
Said another way, the more you try to change all at once, the faster and harder you will fail at all of it. When it comes to behavior change, less is more. As a fitness coach, I think this is possibly the most critical message I can convey to any client. Just like our bodies have a set point weight that it’s comfortable at (whether this is a point you desire or not), your mind has a similar comfort level. And since your mind drives your behaviors and behaviors determine things like health outcomes, it’s fair to say that fitness and weight loss is all in your head. So with this in mind (no pun intended), and armed with the knowledge that less is more, how will you now go about getting to your desired fitness and health goal? The right answer is - as slowly as humanly possible.
This may not be the answer you’re looking for. It will not help you lose 10 lbs in 3 days, but it’s the truth and once you're ready to accept it, it’s going to get you where you want to go. Slow and steady is the only way to lose this weight race.
Now, you might be thinking that this is not the case with the transformation stories that you hear about on Biggest Loser or the latest diet program that you’ve been investigating, but guess what you don’t see? The after-after picture. That’s the picture that’s taken 6 to 12 months after the first “after” picture where said transformation has magically transformed back to it’s “before” shape. I encourage you to Google what happens to the Biggest Loser contestants after they leave the show. It’s sad.
The irony is that weight loss can be the easiest thing to do in the world if you tackle it at the slowest possible pace and focus on changing one tiny little behavior at a time.
What do I mean by tiny?
- Habit 1 - instead of 2 teaspoons of sugar in your coffee, do one teaspoon of sugar and one sachet of stevia. Repeat for 2 weeks or until taste becomes normal for you. Then replace the other teaspoon of sugar with stevia as well.
- Habit 2 - instead of having a coffee and a snack at 2 pm every day, have a chocolate superfood smoothie. It will keep you fuller longer so you'll eat less at dinner and you still enjoy that sense of having an afternoon "treat".
- Habit 3 - when watching tv, take one commercial break to do 10 air squats. The following week, squat during 2 commercial breaks. Keep building on that habit every week.
You see how small these behavior changes are? The key is that they are so small, you literally cannot get frustrated with them and quit (which is the primary reason we fail to reach our goals). Or at least, it’s really hard to fail. You might forget to do them, but if you set up some accountability and social support to keep them top of mind, that won’t happen.
So think of some small, inconsequential behaviors that you know you can do without too much trouble and just work to make them habits. Then build on that. Just don't do too much all at once. Remember - resistance is proportional to the size and speed of the change, so less speed and less change = less resistance.
So who’s with me on the path of least resistance?
PS - if you want support and guidance like this for the whole year (which is plenty of time to work on building lean body behaviors), work with me in my private coaching group. The opportunity to work with me for the whole year, with at-home workouts, meal plans, coaching and accountability for $199 ends Feb 28th. Price goes up March 1st. Apply here.
After speaking with a client about this, I thought it was worth talking about as I hear it a lot. Many of us spend our time and energy gaining and losing the same 10 or more pounds every year and every time it gets harder to lose the weight, and easier to put it back on. There are few risks here, not the least of which is extra strain on your heart and joints, but it's also emotional energy wasted because you're never getting past the same hamster wheel. You also gain more loose skin as your body expands and contracts, not to mention the metabolic damage you're doing to yourself.
So how does one actually get off the wheel of crazy?
Ask yourself - is what you're doing right now working for you? If you're unhappy with your results, then probably not. Then ask yourself - what is that trigger that makes me go downhill? What is it that flips the switch from losing weight to gaining weight?
Is it stress? Lack of time? Support? Motivation?
The key thing you need to consider if you want to stop gaining and losing the same however many pounds, is to focus on adding habits to your life that are supportive and healthy and engrain them in your brain so that when you hit your trigger point next time, you won't be compelled to fall back on bad habits. What habits should you focus on? These need to come from you, as only you know what you're ultimately willing to stick with.
Think small, like switching out sugar in your coffee for stevia, walking for 16 mins a day or taking stairs instead of elevators. If you're open to workouts, build a home gym or start jogging a mile a day. You have to start where you are and be reasonable with your incremental habit development. If you're looking at weight loss solutions, like shakes, gyms, coaches, personal training or meal prep services, make sure whatever you chose will help you develop healthy skills and habits. Investing in your health and fitness is great, but there has to be a sustainable element to it or the minute you stop paying for whatever product or service your using, you'll revert back to your old ways again.
If you're looking for help building new habits, I can help. If you want a more immersive experience, I also recommend the Precision Nutrition Coaching program. If you need a more DIY approach, I recommend the book Lean Habits For Lifelong Weight Loss: Mastering 4 Core Eating Behaviors to Stay Slim Forever. Georgie Fear (the book author) and I were both trained by Precision Nutrition that values behavior change over a specific diet protocol.
Have you experienced this issue? Tell me what your triggers are and how you've dealt with the weight loss/gain cycle?
I listened to a short video today that talked about how our personal narrative determines how we evolve and who we become as people. It’s also a frighteningly accurate measure of how successful you’re going to be at pretty much anything, including:
- Health and fitness
I actually did my master’s thesis on the development of personal identity through blogging. How and what we share in social media can influence who we are because we become what we focus on, but we can hinder that process if we don’t truly believe we’re worthy or capable of becoming that what we desire.
In my own life I’ve struggled with every aspect I’ve listed above. I was never a good student so I felt as though I wasn’t destined to be much (and I’m pretty sure my parents felt that way as well). It wasn’t until I went back to school as a mature student did I surprise myself by actually being academically inclined and a gifted writer.
I never thought I’d find a quality guy, especially when I was much younger and heavier. I was never treated well by men, and I gave too much of myself because that’s what I thought I had to do to be loved. I am sad to admit, I was well into my 30’s before I learned my own value and power in romantic relationships. On a more positive note, I’ve been happily married to the same wonderful man for close to 10 years now!
Finances was a tricky one for me to learn because growing up we didn’t have a lot. I never knew what living a comfortable life meant, and I often still struggle with the idea of having more than enough financially. It’s been a lifetime of work believing that I’m worthy of the money I make and the things I’ve accumulated. I am still a work in progress on this one, as I still tend to seek out the cheapest options, hoard things that are on sale, and obsess over saving money for fear of being out on the street someday. Weird, but true.
But health and fitness has been the journey of internal narrative transformation that has taken me the longest to get through. From being an overweight teen who NEVER wanted to do sports, I had a narrative that I just wasn’t athletic from a very young age. It’s taken me years to overcome this idea.
I was also a smoker, binge drinker, over 200lbs for a long time and ate the crappiest food I could find. That took 20 years to fix. It didn’t have to, but I’m a slow learner and I didn’t have the personal development, social support or role models that I have now.
From where I stand now, I’m a completely different person. I’m healthy, fit and I prefer good food over junk. I choose to take care of myself because it’s my preference, not my obligation.
How did I get there? Literally, one step at a time.
Here’s what I’d recommend if you simply don’t’ believe you can change (and you know who you are).
Take any action you can – take a walk, buy running shoes, read fitness blogs like this, follow three new people on social media who emulate who you’d like to become (and don’t make you feel bad about who you are right now) and go to bed early tonight. None of these things are going to move the needle much at first, but anything you can do to start adopting the behaviors of a fit person, (or whatever person you want to be) is going to start to accumulate. Eventually, no matter how unnatural it feels to behave in these new ways, you will eventually lean into it. The key here is baby steps!! If you do too much at once, you’ll snap back to your old internal stories quickly.
Find a supportive community. This probably won’t be in your immediate circle, because they clearly haven’t influenced you to grow yet, but it’s not as hard as you think to find a new tribe. Facebook groups are awesome. Search groups on Facebook that reflect where you want to go. Running for low carb eaters? Weight lifting for vegans? It’s all out there. Just search for it.
Invest in something. Put your money where your mind is. If you want to grow, find a coach, take a class, join a group, buy some new clothes, sign up for a race. If you invest money in your desire, you’re 10x more likely to stick with it. We don’t walk away from things we spend our hard earned money on because we perceive it as more valuable.
Set your expectations lower than you’d like to. Stretch goals are great, dreaming big is awesome in theory, but if you set your sights too high, you will be disappointed, and likely give up before you’re ready to. Don’t do that. Set small, immediate goals. Don’t think about losing 50lbs in 6 months, break that down and think about the 2lbs you need to lose this week in order to reach that goal in 6 months. It’s far more tangible and urgent and you will be more likely to make changes in the moment.
Write a note to your future self. Let her (or him) tell you what you need to know right now. Write as though you’ve already accomplished your goals and become the person you want to be. That future self will be able to tell you what’s most important, what to watch out for, and what to do in moments of weakness or doubt. I can tell you that stuff too, but it’s way more powerful when it comes from within. I did this exercise today and it really impacted my thinking.
Expect to be always evolving. When you climb a hill, very often you think you’re approaching the summit, only to find that there’s another peak in the distance. Our personal growth and internal narrative is no different. As your impression of yourself improves, your projection of your future self will change. As you see what you’re capable of, your goals will be set higher and you’ll continue to achieve new levels of confidence and belief in yourself. That doesn’t mean you don’t take moments to reflect on how far you’ve come, but it does mean that your idea of success and achievement will continue to be a moving target (at least, it’s like that for most of us). Just commit to loving yourself in the moment as you continue to gently push yourself forward.
Motivation is a tricky thing. You have to find a reason to do hard things, and it has to be a good enough reason to get you through the lows. Because the lows suck, and that’s where we all want to quit and believe me - no one escapes the lows. No one.
So if you’re looking at a weight loss goal in 2017 and you’re thinking - “oh, I just want to get healthy”. Well guess what. The first time you don’t feel like getting a workout in or choosing a salad over french fries, You’re. Going. To. Fail.
Why? Because what does “getting healthy” even mean? There’s zero emotion in that goal. There’s no visceral attachment to getting healthy. It’s arbitrary and vague.
You know what’s not vague?
I want to get into the best shape of my life because my ass of a husband left me after 15 years of marriage and 3 kids because he found someone hotter. I will show him what hot looks like.
I want my evil “friend” who is always putting me down to eat my sparkle dust this year. She thinks I can’t lose weight. That I’ll always be big and I should just “be okay with that”. I will show her what I’m capable of.
I want to find a man and be in a relationship where I don’t feel like a welcome mat. Where I don’t feel like I’m just a last resort because he couldn’t find better. Where I’m a-okay being naked and feeling sexy in my own skin.
These may seem like some deviant and pretty fickle goals, but who cares? If it gets you to make the right choices, then big deal if they are shallow AF. If it works for you, then it’s the right goal.
So know what moves you and keep it front and center in your mind. Meditate on that shallow goal and let it be your mantra. No one else needs to know it’s seeded in revenge. You do you.
Meanwhile, here are a few other ideas to keep you moving in the right direction.
Schedule your workouts in your calendar. The rest of your world can revolve around what you need for once!
- Partner up with a frienamy - that gal who’s never quite happy about your success. She will be a way better motivation than your dear sweet cheerleaders friend who will love you no matter what.
- Put skin in the game. Yes, take out your wallet and pay for that goal. It will mean something and you’ll be 200% less likely to quit because no one likes to waste money.
- Make the process as easy and doable as humanly possible. At the end of my podcast I share a solution that I think it hands down, the best (and most doable) way to get in shape for ANYONE in 2017. You’ll be hearing more about that in my next email, so get on my list if you’re not already.
On that note - I want to hear what holds you back. Why are you not where you want to be yet? What’s the hang up that keeps you from moving forward?
I’m the first to admit that goal setting is not something I’m great at. Actually, I’m really good at setting goals and writing them down, but I'm also equally proficient at putting those goals in a file folder somewhere and promptly forgetting about them. Now, oddly enough, about 50% of my goals DO materialize anyway. Sometimes that’s dumb luck, and sometimes it’s because they’re just important enough to me that I make sure it happens. An example of a dumb luck goal was finding the job I have now where I’m well paid, love the people I work with and it’s actually work I like doing. That was a goal I wrote down when I decided to end
An example of a dumb luck goal was finding the job I have now where I’m well paid, love the people I work with and it’s actually work I like doing. That was a goal I wrote down when I decided to end Procakes, and it happened quite by accident (or so I think). Meanwhile, there are other things I’ve accomplished that have 110% come from my own stubborn determination, like competing in a fitness show or a half ironman. These are things I thought about quitting on an hourly basis, but I never did. Then there are the goals I write down every year and that shit just never happens. Like being 15% body fat. I write that arbitrary number down every year, and I know it’s unlikely I’ll ever reach it because I know that I’m pretty miserable at 18% body fat and it’s near impossible to maintain without wanting to kill someone, so 15% is just never going to happen for me. I have about 46 other goals just like that one, too.
Then there are the goals I write down every year and that shit just never happens. Like being 15% body fat. I write that arbitrary number down every year, and I know it’s unlikely I’ll ever reach it because I know that I’m pretty miserable at 18% body fat and it’s near impossible to maintain without wanting to kill someone, so 15% is just never going to happen for me. I have about 46 other goals just like that one, too.
So my first thought about setting goals is being really honest about what you’re willing to put your time and attention into. Sure, I’ll probably continue to put that 15% body fat goal on my list every year, but now it’s more like the goal equivalent of an “elf on the shelf”. It’s more about tradition and decoration than execution. Looking back at 2016, I’ve accomplished about 50% of what I set out to do. Maybe that’s a hack - aspire to do so much that you’d be happy if you only got 50% of it accomplished. Genius! But to be honest, this coming year, my goal list will look much different than it has in the past. Maybe it’s age, or maybe it’s acquired wisdom, but I don’t feel the need for
Looking back at 2016, I’ve accomplished about 50% of what I set out to do. Maybe that’s a hack - aspire to do so much that you’d be happy if you only got 50% of it accomplished. Genius! But to be honest, this coming year, my goal list will look much different than it has in the past. Maybe it’s age, or maybe it’s acquired wisdom, but I don’t feel the need for improvement based goals this year. Instead, I aim to stop the self-development cycle and simply embrace and own the woman I’ve worked hard to become. For example:
- I don’t have weight loss goals this year. I’m happy with the body I have (although I will continue to build strength through weight lifting).
- I don’t have career goals this year. I like the job I have and I’ll continue to do the best work I can, but outside of that, I simply want to enjoy writing my blog, practicing my photography skills and perhaps doing less in social media. I’m also going to dial back on the coaching this year to make more time for my personal life.
- I don’t have relationship goals in the sense that I’m no longer actively trying to expand my network or meet new people. This year, I want to focus on the relationships I already have and cherish. I want to be a better friend to the friends I’ve already collected rather than always trying to make more and more.
- I don’t have travel goals this year. In 2016 I traveled a lot, and I’m not done yet. Next year, I’ll avoid planning a big trip and just see what life presents. I could see myself taking smaller, more local trips or even just enjoying a few staycations.
If there is anything I want to grow and improve, it’s my connection to my friends, family and readers, spend more time with creative expression and well, I’d also like a new master bathroom (the current one is hardly bearable). But other than that, I just want to enjoy the life I’ve worked so hard to create.
For me, 2017 is the year of enough and being content with what is.
How about you? Any goals? I hope that doesn’t come across as smug or self-righteous. I just feel as though I’ve spent many years trying to become something, and a part of me just wants to get off the hamster wheel and enjoy the progress I’ve made. Either way, I am going to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy holiday season. Enjoy your time with family and friends, or even just enjoy some time alone. There’s no shame in wanting to spend the holidays under a blanket with nothing but a bunch of Netflix consumptions goals. Rock on party girl! XOXO
One thing I think is super important to understand is that the perfect diet for anyone is not so much about low carb, high protein, gluten free, paleo or vegan. It's about compliance before anything else. I can write you a meal plan that is so perfectly balanced it would solve all your problems, but unless you were able to adhere to it, it would be worthless. Same goes for workout programs. I partner with Beachbody - because I think their programs are outstanding (and I say that as a personal trainer and a user). But a brilliantly programmed workout regimen is just a DVD unless it's consistently followed through on. So we have to start with compliance which starts with knowing who you are as a person, and what you're willing to tolerate.
I know for myself, any meal plan that makes a little sugar-free chocolate and wine completely off limits, is not something I will adhere to, because I love those things. So I have to negotiate and say to myself, okay, I'll make a little room for wine and chocolate, but I'm also willing to give up potatoes and bread so that my carb intake doesn't go off the rails.
This is why success should be slow and methodical. Because you're discovering and negotiating what you can get away with, rather than white-knuckling through a program you have every intention of ditching after 8-weeks because it's near impossible to follow and enjoy.
Start with enjoyment and work backward. Negotiate what you're willing to give up, consume less of, or alter. Then see what your results tell you.
By the way, if you're interested in getting some help figuring all this stuff out, consider joining my online fitness groups. They're 3 weeks of support, training and kick-ass recipes to help you rock an awesome body in 2017! Want in? Drop a comment below and I'll give you the deets.