Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Giving Thanks

Sometimes it surprises me that I can feel this busy all the time.  Sometimes I just want to curl up into a ball, get under the covers, and sleep for a week. I haven't had the luxury of doing that in about 15 years so here are a few things I do to keep me going.
The clocks have changed and it's dark more often than it was just a month ago.
I've felt the need to prioritize because of some recent life changing opportunities that have come my way.    I've weeded out some things that are just not at the top of my list right now because I'm making a better life for myself and for my family. 
It's these times that I'm reminded of how important it is to prioritize.   Here are a few things that have made my list of  the most important things in my life that need attention:
1. My beautiful family and amazing friends.   Sometimes we all take those we love for granted.   They're always there so it's easy to look past them but they are the people who we want a better life for. My family is the reason I do what I do and my friends are such an amazing source of encouragement and inspiration.  I always try to be careful of those I choose to surround myself with.  Positive energy goes a long, long way.
2. Being grateful.   This feels like a trend for the holiday but I've made a real effort to spend more time being grateful instead of stressed out.   I'm not perfect and it doesn't always work but I've heard recently that it's hard to feel grateful at the same time as miserable and this is completely true.   Putting a positive spin on things has kept me going recently when I've been feeling so busy and slightly overwhelmed by life. If something is making your head spin,  try being thankful for what caused it... too many gifts to buy this year?  Congratulations! Your life is filled with people who love you!  Get my drift?  Try it for the 3 things that are staying you out most right now.
3.  Exercise.   This is the single most important thing I do that's for me.   It clears my head,  grounds me,  and keeps my mood regulated.   Sometimes it's so easy to think you don't have the time and skip it but don't do that!  You need it!  And you will feel better after.   If you didn't get your workout in yet today, make a plan to do it and stick with that plan.  It's important.
This is a quick post but I really felt the need to share.  I'm so thankful for anyone who's reading this post.  I'd like to wish each and every one of you a wonderful Thanksgiving and I hope you spend it surrounded by those you love.

P.S.  What are your top 3 when things get busy?  Please feel free to let me know below.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Ultimate Reset: Week 2 - Detox

I've had a bit of writer's block when it came to writing up Week 2 of the Ultimate Reset.  I heard from a lot of my coach friends that week 2 would be the hardest; that my body was working hard detoxifying itself of all of the things I've been putting into it for so long.  I was warned that I could get very emotional and that this week would be really difficult.  I listened, but I didn't know how difficult it would be.

In my mind, week 1 went so phenomenally, it probably meant that all my clean eating left me in a pretty good state physically.  I worked out all through week 1 but made sure to keep it low impact per the suggestions that came with the Ultimate Reset handbook.  About 3-4 days into Week 2, I started appreciating the things that would get harder.  I felt much more low energy than I had in phase 1.  I found it very difficult to get through any workouts so I listened to my body and put the program I was doing (Piyo) on hold. 

I felt a little lightheaded throughout the week and took it easy as often as I could.  Those of you who have young children know that taking it easy is no easy feat but nonetheless, I did it as often as I could.  I spent a lot of time trying to be more in tune with my body and just breathing.  I also made the time to take walks when I could and just be outside with my kids so we could all enjoy the day.  At first, I was nervous to take time off from my workout program but I knew that I would go back to it because in the past 6 months, it had truly become part of my life and I looked forward to starting it up again.  That made me feel a different kind of strength in my purpose of leading a healthier lifestyle.  It also gave me the will to endure whatever the rest of the week would bring.

 Phase 2 is called the detox phase in the Ultimate Reset.  I was nervous of the detox that my body would go through because you have to have a detox drink 3 times each day.  I actually found this drink to taste fine, a little like iced tea to me and the detox was extremely gentle physically.  They noted in the book that they did this intentionally but I was really glad that I was still able to function even during this phase.

In the last few days of week 2, my emotions started getting a little out of whack.  I'm generally not an emotional person.  I don't let myself spend much time upset on things and try to shake off negative feelings quickly.  However, in week 2, this got really difficult.  Maybe it was that I didn't have a lot of energy, maybe it was that my body was more addicted to meat than I originally thought, or maybe it's just that I'm more of an emotional eater than I had thought.  I'm sure that the toxins in my body that were now getting to the surface also helped these negative emotions come to pass.  Whatever the cause, it took a lot of energy to keep myself level and not get angry or extremely upset at silly things.  I started experiencing a lot of self doubt also.  It was not easy.  I think it really helped me to know that this was coming because other people had told me so that's why I'm sharing with you now.

When I started my weight loss journey, I was very aware of the fact that I was an emotional eater.  When I'm feeling really up, I want to celebrate with a good meal.  When I'm feeling really down, I want to console myself with a good meal.  However, after 6 months of eating healthier, I had really minimized eating for feelings and instead eating for hunger.  But when that was taken completely out of the equation and my meals and snacks were based on the time of day with no emotion at all, I realize that I do still definitely use food as an emotional crutch.  This became a really great thing to know about myself now that the cleanse is done.

This also really holds true for my husband.  I thought that emotional eating was really just something that I did and he wouldn't really be effected by it but he also had an extremely difficult 2nd week and he immediately knew that it was due to his emotional eating tendencies. 

Now, I don't want you to think that week 2 was all difficult.  On the contrary, I learned a lot about myself and am able to know when I'm emotionally eating.  Plus, some of my favorite recipes were in week 2.  I never realized that I was okay without meat on the table as part of my meal.  There are some recipes that I will continue to make as sides for my family, and as a main course for myself.

I also learned how strong I am and that I really can do anything I set my mind to.   Plus, my husband and I continued to bond through my preparing his meals and making sure he had all he needed to be successful. 

I also started to realized in this phase that although I had to spend some extra money on eating organic throughout the past 2 weeks, that this was really for me and that the extra expense was worth it because I'm worth it, my family is worth it, and our health is worth it.  At first, I was a little resentful of the added cost of the groceries but once I realized that our health was the focus, I began to see it more as fuel than an added expense of the program.  I'm planning on writing more about my decision to go organic in upcoming weeks so please stay tuned for future posts.

The final added benefit I'd like to speak about was the incredible support of my challengers.  I was really proud of the way they supported me since I feel like my role is really the supporter.  They absolutely let me know that it was okay to feel the way that I was feeling and that it was okay to take a few days off from my program and they were able to keep reminding me that I could make it and that they would be there to see me through.  I really don't know if I could've done it without the support of my group and of my husband.  Even at times he thought of quitting, I told him I couldn't because so many people were counting on me to not give up.  It really helped both of us through even though my husband isn't in the group.  I adore the accountability that has come with my amazing challengers and in making the choice to become a coach.  I'm grateful every day for the community of support I've been able to help come together.  Life is so good!!  If you'd like to become part of this community to help you to see it through, please let me know right away!!  We'd love to have you!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Ultimate Reset: Week 1

I have to say, I came reluctantly to this part of my journey.  The idea of a 21 day cleanse always scared me and to be honest, it really wasn't ever on my radar because it seemed like it would be too intense, especially if I had to go at it alone.  However, as soon as Brian said he wanted to try it, I was all in. 

I've been trying to get my husband to join me on this health and fitness journey since the beginning but he wasn't into it.  He loves seeing what it's done for me but he really just doesn't feel so inclined as to join me.  I've become okay with that for now but then he saw some research on a 21 day cleanse and started looking for one.  I was really excited when he decided to go with the Ultimate Reset.

Yes, I'm a fitness coach for Beachbody and yes, Ultimate Reset is a product which I'm able to promote.  I'm going to give you my 100% honest opinion on the ups and downs as they come each week.

When the box came, I was really excited to up my nutrition.  I'd been slacking a bit since losing the weight and although I've been staying the same for a while, I wanted to try and lose some more weight and I know that dialing in my nutrition is the key to that.  I was happy to see the strictness of this program but as strict as it is, the days are 100% planned out for you.  It tells you what to have for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack for the full 21 days and I'm a huge fan of taking the thinking out of meal planning whenever I can, which is also part of the reason that I'd fallen into the routine of making the same few meals for my family each week.  I was happy to be making some new recipes again and hoping that a few of them would be good enough to take with me after the Reset was complete. 

The supplements may seem daunting at first, but it comes with a number of quick guides so it's easy to figure out exactly what to take and when and although the timing was difficult at times (you're supposed to take the supplements 30 minutes before your meal which took some planning I wasn't used to), it was easy enough as long as I thought ahead a bit.

Week 1 came with some amazing recipes. When I saw the recipe book, I was a little apprehensive because there were so many flavors I've never tried before.  Brian is very picky when it comes to fruits, vegetables, and seasoning so I knew it would be a bit trying to make sure he had things that he could eat but I'd say overall, week 1 was a huge success.

I will say this...  preparation is the absolute key if you're going to give this program your all.  It is quite a bit of work, especially if your doing it with your significant other.  I sat down and really checked all of the recipes to see what I could make in advance and what Brian would eat.  The Sunday before we started, I made a huge batch of salad dressing, cut up veggies to add to salad, quinoa, lentils, and Miso soup.  I checked all the snacks we would be allowed to have, and made sure to stock up on our distilled water (yes, tap water is a no-no on this one because you're ultimately trying to rid your body of all unnecessary toxins, even those in filtered water).  The 1st week grocery shop was a bit expensive because I went almost all Organic.  I try to do organic when I can but there are a few things that I wouldn't regularly do organic but in this case because I was specifically trying to rid my body of toxins, I went all in with the organic and non-GMO.  If cost is a concern, there are things that you can go conventional on but you should do your research and avoid foods like the dirty dozen.

Throughout the 1st week, I felt incredible.  I continued with my PiYo program and I was able to get through all 6 workouts pretty easily.  The first phase weans you off of things like meat and dairy to lead you into the 2nd and 3rd week which are vegetarian.  Before you let this scare you away, I will say that I NEVER thought I would be able to go without meat but then it actually just became a non-issue as the weeks progressed so be sure to go into it with an open mind.

One cool side effect of this week is I made the conscious decision to slow down and enjoy the process.  Cooking and preparing the food became really enjoyable and I looked forward to setting my husband and I up for the next day.  I feel like we really became closer in this phase as we went through the process together and were able to talk about how we were feeling. 

There will be a lot of cooking but some of the recipes are really delicious.  I loved a lot of the new flavors that I was trying but one of my absolute favorites from this week that I will surely keep making long after this journey is over is the Ultimate Reset Quinoa Salad.  It's so easy and super delicious! 

Here's the recipe for your enjoyment:

Ultimate Reset Quinoa Salad

  • 2 cups cooked Quinoa
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Himalayan salt or Bragg® Liquid Aminos (to taste)
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 4 Tbsp. finely minced fresh parsley
  • 3 Tbsp. finely minced fresh mint leaves
  • 1 large ripe tomato, diced
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 10 chopped pitted Kalamata olives


Toss quinoa with olive oil, salt or Bragg Liquid Aminos, and lemon juice, mixing well. Gently fold in parsley and mint, followed by remaining ingredients. Cover and chill for 1 hour. Serves 4.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Recipe of the Week: Ultimate Reset Quinoa Lentil Pilaf

I started the Ultimate Reset last Monday and am rocking and rolling the detox phase also known as Phase 2. 

I'm working on a post about my thoughts on it and how I've been feeling but I am going to start posting a Recipe of the Week each week to share the recipes I've come across in my travels on my way to getting healthier every day. 

This one was absolutely delicious.  I will absolutely make it again even when I'm not doing the reset.  It was filling and delicious.  I paired it with some roasted asparagus with a drizzle of lemon.  Pretty quick to make and prep only took about 10 minutes once the quinoa and Lentils were cooked.

Ultimate Reset Quinoa Lentil Pilaf

Makes 3 Servings
  • 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 medium stalk celery, diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 tsp ground smoked paprika
  • 1 dash group cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 3 cup cooked quinoa (2 cups water, 1 cup of Quinoa
  • 1/2 cup cooked lentils (1.75:1 lentils to water ratio)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley

Cooking Instructions:

Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add carrot, celery, onion, bell pepper, paprika, cumin, and turmeric; cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes or until tender.

Add quinoa, lentils, lemon peel, lemon juice, and parsley to cooked vegetables; heat over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until heated through.

Fluff with fork and serve.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Body Image is a State of Mind

I called this post "Body Image is a State of Mind."  I find that a lot of people need a reminder of this.  Body Image is a State of Mind.  Body Image is NOT reality.  Body Image is NOT how other people see you, it's how you see yourself.  In today's day and age, I can almost guarantee that the way you see yourself is not how other people see you.  Your version is anywhere from a little bit worse to much worse.  Why do we insist on beating ourselves up for the way we think we look?  Why can't we go out of our way to tell people what we like about ourselves as often as we are to tell them what we don't like, or hate even?  Why is it so hard to just smile, and say a simple "thank you," without explaining why we don't agree?

Sorry for my small vent but as a mom of 2 small daughters, the idea of negative body image scares me.  Will my girls have positive body image or negative body image?  I tell them all the time that they're beautiful and I know they believe me now but how long will that last?  I always wonder what I can do to try to make sure that they're confidence and positive body image last.  My 5 year old (almost 6) often doesn't even think to get dressed.  She just walks out of the shower and takes her sweet time getting dressed right in the living room.  She's not in the least bit ashamed (nor, should she be).  She's not thinking about how quickly she needs to cover up and hide like so many of us do.  I always wonder how long that will last and why so many grown women can't feel that way.

I've recently lost weight and through doing that realized that a positive body image is so important.  I didn't realize how negative my body image was but then I took some time and turned it around.  You can make a negative body image into a positive one.  I'm going to share a few things I've discovered in doing this for myself.

1.  If you think you dislike or hate your body so much, then change it.  This is what I did.  I kept coming up with reasons why I wouldn't be able to make a change at first but then I found a program that really worked for me.  You have to keep looking.  Chances are the first thing you try won't be your best fit but if you keep looking, you're guaranteed to find a healthy way to make it happen.  The key word here is healthy.  You want it to be sustainable... crash diets, fad diets, and unhealthy ways of dropping weight fast don't work long term.  They might work for a month or two but I promise, you won't keep the weight off.  I've tried tons of these and none of them really stuck.  The only time I found something that I absolutely know  is going to work long term was when I went for a true lifestyle change.  I know you hear about that all the time and I know it seem SO overwhelming but just start with today, and then tomorrow, and then the day after.  It's like a form of recovery, you need to just take it one day at a time.

2.  Stop obsessing over what you don't like about yourself.  I have news for you and you might not like it much, but nonetheless it's truth...  what you look like has A LOT to do with genetics and a little to do with food.  You can obsess about the things you cannot change because of genetics, or you can accept the things you can and change them. 

I have 2 kids, I have stretch marks, I have great arms, I have big thighs, I have a big butt, I have an awesome smile and I have a contagious laugh.  Do you read this list and think I listed anything negative?  I don't.  I've stated a list of facts.  I've worked hard on cleaning up my diet and exercising almost every day.  As a result all of me has gotten noticeably smaller but I still have big thighs compared to the rest of my body.  It's okay!!  Curves are okay so please stop worrying if you have them. 

There are lots of things you can't change, but what you can do is get healthy.  If you start eating healthier and do it for the sake of being healthier, the weight will follow.  I've worked hard for my body.  It didn't come easy.  That makes me proud.  Sure, I'll show before and after pictures of my journey and sure, I'll look less confident in the before pictures and probably be smiling more in the after pictures but that's because I know how hard I worked and others do too.
3.  Start obsessing over what you do like about yourself.  There has to be something and if there really isn't anything, then pick something you're okay with for now and tell yourself you love it.  Fake it till you make it.  I love my arms.  Seriously, I catch myself looking in the mirror and flexing or holding them in different ways to see which angle is the most flattering.  What the heck is wrong with liking your body?  Why does it seem like people think you're conceited or self involved if you love your body?  When you love your body, you will treat it with the respect it deserves.  That doesn't mean you don't want to change, you can want to change because there's always room for improvement.  Wanting to get an education is a good thing.  People graduate elementary school and go onto middle school and onto high school and then onto college.  Try considering your body as you would a degree.  It's all about the end result that shows that you worked hard and achieved a goal.
4.  Stop comparing yourself to models in magazines.  When you look in a catalogue, those clothes probably won't fit you the way it fits those girls even if you're a size zero.  Those girls have probably been airbrushed, stretched, modified, and a million other things.  It seems we may not be able to change society or how magazines view beauty but those pictures are not how those girls look in real life.  I can't take credit for the image to the right.  I didn't take it and I'm not sure who did but it was linked to a YouTube video on photo editing software.  You've all seen the before and after air brush pics so why are we still stuck thinking "that won't look as good as it does on me as it does on her."  You're right, it probably won't.  That's okay!  Love the skin you're in.  Just think of how those airbrushed models in the magazines and actresses in movies must feel, being as skinny as they are and someone still thinking they need to be improved.  Don't fall into the trap! 
5.  Find flattering clothes and hold your head high.  This one can feel tricky.  When I was at my heaviest, I didn't feel very pretty.  It was very discouraging to try on clothes because I hated the size I was in.  It shouldn't have mattered as much as it did, but it did anyway.  Then I learned that the size really didn't matter but clothes that really fit, made me look a lot better.  Trying to fit into a size 12 when I was actually a size 14 or 16 didn't do me any good, it made me look heavier and feel worse.  If you need to make yourself feel better, then cut the tag out and don't tell anyone your size (yup, did that) but buy clothes that fit and that flatter your shape and you'll feel better about yourself.
I'm going to share something with you that I do.  Maybe you'll think I'm crazy but I don't care, it works for me and has for a long time.  I have a mirror in my room.  I didn't mount it on the wall.  Instead, I have it leaning on the wall.  If you've been to a fun house or a physics class, you know that mirror angles distort images.  What does this angle do?  It makes me a little taller and a little skinnier.  I don't walk out of the house thinking I'm 5'9" (I'm 5'4") but this is the last full image of myself I see before I decide what I'm wearing for the day.  As far as I'm concerned, it's what I look like.  My husband has asked if he should hang it on the wall for me and I always laugh and tell him not to because he'd put at least 25 pounds on me. 
Who cares what tricks you have to make you feel a little better about yourself or how you look.  They don't hurt anyone.  This mirror trick seems so silly, even to me but it gives me a more positive body image and a little boost of confidence as I'm walking out the door.  Let me know if you try it too!
Please feel free to share any tips or tricks you might use to improve your body image below.  Also, don't forget, I always have new accountability groups starting.  I'd love to help you find your soulmate program like I did.  Click here to fill out my online application and be considered by my next group. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Creating a Vision of Success and a Gratitude Journal

Do you have any goals in your life that scare you?  Do you have anything that you want in your life so badly but it seems like such an impossibility, that you won't really even spend time thinking about it?

It's great to have goals.  It's an amazing feeling to know that at some point in your life, you decided you wanted something, and you got it.  Not by luck, not by some good fortune, but by digging in your heals and not giving up until you got there.  Setting goals should absolutely be part of your life.  The bigger the goal, the harder it is to achieve, the sweeter the victory you will feel when it's yours.  I'm not saying if you ever reach it.  I'm saying when it's yours.  In this article, I'm going to help you get it.

Goals can be scary.  Goals should be scary.  Have you ever set a goal for yourself, reached that goal, and knew you could've aimed higher or that you could've done better?  Somehow reaching the goal that was really in your reach doesn't feel as gratifying when you get there as the goal that you really need to work for.  I'm constantly setting goals and then re-evaluating them to make them a little more realistic in a particular time frame.  Do you have any goals for greatness?  Something that will push you for days, week, months, or even years?  Maybe it's a health or fitness goal.  Maybe it's a goal for success.  I'm going to share a secret with you that I've been doing recently that REALLY works.  I've heard about it from so many super successful people and always thought it was some quacked out version of reality that only the rich and famous could sign up for but I've been seeing more and more that it is actually reality.  The secret I'm about to tell you about is called Visualization.

Do you ever day dream about winning the lottery?  I do that all the time.  I know who I would give money to, what I would do with it, where I would live, what I would do, where I would work, the list goes on and on.  I know a lot of people day dream about this.  They have an aggravating day at work and they run out and buy a Mega Millions ticket and begin to dream.  The thing about this dream, is you can't work towards winning the lottery.  You can keep buying tickets, and you can see yourself winning the lottery but you can also be unfortunate and get hit by lightning on the way to buying your next ticket (I think I read once that the chance of getting struck by lightning was higher then winning Mega Millions).  I'm not saying that you should stop buying tickets.  By all means, you know I have my tickets too.  What I am saying is spend time day dreaming about something that you can work towards. 

Lots of people say that they'd like to be successful.  I assure you that my success looks very different than your success.  Have you ever taken a moment to write down what it is that you want in your life?  It might be hard at first but once you lose yourself in this action, it feels amazing to see what you want down on paper.  It makes it feel somehow more real and now that it's been committed to paper and you can go back to it over time to see if you've gotten what you wanted or if you're still working towards it. 

I'd like you to do a Visualization activity now.  Grab a piece of paper and a pen.  Start by writing down these 5 things on a piece of paper; Life, Family, Health, Career, Future.  Now look at these words for a minute, and just start writing.  Allow yourself to dream for a moment.  Visualize the way you feel, the way your relationships are, the things you say to each other, the things you do, make it so vivid that you can literally smell the coffee.  Write it all down.  Don't worry about punctuation, or spelling, or grammar.  Just write.  When you're done, read what you wrote.  Does it surprise you?  Did you even know you had such a clear vision of what you wanted?  Now for the dose of reality...  are you on the path towards what you want in life?  I want you to really take the time and write down what you need to do to get there.  This is the tricky part.  This is the part that will take some creative thinking and thinking outside of the box sometimes but there are steps you know you can take to get there.  There's something you can start doing today and every day from now on that will help you reach your goals.  These things that you start doing today will lead you to the life that you want.  So write them down and start doing them every single day.

Your life is not just a free-for-all.  You are in control of your life.  You have free will and the ability to make you life better, or worse for that matter.  It may  not feel like you have free will all the time.  If you're in a dead end job that regularly sucks the life out of you, you're not going home and lining up job interviews to make it better because you're probably exhausted but you do have the ability to make it better.  Sometimes, all you need is an attitude adjustment and a realization that your situation could be worse.  Sometimes, we get so stuck in a series of complaints about our current situation that we don't take a moment and realize the opportunity that we have been presented with in what we already have.  Don't just complain or feel stuck.  You may be able to do something differently in your life, your career, or in your family and it could completely change the course that you're on.  I have found throughout my life that when I get down and out and think I'm stuck, I give myself a moment to dream about what I'd like to happen next, and that thing almost always happens.  This happens very often in my professional life.  Here's an example. 

When I wanted so badly to stay home with my daughter, my husband and I made the choice that we would sacrifice my income and I would stay home.  It was such a blessing, but money was tight.  We sacrificed a lot of the luxuries that we were used to.  I loved staying home with my daughter and knew that there was no way I wanted to start commuting back into the city, or anywhere for that matter.  I started visualizing working from home and how perfect it would be to be able to hang out with my daughter and still have an income.  I did this without even knowing that visualization was a thing.  Do you know what happened?  I got a great job bookkeeping from home.  When that job didn't seem like enough, another opportunity presented itself where I could continue working at home for twice the pay.  When I wasn't feeling fulfilled by that job anymore, another opportunity presented itself.   The list goes on and on, a constant series of doors opening before the last one closed.

When you keep your mind and heart open to opportunities, they will present themselves to you but if you see those opportunities with a big flashing no in your head, they will go away as quickly as they came.  I never say no to an opportunity.  Even if I feel content where I am, I never know what I'd be missing if I said I wasn't interested before hearing the details so I always at least take the meeting and hear what they have to say.  I can make an informed decision once I have all of the information.  I'm also proactive in seeking out opportunities.  I always say "If you don't ask, the answer is no." So if there's something in front of me that I think would be a great opportunity for me, I ask for it.  Let them tell me no instead of me doing it for them.

I want you to keep that paper that has your vision for your life in a safe spot.  Don't hide it away because I guarantee, if you find it again in month, or sign months, or a year, you'll read it again and see how you measure up.  Put it in a place that you will come across now and again.  If you ever pick it up, make adjustments towards where you want to be.  Another thing to keep in mind is opportunities will present themselves but you need to be willing to roll up your sleeves and work.  Don't just think that the most successful people just had things handed to them.  They may have, but you probably won't.  If you have a dream, you need to make it a reality.  It won't just happen on it's own.

When setting enormous goals for yourself, it can be extremely discouraging if you don't meet them when you wanted to.  You can be tempted to feel like a failure when in reality, you're just in need of a course correction.  I recently started keeping a gratitude journal to remind myself of all the things I've already accomplished and am grateful for.  Again, when I first heard about a gratitude journal, I thought it was some quacky version of reality but you know what, energy in the universe is very real.  We're all made of energy and I'm sure you've heard of karma or prayer or the Big Snooze if you've read "You are a Bad Ass" By Jen Sincero (great book by the way).  If you spend your time upset that you didn't reach a goal or complaining about your situation I promise, it won't get better.  Instead, I take some time every single day thinking of 3 things I'm grateful for.  I often post them on Facebook or Instagram with #3ThingsImGratefulFor.  Feel free to start this and use that hashtag so I can find yours.  Some days are obviously easier than others to come up with these things (today I was grateful for pizza delivery) but what I find happening is every day, I spend a lot of the day thinking of what I should write down that night.  So I may only write 3 things but I'm thinking of at least 5 if not 10 every day.  It makes you grateful for the things you already have in your life instead of focusing on those things that you don't.

I'd love to hear your goals for your life and see the 3 things you're grateful for today.  Feel free to comment below or find me on Facebook.  I'm a coach and I love checking in to see if you've reached your goal or are still working towards it.  Sometimes it's nice to know that someone is in your corner and ready to check in, I'd love to be that person for you. 

If nothing else, remember to face the day with a smile because life is all about your attitude.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

5 Tips for Getting Your Workout In When You Really Don't Want to

Hibernation season is almost here.  The clocks are changing and here comes the onset of the holiday season. So many of us feel the same way.  I know that I'm already looking forward to getting into my pajamas and snuggling under a blanket with my daughters and husband at some ridiculous hour like 5PM just because it's dark out and I'm cold.  The holidays come and I want to eat, drink, and be merry.  It's a great way to get off track and an even better reason not to get started.

I recently lost 25 pounds and I want to keep it off!  I don't want to have to start again next March because I ate too much and want to take the weight off for Summer.  I already did that this year.  I've racked my brain and came up with the tricks I've used to convince myself I like exercise.  I've used these to take the weight off and keep it off so far.  Here is my best advice to get the weight off in Fall and Winter and keep it off so you don't have to work so hard next Spring.

1.  There's no day like today.  Many of my friends in the fitness industry are bracing themselves for slow season. It doesn't have to be that way!  Instead of listing reasons why you shouldn't start, think of the reasons why you should.  You can save your fitness goals and make them New Year's resolutions or you can just start now.

How well did your last New Year's Resolution work out for you?  You know what happens if you save a fitness goal for January?  You gain 5 lbs or more between now and then waiting to get started.  Then you get to the gym the first week of January and it's too damn crowded to even get a parking spot (never mind getting a chance on the hamster wheel of a treadmill) so you are really tempted to give up the first week and start the 2nd week instead.  I'm exaggerating (a little) but I've done this before.  I used to be a personal trainer in the gym and it is not a joke when I say that in February, the gym is back to normal.  All these people, starting their year of right, gave up in a month.

Why wait?  There are still almost 3 months left of 2015.  I don't know what your goals are, but you can be closer or even at your goals in 3 months.  I lost 25 lbs in 3 months.  That's not to say that you'll do it too, but you might!  Give yourself a chance and bet on yourself!

2.  Workout at home.  Some people love the gym.  I get that.  I wish I was able to leave the stresses of home for about an hour and just do me.  I have 2 small children and a husband who works full time.  The gym is not a real option for me.  My 5 year old is way too young to leave alone at home and too old to bring to the gym day care.  She doesn't want to go.

During the day, I don't want to bring my 2 year old to the gym.  I find that the gym day care is a bit of a sick room during this season.  Young kids aren't able to tell their mommy that they're not feeling well until they have a fever (which in my experience with my own children, is usually about 5 minutes after the gym while I'm strapping them into the car seat).  So mommies bring their young kids to the gym to play without even knowing they're sick yet.  I don't want a sick baby just because I want to exercise.  My health is important to me but so is hers.  Plus, if she's sick, we're both not sleeping and then it's even harder to get my workout in.  I won't even get into what a great excuse cold and snow is to not get to the gym!

There are a million different workouts you can do at home.  You can find some of my favorites on my shop page above which all come with the added support of me as your coach (Apply for my next accountability group by clicking here if you'd like to be considered - the deadline to apply is October 12th).  Just start with something and make it into a habit.  Some of my favorite quick workouts to do from home are right on Pinterest.  Click Here for some of the ones that I've pinned and do when I need to squeeze it in.

3.  Change your program and find what makes you happy.  Recently, I was doing Max 30.  It's a very hard program and you get amazing results but I found my needs changed.

I was getting very stressed out with school starting and our schedule changing and my 2 year old got into a bad habit of waking up in the middle of the night so it became harder find the motivation to wake up early to work out so hard.  Instead of allowing myself to say I didn't want to do it and give up or keep taking too many days off, I changed my program.  Now I'm doing Piyo which is Pilates and yoga.  I absolutely love waking up in the morning and getting it in.  I even do it barefoot because it literally makes me feel more grounded.  On days that I really don't want to get up and do it, I do it at night after the kids have gone to sleep.  It's an amazing way to start or end the day.

The point is you need to listen to your body and your mind and be in tune with it.  If you're really forcing yourself to do something that you really don't want to do, it won't get easier, it will only get harder.  Don't listen to the voice that says it's too hard and you should give up, but don't feel like a failure if you stop doing something to find whatever it is that you need.  I'm not saying to change programs if you're a little sore.  Sore means it's working!  I'm saying that you need to do what will make you happy.  Maybe it's a run, maybe it's Pilates, or maybe it's taking long walks while the weather is still nice (jog would be better, try hard to break a sweat).  Whatever it is, if you turn exercise into something you look forward to, it will feel good to get it in, instead of annoying and something more to squeeze into your already way-to-short day after those darn clocks make it even shorter.

4.  You're stressed out and working out will lower your stress level.  You might not have gotten to that point yet if you're stressing about getting it in but I promise if you stick with it, it will become the thing you do to unwind.  You'll still have your wine, but there's something about the effect of exercise on your body chemistry that makes you really feel like you will have a great day (or will have a great sleep if it's a night time workout).  An additional benefit is that working out doesn't come with a hangover, although it will come with some soreness if you're doing it right.

5.  Think of the results, not the action.  If you start working out now and focusing on nutrition 80% of the time, you will be getting compliments by that holiday party that is the reason you think you're not ready to start right now.  I know the holidays are tough (I'm 100% Italian, trust me we live to eat), but when it comes down to it, is one day of bad food choices, or two, or even three over the course of the next 3 months really a good reason to wait?

I'll even go as far as to say that you should really go ahead and eat whatever you want at those parties.  Eat, drink, and be merry!  But also cherish the fact that you already worked hard to get where you have gotten by the time those parties come and you won't want to make a bad day into a bad week or a bad month.

Every day you work out and focus on your nutrition, it will get easier. The compliments you get will be an added bonus and additional motivation to keep it going.  So don't think of how much you hate exercise and how deprived of food you feel (which you really shouldn't feel if you're doing it right).  Instead, think about how amazing it will be to have someone buy you skinny jeans or a smaller pants size because yours are falling off.

The holidays are a great excuse to treat yourself to some new clothes!  Wouldn't it be amazing to really enjoy your fitting room experience and have everything fit the way it's supposed to.  I love dressing rooms now because I'm not just looking for whatever I can find that will fit me.  There's a whole store of whatever will fit me.  Now I get to choose exactly what I want because it looks good and it makes me feel good!  So go ahead and ask for those gift cards and treat yourself to a shopping session for the new you.  But you have to start today!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

5 Running Tips for People Who Hate to Run

I have a definite love hate relationship with running.  You would think if someone runs, it's because they love to run but I'll be honest, that's simply not always true.  I've heard from so many people that I've tried to connect with to go for a run that they're not really good at running but they like it, or immediate explanations of how slow they are but they still like it.  I know I really am not a good runner and that is so intimidating when I try to go for a run with someone.  What if they're faster than me, or if they can run longer than me?  I always feel like I need to prepare them but it's all completely fine!!

I'm not going to go into all of the benefits of running because I'm pretty sure you already have heard a lot of them.  Instead, here are 5 things I've learned about running that makes me love to run (even though I hate it) and a few tips mixed in to try to get you to really give running a shot because you just might figure out that you love it. 

1.  Running gives me an excuse to buy an awesome new pair of sneakers and workout clothes that I can be seen in outside of my own home. 

I always work out at home.   I hate the gym.  I don't have a love hate relationship with the gym, I just hate it.  When I work out from home, I literally wear my pajamas some days.  It's not cute, but nobody is watching, so who cares?  I'm not really trying to impress any one when I'm running, I just like wearing real workout clothes (that I can be seen in), some cute sunglasses and really awesome running shoes.  Let me take a minute to discuss the HUGE importance of getting a great pair of running shoes.  Cute is a plus but in this case, function over form ladies!  Let me explain why.

When I was younger, I didn't know yet that I loved to run.  Every time I tried it, my ankles hurt, my shins hurt, my feet hurt, my arches hurt and I got blisters... there was nothing that was loveable about that and I figured I just wasn't a runner.  Then one day, I read an article about running sneakers and supination and pronation.  Basically, there are 3 types of gaits.  For some people, when they run, their ankles roll in (flat footed or over pronated), then there's a normal or neutral gait, and for others their ankles roll out (high arches, supination).  There are 2 ways to tell which is you.  You can look at your shoes or sneakers and see which end is worn.  If it's worn pretty evenly throughout, you probably have a neutral gait.  If he inside is worn, you probably pronate and if the outside is worn, you probably supinate.  The 2nd way is to go to a reputable running store.  Most of them will have a treadmill set up and a way for the sales rep to determine which type of shoe you need.

Running sneakers are made specifically for one of these types of gaits.  When I was running, I bought sneakers because they looked awesome!  My very first pair of running shoes which I used to work out in the gym were Saucony Guides, which I later found out were stabilization sneakers made primarily for those who over pronate.  Because I have a pretty neutral gait or sometimes supinate, the sneakers were forcing my feet to move in ways that my body was not made for and it HURT!.  When I went to the running store, they directed me to the Saucony Rides and it completely changed the way I looked at running and I realized that although I'm never going to run marathons (simply because it's not a goal of mine, I'm not saying I never could if I decided to), I actually could run for fun.  Added bonus, I get to call these my running sneakers and only put them on when I go for a run!!  Some extra motivation for me!

2.  I get to be outside...  by myself...  and listen to whatever music I want!!  I have 2 daughters, a 5 year old and a 2 year old.  For those of you who have young children, you know that going outside can be stressful.  You need to keep one eye on each child (definite problem when they run in different directions) and really can't be sure what will happen next so taking your eyes off of them for even a second is really not an option. 

Thank goodness for my husband who understands that running is not something for children to be involved in.  My 5 year old isn't quite fast enough on her training wheels bike and my 2 year old will not stay in the jogging stroller for any period of time no matter what I bribe her with.  My wonderful husband lets me just go for it, by myself, knowing that I'll be back in under an hour. 

I love being outdoors!!  When I run, I hit the pavement.  I don't believe in the hamster wheel some people call a treadmill, I believe in getting out, breathing in some fresh air, and appreciating the season you are in.  It's relaxing, refreshing, and can really center you when you're feeling stressed out or scattered.  Plus, you get to appreciate the season and just let your mind wander.  My absolute favorite seasons to run are Spring and Fall.  Getting a while to appreciate the beauty of these seasons is worth running even on days that I decide I hate to run (yes, these days do still happen even though I usually love to run).

3.  There is such awesome tech for running!  I'm a little bit of a tech girl and I get to use it when I go for a run.  I don't unplug because I need my phone but I don't answer the Facebook notifications, Twitter notifications, texts, Periscope, or Instagram.  I tell my husband if he needs to talk to me, he needs to call me because I won't look down at my phone. 

My favorite apps for an amazing run are all available for android or iPhone (no idea about Windows) and are all absolutely free.  I either use Rocket Player to play my favorite running play list (mostly Rock music) or Pandora (club dance station) because really, what's the point of running if you don't have good music in your ear. 

I also use the Free Couch 2 5K app which will interrupt the music to tell you when you should start warmup, running, walking, or cool down and completely take looking down at time every second out of your run so you can just get in the moment.  I also use Map My Run which lets you track your runs and your progress while connecting with friends in typical social media fashion to cheer each other on.  Feel free to find me on Map My Run at Cristin Marchica Xavier.  Get all your info in one place with this awesome app which uses GPS to tell you your pace, how far you ran, what your mile times are, splits, and so much amazing info.  Again, added bonus, if you're afraid of getting lost, other people can find you if you're off the grid for too long (yes, this is a real concern of mine, especially when on vacation).

4.  You get to really track your goals and realize how much power your mind actually has over reaching these goals.  The couch to 5K app I mentioned in the paragraph above is amazing for this.  It's broken up by week and you get to progress to a new workout each time you run. 

I primarily workout from home because with my kids, I really can't get out for a run more than on the weekends and don't actually use the plan the couch to 5k app provides but I'll often push myself to try another week and see if I can do it.  There are absolutely times that I pick a week and quickly realize that I can't do it only to try it a month later and be able to do it and then some.  This is an amazing feeling and a great motivator to do it again!  Plus, you get to see the effect that the other workouts you're doing are having on how well you run. 

There are also very few workout programs that I've come across that you can use to truly prove to yourself that what you can accomplish is often in your mind.  I've heard the saying "if you believe you can, or you believe you can't, you're right!"  There have been so many times that I start thinking I can't do it and need to stop but change to repeating in my head "You Got This,"  only to realize that I was able to do it with the right positive thoughts in my mind.  This reminds me of a lot of HIIT workouts where you just need to get out of your head and into the zone to get it done.

5.  There is no other stretch like the one that comes after a good run.  When I get home, everything kind of hurts.  If I just stop and lie down and call it a day, everything will hurt tomorrow  If I take a good 10 minutes and cool down and really stretch it all out, my body thanks me for every single second of it.  Don't believe me, go get in a run, right now and let me know how amazing the stretch after was!!

If running is your goal, or if it isn't your goal but you'd really like to get more fit, I can help you.  I love helping women to feel at their best and comfortable in their own skin.  Lets find your confidence and what you love together.  Make fitness an opportunity instead of an obligation.  If you'd like to be considered for my next challenge, fill out my online application by clicking here.

Have you started running and beat your own time?  Let me know so I can cheer you on!  And don't forget to find me on Map My Run!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Priorities, Consistency, Persistence - A Formula for Success

Do you have problems with consistency? 

Of course you do.  We all have problems with consistency in some part of our lives.  We all have that one thing that you wish you did more because it would make something better.  I want you to take a minute and think about "that thing."  There may be a few things, but think of the one thing that's most important for you to change.  By the end of this article, I'm going to help you to become more consistent in whatever it is that you're thinking about right now.

Why is consistency so important?  Simply stated, because consistency is a direct factor of success in reaching your goals.  It's hard to make a sudden huge change in yourself, it would be like moving a mountain.  However, if the huge change you're looking for is the effect of a number of small but consistent changes in your behavior, it's not quite so scary and it becomes possible.  I'm going to talk primarily about consistency in exercise and healthy eating but this really applies to anything that you thought of in the last paragraph.  Here are 4 steps you need to do to become more consistent.

The first step towards consistency is prioritizing what it is that you want.  In March of this year, I wanted to start working out, but didn't.  I knew I wanted to.  I spoke about it. I thought about it.  I just didn't do it!  Part of the reason was that it just wasn't a priority in my life.  There were too many things that were more important than me working out or making good choices when it came to eating.  We all have priorities in our lives.  It's much easier to tend to the more important things and tending to those priorities can keep us very busy.  Things that aren't as important to us, may not happen on a regular basis (oh, hello laundry).  As a wife and mom, my husband and kids are my priority.  Everything that I do is in someway connected to them.  So with that in mind, why wasn't my health a priority? 

When I realized that my health actually was connected to my biggest priority, my family, that was when I really started feeling a motivation to get healthier.  Sure, there was the desire to look better, and the fact that I didn't have a lot of energy but when I started connecting the fact that I was unhealthy with the fact that I could die young, or that I may not be available if my family needed me due to sickness, or that I was delivering messages to my daughters through my own actions that health wasn't important, that really made it click for me.  Chances are, whatever you'd like to be more consistent in has a strong reason behind it, but you may need to think about it for a minute.  It took me a year to figure out.  But once I figured it out, there was no stopping me.

The second step towards consistency is not taking no for an answer and finding someone to keep you accountable.  Once my health became a priority, I started taking action.  I wasn't totally sure where to start because time and being so busy was still a factor, but I knew that I wasn't going to let time keep going by without me finding my answer.  I knew I couldn't go to the gym because of time and my husband wasn't really on board with me going when he got home from a long day at work.  I'd worked out at home before so I knew that would work but working out at home is easy to give up because nobody is watching.  Before I knew exactly why I wanted to get started, these all would have become excuses and reasons for me to quit before I really even started.  But this time I didn't take no for an answer.  I kept looking until I found my answer.

Someone to hold you accountable doesn't have to be someone doing it with you.  That can be too hard to find depending on what your goals are and yet another reason to give up.  The person who will keep you accountable just has to be someone you can tell about your goals.  Someone you can talk to.  This works best if it's an accountability partner.  If you're trying to lose weight, they don't have to be trying to lose weight, they just need a goal.  It can be spending more time with their kids or spending less money... anything.  The best partnerships are formed when you both have something you'd like to help each other work towards.  Luckily, I came across my coach and she was starting a group.  So I got to join a group of people who all had the same goal and trust me, this helps.  If fitness is your goal, I can help match you up with accountability partners and it makes the whole experience better and much more rewarding when you have people to celebrate with when you reach your goals. 

The third step towards consistency is consistency.  Consistency is defined as a steadfast adherence to the same principle, course, form, etc.  Your first goal towards consistency should be something small.  Don't list 12 things you'd like to improve.  Just start with 1 thing, but make it meaningful to you.  Also, your first goal should be just 7 days.  Even in the first 7 days, there will be days you don't want to do it.  That's when you have to think of the first step I spoke about, and connecting it with your priority.  If it's important, you will make it happen.  Do you come up with excuses to not feed your kids?  It needs to be that important. 

Another thing I see often when it comes to consistency is people taking off on the weekend.  For the next 7 days, I want 7 to mean 7... not 5.  From my own experience, there is a huge difference in mindset when you do something every single day.  I'm not a scientist so I can't explain why, but I've tried both and the 7 days in a row is what really made the difference.  Plus, if you mark the calendar when your first day is, you get to say you did it every single day.  That feels amazing when 7 days turns into 14 and eventually 50 or even 100.  Keep it going!  It will become another reason you don't want to stop.

Once you get to the 7th day of whatever it is you wanted to do, celebrate!  Then set your next goal, 7 more days!  After the 14th day, celebrate some more!  Then set your next goal, 7 more days.  This is consistency and what it feels like.  From my own experience, connecting with the reason you started on a daily basis and doing whatever it is you decided to start, will absolutely become a habit in 21-30 days.  I've seen this work.  Have you heard before that it takes 21 days to make a habit?  I challenge you to try it for yourself and get to that 21st day.

The fourth step towards consistency is persistence.  Persistence is defined as firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.  Persistence and Consistency go hand in hand.  The difficulty or opposition you face may be you!  Don't listen to the excuses in your head.  Just keep going.  Persistence and Consistency are what lead to real results.  If it is fitness, you may be sore, if it's eating better, you may be hungry, if it's growing a business, you may be tired but just keep going!  Don't give up!  You won't regret starting but you may regret stopping if it means never reaching your goals.

In exercise or just about anything, a small change for a week, really won't be earth shattering.  But a small change over a year may lead you to be a truly better version of yourself.  A small change for 5 years will lead to a supremely supreme version of who you once were.  Don't think in terms of that year though.  Just go day by day, week by week and then a year from now, you can look back and see how far you've come.

There is one more thing that I'd like to add that isn't a step towards consistency, but simply an observation.  Picture whatever it is you chose to start, as an opportunity to reach your goals and be successful.  Don't see it as a chore, or something you have to get in.  Life is all about your attitude.  You can be positive or negative.  You chose this thing that you'd like to be more consistent in because it's important to you.  If you look at it as something you have to get in, you won't want to do it.  Put a positive spin on it and it will be much easier.

Feel free to comment below on what it is you chose to be more consistent in.  I'd love to hear what you're working towards.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Are you a Good Leader?

I'm always talking about leading by example, but what do I really mean by that?  There are so many different types of leaders and so many different types of people who will follow but what kind of leader are you?

So many people don't consider themselves to be a leader in any sense of the word.  However, you don't have to be the leader of a large group of people to be a leader.  I truly believe that all you need is a belief in something to become a leader. 

You may not think you have to change the world, although you might; you just need to believe that something can be better.  As a woman, and a wife, and a mother, I lead my family.  I believe that the four walls we call home should be filled with love and kindness (among other positive things of course!).  As a fitness coach, I lead my challengers.  I believe they all have the ability to become a healthier version of themselves and are also able to pay it forward.  As the leader of a team, I try to lead other members of my team.  I believe they can know success beyond their wildest dreams and continue to help other people find their confidence and better health. 

All of these leadership roles require different approaches for obvious reasons but we all are leaders in some sense of the word.  Through my own experience, I recognize the different approaches to leadership based on different motivations and different people, but I also recognize a few similarities. If you're going to be a leader, don't you want to be a good leader?  Here are a few of the similarities I've seen in good leaders.

Good leaders make every effort towards a specific purpose and lead by example.  Do you make every effort to show people what you're doing is right?  If you're leading your family, I'm sure you pour your heart into being the best mother you can be.  If you're anything like me, you can lose sleep over a bad decision, even if it wasn't that bad.  For years, my daughters watched me be unhealthy.  I made poor food choices and didn't exercise at all.  Now, when I work out, I know my daughters are watching.  Julia, my 2 year old, works out with me every time she sees me doing it.  She'll stand up and go into downward dog or stretch, or do the butterfly with her legs.  They're watching.  I make every effort to make sure they know it's important because they see me doing it. 

Everyone needs to know that what they're doing is important.  Not that it's important to me, but that it's important to you.  Life is not about my goals for you, it's about your goals for you.  If you're able to connect with the reason why you're doing something, the why that makes your heart smile, then it will make the hard times that much easier to get through.  To help lead you towards your goals, I make every effort to connect you with the reason why you're doing what you're doing to help you to stay inspired and reach your goals.

Good leaders lead with an open heart.  I lead out of love.  Even if I don't know you very well yet, it means so much to me to see you experience success.  That feeling comes from a need to pay it forward.  I know how I felt before, and I know how I feel now.  If I can lead 20 people to that improvement, the world will be a little bit better, even if it's just an improvement in the world according to you!  Is there something that you believe would make the world a little bit better?  You should act on it!  We're all here to help each other along this journey we call life.  Don't wait until tomorrow when you can help someone today. 
Good leaders encourage people around them and continue to build people up.  Again, this holds true both in my home and towards all of my challengers.  When I do homework with my daughter, sometimes I get frustrated.  Every time I've gotten frustrated, she ends up frustrated and homework becomes a terrible experience that night.  However, when I'm patient, and kind, it may take a little longer, but it gets done and she feels good about what she was able to accomplish.  I try to do this with everyone.  A little patience and kindness goes a long way in so many situations.  I'm not perfect by any means but for the most part, when something goes wrong, I see what it was, and it almost always starts with my own frustration.  It's so cliché but the best thing to do when you're seeing your own frustration grow is to just take a deep breath and refocus.  Try to remember that what your doing is out of love.
And finally, good leaders continue to spend time seeking out ways to improve themselves.  This personal development is a key of good leadership.  Recognizing a weakness in yourself, whether it be physical, emotional, or intellectual and seeking out a way to improve it, can make or break a good leader.  Time and time again, I hear people with fitness goals who have a problem with consistency.  I love that I can help them with that and that they often seek me out to do just that!  Sometimes people need to read a book about loving themselves more, or feel like they've improved some part of themselves.  A lot of moms I know get into a rut sometimes because they feel so busy but just a few minutes each day of listening to an empowering pod cast or finding a hobby can really change your life.  Setting a goal and reaching it can make you feel like you can conquer the world...  and you can!!  It will make you a better person, a better mom, a better woman, and a better you.  Strive to be a better you... just a little bit better every day, and a few months from now, you'll be a lot better... in a year, you might not even recognize yourself.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Weight Loss Plateaus and Changing Your Mindset

The beginning of most weight loss journeys start with a moderate to substantial weight loss.  This is a very exciting time for most people if your goal is to lose weight.  It gets exciting and you start re-evaluating goals and how long you think it will take you to reach those goals.

Inevitably, with any weight loss journey, you're going to hear about weight loss slowing down and weight loss plateaus.  Without being too scientific (because I'm by no means, a scientist), basically what happens is as you lose weight, your body burns fewer calories in a day because it's carrying less weight.  If you've lost the weight that you've lost so far by only modifying your nutrition and eating fewer calories each day, chances are you've lost some muscle as well as fat.  As a result of having less muscle, your metabolism slows.  If you've lost the weight by modifying your nutrition along with increasing exercise, your body may be changing even though the weight stays the same.  To illustrate this, I'd like for you to see this picture.

This is a picture of me while on my journey.  The difference in weight was only 3-5 lbs., but can you see the difference?  I feel like it's obvious.  This picture is of the difference in my arm because it's my favorite body part to show off but the difference was all over my body.  My pants size changed, shirts were looser, and you can even see that my face changed. 
In my challenge groups, I'm always talking about non-scale victories.  What are non-scale victories?  They're the things that you're proud of that have absolutely nothing to do with Monday morning weigh in.  Can you think of some of these things?  Having to shop for clothes because your old ones don't fit, compliments you receive, fitting back into your skinny jeans, confidence, feeling happy with the way you look in pictures... there are so many.  But why, despite all of these things, do we get so fixated on seeing the scale move?
I think it's hugely because of our society.  I've seen time and time again that women become mortified when I tell them that I need to know their starting weight to help track their progress.  The number on the scale is about progress, not perfection.  If you start a new food and exercise plan and immediately lose no weight at all, the plan may have to be adjusted a bit to suit you.  Also, weighing yourself regularly is a great way to stay accountable and make sure that if you gain a few pounds, it gets corrected quickly and doesn't lead to gaining a few more pounds.
My friends and I used to talk about our weight and how frustrating it is that the number on the scale was getting higher as we were getting older and having kids, and getting married, and various other things that led to larger versions of who we once were (lol).  I've heard time and time again that women lie about their height to make their weight acceptable.  I used to laugh and say that I lied about my height so I wouldn't be morbidly obese.  I want you to consider the picture below for a moment.  It's one of my favorites that at challenger of mine shared on a Monday morning weigh in.

So how frustrating is it, as a woman, and a coach, and someone who is currently still on my own weight loss journey when that scale just doesn't budge.  After hitting a plateau I re-evaluated my mindset and came up with a few things to take into consideration when you're feeling "stuck.".
The first thing is when you really think about it, are you eating as well as you were when you first started?  I've weighed within 5 lbs the whole Summer.  I knew that I wasn't being aggressive about losing weight though and that my nutrition was not on point.  I wasn't using my 21 Day Fix Food containers and was allowing myself to go off course on the weekend, or when people came over, or whenever I felt like being "social."  I made a choice that I was okay with that.  I would step on the scale every Monday and see what the damage was and be able to reset back to my weight or less by Friday, often to start the process again for the following week.  Again, this was within a 3-5 lb fluctuation, not more then that so as to not turn it into a yo-yo which I was so used to from past failures when it came to losing the weight.
I've seen a few times now that when you weigh the same amount for a while, that becomes your weight.  You might fluctuate 3-5 lb in either direction but when you eat normally, you will keep going back to this weight.  When you go on what I've come to know as a "food bender" and just eat what you want for a vacation, or a weekend, or whatever, you're sure to go up a few pounds but I've come to call this weight visiting weight because if you keep weighing yourself consistently and get on right back on track, it will come off in a few days to a week.
The next thing to think about is are you working out as much as you were when you started?  Are you working out harder than when you started?  As you get more comfortable with your weight, and the way you look, it gets easier to start skipping workouts or going for the easier workouts and that's perfectly okay if you decide you're happy with your current weight.  I think it would be better to go for the easier workouts instead of skipping them if you're in a maintenance phase so as to not allow old habits to creep in but lets be honest, life does get in the way sometimes.  However, if you want to lose more weight or continue to see improvement, it's important to know that you must continue to increase the intensity of your workouts.  This means increasing your weights (NO!  You won't get huge for increasing your weights ladies!!), or the number of breaks you take, or the amount of time you work out.  Sometimes you don't have to increase the time (I'm all about 30 minute workouts), but you just have to change it up.  We've all heard that your body can get used to a specific workout and you'll stop seeing results.  Lucky for you, there are so many options and I can absolutely help you find one that will help you keep seeing results. If you've found your soulmate program (Mine is absolutely 21 day fix) this doesn't mean you have to give away the DVDs...  just do a month or 2 of something else and come back to it. 
Another thing that may effect your weight loss is stress and lack of sleep.  When your body is stressed or not rested, it releases cortisol which makes your body store fat.  This stress or lack of sleep may be something beyond your control but know that once your sanity is restored, you may continue to lose weight.
I know first hand that plateaus can be frustrating but it's so important to not allow yourself to go back to bad habits.  Reconnect with the reason you started.  I hope it wasn't just to look better in a bikini lol.   Think of how far you've come and how much healthier you are.  Think of how much more comfortable you are in your skin or who you're doing it for (or who's watching you do it, I do it so my daughters can lead a healthy lifestyle).  I hope you have the support you need to keep going on your journey.  If you don't, please come talk to me.  I'd love to be your coach and help you!  Remember that you're changing your life, not just your waistline.  In the end, once you reach your goal, you will want to stay at that weight, so think of this as training to stay at a weight for a while.  The fact that you're not yo-yoing like you have in the past is a success in itself so celebrate that!! 
Speaking of celebrating!  Fall is almost here so I'd like to leave you with one of my favorite fall recipes.  It's 21 day fix approved so feel free to enjoy it even if you are at a plateau.  Enjoy!!
21 Day Fix Approved Baked Apples                        

  • 4 Apples
  • Coconut Oil
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Ground Cloves
  • Pure Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 400.  Chop up apple into bite sized pieces.  Place in oven safe dish.  Layer with Vanilla Extract, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Ground Cloves.  Add tablespoon of coconut oil on top and bake for 15 minutes.  Add some honey on top if you’d like.