3 Reasons To Do What Absolutely Scares You


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When was the last time you wanted to do something but truthfully, it scared you to bits?

Let me tell you a little bit from my side of this story.

I confess I am not the best person to talk about doing new things. My family and friends tease me about how much I resist change. One might even say I am “a stick in the mud.” I like things to stay the same. The same is comfortable and cozy.

But, the same is just that…the same.

I know that very well. It dwells there in my mind all the time and yet I resist with all my might.

Recently, I have been growing bored in my workouts. Running and weight lifting just haven’t been holding my interest. I can’t really explain why except maybe I just need a change. But, what? What exactly could I do to keep up the level of movement that I so desperately desire? I live in a big city now and of course, that means tons of options. I have looked and considered and come to find out that what I needed the most has been right there in front of me.

Guess what my local gym has? An indoor lap pool.

I do know how to swim. I can stay afloat in the water and not drown. I took swimming lessons as a kid but I never progressed to learning the most recognized strokes. For that reason I have always lacked confidence in swimming. Combine that with a 20+ year history of avoiding swimsuits due to my poor body image and you have an anxiety-laden activity.

Here’s the funny thing. Over the last few months I have been known to stare at the pool as I was walking up to the weight room. Something in me pulled me towards that pool. I was enticed and yet repelled.

Being serious about swimming meant facing a whole lot of demons and doing something that scares the bits out of me.

Fast forward and I am happy to say that I am in that pool several times a week complete with a nice swimsuit, swim cap, and goggles. I am slowly but surely facing those demons and doing what scares me.

What about you? When WAS the last time you did something that scares you? Has it been awhile?

Well, here are three reasons to do what absolutely scares you in case you need a little push.

1. Humility 

Learning to swim properly has been a big ‘ole slice of humble pie served up warm and  a la mode. I have had to go all the way back to the start. I am spending all my swimming workouts doing various drills just so I can relearn how to be comfortable in the water again, how to breathe properly, and how to glide through the water without sinking like an anvil. It is tough because there are days that I get so bored doing these drills over and over again. I look one lane over at the kid half my age or some other adult gliding seamlessly through the water and doing flip turns over and over again all the while I am in my lane focusing on floating on my back, not sinking or inhaling water. Often I get frustrated because I so want to be that fish-like, flip-turning swimmer. I want the confidence in the water that I have in the weight room or the road. But, I know that I can’t get there by skipping crucial steps. Did I walk into the weight room and dead-lift 225 for reps my first day? HA HA! Not even close. On my first day I was holding onto my husband’s arm as we slowly made our way from one machine to the next. I was scared then too.  And then slowly over time, and on a constant diet of humble pie, I WAS able to walk in there like a boss and dead-lift 225 for reps. It took being willing to admit that I really don’t know anything about this stuff. It meant being coachable and taking it one step at a time.

Being humble means admitting that you need help.

Being humble means saying, “Hey! I know nothing but I want to learn. Could you help me?”

Being humble means being willing to be molded in the fire and to come out the other end stronger.

I am still working on those drills several times a week. I have a goal in mind of doing an open water swim. I don’t know how long it will take. I will do these drills for however long I have to to build the foundation I need. It will happen. I just have to be humble and patient.

 

2. Bust Out of Your Comfort Zone

Quite honestly, staying in your comfort zone is rather boring. Don’t you think so too?

But your comfort zone is comfy and cozy. It is safe and cloistered. The sad thing is that personal development does not happen in the comfort zone. It can’t. Like I said above you have to be humble enough to admit you need to molded into something new but for that happen you have to actually go to the fire or wheel for that molding to occur. You have to admit your need for help and then step out of your comfort zone to make that happen.

I will be honest and say that swimming scares me. I am not so much scared of the water but I am scared of doing something that requires so much humility. And then throw in the crazy notion of swimming in a big body of water where I can’t touch the bottom. It scares me. But, I KNOW I will be a completely different person when I finally achieve that goal. I will have been humble and been willing to be forged that fire. It will be awesome.

3. Growth, Empowerment, and Confidence

WOW!  Think about how you will feel when you have achieved that thing that scared you for so long. Take a moment and think about it nice and long.

When I think about how I will feel when I have swam well in that pool and ultimately, in that open water I see myself feeling ten feet tall and bulletproof. I will stand tall. I will be confident and empowered. I did what I thought was impossible. Those demons did not hold me back. I stared them in the face and I got ‘er done.

You achieved something awesome! Now take that growth, empowerment, and confidence to do something even bigger. Don’t waste all the good that comes from facing a fear and coming out on the other end.  Seriously, we can change lives when we don’t squander all that goodness.

You’ve heard about my journey to learn how to swim. Now, I want to hear about what YOU are going to do that scares you now. SOUND OFF in the comments. 🙂

 

BLESSINGS!!

 

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3 Reasons To Do What Absolutely Scares You

I Found Maintenance And So Much More

Maintenance

For the last year I have been in a coaching program with Precision Nutrition. We officially close up the year on July 4th. I can’t believe it’s almost over. It has been such an amazing year of challenges and self-discovery. So, I wanted to take some time and share my experience with Precision Nutrition and all the things I have learned. To say this year has been a life-changer would be an understatement.

Let’s start at the beginning. I entered the program with the primary motivation to learn more about habits-based coaching from a client’s perspective and to improve as a coach. I also didn’t mind the idea of shedding some fat as well. Come to find out, it was ME who needed this more than anything.

When I started the program last summer I was placed on a team of 100+ women under the care of one spectacular coach and a few well-seasoned mentors. We could communicate through email, private team Facebook group, video chat, etc. What I loved was that there were always great boundaries all around. I could reach out to anyone I wanted as often as I wanted. It was up to me to take the step and whenever I stepped there was always someone there waiting to help out. I took advantage of private emails with our coach a few times and when I needed some extra loving I scheduled some Google Hangouts with her. Most of the time I communicated with my team through our Facebook page. There was always someone willing to offer ideas, accountability, and support over there.

We were assigned a new habit to focus on about every two weeks. These habits are meant to build on each other. The habits were seemingly simple but profound enough to require thought and effort. When working on habits it was like working around a stove. The newly assigned habit was to be brought to the front of the stove and allowed to boil. Then keep it boiling for the duration of the two weeks. That is your focus for that time. However, we don’t forget the previous habits. We just put those on a simmer at the back of the stove. All the habits are always cooking away but just at various levels of rumble.

Let me take a bit of a side trail and say that a big part of this program that I loved was that we had complete ownership of the program. It was all about discovering what worked and what did not work for MY body. Like I said not too long ago, the boundaries were excellent. No foods were said to be good or bad. Nothing was forbidden. You just figure out what works for you. For example, I can tolerate gluten well but not dairy. So I avoid many dairy products for the sake of my stomach. I have teammates who can tolerate everything and that works for them. There was no avoidance of entire food groups unless it was your choice. Everything was left up to you. Boundaries.

There were weekly assigned workouts but even those were our choice. You could follow the assigned workouts or you could follow your own program. What mattered was that you were moving and challenging your body in ways that you enjoyed. I chose to follow the assigned workouts because I wanted to take advantage of the full program. I would veer off on occassion but for the most part I followed the program.

You can learn more about the Precision Nutrition coaching program by going to their website. In fact they are going to be opening the program up again for another round of clients very soon. Here is a blog post that answers the 37 most commonly asked questions about coaching. You can also go to their Facebook page or even private message me. My main point write was to talk about what I gained from the whole thing.

I went into coaching wanting to be a better coach and maybe even lose 20 pounds. Guess what happened? I lost about five pounds. Yep, five. And I danced around those five pounds for almost a  year. Up a little and down a little.  But I stayed at those five pounds for the most part. I also lost quite a few inches overall so there was definitely a recomposition.

There were plenty of times I was disappointed about not losing more weight. Yes, I know. We are not a number. I should follow other progress indicators. I know. I say the same exact thing all the time. But, I also very much a human. I fall down and I get back up. It is hard to completely eliminate almost 20 years of a dieting/gaining cycle. I have been either actively gaining weight and hating myself for it or actively trying to lose the weight and hating my life for it.

For almost a  year I have stayed within five pounds. While knowing about my past let that sink in for a little bit. At first my thought process was that was just one of those who will always be gaining unless I am severely restricting my calories. Balance is obtainable but not for me. Or at least that was my thought process. I had no idea that my thoughts were so disordered as I entered coaching. I had already made a lot of progrress but come to find out that I had a loooooong way to go.

It took almost a year (yes, I am pretty stubborn at times) for me to clear the air and see that while I was busy seeking one thing I was finding a completely different thing.

What did I find?

I found MAINTENANCE.

Did the fact that I stayed around that same 5 pounds for close to year sink in yet? Yep, I maintained the same five pounds for close to a year. I did this while exercizing in the ways I enjoy. I did this without counting calories or macronutrients. I maintained while eating what I enjoy and what my body performed the best on. I didn’t restrict what or how much I ate.

Maintenance for me means finally finding balance. I eat when I want. I eat what I want based on what my body needs and wants. I eat until I am satisfied, not too full and not too hungry. I am rarely “hangry” (angry due to hunger) because I am satisfied most of the time. I eat what brings me joy and I move in ways that brings me joy. None of this is a chore nor do I ever resent my food or activity.

Maintenance means to be content. I am happy. It means living sustainably. I can live like this for the rest of my life. Even if I never lose a nother pound I am very happy, healthy, and active.

Maybe I will lose pounds in the future but I don’t really care anymore. Enjoying food and movement is the most important thing. It is no longer a number on a little box in my bathroom. I am not obsessed with my shape and I am not ashamed of my body anymore. I will eat the food and move my body.

Eating and exercise are not my life anymore. Eating and exercise are part of my  life now.

They keep me alive so I can live my full life.
MAINTENANCE = FREEDOM

 

BLESSINGS!!

 

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I Found Maintenance And So Much More

Does It Bring You Joy?


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It is so very interesting to look over the timeline of my health and fitness journey. There have been plenty of bumps in the road and even some times of very emotional introspection. I have had to work through some very unhealthy relationships with food and exercise. I had to silence all the other voices surrounding me telling me how and what I should be doing to ensure I am their definition of healthy. It has been a long journey of finding who I really am and what I truly want for myself and my own body.

You can read more about my journey by reading these past blog posts:

As You Start Your Fitness Journey: A Letter to Me

The Mellowing of Fitness

To The Pit and Back

Coming To Peace With Food: My Journey From Restriction to Freedom

I am happy to say that I have found a very good place and it is a place I can stay for the rest of my life.

It all boils down to SIMPLICITY and JOY.

As I get older….I always laugh when I say that because I sound so much older than I am. I am all of 36. Nonetheless, as I get older I find that I long for and desire simplicity more and more with each passing day. I don’t want my life to get more complicated. I want it to become more simple.  I want simplicity in my eating and in my exercising. I once did the macronutrient counting and the complicated workouts. There was a time and a place for all that and I won’t say I will never go back but for now it is simplicity I seek. All the counting and logging is just too much for me right now.

So, how do I find that simplicity in eating and exercise?

I can sum it up in one word: JOY. 

I ask myself one simple question. (See?  Simplicity). Does this bring me JOY?

When I am planning my meals for the week I ask myself what dishes will bring my family and me JOY.  I am even asking my family more what they want to eat that week. Keep in mind that this does not mean junk all the time. A lot of junk does not bring me much JOY because I feel sluggish and unproductive afterwards. But, JOY isn’t always found in the salads, chicken and veggies, and protein shakes of my former years either. JOY is found in what I want and what I know will fuel my week the best way possible. Eating should never be a chore. It should be an experience and a privilege. JOY is found in sitting around the table as my family and I eat together and enjoy the food over fun conversation. JOY is not found in eating out of a tupperware while my family eat something I’d rather be eating.

I ask the same question when it is time to exercise as well. Does this bring me JOY? Every day is different and every day brings its own ups and downs. Some days I am so energized and ready to lift some really heavy weights and some days I long to be in the sun as I run for miles. Some days I want to splash in the pool with my family and some days I want to swim meditative laps at the gym pool. It really depends on the day.  There might even be a day when what brings me JOY is taking a nice nap on the couch with my son because rest is what my body needs.  I exercise most days of the week because I love it and I long for it. I do what brings me JOY.

Somebody may easily wonder if this way of doing things is too loosey goosey and lacks focus. Perhaps. It works for me. Here’s the really awesome thing. My body is responding to the lack of pressure and stress. I am experiencing the best recomposition I’ve ever had, even more so than when I was more regimented. What’s happening here is that by seeking JOY in my eating and my exercise I am more in tune with what my body is telling me and by doing so it is responding positively.

Does this mean that I completely oppose food logging, macro counting, or structured workout plans? Not in the least. Like I said before there is a time and a place for all that. I may choose to enter some sort of athletic competition in the future and that will require a more structured training and eating plan. That’s perfectly cool with me. It will work for me then and it will bring me JOY.

I want my life to be full of simplicity and joy. I want my food and my movement to be big parts of my life for the rest of my life. To do that I need to find simplicity and joy in my food and movement. I believe I have done that by simply asking:

Does It Bring You Joy?

Tell me: What brings you JOY????

 

BLESSINGS!!
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Does It Bring You Joy?

From Perfectionism to Grace


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Believe it or not I have a streak of perfectionism in my personality. I never really thought that I have perfectionist tendencies. I mean I am not a top knotch housekeeper for one thing. I keep a tidy and clean house but I don’t fret too much about it being perfect. I don’t overly fret over germs either. I keep my hands and body clean but I don’t freak out about every exposure to germs. I always say, “Oh well. Chalk it up to immune system boosting.” I don’t always finish books nor do I keep perfect records. When things don’t go as planned I usually shrug my shoulders and move on. Life happens. Ride with it.

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But, I in recent weeks I have come to realize where I am very much perfectionist and honestly, it can be down right crippling. I set very high standards for myself. In the past, when I adopted a new diet plan I expected myself to follow it perfectly and when I didn’t I was an absolute failure and not worthy of a better, thinner life. When I found or bought a new exercise plan and I didn’t finish every workout as written on the prescribed days I was in no way an athlete and I might as well be a slug on the couch.

Over and over and over again I have gotten an awesome idea and dove right in with a reckless abandon. There would be so much passion for my direction that anyone could smell it. I would live and breathe my new thing. But, then slowly over time the passion would wane and fall apart. Life would happen and get in the way and my attention would go to different things. I would justify the change in plans by saying that the first thing just wasn’t for me and I just haven’t found that perfect thing for me. IN reality, I would be telling myself that I just couldn’t finish any project and I was a failure and not deserving of anything good.

That self-talk is a booger, isn’t it? I have no doubt much of these negative thoughts have to do with my bouts with depression but they also come from my perfectionist tendencies. I expect to do any plan, challenge, or project to completion, perfectly, and as planned. Because of these impossible standards I place on myself I fall apart most of the time. I am my own worst enemy.

For example, a little over a month ago I started what I was calling the “1K Words for 100 days Challenge” and for exactly twenty-six days I had not one break in my streak of writing one thousand words every weekday as per my challenge. Then some life events happened and I missed a day here and a day there. Rather quickly I lost all interest in writing not because I didn’t have things to say but because I honestly thought I couldn’t be a writer because I couldn’t manage to write a thousand words every week day. How crazy is that thought process? See, the perfectionism coming in?

Over the last year or so I have learned more about grace and how it is A-okay for things to not happen exactly as planned. But, what makes it different is how I face it. Do I turn inward and say, “Sarah, you are a total and complete failure. Why don’t you just go curl up in bed and do nothing because you are capable of nothing” or do I say, “Sarah, this didn’t work. That’s okay. Why? What can we do differently?” This especially goes with how I eat. Is it practical at all to expect myself to eat a certain way all the time for the rest of my life or even for a few months? That is why I have ‘failed’ at so many diet plans. I left no margin for error or for living for that matter.

Now that I accept grace in my life I do indeed eat the way I want most of the time because I allow room for treats and unexpected events. Now that I don’t try to follow a workout plan perfectly I can allow room for random trips to the pool to swim laps just because I feel like swimming or trips outside to workout because it just feels so good out there. Because of this margin of grace I find that I can stick to my workout plans 110% better. And while I do believe that challenging yourself in order to build a new habit is a good thing like I did with the ‘1K Words for 100 days” I don’t think it is a good thing to self-sabatage yourself by expecting perfection and not allowing any margin for error. Not so ironically, with a little bit of grace in my writing schedule I want to write more and I am not paralyzed by my perfectionism and I believe I write better because I am not just writing words for the sake of writing words. There is purpose and there is depth. That being said I am still attempting to write one thousand words every week day. But, if life happens it happens and I hit the reset button and start again the next day.

When I was more in the perfectionist frame of mind (and I still revert back a lot) I was crippled and paralyzed by everything being just right and because of that I did not let my creative juices flow. I did not allow myself to grow and spread my wings. I was stuck on the ground because I had to stay put in what I expected to be just right. I could not allow myself to dream or to pursue those dreams. I was stunted and stuck.

Now that I have given up on perfectionism and have embraced grace I find that I am so much more productive and achieving goals is so much easier. I am not paralyzed anymore but free to make mistakes, learn from them, and move on. I am free to eat what I want, move how I want, and write what I want. I am not held back by this thing called perfectionism. I am free because of grace and the beauty of not being perfect. I am a beautiful mess. I am writing my own story complete with the victories and failures.

What about you? How do you deal with perfectionism?

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From Perfectionism to Grace

It All Comes Down to Choices


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You may remember my letter to myself 5 years ago as I was starting my fitness journey. I shared a little bit of wisdom that I have learned over the last five years and things I wish my 5 years ago self could have known to avoid a lot of frustration and pain. Since then I have been pondering even more what I wish I could have told myself and what I would tell other people as they are starting their journey. I am sure I could write a long series of blog posts on what I have learned but honestly, it all boils down to one thing.

CHOICES

Where we go in our fitness and health journeys all come down to the choices we make.

That sounds totally non-profound, doesn’t it? It is easy to think to yourself, “Well, of course it all comes down to choices! That’s nothing new!”

You are totally right but I think in many ways it really is profound for many people, including myself.

When we start down the road of improving our health it is so easy to get confused and to get lost. There is tons of information out there that support and contradict what we are trying to achieve. It is so easy to be lead down the wrong path by information that just seems to be the answer.

When you are starting a new lifestyle it can be daunting and downright scary. I remember. You so want to succeed and to honestly, just feel better. That is really all you want. So, you go out and start the storm of researching. You come across all kinds of information and chances are you don’t know how to weed through the good information and the misleading information. Your intentions are good but you are in the position to be easily lead down a deep, dark rabbit hole.

As you are seeking out the information you look to the information and the programs as the answers to your success. That makes sense, doesn’t it?

But, that is not the case at all.

Exercise and nutrition plans are excellent sources of information and education when the information is solid. I started out by following a specific program and I will be forever grateful for that program because it greatly increased my confidence in the weight room and I tap into that same confidence every time I lift. Good programs are the answer to educating you when you have no experience or knowledge. Using a program is asking for help when you know you need it.

However….

Programs are not the answer to your success.

When I say ‘program’ I am referring to anything that you go to for help in your journey. It can be a new exercise routine, a new diet plan, a meal replacement shake, a supplement regimen, or whatever you may choose.

As a coach and as a friend I have heard on countless occasions ladies saying things like, “This program is the exactly what I need!! If this doesn’t work I don’t know what WILL work!” I WAS that person saying those things. I would find a new program and think that THIS WAS IT! THIS is the answer to make all my dreams come true.

As I have gone through countless programs and regimens over the years I have discovered that an old cliché saying is in fact quite true.

Wherever you go……there you are.

I realized that no matter what shiny new program I was using that the common denominator was ME. It was always me. I will readily admit that I have done good programs that offered sound information and I have done programs that only fed into my disordered habits. Either way the common denominator was still always me.

I researched and researched trying to find the answers I needed outside of myself in new programs. When I did not find success in one program I would find some kind of reason why it failed me and why it was not the right program for me. Then I would go looking for the next program that would be the answer. I did this over and over and over again.

Does this sound familiar?

It was not until this past year that my thick skull was able to see the whole story as a one big picture. I saw it was not the programs that failed me.

I failed me.

I failed to see my place in this story.

I failed to see that it was MY CHOICES that determined my path.

Once that made perfect sense I started to make changes.

I saw that I choose the path I want to go on. Then it is all about every choice I make along the way.

I always wondered about the people that I met along the way who were extremely successful and didn’t seem to struggle with it. The common denominator was that these people accepted that it was their choices that determined their path and it was all about personal responsibility.

YOU choose what you eat and when you eat it.

YOU choose if you move or not today.

YOU choose how much sleep you get at night.

YOU choose how much sunshine you get each day.

YOU choose how you prioritize your time.

YOU choose your goals and how to achieve those goals.

YOU choose if you will reach out for help or not.

You can choose to use a program for education or even as a little kick in the tail but when it all boils down it is ALL YOU.

YOU choose if you will use the program or not.

As a friend and as a coach I respect your choices and I respect your personal responsibility. I can hold your hand and I can guide you but I cannot make your choices for you. I CANNOT make you want it.

Desire comes 100% from you. And Success comes 100% from you.

CLAIM your choices and claim your success.

Once I stopped looking outside of myself for the answers to my success and I looked within myself I saw success. 

 

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It All Comes Down to Choices

As You Start Your Fitness Journey: A Letter to Me


A Letter to Me

Dear Me (As you start your fitness journey),

Hey! Believe it or not, but this is YOU from the future!! Crazy, huh?! It is about five years into the future and I have so much to tell you about what’s coming up for you. I have learned so much over the last five years and just wish I could come back and share in your victories and help you through the failures.

You are in such a lovely time right now. Your son is 3 and full of so much love of life and discovery. Your love for him and your husband is so intense that in many ways you have lost yourself in your efforts to give all of YOU to them. Don’t worry. They love you too and they know how much you love them.

I see what has happened too. I see you looking in the mirror wondering where you went. Your newly-wed body is long gone and you feel frumpy and dumpy. You did lose that baby weight but ever so slowly it has crept back on over the last three years. How in the world did that happen?! I will tell you. You loved others so hard that you forgot to love yourself. You forgot to remember that YOU matter too and YOU deserve to take care of yourself.

I see that twinkle in your eye right now. You know it is time to do something about this. You can’t keep going down this path. You need to eat better and exercise for no other reason than to be there for your family. Don’t let that spark go, Honey. That mustard seed of a spark is going to take you on a very exciting journey. Trust me.

I was looking at your half-marathon medals the other day. I still have them and I pull them out every so often and smile. Did you know you ran two half-marathons? Well, you did. They weren’t fast by any means but you finished and you finished with a smile on your face. That sense of accomplishment is impossible to beat. You trained in the rain. You trained in the heat. You sprained your ankle and walked 3 miles home because you were too stubborn to call for a ride back. You even ran twelve miles on a treadmill one Saturday while your family played so you could fulfill this dream. I also distinctly remember how one race had you run right past the cemetery where Mom is buried and you shed a few tears. That same race your right thigh for whatever reason had a searing pain shoot up every time your foot hit the ground but that same race had you run past many churches and you could hear the people worshiping inside. You ran two half-marathons. Remember that.

As you are considering this journey you are about to embark on you are going to make some mistakes that only time makes clear. Do you mind if I share some wisdom with you? This wisdom is hard earned because I have climbed those mountains and I have fallen in those ditches.

Your desire for knowledge is going to be insatiable pretty soon. That is just how we work. When a spark is lit there is no stopping your desire for more information. You will spend countless hours online reading articles and who knows how much money on fitness magazines. Learning is such a wonderful thing. But, if I could go back in time I would tell you to be more discerning about where you get your knowledge. At the time you just did not know how to discern healthy information and unhealthy information. You did not know that many of the articles you are reading now are going to push down the rabbit hole of disordered eating.

Let me tell you right now that extreme measures are not the answer to weight loss or even that athletic body you no so desperately desire. Giving up entire food groups will not give you abs or cut muscles. All it will do is make you crave those foods even more and ultimately lead to binges that then leave you feeling guilty and worthless.

Those pictures that you see posted on Pinterest and Facebook all the time are not reality. You know the ones you put on YOUR FB feed for everyone else to see. Yeah, the ones with the perfectly cut girls and the phrases that say “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” or “#noexcuses”. I will go ahead and apologize to your friends now for flooding their newsfeed with that crap. It is okay. You didn’t know.

I KNOW it isn’t glamorous to talk about moderation and habits right now because you are diving into this head first. You have NO EXCUSES. You WILL have that bikini body you saw in the magazine. When you have a slip up that just means you are weak and you will diet harder, or paleo harder, or vegan harder, or exercise harder. It is all your fault and has nothing to do with the misinformation you are being fed.

Just take it from a girl who has been in those trenches and has climbed out of them. Moderation and following healthy habits really are the answer. The slow and steady route really is the way to do it. And guess what? Moderation does not mean eating ALL the cookies. It means eating a cookie here and there knowing that they won’t kill you. Vegetables make you feel better but cookies baked with your son sure do taste delicious. Memories are so much more important than worrying about extra calories.

You know what? I could go on and and on and on about how to eat and how to exercise and how to truly find balance in it all. I could keep going on about how to wade the crazy waves of life that are going to happen soon. Put your seat belt on, Honey. It is about to get pretty crazy for a few years.

There is something that is much more important than all that. When it is all said and done it all boils down to the FACT that you are WORTH IT.

You are beautiful just the way are.

I know.

I KNOW.

You don’t believe it. I remember. I could jump through the portal of time and shake you and shake you but you won’t believe it. I guess this is one of those things you just need to learn on your own. Just know that learning to love yourself like God loves you will save you so much heartache over the next five years. It will protect you from all the deceptive things you will hear, follow, quit, and hate yourself over. It will save you a lot of time.

Not only that. Your husband and your son deserve a Wife and Mom who loves herself.

Let me tell you a little secret. That body you are dreaming about right now? Yeah, that body never happens. WHAT?! You put in all that work and you never ever look like the girl in the magazine? Nope. You look better because you look like you. Once you learn to love YOUR body you realize all the awesomeness that is contained in that body. Five years later you really don’t weigh that much less than you do right now as you stare in that mirror. But, you are two sizes smaller and far more muscular. Your clothes fit better and you can do far more fun things. You feel better all around and the future is very bright.

Five years in the future your passion has grown to be a strong desire to lift women up so that they too can love themselves enough to do what’s best for THEM and not fall victim to society. But, I guess the first thing I should do is write myself. I sure do hope the letter finds you well.

Sssssshhhhh. Please don’t cry. YOU CAN DO THIS!

YOU

ARE

BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

I LOVE YOU!

But, remember that God LOVES you more.

Love,

 

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As You Start Your Fitness Journey: A Letter to Me

1K Words for 100 Days


1K Words for 100 Days

You may have read a few weeks ago the post entitled, New Year Ramblings And Why I Must Write. I wrote about how I know that deep down inside my soul that I am a writer.  I have always had the dream to be published in some way outside of a self-published blog.   I love writing very much.  Some have even said I’m pretty good at it.  I find that hard to believe sometimes but, “HEY THANKS!”

A big thing I wanted to change in 2015 was that I wanted this to be the year that I truly became a writer.  I want to spend far more time writing and I want my writing to get to more people.  The funny thing is that I came to realize where my writing was falling apart.  I was approaching writing the same way I see many people approach food and exercise.  You want to change so desperately and that is not a bad thing but you are so motivated to change that you try to change way too quickly.  For example, you say you will go on a “diet” and you will hit the gym 5 days a week and follow a routine that includes weight training and cardio.  You follow your plan for a few days and it goes well.  It is hard but, by golly, you can do this. #noexcuses.  Then life starts to get in the way and slowly but surely (or perhaps not so slowly) you stop because it is just too hard.  The change was too quick for it to be sustainable.  How would I coach that person?  I would assign one eating habit every week or every two weeks.  We’d build on that one habit bit by bit until there is a new way of living.  For exercise, we’d start with getting used to movement a few times a week.   Whatever you love doing a few times a week is good.  Once that is established you start working on more developed workout plans.  As you work towards to change habits one at a time you are establishing true change that will be sustainable and will actually stick.   It is slow, and sometimes hard, work.  It goes against our fast paced society and its desire for a quick change or transformation.  While such things can occur it is not normal and often falls apart eventually.   No one likes slow change.  But, the ones who slow down long enough to give it a try usually find that it works and that they are better for it.

All that being said, I have found that I was trying to take the quick approach to my writing. I automatically jumped to wanting to be published through my blog, articles, books, etc. when I wasn’t even in the habit of writing every day. What in the world? The ultimate goal would paralyse me because I was always waiting for the big inspiration to come and it never did.  I read a quote the other day that said, ”

“If I waited to be inspired, I would be screwed.” -Neil Gaiman

How could I be a professional writer if I weren’t already writing on a consistent basis and how in the world could I even have content if I didn’t take the time to write everything down? It hit me suddenly a few weeks ago that if I really want to be a good, published writer I have to write every single day. You would think I would already know that but no one ever said I don’t struggle with stubbornness.  So, I started coaching myself how I would coach a client seeking habit change. I told myself to forget the whole idea of being published and to just write every day. I started a document and named it “Ramblings” and I gave myself the task to write something, anything, every day. I was to write a page in the document every day to the best of my ability. It didn’t even matter what I wrote. It really was just ramblings most of the time. I used that document to hash out some ideas in my head. I used it to pray and to work through some emotions. Some of it was stream of consciousness and some it became blog posts. As the weeks flowed along and I was writing more days than not I realized that writing was actually coming easily. There wasn’t much writer’s block. I really did have a lot to say and write. I just had to sit down and start writing every day. It was a good feeling.

Then I came across a writing challenge that was along the same vein as my new habit. Write 1,000 words a day for 100 days. That would add up to 100,000 words. That is a ton!! I usually don’t jump on board with ‘challenges’ because that tend to go against the whole slow habit change process. You hit something hot and heavy for a short amount of time and hope it sticks. There is often good change but often-times it doesn’t stick when the challenge is over, assuming you actually finish it. I was hesitant about doing a writing challenge because I was afraid I would fall the way of most challenges. I would quit and then feel awful and even more of a failure. The difference this time was that I was already doing this in my own way. I had challenged myself that I would write a page every day. All the 1K words for 100 days would do is tighten it up a bit. Turns out that one page at the particular format I was using was right around 850 words. One Hundred Fifty more words wouldn’t be that hard to round out to 1,000. The previous personal challenge didn’t have very many parameters so it was pretty easy to skip a day. 1K words for 100 days gives me more motivation to sit down and write out 1000 words each day.

Here are my parameters:

  1. Write my 1,000 words every morning first thing.
  2. Write Monday – Saturday . Sunday is a free pass because I try very hard to not turn my desktop computer on and other devices are just too hard to write 1000 words on.
  3. Because I won’t write on Sunday, those days won’t count towards my 100 days. So, my time will go a little longer than a straight 100 days.
  4. I can’t accumulate words. So, if I write more than 1,000 words one day then those are bonus words. The goal is 1K words in 100 days, not 100,000 words total.
  5. Write 1K words and get a check-mark for that day. If I don’t get the check-mark then I have to add a day to my calender.
  6. FOCUS
  7. Write! Write! Write!

You usually hear me talk about habit change as the key to sustainable improvement in our nutrition and fitness, but the same concepts work for other areas of you life.  If there is some area where you want positive change break your goal down into achievable steps and work on those steps/habits one at a time until you have achieved your goal.  And that includes learning to write consistently.

What is one area where you could use some habit changes??

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1K Words for 100 Days