The one thing the completely saddens me is when an individual sits across from me during a coaching session shame her/himself:
· “I am so lazy”
· “I am fat”
· “My body is disgusting!”
· “I can’t stand the rolls in my belly”
· “My ass is HUGE!”
· “I’m so weak”
· “I was so bad this weekend”
And the shaming beat goes on…..
What if you walked by an adult saying any one of the above statements to a young child? I’m thinking you would get pretty fired up and perhaps want to protect that child.
A BIG part of my journey in recovery from compulsive behaviors is to silence these critical voices. Brene’ Brown, a leading researcher in shame states, “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.” It makes sense, doesn’t it?
Do we really think that shaming ourselves both internally and in front of others will yield positive results? When I asked a woman the gym this question, whom I cut off mid-berating, she actually responded “YES!” She believes that by telling herself how fat she is that it will motivate her to lose weight. My heart hurt listening to her explanation to which I pulled a Dr. Phil, “How’s that working for you?” It doesn’t. You don’t get positive outcomes from negative input. Our thoughts are so powerful and we will manifest that on which we focus. For this reason the wellness coaching process begins with a vision of what you see when you envision your best possible self. You then articulate that vision as an affirmation, for example:
· “I am waking up after a restful night’s sleep”
· “I am in charge of my health”
· “I am strong and full of energy”
· “I am confident in my body”
· “I am nourishing my body and soul with healthy food and inspirational messages”
· “I am participating activities that bring me joy with people I love”
Wouldn’t you agree that any of the above quotes sound more empowering?
Habits are difficult to change and the process is far from perfect. Being self-critical and judging are negative habits that MUST be changed so you can practice positive behaviors which yield life lasting results. We tend to treat people that we love and respect much better than those that we don’t. When you like yourself as you are TODAY you will practice authentic self-care. Make sense?
Following are a few tools that have helped and continue to help me re-program my brain when I find myself in a place of self-shame. Each week I will expand on each tool:
· Write and/or read affirmations daily
· Don’t engage in “fat talk” with yourself or others EVER!
· Practice self-compassion daily
· Write your new story
· Collect a series of positive quotes
· Take one positive action
· Set boundaries around social media (eliminate the compare and despair syndrome)
· Be vigilant about what you watch, listen to and read (input)
Suggested Empowerment Tool # 1: Write and/or Read Affirmations Daily
What are affirmations?
These are positive statements that describe a desired situation, which are often repeated, until they get impressed on the subconscious mind.
This process pushes the subconscious mind to take action and to strive to make the positive statement come true.
When you know how to use affirmations, you get a great tool for achieving success and for improving your life.
Most people repeat in their minds negative words and statements concerning the situations and events in their lives, and consequently, create undesirable situations. Words work at both ways, to build or destroy. It is the way we use them that determines whether they are going to bring good or harmful results.
Your subconscious mind accepts as true what you keep saying. It attracts corresponding events and situations into your life. So why not choose only positive statements, in order to get positive results?
It would be a good idea to pay attention to the words you repeat in your mind, to discover whether you are using negative statements, such as:
· I cannot do this.
· I am too lazy.
· I lack inner strength.
· I am going to fail
If you discover that these, or similar words, run through your mind, you should do something to change them.
Your words and thoughts program the mind in the same way that commands and scripts program a computer.
Repeated positive statements help you focus your mind on your aim. They also create corresponding mental images in the conscious mind, which affect the subconscious mind accordingly. In this way, you program your subconscious in accordance with your will.
The conscious mind, the mind you think with, starts this process, and then the subconscious mind takes charge.
By using this process consciously and intently, you influence your subconscious mind, and in turn, it transforms your habits, behavior, attitude, and reactions, and even reshape your external life.
It is important to understand that repeating positive affirmations for a few minutes, and then thinking negatively the rest of the day, neutralizes the effects of the positive words. If you want to get positive results you have to refuse to think negative thoughts.
How to Repeat Affirmations
- Choose affirmations that are not too long.
- Repeat them every time your mind is not engaged in something important, such as while traveling in a bus or a train, waiting in line, walking, etc., but do not affirm while driving or crossing a street. You may also repeat them in special sessions of 5-10 minutes each, several times a day.
- Be as relaxed as you can.
- Pay full attention to the words you are repeating.
- Stronger faith in what you are saying, and more desire and feelings bring faster results.
- Preferably, choose positive words with no negative connotations. If you want to lose weight, don't use words such as “I am losing weight." These are negative statements, bringing into the mind mental images of what you do not want. Repeat instead, "I have reached my healthy weight". Such words build positive images in your mind.
- Affirm, using the present tense, not the future tense. Saying, "I will be more confident", means that you intend to be confident one day, in the indefinite future, but not now. It is more effective to say, and also feel, "I am fully confident in my body and mind", and the subconscious mind will work at overtime to make this happen now, in the present.
- By stating what you want to be true in your life, you mentally and emotionally see and feel it as true, irrespective of your current circumstances, and thereby attract it into your life.
Give this powerful tool a try! I’d love to hear how it’s working for you.
Yours Truly In Health and Happiness,
Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love. – Brene Brown
As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. – Proverbs 23:7
You become what you think about most of the time – Brian Tracy
Refuse to criticize, condemn, or complain. Instead, think and talk only about the
things you really want. Jim Rohn
Never say anything about yourself you do not want to come true. Brian Tracy
You must begin to think of yourself as becoming the person you want to be – David Viscott
Believing there is a solution paves the way to a solution – Dr. David Schwartz
You’ve got to win in your mind before you win in your life – John Addison
You can do it if you believe you can – Napoleon Hill
The obsession will end when you love yourself enough to stop hurting yourself. Who doesn’t want to take care of what they love? – Geneen Roth
August 10, 2015
Re-Introducing Personal Revolutions Wellness!
I cannot believe it has been 11 years since I hired a coach (the amazing Marta Kegan) to help me figure out what I wanted to do with my life after blowing a gasket working in Human Resources for a Fortune 500 tech company. An action originally motivated by a desire to manage stress turned into a full life and career change that has been enriching and rewarding both intrinsically and extrinsically.
While working with Marta back in 2004 I discovered that I truly had a passion for helping others gain strength and confidence by practicing self-care. Coming from a history of severe food restriction, disordered eating and compulsive exercising to attain a body size, I didn’t want my business focus to be on weight loss. How in the heck could I attract a clientele with a goal of becoming stronger – physically, mentally and emotionally WITHOUT a focus on weight loss? Marta encouraged me to be my authentic self regardless of what the other “Biggest Loser” type trainers were marketing the masses. Hence my business under the original name “Personal Revolutions” was born.
As I grew my business while I continued to work in the field of HR I continued to vacillate and lose confidence in my original messaging. I felt in order to shed the “golden handcuffs” and jump both feet into my own business full-time I had to market to the general population. Along with that decision I regrettably fell back into the more aesthetic focus of training by being drawn into the obsessive world of bodybuilding. I signed up for my first natural figure competition in May 2006 and thus began another chapter of food and exercise compulsion. As I found myself becoming more fixated on building just the right amount of muscle through hours of strength training, cardio my behavior was in total conflict with the original messaging of Personal Revolutions. Therefore, I changed the name of my business to Quality of Life Fitness to reflect more of the physical fitness aspect of my offerings. Fast-forward 2 additional years of competing I found myself completely depleted physically, emotionally and mentally. Although physically I had attained a body that was that “ideal” size and I was receiving all the accolades from the disciplined effort, my life had become small once again- flashback 1980-2000 eating disorder years. This behavior also conflicted with the “Quality of Life” messaging. There was absolutely no Quality to the way I was practicing self-care. Thankfully I pulled away from the world of competing right after my final competition debacle in 2008 (long story). Let’s just say that the message was loud and clear. It was time to close this chapter of my life and reach out for help to get my life back on track and in balance. In retrospect I believe that it is because I was not living authentically that I fell back into these unhealthy behaviors. I knew in my heart I was conflicted and not living in line with my principles.
Fully believing in the power of coaching as result of my experience with Marta, I reached out to another amazing coach. Ellen Schuman specializes in the area of emotional eating and compulsive behaviors. I fully understood why I chose unhealthy behaviors around food, exercise and body obsession - as ways to self-sooth and escape. I desperately needed tools and support to effectively “do” my life. I worked with Ellen for 2 years and I cannot thank her enough for all that she has helped me through. Her tools, website: www.aweighout.com and direct approach with me (most often very uncomfortable) helped me take charge of my health, tolerate intense emotions, and create the life I want for myself – with integrity and authenticity.
Today I am steadfast in my anti-diet, conscious eating and body acceptance messaging. My Pilates/Fitness sessions are focused on gaining strength, balance, flexibility and confidence. I am fortunate that I can create the most comfortable private environment for my sessions. This messaging also includes creating the life you want regardless of the number of the scale. I recently made the decision to pursue professional training in the area of intuitive eating; a non-diet, weight-focused way to approach nutrition wellbeing. Combined with intensive training and continued experience as a Health and Wellness coach with MemorialCare Healthsystems I am excited to have additional tools to help you fully participate in your life with a self-care program that works specifically for YOU!
As I’ve embraced my personal story I believed I needed to share it with you. Through this journey I have made the decision to reunite with my first business name, Personal Revolutions Wellness. I feel excited about this reunion stronger than ever in body, mind and spirit. I am even more thrilled to share it with you.
Yours Truly In Health and Happiness,
Shitstorms + Sunshine: 4 Questions To Rescue You From A Negative Holding Pattern
This blog is timely considering a month of constant heart breaking losses and set backs:
We all face tough days or times. It’s a part of life.
But how you react, think and act during these tough times makes a big difference. With a helpful set of habits the outlook on life can change in a huge and remarkable way. I know from experience, I was a big, die-hard pessimist years ago.
So this week I’d like to simply share five of my favorite timeless tips on optimism. Fundamentals that the wise people that came before us have lived by for hundreds and thousands of years.
1. Remember: It is not too late to change your life.
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
It may feel like you have been on the same path and stuck in the same habits for so long that you are stuck permanently on your current route.
It doesn’t have to be that way though. I didn’t make many positive changes to my own life before I was 25 (i’m 34 now). And over the past 7+ years I have received thousands of emails from readers of all ages – between 14 and 72 – that have told me about how they have recently changed their life in a positive way.
You may not be able to change your life in any way you want right now. But work with what you have where you are right now.
Make just a small change if that is what is possible. That small change and success will give you confidence and optimism and you can build upon that to make more and perhaps even bigger changes over the year.
2. Don’t make mountains out of molehills.
“If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you’ve got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience.”
It is easy to let thoughts spin out of control. To let them grow from just one thought or one situation into a big thing in your mind.
So what can you do about it?
One thought combination that has helped me with this habit is to:
- Step 1: Say stop right away. If you have read anything I have written about self-esteem then you may have seen that I often mention using a stop-word or phrase. This also works well for optimism.
In this case it simply means that as soon as you become aware of that you are starting to make a mountain out of a molehill you say or shout STOP! or something similar in your mind. I tend to use the phrase: No, no, no, we are not going down that road again.
- Step 2: Broaden the perspective. After I have used my stop-phrase I ask myself this about the perceived problem: Will this matter in 5 years? Or even 5 weeks? The answer is almost always no. And my mind is once again more chill, calm and level-headed.
3. Find a more helpful way to view your troubles.
“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.”
“If you will call your troubles experiences, and remember that every experience develops some latent force within you, you will grow vigorous and happy, however adverse your circumstances may seem to be.”
Not all troubles in life are molehills (or simply made out of air).
And these more substantial challenges can easily to get drag you down.
But if you view them in a helpful and optimistic way then, yes, they may still hurt. But they tend to often hurt a lot less and can even be a source of optimistic excitement.
For example, I did not to like making mistakes or failing at all. I often chose to stand still and to not do anything to not risk anything.
But nowadays I have learned that these things tend to truly be a blessing in disguise.
What has changed?
I view them differently and act upon them differently than I used to. I ask myself:
- What is one opportunity in this situation?
- How will this experience help me in the long run?
These questions help me to make good use of a situation that may seem negative at first.
And after having gone through this process over and over again I am a lot less afraid of making mistakes or failing. Because by now I know from experience that by handling challenges in this way I have gained many benefits and grown as a person over the past years.
4. Focus on the small steps you can take.
“Having a positive mental attitude is asking how something can be done rather than saying it can’t be done.”
Focus on what you can do about your situation and take action on. Not on asking yourself over and over why something happened to you or why you failed. That will only lead to pessimism and feeling powerless.
Instead, ask yourself: what is one small step I can take today to get the ball rolling and improve this situation?
Just take that one small step today. Then another tomorrow. The small steps tend to add up quickly and, as I mentioned above, will breed confidence and optimism that allow you to take more and bigger steps.
5. Learn to reduce and handle worries.
“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”
Worries can be very destructive.
But most of the things you fear will happen never happen. They are just nightmares or monsters in your own mind. And if they happen then they will most often not be as painful or bad as you expected. Worrying is most often just a waste of the time you have here.
I know, this is easy to say. But what can you do about it?
What has worked for me is a similar combination to the one that I mentioned above.
- Say stop. I first use my stop phrase: No, no, no, we are not going down that road again.
- Look back into the past. Then I ask myself a question based on Churchill’s quote: how many of my worries and things I feared came into my reality in the past? The answer is always the same for me: very few.
These two steps help me to calm down and to think more clearly about things once again
Life Is a Battle!
Exhaustion Is Not a Status Symbol
How Does the Militarization of Fitness Affect Your Workout?
- No pain, no gain. You have to suffer to get in shape.
- More is always more. Duh.
- Working out is not fun, but it's an obligation.
- If I don’t almost throw up, I’m holding back too much.
- You’re only as good as your last workout.
- I feel like a loser when I miss a workout.
So What’s the Other Option?
Using Intensity Wisely and Normalizing Discomfort
With the holiday weekend approaching, I wanted to remind you about a couple of excellent resources for healthy AND tasty recipes. Its all about the mindset: Try not thinking about passing on high fat, processed and recreational sugary foods as depriving yourself. What you are truly depriving yourself of when you choose these options is good health.
Enjoying a quality of life and health expressed in your personal Vision of Wellness is a freedom worth fighting for!
Heart Healthy Recipes (American Heart Association)
Healthy Recipes (American Diabetes Association)
Enjoy a Freedom Fighting Holiday!
Yours Truly In Health,
I have been following Geneen Roth since 1986. She continues to inspire me:
Last week, when I was at a gas station filling the tank, washing my windshield, checking the oil, and adding little whooshes of air to my tires, I noticed a woman in the car next to me eating a piece of pizza. And then another. And then the entire pizza. After that, she ate a box of donuts and a carton of ice cream. I wanted to walk over to her and say, “Oh, honey, tell me what’s going on….” Then I remembered that when I was bingeing, I would have run down anything that stood between me and food. So I decided to preserve my life and not interrupt the Binge Trance. Still, I couldn’t get her out of my mind for the rest of the day.
Bingeing used to thrill me. From the moment I decided to binge, to the hunting and gathering of the food that would be its centerpiece, through the eating (um, inhaling) of those foods, I would be heart-pounding, eyes-gleaming enthralled.
A binge had the power to stop time. To stop everything that was disturbing me: the worries, the nitty-gritty tasks I was avoiding, the arguments I was having with a friend or family member. Bingeing was a way to sidestep my life and enter a world in which nothing existed but me and food. It was, as I’ve called it in my books, “a plunge into oblivion.”
The hardest part of bingeing was, natch, when I reached the end. The last bite would be taken, and I’d be surrounded by the evidence of my romp (which was really more like a rampage) through the grocery store: empty cans, crumpled cellophane packages, torn cardboard boxes. I’d end a binge feeling unbearably full – and incredibly empty. Only now I had added another layer of pain to my list of pre-binge worries: my seemingly out-of-control relationship to food and my ever-increasing body size. The truth was that rather than take any of my pain away, I’d just doubled it by bingeing, and the resulting desperation was almost unbearable.
Having paid close attention to my many binges, and having been asked countless binge questions over the years, I think I’ve gleaned some wisdom that’s worth sharing.
First, we all need to have built-in plunges into oblivion. We need to give ourselves permission to check out from the frantic, overwhelming pace of our lives. If you watch small children, you’ll see that they race around madly and then collapse. They put out huge amounts of energy, and then they need to rest. We’re like that, too, but we’ve forgotten about the downtime part.
We think we can be on the run endlessly and be fine.
The rhythm of exertion needs to be followed by rest. There is a time to run around and a time to plunge into oblivion. If we don’t build the latter into our lives, we suffer. Either we become utterly exhausted or we sneak a plunge on the sly, sometimes while sitting in a car at a gas station. We grab time for ourselves by bingeing, and because we don’t feel we’re allowed the luxury of downtime, we end up hurting ourselves.
Downtime is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. The food-free version could include reading, knitting, even watching soap operas. But if you are so tired that you can’t imagine doing one more thing, what you should do is simple: nothing. Even for five minutes a day. If it’s too outlandish to consider resting and either doing nothing or doing what you love, then it’s time to take a second look at how you’ve constructed a life that includes everyone but you.
I also have some advice on what you can do when you find yourself knee-deep in the Binge Trance. Try to become aware of the part of you that is separate from the activity, the part that is witnessing what you are doing and saying, “Wow, I am sitting in my car at a gas station by myself surrounded by $50 worth of pizza and donuts – I wonder what’s going on?” Pay attention to that voice at least as much as you are paying attention to the next bite. Be curious about what you are doing.
And at the very least, taste the food you are eating. My experience in bingeing – whether it’s on two cookies or an entire cake – is that I am so caught up in getting the food in my mouth, I forget to taste it, to enjoy it. And as long as you are eating, you might as well enjoy it. If bingeing is the only time you give yourself permission to eat your favorite foods, why let the moment pass you by without noticing the crunch of those foods? Since binges are a way to give yourself something, let yourself receive it. The positive by-product of this awareness is that compulsion and mindfulness cannot coexist. Once you become aware of what you are doing, it’s harder to continue with the same momentum.
What if you finish every last bite or drop? What do you say to yourself, how do you treat yourself? I have a three-word directive for coming off a binge: Be unspeakably kind. In the empty fullness left after bingeing, the “I can’t believe you did this again, what’s the matter with you, you are a failure now and forevermore” voices sense a place to step in. And when they do, they roar.
Don’t let them. If they threaten to overtake you, imagine them, as a therapist friend of mine says, as teeny screeching mice the size of your thumbnail. Imagine putting them in a jar and covering it with a very strong lid. Since their squawking can’t hurt you now, treat yourself as if you were doing your very best. Live as if you deserve to be here, regardless of what you have just eaten. And know that every time you remind yourself that you belong here, regardless of what you weigh, you are speaking the truth.
Amazing blog written by my mentor and coach, Ellen Schuman
I Want to Lose Weight
This is “Healthy Weight Week”! Now sponsored by Green Mountain at Fox Run, “Healthy Weight Week is an educational event to help change public perception that weight determines health and that dieting is a viable health solution.”
Oh, if I had a dollar for every time in my life I’ve said, “ I want to lose weight. If I could just lose this weight, I’d be happy ”. Add another 50 cents for every time I felt pressured (Mom, you know who you are) and was told I “should” want to lose weight, I’d be rich!
We’re all bombarded with the messages daily; some overt, some covert….thin equals pretty. Diet commercials encourage me to “Say hello to my new beginning”. Why? Because my current life isn’t worth living if I happen to live at a higher weight than a Victoria’s Secret model? I’m to emulate some now bikini-worthy celebrity who was paid a million plus dollars to live on meal replacements? Or I’m to substitute Special K Cereal products for two of three meals a day, so I can “lose up to 6 lbs. in two weeks”?
A weight loss segment on Good Morning America ends with the two seemingly intelligent women anchors spontaneously saying, in unison, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”. Then, they high five each other and laugh, as if they have just chanted their battle cry, and they’re winning. My hair salon was promoting its hair products and these words were on the cover of the brochure, “Get the Skinny”. We’re talking hair products here! Really? No wonder we feel badly about ourselves. We’re told even our hair is too fat!
Alleged weight loss “experts” on the Biggest Loser (even our family physicians) say, “If you want to lose weight, try behavior modification”. But think about it. Weight is not a BEHAVIOR. What you weigh today is not a “behavior” to be modified. Not sure that’s so? Just talk to people who have tried to “modify weight”, who have spent a fair (sad) portion of their lives focused on their weight, and they’ll tell you they weigh more today than they did the day they accepted dieted as a religion or as a required and acceptable way to live.
So, if you’re ready to,
1) let go of dieting as your way to feel “in control”
2) reject the pursuit of weight loss as a national past time and moral imperative
3) stop believing that weight loss is THE route to health and happiness and, instead, begin to explore new ways to make a life that brings you your best health, energy, and joy…
what do you do next?
My recommendation…embrace SELF-CARE! Focus on healthy behavior, not on weight and weight bias. Develop new healthy habits you’re willing to practice, a step at a time, that will improve your emotional, physical, nutritional, social, and spiritual health…no matter what you happen to weight on any given day.
Begin to feel more at home in and be more loving to your body. Maybe start with gratitude. Notice the many pleasures your body provides; taste, sight, hearing, pleasure of touch, and smell. Your body takes you through each and every day and allows you to experience it all! It provides the pleasure of taking a walk with a friend, watching movies, dancing, making love, enjoying great music, eating great food. Gratitude and self-care can go a long way when it comes to feeling at home in your body.
“Feeling at home in your body,” also means taking ownership and responsibility for your body.Treat it well. Give it great fuel. Take it in for repair, when needed. (Would you treat your car any less well?) Please accept your body as it is now, with weight wherever it happens to be today, along with all of your aches and pains, and challenges. Its the only body you’ll ever have!
Think about it. If you respect your body vs. loathing it, will you be more willing to take good care of it? Will you be much more likely to make healthier choices if your focus is on being as healthy as possible, rather than on being as thin as possible? (Very little I did in my attempts to get thin would be considered healthy, by anyone’s standards.)
Here’s to self-care and to your best health possible! As you take wonderful care of your body, your body will do exactly what it’s naturally meant to do when you treat it well…