Can You Accept Yourself?

Can you truly accept yourself? Fully accept yourself? Just as you, today, in this moment, whatever it brings? So many of us answer a big fat Loud NO. We have all sorts of reasons we aren’t good enough and plenty of ways we could be acceptable … If we’d just ____________ (Get it together). Today lets focus on what we are doing well. 

In what area of your life are you proud of yourself? Really proud of yourself, not in service of your children, parents, employer, or anyone else. Where are you really proud of you, your actions, behaviors, commitment, follow though, etc.
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Why do you love this part of you? What’s so good about it?
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How does it make you great?
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What is a small change you can make right now, today to be a little better at this? Keep in mind sustainable change in lifestyle habits happens in small (think 10%) increments. Must be realistic within your time frame, make it specific, and measurable. This is the SMART goal principle developed by George Doran (1981). You are better off stating “I’ll eat 2 more servings of vegetables today. One at breakfast and one at dinner” rather than “I will eat more healthy today”.
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Next what are you going to do to make this change happen? Here we are looking for a change in behavior. What will you do differently?
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How was that exercise? Easy? Difficult? Were you able to find something you love about yourself? If not, I wonder why not. I may not know you and yet, I do know if you found nothing to be proud of it’s bullshit and old learning. I have seen the under belly of human experience and still find treasures there. It doesn’t have to a huge thing. We are looking for the big AND the small things. For example I was really proud of the way I used a new skill of asking questions this morning while I was talking to my husband. This mattered to me because it helped me be more effective in my communication and if I can use this skill in one more conversation today (2) and add 10% more tomorrow (2.2 conversations) soon I will be having effective communication in more than half my conversations, and then most of them before you know it. With each interaction I will feel a little more mastery (the key to building self-esteem) and pride. As I build those I begin to approve of myself more and more, leading to more and more positive change in my life. So I’ll ask you again …
What’s one thing about you, you can be proud of?
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Follow the above prompts now that you’ve found your thing. If you are still stuck … Maybe that one thing to be proud of is that you don’t give up on this exercise. ?
Know that getting stuck isn’t the problem. We all get stuck. It’s staying stuck that is. The way out of the muck is to shift your thinking. It isn’t easy if you’ve been caught In a negative rut, to turn toward the positive, drop your judgment of yourself and others, and stop listening to the negative vibes of others. Commit to yourself and work on remaining in a positive frame of thought for 10% more of your day today.
If some of these words are too strong for you right now change them to make sense for you. I challenge you to consider why not use these words?
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Does whatever holds you back from using them need to be released?
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Is it an old belief or message you can drop?
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What would happen if you did embrace words like love, great, good enough for yourself as descriptors?
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Fitness on Your Vacation

How do you stay fit on vacation? Strict plans or throw it all out the window? Here’s ideas when far away or nearby spots are calling.

When most of us think of vacation we think about throwing routine out

the window. This is important work. We need to break from routine to begin the process of letting go and rejuvenating. It is also important to have some form of structure in out day, even if minimal. If you are reading this blog I assume you find physical activity to be important in your daily life, even if you don’t know how to make that a regular occurrence. So here’s a guideline to help find exercise balance on your vacation.

First, it’s important to consider your long term goals. Are you currently training to lose weight, gain muscle, compete in an event? If you are scaling back a regular workout using alternative options, such as a shorter run or different terrain may be all that’s needed. If your goals are more around lifestyle and health you may want to consider how sleep, food, and social activities will contribute to your health on vacation.
Second, do a little research. Does your location have a fitness center, classes, a pool, a safe place to run/walk in the area. Many hotels can provide you with a running/walking loop nearby, just ask. Then consider how the options available stack up to your goals. I’ve been in many a hotel fitness center that offered me two cardio options and a lot of cable channels. I have found that having a couple of good fitness apps helps. I like Nike Training Club for easy on the go workouts I don’t have to think about putting together and can use body weight and speed to complete. I also enjoy Nike’s running app to help me track distance, time, and intensity for those places that do not have a pre-outlined route for me to follow.
If you are heading somewhere outside or more primitive consider the lay of the land. Will you be able to paddle, swim, climb, run on sand, hike mountains, work harder just to live outside? These activities all count, however it may feel different to use daily activities as your workouts and you may need to do some pre-trip training to be ready for the physical challenges all day activities may require.
Third, decide on a plan AND it’s ok if you don’t follow it to a T. On a recent trip to the coast of Mexico I created this plan to balance out my all day reading in the sunshine and evenings lounging with friends and family:
Friday – day we left, ran before work since I knew I’d be in the car for a long time.
Sat – off, traveling and relaxing.
Sunday – Beach run – a great way to see the locale and get a feel for the place I was planning to spend most of my time. Ocean swimming and SUP time – leisurely. Building activities into your daily thought process, even if you don’t know when you are going to do them is a great way to stay active on vacation.
Monday – Strength training – in my condo. Using items like door-frames (pull ups/lat work) and a full gallon jug of water (approx 9lbs) I was able to mimic my regular strength set. Adding in balance (1 foot, Russian lunges, bear crawls, and super slow sets) allows for functional training that challenges the core and exhausts muscle without heavier weights/overload. Adding in plyometrics (speed) allows for explosive movement that will also exhausts a muscle under less overload, plus adds a cardio element if you are looking for a quicker way to your goal.
Tues – active rest day – day on the open water fishing excursion. Did some swimming and snorkeling. Not to mention the functional training of standing upright on a rocking boat.
Wed – Yoga – These sessions are gems. I love looking for and finding a local yoga class. It’s always fun to check out a new studio and hope I get enough of the language to figure out what poses come next. Whether I do or not, the end result is still bliss. Plus this balances out my sitting (aka as reading whole novels) and over use of movement patterns like paddling, climbing, hiking if those are a main part of my trip.
Thurs – Strength training – see above. Plus adding in the family activity of playing in the sand, paddling SUPs, and swimming in the surf.
Friday – Beach run – as the vacation comes to a close this allows me to say goodbye and observe from a new set of eyes, not beginner excited ones, but the ones who’ve been looking and are ready to see what’s below the surface. A great skill in life, too.
Sat – off / 1st travel day – if possible on the first leg of the trip, I may attempt to get a short run, yoga session, or paddle in depending on departure time. This allows balance to the sitting of a long drive.
Sun – active rest as I unpack all my memories and practical items like laundry followed by rest night and vacation integration.
Enjoy!

Fitness Apps Keep You on Track

Here’s some apps from Huffington Post to help you track and stay motivated. I just heard a radio spot talking about the success rates of using apps to reach fitness goals. The odds are increased and success rates climb when people are using something to track- apps add another element to tracking – they are in real time, showing calorie breakdowns, exercise benefits, and lots of color to keep your eyeballs happy. Plus many of us keep a phone with us most of the time so our tracking tool is at our fingertips no matter where we are.

One I love that’s not on the list is livestrong.com‘s daily plate. Here’s the list from Huffington Post.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/slideshow/2365811/271246/?icid=hp_healthy-living_gallery

Is your 2014 health goal outside the fitness realm? Adding exercise into your daily routine, increases energy, helps you sleep better, and often leads to more healthy eating. I just read a research article that discussed how exercise cuts cravings for alcohol and makes quitting smoking easier.

 

Planning for Fitness Success

This week’s idea for healthy living = PLANNING

It’s Fall, back to school, and illness season. So planning will be key. If you haven’t paid things forward it will matter that you determine your strategy to get through the season and how to maintain workouts if you get ill. How will you adjust your schedule for busy days or days/weeks you feel like crap. Falling completely off the wagon doesn’t seem to be the best option because most have trouble getting back on – Damn horse ran fast after I fell off – SO … here are some tips for planning balance in your life.

1)      Determine what you can do – maybe you usually workout an hour but the first week of school or during a big project it might be 30min a day or 2 15min segments. Maybe find activities that you can include for calorie burn like parking and walking or picking events with friends that include activities to participate in.

2)      Pay attention to food – if you aren’t working out as much or hard you may need to cut back on calories – often easier when sick than during a busy time. So just notice and maybe choose the salad and lean chicken, smaller portions, or eating less snacks throughout the day – don’t go too long between meals or you’ll tank your blood surgar.

3)      Know this is how healthy living works – life happens, we get sick, go on vacation, have a whole town party for a week where we dress up. Give yourself a break and keep postive. This is the stuff that makes life worth living and if you can strike the balance between healthy eating, working-out, and living you are doing it. Your horse won’t take off with your wagon – you’ll have no trouble living the fitness lifesytle if you have put some effort into planning for life.

Harvesting Your Fitness Garden

Over the summer we’ve been using the metaphor of a garden to represent your fitness and health goals. In June we looked at how you “planted” the seeds of success, in August how you “weeded”, and now it’s time to harvest.

We reap what we sow. If I want a healthy life then I have to do something to get it. Too often I run into clients who tell me how much they want to be fit yet are not willing to make exercise and healthy eating a priority. They continue with the same ole same ole expecting it to be different. They spend a bunch of money buying the latest gear and don’t use it. They exercise sporadically or eat well some of the time but can’t seem to get it together enough to make a dent in their goals. Then they give up and blame age, location, work, family, friends, the weather … you get the picture.

If you decided to plant a fitness garden this summer it is time to harvest. Now is the time to take stock of how well you did, reward your efforts, and make plans for the next phase of your garden. According to my Aunt and Uncle (excellent gardeners) the work you do in the fall (after the harvest) is just as important as the spring (during planting). Here are some things to consider as you “harvest” your fitness garden.

First, how did you do? Did you reach your goals? Did you get close? Do you feel you gave it your best effort? Where could you have done better? This is a time to honestly, without judgment, evaluate your work. What worked for you and what didn’t?

Second, it’s time to take the answer from #1 to determine what you want to do differently. Did you do ok on certain days but struggle with your schedule on others? Did you get your diet right except for weekends? Did you find you could maintain with some friends and not others? Then determine what you will do differently to meet your goals.

Third, determine what you new goals are. Have you decided your original goal wasn’t what you really wanted? Have you decided to participate in an event, like a 5k or long kayak weekend? Is there a new sport or class you’d like to try? Write it down, find a buddy, get the gear you need, and get started with a new dose of motivation.

Once you have an idea of what worked, what didn’t, where you were successful, and what you’d like to change for the next round, it’s time for rewards! What did you decide you’d get if you made your goal? At what levels were you willing to reward yourself? Did you offer yourself a consolation for efforts that didn’t quite reach where you want to be? Allow yourself to savor and honor your efforts. You worked hard. In life it doesn’t always go well and isn’t always easy. It is your ability to make it through the ups and downs that determines success.

Enjoy the journey!

Weeding Your Garden, Getting Back on Track for Your Fitness and Health Goals

We have all done it. Created a goal, started out strong, only to have our motivation leak out of us and suddenly go missing. Before we know it we’ve quit – we just stopped showing up. In June’s post we discussed “planting our garden”, now it’s time to weed it. In order to keep a garden healthy we must get rid of the plants that aren’t helping it grow.

Here are 5 ways to “weed your garden” and stay on track for your fitness and health goals.

  1. Look at your schedule for the last 3 weeks – determine what is soaking up your time, what you can cut out, and where you can schedule in workouts.
  2. Check out your eating habits – have you increased portions, need to get back to your journal, or eliminate the unhealthy choices from your cupboards. Do this now.
  3. Find a workout buddy – either in person or online – someone you can be accountable to and who can be honest with you about your workout and diet behaviors (in a supportive way). This will help as your motivation wanes next time.
  4. Do the above & recommit to yourself to yourself and your goals.
  5. Don’t beat yourself up – progress is measured not by how far you go without falling down, but how quickly you get back up after you do. Life happens and healthy living happens as a result of healthy choices every day. The important thing is to get back to it as quickly as possible!

6 Weeks Till Summer. Are You Beach Ready?

Summer’s just around the corner are you ready? Have you been training consistently? Have you fallen off the wagon? Is it time for the beach body workout to help you get ready to present your best bod this summer? Here are some ideas to get you started (or keep you going) as summer quickly approaches.

First, make a plan. If you’ve been working out it may be time to add intervals in, sign up for a class, or add/change your strength training routine. We are creatures of habit and get locked into doing the same thing over and over. When we continue to do what we are used to the body adapts and isn’t working as hard anymore. Give it a shock by changing up your workout. This will help you work harder while your body works to learn the new movement patterns and routines.

Second, add a day or two to your routine. If you haven’t been working out aim for 3-5 days per week of cardio and 2-3 days of strength training. Flexibility training should be done after each workout and can be done daily for best results. If you are an experienced exerciser aim for 5-6 days a week for cardio and consider how you could break up your strength training to add more intensity,

Finally, take a good look at your diet. Make sure you are eating enough and that your diet is a healthy one. Look to make sure your diet is balanced and made of whole foods of good quality. Try to eat as many nutrient dense foods as you can. These are foods that have the best nutrition / calorie. This way you’ll be able to keep your caloric intake under control while supporting your body to get the most nutrients possible.

Get Ready Beach Here We Come!

5 Ways to Get Around Workouts and Weather

So you think you’re pretty committed to your fitness routine but whenever the weather doesn’t do it your way you are no where near your exercise plan. Hmmmm, are you letting the weather dictate how your workouts go? If so it’s time to get the right gear and commit to yourself. Here’s 5 ways to get around the weather. 

  1. Get the right gear. Rain, wind, snow, sleet all can derail a good plan in no time. Having the right gear can help you stay focused even if the weather isn’t cooperating.
  2. Find a Buddy as committed as you. It’ll help on those gray sky days.
  3.  Have a back up plan. Do you have a gym you an hit if the weather doesn’t comply.
  4. Schedule a couple of times on those days you have a heads up about storms. If you miss the morning workout hopefully you’ll be able to make and afternoon time.
  5. Double up on another day that week. If you miss a workout try to make it up the next day by increasing the intensity of your regular workout and leaving time to make up the missed one.

3 Ways to Reach Your Fitness Goals

So we are almost a month into your New Year’s Resolutions. How are you doing? Have you been able to make your daily and weekly goals? or Is you motivation waning and you have forgotten what had you so ready to take on this task? Here is 3 steps to getting back on track and keep yourself moving toward your goals.

Review what progress you have made – you did start something. Review what you have done even if it was only a day or a week. Recall how it felt to have accomplished that first day. Reflect on what was so motivating then.

If you didn’t write it down then. Write it down now.

What are you working towards?

What are you willing to do each day to accomplish it?

How long will it take you? (losing a pound / week is recommended for healthy lifestyle change)

What was your big obstacle? What caught you and kept you from reaching your goal so far? Was it your schedule? Was it support (or lack of it) from friends and family? This isn’t a place to find failure but learning. So look at what went wrong and make a decision about what you can do differently and start again. START AGAIN!!!

The path to success isn’t about never having set backs. It’s about how many times you have a set back and how you get back up. So if you have fallen off the New Year’s Resolution wagon this year. JUST get back on.

Dressing Up Your Fitness

Here we are in October, the month of costumes and scare tactics. As you reflect upon the challenge you took last month – committing to three months of fitness routines – I wonder how you are doing? This is a great time to look at your own scare tactics and how you’ve dressed up your excuses.

One thing guaranteed about life is it’s going to change and the other thing … that’s it’s not always easy. Most of us have a great thing called our brain which is very good at talking us into and out of ideas, goals, and behaviors. So today look closely at how you are talking yourself out of exercise and other healthy behaviors you’ve committed to.

How do you dress up your excuses? Do you use them as masks to hide behind? Do you allow them to be the monologue of your life, “It will never work, I can’t, or if only _____”. Do you use these same excuses in other challenging situations? I wonder what purpose they are serving? We don’t do anything (even that which seems harmful) we don’t get something out of. So figure out what you are getting out of making that excuse and decide if it’s worth it. For me sometimes time with my family is worth my workout but it’s not something I use to forgo the whole plan.

What kinds of scare tactics to you use? Do you tell yourself, “I won’t be able to, I have to avoid, I don’t deserve ______”? These are what is called avoidance goals and they are not as effective long term as approach goals. Sure you’ll make some change in the beginning but over time telling yourself you can’t have that extra piece of cake or you won’t get to do your favorite activity gets old. You end up throwing the whole goal out because your want is greater in the moment and you feel like you can’t win anyway.

You are better off to create approach goals. Ones with positive outcomes. Not only does reward systems work better they last longer than punishment based systems. So create your optimum reward system so not only are you reaching your goals but enjoying getting there too. Life can be pretty sweet when you focus on the process not the perfection.