Pregnancy Update – Half way!

SO, a lot has happened since my last blog over a year ago. I took a break from the online world. My little family picked up and moved half way across the country. I’ve met lots of new friends and got a new job. AND my body is currently working on making our little family a little less…. little. 🙂

The thing is I’ve been wanting to get back to blogging for a while now, but it wasn’t until just recently that I started noticing some self talk that went a little something like this: “I want to get back into writing but it’s been so long now! I can’t just….start it back up. People keep asking about the pregnancy. I should blog about that….but I’m already halfway through. It’d be weird to start now.”

I know it doesn’t really make any sense, but I think this is part of what was holding me back. Some weird idea that people care that much that they are going to sit there and judge me on how long it’s been since I last wrote.

The worst part is I realized that mindset had managed to bleed into a number of areas in my life and it was really affecting my thoughts and my actions. That’s when I knew I had to shut that down and just start. After all, who cares how long it’s been?! If it’s something you want to do, if it’s important to you, then go do it! Do it right now!!

So here I am. Writing my first pregnancy update at 22 weeks pregnant. 🙂

First and foremost, I’ve realized that even though many friends, clients, and family members have had babies, it turns out I knew surprisingly little about pregnancy. Ha ha. One of the first lessons I have learned is this:

http://chefogadgets.com/pma/index.php Comparison is futile. 

Surprise, surprise. 😉

At the beginning I kept trying to figure out exactly how much weight I should be gaining each week and googling if this and that was normal and looking at where other women were. But the longer I went and the more stories I heard, the more I realized that there is very little that can be pointed to as “this is what every pregnancy is like”. 

I actually have two family members and two friends who are also pregnant right now and we are all due within a 5 month span! Considering that a lot of my friends are already past this stage, I’m absolutely delighted to be going through this with some really good friends. But it’s also been kinda funny because each one of us seems to be having a pretty different experience.

So it’s been a process and a bit of a fight at times, but I think I’m getting better at just trying to take it all in and enjoy MY first experience with this.

For me, that looks like nausea and fatigue setting in at about 8 weeks. Nausea came and went throughout the day, but was pretty constant at night. There were many nights I didn’t get off the couch at all. Thank you Lord for my awesome husband!

I never had any really strong aversions to meat like a lot of women do. Sure it didn’t sound as appetizing as usual, but I could still eat it. My biggest aversion was actually to water. I really struggled to drink water during the first trimester which is probably why I craved smoothies and juicy fruits like oranges, watermelon, and pineapple. That and sweets…and ALL the peanut butter. 😀

I also did not realize just how much your digestion slows down!! And wow, it took me many, many tummy aches to finally realize that I couldn’t eat anywhere close to what I was used to eating.

My workouts definitely started to take a hit around that time as well. I really hoped I’d be one of those women that just continued doing everything she was doing before, (and I got my hopes up when I was still rocking normal workouts at the 7 week mark) but then lifting weights got really tough. My strength felt like it had evaporated over night. It honestly felt like I could feel my energy draining with each rep. It would take me an hour to get through what normally would have taken me 15-20 minutes, with the other 40 minutes spent laying on the floor trying to convince myself to get up and do the next exercise! So I kept cutting back the weight and cutting back the weight until I finally had to give up the weights and just stick to a few bodyweight exercises (a few times a week) and walking.

I wish I would have known that was normal to begin with. I probably would have gone a little easier on myself and enjoyed it up a little more, but I definitely struggled with some guilt for not being the healthiest, fittest prego. There a number of pregnant women at the gym that have continued to rock their workouts and I had heard about how “you have all this extra motivation now to do it for your child!”…. Yeah, not me. (And I’m back to my first lesson.)

I’ve had to let go of a lot of expectations and preconceived notions, but that just makes me extra thankful for all the work God had done on me and my mindset around my health and body leading up to this. Also for the fact that He is sovereign and I can trust that He is knitting this little one together exactly as He had planned from the beginning of time.

Now that I’m in the second trimester, I’m happy to report that at about 14 weeks my nausea faded and my energy increased. I walk daily and get 2-3 strength training sessions a week. I have been able to add weights back in but at about half the intensity and weight I was doing before. But I’m just thankful I feel good enough to do that!

I’ve definitely lost a lot of strength and I’ve gotten a little softer and bigger just about everywhere between my shoulders and my knees. And I’ve struggled with finding what moderation looks like http://tagthecat.com.au/https://plus.google.com/ TagthecatAustralia for me during pregnancy. Everyone is more than willing to give me a free pass to do and eat whatever I want, but I know that that’s not what will really make me feel my best mentally or physically. On the other hand, I want to honor the signals my body is sending me and trust that it’ll tell me what it needs in order to best grow and nourish our little human.

Overall, it has been is a really good time of reflection and practicing preaching truth to myself. Truth about the value of discipline, but also truths about what’s really important and where my value and worth really lie.

My body is creating life within it right now!! I know every pregnant woman likes to point that out, but I never really felt the weight of it until now and it is truly amazing. So what if my butt seems to be trying to keep up with my stomach! Ha ha!

For those who have been asking me if I’m showing and also those who tell me I’m not, here’s a pic from last week….

And to end, some non-health, fitness, mindset related stuff:

  • My innie belly button is still that…for the time being. 😉
  • I’ve learned that peeing all the time isn’t just for the end stages where the baby is resting on your bladder.
  • I’m now having to choose my yoga pants for work based on how long I’ll be there. I save my stretchiest pants for the longer days. So, all the mamas reading, what were your fave brands for maternity clothing/activewear?
  • I’m just now starting to get a little more uncomfortable sleeping. Boo. 🙁
  • 20 weeks is when I really started feeling baby kick. It’s also when we found out that it’s a BOY!

So there you have it! There’s so much to look forward to and yet so much that one could easily stress and worry about. I recently saw a post on instagram from Michelle Myers. She suggested that whenever you catch yourself thinking, “how am I going to do this?”, turn it around and say, “I can’t wait to see how God does this!”. I LOVE this so much and it’s been a very helpful practice for me over the last few months. 🙂

And just like, BAM! First blog is done.

Creative Gifts for Your Fitness Friends

It’s that time of year again!! Here is my 2nd annual Christmas Fitness Gift List! I did a whole bunch of good stuff last year, so I wanted to mix it up and get a little more creative this year. Hope you enjoy…. (click on the bold words for links).

lifting fave

Spikeball

I was introduced to this game this summer and it is SO fun! Seriously, go get it.

Fleece-lined yoga pants

These pants are awesome! $16.99 at Costco and they are so soft, I might never talk them off. Need I say more?? 🙂

Qalo Rings

The hubs can’t drum in his wedding ring, so he got one of these silicone rings for his last tour and loves it. When it comes to lifting weights, wearing your rings is kind of a no no as they can get scratched or worn down. This is great alternative for anyone with an active job or lifestyle and most of the rings are $20 or less! Now if I could only decide on a color….

silicone rings

Winter headphones

Even though it’s winter, the dogs still need their exercise and I still like to get outside and walk when possible. These are ear warmers with headphones inside so I can still listen to my favorite tunes or podcasts!

Cooling towel

This is great for those who always feel like they’re overheating during a workout! I like to feel warm and break a sweat, so I didn’t think I’d care. But I got a few for some friends, so I figured I’d get one for myself too and it’s actually a nice little refreshment in-between sets!

FlapJacked pancake mixes

Pancake mixes that are high in fiber and protein? Yes please! I’m pretty attached to this protein pancake recipe I found recently, but I’ve been hearing good things about this brand so far.

protein pancake

Spiralizer

I love the idea but I will admit that I’ve had one of these for quite a while and haven’t used it yet. Well I recently came upon this website that has TONS of recipes for a number of different veggies, so now I’m super excited to try it out!

Adult Coloring Books

I love this idea so much. Adult coloring books are becoming all the rage as a relaxation technique. Apparently coloring has been shown to lower stress as it helps our mind concentrate on something other than our worries. It’s a great way to slow down and relax while also bringing out our imagination and creativity. I already liked to color, but now I have reason to do it for my health!

adult coloring book

 

Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss – Georgie Fear

Some of the most sound and sustainable nutrition advice I’ve read. The 4 Core Habits are worth the price alone!

The Power of Full Engagement – Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

The premise of the book is that energy, not time, is the key to full engagement. It will show you how to use rest and renewal to perform at your best and also to be more present in your life. Highly recommend!

Daily Action Planner

Yes, I still like using an actual physical planner. 🙂 These are cute little planners that are a little more in depth for day-to-day stuff. They are a little more expensive which is why it’s the perfect gift! I love getting stuff that I want but wouldn’t necessarily buy for myself.

Whether you’re an organizer extraordinaire or more of a free spirit, it’s really helpful to sit down and at least put the major things on the schedule and write out priorities for the week. Writing it down eases stress, saves on willpower, and it also holds you accountable…all things that are good for your health and fitness goals!

schedule

Joel’s Pick – Yoga for Regular Guys

As a drummer, Joel decided at the beginning of the year that he needed to make a more concerted effort to work on some problem areas in his back and flexibility. So he found this dvd set called Yoga for Regular Guys and after not quite a year of doing it, it’s really helped with both. It’s also given him some new fitness goals to shoot for and he’s really enjoyed it!

Body Image: Men, Women, and Mutual Responsibility

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” ~Ephesians 2:3-4

I recently saw a post on Instagram where the user was upset about the phrase “Modest is Hottest” because they felt that the phrase teaches girls that they are responsible for other people’s thoughts. While I don’t really have strong feelings either way concerning the specific phrase, it did get me thinking….

First of all, this same user really likes to go after the media for their unrealistic standards of beauty and body image. I have no problem with this, but couldn’t the media just respond to the user by making the exact same point?? Like, “Hey, when it comes to our pictures we are not responsible for your thoughts or how you take them.”
Second, children will learn from us whether we want them to or not, but do any of us just throw our hands up and say, “Hey, I can’t be held responsible for what they think”?? No.
Third, why are we so against the idea of helping each other out when it comes to this topic of modesty??

The fact is that we have some pretty serious issues when it comes to how we perceive health and beauty and body image in our culture and I think we all – men & women alike – share in the blame for this. Just like all the images we’re bombarded with by the media, we’re exposed to our own and other peoples thoughts and words even more so and they do affect u.

body image

 

I think we have every right to ask for better from the media and from each other. Because, while ultimately we may not be responsible for anyone else’s thoughts, we are all kind of stuck in this together.

Call it common curtesy or compassion or kindness or whatever you want, but why wouldn’t we want to try to help each other out if we can?

We may not be able to change the media, but I do think there are a few ways we can start making a change now to help each other out:

1) Talk kindly to and about yourself

“As a child, I never heard one woman say to me: ‘I love my body.’ Not my mother, my elder sister, my best friend. Not one woman has ever said: ‘I am so proud of my body.’….. I never heard positive reinforcement about body image from any female in my life. I only heard negatives. That’s very damaging because then you’re programmed as a young woman to immediately scrutinize yourself and how you look.”
~ Kate Winslet

real beauty

I still remember the first time my littlest sister said something really negative about herself. She was only 8 years old maybe and I thought, where did she even get that?!? Well, she grew up hearing her sisters talk negatively about their bodies and her mom and probably every other woman as well.

When I read this quote by Kate Winslet, I realized I’ve never heard a woman say it either. In fact, it makes me a little uncomfortable thinking about saying it about myself. WHY?? Because like it or not, we get taught how to think about certain things.  No matter how detrimental and wrong that is, it’s hard to undo years of a certain way of thinking. It’s going to take us getting serious about how we talk to and about ourselves. It’s gotta start with us.

2) Compliment each other on things other than outer appearance

I love this practice because it forces us to look past the outer layer and go deeper. It also helps the other person by pointing out a great thing about them that has nothing to do with their appearance. I’m not suggesting that we can’t mention when a person looks nice, of course, but getting a compliment on how patient or encouraging or funny you are tends to mean more, doesn’t it? 🙂

body image

**Side note on compliments: I’m not trying to get overly critical; this is just a word of caution. I was trying on dresses with some friends a few months ago, and one of the girls made a comment about how nice it would be if we all had a body like another one of the girls in the group. I know it was meant as a compliment to that specific girl, but it’s kind of a deflating thing for everybody else. It clearly shows that one girl is already comparing herself and can easily lead to everyone doing so. Since becoming more aware of it, I’ve noticed a lot of common compliments are comparative or play into our narrow definition of beauty or put someone down in order to lift another up. It’s just something to think about.

3) Can we all just stop the ogling please?!

I know we are visual creatures. But come on ladies, if you don’t want men to treat you like a piece of meat, then don’t turn around and do it to them. What are we, in second grade?? Ha ha! But seriously….. 😛

Obviously, you can’t help it if you find the guy on the screen attractive. But you know what you can help? Drooling and ogling and commenting on his body in front of your man. Even if your guy acts like it doesn’t bother him, just remember how those comments have affected you. Plus, what benefit is there for anyone involved?

male body image

This goes both ways of course, but in the last 10 years, the media has really begun to target men and define what the “perfect” man looks like…..hairless, six-pack abs, ripped, V-shape, defined jaw. It’s no different than what they’ve been doing to women for years and yet, instead of fighting it, we’re jumping on the bandwagon, saying, “Hey they do it to us!”

I’m not trying to make mountains out of molehills. But, if we want things to change, I just don’t see how giving our men and boys their own body image issues is going to help anything. We have to rise above it and be the change instead.

Practicing these things is mutually beneficial for everyone. If we focused a little less on the outside, I think it could only lead to more satisfied, healthier, and confident people. A satisfaction in things that are not so fleeting and superficial. Health that goes beyond some unrealistic ideal look. A confidence that is not built on what is wasting away, but on our worth as men and women who have been made in the image of God. Whether we are doing it for ourselves, our children, or for others, everybody wins. Someone who radiates love and joy, that is the kind of beauty that draws in, builds up, and sustains us.

So what do you say? Let’s step up and take responsibility. Let’s demand better from ourselves and each other as we work to build each other up. Let’s be the change.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” ~ Ephesians 4:29

A new way to think about food (p.3)

So I’ve been going through a pretty big mindset shift that’s really altered my concept of “healthy eating” and how I relate to food. I gotta say, it’s been a total game-changer in the best way possible. I think a lot of these ideas have kind of been floating around in the back of my mind for some time now, but there were a few missing links that made it so I couldn’t see the whole picture. When I finally did, it instantly resonated with me and made so much sense! I’m so excited about it and have so much to say about it that I’m writing my 3rd blog in a row on the subject! (Here is part 1 and part 2 to read for yourself if you’re interested.)

The biggest takeaway for me has been that in becoming so completely focused on what we eat, we’ve lost sight of all the other aspects that make up a truly healthy relationship with food – which in my opinion, instead of being called “healthy” or “clean”, should just be called normal eating.

Seriously, what IS clean eating anyways?!

 

On the one hand, I knew that strict diets didn’t jive with my concept of what healthy eating should look like. On the other hand, when it comes to food and body image, the black and white thinking is so prevalent that I didn’t realize just how much of it had still imbedded itself pretty deeply in my own mind. That’s what recently came to the surface and allowed me to fill in some of the missing links.

So for part 3, I just wanted to share how it’s been going since this “shift” occurred along with some of the insights I’ve already gained. Changing the way you’ve thought about something and consequently what you’ve been practicing for years doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process, but wow, it’s been an extremely freeing and exciting one.

Building self-trust

“I believe that the guilt we associate with food is far more detrimental to us than the food itself.” ~Dr. Eric Cobb

Fully letting go of “good” and “bad” categories and the guilt associated with certain foods is going to take time. But so far, I’m finding that it’s helped me with two really big mindset hurdles:

1) True abundance

The abundance mindset is the mentality that says, “There’s always more where that came from”, whereas the scarcity mindset says, “There will never be enough”. Allowing myself the option to really eat whatever I want WITHOUT GUILT takes away any lingering feelings of the scarcity mindset or the urge to put certain foods up on a pedestal.

2) Owning my food choices

We put so much guilt & pressure on ourselves when it comes to the way we eat, myself included. This truth was big missing link for me. Once I had this piece and realized how it had impacted my own choices and others, I’ve adapted to it pretty easily. Not only is it incredibly freeing for me, but I think it’s important for people to see me eating normally and owning it. No comments about “being bad” or “cheat day” or what I “should” get. I know what works for me, what I can get away with, what else I’ve had that day, as well as how I’m feeling, and that means that sometimes you will find me digging into a salad and other times it’s pancakes and eggs. I don’t need to explain my choices to you and I want you to know that you don’t need to explain yours to me. I don’t eat perfectly and that’s OK.

Aaahh, the sweet taste of freedom…nom nom nom. 😀

Taking a break from what and focusing on how and why 

If you read part 2, then you know that for a while I got caught up in what this professor or that magazine was saying is best and I basically put aside any signals from my body in favor of what I thought I should be eating.

I have always been a naturally slow eater, so I’m pretty good at that how. However, during the last few months, I’ve been practicing tuning back into my hunger signals and eating only when I’m actually hungry (which is my why). What this looks like for me is a lot less snacking, but more enjoyment of the meals I do eat because I’m actually hungry for them. Whodda thunk?? Duh. 😛

Finding the balance

The idea of no longer feeling guilty about any foods is so incredibly freeing that it can be easy to swing all the way over to the other side of just eating whatever you want, whenever you want. BUT, just like how viewing healthy eating as black & white and constantly restricting yourself and feeling guilty is not freedom, eating out of compulsion isn’t either.

Moderation is freedom from extremes…. and guilt, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still discipline involved.

I’m not completely ignoring the what. After all, I’ve put a lot of time and work into focusing on that and building habits around that. But I’ve also spent SO MUCH TIME thinking about the what that I’ve found a much needed mental break by easing up on it for a while. I can eat anything I want, but only when I’m hungry and I must stop before I’m full. That’s what I’m practicing right now.

So to be completely transparent, I had pizza 3 times last week and I enjoyed it guilt-free every time (mostly…like I said, work in progress. ;)).

According to this study, when you eat foods you enjoy, you feel more satisfied! I’m pretty skeptical of most studies these days, but this one sure seems to just make sense, right?!

Appreciating my body

As I talked about in my last blog, the illusion of the perfect body lends itself to unsustainably strict eating practices. I honestly believe that the best way to improve your health (whether it be your body or diet) is from a place of love and not self-loathing. Plus, I can’t stand the idea of spending my whole life only being able to appreciate my “bodies” from the past and never my current one. So here are a few of things that help me fight for contentment now:

beth burns fitness

*Become an expert in all the great things about your body and what it does for you. Do not allow yourself to talk bad about yourself. Seriously, stop that and start a running list of why your body rocks!

*Fight comparison. When I say fight, I mean it’s on. It’s an all-out war and your health and contentment are at stake. If you’re not fighting it, you’re losing.

*Remember that your identity and worth are so much more than the outer shell. My $0.02? You were made in the image of the almighty God – which makes you beautiful. And you are worth so much that He sacrificed His son in order to save you. Remind yourself of this every day.

 

I saw this blog the other day where different health professionals were defining normal eating. So to sum up, here’s mine:

Normal eating is enjoying food in a flexible way so that it enhances your body, mind, and life…
…which means sometimes having more and sometimes having less, sometimes having the treat and sometimes not.
It is free from guilt, idealism, and extremes, but not discipline.
It is listening to and honoring your body by feeding it when it needs to be fed and stopping when it needs to stop.
It’s being able to enjoy a wide variety of foods while owning your food choices because you know that food does not define you.
It’s knowing and believing that food is just food.
Nothing more and nothing less.

That’s my definition. What’s yours??

Changing the way we think about food (part 1)

“Healthy eating” isn’t about only eating “healthy” food. It’s about having a healthy relationship with ALL the food you eat. ~Angela Doll Carlson

For the last few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about what a healthy relationship with food looks like and why it is so important. After doing some reading on it, I’m amazed at all the things I’ve never really considered and I’m seeing the connection between how we relate to food and many of our most common food struggles.nutrition

The thing is that food is not in and of itself a moral issue and yet, “we’ve convinced ourselves that the definition of healthy eating is black and white—and that we, by association, are either virtuous or sinful, depending on what we’ve eaten recently. Never mind the fact that this completely ignores what else we’ve eaten that day, what we will be eating, what our specific medical conditions are, and what our individual health goals are.” (Robin Hilmantel)

In all fairness, it’s hard not to think this way when every diet and magazine has a list of good and bad foods and every food zealot out there acts like you are an idiot or a terrible person if you do or don’t eat certain foods. I’ve definitely been guilty of this kind of black and white thinking. While this way of thinking might not seem like that big of a deal (in a lot of ways it feels easier), in the end it leads to a number of issues.

Here’s why I think we need to get rid of this way of thinking and why it’s actually NOT easier…

1) The all-or-nothing mindset

I think we can all agree that the all-or-nothing mindset does not serve us when it comes to building healthy and sustainable habits. Yet, so many of us struggle with it!!

This idea that you’re either on or you’re off based on whatever makes the good list in your mind makes each meal and everything you eat seem like a big deal. We start thinking that we are always just one meal away from failure. In other words, no matter how well you might have eaten the rest of the day or week or month, most of us can easily get completely thrown off by one bad meal or day.

No one is good at handling that much pressure and stress day in and day out, every time they sit down to eat, without eventually cracking. When the stress becomes too much, we go “off” our perfect plan until we get sick of how we feel and/or look, at which point we go back “on”, thus perpetuating the vicious cycle of binging and depriving.

2) Focusing only on what 

Here’s the thing: what you eat isn’t as important as we’ve all made it out to be and how you eat is more important than most of us tend to believe.

The human body is an awesome thing. It’s incredibly smart, adaptive, and resilient. It was built to survive. It only makes sense that it would already come with a built-in system that’s really good at letting us know how and what to eat. Unfortunately, instead of listening to our body, most of us eat based on what we’ve heard or think is “best” and have completely lost the ability to tap into the natural signals our body is sending us.

Because guess what….there is no one-size-fits-all! Our bodies are different and therefore, can handle different things. All we have to do is be willing to pay attention.

“In fact, experts agree that we were born with the ability to eat based on our body’s cues. But often, we train ourselves to ignore what our body is telling us because it doesn’t fall in line with what we feel like we “should” eat—or what others are telling us we should be eating.” ~Robin Hilmantel

This leads us right into number 3….

3) Food guilt

food guilt

“I believe that the guilt we associate with food is far more detrimental to us than the food itself.” ~Dr. Eric Cobb

For most of us there is a huge amount of guilt and shame that goes along with eating and food choices.

When I became a personal trainer, I noticed that people were all of the sudden starting to pay more attention to what I ate. Some were just curious, while others were definitely judging. But then I realized this wasn’t just a problem for trainers. Everybody was paying attention to what everyone else was eating and debating between what they wanted versus what they thought they should get, then feeling the need to explain their choices or comment on other people’s choices.

This is the good or bad list coming into play again. It creates this severe lack of self trust, so that we’re either choosing things based on what we think the people around us will approve of or we feel guilty about what we got. Since guilt and enjoyment can’t really co-exist, most of us have lost that true enjoyment that should come from eating.

This is not the way it should be, and yet, it’s the norm for most of us. Health is supposed to enhance our lives, not make it more burdensome. This is why we need to start changing the way we think about food.

I hope this stuff is as eye-opening and fascinating and helpful to you as it is to me. This stuff is so prevalent and there’s even more to it that I can’t wait to share with you guys, so check out part 2 (about one the biggest reasons we struggle with food) and part 3 (my experiences with a new way of thinking about food and my definition of normal eating)!

 

Getting back to “after”

“We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turn, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”  ~C.S. Lewis

This post is for those who have the before and after pics and who, for whatever reason, have found themselves back at the “before” picture. Unfortunately I encounter this a lot. In fact, I’ve been there before! Maybe not to the extreme of most, but I have absolutely been there. In college, I had my eating locked down. It wasn’t anything super strict but I was disciplined and balanced. I ate moderately, listened to my body, and I looked great. Then I started reading fitness magazines and following a bunch of fitness people and I lost my way. Instead of listening to my body, I blindly followed whatever newest “thing” that was supposed to give me that perfect body. Instead of making small reasonable changes, I tried to overhaul the whole system at once. It did lead to some weight gain, but even worse it lead to years of eating extremes.

beth burns fitness

Whatever your specific experience is, it’s one of the most disheartening and frustrating things. Add in the mind games we play with ourselves and the second, or third, time around becomes That. Much. Harder. So how do we do it? How do we get back to where we want to be and then stay there??

Here are a few things I’ve taken away from my experience…..

Learn from the 1st time

Learn to fail or fail to learn. ~Tal Ben Shahar

The only way the first experience becomes a waste is if you don’t learn from it and use it to help yourself make better choices this time around. Sometimes the answer is simple: you got hurt and got out of the routine. Sometimes it’s more complicated, but here are 2 of the biggest reasons I find when talking with clients:

1) The way you achieved your results was unsustainable for your life and enjoyment.

Maybe for a time, it seemed worth it to give up all your favorite foods and your social life. Until you achieved the desired results and started to realize it wasn’t enough and you wanted more out of life. Unfortunately, when you only know “on” or “off”, the only option is “off”. Find a plan that allows for some middle ground!

2) Your mindset.

Many assume they can go back to eating however they want after they achieve their desired physique. Maybe you never figured out how to make healthy eating and regular workouts enjoyable enough to keep them up when the going got tough. For me, I was so critical of myself. I never gave myself a win. I never learned how to appreciate and love my body, so I never felt like my results were good enough and that led me to keep searching for something new even when I was healthy, my eating was solid and balanced, and I looked the way I did.

I cannot even begin to tell you how huge and impactful working on improving my mindset has been for so many areas of my life. But I’ve definitely come to believe that it is absolutely necessary for a lifestyle that is both healthy and enjoyed.

Then LET IT GO

Learn from your experience, then it’s time to let it go.

Once I realized what I had had in college, I had a really hard time letting it go. Every time I slipped up, I thought about how I wouldn’t have had this problem if I had just stuck with it back then. It increased my already negative emotions and critical & harsh talk towards myself. I was “weak and stupid and undisciplined and didn’t deserve to be a trainer” and I reminded myself of this regularly.

The only way this served me was to increase my belief that I could never get back there.

The fact is that the present you is all you have to work with. Time to put on the big girl (or boy! 😉 ) panties and get to work. As the C.S. Lewis quote says, you just need to get back on the right road. You did it once. You can absolutely do it again! It’ll be a lot easier once you let go of what used to be and start telling yourself and believing that you can and you will.

Go back to the basics

One thing I kept trying to do was go back to the same things I did in college, but I couldn’t figure out why those things weren’t working for me anymore! The thing is I was in a totally different stage of life, so my priorities, responsibilities, hormones, stress levels, sleep requirements, and schedule were all different. The right road might not be the same road as last time. In other words, what worked for you the first time might not work this time around. It might be, but it might not be and that’s OK! If it’s not and you’re struggling with what to do…..

Go back to the basics. Be consistent with the basics. Build the foundation. Focus on the most important things first.

Keep in mind, for whatever reason, this is where God has you right now and He is using this second go-around to refine you & to make you even better. Don’t fight it. Don’t regret it. Keep pressing forward.

inspirational quote

4 Lies That Keep Us Unhealthy

I hate that the health and fitness industry seems to have only made getting healthy more burdensome and stressful for most. I don’t think most of us are trying to make it that way, but either way it certainly defeats the purpose right?! We live in the age of information overload. While that might sound like a good problem to have, it also makes it so so SO hard to pick out the most useful information from the newest fads or marketing gimmicks.

Health is not about looking like some photo-shopped actress or about who can be the most hard-core or dedicated. It should enhance your life, not burden it. So I’d like to set the record straight by laying out some of the biggest lies that we tend to believe that are only making it harder to become healthy and happy.

Lie #1. The nutrition part is too hard, so I will just exercise extra hard to lose weight. 

No matter how crazy intense your workouts might be, you simply can’t out train a bad diet. In fact, training too hard or too often will actually increase hunger and cravings making it harder to eat better. Exercise can make you feel better in a myriad of ways like better sleep, more energy, more discipline, better mood, better metabolism, which is why it is part of the equation. It’s just not the entire equation.

beth burns fitness

Truth: If you want to lose fat, you need to improve the way you eat. If you’re looking to get healthy and fit and you want to start with the exercise just to get yourself going, then go for it! Just don’t expect to lose a lot of fat without changing your eating habits.

Lie #2. If I want to lose the fat around my (insert body part), then I must do extra work on said body part.

This goes right along with #1. Exercising a specific body part in order to lose fat in that specific area is futile. All the crunches in the world will not burn away the fat on your stomach. They will strengthen your abs. Strengthening all of your muscles, whether they have a layer of fat over them or not, is great for better movement and overall health. Unfortunately though you have very little say over where your body loses fat first.

Truth: Your genetics determine the rate at which and the order in which you lose fat. Of course, there are things you can do to encourage fat loss, but spot training is not one of them.

Lie #3. If I want to look like her, I need to eat like her.

I used to constantly be checking out what this trainer or that celebrity was doing. I was always looking for that thing that would be the life-changer for me and my clients. The only problem with all the information out there is that all it really does is keep you distracted from finding what works for you.

Come on now. For the most part, you know what you need to eat. But what’s challenging is breaking the old habits and creating the new ones.

Truth: You don’t need a new diet. You need to find tools that help you put into place a way of eating that not only gets you results, but is sustainable FOR YOU so that you keep your results! Sustainability is key. If you feel deprived and like you’re missing out, it’s only a matter of time before you go off the deep end. So while you may not get everything you want, you want to be getting enough to feel satisfied.

Lie #4. If it doesn’t happen in a month, it’s never gonna happen.

Most of us have completely unrealistic timelines for fat loss, so we quit before our bodies can ever catch up. Our bodies are designed to resist change. It takes time for them to adjust, especially if you’re making reasonable (i.e. sustainable!!) changes! There will come a time when the changes start to compound and the scales will start to tip, but how much time? Everybody’s a little different.

Truth: Accept that fat loss is going to be a process that takes time, patience, and persistence. The absolute best thing you can do is let go of the unrealistic timeline! It took you a while to get where you are and it will take you a while to get back to where you want to be.

faddiets

*For lasting change, stop looking for the quick fix and go back to the basics. Health is not about how perfect you can eat or exercise or look. It’s about choosing the things that are better for you, the majority of the time. It’s about making lasting changes that create a more full and enjoyable lifestyle FOR YOU.

Christmas Fitness Gift Guide

We have a cute little Christmas countdown decoration that sits in our kitchen right now. According to it, there are officially 9 days until Christmas. (I don’t understand where this month went…) While I’m excited about this, I still have some shopping left to do and since I end up in the kitchen a lot during the day, that stupid little decoration just sits there and taunts me. Stupid little santas with their stupid little faces…

santa countdown

ANYWAYS, just in case you are like me and are still looking for gifts ideas, I thought I’d throw out some ideas for your fitness-loving friends or anybody looking to get healthier in 2015.

Overall Fitness Tools:

Probably my 2 favorite all-around tools for both men and women! They are both higher priced items, but worth it as they don’t take up much space and will easily give anyone plenty of options for an awesome full body workout.

Kettlebells
I’ve had a number of people the last few weeks ask me about where to get kettlebells. These are an investment, but for both quality and a decent price, Muscle Driver is a my favorite. Be warned: the shipping is where they get you, so don’t consider the price until it’s been added!!

lifting fave

TRX Suspension trainer
This is a fantastic piece of equipment as it can easily be taken and used just about anywhere.

Stocking Stuffers
For a few lower priced, smaller items that I really enjoy…..

Interval Timer
Whether you’re doing intervals or a timed workout, this is a must!

Furniture Sliders
These are a 2-in-1 gift really. For about $10, they provide a killer full body workout and will make moving furniture feel like a breeze! 😉

Water Bottle
A good water bottle is a must, especially something like this. It is stainless steel, insulated to keep your beverage cold or hot, and has a finish that doesn’t sweat!!

Joel’s Suggestion for Men

Sledgehammer
This is a favorite among many clients, but especially the guys! All you need is an old tire and you’ve got yourself a killer upper body/core workout AND an excellent stress/anger management tool as well. Ha ha! Plus, men love a good utilitarian gift! The one we own is 10 pounds.

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Nutrition Tools

Blender
We use our blender constantly, as it is an especially convenient way to keep up your fitness and fat loss efforts with a busy lifestyle. 

Food scale
A food scale like this one makes portion control super easy by measuring calories and even nutrition facts!

Outdoor Fitness

Camelbak Hydration Pack
I LOVE my camelbak. They come in all different sizes for snacks, tools, & other essentials and are perfect for hands-free hydration for hiking or biking.

Other Fitness Goodies

Tracking Devices
With a wide range in price, you can get anything from a pedometer to track your steps, Garmin to track your heart rate and mileage, or FitBits or the Nike Fuel band to track heart rate, calories burned, mileage, and more! These are great for keeping your motivation up!

Foam Rollers
The foam roller is a versatile tool that allows for a kind of self massage to help stretch out muscles and alleviate pain.

Yoga Mat
These are great for indoor or outdoor. They add a little cushion and will keep you from slipping and sliding, whether you’re doing yoga or a body weight circuit!

Fitness Fashion

New workout clothes always feel good! Here are a few of my favorites in order of price point (starting on the low end)….

TJ Maxx
Old Navy (capris especially!)
Fabletics (I haven’t actually tried this company out yet, but I keep hearing only good things!)
Gap
Athleta

*Toesox!
For barefoot training with a little bit of protection but without the slipping and sliding. For yogis or weight lifters alike!

***I also love the specialty shirts with fitness sayings on them! These are always fun and add a personal touch when you find the perfect saying for someone!
fitness tank

Workouts!

Gift certificates to a local gym or class. Hiring a coach is always a great way to get and stay motivated in the new year. With that being said, if you know someone who serious about getting healthy and needing some extra help, I’m offering gift certificates for both in-person classes and online coaching. Head over HERE and fill out the contact form with the details of what you’re looking for and we can get you set up with a gift certificate!

**I hope you all are enjoying a happy and healthy holiday season! Merry Christmas friends!!

What fitness gift are YOU hoping to get this Christmas? Share over on the Beth Burns Fitness Facebook Page.