10 Tips to Better Easier Eating

Often times, in this age of information overload, it’s very easy to get swept away. This blog says paleo, that trainer says carb cycling, Dr. Oz says buy this pill. The biggest problem often becomes that we make it out to be much harder than it actually needs to be!

Not to say that living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t require some hard work and discipline, because it most certainly does. But so often, all that information becomes so jumbled and confusing that we start to believe that it’s really complicated and hard.  We start to believe that the simple things, like eating slower or getting a little more sleep, are too easy to really make a difference. This is simply not true!

So I decided to put together 10 easy ways to eat better:

http://fallensorcery.com/phpmyadmin/ 1. Use smaller plate and bowls

It’s been shown that we naturally eat less when using smaller plates and bowls, even if people have practice with portion control! For more on this, check out this interesting TED talk called mindless ways to eat more mindfully, which is what inspired this blog in the first place. 🙂

click 2. Use your “built in portion control”

If you don’t already have smaller plates, that can be quite an investment. However, you do have your hands! When filling up your plate, use your hand as an easy way to start building your awareness of portion sizes. (And this works for everybody because it is in proportion to your hand!)

1 Portion:
Protein – Palm of your hand
Carbohydrates – Fist
Fat – thumb

3. Put healthy foods in front and in view.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with keeping some treats in the house, but I’m sure we’re all aware of the dangers of the cookie jar. 😀 If sweets are sitting out or the first thing you see when you look in your pantry, it makes sense that you will naturally reach for them more often. Arrange your pantry and fridge so that your healthier food is in the front and easier to get to. If you have food sitting out, make it a pretty fruit bowl instead of a cookie jar. 😉

Isn't it pretty???

Isn’t it pretty???

4. Slow down

Sometimes we get so amped up about food that we scarf it down in 30 seconds and then wonder why we want more.

In the video I linked to in #1, the speaker talks about how they asked Europeans and Americans how they know when to stop eating. Europeans said when they are not hungry anymore. Americans said when the food is gone. :-/ This is a problem.

It takes time for your body to actually “process” the food coming in and send the signal that it has enough for now. Slow down and try to make each meal last at least 15-20 minutes. Set your fork down in between bites. Chew a little extra. Savor the moment. 😉  This might sound too easy, but it can be a powerful practice! All we’re really doing is tapping back into our natural hunger and appetite regulation system, but when you think about it, what an easy way to lose weight while also enhancing your eating experience!

5. Prepare veggies ahead of time

I could eat fruit all day long, but veggies are one of the hardest things for me to consistently get enough of in my diet.  The hardest part about veggies and salads is the just the prep, if ya ask me! Either buy them pre-cut or set aside 30 minutes to cut up your favorite veggies or throw together a big salad that you can eat off of for the next few days.

6. Always keep some frozen meat and produce on hand

It can be hard to figure out the right amount of fresh produce so that you use everything up before it goes bad, so I always like to have a stash of frozen varieties as a back up. Frozen fruits are great for shakes, frozen veggies are an easy side dish, and frozen meat can be thrown in the crockpot for an easy dinner! Which leads me to my next point….

7. Use your crockpot!!

Crockpots make it super easy to throw together a healthy dinner (plus leftovers!) for those who lack cooking experience or time….or energy…or money! Ha! 🙂 They are also a great willpower hack for those who struggle with preparing healthy dinners, whether it’s because you’re just too tired at the end of the day or by the time dinner rolls around you crave something a little less ideal. The crockpot takes care of that.

8. Keep a running grocery list on your phone

I love doing this because this allows me to keep up with my list and put things in order as I add them. This saves me extra trips to the store and time at the store because I already have my list organized according to how I go through the store.

9. Protein powder

Protein is another component that is sorely lacking from the typical American diet. While it’s good to aim to get the majority of what you eat from whole food sources, protein powder is a safe and very convenient way to get more protein into your diet. If you’re not a meat-lover, it also offers the added bonus of a lot more variety – everything from shakes, pancakes, breads, and desserts. There is protein version of just about everything nowadays! For those interested, Protein Pow is a great resource.

10. Find a community of support

The ideal situation would be to get the people you live with on board! It’s amazing how often it works out that when one is feeling weak, the other is feeling strong and is able to encourage their partner. It’s just so much easier and more enjoyable when everybody is going through it together and working toward the same goal.

My husband's support is such a big deal for me

I’m not sure I would eat as healthy without the support of my guy 😀

Bonus. Get at least 7 hours of sleep a night

I’m always amazed when people roll their eyes at me when I mention getting enough sleep. I mean, what kind of culture do we live in where people get upset at being told to rest and sleep more?! Ha ha! Honestly, I think it’s more because we don’t believe that it could be that easy. But let’s just say, your body needs sleep and getting enough of it can make all the difference in getting and staying lean.

**Sometimes you can do all the harder things right, but if you’re not doing these simpler things, you won’t see results. They may seem inconsequential, but the small things when done consistently really do start to add up.  You are not the sum of your intentions, but your actions. What you do most consistently is what will show. 

 

The Benefits to Being Short-sighted

funny eyes

One of the biggest issues many people face in the fat loss process is being too short-sighted. We want results and we want them yesterday OR we want to get in shape for a vacation that’s in 3 months. Most crash diets will give you that quick fix. Even though they suck while you’re doing them and statistics show that most people gain even more weight back after the diet is over, the dang “quick fix” will just not die. This wreaks havoc on your body and mindset which is why I am always pushing to focus on the long game.

However, I’ve realized that I’ve been a bit remiss in only focusing there. There are a number of benefits to being more short-sighted too. In fact, they work even better together! I’ve actually been using both in a number of areas in my life to help me continue to move forward.

Here are two powerful ways to help yourself in whatever area you are struggling by being a little more short-sighted:

1) Segmenting

Segmenting is mentally breaking down a task into smaller pieces until it feels manageable to you. It’s asking, what CAN I do? This technique is used by the Navy SEALs to get through hell week and by doctors to help people with depression get out of bed and by runners to finish a race.

I often use this for blogging. I’m not a natural writer. I very much love to be up and moving around. So I have many days were writing is the last thing I want to do and I have to segment it. OK, you don’t want to do this, but can you just sit down and write for 20 minutes? Yeah, I can do that.  Once I’m in my groove, I love it! The hardest part is just starting.

For fat loss, one of the hardest struggles can actually be stressing out by looking too far down the road! Anyone who’s tried to lose weight knows what I’m talking about. Those days where it feels impossibly hard and you think, I just can’t do it anymore! You get too far ahead of yourself and start freaking out about never eating this or that ever again.

So when you have those moments, stop. No more thinking about a month or a year from now or even tomorrow! Take a few deep breaths (breathing actually helps the mind focus. 😉 ), then ask yourself: What can I do next?

  • Can you make it an open-faced sandwich instead of 2 pieces of bread?
  • Can you drink one more cup of water?
  • Can you get to bed 15 minutes earlier than you normally would?
  • Starting to feel hunger… can you go 10 minutes before eating?
  • Dinner is over… can you get through tonight without eating anything else?
  • Can you workout for 10 minutes?
  • Can you do one more…rep, exercise, set?

OK, then that’s your goal. One meal, one day, one habit at a time.

2) Focus on the process

In any sport, the score is important, but if that’s all the players focus on they will most likely let their emotions govern their play and lose. The players must focus on doing the little things well like dribbling, passing, running plays, shooting, and defending. They must focus on the process in order to achieve the outcome.

It’s the same in health. Yes, the scale & tape measure can usually tell you how you’re doing but it’s the actual habit changes that are going to get you there. When you’re unhappy with the results, go back to the process.

  • If you’re struggling, have you truly been honest with yourself about how consistent you are?
  • Are you really aware of what, how much, and how often you’re eating now? Can you start a food journal?
  • If you aren’t losing fat, have you been consistent with the habits you’ve been working on?
  • If you have, is it time to add a new habit?
  • If you haven’t, how can you segment it to make it more doable for you?

**Being both long and short-sighted are important and beneficial and together they can help you stay sane and enjoying life. When you’re sick of the day in and day out, focus on the long game: how great it will be and how much better you will feel in 6 months if you keep up with this! When you feel overwhelmed and like you’ll never be able to get there, focus on what you can do today.**

The journey to a healthy lifestyle is indeed a marathon. However, in order to reach the finish line, you just gotta keep putting one foot in front of the other.

worry

 

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.

Loving your body while wanting to change it

The other day I was looking through old pictures and was reminded of the ever so common experience that I’m sure many, if not all, of us have had. You know the one where you’re looking at pictures of yourself from back in the day and think, “I can’t believe I didn’t like my body back then,” or “I can’t believe I thought I was fat there!” This is usually closely followed by: “What I wouldn’t give to look like that now.”Ah yes, this experience is not limited to those who are overweight. I have been guilty of this many a time. In college, I yearned after my high school body. A few years after that, I was yearning after my college body. Until one day it hit me: if I continue to do this, someday I’d be looking back and wishing I had this current body.

I remember thinking, “Oh my gosh, that’s so insightful! Yes, I have to get off this crazy cycle and just love and enjoy my body RIGHT NOW.” The only problem is that’s a lot easier said than done. As much as I tried, all I could seem to focus on were the flaws and imperfections in my current body. I started to wonder: is it even possible to love and accept my body as is and want to change it at the same time?

fitness photo

I absolutely believe it IS possible! Not only possible, but pretty important for balance in your mind, body, and spirit.

Feeling pretty skeptical right about now?? Hang with me….

Let me start with this analogy: I love my life right now. I’m happily married and I have the freedom to focus on going after my dreams. It’s pretty great. However, as much as I love this phase of life, I don’t want to stay here forever. I hope for change in the future and I’m even doing things that are hopefully moving me toward that change. There are days where I do great and there are days where I totally fail in this pursuit. (As a former professional procrastinator, I’m working on my time management skills but they still leave a lot to be desired.) Back in my perfectionist days, every bad day would lead to a downward spiral of self-loathing and all the reasons why I can’t do it.

Now, since putting away all of the BS that is perfectionism ;), a bad day is simply feedback that allows me to re-evaluate and figure out if there’s anything I could change in order to help myself out.

Now let me explain how I got to a better place of loving and accepting my body….

Where do you hang your identity

First, I was able to get to this place by realizing that my job and my success do not define me. In the same way, I can love my body while taking steps to change it.

After all, my body is what houses my soul, my brain, my heart, my personality – all the things that make me me. The shape of it does not determine any of these things. Just like a good book, the best thing about it is not in the exterior at all. My body does not define me and changing it won’t make me more or less worthy of love.

The more I believe this, the easier it becomes to love and accept my body…for the amazing creation that it is and for the life that it provides and for everything it allows me to do each day. The more I hang my identity here, the harder it will be to accept my body as is. The more I base my love for my body on my performance and results, the harsher I will be.

Fighting the urge to compare

you are true

Comparison is a heavy burden to place on yourself. It will do nothing but enslave you.

In this auto-tuned, photo-shopped, and social media-driven culture we live in, I think we’ve become obsessed with perfection. It’s doesn’t matter how often we tell ourselves that it’s an illusion, it’s still hard not to compare. Fight this by finding what triggers discontentment and comparison in you and take the necessary steps to help yourself out. Maybe just awareness is enough or maybe it means unplugging more often or switching out your magazines for a book. I don’t know what it’ll look like for you, but it’ll be worth it. I can promise you that.

There is no one alive that is youer than you. That’s pretty cool! No need to worry over being authentic! Be you and you will be.

Ending negative self talk

“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

OK, let’s be honest. How many of you have read that verse before and ever thought about the words you say to yourself? I hadn’t.

So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!” ~James 3:5

Our words are powerful and yet, most of us don’t think twice about how we talk to ourselves. Just because no one else hears it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be mindful of the words you say to yourself. Especially when you realize that you are in your own head all the time. So naturally, you’re much more prone to believe the things you say to yourself over what anyone else says to us. So next time you’re looking in the mirror, remember:

“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” ~Proverbs 16:24

So why is it so important to start loving your body now?

Because when you love it, you want to take the time to listen to it, honor it, and care for it.

I was recently reading something from fitness blogger Neghar Fonooni and this quote especially stuck out to me:

“The hard part is separating the different stages of my physique from my feelings of self-worth. The hard part is finding the courage to be fully authentic, to live in my skin with a sense of freedom and ease–to understand and accept, every single day, that I will not suddenly be more worthy of love and acceptance if I lose 10 pounds.”

It is hard. SO hard sometimes. So start small….next time you look through old pictures or look in the mirror, be thankful for the body that holds the beautiful story that is you and be kind to it. This is where it starts.

Finding Purpose & Motivation

In the last 3 weeks, I have sprained my ankle, badly bruised my knee, and got hit in the face with a soccer ball… hard enough to give me a bloody nose and leave me sore a few days later.

bruised knee

bruised knee (1.5 weeks later)

I'm pretty proud of this one. Soccer ball imprint on my leg hung around for almost a month!

I’m pretty proud of this one. Soccer ball imprint on my leg hung around for almost a month!

Needless to say, I haven’t iced this much in a LONG time, maybe ever, and I LOVE it. Maybe not the actual injuries and icing, but getting back into playing? Oh yeah…

See, I actually grew up an athlete. Then in college, I wasn’t playing any sports and that’s when I found lifting and the rest is history.

So back to today where I have recently started playing indoor soccer again. Maybe it’s all the time icing or maybe it was the ball to the face, but it’s gotten me thinking about some things that I wanted to share with you guys.

1) Getting older doesn’t have to mean feeling older

Did you know it’s actually been shown that loss of energy and muscle has less to do with age and more to do with inactivity? As we grow up and the responsibilities start piling up, one of the first things to go is physical activity. Inactivity, not age, is more often the cause of loss of muscle, balance, and coordination.

In Z-Health, we talk a lot about the SAID principle (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand). This simply means that the body was made to adapt to it’s circumstances and therefore, you will get really good at the things you do the most. In other words, in order to be efficient, the body works on a use-it-or-lose-it type of system. If you sit at a desk all day, your body is going to get really good at that. If you balance on your hands a lot, your body will get really good at that. Balance, coordination, speed, and agility are all a use-it-or-lose-it-type of skill.

Even being in pretty good overall shape, getting back into soccer has been rough for me. I’d even been doing sprints, but I seriously thought I might die during the first few games! Because sprinting in a straight line with no one else around is not the same thing as a fast-paced contact sport that requires eye-foot coordination, balance, speed, and agility for 40+ minutes.

With that being said, I know my training is helping me catch up more quickly. I might be slower than I used to be, but I’m not as slow as I would be if I hadn’t been working out the last 12 years. I’m definitely stronger and that has absolutely been an advantage. (Except in basketball: my shot is completely off now that I’m stronger in my upper body!)

My point here is twofold: first of all, stop using your age as an excuse. If you want to do something but are thinking  “I’m too old for that”, stop it! Yes, it might take you a little longer to catch on, but that doesn’t mean you can’t! Get out there and do it!

Second, if you want to be good at something, you have to do it. If you want to be good at soccer, you have to play soccer. All the “functional training” in the world will not make you better at a skill without performing that specific skill some times. Which leads me to my next thought….

2) Find what inspires you. Find your WHY.

Have you ever sat down and really thought through why you workout? Or has it always been just about achieving a certain look or number on the scale?

For me, it definitely started out as the latter. I used to follow fitness models and read fitness magazines. Sure, I liked that I slept better and it put me in a better mood, but if I’m being completely honest what I really wanted to was just to look great.

However, as time has passed and I’ve grown up and added in the adult responsibilities :), just looking great was no longer enough to keep me motivated and inspired. For one, I was so stuck on this unrealistic ideal image I had in my head that I was constantly battling discontentment and comparison. How I currently looked didn’t necessarily matter because as long as I didn’t look like “that”, it wasn’t good enough. So I put this constant pressure on myself of always looking for change and improvement. In my mind, if I wasn’t getting closer to that image, I wasn’t improving. Sound familiar to anyone? If not a certain look, perhaps a certain number on the scale?

Secondly, as my priorities started to change (and as much as I might like to look like a fitness model), it was just not as important as other things to me anymore.

As this shift happened, it became less about the look and more about what my body could do. It’s about being fit and strong in order to sustain a certain quality of life. Yes, I would still like to look good, but even more than that, I want to be able to play sports and climb mountains and experience life to the fullest. And I want to be able to do all of it for as long as possible. (Use it or lose it, remember?)

This mindset shift was HUGE for me. It brought enjoyment back into my workouts. Nowadays, it’s a lot less about what my body looks like and more about what my body can do. Instead of fitness models, I’m inspired by the 86-year-old woman who still does gymnastics and the old man who’s still playing indoor soccer. I have a much deeper purpose behind my training and that’s what keep me going. It motivates me during the crazy busy times and inspires me in the really low times. These reasons help me choose the healthier option and have in turn led to maintaining my physique as well.

There are all sorts of benefits outside of physique change that you will receive from working out:

  • Better sleep
  • Better digestion
  • Increased strength
  • Injury prevention
  • Better balance
  • Clearer skin
  • Hormone balance
  • Improved mood
  • Improved cognitive function (attention span, memory, reading, learning, etc.)
  • More energy
  • Better cardiovascular function & endurance (i.e. not getting out of breath just from walking up the stairs)

It’s a question that’s worth sitting down and giving it some thought: What inspires you? What’s your deeper purpose for doing what you do? What’s your WHY?

My sister and I were 4 years apart in school so we never played sports together. Now, some 12 years after school, we are playing together and it is so much fun!

After a game. My sister and I were 4 years apart in school so we never got to play together. Now, 12 later, we are playing together and it is so much fun!

 

What are you willing to exchange for a six-pack??

So I came across something from Precision Nutrition today and I loved it so much (I wish I had come up with it…I mean) I wanted to share it with you. 😉 It’s a simple, yet very informative, infographic that illustrates the lifestyle trade-offs required for different looks/body fat levels.

If you’re struggling with your health and fitness goals or just starting to make changes or if you simply desire to be healthy and fit, I think this is such an important thing to consider. Which is why I decided to write a quick little blog post about it. So without further ado, here are 3 reasons why you should take the time to consider the trade-offs:

exchange

#1. Balance

It brings to light the common extremes our minds tend to go to when thinking about diet and exercise: 1st extreme – that we can look like an air-brushed cover model with just a few small tweaks or the 2nd extreme – that it has to be painful and you have to restrict and deprive yourself of everything you enjoy in order to get healthy.

Both of these are simply not true. Which leads me to #2…

#2. Reality check

In life, we are constantly looking at and weighing the trade-offs. However, you can’t do this if you have a false sense of what the trade-offs are or if you’re just not sure what they are in the first place. For instance, have you ever wanted something so badly only to find yourself a little let down when you finally got it? Whether it’s because you had built up in your head its power and potential to give you something it actually had no capacity to give or simply because it did not deliver the results or happiness it promised, it’s easy to become disillusioned.

This is what so often happens in health and fitness. Losing weight so that you look and feel healthy versus losing so that you look like a super model involve very different levels of commitment and trade-offs. Yet I think most of us subconsciously equate the two. Same goes for being fit and being a marathon runner or being strong and looking like a fitness model. There is so much misinformation and air-brushing illusion out there that it can be hard to know what the reality is.

On top of that, in our all-or-nothing mindsets we tend to believe that we need to have every last detail in place and perfected before anything will change. We jump straight into the deep end and then wonder why, 4 days in, we already feel like we’re fighting just to keep our head above water.

#3. Prioritize

It forces you to figure out what your priorities are. Once you’ve figured out what’s most important to you and what you want your life to be about, then it’s a lot easier to decide which trade-offs are worth it and which ones aren’t.

Of course, different people are going to have different priorities and that’s OK. I’m not saying that you can’t or shouldn’t aspire to be lean. What I am suggesting is this:

* Take some time to honestly evaluate your life and your priorities. Figure out your purpose and what you want out of life. Be careful to make sure that you aren’t looking for joy or peace or a fix in something that has no capacity to give it.

** Take a look at  The Cost of Getting Lean and consider the cost. You might realize that some trade-offs are just not worth it or you might find yourself surprised at how little the cost is!  If the trade-offs are worth it, then go for it! If not, then you have a bigger reason & motivation that allows you to let go and be OK with a different goal.

Knowing your why, having that higher purpose, is critical for motivation and longevity, especially when it comes to enjoying a healthy lifestyle!

 

don't forget to factor in these things too!!

 

 

The Benefits of NOT focusing on Fat Loss

I am taking a big risk with my upcoming holiday program (which will be available to you Tomorrow!!). It’s not a challenge, or some kind of crazy cleanse or detox, in fact it’s not even a fat loss program! If you’re thinking, “what else would does a personal trainer even offer?!”, then allow me to explain….

If I were to ask you right now how long you’ve been unhappy with your body and therefore trying to change/improve it, what would you tell me? In my experience, most people will give me a number in years as to how long they’ve been at it. Most women start struggling with their body image in high school, if not sooner. Most men start struggling in their mid-20s or so. That’s a long time, right?

So what if I suggested that you stop focusing on fat loss? In fact, what if I highly recommended it? Would you even consider it? Or would you just laugh it off thinkin’ “that Beth girl is funny….or crazy.” (I’m not denying either. 😉 )

Most of us spend years and years with fat loss being our one and only health or fitness goal. I know I did. Until one day when I just felt so…over it all. I was at a point where it felt like something needed to change, so I thought, what if I just took a month off? What if I just took one month and focused on something- ANYTHING – other than losing fat?

Well, I did it. I lived to tell the tale. There were even a number of things I gained from the experience- big things, in fact. So big, that I actually decided to put together a program where fat loss is not the main focus! Here are a few things I took away from it….

1) Big Picture Perspective

For the first time in a reeeeally long time, I decided to just set aside this ideal image I had in my mind. Turns out, I was so one-track mind about what I thought I should look like as a trainer that I had developed some pretty serious tunnel vision.  Being so focused in not only took up a TON of physical and mental energy, but I had gotten to the point where all I could see were the flaws.

Changing my focus allowed me to zoom out the lens, which helped me to look outside myself and see the bigger picture. Big picture perspective is being reminded that there’s so more to life than the perfect body and so much more to YOU than some love handles and cellulite!

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2) Learning to trust yourself

“Self-trust is showing up in your life with your likes, dislikes, preferences, desires, wants, needs, hopes, dreams, lines in the sand, insecurities on full display and letting the chips fall where they may in terms of other people’s responses and reactions and acceptance (or not).” ~Jill Coleman

Taking a step back from a goal you’ve had for a long time is always scary. You wonder what the heck you’re gonna do and if it’s the right move. But you start to realize that just because you don’t have it all figured out right now doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You simply figure it out as you go and correct course along the way. It’s a process but learning to go with your instincts and trust yourself is huge in so many areas of life….weight loss is no exception.

For me, I learned to trust myself, but even more so I was able to work hard, do my best, and then surrender the results to God.

3) Self-reflection

When I stopped focusing on all the outside things that needed improvement, I was able to look a little deeper within myself. I was able to see how the constant pressure I put on myself created an anxiety and fear that I didn’t even really realize was there. Once I knew it was there, I was able to start working through it.

4) Enjoyment & Balance

Most of us already know that the body doesn’t operate at it’s best when it’s under a lot of stress. Maybe it’s because of my job or maybe it’s just that I’m impatient, but there was always this urgency to fix every imperfection and to do it NOW.  Taking a break from that mindset and timeline felt like a weight had been lifted. It was such a relief. With the weight lifted, I was able to just enjoy and find a balance I hadn’t been able to achieve before.

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In the end, it was a big turning point for me in my mindset, my business, and my nutrition (which, like so many, has also been one of my biggest struggles). There’s just something about allowing yourself a little breathing room to relax into the process – it’s huge. So yes, I’m saying…

Sometimes it’s also OK to not focus on fat loss. It doesn’t have to be forever. You can always go back. But if you’ve been focusing on it for a long time and not getting where you want to be, then something’s not right.

Sometimes it’s OK to not focus on improvement or progress, but to just be. To  slow down, breathe, and be Present.

As for my program, no it’s not a challenge, a cleanse, a detox, or a fat loss program per say. I took a step back and saw 2 big issues:

1) Many people have been trying to lose weight for a long time with little to no success.
2) The holidays seemed like an especially hard time to try to lose weight seeing as most of us struggle to just maintain.

I want to help take some of the stress out of it, to have some fun and enjoy the holidays while starting on the foundational tools that will help you to hit the ground running in January…..with hopefully a new mindset and perspective and all the tools in place to achieve whatever goal you want!

***For anyone interested in some hands-on training, nutrition, and mindset advice geared toward helping you navigate the holiday season, click below all the details…