So I’ve been utilizing my latest tip for about a year now and I feel like a brat for keeping it all to myself and not sharing it with my awesome readers.
It’s pretty simple actually and it’s really not anything mind blowing. But the few people I mentioned it to responded with, “Wow, that’s a REALLY good tip!”
Color me surprised, I finally thought of something worthwhile to share! So here it is:
I set several alarms on my phone via an app called “Alarmed.” It’s free to download and it works pretty easily. You just set an alarm to go off either daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly. You could use it for Birthdays, Anniversaries, Pay your Bills, Write for the blog, Make that doctor appointment, etc.
I used to use it for these things until one day I decided to start setting reminders about my diet. This was at a point when I felt like I had lost control over my cravings and had to take steps to at least TRY to combat them.
So I set this app to alarm me at several times throughout the day when I would be most likely to binge or cheat with phrases like:
“Don’t cheat on your diet tonight.” – Reminded me that my cravings could be controlled.
“You’re making great progress, keep going.” – Reminded me that I wanted to be consistent in order to see results.
“Remember how fortunate you are that have food to eat…” – Reminded me how blessed I am and how plenty of people don’t have enough to eat.
“Be an example to your clients and your fitness family.” – Reminded me that my fitness family includes my readers, my blog readers, my social media followers, etc not JUST my clients.
Some are faith based and could be my own personal mantra/prayer or sometimes it’s a scripture passage but regardless of anyone’s beliefs, I think we can all agree that we only get ONE body in this life right? 🙂 So, with that being stated, I have used some of these “alarms” as well:
“Your body is a temple, don’t destroy it with junk.” – And not just junk food but junk tv shows, junk music, junk movies, junk social media, etc.
“God, not food, is who is in control of me.” – For my non-believer readers, you can adjust this to say something like “Food does not control me, I am in control.”
“Pursue holiness in all you do.” – Self explanatory but could also be interpreted as “Pursue good and avoid evil.”
“Untwist in me what is twisted.” – I stole this from author Christopher West. Technically you could call it a prayer but when used with a diet mindset, you’re asking that all those negative thoughts that are twisted up inside your mind telling you how you’re going to fail, that this is too hard, that you’ll never lose this weight, you’ll never achieve success and untwists those to reveal the truth. Don’t believe the lies of the scale, don’t believe the lies that the media portrays about beauty and fitness, untwist what is twisted and get yourself set up to succeed.
I hope this little tip was helpful. I use it everyday and most days, it works for me. Some days I admit, I ignore the alarm and I “snooze” through it. But that’s okay! I just move on and start fresh before that next alarm goes off.
So it’s 13 weeks until my next figure competition and I am completely unmotivated to do anything about it.
Workout-wise, I’m doing well. No big problems there.
Diet-wise? That’s another story.
I’m not quite sure where the motivation and energy and fire went, but it is long gone and I can’t seem to get it back. I tried logging my food, thinking the accountability of my clients and random friends on My Fitness Pal checking in might help. It has helped a bit, but I’m still not all in.
I’ve tried going to my favorite fitness competitor’s websites and checking out their progress pics. That sorta worked but it didn’t seem to illicit any feelings of “YEAH!!! LET’S DO THIS!”
I’ve tried reading my old blog posts from when I first trained two years ago. Nostalgia, right? Eh…I just ended up critiquing my writing style in some of them. 😉
I’ve tried to pinpoint exactly why I cannot seem to take this goal seriously like I did the first time. I came to a few conclusions as to why this time around I am not as enthused about it:
This isn’t the first time. Now that I know what to expect, I’m not EXCITED as much as I’m DREADING it because I’m thinking of all the negative aspects of competing instead of the positive ones.
I’m.busier than before. I have several social events coming up in the next two months including a wedding across the country, a week long retreat in Pennsylvania, and a class reunion in less than a month. I want to look forward to attending and instead I’m sitting here thinking “How can I fit a cooler on to a plane?” and “I wonder if I can fit in a workout before the rehearsal dinner?”
I’m distracted. I’ve been reading a lot of books on religion and Catholic doctrine and Christianity and although I’ve ALWAYS known that there is more to life than 6pack abs, I can’t seem to find a balance between living the “fit life” and exercising my mind as well. Granted I’m reading other books too but I also want to travel and hang out with my family and friends and sometimes I think training prevents me from doing this.
My family won’t be able to attend the show. I will have a large audience of friends in support of me there at the show but as soon as I found out the majority of my immediate family couldn’t make it, I felt like maybe this wasn’t meant to be. It’s super important to me that they be there and if they aren’t, I won’t take it as seriously as I should.
I’ve talked to my trainer/friend/co-worker Chris about this the other day and we agreed that if I am not into this, let’s not push it. BUT, this doesn’t get me off the hook. He suggested I find something that DOES spark that fire in me that I could shoot for. In other words, as the title of this post suggests, FIND a NEW goal because this competition just ain’t cutting it.
So, with that said, I discussed the possibility of sticking to the plan of training and attempting to diet and just training to look great for summer! The wedding that I’m in takes place in mid-July. I went to try on the dress and order it today. I tried on a size 6 and although it fit, it was a tad snug. So, there’s my motivation!
I’m not about to SQUEEZE into a dress in the sweltering July heat for my friends wedding and look like I barely fit into this dress. Granted, no one looks at the bridesmaids at weddings, all eyes will be on her. 🙂 But, it’s motivating me to take things more seriously.
And, the best part is, if by some chance I happen to look pretty good and feel pretty good at the wedding, there will still be a month left to prep for the competition, if I choose to do it.
If not, I will take my own advice and book a photo shoot, the one that I wanted to do LAST summer but didn’t because I got lazy and didn’t want to diet. Hmm….I’m sensing a pattern with myself.
Either way, I have found new motivation: July 18th is the wedding for my friend. Progress pics will be taken next week.
Let’s go back in time to July of 2013. This is what I looked like:
It was 9 weeks before the competition. So I was probably 112lbs.
But I recall a specific moment from this timeframe:
I recall telling my sister (and only my sister as I wouldn’t dare say it to clients or friends) the following statement:
“Everyone looks huge to me. Big. Everyone. The people I see on the tv. The models and celebrities in magazines and on the cover. Everyone on my Facebook feed. Everyone…looks…huge.”
It wasn’t so much that I felt and looked small – It was that everyone got fat. Everyone.
I remember looking at a swimsuit model and thinking, “Poor thing…she’s too big to be in that suit.”
I went to the grocery store and looked at people in line and thought, “Poor thing…she’s too big to be buying those chips and cookies.”
I went to the gym and thought, “Poor people walking the treadmill…they must be exhausted carrying all that weight.”
Just let that sink in for awhile. Me. A Personal Trainer. Thinking everyone I looked at was huge. Ginormous. BIG.
How is that normal? How is that acceptable to think that way? I was completely distorted. Why? Probably because every time I looked in the mirror, I was getting SMALLER. I was getting so lean, that it seemed like everyone else was gaining weight by comparison. AND because people kept telling me, “You’re so small! You look great! You’ve lost so much weight, oh my gosh, you look so small!”
Although people were trying to give me compliments, they were reinforcing my thought that, Yes, I am small. This is a good thing.
As I got bigger after the competition, that feeling and perception went away. And my perception returned to “normal.” THANK GOODNESS.
It was quite possibly one of the strangest and startling things that happened to me during that period of time.
Now, that I’m building again, I am well aware of potential setbacks and feelings having gone through this before. I’m feeling much more prepared and confident. I don’t think you can fully prepare yourself for what is reflected in the mirror staring back at you once you start to change your physique (on purpose or by accident). It’s startling to see yourself in a particular way (I’m so much bigger than I was! I’m so much smaller than I was! I’m way more muscular than I have ever been!) and hopefully it’s a positive experience.
But this is the part where I point out that double standard: Society says we can’t tell someone that they look too big or too fat or too muscular but we are completely allowed to tell someone they are too skinny or too lean or too small. As if telling someone they are TOO much of something based on their appearance is EVER a good thing. No. Not even when you’re complimenting them, it really isn’t.
Because although that person you’re trying to compliment might not be training for a competition, I’m trying to give you an idea of what goes through the mind of someone who is dieting or training or struggling with their journey since they, too, might have a body distortion issue.
Instead of attaching a size to a comment, can we change the dialogue to start saying things like:
“Hey there good lookin!”
“That dress you have on is a great color on you.”
“You’re looking well today.”
Is there a reason we have to tell someone how they look and give it a size?
“You look great, have you lost weight?” – What if someone just looks great because they’re in a good mood that day?
“You look great, have you been eating more? You were looking too small last time I saw you. Glad you put on some size.” – Because your opinion matters, yes.
“You look great, what size are you now? A 3 or a 4? That’s awesome! How big were you? Like a 12?? Wow!” – So now that I’m smaller, am I a better person now? Wasn’t I okay at a size 12?
Let me give an example that just happened to me:
I was told I was looking “really small” by another female who really had no idea I’m trying to bulk up. I wasn’t insulted. She thought she was complimenting me! (It’s not very common for women to WANT to get bigger). I know this. But even though I know this, guess what I did about 20 minutes later?
I downed a bag of chocolate covered almonds because…ya know, “Gotta eat to grow, bro.”
I had the idea in my head that “I’m small. That’s not good. I need to get bigger, therefore, gotta eat more.”
It was actually kind of funny at the time, and I like to think I have a mostly POSITIVE body image, but what if I was a binge and purger? What if I had a really bad history of yo-yo dieting or poor self image? And what if she had said “You look kinda small” in a way that made me second guess her intentions?
“What did she mean by that? Did she mean I should be even smaller? Did she mean I’m not small enough? Does she think I’m TOO small?”
I should have said to my friend, “Hey thanks…Actually, it’s funny you should say that. I’m trying to put on muscle…So hopefully next time you see me, I’ll look bigger!”
Just be careful with the comments to someone who is struggling or trying to make changes to their physique.
Chances are, they have enough dialogue going on in their head. And what they see in the mirror might be in complete distortion to what you see when you look at them.
P.S. I have posted progress pics in the Progress Pic page but here they are to save you a click:
The caption from my Instagram page: I’m Huge! 🙂 5 Months to go until my next figure competition. Feeling good at 135lbs.
And I’m proud to say the comments were all positive reinforcement. 🙂
I see the internet is abuzz once again with the latest “No Excuses” photo making the rounds on Instagram.
Rewind: Fitness enthusiast Maria Kang posted this picture of herself on Facebook way back in the fall of 2013.
The internet exploded with half praise for Kang for being “fitsporational” but many others accused her of bullying and “fit-shaming,” making people (specifically women) who have had kids thinking they are just sitting at home on the couch eating chips and bon bons when they have plenty of time to exercise and eat healthy.
So was she bragging or motivating? Kang said on her own website “I felt that if others can overcome incredible challenges to be in shape, why would my story be any different?”
So we’ve had a break with the fit-shaming since then…right? I guess the internet was overdue for another one.
Enter Abby Pell. Pell frequently posts pictures of herself on her Instagram page with motivational sayings, apparently. She posted this picture almost a year ago but it’s making headlines now because she recently won a fitness/bodybuilding competition.
Her intent seems to be the same as Kang.
“The message I want to portray is for all the women/mums/girl who aren’t happy or confident with themselves and the reason they don’t try to do anything about it is because they think it’ll be too hard or even impossible to get results.
Everyone could make excuses, too many people think it’s easier not to try than to risk failure. It’s not the case. I don’t want to make other women feel bad about themselves, I want them to look at me and think, if she can do it so can I. Because you can!”
Is this message being portrayed in the best way?
If we are trying to tell Mommies everywhere that having kids is no excuse for getting in shape, does baring your six pack stomach really inspire anyone? Or is it just making people angry enough to comment and post about how much they hate these women?
I definitely don’t have an answer. But I think the REACTION is interesting. Perhaps the picture brought out some…Jealousy? Envy? Sensitivity?
I honestly felt none of these. I immediately thought, “Good for them! Okay…so what else is going on in the news?” I didn’t give it more than a second or two of attention. It wasn’t until almost every fitness person I follow started Retweeting and sharing it that I noticed the “outrage.”
What’s Your Excuse Reason for Getting in Shape?
As for me, several things inspired me to get in shape for the competition.
I don’t have kids and I’ve mentioned on here in the past, I had been a personal trainer but just hadn’t pushed myself as much at the time. I had felt soft and lazy. I didn’t like the way I felt but had become so complacent that I kinda didn’t care all that much. I could have stayed soft, lazy, and kinda average looking but I KNEW I had it in me to look and feel better.
Taking a look around me, I was surrounded by fit people at the gym I worked at. I saw how hard they worked and wondered, “Why don’t my workouts look like that? How come my muscles don’t look like hers?” Well, the answer was easy: I wasn’t pushing myself. At all. I was just coasting.
I had looked at pictures of some of my former co-workers from back in Chicago, one in particular was incredibly inspirational for me. She pushed and trained and dieted for a competition as well and I thought, WOW. I want to look like that! I want my workouts to kick ass and I want to look like these people when I’m done!
I don’t have kids so maybe training and dieting for the competition would have been challenging for me if I did. But there are plenty of mommies who compete. Maybe they aren’t all pros but they are out there.
So it wasn’t one picture or one person in particular who lit the fire in me to get off my butt and start taking fitness more seriously. It was several people and my current lazy flat butt* that got me going.
*It’s not flat anymore. Thank you deadlifts and split squats and lunges and more squats!
15 Minutes of Fame
Did these women just want to be in the spotlight for a period of time? Maybe. Attention seeking? Perhaps.
But I think what is interesting is these women are real people (i.e. not celebrities). Can you imagine the audacity if Madonna or Britney or Heidi Klum posted a photo with the same caption??? Can you imagine the outrage and the comments???
“Easy for you to say, you’re a millionaire!!!”
“You have 3 nannies and probably a personal chef and a personal trainer!!”
“You get paid $ to look that way!!!”
“You’ve probably had liposuction!!! All your photos are photoshopped anyways!”
But the minute a real woman posts it, all of a sudden the reaction is “Fit shaming! Shame on you!! Who are you to tell me what I should be doing?!”
Newsflash: These women never ordered or commanded any of us to listen to them. They are merely trying to help. And quite frankly, you don’t need to listen or click or comment if you don’t like the message.
Think of social media as a hobby, not your job.
Some of us respond well to yelling and barking in your face type of personal trainers, some respond well to calm and collected and others listen to no-nonsense types (I put myself in this category). I think the same is said for the type of people you follow on social media, real or…ummm not real (famous people).
Maybe you like the hardcore, in-your-face types who might curse once in awhile and post videos of themselves kicking their own butts in the gym. Maybe you like the fitness geeks who show you how to move better or always have a post about how to keep good form while working out. Or maybe you like just regular good old fashioned easy-to-follow instructions and black and white “I tell it like it is” types. As long as they get you off the couch and ignite a little fire in you, keep following them. But be careful, because sometimes the best sources of inspiration, are right under your nose.
I for one, like to follow and look up to REAL people. As I mentioned earlier, my friends, my co-workers who train hard, my clients who follow their plans. Those people are my “fit-sporation.” Sure I follow plenty of fitness people on social media, but I like following my actual friends who I see everyday even more.
So take a look around you. Try actually looking up from the phone and the computer. Who around you has the best healthy habits that you would love to adapt? Who has a workout regiment that you think you’d like to try? Who seems to have their act together?
Talk to them. Ask them how did they get to the point where they are now with their physique and fitness level.
Guaranteed the conversation might go something like this:
“I make it a priority. But I wasn’t always like this! It took me a long time to prepare all my meals and get my workouts in.”
“My gym is right around the corner from my job so I go right after work. Otherwise I don’t think I would ever go.”
“I have the energy to deal with my job and the kids because I don’t eat crap like I used to. I don’t always work out. Sometimes I just can’t get it in, but at least my meals are pretty good 80% of the time. It also helps that I learned how to cook after I got married.”
“Oh it’s takes a lot of work to stay in shape but I’m addicted to it! I signed up for some endurance races to hold me accountable. At first it was hard, but I just made it a point to put it in my schedule. Like an appointment that I can’t miss.”
Do you see what the consistent message is here? “It’s not easy but I made it work for me.” “I’m not always 100% consistent but I try.” “It took me a long time to get this way.”
I promise, this is the only secret that there is.
Some day, everyone will stop with the quick fixes and diet pills and crash diets. People will see the celebrities on magazine covers and condemn the latest Hollywood cleanse. Women won’t tear each other down. We’ll stop trying to one-up our transformation story as being better or “because I’m a Mom I had to work harder than you!”
Some day this will happen. They’ll understand there are no excuses. There’s just hard work and desire to succeed.
Ahh sorry, this post has nothing to do with food as the title so blatantly suggests. I know, I know, I just continue to disappoint.
No, when I say “Just a Taste” I mean getting a taste of Personal Training. One of my very intelligent clients (hello Lisa!) suggested that just one complimentary consultation and workout is sometimes not enough to get someone to truly appreciate the benefits of having a personal trainer.
They need a little more..just a taste…right?
I tended to agree with Lisa. After all, training is a big investment for most people. Some might say it’s a luxury to have a Personal Trainer. Although I wouldn’t like to classify myself as being something only luxurious or lucky or well-to-do people have, I suppose it’s true that I’m not exactly cheap. I wouldn’t WANT to be seen as cheap!
When I think of cheap in terms of fat loss or nutrition, I think of Slim Fast or Raspberry Ketones or those body wraps. Ya know, garbage. And I am most definitely not garbage. At least I don’t think I am. I might smell like garbage sometimes when I don’t shower right after a workout. But I swear that’s only for a couple hours and it’s only when I know I’m not going anywhere in public afterwards.
So in an effort to promote this taste of me (ew, please don’t taste me) I’m offering a Try Me Before You Buy Me type of promo.
Alas, it’s only for people who train with me in person so sorry to my online friends. However, as I have mentioned previously, I offer a variety of affordable packages for Online Training that you can read about here if you’d like to still train with me virtually.
So for my Cleveland friends, here’s a little deal for the month of January for newbies: Buy 2 Sessions get 1 FREE!
A 3-bie if you will. Three-bie. Like Freebie, get it?
So if you’d like to purchase this awesome deal, click this link and then click the link in there where it says “Buy Now.” (Sorry I’m not savvy enough to put the HTML code in here directly. Deal with it.)
So 3 sessions PLUS you still get a complimentary consultation so technically, it’s like 4 sessions for the price of 2. Like a Four-bie. 4-bie. Okay no, that wordplay doesn’t work so well, does it?
Anyways, if you’re still not convinced that training with me would be a totally life changing experience, just read some nifty reviews about me on Thumbtack or Trainerize. And of course, if you want more information, I’m always available via email at FromFitToFigure@gmail.com, I’m all over Twitter and Facebook. And YouTube.
This week I have to share part of the homily my pastor spoke about just this past weekend as the INTRO to this post. I’m literally copying and pasting here as well as filling in the gaps so I sure hope this doesn’t constitute as plagiarism. 😉
From Struggle to Flight:
So there’s this family who have two cocoons which were about to hatch. They watched as the first one began to open and the butterfly inside squeezed very slowly and painfully through a tiny hole that it chewed at the end of the cocoon.
It was a struggle to emerge.
After lying exhausted for about 10 minutes, following the struggle and agony, the butterfly flew out the open window on its beautiful new wings.
Since it was so painful to see the butterfly struggle, the family decided to help the second butterfly so that it wouldn’t have to go through such an ordeal.
As the second one began to emerge, they carefully sliced open the cocoon with a razor blade, doing the equivalent of a C-section. The second butterfly, however, never sprouted wings and in 10 minutes, instead of flying away, it quietly died. The family asked a biologist friend to explain what happened and this is what he told them:
The difficult struggle to emerge from the small hole actually pushes liquids from deep inside the butterfly’s body cavity into tiny capillaries in the wings where they hardened to complete the healthy and beautiful adult butterfly. By preventing the struggle, they inadvertently harmed the butterfly.
Moral of the story? Without the struggle, there are no wings to fly.
As my pastor told this story in church this weekend, and went on to discuss why we must go through painful ordeals, I was thinking very hard about what to blog about this week. I immediately thought of the struggle of hunger while dieting and of course, the constant battle of dieting in general and all the messy stuff that it entails. Granted, there are worse problems and things we suffer through than just dieting, but that’s where my mind went first.
I’m currently struggling myself to diet but I’m maintaining my weight, which is a success in my book.
A few of my clients are having quite the difficult time lately and it’s my gut reaction to want to help them of course. When I can’t or when the right words of advice don’t come automatically, I feel like I’ve failed them. I start asking Why? Why can’t I just tell them one thing that they can use and be done with it? Why are they struggling so much and why doesn’t my advice do any good? What’s going on in their head that I can just turn off or turn on to make them follow their plan and get their act together??
And then I laugh and think, I might as well ask myself these same questions! Duh!
I don’t have an answer, really. More of a theory I guess.
I remember that it’s a struggle for everyone. For every bodybuilding pro or fitness model out there who tweets and puts on Facebook how great they are doing, how many inches they are down, how they just had the best workout ever and here are the sweat stains to prove it…there are many more who AREN’T doing all that great, who DO struggle with their diet, and they actually DO share that information. And it’s awesome when they do because you realize it’s a constant battle for everyone. Some have overcome after YEARS of binge eating or eating disorders or yo-yo dieting. Others STILL struggle to even maintain their weight. And some haven’t quite gotten back from rebounding after losing a large amount of weight due to bad coaching or losing it too fast.
What would be great is if there were more pro’s out there willing to share the “not so happy” experiences. There are a few I would recommend the next time you find yourself wallowing in self pity thinking “No one knows what this is like.” Because let me tell ya, there are many.
The first that comes to mind is Brooke Erickson. Simply put, she’s incredibly honest. She shares a lot. But not OFTEN. In other words, when she does post something, it’s well- thought out, it’s usually pretty short and to the point, and it’s relevant. She is competitor but she isn’t currently competing. She’s a coach, she’s a mom, and she’s a hard worker. I love everything she has to say because it’s from the heart and there’s no sugar coating.
Another is Jennifer Jewell Fitness. She’s a big believer in the IIFYM diet which is fine (not my cup of tea anymore but if it works for you, awesome). But I like that she discusses body image and metabolism and keeps it real. She also shares alot of her clients stories which are always good to read for motivation.
I wouldn’t be a very good blogger if I didn’t mention my “boss” Roxie Beckles. This woman is pretty amazing in that she shares EVERYTHING about her journey to the stage. She has had a rough season to say the least and recently put it all out there, admitting that she did the #1 thing we tell all our clients: Listen to your body. She didn’t listen and it mentally and physically drained her. She’s gotten back on her feet and she is persevering to the Olympia Stage (the grandaddy of all competitions) in just a few weeks. I cannot wait to see how she does!
Closing thoughts? We all screw up. We all cheat on our diet. We all have the same conversation with ourselves: “I’ll do better this week. I’ll start my diet Monday. I’ll just do some extra cardio tomorrow.”
You’re gonna have to struggle temporarily in order to be successful. I think the key is the take that struggle, take those difficult moments, and learn from it. Suffer now in order to be great later. And later may be weeks, months or years from now, unfortunately.
But, what a moment you’ll have when you get to look back and see where you were…and what it took to get there.