Causing Your Own Stress?

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Unfortunately, there really is no such thing as stress management. We don't "manage" our stress, rather it manages us, or we learn to reduce it. 

We tend to believe that stress happens to us, but the truth is that stress is created within us. It is manifested by our reactions to things happening in our lives. I know what you're thinking right now. 

"LJ, I am having trouble making ends meet, my family is a mess, I am constantly running from place to place with my kids, my boss is breathing down my neck even when I'm not there, and I haven't had a good night's rest since my 12-year-old was born" 

Am I close? 

Actually, you don't have to answer that. I know I am because I have the same kind of storm pelting my life too. 

Depending on where you are in your life right now, you may want to take whatever device you're on and throw it after you read my next sentence... 

You're creating your own stress.

Yep, you read it right We all create our stress or lack thereof because our perception is our reality. If you perceive everything is happening to you and you lack the control to handle it, that is exactly what will happen when something else goes wrong (because something else is going to go wrong). 

Call it hope or call it work, but you do have the power to control it. You cannot control the stress triggers coming at you, but you can control your reaction to that environmental trigger for stress

When something happens, there is space for us to use the more advanced and developed part of our brains rather than react using the most primitive part of our brains. It's a habit because like the lack of financial and nutritional education in schools, we aren't taught emotional intelligence in school. 

The moment the stress is triggered you are most likely reacting not responding, and that's OK. After the point of reaction though, you have a choice to make. Do you want to stay in reaction mode or move to choosing a different response? The power of that choice helps you decide your stress level. 

The triggered stress may come back to harass you from time to time, but once you're aware you can keep choosing to not be stressed. Does it sound impossible? I promise you it's not, but it is a process. If you've spent your whole like reacting, learning to respond may take time and work, but you can change your habit. 

The first step in changing your habit is to be aware. Begin to notice what thoughts are running through your head as you notice tension in your body.

Next listen to the thoughts and notice how you emotionally respond to those thoughts. Do you feel sad, angry, hurt, frustrated, helpless? Maybe you know what you’re feeling and maybe you don’t.

As the thoughts continue to race through your mind, take a breath, a long and deep breath to interrupt the thoughts.

Immediately you will feel less stressed by the situation.

Notice which thoughts are lies and which are truths.

Breathe truth into those negative lies, and if you’re not sure how to do that, just keep breathing!

It will get better and easier, so keep at it. Remember to be kind to yourself because you are learning a new skill and habit. That is always a process and doesn’t come over night. Remember self-compassion, self-love, and self-kindness even when you think you don’t “deserve” it.

Remember that you are worth the effort. You are worthy of living a happy life that rises above your circumstances.

Other preventative stress strategies include keeping healthy food habits (the best you can, not 100% perfection), take time for rest and relaxation, be more mindful in everything you do, exercise and/or move your body regularly, put your electronics away from time to time, and connect with people by making eye contact, touching, and smiling.

They are simple but not easy to prioritize. Take one at a time and get started. Do not expect perfection. Like any skill you will get better at it!

Please know that Infinitely Fit is a community here to support you locally, virtually, and in anyway we can. It takes a village, so let other be your village!

Happy & Healthy Days Ahead!

Fearless...stripped down to just be

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I spent year in the church trusting in God, finding my way, trying to obey all the rules of the faith while seeking an authentic relationship with my maker. When I initiated my divorce, my conflicting world became more apparent. I wanted to have this unbelievable unwavering and perfect faith that others could commend and follow, but that’s not what it looked like. It looked real and ugly.

Following a set of rules has never brought me closer to God, in fact, it often took me further from him. The rules kept me from what the church kept telling me to do which was “let go and let God.” I never understood how to follow the rules and let go. I still don’t. I do however understand better than I ever have what it feels like to be stripped down of all the things I most covet.

In the last year I have lost my husband, significantly reduced the engagement I have with my son (almost as if he went off to college), lost a relationship with a close personal friend, my “framily” in San Diego have almost all moved away, lost some of my health, stopped sleeping, and my business has managed to just sustain but not thrive through the difficulties.

I used to see myself as superwoman, like my mom (my words not hers). I have a business, I am a part time single mom because my husband deploys, I am a loving and patient wife, I’m a fierce philanthropist, I plan gatherings with friends and framily, take my nieces on dates, I work out daily and eat well, and I still manage to get to church every Sunday with my son a part of the worship band. I defined myself by what I thought I was supposed to be.

Over the last few weeks, I have had the harshest of change, the most difficult of which is my declining health. The second is the impending inevitable departure of my Bestie. As I sat thinking about it and how to make this into a positive, I struggled. To remain present and not always be angry, and shutting everyone out is a struggle. Feeling like a victim is a deep hatred of mine only surpassed by acting like one. As I struggled with my beliefs about my character and personality in contrast to how I was handling it, I just let go. I thought, “I can’t eat this or drink this away. It’s too much, I could literally kill myself trying. I can’t pretend like it’s not happening because it is.” So I decided I was too tired to come up with anything, so surrender to it for now.

When I awoke the next morning, I was reeling through all the pain and fear. I couldn’t stay in my own head and didn’t have the capacity to meditate and stay in the moment so I tried to numb it or make sense of it by reading. I was reading Fearless by Arrianna Huffington and the chapter happened to be on fearlessness in God and death. I almost skipped it to be honest.

As I read in the quiet of the early morning, I was recounting my spiritual journey. I don’t have a fear of death and I think that’s partially because I lost people very close to me at very young ages well before I felt it should be their time. Everyone dies and we never know when, so I don’t spend time in fear of that, but I also don’t embrace that it has not yet happened and I still get to enjoy (or not) life.

Reading and recounting and evaluating my situation, my perspective of my current state changed. I have a choice to make:

1-  I live in mourning of what is lost and fear of the VERY unknown future.
2- I look at this moment as the ultimate strip down I have been wanting and just BE.

Since my weight loss in 2011, I have been struggling to figure out who I am and what I want. When I realized how little weight loss does for confidence and self-image, I was at a loss and kept seeking outside sources to make that happen.

But the truth is in any given moment, we are who we were in our past. The series of actions and thoughts created us and if we want a future with new, we have to start here and now with new.

Although I would NEVER choose for my Bestie to leave my close proximity, maybe it’s what we need to grow and be better for each other. I won’t define myself by our relationship the way I do with her here, I can’t. Maybe if I can’t define myself by my “just work hard and it will be OK” body, then who am I? Not “what am I?”

These thoughts are a work in progress, but I know I long to be the person who doesn’t place my self worth in my body or my friends and family saying I’m enough (which by the way the always do and I still don’t believe it). I’m not there, people, but I long for it. Like a deep calling to be connected to something just waiting inside me. I’m guessing I need to just BE, but I can tell you this, that is a new skill I am going to have to work on.

Calm the Crazy

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Are you a walker? I’m not in the least. It’s not like I don’t walk, but I just don’t love it, or even like it as a form of exercise.

I am willing to park far away or walk to stores and events, but I have never been an exercise walker. Walking with girlfriends is fun because we get to chat and I enjoy the scenery of a hike, but walking (or even hiking) for the sake of exercise kills me. My mind races escape me from the dread moments on a walk. I always think, “If I just ran it would be faster and I would be done sooner”; therefore, I have always taken to running more than walking (which has its own kind of crazy).

Early this year I had some injuries and health issues that prevented me from running, so I had to begin walking to keep from going crazy and keep up some form of cardio. As soon as I could run again, though, I started it up and left walking in the dust…until now.

Just recently, I came down with a cold and realized I couldn’t exercise hard or I would make it worse rather than better…. So, I started walking again. Feeling sorry for myself, I begrudgingly walked the last several days.

This morning, I was just getting started at work and I realized how calm I felt. I thought it was odd because being sick makes me anxious since I can’t move more. Then I relished in the thoughts of calm and thought about why I had so much peace, and it struck me: Walking is calming

Walking calmed my crazy!

Mental health benefits of walking for a highly stressed mind and body can be significantly more powerful than a high intensity workout or run because exercise is a form of stress on the body. Generally, that form of stress reaps positive rewards for the body. However, when there is an already taxed system from illness or a prolonged stressful life situation, a higher stress workout like running or HIIT can be detrimental to healing.

After recognizing the change in my mental state, I walked with enthusiasm for the peace it would bring. Now to share with you from a hard-headed runner and all-out, balls-to-the-wall exerciser, I am writing this blog about why you should walk (even if you’re a runner)!  

Here are 5 of my favorite psychological and physiological benefits of walking:

1- Walking is calming to the nervous system, reducing stress and increasing brain activity.

2- Walking at a moderate pace for 45-60 minutes 4 times a week will increase your cardio capacity, decrease your resting heart rate and blood pressure, and help maintain a healthy weight.

3- Walking can include a social element during a walk n’ talk, which provides a mental health benefits of bonding and reducing stress while feeling socially connected and supported.

4- Walking improved balance and coordination (although that second is still an issue for me). Think about it, walking is the act of falling forward and catching yourself again.

5- Walking increases bone density without supplying too much pressure to the joints. Basically, most of us will be able to walk much longer than we will be able to run. Even if you’re a runner, add a day of walking to prolong your running years.

My epiphany of walking versus my running comes at an fortunate time to release this blog. We recently launched our community walking groups! They are free and open to the public. We meeting Mondays at 8AM & 5PM. Please look at our website for details. There’s no need to sign up, so show up and join the fun!

Happy Walking Trails to You!

Additional Blogs about benefits of walking (and running)
1- 5 ways walking is better than running  
2- The physical and psychological benefits of walking  
3- Go for a walk  
4- Walking can lift your mood

 

How do they do that?!

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Have you ever been watching someone accomplish something and you say or think, “How do they do that? There’s no way I could do that!”

I know I have!

When I am in those moments I begin to contemplate the number of hours it probably took to complete that task well. It is said that 10,000 hours of something is the expert mark. That is a HUGE commitment to something. That is 416 and 2/3 days of work or 1250 days of 8 hours every day- so for 3 and a half years straight, including weekends and holidays, you would practice 8 hours a day.

Like I said, HUGE commitment!

If you are an expert at anything or even really close to an expert at something, do you remember what it was like when you first tried that skill? Was it awkward and uncomfortable? Or did you feel like an expert out the gate?

My guess is that you were awkward and looked a little ridiculous trying. Yes? No?

For those who don’t know, I was a high-level bassoonist in a past life. I had a full scholarship to go to a music conservatory (of my choice) and chose to enlist as a Marine musician instead.

When I started playing an instrument in fourth grade, I was THE WORST clarinet player. Not just because I was in fourth grade, I was bad for a fourth grader. Something just didn’t click for me, and I don’t come from a long line of musicians (we are few and far between in my very large family).

I stuck out elementary school band and decided to play again in sixth grade when I moved up to junior high. I remember the first day of sixth grade band like it was yesterday. Mr. Hicksaw stood up in front of the students sitting at the cafeteria tables (because that was our band room), and told us about all the instruments we needed to fill out our more mature junior high band.

I took one look at the oboe (yes oboe), and thought “I can play that. It looks like a clarinet.” (Remember I could barely play the clarinet, but I was always up for a new adventure).

After he introduced the instruments, I went up and asked to play the oboe. Mr. Hicksaw only had one oboe and my more petite friend, Amy, wanted to play it too. Well, I was born 5’7” so he decided which of us would play which instrument based on my ability to carry the bassoon.

He said, “Amy, you can play the oboe. And L.J., you can play the big brother, the bassoon.” I said OK and he proceeded to show me how to put it together and teach me what the pieces were called.

In true L.J. fashion, I went home that night and told my mom I was playing a new instrument. When she asked what it was, I replied, “The bah? The bah-something, and it’s really big.”

The next day I went to class and couldn’t remember how to put it together.

I tell you that ridiculous story because I went from that in sixth grade to a paid musician by ninth grade and pretty much a pick of music conservatories (not Juliard, but still pretty good) by time I was in my senior year. The tremendous growth was based in opportunity, and that opportunity yielded more practice which helped me become an expert.

Had I given up on the bassoon when I didn’t remember how to put it together or didn’t show up for my first audition because I didn’t know how to play the audition piece (true story), I would have never had the opportunity to become an expert.

My bassoon expertise didn’t come over night. It took seven years, and when I “arrived” at that level, I needed to practice more to keep up with those around me and to continue to grow to another level.  My expertise brought me to an audition for the Marine Band and making the best decision of my life.

That decision is still a part of my life every day because that decision introduced me to my ex-husband, and we had an amazing son together. The Marine Corps taught me so much over the 19 years I experienced with the Marine Corps as a Marine, a spouse, and a civilian employee.

If it hadn’t been for being an expert bassoonist, the Marine Corps may have never found me, and my life would be incomplete.

I encourage you to try that thing when your brain says, “There’s no way I could do that!”, to try anyway. Maybe you’re right, you can’t do it. And honestly, you probably are right to start with, so just expect that. And maybe you don’t ever want to try again. But more likely, you can’t do it but you’re willing to try again until you find if you truly enjoy it.

In the studio, we have people tell us all the time “I don’t (fill in the blank).” What they are really saying is “I’m afraid to try (fill in the blank) because I may:

·         Look silly

·         Be bad at it

·         Not enjoy it

·         Find that it’s hard

·         Leave my comfort zone

Trust me, we ALL look silly from time to time. You should have seen me when I started yoga or golf…come to think of it, you can still see it when I play golf.

Trying something new will do more good than it can hurt your ego. Trying something new increases brain activity and introduces new neuropathways which makes you younger. Trying new things provides perspective and gives you an opportunity to focus in a way you never have before. If nothing else, trying something new gives you a good story to tell your friends over wine.

What is something you have been impressed with that you thought you could “never” do?

Go do that! Everyone starts somewhere….

Long, hard look

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You may or may not know of my current situation, but I am almost a year into my marital separation. It's amicable, but that doesn't make things easy. We just went to court for the final hearing, and now we wait for the decree in the mail.

I sit here baffled that our almost 15 year relationship is ending. Throughout this divorce journey, I have had to face more of my demons than ever before. Facing those demons isn’t easy, but it has always been worth it.

After the hearing, my ex and I went to eat and discussed the ups and downs of the marriage, sharing some more pain from the past and hope for the future. We both had moments of emotion, but mostly there was an air of uncertainty as we awkwardly navigated our budding new normal.

It was extremely difficult to sit across the table from him as he shared his new life. A life without me. A life where my opinion doesn’t count, or at least doesn’t have to count. A life where I let go and let him be him in a way I was never capable during our marriage.

We were 22 and 23 when we married and we were still those ages when we had Kiddo who is now fourteen. We barely knew ourselves and knew each other even less.

Life without each other is a brief moment compared to life with each other. I have more years of memory in a family with my ex than I have years of conscious memories in my family life growing up. Whether we were best for each other or not, that’s a lot of time to spend with someone.

As I drove to pick up my son to spend the night with me, I thought about the conversations between my ex and me over the last year. I thought about the times in my marriage I dug in deep to be everything to everyone and the times I skated. I am and always have been imperfect and have always struggled with my imperfection.

Fortunately, during this twenty-five minute ride, I experienced a new tape being played in my head. Not one of accepting imperfection, rather one of “I gave it my all, damn it!”

The pain I had experienced as my ex told me of the things he was now doing which I begged him to do for years, began to turn to strength. I suddenly felt empowered. I began saying aloud, “I was worth it. I AM worth it.” 

I know it sounds unlikely, but the change felt instant. Suddenly I felt an emotional healing that physically lifted my posture, strengthen my spirit, and softened my heart. In the blink of an eye driving north on the 163, my usual self-talk tapes of defeat, failure and guilt turned to strength, power, and love...for me.

I didn’t know what to do with the feelings or how to process the information that changed so suddenly, so I decided to drive to work to do a couple of things to gather my thoughts. As the thoughts gathered, I realized the only way for me to solidify this tape change was to share this with my ex.

I drove to pick up my son, and when I arrived, I asked him to go to the car so I could talk to Dad. When my son was out of ear shot, I told my ex that I had to share something important for my own sense of closure. I said, “I hurt because you wouldn’t do the things I was asking for and now that I am gone, you are. I am happy for you, but I hurt because I am worth it. I am worth the work and I always was. I am worth it, and I need you to know that. Its not all your fault. I didn’t know I was worth it, so I didn’t ask for it. But I am and was worth it.”

He apologized, I cried, we hugged, and I left. No grandeur.

When I got in the car to take my son and his friend home, we chatted and laughed a bit. Nothing like two teenage boys to provide some comic relief from the heaviness of the day. I am and will forever be grateful my ex and I had that moment together, and I am grateful it was brief. 

Since we have been back home, I have been trying to write this blog. I want to write it because it is a hugely defining moment in my life that I believe needs to be shared, but I also want to be careful not to vilify my ex or expose the intimacies of our situation.

Since writing this blog (and I have been doing it for at least two hours), I realized something more important than finally believing I am worth it…In case that wasn’t enough…

I realized that I have waited my whole life for someone to show me I am worth it, but I have never tried to treat myself with that same respect. I have constantly measured my worth and value by the yard stick others use for my life. That's not how I want to live any longer. 

This divorce has taught me so much about me. The more I am willing to take long hard looks in the mirror, the more I can confront. The more I confront, the more beauty and depth I see in the woman before me. I’m elated and terrified that this is just the beginning…

I believe...

I’ve been working a lot on creating clear succinct marketing messages at Infinitely Fit as we get ready to roll into the new year.  My best thinking happens when I listen to music or podcasts and I am nowhere near my desk….Just like what happened this morning. I was sitting in a coffee shop with a paper and pen, no computer and my phone on “do not disturb”. My ADHD behaviors run strong, so I need to find a way to remain focused. 

This morning, I sat with my music playing in my ears and jotting down all thoughts that came to my head. I had some specifics I was trying to get out, but free writing is the best way to start making sense of the chaos in my brain. As my free writing continued, I got so excited! I literally jumped out of my seat, grabbed my stuff and quickly exited the coffee shop. There were a few funny looks as I did it, but who cares?! 

I am so excited to share with you what I came up with because it is the heart of Infinitely Fit, it is my heart. It is not succinct and it is not a nice neat little marketing slogan, tagline or USP, but it is the truth and the life blood of Infinitely Fit. 

I believe whole-heartedly in shifting the cultural norms surround health and wellness, and most importantly body image from the inside out of everyone in America. 

I believe we are all hiding ourselves under many layers of what we think we “should be” rather than walking in the glory of who we uniquely are. 

I believe in future generations filled with a sense of worth that isn’t tied to actions, aesthetics or talent, rather it’s tied to an intrinsic value that allows withstand the worst of bullying and hatred regardless of deed.

I believe our world will be a place of love and acceptance for everyone once we all practice self-acceptance. 

I believe the path to self-worth is paved by self-acceptance.

I believe we don’t just deserve to but we are obligated to treat ourselves better than we ever have so we can then treat others with the dignity and respect they deserve. 

I believe the only way for our world to begin thriving is by taking responsibility and ownership of who we are and our actions. 

I believe if we keep hiding under the layers of who we believe we should be, we will never unlock the power within us. And the world needs each of us to fulfill our unique purpose with power. 

This is what burns inside me every day! Helping people helps me grow, the more I grow, the more I want to help. I am not perfect and I don’t have all the answers, but I know this much, we have gone too long hiding under the layers. Shying back from whom we were created to be and fulfilling our purposes.

Infinitely Fit was created as a solution for a healthy lifestyle, and that has held true since 2012- how we go about a healthy lifestyle continues to evolve as we learn about life…not about science. The science is of course a part of what we do and we learn from it, but there are many abstracts science cannot capture that we feel and live every day at Infinitely Fit.  

If you believe in what we stand for, join us in any capacity that makes sense. Follow us and share our content on social media, email us or call us with your thoughts and ideas of how we can help, join us for special events, join our community by taking classes with us, volunteer with us when we are out in the San Diego community. 

It’s time for change, folks! Do you accept who you are? 

 

'Tis the Season

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It’s always a season.

Every moment of our lives is part of one season or another. Some seasons are longer than others and some seem indefinite, but we can always count on the fact that whatever season we are in will eventually change. And every aspect of our lives has seasons: we have seasons with our kids depending on their ages and stages, we have seasons with our friends where people come and go, we have seasons where we are flourishing and most things fall into place, and we have seasons that bring us to our knees because everything seems hard.

It’s difficult to remember that all seasons are and always will be temporary; nothing lasts forever. We get stuck on the idea of the good seasons, wanting them to never end because we feel entitled to the good season- that’s where life should stay. We think when things are good, we’re good, we’re OK. Which in turn means, if things are bad then we’re bad; then why would we want to let go of the good seasons? As I am certain we all know the truth on some level:

All seasons come with good AND bad, and we perform well AND horribly in all those seasons.

We live in dichotomy but there is something about the human brain that wants to choose one or the other. The brain is unsettled dealing with both sides of life simultaneously.

The dichotomy we live means we’re always performing well and poorly in different aspects of our lives in a single season. Sometimes there’s more good than bad, and sometimes it’s the opposite. Regardless, both good moments and bad moments are present in every season of life regardless of how one sided it seems.

The question then is how to we learn to live in this dichotomy?

For what it’s worth, here’s my advice from my time contemplating this truth.

Acceptance: Accept that there is always good and bad in all seasons and situations. We live in dichotomy and that is OK!

Awareness: Be aware of the soundtrack of our own minds when things seem one sided. Pay attention to our tendency to overplay the stronger feeling so frequently that we seem to be holding on tight to the season. This does happen in both good and bad. During the good we don’t want to let go of good, during the bad, we don’t trust things to get better. The longer we’ve been in a season, the truer this rings.

Gratitude: Be grateful for the good things happening even if they seem few and far between. Also, spend time being thankful for the hard times because you will grow more from those bad moments and hard times than the good moments. Ironically it’s harder to be grateful for the bad things during good times than during the bad times. However, it will do more for a balanced perspective in the good times so we don’t get too married to those good times.

Be present: Be present and allow yourself to experience the good moments and the bad moments fully! And during some seasons that all happens within seconds. Laugh until you cry or scream until you smile, but experience every feeling, every emotion. The more of life that is experienced in the present moment, the more quickly you learn and move through the season.

Set limits: When things get hard or bad, it can feel like the season is indefinite and may, in fact, never end. If you feel this way, it’s time to set a limit. Make a pact with yourself by saying “I am going to give myself a month to fumble through this season. After a month it’s over or I am reassessing.” In a month, if it is not over, reassess where you are compared to where you started and set another limit. Our brains handle finite periods of distress better than indefinite periods. And the limit can be an hour or a day if a month is too long. Just choose what you need to get through that time.

Remember: Like our four seasons (or a kidney stone), this too shall pass….

Relish is the good moments so you don’t lose sight of all you have to be grateful for, and accept the bad moments as life’s classroom.

Enjoy this crazy ride we call life, people. We just never know which season will be our last! 

Breaking Up with the Scale

I’m finally ready to break up with my scale. Not because I am angry at what it tells me, but because it doesn’t really tell me much. You know the kind of scale I’m talking about. The scale that just spits a number at you, completely devoid of emotion with no explanation of what it means by that number.

What does XXX lbs mean? Does it mean I am succeeding at my attempts over a sustained period of time? Or does it mean that I am completely failing and turning into a pile of mush? Why won’t the scale tell me.

You’re probably thinking, “You can get one that reads your body fat.” And I could, but I am breaking up with that number too! Why? Because it is only rooted in the assumption that the number on the scale is accurate. And assuming that number is correct, there could still be a 3% variation in its reading. So let me tell you; I am not listening to their cold-hearted attempts of measuring my worth.

How did this harsh break up begin, you ask? Well, I have a scale at my studio but not in my home, so I only weigh myself at work. The more we used the scale for our clients, the more we saw the variation in it. We tried weighing static weights like dumbbells and kettlebells and the dang thing couldn’t even get those numbers consistently correct. So I ask, if the scale can’t weigh a static weight, how in the world can a scale measure my ever changing body?

We are constantly adding fuel and burning fuel, using and replenishing hormones, breaking down and rebuilding cells, you name it, our body is changing, which means our weight is dynamically shifting, constantly.  If that’s the case, weighing myself once a day (even the same time every day) doesn’t tell me anything more than a number. So that callous scale is out of my life and so is the rollercoaster of emotion that goes with it.

Since I have stopped spending so much time with my scale, my thinking has shifted. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about “the number”. My focus has shifted from “Did I pass today? Am I worthy enough to call myself a fitness trainer, a woman, attractive, etc?” to “Man that was a great workout! I love the way these pants look on me. I feel the best I have in years!”

I’d like to say I had some great epiphany and used shear willpower to get out from under that emotionless scale, but I didn’t. Not to mention willpower is finite and cannot solely carry you through anything. Some awareness with some environmental changes eventually brought me to take the pressure off myself. Here’s what I believe happened.

First- I became aware that the number was or could possibly be inaccurate which caused doubt.

Second- I struggled to get the scale to be consistent, trying to force it into submission.  Telling nothing but the truth I wanted to see!

Third- I realized I had a losing battle with making the scale accurate and weighed myself anyway, but each time I couldn’t get emotionally attached to the number. And it didn’t matter if it was a “good” number or “bad” one. The scale had broken my trust, so I just didn’t believe it.

Fourth- Slowly I stopped torturing myself with the inaccurate scale. I just stopped getting on so often.

Fifth- About a month or two later I realized I have no idea what I weigh and kind of don’t care.

If I was to give you any advice, it’s probably life is too short to care what a heartless scale has to say about you. You have so much value and worth because you’re you, not because you weigh XXX lbs or wear a size YY.

Easy for me to say, right? Saying about you is easy for me, but remembering to believe it about me, is different. So I just want you to know I get it. I get why you want it to be a certain number, I get why you are afraid to not be attached to that number, and I get that you don’t really know who you would be without this struggle.

My answer to that….Do what you need to do for yourself right now. We’re here to help if you want it.

 

 

Sitting with Pain

 

A year and a half ago I started getting intense, shooting pain through my left pelvic region. I was fraught with fear, confusion, panic. I saw countless doctors. They simply couldn't figure out the source of the pain.

Fast-forward a year (and countless hours of spinning, squatting and deadlifting – oops) later and I discovered the source of my pain – a torn hip labrum.  

Whomp, whomp.

Initially, I was hit with shock and frustration at having to restrict my regular activity regimen and prepare for hip surgery at 23.

I was worried about having to give up my job teaching spin. Angry at forfeiting the progress I’d made in the weight room. And frankly, I was in pain all the time.

Due to insurance and hospital scheduling issues, it took 6 months from that point to get my hip fixed up.

Because I was tired of wallowing in pain and self-pity, I decided to build myself a bridge and get over it (not literally – no bridge building with a busted hip).

Dealing with a torn labrum for over a year and a half limited my activity level, my capacity to work, my ability to sit down and – it was pretty damn painful.

Despite these various discomforts, the experience was a tremendous blessing.

Blessing? How could a year and a half of pain and limitation be a blessing?

Throughout the whole, messy process, I learned that pain does not have to equal suffering. I couldn’t change my hip’s condition and immediately eliminate my pain, but I could choose how to respond to the pain in my hip.

Viktor Frankl, after having survived the Auschwitz concentration camp, wrote, “Between the stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."

In the space between my sensation of hip pain and my mental, emotional and physical response was my power to choose. This power became abundantly clear the longer I had to deal with discomfort.

I could choose to be miserable daily and lament my misfortune or I could choose to accept, to look forward, to find meaning so that my pain didn’t have to cause suffering.

Pain + stress = suffering. Pain + fear = suffering. Pain + self-pity = suffering. But pain, itself, doesn’t have to cause you great suffering.

Pain or discomfort doesn’t just come in the form of torn hip labrums or other physical stressors. Pain is losing your job. Pain is fighting with a loved one. Pain is grappling with guilt when you’ve made a mistake. Pain is feeling shame about yourself or your body.

Through the physical manifestation of pain, we can learn to deal with the less obvious mental, emotional, or spiritual forms of pain.

Here are some things I’ve found helpful in learning to sit with pain.

Explore the Discomfort

I often perform full body scans, where I move my attention throughout my body, noticing whatever sensations are present. I found that, when I used this technique during periods of intense hip pain, the pain was actually much more manageable than I thought. If I could allow myself to be fully present with the pain, instead of feeling anxious or angry at its existence, I could soften the tension a bit.

Fear of pain, whether physical, mental or emotional, is often far worse than the pain itself.

Raise your Awareness

Before I knew the cause of my hip pain, I was a blubbering mess. I was up all night Web MD-ing, convinced I had hernias, or cysts or cancer. Once I discovered the source of my pain, I found that I noticed it far less. It was no longer constantly pulling at my mind, begging to be attended to.

Raising your awareness can help with any source of pain or discomfort. Struggle with emotional overeating? Try taking a 60 second pause to check in with your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations when you notice an impulse to binge. This can be a critical moment that allows you to regain your equilibrium and power.

Find your Precursors to Pain

When I first started experiencing discomfort in my hip, I found that sitting hurt, that cycling hurt, that deadlifting hurt – so I had to change these activities. I used to think I had to do all of those things (to be fit or happy). Turns out, I didn't.

I got a standing desk to minimize sitting time, started walking instead of cycling, and bench-pressing instead of deadlifting (still sad about that one, but it had to happen).

The more you can raise your awareness, the more you can uncover your precursors to pain. Whether that's a stressful job, unrequited love or unaccomplished dreams, understanding your precursors to pain is a powerful step in taking action towards overcoming it.

As I wise and dear friend once said when someone remarked on her high pain tolerance, “I don’t have a high pain tolerance, I just have a high ability to sit with pain.”

 

The #1 Reason You’re Unsuccessful & How to Change It

Success comes in all forms. Only an individual can define success for him or herself, but somewhere along the way, our American culture decided to streamline what success is for all of us. What were we all told when we were young? “Get good grades so you can go to college, so you can get a good job, find a good spouse, buy a nice house and car, have 2.5 kids, own a dog, and be happy.”

Although we may have been the few blessed with good parents who saw the world a little more well rounded, the truth is that the rest of the world’s message held more weight. I never knew I had an option to do anything but go to college after high school until I was recruited by the Marine Corps for my music skills. Wait! What? I can be a US Marine AND play music! WHAT?! I’m sure my mom told me that I had other options of what I could do after high school, but they never felt like options because the information never even stuck in my brain…PEOPLE! The only reason I became a US Marine was my mother convincing me that I could do all the things she knew I wanted to do and didn’t have to go to school right away.

I had turmoil in my decision making process, but not for long. I am a “balls to wall” decision making person at my core, so I don’t sit on decisions too long. (Obviously, I was destined for the Corps.)

My point remains the same. How do we define success? Well “we” collectively cannot determine success for any one person. We have a unique journey to fulfill and there are no duplicates in the world.

So why have we bought into this one picture of how life is supposed to work? Of how success should be measured?

The reason you’re unsuccessful in life pursuits is most likely because you’re trying to pursue some fake life of success.

Who said you have to go to college to be successful? I don’t think anyone is doubting the success of people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, Sophia Amoruso, David Neeleman, Paul Allen, and Larry Ellison.

Who said you had to get married to be successful? There are many unsuccessful married and unmarried folk.

Who said the big house with the white picket fence is what makes you happy? I have an uncle who can buy a dream home in any city in the country and he chooses to rent a small 3-bedroom house because he wants to move when he’s ready to move, and he has no need for extra space to fill with extra stuff. He’s a guy who loves experiences, not things.

Who said….OK. I think you get my point, and if not….The #1 reason you are unsuccessful is because you are allowing society to define success. Only you can define your own success.

You will never be successful trying to live someone else’s version of success.

And to that point: How many people consciously want that life for you? If you ask most of your friends and family, they will probably say, I just want you to be happy. Well good news! It’s easy to please them! Just choose to be happy, and if you find that difficult, it’s probably because you’re attempting to live someone else’s life.

So today, instead of trying to choose happiness in a life that isn’t meant for you, choose you. Choose what you want out of life. Maybe that means you choose to go back to school so you can eventually leave a job only your parents wanted for you. Or maybe you choose to leave school to experience the world the way you always wanted to experience it.

If you don’t know who you are at your core, you’re not going to be able to choose wisely. And all of the personality assessments in the world won’t be able to decide for you. They couldn’t possibly supply enough questions to determine the infinite possibilities of who you could be.

The good news? You can work to know yourself better and define your own version of success. Success that only you can define. In order to get to know yourself, you have to be purposeful and intentional about understanding your ins and outs. And here are a couple of activities that can help you with that.

Question it. Even if you think you know how you define success, there may be more you haven’t figured out. So spend a little time asking yourself these questions:

  • Do you know what makes you happy?
  • And what makes you sad?
  • Do you have a fire that feels like an inferno every time you hear of or see a particular situation?
  •  When do you feel energized, like you’re on top of the world?
  • When do you feel completely drained?
  • Do you know any things at which you seem especially gifted? You’re a natural _________
  • Can you describe yourself in 4 words?

Another great way to know how you would define success is to write your own eulogy. I did this exercise once with my business coach, and L-O-V-E-D it! You know why? Because my life isn’t over yet! I can make all of those things real – until the day I die, I have that chance.

What is it you want people to say about you when you’re gone? If you can write that down, you’re on your way to redefining your own success and setting your path on the right trajectory. Don’t be hard on yourself, nothing is written in stone…yet. Until the day we're buried 6 feet under, we still have a chance to make our dreams a reality.

And let’s be honest. I’m sitting here writing this as a 36-year-old woman, a mother of a 13-year-old, running a business, and on the verge of some big changes in my life – I expect my eulogy and my definition of success to change and grow as I change and grow. Don’t be so married to this picture of success that you aren’t allowed to change your mind. You always have that right, so be kind and forgiving to yourself.

If this is something you're interested in discovering more about, but you're not sure how to proceed, you may consider signing up for a complimentary 30 minute health and wellness coaching consultation. Our coach will help you pin point some of the areas that you may be holding yourself back from being your authentic self. We'd love to walk with you on your journey, so don't be afraid to ask for help. Visit our homepage, fill out the form, and our health coach will contact you to set an appointment time. 

When the scale sucks: 7 better ways to know if your nutrition plan is working. (Precision Nutrition)

precision nutrition

Ever feel frustrated that you're doing all the right things but the scale hasn't budged? So have thousands of other health coaching clients. That's why precision nutrition wrote this article to help you acknowledge your progress, even when the scale hasn't  yet. 

Precision Nutrition says: 

To succeed, you must know what small sprouts of progress look like.

You must know…

…how to track them for yourself, if you’re trying to change.

…how to point them out to your clients, if you’re a coach.

And, most importantly…

…how to celebrate them together.

Read their blog to find out the 7 better ways to measure you success:
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/ways-to-know-if-your-nutrition-plan-is-working

"I'm proud of you"

I'm proud of you. I don't know about you, but those four little words strung together can make an impact like few others in my life. 

Just today I received a phone call from my big sis. She really amazes me sometimes with her perspective of me and my journey to my business. (She also has a sixth sense and always knows things before I tell her, but that's a different topic all together.) When she called me kind of out of the blue, it was just to catch up. She went on to tell me that she was just talking about me and how she believes a friend of hers can be successful in her similar business because I am successful in mine.

It stopped me in my tracks filled with humility and uncertainty. Rather than being appreciative of the comment, I was almost argumentative with my sister saying that it sounds like this person is even more successful than me.

You're probably reading this thinking: But you ARE successful. You're in business, your doors are open and things are growing; how many people have that?

The truth is she's right and you're right! I have success in my business and my life. I see it when I pay attention, but day-to-day it's easy to forget the journey at which I've already succeeded and the little steps along the way. 

In early years on this journey the thought that someone else was more successful would have gotten stuck in my head. I would have decided that since they are more successful, I am a failure (now that's a blog for another day). I would have allowed it to eat me alive, defeating my future attempts at the next milestone of success on my journey ahead. 

This time was different. I heard the words my sister said, almost immediately tuning them out. I felt and heard the loud and negative bitch in my head telling me I am not successful- I've failed. But then I heard my sisters words again. She was trying to tell me that she was proud of me, and a couple sentences later, that's exactly what she said. Had I allowed the loud negative thoughts to plague me, I never would have heard the most important words my sister had for me today. 

She would have said those positive words, but I never would have received them as the gift she intended. If I hadn't opened my mind to receive those words, when things get harder during this journey (and they will), I wouldn't have that gift to lean on. 

I'm eternally grateful to my sister for her words of encouragement, and not just for the content of her being proud of me, or for the future memory of that moment. I'm also grateful that her moment of kindness unlocked awareness of strength inside me and gratitude for my journey, completed and incomplete.

The healing and growth I have had over the last few years is not only palatable, but it is being put into action even without conscious effort. If this sounds a little like a self-kudos moment-- IT IS! I'm proud of me for numerous reasons right now! 

Thanks to my big sis for always being my cheerleader and supporter, and for helping me see an accurate reflection of my journey in this moment.  

I hope this encourages you to keep working towards a healthy mindset and emotional health. You are worthy of believing in yourself. Until you believe that about yourself, I'm here to remind you!

I'm proud of you for every bit of effort you have put into you, for making every hard decision that allowed you to step into a better version of yourself, and for just showing up, reading a blog, getting out of bed, or saying a prayer when it was hard to even exist. You're valuable to this world just because you are you!

Please feel free to comment below, share with friends and family or email me personally. lj@infinitely-fit.com. 

LJ Eastmead

8 Ways to Get More Movement Without Exercising

With the health and fitness industry blowing up, there are small boutique fitness facilities popping up everywhere. In San Diego County, you can find small group fitness training (like us), boxing gyms, MMA training facilities, any form of martial arts you’d like, surfing groups, cycling groups, hiking teams, kayaking lessons, dance lessons of all kinds (even pole dancing), and anything else you can think of that is fitness related. You can also find all of them on Groupon or Living Social for a killer deal. Honestly, you can jump from place to place every month paying a fraction of the cost for high level fitness using those sites. But sometimes, even the Groupon rates are too much or you just want ways to get your exercise in on your own schedule or in your own space.

Often times, when we’re ready to start or improve our fitness routines, we tend to think about getting our daily exercise through traditional platforms or gyms, classes, running, swimming, etc. But what if I told you that movement is movement is movement. Working out in a great community of people like we have at Infinitely Fit is fantastic! It’s a great way to make friends, stay accountable and care for your body. However, if you’re anything like me, you need something else that fills you. Something that makes you feel alive and helps you to stay healthy.

Here are the top ways I like to get some movement in my day without actually exercising in the traditional sense.

1.       Summer Concerts in the Park = DANCING!

All over San Diego County (and in many parts of the country), communities host a free summer concert series for the public. There is usually no cost unless you decide to donate to the series. My best friend and I grab the husbands (when they are willing) and teens (because we make them) and trek our way to Coronado almost every Sunday evening in the summer. We set up our food and wine and chat while we people watch. Then, my niece begs me (for like 2 seconds because I’m ready) to go dance with her. We kick off our shoes and dance for easily 30 minutes or more. Now, I am no professional dancer, and I am extremely aware that we are the subjects of other people’s people watching entertainment. Since I am who I am that just fuels the fire of the ridiculous gyrations I call dancing. Depending how hard I am working, I can burn 300-500 calories…an extra glass of wine anyone? Obviously, you don’t have to go anywhere to dance if you have a phone and Pandora. Turn it up and get down!

2.       Exploring the seas

I don’t go often, so I am no pro, but I do like going out and kayaking or stand up paddle boarding. They are fun activities that allow me to not only get some exercise, but also to see the city from a different perspective. I am a city girl, and I love city skylines. Being in the San Diego Bay looking back at the skyline can take me to a different world. These activities can certainly be considered a more traditional form of exercise, but I think if you’re doing it right, it’s just being outside exploring and connecting with nature.

3.       Camping games

When I think camping, I think hanging outside playing games. I’m all about a good game of softball or stickball, but I mean more like corn hole and horseshoes. They are simple games that keep you on your feet and active. You aren’t burning calories at a record burning pace, but it sure as heck beats the calorie burning going on when your greatest ass-et is on the couch.

4.       Physical Challenges

Sometimes my son and I will take out some stability exercise balls and challenge each other to a pose or position. I tend to win because I am overly competitive…don’t feel too sorry for him, he’s 13 and taller than me (and I’m not short!). But you can do anything: Have a long jump competition, play HORSE, balance like a flamingo and try to knock each other over, relay races…the more ridiculous the better because you’ll be laughing and getting a great ab workout.

5.       Balloon play

Along the lines of the Physical challenges, balloon games are a blast and a great way to get your heart rate up. Blow up a few balloons and try to keep them in the air. If that’s too easy, don’t use your hands to keep it afloat. You can use your arms, legs, feet, face, head; just not your hands. If you’re playing with others, each person can only hit it once. If it hits the ground, start the count over. How many times can you hit it without dropping it? Or have two groups and compete. Whatever makes it fun for you- do it!

6.       Anything ball

So I have to give credit to some friends for this one. We met up with my son’s best friend and his family one evening. They are a family of 5, all of the kids are boys. Then the uncle’s family came with 2 more boys, then us. So we have 3 moms and the rest dads and boys. Well, I was the only mom willing to play that day.  I think it’s because it was such a novelty to me and the other 2 have lived with it for years and don’t find it nearly as engaging as my competitive spirit. Here’s how it works: Gather whatever kinds of balls and Frisbees you have and as many people as you’d like. As safely as you possibly can, start kicking, passing and throwing any of the balls or Frisbees that come to you. OK, so it’s a little dangerous. There’s a lot of yelling names and “head up” that happen, but man is it fun. Of course if you’re playing with a bunch of young boys, wrestling matches happen too. There will be no shortage of movement in this ridiculous game.

7.       Recreational League/Pickup Game

Join a recreational league or sign up for a pickup game of a sport you love. With Meet Up, I find all sorts of things to do and try. I play soccer in recreational leagues, but there are also pickup games here and there. Start one yourself if you really want to play something. You don’t even have to be good. Get a kickball game started and invite people out to the park, or even the people hanging around the park. Or go to the beach and ask someone to kick around a soccer ball, play volleyball or throw a Frisbee.

8.       Stretching

I’m not talking a yoga class here. If you take yoga and want to do that on your own- go for it. I am just talking about spending time on your floor while the TV is on and stretching out your joints. Just sitting with your legs wide could be enough. Or maybe you want to stretch those glutes and hamstrings to alleviate low back pain. May you’re sadistic like me and have a foam roller you torture yourself on regularly as you watch your favorite shows.

The point is, exercise doesn’t have to be the mundane, the traditionally prescribed programs we usually picture when we think exercise. It can be exciting without being intense. It will open your mind to moving your body and understanding how it likes to move, and trust me, it LIKES to move!

If you continue to do the same activities repetitively without changing things up some, you put too much wear and tear on your joints (that goes for our kids too). So try something new and different and fun for you. Maybe you find you like it and maybe you find you don’t. Either way, you tried and you now know.  

We’d love to know what it is you decide to do from our list or your own ways to get movement outside of a traditional exercise platform. Leave a comment or send a message!

Happy moving!

-L.J.

Replacing My Mask

As I stood in my bathroom, looking into the mirror applying my make up for the third day in a row (one time a month is about my average), I was struck by a thought. Since my recent weight gain has settled in and I cannot seem to get the weight to drop for a multitude of reasons (some I can control, some I cannot), I feel an overpowering need to replace my “mask”.

Finishing the make-up application, I was so aware of my attempt to replace my “hot body” mask for a “great hair and mediocre make-up” mask. Since I can’t seem to wrap my head around consistently eating well, I decided I would fix something else. I’m not accepting anything- I’m just moving on.

Don’t get me wrong, moving on can be a healthy means of leaving old habits behind. And right now when I actually do something with my hair and put on make-up, I feel more beautiful and attractive. But let’s be honest, that’s not all that’s happening here.

I am unbelievably insecure about my looks. And not just my body but my face as well. My husband teases me because I always have my mouth open to make a silly face in every picture. I do it as a mask. I do it because I can laugh with people and never have to be laughed at. In my head, people will ridicule and laugh at me when I am not making a “pretty face”. Even worse, I feel like I look good but find out that someone else doesn’t think so. I’m an adult and logically know that most people don’t care what I look like in pictures, but my sensitive and previously damaged ego is more of a feeler than a thinker.

The worst part is that no one else can fix this issue for me. My husband, friends and family cannot tell me enough times how beautiful I am so that I will actually start believing it. Even if they could fix it for me, they would have to follow me around all day and night, every day and night saying, “You’re beautiful” every two minutes in order to thwart the bitch in my head. Even then, I am not sure she would stop because she can attack me when I least expect it and no one is looking.

There’s more to this change than just stopping the loud bitch in my head. I have been quieting her down increasingly more and more over the last year; the next step is to replace her. She doesn’t serve me any longer. She doesn’t protect me from others and their potential attacks. She hurts me, holds me back and reminds me of all of my fears and failures. But she’s not just wrong- something else is right!

There is beauty in me that’s skin deep, but there is also a beauty in me that radiates from the inside out and deserves the best I have to give. She deserves the best from the people around her, and shouldn’t put up with anything else. She selflessly and generously gives to the community of people around her because she cares. She is a precious diamond. Gosh that sounds cheesy and silly! (If you just read that diamond line, I worked hard to keep that in here. My less than romantic side is grossed out by it!)

As cheesy and silly as it sounds, it’s truth. It’s the most beautiful and freeing truth I have heard from myself in a long time. I am an extremely flawed and imperfect person, but I am a beautiful person. A beautiful person who wants heads to turn when others see me, and hearts to open when they spend time with me.

Why do so many of us believe they aren’t enough? That regardless of what we do, achieve, experience, and share we are inadequate? Adequate is different than perfect, and none of us are perfect, but we are certainly adequate in just about anything and better than adequate in many areas.

I don’t know what your bitch says to you, but here is the daily list of failures my loud bitch likes to lie to me about:

·         You’re a terrible mom- you are going to drive your kid to be an unproductive member of society who is a (fill in your choice of addiction)

·         Your husband is not being fulfilled because you’re not good enough, attractive enough, fun enough, etc.

·         You are not savvy enough to run a business

·         You will never achieve the business you envision

·         You failed at this before why wouldn’t you fail this time?

·         Your clients can’t lose weight if you can’t even maintain your own weight

·         You don’t have anything important to say, why do you talk so much?

·         You want to be a professional speaker? Have you heard yourself?

·         You’re so ugly! How did you ever think you were attractive?

·         You look so old, are you sure your birth certificate is right? (OK, that second part is my sense of humor right in this moment)

And the list goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on…

Most likely if you’re still reading this blog, you have a list too. Maybe the same, maybe different. Either way, you probably can feel every insult as if it was the familiar voice you hear.

Honestly, as I take a look at this list and absorb it- Stockholm’s Syndrome makes sense. Just like a kidnapper holds someone captive and the victim starts to identify with and defend the poor choices of the perpetrator, I listen to and defend the bitch in my head.  I have the freedom of choice every single day to listen to the loud bitch or not, yet often times, I choose to not only listen to but to defend her! That sounds crazy, but I do it. I believe she’s justified by memories; moments I recall when she says those things. They are snap shots in time, but I take them to be the entirety of my story.

Our rational brains can’t make sense of it, but we don’t operate from a logical place all that often. There’s a theory that says we make decisions only with our emotions. We think through things and make our pros and cons lists taking 3 days to make some big decisions, but the truth of the matter is the decision was still emotionally instilled. Maybe the greater emotion that took over while you waited 3 days was greater than the impulsive emotion, but often, our first emotional decision is our final decision.

I don’t know about you, but I want to change my emotional reactions. I want to say things out loud that are true. I want to not just drink my own kool-aid that I spout out to anyone who listens. I want to live it out as an example to others, make an impact on my community, and change the way we think and act as a culture.  

As always, thanks for reading our blogs. We welcome any feedback, comments and suggestions. We want to share material that you want to learn about or hear. Please comment on the blog or email fitness@infinitely-fit.com for any ideas or thoughts.

 

The Dirt Behind the Fairytale

It’s time to free myself of the fear of someone “finding out the truth”, so today I stop hiding behind my weight loss success story and divulge more dirt behind the fairytale. And in order to get the full effect of the present, you have to know the history of my journey...

Most of my teen and adult years prior to my significant weight loss journey, I weighed approximately 160-165 and wore a size twelve. I was probably a sophomore in high school when that weight settled onto my body staying put until I was thirty-one years old. On occasion those pounds would find extra friends to cuddle up with in my hip, thigh and butt areas pushing my weight higher and my pants tighter, eventually needing a size fourteen. I even spent time near 200 pounds (without being pregnant) and squeezed into a size fourteen, but I was honestly more of a size sixteen to eighteen.

The last few years, I have spent most of my energy struggling to maintain a healthy weight and not get obsessive and lose too much weight. I have over-trained my body and tried to recover from its effects while the fear of “getting fat” stalking me like a bad ex-boyfriend.

The pressure is immense in the health and wellness industry, but mostly from my own thoughts. My clients and the average Joe or Jane still think I look fit and healthy and some even desire to look “as good” as me. Day in and day out, I stress over every pound I have gained….and, trust me, pounds I have gained. This time around, it’s more than pounds, it’s inches and pants sizes too.

After a couple years of a highly stressful life kicking me around, I’m back up to my fighting weight range around 161-163 most days. My thighs jiggle more, my tummy is soft and pouchy, and “Baby got back!” On the bright side, I did start filling out some bras. With all the extra fluff and jiggle, no one has said a word to me. Obviously some people have noticed, but most politely say I still look great or really just haven’t noticed.

The reason they have yet to notice is that I may have gained weight and size, but I didn’t gain so much weight and size that I am back up to a size twelve. When I was ten to fifteen pounds lighter, I was wearing a size four, which I never dreamed was even possible! Now I wear a size six or eight depending on the cut and style of the clothing. So the weight has increased more than the size, especially when I consider my past of weighing the same and wearing two to three sizes larger clothing.

You’re probably waiting on me to get on with my point, so here it is…I am clearly a much healthier 162-ish than I ever was in my teens and twenties. My body isn’t completely unhealthy; I am just carrying some extra weight.

Without boring you with all the nitty gritty details, I have earned every pound gained. My life has been stressful, and I am a stress eater. I also need more socializing than the average person to keep my mind healthy, and my social life has wine involved at least 60% of the time. In addition to the stress eating, I was eating extra because I wasn’t sleeping. And when we don’t sleep, our hormones are off and we tend to think the sleepiness is hunger. So again, more eating.

Now here I am, feeling the pressure of looking the part as a trainer while holding true to my principles and values as a trainer and coach. I believe that people,including me, need to take time to lose weight by caring for their bodies when things have been out of whack.

I could choose to go on some restrictive diet losing ten pounds so I am comfortable with the number on the scale and the one stitched into my clothes.  There are ton of diets to choose from- paleo, vegan, low carb, cleanses, etc. But I know better and really believe my own advice. I believe it’s more important to live a balanced life caring for myself as a human being, not as a fitness model whose worth is found in others coveting my body. My obsessive trainer wants to diet and take extreme measures, but my true coach knows that will only make things worse.

This is probably the hardest form of getting comfortable in the uncomfortable I have yet to experience. I want to lose a few pounds, probably five to eight and I want to comfortably fit into a size six no matter where I shop. And I am going to slowly work towards those goals by first and foremost, RESTING!

It’s counterintuitive to my core, but I speak the truth. I need to be kind to my body by getting good sleep. And to get good sleep, I need to exercise a healthy amount and eat well (not perfectly), create clear boundaries at work and home, and spend time doing things I enjoy and are relaxing for me. As these habits become more regular again, the deeper rest will come and the next level of mental, physical and spiritual healing will be complete.

Sweet dreams!

 

This is B.I.G. BIG!

As you can see above, Infinitely Fit is moving to a new studio in Carmel Mountain Ranch on March 14th! We can't wait to share the space and new equipment with our clients!

Opening my own studio and moving out of the garage is something I have hoped for and planned to do for about a year now. It had been a just a dream until an irresistible opportunity landed in my lap last week. 

In recent months, all the pieces I needed started to come together as we have been gaining a steady flow of new clients and started filling up our classes in our small garage studio. It couldn't be a more divinely orchestrated situation which seemed to happen almost overnight- out of no where.

The truth, however, couldn't be further from the truth. This opportunity and successful snapshot in time is a result of years of work, getting up everyday being willing to march on, try new things, and take risks even when it seemed pointless and a waste of time.

With all that has been happening, and so quickly, my glorious moment came unexpectedly wrapped in a package of opening my own studio. It was hard to believe that it is, in fact, a glorious moment- a picture of success! As I have been planning for success, I expected a success of this magnitude to be a monumental moment in time. I expected to "arrive" at success like it's a destination, and believed somehow all my hard work would be over, and it would be time to rest for a bit. Well, it's most definitely not a destination at which I've arrived because the hard work has increased rather than ceased. I am the same person as I was before this all happened, just with a bigger to-do list, more responsibility and less sleep.

This glorious moment is a success, and a BIG one, but it is not a destination. The beat marches on, and so will I or my moment of success is the beginning of my decline. And with that in mind, I have some classes to plan, some accounts to reconcile and some marketing to decide upon. But first, I think I'll take a moment to celebrate with my family because this is glorious!

Whether you stop in to say hi and check out our space or come to take our classes, we hope to see you soon!

Here's to a new chapter at Infinitely Fit! Cheers!

 

When to push...

Our last blog was all about the no pain, no gain mentality and how it can be physically and emotionally destructive. While pain is not an indicator of a good workout, there are times when it’s necessary to push yourself past comfortable limits to grow stronger, fitter and healthier.

I like to think of this concept as finding your training sweet spot or, as science would call it, the principal of progressive overload. This principal states that your workouts should be just a tiny bit more challenging than what you’re capable of so your body is forced to create adaptations (increase the size of muscle fibers, utilize fat for fuel, etc.).

Constantly overloading your system with high intensity exercise doesn’t allow sufficient time for these adaptations to occur. But never overloading your muscles and cardiovascular system doesn’t allow for the stimulus that produces these adaptations.

If this idea leaves you with a big question mark over when to push forward and when to pull back, welcome to the club.

Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules that apply to everyone as to how much, how hard or how often you should exercise to reap maximum benefits and avoid overtraining. Every body is different, with a different set of genes and experiences, and will respond to training differently. Beyond that, every person is different everyday.

I live in a world where I love things to be black or white. Healthy or unhealthy, beneficial or detrimental, good or bad. For years I tried to fit exercise into these categories, believing “intense exercise is best” and “light exercise and rest are a waste of time.”

Not only is that not true in a general sense (light exercise is awesome), it is different on any given day of the week. What works for my body today is not the same as yesterday. And it won’t be the same tomorrow, next week or next year.

While figuring out when to “go hard” and when to “go home” (or just ease back a little) is an individual learning process, there are a few easy tips that can help you find that sweet spot where you achieve maximum results and avoid overtraining.

Tips and Tricks:

  •  Intensity and duration are inversely related. High intensity exercise can be a great way to provoke physiological changes, but when done too much, it’s also a great way to overtrain. If the exercise you’re performing is of sufficiently high intensity, you actually can’t do it for a long time. So keep the high intensity stuff short but, you know… intense.
  • Follow hard days with easy days. To allow your body time to recover and reap the most benefit from highly intense or strenuous exercise sessions, follow with lighter days. Light is different from one person to another (I do not find a jog to be light exercise, but a highly trained runner would). Focus on exercise that leaves you feeling refreshed and energized, like yoga, walking, or gentle biking or running.
  • Keep it moving. Easy days are easy days, not off days. Finding some movement on the days that you don’t have strenuous workouts may help you recover and will help you stick to your exercise regimen.
  • Aim to honor and care for your body rather than fix it. When you care for someone, you want what’s best for them, regardless of whether it is what’s easiest. Sometimes what’s best is challenging and tough; sometimes it’s gentle and encouraging. If you approach your workouts from this perspective, you will be better able to understand what your body needs each day and better equipped to respond to those needs.

Learning when to push forward and when to pull back isn’t something that will happen overnight (Seriously, it’s taken me 5 years to come up with a reasonable sense of it). But it is a worthy endeavor in the pursuit of lifelong physical and mental health and happiness.

 

 

 

"No Pain, No Gain"

"No Pain, No Gain"

“Basically, no exercise is bad… but too much exercise is worse.”

We live in a society that glorifies extremes, evidenced by t-shirts proclaiming, “Sore Today, Strong Tomorrow” and Fitspo images of chiseled abs plastered behind the words, “Sweat is Fat Crying.”

While I’m a strong proponent of exercise providing immense physical and psychological benefits, when we dichotomize any behavior into all or nothing, good or bad categories, the virtue can easily become the vice. 

 

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Train to fail

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Let’s be honest, it’s not fun to fail. It reveals weaknesses. It exposes us in a place we probably already feel vulnerable. When we fear failure, we believe that if people see us fail, they will think less of us.

This year, #lean2016; I train to fail. I train to fail in my own fitness training and for others, I train to fail in life pushing the boundaries and every self-imposed limit I can find! 

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"I've got to get my cool back!"

"I've got to get my cool back!"

The New Year did not kick star me or bring a new batch of motivation like the many resolution writing hard-chargers out there. It brought me in a little more zen and primed me for energy, but the energy itself is lacking. (I have Eddie Griffin in Undercover Brother in my head right now. “I have got to get my cool back.”)

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