keep the focus: weight, normal eating, and keeping health at the forefront of my goals

Hello from hibernation! My last post was about focusing on the journey towards our goals, and in the journey towards my goals, I’ve learned again and again that I need to focus on what I can control. As much as it’s tempting to think, achieve at all costs, I know that focusing on how I get to my goals–and making it a process that makes me better–is important. 

Part of my current journey involves (continuing to) work on my relationship with food and my body and how it all relates to health. This week, I was pointed towards Ellyn Satter by Jennifer, the dietitian at NutritionRx, when she shared Satter’s “Definition of Normal Eating.” This definition is printed and up on my bulletin board where I can see it when I need a reminder to pump the brakes with my perfectionism.

ellyn satter

f perfection

Apologies for the language, but this one also serves as a reminder not to use food for crazy-making purposes.

 

When I was procrastinating perusing Satter’s website this morning, I found an article that really resonated with me. Given her mission of “helping adults and children be joyful and competent with eating,” it makes sense that she would provide a set of guidelines that made me think, huh, this is flexible but still makes health matter. She’s sensitive to the ways that weight is a by-product of making healthy choices, which means that we are responsible for making healthy choices but that we can take the pressure off of ourselves to lose weight at all costs. Here are some of Satter’s tips:

  • Eat well and joyfully, and trust your internal regulators to guide you in what andhow much to eat.
  • Move your body in a way that you enjoy and can sustain.
  • Let your body weigh what it will in response to your positive and consistent eating and activity.
  • Develop loyalty and respect for your body.
  • Stop postponing living until you get thin.”

Amen!

I know how to resist the media. I know that weight loss is not synonymous with health. But every day, I see people around me and on the news and in my social media sphere who are prioritizing weight loss in the name of health, often at the expense of their health. I try to do my best to remove the kind of updates that promote these kinds of perspectives from my world, or to remind myself that everyone’s journey is different and that it’s not up to me to decide what’s right for other people. But I do know what’s right for me, and I do want to—even if wanting to be smaller or wanting to be faster or wanting to feel lighter—always keep my health and what is in my control, my actions, as my priority.

I think that sharing messages like this that remind us to focus on shifting our actions towards ones that are health- and happiness-promoting instead of getting hyper-focused on the number on the scale or our body fat percentage or the tag in our jeans is important because it’s not heard enough. It’s not quite as sexy to talk about how we learned to eat more vegetables or drink a little more water as it is to go on and on about a detox or what we’re not eating this week, but in the long run, it’s the way that we relate to our bodies and take care of ourselves that will keep us happy and healthy.

focus
Are you working on any food goals right now?
What do you think of the “normal eating” guidelines?

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finish lines are far and few between: staying motivated in the process

Yesterday, I was driving to the class I do on Tuesday and Thursday with my bicycle trainer, coach, and a really good looking group of people and I caught myself beating myself up for not doing more work. I’d had a good day — it started with a swim, then I had a dentist appointment, but I’d dilly-dallied and spent some time shopping for a Valentine’s Day gift addition (damn you Hallmark holidays!) before spending ~3 hours on my work. Then it sort of dawned on me: I have until the summer to finish this damn thing. And then I reminded the procrastinator in me: A far-off deadline for a huge task is not an excuse to put it off.

You can’t write a thesis in a day now, and I won’t be able to then. So what’s a classic procrastinator to do? Blog.  Learn to aim for progress comes to mind, as does learning a life lesson: in the grand scheme of things, most of our days will be spent working on things that we will finish in the future. It’s a good feeling to be “done” something–I am excited for the champagne I’ll be drinking when my thesis is complete–but we don’t finish big things all that often.

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So, I’m learning, the day to day can be a little mundane–or it can be something we consider success. This year, I am training for a half ironman (my first!), and while I am attracted to and pulled forward by the goal of crossing the finish line, the actual process of making that happen is far less sexy than the albeit sweaty and spandex clad vision I have in mind when I think about what I’m doing. Getting there requires hauling my bike around to ride my trainer with people who actually motivate me to work while I’m on the thing. It involves setting my alarm for 5am and jumping in the pool before my boyfriend has even started his snooze cycle. A particularly tedious part of it involves working on the way my body works to deal with a foot issue that seems to keep on coming back.

…but this is all part of the fun. There are plenty of clichés out there about enjoying the journey or about how our goals are not as important as who we become in the achieving of them. I buy both of them. I am learning and becoming the kind of person who doesn’t mind dragging their bike around the city in the name of better, more social workouts. I am developing the kind of dedication it takes to work on the not-so-sexy aspects of the sport (i.e. injury management/prevention). I am learning that I feel so much better sitting down to my desk when I’ve given myself a good morning workout to start the day.

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Now, it may be a bit cheesy, but I can only hope that these lessons and the way that I’m evolving as a person through all of this is spilling over into other aspects of my life. What am I learning about motivation? What about my reaction to “barriers” or obstacles on my way?

I think this stuff is important. We want to achieve great things—and that is great! I am all for the exciting feeling we get when we think about our bucket lists, complete with things that seem almost impossible. When it comes to goals though, I think most people want to achieve them ASAP. I don’t think I’m alone in loving less the messy, in-between part where we are working towards our goals than I do the sexy parts of setting them and achieving them. But one good workout doesn’t get us ready for a big race. A single day of healthy eating and exercising doesn’t translate into the brand new body of your dreams. As much as we want it to work differently, we get from A to Z by taking a bunch of little steps. We fall in love with people over the day-to-day, which isn’t romantic comedy material but is where we find ourselves becoming attached to those we love. We buy big things that we couldn’t possibly afford all at once, which requires us to be okay with being in the process.

Those little steps can seem mundane, but I would argue that when they’re attached to a bigger goal, they’re not so bad. I say let yourself get sucked into the allure of setting big goals, but don’t forget the part where you think about what you’re going to need to do to get you there. Start to give meaning to those little things that might otherwise seem like a chore or like run-of-the-mill things you just do, going through the motions. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go write another page on my thesis before I go do a training run for that half ironman I mentioned.

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10 ways to stay on track, even when you can’t work out

’tis the season for flus, colds, and all kinds of ways to feel yucky that can derail even the most committed New Years resolution-ers who’ve decided to make 2015 their year to get fit. I was sick over Christmas with some form of bronchitis/pneumonia/bug that is finally starting to clear up.

meme sick

While I was definitely frustrated–I hate being sidelined whether it’s because my schedule is crazy, I’m sick, or I’m dealing with some kind of injury–I actually appreciate the time off that forced me to get organized out of sheer boredom. The experience got me to thinking, because in the past when I’ve gotten hurt I’ve been absolutely miserable about it.

So what are some things we can do to stay positive and even to set ourselves up for a healthier start when we do get back to our normal selves? If you’re sick, snowed in, or just finding yourself with free time, here are ten of my best ideas for getting yourself on track towards healthy:

  1. Make a playlist for your first workout back. It’s probably going to be a struggle, so you might as well have something to motivate you in the background. Bonus points if you also delete the same old playlist you’ve been using for 5 years and download lots of Britney in its place.
  2. Organize your workout clothes. I’m going to guess that yours could use a re-folding. There’s something so nice about opening up your closet and being able to find the top you want or the tights you need, especially if you workout in the morning and have approximately 10 seconds to do this before your partner wakes up and grunts.
  3. Clean out your gym bag. I am the queen of carrying too many things–lugging my workout bag to the gym is part of my workout. With my toys for CrossFit and weightlifting, two or sometimes three pairs of shoes, and then my shower necessities, it can be hard to fit a water bottle or a set of clothes in my (large) bag. For this reason, I need to clean out anything extraneous in the darn thing on the regular to make sure I don’t lose a shoe in the parking lot (again).
  4. Set a fitness goal or two. What is that big goal that you really wish you could achieve when it comes to your fitness? Is it lifting a certain amount of weight or finishing a certain race? Is it beating an old PR? Write down what you want to do and when you want to do it–it’s the first step in making it happen.
  5. Make a vision board. If you’re crafty and in the habit of setting goals, a vision board is a great way to make yourself a visual reminder of what you want to create in your life. You’ll love the feeling of looking at it every day–think instant motivation plus a feeling of pride when you start to see those things becoming your reality!

    My most recent vision board (right next to a reminder I need). It could use some updating, because things on there keep on happening in my life! Imagine that...

    My most recent vision board (right next to a reminder I need). It could use some updating, because things on there keep on happening in my life! Imagine that…

  6. Organize your tupperware situation. This trivial task is actually really important: if you don’t have anywhere to store your healthy food, how the heck will you make it? There’s nothing better than having a fridge stocked with healthy food that’s ready to grab when you’re hangry or rushed out the door and there is nothing worse than packing chili in a ziploc bag because all your tupperwares are in your trunk.
  7. Find a few healthy recipes to try. We are all creatures of habit, but variety is the spice of life. With the interwebs, there’s no excuse for not trying new recipes. Type in what you have in your cupboard and fridge and ta-dah!, you’ll have a recipe that works. I prefer cookbooks however, so if you’re like me, why not bookmark some recipes you’ve been meaning to try and make a point of planning them into your meals for the next week? Nomnomnom.
  8. Read an inspirational biography. If you’re pretty sick, you’re going to be spending a lot of time on the couch. Rather than watching the whole Harry Potter series start to finish, why not mix in some reading of the type that motivates you? Some of my favourites are people’s stories, like Dara Torres’ (Age is Just a Number), Chrissie Wellington’s (A Life Without Limits), Cheryl Strayed’s (Wild), and Kathryn Bertine’s (The Road Less Taken). 
  9. Watch a sports documentary. I don’t mountain bike or snowboard, but my boyfriend is into these sports and so I’ve caught myself watching a video or two of them and getting fired up. Whatever you do, seeing someone do what they do at their best can be supremely motivating. Try this one…
  10. Get some rest. There’s a reason you’re sick, and the sooner you take a nap, the sooner you’ll be back at it–whatever it is.
    don't feel good

If you are feeling sick, I hope you feel better in a jiffy. I also hope that even if you’re not, you’ll do one of these things–you’ll be fitter for it!

What keeps you positive when you can’t work out?

got resolutions? why all or nothing thinking isn’t helping

It’s the third week of January, which means everyone in the world is healthier than they’ve ever been and are killing their New Year’s Resolutions, right? While that’s the case in my fantasy world where we’re all living the healthiest and happiest lives we can, I know there are people out there who are struggling and even people who have given up on their “get healthy” resolutions by now.

I want to talk about one of the big reasons I see people (and have seen myself) fail when it comes to making our healthy goals into happy realities: all or nothing thinking. 

get out of your own way

While there are lots of things that are black and white in this world (zebras, pandas, Oreos), classifying health, exercise, and nutrition in that way is a recipe for disaster in my world. For perfectionists, black and white thinking when it comes to healthy living can be a big way of setting ourselves up for failure. For example:

  • Your New Year’s Resolution was to save desserts for the weekend and special occasions. Come one Tuesday evening, however, you’re baking cupcakes for your friend’s birthday on Wednesday. You find yourself licking the spatula and the icing spreader before tossing them in the sink and start beating yourself up about it. Thinking you’ve blown your resolution, you figure you might as well go ahead and have a cupcake now. You end up eating the cupcake hovering over the sink and hoping your partner doesn’t see you–he knows about your resolution–and end up not enjoying the cupcake and feeling guilty about it. You, feeling like a failure, go back to your old habit of nightly indulgences and give up on your resolution, eating a cupcake every night that week. If you’d just accepted that one cupcake is still less than five, you’d have ended up moving in a healthier direction than your previous self. Lesson: Don’t compare yourself to perfection if it means you’re going to feel like you don’t measure up. Look at which direction you’re moving in and appreciate the progress, overall, that you’re making on your goals. 
  • Your New Year’s Resolution was to work out for 45 minutes five times a week. When things get busy with a stressful week, you have to miss your regular spin classes. You decide that since you can’t do the full 45 minutes, you might as well not do anything. You end up feeling out of shape and even on the days when you do find yourself with time to hit the gym for the classes you love, you lack motivation. If you’d just recognized that all exercise counts and done what you could, you’d have kept the momentum going and would be reaping the benefits of moving your body on a regular basis. Don’t employ all or nothing thinking when it comes to your workouts: all movement counts and even fifteen minutes is better than zero minutes. 

In either case (and so many other times), it is our own perfectionism that winds up bringing us down. Perfectionism is a cop out, in this case, if you use it as a reason to give up. Remember, what’s important isn’t whether or not you’re perfect (yet), it’s which way you’re moving. Are your actions bringing you to a healthier, happier place? If you start moving in the wrong direction, can you get back on track? 

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If you made New Year’s Resolutions, how are they going?
Are you a perfectionist? Does it work for you?

food for thought: let’s talk…what an eating disorder looks like and when to speak up

I want to start things off here with a bit of a story–a snippet of my story, to be specific.

When I look back on the time I spent struggling with my eating disorder, I can think of a few “rock bottom” periods. One of those was Christmas break of my second year at university. I binged and purged nearly every day of the break, sometimes multiple times a day. I worked out for at least an hour, sometimes two, every day over the break–I even remember waking up early on Christmas to get a run on the treadmill in while my family was sleeping.

But I looked “healthy.” I weighed ~160lbs (the same amount as I do now, for the record) and according to my BMI, I was overweight and had weight to lose. According to the voice in my head (Ed was screaming), I needed to lose it–yesterday.

yes, that's my butt. It was my 20th birthday. forgive me.

yes, that’s my butt. It was my 20th birthday. forgive me.

I don’t think people looked at me and thought “eating disorder” even though I was totally consumed with exercising, obsessing over what I was eating, bingeing, and purging and then doing it all over again. Like I said, this was one of my rock bottom moments.

My point there is that you really cannot judge an eating disorder book by its cover. Assuming that if someone is struggling, you’ll be able to tell by looking at them is misguided at best. Eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes, suck regardless of whether or not they meet “official criteria” or fit into a box of anorexia, bulimia, or EDNOS, and are all serious. I can remember not thinking I had a real problem because I wasn’t skinny enough to meet the criteria and feeling like I had to convince my doctor and the people around me that I was going through something serious–because I didn’t feel like I looked the part.

Even if someone is overweight or obese, if their habits are disordered, that’s the issue–not their weight. It can be easy for someone who is on a weight loss journey to have justifiably f*cked up relationships with food and/or exercise when we are so busy focusing on fixing the weight problem instead of building healthy habits that will therefore lead to a healthy weight. Weight loss at all costs and getting fixated on a number without giving serious consideration to the means by which a person gets to that goal number misses the point. No wonder there are so many weight loss successes who regain all the weight, plus more. No wonder there are so many miserable newly thin people. No wonder eating disorders are everywhere.

Getting your mind sorted out–in terms of how you think about food, about exercise, about your body and about yourself–isn’t the sexy “get in shape fast” or “bikini body by Friday” kind of crap that we’re sold and that it’s so easy to get caught up in, but it is the recipe for long term happiness, health, and sanity. If you have a healthy mindset, you will get to a healthy weight. If you don’t sort this stuff out, you’re doomed to ride the diet and weight loss rollercoaster forever more. If you’re not willing to do the hard work to shift your thoughts and your beliefs, you’ll be just as unhappy regardless of where your weight falls: disordered is disordered, no matter what kind of a package it comes in.

Now that that’s off my chest, I can get to the real reason behind this post: a couple of tough conversations and some thinking about what’s the right thing to do when you’re concerned about someone who may or may not be struggling with disordered eating, whether because of how they look (not the only indication, as I pointed out above) or because of the things they say (regarding food, exercise, their bodies, weight loss, whatever).

Since it’s not easy to tell, this is automatically a touchy subject. It’s also really easy to piss someone off and/or to feed an obsession. If you comment on how small someone obsessed with getting small is getting, even if you mean it out of a “I’m scared for your life” kind of place, it can be a celebration of them achieving their goal and can reinforce their unhealthy habits and thinking. If someone isn’t ready for it, your comment can wreck a relationship.

But it can save a life.

I make my decisions off of this: I stand for health and for happiness. For everyone.  

The conversations I mentioned both touched on the issue of a person not being underweight or looking sick, hence the rant that started this post off.

In response to that and whether or not having that crucial conversation that could save a life is appropriate if someone isn’t visibly disordered or is even overweight, I say it’s not just appropriate, it’s essential.

No one deserves to have an eating disorder. Whether you’re 20lbs overweight or 20lbs underweight or right at that weight that someone or something tells you is ideal, health and happiness require a healthy mindset. I say screw the scale, screw the criteria, screw the ideal. What’s important? What you’re doing, how you’re thinking, and how you’re feeling and functioning. If these things aren’t what you’re focused on making as healthy as possible, something needs to change.

So what do you say to that person? How do you address it without supporting bad behaviours or pissing someone off?

My advice: speak from the heart and be as honest as possible.

The conversation could still go poorly, but what do you give up if you don’t enter the conversation? What are you not honouring if you keep quiet?

If you stand for your friendship, you’ll have that conversation.

If you stand for health and happiness, you’ll have that conversation.

I remember vividly two conversations–one with a friend, and one with my sister–that left me upset. I sometimes wonder if other people who knew what was going on (I don’t think I was hiding it seamlessly) held back for whatever reason–whether because I didn’t look the part or they were scared of making me mad. The conversations that I did may have upset me but they also indicated to me that I mattered and people cared about me. 

The sooner we’re willing to talk about this–and to get busy focusing on a new solution, the better. I’m sick of eating disorders, especially the socially acceptable ones. Let’s get back to what’s important and start taking care of ourselves, regardless of what we weigh. 

have you ever brought up a concern with someone around an eating disorder? how did it go?
has anyone ever brought up a concern with you? what was it like?

on the right foot: stretching yourself, serving yourself, and setting goals that rock

a life lesson, a coaching gem, a question to get you thinking–what better day than monday for a positive post?

As a life coach, fitness instructor/personal trainer, and self help junkie, goals are kind of my crack.

We all know that we should set SMART goals, but I don’t think SMART is sufficient if you want to really use your goals as personal development tools.

smart goal setting concept

Meeting those criteria, it’s possible to write a list of goals that’s nothing more than a glorified to do list. Beyond being SMART, a goal should stretch you, challenge you, and in the process change you. There needs to be a meaningful payoff beyond simply crossing it off your list and feeling accomplished.

goals Whether you’re setting your goals for a job, are trying to come up with your big five, or you’re a regular goal guru, I have some tips for when it’s time to put pen to paper:

  1. Dream big. What does your 10/10 look like? Aim there!
  2. Go for the feeling. Identify with what you’re trying to get after with your goals–we usually set them based on the way we think we’ll feel when we accomplish them. Make it one that fills you up!
  3. Give yourself butterflies. Set goals that make you wonder if you’ll be able to achieve them.
  4. Be visionary. Ask yourself who you want to be in a year, five years, 10 years, at the end of your life. Use your goals to move you towards the vision you hold for your future.

My biggest challenge to you is to make sure that what you come up with is not a to do list on steroids. The SMART acronym doesn’t stress a key element: your goals should scare you (in a good way) and transform you. Butterflies in your stomach when you think about what you’re setting out to do let you know that you’re setting a goal that stretches you. “Realistic” isn’t the same as “in the bag.” If you’re not a little nervous about whether or not you’ll be able to make something happen, what’s the point? If you just have to go through the same old motions to accomplish your goals, you might as well not write them down. Do yourself a favour and think bigger.

think bigger

Once you’ve written down your goals (SMART but also stretchy ones), next comes a little goal audit. Sit back and take a look at what you’ve set out for yourself. Ask yourself a few questions:

  • How does this goal make me feel? Go for the ones that give you butterflies and that make you feel expansive and like you’re really moving towards something new, not ones that are flat or even worse, make you feel a ton of pressure or like you’re not good enough.
  • Are you letting “should” or what everyone else does drive you? Our goals should come from us and from what we want for ourselves–not from what society or our parents want for us or from what most people focus their energy on.

Let this check-in be about picking and choosing the goals that really serve you and letting the rest of them go. Doing so can be extremely powerful.

Example: I used to have “I run a marathon by December 17, 2018” (my 30th birthday) as one of my goals. The goal of completing a marathon is one that think a lot of runners feel like they “should” have on their list. For me, that would be 26.2 miles that really don’t do anything for me. I’ve done half marathons and while I do like to run, after a certain point a race gets boring for me. First you’re running, and then you’re running, then you’re still running, and then you run some more. I can only imagine that a marathon would bore me to tears—not to mention probably lead me down a road towards injury and not really benefit my health.

Erasing that goal felt better than accomplishing it and scratching it off ever would have.

What you want to come up with is a set of goals that simultaneously scares you, motivates you, and moves you closer to the more awesome person you know you’re capable of becoming. I can’t wait to hear what you come up with!

What’s on your list?
What do you think about my stance on glorified to do lists vs. goals?
How often do you set goals and check in with them?

Bonus: There was a lot of talk about goals–and some really awesome insight into how to achieve the goals you set out, you have to become the kind of person who does the thing you’re aiming for–on the Latest In Paleo podcast with James Clear.

think about it: fitspiration frustration

I’ve blogged about my stance on fitspiration (“strong is the new skinny,” etc.) before–more than once–but I think because I love me a good workout and hang around in the fitness world on the interwebs, it haunts me.

I’ll start with an apology if you share and/or like this stuff.

I do not.

This week’s offender?

fitspiration

Before I get into it, I feel like I need to at least give this image props for showing the gal’s face.

But that’s all it’s getting props for. My “are you kidding me?” instincts need to point out that wearing that much makeup is a recipe for a Good Charlotte-esque disaster.

eyeliner good charlotte

While I’m ridiculously jealous of her glad that she has beautiful long hair that can blow in the wind while she does mountain climbers or burpees or sprints or whatever is about to go down in this image, let’s get real. My hair, which doesn’t even touch my neck, drives me batty when I work out if it’s not pinned into a pathetic excuse for a pony tail (a feat that requires a whole lotta bobby pins, I might add).

I’m used to the image of the pretty girl working out and I’m used to just doing my own sweaty thing with a smile on my face instead of it. I wouldn’t say “I’m over it” but I am a little bit over it. What really made me mad about this picture were the words and the messages that came along with them.

I’m all for continuously improving. Training harder, yay. Eating cleaner, maybe (“dirty” food is dangerously close to the good/bad paradigm that is a recipe for insanity in my books, but that and words like “cheat” are a topic for another post of its own). But from there, it heads into territory that I’m not so okay with.

I’m not okay with hating yourself–even your “old” self.

This reminded me of something that Jillian Michaels said when I went to her Maximize Your Life show a few weeks ago. She’d talked about how when, at the end of the season, the people on Biggest Loser would be presented with a cardboard cut-out of their old bodies, they’d initially react with disgust– kicking their old selves down, saying mean things and calling themselves gross, etc.

That makes me sad.

Just like that “gross” person was actually the person who signed themselves up for the show and did the work to lose the weight—the strong one, the determined one—the strong person that this fitspiration is so ready to become has to come from the “old” girl.

Saying this seems stupid, but: you will always be you.

What I’m getting at is this: hating yourself is the fastest way to make yourself feel like crap, not for making lasting change in your life.

You can trust me on this one, I’ve dabbled in it.

Whenever I’ve tried to hate myself into change—beat myself up for drinking too much coffee, told myself I’m a pig and that I need to eat less, called myself lazy for not working out, etc.—it’s backfired. Feeling crappy, I end up doing more of the things that “sabotage” myself in an attempt to feel better—eating more, spending more money, etc. etc.—and end up a not so happy camper no better off than I was in the first place.

Trying to change your life is hard. When you feel bad, it’s even harder.

So what’s the alternative?

Loving yourself into and through change.

My suggestions:
Play on your own team. Notice when you’re beating yourself up and get out of that headspace. Find something positive to focus on, like what you’re presently achieving and the kind of person you’re already in the process of becoming. Be patient with yourself.

Self-esteem and the way you look at and talk to yourself matters. Put the same amount of effort into learning to love yourself that you do into attempting to “fix” yourself and I have a feeling you’ll be a heck of a lot better set up to achieve whatever your loved and happy little heart desires.

When you love yourself, you take care of yourself.

When you take care of yourself, things get better.

Love yourself now.

be nice to yourself

What goals do you set based on what’s wrong, broken, or needing to be fixed? What could you use that energy for instead?
What do you beat yourself up for?

You are not your goals

A few years ago, I walked into an interview for a job at lululemon with a binder full of my old goals and a host of sheets covered in inspirational quotes that rocked the management’s socks and totally made me an easy hire for the job. The goal setting aspect of my job at lululemon was easy peasy.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been setting goals, mostly health- or weight-related. Earlier this year, I set an aggressive set of goals for myself based on themes for the month—an idea I borrowed from a great dharma class I went to.

Two weeks ago, I went to my first training weekend with the Coaches Training Institute. If I tried to sum the experience up in a blog, I’d do it about 10% justice. It was inspiring, challenging, exciting, awesome…and a slap in the face. I’d dare say it inspired a game changer for me.

Let me elaborate (cue: word vomit).

If you’re unfamiliar with coactive coaching, one of the cornerstones of the model is that people are naturally creative, resourceful, and whole.

Doesn’t that make you feel good? Keep it in mind…I’ll come back to it.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being coached 1:1 by Christie Inge (as a side note, if you’ve struggled with emotional eating or are on the diet rollercoaster and are ready to jump off, check out her work). During our session, she said something that has absolutely stuck with me: “All roads lead to self worth.”

We were talking about how I spend a lot of time doing things to better myself: reading blogs, perusing the self-help section of the book store, setting goals. I can remember on my first call with Jennifer, my life coach, talking about how I was ready to set goals for myself and to be better. Since I had decided not to go to grad school and no longer felt like I needed to spend time working with a therapist on my eating disorder, I wanted something else to work towards to keep me moving forwards. Since then, I’ve spent a grand total of zero sessions with Jennifer working on my goals (we focus on things like emotions, thoughts, and beliefs).

The game changer?

I’m already good enough.

We’re all already good enough.

We’re all already whole.

Christie ran a coaching group that I was part of and repeated an idea over and over again: “You are inherently worthy.” Not working for you? What about, “Your worth is inherent.”

That’s music to my obsessive goal-setting ears.

You mean I don’t have to set goals to prove my self worth?

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My old goals were often about things I wanted to fix—my weight, my eating, my spending. They were also filled with sexy goals I set because I thought they sounded impressive—running a marathon, being a certain weight, reaching a certain level of education.

Case in point: my goals were not serving me.  Ironically, the goal setting that I thought would bring me forwards and “make me better” was actually holding me back, sending me a message that I wasn’t good enough. Maybe I’d be worthy if I achieved them. I thought people without goals were crazy, lazy, and less than.

But…people are naturally creative, resourceful and whole.

Consider for a second the difference between living from a place of feeling unworthy and not good enough versus living from a place of worthiness. Believing that you are already good enough = self-esteem. Self-esteem is that handy dandy ingredient that makes all things possible and that when lacking, makes the simplest of things seem impossible.

worthiness

A life coach is not a goal coach.

It’s ironic that I sought out a life coach trying to find a way to make myself good enough. What’s happened is that I’ve come to recognize that at my core, I am good enough.

You are too!

So what’s an avid goal setter to do? Abandon all hopes of Rx’d Frans and other fun?

I think there’s a happy medium, and to find it I want to come back to that dharma idea I mentioned early on during this endless post.

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All hokey-/woo woo-ness aside, dharma’s got nothing to do with achievement and everything to do with a state of being. What if our goals took on a similar kind of “being” aim instead of becoming to-do lists on steroids?

My strategy and my advice to anyone sitting down with the goal of setting goals:

  • Set goals that match your values. Anytime you do things that clash with your values, even if they’re super sexy and impressive, you’re going to be worse off.
  • Set goals intended to create more of what you’d like in your life. Stop wasting your time and energy on using goals as a way to “fix” yourself.

Questions to start with:

  • What do you want to create in your life? Set goals based on what you want to move towards, not on what you want to move away from. Stop thinking of ways to fix yourself; focus on ways to create your life.
  • What is your vision for yourself? You are going to move towards your goals–figure out where you want to head and make them match that picture.

When you write your goals, try to ignore what other people’s goals are or what you think you should do. Running a marathon’s an awesome goal—if you want to run a marathon. If you hate running, it’s a terrible goal. Getting into grad school is great—if you want to go to grad school. If it’s your parents who want you to go to grad school, it’s one of those ones I’d leave off the list. Catch my drift?

All the while, keep in mind that you are already phenomenal. From that place, set goals that stretch you and move you beyond where you’re at. Goals that make your life amazing, inspiring, and fulfilling for you.  

Remember to avoid the to-do list on steroids temptation and to get into the big, scary, territory where you give yourself butterflies. This is where “your wildest dreams” are totally appropriate and welcome. What would you do if you couldn’t fail? Who would you be? How would you feel?

Example: I want to write a book that makes it onto the best sellers list. This matches up with my value of contribution. I want that book to be about health, another value. When I think about it, it makes me want to pee my pants–excitement and fear, two indications that I’m dreaming big and in the realm of the things that make my heart sing.

Get it?

Got it?

Go set some goals, kiddos.

Friendly reminder…

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PS: You have permission to change your goals. At any time. In a year. In three months. Or five minutes.

Dog poop for dinner

 

Alternate title “Will run for nuts.” — I wonder which one would have gotten more attention?

Dinner 

I didn’t actually have dog poop for dinner, but I did make a bowl that looked a heck of lot like shat.

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banana, cocoa, honey, salt, coconut, almonds, chocolate…um yummmmmm

I blame PaleOMG and my friend’s reply to my facebook post earlier today.

 

Enablers–gotta love ’em! Unfortunately my avocado was not ripe so I just improvised…resourceful, no? I’m just going to admit it–I probably should have had meat and veggies for dinner, especially since I’d already had a nanner this afternoon, but I hate the word should…and what’s done is done! Note to self: don’t eat pudding for dinner on a regular basis if you intend to be a healthy living blogger ;)! Second note to self: do whatever you want.

Afternoon

Besides laundry (which of course is still ongoing–I swear I draw it out because I love it so darn much ;)!), this afternoon I took care of some facebook creeping emails and chores before I met Angela for a reunion/trail run on the trails I hiked with my pals yesterday. At running speed, the ups and downs were a bit more challenging but we took a pretty leisurely pace (thank god Angela’s on her 2 off weeks and is just moving her body for fun right now!) and I was loving being outside in the fall sunshine. We ran for about 50 minutes and I’m estimating that it was about 8km but that might be overshooting it…at any rate, it was challenging, especially after this morning’s squats! 🙂

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After the run, I went to the first meeting for Triathlon Club. Since I’ll be running a cycle session for them every Friday morning, I had to introduce myself. I think showing up smelling extra stinky and without thinking about what to say gave them an accurate impression of who I am…and I can’t remember how I introduced myself but I know I promised them a weekly dose of Britney in their playlist.

After the meeting, I had a good chit chat with a friend I haven’t seen much of yet this year before I finally made it home to the shower and my pudding ;). …now here I am in a chocolatey induced state of relaxation, with some mood lighting thanks to a candle, and with an episode of the Balanced Bites podcast playing in the background. My goals for the night: type my goals, read a section of my crossfit manual, and sleep. Lofty, I know!

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sexy

Do you ever eat dessert for dinner?
Have you ever made an avocado pudding?

Scattered

Back at it.

I’ve missed blogging. A lot. And without it, I feel a bit…scattered.

So hi…

Today is off to a great start. After an admittedly all over the place, somewhat emotional weekend, I’m glad to have a busy week with my new job and my crossfit cert at the end of it to just ooze awesome today. Add to it that it’s a crisp fall day and I’m getting back to my happy level again.

Workout

This morning I rolled out of bed after seriously considering crawling back under the covers (I had a hard time getting to sleep last night) and headed to Crossfit for a 7am class. We started with mobility (surprise surprise ;)!) and then did some squats and presses. I’m impatient so working on my ankle mobility, which is not something that will change overnight, is an exercise in patience. I used 95lbs for our three sets of five today but made sure I got full depth with the plates under my heels. The only way to get to where you wanna be is to start where you are…or something like that! We also did overhead presses (I used 55lbs for three sets of five) and a 7 minute WOD that was AMRAP of 5 pullups (ring rows for me), 10 pushups, and 15 air squats.

AM

This morning I officially started back at lululemon! And this morning was awesome. I had a short 3 hour shift where I signed my contract, reviewed some important stuff, and hung out/flexed my working skills for a bit. To be honest I didn’t really want to come home—and it’s not just because there was laundry here waiting for me—since the people (old faces, new faces) are so positive.

Today there was a lot of talk about goals. Did I mention I love working at lulu? I’m hoping to print my recently updated goals out – there’s a lot more emphasis on personal goals and a broader range of fitness/health goals this time around – later this week. One thing that I do have to admit is that when I hear other people talk about their goals, I kind of want to copy them. You cna look at this two ways — one, it’s inspiring vs. two, it’s insecurity (they’re doing it, I should do it too). While it’s awesome to let people rub off on you, if someone wants to run a marathon and you want to find a balance between yoga, crossfit, teaching spin and bootcamp, trail running, and doing exercise that feels good to you, adding a marathon training plan to your agenda is probably one of those things you’re doing for the wrong reasons…if I sign up for a marathon, puh-leeeeeze schmack me!

All that inspiration translated into me adding even more words to my vision board. I think it’s done, but I thought that the other day. If you haven’t made a vision board, do yourself a favour and make one. Then set some goals. Give yourself a vision to aim for, notice the kinds of images you pull out, and don’t be scared to be ambitious. Play some inspirational music in the background and light some candles while you’re at it…

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Breakfast

This morning’s breakfast was consumed at lightning speed in between Crossfit and lululemon. I wasn’t that hungry—which stressed me out since I feel like I overate all weekend long—but I could feel the hangry approaching so I suffered 😉 through my bacon, eggs, and kale. Toss in some caffeine and I’m set.

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Lunch

After my shift, I was craving something warm. I decided on a piece of chicken, some kale (which I neglected and put back in the fridge afterwards), and a sweet potato with cashew butter and coconut. Om nom nom.

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Now here I am ready to read some more of my crossfit manual (my cert is in four days which is ridiculous). I just watched a video that inspired me:

I took some notes yesterday when I was reading over the manual and the one thing I can’t get over is how much freaking sense the whole thing makes. I do have some questions—luckily there are plenty of knowledgeable people around to ask—and the one thing I have to look out for is questioning what I’m doing right now just because I’m reading things. The though that maybe I should plan my own workouts came to me…but for now I’m going to commit to easing into this with group workouts at Crossfit plus my own teaching schedule and the occasional trail run or swim here and there. Trusting that I’m not going to get out of shape or lose my fitness takes some reminders every once in a while but the best thing for me is to remind myself that when it comes to workouts, I should actually want to do them. Just ‘cuz I have an afternoon off doesn’t mean I should run, but if I want to, I can. Etc. etc.

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The other thing I’ve noticed is myself wanting to passive aggressively cut and paste parts of the training manual to certain people in my life (or in facebook status with the hopes that they’ll see it)…

“Curls, lateral raises, leg extensions, leg curls, flyes, and other body building movements have no place in a serious strength and conditioning program…A distinctive feature of these relatively worthless movements is that they have no functional analog in every day life…” 

The reminder here is that their business is their business and if that business is bicep curls, I shouldn’t read their blog anyways.

BAM.

I’m ending this with a quote that came to my inbox today just in time to comfort me…

“When we feel stuck, going nowhere — even starting to slip backward — we may actually be backing up to get a running start.” — Dan Millman

Happy Monday!

Do you find yourself copying other people’s goals out of “should”? How do you stop yourself?
What are you looking forward to this week?