Stop "SHOULD-ING" on yourself! 💩

 

I SHOULD eat healthier.

I SHOULDN’T eat this pizza.

I SHOULD go exercise

I SHOULDN’T drink this glass of wine.

 
Should and shouldn't do.png
 

Anytime you tell yourself you “should” or “shouldn’t” do something, you’re asking for a speeding ticket on the highway to the city of Guilt, located in the country of I’M NOT ENOUGH.

Whatever action you “should” or “shouldn’t” be doing makes your current task or behavior seem WRONG… Which automatically leads to feelings of anger, resentment, failure, shame, lack of control, etc.

What happens when we SHOULD on ourselves? We create a ton of pressure within ourselves to do or be something which we feel we’re supposed to do. Basically we are telling ourselves that we’re not good enough, we’re not healthy enough, we’re not smart enough, etc.

If we don’t do what we “should” do, or if we do what we “shouldn’t” do, we feel wrong or guilty for our choices. SHOULD-ING strengthens our belief that we can’t trust ourselves, or that we don’t have enough willpower to reach our goals… Both of which are huge piles of POOP.

Many of us use the words SHOULD and SHOULD’T so frequently that the words that follow these phrases (I should workout, I should eat healthy, I shouldn’t eat pizza, etc.) become MORE POWERFUL in our minds than our actual desires.

In other words, our minds’ preconceived ideas about pizza, exercise, eating healthy and glasses of wine make the decisions FOR us, as opposed to what we really want.

Feeling overwhelmed, guilty, anger, or resentful of the things you SHOULD do keeps you feeling stuck… The more you feel you SHOULD do something, the less likely you are to actually DO IT.

SHOULD-ING is often tied into foods because we label foods as “good” or “bad” in our minds (which unconsciously leads to feelings of either happiness or anger/resentment).  On a nutritious level, foods can’t be labelled as good or bad because foods don’t have power over their actions.  Think about it: good humans are those who help others around them and are kind and loving.  Bad humans murder, commit crimes, and take advantage of those around them.  Foods can’t do EITHER of those things.  Now I understand that you can have “bad” pizza at a restaurant, but that is because of how the restaurant prepared and made the pizza, not because of the pizza itself.  

All foods are simply more-nutritious or less nutritious for our bodies.  At a biological level, our bodies CRAVE healthy foods because we need those nutrients to survive.  A donut may have 500 calories but has little nutrients for it’s caloric count, compared to a chicken breast with veggies that has the same 500 calories but is loaded with nutrients.  The calorie count is the exact same, so does it matter which one we eat? YES!  

Because the donut contains little nutrients, it won’t keep us feeling full and satisfied for very long.  We will quickly feel hungry, and eat MORE foods than we don’t actually need. Because the chicken and veggies contain more nutrients, they will do a better job of keeping our bodies’ satisfied and feeling full for a longer time. 

Ultimately, when we associate foods as being “good” or “bad” instead of “nutritious” or “not-so-nutritious”, we feel we have messed up when we eat something “bad,” or we feel better about ourselves when we eat something “good.” In other words, research suggests that we feel BAD about ourselves when we eat “bad” foods, and we feel good about ourselves when we eat “good” foods.

Remember that food is just food. It has no power over us UNLESS we give it power.

So here is the golden question: How do we STOP should-ing on ourselves?!

First, we become aware that it is happening. Start to notice your feelings and HOW you choose the foods you eat. Are you telling yourselves you “SHOULD” or “SHOULDN’T” eat certain foods, or are you taking control over food and consciously choosing to eat foods that you WANT to eat?

In the moment, ask yourself some of these questions: Why should I choose this? Who says that I should choose this? Will this help me reach my goals? Does the BEST, HEALTHIEST version of me want to enjoy this?

Next, try to get as specific as you can with your goals AND your wants. In other words, what not-so-nutritous foods do you truly LOVE? What goals are you hoping to achieve and what’s realistic for YOUR lifestyle? For example, I absolutely LOVE pasta. When I was on my own personal weight loss journey (you can read more about it HERE), I wasn’t willing to give pasta up in order to lose weight… So I decided to eat more nutritious foods MOST of the time, but to still consciously CHOOSE to eat pasta on special occasions (simply because I loved it!)

Lastly, start to replace the word SHOULD with I WILL… I CAN… I CHOOSE… I AM... I WANT.

It’s a complete mindset shift that takes the pressure off of you. It takes the power away from the food and gives YOU the power to make the decision about what to eat without the emotional strings attached to it.

Instead of telling yourself “I should eat more veggies,” try telling yourself “I will choose more veggies.” Or, instead of telling yourself “I want to be someone who exercises regularly,” try telling yourself “I am someone who exercises regularly. I promise that small mindset shift will help you think twice about your nutrition AND your exercise choices.

By slowing shifting your mindset, you take back your power and you OWN your decisions.

This doesn’t mean you never enjoy pizza, but it means that you can CHOOSE when you enjoy the pizza, which is extremely powerful. You also get to CHOOSE to eat more protein and veggies so that you lose weight and reach your goals.

If you can stop SHOULD-ING on yourself, you can remove the stress and emotions associated with foods, and you can take back the power to choose what YOU want to eat.

Does this post resonate with you? Do you struggle with SHOULD-ING on yourself, whether it comes in the form of eating healthy OR any other goal you’re trying to achieve? Drop a comment below!

 

Expectations vs. Reality of Weight Loss

 

In October, I ran my first marathon (26.2 miles). While I EXPECTED the race to be a challenge, I expected to finish and feel amazing. What I DIDN’T expect was the reality of those last 6 miles.

The first 20 miles I felt strong and quick. The last 6 were a completely different story. They were the HARDEST 6 miles I have ever run in my life. My legs were screaming at me in pain. I was physically and emotionally drained. I cried at Mile 22, where I called myself stupid and wanted to quit. Needless to say, my expectations of running a marathon and the reality of running a marathon were VERY DIFFERENT.

 
How I expected to cross the finish line…   Versus the reality of how I felt at Mile 25.

How I expected to cross the finish line…

Versus the reality of how I felt at Mile 25.

 

In a similar way, almost every woman I work with must come to terms with the reality of weight loss, versus her own expectations.

After helping hundreds of women lose weight throughout the course of my career, I’ve learned many things about the expectations of weight loss, versus what REALLY happens. Be sure to set yourself up for weight loss success by using these tips to help you become realistic about your goals.

EXPECTATION #1: Losing weight will make you happier.

  • REALITY: Current research suggests that while losing weight can lead to feelings of satisfaction and will make you temporarily happier, your overall happiness depends on MANY other factors in your life. As you lose weight and become healthier, focus on creating healthy work relationships, personal relationships, and hobbies too.

EXPECTATION #2: The scale will immediately start to change the second you begin implementing new habits into your routine.

  • REALITY: It probably comes as no surprise that changing your daily habits is one of the biggest determinants of long-term weight loss success. However, because habit change often starts off slowly, it takes TIME for results to happen. Expect that it might take weeks or months for the scale to change, and that’s NORMAL. Instead of focusing on instant results, focus on consistency and patience.

EXPECTATION #3: Weight loss will be perfect & linear.

  • Reality: Once you start seeing results, many of us expect the scale to change every single week. In reality, it’s NORMAL for results to vary! Some weeks, depending on the types of foods we eat, the last time we used the restroom, or even our hormones, the scale might go up before it drops more. Expect the scale to sometimes go up and other times go down... Daily fluctuations are healthy and normal.

EXPECTATION #4: THE NUMBER ON THE SCALE IS THE ONLY WAY TO MEASURE PROGRESS.

  • REALITY: There are literally hundreds of ways to measure progress as you begin to eat healthier and exercise. Are you more energized? How are you sleeping? How are your clothes fitting? How are your workouts feeling? Do you get tired and “crash” in the afternoon? How is your skin looking? There are just SOME of the questions you need to ask yourself as you strive to lose weight. Remember the scale is only ONE way to measure progress.

These examples I give are only the tip of the iceberg. As you begin your journey to lose weight, give yourself some extra love when reality differs from your expectations. And whatever happens, DO NOT give up on yourself. Now that I know the reality of running a marathon, instead of giving up on running completely, I can better prepare myself for the next one!

Share in the comments below… Have you ever experienced something where your expectations differ from reality? What was it, and how did you react?

 

4 Ways to Stay Healthy on Thanksgiving

 
4500 calories thanksgiving.png
 
 

YIKES!!! That is a TON of calories to consume within the span of 24 hours!

Even though Thanksgiving revolves around eating, there are ways to navigate your day so that you still ENJOY your favorite foods without going overboard! Check out my 4 best tips on how to stay healthy (yet still ENJOY) your Thanksgiving!

  1. Eat Breakfast. It may sound counterintuitive, but eating breakfast can help prevent you from snacking all day. “Saving up” for the big meal rarely works because you end up becoming SO hungry throughout the day, that you overeat before the main meal is even served.

  2. Pitch in and Bring Something Healthy! What makes Thanksgiving amazing is the number of options to choose from! Most Thanksgiving options are high in fats and carbs (ahem stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy). Be SURE there is a healthy choice at dinner or as an appetizer by bringing along a veggie tray or veggies as a side dish.

  3. Fill HALF of your dinner plate with veggies and protein. If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know that I’m a believer in ENJOYING your favorite foods and drinks on special occasions. And for most of us, Thanksgiving is a special occasion! That doesn’t mean you can eat 5 servings of stuffing and expect to lose weight. Set yourself up for success by filling at least HALF of your plate with veggies & turkey, and allowing yourself to indulge in smaller portions of your favorite, heavier foods.

  4. Pay attention to your hunger and fullness levels! This one is harder than it sounds, but really try to eat ONLY when you feel hungry on Thanksgiving. Often times, this day turns into a “grazing day” when food is available to eat all day. Instead of mindlessly eating everything that is offered to you, focus on eating ONLY when you feel hungry. When you feel full, politely pass on food or take some home as leftovers!

Thanksgiving is a tricky holiday to stay on track, but it’s possible with a little planning and knowledge. Most importantly, when it comes to appetizer and overall food choices, decide what you are COMMITTING to do, and what you’re NOT willing to do before Thanksgiving arrives!

Do you have any other tips that help you stay healthy on Thanksgiving? Share them in the comments below!

 

26.2 Lessons I Learned from Running a Marathon

 

On October 7, 2018, I ran my FIRST marathon, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon! It was an amazing journey that taught me SO many lessons about reaching your goals and living life.

 
IMG_6319.JPG
 

The smile and the medal represent SO MUCH MORE than the race itself. They represent a journey that includes months of hard work, dedication, learning, and sacrifice. 

Here are 26.2 lessons my first marathon taught me:

1. Your weaknesses often turn into strengths. 
2. What once seemed impossible is now a goal achieved.
3. Only you have the power to take action over your choices and your life.
4. You are stronger (mentally and physically) than you give yourself credit for.
5. If you give up every time doubt crosses your mind, you’ll never achieve anything. 
6. The best things in life are never easy to achieve, but are always worth it.
7. Don’t sweat over things you can’t control (like the weather), focus your energy on what you CAN control 
8. You get out what you put into it. Put in the work and see the results.
9. Whatever pain you are in WILL subside.
10. Listen to your body. If something is wrong, get it checked out & take care of it.
11. Focus on the path ahead of you, not your obstacles.
12. Don’t compare yourself to another’s journey. You do you.
13. There’s enough room for everyone to cross the finish line. 
14. Your mind is powerful and your body listens to it.  
15. Setbacks (and injuries) happen. Learn from them and move on.
16. If you’re constantly competing with others, you’ll never find happiness within yourself.
17. Every day (or every mile) is the chance for a fresh start
18. Shortcuts never work. There are no shortcuts in marathon training.
19. Achieving goals takes patience and consistency. Results never happen overnight. 
20. Ignore the haters. They’re always going to be there, don’t let them stop you.
21. Have fun—life is too short to take seriously. 
22. Don’t be afraid to try a new strategy. You never know what will work for you until you try.
23. Be thankful that you have a body that is healthy and strong enough to carry you through 26.2 miles (and life in general)
24. Mental and physical exhaustion leads to emotions you don’t expect. Honor them but don’t let them stop you. 
25. Nothing will ever be perfect. Focus on trying to make progress instead.
26. There will be bumps (or puddles) in the road... you can either go around them or through them but you can’t turn around and run from them.
26.2 Don't focus on how far you have to go. Focus on taking one step at a time!

Share with me in the comments below… Do any of these life lessons resonate with you? Have you achieved a goal that taught you life lessons?

 

4 Ways to CONQUER Meal Prep!

 
master meal prep.png
 
 

When I say the words "meal prep," do you imagine spending five hours on a Sunday in your kitchen measuring out about 30 ingredients, and having at least 20 reusable storage containers to hold your meals?

Newsflash: meal prep does NOT need to be time consuming more complicated!

Meal prep isn’t rocket science, but it’s also not very intuitive. 

Check out these 4 hacks to help you ace your meal prep game WITHOUT wasting your entire Sunday measuring out ingredients in the kitchen!

1. Spend money on the right storage containers.

Please note, this does NOT mean that you need to buy the most expensive food storage containers from a high-end department store! Wherever you shop, I encourage you to invest in some glass storage containers that can easily go from the oven, the refrigerator, to the freezer, or even to the microwave. In addition, you can buy special produce storage containers that keep fruits and veggies fresh for longer. I HIGHLY recommend using these! 

2. Focus on preparing ingredients instead of meals.

Do you ever find that eating the exact same thing for a few meals becomes boring and bland? Instead of preparing a casserole or soup that will last you the entire week, focus on preparing ingredients that you can have multiple uses. For example, cook and chop up chicken breasts so that you can use it in salads and in wraps. Or, wash and chop up veggies that you can add to salads or sauté as a side for dinners. 

3. Try to follow the 4/2/1 rule. 

Every week, try to prepare 4 different vegetables, 2 different proteins (such as chicken and eggs), and 1 starch (such as potatoes) ahead of time. By preparing mostly proteins and veggies, you’re automatically setting yourself up to lose weight or simply eat healthy, balanced meals. 

4. Don’t be afraid to cook different ingredients on a single pan.

If you’re looking to save time, cook all of your proteins, starches, and vegetables all at once. Simply toss your vegetables and a dash of olive oil and spread them on the pan along side the protein and roast everything together. Add different spices and sauces when you go to eat your meals to add flavor and variety.

Planning healthy meals doesn’t need to take up your entire weekend, but it DOES require a little bit of planning. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to prep/cut the food, and another 30 minutes to bake everything. Remember though, you can multi-task while your ingredients are baking! 😉

If you’re looking for other healthy and easy meal ideas, be sure to join my FREE Facebook group for women here!

 

Can you lose weight and STILL enjoy your life?

 

HECK YES YOU CAN! 

I'm being serious.  

The *ONLY* way that you can sustainably lose weight and keep it off long-term is by developing healthy nutrition habits, and a healthy relationship with food, that are strong enough to keep you fit, but also flexible enough so you ENJOY life!

 
The 80_20 Rule for a Healthy Diet.png
 

To maintain your current weight, focus on eating nutritious, whole foods at LEAST 80% of the time.  Examples of nutritious foods include lean protein (like turkey or chicken breast), vegetables, fruits, and smart carbs (like sweet potatoes, brown rice, or quinoa).  

Allow yourself to indulge in your favorite "fun" foods NO MORE than 20% of the time.  

If you're hoping to lose weight, I encourage you to follow a similar plan, but make it more conservative.  Try to eat whole, nutritious foods 90-95% of the time, while still allowing yourself to indulge in your favorite treats (or drinks) 5-10% of the time. 

Always remember that the best way to permanently lose weight and lead a healthy life is NOT to completely cut out certain foods or food groups.  

If you're trying to lose weight but currently feel STUCK, and if you're looking for the support, accountability, and motivation to create a realistic nutrition plan that you can stick with, click here to book a free consultation call with me!

 

What do you *TELL* yourself about your body?

 
 
scott-webb-22537.jpg
 

As a nutrition & exercise coach, I’m bummed that most women don’t talk about mindset more when it comes to our BODIES!

You’re probably aware that your mind BELIEVES what you tell it... Regardless of whether it's the truth or not.  Yep, you read that correctly... Your mind often believes what you tell it, even if it's different than reality.

Ask yourself this question: What do you *TELL* yourself about your body?

If you're mind is always full of negative or criticizing thoughts, it will feel impossible to have a healthy & peaceful relationship with food, exercise, and your body.

Instead of focusing on the negative self-talk, celebrate every step of your journey… And start giving yourself (and your body) some credit!

There's absolutely NOTHING wrong with wanting to improve your health while transforming your body... 

Heck—my ENTIRE business is based on helping women create the healthy body of their dreams. ;)

But remember that BELIEVING you can achieve your goals and TELLING yourself how strong and beautiful you are (no matter what the damn number on the scale says) is the key to being successful.

You may be wondering… How do you *start* shifting your mindset so that you can actually start loving your body??

My favorite way is to write a body positive affirmation (like I AM BEAUTIFUL or MY BODY IS STRONG) on a sticky note, and place it on your desk or your bathroom mirror. EVERY time you see the sticky note, say the affirmation to yourself.

If you're looking for some help to overcome your mental hurdles, so you can create a healthier relationship with food and your body, I encourage you to book a FREE coaching call!  

On the call, we'll discuss your current relationship with food, and you'll leave the call with 3 strategies to implement immediately to help you love your body (and your life!)  Don't let fear stop you from reaching your goals... Let me help you push past the roadblocks that have stopped you from reaching your health and fitness goals!

 

What would happen if you only got ONE CAR in your life?

 
 
matt-henry-59403.jpg
 

Yes--I am a nutrition, fitness, and weight loss coach.  You're probably wondering WHY I am writing about cars.  

I promise this blog post is extremely important, so please read the entire thing!

I'm starting this with an analogy by Warren Buffet.  

Imagine that you turned 16 years old, and that you got to pick ANY brand new car that you wanted.  It could be a BMW, a Lexus, a Mercedes... ANYTHING you want!

Here's the catch though: You only get that ONE car to last your entire life.  If something happens to that one car, you can't get another one.  

  • How would you treat your car on a daily basis? 

  • What would you do to take care of your car?

I'm guessing that you would do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING in your power to take care of that car.  Because you KNOW it's the only car you'll ever have, chances are you'll take AMAZING care of it.

In reality, if something ever happens to your car, thankfully you are able to get a new one.

Remember that we all have only ONE body and mind.  

And how you treat it on a daily basis matters.  Treat your body and your mind like they are your most prized possessions--because they are.  And just to be clear, I'm not talking about buying yourself luxury items... I'm talking about making your health a priority.  

Work on creating healthy nutrition habits.  Find time throughout your day to exercise.  The actions you take on a daily basis matter.  

Sure, enjoying one alcoholic drink a week probably won't negatively affect your health... But enjoying one or more alcoholic drinks a day probably will affect your health.  

Remember that treating your body well involves more than just watching the foods you eat.  It also includes watching the foods you DON'T eat.  For example, if you're following a strict diet and you never eat carbs, you're probably missing out on important nutrients that can help prevent against Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems.  

If you're ready to take the next step in changing your life by learning how to take care of your "car," I encourage you to check out how I work with my clients.

Every single day, YOU are the one who is in the driver's seat of your car.  You have the power to decide how you want to live your life and how you want to treat your body.  

And how you treat your body on a daily basis matters.