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mindset

Losing Weight Does Not Cure Negative Body Image.

Fat Loss, Health, Lifestyle, Mindset By March 26, 2017 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

 

This is typically something you will not hear from someone who works in my field. Personal trainers have been profitting off of the negative self-image of others for a long time. Promising that when you lose 20lbs or you have a more shapely butt that you will just start to ooze confidence.

Unfortunately, a change in the number on the scale is unlikely to unravel your whole self-belief system you have held for the majority of your life. If you view your body negatively, the way you see yourself is not going to change just because you lose weight. The way you carry yourself is not going to change just because you lose weight.

As someone whose weight has varied from its heaviest at 220lbs and at its lightest 135lbs, I can tell you that even at the times in my life when I was my leanest I was never satisfied with how my body looked. I was in what a lot of people consider to be “great shape” and still I had no confidence – I was painfully shy and the idea of wearing shorts in public would send me into a frenzy of tears and panic. I would constantly compare myself to other women – especially models and actresses – and try to validate myself by making my body and my overall look similar to them.

Nowadays, I maintain a fairly consistent bodyweight, and although I am not at my leanest – I am probably the healthiest I have ever been mentally and physically. I am strong and mobile and I can do things I was not even able to do as a child – such as handbalancing. I now maintain eye contact with people when I am talking to them, I don’t speak quietly or mumble anymore, and I am no longer petrified of wearing shorts in public. And even though I am not what society considers traditionally beautiful – I am happy with my body: how it looks and all the wonderful things it does. And this confidence has trickled into all aspects of my life.

But I know not everyone feels this way about their bodies. We have it hard, as women society tells us that if we are not “conventionally beautiful” à la Victoria Secret Angel than we are not valued. By no means am I saying that looking like a supermodel is wrong, however there are maybe 5 people in the world that look like Victoria Secret Angels and there are 3.5 billion women being told to look like that and being told that they are not worthy or valued based on how they look right now. And this is a HUGE PROBLEM.

There are 5 women in the world that look like this and it shouldn’t matter that you don’t look like them.

We, the people, come in a variety of shapes, colours, sizes, ages, ability, and body compositions and we should never feel guilty or ashamed of being ourselves nor for simply being in our bodies. The sooner we acknowledge and accept that, the sooner we can heal our broken relationships with our bodies and develop a stronger and more positive self-image. We can ask for better representation of our diverse bodies by voting with our dollars with the products purchase, by purchasing from companies that showcase our diversity. Hopefully over time we will achieve better representation of our physical diversity and this will normalize all bodies.

There is a strong need for a more diverse range of people in our modern day media.

Outside of asking society to change the narrow representation of the female body there are things we can do ourselves. We must first start by accepting our bodies and loving them. We can do this by:

  • doing things that make our bodies feel good; moving, eating, resting, sleeping, laughing, dancing, singing, exercising in ways that we enjoy, etc.
  • wearing clothing that is comfortable and makes us feel good
  • surrounding ourselves with positive people
  • keeping an inventory of the things we like about ourselves and our bodies
  • being grateful for all the wonderful things our bodies can do such as breathing, healing, running, etc.
  • protesting messages and media that are non-inclusive with regards to our bodies
  • calling people out for body policing and shutting down body policing

I also strongly believe an integral part of developing healthy body-image also begins by detaching our value as human beings to our looks. I am not saying it is wrong to want to change the way you look – however knowing that are valued outside of your looks is highly important. We are whole people – with skills, abilities, and smarts that can contribute to the world in so many positive ways outside of our looks. Taking the time to acknowledge, develop, and use our non-aesthetic assets will allow you to positively impact the world and in turn reward us with confidence and happiness that conforming our bodies to a societal iron maiden never could. 

When we start to claim our presence as whole people, we remember that we are not hollow shells meant earn our place in the world by pleasing the eyes of others. Only once we have accepted our bodies as they are can we begin to love them and act from a place of compassion and treat ourselves with respect and love we deseve. Maybe then we will fully acknowledge that losing weight does not cure negative body image.

Our remedy for negative body image starts with how we think and how we act. We need to act in line with how we want to feel and stand together to manifest the changes necessary to make us feel more positively about our bodies. We owe it to ourselves to take the steps towards feeling comfortable, safe, and confident in our bodies, and we are the only people who can make that happen.

I know I am ready for women to feel normal, happy, confident, and proud of their bodies. 

Are you?

 

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Life is a dream, and I dream lucid. 

Lifestyle, Mindset By August 20, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , No Comments

There is no such thing as too much ambition. 

Small minds will tell you that there is. But there isn’t.

Greatness was never achieved by thinking small or doubting your abilities. Maybe I am overly confident in myself, but I doubt it. 

 This morning, I was having a conversation with my colleague about how I don’t have a fear of losing my job – not because I think it would be impossible for me to lose my job – but even if I did, I have the utmost belief that no matter what life throws at me I can’t be broken and I will always be okay.

Yes – I can fail, repeatedly. I can be hurt. These things happen while living a full life but these are parts of the journey, not the end of it. And it’s because of these beliefs and understandings that I don’t think there’s such a thing as being too ambitious. I recognize that life is a dream, and I dream lucid. 

My first year of college in my Intro to Psych course my professor wrote a message for our class to read: “Positive mental attitude + Goals = Success.”  This message has never served me wrong.

If you believe in yourself, your mission, and you have the tenacity of a honey badger – you can’t be stopped. 

When people tell you that your goals and dreams are too lofty, remember: no one ever broke new ground or did anything epic by thinking “Let’s be realistic,” or by self-imposing limitations. 

May your dreams and aspirations be larger than life, and may you be tenacious in achieving them. 

 

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Why you reached your goal and still feel miserable

Fat Loss, Mindset, Training By August 3, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , No Comments

I want to talk today about feelings. Especially in regards to fitness and achieving results in fitness.

I continually see people who get induced into fitness because they want to lose weight or change the way that they look – which is perfectly fine.  But usually the reason they want to change the way they look is because they want to change the way that they feel.

So then what you can typically see is that this person will take on an exercise regime and have success with it, but once they achieve that success they’re still not satisfied. And this happens because despite changing how they looked on the outside and achieving that objective measure they didn’t bother to change how they were feeling on the inside or to change the things in their life that are preventing them from feeling the way that they want to feel.

To me the solution is instead of focusing on losing 10lbs, or 20lbs, or getting bigger biceps, what actually needs to be done is just creating more activities or experiences that make you feel the way that you want to feel – whether that can be achieved through the training process or just by changing the things that you do on a day to day basis.

Meaning if you want to feel more confident do things that make you feel more confident; like learning a new skill or doing things that showcase your competency. If you want to feel sexier than do things daily that make you feel sexy.  If you feel insecure or uncomfortable find things and do things that will make you feel secure and comfortable, surround yourself with people who care about you, and work on ridding yourself of negative feelings and fill your life with the actions that directly elicit your desired feelings.

We essentially shoot ourselves in the foot when we don’t this because we end up looking for feelings in objects and quantifiable outcomes instead of just having the actual experiences that will make us feel how we want to feel.

As coach, I can’t promise you that when you lose 10lbs you’re going to feel sexy or confident but I can tell you that if you do things that make you feel sexy or confident whether you lose 10lbs or not, you will feel how you want to feel and you will always feel that way regardless of whatever state you are in physically.

Your level of satisfaction or completeness in life is completely dependent on what you feel versus what you have.  The sooner you realize that, the less time and effort you waste on pursuing things that aren’t going to give you what you really want or only give you a false sense of security and satisfaction.

Have you struggled with feeling satisfied in life before? Are you always longing for something else but aren’t quite sure what it is? 

Leave your comments, stories and feedback below, I want to know more about you. 

Also if you’re looking for resources to help you become more in tune with your true desires and feelings, I highly reccomend Danielle Laporte’s The Desire Map.

 

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3 Things You Can Do To Beat Stress!

Mindset By July 22, 2015 Tags: , , , , No Comments

How’s your stress level? Do you feel like a ticking time-bomb that’s about to unleash it’s wrath upon the next person that looks at you the wrong way?

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If this sounds like you, then I’ve got some tips that will help you kick stress and get you back to feeling calm, mellow and back to your best.

 

1) Meditate

Meditation is often misunderstood. Most people think meditation is about voiding your mind. It’s actually the opposite. Meditation is about bring your awareness to the present and what is happening in the here and now. Meditation is very easy to practice and can be done in 15 minutes or so. All you need is a relaxing environment that is free of distractions, There are several ways to practice meditation, however you want to make sure that you are in comfortable position where there is minimal pain of discomfort. You can choose between several different positions for meditation; laying on your back (supine), seated, or in “child’s pose.”

I personally prefer supine, either in my bed before I go to sleep or on a yoga mat on the floor. Once you are comfortable you want start to bring in your awareness to these things:

  • Breathing: Pay attention to the depth of the breaths – are they shallow? Are they deep? Are you trying to control them? Is the belly rising and expanding as your breathe? I often advise to just lay supine and focus on breathing and even counting the breaths until this becomes the only thing you are focusing on.
  • Heart rate: Is it quick? Is it slow? Is it getting slower?
  • Muscular tension: Are your muscles relaxed? Are they tight? Start at the feet working up through the limbs. Relax the feet and legs in the floor, working your way up to the hips and eventually back, focus on dropping the shoulders into the floor and eventually the crown of the head too. Think of it as if you want your whole body to sink into the surface it is touching. Just relax.

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It’s not uncommon to get up feeling wonderful with a smile on your face after meditating. I’m almost certain this is the reason why yoga has a cult following – not because it’s “exercise” but because of the meditative aspect. When you learn to bring your awareness to your body and it’s feelings, sensations and reactions to different things you are learning to be in the present and your focus completely drifts away from the past and the future and to the only things that are real – which is the present.

 

 

2) Work it out!

Few things can kick stress quite as well as doing a workout. This is why it’s so valuable to have a regular exercise routine – it’s like you’re pre-emptively making a strike so you can win the war on stress. Setting up at training program where you’re training 3-4 times per week for about an hour time can be key in reducing stress and anxiety and even decreasing depression and other mood disorders. When you build this into your daily routine, it’s much easier and you’ll notice your mood will start to get better and better.

And even if you’re short on time and can’t hit the gym, don’t neglect doing something quick and physical with bodyweight at home. Even doing movements such as squats, push-ups, lunges and planks for 10 minutes in the morning can help you get you energized and feeling great for the day ahead and eliminate any antsiness you may have later in the evening.

In fact, here’s a quick workout you can do with your body weight when you’re feeling the stress and you’re short on time:

A1) Body Weight Squat x 20 reps

A2) Push-Ups x 10 reps

A3) Jump Squats x 20 reps

A4) Touch Planks x 10 reps per side

Perform 3-5 rounds, rest minimally between exercises. Rest between rounds as necessary.

 

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3) Practice GRATITUDE

Last but not least, never neglect practicing gratitude. Take inventories of all the things make you grateful. If you can make practicing gratitude a routine – even better. When you focus on the positives that are in your life, you feel an abundance and just making that shift alone in your mind can have great effects. Some things that work well for practicing gratitude are:

  • taking time at the beginning or end of each day to state the things or make mental notes of what your are greatful for that day
  • Gratitude journalling: This is especially great for people who already journal on a regular basis, you can focuse on closing your daily journal entries with lists of three (or more) things you are grateful for that day.
  • Having a “gratitude jar”: A gratitude jar is a small jar (or other resealable container) which you fill with post-it notes. On each post-it note you place in that jar, you will write one thing you are grateful for. The objective is to fill the jar with as many things as possible that bring joy and happiness to your life and make you feel grateful. Think big, but don’t forget to think small. We often take a lot of the small things for granted – like having clean laundry, or having access to water, and three meals a day.

gratitude

 

So next time you are about to go off, kick stress in the face by taking care of yourself! Meditate and get in touch with your physical self, get your training in and don’t skip your workouts, and remember…always be GRATEFUL!

Your attitude determines your altitude…don’t let stress take you down. 

Did you find this helpful? Do you have any questions or feedback?

Leave your thoughts in the comment section or feel free to contact me by e-mail.

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A Case for Selfishness

Mindset, Nutrition, Training By July 7, 2015 Tags: , , , , No Comments

I want you to be selfish. But that doesn’t matter. You should want to be selfish.

selfish

[sel-fish]
adjective
1.devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.

2.characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself: selfish motives.

While reading that definition you may have thought to yourself: well that’s not really fair or reasonable to disregard other people. But that’s not what I want you to emphasize.
You see, I was raised by an old Eastern European man who frequently reiterated the need for me to take care of myself. I was raised to be selfish. I was raised to be responsible. I was taught that nobody was going to care about my needs, goals, values, desires as much as I do – nor was it anybody else’s job to be concerned with what I want.
“Keep your brain in your head. You come into this world by yourself, and you leave this world by yourself. The only person who will always have your best interest at heart is you.”
You’ll have to pardon me, but I think when looking at the definition of “selfish” that being “concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, and welfare” is what standouts to me. That’s the way everybody should be. Especially since the only person in the whole world who can look out for all of your own wants and needs is you.
You know what you want. You know what you need.
You ask for what you want. You ask for what you need.
You do what you want. You do what you need.
Nobody is going to read your mind and make your dreams come to life. Nobody is going to hold your hand and tell you to go to the gym and build the body you want. Nobody is going to tuck you into bed at night to make sure you get enough sleep for the day ahead. Nobody is going to give you what you want. You have to do these things yourself. You have to ask for it, you have to want it, you have to work for it. The only permission or approval you need to do these things is your own.
I’m going to tell you something personal. I often get made fun because I don’t drink alcohol. Most people who know me well know that I don’t drink alcohol: 1) because it’s not conducive towards my overall health goals, 2) because I generally don’t feel great when I drink it. Now being a mere 24 years old, a lot of people think that I am weird and make fun of me for abstaining from alcohol. I also get made fun of frequently for being in bed by 10pm. However it doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t bother me because I accept that fact that I don’t do it for them.
I do it for myself.
I give myself permission to say “Yes,” to the things I really want and say “No,” to the things I don’t want. I am selfish with my time and I am selfish with my efforts because those are things I can never get back. I don’t have time to waste doing things that are against my values, that don’t invigorate me, that don’t improve me, or that don’t bring me joy.
And to be honest, you don’t have the type of time either. So before you say “Yes!” to something that devalues what’s important to you or makes your miserable – please think of yourself and be selfish, my friend.
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Do you want something for nothing?

Mindset, Training By June 28, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard someone tell me “I want to lose 10lbs.”

Not that this is a bad thing to want. But I’d rather hear someone say “I want to start going to the gym because I want to lose 10lbs.” Do you understand the difference? The first is an outcome, the latter is an action…and you can’t have an outcome without an action.

We live in a culture that is obsessed with outcomes but consistently neglects the fact that outcomes occur as a result of work.

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As a result of this mindset, we turn into people who want something for nothing and fall into traps of self-defeat because we haven’t achieved what we wanted despite not having taking steps to achieve what we want.

How logical is that? It isn’t logical at all because you can never have results without taking action.

You need to shift from focusing on “what you want” to focusing on “what you can do” – and by doing this you are guaranteeing yourself results. You are creating a process, whether this is for your personal fitness, your career, your relationships, etc. Processes are the pathways to success.

Hearing someone say “I want to lose 10lbs” means nothing to me. Hearing someone say “I want to go to the gym five days per week, drink 3L of water a day and, and eat vegetables at every meal” is much more tangible and valid. It creates a sense of urgency and priority.

When we neglect to prioritize our process – we doom ourselves. Having priorities is how you get stuff done – and if you have no priorities than you should reasonably expect nothing in return. Every single day we can choose to be engaged in something that will bring us closer to where we want to be. Your priorities and your actions are a reflection of your values and your true desires. And you need to own your actions.

By owning your actions, you remove yourself from being a victim and you give yourself power. You don’t feel like a failure if you aren’t seeing results. You go back, change the plan, and keep trying because you are in control of how you feel and what you do. You understand that you are the only person who can take the necessary action to keep moving forward. You own your process. And when you own your process that is when you succeed.

“Action expresses priorities.” – Mahatma Ghandi

What steps are you taking today to get what you want?

 

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