IPL Blog

My Weight (and size) Matters

As a “body positive” advocate and role model for thousands of women, (10+ Reasons I Love My Ugly Body) sometimes I get flack for saying that my weight (and size) matters.

It’s like people think that I can’t love my body if I say I want, or am trying, to lose weight. But nothing could be farther from the truth.

My weight matters to me because I love my body.

In this new world of “body love” and “body acceptance” the scale (and our size) has (have) become something to discredit, which creates a bit of a slippery slope.

Although neither body-weight, nor size, should be the deciding factor when it comes to our health and happiness, they are undeniably a factor when it comes to our quality of life.

My highest weight was 328 pounds, in 2011. My lowest weight was 163 pounds in 2013.

My current weight is 201 pounds, post baby.

My comfy, sustainable, feel-great weight is 172 pounds.

(FYI, picture above is a gross misrepresentation of my actual jumping abilities, even at 172 pounds 🙂 )

I am 5 feet and 1 inch tall.

At 172 pounds I am plus sized according to the tag in my jeans and obese according to the BMI chart.

I still have cellulite, saddlebags, love handles and rolls but at 172 pounds, my body feels better and is able to do more than where I am now– which is why I’m working to lose the baby weight. 

My weight (and size) matters because it directly affects how I feel: physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Physically, my weight (and size) matters to me because…

  • I want to live the life I desire without limitations due to my weight…or corresponding size.
  • I want my joints to be pain-free and capable of doing their jobs.
  • I want to have as much energy and stamina as possible because there’s a lot that I want to do.
  • I never want a seat belt extender on a plane; or to be uncomfortable in a chair with arms; or to be too big to fit on a roller coaster, again!
  • I never want to struggle to tie my shoes or to get up and down off the floor again– at least not until I’m really old!
  • My weight (and size) matters  because I love feeling my best, physically!

Mentally, my weight (and size) matters to me because…

  • I like knowing that I am doing my best to live the life I want to live.
  • I know that I only have one body and I’m the only one who can take care of it.
  • I like knowing that I am doing my best to prevent cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis, among other weight-related health concerns.
  • I want my son to see a mom who cares about herself, for herself and for him.
  • I value my life and my future is very important to me.
  • My weight (and size) matter because I love feeling my best, mentally!

Emotionally, my weight (and size) matters to me because…

  • I feel a great sense of pride when I care for my body
  • I don’t want to feel stressed or anxious about any of the things I mentioned above, like I used to.
  • I never want to regret the choices I’ve made when it comes to my health.
  • I enjoy feeling strong and capable.
  • I am proud of myself when I make my weight a priority because I feel good physically and mentally.
  • My weight (and size) matter because I love feeling good, emotionally!

It matters because I love my body.
It matters because I find joy in my body.
It matters because I am proud of my body.
It matters because I value my body.

It matters because I love life and I want to live my best happy, healthy, I’mperfect Life every day in my best happy, healthy (plus sized, obese, “ugly“) body for as long as I can!


Creating a Dinner Menu

I cannot stress the importance of creating a dinner menu enough. If I do nothing else each week to help my home and life run smoothly, I will ALWAYS create a dinner menu. 

Creating a dinner menu at the beginning of the week helps me save time and money, and reduces stress at the end of the day. No longer do I have to think about or hear the question, “what’s for dinner?” The menu is set and posted right on the fridge for all to see!

By creating a menu, I can…

  • Shop accordingly, buying only what I need which saves money
  • Re-purpose food throughout the week to save time (brown a bunch of meat at one time for tacos on Tuesday and Meat Sauce on Thursday)
  • Remember to take frozen foods out of the freezer then night before when I glance at the menu for the next day which reduces stress

Every weekend my husband and I have a quick convo that looks like this…

“Hey babe, what do you want for dinner this week?”

“Tacos.”

“What else?”

“Umm…pizza.”

“Anything else?”

“Umm…” — returns to whatever it was he was doing.

Which leaves me to decide what we’re going to have the other 5 days.  I have a long list of standards, one that I add to as I occasionally try new things. But for the most part I choose from about 30 different meals that I love and that he will eat. (If it were up to him we’d only eat tacos, pizza, chicken nuggets, and cheeseburgers)

The menu goes on the fridge at the beginning of the week and then it’s set. That doesn’t mean we always stick to it, verbatim, but 85% of the time we do. Sometimes we move things around based on our mood or unexpected schedule conflicts. Like if the baby is being super needy on Monday, Brett will make tacos instead of the chicken pot pie I had planned to make. Or we might need to run errands and decide to grab a bit while we’re out. 

But for the most part, we stick to the plan and it never fails us. 

You can check out my plans over time on my Facebook Page. The silver menu board I used to use is no longer available to buy so I recently changed it up so I could make a solid recommendation for alternatives. 

My new fave is this black menu board with chalk markers. It’s a bit of an investment but it’s so fun to use and looks way cool on my fridge. The simple dry erase board is great too!

BUY THE BOARDBUY THE MARKERS

This one doesn’t come with markers so you have to buy them seperately. I read a lot of reviews on both the board and the markers before making my purchase and the ones I ended up with are awesome!

BUY THE BOARD

This one comes with markers and an eraser and works perfectly! It is also a full magnet that sticks to the fridge. I love it!

Cook Once, Eat All Week

Clean Eating for the I’mperfect Life

Readable on your favorite electronic device!

Do you want eat foods that nourish your body but feel overwhelmed by the time, money, resources, and culinary skills that most “clean eating” plans and cookbooks require?

Do you have picky eaters, struggle with meal planning, or have a busy schedule that makes cooking feel impossible?

If your answers are: Yes, yes, yes, YES! Then this is the book for you!

Buy Now

Starving Children in Africa Don't Eat Sushi

If you’re a member of the clean-your-plate club I urge you to read this blog entry; not because I am the end-all-be-all or because I am so full of wisdom that you must listen and follow every word I say but because what I’m about to tell you is something that I struggle with every day and you probably do too.

Starving children in Africa would be grateful for that meal!

We’ve all heard it, “there are starving children in Africa who would be grateful to eat that!”  My mom, your mom, our grandmothers…all the mothers in the world have mutter these words.

Eating out of guilt was one of the many reasons that I packed on an extra 165lbs which is why one of my personal guidlines for living a happy, healthy I’mperfect Life is to remember that no one wants my leftovers, not even me!

its-time-to-leave-the-clean-your-plate-clubWhat’s constitutes leftovers?  Leftovers are anything that didn’t get eaten the first go round, whether it’s food that I prepare myself (with a few exceptions) or to-go boxes from restaurants.  I’d like to say that I’m totally militant about this, but I’d be lying if I said that.  However, I am pretty strict with myself about this rule.

Part of my happy, healthy lifestyle is ENJOYING good food, not just eating it– there’s a difference.

When food is prepared properly it is served with the best texture, proper consistency and at the right temperature- none of which can be perfectly recreated when a food is re-heated no matter what means you use to do it.

The real joy of eating a prepared meal is then diminished to just eating something that tastes…okay.  This means you’re eating it because it’s easy, or because you paid for it and don’t want it to go to waste or worse… just because it’s there.  None of these reasons are good enough to feed your body sub-par food.  What’s worse is when these leftovers come from a restaurant.  What’s worse than that? It’s when the food was a splurge.

Typically we’re not going to bring home leftover salad from date-night last night.  We know that the lettuce will be wilted and the other veggies will be soggy, right? But if we splurged and ordered the Fettuccine Alfredo, chances are we’re going to box that sh!t up and eat it for lunch or maybe dinner tomorrow.

There are lots of books, magazines, health gurus, etc., that will tell you that this is what you’re supposed to do.  Some will tell you to ask for a box when your food is delivered to your table then box half of it immediately to take home and enjoy later to avoid over eating.

This is great in theory but what are we really doing?

While this concept is a good idea to prevent over eating at one meal, it doesn’t solve the problem of eating healthy for the next meal.  You’re still eating the entire meal, you’re just spreading it out over the next couple of days.  Instead, enjoy the meal you orderd until you are full and then THROW THE REST AWAY!

Call it good.

Don’t worry about the children in Africa, they don’t want your leftovers.

Don’t worry about getting your money’s worth- the amount you DID eat and ENJOYED was worth it

As soon as you are full ask the server to remove the plate.  Don’t pick at it and don’t give into him asking if you’d like a box.  The answer is, “No thank you!”

If you really can’t justify paying for the food then try these options:

  • Don’t order it.
  • Order something else- a couple of sides or a half portion if the restaurant will allow it.
  • If you are dining with someone else try to convince them to split something.

Enjoy your food the first time you eat it.  Savor the intended flavors and textures and don’t feel guilty about throwing the rest away.  The starving children in Africa won’t mind. I promise. There are other, more effective, non-self-destructive ways to help them and others.

You could start by donating the time or money (that you might spend on pizza) with organizations such as Mercy Corps which help make a real difference in our world that doesn’t include you packing on the pounds.

Related Content

Eating for Pleasure

10 Tips for Eating Out


Exercise is Not Necessary for Weight Loss

Too often we use not being able to exercise as an excuse to avoid making other healthy choices that benefit our health and weight loss goals. But the truth is, exercise is not required in order to lose weight or to be healthy. Read on for more…

Do you get frustrated or feel inadequate when you don’t exercise?

Do you use your inability to exercise as an excuse to make other choices that don’t allow you to reach your lifestyle goals?

If so, you are not alone. This is why I want you to know that you do not need to exercise to lose weight….or to be healthy.

“Exercise isn’t necessary for weight loss”

— Lloyd Stegemann, MD, FACS, FASMBS

There are many reasons we struggle with making exercise a part of our daily routine. Whether it’s a lack of available resources, lack of time, lack of energy, limited physical capabilities such as injuries, disabilities and autoimmune disorders, or even just a lack of motivation— MANY people find it hard to start and stick to a fitness routine.

If you read last week’s blog post, then you should remember what I shared with you about calories in vs. calories out. I talked about how our bodies use/store the foods we eat for energy and how to manage the food (fuel) we consume to lose weight, AKA: stored body fat.

So where does exercise fit into all of this?

Well, first let’s cover a potentially shocking statement: You do not need to exercise to lose weight. In fact, you don’t even need to exercise in order to be healthy at all!

Say what? Yes, I know. It sounds crazy but it’s true.

The body’s five requirements for survival are: Oxygen, hydration, fuel, rest, and shelter. That’s it. Nowhere on that list is exercise.  Sure exercise is good for us for many reasons, but it is not required in order to live. If that was the case, people couldn’t survive comas.

As for the weight loss part…again, crazy I know, exercise is not required. Why? Because in order to lose weight (burn stored body fat), all you have to do is create a calorie deficit, which can be done solely with food.

Now I’m not saying this to discourage you from exercising; quite the opposite in fact. Exercising has many benefits, especially for those of us who have sedentary jobs that keep us sitting in a chair behind a desk all day. Sitting at a desk all day is NOT healthy. Being up and moving and active, is.

A body in motion stays in motion“A body in motion stays in motion.”

I love the saying, “A body in motion stays in motion.” It’s a good one right?  A body that moves, and moves well is so much more capable of doing more things. The muscles stay strong, the joints stay lubricated, the heart and lungs are more efficient, the brain gets more oxygen, and the bones become more dense.

This motion doesn’t have to come from exercise though. It just has to come from movement. But remember, this is still not necessary for weight loss.

Again, I’m not saying this to discourage you from exercising. I do want you to exercise whenever possible…because it feels good!

What I don’t want you to do is use the excuse of not being able to exercise as an excuse to not make other choices that will benefit your health and result in weight loss, if that’s your goal. And I want you to feel confident that you can still reach your goals even if you aren’t able to exercise.

Not being able to exercise is not a reason to assume failure.

Too often we find reasons to procrastinate when it comes to making healthy lifestyle changes, most commonly using the inability to exercise as an excuse.

“I don’t have time to exercise right now so I’ll start my ‘diet’ when my son’s soccer season is over.”

“I hurt my knee and can’t exercise right now, but I plan to get back on the wagon when it’s feeling better.”

“I’m too tired to exercise these days. I’ll start my new diet and exercise program as soon as I find a new job”

“I have arthritis and can’t exercise, so what’s the point?”

“I can’t find the motivation to exercise. I just want to eat cookies. What’s wrong with me?”

Regardless of your reason for not exercising, it’s important to know and BELIEVE (because it’s true) that you DO NOT need to exercise in order to lose weight.

exercise is not required to get a body you loveSo if you’re feeling defeated before you even get started, if you’re feeling guilty because you didn’t have time to get to the gym today, or if you’re too tired and didn’t have the energy to move, DO NOT let these reasons keep you from making other choices that will allow you to feel your best– physically, mentally and emotionally; choices that will still allow you to reach your goals without ever stepping foot in a gym.

Remember those five things your body needs– Oxygen, Hydration, Fuel, Rest, Shelter.

Meet your body’s 5 requirements first and foremost so your body can do it’s job of keeping you alive.

Then when you’re ready, able and willing, get your butt moving and take advantage of all of the benefits of exercise to feel your best.

Until then, no guilt, remorse, or shame. No procrastination. No feelings of defeat. Take pride in knowing that you are doing your best. And remember that your best is going to change from day to day, moment to moment.

Love yourself for who you are, where you and get excited about who you are becoming. 


ATP- Love Your Body from the Inside-Out

I spent so many years fighting myself and my body, believing perfection was the only way to a happy, healthy life. Boy was I wrong! If you read my 10+ Reasons I Love My Ugly Body post, then you know that my body is far from perfect…you should also know that neither is my life, hence the name I’mperfect Life! Life is full of ups and downs, choices we’re proud of and others we waste time wishing would have been different. We can’t go back and change the past, all we can do is move forward. We can start by practicing ATP.

atp body imageAs I’ve learned over the years, the first step to living a truly happy, healthy life is to learn to LET GO OF PERFECTION. If you expect perfection you will only be met with perceived failure. We only get to live one life, so embrace the one you have and make it the best you can.

Start by letting go of perfection, follow the 12 Rules for living a happy, healthy, I’mperfect Life, and practice ATP daily…

It’s time to stop looking at our bodies as the problem and start treating them like they are the solution.

It’s time to stop this war that is tearing us apart and start creating peace within ourselves.

Wars don’t solve problems. Wars only beat one party down until they can’t fight anymore.

You have a choice, you can continue the war you’re having with your body until it can’t fight anymore or you can call a truce, make peace, and create change.

I hope you’ll choose to do the latter…

 

It’s time to forgive yourself– guilt and shame are not motivators.

It’s time to appreciate yourself– loving, caring, nurturing, trusting and accepting where you are right now.

It’s time to get excited about the possibilities!

It’s time to educate yourself- knowledge is power!

By forgiving, appreciating and educating you will have no choice but to grow and become the person you want to be.

It’s time to start practicing ATP

 

coverAt this moment, right now, I want to you to close your eyes (well in a minute after you’ve read the following…) and follow these steps:

1) Apologize to your body for all of the negative things you’ve said about it.

2) Thank it for doing its job of keeping you alive, despite how you’ve treated it.

3) Promise your body that from this point forward you will appreciate what it does for you every day that you will listen to it, love it and nurture it because you realize that without it, you would not be alive.

I want you to do this every day for the next 30 days. In the shower, in the car, walking through the parking lot, and lying in bed at night.

 

Creating a strong mind/body connection is absolutely necessary for life-long health and happiness. It’s what will free you from living in a body you don’t love and allow you to live a life you do love.

Bodies are smart.

Minds are powerful.

Making them work together is where true health and happiness lies.

Let go of perfection and start living your best, happy, healthy, I’mperfect Life today!


The Thoughtful Jar

When was the last time you stopped and asked yourself these four questions?

  • What brings you joy and love?
  • What is causing me stress?
  • What am I thankful for?
  • What am I proud of?

These days it’s too easy to get caught up in trying to survive, focused only on the tasks at hand that we forget to take the time to acknowledge what’s really happening in our lives.  

We might tell our husband or our kids that we love them every day, and yes, we mean it, but it also just becomes rote, a habit that isn’t truly acknowledged.

We might complain about things that frustrate us, giving them power to make us feel angry, but do we actually deal with those issues?

We might say “thank God!” or “thank heavens!” in a positive situation, but it’s only momentary thanks.

We might tell our kids we’re proud of them, we might even be proud of ourselves for something, but the acknowledgement is fleeting.

the-thoughtful-jar


This is why I created the “Thoughtful Jar”
as a way to connect with our lives in small portions that offer a big impact, here’s how…

 

  1. Grab a clear jar or vase and designate it as your “Thoughtful Jar”
  2. Get a pad of multi-colored note paper (I got mine at Staples)
  3. Put the two together, some place convenient like the kitchen counter, your desk at work, or in the bathroom (you can even have more than one!)
  4. Each day…or whenever you feel compelled, write yourself a note on the color of note paper that corresponds with the topic (see below)
  5. At the end of the week take a look at your jar and the colors inside. Take notice of the prominent color(s) to help you decide what to focus on the next week.

 

Do you need to be more grateful? Do you need to reduce stress? Are you struggling to find something to be proud of or are joy and love something that feel foreign right now?

Life is full of ups and downs and it’s not going to be roses and puppies and rainbows all the time and it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day stress without taking the time to acknowledge what’s really going on– good, bad and ugly. 

Pink/Red= LOVE25766251216_d4b17bf1aa_z

Write yourself a note about something or someone you love. Don’t forget to include yourself.

Blue= STRESS

Write down what is creating stress for you and include a possible solution. You don’t have to have it all figured out, but addressing stress, acknowledging it and identifyingg how you can resolve it will help you “deal” with it.

Yellow= THANKS

Write down what you’re thankful for! Don’t forget those challenges that make you stronger and wiser.

Green= PRIDE

Write down an accomplishment, big or small. It’s important to be proud of yourself no matter how insignificant that achievement might seem, it’s worth acknowledging.


Stop Falling Off the Weight Loss Wagon

copy-of-get-off-the-wagon-for-good

Stop Falling off the Weight Loss Wagon for Good

A term I hear a lot in the weight loss/diet/fitness/healthy lifestyle world is “I fell off the wagon and can’t seem to get back on.” If you are like millions of other people (that number is not based on statistical data), you struggle with falling off the proverbial wagon too.

Here’s the thing…for whatever reason, we thinking the wagon is what we should strive for, but the truth is that the wagon is the problem, not the solution.  Seriously.

The proverbial weight loss wagon is one that haunts many of us who struggle with our weight, whether we’re working to lose weight, or working to keep it off. And falling off that wagon is what makes of feel like we’ve failed, like we’re hopeless, helpless and not in control. It affects our confidence in ourselves, inhibits feelings of self-love, and ultimately affects our ability to succeed.

Many people can follow a diet plan, even the strictest of plans for a period of time– especially if they are seeing results. But one “slip up” (erase this term from your vocabulary after this sentence) and they “fall off the wagon” (erase this term as well) by to returning to old habits, gaining weight they lost, or even just experiencing a few days of not staying “strict”. (let’s go ahead and erase that word too)

The Wagon

Historically speaking the “wagon” was a vehicle used to water down dusty roads during the summer months back before we had paved roads…you know, so people could breathe and stuff. Men who were abstaining from alcohol would say they were “on the water wagon” and if they returned to drinking alcohol they would say they had…well, you know.

Now when I think of a wagon, I instantly get an image of a covered wagon, not the same thing as a water wagon by any means, but it provides a good visual for me that encourages ditching the wagon for good.

During the prairie movement, wagons were notorious for being death traps– dirty, stinky, rickety, dangerous, death traps.

They didn’t provide much shelter from the elements– hot, sweltering, germ infested bubbles in the summer, and freezing cold, still germ-infested, wind-tunnels in the winter. They were confined; extremely uncomfortable, mini-prisons that provided wagon goers with two choices– endure the misery of sitting in/on the wagon, or walking next to it for miles and miles and miles each day, trying to reach an unknown destination in hopes of a better life.

Trying to lose weight and maintain weight-loss can feel just like that covered wagon, making it impossible to stay on, willingly. Which is why I’m a proponent of ditching the wagon completely and losing it for good. Literally and figuratively.

Once you get rid of that wretched wagon you are free! Free from guilt and shame, and onto living your best, happy, healthy, I’mperfect Life.

Freedom means you are in control, you feel peace and joy, and failure is no longer an option.

So let’s ditch the wagon for good, starting with a breath of fresh, clean air!

Here’s How

Know your short and long-term motivation

Having a strong “WHY” is absolutely necessary for creating true lifelong change. If your “why” is just, “to lose weight” or “to fit in that dress” or “to be healthy” you’re setting yourself up for failure. I mean, I know those all sound like fine reasons to lose weight, and they are, but their just “fine.” If you’re like me, and hundreds of thousand of others (maybe even millions) you’ve used those as your “why” many times in the past and still find yourself stuck in the cycle of diet/fail/repeat, right? So let’s do something different. Instead of making a blanket statement that has no real value let’s be more specific.

I want to lose weight because I feel uncomfortable in my body right now. I know that if I am able to lose 10% of my current body weight that my body will feel better! I’ll have more energy, feel stronger, be able to go longer, and live a full and active life.

Make choices that allow you to feel good now and later

Instead of trying to convince yourself to follow a diet and exercise routine solely to lose weight, tell yourself the following:

I will make choices each day that support the healthy lifestyle I want to live so I don’t have to wait to feel good. I will feel my best right now by eating to nourish my body. I will move more to strengthen my body. And I will love myself just the way I am at this very moment, because what I do and why I do it NOW is what ultimately affects my future.

Create realistic guidelines and boundaries for yourself

The truth is, you can’t lose weight without making some sacrifices but that doesn’t mean you need to find a diet plan that makes promises of weight loss and then stick to it to a T. Consistency is absolutely necessary but you are the boss of you which means you get to set the guidelines and boundaries. Make sure you set yourself up for success.

If you travel for work, it’s unrealistic to follow a plan that requires you to carry around color coded plastic containers of pre-made food. If you have four kids and have 20 minutes to prepare dinner every night, it’s unrealistic to expect yourself to spend an hour preparing some fancy paleo recipe. But you can determine your caloric and macro nutrient needs and plan your meals around those no matter where you are or how hectic your schedule.

If you work a full-time job with an hour commute, have napping babies, or any other scheduling conflicts that are out of your control, going to a 6pm workout class may not work for you no matter how good your intentions. This is why you must create a plan that you can do consistently and then do it.

Change your vocabulary about food and exercise

We have learned to demonize food rather than eating foods to nourish our bodies most of the time and eat foods for pleasure something the time, enjoying all of our food, all of the time. (Read Rule #2 for Living an I’mperfect Life)

We have decided that we need to exercise out of obligation rather than doing it because it feels good! (Read Rule #3 for Living an I’mperfect Life)

It’s time to stop earning food or punishing ourselves with exercise. We need to eat and move to feel our best, physically, mentally and emotionally without perceived failure, consequence, or reward.

Never “start over,” just keep moving forward

Starting over is what perpetuates the cycle of diet/fail/repeat– even if you’re just talking about tomorrow.

If I had a dime for the number of times I used to say, and continue to hear from others, “I’m starting over tomorrow!” Or even words of encouragement to others like, “Just start over tomorrow!” Or, “Tomorrow is a fresh start!”  I’d be rich! (yes, super cliche, I know, but it’s true.)

When we believe that we’ve “messed up” to the point of needing to “start over” we’re telling ourselves we’ve failed. We’re not crocheting a scarf for crying out loud! We can’t go back and undo the last row of stitches and redo them, and there’s no need to; we’re all just living our lives, doing the best we can.

That’s why there’s no such thing as messing up when it comes to living a happy, healthy, I’mperfect Life. There’s no starting over. We just keep moving forward. We take responsibility for the choices we make, whether they are ideal or not and use them to propel us forward.

Sometimes there are lessons to be learned that can help us create new habits but there’s no need to start over…or get back on the dreaded wagon.

Just ditch it for good!

Learn to Live Your Best, Happy, Healthy, I’mperfect Life!

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Do These Four Things to Get Motivated for Good

Do you find it impossible to “get motivated?” You’re not alone! Let me show you how to get motivated for good!

First let’s look at the definition of “motivation.”

MOTIVATION
noun
  1. 1a :  the act or process of motivating b :  the condition of being motivated

  2. 2:  a motivating force, stimulus, or influence :  incentive, drive

Notice that the definition doesn’t mention anything about actually DOING the act as a response to the idea of motivation. That’s because motivation is not ACTING, motivation is simply a reason for wanting something. It’s something we think and feel because something else affects us.
Motivation is REASON, NOT ACTION. You have can lots of reasons for wanting things without the desire to ACT.
A weird analogy for you: We are motivated to go to the bathroom by the signal our bladder sends to our brain, but that motivation isn’t action– in that moment we can choose to get up and go, stay there and wait until the motivation is stronger, or sit there and pee our pants.
Diet, and exercise, and weight loss are no different. We can be motivated all day long, feeling the urge to change our eating habits, move more, eat better, lose weight, etc., all with good reason (motivation) all while taking no action at all. Not because we don’t want to, but because the urge to act hasn’t hit us yet.
The exception between being motivated to pee and being motivated to lose weight (or create a lifestyle change) is that we don’t sit around stressing about whether or not we should pee. We’re not watching TV, sitting our desk, driving in our car, thinking, “I should go pee.” Unless of course we have to pee.
But with diet, and exercise, and weight loss, we constantly think about what we should be doing, what we’re doing wrong, how we need to do things differently without taking any action at all. We ARE in fact motivated, we do have ideas and even reason, but instead of spending our energy doing what we want/need to do (get up and go pee) we sit there stressing about it until we pee our pants…and then we sit there feeling bad, wishing we had just gotten up and gone to the bathroom, wanting a change of clothes, but…?

In my personal and professional opinion, “motivation” is a dumb word to associate with diet, exercise, and weight loss. It’s a word we use to make ourselves feel bad. “I just can’t find the motivation.” “How do I get motivated?” Like being motivated is the magical answer to all things perfect. It is an unfortunate expectation that we put on ourselves– whether by our own doing or others.

The truth about motivation is that is happens naturally when you’re ready, just like when you have to pee. The more you stress about not being motivated the worse it gets. It’s part of the guilt/shame/remorse/diet/fail/repeat cycle.

If you want to create change then you ARE in fact motivated, you just need to figure out how to use that motivation (your reason) to start doing, rather than wishing, hoping, thinking, praying and wanting.

Before I go any further I want you to know that it’s OKAY be motivated (want, wish, hope, pray, etc.) without taking action. It’s okay to be where you are RIGHT NOW, even if it’s not where you want to be. Loving yourself and your life for who, what and where you are right now is the only way to move forward because you have to get through the right now, in order to get to the future. Okay?

“Okay, Andrea! Sheesh! I get it. I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and…”

Yes, exactly! Alright so now let’s talk about taking action.

get-motivated-for-good

How to move from Motivation to Action

Action is something that happens when our motivation is backed by a strong “why?” Meaning we can clearly define WHY what we want is important to us, and more so, that our WHY is compelling enough to ignite action.

Just to reiterate one more time: Wanting and doing are two totally different things. Wanting something is just an idea, doing something is taking action. It’s okay to want things without being willing (ready) to take action. When you’re ready, you’ll know.

Whether you’re ready now or waiting patiently to get ready, here’s what I want you to remember…

1) You must believe that change is possible.

No matter how many times you feel like you’ve failed in the past, IT IS POSSIBLE! We cannot approach change expecting to succeed if we already feel defeated and deflated. So let go of the past, without it, you wouldn’t be where you are today, and today that person (you) is ready for change.

2) You must be excited about your goal.

Excitement is what’s going to keep you going when it gets hard…and it will get hard. Some people think that excitement is motivation. Sometimes pure excitement does create action– but excitement waxes and wanes so you can’t depend purely on excitement to keep you moving forward. You have to be excited FOR change, not just because of it. In those moments, days, weeks and sometimes even months when exciting things aren’t happening, be excited about the future.

3) You must be willing to make sacrifices and change priorities– time, money, foods you love, comfort, etc.

You know the old saying, “we can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results!” And it’s SO true. You’re going to have to change things– a lot of things, not at once, but over time. It might be sacrificing time spent in the break room, watching your favorite soap while eating lunch, to go for a walk instead. It might be asking a friend to take the kids to gymnastics so you can do some meal prep. It might be sacrificing your favorite coffee drink every morning because it doesn’t really add value to your goals. It might mean sacrificing that coffee drink so you can  put that money towards a more nutritious lunch that costs a bit more than what you’re used to.

Making sacrifices doesn’t mean deprivation. It means making changes that are a reflection of your change in priorities because you are creating change in your life.

This takes practice. But when we do it with the belief that change is possible, excitement about the future and with joy in our hearts, these sacrifices and changes in priorities are actually quite empowering and feel less like work and more like progress.

4) You must be willing to do the hard work.

The truth is that true change takes time and it’s not easy. There will be many ups and downs, ebbs and flows, struggles and victories– but they are ALL part of establishing lifelong success that no longer requires “finding motivation” because the idea, the want, the wish, the hope, the prayer, the desire, THE REASON…has become a reality.

This is your life!  Creating change IS hard!  It takes time, and patience, and tenacity! But I promise it will be worth it.

Download my FREE eBook and worksheet!

Get Motivated for Good

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Effects of Alcohol- Mind, Body and Fat Loss

Did you know that drinking alcohol STALLS fat loss, even with a calorie deficit?

It’s true! Alcohol– wine, beer, and liquor affects not just our mood and inhibitions, but also our body’s ability to burn fat.

Here are 4 reasons to avoid or at least limit alcohol consumption during the holiday season and most other seasons too.

1) Alcohol, more specifically liquor, is literally empty calories…LITERALLY. In fact, two Oreo cookies have more nutritional value than a shot of vodka—for the SAME number of calories. But with the Oreos you get a little something that your body can use– a few carbs and some fat for fuel and a trace of vitamins and minerals in the enriched flour.

Vodka might be 0 carbohydrates, but it’s also zero anything else, except calories, coming in at 7 calories per gram! Almost twice as many calories than those found in carbohydrates and protein!  (4 calories per gram)

And unless you’re just doing straight up vodka shots, I can almost guarantee you that you’re consuming far more extra calories than you realize in those mixers.

2) Alcohol messes with our judgement. This is a big reason why we love it so much. Having a beer or a cocktail at a party allows us to lose some of our natural inhibitions– some call it liquid courage. This can be a lot of fun…until it isn’t anymore and you’re lying on the floor in the bathroom with your face pressed against the cold tile wishing the room would stop spinning (I have no idea what that’s like…ha!)— but the loss of those inhibitions and judgment also leads to decisions we wouldn’t normally make. I’m not just talking about hitting on your boss’s spouse, I’m talking about grazing longer at the buffet or hitting up Jack-n-the-Box on your way home, adding more mindless calories for our body to store as fat.

3) Alcohol slows weight loss and not just because of the extra empty calories.

Because the body so easily metabolizes alcohol (uses it for fuel) as long as there’s is alcohol in your system you body will not burn stored fat for fuel. Depending on how much and how often you drink you could be in a constant state of keeping your body from burning stored fat; AKA- losing weight.

I can’t find it now, but I remember learning at some point that it can take almost THREE days for your body to recover from drinking alcohol in order to revert back to fat burning mode. I don’t know about you, but a good buzz for a few hours isn’t worth postponing my health and lifestyle goals!

4) Even if you’re not concerned with your weight or fat loss right now, alcohol can wreak havoc on the liver, kidneys, and stomach lining and damaging these organs prevents your body from efficiently metabolizing the foods we consume.

This is why detox programs are so popular. However, a 3 day juice cleanse is not going to completely undo the damage or instantly get things back in working order.  As with all things, consistency is key.

So what do you do instead of drink?

Well, that’s up to you, because you are the one in control! But here are some options to consider…

  • You can choose to sacrifice the fat loss, if you can truly enjoy a margarita without guilt or shame. Sometimes it’s just worth it and that’s okay!
  • You can order a virgin drink where you’ll still get the added calories found in the mixer, but you’ll avoid that halt in the fat burning process– as long as you still have a calorie deficit.
  • You can choose to abstain completely. Find the courage within yourself to get up and dance, talk to strangers, and enjoy your evening while remaining in complete control of your faculties and your choices!
  • You can enjoy a drink or two, separated by water (sparkling if you want to feel festive) to pace yourself throughout the evening– you know, moderation!

Enjoying an alcoholic beverage or two (sometimes more) isn’t a bad thing, but it’s something that should be done with knowledge and understanding so we can make the best choices for ourselves and our goals. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, knowledge is power! The more knowledge you have the better armed you are to make the best decisions for YOU.

If (when) you drink alcohol, I always recommend a pacer– libation in one hand, water in the other. Sip both to avoid over intoxication.

Side note: because most alcoholic beverages are loaded with sugar, they actually make you more thirsty which makes you drink even more. So quench the thirst with water and drink responsibly!

Whatever you do, enjoy yourself. Remember that you are in control. You make the choices that are best for you. There’s no right or wrong answer, just the one that allows you to feel your best– physically, mentally and emotionally.

Wishing you continued, happy, healthy holidays!


Why Do We Eat?

WHY WE EAT- Types of Hunger

Understanding the difference between true physical hunger, the not-so-true head-hunger, and all those mad cravings we sometimes get, is vital to making food (fuel) choices that benefit our mind, body and soul in order to live our best, happy, healthy, I’mperfect Life!

In this post I will teach you how to identify the difference and what to do when you experience the three most common reasons for eating food.

First of all, it’s important to understand that eating food is not a bad thing, even those that aren’t exactly beaming with nutritional value.  All food is fuel, whether it’s used (burned) immediately for energy, or stored as fat to be used for energy later, your body needs fuel, and you need to eat. Period.

For those of us who struggle with our weight, the main culprit tends to be WHY we eat. Of course what we eat and how much we eat are very important too, but those issues are much simpler to solve once we tackle the issue of WHY.

People eat for three main reasons:

  1. We are actually hungry
  2. We convince ourselves we’re hungry, also known as “head hunger” usually out of boredom, habit, or an emotional response
  3. Something triggers a craving

Now there’s also a fourth reason– eating disorders such as Binge Eating Disorder (BED) or the extreme and very rare: Prader-Willi Syndrome. These topics are out of my scope and should be treated by a healthcare professional.

 

why-am-i-hungryHow to identify the difference between the 3 main reasons we eat

The only way to know the difference between real hunger, head hunger, and a craving is to stop and think about what you want and why you want it.

True Physical Hunger

  • It will have been at least a couple of hours since you last ate, or there will have been some significant, vigorous activity since your last meal.
  • Your stomach will be growling and feel uncomfortable.
  • You might feel a little weak.
  • Your brain will be foggy, and the apple sitting on counter will call to you.
  • You’re not bored, tired, avoiding a task (procrastinating) or simply thinking, seeing, smelling, or talking about something that is delicious.

If all or most of these are true, then you’re experiencing true hunger. You will eat that apple and feel satisfied. It may not fill you up, but it will be enough to satiate you for a while until you’re able to eat an actual meal.

If all or most of these are true and all you can think is, “Oh my gawd! I need to eat some food! Where can I find some food? Any food will do! I NEED FOOD!” Then you’re probably too hungry and should have eaten sooner.

Allowing yourself to get too hungry can put you and your body in panic mode, making you believe that you need foods that are high in sugar and fat– this is not a lack of willpower. Wanting sugar and fat when we’re too hungry is the body’s natural response to needing quick and lasting fuel because the body is super efficient at using sugar for energy and storing fat as fat for future use.

Staying in control of your hunger level is key to making food choices that allow you to feel good: physically, mentally and emotionally.

Head Hunger

  • Head hunger is just that. It’s hunger that is coming from your brain rather than your body.
  • Head hunger occurs shortly after a meal, or at least not far enough after to actually NEED food, and you’ll know it.
  • When you’re bored
  • When you’re overly tired
  • When you’re avoiding a task you really don’t want to do.
  • Out of habit– dessert, the afternoon trip to the vending machine, the morning stop at Starbucks
  • You might even find yourself saying, “I know I shouldn’t be hungry right but good gawd I want (you might even say ‘need’) ______ right now!”
You may convince yourself not to jump up and get that candy bar right then and there, knowing that you don’t actually need it, but you’ll likely sit there obsessing over it until you can’t take it anymore and before you know it, there’s an empty wrapper on your desk and you’re slouched over in your chair, groaning with discomfort, feeling a little nauseated. Not feeling good physically at all, and probably not feeling too good mentally or emotionally either– full of regret, remorse, guilt, and shame. This is no bueno.

Head hunger can be hard to manage because our brains can convince our bodies to “feel” what we think is true hunger. We might even get some hunger pangs or a feeling of panic that tells us we must eat, especially if we’re stressed or feeling anxious about something. In those cases the best thing to do is get up, walk away, and focus on breathing.

In those moments the body doesn’t actually need food, it needs comfort. Comfort comes from knowing that we’re okay. The number requirement for the body to survive is oxygen, so give it what it really wants (NEEDS) and breathe.

Cravings

Cravings can be tricky, as some are real and some are really just head hunger.  It all depends on what’s triggering them. A craving brought on by true physical hunger or a nutrient deficiency is our body’s way of telling us exactly what it needs, be it fuel or specific vitamins and minerals. Typically, if you’re craving meat, or a fruit or vegetable, you’re experiencing a true physical craving and your body is telling you, “I need _____!”

However, cravings are most often caused by other stimuli such as seeing something that looks good, smelling something that looks good or even just thinking or talking about something that is good.

Example: An argument over which is better, New York or Chicago style pizza can instantly make you crave pizza.

When this happens it’s up to you to decide how to handle it. Cravings can become overwhelming and create the ugliest kind of head hunger– I NEED TO EAT ALL OF THE PIZZA RIGHT NOW! Or they can subside. It all depends on how you manage them.

I find that acknowledging the craving, telling myself that I can have ____ whenever I want, without stipulations, is the best way to deal with it. For instance, in the example given above, I’d say to my friend, “Ooh! We should go for pizza on Friday for lunch!” Then, if we do, great, if we don’t eh, I’m sure I’ll have it soon anyway.

Cravings are often made worse by denying them. Cravings are normal and they are okay. Having them isn’t bad and indulging them doesn’t equal failure.

Be honest with yourself. Listen to your body. And never beat yourself up if you make a choice or decision that wasn’t best for your lifestyle goals. Just acknowledge it, ask yourself what you can do differently in the future, commit that to memory, and move on.

Eat foods that make you feel good– physically, mentally and emotionally. Always. And remember that sometimes that is a piece of chocolate cake, and that’s okay!

Love yourself for who and what you are right now, and get excited about where you’re going!

There’s lots more I could say on this topic, but that will have to wait for another post. <3