Archive for the ‘SELF’ Category


Music Cardio 210x300  “ALL OR NOTHING” VS. “ALL IN” Most people that come to H3 are ready and motivated to do whatever it takes to reach their goals—hire a personal trainer, develop a meal plan, set boundaries and more.  In regards to diet and nutrition, those that are motivated typically start practicing the following:  food logging, cooking more often, meal planning, and implementing portion control.  Sounds perfect, right?

What happens if you are the “all or nothing” thinker?  What happens if your perfect plan doesn’t go so perfectly?  Do you get back on 95 or do you feel like you have just landed in a ditch and all the work has been wasted?  One can be internally motivated for all the right reasons, but the all or nothing mindset can easily take one back to ground zero—eating out, late night snacking, eating in front of the television, and a lack of planning…all because one night included a binge of pizza and a pint of ice cream.

H3 tries to encourage guests to get out of the all or nothing thinking and reframing that mindset to learning from the detours while staying on track.   I like to call this getting out of the “ALL OR NOTHING” and into the “ALL IN” attitude.  The ALL IN attitude is serious about health, but gives your body, mind and spirit the ability to embrace grace and forgiveness while staying committed to your goals.  Here are a few examples and scenarios that reveal an ALL IN mindset versus the all or nothing thinking:

  • Scenario #1:  Two weeks of solid meal planning + portion control =  -2 lbs. on the scale.  Week three involves traveling for work + portion control = No gain, no loss (WIN!!!).  Learning experience?  When not in control…portion control.
  • Scenario #2:  Your birthday + dessert =   savoring and enjoying that dessert (if it was me it would be Graeters ice cream from Cincinnati J).   Learning experience?  Mindful eating + accountability (sharing your birthday dessert with others) + desserts on special occasions = you are still 100% committed to your goals and learning moderation is liberating.
  • Scenario #3:  You forget to pack lunch + creating a salad at the local grocery store salad bar (e.g., Whole Foods or Krogers) = continued success.  Learning experience?  Always have a back-up plan.  When in doubt, find a local grocery store or restaurant that becomes your plan B for a healthy lunch or dinner.

Ask yourself if you are the all or nothing thinker.  Most people know right away.  I am here to tell you that it IS OKAY and ENCOURAGED to turn into the ALL IN thinker.  Please share any thoughts or comments!


Wellness Wednesday: Stress Awareness to Stress Bareness

0409 Wellness Wednesday: Stress Awareness to Stress Bareness

Just in case you are out of the loop, April is National Stress Awareness month. It seems a rather odd label to attach to a month. I mean, isn’t the term “stress awareness” a bit redundant? To be stressed is to be hyper-aware. It’s unlikely that people are walking around stressed without being aware of it. I think they, (whoever “they” are), should consider renaming April something more useful like the National Antidote to Stress month or the National Stress-No-More month.

I’m not sure April was fully briefed when it so graciously accepted the unfortunate label of National Stress Awareness month. For instance, did April know that in 2013 stress related healthcare issues cost employers over 300 billion dollars? That same year, the American Psychological Association reported that more than one-third of the U.S. population identified themselves as extremely stressed. That is a lot of stressed-out people! Furthermore, a recent study also indicates that 77% of people in the U.S. regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress and 73% regularly experience psychological symptoms caused by stress.

So what does this mean for April? How can we make its designation as National Stress Awareness month meaningful? Perhaps we should shift from the ever-present awareness to a game plan. As a culture we have become too accepting of stress as a component in our daily lives. In other words, we complain about it, and sometimes make a feeble attempt at lessening it, but we rarely make a committed effort at fixing the sources of our stress.

The top causes of stress in America are job pressure, money, health, relationships and sleep deprivation. Instead of simply acquiescing to the inevitability of stress in these areas of your life I want you spend April doing an inventory. Sit down and create a spreadsheet with headings that indicate the areas of your life where you experience the most stress. Underneath each heading list, in great detail, what the factors are in each area of your life that cause you stress. For example, if your job is the first heading, then list all the reasons your job stresses you out. Pick one thing from the list to work on changing. This is where the awareness shits to action. Part of your spreadsheet might look like this:


  1. Constant tension with my co-worker Sally. She is abrasive and doesn’t pull her weight making my job harder. I can’t stand working with her.
  2. I am overloaded at work. I’m expected to do the work of three people.
  3.  My cubicle is too small and allows for too many distractions.

Perhaps you picked number one from the list to focus on first. After some thought, problem solving, and Googling, you take action by setting up a meeting with your HR Director to discuss some possible solutions to the distracting tension with your co-worker. If you are going to stand a chance battling stress you have to think outside the box. You might suggest a meeting with a conflict resolution professional or an in-office transfer. Taking action on just one of the issues contributing to your stress not only helps to reduce stress, but also strengthens self-confidence.

Awareness is great but action is better. We often tackle other problems in our life with dedication while succumbing passively to an overload of stress. April could be the month when all that changes. It could be the month when you take a good, hard look at what is creating unhealthy stress in your life followed by formulating a well, thought out plan with SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant & time oriented) directed at alleviating the source of your stress.

Instead of Stress Awareness month, let’s make April National Acting on Stress month. Spring into action this spring — make stress reduction a priority.


Coaching Corner: What is your investment to your health?

0403 300x137 Coaching Corner: What is your investment to your health?

Attending the Empower Fitness Conference in Chicago, I gained a weekend of new findings in health research, new exercise tips, and very inspiring motivation from hundreds of presenters. One in particular shared an empowering talk which I would like to share with you. Todd Durkin is an internationally recognized performance-enhancement coach, personal trainer, massage therapist, author, and speaker. He challenged the crowd to answer, “What’s your investment to your health?” We all think about the financial investments for the future, our significant others’ well-being, our children or grandchildren’s health, but when was the last time you invested in your own health? Your health has a direct correlation to your life expectancy. Your longevity provides more years to spend with people you care the most about. That could mean meeting or not meeting your grandchildren, great grandchildren, or great great grandchildren.

Todd focuses on IMPACT to help shape our investment:

I: Inspired- live inspired, what are your dreams? Your life goals? Pick out the destination and then plan the steps to get there.

M: Master your craft-Be great at what you do, learn, read, do something for 30 min per day to educate yourself. Education doesn’t end in school, continually push to excel and make yourself better.

P: Play at World Class-Get your mind right. If you have negative thoughts coming through your head, try putting a rubber band on your wrist and every time a negative thought crosses your mind, snap that band  (snap out of negative thoughts). Make it your job to be your own motivator, be the team, be ALL IN! You only know your don’t like something if you go ALL IN!

A: Action- What do you want to do in your life? What’s your playbook look like—every team (coach and players) has a playbook. In most sports, coaches and players do not just pull a ”Hail Mary” out of the sky for every play they run. No, the team has practiced and practiced and practiced their playbook. Sometimes the play goes better than planned and sometimes it goes worse, but the team has planned for those incidents and has generated that playbook. Be a strategist not an opportunist! Make the plays, don’t just let them happen!

What are 5 things you love to do or are good at?  Do your life goals involve these things? Why or why not? When you have a playbook (plan, map, outline) you make decisions better. Some parts of your playbook are in your lives for a reason, you really enjoy these things and they are important to you. Some parts need to be removed; they take your time away from someone or something you truly enjoy. It is alright to say no. If something fits in your playbook, you agree to include it in your life, if it does not, say NO!

C: Condition for greatness- Grab a partner: give each other a 60 second massage! Woo that felt great  huh? The power of touch is something that is very powerful. The first language learned by humans is the one of physical contact. Touch can communicate an even wider range of emotion than gestures or expressions, and sometimes do so more quickly and accurately than words. Physical contact has also been linked to enhance performance, feelings of support, and being cared for.

What your condition is like has a significant effect on the condition you can provide for someone else. What is your health condition? Needs improvement, satisfactory, or excellent? In every emergency, the directions are to put your oxygen mask on first, then help someone else. You must provide life for yourself, before assisting life for someone else.

Check out the advice you give to those you care about, when was the last time you took your own advice? Are you doing what you are telling others to do? It may be time for you to hire a coach for you!

T: Tenacious-be tenacious! Fully immerse yourself, fully engage, and listen to the positive energy, thoughts, and suggestions around you. Who are the most important people to you? When something happens to you, who is it that you call? Create a support group with these individuals by sharing with them your goals, fears, and struggles. Being held accountable makes you 50% more likely to carry on. Motivation is in the head, inspiration is in the heart.

Can you make an IMPACT on yourself?


Coaching Corner: Dream Big Start Small



Wellness Wednesday: 3 Weight Loss Motivation Tips

Motivation can be very difficult to sustain yet it is the single most important factor determining our success, regardless of the goal. In fact, motivation trumps environment, support, and knowledge when it comes to variables that affect achievement. That means that motivation has to be your number one priority with any aspiration. The priority is not only determining ways to fuel motivation but also vigilantly eliminating barriers to motivation.

The goal of losing weight is often riddled with motivational black holes. Our focus seems to get sucked into the abyss. Thus, when losing weight it remains important to keep a tool box filled with motivational strategies. Ever eager to help you stock your tool box, I’ve put together three more tips to help inspire your weight loss efforts:

1.       What does 5 pounds of fat look like?

0312 1 300x167 Wellness Wednesday: 3 Weight Loss Motivation Tips

We get overly fixated on numbers when trying to lose weight. If it’s not the scale then it’s a size. Why not look at your achievement in a way that is more meaningful than a number? The next time you find yourself saying with exasperation, “I’ve ONLY lost five pounds” get an idea of what five pounds really looks like (hint: check out the photo above). Better yet, remind yourself of what it feels like. Grab a 5-pound weight and carry it in your purse or jacket pocket for a few hours.

2.       Look at How Far You’ve Come Instead of How Far You Have to Go.

0312 2 231x300 Wellness Wednesday: 3 Weight Loss Motivation Tips

When achieving your goal seems many miles and days ahead, motivation can stall. Break down the goal into smaller increments and then track those milestones in a way that lets you focus on how far you’ve come. One of my clients started using the chart above. She would track her weight-loss in 2-pound increments and mark them off on the bar. Doing so allowed her to see how close she was to her goal as well as what she had already achieved. Here’s a chart to get you started: 5 Pound Goal

3.       Build Your Success Playlist

0312 3 Wellness Wednesday: 3 Weight Loss Motivation Tips

For every pound you lose add a new song to your weight-loss play list. Build a playlist of motivational songs that represent your successes from week-to-week. Use Google to select songs that characterize the unique challenges and ultimate victories experienced during the process of your weight-loss journey. (Speaking of journey…start with the song “Don’t Stop Believin” by the band Journey)! Within months you will have created the ultimate playlist.


Coaching Corner: What Gets Measured Gets Done

goals Coaching Corner: What Gets Measured Gets Done

Think about bowling for a second. The main target is to hit pins at the end of the lane right? Setting a target or end goal is significantly important. Knowing where you aim helps to better direct your effort. Lining yourself up strategically will give you the best result. However, there are many things that affect that ultimate goal as well; the way you turn your body, angle your wrist, power the release, how waxed the lane is, etc. that could cause for a good or not so good result. Outside distractions, a not fully focused throw, and fatigued technique could also affect the end result. Now use this and think about your health. Losing weight, feeling better, gaining strength, becoming healthy is your “end goal”, your destination, or your finish line. Now I say “end goal” because with health every ending is a new beginning. Furthermore, having a target provides us with direction. Take the time in the beginning to plan. Lay your goal out… follow the acronym SMART by making your goal specific, measurable (There’s a management saying that ‘what gets measured gets done’), attainable, realistic, and timely… what will it take to reach that goal? Be as detailed as possible! I will walk you through eight different tactics to think about when creating fitness goals.

1.      Define exactly what will be achieved in a given time period, what the overall outcome of the plan is (The usual time period for an exercise plan is 4-6 weeks).

2.      Define weekly targets (process goals) that will ensure the overall outcome can be achieved (These might be as simple as ‘attend all defined classes/trainings’ or ‘add 5 minutes to cardio exercises’)

3.      Schedule the workouts on days and times that suit your schedule, what does that look like on a weekly format.

4.      Define the FITT (frequency, intensity, time, and type) of each workout (i.e. weights or cardio, 30mins or 45mins, high intensity or low etc)

5.      Define the most likely barriers to completing the exercise plan (What are the excuses that will come) and how can we override these barriers.

6.      Define what you would do if the plan is not working (i.e. call a friend and discuss the problem, adapt the plan/programs to suit)

7.      Define the tasks your trainer/spouse/accountable counterpart will undertake to train, monitor and support you

8.      Agree to a start date

Remember, however, that bumps in the road will come (slight turns of our wrist happen) therefore it is key to plan all the way to the end goal. This means taking into account all the possible consequences, obstacles, and twists of life that might try to reverse your hard work. By planning to the end, you will be less overwhelmed by circumstances and you will know how to move around, move past, or get through the obstacles that you face. Gently guide and give yourself a way around misfortunes by determining the future and thinking far ahead.

Having a plan (whether that is a nutrition plan, exercise plan, moving more plan, 5K plan, etc) is essentially a ‘roadmap’ that clearly identifies for you the steps you will need to take to reach your desired destination. Research has shown that goal setting greatly increases the chances of adherence and the achievement of outcomes.  There is also evidence to support the use of ‘intervention strategies’ which essentially are a form of relapse prevention training.  Plans clearly establish what the goals (smart goals) were at the beginning of a period of work and then allow you to accurately monitor your progress, see roadblocks ahead, and effectively execute a new or modified route to your goal. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail (Thanks Bob Wright!).


Wellness Wednesday: The difference between sympathy and empathy

“The truth is, rarely can a response make something better — what makes something better is connection.” ~ Brene Brown

I have and continue, to recommend watching Brene Brown’s Ted Talk, The Power of Vulnerability where she artfully articulates the importance of the emotional experience. I recently came across another outstanding Brene Brown video in which her speech to the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (better-known as the RSA), was made into a delightful short animation. The subject matter of the speech, and the resulting video, is the difference between sympathy and empathy. It’s a great three-minute reminder on how we can both enhance our communication skills and better connect with others. Take a look…


Coaching Corner: Dealing with Change

Let’s face it—most of us don’t ENJOY change.  Our health care is changing, our job description changes, we hear about a loved one getting sick—a change that wakes us up, we are interrupted by something or someone and now the rest of the day has CHANGED…change, change, change.  Coping or dealing with change is serious business and we are facing it every single day.  I recently came across a business model from Harvard Business School and I found it very valuable…

0123lm Coaching Corner:  Dealing with Change

As you can see, this is all interconnected.  When dealing with change, our first internal reactions is derived from the Denial quadrant.  For example, you started a new job 3 months ago and you get used to the system and infrastructure.  You are now told you are moving to a different department with different responsibilities.  You may be thinking “I just got here” or “I am happy here, don’t you see that?”  This soon moves over into the Frustration quadrant.  All of the questions, concerns, unknowns, “what ifs”, and issues are not understood.   For example, a family member gets sick and we don’t know what is going to happen next.  What if it gets worse?  How long until full-recovery?  How will I be able to financially support this?   We’ve all been there:  frustration, anxiety, fear, worry, and zero serenity.

Once things start to become clear, we move into the Acceptance quadrant.  Each of us has a built-in acceptance rate.  Think about it—the more experience we have at work, our acceptance rate may be higher compared to when we first started.  I know I was a little hesitant when I first started my Crossfit journey, but since being there a little over a year I am eager to take on challenges and join classes involving movements I know I suck at—handstand pushups?  Yeah, talk about outside of the comfort zone.  As acceptance is reached, we move into a new place of Contentment.  This happens organically and naturally.  Serenity and peace is present.  We have a sense of gratitude and we are happy the way things are going.  However, we want to avoid staying in this place for too long… why?  Things don’t change for the better if we remain content.   My body won’t get stronger if I stay at the same weights all the time.  My diet won’t be healthier if I eat the same thing day after day, even if I am content with a vegetable omelet every morning.  Job situations won’t improve unless we take responsibility and challenge ourselves.

What I encourage you to do is become someone that helps others through change as well as asking for the perseverance and strength to get through personal challenges and changes.  Be a resource to a co-worker, offer a listening ear to your family and friends, help provide understanding to someone that is battling with acceptance, and most importantly—be the one that  can look back at the changes in your life and know you have handled with them integrity.


Wellness Wednesday: “So What?” Is a Valid Question

0115 Wellness Wednesday: “So What?” Is a Valid QuestionRegret.  The possibility of experiencing that emotion keeps me employed.  Very often people book time with me because fear associated with making the wrong decision results in a generalized change paralysis.  My clients who present with this particular problem are clearly unhappy where they are, whether it’s their relationship, job or living situation.  Making a change and having it be the wrong change seems worse to them than their current unhappiness.

During these particular sessions, clients often use a lot of sentences that start with, “But, what if…” The “what if” varies depending on the problem; What if I leave this job for another and the new job is more demanding?  What if I leave him and end up alone because I never meet anyone better?  What if I move and I hate the new neighborhood?  My response to these somewhat rational fears is rather juvenile. In fact, it reminds me of something my kids would say.  My professional, sagacious replay to the “What if?” is, “So what?”

Before you call the local authorities clamoring to have my licensed revoked, hear me out. “So what…” is a valid question that requires an individual to assess possible damage.  If you make that decision, and it ends up being wrong, what is the fall out? In addition, “So what…? is a fear-inventory tool.  What are the possible results of the decision that you fear?  How could it all go horribly wrong?

The truth is, very few decisions in life are permanent.  However, fear is like an abusive partner that isolates us from loved ones that can be the voice of reason. Fear allows us to easily conceive of how our decisions could lead to greater unhappiness while simultaneously having us conveniently dismiss the fact that we can always change our minds. If I move and I hate my new location, can I move back?  If I change jobs, and I hate my new job do I have to stay employed there forever or can I change jobs again?  If I leave this relationship and never find anyone better would I rather stay in an unhappy relationship the rest of my life?

The point of this blog is to get readers to look at the places in their life where they feel stuck and ask themselves what are their alternatives.  When the alternatives become apparent you should fight the fear-based “what if” with “so what?”  If your worst fears are realized, are you stuck there the rest of your life or can you change your life? Change your circumstance?

When we stop taking the counsel of fear, possible outcomes expand and become malleable. Fear lets us think that every decision we make leads to an outcome that is set in stone.  Face your fears by asking yourself, “so what?” So what if you hate your new job, find a new one.  So what if you move and realize you liked your old city better, move back.

What do you need to say “so what?” to today?



1214 300x224 2014—REVEALING YOUR CHARACTERAs 2014 begins, most people take at least a few moments to reflect on 2013 as well as envisioning the next 365 days.  It is also the time when a personal character evaluation can open the door to healthier 2014.  Let’s face it, knowing who you are DOWN TO THE CORE is needed for progress whether you want to lose weight or not.  Your hair color changes, your waist size fluctuates, interests from 10 years ago have faded and new ideas always develop, but the essential qualities remain.  You mature and you grow over time and with various life experiences, but taking the time to assess your CHARACTER allows you to set realistic goals and reach your ultimate vision for 2014 and the years to come. 

Do you know the answers to these critical questions about your character?

  1.  Do you believe in something greater than you?  Do you put your trust and confidence into a greater power? When life gets hard, what do you rely on? You should be able to answer this question without any doubts.
  2. Who influences your life the most?  If this is the magazines, media, or toxic relationships then there may be a problem.   Surround yourself with a positive environment—instead of living a life of constant chaos and instability, choose to live a life full of hope, joy and loving relationships.
  3. Are you soft or gentle-hearted?  I don’t mean weak or being a push-over.  I am talking about having a tender heart towards others and yourself.  Forgiveness and grace—especially when we are wrong or wronged.
  4. Who knows you to the core? Are you currently hiding something that you need to let go?  If you are, whether it is loneliness, shame, etc., opening your heart can allow you to take steps forward, not back.  Speak up.  Share your story.
  5. Are you teachable?  A teachable person will always be growing, maturing, changing and constantly remain interested in life.  Humility can go a long way—transformation from the inside out.
  6. Are you ruled by truth or emotion?  There has to be a balance between truth and feelings.  Ultimately, (going back to question 1) what or whom you believe in should make the final decisions.
  7. Are you fearful?  Instead of fearing life, know that you have what it takes to be successful.  If you are constantly asking yourself the “what ifs??” you may be one that constantly fears change—even if you know it would be a positive change.  This is when (going back to number 4) your support system can be a great asset. 
  8. Are you wise with your words?  As a woman, I know gossip and over-communicating can be a struggle.  We must use our words to build up, not break down.  Are you constantly tearing yourself up?  Are you constantly comparing yourself to others?

Yesterday, I had the experience to participate in a local 5k with 4 special H3 guests.  They got outside of their comfort zones, pushed themselves to the finish, cheered each other on, believed in themselves and showed me true character… How will you do the same??


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