Archive for the ‘SELF’ Category

I’m Tired of Fitness Models Trying to Motivate Me!

InsidePhoto 300x242 I’m Tired of Fitness Models Trying to Motivate Me!

I’ve made peace with the ubiquitous, stork-like representations of women that seemingly glow with flawlessness. Despite attempts for normalcy like the Dove Real Beauty Campaign, I still don’t see images in magazines or on billboards that look remotely like me. Somehow, I’ve acquired a discreet acceptance with this strange injustice. I know my acquiescence may sound like giving up or turning a blind eye, but really, it’s more about where I want to focus my energy. Instead of fighting an obstinate fashion community, I’d rather help women tap into gratitude for their unique, loyal body.

Recently however, my truce with the media has been threatened. It’s difficult enough being inundated with images of unblemished waifs, but now a new unsavory trend has emerged. Glistening fitness models with full chests and six-packs are being used to sell the idea of wellness and health, and serve as fitness motivation.

The unfairness of this practice gets my dander up for a myriad of reasons. Instead of motivating women to workout, images of fitness perfection can leave women feeling that their present workout regimen is inadequate. Comparing yourself to others is an unfortunate reflex. It’s like scratching a bug bite. We try not to do it but we just can’t help ourselves. Unfortunately, this seemingly innocuous habit can put our much cherished motivation in peril. When engaging in comparisons, it’s usually our exercise efforts that take the hardest blow. Images like the one above feel like the first punch.

For most, becoming as fit as the models portrayed in these pithy little fitness motivation photos is just as unobtainable as having the 5’11”, 117-pound perfect body of a supermodel. Yet, their message implies that with enough willpower and determination you can achieve it. They want me to believe that they represent the image of fitness and that my power-walk just isn’t going to cut it.

To all of my Hilton Head Health buddies, help me fight back! Let’s show the world what real bodies look like getting fit. Not the before and after, just the “I’m exercising now and feel good doing it” photo. Whether it be a picture of you at H3 during one of our programs, excursions and activities, or just getting fit at home, we’d love for you to share! Add your motivational one-liner if you want. Share this blog and post your photo in the comments. Let’s show the world what real fitness and motivation looks like! Be your own fitness motivation model!EndPhoto 300x225 I’m Tired of Fitness Models Trying to Motivate Me!

 

Coaching Corner: How to Stop Making Excuses

At Hilton Head Health weight loss resort and wellness retreat, we focus on helping you lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle through a personalized process tailored to your needs. This process includes fitness classes, nutrition classes and education and forming a mind body connection with one’s self, and varies from person to person.. However, one common denominator that many people share and need to overcome is making excuses. We aim to teach you how to stop making excuses and live your healthiest life today. So how do you get started?

Let’s break the process down and look at the Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry Definition: A technique that puts focus on the positive aspects of our lives in order to give leverage over or to correct the negative ones. It’s the opposite of ‘problem-solving; which starts with the negative.

Appreciative Inquiry Purpose: When approaching a problem with a positive mindset, you become more open-minded and willing to try new ideas and suggestions. When approaching a problem with a negative mindset, you become more-narrow minded and more likely to shut out new ideas and suggestions (making excuses).

Too often we invest our time and energy into analyzing the things we can’t do and making excuses. We spend our time looking back at what went wrong and overanalyze our failures. This process is the fertile breeding ground where excuses are born; these excuses hinder our ability to reach our weight loss and wellness goals.

How do you feel about yourself when the theme of your vocabulary is CAN’T? How has that word helped you on your journey to success thus far?

Maybe there are things right now that you simply cannot do but wish you could. Perhaps you have dreams of being the healthiest, best, happiest, most successful version of you that you can possibly be, but you believe that you are being held back due to:

  • Your time
  • Your genetics
  • Your job
  • Your finances
  • Your family
  • Your social network
  • Your physical limitations
  • Your injuries
  • Your illness
  • Etc…

The reality is, yes, these are indeed real variables, and some of them will never change. However, the root of the problem never lies in what these variables are, but rather, how you approach them. The above variables only become excuses when you decide in your mind that they are. It’s not what you say that counts, it’s how you say it. Words are vehicles that drive your beliefs. Why not chose the most effective vehicle that leads to victory?

The above list could be a list of excuses… OR… it could simply be a list of variables. Just by its very nature, an excuse will never be a vehicle to success. When embarking on a journey where success is important to you, do yourself a favor. Stop making excuses! Simply make yourself aware of the variables.

However, before you even approach these variables, practice the technique of Appreciative Inquiry (AI). AI can be broken down into 5 parts: Define, Discover, Dream, Design and Deliver.

appreciative inquiry 5 d cycle 300x225 Coaching Corner: How to Stop Making Excuses

Image via: http://sustainingcommunity.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/appreciative-inquiry-5-d-cycle.jpg

Define: Define the topic that’s important to you. (Ex: Healthy Lifestyle, Weight Loss, Wellness)

Discover: Discuss what the best of the best would look like, sound like and feel like. (Ex: Good balance between social life, work life, fitness, healthy meals, family time, alone time, hobbies). Remember to be as specific as possible! (Ex: Fitness: Walking at least 10,000 steps every day and having 6 meals/day. Breakfast lunch and dinner with a metabo-meal between each one. I have hobbies that I enjoy and I get to spend quality time with my family. A life that looks like Bob Wright’s life.)  

 Dream: Imagine the possibilities of the ideal. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What does my ideal-self look like?
  • What lifestyle is my ideal-self living?
  • What does my ideal-self feel like?

Design: Imagine the possibilities of the realistic. Think about a time when you really felt like, “I CAN”. Ask yourself questions like:

  • How have I been successful in the past?
  • What am I doing well now?
  • What qualities do I have that can help me be successful?
  • What lifestyle would or could I ideally and realistically live in the future?
  • What small goals can I set right now to lead me in the right direction?
  • What variables do I need to take into consideration?
  • How can I overcome these variables?

Deliver: Follow through with the actions from the small goals you created. (Ex: I see my ideal-self walking 10,000 steps/day, 7 days/week. Right now I realistically see myself walking 10,000 steps/day, 3 days/week and that is what I am doing.)

By following these steps, we hope it puts you one step closer to stop making excuses and living your healthiest life today!

 

Wellness Wednesday: Four Steps to Finding Motivation

Here at Hilton Head Health weight loss resort and wellness retreat, it’s our passion to help you achieve your long term weight loss and wellness goals through nutrition and fitness education and training which are taught in our weight loss program and wellness program. However, we also believe that achieving your dreams and goals ultimately comes from within yourself and your own motivation. That’s why we take a strong focus on helping you grow your self-awareness and understanding your mind body connection.  What we’ve come to find in our nearly 40 years of experience, is that you cannot start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one. Take the initiative today. Get intrinsic with yourself and ask, how will changing your fitness and nutrition habits benefit your life? Are you ready? Why now? What are the advantages and disadvantages these choices? Are you willing to make sacrifices for this decision?

Now, are you still in?

If not, revisit those questions above and create your vision. Going through with a plan that has purpose and personal meaning to you establishes the initial motivation.

FindingMotivation7 16 300x199 Wellness Wednesday: Four Steps to Finding Motivation

If you are still in, check out these tips to keep yourself motivated and help you achieve your weight loss and wellness goals.

  1. Leave yourself quotes around your house. Sometimes we need to be reminded that good habits don’t happen after just one day of practicing. Place little post-it notes wherever you need a quick pep talk: in the bathroom, on your ceiling above your bed, on your kitchen counter, refrigerator, microwave or night stand. Wherever you need the most motivation. Try some of these H3 favorites: “Don’t give up.” “Think about why you started.” “You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great.” “Eat well, move daily, hydrate often, sleep lots and love your body.” “Stay strong, you’re worth it.” or “Don’t give up what you want most for what you want at the moment.” 
  1. Keep a picture of yourself on your fridge or the mirror in your room or bathroom. This can work in two different ways:
  • Find a picture in which you desire to look like again. When looking at it, do you sometimes think “Wow, I don’t know how that happened? If only I actually looked like that again!” Take that photo and post it somewhere you will see it often. Having that visual can be motivating and keep you on track towards your goal.
  • Or find a picture which you do not desire to look like again.  Sometimes individuals are more motivated by seeing pictures. “I never want to look like that again,” or “I never want to take another picture looking like this.” Take this photo and put it up, reminding you of the image you want to change and the direction you are moving away from.
  1. Keep track of your progress. Accountability is one of the best ways to find motivation and stay motivated. Stay on track by recording the workouts you are doing, writing down or inputting what you’re eating and even adding pictures to recall your emotions and progress. One way I find helpful is by creating a blog to record what I did, what I ate, how I felt. then sharing the blog with others. You are 50% more likely to adhere to exercising when you have a buddy (doing it alongside you or meeting you to workout). When you are held accountable, you become more aware and responsible for what you do, eat, and feel like. This keeps you on target.
  1. Tell your family/roommates/friends about your plans.  When they know, they can help. Sharing your goals, progress, the reasons behind your motivation (whether they be wellness or weight loss related) or even your blog to keep your friends and families, engaged in your work. By understanding your goals, your friends and family can become better supporters and motivators.

Try one of these tips or even a combination. Find what keeps you motivated and stick with it. Ultimately it is your goal, your body, your decision to get healthy, achieve weight loss, wellness, and live a healthy lifestyle.

What keeps you motivated?

 

Wellness Wednesday: Tips on Making Time to Meditate

Time is our most precious commodity, yet we frequently spend it frivolously. If you were allotted $24 at the beginning of everyday and told you had to use the money to buy time throughout your day at a rate of one dollar per hour, how would you spend it? Eight dollars for eight good hours of sleep seems like a bargain.  Because of the necessity, another $8 for eight hours of work would begrudgingly be forked over. As the money dwindled, however, it would get harder to cough-up a few bucks for things like surfing the net, getting lost in YouTube videos and posting on Facebook.  Yet, that is where our precious extra-time often goes.

What if you knew that just ten cents a day, or $3 a month, could buy you amazing health and wellness related benefits like:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Enhanced memory
  • Enhanced immunity system
  • Stress resilience
  • Decreases in muscle tension
  • Strengthened impulse control
  • Anti-inflammatory effects

The aforementioned are just a few of the positive side-effects that result from a practice of merely ten minutes of meditation a day. From a cost-benefit analysis, meditation is a no-brainer. Since it distracts us from the never-ending monkey chatter in our heads, the source of all our stress, it gives the term no-brainer a whole new meaning.

HiltonHeadHealth Relaxation 1024x682 Wellness Wednesday: Tips on Making Time to Meditate

At Hilton Head Health, we believe that self-awareness and a mind/body connection is an essential weight loss and wellness tool that will help you live a healthier lifestyle. So, how can you fit an extra ten minutes reserved for meditation into your already packed day? The answer to that question is…don’t. The ten minutes is already there. You just have to find it and use it more wisely to help you reach your weight loss and wellness goals. Here are a few tips for finding time to meditate:

  • When you pull into your driveway after a long day at work, remain in your car, pop in a meditation CD and meditate in your car before going into the house. This little trick is a great way to delineate your work life from your home life…creating a nice buffer between the two.
  • On your lunch break, close your office door and crank up your iPod with a downloaded guided imagery. Nothing resets the work-stress button like a walk on the beach in the middle of the day, (from the comfort of your desk chair).
  • Because we rarely feel rushed on weekend mornings, there is no better time to meditate. Before your feet even hit the floor Saturday morning, start your day with a short meditation from bed. What a way to start your day!

Looking for some great meditations, try Hilton Head Health’s short 15-minute meditations from the following downloadable sources:

 

 

H3 Meditation Giveaway

At Hilton Head Health, we help our guests make a mind-body connection in order to help them achieve long term wellness and weight loss, and live a healthier lifestyle. Achieving this self awareness not only helps reduce stress, but it helps one further understand any obstacles standing in the way of their goals and how to overcome them. One of the best ways to achieve this mind-body connection is through the practice of meditation. Regular meditation can also produce various health benefits such as decreasing muscle tension and enhancing your immune system.

Finish this sentence, “I want to practice meditation because ____.”, for the chance to win an MP3 download of the new H3 “Meditations” CD, H3 yoga mat and bag! Post your response in the discussion box to the right. We will accept entries until Monday, July 7. The winner will be announced here on the blog on Tuesday, July 8th. Good luck!

DSC 3112 300x300 H3 Meditation Giveaway

 

Coaching Corner: 5 Ways to Stay Happy During an Emotionally Difficult Time

For those of you who know me, you might think of me as a “happy go lucky” kind of guy. However on February 12, 2014, I certainly did not feel very “happy go lucky”. As some of you know, that was the day I suffered from a severe neck injury (failed backflip attempt at a gymnastics gym) resulting in 3 fractures in my C1-C2 vertebrae. These are the two vertebrae that allow you to shake your head yes and no. These are also the two vertebrae that brake when someone is hung from a noose. For that reason, this injury is better known as the “Hangman’s Fracture”. Normally this injury results in instant death because the location of the fracture surrounds the part of the spinal cord that controls breathing and heartbeat. Thankfully in my case, my spinal cord was left untouched, resulting only in bone damage… (Phew… I really dodged a bullet there!). For the next 3.5 months, I was to wear a neck brace and acquire a sedentary lifestyle. For the first two months I wore a Halo brace, which significantly limited my upper body range of motion. The final 6 weeks, I wore a C-Collar neck brace which allowed for a little more freedom.

A short 3.5 months after the injury (I say short but it was actually the longest 3.5 months of my life) and I am sitting here without a brace of any kind answering “Yes and No” questions like it’s my job. My recovery is by no means complete; however, the toughest part is certainly behind me.

As I sit here and reflect on the journey I’ve embarked on, I realize that I’ve been able to maintain a happy disposition throughout most of it. And I can’t help but ask myself… why?

What allowed for me to be happy during such a dark time? And when I really think about it, there are 5 things that stand out when I try to answer this question.

1)    Be a Caregiver to your Caregivers: When in the position of needing a caregiver, it’s easy to feel a sense of weekness. Something you didn’t need or did on your own, someone else is now doing for you. You might not want them helping you. Maybe you feel guilty or that the caretaker is doing too much for you. But more often than not, when you are suffering, your caregiver is also suffering for you. That’s why it’s important to make caregiving a two way street. One of the greatest rewards a caregiver can receive is honest, positive, grateful feedback from you.

First, give yourself permission to accept their help. Then relax. Be grateful for the help and then show them your gratitude. Being grateful not only improves your mood but the caretaker’s mood, which ultimately leads to a happier situation for everyone.

My story: As you might imagine, my parents were not thrilled to get this call. Living in San Antonio, TX, my parents immediately started looking for flights to Hilton Head. There were no guaranteed flights for several days. As quickly as they could, they packed bags, jumped in the car and started driving. After 18 hours of non-stop driving, they finally arrived and I could not have felt happier to see them. My mom ended up moving in with me and staying with me for 3 months (which I was not thrilled about at first).

It was incredibly frustrating as a young bachelor to lose my independence and have my mom move into my apartment to live my life for me. But once I gave myself permission to be okay about her helping me and admitted it was okay to have help, I felt a sense of relief. I did not have to do this alone. And neither did she. =D

2)    Spend time with yourself: Whether it’s expressing a hobby, reading a book, meditating, or simply going for a walk, it is important to still make time for “me” during an emotionally difficult time. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the caregiving role, we forget to take time for ourselves. Getting away from everything else that’s distracting in the world makes having a clear and steady mind happen more easily.

My story: Usually my hobbies consist of anything involving physical activity. However, when I broke my neck I was forced to tap into other activities. I’ve always had a passion for music so I spent a lot of time watching music videos on YouTube. After a little inspiration, I decided I wanted to make a music video. I started learning how to use Garage Band (a recording program on most Mac computers) as well as I-movie (a movie making program on most Mac computers). I became obsessed with learning more about and creating my family tree. This hobby was extra special because it forced me to stay in touch with more family members than usual. With all the projects I got myself excited about, I was able to keep a positive attitude. AND not only that! When I was deep in a project, I forgot that I was even wearing the Halo. =D

3)    Keep a sense of Humor: Research continues to show that laughter truly is the best medicine. Laughter releases “feel good” hormones such as serotonin and dopamine which improves mood, decreases stress and improves immune system and body function. This is not to say that laughter is the “cure all”. But laughter is one of the body’s greatest forms of natural treatment to keep itself in a healthier place.

My story: During my injury, I decided to put this claim to the test. Luckily for me, I have a roommate with a great sense of humor who always knows how to keep the humor flowing (shout out to Alex Santa). That made it much easier. Along with that, I made it a point to watch comical movies and television shows that I thought would make me laugh. I must have watched over 50 episodes of Saturday Night Live in a 2-week period on Netflix. Needless to say, my frequent laughter was a major contributor to keeping my happiness elevated during my time in the Halo. =D

4)    Allow yourself to feel: As our very own Behavioral Therapist, Lisette Cifaldi, would say: Do not “unplug” yourself from your emotions. Acknowledge your emotions. Feel your emotions. When you’re angry, FEEL angry. When you want to cry, cry. Every time you ignore an emotion, it becomes part of a pile that gets stuffed down and roots itself deep inside. When your pile gets too big, it outweighs your ability to fight for happiness. 

My Story: About 4 weeks into wearing my Halo, I started to realize that no matter how hard I tried on the outside – I was not happy on the inside. For 4 weeks, I was ignoring my negative emotions. For 4 weeks, I was lying to myself and pretending everything was okay. But honestly, everything was not okay.

I felt sadness. I felt anger. I felt resentment towards myself. I felt regret towards the decision I made to backflip. Just when I thought I gained complete independence, my parents moved in to take care of me. I felt like I was moving backwards. I chose to ignore all of that for 4 weeks. I chose only to feel the things that I associated with happiness, which ironically, led me away from happiness. Once I finally gave attention to those emotions, expressed them and felt them; I found myself laughing more, smiling more, and enjoying the company of those around me more. All of a sudden, life became colorful again. =)

5)  Find meaning in your struggles: Let’s face it, sometimes things happen in life that simply suck. There always has been and always will be outside forces preventing you from making things exactly the way you want them to be. But being happy isn’t about getting WHAT you want. Being happy is about being WHO you want. Take what life throws at you and use it to build you up NOT drag you down. Take that lemon and create lemonade. If you believe that everything happens for a reason, search for that reason. Learn from it. If you don’t believe that then assign it a reason. Teach yourself something from it. The toughest time in life is the truest test of WHO we want to be.

When you’re in the middle of a struggle, ask yourself, “Where is the silver lining in all of this? What about this experience brings me one step closer to my ideal self? What would my ideal self do in this situation?”.

My story: When I look back at my struggles from my neck injury, of course, I remember the pain and suffering that affected both me and my loved ones. Of course, I remember losing my independence and having my parents move in with me. Of course, I remember NOT being able to be physically active for 3 months. Of course I remember not being able to fall asleep for hours. I could go on and on about the things that sucked. And you know what… I will never forget them. I will never forget them in a good way. I will always be proud that I had them. Because from each negative memory I was given, I was given an even greater positive memory. Positive memories that I could only get from those negative ones. Like:

- The quality time with my parents that not every young man gets to have.

- The vision to see just how many people love and remember me. (More than I would have ever imagined, some people I have not spoken to since Middle school!)

- The growth in my creative hobbies,  in my relationships with others, in the relationship with myself and growth with life in general.

- The spotlight while I was the center of attention for 3 months =D

- The work experience – since I wasn’t able to be as active, I’ve had the opportunity to work on the sales side of business.

- The bragging rights to say that I survived the HANGMAN’S FRACTURE!!!

Lastly, it’s not always easy to put these strategies into practice. Take it from me. It isn’t always easy for me, either. But I assure you when you do, it will make a world of a difference.

Please enjoy this video that kept me busy and happy during my tough time.

 

Wellness Wednesday: Can a Hangover KILL your Diet?

Wine6 4 199x300 Wellness Wednesday: Can a Hangover KILL your Diet?
I recently made a dubious discovery. Dubious because inherent in the discovery is an admission of guilt, information I can no longer ignore and validation of a long-held belief. Rather salacious sounding, right? Salacious indeed because the discovery, backed by scientific research, is that

a hangover makes you crave greasy, fatty foods.

A night of boozy indulgence is often followed by a day of drive-through extravagance. The alcohol aftermath is an intense craving for high-fat foods. We know that our resolve dissolves in alcohol, but it turns out that our willpower is challenged long after the drinking is over. What’s responsible for this inconvenient side effect? A brain chemical called galanin.

According to William Gruchow, a professor and researcher at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, galanin increases our appetite for fats, and eating fat produces more galanin.

As it turns out, alcohol consumption also increases galanin production.

The vicious circle isn’t hard to decipher:

  1. I go on a bender (or really just have one glass of wine too many) and crave a big, greasy burger the next day because the excess alcohol has pumped up my galanin.
  2. I indulge in the burger, (let’s face it, a burger is super yummy). The fat in the burger generates even more galanin. Ugh!
  3. Then I crave more greasy food so I opt for the fries, chips, pizza…all the traditional hangover fare.
  4.  Before I know it, I’m slouching in the corner of the couch feeling sick and full while watching a marathon of Desperate Housewives.

Another factor in this disastrous dynamic is that a hangover makes us green around the gills. Because we think they’ll make us feel better, comfort foods are the solution to the discomfort. Of course this is flawed logic, but it happens all the same.

Alcohol consumption is fraught with danger for the well-meaning dieter. It comes with copious amounts of unwanted calories. It creates a euphoria that quietly shackles our willpower, thus leading to unwise food choices. AND, now we know it has us craving greasy, high-fat foods the next day.

I’m not suggesting you give up alcohol during your weight-loss journey, but it is important to really monitor your consumption. Success in any worthy endeavor hinges on removing obstacles. Take a look at your regular alcohol intake and ask yourself if it’s sabotaging your success in any way. Perhaps it’s time to put galanin on a leash.

 

Wellness Wednesday: Can Your Marriage Survive Dieting?

I know there is no research to support this statement, but I am fairly certain that diets must be one of the leading causes of divorce in this country. Okay, that’s clearly an overstatement, but I can tell you from both personal and professional experience that diets often create conflict between couples.

It starts out innocently enough. With a wellspring of enthusiastic motivation, you stock the fridge with fresh produce, clear the pantry of trans-fatty/ highly-processed/food-like substances and you rejoin the gym. You enlist your spouse’s help by giving them permission to remind you of your commitment as they notice you slowly going off the rails. It’s a much accepted recipe for success. That is until your newly empowered spouse cautiously utters the words,

“Are you sure you want to eat that?”

just as you pull Ben & Jerry’s from the freezer.

BenJerry 237x300 Wellness Wednesday: Can Your Marriage Survive Dieting?

Emerson’s famous phrase, “The shot heard round the world” refers to the first shot of the American Revolution. Questioning someone about their food intake, however, can be met with the same call for battle and resonate just as loudly. It really doesn’t matter how it’s said; it’s almost never welcome and usually produces whopping resentments. The room becomes thick with bitterness the second those words escape the poor, unsuspecting, well-meaning partner’s mouth.

I could write an entire blog on why you should never diet with a spouse, or enlist your spouse’s help with your weight-loss plans, but it will most likely fall on deaf ears. This is a marital mistake destined to go on for eternity despite all my good efforts to obliterate it. So, I’m going to keep it brief for now and just offer one brilliant tip that Sherri Schmick, an H3 guest, had suggested to another guest.

Instead of giving your spouse permission to call you out when you’re straying from your food plan, call yourself out. Sherri suggested:

  • Take a piece of paper and use your own hand-writing to write something like, “Remember Your Goal!” or “Will you regret this?” Laminate the sign and give it to your spouse.
  • If he or she needs to give you a gentle nudge they can do so using your words in your hand-writing.
  •  Just for safe measure, you might also put something on the back of the sign like, “Don’t be mad at the holder of this sign. You gave them permission to do this.”
  • You might also implement a rule or two for how often the sign can be flashed. If your spouse is flashing it five times a day then chances are, you aren’t committed to the weight-loss journey or they are just trying to annoy you. Either way, the sign becomes ineffective.

DietSigns 300x176 Wellness Wednesday: Can Your Marriage Survive Dieting?

In the interim, ask yourself if enlisting your spouse’s help in your weight-loss journey is really a healthy decision for your relationship. If you are not committed to the effort then nothing anyone else says or does can fix that problem. Whether you realize it or not, weight-loss is an inside job.

 

Coaching Corner: Plateau Pitfalls – The Scale

 

WhnUDontQuit5 22 300x300 Coaching Corner: Plateau Pitfalls   The Scale

You’ve been eating good, clean food for weeks and meticulously recording every bite. Evidence of your commitment to daily exercise is a hamper full of sweaty, workout clothing. Despite your commendable efforts, the scale (otherwise known as the tyrant overseeing your success), refuses to budge. It’s infuriating and disheartening all at once.

The word used to explain the unfortunate scenario above is one dreaded by all dieters – plateau. You have reached a plateau. The problem with that word is that it only applies to one measurement of success. It only applies to the number on the scale. When the scale gets stubborn, crossing its arms in defiance, we explain the mechanical temper-tantrum by admitting we have reached a weight-loss plateau.

A plateau is dangerous territory for people trying to lose weight. The frustration and discouragement inherent in reaching a plateau, despite all your best efforts, results in many people saying, “Screw this!” I apologize for the indelicacy, but honestly that’s the PG-13 version of what’s more likely to be said. A plateau is a trigger that at a minimum causes us to get sloppy with our food, but more frequently leads to giving up on our weight-loss efforts altogether.

Because of plateau pitfalls, it is essential that you find other measures of success in your weight-loss journey. The number on the scale really doesn’t say all that much. The photo below is evidence of that. Each of the women below weighs the same amount, 154 pounds. Clearly that number doesn’t say anything about how healthy or thin they are, or even how they are shaped.

154lbs 300x207 Coaching Corner: Plateau Pitfalls   The Scale

When the scale goes on strike, turn your attention to the following alternative measures of success:

  1. Notice how your clothes fit, and purposely try on a piece of clothing that you know has become too large.
  2. Notice how strong you feel or begin to increase your strength training so that you can measure your success by how much weight you are able to lift.
  3. Notice how much more productive or energized you have become.
  4. Set other weekly goals that have nothing to do with weight-loss, like increasing your water consumption, or walking 5000 more steps a day. Each new victory secures your motivation.
  5. Take out unflattering, old pictures to remind yourself of how far you’ve come and where you refuse to return. In other words, when you feel like quitting think about why you started.
  6. Remember that the longer you engage in healthy behaviors the more likely you are to sustain them for a lifetime. The plateau is a test of your long-term commitment.
  7. Look in the mirror and admire the progress. Remind yourself of how much better your body looks and feels than it did at the start of your journey.
  8. Find inspirational quotes and mantras and paste them everywhere!

When the dreaded plateau descends, remember — it’s the journey that counts, not the destination.

 

The Perks of Motherhood

I love my traditional Mother’s Day scenario… the chaos as my kids prepare me breakfast in bed while I yell from my room for them to quit fighting. The silliness of getting hand-picked azaleas from my neighbor’s front yard that are covered in microscopic red bugs; and precious, hand-made cards that left a trail of glitter from one end of the house to another. It really never gets old.

The gifts, as well as the breakfast, have gotten better over the years. Coupons for free hugs have graduated to fun jewelry hand-selected by my very discerning daughters and a bowl of cereal has progressed to Belgian waffles (not the frozen ones either).

This year I’m adding a new twist to the ritual. I’ve been reflecting lately on what an honor and a gift it is to be a mother to my two children. They make me a better person.

Not necessarily because they demand it, they don’t. It just goes with having a desire to do the job well. If you want to raise good children that hopefully become well-adjusted, happy adults, then you have to model and teach them the core values you hold true. In other words, my children make me “step-up my game”.

I am gladly taking the yearly recognition this Sunday but adding to that a purposeful acknowledgement of how my job as a mother makes me strive to be someone I like. Of course a motherhood perk is the unfathomable amount of love both given and received, but it’s actually more than that (if you can imagine). I want my children to be healthy, kind, compassionate and fearless. In order for that to happen, I have to teach them how to be all those things.

Therefore, my job as a mother requires constant learning and training on how to be the solid, well-rounded person that I eventually want my children to be. What a gift! I get fed with love just for working on being a healthy, kind, compassionate and fearless individual.

So, as I am showered with attention and affection this Mother’s Day, I will secretly hold in my heart the knowledge that the real gift isn’t the necklace and Belgian waffles; but the job of motherhood, itself.

HMD5 7 300x186 The Perks of Motherhood

 

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