{New Workout} Beginner to Kettlebells? I Was Too!

Okay, okay. Today I have to swallow my pride and admit that I actually don’t know everything there is to know about exercise. In fact, if my old ways are any indication, the thing I know the most about it how to be a Cardio Queen :-\ BUT. It’s been a long time since the days to 2+ hours of cardio, and I am happy to report, I am maintaining my weight with 4-5 weight training sessions a week (30 mins or less) and 1 day of sprints per week.

It’s been a fun transition and has let me get waaaaaay more creative in the weight training sphere. I’ve been playing around with CrossFit workouts, traditional bodybuilding splits, Escalating Density Traing (EDT) and metabolic conditioning, including tools I’d never really touched before like power ropes, med balls and yes, kettlebells (hangs head in shame) :)

See, I was always skeptical of kettlebells. I just thought, “Can’t you use a dumbbell to do any movement you’d use a kettlebell for??” Well, more like naive because what I’ve come to find out is … nope, not at all the same effect. And luckily, my good friend Neghar Fonooni, RKC-II certified trainer and creator of the Lean and Lovely Kettlebell training system, was just the person to show me the ropes and help me see just how devastatingly effective kettlebell training can be, as opposed to traditional dumbbell-based workouts.

Good gosh, ARE THEY DIFFERENT! 

So I asked Neghar for an Intro to Kettlebells post for JillFit because I though, “Hey, if she can teach me this easily, I think a lot of women would like to get over the fear of using them, too!” And so, here’s a guest post from Neghar, all about how to get started using Kettlebells: Take it away, N! neghar

Neghar Fonooni, creator of Lean and Lovely

Kettlebells occupy a very special place in my heart.

While I frequently use dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls, battling ropes, and a variety of other tools, it’s the kettlebell that I turn to most frequently, especially if I’m looking for amplified results in a shorter period of time.

Once an obscure, rarely seen or used workout tool, you can now find them in just about any gym, and more and more women are having the opportunity to use them. But, like anything new, figuring out how and why to incorporate them into your exercise routine can be a bit nerve wracking.

I get it. I don’t like new things in general, which is why I almost always order the same thing at my favorite restaurant over and over again, and why I only drink certain types of wine. Change is scary! But adding kettlebells into your fitness regimen is a change that you want to embrace for so many reasons.

Kettlebells Work Your Entire Body At Once

Thanks to the kettlebells unique handle, which creates an offset center of gravity, kettlebell movements require that you significantly activate your stabilizing muscles—even more so than you would with dumbbells and barbells. This makes it ideal for dynamic movements like swings and snatches, and causes your stabilizing muscles to have to work over time, particularly in exercises like presses and Turkish Get Ups.

Most kettlebell movements are dynamic and multi-joint, allowing for total recruitment of the body. Take the kettlebell swing, for example: With just one move you’re working your glutes, quads, abs, lats, and shoulders, all while burning fat and revving your metabolism. Kettlebell training combines stability, flexibility, strength, and cardio, allowing you to simultaneously build muscle and burn body fat.

Kettlebell Workouts Save You Time

The number one excuse I hear for skipping out on exercise is simply “I don’t have time.” 

Trust me, I get it. Between being a mom, a wife, and a business owner, I know what it’s like to be ridiculously busy and to feel like there’s no possible way I can fit exercise into the rest of my hustle. But with kettlebells, you do have time, no matter how tight your schedule might be.

Remember, the kettlebell allows you to challenge your core and recruit your entire body at once with just a few moves, which is huge time saver. Rather than spending hours at the gym, you can complete a full body kettlebell workout in as little as 10 minutes. Sounds too good to be true, I know. But with just one moderately sized kettlebell and a few basic exercises, you can complete a total body metabolic resistance workout even when your schedule is jam-packed.

You’ll Work Your Hips Like a Mofo

Ever hear the term “kettlebell booty?” It’s become a bit of a familiar descriptive within the fitness community. That’s because almost every single exercise you can do with a kettlebell involves your hips or glutes in some way. From the swing to the Turkish Get Up, your booty is always in the mix. In order to get the most out of your kettlebell workouts, you want to make sure you can properly hinge at your hips, as well as fully extend them in the standing position—you’ll be doing a lot of both.

KB’s are Versatile and Travel Well

It’s actually kind of insane how much you can get out of just one kettlebell. Of course, as you advance you’ll want to play with a variety of kettlebell weights, but to begin all you need is one. With just a little bit of space to swing it around, you can enjoy an effective, total body, fat-burning workout virtually anywhere. They’re easy to store when not in use, and they travel well too. I’ve taken kettlebells on road trips, to the beach, to the park, and even to friend’s houses for workouts.

Getting Started:

When selecting kettlebell sizes, it is important to ensure that you don’t go too light or too heavy. In order for your workouts to truly be effective, you want the weight to be Goldilocks worthy: Just right. My recommendations for weight are as follows, but if you can only invest in one bell, choose either the light or medium bell from each group:

Beginner:

  • Light: (1) 8 kg/18 lbs
  • Medium: (2) 10 kg/20 lbs
  • Heavy: (1) 12 kg/26 lbs

Intermediate: 

  • Light: (2) 12 kg/26 lbs
  • Medium: (1) 16 kg/36 lbs
  • Heavy: (1) 18 or 20 kg/39 or 44 lbs

Advanced:

  • Light: (2) 14 kg/31 lbs
  • Medium: (1) 18 kg/39 lbs
  • Heavy: (1) 24 kg/53 lbs

The most important thing to keep in mind when beginning with kettlebells is this: Technique and quality always trump quantity.

Don’t try advanced exercises like the snatch before you’ve mastered the swing, and furthermore make sue your deadlift is solid before attempting the swing. The thing that makes kettlebells so efficient isn’t the kettlebell at all—it’s you! Your form is clutch when it comes to getting the most out of your workouts, so make sure you spend some time practicing and ensuring that your movements are both safe and effective.

Before attempting the workouts below, make sure you can perform all of the exercises correctly. You’ll want to spend some time practicing the exercises before hand so that you can perform these workouts with intensity and limited rest; that’s what’s going to really allow you to burn fat and rev up your metabolism.

Try to perform each of these exercises back-to-back without resting in between if possible, and break only as long as necessary after completing a full round. But remember, because technique is your first concern, rest as much as needed in order to perform the exercises properly.

Beginner Workout:

(below or right-click to download: BeginnerKettlebells)

Beginner Kettlebell Workout

Neghar’s short video Beginner Kettlebell Workout tutorial:

Intermediate Workout:

(below or right-click to download: IntermediateKettlebells) Intermediate Kettlebells

Advanced Workout:

(below or right-click to download: AdvancedKettlebells) Advanced Kettlebells That’s it! See how you do and remember, you don’t have to be perfect, and it might feel awkward at first, but just do your best. Keep tight form and remember that you have all the time in the world to master it! Good luck! ~Neghar

Ladies, Neghar’s Lean and Lovely Kettlebell program is now on sale for a limited time if you’ve been wanting to get into them but have been a little scared or unsure. The program includes 12 week of training protocols (3 phases 4 weeks each), and Neghar also includes plenty of awesome nutrition guidelines and unique insights to support your training and help you boost fat loss as a result of the program. Grab your copy here. Questions? Email Neghar! Ox, Jill

 

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/07/28/kettlebells/

8 Easy Nutritional Switches That Prevent You From Binging

Note: I should have just called this post “The Way I Eat” because now, having seen the final blog, it really is all my moderation tips and tricks in one place. I use all of these tactics to navigate my eating and use mindfulness and self-trust and an abundance mindset to make great choices wherever I end up. It’s taken me 4 years to get there, but with a lot of mindset work, I’ve successfully made the switch from crazy all-or-nothing dieter to sustainable fat loss lifestyle-r :)

“Frappuccino or bust.”

I used this phrase a lot in my Food Obsession Boot Camp a few months ago to illustrate the mental games that we play when it comes to eating. Specifically, that we often view moderation as “failure” and by doing so, feel the need to EITHER be 100% clean, tight and on point OR say eff it, and go ALL IN on sweets and treats.

An example would be having a craving for a frappuccino. We would all agree that getting a huge frap with whip is going ALL IN, right? And the alternative (tight, clean as a whistle) is a plain black coffee. Some may love that, but for most—yuck.

WHY can’t we give ourselves permission to have something in the middle? Something that will be *satisfying* but not ALL IN and not total deprivation? Making this choice consistently can help us stay the course and skip the extreme approaches altogether.

I get a cafe Americano with cream and alternative sweetener.

This is a compromise. It’s an alternative to the black-and-white dieting mindset.

Finding a mid-range solution is not failure, it’s smart strategy.

Because we know that the more we feel deprived, the greater we’ll binge later. Eating is not on-or-off. It’s not black-and-white. It’s not all-or-nothing. It’s not frappuccino or bust.

There *is* a solution, and it’s taking the middle road :)

Below are 10 easy switches to make that close that gap between going “all in” and depriving yourself to the point of misery. Remember, 7 days a week of 90% tight will always beat 4 days clean as a whistle, followed by 3 days of straight-binging, for both results AND sanity.

1) Dining out entrees:

Instead of having to go all in because “it’s a special occasion” could you take a step back, stay mindful, remember your goals and find a way to just shoot for satisfaction instead? Some of my fav options: Huge #BAS with toppings that satisfy, like marinated protein on top, a sprinkle of cheese, bacon or avocado or a dressing that you enjoy (i.e. don’t force yourself to use lemon juice or plain balsamic vinegar if you don’t absolutely love those). Find my #BAS suggestions do’s and don’t here. Also, choose any protein dish, with double veggies. This may sound anticlimactic, but honestly, when someone else is cooking your protein and veggies, they end up tasting A LOT better than at home. So what if they have sodium, or sauces or a little butter? Seriously. When we need everything to be so super “clean or else,” that’s when we get in trouble with feeling deprived. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good–steak with sauce on top is A THOUSAND times better every time than grilled chicken one day and then an entire plate of brownies all weekend long.

You have to pick and choose your nutrition battles.

2) Dining out appetizers:

Again, don’t do the all-or-nothing thing. Find a middle ground that’s not super over-the-top, but that also satisfies you. So, yes, skip the bread and potato skins, and do protein, dietary fat or veggie-based apps instead, like wings, chicken skewers, charcuterie, shrimp cocktail or veggies with dip. These take the edge off without going overboard.

Bdaywine

3) Alcoholic beverages:

Okay okay, you gals know that I love an adult bevie every once in a blue moon ;) and so how to you navigate the middle road with these? First, if I know I am going to have a couple cocktails, I will adjust my eating earlier in the day and/or within the same meal. For example, I’ll skip the starches and definitely desserts, and then I’ll also monitor portion sizes a little more closely. I don’t ever deprive, but I might lengthen time between meals or even put a protein bar in place of a full-on meal. Nothing crazy, just mindful. This way, when I indulge, I am not adding on top of my usual consumption, I am trading. Red wine of course is probably the healthiest with its bioflavanoids, and white wine has been shown to lower compensatory hunger compared to other alcohol beverages. You’ll want to skip altogether the sugary mixers and cocktails, and if you are doing to do booze, drink it with soda or seltzer (hello, limes!). Dark beer is usually better than lighter because it helps suppress the appetite somewhat because of the bitters, and I don’t know about you, but if I drink a Guinness, I have very little room for food–it’s like eating a loaf of bread! Do your best because that’s all you can do.

4) Desserts:

Many people swear by cheat meals or “refeeds” or whatever, and go balls-out. After doing that for years and always feeling disgusting afterwards and then feeling as if I need to “burn them off” or “earn them” every week by being super strict, I gave them up completely and started eating moderately 7 days a week–I never feel deprived and I also never  crave full-on desserts anymore. The goal with desserts is to move from NEEDING TO EAT IT ALL to being able to literally take 3 bites and be good. You’re probably rolling your eyes at me :) And that’s how I felt too when I started practicing mindfulness and moderation, but it can be done! Jade uses his 3 Bites of Dessert Rule. It’s a practice in building your willpower and in learning to eat moderately. To do it, you order dessert every single time you dine out, whether you really want it or not. And then you take 3 bites of it, then put your napkin over it and have the server take it away. A lot of people would comment that this is wasteful, but honestly, I think what’s worse is making yourself unhealthy because you felt like you needed to finish it so as to not “waste” a few bucks. AND, it also teaches you how it feels to eat moderately–the more you practice that experience, the more “normal” it becomes. Learn how to take 3 bites, enjoying the hell out of them and then be good. Over time, it works!

5) BBQs or dinner parties:

Similar to dining out, but here I want you to not stress about “what will there be for me to eat?” ahead of time. Why? Because that only makes you super anxious and impacts your choices because stress has effects too. Instead, I want you to TRUST YOURSELF to figure it out when you get there. Guidelines include any/all proteins. I don’t care if it’s burgers, hot dogs, sausages, wings, whatever. Eat them freely, just skip those buns. Focus on vegetable sides, even if they have butter or sauces. Salads are great, as are raw veggies and dip. Yes, even Ranch dressing! Remember: don’t let perfect be the enemy of good, and honestly, if you are able to dip your carrots in Ranch, will you be MORE or LESS likely to feel satisfied? More, right? And you’ll be LESS likely to need dessert. It’s a balance. If there’s cheese and crackers, I eat the cheese. Meat plates, great. Chips and salsa? Take a spoon to the salsa or guac :) Not kidding! Is this perfect? No! But that is the whole point–perfect gets you into trouble, so throw yourself a bone and you’ll be less likely to REALLY binge later. If all you do is eat some cheese, well, it could be way worse, so give yourself the win.

6) Coffee shops:

Remember, you don’t need a frappuccino to feel satisfied. Get one of those if you want to be on the toilet the rest of the day O_o. But you also don’t need to do a plain, black coffee either. How about an americano or drip coffee with cream and sweetener? Lattes are not my fav because those are more like a meal with how much milk they contain, so I recommend adding cream instead because you’ll need less. As for foods, get the breakfast sandwich and just toss the bread–cheese, sausage and egg? No problem. If you’re going to oatmeal, fine but skip the sugary add-ons. Sandwiches are fine too, just skip the bread and go for the fruit cups instead of the scones (yes, even the low-fat ones). My fav quickie breakfast is an americano with cream and sweetener and a protein bar I brought from my house. Better than situationally eating something I know I’ll regret later.

7) Airplanes or travel:

Over the last year and a half, I’ve traveled every single month, and so I’ve had to get good at making choices, which I make with regard for my goals and lifestyle, rather than decisions, which take into account my environment and situations. When you travel, you have to get your mind right around sticking with what you know to be healthy, regardless of what’s happening around you. THIS IS TOUGH! For plane snacks, I always ALWAYS pick the peanuts or nothing. Still satisfying but not all-the-way-in. Airports, I try to find somewhere I can get a salad (don’t care about toppings or dressing–I do my best and I work on being satisfied), even most pubby-type places will have a salad. And if not, Mexican food usually allows for you to get fajitas without the tortilla. Add salsa and guac, and it’s totally yummy. Flying a red eye–to eat or not to eat? I usually fast, or have a protein bar, here’s why. Tons of water to stay hydrated and keep cravings at bay.

8) Snacks on the go:

I get this question a lot because many healthy snack options are not really travel-friendly, like proteins and eggs. And I agree. I hate cooking, I hate prepping and I definitely hate traveling with cold, disgusting, smelly proteins in containers (no thanks!). My fav on-the-go snacks are protein bars (Quest, BioTrust, Think Thin, Power Crunch and Atkins). You can also do food-based bars like Epic bars or Tanka bars. Nuts, fruit and jerky work too. MAKE THIS EASY ON YOURSELF. No one wants to make hard-boiled eggs and carry them around in a plastic baggie and peel them into a trashcan at work. Noooooo! :) Plus, the middle road is enjoyable and satisfying. Not inconvenient and depriving.

As evidenced by the Ranch dressing and vodka sodas I am suggesting you consume, this is what a real lifestyle plan looks like :)

It’s not hardcore, and it’s not “all in” on sweets and treats. You can’t live a stress and shame-free life if you are constantly playing the on-or-off dieting game. I am just “onf” all the time :) Moderation, although it sounds vague and even sometimes like a “failure,” it’s really actually success because it’s a forever lifestyle.

Have at the black-and-white thing if you want to keep struggling, but if you’re ready to find a sustainable way to eat without “program jumping,” or needing a new meal plan every 6 months, finding a way to feel satisfied (not stuffed!) is paramount.

So much of successfully making this switch from all-or-nothing to sustainable and steadfast has to do with how you THINK about the process. Are you in a hurry or are you in it for the long haul? Are you able to mess up and learn, or do you crumble at the first sight of a slip-up? How resilient can you be? Can you give yourself the benefit of the doubt and trust that you are doing your best in every moment, even when you are not perfect? Can you make progress and see that as a win? Or are you Frappuccino or bust? ;)

Ready to get your mind right? My 10-Week Mindset Makeover ecourse is OPEN UNTIL MIDNIGHT TONIGHT, Friday July 25, 2014. Over 500 women have already registered and are on their way to finding their perfect approach. Grab your spot here. Ox, Jill 

MM_ipad1

Some tweetables for you:

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/07/24/satisfaction/

#Selfie Shame

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a few months now since I’ve been experiencing a bit of an internal battle, and I thought since my 10-Week Mindset Makeover is launching today, that it would be a good time to share a few really raw inner thoughts I’ve been having lately. Maybe this is just one woman’s struggle for clarity and personal development as she matures, but like most self-realization insights, I’m sure many of you can relate.

Warning: If you don’t want to listen to the ramblings of someone who uses their personality, expertise and ‘look’ as part of the brand of their business, don’t read any further. This is getting into a lot of mental minutiae, which, as evidenced my this post’s existence, I think is an important discussion to have, but you might just be like, “Jill, there are starving children in Africa and this is bullshit.” If so, stop reading right now. I am 100% aware that this is #firstworldproblems. Anyway, considered yourself warned :)

Okay. Now let’s talk about the psychology of #selfies.

For me, this discussion started with this #selfie I posted on Instragam last April:

SelfieShame

I actually post quite a few selfies–not an insane amount–but usually one every couple weeks. I will post and say, “Loving my new necklace from @Bevello!” or “Got a nice pump during my shoulder workout at the gym, here’s the workout I did…” or “Here’s me drinking wine, which I believe is okay on your diet because x, y, z…” In other words, if I post a selfie, it’s usually to educate or share some insight.

This one above? I just liked the way I looked.

After I took it, I thought, “Gee, I look pretty in this one. I like my hair and my eyes are popping. Let me put this up.” But there was really no education to be doled out or insight. I just think … I wanted other people to say that I looked pretty, too.

On one hand, I’m like, way to go, Jill! I like the confidence and self-love! But on the other hand, this revelation here on my blog is kind of mortifying. Pretty embarrassing in a way because …. HOW EGOTISTICAL. How self-centered. How arrogant am I to even bring up something as tiny and irrelevant as this on my site? Also, I don’t know that I like how vulnerable it makes me feel. Because I want to “have it all together” and “be the expert.” And though I feel like that 90% of the time, I am human and I struggle. I am at the point now that I believe my struggles make me better and I actually like them and value them because they help me grow, learn and improve. And though this is such a small thing in the grand scheme, I believe this is an important discussion to have, because it’s bigger than a selfie:

This is a discussion about affirmation. The good, the bad and the ugly of wanting approval, love and praise.

But I digress, let me first explain what happened…

It was fairly late at night when I posted my selfie, and I was about 50/50 on it. I thought, “Well, what can I say about this so that it’s not just a blatant selfie?” And nothing came to mind, so I just posted it as is. It didn’t fully sit right with me, but I went to sleep. THEN, I woke up around 3am and had a mini-freak out moment: Would people think I was self-centered? Would it look so obvious that I was just blatantly fishing for compliments? (Of course that’s exactly what it was) And I went to Instagram with the intention of deleting it (BTW, I’ve never done that before–I usually just own that shit). BUT, there were already like close to 100 Likes and if I took it down at this point, IT WOULD LOOK EVEN WORSE. And so I didn’t. And I got a few comments about “Nice selfie!” and stuff like that, which was fine. But I dunno. Never sat with me right.

I FELT SELFIE SHAMED :-\

But then…

But then I justified it: “It’s important for JillFit that I am seen “in shape” and not hiding behind a computer.” (I know plenty of internet fitness pros who have not been seen in the flesh for years)–Any of you fitness pros reading this understand the pressure of feeling like you have to stay lean and fit, or else who are you to be doling out fitness and nutrition advice? There’s pressure there, but even much of that I’ve even gotten over. I am happier in my body than I ever have been, and I am the most confident of my adult life.

But more to the point, I do feel like it’s important that if I am going to be touting wine and bacon all over the place that I also don’t look out of shape. If I am going to advise moderation and “relaxing” the reigns a little bit when it comes to nutrition, then I have to show that it actually works, don’t I? And yes, I believe I do.

And so while I do think that’s important, I don’t think you have to post bathroom selfies of your abs daily to show you are “in shape.” Maybe only a couple times a year ;)

But this whole episode got me to thinking: What’s up with the psychology of selfies?

Jade and I have had many in-depth convos about it. He thinks it’s a “young person’s game” and the only reason one would do it is because they “want to be seen”– and I actually agree to a certain extent. Besides, I built my early fan base by putting up pic after pic of myself modeling and on stage nearly naked (granted, my early “Myspace” fan base was mostly dudes)–and I have always seen (and used) the value in aesthetics for my business. I’m in the business of getting people into great shape for pete’s sake!

BUT. As I’ve grown, and the fan base at JillFit has shifted along with me, our content has moved to more mindset, food obsession and body esteem insights (which I love) but I do think the justification of using selfies in that arena is running thin.

Which brings me to…

The Dynamics of Social Media

The posts that get the most traction on the JillFit Facebook page, far and away, are photos. Specially of physiques, like this one and this one. We love looking at bodies and then judging them or comparing ourselves to them. Which, intellectually we know is a huge trap, and makes us often feel WORSE about ourselves, but social media has made it so easy. Sign in to Instagram and immediately feel less-than because a fitness model you follow is in “show shape” in her off-season. Cue not-good-enough-ness.

And of course, we all put our best photos up with a million filters. I love this post from my girl Liz DiAlto who gives an honest glimpse into how many photos it actually takes to get the perfect selfie. WTF??? And yet, we all do it. I do it all the time! And on one hand, I hate it and ask, WTF is wrong with me? And on the other hand, I feel compelled to participate.

Why do we do this??

The Normalcy of Wanting Affirmation

Look. This shit is normal. You wouldn’t be human if on some level, you didn’t want affirmation for something. It might not be for your looks or your body. But maybe it’s for your work ethic, or your business savvy, or the beautiful and intelligent children you raised, or the amazing article you wrote, or for your intellect, or ability to be a good friend, or get straight A’s. Whatever. WE ALL WANT SOMEONE TO TELL US WE ARE GOOD ENOUGH.

And so, on one hand, it’s all totally fine. It’s fiiiiiiiine.

Except when all that praise STILL isn’t enough.

For example, if I feel like on some level my husband doesn’t love me, does him saying it 10 times or 1000 times make a difference? No, because it doesn’t have to do with him. It doesn’t have anything to do without outside affirmation. True affirmation is an inside job. 

The Problem with Searching Out Affirmation

Because can we ever get enough affirmation, round up enough compliments, harness enough praise to feel worthy, if, on the inside we don’t feel like we deserve it? We still feel like a fraud or an impostor or a fake or someone who doesn’t have it all together, unlike how we would like it to seem, especially on social media.

Again, it’s a normal human drive to look for others to give us approval. It starts at a young age–we take a test in grade school and get immediate feedback in the form of a letter grade. Are we smart (A)? Or do we suck (F)? If we’re smart, then we want to KEEP BEING SMART so we find ways to develop our talents and skills so we can keep getting the proud-parent response or the doting-teacher response. Again, all fine, but what about what we think of us? Do we really need a grade (or person) to tell us we are smart? And what about if we get poor grades (or feedback)? Does it affirm that we are indeed not intelligent and we should just give up now? Outside feedback is often assimilated subconsciously.

And I don’t know what the answer, is considering this is just the nature of how things are. But the alternative I go to is to look inward and ask, “Is this true? Is the outside feedback I am getting true for me?” This is hard (and of course children don’t really have the wherewithal to do this). But as adults, are we still acting according to outside affirmation? Are we still letting other people tell us our truth? Whether it’s great feedback or feedback that we’re no good. In a sense, we can’t *really* take anything personally, even the praise and affirmation, can we?

I know this is going a little deep, but think about it. In The Four Agreements, Miguel Ruiz says, “Don’t Take Anything Personally,” and we usually think about this when it comes to negative feedback. With people who challenge us, we say, “It’s on them,” and wipe our hands of it. But likewise, isn’t it just as valid to say, don’t take praise personally either?

Aaaaaah! This is hard, but when we are fully okay in our skin, praise and compliments are nice, but we don’t *need* them to feel affirmed and loved all on our own.

Here’s the thing: your MO is perfect as it is right now. Mine is too. It’s perfectly fine for me to continue posting selfies to garner the praise and affirmation that I do indeed look good. Ha! BUT. The question to ask is: “Why? Why do I need this?” And then, once I know why (because I want someone to tell me I am good enough), I can ask, “How do I help myself feel good enough without any feedback from outside of me?”

THIS is what this process and journey is about. How do we feel good enough? How can we be okay without the constant Likes and Shares and Comments that social media so conveniently primes us to now need?

For me, it’s all about mindset work.

It’s an inside job and I use a few tools to help me get my headspace in the right place for self-acceptance feeling good in myself regardless of what feedback I am getting (good or bad):

1) Gratitude. I try to find at least one thing inside myself that I am grateful for. Something that I don’t need anyone to tell me I’m good at–I just know it, own it and kill it.

2) Benefit of the doubt. I try to remember that I am human and I am just doing my best. Do I have days where I feel less-than? Sure. But it doesn’t mean I am not worth anything and might as well give up now. I try to take the long-view and show myself compassion. All I can do is my best, because what else is there?

3) The Alternative. This is one of my favs and it’s so super simple. It’s just this: asking, “What’s the alternative?” and then finding the miserable alternative to NOT deciding I am okay. For example, “I’m not lean enough” turns into “I’m fine right now because the alternative is thinking I suck and when I think that, I’m miserable.” OR “I’m not having any success in the business!” turns into “I have to keep striving because saying a suck at business (the alternative) only makes me feel less motivated and more helpless.” NO THANKS. Guess what? The alternative is always MISERY. Not feeling good enough is misery. And I am done with that emotion, byyyyyeeee!

And one final thought: if you want to be miserable, just judge yourself nonstop for not being perfect.

Or for judging your actions. Or for not having it all together. We do this. It’s human. It’s fine! And this discussion only serves to bring awareness to it, to have the insight and to learn from all of it. There’s nothing “wrong” with any of it. It’s just a discussion to continue.

Finally, just own that shit. 

Jade told me, “Look, if you’re going to post a selfie, just post a selfie, get the likes and comments you’re looking for and own it. But don’t pretend like it’s something else.” I have to agree. #awarnessFTW :)

What about you? Having issues with feeling not good enough? Me too! Which is why I created the 10-Week Mindset Makeover course, which is open for registration now through Friday July 25th. Join over 700 women who have already gone through the program and have successfully transformed their mind, body and spirit. Grab your spot in this course here! And let me know if you have any questions! 

Tablet - Medium

Some tweetables for you:

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/07/21/selfie-shame/

33 Ways to Live a Richer, More Meaningful Life

Since I started JillFit almost 4 years ago, my entire life has changed. From the obvious (online business versus desk job) to the subtle (victim mindset vs. possibility mindset). It’s been an amazing ride so far (and it’s still going), and it’s neat to see all the changes.

One shift I’ve made over the last 4 years has to do with creativity.

When I began my business, I really struggled for content or blog ideas because a) my blogging experience started at Metabolic Effect, where the content is way more science-y, which is not my fav thing so I struggled because it would take me 2 weeks to write a blog because I was checking Pubmed every second (no thanks!) and 2) because I just straight-up didn’t have any ideas! I was boring. I had no interests except if my abs were popping :-\  I was posting recipes and workouts constantly because I didn’t have many original, novel thoughts of my own. Not that recipes and workouts aren’t useful, but from a creative standpoint, they are just phoning it in.

Now, years later, I am more prolific than ever, and thinking constantly, creating constantly, discussing shit constantly because I can’t help it, it’s my MO. My mom even jokes that Jade and I are “too intense” :) One of the ways I made the change was where I choose to focus my energy.

But it has been a journey …

I remember years ago, sitting on my couch all day on a Saturday watching a House marathon on TBS. I’d watched TV all day and then be mentally EXHAUSTED by 6pm. I didn’t understand it–how does LYING ON THE COUCH AND WATCHING TV ALL DAY MAKE YOU MORE TIRED??? It was crazy, but it was mind-numbing and mindless. It was a WTF moment. And not to judge if you love TV (I did too!), and escapism is fine, but it’s also wasn’t adding to my experience when it drained my energy without giving back.

Shawn Achor in his book ‘Happiness Advantage’ goes through how TV can actual drain willpower via psychic entropy. In other words, watching excessive TV will most likely make you both less creative and less energetic. Similarly, I was also doing 2 hours of cardio a day and reading every single celebrity magazine I could get my hands on. I knew all about The Bachelor, The Kardashians, if Jennifer Aniston was (finally!) pregnant or not, and every single dress worn on the red carpet for like, 2 years straight. Fine. But HOW IS THIS HELPING ME GET BETTER?? It’s not. Is it effortless? Easy? Mind-numbing escapism? Sure. But again, not adding value.

33insights

So I started slowing reading more nonfiction books on psychology, business, philosophy, creativity, productivity, spirituality, entrepreneurship, etc, and started uncovering a passion for learning and ideas. I started connecting dots and thinking laterally–taking a framework I read about and applying it to the body change process. Psychology is applicable to so much of the weight loss process, as are many mindset and new age insights. I started having my own novel thoughts and thinking, writing and communicating started getting a whole lot easier and more fun.

Hence, a deeper, richer existence.

So, I thought I’d share with you some of my fav tools, tricks and tips to creating more meaningful existence. I’m sure you have your own, too, I’d love to hear them!

Here are 33 ways to inject some purpose and passion into your life:

  1. Practice gratitude training. Doesn’t need to take all day nor be super woo–woo. Just keep a journal next to your bed and every night before bed, write down one single thing you are grateful for that day. Can be literally, “I’m grateful I get to go to bed at 9pm” :) Gratitude is a game-changer.
  2. Don’t be afraid to tell someone what you appreciate about them. In our society, we often shy away from emotions and affection with everyone except our significant others. Giving unsolicited praise helps lift up them AND you, and it’s not awkward, it’s appreciated.
  3. Read instead of watching TV. Try it for one night a week. Pick even a fiction book (doesn’t need to be nonfiction) and curl up on the couch and read for an hour or two, and see how you do.
  4. Listen to podcasts in the car. This is such a fun and easy way to learn because there are a million podcasts on everything from fitness to psychology to business to sex to sport to knitting. My favs: Cut the Fat, The Tim Ferriss Show, The School of Greatness, Smart Passive Income and Sex Nerd Sandra :)
  5. Leisure walk more. Instead of a gym sesh once a week, try a walk in nature. Be alone with your thoughts, be leisurely, observe.
  6. Be interested in more shit. Seriously. The most interesting people are the ones with the most interests.

  7. Master the PFR scale. My girl Liz DiAlto and I came up with this and it stands for Potential for Reciprocity: the likelihood that you will ask someone you’re talking to about them, show genuine interest in them and not talk about yourself constantly. This is a kindness, but it’s also about conscientiousness. Looking for a 7+ on that scale :) Means you can see outside your own stuff.
  8. Trust more. Some people say trust needs to be earned. I say that’s a really good way to assure you’ll always be on the lookout for someone to screw you over and never form deep connections. Not taking people at their word and always thinking people are working from an agenda is no way to live. Instead, how about: “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” ~Earnest Hemingway
  9. Speak your truth, but don’t make it mean that others have to change as a result. Stating your truth is a message to YOUR higher self, which is why it’s important, but other people are entitled to their truth too, and if you’re waiting on someone else to see it like you do in order to be happy, you’re always going to be disappointed. Do you, and then give up expectations.
  10. Find the bright spot in any situation. Even the most painful, scary and messed up ones. What can you learn? Even the smallest lesson. Positive people are not happy all the time, they just maintain perspective more easily. And they’re more resilient. This is a great way to practice.
  11. Appreciate the gray. The people who are the most levelheaded and centered in life are the ones who appreciate the nuance. They don’t see the world in black-and-white or right-and-wrong. They appreciate differences in opinion and approach just as much as they appreciate commonalities.
  12. Be inquisitive. Ask people about themselves, what they do and why they do it. Every person we come in contact with has something to teach us.

  13. Hone your creative outlet. Whether it’s writing or poetry or art or music. How are you expressing yourself at least for a handful of minutes each week?
  14. Make eye contact and smile while walking down the street. Most people will be surprised, and of course it’s a courtesy to them, but more importantly for you, it reinforces your own attitude and confidence. Shoulders squared, spine straightened and owning your power in the world.
  15. Ask, “If I could do anything all day long with no considerations, what would it be?” This is a great place to begin looking for your passion. How could what you love to do help others? What is the thing that, when you talk about it, gets you pumped up?
  16. Make it about other people. I’m not talking about volunteering at the soup kitchen or giving to charity (though those things are certainly great). I’m talking about giving away your expertise and being generous with your own lessons. Learn, then teach. Involve other people. Look for ways to help someone through a struggle. It can’t be all about you all the time. And remember, you only need to be one step ahead of the person you’re coaching :)
  17. Work on showing up 100% authentic in your relationships. This is hard because often we are scared of showing our true selves or sharing our truth with the people we love for fear of rejection or discomfort. We think they might not like what they see. But. But, isn’t that the whole point? It’s an automatic stratification system, a perfect way to create the relationships you want (and abandon the ones where you have to put on a show). Like Jade said, “If you want someone to love you for who you are, you have to have the courage to be who you are.”
  18. Don’t be afraid to put your ego aside and admit when you’re wrong. This can be a bitter pill to swallow but the most confident people are also the ones who aren’t afraid to show their vulnerability.
  19. Surround yourself with possibility people. It’s hard to push your limits when those around you don’t know why you would even try. Find even one person in your sphere who is doing big things and work on forming an organic relationship. Chances are, you’ll meet more people like that as a result. Even if you need to get into a coaching program :) #BestofYou
  20. Alternatively, bring up the Negative-Nancys. Those people whose first-instinct is to say, “That will never work!” — those people. Help them see possibilities and inspire with your actions. You don’t have to say anything, just kill it.
  21. Take 100% responsibility for everything. The #1 way to change your life.

  22. Tell people what strikes you about them. Do that color look nice on them? Are they great listeners? Do they make space for people emotionally? Are they always thinking what someone else might appreciate? Do they have beautiful eyes? Tell them what’s amazing about them, what strikes you. This can feel vulnerable, but the more you practice, the easier it gets.
  23. Mentally go to worst-case scenario to help you take more action. You want to do something big, what’s the worst that can happen? Then ask, would I be okay if that transpired? How would I handle it? Chances are the potential fallout is not nearly as scary as you think. Now, go DO!
  24. Share your stories. People are dying for transparency and realness. How can you cop to your own struggles as a show of humanity to help others show up more authentically, and feel more free to be themselves? I cop to embarrassing shit constantly, and I always get the feedback, “Your transparency helps me feel like I am not alone.” Perfect.
  25. Have something that’s only yours. Many moms feel like they live for their kids and family, and on some level, they have to, but often can lose themselves in the day-to-day. What’s “your thing?” Could be teaching fitness classes, meditation, training for races, blogging, cultivating an awesome online community, etc. Where’s your outlet that has nothing to do with your family or partner?
  26. Practice empathy. Being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is an immediate perspective-changer and helps you understand them (and you in those situations!) even better. It’s no-risk, all-reward.
  27. Give up the drama. Negativity is an attitude, a choice, stemming from insecurities. And it NEVER serves to boost happiness, success or fulfillment.

  28. Phones down at the table. I have been so guilty of this in the past, and I still struggle. But when phones are away, the conversation is better because you have to keep it moving and that involves asking questions and really listening. My fav occasions are when I left my phone at home. Presence makes a huge difference.
  29. Write a letter (or email) to someone who has influenced you. Maybe it’s a mentor or old boss or someone who took you under their wing at some point. This is a practice FOR YOU, not them, in awareness and gratitude.
  30. Practice affectionate touches. This is not easy or natural for everyone, and it doesn’t mean you have to be petting, embracing or massaging strangers. A simple pat on the back as you’re walking by a friend or a casual arm around a shoulder goes a long way.
  31. Learn to love reality. In Byron Katie’s book, ‘A Thousand Names for Joy,’ which was a game-changer for me early on in my mindset work, she says, “Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon or too late. You don’t have to like it–it’s just easier if you do.” I love this, and it’s so true. This doesn’t mean we stop striving, or just give up and give in. But, when we argue with reality, we lose. So we can learn to embrace it or we can be miserable.
  32. Close The Expectation Gap–the gap between where you are and where you think you *should* be, is misery. Stop “shoulding” all over yourself and find something amazing about you, something you appreciate right this second :) It’s a practice.
  33. My #1 insight? Continue to strive for deeper meaning and insights. Life is full of lessons–sometimes they are fun, other times they suck. But life is always loving us fiercely with challenges and insights, should we look closely for them. In my 33 years, my experience is that you don’t ever just “get it” and are good to go. Improvement is a practice. And you have to actually want to do it, and think it matters.

With the 10-Week Mindset Makeover program launching next week (Tuesday July 22nd), I’d love for you to head to the JillFit Facebook page and share with me your favorite mindset insights and lessons. Remember, part of getting better and creating a more fulfilling existence is surrounding yourself with likeminded people who also think big shit is possible! We’re creating that community every day over there :)

Finally, I want to say a big THANK YOU for being here, for being such a faithful reader and participant in the JillFit community. The fact that you are even interested in these kinds of posts and insights means that you are a seeker, and not a settler. I love that and I love you! Never forget how powerful you are in the world! Ox, Jill

Some tweetables for you:

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/07/16/richer-life/

Are You Addicted to Coffee? (+ 4 Ways to Create More Balance In Your Life)

During the years of 2003 to 2008, I taught 15-20 group fitness classes a week, and personal trained up to 12 clients at day. I was doing what I call, “The Fitness Hustle” and I loved every minute of it. EXCEPT … how it messed with my energy.

Anyone doing The Fitness Hustle knows that life as a full-time fitness pro includes both early mornings AND late nights. Because that’s when fitness happens, right? Before work and after. And personally for me, my drive for helping others paired with my passion for all things fitness led me to the craziest of lifestyles. I was drinking three venti americanos (aka 20 oz! in Starbucks language) every single day in order to keep gas in my tank. It was partly the need for caffeine to propel myself through my classes, but it was also very much habitual–drinking through those dead times during the middle of the day, and even to keep myself from eating crap. Coffee was king.

Now. Is this “bad?”

I don’t know that it is. And it’s certainly an issue unique to each individual. BUT. It was also not the healthiest way to continue to live. Coffee can give us a false sense of energy, and like anything that isn’t innate and natural, eventually my own body started down-regulating, so that the effects weren’t the same. Over time, I didn’t feel the same jolt of caffeine and even my intensity suffered in my classes. The catecholamine response I got off caffeine waned.

So finally in 2008, I started cutting back on both my classes and my coffee and started making changes to my schedule so that I had more time and less stress–both physical and mental. I’ve written on this time in my life a lot on the blog.

I think this is an issue that many of us women deal with–supplementing with something to help with energy or make ourselves feel better. Whether it’s caffeine or wine or sugar or whatever. We feel the pull to HELP OURSELVES along somehow. Because au naturel is not working. And this is, sadly, very common.

So when JillFit Ambassador Rae Anne Mullins, creator of RAM 12 Total Body Transformation came to me with an awesome guest post about quitting the “coffee habit loop” and offering suggestions for how to balance energy (and life!) more effectively, I knew that the JillFit gals would resonate :)

A feeling of “balance” or “less stress” is something you guys ask for often. I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve received from women saying they are stressed by everything from food obsession to family matters to work stuff and back again to body image and calorie counting. WE ARE STRESSED. And then we’re stressed because we’re stressed, ha! I love being a woman :) Lol.

ANYWHO. I wanted to share with you today a great post Rae Anne penned about her own experience in the fitness world (and with coffee :)) and how she successfully started balancing all of her obligations as a mom, wife, businessowner, fitness instructor and someone who wants to stay fit & lean.

I hope you guys love her insights as much as I do! Enjoy! Ox, Jill

balanceRAM

Every morning my alarm clock goes off at 4:45am. I immediately get out of bed, throw on clothes (that I lay out the night before), feed the cat, fill up my water bottle and sneak out of the house to go teach a class or two.

After I teach my classes and meet with personal training clients, I head home for MY FAVORITE part of the day. As soon as I walk in the front door the AROMA hits me!

COFFEE!!!

Coffee is such a treat! Black, with cream, without cream, with sweetener, without sweetener – I LOVE IT ALL!

Why do I like coffee so much?

First of all, I love enjoying coffee time with my husband. I must give kudos to my man because he has my morning coffee ready every day for me when I get home. While we drink coffee at the kitchen table we discuss our day ahead and enjoy the quiet moment before the kids get up.

Secondly, I am admittedly addicted to the BUZZ that I get about 3 minutes into my cup.

It’s really amazing to me how MOTIVATED and INVINCIBLE I feel after just a single cup of java. My husband laughs at me because I’m always jotting down lists of what needs to be accomplished and I’m always throwing out big ideas of what we “should” do. These coffee moments always give me new ideas and if I don’t write them down – they disappear as quickly as they appear.

Do you too relish that “after coffee feeling”?

Well, I have to tell you that although I truly adore that amazing feeling, there are days that I don’t get to come home at the right time or that the kids have somewhere to go early and I don’t get to have that morning cup of coffee.

Do I panic? Do I suffer the rest of the day? NO! In fact, since I’ve changed my ways of eating and exercising, I don’t really miss the coffee so much because I almost always have that same energy without it.

Yep, I mean it. I PREFER the days I get to sit down with my hubby and enjoy the taste and that extra BUZZ the coffee gives me, but my body can truly do with or without it. It’s the HABIT or ROUTINE that I enjoy the most.

As a group fitness instructor and personal trainer I am on the go a lot! At one point in my career I was teaching between four and five classes a day or up to 30 classes a week! That is a lot of wear and tear on a body. As you can imagine I was hungry all the time, cranky, tired, wired, craving sweets and coffee 24/7 and started to get more and more injuries.

Although exercising and movement is a major part of my job, I just knew I had to change something because there was no way I could maintain this lifestyle. Not only was my belly fat not going away, but I was never satisfied after eating and had chronic fatigue.

I was drinking coffee several times a day hoping it would give me that boost of energy that I needed AND I would drink it to stop my sweet cravings. Now that I treat my body better, I no longer NEED coffee, I simply WANT coffee when the time is appropriate.

Not only do fitness instructors run into this problem but so do many people who are busy and trying to always workout harder and longer. Not only do these people try to workout at max capacity but they are also trying to reduce how much they are eating to see better physique changes. What can end up happening is their body may decide to store everything because it’s being OVER-TRAINED and UNDER-FED. This leads to fatigue, fat storage and overall unhappiness.

Does this sound familiar to you? OR maybe you’re like the next person…

There are also people who are so mentally worn out by their jobs, family stress, financial stress, etc… that they have no time or desire to exercise and have given up on their nutrition. These people seek out coffee all day long just to keep them afloat.

OVER-EXERCISING and UNDER-EATING as well as UNDER-EXERCISING and OVER-EATING are both unproductive when seeking a lifestyle of burning fat, building muscle and feeling satisfied on a day-to-day basis.

No matter which end of the spectrum you are on there is a better way and that is called BALANCE.

BALANCE IS THE IDEAL PLACE TO BE and no matter where you are now, you can always find ways to create more balance in your life. Balance your work/home schedule, your workout schedule, your eating schedule, your sleep schedule, etc…

Sure balance probably won’t get you to bikini model shape but your overall wellness and mental outlook on life will be much better! Personally I have come to accept my body for what it is; I’m strong, I’m very healthy and I have more confidence than any other time in my life. You see, I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum. I’ve been 65 pounds overweight and I’ve been super fit and thinner. Now, I am at a happy place even with a little extra belly fat! My body works hard for me so I treat it with respect and YOU SHOULD TOO!

4 Tips on creating BALANCE in your life:

1) Plan ahead and schedule your day.

Visualize what you want it to be like and don’t let yourself be taken off course. It’s a great idea to block time out for those things most important to you; Work, Meals, Workout, Family Time and Sleep.

2. Eat a fiber and protein-rich breakfast to fuel your morning and prevent cravings later in the day.

Protein and fiber both uniquely make us feel fuller for longer and help stabilize blood sugar. Cravings are often a result of excessive cortisol, which can happen when we eat a diet higher in sugar and low in fiber. Stabilizing blood sugar helps keep cravings at bay.

3. Go for a walk.

Going for a leisurely walk daily can help you reduce cortisol (stress hormones) and make you feel better all over!  Take your family with you to enjoy time together and multi-task.  This is good for you and your family.

4. Get to bed early enough so that you can get 8 hours of sleep.

Yes, you can do this!  Stop watching TV or get off the computer after your dinner.  Use the evening as a time to read a book, visit with family and wind down from your busy day.

After several years of working closely with my in-person clients and teaching them methods of creating balance in their daily lives along with efficient and effective workouts and meal plans that actually work, I decided to take my program online to reach so many more who are struggling and need the support and accountability. So.

My RAM 12 Total Body Transformation Program is meant to be just that – a TOTAL Body (&MIND) Transformation.  After the 12 weeks of working on RE-BALANCING your life, your nutrition, your workouts and your mindset, you will be in a much happier and calm place in your life. You won’t need to use coffee and other stimulants to keep you going, you won’t crave sugar or starches as often, you won’t feel fatigued and wiped out. You will also see that your clothes will be too loose, your sleeping will get better and you will look and feel amazing.

I’m not saying you can’t enjoy a cup of coffee once you make this lifestyle shift :) I’m saying you will no longer NEED the coffee to wake you up or the wine to wind you down. You will be able to enjoy a simple cup of coffee for fun or for the taste of it!

For more information or to sign up for the RAM12 Total Body Transformation, click here!
Email me with any questions!
XO, Rae Anne

Some tweetables for you:

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/07/08/ram-balance/

Trusting The Process: 9 Ways Wise People Approach Life

Lately on the JillFit Facebook page, something really interesting has been going on. I’ve been getting a lot of feedback that goes something like this: “Jill, thank you for your words and inspiration, they always make me feel like I am not alone.” or “I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have found some REAL and SANE advice at JillFit.”

I am always so humbled and honored to field responses like those and here, 4 years after starting JillFit, I still can’t believe anyone reads my rambling posts. I AM SO GRATEFUL!

But. Getting more and more comments like these shows me so clearly that PEOPLE ARE DYING FOR PERMISSION TO BE HUMAN.

Isn’t this the truth? Because it doesn’t feel good to be judged for just being you. It doesn’t feel awesome to feel like you need to be perfect all the time. But you know what does feel awesome? When someone else says, “You have permission to relax, it will all be just fine.”

It got me to thinking: what is that? What’s the insight there? Why are we so starved for relatedness and transparency? Why does it mean so much when someone else cops to not having it all figured out either and says, “I’m not going to stress about it. I’m fine.”

This is perspective. This is wisdom. This is doing your best and letting that be good enough.

And surprisingly, this approach and attitude, I am finding, is just not all that common. We don’t feel like we can “just be.” We feel the anxiety of needing to constantly have goals and “be better” and get leaner and be more successful and be on the up and up. And when life happens, and we inevitably can’t be Superwoman 24/7, we are left feeling defeated, discouraged and helpless.

What no one’s talking about is that it’s all part of being human, and you are perfect, as is. No requirements, no obligations, no expectations, just be for a second. The hustle and bustle will always be there for you, you can always jump back on the high-stress highway.

But, there IS a different way. There’s wisdom. There’s the grandmother who has seen a lot more that you, who knows that even when things feel really, REALLY catastrophic in the moment, that things have a way of figuring themselves out and YOU DON’T NEED TO HAVE IT ALL FIGURED OUT RIGHT THIS SECOND. You have time. You have self-trust. You have patience and introspection. You have all these amazing untapped tools at your disposal, ones that remain neglected because the lure of being stressed and anxious is irresistible. We often feel like WITHOUT stress, we are not striving. Which is actually BS, considering research into self-compassion has shown that we are MORE, not less, apt to achieve when we give ourselves the benefit of the doubt.

And so, if you’re wondering how to find that balance, shirk those crazy expectations and get out of your own frigging way once and for all, here are, IMO, ways that wise people see the world and how we can switch our own mindset to generate a sense of inner calm and peace regardless of what’s happening around us:

1) Realize that whatever is happening in this moment, is transient.

This is so, soooooo hard to see in the moment. I can tell you from experience, I am currently dealing with something that feels, at times, like it’s strangling me from the inside. These instances can feel uncomfortable, painful, unbearable and make us feel like things will never get better. And yet. They do. In time and with introspection and going inside. It’s in these moments especially, when it’s so important to lean into the struggle. MAN THAT IS HARD. But when you turn and chase the pain, rather than shying away from it, the magnitude of it shrinks and becomes more handle-able. In the book, ‘The Tools’, one tool called The Reversal of Desire helps us LEAN INTO the struggle and GO TOWARD the pain and discomfort, because on the other side of it is endless possibilities. WOW. This is hard, but when you can do it, transformative: ReversalofDesire

2) Understand that your past does not determine your future and you always ALWAYS have choices and options.

BUT, your perspective is everything, and when you see obstacles and challenges as opportunities, rather than roadblocks, you come fully into your power. When you play the victim and believe that the world is out to screw you, of course you are going to be helpless and insignificant. What happened last night, last week, last year does not define you. YOU define you, using the choices you make moving forward. Failure is feedback. Learn, grow, get better and create the life you want.

3) Know that nothing is ever irreversible.

I say this a lot when it comes to nutrition. Had a bad weekend of eating? Join the crowd. But using one bad weekend of eating as a way to justify being a victim and giving up because “you blew it” is absurd. And yet, we often feel this way. It’s the What-the-Hell effect: if we can’t be perfect, “What the hell!” I might as well go ALL IN on sweets and treats!” A single slip-up leads to Food Armageddon. No. Nooooooo. Seriously. You never, ever reach a point of no returns. Assuming there’s no recourse is a copout. A crutch. Of course you have options, always.

And this extends into other areas of life too, like relationships. Wise people give others the benefit of the doubt, they offer second chances, they don’t hold grudges because they know that people are HUMAN. And they understand that what people DO is not always who they ARE. And likewise, people with perspective know that hurts, betrayals or breaks in trust in the past can be repaired. They remain optimistic and work hard to find a way forward.

4) See possibilites, not reasons something won’t work.

Ever met someone who always responded with, “That will never work,” whenever a suggestion or solution arises? How depressing is this?? And I’m struggling to see how that response is at all helpful. At all. I believe people use excuses like, “I just want to be realistic,” or “I don’t want you to get their hopes up,” because at their core, they feel threatened by options that feel uncomfortable. Often people will say out of a sense of altruism, “I don’t want them to mess up,” or “I just don’t want them to make the same mistakes I did.” Fine, but still, I have to ask, WHY? Why not mess up? Why not have the full experience?

When we assume that we know what’s best for someone else, we deny them
THE OPPORTUNITY to learn, grow and get better on their own terms.

Are things potentially scary? Of course. Could they get hurt physically or emotionally? Maybe. But how can we deny anyone the opportunity to see something from all angles. People with wisdom encourage others to have their own unique experience, without getting anxious over outcomes. They let others be, even when it’s hard. They are possibility thinkers. It’s an operating system.

5) Resist the urge to try and control outcomes.

My sister-in-law gave me this little tim-bit and it’s always stuck with me: “Be open to outcomes, not attached to them.” I love this. Because, life is really a push-and-pull of control vs. trust, isn’t it? We want to KNOW for CERTAIN exactly WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN so we can plan for it. And just because it’s a cliche doesn’t make it any less true: CONTROL IS AN ILLUSION. We are never in complete control, certainly not of others actions, their words, their choices. And when we interact in a world where what others do and say affects us, we can never really have expectations for them, can we? There are no guarantees, and this feels really, really scary! In fact, the only guarantee we have is that people will always do what they do. And when you understand this, the need to ask, “Why is so-and-so doing that?!” goes away. Because you know the answer: they are doing that because that’s what they do. Would you do it? No. But that doesn’t mean they did anything “wrong” or “bad” or whatever. It’s just them. Different person, different intentions, different motivations, different mindset, different outcomes. AND THAT’S ALL FINE. Isn’t it? Now, with that being said …

6) You can always control your attitude and your effort.

You always have a choice about how you interact with the world. You can CHOOSE to believe that the world is inherently cruel and that you got the short end of the stick, or you can CHOOSE to see that you have options and can improve your circumstances any time. Your effort is always available to you. All it takes is perspective and courage to take action.

7) In relationships, there’s not really a “right” and “wrong,” there’s only how people come together and lines in the sand.

Ready to go deep with me?? :) Ok! Unless you are working from a religious model or we are talking about something like murder, I personally don’t think labels like messy or cheap or stubborn or cruel or unfaithful or unreliable or Type A or lazy or unmotivated (or any number of adjectives) are really useful on a universal level. I just don’t. Because how you perceive another person is not a fact, it’s your personal interpretation and based on that assessment, you decide to have them in your life or not (i.e. you determine your lines in the sand). You don’t have to have a relationship with someone you don’t respect or enjoy. Of course you have choices and opinions that are valid, but this is just to point out that for example, something you might find repellent about someone else, might be the very thing that another person finds endearing. An example would be someone who engages in open relationships. If all parties involved know what’s going on and are okay with it, what’s the big deal? For me, I wouldn’t want that (it’s a deal-breaker for me, my line in the sand) but that’s doesn’t mean there’s really anything wrong with it. Maybe wrong for you, but not factually. My personal agreement with my husband is to stay romantically inside the marriage. And if that doesn’t happen, well, we have choices.

I think it’s important to establish expectations in relationships agreed upon by both partners, not simply work from some arbitrary black-and-white model.

People with perspective see that it’s the way two people come together that is the important thing, not the specific aspects of each of the people. Of course, I am fairly liberal when it comes to acceptance and tolerance, so I’m not sure everyone feels the way I do :) But I suspect that if you are operating from a higher level of consciousness, you don’t worry too much about what other people are doing.

8) People are always just doing the best they can.

This is THE mark, I find, of those who have a sense of wisdom. They understand we are all human and we are doing our best. And they don’t try to impart their best on anyone else, which of course is the hard part! We want people to “reach their potential” or “make something of themselves” (we think this about ourselves, too, BTW–and often it leads to self-judgment and discouragement). We WANT to achieve. Great. But some days we are simply going to lie on the couch and eat bacon, like I did last Sunday. And constantly toting that this is somehow “wrong” and “not good” only makes all of us feel way worse! The constant need to achieve and “be better” makes us miserable. Sometimes, you need to give yourself permission to be human. And when you do, it’s total liberation. And it’s funny because again, I think we believe “the shoulds” keep us in line somehow. “I should be able to eat clean every second.” “I should be better at this by now!” “I should have all my shit together!” “I should have this done!” “I should be thinner!” And on and on. We feel like these statements have utility. Like, if we just “should” ourselves enough, we’ll eventually do everything perfectly and never have another slip-up. But that’s not the case. I don’t know about you, but I have never made positive change from a defeatist mindset.

I’ve never made positive change from a defeatist mindset.

And when it comes to expectations for others, this can really be a trap. Thinking we can be the judge of whether or not someone else is doing their best is shortsighted. We can have ways in which we’d do things differently. But ultimately, the only choice we have is to see what someone else does as their best in the moment. Doesn’t mean it can’t get better and it certainly doesn’t mean there aren’t moves to make, but the reality is what people do is what they do. And thinking it should be any different is wrestling with reality, which only makes us miserable. Your perspective is everything.

9) Prioritize SELF-trust.

When you have wisdom, you truly believe that whatever happens, you will be okay. Will things hurt? Sure. Will there be discomfort? Yep. Will we struggle? You bet. But thinking we can ever avoid any of that is simply insane. Life does what it does, and we have many, many opportunities to learn the lessons if we choose. And the biggest and best lessons happen the hard way.

So what can we rely on? How about ourselves! Trust YOU. Trust that you can handle it–whatever it is. Why not? Aren’t you powerful? Capable? Able to make choices and able to endure pain and hardship? Can’t you be unapologetically you and then let the chips fall? Self-trust is really hard. But once you start cultivating it, it’s guaranteed. It’s there for you. Always. The things that used to feel scary or lonely are no longer because you have YOU.  Eff Jerry McGuire, YOU complete you! :) This is a practice. And it’s worth the effort. Wisdom That’s it! What do you think? Are you practiced at perspective or are you getting an emotional hit from some of these insights? Do you get anxious over small issues and worry about other people a lot? Or do you trust that your life is unraveling just as it should be and that no matter what, you can handle it? Do you believe that you can literally create your reality by choosing your perspective? Or do you think someone(s) else holds the reigns? Some questions to think about …

Wisdom is going, “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but whatever it is, I can handle it.”

Remember, July is #MindsetMonth at JillFit! I want you to participate and share your mindset mantras and life lessons with me. Here’s how you do it! See you on Instagram! 

I am loving you! Ox, Jill

Some tweetables for you:

 

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/06/30/wisdom/

5 Simple Solutions To Maintain Your Weight This Summer

I blogged last year about how I consider *maintaining* your weight to be a success. I mentioned that I would much rather maintain a flat stomach year round with little headache, than labor through weeks of strict dieting for a chance encounter with a 6-pack for a day. Extreme dieting is, well … extreme. And I don’t know about you, but I’m over it. The up and down, back and forth of yo-yo dieting can make you feel like you’ll never be successful. Not to mention, dieting hard for months on end is a game you can never win because your metabolism outsmarts you. 

ANYWAY. I asked JillFit Ambassadors Allison Siemens of Wholesome Fitness to contribute a great guest post for JillFit all about summertime balance and perspective. Allison, like me, was a competitor in the past and after years of working with clients and honing her own mindset, came to a place of balance after many years of struggle. She, too, decided that crazy dieting and out-of-reach expectations for how she *should* look and how long it *should* take her to get there, only made her more and more miserable. 

Allison’s summer accountability program, The Glowing Life, is launching this week (begins July 1st) and teaches you how to stay on track through the dog days of summer, when you want to be anything but healthy and compliant. Surprise, surprise, it’s all about balance, and Allison teaches you how to prioritize one or two high-impact behaviors to maintain your weight (and your sanity!) this summer in her new program

Love this guest post from Allison, where she outlines her tried and true strategies for a great summertime experience: healthy, happy & balance. Enjoy! Ox, Jill

 

I’m excited to be here on Jill’s blog today to get to share with you stuff that’s straight from my heart!

I love that my job is about helping women feel better about themselves and finding a new strength in that. But I also know from experience how hard that can be. And often it’s a confusing and frustrating process. So, to get started here’s what I want to know:

What is stopping YOU from feeling your best?

When I ask women this question, the answers I typically get are along the lines of not being slim enough to fit into their favorite jeans, lack of energy or desire for exercising, wishing they could stick to eating better more often, or that they are tired and just don’t feel like they can keep up with it all, all the time.

So it’s easy to feel frustrated, and often the result is that we assume that our “best” can only be attained after those problems have been solved. We end up spending so much time and energy trying to find all the answers to bring us into that “perfect” place, that we miss out on two things:

  • All the good things that we could have been embracing in life instead of wishing for better circumstances (or a better body).
  • Actually making consistent progress with our goal. We assume that because we can’t do it perfectly 100% of the time, or because our results don’t look exactly like we expect them to, that we aren’t “good enough”.

glowinglife1

This is all stuff that I struggled with for much of my life.

I was miserable because I would work hard and stay focused on doing all the “right” stuff, and then be left with feeling like all that effort just wasn’t good enough to result in me feeling my best. So the cycle would ensue of basically saying “screw it” in favor of just wanting to “live” – and then my behaviors would swing in the opposite direction, leaving me to feel like I had failed and would have to start the hard road back.

Guess what?! None of that ever got me anywhere – and it certainly never resulted in a better body – or a better, more meaningful life. And isn’t that what we really want at the end of the day? A life we can love and find satisfaction in?

I often challenge the women I coach for fat loss in why they really want to lose weight or change their body. Why do they NEED to lose 20 pounds? Is it just for the sake of seeing that number appear on the scale or to fit into their jeans better? OR do those things actually represent something else that they want, like confidence, peace, happiness, balance, to feel empowered, strong, improved health and more energy? I’d wager it’s the latter.

I truly believe that this is where so many of us go wrong and why we never really feel like we reach our goal:

We put our effort into miro-managing our weight and believe that we cannot be our best without 100% effort and compliance with exercise and food.

And that is a hard place to find yourself! Most of us want to simply feel our best and enjoy our lives, but truly understanding how to do that is often the biggest hurdle.

Personally, I was tired of this never-ending battle and realized that I was sacrificing a lot of the good parts of my life while I was either so focused on “staying on track” or being depressed that I was not getting anywhere. I decided to take a totally different approach, which was a little scary at first, but that process is ultimately what made all the difference to both my physical transformation, as well as to my mindset and quality of life. I found out that I really didn’t need to be so focused and disciplined ALL THE TIME on micro-managing my weight. What it really came down to was focusing on simple, do-able habits and behaviors that I could easily manage forever. Because I could do them easily, they offered me balance and less stress about “staying on track”. I finally found what it truly meant to be consistent. My progress became more about what I did every day to make me feel my best in that moment, instead of worrying about whether I had lost or gained a pound or could find more willpower and energy to stick it out til I “got there”.

My progress was (and still is!) about nudging me towards what I really want: a body and mind that works for me and I feel good in.

From my own experience, plus coaching women in this every day, I have created a system for breaking all this down into an easy to manage process so that less time and energy is put into trying to keep up with diet / nutrition rules and fitness regimes and the focus is instead on creating Simple Solutions that are do-able and work for YOU. The goal isn’t to do everything perfectly 100% of the time, but actually to better understand how to thrive with IMPERFECTION…. and still make sustainable progress towards your goals.

What are “Simple Solutions?”

Simple Solutions are real-time habits and behaviors that:

  • Are not difficult to maintain every day. They are behaviors that are intuitive and we prefer them because they make us feel really good – both physically and emotionally.
  • Don’t follow someone else’s plan or program. They address your own personal challenges, habits, goals, and self-realization.
  • Are judgment-free. Your solutions don’t need to align with what everyone else is doing because all that matters is that they work for YOU and give you what you need.
  • Are adaptable and evolve with your own progress and circumstances. Simple solutions don’t follow rules, they are simply “what you do”. Not all solutions work 100% of the time, but that’s ok because you can find another perfect solution that works for YOU.
  • Put the focus on action instead of outcome. Often we assume that our only measure of success is the outward physical result and that THAT is a direct reflection of our discipline and willpower.But healthy progress doesn’t always work that way. Our physical progress usually isn’t a perfect journey from A to B. And that’s ok – that’s exactly how it is supposed to be. But when we get too focused on just seeing the end result, it can affect our actions adversely. We get frustrated that our hard work doesn’t seem to be paying off, so we swing into the “screw it” scenario.

Focusing on the stuff you CAN do that works and is easy WILL get you there. YOUR best IS good enough :)

Not only is this a more realistic approach for our health and physical transformation, but it also give us the gift of a mindset transformation. When these two components start working together, then it is easy to actually love the life you are living RIGHT NOW – even while you continue to work on your goals.

Summer is a really good time to switch gears!

This is the time of year when we are craving more relaxation in our routines, and often need to find alternative ways to do things because of vacations and travelling, a more unstructured schedule that may not include regular workouts and planning, and we want to enjoy seasonal celebrations that include ice cream, cocktails, or roasting hot dogs around the campfire. Instead of feeling like these changes make us go “on or off” our plan or program, or that we have to just “screw it” and start over later, we can use the principles of Simple Solutions to maintain a body / mind balance, while opting for a more relaxed, low-key summer.

5 Simple Solutions for summer to help you maintain your weight through the dog days:

1) One of my non-negotiable habits is staying hydrated. 

The weather is warmer, and as a busy working mom I am on the go all the time….if I don’t keep water with me then I tend to get headaches, feel hungrier, and tired. So every night, I fill up at least 2 large water bottles (I usually add a lemon slice or green tea bag) and put them in the fridge, ready to go with me in the morning. I also keep a Costco flat of water bottles in the back of my van so that I’ve got water if I forget, or the kids get thirsty (then I don’t end up at a drive thru ordering sodas out of desperation!).

2) Take advantage of the longer, warmer evenings to take a relaxing walk.

This can feel so refreshing after a hot summer day, and it’s amazing how good you feel after a long walk (yay endorphins!) The fresh air will help you sleep, and this kind of restorative exercise is actually very effective for maintaining fat loss. So even if you are travelling or camping, just simply getting out for regular walks can be very beneficial. And there is the bonus of some quality family-time (if you can all get out together).

3) Plan ahead for treats that you will truly enjoy.

I love a good ice cream cone in the summer – and our family camps for 2 weeks every summer, where it’s all about treats at the beach and hot dogs and s’mores around the campfire. I used to use my “screw it” mentality at times like these – and wonder why I felt like I had no self-control. Yuck. But it wasn’t about self-control, it was about fear of missing out (FOMO) – or Fear Of Missing Out On Food (FOMOOF) HAHA! So instead, I gave myself permission to choose all the BEST things that I didn’t want to miss out on – and I planned them into my menu, guilt-free. This wasn’t a free for all, but I suddenly wasn’t consumed with feeling like I had to have it all, all the time. A shift in perspective allowed me to enjoy the things I wanted to enjoy, knowing that I wasn’t “going off track” – and this is actually a strategy I use all the time to keep me from relying on willpower to be successful.

4) Use the 2 minute rule for exercise.

One of the most common challenges for women is finding time to workout. So, I say don’t workout – at least not like you think you have to. As soon as you believe you don’t have time and can’t do it, you will simply NOT do it. So instead, do a Body Burst exercise (like squats, lunges, push ups, or a quick sprint) for just two minutes. Keep a list and check them off as you do them throughout the week. Some days you might get one Burst done, other days you might get 6 done – this could be one 2 minute burst at a time, or all in a row. Doesn’t matter – two minutes is all you need to do at a time. This is a good example of putting the focus on what you CAN do, instead of what you think you can’t do. A little bit goes a long way!

5) Take the time nurture YOU.

I call this a “Daily Dose of Downtime.” What this looks like will be different for everybody – but the goal is to reduce stress, reflect, or give ourselves care. Some ways to do this might be: five minutes of deep breathing in the fresh air, prayer or meditation, reading, taking a bath or a nap, going to bed early, or spending time chatting (in person, not texting!) with a friend. It’s crazy that this can be one of the most challenging things to include in our lives, but it really DOES make a huge difference to quality of life, general health, AND fat loss.

That’s it! Let me know how you do!

And if you are ready to take the leap and stay on track this summer (when everyone else is saying, screw it!), I invite you to join me for the next 8 weeks in my summer accountability program, The Glowing Life, which begins July 1. I created this program because so many women get off track during the summer and come back in September feeling bloated and discoursed after two months of eating and drinking to their heart’s desire. In this program, I will keep you on track and guide you through finding your own Simple Solutions this Summer. It’s a summer motivation program, inspiring you to enjoy a new and improved approach to ‘balance’. Questions? Email me! Ox, Allison

glowinglife2

Some tweetables for you:

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/06/24/summer-maintenance/

What Someone Thinks About You Is Not Your Business

I once received an email from a woman who was going through a hard time in her relationship with her husband of 30 years. Without her saying it in so many words, I gleaned that infidelity was somehow involved and she had made the decision to stay with him and they were trying to work it out, despite her deep trust issues after the fact.

She told me that she found jillfit.com after Googling, “Staying in my own business.” She went on to tell me how much my blogs have helped her through that tough time and have given her hope for a better reality for herself. *heart actually warming right meow*

Well, not only was I shocked that someone would Google that phrase :) but I was completely touched that she’d found my site and felt comfortable enough to reach out. A side note: my assistant, Melissa and I are constantly tearing up at some of the sweetest and heart-warming emails we get from you guys. Means so, so much.

I love the idea of “staying in my business” but did not come up with it. Of course, it’s something you hear parents tell children from a young age, but my personal inspiration is how personal freedom author and teacher, Byron Katie states it in a way that resonates for me.

Katie says that there are 3 kinds of “businesses”:

  1. My Business
  2. Your Business
  3. God’s Business (things out of our control like natural disasters, etc)

This framework alone allows for us (if we choose to) to blissfully maintain our inner peace despite what is going on around us.

Now, don’t mistake this for being naive or ignorant. This is not about that.

This is instead about detaching from other people’s opinions of us. Realizing that we cannot control what other people do or say, and to get ourselves worked up over something we can’t control only causes us pain, sadness and frustration.

(Well, I guess we could control it if we were willing to be someone else. But, when we are pretending to be anything we’re not, in those moments, we are not in line with our true self, and it won’t ever last and we cannot find sustainable happiness in being someone we aren’t). 

Business

Here’s how you use this framework:

Some questions I ask …

  • Whose business is it if so-and-so doesn’t like me?
  • Whose business am I in if I am trying to control how someone else sees the world?
  • Whose business am I in if I am trying to convince someone else they should be different?
  • Whose business is it what someone else says or feels? Don’t they have a right to make up their own mind?
  • How can we really know what’s best for someone else? If we think we do, who’s business are we in?
  • And so on …

This is a good mental exercise we can use to check ourselves whenever we are feeling stressed or upset by someone else’s actions or words.

Who are we to know what’s best for someone else? We absolutely can’t know. Even if they are “messing up,” don’t we owe it to them to let them make their own mistakes? 

How can we *really* prevent anyone from doing anything? We could certainly try, but in those moments, we are not in our business.

Aaaaaah! THIS IS SO, SO HARD. Isn’t it? And of course, we don’t get it 100% of the time, but it’s a great practice.

But Katie says that when we are actively inserting ourselves into someone else’s business, there’s no one there to look over ours. Our only job is to take care of our own stuff, and offer support, consideration and care to others when able, but also remembering that there’s POWER is allowing people to do what they’re going to do. That’s part of living a full life of choices, consequences, learning and growing.

I love this tool because it allows me to check myself when I find myself in someone else’s business.

I know this is ultimately about TRUST. And trusting MYSELF to be able to handle whatever happens, letting the chips fall, letting other people do what they’re going to do, be who they’re going to be, and relinquishing control over the things I don’t really have control over anyway.

Control is an illusion.

And when my sense of control inevitably falters, I have a choice: I can kick and scream and get miserable wishing it was different, people were different, life was different. OR, I can accept that I can never really know, and that all of my hardships and obstacles are segways to self-improvement. And I can focus on doing my best.

These are such hard lessons and I think the more we practice, the more we “get it.” And the more we get it, the easier it is to carve out a space of peace in an unpredictable, unknowable world. Staying in my own business is not easy. But wow, is it liberating!

You may ask why, at JillFit, we spend so much time on mindset. Besides, I do fitness and nutrition, don’t I? Of course, and I love it. But trying to insert yourself into some random fitness or nutrition plan without any consideration for mindset is a mistake. It’s a Band-Aid because ultimately mindset stuff is always ends up being a huge piece of the fat loss puzzle.

How we THINK about things determines how effective we are at DOING them.

So in a very real way, results begin in the mind. The “to-do’s” come later. I like to begin with the “to-think’s” :)

What do you think? Are you staying in your business? Or are you trying to control others and trying to control outcomes? Let me know on the JillFit Facebook page, and grab my #GetBetter Mindset Guide for more how-to’s and insights. Ox, Jill 

Stay tuned next week for Part II of Staying In Your Business :)

Some tweetables for you:

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/06/10/stay-in-your-business/

So, You Think You’re Not Good Enough?

If you’re like most women, you struggle with some insecurities and self-doubt. On some level, you don’t think you’re good enough.

Maybe you pepper your language with “shoulds” and apologize for being you, or maybe you preface everything with a, “I know I need to be better…” or maybe you self-judge constantly, saying something and then immediately following it up with an “I know that’s bad!” You edit, you censor, you second-guess, you put on the show of someone who has it all together, when on the inside you feel like a fraud.

I have felt like that many times, and I have talked in-depth about this with the JillFit Ambassadors, and though they are all smart, hardworking women kicking ass, they experience it too (check Lori’s post below). Of course they do. We all do.

One thing to remember: you are human. You can only do what you can do. You can only do your best. And guess what? That woman over there who you think “has it all?” She’s struggling to fit it all in too. She’s struggling with not feeling good enough, too. She thinks she can do better, too. She’s berating herself for not being able to be Superwoman, too.

WE ALL ARE.

And the biggest myth on the planet is that we can or SHOULD have it all together with zero struggle.

In fact, perpetuating the idea that you should be 12% body fat, while also being able to spend hours at the gym, while also raising the perfect family and get every single chore done, and sleep 8 hours a night and pretend like clean eating is effortless and be fun, and outgoing, and smart, and beautiful, and successful and independent and basically perfect IS THE BIGGEST LIE ON EARTH.

And yet, we feel this way, don’t we?

We don’t feel good enough.

We stress about not being able to do and be everything we think we SHOULD do and be. Often we blame other people, a demanding boss, long hours, a terrible commute, kids whose filled calendars have us running all over the place, zero time for ourselves, a never-ending list of errands and chores, “the media” for perpetuating unrealistic body images, photoshop for existing, a friend who’s life isn’t as busy as ours, the shitty gym we go, the fact that we have a “slow metabolism” or even the fact that our husband eats crap while we’re forced to resort to ridiculous dieting measures.

We like to point external blame for why we don’t feel good enough. It’s natural.

This is a toughie, but I am going to drop some tough love on you right now :)

The idea that you’re not good enough is COMING FROM YOU.

The idea that you suck is actually not a fact :) It’s rather your interpretation of life. It’s how you choose to see what’s going on. It’s the gap between where you are and where you think you SHOULD be (there’s that freaking word again!), and it’s you who’s perpetuating the idea that that gap means you suck.

The bottom line is that all any of us can do is our best. Last Sunday I ate an omelet with bacon, plus a side of bacon for breakfast and then a bottle of wine for dinner. I am not saying that’s healthy or anyone should follow my example–but I am saying that it was the best I could do that day.

Does that mean I am weak and undisciplined in general? No. Does it mean I’m off the bandwagon and I might as well throw in the towel? Nope. Does it mean that anyone who did not drink a bottle of wine for dinner is better than me? Of course not. All it means is that we are all doing our best. And the more mental energy we spend fighting OUR NATURAL WAY OF BEING, the more miserable we are and the less likely we are to be able to actually DO the things that will help us get better.

Honor who you are. Honor your process. And honor whatever shows up as “your best” today.

As for me? I got up Monday morning and killed legs with my training partner Tara. I went on two leisure walks with Jade and packed about a million boxes to move into my new home on Tuesday. BOOM. That’s a successful day in my opinion. No remorse. No guilt. No self-berating. Just moving on as quickly as possible.

GIVE YOURSELF THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT.

Self-perception is everything. It determines whether we feel motivated or discouraged. The way we see ourselves is completely subjective and the story we tell about who we are and what we are doing has the power to make or break our power.

One thing I love about the JillFit Ambassadors, besides that fact that they have been with me for years and make up my inner circle, is that all of them have reached this point mentally. They have all gained perspective and are pros at coaching other women to do the same. 

JillFit Ambassador Lori Musselman is a wife, a mom and a full-time fitness pro. I love her story of being good enough and learning to find ways around “the hectic life.” Her new Ultimate 6-Week Workout At Home Boot Camp just launched this week (20-min workouts you only need a set of dumbbells to do!), and it’s the solution that she and her many boot camp clients have used effectively to “fit it all in” and do their best. 

Enjoy this short guest post from Lori :)

 

Life.

It’s busy.  It doesn’t really seem to matter what time of the year – or day of the week – it’s busy.

Even as a fitness professional, it’s easy for me to think of so many reasons to skip my workout.

Mornings are a mad rush – in 45 minutes flats, the boys seem to tear through the house getting ready for school.  The house (kitchen) seems to get trashed.  “I’ll just clean this up, then I’ll work out”.

The kitchen gets cleaned up and I think “I should really check my email, write a blog, write client programs, write bootcamp workouts, network with local businesses, check in with my online coaching clients, then I’ll workout.”

I get some work done and it’s lunch time. “I’ll eat and then I’ll work out.”

Lunch is over and before I know it, its 3:30 and the boys are getting home from school.  And it’s time for home work, soccer practice and dinner prep.  “I can still work out, later.”

And then BOOM, it’s time for bed. And honestly, I’m too tired to work out for an hour.  “I guess I can work out tomorrow.”

Sound familiar?

It’s all too familiar these days.  Women have a lot of responsibilities and are also some of the most giving people on the earth.  We care so much for others that we often let our goals slide.

I get that.

Then there’s this little piece of us (at least for me) that starts feeling a bit guilty that we aren’t good enough to fit it all in.  Then we (I) feel the guilt shifting to anger – why do I have to do so much?  Why can’t I just make myself get to the gym to work out????

And really, why not be angry?  Fitness pros all over Facebook are telling us we must not want it bad enough or we’d be on the stair climber at the gym for an hour a day – oh, and  we need to lift weights too.  Go hard or go home, right?!  So instead, we just stay home.

I know this because I used to be that fitness professional.  Then I realized that missing out on soccer games, coaching soccer games, building my business and being a wife and friend were more important than that.  I realized that I needed to figure out a way to fit fitness into my ‘real life’.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Intensity Matters – As Jade Teta (fearless leader of Metabolic Effect) says, “More is not better; better is better.”  I designed my workouts to fit my lifestyle – 20 minutes (no more than 30), 4-5 days a week.  I workout as hard as I can during my workouts to maximize my time.  I call it Cardio-Infused Weight Training.
  • Fancy gadgets are fun but not necessary - I bought a set of DBs to workout with in my living room.  This has saved me both time and money.   Some mornings, depending what my workout is, I get the boys off to school and workout in my jammies.  I know, might sound a bit weird but I save time by not driving anywhere and let’s face it – I save time in the laundry room by skipping the workout clothesJ.
  • Sing – I can sing out loud and nobody cares what I sound like… well, sometimes the dog covers his ears or the boys close their doors but overall, I can just be me and not worry about anyone else.

After I figured this out for myself, I opened an all-women’s boot camp in Charlottesville.  We meet in the wee hours of the morning and get a quick, intense workout in.  It’s a huge success and the bootcampers are changing their body shape, losing inches and gaining confidence!  (Man, I love my job!)

I got to thinking that I might be onto something.

The result from all that thinking is that I want to share my strategy with as many busy women as I can.  I want to tell women everywhere that it’s OK to not workout out for hours.  It’s OK not to be hardcore.  I want to tell women that we can change our physique at home using our own bodies, a set of dumbbells and a good workout song.

With that said, I created “The Ultimate 6-Week Workout at Home Bootcamp” that I’m launching this week!  It’s written as a DIY program and includes my favorite workouts to build a physique at home but because I’m so excited about the workouts, I’m including a little sideline coaching, via Facebook and email. Registration closes June 8th and the program begins June 9th. Grab it! Questions? Email me.

MusselFit_Flat

I hope to see you ‘at Bootcamp’.

Xo, Lori

Some tweetables for you:

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/06/04/good-enough/

The Key to Breaking Your Food Obsession: Exposure

I am in the middle of launching my 4-Week Food Obsession Boot Camp, which begins this Sunday June 1st, and as I put the finishing touches on the content for the online course, I’m fully realizing the many factors that go into hyperawareness around food. And probably 90% of it is mindset work, with the last 10% being about actual physiological signals like hunger.

That being the case, that’s good news! Because it means that we have the power to change how we interact with food, since much of it starts in the brain.

Exposureisthekey

Awareness around food is great. In fact, it’s how we discern what’s healthy from what’s not, but awareness is also a spectrum. 

On one end, you have zero awareness. These are people who don’t know anything about healthy eating, don’t care to know and simply don’t focus on it at all. They will tell you, “I never think about food.” Which, might be good, except that since they have no education around healthy eating, they tend to grab whatever without thinking of the health or body composition consequences.

On the far other end, you have obsessive awareness, to the point that thinking about food in any/all capacities is at the forefront of your mind most minutes of the day:

What time is my next meal? How long has it been since I last ate? How many grams of protein have I eaten so far today? How many carbs do I have left in my “carb bank” for the rest of the day? Is this too many carbs? I wonder if I am in a caloric deficit or a caloric surplus today? How much water have I drank today? I don’t know if I’ll have enough protein to feel full at dinner? Where I am with my servings of veggies? Am I eating too much fruit? I really should stay away from dairy. Gluten, too, maybe, considering my neighbor just found out she’s gluten-intolerant. Maybe I am too? And on and on and on …

And my personal favs, a game I played for years —> Asks self on way home from work: What sweets and treats do I have at home? Which leads to two scenarios: Gosh, I hope I have the willpower to resist them tonight after dinner! I didn’t last night! OR, I don’t have any sweets at home, and gee, I deserve something something for the long, hard day I had–I’ll make a quick stop at the store! :(

I used to be super obsessed with everything having to do with food. I got a taste of nutrition education when I began training for my first fitness competition and I was immediately hooked.

Of course I was. It feels really, really good to be in control of your body, and being obsessive with food can feel like control.

Only, control is the opposite of trust. 

And when we start not trusting our process, our own bodies or even our inner voices when it comes to how we feel, look and think, we can get into trouble.

Learning about nutrition and then the excitement of implementing what we learn is fun. I get that, and I did that for many years, but the problem ended up being that after five years of reading everything under the sun and racking up more nutrition “rules” than I could even remember (never mind implement!), I was so confused that the only way I could feel in control was to monitor every single little thing regarding food, effectively letting it take over my life: obsessive awareness.

So how do you stop trying to control and begin to trust?

The answer is EXPOSURE.

Exposure to the precise foods that you are most scared of being around. Exposure to those illicit foods that go on the “don’t eat” list. Exposure to a week with no food prepped (figure it out!). Exposure to restaurant eating and ball parks and the movies and every single place you are scared of going because, “What will I do about food??”

Exposure is the fastest way to train yourself to make the best choice anywhere you end up. Exposure is the fastest way to remove the fear between you and certain foods. Exposure is the fastest way to dissipate the urgency of needing to EAT IT ALL RIGHT NOW UNTIL IT’S GONE BECAUSE COME MONDAY I WON’T BE ABLE TO EAT IT AGAIN.

No.

You can have any food at any time. It’s always available to you. Food is abundant. Even on Mondays. Even on the day you “start your diet.” Today, right this minute! Any food you want is a phone call, drive or recipe away.

This may seem counterintuitive, like “Jill, I thought we were supposed to clean our our pantries and just not have it around?” I get that. And I do think that’s the 1.0 version. But the 2.0 is eventually where we want to get: the goal is to be able to BE AROUND any food and not have it control you, yes? The key here is practice, isn’t it? And you don’t get any practice if you just say “out of sight, out of mind,” because the second it comes “in sight,” you won’t have a prayer of controlling yourself. In fact, the fastest way to assure that you WILL eat it all is to put on the “off-limit” list :)

Understanding and exposing yourself to the very foods you most fear and then learning to taste them and move on is the ultimate in control, right? It’s 100% TRUST in yourself to be discerning and make the best choice possible wherever you end up and then TRUSTING that it’s all just fucking fine. Seriously. Perspective.

The reason you can’t control your eating when you are around sweets and treats is because you have put them up on a pedestal, and then deprived yourself to the point that THEY control YOU.

When you allow yourself to be around the foods you fear, you start to learn that they are not scary. And you learn that eventually you really don’t need them. At all. Sure, there’s a ramp up period where you will probably eat them, overeat them, feel stress around them, but IT WON’T LAST. The reason it’s lasted this long is because you’ve sustained this crazy relationship with the food via deprivation. So of course the second you’re exposed to it, you overindulge.

But exposure creates normalcy. It brings perspective.

Which is all this is: perspective.

How you choose to see food, and then how you interact with it. Thinking you are going to gain 10 lbs with a single “wrong” food choice is not perspective. That’s insanity. But I don’t blame you for being scared of eating the wrong thing every minute–it’s what this industry and it’s endless “rules” have taught us.

But now’s the time to start unlearning all of which has made you incredibly scared up until now.

Food is not scary, and a single meal, day or even month does not make or break a physique for the long term. YOU HAVE PLENTY OF TIME TO FIGURE ALL THIS OUT. There’s no urgency. There are no wrong moves. There’s only lessons, gaining perspective over time and eventually trusting in yourself to handle it all.

I am excited to be teaching the exact tools and techniques I’ve used over the last 4 years to make this switch myself and help my clients in the upcoming 4-Week Food Obsession Boot Camp, which begins this Sunday June 1st. Registration closed on Saturday May 31st at midnight. All the details can be found here. I look forward to working with you :) Ox, Jill 

Some tweetables for you:

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/05/29/food-obsession/

Are You Unknowingly Holding Yourself Back? 5 Reasons We Fear Success

We’ve all heard of the fear of failure. Most of us experience this often, and it manifests in many ways: fear of rejection, fear of not making the cut, fear of not living up to our full potential, fear of exposing our flaws, being ridiculed, etc.

The fear of failure can keep us paralyzed in inaction. Scared to take risks, scared to put ourselves out there and scared of those who will challenge us. We get this.

But what about the fear of success?

This might seem counterintuitive. Like, why would someone fear something that has the potential to make them happy? Why would someone be scared of something they say they want?

This can manifest in many ways—and often this is subconscious by the way—fear of *finally* getting lean and healthy. Fear of leaving a relationship that we know is not serving us. Fear of being happy. Fear of leaving what we know. Our comfort zone.

Positive psychologist Tal Ben-Shahar says that there are 3 main components of perfectionism: fear of failure, rejection of painful emotions and rejection of success. A perfectionist will not act if they are not assured of a perfect outcome. No kinks, no challenges and smooth sailing. I’m sure you can guess how often that happens :) But holding onto a perfectionist attitude makes us inflexible, easily discouraged, forever-dissatisfied and ultimately paralyzed.

Though a fear of success is understandable, it’s also not serving you. If you say you want to be happy, make your dreams a reality, finally get lean and healthy or make any other change to your life, getting over yourself is paramount–said with much love and understanding, as always :)

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 12.44.43 PM

Here are 5 reasons you fear success:

1) You’re scared of any change.

You’ve heard of choosing “the devil you know over the devil you don’t?” The unknown is scary. This is why we see so many people staying in unhappy relationships, collecting paychecks in jobs they hate, or just doing what feels comfy and safe.

Also, as humans, we feel the fear of loss more acutely than we do the potential for gain. In other words, the promise of a new reality is less picture-able than losing our current reality. Our status quo is what we are used to, even if that status is one of failure or settling or not reaching our full potential. Continuing to choose our typical M.O. is also effortless. No growing pains, no expectations, no discomfort. All of that is actually fine (no judgment) … unlesssssss you are miserable or want more, which many do.

But the gap between wanting something and taking action to make it happen is enormous.

2) You can’t play the victim anymore.

A friend of mine texted me the other day after we had been going back and forth about some struggles she was dealing with, and she wrote, “I realized I am addicted to pain.”

Holy shit. How courageous do you have to be to admit that?? In other words, she realized that the miserable situations she found herself in were a result of her own need to be a victim. Those painful situations were serving her in some way.

It’s the easiest thing in the world to play the victim card—we get to gather pity, stay scared, play small and hold onto our insecurities. But with success comes ownership, doesn’t it? The more success we experience, the less able we are to complain and blame, because what’s there to complain about? Who’s to blame?

I know this sounds counterintuitive, but playing the victim feels good. On some level, we crave it. We like to be the one done wrong. We like to be the one who is struggling. It’s a form of attention, isn’t it? It’s martyrdom. It’s a crutch. It’s a distraction from the real issue, which is out ability (or inability) to take control of our own outcomes.

When we play the victim, we don’t need to worry about creating our life because others do that for us—life happens “to us.” We get to be innocent bystanders, casualties of others’ ill will and disregard. The only problem with deferring to others is that we don’t ever have a say in where we’re going or what we’re doing. Talk about powerless! Helplessness is a choice! Aaaaaah! Yes, it is.

And those who are successful rarely ever complain and blame. They take 100% responsibility, even when it’s scary, and they own their power. The gladly let the victim role go.

3) It means more responsibilities.

P. Diddy (or whatever he’s calling himself now) had something right when he said, “mo’ money, mo’ problems.” Only in this case, it’s mo’ success, mo’ problems. Or, at least more responsibilities. The bigger you get, the further there is to fall, right?

Once we achieve the certain level of success, there’s a pressure to continue to be successful—or at least maintain that level of success. Having success establishes a new “normal” where expectations (both self-imposed and from the outside) are higher. We are now “high performers” working consistently at a higher level. Aaaaaaaah, the stress!! Mess-ups are bigger and more visible! People expect stuff from us! We’re role models!

This is all true. But the biggest question to ask yourself is, “Isn’t that what I want?”

THIS IS A SELF-CONFIDENCE ISSUE: If I am scared that people are going to expect things from me or more people are going to be listening to what I’m saying, then on some level, I don’t believe I have anything of value to add.

On the other hand, if I see success as a platform with which I get that many more people exposed to a message I feel so freaking passionate about, then how is that a bad thing? I wake up every morning so fired up about my message, that I feel like I am DOING PEOPLE A DISSERVICE by not getting it out there! How selfish of me to hold myself back? Ha!

What do you think? Am I am egomaniac? :) But the alternative is never feeling like I have anything to offer and continuing to play at a small level, where my message gets contained and no one hears it. In my opinion, that’s way, waaaaaay worse. Because people need this shit.

4) More people will see “the real you.”

Exposure is scary! Because … what will they say? Will the judge me? Will they call me out? Tell me I’m a fraud? Challenge me? Hate on me?

In short: yep, they will. But that’s not the issue. THE WAY YOU HANDLE IT IS.

More success means more attention and more eyes on us, and that’s not comfy at first. Your friends and family don’t know what you’re doing or why you would take risks like that. People in the online space want to critique and assert themselves. There’s more potential for judgment and ridicule. And how do you handle that?

This is one of my go-to articles on how to handle nay-sayers (and I also wrote my own version here). But for me, my tool of choice is transparency—if I say it about myself first, then it lessens the impact of others. When I call myself out on my BS and admit that I, too, struggle, then what’s the worst thing someone can say? I’VE ALREADY SAID IT MYSELF. The only difference between you and someone hating on you is that you are putting it out there.

It’s easy to be a critic. It’s infinitely harder to be a creator.

5) You think you don’t deserve it.

This has to do with feeling like an impostor. We are scared that we are going to get found out. That if we have too much success, we’ll be exposed for the fraud we are. And by the way, who are we to think we can do this? Who are we to give advice? Who are we to start a business? Who are we to want more? Besides, we are just little ol’ us.

We don’t think we deserve success because we have an underlying feeling of insecurity and not being good enough. We’d gladly defer to others who are experts. “So-and-so is doing it so much better than me, why bother!” Or we don’t recognize how much of an expert we actually already are, because we are too busy gathering up enough credentials, certifications and experience to prove it—to ourselves most of all!

If you can’t get your own self-confidence on board in terms of your abilities, then you will never feel “ready” to be successful. But that’s the whole point. NO ONE EVER FEELS READY ENOUGH. And almost no one knows what they’re doing. But the ones who break through and seem to have both success AND confidence are the ones who simply took action. Action breeds confidence, and confidence breeds competency. It’s a feed-forward cycle.

creator So, what are the solutions? In summary, my top tools:

1) Build your resiliency (which you only do by trying and then failing, BTW!).

Resiliency is how you convince yourself to know that you can handle anything. The more times you fail and get up and try again, the more confidence you build and the more eventual wins you round up. Becoming resilient allows you to become successful, with a built-in safety net at the same time. Because the more resilient a person you are, the less scary success seems because you know that if that success vanishes, you can handle it and you can try again.

How to build resiliency? Take action. Jump. Figure it out along the way, and learn self-trust as you go.

2) Take 100% responsibility. For everything.

People who can handle success (and failure for that matter, since they are two sides of the same coin) are the ones who trust themselves fully. They don’t wait on other people to change or be different or take ownership because they know that those distractions are just a crutch. Your life, in this moment, is the culmination of all the choices you’ve made (consciously or not) up until this point. Your current situation is what is. You can own that (because who else will??) or you can kick and scream and play the victim, essentially nailing your own coffin.

When you take responsibility for your words, your actions—and even other people’s words and actions that affect you!—there is always a move to make, an action to take, an opportunity for ownership. So, the bottom line, stop complaining and blaming. And when you do, you come fully into your power. And who could NOT be successful when they see all the angles and feel empowered?

3) Be transparent and don’t pretend to have all the answers.

You’re human. Show people that. When you expose yourself first, the worst thing someone can say about you you’ve probably already called yourself (doesn’t mean it’s true, necessarily), but I find that transparency dissipates antagonism.

On the other hand, when you pretend you know it all, that’s the precise moment when someone’s going to swoop in and pull a status play because they want to bring you down a notch. Own your expertise, but also let them see you sweat. Doing both doesn’t make you less credible. In fact, it makes you more credible than ever because now you’re also relatable.

What do you gals think? Head over to the JillFit Facebook page and give me your $0.02. I’d love to hear where you are with all of this! Much love, Jill xo

Some tweetables for you:

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/05/21/fear-of-success/

5 Ways to Handle Envy & Jealousy Toward Others

OH MY this is a juicy topic! And I am so excited to discuss it!

See, over the last 2 weeks, I’ve been privy to about 5 different conversations all revolving around the concept of envy, specifically the feeling we get when we see someone we know being successful and the resulting feelings we experience of insignificance, frustration, defeat and helplessness.

EXAMPLES:

  • You see someone you know “getting in shape” while you yourself feel like you are struggling to just maintain your weight.
  • You see a friend of yours building an online business or starting a blog and getting lots of traction, and while you, too, are trying to do that, seeing her be successful makes you feel like you’re flailing and failing.
  • You catch wind of a friend who made a lot of money on a product launch or a job offer, and you think, “Gee, I wish I could make that kind of money,” and you begin to feel depressed.
  • You and your husband embark on a new diet together and 2 weeks in, he’s lost 15 lbs while you (who is putting much more into the process, AND making all of his meals I might add!) have not lost a pound.

Any of these ring familiar?

envy

These are certainly normal human reactions, it’s so super common, which is why I wanted to write on it. BUT, it can also sabotage your own efforts because we start to think things like, “Why even bother?” or “So-and-so is already doing it better than me, so I should just give up.” or “How come we are both doing the same things and yet I’m not having that kind of success? I must suck. Life is unfair!” etc etc.

When we think these things, do we feel MORE or LESS motivated?

Less, right? We want to throw in the towel. We feel overtaken. We feel like a failure.

Is envy the same as jealousy?

I think envy and jealousy are different, though often they are interchanged. I believe jealousy has a bit of a negative connotation. Like, we not only covet what the other person has but we also wish them to NOT be successful. This, IMO, is more ill-willed. While envy is straight-up wanting what someone else has—wishing them well, but also wanting the same luck/success/outcomes as them.

THIS IS AN EXTREMELY IMPORTANT DISTINCTION: We feel envy because we PERCEIVE that someone else’s circumstances are superior to ours. We choose to believe that they have what we want.

BUT.

Could we … simply want what we want? Could we choose to want our journey, as seemingly inferior as it is? Could we choose to be in our place doing our thing, racking up our own understand and fully experiencing our own path? Could we choose to WANT do things OUR way?

When we are clear, we know this. We know intellectually that we don’t want what another person has. We just want to feel the power of manifestation that we perceive that person has: “Gee, so-and-so just launched their business and they already have more Facebook Likes than I do, and I’ve been doing this for a year.”

Ugh.

I get this, totally. BUT. Could you instead think about the lessons that YOU are getting as a result of your process? Maybe you could look at what YOU actually want, and see that the way your friend is attaining success is not the way you want to do it.

I’ll give you an example from a friend of mine. She was frustrated because a friend of hers started an online fitness business after being inspired by my friend. The friend started her business after my friend began hers and in a matter of weeks racked up more fans and followers than my friend. There were feelings of betrayal, envy, frustrated and helplessness. So when she told me this story and told me that it “made her feel bad about herself,” I told her understood and then I asked, “What she’s doing in her business, is it the exact thing you want to be doing too? Is she doing what you want to do?” And her answer was, “No. Actually she’s getting so many fans from posting pictures of herself half-naked and that’s not my thing.” <—There’s your answer! You want the SUCCESS of the person, but you don’t actually want to be them. You want the outcome, but not the path they took, necessarily. You want to be you, don’t you? You want to do you and have success. Perfect. Now we are getting somewhere :)

I felt similar years ago when I was deep in my competition days. I would be in my “off-season” and I what I felt like at the time was fat as shit and stuffed into clothes, embarrassed to be seen in public, hiding behind baggies t-shirts, nevermind posting current pics, are you insane? And then I’d be watching (on Facebook, obviously) someone getting in shape for an upcoming show. I’d check out their bathroom mirror selfies, full-on abs popping and think, “Gah! My abs are flabs right now! I suck!” I never felt more insignificant and helpless in my life. I remember thinking, when I saw people “eating clean” every day and making it look effortless, “Gah! Whyyyyyy can’t I do that? I suck!” Again, I never felt smaller, fatter or less in control of my outcomes/life/success.

I don’t feel like that anymore about physique stuff. I’ve let my desire to be the leanest person on earth go. I prioritize liking myself and not stressing over everything else. I started finding ways to feel affirmed and worthy that didn’t revolve around my physique.

And I know what I’m about to say may sound kind of bitchy but in the interest of transparency and honesty, I want to share it. And it actually really helped me make the mental switch I needed to stop comparing myself and being miserable: I started PITYING people who were eating cold asparagus out of plastic baggies in their car. I stopped seeing it as disciplined and hardcore, and I started seeing it as a sad existence. I know they don’t feel that way, of course they don’t and shouldn’t, but that’s the whole point–this is 100% about your PERCEPTION. Neither of us are right by the way, but the perception that I chose, at the time, is what helped me feel more confidence and competent, and ultimately able to move on.

And I don’t feel envy when it comes to business either, though I had much less of that than in the physique realm. Some of my very best friends have 60k+ fans on Facebook. I love that. And I share their stuff (even though they don’t really need my help, obvi!), but I love what they’re doing, I support them however I can, and I don’t feel like their success has any bearing on my ability to succeed.

Why? Because this is my truth:

I DON’T EVER FEEL ENVIOUS BECAUSE I DONT WANT ANYONE’S EXPERIENCE BUT MINE.

That’s it.

I can separate someone else’s success from my potential success because I see that the two have zero to do with one another. This is what I consider an “abundance mindset”–there’s enough money, happiness and success to go around. In fact, the more I help, collaborate and praise others, the more my own insecurities fade and the more my own success blooms. It just is.

So my reality is that I choose this:

I want to do things MY way. I want to focus on MY passions. I want to feel 100% in line with my purpose at every turn and I certainly don’t want to have to be someone else to achieve some arbitrary success.

I once listened to an interview with Mark Cuban. The interviewer asked him if he could be anyone in the world, living or deceased, who would he choose? He said, “I’d be me.”

I agree with him. Because when you get down to it, when you take everuthing into account, when you really think about it … who’s better?? <—THIS is confidence.

And when it comes to envy and jealousy, I just don’t have it anymore because bottom line: I like me, and I want to be me. And I rest easy knowing that I consciously CHOOSE to be exactly where I am, doing exactly what I’m doing, even if that means I’m not currently attaining some perceived success that I should be. My journey is my own, and how can I regret that?

Can you say the same?

And if you do, does it make you self-centered? Does it make you arrogant to like yourself and want to be you?

Because I look at it 2 ways:

  1.  I can choose to see it as arrogant and self-centered, OR
  2. I can view NOT wanting to be me as a never-ending black hole of misery. Certainly wanting to be in someone else’s shoes does make me miserable, does it not? It makes me feel helpless and defeated.

#NoThanks!

Loving your reality and liking who you are is the answer. And so isn’t this a confidence problem then? I think it is. And the fastest way to build confidence is to TAKE ACTION.

Ultimately we feel envy because we feel out of own power. We feel like we can’t make things happen that we want to happen, and all the while—look over there!—someone else is making their dreams a relative. This contrast can feel debilitating.

And so, how do we get back in our power? We make moves. We take action. We get shit done (or as we say in my Best of You club, #GSD) :)

The fastest way to get back into your power is to take action.

So, in that way, can envy be useful??

My girl (and co-host at #createNYC) Amber Rae has a tool she uses with clients called, “The Envy Map,” and it’s a way to help you direct your focus and hone your purpose. If you see someone having success in an area that you, too, would like success, it might give you insight into a place you should move. It may actually HELP you to take action because you see an example of where to go.

I like that. Because I think the take-away is that envy without action is misery.

Do what you need to do to get back in your power. Because I don’t know about you, but once I start making moves, everything starts to flow. My confidence builds (“OMG, I can actually do this!!”) and with confidence comes our ability to DO more (competency). This is the Confidence-Compatency Loop, and it is a feed-forward cycle. Take action, gain affirmation, gain confidence, get more competent, do more, and on and on. But it starts with an initial action step:

Confidence-Competency Loop

How do you stop the constant comparison & start OWNING your own path?

5 Ways I’ve Managed It:

  1. Stop getting on Facebook and judging up every photo and status update. You’re only comparing your behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reel and it doesn’t serve you. It’s defeatist. And anything that anyone else is doing has absolutely nothing to do with what you can and will do. Byyyyyeeeee.
  2. Stop incessantly reading everyone else’s stuff. This just muddles your own path because now you start having considerations: “Gee, this person is putting up naked selfies to get fans, maybe I should do that??” No. This takes out OUT of your power and makes you feel like you have to be someone else to make progress. You don’t. And the more you own your unapologetic authenticity, the more realized you become.
  3. Stop giving a shit what other people are doing. Jade and I were talking about this exact thing the other day and he said, “You have to honestly stop giving a shit about anyone else.” Not in the human-to-human sense of course :) but in the sense that you realize that what other people are doing and their successes have NOTHING to do with what you’re doing and your own ability to succeed. Everyone’s good. And so are you.
  4. Take action. Just do something. Anything. There’s nothing more empowering that productivity. Don’t overthink this. Like Seth Godin says, “Just make more decisions.” Why? Because you either win or you learn. No downsides.
  5. Work to get over your “not-good-enough” stuff. We call this the NGE. We all have it. It’s our insecurities and they manifest differently for everyone. But so long as on the inside you feel unloved, unaffirmed, incapable, impotent and unsuccessful, no amount out outside feedback can change this. And likewise, you are even more susceptible to view other people’s successes a personal affront to your NGE. We see what we want to see. And if our bias (mostly this is unconscious by the way) is that we suck, then, whaddya know? We will search out and “see” those perfect scenarios to reinforce that self-view. We just will. We won’t see the good stuff. We can’t. We’ll only see the ways in which we are lacking, and we use other people and things “out there” to shine the light on our own NGE. This is why getting past feelings of envy and jealousy have more to do with the way you see yourself than anything anyone else is doing. Because remember, the gal who’s Facebook Likes you are envious of is just doing her thing. She’s good. It’s just that for you, she acts as a mirror into your own NGE. Like Byron Katie says, “Things don’t happen to you, they happen for you.” Daaaaaang. This struggle serves a purpose, and that’s ultimately to give you the opportunity to work on your own “stuff.”

I could go on and on and on about this stuff! IT IS SO FUCKING JUICY! :) But, as per usual, this blog is already too long, and I want to leave some insights for the 2.0 version! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please hit me up on the JillFit Facebook page with your own insights, questions, struggles and triumphs. Love, Jill

Some tweetables for you:

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/05/07/envy/

When Hardcore Turns Into Harmful

I realized something recently: I don’t want to work that hard.

See, I posted last week on Twitter the questions I often ask myself when it comes to nutrition. Instead of, “what foods will help me get lean?” and, “how can I lose 10 lbs by summer?” I ask things like:

  • How effortless does this feel?
  • How stressed am I eating like this?
  • Could I see myself eating like this a year from now? Forever?
  • How deprived do I feel?
  • How much willpower am I using?
  • Is this sustainable?
  • Am I obsessed with food or not?

In short, I am always asking: IS THIS EASY?

You might think, “But Jill, it’s not supposed to be easy. When you work hard, that’s when you get results.” We’ve all heard the famous quote: “If it were easy, everyone would do it.” And some would say you need to have discipline and sacrifice for your results.

And I get that.

In fact, I have been wondering a lot recently about the whole “hardcore” thing, and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t asked myself those same questions. I wonder, “Am I just taking the easy route? Am I too weak to give up the foods I want? Am I just trying to justify my way of doing things?”

In short, I realized that yes, yes I am.

I am taking the easy route. I am working to incorporate the foods I want. I am justifying my way of doing things—the way that has worked for me to maintain my physique these last 3 years.

I realized I am not hardcore.

I’m just not.

I don’t sacrifice anything. I’m not willing to put in the drudgery, the discipline, the sacrifice it would take to lose 10 lbs. I really don’t want it badly enough.

That’s the truth.

But I’ve also come to realize this: it’s totally fine and it actually works in my favor.

Why? Because see, over the last 3 years, I’ve realized that I really don’t like feeling dissatisfied with my physique. I don’t like feeling stressed over every bite of food that passes my lips. I don’t want to compromise my quality of life. And I definitely don’t want to stay obsessed with food.

140vs155

On the left: my leanest ever (140 lbs) vs. on the right: unfiltered April 2014 (155 lbs where I’ve stayed for 3 years)

Hardcore: Doing More Harm than Good?

The two photos above represent a 15-lb weight difference. On the left, I was killing myself–my feet where actually bleeding in this photo from all the cardio I was doing. On the right, current, unfiltered and effortless. Could I be leaner? Of course. Could I have more muscle or work to get my love handles down a bit? Sure.

BUT.

Buuuuuut, the mental EFFORT and physical TIME it would take for me to do that or to lose 15 lbs is too steep a jump. It’s too hardcore for me. It’s simply not worth it, for me. And to take it one step further, not only is it not worth the effort and time, for me (besides, is the goal to get to 0% body fat??) but IT WOULD ACTUALLY DO ME A DISSERVICE TO TRY. Why? Because it would make me more neurotic, more obsessed and a metabolism that’s even less likely to respond in the future.

And I’m not saying this is the case for everyone, but for many, especially those who write in to JillFit, “hardcore” causes more harm than good. It turns into body dysmorphia, food obsession, yo-yo dieting, regains, rebounds and a black-and-white approach to dieting that can be really, really hard to yank yourself out of.

When I was “hardcore,” I was also miserable. I had zero perspective and my self-worth was 100% reliant on my body fat % and if my abs were popping or not.

Holy shit. No. Nooooooooo.

For me, “hardcore” led to a metabolism that was less responsive than ever and a head that was more messed up than ever.

Because an “all-or-nothing” approach to eating always, ALWAYS ends up being … nothing. Doesn’t it? Hardcore is transient. It feels good to be hardcore when you are prepping for a show or doing a 21-day sugar detox or a weight loss challenge at work. You feel on top of the world! I know I did. But it inevitably doesn’t last. It can’t, simply because of the nature of deprivation. Feeling deprived leads to overindulgence, whether that happens this weekend, next month or in two years.

And so, my goal is actually NOT to lose 10 lbs. It’s to not feel deprived, ever. I WANT EASY. And if that makes me lazy, then so be it. I’m fine with that.

In our culture, we don’t appreciate easy. We think those who take the easy route are lazy, can’t “cut it” and are just making excuses for not getting results. And I agree, sometimes that is the case.

But.

On Willpower

But research on willpower—arguably the #1 predictor of success—reveals that those who find easier ways to do things are the most successful. They save their willpower by finding workarounds, shortcuts and lowering the activation energy it takes to do a thing. They also periodically recharge their willpower batteries by taking down-time and not going, going, going constantly. So if that’s the case, why on earth would we look for hard?? Why wouldn’t we instead take shortcuts and workarounds? Why wouldn’t we embrace self-acceptance and balance?

You might be saying, “Well geez Jill, must be nice for you! Of course you’re fine, you’re still fit!” :) 

I get that too. And yes, yes, I am. But I also worked on my balanced approach for THREE YEARS. I did that my building my willpower incrementally. Not white-knuckling my way through strict regimens. I actually threw myself a bone (finally!) and had the courage to not hold myself to a standard of “perfect.” I let “good enough” be good enough.

So, can willpower be built? You bet! It’s similar to a muscle that becomes strengthened as you work it. But that’s precisely why we don’t jump right to the cold-turkey mentality. It’s too big of a jump. You have to strengthen your willpower through the practice of mindfulness. One of the ways I strengthened my own willpower over time (so that everything is actually effortless at this point) was to start letting myself get a little hungry. I used to be scared to let myself get hungry because I thought if I did, I’d just say, “what the hell!” and proceed to eat with abandon. And often that was the case, because I wasn’t equipped with the mindfulness and willpower I needed to resist. But by slowly exposing myself to hunger AND THEN IN THOSE MOMENTS, staying mindful, I was able to feel hunger and not binge. And then over time, I began trusting myself more to handle any situation. Just because it was 4 hours (gasp!) instead of 3 between meals, I could still handle it and I didn’t need to immediately go home and clean out the cabinets in compensation.

The bottom line is that easy doesn’t mean no results. It means working your mental game to the point of effortlessness. It means training your mindset to be okay with a more moderate approach–never eating everything you want and never ever feeling completely deprived. THIS IS A PRACTICE. And by definition, when you practice something, you mess up. That’s how you get better.

And remember, “easy” doesn’t mean eating everything you want either.

Because that’s stressful as hell, too, isn’t it?

Easy is effortless. Easy is rolling with what’s in front of you. Easy is not stressing out when you are without your Tupperwares. Easy is not being afraid to get hungry because you know you can handle it. Easy is trusting yourself to do your best 100% of the time. It’s knowing that one misstep doesn’t inevitably turn you into a whale overnight. Easy is trusting that you can always turn things around at your very next meal.

How liberating!

If you were to ask my what my mission with JillFit is, it’s this: To help women break the crash dieting cycle and realize a black-and-white approach to eating does us a disservice in the long run. And by that definition, I am the anti-hardcore. Because hardcore is not sustainable.

Mondays

“Go hard or go home” always ends up going home.

We know this intuitively, don’t we? The harder we “diet,” the more of a rebound we experience later. The more foods we add to the “off limits” list, the more we want and crave them, and when willpower inevitably flounders, we dive headfirst into binging on them. And yet we still don’t learn our lesson. We don’t like the idea of taking the middle road. It’s too easy, and we don’t really believe we can get results with a more moderate approach. And that just sucks because I don’t know about you, but every time I’ve gone “hardcore” I ended up fatter later with a metabolism that’s less responsive.

So, what do you think? Could you begin to start overcoming your attachment to needing to be hardcore? Could you loosen the reigns on your need to be perfect? Could you try a more moderate approach where you don’t feel deprived but you also stay mindful, not eating everything you want, either? This is a practice! And it doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s also the only way to sustain results in my experience.

So next time you find yourself needing to “tighten up on my diet!” or “start on Monday!” remember, that’s the old way. Only unsuccessful people hold themselves to the standard of perfection and then start on Monday with “a new plan.” Start right now with a moderate choice. Taking the edge off earlier in the week will prevent the binging on the weekend. #Moderation365

You’ll know you have it mastered when you eat the same on Saturdays that you do on Mondays.

Good luck! Let me know what you think on the JillFit Facebook page! Where are you in your process? I’d love to know! :) Ox, Jill

Some tweetables for you:

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/04/25/hardcore-harmful/

Carb Rehab: “How Many Carbs Should I Eat?”

Been receiving a lot of inquires lately regarding carbs. We are confused about them, aren’t we? Some of us are scared of them. Others believe they are evil and are the sole cause of obesity. While others insist, we need carbs! Of course we do, especially if we want to gain muscle and have enough energy to push through our tough workouts. 

So which is it? Low carb? High carb? It depends? JILL, JUST TELL ME HOW MANY I SHOULD EAT!! :)

To answer the question of “How many carbs should I eat?” I brought in one of my suuuuper-knowledgable JillFit Ambassadors and Metabolic Effect-certified nutrition coach, Lauren Hight. As owner of “Once An Athlete, Always An Athlete” Lauren’s experience as a division 1 collegiate athlete and now as a working gal trying to stay lean and healthy, her credibility is absolute on the subject of carbs. Girl’s been through it all, and has finally figured out a unique system to help other women find their carb tolerance with her brand new “Carb Rehab” program, which begins on May 1st. I highly reco. 

But first! Enjoy this great guest post from Lauren on what she deems the ultimate guide to carb intake and she walks you through the process of how she figured it all out for herself. Take it away, Lauren :)

 

So excited to be here today and talking about carbs!  Let’s dive in, shall we?

How Athletes Eat

I believe there are two kinds of people in the world – those that eat carbs and those that do not.

As a former Division-1 collegiate athlete I am most certainly on team “carb eater”.  With crazy training schedules that had me burning several thousand calories a day, it was kind of a given that I needed loads of energy to perform my best.

This need for energy was a good excuse for constant “carb-up” dinners, sugar-laden sports drinks, bread and bagels as my primary fuel sources.

And add all this to the fact that I’d never met a carb I didn’t love – especially those of the bread, pasta, and French fry variety – it’s not surprising I’m a “carb eater”.

Carbs_imageby_builtlean.comImage courtesy of builtlean.com

How Normal People Eat

This love of carbs was never a problem for me during my athletic career; however I quickly realized as my athletic career came to a close that carbing-up wasn’t something Normal People did regularly.

Note: I define Normal People are those humans (fellow students at the time) who don’t train for 3 or more hours a day and live in the real world.

Being the scientist that I am (I got my PhD in chemistry – yeah that’s right! I’m a nerdy jock :)), I observed how Normal People ate less starchy carbs at each meal – NOT loads of carbs every meal in an “OMG!! The world is ending!!” fashion. <—what my teammates and I used to do

It wasn’t that Normal People didn’t eat carbs, though.  In fact, I guessed that most of them got probably 75% of their calories each day from carbs.  The difference was the total quantity – their diets were simply scaled down versions of mine and other athletes.

I thought about it, and it seemed to make sense at the time…well, from a pure caloric perspective at least.  No longer a student athlete, I was burning fewer calories a day so I needed to eat fewer calories.  Solution found.

My Carb Conundrum

So I scaled back my carb consumption. Instead of eating cereal and a bagel at breakfast, I just ate the bagel. At lunch, I opted for half a sandwich (maybe a tiny salad too if I felt like being “healthy”), and at dinner, I’d still eat pasta but a quarter pound instead of my normal half pound.

The problem with eating this way?  I was always hungry!!  For about 30 minutes after a meal, my stomach would be quiet, then I’d be ready to eat again.

Why was I suddenly so hungry all the time?  I wasn’t eating all that different than I had before, so what was up?

I didn’t realize it until later, but my problem was that I was eating the wrong kind of food for ME.

The whole situation – including resulting weight gain from my inability to suppress the overwhelming urge to eat more food – frustrated me so much that I went into scientist mode again (think it might be my default mode?? :D).

So I jumped into the literature to see if there was an answer out there to my problem.

THAT was the point when I started to understand the issue – I wasn’t eating the right amount of food or even the right types of food for my metabolism.

Getting a better handle on my problem made my search for a solution a little easier.  I took the helpful information I uncovered in my research together with advice from industry experts and did a little “experimenting” (on myself of course)

I kept what worked, chucked what didn’t, and boiled all my learnings down into: The Goldilocks Principle.

carbs

The Goldilocks Principle

The Goldilocks Principle states that systematic experimentation is required for one to find his/her carbohydrate tipping point.

Said another way, if you want to figure out how many carbs you need to eat each day, you’ve got to be patient, organized and willing try different combinations until you figure out what works.

If you’ve been around JillFit and Metabolic Effect for a while, you’re familiar with Metabolic Effect’s signature super power solution:  the “carbohydrate tipping point”, but in case you’re new here I’ll explain it real quick.

The carbohydrate tipping point is the amount of (starchy) carbs one eats in a day that will provide a) enough energy so that you can kill your workout, and b) an environment low enough in carbs for fat loss (if fat loss is your goal).

It can be veeeeeery tricky to figure out your carb tipping point, but this is where a little Carb Therapy and The Goldilocks Principle comes in to play.  Let me explain to you how I did it…

3 Steps of Carb Therapy

1. OBSERVE

Observation is a critical part of any experiment and of life in general, so I started this whole process by observing my habits.

I logged my food for a couple weeks – every morsel of food got recorded and every drop of liquid.  More importantly, I wanted to know how many carbs I was consuming on average every day, but it was good to know all the other stuff I was eating, too.

2. FOUNDATION FOOD

Now it was time to start making changes, but I decided it was best NOT to start with carbs.

Why?  Well seeing as how I ate mostly carbs at the time, it seemed like a really bad idea to eat fewer carbs without having something in mind to replace them.

This would have left me crazy hangry.   And hangry Lauren is scary Lauren….

What did I do instead?  I ate carbs like normal, but at every meal, I would first eat a serving of lean protein and leafy, green veggies.

Doing it this way meant I didn’t have to change up any of my carb habits yet; I was simply creating a food foundation for when I started to reduce carbs.

I kept this up for a couple weeks until I felt like I had a good food foundation and that I was ready for the next step.

3. THE GOLDILOCKS PRINCIPLE

Once I was ready to start changing up starchy carbs, I was ready to channel Goldilocks and start experimenting.

What was I experimenting with?

Well, first I experimented with the AMOUNT of carbs consumed each day.

It’s often a good idea to start with ~100g starchy carbs a day.  I ate this way for about a week, OBSERVED how I felt and if I was making progress towards your goals.

I asked myself – Is this too many carbs?  Is it too few carbs?  Or is it just right??

Since I wasn’t making progress on physique goals but my energy was good, I decreased carbs a little.  After spending a week in this range, it was time to observe again – Too many?  Too few?  Just right?

Continuing this process of observing and altering my carb intake led me to finding my carb tipping point, the right amount of carbs for me at the time.  Yay!

Once you think you have the right amount, you can also start looking at the TYPES of carbs you’re eating.  Change up the starchy carb source (fruits, starchy veggies, grains, etc), observe and decide whether or not those carbs work for you.

The final variable is WHEN carbs are consumed throughout the day.  If you’re trying to burn fat or build muscle, the timing aspect will be very important.  However, if you’re at a point where you’re just trying to maintain, don’t sweat this part.

Carb Freedom

The process of implementing The Goldilocks Principle to find my carb tipping point did take some time, a little over 5 months actually, so please please please – DON’T expect to find your tipping point overnight.

If you start the process with those expectations you’ll end up annoyed, frustrated, and possibly with your face in a bag of potato chips again… or maybe that’s just me… *cough cough*

Anyway, you should know though that patience TOTALLY pays off in the end because carbs are no longer ruling my life.

For example….

  • I don’t have wild energy swings any more – I feel great for the majority of the day.
  • No more carb comas after meals.
  • No more 3pm slump.
  • I’m not lightheaded during my workouts from lack of energy.
  • I’m not constantly starving!!!  YAYAYAYAYA!!!!

Eventually as my physique goals or stress levels change, I’ll need to go through this process to find my carb tipping point again, but I’m not worried about it.

You know why? Because this time around I’ll have my 3 steps of carb therapy and Goldilocks to guide me.

It also helps knowing that I’m not the only struggling with these kinds of things.  I regularly hear how difficult it is for people to figure out what they’re supposed to be eating, especially when it comes to carbs – former athletes included.

In fact, there are many things that can be tough for former athletes.  Navigating life after high level sports can be a scary thing!!

I love tackling topics like how to deal with NOT training 3-4 hours a day, how to cope with no longer being “an athlete” but still feeling like one, and as you’ve read here, how to stay on team “carb eater” without constantly carbing-up. :)

It’s my passion to help other ex-athletes with the transition to the “real world” and living like Normal People  (even though once you’ve been an athlete, you’re really always an athlete at heart).

<3 Lauren

Get the details of Lauren’s Carb Rehab program here. The program begins on May 1st, and spots are limited. If you are still struggling to find your perfect amount, then this is the program for you! Ox, Jill 

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/04/21/how-many-carbs/

Regaining Your Common Sense: Why Doing LESS Leads to a Leaner Physique

I used to think that the people who thought about food the most were the leanest.

I thought, it’s the people who aren’t conscious about food that end up eating everything in sight, unable to stop themselves.

I have to tell you–I am changing my tune on that. I think there’s a bell-shaped curve when it comes to conscientiousness around food.

In the last week alone, I received several emails from women with very similar stories: fairly lean and fit, expressing their need to lose 5 lbs and looking for tools to stop being so obsessed with food. I also fielded several questions on Twitter from people asking things like, “which is better: oat bran or oatmeal?” and “whey protein or rice protein at night?” and, “should my post-workout carb be berries or a banana?”

All perfectly acceptable and interesting questions. All completely justified inquiries.

BUT.

I can’t help but wonder if all these tiny stresses and inquiries and questions and constant anxiety about every bite of food that passes our lips adds up to one humongous stress that keeps us from ever getting results??

I wonder if all these minute stresses and the constant fear of messing up every second a) matters all that much when it comes down to actual sustainable results, and b) if the constant questioning and second-guessing and stressing is doing more harm than good?

I call this “Indecision Plateau” where you continue NOT getting results simply because you are THINKING ABOUT IT ALL WAY TOO HARD.

Want to know how I answer questions like these now?

I say: Do what will be sustainable first and foremost. What TASTES better to you: oat bran or oats? (the difference between the two is 30 cals and 2g of carb … WTF?)

I say: What will make you stress THE LEAST?

I say: What will be the most effortless path for you long-term?

I say: What do you actually enjoy?

I say: What if you actually just had the food you are so scared of having? Couldn’t you teach yourself how to build a better relationship with it, expose yourself to it, and move through the stress into ease?

I say: Could having a small bite of chocolate earlier in the day–though not perfect–keep you from eating more and worse crap later?

I say: Can you trust YOURSELF to not blow up the second you turn the anxiety mode off?

Aaaaaaah! This stuff is so freaking tough! I get that! And yet, when you take away all the justifications and what-if’s and stress about making a mistake every second, doesn’t it just come down to a choice? To learn and grow and give yourself the benefit of the doubt?

Easy

Jade turned me onto this insight, and this is exactly how I now see nutrition now:

“Before a man studies Zen, to him mountains are mountains and waters are waters; after he gets an insight into the truth of Zen through the instruction of a good master, mountains to him are not mountains and waters are not waters; but after this when he really attains to the abode of rest, mountains are once more mountains and waters are waters.”  (Essays in Zen Buddhism – First Series 24)

What does that mean?

It means, FIRST, before you really become interested in nutrition–maybe when you were younger–you don’t think about it, you just eat how you eat, and you don’t care to learn more. THEN, maybe you get a small insight or something catches your attention. At this point, your interest is piqued and you begin to look further. You learn some of the science and get excited about all the ways food affects your body and physique. At this point, it can become confusing because there are seemingly so many rules and moving parts that there’s an anxiety about it. Almost TOO MUCH consciousness, to the point that you may not even be able to get results. There’s a paralysis. THEN FINALLY, at some point, you take the chance. You take the risk to trust yourself a little more, and to just do your best and stay mindful but give up the need to be perfect, and all of a sudden … ahhhhhhh … liberation from the stress and anxiety about every single choice you make with your nutrition.

You take the long-view.

You realize that the difference between oat bran vs. oatmeal actually makes ZERO difference in your physique, and the only thing that really matters when choosing is: which one are you more likely to eat regularly?

You do your best.

You consider the YOU in the process. You actually ask: What can I see myself doing forever?

So could expecting less of yourself actually help you get faster, better results?

I think it can.

Why? Because imagine the mental space now available to you when you aren’t stressing about every tiny decision. Imagine focusing on 2-3 KEY behaviors that are the MOST IMPACTFUL for you. Imagine letting the rest of the chips fall and being okay with that. Could you?

I know what you’re thinking! “But Jill! I can’t let up my vigilance because it what keeps me on point!” (you may or may not use the word ‘vigilance’ ;))

Nope. It’s not what keeps you on point. Because YOU EAT THE SAME whether you stress the hell out or just do your best. The OUTCOME is the same. You still binge, you still think about calories and macros and cardio minutes constantly. You’re still miserable and obsessed. The relentless vigilance keeps you from achieving real, sustainable change.

Why?

Because focus is finite. And not all nutritional decisions carry the same weight.

Whether to eat brown or white rice is not nearly as important as getting at least 20g of lean protein at each meal in terms of impact overall. And yet, we give each consideration the same amount of mental space. Which often keeps us occupied and curious, but not achieving.

So how do you start this process?

Identify your 2-3 Daily Nutritional Commitments:

I don’t like to call these “rules” because that makes it feel like a job. And when I feel like it’s my job, it’s not effortless anymore!

“Daily nutritional commitments” are 2-3 high-impact, low effort behaviors that you’ll do every day without fail. These are actions that, for you, if implemented consistently, leaves you very little wiggle room to “mess up” or ”blow it.”  Why? Because they are behaviors that limit feelings of deprivation. They help us feel more satisfied and satiated. Thus, we don’t ever reach the point of needing to overindulge. Yours will be different than mine, because you are different  You need to take into account your unique metabolism, personal preferences and psychological sensitivities.

Mine? Here:

  1. Eat one huge #BAS every day, either at home or when dining out.
  2. Eat protein at every meal.
  3. Always keep a preemptive cheat (like a protein bar) in my purse.

That’s it. That’s all I commit to daily. It’s effortless and automatic and keeps me from ever getting into too much trouble.

And you know what? It feels good to let the rest of the chips fall and not have to stress over them! And ironically, when I give myself permission to NOT stress over every tiny nutritional consideration, it leaves me MORE mental space for things like: mindfulness, surfing the craving waves, reminding myself to have an abundance mindset around food so I don’t get “Food FOMO,” and actually HAVING THE WILLPOWER HANDY TO RESIST IN THOSE MOMENTS OF TEMPTATION.

Your ability to succeed is directly proportional to the amount of mental energy at your disposal. And guess what conserves mental energy? Not stressing about every single little nutritional choice.

Last Sunday, I ate a pack of bacon, a #BAS and a bottle of wine. That was it. Was it super fat-loss-friendly? No. Am I getting shredded because of it? Nope. But you know what, I don’t want to stress about it. And I don’t want to beat myself up over it. Do I eat like that every day? No way. But a day like that doesn’t make or break my physique.

My current physique is a result of my choices up until this point–all of them. Not last night’s binge. And my future physique rests on my future choices–all of them, collectively. Not the one time I drink a bottle of wine and skipped my workout.

Stressing over every single little nutritional consideration is keeping you from getting results. It is. It keeps you in a holding pattern where you never feel like you are “doing the right thing for your body.” Instead, could you trust the process? Do your best? Work to discover your 2-3 most impactful behaviors and just do those? That’s it. Focus there, and let your stress take a breather. Make that shit EASY on yourself! I guarantee it will be worth it :)

Let me know what you think on the JillFit Facebook page! Ox, Jill

Related: Jill’s #GetBetter Mindset Guide

Tweetables for you:

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/04/16/less/

11 Ways To Stop Doing Stuff You Hate

“Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.”  ~Gordon B. Hinckley

I grew up in an Irish Catholic family. To say you did things out of obligation or guilt is an understatement.

It was the only MO I really knew.

And it’s funny–when I first started working with my spiritual coach 3 years ago, we talked a lot about “the victim mindset” and though I never really identified with the desire to blame other people or things “out there,” I was constantly blaming myself. I was always defaulting to: it’s my fault. I’m the one that sucks. I’m no good. I deserve to go without. I’ll just put my own needs aside and suffer in silence.

My coach pointed out that what I was doing was not playing the victim role in the traditional sense, but I was indeed playing it–but dressed up in the guise of A MARTYR. Same manifestation, different outfit. In fact, I had an obsession with being the martyr. It was how I developed my sense of self-worth. I actually LIKED being the one suffering the most!

Huh?

Yes. Though of course it was never conscious on my part. In fact, I was outwardly COMPLAINING ABOUT IT. I was complaining about something I actually needed in order to feel worthy. Crazy, right?

A good example of this is people who claim to be “so busy” all the time. Really? Like they have no control over their schedule? Really? Let’s face it: in our culture, people wear their ‘busy” like a badge of honor. It’s like saying outwardly, “Omigod! I hate this! I’m soooooo busy! Please feel bad for me!” when inside, we actually LIKE IT. We LIKE to be the one suffering. We hold onto our suffering because it means we get to garner attention and pity from those around us. How many times have you heard people say, “Poor so-and-so, they work so hard!” or “Can you believe so-and-so? They never get any time for themselves, it’s a shame.”

It sucks to admit this, but … receiving condolences for our suffering feels good!

HOLY SHIT.

Does it???

Deep down, I think it does.

This isn’t conscious by the way. And of course, sometimes, SOMETIMES it can’t be helped. But it’s worth digging into yourself and asking some questions, like: Is this how I realize my self-worth? Is being the person who’s been done wrong important to me on some level? Does my playing the victim (or martyr) give me a sense of purpose?

There’s no judgment here. This was my MO for 29 years. I needed to suffer in order to feel adequate. No judgement, except that at the end of the day, I was miserable and not reaching my full potential because I was imprisoned by the thought that I needed to do shit I hated to feel worthy.

THIS IS REALLY HARD TO OVERCOME!

And frankly, I wouldn’t even consider it a bad thing unless you are unhappy. Because sorry, life is way too short to sit in misery. Life is way too short to do things out of obligation or guilt. Life is way too short to be scared of disappointing others or “stepping out of line.” THIS IS YOUR LIFE. It should be fun, exciting, scary, exhilarating, interesting and above all, a source of joy, not misery.

Smiling's my favorite

Life’s too short to sit in misery

So how to do you break the cycle of doing things you don’t want to do? Here are the 11 truths and insights that helped me take responsibility for my own happiness and let the chips fall in order to feel fulfilled:

1) Realize you are going to disappoint people. My girl Amber Rae said this in our webinar last week: “You can’t move fully into adulthood without disappointing someone, and once you realize that, you have to just come to grips with it, because what’s worse is disappointing yourself by not trying.” Holy shit yes.

2) Quit trying to manage other people’s responses. There’s never going to be enough maneuvering, acquiescing, appeasing or pleasing you can do to control what people will do and say as a result of you just existing. And trying to control how people see you only makes YOU miserable. Quitting your misery is largely about not getting wrapped up in responses, but instead simply doing what’s in your heart. How could you ever regret that?

3) Realize your worthiness is all in your perception. If my perception of the world is that I need to be the business person on the planet to feel deserving, then that’s what I will do. I will hustle and bustle and kill myself to earn that title. BUT instead, if my perception is that I am still worthy AND I can make an impact AND I can still help people when I’m NOT as busy, then I’m okay with being not as busy. I remember Jade saying to me years ago, “I hate when people complain about how busy they are, it seems so self-important. I can’t wait for someone to ask me, ‘How you been? Been busy?’ and I can say, ‘Nah, not busy at all, just relaxing.’” Ha! I love that. And if you follow me on Instagram, you know that I prioritize downtime like crazy because I know the more rest time I take, the more productive I’ll be when I sit down to work. It’s an infallible system. In fact, I like being lazy. #RestBasedLiving

4) Prioritize making a difference over making a living. When you’re passionate and doing the things that bring you joy, you will do whatever it takes to become an expert. You will eat up every piece of knowledge you can get your hands on, you will work tirelessly, you will wake up feeling excited about what you’re doing. And how can someone like that not become an expert? And how can an expert not eventually make a living? Passion first, monetary gain next. Whereas the opposite is not necessarily true. Following a path that will bring in money has no guarantee to bringing happiness. In fact, it usually doesn’t.

5) Find other ways to feel deserving. Seriously. Suffering or being the hardest working person on earth isn’t the only way (nor the recommended way) to realize a sense of worthiness. How about your skills? Your knowledge and intellect? Your education? Your ability to write or express yourself? The fact that you’re an amazing mom? You’re a caring sister, daughter, niece, granddaughter? You’re a loyal friend and a supportive confidante. You’re working hard on your fitness and nutrition. You’re healthy, strong and you kick ass in the gym. Seriously. There are so many other ways to feel good about yourself. Find and internalize those things too :)

6) Ask what message you’re putting out in the world. Sorry, but no one likes (what Jade calls) a “Sad Sack Sammy.” People who are always complaining and blaming bring down everyone around them. They are energy vampires. You know these people! So ask, what kind of energy am I bringing into the world? A good reminder!

7) No one has to approve of your choices except you. Is this your life, or someone else’s? This is hard, right? Because we want those closest to us to approve of our choices. We want them to be proud of us. Of course we do. But I’ve worked with women in their 50s who are still falling all over themselves to make their mothers happy. A noble task which is all fine and good, except when it makes us miserable. Because remember, we are the ones who need to live with the life we’ve created; no one else. This goes back to #1 above. Do you, and see what happens.

8) Never delay joy. I read this on a bumper sticker once and all I could think of was YESSSSSSSS. No shit! I don’t see the value in being miserable anymore. I don’t believe it’s heroic to suffer in silence. In fact, I think it’s a copout. I think it’s a crutch we use to keep us small and scared and safe. It’s a story we tell ourselves about how we “need to be” in order to be valued. And it’s a lie. Delaying joy is not honorable, it’s cowardice. It’s being fearful of realizing our full potential. And while I get that the ramifications can be scary, the idea that we need to suffer to achieve is completely backwards. Ask yourself, do you have the courage to fully realize your bliss?

9) Self-trust is everything. I’ve talked about this a lot. Self-trust is your ability to show up in your life 100% authentically and let the chips fall. It’s the ability to TRUST YOURSELF to handle whatever comes about as a result of your taking action to realize your joy. People will do what they do. They will say what they say. YOUR only job is to follow your path. The path of greatest happiness and personal fulfillment. If you can’t rely on yourself, who can you rely on? Self-trust is the last frontier to realizing your full potential.

10) Go to worst-case scenario. What if you only did things that brought you joy? What if you followed your passion 100%? Would you … run out of money? Get blowback from family and friends? Be thought a lazy, naive dreamer? WHO CARES. When I started JillFit, and began modeling and competing, many people in my life at the time didn’t get it. They thought it was weird/unable to bring in money/a pipe dream/a waste of time, etc, and I heard all of that. And though it hurt and I struggled with it, ultimately I had no choice but to do what I loved, regardless. And wasn’t it funny that the same people who were hating and expressing “concern” months earlier ended up approaching me for help with their eating and exercise 6 months later! Remember, YOU need to believe in you first. And everyone else will come along. Worst case, you have no support. So what. Are you going to let that keep you from moving forward with what you feel compelled to do?

11) Take freaking action. Finally, you have to actually DO. Sitting here and rehearsing the things you’ll say and rationalizing why you do what you do is all fine and well, but the rubber ONLY meets the road when you take action. Of course, awareness and insights are great, but the experiential part–actually ACTING on what you know–is always the hardest. So. Consider this my invitation for you to DO something to start realizing your full potential. Consider this THE BIGASS SIGN you’ve been waiting for to DO what you want. To give up the considerations, expectations and obligations of others and actually do what’s in your heart. Because what’s worse than disappointing others is never taking action to do what you love.

It’s time to quit doing shit you hate.

You know this, and there’s no excuse for it in 2014. Find workarounds. Look for other options. Ask for help. Reach out and make connections. Decisions that seem so “impossible,” I guarantee you are way more feasible than you ever thought. But first comes your belief that it’s a possibility.

Good luck and let me know how you do! Ox, Jill

Ready to hash out all this juicy stuff with me IRL? I have a small amount of spots left at my #CreateNYC retreat on Saturday May 24th in NYC! Grab your spot here! We are going to really get into this stuff, uncovering all of the juiciness and introspecting on how to get better moving forward, learn, grow and come alive from the inside. Going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Let me know if you have questions and hope to see you there!

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/04/09/stuff-you-hate/

A Thousand Things It’s Not My Job To Do

You ever feel like you just need to tell someone off?

You feel like you just NEED this person to KNOW how you feel about something? Because it’s THAT important to you. They need to hear YOUR truth. It’s THAT urgent for your own sense of peace.

I felt that way recently. And I want to share the story with you because the experience was so instructive for me.

jill_coleman_20101008_by_justjohnryan_048

I actually didn’t want to tell the person off. I had actually already gone through my angry phase with the person and was now at a place of wanting closure and wanting to offer my forgiveness. It was important to me to reach out to let them know that I was okay. I wanted them to know that I forgave them (even though they never apologized) for a situation we ended up in together, and that I considered everything that happened between us water under the bridge.

Before approaching them, I thought, this will be good for them–they’ll appreciate my graciousness and be happy that I was fine after a perceived “betrayal.” E.g. my “hurt” as a result of their actions.

I emailed the person, told them how I felt and that I was actually grateful for the experience (even though it was painful at the time) because it helped me grow as a person. I forgave them. Wished them the best.

Afterwards, I was feeling preeeeeetty good about myself. Look at me! Taking the high road! I’m so generous! Lol. *pats self on back*

Until I got the response.

It was the most anticlimactic thing on earth; basically something like, “Gee, I’m happy for you, Jill. Never meant to hurt you but what are you gonna to do? That’s life.”

Huh?

Where was the acknowledgement of my good deed?? Where was the appreciation for my forgiveness?? The relief? Where was the gratitude??

So telling, right? THIS PERSON WAS FINE. THEYWEREFINE.

It was me who was having the problem! I was the one with the issue! It was my own hurt and insecurity and sense of “being done wrong” that was causing me the misery and the need to reach out. THEY WERE GOOD. Of course they were!

Why? Because my “stuff” has nothing to do with other people. Other people are there to help ME grow. This entire situation was about me, and MY process.

My spiritual coach said to me after, a variation of: “You’ll know that you’ve ACTUALLY let it go when you don’t even feel the tiniest inkling to reach out. You handle it all internally, working on you, and realizing that people will do what they do, and these are ‘practice’ opportunities for you to do the work on yourself. It’s also not your business to ‘let them off the hook.’ You did that for you.”

YES! Holy shit. He was so right! AND HOW INCREDIBLY ARROGANT WAS THIS ENTIRE SITUATION?? Me *bestowing* my unsolicited forgiveness. Really?

But here’s the thing…

If I had to go back, I wouldn’t change my actions–though admittedly, writing it out here is embarrassing as hell :) I wouldn’t change what I did because I owe it to my own personal development to have the experience. Without the experience, how can I come to the realization that yes, it really is all about me? That I indeed have the power to set myself free. Without taking action and doing what’s in my heart in the moment, how can I get the lessons? I can’t. Because, now I know. Now I understand. Now I have the insight. And though it’s hard, I try not to judge myself and instead realize that I’m doing the best I can, and all I can do in any situation is introspect.

It is embarrassing looking back now? Hell yes! Was it a zen move on my part? Nope. BUT. This is REAL LIFE. This is normal human shit. We all do it. So now, all I can do is choose self-compassion and to learn the lesson the hard way (aka the only way!), by going inside.

So instructive! And so now I know…

Things it’s not my job to do:

  • Forgive people (what’s there to forgive? I really need to forgive MYSELF)
  • Set them straight
  • Give them advice and hold out hope that it’ll be taken, then take it personally when it’s not
  • Try to control the outcomes/words/actions of others
  • Prevent them from messing up (is it even a “mess up” to them? Or only in my eyes?)
  • Need others to “get” or understand me
  • Control the emotions of others
  • Understand why people do what they do (they do it whether I understand it or not!)
  • Expect people to do what I’d do
  • Coach/discipline/reprimand people for acting a way I don’t agree with (how arrogant to think I know better!)
  • Ever “master” this (because how could I possibly? The lessons always come)
  • And a thousand other things that are 100% out of my control and not my business to “fix”

My only job is to follow my path. And I can never control where it takes me. So I practice being open to outcomes, not attached to them.

People come into my life, they help me get the lessons if I choose. It will NEVER be smooth sailing, but that’s not the point. The way I see it, the point of this life is to navigate the best you can and then look inside when those negative emotions (anger, sadness, frustration, annoyance, etc) pop up. To introspect the best you can when you encounter challenges and find a way to carve out a piece of peace and understanding. And those things can never come from someone else.

I can never feel enough love, affirmation and approval from someone else if I don’t feel loved, affirmed and approved of all on my own. My worthiness is innate. And my only practice is remembering that :)

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”  ~Rumi

Ready to hash out all this juicy stuff with me IRL? I have a small amount of spots left at my #CreateNYC retreat on Saturday May 24th in NYC! Grab your spot here! We are going to really get into this stuff, uncovering all of the juiciness and introspecting on how to get better moving forward, learn, grow and come alive from the inside. Going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Let me know if you have questions and hope to see you there!

 

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/04/05/job/

What I’ve Learned in 5 Years of Marriage (and How I Still Don’t Know Anything)

Two weeks ago, I launched my most honest and open project yet–the #GetBetter Mindset Guide. In it, I address not only many of the psychological and mindset topics we discuss often here at JillFit, but quite a bit on the topic of relationships–both with ourselves and interacting with our closest family and friends.

It was a timely project considering so many of you have been asking for tools on how to train mindset to make better choices–with nutrition, exercise and personal happiness. In short, you understand that a better brain leads to a better body. It all works together, and lasting change begins with your attitude and how you CHOOSE to perceive the world. Likewise, this week Jade and I are celebrating our 5 year anniversary :)

Five years is not a long time.

And in a sense, the time has flown by and at other times, I don’t remember my life before this relationship. Over that time, we’ve built Metabolic Effect and JillFit into international companies, dabbled in multiple new business ventures, launched dozens of new projects and programs, hosted events, coached hundreds of clients and created a life we love. And business is all fine and good. It’s our passion. But, our romantic relationship is separate, and though it can be really, REALLY hard to separate it from our business relationship, we try our hardest to do that.

And we are still learning every single day.

This blog contains my own insights gleaned from my own experience and coaching dozens of women on this stuff over the last few years. Relationships are personal things. You have your own values, and things you deem important that may or may not be in line with mine. That’s fine. That’s perfect. I encourage you to introspect there if you never have. Besides being a lot of fun, it helps you piece together your own understanding of what makes you happy in a relationship.

Jill and Jade dating 2006Dating in 2006

Allow Your Partner to Change and Grow (and Honor Your Own Growth)

A relationship is a dynamic thing. The idea that both us and our partner remain the same, with the same goals, values and interests as when we married is absurd. And yet, often we cling to how things “should” be or what they’re “supposed to be” or what we “thought they’d be” at the time we married. This is shortsighted. Holding tightly to some ideal framework of what we think a relationship should look like can hold us back from growth. And it can also sabotage our relationships success. And it can make us miserable.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life in general is that shit changes. And learning to ebb and flow with those changes and move with your partner in whatever direction they need to go in, while also honoring the way you need to go, is critical.

Relationships are both easy and hard.

Relationships are both about you, and not about you.

Relationships are both about compromise, and about honoring your own needs.

Relationships are both about honesty, but also about kindness.

Relationships are about letting the other person see all of you, all of your rough edges, and letting the chips fall because the alternative is trying to put on a show of who you think you need to be in order to be loved and accepted.

I Look Forward to the Endless Lessons

Jade is my greatest teacher.

That is 100% my truth. I love him for who he is in the world. He’s a possibility creator for so many people. He brings them up, he makes them laugh, he makes them believe they can do anything and he is one of the most generous people I’ve ever met. Is he perfect? Nope. And neither am I. And the beautiful thing about any romantic relationship is that the “imperfections” are what actually make the relationship perfect. To me, when Jade is doing exactly what he needs to do for him, I’m happy. I also want to do exactly what I need to do for me, and as a team, we try to support and honor that 100%. It’s not always easy, right? Besides, sometimes we want people to act differently than they do. Of course we do! It’s human nature. But when Jade is doing what I want him to do, in that moment, he is not honoring his own needs.

And what is love if not wanting and pushing the other person to DO and BE exactly who they are?

And when I resist or get frustrated or don’t understand or feel insecure or get mad/sad/confused, etc, in those moments, I’m getting my buttons pushed. Not because Jade wants to push my buttons. Not because he’s unkind or inconsiderate. Simply because he’s him. And I love that and want that! And button-pushing is the greatest way FOR ME to learn a) about him and b) about myself, and c) about how to be better in a partnership.

So in that way, getting my buttons pushed is a gift, isn’t it? It’s an opportunity, a lesson. Hence, he’s my greatest teacher and I’m his. How lucky am I? How is this a bad thing? So when I look at my relationship in this light, how can I NOT look forward to the challenges? Jade and I talk about this often–the idea that getting the lessons, for us, even though sometimes painful and scary is more valuable than taking the seemingly easier route of denying, deluding, oppressing, pretending, and waking up years later wondering where the communication broke down.

Time Millionaires 2013Celebrating after a successful Time Millionaires retreat in 2013

Honesty, Appreciation and Benefit of the Doubt

Over the last few weeks, writing the #GetBetter Guide and introspecting a lot on my own relationships, I came to three keys that for me, have been pivotal in continuing to build a happy, healthy and stable relationship. Those are:

  • Honesty (with each other and ourselves)
  • Appreciation or gratitude for the other person
  • Giving the benefit of the doubt, realizing that our partner is only human, and they are also entitled to their very own way of doing things

Honesty:

Though we always hear about this, it can feel so cliche and esoteric. People always say, “You need to be honest” but until you actually think about it and perhaps even experience the ramifications of dishonesty, you don’t really get it.

Often, it feels easier to just tell small white lies or lies of omission, seemingly to “spare the person’s feelings” or “keep the peace” or “put our own needs aside.” It feels easier to just smooth things over. To avoid conflict.

The problem with this way of doing things is that it eventually breaks down the trust within the relationship and it instead builds a relationship based on facades designed to appease one another, rather than to actually get our needs met. And the result is often bitterness, resentment and cruelty towards the other person, when really the issue began the second we decided the other person couldn’t handle our truth, or we couldn’t handle their emotions/response as a result of our truth. We’re scared of outcomes: What if they leave us? What if they decide we’re not worth the effort? It seems like such a lot of work to navigate the truth! It’s going to be painful and risky! It feels too vulnerable!

I get that completely. But imagine the liberation you’d feel in knowing you could say exactly what you feel without the worry of what the other person is going to think/say/do as a result. It’s still scary and there are no guarantees that they won’t leave or get upset, but the alternative is building a relationship based on half-truths and pretense. And in my experience, the more truths you tell, the less the negative reaction of the other person. It just becomes “the normal way of interacting” and there’s less to be scared of. It’s just how you operate as a couple.

BTW, a great read on why honesty is SUCH an important thing for any relationship is the quickie read ‘Lying’ by Sam Harris. Loved it so much. Highly reco.

Appreciation:

Everyone wants this, don’t they? To feel loved, appreciated, recognized and supported. We want it, so why wouldn’t our partners? Finding things to feel grateful about in our relationships and recognizing the things we love about our partner is such a game-changer. It immediately changes our perspective, and as a result, the way we interact with them.

The scariest thing about showing appreciation and often why we don’t do it as much as maybe we should is because it can feel like a resignation. It can feel like it’s taking away from our own contributions (“I’m doing a good job, too, aren’t I??”). It can feel like condoning the other person’s behavior in all ways, and when we have ideas about how they “should” be different to please us, showing them appreciation can feel like an affirmation to keep doing the things we don’t want. I know this sounds counterintuitive, and if you are with me at this point on our woo-woo journey, then awesome. But the bottom line is that often our egos don’t allow us to show gratitude. This is a play for “status”–per David Rock’s “SCARF Model: The 5 Needs of the Human Brain” from his book, ‘Your Brain at Work.’

Can you relate to this? Our insecurities can keep us from showing the other person appreciation and support because it can feel scary and uncertain. If we give our stamp of approval on “allowing” them to do something, it’s essentially giving up control. But isn’t that the whole point of love? NOT trying to control? Letting the other person do exactly what they need to do for them, even if what it may mean for us is scary?? Aaaaaaah! But, yes! Because the alternative is trying to control the other person, which never works!

Gratitude does two things: a) it changes YOUR perception so you can feel more fulfilled and at peace, and b) it helps the other person feel loved, acknowledged and fulfilled to know that their efforts are recognized.

And when you think about it that way, how can you NOT feel like you want to give your life partner, your friend, your lover, your favorite person on earth some warm fuzzies?? :)

Benefit of the doubt:

I asked my readers to email me their #1 (only one!) best relationship lesson. I received hundreds of responses, from all different women–some married for 30+ years, some divorced multiple times, some young, some older, some newlyweds, some single. The insights made me laugh, cry and warmed my heart!

One thing that came up over and over again was a variation of: “realize your partner is human and let them be themselves, while you be yourself.” In other words, give your partner (and yourself!) the benefit of the doubt. Realize that people will always do what they do, and sometimes those actions can come across to us (based on our own insecurities) as cruel or inconsiderate or strange or scary. But ultimately, they’re just them being them. Trust in the knowledge that they love you. Trust that even if you feel those negative emotions, chances are they are not doing anything to purposely hurt or disrespect you.

People are human. And building a deep connection with another person requires our ability to throw them a bone! Allow them to be who they are, and for us to also show ourselves compassion. And realize that shit, we don’t have it all figured out either! I’m sitting here writing this blog feeling like the biggest fraud on earth! But I need to give MYSELF the benefit of the doubt and go, you know, I don’t know everything, but chances are I know a few things, one of which might be able to help someone. And so I feel a deep obligation to write this post. Even though I have so, so much more to learn. It is what it is :)

Your Perception is Your Greatest Tool

Five years is not a long time, relatively. I had Judy A., married for 30 years tell me to “keep courting/dating your spouse. That’s it. We “date” each other, doesn’t matter if it’s a coffee date, a walk, or a fancy dinner. We date, alone.” I love that. This stuff, although personal, is also universal. We can “get” all of these lessons and insights.

Who can’t relate to this stuff? We have our own unique experiences and insights. But so much of these lessons can be extrapolated. That’s why I love personal development. You can do it, all on your own, and as a result enrich all of your relationships. Why? Because YOUR perception matters. It has the power to change everything. For example, if I believe (my chosen perception) that giving my spouse space and time to do what he needs to for him, then I never have to feel threatened or worry when he does, in fact, do what he needs to do for himself. How liberating.

Our perception is our greatest tool.

And how we CHOOSE to see other people, their actions, their words is 100% up to us. Feeling “hurt” or “betrayed” or “done wrong” or “regretful” are all choices we make. Can they be painful? Absolutely. But ultimately–and man, is it hard!–we can choose to actually just … be okay. We actually can just choose to … accept. We really can choose to just let things go, and realize that our partners will do what they do, and no amount of kicking, screaming, silent treatment, huffing or puffing will change that in the end. And it shouldn’t. What good is even being in a relationship if it doesn’t ENHANCE our own journey?

I love Jade. But he doesn’t complete me. I’m complete and worthy on my own. My worthiness doesn’t depend on my relationship. My happiness doesn’t depend on Jade making me happy. Instead, my relationship with Jade enriches my life, enhances my experiences because I have someone I love to share the ups and downs with. My relationship helps me grow, it challenges me to do better, it pushes me to introspect and learn to be more loving, emphatic, selfless and understanding. And that’s awesome, and it really all boils down to perception. I choose to SEE my relationship as tool to push me to my highest self. Jade doesn’t need to do or say anything. He just has to be himself. And I get to learn if I choose to.

Byron Katie says, “It only takes one person to end a war.” And I love that so much, because it reinforces that we don’t ever need to wait on another person to be happy. We can choose our reality right now. We can CHOOSE to find gratitude in situations. We can CHOOSE to give people (and ourselves!) the benefit of the doubt. We can CHOOSE to find the bright spots in situations. And you know what? We can always CHOOSE to move somewhere else. How amazing is that!

As per usual, this post went way, super long :) but if you are still here reading, I’d love to share with you some of the responses to my email last week, asking for feedback. Go here to access some great insights and testimonials from JillFit readers.

YOU GALS ARE THE BEST. I seriously can’t believe how lucky I am sometimes to be able to carve out this tiny little space online to share my thoughts. I appreciate all of you who read all the blogs and interact on the JillFit Facebook page to help create a community of likeminded women who want more. Better brains, better bodies and more personal growth. I am so, so grateful FOR YOU! Let me know what you think of this post on our page! Oxox, Jill 

Some tweet ables for you:

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/03/31/relationships/

#LiftWeightsFaster Workout: 10-Min Full Body Circuit For Fat Loss

Considering today is the liggity LAST DAY of the #LiftWeightsFaster program launch (and the last chance to secure my THREE free JIllFit bonuses), and I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the actual workouts, I wanted to give you gals a chance to try one of Jen’s workouts on your own.

This workout called, “The Up Down Get-Around” was yanked straight from the #LiftWeightsFaster Workout Manual and is one of 130 workouts in the guide! ALL of the workouts are 30 minutes or less, which rocks for you busy ladies, and this one just happens to be about 10 minutes!

The following is a guest post from Jen herself! Enjoy, and let me know if you have any questions! And remember, today is the last day to grab the JillFit bonuses with Jen’s program. Get it all here.

 

The Up Down Get-Around

Jill Coleman loves to dance.

She goes high, whereas the other dance-loving friend in our trio, Neghar Fonooni, goes low. What do I mean by that, exactly?

Jill raises her hands high above her head and shakes her shoulders to and fro. It is her signature move.

Meanwhile, Neghar stretches her hands down and out to the sides, also shaking her shoulders vigorously.

It is a sight to behold, and it happens often. And, I’m pleased to say a snippet of this action made it into my wedding video.

dancefaster

With this in mind, I thought it supremely appropriate that I share a workout called the “Up Down Get-Around” out of my new (and mammoth!) conditioning library, Lift Weights Faster.

Below, I’ve laid out a quick, effective and enjoyable circuit called “The Up Down Get-Around” that requires only a couple of dumbbells and the willingness to jump around. (I yanked this baby straight out of my brand-new Lift Weights Faster conditioning manual just for you guys!)

 

The Up Down Get-Around Workout

Theme: Because You’re a Dancin’ Fool!

Suggested Equipment: Some dumbbells and space to jump and dance.

Time Allotted: Less than 10 minutes!

Instructions: Do three rounds of this circuit as quickly as possible.
Take breaks as needed (but try to take them at the bottom of the round).

Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 3.04.36 AM

 

Double Romanian Deadlift

  • Stand tall and grasp two dumbbells so they hang down in front of you against your thighs.
  • Keeping your chest up, hinge at the hips and allow the dumbbells to trail down the front of your legs, keeping them as close to your body as possible.
  • When you reach the end of the range of motion — typically felt as a stretch in the hamstrings or a change in back position — reverse the movement and stand up.

Romanian Deadlift

 

Inchworm

  • Start in a standing position, then bend over until your hands are on the floor (slightly bend your knees if necessary).
  • Walk out your hands out across the floor until your body forms a straight line in a plank position. To make the movement more difficult, walk your hands out in front of your shoulders.
  • If space allows, take tiny steps forward to bring your feet to your hands. Then, walk your hands back out to a plank and repeat.
  • If you’re short on space, walk your hands back toward your feet instead of stepping your feet forward.

Inchworm

 

Double Hang Clean

  • Standing with your feet hip-width apart, grasp two dumbbells so they hang straight down in front of you and rest against your thighs.
  • Bend your knees slightly into a partial squat, then explosively extend your hips. Use the power generated by your hips, hamstrings, and glutes to “float” the dumbbells up. (You should pull up only slightly with your arms.)
  • As the dumbbells become “weightless” in the air, quickly rotate the elbows underneath so you “catch” the dumbbells in the front rack position at shoulder height.
  • Lower the dumbbells back down under control and repeat.

Double Hang Clean

 

Broad Jump

  • From a standing position, squat down a quarter of the way to load tension into your the legs, simultaneously swinging your arms just behind your torso.
  • Jump as high and as far as possible, leaping at a 45-degree angle from the floor.
  • Land as quietly as possible, making sure knees track in line with your feet.
  • You can either reset between jumps or explode directly from the landing position into your next jump (if you are able to continue with good mechanics).

Broad Jump

 

Double Push Press

  • Assume a racked position with the dumbbells at shoulder height and forearms under the dumbbells.
  • Keeping your chest upright, bend slightly at the knees, then immediately reverse the movement and straighten your legs quickly and explosively, using the momentum you gain to move the dumbbells quickly overhead.
  • Use the strength of your arms to finish the movement, completely locking the dumbbells out overhead.
  • Carefully return the weights to the racked position by keeping your elbows close to the body and repeat.

Double Push Press

Squat Thrust

  • Stand tall with your arms at your sides.
  • Squat down quickly and plant both hands on the ground just in front of your feet.
  • Once you’ve securely planted your hands, quickly hop both feet back to a straight-arm plank position.
  • Immediately after your feet touch the ground, hop them back up to your hands.
  • Stand up completely and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Squat Thrust

 

If you’re looking to improve your fitness in creative but productive ways, check out any of the 130 pick-and-choose Lift Weights Faster workouts. Complete with a full exercise glossary that includes written descriptions and photographic demonstrations of over 225 exercises (from classic moves to more unusual ones), a video library that includes coaching on 14 of the more technical lifts, five challenge-workout videos, plus a dynamic warm-up routine, I leveraged my background in magazine publishing to create a clear-cut, easy-to-use resource that you’ll want to turn to all the time.

Plus, every workout is organized by the equipment you have available (bodyweight, minimal equipment, dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells and full gym) and how much time you’ve got — options last anywhere from five up to 30 minutes.

For more info, click HERE (and nab the JillFit bonuses by MIDNIGHT TONIGHT!)

LWF

Jen Sinkler, RKC, PCC, PM, USAW, is a longtime fitness journalist who writes for national magazines such as Women’s Health and Men’s Health. A former member of the U.S. national women’s rugby team, she currently trains clients at The Movement Minneapolis.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/03/21/lift-weights-faster-workout/

Confessions of a Former Cardio Queen

“Dear Jill, I want to tell you a story because reading your blogs finally, FINALLY gave me permission to do things a different way and I am so glad I found you!!

A couple years ago, a pro fitness competitor was holding a seminar near my house. I followed this woman and so I was so excited to be able to attend her event! We got to train with her and then there was time set aside to have her look over each of our individual training regimens and give us feedback. At the time I was doing about an hour of running every day, with some fitness classes throw in and a few weight training sessions. So, what I considered quite a bit. After I asked the competitor what I could do differently to get better results and explained that I was tired of doing so much cardio, she looked over to her friend who was also there and they shared a laugh. And then she turned to me and said, “Sorry sister, but if you want to be lean, this has to be your new normal!” And then she proceeded to recommend I add in 3-4 additional elliptical sessions each week. 

Jill, I was so upset, it was all I could do not to leave early! It made me feel so defeated and hopeless! I went home and CRIED!

That was 2 years ago, and since then, I started doing my own homework, have added in more metabolic conditioning workouts–short-duration, high-intensity and completely cut out my jogging and I am getting better results than ever. THANK YOU for being a sane voice in the industry! You have helped me more than you know!!!”

 

Aaaaaah! Are you gals as heartbroken by this email as I was when I first read it?

It brought me right back to my competition days, and to the days when my entire life revolved around my cardio minutes.

I won’t sit here and write about how I did things “the smart way.” Uh uh. Nope, sure didn’t and I paid for it dearly. I got caught up in a cycle where I always had to do more cardio to “burn off treats” and then the more cardio I did, the more freaking hungry I was, so I ended up eating more, for which I had to do even more cardio to atone. Holy!

I was addicted to long-duration cardio for many years

I remember every single day, counting down the NUMBER OF MINUTES that I had left each day. As I got closer and closer to my shows or my shoots, the minutes increased. I actually had a formula I followed starting at 12 weeks out:

12 weeks out – 1 hour/day
11 weeks out – 1 hr 10 min/day
10 weeks out – 1 hr 20 min/day
9 weeks out – 1 hr 30 min/day

And so on….

WTF??

How crazy is that “formula?!” It wasn’t based on anything, wasn’t based on my results or how I was feeling or looking or my hunger, cravings, energy, and certainly not my level of misery (high) or my ability to sustain it (low).

In other words, I equated more exercise with more results.

And that’s simply not the case. Like Jade says, “More is not better, better is better.”

And yet, we think about exercise in this way, don’t we? Even though I haven’t done this for years, I still at times find myself going, “Well, I’ll just up my cardio this week a bit,” or “I’ll just do a few extra minutes on the treadmill,” or “Maybe I’ll squeeze in some extra sprints to speed things up and shed a little.”

Ok, fine. But what no one talks about is the fact that doing long-duration cardio can become an obsession:

  • You begin counting down the minutes left each day
  • You add together every calorie the cardio machines report to make sure you hit a specific (random!) threshold every day
  • If you miss a day, you obsess and convince yourself you’re blowing up by the minute
  • You don’t know how to control your weight without exercise
  • You use cardio as a way to “repent” for poor food choices
  • Even though you know intellectually that shorter, more-intense workouts should be better for results, you refuse to think that would work for you, and are scared to try it
  • You think “other people” can get away with less, but not you. If you let up, you’ll blow up. You can’t be trusted around food if you don’t get in all your cardio

What chou think? These were THE EXACT thoughts I had drifting through my mind for years.

Jade would say, “If you just didn’t do as much cardio, you wouldn’t have the cravings that you have, or be as hungry.” My response was to roll my eyes and tell him, “Thanks, but you don’t understand. My appetite is so big, I need to do a ton of cardio or else I’ll blow up because I can’t control myself.”

And in fact, at the time, that was true. I did have a huge appetite. And that was precisely BECAUSE I was doing 2+ hours a day of cardio!

jill_cardio_queen

Is there a such thing as “exercise tolerance?”

Here’s the thing … mo’ cardio mo’ problems. At least in the long-term.

Your metabolism is like tires on a car. You can’t keep putting miles on it and expect it to continue responding the same way. Continuing to increase your exercise duration (while also decreasing cals) is not benign. Your body adapts. This is what I call “exercise tolerance”–it’s the same as building up your alcohol tolerance. Over time, you need more and more to get the same effect.

So if you start with an hour of cardio a day for several months. Eventually, the transient results you get by upping it in the first place diminish. You plateau. So what do you do? Add some more minutes so you can continue getting results. And you do, for a short while, until your body doesn’t want to give it up again and then you have to add even more. So can you see that over time, you have to continue doing more and more to attain further results AND if you do less, you might actually even GAIN?? Because you body is now in a cardio cycle where you need to be doing a baseline of exercise every single day JUST TO MAINTAIN??

We see this all the time in long-distance runners who get injured and can no longer run. They have to stop exercising but their metabolism doesn’t get the message (and also due to the lasting compensatory responses on hunger and cravings, they continue eating the same way) and they blow up like a water balloon. It’s not their fault. They have effectively TAUGHT their metabolism to function at a specific level of activity. And anything less, and it responds, often by gaining.

THIS SUCKS.

And we can even know all of this intellectually and it’s STILL difficult to convince ourselves to stop doing all that cardio.

we are racing

So what’s the solution?

This is tricky, but I think it first starts with self-trust. Realizing that there may be a different way for you, and that you have the guts to try it. Besides, the old way will always be there for you. You can ALWAYS add cardio back later if you need to (you won’t), so why not TRY a different way?

BTW: If you just effing love cardio and want to keep doing hours a day, fine. Just stay mindful of your body’s responses–hunger, cravings, energy. There’s nothing inherently “evil” about long-duration cardio (and studies show it’s a powerful mood enhancer), just a few things to stay mindful of: a) if you are miserable, like I was, that’s a problem, b) there are plenty of ways to get the same (and even better results) if you dare to try, and c) putting more and more miles on your metabolism is not benign, and many former fitness competitors, marathoners and group fitness instructors have gotten into trouble with metabolic damage, adrenal fatigue, catecholamine resistance, hypothyroid, loss of menses, infertility, etc.

Three Quick Solutions:

1) Shorten up dem workouts. There’s a bell-shaped curve when it comes to duration. More is not better and more than what is effective may actually be detrimental long-term. So find that sweet spot. Usually it’s no more than 30 minutes. One of the best things about shorter workouts is that you can push harder. Psychologically, it’s easier. And it’s intensity that drives results, not duration. I know it’s SCARY to shorten your workout time when you are used to hours a day (!!!), but honestly, I promise not only will you get great results, but you’ll get your life back!

2) Match your food intake to your activity level. One of the reasons women get in trouble when they add more cardio into their routine is because they also cut calories. They think creating the biggest “calorie deficit” is ideal. And yet, your metabolism no likey. Overtime it compensates to the point that this method stops working, and you can get into a metabolic damage situation. This is an unbalanced metabolism (exercise UP; calories DOWN). In order to re-balance it, assuming you want to continue with your exercise volume, increase cal intake from healthy sources like lean protein, veggies, fruit and clean starches (exercise UP, calories UP). OR, you can do my personal favorite: exercise less, eat less (exercise DOWN, calories DOWN). When we cut our cardio … miraculously, yes, this actually works if you have the balls to try it … our hunger decreases too. Learn to eat only when you’re hungry, staying in tune with your body’s signals.

3) Incorporate more weight-based cardio. Your body responds to changes in training. So when you do an hour of elliptical every day while watching Kelly & Michael every single day, your body is not responding anymore. How about adding track sprints? How about switching up the machines you use? Incorporating plyometrics or bodyweight strength moves? How about a little metabolic conditioning to get the cardio effect? Anyone who thinks weight training doesn’t elicit a cardio effect has never done heavy walking lunges! Jen’s #LiftWeightsFaster program is made up of all metabolic conditioning workouts (and I even contributed to two of the workouts!), designed to keep your body responsive, and also maximize the time you spend in the gym.

Byyyyyyyeeeee elliptical! It’s very possible to get amazing fat loss, body-shaping results from lifting weights faster. The old way is, well, old school. And frankly, aint nobody got time for hours at the gym. It’s not superior. It’s not fun. And it can damage the metabolism further for many women. #NoThanks!

Related: Cardio Acceleration Workout Workbook (50 HIIT Workouts)

Some TWEETS for you:

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/03/19/former-cardio-queen/

Older posts «