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

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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/

9 Ways to Quit Obsessing Over Your Food and Exercise

In order to attain a very lean physique, it takes a certain amount of obsession.

And I say that with zero unkindness and with no judgment. It’s just a fact. It’s difficult to attain a super lean body without prepping and cooking your meals at home for the week. It’s nearly impossible to achieve a low body fat % without scheduling your workouts into your weekly schedule and being consistent.

In other words, you can’t wing your way to a lean body.

It takes a certain level of awareness, conscious effort and planning. Time. Mental energy. Prioritizing. Focus. Like any goal, a very lean physique is something you dedicate yourself to, 100%. You make sacrifices.

And that’s perfect for those who want that above all else and choose to place their energy in those places with a large chunk of their time, like fitness or figure pros or fitness models whose job it is, or even full-time trainers who have been able to automate the other parts of the their lives to leave the time and mental space available for getting their leanest body, not unlike the life I led for many years while competing and modeling.

But like it or not, our focus is finite.

I like to think about mental energy like a pie chart. We choose how big of a slice we dedicate to physique endeavors. Or to our career. Or our family. Or our personal relationships and friends. There’s no judgment, it all simply comes down to a choice. None better than another. But if you add energy in one place, realize you take it away from somewhere else, bottom line.

Chances are if you’ve seen someone who seemingly “has it all,” they have areas in their lives that get neglected. Of course they do. That’s natural. That’s normal. That’s human nature. Everyone is doing the best they can, and side note: the LEAST helpful thing we can do to ourselves is hold ourselves to some arbitrary standard of perfection that does. Not. Exist. It’s impossible and honestly, it’s the quickest way to misery.


Late Lunch

Breaking the Obsession …

If you’re on a physique mission, have at it. This post is not for you. This post is for people who, like me, don’t want to be obsessed with food every second. Who don’t want to be stressed about the number of cardio minutes they have to get in today. This post is for people who want to establish a way of eating and exercising that is effortless. (And FYI, “effortless” doesn’t mean “give up and get fat” either :) )

This post is for people who are frankly exhausted from trying to keep up with all “the rules” associated with eating and exercising. Doesn’t mean you stop caring. It just means you question the rules and start to establish some workarounds for yourself.

In case you missed it, Jade and I put together an insanely awesome 60-minute interview here. And in the interview, I talked a lot about how I went from eating 5-7 times a day straight from Tupperwares to a more relaxed approach (and by “relaxed” I don’t mean eating anything I want–that’s anything but relaxing!). Instead, I stopped living and dying by every single nutrition rule out there and started listening to my body and getting back in touch with my internal signals–like hunger and cravings.

Relinquishing the reigns on all of the nutrition rules takes a leap of faith. It takes a level of SELF-trust. It takes questioning the experts and instead asking YOURSELF one question: Will this work for me long-term?

That’s it. Not, “Does this work for other people?” or “What does this expert recommend?” or “So-and-so is doing this diet, maybe I should do that?” Hello. Remember you? YOU matter. Only YOU.

And part of getting in touch WITH YOU is learning to release the obsession. For all you know, it might be the stress itself about “the rules” that is preventing you from attaining the results you seek.

And ironically, I’ve found, in my own journey that once I managed to give up “the rules,” all of a sudden the urgency and illicitness associated with food fell away. My obsession with food dissipated almost entirely. It was as if I could take it or leave it. I still love yummy food (and wine!) but I don’t NEED it like I used to.

So, here are the ways I’ve used to stop the obsession and build a better relationship with food and exercise. Check them out. They may or may not work for you, but without trying, you’ll never know :)

1) Freely share your food more.

This is a food FOMO issue. I remember one time I actually STARTED CRYING when Jade took some of my Reese’s Pieces. Seriously. WTF. Talk about food obsession! Get a life, Jill! And though that’s a little extreme, you know what I’m talking about! You portion out whatever treat you are going to have to “reward yourself” and someone asks, “Can I have a bite?” And you want to claw their eyes out, but instead you reluctantly nod and then mourn that precious bite you’re now going to miss out on. So instead, could you see how the practice of sharing your food–offering it up before someone even asks, even faking your generous at first (ha!–helps get you out of the FOMO mindset? Try it. And this point also brings me to the next one, which is…

2) Remind yourself, “Any food is available to me at any time.”

This was a big mindset switch for me. I think when we establish some foods as “okay to eat” and others get put on the “off limits” list, automatically we tend to crave the ones we decide we can’t have. And then they become illicit. But once you realize that any food you want is available whenever you want it, the urgency of needing to EAT IT ALL RIGHT NOW falls away. Seems counterintuitive, right? Like if we make foods “available,” then we’ll just eat them all till they’re gone. But the opposite tends to be true over time: access dissipates urgency. In fact, I’d argue that it’s precisely BECAUSE of the way we put some foods on a prohibited list that makes them desirable. The forbidden nature increases longing. So remember, you want sweets? You can always go out and BUY THEM. Anytime. So you really don’t need them tonight. Maybe tomorrow though. And then when tomorrow rolls around, ahh, you might not need them then either. Maybe the next day. And on and on. This practice puts you MORE in control, not less. You get around food and you don’t automatically need to binge. This is an abundance mindset.

3) Stop packing Tupperwares when you travel.

I know, I know. Experts say: you have to plan for success. And I agree. But remember, if the goal is to quit obsessing then what better way to do that than TRUST YOURSELF to navigate food and exercise situations when traveling? If you know how to order for fat loss, then it doesn’t matter if you end up at McDonalds, you can find something to order that won’t put fat on you. I like this practice so much, because it helps us break those “situational eating” scenarios. If we have the mentality that we need our Tupperwares or else, then OF COURSE we’re going to feel like it’s a vacation every time we dine out. It’s going to feel like a “special occasion” to go to a restaurant or to the movies, so we’re helpless to make a good choice because it feels like a reward to NOT be eating out of Tupperware. Instead, intentionally leaving the house without a plan forces you to navigate every circumstance you end up in to make a healthy choice. And the more you do that, the less stressed you get when presented with situations when “your food” is not available.

4) Relax about ” catabolism.” You’re not losing muscle by the second if you’re not eating 25g of protein every 3 hours.

I received an email from a reader last week asking about my email where I explained what I eat daily. I don’t eat before I work out in the morning because I do a 14-hour fast every night and I train best on an empty stomach. She asked if I was worried about “catabolism” and isn’t that taboo and not recommended? I totally understand her question because I used to be worried about this too. There’s a lot of experts cautioning against going too long between meals or not eating before training. And I understand why they say it. But again, this is simply a standard “rule” that doesn’t take into account the actual person. And fitting the person (with all their unique metabolic tendencies and psychological sensitivities) to black-and-white rules is simply shortsighted. The truth is that, yes, chronically high stress hormones like cortisol can, over time, strip muscle. BUT, it doesn’t happen after mere days or weeks AND every single person is 100% unique in this regard. Some people can get away with more fasting or going longer between meals or not eating before training, and not only is it okay, but they feel great and it’s effortless. So why would we ever ask them to change that?

5) Never force yourself to eat because “it’s time.”

This was a huge mindset shift for me. I used to eat according to a clock, every 3 hours. In the interview, Jade talks about the idea of eating being both physiological AND behavioral. In other words, if you eat every 3 hours, YOU TEACH YOURSELF to be hungry every 3 hours. And sometimes, you’re not even hungry, are you? You’re just stuffing food down your throat because a) it’s time and b) what if you don’t and become ravenous?? Then you’ll surely eat every sweet within a mile radius, right? Wrong. Remember, you don’t go from not hungry to famished in a split second. It’s possible to expose yourself to slight hunger in order to reacquaint yourself with the sensation of it, and then IN THAT MOMENT, make a good choice. This takes practice. Which bring me to my next point …

6) Stop being scared of getting hungry. Instead, practice minute exposures to hunger and get mindful.

I used to be scared of getting hungry. Because I worried that if I did, then I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from eating everything in sight. And *because* that was my mentality, of course that became my reality. I deprived, then I binged. Of course I did. Furthermore, I didn’t trust MYSELF to handle hunger or be able to navigate it. So I did everything I could to prevent it, in effect never giving myself THE OPPORTUNITY to learn how to deal with it.  So of course in the inevitable instances when I did experience hunger, I was helpless to handle the resulting overindulgence. Over the last few years, however, I’ve started seeing the value in exposure to hunger. In small doses. I allow myself to get a little hungry and then IN THOSE MOMENTS, harness MINDFULNESS in order to make a good choice. Essentially building my willpower, like a muscle. There’s value in getting in touch with your physical sensations: hunger, cravings and energy balance. They give you immediate feedback into your metabolism. And I like being able to make a wise choice in any circumstance. To feel in control of my choices all the time, regardless of where I end up. I don’t like the loss of control I use to experience in the throes of ravenous hunger years ago, as a result of zero practice with it. And when I don’t get practice, I’m helpless to handle those situations.

7) Pick your 1-3 daily “nutritional commitments” and just do those.

Yesterday morning on Twitter, Stuart Phillips, professor at McMaster University in Ontario, tweeted that for him, “protein is king, the rest just flows.” I agree with this insofar as I know that for me, protein satiates and satisfies so eating it at every meal is not only effortless, but one of my  ”my daily nutritional commitments.” I don’t like to call them “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 1-3 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.

8) Realize that a physique is not made or broken in a day, a week or even a month.

What’s up with the URGENCY? I kind of sort of hate that our industry has used so many sensationalist and alarmist tactics to the point that people are scared they might mess up every single second and as a result wake up like a whale overnight. There is no “right thing”–there’s only YOUR thing. And you don’t figure out your thing without trial and error. It’s not scary. It’s just eating. And you never reach a point of no returns. You’re never “too far gone.” Nothing is ever irreversible. Every meal is an opportunity. And if you don’t make the best choice, don’t sweat it. Just move on to the next one. And the next one. Because your body currently is a result of your past choices–all of them. Not last night’s binge. You always have another chance to do better. Quit the all-or-nothing and realize that “good enough” gets results too.

9) Give yourself permission to not have to kill it every single day at the gym.

This goes to the black-and-white nature of diet and exercise. We think if we can’t do it all the way and follow all the rules to perfection, then why even bother? I remember when I started personal training at 18 years old. I’d train a client for 60 minutes and the price was $35 for an hour. I had people canceling all the time. Probably a) because I was a shitty trainer and thought making people puke was okay, but probably it more likely had to do with the fact that b) THE SESSIONS WERE AN HOUR. #idie No wonder people didn’t want to come at 7pm to get their ass kicked for an hour! I loved exercise so it never stressed me, but most clients don’t love exercise. It doesn’t actually feel good for many of them. It’s painful and exhausting and gee, wine and cheese at 7pm sounds better. They thought, “Geez, an hour? I’d rather kill myself, why even bother going?” But you know what happened? I switched to 30 minutes sessions after a few years and barely had ANY cancelations. They got BETTER results in less time and long gone was the all-or-nothing mindset. My clients started to see that in 30 minutes they could still get a lot done. And even if they were tired, they could make it 30 minutes.

So for us, let’s remember the same thing. Simply getting to the gym is perfect. You’re going to have shitty days of no energy. It happens to all of us. Honor it. And don’t stress. Do your best. And then you’ll also have great days, and on those days, go in and kill it. If you don’t feel like going because you don’t feel 100%, go anyway and do whatever. Seriously. I did an hour leisure walk on the treadmill this morning while talking to my friend on the phone (yes, I was that person). It was the best I could do today, and I let it be enough. Doesn’t mean I’ll never have a great day again. But I realize all I can do it my best and “my best” will change from day to day :)

So whatcha think? Could you start to give yourself a little wiggle room? Move away from the black-and-white of all the rules? Loosen up the reigns you’ve held onto so tightly? Have you tried some of these? If not, which one will you start with? Let me know on the JillFit Facebook page! I’d love to hear from you! Ox, Jill

Related: Food anxiety and how to deal with stress eating

 

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/03/04/obsession/

Why the Advice “Just Eat More to Rev Your Metabolism” is Misguided

Though he hates the attention, one of the perks to being married to a professional brainiac is that we get to constantly discuss really awesome stuff–biochemistry, research, behavior, psychology, natural health, relationships, personal development, learning, growing, risking, improving. Many have commented that we are “so intense” because Jade and I live, eat, breathe this stuff. It’s a blast!

And I’m proud to announce that Jade’s latest book will be out in 2015, and it will address not only the perils of traditional dieting (eat-less-exercise-more), but will include a novel, useful take on how to break the dieting cycle and what happens when our metabolism simply doesn’t run as well as it used to. Jade calls this “The Law of Metabolic Compensation,” when your metabolism no likey the decreased calories/increased exercise approach.

He and I talk about this often–him the master of the biochemical aspects and me pulling up the rear with mindset implications, and so I thought we’d record a Skype discussion to share with you all of this “stuff.”

Watch the full-length interview here and skip down below for my insights:

 

The 3 Ascending Stages of the Body Transformation Journey

The first thing I want to discuss is the dieting/eating progression that was addressed in the interview. The body transformation process goes something like this (and depending on where you are in your journey, you may or may not resonate):

1.0 Version: Just eat less food. We hear that weight loss is all about controlling portions and decreasing calories. And while we know that the works in the short-term, it often makes things worse in the longterm, AND requires immense willpower, which we know is exhaustible. Trying to starve yourself into weight loss is not a sustainable approach because your body compensates.

2.0 Version: Eat more of the “right foods” (quality over quantity) and make sure you eat every 3 hours so as to never let yourself get hungry, because if you do, then watch out! This will also keep your metabolism “revved” and prevent “starvation mode.” This is the often-cited bodybuilding recommendation: eat 5-7 times a day from your Tupperwares–protein, veggies and clean starches. Does this work? Yes. But, I do have 2 issues with it: 1) Food can become a full-time job: shopping for it, prepping it, cooking it, placing it in Tuperwares (washing dishes!) and eating 5-7 times a day. Yo. Talk about mental energy and physical time! You have to have the rest of your life fairly automated to dedicate yourself this way, and 2) The idea that you can’t ever let yourself get hungry is shortsighted. So always trying to preempt hunger can keep us at a disadvantage, never exposing us to it (and therefore never allowing ourselves to practice dealing with it). And unfortunately, if this is our only strategy, what happens in those times when we inevitable do feel hungry? Do we just unleash and eat everything in sight??

Which brings me to…

3.0 Version: Work to get more in tune with your physical sensations: hunger, cravings and energy, and start eating according to YOU, rather than according to “the rules.” Jade and I talk a lot about how following someone else’s rules for you can be a crutch and keep you dependent so you end up “program jumping” rather than finally figuring out YOUR fat loss formula. Furthermore, in the 3.0 version, you begin allowing yourself to actually GET a little hungry. Feel the sensation. And then in THAT moment, you harness mindfulness and make the best choice possible. It’s the practice of exposing yourself to situations where treats are available and PRACTICE making a better choice.

Exposure to “Willpower Challenges” Helps Hone Mindfulness & Dissipate Food Anxiety

I discussed this on Facebook recently, the idea that exposure to sweets, treats and cheats can actually take the illicitness out of food. Familiarity with it can help dissipate the need to EAT IT ALL RIGHT NOW. It helps strengthen willpower and removes the stress of worrying about where’s my food? and, will there be something I can eat there? and, I don’t know what to do if I don’t have my Tupperwares! or, what if there are sweets there, will I be tempted? All of these 3.0 moderation practices allow you to be around ANY food ANY time and not have IT control YOU.

There is no more “dieting.” There’s just eating. And it goes on forever, so we can teach ourselves to relax a bit around it (doesn’t mean we eat everything we want, because that’s not relaxing either!) and then we can TRUST OURSELVES to navigate the situation wherever we end up. We always know it’s in our power to make the best choice. The only options are not binge or deprive anymore. This process takes the “off limits” mentality out of eating. Because I don’t know about you, but the second I put something on the “do not eat” list, it’s all I crave! :)

Is There Ever a Time You Should “Eat Less?”

Jade goes through this in-depth in the video, but the answer is yes.

And no, eating less food will not automatically slow your metabolism and put you in metabolic damage. A piece of popular advice given in the weight loss industry is that if your weight platueas or your metabolism is unresponsive (i.e. “starvation mode”), that you should just eat more food.

Coaches say it “revs your metabolism” and this is true that to a certain degree–your resting metabolic rate will increase–BUT, your body’s physiology in that moment is in a “compensation” phase (again, refer to the video for full explanation) so many women will actually STORE FAT WAY MORE EASILY as a result of just eating more. Your body is kind of like a sponge in that moment.

So the answer to a slowed metabolism as a result of traditional dieting (eat-less-exercise-more) is NOT to a) keep doing more exercise and keep eating less (that only leads to more metabolic damage), but it’s also b) NOT to eat more and exercise less. Because this also throws your metabolism out of balance (besides, this is how people become obese in the first place) and yet it’s often the advice given?

Instead, Jade outlines two alternatives:

1) Eat less, exercise less. 

OR

2) Eat more, exercise more.

Both options help balance metabolism and also do not throw hunger, energy and cravings out of whack. For those who want more weight loss, you’ll go with eat less, exercise less. And for those who want more muscle gain/body shaping, you’ll want to go with eat more, exercise more (the traditional formula of athletes).

And one final consideration …

jill_stage

The nutrition plan you follow and the exercise regimen you pursue need to be, first and foremost, SUSTAINABLE.

So much of this comes down to personal preferences, doesn’t it? For me, obsession with food–shopping for it, prepping it, cooking it, Tupperwares, washing dishes, eating it 5-7 times a day (!!!)–can feel like a full-time job. It can take over your life. And for me, with the other aspirations I have (my businesses, my relationships, my personal down-time, etc.), the option to EAT LESS is actually appealing. I don’t want to spend all that mental energy and physical time with food (of course I also did all that for many, many years when competing!).

So for me, eating less is better. But in order to do that, it’s essential to also cut back my exercise or at least switch from lots of cardio to more restorative activities (like leisure walking or light stretching) that don’t make me hungrier or increase cravings. Because now, MY goal is effortlessness. And being in #MaintenenceMode 365.

So, this is a choice. A lifestyle choice.

If you just love exercise and want to train for hours every day, then you’ll have to eat more too. OR, if you want to learn to automate your physique (AYP), which includes spending the least mental energy and physical time to maintain your weight, then obsession with food needs to take a backseat. And hours at the gym will be less too.

So the idea that you can’t or shouldn’t ever eat less is shortsighted. BUT, there IS potential danger when you cut them through a white-knucking, willpower-harnessing approach. If you’re exercising less, your appetite is naturally less. As are your cravings. But if cutting back on food volume is a struggle because you are starving 24/7, then your metabolism is not balanced. Your biofeedback (hunger, energy and cravings) will give you the clues you need. Work to get in touch with them.

Much of this switch requires a mindset shift. Away from blindly following “the rules” and starting to get in touch with your own inner sensations and introspecting a bit. And this switch takes courage and effort and patience and commitment to a new way! Could you do it? Could you relax a bit with all the rules (and by extension, lessen your neuroses around food and dieting) and start trusting your own body? :)

Let me know what you think of this stuff and the discussion on the JillFit Facebook page! I look forward to your insights and experience! Ox, Jill

Related: Metabolic Effect’s Metabolic Rehab program

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/02/25/eat-more/

What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Fatigue + The 3 Diagnoses They Miss

You might not know this, but in conventional medicine, “chronic fatigue syndrome” is NOT actually recognized as a legitimate diagnosis because they can’t test for it nor treat it . And yet “fatigue” is the #1 reason why people go to see their physicians. 

And yet adrenal fatigue manifests in women all the time, and the symptoms can be debilitating. Especially those who have done crash diet after crash diet, or even full-time moms or women stressed the hell out from working and professional commitments. They wake up every day feeling exhausted, not rested at all, just to get into bed at night feeling wired. It’s almost as if their wake-sleep cycle is the OPPOSITE of what nature intended it to be. Restless and stressed at night, and exhausted at work, with the only option to drink a thousand cups of coffee to stay awake.

So many women are suffering from fatigue and just don’t know where to turn. And at JillFit, we’ve been getting this request for a long time: “Jill, how can I stop feeling exhausted? How can I have more energy? What’s WRONG with me??”

So. I thought I’d bring in the big guns to tackle this subject.

And so I am super-excited to bring you this amazing guest post from Dr. Amber Golshani, ND, who’s also a JillFit Ambassador. Dr. Amber specializes in natural medicine with a speciality in adrenal fatigue, exhaustion, energy management and sleep/stress management, all of which she covers in-depth in her Beat Your Fatigue program, an in-demand program that has already helped hundreds of women battling fatigue.

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 11.27.26 PM

Dr. Amber is a mom, a full-time physician and a online business-owner to boot. In short, girl knows what tired feels like! Which is why she’s the perfect spokesperson to bring the concept of fatigue to the mainstream :) Dr. Amber is going to share with you THREE commonly under-diagnosed causes of fatigue, plus the natural solutions for how to deal with them. Love, love, LOVE this post! And I know you will too! Enjoy! Ox, Jill 

Take it away Dr. Amber!

***************************

Almost every woman who has walked through my clinic door is carrying a stack of lab tests results and will tell me that, despite her low energy and fatigue, the doctor has told her “Everything looks fine”.

Energy crashes, tiredness on waking, low libido, weight gain, difficulty concentration and irritability top her list of complaints. Does this sound like ‘everything is fine’? 

There are actually several common, yet grossly under-diagnosed,
causes of fatigue that many doctors miss.

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 11.21.17 PM

Am I saying every doctor out there is missing something, no? But many are. And how do I know that? 1) Because their patients are coming to me for help and 2) I’ve been there myself. 

Even after I lost a bunch of weight and normalized some hormonal problems I had in my early 20’s, I still didn’t feel great. I’d often find myself sleepy and foggy-headed after I ate, or god-forbid if a meal was 20 seconds late, my food-werewolf would attack from the potent mixture of hunger & anger.

I’d slog through my day, then get a second-wind at night, stay up too late, wake up tired and repeat the whole thing over again.

And even though my ‘numbers’ looked fine, I felt far from it.

It took some research and experimenting with my diet, lifestyle habits and a few key nutrients, but I was able to discover the reasons I was so tired AND correct the underlying imbalances.

My energy improved, my mood balanced, and my head got clear. I actually have more sustained mental and physical energy now at 37 years old, than I did 10 or even 15 years ago.

Remember that comic strip above? You are probably wondering how that relates. I call the ‘story’ in the comic, the “streetlight effect”. It’s the natural tendency to look for answers in what we already know. And if we can’t find the answers here ‘where the light is best’, we tend to give up.

In an effort to shine some light (haha) on OTHER reasons we experience fatigue, here are the three most common over-looked causes of fatigue.

Three Commonly Under-diagnosed Reasons You’re Tired (+ Solutions!):

1) Food Intolerances:

These are also called “food sensitivities” or “hidden food allergies”. Hours to days after you eat an offending food you can develop a wide-range of symptoms—anything from fatigue and lethargy, to skin problems, bloating, headaches, hyperactivity, difficulty concentrating and more.

While they are a type of allergic reaction, they are different than the true food   allergy most of us are familiar with where even a small amount of the offending food can set of almost instant swelling in the mouth, lips and throat and be life-threatening. The offending food, in this case, is pretty easy to identify.

But in the case of a food intolerance, where reactions are not immediate or life-threatening, it is harder to identify what is causing it.

Most MD’s don’t know about of this type of allergy, nor is the testing for it very accurate.

Solution: During a food elimination/challenge “experiment”, you remove the most common problematic foods (grains, dairy, soy, eggs, citrus, alcohol, sugars, artificial food additives and colors, and any food you eat 3 or more times a week) for 3-4 weeks, then you reintroduce them one by one watching for a reaction.

2) Hypoglycemia:

Hypoglycemia means blood glucose levels that are dipping below the healthy, normal range.  Blood glucose is simply the concentration of sugar (glucose) in the blood. We need just the right amount to deliver energy to our cells. When the levels go too low we can suddenly feel tired, sleepy, dizzy, confused, shaky, and irritable. Your cells are starving! No wonder you feel tired!

This “low point” is usually when we crave more sugar or carbs, because they give us a quick-fix and our blood sugars rise again. The quicker the food raises your blood sugar, the quicker (and harder) it will fall. I call this the “roller-coaster effect.”

Why does hypoglycemia happen? There are lots of reasons including:

  • Certain medications (including birth control pills)
  • Over abundance of sugar and starchy, refined carbs
  • Too much caffeine
  • Lots of stress and/or adrenal fatigue
  • Alcohol (especially on an empty stomach)
  • Severe caloric-restriction (as in anorexia nervosa)
  • Rarely, certain types of pancreatic tumors and people with gastric bypass are at more risk

Solution: The ‘fix’ for hypoglycemia is to figure out what is contributing to it (as above) and work on that. The best type of nutrition plan will be one that focuses on protein and vegetables at each meal to stabilize blood sugar roller-coaster effects for more stable, lasting energy.

3) Hypothyroidism:

Your thyroid gland controls the metabolic rate of many processes in your body. It’s like the gas-pedal in a car. Pushing on the pedal (the thyroid) will give the body enough gas (the thyroid hormones) to go.

In people with hypothyroidism, or low functioning of the thyroid, their gland isn’t getting signal to push on the pedal, OR the tank is low and no matter how hard you ‘push on the pedal’, insufficient hormones are produced. So, people are likely to feel tired and run down, have cold extremities, constipation, slow or dull thinking, difficulty losing weight, low libido and more.

It is estimated that half of the people with hypothyroidism are not diagnosed!

This is no surprise because most doctors only use one blood test (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone or TSH) to determine the functioning of the gland. That’s like trying to put a puzzle together with only one piece! No wonder so many people are walking around like zombies!

Solution: Ask your doctor for complete testing, or find a better doctor.

There are a number of other lab tests which need to be looked at alongside TSH, so that we can put the whole puzzle together. Some of those tests include Free and total T4, Free and total T3, rT3 and auto-immune antibodies because it’s the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the US.

In summary:

If you’re tired, have energy ups and downs, or other issues AND you have normal lab values, maybe it’s time to stop looking in the ‘best lit’ places and start looking elsewhere. The three causes above are some great places to start! And the best thing about the solutions are that you can start to implement them right away, there are no pills to buy AND no side effects!

I hope this info has helped you see some other reasons for lack of energy that have been hidden in the dark for too long and that you find some answers to your fatigue so you can elevate your energy and live your passion.

 

I don’t know about you, but when I’m tired, everything is out the window. No thanks, gym! Bye bye vegetables! Hello, carbs! It’s as if our motivation and drive is 100% reliant on how energetic (or not) we feel, right? If I have a shitty night’s sleep, byyyyyeeee! This is such a common issue, especially among women. 

If you think you one of the above may be the culprit in your fatigue, you should consider enrolling in Dr. Amber’s Beat Your Fatigue program, which is now open for registration THRU TUESDAY FEB 25TH ONLY! She’s working with a limited number of women in this exclusive group, unique in its natural approach to health and energy management. Check out all the details here, and remember, limited spots are available through Tuesday ONLY! Don’t miss this incredible opp! Ox, Jill 

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/02/20/fatigue/

Intermittent Sampling: How to Taste Everything & Binge on Nothing

Intermittent sampling, v.: the practice of tasting everything, and binging on nothing. Use it to teach yourself the art of moderation.

I recently mentioned Intermittent Sampling in a post on how to stop eating a million calories every night. And it dawned on me that nothing else, in the last 3 years, has helped me learn and implement the art of moderation than this practice.

Because it is a practice.

As with most solutions, we don’t just “get it” and are good to go. We have to consciously choose to take it on, stay mindful, see our failures as feedback and keep on keeping on, until one day we wake up and we’re doing it all better. Not perfect. Never perfect. But we’re mastering it one day at a time. Intermittent sampling does this.

There’s a method to mastering a moderate approach, so that you never feel deprived and you also never feel the need to eat everything in sight. It’s a conscious effort to choose balance.

“Nooooooo! I don’t want moderation! I don’t like it! It’s not good enough to get results!”

I beg to differ.

I get many eye-rolls when I talk about moderation:

  • “Geez, Jill, must be nice for you! If I open something, I HAVE TO FINISH THE WHOLE THING!” 
  • “Ha! Stop at one bite? Are you insane?!”
  • “When I indulge, I have to indulge all the way because I know come Monday it’s going to be off-limits again.”

I totally understand this frame of mind because for years, I felt the exact same way. I used to love Sunday nights–I called it “the Sunday night round-up,” where I’d eat all the left-over whatevers from a weekend of indulging because I knew I needed to be on my best, most strict behavior come Monday morning. I’d literally be prepping and making my clean food for the week on Sunday afternoons, while scarfing down cookies, chips, cheese and pizza in the process. WTF?? Yes.

We can laugh at how ridiculous this seems, and yet, many of us do this every single weekend, because we have a “lack” mindset when it comes to food. We know that at some point, the yummy treats will be gone and “off limits” so we just have to FINISH EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW. I used to laugh and say, “Well, I might as well just polish them off ’cause then they’re out of the way!”

YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!

So how do we break this habit of either being “on” a diet (Monday thru Thursday) or completely “off” (Friday thru Sunday)?

The answer is–you guessed it–a moderate approach all day errr day, regardless of what day of the week it is.

And wow is moderation hard!!

It took me THREE YEARS to master a more moderate approach. But. BUT, it started with a practice. It started with, instead of depriving myself completely Monday thru Thursday, I started giving myself a little wiggle room.
And though it didn’t happen overnight, eventually I got to the point that come Friday, I wasn’t ravenous for sweets and treats. I didn’t feel deprived. I didn’t need to “reward” myself for a hard week of dieting with a bunch of crap. I know now that what I was doing was–what I now call “Intermittent Sampling.”

Intermittent Sampling is the PRACTICE that teaches you how to go from all-or-nothing to full-time moderation. It’s the thing you do to get better at moderation. It’s the art of learning to taste everything and binge on nothing.

protein bar bites

So how do you do it?

You begin with one single practice, using one food. Below are 3 ways that I’ve cultivated the practice. Now, you look at your daily meal plan and find one place where you can practice one of these methods:

1) THE ONE-FRY RULE

My brother Danny is 23 years old, and he lives with Jade and I. Like most 23 year-olds, he orders a burger and fries 90% of the time we go to dinner. So I started just plucking one single fry from his plate every dinner. Even when I didn’t really want one. Simply to REINFORCE that I can taste something and then move on. I’d grab a fry, douse it in ranch :)  and then proceed to eat my #BAS or protein & veggies. This became a practice that has carried over into all meals and all my interactions with food. 

2) THE 3-BITE DESSERT RULE

About 6 months ago, Jade began this practice. Every time we go out to dinner (usually 3-4 times per week), Jade orders a dessert. Even if he’s not suuuuper feeling it, because he wants to take THREE BITES OF IT. He orders, takes 3 bites and then stops. Even when he doesn’t need it. This works because he’s taking ownership of the dessert but then consciously CHOOSING to PRACTICE taking only 3 bites of it, enjoy those three bites and being done. This practice helps reinforce that you can taste anything and you don’t have to lick every plate clean.

3) PROTEIN BAR BITES

For many women, protein bars are a slippery slope. One turns into many and before you know it, you’re bloated as hell and feeling guilty. Heck, I used to eat 5 protein bars in a row! But over time, I started practicing NOT eating even entire protein bar, and actually only a piece of it to feel satisfied. Here’s how:

I’d get a bar out and take 1/3 of it, eat it, get the taste and put the rest back into the cabinet or into my purse (ha!). Then, I’d go do something for AT LEAST 10 minutes. If I was still thinking about the bar, I’d go back and eat another third. Then I’d put it back. Same thing. This time I’d wait AT LEAST 20 minutes and if I still wanted more, I’d go back and finish it. Over time, more often than not, I was able to take a third or a half and forget about the rest until later.

This may seem silly, but to me, the idea that you can just go cold-turkey is a little shortsighted. And besides, I don’t want to have to go cold-turkey. I want to be able to CONTROL my cravings and use a moderate approach to feel satisfied with less. I want to be able to SEE any food and be able to taste it without the inclination to demolish it.

Believe me, I used to be someone who would HAVE TO FINISH THE WHOLE BAG/PACKAGE/ROLL of whatever it was. But the practice of Intermittent Sampling has helped me overcome that.

So what do you think? Does one of these practices resonate with you? Could you just try to start implementing one of these moderate practices and over time get better at it? It’s a practice indeed. And it doesn’t happen overnight, but I promise, PROMISE that it gets easier with time and mindfulness. Are you ready? :) Ox, Jill

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/02/17/intermittent-sampling/

Why I Stopped Doing Cheat Meals

Cheat meals used to be the highlight of my week. I did them for a long time, especially when I was competing and modeling a lot more. I even made a video of my crazy Reese’s Pieces ritual!

But then I used to dread the rest of the week. Because if I wasn’t eating clean as a whistle and feeling miserable doing it, then I couldn’t justify my cheat come the weekend.

And so, in the last 18 months, I’ve changed my tune on cheat meals. There are several reasons, but the bottom line is that eating massive amounts of sugar in one sitting, I believe, does us a disservice long-term.

cupcake

Even though many competitors, coaches and models advocate them. They say, you earn them through tight dieting all week! Or, you build them into your macros! Or, they are a psychological reward!

All fine explanations, except above all, they do one thing that I just can’t get on board with:

Cheat meals keep us in the dieting mindset, where we are either “on” a tight diet (during the week) or “off” the diet (binging on a cheat meal or day). This ultimately does us a disservice.

Cheat meals reinforce the idea that we need to “earn” our cheats. That cheats are a reward for “good dieting” and staying “on point.” And when we reach a certain weight or body fat percentage, we are NOW worthy of eating thousands of calories of straight-up sugar in a sitting.

How is that healthy?? Physically or mentally?

In other words, cheat meals hold us hostage in the deprive-then-binge cycle. Don’t they? They reinforce that we need to do penance for indulging. Sorry, I just can’t get on board with that mindset anymore.

Now you might be asking, “But Jill, I know so-and-so fitness model or competitor who looks amazing and does cheat meals.” 

Fine, but I guarantee years from now, he or she is going to be advocating moderation365 too. Because “on” and “off” times are not only unsustainable long-term but they keep us obsessed with food and dieting. 

And I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of obsessing about food. 

I want to eat the same today as every other day. I don’t want to be a “good little dieter,” and have to earn my cheats. I want to eat healthy and do my best every single day and never feel deprived and never feel like I have to do penance and never feel as though my eating is dictated by rules and numbers.

This is a tough thing to wrap your head around. And if it doesn’t feel true for you, then fine. Some people feel like cheat meals do them right. Great. Do them and enjoy the hell out of them. But stay mindful too. Ask, Could I throw myself a little bone earlier in the week, so that by the time I reach Saturday night I’m not ready to dive headfirst into Ben & Jerry’s? 

Because I don’t care what fits into your macros, eating copious amounts of straight-up sugar in a single sitting will never be healthy. And yes, sometimes it can’t be avoided–we’ve all had those moments when the binge-bug takes over and we’re helpless to resist. Of course. I get that. And the last thing I want to do is make you feel badly for giving in at times. I did it plenty.

But the idea that you have to wait until a special night or special day of the week to feel satisfied with your food is myopic.

And ultimately, I don’t want to dread my eating any day. I don’t want to do the “Sunday night roundup” where I eat everything in sight in anticipation of all my sweets and treats being “off limits” come Monday. This way of thinking establishes a “lack mindset” around food. And the more we put sweets and treats up on a pedestal where they are forbidden, the more we’ll want and crave them. So much so that some Saturday, cheat meal (or day) time, we literally have no control over our response when they are reintroduced.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be able to be around any food, any time, and STILL be in control of my response. And when I establish cheat meals as a “special time for treats,” then I’m giving credence to the illicitness of those foods. When you realize that any food you want is available whenever you want it, the urgency of needing to EAT IT ALL RIGHT NOW falls away.

You can always find ways for your eating to satisfy you TODAY. And when you do that, there’s no urgency about a balls-out cheat. You just eat. No dieting. No deprivation. No “earning” your sugar. Just eating. And it goes on forever!

Solutions: Moderation365

You guys know that I’m a proponent of moderation, and I use preemptive cheats to stay satisfied and satiated. With that being said, I can’t remember the last time I went to the movies and killed a bag of candy or demolished an entire dessert after a dinner out.

I simply don’t ever get to the point of complete deprivation anymore. And when I don’t feel deprived, I don’t need to binge on sugar. This took time.

People ask me all the time how to curtail cravings. Or how to curb their sweet tooth.

I totally get that. I had a major sweet tooth. Heck, I used to schedule my day around my sweets (e.g. midmorning Sprees or a Tootsie Roll, and mid-afternoon yogurt-covered pretzels or Reese’s Pieces). WTF?? Yes. But at the time, it was the highlight of my day!

So how do you move from eating sugar daily to not feeling compelled?

The solution for me was 3-fold:

  1. I ate things that satisfied me BEFORE I reached that point (preemptive cheats).
  2. I found workarounds. When I wanted the taste of sweet, I’d find something that gave me that experience without going all-in on sugar, like a few bites of sugar-free chocolate or a protein pancake made with chocolate protein powder, or almond bread.
  3. I LET UP ON THE CARDIO. I did 2+ hours a day of cardio FOR YEARS. And my sugar intake was the reason. It was a cycle: I binged on sugar, which meant I needed more cardio to “burn it off” and then the more cardio I did led to more cravings for sugar. #idienow

Awareness and then practice of these tools took time and patience, and THREE YEARS LATER, I’m out of the cycle.

In summary: if you find yourself needing and wanting to binge, either every night after dinner or come Friday or Saturday, you are depriving too much earlier in the day/week. So ask yourself how you can feel MORE satisfied earlier? Think of it as a binge-precaution. Yes, I want you to eat something to satisfy you BEFORE you get the point of deprivation and to the point of needing a cheat meal.

You’re probably thinking: “But Jill, I don’t want to have something earlier in the week since I don’t *really* feel like I NEED anything then, only to reach the weekend and STILL pig out then!!”

Ha, I get it! I was scared shitless to try something different even in the face of my misery and obsession!

But honestly, you can always adjust and the old deprive-then-binge cycle will always be there. The whole starve-then-cheat protocol is still alive and well and there if you need it. So WHY NOT TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT? Because the old way? That’s not working. White-knuckling our way through the week only to blow it all Friday thru Sunday does. Not. Work long-term. Even this recent study shows that progress is made during the weekdays (thank you, Sasa, for the link).

What do you think? Could you try the Moderation365 approach? Reach the weekend feeling satisfied, not ready to rip someone’s head off if you don’t get your pizza?? :) I’d love to hear your thoughts on the JillFit FB page!
Ox, Jill

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/02/12/cheat-meals/

7 Things Successful People Say

Success is an attitude. It’s a mindset.

And it’s not a coincidence that all successful people share a few similar thinking patterns. It’s The Success Mindset. And it’s not luck. Or chance. It’s a deliberate effort.

I read the book, The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson and it’s all about cultivating the mindset of a successful person. And across the board–it doesn’t matter if you’re talking fitness, fat loss, career, relationships, whatever–the people whose attitude is that of growth, openness, resiliency and possibility will be successful.

Because mindset drives decisions. And decisions lead to outcomes.

Success

If my mindset is that “struggles are just part of the process,” when I encounter them, I’m expecting it, I’m not surprised. And I’m able to work through them quicker. And I also don’t make them mean that I suck and I better just throw in the towel. I see them as just par for the course.

Ask any successful entrepreneur and they will tell you that success is attitude.

It’s not “do this” or “take this approach.” It’s simply a way of being in the world that makes decision-making effortless. And cultivating that way of being takes conscious effort at first, and then practice. Opportunities for practice arise all the time, and it’s our reaction to those challenges that predict outcomes–good and bad.

So, I did this blog in seminar format for last month’s Radiance Retreat, and so I thought I would share it here. Enjoy!

1) “I know what I do best, and then I kill at it.”

There’s power when you’re acting and speaking from a place of passion and 100% authenticity. When you’re in the “flow state,” and being yourself, unapologetically, life is effortless. When you’re doing “what you’re meant to do,” it’s automatic. So with that said, trying to be anything or do anything that does not feel completely right for you is a waste of time.

Successful people follow their bliss. They know that life is too short to do shit you hate, and they find a way to work their passion into their life daily.

They also know that no one can do what they do better than them. What do I mean by that? When you are acting from a place of unapologetic authenticity, you are irreplaceable, an original, and good luck to anyone who tries to be you. Own your stuff. Go all in. And when you do, success is inevitable.

2) “Take 100% responsibility. For everything.”

Recently wrote an entire article on this. But as a recap … when you take responsibility for not only your own actions, but every and all circumstances you find yourself in (regardless of whose “fault” it is), you will always have options, you will always have steps to take. It’s when we blame and deflect responsibility that we get into trouble. Because when we do that, we give away our power. We give away our ability to act to change our circumstances. And at that point, we have to wait for others to change or assume responsibility. And I don’t know about you, but waiting for someone else to man-up in order to be successful just doesn’t sit right for me.

So forget luck. Forget what other people are doing. Forget what you “are owed.” Forget expectations for others, and forget what you think should happen. Because bottom line, reality is reality. Own that, and you will always have the ability to take ownership to improve your circumstances. I’ll choose empowerment over helplessness every time. And successful people know that their fate lies in their own perception and ability to act regardless.

3) “I give everything away, and then I receive ten-fold.”

Be more generous than you ever thought possible.

I’ll never forget listening to Marie Forleo speaking at Ryan Lee’s online business event 2 years ago, when she said, “I want my free content to be better than most people’s paid content.” Wow. Yes. Add massive value. For free! Give it all away.

People ask me why I give away whole workout programs and meal plans on my site. It’s a) because I know that meal plans and workout programs alone are not what get results. What gets results is implementation. And b) because ultimately I want people to get better, whether they choose to work with me or not. I feel a deep passion and OBLIGATION to share, empathize and educate. Information is the first step.

And how does it hurt me to give it away? People get scared that if everything’s on their blog or in a free ebook, why would people buy something from them? I understand that concern. But the bottom line is that giving away MY BEST STUFF and as much of it as possible helps me earn the TRUST of my readers first. Because if I don’t earn their trust, they certainly care and definitely won’t buy. They won’t even know what I’m selling! :)

And deeper than that, the bottom line for me is that I feel a deep, DEEP obligation to serve. I want every single person who reads this blog or interacts with me online (or in person) to walk away feeling empowered and like they have the tools to get better. And because that’s a core value of mine, how could I deny people the OPPORTUNITY to improve? I can’t. I won’t. And so I put it all out there. I give because I know that it’s in the giving that I receive.

This is a mindset. There’s enough happiness, success and money to go around. And when I come from an “abundance” mindset, the universe gives back to me ten-fold. When I’m scared and secretive and act with a “lack” mindset, I get exactly that–lack.

4) “I revel in the struggle.”

One of Jade’s mantras is, “Be a seeker, not a settler.” Can this way of thinking get us into trouble? Sure. But the alternative is staying small, scared and ultimately not making our dreams come true. Because inherent in taking action is the possibility for mistakes and missteps. Actually, they’re guaranteed.

So for me, I’d rather be able to anticipate them–even SEEK them out– than be blindsided when they happen and then make it mean that I suck and I better pack it in. No thanks! Instead, I look forward to my struggles. Why? Because every time I encounter a hardship, I’m given the opportunity to get better. I can get smarter, stronger, more resilient. And I will choose that every time–even though the pain and fear never gets less or easier. But those are the risks associated with striving for success. At some point, we all have to experience pain, heartache, loss, grief, etc. And I’d rather it be while I’m striving to create something amazing.

Successful people lean into the struggle. They cherish it because they know it ultimately makes them unstoppable.

5) “The more downtime I take, the more focused I am when I work.”

It’s no secret I love to relax. I wrote about it here, here and here. I lie on the couch and read 3-4 hours a day. I employ what I call “Rest-Based Living”–a take on Metabolic Effect’s Rest-based Training concept. In other words, the amount of downtime and recharge time we take is directly linked to the degree of FOCUS we’re able to employ when we sit down to work.

More rest = more focus.

We can choose to be ‘busy” for 10 hours a day OR we can choose to do focused work for 3 hours a day. The outcomes are the same, if we are cognizant of restorative time. Brendon Burchard calls this “block time,” where we schedule in 2-3 hours of time to really, really work on things that need our attention. Not email (close it down). Not Facebook and Twitter (sorry, that’s not really being productive). During scheduled block time, we can get so much done if we are deliberate that a couple hours is sufficient. I schedule in 1 or 2 block times daily, so probably 2-6 hours of actual “real” work, but I get so much more done than when I was “working,”–AKA being busy–for 10 hours a day.

If you’re interested in this concept, I’d recommend The Power of Full Engagement by Tony Schwartz. A total game-changer. I’ve never been more productive while “working” less time in my life.

6) “I practice a possibility mindset. When others ask, ‘Why me?’ I ask, ‘Why NOT me?’”

Successful people cultivate big thinking. Instead of defaulting to, “Why me?” they think, “Why NOT me?” They look for opportunities and possibilities instead of counting up the reasons why they can’t do it, or they’re not worthy to do it.

Cultivating a possibility mindset has everything to do with how open or narrow-minded you are. Narrow-minded thinking keeps us secure and certain, but it also takes away the opportunity for more. It’s easier to just maintain the status quo than it is to expand. So it takes a certain degree of risk and uncertainty to ask, Is there more? And if there is, can I do it?

THIS IS SCARY STUFF! I get that.

I use the tool Practical Pessimism to push my ability to take action to create more. Naturally, we tend to be scared to take action. Our self-doubts hold us hostage. But Practical Pessimism or going to worst-case scenario in our minds allows us to see the potential worst outcome and then ask, “If that occurred, could I handle it?” And I think that you will always find that yes, you could. Would it be uncomfortable or painful? Yep. But the alternative is NOT trying, staying small and scared. And success is anything but small. This is a choice! A choice to trust YOURSELF to be able to handle whatever transpires. To be able to adjust on the fly and figure it out. Ask yourself, “Do I trust me?” Those with a possibility mindset do, even in the face of fear.

7) “Be a lifelong student.”

Never stop learning. Those who get to the the next level invest in their brain first and foremost.

This also cultivates high self-worth. You only have to be one step ahead of those you’re coaching, and spending time every day in education is a key way to maintain that slight edge.

Ongoing learning is a key value of mine, as you know. Reading, coaching, mentorship and online programs are simple ways to improve your value. In the past year, Jade and I together have spent over 30k on coaching and education and I’ve read 130+ books, many of them on business, psychology or mindset. Every answer you could ever need is a book, online course or person away! Use the resources around you to better yourself and to better your ability to help others. I believe that knowledge is power insofar as it allows us to take action and make a change for the better. Learning is forever, and those who are the most successful will always choose to invest in their brains first and foremost. The best thing about self-education is that is can never be taken away from you.

Cultivating success is a deliberate practice. And it’s not easy and it’s not pain-free. In fact, be prepared to endure more challenges and obstacles than you ever thought possible. But the reward is immense. The outcomes are worth it–knowledge, passion, success, happiness, perspective and security. All amazing things. And the good news is that it’s only a little introspection away :) Let me know what you think! Ox, Jill

Related: 7 Ways to Start Creating the Life You Want

 

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/02/05/success-mindset/

Help! I’m Counting Calories and I Can’t Stop!

Aaaaaah! When JillFit Ambassador Maryalice Goldsmith approached me with the idea to write an article about calorie-counting, I loved the idea! I think the one thing that actually saved me from moving into full-blown adrenal fatigue and metabolic damage when I was competing was that I never counted calories. (Oh no, I just cut out whole food groups and did 3 hours of cardio a day :( )

ANYWAY, I hope you enjoy this great, insightful and HONEST post from Maryalice. Her 12-Week Look Great, Feel Great, Radiate! System is now open for registration and I think that if you like what Maryalice has to say, working up-close-and-personal with her would be a good move!

Enjoy this great guest blog from Maryalice! Ox, Jill 

 

Hey! I am thrilled to be here to talk about health & fitness…it really fires me up in a good way of course :) But something that gets my goat (Baaaaa!) is the endless noise out there in the world:

  • “Do this if you want to lose weight.”
  • “Take this pill for quick and amazing results.”
  • “This diet will have you looking 20lbs lighter in 2 weeks.”

The infomercials are endless, the magazines are riddled with information, and every week the news reports on the latest and greatest diet trend.

I learned the hard way; all this noise is simply that—noise—and having fallen victim to a lot of it myself, I realize it caused more harm then good. It wasn’t until I shut the noise out and started listening to my own body that I discovered my true optimal health.

So, let’s break down the 5 mistakes I made that may also be affecting your healthy & fitness journey:

1) Counting every single calorie doesn’t work.

How do I know that?

From 2005-2010 I was a calorie counting junky, it was a full-time job…LOL!  I have endless spreadsheets of every bite of food I ate for 5 years.

Why doesn’t it work?

Because calories don’t tell the whole picture. We need to look at things like hormones, hunger, energy, and cravings, and our mindset. What we eat and how often we eat matters more then total caloric value.

For me, counting calories created a negative mindset causing me to judge myself as good or bad depending on the amount of calories I ate. The numbers became an obsession and caused more unhealthiness, that was not the goal. I learned that listening to the needs of my body mattered more.

2) Calories do matter, but hormones matter more.

I learned a hard lesson with calorie counting…Damn, let’s just call it what it is ~CALORIE RESTRICTING!

FYI PEOPLE, you can’t calorie restrict and run marathons! I ran the Boston marathon in 2008 and ended up hitting a physical brick wall, which led to a 4-year battle with my body. I had pushed my hormones to their limit and the inevitable outcome ~ Adrenal fatigue and Hypothyroidism :(

We need to understand that our bodies have an intricately designed system of hormones that send messages all day long to our liver, thyroid, pituitary, adrenal glands and more. The things we eat, how we exercise, our level of stress, and the quality of our sleep, dictate these messages.

Two major game players are insulin and cortisol. When we have high levels of stress, cortisol spikes, insulin is released to bring cortisol back down. If this ebb and flow is pushed too far and used in excess, then this is where we can gain fat, experience fatigue, ravenous hunger, and insatiable cravings. I was clearly pushing cortisol and insulin so far, day in and day out, that my body push back and literally shut down.

So, yes what we eat in a day matters, but what I want you to understand is they matter because of the messages they send to our hormones and in turn our body. I learned to use food (calories) to send a clear message of balance; there is no caloric total number that can define this. Lots of lean protein, veggies, and water and timed carbohydrates is what I discovered worked best for me.

3) 2+ hours of exercise is not so cool after all.

I spent hours in the gym lifting, running, rowing, biking and so on. That Stepmill saw me coming and it got scared…Ha! I had no idea I was doing more harm then good.

Over time, I learned that quality workouts that were short and intense are optimal for fat loss.

This kind of exercise stimulates stress hormones adrenaline & noradrenaline (catecholamines) and cortisol IN THE COMPANY OF testosterone and HGH, creating the perfect hormonal concoction for fat loss and muscle gain. Using a mixture of weights and cardio to drive the heart rate UP and then rest to bring it back down allowing the body to generate breathlessness, burning, heat, and heaviness is optimal. Not only do you get the benefits while you workout but, you generate an afterburn that allows you to burn fat for hours.

Add a slow restorative walk post workout and BAM you have yourself a fat burning phenomenon. I ilke to think of leisure walking after a short, intense workout kind of like a snow globe. When you shake it all that pretty glitter moves and sparkles. Same with fat–well it doesn’t sparkle :) –but when we exercise in this way, we generate fat flow from the muscle to the blood. Now if you were to place that snow globe down that glitter would just redeposit to the bottom. If you were to get a killer workout and then just stop you would continue to burn but if you were to keep moving in a slow restorative fashion you would burn even more and avoid fat from re-depositing.

Additionally, you get the added bonus of stress reduction, as restorative walking helps to balance hormones like cortisol. Today, my workouts focus on quality to achieve hormonal balance.

4) Sleep and stress have no calories but they have a huge impact on our hormones, and therefore, our results.

In the throws of my adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism, I began to work with the awesome Dr. Jade Teta, a naturopathic physician out of North Carolina and of course Jill’s husband :)

What he taught me about my body was amazing. I felt so awesome and I wanted other people to feel this, to make these connections about their hormones and how their body functions. So I took to the books and learned everything he had to teach…everything. I was in the classroom of Dr. Jade from Sept 2012-January 2013 becoming a Level 3 Hormonal Nutrition Coach and ME personal trainer.

I loved every minute because I learned things like sleep and stress do have an impact on my weight. Really? YES!! Sleep and stress may not have a caloric value, but think about when you’re tired or stressed, it’s agitating, right? Well, your insides are agitated too so therefore the hormonal message is ‘increase cortisol’ due to stress and we are now faced with hormonal imbalance. This leads to fat gain, water retention, and that bloated feeling. Cravings can spike as well as hunger, so the impact on this is multifaceted.

Today I focus on managing my stress and getting quality sleep. Naps even go down in my world today, who would have thought!? Leisure walking and prayer and meditation all help me manage stress.

5) “Healthy” is not necessarily my healthy.

As an avid health magazine reader, this was very enlightening. If “they” said cottage cheese was healthy, then I was going to eat cottage cheese. If “they” said I should go jogging for stress relief, I was going to do that.

What I found, through an intricate process of balancing my nutrition, is not everything that is deemed “HEALTHY” is really healthy FOR ME. I learned that cutting certain things out–like cottage cheese–FOR ME, was actually beneficial to my health. I learned I didn’t need nearly the amount of carbohydrates I was getting.

I also learned my healthy was not all about food. I needed to tap into my spiritual side through prayer and meditation. A daily practice of just being still does wonders for me, and believe it or not, my waistline and my mindset. The things we say to ourselves, the words we use to define who we are or how we look are powerful. I learned that healthy meant I needed to be self-compassionate, accepting, and grateful for who I was inside and out.

Today in order to live my best life ~ my true optimal health, I tap into my physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs. This is where I find my balance my “healthy”!

Insideout-wellness.netSo here’s the bottom line, turn off the noise.

All those infomercials, magazines, diets, and talk shows…they do not hold the answer to your true health.

Everything you need to know is right within. “Healthy” is only healthy if it works for you. Stop following a plan and start listening to your body. You will be amazed at all it will reveal! For some that may sound too “woo-woo,” but I can tell you, our bodies are amazing and if we give them what they need, they will give back to us and you will radiate health, strength, confidence, joy, balance…your true optimal health. The only requirement is that you take the time to figure out what works best for you and along the way, be patient and gentle with yourself.

Although I made some mistakes along the way, they have been my greatest lessons learned. These mistakes have created opportunities and have led me to my life’s purpose of guiding and coaching others to achieve their optimal health.  It is one of my greatest joys to help people through the process of discovering their best health from the InsideOut!

Xo, Maryalice

Maryalice’s 12-Week Look Great, Feel Great, Radiate System is now open for registration, through Sunday February 2nd ONLY. If you’re someone who counts cals incessantly, runs yourself ragged with exercise and still can’t get the result (and balance!) you seek, Maryalice’s program is perfect for you. This woman is one of the most passionate coaches I know when it comes to nutrition, exercise and personal health. You’ll be in great hands! Spots are limited to grab yours today! Ox, Jill 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/01/30/calorie-counting/

4 Ways To Stop Eating A Million Calories Every Night

I don’t blame you for wanting to eat everything you can possibly get your hands on at night.

A few months ago, I was called in for jury duty. I had never been and was fairly happy about being able to sit and read a book for 8 hours straight. I thought, this can’t be that bad–basically an excuse to not be on the computer or do real work all day. Nice.

Or so I thought.

While I didn’t get picked, I still had to be in that tiny room, sitting in a tiny chair with 100 other people for 8 hours, and the farthest we could walk was the 50 feet to the bathroom. By 5pm, I was so stir crazy and annoyed by the confinement of the day that all my singular mind had the mental energy for was stopping by the store on the way home and then proceeding to guzzle an entire bottle of wine.

WHY DID THIS HAPPEN??

I was actually thinking to myself on the way home, “Now I understand why people who sit at a desk all day are so frigging drained when they get home, and it’s all they can do to NOT eat the house.”

WOW.

Call it irritation, stress, annoyance, confinement, boredom, needing a reward, whatever. But after having probably logged 100 steps TOTAL that day and 8 HOURS OF SITTING, I felt 100% like I deserved a bottle of wine for my ability to do that. WTF? Haha!

How crazy is that??

And yet, so many of us feel like this every. Single. Day. Get home after a long day of being sedentary at work and can’t help but eat everything nonstop from dinner until bedtime. I get it. I do. Wow.

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 6.38.44 PM

Mentally, we are on empty. Willpower is exhaustible, and at the end of a long day of just even TALKING, there’s none left. And when willpower is gone, all that’s left are the habits. So if you’ve developed good habits, those are in place. If you’ve developed poor habits (like sitting on the couch watching TV pounding chips), then those are there, too.

And isn’t TV funny? It’s actually EASIER to watch TV than it is to go to bed! Because going to bed requires brushing teeth and taking contacts out, changing clothes, etc. Ha! And so often we know we should just go to bed, but relaxing with TV and food is easier. Watching TV is the path of least resistance. I was talking about this with my mom recently and I was dying laughing because I was saying that TV is actually easier than sitting quietly alone, “because when you do that, you have to think about stuff,” is the reason my mom gave. And she’s exactly right! THINKING WHEN WE ARE DEPLETED IS HARD WORK. And resisting sweets and treats takes mindfulness, AKA “thinking” and thinking’s just not a luxury we have at night after a long, hard day of it.

So. I don’t blame you.

BUT! The issue is that we need to figure this out, because the current way of handling it is not working.

So, how do we then NOT eat a milling calories every night? Metabolic Effect calls this “continuous meal” when you eat from dinner time straight until bedtime. We do this, don’t we??

I thought about this from all angles and came up with 4 tools that can help:

1) Find ways to replenish willpower throughout the day.

You can think of your willpower like a battery that get drained as the day goes on. It’s highest in the morning (it’s no wonder people cite breakfast as their healthiest meal of the day!) and with every decision throughout the day, willpower gets less and less. So, it would follow that if you could take moments throughout the day to replenish it, charge the battery, you’d be more equipped to deal with resisting sweets at night.

Some of my favorite ways to boost willpower (AKA restorative activities) include leisure walking, 5-10 min meditation, light stretching of foam rolling, reading a book, creative writing in a journal, sketching or even light yoga or tai chi. Kelly McGonigal in her book, ‘The Willpower Instinct’ shows how even 5 minutes of meditation throughout the day can make a significant impact. I also recommend reading ‘The Power of Full Engagement’ by Tony Schwartz and ‘Switch’ by Chip and Dan Heath.

2) Eat more and satisfying stuff earlier in the day.

Often cravings are related to feelings of deprivation. When we feel deprived for a day or a week or a month, the compensatory overindulgence is inevitable. So, it would follow that if you can stay MORE satisfied and satiated throughout the day, that compensatory hunger and cravings would be less at night.

So the answer to quitting nighttime binging is actually NOT to be more strict during the day. This can be a tough pill to swallow though, especially when we wake up in a state of remorse from the night before–often we want to literally FAST all day “to make up for it.” No ma’am. Instead, find ways to preempt cravings and hunger.

First and foremost, this includes eating more protein and fiber-rich foods earlier in the day. They keep us feeling fuller for longer and stabilize energy. The second way is to incorporate preemptive cheats. I’ve written on these quite a bit, but they are foods that are satiating, but don’t necessarily help with fat loss. They are more neutral and we don’t need a lot to feel satisfied. Examples are: a couple strips of bacon, a few squares of dark chocolate, a sprinkle of cheese on salads or even a few slices of cheese off a block, avocado, guacamole, sugar-free fro-yo, or even a single glass of red wine. They help take the edge off but don’t usually add pounds if you are watching servings. They act as “built-in relief” for your diet. Have a serving each day or every other day.

3) Find workarounds.

Sometimes you just have to rewire your nighttime behaviors. I recommend checking out the book, ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg. The idea is that when you spend time building healthy habits, when your willpower gets drained, you default to those effective habits instead of poor ones.

Whatever you practice is what you get good at. And Day 1 of practice is always the hardest, but the more you do it, the more automatic it becomes. So workarounds will be things that take you AWAY from that typical couch-TV-food scenario. They are physical, nutritional or lifestyle-based tools. This is a modified version of what coach Mike T. Nelson uses as a guide for fasting:

Physical workarounds: Go workout after dinner, take a walk, do some light stretching or foam rolling, go to a yoga class, go dancing, etc.

Nutritional workarounds: Use the Metabolic Effect cocoa drink (1-2 TB unsweetened cocoa powder, hot water, stevia to taste) or a large hot tea. Both keep your mouth occupied! Take BCAAs or chug a liter of water.

Lifestyle workarounds: #GYAIB (Get Yo Ass In Bed) and read, meditate or have sex :) , blog, pay the bills, call a friend, take a long, hot bath, etc.

Start by picking 1 or 2 things you could see yourself doing INSTEAD of your usual scenario and practice them until they become second nature. My personal tool is getting into bed right after a later dinner and reading.

4) Incorporate “Intermittent Sampling”: a practice in moderation.

My house, purse and gym bag are littered with half-eaten protein bars (wrapped, I swear!). Yes, it’s a touch gross but it serves a purpose. It’s part of what I call “intermittent sampling” and it’s a PRACTICE in moderation. “But Jill, I haaaaaaate moderation, AND I CAN’T DO IT!”  I get it. I used to eat 5 protein bars in a row, nevermind a half or third of a bar–are you kidding me?? But, yes, over time, I started practicing NOT eating the whole thing. Here’s how:

I’d get a bar out and take 1/3 of it, eat it, get the taste and put the rest back into the cabinet or into my purse (ha!). Then, I’d go do something for AT LEAST 10 minutes. If I was still thinking about the bar, I’d go back and eat another third. Then I’d put it back. Same thing. This time I’d wait AT LEAST 20 minutes and if I still wanted more, I’d go back and finish it. Over time, more often than not, I was able to take a third or a half and forget about the rest until later.

This may seem silly but the idea that you can just go cold-turkey is a little shortsighted. And besides, I don’t want to have to go cold-turkey. I want to be able to control my cravings and use a moderate approach to feel satisfied with less. I used to be someone who would HAVE TO FINISH THE WHOLE BAG/PACKAGE/ROLL of whatever it was. And this was a practice that helped me overcome that.

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The One Fry Rule: Another example. My brother Danny is 23 years old and he lives with Jade and I. Like most 23 year old guys, he orders a burger and fries 90% of the time we go to dinner. So I started just plucking one single fry from his plate every dinner. Even when I didn’t really want one. Simply to REINFORCE that I can taste something and then move on. I’d grab a fry, douse it in ranch :) and then proceed to eat my #BAS or protein & veggies. This became a practice that has carried over into all meals and all my interactions with food.

So, is there something you can PRACTICE moderation with? Remember, we are not trying to be perfect. We are trying to not eat a million calories at night. So even a little better is still an improvement. What food would you like to continue to be able to eat but need to practice your moderate approach around? Neghar pours baby glasses of wine and that’s what works for her.

This stuff may been neurotic or weird or overly obsessive, but it’s actually the opposite. Because these practices automatically put me in more control than ever, effortlessly. It’s simply just “the way I eat” now. No stress, no binging, no obsessive thinking about food, just self-trust, meal to meal, situation to situation. Over time, it’s completely liberating.

Hope these four things help! My advice is to start with just one option and see how you do, instead of trying to implement them all at once. Start with the easiest one first, the one you can see yourself doing right away. And then PRACTICE. And be gentle with yourself, and just do your best. Many of us have many million-calorie nights to overturn in terms of habit formation. So relax into the process and don’t expect perfection and I promise it’ll get more manageable with time. Good luck! Ox, Jill

 Related: The First Step in Quitting the Deprive-then-Binge Cycle

 

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/01/27/nighttime-eating/

Want to be Successful? Assume All The Responsibility. All Of It.

I remember 3 years ago when I was dealing with some personal struggles and I had an amazing spiritual coach working with me. His message, though he never really said it like this, was: take responsibility for everything.

I hated that.

I hated it because at the time I thought taking responsibility was the same as assuming blame. And I didn’t want to assume blame for what I perceived to be other people’s fucked-up-ness. I didn’t want to let people off the hook. I wanted people to understand how “hurt” I felt and that their actions and words were, well … fucked up. I wanted to wait for other people to realize their mistakes and change their ways. I wanted other people’s actions and words to be different.

Well, I might as well have been wishing for a miracle, waiting for other people to realize the error of their ways and change those ways so that I could finally be happy and affirmed! Because really, do I have any control over how other people act or what they say?

And yet I was pinning my happiness on those very changes I hoped they’d make. For my sake.

Ugh. Really??

Saying it out loud like that sounds a bit ludicrous. Silly, right?

I’ve blogged about it many times on JillFit—the idea that pinning our happiness on others being a specific way is a fast route to disappointment and well, unhappiness.

Because can anyone really make us happy? Can anyone take on that kind of onus for us?

I think no.

Which comes back to the idea of responsibility.

And in light of this insight, the ONLY option to happiness and full self-realization is to take 100% responsibility for everything. Every situation we end up in, whether we’re to blame or it’s at the fault of someone else.

Blame can be placed on someone else for getting us into a specific situation, but the responsibility for moving forward and OUT of that sitation lies with us. Why? Because the alternative is waiting for others to take up the cause. Which may or more likely, will not, happen. No thanks! I don’t know about you, but I’m very reluctant to let the fate of my success lie in the hands of someone else.

So, in a sense, this is liberating. Isn’t it? We get to have a say—THE say—in how our future unfolds. Our results—good or bad—lie only in our hands. We don’t have to rely on anyone else for our happiness or success. Empowering, no?

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“You complete me”: Doing us a disservice?

You might ask, “But Jill, what about relationships? Partners? Spouses? Where does this leave them? Aren’t there expectations and aren’t we supposed to ‘complete each other? We can rely on them, right?’”

Frigging Jerry McGuire: “You complete me.”

While I understand the sentiment and I love romance as much as the next person, I think this belief does us a disservice. It infers that we can never be complete without that one person who’s supposedly meant for us. And it keeps us searching for someone to do the work for us, instead of taking full responsibility for our outcomes and happiness solo.

BUT! But, when we own up to our own circumstances, taking full responsibility for where we end up, we get to allow the other person—our partner—to be along for the ride and cultivate enjoyment rather than holding that person to certain expectations or a certain role we need them to play. We get to enjoy them and love them without expectation.

I love being married. But not because I need someone else to make me whole, but because my partner challenges me to get better. He inspires me to grow and learn and be more vulnerable and take MORE action on my own, not less. That’s the power of a strong relationship—two people who are 100% complete and whole on their own, coming together to make something stronger and more fulfilling. Jade and I call it “our third person.”

So how do you become a complete and whole person on you own? Again, it comes back to assuming responsibility for moving forward, taking action and finding solutions. Because we can complain OR we can look for solutions, not both.

But the typical compulsion is to complain because … sympathy! Comisery! Pity parties!

We humans are so funny, aren’t we? We’d rather be in a bad spot together than alone at the top. We want to know that we’re not alone in our misery. And I get that, too. It feels good to have relatedness, and geez, I certainly want others to “get” me. But what about instead, working together to find solutions and move forward? To get better? Elevate together, instead of staying mired in misery, going back and forth affirming one another that yeah, we have it bad.

It takes courage to NOT play the victim

The reason this is a particular sensitivity of mine is because I played the victim for many years, so many years. I remember going through a rough business relationship and blaming the other people involved constantly. And yet I didn’t do anything. I just went around telling anyone who would listen how bad my situation sucked. They always agreed. Of course they did.

But I felt no better. Nothing changed.

Because despite being affirmed that things sure did suck, there was still no place to go. I still didn’t take action. I didn’t have options. Or, at least ones I could see. It felt impossible to make a change. And yet, the alternative to taking action to make a change was to be miserable. Which I was.

The only real option in any situation where we find ourselves in misery is to take responsibility for it, and make a change for ourselves. Not take the blame, necessarily. Because it may not be your fault you’re in that space. But placing blame is not actionable. It’s a crutch. It’s how we make excuses to not take action. It’s how we stay in the victim mindset.

No thanks!

So, next time you find yourself in a tough spot, where you feel “done wrong” or “betrayed” or “hurt,” allow yourself to feel the emotions of it, but ultimately remember that only you can change your outcomes, whether that’s through your choices, your effort or just even your attitude.

Because the reality is that life doesn’t “happen to you.” You create it, in every moment and with every choice.

What will you choose? :)

Related: Consider the problem might be you

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/01/16/responsibility/

Ain’t Nobody Got Time for Drama

“There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.” –J.K. Rowling

Recently, I was pulled into two separate situations where I was confronted with what I consider to be “drama”–negative energy, name-calling, gossiping and shit-talking behind people’s backs.

And on a visceral level, it makes me so frigging uncomfortable. I don’t like it at all. Like, I actually get a tight feeling in my chest and want to do anything to turn around the conversation to the positive or away from “other people.” Actually, I hate it so much that I ALMOST DON’T WANT TO WRITE THIS BLOG. Ha!

But I feel like I have to, because I want to nip this thing in the bud.

See, I feel fortunate because my life is fairly drama-free in terms of negativity. I have stress. Lots of it, just like anyone else, and I do my best to handle it. And I rarely, if ever, resort to gossip, blaming, name-calling and putting out negative vibes. This is an operating system, and one I’ve practiced for the last few years (wasn’t always like that though), to the point that any negativity honestly makes me so uncomfortable. Those things don’t feel good and they certainly don’t serve me. In fact. the only thing they do is pull me into Negative Town where I get to be a huge victim. Ugh.

When I started JillFit in 2010, I committed to the core value of “relentless positivity” and I strive to live that daily. It’s not always easy, especially when I get frustrated or want to play the victim, which happens a lot. And it can feel good to play the victim, can’t it? We get to gather our pity party around us. We get to trade stories, talk about who has it the worst and commiserate over our troubles. We get to look at each other and agree that our situations suck. We get to complain and vent and “rant.” And while sympathy and co-misery can feel good, it keeps us in a holding pattern of inaction and helplessness.

But one thing that helps me when I want to blame and get negative is to remember that creating and participating in drama is, too, an operating system. And it’s one that keeps me from achieving the things I want and getting to the place I want to be.

When I am busy with negativity and blame, all of my mental energy is used up there, and I don’t have it available to do the things needed to reach my goals.

And I can always adjust my operating system to one that allows me more possibilities and success.

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I also remember:

DRAMA = INSECURITY + NEGATIVITY + INAUTHENTICITY

Let’s break those three things down a little more.

Insecurity:

In my opinion, this is the underlying element of drama. When I’m insecure, I compare myself to others. I struggle with not being good enough. Subconsciously, I feel inadequate and irrelevant. I feel helpless and defensive.

And the last thing all of those feelings make me want to do it own up to my bullshit. In fact, all I want to do when I’m in an insecure frame of mind is look “out there” for others who can take the blame. When I’m insecure, I can make it about other people being assholes, or being rude or unfair, treating me poorly or making my life miserable.

In other words, when I’m insecure, I get to create drama around other people so that I don’t have to take responsibility for my own happiness and outcomes. I can blame, deflect, defend and place onus elsewhere.

Ugh.

How does that help me in the long run, really? How does waiting around for other people to “get it” really help me right now? It doesn’t. And when I engage in drama and gossip as a result of insecurity, I get to stew in my victimhood and let other people be the source of my unhappiness.

What a prison! When I can only be happy and fearless once other people change, I am literally incapacitating myself.

On the other hand, when I am secure in my stuff, I don’t need to compare or stress about what other people are saying or doing because I’M DOING WHAT I NEED TO DO FOR ME, regardless of what people around me are doing. It’s beautiful. When I’m secure, I wish other people the best because I realize that others’ successes have zero impact on my own success. I don’t feel threatened by what other people are doing or their successes because those have nothing to do with me. Other people’s successes don’t make my own any less likely or my contributions any less important or impactful.

I realize that there’s enough money, success and happiness to go around.

In short, when I’m secure, I don’t need to create drama to make myself feel better. (But ask yourself, does the drama actually make you feel better, though? Probably not. Only keeps you feeling helpless and stuck).

Negativity.

I’ll never forget one of mentors Alwyn Cosgrove (a two-time cancer survivor and amazingly inspiring coach) saying at one of our masterminds, when asked how he approaches trolls on social media: “I ban them automatically. No second chances. Because I simply refuse to put negative shit in my head.”

I agree completely.

I can’t think of one benefit to negative thinking. I understand and use “worst-case scenario” or Practical Pessimism as a tool to help me take more action, but straight-up negativity not only makes me feel depressed as hell, but it also keeps me mired in the bullshit.

What do I mean by that?

When I get negative, I am allowing my own choices about how I will feel in this moment (negative) convince me that I can’t make a difference. That my actions don’t matter. That I’m screwed regardless of what I do. And I don’t know about you, but putting myself in a position where “it’s all bad” and I have no options is absolutely miserable. It makes me feel helpless, stuck and like the world is out to get me.

No thanks!

But! When I act from a place of positivity, looking for the bright spots in situations and being genuinely happy with what I’m working toward, I don’t need to put anyone else down. I’m grateful for what I’ve got–both the good and the bad–and that’s a place of power. That’s a place of openness and wishing other people the best, and giving others the benefit of the doubt, and not taking things personally, and not making assumptions, and being genuinely happy for others’ successes. It’s an empowered place. It’s a stress-free place. It feels good in that place. I feel equipped in that place.

Inauthenticity.

You might not get this one right off the bat, so let me explain. I talk a lot about “apologetic authenticity” and the fact that when we are acting out of 100% ownership of who we are in the world, honoring that, no compromises, we are free to relax into ourselves without censor or approval-seeking or needing to be anything we’re not. We are free to be you and me :)

And when I engage in drama, gossip or shit-talking, I’m not owning my stuff. I’m not 100% happy in what I’m doing and who I’m being (authentic), so I need to deflect and position others as “wrong” or “messed up.” When I’m not practicing authenticity, other people (and their successes) feel threatening. I can easily be intimidated by what other people are doing. I can easily resent them. And it’s mostly because on some level, I’m not doing what I need to do for me.

But when I do for me, I don’t need to compare or stress about what other people are doing, because I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.  I own my authenticity and I own my unique goals. And I want others to own theirs, too!

Because when I’m acting in an authentic way, I could give two shits what other people are doing. Not that I don’t care about others, but I’d take what I’m doing every day of the week over what someone else has or who they are or who others see them as.

Because I like me.

Reminds me of Mark Cuban. Asked if he could be anyone else in the world, dead or living, who would he be? “I’m be me.” And isn’t that the way it should be? It’s that the ultimate? It’s not always easy to feel that way and it takes a lot of personal development and self-compassion, but it’s worth it if the end result is getting to be 100% comfortable in you.

And not only comfortable, but owning it. Like my girl Liz DiAlto says, there’s no use stressing about who’s taking my stuff or trying to compete with me because, “good luck trying to be me.” <—This is the kind of attitude you have to have. Not negative, but just SURE of yourself. Confident. Positive. Moving on. Everything is good as far as you’re concerned!

The last piece of the drama puzzle is this … when I’m engaging in and creating drama, I’m ultimately at wasting time and energy away from where I want be to. I’m wasting the energy that I could be using to take myself to the next level. I’m wasting mental space on stuff that’s not important. It’s petty and it’s what Jade calls “monkey level”–it’s, for lack of a better word, drama :)  It doesn’t help me get to the next level. It keeps me grounded in the small shit. It doesn’t help me elevate myself or those around me. It keeps me scared and stuck.

And ain’t nobody got time for that! :)

I’d love your thoughts on this. Do you have Negative Nancys in your life? How do you deal with them? Or do you even, find yourself taking a ride into Negative Town? It’s easy to want to play the victim. It takes courage to NOT play the victim. Because when you take responsibility, you have to look your own BS straight in the face. Not fun, and certainly painful, but always worth it in the end. Let me know your thoughts on the JillFit Facebook page! Ox, Jill

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/01/08/drama/

Cavewomen Don’t Get Fat? Hormones, Paleo, Carbs, Oh My! {Guest Post}

I am beyond excited to feature a guest post today, by my good friend and “gorgeous” best-selling author Esther Blum, RD, of Living Gorgeous. Esther and I have been friends since her first book, Eat, Drink and Be Gorgeous came out years ago, and over the years it’s been a pleasure to watch her grow in her influence and impact.

Her most recent book, Cavewomen Don’t Get Fat, just came out last week and I couldn’t be happier to get this exclusive post from her for JillFit readers. A lot about female hormones, carbs and how to know if a Paleo approach is right for you. As you know, at JillFit, we believe that each person has to approach fat loss in their own unique way–and also not be miserable–and Esther’s approach falls in line with that. 

Great info here, take it away Esther! 

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Hi Gorgeous Girls,

I just released my fourth book, Cavewomen Don’t Gat Fat, and I could not be more excited!  No pun intended here, but it’s been quite an evolution ;-) .  It took me quite awhile to return to my Paleo roots, and now that I have, I’ve finally found what works for me.

Funnily enough, I cringed when my agent pitched the idea of writing a diet book to me—especially since my last three books were all non-diet books.  I’ve never liked diets, mostly because they always left me feeling hungry and deprived.  And I’ve never figured out how to reconcile eating “diet food” with leading a balanced life. Sound familiar?

So I created my Paleo Chic Plan—the ultra modern version of the Paleo Diet—that is specifically tailored to the nutritional, hormonal, and real world needs of women like you and me. Most diets take a one-size-fits-all approach; mine provides you with a template and enables you to custom-tailor that template to your unique needs.

Cavewomen Don't Get Fat

One question I always get asked is:

“But how do I know if the Paleo diet is right for me?”

If the Paleo plan deviates significantly from the way you usually eat, then it won’t be sustainable and you’ll go back to your old ways.

In fact, a lot of women shy away from the Paleo way of eating because they cringe at the thought of giving up carbs. The fact is, when you laterally switch out protein in place of carbs, your hunger levels will be kept in check.  Most women own up to snarfing down a bag of chips or a sleeve of cookies, but I’ve yet to hear tales of any woman bingeing out on a steak!

So my Paleo Chic plan takes into account women’s hormonal needs and supplies readers with tricks on eating carbs that can actually boost your results, keep you feeling full, and help you start shedding those stubborn pounds. Here are some insights you might be interested to know re: women, carbs & fat loss:

Every woman has a unique tolerance to carbs.

Try reducing your carbs for 2 weeks, which will clean up metabolic clutter, reset your body’s sensitivity to carbs, and lower your insulin levels.  Then try reintroducing 1 complex starch ½ cup serving a week to find your unique carb tolerance.  You can do this until your body fat percentage goal is reached.

Eating a single cheat meal with carbs once a week can help with fat loss.

This will help you lose weight by resetting your body’s leptin levels. Dieting can lower your leptin levels (leptin regulates appetite and hunger), and severely limiting your carbohydrates for more than a couple weeks can raise your cortisol levels (cortisol is a stress hormone). A cheat meal boosts your metabolism and resets your leptin levels so the body does not think it’s starving. Plus, it will keep you psychologically fulfilled and allow you to enjoy your favorite carbs on occasion.

Women can eat more carbs the first two weeks of their menstrual cycle, when insulin sensitivity is greatest.

Estrogen production is on the upswing, which improves insulin sensitivity and retains muscle mass, which means you’re likely to burn, rather than store, fat during this two-week cycle.

Women who lift heavy weights can improve their tolerance to carbs.

Lifting heavy weights improves insulin sensitivity and can effectively mobilize fat stores.  Eating carbs within a 30-minute window of your workout will spike insulin levels and ultimately raise growth hormone, which builds muscle.  Increased muscle mass can improve insulin sensitivity and put you in a fat-burning, rather than a fat-storing, state.

Esther’s new book, “Cavewomen Don’t Get Fat” is out now! Lots of awesome info on female hormones, how to incorporate healthy carbs and lose fat, while also not being miserable! Get the book here! Highly recommend :) Ox, Jill

Hook up with Esther online:
Living Gorgeous Facebook page
Esther’s Twitter handle
Esther’s site: http://www.livinggorgeous.com

 

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2014/01/06/cavewomen/

10 Ways To Be Amazing In 2014

Every new year, I post my favorite ways to make the most of the coming year. Check last year’s post here.

Over the last few years, I’ve been so fortunate to have been given opportunities and experiences to meet and work with so many amazing women–online and in-person. To say I’m grateful is an understatement.

The best part, for me, about working with so many women who are all so different, have different aspirations, passions, personalities, etc, is that I get a lot of experience figuring out what works for who. How can this person be more effective in their business? How can this gal finally beat the crash dieting cycle and maintain her results? How can this woman master her mindset to become freer and happier in her relationships with herself and others.

It’s been a whirlwind, but one that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Luckily, there are number of solutions and strategies that work for most women when it comes to being more effective, successful, happy and fulfilled in their lives. Below are the lessons I’ve learned personally, and through working in-depth with hundreds of women over the years to elevate. Enjoy!

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1) Master the art of SELF-trust.

If there’s one practice to rule them all, it’s this. All insecurity comes down to this–on some level, we don’t trust ourselves. We censor ourselves and look for affirmation and approval and act in accordance with that we believe will earn us that from others. We often go around trying to prove to others we are good enough, when if we just mastered the art of self-trust, we’d be free of the need for approval altogether. And imagine how liberating that could be! Doing what you need to do for you, without worrying over how others will perceive it or what they’re thinking. Because remember, they are often too busy wondering what you’re thinking OF THEM. Ha!

This is probably the hardest task on this list because it means overcoming some of our deepest insecurities.

How do you do it? You start practicing, and use “worst-case scenario.” When you find yourself looking for affirmation from others and seeking approval, instead, try a new way. Just do or say whatever is in your heart and let the chips fall where they may. HOLY SHIT. Lol. Sooooo hard. But, then, go to worst-case scenario: What if people don’t like what you have to say? Or what you’re doing? Would you change as a result? Try to fall back in line? Probably not if it’s what’s in your heart, right? So then ask, would I be okay with so-and-so not approving? Or being disappointed? Or not offering their affirmation? And I bet, 100% of the time you’ll be just fine. Is it comfortable? No. Does it feel painful? Sometimes. And in the short term, it’ll probably be a struggle. But the alternative is staying in a place where you’re constantly compromising for others and censoring your true self in an effort to gain approval. And that sucks way worse in the long-run.

2) Be yourself, unapologetically.

Similar to self-trust, when you act and come from a place of unapologetic authenticity, people get to see the real you. And that can be scary, sure. But the amazing thing is that when you practice being yourself without apology, you KNOW that the people who love you and surround you TRULY love you for you. No smokescreens, expectations or obligations to be anything you’re not. Because keeping up the facade of being someone you’re not is almost like lying to those around you, isn’t it? It’s a promise that you can’t (and shouldn’t) deliver. And those you love deserve to see the real you, every part of you. And implicit in that revealing also means that some people will leave your life. Let them. It’s fine. Because they also deserve to surround themselves with people they enjoy without obligation or expectation, don’t they? It’s a beautiful system!

3) Try. Try. And then try some more.

AKA, take action and see what happens. Because the alternative is not taking action. And staying in status quo mode. Which is not a judgment if you like your status quo–besides, you should like it–but when we talk about elevating your game for 2014, it’s about deeper connection and richer experiences. And those only arise when we try a new way. Take a new chance. Choose to go in a different direction. And change is always scary, but we’ll never know how far we can go if we don’t try. And try again. And try some more. Because elevating is not easy. It takes time, patience, persistence, self-confidence and reams of resiliency. But the reward is more than you can imagine. Your entire existence can be completely different a year from now if you start taking action consistently. Put in the work, mess up and then keep on keeping on.

4) Practice empathy.

People want permission to be human. And when we judge them for being anything but perfect, we are making a judgment that there’s something *wrong* with them, and that the way we want them to be is the “right way.” It’s not a matter of right or wrong, simply the fact that people are and should be able to be themselves, whatever that looks like.

The most generous thing we can do for someone else is to see where they’re coming from. Put ourselves in their shoes. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Allow them to be human. We can create the most fulfilling relationships if we let people be themselves without judgment. And by using “the benefit of the doubt” as a tool, we can also understand why people do what they do.

We all act out of insecurity, so when using the benefit of the doubt, if someone pisses you off, you don’t need to take it personally because you can now understand that they are acting from their own insecurity. They are just doing the best they can. And the need to take offense and take things personally falls away. It’s liberating for them, but more for YOU :)  Practice empathy. How can it hurt to see where someone else is coming from?

5) Give to others exactly what you want to get back. And give freely!

You want to be treated kindly? Be kind to others first. If you want to be respected, treat others with respect and be humble first. Besides, doesn’t everyone deserve to be listened to and acknowledged? The most confident people give praise and compliments freely because they don’t make it mean that their contributions are any less valuable. I think as women, we can get caught up in this, out of insecurity. We hold back praise for others because we think that if we acknowledge someone else’s success or accomplishment, it means that we are not doing as well. Which is crazy! The two, in actuality, have nothing to do with one another. And the most confident people realize this and give freely. And not only that, they also realize it actually BENEFITS THEM to help and give to others. It’s in giving that we receive. Truly. Try and see what happens.

6) Give up the idea of “perfection.”

In everything. Your physique, your parenting skills, your business outcomes, your relationships. When you expect perfection in not only certain areas, but ALL areas, as us women often do, we’re only left with disappointment and discouragement. We decide that we need X or else we can’t be happy or we can’t feel successful.

And that’s a miserable way to live.

I would even argue that striving for perfection not only makes you miserable but actually holds you back from being successful. Because remember, failure is feedback, and we need the mess-ups to learn and grow. Perfectionists have little tolerance for missteps, to the point that when they do mess up, they crumble. They don’t have the resiliency built that people who just strive to do their best do. Let “good enough” be good enough and watch as your results soar.

7) Quit defining success.

My ever-insightful sister-in-law, Jillian and I were talking over a bottle of wine last night, and she said something that really struck me: “As soon as you define what happiness looks like, you’ve already limited yourself.” I love this. When you define what you see happiness as–a new house, a luxury car, the perfect relationship, a career making X amount a year, whatever–you are already closed off to seeing other ways you might experience happiness. When you define your happiness goal a specific way, you miss out on any potential happiness that can be found outside that definition.

8) Take what people say at face value.

This is so hard, because we want to make assumptions and protect ourselves against what we perceive to be ulterior motives by others. We say things like, “I have a great sense of intuition,” or “I go with my gut,” and “Well, I don’t trust they really mean what they say.” I understand that. And it can be scary taking something someone says at face value, because we want to make meaning out of things. We don’t want to be taken advantage of or have someone pull one over on us. I get that too.

But the point is two things: a) Making assumptions and thinking you know what someone *means* to say better then they themselves know is dangerous. Because when we interact in this way, we never trust anyone. We think people are working from an agenda. Talk about miserable! And not to mention, it’s completely unfair to the other person. Let them own their truth (or falsity), it’s not for you to decipher. “But Jill, what if someone is lying to me?” And that brings me to b) If you take someone at face value and they are deceiving you, then that truth will come out eventually. And you’ll learn from it at that point. You can make a decision at that point. What’s the worst thing that can happen? You’re made a fool of? Someone pulls one over on you? Aren’t you only a victim if you decide you’re one? Aren’t you only “a fool” if you give that thought credence?

I know this concept is a really bitter pill to swallow for many, but the alternative is waaaaay worse–never being able to trust anyone, constantly feeling like others are trying to take advantage of you, watching your back and never fully living because you’re so worried about what others are doing. No thanks! You do YOU. Let them do them!

Love this so much: “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” ~Hemingway

9) Stop doing shit you hate.

This is tricky, because often we don’t even stop to think about if we actually LIKE what we’re doing or enjoy it. I remember when I was doing “the fitness hustle,” teaching and training at a million different gyms and working 70 hours a week, I had no time to even THINK about the fact that I was miserable. It wasn’t until I was driving across town at 8pm on a Friday night to train one client for $15 that I was like, “WTF? What am I doing?? How is this my life? I don’t even have any sense of control over it. I’m just drifting, never asking the hard questions.” You might be in that position right now too. Feeling like you can’t slow down to question your life’s direction because … What about the bills? What about my obligations? What about the guilt I would feel at not delivering on certain things? I couldn’t possibly ask my boss for a raise or a change in my schedule because, what if he fires me?? What if I raise my prices and my clients quit!?

I get it. I do. And when I started making changes to my miserable schedule, I had all those same fears. And you don’t make changes overnight. It took me 5 years from my aha moment to actually be working full-time for myself from home. So I’m not asking you to shun your responsibilities or not make your mortgage. But start to consider that you COULD actually start SLOWLY making some changes to your life to be happier, freer and more effective with your time and money. At least begin to ASK the questions :)

10) Be grateful. For the good, the bad, and the ugly.

It’s easy to be appreciative for the good stuff. I can look around my life and find a million happy coincidences. And that’s an important practice. BUT. But, what about the tough stuff? Can you be grateful for those too?? Tal Ben-Shahar in ‘Being Happy’ says that it’s through the challenges and the failures that we truly grow. Without the obstacles, we’d have zero opportunities to get better. I was laughing with Jillian a few months ago, saying, “Sometimes I just want to go move to a cabin out in the woods and be alone forever.” I think we all experience moments like that, don’t we? When we want to hide from reality. And isn’t going to a cabin in the middle of nowhere nice and convenient? No one to push my buttons. Nothing to challenge me. No responsibilities forcing me to learn. Beautiful! Except that there’s also absolutely zero chance for connection, no opportunity for grow, change, insight, improvement.

The bad. And the ugly. Those are where the gems are. The BEST lessons! Aaaaaah! And it’s hard! And painful! And uncomfortable! But you’ll know you’ve mastered this when you can see your worst nightmares come true as gifts. Aaaaaaah! But the bottom line is that none of us gets out of life without experiencing pain, loss and heartbreak of some kind. And like Byron Katie says, “You don’t have to like it. It’s just easier if you do.” Ha!

2014, baby!

Regardless of where you decide to go in 2014, remember that you can do anything you want. Never forget how powerful you are in the world. Everything you ever wanted is only a thought away, if you have the audacity and courage to think it. Thoughts become things! And though I love a new year, I find that every single day is an opportunity to get better, to become freer, happier, more successful in my own way, on my own terms. How about you? What will you do to be amazing this year? Let me know! :) Ox, Jill

Related: 32 Rules to Live By

 

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2013/12/31/be-amazing/

The Best “Diets” Are The Ones That Are Never Over

Looking for “the best diet” for 2014?

I know exactly what it is.

It’s the thing you can do effortlessly, maintain your weight and feel amazing.

The caveat? It takes trying things a new way. And it means giving up all your previously-held notions about weight loss.

Why? Because learning how to eat for our unique metabolism, personal preferences and psychological sensitivities is the only way that we can ever hope to lose fat and keep it off.

But this is a process.

And that process takes time, introspection, listening to your own body and its responses to food and exercise and playing the part of the Body Change Detective.

All of that is really, really hard.

And when faced with that challenge, and knowing that it could take literally years to figure it out fully, it will make anyone want to crawl headfirst into a package of Oreos and give up all hope.

I get that, totally, and I don’t blame you.

But! But, let’s look at the alternative options:

  • Jumping on board with the latest dieting trend, hoping that THIS ONE will finally be “the one”
  • Looking out into the industry and seeing a fitness model or competitor we admire, and asking them to write us a 12- week meal plan and then hoping to hell we can be compliant
  • Reading the newest book about a special cleanse, detox or elimination diet, vowing to follow it to the letter and get the results we’ve always wanted, and assume, against all odds, that those results will last forever
  • Following the same quirky diet that your neighbor or family member did and lost 50 pounds (Hello, Grapefruit Diet! G-Free! Cookie Diet! Starbucks Diet! Chew this coconut oil for 30 minutes a day! Drink a liter of apple cider vinegar daily!)
  • Or—my personal favorite—sign up for a fitness competition because what better motivator to get you in shape than the sheer terror of embarrassment on stage :)

THESE are the other options.

These are the short-term solutions that we keep trying to convince ourselves will work, when in the end, we end up miserable, rebound like crazy, fatter than when we started and now our metabolism is also less responsive for future endeavors.

Ugh.

I yo-yo dieted for years, and that’s exactly how I felt. Every time I gained the weight back (because I always did when opting for short-term Magic Meal Plans) I felt that much more discouraged, disappointed and defeated.

Until I started to think about my nutrition as an education into myself.

This was a mental switch. I stopped thinking that if I could just “get the right coach” or “afford to hire the best expert” or “stick to this frigging meal plan for once in my life!” that I would miraculously get lean.

StartDoing

There are a few major differences between people who stay struggling and those who master the Fat Loss Lifestyle:

Crash Dieter: Thinks results lie “out there” and getting those results is just a matter of a) finding that one special Magic Meal Plan put together by that one special guru, and b) being strong enough to just FRIGGING DO IT. They think that fat loss has to do with simply being strong-willed enough to just be compliant. And when they are inevitably not compliant, they reinforce the feedback that they suck, are weak or undisciplined. They often use negative self-talk and compare their inability to “just do it” to that of others, not understanding that whenever someone besides you creates a plan FOR YOU, you’ll never be able to do it fully, because it’s not 100% what will work with your unique metabolism personal preferences and psychological sensitivities.

Fat Loss Lifestyler: Understands that no one (including “the best” coaches) can ever know your bodies better than you can. The solution is not out there somewhere hiding. It’s found through looking inward, evaluating how food and exercising specific ways affects your body. Do you get more or less hungry? Do you have more or fewer cravings? Is your energy balanced during the day or do you crash? Does what you eat and how we exercise get us results? Fat Loss Lifestylers take 100% responsibility for everything—actions, attitude, results and outcomes. They know that if they want a forever-solution, it’s on them.

 

Crash Dieter: Sees a point at which they can stop doing the diet. There’s an end point or a goal in sight—like a race, or fitness competition, or photo shoot or vacation. Because they see eating this way, they hunker down and white-knuckle their way through a super-strict plan, only to completely drain willpower and deprive to the point that the only eventual solution becomes binging. This is the beginning of the deprive-then-binge cycle.

Fat Loss Lifestyler: Realizes that the “best” diet will be the one that never ends. They are constantly asking themselves, “Could I see myself still eating like this next year? In 10 years? Forever?” Their first criteria is sustainability, because they know once they have something that balances hunger, energy and cravings, they can always adjust slowly to get the results they seek. Which brings me to the next difference…

 

Crash Dieter: Attaches a deadline by which they must see results or else they chalk up the program to being “another failure” and start searching for the next one they’ll try. Crash dieters are often searching for programs rather than putting in the time to actually work them. They give it a go 100%, then exhaust every bit of willpower trying to maintain total compliance, only to inevitably fall off the wagon. They say things like, “I need to lose 20 lbs by April,” or “I’ll lose 60 lbs this year!” or “2014 will be MY year!” And I hope it is :) But my question then becomes, what do you do when you don’t lose that 20 by April? Or come next New Years, you’re only down 10? Crash dieters throw in the towel way, waaaaaaaaay to early in the fat loss game.

Fat Loss Lifestyler: They’re in it for the long haul. They have zero expectations of when things will happen and they understand that in the fat loss game, there are no guaranteed outcomes. In fact, they don’t focus on outcomes at all; they instead focus on ACTIONS. Because they understand that daily actions taken over time leads to desired outcomes. They see fat loss as a spectrum. The more smart choices they make, the more they move up the spectrum toward fat loss. The more poor choices they make, the more they move down the spectrum toward fat gain. Thus, it’s about actions, not outcomes. Fat Loss Lifestylers realize that they are never “on” or “off” a program. They are just “onf.” They know that every meal is another chance to get right back into fat-burning mode and they jump right back in immediately.

Only unsuccessful people wait until Monday.

Bottom line, people who are living a healthy lifestyle realize that the best “diet” for them is the one they can do forever, that they created as a result of time, practice, introspection and understanding their own bodies, and they don’t give up when the going gets tough.

Fat Loss Lifestylers weather the ups and downs of the process. They surf the urges. They build resiliency.

Fat Loss Lifestylers understand that fat loss is not linear nor predicatble, and they don’t beat themselves up when they mess up here and there. They stay 90% clean 100% of the time and never expect perfection.

How do you transition from a crash dieter to a Fat Loss Lifestyler? You start with an education. In you. You start looking inward with the guidance (not crutch!) of a knowledgeable coach or program. You start learning about your own tendencies, preferences, metabolism. You take the time to really dig in. Own the process, not blindly follow some random protocol.

Because we know what the alternatives are (review the list of them above). And if you still think those will work, then be my guest.

But! If you’re ready to start down a new path, then consider my 4 Week Fat Loss Jump Start, which begins Monday January 6th. This program is the start of you living a lean lifestyle. This program is an education. It’s a nudge to start owning YOUR process. And I’m there with you every step of the way for four weeks, helping you stand on your own, understand your body, give you feedback and guidance. But not doing it for you. I can’t. No one can. But if you take the risk to try a new way, then at the end of 4 weeks, you’ll have the tools and insights you need to keep going in the Forever Fat Loss Lifestyle :)

We’ve worked with thousands of women in this program. And the successes are many:

Testimonial14week14week24week34week44week5And many, many more :)

All the details for the 4 Week are here. Questions? Email me! Looking forward to working with you! Ox, Jill

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2013/12/29/best-diet/

However You Eat Regularly Is Exactly What You Get Good At

This is Part 2 in the weight regain series. Go here to read Part 1: How It Feels to Regain Weight You’ve Lost

The title of this blog may fall into the category of, “No duh,” but I explain in detail the nuance of the argument below. But first…

A little story …

I received an email last week from a woman telling me about her plans to compete in her first figure competition in three months. She’s 45 years old, in great shape, lean, with a good amount of muscle at around 15% body fat. Amazing, right? She weight trains heavy multiple times per week and eats very clean, with the exception of a glass of wine or two on the weekends. NBD.

However, she wrote to ask my opinion on something her competition coach told her. He sent her her competition meal plan last week and told her, “Don’t start this until January 1st.” She reviewed the meal plan and wrote him back saying that the plan was 99% how she ate already. Effortlessly. It was just the way she’s practiced over months and years and it was now just “what she ate.” NBD.

Her coach wrote her back and told her, “Oh, really? Well, make sure you indulge and eat anything you want between now and January 1st so that your body responds to the competition diet once you start it.”

Understandably, she was thrown. And emailed me to ask my thoughts on it. ”Eat everything I want? WHY would I do that? Eating everything I want makes me feel gross and heavy and unhealthy and I’m even to the point that I don’t crave that stuff anymore. And why would I voluntarily gain weight? Does this make any sense? What should I do?”

Crash Dieting vs. Living a Fat Loss Lifestyle

So, is there any truth to what the trainer said? Actually, from a biochemical standpoint, yes. We can argue that a little indulgence will reset leptin levels and studies have even shown that the body likes change when it comes to nutrition and that it can adapt as a result of eating the same foods day in a day out.

But. Buuuuuuut, what about the other consequences of dieting? Losing and gaining weight is not a benign experience. The body is not just a machine where you take in X number of cals and get a very specific result of weight gain or loss.

The more you gain and lose weight over and over, the less responsive your metabolism gets AND … how about your mind? Mentally, eating a bunch of sugar, especially when you’re not used to it, affects the brain on a chemical level. And the taste of sweet, for many people, is a slippery slope. Not to mention the body esteem issues that can develop as a result of crash dieting. The physique becomes the primary attribute of self-worth. It’s a dangerous place to me, mentally and physically.

So what do you think? Should we take a woman who is effortlessly maintaining her leanness and tell her to overindulge just so that a diet will work better later?

Sounds silly, right? Saying it like that? And please know that this is not to point out stupidity on the part of the trainer or the client. Or to make fun of the situation because shit, crash dieting and mental challenges are anything but funny. It’s simply to point out the difference in mindset between that of crash dieting (which 99% of competition prep diets are) and living a lean lifestyle effortlessly.

The point I want to make with the story is this: for all intents and purposes, this client was already lean, healthy and fit eating clean with zero effort. So her coach reasoned that in order for her body to actually respond, she’d have to start eating junk so that when she went back to *her* usual eating that her body would respond further.

But how about instead of “pushing it to respond,” we just stay the course, take our time, work the process we’re already in and make small adjustments over the long haul?

Why mess with it? She’s basically already achieved the holy grail of what we all want, right?

habits

How to eat for leanness with little effort

Finally, we come to the point of this post, ha! You’re probably already confused about the title of this article.

Let me clear it up.

But first. You’ve probably heard of The Law of Attraction, and you’ve probably read the international bestseller, ‘The Secret’. The idea behind the Law of Attraction is that wherever we spend our mental energy or focus is where we experience results. Without taking us all the way down the esoteric rabbit hole, the premise is simply: what you think about is what you tend to act on, which leads to outcomes related to those thoughts. It’s not magic and really, the idea of attracting into your life the very things that you want was popular even in the depression era, when Napoleon Hill wrote this classic ‘Think and Grow Rich.’

Bottom line–what you think about is what you end up doing, and doing leads to practicing and practicing leads to mastery. Like learning to play an instrument–you practice and over time, you get better. A + B = C.

However we eat regularly–whether consciously or unconsciously–is exactly what we get good at doing. Whatever we practice is what we get amazing at. It becomes effortless precisely because it’s what’s been practiced.

With every day and with every meal, you are reinforcing that meal or that day. Three days in a row of drinking wine after work? It is now getting easier to drink wine after work.

Are you someone who does the weekly deprive-then-binge cycle? You know, Monday through Thursday is flawless and Friday through Sunday is a blow-out? When you do this week after week, you are actually getting GOOD at this. BETTER at this. You’re becoming a pro at this.

Ugh. How depressing!

And yet, how empowering …?

Personally, I think this is good news. Because it also means that I have somewhere to go, some action to take, a way to change my outcomes. I am not a victim of my habits. I can choose to implement new ones and work hard to make them stick.

See, when I was competing, I had a specific “on season” paired with a “bulking season” in which I was supposedly gaining muscle, but really it was a green light to eat with abandon. I trained myself to have periods of deprivation, followed by periods of binging. I got really good at count downs and planning my show schedule because I needed another show in my sights as a goal to motivate me to get lean again. There was always a deadline at which point I’d have to inevitably stop eating crap so I knew I’d better EAT ALL THE FOOD RIGHT NOW because come contest prep time, that stuff was off-limits. There would always be another show I could get down for. And even then, I had a harder and harder time coming in as lean as I had previously. I had to do more cardio or cut carbs more to achieve the same look. I got really good at metabolic compensation. And mentally, it was a roller coaster.

Have a courage to CHOOSE to TRY a new way

The turnaround for me came after a 6-month period of time where I was dieting constantly for shows and a number of photo shoots. By the time I reached the last shoot I had on my calendar, I was fried. Physically exhausted, miserable, cravings through the roof, mentally feeling like I could never ease up on my exercise for fear of blowing up.

So one Sunday when I was staring down my usual routine–go to the grocery store, buy the same old disgusting food, prep it as fast a possible, throw it in Tupperwares for the week and then cry (Just kidding! But sometimes I wanted to! :) ). I was so stressed just thinking about the routine that I just said, Fuck it. Not doing it this week.

But I was terrified! Because what if I turned into a whale?? What would happen if I didn’t have “my food” prepped and ready? Surely I’d binge like crazy! Surely I’d lose all control, right?!

Something funny happened in that week, though. I experienced the beginnings of SELF-trust. I experienced the very first bit of food awareness. I paid just the tiniest bit of attention to things like hunger and cravings. And miraculously, I DID NOT GAIN. Was I perfect? Nope. Not by a long stretch, but the small amount of consciousness I paid to my urges paid off. I didn’t have food prepped and ready, so I had to learn how to wing it and make the best choice possible wherever I ended up. Things like, “I know it’s been 3 hours but … am I hungry? No, not really. So I won’t eat right now. But I might be hungry in an hour and at that point, I can have this protein bar or make some eggs real quick.” NBD.

Over time, I learned how to eat healthy on the fly and tuned into my body’s signals instead of EITHER eating on a strict schedule OR eating with abandon. In short, I started PRACTICING a more moderate approach. An approach that I would never have even considered had I not been forced into it out of sheer misery of doing things the old way.

So, I did finally try a new way.

And so can you.

Because how you eat day after day is what you become good at. It’s what becomes effortless.

If week after week, month after month you practice the all-or-nothing 100% clean OR bingeing approach, you will get damn good at it! And unless you find the will to YANK YOURSELF out of it using a new approach, you’ll get even better at it and it’ll keep on, year after year. Like Tony Robbins says, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” Can’t generate a new outcome using the same old crash dieting tactics.

Another example. If you beat yourself up using negative self-talk and have an “I suck, I’m weak and undisciplined” attitude, then guess what? You’ll get exactly that. In essence, you’re CREATING the very thing you say you don’t want because your attitude is such that you already expect it. Remember The Law of Attraction? You get amazing at what you practice. So choose your practices carefully.

When you see someone who is able to stay lean year-round and makes it look effortless, that’s not by accident. They’ve practiced and practiced and practiced to the point that it actually became effortless.

Someone on Instagram asked me the other day how I “manage to stop at eating at a third of a protein bar” (moderation). Easy. I practice that shit. In fact, I am so practiced at moderation that if someone asked me to go on a competition diet right now, I simply couldn’t do it. I’m too practiced at the middle road. But I certainly wasn’t when I first started out. I WORKED THE MIDDLE ROAD. And that work paid off.

WHATEVER YOU PRACTICE IS WHAT YOU BECOME PHENOMENAL AT. The good, the bad or the ugly.

And oftentimes, we don’t even consciously choose what practices we’re improving! So, time to try a new way. Time to actively choose where you go with your physique and lifestyle. Ask yourself, How am I TEACHING MYSELF to eat? What kind of eating do I practice on a daily basis? And if it’s not getting me results, can I make a different choice and practice a new way?

Let 2014 be the year you take a chance on a new way. Because the old way? The black-and-white way? The crash-dieting-up-and-down way? We know for sure it doesn’t work. All-or-nothing always ends up being nothing.

 

Are you ready to try a new way? A lifestyle approach? My 4 Week Fat Loss Jump Start begins Monday January 6th. It takes you through the process of finding your own unique fat loss formula, something you can do forever and finally quit the crash dieting cycle. Because implementation has to do with mindset, sustainability and the courage to try a new way. Practice makes progress! Looking forward to working with you! :) Ox, Jill 

Permanent link to this article: http://jillfit.com/2013/12/26/practice/

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