Archive for Healthier Thinking

Trainer Tip Tuesday: Not sure where to start? Try at the beginning

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Today’s Tip: When you need to make changes, but don’t know where to start, start at the beginning–of your day, that is!

 

 

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Many of the challenges and pitfalls we encounter later in the day with willpower, nutrition, positive thinking/frustration, or exercise can be alleviated–and sometimes totally avoided–by tweaking one behavior, action or procedure you have in the mornings.

 

 

Recently, I was talking with one of my clients about how we can start to tune up her diet by making one impactful change at a time, rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater and implementing a totally new eating plan (aka: making her follow an arbitrary diet).

 

 

We talked about when in the day she feels her willpower and judgment fade the most, and it was in the evenings after working all day and going to the gym right afterwards.

 

 

By the time she got home, it was game on/insert food here QUICK!!

 

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Which made total sense after we took a look at her food journals from the week before! See, they come in pretty handy 🙂 

 

 

 

It turned out, she was eating very little for breakfast, surviving on coffee until 1 pm, then having whatever she could easily grab for lunch, then white-knuckling through the rest of the afternoon, her class and the drive home.

 

 

So we started at the beginning! Instead of trying to address late-day willpower and cravings issues, we decided to implement one change–to eat a nourishing breakfast.

 

 

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After she did this for a week, the afternoon issues basically solved themselves AND she felt so much better all morning long and started investing in a more nutritious, but easy to grab, lunch, too.

 

 

One simple change at the beginning of the day impacted the next 10-12 hours.

 

 

So if you need to make changes, but don’t know where to start, look at the beginning of your day for possible solutions.

 

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Look at your morning patterns, and think about what’s helpful or unhelpful about your actions.

 

 

Keep your changes simple, test drive them for 7-14 days, and see how making those adjustments works for you!

 

 

Start small, stay consistent, stay tenacious.

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Never underestimate the power of consistent, incremental change.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

 

#TheNourishedMind
#smallwinsaddup

Log it to lose it! How food journaling gets you to your goals faster.

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Second only to scheduling and prioritizing—or where we are spending our ‘life capital,’ our nutrition is one of THE MOST influential aspects of our overall health and fitness.

 

 

 

What we eat determines how we feel:  how much energy we have, how well we perform when we exercise, and often how we feel about our bodies and ourselves.

 

 

Based on my own personal experiences, and my experiences as a personal trainer and health coach, the absolute best place to start is to a) get really honest with yourself about your current eating habits/patterns, then start making informed choices and changes.

 

 

We also have to accept a few truths to make forward progress with our weight, quality of nutrition and eating habits:

 

  • There is NO magic nutrition silver bullet solution.
  • There are no miracle fat loss or weight loss superfoods.
  • There are no magical macronutrient formulas.
  • Just because ‘X’ approach worked for our friend, sister, mother, cousin does not mean it will work for us (and who knows if it will work long-term for them).
  • Chances are, we really don’t have a very accurate idea of how much/how many calories we are consuming each day.

 

 

 

In order to get the results we want, we have to be willing to put in the effort of figuring out what our food intake really is at the moment.

 

 

We must have the patience and persistence to implement a variety of small changes, over time, to see what work for us and feels right for our bodies and lifestyles.

 

 

Truly, it’s this approach and process that’s helped me stay in maintenance mode for the past several years with low effort. High awareness, yes, but low overall effort.

 

 

So, how are YOU feeling these days?

  • Are you happy with where your fitness, diet and health are at?
  • Do you have good energy most days, or are you feeling not as great as you’d like?
  • Are your pants feeling snug?
  • Are you not seeing the results you’d expect to be seeing from the exercise/hard work you’re putting in?

 

 

If you’re feeling like you’d like your results to show up more, your waistline to tighten up, to have more energy and stamina throughout the day, then it’s time to (re)evaluate your food intake.

 

One of the best, most straightforward ways I know to (re)evaluate our current food intake/eating patterns is by using some kind of food journal or tracking tool. If you’re a fan of using techie tools/apps to track things, then you’ll want to check out MyFitnessPal’s tracker and/or LoseIt!’s tools.

 

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I’m partial to old-school handwritten tracking, and I’m especially fond of my own Favorite Food Journal (you can grab a downloadable copy with this link RLF Daily Food Journal 2016). I like that it’s easy to carry with you, jot down notes in the moment and really SEE the whole scope of each day’s intake easily (without scrolling, etc.)

 

 

 

Plus, most of us stare at screens enough throughout the day, and there’s something to be said about the act of writing that ‘sticks’ with our brains a bit more than simply scrolling and clicking 😉

 

Like I said, I’m a little bit old-school 😉

 

 

No, it’s not slick or sexy, and I’m not going to show you a 6-pack abs shot to entice you to use it, BUT using this food intake/eating patterns tracking tool is VERY effective.

 

WHY?

 

 

 

Because tracking your food/food journaling, especially in a way that also tracks your emotions, challenges and locations, reveals:

 

  • Scheduling deficiencies—the times of the day(s) when we have problems or issues.

 

  • Low willpower times of the day(s)—the times in the day(s) when we are most likely to make poorer decisions about what to eat or just eat too much of something.

 

  • If we are underfeeding ourselves—letting our blood sugar drop too far so that we feel poorly and/or make less helpful decisions about what to eat.

 

  • Imbalances in macronutrients or food groups–We might think we’re getting enough vegetables, or protein or not eating that many starchy carbs or sugary treats, but when we write things down we see the absolute evidence/data of what we are really consuming each day/week

 

  • Low meal satisfaction/unmet needs—those times when we ate something that seemed like it was healthy and/or should be filling, but it wasn’t and we went back sooner than is ideal to eat more or eat something else.

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When we review our data from our journaling, we can see ‘where the wheels come off,’ so to speak.

 

 

It becomes so much easier to objectively identify the patterns, triggers and tendencies that tend trip us up the most, and/or where we can make impactful improvements in our eating choices and patterns.

 

The ladies in The Nourished Mind program have gotten a ton of quality information from using their food journals (the same one as I’ve given you here RLF Daily Food Journal 2016).

 

 

The information they recorded has helped them see, without guilt or judgment, where they were most likely to make poorer decisions AND to be able to relate those decisions to a distinct cause. This in turn gave them the information they needed to come up with a strategy for dealing with those moments/triggers.

 

 

Honestly, most of the time a little more planning and scheduling gave them an easy solution for avoiding those pitfalls.

 

 

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BUT they wouldn’t have been able to identify what needed to be done to help themselves out if they hadn’t recorded several days in a row to objectively see what was really going on in their lives!

 

 

So while it’s a little tedious, food journaling can be one of your biggest allies in creating a healthier lifestyle, getting closer to your body composition or performance goals, and just generally feeling like you are more in charge of your circumstances and less blown about by life.

 

 

Food journaling puts you back in the driver’s seat!

 

 

Now, some people have a tough time using food journals because, well, they don’t like what they see, or are embarrassed about what they’re really eating or doing. It’s often pretty easy, especially for women, to attach feelings of shame and guilt to food and our eating habits.

 

 

Here’s what I have to say on the subject:

I can’t emphasize enough that all of the food journaling you do and behavior change exercises related to your food intake and eating habits is 100% Shame-Free.

 

Recently, I read a great quote from Josh Hillis in his book, Fat Loss Happens on Mondays, which can help shift an embarrassed-to-write-it-down mindset into a more pragmatic one:

 

“If you’re judging you food journal, you need to grow up.

 

Beating yourself up is the opposite of taking responsibility.

 

Taking responsibility with food is looking without emotion at actions that work or don’t work for your goals.”

 

 

What I encourage you to do, this week and from here on forward, is to approach food and your eating habits more objectively—like they are facts or pieces in the puzzle of your fitness, not ‘good or bad’ things.

 

 

Stay mindful about your attitude towards food—it could be the perspective shift that allows you to move forward more at peace with your nutrition habits and any needed changes.

 

The big picture goal in using your food journals in the weeks to come is this: to look at which actions are working for your goals and which ones aren’t.

 

 

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So if you haven’t started, or you’ve been feeling resistant to using the food journal, I hope this blog post has given you some reasons to reconsider and maybe a little motivation to start journaling tomorrow!

 

 

And…

 

 

**For the next 8 weeks, I’ll be sharing practical and actionable steps and strategies to get your diet back on track and start creating a more ‘Livable Diet’–learning to eat in a way that meets your needs and your wants without actually dieting.**

 

If you’re not already on my email newsletter list, you can sign up here:

 

==> http://bit.ly/RLFWeeklyFitTips

Don’t miss out on the real-life, reasonable, realistic steps you can take, too, to create your very own ‘Livable Diet!’

 

 

The small things ARE the big things.

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Occasions like Memorial Day always get me thinking about the topics of meaning and purpose—as in, I begin to ask myself, does what I’m doing right now have meaning?

 

 

Does it serve a greater purpose?

Am I living with gratitude for the gifts I have in this life?

Are my choices, words and behaviors in line with my big WHY?

 

 

 

In our sometimes messy, busy worlds of day-to-day living, it can seem like the small things take over our existence and the large things seem too far off to grasp or achieve.

 

 

 

But the small things are the large things–just in smaller doses.

 

 

 

What we do in the short run (as in each day) creates how we live, think, feel and experience things in the long run.

 

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That’s why little habits, small positive changes, paying attention to the details of how we eat, move and talk to ourselves (which truly shapes our actions) matter.

 

 

 

Because, over time, the small stuff turns into the big stuff.

 

 

Look for little improvements every day.

 

 

Choose well with the small stuff and the big stuff turns out better.

Never doubt the power of small, incremental changes over time.

 

 

“Add up the short runs, though, and you’re left with the long run. It’s going to be the long run a lot longer than the short run will last.”

~Seth Godin

 

http://www.positivelypositive.com/2016/05/28/the-short-run-and-the-long-run/

{Trainer Tip Tuesday} Full Disclosure: My Very Own, Time-Tested Personal Eating Strategies

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It’s Trainer Tip Tuesday!

 

 

Today’s Tip is more like a few tips rolled into an approach to eating.

 

 

I got this question from a reader recently:

 

“I am writing because I was wondering if you could tell me an example of what you eat in a day and timing of eating. I am like all of the examples you write…My body is not budging from being 5-10 lbs more than I want to be. I am trying the less is more (b/c I overeat with too much cardio) with strength and interval training, but I think it’s my food that is the issue. So…wondering what u eat when wanting to lose weight just to get a idea.”

 

 

 

It made me think about the fact that I talk about eating habits alot, and different approaches to eating, but I guess I haven’t said exactly how I eat most days–so I’m sharing the guidelines I use on a daily and weekly basis with you today.

 

 

 

AND I’ll be sharing how I tweak my eating when I want to lean out a bit.

 

 

FYI, I pretty much ignore the scale because it doesn’t give me much feedback about my body composition (muscle and fat percentages) and I rely on how my pants fit–especially around the waist as that’s where I see changes happen first, in either direction!

 

 

**Spoiler Alert: I don’t count calories. I don’t count macros. And I’m not perfect eater, by any means. BUT the way I approach eating is definitely sustainable, and I’ll share why 🙂

 

I try to eat a serving of some kind of protein at each meal/most snacks.

What that protein ends up being really depends on the day, what I’m in the mood for, how quickly I need it to digest (I avoid heavy stuff before workouts), and what we have available!

 

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Here are a few ways you can get more protein in your life, too:  http://reallifefitbykate.com/wordpress/?p=601

 

 

I really, really focus on veggies each day.

 

I don’t count many things in my daily diet, but I DO track the servings of veggies each day. I try to add them earlier in the day to get more of them, but if I haven’t had many by dinner, I tend to double down on my servings or eat a #BAS (big ass salad).

 

 

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My drinks are all low- or no-cal.

 

 

I put whole milk in my coffee, drink lots of water or ‘cold brew’ flavored teas, and maybe a glass of (dry) wine in the evening (on Fridays might be more than one, lol….)

 

I tend to save my starchy carbs (bread, pasta, rice, crackers) for around my workouts.

 

 

Currently I tend to work out in the evenings, so that means I have more carbs either for snack in the afternoon or at dinner. BUT I’ll also have oatmeal for breakfast sometimes–I just make sure it’s paired with some protein so it digests more slowly.

 

 

I plan in weekly indulgences.

 

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Knowing I can have a couple (2-3) treats per week keeps me from obsessing or overdoing it.

 

It’s funny how food can lose its power over us when we stop idolizing or demonizing it.

Here’s what I mean and how I do it: http://reallifefitbykate.com/wordpress/?p=499

 

 

I often eat a square or two of dark chocolate in the afternoon.

 

I know that two squares hits the spot, but won’t trigger a binge, so it’s a healthy practice for me. Balance and moderation, right?!?

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I pay attention to portion sizes and use my dishes to help guide my portions (more on that below).

 

I listen to my body carefully.

Sometimes it needs more, sometimes less, of food in general or of certain macronutrients. I stay flexible with my needs because every day is a little bit different!

 

 

AND here’s what I do when I want to lean out (usually after a vacation or holidays):

 

 

**Track my food intake using my favorite hard-copy food journal.

It helps me identify any unhelpful trends that might have crept into my diet, which in turn helps me know which one or two changes (tweaks) I can make to get the most impact.

 

 

You can grab a copy for yourself here:  RLF Daily Food Journal 2016

 

**Use smaller dishes–bowls and plates, in particular. There’s a very natural tendency to fill a dish to its limit, and often this limit is actually more than we really need to be satisfied.

 

 

I LOVE this little trick/tweak–no diet changes needed and it’s a very low-stress way to make a big impact on our intake.

 

 

 

**Pay extra attention to my starchy/processed carb intake–treats, breads, crackers, pasta, chocolate, potatoes, desserts, and even wine.

 

This goes back to tracking, too–sometimes we just don’t realize exactly how much we’ve been eating of these things and a little hard data can help us make small but impactful changes.

 

 

**Pay LOTS of attention to my stress level and my quality of sleep.

 

 

These can be pretty big triggers for wanting to eat more–especially starchy carbs/sweet things. It’s much easier to listen to my body’s true needs and make better food choices when I’m more well-rested.

 

 

And when I’m NOT well-rested, I’m at least aware that being less rested triggers certain cravings and I’m less likely to give in mindlessly. This is when my SNAP method comes in handy (you can read about it here: http://reallifefitbykate.com/wordpress/?p=1300)

 

 

 

The way I approach eating is in a very flexible, sustainable and customized manner that is guided by listening to my body’s (ever-changing) needs, eating things that are satisfying in both flavor and nutrition, and not getting too hung up on numbers, macros, or anyone else’s rules.

 

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No one knows our bodies better than we do, and when we spend the time listening to our bodies and finding out what we REALLY need we often come up with the best, most practical and sustainable eating patterns—ones no other diet’s rules can ever achieve.

 

 

 

And that’s powerful, life-changing stuff!

 

 

 

If you’re curious how you can get started creating your own sustainable diet, shoot me an email and we can chat about it in a complementary coaching call (on the phone, Skype, FaceTime or Google hangouts—whatever’s best for you).

 

 

You can reach me here: kate@reallifefitbykate.com

Looking forward to chatting with you, and don’t be afraid to go against the grain and make your own rules!

{Trainer Tip Tuesday} Make leisure walks a priority in your life.

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This week’s tip:  Make leisure walks a priority in your life.

 

Sounds weird, right? Aren’t we supposed to crank up the volume in our workouts, go harder, not do less–especially something so…gentle?!?

 

 

Intensity and hard effort definitely have their place in our weekly fitness regimens, but just not ALL the time. Which I found out kind of by accident!

 

 

Last year, I struggled with hormone issues–although I didn’t realize that’s what was going on until late August/early September–and kept it to myself because I didn’t really understand what was up with my body.

 

 

(If you want more details, you can read about it here: “The truth my ta-ta’s told me“)

 

 

Then I managed to get bronchitis on the way home from my first-ever business trip, and landed on my back for roughly 21 days. Walking was about all I could manage.

 

 

 

Shortly after I recovered, I overdid it in the gym and put a couple of ribs out of alignment, sending a chain-reaction through most of my paraspinal muscles. FYI–super tight, knotted paraspinal, and intercostal (between the ribs) muscles will stop you dead in your tracks.

 

 

Again, healing took a number of weeks, during which time all I could manage was walking and a massive amount of core work.

 

 

 

I worried a little about getting out of shape, but my hunger followed my exercise level (less exercise, less intense urge to eat), and I found that by December I had shed about 6 pounds and felt more my normal level of lean again.

 

 

 

All I had done was walk, core work, and occasional (intense!) air bike sprints each week. No magic diet, no crazy workout regimen.

 

 

 

Just…walking with my best girl, who was on the mend, too.

 

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My best girl, Daisy

 

Leisure walking gives our bodies the opportunity to repair. It also give our parasympathetic system a chance to do its thing–which is to promote relaxation and hormonal balance.

 

 

 

(The sympathetic nervous system is the one responsible for fight-or-flight, and the one that releases cortisol–which is a good thing in the right doses, but not so good to have constantly high amounts of in the body.  You can read more about it here: http://www.metaboliceffect.com/can-your-chosen-surroundings-help-you-burn-more-fat/)

 

 

So as crazy as it sounds, sometimes less really IS more–and leisure walking doesn’t just give us the chance to catch our breaths, it gives us the opportunity to establish better hormonal balance.

 

 

 

More hormonal balance means an easier time ‘staying in the middle’ physically and emotionally, and an easier time losing body fat while we’re at it.

 

 

 

Give a couple of shorter (10 minutes if that’s all you’ve got!) walks each day a try, and see if you start feeling better–inside and out–within a couple of weeks 🙂

 

PS–Here’s a link to an article that gives 10 MORE ways walking is so good for us!  I love #3 and #8, especially 🙂

http://blog.myfitnesspal.com/10-amazing-benefits-walking/

 

Leisure walking for the win!

 

 

How I lost the babyweight after #2

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Sitting in my father’s basement TV room while visiting home, 6 months postpartum, with a gorgeous and healthy baby, I was also feeling trapped–10 pounds heavier than my pre-baby weight, wearing a bigger pant size, and A LOT more squishy than I’d been before getting pregnant.”

 

 

That was in late 2005, when I just had zero idea how to help myself at the time, and I tried The FIRM system at home after my daughter turned 6 months old.  Following their exercise plan for beginners (but completely disregarding their meal plan—I was still of the mindset I could ‘exercise off’ what I ate), I improved my fitness over the next 12 weeks and my stamina and self-confidence improved, but my physique didn’t change much.

 

 

Of course, the heaviest weights I used for any of their workouts were 8 lbs….those were the heaviest ones.  I had lighter ones, too!

 

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Baby #2 with my 5# dumbbells

 

 

I giggle when I think about that now.

 

 

I didn’t’ end up losing the weight and gaining more muscle until I started a little bit of interval training on the elliptical and treadmill as well as lifting weights and working with a personal trainer in late 2006.  My interval work was pretty gentle, though, because I was rehabbing my low back/pelvic injury from horse riding accident, so sprint efforts weren’t on the table.  45 minute gentle interval sessions were.

 

 

 

But I was pretty determined not to have the same weight loss/fat loss issues after baby #2, so when I got pregnant the second time, I stayed active, kept lifting weights and doing interval workouts.

 

 

 

Why intervals?

 

 

Two reasons, namely:  I needed to catch my breath and stay oxygenated while working out (didn’t want to starve the baby of it’s O2!), and doing any other kind of workout on a piece of cardio equipment was BORING.  I never was one of those women who could spend an hour straight on the stairmaster—or any other piece of equipment for that matter!

 

 

 

Doing intervals was the ONLY way I could keep myself on those machines—and I was convinced I needed to in order to lose weight, or at least not gain too much with baby #2.

 

 

 

When I was cleared to start really exercising again after baby #2 arrived, I started with walk-jog intervals to rebuild, well, everything, and when the evening daylight faded, I started going to the gym again.  But with a husband in flight school and a baby and a three year-old, I couldn’t spend an hour or more working out!

 

With #2 when he was 4 weeks old

 

So I researched some faster-moving/results-producing super-set strength training plans and went back to my cardio machine intervals.

 

 

Even though my interval training wasn’t too intense, the combination of lifting progressively heavier weights (the 8# days were long gone) and my regular interval training sessions gave me results very quickly.

 

 

By the time baby #2 was 9 months old, I had flat abs and was a size smaller than I’d ever been before.  It kind of shocked me HOW effective what I was doing was for my body.

 

 

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10 months after baby #2 arrived

A strength training devotee was born!

A few months later, I started doing more reading about the effectiveness of HIIT workouts, and played around with different interval training plans (most of which I’ve shared with you over the past 4 weeks!), and had even more success with high intensity interval training on the elliptical and the treadmill.

Since 2010, some kind of interval training has been a regular part of my own weekly training routines.  Truly, HIIT workouts have been my go-to anytime I needed or wanted to lean out a bit or get back in shape—and there have been more than a few times when it’s been necessary!

There’s nothing like a couple of Tabata sprint sessions a week to boost the metabolism quickly—as in noticeably less fat around the midsection in just a couple of weeks.  Plus, it’s hard to be bored when you’re tracking your 20 second sprint/10 second rest intervals in those Tabata workouts.

The thing is, getting fit and staying fit aren’t a simple linear progression—life happens, and between 2010 and now, I’ve broken my big toe, had a bone infection in my foot, had surgery on a knee, injured my shoulder, gone on a few different vacations, and, well, overeaten through a few holiday seasons (but not this past year!).

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Gettin’ around with the help of a knee brace pre-surgery in 2011

HIIT workouts and circuit training with weights have been my recovery tools each time.

But figuring out which HIIT or interval workouts to do took time and research—pouring through Oxygen magazines at first, then scouring the internet in later years for ideas, comparing workouts, figuring out the structure for my weekly and monthly plans….

I SO wish there’d been a program like TreadLIFT available way back in 2006-2010!  I would have saved me SO much time and effort and brain sweat—plus, I would have gotten great results that much sooner.

At least all my time, effort, research and personal testing made it possible for me to recognize an outstanding and effective program when I see one!

And TreadLIFT is definitely that—well structured, super entertaining (you just can’t get bored when you’re sprinting and hill climbing through your workout), and designed to give you a massive amount of bang for your workout buck.

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This is why I’m so confident in this program that I’m sharing it with you—because it’s the kind of program that can help get you real results without spending hours in the gym.  It’s designed for real people who have real lives and can’t mess around with programs that take hours out of their schedules each week or that are tedious and boring.

Life’s too short for that mess!

To give you a little more idea about the kinds of workouts you can expect to get in TreadLIFT, I did the BUILD Legs #1 workout and made a quick video to share with you!  You can check it out here:  https://youtu.be/Un7Em3FcAhM

I love that the programs are done-for-you, that there’s a workout calendar for easy planning and execution, and that the workouts can be easily tweaked to meet your needs.

TreadLIFT’s workouts are all 30 minutes or less, uncomplicated and require minimal equipment–which means they are perfect for busy women, SAHMs, and on-the-go/located all over the globe mil spouses.  All my favorite kinds of people, really!

You can check out all the details here:  http://bit.ly/rlfbykate_treadLIFT

FYI–the program will be open for for registration only through this Friday May 6th at midnight PST ONLY, so don’t wait too long to check it out!

The Truth My Ta-Ta’s Told Me

(FYI I wrote this in September of 2015…I just didn’t have the nerve to share it until now–but I feel compelled to so that maybe my experience can help other women understand their own bodies, especially if they’re having a similar experience.)

 

I’m going to be pretty candid about something—something I’ve been dealing with for most of this year, but wasn’t’ ready to talk about publicly.

 

 

I’m still not super thrilled about sharing it, BUT it’s something that has impacted my health, my well-being, and my approach to fitness and nutrition, SO I think it’s important to share—because I’m pretty sure someone else reading this might be able to relate and might not feel so alone.

 

 

 

That’s what my whole approach to fitness, to training and coaching, to public outreach is about, after all—that we’re in it together, and we do better together.  I share my experiences, my knowledge, my enthusiasm and my tenacity in the hopes that it reaches and helps someone else out there.

 

 

 

So here goes…the story of my ta-ta’s and my new truth.

 

 

 

I turned 41 this past summer.  I’ve probably mentioned that a couple of times 😉  It was significant because I didn’t feel anywhere near as good at 41 as I when I turned 40, and I really didn’t enjoy it as much.

 

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My 41st birthday pic

 

Turning 40 was cool; it was novel.  I turned 40 and felt slim, attractive, fit and coming into my own personal power;  I terminated my contracted position with the post fitness center (Army bases are called ‘posts,’ FYI) because I was ready to take charge of my own professional life, and to train and coach in the way that was in alignment with my values and ethics.

 

 

 

I was going to ride this ’40 is the new 30’ thing into the sunset. 

 

 

 

Except 40 isn’t the new 30.  It’s still 40—and while my brain is still fresh, young, energetic and flexible, my body has some miles on it, and being a woman, these miles add up to unavoidable hormonal changes.

 

 

 

For some of us, these changes happen sooner, for some of us, later.  BUT if you’re a woman, the fact is that those changes WILL happen eventually.  And if you’re a man, well, aging will happen—which changes how your body feels and responds, too.  Maybe just not as suddenly or not as much.

 

 

 

(Now, this isn’t going to be some long-winded spiel about hormonal changes and women’s issues—don’t’ worry.  It’s a little bigger picture than that!)

 

 

 

‘Hey, look–I’m 40!!’ was the mantra of my first few months of life in my 40’s.  Then some unwanted changes started creeping in February.

 

 

 

My weight started to fluctuate, my cycles got off-track and I was moody.  A lot.  I blamed it on stress—Gabe had just come home from Afghanistan after 8 months away, only to turn around and go the states for training for 6 weeks shortly after.

 

 

 

 

I changed my eating habits.  I changed my exercise routines.  I redoubled my ‘positive thinking’ and ‘take action to improve things’ techniques.  Things still felt off.

 

 

 

Fast forward to this past summer.  Things suddenly were wildly out of whack.  And I tried to blame it on stress and lack of sleep (It gets light at 04:30 in the summer here, and doesn’t get dark until at least 10:30 for a while!), which I know contributed to my physical and emotional state of discomfort, but didn’t account for it all.

 

 

 

 

I blamed myself for not eating well enough—even though I was eating in the same way that had worked for me for so long.  I thought maybe I was training in the wrong way—even though I was getting stronger, faster and getting more muscle definition.

 

 

 

 

I blamed myself for having a bad attitude, for being too self-conscious or too superficial—I mean, I was supposed to walk the ‘body positive/body acceptance’ walk that I was talking!

 

 

 

But I was SO uncomfortable in my own skin for most of June, July and August—and I really was doing everything ‘right.’

 

 

 

 

 

The moment when I admitted to myself that my body’s changes and my emotional state were probably due to hormonal changes (at 41!!—I’m too young for this sh*t!! had been my denial rally cry) was when all of my bras stopped fitting. That doesn’t happen when I gain 5 pounds.  That happens when I’m pregnant.

 

 

 

And I wasn’t.

 

 

 

 

My ta-ta’s were telling me something I couldn’t deny.

 

 

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When my usually-a-little-loose sports bra became uncomfortably tight, I knew something was up.

So…I started to do a little reading from women’s fitness and doctor’s sources I trusted, and what I have been experiencing is typical of being in an ‘estrogen dominant’ state:  hormones are out of whack.

 

 

 

Went to the doctor, had some basic bloodwork done:  Estrogen is pretty elevated.  So there it is.

 

 

 

My ride the ‘40 is the new 30’ into the sunset plan just went *poof*. 

 

 

 

 

When you’re younger, in the back of your mind you know you’ll age—SOMEDAY.  I really thought I had a few more years at least before I had to deal with these issues.  But here it is already.

 

 

 

So I can either freak out, or I can be proactive, learn what I can, make any needed lifestyle changes and share what I learn and know as I go.  I like the proactive route 🙂

 

 

 

 

Over the past few months, as I’ve been sitting on my struggles with my body, denying that my hormones were changing, I’ve been mulling over a certain phrase:  adapt and overcome.

 

 

 

In the past it’s been my mantra, the cornerstone for my cultivation of personal resilience.  Plan A goes south?  Get Plan B in action.  Obstacle thrown in my way?  Build a ladder, dig a tunnel, find a route around.  Except this mantra wasn’t working for my current situation.  I didn’t know what I was dealing with, so I couldn’t adapt, let alone overcome.

 

 

 

 

And I don’t know that aging, because that’s what this whole hormonal thing is at the end of the day, is something that we need to ‘overcome.’  Heck, I’m pretty sure aging CAN’T be overcome!

 

 

 

Then in late August, when I left the land of denial, another phrase popped into my head: 

tweak and evolve

 

 

 

 

What has classically worked for me in terms of exercise, nutrition and even sleep isn’t working for me anymore.

 

 

 

 

I can’t ‘adapt and overcome’ aging and hormonal changes—none of us can.  We can fight and struggle with our bodies, we can blame ourselves for having bad habits, or a lack or willpower, we can cling to the idea of how we once were—and desperately try to claw our way back to that person…OR.

 

 

 

 

Or we can learn more about what’s going on with our bodies, surrender a little control, and learn to tweak our current habits as we go, and evolve into the next phase of our being.

 

 

 

 

We don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater and start from scratch; we just need to be more in touch with how our bodies are feeling and performing, and make the small, needed changes as we go.

 

 

 

Because aging and changing aren’t light switch events—they are gradual and continual.  It’s a process.  After all, like I’ve said tons of times before, there’s only one finish line.

 

 

 

 

Having spent most of the past 9 months denying, struggling and trying to claw my way back to my slim and mostly effortless 38 year-old self, I can tell you that adopting a ‘tweak and evolve’ approach is already easier on me.

 

 

->I’m learning I really DO need 8 or more hours of sleep to feel good—and my body rewards me with a more positive frame of mind AND less squish around my middle. 

 

 

->I’m learning the importance of better stress management, which has classically been one of my weak points—I’m a hard worker, but not so good at the chilling out thing. 

 

 

->I’m learning I need to tweak my nutrition a bit—that some foods trigger more of an estrogen response, and others give more relief. 

 

 

->Most importantly, I’m letting go of the idea that I could hit the ‘pause’ button on time and aging just because I was fit.  I can’t.

 

 

 

What I CAN do is continue to learn, continue to tweak what needs to be tweaked as things change, to stay attuned to how my body is feeling and responding.

 

 

 

The takeaway I hope to leave you with, regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman, is this:  If what has worked for you in the past isn’t working for you anymore, don’t be afraid to change what you’re doing.

 

 

 

We are constantly changing creatures, at the cellular level alone, and what worked for us when we were 25, 30, 35, 40 isn’t the iron-clad formula for lasting success.

 

 

 

If you’re not feeling your greatest, or things have been changing, or you just have the inkling that something is ‘off,’ check it out.

 

 

 

You can start with a process such as the framework I use in Project ReSolve**, where you reevaluate the different aspects of your lifestyle that contribute to our overall fitness and well-being.  You can also just head in to the doctor and start having a candid conversation about your observations and concerns.

 

 

 

Whatever you do, just keep taking care of you—the YOU that you are NOW, not years ago.

 

 

Because at a certain point in the game, it’s not about ‘adapting and overcoming’ to be successful, it’s about tweaking and EVOLVING.  It’s about continuing to become your best version of you.

 

 

Here’s to always becoming being our best selves.

 

Kate

Quick Fast Forward to today:  prioritizing sleep, taking leisure walks regularly, learning to better manage life stress, and eating lots more protein and veggies (and skipping cheap carbs) have helped tremendously.  It’s a long road, and I have no guarantees that hormones won’t throw me for a loop again, but for now things feel balanced 🙂

 

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My current (end of April 2016) physique. And the bra is loose again…which is another story!

 

**If you’d like to sign up for my FREE Project ReSolve email series, you can do it here. It’s a downloadable 5-week e-course that gives you a series of tools you can use to evaluate the different parts of your life that might be affecting your overall well-being.  You can use them as you get them, or save them for when you need them or you’re ready**

 

3 Tools to Ensure Your Exercise Is Actually Helping You Lose Fat

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I’m so excited to share today’s blog post from my business coach and fellow fitness pro, Jill Coleman.

 

I first came across Jill’s work back in 2013, and was immediately impressed by her down-to-earth, reasonable, get results approach to fitness and nutrition.

After being exposed for years to the all-or-nothing approach to eating and exercising–you know, the EAT CLEAN (or else!) and exercise like a figure contest competitor as the best/only way to get ‘fit’–it was a relief to find someone who ‘lived in the middle’ but still got amazing results.

Plus, she openly admitted she enjoys having wine–and not just once a month. It was the first time I’d heard a fitness pro in social media say that!

Not only is Jill a fantastic mindset and business coach, she’s also a hell of an athlete who’s been a varsity sports star, rowed crew in college, taught group fitness classes, competed in figure competitions and has done some fitness modeling as well.

Bottom line: the woman knows how to get results–ones that both increase athleticism and sculpt some sweet-looking muscles (that’s what having a sports AND physique background will do!), while honoring our hormonal balances and metabolism.

Enjoy the read and her fantastic advice.

 

3 Tools to Ensure Your Exercise Is Actually Helping You Lose Fat

 

Thank you, Kate, for letting me take over your blog today! I love getting to talk about how to incorporate exercise that actually gets results (!!!), especially for women that have zero time, so this will be fun 😉

 

Many years ago, when I was in my early 20s working at my local Golds gym, over a 2-year time span, I saw something really interesting happen. At the time, I didn’t understand it, by now I do:

 

There was this woman who’d just started exercising when I joined, and her name was Sheryl.

 

Sheryl was pretty overweight when she began, but was showing up every day. And I remember being super impressed with her dedication and consistency.

 

She’d come in, get on the elliptical, sweat it out for an hour, then do some weight machines for about 20 minutes and then leave, red-faced, having worked her tail off. Man, I remember thinking, “She’s crushing it! It’s so impressive!”

 

It was at this same time that I was starting out in the fitness industry as a personal trainer, and teaching more fitness classes, getting into the gym early to get my own workout in before training clients and spending more and more time there as a professional.

 

So Sheryl and I would cross paths daily and I couldn’t help but notice she was losing weight like a champ. What she was doing was working!

 

I’d compliment her on her progress, tell her how impressed I was and try to offer a little encouragement to keep going (not that she needed it!).

 

Fast forward a year later and Sheryl had lost over 60 lbs. Amazing. She was still showing up every day, doing an hour of cardio or more and leaving a pool of sweat behind her.

 

But over the following 6 months, I couldn’t help but notice something happening …

 

Sheryl started increasing her cardio time. Sixty minutes turned into 90. And then occasionally I’d see her at the gym at night too, taking fitness classes. Same day, two sessions.

 

Huh.

 

And then, within another 6 months after that, I noticed that she’d started gaining weight again.

The weight was creeping back on. She was exercising morning and night every day. Cardio in the morning, plus weights. A group fitness class or two at night. And yet the weight was coming back on.

 

I felt really sad for Sheryl, because of all the hard work and time she was dedicating to something that was seemingly no longer working.

 

I remember feeling so confused by this.

 

Though I never personal trained Sheryl, we got close during my fitness classes, and I asked her about her nutrition. She admitted that she is hungry all the time. She said she’d even come to the gym at night for hours to just stay out of the house that much longer to avoid eating. She described what Jade, at Metabolic Effect, calls “Continuous Meal,” when you eat from the second you get home all the way until bed time. She’d try to be good during the week, but the weekend turned into a free-for-all.

 

Sheryl was stuck in a cardio cycle: eating more, and then feeling the need to do even more cardio to burn off calories, and then because of so much exercise, she’d end up eating more and more. Aaaaaand repeat.

 

Her metabolism was no longer in the way it did in the beginning.

 

Marathon workouts led to excessive compensatory calorie intake, which then gave way to even more exercise as a way to make up for it. And so on.

 

This is a huge trap that not only doesn’t work, but can be extremely damaging to the metabolism over the long haul.

 

More exercise doesn’t equal linearly better results ad infinitum.

 

Just because you are burning calories doesn’t mean you are losing fat every second.

 

Why? Because your body is not a math equation. Things like hormones affect how your body looks and how it functions, how hungry you are, how intense your craving are for sugary, fatty, salty foods, the quality of your sleep, how you deal with stress, how tired you feel, and more.

 

The things all impact results.

 

You can think of your metabolism like tires on a car. The more miles you put on it—from stressors like long-duration, moderate-intensity cardio, cutting calories, going for long periods without eating, and the sheer mental stress of being obsessed with your food and exercise every second—the more the tires wear down. There’s not as much traction. There’s not as much responsiveness.

 

Your metabolism doesn’t just run at 100% all the time regardless of inputs.

 

And doing more and more exercise to try to outwork it is not a sustainable input.

 

Think about Sheryl spending literally 3+ hours a day at the gym, only to continue getting zero results, and even backsliding.

 

This is tough, because often when we are at a place where we are doing a lot of exercise, it has happened gradually (like with Sheryl, adding a little more over months and months) so it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when we became mentally dependent on it and physically less responsive to it.

 

The key is getting the body responsive again, so that exercise is working for you, and not against.

 

How? Three tools:

 

  • Less minutes and more intensity.

 

Intensity is the driver of results. Not duration.

 

Why intensity? Because of hormones. When we exercise, the body releases both catabolic hormones that break down fat and muscle (like cortisol and adrenaline). And also, if the intensity of the workout reaches a specific threshold, we release anabolic hormones, too (like growth hormone and testosterone).

 

The latter are potent metabolic drivers that help us burn even more fat after the workout is over. And yes, testosterone is even important for women! It’s the thing that helps us hang on to our muscle—which is the body’s tissue that burns the most calories at rest. We need it, especially as we get older, or it’ll be even harder to not gain weight.

 

For optimal intensity (and resultant fat loss and body change), the research shows that 40 minutes of exercise MAX is the place where the body creates that hormonal sweet spot, that optimal hormonal soup.

 

The shorter the workout, the more intensely you can exercise. Which is why I love the new #treadLIFT program that I just released. All 30 minutes or less.

 

  • Take more rest during your workout.

 

Rest and recovery, both within the workout and between workouts is the #1 thing that predicts how intense the workout will be.

 

Think about it: if you are giving yourself rest (like in the case of interval training or weight training, where you take time between exercises), you’re more likely to push harder. If I asked you to sprint a mile, you would automatically pace. But to sprint for 30 seconds, you’d probably go all out.

 

The most effective workouts for fat loss and body change include many 30 second (for example) repeated bouts of high intensity following by rest. Not just one single, long, steady-state cardio bout. That’s a pacing workout and if we are talking about changing your body, it’s both ineffective and unsustainable.

 

Give yourself rest within your workout (by using a technique like Rest-based Training that we employ in #treadLIFT, for example) to ensure that you can push harder: push, rest, push, rest, etc.

 

  • Realize that exercise impacts hunger and cravings.

 

This, again, is a hormonal issue.

 

Excessive and chronically high cortisol, as a result of doing long-duration moderate-intensity cardio like Sheryl was, will increase appetite and cravings. And especially for highly palatable foods high in sugar and dietary fat—the exact things that will negate all that calorie-burning in an instant.

 

Adding more and more cardio to your routine is not benign.

 

And while you might be burning more calories in the workout, your metabolism starts to lag and down-regulate. It doesn’t just keep responding the same way.

 

And compensatory responses in the form of not only hunger and cravings, but adrenal burnout, fatigue, overtraining, lack of motivation, decreased libido, and depression can also occur.

 

Life is too short to spend hours a day on an elliptical, especially when the results you’re after can be had in a quarter of the time with rest + intensity + management of hunger and cravings.

 

Keep things short and intense for best results.

 

If you don’t believe that you can get great results in only 30 minutes, you haven’t been doing the right modes of exercise! In #treadLIFT, I combine intense cardio with effective weight training, all packaged in 30 minutes.

 

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#treadLIFT workouts are designed for fat burning, muscle building or cardiovascular performance, but all 36 workouts have one thing in common: they elicit the best results in the shortest amount of time. Guaranteed.

 

Get #treadLIFT this week only and join the hundreds of women who are already doing the workouts! Registration closes on Friday May 6th at midnight. Grab your copy HERE and start getting way more effective with your time in the gym.

 

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>>> GET TREADLIFT HERE http://bit.ly/rlfbykate_treadLIFT.

 

 

#treadLIFT

 

 

{Trainer Tip Tuesday} Be Like a Dandelion

Dandelion

 

If you’re in the military, you’re probably aware that April is the Month of the Military Child.  

 

 

 

If you’re not in the military or affiliated in some way with the military, you just learned something new!  

 

 

 

Throughout the month of April, different memes dedicated to military children circulate through social media, many of them featuring a dandelion.

 

 

 

 

 

The dandelion is the flower of the military child–and for good reason.  

Dandelions, among other things, are tenacious.  

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My tenacious dandelions.

 

 

 

 

Tenacious might actually be too gentle a word to describe them, actually!  Have you ever tried to rid your lawn or garden of dandelions?  

 

 

 

 

Each spring, it’s a war in my little backyard, and I hate to admit it, but the dandelions are slowly winning…because of their tenacity.

 

 

 

 

 

Dandelions just don’t quit.  

 

 

 

 

 

Despite the war I’m waging against them, I really admire dandelions.

 

 

 

 

 

They grow wherever they’re planted, they reach for the sun tirelessly, they spread what they have to offer prolifically, and they never stop trying to come back.

 

 

 

 

 

So what the heck does this have to do with fitness??  Only everything.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the challenges we often face where our fitness is concerned is not being tenacious enough when things aren’t easy.

 

 

 

 

A kid gets sick.  

 

 

We get sick.  

Our schedule changes.  

Work becomes more demanding.  

There’s a crisis in the family.  

We develop an injury.  

Our workout buddy moves away.  

WE move away.  

 

 

 

 

 

All of these events can happen, or have happened, at some point, and they can really knock us out of our workout habits and practices.

 

 

 

 

 

A short break becomes a longer break, and pretty soon we’re so far ‘off track,’ we don’t know how or feel we have the will to find our way to get back ‘on track.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is where being like a dandelion comes in.  

 

 

  

This is where developing and maintaining tenacity comes in.  

 

 

 

 

 

The main reason I created “Your Plan B Playbook’ (you can grab a copy by signing up here: Plan B Playbook) was to create a tool by which others could also develop and foster their own tenacity.

 

 

 

 

 

Being an Army spouse, now living overseas, has presented me over the years with a slew of challenges.

 

 

 

 

In the early years of being married to the Army, these challenges DID knock me off track–and that made me sad, angry, resentful, hopeless, and generally feeling like a failure.

 

 

 

 

I could not see a way out of my situation or any alternative by which to reach my health/fitness/weight loss goals.

 

 

 

 

Then I took a nasty fall from a friend’s cranky barrel racing horse.  Well, the fall wasn’t so bad–it was kind of a graceful dismount actually–but the landing messed me up.

 

 

 

 

I landed full PLF-style on my right side on some very hard Louisiana clay, causing trauma to my lumbar spine, both SI joints in my pelvis, and two broken ribs.

 

 

 

 

In the weeks and months after that accident, I had to decide whether I was going to live as an injured and inhibited person, or do what it took to get better, get stronger.

 

 

 

 

It took a year of physical therapy and diligent work with a personal trainer, but I did get better–and stronger and more resilient.  

 

 

 

 

 

And tenacious.  

 

 

 

 

 

Tenacity is defined as being ‘persistent in maintaining, adhering to, or seeking something valued or desired.’  

 

 

 

 

 

 

But how do we get or develop tenacity when we feel like we’re on the ropes?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over time, I’ve found three things that help develop and foster tenacity on the fitness front.

1. Have a backup plan (or multiple backup plans!) ready to go.  

 

 

 

Your Plan B Playbook’ was born out of a need to have a backup workout options ready to go for all those times where one of my kids was suddenly ill, my husband was deployed, or other life circumstances messed with my plan A workout.  

 

 

 

 

Knowing I had a plan b, c, d, e and even f ready to go alleviated a ton of stress and kept me consistent with my workouts.

 

 

 

 

 

Being able to workout despite unpleasant circumstances also helped me cultivate tenacity through self-confidence:  every time I got that workout in during a challenging time it made me more confident I was capable of continuing on and doing it again the next time things got challenging.

 

 

 

 

 

 ” The more I accomplish, the more I know I’m capable of accomplishing.”  ~ Tawny Lara

 

 

2. Be a part of a ‘tribe.’  

 

 

 

Being a part of something bigger than yourself can bolster your will and determination when you’d rather just skip a day or quit. 

 

 

 

 

Social media offers a way to find and connect with like-minded people who can serve as a support network or accountability group.

 

 

 

 

Recruiting friends on Facebook to be a part of an ‘exercise tribe’ with similar goals or lifestyles can be a great help–you’re there to both encourage others when they need it, and they’re there for you when you need a pep talk or a kick in the pants 🙂

 

 

 

 

Having a workout community can be the difference between ‘I give up’ and ‘I can do this.’

 

 

 

 

3.  Dedicate your workouts.

 

 

 

When you don’t feel like working out or going for a run, dedicate that sweat session to someone.

 

 

 

 

I started doing this in 2011, but only privately–as in my own head, not through any official organizations.  I often choose to dedicate that workout to either those who have passed or those who would love to get up and move, but can’t.

 

 

 

 

It changes I ‘have to workout’ into ‘I get to workout.’  

 

 

 

 

There are many different organizations where you can connect with a cause or an individual and dedicate your miles/sweat sessions to them, such as IRun4 .  Or you can create your own dedications and even wear them, such as with grace bands.

 

 

 

 

 

When you struggle to get out the door, or into your workout clothes or to the gym, take a moment and dedicate your workout to someone who can’t. It may change your ‘task’ into an experience of gratitude and appreciation.

 

 

 

 

 

Every year, as they consume more of my grass, I admire dandelions a little bit more.

 

 

 

 

And I strive to emulate them–to be tenacious, to grow where I’m planted, to seek the sunshine and stand tall, and to spread what I have to offer prolifically.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you’re struggling, or someone near to you is struggling, scrounge up that tenacity.

 

 

 

 

 

Be like a dandelion.  

 

 

 

 

Those things don’t quit.

 

 

Talk to you soon,

 

Kate

#BYBY2016

Have Vision Beyond Your Circumstances

HAVE VISION BEYOND YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES.

 

There are times when it can be hard to see or recognize the promise and potential outcomes of our actions, our daily hard work and efforts.

 

 

Times when we’re thick in the middle of ‘it,’ whatever it may be (a new nutrition plan, working out, building new skills, starting a new job…), when we feel stuck.

 

 

We feel unsure of our efforts–we feel unsure that our efforts will pay off or pay out the way we want them to so badly.

 

 

 

We’ve invested ourselves, with our precious resources: time, energy, sacrifice, money, and although we’ve been putting in the effort, we’re not sure we’re making headway.

 

 

 

This is the time when we have to do what I call ‘Grit forward with faith.’

 

 

 

We have to continue to invest ourselves in the pursuit of our goals/dreams, because transformations (of every kind) take TIME.

 

 

They take MORE time than we think they *should.*

 

 

That doesn’t mean our efforts aren’t working, that we aren’t getting closer to our goals/dreams; it just means we can’t SEE the payoff…YET.

 

 

It means we need to continue to invest our time, effort, energy, and hopes. It means we see beyond the place where we feel ‘stuck,’ and to recognize that, however slow it may be, progress is progress.

 

 

It means we need to, as Brendon Burchard says, have vision beyond our circumstances.

 

 

Keep your eye on the prize. Never doubt that your hard work today is fruitless; truly it’s the only thing getting you closer to your goals, to being that person you wish to be in the world.

 

 

See the potential for a different future for yourself, and keep gritting forward in faith.

 

 

 

#BYBY2016
#grityourselfforward

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