Sunday, July 24, 2011

Emotional Eating

Sugar got its hooks into me again two days ago.

I woke up with this vague feeling of malaise.  Not the flu, or a cold, but that strange itchy, achy, subtly angry feeling.  (Oh yes, it's shark week.)

I thought that coffee would be the cure, that I would shake the feeling off and be bright eyed and bushy tailed within the hour.

It was not to be.  Instead, I fired up the stove without planning my eating first, I overate at breakfast, and it all went downhill from there.  There is a little monster inside of me that sleeps until I wake it up with sugar or overeating, and once it's awake, oh boy does it want to run in circles knocking into and tearing down all of the confidence I've built up in the preceding days.

Sometimes knowing what to do is not nearly enough.  You can have incredibly powerful goals and strategies in place, and simply lose the will to use them.  One of the paradoxes of transformation is that as you change your body and gain more self esteem, you will begin to pursue goals and discover opportunities that are above and beyond your old comfort level.  Lately, by getting the chance to be involved in exciting projects and work I truly enjoy, I've been coming up against a serious fear of letting people down, including myself of course.  This is the biggest irony of a happy life.

Getting What You Always Wanted Can Scare You Half To Death.

I happened to me when I met the love of my life, got married, and became pregnant.  I hit the life path jackpot, and then was consumed by the fear that I would let my husband and my baby down.  So I started eating.  Eating a lot more than I should have.  Thank God that I had a healthy baby in spite of my mistakes, but now I feel powerful drives to make the same kinds of mistakes again.

So much has been eloquently written about self sabotage and the fear of success, but sometimes honesty is more important than originality.  Besides, I'm pretty sure that anyone who goes on this physical transformation journey will have days like I had on Thursday, and I intend that you can triumph in spite of them, or even because of what you learn from them.  I haven't missed a training session, I ate what I committed to yesterday, and I have a plan for today.   By the way, that plan is my weekly fast from breakfast to breakfast.  You may notice the high fat/low carb content, and that is to put the sugar monster back to sleep.  Once again, I am so not a nutritionist, but this menu does stop the madness for me.

Later, I will write about what I could have done instead of overeating, but the most important point I have to make is that you can pull out of a nosedive and keep flying toward your goal.  I guess I just had to land for a little while and take on some better fuel!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Power of Accountability

Daily Totals

50.4 g
23.7 g
72 g
989.4 mg
77.6 g
68 fl oz
Daily Calorie Composition: 27% from carbs, 43% from fat and 30% from protein.

There it is, the section from the Fitbit website that totals yesterday's daily nutrition.  This will be valuable information when I reach my goal, because I am going to reach my goal this time.  If there's one thing I've learned from Turbulence Training it's "Never, ever, ever give up!"  

Today I'm going to write a bit more on the foundation of transformation, and that's mindset.  To misquote Descartes, "I think, therefore I change." 

 Never giving up means being willing to return to the examination of your inner monologue again and again until you find a way of thinking that supports the change you want.  I often say that you need to mine your faults for gold, and one of my faults is a strong tendency to be self-absorbed.  The benefit of that fault is the fact that I can spend hours thinking about... thinking.  Put that way it sounds pretty unappealing, but every once in a while I come out of my reverie with some good information.

In order to lose fat over time you must learn to manage the thoughts that leave you vulnerable to cravings.

Craving is defined as:  An intense desire for some particular thing, and desire can be defined as :The feeling that accompanies an unsatisfied state.

How very well put. Thank you  The great question, fellow transformers, is what to do and how to think to prevent dissatisfaction, and how to defuse cravings once they hit.

How to Prevent Dissatisfaction

Forgive me for being too obvious, but you have to  choose an eating plan that satisfies you as much as possible while keeping you in a calorie deficit over time.  Then you have to discover tools that you can use in the moment when cravings hit.  When you have a plan, you can recognize the first hints of a craving and take evasive action.

Evasive Actions For Stopping Cravings

#1:  Get help!
The part of you mind that has the cravings is can be so big and powerful that you may need outside help to shut it down.  This where having social support is so valuable.  I have an accountability partner that I have committed
to calling or texting before I deviate from my plan.  This means that I can have whatever I crave, but I have to tell someone first.  No more overeating in secret!  Of course you have to be willing to use this technique, but if you want your transformation strongly enough, you can learn to use it.

#2 Distract Yourself!
No, I am not going to tell you to take a walk because it really bugs me when people give me this advice.  No, I want you to have some activity in place that gives you something like the guilty pleasure you would get if you gave in to the craving.  Look at tabloids, gossip websites, your before picture, ok maybe that's not a guilty pleasure, but go ahead and make a list of the things that distract you other than food.

#3 Do Something Good
Ultimately this is better advice than #2. Sometimes my cravings are truly based on hunger, but they usually come up to divert my attention away from something I should be doing instead.  Ask yourself, "What am I avoiding while I stand in front of this cupboard?"  Then go do that thing for ten minutes.  If you still crave the food after that, call or text your accountability partner for a dispensation.  Then again, remember that Emerson said that we gain the strength of the temptation we resist.  Every time you come through a craving without eating outside of your commitment you become less vulnerable to future impulses.

#4 Stick to a sensible exercise program.  The right amount of exercise at the right intensity will actually help control your appetite.  Really!  More on this tomorrow as it's time for my next Supervillian's workout.

P.S.  Sorry about the underlining- I can't figure out how to turn it off.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Major Motivation!

A powerful tool for getting things done is a sense of urgency.  That sense of urgency gets supercharged when it's driving you toward something you really want.  A few days ago, I had the incredible good fortune to be invited to the Turbulence Training Trainer Summit in San Diego on August 26th and 27th.  Craig Ballantine will be interviewing me about my experience transforming my figure with his program.  Can you see where this is heading?

I can't think of an event that would be more powerful at giving me the incentive to take my fitness to the next level than this one.  Just picture all of those inquiring minds wondering, "How did she do it?  Where did she get her motivation and perseverance?  How can I inspire my clients to do the same thing?"  How indeed.  Go ahead and put yourself in my shoes.  What would you be thinking right now?  Oh yes, you'd be thinking, what can I do to look and feel completely confident for this event?  I'll bet that you'd be feeling a sense of urgency.

The Power of Happy Occasions

Now I'm focused, and all of my faculties are on board for the challenge of using the next five weeks, or 37 days to be really exact, to get in the very best shape possible.  What's even better is that I'm right in the middle of writing a coaching program that teaches my techniques for sticking to an exercise program and a food plan.  Sometimes in life the timing is truly perfect.

An Invitation

Why not come with me on this relatively short journey?  Disclaimer: I won't be giving professional advice or recommendations here, I'll just be sharing my experience as bloggers do.  I'm going to be very honest about the tools and techniques I'll be using, and the truth is that some of them don't have mainstream approval- yet!  One thing I know for sure is that I have to be honest about the techniques I'm using if I'm going to get the benefits of sharing my experience in this public forum.

What is my goal, and how am I going to reach it?

Here is where the real value of this transformation diary lies.  For the next five weeks and two days I will be recording what I eat, what I do, and how I think in order to reach my goals.  Here goes.

1. What do I want?
So what can I achieve in the next 37 days that is realistic and inspiring at the same time?  Ok, deep breath, and here goes.  Over the next five weeks I will lose ten pounds and go from my current weight of 123 (Yep there's that number that my body loves to return to) to my desired weight of 113 pounds.  Over the last year or so, and definitely over the course of studying for my ACE exam, the number 113 has come up over and over.  It is the number I get when I calculate my body fat percentage at 18%, and it is also what I will weigh at a BMI of 21.4.  This is a subject for another post but there is research that indicates that a BMI is not only healthy, it also may represent the ideal where physical attractiveness is concerned.  I'll be honest, I'm not just doing this for my health, I also want to look my best, and I'll bet you do too.  So there!  Ten pounds in six weeks.  I can do this, but it means laser focus and no messing around.

2.  What will I eat?
I'll be eating a high volume high nutrient menu of whole foods that will include vegetables, fruits, protein, dairy, and healthy fats.  It will not include sugar or flour (trigger foods) and I will do one 24 hour fast each Sunday.  Yes, that's the controversial technique I was talking about earlier.  Back when I did my original transformation in 2008 I used Brad Pilon's Eat Stop Eat program.  Go ahead and google it to check it out.  I would only ask that if you decide to try intermittent fasting that you check with your doctor first!  I was extremely skeptical, and I really struggled with the political incorrectness of fasting, even just once a week from breakfast to breakfast, but honesty requires that I tell the truth about what worked for me.  By the way I never go a whole day without eating.  Once a week I eat a good breakfast, and then I drink plenty of water and calorie free beverages until breakfast the next day.  Whew, it really took guts to come out and admit that I fast occasionally!

3.  How will I move?

I'll be using the Turbulence Training Supervillains Workout.  Yes, Craig does have a sense of humor when it comes to challenging exercise programs.  I will also be teaching and attending Zumba classes, and I have a major five day dance workshop that I'll be taking starting a week from tomorrow.  That's more incentive to get off to a good start!

4.  How will I think?
Here is where I truly want to hone my skill.  I have begun coaching clients on the power of thought and belief to effect physical transformation.  I am convinced that positive action flows from genuine belief and focused intention.  You have to know precisely what you want, and you have to believe that you can achieve it with unshakable conviction.  This is what will keep you on the road to your destination no matter what.  What I want from this five week journey is more of the specific insight into what it takes to reach your most deeply desired fitness goals.

The right conditions are in place.  For now I will call them urgency, structure, and accountability.  I'll be sharing how it all works, and no matter what I know I'm going to learn a lot about the power of a specific event to motivate fat loss.  Here goes everything!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Free the Figure

I hope all of you in the United States had an excellent Independence Day yesterday, and for everyone else I hope it was an excellent  Monday as well.  The holiday had me thinking about liberty and freedom, and since figure transformation is my obsession I was playing with the idea of how freedom and the figure relate to each other, and to quality of life.  As an amateur philosopher it hasn't been too difficult to come to the conclusion that free-will existence is a good thing.  As a cock-eyed optimist it's been easy to come to the conclusion that it's a very good thing.

So what does freedom have to do with losing the last ten pounds, or the first ten pounds, or even the first ounce for that matter?  It turns out that the whole reason I want to change my figure, and with it my level of fitness, is so that I can earn the freedom to do what I want with my life.  It's as if I've set a wall between myself and who I want to be, and I won't allow myself to scale that wall until I look a certain way in the mirror and see a particular number on the scale.  I have been trapped by my own rules and expectations.  This has certainly put me in a bind because although I am eager to coach and train more clients in fat loss, my self judgement stops me from reaching out to a wider audience.

Stop Judging and Join In

I've seen this kind of self judgement in action in others as well, and I'll just bet that there's a lot of productivity, creativity, and just plain fun that's being stifled all over the world because people don't think they're good enough to participate in the kind of activities that would truly fulfill them.  Let me ask you, do you know of anyone who has ever said, "I'll start going to the gym after I lose some weight.  I just wouldn't feel comfortable going right now."  Or, "I couldn't possibly take a dance class.  I don't know how to dance."  Isn't that what dance class is for?

Free the Figure

What I want is to free the natural healthy figure that I know is inside me waiting to be revealed, but how? Back when I was in acting school, I was taught to behave as if I was the character I wanted to portray.  What if I give myself permission to behave as if I already have the figure that represents the real me?  What would happen?  What would I do?  Well, I started today, and here's the technique I used.

First of all, I chose a character, a new persona if you will.  Who is she?  Whoops, I mean who am I?  I am a fitness athlete in training.  Yep, that just about covers it.  Silly?  Maybe a little, but I am getting to the point where I'm willing to do anything within the bounds of decency to free my authentic self to get out and live fully.  Here's how being a fitness athlete in training covers all the bases.

Fitness Athlete in Training

What does a fitness athlete do?  She eats healthy foods that support her goals, she gets to the gym, or class, or the garage, or wherever she practices, and she trains.  I am in training, so it really doesn't matter if I'm at my goal weight at this very moment, that's what training is for.  Also, by calling myself a fitness athlete, I give myself the freedom to think like one.  That means I get proper rest, and I don't let the vagaries of daily life get in the way of my goals.

Yes, for some time while trying to figure out just what kind of motivation it takes to change the figure permanently, I've been coming to the conclusion that you have to change your identity first, and let the body follow.  Do me a favor.  Try this thought.  Nobody has to know.  The next time you need the impetus to prepare and eat a meal that supports your goals, or that you need incentive to move, say to yourself,

"I am a fitness athlete in training."  You know, I can already feel it working.