Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tough Love...It kinda hurts.

Melissa Urban & Dallas Hartwig are some pretty insanely strong individuals.  Like jump-over-cars and lift-twice-their-body weight strong.  They are also super healthy & really into a whole foods eating movement which I totally admire.  I can't quite imagine doing it right now, but I'm thinking it might fit in nicely after I reach my goal weight with my Take Shape for Life maintenance plan since it's eating really good whole foods all the time and because I know by then I'll have even more control over my issues with food.  Anyway, they are hardcore.  About everything.  They tell it to you straight.  Their clients are not coddled, babied, etc.  They both kinda scare me, actually!  Just teasin-I totally admire them & can't wait till my body is as rockin & strong as theirs.  Anyway, I recently came across a blog post by them with a portion called "Tough Love."  I laughed while reading it because they were not giving people an inch to complain.  I had to share because I agree with so much of what they're saying, so enjoy: 
{taken word for word from this post}

"Here comes the tough love. This is for those of you who are considering taking on this life-changing month, but aren’t sure you can actually pull it off, cheat free, for a full 30 days. This is for the people who have tried this before, but who “slipped” or “fell off the wagon” or “just HAD to eat (fill in food here) because of this (fill in event here)”. This is for you.
1. It is not hard.  Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Giving up heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard.  Drinking your coffee black.  Is. Not. Hard. You won’t get any coddling, and you won’t get any sympathy for your “struggles”.  Because if we (Dallas and Melissa) can do this while living out of a car on our road trip,  relying on a restaurant or a cooler for 90% of our meals, while constantly socializing for business, YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime. So suck it up and join us.
2. Don’t tell us you “slipped”. Unless you physically tripped and your face landed in a box of Krispy Kremes, you DID NOT SLIP. You made a choice to eat something of poor quality. It’s always a choice, so do not phrase it as if you had an accident.  Commit here, 100%, for the full 30 days, or go somewhere else.
3. You never, ever, ever HAVE to eat anything you don’t want to eat. You’re all big boys and girls. Toughen up. Learn to say no (or make your Mom proud and say, “No, thank you”). Learn to stick up for yourself. Just because it’s your sister’s birthday, or your best friend’s wedding, or your company outing or the Fourth of July does not mean you have to eat anything.   It’s always a choice, and we would hope that you stopped succumbing to peer pressure in 10th grade."  Dallas Hartwig & Melissa Urban

What do you think?  Too harsh?  Maybe for some.  I think, though, that sometimes a little harsh is what we need.  I think oftentimes we have a hard time just being accountable to ourselves and we act like toddlers, justify our bad food choices, whine that it's too hard or takes too long to lose weight, look to people who will tell us what we want to hear {like that it's okay to shove an entire pan of brownies into our gut in one sitting}, point fingers & blame others, or get upset that what we're doing isn't working...all the while not doing what it really takes to make it work.   I think it most always comes down to commitment.  If you're not committed-no matter what it is-you will most always fail.  If you are committed-no matter what it is-you can most always accomplish it.  It may take more time than you'd planned.  It may be more of a sacrifice than you'd thought.  You may not always like the food {or the exercise, or fill in tbe blank _____, etc.} You may have to stick up for what you're doing, ask others to help you along, make tough choices, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY, and be patient.  If you are fully committed though, it will happen.  
Now my style of coaching falls somewhere between the too soft approach and the too hardcore.  I think that it can be hard to live a healthier least at first and sometimes later on.  As I type there are brownies cooking in my oven that I was asked to bring to a church function tonight and the smell is heavenly & tempting, I'm not gonna lie.  I totally agree though that if I did eat one {which I won't} it would be my choice, my responsibility, and that I could blame no one else for the effect it would have on my mind/body/scale.  It would not have been a slip or an accident, it would have been a conscious choice.  I also agree that you-and I-never have to eat anything we don't want to {or want to but that won't help us achieve our goal}.  With all this said, I have been there.  I am there.  I am experiencing this change of lifestyle firsthand...and although it can be painful at times-as all growth experiences are-it's so totally worth it.  And, it helps to talk about it with people who are experiencing the same things.  So reach out & let me know how you're doing.  I will listen & commiserate, sympathize & empathize...and then I'll tell you to get your butt back to work.  It's the only way we'll reach our goals & become our best selves.

So weigh in.  Leave a comment and let me know what you think! 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Just Get Back Up

This past weekend a good friend & mentor told me about an experience she'd had with her 19 year old son recently.  It struck a chord within me & resonated in my heart all weekend, so I thought I'd share.  She and her son were having a conversation about leadership qualities they both had or admired in others.  Her son-who is generally an extremely confident individual-talked about how he felt he had many leadership qualities and had the ability to really make a difference in people's lives, but that he often held back because he was afraid he would fail people.  He let the fear of failing others keep him from stepping up and being a leader which happens to be one of his great gifts.  My friend then said a profound thing to her son.  "We will always fail people.  It's whether or not we keep getting back up each time we've failed that defines us."

Isn't this so true?  We cannot let the fear of anything keep us from participating in this great life we've been given.  No matter the context-losing weight, leading people, becoming more organized, being a better parent, increasing our spirituality, being a better friend, etc.-the fact of the matter is that we have an obligation to live our lives to their fullest potentials.  To not let our fears determine our actions-or lack of-in our lives.

We will always fail people.  Sometimes no matter what we do or how hard we try, it won't be good enough for everyone else.  But we don't always have to fail ourselves.  As long as we get up each time we fall & learn from each stumble, we are moving in the right direction.  Can you imagine if everyone who failed another person stopped taking risks?  If you have a bad day & yell at your kids, start fresh the next day.  If you fall off your healthy eating program & eat a 1/2 gallon of ice cream by yourself, start anew the next day.  If you let someone down because you did something that didn't quite meet their expectations, don't let it get you down. Others will continue to have higher expectations in us than are sometimes realistic.  Oftentimes we feel like a failure in our own minds and let that thought keep us from moving forward.  Don't do that.  Keep taking chances.  Keep believing in yourself.  Get back up each time you fall...It is in doing this that you really won't have failed at all. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Recently I received some news that turned my world upside down for a couple days.  I felt completely blindsided by this turn of events and was kind of in shock for a few days while processing the information I'd received. 

Have you ever had an experience like that?  Through this I learned a valuable lesson.   
It is imperative that we learn to protect our blindside.  
How do we do this when we don't know what faces us in our future?  The answer is preparation. We have to learn to prepare for the unknown.  Life is constantly throwing us curve balls.  How are you going to act-instead of react-when the next hard or unknown situation hits? 

For instance, what would you do if:
-You leave to go shopping and get caught up longer than you think
-You're with friends at a movie and afterward they ask you to go with them to dinner
-a loved one passes away
-You change jobs, move to a new house, have a baby, etc.
-You have company in your home
-You have a family reunion
-You're invited to a BBQ, dinner, birthday party, etc.
-You have a birthday
-You are busy, stressed, overwhelmed, depressed, discouraged, excited, worried, anxious, etc.etc.etc...

The fact of the matter is-life never stops.  And, it's always changing.  If we don't change our habits now and learn to protect our blindside, we'll never change.  Because the well known fact that life IS always changing and unknown will never change. 

Let's go back to my blindsiding experience from just recently.  Throughout the day I found myself being more preoccupied than usual.  Because anything carbohydrate-loaded is my food of choice, I craved cereal, chips, cake & breads all day.  I did fine all day and stayed strong despite my feelings of anxiety.  That night though, we had a family BBQ.  This was probably the 10th BBQ I've attended since starting TSFL so I wasn't worried going into it.  I had my chicken kabob & veggies all ready to enjoy.  And I did...  But a couple hours later, when it was time for my next meal, I had a Medifast brownie.  And I added sugar free cool whip.  All this would have been fine, had I not then taken a spoon and eaten about 10 tablespoons worth of cool whip right from the container complusively.  Yeah, I did that.  And midway between carton & mouth, I looked at that spoon and realized what I was doing.  Handling my emotions & stress in the only way I knew how.  And, so I stopped, put the cool whip away, and went on with my evening. 

Here is the important thing to realize: it's not about the cool whip.  10 tablespoons isn't going to hurt me too badly or kill my progress.  It's not even about witholding myself from foods I love or being a control freak and never eating anything I want to again.  It's about gaining control over my emotional ties to food.  It's the fact that it doesn't matter what kind of food it is-celery or donuts-if we are bingeing on them when we are blindsided in our lives, we are not truly prepared or changed on the inside.  We are relying on food to bring us comfort. 

So prepare yourself.  Here are a few ways to do that:
-Think ahead.  Ask yourself what you would do if faced with those questions from above.  Go through different scenarios in your head and decide now that you would not turn to food
-Plan ahead!  Always keep extra small meals in your car, purse, suitcase, house, etc.  This way you'll never go over your 3 hour limit and be starving when you are faced with food-leaving you more likely to make unhealthy choices
-Let the people in your life know what you're doing and what your goals are.  Help them to help you make healthier choices
-Make the best choice possible.  You are caught in a situation where it's time to eat and you don't have your meals. You are faced with food.  Know beforehand what you'll order when faced with times like these and stay firm.  Call ahead to restaurants & ask what they have-know what you'll order BEFORE even stepping in the door which will allow you to be set in your mind and not tempted by other dishes.
-Take all your meals for the day in a bag, cooler, etc., and stick to your plan. 

Lastly, realize that sometimes we're going to slip up.  And that's okay.  The important part is realizing what we're doing, taking ownership for it, and becoming better through the experience.  If I had eaten the cool whip and decided, "I'm never going to change, I'm going to quit," I would have been right back where I started.  Instead, I realized I had received some crazy news, recognized my reasons for what I was doing, and got right back on track.  And you know what, those realizations helped me to enjoy the cool whip & not feel guilty!  And that my friends, turned a could-be opportunity to beat myself up & quit into an amazingly empowering experience!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Decide Now

I had an experience when I was about 14 years old that has always stuck with me.  It was a woman I admired giving a lesson about making good choices in our lives.  She said something to the effect of, "If you decide right now that you will never have a drink of alcohol, and I mean really really make that choice right now, then when you are faced with the decision later in your life, it won't even be a temptation.  You won't even think twice about it, you'll just say no."  I distinctly remember going home that day and writing down on a piece of paper the following:

I will never drink alcohol
I will never use any drugs or tobacco
I will not have sex before I'm married

That piece of paper soon got lost in the abyss of my teenage-self's messy room, but the words on that paper-and the internal decision that went with them-stayed with me throughout the rest of my life.  That wise woman was right.  There were times after that lesson when I was faced with questions about drinking-even teasing & pressure from friends-but I didn't even have to think.  I just said no thanks.  Soon people knew what my views were on the topic and they didn't ask.  Those things weren't even a temptation or appealing to me because I had made the decision a long time ago that I wouldn't participate.  It became easy & to this day I don't regret those choices.

Now think about this process in comparison to our relationship with food.  Food is as much a temptation and addiction for me as alcohol, drugs, and sex are to others.  Unfortunately, I can't just say no to all food and be okay.  I-like all of us-have got to find a balance & learn to enjoy food in a way that also allows me to maintain a healthy weight.  The week before I started TSFL, I worked on preparing myself mentally.  I knew that one of-if not the only-key factor to my success would be making the decision to commit 100% to this program.  Deciding that until I reached my goal weight, I would not have certain foods, I would not cheat on my program, I would not give in to tempting foods, etc.  Deciding that I would choose health.  Deciding that I was going to do this no matter how hard it got or what things crossed my path.  So I grabbed a sheet of paper and sat down with my husband and made a list.  I wrote down the following:

I will follow the take shape for life program exactly as outlined for as long as it takes me to reach my goal weight.  I will keep a food journal on a daily basis and realize that I will miss out on lots of my favorite foods this summer.  That's okay though...I'm deciding to be healthy and I'm choosing to do it for me.

Notice a couple things: (1) I didn't set a time limit.  I didn't say, "I'll stick to this for three months, but if I'm not to my goal, I'll give up."  I committed for as long as it took to get to my goal weight and learn be confident in the fact that I knew how to stay there.  (2) I also recognized-realistically-that there were going to be things I'd miss.  This didn't mean I couldn't participate at all, just that I knew I'd be faced with foods I love and wouldn't eat them because I'd made the decision not to.  It's so important that we are honest with ourselves.  We won't be caught off guard this way. 

And guess what?  8 weeks into my program and I've stayed firm to the decision I made.  I have been around a TON of good food.  I have had people tell me it's okay to just have a couple bites.  I have baked cakes/cookies/treats for friends & family, and made dinners for my husband that I chose not to eat.  Has it been tough?  Yeah, occasionally I crave different things. But as far as whether I'd give into temptation, there's never even been a moment's hesitation because I took a vital step 8 weeks ago in making that decision and writing it down.  Now it's easy to decline.  The decision is made before I'm even faced with the choice.  Try it yourself-decide now to make a change.  Choose now to be healthy!