Robyn…My Complex Client

After a lengthy conversation with her parents, I now sat face to face with 18-year-old Robyn in what seemed like a stare off deathmatch.  It had only been a few minutes since Robyn took her seat in my office and yet it seemed like an eternity.  Beyond her acknowledging my initial greeting, she had not spoken a word.  I needed an ice breaker and I needed one fast.

Photo from alamy.com

Robyn’s Mom had called the prior week and gave me some interesting background information on her daughter’s emotional struggles.  From that conversation, it sounded like Robyn could be suffering from a mild case of Alexithymia.  All things considered, working with a teenage female athlete with eating & emotional issues would be a challenging case.  I hoped my past struggles with food combined with my education and competitive background would be just the right combo to bridge the age gap and help me connect with Robyn.

“So, Robyn, how are you?”  “Fine” was her only reply followed by more silence.  Undeterred, I asked my next question.  “So, your parents tell me you’re a long-distance runner on your high school team.  Can you tell me a little bit more about your running?”  “Crickets” was the overwhelming response.  Clearly, I had my work cut out for me.

From Robyn’s client folder, I pulled out several newspaper clippings and gently slid them across my desk for her to see.  They were all from Robyn’s younger days when she first started running in junior high.  She slowly reached out and picked up one of the articles.  Then she took the second and finally the third.  She didn’t say a word however I could see the tears start to well up in her eyes and begin falling down her cheeks.

I slowly placed a box of Kleenex within her reach and she took several.  After a minute or so of quiet tears, she composed herself and commented: “These articles are from my first three victories back in 7th grade.  How did you find them?”  “Well, I just did a simple search on Google.  So, how does seeing them make you feel?”  “Sad” was her immediate response as she wiped her eyes again.

“Can you tell me why?”  Robyn paused for a moment and then replied, “These articles are from a time when my life made sense…before things started falling apart.”  I had obviously touched a nerve and decided to go in a different direction with my questioning for fear of Robyn emotionally crumbling again.

“So, Robyn, can you tell me how you got started with your running?”  “Well, as a child growing up, we lived out in the country with no neighbors for several miles.  I was shy, lacked confidence, never had many friends, and was always considered a nerd by my classmates because I got straight A’s.”  “So, when did you start running?”  “Well, my parents have always been runners, and one day during my 5th-grade year, I asked if I could join them.  We only went a couple of miles but I enjoyed it and started running with them several days a week.”

Photo from Depositphotos

“Soon I began to run on my own and ultimately fell in love with the adrenaline rush as the distances mounted.  When I started junior high, my school had a running team that my parents encouraged me to join.  It was one of the best things I’ve ever done because it finally gave me a social outlet, some much-needed friends, and recognition that helped with my lack of confidence.  After my three wins in 7th grade, I went on to win a number of races in 8th grade and on into high school.  Ultimately, I wanted to be an elite marathoner and compete at the highest levels…before everything changed.”

“So what happened?  What do you mean, everything changed?”  Robyn paused for a  moment and I could see we were moving back into dangerous territory.  “While I grew taller from junior high to early high school, my body didn’t start filling out until the summer after my sophomore year.  I went from being tall, long, and lanky to quite full-figured.  I didn’t get fat…I just got curves…and lot’s of them.  Unfortunately, the more my body changed, the harder it became for me to run.” 

Photo from sugarsports.com

“How did this make you feel?”  “It was devastating” replied Robyn.  “All my hard work seemed like it was for nothing.  While I ran in my junior year, I didn’t win anything and it became increasingly difficult to run anything more than 3-4 miles.  It wasn’t that I lost my endurance.  It was just uncomfortable to run for extended distances with “these” (as she pointed to her breasts).  Then to make matters worse, I wasn’t used to being ogled over by boys in regular clothes…much less in my running outfit.  It was so humiliating to run with “these” (again pointing to her breasts).  I grew up idolizing athletes…not fashion models.”

“Robyn, I’m proud of you for sharing about your running.  I know that it brings up many raw emotions.  Now can I have your permission to ask a more personal question?”  Robyn paused before replying, “Well, I guess it depends.  Go ahead and ask your question, and I will do my best.”  “Fair enough.  Robyn, your parents are concerned about your eating habits.  Can you share with me why they might be worried?”

Robyn’s response was immediate silence followed by more tears.  I couldn’t turn back now because her eating had to be addressed.  I just hoped she would maintain her composure and be willing to share.  After taking a moment to gather herself again, Robyn replied, “My parents have always been healthy eaters and I simply followed their example.  When I started running and eventually competing, I became more intentional with my nutrition but it was never an issue.”

“So when did things change?”  Robyn took a deep breath before replying, “When my body started really filling out, I tried to fight the changes by restricting my food intake.  At first, it wasn’t a big deal, but as my body continued to grow and change, I became increasingly obsessive and compulsive in restricting my intake…and then it happened.”

Photo from Getty Images

“What happened?” I gently asked.  “I had my first binge” was her soft reply.  “I was getting so hungry and one day Mom brought home some cookies and ice cream for an upcoming party at her office.  I was just going to have a little ice cream and a couple of cookies and the next thing I knew, I had knocked out a dozen or so cookies and about half of the gallon of ice cream.  I just couldn’t stop.”

“And then what happened?”  Robyn took in another deep breath and then replied, “I was so ashamed and embarrassed and vowed to never do anything like that again.  I felt sick for a couple of days and then the discomfort finally wore off.  Then it was back to restricting again and after a couple of weeks, it happened again.  This time I purposefully bought some cookies and ice cream on my way home from school and ate them in the car…to hide it from my parents.”

“After that, the cycle continued where I would restrict for a week or so only to fall again.  The harder I tried to restrict my eating, the more I lost control.  It was easy enough to hide physically as I would often eat in my car but I knew my parents and my Mom especially was picking up on the change in my mood.  The more I binged, the more out of control I felt, and the more ashamed I became.  Any time I binged, I would withdraw socially and just want to hide in my room.  I didn’t and don’t know how to stop and that’s why my parents reached out to you.” 

“Robyn, can I tell you a little story?”  She slowly nodded her head as she wiped the fresh tears from her eyes.  “Robyn, there was a young boy who grew up “pudgy” and like you, he had few friends and was very selfconscious about his weight.  In 8th grade, because he was such a strong swimmer, he had the great fortune to join his high school swim team.  In a very short period of time, the boy was pudgy no more.  Swimming five days a week at an average of 5,000 yards a day stripped the fat off his body.”

“Further, his swim coach had the team lift weights to get stronger and that changed the boy’s life.  He only swam competitively for one year, however, the “iron bug” firmly took hold.  He competed in his first bodybuilding show at 17 and placed third.  At that point, his potential seemed great and yet it would be years before his next and final show.”  “What happened to him?” Robyn asked.  “Well, despite how hard he trained, he simply didn’t have the genetics to put on the size required to compete at any level beyond his one and only teenage show.”

That’s “me” on the right

“Unfortunately, in his quest to achieve physical excellence, his obsession caused him to lose control of his eating.  For reasons similar to yours, he too fell prey to cycles of binging and purging through extra training and restricting his food.  While he did compete again one time many years after his first show, the damage he suffered from failed relationships as a result of his eating was devastating.”

My last show…

“So what happened to him?”  “Well, I would like to say he learned his lesson and changed his ways sooner however it took “me” suffering left knee surgery, a torn left bicep, right shoulder surgery, and a failed marriage to wake me up from my delusions.”  Robyn paused and then asked, “So the boy is you?”  “Yes, he is and that’s why I’m sharing this story.  Robyn, I see so much of me in you and it’s my hope that we can work together and cut your further suffering off as soon as possible.”

“What do you suggest?”  “Robyn, as much as it hurts, God simply did not give you the genetics to be a distance runner at the highest levels.  That doesn’t mean you can’t go on enjoying running recreationally for the joy and health benefits.  You shared how much you struggled last year and you’re facing your senior year of high school.  There’s no reason why you have to continue punishing yourself.  You just need to find it in your heart to walk away from competitive running.”

Robyn sat silent and then finally asked, “Do you really think I can be happy just running for fun?”  “Robyn, you haven’t been happy running for sport in over a year.  What do you have to lose?  By the way, your Mom mentioned that you want to go to medical school.  Is that right?”  “Yes, I do however my grades really slipped last year falling to a B average as I struggled with my running.”

“Robyn, the way I see it, your future is still very bright.  You’ve been gifted with an intellect few have and you have your entire senior year to pull your grades back up to your normal standards.  Running can always be a part of your life.  You just need to make a little shift and then continue moving forward on the road to medical school.”  

Photo from iStockphoto.com

“So what about my binging?”  “Robyn, your binging is a simple result of you overly depriving yourself in an attempt to fight your God-given body.  It’s a common response for someone dealing with your circumstances so I want you to give yourself a break.  I can help you get back to eating for health and to properly fuel your body for daily life…minus the obsessive-compulsive nature you’ve been struggling with.  Further, your immune system will strengthen protecting you from getting sick so often.”  “Is it really that easy?”  “It can be if you’re willing to trust me.”

“So what’s our first step?” Robyn eagerly asked.  “Well, I definitely have some thoughts, but first let me ask, are you really emotionally prepared to let go of your running team?”
“Honestly, I struggled all of last year and really don’t know how I held on.  From what we’ve talked about, it makes all the sense in the world to walk away.  It won’t be easy, however, it’s the right thing to do…and I know my parents will be pleased.”

“Robyn, I’m so proud of you!  So, moving forward, when will you do your personal running?”  Robyn was quick to reply that she loves running in the early mornings before the world wakes up.  “Great.  Well, as I said, your binging is a result of being overly restrictive with your food.  What do you think about focusing for the next two weeks on having a healthy breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner?”

Photo from Another Mother Runner

“That sounds simple enough” replied Robyn.  “Exactly.  I will never ask you to do anything complicated.  I want you with high emotional buy-in to feel confident that you can accomplish any task, we agree for you to work on.  Now, you know what healthy eating is so at this point, I don’t want you concerning yourself with counting anything.  Simply have your three meals plus your afternoon snack and be mindful to eat healthy foods and we will meet again in two weeks.”

“Also, for the sake of daily accountability, would you be open to using a tool that I’ve shared with many of my clients?  It’s called the ATE app and you simply take a photo of each meal.  At the end of the day, I can go in as your “friend” and take a peek at your daily meals.  I promise that you knowing that I will be looking at your daily efforts will help you make better choices.  So, what do you think?”  “That sounds pretty cool!  I’m definitely willing to give it a shot.”

“Okay, then pull out your phone, and let’s have you download the app.  I will make sure you’re good to go and then we can schedule your next session.  Robyn, I’m proud of your efforts today.  I know our conversation wasn’t easy and I promise you can do this.”        

Closing thoughts for my readers:

Robyn is actually not one of my clients.  In fact, she’s completely made up and was the topic of a recent case study I submitted for my Precision Nutrition Level 2 certification.  And while not real, I see both women and men struggling daily with circumstances just like her.  After eight months of Pn2 course work and many case studies submitted, there was something about Robyn’s story that resonated with me to the point that I wanted to share. 

Best of luck in your journey.

 

Posted in Diet, eating disorders, Health & Fitness, life path, living your dream, Nutrition, success, Uncategorized, weight training | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Top 10 Lessons I’ve Learned From Darren Hardy – Part 2

This post is part two of a follow-up to the background story for how I met Darren Hardy. The following is the second half of the top lessons I’ve learned over the past eight years from the man who has become one of my most influential mentors.  

From Darren’s book, “The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster”:

6 – Habituating to Fear

One of my favorite stories is from Darren’s early days of playing baseball and learning to bat from his Dad.  His challenge was staying in the batter’s box due to a fear of being hit by the ball.  The further challenge was that Darren’s Dad was a hardcore,  man’s man football coach, who could have doubled for Gunnery Sergent Hartman from “Full Metal Jacket”.  So, for Darren to be afraid of being hit by the ball was completely unacceptable. 

The solution to conquering his fear was to remove the need for fear in the first place.  Darren’s Dad started their batting practice with Wiffle balls to help him learn to stay in the batter’s box.  Initially, Mr. Hardy threw right at Darren over and over teaching him not to flinch at the sight of the approaching ball.  Being hit by a Wiffle ball was essentially painless, and yet the repetition of the drill taught him to stay rock-solid versus jumping out of the way.

Gradually Mr. Hardy started throwing over the plate so Darren could actually swing at the ball.  Occasionally, he would still beam Darren just to remind him that being hit was okay.  Once he conquered Wiffle balls, they moved up to tennis balls repeating the same process.
Now being hit by the tennis balls did sting a little, however, with his strengthened resolve, they moved on to actual baseballs.

Now Mr. Hardy was not going to intentionally hit Darren with a baseball and yet the potential for being accidentally hit was still intimidating.  To sweeten the deal, the agreement was that if he was hit three times, he earned a trip to get pizza.  Now Darren LOVED pizza, and while the baseballs did hurt a bit, he quickly learned that a few moments of pain were well worth the payoff of a large pepperoni & sausage.  

Ultimately Darren’s weakness became a tremendous strength as he became quite accomplished at getting on base because he learned to conquer his fear.  And you can do the same with whatever fear is holding you back.  Simply break it down to the smallest possible step…and then take the step.  If appropriate, build in a reward system like Darren’s trip to the local pizza parlor.  One small step at a time with the right mindset will allow you to conquer any fear you may have.

Image from darrenhardy.com

7 – Failing Your Way to Success 

Michael Jordan ranks in the all-time top ten for the most shots missed and yet he is arguably considered the greatest player in NBA history.  Thomas J. Watson of IBM had a philosophy of embracing failure.  In fact, he believed that ultimate success was found on the far side of failure.  And Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com has burned 100’s of millions of dollars in the process of building the most successful company on the planet.  Amazon has built a culture of failure that drives their universe denting success.  

Darren learned this valuable lesson during his early days of selling real estate.  In a down market, where most of the veterans in his office waited for the phone to ring, Darren forced success by stacking up failures.  He would go door to door approaching homes listed as For Sale By Owner and then spent hours on the phone in the evenings calling on expired listings.  He went from being the rookie to the top agent in his office by pushing the pendulum so far to the side of failure, that it catapulted him to the extreme opposite side of success.  

It was a numbers game much like a lesson I learned from my first sales manager.  In a deck of cards, you have 52 cards with 12 face cards.  With the deck face down, drawing one card at a time, it is impossible to not eventually draw a face card.  You know they’re in there…you just have to trust the process and run the numbers until the numbers prove you right.  When applied to life, the challenge is to simply have the intestinal fortitude to go through the struggles needed to ultimately reach success.       

From Darren’s digital program, “Insane Productivity:

8 – Digital Addiction 

The single biggest threat to our productivity in today’s world is distractions.  Between our phones, tablets, computers, social media, and the seemingly endless number of apps, our attention is constantly being pulled into a multitude of different directions.  And the problem is that for the most part, we’ve done it to ourselves…and we love it. 

I say we love it because according to Healthline.com, “For many people, social interaction stimulates the release of dopamine. Because so many people use their phones as tools of social interaction, they become accustomed to constantly checking them for that hit of dopamine that’s released when they connect with others on social media or some other app.”  So, digital addiction is a real thing and it can be extremely hard to break.

Image from Kern Valley Sun

The challenge with phones has become so pervasive that to see someone in public, alone, without their face in their phone is almost an anomaly.  In the gym environment where I earn my living, it is rare to see someone training without their phone.  The challenge is that more and more, people tie up equipment between sets with their faces buried in their phones…texting, emailing, surfing, or whatever.  The bottom line is that it’s becoming a nuisance.    

And for all the warnings about not using your phone while driving, you still see people every day with one hand on the wheel and their phone in the other.  It’s time to stop the insanity.  Thankfully Darren made me aware of my personal challenge and with awareness, there comes the possibility of change.

Image from Safewise

My particular struggle is not so much with social media or staying connected with the news.  My kryptonite is email & text messages and they’re the monsters I’m still working to tame.  The problem is that they’re the primary tools that I use to communicate with my clients.  And being a people person who loves to serve, I feel compelled to constantly check my phone for the sake of running my business.  The solution was simple enough and now I only check for messages at specific times of the day.  This keeps me in control and has reduced my stress level substantially.

My favorite strategy from Darren, especially concerning not using your phone while driving, is to leave it out of reach in the backseat…or if needed in your trunk.  Now, if the very thought of not having your phone “handy” in the car gives you the shakes, you may have a problem.  And it’s not just confined to your car.

Nomophobia—an abbreviation of “no-mobilephone-phobia”—is also called “cell phone addiction.” Symptoms include: Experiencing anxiety or panic over losing your phone. Obsessively checking for missed calls, emails, and texts.

Sound familiar?  In Darren’s “Insane Productivity” course, he provides a “Digital Addiction Assessment” to determine your true level of digital struggle.  Once you take the test, your roadmap for change will be clearly spelled out and with one step at a time, you can take back your life.

9 – No Multi-tasking Required 

So how many of you know someone who prides themself on being good at multitasking?
You do understand that there’s no such thing as multitasking.  Right?  It’s impossible to run two cognitive processes in your brain at the same time.  What you’re doing is actually switching and switching makes you dumber than if you were smoking dope.  When you’re smoking dope, your IQ drops by about five points.  When you’re switching between two different and yet like cognitive tasks, it drops by about ten.

One thing at a time is best.

Look, you can walk on a treadmill, chew gum, and watch a video on your phone, all at the same time and do great because you’re using different parts of your brain.  But when you’re driving with your phone, you’re either driving or you’re looking at your phone.  You can’t do both at the same time which is why driving while using your phone is so incredibly dangerous.  Add a cup of coffee to the mix and you’re a wreck waiting to happen.

Don’t believe me?  Try this.  Count from 1-10 as fast as you can.  Now name the letters of the alphabet from A-J as fast as you can.  No sweat, right?  Now try 1A, 2B, 3C…all the way to 10J and see how you do.  I bet you slowed down quite a bit.  And why?  Because you’re running two like cognitive tasks in switching back and forth between the numbers and letters which comes close to locking up your brain.

This one was hard for me to accept however I promise you will get far more done doing one thing at a time.  And remember, it’s not a matter of getting it all done anyway.  You will never get it all done.  Your inbox will never be empty and your to-do list will never end.  The key to high productivity is to get the right things done.  Focus on priority management, not time management.  You will never control time, but you can maximize it by focusing on your highest producing activities.

10 – Design Your Life…Then Your Business

Many people get this backward.  They choose a job without careful consideration for the life that career path will give them.  How do you define success?  How do you want to live your life when you’re not working?  Do you want a long commute or a short one?  Or none?  Do you want to travel?  Do you want to have your nights and weekends free?
These questions could go on and on and they should.  

Some people spend more time planning their vacations than they do planning for their life.  The key is to design the life you want to live in the most vivid detail and then select the career path that supports your dreams.  Or if you have an entrepreneurial spirit, build a business to support the life of your dreams.  This concept is not complicated and yet again, many people get it backward.  These are some of the same people who live for the weekend, and life is too short to live for only two days out of seven.      

Closing thoughts for my readers:

Outside of his Dad, Jim Rohn was Darren’s most significant mentor.  Personally, I discovered Mr. Rohn back in the ’90s and I’ve studied his teachings over the years as well.  Jim was simply brilliant and considered America’s Foremost Business Philosopher.  He touched the hearts of people literally around the world and he certainly touched mine. 

Image from nextlevelgents.com

To wrap up, I want to share the two dominant principles that are burned in my mind compliments of Jim:

1 – Leave the world better than you find it.
2 – If a book or song or movie or any experience touches your heart and life, you have a responsibility to share it with others.

It is in the spirit of Jim that I’ve shared Darren’s impact on my life.  

Best of luck in your journey.

For more information on the resources Darren offers, go to darrenhardy.com.

 

Posted in Darren Hardy, Entrepreneur, increased focus, Jim Rohn, personal development, seeking wisdom, social media, success, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Top 10 Lessons I’ve Learned From Darren Hardy – Part 1

This post is part one of a follow-up to the background story for how I met Darren Hardy.  The following is the first half of the top lessons I’ve learned over the past eight years from the man who has become one of my most influential mentors.  

From Darren’s book, “The Compound Effect”:

1 – Long-term Perspective & Consistency:

The compound effect is a powerful force in your life for positive or negative and many people fail to realize it.  Do you know what happens when you double a penny every day for 31 days?  You start with $.01 on day one, and then $.02 on day two, and then $.04, $.08, $.16, $.32, $.64, $1.28, $2.56 and so on.

After nine days and a total of $2.56, there’s not much to be excited about.  And yet, when you jump ahead to day thirty, you have $5,368,709.12 and on day thirty-one, you have $10,737,418.24.  Now here’s the catch.  The math never changes from day one to day thirty-one.  It’s just simple duplication.  The power is in the consistency.  Miss any one day and you don’t get anywhere near the same total.

Image from LIBQUOTES.COM

This simple concept has taught me to have a long-term perspective while maintaining absolute consistency in the present moment.  Many are tripped up in two ways.  With negative habits, you don’t see the damage being done at the moment.  And yet, like in the penny example above, a negative habit compounded over time can destroy your health, relationships, career, and ultimately your life.  For this reason, you have to remain vigilant and aware of every area of your life.

Image by JAROFQUOTES.COM

Even when trying to build in new and positive habits, it can work the same way.  People don’t see the benefits in the short run because the positive effects are too small to be noticed.  Exercise, nutrition, and weight loss are great examples where people try again and again to change, only to give up too soon because of a lack of apparent results.  The key is to be patient in the short run and to trust the process until the power of the compound effect kicks in.  Then the positive results will be so compelling that there’s no way you will stop.

2 – Taking Responsibility

This is a big one, and while I have to give credit to Darren’s mentor, the great Jim Rohn, for first sharing this concept with me, it’s been Darren in recent years who has hammered this principal deep into my consciousness.  It’s really simple…accept 100% responsibility for every area of your life.  This means the good and the bad.  You are where you are in life because of the choices and decisions that you’ve made.  If you don’t like where you are, make different choices.

Image by Heather Parady

Now you might say, that it’s not your fault that you’re dealing with a certain negative situation.  And that may be true and yet you always have a choice in how you respond to any situation.  When you place blame on outside circumstances, you give away your power to create change for the positive in your life.  So regardless of what happens to you, choose to respond in a positive way.  Be solution-oriented rather than problem-oriented and your life will be all the better for it.

Image from INVESTIVATE.COM

3 – Associations

Your associations in life will make or break you so choose wisely.  It’s been said that you’re the combined average of the people you spend the most time with.  This principle is nothing new as you’ve heard it all your life…starting most likely with your mother.  The challenge is that it’s not easy.  

I encourage you to take a serious inventory of your life including faith, family & friends, finances, and fitness.  Now, look at the people you spend time with and consider how they’re doing in these areas.  Depending on what you find, you may have some hard choices to make.  Life is too short to allow negative people to drag you down.  And remember, there’s no such thing as treading water…you’re either growing for the positive or you’re slipping back for the negative.

Image from darrenhardy.com

And for an added emphasis, it’s not just people that you have to be careful with.  News in any format, social media, television, movies, and music all carry a message and it’s either positive or negative.  You seriously have to guard your heart and mind daily because, in our over-tech-stimulated world, you are being bombarded day and night.  To paraphrase Darren, you have to be hyper-vigilant in feeding your mind with the positive and in shielding your mind from the negative because trust me…the negative will beat a path to your door.

4 – Momentum

Momentum is an awesome force.  When properly harnessed, it can propel you to the pinnacle of success, regardless of your pursuit.  According to Darren, a train traveling 55 mph on a railroad track can crash through a 5-foot thick steel-reinforced concrete wall without stopping. That same train, starting from a stationary position, won’t be able to go through an inch-thick block in front of the driving wheel.

Image from YouTube

The trick then is to get momentum working for you so that like the train above, you become essentially unstoppable.  The biggest secret I’ve learned from Darren regarding momentum is that it takes time and patience to build.  A great example is Apple’s introduction of the iPod.  For the record, Apple was the eighth company to introduce an MP3 player…four years behind the original from South Korea’s SaeHan Information Systems. 

In 2000, Apple’s revenue growth was 30%.  In 2001, the year they launched the iPod, their revenue growth dropped to – 33%.  In 2002, it improved to only -2%.  In 2003, it improved to 18%, and in 2004, they hit 33%.  From there, Apple skyrocketed up to controlling over 70% of the MP3 player market.  And today, according to Mother Google, Apple as a brand is worth in excess of $100 billion dollars.

Image from Wikipedia.org

This story has always been such an encouragement to me.  Remember, the iPod entered the MP3 race four years behind the leaders with a technically inferior product, and yet due to Steve Job’s dogged persistence and brilliant marketing mind, Apple caught momentum and rode the wave all the way to market dominance.  

5 – Thanks Giving Journal

Of all the lessons I’ve learned from Darren over the years, my favorite is on the power of gratitude.  His favorite holiday is Thanksgiving where he puts more emphasis on showing his love and affection for the special people in his life versus any other time of the year.   

One year, in particular, Darren gave his wife Georgia a very special gift…a Thanks Giving journal.  For the entire previous year, Darren journaled daily one positive thought regarding his wife.  It could be anything from the way she styled her hair to the meal she prepared for dinner or the way she cared for their dogs.

Image from theittteam.com

This is a classic case of manifesting what you give focus and attention to, and Darren will say that one year of constantly looking for the good in his wife dramatically impacted their relationship for the positive.  The benefit he discovered was that by proactively focusing on the positive in Georgia, he found himself compelled to show up differently and ultimately to love her all the more.  Needless to say, she loved the journal expressing that it was the best gift he had ever given her.

Stay tuned for part 2…

 

 

 

Posted in Darren Hardy, Entrepreneur, Jim Rohn, personal development, seeking wisdom, social media, the power of associations, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

How I Met Darren Hardy

It’s often been said that thin threads of circumstance bring people into our lives and my introduction to Darren Hardy is a great example.  I was living in Broomfield, CO in the Spring of 2012, when a member at the gym where I was working gave me a CD called “Making the Shift.”  The author was Darren Hardy and the content he shared was on the mental shift needed to go from being an employee to being an entrepreneur. 

The info on the CD was excellent, however, the member was using it specifically to recruit for a business he was involved in.  While I had no interest in his business, I was so grateful for the connection to Darren because the lessons I’ve learned from him over the past eight years and counting have been life-changing.  Ultimately, my time in Colorado was short, and I moved back to Dallas in August of 2012.

The following is a brief timeline of the investments I’ve made in my education with resources from Darren…leading up to the once in a lifetime opportunity to meet him in person:

  • 2012 – Received the CD, “Making the Shift”

  • 2013 – Purchased Darren’s book, “The Compound Effect”

  • 2014 – Joined Darren’s DarrenDaily community
  • 2015 – Purchased Darren’s book, “The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster”

  • 2016 – Purchased the online program, Insane Productivity

In the Spring of 2016, I received an email from Tom Ziglar, son of the late great Zig Ziglar.  As a long-time follower of Zig, I was on their email list so this wasn’t a personal message.  It was, however, promoting an upcoming special event that at first glance was pretty intriguing.  Best selling author and speaker Brian Tracy was planning to hold a three-day “success” training weekend in May and it was practically going to be in my back yard.  I live in North Dallas and the event was to take place just minutes from my home.

I quickly scanned through the details especially looking for the price when I came across one particular point that really caught my attention.  Darren Hardy, who I had been following at that point for four years was named as one of the featured keynote speakers.  After searching frantically, I finally found the cost of the event.  The base package was $1,000 and there was also a VIP upgrade for an extra $497 which gave you access to the guest speakers during a private banquet-style lunch on Friday and Saturday.

Now in all fairness, I think a lot of Brian Tracy who is a brilliant man.  I purchased my first of several Brian Tracy books back in the ’90s, however, there’s no way I would have paid $1,497 to see him.  But to see Darren Hardy live, it was a done deal.  I immediately clicked on the link provided in the email to register and then the countdown began.

From that day on April 6 to the actual event May 13th-15th may have been one of the longest waits of my life…but well worth it.  The line up of speakers on Friday was solid and the opportunity to meet Brian Tracy during the VIP lunch was very special, however, my sights were still set on Saturday with Darren.

He was scheduled to speak mid-morning so I didn’t have to wait very long and yet the time seemed to drag on and on from speaker to speaker who for the most part I had never heard of.  And then finally, after a warm introduction from the host, and a short video featured on two massive screens, Darren emerged from behind the curtains and walked out on the stage.

Image from nextlevelgents.com

The whole experience was very surreal and he seemed way larger than life.  It was very much like a chance meeting with a celebrity that maybe you’ve seen hundreds of times on TV or in the movies.  Between listening to Darren on audio and watching his videos on YouTube, I had heard his voice hundreds of times.  So when he finally spoke, it was like listening to a friend because of the overwhelming familiarity.

Image from famouspeopletoday.com

His topic was on productivity and the content was amazing.  Darren was as polished as I would have expected and clearly the standout speaker by far…for the entire weekend.  I took pages of notes and as he started wrapping up, my mind began racing with the anticipation of hopefully getting to meet him at the upcoming VIP lunch.  With his talk complete, he made a unique offer good for the weekend to enroll in his world-class online productivity training program called Insane Productivity.

Darren’s first car.

I had really not thought about investing further beyond the price to attend the event, however, Darren made a special and rather appealing offer for the event attendees.  With very little hesitation, I jumped on the opportunity to further my education from the man who had become a mentor through his training resources.

My first car. What are the odds?

There were a couple of other speakers who followed Darren and then it was off to the VIP lunch.  When I walked into the room, there were already quite a few people in a long line waiting to have their picture with Darren.  While I was hungry, food was not my priority and after leaving my journal at one of the place settings, I jumped in line.  After what seemed like forever, it was finally my turn.  

As I walked up with hand extended to introduce myself, Darren graciously shook my hand and we took our places for the photo.  It was short and sweet due to the large number of people but still pretty freakin’ cool too me.  I thanked Darren for being there and then made my way over to the buffet line.  

I was hoping that we might have the opportunity to do some Q&A with Darren before the afternoon session, and fortunately, that turned out to be the case.  Once he wrapped up the photos,  he positioned himself centrally in the room giving us the opportunity to ask questions.  I was one of the few lucky ones who was called on and it only added to an already amazing experience.  Given the volume of people, it really wasn’t practical to spend any one on one time with Darren although I still thought my VIP upgrade was well worth it and will treasure the memory forever.

To wrap up the event, I want to share a humorous experience that happened after lunch.  Darren sat in the crowd along with the rest of the attendees for the afternoon session.  He was only twenty or so feet away from me in clear view which made what happened next all the more humorous.

If you’ve gone through Insane Productivity, you know very definitely that Darren is not into high-fiving, messaging your neighbor, childhood regressions, or walking on burning coals.  He’s way more all-business, so just give him the goods so he can go back and start kicking butt with the lessons learned.  Well, much to his I’m guessing displeasure, the first big speaker after lunch was Darren’s polar opposite.

He had the audience on their feet, clapping their hands, doing backflips and hoorahs, and shouting phrases of affirmation.  It was quite the scene and I could tell Darren was not enjoying it.  I can only imagine what he was thinking.  Darren is one of the most accomplished speakers you will ever see but is actually quite introverted so this was not his kind of scene.  For what it’s worth, I’m with him and prefer a more professional environment. 

Closing thoughts for my readers:

This post is actually the first of two as I will soon be publishing the top lessons I’ve learned from Darren.  To wrap up, I want to leave you with the following which is the embodiment of everything Darren and his A-Team stand for.  For more information on the resources and programs they offer, go to darrenhardy.com.

YOU WEREN’T BORN TO BE GOOD
YOU ARE HERE TO BE GREAT

You Were Called Here For A Reason
To fulfill a special purpose.  A mission.

To contribute something unique.
Something that wouldn’t have existed without you.
It’s your Hero’s Journey.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Brian Tracy, Darren Hardy, personal development, success, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

My Secrets for Working Out at Home

On March 16, 2020, my company along with many others across our nation closed its doors.  When our boss gave the word, my mind immediately began racing with all the mostly negative ramifications.  Beyond the obvious health and financial implications for our country, I wondered how in the world I would be able to train at home. 

Since I’ve always trained at a gym, I had very little exercise equipment at home.  I had my trap bar and two 25 lbs kettlebells and that was about it.  That evening, I ordered a resistance band set from Amazon which thankfully arrived a couple of days later.  The next day I purchased a stability ball and ab wheel from Walmart, and a small number of free weights for my trap bar along with some extra resistance bands from Busy Body Fitness.

I would have purchased more weight however they were out.  As crazy as the rush on toilet tissue has been, the rush on fitness equipment has been almost equally crazy.  Even as of this morning, it’s still difficult to find fitness equipment locally or online.  My one other purchase was a trip to Home Depot for a metal pipe, chain, and a couple of spring links to build my homemade chin-up bar.

10′ chain – $10, 3′ galvanized pipe – $20, 2 spring links – $7, being able to do chins at home – priceless!

Now I will admit that while training at home is not the same as going to the gym, it’s still doable and it certainly beats the alternative of not doing anything.  I had never used resistance bands before as one of my primary tools and I’m still figuring out little tricks almost daily in better utilizing them.  Actually, in some ways, I like them more than some of the equipment I was using before, and will definitely be integrating them into my training in the future once I’m back in my gym.

With that short background, I want to shift to my biggest reason for this post.  As I’ve reached out to a number of my clients over the past few weeks, the most common feedback I’ve received is that they’re not motivated to workout at home.  This is even coming from a few clients who actually have some decent home equipment…certainly more than my little hodgepodge.

So here’s the same tuff love that I’ve given to my clients regarding their lack of motivation.  Motivation is a trap…based on your emotions.  If you live your life based only on how you feel, good luck.  You will live your life on a freakin’ roller coaster as your emotions go up, down, and all around.  Live your life based on your commitments to yourself, your family, your friends, your coworkers, and your fellow man…do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. 

Question?  Do you always feel like going to work?  The answer is “no” for most.  So why do you go?  Because of your commitments to take care of yourself and your family.  Obviously, there’s more, but this really cuts to the core reasons for why you go.  Feeling like it generally has little to do with it.  

So, when it comes to your exercise, it doesn’t matter if you’re motivated or not.  Do it because it’s the right thing to do…for you.  Further, do it because you’re no good to your family or anyone else if you physically break down.  And this will be the end result of not taking care of your self.  World renown physician, Dr. Ken Cooper teaches that you can proactively invest time to build and fortify your health…or you will reactively be forced to take time to put yourself back together once your body breaks down.  

As a morning person, I’ve trained in the early mornings for most of my life.  Since I’ve been training at home the past few weeks, my schedule has not changed at all.  I get up at the same time and do my morning bible study along with coffee and a small protein shake before getting dressed to train.  The only difference is that instead of driving to the gym, I’m simply training in my apartment.

So, depending on your circumstances, figure out first of all when you’re going to train and then schedule the time.  Then when you actually do your workout, go through the same warm-up process as much as possible as when you were going to the gym.  It will be different on the one hand because you’re at home, however, I promise that your body will start to kick in once you take action.  If you usually wear head-phones, wear your head-phones…if appropriate.  The more you can simulate the feel of the gym, the better.  

Once you get your first workout in, I promise the second will be easier and so on.  To add a little gamification to the process, add your training to your calendar.  The calendar in your phone or computer will do however an old fashioned wall calendar is the best…because of the visual element.  Commit to your next week of training and then focus strictly on the first workout.  Once it’s done, mark it off your calendar and then focus on the next.  There is power in seeing your progress as evidenced by the check marks on your calendar.  One workout at a time, one week at a time, and you can do this.

Closing thoughts for my readers:

In my previous life as a manufacturer rep, I used to travel quite a bit and trained in a lot of different gyms.  I learned what I shared regarding your training at home from my time training on the road.  At first, it was difficult because of the different environments, the variations in equipment, and the fact that I was coming from my hotel instead of the comforts of my home.

Once I learned, however, to follow the same routine as my home town gym in terms of my warm-up, the differences seemed to fade away.  Further, after a few trips, I got used to the variation to the point that it wasn’t a big deal.  In fact, I had some great workouts over that three and half year period and value now all the more the lessons I learned.

As I’ve said to my clients many times, I will never ask them to do anything I’m not willing to do myself.  So, in that same spirit, the following are screen-shots from my Fitbit starting back on March the 17th right up to this morning.  My rotation is four days of weights followed by an off/cardio day.  As of this morning, I haven’t missed and you can do the same with whatever your personal schedule is.  Set your goal for how many days you’re going to train this next week and get it done.  Just turn your brain off and do the work.  You will be so glad you did.

Best of luck in your journey.

 

 

 

Posted in attitude, better mood, Christian, Faith, Follower of Christ, goal setting, Health & Fitness, home training, learning from mistakes, Nutrition, personal development, success, Uncategorized, weight training, wise choices | 2 Comments

Simple Wisdom for Life

Recently when going into the notes app on my iPhone, I made an unexpected discovery.  Please understand that I’m not in the habit of using this feature and will typically shoot myself an email or text when I need any sort of reminder.  But for some reason, I opened the app and was surprised to find an entry from October of 2016.

First of all, I don’t remember ever adding the notes, to begin with.  More interesting is the fact that I just purchased my current phone last Summer of 2019.  In October of 2016, I was using an iPhone, however, it was issued to me by my employer at the time and I’m no longer with that company.  So how did a note I made on another phone show up in my current?

Yes, I am a morning person.

Being the curious sort, I reached out to my local Verizon store and they had no idea.  Who knows, it must have been stuck in the cloud.  Anyway, the crazy thing is that I still don’t remember making the notes.  Further, in writing this post, it’s clear that these insights came to me over the broad course of my life starting in early childhood right up to recent years.  Ultimately, I am grateful and now compelled to share what I found, and hope this in at least some small way adds value to your life.

  1. Having a Spirit of Gratitude – From Andy Andrews

    Andy Andrews has been a mentor to me for over twenty years through his books and other resources.  I’ve seen him speak on several occasions and he’s truly one of the most brilliant men I’ve ever known.  One of my favorite quotes from his book, The Traveler’s Gift, is “It’s impossible for the seeds of depression to take root in a thankful heart.”  

    This is a powerful statement.  Whatever you give focus and energy to in life will be manifested.  If you choose to place your focus on your doubts, fears, or any other negative situation, you will only make these things worse.  But if you will have a spirit of gratitude and focus your thoughts and energy on the positive, you will inevitably live a happier, more hopeful, and fulfilled life.

    And it’s a choice you make every day.  You can choose to be happy with what you have or you can whine and complain about what you don’t have.  You all know which is the better way to go.  Be a glass half full person…not half empty.   
    The last thing I do before turning out the lights at night is to list the handful of things I’m most grateful for that occurred over the course of the day.  It is a fact that we don’t think our way into action…we act our way into feeling.  And I promise, if you will take a moment to list just a few things that you’re grateful for, you will go to bed with more peace in your mind, heart, and spirit.

  2. Accept 100% Responsibility for Your LifeFrom Andy Andrews 

    This is a big one and while I have to give credit to the late great Jim Rohn for first sharing this concept with me, it was Andy whose teachings had the greatest impact.  It’s really simple…accept 100% responsibility for every area of your life.  This means the good and the bad.  You are where you are in life for the most part because of the choices and decisions that you’ve made.  If you don’t like where you are, make different choices.

    Now you might say, that it’s not your fault that you’re dealing with a certain negative situation.  And that may be true and yet you always have a choice as to how you respond to any situation.  When you place blame on some outside circumstances, you give away your power to affect change for the positive in your life.  So regardless of what happens to you, choose to respond in a positive way.  Be solution-oriented rather than problem-oriented and you will be all the better for it.

  3. Saying “Yes Ma’am and No Ma’am” – From Mom and Dad

    Call it old fashioned, call it Southern, call it whatever you like.  This is how I was raised from my earliest memories.  Obviously Yes Sir and No Sir were equally expected.  It is a sign of respect and giving honor to adults and it was drummed into my consciousness to the point that it will be forever an automatic response.  Whether you agree or disagree, you can never go wrong in showing respect and honor to your elders.

  4. Saying “Thank You” and not just “Thanks” – From Jeffrey Gitomer

    This may seem trivial and yet semantics are powerful.  One of my favorite verses from the bible is:

    Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”  Proverbs 18:21

    You literally speak your world into existence and taking the time and courtesy to say a complete thank you rather than just thanks will be appreciated.  It may be a small detail, but I promise the little things do matter and really add up. 

  5. Sending Thank You Cards – From Mom and Dad

    In our current age of ever-advancing technology and instant communication, sending a handwritten thank you card is a timeless and lost art.  There’s nothing wrong with sending a thank you text or email, however, if you really want to separate yourself from the masses, send a handwritten card or letter.

    My parents taught me as a little boy that whenever I received a gift of any kind or was the recipient of some kind gesture, a thank you note was an automatic.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  In fact, if you really think about it, it only takes a moment to craft a few well thought out and meaningful lines expressing your feelings of gratitude, and yet its impacts can be both powerful and priceless. 

  6. Doing Right v Doing Wrong – From Dr. Jack Graham 

    Dr. Graham has been my pastor now for almost 20 years and he’s fond of saying “It’s always right to do right and it’s never right to do wrong.”  In good faith, Mom and Dad did a great job of teaching me right versus wrong as a child however in my adult years, Dr. Graham has been my moral compass.  He is a bible scholar who teaches God’s word and he pulls no punches.

    One habit that I’ve developed thanks to Dr. Graham is a daily bible study including a chapter from the book of Proverbs.  For many years now, I’ve read a chapter a day which means I read the entire book once a month.  I can’t tell you the difference this has made in my life.  Proverbs is the book of wisdom and in particular, it teaches how important it is, to be honest, and ethical in every respect.  It is a high standard and yet it’s my goal to strive to be above reproach in every area of life. 

  7. Always Tell the Truth – From Mom and Dad

    Trust is the foundation for any relationship and honesty is an absolute building block for creating trust.  If there’s no trust, then there’s not much of a relationship.  It’s interesting how the lessons we learn as children stick with us all our lives and telling the truth is certainly one of the most critical.

    From the early influence of my parents to my daily study of God’s word, I do my best with this one and it’s always on my mind.  Telling the truth is not always easy but it’s definitely always right.  One lesson that I’ve learned the hard way is that telling a lie at the moment only seems to compound over time so that if you’re ever caught, the consequences seem inevitably worse than if you would have told the truth in the first place.

  8. Be Careful in Choosing Your Friends – From Mom

    This is a saying we all remember as kids however some adults seem to forget the wisdom of Mom in choosing their friends.  Your associations in life will make or break you so choose wisely.  The late great Jim Rohn and John Wooden, both brilliant men, used to teach at great lengths about the importance of choosing your friends and associates.  

    If you’re up to the challenge, make of list of the top ten people you spend the most time with and remember that there’s no such thing as neutral or treading water in life.  You’re either growing and moving forward in a positive direction or you’re regressing.  Now carefully look over and consider whether the people you’ve listed are lifting you up or dragging you down.  

    Depending on what you find, you may have some hard choices to make.  If it’s a negative work associate, do what you need to do to be loyal to your employer and fulfill your job.  Outside of that, be very careful with how you spend your time.  If it’s a family member that’s creating negative in your life, you may have to love them from a distance for the sake of your personal well being.  Family situations can be tricky so proceed cautiously.

    In any case, whether it be a friend, work associate, or family member, you really do need to guard your heart and mind by setting the appropriate boundaries.  Life is too short to allow negative relationships to drag you down.

  9. Play Nice With Your Friends – From Mom

    Getting along with people is a priceless asset and there’s definitely some skill involved.  Dr. Gary Chapman in his book, The Five Love Languages, teaches that we’re all uniquely wired to feel appreciation and love through gift-giving, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and touch.

    While the book is written for couples, the principles apply to all relationships in this way.  If you don’t understand how another person is wired to feel appreciation, then you might as well be speaking a different language.  That’s how far off our efforts can be to show appreciation if we’re speaking in a way that fails to connect with the other person.  People tend to show appreciation in the way they want to receive it and unfortunately, this can fall on deaf ears.

    If you want to be a better communicator and raise the quality of all the relationships in your life, study Chapman’s work.  Learn how you’re wired and how to identify how other people are wired so you can target your communication in the most effective way for your mutual benefit.

  10. If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, Don’t Say Anything at All –
    From Roxanne Parks


    You’ve all probably heard at least a version of this from your Mom as I certainly did.  However, it was Roxanne Parks, a business associate, and friend from many years ago who did a talk that I will never forget.  It was based on Philippians 4:8 which is another one of my favorite bible verses:

    “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

    One point that really hit home for me was the importance of focusing on the positive.  Roxanne said to be very careful when making a negative statement…even if it’s true.  In the spirit of Phil 4:8, if it’s not a positive statement in general or lifts someone up, why make the statement?  She said you never know how your words may affect someone else in an adverse way.

    Now it’s not a big deal, however, I still remember a co-worker in a team meeting of about 20 people speak very negatively about the game of golf in general and especially regarding watching it on TV.  Now I love golf and I’ve spent my fair share of time watching it on TV…especially the majors.  And again, this is trivial at best and yet here we are, roughly 15 years later, and I still remember her comments like it was yesterday.  Imagine the damage that could potentially be done if it was something actually significant and important.


    The second point Roxanne made that really stuck with me is that you can’t have a quality relationship with someone when you speak negatively about them behind their back.  It will poison your attitude toward them and there’s no way you will be able to hide your body language when you’re in their presence.  Plus you always run the risk of your words getting back to them.  Can you say fraught with danger?

  11. Have a Spirit of Forgiveness – From Dr. Graham

    Having a spirit of forgiveness is one of the hardest character traits to obtain and yet one of the most beneficial.  Dr. Graham will often say that a root of bitterness is an acid that will eat its container…or your soul.  That’s why when forgiving someone of some grievance, the person often most likely to benefit is…you.


    From personal experience, I will say that the sooner you take action in asking for forgiveness, the better.  The longer you wait, the more the Law of Diminishing Intent is going to work against you.  Basically the longer you wait, the harder it will be to do what you know you need to do.  You will be way better off to hold your breath, rip off the band-aid, and get it done.  

Closing thoughts for my readers:

We are living in strange times, to say the least.  I’m writing this at the start of my third week off due to the virus.  When one of my best clients shared with me just a few short weeks ago that it had been declared a pandemic, I would have never imagined how much could change and how fast.

The best advice I can give is to trust that we’re going to get through this.  Our government has the brightest minds in our country focused on figuring out how to best deal with the situation.  One of my favorite quotes from Napoleon Hill is: 

It’s the reason why my first point above is on gratitude which is directly tied to your attitude.  This situation is beyond anything we’ve ever experienced, and yet there’s still a silver lining if you’re willing to look for it.  For those who are with your family, value and cherish the extra time you’re getting to spend together.  If you’re single with extra time, take advantage of the opportunity to reconnect with old friends.

The worst thing you can do is overdose on all the negative.  Stay up with the news as needed but don’t binge watch it all day.  That will only bring you down further and make an already horrific situation all the worse.  Focus on the positive and expect only the best outcome from this and we as a nation and world will survive and ultimately thrive again.

Best of luck in your journey.

 

Posted in attitude, Christian, communication, Faith, Follower of Christ, forgiveness, guarding your heart, jeffrey gitomer, Jim Rohn, love, Napoleon Hill, personal development, personality styles, seeking wisdom, success, the power of associations, trials & tribulations, Uncategorized, wise choices | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

I Know What I Should Be Doing…But?

How often have you heard someone say, “I know what I should be doing, but I’m just not doing it”?  As a nutrition coach, I hear this all the time as if it’s as simple as flipping on a light switch.  In reality, the gap between what you’re doing and what you think you should be doing can be bigger than you might expect.  It can be far more difficult than just making up your mind that all of sudden, after years of neglect, you’re going to start exercising and really clean up your nutrition.

Simple? Maybe not.

The fundamental habits needed for sustaining a healthy weight for the long-term are:

  1. Learning to match energy intake (food) with expenditure (exercise)

    Balancing your daily energy intake versus output can be challenging to say the least.  As long as you’re attempting this based on external cues like counting calories or balancing macros or measuring how many steps you’re getting a day, you will struggle.  The key to balance is to learn to trust internal cues…not the feedback from an external method or device.

  2. Learning to eat when you’re hungry and to stop when you’re full

    This may be the most significant of the four points because it eliminates emotional eating and eating to excess.  If you solve these two issues, you will never struggle with managing your weight.  And like the first point, this can only be accomplished by relying on internal cues.

  3. Get regular exercise balancing cardio with strength training

    Less than 25% of our population gets in the weekly recommended amount of exercise including strength training and cardio.  While there are many recommendations, 5 hours total per week is a great standard to strive for.  For example, 3 days of strength training combined with cardio on most of the other days would be awesome.  The cardio could be more formal like using a treadmill or elliptical however it could be as simple as taking a walk.

  4. Get enough rest to fully recover

    Approximately 40% of our population gets less than the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

Please don’t discount the latter as being simple or easy to do.  Each of the four requires a number of life skills that without, you will find it virtually impossible to execute these seemingly simple steps.  You see, most people possess certain limiting factors that make up the gap between their current reality and where they would ultimately like to be.

The following are a sampling from the coaching clients I’ve worked with over the years:

  • Not eating enough protein
  • Not eating enough fruits and veggies
  • Eating too many overly processed carbs
  • Eating too many unhealthy fats
  • Not drinking enough water

Look familiar?

Does this sound like anyone you know?  And this is just getting started with basic nutritional needs.  It doesn’t include the following other significant skills and behaviors:

  • Eating slowly
  • Eating to only 80% full (satisfied versus stuffed)
  • Planning and preparing your meals
  • Managing stress
  • Getting at least 7 hours of “restful” sleep per night

Are you getting enough?

The first five are obviously negative traits that need to be reversed.  The second five are some of the positive skills & behaviors that need to be learned and practiced with a high degree of efficiency in order to achieve the four skills mentioned above.  That’s ten areas of focus that will all take time to achieve a level of proficiency.

When I talk with a potential client during their initial consultation, they’re typically looking for a meal plan including how many calories to consume combined with a certain ratio of macronutrients to strive for daily.  In their mind, that’s nutrition coaching.  In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.  Handing out meal plans is not nutrition coaching.

A flawed strategy.

How many physical books are available on the subject of nutrition and exercise?  How about on the web in a digital format?  And what about hard copy magazines or articles online?  Between these combined sources, there’s more info than you could ever possibly consume in a lifetime and yet as a nation, we’re more overweight than ever and moving in the wrong direction.

Information overload.

The problem is not a lack of information, it’s a lack of ability to put the information to use.  That’s where nutrition coaching comes into play.  My job is to fill the gap between where clients are and where they want to be.  And most want it all upfront.  Unfortunately, tackling a list like the ten items above all at the same time would be a recipe for failure.

So how many of you know someone who prides themself on being good at multitasking?
I learned this valuable insight from my mentor, Darren Hardy.  You do understand that there’s no such thing as multitasking.  Right?  It’s impossible to run two cognitive processes in your brain at the same time.  What you’re doing is actually switching and switching makes you dumber than if you were smoking dope.  When you’re smoking dope, your IQ drops by about five points.  When you’re switching between two different and yet like cognitive tasks, it drops by about ten.

One thing at a time is best.

Look, you can walk on a treadmill, chew gum, and watch a video on your phone, all at the same time and do great because you’re using different parts of your brain.  But when you’re driving with your phone, you’re either driving or you’re looking at your phone.  You can’t do both at the same time which is why driving while using your phone is so incredibly dangerous.  Add a cup of coffee to the mix and you’re a wreck waiting to happen.

A lethal weapon!

So, when it comes to making changes with your nutrition, one thing at a time works the best.  You’ve probably heard that it takes at least twenty-one days to make something a habit.  That’s debatable depending on what you’re talking about.  However, when it comes to nutritional habits, two weeks seems to be a really good time frame.

Depending on the person, you might be more wired towards going after the big rocks first, or you might prefer to start with the low-hanging fruit.  Either way, just focus on one area for improvement for a couple of weeks and then move on to something different.  Don’t forget about the first area of focus however shift your attention primarily to layering in the new habit.

The list of ten above would take about five months to work through and for some that might seem slow, but if the skills gained would last forever, would it be worth it?  If the second list of five, in particular, protects you from ever relapsing back into your old ways, would it be worth it?  In the big scheme of things, five months is nothing and this is just a simple example.

My average nutrition coaching client needs to lose 25 lbs or more.  At 6 lbs per month, which is very doable and sustainable, we’re still looking at four months.  So, for sake of perspective, my example above of spending five months to achieve your goals is really not that long.

Be careful about dismissing an opportunity for growth and change because of the time commitment.  The time is going to pass regardless and no matter how much you need to lose, if what you’ve been trying is not yielding the results you’re seeking, maybe it’s time to consider a different solution.

Closing thoughts for my readers:

If you’re someone who feels like you know what you should be doing, but you’re struggling to take consistent action and or achieve the success with your health that you’re seeking, then consider getting some help.  The most successful people from all walks of life have coaches for every area you can imagine…including nutrition.

Quote by Jim Robbins

Beating yourself up for struggling to reach your health and fitness goals is like scolding a 1st grader for not being able to do college-level algebra.  They simply don’t have the skill set to do what you’re asking which is exactly like the limiting factors I’m referring to with regard to your health.

I listed only ten limiting factors at the beginning of this post.  When working with clients, I look at eight different categories totaling thirty-three limiting factors.  And any combination of these could absolutely derail you from reaching your goals.

Remember, at some point in life, we all need a little help.

Best of luck in your journey.

Posted in cardio training, Diet, fat loss, Health & Fitness, Nutrition, nutrition for better sleep, personal development, seeking wisdom, strength gain, success, Uncategorized, weight training | Tagged | Leave a comment

If Your Why is Big Enough…

As a master trainer and nutrition coach, I talk to a lot of people about their weight loss goals.  One statement I always make is that I want this to be the last time they ever start a weight loss program.  My purpose is to instill belief in them that they can be successful and also lay the groundwork upfront that we want to avoid relapse.

Surely you’ve heard of someone who lost a good bit of weight only to gain it all back a short time later.  The problem?  It could be many things however I would say that one of the biggest reasons is that “diets” don’t work.  Counting calories or balancing macros or going Keto or Paleo or whatever may result in some short-term success, however, these strategies can fail in the long run.

So, how do you achieve success in reaching your ideal body weight and then maintain it for life?  There are a number of core skills and behaviors to adopt and master but first, let me say that my purpose in this post is not to focus on the nutrition and exercise part of weight loss.  The following deals with the emotional side because after all, how we think controls everything.

First, we need to consider the three levels of motivation which I learned from my mentor, Nutritionist Keith Klein:

Fear-Based:

Have you ever received a bad report from your doctor saying you need to lose weight?  How about a friend or family member commenting that it looks like you’ve put on weight since the last time you’ve seen each other.  As a nutrition coach, I hear on a regular basis people complain that their clothes don’t fit and use this as a reason to lose weight.

While not positive, these can be great if they will get you into action.  The only problem is that without action, this type of negative motivation can wear off.  It’s called the Law Of Diminishing Intent – the longer you put something off, the less likely you are to do it.  So, if you receive any form of this fear-based motivation, my best suggestion is to get into action quickly, before it goes away.

Results-Based:

So, you get the bad doctor report telling you to lose 20 lbs and you take action.  You change your nutrition and you start exercising and after a couple of weeks, you’re down
5 lbs.  Now the next level of motivation kicks in.  You’re thinking after 5 lbs that you just might be able to reach your goal because you’re getting positive results, and so you’re all the more determined to move forward.

Two weeks go by and you’re down 10 lbs and a few weeks after that 15 lbs, until finally after a few months, you hit the magic 20 lbs.  Now one of two things could happen.  By the way, there’s no such thing as neutral or treading water in life.  You’re either moving forward or falling backward…there is no in-between.

If the only thing you’ve been fixated on is losing the 20 lbs, you may find yourself slipping backward.  This happens to many people because they only set short-term goals and once achieved, there’s nothing left to strive for.  The worst-case scenario is that you gain all the weight back which sets you up potentially to fall into the “Yo-Yo” dieting syndrome.

If you’re not sure of what I mean, it’s as simple as this.  If you go on any type of diet plan and lose for example 20 lbs, some will come from fat, but some will come from muscle.  Your best strategy for maintaining as much muscle as possible is to incorporate strength training along with your diet plan.  All the “cardio” in the world will not help retain the muscle that lifting will.

Let’s say you do lose the 20 lbs and the makeup is roughly 15 lbs from fat and 5 lbs from muscle.  Then for some reason, you decide to give up on your diet and go back to your old ways…slowly gaining back all the weight you lost.  The sad part is that most of the weight gain will be fat…with little muscle.  The only way to gain back the lost muscle is to earn it in the gym.

Now repeat this “lose/gain” scenario a handful of times in your life and you can see the damage that can take place.  Every time you lose and gain, you’re effectively increasing your body fat to muscle ratio.  This is a really bad thing that you want to avoid at all costs because your metabolism will systematically slow down as a result of the lost muscle.

The key to avoiding the fallback is to set not only short-term goals like losing 20 lbs but to also work on building in new and positive behaviors that you can effectively work on for the rest of your life.  This is the necessary action required to transition to the third level of motivation.  If you only set short-term goals, you will live your life in fits and starts.  If you will blend in long-term growth in conjunction with your goals, you will achieve far more and the ride will be much smoother along the way.

Inner Based:

I wish there was a shortcut I could offer you, but unfortunately, it just takes time.  From the results of focusing on long-term growth and building positive behaviors into your life, you will reach a point where outside circumstances no longer derail you.  Your fitness journey becomes a way of life regardless of the curve balls that life will inevitably throw.  The key is a continued focus on both process goals in the short-term all while keeping a long-term perspective.  You simply move forward and persist without exception.

Focusing on small steps can really add up to big change, and I learned the following two examples from my mentor, Darren Hardy.  So, imagine standing at the bottom of a one hundred story building with a spiral staircase going to the roof.  Your task is to climb the stairs all while looking at the top.  As you can imagine, given the enormity of the goal, it could be quite overwhelming.

Now take your eyes off the top of the stairs and focus them on the step right in front of you.  Now take the step.  Not too bad, right?  Now, take the next step.  Still not bad, right?  In fact, it’s no more difficult than the one before.  If you will break your goals down into bite-sized chunks and focus on one little chunk at a time, you can walk to the moon.  The key is to simply not look up.

Now imagine that there’s a 20′ plank on the ground about 2″ thick and 12″ wide.  The offer is $20 to walk across the plank.  Do you take it?  Of course, it would be an easy $20.  Now imagine if the same plank was between two one hundred story buildings and I offered you the same $20 to walk across.  Would you do it?  Probably not, right?

Now, what if your most treasured family member in life was on the opposing roof and the building was on fire?  In fact, the fire is only a few floors below the roof and moving up quickly.  The only way to save your loved one is to cross over the plank and carry them back to safety.  Would you do it?  Of course, and without hesitation.  The change in circumstances changed everything.

You see, when your why is big enough the facts don’t matter.  That’s why it’s so important to identify your why.  It could be one thing or it could be several.  It doesn’t really matter.  The important thing is to really dig deep and determine your true reasons for going after your goals.  People who go after their goals based on just sheer grit and determination will often fail.  It can be like pushing a piece of string.

If you have a piece of string on a table and you try to push it from behind across the table, it will bunch up on itself.  If however, you pull it along the table with your finger, the string will follow along in a clean straight line.  Holding your why out it in front of you can really act as a magnet to help pull you along and help keep you on track towards reaching your goals.

I read an article about Jerry Seinfeld a few years ago and the author asked him to share one of the biggest reasons for his success.  Jerry replied back that it had to be his wall calendar.  The author, clearly confused, asked Jerry to explain.  He said that when he first started writing, back when no one knew anything about him, his goal was to write every day.  Some days he wrote “gold” and other days he wrote “garbage” however the ultimate goal was to write.

Further, he had a big honkin’ wall calendar where every day that he wrote, he would cross off the day with a big red X.  Between the commitment to daily writing leveraged by the physical act of marking off his calendar, Jerry’s daily efforts produced the gold that we know to be the sitcom Seinfeld and beyond.  Today the term is called gamification, and it’s a powerful tool that companies use to drive results both with the products they produce and with their employees to boost performance.

Closing remarks for my readers:

In closing, I have some very concrete action steps for you to consider.  First, you have to determine your why or why’s along with your goals and write them down.  I like sticky notes and learned this little trick from my long-time mentor, “King of Sales”, Jeffrey Gitomer.  Also, determine the 2-3 key behaviors that you will need to adopt in achieving your goals and write them down as well.

Now post them in the following places to help keep your focus laser-sharp on what you’re working to achieve and why.

  • Bathroom mirror
  • Bedroom mirror
  • Front of your refrigerator
  • Front of your microwave
  • Front of your laptop or desktop
  • Front of your steering wheel

Change in any area is never easy and sometimes it can be really hard.  If you will surround yourself with your goals and your reasons for pursuing them, they will help you stay the course, especially when the storms of life come crashing in.

And above all, persist without exception.  I heard this phrase from another of my long-time mentors, Andy Andrews over 20 years ago, and it’s become a part of me.  Never stop pursuing your dreams.  If you will persist, without exception, you will reach them.

Best of luck in your journey.

Posted in Andy Andrews, attitude, fat loss, goal setting, Health & Fitness, jeffrey gitomer, ketogenic diet, Nutrition, personal development, seeking wisdom, self talk, success, Uncategorized, weight training | Tagged , | Leave a comment

My First Week – Working Out At Home

As a fitness professional and nutrition coach, the events of the past two weeks have been life changing. Last Monday afternoon, March the 16th, my boss sent a group text to our team saying the gym would be closing that evening at least through the 29th.  Immediately my mind began racing with the ramifications. The biggest for me personally were the impact on my family and friends, the well-being of my clients, the well-being of my company and co-workers, and the well-being of our nation.  

The purpose for all my blog posts are to offer encouragement and this one is no exception. I’m going to share what I did this past week and suggest that you can do the same.  My workouts were done with very minimal equipment and yet I was able to get in a great training effect each day. If you have more equipment at your home, then you’re only in a better position to get your training done.

Only God in heaven knows how long it will take for things to return to normal. I’m hoping for the best and yet I’m preparing to train at home for an extended period…just in case that reality comes to pass. You can get in good workouts at home. It just takes a mental shift. Once you get your first workout done, the next will be easier and your belief and confidence will build with each succeeding session. 

My first suggestion is to stick to the same routine in terms of when you used to train as much as possible. If your schedule has changed due to recent events and it makes more sense to train at a different time, then book and commit to the new time…just like you did when you were still going to your gym.

My second suggestion is to go through the same preparation that you did at your gym.  Given the limitations of your equipment, go through the same warm up process including  listening to the same music if relevant…all with the intention of creating the same feel for your mind and body. Just pretend you’re starting a totally new routine and embrace the change rather than giving into the thought that training at home with limited equipment is going to suck.  

The following is what I did starting Tuesday morning the 17th through Saturday morning the 21st.  I had already completed the first two days of my training week starting on Sunday the 15th.

Tuesday:  Calves and Cardio



I ordered a set of resistance bands on Monday evening however as of Tuesday morning, the only equipment I had was a set of 25 lbs kettlebells. How do you train calves with two kettlebells? Well, as a fitness professional, I am creative, I am driven, and I am a little crazy.

My apartment is on the first floor of a three-story building. The stairs going up to the upper floors are just outside my door and I simply used the bottom step for my calf raises. My goal was just to get in a solid training effect so I set a target of 10 sets of as many reps as I could, holding a kettlebell in one hand and holding onto the handrail with the other.

All total, I did 400-500 reps and my calves have seriously never been so sore in my life. As I wrote this post on the Saturday the 21st, my calves were still store. After calves, I decided to use the stairs for my cardio. Sticking with the kettlebell theme, I walked up three flights carrying a kettlebell in one hand and then down the other side switching hands. For the next round, I just did the opposite with my hands.

Being an over achiever, I walked the stairs for just over an hour. I figured the intensity was a bit lower than using the stair master or elliptical at the gym, and so I made up for it with more volume. It was a good start to my efforts at home under the circumstances.

Wednesday:  Chest, Back, and Shoulders

My resistance bands were not due to arrive until Friday so I still only had two 25 lbs kettlebells. The workout was pretty simple. I used a small filing cabinet with a pillow on top for my “bench” and did high rep chest presses paired with rows. Like my calves the day before, the reps were really high because I was making up in volume what I couldn’t achieve with intensity and or heavier weights.

Next came standing overhead presses paired with pullovers again using my makeshift bench. In total, I did only four exercises and yet it was a great little workout as you can see from the screen shot from my Fitbit above.

Thursday:  Core and Cardio

On Wednesday afternoon, I ran to Walmart to pick up an ab wheel and stability ball. And to my surprise, my resistance bands were waiting for me when I returned home. This put me in a much better position for my Thursday morning core routine. Given the lack of cardio equipment, I just doubled up and did four rounds of my normal core circuit. As you can see from the image above, my core routine is challenging from a cardio standpoint. To add a little extra intensity, I also integrated in some kettlebell swings just for fun.

The exercises are as follows done in one big circuit…repeated 4 times:

  1. Ab wheel roll outs – 20 reps
  2. Stability ball step offs – 20 reps
  3. Resistance band kneeling chops – 10 reps / side
  4. Resistance band reverse kneeling chops – 10 reps / side
  5. Stability ball jack knives – 20 reps
  6. Ab wheel roll outs – 20 reps
  7. Kettlebell swings – 20 reps
  8. Body saw with a foam roller – 20 reps
  9. Weighted floor crunch with both kettlebells – 40 reps
  10. Kettlebell swings – 20 reps

Friday:  Legs and Arms

Of all the days, this was the one where I felt the most disadvantaged given the lack of equipment. When my boss gave us the word regarding closing earlier in the week, I immediately drove to the gym to get my trap bar. I don’t have any weights at home but I at least wanted my bar.

My challenge then Friday morning was how to add weight to my trap bar when I didn’t have any. As mentioned above, I am creative. I took my trap bar and strapped the kettlebells to each side with elastic knee wraps. The total weight was only 95 lbs however in line with the theme of the week, I made up for a lack of weight with lots of volume. I paired this with an exercise I actually used to do years ago and was grateful to be able to pull it out of my trainer toolbox.

If you take a stability ball combined with a resistance band set with ankle attachments, you can do two-leg or single-leg loaded stability ball leg curls. I used my two heaviest bands and it was actually quite hard.  

The second pair of exercises were kettlebell squats paired with single-leg deadlifts holding the two kettlebells in the working hand. Again, the volume was high and the training effect solid. To finish up, I did standing kettlebell curls paired with lying kettlebell extensions using my stability ball.  

Saturday:  Cardio

Saturday is normally my day off where I will typically take a long walk at home before work. If the weather is agreeable, I will walk outside. If it’s cold or raining, I will utilize my apartment complex gym which has a couple of treadmills.  Given the “virus”, our apartment gym is closed and I really didn’t feel like walking in the 42-degree weather.

So, for fun, I walked the same stairs I used back on Tuesday again with a kettlebell in tow.  This morning however to spice things up, I did 15 kettlebell swings at the bottom of each round of stairs. This added effort kept me plenty warm and eliminated the issue of the cold weather. All total, I did a little more than 100 flights of stairs and approximately 450 kettlebell swings. I’ve never done anything like this before and I suspect my hamstrings will be a little extra sore, but it was fun and way better than just walking in the cold.

A Sample Routine for You

The following is a simple two-way split that you can do 2-4 days per week. Just alternate the two routines back and forth up to a total of 4 weekly sessions.  I designed these routines with a minimalist strategy in that all you need is a resistance band set.  With the vast number of exercise options and variations available depending on the equipment you have, you’re certainly welcome to substitute other like movements.  My primary intent is to share a balanced and simple program you can follow until we can get back to our regular gyms.

Routine A:  Chest, Back, Shoulders, and Core  

1A  Resistance band chest press:  2-3 sets of 8-12 reps
1B  Resistance band back row:  2-3 sets of 8-12 reps

2A  Resistance band chest fly:  2-3 sets of 12-15 reps
2B  Resistance band reverse fly:  2-3 sets of 12-15 reps

3A  Resistance band shoulder press:  2-3 sets of 8-12 reps
3B  Resistance band lat pulldown:  2-3 sets of 8-12 reps

4A  Resistance band lateral raise:  2-3 sets of 12-15 reps
4B  Resistance band straight arm lat pulldown:  2-3 sets of 12-15 reps

5A  Plank:  2-3 sets of up to 30 second holds
5B  Resistance band Pallof press:  2-3 sets of 10 reps / side

Routine B:  Legs, Arms, and Core  

1A  Resistance band squats:  2-3 sets of 12-15 reps
1B  Resistance band leg curls:  2-3 sets of 12-15 reps

2A  Walking lunges:  2-3 sets of 15-20 reps
2B  Resistance band pull through:  2-3 sets of 15-20 reps

3A  Resistance band drag biceps curl:  2-3 sets of 8-12 reps
3B  Resistance band overhead triceps ext:  2-3 sets of 8-12 reps

4A  Resistance band preacher curl:  2-3 sets of 12-15 reps
4B  Resistance band triceps pushdown:  2-3 sets of 12-15 reps

5A  Mountain climbers:  2-3 sets of 15-20 reps
5B  Bird dog:  2-3 sets of 5-10 second holds per arm / leg x 3 for one complete set

Optional exercises based on ability and equipment:

Kettlebell front squat or Goblet squats

Stability ball Jack Knives or Kettlebell swings

Closing thoughts for my readers:

You can train at home and be successful.  At the minimum, you can pick up a set of resistance bands for less than $25 bucks.  The set I ordered from Amazon was as a little more at $40 but I think you will find a number of options from different retailers in this general price range.  I purchased my kettlebells years ago and you can find them at a variety of retailers both local and online.

My ab wheel and stability ball are from Walmart at $12 and $15 respectively.

Again, this is just a simple temporary training solution.  Hopefully we will be back in our regular gyms sooner than later.  Maybe now more than ever, you have to make your training a priority because there are so many competing distractions in our homes.  There’s no reason to not take care of yourself physically including your nutrition during the increasingly challenging times we’re living in.  

You can do this…and I believe in you.  

Best of luck in your journey.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline”

2 Timothy 1:7

 

Posted in attitude, cardio training, Circuit Training, Faith, fat loss, goal setting, Health & Fitness, home training, learning from mistakes, muscle preservation, Nutrition, personal development, strength gain, success, Uncategorized, weight training | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Food: Liar, Thief, and Destroyer

The popular culture often trivializes people’s struggles with food making reference to their indulgence in “comfort foods” like it’s no big deal. While women are far more likely to be a  target, trust me, men struggle with food just as much. The sad reality is that turning to food for comfort is a losing proposition because food will never comfort you.

“False Comfort Food”

Oh, it may taste good in the moment, but it will never fill the void you’re trying to fill.
In reality, most people at least to some small degree, occasionally struggle with emotional eating. For others, it’s a war they wage daily that too me, is so much more difficult than for example, an addiction to alcohol or drugs.

You don’t need alcohol or drugs to live and yet food, the very thing you battle, is an absolute necessity for daily survival. It can be like walking a proverbial tight rope where you’re constantly struggling to maintain balance. And with just one false step or bite, you can plunge into overindulgence.

Food can be a “liar”, “thief”, and “destroyer”. If you really do struggle with emotional eating, then you know what I mean. Food will lie to you when you’re feeling tempted to indulge. And when you’re behavior really gets out of control, food can rob you of your peace of mind and ultimately destroy your life.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

There’s a difference between disordered eating and an eating disorder. Stuffing yourself to the point of minor misery at Thanksgiving could almost be considered disordered eating and yet it’s a culturally accepted practice. But that’s way different than someone who regularly binges and then forces themselves to throw up to keep from gaining weight. That’s calling Bulimia. And don’t forget Anorexia where people literally starve themselves also for fear of gaining weight.

If you struggle with either of the latter conditions, please seek professional help. Dealing with these challenges is way beyond my scope of practice or the intent of this post.  However, for those who occasionally struggle with feeling out of control with their eating, I may be able to offer some practical suggestions.

First of all, if you struggle emotionally with food…

  1. Identify your triggers and seek to remove or avoid them. For most this will be people, places, and activities. If you find yourself every Friday afternoon after work at happy hour with a certain group loading up on margaritas & chips & queso, you might consider a change. The people may be fine but the place and the activity you’re taking part in is not doing you any favors with your health.

  2. If you determine that your social group is okay and that the problem is the place and activity, then seriously consider changing up your scenery. If they’re really your friends and have your best interest at heart, they will be supportive. If they resist the change, then you have a choice to make. Remember, your associations in life will make or break you…so choose wisely.

  3. This last point is heavy, but it could really help. When you’re facing a “binge”, you only have two paths to consider. If you shut your thinking off to the “after” and focus all your energy on satisfying yourself in the present moment, you will likely give in. If however, you can take a deep breath and really consider the “after”, you may find your escape.

    Now if you’re willing to take that breath and seriously consider the absolute consequences of what you’re considering, then the next step is to move. I literally mean to get up and out of the physical place you’re in. If you’re at home, go for a walk or a drive. If you’re at your office, get up from your desk and again go take a walk. If appropriate, call a friend. Act your way into a different feeling. If you stay in your current place, you may unfortunately slip back in your thoughts only to come face to face with the enemy…the binge.

Remember, you can only eat so much and then you must return to reality. Regardless of what is waiting for you, do you want to take that step under normal circumstances or in the midst of a food “hangover”? I promise, no one wants to be a parent, child, friend, or name your occupation or activity under the cloud of a food hangover. I know full well from personal experience that the most common feeling is to simply want to shut yourself off from the world.

A lonely place to be.

Part of the struggle people face is actually self-inflicted by pursuing perfection with their eating. They possess the false notion that you have to eat “perfectly” all the time to achieve and or maintain an ideal body weight. There is no such thing as good or bad food…only more or less nutritious food and both can have their place in a balanced and healthy nutrition plan.  

When you deprive yourself long enough from whatever your favorite thing or things are, you will hit a wall. Nutritionist Keith Klein, in Houston, TX, calls this the psychology of deprivation. After a lengthy period of severe restriction, you will have a trigger event that throws you over the edge. It could be as simple as a long and stressful day at work which leaves you feeling nothing more than…I want my Ben and Jerry’s.

It doesn’t have to be this way…either.

For the positive, you can avoid this whole scenario by treating yourself on an appropriate basis with a normal serving size of whatever your favorite thing is. I wrote about this in detail in “No Cheat Meals Required“, but the essence of the strategy is this. It’s called 90/10 Compliance.  Regardless of how many meals you eat per week on average, if you will make 90% of them clean and on track, you can have the other 10% to loosen the reigns and enjoy your favorite foods.

I only caution you in two ways. First, don’t decide after an extra-long and stressful day that it’s going to be a 10% or “treat” meal night. That’s probably not going to end well because you’re not thinking straight. Consider planning in advance when your mind is clear and then stick to this second little guideline. Eat whatever you want but stick with normal portion sizes. Then walk away with no guilty feelings.

This little practice will work for the majority and will keep you from running smack into the wall of deprivation. The only time this may not work is if your emotional eating is a little more advanced and you have certain trigger foods where when you have a bite, you’re likely to eat the pint…or tub.

For me, this is store bought sweets. I decided after years of struggle to simple abstain…period. I love my homemade treats including cheesecake and cookies and my daily pancakes of course, but they’re all super healthy and don’t cause me to lose my freakin’ mind.

Amazing! and Healthy!

Equally Amazing! and Healthy!

Only you can determine whether a given food is okay to occasionally enjoy or not. If you find yourself going in with the best of intentions and yet you consistently end up out of control, you may have identified a trigger food that you simply need to avoid.
Another possible solution is that you could come up with a healthy alternative.

Precision Nutrition is the name of an industry leading coaching and educational company. I have their Level 1 certification and I’m currently working on their year-long Level 2 master-class certification. PN does amazing work and the info they teach is life changing.

Precision nutrition is also a philosophy of eating and preparing meals. You can take any dish that might be considered less than healthy, like store bought pizza or Mexican food or sweets and totally change them for the positive. When you pull out the excess sugar and unhealthy fats and replace them with clean proteins and healthy fats, you really can create some great tasting and healthy meals.

My favorite way to start the day.

I love my daily shakes!

This has been my go to strategy now for years. I have three protein shakes a day and they’re all different in terms of what they do for me and in how they taste…and they’re all amazing! Further, I have protein pancakes literally every day of my life unless I’m traveling. It’s my own recipe, it’s super healthy, and they are incredible! These collectively feed my sweet tooth daily and yet I’m never tempted to over-indulge.

Closing thoughts for my readers:

Writing this post has been on my heart for some time. As a nutrition coach, I work with people daily who struggle with food and I just felt compelled to share. If you really do battle with your eating, consider getting some help. The most successful people from all walks of life have coaches and seeking professional help with a food struggle is really no different.

For some additional resources on healthy eating, consider the following:

Gourmet Nutrition: The Cookbook for the Fit Food Lover

Healthy Treats from T Nation

Eating for Life from Bill Phillips

Best of luck in your journey…

Posted in attitude, better mood, better sleep, Health & Fitness, personal development, seeking wisdom, self talk, the power of associations, Uncategorized, wise choices | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment