In January, I was asked to speak on Code 321’s podcast, a podcast directed towards first responders. During the podcast, Nick Carson and I took a deep dive into negative emotions, the bad habits that often accompany the negative emotions and how they can have a massive impact on not only our life, but of the lives of the individual’s we love. Take a listen for some quick tips on how to recognize your unhealthy habits, identify the trigger attached to the unhealthy habits and how to shift them.
Lately, I have invested some time and additional money into shifting our household products to cleaner, more natural products. Less dyes, fragrances, perfums etc. This has been a slow process and honestly, it’s not perfect. There’s still work to be done. However, I have recently come across an app that has been extremely helpful to me when it comes to assessing products to be more all-natural and less toxic.
The app is called “Think Dirty” and it rates products on a 0-10 scale. Ten being horrible and zero being very clean and natural. From someone that went from using a deodorant that was listed as an eight, to now using a deodorant that is listed as a zero, I feel much better about what I’m putting on my body.
I’ve started making this shift because it’s not just about working out, proper nutrition, and mental/emotional health, it’s also about all the products you use on your body and in your household. Check out the app and plug in some of your usual products; you might be surprised.
Someone might ask, “who cares?” Well, when I find out that the deodorant I was using has a possible carcinogen and I use it every single day… I start to care. My health is important to me, because without it, I will have nothing.
PS – this is not an ad post. I am just happy to have found this app and thought I would share. 🙂
I can only speak from experience. I can only share with you the things that I do to maintain stability when it comes to the stress, overwhelm and sometimes chaos of the holidays. When it comes to maintaining my health: mental, emotional and physical during a very special time of year, it’s about consistency. I consistently pursue the habits that I have pursued all year that have served me well.
Movement – I came to a realization when I lived out in San Francisco, circa 2010/2011. It was Christmas morning, my family was on the East Coast and the only plan I had that day was to work. Needless to say, I was feeling a little down. Until I realized and thought, ‘why don’t I do something I love doing.’ So, I laced up my shoes and hit the streets of San Francisco in the warm West Coast air and had an amazing Christmas morning run. Never before have I ‘worked out’ on a holiday. Prior to this day, my mindset around ‘working out’ on a holiday was, ‘well it’s a holiday, why would I kick my ass on a day that is meant for rest and celebration.’ On this day in San Francisco, I realized and thought, ‘why wouldn’t I do something I love on one of my favorite days of the year?!’ It was this day that completely shifted my perspective about moving my body on any and all holidays. Obviously, moving my body is not always fun. Sometimes it’s frustrating, upsetting, angering or just downright boring BUT EVERY TIME I am done moving my body, I feel grateful that I did it. I encourage you, even on the holiday, even around the holidays, continue to move your body. My assumption is that although it may be hard to put on those shoes you will feel empowered when you’re done!
Nutrition – 2020 has been a big year in regard to my nutrition and how it can impact my mental, emotional and physical health. In May/June of this year, I found myself slipping into another postpartum depression. It was scary, unsettling and very challenging for me and my family. When I spoke with my doctor, he discussed anti-depressant medications with me, supplements and shifting some of my day-to-day routines. I refused to go on medication again for the depression because of the experience I had with medications previously. So I opted to look at my lifestyle and make some significant changes. One of those significant changes was my nutrition. Since June, my family and I have been eating 85-90% plant-based diet and what I will say is this: my anxiety is hardly there. My depression is gone. My energy has improved. My focus is better. My evening brain fog is also better. I’m not saying this is the answer for everyone, however I am saying that what we put into our bodies: processed food, refined sugar, dairy, meat, fried foods, alcohol, medications etc. all have a SIGNIFICANT impact on the way we feel. During the holidays, the way in which I will focus on my nutrition is to continue with this new way of eating with flexibility and I advise you to do the same. Continue your good eating habits throughout the holidays with some flexibility. Yes, I will eat the turkey, stuffing, my mom’s homemade rolls and dessert, but the next day, I will be right back on my plan that helps me feel my best, because if I can feel good, I can show up well for all the people and things in my life.
Sleep – This is NOT the first time I have talked about sleep – it’s crucial to our health. It impacts almost every tissue in our body and impacts growth and stress hormones, our immune system, appetite, breathing, blood pressure and cardiovascular health. During the holidays, make sure you’re getting adequate sleep, at least 7-9 hours per night. And if you have a bedtime routine, stay consistent with it. Continue to go to bed and wake up at the same time as you have been, especially if it helps you to feel good! This consistency will keep you on track.
These are a few of my recommendations about maintaining your mental health during the holidays and any other time of the year. You can’t be healthy if your mind isn’t healthy. Take care of you and the rest will fall into place.
I’m sure you’ve heard it before and maybe you have even experienced it before; you’ve committed to your wellness, optimizing your health and shifting your trajectory towards chronic illness, and then suddenly nothing seems to be shifting. You’re feeling more fatigued and with little energy. Your blood work stops improving or your weight loss hits a plateau. It happens more often than not. Here are some reasons for it: the body adapts to the training/changes, people stop following their nutrition or fitness plans after a few months, and/or the metabolism slows down if a person loses weight quickly. Here are a few ways you can kickstart things again:
- Log your food – Tedious? Yes, but necessary for mindful eating. Just do it. 🙂
- Increase exercise frequency or intensity – If you’ve been stuck on a cardio kick, implement some weight training. If you’ve been performing only weight training, implement 15-30 minutes per day of cardiovascular exercise that you enjoy. Consider increasing the number of repetitions, increasing the weight or increasing the number of exercises completed in a given timeframe.
- Assess your sleep – Sleep is KEY when it comes to our health. Sleep keeps our heart healthy, reduces our risk for obesity, and strengthens our immune system. The goal is 7-9 hours per night, with the same bedtime and wakeup time each day.
- Manage your stress – Consider deep breathing, meditation, music or any other stress management interventions that you can implement to calm you down when you’re revving up. Being in a state of chronic stress can impact hormonal changes that lead to an increased appetite. Stress can stimulate gherlin, an appetite enhancer and reduce the sensitivity of leptin, an appetite suppressant. Stress can literally shut of the signals to your brain about when to stop eating.
- Bring on the fiber – Research shows that many people in the United States eat only half of the daily recommended amount of fiber. Implement small changes: add an additional fruit or vegetable each day for benefits such as: reduced inflammation, lower cholesterol, blood sugar control, plus bowel regularity!
Any lull in progress can be discouraging. However, it can also be an opportunity for continued growth, adaptation and progression. Barriers will come and go – choose to see them as opportunities vs. obstacles.
Improving your Connection
Last week, we looked at this idea that the partner/mate we choose, resembles both the positive and negative traits in our caregivers when we were children. We identified that we are attracted to our partners when it comes to them having both the positive and negative traits of our childhood caregivers, because our old brain is seeking reparation from our childhood wounds. We choose someone that has the ability to help heal our childhood wounds or hurt/worsen these wounds.
According to Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt, authors of Getting the Love you Want, the following are tactful tools to help you heal childhood wounds, optimize communication and connection with your partner, and to be in a loving, safe relationship.
- Narrowing your Exits – often times partners tend to fall into a habit of “avoiding each other.” Whether it be through staying late at the office, scrolling social media, watching tv, reading romance novels etc., these habits are considered “exits.” And often times have become a typical scene for a couple because of anger and fear. Anger because of wish fulfillment – you’ve set up an expectation that your partner will fill the void of your childhood wound and fear because you see them, subconsciously as an enemy – “any person…who is perceived by the old brain to be a source of need gratification and then appears to be withholding that gratification is cataloged as a source of pain, and pain raises the specter of death.” The recommendation is this: narrow your exits gradually. Eliminate one of your exits, the easiest to eliminate and use that extra time to work on putting your feelings/emotions into words and communicating with your partner.
- Imago Dialogue – developing a new way of communicating with your partner, knowing your partner, connecting with your partner and developing a conscious partnership broken down into three steps. First and foremost, before entering into this type of conversation, ensure that it’s an appropriate time for both individuals.
- Mirroring – a sender will make a statement. The receiver of the statement with restate the sentence word-for-word or paraphrase and then ask if the message was received correctly. Then the receiver of the message can state, “is there more about that?” This gives the sender an opportunity to elaborate, if needed.
- Validating – this is an opportunity to affirm the internal logic of each other’s remark, “what you’re saying makes sense to me. I can see how you were thinking and why you would think that way.”
- Empathizing – “’ to feel as one with.’ When you and your partner are empathic with each other, you are as emotionally close as two people can be.
- Caring Behaviors – this concept takes into account each partner writing down lists of ways their partners can please them. Not only does this eliminate the idea that our partners can read our minds, but it also allows your partner to know exactly what you want. When developing the list and setting number goals for the day/week, this takes out the tit-for-tat mentality. “Most relationships are run like a commodities market, with loving behaviors the coin in trade. But this kind of “love” does not sit well with the old brain. If John rubs Martha’s shoulders in the hope that she will let him spend the day going fishing, a built-in sensor in Martha’s head goes: Look out! Price tag attached. There is no reason to feel good about this gift, because I’ll have to pay for it later.’ Unconsciously, she rejects John’s attentions, because she knows that they were designed for his benefit, not hers.”
These are just some of the useful ways you can develop a compassionate and exceptional relationship.
When it comes to watching our words, the things we say, the way in which we say them and the impact our words can have on others, can be detrimental. And the thing about our words, especially the hurtful ones, typically come from a place of our own hurt; our own wound. Watch your words, you and your partner are worthy of healing.
Check out the book: Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt
Partner Edition – Part 1
I want to preface this email by saying this: if you are a parent to a young child, don’t freak out, my assumption is that you’re doing the best that you can; just keep doing that. If you are a parent to an adult child, don’t freak out, my assumption is that you did the best that you could; they will heal.
If you are reading this, I want you to read it with your childhood in mind. This is not about blame, this is about allowing space between your actions and reactions today and assessing why you act and do the things you do, especially when it comes to your partner.
Research shows that the person you are most likely to fall in love with is someone who has both the positive and negative traits of your parents. Your old brain is seeking reparation from someone who resembles the very people who were the source of most of your childhood challenges. The reason the unconscious is trying to resurrect the past is not a matter of habit or blind compulsion, but of a compelling need to heal old childhood wounds. (Take a minute to think of your partner and how this person could be similar to your parents).
Many children experience a rupture in their connection with their caregivers. For whatever reason, their caregiver failed to satisfy their basic needs for safety, affection and/or stability.
Being raised, we were taught, told and shown that there were certain thoughts and feelings that were appropriate, certain natural behaviors that we had to extinguish and certain talents and aptitudes we had to deny. We observed the choices our “parents made, the freedoms and pleasures they allowed themselves, the talents they develop, the abilities they ignored and the rules they followed…’This is how we live. This is how to get through life.’” These early childhood observations and teachings play a significant role in mate selection and is often a hidden source of tension in married life.
When you choose a partner or a mate and decide to get married, the primary expectation (subconsciously/unconsciously) is that your partner is going to love and care for you the way your parents never did. We enter our love relationship with emotional scars from our childhood and we unknowingly choose partners who resemble our caregivers. The unconscious selection process has brought together two people who can either hurt each other or heal each other, depending on their willingness to grow and change.
Fraud says that when we start to receive the love we long for from our partner, we experience pleasure and fear. We enjoy the way our partner is expressing love, while simultaneously feeling undeserving of it. Subconsciously, we feel we don’t deserve it; a part of us believes that in accepting the positive behavior, we are violating a powerful taboo. We are violating a limiting belief that we’ve held on to most of our life.
When we receive the love we so deeply desire, we eventually find a way to deny it: picking a fight, shutting down, expressing criticism etc.. We deny it because of these subconscious feelings and thoughts that we don’t deserve it. It is in this moment that we have the opportunity to start to heal our childhood wounds or enhance and strengthen them.
With that being said, many of our repetitious, emotional criticisms of our partner are disguised statements of our own unmet needs! Those criticisms of our partner may actually help us identify our lost self.
I am breaking this email into two weeks because there’s so much depth to it and a lot to unpack. Most of this information is from the classic book: Getting the Love you Want by Harville Hendrix. Next week we’ll explore ways to heal your childhood wound through your relationship with your partner.
Hey All –
I took this ‘stay home, stay safe’ time as an opportunity to create something new – a five week virtual program! This five week program is designed to help you build awareness, be more mindful and pursue your days with more intentionality. It is up to you to recognize that you can stick to anything you set your mind to and succeed. What do you think, do you want to dedicate five weeks to becoming a more intentional version of yourself? Let me know!
When I launched Fit Together, I knew there were going to be barriers to acquiring clients. There were 3 barriers that I identified that would likely get in the way of signing clients: money, time and effort.
Money – when I think about the financial obligations of choosing and pursuing a healthier lifestyle, I consider the following: purchasing whole foods, purchasing supportive footwear, and purchasing a gym membership or health coach/trainer. When the money barrier is brought up, I ask my client what they are currently spending money on each month that could be put on hold? Is it going out to dinner every week? Is it going out drinking with friends every weekend? Is it daily trips to the grocery store? Is it purchasing alcohol every week? If money is a barrier for you, what can you put on hold right now, to invest in your health?
“I don’t have the time.”
“I got home from work and I was too tired.”
“I had this to do or that to do.”
“Someone needed me and I needed to push off what I had planned.”
It’s easy to push off our own priorities to accomodate the needs and wants of other people in our lives. I say this with love and compassion, you HAVE the time, you are choosing (consciously or subconsciously) not to make the time – you need to MAKE the time. Prioritizing yourself and caring for yourself is not selfish, it is necessary. You can’t pour from an empty cup. You can’t give or be 100% when you are running at 0%. Make the time. Put 30 minutes on your calendar to focus on your health and wellness and when it’s time – DO IT. It’s not enough to put it on your calendar, you need to stick with what you planned and DO IT. If you continue to break the promise you made to yourself, you are showing yourself that you aren’t worth your time and you aren’t worth your effort. You are reinforcing that other people in your life are more worthy of your time, energy and effort. Fill your cup first.
Effort – Pursuing a healthier lifestyle will take effort – EVERY SINGLE DAY. Every action has a reaction. Every positive action typically presents with a positive reaction in 12-18 months. Every negative action typically presents with a negative reaction in 3-6 months. The question is: what sort of effort do you want to put in? How much are you willing to fight for your health? The effort will be uncomfortable, that’s how you know you are doing it right. We grow when we are out of our comfort zone.
Life is happening, it will ALWAYS show up when you have the desire to pursue something. There will be parties, work obligations, family obligations, arguments and more appealing options than showing up, getting up and reaching for a healthier lifestyle. Your want and desire for your health needs to be stronger than any excuse or any other option that conveniently shows up when it’s time to go after what you want.
Crazy work schedule got your workout schedule on the back burner? Here are a few simple things you can do to stay on track when your work schedule has you traveling from place to place.
- Pack healthy, flight friendly snacks for the plane. IE: apple, bag of nuts, or veggie spears, kale chips, or protein powder – just add the milk/water once you get through security.
- Pack all of your workout clothes you may need for your entire trip. 3 day business trip – pack 1 pair of sneakers, 3 pairs of socks, 3 pairs of shorts, 3 sports bras, and 3 shirts/tanks to workout in. Yes, it sounds simple but you want to make sure you have all the clothes you’ll need and that they will be clean and fresh which will boost your desire to put them on.
- Book a hotel or request your employer to book a hotel that has a gym in it – make sure it has the features you like to use when you workout – stationary bike, elliptical, treadmill, weights, yoga pads whatever it is you like to do for your workout, make sure they have it!
- Get your workout done in the morning! This may mean waking up an hour early but when on a business trip, often times we find our evenings fill up with meetings, dinner arrangements or events to go to – start your day off right and rest assured knowing your workout is done in the morning and you can focus on what you traveled to do.
- When going out to business lunches/dinners, check the menu before you go and have an idea of what you’re going to order. Stick with it. Don’t let peer pressure or everyone else’s ordering options sway you from staying on track towards a healthier version of yourself.
Traveling can be exciting, fun and welcoming, but make sure that if you have goals and dreams to become a stronger, healthier version of yourself that you don’t let life get in the way of what you want. You can adapt to your surroundings and still go after your dreams. You’ve got this and safe travels!
“I’m too tired.” “Missing one day won’t matter.” “It takes too much time.” “I don’t have the time.” “It’s too hot/cold.” “It’s raining/snowing.”
The list can go on and on. We all have those excuses that can break down your determination and motivation. The thing about the excuses is that they always turn up right when we need an easy out. We choose to use the excuse because that is easier than it is to do something challenging and uncomfortable.
It is deeply engrained in us to avoid pain, to limit our expressions of emotion and to protect ourselves. Because of this, we limit ourselves from achieving goals we set out to accomplish. We do this to avoid vulnerability and in doing so, ultimately we limit potential greatness.
What if we chose the challenge over the ease?
What if we chose the discomfort over the complacent?
What if we chose the unknown over the known?
Where could we be? Who could we be?
What if you embraced that sweat and shortness of breath during that first workout vs. sitting on the couch watching tv again?
What if you chose to confront yourself and finally moved past those 20 years of anger and hurt vs. burying it inside you and living with it like it doesn’t still effect you?
What if you chose to walk past that wall you’ve built vs. sitting on the same side that you know is destructive to the person you want to be?
Where could you be? Who could you be?
Overcoming your excuses is about choosing the challenge, discomfort and unknown over and over again and trusting that you will be okay… if not stronger.
Overcoming your excuses takes constant effort, determination and willpower. It is not easy – but it will always be worth it.
Overcoming your excuses is about making your why more important and forceful than the line up of excuses you’ve been carrying around and using all your life.
Do it anyway.
Tired? Do it anyway. Too hot? Do it anyway. Angry, sad, frustrated, irritated? Do it anyway!
Stop standing in your own way, be stronger than your pile of excuses and do it anyway!