Feeling Fabulous!

Yesterday was my birthday.

In Friday’s blog I sketched out a plan to navigate the food and drink from the celebratory weekend so that come Monday morning, I would feel good body, mind, and spirit, and be back on the healthy track.

I am happy to report that I feel fabulous!

As I sit to write this blog, my workout is complete and my healthy meal plan resumed. I also had an amazing time with my folks who came to town to help celebrate, and I thoroughly enjoyed all that we ate and drank.

While I definitely ate more than unusual, I did practice reasonable moderation and didn’t go crazy. I don’t feel the least bit deprived. In fact, I feel thoroughly feted.

While I didn’t follow my plan exactly, I did find it extremely helpful to have thought out what I wanted to do, and to reach out to you fabulous readers for accountability. Remembering that I was going to have to report back to you was a great curb to going back for seconds on desserts, or ordering a second cocktail.

But here’s the real key—I definitely had some splurges and I wasn’t perfect. It would be easy to beat myself up over those. But instead, I’m choosing to look at all the times I did push back from the table, stopped at one glass of wine, and got my planned workouts in.

Building on small successes generates positive momentum that moves you towards your goal.

Focusing on the negative—as I used to always do—drains your momentum and zaps your energy, which means you are more likely to go ahead and keep eating because all is lost anyway.

Not only did focusing on the positive help me maintain a reasonable level of moderation, it helped me maintain my mental and emotional energy over the weekend, and as a result I had one of the best visits with my family that I can recall. It was relaxed, loving, and fun.

It hasn’t always been this way. They didn’t change—I did.

Here are my wins from the weekend:

  • Got in both my planned workouts
  • Had a wonderful visit with my folks
  • Was loving and appreciative of my awesome husband
  • I never let myself get too hungry
  • Where I could, I made healthier choices (gluten free crackers and chips, sauces on the side, the entrée with more vegetables, etc.)
  • Often shared meals or packed up half to take home
  • Limited alcohol
  • Was mindful of getting full
  • Savored what I was eating
  • Savored the delicious moments with my family

What can you do to shift your focus from where you weren’t perfect to what you did well? How do you think building on small successes and feeling that positive momentum will help you move towards your wellness goal?

Together we can do it!

The Gift of Wellness for My Birthday

Sunday is my birthday! My fabulous folks are driving into town as I type to help celebrate. I anticipate that we will have a wonderful time, and I already know that delicious food and drink will be plentiful.

In the past, celebratory weekends like this were the triggers that would send my diet and exercise program spiraling out of control, sometimes taking weeks, months, and even years to get back into alignment.

Fortunately, I’ve come far enough that I’m no longer worried about that happening, but I do want to get back to work Monday afternoon feeling physically, mentally, and spiritually good! No food hangovers for me, thank you very much.

But I also don’t want to be so rigid that I’m not having any fun. It’s my birthday after all. My family will be here and I want to celebrate!

The key for me is setting some intentions and doing some planning before family arrives and chaos ensues. Once that happens, it’s too easy just to open my mouth and start shoveling in the goodies.

I also find accountability extremely helpful, so if you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you fabulous readers to help with that. So here’s my plan.

Moving my body:

Fortunately there are only two workouts that I have to plan for—tomorrow (Saturday) and Monday, as Sunday is a planned rest day.

Typically I do my workouts in the area outside our guest room. My being in that space while guests are trying to sleep is inconvenient and uncomfortable for all of us. So I have brought down my exercise mat, resistance bands, weights, and a workout DVD that I can set up and do in the living room.

I will do my work out on Saturday first thing in the morning so we have plenty of uninterrupted day to get out and enjoy.

Monday, my workout will actually be later in the morning so that I can spend time with my folks before they head back home. Once they are gone, I can move my equipment back upstairs and resume my normal workout routine.

Lots of walking while they are here should be an added bonus.


For me, this is going to be about moderation.

My Mom has already sent me notice of all my favorite treats she’s bringing, and we have reservations out for dinner Saturday night and Sunday brunch. If I’m not careful it could turn into a three-day free-for-all.

Starving myself all day in preparation for a big dinner doesn’t work for me as I get too hungry and significantly overeat at dinner. My normal eating plan includes five to six smaller meals throughout the day, so I’m going to stick with that.

A small piece of the ginger cake my Mom is bringing will be a snack instead of being tacked on the end of a large meal.

Where I can, I will make healthier choices.

When we are eating out, I will immediately pack up at least half of the meals to take home to freeze for a future time so that I won’t overeat.

I will limit alcohol each day to one glass of wine or champagne.

Afternoons are my hardest time, and it’s easy to dive into the nuts, cheese, and crackers that my Mom likes to serve. I will plan that as one of my small meals and be mindful of the portions I am choosing. A good way to do that is to actually portion out what I am going to eat onto a plate instead of just grazing for an hour.

I will be mindful when my stomach says it is full.

I will savor what I am eating in the moment and consciously appreciate it. The full flavor is only experienced in the first few bites. Once I sense the flavor falling off, I will stop eating.

I will look for satisfaction in delicious moments with my parents and husband, I will soak in the ambiance of the restaurants and surroundings, I will bask in the love that I am giving and am being given. I will nurture myself in ways that don’t involve food.

OK! I think I’m ready for a fun and satisfying birthday weekend where the indulgences will satisfy my soul and maintain the wellness of my body. I’ll report how I did in my blog Monday.

How does taking the time to plan how you will maintain your wellness while celebrating special events, holidays, etc., help you achieve your goals? How can you keep a free day from turning into a free-for-all?

Together we can do it!

Three Stress Relieving Tips to Help You Have More Fun

One of my clients was recently giving herself a hard time because a week after moving to a new state and a few days after starting a new job, she wasn’t relaxed. In fact, she was downright stressed.

I call this the Super Woman syndrome. This is the expectation that you can—and have to!—do everything while always being happy and relaxed.

How reasonable is that? Particularly if you are going through some pretty significant life changes?

Now this doesn’t mean that you can’t go through a move and job change feeling relaxed and happy, but regardless of how many people can do that, your reaction is your reaction.

So here are 3 tips to help relieve stress and have more fun.

1—Ease up on yourself, particularly in the moment. Notice your reaction, but let go of the self-judgment as much as possible. Beating yourself up for your reaction—to any situation—is just adding negative fuel to the catabolic fire. It just makes you feel worse and will prolong the stress.

2—Give yourself a little perspective. How much of your day do you feel stressed? Is it 100 percent of the time or were there just some significant moments of overwhelm that colored your perception of your day? Start paying attention to how many good moments you are having.

Begin to track just how much of the time things are going well, you are making progress, you are coping, you are feeling relief, satisfaction, gratitude, and even joy. You might be surprised that there are more of those positive anabolic moments than you thought.

3—Give yourself a break. Being is just as important as doing. Take a moment to slow down. Think about how important a task is before you make yourself do it when you are exhausted and really need a break. Will an unswept floor really crash your day tomorrow? Really?

You are more than just this physical body going through the motions. Letting yourself relax and have some fun—and shifting your attitude so that you are having more fun doing what you are doing—will actually boost your energy level. The result is that you get more done with much less stress.

Together we can do it!

Stop Trying So Hard

Jamaica–the epitome of relaxation!

The Learning Game:

When there is ease and simplicity in your life it’s because earlier you learned a lot.

When there is resistance and obstacles in your life, it’s because there’s even more to learn.

And learning even more is pretty much the main reason everyone is still there.

Class dismissed,
The Universe

My workouts have been hard for the past week or so. I’ve felt low energy while doing them and just have not been able to push like I love to do.

In fact, this morning after doing 15 minutes of intervals on the treadmill, I was toast.

Fortunately, I’ve experienced this before and I know not to be alarmed. And the absolute worst thing I can do is beat myself up about it.

This is temporary. It will pass, and in the meantime, as Tony Horton says, “I’ll do my best and forget the rest.”

Now I think there are a couple of things going on, but the primary thing is I’m trying too darn hard.

I’m in a period of change and there are a lot of things that I “want.” As a result, I’m trying to do it all, to control the outcome, to make it all happen right now.

As I was contemplating my blog this morning and trying too hard was the obvious subject, I was delighted to see a blog by Barbara Mencer in my inbox titled, “Trying Sooooo Hard.”

(Thank you, Universe. I get the message.)

The gist of her blog is that when we really want something, trying harder is not the solution.

She cited a piece that aired on National Public Radio (NPR) on Jamaican sprinters and why so many great runners come from this small island.

To quote Mencer:

“At one point, the man being interviewed, Dennis Johnson … the 72 year old “Philosopher King of Jamaican sprinting” … asks the host this question:

“Have you ever seen Usain Bolt come from the back and rush past the rest of the field?”


“Well that’s not really what you’re seeing. What you saw was the other people tiring first. Because you cannot increase speed after 6 seconds or 60 meters. It’s a physiological impossibility.”

So, what we were actually seeing when we watched Usain Bolt blast past the field in the final 40 meters of the 100 meter race at the Beijing Olympics was not Bolt speeding up, but the other runners slowing down.

He wasn’t kicking it into another gear. He wasn’t willing himself to go faster than the others. In fact, what he was doing better than the others was relaxing. Yeah, it’s completely counter-intuitive, but, in the words of the NPR piece …

“According to Johnson, people have the wrong idea about speed. He says a relaxed sprinter maintains speed, while the sprinter who’s tight, who’s concentrating too much, can tire fast or lose it at the end.”

So, they teach the Jamaican sprinters that if they want to go faster, they need to relax.”

And this is great instruction for all of life.

How do I know I’m not relaxed and in the flow? Low energy workouts is just the symptom of my encountering negative, catabolic thoughts and emotions. I’m having moments of total anxiety that I have to meditate my way out of. I’m reacting to things more than I would like. I sometimes feel like I have a weight on my shoulders.

Negative, catabolic emotions are always letting you know that you are trying too hard, that you are blocking your own wellbeing, that you are getting in your own way. That you aren’t relaxing and letting the positive, anabolic energy flow.

I know I’m letting the anabolic energy flow when I’m feeling excitement and exuberance, and just pure love and appreciation for my life. That is when I’m know I’m headed in the right direction, that I’m moving towards what I want, and that life is on my side.

But as soon as I become aware of catabolic emotions, I need to pay attention and look for a feeling of relief. And trying harder is not the way to do that.

This doesn’t mean hard work isn’t important—no athlete reaches the Olympics without plenty of hard work and disciplined training—but it’s the energy with which you approach it. Hard work can be fun or wearisome. Exhilarating or depleting. Where life is lived to the fullest, or the awful steps you have to make yourself get through to reach your goal.

I think the message for me is that as soon as it stops being fun and starts feeling hard to take my foot off the gas pedal pronto. To evaluate what caused the change, and look at the underlying thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that made me think it should be a struggle or that I wasn’t doing or trying hard enough.

As Mercer pointed out in her blog, it’s about allowing good things to happen rather than trying to force them.

Where are you trying instead of allowing? What difference does that make to your performance? How might relaxing and releasing control actually help you reach your goals more effectively than trying harder?

Together we can do it!

Are You Enjoying the Ride?

For the past week, it’s felt as if the current of the river I’ve been paddling down has sped up and there have been some rocks and rapids to navigate. It’s been an exhilarating ride, and doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down any time soon.

In the past, I totally would’ve gotten stressed out by such a fast-moving current—and I’ll admit to having a few moments of overwhelm—but the opportunity has been to Be Present, and for the most part, I’ve done that pretty well. (Yeah me!)

Most of us think that staying balanced means maintaining our life in equal parts—this amount of time and energy devoted to work, this amount devoted to family, this amount devoted to fun and me time, etc. True balance, however, comes from within. There is no way to control the external factors of life, so we must find a way to be balanced moment-to-moment.

When life speeds up or you hit some rapids—or even run into some rocks—focusing on being in balance internally will help you enjoy the ride rather than have you holding on for dear life.

One of the best ways to do that is to focus on right now. Don’t look at the past or future, but Be Present. Life feels calmer in the moment. There is only what you can do right now—not the overwhelming specter of everything you have to do, or how things have turned out in the past.

Right now, you have the power to choose your response, and if you are not responding as you wish, you have the power to make another choice. Right now you can breathe.

Another way to find balance is to ensure that your self-care is your highest priority so that you’re able to stay in the moment and respond instead of react. This doesn’t mean that your actions won’t have to shift with the situation—you may have to decide between your workout and adequate rest for instance, or you may choose a more nurturing workout, such as yoga over running. Paying attention to your self-care no matter what’s going on ensures that your body and mind have support to help you thrive in the moment.

It’s much easier to stay in the moment and implement self-care during the fast-flowing experiences of life if it is something you practice all the time.

What can you do today to stay present and practice self-care? What difference does that make in how much you enjoy the ride? How does that improve the quality of your life?

Together we can do it!


Photo from www.freedigitalphotos.net


An APPLE for Mental Wellness

Deadlines. I have some long-practiced negative catabolic energy around them that always seems to catch me by surprise.

Yesterday I spent a lot of time and energy either berating myself to focus, which is a lot like slamming your foot down on the gas pedal of a car and then careening out of control, or taking my foot off the gas completely, which feels a lot better but doesn’t get you anywhere.

The end result was that I made a little progress on an article I am writing, but I wasted a lot of time and mental energy that could have been better used.

So today, my plan is to more gently and steadily push down on my mental gas pedal and actually get somewhere. The result will be improved mental and emotional wellness, which are key facets of optimal physical wellness.

Just like the old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” I’m going to apply my APPLE principle, which can be used anywhere you want change.

AwarenessWhat is really going on?

I think at the root of my deadline struggle is fear. Fear that I don’t know what in the heck I’m writing about (particularly if it is a technical subject, which describes just about all of the articles I write.) Fear that all the articles I’ve ever written were just flukes and now the game is up and I won’t be able to do it. Fear that I’m letting people down and negatively impacting others (sources, copy editor, and graphic designer), which comes true when I don’t meet my deadlines. And even fear that I’ll miss out on other things I really want to do, which of course comes true because I’m wasting so much time.

The fear–real or imagined–creates the undesired outcome which just enhances the fear and the spiral gets worse.

PossibilityWhat is a realistic outcome?

I could absolutely finish this article today, or by Noon tomorrow at the latest. And I can have all the articles for the publication I write and edit done by next week.

PatternWhat are the thoughts, beliefs, or behaviors that I need to shift?

  • I am using other things as a distraction—busywork, email, social media, even food (hello extra protein bar that I ate yesterday.)
  • There is some self-bullying going on. When I can’t take the bullying, I reach for a distraction.
  • Ultimately, I’m avoiding engaging the fear and catabolic emotions that come up for me around deadlines.

LearnWhat are new thoughts, beliefs, or behaviors that support Who I want to be?

It’s helpful to recognize that my Gremlin—that inner critic that we all have that tells us we’re not good enough—is behind some of my fears and they are not true. I absolutely know a lot more than I think I do—and I have resources I can turn to if I really need more information. And I’ve been writing this publication for more than 10 years. That’s too consistent a record to be a fluke.

It’s OK to acknowledge the fear and negative consequences. They don’t make me a bad person. And I have proven to myself in other areas—working out, relationships, etc.—that I can still have fears and do the action anyway.

EngageWhat are the actions that will bring new results?

  • One thing that’s worked well for me in the past is focusing on how awesome it will feel when I get the articles written. That will be my renewed mantra.
  • When I am aware of self-bullying or fear, I can stop for a moment and sit with the emotions. And then I can decide to move forward anyway.
  • I can hold off checking and responding to email and put limits on social media.
  • Prioritizing other tasks can help keep me focused.
  • Breaking down the articles into doable pieces and giving myself credit for hitting those marks is another incentive for forward momentum.

Whew! I feel a shift towards more positive anabolic energy and am ready to get moving on this article.

What’s holding you back from being your best self? How can you apply the APPLE principle? How does that help you create sustainable change?

Together we can do it!

Photo from www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Can You Love Life And Be Fit and Healthy?

Are you living as the person you intend to be? Do your actions line up with your desires for the life you want to create?

Often the answer is “No.” For instance, you may want with all your heart to be fit and lean, but you consistently overeat or blow off exercise.

I’m just as guilty of this as anyone else. For the past couple of months, I’ve overeaten or made less than stellar choices on the weekends. While I am happy to say that the over-indulgences weren’t nearly what they would have been in the past, I still made the conscious choices to eat and drink more than is absolutely best for me.

The good news is I’m continuing to make progress on my 18-week Transformation Challenge—I’m more flexible and am getting stronger, I’m seeing muscles develop, and my waist is a little slimmer—but the improvements have definitely slowed.

So the questions I’ve been asking myself for the past couple of days are, “Who do I intend to be and what do I need to do to Be that person?”

One limiting belief I recognized is the feeling that I have to be either or. For instance, either I am fit and lean, Or I enjoy myself with family and friends on the weekends. Is it possible to be fit and lean And enjoy myself with friends and family?

Finding balanceSwitching that Or to And feels much more powerful to me. It’s giving myself permission to  more fully be the person I want to be—and still meet my goals. The key now is to find that balance that lets me speed up my progress And still enjoy my friends and family when I get to see them.

Empowering myself with that “And,” however, may not look like I expect. I think it means I stick to my healthy eating 90 percent of the time, allow myself a little bit less dietary leeway than I have been taking, And figure out how to enjoy myself in other ways than with food.

By making the switch from Or to And, I’m opening myself up to solutions and possibilities that I might not even have noticed before. With a conscious effort to be present, creating a fit and lean body And enjoying friends and family is something I believe can be achieved.

Where are you limiting yourself by using Or instead of And? Do you feel like you have to be successful in business Or have a happy family? Be lean and fit Or are able to enjoy the foods you love?

What happens if you switch Or to And? How does that help you more fully engage in the actions that help you live as the person you intend to be?

Together we can do it!

Photo from www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net