That’s Totally Normal

“When you make a dieting mistake, it’s helpful to NOT use the word “cheat” because “cheating” can have very negative, sometimes moralistic undertones. If you make a mistake in dieting, it doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you a NORMAL person.”

Dr. Judith Beck

When you see someone falter, how does that make you feel? Does their getting back up and keep going inspire you and make you try harder? Does it fill you with glee that the person isn’t so perfect after all, and make you feel justified in not even trying? Does it just remind you that success is a process and their journey is normal for them?

Does your reaction say more about you or about the person who stumbled?

I recently had a fabulous reader tell me that they much preferred my posts where I share my faults and stumbles because they see me as perfect and intimidating and it makes them feel better.

In the past, comments like these used to really bother me. I’m so far from perfect—and don’t try to hide my imperfection—so how could anyone see me that way? This would mean to me that I needed to flay myself open even more and put all of my warts on display to show that if I can do it, anybody can.

In other words, I reacted to their reaction. (Don’t you love that I’m so normal?)

But as hard as I try, the message that “what I can do, so can you” doesn’t always gets through because a person’s response truly is about them. It may be that reader thinks everyone else has it easy and only they struggle. It may be that my faltering makes them feel better because it helps them justify why they aren’t working harder. Who knows?

The bottom line is they are looking outside of their own experience and are judging themselves by how well someone else is doing.

While that can be helpful in normalizing your experience and inspiring you to reach for greatness, more often than not, I think as a society we use any chink in someone’s armor to justify our own limitations. (Here’s a great editorial by Ashley Judd on how society judge’s people on their appearance.)

But the truth is, nobody’s journey looks the same, or follows the same path. How you do it will be as unique as you are. And your journey is perfectly normal for you. Including the stumbles, which are truly a valuable and helpful part of the process.

This was said perfectly in a recent blog from Life Coach Marta Beck where she cited “Success is the opposite of failure” as one of the “Ten Life Lessons You Should Unlearn.”

Fact: From quitting smoking to skiing, we succeed to the degree we try, fail, and learn. Studies show that people who worry about mistakes shut down, but those who are relaxed about doing badly soon learn to do well. Success is built on failure.

So what does it matter if you–or someone else—falters, or even falls? How might what you consider a stumble or failure actually be key to your ultimate success? How might you remember that success is a process and everyone’s journey is normal for them?

To create the life of your dreams, begin to only compare yourself to you. Celebrate all the successes you’ve had, and do more of that. Celebrate all the lessons you’ve learned that are helping guide you to new decisions and actions. Celebrate that you are exactly in the right place on your own journey–and allow others to be exactly in the right place, too.

Together we can do it!

Photo by Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What’s Holding You Back?

One of the benefits of taking on a new challenge is the opportunity to identify and clean-up limiting beliefs and other blocks to your success that absolutely will come up. The quickest way to ferret these blocks out is to pay attention to negative emotions.

When I identified a whiff of discouragement, I knew this was a fabulous opportunity to identify and shift some limiting thoughts, feelings, and beliefs so that they will better support me in achieving my goals, rather than hold me in place.

I am in week two of an 18-week challenge for Transformation Mastery. When I decided to take on this challenge, not only did I set the goal to release 10 pounds of fat and increase my nutrition and fitness level, but I also wanted to let go of lingering fear or limiting beliefs about what I can and cannot do.

My only surprise was that they showed up so quickly!

After a week-and-a-half of eating cleaner than I ever have before, and going after a new high-intensity workout program, I was shocked yesterday when I pulled on my jeans and they were tight. Sure enough, when I stepped on the scale, I was up a pound-and-a-half.

The first thing I did was go into troubleshooting mode and look at what I’ve been eating. What I found was plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean meats and other quality protein, and complex carbohydrates. I had already replaced one cup of coffee a day with a cup of ginger-green tea, and was working on letting go of the second cup so that I would be half-and-half free. Other than adding an apple and a few strawberries here and there, I couldn’t see what the problem was.

So I added up the calories and discovered that I was actually eating between 200 and 300 calories more a day than my goal of 1,800. I wrote out a new plan for the rest of the week that would help me hit my mark and the problem seemingly was solved.

But my Gremlin, that inner critic that likes to tell people they aren’t good enough, took this opportunity to kick in. With this increase in self-criticism, I found myself really struggling with my workout this morning.

The good news is that, as my mentor coach likes to say, your Gremlin shows up when you are about to step into your greatness.

What are the thoughts that were coming up for me that were at the root of this feeling of discouragement?

  • My metabolism is too slow. Maybe my body type just can’t lose weight.
  • What if I get through this and there are no physical changes? I’ve been pretty public about this challenge. Won’t people think I’m a failure?
  • Maybe this is the best my body can look and feel, and I should just accept it.

If left unchecked, these thoughts would lead to actions that would begin to undermine how well I would stick to my eating plan or how much I would challenge myself during workouts. What’s the point of eating clean or pushing yourself if you are only going to fail anyway?

These types of thoughts are normal. We all have doubts, fears, and worries. But the difference between people who achieve their goals and those that don’t is that they learn how to shift their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs to support them.

What are some new thoughts that I can think?

  • My metabolism may be efficient, but everything I am doing can certainly kick it into a higher gear. And I have been fitter, stronger, and leaner in the past, so I absolutely can get there again.
  • If I truly can get through these 18-weeks loving my body enough to consistently feed it high-energy, anabolic foods and move it with intention and intensity, then regardless of any physical changes, I will achieve my goal of being an authentic example of successful weight management, and optimal health and wellness for my clients and everyone I encounter. That’s what matters.
  • If my words and actions are in alignment with my intentions, values, and beliefs and I am allowing myself to be the fullest and most authentic version of me, then it truly doesn’t matter what size I am or what my body looks like.

The emotion these new thoughts generate is confidence and renewed commitment, because for me, this isn’t about being a certain size or body shape, it’s about striving to be the best possible me that I can be.

Are your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs supporting the achievement of your goals, or holding you in place? How can you shift them to better support you? What new feelings does that generate? How does that help you achieve your goals?

Together we can do it!

Photo by Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Stressed Out! Moving From Victim to Empowered

While off celebrating my 20th anniversary, I’m sharing a few of my favorite blogs that you might have missed.

“Stress isn’t something that happens to someone. It’s something someone feels about what’s happening. Your capacity to deal with any outer situation is based on your inner perspective. . . How we see ourselves determines everything.”

Bruce D. Schneider

Are you a victim of stress?

I used to believe stress was created by the situation I was in and that I was powerless to do anything but get through the stressful situation as best as I could.

Now I know that if I see myself as capable, confident, energetic, empowered, and engaged, I will not have the same stress reaction to a deadline, conflict, or anything else in my life that I would if I see myself as overworked, limited, tired, overwhelmed, unappreciated, and unworthy.

The only thing that is different is my perception of where I am in relationship to what is happening.

We are so much more powerful than most of us realize. And we are the creators of the limitations—and the success—that we experience. All it takes is a slight shift in how we see ourselves.

Now when I am feeling stressed, I recognize that I have limited self-thinking going on and can look for ways to shift that faulty belief.

Because I am capable, confident, energetic, empowered, and engaged. And so are you!

What can you do to find those feelings, and believe it?

Together we can do it!

Photo by Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What Are You Thinking?

In yesterday’s blog, I wrote about a wave of negative catabolic emotion that I experienced and what that signaled for me. Today, I want to celebrate how good awesome it feels to shift the underlying thoughts.

What triggered my instant catabolic reaction was a photo on Facebook.

A fabulous friend of mine won tickets to a Broadway play featuring one of my favorite actors, Alan Rickman, and she invited me to go. I was so excited!

Interestingly, when she found out the date, it turned out that I had created a situation that required me to be in traffic court the same day, so I choose to decline the overnight trip to New York. Another friend of ours was readily able to go in my place, and I felt good about my choice.

I was fully present during my traffic-court experience and even enjoyed the afternoon trip. The outcome couldn’t have been better.

The first thing I saw yesterday when I logged onto the computer was photos of my friends getting the autograph of the awesome Mr. Rickman. My instant catabolic reaction was, “That was supposed to be me!”

What we are feeling is tied directly to what we are thinking, and that thought felt horrible.

There are an infinite number of ways I could have reacted to this jealous-feeling, but the ones that feel most typical are:

  • I could have jumped into the story about how unfair it was that I didn’t get to go to New York and made myself the victim.
  • I could have focused on the fact that I was feeling jealousy and beaten myself up for experiencing such a horrible emotion.
  • I could detach myself from judgment and use that emotion as a guidepost to examine my underlying thoughts.

Our emotions are a derivative of either love or fear. My fear-based jealous reaction was an absolute signal to me to stop! To recognize that I had some underlying thoughts going on that are not helping me create the life of my dreams. Nor is that how I want to show up as a friend.

The anabolic best possible version of me would absolutely celebrate the joy and success of my friends and that is who I want to be.

For me, this feeling of jealousy is based in an old belief in lack—lack of money, lack of time, lack of luck to be in the right place at the right time. It’s exceptionally important for me to realize that these thoughts are percolating under the surface to begin consciously shifting them to a heart-based knowing that everything is always working out for me.

The new thoughts I am choosing to think are:

  • My friends’ having this magical experience in no way detracts from what I am capable of experiencing. In fact, it is a wonderful indicator of the amazing things I am letting into my life.
  • I am always in the right place at the right time. My life is unfolding in Divine timing and I relax as I remember that perfection.
  • Alan Rickman is on my anabolic team, and the Universe can absolutely create remarkable opportunities for me to encounter my team-mates.
  • My friends truly deserve to have such an amazing and magical experience, and I thrill at adding to and celebrating their joy.

I knew my energy was shifted on this as I read an e-mail from my friend this morning sharing what an incredible experience it was and how much she wished I had been with her. There was no lingering jealousy; only the desire to hear all the details and to celebrate her wondrous experience.

And that feels wonderful!

When you notice you’re feeling catabolic emotion, ask yourself what you are thinking. Practice becoming the master of your thoughts rather than their victim.

Together we can do it!

Photo of Times Square in New York by Damian Brandon / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Take One Small Step

How are those New Year’s Resolutions coming? Are you still plugging away or have they been put aside to show up on next year’s list?

One of the things that can cause people to pass on meeting their wellness goals is the overwhelming feeling that can come from trying to go from chip-eating coach potato to food-measuring athlete all at once.

There really is no rule that says you have to change all of your behaviors at once to succeed.

I didn’t.

Three years ago, for various reasons I went from a runner to a walker to not doing any exercise at all. During that period of inactivity, I didn’t curb my eating and pretty quickly reached my heaviest weight ever.

I found myself starting over with exercise and losing weight—again. And it didn’t feel good.

It actually took some mental preparation and the support of a friend to overcome the inertia to get out of bed and start exercising. At first, all I did was walk. I didn’t even look at my diet. I just focused on getting out of bed every morning and moving. That is what I counted and celebrated as success.

To begin, I set a minimum goal of 10 minutes a day, and then I went up to two hours a week. Slowly and steadily, I increased my exercise goals until I was back up to a fitness level that felt good. By then, I had only lost 5 pounds and I knew it was time to take on the eating.

And even that was a process of cutting back on portions and making better and better choices. Heck, I’m still looking for ways to eat cleaner and healthier. (If you had told me three years ago that I had to drink protein shakes with spinach in them, I would have quit in in horror. Now that’s something I want to do, but it was something I had to build up to.)

Yes, it took me a year to lose 34 pounds and get back into great shape. But at the end of that year I was a lot happier having slowly and steadily made those small decisions towards a healthier lifestyle than to try to do too much at once and give up, only to be faced with the same goal and results a year later.

What small decision can you make today that will move you towards a healthier lifestyle? Do that for a week and then look for another tiny step to make. Do that consistently and you will build momentum and achieve your goals. Do that consistently and next January 1 you will be celebrating your success rather than being faced with the daunting decision to start over once again.

Together we can do it!

Photo by anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Take Back Control

I wasn’t the best possible version of myself last week. Suffice it to say that my being physically and mentally tired is a prime opportunity for me to take my Gremlin’s trash-talk seriously. By Saturday, my inner-two-year-old was in full control and I literally threw a temper-tantrum. (Sorry about that Honey!)

The good news is I knew it was time to take back control. Not only did I get plenty of rest over the weekend, but I spent a good part of yesterday meditating and reconnecting with my Higher Self.

If I was a computer, it would have been the equivalent of rebooting.

One of the insights I had was that I had slipped into looking outside myself for confirmation of my progress and success.

This is exactly how so many of us get in our own way of creating the life of our dreams.

The only true barometer of success is how you feel.

Positive anabolic emotion is your notice confirming that you are inviting the Universe (God, Source Energy, All-That-Is, Higher Coach—whatever works for you) to work miracles on your behalf.

You only have to look to your body for physical evidence of the power of this energy. Anabolic energy generates positive chemical processes that literally rebuilds cells and generates cell-to-cell communication that facilitates healing and optimal health.

Negative catabolic emotion is your shut-off notice. It’s the message from the Ultimate Power Source that you have cut off service. It’s your declaration that you are going to go it alone.

Catabolic energy generates stress hormones that literally attack and destroy your cells and immune system. Chronic catabolic energy can lead to heart-disease and stroke, and other serious illness.

Most of us are so conditioned to catabolic emotions that we’re not even aware that what we’re focused on is generating negative emotion. If we were—and truly understood what it was doing to our body, minds, and spirit—we would shift our focus pronto. But we’ve gotten used to it. It feels normal. As a result, we’re confused when our bodies start screaming at us to change our focus and we take an aspirin instead.

And it can be easy to fall back into those patterns. I was doing it last week. When my Gremlin started telling me I wasn’t good enough, instead of thanking it for it’s input and sticking to what I know is true, I started focusing on what’s missing from my life and what I was doing “wrong.” I was beating myself up for things that are outside of my control, which made it that much harder to move forward on the things that I can control, and I got caught up in that negative spiral that just feeds on itself.

This is why being focused on your goals is tricky. If you are focused on them with confidence and knowing that your success is already a done-deal, get out of the way! You’re leveraging the power of All-That-Is on your behalf. But most of us focus on our goals and notice that we don’t have them, yet, and that they’re hard to achieve. We spend a lot of time looking for signs that we’re making progress, only to get frustrated and discouraged when they don’t come fast enough.

If you stop and notice how those two perspective’s feel you can detect the anabolic and catabolic energy. Being in catabolic energy doesn’t mean you won’t meet your goals, but it means you’re picking the much harder road, and the journey will take a significant toll on your body, mind, and spirit.

So we can meet our goals and consistently feel good and supported, or we can meet our goals and consistently feel tired and frustrated, and like the Universe is out to get us.

I don’t know about you, but I choose to feel good!

Together we can do it!

Photo by markuso / FreeDigitalPhotos.net