Recently, I started a Journey of L.O.V.E challenge for my subscribers. I asked my audience to embrace self-love in various ways for 40 days. Clients are challenged to do various things, such as come up with a daily mantra, like "I am happy, strong, and capable," or to find 1-3 things they love about themselves each day, such as "I have an infectious laugh; I have strong forearms; I cook amazing." I decided to create this challenge for various reasons. One reason being the increased issues I see within American culture to compare oneself to others due to the ramifications of social media, mainly Instagram. What I observe are people expressing feelings of not being enough or feeling bad about themselves when they look at people's photos, which provide only life highlights and not the real thing. What I notice are increased feelings of depression, and I'm not okay knowing so many people are caught up in this mess, which is why I created the challenge. The platform I am ironically using for this challenge is in fact Instagram. The purpose of my challenge is to hopefully, positively impact some people to stop comparing themselves to others, and to embrace themselves more.
Since I started the challenge, has meant that I have to lead the challenge and participate in the challenge. Very early on a profound exclamation came out of me. I discovered on the third day of my Journey of L.O.V.E that one thing I love about myself is that I am an accomplished athlete! Yet, on places like Instagram, what is being advertised as an athlete is often not the case. As a female athlete, I feel I need to stand by the meme: In a world full of fitness models, be an athlete. In my opinion, athleticism is radically different than being a fitness model.
On Journey of L.O.V.E. Day 3, I decided I was going to focus on one thing I absolutely love about myself: I love that I am an accomplished athlete! On this day, I made it very clear on a social media post that an athlete is a person who has skills and TALENT within athletics (e.g. eye hand coordination, explosive power, stamina, the ability to visualize space and move through space with fluidity). Athletes are kinesthetic people. Athletes know how to connect with their bodies and adapt their bodies to various situations. Athletes often have quick reflexes, too. Athletes are generally driven to the point of obsession to be the best in their sport. When an athlete is injured, or unable to use their body, it is mentally discouraging and physically depressing. Athletes are people who have to physically work hard to feel complete. Athletes are people who need constant movement to feel like their lives have purpose. Athletes love the feel of elevated heart rates, sweat, and being pushed to exhaustion. Athletes are often people who see food as fuel, and eat in a way to provide them the best performance. For my athletes reading this, you know exactly what I am talking about. However, I personally feel that social media platforms, like IG, are confusing people, particularly women, with the true notion of what it means to be an athlete.
To begin, I think it is wonderful that more women and men want to get in shape, eat better, and strive for a body that they feel comfortable living in. This post is not about casting judgement on anyone pursuing a healthier lifestyle. Actually, this post is trying to minimize damage to huge problems we already have in our society: comparing ourselves to others, falsely advertising products, and the objectification of the female body for fitness, marketing profit.
First, I want to make it clear that working-out and exercising are not necessarily athleticism or training. To workout everyday is amazing and I completely support it. It takes discipline and dedication, but it’s not talent or athletics. Can it evolve into a sport or athletics? Yes, it most certainly can, but it does not have to evolve into an athletic endeavor. I do not even consider all people who participate in modern, regional bodybuilding shows to be athletes. Yet, at the national and pro-level of bodybuilding, I admire many life-long athletes, who turned to bodybuilding as a way to strive for competitions when they could no longer participate in a sport they once loved.
Likewise, being pretty does not make someone an athlete. However, it is the people with the pretty faces and overall, aesthetic package which get the biggest followers on social media, and support from some supplement and clothing companies. I see this typically happen more with women than with men, and this connects back to the underlying issue within western society to objectify women for marketing profit. In defense of female athletes, all the pictures I've used for this blog are to show the array which athleticism for women actually looks like. What a female athlete looks like and what companies project female athletes look like is drastically different than what gets recognition for many companies on places like Instagram. https://www.instagram.com
I would like to add, that athletes are the ones who can do more than dumbbell curls or look great in a bikini. Athletes are competitive creatures who need to work toward goals constantly. Athletes are always pushing themselves to either find a new PR (personal record for a one max rep https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/other7.htm) for their deadlift, a faster pace for their mile, a new record for their laps in the pool, taller waves to drop from, a better landing for their round-offs, or to jump a further distance with their long jump. Whatever their sport is, a true athlete always wants to be the best, and when a true athlete is training it's not all about looks; rather, it's about performance. This isn't to say a female athlete can't chose to wear makeup to train or play a sport; rather, it means that what is valued more is being their best much more than looking the part. And let’s be honest, you can tell the difference between a real athlete and someone just trying to look the part.
In defense of supplement companies, I can understand why they turn to people who are aesthetically pleasing to sell their products because sex sells. We live in a capitalistic society, so whatever sells is what companies are going to use because money wins at the end of the day for business owners. However, who a supplement company or fitness apparel company uses as a model to advertise for them does not mean the person is an athlete. I can always tell who is truly an athlete or not just by exploring the model's social media page. When I explore a person’s site, who is marked as an athlete, and nothing they post is related to sports, strength, or fitness I feel annoyed, frustrated, and discouraged. As a female athlete, it tells me that sex appeal trumps athletic ability, and this to me is not okay. In my opinion, it is archaic thinking. In my opinion, this is where a shift in marketing needs a make-over.
I know I cannot change society alone, debunk the beauty myth alone, or see my opinions turn to reality overnight. What I can change, however, is who I support in the fitness industry. Starting now, I will only support companies and people who are true to athletes, sports, and fitness and nutrition experts. I’m doing this for my own respect as an athlete, scholar, coach, trainer, and humanitarian. I am also making this conscience choice for young girls and boys. In my opinion, our youth needs role models who truly represent what it means to be an athlete. I feel this decision will help our youth to see the true beauty of sports, bodies, strength, and talent. Hopefully, my decisions can create a ripple affect by encouraging more people to do the same. Hopefully, overtime, companies can start giving more credit to where credit is deserved.
We have just one life to live, and that should be enough if you do it right. Yet, for many of us, acting upon our life vision is where the challenge lies. Along our journey through life we hit many obstacles. We experiences stalls. We also go through periods of highs and lows. Yet, there is something within in us that keeps us going. I believe what keeps us going is our vision for a better life; a new day; another chance at living. It's the inner drive to keep dreaming and to make the IT happen!
Over the last couple of months, I have realized a few things about creating the ideal life. In fact, my vision has become so strong that I want to share with you the process to make your ideal life happen. The steps below are all the ways I have been able to live a life as a bodybuilder, yoga teacher, educator, health coach, writer, model, and mentor.
1. If you really want something you have to be willing to endure sacrifice. If you’re not willing to let something go to gain what you want then you never really wanted IT in the first place.
2. You must be consistent and patient. These come hand-in-hand. You can’t expect instant reward or overnight success. Those ten, twenty, sixty minutes of work a day you put toward a goal add up over time. You have to TRUST the process and TRUST YOURSELF, and NEVER GIVE UP!
3. You have to work hard, be open to receiving help, and gravitate toward like minded people. You cannot do everything alone. Find allies. Build a team. Generally, more minds are better than one.
4. Believe in yourself. You are capable of anything. You just have to believe it and act on it.
Before the start of a new week, I like to give myself the opportunity to look ahead, get grounded, and reset my focus and intentions. To live a soulful life, and a life full of purpose, takes constant reflection and self-examination. It is not easy to examine our flaws; nor is it easy to be a better version of ourself each day. To continue to grow into our best version takes a tremendous amount of hard-work. The work for self-improvement forces us to be honest and open with ourself. In fact, daily sacrifices, or steps to enhance our mind, body, and spirit truly speaks to our personal character and inner-soul. Daily decisions are a testament of our personal faith, courage, love, and discipline. To live a life uncommon can at times be painful, but it is the overcoming of obstacles, internally and externally, which makes life worth living.
7 Steps For Living With Soul
Every Sunday I rest and reset. I call it Soulful Sunday. My Soulful Sundays are approached in these seven ways. I hope you find them inspiring and can apply the steps to your own life.
1. Connect with my spirit, my faith, my prayers (e.g. church, yoga class, meditation).
2. Rest and/or some form of therapy: sleep, body work, relaxation, a walk.
3. Meal Prep. Preparation is the key to success. Luck isn’t necessary when I’m prepared. Timing with preparation equates to daily victories.
4. Examine my money (stop hiding from money) and figure out a plan to be better with it.
5. List ways, and take action, to live more in the light and with less toxicity (e.g. get ride of food temptations; stay away from toxic/negative people and places).
6. I remind myself that being genuine is the key to life. I strive to live with kindness and to be true. I plan to keep walking on the path of righteousness; to keep doing "the work." I remind myself that this path can hurt because I may find myself alone (I find journaling/writing is helpful for this reflective practice).
7. Keep growing: mentally, physically, and spiritually. Everyday, I do things to help grow my mind as much as my body and vice versa (take time to learn a new language, read, write, listen to podcasts or lectures).
Remember: Daily sacrifices are a testament of faith, courage, love, and discipline. It takes heart to get anywhere worth being in life.
As a fitness lifestyle coach, one thing I have noticed about first world people is their habitual nature to go, go, go. Most people from industrialized countries are workaholics who are poorly fed, highly caffeinated, dehydrated, under exercised, over stressed, and lacking enough sleep. All these factors cause major health problems in the long run. The one area that I find troubles most working adults, and adults with children, is the lack of sleep. Even adults who claim to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night are often getting less than that due to stress induced dreams, trouble staying asleep, trouble breathing while sleeping, or some other sleep impairment. Without enough sleep it makes it ten times more challenging to reach fitness goals. To avoid having to use any type of drug to promote sleep, I recommend paying attention to the micro-nutrients in food that promote better sleep.
Over the years, I have learned the value and importance of fiber rich diets. Fiber rich diets not only support better digestion and feeling full, but fiber rich diets also help with better sleep. Often times, when we increase our fiber content from foods like dark, leafy greens we start to crave less sugar and processed foods. Our body's brain begins to recognize what feels good and we start to crave more of the good stuff and less of the bad, processed stuff. What is actually happening when we eat right is a release of melatonin.
Melatonin is a hormone which helps to control our sleep cycles. In fact, you can find melatonin in fruits and vegetables, not just through supplements. A diet rich in fiber increases the amount of melatonin in your system, which helps to promote restorative sleep. My clients know that I make veggies a free food. I would never restrict the amount of green veggies that they eat throughout the day because I want them to feel full and satisfied. If my clients feel satisfied after a meal they are less likely to crave processed, high sugary foods. This improves their overall health, which includes their sleep habits.
Other micronutrients to consider for improving sleep are vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B. Both vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, can be found in foods like salmon, sardines, yogurt, nuts, and eggs. These foods help to regulate the release of serotonin in the brain, and help to regulate sleep cycles. Magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B help the body to be more relaxed and feel good. When the body feels good and is relaxed, we produce more serotonin and our central nervous system can be more at ease. Being at ease helps sleep patterns, reduces the risk of disease, helps people overcome mental health disorders like depression and anxiety, and helps people to conquer weight loss goals.
Below is a list of researched micronutrients and hormones to help support sleep cycles. The foods listed are all part of the diets I create for each client. As a coach, I am not just concerned with the outer appearance of my transformation clients. I am highly concerned about what is happening internally. Before we can change our outside world, we have to take care of the inside world. May we all have deep, restful sleep, so we can be happier, fuller people.
1. Melatonin: Bananas, cherries, flaxseeds, bell peppers, raspberries
2. Serotonin: Bananas, kiwis, pecans, pineapples, plums, tomatoes, walnuts
3. Omega-3: Eggs, flaxseeds, salmon, sardines, trout, walnuts, potatoes
4. Magnesium: Almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, extra dark chocolate, salmon, yogurt
5. Potassium: Squash, avocados, bananas, salmon, sweet potatoes
6. Tryptophan: Eggs, spinach, turkey
7. Vitamin B: Avocados, bananas, bulgur, pistachios, salmon, brown rice, sesame seeds
8. Vitamin D: Eggs, mushrooms, salmon, sardines, turkey, yogurt
list supported by
Journal of Medicinal Food
Let's admit it, successful people are captivating. When we see a person we deem as successful we notice many wonderful merits about them. Successful people just have spice, flavor, and magic to them. It's almost as if they can walk on water! For people who are struggling to get even the basics down in life, successful people can seem like gods, or even non-human. The funny thing is that successful people are no different than any common person. What makes successful people successful is the difference in how they use their 24 hours in a day compared to a person just floating through life. In all my research, self-practices, and encounters with success and successful people I have found ten things that cannot be ignored for creating life-long success. To have and maintain success there are 10 methods which need to be adopted into daily life.
Brenna's 10 Methods for Success
1. Set and Commit to Daily Goals/Agenda/Commitments with a Calendar.
Setting daily goals/agendas/commitments with a calendar is much different than a to-do-list. To-do lists are great, but a calendar marks your actions throughout a month in a big visual way. Plus, with today's smart phone technology, successful people use the calendar system to remind themselves to do everything from working out, eating on time, getting to bed on time, and/or waking up early. My most successful clients calendar everything and make dates/commitments with themselves.
2. Consistent Routines.
We all know that consistency is key for lifelong habits, body transformation, and reaching goals. Being consistent is part of every successful person's vocabulary.
3. ACTION DRIVEN, PERSISTENT, and HARDWORKING.
Successful people are the ones who walk the walk and talk the talk. They are persistent toward all their goals and visions. They simply won't quit. Their work ethic is just impeccable. They know when to rest, but they have the drive of a thousand horses.
4. Efficient with Energy and Time
Successful people are the best at time management. They often get up early, set bed times, and know how to delegate tasks based on level of need or challenge. Successful people are resourceful. They know how to get help with tasks, and aren't afraid to put together frames of structure, so that tasks can be completed more efficiently.
Successful people know how to network. They are generally people persons. They understand the value of politics, and they understand that no man is an island. They welcome collaboration, cooperation, and communication. Successful people understand that in order to be successful they need to work with the best in whatever industry is their niche.
6. Practice Self-Care
Successful people take good care of themselves. They eat right. They want quality food in their life because they value their health. Successful people make time for exercise for the same reason they eat right: they know their health matters. They also stay on top of doctor visits and routine check-ups.
7. Reflective and Intuitive
Successful people are reflective individuals that have developed a skill for self-awareness. They reflect daily on their thoughts, actions, and words. In fact, many top successful people meditate. Meditation helps to be more reflective and open to the possibilities of one's future and life goals. Successful people are very intuitive, mainly because they are so reflective. Their ability to reflect is also why they have high emotional intelligence. They are self-aware and tapped in. They can also read people extremely well because they are great at networking and putting themselves out there. They are always listening, whether to themselves or to the people in their network.
8. Accept Responsibility and All Actions
Successful people are beyond responsible. If they say they are going to do something they do it! They also admit when they made a mistake or were wrong. Successful people never blame or play victim.
9. Move Forward
Successful people move forward no matter what. They do not see mistakes as failure. They never give up.
10. Lifelong Learners
All successful people desire to keep on learning and growing. Successful people invest in themselves. They either hire a coach, trainer, attend seminars or retreats, or take classes to keep them at the top of their game. The best like to learn from the best.
In the last five years, I have come realize some very important things about food. Food is the most personal and intimate choice a person can make in their life. I have come understand that our food choices help to illuminate our identity. Food defines us culturally. Food can reflect our political stance. Our choice in food reflects our level of knowledge and education. Food even sets people apart economically. Our relationship with food can be either healthy, obsessive, destructive, or detached. Have you ever examined your relationship to food? Do you have patterns with your relationship to food? How is your relationship the same or different from when you were a child? Food is so fascinating, and to me it is the one way to really heal our world because food is everything.
When clients come to me ready to transform, I'm not just wanting to help them to develop better habits with fitness, but to develop a better relationship with food. Food is intimate. Food is personal. Food brings up many emotions and beliefs about ourselves. Think about it. Do you find yourself turning to tastes, treats, meals, or flavors when you are experiencing an emotion? Do you get nostalgic for certain foods during the holidays or months of the year? Do you ever punish yourself with food (this includes deprivation and glutenous behavior)? Do you pleasure yourself or others with food? I am sure you answered yes to one or more of these questions.
I think one of the cruelest or insensitive things we can do is to criticize a person's food choices. I am dead serious. I will never forget when I was in 5th grade and I teased a girl for eating a generic brand of yogurt. Can you believe that? This girl was incredibly poor and my commentary about her choice in food was my way of telling her my family had more money and better access to resources than her family. I still cringe when I think about that day. Fortunately, my teacher kindly helped me to see how cruel I was being, and to this day I am highly sensitive to people's choices with food because our food is connected to so much more than survival and getting energy.
I am not sure if it was karma, but since becoming a bodybuilder I have earned my fair share of food criticism and questions. I'll be honest, so many times it literally infuriated me. I would think to myself, "I'm just eating broccoli and chicken, why are you questioning me, criticizing me, and staring at my food with judgmental eyes?" The comments and questions I received often made me feel embarrassed and alienated. What I came to realize though was that people were curious. It was if people wanted to know if my food was magical and if I had some secret trick to getting my body to transform based on food choice. Then, I began experiencing people shaming themselves in front of me for their food choices. For example, people feeling the need to explain why they were eating McDonald's when I never even asked a question. I would simply say: No judgement. It's okay. No need to explain. Talk about food being personal and a source of great intimacy.
Let me tell you, though, my chicken is no different than yours. My kale is not sprinkled with fairy dust, and my water is not from the fountain of youth. My food choices, however, come from years of education and inner personal work. I have learned that by better understanding nutrition I could transform my body. I have learned that through logging my food I could recover from an eating disorder I had as a teen. I have learned through the cooking of my own food that I could connect with my own creativity and culture. By cooking my own food, I also realized I didn't need to be dependent on fast food or packaged food products. I have also learned that the sharing of food brings me closer to people in my life. Food is not just energy. Food is everything.
If you really want to transform your life, the most important thing you need to do is get in touch with your food. Once you get connected to food, then you can move into the world of nutrition. Once you move into the world of nutrition, you can move into nurturing yourself. Once you begin to nurture yourself with proper nutrients and nutrition, that's when you begin to heal and transform your life.
Below are a series of questions to help you come to some realizations about your relationship to food. I want you to pay attention to patterns, gaps, or sensitive areas that you may have with the questions. What do you notice? Where are some areas you feel need work? Never doubt the power food has over our lives, our emotions, our thoughts, or our beliefs about ourselves and the world. Mind-Soul Bodybuilding is all about helping people to truly transform, so if you need support with food please reach out.
Food Is Personal Exercise
Below are a series of questions to you can either answer in your mind or jot down. You may find that these questions inspire you to journal. You may even want to have a dialogue with a friend about these questions. Better yet, these questions may help you realize that you need support and coaching with complete mind-soul-body transformation.
1. Do you use food to comfort yourself when you feel sad, depressed, dejected, at a loss, confused, angry, or lonely?
2. Do you pleasure yourself with food? Does sharing food make you feel happy? Do you like to cook for others?
3. Are you a food tyrant or extremist? Do you judge or criticize others for their food choices or where they shop for food? Do you criticize yourself about your eating choices?
4. Does sharing food make you anxious? Do you hoard food?
5. Which statement do you say more: "I can't eat that" vs. "I don't want to eat that"? Do you recognize how each statement is drastically different in terms of control and personal choice?
6. Do you cook your own food or do you eat out? What keeps you from cooking?
7. Do you reject or fear foods from any particular ethnic or cultural group? Why? Have you ever considered your relationship to cultural acceptance or bias? Have you ever examined your relationship to racism or classism?
8. Do you envy people's food choices? Do you avoid social gatherings if food is involved?
9. Do you forget to eat? In what other ways do you lack self-care?
10. Do you follow food trends or believe in food fads?
The road of my life hasn't been easy, like so many living souls. There have been times when I felt like I didn't belong anywhere. In those moments, I would stop, breathe deep, look up toward heaven, and let my heart speak, so my restless mind could quiet. My heart would whisper to me, reminding me I have always belonged, and most importantly that I am worthy of everything I imagine to be. With my angel wings wrapped around me, I persist forward on my path dedicated to loving kindness. For real strength comes when I allow my wild heart to be free and unwavering in my vision of heaven on earth. With love, I give all of me.
As an educator and coach, I find myself giving copious amount of advice and sharing words of wisdom. On social media, I make a point to intentionally post motivational words, memes, and videos that show the real me. A sage, however, I am not. I am an everyday woman who is earnestly trying to live out her dreams, and live by the guidance of her heart. In my opinion, however, approaching life from the heart, is the most courageous path to follow. It is a righteously, rebellious path, an adventurous path, it is at times a painful path, but it is undoubtedly a beautiful way to live.
Living from our heart does not mean living recklessly or impulsively. It does not mean we let go of logic. It simply means we are tapped in to our essence. When we get grounded in our heart, we are more in-tune with our intuition. Now, for all my heady people out there, I have exercises for you to try-out, so you can get more connected with your heart.
5 Ways to Get In-Touch
With The Voice of Your Heart
1. When able, go for a ten-minute-plus walk. Being outside and walking is a great way to clear the mind and calm the nerves. Try to leave the cell phone behind and completely disconnect. Music can help some people, but for others it stimulates emotions too much. I'll let you decide which way to go with music. When walking, allow yourself to listen to your breath. Get quiet in your walking meditation and really try to listen to your inner voice. As you focus on your breath, your mind gets quiet. With the mind quiet, you can get grounded in your core. When we ground into our core, we are able to create the space needed to hear our true inner knowing. This is one way to tap into our intuition, without having to do seated meditation.
2. Take the decision you are trying to make and list out the pros and cons and let the results help you get insight. How you emotionally respond to the list will provide you with answers. Allow yourself to reflect on those feelings before making a decision. And remember, you don't need to do everything overnight. Rome was not created in a day.
3. Another method for decision making, is by creating a list of 5-10 questions related to what is conflicting you. Once you have your questions (preferably non-negotiable/value type of questions) see how you immediately respond to them with no think time. What is your first reaction? If you are conflicted in a relationship, do the same thing. Make a list of 5-10 non-negotiable/value/lifestyle questions and see how each person responds. The results are very revealing and should help you make your next move.
4. Do some out loud self-talk. Talk to yourself as you would talk to a friend who is conflicted or needing help with a life decision. See what happens when you give yourself a pep talk with loving kindness. I suggest doing this after a nice walk, and in a time and place where you know you won't have any interruptions.
5. Find 4 images: One image to represent your career dream; one image to represent your love life dream; one image to represent your fun or pleasure dream; and one image to represent your financial dream. You can keep these images separate and pin them in various locations, or make a collage to put in one central location. Visual images are very helpful in manifesting our ideal life, and if you place those images somewhere that you'll see often it will motivate you to stay dedicated to your dreams.
Living from the heart is not always easy because it forces us to be true to ourselves, and for many people that is a scary thing. Many people, especially women, give up their dreams to live "safe," or for another person. Living safe, and for another person, however, isn't living. It's selling out. Compromising your heart's desire means denying everything you are worthy of receiving. If you are conflicted with a life decision, or just needing that extra push to help you move toward your dreams, then try out my methods. Methods or not though, you already know what to do. I know you hear your heart. Listen. Your heart will never guide you wrong. Live life fully. Live from your heart.
I highly encourage you to go get a DXA scan if you are wanting a realistic and holistic approach to transforming your body. A DXA scan gives you information related to your total body composition and bone density. I had mine yesterday, and it was pretty exciting to know how fit I really am these days, consider the challenges I've faced all year trying to get to my ideal physique.
I found out that I am in the elite percentile for body fat percentage for women of my age group. Now, my BF is on the high end for elite athletes, but now I have a specific target that I want to address with my training. Specifically, I want to focus on the fat in my upper thighs. With a DXA Scan, you can also get specific about your target areas.
The DXA told me that my bones are stronger than 99% of the population. I have 0% Visceral (VAT) Tissue percentage (this is tissue around the abdomen that is associated with metabolic diseases like Type 2 diabetes). The muscular distribution on my body is completely symmetrical, which is very rare according to the analyst. Pretty awesome! I plan to adjust my training and nutrition to reach my fitness goals. The scale tells me I'm fat. The scan tells me I'm a bad ass!
What Is A DXA SCAN?
A DXA Scan helps people with fitness goals measure what matters most. How often have you looked at progress picutres or the scale and felt like nothing was changing or good enough? Well, a DXA Scan can change that way of thinking and seeing yourself.
The DXA Scan is the most accurate way to measure body fat and bone density. In the scan, you will find out the specific amount of fat tissue that your body carries and where it is distributed. You will find out how much of your body is made up of lean muscle tissue, and where your greatest muscular development is located. You will also find out the quantity of "unhealthy" fat embedded around your organs. This "unhealthy" fat is known as visceral fat and it is the fat that is around your abdomen. This is the fat that leads to metabolic diseases like Type 2 Diabetes. Lastly, this test will show you how dense and healthy your bones are, and how strong they are compared to others in your age and gender bracket.
For people living in California or Central Texas, use the company Body Spec. If you are outside these areas, google DXA Scanning and get yourself an appointment. It is totally worth it. It's affordable and only takes ten minutes. I recommend doing it every 3-6 months to monitor progress.
If you are wanting help creating accountability in your life, and an approach to fitness that is not only backed by research, but is also balanced and maintainable, then please check out my website for pricing details on programs or message me directly. All plans are created individually. No plan is the same! Getting a DXA scan could help us reach your goals in a more specific manner. Let's get started!
How to Overcome a Disappointing Setback
We have all been there. Everyone has experienced a major disappointing setback. Most people have experienced the loss of a job, a lover, a friend, or a commitment. Pretty much everybody has had to pick themselves up off the ground and basically start over. I have had to start over many times in my life, and I am sure I will have to pick myself up many more times in the future. It is exhausting to consider all the valleys and hills we must get through in this life. Yet, it is the obstacles we overcome that make us stronger, both mentally and spiritually.
At this current moment you may be on the ground frustrated and angry about your disappointment. You may be in the process of picking yourself back up, but you are struggling to lace up those boots and keep trekking. You may be back on your path, but you keep tripping because you fail to look forward. If you are in any of those positions take this time to consider my 10 tips for getting over a disappointing setback. Moving forward may not be an overnight success, but if you apply just one of the ten tips then you are on your path back to happiness and greater opportunity.
1. Acknowledge the Event
First of all, acknowledge what happened. Try to look at the situation from an objective point of view. What were the factors leading up to this event? What caused this event to unfold? See the setback for what it was: a brief moment in time.
2. Practice Acceptance
Now that you were able to acknowledge the event, it's time to accept the disappointment. Recognize that this setback was merely a moment in time, and like all moments in time it will pass. Accept your role in the event. Accept your behavior in the event.
3. Eliminate Blame
You're doing a great job so far. You've managed to acknowledge the disappointment and you are practicing acceptance of what transpired. The third thing you must do is to eliminate blame. This is so hard to do. It's so hard because we want to be victimized when things go wrong. We want somebody else to be the "bad guy." We want to place blame on a person, our stress level, our lack of sleep, our lack of discipline, our lack of control, or our lack of compromise. Regardless of who or what was part of the equation, you have to let go of blame. No person is to blame. No circumstance is to blame. What happened was friction. What happened was collapse. What happened was a shift in direction. Acknowledge the event, practice acceptance, and eliminate blame. Then, go call a trusted friend!
4. Have a Sounding Board
Make sure the person you open up to about this setback has your heart and best interest in mind. Make sure the person you talk to will not make you feel worse. Make sure the person you talk to helps you to gather optimism, hope, and clarity. Make sure your sounding board is a person who makes you feel safe to be the mess of a person that we all tend to be from time to time. And don't be afraid to have more than one sounding board because everyone we open up to can help us to gather more perspective on life.
5. Take Time to Gather Perspective
Venting to your sounding board was probably a cathartic experience. From here put that therapy to good use. Think about what your trusting friend or family member had to say to help you get back on your path. I recommend having some alone time to journal, or go for a run, or take a long bath. Whatever you decide to do to clear your mind, and get re-centered, let it be because you are open to new opportunity.
6. Be Open to New Opportunity
All set backs provide us with new opportunity. Either that opportunity will unfold into a new job, or a new lover, or a new way of approaching a diet. Whenever we fall down, we can only get back up and embrace a new way of moving forward. This time when you move forward take with you new solutions.
7. Look for Solutions
You're over blaming. You've had your time to process and vent. You're also open to new opportunity-even if it is scary. This means you are taking new, purposeful strides in life to get where you need to be. You are becoming a problem solver. Figure out ways to bring more happiness into your life. If you know that you have a sweet-tooth then do not buy sweets to have in the house because you know that will derail your diet. Pay attention to red flags the next time you start dating, and do not compromise your values for the fear of loneliness. If you feel stuck in your fitness journey then hire a trainer or seek a recreation class. If you feel lonely then call a friend for a coffee date, or signup for a community class. Find little solutions each day that will bring YOU happiness and guide you toward your ideal life.
8. Reassess Your Direction by Listening to Your Intuition
Listening to your intuition is priceless. If your gut tells you Mr. Joe Blow is bad for you in the long run then walk away. If your gut tells you that a certain friend in your life is not genuine then it's okay to make a new friend. If you know you are unhappy in your current career then listen to that and seek what you are passionate about. Do not worry about other's opinion because most people just want to see you happy. Stop over-concerning yourself with the "what-ifs" "could have beens," or "when the time is right." The time is now and your inner-self has the answer.
9. Practice Gratitude for the Lesson Learned
Practicing gratitude for the lesson learned is humbling and hard to swallow. You can either journal what you learned from this lesson or simply meditate on what you learned. Remember, there is no good or bad when it comes to our life lessons. Our life lessons are simply lessons which teach us about how to improve, where to go next, or what not to repeat. And like all lessons, they keep repeating until we have mastered the lesson. Perhaps this current setback is similar to one you've experienced before. Did you learn something new from this one? Did you improve from the last one? Please, do not beat yourself up. No one has life figured out. Each person is doing their best to overcome. You are on your way, so don't give up!
10. Don't Give Up!
I think number ten speaks for itself. You can't give up on yourself. You can't give up on the idea of love. You can't give up on a goal or a dream. Not matter how many times you fall down, and get hurt, you can always pick yourself back up and keep moving through the hills and valleys of life. Just keep moving forward!
Word Choice is a Game Changer
Have you ever caught yourself saying "I can't have this...." or "I can't do that..."? Has a fitness or nutritional program ever made you feel like you live in a rigid box? If so, it might not be the program, or the circumstance, but your word choice. Our word choice directly affects our likelihood of being successful with our goals. Whether that goal is related to fitness, weight loss, or obtaining a new course in life, it is the power of the spoken word that ultimately determines our behavior, habits, and values.
If you start to pay attention to the words you speak, you might notice how your words are directly related to outcome. Outcome is related to our behavior and our behavior creates our habits. If you think about it, YOU CAN DO ANYTHING simply by changing your word choice and mental approach. This is how we craft our values. It's a very freeing process to move from saying "I can't do this..." to "I choose to...." Once you adopt a new way of speaking, following things like a meal plan or exercise program won't be this all or nothing lifestyle. Getting fit, eating right, or striving to change should be full of creativity and self-exploration. It should be about growing into new behaviors, habits, and values. It should be fun, not a chore. It just takes a new mental approach.
I know it can be very hard to adopt a new way of thinking and behaving. If you are not ready for it you might find yourself failing. Failing, by the way, is one method for learning. Take a mistake I made back in 2014 as an example. At that time, I was training for the San Diego Championships and I was living with the mindset that I had to follow my program as written. I felt like I couldn't exchange vegetables, grains or proteins within my diet. I felt like I was living in a box and it caused me great stress and unhappiness. In fact, I ended up hating green beans for a long time after that training program because they were the only vegetable each night. My coach at the time didn't want me to change a thing because it was working, and I failed to ask why not. I failed to see the "yes" in my situation. Now, with more knowledge and understanding of nutrition, I realize that was crazy. That's why I offer my clients options and food exchange charts. I want my clients to know they have choice as they adopt their new lifestyle. There is no need to ever feel like you can't do something; rather, there should always be free will and a feeling of choice in all aspects of life.
It is true that you can do anything you want; however, you also have to be willing to accept the consequence(s) for your choices. For example, if your coach realizes you need to detox certain foods from your system, so that results can start to show, then you should trust that person. If you want to go against their advice that is fine, but be prepared for the consequence. For instance, if you absolutely feel like you have to have a cocktail each night with dinner that's fine, but it might take twice as long to build that lean muscle mass and mental clarity you are after. If completely letting go of something is not going to happen then you need to communicate that with your coach, so that you can continue functioning with positive word choice, and not feel stuck or resentment toward a program you are trying. Looking back, I wish I had realized that any green veggie would have been fine to have. I probably would have been happier, still reached my goals, and could tolerate green beans better today.
Also, be open to change. When you get a program from a coach, remember that they are using their training, the research they have done, and their own personal experiences to help you reach your goals. If they really care about you they will provide you with knowledge, ways to make adjustments, and steps for creating new habits. If you are working with a coach who is all about money then they will let you continue your habits and faulty way of thinking and speaking. With a great coach, you may try things you've never done before-whether food or a method of training. I encourage you to be open to it. You may discover you love the new flavors or approaches to training. Keep your mind open and your words positive.
Below is one of my most favorite saying from Mahatma Ghandi. I hope it inspires you to change the way you think and speak so that you can achieve your ultimate destiny.
I am a new mother who has her hands full! I juggle not just my coaching business, but I am also a full time educator. I also teach yoga in the Bay Area, and I mentor first generation college students.