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The NEW Transformation Tuesday – Meet Chris

I feel pretty lucky I have a husband who is genuinely interested in what I’m trying to do with my business…he is always aware of what I’m doing and is peripherally thinking of ways to help me.  He talks about me…what I do…and has connected many people to me and me to them.

 

This new TNTT interview came about because my husband shared a Medium article a colleague of his wrote.   An article about amazing personal health changes that didn’t begin with a goal of weight loss and also didn’t focus on weight loss as the most exciting change she made.  This was captivating to me and I knew I needed to be connected with this woman!  Her story was EXACTLY the thing I’d been wanting to convey via TNTT.  It was exactly what I’m trying to educate people (women in particular) about:  focus on treating your body well, improving your health, improving your daily life, and striving to feel good and be happy…do those things and your weight may change in a way that surprises you.

 

(The original article she wrote on Medium to spark this interview can be found here.  You might want to read it first, so you can get the gist of the TNTT questions and what Chris did to create a healthy life that she loves! )  

 

As I already mentioned, I met Chris through my husband.  She is not a client of mine, nor do I know her in real life.  We’ve only “spoken” via email.  Nonetheless, her story and experience is one I absolutely want you all to know about!

 

Without further adieu, please meet Chris!

 

Can you describe what prompted you to do this “simplifying experiment?” What was going on in your life?

I work on Trailhead, the fun way to learn Salesforce. It’s free online Salesforce training that’s gamified and interactive. I love working on Trailhead and I’m good at my job. At the time I wrote this, we had just finished Dreamforce, which is Salesforce’s annual user conference, and Trailhead had been a huge hit at the 2014 event. We had gone from 11 badges to 75 in just 1 year, and had just hit a milestone of 165,000 badges earned. It was very exciting!

But when we came back from Dreamforce, I had over 1,000 emails in my inbox. It seemed like everyone had discovered Trailhead at the same time. And next thing I knew, I was working too many hours, not spending enough time with my family, and not getting enough rest. I was tired and overwhelmed. Generally, I wasn’t feeling like myself. I knew I needed a change.

 

Why did you choose what you did to work on? Why not food and exercise focused? Did you have a specific end result in mind…did you want a specific outcome or were you content to “try it and see what happens?”

Eating poorly, not getting enough sleep, and not getting exercise were just symptoms of the underlying problem – saying yes to too many things, and overcommitting myself. What I needed to do was say no to things that weren’t important to me, and focus my energy on the things that were.

Quick sidebar: Notice that I said “energy” and not “time” there? This is something I’ve learned, to manage my energy rather than my time. If I have back-to-back meetings all day, I might still have time to get to spin class, but I won’t have the energy. So I block portions of my calendar to get work done, take breaks, and meditate. That way I’ll still have energy at the end of the day.

Back to your original question: Did I want a specific outcome? Mostly, I just wanted to feel better, and to focus on things that mattered to me. In my case, that meant taking care of myself, spending time with my family, and doing volunteer work.

 

I don’t know you personally, only as an acquaintance via my husband. That being said, I don’t get the sense from your article that you are body obsessed or have a poor body image…meaning, I feel like you didn’t do any of these things to look better or get sexy or to change your body. Rather, I get the sense you pretty much like how you look and this experiment wasn’t aesthetics based. Is that accurate? How would you describe your relationship with your body? Is it different now versus before your experiment? Why or why not?

I didn’t do any of these things to change my body. The weight loss was a result of simplifying my life and focusing on what was important to me.

As far as my relationship with my body, I try to focus on the positive. So while I’ve noticed that I’m starting to look older, I think I’m pretty lucky to be relatively injury free. My knee is sometimes a little stiff, but really, I’m pretty healthy. I’m grateful for that.

Here’s another example of me focusing on the positive: I just did a marathon and I noticed that afterward, I got three new gray hairs. At first I was stunned, but then I changed my perspective, and thought about it like a badge of honor. I felt like I had worked out so hard that I had really earned those three gray hairs.

 

I love that your experiment is nearly the exact opposite of what mainstream health and fitness advocates. The mainstream says to focus on food to lose weight and feel better. But what you did was to actually focus on feeling better and then your body “fell into line” so to speak. Yes? Can you explain in a little more detail what was happening during this few month span? Was it hard? And by hard, I mean did it suck? So many people think the process of changing your health/life and even weight loss is total drudgery. Did you find this process to be that?

Lifestyle changes are the hardest kind to make. If you’re used to getting home, getting in your PJs, and watching movies with a glass of wine, it’s really hard to start a new routine of getting home, putting on your running shoes and gear, and going out for a run. And it’s especially hard if you’re not getting the results you want, and most people want to see results right away, which isn’t realistic. In my experience, it typically takes 2-3 months to see consistent results when you make a lifestyle change.

I was focused on trying to feel rested and have more energy. That meant I had to eat good food, get enough sleep, and regularly exercise. And it’s really important to pick exercise that you find fun. I like running a lot, and I enjoy good group exercise classes with good music. So signing up for a marathon and going to Soulcycle was a great fit for me. If you find exercise you love, it’s not hard. It’s fun.

 

What did you learn from your experiment relative to busyness…staying in the hustle all the time and ignoring self-care?

Meditation really helps you find clarity on what’s important. I can’t recommend it enough. Once I started meditating, I found that it was easier to let go of things that didn’t matter. Once I started doing that, I found more time for things that did.

 

What impact did more sleep have on your body? Did you notice things like less negative thoughts, less cravings for sugar/deep fried/starchy food, the ability to navigate food without so much anxiety, less joint aches, etc?

When I got enough sleep, I made better decisions. Those included decisions about what to eat and making sure I left my desk in time to get to spin class, but also work-related decisions throughout the day.

If you’re interested in reading more about the value of sleep, you should check out Thrive by Arianna Huffington.

 

Many of my clients are professional women…like you, they are quite busy with their careers and are in what I guess I’ll call “power positions” (they hold managerial and leadership positions). What advice might you have for professional women who work a lot and often find they put themselves and their personal health at the bottom of the list and don’t prioritize self-care?

Everything catches up to you eventually. You’ll have to focus on it at some point. Your body has a way of forcing you to pay attention.

 

Was the 30 pound weight loss the transformation in your experiment? Was the 30 pound weight loss what brought you the most joy and/or what taught you the most during your experiment? Yes/no? What brought you the most joy, taught you the most, and was the most transformative part?

The best thing has been how much better I feel. It’s not about the weight. It’s about feeling better, feeling happy.

 

Any final thoughts to add or a particular nugget to share that might help women struggling with living a contented, happy life?

Find exercise you love, and it won’t be a chore. It will be fun!

 

 

🙂  🙂  🙂

 

Cool, right?!?   You can read more of Chris’ writing on Medium (bonus for you if you are into SalesForce!) and you can also connect with her via Twitter @TheChrisDuarte.

 

As I’ve said in the other TNTT interviews, the weight loss isn’t the transformation.  Not. Even. Close!  It’s the realigning your life, it’s the taking action to feel better and be healthier, it’s the doing what feels right and good to you that makes for a happy “after.”

Stop looking at those #TransformationTuesday stories!  Just stop!!  I can understand they are meant to be motivational…and perhaps they are.  But they are also selling you a vision and an end result that simply isn’t accurate.  Most of us start off our weight loss journeys as a means to earn self-worth and self-confidence.  The reality is, a body that weighs less and is a smaller size DOES NOT equate to being happier or more confident.  And you don’t have to take my word for it…just ask Melanie, my friend V, and now Chris and they will tell you the same!

 

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If you are tired of diets and of thinking incessantly about food and movement, and are ready to tackle your health from a perspective of feeling good, living well, and living healthy in all the facets of your life, I sincerely hope you’ll become a part of the Head In The Game Fitness crew!  Being healthy can be a part of your life…it doesn’t have to consume your life.  I share all sorts of information, strategies, tools, and personal experiences with my crew.  I want so much for you to realize you CAN live a life differently than you are now.  Why not join my crew by enrolling for my free newsletter or joining my free FB group called Project You and see what I have to offer?  I’d love to have you!  🙂

Six Food Truths – Cutting Through the Industry Bullshit

Poke around on the web, on FB pages, in magazines, or books for about more than two minutes trying to find info on how to eat healthy, then you will likely end up confused and overwhelmed.

There is a shit-ton of contradictory information.  Much of what you read is very polarizing and is meant to incite fear.  But what if I eat white food…am I doomed to gain weight overnight?  You mean if I’m not eating this “superfood” I’ll get cancer?  Are eggs good for you or not?  Is eating more protein, specifically animal protein, good for me…or is it bad for me?

 

Add to the sensationalism, you also get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of meal plans, diets, and how to eat rules.  Each source tells you something different and advocates that their way is THE way that will work for everyone.

 

Rather than feeling empowered by all the information, you find yourself simply wanting to throw in the towel…and then hide under it, too!

 

All this past month of February, I’ve been talking on my FB page and in my free FB group Project You about fuel and have been trying to debunk some long held misinformation that is out there.  I introduced what I called “Food Truths.”  These were basic statements about food/fuel that pertained to everyone and could help take away the pressure surrounding what to eat.

Here are my basic “Food Truths:”

1.Counting calories or portions is not an effective means for weight loss or changing your health

Counting calories is an antiquated notion…one that is still pervasive in the diet industry today.  Calorie counting and portioning assumes our body needs the exact same amount of food each and every day.  That simply isn’t true.  What if you have a long training run?  What if you’re doing physical labor like landscaping  your yard?  What if you’re traveling and sitting most of the day?

Calorie counting also doesn’t take into account the quality of your fuel.  Your daily allotment of 1500 calories could include a meal replacement, a fast food burger and fries, and some 100 calorie snack packs OR an veggie egg scramble, big salad with bacon and avocado, and a big ole steak and taters.  QUALITY of food makes more the difference than the calorie count.

Finally, calorie counting doesn’t teach you to dial into  your hunger and satisfaction cues.  We want to learn to listen to what our body needs…and when we pay attention our body knows what to do.  Your body will tell you when it’s hungry and when it’s had enough–it just takes some skill and practice to understand your body.

When we calorie count/allot portions we get stuck in the “this is what I get to eat” mode…and we will eat exactly that whether we are hungry or already full.

 

2.”Earned and burned,” or calorie manipulation, is not a sustainable approach for eating and exercise

Like calorie counting, calorie manipulation doesn’t help us either.  Calorie manipulation is using exercise as a means to earn more calories to eat or to use exercise as a means to burn off extra calories eaten.

This keeps us in reward/punishment mode with the food we consume.  We reward extra exercise with extra food and we punish ourselves with extra exercise when we eat more food.  Food isn’t a reward and we need to detach from viewing it as such.  Learn to eat when hungry and stop when satisfied.

Exercise isn’t a calorie manipulation tool, nor is it really your BEST tool for losing weight.  Without a doubt, there are ways to exercise that compliment and compound weight loss efforts, but what we eat is the biggest factor in changing our health and body weight.

 

3.There are no bad foods, only bad for YOU foods.

Foods labeled as “bad” for us change over time.  In my years dieting and then reclaiming my health, these foods have been considered bad by some source at some point:  eggs, dietary fat, white food (sugar, potatoes, rice, bread), red meat, gluten, dairy, butter, bacon.  Interestingly, many of these same foods have come back into favor and are now considered healthy again.

I think the food industry and marketing has a large part to play in what gets considered “bad” or not.  You cannot predict what will be considered “bad” so I suggest you not bother.

Instead, begin paying attention to what food does to YOU.  Does eating dairy give you a gut ache?  Does too much grain give you bad breath?  Does too much sugar constipate you?  Does eating eggs for breakfast fill you up and leave you satisfied?  Does oatmeal for breakfast leave you with an energy crash late morning?

Learn the cause and effect of food on your body and you will soon discover what foods operate poorly in YOUR body.

 

4.Your body doesn’t automatically turn the food you eat into excess body fat after a certain time of day

No carbs after noon.  No food after 6 pm.  No fruit after 4 pm.  I’ve heard so many variations on this, I can’t even remember them all.  Doesn’t matter though because the gist is the same:  it’s B.S.!

Our body doesn’t metabolize food differently based on time of day.  Our body metabolizes food based on what is happening in our body that moment.  If we have excess calories coming in, no matter the time of day, it will store them.  If we have a fuel need, no matter the time of day, our body will get what it needs from the fuel coming in or from internal fuel stores.

A logical example:  I didn’t get overweight because I ate fruit after 4 pm.  I got overweight because I ate too much, ate poor quality food, and didn’t move my body!

Now, it could be that eating after a certain time of day isn’t good for YOUR body, but that is something different.  Do you find that if you eat after 7pm, even if you’re hungry, that is messes with a good night’s sleep?  Well then, in that case, you can make some adjustments to eat slightly more during the day, alleviate the evening hunger and eating, and then hopefully sleep better, too.

Eating after a certain type of day is body response specific and not the answer to weight loss.

5.There isn’t ONE thing to eat or do that will remedy your health and excess weight.

The latest superfoods are not the silver bullet answer to your nutrition.  Chia seeds, avocado, or quinoa will not fix your weight and health woes.

In addition, all these little blurbs you see in magazines or on Dr. Oz aren’t the silver bullet answers either…a tablespoon daily of apple cider vinegar, daily lemon water, daily honey with cinnamon added.  Each of these things *may* have proven health benefits, but they aren’t the “big movers” in affecting your health and weight.

You’ve got to pay attention to the big picture things first, like:

  • Eat more protein
  • Eat more veggies
  • Drink more water
  • Eat less junk

Then, after you are being healthier with the big items, then you can hone in on the details.

6.There isn’t ONE way to eat healthy

Every diet sold out there wants you to believe that it has THE answer for how to eat for every person.  That diet or way of eating worked for THAT person and maybe some others, but I guarantee it won’t work for every person.  If it did, there wouldn’t still be people struggling to eat healthy and lose weight.

Eating healthy is as unique as the person.   You simply must devote time to learning  yourself and your body.  What works for one, will not work for all.

Rather than continuing to waste time and money on meal plans, programs, and quick fix diets, take the longer (yet tried and true) route of discovering how to eat in a way that works for you!  You’ll feel better, develop confidence, and have the skills to adjust as your body and life changes.

 

 

I struggled for so long and want to help you quit the struggle!  It’s not awful to eat healthy and move your body…and it’s not as complicated as the industry makes it seem.  Want some help and guidance?  Connect with me and learn how I roll…and get some great FREE content, tips, recipes, workouts, and discounts along the way.  You can join the HITGF crew a couple of ways:

  1. The HITGF newsletter —>  subscribe here.  
  2.  Via my FB group called Project You: Health for Body, Mind, and Life  —>  Join here .

 

 

This Is Me…the real Carrie Headley [Part 1]

Fall of 2015, I’d say I began nothing short of a crusade to get my head outta my ass.  Meaning I knew that how I felt about myself and how I was thinking about things was hindering me.  I was stuck.  And had been for a long time.

 

The stuck part became really obvious as I began my own business, nearly four years ago.  I wouldn’t say I had grand illusions of being rich and well-known, but I naively assumed that my passion and relatability would seemingly bring a flow of clients.  It didn’t.  Here’s what happened instead.  I took it personally –> I labeled myself a failure –> I wondered what I was doing wrong –> I’d pull up and stop what I was doing –>  I’d get some rest, have some distance, then find I DID want to continue –> I’d start something new –> then it wasn’t an immediate success –> then I’d take it personally.

 

A long, vicious, never-ending circle.

 

How the hell was I going to get out of it??

 

Well, there have been lots of little things I’ve done over the past 18 months-ish.  But I’m now getting to the real meat of the matter…getting used to putting ALL of me out there.  You know… being 100% authentic, no tempering, being controversial, showing the often labeled “negative” parts of myself.  You get stuck when you are afraid to be you!

 

So here we are…me, getting brave enough to admit and even accept and (finally!) be cool with, as in like, all the facets of me.

 

I’m creating a blog series called ‘This Is Me.’   The purpose??

This:

  • To embrace what is me.  To say it.  To own it.  To get past the fear of judgement and just do…because there isn’t anything I actually CAN do about how I am received.
  • To help myself realize it isn’t “bad” to be certain things.
  • To show you that imperfection is your antidote to so much of what ails you.
  • To show you that we all have qualities that are a little dodgy, shall we say.  Uh…we are human! Remember?!

 

Without further adieu…here is installment number one:  Carrie Headley is negative.

 

Man!!  That felt liberating just to finally fucking say it!

Guess what else?  This is gonna blow your mind!!  I like that I’m negative!!!  Yep, I totally fucking do!!

 

I have spent years…YEARS!!…operating with the idea that I’m negative and that makes me a bad, unlikeable, unworthy person.

I have spent years…YEARS!!…trying to turn myself into a positive person.  Or, more accurately, never bitch about anything around people who either 1) said I was negative or 2) barf positivity all the time.

 

Know what the turning point was for me about “being negative?”

 

I finally asked my husband if I was?  Poor guy!  He waffled…as any smart husband should!  🙂

So I said something like “I want to know.  Because I don’t think I’m negative…at least not in the way I define negative.  Negative to me means I will not accept/allow/be open to any alternative or suggestion…I just shoot down everything and assume there is no solution or way to better my situation.  I also don’t think I am one of those people that just commandeers the conversation and is all “woe is me” and literally drains you of energy each time you see them.  Am I that?”

 

His response was something like this “No.  If that’s what you think negative is, you’re not that.  Now, are you an optimist?  Nope…you are most definitely NOT a glass half full kind of person.  You tend to look at things from a negative view point…more skeptical about the outcome I guess…you assume the outcome will be negative versus positive.  And you have to bitch about stuff.”

 

To which I responded something like “I know I do that.  If that’s what people mean when they say I’m negative, then I’m fine with that.”

 

Now, I have no idea what friends of mine mean when they say I’m negative.  But suddenly it didn’t matter to me anymore, and I’m about to explain why.

 

Labels and adjectives come heavily laced with each person’s perceptions and experiences.  What “negative” (or any other descriptor for that matter) means to me may/may not be what negative means to you.

 

But here’s what this convo with my husband brought to light:  I had been worrying about being negative because of the perception *I* attached to it.  Once he said I was negative and he explained his perception attached to it, then negative wasn’t necessarily “bad” anymore…meaning it wasn’t a “I feel bad about myself for being this way” kind of feeling anymore.

 

I have no idea what anyone means when they say “You’re negative.”  I could ask I suppose…and depending upon the person and or situation I might.  But can you imagine how much energy you would exert trying to understand all the meaning behind what any person says to you or about you?

Suddenly the light went on.

I can’t know or control or guess at what someone perceives in my words and actions…there is simply no way for me to adjust my being to another person.  I would have to know all their experiences and hang-ups before I talked to them.  If I knew that, then I would alter my communication so it could be received in the way I intended based on them.

If that’s not convoluted I don’t know what is??  Did you even understand what I wrote??  Yeah, me either…

 

So onto embracing my negativity.

I don’t like being disappointed.  When I have built up my expectations about how rosy and wonderful things *could* turn out, I am supremely disappointed and have a difficult time letting my notions go of what was “supposed to” happen.  I cope much better when I prepare for the worst…then I’m pleasantly surprised.  I’m not buying into thinking this is a “bad” trait of mine anymore.  It is who I am…it’s been there for as long as I can remember!

Life is a challenge.  Not every day certainly, but there are struggles.  I also happen to believe struggles are where you learn and get your grit.  You can’t learn if you’re looking for the rainbow…you gotta see and experience the rain before the sun comes to make the rainbow.  Negative is part of life and I think we’d do good to maybe experience it a little more instead of avoid it for the sake of “finding the silver lining.”

Being negative has made me really good at some of my jobs.  I could forecast problems and build them into the plan…or at least be thinking about a solution for clean up if shit went south.  In the world of IT and project management, which is where I worked before kids, this was an invaluable skill.  You gotta know where the pitfalls are so you can avoid them!

Yin to the yang people.  Our world is choking on positive.  Sorry, you aren’t going to convince me otherwise.  The self-help world will tell you to live relentlessly positive…to never bitch about traffic, to love that you’re living paycheck to paycheck, etc.  No!  Just, no!!  You can’t dwell in your crappy situation, you DO have to try to move forward and carry on, but you can also think it sucks and say so!

The #nonnegative hashtag somehow makes me think its rather look-down-your-nose-ish at those folks who aren’t waxing poetic.  Think I might start using the hashtag #nonpositive…cuz we need more of that I think!

 

I’m Carrie Headley and I’m negative!   And it’s actually a trait about myself that I like…and serves me…and that I’m done apologizing for and thinking I need to fix!

Halle-frickin-lujah!!

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Like this POV and want more where that came from?  Then you need to be getting my newsletter or joining my FB group.  I don’t spew sunshine all the time..and if that is appealing and refreshing then join my crew in either of those places.  I’m waiting for my fellow curmudgeons…come on and join the tribe where people get you!  🙂

 

Character and kindness are my measuring sticks

 

What it would have looked like if Donald Trump had run for your village president/mayor/town chairman….and then won….

 

  • You would have a wall built around your town/village/city to keep out the people in the next town…the ones who come into your town to work…generally they hold the jobs that most residents don’t want to do anyway like dig ditches, haul garbage, work fast food.  Those people in the next town over who came into your town are the source of your problems, says your new town chairman.
  • During a town hall meeting discussing the schools, he did an impression of some children with autism and Down Syndrome and expressed his disdain for the teachers and the schools in your public school system
  • Certain churches/religious groups in the community (not all) were ordered to give him a list of the people in the congregation, it was assumed all people part of that church/religious group were connected with a terrible drug ring
  • Several key things were in progress and many still in the decision-making stage at the time he takes over as mayor…things like updated sewer/water, audits and compliance measures with state mandates, new residential and commercial construction, an entirely new school project just approved by the members of the town.  He decided he will not bother coming up to speed on what is going on and already in the pipeline…he doesn’t need that information.
  • During the election, reports surfaced that prior to his run for village leader he grabbed a woman in her genitalia and then proceeded to tell other men about it…that he could grab women like that any time he wanted.  This is the same man who is working at the village office where Girl Scout troops hold their meetings and the same man who attends high school sporting events where your daughters are the athletes or on cheerleading or on dance team.
  • Every day during the election and leading up to his taking over as mayor he went onto his FaceBook page and ranted about his opposition, anyone who disagreed with him was belittled and treated to a personal attack.  We all know how we love to see personal rants and constant barrage of whining/complaining on someone’s personal feed.

 

Feel different when you extrapolate what is happening on a national level to your own back door?

 

At this point I really don’t even care about policy…I won’t fucking debate that with anyone.  How someone behaves in a position of leadership means something…it means everything in fact.

 

I would say I’m probably skirting around being a closet conspiracy theorist…say what you will.  What happens economic policy-wise in DC is so unbelievably far removed from the daily life that most of live it’s laughable, IMHO anyway.  But I have two kids who I am trying, along with my husband, to teach values…right from wrong…kindness versus asshole-ishness…acceptance versus judgement…character over achievement.

 

I grew up looking up to the girls ahead of me in school.  There were a few who I thought were amazing…I wanted to be like them.  Not only were they great students and athletes, but they were nice to people…all the people in fact.  There were also girls who were great students and athletes who were unkind, some of them to me, some not…I didn’t look up to these girls.  Character.  I knew it already in junior high and high school.

 

I’ve had employers I’ve loved and respected and others I had zero respect for.  The ones I respected were good leaders…they were kind to people, they didn’t act arrogant, they didn’t belittle others, they made a point to work with other department heads, they weren’t inflammatory.  Hell yes, they made difficult decisions, many I didn’t agree with, but they weren’t assholes to the underlings.  Character.

 

So, I don’t care about the economic policies or the health care policies or whatever.  I cannot believe that our country is putting into office a man with not a stitch of character.  The POTUS is a leader.  We are supposed to elect LEADERS.

What character do you want to see in the person coaching your child…your daughter?

What character do you want to see in the person leading your civic organization?

What character do you want to see in the person running your town/village/city?

It’s no different to extrapolate that to the position of POTUS.

Character matters…well, I thought it did, but based on who is getting inaugurated this weekend, I guess character doesn’t matter too much anymore.

How to Know If a Person Is Fat

 

For years I KNEW, just KNEW to my very core, that if I just lost weight I’d feel better about myself and then I could do things I’d been afraid to do.  Once I had confidence because I was skinny my world would change in immeasurable ways.

 

Those people that said what I looked like wouldn’t change how I felt about myself were wrong, wrong, wrong.  They were already skinny, probably never were fat (or never as fat as me!) so how could they possibly know.  And I found it laughable that anyone who wasn’t skinny would say they loved themselves.  That’s just absurd!!

 

That was my thinking and thank goodness I love crow because I’ve had to eat a frickin’ lot of it in regards to physical attributes equaling self confidence.

 

I was wrong.  So very mistaken.

 

See I got skinny.  I got to my goal weight.  I wore the size 6…in pants even!!!  And while certain circumstances of my life changed for the better, I still didn’t have a whole lot of love of self.  More confidence in my ability to overcome, yes…conquering 3 decades of poor health habits will do that for a person.  But bone deep love of self??  Nope, not even close.

Here is the hard truth:  your physical appearance will not equate to a love of self or cultivate a powerful self-worth.

 

Don’t believe me?  Will you allow me one chance to try to convince you?  Yes??

Cool!  Keep reading!

 

Multiple choice problem number 1:  Read each personal synopsis below and then assign each synopsis to a type of person.  You can assign only one person type to each synopsis.  Person type is either “Fat” or  “Skinny.”

 

Synopsis A:

This woman is driven, very typically “Type A” and a self professed perfectionist, and was nominated “Most Likely to Succeed” by her classmates.  She participated in sports, numerous extracurricular activities, and maintained a B+/A- GPA all through her high school and college years.  Through her professional career she has been a top performer achieving Employee of the Year in her first year of professional work, attaining three industry certifications within two years, was responsible for project implementation in an international scale, was responsible for a 60 site LAN/WAN, and became Director of IT.  She loves the show Friends, enjoys movies, and pop culture.  She enjoys baking, home DIY projects, and napping.

 

Synopsis B:

This woman is a self-starter and doesn’t require accountability to get the job done.  Once she decides what she wants, she is compelled to make it happen.   She has undertaken many courageous challenges to improve herself and her life.  She has left a career she did not enjoy to build a life in alignment with her values.  She has re-tooled and re-educated herself, redefining her skillset in order to create her own business and become an entrepreneur.  This woman is speaking out against long-held beliefs within her industry.  Her intent is to “move the needle” and create much-needed change within the industry she works.  Her hobbies include reading, walking, and watching football.  Her favorite foods are raspberries and homemade cookies and her favorite quote is:  Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway (Eleanor Roosevelt).

 

Synopsis A…Fat or Skinny?

Synopsis B…Fat or Skinny?

 

Do you have a guess?

How could you venture to guess?  Meaning what reasoning did you use to reach your answer?

What traits would you assume to be correlated to fat or skinny?

 

I am the woman described in BOTH the synopsis’…synopsis’s??…synopsi??…whatever, I digress…

There is a little of bit of the old and the new me in each description…those are accurate representations of who I am on both counts.  I was ALWAYS who I was…I just thought I would be able to love who I was when I got skinny.  That simply wasn’t and isn’t true!!

 

Do you see that I held determination and work ethic in both descriptions?  Do you see that I have hobbies/loves that are not active in both descriptions?  Do you see that I have conviction in both descriptions?  Being fat didn’t make me lazy and unable to achieve.  Being skinny didn’t make me MORE likely to achieve and it didn’t fix my self-worth either.

You hold goodness and light and wonderfulness and worthiness RIGHT FUCKING NOW, regardless of the shape or size of your physical body.  That’s a tough pill to swallow in our culture of “New Year, New You” and “Beach Body Ready!”

If you want to break free of feeling like you suck, then you’re going to have to dig past following mainstream diets and doing what you’ve always done.

 

How??  How do you do that??

 

You allow for time.

You find a tribe of people who will support you.

You let go of the negative noise and influences that pervade our culture/feeds/psyche.

You begin to take ONE SMALL STEP at a time and change bit by bit by bit.

And most importantly, you begin to trust that voice way deep down inside that keeps saying “This sucks…don’t do it anymore!”

 

By all means change your health, lose weight even.  But while you’re doing that, you NEED to be reframing your thoughts and mindset.  They all work together!!  A skinny body doesn’t bring you health, nor does it fix what you think it will.

 

I’m telling you this because I’ve lived it and I want to save you from the anguish I felt when I got skinny and I still wasn’t happy.

Right now, TODAY, you are worthy of feeling good about the person you are.

 

Or perhaps the better way to state it, is this:  

You are worthy of developing a self-love and confidence, no matter how you look or what you weigh…

you don’t need to wait until you are skinny to appreciate the person you are!!

 

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I’m not your typical health guru or trainer…I pretty much go against industry grain in most every aspect of health I talk about.  Sound interesting and perhaps you’d like to get to know me better or be a part of what I’m teaching?  There’s a couple ways to do that:

  1.  Join my crew and get FREE weekly newsletters with exclusive content and discounts.  Go here for that –>  Head In The Game Fitness Newsletter sign up
  2. Join my FREE FB group called Project You and join a community of folks tired of mainstream crap who want something besides sports bras and abs to look at and talk about.  Go here for that  –>  Project You – Health for body, mind, and life

Who knew my husbands 40th birthday gift would affect my personal self esteem?!

First off, I’m reverting to typed word for this blog…it feels like I can convey what I want to say better than via a vlog.  Partly too, I have many links I want to share so written works better.  Bear with me!  🙂

 

This past fall my HITGF crew members received an email from me about the key events that led to me growing my own self-esteem.  It would be event numero dos that I’ll be telling you about in more detail today.  But before I get into that, I want to set the stage a bit…

 

There are so many interwoven things I’ve learned this past year and I find it incredibly interesting how they have all intersected.  The universe has my back!  It’s been very apparent to me especially the last 8 weeks or so.  Amazing how life works!  Anyway…

 

In October I went to view the body image documentary called Embrace.  It was so powerful…and near and dear to my heart.  I’ve had body image hang-ups for decades…which I’ve finally started unraveling in the last 18 months or so.  I had figured out how to improve the health of my physical body, lost a lot of weight, and STILL didn’t like my body or myself very much.

 

It has taken a lot of internal mindset work to figure out how to get out of that pattern of self-loathing, but I’m proud to say I’m doing it.  The Embrace movie was so special for me because it proved our culture is adding to our troubles, and that for our health and sanity, we women need to let go of these ridiculous expectations and norms.

 

I’ve seen the film twice now and each time took notes on my phone during the movie.  I jotted specifically the things that hit my soul and I related to my own life.  I had forgotten some of what I wrote down during the first showing, but then during the second showing I realized I wrote one specific point again…nearly the same words I used when I wrote the note the first showing.   I figured if that spot in the movie spoke to me twice there was a reason.  And that reason was to (finally!) write a blog post that I’ve been mulling on for nearly 2 1/2 years!!

 

Here are the screen shots of the notes on my phone:

From the 10/23/16 showing

From the 12/5/16 showing

 

There is a topic in the movie where a photographer is interviewed.  She speaks about how doing a shoot of herself after having kids was huge for her self-esteem.  She then did a series of photos of other moms with their babies/kids and the response from those women was also one of feeling empowered and good about themselves.

 

It got me thinking about a photo shoot I did…

 

For my husband’s 40th birthday gift I decided I was going to give him an over-the-top gift.  Neither one of us is big party people, he wouldn’t have enjoyed a big surprise party, nor would I.  Instead, I decided I would have boudoir photos done for him!  Hugely scary and hugely exciting at the same time.  I knew I would surprise the hell out of him!

 

I have a very close friend who is a photographer and she does boudoir shoots.  I told her what I was thinking and she latched onto that idea like white on rice!  🙂  I had second thoughts and tried to back out, but she always reassured me about how fun it would be.  She helped me do some lingerie shopping, gave me some ideas for poses/what to wear, and also did my makeup for me as I wanted to feel a little more glamorous than my “daily life” look.

 

My friend and I planned an outing together for an afternoon and evening…this was my cover story to get out of the house!  What we really did was head to HotelRed in Madison and did the photo shoot…and it ended up being a fantastic experience!

 

I was nervous, but my friend was awesome!

 

She’s a goof and instead of it being quiet and weird, it was filled with laughter and was basically a day hanging out with a girlfriend.  We talked about our kids, our husbands, stuff that pisses us off, shows we like, books etc.  She didn’t use any fancy lighting…it was all natural light.  Some of the shots were more sexy and some were outright silly/funny.  (I’ve got a couple of me doing my best to mimic George from Seinfeld on the red velvet couch…remember that?!?  🙂  Needless to say these ones didn’t make the birthday gift photobook!)

 

A couple of weeks after the shoot was done we got together to view the proofs.  My friend was so excited to show these to me…she genuinely thought I looked amazing, was excited for me to see them, and EVEN MORE excited for me to give them to husband!

(Side note for another time…this friend is also one of the first to introduce me to the idea of sisterhood and being completely open with another female friend.  She doesn’t want to compete and tear down…she wants us all to lift each other up.  She is perfectly content and happy with who she is and every time I’m with her it rubs off on me.  I’ve learned a lot from her and she is the start of me lovin’ what I got!)

 

carrie_boudoir_107

And I gotta admit, after looking at those photos…which weren’t airbrushed or modified…I felt pretty damn amazing!  This is one of the first times in my life I remember liking how I looked in photos.  Admittedly, it felt foreign and I had to resist the urge to nitpick a few of the shots.  But, for the most part, I LIKED how I looked.  I felt appealing, sexy even, and it had zero to do with anyone having to compliment me, see the photos, or even what my weight/size was.

 

 

I was blown away by this reaction in myself and knew I wanted to blog about it.  I had to wait though since the pictures were done about 6 weeks before my husband’s birthday.  By the time those 6 weeks had passed, I wasn’t so sure anymore about sharing my experience.  I don’t know why the hesitation set in, but it did.  But as I said above, the universe is weaving together for me all these events…apparently NOW was when I needed to blog about the boudoir session.

 

And ladies, let me just tell you how fun and amazing it was to give a photo book to my husband and watch his reaction!  It was priceless!!  Easily his favorite gift ever.  And he sees, too, what these photos did to plant a seed for me to feel better about myself.  He has encouraged me to write about this and share the experience with you.  He’s awesomecarrie_boudoir_050 that way!  🙂

 

Finally,  I hesitated including any of the photos from my boudoir shot as they are quite personal.  I ended up deciding I would include a couple of shots and here’s why I did:  I’m not ashamed of them…I’m not ashamed of how I look…I want you to see that a woman can feel good about her body and WHO she is even when she doesn’t fit the mold of what is considered attractive.

I’m not looking for compliments (likewise, I’m not looking for trolls to come out and say nasty things either!!)…remember these were taken with the purpose of showing my husband, not anyone else.  However, it turns out these photos are serving my larger purpose…I just needed to wait for it to show it itself.  My purpose is to lead by example:  if I can overcome and feel good about myself then you can, too!!

 

A few of things I’d like to leave you with:

  1.  By all means, do the work of getting your physical body healthy.  But don’t ignore the mindset part of the health equation while you’re at it.  Fixing the physical body will only get you so far.  How you think about you will lead you to greater satisfaction and contentment than chasing pounds lost ever will!!
  2. Do a photo shoot…of you and only you!!  Whether it be of you pregnant, post-partum with your babies, a boudoir shot for your significant other, or simply some treasured photos of you simply being yourself…Do. It!!  There is something that happens when you see yourself in photos taken through someone else’s eye.  Get a little raw, a little uncomfortable, and you will be amazed at the shift that happens on the inside.  It’s powerful and I think it can be a key to unlock so much for you!
  3. Go see Embrace!  If you have struggled with your body image, you NEED to see this and realize you aren’t alone, you aren’t flawed, you aren’t different or abnormal.  You are Ah-May-Zing…Just. As. You. Are!!  Here is a link to LarkSpur Collaborative Coaching on FB where you can find the event links to upcoming showings of Embrace in the Madison area.  Currently scheduled showings are:  January 11, February 8, and March 8.

 

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My HITGF crew, my newsletter subscribers, receive several newsletters each month.  I share all kinds of information, but all of it is centered on helping you feel great inside and out!  We don’t just want your body in the game, we want your head in the game, too!  If regular insights, tools, and exclusive discounts on my services appeals to you, get signed up here for all the latest and greatest from me to you!  🙂

Just say “Chuck It” To Those Holiday Challenges

I’m getting more and more used to operating against the grain in the health and fitness industry.  Why should holiday time be any different??

 

Unlike most of the rest of the trainers/health pros/health coaches I know, I’m NOT inviting you to join a “Healthy-Holiday-Sweat-More-Lose-Weight-Superfun-Santa-Slimdown” Challenge.  (Did you sense sarcasm??  Yeah, there was a tiny bit there!)

Nope, I’m actually advocating you say “Chuck It!” to every challenge thrown your way!

 

Check out my vlog below where I outline my holiday experiences with food/weight over the years and how I approach things now.

I’m also inviting you to join me daily in December over on Head In The Game Fitness’ FB page for a LIVE video every day.  I’m going to be talking about how I “get my head in the holidays” and encouraging you to #ChuckTheChallenges!!

 

Here you go…

 

 

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If this kind of information is your speed and would like more, please join the HITGF crew.  Each week I email you different strategies and information to get you creating a healthy life that suits YOU.  Enroll here!

The NEW Transformation Tuesday – Meet V

Here we are for the second installment of my new series called “The New Transformation Tuesday” (#TNTT).  This series is near and dear to my heart!

 

tntt2I’m grown weary and tired of all the typical transformation stories that show you headless shots of women in their underwear and swimming suits hailing how much they have shrunk.  I understand the appeal of that because I was there at one point in my process.

 

What also happened to me during my changes was I developed confidence and discovered how I felt about myself could not be hinged on how I looked.  Further, the pounds lost aren’t what actually changed me…it was the mindset work, the learning to focus on other things besides my physical body.

 

The inside transformation is what is most profound…and most important in my opinion.  That is why I’ve created TNTT and why it focuses on sharing the larger and more impactful shifts that happen when you begin to change your health and focus on your well-being.

 

For the second TNTT I reached out to a very special friend of mine, who is known by those you love her as “V.”  I met her via bootcamp and we’ve become dear friends.  We have spent numerous mornings sweating it out together and many “dates” walking with our coffee and discussing our places in this world.  🙂  She has taught me a lot and is my information curator.  If there is something I  need to read, someone I need to follow, someplace I need to check out, or a new recipe or food to try, she will know.  V is no nonsense and all the words here are her own…not a single edit on my part.   Please enjoy her story and her nuggets of wisdom.  Introducing V….

 

tntt2-v

 

 1. Explain your history battling being overweight and unhealthy. 

I began gaining weight and feeling self-conscious about it in high school. I don’t recall actually weighing myself on a scale, but have vivid memories of shoving my curves into stick-straight Guess jeans, which were a must-have item back then. Looking back, I notice a subtle shift in my self-esteem as I gained weight…I became the funny, self-deprecating sidekick-type friend, whose charm and appeal were based on her personality, not on her looks. For years (because it seemed to be working), I continued to eat whatever I wanted with abandon (I LOVE food) and to curate my sarcasm and wit as a means of deflecting any body shame I carried. That said, my self-esteem was dealt a blow when I tried out for the pompon squad and didn’t make the cut…I guess I didn’t quite fit the mold. In college and even into the early years of my marriage, I wouldn’t say I was happy with my weight/health…but I wasn’t yet motivated to do anything about it. Until the day I realized that the only jeans that fit me were a size 16. That hit me like a ton of bricks. Instead of just joking about “how fat I was,” I was struck by the fact that OMG I actually am FAT by objective standards. Of this I was certain. I was 5’3″ and 164 pounds…it was time to take action.

Enter Weight Watchers. I was a model client for a solid year, losing 42 pounds. I did what they said and it worked. But over time I grew weary of their obsession with Frankenfoods and lack of emphasis on exercise. Yes, I weighed less…but I still felt like a flabby, lazy mess.

Eventually I bought a Groupon to try a bootcamp (just like Carrie) and exercise started to play a bigger role in my transformation. Especially weight lifting. This was a major shift for me…up until this time I was decidedly and emphatically UN-athletic. I had never really TRIED to push myself, for fear of failing. Here, I found a place and people who were supportive and inspiring and I began to discover a part of me that I never knew existed. I was committed. I pushed. It felt great!

I am nothing, if not frugal and eventually I figured I should be able to eat right and exercise without paying someone to hold me accountable. Well…yes and no.

I am still on the journey and I have learned that the journey ebbs and flows and I am learning to make peace with that fact. Sometimes, I care more than others…but I always circle back around to a life of self-discipline and Health. But…why?

2. What was the “Big Why”…the thing that made you decide and push you to figure out how to be healthy?

I have battled anxiety and depression and SAD and low self-esteem for as long as I can remember. When I take care of myself by eating right, exercising and getting enough rest these things become much more manageable. Exercise, especially, is key for me and I didn’t figure this out until I was almost 40! And when I’m in a good place mentally, I see the effects it has on my husband and kids. They deserve my best self. The other reason is that I want a body that can do what I want and need it to do for as long as possible. The idea of losing my ability to move freely or of ending up needing others to care for me is absolutely terrifying. I am committed to helping my body age gracefully and the time to lay the groundwork for that is now.

3. How do you eat now versus the previous, unhealthy moments in your life? How do you view/treat food now versus previously? What do you think were the biggest changes in your eating? 

I really gave no thought to the quantity or quality of what I was putting in my mouth during the years that I gained weight. Over time, I have developed an awareness of both and approach eating mindfully, rather than mindlessly, now. I no longer enjoy the feeling of being over-full or the aftereffects of eating junk food. Ick.

4. Are there foods you will not eat? Why? Are there foods that are off-limits? Why? 

No. There is no food that I will not eat. Wait. That’s not true. I won’t eat/drink fake sugars, if I can help it. If I’m having a Coke (which is my special vacation treat), then I’m having the Real Deal…calories be damned. I am very careful about some foods: ice cream, baked goods, cookies, candy, chips, etc. almost never make it into my home. If I NEED ice cream, I make myself get in my car (or better, bike) and pay a lot of $$ for Chocolate Shoppe…eat it, enjoy it and move on. So, I guess you can say I have certain “rules” for things I know can get out of hand…it works for me. I value both Freedom and Boundaries.

5. What type of exercise do you do? Why? 

I try to sweat every day, because that is what is best for my mental health, self-esteem, general outlook and energy level. I don’t really care how it happens. I belong to the Y and go a variety of their early-morning classes (spin, bootcamp, etc). I also like to get outside and go for runs and walks. I use free weights and an elliptical in my basement on days when that works best for my schedule. I just signed up to take a swim class in January…you know, that “getting out of my comfort zone” thing. Yikes.

6. How has your mindset and approach changed from your dieting days?

It’s more long-term and big-picture. I don’t lose my mind if the unexpected happens, I roll with it and correct course as necessary. This being healthy thing is definitely a marathon, not a sprint and one where the goal is not a trophy body, but a life fully lived. 

7. What do you find to be your most important “transformation” during this whole discovery process? 

So many. That I can do hard things. That Health is more of a Feeling than a Look. That it is a means to an end, not an end in itself…it should allow you to live the life you want, not consume the entirety of your time, effort or interest.

8. What do you want women to know who are embarking on losing weight and regaining health? Any secrets you’ve discovered and want to share?

There are wonderfully supportive people out there willing to travel alongside you on your journey.

The tools you use to be successful will change over time and that’s ok.

You’re worth the effort.

 

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So, there you have it…my friend V’s story!  As you can see, just like my own experience and my friend Melanie Knights’ story (the very first #TNTT) there are similarities.

 

We all finally decided to look at what we were doing for our health…and even weight loss…in a long-term sense.

 

We decided health was a facet of our life and should get a facet of our energy/attention, not an inordinate amount.

 

And, most importantly, that the change you make ends up being deeper within you…that the change is NOT because your physical body shrunk, but rather you found confidence from the process you didn’t know you had.

 

There is waaaayyyyy more benefit to changing your health than simply losing pounds.  The changes that will happen on the inside are the catalyst for more than you realize!   It takes time…just keep going your own way and the changes will come!

 

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Like what you heard here and want more?  Join my newsletter!  If you want to change how you eat and move, I definitely have information to help with that.  

If you also are interested in changing your mindset and self-esteem, I definitely have information to help with that, too.  

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9 Things I Did to Change My Health

Well shoot, in my desire to create my vlogs in one take I discovered after all the uploading that I actually gave you 8 things instead of 9.  So I’m going to type out the ninth thing instead of re-record!!

 

Here’s the first 8 things….below the video is a detailed timeline of the video AND #9.

 

 

1:00  Spoiler alert…the video runs longer than 15 minutes, closer to 21 minutes actually.

1:30  These things I’m sharing are not unique to me…there are common threads you will hear from people who have gone through this process of lasting change.

1:45  #1  Allow the process to take time

3:07  #2  Change things one at a time

5:00  #3  Do something small daily

6:55  #4  Enjoy the process

9:32  #5  Take yourself into account – do WWFY!

11:46  #6  Learn and listen, but take things with a grain of salt

14:10  #7  Define your ‘Big Why’ and have an emotional reason for doing what you are doing

16:50  #8  Begin working on mindset shifts, too

And finally….

# 9:  Focus on behaviors/habits, not just pounds/measurements/clothing size.

Yes, I was aware of  pounds lost and I took body circumference measurements all the while, but I wasn’t ONLY focused on my body and it shrinking.  I was also very aware of my habits changing and changing habits one at a time was how I actually lost the weight and got healthy.

I understand that losing pounds is a focus.  However, it cannot be ONLY about that.  When you spread your focus around you begin to realize that all the pieces fit together and work together.  Don’t ignore your behaviors and focus just on the scale…it will leave you feeling quite defeated when it doesn’t go down.  And there will be moments when you are doing all the “right” things and the scale doesn’t reflect that work and benefit to your body.

Look at behaviors.  Improve your behaviors.  Change habits. Focus on improvements all across the board!

 

These are probably a different sort of “how-to” suggestions than you’ve seen elsewhere.  As long as the food you eat and the way you moves adds to your health and leaves you feeling energetic and satisfied I really don’t think you need to emphasize it as much as the mainstream tells you.  Focus on improving your behaviors and understanding WHY you do what you do…that will get your farther and serve you in the long run much better than following a meal plan and a canned exercise program!

 

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Like this??  Find it helpful??  There are two ways you can get more stuff from me!

  1.  Join the Ditch The Diets FREE seminar series I am doing with Melanie Knights.  This series is giving you all sorts of great info on how to leave dieting behind and learn how to lead a healthy life that YOU define.  The second seminar is occurring on Thursday, November 10 at 12:30 CDT.  Enroll here and all the meeting links will be sent to you the day prior.  
  2. Join my crew and get a weekly emails on all sorts of topics related to your health.  Most of what I share here is stories of my own personal struggles with weight and body image and what I’ve learned to get to a life that isn’t consumed with calorie counting and how my body looks.  It’s amazing what you have space for when you give up the pursuit of the wonder body!!  Sign up here if you are interested!

Is ‘Good Enough’ Effective for Making Changes?

For a very long time ‘good enough’ was simply a term I associated with either laziness or poor quality.  As I’ve begun to pay closer attention to how I think and approach life I’m realizing ‘good enough’ is actually a pretty powerful strategy!

goodenough

 

Today’s vlog is all about how you can reframe the concept of ‘good enough’ and actually ditch some really counterproductive thinking.

 

 

Two different views of ‘good enough’ are discussed:

  1.  The payoff to effort ratio of getting from ‘good enough’ to nearly perfect or perfect.
  2. ‘Good enough’ is better than nothing…something beats nothing every time.

 

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Enrollment is now open for my new FREE workshop called Fourteen Days of Feel Good (#14DFG).  I create lots of content and products to help you improve your health, but #14DFG is the one I’m most looking forward to!

This is a departure from the typical challenges…I’m not introducing some sizzling workouts or fat-loss friendly recipes.  Nope, #14DFG is all about shifting your focus each day to allow for some fun, lightness, and joy!

And, here’s the really exciting thing:  this is going to help your health!  When we diminish stress we lower cortisol, we lower our blood pressure, we increase our ability to cope, and make better decisions (like what we eat and getting moving).

The best part about #14DFG is it isn’t going to require much time on your part!  The things I’m asking you to do daily will piggy-back on tasks you do daily OR on items you already own.  I’m busy, too, and I want to make this FUN not more work!

Finally, there are prizes involved!!  Share in the closed FB group what you did for the daily focus and you’ll be eligible to win a 1:1 coaching call with me OR an Amazon gift card!

Get all the details over on my FB page and/or email me at questions@headinthegamefitness.com.

Sign up here and join me for #14DFG…and fun!!  See you there!