Top 10 List to Get to Who You Want to Be

In Fitness, Motivation and Success by Angela0 Comments

So you’ve made it through all 9 weeks and here we are at the last week. I originally said there would be 9 steps, but turns out there are 10, though you may feel 10 is optional I want you to give it some serious thought.

Have accountability and take responsibility

What does that mean?
1. Take complete responsibility for your actions
This means that you have a choice, and that choice is up to you, that in every situation you can choose how to act, how to react and how to be. Even when it isn’t fair, when you don’t like it, when it was wrong, you take responsibility for it. Examples I use in everyday life, change your way of speaking:

  • “I didn’t make time to practice” instead of “I didn’t have time to practice”
  • ” I didn’t do it”
  • “I didn’t prioritize”
  • “I chose to…”

All these ways of speaking signify that you are taking responsibility for your decisions and your actions.  When you say things like:

  • “I didn’t have time”
  • “I can’t”
  • “It’s easier for someone else”
  • “When I get organized I’ll…”
  • “Someday I’ll…”

All those statements do is make you a victim.  You are NOT a victim. You are a product of all YOUR choices.  Dare to disagree with me here.  If you don’t like where you are now, change it, do something different. But just whining and wallowing self-pity will continue to keep you where you are.  Yes, you may have had less than ideal circumstances in your life.  So?

Change it. Do it now and start taking responsibility.  If you want it, go get it.  If you didn’t do it, own it.


“Successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.” – Jeff Olson

A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.” – John Burroughs
The predominant state of mind displayed by those on the failure curve is blame. The predominant state of mind displayed by those people on the success curve is responsibility.
Taking responsibility liberates you; in fact, it is perhaps the single most liberating thing there is. Even when it hurts, even when it doesn’t seem fair. When you don’t take responsibility, when you blame others, circumstances, fate or chance, you give away your power. When you take and retain full responsibility – even when others are wrong  or the situation is genuinely unfair – you keep your life’s reins in your own hands.
“Responsibility is declaring oneself as cause in the matter. It is a context from which to live one’s life.
Responsibility is not a burden, fault, praise, blame credit, shame or guilt. All these include judgments and evaluations of good and bad, right and wrong, or better and worse. They are not responsibility…
Responsibility starts with the willingness to deal with a situation from and with the point of view, whether at the moment realized or not, that you are the source of what you are, what you do and what you have.
It is not “right,” or even “true”, to declare oneself as “cause” in the matter. It’s just empowering. By standing for yourself as cause, “what happens’ shifts from “happening to you” to “just happening and, ultimately, to ‘happening as a result of your being cause in the matter’. – Werner Erhard


accountability2. Have Accountability:

What does this mean?  It means having someone generally, that you tell your goals and your plans to and that you will check in with, letting them know your actions.  Writing things down is a form of self-accountability.  Having an accountability partner is a trusted friend, and you tell them when you have done what you said you would do or when you haven’t done what you said you would do and they hold you accountable.
If you say “I will exercise 20 minutes every day, get 8 hours of sleep and cut out all alcohol. Will you hold me accountable?”  Your partner will ask you (ideally every day) : Did you exercise?  How long did you sleep? Did you drink?
And you have to answer truthfully.  If you say no, they can get on your case in a loving way to remind you of why.
So to recap over these last 10 weeks, these actions, done consistently over time will change your philosophy, they will change your habits and your habits will change YOU
The book I have been referencing and basing some of these blog posts around, The Slight Edge, has this to say:

“Wait a minute. How are these simple, everyday actions supposed to create all this wonderful happiness, health and success for me, if they’re all easy to do – if anyone could do them? If these are things anyone can do, why are only 5% successful?
Excellent question. Because they’re all easy not to do – and while anyone could do them, most won’t.
Every action that any of these goals requires is easy to do. Here’s the problem: every action that is easy to do, is also easy not to do.
Why are these simple yet crucial things easy not to do? Because if you don’t do them, they won’t kill you…at least, not today. You won’t suffer, or fail, or blow it  – today. Something is easy not to do when it won’t bankrupt you, destroy your career, ruin your relationships or wreck your health – today.
What’s more, not doing it is usually more comfortable than doing it would be. But that simple, seemingly insignificant error in judgement, compounded over time, will kill you. It will destroy you and ruin your chances for success. You can count on it. It’s the Slight Edge.

That’s the choice you face every day, every hour.
A simple, positive action, repeated over time.
A simple error in judgement, repeated over time.
You can always count on the Slight Edge. And unless you make it work for you, the Slight Edge will work against you.

Top 10 List to get To Who You Want to Be


Get Off the Hamster Wheel! Tip #9 to Change your Body and Your Life

In Fitness, Motivation and Success, Nutrition by Angela0 Comments

How successful were you at writing things down last week?  Did you do it every day? Most days?
What were your results, reactions?  Were you surprised by how much, how little or the reality of what you were eating?
If you remember, the goal of last week was not to JUDGE what you ate, simply to make note of it.  Now that you have a record of the TRUTH you have a choice to stop living in denial about how much and what you are putting in your body and actually change it…..or to keep running around on the hamster wheel of denial, blame and quick fixes.
Brutal? Yes. But sometimes the truth is brutal. That’s why you were on a hamster wheel in the first place and not getting results before isn’t it? The answer is yes if you are actually truthful with yourself.
If you’ve noticed, I haven’t mentioned exercise at all, and isn’t that one of the first things people jump into when they say “I’m going to get in shape!”  Yup, and one of the first things to go because most people will start out with the mentality that “more is better” and do too much. Then, they don’t see results quickly enough (or instantaneously) get discouraged because they thing the amount of “work” they are putting in should yield instant results….and quit.
By now, you know what I’m going to suggest is neither instantaneous nor hardcore nor extreme.  Just like everything else, it’s simple: easy to do, easy NOT to do.  The choice is up to you:

Tip # 9:  Do some sort of exercise everyday….or most days.

Getting in shape does not mean:workout to exhaustion

  • running 5 miles every day
  • joining a Crossfit gym
  • doing P90X or Insanity for 30 days straight
  • Doing every weight machine in the gym 100 times, every day.

There is no extreme here.  There is nothing wrong with the above workouts, if you LIKE doing those, great! But the catch is this:
Do not start the above workouts JUST to lose weight. YOU WILL FAIL. 
What I did say is do SOME SORT of exercise every day, or at least most days.  What does that mean?  It means:

  • Do something you enjoy
  • make it consistent
  • get your heart rate up

That’s it.
The point here is consistency, and it doesn’t matter what you do.  Let’s address these three aspects in short detail:

1. Do Something You Enjoy

If you hate lifting weights, don’t.  If you hate running, don’t. If you hate yoga, don’t!
The point is not do a workout because some trainer told you to, or some person on the TV, internet, doctor’s waiting room, buddy of your best friend’s gym owner told you to. DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY!
Some examples of good fitness that make people happy, that they enjoy:

  • Going for a 20 minute walk around the neighborhood or through a park, or a mall
  • Ultimate frisbee
  • cleaning the house (I don’t understand this one, but some people enjoy it, so whatever 🙂 )
  • yoga
  • hill sprints
  • tabatas
  • bodyweight circuits
  • lifting weights
  • bike riding
  • swimming
  • running

Any of these are great.  If you enjoy it that’s the key, you will not stick with an exercise routine you hate, so do something you enjoy!

slight edge


2. Make it consistent

I cannot stress this enough.  It is not the exercise that you do, it’s that you do it regularly that counts.  Slow and steady wins the race, right? Not really, it’s STEADY THAT WINS THE RACE.
I’ve heard this a lot, but it really hit home when I read the book The Slight Edge. 
This book has really opened my eyes to how to achieve what I really want in life.  It comes down to consistency, doing the little, seeminly tiny insignificant things every day that are easy to do but are also easy NOT to do.  Jim Collins talks about it in his book “Good to Great” about pushing the giant flywheel.  It weighs so much there is no way possible for you to give it one giant push and it turn, no, it’s steady effort that builds momentum.
I’ll say that again.
It’s steady effort that builds momentum.
An overnight success does not happen overnight. It happened over the course of the years of obscurity, doing the tiny right actions every day.successcurve
This is the success curve.  Take a close look at it and see if you can understand why consistency is key.  Then make a plan for what TINY action you can do every day to help you reach your goal.  Want to run a marathon but never done it before? It starts with taking a few steps every day, going for a walk every day, building your time, it doesn’t start with a 5 mile run.

3. Get your heart rate up

The key to exercise is elevating your heart rate.  Do you see the people on the treadmill sauntering along? It’s not different than the pace they take to walk to their car, walk around Wal-Mart or take up the entire aisle in a mall.  (I secretly want to smack these people in the back of the head.  I have always moved with a sense of purpose and being in the Army just amplified that urge. Sorry 🙂 )
Any way, the point of exercise is to elevate your heart rate, this accomplishes all kinds of things including better respiratory response, increase oxygen flow to lungs, brain, blood, etc. better joint mobility,  etc. If you do not elevate your heart rate, you aren’t exercising.  Don’t kid yourself.
Now, that doesn’t mean you have to go all extreme and elevate it through the roof, I just said elevate.  Anything above what it is when you’re sitting there doing nothing (called resting heart rate) is elevated.  Now eventually you will want to put more effort out there, because your body adapts. It adapts to stress, to exercise and to everthing else so what is challenging for you now will not be challenging later IF YOU ARE CONSISTENT.  That’s why you ladies lifting only 5 lb. weights in the gym bother me.  It worked for you then….and then your body adapted and it’s no longer a challenge. You are wasting time at that point.
Sorry to get on a soap box, but as a personal trainer this is the area that frustrates me the most.  If you like extreme, great, do that but please work up to it, or face injury. If you don’t like extreme, great, do SOMETHING.

This week’s goal:

So, the challenge this week is that while you are building on the blocks of consistency you’ve achieved in your eating habits, you will add one very small addition of consistent exercise.  Whatever it is, commit to doing it every day or almost every day.  That”s the caveat. If you are lifitng weights or doing aything strenuous, don’t do it 7 days a week, your body will not recover. If you are just going for a walk, that’s fine for every day.

  • Do some sort of exercise you enjoy every day
  • if your exercise is strenuous (like crossfit, weight lifting, etc.) do something on your “off days” that at least keeps you moving.

We are not trying to set records here, all you are doing is building cosistency in your exercise habits and getting used to moving every day.  Progression comes later.


If you haven’t read the other tips in the series, they are meant to be read in order.  Start here:
The 9 Things you need to do to change your habits and get off the hamster wheel!

Get Off the Hamster Wheel! Guide To Change Your Habits Tip #8

In Fitness, Motivation and Success, Nutrition by Angela0 Comments

If you haven’t read last week’s post, you can do so here: Get Off the Hamster Wheel Tip #7
We are down to the last few tips, and you know, I really struggled with this week’s and next week’s tips, trying to figure out which should happen first.  It came down to this:
Which small action do I have the hardest time doing?  And that’s how I picked Tip #8 which is:

Tip #8 WRITE IT DOWNfood journaling

I know you’ve probably heard this hundreds of times before, and that’s great, you’ve probably heard all the other 7 tips as well.  The point of change comes not by KNOWING what you need to do but by DOING it.
The task here is to start a food journal.  Write down every bit of food that goes into your mouth.  What I find is most helpful is if I write down my mood/hunger level before and after I eat as well, which can help me tune into my hunger cues, if I’m really eating for hunger or to satisfy another need, as we talked about last week.
The simple task of taking the time to write down what you eat and take the few seconds to actually see it all on paper can bring huge amounts of awareness to your eating activity.  Heck, this action alone has stopped me more than once from eating anything else, just because I didn’t want to have to write it down, to see it on paper, because when you write something down it becomes real.  Have you ever noticed that? There are certain things in life you don’t want to say out loud or write down because then you are faced with the reality of them, sometimes we think that if the thoughts stay inside our heads, they never happened.
Commit to having fanatical levels of integrity on this one.
Why?  Because when you start being honest with yourself in this one area, you can’t help but have it spill over into other areas of your life as well.  Do not cheat yourself, do not lie to yourself.  Make this commitment to yourself that for at least the next two weeks you will start writing down everything you eat and your mood and hunger level before and after.  You do NOT need to do this the rest of your life, I don’t want this to become an obsessive habit (and boy have I been there with this one, I’d even get anxious that I’d forget to write it down because I didn’t have my notebook with me! ) what you are doing is bringing awareness to your actions.  If you’ve stalled for awhile on your progress, go back to doing this and see what you find out.
I was perusing TJ Maxx awhile back and found a great journal. I really like the structure of having things laid out for me and this week, I commit to using it, consistently.  That’s the key, being consistent in your actions.  So, I’ll take it with me, leave it in the kitchen, etc. (The picture above is of said journal)
If you’d rather not hunt every TJ Maxx around, you can just get it here on Amazon as well: Buy the Ultimate Diet Log Here.
There are several other methods, I know a lot of people like FitDay, My Fitness Pal and Spark People, and I’m cool with those too, heck, whatever floats your boat! I don’t want you to get caught up in the trap of counting calories, though, and these sites do that.  That’s why I”m a fan of simply putting it on paper, worry about the numbers later!
So now, with all those great habits you’ve put into place: drinking more water, eating undisturbed, having vegetables at every meal and focusing your diet on whole foods, Eating exactly what you want, stopping eating when your satisfied, eating when you’re hungry – not to meet an emotional need…. now you can put all of those into reality, by putting them all down on paper.  This simple activity solidifies your activities into reality and makes them become habit.
If you haven’t read the other tips in the series, they are meant to be read in order.  Start here:
The 9 Things you need to do to change your habits and get off the hamster wheel!


Get Off the Hamster Wheel, Guide to Changing Your Habits Tip #7

In Fitness, Motivation and Success, Nutrition by Angela0 Comments

Getting right to the point this week, this of course builds on last week:

Tip #7. If you think you want to eat, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Am I really hungry?
  2. What do I want to eat?  If it is a sweet ask yourself this
  3. Could I be satisfied with a healthier option, protein or a meal instead? If the answer is no, ask yourself this
  4. Do I really want this or am I craving this because I want something non-food related? Am I trying to meet an emotional need with food?
  5. If the answer to that is yes, have the courage to treat the emotional need and the craving will go away.

A craving is a signal that you are in need, the proverb is that somewhere along the way we got our remedies confused. When we were young and we wanted comfort, we would run to get a hug, play with friends when we were lonely, eat when hungry, drink when thirsty, cry when sad, invent games when bored and sleep when tired. Somewhere in the course of growing up we found out that just because we needed something we didn’t always get it, so we turned to food, activities or maybe even drugs, whatever gave you pleasure to meet those needs. We confused pleasure with meeting needs. To change your habits you have to go back to the source: identify your real need and have the courage to meet it instead of substituting food (or other things) for the answer.
When I started asking these questions I REALLY got somewhere.  I found that 7 times out of 10 I wasn’t really hungry.  Bummer.  I like to eat, but my hunger levels are actually much smaller than I think.  When I found I had a craving for something I’d ask “what do I really want?”  Am I trying to meet an emotional need with food?  Most of the time I found out, yes, I was.  I was either lonely, stressed, anxious, bored or tired.  In fact, tired was a big one.  A lot of times I found myself wanting to eat because I needed energy.  The answer for that? I thought “ok, I can  either eat for energy…or why am I tired? Not enough sleep, so GO TO BED! Whatever you’re doing can wait, and you’ll do it better tomorrow anyway!”
Easier said than done right? Maybe, but maybe not, you will never know till you try. It can be very empowering to meet your own needs correctly, it lets tug know on a deep level that your needs ARE worthy of being met, that you know enough to know what YOU want and can actually satisfy yourself. Tug don’t need permission. Sometimes we get caught in child mode, even subconsciously, and having the courage to identify what it is when you have a craving and WHY can empower you to change your habit of eating for comfort to being comforted by a movie, a walk, or another person. Don’t be afraid to go there, ours really worth it.
So this week everytime you want to eat ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Am I really hungry?
  2. What do I want to eat?  If it is a sweet ask yourself this
  3. Could I be satisfied with a healthier option, protein or a meal instead? If the answer is no, ask yourself this
  4. Do I really want this or am I craving this because I want something non-food related? Am I trying to meet an emotional need with food?
  5. If the answer to that is yes, have the courage to treat the emotional need and the craving will go away.

If you haven’t read the other tips in the series, they are meant to be read in order.  Start here:
The 9 Things you need to do to change your habits and get off the hamster wheel!

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Get Off the Hamster Wheel! Guide to Changing Your Habits Tip # 6

In Fitness, Motivation and Success, Nutrition by Angela0 Comments

So what’s the story on the last week?
Did you eat yourself into oblivion with cookie dough/doughnuts/chips and cheese, etc.?  Do you look like the Pilsbury Dough Boy?
Are you sick of eating your “vice” or “nemesis food”?
Did you find that this was easy to do or difficult? My guess is difficult.  When I finally started allowing myself to eat what I really wanted, I was afraid I’d eat it all, but just having the freedom to say yes to myself was liberating.  This week’s habit changing tip can help you adapt to your new-found freedom:

Habit-Changing Tip #6:  Stop eating when you’re satisfied.  hungerscale

If you go back to Tip #2 you’ll remember you learned to eat un-distracted. Your hunger cues should be stronger now, you should be more aware of when you’re actually hungry, which, in turn, means you’re actually more aware of when you’re NOT hungry, when you’ve had enough.  And there is a difference between being satisfied and being full.
Satisifed is subtle, full is unmistakeable.  You will blow right past the feeling of being satisfied if you eat while distracted and eat quickly.  This is where the thought of eating slowly because it takes 20 minutes for your brain to realize you’re full kicks in.
But I’m not telling you to stop when you’re full, that’s when you ate too much.  Sometimes we just want to keep eating because it’s SOOOOO good, or we don’t get that particular food very often (think Christmas, birthday or Thanksgiving).  However, more often than not it’s just mindless eating, or eating to fulfill some other need that has nothing to do with food, but food keeps you occupied, gives you pleasure. If you don’t have pleasure in any other area of your life, or limited areas, food can become a drug, an addictive habit.
So the challenge is this:
This week, while you are drinking your water, consuming your whole foods, fruits and vegetables and eating EXACTLY what you want, you are to continue to eat undistracted, as often as possible, and focus on HOW DOES THE FOOD MAKE YOU FEEL?  When you allow yourself to acknowledge this you will know when you are satisifed and you can push the plate away, finished or not, because you might find out you were just eating that much food because your husband/boyfriend/friends/family conditioned you to eat that much or everything on your plate when really, you don’t actually want it all.
This is the other liberating principal:
While you can eat what you want, you don’t have to eat it if you don’t want to either. 🙂
Feels good to give yourself that freedom doesn’t it?
Leave your comments below and let us know what you’ve found out. What does satisfied feel like for you? Do need more or less food than you usually consume? Were you surprised?
If you haven’t read the other tips in the series, they are meant to be read in order.  Start here:
The 9 Things you need to do to change your habits and get off the hamster wheel!

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Get Off the Hamster Wheel! Tip #5

In Fitness, Motivation and Success, Nutrition by Angela0 Comments

So how did last week go? Did you have an easy or a hard time incoropoarting more whole foods into your diet?
I know that for me, when I’m on the run, it can be more difficult.  So I ALWAYS make leftovers and then night before the next day I pack my lunch,  I include my piece of fruit, my vegetables and some sort of protein and snacks (if I pack them) are structured the same way: Greek yogurt, nuts, Quest Protein bar. 🙂
Today’s tip might come as a bit of a shock, or at the very least seem somewhat backwards, but stay with me on this.  This week’s habit changer is:

Habit-Changing Tip #5: Eat What you Want, what you really willywonka

I know I know, it sounds backwards, right? Isn’t that what got you to where you are in the first place? Maybe, maybe not.  It seems that more often and not, not only have we forgotten our hunger cues and we don’t undertand when we’re really hungry, we’ve also been conditioned to eat according to someone else’s rules:

  • Eat every 3-4 hours
  • Eat only after noon, in an 8 hour window
  • Carbs are bad! Stay away from carbs, eat only fats and proteins
  • Fat is bad! Eat a low-fat diet, throw away those egg yolks, have your salad plain and your toast dry
  • Too much protein will damage your kidneys, stay away from protein!
  • Breakfast should be the biggest meal of the day,you need lots of carbs for breakfast!
  • Stay away from sweets! If you eat ice cream you’ll get fat! Step away from that brownie!
  • To lose weight you HAVE to be on a diet
  • All things in moderation….(what???)

And on and on and on it goes.  We have been conditioned, over the years to have no idea what our bodies are telling us it needs, or what we really want.  Sooooo many times I have found that when I listen to my body, and calm down for a second, I can hear my body tell me what it wants “yes, chicken sounds nice, nah not in the mood for beef or fish. I don’t think I really want rice, that would be heavy right now, but a sweet potato sounds heavenly…oh oh oh! and Green beans please!”
When was the last time you heard THAT conversation?
More than likely your last conversation with your body over food went something like this:
“I REAAAALLY want that brownie. No, no I don’t. I don’t need it, it will make me fat, I should eat vegetables. I like vegetables, I like how they make me feel…..but they aren’t sweet.  Maybe I can have just a bite, just one, just a piece…NO! If I do, I can’t stop! I know myself  I do’nt have willpower!  I SHOULD eat CLEAN. I should eat chicken breast and brussel sprouts, with no oil, because oil is bad….but that would taste dry, like cardboard.  I should listen to what I really want, what do I really want? I want a brownie. Yes, yes I do……”stuff face
And on and on THAT goes.
More often than not, when I step back from that internal dialogue and ask myself “do I really want a brownie”? If the answer is yes, I’ll ask “am I hungry still?”  If not, it usually means I’m trying to meet a need with food.

But won’t I get fat if I eat what I want?

Maybe.  Probably not.  Geneen Roth writes some EXCELLENT books on this subject (that’s all another tip for another week), I highly recommend her books if you even suspect you have food issues.  Truth is, you can only eat so much cookie dough before you get sick of it, even if you eat it every day. And you know what, eventually your body starts screaming at you what it really wants, because hey, you say “I want_____” and you go eat ______ and then what?  You find out if that really satisfied you or not.
The point is, if you are having food issues and any food is “off limits” what do you think you crave? THAT FOOD. Have no forbidden foods.
I mean this with all my heart. I am so sick of hearing “I can’t have it in the house! I’ll eat it all!”  So do it.  Will it kill you? no.  Will a junk food bender kill you in a week? No.  You might feel like crap but I guarantee you’ll get sick of it.  I speak from experience.
What is your forbidden food? The food you LOVE but can’t have it near you or you’ll eat the whole bag?  Go get lots of bags of it.  Pretty soon, you’ll realize it’s always there, you won’t run out and you can have it whenever you want it.  Sometimes, just knowing you CAN have it whenever you want it takes the craving away.
Make no mistake, this takes a lot of courage. But what you are doing is staring your demons in the face and saying “I know best for me. No one can tell me how to eat better than myself. No one knows me like I do.  I know what I should eat”.
You’re not a toddler anymore getting spoon-fed carrots. You can make your own decisions and eat what you want. 
This gets into a lot of psychology but I can tell you from experience, this works.
The next few tips, I’m going to go ahead and give them to  you in a sneak peak because they make this easier:

  1. Stop eating when you are truly satisifed. Not stuffed, satisfied. And if that food doesn’t satisfy you, eat what does.
  2. Figure out if you’re eating to meet hunger or an emotional need.

You CAN have that brownie/cookie/doughnut, etc. but ask yourself this, am I hungry?  If the answer is no, more than likely you’re trying to meet an emotional need with food.
If you haven’t read the other tips in the series, they are meant to be read in order.  Start here:
The 9 Things you need to do to change your habits and get off the hamster wheel!

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9 Things You Need to Do to Actually Lose the Fat, Get the Body You Want and KEEP IT! Tip #2

In Fitness, Motivation and Success, Nutrition by Angela0 Comments

If you haven’t read the first post, go here: Getting Off the Hamster Wheel: Tip #1
How successful were you at last week’s challenge? Were you able to drink more water? The amount you needed to drink? Were you consistent? Was it harder than you thought to not do anything else goal-wise?
Thought so. 🙂
By now, you’ve probably noticed how naked you feel without a water bottle, how you want to drink water more often, how food actually tastes different when you are properly hydrated…which brings me to this week’s tip:
Tip #2. Focus on doing nothing but eating when you’re eating.  eating_over_computer-300x300

No, really, when it’s time to eat, eat.  Pay attention to your food, how it tastes, your level of hunger or fullness, if it actually satisfies you or not.  This goes perfectly in hand with my next tip, but you’ll have to wait till next Monday to get that one. When was the last time you sat down to eat, by yourself, with no book, no phone, no computer, no TV, nothing? Probably a long time. Scenery is wonderfully relaxing, if you can go outside in the sun to eat your lunch, do so. If you can’t, doesn’t matter. The point of main importance here is to focus on your food, and that’s it.  I recommend doing this alone, as when you talk with people you end up eating more than you might otherwise. A lot of people have trouble eating alone, are you one of them? How does eating alone make you feel? With no distractions? Lonely? Bored? Scared? Peaceful? Take note of these emotions. If you have a journal to write in, make a note of these things:

  1. level of hunger before you ate
  2. how you felt while eating
  3. level of satisfaction after you ate

These are huge keys to tell you if you are using food to help with your emotion or are really eating out of hunger.
I want you to take this entire next week and for every meal you have make it a goal to:
1) sit down to eat (standing distracts you)
2) eliminate all distractions: no books, no phone, no tablet, no TV
3) as you eat concentrate on the taste, sight, smell and texture of your food.
4) as you eat, notice what emotions come up as you eat alone. Whatever comes up, don’t run from it, acknowledge it with interest and maybe even curiosity, but don’t run. you feel this way for a reason. Find out what it is, later you can find out why.
Things you might notice as you get used to eating this way:

  • you begin to enjoy your food more
  • you tend to eat less
  • your appetite isn’t as big as you thought it was
  • you are able to recognize satisfaction
  • you chew more slowly
  • you feel calmer and enjoy things around you

Aren’t these all things we want anyway?
So, building upon last week’s challenge of drinking enough water (did you hit 4 liters? How many days?) this week, you will continue to drink your water goal and add the goal of every time you sit down to eat, you do nothing but eat. To meet this goal, my family tends to turn on the TV, I’ve had to leave them and go outside…it was a beautiful day outside and I enjoyed my dinner much more in the sunshine listening to birds than being ignored while everyone watched TV. I doubt they tasted their food and not only did I enjoy mine, I was satisfied with less.
Make note here, your goal is not to eat less, your goal is to eat without distraction.  Whatever that means, find a way to do it and let us know how it went. What were your findings? Did it freak you out and now you enjoy it?  Good luck and I’ll see you next week for the next tip!

Got a ways to go on this path, but enjoy the journey, there's no hurry. Doesn't food always taste better with great scenery?

Got a ways to go on this path, but enjoy the journey, there’s no hurry. Doesn’t food always taste better with great scenery?

If you haven’t read the other tips in the series, they are meant to be read in order.  Start here:
The 9 Things you need to do to change your habits and get off the hamster wheel!

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9 Things You Need to Do to Actually Lose the Fat, Get the Body You Want and KEEP IT! Tip #1

In Fitness, Motivation and Success, Nutrition by Angela0 Comments

How many times have we all done it?
A dozen?
A hundred times?
How many times have we said to ourselves “ENOUGH! I have had enough of being fat, and feeling gross and my clothes not fitting….(insert frustration of choice here)”.  We start that minute with iron-willed resolve, only to have it seem a distant memory 4 hours later when hunger strikes and a co-worker brings in cupcakes “for no special reason”.hamster wheel
And we do it again and again the next day.
We may find ourselves resolving and failing, picking this diet after that diet, seemingly going nowhere on the hamster wheel….do you ever wonder what you’re doing wrong?  WHY isn’t this working?
A wise man once told me some VERY wise words that stuck with me.  That the reasons I couldn’t stick to my “diet” of choice was because:

  • a goal is just a goal, when it’s accomplished it’s not sustainable, that’s all it is, a goal.
  • when the mindset is about obsessiveness or restriction, the mindset is unsustainable…therefore so is the weight loss
  •  If you keep this all being about your weight – then the goal itself is faulty still – the goal should be “the healthy way” you just outlined and the process it takes to finally understand and apply that kind of wellness training – from there the weight loss really takes care of itself

His words resonated with me.  I finally understood. But I still didn’t know what to do. I knew that having a Diet, or restriction or just aiming for a number or even a look, was unsustainable.  What I outlined to this wise man (Scott Abel in case you were wondering, I want to make sure to give him credit!) was that while yes, I wanted to be smaller, I wanted to be lighter, what I wanted MOST was to CHANGE  MY HABITS.
You see, I knew my habits got me to where I was. I recently lost 10-15 lbs going through some grief and trauma in my personal life.  Was I happy about it? Actually, yeah, but was it sustainable? No, because I didn’t really change my habits.
How to Change Your Habits
I was listening to The Fitcast Podcast the other day and Kevin was interviewing Dan John. He is a brilliant man, for anyone who doesn’t know. Something that stuck with me was how he said there was a man who lost over 100 lbs over the course of a year, and the first month, the only thing he did was to drink more water.  That was it, his ONE goal for the month.
Did you catch the profoundness of that?   This man had an audacious goal. The goal in and of itself was not the problem, goals are wonderful. What he did was NOT BE IN A HURRY TO GET THERE.  That way, he didn’t obsess over the journey or get frustrated and quit, he said, I have a lot to lose, so to start, I need to start doing something small, something manageable, something I’m not already doing…..and the weight began to come off.
And so this is what I plan to be doing. For the next 9-10 weeks or so, I’ll bring you another installment of the top 10 list (it might not actually be 10, we’ll see 🙂 )
Pre-Change Step: Don’t Be In A Hurry
Before you embark on this journey you need to be really ok with this not being done quickly. It might end up going quickly for you but if you go at it with the intention with this happening quickly, you will be right back to where you are now.  Your goal here is to change your habits, and they change neither quickly nor easily.  So understand it might take you a 2 weeks to get #1 under your belt before you can proceed. It might take you a month.  So what? If you want to do this right once and for all, stop being in a hurry and actually make these habits stick. How long it takes for everyone is different. Be patient with yourself.

This should really be a 1 Liter Nalgene bottle...

This should really be a 1 Liter Nalgene bottle…

Step #1. Drink more water.
Yeah, it sounds simplistic, but come on, how much water do you really drink and how much do you think you should be drinking? I give most of my clients the range of a minimum of 1/2 your bodyweight in ounces of water to 4 liters. Why 4 liters? Most of us are chronically dehydrated and if 4 liters is your goal, even if you only get 2, you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished so much and done really well, and you have, it’s more than you were drinking before.
(Side note: while it’s very convenient to get a gallon milk carton jug and drink out of it all day…please don’t be that guy. It screams “look at me! I drink water, I’m special!” You’re doing this to change your habits, not annoy others or get attention)
That’s it.  That’s your challenge.  Why is it a challenge? Because you’ll think it’s too easy, it’s too boring and you’re good at multitasking so you will want to do 2-3 new habits at once.
Please trust me in this.  You haven’t been successful yet so what do you have to lose?  I did this myself and while I am a better water drinker than most, my problem (and probably yours too, if you’re honest with yourself) is consistency.  I do not CONSISTENTLY drink enough water, and so it took me the better part f 2-3 weeks to get that first part down.
That’s it!  Best of luck on your new journey!  Put your comments down below and let us know how it’s going for you: is it easy? Is it harder than you thought? Have you noticed yourself being bored with trying to stick with just adding more water to your diet? Let’s hear the feedback and see you next Monday!

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Tips on Teaching by Skype « Music Teacher’s Helper Blog

In Pedagogy and Teaching by Angela0 Comments

Tips on Teaching by Skype « Music Teacher’s Helper Blog.
I have been giving flute lessons via Skype for going on 3 years now.  I have found it an incredible asset and a great tool for teaching.  I can say now, that with this many years behind me, what I have learned, both good and bad, and I”m glad to see another article on it as well.
Biggest lessons:
Teaching via Skype is not best for beginners
One of my first students was a third grader. I’m teaching her to this day, however, things were REALLY difficult in the beginning.  With her not being in band class or having any other musical outlet, she didn’t understand rhythm, beat or counting.  When she was old enough to join music classes she immediately improved and it’s not a problem anymore.  However, not being able to be there in person and be able to touch her, to help her feel the beat, or even be able to physically move her fingers when she was fingering a wrong note was immensely difficult.  Because of this, I open my Skype lessons only to advanced middle school and up.
You HAVE to have a fast internet connection and a good webcam.
I have had some horrendous lessons because the student lived in the middle of nowhere and their internet connection was spotty.  The first few lessons were fine, but after that things started to get ugly.  You can’t have a flute lesson over the phone, which without video, is essentially what Skype is.  If you want Skype lessons, go for FAST internet connection and have a good webcam.  You won’t be able to see music over the webcam otherwise and vice versa.
Do your billing via automatic PayPal billing.
This is a lifesaver. Because with Skype lessons you generally don’t have to worry as much about school being out, snow days, etc. lessons go on on a pretty regular basis.  All of my Skype students live in different states from me, currently I have 3 in Florida and 1 in New Jersey.  I have a one that prefers to have me invoice them and they have their bank cut me a check, and for some families that works best. However, I’ve found out that having your students sign up via PayPal automatic billing takes a HUGE hassle out of the payment process. Their card is charged every month on the same day for the same amount. This ensures continuity on everyone’s end and there’s no worry about “oh I forgot the check this week, can I mail it you later?”
With these things in mind Skype lessons can be a really viable option and I’m glad I’ve been doing it for so long.  It definitely gives students an opportunity who might not otherwise have it, to have lessons.