Healing from Diet Culture

As I continue to work on living my best life into my forties, I must face the debilitating beliefs that plagued my childhood, teen years, and younger adulthood. I am grateful for ever coming across The Four Agreements more than 10 years ago to help me start to reset my way of thinking. I realize now that this was a necessary step for me to even begin this journey, but it has been incredibly challenging to undo the thought process of diet culture and it still is.

This undertaking feels massive as the weight-loss industry makes billions over billions of dollars on our own belief that we are all not good enough as we are. Thankfully, we have advocates like Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch who paved the way to change this way of thinking by gifting us with the principles and practice of intuitive eating.

This issue cannot be addressed in one post. It is not enough to cover this topic with one voice. It is worth the effort to call bullshit on this industry and this societal mindset with as many advocates and resources as we possibly can.

Please join me on this journey to heal ourselves from this culture of self-loathing. With each upcoming post I will address beliefs we must begin to overcome together. We need to change the narrative. We need to shift our perspective and begin to see ourselves and each other much more clearly. We need to live more truthfully, choose to live with compassion and embrace our BEST selves once and for all.

HLbV Update – Yoga with V!

Join V on the mat at the following locations and times!

Tuesdays and Thursdays – All FMCU Employees at Gold Canyon – 530pm to 630pm

*Saturdays – 5 Points Local for Progressive Flow – 830am to 930am

*Every Sunday in February – The Vidorra Residents & Guests – 630pm to 730pm

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*Check websites regularly for updates to class schedules and new opportunities to join V on the mat!

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A Thought on Avoiding Injury in Fitness

Build a strong foundation by easing your way into any new activity…slowly, with consistency but also with sufficient periods of rest and recovery. Find that place between ease and effort. Challenge yourself to reach your edge but never push past it. Learn your body’s signals of over-exertion and pain and pull back, modify, adjust or stop as necessary. Learn from those of us who had to learn the hard way–do what you can to protect, love and care for the one body you have in this life. Keep it active, keep it fit and keep it safe allowing it to continue to support and care for you through all you continuously ask it to do.

~V~

Exploring Transitions

Exploring Transitions

Many of us spend most of our time completely focused on an event, a goal, a challenge or an accomplishment but how often do we pay attention to the time in between those experiences?  Staying focused on an event of any sort can certainly help you achieve your goals while in the process of them, but more often than not we are also holding on to those events long before they happen and long after they have come and gone.  With this habit we miss out on opportunities that are available in the present because we can’t let go of the past or we’re continuously worrying about the future.

On a smaller scale:  Exercise Habits

The next time you’re in a class, a training run or ride or in any sort of practice, consider the way in which you handle yourself in between reps or sets, intervals or postures.  Do you exhale dramatically and flop around like a fish, or do you try to stay composed and transition smoothly in and out of each one?  We all need to relax from time to time, but think about what happens to you mentally as well as physically when you release your composure so much so that you lose focus—your body is no longer fully engaged but neither is your mind.  These are the moments in which negative thoughts and frustration can creep in which can then make you convince yourself that you can’t keep going or you have nothing left.  If we take the time to work on graceful transitions we not only build additional strength by staying physically engaged, we stay focused on the bigger picture of improving our overall fitness or performance in the long term rather than a finite goal for one day.

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On a broader scale:  Life

How many times do we overlook our day-to-day experiences because we’re too busy analyzing events that have already passed or anticipating all the things that could go wrong in the future?  If that’s all we’re putting our energy into there’s no part of us focusing on what’s going on right now.  The only way we can appreciate what’s happening in the moment is to be in the moment.  The next time you find yourself complaining about the past or over thinking the future, take a minute to reset yourself and find something to either appreciate or learn from right then and there.  Sometimes it’s just about doing the best you can at everything you do.  Sometimes it’s about accepting the present just as it is in order to move on and move forward.  Other times it’s simply about realizing there actually is something to appreciate in your life.

Whether you’re working through a difficult time, a physical or emotional challenge or you just need to learn to enjoy life more, there’s so much potential in the transitions that we experience and we owe it to ourselves to explore them all.  It’s not just about the big events that come and go, it’s the smaller moments in between that can truly add to the quality of our daily life.

Love,

V

Commit with Awareness and Keep it Simple

Commit with Awareness and Keep it Simple

When we take a look at all of the different programs available on the market for healthy living, it can be seriously overwhelming.  There are so many different theories, some of which are contradictory, and with all of the promises out there, how do you know which methods to follow?  In my personal experience, the only techniques that really work are those that are simple and continue to keep the momentum slow and steady and therefore encourage long-term changes.

Most of the tips out there we’ve all heard before, especially if you follow this blog, but reminding ourselves of some of these really basic ideas will help it actually click for us one day.  It’s worth it to consistently surround yourself with motivating resources that encourage health and wellness because one day, you will be ready to make that change, and it will truly register for you once and for all.  Remember, we’re in this for life!  The only tips I’m willing to follow myself are realistic enough to at least try and maybe, one day, become a regular habit.  Join me in some of the commitments below and see which ones work best for you if not all of them.  This is your journey.  Explore every bit of it that you can.

I’m committed to making a change.  This sounds like I’m stating the obvious, right?  Well, not really.  Not when I still talk with people who say they want to make a change or live better or feel better or make better choices but they don’t.  Here’s the thing, whatever excuses we come up with, that’s all they are—excuses.  People make time to do what they really care about doing.  Whatever it is, what they invest their time in is their choice.  When you’re ready to make a change, you will, and with awareness you can start altering your lifestyle in the way that works best for you.

I commit to not eat anything after 7pm.  This is certainly easier on some days more than others and it also has to do with my particular schedule.  For the most part, we’re up around 6am every day (if not earlier) and in bed by 930pm so this works for me on nights we don’t go out.  There’s something about the way I personally eat or snack after this time of day.  By trying this simple tweak to my daily habits I found that any eating I did after this hour was more out of boredom or habit because this is when my husband and I typically wind down from the day together and just hang out on the couch.  Commit to learning your own habits and figure out what needs to be tweaked so you can start cutting out the mindless eating we all tend to do from time to time.

I commit to (at least) taking a 30 minute walk every day.  This is an easy one to tailor to your own lifestyle.  Simply put, if you’re currently sedentary, the least you could do is take 30 minutes off of the couch and go for a brisk easy walk outside or do a 30 minute workout video inside.  If you’re moderately active, try an hour-long class somewhere and try something new until you find something you love and will keep doing.  Take small, simple, easy steps to make physical activity a regular part of your lifestyle and your body will eventually begin to crave it.  Push too hard and you may end up quitting before it becomes a true habit.  Go too easy on yourself and you may not feel the benefits enough to be motivated to keep going.  Find the balance of what you can do and what you need to do to make exercise in one form or another part of your daily life.

I commit to drinking a glass of water before every meal or snack.  This is so important for everyone who still has to drink a glass of something other than water when feeling thirsty.  Here’s what helped me—feeling thirsty is your body’s way of telling you that you need hydration.  The only thing that truly satisfies that is water.  So out of the desire to not dehydrate myself, I began to drink water anytime I felt thirsty and the more I did the more it was all I craved.  Drinking anything else when you’re not regularly hydrated just adds more calories, sugars or artificial junk that your body doesn’t truly need at all, ever.  Don’t even worry about how much you drink for now.  Just start drinking before you eat anything and your habits will begin to change over time.  This tip is an easy one to incorporate and the benefits really are endless.

Keep your focus steady and make your changes simple.  Don’t worry about the big, end results—you’re not working towards a goal here so much as you are improving your journey towards healthy living.  If you are focused on a big payout, an end result that’s going to suddenly be the end-all be-all of your current life and create your happily-ever-after, I would rethink your expectations.  What often happens with that mindset is more of a yo-yo effect:  super-charged up and ready to push hard and motivated by the “I’ll be happy when…” mentality and when you don’t reach your goal or you hit your plateau, you’re back to where you started and your old habits are current again.  Give yourself a chance to succeed and make these commitments now because you deserve it.  You always have.

Love,

V

Get Your MIND Right!

Get Your MIND Right!

This is a favorite saying at Octane Athletic Performance and is literally part of the writing on the wall when we come in for the challenge of each workout.  It’s the perfect reminder that in order to get the most out of anything we do in there, we have to have the right mindset from the start.  This practice is also very similar to the way your Yoga Instructor may ask you to set an intention for yourself at the beginning of a class.  If you have a certain goal, focus or approach in mind that you know will help you through any activity or obstacle, you increase your effectiveness and the greater your chances of overall success.  Let’s explore just a few more mantras and affirmations that can help us through the wonderful challenges that life has to offer so we can learn and grow and strengthen along the way.

I am stronger than ever!  This was my own personal mantra when I first started to work out and anything longer than 15 minutes on a treadmill was a serious achievement.  I was almost 40 lbs down from where I had been but was still more than 20 lbs heavier than where I am now.  I could have kept thoughts in mind that said “Oh, but I still have SO much farther to go…I’m so weak…This is embarrassing…I still have too much to lose…This is so tough…I hate this, I hate that…”  Those thoughts were a typical part of my day before I changed my lifestyle and it clearly didn’t do me any good at all.  So instead of focusing on excuses or activities I didn’t enjoy, I committed to trying as many things as I could and focused on what I could enjoy and could learn to love.  Eventually, it was much more effective to train myself to change my thoughts before I attempted to change my body.  When I started trying new fitness activities, this was the mantra I allowed to roll through my head and repeat whenever it felt like it was just “too much.”  No matter where I was physically, I knew I was healthier and stronger than I was even from the day before just by making a consistent effort and THAT is all that matters.

Your mind will give up long before your body will.  I love this one because I remember so clearly when I first heard it.  I was working my way towards the end of one of Octane’s strength and conditioning classes and I was really feeling it.  It must have shown on our faces because, as if he was reading our minds, Octane Trainer Mitchell Fischer encouragingly reminded us of this fact.  It actually made me pause and consider its meaning as I moved through the last couple of sets.  There I was, out of breath, struggling, feeling my muscles so tired that I was beginning to wonder if I could finish the set.  Then these words were exactly what I needed to make a clear choice to keep moving no matter what.  I was not going to let my body down because my mind thought I couldn’t handle the rest of the exercises.  It is a great reminder that no matter what you think you can’t handle, your mind has the ability to keep you going as long as you let it.

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My potential is limitless.  Making healthy choices, whether it be through nutritional habits, physical fitness or anything that improves our overall wellness, is much more manageable when we believe that we’re truly capable of anything and everything we hope to achieve.  Filling yourself with doubt about your own potential is the surest way to limit yourself and reduce your chances towards success.

Also keep in mind that if you waste your time focusing on what you think you can’t do but also let thoughts consume you with what and where you think you need to be, you set yourself up for a constant struggle.  Worrying about every aspect of your life and what your days should look like, what you should look like, what your relationships should look like is counterintuitive to believing your potential is limitless.  Your confidence that there is nothing you can’t do is most effective when you pair that belief with being completely open to whatever you’re meant to do and wherever you’re meant to be.

This week’s challenge is for you to identify which of your thoughts can be replaced with just one of the many mantras, mottos or sayings that can help you redirect your focus towards a healthy and accomplished lifestyle.  Once you’re able to adopt a few that really speak to you and your goals, begin a journal that you use to reinforce the idea that you create your own reality and write each one down at least twice daily—every morning and at night—and most importantly in present tense.  In a short matter of time, you will begin to see results that you never came close to before and more importantly, you will finally be able to adopt the mindset that will help you let go of what you think life is supposed to be for you and be open to your true potential.

Love,

V