Slow Down and Enjoy Life

Slow Down and Enjoy Life

Greetings, all!  I’m so happy to be back on this journey of health and wellness and I thank you for joining me.  After taking a month or so off of HLbyV, I realize that writing this blog really does keep my own habits in check and I’m so excited to find my focus with you again.  Now that we’ve all settled back into our daily routine, many of us are also trying out new approaches to reach new goals.  As I struggle to find time to evaluate my own aspirations and new methods to reach them, it occurs to me that in order to be successful, the pace at which we go about our everyday life is a huge factor.

Here’s the thing—we pretty much already have the tools we need to make significant changes towards a healthy lifestyle.  We know what we’re supposed to do and we certainly know the basic factors that can help us be successful—so what’s holding us back?  I would say that for many of us, our busy lifestyles allow for our days to get away from us and we continue to go, go, go through the motions without appreciating or being mindful of the present.  As a result, we make the excuse that we don’t have time for healthy habits or we continue to act as though we don’t know any better.  If we don’t slow down and learn to make mindful decisions we are guaranteed that our current state of physical, mental and emotional health will remain just as it is.

To start, our nutritional habits are something we can all focus on right away.  Every day and every time we eat, we have the opportunity to choose mindfully and eat much more slowly than we do and it could make all the difference in our overall lifestyle.  Too many of us let convenience and time constraints dictate the way we choose our snacks and meals as well as how fast we consume them.  Unfortunately, we’ve become a society that prefers quick and easy over quality and nutritional value and very few can appreciate a meal long enough to have it last more than 15 – 20 minutes.  Eating habits like these easily set us up for an unhealthy foundation on which to build upon anything else we want to achieve.

Start the process of satisfying your hunger by first being more thoughtful of your choices and prepare your meals and snacks in advance.  In our house, grocery shopping includes plenty of fresh produce, various sources of whole grain and lean protein but we also plan for meals I can make in larger quantities on the weekend so they last us throughout the week.  This helps us prepare for several days of healthy eating even when we’re on the go or too tired to prepare something new.

Secondly, when you do take time to eat, also take time to enjoy it!  For those of us (myself included!) who tend to eat while working, cleaning, or standing in general so as to move on quickly to the next to-do, we lose so much of the wonderful experience of eating good quality food.  Junk food is meant to be eaten quickly because there simply is no substance to truly taste or enjoy, so when you learn to choose food worth savoring learn to really look, smell and taste each bite and chew it slowly.  Taking the time to slow down and really develop these habits while nourishing your body will create a new appreciation for good nutrition and what it can do for us.  Soon your newfound awareness will show you that your body, mind and spirit really do reflect the quality of your choices.

Here’s to healthy eating!

Love,

V

A Season of Gratitude

A Season of Gratitude

The month of November has had its very high ups and very low downs for me and my family over the last several years but this year in particular I feel as though I am finally able to embrace this season as one of genuine gratitude.  It is and always will be a work in progress but working towards gratitude has been much more fulfilling than I ever expected.  Many of my friends, all of whom are in different circles, have been sharing that which they are grateful for on a daily basis and it has been truly inspiring.  Let’s take a moment to explore all of the ways the attitude of gratitude can be our motivation to finish out another amazing year and continue throughout our years to come.

Embracing the Past:  Thanksgiving Day this year will fall on the date in which my family and I had to say goodbye to my dad as he moved on from our world.  It will be eighteen years since he passed and from that year on this season was never the same.  He was the glue that kept our family together and we suddenly had to figure it all out without him and without each other.  And then five years ago I met my husband and November changed.  His birthday, only days away from the anniversary, gave me something to celebrate again.  It became the center of my Thanksgiving Season and I found joy in preparing the feasts and participating in the festivities.

There will always be moments of darkness.  There will be sadness and pain, loneliness and heartache.  This year for me has been the true turning point, though.  Opening up to life and all that it has to offer includes embracing those moments just as much as the ones that fill us up with joy.  In fact, stepping back and not judging the darkness or pain as bad or negative at all has been my current practice which is certainly difficult but becomes easier with time.  You simply never know what’s around the corner, you never know who or what will rise above the ashes.  The heroes, the joy, the light, the laughter often reveal themselves to an unimaginable degree after periods of sorrow and we simply don’t have the foresight to see it ahead of time. 

My challenge to you (when you’re ready) is to join me in calling back those moments of sadness and heartache and take a breath to hold them close to your heart.  Love them for teaching you whatever strength, endurance, determination and values you learned, thank them for the experience that helped you grow……and then let…them…go.  It will not be easy, it may even be the hardest thing you ever do, and it will feel like a sharp and painful wound again…but I promise that with practice your tears will shift into tears of joy and your heart will find pure love through healing.

A Positive Outlook:  I’ve listened to the truths that many of us try to live by and then I hear the difficulty we sometimes have when we are not able to stick by them.  One truth that stands out to me as a belief that we all try to have but is often times difficult is that it’s essential to always think positively.  Easier said than done, right?  Well, maybe not if we turn our traditional approach around and practice with smaller steps rather than wait for the bigger events.

What often happens is that it’s easy to think positively, speak affirmations and celebrate joy when things are great but as soon as we’re challenged with a difficult period we feel, well, challenged.  It’s wonderful to appreciate the good, the great moments, the happiness when we feel it, but what about all of the smaller moments in between?  The smaller, unnoticed moments are the ones that can really use a shift.  Those are the moments that we forget about having a positive attitude and minor flashes of judgment, criticism, irritation and aggravation suddenly tip the scales without us realizing it.  Then we find that when a BIG pain in the rear, heart or head comes around we succumb to the external experience, the outside influence, and our ability to suddenly shift into a “positive attitude” or the “attitude of gratitude” is just too great to manage.

My challenge to you today is to join me in approaching the smaller moments in your every day with new thoughts when someone or something rocks you just the tiniest bit.  Remember, at this point the bigger more painful moments are not what I’m concerned about yet.  Besides, until you’re ready it will feel ridiculous to try and attempt suddenly shifting your thoughts.  Instead, throughout your regular day-to-day activities, when someone does something annoying as they often do and often will, try stepping back and considering that we’re all learning together, figuring things out in our own way and our own time, there is nothing to judge.  When you look in the mirror, step on the scale, or make an unhealthy choice, no matter what you’ve been doing up until this point, acknowledge the feeling and remind yourself I’m beautiful, I’m a good person, I’m doing the best I can, there is nothing to judge.  When something random and unpleasant happens to you, whatever it is, and your typical reaction is anger or frustration, assess the situation without emotion and breathe through it instead.  Tell yourself it’s just physical, it is external, it has no authority over me, there is nothing to judge.

We take for granted the little thoughts we have going through our head and heart throughout the day, not to mention the thoughts we share out loud or even bother to type out in a post, email or text.  One primary truth I try to live by is that our thoughts help develop our words which help develop our actions which help develop our reality which then result in the thoughts we carry around with us and the cycle continues on throughout infinity.  See how this new approach creates a more blissful type of balance throughout your day.  Consistency will make all the difference with everything you do and attitude is no different than any other activity we choose to practice.

The blessings of just this year have been incredibly overwhelming in the best possible ways for me and I am truly humbled.  I hope you choose to join those who are sharing 30 days of giving thanks to explore the potential of your own gratitude.  Whether it’s something you write in your journal, share with a friend or post for the world to see, it’s never too late for thanksgiving.

Love,

V

Bring On the Holidays!

Bring On the Holidays!

We’re only a few weeks away from the Season of Eating and I’m beginning to hear the rumblings of those who already expect it to be a period of defeat!  As if our only option has been and always will be to succumb to the obligatory pressures of holiday parties and an overabundance of rich and decadent foods and libations which only result in one thing in regards to our healthy habits—FAILURE.  To translate this mentality, we work hard all year only to undo every bit of it for about 2-3 months and then start over again in the New Year.  I’m here to challenge all of us to turn this entire frame of mind around starting right now.  We have the opportunity to not only accomplish more than we ever have during this period of JOY but more importantly to set the stage for better habits in the future and even all year-long.

Now, before you stop reading don’t get me wrong.  I’m certainly not against the celebrations that accompany this beautiful time of year which we all know is really about Love, Generosity, Gratitude, Peace and Hope.  In fact, I encourage you to celebrate as much and as often as you can!  I’m simply not an advocate for deprivation and especially not so during the holidays when participation of (some) events is part of the joy that we share with one another.  My challenge for all of us (myself included!) is to incorporate the tips below to add to the festivities we choose to participate in from now and throughout the New Year celebrations.  This is such a special time for all of us for our own reasons, values and beliefs and I encourage, support and celebrate them all with you.  Let’s enjoy these next several weeks together and really get into the spirit of love and living well, for ourselves and each other.

Tip#1:  Avoid the NYR cycle and start a new fitness regimen now!  Don’t make the mistake of waiting for the New Year to set goals or begin a new activity, join a new gym, studio etc., etc.  Here’s what happens when you do:  If this is suddenly (or is typically) your New Year’s Resolution, you’re probably motivated by the guilt of whatever you did to yourself over the previous two months and are probably even carrying excess weight that you didn’t have on you before the holidays started.  These two factors already set yourself up for a more difficult time to make any progress and it will take you much longer to see any results.  Also, the NYR craze is the reason that the busiest time of year for any gym or studio is the first three months.  As a result, while you’re “trying” to develop new exercise habits for yourself, so is everyone else and now you also have to work around a crowded class or facility while probably feeling self-conscious about anyone noticing you.  Soon after you start your new routine, you begin to make one excuse after another to avoid the large groups of people and because you aren’t making the kind of progress you initially hoped for your resolution is suddenly in the past until it comes around again next January.  Am I right???

End the cycle now and commit to trying something new before the holidays instead of after.  First of all, you know full well to expect plenty of festivities so what better way to balance it out than to start an exercise regimen that helps to expend the additional intake?  Secondly, this is your BEST opportunity to develop new habits rather than trying to do so in the New Year when you’re typically trying to get back into your old routine.  We know these next several weeks will only uproot our usual weekly and weekend schedules.  Developing a new habit of physical activity now will not only help you manage the stress of the holidays, it will also be an easier adjustment because nothing will be a set routine for the next two months!  What better way to get your body used to something NEW that will help you feel better and help you manage all those extra calories we ALL want to enjoy???

Below are some of the best local spots in town to check out now or research new classes in your own area.  My challenge to you is to join me in trying at least one new fitness class at as many locations as possible before the end of this month AND (especially if you don’t go with a friend) commit to introducing yourself to as many people as you can including the instructor.  Ask questions and listen to testimonials.  Find out who loves it there and why!  I would be surprised if you didn’t get hooked on something new and it’s always so much easier and much more fun to get moving in a group where friendships develop which can be a great source of encouragement and accountability.

Tip#2: Turn every errand and casual get together into an opportunity to move!  Shopping for party supplies, heading to the grocery store, shopping for gifts at the mall or even meeting a friend for lunch—put on your walking shoes and wear clothes you can move in to find simple ways to burn a few extra calories.  I personally love to dress up and look cute whenever I can but it’s the holidays!  We have PLENTY of opportunities to dress up even if it means calling a friend to meet for dinner at a fancy new restaurant later in the evening.  I challenge you to make activities during the day part of your fat-burning schedule, whether you get an actual workout in or not!  It never hurts our bodies to move, that’s what they’re meant to do, so bring a friend to stay motivated and park in a safe place but as far away as you can, opt for stairs whenever possible and consider walking the perimeter of the entire shopping center, mall or store at a brisk pace before you begin to stop and actually shop—consider it window-shopping the sales before you commit to the buy and have fun getting that heart rate up!

Tip#3: Indulge mindfully.  Don’t over think things this year.  Learn to follow your instincts and if something beautiful and decadent calls you to try it, do so!  But I challenge you to keep the following in mind when you do.  You’ll never have to deprive yourself of anything and you’ll keep that extra fat and those empty calories in check.

1.    Only indulge in late-night eating and special holiday treats during social gatherings, parties and festivities.  The pressure is too great when you’re hosting get-togethers or out with friends and family.  Allow yourself that time to join in but when you’re at home on a regular night, commit to avoid those extra goodies and stop eating anything by 7pm.  This is something I’ve started doing recently and I’ve already noticed a difference in how I feel in the morning and overall.  You’ll have plenty of opportunities to indulge these next two months and many of them will last well into the night.  Save those extra calories for when you have a good excuse to really enjoy them!

2.    When you do choose to indulge, commit to eating no more than half a serving and then put it down.  Again, you’re going to have PLENTY of opportunities to treat yourself.  Think of how many options you’re going to be presented with at every gathering!  I don’t plan on saying “no” to anything that I’m really interested in trying myself, so let’s commit to keeping the quantity of our excess in check.  I challenge you to plan ahead and see if anyone is willing to split something with you or simply take half portions of everything.  Additionally, always wait at least 30-45 minutes after your last bite before going back for seconds of anything except for water.  Again, you’re not denying yourself anything so you shouldn’t feel deprived.  In fact, you’ll have a better chance of enjoying your night because you shouldn’t feel overly full which is absolutely unnecessary and quite unpleasant.

3.    Get an extra workout in the day after a night out.  This tip speaks for itself.  Don’t let the previous day’s extra calories just sit there.  I challenge you to commit to taking a class, workout using a video or at the very least go for a walk in your neighborhood.  You’ll certainly feel better physically and I guarantee you’ll feel better about yourself overall.

I’m so excited about this holiday season because of my new journey to help others incorporate the joys of healthy living.  The opportunities we have to celebrate are endless if we choose to embrace them and that’s what I hope to inspire.  If there’s anything the holidays can encourage us to do, it’s to learn to live with gratitude and I’m here to continue to motivate us all along the way.  I hope you’ll join me.

Love,

V

Inspiration is Everywhere

Inspiration is Everywhere

This journey of promoting health and wellness is evolving in a way that I never would have predicted and I am so grateful for the experience.  Not only have I met some amazing people whose growth motivates me daily but I am also beginning to view so many things in a completely new light.  In teaching and motivating others, sharing my passion for healthy living is offering new opportunities to teach and motivate me and the inspiration that is everywhere truly connects us all.  No matter our experiences, we all struggle with moving forward from time to time.  Whether it be those first few steps never attempted before, hitting that wall that seems to slow or stop our progress or even just maintaining the standard of a healthy and happy life, we all experience setbacks that can be overcome with the right focus, determination and a little bit of inspiration.

Accomplishments

It’s been just about a year since Ingrid has been coaching the lovely ladies of Miller’s Pond Community Center and it is truly amazing to see all their hard work pay off week after week and month after month.  I remember when she began instructing there and the degree to which she challenged them then compared to now.  To see these ladies today is to know they truly found themselves through this regular physical activity, the camaraderie and friendship found in group classes and the supportive and encouraging atmosphere that Ingrid creates and insists upon for everyone.  Each one of them has their own story of accomplishment while they continue on their journey of wellness, MANY of which include considerable weight loss and smaller clothing sizes.  More importantly, however, their confidence has improved as well as many pre-existing ailments and health concerns have either lessened or disappeared completely.

One perfect example of this transformation is Sharon Garcia who whole-heartedly understands and implements the fact that consistency, dedication and belief in oneself are the keys to achieving your goals.  Using more than just words and a positive attitude, since attending Ingrid’s classes, Sharon continues to work hard and now finds herself several pounds lighter and in single-digit clothing sizes.  Again, above ALL the physical accomplishments, her quality of life has improved, she now believes in herself more than ever before and she chooses every day to use love and encouragement to maintain her momentum as well as encourage others.  This energy is so much more powerful than any energy wasted on criticism and judgment and I believe that it is the only way to truly master, accomplish and achieve anything.  Sharon is a true inspiration as are many of the ladies of Team Ingrid and we look forward to following each of their stories as they continue to break through their challenges and reach their goals.

Peace

I was blessed with a happy childhood, a loving family and a grandmother who cared for me 24/7.  Through the experiences of my life I held on to some more than others for some time not realizing that it only held me back from moving forward.  Talking to my grandmother today, I realize that more than anything.  This year she turned 102 years old and is still as sharp as ever.  Physically, her doctor has said for years that she is “as healthy as a horse” and would ask her how she does it.  She always enjoyed this little exchange and the answers are fairly simple: she exercises regularly and eats plenty of fruits and vegetables.  I would humbly add, that I believe her daily meditations through prayer and ability to let go have also been instrumental to her long life and good health.

Mama - 100 years old

Physically, my lola is still able to get around as necessary and sometimes with assistance but as long as I can remember and even to this day she exercises as often and in any way she can.  For several years, it was using her walker to and from one room to another, as many “laps” as necessary.  She would also include leg lifts and leg and arm raises while she sat or even lying in bed just to get the blood flowing. When my husband and I went to visit her he was amazed to see how my aunt prepares her food.  He saw so much of the freshest, most colorful vegetables with a little bit of rice and plenty of fruit for the taking.  Neither her exercising nor her eating preferences were a surprise to me by this time.  I never saw how impactful these habits were before and now I’m SO glad to say I truly understand the value.

When my lola is in a talkative mood, she is quite fun to listen to as she tells stories of being a child athlete, parties she attended as a teenager or even stories about her children growing up.  She likes to laugh and joke around a lot and will often break out into song.  A few years ago, I interviewed her for details of the Japanese invading the Philippines during WWII as she was pregnant with my mom at the time—her seventh child out of thirteen.  I don’t know what I expected, but what I got was far from it.  Ultimately, she had let it all go, all of the particulars that would have made an interesting and dramatic story, was of no use to her anymore and she had moved on more than likely long before I came around asking questions.  What she values with passion and intense emotion today are not the hardships of her life, not the darkness and not the pain of her past.  She invests her energy and the strength of her spirit in now, in whatever brings her peace and joy, and happy memories.  Of course, she’s still human and can find natural irritations to bring up daily as we all can but it’s not the essence of her life, it’s just on the surface, just the external.  Whenever I call and ask how she’s doing, her answer is almost always that she’s doing just fine.

I’ve been working on this particular post for much longer than I normally spend on any piece of writing and, personally, it was worth it to take my time.  It is always humbling to step back as a teacher and take the time to focus on all that has been teaching you.  Though quietly reflecting on what inspires me is often part of my day, I really wanted to share it with everyone in the most authentic way possible.  Hopefully the inspiration I found in just these stories for me will reach someone new today and together we can continue to find and share the potential beauty through hardship everywhere we go.

Love,

V

Small Changes to Reach Long-Term Goals

Small Changes to Reach Long-Term Goals

One of my favorite tips when it comes to reaching goals of any sort is to stick to changes that are so small you hardly notice the adjustment—especially when you’re reaching for big results such as in your overall lifestyle.  The only way to create lifestyle changes is with long-term consistency and if your changes are too big or too extreme from your current day-to-day routine the likelihood of sticking to them, not to mention your success rate, will be much lower and much more frustrating, too!

Think about it—when you look at where you are now, whatever the case may be, your current fitness level, eating habits, size, weight, attitude, etc., have developed over time.  Even if you didn’t notice it happen along the way, it took consistency to get you where you are today.  That momentum can just as easily be redirected towards healthy living and for some of us the key is subtlety so it feels less like work and before you know it, the new habits are part of your every day.  Depending on your goals and where you are now, try a new approach from below and see what works for you:

Fitness:  I see people try to go “Zero to 60” all the time and it’s no surprise that the burnout happens just as quickly.  Rather than try to go straight from the couch to INSANITY, try something much more subtle for your level of fitness.  If you are currently sedentary try adding 10-15 minutes on a treadmill, taking a walk or a much milder workout video to your day.

When I went from the couch to introducing activity, the first video I tried was a Pilates workout that I barely got through the first time.  I could only complete 15 minutes of the 45 minute video before I felt like I had to stop but that only lasted the first week.  By the second week of trying it daily I could feel my muscles just a tiny bit stronger and my breathing felt a little bit easier, too.  That improvement I felt really motivated me to do more which is another key to consistency as well as last week’s tip!

That was over six years ago for me and, trust me, every time I added something new, increased my time or pushed a little harder it was at a pace that was just enough to know I was working but not too much that I couldn’t MAINTAIN it.  Whenever I try something new and my immediate reaction is negative in any way (such as thinking “THIS SUCKS!” or “this is too hard” or “I don’t like this”) I instantly pull back, evaluate myself and the situation and do what I can.

Sometimes it’s the workout itself that just isn’t fun for me and I decide I’d rather workout a different way so it’s about trying lots of different things to find what you enjoy.  Other times it’s just introducing your muscles to new challenges and if you can’t handle the plank or push-ups or hour-long cardio, etc., do what you can, breathe through it and know that next time, you WILL be able to hold it a few seconds more, get one more repetition in or handle the activity longer IF you keep trying!  You can’t expect your muscles to suddenly hold you up and keep you going overnight if you haven’t given them a chance to build up over time!

Nutrition:  I’m SO proud of all of the ladies I’ve spoken to who are already making great strides in changing their eating habits which can be the hardest types of changes for many of us.  A good thing to remember about nutrition above all is that it will always be something we have to work on regardless of your level of health so don’t be discouraged if your habits sway from time to time.  Because food is a necessity for our survival and yet has such a cultural, social and emotional aspect to it as well, the challenges can seem never-ending.  But by constantly making small adjustments towards healthy choices the majority of the time it will be enough for you to start seeing (and feeling!) results.

For me, polishing off entire “meals” at chain restaurants or with fast food junk was a norm only ten years ago but that took YEARS of practice to get there, too!  First, slowly cutting back on portions and then adjusting the quality of food on a daily basis took about a year of consistency before my body adopted the need for cleaner, lighter, more natural food.  Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy an occasional indulgence, it just means that I can detect the non-necessities in different foods such as excessive fats, salt and sugar much faster than I could before and I just avoid them most of the time.

Attitude:  We’re all guilty of spending more of our time and energy than necessary on negative attitudes, judgments and excuses but there’s no time like the present to start adjusting those thoughts.  No one expects you to suddenly become super-positive-overly-optimistic-happy-go-lucky especially if you’ve been in the habit of easily picking out and voicing the negative in every situation for years.

There’s no judgment here, but this is what I truly believe:  No matter what you’re trying to change in you and in your life, if you’re attitude going in is already based on how much you hate exercise or hate vegetables or hate giving up certain foods, or hate ANYTHING including what you’re about to do, you’ve pretty much already set yourself up for FAILURE.  Don’t expect to succeed if you can’t even imagine success before you start.  I’m even inclined to say don’t even start a new health regimen until you can get your head in the right place because no matter what you accomplish during that time, it’s doubtful you’ll be able to maintain it in the long-run.

So start small.  Listen to your language and the words that you use especially when you’re upset or in a stressful situation.  Exercise is essentially stress on the body and changing habits as ingrained as the way we eat can be mentally and emotionally stressful.  Once you’re in the habit of being aware that you’re saying something that isn’t encouraging, supportive or kind, quiet yourself.  Then start to change your approach.  If you can’t think of anything kind just stay quiet and breathe.  Then, when you allow yourself to be more creative come up with a mantra that motivates you and say it to yourself whenever you struggle:  “I AM STRONGER THAN EVER!” or “JUST ONE MORE REP!” or “I’M WORTH IT!” or “I CAN DO THIS!” can all represent the attitude that WILL keep you going.

Attitude is Everything

Attitude is Everything

It’s so exciting to see and hear everyone’s enthusiasm as they all make such amazing strides to reach their goals!  Every day between posts, I am constantly listening to and observing some amazing journeys which inspire each of these write-ups every week so here goes!

The path to wellness is so much more than just a physical journey for all of us.  Even for those who coach, counsel, instruct and guide, we are always working on the right state of mind as we approach not just our own challenges but our day-to-day choices in life.  The key to maintaining the momentum in the direction towards health will always begin with our mindset, our attitudes and most simply in the words that we use.

Having the right attitude in every situation is always going to be essential for success but especially for those who are starting to experience a lull in your weight loss.  I plan to have a separate post completely dedicated to “weight loss plateaus” but today I want to address the biggest challenge, in my opinion, that can keep anyone from breaking through those initial 20-40 lbs so you can KEEP THAT MOMENTUM GOING!  Keep the following in mind the next time you notice yourself think, speak or act in a way that will not help along your progress and ADJUST it!

  1. “Get your mind right!”  As some may know, this is one of Ingrid’s favorite sayings that motivates us where we train at Octane Athletic Performance.  Remembering that you choose a healthier you every time you even plan to go to class, then get dressed for it, drive to it, warm-up, dance to every song or do every exercise, cool-down, rehydrate and refuel and then rest to recover.  All of that is YOU.  You put in the work, you take the advice, you put in the energy and you make that happen.  Be proud of yourself and your progress!  Don’t allow any “yeah, buts…” in your mind or your conversations:  Yeah, but I still have xx lbs to go, or xx sizes to dropit doesn’t matter!  You’re doing the work now!  You’re closer than you were before and every day you make these choices you get closer still!  Yeah, but this exercise is too hard for me, I can’t do itit only is if you THINK it is!  We all have to start somewhere—only with consistency do we gain strength and improve fitness.  Slow down, maintain your form and adjust as necessary but DON’T STOP trying!  I still remember my very first class with Ingrid almost two years ago and I thought I was going to PASS OUT!!  I was terrified!!!  Do you remember YOUR first intense training class, attempt at new exercises or a new workout???  And if you’ve kept it up, look at you now…amazing!!!
  2. Don’t waste your time on negative assessments of choices you’ve already made!!!  I know I’ve said this before, in posts and in person, and I’m saying it again:  Be KIND to yourself.  Love yourself, love your body and accept yourself!  There’s no need to spend time saying that you ate something “bad” for you.  Eating is a necessity, it’s nourishing and it fuels your body so if you physically feel bad after eating something,  your body is telling you it doesn’t like that food anymore, it doesn’t want that food anymore or it was given too much of something it didn’t need.  Take those lessons inward, evaluate what you could have done differently and then be conscious of your choices next time based on what you learned so you have a better experience.  If you think it was “bad” for you but you enjoyed it, focus on the fact that you enjoyed it, it was not an everyday, every meal indulgence and then let it go.  Don’t waste your energy on any negativity.  It has no benefit to you or anyone else and our thoughts and words are much more powerful than we sometimes realize.

I share this post with so much love because you know I was there with you at one point in time and even to this day, I still have to work on evaluating myself with less criticism and more appreciation.  Our bodies are incredibly adaptable and it’s up to us to give it the tools to do what it’s supposed to do.  With the right attitude and mindset we can always practice adjusting our thoughts and our words to help us along and soon most of those bad habits will be left completely in the past, right along with the “old you”.