Room for all of us to shine

I have been wondering recently about the reaction women sometimes have to other women. I have some friends that are “step off a fitness cover” fit. It is something I have always wanted to have but never achieved.
 
But I hate the thoughts that have been through my head sometimes: “If you weren’t so nice, I would hate you.”
WHAT??
 
Why would I feel the need to not like them because they are super fit and gorgeous? How in anyway does that take away from me? From who I am in the world? I know I am not alone in this because I have heard similar thoughts come from other women. I just am curious about the reaction I have noticed in myself and others. The more secure I have become in myself the less impact these thoughts have or the less they even show up.
 
I truly believe that there is enough for all of us to shine. There is enough to embrace and support each other. There is enough to celebrate our successful, smart, beautiful friends who may have what we want as we are all successful, smart and beautiful in our unique ways. Know that the celebration, support, and love does not take way from what we want to accomplish nor who we are as human beings, who are all involved in the delightful journey of existence.
I carry this philosophy into my business world too. Clearly there are many other gyms out there, CrossFit or otherwise.  I could get wrapped up into what they are doing and charging and view them all as competitiors to be beaten. Or….
I can acknoweldge that we are all working to get people stronger, healthier, moving better. My gym is not like other gyms and I don’t want my gym to be a copy of what someone else is doing. I want it to be a reflection of the values and energies of me and my business partners.  How can we (being the gyms in the area) learn from each other and support and grow as a greater community? There is room for all of us to shine to play a roll in our communities to help make them stronger and healthier.
There is enough here for all of us to

Three Ways “Enough” Is a Powerful Practice

Enough. I know it is not a sexy word but it is a powerful one. It helped me gain some sanity around food and get on track with loving who I am.

Three ways ENOUGH has been powerful, helpful to me:

  1. The mindset of “enough”. I have talked before about my struggles with binge eating.  Working to remember that there is enough: Enough food. Enough ice cream. Enough peanut butter. Enough cookies. Enough popcorn. Enough chips and salsa. I don’t have to eat it all now. I can have some. Savor it. Enjoy it. There is more if I want it… now or later.

I don’t have to mindlessly shove it all in NOW in case there is none later. There is more available. There is enough especially if I let myself have it whenever I really want it. If I don’t really feel like eating it now? Don’t shove it in any way, there is enough. It will be available later. Breathe. It helped shift my mindset from scarcity to abundance. I didn’t have to eat everything NOW because it would be available later if I needed. There is enough.  When food is not forbidden, when it is allowed, when it is abundant, when there is enough – it loses its power. The magic of the binge is somehow lost. I can calm down. I can slow down. I can enjoy.

Enough

2. I have had ENOUGH. Stop. Listen. Pay attention to the food in front of you. You deserve that. You deserve more than a mindless meal zoning out in front of TV or your phone. When you tune in you can feel the moment when you have had enough food. Sometimes you honor this and stop eating there. Sometimes you don’t and have more. At least you are allowing yourself the opportunity to hear your body tell you ENOUGH. When you honor that signal (and it is a practice), I would argue that you rarely overeat again. It just doesn’t feel good anymore once you are aware. But even if you do eat more, you are being mindful and deliberate and CHOOSING. It is a better spot to be in than a mindless cleaning of your plate or a binge.

It takes practice to hear “I have had enough” from your body if you haven’t tuned in for a while. But it is possible. It can even be scary – suppose it tells me to stop too soon? Suppose I don’t get enough food? Suppose I don’t hear it? All I can suggest is just try. Pay attention to what you are eating. By that, I don’t even mean the quality of what you are eating but pay attention to the meal in front of you. Take a bite. Taste it. Swallow. Breathe. Take another bite. And just pay attention to your body. See what happens. Listen for that moment when your body says “I have had enough”. You can decide what you want to do from there.

3. I AM ENOUGH.

This is the biggest and most powerful. It is what I wish my superpower could be. I want to touch someone and in that instant they would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are enough.

You are enough…
to be loved.
to be happy.
to exist.
to have goodness in your life.
to have a healthy relationship.
to have a healthy body.
to treat yourself with loving kindness.
to get through whatever life brings you.
to dress in ways that make you feel good.
to do what you want to do in life.
to take care of yourself.
to move in ways that make you happy.
to stand on your own two feet and find your own path.
to deal with the emotions that you are feeling.

I don’t have to compensate for that deep pit of not-enoughness and try and fill it with food. I don’t have to engage in a never-ending quest to fill or cover that feeling of broken, unwholeness. I am enough. Just as I am right now. When I got this (REALLY got this) my binge eating eased. I know you will not be surprised when I tell you that it is a practice. 🙂 and it is SO damn worth it because one day you will wake up and KNOW it to your core.

….and that is a really good day.

See how enough fits into your world and your relationship with food and yourself.

Five Ways To Fall In Love With Your Body

….That Have NOTHING To Do With Your Size

(Note: Today’s post is a guest post from Amanda Fisher. Once you read this fantastic piece you will see why I wanted her to share her story on ZenBarbell. Info on how to find out more about her and read more from her is after the article. Enjoy!)

I have spent a lot of time and energy being at war with my food choices. And a lot of time and energy being at war with how I moved my body.

Each “way” of eating, or plan, or strategy, or concept that I was following surrounding food were all focused on one thing…..small.  Getting me smaller.  A certain weight.  The next size or two down in jeans.  Shrinking.

And my exercise was no different.  For awhile I was the Cardio Queen, frantically signing up for 5ks and road races to “hold me accountable.”  Then I started lifting, but spent a lot of time living and dying by my heart rate monitor….if I didn’t burn 800-1000 calories per session, I finished off on the treadmill.  Smaller was the theme here as well.  Burn calories, work out like a fiend, all on the path of looking towards smaller.

Looking back, I spent most of my energy working and wishing for a destination.  I put all my eggs into one basket, and banked on the fact that life would be better if I was smaller.  That I would feel better if I was a certain size.  I saved my money for the designer jeans that I would only allow myself to buy if I got down to ‘x’ because I couldn’t possibly buy them now, being the size that I am.  I lived in a bubble of “when I am smaller……” and taught myself that I wasn’t good enough in my present state, I was only good enough “when.”

Of course, hindsight is always 20/20.  When I was younger, I didn’t live “small.”  I liked to play basketball, and jump for rebounds.  I played piano and liked playing pieces that were big and loud and sometimes aggressive.  Why in the world, then, when I approached how I fed myself and moved myself and thought about myself…..was it with a mindset of small, smaller, shrinking, and the like?

Maybe I got older and wiser.  Maybe I finally spent enough time lifting some iron and realizing “Hey, I cannot possibly force smaller upon myself when muscles and strength are clearly what I love.”  But, after a long time, and after learning lots of lessons (sometimes I need to learn the same lesson multiple times), I feel like I have a good handle on detaching my self worth from my size.

My self worth has nothing to do with what size I am.  It no longer is dictated by the tag in the back of my jeans.  Or if my eating is “on” or “off” plan.  I am no longer holding off on happiness until “when” happens.  I like to think I am a big personality.  With big opinions, and big thoughts.  I like to think I am powerful, and take up space proudly, however much space that is.

To be fair, I should also tell you that this is a practice, and that some days are better than others, and that I happily spend a fair amount of energy on checking in with myself, self-care, and flexing in front of the mirror to practice body positivity.  Some days I don’t want to do those things, but those are the days I NEED to do those things.  This stuff takes work!  Some days, I think this practice stuff takes more work than the actual deadlifts that I do in the gym.

So I’ve come up with five things that REALLY help me shift my focus to “Dang, my body ROCKS!” that have absolutely NOTHING to do with my size. I want to share them with you, in hopes that one or two stick and resonate and make sense for YOU!  Here they are:

  1. Move in ways that YOU enjoy!  For me, there is no better reminder that my body ROCKS than using my legs to drive a HEAVY deadlift (is there any other kind?) off the floor.  Lifting is how I love to move.  I continue to lift and pursue strength because I enjoy it, and I enjoy coming back for more.  I didn’t learn that in 15 minutes though, I had to try a bunch of different movement activities first before I found what made sense for me.  So, try a bunch of different ways to move YOUR body.  Find one or two that you enjoy, and go to town.  Incorporate them into your exercise regimen, or MAKE them your exercise regimen.  Let your body show you how cool it is!  Sometimes, when I need to feel crazy powerful, I lift.  Some days, when I need to quiet my mind, I do an activity that reflects that quiet.  Movement helps me center myself…..and that includes the structure of a progressive strength training program, as well as hanging out on my living room floor flowing through a few yoga poses and resets, or taking an easy walk.
  2. Eat food that you ENJOY and in a way that makes you feel energetic and fabulous for your movement sessions AND for your everyday life.  Take the time to feed yourself, in a way that feels good, because YOU are worth it!  I feel like this one can get tricky, because many of us have been on a diet for the better part of our lives.  Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel good when I’m on a diet all the time.  I feel GREAT when I spend the time putting together my plates with protein, veggies, carbs, fat and eating at regular intervals.  You might feel good eating mostly plants, or more fat than carbs, or whatever.  But feed yourself in a way that works for you.  Yes, there are times to enjoy treats.  Yes, there are times to eat a little leaner if you want to.  But, realizing that YOUR amazing body feels awesome when you are feeding it appropriately is a great reminder that YOU are worth the effort.  If you are a mom/wife who does that food shopping in your household, make sure you put stuff that you LOVE on your shopping list and in your food budget.  YOU are worth it!
  3. Prioritize quiet time.  Each day, I spend a few minutes with just me in the quiet.  Not necessarily praying or meditation, although I do those things too.  But just sitting in the quiet.  Life is crazy, and shutting down for just a few minutes helps me get back to what is important and what matters for the long haul, not just what matters right now.  A quiet and calm brain helps me make better decisions for me and my family.  I can tell when it’s beginning to get too cluttered and noisy in my head, because my thinking isn’t clear and I can’t find my priorities, or I get muddled up in minutia of things that don’t matter 10 years from now.  I am worth that quiet time.  So are YOU.
  4. Shutdown screens.  Technology is fabulous, but my life isn’t enhanced by scrolling through feeds all day long.  This is a work in progress for me, and probably for many of you.  It is easier to talk via text than it is in person.  Make an effort to connect with friends and family, and shut off the phone!  Again, I am worth that.  So are YOU.
  5. Find a tribe.  Tribes are the cat’s meow.  Surround yourself with people who enhance your life, not drain the energy right out of you.  It is ok to move on from people in your life that maybe don’t add anything but negatives or allow you to fall into bad habits of your past.  This is a difficult thing to do!  But keep adding those that really build you up and help you be better.  Spend most of your time there, and let new people in along the way.  You will be surprised in a few months or years how many cool people you are surrounded by, and how incredible that feels.

Fitness, nutrition, mindset…..they all fall under the “wellness” umbrella.  Each one is just as important as the other, there isn’t ONE that stands out more or needs more attention.  At the end of the day, our deadlifts should enhance our life….not be the sole focus of it, you know?  Eating meals with family and friends should be enjoyable, and not stressed about or eaten out of separate tupperware than your loved ones because it’s “on” plan.  Of course, these are my views, and there are always exceptions to every rule.  But the big picture here is what matters.  Can we still do this all in 10 years?  20?  Will it still be amazing?  Will it make us better?  These are the questions to be asking ourselves.

So, to recap, I would love for you to take the time to do some investigating on what YOU love.  What ways of moving feel great for you?  What food makes you feel like a boss?  While you are at it, maybe head to your mirror and take a peek into it and point out all the qualities about your body that YOU love.  YOU are worth it.

Amanda Fisher loves to blog about lifting and sass at toughmuddette.com.  As an RKC, Personal Trainer, and Precision Nutrition Level 1 Nutrition Coach, she also loves teaching people THEY CAN move and THEY CAN eat what makes them feel awesome out of her lovely little gym, TM Wellness Revolution, in Arlington, MN.  

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Good Things Sometimes Feel Scary

I guess I always thought if I were doing things that ignited my passions and moved in the directions where I want my life to be going that it would be easy. That it would feel easy.

Truth is sometimes it scares the shit out of me.

I have come to a much deeper understanding in the past few years of that saying “feel the fear and do it anyway.”

I probably have dealt with this feeling my whole life.  However, some big events in the past few years really brought that fear feeling into my greater awareness.  The increased awareness is also due to my work on mindfulness and allowing myself to feel and experience my emotions. It is all front and center now, rather than me eating or numbing my way through it.

This experience is the arena that Brene Brown talks about. (Don’t you just love her?!)  I know that I want to be brave in my life. I don’t want fear dictating my actions.  So here we go. Feeling all that experiences bring. Being brave to live the life that you want.  We get one shot here. Lets do this!

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The Last Day of 2015

I LOVE LOVE LOVE New Year’s eve. I love the purposeful look back over the year that was and the anticipation of a new year. I have spent the past few days going through my calendar (where I track everything), my photos, some journals. 
 
What I learned in the review:
1) It was a kick ass year. So much experienced and learned. 

2) 2015 aligned with my themes that I set up at the beginning of the year. This year I established themes at the beginning of the year around areas/topics that stick out in my heart and mind. I used them to guide where I want to focus and spend my time.

The themes I had for 2015. Kept on my white board in my office
The themes I had for 2015. Kept on my white board in my office
How the year lined up with my themes:
Lift
In weightlifting, I took silver at master’s nationals AND then several months later bombed out at a meet. I did a powerlifting training cycle. I intermittently did some CrossFit. I also got a sweet Eleiko barbell and kilo plates!
Improvement movement and coaching skills
I learned a lot about crawling, rocking, and head nods. I learned a great deal about myself and how I deal with pain. I continued to make a  conscious effort to  read from master coaches in order to improve my own skills.
Tattoos
I got a new tattoo. I did all I could do to just keep it at one this year. LOL
I also created a wall this year in my house filled with pictures of my friends tattoos. I love it so!
Travel
I traveled: Miami, California, Colorado, Nevada, London, Vienna. I got to stay at a bucket list place: The Hotel Del Coronado. It was all I hoped it would be.
Love and be present
Yes, this was my mantra for the year. There was lots of practice for this. I felt like I grew in being able to allow love and just being to be my guiding principles in different situations and relationships.
3) One final observation about 2015: I take numerous of pictures of my cats. Hitch in particular. 🙂
This is Hitch. Can you blame me?? :)
This is Hitch. Can you blame me?? 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What would you learn or have you learned from your review of 2015?

Practice is Powerful

It is wonderful to learn new things.
It is wonderful to make connections and have insights about things that are important to you. However, insight alone cannot bring the change that you want to see in your life. You have to practice.

Practice has power.

Practice is what brings knowledge and insight from the head to the heart to our bodies. Geneen Roth often says that insight is not enough, you have to take action.  Practicing is action.

Practice Is Power

As it applies to areas where I am passionate; being kind to yourself and having a happy relationship with your body and your food, practice is needed.

You need to practice eating when you are hungry. You need to practice feeling your feelings. You need to practice offering kindness to yourself.  You need to practice being mindful.  You need to practice any new skill you want to be good at.

There is even power in the use of the word practice. It is different than “try this and get it right”. Practice has the attitude of “try it, see how it goes, how it feels, what you learned and what you would do differently next time”.

Did you stumble? That is ok, We are just practicing. 🙂  Practice is a different heart-space, a different mind set.

We will forget to practice. We will screw it up some times. It is all ok. Life gives us so many opportunities to try again.

Breathe and try again.

A million times over.

It doesn’t matter. Keep practicing.  It gets easier. It gets better. Mastery will be built.

Practice is power.

The Pull of The Voice

I still feel that pull of that voice.
That inner voice that tells me I should be thinner.

When I am at an event that I am looking forward to that voice talks to me.

“It would be better if you were thinner. Other people would like that more. They would like YOU more if you were thinner.”

LIAR. That voice is a fucking liar. Its the one that tells you that you are not good enough as you are, that happiness is over there, never where or who you are right now.

Learn to hear that voice. Then you figure out how best to deal with it. Notice it. Tell it to shut up. Or tune it out. What ever you do don’t listen to it or don’t buy what its telling you.

Life is bigger

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When it comes down to it, I feel that we are a mess with our bodies and our food, because we are a mess with ourselves.  We may have learned that through our families of origin, through brainwashing in society – ads in magazines, fitness magazines, what ever. Some of it may have even be thrown upon us through trauma. In the end, I am not sure the how matters as we are responsible for ourselves and getting ourselves back on the path of love, peace and happiness.  That path where we are comfortable in our own skin, where we love who we are in the world, where we are the best us that we can be.

Life is more than the agony of another failed diet, of food obsession, of hours in the gym training for penance of something we ate or because its what we have to do to feel normal. Life is bigger than the number on the scale.

 

Come join the conversation and be a part of the change at the Peaceful Body Project on November 7th.

Details and ticket info here: http://peacefulbodyproject.com

Eating the Food, Feeling the Feels

“Eat what you want when you are hungry, and feel what you feel when you are not.”  – Geneen Roth

Whoa.  If this isn’t the lesson of a life time…

I am wondering at what point in our life we learned to stop feeling what we feel versus allowing those feelings to happen. Not in a tantrum way. Not in a drama creating way. Not in a I need attention way. Not in a lash out and hurt others way.  But inviting them. Allowing them. Permitting our feelings.

We some how learn to stuff our feelings, control them, hide them, eat over them. It is no surprise to me that when I was at my most depressed I was also at my heaviest. I think the only thing I knew to do with my emotions was eat.  I’m sad, eat. I am happy, eat. I am lonely, eat. I am lost, afraid, confused, eat.  I know I am not alone in this.

Now. I am not a therapist and I KNOW there are some things that need to be dealt with in the capable hands of a great therapist. I love therapy and feel like most people should explore that kind of support at some time in their life. We can’t always unwind all that goes on in our brains on our own. No shame in getting help. So PLEASE get some if you need it.

However,  many of us can explore feeling our feelings ourselves in little bits and practices.

Here is an example of what I do:

What if the next time my husband was traveling and I felt alone, lonely that I explored letting myself feel that instead of grabbing food for comfort when I am not even hungry?

Feeling it might feel scary to me at first. I often picture a feeling like a house guest (thanks to that delightful poem by Rumi)  – its present in my body but its not ALL of me. It gives me space to contain it. I can notice where I feel it. What it feels like – cold, hot, dark, bright, tangled, sharp, etc. I can ask myself what I need in this moment instead of food.  I can just sit with it and breathe. Honestly, this is what I do with the biggie feels in my life when they feel like more than I can handle. I just allow them. I breathe with them. I feel them.

This doesn’t mean of course that in five minutes that every thing is resolved and I am back to a state of bliss.

It simply means I allowed myself to feel what I feel.

It is different than wallowing.  I am not sitting here obsessively ruminating how what ever happened is not fair or I am right and they are wrong, reliving the moment again and again and again. (Note: I am not perfect at this, I just practice it. I am still pretty damn good at throwing one HELL of a pity party).  I am allowing the anger, sadness, loneliness, depression, disappointment to be, giving it some space to let it run its course and seeing what I can do to support myself through that in ways that don’t have to do with food.

Food is for nourishment. Food is for enjoyment and pleasure. Food is for fuel for the life we love. It doesn’t need to be our comfort, our companion, our shelter, our protection against our feelings.

“Eat what you want when you are hungry, and feel what you feel when you are not.”

Are you up to the challenge? Can you try feeling the feels when they come up in your life?

Let’s Try This Again

You ever have one of those moments that instantly changes your motivation?

I had one recently.

Many of you know that I went to Masters Pan Ams in the beginning of June.  It was my first bad weightlifting meet. Nothing felt good about it. I tried to cut weight. I didn’t hit my goal and it made me feel terrible.  The energy and excitement of the competition that I usually use to focus myself never kicked in. The weights felt way heavier than they should have.  I went 3 for 6 on my lifts. Got red lighted for the first time (meaning I had a lift judged as not a good lift).

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The previous 6 meets to this had been amazing. The meet right before this (April 2015) was Masters Nationals where I smashed PRs and took silver.  You can imagine then how shitty this one felt in comparison. Bad meets happen to ALL weightlifters. You can’t just have amazing meets. Bombing, struggling, working through not having a good day on a meet day is part of the sport of weightlifting.

Since the June meet, I have been playing around with all kinds of things. I did CrossFit for about a month and a half which I actually enjoyed in a strange way. Then I completed a powerlifting cycle, which was a ton of fun.

This past weekend I was listening to some people talk about a fighter who had lost and some one said “What kind of athlete would he be if he failed and then never got back up and tried again?”

Ah.

The comment struck right to my heart.

I signed up for my next weightlifting competition as soon as I got home.

I don’t care what my lifts will be. I don’t care if my meet total goes up.

What I care about is that I am getting back up and trying again.