Complaining Out of Habit

One of my new years resolutions was to stop bitching out of habit. I had kind of let it slide but recently noticed it again. I have found myself complaining about things to create a little drama perhaps, to get attention, or sometimes because it is what you are supposed to do (like the weather, or traffic or lines in a store… even if I don’t really mind what is happening.)

I will hear myself complaining about something but when I really check in with myself  in the moment I realize it is no big deal.  It is a weird spot to be in. If I don’t complain here, will I seem weird? Everyone else seems to complain about these things so it is ok, right?

I feel worse if I can tell I am doing it to have an effect somehow like sympathy or attention. Ugh. I don’t like that. I don’t like how it makes me feel. I wonder then if I don’t complain here, will I get my need for wanting some attention met? Or how else could I do it?  I am needing something and I might not know what so I throw a complaint out there just to see what response I get. I don’t like the realization that I am doing it.  I don’t want to be known as a complainer. I don’t want to be known as some one who creates drama. But much like gossip it feels like a complusion and part of it feels good in my brain.

As is often the case, the solution seems to be slow down and breathe. Be mindful of the words about to come out of my mouth and make a different choice. I can recognize and allow for the routine of complaining or the need for sympathy and attention but I make a different choice on how that shows up. On how I show up.

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

All that Arises

I am having one of those mornings that I love. I am absolutely buzzing with the joy and wonder of being alive. It is THIS feeling that I want ALL the time. I want it to stay and be and let me settle in it every moment I am alive. It is during these times when I am grateful for virtually every breath I take, where I consciously great each moment. I wish grasping, holding, wanting made it last even longer.

But this feeling, this “awakeness” will pass. Like all moments.

So I will allow it, welcome it and let it arise and pass.  This of course, feels easy to do with more positive emotions. I am practicing it as well with anything that arises – hunger, boredom, depression, fatigue. Knowing again that these states, being a part of life, will arise and then pass bringing something new in the next new moment or wave.

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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Five Ways to Show Your Body Some Love Daily

The path to peace with ourselves is paved through the behaviors and habits we do every day.  The big insights and ah-ha moments are important for sure, but change takes action.

Maybe you decided to try offering yourself some compassion. Maybe you have decided to begin a relationship of peace with your body and finally end that damn war. Maybe you realize that in constantly being mean and angry with yourself, there possibly might be another way.  But you don’t know where to start.

Here are some ideas for daily action to start showing some love to your body.  You might not feel the love right away but as they say “Fake it ’til you make it.” Soon your brain and heart will pat attention and get the message.

  1. Pay attention to your body.  We live so much of our lives in our heads, lost in the constant narrative in our brains. Turn your attention a couple of times a day to your body. Do a gentle body scan? How do your feet feel right now? Can you feel any sensations of wind or tempature on your skin? What is happening in your hips, stomach, shoulders? Where is there tension? Where is there ease? You can do this when you first wake up, or when you are laying down to go to sleep. One of my favorite times is pausing for a moment to check in with my body before I eat.
  2. Move your body. Our bodies actually love to move. We are built for it. I have been loving doing a five minute movement flow first thing in the morning (Thanks to Max Shank for that idea!!). It gets my body set up well for the day. As you already know from reading this blog for any length of time I also get lots of strength training.  Walking is great. Yoga is great. Dancing is great. Doing what brings you joy in movement is great.  Just a few minutes a day can make a big difference.
  3. Fuel your body.  Nourishing food allows us to live our lives to the fullest. Too little and we have no energy to do what we need to do. Too much and we don’t feel well to do what we want to do in life. Finding the right amount for you to fuel what your life brings for you. Finding the balance and variety you need to feel awake and alive. Savoring the precious meal in front of you – slowing down and allowing yourself to have it and enjoy it.
  4. Rest your body Busyness and sleep deprivation are common practice these days. If there is a magic pill at all, sleep is it. It is our reset and our renewal.  Prioritize good sleep and it can turn your world around.
  5. Choose kind words when thinking or talking about your body. You may not have a magazine cover body like you think you want but it is no reason to be mean to yourself.  Your body is an amazing machine that goes through zillions of processes on a cellular level all the time just to get us up and running every day. Are you breathing well today? Did you get up out of bed? Are your legs carrying you around? Are your arms helping you with things you need to do? Are you hearing the birds outside? Are you seeing the sun, your family and friends, facebook today? Then you have plenty of reasons to find kind loving words to yourself and the amazing body you have. The more you practice this, the easier it gets.

Show yourself love every day. Life is too short to do anything but love who we are and this body that we have.

Perfect isn’t the goal

Sometimes I forget. I forget that perfect isn’t the goal. I don’t make perfect food choices. I don’t have perfect workouts. I don’t say the perfect things. I don’t have a perfect body. I don’t have a perfect life.

When I forget that perfect isn’t the goal, I make myself unhappy. I am not very nice to me.

But then I breathe and remember. I bring my best when I can but it’s not perfect. I goof. Sometimes good enough is enough. Sometimes that is excellent. Life is messy and beautifully imperfect. And I love it that way. 

Then I save the word perfect for things like:
– a day laughing and snuggling with my husband. Perfect day. 
– an Americano with the right amount of half and half and exactly the right temperature. Perfect coffee. 
– meeting someone else who is a great hugger and thrilled to be together. Perfect hug. 👩👩
– a workout when my back felt great and I gave all I could. Perfect workout. 🏋🏼
– a conversation with a friend where everything drops away and it is just me and them. Perfect chat. 👭
– being in the moment and awake and alive to all that is going on. Perfect moment. 😊

How does perfect show up for you? Do you allow for yourself not to be perfect but just show up with your best in the moment?

Be Here Now

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(photo credit: Be Here Now Film)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The moment I saw this tattoo it caught my heart in a way that made me gasp.

It belongs to Andy Whitfield the actor who originally starred in Spartacus. There is a documentary coming out about his life and his journey around cancer called Be Here Now.

“Be here now” has become my mantra in the past few weeks. I used it when my Dad was in the hospital recently. I used it just sitting on the couch with my husband. I used it when I have gotten so wrapped up in my thoughts I hardly know where I am.  I use it when I am happy. I am use it when I am overwhelmed.  

Powerful.

What a reminder – just show up in this present moment. Don’t get caught up in all of your thoughts, stories, future, past. Be here now.

Simply beautiful and probably the great lesson in life.

Ending the War

I am ending the war with myself. There are no more battles. I am not going to battle the bulge, fight cravings, have a war on carbs, armor up for another day. I am not going to make myself submit through berating, complaining, shaming.  I am not declaring Armageddon on the scale or my jeans.  I am not beating myself up for decisions, for choices, for stumbling, for being less than perfect. I am putting down all of my weapons which are only aimed at myself anyway.

Do you hear it too in your own words or when talking with friends? The “at war” language? Listen for talk about getting up and fighting another day to not hate who you are, to not hate your body, to do battle in the gym for food that was eaten, to battle with yourself about food and discipline, to keep yourself in line with a diet. As if some how this behavior, the war will finally make you worthy or enough.

It is exhausting. I am worn out and battle weary. The war is done. I am tired of that path.

Are you tired?

Don’t think for a second that I have I given up. I am not resigned.  I have this one life that I want to live completely and fully.  I am simply choosing a different path.

I am choosing peace. I am choosing kindness. I am choosing curiosity. I am choosing mindfulness.  I am going to offer kindness to myself when I feel that prickly sensation of discontent of my body, that familiar pull of “you should be smaller.”  I am doing to pay attention to what my body wants for fuel and how much it needs. I am going to savor the food that I am lucky enough to have on my plate – aware of all of the lives and labor that had to come together to make it all happen. I am going to get curious when I feel the need to binge or the dread of “I should be different.” What is really going on there? What am I really needing at the moment?

Do you think you are ready to stop the war and try some kindness?

MONDAYS

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.