5 Kind Ways to Deal with Yourself After an Eating Binge

I am a binge eater. Well I used to be. It used to happen for me very frequently.  Now it happens rarely. This past weekend was one of those rare events.  It happened.  A full on eat-what-you-can-get-your-hands-on-it-has-nothing to-do-with-hunger-binge happened. Why? Upon reflection, I think it was excess sugar consumption the day before  and disrupted/shortened sleep cycle on top of struggling recently with my confidence since I keep gaining weight. We had friends over the night before and I ate a little more than I normally do and certainly more sugar than I normally do but it was a party so I wasn’t too worried.

However, the next morning I woke up tired, sad and feeling so fat and defeated. The messages going through my mind were “You are so fat” “You don’t have the energy or the discipline to lose this weight again”, “Why keep trying?” Nothing makes a difference”. I felt hopeless.  (Any of that familiar to any one?) So instead of picking myself up, maybe getting out and moving a bit, I wallowed and I ate. I mean if I can’t lose the weight again why not just eat every ounce of every thing that is in the house? (That is GREAT logic, right?!) So I did.

I felt pretty miserable for a bit. Then I decided I needed to take the advice I give most people about this situation.

Here are my five steps for dealing with yourself after a binge:

1) Take some deep breaths. Calm down and be really present.  This helps you to relax, de-stress a bit and get some space from the situation. This can bring perspective and in that some learning and choice can happen.

2) Talk to yourself like you would a good friend who was feeling this horrible.  I doubt any of us would call our friends fatty, loser or stupid.  We would smile and be comforting and encouraging. We would say things like its going to be ok. You will definitely pick yourself up tomorrow. We would hold their hand and offer gentleness and love while they are going through a hard time. Nothing is gained by beating the crap out of ourself when you are down. Negative reinforcement and berating is not going to pull you out of this faster.

Remember: “You, yourself, as much as anybody else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~Buddha    – even when you had a food binge. 🙂

3) Clean up your environment.  I had to go through and remove anything left that would be a temptation for me. All the sugar, sodas, etc needed to be gone. (And don’t try to eat it away so its out of the house either because I KNOW we have all been there. 🙂  )  Thankfully it was trash day. I took it all right outside to the bin. This way the next day, my kitchen only had healthy whole food options for me to fuel my body and mind with.

4) Commit to one small change.  Part of me wanted to promise myself that I would fast for the next 24 hours to make amends for what I had done. I even considered buying one of those month long cleanses where you don’t eat food, you just drink shakes and take supplements. I wanted to completely be something different the next day.  But that is not how it works or how things happen. So I committed to one small change for this week. I will master that and gain some confidence around my food and choices again.

5) Take some time to reflect. A failure is only failure if we don’t learn anything from it. Make this a learning opportunity. Journal, talk it through with a supportive spouse, friend, support group. However you best can figure out what the lessons are.  It will make a big difference if the same circumstances come up again… and more than likely they will… and you will be better prepared.

Be kind
photo source: pinterest

None of these steps made it feel magically better.  I was still one unhappy camper that day but what DID feel better is I didn’t spend time beating the crap out of myself, I spoke to myself kindly and I took steps to make myself feel more in control again.  There is no magic out there. Changes take courage and practice. Lots and lots of practice. 🙂



If you want to learn more about loving who you are and getting peace with your body but aren’t sure how to do that, let Zen Barbell help you! Check out the 30 Days to Stop Hating Your Body program here.  

Stop Thinking about Losing and Start Thinking about Being Amazing

How many years have you spend focusing on a calorie deficit?

How many times have you wished for that number on the scale to be just a little (or maybe A LOT) different?

It gets depressing, tiring and old to focus on loss, smaller, less food, deprivation and really there is no “there” to get to. There is no end to that cycle.

Be more than that for yourself. Focus on being amazing.

How are you amazing?

Focusing on being AMAZING means setting goals like:

  • A body weight back squat
  • Getting a first pull up
  • Full-body-on-your-toes push ups
  • Running your first race/Tough Mudder/Adventure race
  • Learning new skills like the Olympic lifts, hand stand push ups or ring dips

You want goals that have you chasing after things that scare you a bit, get you out of your comfort zone and things that you know that when you get there you will raise your hand, fist pump and yell THAT WAS AMAZING!!

All of these take a plan, focus, daily consistent steps to be successful.  And when you get that goal? BAM! You just added more amazing in your life.  You have a new skill, you are stronger.  Doesn’t THAT feel so much better than worrying about a deficit or the scale?

Keep the food stuff simple: real, whole foods – “JERF: Just Eat Real Food”  and then you don’t have to worry about it.  Fuel to meet your performance goals and your amazingness.

Amazing people also getting plenty of sleep and have good to great stress management tools. Don’t forget about those two BIG pieces!

Crazy stuff will happen when you focus on amazing rather than weight loss.

WARNING! Side effects may include:

  • Feeling more pride in yourself
  • Increased confidence that you can set a goal and accomplish it
  • A body that feels satisfied and stronger (warning: additional leanness MAY occur!)
  • An inner monologue that shifts from negative criticism to positive high fives
  • Positive changes in other parts of your life above and beyond the health and fitness area

Each Tuesday on the ZenBarbell facebook page, We celebrate amazingness. I want people to share how they are being amazing in their lives.  Please come over and shout it out!!

If you want help getting started with your own being amazing plan, let me know! I would love to help!




If you want to learn more about loving who you are and getting peace with your body but aren’t sure how to do that, let Zen Barbell help you! Check out the 30 Days to Stop Hating Your Body program here.  

The Crossfit Open 213

I love the CrossFit Open.

I love hearing about people coming together and cheering each other on.

I love anticipation of waiting for each week’s work out being released.

I love being scared about the work out.

I love the strategizing around it.

The Open is like a rally cry.  Its energizing. People get focused, pumped and excited. Not many of us have hopes of the regionals but exciting to be part of the greater CrossFit community, some thing that ties us to CrossFitters around the world.  Its a chance to really test what we have been doing in ways it feels like a daily WOD doesn’t.

I love (yep! another list of love!):

  • the refocus on the standards.
  • practice judging and being judged by the other athletes.
  • the facebook reports of people getting PRs – mulitple times of surprising themselves by what they got done.
  • every one surviving the suck of burpees and snatches together!

and this is just week 1! WHOOP!!

I love the Crossfit Open.

Me Snatching at 12.2
Me Snatching at 12.2
Me at 13.1
Me Snatching at 13.1

The Only Numbers That Really Matter in Life

I have heard it from so many of my friends, my personal training clients, the athletes that I Crossfit with and even random overheard conversations:

“Ugh! The scale is not moving!”  

“I know I shouldn’t but I weigh myself several times a day!”

“The number on the scale can really make or break my day”

Sound familiar?  🙂

The scale makes people crazy and neurotic (is that redundant?).  Unless you are in a sport that requires weight classes, you don’t need to do daily checks on the scale. You are letting the wrong numbers rule your life and set the tone for your day.

My thoughts? FUCK the scale. I don’t even care about the size of your jeans.

Those aren’t the numbers that matter in your life.

You know what numbers count WAY more than what you see on the scale?

  • How many true friends do you have?
  • How many times were you kind to some one today (a complete stranger or a friend)?
  • How many times did you laugh today?
  • How often do you offer yourself some love and compassion ?
  • How much weight did you lift today?
  • How many new things did you learn today?
  • How many times did you do something the scared you?
  • How many conversations did you have that were meaningful and increased connection to passion, to life or to others?
  • How many things did you engage in today that ignited your true passion in life?
  • How many hugs did you give to your kids, spouse, friends?
  • How many things can you be grateful for right now in this moment?
  • How often were you completely present in the moment?

What else could be included in this list?  What numbers matter to you?

You can make your life richer and more meaningful simply by shifting focus to the things that really matter.  It is that simple but not always easy.  Yes, healthy weight and body fat levels are important for physical health. However, when you let a number on a scale determine how you feel about yourself and how your day will be, you are missing out on so much amazing-ness right in front of you.

Have a great day and go find those numbers that matter!!


If you want to learn more about loving who you are and getting peace with your body but aren’t sure how to do that, let Zen Barbell help you! Check out the 30 Days to Stop Hating Your Body program here.  

A Moment of Competition

This past weekend I participated in the Superfit Crossfit competition in Charlottesville, VA.
Going in to the competition, I was not worried about the work outs as it was all weights I could handle and skills that I comfortably have but I was surprised by how I was left gasping on the floor after each one.  While comfortable with the movement, the workouts where short and intense and harder than I though they would be.
For most of the moments I was able to stay where I wanted to be – in the moment. Before my first workout, I stepped on the floor, as the timer counted down my judge happened to say “Don’t forget to have fun!”  I was grateful.  It immediately reminded me to breathe and smile.

As I picked up the barbell again and againbreathe, power, gratitude, smile

As I felt my lungs burningbreathe, gratitude, smile

As I felt my heart poundingbreathe, gratitude, smile

As I negotiated one more rep from myselfbreathe, power, gratitude, smile

I know I showed up and gave what I had. It doesn’t really matter to me that I placed near the bottom. I had my friends there, which was so fabulous, providing all kinds of encouragement and support. I love what my body did for me over the weekend and how I just enjoyed the process of it all.

Feeling nervous at all about an upcoming event? Try these tips:

1. Go in with Gratitude for what ever your body is about to help you do.

2. Breathe.  It helps put you in the here and now so that you can be present and caught up in the stories running through your head

3. Smile.  It reminds you to have fun and enjoy the process. It also releases mental tension so that your energy can go where it belongs – into your body to fuel your heart, lungs and muscles. Plus it makes your fellow competitors suspicious.  🙂


If you want to learn more about loving who you are and getting peace with your body but aren’t sure how to do that, let Zen Barbell help you! Check out the 30 Days to Stop Hating Your Body program here.  

Sharing the Spark. An Interview with Julie Stubblefield from SparkFit.

Each month for 2013,  I am planning to have an interview on Zen Barbell with some one who I feel really embodies both the Zen (mindfulness and self acceptance and awareness) and the Barbell (in some way loves to move and challenge their body regularly) in their lifes and actions.

I could not be more excited that my friend Julie Stubblefield, owner of SparkFit agreed to be my first interview for this site and for 2013!!  Julie has completely transformed her life in so many dimensions – as you will read below.  I often refer to her as my friend ON FIRE because her passion and energy for life and for helping others is breath taking. Get ready to be inspired!!

Tell us a little about you, Julie.

Hi, Kara! Thank you for the opportunity to share information with your readers! After losing 70 pounds, I made it my mission to be an expert on fat loss and share that knowledge with as many people as possible. I’ve also been working with teens to help them learn how to fuel their bodies properly to not only perform better on the field and in the classroom but also to give them tools to avoid adult obesity.

Julie - Before she found her spark
Julie – Before she found her spark


Julie - Hot Mama.
Julie – Hot Mama.









As you know, Zen Barbell is about finding the right mind set and lifting heavy weights. So I want to ask you about both of those things.

Do you think women are encouraged not to lift heavy? if so, why? Do you lift heavy weights in your own work out? How do you coach your clients around this?

I think there is mixed information about women lifting heavy weights. The popular media tends to lean toward women lifting lighter weights and performing more repetitions. There is the notion that women can only lift lighter weights because of genetics or because lifting heavier weights will immediately land them on stage in a physique competition. With what I’ve experienced personally and what I’ve witnessed with my clients, it couldn’t be further from the truth! Women MUST lift heavy weights to get lean!

 I do lift heavy weights…every time I work out. I spend 3-4 days a week on big compound movements with heavy weights (dumbbells between 20 and 40lbs and barbells with more weight). Lifting heavy allows me to challenge my body in a way that builds a better muscle mass (which burns more calories when I’m resting) and also to keep fat away (by getting breathless frequently in my workout).

 My clients are sometimes intimidated when they see the heavier weights in my studio. We start off slowly and a little lighter to build confidence and correct any issues with form. Once they feel more comfortable, we increase weights regularly (but safely) to keep their bodies challenged and in fat-burning mode. One of my favorite quotes from a client is this. “I NEVER would have picked up heavy weights on my own. Thank you for putting them in my hands, for coaching me through, and for helping me get leaner, stronger, and more confident!” It just doesn’t get any better than that.

Can you share a bit on your thoughts on mindfulness in life and in training?

Mindfulness is what I consider being present, and it really has the opportunity to take anything to the next level, whether you are lifting weights, spending time with your family/friends, or cleaning house. When I’m lifting, I’m all there. I’m not thinking about what I need to do when I get home or who I need to call later in the day. I’m thinking about the muscles I’m using, the feeling of getting sweaty, the breeze from the fans on my neck, the sound of the music in my ears. When I’m spending time with my family, I do my best to be fully present. Admittedly, this one takes a little more practice with life’s many distractions. I do my best to fully focus on conversations with my kids and husband. I listen to what they say, feel their emotions of whatever they are sharing with me, and engage with them. Even when I’m folding laundry or doing dishes, I’m truly thinking about just that. I used to get aggravated or distressed by the sheer volume of dishes and laundry that a family of four (that includes 2 growing boys) can generate. The bottom line is that the dishes and laundry will always be there. I could either be frazzled every single time I had to take care of the chores, or I could do it with mindfulness, presence, gratitude. Sure, laundry and dishes are not my favorite things to do. But, I’m thankful to have a family to dirty them. Thinking of it that way makes it a lot easier to tackle them!

 If I want to lose weight and get healthier, why does it matter if I am motivating myself from a negative vs a positive place?

 I’m so glad you asked this because it’s near and dear to my heart! There are two approaches to change: punishment vs. self-love.

With the first approach, we tend to punish ourselves for not going to the gym or not following our meal plan, etc. Since we punish ourselves for not doing what we think we should do, we then feel the need to reward ourselves for when we do follow through. It’s a vicious cycle, and our brains are constantly in one mode or the other. I rode that roller coaster for YEARS! I completely let my mood be determined by how I felt about my performance in life. Should I feel like celebrating or should I feel bad about something? Even when I was celebrating, I assumed something was “right around the corner” to punish myself with yet again. It was a never-ending battle and it was hard on my psyche.

Now I take a different approach; it’s one of self-love, and, yes, it sounds a little “out there”. This is definitely not easy at first and takes practice. I’ve decided to make an effort every day to love where I am at that moment. So I overslept and didn’t get to the gym this morning. In the “old days”, I would have mentally punished myself and would have felt bad about myself a good portion of the day. Today, I decided I must have needed the sleep, so I’m doing the best I can with what I have today. I’ll make sure I go to bed a little earlier tonight so I can get up on time tomorrow. Last week, as I was trying to make dinner for everyone, it was a total flop. It tasted absolutely awful (even to me). Instead of being mad, ordering a pizza, and letting it ruin my evening, I turned it around. We had the good old standby of breakfast for dinner, and we had a good laugh about it. I was doing the best I could. There was nothing to punish myself for. I was mindful of the situation, appreciated that I did my best, laughed hysterically about how awful it was, and was able to fully let it go. Is this always easy to do? No. I still find myself in the midst of a frustrating situation and wanting to punish myself for not doing what I think I should. But the more I remind myself to operate out of place of self-love, the easier it gets.

Any tips for the really busy women out there who want to make a move to be healthier in life but feel overwhelmed by even starting?

This one is juicy! Believe it or not, don’t change everything at one time, because that’s just overwhelming! Take a look at your current lifestyle. What are things you would like to implement to get healthier? Some ideas are to walk each day, increase water intake, increase lean protein, increase veggies and fruits, decreased processed foods, lift heavy things repeatedly, make 15-30 minutes to fully unwind. Pick ONE thing and do it for a week. At the end of that week, if this change feels like it’s part of your daily routine, then select a new one to work on. Keep working down your list as each one gets easier and easier to do. You’ll find that it’s not nearly as difficult as you think if you break it down into smaller parts. It’s not a race to get healthy. You don’t have to do it all today. Make small incremental changes in a way that will allow you to continue with those changes forever! And if you have a day that you don’t hit all those lifestyle changes, love yourself anyway and do the best you can in that very moment. You know those days will come up anyway, so you might as well expect them!

Thank you so much for sharing, Julie! I know my readers will be just as inspired by you as I am!!

You can find Julie Stubblefield at www.sparkfit.info and her SparkFit fan page is https://www.facebook.com/SparkFit.info.  If you have teens (ages 11-18) and would like a free plan that outlines nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle changes for field and classroom performance, check out her site at www.eattrainperformbetter.com and the fan page at https://www.facebook.com/EatTrainPerformBetter.

If you want to learn more about loving who you are and getting peace with your body but aren’t sure how to do that, let Zen Barbell help you! Check out the 30 Days to Stop Hating Your Body program here.  

Present Moment – How do I get there

“What we truly have is this moment… and this … and this. We spend most of our lives forgetting this truth, repudiating it, fleeing it, over looking it. And the horror is that we succeed. We manage to never really connect with the present moment and find fulfillment there because we are continually hoping to become happy in the future. And the future never arrives.” – Sam Harris

Many of us are aware of the concept of mindfulness and connecting with the present moment but many are at a loss on how to do this.
Here are some tools that I use:

1. Connect with your breath – feel the inhale, the exhale and the pause in between each breath. Let every thing else but this focus float away for a moment.
2. Pay attention to what you hear around you – pause for a moment and take in what sounds are going on around you. What do you hear? What did you not notice before?
3. Be aware of all the chatter in your head and let it go – Ask your self what all is going on inside of you right now? Bring attention to all that mental chatter. Can you let it go for just a few minutes and be with what ever is in front of you? I like to picture my thoughts like clouds floating by a high mountain and just let them float by.
4. Engage all your senses. Look around – what all is happening right here? Seeing, hearing, smelling, what is vibrant? Can you try and see it like you are seeing it for the first time with fresh eyes?
5. What is the vibe going on with other people? If you are in a room/place with others, stop and think about what is going on for them? What are you observing in their faces and bodies?

I use a combination of all of these tools. Like anything, the more you practice with them the better you get!!

Why do we want to be in the present moment?
Being right here and right now is all that we truly have. The past is a memory and the future is just a thought. Being present brings clarity, increases positivity and calmness. Most of the benefit happens just from releasing all the stories we have in our minds and being right here. It is the stories that stress us out and take us away from what is right in front of us. Don’t miss out on the moment right in front of you. It is what makes up our entire lives.



If you want to learn more about loving who you are and getting peace with your body but aren’t sure how to do that, let Zen Barbell help you! Check out the 30 Days to Stop Hating Your Body program here.  

How You Know You are Going to Have an OK Day

1. You woke up in bed. This means that you probably have a house, some where decently warm to sleep and a comfortable place to lay down. Cool. So many people in this world are missing at least one of those things. Yay Bed!!

2. You stood up and did your morning routine – stretched, went to the potty, got dressed, etc. Awesome. That means that you body is working reasonably well to accomplish the most basic of tasks. Yay Body!

3. You took a deep breath. Your lungs are in pretty good working order. Breathing rocks! Yay Breathing!

4. You read the morning paper or checked email or facebook. You can read. Literacy is a skill not every one has. Yay reading!

5. You heard your alarm clock. Its not always the nicest sound but you would miss it if you couldn’t hear it. Yay hearing!!

6. You have family members, friends or co-workers who care about you and are happy to see you. Yay relationships!!

7. You ate breakfast. You have access to food. You can savor and enjoy the various flavors of the meal. Yay food!

8. You probably made coffee, tea or had water which means you have access to clean water. Yay Water!

9. You can go outside. This means you can enjoy the sun, the wind, the beauty of the sky and the trees – or what ever environment you are surrounded by. Yay Sunshine!!

10. Do you live in the United States? Then more than likely you had access to education, you can make choices about what you want to do with and in your life, your basic rights to speech and civil liberties are protected, you can vote for the leadership of the US government. Yay freedoms and rights!

See today is going to ROCK!!

“Realize that reality, as it is, is amazing. Look around, and see things as they are, and appreciate the beauty of it all, as messy as it might be. Be grateful you can experience it. That includes everyone around you, as they are. That includes you, as you are.” – Leo from Zen Habits



If you want to learn more about loving who you are and getting peace with your body but aren’t sure how to do that, let Zen Barbell help you! Check out the 30 Days to Stop Hating Your Body program here.  

What are you wanting for 2013?

“We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” ~Joseph Campbell

So many “make the best of 2013” articles coming out. Admittedly, I love new year and the feel of a fresh start – its like ONE BIG MONDAY MORNING!! 🙂
The reality is that any day is a good day to start new habits.

I am trying something new this year. I do normally make resolutions and month by month plans and I am letting all of that go.

As a matter of fact the two words – ok, three words – I am using to guide my decisions and actions this year are: Letting go and Connection.

Letting go – ZenHabits really helped bring this into focus for me. I am want let go of expectations, of not being present in the moment, of thougthat that make me miserable, of thinking I am not good enough, of extra stuff (possessions) and of planning. I am going to go where the passion and fun takes me! WOOP!

Connection – This year I am focusing on connecting with people and connecting with this moment (and this one… and this one…) and letting that be enough.

What have you been holding onto in 2012? What can you let go of it in 2013?
Clutter? Relationships that don’t serve you? The same old resolutions that you never hit and then feel bad about yourself? Self-doubt or self-hatred? The stupid scale? Expectations of yourself and others that no longer serve you? Share with me what you want to let go of this year!

You can do it. Be amazing – today and every day!! Life is too short not to be!!



If you want to learn more about loving who you are and getting peace with your body but aren’t sure how to do that, let Zen Barbell help you! Check out the 30 Days to Stop Hating Your Body program here.