Monthly Archives: April 2014

How I stopped obsessing over what I ate…and lost weight!

I have struggled with my weight since I can remember.  Even though I was never obese I always felt ‘bigger’ compared to my friends, teammates and colleagues.  I have always been self conscious of my weight and struggled with food and felt as though I was always trying to lose weight.  Being in the personal training industry makes it even harder to ‘accept’ your body as personal trainers are judged on the way they look.  I am walking advertisement for my business so it is so important to look the part right?  I always put a lot of pressure on myself to look my best and this caused me to become obsessed with food and exercise (sadly, not in a healthy way).

Long story short, in the last couple of years I have been doing a lot of work internally figuring out what I want, who I am and what my purpose in life is.  The past few months I have turned a corner with regards to accepting my body and learning to be happy even though I’m not perfect!  I could go on and on about this journey but I’ll save that for later 😛

Here is a list of ‘things’ that have been responsible for the recent change in my mindset…and helped me lose weight!

1-In March, I signed up and started my Precision Nutrition certification program. As soon as I got my textbook in the mail I was reading for at least an hour a day.  I completed the entire textbook in just over 2 weeks as I was sooooo interested in what I was reading!  The information was a review of what I learned in university but what I really enjoyed about this program was the 2nd part which is all about nutritional coaching.  The first of the 5 habits that they emphasize “Eat slowly and stop when you are 80% full” was the best tip and made me realize that I wasn’t a mindful eater!  I used to always eat in a rush, be doing work, catching up on texts, talking with friends, etc and before I knew it my food was gone and I always ate wayyy too much. Even though I have always ate healthy, I was still eating too much.  Practicing this habit has made a huge difference in my digestion, the volume of food I eat and my overall body composition.  Such a simple concept but one I was not practicing!  This program was the was the push I needed and I knew that before I would get my clients to follow the program I had to try it myself! 🙂

2-If you follow my Get Fit with Les Facebook page you’ll notice I am sharing a lot of posts and articles from JillFit Physiques.  I randomly came across this article while I was scrolling through my news feed one day and it really opened my eyes…I felt as though this article was written for me!  My food obsession stopped immediately after I read this…..http://jillfit.com/2014/03/04/obsession/

3- I also started reading a variety of books on happiness, personal freedom, achieving your best self, and fitness and nutrition…some were recommended reads from the Precision Nutrition program and JillFit and others were books I had been intending to read for awhile but never made time!  Now there is a difference between reading self-help books and actually applying what you read in them…so I am slowly starting to make small changes to my everyday life using what I have learned in the books I have read 🙂

4- I have an online coach who designs a 6 day split workout for me and I am accountable to her every 2 weeks.  I set monthly goals and send her my progress report every 2 weeks.  Some days I didn’t feel like working out, but I went no matter what.  Even if it wasn’t the ‘best’ workout, I still got it done! Also, my program is mostly strength training with only 20-25 minutes of cardio post workout 3-4 days week. In the past I thought that doing hours of cardio was the only way to lose weight….not true at all!  I truly believe in the power of having a personal trainer, yep I said it! People with personal trainers get results 80% faster than doing it on their own. And why do you ask? Accountability!

5- I started to eat mindfully (thank you Precision Nutrition and a book called “The Power of Less”.  Everytime it was meal time, I would sit down, take my time, chewed more, turned off all distractions, ate until 80% full, and then waited until I was hungry to eat my next meal instead of being on a strict schedule of eating every 3 hours…this has made a huge difference!  I actually enjoy my food (the taste, textures, freshness, flavours) instead of just eating for the sake of eating!

6- Food prep a couple of times a week and making frequent trips to the grocery store.  This is never a problem for me but I continue to have food prepared in advance.  My diet consists of lean mostly protein, veggies, healthy fats, carbs post workout and 1 or 2 higher carb days/week.

7-I would say yes to a night out with friends, eat a nice dinner and not feel bad about it!  I didn’t plan any “cheat’ meals (no do I call it that anymore as I used to feel guilty while eating it and would usually end up eating more than I should) but I do have a treat a few times a week.  Nothing excessive though!  I went out for dinner a few times the past couple of months (I used to say no all the time) when invited and never felt bad about what I ate.  Even when I went home for Easter I ate my mom’s delicious home cooked meals, dessert and a few chocolates.  I just made sure not to stuff myself like I used to as I remembered to eat slowly!

8- I have a mantra/daily reminder…Self Trust. Self Compassion. Self Love.

9- I gave myself a realistic goal…and gave myself 8 weeks of solid effort to see results….and no I didn’t weigh myself everyday but instead every 2 weeks as that gives your body enough time to adjust.  I also did measurements and had a friend take photos.

10- I made sleep a priority!  I got at least 6 hours of quality sleep per night, getting up at 5 am makes this difficult but I made sure to be in bed 1030pm at the latest…of course making time to say goodnight to my love on the phone every night 😉

11- Surrounded myself with positive people….Lots of healthy hangouts with friends, meeting up for tea or a good chat on the phone!

So while it has been quite a journey, but with a focused effort on being healthier (mind/body/soul), and the more I focus on being present in everything I do, I am so much happier!! It is a process, full of ups and downs, backtracking, starting over, etc it is SO WORTH IT!  And yes, not everyone gets there right away nor has the same level of motivation, or knowledge when it comes to fitness and nutrition but I feel that I was born to help inspire and teach people to love themselves for who they are instead of striving for perfection and the ‘all or nothing’ mindset. Being healthy does not mean having abs, eating chicken and veggies, post gym selfies, doing hours of cardio and not having any fun….being healthy (to me) is a holistic concept….healthy body, healthy mind, healthy soul…it is more than just following a strict diet and spending hours in the gym!

Here is a recent post from JillFit to finish today’s blog….

Important reminder: “relaxing” into your eating doesn’t mean you eat with abandon. Besides, that’s anything but relaxing!

Relaxing your mindset means giving up the neurosis that comes with obsessively following every single diet rule and instead, trusting YOURSELF to simply do your best, in whatever circumstances you find yourself in.

When you spend time honing your mindset, the urge to binge lessens because you never reach complete deprivation.

The ideal balance is this: never completely depriving yourself and never eating everything you want either.

THIS TAKES PRACTICE. It took me 3 years! The first step: not holding yourself to the standard of “perfect” eating. Not on Mondays. Not today. Not any day.

When I don’t have to be perfect, I’m free to stay mindful of my choices instead–I can relax into the *process*. I can navigate my sensations (hunger, cravings, energy) rather than eating according to a clock simply because someone told me I’m supposed to eat every 3 hours to lose fat. No.

Question the rules. Ask what will actually work for YOU long term. And most importantly: remember, the more strict the approach, the bigger the binge later.

I completely agree with her!! It took me 5 years!!  As you can see it is quite a lot of effort but it doesn’t have to be perfect or extreme! One of the mistakes I used to make in the past was “starting Monday I will……..and my life was so focused on the gym, cooking, eating, and I made no time for fun!  I was completely out of balance and always ended of breaking my ‘perfect’ plan after a week of following it.  Instead I have learned to have balance in my life…and it has made a world of difference!

So stop counting calories, following the latest diet craze, striving for the perfect body, dragging yourself to the gym because you feel like you have to and instead, slow down and enjoy eating whole foods, work out because you love the way it makes you feel (not because you hate your body), learn to love your body the way God made it and surround yourself with other like minded, positive and healthy people.

Les

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Hi I’m Leslie. I am a recovering speed addict…

It’s true, I can remember a period of my life (over 5 years ago, when I first started personal training at Goodlife) when I felt as though there weren’t enough hours in the day….my to-do list was never getting smaller and I couldn’t keep up with my day to day tasks not to mention having  a social life and being in a relationship PLUS working out, eating and cooking and sleeping, PHEW!  Thanks to a 200hr yoga teacher training program a signed up for couple of years ago, and establishing a regular yoga practice,  I was made very aware of how my lifestyle and my “need for speed” was wearing me out!  I have been working very hard putting everything that I have learned into practice and this book (“Speed” by Stephanie Brown) was another confirmation of my former speed addiction.

Excerpt from “The Power of Less”

“For many people these days, work is a constant stream of emails, of new and requests, of phone calls and instant messages, of papers and notes and files.  The day starts with an inbox full of emails, and ends with an inbox just as full, and each email represents a request for information or for actions that we don’t have time to fulfill.  We are drinking from a fire hose of information, with no idea how to reduce the flow…”

So true right? This is very stressful and wasteful.  If we stop to think about it, it’s not how we want to spend our lives. How do we overcome these problem of overworking ourselves and feeling as thought there aren’t  enough hours in the day?  We must set limits!!  Focus on the important things instead of EVERYTHING!  Life can become  much simpler, it’s all about choices!  We must learn how to identify the essentials and eliminate the rest…much easier said then done…

 

Now the book that inspired me to write today’s blog post is called  “Speed: Facing our Addiction to Fast and Faster-and Overcoming our Fear of Slowing Down” by Stephanie Brown. Since I was never very good at book reports (yep, I still struggle to summarize the important parts of a book and put in my own words)  in school, here is a summary I found on Barnes and Noble…

“Feeling rushed, out of control, and overwhelmed?
Feeling like you can’t keep up… and can’t stop?
It’s not just you.

From the need to be constantly connected and the changing definition of “work hours,” to unrealistic expectations of instant gratification, our bodies and brains are being harmed by habits that, as with any kind of addiction, promise short-term satisfaction while doing long-term damage.

As a psychologist and addiction expert who practices in Silicon Valley, Stephanie Brown sees firsthand the impact of ever-faster technology and the culture it has spawned. She knows it’s affecting us mentally, physically, and spiritually. In this ground breaking book, she explores how our beliefs and behaviors are being shaped by the seemingly limitless new world we’ve entered in recent years—and why faster doesn’t always equal better. Dr. Brown offers a step-by-step plan for breaking out of the speed trap. With practical guidelines, she shows us how to ease up on the gas pedal and reconnect with ourselves, learning to accept—and value—our limitations as human beings, reduce our stress levels, and free ourselves from our counterproductive obsession with speed.”

Sounds pretty interesting right?? I don’t want to give away too much of the book (you should read it yourself if you want to learn more) but one part that I found really interesting was the questionnaire she included in the beginning of the book.  Take a moment and answer the questions below.  How many do you say YES to??

Twenty Questions: Are you Hooked on Fast?

Your behavior:

1. Do you want to slow down but you cannot? Have you lost control?

2. Do you keep adding activities without taking any away?

3. Do you work longer and longer hours, but don’t ever finish?

4. Do you treat other problems: sleep, anxiety, depression?

5. Do you act first and think later?

6. Do you check your email and reach for your phone first thing and last?

Your feelings:

7. Do you feel internal pressure to live fast and act fast, which becomes a craving to “connect” more rapidly?

8. Do you feel empty if you are not in constant action?

9. Do you feel nervous without your tech gear in hand or pocket?

10. Do you feel the beep of your phone as a comfort that gives you a shot of adrenaline?

11. Do you feel you belong when you are rushing, stressed and in action?

Your beliefs:

12. Do you believe you have no limits and you are entitled to live without limits?

13. Do you believe you should think, feel, react, and behave instantly?

14. Do you believe you will fall behind if you slow down?

15. Do you believe success equals fast and faster, and slowing down is falling?

16. Do you believe you should only feel good, only feel high; other feelings are a sign of failure?

17. Do you believe stress is the price of success and chaos is normal?

18. Do you believe that the “new intimacy” is through technology; less time for off-line relationships is the price of success?

19. Do you believe instant action is a virtue and you can overcome anything with enough willpower?

20. Do you believe all change must be big to count?

Are you addicted to speed like I was? (there are a few on here I still struggle with, but I am working on it now that I have been made aware of them!)

What she also included were tips to help you slow down…read below….

The Twenty Guidelines for Slowing Down: How to Unhook from Speed

Your behavior:

1. You ask for help; you seek a mentor who believes in slowing down for guidance and support

2. You develop a recovery action plan.

3. You begin to make small steps toward change.

4. You learn to pause, to reflect on your behavior, feelings and thinking.

5. You ask yourself, “What am I doing?”

Your feelings:

6. You feel the reality of limits and face the feeling of failure.

7. You become aware of feelings, and learn to face them.

8. You trust that the high of impulsive action is NOT the feeling you seek.

9. You develop a wider range of new feelings.

10. You come to trust that deep, intimate human ‘connection’ exists in a slowed down, quiet state.

Your thinking:

11. You believe in the reality of limits.

12. You learn to recognize and challenge your belief in entitlement.

13. You challenge your belief in willpower.

14. You believe in the value of small steps and a slower sense of time.

15. You believe in a new definition of success; you best effort within a structure of limits.

16. You believe in the value of delay, endurance, and the concept of “enough.”

17. You believe that growth and change are not instant; that ‘quick fixes’ reinforce the thinking of fast and impulsive action.

18. You believe in the value and necessity of reflection as a part of health and success.

19. You challenge your all-or-none thinking.

20. You give new meaning to ‘service.’

It is a process…it takes time and practice.  But the best way to improve your relationship with yourself and others, your health and anything else that is being affected by your fast -paced, non-stop, go-go-go, so many commitments, not enough time, crazy lifestyle is to stop for a moment, turn off your computer, turn off your phone(s) and sit in peace to think really hard about what you really want to accomplish in your life.  Instead of bragging about how busy or stressed out you are, focus on the ESSENTIALS and allow everything else to drop away.  It’ll make you much happier, less stressed, and surprisingly, more productive!

Ever since I started doing more self reflection I know what my limits are.  I have taken the steps (it is a work in progress) to simplify my life I have been able to reach new goals and habits and love sharing my experiences and tips with others.  Focus all your energy and time on one thing at a time (start small and build on one small ‘thing’ at a time) instead of trying to accomplish everything at once.  Practice yoga, meditation or deep breathing….it works!

For more information on how to simplify your life be sure to pick up Leo Babauta’s book “The Power of Less”, you’ll be glad you did…I am almost done reading it and I just picked it up from the library (my new favourite hangout!) an hour ago!

Les 🙂

 

 

 

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