How to be more intentional first thing in the morning

How to be more intentional first thing in the morning

Maybe this sounds like your mornings too…

I’d  roll out of bed 15-20 min before I had to be up. My kids have always been into early mornings. It was always mad dash to get everyone out the door on time. No wonder I was crabby, exhausted, and spent the rest of the day trying to catch my breath.

What if your day didn’t have to start like that? Wouldn’t it be great if you could enjoy a hot cup of coffee and a little time to get your head in the game before everyone else was up, and the world was knocking at your door?

You can start your day fresh,  with more peace, and a lot more calm. The trick is to carve out time for yourself before the busy of the day sets in. But this, like any other habit takes some practice. 

Let me guess, at this point you might be thinking to yourself, this is great for the early birds. Perhaps you already feel like you don’t have enough time, let alone add one more thing to your list.

Here’s the magic: Once you develop the habit, you won’t have to think about it. In fact, you’ll be so stoked on how you’re feeling after spending some time filling your cup, you’ll be too excited to get up and get the day going.

I think one of the reasons, people aren’t more excited to get up and at ’em is because the day is too chaotic. If my days felt like that, I wouldn’t be too happy to get out of bed either. In fact, I wasn’t.

When I’d roll out of bed, I was immediately reacting to life, instead of calling the shots. And if you’re not setting some intention behind your morning routine, then you’re likely in the same boat I was.

Another thing that may be tripping you up are some of the other habits you’ve got, that you’re not ready to get rid of just yet…like late night Netflix binges or hours of mindless scrolling. 

I had some habits that definitely had to go, if I was going to be able to get my butt out of bed earlier.  While I thought watching hours of TV or scrolling my social media was recharging my battery, I noticed I didn’t always feel better or more refreshed. 

Often, I’d wake up the next day feeling drained and exhausted.

On the rare occasion I would get out of bed earlier than usual, I found I had so much more time to get ready.

The days I had actually taken the time to read my bible, journal, spend time praying or meditating I had a different head space.

You might be on board to give this whole  morning thing a try, but not sure where to start. It’s ok, I didn’t either. 

I read the book Miracle Morning  by Hal Elrod as a recommendation from a friend of mine at the time.

The book helped give my mornings structure. I used it as inspiration, and just kept tweaking until I found what worked for me and the time I had. 

My mornings these days consist of going through my daily devotional, read a personal development book for about 10-15 min, journal some thoughts that came up or things I’m wrestling with, meditation/ prayer, and then I visualize my ideal day.

Here’s the thing to realize though, having a great morning starts the night before. Not only is it important to look at how you’re starting your day, but also how you’re winding down the night before.

If you’re finding it hard to get up a bit earlier, you may wanna take a look at your bedtime routine, and make some tweaks there.

Remember, it’s not about massive overhaul here. Instead, look at what small change you’re willing to make. And then intentionally practice it…daily. You also don’t have to wake up hours earlier. Try waking up 10-15 minutes earlier at first, then you can bump it back as needed.

As we know perfect doesn’t exist–this goes for our sleep as well. There are days when you may do everything ‘right’, and still don’t sleep well. This can make getting up early much more challenging than it might already be. Just do what you can. Maybe you cut a few things out, or shorten the routine up a bit. That’s ok! Just do what you can. 

Any time I travel, or have a change in routine it can be hard to stay with my morning routine. Again, decide what you can do even when you’re short on time or out of your element and do that. Think about it like this, what would the minimum be that you could do to still feel energized and excited about your day be? Do that. Then when you get back into your groove, you can adjust again.

I never thought changing one little thing, like how I start my mornings would have had such a profound impact, but it has. I don’t feel like I’m running the whole day trying to find my groove because I create my groove first thing in the am.

You will feel like you’ve found extra time in your day, and it’s because you have.

If you constantly feel like you don’t have enough time, it can be tempting to avoid adding one more thing in, but I just want you to try it. If you don’t like it, you can always go back to sleeping in 😉 

Starting day with intention makes it easier to be intentional throughout the day. Keep in mind freedom comes from having structure without being harsh or rigid. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t do it perfectly or you miss a day here or there. However, to create new habits, you have to commit to consistency.

Make it easy on yourself to win the day, by winning your mornings. 

 

How to feel better about yourself without losing weight

How to feel better about yourself without losing weight

Think about the first time you ‘knew’ you needed to lose weight.. or even thought about losing weight? Chances are you were pretty young. And if you weren’t the one struggling with your weight, you knew a woman you who was and still probably is. 

Here’s the truth: you don’t need to lose weight to feel what you want to feel about yourself.

But, you must to take care of yourself like you matter.

Which is something I don’t see women doing very often. For many women, their needs get pushed to the bottom of the ‘to-do’ list while they are busy taking care of everyone else. After a while of neglecting themselves, they forget who they are. And they don’t like what they see when they look in the mirror. 

This is usually when the typical dieting behavior kicks in. The fantasies about what life would be like if they just lost those last 10 pounds or if they were a bit more “toned” fill their minds.

They try to beat their bodies into submission via strict diets aka “healthy lifestyles” and crazy workouts.

A new way to ‘self-care’

Weight loss is highly celebrated and elevated in our culture. Comments like ‘you look good, have you lost weight?’ only further the idea that weight loss = health and that health looks a certain way–no matter what it took to get there.

Instead of following the traditional model of health that focuses solely on weight loss and fearful thoughts around food..

Eat well.

Move your body.

Talk to yourself like you love yourself.

before you’ve lost the weight.

Do it from a place of compassion, love, and a desire to take care of you the way you take care of others. Not because you fear that looking a certain way will be the only way you can earn love or acceptance from others.

Do it because you know and believe you were created for a purpose and you can’t do it if you are exhausted, and are beating your body up with lifestyle choices that aren’t serving you. 

Your mind needs a makeover 

 1. Give your thoughts a makeover. Notice the words you use to talk about yourself and your body.

What kinds of feelings or emotions do those thoughts evoke for you? If it’s negative, you gotta change that pronto.

2. Change your thoughts- first notice the thoughts you think about yourself NOW, what result is that producing for you?

Then choose new thoughts to think. Yes, you get to pick what you think about. You don’t have to be at the mercy of the mean girl living between your ears. 

3. Take care of yourself NOW, not when you’ve lost the weight–what does YOUR healthy lifestyle look like?

Instead of following someone else’s plan for your healthy lifestyle, create your own. There are many ways you can move your body–find a way that works for you. 

And aside from a few key nutrition habits, you don’t need to follow a meal plan or specific diet despite popular information found all over Google.

Prepare for battle

We are immersed in diet culture, there is no denying it. Depending on how steeped in it you are, you may have a hard time shutting the inner diet police down. The thoughts and feelings of inadequacy or disgust because of your weight, size, or shape will mostly likely creep back in.

Stand guard against those thoughts. 

Here are some strategies you can use to wage war against the diet fueled thoughts:

  1. Write out the new thoughts you want to think about yourself. You can put them on post it notes around the house or in your car.
  2. Come up with new ways to describe yourself that have zero to do with how you look.
  3. Talk to yourself as if you were talking to someone you really loved.
  4. Remember you don’t have love the way your body looks, but you don’t have to hate it either. Practice body neutrality.
  5. List out what your body can do now, and what it allows you to do.

As you continue on your journey of leaving the weight obsessed world behind, you will find you’re less stressed, life feels less chaotic, and you’ll have more energy for the things that you *actually* care about.

You’ll be making choices about your body, food, eating, and exercise from a place of care rather than  duty, obligation, or penance.

You won’t be eating better or exercising in order to feel good enough, you’ll be doing those things because you already know you are.. 

If you’re ready to make the next move in your life, and you’re not sure how to start, I’ve got you. The Mindful Eating Project is open now, click the link to fill out the application!

 

11 Reasons to Avoid Mainstream Fitness

11 Reasons to Avoid Mainstream Fitness

Fitness. For as long as any of us can probably remember, we’ve been working on improving our health or our fitness in one way or another. Usually in the form of ‘cleaning up’ our diets, cutting calories and entire food groups, and working out until we couldn’t walk the next day.

Fitness once represented a healthy ideal about the ways in which we ought to take care of our bodies. However, it seems there is much more to this word than seemingly meets the eye.

As a woman who has been on both ends of the spectrum–being extremely unhealthy to a woman who was (in every way) living the ‘fit’ lifestyle I can see the dangers on both ends.

After nearly 18 months of recovery from the mainstream fitness mindset I’ve rounded up the top 11 reasons to avoid mainstream fitness. If you’re bruised and battered from a life lived in the pursuit of ‘fitness’, it’s time your mindset got a makeover…

11 Reasons to Avoid Mainstream Fitness

  1. Both the problem and coincidentally the supposed solution too.
  2. Focuses on weight as (often the only) indicator of health regardless of what you had to do to lose the weight.
  3. Makes health, fitness, wellness available to a narrow number of people aka only those who can afford the time, energy, and money for the things diet culture claims are healthy. If you’re a single mom working two jobs, how in the world are you supposed to afford the latest superfood and gym membership? 
  4. Further exploits women and takes their power. At the end of the day, many women are still chasing the fit ideal, not necessarily their ideal body. They’re slaves to food scales, calorie counting, and the next best diet to hit the market.  Sadly, many women come running with their wallets open and their credit card out to buy the next fix. It’s a rare form of slavery—one in which we choose.
  5. Places value on what you look like and what you do instead of who you are. And in many ways promotes similar behavior as those with eating disorders. 
  6. Promotes disordered eating behaviors–obsessive food thoughts, thinking about calories and macros, and food phobia.
  7. Creates fear and anxiety around food, eating, and your body.
  8. Adds to pressure already felt by women to be all the things to everyone. Not only do we need to ‘good’ wives and moms, we also need to do it in the hottest body ever. Maybe there is more to life than walking around in a near perfect body?
  9. Feeds on comparison. Which by the way, is a massive driving factor in body dissatisfaction–the diet industry knows that. If they can create a problem (flawed bodies, obesity, etc), then losing weight and getting toned are obvious answers. 
  10. Shames the ‘before’ body and glorifies only the ‘after’ body.
  11. The ‘after’ photo–it’s not always better. In fact, most of your problems are still your problems even if you’re in a size 4. 

Hear this, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be healthy, there is everything wrong about the obsession we have with health, wellness, and the pursuit of the perfect body.

For many of us who have been chasing the pursuit of  mainstream fitness ideals, we might be weary and feel a sense of relief at the idea of completely ditching the behaviors that drove our unhealthy obsessions around food, exercise, and our bodies. For others we might be leery of the ideas mentioned above.

Don’t abandon the behaviors you know in your heart to be taking care of you, helping you become the best version of yourself.

But 100% DO abandon the notion you have to lose a certain amount of weight, adopt a specific diet, or beat yourself up in the gym to obtain your fit lifestyle. Consume information on fitness through a critical eye, and start making decisions for yourself.

After all, only you know what’s best for you. So it’s time to step up and take ownership of that responsibility. It is truly the only way you will be able to be the woman you were created to be, and do what only you were created to do.

 

Is anti-diet the best approach to wellness?

Is anti-diet the best approach to wellness?

Is anti-diet the right way to approach health, wellness, and well-being?

Some front runners in this movement teach the WTH attitude. Which is NOT the answer either. That is the kind of thinking that keeps people stuck. In many ways it gives wrong idea about eating, and living life in general. Self-control is displayed as being a form of slavery. Instead, you’re encouraged to throw all caution to the wind, and do whatever the heck you feel like. 

Instead we ought to approach our well-being from a place of mindfulness and responsibility. Sometimes it means making the hard call, delaying gratification, so  you can grow into that next level version of yourself.

Throwing the middle finger up at the idea that self-control and discipline creates a sense of why even try? Apathy is not empowerment. Taking ownership is empowering–so long as you do it on your own terms. And not according to what you ‘think’ you should be doing.

 

 You know dieting doesn’t work

You just want to be healthy, but somehow you’re still struggling to make those new lifestyle habits stick.

If dieting isn’t the answer. What is? Initially it seems like it would be the opposite–not dieting. But that is scary right? For most of us, dieting in some way is all we have known. Dieting nonsense is everywhere in our culture these days.

 We’ve never really been taught how to eat when we aren’t operating from a diet mindset or with diet behaviors. 

 We all want to feel at ease around food and feel comfortable in our skin.

Whether it’s from a shallow place of  wanting to look good, or because of a deeper desire we have to feel like we are lovable, worthy, and good enough.

On the surface, most of us would say we know what it takes to reach our health goals–eat less, move more. No matter how many times we’ve tried this and have failed, we still carry this as our own failure. Not the diet itself.

 We try to fit ourselves into a box we were never meant to be in. We were created to be unique–that includes the formula for our healthy lifestyle too. My healthy lifestyle won’t necessarily look the same as yours, and that is ok. 

 About 18 months ago, I realized I was still dieting, yet calling it a “healthy lifestyle”.

I was operating by rules and restriction.

I wasn’t losing weight (long-term). I was obsessed with food all the time again. Even though I was working out 6 days a week, my body didn’t lose weight. 

 

Maybe time to do something different

What are you currently doing? How is that working for you? If it’s not working, it’s time to shake things up and do something you’ve never done before.

I’m willing to bet you’ve had seasons in life where you’ve said screw it, and have eaten whatever you wanted, and that didn’t get you what you wanted either. While I’m not proposing that we just go totally off the rails. I am proposing we find our own happy middle ground. 

 Look at ditching the diet mindset in a mindful way.

Neutralize food.

Give yourself permission to eat anything you want.

Toss out the food rules.

Get in touch with yourself.

Ask yourself these questions:

What do you want to look, feel, be like?

How do you want to engage with food and your body?

How do you want to feel in your skin? 

Guess what you can have those feelings now. You can have that relationship with food right now. 

Diet culture is everywhere you turn

I had to overcome years of dieting and living in diet culture. Sometimes it is near impossible to sort it all out.

When I first started my own non-diet journey, I went way off the rails. Gained weight, didn’t feel good. I knew I was self-sabotaging, but this time it was my fault. You see when we diet, and it doesn’t work–sure we feel pretty bad about ourselves for failing, but ultimately we still get to blame the diet for not working. 

When you go off the rails on purpose, and you initially start to leave dieting behind it will feel out of control. That is all the years of dieting and listening to the diet BS catching up with you. This is normal. No need to panic. And you definitely don’t need to go back to dieting.

 It’s a slow process. One that needs practicing every day. You may get to a point where you realize you aren’t happy with how you’ve been treating yourself (which by the way can and does STILL happen when you’re dieting).

When you’re recovering from the diet mindset there is an adjustment period. It will take you some time to learn this new way of eating and interacting with food.

But it gets better.

The rebel who just wants to eat everything doesn’t have to rule your world.

Instead, you learn how to channel into your inner guide and expert. You use her to guide you to the right decisions for yourself. Of course having some key habits under your belt will help until it becomes more automatic.

Where the anti-diet movement fails you

Some in the anti-diet movement will tell you to just keep going. Eat whatever you want how ever much you want.

It’s a ‘who cares’ attitude. This is irresponsible and doesn’t empower anybody. Maybe it feels like empowerment temporarily, but not long term. 

 Rejecting the anti-diet mindset is as important as rejecting the diet mindset.

When you finally step into the role of expert in your own life,  you take full ownership of your life and your results that is when you find TRUE freedom.

I had to teeter to both extremes to figure that out.

 The ironic thing? In both extremes I was unhappy.

One is the mindset you’ll never be good enough, the other says you can be whatever you want even if it costs you your health and the ability to manage yourself in a healthy, helpful way.

Finding your own center will help you walk through life with self- control, discipline, grace and self-compassion. That, my friend is the only way to live the life you were created to live.

If you’re ready to simplify nutrition and leave dieting behind click here to apply for my new group coaching program. Space is limited, and the early bird discount won’t last long…

Why women are so worried about how they look..and the art of not caring

Why women are so worried about how they look..and the art of not caring

  4 out of 5 women are unsatisfied with how they look in some way. Why are women so worried about how they look anyway? 

It’s not uncommon to hear yourself or one of your friends mention some part of their body they’d happily exchange or elect to chop off if it made them smaller, curvier, or more attractive.

This kind of talk is an epidemic in our culture. We’ve totally normalized this self-loathing chatter. Heck, it is something many of us bond over. 

Not only is this kind of talk a total waste of time and energy, it’s also destructive. 

You’re probably not surprised to hear body dissatisfaction is linked to higher rates of eating disorders, disordered eating, depression, and low self-esteem. 

Which when writing that, kind of seems like a no-brainer.. However, I don’t think I had ever realized just how much it impacted me until I wasn’t thinking about or talking about my body in such a hateful and negative way.

Low self esteem often leads to a lack of belief in oneself. It is not entirely uncommon that women let their weight or what they look like stop them from going after the promotion they want or the man they have had their eye on. 

They avoid speaking up. Avoid putting themselves out there in any way that would draw attention to them. At all costs they try not to be seen or heard because they feel ashamed they don’t measure up to someone else’s idea of beautiful. 

It is crazy to think even now, we believe it’s because of our weight we’re not worthy of love, success, or happiness.

 

What’s with the obsession of the ‘perfect’ body anyway?

This desire for the perfect body is led by fear. We want desperately to fit in, and belong. Our basic human need is love. Unfortunately often we associate being able to be loved with being perfect.

The irony is, none of us are perfect, yet we still strive for that standard anyway.

On the surface we fear not fitting in or not belonging. 

We fear being judged by others, and standing out (in a bad way). 

Inside though, the fear is we’re not good enough. 

We’re afraid to be  failures.

If we don’t have the perfect body something is wrong with us..we’re somehow broken.

We’re unhappy with how we feel about ourselves, so we try to fix it with diets, workouts, weight loss. And strangely  we are unhappy doing that too. It almost seems like we’re fighting a battle we can’t win.

Darned if you do and darned if you don’t.

 

Enough is enough…

As long as we choose to put our value and worth in the scale or weight loss we will always be unhappy. There will never be a point where you can just relax. You’re either stressing about losing the weight or you’re stressing about keeping the weight off. It’s never enough.

Despite the chatter you hear in your own head or at happy hour with the girls, hating your body or even disliking your body is not normal. Nor is it healthy.

It most certainly is not serving you in any way. We can’t make long term change from a place of self-hatred. It just won’t work. Instead, we must decide to change because we know we were created for more–more love, more success, more joy.

Draw a line in the sand, and get to work

First step in the healing process is realize  how unhealthy and how abnormal it is to hate your body. 

Decide to stop picking on yourself. Instead choose the same kindness and compassion you would give to your best friend or your kids.

Stop engaging in conversation that tears you down (with friends, peers, and especially in your own mind.)

Choose gratitude. Even if you don’t at first glance see there is anything beautiful about your body. Be obsessively grateful for what your body has carried your though. What it’s allowed you to do/ accomplish. 

Take care of yourself. Put you on your to-do list. Prioritize your self care. 

Realize self-care is more than eating kale or taking a bubble bath. It’s about radically showing up as the woman you were created to be, to do the work only you were  created to do.

The problem is…

Cultural and social conditioning are like noxious weeds– hard to kill. 

You have to be ruthlessly committed to a new way of thinking about you and taking care of you ( this means your habits need an upgrade, your thoughts need an upgrade, and your actions do too)

The work is simple, it’s not easy. It’s a daily practice. 

The sweet taste of victory, and not giving a ….

You realize what people think of you doesn’t matter near as much as what you think of you. 

When you let go of the outcome (ie weight loss), and embrace who you are in this moment, you show up differently in your relationships, in your work, in your life. You realize that you can be just as happy now while working on where you want to go. 

You put yourself out into the world knowing not all people will accept you or get you. But that’s not your problem, it’s theirs. 

You belong to yourself, and therefore can be anywhere and be confident. 

Instead of playing small, holding yourself back you’re chasing the dreams in your heart. 

Instead of hiding until you’ve got the perfect body, you’re letting yourself be seen by others. You get to experience radical freedom in a way you never could before. 

As a result of taking action and owning your life, opportunities you never knew existed will start showing up when you show up. 

Step up, own your life, embrace what you’re working with today.

You my, friend were created the way you are for a specific purpose, but you can’t make it happen when you’re too busy hating on yourself.

xo,

Alisha