Quit procrastinating: how the lie of starting Monday is sabotaging you

How many times have you told yourself you’ll start your diet or your workout program again on Monday or in the New Year?

What if I told you there is no such thing as a “Monday” or as a “New Year, new you”. After all, we are only promised today, aren’t we? So why wait? Why not start today, in this moment, with what you have…

The tricky thing about diet culture is that we can get lulled into the mindset that we always have to start again, start over. The idea of ‘starting’ implies that there will be an end to whatever we are doing, and inevitably we will fail again.

Ditching the diet mindset means you won’t have to worry about starting again on Monday or starting over in the New Year.

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How do you ditch the diet mindset?

 

1. Think about the long-term gains and goals.
Set goals for yourself that inspire you to live a better life now, without waiting on the scale to budge or the clothes to get smaller. Decide what kind of value you want to add to your life and to the life of those around you.
Make small changes over time instead of completely overhauling your entire life at once. Change can be stressful enough as is. So why not take it slow? Start with a five-minute action and get good at showing up for that every day. Then Slowly build on that foundation of consistency. For most of us, the habit of showing up for ourselves will feel foreign. We need to create a culture of winning.
Don’t let the stress of life get to you. I was your classic comfort eater. Whenever I felt stressed, I’d turn to food or to alcohol or to exercise to help me manage my stress.
I know what you’re probably thinking.. isn’t exercise a good thing? It depends. For many, exercise is a great thing and can add so much value to their life. But for others, it can become another vice or another shackle.
The bottom line?
Find healthy ways to manage your stress. And do it in moderation.

2. Your journey is a practice. Not a test. 

Be the first one to give yourself some grace when you slip up or make a mistake. The more freedom you give yourself, the easier this will be. So instead of having food rules and obsessions you live by, create some healthy habits or practices around food and exercise.
Think about how far you’ve come, not how far you have to go. This simple mindset shift can make all the difference in your motivation levels and your excitement.
Who wants to work for someone who never appreciates their efforts? When we focus on our shortcomings and how far we are from our goals we are being the boss that never recognizes your hard work.
Spend some time this week focusing on the gains you’ve made and not the gap between where you are and where you want to go.

3.Create momentum with small changes, not a drastic overhaul

Our lives are comprised of thousands of tiny choices we make each and every day. Most of them are so small, we don’t even recognize the impact they will one day have on us. These small choices seem insignificant in the moment, making them easy to overlook. But they all add up.
Pick one small thing to tweak. It should feel so easy it’s stupid. In fact, I would argue its the easy choices that are the hardest to stay committed to. For some reason we have this belief that success has to be hard. That if we aren’t #onthegrind all day every day we might as well not bother.
Stumped on some small things to commit to this week? Use this list to help get the juices flowing:
-Take the stairs or park a little further
-Start your day with a routine that sets you up to win the day (a simple gratitude practice can do wonders for your mental state and your perspective)
-Add one more veggie to your day
-Have one glass of wine instead of two

The bottom line is this: Waiting to take action only sets us up to fail over and over…

If you are waiting to start until Monday or January or when you feel ready to make a change to your nutrition, fitness, or lifestyle, you will never make a change because you will never be ready. Sometimes you just have to leap first and have faith for what’s on the other side.
So what small action will you choose TODAY that will move you closer to your goals before next Monday or before the New Year? Share in the comments below so we can cheer you on!
xo,
Alisha Carlson (8)

How to stop feeling guilty around food

The holidays are right around the corner and for so many this is a time of year that brings about  mixed emotions. Usually the slurry of emotions leave us unsure of how to feel. Even though this is supposed to be one of the most joyous times of year, they  can be overwhelming. I know my family is far from perfect and there is always a little uneasiness as my husband I try to navigate the sticky situations that family can present.

Toss in all of the holiday parties, end of the year deadlines, and weeks where your kids are out of school and it is easy to see why we, as women tend to put ourselves on the back burner and become a bit more relaxed with our routines. However, I’ve found that the more relaxed I get around the holidays, the harder it is for me to get back into my rhythm come January.

Often guilt and shame accompany this time of year. Whether we find ourselves over spending, over eating, or over drinking. It seems that we buffer our feelings and How to stop feeling guilt or shame around food, fitness, and your bodyemotions just to get by. After all, this is the season to eat, drink, and be merry, but usually the stress of the season leads to a bit more of the eating and drinking, and less holiday cheer all around.

You might be nodding in agreement, because you too have felt these same things and have found yourself buffering instead of facing the music. I am guilty of this. Thankfully we don’t have to wait until January, we can start today.

How to avoid guilt + shame around over eating, over drinking, and over spending: replace old habits and behaviors with new ones

First, let’s identify and acknowledge shame and guilt. Often they are interchanged, but they aren’t exactly the same thing…

Shame is feeling like YOU are wrong. It’s intense, it’s painful. Shame makes you feel like you have to hide from others because if they knew about you and all your secrets,  you’d be unloveable.

Shame is something I see so many women carrying when it comes to their food choices. It isn’t uncommon for us to feel like we have to hide what we ate from others to avoid being seen or to justify our food choices to minimize the shame we feel around them.

In our society, a woman’s worth is often tied to her external appearance.  It was for me growing up, and I see it still in other women, on magazines, even other coaches/ trainers that put too much emphasis on the physical goals without touching on the other important areas of health too. When we find that sweet spot of letting ourselves be seen, brining those things that make us feel shame into the light is when we can begin to shrug shame.

Guilt on the other hand, is feeling like you did something ‘bad’–Again, this comes up so often around food for women. We assign morality to our food choices, like it’s either a good or bad food. If this is true, then we either are good or bad for eating them #lies. 

Food is a neutral party. Neither good nor bad. Its our meaning that changes things.

“I cheated on my diet”…”I am so bad for eating this”… I am so guilty of saying things like that in my past. And what would usually came next? Shame. It was a vicious cycle that the diet industry kept me trapped in for years. I vividly remember the pain I’d carry when I was “too weak” and gave into my cravings. I felt like a disappointment and a failure.I cringe when I hear another woman say any of these things.

How can you beat guilt and shame before it beats you?

Bring it into the light. Share with someone you trust and you know won’t judge you. Even journaling about it can help. Express your feelings. Practice rephrasing or reframing those thoughts  for yourself.

Your value and worth don’t come from what you did or didn’t eat or whether or not you did or didn’t do a workout today.

Call out the lies- if you catch yourself talking negatively when you glance in the mirror or if you try something and do it less than great notice the thoughts + self talk that ensues. If its negative, it’s a lie, and it’s gotta go. Come up with counter arguments to those lies. Or better yet, create some mantras or words of encouragement you can repeat to yourself before you get in those situations that tend to bring out the urge to shame or guilt yourself.

What can you do if you are being guilted or shamed by others?

First, remember you can’t control or change other people, but you can change your environment and who you spend your time with.

Assess your current environment and the people you spend the most time with. Are they for or against you and your goals?

Take action: Change one thing about your environment, maybe that is removing foods that you know lead to you losing control. Maybe it’s investing in some dumbbells or bands so you can always move your body even if you can’t make it to the gym or your favorite class.

Who is one person you need to spend less time with? Create an action plan, who can you add to your circle that will help you?

Give yourself and others the benefit of the doubt. Whether good or bad, we are usually trying our best. We are doing what we can, with what we have, and it’s only reasonable that we would see others the same way. NO need to create extra stress or drama by believing anything other than this.

Give yourself some space to process. One way I do this is by  creating small margins of time in my day and/ or week to reflect. I am always talking to myself. If you could hear what’s happening in my head most days you’d probably think I’m crazy. But if I’m talking, I can’t listen to the negative voice. Then give yourself some time to just listen. 

Small steps you can take now in your mindset, movement, nutrition, and relationship with yourself:

Daily affirmations: The key with affirmations is to make them believeable. At first it might be a stretch, especially if you’ve gotten used to being bullied by your own thoughts. One thing I’ve done this year that has been so helpful in this arena has been to back up my affirmations with specific bible scripture. This way I am reminded that these things are in fact truth.
Start small and build up. It’s not the big things you do once in a while, but the small things you do daily that make the biggest impact. It’s tempting to want to change EVERYTHING at once, but that only sets us up to fail in the long run. Pick one thing and stick with it until it feels easy, then you can add another.
Slow down when you eat. I still struggle with this from time to time, but it is the first habit I teach my clients, so it is that important, and if you totally forget everything else you know about food this one habit is all you need. Slowing down allows you to feel full before you reach that uncomfortable stuffed feeling. Plus when you slow down, you get to enjoy your meal and your company that much more.
Choose movement that feels good and even a little indulgent. For me that is a mix of weights/ running or walking/ and some yoga sprinkled through my week. I used to snub walking because it wasn’t the sexiest. But you know what? It still burns calories, gets your heart pumping, and has some major benefits for your mind. So walk on! (if that’s your thing). The point is, moving your body is a gift and you get to decide what feels best. So forget the latest fad workout and just do you.
xo,
Alisha Carlson (8)
What is the hardest part of staying healthy during the holidays?

 

How to meal prep for normal, busy women who aren’t trying to land the cover of a fitness magazine

Doing a simple search for  the term ‘meal prep’ is likely to elicit tons of results. Great. Except there was one teeny tiny problem. Most of the meal prep videos or articles that came up  were incredibly detailed and regimented, and had you eating pretty much the same thing all week long.

Don’t get me wrong. There is a place for sure for that kind of meal prep. But let’s be honest that is not the place that the majority of women live, at least not on a regular basis. Nor should they.

So how do you meal prep like a normal woman with a to do list a mile (link to other post here) long?

You keep it simple. Like so simple it will probably feel like your 10 year old could pull it off.

I’ve been there…ya know the place I described up above. I used to weigh out each meal ensuring my portion sizes were perfect and that I was counting my macros correctly. I ate each meal on a timer and rarely ever skipped a meal.

Eating like that served its purpose while I was prepping for my first and only two figure competitions. Thinking about that kind of meal prep is sort of exhausting these days. And actually quite unnecessary.

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Meal prep like you have a life

If you don’t get paid to look a certain  or  perform a certain way as a job, then likely you don’t need to go through the painful process I outlined above. If however, you are just treading water trying not to drown in all of your life’s responsibilities and you want to start chipping away at some of your dusty ol health and fitness goals then this is for you.

Meal prepping will save you a ton of time throughout the week as well as money (thus helping you stick to your budget), and will make weeknights far less stressful. As if all of those reasons weren’t enough, you will most likely even end up feeling better while moving the needle towards your personal health goals.

No need to get fancy. Simply follow the steps below, and bam. You’ll be meal prepping like a boss.

Steps to meal prep:

  1. Sit down with your calendar and create a meal plan for yourself for the week. Know what meals you’ll have for dinner, lunch, breakfast. Do you have any days you’ll be eating out or exceptionally busy? Mark those down with an ‘x’ or something. The busiest of the busy days will be a day when you want to have something prepped and ready to go so you don’t have to think about it. * Try slow cooker meals or instant pot meals for those days.
  2. After you’ve created your menu for the week, you need to compile a list of things to grab at the store. Pro tip: check your pantry and your fridge so you don’t end up buying too much or too little of an ingredient.
  3. Pick a day to prep. Is it going to be the same day as when you grab your groceries? Will you need to do a couple days of prep?
  4. Prep made easy: Keep it simple. Cook up some smart carbs like rice, quinoa, potatoes/ sweet potatoes, or a pot of beans. Cook up a couple different kinds of protein or prep them ahead of time if for example you plan to eat tuna salad or chicken salad just make a big batch. Have your healthy fats on hand and your fruits and veggies. You can cut those up as well ahead of time, though they do lose some nutritional value if they are left sitting too long before you eat them.
  5. Bonus tip:  you can put your food in smaller containers so you can grab and go or you can just pull it out and pack it the day of.
  6. Extra bonus tip:  only season with salt and pepper. By doing it that way, you’ll be able to mix and match your flavors throughout the week by adding salsa or curry seasoning, etc.

Do you have a meal prep tip that you are crazy about? Share it below in the comments.

 

You can meal prep like a pro all the while being the totally normal and slightly busy woman that you are 😉

 

xo,

Alisha Carlson (8)

Keep your nutrition simple if losing fat is the goal…

For Fat loss, keep it simple..

Photo Credit: Court Prather

Like most women, I have spent years and countless dollars trying to lose weight. I overcomplicated things, followed super restrictive diets, and was a habitual quitter. I used the word diet like a verb and not the way it was originally intended to be used. Diet culture and the weight loss industry kind of likes it that way. Because if we can’t ever truly figure out how to lose weight or fat we will keep coming back looking for more. That is exhausting, discouraging, and not at all anything I want to be a part of.

I want to see women lose weight, lose fat, get healthier, and stronger. I want to see women become more confident and live the lives they were created to live.

No, I am not saying that it is your weight or the amount of body fat you’ve got, how much weight you can lift, or your health score that will give you worth, make you loveable, or beautiful. However, I do know that for myself and for so many other women that I’ve helped, the more they started taking care of themselves and started seeing progress in the arena of their health and fitness, they changed. They became more of themselves, more relaxed, and more confident.

With so much information out there, how do you decide what is right for you?

Keep it simple. Like almost so simple it seems silly.

Whether your goal is to lose weight, body fat, get stronger, tone it up, build a bikini body, or whatever you can use the same principles. You don’t need to completely cut out any certain foods or restrict yourself to the point you feel like you’re going to kill someone.. (I’ve been there!)

If you’re tired of riding the ‘diet’ rollercoaster, you wanna lift weights and stay lean, or just wanna have more of a relaxed relationship with food here are some pointers to get you started.

  1. Whole foods > Processed foods
  2. Eat mostly plants (fruits and veggies), lean protein, and quality/complex carbs, healthy fats in that order. It’s time to rethink the “my plate” slightly..
  3. Eat slowly—-> this one is a big one! Especially if losing is a goal. You gotta give your brain time to realize your stomach is full.
  4. Eat slightly less than you usually do.

If you wanna catch the video version (where I go in to detail a bit more on each of these), you can click here to >> catch my latest IGTV <<

What do you struggle with the most when it comes to your nutrition? Drop a comment below with your questions, successes, and struggles.

 

Healthy snack ideas for any diet

Yep, you read that right. I used the word diet, without even a blink of the eye. It’s not because I want you to buy into ‘diet culture’ which is in itself a pretty destructive and ineffective way to manage your weight, your health, or your sanity for that matter. Instead I use that word because the word diet itself simply means a way of eating…for life. So whatever diet you choose to follow, whether it be paleo, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, clean eating, keto or any other diet created make sure it is one that will allow you to reach your physique + health goals and is something you can do for life.

It was that little shift in mindset that really was the catalyst for change in my own life. Before deciding I was going to create a new lifestyle, I had approached every diet with a temporary mindset. I chose things that were restrictive and designed to give me maximum weight loss in the shortest period of time…in other words, limit my carbs, eat veggies and protein, and lose a bunch of water weight. Not sustainable and not really what I was after. Fat loss, was really what I wanted. Sustainability was another thing I craved.

Speaking of fat loss, these snack ideas I’ve prepared just for you are sure to help with that. Not to mention give you sustained energy- think no more energy crashes and feeling satisfied longer.

Mix protein + healthy fat + carb

One of the best tips I can give when prepping any sort of snack for you or your kids is to make sure you are mixing lean protein, some healthy fat, and even a little carb in the form of fruit/ veggies/ or whole grains. When choosing carbs think about fiber content, look for carb choices low in sugar, and overall ingredients.

Focus on minimally processed

I touched on this a bit above, but let’s dive into this a little more…Whether you are choosing your carbs, proteins, or your healthy fats aka your macros, you want to look for ones that are in as much of a natural state as possible. Ask yourself how this food would have looked in nature. If you wouldn’t find the ingredients in nature, put it down and walk away.

It took some time for me to start reading food labels, and there was definitely a learning curve to it as well. Essentially if I can’t pronounce it and it looks like its a chemical compound, or I recognize it from sources other than food, I am not eating it and neither is my family.

Ditch the ‘diet’ foods

If you are doing the above, then this will be pretty easy. However, if you are still drawn to the 100 calorie snack packs and diet soda (like I used to be), or “snack” foods like crackers/cookies/bars then let’s chat about why these may not be the best choice for helping you curb your hunger mid afternoon.

Diet foods may have the calorie thing under control, as in they are either quite low in calorie or have no calories (like diet soda), however what they do have is probably a lot worse than a few extra calories from whole food sources. Often snack foods are laden with extra sodium, sugar, and ingredients that you likely wouldn’t find in nature. Diet inspired snack foods are also pretty low in nutrient density meaning the amount of good-for-you stuff is pretty low compared to the calories.

Some of my go- to snack ideas

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  • Hummus and veggies
  • Guac and veggies,
  • Hard boiled eggs and veggies or fruit
  • Greek yogurt and fruit (opt for a coconut or other non-dairy yogurt if you’re vegan)
  • Apple and almonds
  • Apple and peanut/nut butter
  • Fruit and cheese/ Veggies and cheese (can also use nut cheeses like almond)

It doesn’t matter if you make these yourself or get a little help from your local grocery store these are all good choices whether you are on the go or relaxing on a Saturday afternoon. There are tons of great options already made for you, just be sure to read the label, and when you’re snacking listen to your body’s hunger cues. Try stopping before you finish the whole thing. Take a breather between bites. Remove distractions that make it easy to finish the whole thing.

Keep in mind these are also great ideas you can use to fill out a lunch for yourself or your kids. Try making it a game if you’ve got picky eaters. Everybody has more fun when we make it a game!

What are you already doing that is helping you live a healthier life? Drop your tip in the comments below, I’m always looking for new strategies to try!

 

Cheers to a wonderful day,

Alisha Carlson (8)