1 Energy boosting tip for busy moms that you probably haven’t tried.

confetti cake cookie bars

Hey, mama! Can I tell you something 🤫You DON’T have to earn that brownie (or any food for that matter)

One thing I never expected when I ditched the diet fueled thinking  was how much more mental energy I would have.🤯

I honestly didn’t realize just how much energy I spent every single day doing mental math on calories in vs calories out. ⚖️

I know it probably sounds a little obsessive, but I used to meticulously count every calorie, macro, or point I put in my mouth or that I burned.
🍟🔥

I was so worried about doing it ‘perfectly’ and still maintaining a calorie deficit to keep the gains coming. I was always thinking about ways I could somehow ‘cheat’ the system and still get results, hello #cheatdays.💪🏻

Without even thinking about it, I would often find myself rewarding my hard work in the gym and my strict commitment to my meal plan with weekend binge sessions or a little extra here and there because I thought had ‘earned it’. 😑

Ultimately though, this was just sabotaging my efforts throughout the week.

Sadly, this is such a common problem the ambitious mamas I work with face as well.

They workout 🏋🏼‍♀️
They watch what they eat 🤔🥦
They are essentially doing it all ‘right’…but without fail, they still end up using food as a reward.

It’s not my client’s fault, it wasn’t my fault, and it’s not yours either.💁‍♀️

We have been conditioned to think we have to earn our food (You DON’T by the way). There are messages all over Instagram and the internet sending us the message we have to earn the splurges or we have to earn the right to indulge.

Of course, I’m not advocating for a free for all either all the time because I don’t believe that serves us either in the long run.

But as long as we are operating in the mindset of earning our food, we will make our choices based off of what we think we deserve rather than making choices with self-control and our best in mind. And end up draining our energy in the process. Which is kind of the opposite of what why we’re working out and making health conscious choices in the first place.

When we are doing things by the book and operating under the mindset of using food as a reward, it subconsciously triggers the feelings you’ve ‘earned’ the brownie.

But because of such restriction throughout the week, we often times over-reward. Instead of eating ONE brownie and being totally satisfied, we scarf the tray and end up feeling pretty crappy about ourselves afterwards.

When you remove the idea you have to earn your food and you stop tracking what you burn vs what you eat, you can eat the foods you would normally reward yourself with mindfulness and a weird sense of peace.

⚡️There is no guilt for messing up again.

⚡️There is no out of control binge sessions happening.

⚡️You can eat the food in the right amount for your body, and move on with your life.

If you want to experience that kind of freedom around food, I can help. Click the link below to get started.

Non-dieting tips for beginners: learning how to become a more mindful + intuitive eater simply

Hey girl! So you’ve decided you’re over counting calories, fed up with tracking your macros, and ready to break up with the scale for good…but you have no idea where to start…

If that is you, you’re in the right place!

On today’s show I share some of my top non dieting tips for beginners.

You will learn practical steps you can take today to become a more mindful eater. As well as how you can learn to listen to your body to help you implement self-control around food without deprivation or restriction.

I promise you, it’s so simple and actually takes very little energy to get started. That is part of what makes it different than any diet you’ve ever tried.

Ready to make healthy eating feel easier? Grab a cup of coffee or pour yourself a glass of wine–depending on the time of day 😉 and hit play!


 

You listened and you’re ready to take the next step…

and if you want to hang out on social, you can find me on:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/thealishacarlson

IG: https://instagram.com/alishacarlson_ 

LinkedIN: https://linkedin.com/in/alishacarlson

For inspiration:

Pinterest: http://pintrest.com/alishacarlson 

What you need to know when getting in shape for the summer…read this before you start your next diet

Let’s be real for a minute… now is the time of year we’re all kinda starting to think about what we are gonna look like in our summer clothes.. even if we’ve started to leave diet culture behind👗👙

And the knee jerk response may be to cut calories, slash carbs (because, hello—they make you fat), and kick the workouts into high gear for max calorie burn. 🔥

👉🏼But if you’ve ever done this in the past, you probably remember how well it didn’t work.. at least not long term.

Sure, it *may* work for a week or even a month—depending on how high your tolerance for discomfort is.🤷‍♀️

But eventually we cave. And this diet cycle is what keeps us stuck.♻️

Subconsciously I think I still have some carb-phobia happening. And it’s been sabotaging me in the worst way 😑

Anyone ever have those days when the afternoon or evenings hit and you’re like 🔊“gimme all the carbs”?!

🤐When we restrict whether intentionally or not, it sends the signal to our bodies food is scarce and to protect from starvation our body seeks the quickest source of energy—

C A R B S 🍰🍩🍞

Don’t be afraid to switch it up. Your nutrition journey is like one big experiment.

Tune into the video below to see how I’m navigating this in my own Mindful Eating Project..

 

Tired of counting calories? Tracking your macros?

Tired of super strict detoxes and diets?

You’re over logging your food in any way…

If you’re ready to learn how to make conscious food choices, have more energy, and live a healthy lifestyle…easily, simply, and minimally

Sign up below to get my brand new nutrition guide for FREE!

 

So how often should you be eating anyway?

How do you know when it’s time to feed your body?

–Is it a time on the clock?
–Every couple of hours as your nutrition plan permits to “keep your metabolism high”
–Only during your ‘feeding’ window with intermittent fasting?

Believe it or not, there is SO much confusion around when and how often we should and should[not] eat.

Some people say we should eat every couple of hours to stoke our metabolism.

Others say that eating frequently could actually be bad for us because it keeps your insulin levels too high–so they advocate for fasting.

Want to know the simplest way to know when it’s time to eat?

:: When you’re hungry ::

It’s not near as sexy as all the other messages out there, but it’s kinda the OG system we were created to run on.

Think about it for a sec…babies cry when they are hungry, and they stop eating when they are done.

Why, as adults do we complicate it so much??

Depending on how much ‘dieting’ you’ve experimented with, you may have a hard time knowing when you’re hungry…and when you’re not.

Check out this hunger + fullness scale, I made just for you 😘

It takes practice to eat by your body’s cues. So don’t worry if you can’t do it perfectly today, just practice a little more awareness, and come back to this scale over and over as needed (you can even save it).

PS. By the way, if you want to learn more about how you can become a mindful eating ninja, let me know. I’ll hook you up!

How Ditching the Diet Changed My Life + How It Can Change Yours Too

How Ditching the Diet Changed My Life + How It Can Change Yours Too

Non-Diet Lifestyle Coaching

I’m not going to hand you a meal plan or protocol for how, what, or how much you should eat. I’m also not going to tell you how you should move your body. Additionally, you won’t find me cheering you on to just keep grinding to get the weight off. I’m not here to sell you on the next 12 week bootcamp or total body transformation. You definitely won’t find me promoting 21 day diets, detoxes, or other programs helping you create a more dysfunctional relationship with food, exercise, or yourself.

However, that wasn’t always the case.

My life before fitness

When I think back on my childhood, I remember being active as a kid. Whether it was riding my bike up and down my street with childhood friends, or throwing myself around in the field at recess pretending I would be the next world famous gymnast, I was a mover. As I got older though, I became less and less active. Most of my friends were busy with sports, but not me. My family couldn’t really afford to enroll me. Not to mention, my parents never emphasized the importance sports played in the lives of young girls. I’m guessing the latter is because they themselves didn’t know how much sports positively impact girls.

Instead of playing soccer or volleyball I pursued boys, drinking, and drugs. At that time in my life those things seemed to provide what I was looking for most. In the midst of partying I found pain relief, a place to belong, and even though ironic, confidence too. No matter how damaging those behaviors actually were. I needed to fit in. I wanted so bad to belong somewhere, to feel wanted.

I wanted so bad to belong somewhere, to feel wanted.

Not ironically though, the less active I became, the worse my lifestyle habits and my self-image were. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually I was broken, empty, and unhappy. When I looked in the mirror I hated what I saw. I hated how I felt about myself in my own body. I hated that I didn’t feel beautiful because my body didn’t resemble what society told me was beautiful.

This self-hatred spiraled into other dangerous and damaging behaviors around food and exercise.

Unhealthy role-models

Growing up I lacked positive role-models when it came to many areas of my life. Especially on the lifestyle front. On one hand I saw my mom using food as a way to cope with her own pain (a behavior I later discovered she learned from her mom). On the other hand, I saw a woman (my aunt) who was so afraid of being fat she would go to extreme measures to ensure that never happened.

During my early adolescent years I spent many days with my aunt. Her behavior became the standard by which I judged all others. Her standards for what was beautiful or acceptable became my standards. Because my aunt was so fearful of creeping over 112 pounds, I always thought that was the golden number I myself needed to reach. Dieting was normal behavior at her house. It still is, but today it looks more like mainstream health and fitness.

I found myself in my early twenties without a clue as to what a healthy lifestyle actually looked like. Left to try to figure it out myself, I dabbled with all sorts of supposedly ‘healthy’ behaviors. I tried gyms and diets. Detoxes and eating disorders. Nothing seemed to work… at least not permanently.

Success as a dieter

After trying and failing more diets than I care to admit; I stumbled on one that did seem to provide a temporary reprieve from the body I was living in.

Weight Watchers at the time seemed like a true God-send. Through the meetings (which I now see were a blend of community and fear based accountability) I learned a little bit about how to eat in a way to lose weight. Weight Watchers taught me how to manipulate and manage my caloric intake, even if it was just in favor of losing weight no matter the cost. However, unhealthy it was, it worked. I dropped about 15 pounds within the first few months. The scale continued to move slowly, and I saw the weight loss results I was desperate for. It was everything I thought I wanted.

Over the next few years I continued working on my “healthy lifestyle” through exercise and dieting. I picked up running and kicked my clean eating into high gear. I was smaller than I’d ever been. In some ways I felt more confident, in many I was still so insecure. You would have thought living in the thin ideal body would have had me on cloud nine.

The thing I feel compelled to point out, is that even at my smallest weight and/or size, I was still unhappy. I was still self-conscious. I still compared myself to other women and often still felt inferior.

The thing I feel compelled to point out, is that even at my smallest weight and/or size, I was still unhappy. I was still self-conscious. I still compared myself to other women and often still felt inferior. Here’s the thing about diets and all the healthy lifestyles we see on social media, yet, no one is talking about–there will never be a weight, size, or shape that will give you the confidence you desire. That kind of confidence has to come from within, and is available long before you ever reach your goals.

An up-side to diet culture?

However, messy my relationship with fitness and myself was, on the one side, I could see ways adopting healthier behaviors had helped me. Fitness had given me confidence and courage, not because of the size or the weight loss goals reached. Learning to live a fit life taught me to  believe in myself. Fitness taught me discipline and self-control. It taught me to persevere, set goals, and believe in myself in a way I needed. Pursuing fitness goals gave me the courage to try other things I never thought I’d do.

In 2011, I enrolled in my local university to get a degree in Exercise Science. This was one of those very things I never thought I’d do prior to getting into fitness. Though I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with my degree; I knew on some level it was going to be helping other women find confidence in themselves through fitness. The ultimate goal then, as it is now is to help them show up in the world around them as they were created to.

I graduated at the top of my class (another personal shocker). Full of excitement, I was ready to get out there and begin ‘helping’ women shed their body weight, body fat, and their insecurities. At the time, I didn’t realize you could shed your insecurities independent of body weight or fat. Looking back, I feel a bit naive in believing the lie that your confidence and worth comes from what your body looks like.

Healthy habits or diet culture?

Shortly after graduating I started a coaching business through a large and well known ‘fitness’ company. I got to work building my clientele. Running boot camps, and giving out meal plans like candy on Halloween; business was off to a great start. Every woman was put on a strict caloric deficit in order for them to lose the most weight in the shortest time frame possible. This is after all the standard set by the fitness industry.

Some of those women had success early on. Others didn’t. My solution at the time, was they needed to try harder. They needed to push themselves in their workouts more, they needed to be more compliant with the diet. Unfortunately, that is the same kind of narrow, diseased thinking that’s perverted what true health and fitness are. It’s important for me to mention this way of thinking wasn’t what I had learned in college. Rather it was what had been taught to me early on through cultural norms and media exposure.

I honestly thought I was helping these women create a healthier lifestyle. They were exercising more, more aware of their food choices, and how much they were eating. At the very root, I was only teaching them how to diet better thus promoting a more disordered relationship with food as well as themselves.

Leaving diet-culture behind for me and my clients

A couple of short  years into my coaching business I started to feel defeated in my work. My client’s results stalled or were non-existent all together. The method of try harder wasn’t cutting it. Not to mention, I was miserable on the diet hamster wheel myself. The final straw was when some of my own old food habits started to creep back in.

My obsession and food fantasies started back up. I’d ‘be good’ following my strict meal plan for a certain number of days. Then over indulge and call it balance.

You probably don’t need me to tell you this, but I felt like a fraud. In a moment, I realized not only was the life I was living personally a diet fueled by disordered eating behaviors, but was a lifestyle I was selling too.

Writing those words and reading them back to myself even now, I have to fight feelings of shame and guilt. The hard part is, so many fitness professionals or health coaches believe they are helping people with the same kind of tactics.

Mainstream health and fitness is really only selling diets and delusional ideas about what wellness, health, and fitness look like. Sadly, no matter how disordered or damaging the behaviors are, consumers of the health and fitness industry continue to clamor to it because it’s what they know.

Diet mentality and fitness pros

I’d be lying if I said I thought everything I did was horrible in those earlier years of coaching. In many ways, I was helping these women create some healthy habits, but from the wrong place. The intention was all wrong, and so was the methodology behind it. Unfortunately, I’m not the only health coach out there pedaling diets on their clients, and passing it off as a healthy lifestyle.

The demand is high for this kind of coaching. We still live in a world that sees being skinnier or smaller (no matter the cost) as the ultimate goal. Until we make a radical shift away from current diet minded approaches, we will always be fighting the same battle of food obsession and negative body image issues.

In order to make the shift, we need more practitioners of the non-diet approach to link arms and start working together. Just to be clear, non-diet isn’t synonymous with anti-health or unhealthy. It just means we don’t focus on weight loss or physical appearance as the primary goal. Instead, the focus is on cultivating healthy lifestyles through habit change, and a more holistic approach making fitness a thing every woman can achieve regardless of the shape of her body.

Just to be clear, non-diet isn’t synonymous with anti-health or unhealthy. It just means we don’t focus on weight loss or physical appearance as the primary goal.

Being smaller doesn’t automatically mean you’re healthier or happier. I found I was just as unhappy in my smaller body as I was in my larger body. The only thing that changed was the source of my unhappiness. Instead of being so consumed with trying to get skinny or shredded, the thoughts that occupied much of my mental, emotional, and physical energy was now focused on staying skinny and ripped. Either way I felt trapped.

Shifting to a non-diet approach

My strategy has very little to do with weight loss and fitness goals. Yes, my clients are still getting results. Yes, they are still reaching their goals, but they aren’t doing it using traditional methods. Instead of a complete lifestyle overhaul, we work on slow, sustainable changes to habits and routines.

We also do a ton of work around mindset. Because we’ve been drilled with diet BS for so long, we have a lot to unlearn. Instead of focusing so much on the outcomes (you know, the things we can’t control anyway), we focus our energy more on building daily, doable behaviors that promote holistic health.

Taking a non-diet approach means you reach your goals with more ease, and the results are truly more of a lifestyle with compassion, flexibility, and fit around the rest of your life instead of the other way around. You can absolutely reach your goals. And as a coach, it’s my job to help you do so. It doesn’t have to be painful or super restrictive. Your mindset around weight loss, your body, food, etc will have to change a little.

I’m fairly certain my former clients will not see this. I feel it’s important to apologize for perpetuating and promoting unhealthy behaviors and calling it health. I’m sorry for selling disordered eating and calling it a lifestyle. And I’m sorry for not being the coach they needed. The coach who would have pointed them to the research that says 95% of diets aka “healthy” lifestyles fail, and learning to adopt healthy behaviors regardless of weight changes is where it’s at. Most importantly I’d tell them they were beautiful just the way they were, and that they didn’t need the scale or a six-pack to tell them that.

Losing weight won’t  make you happy, but this will

Losing weight won’t make you happy, but this will

Are you still believing that if you were at your goal weight or living in your dream body, you’d be happy?
I thought having the ideal body would make me happy too. Of course I’d be more fulfilled no doubt. More confident, and successful too. That’s what they say, isn’t it? Everywhere we look. these messages are either subtly or not-so-subtly displayed for all women to see.
 
In reality the closer I got to this ideal lean body the more obsessed, self conscious, and unhappy I got. Funny, how no one seems to mention this side of weight loss.
 
If I wasn’t trying to ‘get’ the ideal body, I was anxious about keeping it. There never seemed to be the place of enjoying my body and all it could do.
Two things you should know now:
 
Your size and shape will not determine your happiness despite what society tells you.
 
And you won’t feel more confident once you’re in your ideal body or at your ideal weight.
In fact, there will never be a goal that once it’s reached will give you these feelings.

Can you be happy without waiting on weight?

What would you think if I told you you can cultivate those feelings NOW? Before you even get close to those goals you can start to feel the way about yourself you want. It sounds crazy, I know. 
Change the thoughts you have, and the meaning you’re assigning to your weight, size, cellulite, or anything else you want to ‘fix’ about yourself you can start to feel different too. 
One of the big things I think we miss, is the idea we are responsible for the meaning we attach to our circumstances. And in this example, the meaning we’ve attached to being leaner, smaller, or more toned is that we will be happier.

It’s ok if you don’t think you can…

 
I bought the lie that to be happier I had to be leaner and smaller because as I did start to lose weight, there was pressure from others to keep going. The more weight I lost, the more people praised me or made comments about how good I looked. 
This was especially true when I was 111 lbs and breastfeeding or when I was 11% body fat and super lean.
 
I felt I had to keep going even if I was miserable inside; it almost ruined my marriage; and if the way I was treating my body resembled an eating disorder.
 
i didn’t want to lose this new found affection from others, so I held on as long as I could. Like many women, I associated being fat with being unloveable or disgusting. 

What would others think?

In my mind, I had to maintain this picture perfect image of the fit ideal to be a successful fitness coach. And by successful I mean lean and thin. 
 
My fear of going back to being chubby or losing clients forced me to disordered eating behaviors. I began obsessing over food again (just like when I was a competitive figure athlete). Bingeing and restricting became the norm once again.. I shrugged all of this off for a while justifying I was just living a “balanced” lifestyle. 
 
Anxiety about keeping a perfect body resurfaced, and I found myself body checking in almost every mirror I walked by.
 
There was never a time I could enjoy life. Even when on vacay, I felt stress. I’d ‘let’ myself eat whatever I wanted, but knew it would be back on the wagon when we got home. Usually more strict than before so I could get my body back.

The tipping point for me was when I realized…

I couldn’t live the rest of my life counting calories eaten or burned or that I wasn’t actually happier in a smaller body.
 
The interesting thing, is I felt as if I was trapped in my body all over again, just in a smaller, more socially acceptable body.

Would you be shocked to know we weren’t meant to all be the same size or weight any more than we should all have the same eye color or hair color? This is hard for many women to believe because we hang our ability to be happy on what our body looks like.

we weren’t meant to all be the same size or weight any more than we should all have the same eye color or hair color?
 
I ditched prescribed meal plans and diets, and  decided to try something new instead. This was the first time I’d ever really given thoughts to my behaviors, beliefs, and habits around food.
Since following a strict or even a “flexible” diet wasn’t working, I decided to do the opposite and ditch all the rules I had about food at that point. Instead of counting anything, cutting out or limiting certain foods, I’d let my body guide me.
Instead of following food rules, I’d start creating habits. This was an entirely new way to approach food for me. 

Would this actually work for me?

 
Habits are brilliant because you don’t have to think about what you’re doing. This makes it simpler and easier to make healthier choices because you don’t have to think. Of course, habits can work for or against you. And they do take some time to develop or change. 
 
However, by removing food rules I was less likely  to binge on the weekends because I knew I could eat whatever I wanted. Suddenly all of the forbidden foods lost their power over me.
 
Having to  unlearn all sorts of unhealthy and unhelpful behaviors took time. The thoughts, beliefs about food, exercise, and what my body should look like had to be undone. I’m still learning, and that’s ok. 
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned, is life is always a practice. It’s not fixed, but more fluid. One slip up or failure doesn’t define us. And one success or win doesn’t get us off the hook of having to do the work.
 
There’s a false belief that healthy should feel hard. It’s a shame because it keeps so many women stuck in the diet mindset. This idea is toxic, and sadly one we have accepted as normal.
Living a healthy lifestyle should be as easy as an unhealthy one. It takes time to get to this place, but it’s where freedom exists.

 Happy now?

Though I may be a bit fluffier than before, I’m the most at peace in my skin I’ve ever been. 
 
I’m way less self-conscious. Thoughts or feelings of insecurity because of my body don’t swirl in my head any longer. That’s not to say there aren’t times those negative thoughts try to come back. I’m just more prepared and equipped to handle the lies because I know the truth, and I know how much sweeter it is on the other side.
Can I let you in on a secret? I’m the same weight as when I started my fitness journey over 12 years ago. Oddly though, it feels as if everything has changed…from the inside out.
xo,
Alisha
PS. I know this probably sounds a little woo woo or too good to be true. Truthfully, I never thought  I could be happy without losing weight either. I thought the other women I saw talking about this had just given up and “accepted” their bodies as if it were a negative thing. If that’s you too, I want you to click here, so we can have a chat.
You deserve to be as happy and as fulfilled right now. What are you waiting for?