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?

 

Getting in shape | Some things to consider before you start that new workout routine

 

 

So, you’ve finally decided to dust of those kicks and get your butt in gear…You’ve got your  cute new workout gear, a Spotify playlist to keep you motivated as you log those miles and those reps, heck you’ve even written out your goals with a detailed plan. This is fantastic news, and I seriously couldn’t be more thrilled that you are taking this courageous next step towards improving your wellbeing and your health.

If you’re anything like me then you probably get super excited to start something new. You go all in and throw yourself out there without much preparation. I am slowly learning that planning ahead is actually quite virtuous and saves a ton of time, but that is for another day and another post.

I do believe that there are certain benefits to being the ambitious and somewhat impulsive person that I am. We usually don’t hesitate to act. If we get an idea we are excited to start implementing right away, which of course saves us from analysis paralysis or procrastination. However, we also fizzle out pretty quick after the newness has worn off or we hit some pretty intense obstacles. As with everything, finding a balance between the two extremes is probably the best place to be. And I’m learning 😉

Alisha Carlson Fitness Contact

Before you lace up those new shoes and hit the gym, here are some things to consider as you start this new workout routine..

It’s ok to be a beginner. In fact, no matter how long you train we should always hold the curiosity and the humility of being a beginner.

Let your ego go. Allow yourself to be comfortable where you are at in your journey. This is going to require you to go in with your blinders on so that you aren’t comparing yourself to others.

Set a strong foundation from the start. Ask yourself these questions before you start your new exercise + nutrition program:

  • What is my current experience with exercise? Sure I mean time wise or training age, but also what has your experience with exercise been up to this point? Is it something you like/dislike, something you feel confident doing…etc.
  • What foundational skills do you have in place? This  will definitely impact your confidence in getting started and sticking with it. Plus, if you’re interested in something like olympic lifting or physique competitions, you want to make sure you’ve got the skills in place to help you succeed.
  • What are your end goals? This might seem silly, but if you don’t have a clear picture of what you want your body to feel and to look like and how you want to feel in your body, you will have a hard time finding the right exercise program for you. Someone who wants fat loss is not going to train or eat the same way as someone who wants to run their first marathon.
  • And last, but certainly not the least to consider is whether or not you are working with any injuries. If so, make sure to check with your doctor before starting and take the time to do the proper rehab. It shouldn’t be painful to workout, out of your comfort zone–yes, but physically hurt, not so much.

Regardless of if you’re just starting out, starting over, or have been working on your health and fitness for a while you will benefit from taking some time to walk through these steps and lay a strong foundation so that you can crush your goals for years to come.

If you’ve been in the fitness game for a while, what tips would you give to someone just starting out? And if you’re just starting out, what tip will you implement first?

I love hearing from you, drop your tip in the comment below so we can connect and learn from one another.

 

xo

Alisha Carlson (8)

 

Break your bad habits in just 5 minutes a day

 

5 Minute

 

What’s the hardest part about change for you?

Change is such a scary place to be. It’s like we know we want it, but we are afraid of what’s on the other side. There are so many quick fixes out there or plans that encourage us to completely overhaul our lives and make radical changes. Sometimes those plans work and sometimes they back fire in the worse way. Ultimately it depends on who you are and what works for you. If radical change is the only way to go and you can make lasting change, then this blog post may not be for you. However, if you like to dip your toes in the pool of change before diving in, then read on my sweet friend.

I mentioned the other day that I am on a new leg of my own journey. And I’ll be completely honest I am usually the one that dives all the way in and figures it out as I go. That works for me…. some of the time, but there are lots of times I get myself in too deep too fast. I get overwhelmed, confused, and just stall out. Sometimes instead of doing the same thing and wanting different results you’ve gotta be wiling to shake it up a bit. So in the spirit of being a bit rebellious to my old ways, I’ve decided to take it slow. Enjoy the journey, and reflect a bit more along the way.

If you’re staring change straight in the eye and it’s got you intimidated, then I got you! Instead of trying to eat the whole elephant at once, ask yourself what you can do in just 5 minutes a day? What small, seemingly insignificant change can you make in five minutes a day?

Maybe it’s parking a little further and walking more. Maybe it’s eating one more serving of veggies for the day. Maybe it’s going for a walk instead of plopping down on the couch after work. It doesn’t really matter what it is as long as it is moving you in the direction you want to be going. Then just focus on that simple 5 minute action daily and slowly build from there. And most of all just have fun with this! Try making it a game to see how many days in a week you can get that 5 minute action in. If you are someone that likes having a prize at the end, you can even try setting up little rewards along the way. So let’s say you do your 5 minute habit consistently for 2 or 3 weeks, have something that you will do for yourself (just make sure it is not going to undo what you’ve been working on for the past few weeks).

I’m dying to know what 5 minute habit you will commit to this week…let me know in the comments below, so I can check in on you and see how you’re doing with that!

Don’t let the fear of changing keep you from being all you were created to be! If you’re ready for more than a 5 minute change, then let’s chat, email me: alisha@alishacarlson.com and if you’re up for a little challenge, I’ve got a special 5 day mini-program that I want to get into your hands for free. You can click here to claim your seat. See you there!

Cheers to choosing change over comfort,

 

xo

Alisha Carlson (8)

Goal setting strategies- SMART goals or Process goals, which one matches your personality?

How do you feel about pop quizzes? Don’t worry, you won’t be graded (and truthfully, I’ll never know your answer unless you’re feeling brave  and let me know with a comment below 😉 ) Without thinking too much about it, which one do you identify with more?

Are you a

> > Goal getter: sets goals and crushes them every single time no matter how long it takes

OR

> > Goal forget-er: sets goals, well more like sends wishes out into the universe hoping/wishing/ praying/ crossing your fingers that they will just somehow happen. Then are constantly feeling discouraged and defeated when you’re not anywhere closer to where you wanted to be…

If you’re already a goal getter, congrats! Keep doing what you’re doing. Hit reply and let me know your system 🙂

If however, you answered goal forget-er, read on.

I was the latter for most of my life. I don’t think I really remember hitting a goal that I had deliberately set for myself until I was in my early 20s. Before that it seemed like everything was either dumb luck or my stubbornness working in my favor for once..While that might seem cool and all, it isn’t a predictable way to go after your goals.

Sure, you need resilience and belief in order to achieve things you’ve never achieved before. But you also need a bit of a plan, a clear vision, and you may even need to learn a few skills along the way.

Before you Google goal setting strategies, here are two of the most common goal setting techniques I’ve seen. I tend to oscillate somewhere between. I like having goals bound by time, but I’ve also had to learn to not beat myself up if I miss a goal deadline. It’s ok to not reach your goals as long as you are taking action every single day towards them. In all reality is less about the success in hitting your goals and more about who you become in the process.

After all, we tend to set goals because we think they will bring us something…usually it’s joy, fulfillment, happiness, peace, contentment, worthiness, value, etc. Spoiler alert, you don’t actually need to wait until you hit your goals to feel those things right now.

Which goal setting style is best for you_SMART goalsvsProcess goals

So, do you set SMART goals or Process goals?

SMART goals:

There is a good chance you’ve heard or seen SMART goals at least once in your life even if you didn’t realize it at the time. A SMART goal by definition is- specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and is bound by time. An example of a SMART goal would be:

I will walk 5x a week every week until August 31, 2018.

With this you see that it is specific, we know what you will be doing. It is also measurable. You can track whether or not you walked 5x a week. It is also quite achievable and realistic. And of course setting a ‘done by date’ or deadline, gives you a time parameter.

>Things I like about SMART goals<<

They are clear and defined. You know what you are doing, how often, and you have the sense of urgency a deadline can bring.

The downside?

You can become defeated or discouraged if you constantly set goals based on a hard deadline. Let’s say you have the goal of losing weight by a specific event. Let’s say your goal is to drop 10 pounds by summer. So you set your SMART goal and you execute daily on the the specific action or actions you decided on. You’re consistent, you’re diligent, you’re committed. You don’t miss your workouts and your diet is nearly perfect, except the occasional treat here or there. You’re doing everything right.

You hop on the scale after several weeks of this stellar behavior, and BAM! You’ve only lost 3 pounds. Does that mean you failed because you didn’t lose the entire 10 pounds? Does that mean that you didn’t work hard enough? Does that mean you should not celebrate what you did accomplish?

No way!

But depending on how your mind works, those are some of the thoughts that might be racing through your head. How do I know? Because that was me. I still catch myself at times going back to that old way of thinking. Habits are hard to break, and our self-talk is no different.

I’m also not a huge fan of only setting realistic goals..think about this for a moment. If you have a goal of losing 100 pounds, yet you’ve never done that before. Does the goal feel realistic in the moment? Likely not. Why? because you’ve probably never lost 100 pounds before, but have probably tried to 100 times before. I’d like to offer that we swap realistic for possible. Is the goal in the realm of possibilities? Has anyone else ever in the history of humanity achieved the goal? Could it be done within the natural realm of possibilities? If you can answer yes to either of those, then its a goal worth setting no matter how crazy it might seem.

Process goals:

Process goals vary from SMART goals in that it focuses more on, you guessed it, the process. These types of goals tend to be less focused on the outcome and more focussed on the consistency of a desired action. Process goals emphasize the importance of the journey and prioritize who you become along the way over what you achieve.

In my honest opinion I think this is perhaps a more biblical way of looking at setting goals. Why? Well, we can’t control an outcome no matter how hard we hustle, how diligent or driven we are, or how obsessed we become. We can simply control how well we showed up each day.

If the thought of setting a deadline overwhelms you and brings on anxiety, then I’d like to suggest that you may want to consider setting goals that focus on specific actions you can take. That instead of measuring whether or not you hit a specific goal ie weight loss that you also measure and focus on the in between–where you are now and where you’d like to be someday.

Remember, you will never truly ever reach the finish line. Goals are intended to inspire us to become slightly better today than we were yesterday. Not because you aren’t good enough as you are, but because you were created to be so much more. Who doesn’t want to reach their absolute fullest potential? Its not necessarily for this life that we strive for those things, but for the one we were created for.
Regardless of where you are in life and how you have or have not reached past goals, you can always make strides towards the vision you have for yourself. Just might take rolling up your sleeves and doing a little work…Your ability to imagine for yourself the life you want to be living will be the ultimate litmus test for whether or not your goals are either realistic or achievable.

Get out there and shine,

xo

PS. If you need a little help mapping out your goals, here is my gift to you

Renew your mind and think differently

“You must first master a knew way of thinking before you can master a new way to be.”

-Marianne Williamason

It all starts in our minds. Our thoughts inform our feelings and it is often how we feel about something that informs our actions. Which repeated over and over form our beliefs about ourselves, others, and our environments. I believe this is why the Bible talks over and over again about guarding and renewing your mind. We were not created with negativity in mind. However, that is sadly the soundtrack that most of us hear on repeat.

It is important to realize that if you are merely listening to your thoughts, the chances of those thoughts being negative are almost always 100%. I don’t believe this is how it’s always been. When you look at kids, up until a certain age they don’t seem to have that kind of vulnerability towards negative thinking about themselves. Sure, some kids seem to from early ages, but when I look at kids, I see courageous little beings with the belief that anything is possible and that they are capable of doing whatever they set their minds to. In fact, just the other day my 7 year old son  asked me to reach out to one of his gaming heroes to see if they could team up and play a game together.

I was taken back for a second by his unwavering hope and belief that he would actually get to do this if he simply asked for it. It breaks my heart to say that as of yet, his wish has not come true, but there is an equally powerful lesson in the let down as well. And I can only hope and pray that I help him navigate this in a way that encourages him to continue reaching for the things that seem impossible.

So, what’s this got to do with you and me?

francisco-moreno-67179-unsplashWe often start backwards. We try to implement new ways of being before we ever even think about what is going on between our ears. The catch is, if we don’t attend to our thoughts our new behaviors won’t last long. Even if you can create new habits. You will always run into self-sabotaging behaviors.

Sometimes the thoughts will feel foreign or phony at first. When that happens it is worth exploring why that is. I know it is hard to see what it isn’t there yet and have faith that it is in the waiting, but it is. That next level version of yourself is waiting for you to discover her and to reveal her to the world around. It is not about faking it until you make it, but more about slowly becoming that vision of yourself starting in your thoughts.

How would she carry herself?

What would she eat?

How does she dress, do her hair?

Does she have good relationships with others?

What does she read?

Craft up that vision, and put yourself in her shoes. You may not know exactly the answers to those things yet, but you can take a good guess, because she is you. She is the future you. Start thinking like her and you will cultivate the ability to behave like her too. Bit by bit. Thought by thought. If you’re ready for new outcomes, welcome new thoughts.

P.S. I’d love to hear from you, my inbox is always open. Drop me a line and let me know what thoughts you are committing to exile this week! alisha@alishacarlson.com

 

XO

Alisha

Overcoming Emotional Overeating through Mindset

 

I wanted to chat with you about kind of a sensitive and private topic emotional overeating and I would say honestly for myself, this was something that I really struggled with probably as early as middle school.  I grew up in kind of a crazy household. I watched my parents struggle with alcohol, drugs, infidelity, and abuse. My parents’ marriage seemed like it was always falling apart. And my brother and I were just along for the ride.

When my mom wasn’t numbing her pain with substances (illegal and legal) I remember seeing her numb her pain through food. Eating became what you did, whether you were having a good day or a bad day, you just kind of turned to food. It didn’t matter if it was a  celebration or a stressful event you went to food–or alcohol–or drugs. As I got older I knew more and more that  didn’t feel confident about who she was and I don’t know that she ever saw herself as beautiful. She may not have been the type of person that would have turned your head by her physical appearances alone, but her smile was warm when it was genuine and she had a heart of gold. Willing to give and to serve and to love to the best of her abilities. She carried a lot of wounds.   She would tell me stories of hurtful things said to her by her parents and others.  I see that she turned to substance abuse as a way to cope, and in this case food was used as one of those substances.naomi-august-138149-unsplash.jpg

When I really think about my own food story and how I’ve interacted with food over the years,  I see that it’s really been kind of this dysfunctional relationship. It’s taken years to overcome and honestly, I am still always editing my food story just as in any other area of life. As long as there is breath in our lungs, there is room to grow, and ways to be useful..a purpose to serve.

My use of food as a way to cope only seemed to get worse the older I got. We’ve all either heard  or have been the leading role in the painfully awkward stories of the teen years. No doubt, I started putting weight on and I started to become even more uncomfortable in my skin. I already sort of had this sense that there was something wrong with me. I felt  broken or like I was damaged goods. I didn’t know if there was a place for me to belong.

As my weight continued to climb I started to become desperate for a solution. I had no clue what to do, and I felt so out of control. I just wanted to feel like I could do something, anything… I tried starving myself. I tried gagging myself. I tried all the quick fixes that promised quick weight loss. Little did  I know at the time those quick fixes would only make things worse. Either because I would only fail again and again. I’d gain all the weight lost and more, or I wouldn’t actually be making any healthy and lasting changes. I wanted to do it in a healthy way, I just didn’t really know how to do that.

Like so many women I see, I just kept trying one thing after another hoping something would stick. What I didn’t realize at the time is that I was always only trying to fix things on a surface level. Trying to use a bandage on wounds that needed to be healed from the inside out, not just covered up. It really wasn’t until I started doing some deeper work around my thoughts, feelings, and ultimately my beliefs around food that things started to change for the long term.

So, today if you find yourself in any part of my crazy story I want to ask you if you’re doing the thought work? Are you allowing yourself to be healed from past wounds that you’ve been trying to cover up with food? Have you ever questioned where your feelings/thoughts/beliefs around food have come from?evieanna-santiago-589692-unsplash

I know this is not necessarily fun work to do, but friend, it is SO necessary if we want to make lasting changes. Nothing will change unless our minds are changed. And unfortunately that starts by questioning our current way of doing things.

So today’s assignment, is to spend a few moments pondering your current relationship with food and with yourself. Ask yourself the tough questions and allow the answers to come forward. Then decide what you want your story to look like going forward. How do you want to feel around food? How do you want to feel about yourself? Who do you want to be? This is the fun part! This is the part where you decide what you’re going to do and who you are going to be from this moment on.

If you are struggling with over eating, emotional eating, or anything else mentioned in this post please don’t struggle alone! I’m here to throw a lifeline, just like I wished had been done for me.

I’ve got a 5 day free challenge coming up that will help you get the start that you may need. Email me and we can see if this is the best next step for you 😉 alisha@alishacarlson.com. I can’t wait to hear from you!

xo,

Alisha