Easier workouts & how to get the most out of your exercise

Easier workouts & how to get the most out of your exercise

Wait a minute..I can do easier workouts and still get the results I want? Yeah, I know, it seems too good to be true. But it’s not. You can get the most out of your exercise without spending all your time trying to burn calories.

In the fitness world there is this common notion that your workouts have to be grueling, hard af, and you’ve got to totally beat yourself up. If you’re not spending at least an hour at the gym, #didyouevenworkout ? 

I used to live by this notion too. There was one point in my life I was waking up at 4:30 am to hit the gym before a full day of college courses and wrangling my kids. I counted macros like I was getting paid, and beat myself up if I missed a workout. Needless to say, I was exhausted and surprisingly {or not} not so happy.

My life was out of whack. My priorities were messed up. My mental and emotional health was suffering. Worse of all, the people I said I was doing this for aka my kids and my hubby got what was left of me, not the best of me.

Fitness myth debunked

 We are told in order to get the results we want, our workouts have to be hard and miserable. The new fit ideal preaches the message to go hard all the time. Every day, busy women are taught to be just as disciplined and focused as professional athletes and pro body builders. And shamed or guilted if we fall short.

There was a time when only a few people were crazy enough to challenge themselves physically and mentally the way an elite athlete or body builder does. Now days it seems like this kind of intense focus has become the norm in the fitness realm and anything less is seen as a waste of time. 

Might I be the first  person to suggest that the everyday woman chasing those crazy fitness goals are the ones wasting their time?

Life is  about so much more than how we look, but somewhere along the line we’ve lost sight of that. Having the perfect body has become the standard by which all women are judged. If this is you right now, I’m not trying to beat you up because I know you do that enough. I’m trying to extend an olive branch and let you know there’s another way.

It is going to require you to do things differently than you may be doing it now. You will still have to show up consistently. But it doesn’t have to and shouldn’t feel like grinding 24/7. There may be seasons in your life when you want to crush a major fitness goal. That’s great. In fact, I’ll be the first one cheering you on to go for it. In those seasons it will be tough, it will require sacrifice, and it will feel like a grind for a bit. However, that’s not how your fitness journey should be all the time.

I believe your healthy lifestyle is one that fits into the rest of your life and enhances it. And when you’re in alignment with your deeper beliefs and values this will come more naturally. You’ll be able to tune into what you really want and what you don’t.

Does your relationship with fitness feel slightly insane?

I’ve heard it said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over  yet expecting different results. Isn’t this exactly what we are doing when we try the next diet or the next workout program. We cross our fingers and vow to be really good. To work hard, not cheat on our diets, and to develop iron clad willpower.

When we don’t get the results or we don’t keep the results, we beat ourselves up and add one more failure to the pile we’re lying under. This was me. Regardless of how much I was doing right, I only ever focused on the bad.

It doesn’t matter how much we beat ourselves up in the gym or in our minds, we won’t get the lasting results we want until we decide to do something different from what we’ve always done.

For me, I knew I couldn’t keep my 6 day/week 2 hour gym appointments any longer. I’m an ambitious busy woman, with a lot of responsibilities {just I know you are}. There are big dreams I’m chasing, but I realized I was standing in my own way by chasing someone else’s idea of what my fit and healthy body should look like.

Get the most out of your exercise by working out smarter, not necessarily harder

Yes, your workouts should challenge you. They should require you to do more than you did last time. Challenging yourself can like a variety of ways. One way is by adding more weight, doing more reps, or adding sets. But working harder is more of a mental game than a physical one, and it’s not about wrecking your body or your self-esteem in the gym.

Your fitness is your own journey. This means your fitness journey can be whatever you want it to be. Whatever fits into the rest of your life without completely taking it over. The real magic happens when you can fit your workout seamlessly into the rest of your day without feeling like you’ve dropped the ball in other areas.

Instead of focusing all of our energy around exercise or on some external goal, why not think about your fitness from the inside out? Focus on all the other ways becoming fit is adding value to your life beyond the scale, the size of your clothes, or the amount of calories burned. This slight mindset shift will take the pressure off you might be feeling if you’re not able to workout like you think you should.

Easier workouts–My ticket to freedom…can be yours too

I knew that if I truly wanted something different, I’d have to be willing to do something different. So I went to the drawing board and devised a plan.

First, I took an honest look at my life and assigned each area a score. Next, I decided to think about that particular season of life. I looked at all the things I had going on, and decided if that was the time in my life to be so focused on my health or not. Since I was overall pretty healthy, and didn’t have any nagging health issues, I decided I could let off the gas a bit with my nutrition and my workout regiment. 

This next step was perhaps the hardest…I decided to ditch the thinking that I had to be working on someone else’s idea of what my body should look like. It’s harder than it seems, but not impossible. I promise.

The first question you should ask yourself (honestly) is whether or not you can do what you’re doing forever. You might be tempted to answer with a quick yes. But do you really want to have to track your food forever? Do you really want to hit the gym hard every single day?

It can be hard to deviate from fitness culture in this. Especially when the women getting praised are the ones with six-pack abs (even after kids) and not a bit of cellulite to be seen.

I created a loose plan around working out and told myself I’d stay flexible. Since I’m a bit of a routine person, I still schedule my workouts, but also keep them short, focused, and fun. Instead of being so serious about training, I’ve decided to take a more curious and playful approach to fitness. It’s been a relief, and what do you know? I’m still getting results.

The best part is I don’t feel like I’m dropping the ball on myself or on my other responsibilities. I’m able to play with my kids, I feel darn sexy for my husband, and I went from feeling like a fitness robot to feeling free and alive. The way, I believe being fit was always meant to be. 

xo,

Alisha

PS. Are you ready to get off the insane exercise rollercoaster? Let’s chat to see if I’m the one to help you do that.  Schedule a FREE consult today!

 

 

Struggling to eat healthy? Here’s how to make it easier

Struggling to eat healthy? Here’s how to make it easier

 The struggle is real y’all when it comes to learning how to eat healthy…at least at first, right? It can feel so dang difficult and like you have to give up every delicious food you’ve ever eaten. This method actually might be what is keeping you stuck. Keep reading if you’re ready to make healthy eating a natural part of your life without deprivation. 

Here’s the deal, I had a horrible relationship with food growing up. Food was either used to soothe a deeper inner pain or it was an enemy to be avoided at all costs, replaced with diet pills and weight loss shakes. They sound like two extremes, and they are. Growing up, I bounced between different houses, and therefore saw different behaviors around food modeled for me. 

Confusion around food started in middle school. As if life isn’t messy enough when you’re hitting puberty, food was one more thing to be worrying about. It felt like I was  more focused and self-conscious around food and my body than the rest of my friends, but looking back now, I’m pretty sure we all had our own baggage we were trying to deal with.

Overeating became the norm, and sadly so did the guilt or shame that followed. I would eat because I was bored. I’d eat when I wanted to celebrate and I’d eat if my day was crappy. There was always some sort of food fight happening between my ears.

Don’t be fooled by the lie that getting ‘healthier’ or eating ‘better’ will somehow make all of these disordered behaviors around food disappear. It doesn’t work like that. Changing what you eat, but not getting to the root of the why or the how is like putting a bandaid on a gaping wound.

Until you really change your relationship with food, you’ll carry the same disordered eating patterns around from one diet to another.

In fact, the ‘cleaner’ I ate or the more health conscious I got, new disordered eating thoughts developed around food.

Eating healthy shouldn’t feel hard

One of the biggest problems I see across the health and fitness space is the idea that eating healthy should be hard and only those blessed with iron-clad willpower can succeed. It really ticks me off to see women feeling guilt, shame, or like they have to ‘cheat’ on their diets. Eating healthy should be just as natural as breathing, and when done intuitively, it will be.

Honestly, that kind of thinking is some of the most damaging. And it’s keeping you stuck. A healthy diet is full of variety. It includes both fruits + veggies and your favorite dessert on occasion. Most of us don’t feel like we have enough time as it is in every day. So why are we giving food so much real estate in our minds?

I’m not at all advocating you should eat anything and everything you want, or that you should give into your every craving. What I am advocating for is that you get in touch with yourself and figure out what a healthy diet looks like for you.

This means tuning out the noise from the diet industry. Instead create your own core values around food, and develop healthy habits, thoughts, and behaviors around food. Which is way easier said than done. I get it.

But the more reps you put in, the easier and the more natural it will become. I promise.

Eating healthy should be a part of everyday, normal life. As much so as eating an unhealthy diet.

 It’s time to establish a new normal around food. And here is where that journey begins for you.

Tune out the noise of the diet industry

There is so much noise about how we should eat, what we should eat, and what we should look like. Being bombarded with these messages make it hard to tune into what will actually work for you over a long period of time. 

One of the best ways you can start to drown out the noise, is to tune into yourself instead.

Self-awareness is the key to all change. I truly believe that. You can’t change what you don’t know isn’t working for you.

If you want to resist the external messages that don’t align with you, you’ve got to look inside and be willing to make some changes.

 Messages about willpower seem to be the common theme of mainstream fitness, but what happens when willpower fails? Relying only on your willpower to reach your goals is a sure fire way to set yourself up for disaster…as most of us have experienced at one point or another in the battle of the bulge.

Let’s be real for a minute–there is NO shortage of information out there. In, fact I believer there is too much diet information out there. As a result, we have forgotten how to eat.

Eating intuitively used to be, well, intuitive. Meaning we just knew how to do it. We didn’t rely on experts to tell us we needed veggies and fruits. Or to limit sweets and other processed foods. We naturally just knew what to eat, when, and how much of it. But somewhere along the line, we’ve given that inner power over and have silenced our inner wisdom about food. 

Learning to listen to your inner intuitive eater

You’re probably wondering if you can actually make intuitive eating work for you. That’s totally understandable, and I don’t blame you. If you’re like me, and have a ton of nutritiional baggage you’ve been carrying around, its normal to have doubts, fear, and anxiety. Heck, with all I’ve been through with food, I’ve often wondered if I have what it takes to teach other women how to health their relationship with food. But I’ve seen first hand how the process works. 

No matter where you are coming from on your food journey, you have what it takes to eat intuitively.

 Currently, it is quite normal to be food and body obsessed, but that is not how it’s supposed to be. We should be taking care of ourselves through food and exercise. Not making it one more thing to worry about doing “right” or being good at.

Being in the health industry I’ve questioned whether or not I’d be leading women astray by empowering them to question the health info out there. One of my beliefs as a coach is each woman should be confident and capable of making the best choices for herself. If I told you to play by our cultural rules and follow the leader without wondering where they’re leading, I wouldn’t be doing my job as a coach. 

Unhealthy food obsession

Deep down I sensed that obsessing over food and health wasn’t actually healthy. For so long though I went along with it because it’s a normal part of our culture.

I knew it was time to do things differently if I really wanted to step into my full power as the woman I was created to be. And if there’s a small part of you that truly believes you were made for more, then it’s time for you to do things differently too when it comes to how you approach eating.

Contrary to popular belief, people haven’t always been so food obsessed and body conscious. It’s time to establish a new normal around food and to stop normalizing disordered eating behaviors.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard. Your body was made to help you eat in a way that nourishes you and gives your body the nutrients it needs. To move away from the diet noise, we’ve got to move closer to eating intuitively, building healthy habits around food, and establish our core values around food. 

Establish a new norm..here’s how I did it.

Ditching your beliefs around food can be overwhelming. I started questioning everything about food and how I interacted with it. One of the first steps in this process  was to look at my relationship with food–both now and in the past.

I had to get really honest about my behaviors when it came to eating. Where did the behaviors and beliefs come from? Slowly a food story started to emerge. I realized my beliefs and feelings about food weren’t really my own, but rather those of my family and diet culture.

After identifying my food story, I was able to start rewriting it bit by bit. I could take the information I had about my beliefs and behaviors around food up to that point and choose which ones I wanted to keep and which ones needed an upgrade.

Instead of listening to the noise and following someone else’s rules about what was healthy, I decided I needed to do what I’ve never done before:

Create a healthy relationship with food. Ditch the food rules and beliefs. And start from scratch. The first order of business was to rebuild the foundation with habits. 

Nobody said it was going to be easy

Not too far into this journey, it became clear just how much I’d internalized ‘healthisms’ and cultural norms around food as truth and the only way to be healthy.

Being mindful is hard at first, and it doesn’t deliver the sexy promises of main diet culture with quick fixes. In fact, the changes will happen on the inside long before they do on the outside. 

This way of doing things is still a bit radical, and is just a whisper in the noisy diet/ health world. That is changing though. With books like Health at Every Size  and Intuitive Eating,  there’s a wave of change on the horizon. 

As with anything, there are extremes on both ends (HAES and traditional diet culture). In my opinion neither are right. Both ultimately leave you powerless and in an unhealthy place with food and yourself. Ultimately, I believe you need to step up and take ownership of your health. Part of that is creating the system and the beliefs that truly serve you and your higher purpose in life.

AHA moments

Throughout this journey, I’ve learned so much about myself. I’ve also realized I don’t have to accept what others have said or taught me about food just like in every other area of life.

I’m much more relaxed about and around food. Eating doesn’t feel like a chore or another thing I’ve got to worry about succeeding at. With healthy habits in place and being in touch with what I believe about food, healthy eating feels natural and so much easier.

You can still be healthy even if you’re not consuming all of the health information out there. In fact, I’d say you might even be healthier because there is less anxiety and worry. 

Learning to eat this way has given me freedom in ways I never imagined. I’m able to be more present at meal times and enjoy the company and the experiences because I don’t have the diet ticker running in the back of my mind. I’m not counting macros or points. I can just be in the moment, confidently.

 

 

Want to learn more about how I can help you ditch the diet mentality and actually start enjoying exercise? Get started here by clicking the link to set up your free consult call.

 

 

Learning how to love my body dimples and all

Learning how to love my body dimples and all

The pressure to be everything to everyone and look good while doing it was suffocating.
I felt like I always had to have weight loss goals, goals to get leaner, stronger. There was never a time I could enjoy or love my body as it was. It never seemed good enough even at my leanest or my lightest.
 
If only someone would have told me sooner..
You can love your bodies as it is.There is magic in learning to enjoy what your body can do NOW without waiting on the scale or the six pack to come through. It’s ok if you are happy ‘being’ who you are.
 
Society makes it seem so normal to always have a health and fitness goal to be working on. Often, this leads us to feeling external pressure to add one more thing to an already full plate.
 

Rejecting society’s message to fix yourself

With this messaging we forget it’s ok to be at peace with our bodies. There doesn’t have to be a struggle between taking care of yourself and doing all the other things you love to do. Living a healthy lifestyle should feel as natural as an unhealthy lifestyle. But that is not the message we get bombarded with.
 
As I started to grow restless with the never-ending pursuit of building the perfect body, doubts swirled in my mind. Was something wrong with me if I’m content with where my body is in spite of the fact it’s softer and bigger than it used to be?
 
Had I given up on myself because I wasn’t trying to lose weight or fat? Would I stop caring about myself?
So many false beliefs fill our heads when it comes to health and weight loss. It’s not your fault though. These are the same messages we get from health experts, fitness gurus, and even our medical doctors.
 
When I realized even at my lightest weight or my leanest I still wasn’t happy, something had to change. The truth that being more fit didn’t make me a better wife or mom was a blow, and I was exhausted from trying to micro manage every bite I ate. 
 
I started to question everything. So if it wasn’t about my weight, my body, or having/not having a goal, what was it about then? Could I be confident and content and present even if I let my foot off the gas a bit in my fitness area?
 

Ditch the dieting mindset

It’s the dieting mindset makes you feel like:
  • You’ve always got to be working on a goal.
  •  Fixing yourself in some way to fit the ideal body is normal.
  • Somehow you’re not as good of a person if you’re not 100% committed to your fitness.
 
There’s a false belief that you should  look like the fit ideal body no matter the cost. For most women, it’s literally killing them to reach this ideal of ‘healthy’ or ‘fit’. We’re told If you cave to society’s idea about what your body should look like, you’ll be golden. NOT true.
 
The further into the fitness world I got, the more black and white things seemed to be.
 
I lost sight of the fact I started working out and eating healthier to add value to my life. Not take it away.
 

Create a healthy lifestyle with ease

With a busy schedule like mine, I decided to do a little experiment. Instead of doing the nutrition thing and the fitness thing full out, I’d do the bare minimum and see how I felt.
 
I wondered how I would feel if I did the shortest workouts and stopped tracking my food. This was scary and totally opposite to the way I’d been living for several years.  
Would I lose strength? Would I gain a bunch of weight? Would I stop working out all together?
 
Here’s what I did…
Step one: decide on your minimum baseline. What things would I do everyday? And what would I stop doing? For sure I was done feeling guilty or like I should be doing more (this one topped the list). 
 
I felt anxious about throwing out the beliefs I had about how my body should look.
 
I  found myself body checking to see if I was still ‘good enough’, because I equated being lean with being worthy. Old diet minded thoughts would come back about my body. But I had to keep going. I had to remember I didn’t exactly feel better about myself even in my leanest body.
 

Worth the struggle

In letting my nutrition and fitness go a little, I realized I had more energy and time to go after bigger goals.
There was more time to be present with my kids and my husband.
I could enjoy life’s daily experiences more without being so self-conscious.
That seems counter-intuitive, I know. One thing people neglect to mention about living in the ‘fit ideal’ body, is there is a ton of pressure to maintain. Heaven forbid you gain weight or get softer in any way.
 
The pivotal moment for me was when I realized that I was still loved, I was still a successful lifestyle coach, and I could still be a good wife and mom even if I was overweight.  Most importantly, I was happier.
 
Even if I was doing the least possible in my workouts, I was still strong, still taking care of myself, and still as good of a person as before. Only now, with more energy, time, and freedom to enjoy this one, wild and precious life.
You’re not a failure if you decide you want to rewrite your story with your body. You’re brave.
With love and belief,
Alisha
PS. There are a couple of steps I need you to take if you’re serious about ditching the diet mindset.
1) You  can grab your free guide below. True transformation happens from the mind, and this guide is full of tools to help you ditch the diet mindset for good.
2) Schedule a free consult if you want to learn more about what working with a lifestyle coach can do for you.
How to get healthy if you can’t lose weight

How to get healthy if you can’t lose weight

Health at every size. Is that really a thing? I will be the first to admit I was skeptical about HAES  because I (like so many women) had a very narrow image of what healthy looked like.
 I thought health looked lean, strong, and thin. I thought that being obese was a disease.
And that if you’re overweight you’re also unhealthy.
 
Moment of truth, I’ve spent most of my life in the overweight borderline obese category.
 
Not because I’ve been unhealthy, but because I’m short relative to my weight. So why it was so hard for me to grasp the concept of HAES baffles me. 
The BMI, which our health seems to be determined by doesn’t take into account your lifestyle choices, your gender, or your lean mass. Both the medical community and the fitness industry seem to have forgotten is that your weight and your height don’t tell you anything else about the person or they lifestyle choices.
The terms overweight and obese used to wreck me. We’re taught that being either of those things is not beautiful, it’s not worthy, it means you’re lazy, and you don’t care about yourself.
 
The aha moment for me, and the moment those terms seemed to lose their power was when realized they were nothing more than arbitrary numbers.
 
You can be healthy no matter what the BMI says about you, and you can be healthy even if you don’t look like society’s narrow minded view. Your health isn’t determined by what you look like, but rather the habits, behaviors, and the lifestyle you choose. 
 
Your happiness and fulfillment does not hang on what you look like. It’s time we stop believing it does. 
 
 

Where many who follow HAES miss the mark..

 
 When I first started researching the health at every size movement, I was shocked to see some of the information out there. 
The messaging of some who follow HAES and its closely related Intuitive Eating spew about all discipline and self-control being bad is crazy. In fact, in the book Healthy at Every Size, the author Linda Bacon, PhD never says anything of the sort. She does warn against the dangers of continuing to believe dieting will work for you.
She also emphasized the importance of eating whole foods as much as possible, moving your body in a way that brings joy, and being intentional about the food choices you’re making. Which to some degree will require both self-control and discipline. Especially if you know certain foods don’t nourish you, but you still crave them.
Other harmful messages I’ve seen HAES leading ladies sharing is there are no such things as healthy or unhealthy foods, and essentially all foods are health producing. Again, I did not find this to be the message in the Health at Every Size nor to be true from a true health standpoint as a certified nutrition coach or my years of study in exercise and sport science.
I’ve even seen some supporters of the HAES movement encourage their followers to disregard healthy habits or behaviors. calling them restrictive or diet-y. Huh? 
Again, not the message I’ve seen from Linda Bacon or from the creators of the intuitive eating movement.
This is your superpower..
I am not one to believe we will be most happy or at peace if we just give into every whim and go for instant gratification. In fact, it’s been those times in my life where I end up being the least happy or at peace.
 
Just to be clear, I don’t think you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want, and however much you want without having to also make peace and accept the consequences of those actions. You wouldn’t act this way in any other area of your life, like your finances or in your marriage. So why would it be ok to act that way towards food?
I do think you are responsible for making mindful and the best choices in the moment when it comes to food. And sometimes it’s mindfully eating a slice of chocolate cake and enjoying it. Other times it might be skipping the cake and going for a walk instead.
 
 Your superpower lies in making mindful and informed decisions. Once you realize this, you can step into the role of expert of your life with confidence. 
No doubt, discipline used as punishment or as a measure of your worth is harmful. As is wearing it like a badge of honor or using it to judge yourself or others.
However, discipline and self-control used with compassion, grace, and love is powerful. Learn to harness that power, you will  make the best decisions for yourself.
 
 

It’s ok to be scared

Of course, leaning into the idea of health at every size is a little scary. If you’re anything like me, you might be wondering if you will be able to love yourself at any size. The decision to reject society’s idea of what your healthy body *should* look like is filled with doubt and anxiety. 
The fear of judgement or rejection based on what your body looks like is also a very real fear. Will your friends, family, and co-workers think you’ve  ‘let yourself go’ ?
My solution to these fears was to get crystal clear on my own definition of success, and my own healthy body. I believe that solution will work for you too.
We have a tendency to categorize everything as black and white. Good or bad. it seems when it comes to what a healthy lifestyle looks like, it is no different.
On the one hand you have people who have taken the HAES idea and have gone to the extreme of giving the middle finger to any sort of structure or discipline. While on the other hand you have diet culture supporting the idea that health looks a certain way.
Often we are uncomfortable in our ability to navigate and manage the gray area between the two sides, so we end up swinging from one end of the pendulum to the other.
Surely, it’s easier to just go from hardcore rules and restriction to binge eating on the weekends. It takes more work upfront to figure out how to listen to our bodies, how to care for them inside and out, and how to handle being uncomfortable.

 Is health at every size for you?

 
Like many women, I was doing all the “healthy things” and my body was revolting against me. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why all of a sudden I wasn’t losing weight or getting the results I once had.
Old disordered eating behaviors like food obsession started coming back. Monday through Friday I tried my hardest to be good on my diet, but the weekends were a pass for me. Saturday and Sunday were my days to eat without abandon and just start the diet back up on Monday.
 
I felt softer and fatter than ever. 
 
 Tired of trying so hard without anything to show for it, I knew it was time for a change, whatever that looked like.
 
You shouldn’t feel defeated because you’re not losing weight. 
 Almost as if a light bulb went off, it hit me. I’d been dieting again. This time though, it was more subtle and still looked healthy for the most part. This realization sparked questions in my head:
Could you be healthy and not look like it? Is it possible to do the same things (exercise, monitor food choices) and still get different results? Does the diet mindset exist?
 
I decided to suspend my idea about what healthy looked like for a moment. My focus shifted to effort and the consistency of behaviors over outcomes. Instead of tracking pounds lost, I celebrated the way I felt in my body.
This one mindset shift changed everything. At the end of the day, we can’t control whether our body will lose weight or not. Wee can control our effort, our attitude, and our outlook though. So why not focus on those things instead?
 
The thing that’s been the most surprising  I’ve found is I’m as happy now as I ever was when I was 9% body fat. I may even be happier. It’s easier to be more engaged in life. Meal time is more enjoyable too. 
 
Without the pressure of constantly micro-managing calories eaten and calories burned, I’m able to be more present when we sit down to eat as a family. And choosing what to eat has even become easier. 

Living a healthy lifestyle should be easy

Food is not meant to be a sin or punishment. Exercise shouldn’t be a way to purge yourself from an evening of indulgent eating.
As a culture we’ve lost sight of that. We’ve normalized the idea that living a healthy lifestyle is either only for the select few who happen to be disciplined enough to follow a diet or should feel tough all the time.
I believe there is a happy medium, and it’s up to you to find it for yourself. The good news is you won’t have to do that by yourself. I’ve opened up a few spots in my program, and would love to see if it is the right fit for you. Click here to schedule your FREE consult.
I can’t wait to see what you can accomplish when you step into your purpose in the healthy body you’re meant to have.
xo,
Alisha

 
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?
How I learned how to eat healthy with ease

How I learned how to eat healthy with ease

This is embarrassing to admit, but it’s taken me almost 30 years to figure out how to eat. I mean, I knew the mechanics. You load the utensil with food and then deliver it to your mouth. But the other kind of ‘how’ to eat. Like what, when, and how much. Last year was the year I decided to be done with dieting for good, and would own my relationship with food. Both the good and the bad.
Until about a year ago, I thought I needed someone else to tell me how to eat. It seemed like being my own expert on my own body was far fetched. Doubts and fears filled my head.. I wondered if I could I trust myself to take care of me?
 
We’ve been taught to trust others for the answers when it comes to our bodies. In seeking out the answers from others, we’ve  forgotten how to tune into ourselves and make decisions around food and exercise.
This might seem like a stretch, but you don’t have to accept cultural beliefs about what is beautiful or healthy.
 
We get stuck because in our culture disordered eating seems normal, even healthy. There is nothing normal though about being obsessed with food, exercise, or the way our body looks.
 Despite what you think, It won’t will lead to bingeing or being a couch potato. I promise. In the beginning you might eat more than you would normally. But we aren’t trying to be normal. We are trying to be free from the constant worry over food, so that we can actually get on with living our lives.
 

You don’t want me to tell you what to eat

Even though the women I work with say they want someone to tell them what, how, when, and how much to eat, that isn’t what they really want. If it were, diets would work. And people would have lasting success.
They want to feel empowered and in control around food.
 
That comes from learning how to trust yourself as the expert of your body, making decisions with mindfulness & intention, and taking ownership.
 

Healthy lifestyle or more dieting?

I had the fear of failing and eating everything. The fear of looking like a fool for trying to do it on my own without following another diet or lifestyle change was real. I doubted this would work for me. Would I eat chocolate everyday all day and stop exercising?
Deep down though I knew that the old way wasn’t going to cut it anymore. I was trying so hard to follow my nutrition plan, yet still started going back to food obsession and bingeing on the weekends.
 
I’d ‘be’ good during the week, but the weekends were a different story entirely. Giving in and eating everything I could before Monday became a regular occurrence.
 
As a fitness and nutrition coach, I felt like a fraud and so defeated.
 
How could I keep living like this? I was supposed to be an example, a leader in the health and fitness space. How could I keep selling this diet and calling it a healthy lifestyle?
 
It felt like I was back in diet shackles.
 
I had lost sight of what fitness had really made me feel back in the beginning of my journey. Instead it became about always having an amazing transformation. But in order for that to happen, that meant I always had to have a physical change–which ultimately meant gaining weight only to lose it again (like so many of us women do).
 
The realization that I was still dieting and calling it a healthy lifestyle was a blow. It was like someone pulled the rug out from under me.
 
I was still counting portions and carbs. Monitoring calories eaten and burned. Obsessing over my body and how much it changed from the day-to-day.
 
As a fitness coach it seems like we are expected to be a perfect example of what health looks like. We’ve all been conditioned to see health in such a narrow way. My behavior seemed normal.

The ‘aha’ moment

The idea that we were made to be the experts of our own bodies seemed foreign to me at first. After all, culturally, we are raised to rely on others to teach us right from wrong, safe from dangerous.
 
Sometimes though, that ends up looking a bit more like silly sheep being led straight to slaughter without even realizing it.
 
We were made to be the experts of our own body–we don’t need someone else to tell us how, what, or when to eat. We don’t need someone else to tell us how to move our bodies.
 
I had heard this rumor that if you let yourself have permission to eat whatever you wanted, the cravings and the urges to go nuts would disappear.
 
Honestly, it seemed a bit too good to be true, but what was the alternative? What I’d been doing wasn’t working so well.
 
 
I tested this out. I decided to give myself permission to eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it. It felt scary and exhilarating. This was so foreign and felt like I was breaking some unwritten rule.
 
Thoughts swirled in my head that I’d get fat (as if that was the worse thing I could be). I was afraid I’d not eat the healthy foods I had at one point come to crave.
 
 
 
For the first few weeks I did go a little crazy. I started to feel a little fluffy and didn’t like how I felt in my body.
 
Rather than running back to restriction and rules, I leaned it.
 
 
I stuck with it, and you know what? Slowly I started making decisions around food with authority, self control, and mindfulness.
 
 
I started asking myself in the moment if x food would make me feel good afterwards or not? Would it serve my long-term goals of being wholly healthy, present for my family, and able to carry out the purpose I was specifically created for?
 
For the first time ever I felt empowered around food.
 
I felt free.
 
It felt like I could finally breath and focus attention on my business, my clients, my family.
For the first time in years, making healthy choices felt natural and relaxed.
 
This journey has taken some time for sure. And there are still moments when I hear the whisper of diet culture in my head. In those moments, I politely tell it to shut up, and I move on.
 
It feels good to be more engaged in daily life. I’m more present, and I’m able to eat as a way to nourish and honor my body with joy and pleasure.
 
I hardly think about food anymore and I’m confident and happy in my body. Instead of using my time and energy on what to eat that will comply with my diet or how bad I want something I ‘can’t have’ or how much my body sucks and it needs to be fixed. I can use my energy to invest in those around me and in the things I feel I was created to do.
The sad reality is *most* women don’t know they are operating from a diet mindset. This is a shame, because you can’t fix what you don’t know is broken. We’ve come to see falling off the wagon as ‘normal’, and balance as swinging from one end of the pendulum to the other. That’s not balance. That’s dieting.
If you’re ready to get off the diets for good, but just need a little help figuring out how to do that, grab my free guide to help you transform your mind and learn the mindset hacks to help you reach your fitness goals once and for all. Sign up below 🙂
xo,
Alisha
PS. Not sure about working with a coach to help you get off the diet rollercoaster? Schedule a free consult call here. I’d love to see if I’m the right fit for you.