Healthy lifestyle or disordered eating? Not as easy to spot as you might think.

I stepped on stage in a teeny weeny bikini, a tan, and 4 inch heels.

I honestly loved it. I loved the rush of showing off all the hard work and discipline the last 12+weeks had produced. I loved the challenge of changing my body– It was just as much of a mental game as it was a physical. There was so much about that sport that I loved.

It wasn’t until I took a step back and saw just what it cost me to get up on that stage and to prep for the next shows.

I was a full time student in 2012 with 2 kids under the age of 5. I was still breast feeding, training 2 hours/ day 6 days week, counting every morsel of food I put in my mouth like it was my job. I was happy. Or at the very least thought I should be. I did have my ‘dream body’ after all.

IMG_6332

What I didn’t realize during competition prep was how much my choices were impacting my kids and my marriage.

During prep, my 3 year old would parade around the house in my heels and a teeny bikini, cute right?! Right up until she started turning down all of her favorite foods so that she could eat steak and rice like mama. That was the last straw.

I felt convicted. I knew that I had let this get out of hand. At the time though, I didn’t see the full effect of what I was doing to my body, my mind, or my family. I thought I was being healthy–

I looked the part, and treated my body like a temple.

But I was emotionally, mentally, and spiritually sick. And I didn’t want to pass that on to Kenadie or KB for that matter.

I didn’t want them growing up thinking there was only ONE right way to have a body. And that anything outside of that was wrong or broken.

I knew I was done with competing. And while it might have felt sad for a moment giving up that thing for myself, I was relieved. –

Is your healthy lifestyle disordered eating in disguise_

Disordered eating comes in many packages, the least of which looks like a healthy lifestyle.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done? Stepping on stage in a bikini and heels tops the list for me…join the conversation below.

Cheers to all the ladies out there just trying to create food freedom, find joy in movement, and make peace with their bodies long before they reach their goals. I’m here for you!

Xo,

 

Alisha Carlson (8)

Break up with your diet and leave diet culture behind | One of the healthiest choices you can make for yourself

 

Diets.

We’ve all sworn them off. Well, at least we thought we did. I’m stumped though as to why we still have so many women working their butts off and still not living in a body they are totally in love with.

It’s not you, it’s them..

Diets are pretty sneaky. I mean it is literally the only product that continually fails over and over and over, yet we keep coming back for more.
We usually just chalk a diet not working up to us not trying hard enough, not being disciplined enough, not being focused enough, or dare I say not wanting it bad enough.
For some reason this twisted mindset is widely accepted as being the truth. I know I’m not the only one that beat myself up when I couldn’t stick to my 1200 calorie diet of mostly veggies, almost zero carbs, and chicken.
What if it really isn’t you or me, but it’s the methods we are using to try to lose weight that is the real problem.
Breaking up with your diet

Diets set you up to fail by creating standards that aren’t realistic or even all that healthy 

Have you ever googled ‘fit woman’ or ‘healthy woman’? In less than one second you will see over one billion images all portraying a similar ideal of what a healthy woman ought to look like.
They are all roughly the same size, not too muscular and not too thin. Long hair and about the same age range, eating a salad, and of course smiling (so if you have RBF even if you are the poster child for health in every other way, you might be out of luck on this one..)
There isn’t much wiggle room. What happens to all of the women that don’t fit that ideal?  Are you simply out of luck? Will you never be health and fit? No.

Healthy bodies come in all sizes and shapes

You almost never hear of any fitness program promising to get you to your own healthy, natural weight. Or advertising their programs ability to enhance your body’s natural shape or size.
If you’re defeated and discouraged because no matter how hard you work or what you do, you still can’t seem to reach your goal body–it might be because you’re just chasing someone else’s goal body. Not the one you are meant to live in.

Diets were designed to make you feel crappy about yourself

This is a multi billion dollar business that was created to keep you feeling bad about yourself. IF ‘diets’ aka ‘wellness’ aka ‘healthy lifestyles’ actually worked long term, the fitness and wellness industry would be out of business.
There are ways you can go about creating a healthy lifestyle or pursuing wellness that is not entangled in diet culture or diet – y mindsets. You just have to do a little leg work and a whole lot of self exploration to discover your heart and your motives for any of the actions you’re taking.
For all the women out there done with dieting. Done with feeling crappy about themselves. And done sabotaging themselves with sneaky food behaviors–grab your copy of my FREE guide. This guide walks you through 5 of the sneakiest diet-y behaviors and mindsets you might not even know you are still doing PLUS it gives you practical strategies and tips you can start using today.
Here’s to women creating food freedom, finding joy in movement, and making peace with their bodies long before they ever reach their goal body!
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

Loving yourself and others more with your best yes

Loving yourself and others more with your best yes

Raise your hand if you’ve ever said yes to something and almost immediately regretted it..yep, me too. I am not exactly sure why it is that we do that to ourselves, but it was one of my intentions coming into 2018 to save my yeses for only the best things to come my way. That may sound incredibly selfish, and believe me it wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I knew it is what I needed. I found myself saying yes to so many amazing opportunities out of guilt or obligation.

I’ve done some soul searching and a whole lot of reflection over the past year and I realized that I was simply trying to be too much to too many people. Handing out my yeses to anyone that asked was really depriving the people and the callings in my life that really need me…including myself. In the past I’ve casually given my yeses away because I felt guilty or because there seemed to be a genuine need. And by no means am I suggesting that we only ever do the things we want, but I am suggesting that we need to be more thoughtful and intentional with our yeses.

If you find yourself constantly on the run, burned out, and exhausted from honoring everyone else’s agenda then read on..

So how do we get off the hamster wheel?Your Sacred Yes

One of the first things I did was identify my core values. Who were the people I was committed to showing up for? What causes and organizations do I feel led to serve? What were my existing obligations? What am I about?

Your best yeses or your sacred yeses will align with your values and ultimately what is most important to you not just what is important to the world around you. Sometimes the two  will line up and sometimes they won’t. It is ultimately up to you to discern for yourself what that is. By having your values clearly outlined you will be able to decide what you really should be spending your time on and what you can pass on.

I know how hard it is to say no, especially when the cause or the need seems relevant, real, and is good. But if we crowd our schedules according to everyone else’s agenda, we don’t leave any time or space for Jesus to show up with his agenda for us. That is often what has led me to feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. 

Once you get some clarity on your core values you will know when you should step up and when you should step aside and let someone else take it on. Asking questions always seems to reveal what is really going on in your heart.

Not sure if it is your best yes?

Here are some gut checks:

Does it align with yourvalues?

Does this align with your vision?

Do you have the time?

What will you have to say no to in order to make this a reality? **This one is especially a good question to ask yourself..because you can’t say yes to something without saying no to something else at the same time.

By creating the space and giving myself the permission to say no–even to ‘good’ things I am able to give more and to give better to the things that matter most and it frees me up to say yes to the things I was really called to do. I am able to show up in a bigger way and serve with more joy in my heart. We were created with certain gifts, dreams, and visions. And in order to step into those fully we will have to learn to turn down the things that tempt us or distract us from staying the course.

Time to take that leap of faith…

 

Who doesn’t love a little motivation to start the week off on the right foot? I certainly have needed some encouragement to get this week started. I have been clouded by some fear and some anxiety today, and this quote just kept coming to mind. Maybe you find yourself in a position where you can either take a leap into some uncharted waters or you can choose to stay comfortable. I hope that your heart will be inspired and encouraged today by this thought too..

“Feel the fear, and do it anyway.”

Do you ever have those moments in life where you are about to take a leap of faith and you just freeze?

In those moments, we have a choice to make.

We can either shrink back from the fear, stay in out comfort zones, and look back one day with regret.

Feel the fear and do it anyway..OR

We can lean into the fear. Take the leap. And be amazed by what happens to us in the process.

Often times, it is the path we fear the most that will lead us to exactly where we need to be.

 

I challenge you this week, to take the leap and allow yourself to be amazed at who you become in the process.

 

xo,

Alisha