Why consistency is what you need to reach your fitness goals

Why consistency is what you need to reach your fitness goals

Have you noticed it seems to be harder to break up with our bad habits than to create the good ones?

When I first started my own fitness journey over 10 years ago, I found it way easier to skip those workouts. Eat the extra serving regardless of if I was hungry or not.

It took time and consistency to create the good habits, and it seemed like I was just hard wired for the bad ones. In some ways this is true because the “bad” habits provide immediate satisfaction. Whereas, we don’t see or even feel the results of eating one salad. At least not at first.

Consistently doing what needs to be done is the only way to get from where you are today to where you want to be six months or six years from now. It can be hard though to start doing something consistently. Especially when for the most part we have either been conditioned for the quick fix mentality in the diet industry.

Success comes from doing the most important (not necessarily the most urgent) things over and over again

I think we’d sort of be lying if we didn’t acknowledge we don’t want the rewards without having to do the work.

We all want the quick fix or magic bullet on some level, even if we know that quick fix won’t last. It’s taken a long time for me to just settle into the journey, and not be so zeroed in on reaching my goals.

I am the type of person who wants to get where we’re going as quickly as possible. Whether that’s on a road trip or from one goal to the next. However, I’ve come to realize most of the excitement around reaching a goal is the anticipation of what that destination will feel like.

Not the actual goal itself. Because, let’s face it, by the time we reach those goals, we’ve likely already started setting new goals for ourselves.

We’ve got to train ourselves to take satisfaction in just showing up and doing the thing.

“Success doesn’t come from what we do every once in a while, but what we do consistently.”

-Alisha Carlson

Know your priorities

We will make time for what’s truly important to us. That’s the bottom line.

There have been seasons in my life when I thought being super lean or super skinny was important to me. As a result I did whatever it took to look a certain way. A lot of my energy and time went to thinking and obsessing over food. Pinching the bits of fat that still covered my body, and working out like it was my job.

I thought I could only be happy, confident, and sexy if I looked a certain way. There came a point in my own fitness journey, when I started to loathe eating a certain way or working out for 2 hours/ day.

The tricky part, is we’ve been conditioned to believe we should always be looking to improve ourselves in some way physically. My priorities were changing, but I still felt pressure to pursue certain physique related goals. I started to feel stressed out about food and exercise again.

When our goals and priorities aren’t aligned, we will always have a hard time reaching our goals. If you’re pursuing goals that aren’t really that important to you, you will find all the excuses you need.

“Weight loss shouldn’t feel stressful. You shouldn’t feel frustrated by your goals, or like it’s a prison sentence.”

-Alisha Carlson

Gain more clarity around your goals, and decide what you’re willing to do (and sometimes give up) in order to reach them.

You can create new habits easier than you think

When you stop trying to make all the changes at once, replacing old habits becomes much easier.

How many times have you started a new diet or workout program? It usually feels like you went from 0 to 100 real quick. Often making all of the changes at once is overwhelming.

Start slow. Pick one habit at a time, and give yourself some space to practice your new habits.

Pick the low hanging fruit first. Get some wins under your belt first. What is one habit you feel you can replace with ease? I like to ask myself “on a scale of 1-10, how confident are you you can do this?” If it’s less than an 8, I’ve got to make it easier.

Diet culture’s quick fixes don’t last, this will.

Creating habits through consistency seems like a waste of time because it goes so slow at first. I totally get it. Before I bought into the idea of focusing on habits and consistency, I was entrenched in the diet mindset (and sadly even mainstream fitness culture). The changes had to be quick, even if it meant unsustainable.

If you just make all of the changes at once, follow the food rules perfectly, and never skip a workout you’ll be smooth sailing. What about the rest of us?

With extreme approaches like this it’s no wonder so many women feel stuck. This start and stop ‘healthy lifestyle’ only breeds disbelief in your ability to actually ever reach your fitness goals long term.

If you’re feeling a little unsure of whether or not you can actually create lasting change, you’re not alone. I’m here to tell you, you can. It just might take a little reworking of your beliefs in yourself and your mindset.

Why do we rely so much on habits anyway?

Have you ever stopped to think about your habits? Essentially our habits are just actions we do over and over, and often without even thinking about it.

This is great as long as our habits support our goals. However, when our actions are not supporting our goals or long term vision of what we want our bodies and our lives to look and feel like, this is a problem.

Our brain uses habits to cut down on the amount of work it has to do. It wants to preserve calories, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to cut down on the number of decisions it has to make. Charles Duhigg wrote an incredible book on the studies of habits. (link to book) I’d encourage you to check it out if you are curious about how habits work on a deeper level.

This is amazing news though, because it means that you can essentially create a healthy lifestyle without it taking over your entire life.

Can you be on autopilot and still be intentional and mindful?

Yes. I believe with my whole heart you can. At anytime during the habit loop you can ‘tune in’ to what you’re doing.

I am always talking to myself (usually it’s inside my head). When I notice I’m just going through the motions, I like to check in and see if that is what I really want to be doing in that moment.

Sometimes the answer is yes, I do want that thing even if I’m not hungry or I know they it isn’t ‘healthy’. And this is ok. The quick pause to check in, allows me to make the choice from a place of awareness and control. Not a frantic feeding frenzy because I’ve been depriving myself all week.

Sometimes, I surprise myself. And the answer is no. Even if they do sound good, even if I know I can have them. This kind of food freedom was really only ever possible by removing the food rules I’d been living under and giving myself the power to choose what to eat–not follow someone else’s idea of what a healthy lifestyle should look like.

Sometimes it’s good to rebel

Everything you know or think you know about health, fitness, and weight loss may be the exact thing that is keeping you stuck on the diet hamster wheel. Going against the flow isn’t always a bad thing. Not convinced? Click the video below to see why it might be time to start questioning the ‘normal’ way to reach our fitness goals.

Why it’s good to aim for anything other than normal or average when it comes to your health and fitness.
Why you need accountability to reach your fitness goals

Why you need accountability to reach your fitness goals

If we are honest with ourselves, we are all a hot mess from time to time. Sometimes those seasons feel a bit longer than we’d like. But there’s literally no reason for you to feel embarrassed or ashamed if you haven’t been able to reach your fitness goals…yet.

I failed time and time again. Starting a new workout program promising a bikini body in 6 weeks or less, or a new diet it seemed every other week. Each only lasting for a few days consistently at best before I’d quit on myself.

One of the biggest problems with *most* of the fitness information out there is the promise you can totally and radically change your life in a short period of time.

The reality is, change is hard. Change takes time. And change is a practice. We are sold the lie we should be able to completely overhaul our nutrition and movement routines with the drop of a hat. Unfortunately, that is not how behaviors are changed or habits created.

Change is about learning new skills, creating a support system, and changing your habits. All of that takes a lot of time, patience, and practice.

You won’t get it right all the time, and you won’t get it right at first. Ditch the guilt and the shame you might be carrying around. Simply decide to practice. Each and every day practice becoming the woman you want to be deep down just a little bit more.

And whatever you do, don’t try to do it alone.

If you’ve failed at this whole fitness thing, you’re in good company

One of the biggest lies we believe is you’re the only woman who struggles to implement radical changes to your lifestyle. But you’re not. We are all struggling at different times and with different things. Learn to embrace and even welcome the struggle.

Fitness really is a lifestyle change. And it’s not just the discipline to change your body, but it’s also the discipline to change your mind. The fitness industry has done a great job of teaching us that being ‘fit’ looks one way. This can often feel we are fighting an uphill battle if we’re either not able to achieve that fit ideal or we’re miserable once we do. Begin defining what fitness is for yourself, and you’ll learn you cannot fail.

Accountability is the key to consistency

For a long time, I struggled with consistency in working out and eating ‘right’. After enough time and practice, it’s become a part of my daily routine. In the beginning though, I needed accountability. Having others who knew the goals I’d set for myself and who were committed to helping me succeed was a game changer. I truly believe it was their support and their belief in me that kept me going on the days I couldn’t see the progress I’d made.

If you’re trying to make lifestyle changes, you are going to need to have as much support as you can. This also means changing your environment, changing your routine, and possibly even changing who you spend your time with. You want to set yourself up for as much success as you can, yet realizing you cannot control everything.

When ‘good enough’ is enough

There are days when I follow my workout plan and there are days when I don’t. But every single day I try to move my body, even if it’s just a leisure walk with my pup. And without feeling guilty or ashamed because I wasn’t perfect.

As a recovering perfectionist this mindset is not one that comes easily to me. Much of my pride and confidence used to come from trying to do things perfectly. When I could, it was great, and I felt so much pride in myself. The times when I couldn’t do it perfectly devastated me.

Own your struggles and use them as fuel. Don’t try to hide from them or sweep them under the rug. If you want to make true lifestyle change it’s not enough to try to add in new healthier habits. You’ve got to understand and acknowledge the behaviors that aren’t serving you. Don’t see your struggles as weakness. Use them to drive you forward towards your goals, and do it by bringing other women along with you.

When we try to keep all of our guilt and shame hidden it festers. And eventually you won’t be able to hide it anymore. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Whether that’s with your coach or a group of friends. Let others in on the struggles you have with food, exercise, and your body. Simply bringing those things into the open brings healing. It empowers you to face them head on.

Created for community

As women, we need community. It’s hard-wired in our DNA. What better community to have around you than one who is just as committed to your success as they are to their own?

In creating a healthier lifestyle it’s important to realize this encompasses all areas of your life. Being fit really isn’t just about what your body looks like despite what social media tells you.

Leave the toxic relationships behind. Maybe this will be just for a season, and maybe it will be for longer. When you’ve decided you’re ready to make positive change, there isn’t much room for people and/ or circumstances that don’t support you.

Replace the toxic relationships with healthier ones. Think about the women in your life that energize you and inspire you to be a better version of yourself. How can you spend more time with them?

You have everything you need

Allow yourself to be seen just as you are. One of the biggest mistakes I made in my fitness journey was thinking I had to learn how to do healthy living perfectly. The only thing that did was remind me of how inadequate I was, because I couldn’t do it perfectly.

Trust that you’ve already got what it takes to reach your goals. You don’t need to look for the next diet or the next fitness fad. You know more than you think. Now it’s time to implement.

Tap into the pain, shame, and guilt you might be experiencing because of past failures. Instead of hiding from it or trying to conceal it, use it as fuel for your fitness journey. You can learn so much from mistakes and failures. Don’t let it go to waste, and remember it’s all of those experiences (and the successes) that make you who you are.

I want you to see and believe the very things you believe disqualifies you from reaching your fitness goals are exactly what you can use to move forward with confidence.

You’ve got this, and I’m here to help. Fill out the form below to receive weekly tips and pep talks right to your inbox.

Cheers to creating food freedom, finding joy in movement, and making peace with your body long before you reach your goals!

xo,

Alisha


How to leverage accountability to reach your fitness goals

How to leverage accountability to reach your fitness goals

There are some days I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water. Some days I feel completely submerged by mom life, wife life, and work life.

I used to think balance was a magical destination. I imagined one day like my son’s lego block, it would just click, and I’d be there like all the other unicorn mommies on social media.

The reality is, balance is a constant struggle between all the important things in our lives. You don’t ever completely arrive. Balance is something you will always have to be intentional about.

Back in the day, one of the first things I would give up would be my gym time. I’d settle on eating whatever was quick and easy even if it didn’t align with my goals.

I lived with an all or nothing mentality. Either I could be an excellent mom or career woman, but not both. I could be fit and healthy or a good mom, but not at the same time. There was a time I believed accelerating in one area meant I had to sacrifice in the others.

You will have to make decisions and you will have to exercise self-control. You won’t have to choose between those things, you can learn to manage them.

Make time for relationships

If you weren’t my husband, my client, or my three year old I’d likely not be spending too much time with you.

I’m sure you’re not surprised to know after going on like that for too long I became a total momster (monster + mom). I felt less like the woman I was created to be, and a bit more like an empty shell shuffling through the motions.

I felt alone and isolated. Like I was the only woman who was having a hard time finding balance.  

I’ve been the mom and the woman who has just put her head down to work and have seen how lonely that can be. Not to mention how hard it is when you feel like you’re failing.

I’ve also been the woman who has let herself be totally into motherhood- she forgot her dreams. Forgot who she was. Who wasn’t filling anyone else’s cups too well because she wasn’t filling her own cup.

You’re made for community

I’m an extrovert. And I’m committed to doing the work I was put on earth to do well. There are times my intensity towards my goals or my passion gets in the way of me having the close relationships I crave as a working mom and wife.

I’ve realized in life if I’m not intentional about creating the space for those other important relationships they won’t happen. I didn’t realize in that season of small children how much I needed that connection to other women hustling for their dream life too.

You may not be extroverted like me, but you still need community. Your idea of community might look a little different from mine, and this is totally fine. Find what works, and do more of it. Whatever you do, don’t sacrifice relationships because life is easier that way.

Find women who share your values

The closer you are in your values and priorities, the easier it will be to let yourself be vulnerable without fear of judgment. The more vulnerable you can be together, the deeper the connection and commitment to one another. This is true of any relationship really. Learn to open up, and see what begins to happen in your key relationships.

Find other like minded women to use as an accountability system. When you connect with other women who you can relate with you’ll be more likely to reach your fitness goals and have fun. Life is about community, it’s about cheering each other on and fixing other women’s crowns when they slip.

Other women are not your competition

We are seriously not in competition with any other woman.

The only person you should concern yourself with being better than, is the person you were yesterday.

Unfortunately society likes to pit us against one another. There is no need to be catty. You don’t have to put someone else down so you feel better. And you definitely don’t need to put yourself down or let other women put you down either.

Stand together instead of letting your insecurities create division. Society seems set on creating competition between women. it’s more important than ever to choose unity and community.

Often there is a clear line between ‘us’ and ‘them’. We might be judging ourselves or other women based on how they look compared to us. What their life looks like on social media. Or how well they are performing in their roles as wives, moms, and women.

Getting sucked into the competition mindset, only ever leaves me feeling worse about myself. I think honestly this was why I avoided places like the gym for so long.

I felt like a fish out of water. It seemed like every other woman there knew what she was doing. I thought I was the only one not in my dream body. However, the closer I got to my dream body, the more I realized all my insecurities still existed. It was in that moment I knew they were probably more like me than I thought.

Choose women who will push you to grow.

I don’t believe you should just choose anyone to hold you accountable. Find women you click with, and make sure they will push you to grow and get better daily.

Finding your tribe will be inspirational, motivational, and at times a life line. On the days you feel like you can’t continue, want to give up, or like you’re a complete failure, they will be there to pick you up.

Life already brings enough challenges. We might as well make the most of them and our fitness journey by linking arms with other ladies on the same struggle bus.

Cheers to creating food freedom, finding joy in movement, and making peace with your body before you reach your goals!

xo,

Alisha

PS. Fill out the form below if you want to get weekly doses of inspiration sent to you.



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)