Read this over and over and over again

Please read this over and over and over again. This great article was originally posted on October 28 by Dr. John Rusin.  The full article link is below.

THE DANGERS OF TODAY’S FEMALE FITNESS INDUSTRY

No, the fitness industry isn’t perfect. But there are some downright shameful and disgraceful aspects of fitness based marketing that needs to be brought to the forefront. Nothing may be more dangerous than the popularization of female fitness based marketing that largely preys on the insecurities and the mis-information this population has been getting force fed in the main stream media for close to a decade.

It’s one thing to be ignorant to scientific facts of exercise and training, but it’s an entirely different story when false and societally detrimental ideas are starting to overtake the sound principles that should be guiding our industry. Here’s how we stop the BS in the female fitness industry and create a foundation for women, young to old, when aspiring to achieve health and wellness from coach Meghan Callaway.


HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW…

1. The new age of self-proclaimed female fitness experts lack overall credibility, yet continue to spew out misleading, insulting, and often dangerous information to the masses, most of which is geared towards taking advantage of misinformed women.

2. Lets quit treating female clients like delicate little flowers that are only capable of executing sets of 100 with pink dumbbells as toning resistance. This notion is incredibly insulting. Women are strong and have unlimited physical potential that deserves to be tapped into. Toning is for printers, not strength training.

3. Don’t be ignorant to the use of photoshop and professional full body makeup art. The idea of comparing yourself on an even playing field to a Women’s Health cover is dangerous. There are truly no natural images of females out there anymore. So take this for what it is, a false marketing ploy at best.

4. Food and exercise are meant to be enjoyed. Focusing on food and cardio as a form of punishment can create a slippery slope of health sociology.  If your diet or training program isn’t sustainable for the long run, then your priorities need to be reevaluated.  Less treadmill death marches and more social and emotional engagement.

5. Being viewed as a popular and successful female athlete has become largely dependent on how well females do at selling themselves as sex symbols.  With less correlation to on-field performance, and more towards half naked Instagram shots, our future population of female athletes are being negatively influenced at younger and younger ages.

I encourage you to read the full article HERE

Read and repeat – take it in. – TRUE Strength

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H.A.L.T.

SSA_HaltIt happened again…

Mid, very strenuous workout I had to shake off the tears.

It was a mix of thinking of my mom and a mix of the message the workout instructor was screaming at us.  Let me explain… she was screaming over the pounding music in a spin class – encouraging us to push harder, let go and even “get pissed” at times. Her music sound track was planned out to give us a killer workout AND a message.  She weaved her message into our class which boiled down to letting go of regrets, sadness, and self doubt and negative talk. It does us no good she kept saying.

As she encouraged us to let go of baggage I felt my legs peddling faster, my mind focusing and letting go of the constant dialog… the constant “to-do” list, constant disorded battles, the constant second guessing.  Just as I felt my legs flying I also felt the tears welling.  I was thinking of my mom, I was feeling the release of the disorder’s control (even though temporarily), I just felt a release.

Shaking off the tears I focused, pedaled faster.  I realized some of excessive exercise is simply me running away from feeling.  Even though I was pedaling faster, I was focused on feeling the emotions and release… not just running away.

As she encouraged us to leave the baggage behind and to treat ourselves with kindness and care she said… never be too H.A.L.T. 

Never be too:

  • Hungry
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Tired

She said… a little H.A.L.T. is good… keeps your fire burning – but if you’re too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired you can’t function to the best of your ability and you can’t be the person you’ve been destined to be.  For me – if I’m too H.A.L.T. I can’t be the wife, mother, professional, woman, role model or citizen I need … I strive to be.

This can be a very literal thing… don’t let yourself function in a constant state of hunger, don’t hold on to anger, don’t let yourself wallow in loneliness, and don’t try to get through barely rested.  In the abstract… have a hunger for life – don’t starve yourself from adventure and life; anger can keep you motivated but too much can crush you; you don’t need someone necessarily next to you every minute to not be lonely – instead find comfort and camaraderie in yourself and with others who lift you up; and if you’re tired of what you’re doing… change it!

As I type this I know I am often functioning too H.A.L.T. but I can change and I can continue to dedicate myself to getting healthier.

Join me – TRUE Strength 

Be present

Something I continually try to remember is to be present.  imgres-1

Be where you are and be engaged.

All too often I find myself thinking two miles down the road… what do I have to get done, what is stressing me, what do I need to accomplish.  OR I’m left thinking in the past… did I exercise enough, eat too much, say the right thing.

What happens when you’re always living in the past or future… you miss the gift of the present.  <— Too corny?  Yes, maybe, but it is true.  Each moment is a gift that can be taken away so quickly.

My personal eating disorder thrives on “fortune telling” it’s the what ifs and the very unrealistic cause and effect thinking.  An example… if I can’t workout today and didn’t workout yesterday and actually eat everything on my meal plan I’m going to gain weight… This type of thinking takes me away from the present and causes me to miss the great gifts all around me.

Recently I was instructed to just breath.  The instructor said… the beauty about breathing is that you cannot breath in the past or in the future – you can only breath in the present.  It reminds me of a comment my mom once made to me in the middle of a very stressful situation.  She said… “Take three deeps breaths, splash water on your face three times, and then keep breathing.” Much later I asked – why three times…she laughed and said she had no clue why it just came out. The point is it brought me back to the present. I could handle the situation if I was in the present but only then.

I am learning, I can battle the disorder, be a better wife and a better mom and a better professional if I’m in the present… but only if I am.  

Take a few deep breaths and BE PRESENT.

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TRUE Strength

Practicing non-violence against yourself

Yesterday I took my first real yoga class.  I’ve done a class here or there in the past but never with the intention of really trying yoga.  It was more because the instructor was a friend and it sounded nice to do for a class.

I’ve been searching for something… something different… something maybe kinder on my body…. something.

I’ve also been talking a lot with my counselor that I’m seeing that I’m healthier and stronger but I don’t feel comfortable feeling so thick.  **NOW remember – this is a disordered perception but the question came out… well maybe it’s time to change something.

Ever heard this?  “The definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Well… yes – time for a change.  

I’ve been doing CrossFit for over six years now.  As my story on TRUE Strength has shared – I’ve been a competitive athlete and no just focus on having fun and working hard. I don’t think I have a desire to stop CrossFitting but I do have a desire to challenge myself in different ways and try new things.

This was a hot power yoga.  I enjoyed the sweat and the challenge of a brand new routine, method and flow.  I was physically challenged and mentally challenged. I am not very good at quieting my mind but can see how in yoga it’s not just an aspect of the practice but is a principle of the practice. The importance of feeling the breath and whatever is released within when you do the moves is a challenge.  As I’ve shared, a large part of my disorder is an ability to NOT feel and block out feelings, needs, or desires.  Yoga may just help open that guarded door.

I enjoyed that I wasn’t competing with anyone else… which was surprising because I like the competition side of CrossFit.

But above all of this, the thing that stuck with me was a comment the instructor made.

She said…

“Yoga is about the practice of non-violence against yourself.”  

WOW.  

What is my disorder if not violence against myself? 

The instructor encouraged us to try different poses and binds but said… if it doesn’t feel right … don’t do it. “In yoga… pain NO gain.”  Coming from a workout like CrossFit where you train yourself to not feel pain and to just push through this was so refreshing AND uncomfortable!

At the end of class I’m learning that it is typical to have several minutes just being still on the floor.  Someone more experienced in yoga could tell you the name for what we did but I can tell you that afterwards I found it almost sad that it took someone else telling me and leaving me with no other option than to lay down and be still to actually do this.  It wasn’t like I could get up and fold laundry… I had to just BE.  My body felt heavy with satisfaction and almost as if I blended with the floor.

As I lay there all of a sudden my eyes welled up and I cried.  I was thinking of my mom.  Thinking about how she wasn’t very kind to herself until much later in life. She always ran herself ragged, she did everything for everyone else… and herself was left folding laundry.

Let’s all try to practice non-violence against ourselves.  No matter our struggles or if we are battling a disorder or not… non-violence… be kind to ourselves. 

TRUE Strength

All eyes on me

Some people like to be the center of attention and some people prefer to blend into the background.  What does it mean to admit that I enjoy being the leader, in front of people, taking charge and being a slight ham at times… especially when there is a camera before us?

We just returned from a week long family vacation at the beach… with 17 other people all in one house.

Let me break this down… 

Vacation = wonderful … so thankful to be able to take a vacation

Family = I love my family and our family unit (the five of us) are tight knit, supportive, easy going/relaxed and fun.  If you peal away the disorder being around extended family is wonderful – they are fun loving, smart and enjoyable.  I love our family.  But we know you can’t just simply shed the disorder – or we would!

So… I’m used to eating in front of my family unit, and even with that comfort I often “apologize” or explain why I’m eating (as if they are thinking anything other than… yea – all good! Go for it).  That means there were 13 others living with me day in and out for the week, who I am not comfortable enough with to push through the struggle and not let restriction try to take over.

At the beach = is this a surprise that this would be a stressor for someone who has battled eating or exercise disorders?  Clearly not.

Before the trip my anxiety levels and disordered thoughts were firing on all cylinders. A good and bad thing about this trip is that our routine is to make most of our meals in the house – we grocery shop, make our own food throughout the day and then have family meals for dinner.  It is helpful that I was able to have control over some of the grocery list.  Helpful because for myself and many who’s disorder makes them feel more comfortable in restrictive mode will use any excuse not to eat.  Mine has always been… well there’s nothing here I can eat.  “Nothing I can eat” is simply not true but the disorder justifies it.  What it really means is I don’t feel safe eating it.  I do have a dairy allergy so my disorder loves to use that as an excuse as well.

Family dinner meals are the hardest.  The disorder has given me very rigid routines… times to eat, foods to eat, and exercise needed to justify the meal. All of that has to go out the window and a BIG part of going through this long road of recovery is to function each day without this strict routine.

Here comes the all eyes on me moments…

We all sit down for a meal (or the meals all week).  It happens to be a type of food I truly don’t like – not that the disorder doesn’t like – I just don’t.  All eyes feel to be on me as I pass on the main dish and gingerly take a few green beans… I know in my mind I’ll eat some of “my food” later … but feel the questioning eyes.  In reality no one probably even noticed but my disorder liked to “feed” on this feeling.

Later I quietly made a small meal.  All was going fine and I felt like I was making some progress, albeit baby steps, I fought the desire to eat in my bedroom in private and that made me feel like I was moving the disorder mountain.  All good until… one family member said… “having a second dinner??” Oh my goodness. The comment was innocent on their part and goes to show that when I thought all eyes were on me during dinner I was being more self centered than anything because this person hadn’t noticed at all that I hadn’t eaten before.  BUT I felt like I’d just been gut punched.  The sergeant fired up and wanted me to put the meal down…  I immediately started thinking… well they all saw my crazy hard workout this morning.  Maybe I don’t need this… I could just stop eating.  NO… I was hungry and I wanted to win.  I didn’t want to just go to sleep, I wanted to have energy for the next day, I wanted to play with the girls, I WANTED TO BEAT the disorder.

Fighting an ongoing battle with the sergeant is what I’ve signed up for and I will quiet him.  Something that has helped me and maybe it will help you too is to find things to focus on as motivation for getting better.  Mine are my young daughters.  I want them to have a healthy and happy mom who is a positive and healthy role model.  I am driven by them, but the action has to be from within.

I share this experience because the fear of it was almost paralyzing before the trip.  At times, facing it while on vacation was exhausting, but all in all, it all passes and I not only survived, I loved the memory making and laughter filled week.

You, too, can survive what scares you and continue to make strides to beat whatever disorder you’re battling through. Stay strong…

TRUE Strength.

Here are my motivations … what are yours? 

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the STRENGTH in “but…”

Say what you mean and mean what you say… 

The past couple of days have been jammed packed with work, family and personal life events keeping me away from writing and with all of these crazy busy days I was overwhelmed with the question of what to write about today… BUT I must share the STRENGTH in the word… “BUT…”

Such a little word… with so much power… three little letters… BIG responses 

How many times have you heard someone say… or said yourself… “I don’t mean to sound mean, but…” followed by something sounding very mean indeed??

I hear this all the time…

“I don’t mean to sound rude, but…”

“I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but…”

“I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but…”

And I literally JUST heard a woman say over the phone… “I don’t want to alarm you, but… grandpa is having chest pains.”

WOW… As soon as I heard the first part of the sentence I WAS ALARMED… and I don’t even know this woman!

The word “but” is extremely common throughout our day to day interactions… it carries a lot of weight and can be used as a protective language device to say something you know will hurt someone or may be inappropriate while asking for forgiveness as you say it.  A free pass in a way… BUT…

But – it’s not!  Perhaps I’m just extra sensitive and pay more attention than I should.  However (hehehe… I wanted to type “but”) as a result of being hyper-sensitive to this word I also try to observe others when they hear (or say) the word.  There is a very slight change in their demeanor and body language, slight, but enough to see it when watching for a reaction.  Depending on what “but…” is preceded by I’ve witnessed people put up defensive walls, shut down, loose interest, get angry, become alarmed, or completely tune out.  I feel the person speaking looses creditably when they rely on “but…” as a crutch or as a way of saying a something difficult in a back-handed way.

As soon as someone has this gut reaction they will go into: flight, fight, or shut down mode and the conversation has lost all potential.  You may have had great words to say, great thoughts, ideas, suggestions… the person you’re talking to will have the “but” on their mind which will place barriers and walls up all over.  I’ve found this to be true in both professional and personal life.

I challenge you to check yourself and think about if you have a “but” habit!  

Of course there are times and places when the word “but” is absolutely appropriate.  I did a little research on grammatical use of the word “but” which is called a “conjunction”.

A little Grammar 101:

Compound Sentences

Compound sentences are made up of two or more simple sentences combined using a conjunction such as and,or or but. They are made up of more than one independent clause joined together with a co-ordinating conjunction.

For example:

“The sun was setting in the west and the moon was just rising.”

Each clause can stand alone as a sentence.

For example:

“The sun was setting in the west. The moon was just rising.”

Every clause is like a sentence with a subject and a verb. A coordinating conjunction goes in the middle of the sentence, it is the word that joins the two clauses together, the most common are (and, or, but)

For example:

  • I walked to the shops, but my husband drove.
  • I might watch the film, or I might visit my friends.
  • My friend enjoyed the film, but she didn’t like the actor
Read more about conjunctions and compound sentences HERE