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“Comparison is the Thief of Joy”

 

One of the opening statements in Precision nutritions post pretty much sums up how all of us have felt at times:

“It seems like everyone else is doing so much better than you. It seems like everyone else can handle their lives. Everyone Else quickly learns the habits we teach. Everyone Else is losing weight or gaining muscle or getting fitter so much faster and more effortlessly than you. Everyone Else has everything you don’t.

It feels like you are the only person in the world with your problems.

The truth is:

THERE IS NO EVERYONE ELSE.

There are only imperfect, wonderful, messy, very-much-human beings with hopes and fears and desires and neuroses and jobs and lives and kids and dogs or cats and family demands and toilets that need unclogging and lines-becoming-wrinkles and hangnails and alarms that go off too early and a love of chocolate-chip cookies… and all the rest of reality.

Like you.

Like me.

Like all of us.

In other words…

We can stop worrying about being the only person who isn’t fit enough, smart enough, together enough, getting enough things done in a day, a good enough mom / dad / worker, whatever and we can pursue fitness, nutrition, and health goals that are actually realistic and attainable — and feel good about what we do instead of inadequate.

Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you Precision Nutrition for summarizing perfectly what I have a hard time putting into words. We have ALL felt this way at least one moment in time and social media does not make this any better. We see peoples highlights of their lives and assume thats the normal. Things are so easy for these top athletes we see on Instagram with chiseled abs who can spend hours each day in the gym. The stay at home mom with 3 children in different sports, who also runs a fashion blog and can still have these elaborate dinners ready by the time her husband gets home. The traveler, those hipsters we see with the cool clothes that take these beautiful pictures of places we can’t seem to manage exploring in our own busy lives yet they’re jet setting from place to place. Yes, their lives look pretty amazing on social media but what we aren’t seeing is the behind the scenes, the messy do overs, and emotions we all are faced with. The athlete with chiseled abs who seems to have an endless supply of time to spend in the gym actually gets up at the crack of dawn before the rest of her family to MAKE the time in the gym. The mom who seems to run the show without a flaw definitely has her moments of thinking ” what the heck have I gotten myself in to!” with spilled coffee on her shirt and runny nosed kids. Those travelers we see exploring new destinations actually work 40 hour a week desk jobs and save up every penny they can to explore on the weekends. Comparison is the thief of joy and by comparing our every day lives to these peoples highlights, we are drowning ourselves in expectation that is unrealistic and we will never fulfill. These people are human, they have struggles just like the rest of us and they didn’t achieve the things they have without a little blood sweat and tears.

So give yourself a little credit. Stop comparing your journey to others and start looking at how far you have come! What are some of your milestones you’ve reached in the last 6 months? The last year? Maybe you couldn’t run a mile 6 months ago and now you can run 2! Maybe you were grabbing fast food 5 nights a week and now you’re making healthy dinners at home 3 of those nights. These healthy changes are all something to be celebrated and you should never feel like your progress is inadequate compared to the stars you see on social media or even people you know personally. Focus on your journey and making those steps in the right direction to be the healthiest happiest version of you. You may never have rock hard abs, or be able to run a perfectly poised household while working full time but thats okay! You can rock your yoga pants with the best of them and you made it out of the house this morning with lunches packed, the dog fed, and a happier mindset knowing you’re doing the best you can and thats something to be celebrated. We are all doing the best we can in this messy thing called life, lets celebrate our victories. This week take some time to really think about how far you’ve come in the last year. 2016 is coming to an end and I think its important to reflect on all the milestones and victories we have achieved and start thinking about what you want to achieve in 2017. This your life so dream big and work your butt off because no one else is going to do it for you! 

Cheering you on from the sidelines with love,

Mallory

Today I Am Thankful

Thanksgiving is this week and of course this question got me thinking! Will I be full? Ummm. …heck yes, because I love food and my family loves to cook. Thankful? Absolutely and I love that this holiday makes us take a step back and show some gratitude. But what about the rest of the year?

We are always pushing for the next goal, the next raise, the new car, the bigger house and I think its really important to push pause and be thankful for what we have in the present. We should be practicing showing gratitude all year round with our attitude and our actions. Showing gratitude makes you feel good on the inside and in turn, makes others feel good. Studies show that people who regularly integrate gratitude into their lives exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic. How can you really have a terrible day when you’re busy focusing on the great things that happened? I’m going to start practicing more of this in my life and I challenge you all to as well! If you need some ideas of where to start, I’m listing some below:

  1. Start a gratitude journal. Each night write down one thing that happened that day that was pretty awesome or that you’re thankful for and try to be specific. My entry today is “Im thankful for that church and their witty sayings, sometimes they make me laugh, sometimes they give me ideas for blog posts!”
  2. Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries or other milestones! Each year write a letter or make a note card detailing the positive things that happened this past year. Seal it and read it a year from now when you’re celebrating the next birthday or anniversary. These are momentous occasions and worth celebrating. Its easy to get in a rut and focus on what our partner isn’t doing, or what our year lacked, this year, change your focus to the positives. 
  3. Pass the gratitude around the table. This one my older sister started at her house and the last visit I was there, we went around the dinner table and everyone shared one thing they were grateful for that day or week. Its a positive practice for us and our kids, my niece and nephew were both excited to share something that was special to them. 
  4. Be thankful for the people in the service industry! They have some of the toughest jobs out there and can take a lot of attitude from angry customers so make sure to tell your server or barista thanks for the great service. 
  5. Don’t just be grateful for the good, recognize the positive things in the hard stuff too! Lessons learned or situations where you feel you’ve been wronged typically teach us something important, be grateful for those hard things and how they served you. 
  6. Write a letter to someone thats touched you. This is such an easy thing we can all do yet we never take the time to actually fulfill it. An old school teacher, a helpful salesperson, an old friend or your grandparents, take 10 minutes out of your day to write them a letter telling them how you feel about them or thanking them for a nice gesture and then mail it. Getting mail these days is exciting for anyone and that little 10 minute letter could turn someones entire day around! My grandma used to send me little news clips or newsletters from rescue animal organizations and every time I got one it made my day. Not only because I love animals, but because I knew she was thinking of me when she clipped those out and mailed them. 
  7. Last but certainly not least, appreciate the beauty all around you! We are rushing around from place to place trying to squeeze the most out of our days and we forget to appreciate the force that is bigger than ourselves. Next time you’re outside on a beautiful crisp fall day, or witnessing a pretty sunset, take the time to stop and appreciate it. We are lucky to get to witness such beauty, don’t take it for granted. 

I hope that heading into this week you can stop and practice one of these ways to show gratitude. I know we are all working towards our goals and its easy to focus on what we don’t have yet but there are also so many things that need recognition right now. Thanksgiving is in a couple days and this time of year always reminds us to focus on being thankful but lets try to practice this each and every day. I read somewhere that if everyone threw their problems into a big pile, you would take yours back once you saw the other problems people tossed in. Our problems or trials can definitely feel like the worst thing EVER when we are going through them but there is someone out there fighting a much tougher battle. Be happy, be grateful. You never know where your life will take you or what could be taken away in the blink of an eye so we need to be grateful as heck for all the victories, wonder and grace in our lives that we have right now. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Mallory

Faced With Opposition?

On vacation you want to get up and go for an early morning run but are met with eye rolls and the familiar “We’re supposed to be on vacation, you don’t need to workout!” 

Most of the negative critiques you hear come from people who are insecure about their own unhealthy habits or people who really do mean well but are just misinformed. Starting and sticking to a healthy new lifestyle habit is challenging enough so when we are faced with negative nay sayers, it can be tempting to fall off the wagon or meet their comments with a snappy defense. Instead of creating awkward tension by reacting with anger, remember most people are well intentioned. With the holidays coming, you’ll probably be faced with this situation   a time or two so I wanted to give you some ideas of how to positively respond in those social situations. 

  • At Christmas dinner, Grandma keeps insisting you eat the pie she made special just for you. This hits home for me, my Grandma loves to bake and she usually always makes us something special. If its not something that is serving your current goal, say thanks but stick to your plan. If the point continues to be pushed, you can always say that you’re full after dinner but would love to take a piece home for later. Once your home you can do with it what you want.
  • For lunchtime in the office, your coworkers are ordering out from a restaurant that doesn’t serve the healthiest options and ask you to join. Keep it simple and say no thanks. Usually people won’t challenge you on a simple no, but if they do, you can always make an excuse that you’re saving up wiggle room for a nice dinner out later. If you want to participate in the future, get to know the area where you work and get some menus from local restaurants. This way you can look over their menu ahead of time and have a couple healthy options in mind. 
  • At your weekend getaway with your spouses family, you wake up an hour early to sneak in a 3 mile run before breakfast but once you’re back everyone is chiming in on how you workout too much. When it comes to eating healthy and working out, there is definitely a balance but if your habits are healthy, then there is nothing wrong with wanting to start your day off with a jog. When others feel insecure about their lifestyle habits, they sometimes can be judgmental of yours. Thank them for being concerned and explain that your morning jogs help clear your head and release the tension from your work week. Stress can take a huge toll on our health so by explaining that running is a stress relief for you, they should understand. 
  • During happy hour with friends, your bestie keeps begging you to have a drink. Usually in situations where people are drinking, its easier to keep it short. Say you don’t feel like drinking or offer to be the driver. By ordering an iced tea or club soda, it still puts a drink in front of you and takes the attention away from not drinking. 

Usually when starting a lifestyle change that is helping to be a healthier happier you, our loved ones are super supportive and want us to succeed! I think we fear that people won’t be accepting of the changes we are trying to make but you’ll find that most are open to it and want to be as accommodating as possible. Hopefully you won’t run into these situations very frequently but if you do, I hope that the above examples gave you some simple tips on how to address it. Stay strong and keep the big picture in mind, your health and happiness is the most important thing and who knows, maybe some of those nay sayers will be coming to you for some helpful advice later!

With love,

Mallory

Finding My Balance

We spent last weekend trying to tame this empty neglected lot and one of my jobs was to pressure wash the last few years of lake slime off the dock. What I thought would be a quick 30-minute task turned into a three hour one that ended up being just what my soul needed. My days lately have been filled with long work hours at the office, training, responding to client emails, and then a sudden family tragedy. My cousin who I had just joked with a few days prior had a sudden heart attack at home and passed away. All these life stresses had been building up inside of me and losing my cousin left me feeling overwhelmed. Having those few hours to myself pressure washing the dock ended up being a moment of clarity. I had so many thoughts scrambling around that I could finally take the time to sort out and the one major one that I could no longer ignore was about the one thing I coach people on, flexible eating.

As coaches, we put this pressure on ourselves to be perfect. We have a ton of people coming to us for our wisdom and knowledge and putting their trust in us and that rocks! It excites me because being able to help others reach their goals is what lights the fire inside me. Most of my clients I’ve never met in the flesh so asking for their complete trust in me and this process is asking a lot. This in itself makes me want to be the best “living example” of everything I coach. I can’t have off days of tracking and definitely not a bad attitude about it. If I’m asking clients to hit their targets and stay on track, adhere to the plan, then I most definitely must do that myself because I want to lead by example.  But the truth is we are human, we are not perfect and I don’t expect perfection from anyone, so why do I hold myself to an unreachable standard?

My cousin passing away left me thinking what is this life about? How do I want to spend my days? In the end what is going to matter most? Am I going to look back and think, thank god I stuck to my plan down to the exact macro? Standing there on this beautiful lake with the sun beaming down I let go of the ego and got real. I realized I had been obsessing over how I was going to stick to my plan and was ruining my good time before it even happened. We usually boat all day and then come back to camp for BBQ’s and games, bonfires and beer. Thinking of the events that would take place this coming weekend I was already scolding myself for “mistakes” that hadn’t occurred. “No mimosas for you, they’re too high carb! No s’mores when everyone else around you is making them. No unlogged nibbles of ANYTHING and absolutely no fun”. I could try programming all those things in, sure, but thinking practically, while camping I didn’t want to spend most of my time obsessing over my phone using my fitness pal trying to track the perfect macros while everyone else is playing corn hole outside. The talk that was going on in my head before any of this had even occurred is what shocked me the most. Eating a s’more is not a mistake or something I should feel guilty about. This is not what life should be like and definitely not what flexible eating is all about. It is all about balance!

I train 5 days a week because I like to feel strong and want to stay healthy. I have been involved with CrossFit for over 5 years and it’s taken consistency and time to be able to lift the weights I do now. Do I beat myself up if I miss one class a week because life got busy? Heck no! Missing one class or even a couple days of training isn’t going to make my progress backslide to 5 years ago. All the sweat and energy I put in to building strong muscles is not lost because I took a vacation. Could I have made some progress if I hadn’t missed those days? Sure, but the gym will still be waiting for me when I return and I can guarantee I’ll come back into the gym refreshed and ready to kick butt because I just fed my soul a whole lotta love on a vacation with people I love. I’m saying all of this because this is exactly the same when it comes to tracking and flexible eating. We start this journey because we have a goal in mind that we are working towards and yes, it takes commitment, consistency and time. Having one off day is not going to erase the last 3 months of progress. If we set our standards to perfection, we are setting ourselves up for misery and failure. It’s okay to not be on point 100% of the time. I’m a little OCD so realizing all of this was huge for me. I’m going to stick to my plan and continue tracking my macros because I love the “freedom” that comes along with that and I have specific goals in mind but I’m also going to give myself a break about trying to be perfect. I’ve been tracking long enough to have a good idea of what foods fit within my daily targets and I’m going to make smart choices while camping. I think being aware of the choices you make and the foods you put in your mouth is still serving its purpose towards your goals. I’ll mainly stick to lean proteins and fill up on lots of veggies (because I love them!) but I’m absolutely not going to have the negative self-talk if I end up indulging with a s’more. I’m not going to binge and eat everything in sight but I’m allowing room for balance.

Not sticking to my macros perfectly every single day of my life does not define me as a failure. I’ve finally realized that I can work towards my goals but still live my life. Instead of allowing the negative thoughts to creep in when I don’t fulfill the expectations I set for myself, I’m really focusing on practicing self-love and allowing room for imperfection because life is about balance. I see this happening a lot amongst my peers, people at my office, in the gym, my closest friends, everywhere and I guess the point to writing this is to hopefully start some reflection within yourselves. Instead of waking up each morning and thinking about the wrongs from the day before or the things you need to change and fix, I want you to think about 2 solid things you value about yourself in this present moment. We are not our failures, we are worthy of greatness and love and no better place to start than within ourselves.   

With love,

Mallory

Tracking While on the Go!

At the gym this morning, we took the WOD outside to try and soak up as much of it as we could. Shirts were stripped off, sunglasses were taken out of the compartment where they’ve rested the last 7months and everyone had a genuine smile, intoxicated by vitamin D. It felt like a summer day and that’s what prompted me to write this post! 

Summer is upon us and that means week long vacations or weekend getaways for some rest and relaxation. Spontaneous road trips with friends for some adventure and laughter. These moments are rare for many of us with our full time jobs and family obligations so when they do happen, we would never want your stress about your diet or tracking to take away from the experience! When you’ve made huge strides in improving your nutrition and your progress is rolling, its hard to head into a vacation without the worry of how to enjoy your time without flushing away the hard work you’ve put in. I’m going to share some tips below that you may find useful if you are trying to track and stick to your plan while vacationing. Preparation is key; if you head in to it prepared, you’ll enjoy your vacation guilt free knowing you’re sticking to your plan and progressing while playing.

  1. Prep and pack: My first advice would be to think of snacks and foods for meals that you can prep ahead of time and take. By prepping snacks or meals and entering them ahead of time for your vacation, you’ll get a better idea of what foods you need to eat while gone to hit the remaining macros. Protein is usually the hardest for people to hit on the road so by planning some lean proteins, you’re giving yourself a better chance of hitting those. If you can’t weigh everything while you’re on the road, grab foods that are already prepared but have a barcode scanner you can scan into my fitness pal. Turkey Jerky, nuts, quest protein bars, and rice cakes with some prepackaged peanut butter or weighed out PB2 are easy go to’s for me that are quick and packable. 
  2. Do your research. Search for restaurants where you’ll be staying or know you’ll be eating out at. Many restaurants list their nutrition info online. You can browse through their menu and get an idea of some options that look good to you and plug in the macros they have listed.
  3. Leave a macro cushion: By savings a carb and fat cushion for your meal out, it can reduce error in estimating macros for a meal you didn’t prepare. When I went to Cali, I knew we would be eating out at dinners so I ate egg whites and veggies scrambled for breakfast, prepared salads with a lean protein for lunch and gave myself enough wiggle room to enjoy dinner out without stressing over it. Restaurants are very accommodating so if you order a grilled chicken breast with steamed veggies, make sure to request no butter or oil and they’re happy to help. Fats are easy to go over on and are over twice the calories per gram so try avoiding foods cooked in fats that you can’t measure yourself.
  4. Plan on drinking? If you know you’re going to be going out to dinner and having a couple drinks, plug those in to your food log that morning so you know those carbs or fats are accounted for. 
  5. Dont stress: A year down the road, when you look back on your vacation or that special time spent with loved ones, you’re not going to remember that extra tablespoon of butter you may have ate or beat yourself up about not quite hitting your protein goal one day. You’re going to remember the times you laughed and the fun experiences you got to enjoy. Those memories made last a life time and are so important for our soul. 

Make smart choices with your foods and follow the tips above and you’re going to do just fine! When you get back to the grind, jump right back into it and give it your all and you’ll pick up where you left off. Hope you all get to do at least one awesome thing this summer that awakens your soul. I know I’ll be filling any opportunity I get with random adventures all while living that Flex Fuel life!  

With Love,

Mallory

The Weekend Rollercoaster Ride You Want Off Of

Sort of. You should always acknowledge your successes and celebrate them but this does not mean going off on a two day eating spree that leaves you feeling guilty and hinders your progress. I am guilty of the weekend roller-coaster. After a week of eating on point, what’s the harm of grabbing drinks with friends on Friday, a Saturday night dinner date or Sunday brunch. Nothing as long as you don’t let this snowball into a weekend long binge. I came across this article that gives great tips on how to make smart choices when the weekend comes around and stop the cycle of weekend overeating.

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/weekend-overeating

The failure behind meal plans

Sohee Lee is the author of ‘How To Count Macros’ and the inspiration behind Sohee Fit. When recently speaking with a client who asked for a meal plan, this excerpt from her book came to mind. I went back and read it again and she really hit the nail on the head as to why giving our clients meal plans is not helping them reach their long term goals. We want to set our clients up with the necessary tools and the confidence to use them by showing you how to track properly and that even when life gets hectic, the flexibility of tracking macros allows you to stay on course. Read Sohee’s explanation below to understand why not giving our clients specific meal plans is actually helping them!

We’ve got your back and best interest at heart!

With love,

Mallory

“There seems to be this ongoing debate over the virtues of prescribing meal plans versus assigning macronutrient numbers to follow. My first prep coach had me on a meal plan, after all, and I lost a good number of inches. And that’s the point, isn’t it?

Not quite.

Meal plans are a means to an end. I’ll admit that once upon a time, I also handed out meal plans to my online clients—customized meal plans suited to their individual preferences and lifestyles, but meal plans nonetheless. They liked them, and really, I don’t blame them. All you have to do as a client is to procure the foods listed on your meal plan, cook everything up, and follow everything meal by meal. It’s easy because you don’t have to think about anything or understand how many calories or macros are in what amount of food. There’s zero knowing; merely doing. Receive a plan and execute for two weeks. Send in a check-in, receive an update, and then execute yet again.

And therein lies the problem.

There’s nothing sustainable about following a meal plan. What if you run out of eggs one morning? What if the thought of chugging down another protein shake makes you sick to your stomach? What if you have to go out for dinner with some friends? What are you going to do?

Most people don’t know any other way except to doggedly stick to the program. Which is great from an adherence standpoint (here’s a gold sticker for your superb effort!), but it fails miserably when it comes to being able to still enjoy your quality of life. I’ve squandered too many nights in the past turning down dinners and social outings with friends because I was afraid to eat anything besides chicken, broccoli, and almonds as my last meal of the day. I was too scared to let anything get in the way of my reaching my fitness goals and ultimately being happy—because oooobviously True Happiness lies waiting patiently in a pot of gold at the end of the Rainbow of Lean Bodies (that’s totally not true, by the way). Family vacation? No thanks—I’d rather sit at home by myself and prepare my own meals everyday. Best friend’s wedding? I’m so tempted to back out because I don’t know how to manage myself with all the wedding food around me.

Additionally, following a meal plan keeps you dependent on your coach. Why? Because you have to continue going back to her for a different meal plan each time you have a different goal. An irresponsible coach—or an incredibly money-hungry, business-savvy coach, depending on how you look at it— will push this on her clients because it means continued business. Knowledge is power, and she wants you to have none of it. So there’s you, with no understanding of food or macronutrients or calories after months and months of being on this fitness program, and there’s apparently no foreseeable end to your working relationship with your coach. She likes keeping you in the dark because it’s easier for her. After all, going out and recruiting clients is hard work, and why would she want to do that?

Then comes the art of macro counting. (It’s totally a skill, by the way.) The greatest benefit from learning how to count your macros is that it teaches you how to think for yourself. I know, I know—we all want the results without having to do any of the thinking, right? But your eating should not be a crutch. By learning what foods can substitute for what, how to fit your beloved treats into your day, how to navigate your way around an evening meal out with your coworkers without messing up your entire day—by learning how to do all of this, the probability of your attaining your fitness goals and having them last becomes exponentially higher.

Fat loss in and of itself is not a complicated process, but it sure as hell isn’t easy, either. So why should you make it harder than it needs to be by restricting yourself to a meal plan? Say, for example, you were preparing dinner and a handful of grapes jumped into your mouth. But meal 4 of the day calls for 150g brown rice and 5oz chicken. So, uhh… oops. You obviously didn’t follow the rules. Might as well just call it a wash for the day and dip into that Haagen Daz for dinner, right?

You don’t have to admit that you’ve done something similar; I know I certainly have. When you fall off the wagon, it’s hard to get back on. I get that. And there’s certainly appeal in the idea of starting over tomorrow— or next Monday, or next week, or next month, or even next year (what’s up, New Year’s Resolutioners! Yeah, I know you’re hiding). You want to start fresh with a clean slate and take perfect steps along the way.  But guess what? A little 200-Calorie oopsie is hardly going to put a dent into your progress; a 3,000-calorie eating bender, however, will surely set you back. All that hard work you put in over the past week? Yeah, that’s gone now. One step forward, five steps back. Well done.

What I’m trying to say here is this: just because you slipped up a little bit doesn’t mean that you’ve failed. And if you’re counting your macros, you’ve hardly messed up; all you need to do, then, is adjust your food choices for the remainder of the day and you can still come in on target by day’s end.

Would a meal plan allow you to do that? Nope.

Counting macros takes your needs into account. How often are clients prescribed white fish and broccoli to eat day in and day out? After a (short) while, it’s not uncommon to grow to hate said foods. You used to love seared halibut? Now the mere thought of it makes you gag (sort of like tequila, hmmm…) and you dread your meals. And what about that incredible fit recipe you saw on a blog the other day? Protein flapjacks, physique-friendly grilled cheese, hamburger salad…. Does it really make sense to say no to these foods because “it’s not on your meal plan”?

Look. There’s nothing inherently magical about chicken and green beans. So if you want to try out a new food or a new recipe—go ahead. You’re not going to wake up with an extra tire around your waist tomorrow. Have at it. Fit it into your macros. And don’t you dare let yourself feel any guilt over it.”