Can emotional eating be a good idea?

In the last few years, emotional eating has become pretty taboo. In every group coaching program I run, ladies talk about how eating for reasons other than hunger/nutrition is holding them back from reaching their goals. There are countless articles about how emotional eating leads to weight gain. And honestly, it seems like every coach out there is saying that emotional eating is the devil.

I get it. Eating is a way to fuel our bodies and help us reach our performance and aesthetic goals, so if we are eating for reasons other than fueling our bodies-like for comfort or enjoyment-that seems bad, right?

As a nutrition coach, I totally understand that emotional eating can be a barrier to reaching our goals. But as a human being (and a woman going through a break up), I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about emotional eating and wondering if it is always so harmful.

Well, I’m gonna take a less popular stance and say, no. It’s just not that simple. 

Food is much more than fuel.

Food is social, communal, and fun. Simplifying the equation and saying that we should only eat for fuel is ignoring the human element of eating. We eat with friends out at happy hour, enjoying the conversation and the taste of the snacks. We sip wine because it relaxes us and makes us feel good.

And that is totally okay.

For years, when I was struggling with my eating disorder, I believed that I should never eat or drink something with ’empty’ calories. I would never have a soda or juice, because those calories were not giving my body nutrition. Drinking alcohol was foreign to me, because it only gave pleasure, not nutrition.

Like all the coaches and trainers out there saying “emotional eating is bad (always),” I made nutrition very black and white. But, my friends, it’s not that simple. There are definitely situations where eating for reasons like comfort, relaxation, or just plain enjoyment is perfectly fine.  Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that we should always be eating for reasons other than nutrition. 

Instead, I’ve distilled down a couple situations in which emotional eating is okay/normal/not detrimental to reaching our goals.

2 conditions that could make emotional eating helpful-not harmful

Is emotional eating all bad? Talking through 2 conditions that can make emotional eating helpful to your goals. Stop emotional eating - Emotional eating thoughts

You’re doing it mindfully and with full awareness

The true problem with emotional eating comes when we do it without recognizing what the heck we are doing. We all know that feeling, watching TV after a long day and looking down to realize that we’ve just eaten half the bag or chips. Or maybe we reach for a cookie at work because we’re stressed and they’re right in the break room.

Without awareness of our behaviors, we set ourselves up to eat in ways that keep us from reaching our goals.

I’d argue that the reason emotional eating is harmful is because we don’t always recognize that we are eating to soothe ourselves.

If, instead, we consciously choose situations (and foods) that make ourselves happy in the midst of bullshit, we’re actually engaging in a form of self care.

Sangria sorbet cheat day

As I worked through a lot of pain and sadness in my break up, I found myself wanting to eat more foods that I enjoyed. Instead of berating myself for wanting the whole Lenny & Larry’s cookie instead of half, I asked myself why and consciously chose to eat something I enjoy, instead of restricting.

I also recognized that there’s a huge difference between eating for comfort (as our only coping mechanism) and making food choices that are easy, tasty, and enjoyable. When we are going through tough times, it’s important to make things easier and not stress over the small stuff. Part of this is defaulting to our nutrition survival strategies and another part is being aware of our choices/behaviors.

When we are aware that we are eating for emotional reasons, we can consciously ask ourselves if this is the choice we want to make. If so, cool. Have the cookie. If not, maybe do something else.

You’re simultaneously using other mechanisms to cope

At the end of the day, eating foods we enjoy should never be the only thing we do to soothe or relax ourselves. Sure, having a glass of wine or a treat helps in the moment. But, if it is the only thing we do to care for ourselves, eating emotionally can become unhealthy.

We get into trouble when food is the only thing that brings us joy, however, eating for comfort is not inherently bad. It’s just one strategy to help us handle the challenges life throws our way.

Over relying on any one strategy for self care can be problematic.

Eating for comfort should always be combined with other methods of self care, including exercise, spending time with friends and family, snuggling a dog, or talking with a therapist.

If you take one thing away from this post, remember that emotional eating is not all bad. It can be part of a healthy lifestyle and doesn’t have to derail your health and fitness goals. Stay aware, choose options that make your life easier, and make sure that you are practicing other methods of self care.

Looking for more information on how to eat consistently while still enjoying the foods you eat? My #ConsistentNutrition Cheatsheet can help you navigate the middle between deprivation and the guilt that comes from overeating.

Even at 10 years in recovery, my eating disorder still comes up. These are the two things I do when my disordered eating tendencies show up.

What I do when my disordered eating tendencies come back

A couple weeks back, I got a question that shocked me a bit. One of my past coaching clients/friends, asked me outright: do you still struggle with your eating disorder? Honestly, for a second, I paused, worried what admitting the truth about my disordered eating tendencies would do. I momentarily panicked that it would make me *less* of a coach. I stumbled with my words for a moment, trying to figure out what to say.

But only for a second.

After my momentary slip into imposter syndrome, I confidently wrote back this message.

Yes.The thoughts come up. I just don’t act on them.But I think the thoughts will always be there to be honest, especially when we’re stressed. 

And this is really common isn’t it?

When we’re stressed and overwhelmed, our bad habits and self destructive tendencies show their ugly heads. Whether it’s overeating, drinking a bit too much, or exercising excessively, it’s really easy to slip back into old patterns when life gets tough.

And for me, that’s my disordered eating tendencies. Whenever it feels like shit is hitting the fan, my brain reverts to how I used to handle stress (cuz that’s easiest). The difference between me 10 years ago and now is how I handle it.

Today, I’m sharing the two things I do when my disordered eating tendencies come back.

What I do when my disordered eating tendencies show up

Even at 10 years in recovery, my eating disorder still comes up. These are the two things I do when my disordered eating tendencies show up.

Revert to my nutrition survival strategies

When all I want to do is eat less (or workout for an extra 20 minutes), I immediately return to simple nutrition strategies that make it really easy to eat well (and enough).

I don’t stress about getting enough veggies. I stop worrying about eating too many bars. I snack.

Basically, I make my life reallllly easy when it comes to food, so that I have less room for error and I stress about it less (I talk all about my nutrition survival strategies here).

Recognize when we’re slipping

But how can we do that? Simple. We get super clinical and figure out what’s actually going on.

My favorite way to do this is to ask ourselves why, not just once but about 5 times. As we force ourselves to double down on what’s actually happening we can get to the root of the problem. Below is the exact conversation I had with myself a couple weeks back.

Why am I worried that I’m restricting?
Why am I restricting myself?
Why do I think restricting is gonna help?
Why do I feel like I need to change my body?
Why do I have to diet and restrict to change my body? 

Getting to this point broke my heart a little bit, because I realized why so many of us are struggling: we see restriction and over exercise as the only ways to change our bodies (spoiler: it’s not).

See, I’m a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach. I coach women every single day on how to change their bodies without obsession, stress, or restriction. I absolutely know better. But the truth is, restriction is such a part of who I am, I have to call myself on my BS every once in a while. This doesn’t mean that I give into these tendencies anymore but I have to acknowledge that they’re still present.

So, if you’re struggling, start asking yourself why. Keep asking until you get to the root of the issue. It’s not easy, but it’s so so important.

This kind of personal, vulnerable stuff is EXACTLY what I share with my tribe. They get my best stuff, and I email them weekly. I would love for you to join us. Sign up here or at the link in the sidebar 🙂

Why your body isn’t changing: 4 lies you’re telling yourself

You’re ready to see changes in your body but don’t wanna get obsessive or stressed about fat loss. #ConsistentlyLean Coaching could be the perfect fit for you. Sign ups are open until Sunday ONLY, so grab your spot asap to learn how to get stronger, leaner, and more confident without stress or restriction. 

You’ve been trying to change your body for a while now. You know the basics of what matters to fat loss , so you’re eating more vegetables, exercising, and getting better sleep. But it’s Saturday morning, you roll out of bed, and head over to the scale to check your progress. You can feel the dread in the bottom of your stomach as you step on, and dread turns to frustration when you see that you’re up a pound from last week. As you walk out of the bathroom to get dressed, you’re so angry that you aren’t seeing results.

And if you’re anything like me, that’s when the little voice starts talking (yelling) in your head, giving you all the reasons why you’re failing at this whole fat loss thing.

What if I told you that little voice is what’s keeping you from seeing changes?

Through working with over a hundred women in the last year, I’ve found that a lot of us are telling ourselves the exact same lies. And these lies about ourselves and our fat loss journey keep us from moving forward, making progress, and seeing changes.

If your fat loss journey has stalled, check yourself and see if you’re telling yourself one of these four lies. Heads up, this is a little bit of a tough love post <3

Four lies you’re telling yourself about fat loss

Fat loss progress stalled? Make sure you're not telling yourself one of these lies. Fat loss diet - fat loss workout - fat loss plan - fat loss articles

I don’t have time.

One of the most common things I hear when ladies are struggling to see results is that they just can’t seem to find the time to exercise and eat right.

Look, I get it. Life is busy. We have a thousand things going on, and often the last thing we want to do is fit in a workout.

Truth is, both exercise and thinking about what we should eat take time. But, it doesn’t take up as much time as we think.

If you’re having a hard time seeing results AND you think it’s due to a lack of time, we gotta do two things:

  1. Audit our time – figure out where we are spending our free moments and double check that they’re in line with our goals. Although watching two hours of Grey’s Anatomy (just me?) is fun/relaxing, if I’m missing my workout because of it, be aware of it.
  2. Shorten the amount of time required for fitness & nutrition – I swear, it is possible. If we can automate our eating decisions (one of my fave methods) and shorten our workouts (here’s why), we can stop using the ‘time’ excuse. Often, just a few simple shifts are enough to help us feel much more in control of our routine.

I can’t eat X.

One of the BIGGEST lies we tell ourselves during our fat loss journey is that we can’t eat some specific food that brings us joy.

Cookies…cake…red wine…Mike’s HardER Lemonade…chips…whatever. The actual food doesn’t matter.

Coaches and trainers will tell us, over and over, that we have to eliminate specific foods from our diets in order to see results. And for those of us with any restrictive or obsessive tendencies, being told we can have ‘none’ can send us into a downward spiral.

And I hate to break it to you, but these coaches and trainers are simply being lazy.

Yes. There are foods that will slow down our progress a bit. But in no way shape or form does that mean we *can’t* eat them.

If you’re finding yourself constantly thinking “I can’t eat this,” this is for you.

Instead of completely depriving yourself, let’s find a way to include this food into your eating, without it creating a ton of stress OR derailing your progress.

With my #ConsistentlyLean ladies, I teach them to consciously indulge. Consciously indulging allows us to eat/drink our fave foods, without letting it turn into a binge. This is HUGE.

From one of my clients: Indulging, letting yourself eat (and drink) the things you love without feeling guilty was a huge piece for me.” 

My friends, it IS possible to lose weight while still enjoying pizza and cocktails. I can show you exactly how through #ConsistentlyLean Coaching. Grab deets and your spot here.

I’m already working out, so it’ll never work for me.

One of the most frustrating things is when we are already working out, trying our best on our own to make our body change, but not seeing results.

This happened to me for YEARS as I slogged my way through 60+ minute BodyRock.tv workouts every day. I thought I was doing everything right, training correctly, and doing what mattered to results. Still, week after week, my body remained unchanged. This left me looking in the mirror, thinking that I would never be able to see changes.

False.

If you’ve been training for a while and results have stalled, that does not mean that you’ll never reach your goals. It just means that you need to make a change to your workout routine. Ask yourself these three questions.

  1. Am I actually being consistent with my workouts? Many times, we let ourselves think that we are doing it all correctly but are still missing multiple workouts. Missing workouts is a recipe for stalled progress. Double check that you’re not making one of these consistency mistakes that lead to missing workouts.
  2. Do my workouts continually challenge me to get stronger? If you’ve been doing the same thing for a while, your body knows and has adapted. This is why it’s so important to follow a periodized training program that changes things up often and keeps your body guessing. You can try to do this alone (this post may help) or you can join a program like #ConsistentlyLean where a coach does it for you.
  3. Am I getting enough rest? Often, we are working too hard AND under-recovered. Our bodies actually need rest and recovery in order for us to see results. So if you’re feeling a bit worn down, that could be playing into your stalled results. Check this out if you’re wondering how many rest days you *actually* need.

I just can’t stay motivated.

If we aren’t talking about consistency, I guarantee we’re talking about motivation as the biggest barrier to seeing results.

When I asked a bunch of ladies their number one struggle, this is what I heard:

Staying constant and motivated. I often dread working out.

Consistency & Motivation

Motivation in the face of baby related exhaustion

Eating healthy and being motivated to exercise

Sound familiar?

I get it. Staying motivated isn’t easy when we have dozens of competing priorities. However, we can do two things to make motivation easier (and stop telling ourselves that motivation is why we’re struggling).

  1. Stop relying on motivation to eat well and exercise. To be totally honest, motivation has absolutely nothing to do with reaching your goals. If you’re following a solid program, with plenty of support, and have automated (most) of your eating, you shouldn’t need any motivation to reach your goals. This is why I have designed #ConsistentlyLean to focus only on the things that matter, so that we can take motivation out of the equation. If you wanna try it on your own, this may help.
  2. Get really clear on WHY you’re doing this. When it comes down to it, if we don’t really know why we are trying to make these changes, we’re bound to fail. We’ve gotta figure out the real reason that we’re trying to lose weight/get stronger/feel more confident. So, if you keep telling yourself that motivation is your downfall, read this and start moving forward.

What now?

I know. Fat loss is hard. We can try to do absolutely everything right and STILL not see the results we’re hoping for. With awareness around these four lies, you can start trying to implement all of these changes on your own and make progress towards your goals.

But, if you want a done-for-you exercise and nutrition program, designed to help you lose fat and change the shape of your body without restriction or obsession, #ConsistentlyLean Coaching is for you. Obsession over the details is what’s keeping us from reaching our goals, so Consistently Lean will teach you how to move, eat, and think in a way that gets you the results you’re looking for, without stress. Grab your spot before Sunday night, and start with me next Monday! 

5 things buying a house taught me about fitness

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know that a huge part of my summer was buying our first condo. They accepted our offer in May. We moved in June. We did renovations and updates all throughout July. And now, my lovely friends, it’s August, we’ve made our first mortgage payment, and we’re finally starting to settle in.

We’re almost two months into homeownership, and I already feel like I’ve learned SO much in the process. And I’m not just talking about how to tile a floor, paint a wall, install baseboard, or stain a bathroom cabinet (although I’ll happily talk your ear off about those things). I’m talking about those *real* life lessons that we only learn through a lot of struggle.

So today, I wanna share those with you, because I’ve realized they’re actually super related to nutrition and fitness motivation.

5 things buying a house taught me about fitness motivation

After buying a house, I had some serious realizations that applied to fitness too. Sharing them! fitness motivation - fitness motivation quotes - fitness motivation ideas - fitness motivation meme

We can’t have it all

When we moved into our condo, I wanted to make it our own. It felt like we were crashing in someone else’s house. I immediately wanted to change absolutely everything.

As we sat down to come up with a game plan for updating our home, it became clear that we didn’t have enough time, money, or skill to do it all right now.

We couldn’t hire someone to paint the entire space AND rip up the carpet. 

We couldn’t pay for updates to both bathrooms immediately after dropping our savings on a downpayment. 

Laying down grass in the middle of the summer was just not gonna work.

Writing this now, I know it sounds silly and unrealistic, but in the moment, I wanted to do literally all the things. But the last couple months have shown me that everything is tradeoffs.

We have to choose the things that are most important to us in the moment and go from there.

And this is SO true for fitness, isn’t it? We all want to lose weight, build muscle, run faster, get stronger, and complete our first marathon.

Life is about priorities and tradeoffs.

Is losing weight more important than running a marathon?

Is running faster more important than building muscle?

All of our goals are totally valid, and it’s important to set goals, but we have to be able to prioritize the things we want in the moment and what can wait.

Take a look at your approach to fitness right now, and start prioritizing those goals.

The journey is never over

As we began making changes to our home, I thought I would begin to feel at peace and ready to stop.

Yeah.

The opposite happened.

As we made changes, I continually became aware of more changes I wanted to make. I’m told that this is the reality of a homeowner: always wanting to improve and work on your home.

This reminded me a LOT of our fitness journeys. As we start seeing results and feeling better, we get addicted. We want to keep doing it.

And even though we think that our fitness journey is gonna end when we lose 10lbs/run that first marathon/squat X weight, it never does.

It becomes part of our lifestyle and who we are, same as homeownership.

Perfect is an illusion

As we’re taking before and after pictures of our home and sharing them with friends and family, I’m amazed by the responses. I keep hearing things like: it looks perfect, you did such a great job, you must be so proud, etc etc etc.

And don’t get me wrong. I am incredibly proud and love everything we’ve changed about our home.

But it is far from perfect.

I see the spots where the tile isn’t 100% level. I notice the baseboard corner that is definitely not straight. It’s hard for me to ignore the water spots on the back of the counter.

I nitpick absolutely everything, because it is MINE. And isn’t this the same when it comes to fitness, nutrition, and all the social media representations of it?

We are so much harder on ourselves than others, and I think it’s important to remember that what we see is almost never the reality. It’s also been a great reminder to be more gentle with myself: perfect is impossible, and we’ve gotta remember that when viewing others’ social media highlights.

Patience is perhaps the most important virtue (that I don’t have)

Holy f. When we moved in, I wanted the walls painted, bathroom redone, and carpet pulled up YESTERDAY. Each day has been an exercise in waiting (im)patiently for the things I want.

And of course, life is always there to encourage our personal growth.

The bathroom shelves are still not done.

The flooring we ordered from Home Depot was never actually ordered and arrived 2 days late. 

Half of our furniture didn’t fit through the office door.

And I’ve had to learn to deal with it, accept the process and let go of the things I can’t control. Because, by the time our floors were finished, the desk was in the office, and our bathroom was functional again, it was worth the wait.

Same thing with fitness motivation, no?

We want all the results, right now, but that’s just impossible. We’ve gotta work towards the things that we want, and be patient enough to give it time.

Never sacrifice your life for your goals

When we first moved in (and for most of June/July if I’m being real), all I did was work on the house. I would get up in the morning, write, paint, and work out. Then, as soon as I got home from work, I’d change into my grubby clothes and start painting again.

There were quite a few nights that Andrew and I argued over whether we should have a drink and relax or work on painting/cleaning/moving.

You can probably guess my vote 😀

But as time wore on, I started to figure out that there was no rush. This is my life now, and work will always be there. As a friend of mine said, that’s why we signed a 30 year mortgage. So I started to slow down (not as much as Andrew would like but hey, baby steps), take a few breaks, and actually go out for drinks/dinner again.

And honestly, this reminded me SO much of our fitness and nutrition journeys.

We all want to get to the finish line as fast as possible, so we’re often willing to skip out on drinks with our friends, dinner with family, or an afternoon of hanging out by the pool instead of meal prepping.

But it is SO not worth it.

We’re here to live our lives, not restrict ourselves to a tiny box in the name of our goals.

So if you’re trying to reach some fitness or nutrition/body goals, take a second to ask yourself if you’re truly living your life or if it’s taken a back seat to reaching those goals.

It’s not a race to the finish line. We’re never gonna achieve “perfect” (here’s what I recommend instead). This journey is never over.

So we might as well enjoy the ride.

I hope these truths help you with your fitness motivation, and frankly, your life! Coming to terms with these concepts has been a huge part of my summer, and I wanted to make sure to share out what I’ve learned. If you want more fitness, nutrition, and mindset nuggets, join my email tribe. I share all my best stuff with my email buddies on Thursday mornings. Join the conversation!

3 reasons you don’t feel like working out (and how to fix them)

I hate to say it, but motivation is SUPER fleeting. There are mornings we wake up and are ready to go. We slept well, had a great cup of coffee, and are itching to crush a workout (why not #SkipTheGym and do it at home?!).

But that’s not always the case, is it?

Alarm goes off for the 5th time, after repeatedly pressing snooze. We had planned to get in a workout but staying in bed seems like SUCH a better option. It’s not that we’re sore, overly tired, or injured. We don’t don’t feel like working out.

Motivation shifts and changes, sometimes even throughout the day. As a trainer and nutrition coach, I work with ladies all around the world, helping them to get consistent with exercise and healthy eating without obsession. And honestly, when we don’t have obsession or rigid tracking to motivate us, there are many times that we just won’t feel feel like working out.

And that’s okay…if it lasts for a day. Not feeling like working out can be a sign that your body just needs a rest. So when my clients are feeling super burned out, I encourage them to take a rest day.

BUT, if the lack of motivation outlasts the rest day, we gotta figure out what’s going on.

After working with hundreds of women online, I’ve found that we often fall into one of three traps. Today, I’m sharing the 3 reasons we might not feel like working out AND what to do about them.

3 reasons you don’t feel like working out (and how to fix them)

exercise motivation - staying motivated - exercise motivation tips - exercise motivation tips

You’re bored

I’m not sure about you but when I’m dreading the monotony of a workout, I have no desire to get my sweat on.

Too often, I talk with women who are doing workouts that bore the crap out of them because they think they’re what they *should* be doing.  Their old personal trainer said HIIT was best for fat loss. They read on Tone It Up that we have to lift itty-bitty weights. BodyRockTV says intensity is key to getting results. So they drag themselves to the gym to do the next popular workout…even if they hate it.

And frankly, this is one of the worst ways to approach fitness, because we’ll never actually feel like working out.

How to fix it

Lady, we gotta add some fun into our workouts, once and for all. Fitness should never be a punishment, and if “working out” is synonymous with dread, something’s gotta change. When we actually enjoy the process of what we’re doing, motivation stops becoming an issue (see the research/my take on it here) and consistency comes naturally (see the three most common workout consistency mistakes here).

Love circuits? Do circuit workouts. (These are what my clients love and are central to #SkipTheGym workout programming).

Yoga makes you so happy? Do yoga.

Running helps you be chill AF? Go run.

Even if it’s not the *best way* to workout, do your thing. That’s what’s gonna help us crush workouts week after week.

You don’t know what to do

One of the other super common reasons we may not feel like working out, is we don’t actually know wtf to do.  There’s so much information out there that we can often get into a state of information overload and stop working out all together (this is why I wrote my entire Master the Weight Room series, to break everything down and stop the overwhelm when it comes to strength training).

And this makes sense, doesn’t it?

There are so many ways we could workout, so many trainers we could listen to, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. When we feel overwhelmed we’re so much more likely to stay with our current way of doing things (in this case, skipping workouts because we don’t feel like working out).

How to fix it

Follow a plan and take the guesswork out of it. Having someone tell us what to do can be SO helpful if we’re overwhelmed by all the options.

This is why #SkipTheGym takes all the guesswork out of the equation. In my at-home exercise solution, you’ll be set up with a done-for-you 4-week exercise program that makes it nearly impossible to miss your workouts. Get more details here.

You’re frustrated because you’re not seeing results

If we’ve been exercising for a while, it’s pretty easy to lose motivation when we are not seeing results.

My favorite example is when you think about a recreational runner who runs a three mile loop, five days a week, hoping to lose weight (she should be lifting heavy shit but that’s besides the point). At the beginning, she may burn 350 calories over the course of her run and notice some changes in her leg musculature. Pretty sweet. But even within the first four weeks of her starting her running program, the calories burned over those three miles could drop to something like 300 and her body’s not going to keep changing.

At the same time, that lack of body change is going to make it a lot harder to keep crushing the workouts. We begin wondering why to do it if it’s not working.

How to fix it

Results come from effective, challenging workouts done consistently. I wish there was a magic way to change our bodies but it comes down to two things:

Consistency & Variety

Why? Your body ONLY responds to the demands that you place on it. So in that first Studio BARRE workout, you body was working pretty hard to get ‘er done. You were probably super sore and tired afterwards. That second, third, fourth class, maybe you felt the same. But by the thirteenth class, yeah not so much. By that point, your body has adapted to this type of activity and can do it pretty well.

Sooo…what should we do instead?

  1. Stay consistent. Workout 3-5x per week.
  2. Mix it up. Don’t do the same thing week after week.

This is why #SkipTheGym includes a workout calendar that changes after 2 weeks. Two weeks is about how long it takes our bodies to get used to a workout, so it’s time to change things after that 14 day mark.

When we do these simple things, results will come.

If you wanna learn to stay consistent with your workouts, #SkipTheGym is a great option. I created a 4-week blueprint to consistent, efficient workouts that you can do without going to the gym.  In my four week #SkipTheGym program, you’ll get 10 full-length workouts, 3 of my favorite warm-ups, and a suggested workout calendar so that you can build a consistent workout routine, without ever stepping foot in the gym.

Each workout is designed for maximum efficiency so that you can warm up and complete the entire workout in less than 35 minutes #MoveSweatMoveOn.

Grab all the info and sign up here.

Why I’ve stopped being a perfectionist – 2 reasons

Interested in ditching that perfectionist mindset and beating yourself up when you fall short? My FREE #EndEatingPerfectionism course is for you. 

Perfectionism is my M.O. It’s always been. From the time I was a kid in grammar school to my first day at Google, trying to be perfect at whatever I was doing was my goal. I would always get the A, make the team, get the job, and be the best.

And if I wasn’t? I wouldn’t do it.

I remember one time in high school when I was working on a paper. Sitting in the library with a bag of trail mix on the corner of the desk, I feverishly wrote my “rough draft” of my paper. This paper had just been assigned the period before lunch, and the perfectionist student I was believed that I had to complete the first draft ASAP so I could spend the rest of the week getting it reviewed by my teacher, editing it multiple times, and making it absolutely perfect. Even though I had plenty of time to write the damn paper, I still skipped lunch to indulge my perfectionist beliefs.

I was trapped by the idea of perfection and didn’t know how to get out. (here are the exact strategies I used to separate from perfectionism)

Lovely, this was my reality for as long as I can remember. But recently? I’ve ditched perfectionism in favor of “good enough.” And there are two main reasons why.

2 reasons I’ve stopped being a perfectionist

 

I was trapped by the idea of perfection and didn't know how to get out. (here are the exact strategies I used to separate from perfectionism) Lovely, this was my reality for as long as I can remember. But recently? I've ditched perfectionism in favor of "good enough." And there are two main reasons why.

Perfectionism forces us to disregard the progress we’ve made

When all we think about is perfect, we belittle progress. We belittle the changes we’re making that are getting us where we want to be.

When I first started as a trainer and coach, I was super guilty of this. Even though I’ve ditched perfectionism in many areas of my life, I would look at pictures of myself (PS. I’m talking even more intimately about perfection and sharing my most recent progress pics with my email buddies this weekend. It’s probably the most vulnerable email I’ve ever sent. Get on the list here if you wanna read it), and nitpick them apart until I was in tears.

My arms look flabby.

I’m nowhere close to a six pack

My legs have cellulite.

dynamic stretching

I’d constantly compare myself to the other coaches and trainers out there, believing I looked nothing like the (perfect) trainers I saw on Instagram. This attempt to reach perfection made me completely ignore the progress I’d made and the reasons I should be coaching.

I disregarded that I’ve started squatting 1.15x my bodyweight.

I’d ignore the fact that I’ve coached dozens of women in the last year away from restrictive and obsessive eating and exercise patterns.

My recent chin up progress (5 reps stringed together on a good day!) meant nothing.

These things are super important. But if I were super focused on perfection, I wouldn’t even notice or care about these things.

These steps are the

Perfectionism makes us think in black-and-white

By looking at ourselves as perfect or imperfect, we perpetuate a mindset that makes us think in black-and-white. We only see perfect vs. us. If we continue as a perfectionist, we imprison ourselves into this false dichotomy where there’s only the perfect ideal and everything else that doesn’t measure up. We start thinking that we’re either Karena and Katrina from Tone-It-Up or we’re a piece of shit, because perfectionism doesn’t let us see that middle ground. And let’s be real, recognizing that middle ground is what helps us make progress. (See how stopped falling off the healthy eating bandwagon every single Saturday here)

Wine, Protein, Veggies

During my 10+ year battle with anorexia, I could only think in black-and-white. My brain literally could not see the shades of grey in between.

There was only that 90 minute BodyRockTV workout and sitting on my butt.

I either ate lunch and felt super guilty about it or I didn’t eat and felt in control.

These were my only options.

And by continuing life as a perfectionist, we don’t allow ourselves to see the moderate options in between perfect and imperfect (this is why I felt compelled to create my free training to #EndEatingPerfectionism. See more here).

How you can stop being a perfectionist, too

I hate to break it to you, lovely, but perfection doesn’t work, because a) no one can actually do it, and b) it perpetuates feelings of inadequacy that only lead us to eat more crap, and taking us even farther from our goals. Perfectionism is a myth, and is doing all of us a disservice.

Why?

Perfection is impossible.
Perfectionism sets us up for failure.
Aiming to be perfect is super stressful.
“Perfect” really is unnecessary.
And honestly? It ultimately leads to obsession, restriction, and guilt.

Thankfully. There’s another option.

end eating perfectionism. learn to stop being a perfectionist and actually get consistent with healthy eating.

And I’m going to show you how. Starting on June 26 (MONDAY!), I’ll take you through a free 5-day training via FB live video (don’t forget to follow me) along with my exclusive nutrition workbook. Every night, at 6pm PDT (replays always available), I’ll walk you through a specific strategy that I’ve implemented with myself and my clients to help them eat well without getting obsessive. By the end of the 5 days, you’ll have the tools you need to get consistent with healthy eating once and for all and ditch the perfectionism that’s holding you back.

Grab all the details and get started here

Conventional wisdom touts the importance of listening to our bodies. I swear, in every single workout video I watch and fitness blog post I read, we're told to "listen to your body." But what about when we have no effing clue what that means? That's why I'm sharing my three best tips to listen to your body, even if you don't know wtf that means.

3 ways to listen to your body when you don’t know how

Sign ups are now open for my signature coaching program, Consistently Lean Coaching! If you’re ready to lose weight, get stronger, AND stop obsessing about fitness and nutrition, this is for you.

Conventional wisdom touts the importance of listening to our bodies. I swear, in every single workout video I watch and fitness blog post I read, we’re told to “listen to your body.”

But what about when we have no effing clue what that means?

For years, as I worked through my eating disorder, doctors told me to listen to my body. After being put on bed rest for three days because my heart rate was grounds for hospitalization, I remember my doctor telling me I could do light yoga or go for a walk, if I “listened to my body.” I shifted my weight on that exam room table, hearing the crinkly paper under butt, trying to figure out a way to respond. I realized I had no idea what the fuck it actually meant to listen to my body.

I had gotten so good at tuning out my body’s signals–hunger signals, exhaustion signals–that I couldn’t even hear them anymore.

Sound familiar?

Whether we’re eating disorder survivors, hardcore fitness enthusiasts, or perpetual dieters, we get good at ignoring our bodies. And sometimes ignoring our body’s signals can even help us at times.

Pushing through the discomfort in a tough workout

Ignoring that 3pm sugar craving when we’re trying to lose weight

But what do we do when we’re told to listen to our bodies after years of ignoring them?

Simple.

We start incorporating little actions that (1) help our bodies recover from our intense exercise and attempts at perfect nutrition (get my exact nutrition strategies to lose weight without obsession in #ConsistentlyLean) and (2) help us get just a little more in tune with ourselves. Below are my top three strategies.

3 ways to listen to your body (when you have no idea how)

Conventional wisdom touts the importance of listening to our bodies. I swear, in every single workout video I watch and fitness blog post I read, we're told to "listen to your body." But what about when we have no effing clue what that means? That's why I'm sharing my three best tips to listen to your body, even if you don't know wtf that means.

Get more sleep

The average American gets 6.8 hours of sleep per night (source – Gallup poll) compared to the expert recommendation of 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

And here’s the thing: sleep is soooooo important (love this PN article on sleep) to how we feel every day, our ability to recover from our workouts, and even our body composition.

So, if we don’t know how to listen to our bodies, getting more sleep is a safe bet. Because, honestly, everybody could use more sleep. I prioritized sleep when I had no idea how the F to listen to my body. It was the first change I made. I’ve felt worlds better since getting at least 7 hours of sleep on weeknights and 9 hours on weekends (#grandmastatus).

Eat more protein

Most of the women who come to me for nutrition guidance aren’t eating enough protein to sustain their active lifestyles. So, if we’re having a hard time listening to our bodies, adding more protein is a good place to start.

Protein

Increasing protein intake is an awesome step towards listening to our bodies, because:

  • It keeps us feeling satisfied.
  • It helps stabilize our blood sugar over long periods of time.
  • It’s also much harder for our bodies to turn into body fat.
  • It’s the building block to rebuild muscle tissue broken down by exercise.

If we try to eat some protein every time we feel hungry, we can naturally decrease our cravings, help our bodies build, and stop getting hungry 10 minutes after we finish a meal.

Prioritize recovery

Recovery is super important and super un-sexy, I get it. For those of us who love working out, taking a rest or recovery day sounds awful.

dynamic stretching

The more intensely you are training, the more recovery your body needs! So, really, the less we want to take a day off, the more we need it.

So, if you’re struggling to listen to your body and you’re working out consistently, it’s time to prioritize recovery. Below are my favorite ways to facilitate recovery in my weekly routine.

  • Foam roll tight muscles.
  • Take an epsom salt bath.
  • Practice yoga or meditation.
  • Watch a funny movie (no really).
  • Take a long walk instead of hitting the gym.
  • Rest 1-2 days per week at a minimum.

(I wrote a whole post about recovery a while back. If you want more info on how many rest days to take per week, see here)

Using these three simple tips helped me start to get a little more in touch with what my body needed. Implement them all or try one at a time to listen to your body.

I get it. After a summer of overindulgence, many of us are ready to get back on track. We want to lose weight and tone up but don’t know how to do it would obsessively counting calories, tracking macros, or spending hours at the gym.

If you want to get in shape but are worried that rigid tracking or long workouts will send you into an obsessive spiral, #ConsistentlyLean is for you. Learn more and grab your spot before signups close for the rest of 2017!

Would you call this an eating disorder phase?

I almost deleted this post at least three times. But I’m sharing anyway. Sometimes, something fires us up so much that we have to share, even if it’s super scary, vulnerable, and raw.

A few months back,  I was listening to a recent episode of one of my favorite podcasts, The FitCast (be sure to check it out). I was especially excited to listen to two strong women talk about strength training (another fave). I was minutes away from my office, I had just exited the freeway. There were only a few minutes left when one of the guests made a passing comment that irked me.

I went through a disordered eating phase.

As I heard those words and drove into the parking structure, something turned in my stomach. It felt like she punched me in the stomach with just 7 words. And although I knew exactly what I was feeling, it took me a little longer to understand why.

I sat with those awful feelings and that pain all morning. I prayed about it. I talked with a close friend. And sometime in the middle of all that, I realized what hurt so much.

I didn’t have a disordered eating phase. I had an eating disorder.

I had a brutal battle with anorexia for over ten years. It made my high school and college years miserable at times. It made me, at 5’7″, beat myself up when I could no longer fit into size 2 jeans (thank GOD I found Stitch Fix). It made traveling a stressful nightmare, lost me a job I loved, and taxed relationships with my family and friends. It wasn’t a “phase” that I could snap out of, like my emo Evanescence phase.

If it were, I could have stopped self-destructing before my fifteenth birthday (not my twenty-fifth).

If it were a phase, March 31, 2005, the date of my clinical diagnosis, would not still stand out in my mind. I had been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa the day before. I kept saying to myself: no no no, there must be a mistake; I was just trying to lose a few pounds. I’m not super skinny like all the real anorexic girls. I didn’t even cry when she told me I needed more help than she could offer. I just kept thinking to myself, I’ll just start eating again; I’ll be fine by summer.

It was the next day that I realized that this quick fix would not be happening. In an attempt to “get better,” I forced myself to bring more for lunch but when I was faced with the prospect of eating the additional 35-calorie wedge of Laughing Cow Light Cheese, I burst into tears and threw the cheese away, disgusted with myself. It was in that moment that I understood that I had a problem. A normal, rational person who was trying to lose weight would be able to eat more if a doctor told them they needed to: I couldn’t.

Does that sound like a phase to you?

I look around the fitness industry, and all I see are trainers who make disordered eating this messy thing all women share. And honestly, there is some validity to that. Many women have an unhealthy relationship with food, whether that’s over-eating, under-eating, emotional eating, or assigning morality to the foods they eat.

I almost deleted this post at least three times. But I'm sharing anyway. Sometimes, something fires us up so much that we have to share, even if it's super scary, vulnerable, and raw. Finally sharing my story as an eating disorder survivor. But eating disorders are a different beast all together. When trainers comment about their “disordered eating phase” they minimize the struggle many of us faced and fought our way through. I’m not okay with that.

I’m an eating disorder survivor.

So instead of alluding gently to an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise, I’m speaking my truth and standing up for the women who have reclaimed their lives from eating disorder hell. Instead of continuing to hide my battle scars, I’ll continue to speak out about about my journey to moderation and accepting my body, because the scars make me the woman I am today.

A coach, dog mom, partner, and friend

A personal trainer, nutrition coach, and eating disorder survivor (warrior).

I’m passionate about helping women move through their eating disorders, battles or phases.

Just a couple years ago, I wanted to make a change but my doctor’s voice rang in my head: you’ll never be able to diet or lose weight like a “normal person.”

Needless to say, I thought losing weight, getting stronger, and feeling better were out of reach. I was so scared that my eating disorder tendencies and obsession would stop me from reaching my goals.

But now? In 2017, I’m living, breathing proof that it is possible to love our bodies and also change them, WITHOUT reverting back to our eating disorder tendencies.

My friends, are you ready? If you want to take that step towards lovingly changing your body, without obsession, restriction or stress, let’s talk. I’m passionate about working with YOU to reach your goals, because life is so much better outside of restriction.

4 reasons we still struggle with consistency

Consistency with healthy eating and exercise is really tough. Women email me almost every single day, struggling, because they just can’t seem to stay consistent with healthy eating and exercise (that’s why I created #ConsistentlyLean Coaching, and sign ups close SO soon). They know that eating healthy and exercising are “good for them” but have a hard time implementing what they “should” do when life is crazy, their schedules change, or their motivation wavers. And when they don’t stay consistent? They’re overwhelmed with stress and guilt. Yuck.

And we’ve all been there, right?

I struggled every single day before I understood WHY I was inconsistent.  I was obsessed with perfectly following a meal and training plan during college and my first few years of adulting. Any time that I had one treat, shortened my workout, or ate a little too much, I’d be so mad at myself.

One time in particular stands out. It was Friday night after a long work week. I was sitting on the couch, finishing up some last minute emails, when Andrew got home. And because it was Friday, he came bearing gifts: a bunch of cranberry Mike’s HardER lemonades, because he knew they were my favorite. I wouldn’t let myself have one all week, so he brought me one to celebrate the weekend. I drank the whole damn thing (I deserved it). And over the course of the night? I drank two more!

By Saturday morning, I was a wreck. I looked in the mirror disgusted with myself for being so inconsistent with my nutrition. To make up for my inconsistency, I found the most advanced, longest FitnessBlender workout and made myself do it to “burn off” the extra calories. I beat myself up all weekend. 

Now, I know the things that actually make a difference when we’re trying to see results, and I stop beating myself up for the little things. I want to help other women stop struggling and enjoy their lives instead of being bogged down by constant thoughts of food and exercise in the name of consistency (you don’t have to be obsessed to lose weight, I promise).

So, let’s break it down. Over the last year of working with dozens of women online, I’ve found that we generally are inconsistent for a couple reasons. We can turn things around (let me help) as soon as we realize WHY we’re inconsistent. 

4 reasons consistency is a struggle

Over the last year of working with dozens of women online, I've found that we generally are inconsistent for a couple reasons. We can turn things around as soon as we realize WHY we're inconsistent.

We’re overwhelmed

When we try to get consistent, there are so many things we want to change. We want to eat more veggies, drink less alcohol, workout more, eliminate sugar, etc etc etc.

We often take on more than we can handle when we’re exposed to a hundred options. This makes us feel overwhelmed by all the changes in our lives.

And what happens when we feel overwhelmed? We stop taking action and moving forward.

Before implementing super simple nutrition strategies, I was obsessed with food, constantly thinking about what I should eat next, and still not making any progress towards my body change goals. Now, I barely even think about my eating and I’ve seen marked change in my body shape. I’ll show you exactly how I did it in #ConsistentlyLean Coaching! 

We’re under-prepared

Trying to get more consistent without an explicit plan of what we want to implement is like heading out on a road trip without Google maps.

We’re gonna get lost.

Sooooo…why do we do that with our health goals?

Sure, we may download a workout plan and food list but we don’t make plans on exactly how we’ll implement these changes into our lives. That makes it way to easy to get off track as soon as we face a tough situation. Instead, we need to take the guesswork out of getting consistent by planning out the situations we anticipate, and one of the best ways to do this is working with a coach.

We’re busy

Healthy eating and exercising take a lot of time. These can be the first habits to fall by the wayside when things get crazy busy.

For years, I was trapped by 60 minute workouts. Even though I wasn’t seeing results, I thought I had to workout  for 60+ minutes a day, which was a huge time suck. None of the trainers I worked with or plans I found online taught me how to exercise for LESS time and get BETTER results. And my friend, these are the workouts in #ConsistentlyLean.

We’re unaccountable

There are so many programs out there that give you one-size-fits-all meal plan and workout program without any customization, coaching, or accountability. If we do a Google search right now, we can find thousands of free downloadable workout and nutrition programs. Pick any of them, and I guarantee we’re going to get the same results: inconsistency, frustration, and a shit ton of guilt about why we couldn’t just stick with it.

This is not our fault. These downloadable, free programs forget the most valuable part of any workout or nutrition program: one-on-one support. Whether that’s on-the-fly troubleshooting, accountability check-ins, or just being there with you, one-on-one guidance is the magic sauce to finally getting consistent with your healthy eating and exercise. In #ConsistentlyLean Coaching (open for sign ups for only 10 ladies until Sunday September 24) I offer lots of ways to connect with me so that you always feel accountable to someone for the changes you want to make in your life. Grab more details (and your spot) here.

What helps you be more consistent?

How to stop counting calories (without anxiety)

When we try losing weight, our default is often to start counting calories. We feel that if we can stay within the numeric constraints of a calorie counting plan, we’ll reach our goals no problem. Sure, counting feels good for a while, maybe we start to see some quick results or we like the feeling of control that comes with knowing exactly what we’re eating.

But what about when we’re ready to stop?

This is where the problem lies.

I talk to women all the time who are obsessed with counting, tracking, and measuring their food. They absolutely hate feeling tethered to their MyFitnessPal app and constantly calculating their daily intake but don’t know what to do when they aren’t counting. They’re so overwhelmed by their food diaries but can’t take a break for fear of gaining weight. As soon as they try and stop counting calories, they’re overcome with anxiety and fear.

I’ve been there, too. I started counting calories when I was thirteen years old, so in a sense, I grew up with calorie counting. And when I tried to stop counting calories and follow a serving based system? I counted servings nonstop. I carried a notepad with me everywhere, counting, and recounting everything I ate. I felt like if I stopped, I would eat with abandon and gain 20lbs overnight.

My friend, there IS an alternative.

I’ve come across tons of resources out there to help us stop counting calories but nobody addresses the mental side: how do we give up the control that comes with counting? That’s where I come in.

Three steps to STOP counting calories (without stress)

Stop changing other things

When we begin thinking about changing our calorie counting habit, it’s often our default to pair it with something else. Why not change all the things, stop counting calories, cut sugar, stop drinking, and do a Whole30 in the same month?

I get it, lady. That’s my default too. I hate change, so I will often pile on about 7 changes at once (see the time I graduated college, moved out of my parents’ house, moved in with Andrew, and started working my first full-time job all in the same week). I was so confused why my relationship was tense and I was feeling drawn to restrictive eating habits again. If it were possible, I’d go back and slap 22-year-old-Katherine across the face.

When we multiple things change, we cling to the familiar.  

So for 22-year-old-Katherine, restriction was safe and familiar amidst all the crazy amounts of change happening in my life. Even though I hadn’t restricted myself for ages, it became 1000x harder not to deprive myself because it was safe.

And this is exactly what happens when we try to stop counting calories while also changing up other variables in our nutrition or fitness.

It’s 1000x harder to stop counting calories when it’s the familiar habit. 

So, when we try to stop counting calories, I do not want us changing up our nutrition or training–for better or worse–while weaning ourselves off the calorie habit. If we are trying to stop counting, everything else should remain unchanged.

This makes things so much easier and lessens the anxiety that comes with giving up the control of the numbers.  It will also free up our mental energy to move away from the calorie counting habit.

Focus on the MACRO view

No, no, not that macro, lovely. I’m talking about taking the birds-eye, overall, or large scale view of your diet. When we count calories, we get so focused on the micro, minute details. When we’re ready to stop counting, it’s also time to zoom out.

No more stressing about grams of sugar. It’s the end of only eating foods that are less than 10% fat. We don’t have to skip out on a snack because we’ll go over our calories.

Instead, we’re going to zoom out and focus on the high impact, BASIC habits that really matter when it comes to our nutrition.  I want to make it super simple. Instead of counting anything, I want us to focus on just two things: protein and veggies. Every single time we eat, grab a portion of protein and some vegetables. If we’re still hungry, add some healthy fat or complex carbohydrates.

Want more help getting in veggies at every meal? Grab some of my best tips.

This super simple strategy makes all the difference, because we’ll be eating lots of nutrient dense and non-calorie dense foods. This will allow us to eat more AND make sure we aren’t missing out on any key nutrients. In layman’s terms, low calorie density = large portion size. And large portion sizes keep us (me) happy. If you want to learn exactly how I’ve automated my eating and stopped obsessing, join my tribe. I share my best stuff with these ladies. You can sign up in the box to the right.

Go one meal at a time

As calorie counters, we tend towards that all-or-nothing mentality. We see things in black and white, so why would our approach to stopping calorie counting be any different?

Because it has to be.

Looking at our journey to #CeaseConstantCalorieCounting as either “counting” or “not counting” forces us to view things in black and white. And it’s this black and white mentality that makes us stressed and anxious, isn’t it?

So, instead, I go meal-by-meal when I’m helping ladies get consistent and stop counting calories, because this gives us flexibility. This process works for two main reasons:  (1) we accumulate little wins, helping us stay consistent and (2) it lessens the feeling of losing control.

Week 1 may look a little like this:

Monday-Wednesday: count breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks

Thursday-Saturday: count breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Sunday: count breakfast, lunch, and snacks

Then, by week 2, we’ll try dropping to even fewer counted meals:

Monday-Wednesday: count breakfast and lunch

Thursday-Saturday: count breakfast OR lunch and snacks

Sunday: try only tracking one meal

If at any point, we start feeling overly anxious, we simply return to the previous step. Within a few weeks, counting calories becomes a thing of the past.

I hope these strategies help! Let me know if you have questions!

Have you tried to stop counting calories? What helped you?