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

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 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.

This week, I’m getting super real with my tribe about how I stopped exercising seven days a week and attempting perfect, restrictive eating. So if you want to get up close and personal with me and get my best stuff, join my tribe asap. Let’s talk 🙂

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. 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.

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.

To stop the overwhelm, I’ve created a cheat sheet to consistent healthy eating. With lots of experimentation, I found a way to cut to the middle between deprivation and guilt. That’s why I created my #ConsistentNutrition Cheatsheet to help all of us implement the things we know we should do with our nutrition. There are no crazy meal plans or calorie counts, just the handful things you need to implement daily to eat moderately and find that middle between restriction and guilt. Grab your copy here. 

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.  

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. 

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 all my programs, 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.

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?

Should you compare yourself to other women?

You walk into the gym ready to crush your workout. You’ve got your favorite leggings on, a fun t-shirt, and you’re on top of your game. After a brief warm up, you walk over towards the weight rack (because you’ve already mastered the weight room), pick up the 10lb dumbbells, and start your workout. But that’s when the social comparison starts. You look to your left and see some super fit chick with cut arms doing more push ups from her toes than you thought possible. And to your right? That runner chick on the treadmill is sprinting at a speed of 12mph. You didn’t even know treadmills went that fast!

She can do so many more push ups than me. 

She’s so much stronger/faster/fitter than me. 

 

Or maybe you’re out at happy hour with some friends, you look around and see so many beautiful women in their cocktail dresses. You can’t help but notice how well they are rocking their outfits. They look so happy, pretty, and confident. So, the questions start.

Why can’t I have her arms?

Why am I not that confident?

Sound familiar? We’ve all been there. I know I’m not alone. It’s almost impossible to stop comparing ourselves to others, whether it’s your best friend, a stranger, or someone in a magazine. But the truth is, after doing some serious research, I’ve found that social comparison is much more than the thief of joy, and it NEEDS TO STOP.

Why social comparison doesn’t serve you

This is the #1 reason you need to stop comparing yourself to others. RIGHT NOW.

Comparing yourself to others seems to have absolutely no positive effects. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It seems that if you you engage in social comparison, you are very unlikely to successfully eat intuitively. When researchers studied a group of teenage girls over a one year period, they found that social comparison was the strongest NEGATIVE predictor of subsequent intuitive eating [source]. Read: if you’re comparing yourself to others, you’re going to have a damn difficult time getting to that intuitive eating happy place. You know, that place where you eat based off of internal hunger and satiety cues instead of skipping meals to keep yourself skinny or eating because a plan tells you it’s time.

Social comparison is also shown to be a key contributor to feelings of shame [source]. When all you’re doing is looking at others and judging yourself, sometimes you can’t help but feel inferior. It’s that inferiority that leads to shame, “the most powerful, master emotion” (at least according to Brené Brown).

Why you should care

…because this affects us all.

When I was in middle school, I developed a bit faster than all my friends (I was the same height at thirteen as I am now at twenty five). I looked around and thought something was wrong with me.

Why was I so much fatter than my friends? 

Why were they so much more confident than me? 

And it wasn’t just me that noticed how different I looked.

I remember one afternoon, swimming at my friend Katie’s house in January. We thought it would be fun to jump into the cold water but I didn’t have a bathing suit. She looked through her drawers and pulled out two swimsuits: a bikini and a one piece.  I’ll never forget what happened next.

She turned to me and said, “You should wear the bikini, you know, because you have more fat and you’ll stay warmer than me.”

Even twelve years later, I remember the pain in the pit of my stomach. It was like she had punched me.

I frankly hated myself.  The shame, anxiety, and fear that came with comparing myself to my friends and the images I saw in magazines definitely contributed to my  10+ year battle with anorexia. Because I felt so inferior, I didn’t see any other way out, besides trying to change my body. I thought, if I could just look like them, I will feel better. The weight fell off so fast but the shame didn’t go away so easy.

Social comparison is a dangerous fallacy. It’s a romantic idea right? If we can just be as pretty/smart/strong/capable as she is, we’ll be happy/better/satisfied. My friend, believing this will fail every time. There’s only one way to true joy, and that’s living as your authentic self.

Today, my friend, I challenge you to help me end this social comparison. Stop comparing yourself to the woman standing next to you. Own what makes you different from her instead! Stand tall, strong, and in your power. This will bring you the joy, love, and happiness you’re really looking for!

Tell me something unique and amazing about YOU!

Why I’ll never cancel my Stitch Fix membership

I’ve never been one of those girls who loves shopping. Hanging out with my bestie in Anthropologie was always fun. I could wander around a book store for hours. I love getting new running shoes. But when it comes down to it, day long, we-need-to-buy-you-a-whole-new-wardrobe-or-at-least-a-winter-formal-dress trips aren’t for me.

As a teenager, I remember heading out for shopping trips with my mom. We’d pile into the car, full of expectations, and drive to the closest mall. Walking in through Nordstrom, we’d always start in the shoe section (easy enough). But somewhere between the second dressing room and a Starbucks visit, the trip stopped being fun. I’d be frustrated, angry, and sad. My mom would try so hard to cheer me up and pull me out of the fog of self-criticism, but I’d normally just snap at her. It got to the point where we couldn’t shop together anymore, which broke my heart. I love my momma.

If we’re being real, shopping for clothes has been a battle since 2005, when I was diagnosed with anorexia. Although I’m no longer that thirteen year old thinking she needed to lose 20lbs, shopping has never gotten much easier. Every time I enter a dressing room, my mind is filled with all the “shoulds” of the last twelve years, namely that I “should” fit into a size 4.

I've been a part of Stitch Fix for years and writing Stitch Fix reviews for months now. This is why I will never cancel my Stitch Fix membership.

I believed this “should” so deeply that all throughout high school, I wouldn’t keep clothing if it wasn’t in a size 4. I’d go shopping with my best friend and try on tons of dresses, even if I absolutely loved one that fit me in a 6, I wouldn’t buy it. In my irrational, eating disordered head, 6=fat. If I had to size up, I’d start crying, get angry/frustrated/sad, and ultimately walk out of the store.

Even as I recovered, got stronger, and reclaimed bits and pieces of my life, shopping didn’t get much easier. I’d still get upset about sizing up and body dysmorphia made trying on clothes feel like a freak show. Hitting the mall was a major trigger that could throw me off for an entire week. If I felt “fat” from a shopping trip, I’d eat less or over-exercise to compensate. Not a good plan.

It wasn’t until after college that I discovered the Stitch Fix: the service that made shopping so much easier and actually FUN.

In case you aren’t familiar with Stitch Fix, it is a program where you get an online stylist who sends you 5 items whenever you prefer. I get items every eight weeks or so. The items your stylist sends are based off of your style profile, which includes everything from fit to style to budget. You’ve got three days to try everything on in the comfort of your home, with your current wardrobe all around you. Then, you choose what to keep and send back what you don’t like (totally free – shipping is included).

Why I love my Stitch Fix membership

It’s taken the trigger OUT of shopping for me. My stylist knows me, my style, and my body. I no longer have to guess what size is right for me, which brands run big/small, or even what styles will be flattering. Instead, she sends me curated items based on how I want to look and feel in my clothes.

Now, if I have to go into stores and shop, I’m amazed at how frustrating the experience can be. Picking sizes is a shit show, and I have no idea how anything is going to fit.

I’ve seen TONS of Stitch Fix reviews about the clothes and service but nothing about the impact on mindset. I’ll never cancel my Stitch Fix membership, because it’s helped me be more accepting of my body. It’s changed how I think about clothing and sizing. Stitch Fix has helped me have fun with fashion, because I don’t have to make decisions about size. This is life-changing for an eating disorder survivor.

So, yes, the service is amazing. The clothes are beautiful. It’s super convenient. But more than that, it’s been a tool in my journey to self acceptance. I hope you’ll join me.

If you want to know more about my journey, I’m getting real with my email buddies later this week. On Thursday, I’m sharing a super personal story about how I’ve started accepting my body, regardless of what the tag on my jeans says, AND sharing my exclusive strategy to detach from clothing label numbers. Enter your email below before to join the party. Don’t miss out.

Do you have a Stitch Fix membership?

Fitness motivation: Sorry, I can’t motivate you

Happy 2017, my friends! Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s 2017?!

To start the year, Andrew and I are living out our fitness, backpacking through Patagonia. Right about now, we are on our way to El Chalten for our first night camping, near the Laguna de Los Tres. I can’t wait to show off all of our hiking pictures when we get back! Just in case we get some wifi access, be sure to follow me on Instagram! I’ll be posting when I can!

laguna-de-los-tres

For most of us, with a new year comes new fitness goals.  I’m no different!

A few of my goals?

  • Run a half marathon (trail or road…still TBD)
  • Finish a sprint triathlon with Andrew
  • Complete 10 uninterrupted chin ups

Whether it’s losing ten pounds, getting stronger, or attempting an audacious new fitness challenge, we hit the ground running on January 1st, inspired to make a change. Fitness motivation and enthusiasm are high as we start the year. But what happens when February rolls around and your determination begins to fade?

Here’s how to make sure your motivation lasts all the way into 2018.

Do you struggle with fitness motivation to workout? Sorry, I can't motivate you. This is why (and what to do instead).

When I started researching motivation and how to inspire folks to exercise consistently, I planned to write a post that would serve to motivate everyone to stick to their New Year’s Resolutions. I hoped I’d find some tools and tricks to give you that would help you reach all your goals. Instead, I found the opposite.

As much as I would love to help provide pearls of fitness motivation wisdom, the truth is, that isn’t going to work.

Sorry, I can’t motivate you to make a lasting change.

As I delved into a review of the research [source], the data was resoundingly conclusive: internal fitness motivation is what keeps people consistent in their exercise habits over time. Nothing I say to you, as your trainer or best friend will keep you motivated over the long term.

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Instead, numerous studies show that external motivation–like the guidance and support of a trainer–can help you get started (and I would LOVE to in my upcoming New Year, New You Bootcamp) but your intrinsic motivation (read: motivation that comes from within, not from external sources) to exercise is what keeps you going 12, 24, and even 36 months later.

So what does that mean for you and your fitness motivation in 2017?

After doing tons of research [source 2], I’ve found it’s pretty simple to maximize your intrinsic motivation. If you want to make progress towards your New Year’s Resolutions and beyond, all you need to do is two things.

1. Stop focusing on outcomes

When we focus on the outcome instead of the process, we set ourselves up for long-term failure, whether or not we reach our outcome goal. Think about it. If you want to lose 10lbs and you do, your motivation will decline once you hit that number. If you don’t? Your motivation will STILL decline from not reaching your goal. Sounds like a lose-lose situation to me.

I’m not saying to throw away outcome goals all together, in fact, they help you get started, but if you also work to value the actual act of exercising, you’ll achieve much more long term success.

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Start thinking about all the positives that come with working out. These will be super individualized and personal but some examples of how to focus on the actual act of working out include mantras like:

  • Doing circuit workouts are fun/enjoyable.
  • I love improving my kettlebell skills.
  • By working out, I’ll be able to stay active for the rest of my life.
  • I build a community of friends through my workouts.

To get your personal mantras, ask yourself questions like:

  • How does exercise help me live the life I want?
  • What do I enjoy about working out?
  • How am I building social connections through working out?
  • How does exercise make me feel?

2. Set skills-based goals

Another way to achieve long term fitness motivation is to focus on building skill competency. In other words, emphasize skill development in your workouts. By picking a new sport or skill, you’ll set goals that revolve around improving yourself. This is HUGE with adult exercisers, because research shows that skill development is strongly correlated with greater exercise participation over the long term.

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Spend some time thinking of a skill you want to develop and make a plan. This could include joining an adult sports league, mastering a tough movement pattern (like maybe a Turkish Get-Up), or increasing your squat weight.

If you focus on the experience of exercising and set skills-based goals, you’re setting yourself up to succeed with your long term fitness goals. This is why I include a whole module on mindset in my New Year, New You Bootcamp. Instead of focusing solely on extrinsic motivation–like finally getting that six pack–we take time to get our minds right and ready to take on new challenges. This exciting new bootcamp starts up right after the MLK Holiday. I would love to work with you!

What is YOUR fitness motivation?

Resilience: your #1 fitness skill

You have the best exercise equipment, a fabulous workout program, and nutrition guidelines at your fingertips. You feel ready to go, ready to attack your fitness goals with determination.  But the bad news is that’s not necessarily going to determine your success in implementing a nutrition or exercise habit. Whether you’re an olympic athlete, recreational exerciser, figure competitor, or busy student trying to fit in your workouts, you will not succeed if you do not have one thing: resilience.

Why resilience matters

You have the best exercise equipment, a fabulous workout program, and nutrition guidelines at your fingertips. You feel ready to go, ready to attack your fitness goals with determination. But the bad news is that's not necessarily going to determine your success in implementing a nutrition or exercise habit. Whether you're an olympic athlete, recreational exerciser, figure competitor, or busy student trying to fit in your workouts, you will not succeed if you do not have one thing: resilience.

I hate to break it to you, but things aren’t going to be perfect. It’s likely that you’ll stay up too late watching your favorite show, leading you to oversleep, miss your workout, and jack your hunger cues.

It (shit) happens, and your success hinges on your ability to come back to the good habits you’re building.

Before I started focusing on my resilience, I let little things derail me. I became frustrated when I didn’t have the ideal equipment for my workouts or when I only had twenty minutes to train. Resilience has helped me stay more positive and consistent. And remember, consistency leads to results.

Three ways to strengthen your resilience

Focus on the good

Resilience is focusing on the positive whenever possible, instead of getting bogged down in the details.

Did you train for 20 minutes instead of skipping a workout? Count that as a win!

Subbed out a couple exercises because you didn’t have the equipment? Awesome. 

My favorite example?

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Your expectations for a single training session can actually increase the benefits you get from working out.  In other words, thinking positively about what you were able to do can help maximize your results.

Plan!

Help yourself to be more resilient to life’s challenges by creating a plan that supports your willpower. We don’t just skip work meetings because we’re tired. We don’t no-show dinner with friends because we’re stressed about school (well most of the time). But we do this with our workouts? All the time.

Sweaty selfie

My Three S Formula for Consistency and Motivation will bring awareness to your workout habits and make sure you stay on track, even without motivation.

Utilize both your short and long term memory

When it comes to resilience, you’ve got to maximize both your short and long term memories.

If you’ve slipped up, it’s time to use your short term memory and let that mistake roll off your back. When you wake up the next day, forget you were not acting in line with your goals. Just move on and focus on the next action you can take that supports your goal.

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On the other hand, if you’ve had a little win, HOLD ONTO IT. Focus on that feeling of empowerment and success for as long as you can. This will motivate you to continue!

If you’re looking for help becoming more resilient so you can make positive changes in your life, I’d LOVE to help you create your fit lifestyle.  accountable, check out my upcoming programs. I’d love to work with you!

What’s one fitness or nutrition habit you’re trying to implement?

My moderation journey

Moderation has become quite the buzzword recently. I’ve talked about it, defined the heck out of it, and worked on it as a skill. Truthfully, it’s only been in the last six months that I’ve realized that moderation is the ONLY way I want to live my life anymore.

But if I’m being honest, I definitely have NOT always thought this way. I was one of those people who constantly was praised for her self discipline, which is awesome when it comes to schoolwork, but self-discipline can have some ugly side effects outside of the classroom.

See, where most people hit the wall two weeks into a diet, I broke through it and went ahead at full force. Where most people want a bowl of ice cream two weeks into their diet, I cut more calories for just thinking about it.

 

Moderation has become quite the buzzword recently. I've talked about it, defined the heck out of it, and worked on it as a skill. Truthfully, it's only been in the last six months that I've realized that moderation is the ONLY way I want to live my life anymore. This is my journey to moderation.

For about eleven years, I struggled with a severe eating disorder that took away parts of my childhood, all of my teens, and some of my young adulthood. I restricted my caloric intake excessively and always.  My workout routine was relentless and was my way of burning off every calorie I ate. And when I slipped up? I hated myself. Often, I would look in the mirror or try on clothes and just collapse in tears.

Note my approach to the holidays from about 2004-2015.

Thanksgiving Day: run a 10k, eat extra because I’m hungry and tired, have dessert (and wine once I turned 21 😉 )

Day (or honestly, weeks) after Thanksgiving: count every calorie that goes into my mouth, exercise an hour+ per day, hanging on until the next happy hour excuse to relax

It was miserable. This cycle of indulging followed by severe restriction fueled nothing but disordered eating, over-exercise, and crappy body image, regardless of how thin I became.

Katherine without cellulite

I was constantly searching for a better way to live.

My journey to moderation

After years of restriction, I battled every day to eat more food that would nourish my body and fuel my goals. I’d be lying if I told you it was easy. There were days during my recovery when I cried while eating the extra food.

Swirls

Things started to shift in 2014. I found Jill Coleman‘s writings on moderation. Her ideas piqued my interest.  You mean, I don’t have to restrict to see results; I just eat the same way every single day? Cool. I can do that.

And that’s exactly what I tried to do.

My Thanksgiving plate looked like my dinner the night before.

Andrew and my anniversary dinner was nothing out of the ordinary. 

I drank beer (OK, Mike’s Hard Lemonade) or wine most nights. 

Combined with the strength training I recently discovered, I lost body fat, dropping into a pretty lean for me range. I was STOKED.

It wasn’t until mid-2016, I realized something that blew my mind: trying to eat mostly moderately every single day was actually just another way for me to continue restricting myself in the day to day.

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Because I focused so much on eating the same every day, I found myself slipping into old, restrictive patterns.

Social invitations were declined so I could eat the same foods (even if I enjoyed them)

I wanted to indulge on special occasions but made myself stop

Traveling stressed me out (because how could I find my foods)

Since that realization, I KNEW I had to make some changes. I don’t want to be in that restrictive space anymore, so I’ve started testing the waters with some new ideas.  I’ve shifted my approach to be one where moderation is two seemingly opposing concepts.

My #consciousindulgence approach to moderation

  1. Eat in a way that makes you feel like you don’t need to have a cheat day
  2. If you overindulge for whatever reason, remember that it does NOT need to be “cheat day” to indulge OR you don’t need a cheat day to (over) indulge

Again, if I told you it was easy, it would be an utter lie. Those ugly thoughts telling me to eat less, move more, and get smaller still are there; I just don’t listen to them as much.

If I want to indulge a bit more (like when Andrew came and visited), I do.

If I need some chocolate every evening to make me feel satisfied, I eat it.chocolate

I’ve been living this way more and more for the last six months, and it’s made me feel more at peace with food. I also feel more empowered to enjoy my life and the experiences that come with them.

So when I leave for Argentina in a few weeks, you can bet I’m taking my #consciousindulgence approach with me.