Know Your “Whys”
Knowing your “Whys” will give you the leverage you need to make your decisions a reality
Regardless of whether you are trying to lose 10 pounds, 100 pounds, become a fitness model, build wealth, or achieve any other worthy goal you need to start by making a defining decision to achieve your goal. Make your decision, write it down, and then list all of the reasons why that goal is important to you. This simple exercise alone will significantly improve your odds of success in any endeavor.
The difference between Those Who Achieve their Goals and those that Do Not
The single most important thing that makes one person successful and another fail is the difference in their mindset. When I meet with a client for the first time, I help them determine not only what they want but why they want to achieve their goals. There are many stages that we go through when we want to achieve a new goal. We can be contemplating making some changes, getting ready to make the changes, or committed. If you are committed then you are absolutely motivated, willing and determined to do whatever it takes to implement the actions required in order to achieve the outcome or result that you want. If you have a big enough why or enough desire, given the right tools and information, you will achieve the outcome you desire.
Many of you may have struggled with your weight for years or even decades. People who have had this struggle often feel guilty, embarrassed and ashamed of their weight and appearance. I’ve met with countless individuals who no longer even believed that they were capable of losing weight much less keeping it off. I know when I was struggling with my weight I felt all of those things. I completely understand what it feels like to be locked inside a prison that you don’t feel you can escape from because it happens to be your body. I remember the years of looking in my mirror and being shocked and unhappy at the matronly woman who was staring back at me. I was unhappy, uncomfortable and self-conscious all of the time!
Guess what? This is very important—Focusing on losing weight and being unhappy and uncomfortable won’t help you achieve your goals! Therefore, the very first thing I want you to do is to begin practicing self-acceptance. Don’t put any more energy into feeling guilty or unhappy about where you are right now, today. Instead, give yourself some gratitude for taking the simple but powerful first step to evaluate where you are and where you want to be. KNOW that you have taken the first step to achieve your goals of losing body fat and of having a healthier body. Remember, you didn’t get where you are right now in just a day, so it will take some time to change the habits that got you there. Within a couple of weeks you should start seeing results and feeling better. You won’t have to get “all the way” to your goal to begin enjoying the rewards of more energy and looking and feeling leaner.
Step #1. Decide What You Want
Here is a Secret of all Masters in achieving success in any areas of their lives. Decide what you want. Make a decision and keep choosing the same thing over and over until your will is made manifest in your reality. Neale Donald Walsch in Conversations with God, Book 2
Regardless of the goal, whether it is in the area of your health, wealth or any other area of your life, one of the most important success strategies is to decide exactly what you want. Decide what you want and be very clear about what that will look and feel like when you achieve it. Simply saying, “I want to lose some weight” is too vague. Be specific. You can use the following examples to write a better goal for yourself:
- I want to eat and exercise optimally so that I lose “X” amount of excess body fat and increase &/or tone my muscle mass.
- I want to have a fit and healthy size “X” body and look and feel my best everyday.
- I want to increase my muscle mass by “X” percent, reduce my fat body mass by “X” percent, so I will look more toned and have more energy.
Think about and visualize what your life will be like when you have achieved your goal. How will you feel and what activities will you participate in that you are not participating in now? Will you dress differently? Feel different about yourself?
Step #2. Visualize yourself AS IF …
Your mind is a powerful tool for helping you get what you want in life. That’s because much of what goes on in your mind is nothing more than a story that you made up. Now that can be a very bad thing or it can be a very ‘cool’ thing. Think of it like being on a movie set except that you (through your mind) get to play all of the parts. You get to be the story teller, you write the script; you get to be the Producer; you get to be the Director; you get to be the Star! Now, this is really important….YOU get to decide whether your movie has a HAPPY ENDING or a sad one. It’s all in the story you make up.
Here’s how this all relates to this program. First you will make a DECISION to take control of your own health and fitness…something many of you may have neglected for too long. Next I you will make a TOTAL COMMITMENT to create a laser focus on getting the result. Then you will create a lot of CLARITY around just what health and fitness means for you. You will need to learn how to eat healthy and exercise consistently and set your target goals.
Focus on what you want to achieve and what your life will be like when you reach your goals. If you focus on being a fit and healthy person, you will start to act like a fit and healthy person, making healthier food choices and being more active. If you focus on “being fat”, “being unhappy”, and “wanting to lose weight” your mind and your attitude are still in “fat mode” and you will tend to act accordingly. I think we’d all rather focus on being fit, healthy, active and attractive and bring our actions in line with that visualization—your results will naturally follow!
Here is a true story:
One of my clients set a target goal of dropping 20lbs of body fat and reducing his waistline by 3 inches over a 40-day period. Pretty lofty goals, but he decided he wanted to ‘test’ himself and see just what was possible if he did everything right for 40 days. He wanted to discover what kind of transformation he could achieve for himself. This client got very clear on what he wanted to achieve, made a huge commitment to do everything correctly for 40 days to see what would happen. I am proud to report that he achieved his goals! A big part of his success was that he used visualization. Here’s what he shared with me: “As a big part of creating clarity, I VISUALIZE myself not as I am, but AS-IF I am already that person who has released 20 lbs of body fat….meaning my ‘mind’s-picture’ of me is 20 lbs lighter. By doing so the mind begins to ‘adapt’ and ‘believe’ in your change and seeks to move you from where you are to where your mind’s eye sees you.”
This wasn’t just any client. He was a very successful self-made multi-multi millionaire who had created a very successful Financial Planning Service and appears on Fox News every Tuesday. He even went public on the news with his challenge! He assembled his team of experts, and I was his Nutrition Coach and Meditation Consultant. He and I agreed that regardless of the goal, whether it is to make a million dollars before your 40th birthday, which he had achieved plus some, or to lose 100 pounds, the success strategies are the same. What makes the difference is applying those success strategies to the right techniques (meaning having the correct information to implement your plan). Not only did I coach Stewart in his original goals, I went on to coach his entire staff in his business, and finally helped him with his book, Think Like A Self Made Millionaire.
Other great examples of using Visualization include two of the greatest golfers of all time, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods—both of who have stated that they ‘Visualize’ every shot before they actually swing on the ball—even their practice shots! Deepak Chopra goes into this process in depth in his book, Golf for Enlightenment: The Seven Lessons for the Game of Life. I would highly recommend that book even if you are not a golfer.
Then there’s the research that included 3 groups of basketball players. The first group did not practice their free throws and saw no improvement; the second group practiced 2 hours per day and saw a marked improvement in their free throw percentages; the 3rd group ‘visualized’ shooting successful free throws for 2-hours per day but they didn’t actually practice. The result? The group using visualization saw their free throw percentage nearly match that of group #2!
Visualization can make a huge difference in both achieving and accelerating your intended results, whether your intention is to achieve greater health and fitness or to become financially free or to greatly improve your relationships. When you use the visualization process it actually begins to change your brain and you start creating new neurological pathways. My physician friend, Dr. Rick Brown, tells me there is a medical term for this, “Brain Plasticity”.
Start now. Visualize exactly what you look like after having participated in our program. Don’t be afraid to ‘see’ an astounding NEW YOU! Use the following form to create your vision of what having a fit and healthy body means to you. Use the Master Your Mindset Worksheet to help you, or create your own in a personal journal.
Step #3: Act “As If”
When you change your decisions and goals in a way to put them in the present tense, “as if” it is already true then you will begin to behave “as if” you already are fit, healthy, and full of energy. Indeed you BECOME that person and begin to do and behave “as if” it were already true. And when you change your actions, the results follow.
Act as if you have already achieved your goals. You will look and feel better and improve your results. If you tend to “hide” in baggy clothes—I call them my goddess clothes—then stop! Dress yourself in your nicest clothes that make you feel the best every day. Get out and be active. Don’t postpone any other activity “until you lose weight”. Start living your life fully TODAY. And if you act as if you are already fit and healthy, eating and exercising as fit and healthy people do, then you will become fit and healthy!
Remember to state these things in the present and in the positive. Instead of saying “I want to lose weight”, say to yourself, “I want a lean and fit body.” Or “I have achieved my optimal body composition and I look and feel my best.” If you focus on “losing weight” then you are still calling that weight into your reality. Instead, focus on calling optimal health and wellbeing; “being fit and healthy” into your reality. And if you state things as “I want” than the universe continues to keep you in the “wanting” state. If you state that you ARE a fit and healthy person and that you have optimal body weight so you can live your life to the fullest everyday, you will quickly find yourself “acting as if” you are fit and healthy and have optimal body composition and weight. You will find yourself making choices “as if” it were already true and very soon you will be moving in the direction of your intended outcome!
I want you to take a few moments to start getting even more clarity about what you want to achieve. State what you want not only in the positive but make it measurable. How many pounds do you want to weigh? What Body Fat Percentage do you want to achieve? What size clothing do you want to be able to wear?
This is what I have decided I want to achieve in the area of my health: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Fueling Your Decision with Power!
Great job so far—now let’s give your decision some power! Now you have taken the step to “Decide What You Want” to achieve. Remember a secret of those who achieve great goals is they keep choosing the same thing over and over until they bring it into their reality. This means every small decision they make along the way will continue to support what they have chosen. You must keep choosing the same thing, over and over until it has become your reality. In order to do this we must give your decision power and passion! You need a big enough why to keep you focused and on track. In this exercise we will fuel your decision with power by using the Universal Law of Intention and Desire.
Remember, what we think we create and what we think we become!
OK, now you are ready. I want you to write down all the reasons why you want what you have promised yourself. Why is it important to you that you achieve your goal? How will your life be different? How will it feel to do, be and have what you have decided you want? What is your why?
Now you have made your decision and a promise about what you want to achieve. You have fueled it with energy and passion by giving it a big enough WHY! You now realize that every decision you make along the way will bring you either one step closer or further away from what you have decided to create. And remember, the Secret of the Masters is they keep choosing the same thing, over and over, until they have made what they want manifest in their reality.
Your Thoughts & Beliefs Create Your Reality
Our bodies and the state of our health and fitness is a reflection of our experiences over the last few years. Our bodies are not solid and fixed, but are an ever flowing river of energy and information which are in dynamic exchange with our environment. Our bodies are made to spontaneously rejuvenate, heal and support us. Most of the diseases we associate with aging are actually caused by our lifestyle choices and stress. We can choose to support our bodies and have optimal health and well-being as we age.
Remember, what you think, you create! “I am strong and healthy and I always make the best choice to nurture my mind, body and spirit.”
Make a Commitment to Yourself!
Now it is time for you to make your decision and a commitment to yourself to make yourself a priority for a fixed amount of time. You should now be clear now about what you want to achieve in the area of Health and Fitness. When you write down your goals in the form of a commitment you are more likely to achieve them. A commitment is a promise to yourself and it is much more powerful than a goal. Use the following Commitment Form to get clear on what you want and why you want it, and the action steps you are committed to taking in order to achieve what you want. This form can actually be used to make a commitment in any area of your life, so feel free to use it to make a commitment in the area of Wealth, Career, Relationships, or any other area where you would like to achieve a new level of success.
Thoughts are things, and they are powerful things. Thoughts are subtle vibrations and they have energy. When you share your promise with someone else, you are putting your promise into Words which are powerful creating vibrations!
Ask For What You Need
An essential part of success in any aspect of life is to be willing to ask for support! I’ve discovered that sometimes this is difficult, and occasionally I fall into that category myself. I believe in personal accountability and I admit, I like being in control. Sometimes those ideas and qualities do not go hand in hand with asking for and receiving support. I have learned though that it is equally important to be not only a good giver, but also a good receiver.
Ask the people in your life to support you both at home and at work. Let them know some specific things that would be helpful to you that they can do, such as support you and your schedule for your daily workouts; not bringing tempting, unhealthy foods into the office or home. You may even ask a friend or colleague, to be your accountability partner or join you on your new plan.
One thing I’ve learned in life is that “How you do anything is how you do everything.” So if you are hesitant to ask for support for your Health & Fitness, where else in life might you be hesitant to ask for and receive support from those around you? So let me ask you, where are you getting support for your goals and are you asking for what you need? Have you asked the people around you to support you in your health and fitness goals?
Get Clear about what Optimal Health & Fitness means to you
This has to do with visualization. Think about it, write it down; visualize it every day. What will your life be like when you reach your goal? How will you look? How will you feel? How will other people react to your differently. What activities will you participate in that you do not right now? This exercise will help you bring your vision into reality.
Download the Master Your Mindset Worksheet
Affirmation: “Knowing I have the power to change, I can create what I want in any area of my life. My thoughts create my reality, and if I can dream it then I can achieve it”.
For My Friends Who Have Wondered …
I’m here! LOL! Last July I got a phone call from my mother that changed the trajectory of my life, at least for a while. Her health was failing and she asked me to move to Virginia to help care for her. When I asked how long I should plan on staying, her reply was, “Indefinitely, and I need you to get here as fast as you can.” So I packed up my Denver home and drove across the country within the week, thinking I would get a little place of my own near her home. I told myself that I could trade my long a beautiful Colorado hikes for SUP—Stand Up Paddleboarding—which would be a “new thing” for me and would be both fun and keep me in shape. As soon as I arrived I saw that those plans would be on hold for a while. The next 8 months were devoted completely to caring for my mother and doing an over-haul on the interior of her home, where she had smoked for 18 years. After doing some research I realized just how toxic the house was, even with her no longer smoking in it! Change was necessary in order to improve the health of the home and to adapt it to my mother’s new needs, which changed week to week from the time that I arrived until her passing.
I plan on posting about my experience of being a caregiver (my experience & challenges are certainly not unique—and I was on a steep learning curve with on-the-job training)—the physical, emotional & spiritual effects are real and very well documented. By the time my mother passed away I had used all of my reserves and realized I needed to just STOP, be patient with myself for a while. So I have! More on THAT later – but the ground is ripe for a 90 Day Self-Care challenge to get back to my best physically – while my mother became bed bound, I became house-bound with her and she would tolerate NO NOISE in the house outside of her own TV – so no exercise, little sleep, lots of stress = weight gain! UGH!
COMPUTER CHALLENGES – RESOLVED – AND LESSONS LEARNED! I spilled wine on my laptop early on when I arrived in Virginia (Last August) —fortunately I didn’t ruin the hard drive, and only had to replace the keyboard—I unplugged it, removed the battery & I gave it SEVERAL days to dry out before I even attempted to boot it up again. I prayed while I let it dry out that when I booted it up it would still work. It did, but it took a very long time, and the keyboard didn’t work at all. I FRANTICALLY moved all my files to Dropbox in a disorganized MESS to make sure they were saved if my computer wouldn’t boot up again! (Because it’s memory was almost full, and it was taking FOREVER to boot up, anyway). So I’m doing all this while praying, “God Thank you for not letting me lose my files, and PLEASE let me stop learning things the hard way!” (I should have had a back up strategy for my computer files all along, right?) So for a while I used an auxiliary keyboard until the laptop one started shorting out and taking over … making the computer useless. I’m WAY out – so Best Buy is an hour away- when I took it in and the GEEK told me if I brought in a new keyboard they would put it in for me. ARGH! IMHO half the battle was making certain I ordered the RIGHT keyboard … so after the SECOND attempt, I got the right one for my computer, and I installed it myself (with the help of a YouTube Tutorial). By the way, the Geek that helped me set up the NEW laptop laughed at me when I told him my wine story and laughed and said, “Spilling wine on your computer is something that we see a lot! – it is one of the most common things that happen to folks laptops!” LOL – really!?
GETTING BACK TO WORK: I had been so focused on taking care of “OPS”—other peoples stuff — that I had neglected my OWN stuff. I finally have a space for an office with my computers, my files and everything all in one place so I can sort through them. So when I got back to work last week, my office, my paper files, my computer & online files were ALL in a state of disorganized chaos … It’s taken a week, but I’ve finally got a handle on it. This is what my office looked like last weekend as I was trying to piece together old notes, brainstorming ides, and files. It looked kind of like a bomb went off in here! Actually, the photo does not do justice to the huge mess that was in there! I can’t work like that – so I got busy and sorted things out!
So fast forward: I purchased a new laptop recently, and I was really ready for an update … but my files have been “out there” in the cloud somewhere in disorganized chaos. When I sat down last week to get started, I had to retrieve passwords for EVERYTHING! I couldn’t even remember how to get into my Hosting Account! LOL – Oh My – It took an ENTIRE DAY just to re-organize my LassPass Vault and figure out how to sign into my own websites, email accounts, hosting, Aweber … etc. (EYE ROLL! HOW, did I let MY OWN STUFF get this disorganized??? I mean I’ve been organizing OTHER PEOPLE’s STUFF for years, and generally I’m so good at it, but apparently MY HEAD HAD BEEN STUCK IN THE SAND FOR A WHILE when it came to MY OWN STUFF!) Anyway, after spending an entire day on Lass Pass (while putting up a couple of new blog posts 😉 ) I moved on to paper files, files stored in the cloud from the old computer, etc. It’s better now!
MY S-L-O-W INTERNET CONNECTION … Did I mention that I’m “way out” in the country on a tip of a peninsula here in Coastal Virginia? In ways that is such a blessing! But it is an hour from Target, Best Buy, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, etc., etc. (So truly AMAZON PRIME has become my best friend – which I see is GREAT for affiliate marketing!) … and being “way out” Internet connections are not really the best or the fastest. I was SO EXCITED when Verizon came out with their “UNLIMITED DATA” package … and I got off the old, very slow, had to re-connect every 48 hours DSL. I got a Hotspot that worked like a champ the first month … but then something changed. I get 10 MB on the 4G network, and then they downgrade the hotspot to 3G (and sometiimes slower) for the remainder of my billing cycle.makes This makes streaming video impossible, loading websites is often V-E-R-Y Slow and I often have to load a page more than once before it loads correctly. “Go to Starbucks and use their wi-fi!” said my son. The nearest Starbucks is 17 miles away. I HAVE started taking my “devices” to the library for updates, downloads and sometimes that really helps, and other times their network is a little slow, too. This is just something I have to deal with … but it hasn’t helped with productivity.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to getting some technical issues worked out now that I’ve gotten my office, my passwords and my files reasonably organized! Then I’ll be able to focus on content here!
All my best to you all! See you again soon!!
Begin where you are—physically, mentally and emotionally.
I wrote the following in 2005, just before I entered one of the most challenging decades of my life:
“Right now I am overshadowed in every way by the looming demise of my marriage. There is a sadness that permeates my life, and a fear of what the future holds and how I will manage to take care of myself and my children. That gripping fear has kept me in this marriage for years, and as the situation becomes worse and divorce more imminent, the fear has become stronger. I feel frozen, stuck and just plain scared. I have been preparing my escape for years, knowing that not just my well being and safety, but that of my children is depending on me..
In preparation I have invested in myself with the goal of being the best possible version of myself that I can—emotionally, physically, spiritually. The money and time I have invested in books, seminars and tapes likely equal the tuition for a University degree. I have lived and seen more of life and life experiences than the average person of 50 years, and I’m smart, damn smart! Couple all of those life experiences with the additional focused attention I’ve given to health, personal development, finances and marketing—you’d think I’d be able to find a way to market it, sell it and make a living by helping others.
Fear, lack of confidence—are those the only things holding me back? I am in search of the key that will unlock the door to my creativity and purpose in life. I am searching for any unknown obstacles holding me back. I feel I am very close—but at the same time a wall away from discovering and practicing my true life purpose and expressing my full potential. I seek the answers constantly—in books, inside myself and in the Higher Power.
“Kay, if God is calling you to teach, you don’t need to be ‘perfect’ to start doing it. God will give you what you need.” ~Somebody Smart
I seek freedom and happiness in my own life, and the fulfillment of making the world a better place by helping others find their true, authentic and best selves. I’ve learned that Everything Is an Inside Job—whether we are seeking weight loss, happiness, security, better relationships, more money—it’s all connected, and it’s all connected to what is inside of us.
It is important to take 100% responsibility for our circumstances. No matter what our current circumstances are, we each created them for ourselves. We attract the people, the circumstances, and even the material things in our lives. We create the body we have today by the choices we have made in the food we eat, whether and how we exercise, what habits or addictions we succumb to, and even how healthy we keep our environment and our relationships. Certainly, we are all works in progress and we are recreating ourselves, our circumstances and our bodies every day. I am not the same as I was 15 minutes ago when I sat down to write this. I will never be that person again, just as a river is constantly flowing and changing, so am I, and so are you.
I found an opening through meditation and Yoga, which became the beginning and the heart of my journey. Through Yoga, I found that quiet place within myself that I had not connected with in many years. Through that quiet space I reconnected with my creativity and my spirituality and an opening, a transformation, and a growth and healing began. Through that has come a desire to help others find that same place. My focus is on Health and Wellness. We cannot be healthy, have vibrant energy, maximum wellness, happiness and balance without finding that place within ourselves—it is truly an inside job. What is going on in our inner life is reflected in our outer life through our circumstances, relationships and our bodies.
A year ago, although I know just what to do and how to eat to maintain a healthy weight, I was grossly overweight and really struggling with it. Finally, one day after a lot of soul searching and healing I looked in the mirror and said to myself, “I am ready to come out!” Soon after that I lost 25#. I still have 25-30 pounds more to lose. I have been “stuck” at my current weight for several months.. Dr. Simon from the Chopra Center told me the reason for this is that I am “stuck” in a relationship that is not good for me. He expressed his doubt that I could loose 20 more pounds while I am in this marriage. He suggested that it would be “too empowering” to lose more weight. He invited me, and I am trying, to prove him wrong. I have set my intentions and focused my attention over the last weeks on letting go of things in my life that no longer serve me. I have purged my closets, my office, and my storage areas. I am preparing and doing the “inner work” to let go of these extra pounds and let go of anything else n my life that is not serving my highest and best self. I feel I am on the verge of an astounding transformation.”
… and I was.
Okay … so that is the end of my 2005 writing. I did lose 20 more pounds in the following year, & I finally ended my marriage in 2007. And I did start teaching, but I played small … very small. I taught yoga, did wellness, nutrition and some life coaching. I had students who asked and encouraged me to offer more, but I resisted. Life threw some bigger challenges my way. However, I accept 100% of the responsibility for the choices I made and the situation and circumstances I created. I firmly believe that there are times when we refuse to step into our life’s mission and purpose, things can get nasty. The decade after my marriage ended presented many challenges. I was financially destabilized and lost everything in the aftermath of the divorce. My relationships with my children suffered and have caused more heartache and heartbreak than I knew I could possibly endure. At one point I felt like God was determined to take everything precious away from me until I was ready to fully step into my purpose—yet I still resisted and insisted on playing small. At one point I had friends who were praying for me and a one of them even had a service dedicated to my support me through prayer. Someone I’ve known and respected all my life as being highly spiritually evolved told me,
“Kay, if when God wants someone, he can be very heavy handed.” ~Somebody Smart
In spite of all those challenges, I have had some of the most amazing and greatest experiences of my entire life in this past decade, and I firmly believe the best is yet to come. I’m ready to share what I’ve learned and what has helped me to persevere. (Not saying I’ve done everything perfectly, in fact I’ve made some horrible mistakes and choices, but we all do, and what is important is that we learn from them and then move on.) As Maya Angelo said, “When you know better then you will do better.” Looking through old notes and bucket lists I’ve been fascinated to see that so many of my goals and things I wanted to do I was able to fulfill even in one of the most challenging decades of my life. My life’s journey has been so rich in wonderful experiences! I’ve spent time in a Trappist Monastery. I lived in Peru for four months and met indigenous healers and shaman, experienced rituals and initiations from them while visiting sacred and mystic sites in both Peru and Bolivia. I have studied and delved into Ancient Wisdom teachings, traditions and experiences. I lived in a Spiritual community for a year which hosted events and retreats for famous authors and healers. I lived in Colorado enjoying almost daily hikes under the bluest skies and some of the most gorgeous scenery and mountains on the planet. I have been to some of the most amazing events and workshops in personal development, spiritual development, publishing, finance and marketing (I’ve been called an information sponge—I love learning new things). Through these experiences I have met some people that I believe are among the finest on this planet. Some of them are famous, and others are not—but that makes them no less significant. It is my hope that by sharing my experiences and life lessons it may be of service to others—that you might find some encouragement, some inspiration, and if you need it, some motivation and support to create an adventurous life that you love, no matter where you are right now or what your challenges may be.
What to Do When Shift Happens
Ugh! I was fully prepared to begin a 90 day Nutrition Challenge this past Monday, when I got a phone call that derailed my preparations and intentions. I got a call letting me know that my elderly mother is facing a health challenge and I have been called to go there right away to help care for her for an undetermined amount of time. Since that phone call last week I have been packing up my Denver Apartment so I can drive from Colorado to Coastal Virginia within the week. I’m really feeling what it is like to be a part of the sandwich generation right now. Earlier this year, I moved back to Denver to be near two of my children during a crisis. Now, as my mother’s only surviving relative, I’m heading to Virginia to support my mother through her health challenge. I am grateful that I have the flexibility to pick up and move right now, as I’ve been able to show up to support my loved ones this year. However, that doesn’t mean that these cross-country moves only months apart are not stressful and disruptive to my life and work flow. This is EXACTLY what I’ll be sharing with you during this post, “How to maintain, or get back on your program.”
I had planned and prepared to run this Nutrition Challenge from beautiful Colorado, sharing beautiful mountain pictures of Colorado as I hiked as part of my fitness regime. I had stocked my little temporary kitchenette with the supplies I would need to weigh and measure my foods, journal, share my recipes and daily meal plans. The intention was to demonstrate how easy it is to learn to eat in a way that you can get your body to work for you, achieve your goals and be the best, healthiest version of you. I had planned to share my personal goals and progress with you (and I will still do that). Hmmm … what to do?
The Only Thing You Can Count On is Change
There is only one thing you can count on—change. There WILL be changes and life challenges, and it is easy to get off track at these times. That has already happened to me. This was a motivator for me to lead a 90-day challenge. I have the opportunity to share what I know about weight loss, the program I used 10 years ago to get in the best shape (and health) of my life, and to stay in great shape, and to demonstrate how this program works and can easily fit into your lifestyle. Sometimes even wonderful changes can cause stress or throw you off track. Things like a vacation, holiday, a new marriage, a change in your location or job, or a new baby or member in your household. Then there can be more stressful changes such as injury, illness, losing someone through death or divorce for example. My challenge is that for the second time in a year, I am moving across the country to help with a family crisis—part of the dilemma of some of us who are in the sandwich generation. So I’m packing, moving, settling in, and taking the role of caregiver, all with less than two weeks. My food shopping, eating and fitness routines will all need to change with this move; not to mention I need to practice some self-care to take care of my own health and well-being while packing up, driving from Denver to Coastal Virginia, and then settling into a new, temporary situation to care for and assess the needs of my elderly mother.
When Life Shows Up
Life events may throw you off, and surely will from time to time. I’m going to show you in this program what to do at these times. It doesn’t matter if you fall off your program. It will happen to everyone from time to time. It is more important that you get back ON your program of healthy eating and lifestyle habits, and that you have the tools so you know how to do it. The faster you can get back on the better. However, if you fall off your nutrition program for a while like I have, then it is very empowering to know that you have the tools and the knowledge to turn your body and your health around, and achieve the healthiest version of you whenever you are ready to jump back on. I have spent the past 3 weeks planning, preparing and am ready to implement the program, but I’m going to take my own advice … and postpone the beginning of the full on program where I plan to share my own program, tips, recipes and exercise. Instead, my posts will be about how to practice self-care and make the healthiest choices that I can during a time of some pretty intense stress and changes. I wonder, how many of you have spent an extended period of time caring for an elderly relative? I have done it before, and just as my physician friend warned me, it isn’t an easy job.
During times of Stress
During times of stress or challenge, your goal should be to maintain your current weight, health and fitness. It is not the time to push forward to the next level. If you are able to maintain during these times, consider it a “win”. It is a time for doing the best you can, and to make the best choices you can in your current situation. It is not the time begin a new program, which could actually add to your stress. Additionally, when under stress, your body actually produces a hormone (cortisol) that makes it more difficult to lose fat. I didn’t want to let anyone down because I’d promised to start a 90-Day Challenge this past Monday, but after reflecting on it, I realized in order to follow my own advice and to give participants the best experience, I need to do something different. I realized this it is NOT the time for me to be an example of how to do the program at 100% or move myself to the next level (following my own advice). What I CAN do is share with you my personal challenges, how I will make the best choices I can under some challenging situations. I’m looking forward to getting settled so I CAN focus and make my health my priority.
Here’s What I Can Do
I’ve committed to myself that I am going to do the very best I can to take care of myself and my body during this stressful time. I am totally ready to be on a consistent health/fitness program and make it my priority. I thought this was the perfect time, and I am tired of living in my “goddess clothes” which are very flowing and forgiving along with my yoga pants. I want to fit back into my size 4 jeans. However, while packing up an apartment and preparing for a cross country move, two very long days of travel, then unpacking and settling, along with knowing that I need to jump right in to help my mother, and giving myself a few days to settle and assess my situation before I can be the example of the lifestyle habits necessary to lose weight. There will be so many situations and circumstances that are not really in my control. Breathe in and breathe out —it will be okay.
Here Are My Challenges
Here are my challenges and what I’m going to do about them.
I’m Packing up my Denver Apartment and getting ready to haul myself, my car and all that I had in Colorado across the country!
Half of my cooking tools and utensils are being shipped to Virginia, and the rest of them are already packed. So, right now, cooking and being in control of exactly what and when I eat is a challenge. Also, I’m doing my best to conserve, and to use what groceries I have here. Last night, I did have a wonderful delicious and healthy meal. I love fish, and this meal was prepared with cod and dover sole that I had in the freezer and needed to use. white fish I had in the freezer and needed to use, Cod & Dover Sole (my protein), Spinach (a little bit of carbohydrates) and slivered almonds (fat). You can click here to get the recipe: Recipe for Dover Sole and Spinach I added about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of rice to my plate, and I had a delicious and nutritious meal with the right ratios of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Lucile’s Creole Seasoning that I used in this recipe comes from a Lucile’s Restaurant which has several locations in the Denver Area. I was delighted to find that I can purchase their seasonings online from their website at Luciles.com.
Responses to Stress
I’m Paying Attention to my Body’s Responses to Stress … and they are Very Real. This past week has given me a reminder that I am not invincible and I need to take care of myself!
Yesterday I took a “down day”. During some periods in my life, when I’ve been under stress my blood pressure will escalate and this has been one of those times. I have occasionally experienced “panic attacks”, although I hadn’t had one since I was a teenager until recent years. My blood pressure has been high over the past week, and I was taking measures to de-compress, destress, and get it back to normal … under 120/80. I’ve been monitoring my blood pressure several times each day. I’ve spent some time focusing on relaxing with meditation and yoga, I added magnesium supplements to may daily regimen. My efforts and attention to this have paid off – this morning my blood pressure was down to 117/78. NOTE: If you know or suspect your blood pressure is high, go to your doctor and discuss it with him. My choice of “handling this on my own” wasn’t ideal, and could have been dangerous. However, I know my body and believed I could take some positive steps to get my blood pressure back to normal. I was lucky—it is working. Still, I will keep monitoring how I’m doing with the goal of my blood pressure once again being under 120/80 regardless of the situation. The lesson here is that you CAN take measures to improve your health. Chronic Stress is the #1 factor in many major health issues. Knowing how to manage stress is so important. None of us are immune to stress, how we handle that stress is another matter.
Healthy Eating On the Road
Well … I could say, “what the heck—it’s only 2 days”, and eat whatever is available while I’m traveling. However, I’ve decided I am not going to do that. I’m packing and taking some healthy meals with me, right off of my nutrition plan. Not only will this save me money not eating in restaurants, but I know my energy level will be much better eating the right size healthy meals as much as possible. I already realize that I will miss at least two days of exercise, and I won’t be drinking the ideal amount of water. I need to pack a 25 hours of driving time into about 36 hours, so I won’t be stopping much.
I’m planning on packing some meals in a jar to go in my cooler. Here’s What I’ll be packing:
These recipes are all about being “simple, fast & easy” not to mention delicious and made of the best quality, real foods (as opposed to processed foods) that I have available. I’ve already packed two containers, each with a cup of 2% Daisy Cottage Cheese (protein), 2/3 cup frozen mixed berries (carbohydrate), and about 9 whole raw almonds (fat).
Before I leave I’m making another recipe from things I found in the freezer. I’ll call it an Italian Stew, with 1 pound of extra lean ground beef, a frozen package of Harvest Hodge Podge for vegetables, and a jar of organic marinara sauce, all from Trader Joe’s. I’ll spice that up with some garlic and maybe add a little Lucile’s Creole Seasoning. I’ll check the recipe and if I need a few more carbs I may add 1/2 to 1 cup of cooked brown rice to the recipe. This will make 4 servings. I’ll put them in containers, freeze two to be eaten after I arrive at my destination and I’ll take two unfrozen for the road. The frozen containers will help keep the unfrozen food cold during my trip, too!
Last, I recently discovered the Tropical Mango Salad at Trader Joe’s and I have a bag in my fridge. It is a complete salad in a bag and it is delicious! I’m going to add about 7 ounces of cooked, chopped chicken breast to that salad mixture and carry it in a container on the road.
So for now … my cooler is packed, and I’ll be hitting the road in a couple of hours.
Sometimes when something really bad happens, it turns out the be a catalyst for something really good!
BAD NEWS: The Project I hod worked on for a year had to be scrapped! I lost my #1 Client, and majority of my income. In late April I attended Ken McArthur’s IMPACT event in Denver. I ended up “winning” the #1 spot for something called the Hot Seat. This is where you get to go in front of a panel of some very impressive and successful authors, entrepreneurs and online marketers to pitch your project and get their advice. I decided to pitch the book project I’ve been working on for my #1 Client. Guess what happened? I pitched my client’s project and after 15 minutes one of the panelists got up and literally “pitched” the book across the room saying, “This book has been launched!” It seemed like something “Bad” happened … my entire project was scrapped and it was recommended I let go of my #1 client. The panel convinced me of what I had suspected all along. There was no way for me to make this project a success without more funding and participation from my client.
GOOD NEWS: The remaining 15 minutes the panel urged me to come to terms with the situation, the best way to fire my client and start implementing the strategies I had suggested for him and put my time and energy into my OWN projects and create my own content and products. One of my good friends in the back of the room literally was doing a happy dance and cheering the panel on. GOOD NEWS! I am now focusing on myself, my projects and what I am to bring to the world!
BAD NEWS: My car was totaled. A few weeks later, at the end of a very long day, while moving into a new place I’d found to roost while here in Colorado, something unfortunate happened. Someone backed out of a parking spot … it was a blind spot because he was behind a big car and we couldn’t see each other, and he was in a hurry so he hit my car pretty hard. I wasn’t expecting that at the end of my moving day I would have someone take out the right side of my car, but he did damage from the front wheel all the way to the back bumper. My car drove just fine, but when I had it taken into the body shop and the disassembled it they found that it had done significant damage to my suspension … and my car was declared a total loss. BAD NEWS, right? Oh dear, I was so happy to have my little Nissan paid off, and suddenly I found myself out shopping for a new car, and something more appropriate than my Nissan Altima for driving through mountains and snow!
GOOD NEWS: I got a nice check for my Altima, sufficient for a down payment on a new Subaru Outback AND enough to live on for another couple of months while I work on my website! YAY!
Trusting in the Wisdom of Uncertainty
BAD NEWS: The circumstances around my move was another interesting story. I’d been house-sitting for almost 3 months in a beautiful and comfortable home, and had even had the opportunity to do some fairly extensive home improvement and landscaping for the owner. I had hoped that it might turn into a roommate situation where I could rent a room and have a place to land in the Denver area part time. I have an aging mother, and I’m her only living child and need to go spend time with her in Virginia. I have committed to being there to check in with her every three months. I have two children in Colorado and want to be here part of the time for them, too. I have set an intention to be have a home on both sides of the country. It became clear that was not meant to happen in the home where I’d spent almost three months house-sitting … trusting my instincts I informed the owner that I would be leaving within the week (even though I did not have a plan or a place to land). Housing in Denver is expensive and I wasn’t ready to make a lease commitment. It seemed to me that I would be heading back to the East Coast to find my first landing space there, near my mother. Colorado is beautiful, and I didn’t want to have to leave. Virginia is also beautiful, but I didn’t feel ready for a longer commitment there yet. I kept wondering and asking, “Where am I supposed to be?” I was prepared to pack up and leave within 3 days, even though that didn’t feel right either. I kept reminding myself to trust the wisdom of the Universe. Maybe I did need to be East, and if not I trusted something would show up. I took Memorial Day to do a 10 mile hike with the idea that I may be packing to leave Colorado in the next 3 days heavily on my mind. I kept reminding myself to “trust the wisdom of the Universe”.
GOOD NEWS: Help Arrives, just in the nick of time. When I returned from my hike that evening I attended my favorite drum circle. A woman showed up looking for me. She had heard that I might be looking for a place to rent. She had a basement apartment with new floors, new paint, bedroom/bath and a large area for living and working (even with a big desk for my work!) … and the next day I moved in. It took faith to “trust” in the wisdom of the opportunities that would present themselves. I trusted my instincts and followed them when doors seemed to be closing. Fear and resistance would have shut me down, so I trusted and reconciled myself that I may be leaving in a few days. It was no accident that this woman showed up “just in time” and wanted to rent her apartment to me for EXACTLY the amount that I had in mind. Miracles happen every single day if we are open to them. A good friend applauded me and said, “Wow, Kay—you totally manifested this!” I laughed and said, “And just in the nick of time, too!”
I set my intentions on having a home on both sides of the country. Now, in fact, I do have a place to live in both Colorado and Virginia. It hasn’t happened exactly the way I envisioned it, or at least not yet. However, I have to recognize what I had asked for, the Universe orchestrated and manifested it. I could have resisted the process and gone kicking and screaming, thinking that “bad” things were happening and everything was just awful. Instead, I stood back and said, WOW, this is exactly what I asked for, and it is happening in a very different way than I had imagined, and even sooner that I thought it could. I know there will be a time that I need to go back to Virginia and spend an extended time there, and I am prepared to do that. Part of me looks forward to that time and I am staying open and flexible as to when that might be. I am waiting and open and trust that I will be shown the right time.
Trust in the Wisdom of the Universe and the Wisdom of Uncertainty. It is so easy to get upset when things don’t go the way we think they should. It is easy to become fearful and resistant in those times. Many folks live their lives this way, and it causes so much stress and unhappiness, and even disease. Unhappy people tend to also be physically unhealthy. I’ve heard it said that it is not wise to argue with the Universe. When things don’t seem to be going the way we think they should and doors are closing, it is time to look for opportunities. Often times, what we need and where we need to be is something or someplace that we didn’t even know existed. It is important that we be open at these times, and have awareness that many times our challenges are actually opportunities in disguise. I don’t think it is any accident when people and circumstances show up for us, just in the nick of time. If we set our sights on some goal or accomplishment that we want to achieve, it may not happen exactly as we expect. There may be road-blocks, challenges, and unexpected events along the way. Keep going as the mystery unfolds. Life is a journey and we have the choice to navigate life’s challenges kicking and screaming or we can choose to enjoy the ride. This doesn’t mean there won’t be heartaches, heartbreaks, real challenges, uncertain times, nor that “bad things” don’t happen to good people. Life can be messy at times, for sure. What it does mean is we have choices in how we navigate through the changes and challenges in our lives, and we can learn tools and strategies to navigate these times.
I am grateful for my life and for the people and experiences that even the most challenging times have allowed me to experience. Some might say I have led an adventurous and exciting life. Others may see the heart-ache and anguish from some very difficult times and circumstances I have navigated and have asked me how I have managed to stay sane, much less happy and positive. Trust me, it has not all been easy, and I have processed grief, anger, disappointment, depression, deep sadness, despair and some days I got though by reminding myself, “if I can just keep putting one foot down in front of the other, I will make it through this.” Our experiences and challenges make us who we are. I believe in a phrase I found in a book when I was a child “the obstacles in life will make us bettor or bitter, and we have a choice.” When I read that quote I decided right then, I would choose to have my challenges make me better, and I didn’t want to be bitter. Thank you for that little green and white book sitting on the nightstand at my grandmother’s house. It made a difference.