Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Are you too busy to focus on your weight and fitness?

Many of us have either stopped a diet or fitness program or never started one for reasons like:

        "I'm so busy doing other things for other people at home and work that I just don't have time to do this too." 

Or maybe its:

      "If I take the time to prioritize my fitness I won't be able to do all the other things I'm doing." 

One way or the other, there seem to be a bunch of reasons why fitness and diet fall by the wayside.  We decide that work, or hobbies, or groups we belong to, or family are so demanding and take up so much of our time that we have to drop our plans to eat well and/or exercise in favor of all the other stuff we have to do. 

Unfortunately, when we do that, we often enter a negative spiral of some combination of:

1.  Feeling resentful that we "don't have any time for me"
2.  Feeling stressed out and having no way to diffuse that
3.  Lacking energy and focus
4.  Feeling physically out of shape or weaker that we'd like
5.  Gaining weight and feeling awful about it
6.  Increasing risk for health problems associated with weight, being sedentary, or poor eating habits

Once these things start to creep in we tend to spiral further into them, feeling worse and feeling worse about ourselves.  This then translates into the very people we are "serving" or working with at work or home noticing that our demeanor is not so pleasant, that we "look tired", or, my personal favorite, "look like Hell" (yes my previous boss said this to me).  It can also affect how well we do our tasks or jobs-  we may become less effective or more error-prone.  In any event, the end result of all our sacrificing our own care to care for others has the unintended consequence of impairing our ability to meet the demands before us.  It sucks, and it does not have to be this way.

I can say this because I know this all too well-  it's one of the reasons I'm where I am today.    Before I took a job at my university as an Associate Dean 3 years ago in a tumultuous college with a rotating door for Deans and huge budget challenges, I had been battling my weight for years and years.  I was not in great shape but I was in control and reasonably active.  Then, as the demands of the job increased and increased and my demands at home did the same thing as my husband struggled with his career and felt the impact of the failing economy, I totally gave up my fitness program and any semblance of healthy eating.  I wasn't getting ice cream or cheeseburgers every day, but I was overeating and drinking more than usual to compensate for the stress.  My sleep became disrupted and I pretty much never worked out.  By the end of the job (I finally resigned at the end of 2009), I'd gained more than 20 pounds and felt weak, flabby, and demoralized.  The real bummer was that all those bad feelings bled over to my family, whom I'd been trying to support through all my "sacrifices".  Talk about adding insult to injury.

So after I got my sea legs back from that job I had an epiphany.  I'm a life coach in addition to being a professor, and I'm always telling clients to define and set priorities and put in the time and energy necessary to make them happen-  why on earth had dI not done this with my fitness????  DOH.

So I've done this, and it's not all that bad.  I still work a stressful job at the University, but it's not as bad as it was, and I'm plenty busy in my coaching businesses and with my awesome family, but I've prioritized two simple things for myself that are non-negotiable:

1.  1 hour per day of exercise (Beachbody videos, walking, elliptical, stationary bike, yoga)
2.  Mindful eating (skipping sugar, lots of fruits and veggies, no fried stuff, less wine, less cheese, watching portion sizes) with one "cheat meal" per week if I want it (which I often don't now).

Really, this is 1-2 hours a day of effort at the outside-  this is no more time than I was spending watching TV, goofing around on the internet, tweeting, and facebooking.  I still have time to do all that, but  just not as much.  The best part?  Not only have I already lost 15+ pounds and 2 pant sizes, but my family is glad to have my (generally) cheery demeanor back and I feel strong and healthy again.  I still have more weight to loose to get to my goal, but it will happen this time.  I am a priority at last, and that means that I can take better care of others in my life as well.

The things that have made this possible are not only my decision to invest some time every day in taking care of my physical and mental health, but finding fitness support and solutions that make sense for my life.  Beachbody home fitness videos have made the difference for me, as has the support of the BB community and my coach.  I can help you make these same changes for free in a way that fits with your life.  Click  for Free Fitness Coaching  and select "free membership" to start your diet and fitness coaching with me, DrMary.  You can also email me at to get started.  If I can do this, anyone can, and I can help you make it happen too.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Coach, Heal Thyself....

So I spend a lot of my time as a life and fitness coach telling clients that balance is critical, and that they need to make tough decisions about how they want to spend their time and build their lives. I also talk with them about how important it is to take the time to reappraise their goals and make adjustments to their paths when circumstances change. We talk about how this can be a tough task, but can also be transformational. We talk about the fact that sometimes opportunities for reappraisal come unexpectedly, and that recognizing them can be a challenge, but that having the guts to embrace them and use them is essential.

One reason I enjoy framing planning for and creating change in this way is that it works well for me as a tool for moving forward. Over the years, I’ve used things like stepping stones in my career and the birth of my kids as opportunities to reappraise my own life and make changes. Until recently, my opportunities for reappraisal have been predictable events such as these that offer the chance for calm reflection and planning for gradual positive change. All that changed a few months ago when I landed in the ER with stabbing chest pain.

Yes I’m fairly young and healthy, but I’m not *that* young, and I’m getting to the age where occasionally I get emails that so-and-so dropped dead from a heart attack, even though they were running 3 miles a day, so when I was stunned by intense radiating chest pain, I calmly got myself to the ER to make sure I was okay. Happily, 9 hours, 3 EKGs, and a full set of stress testing later, I got the work that my ticker looks fine, and the pain was due to inflammation of the cartilage between by ribs from an injury. They did, however, mention that they were concerned that I was showing some physical signs of “burning from both ends” due to stress and overscheduling. This information was shared with me fairly early in my day in the ER, so I had plenty of time to reappraise and think about making changes as I lay in the various machines and sat cooling my jets in my hospital gown waiting to be sent home.

The process this time was different, however, than my other rounds of reappraisal and change management. I’d just been told that my health was starting to show signs of wear and tear due to stress and having too much on my plate. In the past, the addition of a new child or taking on a new job resulted in decisions such as finding ways to pay for someone to deliver my groceries, do our yardwork, and finally deciding to pay someone to clean the house so I’d have time to do recreational activities. At the time, paying for these things seemed extravagant expenses, but with 2 parents working full-time and 2 kids, we could afford them and they really improved our quality of life in many ways. These adjustments were happy indicators of the increasing ability of our family to assure that we could have leisure time and quality time together despite accelerating work and family obligations; they bought us time to enjoy our lives, and for a while, everything was great and nicely “balanced.”

The unhappy side effect, however, of the found time created by off-loading many household tasks to others was that work started to find me during those times, especially as my kids got older. Although weekends are still full of soccer, piano, movies, trips to the mountains, and generally quality family time, they have increasing been encroached upon by work in the form of email catch-up, grant-writing, research activities, and phone calls. The firm boundaries I was so proud of a few years ago, I realized lying in the ER, had been badly blurred such that no day was ever work-free. So lying there with lots of time on my hands, waiting for “the news”, I formulated a new set of plans that have already improved the quality of my work, health, family time, and life overall. In place and already benfitting every one are:

1. I left my high-pressure job (where I gained 20 pounds in 3 years) to find something that yes, pays less, but is more in tune with my life.

2. I leave my cell phone off after hours and on weekends except for family calls

3. Blackberry is off at school functions and on family outings

5. Laptop is closed during conversations with family and spouse (“multitasking” is a lame excuse)

6. Exercise and eating reasonably are a priority for me again in terms of time and effort.

7. Weekends and nights belong to me and my family for recreation, traveling, conversation, hanging out, etc.

Yes, I know- DUH!!!! These are all things that are important to me that I’ve let the nimble fingers of work obligations, real and imagined, pick away at over the last months, but with renewed commitment, I have drawn and am holding the boundaries.

I do not anticipate returning to the ER for stress-related symptoms anytime soon, but I know that if I do, it will be time to re-check my boundaries yet again. This is a process, and I am grateful for these opportunities to revise and reappraise.  It can be done, and it's worth it!!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's *not* Too Good To Be True: Get Fit While You Make Money!

Are you ready to get into the best shape of your life and make money being your own boss? You can do both when you become an Independent Beachbody Coach. No, you do not have to be a super-fit gym person to be successful as a BB Coach, in fact some of the most successful coaches are people who are going through a fitness transformation themselves. The great thing is that compared to many ML opportunities, BB does not require you to purchase inventory, buy an expensive product yourself, or pay a high enrollment or membership fee. You pay a small sign up fee and a small participation fee, but it's not much compared to what you can make!  As you get fitter yourself, you help others do the same, and as they purchase Beachbody's totally affordable videos, equipment, and supplements, you coach them to fitness for free. You earn a commission on the purchases you make, and get the satisfaction of helping people, being your own boss, and reaching your financial and fitness goals. What could be better? This is a no-risk, win-win opportunity. It's the real deal, and if you put in the time, for a relatively small investment, you can create a solid income stream for yourself! Call me at 1-877-753-2251 or email me to learn more and join the Beachbody Revolution!

Find Out More:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Slow and Steady Wins the Race!

Here we go again, right? Is there a little voice in the back of your head that’s groaning at the thought of taking on weight loss and fitness AGAIN? Are you a little worried that you’ll do great for awhile and then backslide? Well, it does not have to be that way. A big mistake many of us make in changing habits and diets is to try to make sweeping, larger changes all at once. This time, take small steps to create the changes you want in your life and body. Instead of setting large and intimidating goals, set much smaller goals, add them into your daily routine until they become new habits for you, and then set and add in another goal.

For example, if you’re hoping to get up to pressing play and working our 5 days a week but you’re not doing anything right now, think about committing to 2 days a week for 2 weeks and then adding a day per week until you reach your goal? This can create important successes for you that encourage you to both keep up the new habit and add others. It really does work- I’m living proof!

Here are some other small changes you might consider adding into your life gradually to get you further down the path to your fitness goals. These are modeled after my diet plan of choice, The Mayo Clinic Diet, and they really work:

Small Dietary Changes: Think about making one positive change in your diet each week. For example, this week, you might only allow fruits and veggies for snacks rather than popcorn or crackers and cheese. The next week, skipping starch at either lunch or dinner might be your goal. Each week, choose one new 'good' habit to replace a 'bad' habit, and slowly work into a weight loss routine that is permanent and a true lifestyle change.

Write it Down: Journal your eating, activity, and sleep, ideally every day. This means writing down everything you eat and drink, and your exercise. This both documents the positive changes you are making, and helps make you more aware of what you’re actually doing so you can make adjustments and hold yourself accountable.

Get Support:  Find a freind, spouse, relative, or co-worker to be a fitness buddy.  Use each other to develop accountability for goal setting and steps to reach your goals-  meet every week in person, on the phone, online, or through email.  You can also consider a professional coach to help you with this.  Some charge upwards of $125/hour for fitness coaching, but I will coach you for free through Team Beachbody. 

Move More: Increase physical activity, but gradually. Instead of pushing yourself to work out 4-6 times a week right away, find other ways to increase your physical activity without actually setting aside time in your schedule to exercise. Exercise IS important, but when you do not exercise regularly, ramping up too fast can cause injury and other problems.

Some things to try:

• Park farther from your destination and walk rest of the way

• Take the stairs instead of the elevator when you can

• Walk or ride a bike instead of driving when possible

• Play with your kids at the park or in your yard- they’ll give you a workout!

There are many other small ways you can make the changes you want in a way that will stick this time- be patient with yourself and get the support you need from yourself and others.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Are You Ready?

Welcome! I'm Dr. Mary, and I'm Professor of Psychology, a professional life coach, and an Independent Beachbody Fitness Coach. Join me as I travel my own path to lasting fitness and let me coach you to your own fitness goals for free. What brought you to this blog today? Maybe they are some of the same reasons that led me here and will help us work together to meet our goals. Let's see...
  • Are you searching for diet and exercise tips and programs again in hopes of finding the magic bullet?
  • Have you been on a gagillion diets/programs/programs and are ready to take up the weight and fitness gauntlet once again?
  • Have you "failed" at losing weight and keeping it off few times (for me, its MANY times)?
  • Are you sick and tired of dealing with your weight? Are you ready to GET THIS DONE?

Do these sound familiar? They sure are to me. I'm a middle-aged, working mom of two with a career and a long history of struggling with my weight and my fitness. In another post, I'll share the laundry list of shakes, potions, pills, and diets I've been on, but suffice it to say that the last one was THE LAST ONE. I had a major shift about 3 months ago and suddenly, all the pieces have come together. Maybe I just got so damn tired of fighting my weight and feeling bad about myself that I figured out how to do this in a sustainable way this time, but in any event, I'm here, down 2 sizes (no scales for me, thanks), and I'm ready to help you do the same thing FOR FREE. I've been a coach and mentor for more than 17 years, and I'm adding Beachbody Coaching to my repertoire to help you and others who share my history and readiness for change to get this done once and for all. BTW, don't let the "Beachbody" name fool you- this is serious fitness for real people of all ages, shapes, and backgrounds. I'm no bikini chick, but I'm stronger and fitter than I've been in a long time, and that's my goal. What are your goals? If you're ready to reach them, check out my site at Team Beachbody, sign up, and lets GET THIS DONE!