Life is too short to settle for less than you want... You only get ONE.
You already know this. And you'll start doing all the things you've put on hold when _______ happens...
…when you lose weight, get in better shape, have more time, fewer obligations or other “when” condition is met. Does that sound familiar? The “when x, then y” to start living more?
And in the meantime, you’re caught up. Caught up in the ever-repeating cycle that revolves around the number on the scale, not feeling as good as you’d like to feel, and/or the diet or exercise plan you’re going to start (again) to fix both.
I know this cycle is familiar to me. It’s familiar to me to think that a certain number on the scale was going to make me look a certain way, feel a certain way, and get me to “good enough.”
Except it doesn’t. And no matter how good other things are in our life, when we’re stuck always focusing on our weight, food, eating and exercising to manage all the above (or not exercising but knowing we “should”), we can miss out on a lot of living. We are using up time, energy, resources and precious life that could be spent on more fulfilling activities. On living and not settling.
I have embraced this idea of “not settling” all of my life. I grew up in a small town in the U.S. Midwest. I lived there until I was 20, but as soon as I graduated from Dr. Seuss books to romance novels, I was dreaming about seeing the world.
When I was 21, I went to Spain for a semester of study abroad that turned into a year. I was hooked. Spain was the beginning of professional and personal experiences that would allow me to see more of the world, something I loved – and love – to do.
During that time, I landed a great job in finance, my major in university, for a great company, fell in love and got married. I enjoyed a successful career and worked with people I enjoyed and who I learned from. My husband and I had two beautiful sons. Life was good.
Life was good and, yet, there was one area where I did not feel so good…where I consistently struggled and just felt stuck…
Where Weight & Fitness come in…
Up until my mid-thirties, although functioning well in other areas of my life, the area I wasn’t doing so well in was self-care. Especially in terms of food and exercise.
As far back as 6th grade, food and my weight were constantly on my mind. I remember waking up every day with two thoughts: (1) what I weighed and (2) what I could eat that day that I would like and would help me reach that always-elusive “good enough” number on the scale. I would then get on the scale for the first of many weigh-ins for the day.
I managed my weight by offsetting what I ate in junk food with eating nothing the rest of the day or drinking Slim Fast chocolate shakes (a meal replacement drink for people who want to lose weight). I equated healthy food with diets, thus “boring and tasteless”, food and avoided it. One day’s nutrition might be a combination of cookie dough and baked cookies and nothing, or very little, else the rest of the day. Another day I might eat a MdDonald’s quarter pounder, large French fries, supersize Butterfinger and a Diet Coke (to save calories, of course) and nothing else. Or I would eat a bagel or Apple Fritter and glazed donuts for breakfast and then drink Slim Fast for lunch and dinner. It was always a mix of unhealthy food and fasting or a diet meal replacement shake.
I hated running and most exercise, and I didn’t move much, especially after high school. Of course, I wanted a lean body with muscle tone and definition vs. my soft, squishy build. I hated my arms and my legs, which were full and shapeless, and rarely wore sleeveless tops or shorts. I would have spurts when I would join a gym or a class, or buy a piece of “magical” get-a-great-body exercise equipment, but they didn’t stick. Or, rather, I didn’t stick to them. By the time I was 35, my heart pounded from walking up stairs, and I was seeing signs of the “middle-age spread.”
In truth, I looked fine on the outside to most people. But I didn’t feel fine. I didn’t feel or look like I wanted to feel and look. I was still obsessed with the scale and food, and I would wonder what it would be like to be “normal”: to not wake up every day thinking about my weight and what I could eat; to eat in moderation, stopping when feeling full vs. overeating; to like healthy food and exercise.
I believe we change when not changing becomes more uncomfortable than changing.
The combination of stress from some challenging life events and feeling bad enough prompted me to start taking advantage of the free gym and affordable trainer I had access to in our neighborhood. I met with the trainer twice a week, and every week I would think of excuses to cancel. But I didn’t cancel, and it didn’t take long before I started seeing and feeling the results in greater muscle tone and more energy.
As I saw results and felt better, I expanded my physical routine to include more activities. Greater physical activity led to gradual, positive changes in my eating habits. Each positive change fed another and another, until those changes snowballed into a total lifestyle transformation.
Sometimes it is easy to be so submerged in our normal habits and patterns of behavior, we can’t see beyond them to imagine what different choices and actions could be or feel like. Getting a taste of “different” was a revelation. Feeling better – feeling good – was the motivation that I’d never had with diets and lose-or-manage-weight-inspired exercise (which I had mostly avoided). Feeling good led to a natural, gradual, positive evolution in my way of eating, moving and living in a way that the diets and “quick” fixes never could.
Today, I crave salads, not junk food. I feel best when I move every day. I have muscle definition and wear shorts and sleeveless tops, things I avoided when I didn’t like my soft, shapeless legs and arms. I am also more accepting of myself, focusing on how I feel as opposed to any “ideal” body image.
There is no food that is off-limits. There is no rigorous workout program that I must adhere to. I just tend toward doing the things that make me feel good.
I am not deprived. I am FREE.
I am free from the scale and the psychological game that went with it. I am free from obsessing about food. It is difficult to express what a relief it is to no longer be a slave to those things. Food and my weight are no longer the first thoughts in my mind when I wake up. Do you know what is?
It is much more than Weight & Fitness
This process has given me so much more than just a healthier and stronger, more toned body. I am more comfortable in my own skin, more confident and also more engaged in living. I live better in all areas of my life. It has changed my life’s work.
Feeling good and living more fully in all areas of my life are such a gift that I knew I wanted to share it with others. I earned a M.S. in Public Health; became a certified Personal Trainer and Life Coach; and, in 2013, together with my sister (who also quit diets and lost 125 pounds from doing things that felt good), launched Your Best Fit, a 6-week eCourse based on our respective feel-good journeys.
Before the Journey (Ages 25 – 29)
Feeling Good (Ages 45 – 47)
Today: Living Without Limitation
Since then, I have expanded our Your Best Fit work to offer Coaching programs and services to support others who want to feel better…to feel GOOD…who want to live fully, without limitation. For me, Living Without Limitation starts with taking charge of our wellbeing: Eating to live (not dieting); Exercising to Thrive (not as a weight or overeating management tool); and Feasting on Life (having the energy, confidence & security to live as fully as we choose). That is really the crux of all my work: to help other women have more choices, not limitations. To go from settling to living – living from a position of strength, confidence, security and abundance…not from an “if-when” scenario.
It is my passion and mission to help other women who have spent too many years struggling with their weight and settling for diets as a solution; too many years struggling with dysfunctional relationships with food and exercise; and too many years settling for feeling less good and living life less fully than they wanted.
It is my passion and mission to help them discover a different way to support their goals and how they want to feel: a different way that allows a peaceful, thriving relationship with food and exercise; gives them freedom from diets and exercising as a weight management tool or punishment for eating; and ultimately supports them to live a richer, fuller and more gratifying life.
Where Finance comes in…
As part of my Feast on Life work, I support some clients to “Get Financially Fit“.
Finance may not seem to relate to weight and fitness, however, all three contribute to – or detract from – our sense of wellbeing. In fact, two of life’s top stressors are health and money. That probably isn’t a surprise to anyone who carries around the burden of extra weight or not feeling good, or to anyone who carries around the burden of financial insecurity.
Just as physical wellbeing doesn’t equate to a certain number on the scale, neither does financial fitness equate to a certain balance in the bank account. It is about identifying what is important to your wellbeing and quality of life – and that of your loved ones – and taking the steps to set and achieve financial goals that are aligned with that.
Seeing people take steps to improve their wellbeing but still weighed down by financial insecurity – which affects all areas of one’s life, including relationships and work, just as weight and physical fitness do – I decided to apply my financial training and experience to give my clients who want it the tools to take charge of their financial fitness. As with weight and fitness, small steps of positive change can lead to feeling better and can mean the difference between settling and living fully, without limitation.
A life you love…
What I have seen and personally experienced is that when we feel good and secure, we are better able and have more energy to create more joy and fulfillment in other areas of our life. I believe that starts with taking care of our bodies, which then extends to and powers other positive changes in our lives to support our overall wellbeing.
Whether that is cultivating positive and supportive relationships; waking up in the morning and having a purpose that gets us out of bed; having meaningful work; living our lives fully present vs. feeling like we are just passing time; or just having more fun; we are in a better position to choose, to do and to live better.
When we feel good and we feel secure, we are able to live our one life more fully, so that we don’t have to settle for less but can have more.
Education & Areas of Focus:
- M.S. Public Health (Thesis Focus: Obesity)
- B.S. Finance
- Certified Personal Trainer
- Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Trainer & Coach
- Certified Life Coach
- Certified Financial Education Instructor
- Additional training areas include Nutrition; Pilates; Yoga; & Functional Training.
How can I help?
Contact me or email me at email@example.com