Green Mountain at Fox Run http://www.fitwoman.com Women's Weight Loss Spa Retreat for Healthy Living Tue, 02 Sep 2014 13:00:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Life Lessons of Golf: What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2014/09/02/life-lessons-golf-doesnt-kill-makes-stronger/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2014/09/02/life-lessons-golf-doesnt-kill-makes-stronger/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=27839 As I stared at the golf ball and stood in golf swing stance, I began mentally preparing myself for the probable failure of making contact with the ball. Three better golfers (one is a 10 handicap player – no pressure) stood patiently waiting as I took too long to run through the mantra: relax the arms, relax the shoulders, eyes […] Read more »

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003As I stared at the golf ball and stood in golf swing stance, I began mentally preparing myself for the probable failure of making contact with the ball. Three better golfers (one is a 10 handicap player – no pressure) stood patiently waiting as I took too long to run through the mantra: relax the arms, relax the shoulders, eyes on the ball, and initiate rotation from the core. And then came the back swing followed by contact with the ground creating a soaring divot the size of a Frisbee.

I look down (which means I had averted my eyes from the ball – dang it!) and the ball is still there. This realization elicits an internal litany of self-flagellation and negative self-talk (more like self-yelling) that I can’t print here. I look at my friends who awkwardly avert their eyes, except for the handicapper who has become my golf sensei, and he gently says: “You need to relax your body and you are thinking too much.” Well, no duh.

“Enough of this” I think to myself – “I quit.”

I mean I’ve had several lessons, a lot of range time practicing, even developed golf elbow (ahem, from hitting the ground too much no doubt). And by the way – what kind of sport allows the consumption of alcohol during play? “To keep primal rage in check” I thought to myself – as I began desperately scanning the golf course for the booze cart.

I’m frustrated because I feel like the time put in does not equal where I should be skill-wise. I mean I’ve been practicing inconsistently for at least 2 months. So, what gives?

My expectations need to give apparently.

I was expecting too much too soon and as someone who tends to pick up sports quickly, this was a humble pill to swallow. Learning how to play golf has felt like a mostly ebb experience in the ebb and flow process around practicing a new skill – 2 steps forward and 2 steps back (sometimes 5 steps back).

However, instead of quitting I have decided to take my own advice from what I teach at Green Mountain about the process of change, and work to shift my mental approach.

Cultivating Self-Compassion

I will focus on not comparing myself to the other players, cultivate patience and compassion for how I play today, and work to shift my negative self-talk to something kinder in the moment.

So, I first re-evaluated my expectations and proceeded to lower them to zero, and then reframed my negative self-talk from – “I suck at golf” and “I’ll never get this”, etc… to a more encouraging thought “I’m learning more every day.”

The statement “@*# golf” felt comforting as well, but I went with the first one.

Putting My Zen Approach To The Test

I was able to put my new Zen approach to the test recently with the same group of friends I played with for that last round of humiliation. This was the first time we had all played together since that game so instead of reliving the past, I proceeded to lower my expectations and focus on decreasing my negative self-talk.

My goal was to simply enjoy the company I was with and to enjoy the beautiful Vermont weather. Some may call it disassociating from the negative stimulus (golf) but really I was out of my head and enjoying the process of sucking at – oops, cancel that – of learning how to play golf.

A funny thing happened. I not only enjoyed myself, but I played a decent round (for me). Once I eased up on the self-criticism and focused on enjoying the moment, my stress eased up. For the first time playing 9 holes of golf flew by instead of feeling like precious hours and money were stolen from me.

I didn’t look for the booze cart once.


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The Binge Eating Diaries: We CAN Just Do It! http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2014/08/28/binge-eating-diaries-can-just/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2014/08/28/binge-eating-diaries-can-just/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:00:41 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=27825 I did something crazy. Me, myself, and I took Nike’s famous words of wisdom – and we just did it… I Wasn’t Feeling Up For My Regular Gym Routine I was on my way to the gym after work the other day – and I just couldn’t bear the thought of going through with all of the tedious steps: finding a parking […] Read more »

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I did something crazy. Me, myself, and I took Nike’s famous words of wisdom – and we just did it

I Wasn’t Feeling Up For My Regular Gym Routine

binge eating diaries we can just do itI was on my way to the gym after work the other day – and I just couldn’t bear the thought of going through with all of the tedious steps: finding a parking spot, walking in, awkwardly changing in a bathroom stall (undressing in the openness of the locker room is still not an easy task for me), and getting my entire routine started.

I was exhausted, mentally, physically, emotionally – you name it. (It’s been a rough couple of months, my friends.)

But for me, it’s a proven fact that exercise is the one thing that, without fail, gets my engine going, gives me a second wind, and always strips away a layer of stress.

But that day, I knew that the gym was out. It just wasn’t happening.

So… I just did it.

I pulled over into a parking lot down the street from the gym. I was wearing a dress, but beneath it I was sporting barely-there spandex shorts and a skimpy tank top.  (The discomfort of chaffing thighs and low-cut dresses sometimes leads to this type of wardrobe damage control. But hey, to make herself comfortable – a girls’ gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!)

Before I could overthink my plan and talk myself out of it, I whipped off my dress in the middle of that parking lot, threw on my sneakers, placed my headphones in my ears, snapped my fanny pack around my waist, and started jogging. (And before you question your eyes and re-read that last part, let me just reiterate that yes, I’m 25-years-old and yes, I’m the proud owner of a black pleather fanny pack!)

I Felt Empowered And Mortified At The Same Time

As I started on my impromptu journey, the devil on my left shoulder and the angel on my right shoulder immediately started going at it. Half of me felt empowered! The other half – felt mortified…

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My little red-horned friend kept pointing out the fact that my thighs were rubbing together. And I became self-conscious every time I had to stop and pull my shorts to keep them from riding up you know where.

My sweet angelic side told me that I was awesome. You’re moving your body! You’re outside! You’re challenging yourself! It’s okay to stop and fix your spandex wedgie!  You’re wearing SHORTS! In PUBLIC!

Judging Myself By ‘Mind Reading’ Other People

Then my dark thoughts would creep back in as I kept imagining what every single driver thought as we crossed paths. Were they mocking me? Laughing at me? Commenting that someone of my size shouldn’t, under any circumstances, be wearing such a minimal outfit?

But I shook my head and reminded myself that I am The Queen of Mind Reading.


Nobody is paying attention to me or judging me. They’re focused on their own lives. And even if someone did have a negative thought about my body – I’m never going to know what it is and it’s NEVER going to hurt me.

As I returned to the parking lot, I realized that unless I backtracked, I was going to have to walk by the restaurant that I had avoided at the beginning of my jog.

The problem? The whole side of the building is one big window – or, as my shoulder devil tried to tell me – one HUGE opportunity to embarrass myself.

As I approached the building I wondered whose appetite I would ruin if I jogged by in this outfit that didn’t belong to my body.

But I did it ANYWAY.

And guess what? As far as I know, the evening news didn’t highlight any stories headlined:

Local Patron Suffers From Shock After Witnessing Jogger in Spandex Shorts!

I was in the clear. In fact, I was in the clouds.

Taking A Different Path Instead of Binge Eating

I could have gone home that day, headed straight for the fridge, and numbed myself with food.

Don’t get me wrong – part of me really wanted to take that path. But instead, I took a different route… around the block, in the warm air, with the sunset as my backdrop.

Bingeing has been at the forefront of my thoughts a lot lately. The small bumps in life turned to hills and then they became mountains. And my edible companions have been taunting me to take a ride to Binge Town.

But that ride is never free. It costs an emotionally-charged pretty penny.

Jogging on the other hand – now THAT’S some guilt-free, un-food-related movement I can work with.

Choose Fitness – Or Rest – Options That Are Right For You

Okay, so I know that jogging is not for everyone. For most of my life I loathed it. And sometimes, I kind of want to punch the concept of jogging right in the face (if it had one). So those days – I just don’t do it.

In a moment of crisis, anxiety, discomfort, fear, or anger – the most important thing you can do is choose a physical activity that feels right at the time.

Forcing ourselves to follow a normal exercise routine can backfire and demotivate us.

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But by giving ourselves the freedom to choose – we can do something that’s going to make us FEEL good from the inside out. Maybe it’s taking a walk. Maybe it’s blasting your favorite song and having a dance party in your room. Maybe it’s punching your pillow a few dozen times. As long as it’s safe, who cares!

Or maybe, your mind is going 70 miles per hour and the more comforting thought is to sit quietly, meditate, write, or head to bed early for an energizing night’s sleep.

Rest can be just as important as exercise – if not more important at times.

Learning From (Instead of Judging) Ourselves

In this game of life, rarely are there right or wrong answers when it comes doing the things that make us FEEL better. This was hard for me to learn – especially because food was always the ONE thing that I thought would always make me feel better. But it isn’t. Fact!

There are so many choices to be made – sometimes we like the ones we make and other times, we wish we’d chosen a different path, and we come to know better for next time.

But we shouldn’t limit ourselves or judge ourselves… we should learn from ourselves.

For so many years, I thought it was “all or nothing” but I finally realize that something is usually better than nothing. And that that by actively choosing to do nothing – we’re actually doing something!

The point here – is that when it comes to taking care of your body and your mind – follow your gut, go with the flow, and JUST DO IT!

Until Next Time,

Jace

P.S. If the only thing your mind and body feel like “just doing” circles right back to eating, I hope you feel welcomed to re-visit the safety of Fitwoman.com for some inspiration and motivation. And if that kitchen keeps calling your name, take a moment to decide if you’re hungry for food or craving comfort. If it’s the latter, try writing a list of other activities that make you happy, close your eyes, point your finger, and surprise yourself! And then, you guessed it – just do it, my friends.


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Before and After: Finding peace when you’re somewhere in between http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2014/08/27/before-and-after-weight-loss/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2014/08/27/before-and-after-weight-loss/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=27810 Weight Loss Before-and-After Photos We’ve all seen them. They pop up everywhere and they all show some kind of weight-loss “transformation” that seems nothing short of miraculous. The “after” photos show a seemingly happy, healthy person. Put side by side with a “before” photo, it implies that the subject had been neither of those things in the past. Read This […] Read more »

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Weight Loss Before-and-After Photos

We’ve all seen them. They pop up everywhere and they all show some kind of weight-loss “transformation” that seems nothing short of miraculous.

The “after” photos show a seemingly happy, healthy person. Put side by side with a “before” photo, it implies that the subject had been neither of those things in the past.

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While these photos serve as markers of progress and inspiration for many—for someone with body image and eating difficulties, these common comparisons can become a bit of a pitfall.

Judging Success By Appearance: An Incomplete Picture

In most of these montages, the differences seen in the subject are supposed to scream “SUCCESS! Do what I did and you can have it, too!” But judging success (or lack of it) simply by appearance, a split-second moment captured in an image at that, is a tricky road to go down. It says nothing about how the person actually feels, how they live, breathe, and move through every day.  Furthermore, notably absent is a representation of the journey, both its difficulties and its joys, through the changes that took place.

Living In A Constant State of “Before”

In the past, my being at a higher weight meant that I felt like I was in a constant state of “before.” I was always thinking about the future, always putting things on hold, saving life experiences and happiness for that great day when my body would finally be good enough to be an “after” photo and good enough to deserve a real life.

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By making my own personal happiness conditional to what my body looked like and what other people thought of it, I suddenly realized that I was wishing my life away.

Success Can Be About How You Feel

Still at a higher weight, choosing love over self-judgment is a familiar struggle of mine. It’s difficult not to use photos like that to turn a critical eye on myself. While I attempt to be more mindful and present in my seemingly imperfect body, it’s hard not to want an idealized “after.” Coming to Green Mountain, I expected to see walls full of before-and-after photos, but it wasn’t like that at all.  It allowed me to embrace what they’ve been saying for 41 years—that it’s not about how you look; it’s about how you feel.

change the way you think maya angelouSelf-Acceptance Is Part Of The Journey

I can’t begin to list all the diets, fads, foods, pain, and pills I used to try to fix my “before.”

What really needed mending all along was the way I thought and felt about myself. The truth is, it’s still incredibly difficult for me to be fat and self-loving at the same time. It’s a daily battle that I sometimes lose, but that doesn’t mean that I need to stop trying.

Unfortunately, I can’t wake up tomorrow and magically be thin. But I can try to treat my body and myself well, and fill my days with enough actual life to forget about what I look like for a minute.

In Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now, Maya Angelou says that “what you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”  I think my journey, and perhaps yours, is about learning how to do both at the same time—changing both how we treat our bodies and the way we think about them, together.

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What Everybody Ought to Know About Staying Fit On Vacation http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2014/08/26/staying-fit-on-vacation/ http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2014/08/26/staying-fit-on-vacation/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:00:26 +0000 http://www.fitwoman.com/?p=27797 Be Active To Help Stay Fit On Vacation During a recent long-weekend trip to Maine, I began to question “How can I remain fit and healthy while on vacation?” The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the fitness guru who provides the fitness industry’s recommended levels of duration and intensity for exercise, tells us that we want to be: Cardiovascular Exercise Rhythmic […] Read more »

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Be Active To Help Stay Fit On Vacation

staying fit on vacationDuring a recent long-weekend trip to Maine, I began to question “How can I remain fit and healthy while on vacation?”

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the fitness guru who provides the fitness industry’s recommended levels of duration and intensity for exercise, tells us that we want to be:

  • Cardiovascular Exercise
    Rhythmic exercise, using large muscle groups to increase heart rate), three to five times per week, for 20 to 60 minutes, with moderate to vigorous activity.
  • Strength Training
    Using an outside force to induce muscular contraction which will improve muscular strength and endurance) 2 to 3 times per week, with 8 to 20 repetitions of 2 to 4 sets.

With those requirements in mind, I decided that a sedentary vacation, just lying on the beach, might not be my best move to maintain a respectable fitness level. Instead, I chose to enjoy a more active vacation.

What Fitness Looked Like On My Vacation

Walking

My day started out with a brief 10-minute walk down to the beach to watch the sunrise.  Watching the waves roll onto the shore, listening to their rhythmic crashes, and smelling the salty-fishy air just erases my stress.  A couple of deep breaths, connecting with gratitude, and a few minutes of meditation, I was ready to start my day.

Playing Ping Ping and Kayaking

After breakfast I played a competitive game of ping-pong (and lost two out of three), and then took a kayak ride out in the ocean.  My focus was on appreciating the ever-shifting sky and cloud shapes, watching seagulls pass overhead, and observing the path of the white sailboat in the distance.  Using the strength of my arms and core to paddle, I decided this could be considered my strength training for the day.

Window Shopping and A Sunset Walk

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The rest of the day encompassed strolling through stores, and even though I’m sure I was not jogging into one store to the next, it was pretty easy to walk for a few hours while window shopping. I have to say, I wish I was wearing a pedometer – I would have loved to know how far I had actually gone.  My perfect day ended with another trek to the shore to watch the sunset.

Hiking

The next day, I had the fortune of going on a 4-mile hike. But instead of a mountainous view at the top, it opened up to a secluded beach.  I soaked my feet in the chilly ocean water, basked in the sun, watched a fisherman take in his catch of the day, and headed back down the path.

Bike Riding

On my final day, I woke up early to have enough time to sneak in a 10-mile bike ride before checking out and driving the 3 hours back home.  If you do decide that bike riding sounds fun, remember the rules of the road:  Ride With Traffic / Walk Against Traffic.  Of course, don’t forget your helmet and water bottle.

TIP: On another note, I find that staying at a location with a kitchenette helps me keep fresh veggies, fruits, and yogurts accessible and available.

Benefits Of Staying Fit On Vacation

I have to say, that at the end of this vacation, I feel pretty good.  With the exercise I did, I slept well, and although I certainly indulged in lobster rolls and homemade ice cream, I can return back to “life as usual” refreshed, re-energized, and content.


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