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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

In the Name of Health?

In my coaching practice, I see lots of women who say they want to lose weight "for health reasons". Sometimes, this is a valid reason, so, then I ask them what health concerns they have. Then, they look a little confused. "What do you mean?" I then reiterate the question, and ask them specifically about their blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, liver profile, sleep habits, relationships, work/life balance, etc. The majority of the time, most of these markers are within the normal range. (This is typical with women who say they want to lose 10-30 lbs.)
Then, I say, "You told me you wanted to lose weight to be healthier, yet you seem to be healthy already. So, why do you REALLY want to lose weight?"
The answer: We have been taught to associate skinny/thin with healthy. In fact, we are so deeply entrenched in this cultural notion that we are willing to engage in UNHEALTHY measures (extreme caloric restriction, diet pills, excessive exercise) to achieve a "healthy body". These women aren't consciously lying to themselves about why they want to be "thin". They really believe what they have been told!
Does that sound a little misguided to you?
Sometimes skinny/thin DOES equal healthy if THE PERSON IS GENETICALLY PREDISPOSED TO BE SKINNY. Not all of us are and that is okay. Don't try to make a cat a dog. If you have to resort to unhealthy measures in an attempt to be skinny, that is exactly what you are trying to do and you will find nothing but frustration and misery.
We need to learn how to pick apart these cognitive distortions about what is healthy and what isn't. We need to learn how to embrace our own unique body type and honor it by feeding it well and giving it ample amounts of movement and rest.
There is nothing healthy about trying to be something other than who you are. There is nothing healthy about self-hate.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Joy of...Aging???

Imagine for a moment a woman in her early 50's, 60's, or even 70's, watching a twenty-something year old girl and saying things like, "I wish I looked like that. Why can't I be more like her?"
This kind of stuff happens, particularly in gyms. I work in one, so I witness this. A lot.
We are only meant to be twenty-something once. It's just a mere stop along the road of life. Why are we so hell bent against getting older? Is it the messages of the media, which is constantly pushing "anti-aging" products, sending us the message that growing older is unacceptable? Are we that afraid of losing our youth??
Okay, I get it. Once upon a time, your body may have been tighter. Your skin may have been smoother. Your hair may have been less gray.
Once upon a time, I was twenty-something. My body was tighter, my skin was smoother, my hair was not gray (actually, it still isn't, thanks to genetics, but I digress). I was also insecure about my body, unsure about life and my place in it and questioned myself all the time. I was constantly in need of approval and validation. I needed to be noticed. I needed to be loved. I needed others to build me up.
Then, I turned 40. At that moment, things began to change for me. I no longer wanted to look "twenty-something" simply because, I wasn't. I was ready to move forward. I was ready to embrace the next stage of my life. It was going to happen anyway, whether I chose to go along with it or not, so why fight it? I owned my 40 year old body, my 40 year old skin and my 40 year old hair. I also realized I was more secure with my body and more sure about life. I had my own approval which meant more than anyone else's, for the first time EVER. I felt love deep in my core. I felt validated just by my own existence in the world. I'm now 43 and it just keeps...getting...better.
Trading a tighter body and smoother skin for all of that amazing stuff? I would do it ten times over without a single backward glance.
Let yourself BE where you are. Relish it. Live your life on purpose. Aging is not a curse. It's a reward. It's your time to step into your own power. Realize that the physical part of you isn't the most important. It's the knowledge contained within that is.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Be Kind

We're too hard on ourselves. We expect to have the perfect body, the perfect diet, the perfect job, the perfect relationships.

The perfect life.

Life is not perfect.

Life is about growing into your fullest potential. Life is about discovering who you are and why you are here. Sometimes, it's hard. There are days where you just don't like who and where you are. It can be real messy.

But, hear this: nothing in life is permanent. Everything is temporary. Sadness won't go on forever. Neither will happiness.

We experience each at different times in our lives for very important reasons. If it weren't for the sadness, we wouldn't appreciate the moments of happiness. If all we had was happiness, we might take it for granted and stop trying to become more. It hurts to hurt, but that's how we grow. Some of the most painful times in my life led to some of the most amazing parts of ME. The lessons I learned and the wisdom I gained wouldn't have come to me otherwise. Pain is a gift to bring us to joy.

So, today, whatever you are doing, and wherever you are doing it, please remember to be kind to yourself.

There are lots of people out there who are willing to make you feel unhappy, unloved and unworthy.

Don't help them.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

What Will You Choose?

While you are spending energy and time hating your body and obsessing about your diet:

-- books remain unwritten
-- portraits are not painted
-- adventures are not experienced
-- art is not created

While you are locked in a cycle of self-abuse and hate:

-- healthy relationships aren't being cultivated
-- happiness is not being enjoyed
-- your potential can't be realized
-- life is passing you by

YOU have a purpose for being here and until you stop playing small, you cannot possibly live the way you are meant to live.

You can't rewrite the past, but you can certainly refocus in the present. It's never too late to make a change.

There is still time to be what you want to be.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

You Are An Experiment Of One!

Remember, there are no absolutes in fitness and food. There is no ONE right way to move or eat, no matter what anyone tries to tell you.

I tried so many ways of eating and moving in the past 30 years. Whenever I would "go off plan", I would berate myself for having failed. It never occurred to me that perhaps the plan failed ME instead of the other way around.

Perhaps you have done the same thing.

Today, things are much different. Now, I move and eat the way I am inspired to. I experimented with lots of different ideas until I found a system that fits ME instead of trying to conform to a SYSTEM.  Turns out, I really DO love running.  I've done it for over 12 years and it seems to work for me.  It's the ultimate mind/body "moving meditation" activity, in my opinion.  There is nothing else I'd rather do more than run.  However, I'm under no illusions that it is THE only way to move.  Perhaps you prefer biking, or kickboxing, or yoga, or hiking.  Doesn't matter what it is.  The only thing that matters is that you DO it.  Period.

There is no ONE right way for all, but there is ONE right way for you. Keep trying. You'll find it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Peace, Love, and Food for Me

It took me over 40 years to stop wishing I was someone else. I was in pain and suffering about my body for so long. I flip flopped between an almost "superhuman" desire to whittle myself down by exercising 2-4 hours a day and the overwhelming need to eat everything I could get my hands on.

The true definition of "yo yo" dieting. Back and forth, back and forth...

When I had my epiphany and began the process of healing, I decided to start my facebook page (January 2013). I called it the Love Your Body Project because I knew this would take some time. A project, which is an individual enterprise that is carefully planned and designed to achieve a particular aim, can take weeks, months, or even years, depending on how long it took me to learn and absorb the lessons along the way.

The Peace, Love and Food part was sort of my process to get where I am. First, I had to make PEACE with my body as it was in order to learn how to LOVE it. I could no longer withhold my own approval if I wanted to move forward. I had to decide that if my body never changed, I would accept and care for it as it was. Period. I would choose to love it unconditionally. Part of loving it is nourishing it when it needs FOOD. I would release my food fears, let go of labeling, and eat freely. So, it seemed like the perfect name for the page and captured what my journey was like.

Now, I'm 43 years old and I feel pretty good about the skin I am in. I'm a lot more confident now. I no longer need to rely so much on other people's advice. I'm more tuned in to what my body needs and wants, which took a lot of practice and time. But, it was time well spent. I am more relaxed about eating now than I ever was. I eat when I'm hungry most of the time. I stop eating when I'm full most of the time. I may not get it right every single day, but I am not in guilt or shame. I don't beat myself up. I'm human and I do not need to be "perfect" to love myself or be loved by others.

May today be the day that you make PEACE with your body as it is and take those steps towards LOVE and FOOD. You are worth the effort!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Put Your Own Oxygen Mask On First

Never underestimate the importance of self-care, particularly if you are in a coaching, helping, healing or teaching profession. You expend a lot of energy being there for others, educating, helping navigate challenges, and just holding space for them to express themselves.

I love what I do. I'm thankful for the people I work for and with. It's very rewarding. But, sometimes, I need a break. Sometimes, I need to not be a coach or a co-worker or an employee or a trainer. Sometimes, I just need to be Cyndi puttering around the house, getting my hair done, sipping a margarita with a friend or sleeping in. Sometimes, I need to stay in my pj's until noon. Sometimes, I need to be away from anything fitness and health related. 

It's all okay and it's all important.

I was starting to feel a little frayed at the ends, and I knew a time out was in order. So, to that end, I am taking a FOUR DAY WEEKEND. Starting today, I'll be doing all of the activities described above, and then some, until Tuesday at noon when I report back for duty. I'm confident that I'll be energized, inspired, invigorated and refreshed.

How do you practice self-care?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Eating and Exercising

There is no one right way to eat. There is no one right way to exercise. What works for you may not work for someone else. What didn't work for you may work perfectly for someone else.

I do not do crossfit because it doesn't interest me, but I support your choice to do it.

I do not practice veganism or vegetarianism because it doesn't work for me, but I support your choice to eat that way.

I am not a fan of Zumba (my hips don't lie -- they don't move that way), but I support your choice to be devoted to and enthusiastic about it.

I am not a promoter of Paleo/Hunter/Gatherer Diets, but I won't try to talk you out of eating that way if you like it.

See a pattern?

I had to go through a MYRIAD of dietary regimes and exercise programs before I found something that works for me. I had to find my own way. So do you. So do your family members and friends. If someone asks for your advice, of course, give it. Otherwise, just let them be and trust they can figure out what's best for themselves.

We can promote what works for us by living it. Plain and simple.

*** You can find the Love Your Body Project: Peace, Love and Food on facebook:

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wisdom on a Wednesday

Be the kind of person you would want a best friend to be.

Ideally, a best friend doesn't:

-- tell you that you're stupid and worthless
-- criticize you for your weight
-- think you need to be different to be loved
-- ever feel ashamed to be with you

Instead, a best friend:

-- loves you as you are
-- wants you to be happy always
-- supports you no matter what your shape or size
-- wouldn't change a thing

Be your own best friend. You need you.

Like what you see?  Find Love Your Body Project: Peace, Love and Food on Facebook:

Friday, April 3, 2015

Will the Real Food Please Stand Up?

When I was in the mode of deprivation, dieting and restriction, I had lots of habits. I exercised as much as I possibly could, I got by on the minimal amount of calories and I used lots of substitutes. I ate things that were lower calorie and I did my best to talk myself into liking them.

Some of these substitutes were:

-- spray "butter" instead of butter
-- spaghetti squash instead of pasta
-- mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes
-- protein bars that tasted like plastic
-- sugar free/fat free everything

I reached for these things, hoping they would fill the space, but they never did. It brought a few minutes of relief, but the thoughts of the foods I really wanted always returned. When I hit rock bottom and decided never to diet again, I rebelled against this behavior. I got angry that I felt like I had to go without and eat things I didn't enjoy, and I vowed that I would do my best to honor my cravings from this moment forward.
If you like spaghetti squash, eat it. If you like cauliflower, eat it. And, if you like pasta and potatoes, eat them too. It's okay to like pasta. It's okay to like potatoes. It's okay to not like substitutes.

You're okay.

(If you like this content, find Love Your Body Project on FB:

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A Different Kind of "Activity Tracker"

I used to log my workouts and post them on facebook so I could tell the world at large how many miles I ran or how many push ups I did. Reflecting on this practice got me thinking...

Wouldn't it be AWESOME if we had a tracker for self-love activities and non scale victories?? Some examples could include:

Today, I let go of the need to be perfect.

I high fived my reflection as I passed the mirror today.

Instead of pushing through a workout when stressed and tired, I rested.

Enjoyed sharing a brownie sundae with my best friend.

Went one whole day without criticizing myself.

Oh the possibilities!