"Yes, and...": Lessons On Acceptance From Improv Class

This month I started an Improv class to work on my stage presence and to have a little fun. It has proven to deliver on both, and the life lessons that come with each class are a bonus.

One of the basic principles of Improv comedy is “Yes, and…” It is a practice that encourages free flowing conversation and quite frankly, anything to happen. When fellow actors present to you, your role is to say, “Yes, and…” It’s a rule of acceptance. A rule where you take the scenario that is presented to you without judgment or rejection (or commenting on where you think it should have gone), and then add to it. You accept what has been offered and then respond by giving your partner(s) something they can reply back to - esentially setting them up for success.

n life, we say “no” quite often. We do it to manage our time, stay productive, and as a self-care rule to preserve our sanity & health. I endorse having an awareness around how you give away your time, however, applying the “yes, and…” principle can change relationships, careers, and attitudes.

What if this protocol was used as a tool with health & lifestyle behaviors?

What if we flipped the script so to speak, and used “yes, and…” with the dialogue we have within ourselves?

Let me explain…

When it comes to how we respond to ourselves, saying “no” might come a little too easy. It’s in our nature to shut down our innate desire to do something with a “no”, especially when a “yes” means we have to do a little extra work. Am I right?

You know, that inner voice in the back of your head? The one that has an opinion about everything you choose to do whether you like it or not? It can be judgmental, indecisive or downright self-sabotaging. Sometimes it can persuade you to do things you might be better off avoiding, and other times it can guide you to make smart decisions. The result always comes down to choice.

It is our job to change the conversation, because we have a choice in how we respond. And I’m telling you right now, by changing the way you respond you can use that inner voice in a positive way.

Let’s say you think to yourself, I should go for a run tonight. Your normal response to this thought is to come up with any number of reasons why you can’t or don’t want to do it. Using “yes, and…” will encourage that behavior rather than blow out the idea. The built in enthusiasm makes it almost impossible not to agree. Think about it. If you respond to that idea with, “yes, and the run will totally help me relieve the stress from this day”, you are solidifying the fact that a run is a great idea.

Here’s another. Let’s say you are out entertaining clients and they choose a posh Italian joint for dinner. You want to put your face in a bowl of spaghetti and wash it down with a martini, yet you know that the spaghetti might not be the best choice (for a number of reasons). So you tell yourself you need to order the grilled salmon with a vegetable. The “yes, and…” response will allow you to come up with reasons why this is such a much better choice. (Notice I didn’t see a reason to change the martini order? Just say’in.)

I know, you’re thinking “but Kelly, what if that inner voice has it out for me and suggests something negative?  How does “yes, and…” help that?” This negative voice happens all too often when one is working on health & lifestyle shifts, and I’m going to tell you that this tool is great for shutting that down.

Let’s say you had a fun weekend and overindulged so much that your pants feel a little extra snug and you find yourself saying a lot of negative things. Rather then let that dialogue continue for let’s say - the rest of the damn day – put an end to it with, “Yes, and…”

Here’s how it would go...

Negative dialogue: Oh my gosh, I feel so fat today after drinking 5 gallons of tequila and eating waaaaayy to much peanut butter. I’m such a pig. I shouldn’t eat for a week!

(Ummm…no, not a good solution and by the way negative self talk does not inspire positive body image, self-respect or confidence.)

Response (using “yes, and…”): Yes, and instead of dwelling on it let’s acknowledge that it was one hell of a weekend (worth the memories) and today is a new day to make some good decisions and get back on track.

Piece. Of. Cake. 

I could go on for days doing this scenario stuff, but you get where I’m going with it. Like I mentioned earlier, there are some great things that can come from this practice.

Here are a few:

It allows you to drop the judgment + gain trust. Many times my clients come to me with terrible trust issues (with themselves) when it comes to creating positive changes/habits. The reason? They have spent years making poor decisions and can’t believe they could ever turn that around. With this practice, you can begin to repair that damage with enthusiasm and a new perspective.

It creates awareness around how you respond to yourself. If you start to put this into practice, I guarantee you will be shocked by how often you say “no” to yourself. Or further, how negative the self-talk throughout the day can be. I want to challenge you to keep a running tally of the dialogue you have with yourself for one day. Then, on the following day practice “yes, and…” and watch how that number changes. This will create awareness around your natural reaction and allow you to begin to change that behavior.

You begin to see that every moment is an opportunity to choose. When it comes to changing habits and mindset, there isn’t a moment throughout the day that doesn’t require a decision. As mentioned in the point above, each one of those decisions, great or small, will add up. So why not set yourself up for success by making a conscious decision to choose to accept the scenario and work with it rather than try to fight it.

Now, go practice! Start by keeping a tally of how many negative things you say to yourself and once you’ve established where you’re at – get to work.

By practicing “yes, and…” with yourself, you will reap the same benefits you would if you used this in relationships or Improv! Think: healthier, happier, more positive, more confident. Less ego and more acceptance (of yourself).


The next Lake Las Vegas Refresh Retreat is coming up this October 6-8th. If you KNOW you need some extra time to prioritize your health in a beautiful setting with like-minded people, this is for you. Details can be found on the site under Retreat or at the link below. 

 

 

You're Worth It: It's Time To Set High(er) Standards

Standards. We all have them and yours are probably different than mine, but for all of us (and what Webster confirms) they are a level of quality or attainment we are willing to accept.

As a society, the things we set specific or high(er) standards for can be any number of things. Clothing, cars, schools for our children, where we choose to live, our employer, who we choose to have a relationship with, the list goes on.

Similarly, we may lower our standards depending on circumstances. (You know what I’m talking about.)

We aren’t willing to settle when it comes to certain things in our lives, but quite often we are settling for crumbs when it comes to really important shit. Like the stuff that impacts our overall health & wellness.

Why don’t we have the same standards when it comes to our own health?

Why is it that we lower our expectations as it relates to the care we give to ourselves?

It sounds a bit backwards, doesn’t it?

We “endure” because it’s comfortable, and sometimes having standards takes work.

I am the first to admit that I haven’t always had the highest standards in certain areas of my life. And, when I started to look deeply at why that might be, it turns out it’s because I lacked self worth. I didn’t believe I deserved the best, so I settled. And as a result, I was terribly unhappy and dissatisfied.

The trouble is, when we don’t believe we are worth it, we make decisions that impact us for the rest of our lives. I’m not talking about where you’ll eat for dinner tonight or what car you are purchasing next month - I’m talking about decisions that affect your health & wellbeing; your career & relationship success; your overall happiness.

When we lower the standards on how we treat ourselves - and how we think about ourselves - we stop caring. We put ourselves last. And, well, that doesn't work.

So, here's what happens...

We ignore what we need, and instead plow through life without pause. We fail to honor our bodies by not getting adequate sleep, nutrition, and exercise - oh, and forget giving ourselves permission to take a day off or (gasp!) a vacation. We settle for less, when it comes to our work, our relationships, and our lifestyle.

When we put ourselves last we throw self-care (and self-respect) out the window - and with it goes our standards.

By not giving to ourselves, we send a message to others about how we feel. And, it isn’t that hard for them to see, believe me.

When I was in the thick of not caring about myself and living a life well below my standards, everyone who knew me saw that I was unhappy (and as a result, unhealthy). I was so disconnected that I didn’t see it, and only when I got through the muck did I begin to see that the level of respect I was giving myself was attracting the same – in all areas of my life.

It’s true what they say, what you put out there you get back.

Is what you are doing now, for your health & wellness, "good enough" or is it excellent?

If it's just acceptable, that isn't acceptable when it comes to you.

So, what would happen if you raised your standards for your own wellness?

Would you meet yourself there?

I’ll answer for you…

YES. You would.

I say this because it has happened to me - more than once. I made a major shift in my perspective and what I deserved. It was a pivotal point in my life, because I chose to raise my standards and recognize my self worth. I gave myself permission to spend more time on me, to stop putting myself last and to stop filling time with busyness – and instead, set some serious standards.

Following that, I began to change the way I treated myself.

You are someone who should be respected, and that respect has to start with you.

 You are worth it.

XO

Kelly

 

The Importance of Integrative Movement w/ Real Results Fitness

The health and wellness category is saturated with “experts” who spend a lot of time selling men and women a “one size fits all” idea, when the truth is – what works for me, may not work for you.

If you know me, you know that I detest trainers and health gurus who push quick fixes, drastic detoxes and aggressive plans that are unsustainable. Because of my own philosophy, I am drawn to people and organizations that work to help the individual, rather than selling to the masses.

Enter: Real Results Fitness.

I adore and respect the hell out of the owners and coaches at RRF, because they don’t just preach exercise – they empower their clients to create a sustainable lifestyle.

RRF has a reputation of being a gym that pushes their clients to make realistic habit changes that over time result in positive transformations, both physically & mentally. While they are passionate about helping people achieve their personal health goals, they respect effort over a specific outcome.

And, they walk the talk.

I’m thrilled to have them as a fitness partner, particularly with the first Lake Las Vegas Refresh Retreat! And therefore, wanted to take a moment to share a little more about them with you.

This interview is with one of the owners of RR and one of my very dear friends, Bryan Nelson. Physical activity and sports have always been a major driving force in Bryan’s life and he finds passion in competition. With age comes change and now he mostly competes with himself in order to better than the man he was the day before. Since joining the fitness industry one of his greatest joys has been witnessing the moments when Real Results members push past a perceived boundary – the point of greatest gain.


What makes RR different than Crossfit gyms?

Every person’s body is different which requires different types of programming. The Crossfit model revolves around the W.O.D “Workout of the day” strategy, a predetermined workout that everybody participates in. While Crossfit does decrease and progress weights/loads according to one’s fitness level, customization is left out. At Real Results our trainers are able to create customized programming and still maintain the energy and fun of a group session.


I'm a firm believer that exercise (and overall health) can impact an individual's success in other areas of their life. What are your thoughts on this? 

I could give a weeklong talk on this topic. Exercise and just being a healthy human makes you a happier person. So then the question becomes, how does being happy impact other areas of your life? You’re more confident; you have more energy; and, possess a greater level of focus. The list goes on forever.


What are your thoughts on rest and recovery?

This is the one area of a healthy lifestyle that gets neglected. I am guilty of this at times as well. I can tell you from experience though that recovery is just as if not more important that a regular exercise routine. The majority of the aging population (30+) have general aches and pains, and many just plain hurt. We hear it all the time, “I am just getting old”. When in reality they have just not taken care of their body and are now feeling the affects. A consistent routine that includes stretching, foam rolling, massage, and yoga can make a significant improvement to everyone's daily life.

Another one of my big topics, because so many people think that it has to be an "either or". Do you think it’s possible to go after big goals while still taking care of yourself?

I think it is essential that you make your health a priority while taking on a big goal. Generally big goals come with big stress. You need to be firing on all cylinders to tackle big goals in order to achieve a high level of success. Don’t your goals deserve the best you?


How do you integrate self-care into your work with clients?

In most cases my clients have flat out ignored themselves for years and are in a pretty bad place when we start. I have found that it takes introducing change into their lives at a slow pace: In week 1 we focus on just making it to the gym; week 2 being conscious of what we are eating; week 3 making smarter eating decisions; and, week 4 incorporate daily stretching into their routine. The list just keeps going, but is different for everyone. In two short months they have made 9-10 life changing habits and that's when the results happen.


How do you integrate self-care into your own life?

I am extremely busy and honestly over committed in my obligations. So I live by my schedule. If I want to do something or know I need to for myself I block off the time to do so. BUT my definition of self-care is pretty broad. So this includes reading, meditation, practice breathing, along with working out and recovery.


With the Lake Las Vegas Refresh Retreat coming up, can you tell us what the Detox to Retox entails?

This is my favorite event we run every month. Our lives are moving fast. Some of us are spinning out of control. In my case I go to the gym, workout and get right back to work. I have a lot of people I know while I am there but all I know is what we exchange in those short periods of time between running from one event to another in our lives. Detox to Retox gives you 60 minutes of yoga to focus on yourself. We stretch, breath, relax, let go and anything else you may take away from yoga. Then when that’s done we get to hang out with our fellow class mates, have a drink or two and socialize. You get to spend time in a setting with people you may see all the time but never in this environment.

You have a lot of quotes on the walls at your gyms, what is your current favorite?

Whenever I am faced with a tough decision, I recite this quote from Jim Rohn. It has always served me well.

"We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is the pain of discipline weighs ounces while the pain of regret weighs tons." 


As a fitness partner, Real Results will be participating in the 2.5 Day transformational retreat June 2-4. It is coming up quick and spaces are limited! If you need to prioritize your wellness so you can achieve your next level of success in work and life, please check out the details for the Lake Las Vegas Refresh. 

 

*If you are interested in hoping on a call with me to explore whether this event is the right fit for you, please complete the form to schedule a call. 

 

#llvrefresh #retreat #healthandwellness #lasvegas

Ditch Quick Fixes For Long Term Success

Making positive changes to your health (or any area in your life) isn't a perfect science. It takes time, practice, and a little trial and error along the way.

You will have challenges. You might have to make some adjustments. And you sure as hell will make some mistakes. But, that's all part of the journey. 

Most Type A, high performing individuals have a hard time with this idea - because we want to see results. Yesterday. And we want to do it perfectly. Sometimes the desire to be perfect is just a cover up - an excuse that allows us to avoid doing. It’s how we rationalize not achieving a goal or walking away form something we committed to doing. A fitness plan, a nutrition overhaul, hell...even a business or relationship.

So instead, we fall into the trap of not taking action out of fear of failure - or out of fear of it being too hard. In a world full of chaos, difficult can seem overwhelming...so we search for easy. 

Quick fixes and 30-day challenges are hot right now. Wait, who am I kidding, they've always been hot. Just yesterday I heard an ad on the radio for a pill that is supposed to make your appetite for food vanish. Huh? I'm sorry, but that's not possible...but I bet millions of people are trying it. Because, let's be honest, anything that promises quick results gets quick attention.

Sure, the quick fixes work - temporarily - but they aren't sustainable and they teach you zip about how to create a plan is sustainable (and realistic) for your lifestyle. They also aren't perfect, but they give the illusion they are - which makes the marketing all the more enticing.

Do you ever hear a company promoting a "slow & steady" program? Of course not. Why? Well, because that isn't a sexy marketing campaign, and for us Type A'ers that is SO not appealing. Yet that's exactly what is needed for long-term health. 

I know, being patient is the last thing you want to be told to be - but it's part of the process. And for long-term results it's the only way. Quick fixes might get you in your skinny jeans faster, but they don't teach you habits that will stick with you over the long haul.

I am driven by results. I didn't need a personality test to confirm this, but it did (multiple times) by popping out the label, "results oriented”. On a daily basis I am working towards accomplishing something. Short or long-term goals, you name it - I have a list. And it's long.

Sometimes, I want what you want. A little magic pill that will get me to my goals faster; that will ensure perfect results. But at the end of the day, I know that settling for less isn’t the answer - and usually doesn’t stick. Putting in the work to get to lasting results not only creates positive habits, it's also a hell of a lot more satisfying. 

If you find yourself playing it safe when it comes to certain goals, what's holding you back? And, what is it costing you?


RETREAT NEWS:

In June I’m hosting my first Refresh Retreat (a transformational mind/body retreat for high performers). I’ve pre-sold some of the spots and right now until April 28 I’m holding a full tuition scholarship competition for smart, driven females who want to prioritize their health so they can achieve their next level of success in work and life.

The application process is very simple. People can submit a brief nomination for themselves or a high performer of their choice at http://www.kellytravis.net/scholarship. The winner will be announced the first week of May 2017. 

 

The Power Of Recovery

As an athlete, I have always been aware of the importance of recovery and rest when it comes to the body. I KNOW that if I am training hard, but neglecting adequate recovery time, I won't be able to sustain the level of fitness required to progress. I know this because my body tells me.

Athletes and people who are fitness oriented tend to be pretty self aware when it comes to knowing when the body needs rest - but not all the time. In fact, my current training plan has built in recovery days to prevent me from overdoing it because sometimes I have a tendency of overdoing it. But lately, I look forward to those recovery days!

When it comes to everything else in my life though, I haven't haven’t always followed the same line of thinking. In fact, in this season of growing a business and taking care of two wild boys, rest is something I struggle with giving to myself. In the past I felt that I need to utilize every second of every hour available to me - but I learned that is completely unrealistic and unsustainable.

Hello, burnout. 

The concept of recovery, particularly as it relates to our body, is pretty damn simple. When it comes to fitness, we need rest if we expect to see an increase in strength, endurance, energy, and even fat loss. If we try and put out the same amount of energy without recovery, it won’t be sustainable.

The same is true for our lifestyle. If we are “on” (at work and at home) and never incorporate adequate downtime (and fun time), we will burn out. If we are nourishing ourselves with junk, or skipping meals, we are doing our body (and mind) a disservice. If we are neglecting sleep & ignoring stress, how can we expect our bodies to provide energy when we aren't giving it anything in return?

In the world of high-performers, it’s common to ignore what the body & mind are saying to us – and instead demand more. We don’t want to be told we need to do rest because we are addicted to the idea that we must keep going.

Truth: We can’t ask our body to do more if we aren’t in a state to handle more.

Now, I’m not suggesting that we kick up our feet and take a siesta everyday because it isn’t realistic for most of us. Chasing big goals requires a lot of energy. And, like athletes who push past their threshold to get to the next level, we need to incorporate recovery. If we don’t, and we are pushing that threshold without taking equal rest – our body will begin to break down.

Chronic stress can wreak havoc on the body. As a society, we are showing signs of this through adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues, hormone imbalances – you name it. We are putting stress on our bodies over long periods of time, and it’s causing our cortisol levels to either go through the roof or disappear.

And that isn’t good.

We wonder why we can’t get through the day without hitting a wall, why we feel off physically & emotionally, and why we are slow to take action. We feel these things because we aren’t taking care of ourselves. We all know this, yet we ignore it. And you know what? In our society it has become some kind of badge of honor. The more insane our schedules are - the more we limit recovery & rest – the more accomplished we feel.

That’s messed up, right? But…you know it’s true.

Instead of building in recovery, we negotiate our resting hours for things that don’t serve us. We take the act of hustling to a new level. And we've given it a bad rap.

What is it costing you? What would happen if (gasp!) you gave yourself time?

This isn’t just about sleep. This is about managing the stress of each day by incorporating pockets of time for yourself. Schedule time for a Netflix binge, a mini workout, or quick getaway – a weekend wellness retreat in Lake Las Vegas.

Give yourself permission to replace “doing” with “resting”.

I say, calendar that shit out! I started to get myself in the habit of giving back to my body by actually scheduling time to do nothing. Yep, in my calendar it says things like – “rest” or “do nothing”. I’m trained to do it with my physical training, so it makes sense for me to do the same with my regular daily calendar.

I know, I know…it sounds ridiculous. But to turn a behavior into a habit you need to practice it.

It freaks you out, doesn’t it?

That’s because the thing we resist the most in our prioritizing our health, is the thing we need the most.

I get it. I’m still working on it. But you know what I’ve learned?

Once you give yourself permission to fit in the recovery, you make space for a lot of growth.

  • You are more rested, so you are happier.
  • Your body recovers, so your immune system gets stronger.
  • You feel better, so you perform better.

I am a huge advocate for hustling, it’s how I’m wired – after all, my dad always says, “I’ll rest when I’m dead”. But even I have come to appreciate and understand the importance of pairing it with recovery. If the two partner up, and we are responding to the hustle with the rest we need, it’s a hell of a lot easier to take action.

Why wouldn’t we want to make it easier on ourselves to perform at a higher level?

Athletes need more recovery, not less. They need more recovery to perform at that level. So, as you continue to play big, you must incorporate more time for recovery to perform at a high level.

Get out your calendar, I dare you!


And remember the Lake Las Vegas Refresh retreat closes in less than 48 hours.  I’d love to help you elevate your health in a relaxed setting with like-minded people. Come join me! Contact me if you'd like to discuss if it's the right fit for you! 

 

 

Rule #1: Take Off The Damn Cape

Ok, let’s get right to the point here.

Single parenting is freaking hard. No, strike that. It’s over the top, physically taxing, mentally exhausting, gut wrenching hard.

It’s the kind of difficult that leaves you questioning your ability to sustain it for one more day.

For the last seven months I’ve been walking around in my supermom cape, you know - the one us Gemini’s wear that hide all our feelings & emotions. Yeah, that’s me – wearing my cape proudly and acting like I’ve got my shit together.

And oh my god I so do not have my shit together. 

My shit is the furthest from “together” it’s ever been in my life. True story.

I'm a hot mess. Frazzled beyond measure. Ask my friends. They'll tell you. I suck at returning phone calls, forget to respond to text messages and I'm lucky to get out the door fully dressed. 

#hotmess

But, it is my reality. And just like I made the choices that landed me here, I have to make choices on how to move forward.

I never thought I’d be here. No one ever thinks they’ll be here.

But, here I am.

The days are exhausting, the nights restless.
The tears are frequent and sometimes uncontrollable.
It feels like I never do enough, and sometimes it feels like I can’t give anymore.

Ironically, I am the happiest and most self-aware I have ever been - which I suppose is a good thing considering the shit storm that is my life. Yet I spend more nights lying on the floor in tears than I care to admit. And yes, I’m aware of the irony in that.

Truthfully, the day-to-day is quite comical (worthy of a book) when I pull back the layers of chaos. The complicated relationships intertwined with the messy experiences that create our perceptions of love and pain. And let’s not forget the insecurities (the reason for the damn cape).

This entire journey has taught me about my own resilience, but more importantly it’s taught me about my own shortcomings.

In the last couple of months, I’ve learned that trying to be strong 100% of the time doesn’t always serve me. That sometimes I need to admit this shit is hard and ask for help. Get vulnerable. My boys need me to not only take care of myself so I can be my best for them, but also so they can learn that a mom that “does it all” isn’t necessarily a hero. Mothers who are powerful and strong are the same mothers who shed tears and aren’t perfect.

When I started to get heart palpitations a couple of months ago, a few people in my life immediately questioned how I was handling stress. I very quickly defended my stress coping abilities (see: supermom with aforementioned cape) and brushed it off, assuming the cause was something else. However, weeks later it became apparent that I may not be handling life as swimmingly as I’d like to believe.

I’ve been through a lot in my lifetime, a LOT, but this particular phase in my life is by far the greatest challenge I have endured. Yes, physically it has taken a toll on my body - but those physical issues are the symptoms of something much greater.

Life isn’t perfect. I’m not perfect. (But dammit, I want to be!)

I lose my patience, lose my temper and sometimes I feel like I’m losing my mind. (I have two toddlers, after all.)

There’s a lot of shame & guilt.

It's effing hard. 

In the midst of the chaos – all the to-do lists and cape wearing - something happened. I stopped taking care of myself. As someone who makes a living helping others make their health a priority, that realization didn’t feel so good. In fact, it felt like a punch to the gut. But as I tell my clients, I’m not perfect and I’m always learning.

I’m learning that I can’t walk around with my 'super single mom' cape all the time. I can’t pretend that I have it all together and that I’m unaffected by this new life. I’m learning that it’s okay for me to admit that it’s freaking hard. It’s okay that I’m not doing life perfectly, and that every other night when I close the door to my boys' bedroom I start to cry.

What’s not okay is ignoring my health. 

It’s so easy for us to let a major life event derail our progress; to get caught up in the motions, distracted by busyness and bogged down by outside pressures. It’s easy to let it all hinder our self-awareness and push our health to the bottom of the priority list.

So easy that we don’t even realize it’s happening.

Yes, the divorce I went through back in August and the lifestyle change it resulted in have certainly put some additional stress on my life. And, while most of that stress is what I bring on myself, some of it can’t be avoided. However, how I choose to handle that stress is what I have control over.

You know what I mean. If you are anything like me, you might ignore the warning signs and continue to press on (proudly sporting the cape) telling yourself that you'll make changes "as soon as"... But we all know it's never the "right time", so they get pushed down to the bottom of the list.

Am I right?

We are living in hectic times and because of that we tend to be more reactionary than preventative - with everything. We make choices and develop habits that don't serve us, rather than prioritizing our health so we can be more productive, fulfilled, and successful in all areas of of our lives.

Life is the excuse most of us make for not taking care of ourselves, yet "life" should be the very reason we choose to put our health first. 

I continue to be reminded that admitting things are hard is not a sign of weakness; it's the moment you begin to marry self-compassion and self-discipline.

So, that’s where I’m starting. I’m giving myself permission to admit that the cape is bullshit. I feel uncomfortable a lot. I want to quit about 100 times a day. But I know, deep down, this tough stuff is making me stronger, wiser, and more aware.

In the meantime, I look forward to when the boys are older and I’ve gotten through this tough stage. When I’ll be able to look back and say – I maneuvered through life's obstacles because I made my health a priority.

Kelly

 

 

 

 

This Year? Choose You, Not Fear.

Yes, 2016 has been a tough year and because of it everyone is anxious to step into 2017. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like it’s a common theme that each year, at the same time, social media posts and comments among friends revolve around wanting to “put the year behind us”.

Every year is challenging, some more than others, so it’s only natural for us to view a “new year” as an opportunity to start over. But when it comes to how we transition into another year, I think we’ve been going about it all wrong.

Hell yeah I want to put a divorce behind me. I want to bury some of the pain and stress from the past. I want the universe to conspire with me as I take on new things this coming season. But most of all, I want to feel settled, at peace, secure, maybe even a little wild-hearted.

But what am I going to do to get there?

We are at that point in the year when the idea of transformation begins to seep into everyone’s mind, thinking about how we will do something different to improve our overall health. It’s that whole, “New Year, New You” push that causes people to vow to make changes.

So the first day of the New Year hits. The gyms are packed, meals are prepped and people are amped up for change. But inevitably, 30-60 days out from the New Year, these “habits” that were meant to last for the long haul begin to slide and the old habits return.

Transformation begins by first understanding where the work needs to happen and then taking small steps, not gigantic leaps, to begin to make a shift.

When we look at closing out a year with a countdown and a promise to ourselves with a solid resolution, it’s easy to see a beginning and an end. Rarely do we focus on what happens in between, and its during the “in between” that the real work takes place.

It’s also the period of time that scares the shit out of all of us.

Because, what if we fail?

The fear of failing, in my humble opinion, is the number one thing that holds us back from making changes. It’s the thing that keeps us focused on superficial improvements, rather than choosing resolutions that are more impactful to us as a whole. It’s when that inner critique within all of us stirs up the limiting beliefs we place on ourselves, and as a result we put the brakes on progress at the expense of our ego.

This is when we begin to make excuses. And, to be blunt, excuses are just the mask we place on fear.

Ahh, yes…I said it. Fear.

Here’s the reality: Any type of transformation in our lives we wish to implement will involve failing multiple times.

Change is messy, incredibly imperfect, and difficult.

When it comes to contemplating change of any sort, whether it’s with diet & exercise, getting out of a toxic relationship or switching careers – it’s a hell of a lot easier to come up with reasons not to do something, than to forge ahead into the unknown.

I personally have failed more times than I can count, and I'm not just talking about little failures. I’m talking big, gigantic, epic falls that some people just don’t bounce back from.

Failure is all in how we perceive it, right?

While I have fallen flat on my face in the filthy mud (sometimes the same damn mud), with each failure I gained more clarity surrounding my own resilience and strength. And the lessons I learned with each messy fall were far more beneficial to me than navigating life perfectly.

And the dirtier I got, the better I was for it.

The irony in this “fear of failure” most of us experience, is that we’ve all failed at one time or another. So, why are we resistant to the possibility of failure?

A lot of it is about the perception.

More of it is about permission. (Permission we give to ourselves.)

All of it is about self-respect.

It starts with finding the courage to go a little deeper and aligning our values with our actions.

What are you holding onto or holding back from, that you can change in the coming year? What is lying underneath all of those superficial resolutions?

When it came to taking back control of my overall health, I had a huge wake-up call when I realized fear was the one thing standing in my way. And while “trust” is one of my top values, I didn’t trust myself. I didn’t trust myself to make mistakes, take a risk, or acknowledge what needed to change in my life.

In my attempt to prevent myself from getting knocked down and dirty, I just created a bigger mess.

If you consider the fact that our actions should match our values, what needs to shift for you in this coming year?

It's all in the reframe. 

So, here’s the truth:

Addressing our health concerns isn’t just about exercise and food, it’s about understanding what matters to us and giving ourselves permission to make time to give it attention. Change happens when we let go of the fear of failure, and find the courage to pave a new path for ourselves.

Exercise and food are really just two pieces of the pie and when integrating all the different life spheres - work, health, family, other stressors, we can understand all of the factors that are contributing to our overall health (not just what we eat and how we move).

How can we be “all in” with a lifestyle change, if we are hanging on to other things in our life that bring us down?

How can we focus on living a sustainable lifestyle if we don’t trust ourselves to do so?

In a world where it is much easier to have someone tell you what to do for 30-days and see amazing results, the idea of working on a long-term change that isn’t a quick fix isn’t as sexy. And, it’s definitely more work.

But, as harsh as this may sound - these are just excuses.

This year, I’m going to practice more self-care as it pertains to giving myself permission to slow down when necessary. It’s absolutely going to be a challenge for this type-A perfectionist, but I know it will make me more successful in the long run.

Here’s my challenge to you: Instead of announcing the typical “resolutions”, delve a little deeper this year so you can identify what pieces of the pie need a little extra love. Going deep into those areas will allow you to gain clarity and formulate a plan to move them forward into 2017.

Happy New Year!

XO,

Kel

Masculinity Redefined: Paving The Way For Our Children

We can choose to be rooted in fear, or we can choose to root ourselves in strength.

We need to stand up, speak out and become the strong leaders we wish we had.

We must be resilient and drop the ego (fear) in order to move ahead.

Masculinity has been a hot topic as of late, and ironically it’s been fueled by anger and fear. It has been at the forefront of the news, the theme of office chatter, and a point of conversation and opinion all over social media. Trump obviously became the major player, with his erratic and disrespectful behavior exploding before us, but following the election it seems that much of this behavior has continued - and not just from Trump.

Some might say he has given men permission to bulldoze and the general population to cast judgment on their neighbors. Some might say that he’s a terrible role model for our children, our nation. Others are simply fueled by the negative energy, which sets fire to their own anger & fear and has caused major disruption around our country.

Maybe there is some truth to that, but the reality is we are all responsible for our own behavior and how we respond to things we aren’t comfortable with. I believe Trump is shining a light on his own insecurities by being so vulgar and crude. It's a one-man theater show that is hiding the darkness & truth behind the curtain. He’s one man, one person who is in the spotlight - but let’s be honest, he isn’t the only one.

The aftermath of the election has caused a lot of tension in our Country, as we anticipated would happen regardless of the outcome. It has brought out the worst in everyone, because: FEAR. Fear is our own insecurities about being vulnerable and letting go of ego, but fear doesn’t help us move forward or address the real issues.

So, instead of talking about "locker room chatter”, shaming the behavior we see in others, or becoming fearful of people in power roles - what if we started asking why? What if we begin to ask what is going on within men (and women) that is perpetuating this volatile behavior?

It's in the answer that we will find opportunity for growth & change. It's not in the anger, resentment & fear.

We put very little value on the things that we feminize. As a society, we struggle with the idea of masculinity and what it really means. Our little boys are raised to be tough and told to not cry, or to “be a man”. They aren’t encouraged to ask for help and are given the impression that to show vulnerability is a sign of weakness. Rather than lift up feminine traits in both men and women, we suppress that behavior and focus on burying all the “stuff”. And, as a result, emotions come out in destructive ways - insecurities, vulgarity, aggression, and even depression.

I’m quite familiar with the masculine spirit, though I’m not an expert. Rather, I’d call myself a lifelong student - a researcher, I suppose. Between being close to my dad, having a brother, the male best friends in my life, a coach that scarred me, and well…husbands, I’ve done a lot of research.

Add to that, all women have their own masculine spirit and many (like myself) struggle with understanding the appropriate balance. As girls we are raised to believe that speaking out isn’t feminine and women who are too vocal are viewed as controlling and bossy. I always related more to men than women, though, and maybe it was due to my own insecurities about appearing weak and vulnerable, maybe it’s because I steer clear of drama, or maybe it’s because being emotional never felt safe.

Yes, I’ve seen and been the object of inappropriate behavior. I had a college coach that shamed my body; I spent time in the hospital while sick with a young woman who was raped, trying to fight for her life and find a reason to respect her body and herself. I’ve personally been stalked, violated, verbally abused, and belittled. Yet, I am ashamed to admit that I didn’t always stick up for myself.

But this more than the objectification of women, feminism, racism, or any of that “locker room talk” that has been discussed. The topic of masculinity right now should be about responsibility. Our responsibility to raise conscious men and women; to educate & empower in our homes, communities and workplaces; to stand up as leaders and address the things that should be happening.

Inclusivity. Vulnerability. Acceptance. LOVE.

We must stop respecting poor behavior and begin shining a light on it.

Masculinity isn’t just a gender thing, it’s as much about the male spirit as it is as the female spirit. It’s about getting to a point where it’s okay for men (and women) to acknowledge what isn’t okay, but even further - to make a shift. For men to feel secure in their own masculinity without wearing a mask of false “manliness” or toughness, and for women to recognize their own value, to not accept inappropriate communication, and to find their voice as leaders.

I’m raising two boys. And, just as it is crucial to raise our girls to be strong and accepting of themselves, it is of utmost importance to me that my boys understand the healthy balance between masculine and feminine; powerful and gentle. As a mom I want them to be comfortable in their own skin. But, I also struggle with the expectation that we all should toughen up...and when my incredibly sensitive toddler is distraught with emotion, I sometimes find myself thinking or even saying, “stop crying”. And then I shame myself for thinking it.

But, I’ve been programed to think it. I even say it to myself. I often apologize for feeling vulnerable, crying or making a mistake. And if I, a female, struggle with this feeling of not being strong and powerful - I can’t imagine the challenges that men face with this very same thing.

A lot of people feel a false sense of security around a man who is strong, capable, and tough; they focus less on the inner workings of the spirit and more on the exterior or the perception. But I can tell you first hand, that the perception is often misguided and when a man spends so much time proving his manliness through words, physique and outward untruths - there is usually something they don’t want us to see.

To me, a man who is gentle yet confident, soft yet strong, vocal yet thoughtful is a man who is masculine. A man who can be comfortable with his own vulnerability and his own flaws, respectful of and empowering to others, and knows when to show up and how.

A conscious man.

On the contrary, a man who puffs out his chest and plows through people in an effort to prove his self-worth and “manliness” is nothing but a coward. A man who is hiding his own insecurities by bulldozing through people, controlling conversations, evoking power and aggression when grace is more appropriate is not masculine, he is insecure. Unaware. Masked.

So let’s flip the script. Let’s teach our children that shielding insecurities with a masculine mask isn’t the answer. It doesn’t serve us.

It isn't healthy to block our hearts, but being a little vulnerable is.

Let’s redefine masculinity.

I want my boys to walk free of masks or costumes, and rather - be completely comfortable in their own beautiful, unique skin. To be at peace with what resides in their hearts, and not have to pretend.

It is our responsibility today, and every day to speak up, hold our kids, students and friends close, talk to our children positively, and love one another.

We can’t change the past, but we can influence our future.

Let’s start to let go of the fear that is consuming our country and instead begin to focus on stepping up in our own households and cities, by leading our children, our equals and our superiors to rise up against the hate and the anger. Let us be and empower others to become female and male leaders; 365 degree leaders; conscious men and women who are okay with being vulnerable and giving a bit of grace.

There is strength in vulnerability.

There is power in hope.

There is freedom in moving ahead.

We must root ourselves in truth and become the strong leaders necessary to keep us all united.

 


Don't Believe Everything You Think - April 18

We are our own worst enemy's when it comes to overcoming the negative self talk. I have a million thoughts bouncing though my head daily, and a lot of them are ones that ring of failure and doubt.

They sound like... "I'm not good enough", "I should probably quit trying", "I'm a failure". Nasty stuff! These thoughts are purely self sabotage (brought on by fear) and if we don't fight back by stating our truths - they will destroy our happiness, success, & joy. 

No one is immune to these negative thoughts, but we can prevent them from wreaking havoc on our potential. The more time I spend sending myself positive messages, the more I accomplish.

Start preventing your own self sabotage by changing the conversation.

Summer Survival: 5 Tips For Maintaining Your Health Goals

Holy hotness, we are in the peak of summer!

Knowing that the morning temps are steamy makes a girl think twice about lacing up her sneakers to go for a run, let alone much else. Besides it being HOT HOT HOT, it’s also the season for vacations, weekends filled with parties & pool days, and evenings spent outside with cocktails and the grill. We are talking full swing, relaxation and celebration - am I right?

Summer is undoubtedly a season that (almost) everyone craves, especially if you live in an area of the country where the winters are harsh, the sun hibernates, and spring is unpredictable. But along with summer comes distraction, which can often reek havoc on personal health goals. 

A break in routine is inevitable, which means most people find themselves struggling to balance all that summer offers with their desire to maintain healthy habits. For those who are trying to fit in a fitness regimen, the hot months can make thinking about working out a little daunting. My clients regularly confess that the trips and the parties alone create anxiety when they are trying to stay on track with their nutrition & fitness goals – most often rather than find balance, they overindulge and then feel tremendous guilt afterwards.

I’m here to tell you, you can do both. Yes, summer should be celebrated and a few rules ought to be broken – but it isn’t an excuse to derail the progress you started in the previous months. Health isn’t a seasonal thing, it’s a yearlong – lifetime – thing. It starts with setting your intentions, but it should be something that is sustainable, realistic, and works with your lifestyle. So, while you may have worked your booty off so you could slay in your bikini this summer, let's discuss how you can continue (or start) to rewrite you health story even in the summertime.

 

Here are 5 tips for maintaining your health during the summer months:

Try something new. The summer season is definitely a time of year that gets people outdoors more (unless of course you live in Vegas), especially if where you live has some pretty nasty winters. There’s no shortage of pool parties, trips to the beach and other activities under the sun, so why not take your fitness outdoors too? Instead of hitting the gym after work, hit the streets with a walk or run or head to the park for a workout. If it’s too hot, maybe go for a swim? It’s also a great time of year to try new things that work your body, like trail running, outdoor yoga (preferably at a beer garden), or a team sport. If you are taking a trip, do some exploring. Hit the trails, run along the beach or give stand-up paddle boarding a try. Trying something new and getting out into the fresh air shifts our perspective around exercise and movement - because it doesn’t necessarily “feel” like exercise.

Stay hydrated - In most areas of the country the summer months mean a serious increase in heat and humidity. We tend to be outdoors more - vacationing, sitting by the pool, cutting grass – so we also move more as a result. Water is so important for your health, especially during this time of year. If you want to make sure that when you do workout your body is primed for action, be sure to monitor your fluid intake - especially if you are spending a lot of time outside. Dehydration can happen fast during the summer, especially if you aren’t paying attention, so be mindful and drink when you are thirsty. Water has many healing properties; it cleanses the body and aids in weight loss as well as helps with energy & digestion.

Seek motivation - Motivation to workout during the summer months can sometimes be tricky for people. Distracted by the aforementioned - it’s easy to get caught up in the ease and lightness the season brings, and to put health on the back burner. That’s why it is so important to find ways to keep yourself motivated - because while it can sometimes be a challenge, it is absolutely possible. If you are a book reader or a podcast listener, these are great tools to keep you motivated, as well as things you can actually do while working out or cooking. Throw on a podcast, stick your headphones on and get to work!  Some people find motivation by following certain public figures or getting involved with a group for additional inspiration and accountability. If you have a friend with similar goals or someone you enjoy spending time with, buddy up with them for accountability and motivation.

Break a few rules - Eat indulgent food and give yourself permission to drink alcohol - without criticizing yourself later. The key here is to set personal boundaries and stick to them. Decide what you believe to be reasonable, and what rules are truly worth breaking to you. Then, if/when you break them – let it go and move on. Some people could care less about dessert but really want a few extra glasses of wine; on the flip side, some people would rather indulge in all the summer treats and skip the beverages. Figure out what works for you and don’t feel guilty for something you’ve given yourself permission to indulge in. And, if you overdue it – learn from it and try to take that into account the next time around.

Seasonal foods: Every season brings new, fresh foods that can be found at the farmers markets or in grocery stores. Eating seasonally is not only less expensive, but it provides better nutrition too. The food is harvested at the peak of its season and typically sold before it spoils which usually means that your vegetables and fruits have less chance of losing their health benefits and their flavor. If you are fortunate enough to live near a farmers market or co-op, you have an even better chance of getting fresh, seasonal foods because they don’t have to travel as far to get to you. Check this site to see what your own community offers. As an aside, it’s always tempting in the summer to eat a lot of fruit because so much of it is in season - but pay attention to your fruit intake due to their high fructose content. Excess sugar gets turned into triglycerides that get stored in the fat cells, which can lead to a buildup of that visceral belly fat. My tip? Whenever we eat fruit I always make sure it is combined with a protein or fat to balance out the sugars – a perfect combo!

What’s your state of mind this summer?

Burnout: How To Avoid It While Pursuing Your Goals

Got goals? Let’s talk about burnout.

I know you understand what burnout is, because I’m quite sure you’ve experienced it in life. Overworked at your job, under pressure to manage your household while still running a business, trying to juggle relationships, responsibilities, and your health – it can all become overwhelming. In fact, I bet you probably end some weeks shouting – I need a vacation!

I hear you. I truly do. I’ve uttered those four words a million times.

So, let’s talk about burnout when it comes to your fitness goals, because I see it frequently – and I’ve experienced it myself a time or two.

Beginners all the way to seasoned pros are susceptible to burnout when it comes to exercise. I especially witness this seasonally – either at the beginning of the New Year or right around bikini season – when women are pumped up to put their intentions into motion and they hit it too hard. On the flip side I’ve been guilty of training too hard and ending up with an injury or feeling physically & emotionally drained. The bottom line: too much exercise combined with too little recovery can derail your efforts.

As a competitive athlete, I’ve always struggled with recovery. But I’ve learned over the years that without it, I don’t get faster, stronger or fit without it. Our bodies need time to repair muscles and prepare for future workouts by storing food. We do ourselves (and our bodies) a disservice when we cut out recovery from our routine – because our muscles breakdown & don’t have time to rebuild. Plus, we can become emotionally drained. Without recovery we can take a nosedive right into burnout – which ultimately leads to a delay in reaching goals.   

You might be standing toe-to-toe with burnout if you experience any of the following:

Muscle soreness & persistent fatigue. This is normal following a tough workout or for newbies a couple of weeks as your body adapts - but if it lasts longer than that it probably means you are overdoing it. Generally, exercise should build strength & endurance, not the other way around.

Low energy. Exercise should make you feel good, not bad. In addition, if it’s zapping your energy to the point of altering your mood or you find yourself obsessing over it – it might be time to ease up.

Overuse injuries. Usually when someone is hitting the pavement too much or doing the same workouts over and over again – without recovery – injury follows. If you find yourself getting sidelined after a few weeks of training, you need to check yourself – are you incorporating rest days? Are you balancing high intensity days with low intensity days? Some people can go hard longer than others, and other people need to incorporate more gentle movement into their fitness routine to avoid injury.

Lack of motivation. This falls in line with low energy – if you’ve found that you can no longer get yourself out of bed to hit the gym like you did at the beginning, you might want to dial it down or change it up. Finding a sustainable plan for your goals that incorporates variety and helps you hit milestones will help keep you motivated for the long-term.  

I know what you are thinking; I’ve been there. You might be afraid that if you take a day off you will either lose momentum or fall into a pattern of skipping workouts more regularly. The truth is, you are more likely to fall off the “workout wagon” if you don’t provide yourself with rest because you will end up burning yourself out, or worse – getting injured. Being strategic about your workout program so that it is sustainable, yet effective, is key to your own personal success and health.

Here are a handful of ways you can avoid burnout + focus on recovery:

Implement rest days. If you are a beginner, or have taken a lot of time off and have now started up again – you’ll need 1-2 rest days per week. This doesn’t mean you have to lie in bed all day, so if you are antsy to move a bit on these days, do an active recovery. Strength training also requires strategy as it relates to recovery, as you’ll want to give specific muscle groups time to rest before pushing them again. So, if you find yourself doing a lot of lifting, make sure you alternate muscle groups to ensure proper rest.

Vary workouts. This applies to both anaerobic & strength training workouts alike. By mixing up intensity, playing with intervals & speed, and increasing resistance – you’ll avoid plateau. This is why personal trainers adding variety to your workouts, as not only does it boost metabolism but it also ensures you’re your strength and endurance will grow. By keeping exercises effective, you’ll also prevent burnout and boredom - which could lead to a loss of motivation.

Focus on fuel. Depending on the type of workout you do, making sure you provide your body with the proper nutrients following a sweat session is key to recovery and future workout performance. For example, if you do lift heavy in the morning, it’s a good idea to follow that workout with a meal that includes proteins and carbs. Stock up on whole foods, quality proteins and lots of good fats so you can ensure you have the right recovery fuel to keep your body (and momentum) going.

Catch some z’s. Sleep is vital for recovery, just as it is important for your daily productivity. If you aren’t getting adequate sleep, or it’s a restless sleep, than not only will it affect your recovery but it will hinder your workout the following day. Everyone has a different sleep requirement to be on the top of his or her game each day – figure out what that number is for you and stick to it. And, if you are feeling especially tired from a long day or a tough workout – listen to your body and get the extra rest.


Are you struggling with burnout? Or do you have trouble figuring out how to balance high intensity workouts with low intensity training? Please share your experiences below!

 

 

 

 

 

Being Stubborn Isn't A Flaw, It's A Gift

Growing up and as an adult, I've always been referred to as stubborn. (Yep, true story.) And, for most of my life, it was perceived by me as a negative character trait. Because, well - that's kind of the general perception.

While being stubborn definitely presented challenges, inhibiting me from growth & affecting relationships (I hate admitting I'm wrong) - I eventually learned that if used correctly it can be an extremely powerful tool. 

There is real value in stubbornness, this I've come to know.  

Stubbornness pushed me to fight for my life, when I was barely hanging on.

Stubbornness is what drove me to confidently go after big career goals in a competitive industry.

Stubbornness is what pushed me outside of my guarded comfort zone & into soul-shaking relationships with depth.

Stubbornness (combined with a little self-love) is what took me from appearing to live a healthy life to actually living a healthy, sustainable life. 

When it comes to pursuing our goals, whether health & fitness or career & relationships - stubbornness can come in pretty handy. 

It's what pushes you to stand face-to-face with your fears, insecurities & doubt. It moves you from excuses & self-judgement to self-discipline & self-respect. It's what allows you to be resilient in the face of challenge. When life hands you a pile of poo, it's what keeps you going even after you've stepped in it. 

I haven't only seen it in myself, I've witnessed it in the women I work with too. Here's what I've seen:

Women who bounce back from tremendously painful moments and come out stronger than they were before.

Women who prioritize their self-care in the pursuit of what they really want for themselves.

Women who boldly choose a difficult path because they know it is right, despite how vulnerable it makes them. 

Women who strongly declare what they want and then make it happen. 

Amazing stuff, right? It's inspiring to see the possibilities that are available when we extract that goodness that is inside of us. When we capitalize on stubbornness to change the course of our future.

Being stubborn isn't a flaw, it's a gift.

It moves us to not give up...never settle...fight for what we believe in...choose...be open to possibilities...push boundaries. 

If you have an ounce of stubbornness in your body (and I know you do), you can begin to tap into that gift as you work towards your goals. Stubbornness combined with self-discipline and a little self-love will provide you will endless possibilities for growth and change. And, if you need  a little extra help extracting that stubbornness - my Private Coaching options might appeal to you.

 

I urge you to begin to see the beauty in your stubbornness, and use it to your advantage. And the next time someone calls you stubborn, thank them. At this stage in my life, I firmly believe it's a compliment. 

XO

Kelly

My Negativity Detox: A Journey Towards Ditching Toxic Energy

In a society that is hyper-focused on fitness and diet as the pathway to perfect health, it’s easy to forget the power our mind has on our health & wellness.

Think about it, how often does your doctor prescribe happiness or optimism as a way to heal? I’m going to guess that answer is - never.

As Lissa Rankin M.D. shares in her book, “Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself”, happiness and related mental states reduce the risk or limit the severity of heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, hypertension, and colds. Bottom line: unhappy people are much more likely to get physically sick.

It’s no secret that negative emotions compromise the health of the mind, body, and spirit. Regret, resentment, shame & guilt are all forms of stress - and stress wreaks havoc on the cells in the body. It affects our energy levels, hormones, immune system, muscles and blood pressure. Not to mention what it does to our mind. Our thinking becomes jumbled, which leads us to making mistakes & rash decisions - resulting in even more stress.

All that being said, it’s time for me to fess up. It’s time for me to take ownership of my own health, stop hiding behind a mask of protection, and start living my truths.

You see, I’ve felt like a bit of a fraud lately. Traipsing around as a Health Coach and emphasizing the importance of emotional health with my clients and followers, all while failing to do so in my own life.

I can eat kale on the regular and workout daily – but none of that is going to make up for the fact that I carry around a lot of toxic energy. It kind of snuck up on me over the past couple of years, in the middle of being knee deep in motherhood. And, because I ignored it for so long – it’s started to affect my health and my marriage.

Our thoughts and beliefs about life and ourselves, are intricately woven within our minds, and seep out into our bodies.

I used to believe that I had no regrets and had let go of resentment, but now I’ve come to learn that I was lying to myself. I know this to be true because when things get hard, I find myself looking in the rearview mirror. And, in case you didn’t know – focusing on the past is a surefire way to limit our happiness.

I felt bad feeling regret, resentment or anger about life, because I was afraid that might mean I wasn't grateful for what I had. For what turned out to be, instead of what could have been.

I started to resent my husband for all the times I’ve had to sacrifice my professional goals for his; and I felt guilty for wanting to follow my own career goals instead of being content with taking care of our boys full-time.

I thought that I was supposed to “live life without regrets” and “be grateful for what I had”, so for a long time I just buried those feelings. I felt selfish when those thoughts & desires to do more for myself popped up, and that’s when the anger and resentment would rear it’s ugly head.

These days I've come to the realization that it's impossible to not have regrets and it's okay to feel anger or resentment. It’s also okay to still have goals as a mother, and crave time to work on myself. Because all those yucky feelings bog us down. 

But, it's not okay to hold on to the feelings and not let go - because that is toxic and weighs us down. These limiting thoughts & beliefs hold us back from connecting with ourselves; from finding our unique power & strength; from being truly happy.

Here are some of the icky things I had a tough time letting go of, until recently:

  • Saying “yes” when I should have said “no”
  • Not saying what I need or asking for help
  • Holding on to apologies because of my pride
  • Not letting go of resentment & regret
  • Feeling sorry for myself (eew, I hate this one)
  • The need to be right (all of the time)
  • Past mistakes

Now, there was a time I had learned to express my desires, say what I needed, and let go of tough feelings. But as life became harder, instead of leaning in and letting go, I pushed and held on tight to toxic energy. I kept my head down & buried all the “stuff”.

I know, logically, all about the impact that our emotions and thoughts can have on our health. From how it affects our immune system to what it does to our mental health. You would think that given my chosen profession I'd have this figured out, right? 

I don't.

The fuel I put into my body and the movement I do daily certainly help my health, but at the end of the day all that toxic energy has compromised my immune system, zapped my energy, and created a whole lot of tension. So, a month ago I put myself on a special diet that I affectionately call the "negativity detox". And, while some days are a hot mess, most days have been productive and eye opening.

Here are a few things (there are many) I’ve incorporated into my day-to-day to ensure I keep the negativity at a minimum:

A nightly gratitude journal. This is the easiest on the list. At the end of the day, when I’m sitting in bed, I whip out my journal and write three things I’m grateful for. They can be specific to the day, or just in general. If I’m carrying any negative energy before I hit my pillow, this exercise guarantees that I go to bed angry or anxious.

Meditation. I can’t do 30-minute meditation exercises, but I’ve learned several meditations that take less than 5 minutes to do and work wonders on preserving my state of mind. I use them in the morning when I wake up or when I’m in the middle of some negative feelings, a fight, or stressed out. #lifesavors

Holding myself accountable (with those I trust). It’s important to have a few people in our lives that know where you are at – and I’m lucky to have plenty. Knowing that they support me on this journey and are there for me to talk to, helps me stay on top of the work I’m doing on myself.

Final thoughts: Hanging on to regret takes up space and keeps us from enjoying the present moment. The decisions we’ve made and the stuff our past are the very things that have brought us to our present life. We made choices, and those choices led us to where we are today.

If you are struggling with some anger, resentment guilt or any other toxic feelings - repeat this to yourself: 

Everything in my past has opened me up to new possibilities and those possibilities are exactly where I’m supposed to be.  


If you’d like to know more about what I’m doing to detox from negative energy – contact me for details. If I come out a success with the system I have in place, it will likely become an offering I provide down the road.

 

 

When Referring To Yourself Use Nouns, Not Adjectives

In those moments when we feel negative, judgmental and, insecure & vulnerable, it's important to try and flip that body image lens and look at what's inside (instead of what's outside). It's frightening & easy to turn away from, but I'm here to tell you the woman inside is pretty f-ing awesome. 

When our minds are full of negative self talk that ignores our real beauty & strength as feminine bodies & spirits, then we take up the space we could be using for positive energy and action. 

Our brains have been programmed to run like a broken record, repeating the same negative messages over and over. But, giving attention to our ego & speaking harshly to ourselves just makes us vulnerable to stuff out there. It creates negative energy (doesn't promote health or happiness) & diffuses our flame. 

And that flame, my friends, is the beauty in your soul. 

THAT'S the good stuff. 

So, what noun are you using day to describe your beautiful self?

Mind Before Muscles

What good does being physically strong do, if on the inside we are a train wreck? 

A healthy mindset results in mental strength that is far more valuable than a nice pair of biceps. 

I for one was a total train wreck but could run fast and because I ate a lot of green veggies I appeared "healthy". But, on the inside my mental state was wreaking havoc on my body (digestion, sleep, stress) - and I was a hot mess with so many issues of perfectionism, fear, shame, anger - you name it!

As a society we spend so much time obsessing over our physical appearance when we should be putting just as much time (if not more) into exercising our minds. 

Working on the inside is where "health" truly begins and how we connect with our strength. 

What do you do, when you feel strong?

Exercise Tip: Find Your Inner Child

Have you ever noticed that children are at their best when given the space & freedom to move in the way they choose? My toddler, like many children, is happiest when he is outside exploring. No restrictions. He's the kid you take to the park to play on the slides & swings, but instead ends up wandering down a path to pick up rocks and run wild. Free.

I am the same way. I don’t like to be restricted to a stationary machine and prefer most of my activity to be done outdoors or in a chill setting inside. For me, being outdoors is my ultimate place of motivation, serenity and joy. Whether I'm leading a workout for other mamas, running trails or playing a game with my toddler - being outside adds to that natural endorphin rush that comes with exercise. 

It doesn’t feel like a task.

Just like kids, different activities make us happy. That's why I always recommend thinking back to childhood. What activities did you love to do when you were younger? Chances are, you can find something in your adult life that is similar and motivates you to move. 

And, who says you must have a membership to the local gym or a punch pass to a class? I’m of the mind that exercise doesn’t have to be so regimented and mundane. You don’t have to ride a bike to nowhere or do multiple sets of reps to log your activity. And, if you dread the impending workout - it's less likely you'll be motivated to do it.

It’s all about doing something you love.

Something that MOVES you. Both mentally and physically. 

So stop trying to do what everyone else is doing, and start listening in to what works for you. Find what gets you out the door because you enjoy it, not because it’s something you have to do. Because, let's be honest - you'll continue to hit the snooze button every morning if that's how you feel about your current form of exercise. 

Here are six ideas to help you tap into your inner child.

Wild at heart. If this was you growing up, it’s easy to find that spirit again. Lace up your hiking shoes, head to some local trails and get to exploring. Not only is hiking great for your cardio conditioning and working a lot of major muscle groups - but it is also fantastic for your mind. There is nothing better than being out in nature, taking in the fresh air and spending a little time in your head. It feeds into your adventurous spirt and gives you a challenge.

Monkeying around. Did you love climbing the poles, swinging from monkey bars and doing flips off of the swings at the park? Then go do that! Head to your local park and test your strength and endurance. Climb some stairs, throw in some planks and test your limits. If you're lucky like me, a few school-aged kids will join you! Then the next time you watch American Ninja Warrior you’ll have an appreciation for what they are up against.

Spinning wheels. We all experienced learning how to ride a bike (some better than others), but if you haven’t gotten on a bike in a long time give yourself time to get used to it again. Just remember, as Albert Einstein said, to keep your balance you must keep moving. Riding a bike is a great form of exercise - you can start slow by getting on a street bike and exploring your neighborhood on a regular basis or take it further and get a road bike or mountain bike and hit the streets or trails. 

Things that bounce. If you were a weekend warrior on a sports team as a kid, why not join a league or jump back into some lessons? Soccer, tennis, basketball? I find it common for team players to have trouble getting out and doing something solo when they find so much more joy (and accountability) when with others. So, check out what your local fitness centers and clubs offer - and make that a part of your weekly routine. The team activity will likely motivate you to get in better shape so you can perform when it counts.

Just keep swimming. Were you a water kid? Did you have to be pulled from the pool kicking and screaming because you just couldn’t get enough? Then, maybe investing in a new suit, a pair of goggles and a kickboard might be a good option for you. Swimming is a great all-over workout, and its perfect for those who have joint issues or old injuries because it's low impact.

A little bit of everything. Maybe you were that kid who went from one activity to the next because you got bored with one thing. I’m a huge fan of bodyweight exercise, not only because it’s super efficient and can be done indoors our outdoors, but also because you can mix it up. Bodyweight exercise is great for core development, cardio & strength training, and there is something for everyone. If you are short on time with a crazy schedule, this type of exercise is convenient and diverse.

Whatever it is that taps into your inner child - do it. 

Dance. Play. Sprint. Be awkward. Be free.

For more tips to help get you out the door, read this blog post.

A Healthy Mindset

The belief out there is that if we are moving and eating perfectly, we are healthy - and that's untrue. 

The truth, my lovelies, is that a healthy mindset trumps a "healthy lifestyle". 

Yes, of course eating right and moving daily are important (when not obsessive) for many reasons - but if you are a ball of anger, carrying stress or full of negativity - you will still wreak havoc on your system.

How many people do you know that live the perfect healthy lifestyle but are a mess inside? I've been that person in the past, and I wasn't healthy. Society has us convinced that the outside is what matters, but that's a$$ backwards. 

If you truly want to be healthy...work on the inside. 
Usually if you have your head together, the healthy stuff will follow - cause you're happy!

It requires bravery, vulnerability and self acceptance - but it's worth it for your health. Don't you think?

 

Re-writing My Health Story: Power, Grace & Resilience

The women I grew up surrounded by, the women who were influential in my life, were women who shamed & criticized their bodies. They did all the things. The dieting, restricting, and even the surgery-ing. It was rampant and soon the negative self talk  became part of my own personal mantra. Add to that, those years were also during the time when the food & marketing industry got in cahoots and decided to hypnotize us with ideas that real, whole food was no longer healthy and that we all should be terrified of fat and strive to be skinny. How?  Well, by consuming heavily processed foods that were artificially low fat and fat free - of course! 

Distortion after distortion, less is more, live small, avoid fat, count your calories. Ugh. No wonder...

In high school I was an athlete, and on my way to a college scholarship - so I had stuff to lose. I took my diet seriously, and carried my body insecurities with me everywhere I went - but I never dieted. I envied the pretty girls because I didn’t think I was pretty. I felt unattractive, despite what others said. I criticized my body on the regular, and why wouldn't I? It was the family mantra.

Then came college. A scholarship, a new state, and a chance to find my own path. I had proven my abilities in high school and I was on my way to do big things. Determined to find my own, ignoring the fact that I’d probably make a few mistakes along the way. Never realizing I might even fail. 

It's amazing how one person or experience can change the trajectory of your entire life. I often think that if I had chosen a different college to go to, maybe mine would have gone differently. The day I met my coach, I thought the next phase of my life was beginning - but in hindsight it was the end. Several months into my first year, my coach pinched the back of my arm and told me I had “fat” back there. He even dared to tell me he could visibly see the extra fat on other parts of my body. He knew I was vulnerable, eager to please and determined to be the best - so, he took full advantage. He told me that if I lost 5lbs I’d run faster, and that despite how strong strength training made me, he wanted me to stop. (This was when I began to lose my power, quite literally.)

I was strong, full of solid muscle and the only thing I needed to focus on to get better was the mental part of the sport - not my weight and definitely not removing the one activity that fueled my power. But having always struggled with body issues & driven by perfection, that moment in my coach’s office was what sent me into a downward spiral that scarred me for years and years. 

I was competitive. I had something to prove. I wanted to win. And so, what did I do? I dieted. I restricted. I became obsessive. I stayed away from weights. My last collegiate race was Nationals, a race that not many qualify for, but I had made it. I had worked my body to the bone to stand toe to toe with the countries best on the final starting line of the season. And, when I crossed that finish line, earning the “All-American” status - the first words uttered were, “I should have ran faster”. 

Perfectionism at it’s finest, folks. I had accomplished the ultimate goal for those in collegiate athletics, "All-American" honors, yet I was still unhappy. Do you find yourself working towards & accomplishing goals only to find yourself unsatisfied?

The “end” soon followed that race when my parents confronted my coach and I later had to drop out of school and be admitted into the hospital due to an eating disorder. It all nearly cost me my life, but after a tough year, a few hospital stays, and a lot of therapy - I eventually put the weight back on and continued with life. Ironically, the hardest part of that journey wasn’t the actual rock bottom, or even the climb out - it was when I had to face life at a healthy weight, in a society that sends messages to us about extremes, in the weight that my coach had convinced me was “fat”. That's when shit got hard. 

I spent 15+ years of my life in an obsessive state. My value up to that point had been placed on the speed I could run and my physical strength, and I had lost that.  In my eyes, my running career was in the toilet and I wouldn’t ever make it to the Olympics, let alone race again. So, what did I do? I took self-discipline across the boarder into punishment and I was maniacal about fitness, nutrition and "health" - but I wasn't healthy about it. I continued on the low-cal, no-cal garbage not realizing that I was buying into false information being sold by the "health industry". I was afraid of fat and was addicted to processed sugar, diet drinks and salads. 

I thought I was "healthy". I got on the scale religiously and the tone of my day was often set by what the scale read. It controlled and consumed me. That negative inner voice (that mean girl) inside my head fed me lies about myself day after day. Shaming me, criticizing me, pushing me to be rigid and small.  

I was miserable. I believed that my self worth as a person had everything to do with my weight - and in my quest to stay small, my life shrank too.

I didn't understand that my body may need different things then what society was telling me. That in cutting out the fat I was doing a disservice to my body. That underneath it all, if I just spent more time on myself, in connecting with myself and being authentic, I would find peace with food, get out of my head, and drop the guilt and shame. And, as a result - I would be more successful at work and in my life. 

But I was afraid of being vulnerable, afraid of dealing with the tough shit - so I buried myself in my work, obsessed over my activity, and focused on making sure the outside appeared perfect. That's the funny thing about health, we think we can hide our struggles - but we can't. It seeps out into other areas of our life, and it stifles our potential. 

The story goes that I eventually stood up to my past (and took control of my future) by taking radical responsibility for my health. I threw out the scale, restored my relationship with food, and gained a healthy relationship with exercise. I even began racing competitively again - and to my surprise, I was in a position to train for the Olympic Trials without weight loss and restriction. 

When I got pregnant with our first son, I embarked on a new challenge in accepting my body as it grew. But, I made a promise to myself that I was going to continue to keep my mindset in check & break the cycle (or family mantra) once and for all.  I fostered a new relationship with the inner voice that for so many years was calling telling me lies about myself. I vowed that I would no longer do things that rob me of my authenticity and stunt my success, and instead I did a hell of a lot of work changing habits that weren't serving me. 

And today, while not every day is perfect - I’m living with more confidence, not afraid so speak my voice, and unashamed of the body I have (even after two kids). I've proven to myself that it is possible to have self-discipline and pursue ambitious goals while still respecting yourself in the process. I’ve let go of unrealistic expectations, realized the power I have within - and found that rewriting my own health story fuels my success. I know my value now, and it has nothing to do with the number on a scale, the size of my pants or how fast I can run.


Private Coaching

We are a society of extremes, and those extremes are sold to us on a daily basis. We are all vulnerable to the kind of thing I experienced, and we all have obstacles we must overcome by tapping into our resilience & power. One of the best ways to combat the garbage that we aren't always able to filter is to start at the beginning. It's natural (and quite common in our population) for successful, driven women to want to move from A to Z before learning the basics. But this kind of thinking is the very thing that holds us back from real success, from putting together a plan for sustainable health.

If you are in a place where you inflict unnecessary torture on yourself or spend a lot of time in the self-judgement zone, you aren't alone. But, it's no place to be - I know.

In the pursuit of your own health, I want you to begin to step into your power, recognize your resilience and give yourself grace. It's about being driven to take back control of your life, let go of the idea of getting smaller to live bigger, and beginning to live life - today! If you've been a prisoner to your own body and mind - it’s time to stop putting your life on hold, and to start living - confidently, passionately, vulnerably & fiercely. 

I'd love to help you get there! My programs are definitely about self-discipline, but they are also all about self-respect. Together we will get you moving in your power and building a healthy relationship with food. There will be no new superfood, no waste slimming gadget, no 10 minute workout provided, cause this is real life. It's the real deal, all about building something that is sustainable and authentic. 

If you are interested in finding out more about what services I offer and how we can work together, click on the link below and feel free to cruise around the rest of the site.

I look forward to connecting with you, either here, on one of my social channels or as a client.

xo

Kelly

 

 

Never Miss A Monday

I've seen the posts, "never miss a Monday", and each time I see them I cringe. It's just another example of society & the fitness industry perpetuating the idea that we can't stop, shouldn't take a break! But what if you dare to miss a Monday? 

Might you gain energy? Motivation? Rejuvenate your body/mind? Get some rest? Give yourself some much needed self care?

My career is in the health & fitness industry & I'm an athlete, but my point of view is very different. However, I used to totally believe in never missing a day - ever. That mean girl in my head told me all kinds of nasty things about myself in an effort to push me past exhaustion, to live a rigid life and always strive for perfection. But it came at a hefty price...and sucked the joy right out of me.

I'm not suggesting that you choose the path of least resistance all the time, but I am suggesting that you learn to listen to your body. If you're one of those that ignores your bod because you are afraid, because you spew hateful messages of laziness & failure at yourself - tell that inner voice to shut the heck up. And then, give yourself some love. 

Not all days are created equal. Sometimes rest is what we need. Sometimes what we had planned changes and maybe we need something else instead. We need to be okay with giving ourselves permission to say no, to not live perfectly. To break some rules. 

What you do on Monday doesn't define you. It has absolutely nada to do with your self worth.

You are worth it every damn day of the week. Remember that. 

And drop the rules.

Social Media: The New Addiction?

Can we talk about a secret addiction that I think is on the rise?

One that takes us away from the things that need our attention by tempting us with the avoidance of our own lives. That sabotages our very intentions to accomplish something (anything) that we will later complain we didn’t have time to work on? That causes us to not be present?

It lures us with the…

Surfing…
Scrolling...
Posting…
Tweeting…

…and, because it provides an escape from reality, we keep going back for more.

I'll use myself as an example. I have a revolving door of goals & projects I’m always working on. Most recently, my goals require me to sit and write. Undistracted. And, like everyone else, the demands of life often make squeezing out even 20 extra minutes in my day for this activity seem impossible. But the truth is, the time is there - it's just my responsibility to adjust my priorities, which takes a little extra self-discipline.

But here’s the thing. When I do sit down to a dedicated 20 minutes, I find myself drawn to distraction; sometimes, to the scrolling. To the mind numbing that comes with passively looking at other peoples lives (that might not be 100% truthful). It’s this alternate reality that isn’t my own, that I don’t necessarily want – yet I zone out by tuning in.

And I do this because my own mind is full of emotions that I’ve avoided through busyness. So when I catch those 20 minutes, the stress starts to settle in because now I’m actually sitting in thought, and rather than sit with it, feel it, work through it - I make an easy click with my finger and suddenly I’m in another world (not mine) brought to me by social media.

The entire activity is wasteful. It’s frustratingly unproductive and embarrassingly easy to get sucked in.

Yet I do it over and over again.

And every time I get sucked in, I feel icky and guilty and dirty afterwards. Like I’m dripping in other peoples lies and stories, and I need to wash it all off so I can continue on with my day as if it didn’t happen.

I know I'm not alone. I have clients who often complain about their lack of time. About their inability to work towards their own personal goals because their lifestyle is so hectic that it’s nearly impossible to find an extra 30-60 minutes in the day for themselves.

But, is it impossible?

Truly?

No, it isn’t.

We all find ways to waste time. To avoid what we really ought to be doing, possibly out of fear of commitment or failure or (name that insecurity).

But when it comes to the big Social Media, how much time do you spend surfing and scrolling?

That time spent trolling the social media feeds, is time that we use as filler. It’s time that numbs out our own reality and ultimately limits our own growth.  

The workouts and the home cooked meals, the relationships, time spent with family, and the personal development – they can all happen. But, you can’t Snapchat or tweet yourself into better health or a more meaningful relationships.

You’ve got to tune in, to you, in order to make it happen.

So, here’s my thought. My challenge, rather.

Maybe it’s time to be more mindful of exactly what we are doing with our time. Maybe it’s time to wean ourselves off of the social media drug that has us stuck in neutral.

I say we go for less scrolling, and focus on more doing.

That we work towards minimizing the distraction so we can start to give more to ourselves.

Our lives are filled with real shit. It isn’t all pretty and perfect and filled with smiles and puppy dogs that fill our screens. So, in those short spans of time that are so rare and infrequent and precious, let’s give to ourselves.

Let’s do the work that is worth sharing, but let’s not really share it – okay?

Because, like it or not, a “like” doesn’t prove your value. It’s all about what you’ve got going on inside.

And, I think you’re freaking awesome.

XO

Kelly