I love exercise- do you?

I did a little poll on my Facebook group about an interesting lecture I attended yesterday and it was fascinating to hear your answers!

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And some of your insightful answers:
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My lecture was by Michelle Segar and if you are interested in learning more about her book you can find it here. It’s called “No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring you a Lifetime of Fitness”.

She answered some questions that I’ve always wondered. Why do some people stick with exercise consistently and some people fall off immediately? Or how can someone work out their whole life or play sports and then just stop?

I count myself as lucky as I’ve had the exercise “bug” my whole life and never really stopped. BUT I realized a few years ago WHY I find it so easy to exercise (and would do it on vacation willingly) and others do not. I have been in the spot after my back injury where exercise was very hard and I was extremely unmotivated, but it never occurred to me to just stop completely and I’ll tell you why.

The large majority of people when asked on the street for Michelle’s study about their motivation for exercise was for “better health or to stay healthy” (this was the reason given by 75% percent of people.. I found it interesting only one of you mentioned this!). BUT pretty much all of  the 75% of people didn’t actually regularly exercise. 

Why the gap? We value health but not enough to actually do something about it because of time, kids, money, any excuse. 

The reason is because we live in a society of immediate gratification- and “health” or “weight loss” is NOT an immediate result of exercise, in fact it’s usually farther away than we think which is why people end up quitting 90% of the time. People that exercise consistently have created immediate gratification with exercise. They know that they have more energy, they are more productive, focussed, happier, less stressed immediately after a workout. That is certainly true for me… if I had been exercising just for weight loss or “health” I NEVER would have pushed past the first two weeks.

We need to start recognizing the immediate benefits and REFRAMING exercise in our mind. You’ll notice that those of you that said exercise is a gift really do not take for granted the fact that they can move their bodies regardless of health problems, and they do it regularly! When you experience the immediate gratification of exercise- you’ll find a way to get it in no matter what because you ENJOY THE JOURNEY. 

That is why it’s imperative to find a form of exercise you enjoy. If you hate the entire way through it – you are not going to keep it up. Forget all the different “rules” that trainers tell you about “3 x strength training sessions a week, or 3 x 30 min high intensity cardio etc” and just do what feels GOOD. THAT is how you are going to start changing into one of those people that regards exercise as a chore into one that regards it as a gift and craves it every single day. (A side note: Michelle gave this lecture to a group of doctors and one doctor stood up and argued with this; “My clients NEED moderate to high intensity exercise in order to see results in their cholesterol etc etc”. When she asked how many of them actually kept up with it he sat down and shut up). The important part is not what you do, but THAT YOU DO IT!

Another interesting point: Intensity of activity influences people’s affective response during physical activity. Feelings worsen with increased intensity: pleasure plummets and discomfort elevates. (For the majority of the population… I don’t find I have this problem haha).

Positive affective change during moderate intensity activity but not AFTER, was associated with future behaviour. HOW WE FEEL WHILE WE ARE MOVING IS SO CRUCIAL.

Take away points:
1.) Re-frame how you view exercise. A study showed that if you view a walk as a fun social activity you will have a completely different experience than if you did the exact same walk and called it “exercise”.  Think of exercise as that magic pill that will heighten your mood, increase your energy immediately, help you focus at work, make you feel powerful & capable of anything life throws at you. Whenever I have a hard day or I’m anxious about something, I know that if I exercise I will immediately feel more ready to tackle hard tasks and can get through a long day.

2.) Find exercise you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy it during– you won’t keep going. Keep trying out different things that feel good for you. Maybe it’s Zumba, rollerblading, hiking, swimming, trampoline fitness, Pound, Dance, or I genuinely love running and HIIT training. Keep trying new things until you find something that you look forward to.

In regards to time and cost: you don’t need to spend hours exercising for it to be effective. Anything is better than nothing and that is a proven fact! It’s free to walk, run, cycle, hike, swim, do at home workout videos on You-Tube (where they have pilates, yoga, dance, etc) there are so many options or things like my Vimeo which is $20 a month.

No time? If you watch TV, scroll Facebook or Instagram, you have more time than you think. Run around with your kids outside, play frisbee, do an outdoor workout with your kids, walk your dog, run beside your kids on their bikes- you don’t need to be doing any regimented- JUST MOVE ANYWAY YOU CAN. (Also being a positive example to your children I know can have amazing effects).

I know that I don’t have kids but I have plenty of clients with 2,3,5 kids that still find a way to get it in. I know that people are busy BUT WHEN you start viewing exercise as a gift and loving the immediate effects- it becomes automatic to fit it in. Do squats while you brush your teeth, do tricep dips on the bathtub during bath time, do high knees on the spot while talking on the phone. Do lunges from the kitchen to the living room. Don’t worry about reps, time or anything. Just try to move when you can, where you can! 10 minutes of movement in the morning can change your entire day and mood guaranteed. Remember anything is better than nothing. 

Something that also helped me was taking stock of my mood before and after a workout. Where was I in regards to stress, energy, mood before? And where was I after? This can show you the amazing benefits that even a walk around the block can do for you.

Did any of this resonate with you guys? Let me know your thoughts!

NOW GO WORKOUT!

 

 

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But if I don’t have any rules I won’t stop eating!

0Z6A5666.jpgTHIS topic is near and dear to my heart and I keep seeing it pop up in conversation with clients, or on instagram or basically anywhere that diet culture is prevalent (ie: everywhere).

It’s a common misconception that after years of dieting, rules, and restrictions we are unable to trust our own bodies. You are bombarded by magazine articles telling you how to ignore cravings (as if cravings are this terrible thing- when it’s actually your body telling you what it needs!) how to get through hunger pangs, how to eat less, how to ignore every one of your bodies natural signals… You catch my drift.

You think that if you don’t have rules or guidelines of what to eat in place, you will go completely off the rails and eat every Oreo and piece of cheesecake in sight.

I understand that this may have happened to you in the past and caused you to mistrust your bodies natural signals and cravings. The reason this happened- is because you were still stuck in the dieting mindset. You were eating those foods out of major carb cravings due to that low carb diet, or stuffing it down to get it out of the house because the diet starts “tomorrow”. You were eating those foods with a side of guilt and shame which only leads to more deprivation. You felt out of control because you weren’t actually giving yourself real, unconditional permission to eat those foods.

I know this because I’ve been there!  I’ve been at the restaurant literally SITTING on my hands trying not to eat the french fries off my boyfriends plate (because I would NEVER order my own fries of course) mouth watering, unable to focus on anything else but those delicious crispy fries. Then, once I couldn’t take it anymore I’d reach over and over and over again until all of those fries were gone because I was unable to stop myself. I felt completely out of control. So of course, the answer to that is to eliminate fries forever because I can’t control myself around them right?

WRONG!!! SO WRONG!!

Guess what happened when I FINALLY gave my body what it wanted? When I started ordering the burger and fries whenever I felt like it? When I taught my brain those foods would always be allowed, when I didn’t sit there in guilt and shame over some ice-cream?

I stopped fighting with myself! I no longer felt out of control around these foods because they would always be there. I can now comfortably sit in front of a whole plate of fries- eat one or two and be good to go! I don’t need to sit on my hands- I can actually focus on the person across from me because the french fries no longer have a pull on me. I don’t need to eat the whole plate and then diet again tomorrow. I can take them home for later if I wanted!

This was REVOLUTIONARY for me in my recovery from dieting and just learning to eat like a normal person. When people tell me that they cannot allow certain foods in their home or ever eat them again- I know they still definitely have some dieting mentality going on, and mistrust with their bodies. You CAN learn to trust your body again and feel totally normal around food. If I can do it, anyone can- because I’ve had a seriously fucked up relationship with food most of my life.

My biggest goal right now is to help women feel NORMAL around food. No hand sitting, no fighting with themselves over dessert, no more overthinking everything that goes into their mouths. What if your life wasn’t about food, or weight or dieting anymore- what AMAZING things could you accomplish with all that extra brain space?

I encourage you to think about if you are still living in this dieting headspace. Is there still foods you don’t trust yourself around? Maybe instead of eliminating it, you need to add it in! I know this can seem crazy- but do you want to live the rest of your life avoiding and fighting with yourself over food? You’ve wasted enough time- find food freedom!

Obviously this isn’t an overnight process, and there are going to be slip ups! You are going to overeat. You are going to feel out of control- you can’t change those brain pathways in one meal. But the more you can show your body and brain that all foods are good foods- the more you will feel relaxed, happier and totally normal around the chocolate… Ya feel me?

Questions, blog post requests or anything else- let me know!

Check out my free Ebook: Summer Strong 21 Day Challenge for more information, mindset hacks and recipes that will help you get out of the dieting mentality.

 

I am a Binge Eater.

*This post may be triggering for those with eating disorders.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written in the blog, and this post has been a long time in the making.

I feel like an absolute fraud and imposter to my friends and my clients because, while I counsel people on healthy eating, intuitive eating, and how to recover from and eating disorder- I am still over here silently suffering over my own… deep in shame.

I’ve decided to write this post as some of the inner work I’m doing has advised me to be vulnerable. 

If you know me- you probably think I’m TOTALLY vulnerable. I’ve been very open with my binge eating & bulimia struggles “in the past”, and if you are in my bootcamp you know pretty much everything about me, as I can’t keep a secret to safe my life. I’m an open book… sometimes too open! I’m not afraid to tell any random person about totally private things.

But I realized that I’m not actually being vulnerable, because I’m still hiding my deepest stuff- the stuff that is steeped in shame, guilt, and regret. I’m not actually being vulnerable because the stuff I’m open with isn’t actually a big deal to me, it’s not showing the real me.

I’ve made the decision to crack open. I feel like I can’t move past what I’m dealing with, until I completely own it through and through. I’m such a fucking people pleaser I can hardly even tell my counsellor that I’m struggling! I want a gold star every week for “doing so well”. I want to be her best client that’s “recovered” from binge eating and doesn’t even think about it anymore. I want to be a success story so badly, and help others- I keep trying to convince myself that I’m “fine”. 

I’m still trying to figure out what I’m actually dealing with to be honest. It’s like there’s this other part of me that comes out and I can’t seem to take control over her. All she wants to do is binge eat, purge, sleep, and feels completely overwhelmed by everything which makes her isolate and hide away from anyone that wants to help her. She’s sad, she’s lonely, and she’s unsure of everything in her life that’s she built.

Posting this picture is incredibly hard for me. I know I want to put everything OUT THERE so here’s a few wrappers of what I consumed today (and this is the third day in a row of this behaviour… typically occurring 2-4 x per week.. depending on the week). Sometimes I can go a week or two with nothing and say “I think this is finally behind me!” and it rears right back up. That anxious all consuming feeling of wanting to hide and shut off every single emotion. Just eat and eat and eat until I can’t feel anymore.

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A Reese’s Chocolate Bar, 2L of ice-cream complete with maple syrup + peanut butter in each bowl, a “family” size bag of M&M’s, more Reese’s peanut butter cups, junior mints, & more Reeses, as well as a roll of cookie dough, a Nanaimo bar from the Roost. All of these bought at different locations so not to announce the giant binge I was about to embark on. To hide my shame from the check-out girl and avoid eye contact or any comments on what I was purchasing. Buying it with “healthy” food mixed in there so it didn’t seem like it was for me. Terrified that some of my clients will see me.

All consumed with an hour.

What would possibly drive me to do this? What am I hiding from that is so scary? From the outside in, my life looks amazing! I’ve built a successful business from the ground up, I have amazing friends and family, a loving boyfriend, and so on.

The truth is, I never feel good enough. I’m CONSTANTLY thinking about work, clients and what I need to do and the only time it ever stops is when I’m binging or sleeping. I’ve realized I’ve transferred my one obsession (dieting and anorexia) to work and being successful. The one thing that stuck around is binge eating because it’s the only thing that can turn my brain off. 

I’ve lived my whole life with shame around food. I don’t know how it began for me- but I’ve realized lately I can never just feel NORMAL around food. I’m worried I’m eating too much, or too fast or someone’s judging me, or I WISH I COULD JUST BE ALONE SO I COULD EAT ALL OF THIS. I need to get rid of this shame and this fear of people finding me out.

I- Tara Brunet- a personal trainer & holistic nutritionist struggle with Binge Eating & Bulimia. Still. 

It’s been 17 years since I first made myself throw up and it’s been a roller coaster ever since. Some days I can be totally fine- and then it comes up out of no where.

Here’s the other deep, dark secret. I LIKE IT. Of course I do. I love the feeling of getting into bed with a giant bowl of ice-cream, cookie dough, and Netflix. I lose myself in a movie or a show and I don’t have to think again until I run out of food.

When I run out is when it hits me. What have I done? I throw whatever I can up and still feeling horrible with guilt and shame and exhaustion, I sleep. The deepest sleep you can get. I feel like all my muscles are deadweight and I could never move again.

And then, I wake up- and head to bootcamp, or Pound- and I put on my happy and excited enthusiastic personality and I try to motivate people in the gym and help them feel good about their bodies- whilst feeling sick to my stomach.

This is the double life I’ve been leading, and I don’t want to lead it anymore.

I’m so tired. I’m tired of the facade. I’m tired of trying to quit binge eating over and over again and failing again and again. I’m tired of counselling, and journalling, and meditation. I’m tired of pushing all my emotions down. I’m tired of throwing up. I’m tired of feeling sorry for myself. I’m tired of feeling like a victim to binge eating and out of control around food.

The fact of the matter is- I make the choice to go buy all this food. I make the choice to eat it. I continue making these choices and continue to hide the depth of my struggle from everyone around me. So I’m cracking open. I’m publishing this post for EVERYONE to see. I feel absolutely positively terrified of people reading this and seeing me in public and judging me. I’m scared I’ll lose all of my clients and my following. I’m scared no one will want to hear what I have to say. I’m scared that my business will fail and I’ll be left with nothing, because if I can’t even help myself, how can I help others?

The one thing that is going to make me hit publish on this post – is that I think with sharing my story and being TRULY raw – I can help someone else. By putting all my deepest darkest fears and shame out in the open, it takes away some of the pain. It’s almost like… ok so I eat some junk food. SO WHAT?

Maybe there’s more people out there that are struggling with this. In fact I KNOW there are.
“The most common eating disorder in the United States is binge eating disorder (BED). It is estimated that 3.5% of women, 2% of men, and 30% to 40% of those seeking weight loss treatments can be clinically diagnosed with binge eating disorder.”
-https://www.mirror-mirror.org/eating-disorders-statistics.htm

With that said- I just want to be real. I’m not going to hide anymore. I’m going to keep focussing on recovery, keep trying to open about it, and hope that I can help others struggling with this in silence.

 

Love,

Tara

 

 

 

 

 

New Year… New Cleanse, Detox, Diet?

If you guys have followed me for any period of time, you probably know I feel about dieting, or anything else along those lines like detoxes and cleanses.

I hate ’em with a passion.

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I KNOW that none of those things work in the long term. It’s a colossal waste of time and energy to follow any sort of meal plan or diet, when you could be putting your energy into so much more amazing and exciting things!

I know that after Christmas most people (including myself) don’t feel their absolute best after lots of treats, wine and all that good stuff. BUT- step away from the scale. The average weight gain over the holidays is 1.5lbs. THIS IS NOTHING. WHY would your torture yourself with stepping on the scale? Here’s a better idea. Just get back into your regular routine (no need to add extra or change anything) and the weight will naturally adjust.

Guys, your body is a magical thing. It likes to stay in homeostasis. It will go back to where it was before when you get back to your regular routine! So, get back to your favourite workouts, and favourite meals, and drinks lots of water. This is the ONLY “detox” you will ever need.
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The following is an excerpt from my Body, Mind & Soul Binder – in Week 1 we talk all about ditching the diets and I provide several studies showing you how pointless it is. Check it out! It’s a bit of reading but I highly encourage you checking out these studies if you need any convincing that dieting doesn’t work!

“Arthur Frank, medical director of the George Washington University Weight Management Program, reports that out of every 200 people who start a diet, only ten of them will successfully meet their weight-loss goals. Only ten of them! And the odds get significantly worse when you look at the long-term outcomes. Out of those ten people, only one of them will keep the weight off over time. ONE person. That’s a failure rate of 99.5%”

“A team of experts at UCLA analyzed every study that followed dieters over a two- to five-year period. Not some studies. Not most studies. Every single published, long-term dieting study was included. The results were published in the APA journal, American Psychologist. When interviewed about the findings, UCLA’s Tracy Mann said that the results of their data were conclusive: “Diets do not lead to sustained weight loss, or health benefits, for the majority of people.” She added that most people would be “better off not going on a diet at all. Their weight would be pretty much the same, and their bodies would not suffer the wear and tear from losing weight and gaining it all back.” Initially, she explained, many people lose five to ten percent of their body weight. But the majority of people regained any weight that they had lost. So, the exhaustive review of every published long-term dieting study—by one of the leading universities in the country—found that diets are ineffective for weight loss. And it gets worse! It turns out there is one outcome dieting consistently produces. Are you ready for it? Weight gain. Yes, you read that correctly. The data indicates that dieting consistently leads to weight gain. The UCLA team concluded that “one of the best predictors of weight gain over the four years was having lost weight on a diet at some point during the years before the study started.”

“Not only are they ineffective for long-term weight loss (and make you heavier!), but studies also show that dieting leads to food obsession, emotional distress, and—wait for it—binge eating. That’s right. Dieting is scientifically proven to lead to binge eating. These far more insidious and long-term repercussions of dieting are best illustrated in what remains, to this day, the most definitive research on the subject: The Ancel Keys study.”

The Ancel Keys Study

“Dr. Ancel Keys became well known in the 1940s for introducing K rations. Around the end of World War II, he led the first scientific study of calorie restrictions at his laboratory at the University of Minnesota. He was contracted by the War Department, which was interested in establishing a minimum amount of daily rations necessary to nourish and rehabilitate those suffering from famine in war-torn Europe. He was trying to determine the most efficient rations. In other words, at its onset, Keys’ study had nothing to do with dieting.

Keys recruited four hundred men for his study. After a detailed screening, which involved rigorous psychological and physiological examinations by a team of doctors, the top thirty-six mentally and physically robust men were handpicked to participate. This elite group was chosen because they were the most psychologically and socially well-adjusted, active, good-humored, and motivated. And, just to ensure that the men were mentally and physically thriving—and that the initial exhaustive screening didn’t miss anything—the researchers followed the men for three months before the onset of the experiment.

Then, the study began.

The men were put on what was called a “semi-starvation diet” of around 1,600 calories a day. (Okay, I know you veteran dieters are out there thinking, 1,600 calories is semi-starvation? Are you kidding me? That’s what I eat on a bad day!) The participants, mostly U-Minn students, went on with their lives. At first, they noticed some physical changes. They complained of feeling cold, tired, and hungry. They had trouble concentrating. Some felt dizzy. Some had headaches. But these minor discomforts were nothing compared to the profound—and totally unexpected—psychological impact of restricting their diet.

Finding #1: Increased Preoccupation With Food

One of the first significant changes that emerged was a dramatic increase in their preoccupation with food. Suddenly the men were obsessed with food. They talked about it. They daydreamed about it. They began to develop elaborate rituals and rules associated with mealtimes. They’d spend an inordinate amount of time planning out what they would eat and how they would distribute their calories throughout the day. They started collecting cookbooks. We’re talking about young college men —guys with no previous unusual or particular interest in food—who are now spending every free moment ogling Good Housekeeping recipes. One of them collected over a hundred cookbooks during the course of the study. Another participant, who was interviewed years later about the study, recalled going to a movie and not even caring about the plot (or love scenes)—instead, he remembered noticing every time a character ate and every single thing they consumed. Another participant recalled that he couldn’t wait for the experiment to be over. It wasn’t because he was in physical discomfort. It was because the study “made food the most important thing in one’s life.”

In addition to the growing food fixation, the men began to demonstrate other disturbing changes in their relationship with food. One of the participants said he’d frequently go to the bakery, buy a large box of donuts, and not take a single bite. Instead, he would hand them out to children playing in the street—and watch, enraptured, as the kids devoured them. Initially, participants were allowed to chew gum, but Keys soon banned it when he realized some of the men were chewing up to forty packs a day. They began hoarding food. Sneaking food. Some even brought food into their beds at night.

These previously healthy men were suddenly completely obsessed with food.

Finding #2: Severe Emotional Distress

As the weeks passed, the psychological impact grew more serious. The men became tired and irritable. They lost their ambition. They began to feel inadequate. Which makes me incredibly sad, thinking of all the women who diet hoping that they’ll finally see themselves as “good enough”—when in reality, the tool they’re using actually intensifies their painful sense of inadequacy. They lost interest in their studies and their friends. They even lost their sense of humor. They became anxious, apathetic, and withdrawn. (Any of this sound familiar?) Their psych evaluations began to include findings of depression, hysteria, hypochondria, difficulty concentrating, and dramatic decreases in sex drive. The emotional distress these men experienced was so severe that two of them had stints in mental institutions, and one man even began to harm himself physically.

Finding #3: Bingeing and Self Reproach

Several of the men were unable to stick with the dietary restrictions. They weren’t on lockdown, so they had access throughout the day to food that wasn’t included in the study’s rations. Soon, these men reported they were bingeing on vast quantities of food—followed by severe episodes of self-reproach. (Painfully familiar!) One man reported eating multiple ice cream sundaes and chocolate malts. Then he stole some candy. Then he ate several raw rutabagas. Rutabagas. Really? (Okay, that one’s not so familiar.) He immediately confessed to the experimenters that he had broken the dietary rules, and then began to verbally beat up and defame himself in front of them.

Other men admitted sneaking scraps of food from garbage cans. One man “experienced serious difficulties when confronted with unlimited access to food. He repeatedly went through the cycle of eating tremendous quantities of food, becoming sick, and then starting all over again.” (Yes, I’m still talking about a study. Of men. Normal men. In the 1940s.) Some of the men actually quit the study, because the bingeing became so frequent they were unable to continue their restricted diets and remain within the confines of the study.

They grew profoundly self-critical. And, the next part blows my mind. These previously well-balanced men began to experience distorted body images, and reported feeling overweight, moody, emotional—and depressed.

Please tell me you’re at least starting to believe the problem isn’t you!

Going Back To Normal

When the experiment ended—just a few months later—the men were allowed to go back to eating normally. But these poor men’s eating was anything but normal. Their metabolism rate was decreased on average by 40% (common side effect of dieting). Many of the men had lost control of their appetites, and “ate more or less continuously.” One man reported eating enormous, five-or-six-thousand calorie meals—only to start snacking again an hour later. Another man ate so much the first day after the study ended that he had to be taken to the hospital to have his stomach pumped. And another consumed so much he threw up. On a public bus. They reported not being able to satisfy their psychological hunger no matter how much they ate.

One of the men expressed having an inability to satisfy his craving for food simply by filling his stomach—it was never enough. Oh, don’t you know that feeling? He went on what he called a year-long binge. He put on substantial weight. This man was perfectly healthy and had a normal relationship with food just months earlier. No longer were these the well-adjusted, good humored, motivated men that began this endeavor. Dieting had changed them—rendering them almost unrecognizable.

And this was a one-time experience—not an entire lifetime of dieting. How many of us started dieting in high school? Middle school? Today, girls are beginning to diet in elementary school. Here’s the kicker, this study could not be repeated today because the American Psychological Association would forbid it for the “unethical, inhumane treatment of subjects.” Keys himself admitted, when he was interviewed years later, that no other human experiment quite like it will ever be conducted again because, given what we know now, it would be seen as too cruel and life threatening. Does any of this sound familiar? Depression. Irritability. Food-obsession. An appetite that can’t be satisfied. All topped off by savagely beating yourself up when you break the rules. If there is one thing that we can learn from what these poor men went through, it is this: These are the natural results of dieting and food restriction.”

Excerpts from the book “Have your Cake & Skinny Jeans Too by Josie Spinardi. iBooks. 

My mission is to get all women to fall in LOVE with their bodies, mind & soul and never ever feel stressed around food again. I hope these studies can encourage you towards a more intuitive way of eating. Contact me for more details, I have 3 spots left in my upcoming January 15th Body, Mind & Soul Program.

Lot’s of love,

Tara Brunet
http://www.trainingbytarabrunet.com 

FOOD & THE HOLIDAYS

When you think of the holidays and all the treats, chocolate, booze, and parties- how do you feel in regards to your body image and mental health?

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From the messages I’ve been receiving lately I’ve been hearing that you’ve been feeling stressed, anxious, lazy, out of control with food, and generally just can’t wait for the holidays to be over to get back to your regular routine.

To this I want to scream NOOOOO!!!

I want you to feel STOKED on the holidays, empowered around food, working out to stay sane and balanced and overall excited about all the yummy & delicious food and holiday parties!

SO- How can we get you to that happy place? First is checking your THOUGHTS before you completely spiral into a pit of doom & gloom. If you are already thinking before hitting up that Christmas party that you are worried about over-eating, you want to avoid sugar, you feel icky in your cute little dress- well that is a recipe for disaster!

Before you go anywhere- check in with yourself. Are you feeding your mind negative thoughts about your appearance (for example: my hair is NOT working for me, this dress accentuates my stomach, and so on). You should be feeding your mind TONS of body positive, happy thoughts- so let’s flip that around to “Damn my make-up looks AWESOME, I love how my shoes go with this dress, I am going to rock the hell out of it and I can’t wait to visit with all my friends & family”. Stay in the positive! 

In regards to food- STAY NEUTRAL. All food is just that, FOOD. It doesn’t have the power you make you rapidly gain or lose 5lbs. By eating “junk” food you aren’t going to “un-do” any work in the gym. Food is food. Enjoy it or leave it. Stop over-thinking every single little calorie, fat gram, or carb! I think we need to take all the emotions and overthinking out- just simply recognize “Am I Hungry?” 

If the answer is yes: Well then eat up till you feel satisfied! If the answer is No, you don’t need to deprive yourself of that food, but perhaps check in with why you want it. Is it because it’s delicious and you only get it once a year? Is it because you are sad, angry, bored, emotional? Still give yourself all the freedom in the world to eat whatever you want- but know that food tastes so much better when you are hungry and not eating to just stuff away anxiety or feelings. (And that doesn’t work anyway!). 

I just wanted to share this because I do remember feeling stressed over the holidays and my body, photo’s, and all the jazz. I would sit at the table and thinking “Just fill up on salad, skip the stuffing, too many carbs! No you shouldn’t have another glass of wine, and you should skip dessert”. Then I would feel anxious about skipping dessert and everything looking at me and wondering why, while I also REALLY wanted dessert so sat there miserably watching everyone else enjoy it. Never once did I actually check in with what I wanted to eat, or how my body felt.

Now, it’s “Let’s eat that because it looks delicious! Oohh, that salad is amazing. I don’t want a huge slice of dessert because I want to have energy after this meal to socialize, not end up in a food coma! I love this wine, let’s have another glass.” And so on. It’s paying attention to my bodies wants and needs– not what I’m trying to force myself to do from a ridiculous dieting standpoint.

Basically, I want you all to say FUCK THIS when the negative voices get in your head about food. Respect and LOVE your body. Keep your thoughts positive around your body image. BE CONFIDENT. You have all the power in the world to choose the foods that make you feel happy, confident, and joyful! Get rid of all the STUPID food rules (forever) and please please just enjoy the holidays and your life.

LOVE,

TARA

 

The Journey to Food Freedom

It’s funny how the minute I have some time to think (ie: being sick in bed all day) is when I want to pour all these words out of my soul and onto paper. I just wrote about 5 pages in my journal and realized I needed to blog about this message and get a little vulnerable with you guys.

Recently I’ve been struggling a little bit. I reached this huge goal of getting my own studio, and it didn’t feel as fulfilling as I though it would. I’ve been feeling lost, what is next? What can I reach for? What am I working towards? What is the point?

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what my mission & vision in life is. After all, what is the point if you don’t know where you are heading? I find I really need that overall goal or idea to keep pushing myself forward.

During a meditation a month or so ago, a sentence actually brought me to tears with happiness for what I realized. I want to be a light for all women to discover peace and happiness with food and their bodies. I want to guide people out of the darkness.

HOW can I achieve this? Body Mind & Soul has helped immensely, but I’ve found it a lot harder than I thought. I can’t just give people the information and they will magically cure themselves. I think I forgot about my journey to this point. I’ve kind of glossed over recovery in blog posts and how dark it really was.

I want to help women find this happiness, but I’m stuck as to how. How can I inspire people to get really vulnerable and ready to get out of the dieting cycle? I can give them all the tools and information in the world but if they aren’t ready to use them, what good am I doing?

Thinking about myself being the inspiration, I think it would be apt to connect with you guys on a deeper level. I’m terrible at doing this in person because typically I’ll start to cry, or get shy when I try to get vulnerable in person. I get embarrassed by my emotions.  But I truly feel called to get this out there into the world and hopefully I can help one women’s perception of themselves and get them started on their intuitive eating journey on a new foot.

So, where it all began. I think I actually forgot about how bad it was. I forgot how completely lost and helpless I felt around food and my body. I HATED my body and myself, and wished I could literally just cut the fat off my stomach. Food consumed my every thought. I would spend days binge eating and purging and avoiding all reality. It’s here where I really felt like there was no hope. I would watch other people’s stories on how they “beat” binge eating but I didn’t relate to them at all. They were talking about sightly over-eating and they were thin & lead seemingly perfect lives. They didn’t understand what I was going through and the compulsions I had to eat every single thing in sight. I would avoid everyone and everything (shut off my phone) and eat, and eat and eat. Entire 2L’s of ice-cream with an entire bag of chocolate chips, entire jar of nutella, and syrup was truly just a warm-up. I could spend an entire day having massive binges, and then purging, and then starting the whole cycle over again. I would go to several different grocery stores to buy all my binge food in order to avoid seeing anyone I know or receiving any judgement from the cashier. I would need to buy a few chocolate bars just to tide me over till I got home. It would always be a game to see if I could make it home without starting the binge, but I never could. I was so ashamed bringing all this food into my house, and my worst fear was running into my landlords and having to talk to them or have them see what I just bought. I was secretive, and never thought I would get out of this cycle.

After a really bad binge day, I would SWEAR I would start fresh the next day. I would pack all my healthy foods, do whatever it took to avoid binging- and sometimes I would make it but I knew it was short lived. I knew deep down I loved the feeling of losing all abandon and shutting off everything and everyone. I wanted to escape reality and food was my drug. It calmed me, it distracted me, it stuffed down uncomfortable feelings. It did everything I needed it to. It seemed I always came back to it now matter how much therapy I did, drugs I took, journalling I did.

How the hell did I get out of that cycle? It seemed so dark and hopeless at the time. I remember crying to my boyfriend on the phone just wanting someone to understand this crazy compulsion I had to eat and eat and eat. Nobody GOT IT. Well, I’m here to tell you that I do get it. and if you feel even a little bit like I did; there IS a way out. I truly believe that if I can beat this thing, you can too.

It really is crazy to me now, because now even when I have off days, or think I could binge, it just doesn’t happen anymore. I don’t have the same urges these days (which I am so thankful for). I don’t know if I just grew out of it, or something finally clicked for me. I like to think that all the work I’ve done on creating this life of mine had something to do with it. I want to help MORE people get this feeling. I want you to feel happy, calm, and great about the food you eat and the body you live in. I want you to be able to eat whatever you want without guilt, or chastising yourself. I want you to exercise for the mental health benefits and enjoy getting stronger.

I want people to know that if you are stuck in the darkness you can find your way out. It takes time, and it’s certainly not easy- but it’s POSSIBLE. And it’s so so worth it. I promise that you can be that carefree, happy healthy person that doesn’t think about or worry about food- and live at your goal weight.

So how can you get there? That is a lengthy question, but it truly does start with you and your thoughts. Figuring out WHY you are using food is the biggest thing. Starting to allow yourself to feel negative feelings, or feel anxious, or get uncomfortable is huge. The more you can do this, the more you realize that nothing bad is going to happen to you. It’s all a big wave of life that just keeps going. Sometimes we are up, and sometimes we are down- and we need to get through the down phases with feeling the emotions– instead of using food. This was the biggest step in my recovery. Of course- I still don’t love to feel emotions and have also found alternative coping mechanisms that are more productive for me. It’s not fun to feel uncomfortable, but it’s also not fun to feel like you have no control over food.

I’m here to tell you that you do. You have all the control in the world and the more you can start recognizing those thoughts that are leading you to binge, the more you can stop those urges in their tracks. It’s totally possible to STOP a binge- which is something I never though I could do. You need to be willing to get uncomfortable, get scared, do something different.

I’m going to leave you with this question- what are you hiding from? Why are you avoiding your emotions with food? (and it doesn’t need to be binge eating. It could be dieting, being healthy, vegan, paleo, weight loss, restriction). What are these emotions that you are unable to really dig into? Figuring out the answer to these questions may lead you down a whole new path of your life. Let yourself feel the fear, and then go do what you are being called to do!

With love,

Tara

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why you should emotionally eat

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It has consistently been known as a bad thing to be a emotional eater. People identify themselves as an “emotional eater” as if it’s a secret shameful society where only us weak willed dieters cave into food as an emotional crutch.

It’s collectively viewed as a “good” habit to exercise when going through emotional times, or to practice meditation and yoga.

Here’s what I believe: Emotional eating is not a bad thing. EVERY SINGLE PERSON EATS EMOTIONALLY SOMETIMES. People celebrate with food, commiserate with food, and console with food. It’s fucking normal.
Emotional eating (or any kind of eating) only becomes a problem when we associate it with guilt and shame. It would just be “eating” if you didn’t attach some sort of meaning or shame behind it. So WHAT if you eat ice-cream when you’re sad. You aren’t mainlining heroin people!

We live in an extremely fat-phobic society. Recently the HAES (Health At Every Size) movement has been gaining momentum, which is amazing. It’s showing up that your size does certainly not determine your health- in any way (google the studies).
The ONLY reasonwe feel shame around emotional eating is because we live in a fear of fatness. We are scared of gaining weight. This is SOCIETAL problem, not a “you” problem.

If fat was viewed as a good thing- emotional eating wouldn’t exist. It would just be.. eating. It would be applauded just as weight loss is celebrated today- imagine THAT!

So stop viewing any form of eating as “bad” or “good”. We need to collectively end the stigma around weight and food- where weight is just weight. No size is better. No size is healthier. No coping mechanisms are better. We are all humans just trying to figure this life thing out, and get through it as pain free as possible. So if a little ice-cream can soothe you; please stop feeling guilty and move ON with your life!

I’m writing this post because I think the more we can smash through these stupid dieting “rules” of good and bad, the less people will struggle with food. If you just ate when you wanted and stopped CARING so much, you could just live your life as the best version of you possible. I know for me personally, the only time I “binge” is when I attach emotional or shame around what I’ve eaten that day, or attempt to restrict. I start feeling guilty that I coped with ice-cream and that leads to even more coping with ice-cream. If I had just viewed everything I ate as neutral–I wouldn’t ever binge.

What are your thoughts? Would love to hear your opinions. I hope this can help someone today realize that food isn’t bad, you are not bad for eating food, and the more we can take away these stigma’s- the better off we all will be.

 

Tara

 

 

Why do all diets fail?

Did you know that at least 95% of dieters gain all their weight back? And in most cases, you gain it back with INTEREST… ie: worse off than you were before you started the diet!

I’m not even talking about your typical fad diets. I’m talking about meal plans,  reasonable diets, clean eating, etc. Anything that tells you when to eat, or what to do and imposes certain rules can be considered a diet. (Yes… even my nutrition packages– although I try hard to keep ALL rules out of them and keep it about creating new habits around meal prep). If you lose 5-10% of your weight on it; you have an EXTREMELY SLIM chance of keeping it off long term. By long term, I mean for life. Not just 6 months, or a year, or 5 years. And isn’t that the point? When you aim to reach a certain goal, don’t you want to stay there?

Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough willpower, or motivation, or discipline to follow through with a healthy eating plan or a diet? Do you feel like there is something wrong with you? That you can’t stay consistent long term?

I’m here to tell you definitively that that is NOT the case. There is absolutely nothing wrong you, and EVERYTHING wrong with the “health” and fitness industry. This industry is worth billions of dollars because it’s designed to keep you coming back for more. Can you say that you have gone on ONE diet, met your goal, and then stayed there forever.. period? Do you know anything that has? Or have you lost and gained the weight over and over again trying new diets, exercise gadgets, fitness regimes.. etc?

I’ve been noticing more and more how prevalent failure is in the dieting industry, and I really want to change that. I know why we aren’t succeeding, because it’s where I still struggle too. 

We don’t address our actual issues such as dependency on food for comfort, coping or emotional reasons.

If you experience any of the following issues with food, there is more going on than just “not being able to stick to a diet”:

-feel out of control around food
-feel guilt or shame around eating certain things
-have periods of binging or restricting
-have an obsession with clean or healthy eating 
-have intense cravings for certain foods
-eat to numb out
-eat when you aren’t hungry
-eat past fullness the majority of the time
restrict yourself when you are hun
gry
-eat when you are sad, bored, happy
-feel the need to “work off” food
-label foods “good” or “bad” 
-count calories, macro’s or feel the need to control your intake of food 
-constantly on a new diet or exercise regime
never feel satisfied or happy with your current body

and many more.

Guess what. IT’S NOT ABOUT THE FOOD, OR THE DIET, OR YOUR EXERCISE. You aren’t failing because of lack of willpower, or because you aren’t on the right plan for you.

You are failing because you aren’t addressing the emotional reasons behind your eating.

I know the dieting industry will have you believe that if you just go vegan, or cut out dairy, or try whole30, or go paleo… You will lose all the sugar cravings! Never need to diet again! Lose weight effortlessly! Every new diet will fill you with hope and promise.

It’s simply. NOT. TRUE. 

As much as you don’t want to hear it, you will gain the weight back if you don’t address what’s going on in the inside. That little voice inside your head is going to rebel at some point. When you go through a stressful time, when you go through a life transition, when you just can’t stand eating chicken and broccoli any more. Some people can last longer than others before their “Inner Rebel” starts getting louder and louder. Have you ever reached a certain breaking point on a diet/meal plan/etc where you just want to say FUCK THIS I’m tired of the arbitrary rules!? Then you finally go eat whatever you like and find yourself right back where you started?

This is so so normal. You are normal. You are human. We are not meant to tell our bodies when to eat, what not to eat, and let an app tell us how many calories we should be eating.

We are meant to enjoy and love food and our bodies.. and eat when we are hungry for food. It sound so simple, yet it’s the most difficult thing in the world. With hyper-palatable foods (ie: manufactured foods full of sugar, fat, anything addictive) increasing cravings and fake food everywhere we turn, it’s no wonder we are confused. We are bombarded with messaging EVERY SINGLE DAY, about how to change our bodies, what to cut out, the new “evil” food to avoid and what new exercise fad to try.

If we put all that time, attention and effort into figuring out WHY we are drawn to the food in the first place, and healing our relationship with food and body we would NEVER gain the weight back. We would finally have a healthy relationship with food. If we exercised for enjoyment instead of fat burn, we would all move way more often.

Have you experienced the yo-yo dieting cycle? Are you sick and tired of it? I am as well, which is why I’m working on an intuitive eating program to help heal your relationship with food- so please stay tuned! It will hopefully be launched for June!

Please let me know your thoughts on this topic, I am interested to hear!

 

5,4,3,2,1… GO

Ok, so I can’t take credit for this idea because it is from Mel Robbins, check out her TedTalk here and the podcast that I learned this from here. Seriously guys, LIFE. CHANGING.

I’m discovering that I can apply this rule to absolutely anything in my life and it’s supremely helpful. Getting stuff done, working on binge eating, making plans, stopping pressing snooze.. You name it!

Here is the essence of the rule broken down:
When you know you need to do something (ie: make a phone call, go workout, get out of bed, reply to that e-mail, write a blog post..) you simply count down in your head or aloud 5,4,3,2,1– AND GO DO IT. No second guessing, no debating with yourself. You just fucking do IT! (excuse my language).

In her book she describes the science behind it including interrupting those thought patterns that typically send you into procrastination, or a binging, or anxiety. You are able to essentially re-wire your brain and start training yourself to develop new habits- namely being a badass go getter.

I know this sounds incredibly simple. It is. But that doesn’t make it easy. It’s all about ignoring how you “feel” about the said thing you need to do and just doing it. Once I learned that it really changed the game. I realized I was really holding myself back from only doing things when I “felt” like doing them. Of course I don’t feel like working out most days, or making doctors appointments, or hopping out of bed when my alarm goes off. But put aside your feelings, count down from 5- and GO!

I recognize that feelings are important and we should always notice them, but that doesn’t mean that even though you “feel” like staying in bed all day that you should. And just because you don’t “feel” like working out, means that you just let yourself off the hook and sit on the couch all night. When you have goals, and things you want to achieve- you are going to have to do things when you don’t feel like doing them! 

This can also work in reverse for when you find yourself doing something you “shouldn’t” be doing. (I tend to avoid using statements like should, and shouldn’t.. but you know what I mean). Let’s say you are about to drive to the store for all out out binge-fest. Buy everything you’ve been craving. Deep down, you know that this isn’t really going to help anything. What’s been working for me has been counting 5,4,3,2,1- BREATHE. And just try to relax my body, because when I get wound up and ready to go into “binge mode” I’m usually not deep breathing or relaxing at all. So I breathe, listen to my thoughts and go do something else instead.

So, take a listen to the podcast, and read the book because she is amazing! It is the simplest tip in the world, which is why I think it works so well. Try out it out today on that thing you’ve been avoiding. Deep breathe– 5,4,3,2,1— GO!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Growth & Comfort Zones

I had a bit of an eye-opening week this past week, with moving out of my home (essentially homeless right now) and into the new gym, my life has been anything but routine.

I am such a creature of habit. I love having my meals prepped, my food ready to go, my “stuff” organized and in one spot. Currently I have a selection of clothes at Jordans, a pile of laundry at my Mom’s, the rest of my closet in my car, 20 boxes at the gym, and all my pantry items at Jordan’s. AH!! I thought my head was going to explode this week trying to eat healthy. I did my best, but eating out everyday definitely takes a toll, and not having my regular snacks available at work (and being there 14 hours a day) I found myself getting starving and binging on junk (specifically a bag of chocolate chips I kept in my car.. whoops). This totally reminded my about the importance of meal prep!  Get food READY so you don’t need to stress- you’ll save time, money, and energy by eating better foods. 

Anyway, I wanted to talk about growth and why it’s so important to push yourself out of your comfort zone on a regular basis. When I think about pushing out of my comfort zone, I think about doing big scary things- but that’s not actually what’s helped me improve in life.
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Pushing out of your comfort zone is a series of baby tiny step
s that eventually lead to something GREAT. Looking back on now starting this studio, I realize all the tiny steps it took to get here.

First, I dared to dream. I knew what would be the ultimate goal and I didn’t let nay-sayers bring me down- I knew what I wanted to achieve, but did I even really think I could do it? Umm.. hell no!
Then, a whole lot of time passed but this studio was always on my mind. It started with just starting a Facebook page for my training business which took some guts for me. I still was slightly ashamed of my “fitnessy” posts and didn’t want to annoy my friends with it.
After I finally bit the bullet and made it one afternoon, I realized it wasn’t that hard.

Then, I started training people in my bedroom (yep) and outdoors in the park. (In fact, one of my clients that trained with me at a random park late at night in the dark is still with me, every single week.. 3 years later!)

It started growing with a small series of things.. I had an idea for the nutrition packages and even though I didn’t feel experienced enough, confident enough or ANYTHING enough to launch it- I did! And the response has been amazing ever since.

That led me into the 12 week challenge- a small idea that has helped a lot of people, and when I think about it I get a little teary eyed.

These series of small steps like starting an fitness instagram, going out on a limb and doing the “Fitmas” Challenge has slowly built my confidence up enough to realize- hey I can get a studio space!

It started so small, and the more I pushed myself out of my comfort zone the more you realize you can do.

The amazing part- is even once you reach that goal you thought was so unattainable at the time, there’s always more growth that can happen. I want to do so much more and that’s going to take more pushing out of the comfort zone.

Also, I had a bit of a lightbulb moment this week when it comes to motivation and “feeling like it”. YOU ARE NEVER GOING TO FEEL LIKE IT! I was always waiting for motivation to strike, or the “get up and go” feeling which is let’s face it.. rare. Once I realized I’m probably only going to “feel like it” about 5% of the time- I realized I need to PUSH MYSELF out of my comfort zone the other 95% of the time. To making those tough phones calls, to tackling anxiety, to replying to e-mails, to meeting new clients, to working out, to getting up early and not pressing snooze. As Nike would say- JUST DO IT.

The momentum you create from just doing it anyway- even if you don’t feel like – builds upon itself. It creates confidence, self efficacy, and most importantly growth. Then before you know it- your comfort “zone” just keeps getting bigger and keep doing more.

So, dare to dream about what you want.. and then start taking those tiny steps out of your comfort zone to get there. EVERYDAY try to do something that you don’t “feel like” doing. I certainly didn’t feel working out this afternoon or cooking dinner tonight, but I still did it and that feels pretty awesome.