Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Pinterest and Body Image

Why do women feel so badly about their bodies? I have talked to women who can't tell me even one thing that they like about their body. Not even one! Why? Because our culture is broken. Women are objectified and used for marketing, and if we don't look like those photo-shopped, nipped and tucked, or even the naturally tall and thin models, then we aren't lovable and we aren't accepted. 
 The hardest part about this is that we keep this merry-go-round turning by buying the magazines with the headlines of "Lose 10 pounds in one week",  we congratulate people because they finally fit into size 0 jeans, we compare our butt to the girl at the gym who obviously has a totally different body type, and we pin those pins on Pinterest with the half naked lady with the perfect body with a quote that says something like "Look in the mirror. That's your competition." 
The more we hate on our bodies the more they hate back. You might be able to beat your body into submission and make yourself lose 30 pounds. But then, when the diet is over, you will find yourself consoling your sad, beaten body with a carton of ice cream, or something more addictive and maybe even dangerous. The only true way to find health is to learn to love and appreciate the body you are in and stop comparing yourself to the models in the fitness posts and magazines. 

I am reposting this Facebook status update here because I feel so strongly about this! :
"I just noticed that ALL of the pictures on Pinterest that popped up when I was doing a fitness search had one thing in common, every photo of a fit body on there was exactly the same body type. It was like they used the same body over and over and just changed the skin tone and clothing.
She was tall, very thin, with a gap between her thighs, and lots of photoshop to remove any skin imperfections, wrinkles, cellulite, etc. How many of us women could actually have a body like that even if we worked at it every day? Maybe 1%. Where is the diversity? Where is the appreciation of body types like mine: short, sprite-like, and muscular. Or like my friends that have different DNA that makes them softer and curvier in the most beautiful ways? Why are we trying to change ourselves to become someone we are not? We should be striving for the healthiest version of ourselves, not to look like the girl in the magazine. It's like telling an apple to look like a banana.
I really appreciate our individuality and how each of our body types is different. Our blueprints are different.
Ladies, no wonder we all feel bad about our bodies. Only 1% of us could make it onto a Pinterest fitness motivation photo that is supposed to be the "ideal" body. Our culture is teaching us that THAT is what we should strive to look like! Don't listen to that CRAP! If you have that body type then that is wonderful, but I know I could never look like that, even on my skinniest, healthiest day; and honestly I don't want to look like that. It isn't me. I'm not built to be like that.
Embrace your bodies ladies! They are beautiful and unique! Don't fall for the cultural messages that tell us we have to have their version of a "perfect" body. You body is perfect! It is beautiful! It is YOURS! Love it and take care of it!"

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Brain Game called Dieting.

In my journey to finding the nitty gritty truth about health and wellness I have found a sad realization that I have to bring out into the spotlight. Diets Don't Work.  They are nothing more than a brain game!

The shocking truth is that many of those amazing companies that are out there to help us lose weight and get fit, they lie. This is hard for me to type because even the people working for those businesses think they are helping people. This hurts my heart.

The truth is that their businesses depend on us feeling so crappy about ourselves that we can't wait to start another program because "this time it's going to work!"
 "This time is different. The program said I can lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks! I can do this for 2 weeks!"

They need us to feel fat, ugly, hopeless, and depressed so that we will look to them for answers.

Truth is, quick fix diet plans set us up to need more quick fix diet plans. Our bodies are way more intelligent than we give them credit for. They know what we are doing and they know how to play along, they also know how to fight back.

Here's what happens. We set up a new diet plan and we tell our brain to be ready because it's time to get rid of the extra weight we have been carrying around. We tell our body that the extra weight is ugly, nasty, dirty, and gross, and that it needs to leave. The first few weeks on the plan are great. We eat lots of good green stuff and the nutrition is lovingly welcomed. (This is the absolute best part of a healthy diet plan, introducing new healthy foods that you wouldn't normally eat.) But after a few weeks of struggling (insert some guilt eating here) and a few pounds gone you decide that losing 10 pounds is good and you are ready to get off the diet plan. This is where your survival instincts kick in and your brain goes all kinds of crazy. "FOOD!" it screams! "EAT the FOOD!"
Your brain is now telling your body that you are STARVING and that you need to pack on the pounds so that next time there is a famine you will make it through without losing 10 precious pounds of emergency fuel. Your body believes it needs that fat for protection, and as back up. (Most extra weight is more related to emotional issues, rather than just eating too much.)

So you give in here and there to chocolate cake, Dr. Pepper, crackers, cookies, ice cream, etc. and the weight slowly trickles back on.  (More guilt and self-hatred here.)

In my own experience, I had such intense cravings for chocolate after finishing a diet that I would drop by the store on the way home from rock climbing at 10pm to sooth my sweet tooth.

I'm not going to say that every diet is a failure but this is truly what happens in about 90%  of the cases I have seen. The worst plans seem to be the ones with shakes that you drink twice a day. Your body can't comprehend what is going on. A food shortage? Did your teeth fall out? The Apocalypse? (. . .because we will all be drinking powdered smoothies during the Apocalypse.)

So, if diets fail, what do we do? What actually works?

Lifestyle changes!

This is a brain game, folks.

Instead of setting up a diet that has an end, set up a permanent change. Permanent. As in Forever! 

 You can say you want to start eating a fruit or vegetable with every meal from today until the day you die. You can say that you know milk products make your stomach hurt so you will cut out of your diet for good, not just 3 weeks, forever! Only eat cheese once a week. Only have sweets on Saturday. Figure out what works for you and make it stick for the rest of your life!

"But how can I say forever? That's a huge commitment. What if I want to change my diet?"

Then change it. It's your food, your body, your life. Just choose what you know to be the healthiest diet you can sustain every day, then when you learn more and know better, do better! There is always room for improvement.

The best part about the forever diet plan: YOU NEVER FAIL!

If you eat too much junk food one day, you forgive yourself and move forward, keeping your goal as being healthy, not being skinny. If you get off course, you steer back onto the right road. No failure. You just keep going, everyday.  Treat eating healthy like other good habits. For example, prayer. If you forget to pray for one day you don't consider yourself a failure, right? You just remind yourself to pray the next day until it becomes a habit and you don't even have to think about it anymore.

Keep yourself in check and stay on the path. Pray for help from God, and ask your body at every meal what will give you energy and vitality. 

We have really lost touch with listening to our own bodies. Do you realize that we have build in mechanisms that will tell us when we are hungry, when we are full, when we are thirsty, and when we need certain types of foods? WHAT?? It's true. We don't have to finish every bite on our plate, and we can eat the foods we are craving. (But it's VERY important to distinguish hunger cravings from addiction cravings too.)

The best diet is the one YOU set up between yourself, your body, and your higher power. (a.k.a. God) When is the last time you asked for guidance about what you should eat for breakfast?

Here is my experience. After doing 3 rounds of 21 Day Fix and gaining my weight back from the after-diet munchies, I started asking for help. Each meal became a game of "What Foods Are the Best for Me Today?" I have started using this strategy with my kids too, though I still have to regulate their sugar intake because sugar is crazy addicting. The foods that honor me are sometimes surprising and I notice a big difference when I give in to a sugar craving instead of choosing what is best for my highest good. I started eating tons of veggies because they sounded amazing! Salad with cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, topped with eggs and sprinkled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
O.M.G! I'm soooo not a salad girl and here I was scarfing salads because they made my body so happy and they tasted great!

This really works for me.

I still make smoothies a few times a week because they are so good! I make them with real ingredients like spinach, frozen berries, bananas, etc. and they are delicious. I will take a real food smoothie over a powder smoothie any day!

Do you agree with me? Do you think diets set you up for failure and lifestyle changes set you up for success?

After being a Beachbody coach and trying my hardest to make the diet plans work, for myself and others, I realized that the best option is that we learn to trust ourselves. It's also the scariest plan. It's so much easier to place our trust in someone else, but we know our bodies better than anyone. With a little practice we all can know exactly what types of foods we thrive on!

Diets = fail
Lifestyle Changes = success

Commit to changes you make in your diet; make them part of who you are and you will see your health change in the best ways. And the best part is that the changes will be PERMANENT!

(Want to talk? Find me on Facebook HERE.)

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Why I QUIT Being a Coach

I quit.

I made a choice and I decided to quit. It wasn’t easy. I have NEVER been a quitter. I think I dug my nails in and held on for so long because I am not the quitting type. I REALLY enjoyed being a Beachbody coach, but something just didn’t feel right and I couldn’t get my heart behind the products so they simply weren’t selling. 

Here’s what I know to be true: If my heart is behind something and I really believe in it, my passion kicks into overdrive and I can sell! But for some reason I hated selling fitness products and “magic smoothies”. So after some soul searching, praying, and more praying, I decided it was time to step down from Beachbody. I love that they are doing their best to end the obesity epidemic, but my health philosophies and theirs don’t match.


-I believe in long-term health. The kind where your weight might fluctuate up and down some but if you graphed your weight it would be a steady movement toward your healthy weight.

-I believe that diets don’t work. I even tried out 21 Day fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme, lost weight, and after the 21 Days were over I found myself eating chocolate, cold cereal, and fried foods, which normally I stay away from (except for chocolate). The few pounds I lost found me again. Our bodies go into survival mode when we diet and when we get the green light that the diet is over our bodies signal us to eat more and gain back the weight so that we will be prepared next time there is another “famine.”  Healthy lifestyles work, diets don’t. BUT, I did learn to love new foods while doing the 21 Day Fix though. Sweet potatoes and spinach are two of my favorites now!

-I believe fitness should be fun, and that we need to have a bigger purpose that just “lose weight” or we will fizzle out. Life needs to be enjoyable! Exercise should be fun and sustainable!

-I believe in whole foods over powders. I love Shakeology but I missed my whole food green smoothies like crazy. I felt better when I was using fresh produce. I could control everything that was going into my smoothie and I didn’t have to add stevia to make my smoothie taste great. I still enjoy adding some Shakeology to my smoothies but I am realizing that a list of powerful ingredients in a powder still doesn’t do as much good for me as a more limited list of whole foods that I mix together myself. I spent well over a thousand dollars figuring that out.  I don’t regret it though. The money I spent on the shakes was an investment into myself. Lessons were learned. The money was well spent.

There is more but I’ll spare you all the details. I am still excited for my friends who are doing great as BB coaches. It just wasn’t for me. I am starting my Physical Training Certification now and I am hoping to combine all of my knowledge to help women to overcome body image issues, and to find the joy in exercise so that we actually WANT to do it!
I wake up excited to do my workouts and I listen to my body so much more closely now. I want every woman to have this kind of power!

Here is what I said in my official Facebook notice that I was quitting Beachbody.

"Hey friends, I thought you would like to know: 
After a lot of thought and prayer, I have decided to step down from being a Beachbody coach for at least the next 6 months.
When I signed up over a year ago to coach I felt I was guided to be with the company and it has been a road of immense growth and change for me. I have learned so much about myself and what I am capable of.
I love the Beachbody products and I feel like the company is doing so much good, but feel like it is time for me to move on and use the lessons I have learned to make a difference in other ways.
Running 2 businesses has been challenging (and fun) for me but in my 2016 goal to Balance my life I feel like working with Beachbody is what I need to let go of. My goals are different than the goals of the company.
So what does this mean? If you signed up under me you will be transferred to my coach instead, and if you have a friend that does Beachbody coaching you have the choice of transferring your membership under them. If you need a suggestion for a stellar coach, I know some great ones!
Also, I will still be here working hard, reaching for my personal fitness goals, and motivating you. I just won't be pushing products anymore. As much as I love my Shakeology, I am a believer in real food over powders.
I will also continue to occasionally run challenges in my JOY in Movement group, which is a group of all women focused on finding the joy in our daily exercise. If you aren't part of that group yet I would LOVE to have you join!
I am also going to keep up my Sunshine and Smoothies Facebook page so you can follow my journey and successes there.Www.facebook.com/SunshineandSmoothies
And on Instagram: sunshineandsmoothiesfitness
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me in this last year with Beachbody! It has been the most extraordinary adventure and I am excited to see what God has planned for me next!"

Follow my journey on Facebook and see what my next adventures will be!
Live joyfully and take care of the beautiful body of yours!