Fear Not the Carb!

IMG_5156.jpg

Ahhhh, the nineties. The era of Jared and the Subway diet and fat-free everything. When ordering whole wheat made you feel like a saint. Because at least it wasn’t white! And Panera made fast casual a “thing.” Bread bowls. Bagels. And baguettes, oh my!

The nineties were a great time to be a carb lover.

But today, notsomuch.

I just started a new session of Lift to Get Lean last week and, as with every session in recent years, I have several members who have expressed their fear of carbs. They aren’t worried about eating too many carbs. They are afraid of eating ANY carbs. This, my friends, is an issue.

Carbs are NOT our enemy! But, with keto and paleo everything right now, I can’t say this surprises me. These types of restrictive diets prey on people’s fears. For a slight few of the population, eating low to no carbs is a medical necessity, but for those of us who are just looking to lead healthier lifestyles, avoiding carbs altogether is 1. Not realistic and therefore 2. Not effective. Just as fats were the outcasts of the nineties and we have since realized how absolutely vital fats are for proper functioning, so to do carbs have very important roles in maintaining our health.

One of the greatest things about carbs are they help you build muscle. Yes, that’s not just the job of protein. Athletes know that they need carbs, not just to build muscles, but also to have sufficient energy for their workouts. Carbs supply quick energy to the body! And restricting them, over time, can wreak havoc on your body including creating hormone imbalances, sluggishness, anxiety, etc. And, let’s be real, restriction of carbs usually ends up in downing a whole bag of twizzlers or drinking all the pepsi.

So, for those who get nervous just thinking about the bread bowls or footlong subs of yesteryear, I have a mantra for you. Better carbs NOT fewer carbs. I’ll say it again for the carb-phobes in the back...BETTER CARBS NOT FEWER CARBS! We need to be focusing on eating more nutrient-dense complex carbohydrates instead of those simple guys (think soda, white bread and sugary desserts) who give all carbs a bad wrap.

Now we all know veggies are good for us. Whether you’re a kale hater or not, chances are you know leafy greens are healthy carbs that should be a part of everyone’s diet. So veggies are a complex carb given, but other great carb sources include brown or wild rice, quinoa, beans, legumes, oats, potatoes or sprouted grain bread. I totally understand wanting a sweet treat so snack on fruit instead of candy, cookies or cake. Berries are always a great choice. Especially on some yogurt. Yum. I love to add some banana to my protein smoothies. A good rule of thumb for picking your carb sources is asking yourself how processed the carb is. If you’re reading a label and see a lot of words that end in “ose,” you might just want to grab a cutie instead. Because, again, it’s all about BETTER CARBS NOT FEWER CARBS!

Vive le carb!

Fear not the carb!

Steve Madden wedge sandals are best left in the nineties. But carbs...those bad boys are timeless.

Sign Up Already!

67f43005574d42098db92a2b317e624a.jpg

Something is better than nothing.

Done is better than none.

Get a little better every day.

These are phrases I use on the daily with my clients. I like to serve as a constant reminder that you don’t need to be perfect to be better. For those of you who are considering signing up for the next session of Lift to Get Lean but have been holding yourself back because you don’t think you can do it perfectly, I want to tell you today that something is better than nothing. Especially when it comes to fitness and nutrition and personal growth.

I have talked about this a bit before, but perfection paralysis is a very real thing. Does any of this sound familiar?

“I can’t sign up because I have a wedding the second weekend of June.”  

“I can’t sign up because it’s the end of the school year and the last few weeks are crazy as a mom.”

“I can’t sign up because I work full time and could never fit in all the workouts.”

If you have found yourself holding back from making changes because of social events or busy mom life or your job...chances are you might be struggling with perfection paralysis. This is the notion that if it can’t be done perfectly, then it can’t be done at all. To this I say, done is better than none! A twenty minute workout may not be an hour workout but it is better than nothing. Eating on-point two meals a day is better than not eating well at all. Only eating out three times a week is better than the carry-out you do every weeknight. Done is better than none!

I really try to emphasize the importance of baby steps when it comes to my programs. Any change that is made that is going to be sustainable needs to be done slowly and methodically. I don’t advocate or support radical overhauls. There is just no way to maintain that level of perfection. Because, let’s be real…there will always be a social event. Life will always be busy. And most of us have to work. It is so much more seamless to introduce small new behaviors that add up over time. Improvement looks different for each person I work with. Some of my clients already train five days a week and eat healthy and are just looking to up the intensity of their exercising. Some clients need help working out consistently and have a bit to learn about how to fuel themselves properly. And some clients haven’t stepped into a gym in years and are wanting to make changes to eating habits that are no longer serving them. Wherever you are at in your journey, I say just get a little better each day.

This looks like using one spoonful of sugar in your coffee instead of two. Replacing the chips in your lunch with veggies. Adding a few more reps to your strength moves. Doing an evening walk after work a couple days a week. Only going out to eat twice on the weekend instead of eating out all meals. Journaling during your train commute so you can focus on what you want for your day. Focusing on shutting down electronics a half hour earlier so you can start to sleep better.

I could go on.

It’s these little changes that add up. Rachel Hollis had a great quote in a podcast I listen to. She said, "I didn't know it had to be good, I just knew it had to get done." Now that’s a philosophy I can get on board with.  You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t even need to be good. You just need to be a little better to get it done. And by “it.” I mean the life you dream of. Please let me help you attain the life you dream of.

What Lift to Get Lean ISN'T

ISNT.jpg

I was really trying to wrack my brain thinking about how I could describe what makes Lift to Get Lean, the program that I have been running now for over two years, different from other fitness programs. It occurred to me that maybe the best way to show how Lift to Get Lean is different is by describing everything it ISN’T.


It ISN’T just a six week program, it’s a forever shift in nutrition and exercise. Lift to Get Lean is all about mindwork and creating new habits, as far as the way we eat and the way we train. In six weeks, clients learn about nutrition and how to lift weights, but more than that they learn how to rethink old patterns and learn new ways of thinking and behaving to get them to reach their goals.


It ISN’T just support from two coaches, you have a whole group of cheerleaders. One of the best aspects of having a private online forum is that you have access to people from all over the country (and even the world) who are working hard alongside you cheering you on and sharing their struggles and victories too. The camaraderie in the groups keeps Leanne and I motivated just as much as it keeps the participants motivated! We got all the GIF’s, memes and emojis flowing and share in each other’s wins and stumbling blocks. Bottom line, the participants in my programs are the best part of my program. I’ve said it once and I will say it again, you are who you surround yourself with. And that goes for online communities just as much as those in your daily life.

It ISN’T about eating the least amount of calories so you can lose weight in the shortest amount of time. Hello no! I am not hawking just another diet program preying on insecurities and promoting restriction.  In most cases, I am teaching clients how to eat more in Lift to Get Lean. Yes, more! I can’t stress enough that we need to eat the proper amount of calories and macros in order to have optimal energy for working out and daily life in general. Often, participants tone up by eating more. Many lose weight too. Lift to Get Lean is not a diet. And eating more is awesome.

It ISN’T a quick fix. Changing life long habits and thought patterns can be a slow process. We are so conditioned to see results yesterday, but changes made overnight are usually the least sustainable. SO many of my clients remark about how they could never go back to the way they were eating or all the time they spent killing themselves on cardio machines. Once you know better, you do better. And I feel so much gratitude being able to give people the tools they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle for the long haul.

It ISN’T hours and hours of exercising. The workouts I put together for clients are challenging, but they are effective and efficient. Most workouts can be completed between twenty-five to forty-five minutes. They can also be done in the gym, but if that’s not your jam, I provide at-home versions alongside the gym versions. And lemme tell you, I have seen just as much success in clients who enjoy being in the safety of their own home working out as those who are hitting the gym. Speaking of the gym, I get my gym clients moving all around using free weights and various machines. The weight room can be an intimidating space for a lot of folks, I provide detailed demo videos to take away that stigma and get clients comfortable with equipment they might not otherwise use.


It ISN’T about detoxes, cleanses or any other short-term reset. Lift to Get Lean is a lifetime reset. I think most folks hear the program is six weeks and they think of these types of drastic restrictive modalities. Let me be very clear, this is not what I am all about.


It ISN’T about goal weights. I really encourage clients to ditch their scale as a measure of success. I encourage taking photos and body measurements in order to see progress and celebrating non-scale victories. These look a whole lot like behavioral changes like getting up early to workout before work or skipping dessert at a family party. You aren’t going to experience weekly weigh-ins under my watch. Uh uh!


It ISN’T about providing set meal plans. Sorry not sorry, I’m not going to tell you what to eat. Because, I have to ask, what happens when I am not in your life anymore giving you the answers on what to eat? Instead I work with you to find your own answers to what foods work with your individual goals, tastes and needs.


Sustainability, folks. That’s the name of the game. THAT is what Lift to Get Lean IS. It is a long-term, sustainable, shift in mindset and habits. What makes Lift to Get Lean different is that the six weeks of fitness and nutrition coaching is the groundwork...a strong foundation...the beginning of a lifetime of health.

Sometimes You Have to Reverse to Go Forward

NR0dt.jpg

Can you imagine driving a car that didn’t go in reverse? Now, I don’t know that much about automobiles, but I do know that I have to back out of my driveway in the morning. I literally couldn’t start my day or get anywhere without driving in reverse. I need this function in order to move forward...even if it feels like I’m moving backwards.


Now keep this image in your head. It’ll make sense why I’m talking cars in just a moment.


Let me switch gears for a moment (see what I did there) and provide a few statistics that demonstrate why I am vehemently against diets. The average dieter in the UK follows 55 fad diets during their lifetime. FIFTY-FIVE.


Americans don’t fare much better. The consensus is that American women spend a total of seventeen years of their lives on diets. SEVENTEEN.


And things are very grim for women who try to diet.  Which is probably why women try 130 diets over their lifespan. ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY.


And for all these poor women stuck in the diet trap, the average female loses her body weight over nine times during her lifetime. NINE TIMES.


These numbers are staggering, but in my years in the fitness industry doing nutrition coaching, high performance coaching and having run over two years of my Lift to Get Lean program, I can believe them! Sadly, I am not surprised by these numbers because I see the debilitating nature of the diet cycle every day.  It really makes me wonder why we continue to do something over and over again when it elicits the same result. Failure. Isn’t that the definition of insanity?!


But I’ve got the solution!


Go on a diet.


No, for real, that’s my solution.


But this isn’t a diet that will have you spinning your wheels (god, I love a good metaphor), it’s a diet that is referred to as a REVERSE diet. At this point, reverse diets are just about the only diets I can really get behind. But, before I extol their virtue, let me first explain metabolic adaptation and why it is causing all other diets to end in the same result, failure.


It has been ingrained in us since the 1950’s that the way to lose weight is to go on a low calorie diet. We have been indoctrinated for decades to think that eating the least amount of food is what is going to get us to reach our goals. But what isn’t taken into account in this scenario is just how amazing our bodies are at adapting to conditions. In other words, the less fuel (aka food) you give your body, the less fuel it will begin to need. This is what is called metabolic adaptation. Your metabolism adapts to what you are giving it. And, as a result of chronic dieting and multiple weight loss and gain cycles, your body starts to burn less calories the less you eat. This is why low calorie diets don’t work in the long term. You simply cannot stay in a caloric deficit for years and expect to see the results you want, hence why 95% of people who go on diets, regain the weight. NINETY-FIVE PERCENT!


This is when reverse dieting comes into play. Reverse dieting is the way you transition from having been in a caloric deficit to getting back to eating in maintenance mode. Reverse dieting is a slow process. It involves gradually starting to increase your intake of carbohydrates and fats. The amount of protein you eat stays the same. This is a slow methodical process and you will not gain weight back because the process involves very small baby steps. In other words, you will gradually be increasing your carb/fat intake by about 40 calories daily for a few weeks at a time. And then in a few weeks, you increase by 40 calories daily again.  Your body will start to adapt to these gradual small changes and intuitively know that the more fuel you are giving it, the more energy it will be able to use to function. (In other words, the more you eat, the more you’ll burn.) And you will continue this process for several months. Having gone through this process myself, let me tell you that the end result is so worth it because you will be able to go from, say, 1600-2000 calories per day. That leap of four hundred calories will allow you to have more fun with the food you are eating and you will repair your metabolism. FOUR HUNDRED CALORIES!


I want you to think about repairing your metabolism like focusing on routine maintenance for your car so that it runs more efficiently. For instance, if you continually forget to put gas in your car to the point that it is running on fumes as you pull into the gas station, this will gradually wear on the way your car functions. If you don’t change your oil regularly, your car’s engine will eventually poop out. Just like our metabolism, a car needs the proper amount of fuel and maintenance to function. And, as I started this post, I want to reiterate that your car needs all it’s gears to get from point A to point B and this includes putting your vehicle in reverse just as much as in drive.  


I know the idea of reverse dieting can be scary, but it really will allow your body to function better and allow you to enjoy food, movement and your daily life far more than the weight loss/weight gain cycle of traditional dieting. Consider reverse dieting your exit strategy for a life of counting calories and feeling deprived. No more spinning those wheels!

What Happens to Dreams When Things Get Hard?

Nelson Mandela.png

Who else gets swept up in the excitement of setting goals that seem impossible?! Attaining that lean body you have always wanted. Or getting that promotion at work. Coming in first in a running race would be just amazing. A lot of us envision starting our own business. Or maybe some of us have books in our heads that haven’t made their way to paper yet. Thinking about all of these amazing accomplishments is invigorating, inspiring and empowering.

And maybe some of us are crazy enough to start working towards these huge goals. Getting up at 5 am to hit the gym. Staying late at work when everyone else has gone home. Running miles a day for weeks at a time. Creating a website for your new hustle. Starting an outline for your novel. How exciting it is to start things that are so momentous?!

But, what happens to these dreams when things get hard?

What happens when your sick kid woke you up all night long, so you missed your early morning workout? Do you still go the next morning?

What happens when you get passed over for a position because someone more senior got the promotion? Do you still stay late to work?

What happens when you injure your ankle running? Do you rest and recover so you can get back at it?

What happens when you get feedback that your website is confusing and friends are doubting your new venture? Do you still create a business plan?

What happens when you get writer’s block and haven’t written for three months? Do you set aside your book and focus on other things?

Let’s be real here, for a lot of us, when things get hard… when we reach these pivotal points of choosing whether to press on despite resistance or challenges or moments of insecurity… that’s exactly when we stop. That’s when we doubt ourselves and that’s when we quit.

But I propose that change is like a pendulum. As hard as you are pushing things one way, outside forces are going to push back just as much. I propose that difficulty is resistance and resistance is just part of making a change. In other words, know that meeting a goal is going to be hard. Know you are going have moments of failure. Know you can’t control outside forces or unforeseen challenges. You can’t predict sick kids or office politics or injuries or doubt from others or mental blocks. These things are going to come at inconvenient times and throw you for a loop, but they are also there to show you how much you really want to achieve your goal.  Embrace these obstacles as essential parts of the process of change.

Also know that you are strong enough to get through the hard part. EVERYTHING you want is past that hard part. EVERYTHING. Your goal. Your new life. Your best version of YOU. These things are waiting for you, just past the resistance.

Today, I‘ll leave you with some quotes from people who say things way better than I ever could.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” -Nelson Mandela

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” ―Confucius

“Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” ―Harriet Beecher Stowe

“Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.” ―James A. Michener

Please keep going. After all, you’ll never know how close you are to succeeding if you quit now.


Intention

Intent.jpg

Recently, I have started a series on my Facebook page entitled, Can We Just Not... *Fill in the Blank*.  Each video, I try to break down non-constructive, and sometimes flat-out destructive, thought patterns and behaviors. This past week, I did a video called Can We Just Not...Be So Reactive.

I truly believe that the antidote of reactivity is intention. And, in case you’re unclear what I mean when I use the term “reactivity,” I am talking about the overwhelm that comes from feeling out of control or like you aren’t able to stay on top of things in your day or effectively interact with the people involved in your day-to-day life. I believe reactivity is a huge blocker to productivity, personal satisfaction, as well as fitness and wellness goals. How are you able to prioritize yourself when you are expending all of your energy just trying to get from one moment to the next?

You can’t.

This is when intention comes into play. You have got to get intentional! And the most effective way to do this is to take some time each morning to focus on what your intentions are for the day. So let me give you a sample case study.

Subject: Working mom with three kids, one who is still in daycare and two who are involved in activities. One of whose activities involves day-long tournaments each weekend. Let’s just refer to her hypothetically as “Every Mom Everywhere.”

Current Situation: Wakes up at 6:30 every morning. Gets two oldest to the bus by 7:30, drops youngest at daycare at 7:45, commutes, works from 8:30-5:00, commutes, picks up kiddos, dinner, homework, baths. This also includes activities two nights a week. Saturday is busy with a tournament from 9-4. Sunday involves grocery shopping, laundry, etc.

Goal: To eat healthier and exercise.

Solution: She needs to make time for herself by being intentional, prioritizing and taking care of herself so she can take care of others. It’s not the easy solution but it is the most worthwhile!

Let’s be real, though, just reading about her current situation is overwhelming. And there isn’t even mention of her marriage and making time for her partner! Or friends! Or extended family! What if she is caring for a sick parent? How about the day-to-day tasks of being a parent like parent/teacher conferences or recitals, the school fundraiser, etc. Oooh-weee! How does someone in this situation possibly find time for herself to eat healthier and exercise?!

My solution may seem unrealistic given her circumstances. And I agree with you that there is no way she can do all she needs to do in a given day AND be healthy and fit. She cannot possibly do all the things on all the days.  Because...spoiler alert...nobody can! This is when that morning practice of being intentional comes into play

So, here is a six step morning routine that will help our hypothetical “Every Mom Everywhere” reach her goal of eating healthier and exercising.

1. Start each day with setting the intention of how she wants to show up.

2. Prioritize the three most important things she needs to do in a given day.

3. Focus solely on those three things.

4. Think about how she wants to do those three things.

5. Schedule those three things.

6. Do those three things.

In the case of our hypothetical “Every Mom Everywhere,” this might look like setting an intention on Monday morning of 1. packing a lunch and snacks for the day so she’s not grazing or eating on the fly 2. going for a walk on her lunch break 3. focusing on patience. So, on that Monday, nothing else is more important than sticking to her food plan at work, moving during her lunch break and practicing patience with herself, her children, her partner and any other to-do. This is a whole lot more manageable than attempting to do fifteen things to cultivate her health and wellness. THREE things. This is realistic.

It is also realistic to know that this will take effort. The reality is this “Every Mom Everywhere” may have to be to get up a half hour early to be able to focus on how she wants to show up in the world.  But my hope is that she knows making time matters and that those thirty minutes will allow her to take back control. Those thirty minutes are not spent reacting to her children or her partner or any other person in real life or on social media. The thirty minutes are invaluable to getting her mind right and figuring out what is most important for her on that one given day.

The healthy meals aren’t just going to appear.

She isn’t going to just “find” time to workout

Vital down-time she needs has to be scheduled.

Saying no to the overwhelm means saying yes to herself.


To yourself.


Do you have the courage to prioritize yourself and become intentional?

BFF

IMG_4238.JPG

I want you to take a minute and think of your best friend.


How does it feel to be around them?


What is it about them that makes them special?


What types of things do they say to you when you are struggling?

How does your best friend treat you?

Does your best friend put unrealistic standards on you? Does your best friend berate you when you make a mistake? Does your best friend stop you from achieving your goals? Does your best friend give up on you when you’re having a hard time?

Wait, this probably isn’t going the way you expected it to go. Right? Why would a best friend belittle you or put you down or criticize you?! If they’re a true best friend, they absolutely wouldn’t. Right?

So, lemme ask you another question...why do you do these things to yourself? Why do we treat ourselves so harshly and put so much pressure on ourselves when we would NEVER do that to our best friend?!

Again, I ask you to think about your best friend.

How do you want them to feel around you?

What special things do you bring to the friendship?

What types of things do you say to them when they are struggling?

How do you treat your best friend?

Do you give your best friend grace when they falter? Do you speak to them with kindness even after they have made bad choices? Do you encourage your best friend to make their dreams a reality? Do you believe in your best friend in good times and in bad?

I know I am the land of a thousand questions in this post.  But, this next one is the biggie. This next question is the ONE question I want you to ask yourself whenever you are having a hard time.


How can I treat myself and talk to myself like I am my own best friend?


At first, you may have to literally envision your bff and hear their voice in your head. But, if you ask yourself this enough, you start to hear your own answers. You start to gain confidence. Being a best friend to yourself allows you to start to have the life you envision. The life you deserve.

Please stop being your own worst enemy. Please give yourself the same grace, forgiveness, loyalty and faith you give your bestie. You deserve to see yourself through the same lens you see your best friend. Be your best friend forever.

How to Get Your Partner to Eat Well and Exercise

The Break Up.jpg

I just happened to catch The Break Up the other day on FX. (Yes, I still watch cable with commercials and all.) You know, the one with Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston? Whew, that movie is a doozy! Poor Gary and Brooke. There are some serious couples quarrels between them. The worst being the actual break up scene. It kills me when Gary is talking about Brooke being overly critical of him and he says “All you do is nag me. The bathrooms a mess. Your belt doesn’t match. Hey Gary, you should probably go work out. Nothing I ever do is good enough for you!”

Oof. And watching them as they have this terrible awful cringe-worthy fight got me thinking about a question I get all the ever loving time...“Kylie, how do I get my significant other to eat well and exercise?”

I did a video about this topic on my Facebook page the other day, but if you are short on time, I can sum up my answer for you with just two little words. YOU CAN’T.


You just CAN NOT. I mean, think of how hard it is to make changes for yourself. SO hard, right? Think about Gary trying to be more mindful of Brooke’s needs. Think of Brooke trying to be more laid back for Gary? They just couldn’t do it. You can’t change for someone else and you can’t change someone else. Period.

But, don’t worry, you aren’t completely powerless. There are four big things you can do to get your honey on board with healthier eating and moving more.

The first is being extremely mindful when you are approaching the subject of health. It is all about having tact and being pure of intention, You want to make sure your focus stays on health and fitness and NOT on the scale or pounds. It is important to ask yourself, “How am I showing up for them? How can I give them support?” Know a little bit of encouragement goes a loooong way. Stay in the positives. You can’t bully or belittle anyone into making change. Wait, this needs to be bolded. You can’t bully or belittle anyone into making change. Seriously no one likes a bully. So please don’t go all Brooke on Gary when she’s talking about him wanting to do the dishes (I die when he asks “why would I want to do the dishes?” Man after my own heart.) Or Gary on Brooke when he is railing her for being upset about lemons. (“Baby wants lemons.”). Be kind. Be realistic. And know people can only make changes when they are ready so it may be a process.

Secondly, and I would argue most importantly, I encourage you to lead by example. One of the pillars of high performance is influence. It is amazing how influential you can become just by doing your own thing and owning your own health. Just keep showing them the way by DOING YOU. In other words, the way to transform your husband or wife is to transform YOURSELF. They will most certainly take note of your changes. They will pick up on how great you feel. How svelte you are looking. How confident you are walking around. It may take awhile, but we pick up on the habits of those around us. So start by making your habits ones that encourage wellness in others.

Another great thing you can do to help your partner become more active is inviting them to join you in being active. What activities can you go and do together? And don’t just think about what you like to do. What activities do they enjoy? Maybe they aren’t into spinning or lifting or bootcamps like you are, but maybe they love hiking or yoga or team sports. Maybe you can encourage them to join an intramural basketball league at the local rec center and come to cheer them on. Or you can get a sitter and play a round of golf together. Or plan a family bike ride. The possibilities are endless for spending time together AND getting some movement in. They just might not ever think to plan something like this but would love it if you did.  

Lastly, be supportive when your significant other is active. Everyone loves positive feedback. A simple “I noticed that you exercised this week, great job making time for yourself.” No need to  be elaborate (or worse condescending) but acknowledge the effort they are putting in. And please don’t frame your comments all around weight loss. In fact, you can give them feedback that doesn’t make any commentary about what they are doing or how they are looking but, rather, keeps the focus on you. For instance, “I am so attracted to you when you make yourself a priority” or “I feel better when we eat healthier together.” There are so many ways to let your partner know you are proud of him or her and the work they are doing to make changes.

I know that it is difficult to see the person you love the most in this world go down an unhealthy path. I also know that it is hard to get them to make changes. And, by hard, I mean impossible.  It is not our job to change our partners. Health is a touchy touchy subject. So our job is to focus on our health and act as an example. We can’t control other people and we certainly can’t control others healthy or unhealthy habits. Do not go the way of Jen and Vince in The Break Up by being overly critical, mean or inconsiderate, that will do nothing but put a wedge between you. Instead, focus on your goals, act as an example and be compassionate.

Connection

Wifi.jpeg

You know that feeling when you can’t get cell reception and you kind of flip your S-H for a moment? But then you get reconnected to wifi and all feels right in the world? Today I want to talk about that feeling. Connection.

Before the connection, though, let’s talk for a brief moment about disconnection. And I am not talking about cell phones here. It is amazing how we freak out about losing cell service, but we forget to service our minds, bodies and relationships. It is amazing how connection can slip away from us without our even noticing. If you find yourself saying any of the following, chances are there is some disconnection in your life…

I can’t sleep at night.

I don’t know how I gained ten pounds.

I can’t remember the last time I took a few hours just for myself.

My partner and I barely even talk anymore.

I just can’t seem to get motivated to go to the gym.

I’m trying so hard to be healthy but it seems like I am the only one.

My exercise routine has gotten so boring.

My heart just isn’t in my job.

I feel like I have no energy and I don’t know why.

Woah, woah, woah. If you find yourself saying or thinking any of these things, I can tell you why your energy is drained...you are disconnected! Connection is vital for health and wellness. Consider your connection to yourself and others like the battery icon on your phone. When that bar goes down to less than five percent, your phone is in a critical state. Being disconnected for too long completely depletes the battery and, before you know it, your phone is completely shut off. And we all know that when our phone shuts down, we can’t look at cute puppy pictures on Instagram and that, my friends, is devastating. So is trying to function in your life when YOU are disconnected and shut down!

Just like you would connect your phone to a power source when the battery gets too low, I encourage you to connect to yourself and connect with others in ways that replenish you when you are finding you are losing your power. Over your goals. Over your mind. Over your body. Over your relationships. Heck, over your LIFE. You can only get what you need out of life when you connect to what your mind, body and spirit need and when you connect with other people.

Social connection is vital. It is literally how we are wired. Even the most introverted people (picture me raising my hand here) need connection with others to have a meaningful life. It is important to nurture relationships because you can only be loved the way that you love. You can only receive the way you give. You can only get back what you put out. In other words, if you are feeling disconnected with others, take a good hard long look at where YOU can connect more. If you feel like you are the only trying to be healthy and make changes, you need to either get yourself around people who have similar goals (join a gym, go to group fitness classes or *shameless plug* join one of my groups) or maybe ask those who are currently in your life to join you in exercising. You may be pleasantly surprised that you’re just the nudge they need. Ask an old friend to go on a walk to catch up, instead of going out to dinner. Ask your partner to play tennis instead of watching a movie on the weekend. Take the kiddos to the park and join them in running around. We can’t force those we love to move more, but we can encourage and lead by our example.

We also need to take time to connect with ourselves. Especially in a society that values busyness as much as we do, it can feel indulgent to take time to just sit and do nothing. But I am telling you right now, take time to just sit and do nothing. Downtime is vital for connecting with our body, mind and spirit. It is also a part of our culture to reach for the quick fix. But connection to our body is an ongoing daily process. I told myself I wouldn’t use the H word in this post, but what the heck, I just LOVE talking about habits. And connection looks a whole lot like regular daily habits such as exercise, a healthy diet, appropriate amounts of sleep, and recovery time between workouts. Healthy habits connect us with a healthy mind and a healthy body. God, I love the H word!
And listen, I know that the world we live in is DRAINING. And, unless we are very mindful, it is so easy to get sucked under. It is easy to zombie walk through our days and not connect with our own thoughts, habits and routines. It is easy to stick our nose in our phones (trust me, I have definitely been guilty of this) and forget to sincerely connect with the people in our lives. If you are feeling disconnected, please don’t despair. There is always time to plug in, recharge and reconnect. Just like that feeling when you see “you are now connected to the internet” on our phones, there is relief found in sincere interactions with ourselves and others. Connection is like a cute puppy on Insta, it can only bring good things!

Excellence

Excellence+Quote.jpg

“Perfection is a fancy way to say dissatisfaction.”

This is a quote I heard the other day in a podcast by my mentor, Brendan Bruchard and this one hit me HARD. So hard in fact, I did a video inspired by this idea on my Facebook page last week called “How Perfectionism is Holding You Back.” I work with so many inspiring and amazing people. But, many times, they don’t see themselves as inspiring or amazing. Once they hit one goal, inevitably they are at it the next day working towards a bigger, better, more intense goal that has them reaching higher and higher and higher.

It is never enough.

And, so often I see the debilitating effects of this “never enough” need to be perfect.

Spoiler alert: Perfection doesn’t exist!

Yah, perfection is a lie. Perfect diets are a lie. Perfect fitness routines are a lie.

Perfect spiritual practices...

Perfect bodies...

Perfect yoga practices…

Perfect muscles…

Perfect abs…

Perfect parents…

Perfect friends…

Perfect partners...

Lies, lies, lies! All lies! Lies that come at us from so many different directions. Social conditioning. Large institutions. Social media. Familial pressure. Advertisements. All day long we are told and sold ideals of who we should be. We are reared to believe we are only enough if we are perfect.

And I can tell you from personal experience on my own journey as a recovering perfectionist, life is so much more when you let go of perfections.

So much more joy.

So much more fulfillment.

So much more presence.

So much more satisfaction.

So much more lightness.

Perfection is heavy. This is one weight I encourage to put the hell down. You are literally poisoning and paralyzing yourself with perfection. There is no way you can appreciate what is good and what is there in your life  if you are constantly striving for an ideal that doesn’t exist. Perfection is toxic because it steals from the joy of who you right now in this very moment. Perfectionism affects your relationships because you can’t focus on connecting with the people you love when you aren’t authentic because you’re always trying to be perfect.

Instead, as I proposed in my video, I encourage you to strive for excellence, not perfection. Excellence is a wonderful goal to work for in all areas of your life. You don’t have to be a perfect parent, but you can sure as heck be an excellent parent. You don’t have to have a perfect exercise routine but you can have an excellent one. And an excellent diet is the type of healthy eating you can stick with. Focus on long-term goals, not doing everything perfectly. Because, again, perfect DOESN’T EXIST.


Done is better than perfect, people. You can quote me on that!

Ten Healthy Eating Habits

Quote.jpg

I didn’t really intend this, but I have spent the past month speaking to resolutions. It is January afterall! First I said what not to do (dieting/restriction), then I gave some practical advice on how to achieve a goal (planning, awareness, tools, action) and now I would like to give you some real steps to eating healthier in this wonderful new year.

I always say that achieving a certain body composition or physique is based 90% on your nutrition. You can workout until the cows come home, but if you’re eating like crap or not eating enough, health is always going to feel just outside your grasp. I felt like a real buzzkill a few weeks ago when I preached that diets basically SUCK. I have a feeling this might have felt defeating for some of you out there. I want to be very clear that I absolutely advocate eating healthier. I just don’t believe that is synonymous with dieting.

In fact, I believe the exact opposite...that adding foods, instead of subtracting foods, is what will help you reach your healthiest self. Yes, I want you to eat MORE. Instead of listing “bad foods” for my clients or coming up with strict meal plans or giving certain calories to stay under, I focus on getting those I work with to reach certain nutritional goals. There is something so empowering about helping my clients work to eat 130+ grams of protein per day or help them strive to consume at least 25 grams of fiber. Almost all of my clients start to notice how filling up on lean proteins and fibrous veggies/grains makes them feel so much better. They thrive when working towards achieving better nutrition.

And I want you to THRIVE too!

Here are ten habits you can integrate into your life so that you are stepping out of the cycle of dieting, focus on better nutrition (please note I did not say perfect nutrition...ain’t no such thing) and reaching your goal of a healthier you.

1. Eat slowly.

Sit down. Turn off any distractions. Take a slow bite of food. Close your eyes if you need to be able to focus. Really taste that bite. Slowly repeat.

2. Don’t feel the need to clean your plate.

I always tell my clients to eat until they are 80% full. Sometimes that means leaving your plate 20% full. And that is OKAY. You are not eight and your mom is not going to scold you. Plus, leftovers are like the best ever.

3. Strive for 1/4 plate protein, 1/2 plate veggies, 1/4 starchy carbs.

Don’t complicate things. Protein, veggies, starchy carbs and you can’t go wrong.

4. Slowly remove and replace certain foods.

The main word here is sloooooooowly. If you have a venti Starbucks froo froo latte in the morning. Switch to a grande one week. Then a tall. Then focus on the contents. Maybe switch from two pumps to one. Then start to lessen the sweetener. Maybe, lastly, switch to a regular coffee and you control the cream and sugar. This could be a two month (or more!) process but it is the slow changes that are the most sustainable. Slooooooow and steady wins the race when it comes to nutritional changes!

5. Clean out your pantry.

Get the junk food out of your house. If you can’t control yourself around Doritos, then you need to remove the Doritos from your environment. Period.

6. Don’t do in a day what you wouldn’t do in a week.

And don’t do in a week what you wouldn’t want to do in a month. And don’t do in a month what you wouldn’t want to do in a year. My biggest beef with diets is that they are not sustainable. It isn’t realistic to replace two meals a day with shakes for the rest of your life. Sure, that’s just two shakes in a day, but that’s fourteen shakes in a week and at least sixty in a month... you know where I am going with this. Think long game. What do you consistently want to do for a whole year?

7. Factor in setbacks.

Creating any change involves slip-ups, tough days, mistakes, and setbacks. The real change is in how you get back on track. Life always happens and unforeseen setbacks are a part of the process. How you react to them is probably the most vital part of the process.

8. Prepare meals/snacks in advance.

Have the lean proteins prepped and on-hand. Chop up the veggies when you get them home from the grocery store. Pack your lunches in advance. Make a big batch of brown rice or oatmeal. Make healthy choices as easy and seamless as possible by being prepared!

9. Learn how to cook vegetables

This was a biggy for me. Experiment. Broil. Boil. Roast. Eat em raw. Get friendly with veggies. This can only benefit you. “I really regret eating that veggie.” Said no one ever.

10. Focus on your mindset

This is a toughy, but the most worthwhile. Why are you doing what you are doing? Why are you making these changes? Why do you hold yourself back? Why do you give up before you start? Why? Why? Why? Answering these types of questions is not easy but this process helps you meet your challenges better the next time. Asking “why” with open curiosity and not shame will help you achieve any goal you set for yourself.

Now go get ‘em, tiger!

Planning. Awareness. Tools. Action.

Goals.jpg

What would you say to me if I told you I was running a marathon without any training?

Or getting my finances in order without tracking where I spend my money?

Or building a house without any materials?

What if I was planning a trip but refusing to buy the plane ticket?

I hope you would give me a nice pat on the back and then... Call. Me. Out! I hope you would say “Kylie, we believe in your ability to achieve your goals but you can’t do that without the right planning… or awareness… or tools… or actions.”

Just like training for a marathon, any fitness goal requires a plan. It’s not realistic to think you can just get out and run twenty-six point two miles or dead lift one hundred pounds or plank for two minutes straight or, as I posted a few weeks ago on my social media, do pistol squats. Long-term goals need to be broken down into smaller short-term achievable goals. Pistol squats have always presented a mental block for me but I trained my body and my mind to perform those bad boys. I worked with my trainer to strengthen the correct muscle groups, progress the move from more modified positions to less modified positions to finally no modifications at all. It took time and dedication and a whole lot of PLANNING!

Just like financial wealth, physical health requires knowledge of your nutrition. You need to understand what is going in your mouth, how much of it is being consumed and how that food is being “spent.” This is why I am a firm believer in tracking your macros, if even for just a short time. There is no way to save your money, or your calories, if you don’t know what is coming in and what you’re spending them on. Each of the macros (protein, carbohydrates and fat) provide different fuel, just like savings and checking accounts help fund your lifestyle in different ways. Tracking helps you know your numbers, check your balances and creates AWARENESS.

Just as it is basically impossible to build a house without lumber, nails, saws, etc., it is really difficult to achieve fitness or nutrition goals without knowing how to use the right tools. Gyms can be very intimidating places. Learning how to use the equipment safely and most effectively is key to success. On the flip side, my personal place of intimidation has been the kitchen. Nutrition is a key component in body recomposition and the last few years for me have been all about learning how to use the right tools to cook food that is nutritious AND delicious. Creating workouts for my clients and providing a cookbook chock full of wonderful recipes allows me to give key TOOLS for fitness and dietary success.

Lastly, and I will say until I am blue in the face... there is no way to achieve your goals without habit change. You are never going to get to Europe if you don’t buy the ticket! It is a necessary action to get you where you want to be. And, likewise, you cannot lose weight if you don’t change the way you eat on a daily basis. You cannot get stronger without moving your body. As the graphic for this post shows, goals need to be broken down from a goal to skills to practices. Daily practices. Intention is all nice and pretty, but it is the ACTION you take that gets you to your goal.

Planning. Awareness. Tools. Action.

These are four vital components to achieving any goal or, ahem, New Year’s Resolution. Stay focused folks, you got this!

Can We Please Kick Diets to the Ever Loving Curb?!

unnamed.jpg

Diets.

*shudder*

*eye roll*

*sigh*

Can we just NOT? Can we just not...go on diets this year?! I am all about health and wellness. ALL about the health. ALL about the wellness. But I am NOT all about diets. In fact, today I am writing to encourage all of you to NOT go on a diet. In fact, I am begging you. Pleading with you. Please do not perpetuate the very unhealthy cycle of dieting that is depicted in the graphic for this post.

January one and the word “diet” are synonymous. We’ve all indulged for days, weeks, maybe even months, before the first of the year and we are all using January first as a reason to go on a diet. I am all about fresh starts and not waiting until tomorrow to put off what you can do today, but I firmly believe diets are not the right solution. And I am strategically using this subject as my first blog post of the new year to get the message out to all of you when you need to hear it most.

Simply put, diets don’t work.

Wait, this requires caps... DIETS DON’T WORK.

I don’t want you to read this and get defeated, though. I have a better answer so please bear with me until the end of this post. I will convince you that I have a better way, but first I need to give you my reasons why our old way isn’t working.

1. Dieting disconnects us from what our body actually needs. When we’re just “following the rules” of a diet, we become less in tune with our bodies. We aren’t listening to what our body wants and needs. We are just doing what we are being told.

2. Dieting makes us more likely to overeat. Yep, you read that right. Restriction makes us want more of whatever it is that we think we can’t have. It’s simple human psychology. Diets create a “scarcity mentality” which is our mind subconsciously telling our bodies that, if we can’t have a certain food, then that certain food is just what we need!

3. Dieting gives the illusion that there are good foods and bad foods. Diets attach labels, and therefore perceptions, of what are the right foods and what are the wrong foods. Case in point, all the low fat diets of nineties. Or all the keto, or high fat, diets that are extremely popular right now. I’d like to debunk the idea that foods fit so neatly into two categories. I propose foods are more likely better or worse, not good or bad. Lean proteins and veggies are better to eat most of the time. Whereas, say fried foods, are worse to eat all the time. Can you never have fried food because they are bad? No. Diets vilify foods and that is what is bad!

4. Diets make us feel like failures when we don’t stick to them. Show of hands...how many of us have made resolutions to lose weight in the past? Show of hands again...how many people have fallen into the “diet/binge cycle,” not lost a single pound from their resolution and felt like a failure? One final show of hands...who is repeating this cycle right now? It’s not us who are the failures, it’s diets that fail us! They make us feel like a failure and feeling like a failure is not a good place to operate from. Ever.

5. Dieting increases the chances of developing an eating disorder or disordered eating. This may sound dramatic, but if we get anxious around food, start cutting out whole food groups or begin isolating ourselves from social situations with food because we are on a diet, this is having a disordered relationship with food.

6. Dieting reinforces the stigma that thinner is better. Skinny does not equal healthy, just as being thicker does not mean someone is unhealthy. Notice why are you going on a certain diet. Do you want to look a certain way or feel a certain way? Be aware of what’s driving you. Diets convince us that a dress size or a number on the scale will bring health, but this is a lie.

Now that I have given you several reasons why diets don’t work, you are primed to hear what does work. It’s basic, but it’s effective...you have to change what you do on a day to day basis! You have to make daily changes to the way you eat so you can feel better and therefore perform better, sleep better, stand taller, workout stronger and keep up with the demands of day-to-day life. In other words….

Healthy behaviors are what lead to a healthier life!

And this is what I PREACH in my programs. It’s not the easy solution. It’s not the quick fix. And it’s not an overnight diet. When it comes to becoming healthier, long-term is the name of the game. I work to help you create healthy behaviors and find the way to eat for you that works best to fuel you and is sustainable for you. This is a long haul process which involves trial and error and experimentation and lots of learning, but it is soooo very worth it to make the investment in you and your health. You are worth the slow solution!

So, there it is. If you are going to resolve to do anything in the new year for your health, I hope it is to kick diets to the CURB. Here’s to long-term success in 2019!

Year-End Reflection and Review

The end of the year is the perfect time to do some reflecting and reviewing. What went well, what needs to be improved and what can be let go of all together. 2018 was a big year for me and I want to share the highlights and the lessons learned. In true Kylie-fashion some of these are serious and some of them are fun.


The Highlight Reel:
1. Started practicing yoga again on a consistent basis.

The last three years, my personal practice got away from me and it left me uninspired as a teacher and out of balance as a person. I make it priority to go at least once a week and I have experienced the benefit in my physical body and emotional state and quality of teaching.

2. Put my fitness in the hands of others.

Running a business and showing up as a mom and wife left little mental capacity to come up with my own workouts.  Working with a personal trainer and boxing coach got me excited, taught me new things and has freed up mental space.

3. Got an assistant. In addition to Coach Leanne helping to run Lift to Get Lean, I also started working with Margey who does all the things behind the scenes.  If you want to grow, you’ve got to give up some control. I’m still working on this, but both of them are a HUGE help.

4. Invested in myself.

This ties back up to #2 and #3, but I also invested in my personal and professional development. I am in the process of finishing my Precision Nutrition Level 2 training and I completed Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Coaching Certification.  Both have proven to be invaluable investments.

5. Believed in myself.

Investing in the High Performance Coaching was a bit of a risk, but it is turning out to be the BEST decision that I could have made.  I was met with a mixed bag of support from others, but deep down I knew that it was necessary for me to do, and I believed in myself and went for it.

6. Audio books.

OMG! This should probably be number one on the list. I have “read” more books this year than I have in the last 10 years combined. Stay tuned for my must-reads. This year has been one of tremendous learning, and a large part of that is due to the books that I have read. I love listening to books when I walk outside, fold the laundry or drive around town or long road trips.

7. Focused on my Beautycounter business.

I love the products and believe in the mission, so why not put more effort behind it.  As a business owner, it’s crucial to have multiple streams of revenue and you can be very successful with direct sales if you actually put some consistent effort behind it.  This stream is my fun stream!

8. Lipstick.

I know, this one may seem a little silly and truth be told, I only wear make-up about 50% of the time.  But when I wear lipstick, I feel bold, put-together and confident. Who doesn’t need more of that in their life?

So there’s the highlight reel. But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been lessons learned.  Each month, I have at least one melt-down/freak-out and feel like giving up. So in an effort to keep it real, here are the lessons learned.

Lessons:

1. Have the hard conversations.

This is not to say that I HAVE HAD said tough conversations, but I’m working on it! And this isn’t just for myself, but for my clients.  I need to push my clients and ask the tough questions even when it gets uncomfortable. Clients won’t change if I’m constantly saying, “that’s OK, try again this week.”

2. Balance takes effort.
I still struggle with finding balance, so sue me. But seriously, there were a lot of nights where I was sitting on the couch working on my laptop while my husband and I should have been enjoying each other’s company (read: watching TV), but I was “too busy” to be present with him. There were many days before Brooks started school that even though I was with him, I wasn’t really WITH him.  I can’t change what happened in the past, but I can be different now and in the future.


3. Trust yourself.

This ties back to the highlights. I (re)learned that deep down I know what I want and I need to trust myself and my instincts.

4. Action trumps intention.

I can tell you what I want or INTEND to do until I’m blue in the face, but it won’t get done until I put some action behind it.

5. Ask for help and support.

Adding Leanne and Margey to the team was great, but I also need to ask for help at home and reach out to other entrepreneurs for support. I love talking to other business owners, especially in the online space because this life can be lonely. When you talk to other people who “get it” they can support you.


6. Let go.

Holding on to things that happened in the past is lowering my vibration. I need to let go in order to release the lower energy so that I can level up. I learned to reframe it as, I’m not letting go for them, I’m letting go for me.  Because I deserve emotional freedom.

7. I HAVE SO MUCH WORK TO DO!!!

I mean, seriously.  I’m not talking about work work.  I’m talking about work on myself. Being more courageous, living with more intention, getting comfortable with the uncomfortable and so much more.  And that’s OK. I’m excited to do the work. I like the idea of evolving, of leveling up. I just know that I can’t do it alone and it’s not going to happen overnight.  And if I were my own coach, I would ask, “Kylie, what are you going to do today to be more courageous?”

There you have it! The highlights and the lessons.  I’m dying to know, what’s on your highlight reel? What lessons did you learn?

The Holidays and Creating Balance

Copy of Copy of Yoga & Fitness VacationCabo San LucasFeb. 17 - 23.png

I heard a crazy statistic on the radio the other morning. The most popular radio quiz show in the whole wide world is based right here in Denver, Colorado. Every morning, Dom and Jeremy on The Mix ask a question and people call in to give their answers. The Mind Bender, as it is called, is always entertaining. The question posed this past Tuesday morning was “what are 1 in 8 Americans NOT going to do for the rest of the year?” Answers ranged from working out to going to the doctor. I think it’s interesting that people’s minds instantly went to health. And, the answer was very much so health-related.

So. . .what was the answer? What are 1 in 8 Americans not going to do for the rest of 2018?

The answer was. . .

Only 1 in 8 Americans AREN’T going to gain weight!

Or, put another way, 87% of Americans are going to gain weight in the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. EIGHTY SEVEN PERCENT! And, this is just a wild guesstimation but I would say about the same percentage are going to make New Year’s Resolutions come 2019 to lose weight. What kind of sense does this make?

None.

This makes none sense.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again...the holidays are not the time to try to lose weight. The focus from Thanksgiving until the end of the year is maintenance and the best way to maintain is to create balance. Balance is not something that just happens. Especially given American culture and how we treat the holidays. Everything is more intense. Schedules are busier. Food is richer. Stores are crowded with more people. Christmas music blasting is in AAAAALL the places. It is easy to get overwhelmed and turn to food for comfort or relaxation.

Or to eat on the fly.

Or to eat out of obligation in social situations.

Or to eat because the food is nostalgic.

The holidays present a lot of food temptations and all I am here today to do is encourage you to indulge mindfully. What does this mean? It means that eating your aunt’s special mashed potatoes on Christmas day isn’t going to make you gain weight. Even eating those taters and the amazing cookies your neighbor bakes every year on Christmas Eve isn’t going to derail you. You could even eat those, indulge in cocktails at the work party AND make a huge New Year’s Eve feast and STILL be balanced. This is four instances of savoring and really enjoying food in the month of December. Four times when you really taste and appreciate the holidays.

Now “tasting the holidays” four times a DAY in December, that is when you are most likely going to gain weight. At that point, you are ceasing to have indulgences. Eating everything in sight for a month is more of a binge than a celebration. And binges leave us feeling guilty, physically sick and sluggish.

At the very least.

I encourage you, instead, to look at the month of December and take stock of social activities or family traditions and think about when and how you see yourself celebrating those moments. Break down the month if you need to to see that indulging on eight different occasions in December does not mean you need to completely throw in the towel and gain five to ten pounds. And then feel like you have to work to lose those five to ten pounds on top of the other health-related goals you have for 2019.

And, as far as exercising, balance means setting realistic expectations. Maybe you normally hit the gym hard five days a week. During the overwhelm of the holidays, it may be more realistic to reduce that to three times a week. Maybe you usually engage in a rigorous strength routine. It may be more empowering to let your body rest some and focus more on mind/body workouts like yoga. And, maybe just maybe, going on walks or doing quick twenty minute workouts are the most achievable to keep you in the habit. However you are moving, be intentional about that movement!

Balance through the holidays IS achievable. You CAN be that one out of seven. You can eat a bunch of chips and dip at Jane’s holiday get-together and get up the next morning and get back to eating a healthy breakfast and get a good workout in later in the day. It does NOT need to be all or nothing. Balance is achievable by indulging mindfully and setting realistic expectations. The holidays are the season of believing and I believe in you.