I love me a good mindset story. I really do. Because I write about fitness, nutrition, movement, and my own journey with that, and sometimes I find myself super aware of other people and THEIR journeys and what is happening for them that they maybe realize, or maybe DON’T realize.
I think it’s important for you to know that loving yourself, prioritizing yourself, trusting yourself, and realizing YOU ARE ENOUGH are essential to building a healthy mindset. But I think you have to take baby steps to get to that healthy mindset space in chunks of information that you can manage and receive that make sense for you (yes, I know that sounds weird). I think lots of things can come out of that journey, perhaps a physical transformation, or maybe just ultimately realizing “I AM ENOUGH” and perhaps feeling the most capable you have ever felt in your entire life. Each journey is individual and specific. There isn’t “a way” to do things. More often, it seems, we learn when we are ready to receive information.
My friend Lynn has made a bit of a physical transformation in the past few months. Pieces of it I know about and ask about (because I am lucky enough to be a coach with her fitness and nutrition) and pieces of it are her own doing. Of course, I sometimes ask questions and am nosey and ask about her view on things and “what’s different” with her mindset or her internal dialogue now? And how did she make that shift? Lynn has worked with me for some time. Back in 2013 we did a small nutrition group focused on building a few healthy habits. She did a great job practicing those habits. You will hear her talk about this in her interview. After our time together was over, old things crept back in (you know, life happens, plus old habits die hard). To be honest, as a coach, this happens sometimes. And it doesn’t make us “bad people” to take a step or two back sometimes. Success isn’t usually linear….it shoots up for a bit in a positive direction, then takes a tumble, then confidence is found and gained and it climbs up a few more steps, and then possibly a step backwards, and then climbs again. This repeats over and over and over. It’s called learning how to incorporate your habits in LIFE and finding your way back to your habits sometimes. This is NORMAL.
So Lynn was gracious enough to answer some questions for me (PUBLICLY!!!) and put herself “out there.”
Want to hear about it? Read on.
What changed mindset wise between 2013 and now?
When I did the first round of nutrition coaching I was successful – I lost some weight and got stronger and followed the plan. Then between 2014 and part of 2015 I just kind of gave up all those guidelines and tools, ate like I was a powerlifter or something, or would say to myself “Well I worked out today so I have to eat to replace and make gains.” Not true. I knew what to do as far as the nutrition tools went but my heart wasn’t in it. I didn’t follow what had worked before for some reason, I knew what I needed to do but just didn’t do it.
How is your mindset different now?
There is a major difference in having the tools and knowing what to do with them and actually wanting to do them. This time around I wanted to do them. I was ready for them in my mind and my heart. I had a physical in May 2015, saw that when I stepped on the scale I gained back everything I lost plus some, and that was it this time. I was making a change for good, I wasn’t going to just half-ass things this time. I didn’t feel good about myself and had a shitty attitude towards everything. So I went back to the key habits that I had been given (and practiced) before and this time really focusing on them and taking them seriously. I also started tracking my calorie intake as well. Previously I would just eat and guess on portion size or use that “well I worked out today, so I can have this or I need to eat this way of thinking.”
**Insert from Amanda: Lynn learned what she was taking in to get her to the place she was. She created a deficit in her calories (by following some healthy habits she has picked up along the way and using appropriate portion sizes for her activity level) to begin the process of dropping some pounds. By consistently exercising about 4-5 times per week for 45 minutes (give or take), she created a bit more of a deficit and this has led to a fairly healthy weight loss over the course of a few months.
Is your home environment supportive of the change?
This last time I came home after my doctor appointment and said to Trevor, “We have to do something. I need your help, do this with me. We aren’t 20 anymore, we have to change our habits.” He was noticing changes in weight as well so I thought it would be good to ask him to make changes with me. Having him do these habits with me and making the change to be healthier makes it so much easier. We support each other and push each other when the other one doesn’t feel like going out for a run/workout or just wants to be lazy and order something that really doesn’t fit in to what we should be doing to keep up our success. I honestly think the support I have from my husband is the major reason I am having so much success this time around. He was supportive the last nutrition round too, but he wasn’t actually following the habits with me. This time we are both doing them and everything is clicking and making sense. It’s fun to see that progress each other makes.
**Insert from Amanda: The more you can surround yourself with people who support you and are like minded, the better. Build yourself a tribe that thinks and acts the same way you do, and that builds you up.
Views on Lynn now vs. Lynn then:
I am kind of embarrassed to write about me then. Looking back, I had a bad attitude for my workouts, at home, and even at work. I wasn’t happy with myself, I didn’t care about things, and I was just going through the motions. I think a lot of that stems back to feeling bad about myself, gaining weight, “working out and not seeing results,” all these totally impacted everything in my life. Me now: I am much happier, I have more confidence, I am a better wife, and I have a better attitude towards everything (maybe not everything – running on days where it’s hot and humid still makes me a little pissy!). I enjoy going to my workouts and running and eating food that makes me feel good, unlike previous me where we would eat out all the time and just eat crap and I’d feel gross and bloated with an icky tummy after and then wonder why my workouts weren’t as good as they could have been.
Lynn, WHY are you happier now? Is it because you lost weight? Is it because you shifted your priorities, what?
I am happier now because I got my priorities in line. I am always so willing to put everyone else first and commit to everything else that I forget to make myself a priority. Now it’s me first then commit to just a few things, though that’s still a struggle because I want to do everything, help everyone and volunteer for this and that, but I’m working on that. Losing weight did make me happy but it was in a different mindset this time around. Before when I would try to lose weight it was for an event or something. Now it’s for my health and to just feel more confident. I feel better in my skin, I’m not dressing in all black anymore…. I actually want to go shopping and pick out the bright colors and it’s not just the weight I lost but my workouts have changed the way my body looks. I never ever would wear tank tops out/to the gym and now I wear them all the time because I have a little gun show going on and it’s awesome, and let’s not forget about those glutes when you squat/deadlift like we do in class. Of course I’m going to show that off too!
Prioritizing the habits 2013 vs now, what is different?:
I would say there is a big difference in the habits now vs. then. “Then” I was just going about it by haphazardly cooking each day and just trying to hit maybe a few of the habits. Now, I make sure to plan out our meals 1 to 2 weeks at a time to make sure that we always have protein, veggies and carbs and a little healthy fat. I buy in bulk and also prep for the week’s lunches.
Do you have guidelines? Ones that let you know you need work or that you are straying off your path?:
Sort of. I go by sleep, mood and how my workouts feel. For example, if I have been low on protein I can tell that my workouts aren’t as good and I’m hungry and want to eat everything. Same goes for sleep. if I don’t get a decent amount of sleep, I’m on the struggle bus the next day.
How do you deal with emotions of guilt, such as food and workout guilt?
Food guilt has gotten better over time, and although it’s a tough one to deal with, I am still working on it, trying not to criticize every little thing I eat. I am much more aware about the food I eat than what I was before. If there are treats or something in the break room (which happens every week, I have good work moms that like to bake and buy candy!), my thought process now is do I really need/want that or is it just because everyone else is having it and I feel this pressure to eat it. Previously I would just eat everything they brought in and feel like crap after because “oh I shouldn’t have ate that or that’s gonna add some weight.” I’d rather have a treat that means something once in while versus just all the time. I focus on eating food that is good for me and going to make me feel good (physically and mentally). You shouldn’t ever feel guilty about eating something, if it’s something you love, go and enjoy it! Practice that in moderation. Just because I love wine, cupcakes, and chocolate doesn’t mean I should sit down and binge on those things. Eat them in the moment, enjoy them and move on. Make it for something special, a night out with the girls or a treat with your husband/family. Workout guilt I struggle with because I want to keep seeing the progress I’ve been having so if I miss a workout or skip it because I’m feeling a little lazy, I’ll beat myself up a little about it, but then just know that tomorrow or next work out I’ll move on and have a good workout. I like working out, it’s my time to unwind, and clear my head so doing my workouts is important to me. They are high up on my priority list. But sometimes you just need to rest, you can’t be going balls to the wall all time and your body will show you that and you need to listen to it. There is nothing wrong with a light day of just going for a walk because you are still moving and being active and it’s giving your muscles a chance to recover.
Do you love yourself? Why? What do you love the most?
Honestly…yes, but there’s more work to be done. Old habits die hard and sometimes those icky body shaming mind-games creep back in and I have to work really hard to not let them mess with me. I love myself because of the transformations I’ve made over the last 3ish years. I’m doing things I never thought I would have – two Tough Mudders, multiple 5ks, crushing goals at the gym and have a whole different attitude that brings out the person I was always meant to be, not one that’s stuck in the trap of body shaming, negativity and an unhealthy lifestyle. I’m not sure what I love most. I think its’ how strong I’ve become, both physically and mentally. Maybe more so mentally, having a positive outlook on things is really a game changer. I no longer have the time or will to deal with any form of negativity. As for the physically strong, who doesn’t want to hear their husband say “Thank God you work out so we can lift this heavy ass elliptical up from the basement without an argument.” Or, you know, I’m 45 pounds away from being able to deadlift my husband’s weight 😉
How are you going to keep practicing self love, whether your physical body changes in the future or not?
I am actually in the middle of a good book on this, on how to find peace and be at home in your skin. It’s very eye opening and is helping a lot to keep my current mindset going. If I can learn and practice those habits in this book I think I will be ok with any changes that come my way. Also I’ll ask for help, if I’m stuck. I’ll reach out to Amanda or whomever to help me. Also, I don’t want to go back to life the way it was before now, so I have that reminder in the back of my head, that was negative and unhealthy. I want to keep moving forward.
Thank you Lynn for putting yourself “out there” and giving us a little glimpse into how you think. It is very helpful to learn from your journey!
You guys, this is deep stuff. Change can be FUN and NEW and SHINY. But usually the biggest part of the change happens during the struggle. When you are knee deep in the shittiest part, and you are learning to KEEP GOING and take steps forward. Those parts are the struggle and NOT FUN, and are oh so easy to give up, but those steps are VITAL for growth and learning and moving forward.
Moral of the story (and I think Lynn might say this too)….keep going through the struggle. Be relentless at keeping YOU on your priority list. Find a person (or two, or three, or a whole 5AM lifting class) that is YOUR tribe and that makes YOU better. Keep taking steps forward. Those that are successful keep taking step after step after step. And remember, sometimes those are steps in the wrong direction, but they are still steps and you will learn. Keep plugging. You got this.