Wednesday, March 21, 2012

...confidence < ability?...

Anyone that knows me or has read all my blogs knows about my friend Wes.  Wes came into my life unexpectedly at just the right time when lots of changes were going on.  I RELUCTANTLY took a free session with him at the gym at the coercing of the manager there, and through a series of events I hired him as my personal trainer.  Wes later became my great friend and has remained my friend for many years even though we haven't "worked" together in probably 5 years.  There was a time in my life when I looked up to Wes like he was the "be all end all".  In my eyes, Wes could do no wrong and he knew EVERYTHING.

When he moved away, it was very hard on me.  I lost my friend.  I grieved that loss.  I never thought I would get over that, but like any loss in life...time heals and what was once a sharp pain became a hardly noticeable dull ache.  Wes moved on and found the love of his life that became his wife and I found that I could do things all on my own and became a personal trainer.  We kept in touch and I was really excited to have him and his wife move back here recently.  I was feeling a little bored and frustrated with my own training and he wanted to get into better shape again so we decided to start working out together again.
People all fall into roles.  It's comfortable.  We do it without even thinking sometimes.  So as usual, Wes has been the "coach" and I have gladly reverted to being the student...until yesterday.  He came in to workout with me yesterday after I had to fill in at the gym on my day off.  As usual, I said, "What are we doing today?"  He said, "Whatever you want!  We are here in a different place.  YOU decide today and we will do it."  I generally like to plan ahead, but there was no time to plan.  I was really nervous and unsure...uncomfortable in this new "role", but I wrote our workout down on the board.  Wes was reassuring so I gained a little confidence, but I wondered deep down if he was just being nice.  We did the workout...and it was good...and we went our separate ways. 

I stopped at the store on my way home and as I got out of the car, I received a text.  It was from Wes.  I was surprised to read what it said.  He told me that the workout was great and that he was really impressed with my knowledge.  I put the phone down in disbelief.  I picked it up and read it again.  I had a moment right then and there in the parking lot.  It began with being so surprised because Wes has so much knowledge and I've never felt like I could ever be half the trainer he was.  Then I stopped for a moment to examine WHY I was so surprised by that compliment.  I've been training people for 4 years and spent thousands of dollars going to seminars to learn and become a better, more informed trainer.
 I concluded that my confidence in my ability and my actual ability should be equal, but they aren't.  Instead, my confidence in my ability has been less than my actual ability.  I have always been reluctant to share my knowledge fully because I was afraid of being wrong or what other people might think.  I knew I had the ability to motivate people, but I wasn't always sure about my practical knowledge.  Yesterday, in two sentences, things changed.  I don't know everything and sometimes I make mistakes, but I realized that I know a lot more than I ever thought I did.  I also realized that I should never doubt myself like that again.  Neither should you.  Don't let past hurts or disappointments cloud where you are today.  See yourself as you are and be aware and proud of your abilities!  Find your confidence...even if it means you have to search for it!  From now on, don't let your equation look like this:  confidence<ability.  Make it look like this:  confidence=ability!  Be confident and believe in yourself!

Monday, March 12, 2012

...stop dieting...

When the word diet is said, I immediately cringe.  I cringe as a fitness professional and I cringe personally.  We hear it all the time..."Diets don't work!".  Actually, they do work.  The problem is that the results usually don't last and you're left with disappointment and depending on the extreme matters you may have taken, you could be left MORE unhealthy than when you started!  Starving yourself or working out to excess WILL make you lose weight, but it is NOT maintainable and can do you more harm than good in the long run.  This is the opinion of the personal trainer side of me.

Personally, I cringe because I am a girl that knows what she likes and isn't happy when I don't get it.  I associate diets with the LOSS of things I enjoy, and I hate the feeling of deprivation that has always accompanied diets in my life.  I remember being a teenager and moving an old stationary bike in my room.  I remember eating lettuce and taking diet pills and riding that stupid bike.  I remember hating myself and feeling ugly.  Obviously that's extreme and unhealthy, but I think even healthy diet plans can be risky if you don't have the right mindset.  After my 2nd child, I joined Weight Watcher's and had great success.  I didn't get strong at all, but I sure got skinny.  It started out well for me, but somewhere along the way...old demons and ideas crept back in.  I was so obsessed with the number on the scale that I was going to see every week when I went in for my weekly meeting, that I would refuse to eat meat for 2 days before weigh in and I would use laxatives the day prior.  I've never admitted that to anyone, and it makes me sick to see the words on my screen.  The only reason I admit this is because I know there are women and men out there trying to be better but they are going about it in the wrong way.  The Weight Watcher's plan did not drive me to that.  Being on a DIET and my own personal fear and unwillingness to REALLY change both my body AND my mind drove me to that.

So if you shouldn't diet, should you just be happy where you are at?  My answer would be, "No, not necessarily."  When I weighed 200 lbs back in 2002 and began my own transformation, I went back to Weight Watcher's because I needed some kind of structure and plan.  I did not attend meetings, because for ME personally...I knew the public weigh in would set off some of my past issues.  After a couple of months, I had started to build a healthy foundation but I wanted to be able to eat more healthy fat, like nuts and avocados and the "points" on those did fit in well with being able to eat enough.  For the first time in my life, I made my workouts and what I ate more important than what I was NOT able to eat.  I practiced discipline and moderation.  I ate good most of the time but occasionally I would have small amounts of things that I wanted.  I always used to say, "ONE doughnut, once in a while, will not make you fat.  One doughnut everyday is another story."  I had great success doing things this way and maintained my weight loss for 9 years.

You may think I'm going to go on a rant about the Paleo diet or how I have began eating in the last couple of months.  I'm not.  Do I think there are benefits to this way of eating?  Yes, but the point of this is to change the way you see food in general, no matter HOW you choose to eat.  Make a decision to eat healthier.  Simplify your choices.  Ask yourself questions.  "Does this food make me healthier?  Or less healthy?"  When you are choosing something, be aware that you are indeed CHOOSING.  You don't HAVE to eat crap because you are traveling or tired, and you don't have to skip meals because you are busy.  It's a choice...a choice that's easier to make if you think ahead.

When someone that hates to run at the gym asks me how to get better at running, I have a very simple and true answer.  I say, "Run more."  Sounds like a smart a** response, but it's the truth.  If you want to increase your cardiovascular respiratory endurance, you have to increase your cardio activity!  Eating and choices are no different.  Make better choices more often when it comes to your food and it will become easier.  I remember when I began running and the first day that I burst through my own front door, excited to announce that I had just run for 13 minutes without stopping.  I knew then, I was becoming a runner.  I'm still not quite there with my eating.  I'm feeling myself start to lean back towards old habits.  I was taking my own meals to my parents' house for Sunday dinner and then the past 2 weeks I didn't.  Last night my Mom had barbecue brisket and pasta salad and corn.  I ate it and I feel bad today...physically and mentally.  So, it's a new day.  Not a piece of food has gone in my mouth yet, and when I get up and walk in the kitchen...I'll prepare something that leads me closer to my goals rather than further away.  You can do the same.  Quit "DIETING" and start eating healthier.  You'll be surprised what a difference this shift in attitude can make!