Thursday, November 22, 2012

Learned Helplessness

The term is often used in psychology to describe exposure to an unfortunate circumstances that evolved into one's inability to cope with adversity and unwillingness to see solutions present to change one's own situation.

The number one most important thing to learn is self control.  Absolutely everything in our lives and our ability to accomplish anything is the ability to control one's self.  Be it for managing your time, your money, your behaviors. You must ask yourself:

What do I want? How can I get it? Who can help me? 
When will I accomplish this goal? What will it take?

I see this daily in clients.  Their excuses usually scream "I'm not committed to this completely" or "I am unwilling to take full responsibility for my actions" or, my personal favorite, "I've got a plan to get started."

Honestly, I see this in my own patterns when it comes to exercise.  I often exercise only when it's convenient for me, I make excuses about going early in the morning when I know it's the only time I'm going to have in my day to do so.  We all have times when we are afraid of moving out of our comfort zones.


How do we create a new normal? Our comfort zones must become uncomfortable.  It's the decision that I am not going to let the excuses in my head stop me from creating vibrant, positive changes in my life.

We must establish a new standard in our lifestyles. Start slow.  Yesterday, I went to the gym with my mother.  She hasn't been to the gym in 4-5 months due to surgery and she was able to walk a mile.  I hit the gym hard as I could for my recent addition of the honeymoon 10 pounds. But frequently, people burn out so quickly.  My mom had it right to take it slow.

Case in point, if I don't start back at the gym at a moderate pace and comfort level, if I charge forth ahead and try to run 5/mph after a month long break, I'm asking for aches and pains and burn out. Adjusting to a new schedule can be challenging, so take it easy.

  1. I jog in place while folding the laundry. 
  2. I walk the dog every morning for 15-20 minutes after I wake up. 
  3. I take the stairs. 
  4. I park at the back of parking lots.
  5. I measure how far I go with a pedometer on my phone. 
  6. I hula hoop in front of the TV at night for at least 20 minutes. 
  7. I go to the gym 3 times a week for at least 90 minutes. 
  8. I eat breakfast.  Protein shakes on workout free days and plain oatmeal or puffed millet on gym days.
  9. I eat a piece of fruit (banana or orange) as a mid-morning snack.
  10. I close the kitchen after dinner. 
Do you have your list of 10 things you do consistently for your health?  I have many more, but I would love to hear what other people are learning to change unhealthy habits!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


We all have to learn to own our actions.  I understand the struggles of my clients so much, sometimes I have to deal with my own personal struggles too. This became apparent together with regard to grief and loss. I am grieving the loss of my band. I am addressing that by taking care of myself and working on several projects in my life, career, home and personal right now.

Right now I'm struggling with compliance to my own eating plans, due to lack of planning.  Life changes occur, and we get off track.  The key really is to overcome the urge to eat your way through circumstances in your life.  Ownership.

Did you eat healthy today?  Me: So-so.

Breakfast: Chike Strawberry Burst; 2 cups of coffee with Sugar Free Pumpkin spice sweetener.

Lunch: 2 small Reeses' cups, 2 small Kit-Kats' and a kid's size CLIF brownie bar*;  Burger and medium fries with a Diet Coke at 4pm

*This was completely and totally emotionally eating from the sadness I was experiencing from visiting Children's Hospital ICU, I'm owning it here and now. 

Dinner: 2 cups of Kale with 2 T Lite Raspberry Vinaigrette with 2 T Dried Cranberries and 1/4 c. pistachios.

My strategy there was that I did well for breakfast, screwed up lunch, and recovered at dinner. If you're going to screw up during the day, don't let it be at breakfast.  What's the biggest way to get on the wrong track?  Missing breakfast, in my opinion! Coffee is essential, but I always make it a "no calorie" hit with SF creamer or Almond milk and Stevia ( > 50 calories from beverages in a day.) Often, I will have a protein shake or oatmeal or greek yogurt with frozen raspberries and a few nuts. These are staples.  

This is one of the measures I take to prevent myself from engaging in poor eating behaviors.  The one I have recently fallen short with though has been packing my lunch.  It's such a simple thing to do, but I have not bought what I need to pack my ideal lunch that "keeps me on track."  My number one "keeping on track" lunch is 3 oz. deli meat, 1 oz. cheese on a sandwich thin.  This with a piece of fruit will stave off hungry for 3-4 hours. I like to think about my meals as perfect meals. A good balance of protein, fiber and carbs, in that order. I've recently moved away from products with hydrogenated oils and avoid MSG in the whole foods I consume.

So, I'm working on and redefining my accountability measures for my diet and exercise program in my life.  I didn't talk much about exercise, but I'll tell you this, HIIT is the way to go.  I frequently will jog for a minute in place to get my heart rate up and keep blood flowing to feel good and energized during the day. I've downloaded a pedometer on my phone that's always running, and my goal is to continually make sure that I am walking at least 3 miles a day at a minimum. I meet or exceed that goal at least 3 times a week with addition to other workouts.  Could I use some improvement in this area?  Heck yeah. Always room for improvement.

Here's to each of us delving deep into our self reflections and insight into what prevents us from getting the results we want.  Real results come from ownership.  The hardest person to be honest with is yourself.