A Case For Avoiding Your Scale

March 22, 2015

The scale. A measurement tool that seems to have so much more power than simply displaying our body weight in pounds. The scale tells us how ‘good’ we are at eating healthy, it tells us how attractive we should feel and it also tells us what our next move with food will be, doesn’t it? Depending on your relationship with the scale, you may or may not agree with the statement above, but in my line of work this is an incredibly prevalent mindset. I am ready to pull out all the stops to change this.

I hope you can both relate to this description of the scale and see how overblown our relationship with this tool has become. The point of today’s post is to educate you and inspire you to change your relationship with your bathroom scale or maybe, kinda, if you want to consider the thought to GET RID of your scale altogether!?

What the scale does:

The scale measures your body weight. Some scales also measure body fat percentage with calculators that are grossly inaccurate.

What the scale does NOT do:

Give you a snapshot of your health. Give you an idea of how well your healthy habits are playing out. Give you a suggestion about how much muscle definition you do or do not have. Give you permission to eat a certain way after seeing a number you do or do not like. And finally, the scale does NOT give any insight into how worthy you are of anything.

The challenge is that we believe a change on the scale or attaining a certain number  on the scale will equal a certain size of jeans, a certain look or even a certain feeling of worthiness… 

IT DOES NOT.

I hear this all the time – “I have eaten clean and done all my exercises for a few weeks and the scale has barely moved, what the hell? I need to at least see some results in order to keep up with my habits and stay consistent.”

What this describes is a situation that keeps us locked in the all or nothing mindset. We eat clean, follow our workout programs and expect a certain number (or any change) on the scale. When the scale number does not change, goes up or does not go down enough we throw in the towel, get frustrated and think we need a more strict approach.

We then eat more strictly, exercise more intensely, see a little change on the scale, go back to our old habits and the scale goes up again. The answer lies less in your eating approach and more in the fact that you keep using the scale to determine your actions! Healthy habit change works when we choose habits that are enjoyable, successful and easy to maintain every single day. Keep eating your greens, lean proteins and drinking a ton of water, each and every day without the scale, but instead because you love how you feel and you are adopting a different lifestyle!

The point is that continuing to use the scale never gets you out of this pattern of up and down habits so you are even less likely to see changes over the long term. 

My answer to you today is an in-depth one that will challenge your knowledge of physiology, mindset and your traditional relationship with the scale.

The scale sucks for measuring what your physique looks like.

The scale keeps you tied to expectation. We expect that eating a certain way for a week or two should illicit a change on the scale. But the scale only measures our entire body mass, it has nothing to do with gaining muscle and losing body fat. Even if the scale decreases by a pound over two weeks, we become frustrated because clearly our efforts are not showing any results. This is so, so wrong!

Successful long term body composition change is slow, up-and-down and does not always equal a large change in the number on the scale even when our body can become leaner, stronger, healthier and potentially attain a smaller size. 

Rachel Cosgrove, a New York Times best-selling author and leading authority on women’s physique change says that long term dieters are a population who are often tied to the scale the most. Due to years of weight loss and re-gain, this population tends to have a higher body fat percentage compared to muscle mass ratio. We know that chronic dieting causes us to lose both muscle and body fat and then re-gain body fat when we go back to our normal, everyday eating habits.  Not only does this population crave change on the scale the most, they also have the highest ability to put on muscle mass when they adopt or increase their training regimen. A decrease on the scale is unlikely even though they are becoming leaner, and losing body fat.

Check out my good friend, Michelle Rycroft of Ripped By Rycroft.

Michelle graciously gave me permission to share her progress photos that were taken over a three year period. Note: she weighs the exact same in both pictures yet looks very different in terms of muscle tone and physique. Had Michelle relied on the scale as her only measurement tool and source of validation, she would likely have never been able to see the results she created. 

The scale has zero bearing on how effective you are at implementing healthy habits.

I joke with my Blast Fitness Lifestyle Club ladies all the time that if I had used the scale to measure my progress over the last three years, I would have been so disappointed! I have probably lost 4-5lbs of body fat in the last few years (at times it was closer to 8lbs) and I have weighed myself twice in the last year, and only a handful of times in the years before that. With all the effort I have put in to eat consistently healthy all year long, a weight loss of 5lbs in 3 years is an epic fail by traditional measures.

 

My own progress photos - I do not own a scale so weighing myself is not part of my regular practice. I do it from time to time (usually at my client's homes!) to check in but never as a measure of weekly progress. 

Knowing what I know and feeling the way I do, I consider my progress a major win! I can maintain my weight, size and body composition relatively easily. I don’t notice swings in body composition as much as I used to and I feel much better physically. Remember, we all have normal ups and downs in our physique and weight. I certainly do not weigh the same everyday or every week. I have no idea of my numbers on a daily basis because I do not own a scale, but my pants fit comfortably and my measurements are steady.

On the whole, I am leaner, more consistently with less effort. That is a win in my books.

I place all my efforts on creating a lifestyle change and zero effort on what the scale says and how that should dictate my future actions. I have less expectations of how eating a certain way should make me look and instead I work on placing my efforts consistently on the big rocks that I know make a difference in the long term. 

But what if I have __ lbs to lose? 

I am adding this question into this post on purpose because it will undoubtedly come up. Perhaps you believe that you have 20 or 30lbs to lose and are already making the case for why this post does not apply to you. Let me stop you right there. This post applies to you regardless of your weight today and regardless of where you want your weight to be. 

I have been two or three sizes bigger than I currently am and weighed 30lbs more than I currently do. Using the scale does not have to be your main tool for measuring progress. Try journaling about your healthy habit journey every day, use girth measurements like your waist circumference and hip width as measurement tools and take progress pictures over long periods of time to see how your efforts play out.

I have seen many clients and friends use the scale as their main measurement tool only to be disappointed and struggle with long term implementation of healthy habits.

I have also seen many women feel like the number on the scale has something to do with their beauty, worthiness and power. I have felt beautiful weighing 10lbs more than I currently do and have felt miserable weighing 3lbs less than I currently do. My mindset determines my happiness, NOT the number on the scale.

It is time for this madness to stop. How are you going to change your relationship with the scale? How will you change the relationship your friends, daughters, sisters and mothers have with their scales?

I will change our collective relationship with the scale by starting with this post and continuing to be honest, authentic and real with you.  Do the best you can with the information you have, and when you know better, get busy doing better.

Lana xox 

3 Ways To Love Your Life More

March 17, 2015

In 2011 I had a whole bunch of dreams and ideas in my head. Ideas for where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be. Even stronger than the ideas were the fears and doubts that came along with them. I wanted to start my own business but what if it failed? I wanted to write, but what if nothing resonated with anyone and I ran out of ideas? I wanted to help other women overcome their own self-doubt and live a full, fabulous life but how the heck would I go about doing that when I was already struggling myself?

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the mastery of it. - Mark Twain

The biggest change I have made in my life over the past few years is to jump first and figure it out later. For a person who struggles with needing to understand the how of every process I go through before I take my first step, learning to trust in my dreams and goals has been paramount in feeling fulfilled and confident.

After I took the first few steps to start my own business a big, scary idea that had been in my head for awhile kept getting louder and louder. I consider that a huge shift happened once I made one of my biggest jumps - to organize a Women's Fitness Retreat to Maui in 2012. After months of organizing, planning and learning we were finally off to the aloha state. 

 

Myself and a group of 16 ladies ranging from age 20 to 60 had one of the best week's of our entire lives together. We surfed, did yoga on the beach at sunset, had massages, set goals, cried, laughed until our bellies ached, sweated it out in bootcamp and supported each other. My biggest take away from the whole experience was to trust myself, trust my dreams and trust that we can create the life we want to live if we follow a few simple steps. 

Set An Intention

On our opening day we all gathered in a circle and I set an intention for the group - to be present each day, enjoy every moment and embrace the new opportunities we were experiencing. We also created a group meditation to set intentions for ourselves. My own goal was to learn to find inner peace, a quiet confidence and calm for all the thoughts in my head.

After seven days worth of sweating, surfing, and laughing on the beach together at sundown, we had created bonds that transcended our ages, physical abilities and even a few ladies' fears of the ocean!

On the final day of the retreat we sat together at our closing circle and my retreat co-host Me-Shell passed around a pile of affirmation cards. Each of us was to read our card aloud to the group and describe how the words resonated with us. I flipped my card over and it said: 

 

What a learning experience that the very intention I had set for myself seven days earlier showed up on the random affirmation card I chose from the pile. Our intentions matter. Whether you are trying to just get by or to step up, grow and face your fears head on, you have a say in the matter.  

Trust The Process

The scary part about jumping in with two feet without a clear path in front of us is that our logical side encourages us to assess every possible outcome and have a back-up plan ready to go in our head. Consider this, you do not grow or step up when your life goes according to your plan, do you?

Think about the toughest times you have gone through - you likely learned a whole lot about yourself and gained valuable strength and self-belief. The only way for this to happen is for us to get uncomfortable more often. Or as I say to my personal training clients, 'let's get comfortable getting uncomfortable'.

Blindly trusting the process is not really the point either. The point is that when life throws you curveballs you do have a choice and a chance to make decisions. Sure, your choices may be limited, but accepting that even when we make the 'wrong' choice we learn. Having an open mind helps us to learn when we do not win, helps us to grow when we do not succeed and helps us to believe that there is more to the process of life than following a carefully laid out plan.  

Make A Pattern Interrupt

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received came via a client of mine. Her father instilled in her the importance of creating a pattern interrupt at certain times in her life. By definition, a pattern interrupt is a tool used to disrupt the normal or current pattern your life is following. For example, the 'I just don't know how to change my life' or 'I just don't know where to start in order to love my life more' questions are perfect situations in which we could use the pattern interrupt tool. 

A pattern interrupt is a useful tool when we need to reframe a situation, clean our mental slate or take a break from our everyday life to get an outside perspective. The best way to do this in my opinion is to get on an airplane (or in a car!), change up your scenery and spend time with different people than you normally do. 

I LOVE attending wellness retreats, fitness conferences and business masterminds for this exact reason. I get out of my normal routine, I change my normal pattern of thinking and I learn new ways in which to live my life. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Bootcamp in Maui in 2012.  

As always, my goal is to encourage you to see the power you have to live your life differently. To me, feeling stuck is one of the most frustrating places to be, and it just takes a little encouragement, inspiration and friction on your part to get that ball rolling in the direction of empowerment. 

To your life and the quality of it, 

Lana

P.S. Today is the last day to take advantage of early bird pricing (that's $500 off!) our Women's Fitness Retreat in Nicaragua this coming October. Head HERE for all the details and to grab your spot. 

 

 

 

 

When does caring become caring too much?

March 14, 2015

A few days before my husband and I walked down the aisle at our wedding this past September, my parents became tangled in a legal battle with an employee. Planning a wedding takes up a ton of effort, energy and time and emotions are already running high for all sorts of reasons I am sure you can imagine. As I am incredibly close with both of my parents, this challenge hit my entire family as my parents both work hard with their hearts, souls and hands and have been amazing examples of work ethic for my brother and I. The specifics of this story are not really important for our post today, but what is important are the feelings I experienced as a bystander. 

I remember a few days before our wedding - sitting at our kitchen table changing our seating chart for the trillionth time and thinking only about my parents, putting myself in their shoes and feeling all the emotions I knew they were experiencing. Of course our wedding was top of mind for me, but I would be lying if I didn't say that my head was pre-occupied during our last few days of preparation (good thing I have great friends, right?!).

How can it be possible not to care what someone you love is going through? I thought. 

How can you put a barrier up in which you let your loved ones go through challenging times and you avoid getting completely engulfed into their pain, struggle or grief?

As a coach, trainer and generally empathetic person I constantly put myself in the shoes of other people. I think this can be both a gift and a fault as there have been many times that I have felt paralyzed by what someone in my life is going through. This has affected my ability to take care of myself and to be supportive for them. 

You guys know that I believe everything does happen for a reason and if that value system doesn’t jive with you then maybe you can get on board with this:

There is always a lesson to learn, a place to grow and room to expand from the experiences we encounter in life. 

Going through a number of challenges with my family has helped me to learn that I can support my loved ones, care for them deeply and still maintain my own emotional health. 

This directly affects our quality of life. The less overwhelm and pain we experience, the more likely we can focus on our own health which is a true gift to our friends and family members. Experiencing less pain doesn’t mean that you do not care, it means that you do not drown in empathy. 

Let me walk you through the steps to find a balance of caring, empathy and your own personal boundaries. 

Learn To Hold Space

This topic popped up on my radar this past week when the fabulous Erin Brown shared a post about what it means to 'hold space for others'. Erin wrote that holding space means we "let go of other's choices and outcomes and accept where they are at. It's probably the most peaceful way to let go of struggling with others in a loving way."

If you have ever gone through a challenge where you feel anger or betrayal from someone - as my family certainly did, you know that this affects every area of your life. Holding space doesn't mean we agree with the actions of another person, for me I had to hold space for my parents in order to be a support system for them and I also had to hold space for someone who I didn't know that I felt a lot of anger toward. Holding space helped me stay sane. 

To me, holding space is a powerful visual. We still walk with our loved ones as they go through challenges we may not fully understand. We support them, and listen without expectation, fear or worry. We are able to let them experience hardships which is so damn tough - but this IS a part of life. 

Avoid Ownership Of Others Problems

At a my goal setting group’s meeting in Calgary last week one of my colleagues shared this piece of wisdom: 

Not owning other people’s problems helps to reduce stress. 

I quickly wrote it down and got to thinking (of course) that this is great, but HOW do we actually not take on other people’s problems? Well first we have to see value in a way other than how we are currently operating. 

Consider that when we take on the problems of our loved ones we are truly doing this out of love. We care for our parents, siblings and children so we try to fight along side them or protect them. But aren’t we taking away their opportunity for growth? What would happen if we actually let them step up to the plate? 

They would have to go through the tough stuff and remember this:

 

This does not mean we throw them to the dogs and say ‘good luck’. We can actually help them along the way by listening, helping them talk it out and supporting the decisions they make for themselves rather than interjecting our own worry, baggage and anger. This would be the most loving thing you could do for someone!

Set Some Boundaries

Boundaries can be daunting. Just thinking of the word boundary can conjure up thoughts of selfishness and apathy. But, boundaries are like the emotional health version of the oxygen mask theory. You know, help yourself before assisting others. As in, if you do not get oxygen when the plane is going down you are useless to those you are trying to help.

The most common boundary we trample on is the boundary between us and those closest to us, isn't it? We don't always share when we are hurt or don't get what we need from our relationships. I believe that communicating where we are at is a way of setting a boundary. How are your friends and family going to know what you need if you do not let them know? Maybe you need space, understanding, time, compassion or support. You are setting a boundary for what you need and what you are willing to give.

Y’all know I can relate just about anything back to our health, happiness and fulfillment and I really don’t think I have to try too hard with this one. Dealing with tough emotional challenges (and WE ALL have them) affects our hormone levels, our physical activity levels and our ability to make healthy food choices. There are times when you are truly dealing with loss or grief and food and exercise should not obviously not be a priority, but when you are struggling with overwhelm or the everyday realtionships with those you love, practice the steps above.

With my family on one of the most special days of my entire life. 

Photo Credit: Mark Eleven Photography

When you make your emotional health a priority you can truly be there for your loved ones. Becoming engulfed in the challenges of others is an ineffective way to show how much you care. Totally easier said than done, but I hope today's post will help you see the power you have to truly help those you love the most.

Sending you love,

Lana

Rainbow Veggie Scramble

March 08, 2015

I love eggs for breakfast, especially when they are of the savoury variety rather than sweet as in french toast or waffles. You know I love protein pancakes, but I obviously don't make them super sweet either. This scramble is a fabulous way to start off your day with a ton of sustainable energy.

Ingredients:

3 eggs

2 leaves kale

1/2 yellow pepper

2 sundried tomatoes or 1 heaping tbsp chopped sundried tomatoes

2 slices yellow onion

1 tbsp olive oil

salt & pepper

Heat a pan to medium heat and sauté onion in olive oil until translucent. Add finely chopped yellow pepper and sun-dried tomatoes to pan. Whisk three eggs in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and leave to the side for a moment. Stir finely chopped kale into heated pan and sauté just until wilted. Pour the scrambled eggs into the pan and combine with veggies until cooked, only a couple minutes. 

Enjoy!

Do You Need A Mindset Makeover?

March 04, 2015

Whether you are brand new to the blog or have been here with us since the verrrry beginning, I want you to know the mindset journey never ends. The 'great' thing is that life will always be throwing things at us. That IS life. So in a way, your ability to craft your mindset to create the life you want is an on-going practice, and pretty important if you ask me.

Life throws you stuff, you get to practice, repeat, repeat, repeat. 

Today I want to introduce three important steps to consider when embarking on the journey of mindset training. These steps will help you go to the next level with your mind and body. 

Be Open

I will be introducing various topics, tools and ways to think differently about your roadblocks and frustrations on the blog over the next few weeks. Think of what I say as a buffet - take what resonates and leave the rest. We are all at different places in our journey and the ideas that work well for you will not necessarily work for everyone else. 

Mindset tools and topics are diverse and not everything will work for you. It is like trying on clothes. Try on a new perspective, see if it improves your outlook on life, creates deep happiness for you or works in your life to get you where you want to go.

The degree to which you are open to trying on a new way of thinking will greatly affect your success and future outcomes. I am sure you have heard the definition of insanity? Trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Well if you would like different results in your life, we have to begin with thinking differently.

See Value In The Process

Just like any promise of fast results, get rich quick or rapid weight loss DOES not exist. The mindfulness journey is exactly the same way. We actually learn, implement and grow when we go through the process day in and day out. The only way to the other side is through. 

The funny thing to me with regards to short-cuts and fast results is that you place all the value in the destination, when it is the journey and process that actually hold all the lessons, room for growth and key to long-lasting results. The process never stops, so you may as well start thinking about enjoying and valuing the journey.

Go Deep

The degree to which you experience a-ha moments and growth is directly related to how much you take this on and actually practice in your daily life. This doesn't mean you have to cry and tell your story to everyone you meet (if you want to that is fine - you can argue that is what I do! ha!) but practice questioning your current ways of thinking and living. The key to your happiness lies in your own hands.  

There may be uncomfortable issues or beliefs for you to work through, but you can think of it like this: the amount of effort and energy (whether you realize it or not) you spend suppressing emotions takes away from your happiness and ability to stay consistent.

This is not a one foot in, one foot out endeavour. If you want to reap the full rewards of crafting an empowered mindset, you have to put your butt on the line and show up exactly as you are, scrapes, wrinkles, fears and all. 

But why do we need to prioritize our mindset?

Not because I think it is a good idea or because I need to keep you occupied, but because this is HOW you get the rubber to meet the road. This is all about creating a mindset that lets you express and implement all the healthy habits we talk about so often. 

I want to inspire you to take on creating happiness in your own life.

I want to help you create a mindset that can thrive within the daily challenges of life.

I often ask the ladies of the Blast Fitness Lifestyle Club to let me in on where they are struggling. Is it food, exercise or mindset? Where do we need to shift our priorities?

After a few months of learning and practicing lean and healthy habits, everyone starts to shift towards understanding that mindset is the foundation we NEED before we can create sustainable eating and exercise habits. I am not talking about a short term crash diet or cleanse, I am talking about the long term, day in and day out actions we perform that help us get and keep physical results and self-acceptance.

Here’s to empowerment, confidence and growth, 

Lana