Stalled Fitness Plans: Victim Mentality?

Fitness is a mental game first. The secret to changing your body may be changing your mind. A desire to be fit and healthy is essential- but for some of us desire is not enough.

A psychological reality may only be in your head but it’s still a reality.

“Victim accountability” is a concept worth studying- especially if a psychological reality keeps you from achieving your fitness goals. The word “victim” refers to a “poor me” perspective on how life happened to you despite your best efforts. It does not refer to actual victims of crimes. “Accountability” addresses perspective on and aspects of personal responsibility for your life.

If motivation is what causes us to take action then the “poor me” victim dynamic may be the “why not” when we don’t take action.

When we create, promote, or allow a victim dynamic in our life there’s always something about the dynamic that is “working,” that provides us some sort of psychological payout despite an obviously negative situation.

Psychotherapy can help because understanding a problem brings resolution. Sometimes all it takes to change what you’re doing is understanding how things got started in the first place.

Psychotherapy helps us understand longstanding thought patterns for why we don’t accept personal responsibility, why we blame others or outside forces for why we “can’t” do something.

There’s always more than one way to think about anything: the question in need of an answer is why are you choosing to see the perspective that only sees the obstacle?

Honestly ask yourself what about anything negative in your life- anything that you’d like to change- is “working” for you, feeding you emotionally in any way.

Example: there’s a woman who is married with children. In her marriage she is victimized by her husband’s excessive drinking. This alcoholic is the father of her children. It’s clearly not her fault he drinks. She clearly never wanted to be married to an alcoholic. Her psychological payout- what is “working” for her about being a victim in this clearly dysfunctional relationship- is that by him being the lousy alcoholic father it gives her an opportunity to be the good parent. She gets a positive out of something clearly negative. Victim accountability work helped this woman realize how being a victim was working for her and how she unwittingly had been co-dependent. Once she understood the working dynamics she was able to change her behavior overnight.

Victim mentality depends upon habitual thought processes-convincing arguments- where outside forces are blamed for not being able to do something. Once you understand the dynamics that are at work when you allow yourself to be a victim, you can stop playing the victim.

Many of us have sustained stalled fitness plans through excuses we claim as reasons- excuses that keep us in a victim mentality. A reason is an excuse whenever a viable alternative is a possible option.

Neglecting your health is a choice you make- that results in abuse through neglect. There’s no good enough reason to abuse your body by ignoring your health. If your fitness struggles persist- if your body is able but your mind is not- you could benefit from psychotherapy.

Success in life comes from either learning how to help yourself or learning how to get the help you need.

If you have a physical injury you don’t know how to work around, or a body part you’re protecting, a physical therapist who’s also a personal trainer will help you.

Understand the ways in which you allow yourself to be a victim and you’ll become free- free to become fit.

Young And Fit: By Accident Or By Intention?

If you’re young and physically fit you’ve been blessed. If you appreciate your blessing then certainly you’ll desire to retain your fit condition as you grow older.

Staying young isn’t possible but staying fit is. If you’re young ask yourself if you’re accidentally fit because you’re young- or are you fit through intention and conscious choice. 

Out of shape older people could be out of shape for the same reason there were in shape when they were young: they were fit accidentally- because they were young- with no conscious intention to be physically fit.

Look at your choices and your habits under a microscope. Are you a person who is habitually too busy to exercise? Does your lunch come from a gas station quick mart? Can you be too busy to make healthy choices? Maybe you’re simply comfy where you are, unprepared or unwilling to change your status quo.

You can be young and accidentally fit but you’ll never be old and fit by accident.

It’s easy to understand how age is blamed for poor physical condition: time exacerbates results of abusive and neglectful habits.

Ask yourself what aging means to you. Do you believe you’ll live (or not) to old age because of your genetics. Do you believe your choices and good habits can contribute to a healthier old age?

If a level of fitness comes automatically with youth, does that mean that the opposite, a level of “unfitness,” comes automatically as you get older? The answer depends on much more than merely genetics or luck.

In a world that views better healthcare as access to cheaper, more affordable drugs, it’s likely the meaning and reality of aging is misconstrued.

There is an undeniable reality to aging yet we can affect how we age by consciously and prudently choosing our habits. It is possible to stay in shape as you grow into an older adult.

This is not a discussion about unfortunate bad luck or accidents. We should sympathize with people who have unavoidable accidents that lead to ill-health. We should sympathize with people who become ill through no fault of their own or because they didn’t’ know better- before it was too late.

If you’ve visited an assisted living home you’ve seen seniors with extremely weak arm and leg muscles- so weak they can’t stand up without assistance.

Simple muscle weakness comes from muscle neglect. “Use it or lose it” is more than a trite expression. We can only do what we’re able to do. The point is to do what you’re able to do.

Conscious choice and intention, good choices consciously made that become your good habits- are fundamental to retaining the fitness that automatically comes with youth. 

Don’t make the common error of confusing aging with results from abuse or neglect. Don’t unjustly assign results from years of bad habits to old age.

Live life with intention and the conscious choice to be fit. Consciously make choices that improve your body’s condition while you consciously avoid choices you know are bad.  Include fitness activities in your daily life.  Eat Mother Nature’s finest creations- in their original form. Avoid all processed foods. You don’t want hidden calories or hidden ingredients.

Accidents should be avoided-even the accident of being young and fit. Young or old, don’t live life accidentally.

Today’s Habits> Tomorrow’s Reality: Time For Review?

It’s undeniable that your current and past habits continue to contribute to your condition right now. It follows that changing your present habits would then change your future reality.

The good and bad thing about habits is they are behaviors we sometimes do without thinking. It’s a good idea to review all your habits to be certain they are conscious choices.

A conscious habit, one you intend to have, starts as a single choice. Physical fitness results from multiple good habits involving working out, eating, resting and recreating. Habits blend together and either denigrate or elevate your fitness level.

The most important thing about habits is we can choose them.

You have the power. Start where you are. Start with an intention to identify and choose healthy habits.  

Identify habits associated with fitness and those that should be divorced from your life. Make a two column “add vs. eliminate” habit list.  Improve your fitness one habit at a time.

A great thing about habits is the longer you have them the easier they are to keep: the force of the habit keeps it going.

If daily repetition is the heart of habit, then desire and intention are the soul. Desire and intention drive a single choice you make in your head that leads to a physical action to do- or resist doing- something. Next you make an additional choice to repeat, or not to repeat, the action. Then one day a habit is born.

The smallest expenditure of daily effort can lay a foundation for any habit. Fortify a good habit with a focus on daily repetition, daily consistency.

Fitness starts as a consciousness and grows throughout your life. We can all be on a fitness journey- at different mile markers. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Your journey is unique.

Review what you do. You may decide to change what you’ve been doing. Timing is everything, right? Maybe your time is now. A little success leads to more. Once you experience a little success you may determine that now is the time to eliminate habits that don’t serve you well.

What you don’t know in the beginning is how easy it will become to maintain healthy habits and that healthy habits push bad ones out of your life almost without effort. Time is limited. Habits use time. Fill your time with healthy habits.

Maybe we should create a national “Habit Review Day” as part of an initiative to create a healthier America.

New Year> New You! Fitness:Tips That Work

There’s good news for people who don’t have much time or energy to exercise: the cumulative effect that comes from daily exercise increases the value of minimal daily effort.

If you want to get into great shape focus on creating daily consistency for your workouts- no matter how brief each workout may be. Daily consistency- defined as the steadfast adherence to resolution- has one fundamental requirement: self-discipline.

Cumulative effect requires passage of time- it kicks in automatically when you stick with any plan long enough.

Cumulative effect doesn’t require lengthy workouts or tons of energy. Cumulative effect requires perseverance, self-discipline, and the passage of time.

Perseverance and self-discipline are character traits that are available to anyone who sets an intention to practice them.  With perseverance and self-discipline you can work out daily for a few minutes and over the course of time experience measurable cumulative results from your efforts.

Although believing in your process and having a good workout plan are important, using your self-discipline to establish daily consistency for your workouts will get you farther than anything else.

The contingency for experiencing cumulative effect is you can’t quit too soon. You don’t need either a lot of time or energy to reap the benefits from the cumulative effect of consistency. Beyond all else, cumulative effect requires one thing: passage of time.

Most strength training movements using dumbbells can be done in 20-30 second time increments. One strength exercise that requires only 20-30 seconds to complete will yield measurable results for the muscles involved in that movement- when the cumulative effect of daily consistency kicks in. Start with one movement- bicep curls would be a very good first choice.

Don’t have time for your planned workout? Change your plan. Don’t skip an entire workout because you don’t have time for what you had planned to do. A five minute workout, consistently done daily, has real value and will keep your habit strong.

You can lay a foundation for your fitness success with a minimal amount of daily exercise for two reasons: 1. a little leads to a little more: as your body, mind, and lifestyle acclimate to daily exercise you’ll likely desire to gradually expand your efforts. 2. A daily habit is the strongest habit and strong habits survive.

Of course you don’t want just one great muscle. Eventually you’ll want to create a well-rounded exercise plan for yourself.

Lengthy intense workouts, sweating, or jumping up and down, are not requirements for good health. Doing a little bit every day is far better than doing more but working out less frequently.

What you don’t know when you’re new to and exercise habit is how good you’ll feel from working out or that working out doesn’t need to be difficult.

Going to a gym is great- but don’t rely on it.  Work out at home sometimes. The day will come when you either don’t have the time or money for the gym. Home workouts can be fabulous.

Create good health through the cumulative effect from daily exercise. Instead of becoming an encumbrance, your stronger body will facilitate your lifestyle.

Cumulative effect of daily consistency is like magic dust sprinkled onto your good fitness habits. Create this magic fitness bullet through the conscious choice to practice self-discipline and perseverance.

Style your personal fitness plan for sustainability: a suitable difficulty, intensity, and time duration.

The important thing is to start where you are and do what’s within your personal power to be fit.

Hide Your Mirror- Focus On Goals

If you feel discouraged by what you see in your mirror, put it away for a while. Checking your mirror too often or too soon is a bad fitness strategy- if it discourages you. People often lose interest in working out if they don’t see fast results.

Checking your mirror for visible results from your diet and exercise efforts can be like watching the second hand on a clock while waiting for an entire day to pass. Time doesn’t feel like an unstoppable force while watching a second hand.

In the beginning of your fitness journey, your mirror can’t reveal the full story of your fitness progress, the changes underway that require passage of time to become visible.

You’re a work in progress and you need encouragement. Instead of a focus on what’s visible in your mirror your focus needs to be on attainable daily fitness goals. A focus on good habits brings fitness into view. It’s easy to believe that good habits lead to good results but how soon visible results will appear brings a totally different paradigm into consideration.

If you don’t quit too soon it’s impossible not to get visible results from good habits. Focus on daily consistency of good habits, to increase their value.  

Decide to develop an all-around fitness plan for yourself instead of being discouraged or feeling badly about yourself.

If you don’t quit too soon you’ll inevitably see the changes that start taking place immediately- changes that typically aren’t visible on the outside of your body when you first begin a personal fitness program.

Start with goals unrelated to your mirror. The goal of doing daily workouts would be fabulous, regardless of how brief a workout is. A grocery shopping goal like getting to the checkout with zero processed foods in your cart would be awesome. Make zero a good thing!

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Despite what we see in magazines, a perfect body has never been an attainable goal for anyone. Photoshop has wide popularity for a reason.

You deserve to feel good about yourself for developing good habits related to daily exercise and healthy food shopping. Be proud of yourself each day you meet your goals. If you fall short on a day, put that day in the past- where it already is.

Fitness is a beautiful process and the smallest healthy goal is part of that process. You’ll expand your goals when you’re able. Doing each day what’s within your personal power to be fit should make you proud of yourself and give you peace of mind.

Give yourself an emotional & psychological boost by trying each day to be the best you can be.

The inner character traits required to stick to your fitness plan will blend with the physical results of working out. You’re gradually creating a new and improved you, from the inside out.

In the beginning you must encourage yourself. Your challenge is to do what’s within your personal power to be the best version of yourself possible.

Never forget that good habits produce good results and that desirable results from exercise and eating are inevitable for those who don’t quit too soon. The real question is: what good habits are at the top of either your “must do” or “do now” list?

If looking into a mirror works against you stick it in the drawer. Eventually the mirror can re-emerge and you’ll like what the mirror is revealing.

Bad Weather: Great Time for Home Workouts!

Bad weather is a great time to work out at home.

Let’s face it. After being gone all day it feels better to stay home than to go to the gym- especially when it’s cold and gray out.

Isn’t it great that home exercise takes less time and can cost no money, or that it doesn’t matter how you’re dressed? How about the fact that no one’s watching? Do you see advantages here?

Going to the gym is fabulous but it can also be a fitness habit killer. There’s an inherent problem with relying upon getting to the gym to exercise: some sort of obstacle is surely guaranteed to appear at some point in your life, and threaten to interrupt your exercise habit. Whether for a single day or more, a top advantage to home exercise is the removal of the threat of interruption. 

Squats and deadlifts are two fabulous exercises easily learned and done in any room in your home. Use them to strengthen and shape your lower body.

Walk into your kitchen and pick up a couple vegetable cans to do bicep curls and lateral raises. Using vegetable cans as exercise equipment is nothing new: it might just be time to remember something you forgot about. Cans can tide you over until you purchase a couple sets of light weight dumbbells.

If your can or dumbbell feels too light for you, then challenge yourself by increasing your number of repetitions per set. Create a great little strength-aerobics workout for yourself by pairing light weight with increased repetitions. A higher number of repetitions using much lighter weights will definitely get you going.

In your kitchen multi-task by doing shoulder shrugs while cooking or washing dishes.

Doorways and kitchen chairs can be used as balance aids while doing a variety of upper and lower body movements. Use a doorway for balance as you raise your arms overhead to stretch and relieve upper-back tension acquired from hours sitting at your computer. Kitchen chairs are great to hold on to while doing leg lifts. Push-ups are still a great choice: if you lack strength you can learn the modified form. While you’re on the floor, get into the plank position for more abdominal work.

Get creative in your bedroom. Your bed is softer than the softest carpet and can be quite effective for beginning stretching and body toning. Each time you utilize your master bathroom, before leaving your bedroom get onto your bed to limber up. Move around freely for perhaps 30-60 seconds and then add a few leg-lifts. Leg-lifts done while lying on a bed can be great beginner abdominal exercises.

Add music to these activities and you’ll be having fun while you’re getting into great shape.

If you exercise at home, then almost nothing can stop you except you.

One solid block of time is not required for home workouts. A full body workout can be accomplished in thirty second intervals scattered throughout your day, throughout your home. The cumulative effect over time can make thirty second intervals significant.

A PLEA FOR FITNESS- AND A FAST FOOD FANTASY

If you believed it could be easy, would you work out? What if you knew that huffing and puffing, or jumping up and down, weren’t necessary? Exercise can be like reading- more inner than outer.

If you knew you could find time for it, even on your busiest day, would you exercise? Thirty second time intervals can be used quite effectively, at home, at work, or while traveling.

We don’t even know you, for Pete’s sake! We are preparing a book, but right now we have nothing to sell. We care about sharing our fitness knowledge with you. Our purpose is to share with you so you can grow your love, ability, and level of fitness.

In the blankness of the blogosphere, we hope the internet will deliver our message of hope and possibility- for your transformation. If you like what we do, then later perhaps we’ll be in touch with each other.

We are women- with over eighty combined years of working out under our belts. One of us is just a girl from Kansas with a fifty year workout history, obviously blessed with a love for fitness. One of us is a native New Yorker, former physique competitor, and owner of a personal training business in Northern Virginia. We’ve been friends since 1989.

To some of you our age may seem older than God. But you would never think that about any other part of who we are- body, mind, or spirit.

We can show you exercise choices that even the busiest person can find time for. Don’t argue. Accept this as truth.

If you’re just lazy about fitness, maybe it’s time to just get over it! Perhaps it’s time to tell your inner voice to shut up and work out.

Live life in a paradigm that puts the focus on good health. Everyone doesn’t need to be uber-toned. Acquiring a minimal level of fitness can be acceptable- provided the level is measurable.

Too much weight for your frame is just one of the obvious clues that your focus on your health has become blurry.

As you age, don’t worry about wrinkles: they look pretty good with muscles. Bulges aren’t as simple.

Become healthier. Do you really want America to be known for its obesity epidemic? Don’t contribute to this reputation. Don’t fall prey to the pitfalls.

Change your choices. Freedom of choice is good. Let the door swing both ways and remember your freedom to make healthy choices too!

Make healthy choices. Should you refuel your body when and where you refuel your car? Really? Gasoline is toxic and so is the food that’s sold where you buy your gas.

Choose “no label required” food, made by Mother Nature, still in its original form. Don’t stop at fresh, hot, juicy, delicious or fast. Those have become “marketing” words. That’s not the bellwether you need.

Exercise? Yes. Do it. Thirty seconds here and there throughout the day adds up significantly. There’s lots you can do in a thirty second interval. Think weight lifting. One set of any movement can be done in less than thirty seconds.

Use self-discipline. Be your own watch dog or good role model.

When you were a kid living at home you’d have been in trouble for eating more than your share of the desserts in the house. Guess what? You’re still in trouble for that same behavior- the punishment comes a few years down the road.

Healthy is happy. Fitness feels good. Don’t think living a healthy lifestyle means you need to live a life of strict observance, like a Trappist monk. You’d be mistaken.

Here’s a fabulous fantasy- what if a certain fast food hamburger chain were to do a total turn-around and start using organic free-range beef and chicken for all their sandwiches and unbleached whole grain flour to make their bread? The food would still be fast, right? Imagine the press they’d get- and how much better for America their food would be!

Maybe Uncle Sam would even create a tax benefit for such a restaurant chain, as a reward for working to reduce national health care costs and making a contribution to a healthier America.

Get fit- for goodness sake, your own sake, or for the good of America.

Get Fit Fast: How To Choose A Trainer

Everyone doesn’t need a trainer to become fit…but you might!

A trainer can be very important.

Can your trainer make you or break you, help you become fit or cause you to quit? Yes.

You may need a trainer to help you get started. You may only need a trainer after you’ve been working out for a year, or when you need to brush up on your form. We can all slide backward. If you work with one, choose carefully.

Assuming you need one, how should you select your trainer? Are there right questions to ask? Our best brief answer is that it can be difficult to select a trainer and assess if that trainer is right for you.

  • Ask someone for a referral.
  • Ask for a trial workout.
  • Look for a female trainer who is “obsessed” with weights.

Get a referral from another female. Look around your gym and ask questions. That’s how you find a new hair stylist, right? You see a haircut you like, and get the stylist’s name.

A trial workout will tell you if your fitness philosophy is in sync with the trainer.  She may know fitness but you know you. You may need someone to drill you and push you, demanding “just one more.” The danger is that for some individuals, “just one more” will be “one too many.”

Your personal workout style and taste needs to be respected. When you find what works for you, you’ll find success.

Why weights, you ask? Although anything you enjoy, that relaxes you or gets you to the gym, is good, weights will do all that and so much more, in less time! I’ll take that deal every day.

This discussion is not meant to be all about strength training with weights. The choice is such a good one, however, that we can’t pass up the chance to encourage you. We both would choose something else if it worked better than strength training with weights. Note: both of us run, jog or walk, in addition to our weight workouts. But we would not give up weights and just do the cardio portion of our exercise.

This is what you’ll get if you choose weight training: You will:

  • Get fit faster.
  • Get fit with the least amount of effort.
  • Get fit expending the least amount of time on a daily basis.

It may be hard to find a female trainer who is obsessed with weights, but that’s precisely what you need. If this female is also a bit of a philosopher, even better. There can be a Zen-like element to weight training- something more inner than outer, a sort of quietness. There certainly isn’t any huffing and puffing. See for yourself. Try it. Do it now.

Fitness Path: Square One Is Identify/Eliminate Obstacles

Fitness is a path you walk. Be sure you start at square one.

Square one, for this discussion, is a condition of restoration for your body.  Restoring your body empowers your body because once restored, your body will function in a healthier manner. Restore your body by eliminating “edible evils,” the food and drink choices you’re making, that wreak havoc with your body.

Your first step for an enjoyable walk will be to remove obstacles that are causing you to stub your toes. Your walk will change entirely as soon as you remove obstacles. Two common categories of obstacles are fake sugars and cravage.

Cravage defined is food designed to drive cravings with little to no further regard- like good health, proper weight, or nutrition. Cravage only exists due to food scientists in a laboratory. It’s main purpose is to put money into somebody’s pocket.

Whole foods that are still in their original form need to comprise the majority of your groceries. Every item you purchase needs to make the buy vs. bye cut before crossing the finish line, before crossing the scanner at the checkout.

Fake sugars statistically will cause you to weigh more two years from now that you do right now and cravage is a budget leak at best.

You probably already intellectually know everything you should be doing to become healthier.  But you probably haven’t experienced how easy it is and how good it feels, once you stop being stubborn and self-indulgent and walk the fitness path all day every day.

If you aren’t already doing what you know you should do, then ask yourself why you insist on shooting yourself in your fitness foot.

Choose to walk this beautiful path, making choices that are literally at your fingertips, choices that will propel you forward. Healthy choices will allow you to go skipping along on the path to good health.

Bad food temptations can become turn-offs. You can condition yourself to not want garbage food. Take these 2 steps in every moment of temptation:

  • Remind yourself that you love yourself and deserve goodness and health; then act like you mean it.
  • Remember everything that goes with the bad choice, like heart disease and cellulite and keep it top of mind.

A shot in the foot hurts.

Walking a path without stumbling actually feels good. Give yourself a chance.

The path is only difficult when you throw away you roadmap or try to walk in the dark without a flashlight.

Your roadmap is your knowledge of what you know you should do. Your flashlight will turn on and provide needed light whenever you make the choices you know you should make, the choices that are at your personal fingertips and yours to make. Eliminating fake sugars and all cravage is how you carry fresh batteries for your flashlight.

Forget Dieting: Eating Strategies Work Better

There are lots of problems with diets and dieting. If diets worked long term, then we wouldn’t have an obesity problem in America.

Instead of wasting time picking on all the diets in the world, let’s discuss what would work better: personalized eating strategies.

Eating strategies should replace dieting. Eating strategies are proactive choices you make, with a focus on choice rather than self-denial. Eating strategies open the door to selection and creativity, allowing an individual to personalize the what, where, and when of food consumption.

Be honest with yourself. You probably know your eating pitfalls. Begin to develop your get slim/stay slim strategy by deciding what will be on your “don’t eat” list. Important: whenever you identify an indulgence you want to avoid, put something satisfying on your list to replace it. For example: if you’re craving something salty like potato chips, replace those chips with salted sunflower seeds or dried salted edamame. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, you could choose dried banana chips combined with dried cranberries. If you like frozen treats, perhaps frozen grapes will do it for you- or frozen dark, sweet cherries. You can nibble all night on these tiny morsels, one at a time.

Next decide what will be on your “to eat” list, the mainstays of your meals rather than your snacking. For optimal success, this list must multi-task: these foods need to be nutritious AND delicious, emotionally satisfying while meeting important nutritional requirements. Taste alone is simply not enough to make the list.

While shopping, don’t even enter entire aisles at the grocery store, lest you tempt yourself. You never need anything in the cookie aisle, do you? You also will not purchase your meals at gas stations.

While chewing, chew each bite slower and longer. Don’t swallow a single bite that isn’t worthy, isn’t satisfying, that you wish you hadn’t as soon as you did. Don’t be afraid to spit out mistakes- while no one is watching, of course.

Once you raise your consciousness and allow it to guide you, there’ll be restaurants you’ll stop going to. Let’s face it. Today’s world is littered with fast food chains and chefs are rarely seen anywhere except the food channel.

Getting slim and staying slim doesn’t have to be about suffering and self-denial. It can be exciting and something to look forward to. Whenever you do good things for yourself you lift your spirits. Success leads to more success.

Think in a healthy paradigm. Instead of focusing on all the food you shouldn’t eat, remind yourself of all the wonderful, enriching, delicious and nutritious food Mother Nature has created. Buy them.

While shopping, make a buy vs. bye decision for every single item that goes into your shopping cart- before it crosses the scanner at the cash register.

Success comes from learning how to help yourself.